Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Warm Cinnamon Pineapple Dessert

Warm Cinnamon Pineapple Dessert

One of our favorite places to visit is the beach.  We love the beach.  By "we" I mean, my son and me. My Husband goes with us because he knows how much we love it. This past summer, our neighbor's offered us the use of their Condo.  Of course we couldn't pass it by, so we took an unplanned vacation to the Beach.  As always we had so much fun.  We were in walking distance to several Pancake Houses, and we could see the oceanfront from the balcony. We were also very close to many of the attractions.  It was a wonderful get away.  We visited with some friends who live there, and we went out to eat, a lot.  

I have heard of Brazilian Steakhouses, but never been to one.  I decided to surprise my family with a trip to Brazil, via the Rioz Brazilian Steakhouse.  Now, I'm not trying to "plug" the steakhouse, but feel it necessary to call them by name, because I am about to share this recipe that I got from the waiter, or Gaucho, in the restaurant.  It's so important that we give proper credit where credit is due. 

If you have never been to a Brazilian Steakhouse, and you love meat, all meat, and you have dreams of being surrounded by a multitude of deliciously seasoned, and cooked meats, then you must go to a Brazilian Steakhouse.  We walked in and were immediately greeted by a friendly hostess, who checked our reservation and led us to our table.  We walked past a large buffet covered in every different type of vegetable, mixed salads, fruit, pasta, breads, seafood, cheeses, among other delicacies nestled among the ice, or steaming above a friendly warmer.   I was beginning to think, we'd be there all night.  

Once seated at our table, the young lady gave us an explanation of what to expect, and our role.  We could help ourselves to the endless Buffet, upon returning to our table there will be fried bananas, cheese bread, polenta and mashed potatoes.  We were each given a two sided card, one side was red, the other green.  The lovely Hostess instructed us, at our discretion, turn the card to the green side to begin the parade of the main courses.  When we have had enough, turn to red, repeat if we so choose.  We followed her direction, and upon returning to our table, found it just as she described.  Each of us turned our cards to green.  To say we were overwhelmed with the choices of meat presented to us would be a gross understatement.  Perfectly cooked meats, lined up neatly on warm  skewers, were in turn delivered to us.  It was a dance of such pleasure, we could not resist.  Very soon, our plates were piled high with perfect portions of mouth watering selections.  Each of us flipped the cards to red, the dance was over and we could enjoy our feast without interruption.  

Delighted by the atmosphere, we were soon ready to begin another wave of friendly Gaucho's.  The ballet began anew.  As a Gaucho came near, he had a type of meat I could not identify on his skewer. It looked, as he got closer, not like meat at all, but pineapple.   I couldn't be sure, as it was golden brown, crusted in a ruddy glaze.  What could this be?  It was, indeed, pineapple. Grilled to perfection on the rotisserie, covered in cinnamon sugar and presented as though it were a golden treasure.  We soon found out that is precisely what it is.  Golden treasure.  We sent our waitress to find him, three times.  

This has now become one of our favorite treats.  We eat thick, warm slices of cinnamon pineapple with frozen whipped topping.  Sometimes we eat the delectable pineapple all on it's own.  If you have never tried a warm, baked pineapple you don't know what you are missing.  The baking process brings out the juices which intermingle with the cinnamon sugar and create a mouth watering crust, full of sweet juicy pineapple flavor.

I am going to share with you, the simplicity that is the Grilled pineapple.  Whether you cut your own pineapple, or purchase it already cut and cored, it doesn't matter.  It will work either way. 

Cut the skin off the pineapple, no need to core it.  

Don't have a rotisserie? No problem, just elevate with a wire rack. 
Roll in Cinnamon Sugar, make sure to coat all sides thoroughly.

Place in oven, full recipe is shown below.  

1 Whole organic Pineapple
1 Cup organic sugar
2 Tablespoon ground Ceylon Cinnamon

  • Remove the skin from the pineapple, careful to cut the sharp "eyes" out as well.  
  • No need to core the pineapple, unless you want to shorten the baking time. 
  • Preheat oven to 325 degrees
  • Place a wire rack on a cookie sheet
  • Mix the cinnamon into the sugar, use as much or as little of the sugar  and cinnamon as you like
  • Carefully cover the pineapple in the cinnamon sugar by rolling and sprinkling it all over
  • Place the coated pineapple on the wire rack and place in the oven, on the middle rack 
  • Bake for 45 minutes until the entire pineapple has been warmed through and the cinnamon sugar is a mahogany color 
  • Careful not to burn the sugar mixture
  • Check at 30 minutes just to be safe
  • Remove from oven and let cool a little
  • Cut into thick slices, place on a plate 
  • Serve as is or with ice cream or frozen whipped topping.  

Monday, June 26, 2017

Blackberry and Raspberry Cobbler with Monk Fruit

Blackberry and Raspberry Cobbler

Blackberry and Raspberry Cobbler with Monk Fruit

Recently, I was diagnosed with borderline diabetes, and that I need to lose 25.5 lbs, (will recheck in October bc Dr. wants to make sure that it wasn't a mistake, since I drank coffee with creamer before the test. I had to have something and coffee makes me happy. 😬)  The words from my Doctor hit me with a, near, knock out punch. I was a mess, mentally and emotionally. 

Ok, boom, pow, I took the hits now it's time to get up and dust off my boots.  What's next dear Dr. Carpio?  He said, cut the sugar, eat lots of fruits and veggies and lose 25.5 pounds, then, as always he smiled.

Ok.  Cut sugar. I can do that.  Lose 25.5 lbs.......that's the challenge, but I will do my very best.  In college and shortly after, I used starvation to lose weight, therefore, I don't weigh myself because it triggers the starvation mindset and becomes an obsession.  I must come up with something else.  I consulted a Specialist to help me lose the fat in a healthy  manner. Weight loss in progress.

Next, cutting the sugar.  I love sweet tea, I love ice cream, I love cake, I love sweets.  I hate diet anything.  I can't use artificial sweetners because I have an allergy to something in them and my head starts buzzing, no kidding.  I have long since abandoned, as many things as possible, that contain GMO's and are not organic.  The research into an effective, natural sweetener began.

I can not emphasis more, DO YOUR RESEARCH, there are many "natural" sweetners out there that are only "natural" because a part of it came from nature at one point. Just because something says "natural" doesn't mean healthy. Take Agave syrup, it is terrible for you!  "Most agave syrup has higher fructose content than any commercial sweetener -- ranging from 70 to 97 percent, depending on the brand, which is FAR HIGHER than high fructose corn syrup (HFCS), which averages 55 percent."

While some Stevia products do contain stevia, they  also contain chemicals. The FDA has not approved pure Stevia for use as a sweetener, as seen in this excerpt from an article written by the Mayo Clinic. "Note that although the FDA has approved highly refined stevia preparations as a novel sweetener, it has not approved whole-leaf stevia or crude stevia extracts for this use."  Key words, "highly refined," code for adding chemicals in the refining process.  That's why Stevia still has an after taste, as do other "sweeteners." My sister bought me some Stevia plants, and when I take a leaf from the Stevia plant and chew on it, or add it to my tea, there is NO aftertaste.  Sigh, why does the FDA approve chemicals but not the natural/actual plant????

In my research I found Monk Fruit.  As you all know, I have food allergies so I have to be extra careful with regards to what I put in my body.  Lots of research later, I found out that the monk fruit  is a gourd and part of the pumpkin family.  Good news for me, I'm not allergic to pumpkins.  Yes!  I also learned that the area the Monk Fruit is harvested, has more Centanarians than any other part of the world. Also good news.  Monk fruit got it's name because the Chinese Monks used it medicinally, it's actual name is Luo Han Guo.  Some of the most important health benefits of monk fruit include its ability to treat diabetes, help with weight loss, lower inflammation, eliminate fever, prevent certain types of cancer, protect the heart, prevent allergies, and prevent signs of aging.  Monk Fruit is also 300 times sweeter than cane sugar.  Could this be true?  Only one way to find out, buy some.

While searching for Monk fruit, I found that 99% of all monk fruit sweetners are mixed with something.  For instance, dextrose is mixed with a popular "raw" sweetener.  Dextrose is a sugar, anyting with "ose" is a sugar.  How can it be raw, if it's mixed with something?  It can't have a lot of monk fruit in it for two reasons, #1 Dextrose is listed first in the ingredients and #2 monk fruit is brown, not white.  If a monk fruit sweetner is white, it's not pure.  There are other "monk fruit" sweeteners out there, but they all have an added ingredient or more.  Also, since Monk Fruit is approximately 300 times sweeter than sugar, and the container says that 1 teaspoon, is a serving, it can't be pure, right?  I want PURE, 100% pure.  So I searched Organic and found a product with 100% pure monk fruit in it.   I purchased it, and WOW.  Just WOW!

I'm not trying to do an ad, but I have to share!  Monk Fruit, pure, 100% organic Monk Fruit is BOMB!  It's is delicious,  no aftertaste, it dissolves in cold drinks, hot drinks, it doesn't break down into a chemical mess when it's added to baked goods.  It is out of this world.  My son with a massive sweet tooth even likes it!  Here's a picture of it:

This is the scooper included in the container. 

The container says 1 gram is a serving, and there are 100 servings in each container. NO WAY, there's probably more like 300 servings in there, simply because it's SO sweet!

This is about how much I use in my coffee, probably less.  It is super super sweet!

I have been using the Monk Fruit for about a month and I have to tell you, I don't miss sugar at all!  This stuff is so sweet that you have to be very careful with how much is used.  I carry it with me,  and my friend asked me to sweeten her tea with it.  (I've given up Sweet Tea, I order Unsweet and put Monk Fruit in it.)  I kept shaking a little in at a time, and she said more....more.....I accidentally dumped more, a lot more!  We both gasped in horror, that tea would be way too sweet to drink!  Thankfully, the tea was so strong that it was ok.  

If you have been following my blog, you see that we love cobblers!  I tried to make cobbler with a little bit of monk fruit and no sugar whatsoever.  I'd never tried to cook with the monk fruit before so I didn't use enough causing the end product to not be as good.  I tried again and this one, well, that's why there's a picture of an empty dish.  I took the cobbler out of the oven, and the two, 10 year old, boys were trying to taste it while it was bubbling hot.  I had to defend it against them until it could be plated.  In all the turmoil, I didn't take a picture of the "before."  I did get a picture of the "after," like less than 15 minutes after, literally.  

Enough Jabber.....Here's the recipe!  Try it and let me know your thoughts in the comments!!!

1/2 Stick organic butter
1/4 cup organic brown sugar
1 cup organic flour
1 organic egg
1/2 cup 2% organic milk
1/2 cup unsweetened coconut milk
1 scoop of Organic Monk Fruit apx. 1gram (scoop included in pkg.)
pinch kosher salt
1 teaspoon aluminum free baking powder
1/2 cup Blackberries (or fruit of your choice)
1/2 cup Raspberries

Heat oven to 350 degrees
Put casserole dish in oven with the butter, allowing it to melt
Pull out when butter is completely melted
Sprinkle the brown sugar on the the melted butter

In a bowl mix the flour, egg, milks, monk fruit, salt and baking powder
Pour over the butter and the brown sugar
Drop berries on top of the batter, (don't completely cover the batter but put as many as you like on top.)

Bake in the oven for 30-45 minutes until top is golden brown and bubbly.  
Let cool before serving, with a scoop of frozen whipped topping. (freezing it gives it the consistency of ice-cream, which satisfies our sweet tooth, but with 1 gram of sugar and 25 calories for 2 tablespoons.  compare to your favorite vanilla ice cream and you'll see this is a "diet" SCORE!)

credits:  Agave: Marcola, click on link to go to page. Stevia: Mayo Clinic, click on link to go to page. Monk Fruit: Organic Facts, click on link to go to page.  Links are highlighted in blog.