Don’t be put off by the intricate instructions here, a balsamic vinegar reduction is one of the simplest things you can make, it keeps forever, is low cal, and you can use it so many ways if you tried to list them all you’d fill up a page. It will be your new best friend, I promise, but there are a few things you need to get right to make it work, so read through the instructions and then fire up your stove.
I abhor wasting food and I was getting tired of cluttering up the freezer with 1/2 jars of pasta sauce just because I was afraid I wouldn’t use it before it went bad. So I set up a challenge for myself. If I opened a jar of something I had to use it up within a week. The ideas below (I’m not calling them recipes because you barely need to measure a thing) show you how I used up an entire family-sized jar of pasta sauce in five days – serving it up for both lunch and dinner.
Did the top of your salt shaker fall off and dump a load of salt into the fabulous dinner you were making for your dinner party? Did you misjudge how much salt was needed for that huge bag of spinach that’s now wilted down to 1 cup in your pan? Did a favorite blogger’s recipe steer you wrong? No matter how things went wrong, there’s no need to dump your recipe into the garbage. It’s quite easy to fix an overly salted dish.
I’ll repeat that, do you want a free low-carb cookbook? I’m looking for a few super-heroes. In other words, beta-readers who are willing to provide feedback for a cookbook on low carb eating. The bonus is that you get the book for free in whatever format you desire, oh and my profound respect and thanks 🙂
I love, love, love this recipe is. I love how the basic recipe is only 3 ingredients and really doesn’t need anything else to achieve melt in your mouth deliciousness. I love that you can add all kinds of things to change it up. I love that you basically melt and stir and you’re done. So get out your microwave safe bowl and get to it.
1 cup coconut butter (this is the whole coconut pulverized, don’t use coconut oil or the resulting chocolate will melt in your hands)
1 cup cocoa powder
1/2 cup honey
Melt the coconut butter in the microwave or in a double boiler. Stir in the cocoa powder and honey. Pour into molds or onto parchment paper. Leave out to set or speed up the process by putting in the fridge.
When chocolate has set unmold or cut into squares. Store in fridge.
Stir 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, almond extract, mint extract, coconut extract, or orange extract into he chocolate mixture.
Stir 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper into the chocolate mixture.
Add 1 tablespoon green powder, maca powder, or mesquite powder to the chocolate mixture. These ingredients won’t enhance the flavor but they’ll add tons of healthiness to your candy 🙂
Cut the honey in half for a more bittersweet chocolate.
Use cocoa butter in place of the coconut butter.
Sprinkle large flakes of sea salt over the chocolate after pouring it into the mold or onto parchment.
Break up whole wheat pretzels and scatter over the chocolate after pouring into the mold.
There’s tons more that you can add to this recipe but I’m drawing the line here because I’m going to head to the kitchen to make another batch to bring to tomorrow’s beach picnic.
Just a note – I’ve been experimenting with this recipe and so far creamed honey tastes the best, although regular honey works fine. Maple syrup does not work – AT ALL. I’m working with adding peanut butter to see if it sets up. So much fun working with healthy candy recipes. It feels (slightly) virtuous eating candy made with good ingredients.
Not all recipes call for two cups of pumpkin. How annoying is that? The last time I was left with pumpkin in the can I decided to use the rest of the pumpkin throughout the week and I came up with twelve delicious ways to use leftover pumpkin puree. I came up with a few full on recipes which will be in my gluten-free and Paleo cookbooks but I did want to share with you all some quick and easy ways to use leftover pumpkin.
Note: I’m talking about plain pumpkin, not pumpkin pie filling which has seasoning and loads of sugar added.
Chili: add one tablespoon per cup to any chili, canned or home made.
Tomato Soup: add a tablespoon of pumpkin to each cup of tomato soup.
Pumpkin Spice Latte: I could tell you to stir a tablespoon or two along with a large pinch of pumpkin pie spice into your latte (and you can) but if you’re really into Pumpkin Spice Lattes and especially if you’re hooked on Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Lattes you’ll want to check out this recipe from Eating Bird Food. I love that this recipe is so healthy. I can feel even better about not standing in line at Starbucks.
Fruit Smoothie: add a tablespoon or two to a fruit smoothie. Pumpkin goes especially well with apple, peach, or pear smoothies. Add some ginger or pumpkin pie spice for a holiday flavor.
Pumpkin Creamer: Sally’s Baking Addiction has a seriously awesome recipe with vegan options.
Pumpkin Pancakes or Waffles: stir up to 1/2 cup pumpkin into your pancake or waffle batter.
Pumpkin Pudding: mix 2 tablespoons to 1/4 cup pumpkin into 1 cup of cream cheese, Neufchatel cheese, or mascarpone cheese. Sweeten with your choice of sweetener and 1/2 to 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice.
Pumpkin Nut Butter: mix up to 1/4 cup pumpkin with 1 cup nut butter. Use as is or sweeten to taste with honey, maple syrup or your sweetener of choice.
Pumpkin Hummus: stir some pumpkin into hummus.
Pumpkin Oatmeal: add a tablespoon or two to your morning oatmeal.
Pumpkin Mac n Cheese: stir up to 1/4 cup pumpkin into your kiddos’ mac n cheese.
Replace eggs and oil in baked goods: You can replace both eggs and oil with a 1:1 ratio of pumpkin when making brownies, bars, and cakes. For instance if a recipe calls for 1 cup of butter you can replace it with 1 cup of pumpkin. If a recipe calls for 4 eggs you can replace them with 1/4 pumpkin for each egg. You can even replace all of both the eggs and oil. You won’t get a strong pumpkin taste and if its a chocolate recipe you won’t taste it at all.
That’s all that I came up with this week and I’m not even slightly pumkinned out I’ll be adding pumpkin to lots of things over the next few weeks. I’d love to hear how you all use leftover pumpkin.
I tried this cashew milk by Silk and loved it. Did you see on the package that it’s only 25 calories per cup! And it tastes way better than skim milk (which has more calories anyway). Only problem – it’s not organic. So I found some organic cashew milk and bought it. Not a sustainable plan though since this cashew milk, while DELICIOUS, cost $9 for a two cup bottle. Waa-waaaa!
Plan B – make my own cashew milk. However raw organic cashews cost $9 per bag, if I’m lucky and find them on sale. So homemade cashew milk was still going to be expensive, or so I thought. Take a look at the cost breakdown at the end of this post. Long story, shortened, I went ahead and made it anyway. The long story was basically me stalking a bag of cashews at Mothers Market until one day it went on sale and I bought it. After the disaster with the rice milk (which tasted like watered down water) I felt like I owed myself an indulgence – in the nondairy milk area of my life.
The whole process was pretty simple. I soaked the cashews in warm filtered water overnight. I didn’t add salt to it which all soaking recipes tell you to do, mostly, well completely, because I didn’t read any directions before soaking them. I just did it and then the next morning Googled “how to soak cashews” so that I would know if I needed to soak them longer. That’s when I saw that I was supposed to have added a tablespoon of sea salt to the soaking water. Oh well. So I drained off the water and rinsed the nuts until the water was clear. Soaking part done.
One of the other things that had put me off from making cashew milk is that I didn’t want to have to deal with the whole straining the ground nuts out of the milk issue. Besides having to buy a nut bag and adding more work to the process, me being me, I would then have to figure out a way to use those soaked, ground nuts in another recipe. Cashew Nut Brownies anyone? I decided that I just wouldn’t strain the nuts out. If you can make cashew butter from cashews then I figured that they would probably just blend into the milk as if I’d stirred cashew butter into water.
So I got out my Oster blender. Love that blender. I dumped 3 cups of cashews and 2 cups filtered water into the blender and buzzed them until the cashews were completely pureed into the water. Then I added a large pinch of sea salt, 2 tablespoons vanilla extract, 2 packets of Truvia*, and 4 more cups water, buzzing until blended. I poured 2 cups of this very rich cashew milk into a water bottle to use for coffee. I added 2 more cups of water to the blender, buzzing until blended. This produced a more milk-like consistency.
Okay, so the cashew milk was just as delicious as the store-bought versions, but how did it come out expense-wise? The bag of raw organic cashews cost $9 on sale. That bag gave me 2 cups of cream and 9 cups of milk at a cost of .82 per cup. Comparing that to the cost of store-bought soy, almond, rice, or coconut milk at .63 to $1.13 per cup, homemade cashew milk is actually quite affordable. And if I hadn’t poured off the cashew cream then my cost would have gone down to .60 per cup. (12 cups of water to 3 cups of cashews, made in 2 batches.)
* You don’t need to add sweetener, but if you do you can use stevia, maple syrup, honey, Truvia, monk fruit, Splenda, basically any sweetener that isn’t as bad for you as white cane sugar, because what would be the point of making homemade organic cashew milk and then dumping white sugar into it?
Cooking Club of America has great prizes you can win to stock your kitchen. Seriously, a Vitamix Professional Series Blender!, Their recipes aren’t focused on being healthy, however substitutions are pretty easy, for instance you can sub whole wheat bread for white bread with their Baby Shrimp Crostini recipe.