Friday, August 14, 2015

Heat Wave and Food Favs


It has been hot, hot, hot here in So Cal.  That means getting my run on before 7am, afternoon naps and trying not to turn the oven on.  This has resulted in many salads for lunch and grilling for dinner.  We’ve been enjoying some healthy meals here at the Jackson homestead (and a couple of delightful desserts, I’ll get to that later.)

The one thing I did bake this week (early in the morning before the house got to hot), was a new breakfast cereal recipe.  The oat flakes I made religiously in the fall of last year got too time intensive what with the rolling out the dough, baking 5-6 batches due to limited baking sheets and oven space, and crumbling all the sheets into flakes.  Once I started my yoga teacher training, we reverted to a boxed cereal that met my health requirements but I so much prefer making my own.  Since then, I’ve been searching for an alternative recipe that wouldn’t take all morning to make.  I’ve tried a few granolas and Greg hasn’t really been the biggest fan of those.  Finally Greg suggested if the granola was more in the form of a cluster, it might be more to his liking.  So I tried this recipe, which resulted in oatmeal cookie like clusters, slightly crunchy outside more chewy in the middle. This recipe only took me 30 minutes, from start to finish.   I’ll let you know what Greg thinks. 



Oatmeal Clusters
1 ½ cup oats
½ cup oat bran
½ cup unsweetened coconut flakes
3 tbsp coconut flour
1 tsp cinnamon
¼ teaspoon sea salt
3 tbsp honey
¼ cup coconut oil
1 egg and 1 egg white
1 tsp vanilla

Mix all dry ingredients together in a large bowl.  Mix all wet ingredients together in a small bowl, then combine wet and dry ingredients.  Place mixture onto an ungreased  cookie sheet and bake in a preheated oven at 350 for 20-25 minutes, stir once about half way through cook time.  Allow to cool, then store in an airtight container.  Serve with milk or sprinkle over yogurt. Garnish with fresh fruit. 

Here was my favorite dinner for the week. With the help of two beautiful backyard tomatoes (1 yellow, 1 red), I grilled up an eggplant and alternated slices of veg and fresh mozzarella cheese to create this Eggplant stack.  Fresh chopped basil from the backyard and green olives also graced the plate that I drizzled with the leftover marinade from the eggplant (garlic, olive oil, and little balsamic).



Hopefully the salads and healthy vegetarian dinners are doing their job because I mixed up two decadent desserts this week, as well.  The first was a lower sugar version of fudge and it is also vegan.  Heat ¾ cup coconut milk (full fat please) until very hot, almost boiling.  Add 1tbsp of coconut oil to the milk.  Pour this mixture over ½ bag of chocolate chips and whisk until all melted and smooth.  Stir in 1 tsp vanilla.  You can put these in mini muffin tins that are greased.  I used a silicon ice tray, sprayed it with coconut oil, then filled the compartments with the chocolate mixture and stuck it in the freezer.  I also sprinkled the top with a tiny bit of red Hawaiian sea salt.  Demold after about an hour and store it the fridge (it will melt again if you leave it out.)  This is sort of a nod to my aunt Florence’s refrigerator fudge, which I never tried to make but always adored. 






The second dessert was in honor of my grandpa’s birthday, which is coming up in a few days. On grandpa’s special day he always loved to go to Marie Calendar’s and have a fresh peach daiquiri. Even though grandpa is not around anymore, we like to keep his memory alive by having his favorites at this time of the year.  So I ended up creating a peach daiquiri parfait. I had a bunch of fresh peaches from the farmer’s market and some cream cheese so I got to thinking about how to make a peach cheesecake.  The thought of turning on the oven in this nearly 100-degree weather was not appealing, so I tried to think of how to do this non-cook.  I sliced and peeled the peaches and let them soak in a mixture of rum, lemon and lime juices and coconut sugar; perfect for getting the “daiquiri” effect.  I blended the cream cheese with a little coconut sugar to sweeten it and mixed in some heavy whipping cream to lighten the mixture and stirred in some vanilla and fresh grated nutmeg to amp up the flavor.  To satisfy the need for some sort of a crust or crumble and keep it gluten free, I combined almond meal with melted butter and sprinkled in some cinnamon and sugar to cookie it up.  Then you simply layer the peaches, the cream and the crumbles. I’ll be sending a couple of servings over to mom and grandma’s house.  Hopefully grandpa can enjoy it vicariously through them. I’m sure he would proclaim it finger licking good, if he could! 




 

P.S.  I saved the rum liquid that I soaked the peaches in and served it over ice with a little sparkling water and Greg and I drank a toast to Grandpa Harvey.  I'll love him and miss him always!


Grandpa Harv, Grandma Lou, Little Brother Phil and me celebrating somebody's birthday.  


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