Raspberry Coconut Panna Cotta: A Chicklets in the Kitchen Blog Post

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Raspberry Coconut Panna Cotta

It’s summer. It’s hot. The last thing you want to do is start the oven up. The first thing you want is something cool, smooth, slightly sweet, and refreshing. I’ve found just the thing over on www.healingfamilyeats.com/raspberry-coconut-panna-cotta/. As soon as I saw that delightfully pink, creamy-looking dessert, I just had to try it.

Unfortunately, I didn’t have any raspberries. I did have frozen blueberries though, so that’s what I used. This recipe is easy, and has just five ingredients, probably already in your fridge, freezer or pantry. And it makes 8 servings! Yay!

This being a paleo recipe, we’re not using the usual panna cotta ingredients or methods but that’s just fine with me. Give it a try. Click here for the full post.

 

Raspberry Coconut Panna Cotta

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Hardware

Small saucepan

Blender

Measuring cup

Measuring spoons

 

Ingredients

1 T unflavored gelatin                                    1 tsp vanilla

3 C coconut milk                                            1/4 C honey

1 C packed raspberries                                   1/2 C filtered water

 

Directions:

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In the small saucepan, bloom the gelatin in 1/2 C water. (NOTE: I used a packet of gelatin and it was less than a tablespoon. My panna cotta came out creamy but loose. Go ahead and open a second packet of gelatin and measure it all into a tablespoon measure. You’ll be glad you did.) Once softened, heat gently over very low heat, then add the honey. Once honey is melted, remove from the heat and add the vanilla.

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In the blender, mix the berries and coconut milk. (NOTE: The next time I make this, I’m going to try almond milk. The final dessert does taste a bit like coconut. That’s fine, but I’m going to try to get rid of the coconut flavor.)

Whisk the gelatin mix into the blender of coconut and berries. (NOTE: Any berry, fresh or frozen will work. Use your favorite or whatever is in season.)

Pour into ramekins and cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate at least 2 hours, or until set. (NOTE: you can dress your dessert with the fresh berries used in your dessert, whipped cream (if you don’t mind straying from your paleo lifestyle, or whipped coconut cream.)

Enjoy.

Thanks for stopping by Chicklets in the Kitchen. Do you have a favorite dessert to serve family or guests? Please tell us about it in the comments box below if you feel so inclined.

My name is Connie Cockrell and I write SciFi, Fantasy, Mysteries, and a lot of other things and you can find links to all of my books at www.ConniesRandomThoughts.com.

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Baked Cauliflower

 

Serving of Baked Cauliflower

 

One thing I do miss while on my new eating plan is pasta. I have always loved pasta and for many years dedicated Saturday night to pasta dinners. But eating paleo has changed all that. I still want that comfort food for dinner though. So what to do? Recreate it, of course. Now no one is ever going to think that cauliflower is pasta but nevertheless, I made this baked cauliflower and it was so good, the hubby went for seconds!

To make this work, since I also am off of dairy, I had to make a cauliflower ricotta. So, this month you get two recipes, three, if you count the sauce, for the price of one! You can find my spaghetti sauce recipe here.

Cauliflower Ricotta, Makes 1 1/2 cups. From FrugalFreebiesandDeals.com

Hardware

Pot

Strainer

Clean Dish Towel

Measuring spoons

Food Processor

 

Ingredients

16 oz frozen cauliflower

1/2 tsp garlic powder

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp pepper

1 tsp apple cider vinegar

1 T nutritional yeast (Optional)

1 egg (optional if you’re not using this in a baked dish)

Directions:

Cooling Cauliflower

Cook cauliflower according to package directions.

Allow to cool for 5 – 6 minutes

Pour into a colander and drain all water.

Squeeze the water out

Spend 1 – 2 minutes squeezing water out of the cauliflower.

Add all ingredients to the food processor and blend until smooth.

Finished cauliflower ricotta

Baked Cauliflower from http://www.delish.com/cooking/recipe-ideas/recipes/a57630/cauliflower-Baked-ziti-recipe/

Hardware

Pot

Strainer

9 X 13 baking dish

Large Bowl

Cutting Board

Knife

 

Ingredients

1 T olive oil

1 medium onion, chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

Pinch red pepper flakes

1 lb ground beef

Salt and pepper to taste

2 T tomato paste

1 tsp dried oregano

1 28oz can crushed tomatoes

2 T thinly sliced basil plus more for garnish

1 large head of cauliflower (about 3 cups) cut into florets, blanched and drained well

1 1/2 c ricotta

2 c shredded mozzarella

1/2 c freshly grated Parmesan

Note 1: I’m giving you the directions as listed in the recipe. I used the cauliflower ricotta above and vegan mozzarella. I cheated and used the real deal parmesan. There is no paleo substitute for parmesan. So if you want to keep this totally Paleo, just skip the parm.

Note 2: The above ingredients are for making the sauce. You can use this one or mine, see the link above.

 

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375F.

Heat olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and saute, stirring often, until onion is soft, about 5 minutes. Stir in garlic and red pepper flakes and cook for one minute. Add meat and season with salt and pepper. Saute until browned. Drain fat.

Add the tomato paste and oregano and cook over medium heat for 2 minutes more, until slightly darkened. Add the crushed tomatoes and bring sauce to a simmer. Reduce heat and cook, stirring occasionally, until slightly reduced and flavors have melded, 10 to 15 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in basil.

In a large bowl, pour the sauce over the cauliflower and stir to combine. In a large, oiled baking dish, place half the cauliflower in an even layer.

Dollop all over with half of the ricotta, and sprinkle with half of the mozzarella and parmesan. Add the rest of the cauliflower in an even layer and top with the remaining cheeses.

Bake until the cheese is melty and golden, 25 minutes. Garnish with basil and serve.

Note 3: I only used half of the sauce on the cauliflower.

Enjoy.

Thanks for stopping by Chicklets in the Kitchen. Do you have a favorite baked dish to serve family or guests? Please tell us about it in the comments box below if you feel so inclined.

My name is Connie Cockrell and I write SciFi, Fantasy, Mysteries, and a lot of other things and you can find links to all of my books at www.ConniesRandomThoughts.com.

3-Ingredient Coconut Cookies: A Chicklets in the Kitchen Blog Post

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I should be posting a dinner or lunch recipe this month but I’ve been on my paleo diet all month, and some of you on the Whole 30 program. Aren’t you ready for something a little decadent? These cookies are totally paleo but very tasty! A nice treat for an after dinner dessert, as I did the day I made them.

1 cookie per person, Serves 8.

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Hardware

Bowl

Knife

Cutting Board

1 cup glass measuring cup

Measuring spoons

1/3 cup measure

Cookie Sheet Lined with Parchment Paper

 

Ingredients

1 large over ripe banana

2/3 cup shredded unsweetened coconut

4 oz dark chocolate (Optional)

1/4 cup rough chopped walnuts (optional)

1/4 tsp vanilla

Directions:

I have to tell you, I doubled this recipe right off the bat before I’d even tried it. I was glad I did!

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Do a rough chop on the walnuts (or almonds or whatever other nut you may be using. Nuts are optional!)

Peel the banana. It should be extremely brown. Mine could have gone a couple more days but after I smushed it up with a fork, I used a whisk to get rid of most of the tiny lumps of banana.

Add the vanilla and mix.

BananaCoconutCookies004

If your coconut is shredded into longish strings, put it into a food processor to take it down to the fineness of instant oatmeal. Note: I didn’t do that, they came out great but processing the coconut may make it able to soak up more of the banana moisture. My batter came out a little on the wet side.

Add the coconut and nuts, combine thoroughly. The batter should look like coarsely mashed potatoes.

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Using about 2 Tablespoons of batter per cookie, coop or roll them into balls and place on a parchment-lined cookie sheet. Then, using a fork, gently mash each ball down crossways, like you would for a peanut butter cookie.

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Place the cookie sheet on the middle rack of the oven and bake for 11 minutes. Check the cookies: they should be just starting to show bits of brown around the edges, and if you gently flip one over, they should look nicely browned in spots on the bottom. Put the flipped cookie back on its bottom.

Put the oven on broil. (I have to turn bake-mode off on my stove, then select broil. I used the High setting.)

Continue to bake and watch carefully for another one to four minutes. If after two minutes, they’re not browning on the top, you may move the sheet up to a higher rack, but watch them constantly with the door slightly open, because they can burn quickly. You’re just looking for them to brown in spots.

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There may be a few small too-done places but those are easy to pick off.

Let cool.

They can be kept in an airtight baggie or container, either at room temperature or in the fridge.

Note 1: I didn’t check the bottoms of my cookies at the 11-minute mark, seeing a little browning at the bottom. I should have checked. After I broiled them, the top was nicely browned and firm but the bottoms, especially while warm, were quite gooey.

Note 2: Another option. After the cookies cooled, I dipped half of them, halfway, into 70% dark chocolate. The banana and coconut make the cookies surprisingly sweet and the dark chocolate is a nice foil.

Enjoy.

Thanks for stopping by Chicklets in the Kitchen. Do you have a favorite dessert to serve guests? Please tell us about it in the comments box below if you feel so inclined.

My name is Connie Cockrell and I write SciFi, Fantasy, Mysteries, and a lot of other things and you can find links to all of my books at www.ConniesRandomThoughts.com.

Poached Pears

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Poached Pears with Frozen Custard and Orange Slice Garnish  Picture by Connie Cockrell

Lots has happened to me since my last post in June. July held the Payson Book Festival for which I am the director, then August is prep for the Northern Gila County Fair which is the weekend after Labor Day. Then, well, I was just tired.

But, news! In August I began eating the Paleo Diet. I love it! I lost 15 pounds in August alone. If you don’t know what the Paleo Diet is, a quick explanation is that you stop eating grains and dairy. You can Google it for a more complete explanation. I have Celiac Disease which is closely related to Hashimoto’s disease. With that, you should also stop eating sugar (well, we all should anyway), caffeine (which I gave up years ago), and raw cruciferous veg (cooked is ok). So that’s what I’ve done.

I don’t feel deprived at all, despite my strong love of anything pasta. But it was making me feel bad so, while I may make the very seldom choice to go gluten-free pasta, it’s gone! Now I eat as clean as possible (meaning organic, grass-fed meat, organic veg, organic fruit. It helps that I have my own pear, apple, and peach trees, and grow a lot of veg in my small garden.

The pears are where this blog comes in. My Bartlett pears became ripe the end of September. They’re not a soft pear. I was having my brother-in-law and his girl for supper and was thinking about dessert. At first, I thought about an avocado-chocolate mousse, (more on that next month), but then I was looking at all of my lovely ripe pears and decided poached pears would be a better choice.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not really missing anything on my new diet, but a girl does like the occasional sweet, am I right?

Serves 4 – 6.

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Hardware and Ingredients  Photo by Connie Cockrell

Hardware

Cutting board

Knife

Saucepan

 

PoachedPears002

Juicing the Oranges  Photo by Connie Cockrell

Ingredients

4 pears, peeled, cored, cut into quarters or sixths

3 navel oranges, 2 juiced (1/2 cup or more if extra juicy), 1 sliced into rounds

5 – 6 whole cloves

1 tsp vanilla (Pictured is a bottle of homemade vanilla my friend Dee gave me for Christmas. It’s almost gone. ☹)

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Cutting up the pears  Photo by Connie Cockrell

Directions:

Put the pears, vanilla, orange juice, orange slices, and cloves in the saucepan. The recipe I was using didn’t call for any other liquid and I saw that the pears were not fully submerged. Thinking that if they were going to poach they needed more liquid, I added water to just cover the pears.

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Everything in the pot, heating up  Photo by Connie Cockrell

Bring to a boil, then lower to a simmer for 20 minutes.

Check to see if the pears are completely tender. If not add another 5 to 10 minutes or more until they are.

I made my pears early in the day and after the mixture cooled, refrigerated it until time for dessert. However, you can plate this warm as well.

I served it with Culver’s vanilla custard (broke my diet a little there) and the pears.

For the picture, I did decorate with an orange slice but when I served it to my guests, I left the orange off. I thought it looked a little mushy and not nice to eat. The orange gives the pears a nice floral note and the cloves a little warm spicy flavor. Yum.

Enjoy.

Notes: Culver’s vanilla custard, as of this writing, is gluten-free. I figured the 1/4 cup I ate wouldn’t break the Paleo diet too much.

 

Thanks for stopping by Chicklets in the Kitchen. Do you have a favorite dessert to serve guests? Please tell us about it in the comments box below if you feel so inclined.

My name is Connie Cockrell and I write SciFi, Fantasy, Mysteries, and a lot of other things and you can find links to all of my books at www.ConniesRandomThoughts.com.

Avocado Pesto: A Chicklets in the Kitchen Post

Avocado Pesto

I was scrolling through the channels the other day and landed on Food Network’s Trisha Yearwood’s show, Trisha’s Southern Kitchen. She had a vegetarian guest on and they were making Avocado Pesto Toast (http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/trisha-yearwood/avocado-pesto-toast). I didn’t copy the recipe down and I didn’t go back to look it up when I made this for dinner but my recipe and hers is pretty close.  Next time I’ll remember the lemon. That would be even better.

Why avocado pesto? Some people, my daughter included, find a full basil pesto too much. Basil is a powerful flavor and it can be overwhelming. Cutting down on the basil with avocado (or Swiss Chard, Spinach, Arugula, Asparagus, or some other green) is a really good alternative. The avocado lends the sauce a smooth, rich mouth feel and is good for you too!

The best thing is that this is a no cook sauce and serves 2 – 4.

the ingredients

Hardware

Blender

Serving Bowl

Pot for Spaghetti

 

Ingredients

2 oz package of pine nuts

1 package fresh basil (about 1/2 cup) stems removed

1 cup shredded parmesan

1 4oz package avocado (guacamole that is just avocado) (or 1 whole fresh avocado)

1 Tblsp minced garlic

1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

Salt and Pepper to taste

Lemon juice (2 Tblsp Optional)

In a large pot, cook 12oz spaghetti according to package directions.

It’s All in the Blender

While the water comes to a boil and you cook the spaghetti, add the pine nuts, cheese, garlic, basil and guacamole to the blender.

Add the oil and pulse to puree.

Blend until smooth drizzling in the olive oil. Add the lemon juice if you so desire. If it’s too thick, add up to 1/2 cup of water. Adding more oil can make the pesto too greasy and the avocado is already pretty fat.

It’s smooth and creamy!

(Note: I probably should have spun the dry pine nuts a few times to break them up first, then added the basil, then the rest but, it all worked out in the end.)

Time to Mix it Up!

Drain the cooked pasta, put in serving bowl, add the pesto and toss to coat.

Enjoy.

My hubby loved the meal. He didn’t find the basil overpowering and the avocado gave the meal a nice rich feel.

Thanks for stopping by Chicklets in the Kitchen. Do you have a favorite pesto supper? Please tell us about it in the comments box below if you feel so inclined.

My name is Connie Cockrell and I write SciFi, Fantasy, Mysteries, and a lot of other things and you can find links to all of my books at www.ConniesRandomThoughts.com.

Introducing Myself With One More Chicken Recipe

Butternut Squash and Roses by Randy Cockrell

Butternut Squash and Roses by Randy Cockrell

Hi, my name is Connie Cockrell and I’ve been invited by the wonderful ladies of Chicklets in the Kitchen to participate on their blog. I write SciFi, Fantasy, Women’s Fiction and a lot of other things and you can find links to all of my books at http://www.ConniesRandomThoughts.wordpress.com.
I suffer from Celiac disease and my husband is lactose intolerant. That means I cook most of our food at home. I’ve also begun modeling my diet after the Paleo Diet to help both of us lose weight and feel healthier. And like any author, sometimes the freezer gets a little bare. The other night I had chicken breast thawed. Pre-Paleo, I might have butterflied those open, pounded them thin and turned them into a scaloppini, this particular night, I was sticking to the Paleo plan.
What is that, you might ask. It’s a diet that’s free from grains and dairy, as it is believed hunter/gatherers may have eaten. I don’t stick to it strictly, moderation in everything, but I stayed pretty close with the chicken breast.
I rubbed them with olive oil, salt, pepper and finely chopped rosemary (from my garden!). Then pan fried them until done. I deglazed the pan with a little white wine and let that reduce. I removed the cooked breasts and added plain, non-fat Greek yogurt to the reduced pan juices. Over low heat I stirred it to combine and put the chicken back in the pan. Yes, yogurt is a dairy but you only use two or three tablespoons. Like I said, I’m not crazy strict about it. The side dishes were green beans and cherry tomatoes from the garden. It was delicious. Sorry, I didn’t think to take a picture but you can see my garden where I have a nice crop of trellised butternut squash.
Thanks for stopping by Chicklets in the Kitchen. Please tell us about your garden or favorite chicken go to meal in the comments box below if you feel so inclined.