A very pretty cookbook called Honey & Oats: Everyday Favorites Baked with Whole Grains and Natural Sweeteners landed in my mailbox recently courtesy of Sasquatch Books. Though there are many, many appealing recipes in the book, I just could not resist giving this Coconut Cake a try. Made with coconut milk and covered with a vanilla maple frosting and toasted coconut flakes, this cake had my name all over it.
This cake is easy to make but it’s also a real stunner. Make it for a celebration! Or for no reason at all.
I used regular all-purpose flour because that’s what I had in the house. Next time, I’ll experiment by including some coconut flour. Something else to try: use softened coconut oil instead of butter.
My cake came out a bit dense and I believe it’s because I overbeat the batter. Watch out you don’t do the same if you want your cake to be more fluffy. Be sure to store the cake in the refrigerator if you won’t be serving it right away; leftovers should be kept covered in the refrigerator, too.
I’ve been eating a lot of rice-based dishes ever since the folks from Della Rice asked me to be part of their #CreateAStir campaign. Della’s 5 different kinds of rice make it really easy to create delicious meals with balanced macronutrients (protein, carbohydrates, and fat) so I’ve been going a little nuts with different combinations (recall my Jasmine Rice Bowl with Pan-Fried Tofu). For the rice bowl/stir you see here, I used their Arborio rice and topped it with garlic and lemon-marinated chicken, a simple Greek-inspired salad, and a tasty tahini dressing.
I like the amount of garlic in the recipe I’m giving you below, but if you are a garlic fiend, you may use more. If you marinate the chicken a bit in advance for the best flavor, then cook it and make the salad and the dressing while the rice is cooking, this Greek Chicken stir can be ready in about 20 minutes. It makes a great quick lunch or dinner!
Virginia Willis is a French-trained chef and well-loved authority on Southern cooking. Her new book Lighten Up, Y’all: Classic Southern Recipes Made Healthy and Wholesome arrived in my mailbox a few weeks back. I’ve enjoyed cooking from it very much.
In this beautifully photographed book, Virginia shares “lighter” versions of her favorite Southern recipes. Whole foods ingredients-and vegetables in particular-are featured prominently, and balance and moderation (yay!) are discussed throughout. Nutritional information is provided for all of the recipes.
I chose to make Virginia’s Bacon-Wilted Greens because 1. I am always looking for new ways to serve greens 2. I was intrigued by the baked apple with goat cheese garnish. I really loved this dish and will definitely be making it again! I used local Savoy spinach instead of the kale Virginia calls for: next time I’ll give the kale a try because the spinach cooked down quite a bit and made fewer servings than the recipe in the book states.
Carrie Vitt is one of the sweetest people I know and she’s got a great new cookbook out called The Grain-Free Family Table: 125 Delicious Recipes for Fresh, Healthy Eating Every Day. Carrie has experienced huge improvements in various health issues via diet change: she follows a grain-free diet and the focus of this book is grain-free recipes.
While I don’t eat a grain-free diet, I really like this cookbook because it’s packed with protein-filled recipes as well as recipes that feature fresh vegetables, fruits, nuts and seeds, grain alternatives, natural fats, and wholesome sweets. Moreover, the food photos, shot by Carrie, are beautiful, and my recipe for sauerkraut is on page 258!
I have made these stuffed peppers a few times now and my family enjoys them a lot. For the record, I have not been too keen on adopting the “cauliflower in lieu of rice” trend but I did “rice” the cauliflower for this recipe and I am glad I gave it a try (it’s really easy to do and it increases the veggie quotient of this dish). That said, feel free to substitute cooked rice for the cauliflower rice if you like, and if you don’t need the recipe to be grain free. (Note that this is not a Paleo cookbook, but Carrie gives suggestions for how to make each recipe Paleo/dairy free if that’s something you need.)
We went to the Dominican Republic back in December and boy am I missing it right now. The beach was so, so beautiful and the weather was perfect. And the fruit! The mangoes, papayas, etc. were really delicious. I drank their juices and ate plates of them every day.
Ever since I got home, I have been buying papaya at the market because I enjoy it so much. While I love a few slices with my breakfast, I’ve also discovered it’s great in smoothies. One of my new favorites is this one with fresh squeezed blood orange juice, papaya chunks, and frozen dark sweet cherries.
I made this smoothie last week hoping to share it with you on Valentine’s Day. But there’s really no reason to relegate this dark red beauty of a smoothie to a holiday! It’s a wonderful winter treat you can enjoy any time.
You don’t have to use blood orange juice; You can absolutely use the juice of any type of oranges. Don’t use bottled orange juice if you can help it, though…it won’t be nearly as good if you do. I’ve also made a version of this without the frozen cherries and I like that one, too, but the cherries add great flavor and a powerful punch of nutrients so I strongly recommend them.
Feel free to change up this smoothie by adding some more fruit such as banana and/or pineapple, greens, yogurt, protein powder, etc.