Monday, March 26, 2012

Rice Krispie Treats for Spring using Coconut Oil:

Coconut Oil Rice Cereal Treats for Spring:

I have been using Coconut oil for a lot of things these days.  It has been shown to help Alzheimer's patients by slowing, even reversing some of their symptoms.  It is being touted as a miracle food.  In the South Pacific & Caribbean, the coconut tree is called the "Tree of Life", this link will also provide you with a large list of the benefits of the Coconut.  On the t.v. show, "The Doctors", it is named as something that will help rid women of unwanted belly fat, along with Dark Chocolate, Olives, Avocados and Almonds.

Since discovering this information, I have been finding many ways to use coconut oil.   When I fry an egg, I put a pat of olive oil butter, and some coconut oil.  On my sandwiches, I smear on coconut oil before the olive oil mayo.  I put some in my oatmeal, veggies, spaghetti anything that requires a little bit of butter or that the coconut oil will melt in. My husband and I were discussing the Coconut Oil praise, and he made a comment that he would just lose his mind since he's not been using the Coconut oil.  I laughed and said, "That's what you think!".  Yes, I put it in his food and our sons food as well!  They have no idea, and it's good for them.   As with anything, too much is not good, so always use in moderation. Too much coconut oil can have a laxative affect, so be aware of that.

In fact, my husbands Aunt Deby is the caretaker for her mother, who has Alzheimer's.  She has been using the coconut oil with Grandma, and has told me of several improvements she has noticed.  She also told me that the stress factor in their house has diminished since the use of coconut oil started.  Grandma can now follow simple instructions, she can dress herself without confusion, she understands which garments she is asked to put on.  At a pancake house, Deby said that Grandma could not get the paper holder off the silverware without destroying the napkin.  Last time they went, Grandma had no problem removing the paper from around the napkin covered silverware.  Not only that, she had the napkin laid out, in its proper place.  Isn't that  wonderful?!  Am I going to use Coconut Oil? You bet 'cha!

I use the refined Coconut oil because there is no coconut taste.  My guys do not like coconut flavor.  I like it, but think that the use of the Coconut Oil that tastes like coconut will be diminished.  I don't want Coconut eggs.  Make sure you get the NON-Hydrogenated oil.  I have found the Organic Coconut Oil and a brand called LouAna (shown in the Alzheimer's video referenced above) at my local grocery.  My Mom didn't realize it could be found in the local grocery, and spent a lot of money at a Natural Food Store.  I found mine in the baking goods aisle, with the shortening and Olive Oil.

My husband loves Rice Krispie treats, but doesn't like the batches I've made, until now.  He and my son finished the entire lot in no time flat.  When I told him I used Coconut Oil, he couldn't believe it.  This recipe is a keeper!

Rice Krispie Treats for Spring using Coconut Oil: 
Follow the recipe on the Rice Krispie box, shown below, but substitute the butter for coconut oil 

Grease the 13 x9 x 3 pan with a little coconut oil

3 Tablespoons Coconut oil
4 cups miniature marshmallows
6 cups Rice Krispie's Cereal

Blue food coloring
Green and Yellow M&M's
Decorative Gel
Flower shaped candies

Melt Coconut oil in a large saucepan
Add the marshmallows and stir until melted and combined
Drop in a couple drops of blue food coloring
Add Puffy rice cereal and combine
Pour into prepared pan and press lightly

Use green M&M's as the grass, yellow for the sun
Decorate with candy flowers and decorative gel for a spring time treat

Purple Choco' Berry Popsicle or Smoothie, Healthy, low fat!

 Purple Choco' Berry Popsicle or Smoothie, Healthy, low fat!

My son and his best friend were enjoying a very warm day outside.  It was time for lunch.  The battle was on! Trying to get these two to stop playing, long enough to eat, is nearly impossible.  What works best? Bribery.  Yes.  Bribery.

While they were eating their lunch, I started the Popsicle-making process.  They were watching as I put their favorite things in the blender.  I didn't bother telling them that I was using all non-fat dairy products, as well as, no sugar added frozen fruits.  I used honey to sweeten, which added to the bribe. I don't know a lot of kids who don't love honey. I really like buying the frozen berries because the only ingredients are, the berries. No extra sugar, or preservatives.  I don't have to worry about spoilage, very low cost as well.  I use them for many things.  Very versatile, as well as delicious.

Did it work? Beautifully, as you can see.  They thought they were getting a treat by getting a Popsicle.  I knew they were getting lots of good vitamins and minerals to go along with their healthy lunch.

I have a two-Popsicle freezer mold, so I used the remainder of the mixture to make myself an 8oz smoothie.  I put a scoop of my favorite protein powder in it, added ice and more non-fat, organic milk, then enjoyed my own special treat!

Purple Choco' Berry Popsicle or Smoothie, Healthy, low fat

1/2 cup of Low Fat, organic Chocolate milk
1/2 cup of 2% organic white milk
1 cup of low fat cottage cheese
1/2 cup of frozen mixed berries
1 tablespoon honey (more or less to taste)

Place ingredients into a blender and puree until smooth.  Pour into Popsicle molds or add extra milk, water, or (as I did) ice cubes to turn into a smoothie.

You may also want to add some more liquid if you see your mixture is too thick to puree well.  It will freeze anyway, just don't go overboard, so the flavors won't suffer.

If you don't like cottage cheese, yogurt would be a good substitution.  However, I find yogurt to contain such a large amount of sugar that I don't use it frequently, outside of enjoying one serving in a given day.  One teaspoon of sugar is about 4.2 grams.  The drinkable yogurt we have has 14grams of sugar in a 3.1fl oz bottle, that is roughly equivalent to, 3 teaspoons of sugar. There are benefits to yogurt, but as with anything, too much of a good thing is not good.  Let me also point out, that the cottage cheese is not identifiable in the finished product.  The flavors are so beautifully compatible, it doesn't make a huge difference.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Mimi's Chicken Corn Chowder

Mimi's Chicken Corn Chowder

My Mother-in-law, Sharon, is an excellent cook.  She makes so many easy and delicious recipes.  Recently, I had to have a little dental surgery, which required stitches.  I couldn't eat anything hard, chewy, crunchy, or with seeds.  A couple of nights before the surgery, I bought a roasted chicken from the grocery store.  We only used half of it to make my chicken pot pie, so Sharon said she would use the rest to make the Chicken Corn Chowder.  However, when she looked in the refrigerator for the chicken, it was all gone.  Someone, who will remain nameless, but bares a striking resemblance to my husband, had eaten the rest of the chicken.  Instead of throwing the bones into the trash, he, whomever it was,  put them back into the refrigerator.  Sound familiar to anyone out there?  Anyway, the ever resourceful Mimi, er, Sharon made me her Chicken Corn Chowder anyway.  She just cooked up some chicken breasts and cut them into small, bite sized pieces.  Absolutely, out-of-this-world, delicious.

Mimi's Chicken Corn Chowder:

1 can Chicken Stock
1 can of Rotel
1 can of corn, drained
3 tablespoons butter
1 medium Finely chopped onion
2 stalks Finely chopped celery
1 1/2 Tablespoons flour
1 cup Milk
Salt & Pepper to taste.

Saute the onions and celery in the butter
Add the flour, stir until lightly browned
Slowly Add chicken stock, stirring constantly to make sure the flour doesn't clump
Then add the milk, chicken, corn and Rotel
Salt and pepper to taste
Heat thoroughly, stirring often to make sure nothing sticks to the bottom of the pot
If the chowder is not thick enough, you can add a bit more flour to thicken it up.

Serve with Tortillas crunched up on top, or those tortilla strips sprinkled on top.  I, of course, could not eat the tortillas at that time, but was assured they were yummy in the chowder.

Poor Man's Shrimp Cocktail

Poor Man's Shrimp Cocktail

If you've been following my posts, or read my intro, you will have noticed that I have food allergies.  Of those food allergies, Shrimp is one of them.  I was very pleasantly surprised when an old friend (not that HE is old, the friendship is, but not old like bad, old like a well worn shoe.....oh man, you know what I mean!), sent me a recipe, a friend of his sent him from Florida, called "Poor Man's Shrimp Cocktail."  My first thought was, aw how sweet a recipe for an allergen, delete.  Then I remembered that he follows my blog! He knows my food allergy.  He's a Fireman, he has a blog "Working on the East Side", he wouldn't give me a recipe for something that could potentially kill me, or at the least, itch me to near death.  Of course, this was exactly right.  I immediately went out and bought the ingredients.  Thanks Herbie!!!!

Before I developed the shrimp allergy, it was one of my favorite treats.  I can not tell you how excited I was to get the recipe started.   I felt like I was being pretty daring, making this shrimp cocktail....., well, there's no shrimp, but it does have it in the name, so that counts, OK maybe not, anyway.   Let me tell you, this is good and good for you.  I asked him if I could blog this recipe and he said, yes.  So here you go.  It's too good not to share, even though it has taken me a month to share it.  Yeah, so I've been lazy. Sorry.

Poor Man's Shrimp Cocktail:


1 cup dry crab boil seasoning (such as Zatarain's or Old Bay)
1/4 cup kosher salt
2 yellow onions, quartered
6 garlic cloves
3 lemons, halved crosswise
2 1-pound heads of cauliflower, cored, trimmed into 2" florets
Cocktail Sauce


Combine Crab boil, salt, onions, garlic, and 6 quarts of water in a large pot
Squeeze juice from lemons into pot and add lemon halves.
Set pot over high heat and bring liquid to a boil.
Cook for 10 minutes to let flavors meld
Using a slotted spoon, remove onions, garlic and lemons from broth, discard
Return liquid to a roiling boil
Add cauliflower, turn off heat
Cover pot tightly and let stand until cauliflower is crisp-tender, 5-10 minutes
Spread out cauliflower on a rimmed baking sheet and let cool completely
Arrange room temperature or chilled cauliflower on a platter with cocktail sauce for dipping

Do Ahead: Cauliflower can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and refrigerate

Ingredient Info:  Crab boil seasoning is available in most supermarkets in the seafood or spice section, and at specialty food stores.