low glycemic

Recipe: Homemade Vanilla Salt, Two Ways

Recipe: Homemade Vanilla Salt, Two Ways

Vanilla Salt

There are all kinds of fancy salts out there for you to blow your paycheck on. Confession: I own many of them

Thankfully, one of my favorite salts is one that I make at home. Vanilla salt couldn't be easier to prepare, and the end result is lovely. I have two methods for creating vanilla salt, yielding different yet equally delightful results. I am sharing both methods with you; try each one and see which fits you best. I use my vanilla salt in baked goods, with fruit, over roasted sweet potatoes or squash, sprinkled over chocolaty desserts, or with roasted or grilled meats (helloooooo pork and chicken). I think you'll like it too. If you decorate the jar with a cute label and a bit of ribbon, you have a wonderful homemade gift. 

Vanilla beans are über-expensive if you buy them one-by-one or in small quantities. The trick is to buy a big bag and split the cost with a friend. A fellow foodie and I split the cost of this 1/2 pound bag of vanilla beans. We each ended up with about 30 beans for only about $13 per person. Sweet deal, right? 

Recipe: Cabbage Apple Slaw (gluten-free, vegan, grain-free, ACD)

Recipe: Cabbage Apple Slaw (gluten-free, vegan, grain-free, ACD)

Cabbage-Apple Slaw

Simple slaws are ideal for every season of the year. They are crunchy and light, yet satisfying and filling, and endlessly adaptable to a variety of seasonal produce. Despite this, my favorite time of year for slaws is late summer and fall, when farmers markets are bursting with fresh, crisp cabbages. The sweet, glistening, unblemished leaves tempt me from every vendor table, and inevitably, I go home with a weighty cabbage in my market basket.

I was inspired to combine my beloved green cabbage with another locally grown favorite, the spectacular Honeycrisp apple. The Honeycrisp was developed by the University of Minnesota's Horicultural Research Center in the 1970s, and has won a devoted following of fans. There are a number of wonderful orchards in the Minnesota and Western Wisconsin that grow this apple, and every year I anticipate the arrival of locally grown Honeycrisps at my farmers market and co-op. The flavor is sweet like honey and slightly tart, and it has a marvelously crisp, juicy texture that is, in my opinion, the sign of a perfect apple. Equally good for eating raw or baking, Honeycrisp is one of my favorite apples, hands down. 

The combination of sweet, fresh cabbage, sweet and tart apple, plump golden raisins, toasted caraway, and a hint of nutmeg in this slaw is magic. It only takes minutes to prepare, and it holds up in the fridge for 2 days without becoming soggy. 

Oh me oh my, autumn tastes so good. 

Recipe: Coconut Curry Pepita Brittle (gluten-free, vegan, cane sugar-free)

curry coconut pepita brittle

Over the weekend, we had our seventh gathering of the MPLS Food Swappers. The MPLS Swappers is just one of the food swapping groups that has popped up around the world in the last year. I started the group after being inspired by the lovely Kate Payne and her swaps in Brooklyn, NY and Austin, TX. Since then, swaps have have popped up all over the place, and it's a huge trend in the local foods scene. So far we're the only one in the Twin Cities area (and I think all of Minnesota) and we've gotten a lot of local press. I guess you could say thatwereallylovepublicity.  

My inconsistent and transitional housing situation lately has not made it easy to keep up with canning, so I'm feeling a little possessive of my preserved food. I was left scrambling to come up with what I would bring to swap. Instead of bringing something from my larder, I whipped up a tasty batch of this Coconut Curry Pepita Brittle using ingredients I had on hand. I was inspired by a recipe in an old issue of Martha Stewart Living which featured a recipe for Coconut Curry Cashews. While it looked great, I wanted something a little different but with the same flavor profile and made without cane sugar. So, I set forth on a kitchen experiment!

It was a total victory, a delightful combination of sweet-salty-spicy-crunchy that always wins me over. And it was a total hit at the swap. In exchange for bags of my lovingly prepared pepitas, I received frozen crappie filets, delicata squash, homegrown horseradish, red pepper jam, pickled garlic, homebrew beer (a great gift for my dad!), roasted pepita-chickpea mix, lemon-herb butter, and a gorgeous bunch of homegrown kale.  I love my swappers.

To learn more about how our food swap works, check out the MPLS Swapper blog. And in the meantime, enjoy some brittle. Happy Thursday!

bags of Coconut Curry Pepita Brittle awaiting bids at the MPLS Swappers food swapwhat I got in exchange for my bags of Coconut Curry Pepita Brittle - score!!!

Coconut Curry Pepita Brittle

yield 6 cups

This makes a very large batch, big enough for a party or perfect for gift giving. Feel free to cut this recipe in half or thirds if you want to make a smaller batch. The spice from the curry powder is tempered by the sweetness of the maple syrup and coconut. And the saltiness combines the holy trinity of flavors to keep you going back for handful after handful. Keeps for two weeks at room temperature, but I promise you, it won't last that long. 

  • 1 cup real maple syrup
  • 6 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 3 tablespoons curry powder (mild or hot, the choice is up to you)
  • 1 tablespoon unrefined salt
  • 6 cups raw unsalted pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
  • 1 1/2 cups finely shredded coconut

Heat oven to 350º F and line two cookie sheets with parchment paper. Set aside.

Place curry powder in a small saucepan and heat over low flame until it is lightly toasted and fragrant. Be careful not to let it burn! Then add maple syrup, coconut oil, and salt, whisk to combine and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook for 1-2 minutes, stirring constantly, then remove from heat. 

Meaure pepitas into a large bowl, then pour maple mixture over them, stirring to mix. Divide pumpkin seeds evenly between two parchment-lined cookie sheets, spreading coated seeds evenly over the surface in a thin layer. Place in oven and bake for 15-20 minutes, stirring every 7 minutes and rotating between oven racks. Remove from oven, divide coconut evenly between the trays and stir into mixture, then bake for another 15-20 minutes, stirring every 7 minutes and rotating between oven racks, until seeds are golden. I know, I know, it's a lot of stirring and rotating, but you don't want burned seeds and coconut. Then remove from oven.

Place baking sheets on wire cooling racks and let cool completely. The seed mixture will harden as it cools. Areas of the brittle will be very crisp, while other areas will be a little chewy and caramel-like. That's okay! 

Break cool brittle into chunks. Serve immediately or store in an air-tight container and consume within 2 weeks. 

This recipe is linked to Slightly Indulgent Tuesday at Simply Sugar & Gluten-Free. Check it out for tons of great recipes!

Update

on 2011-10-15 18:37 by Kim

I just made some adjustments to the recipe - I realized I had made some typos! If you've already printed this recipe off or copied it to use, please use the adjusted recipe above. I hope you enjoy it! xo

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Recipe: Marble Layer Cake with Chocolate Fudge Frosting and Strawberry Jam (grain-free, gluten-free, dairy-free)

Recipe: Marble Layer Cake with Chocolate Fudge Frosting and Strawberry Jam (grain-free, gluten-free, dairy-free)

 

Do you the blog The Spunky Coconut? If you haven't visited yet, I suggest you do. Kelly creates wonderful recipes that are flavorful, unique, and easy to prepare, and I am consistently inspired by her positive attitude and creative vision. It was she that inspired this beautiful cake!

A few weeks ago I was in search of a recipe for a gluten-free cake for my cousin's birthday. When I landed upon Kelly's recipe for Marble Cake, I did a happy dance inside. Not only was the cake gluten-free, it was totally grain-free. A cake made of beans?! I had to try it. I found a chocolate frosting recipe in another post. Hoping for something a little more extravagant than a sheet cake, I decided to make a chocolate frosted marble layer cake, with my homemade strawberry-chocolate mint jam sandwiched between each layer.

Working with this cake and frosting was an absolute pleasure. Her cake recipes were easy to follow and simple to prepare. The cake was firm and moist, and came out of the pan easily. The frosting was also very simple to prepare, and the result was thick, sweet, and easy to spread. I was amazed; it actually behaved better than some conventional frostings I made in years past! As I sampled bits of cake scraps smeared with frosting and my strawberry jam, I knew this cake would be a winner, and smiled. I haven't made many layer cakes in the last few years, and I was having a blast.

Recipe: Minted Papaya Avocado Salad (gluten-free, vegan, raw)

Recipe: Minted Papaya Avocado Salad (gluten-free, vegan, raw)

Minted Papaya Avocado Salad

It is so hot in Minneapolis. We have a heat index of 115º F and a dewpoint that is higher than the Amazon. I'm not kidding. Our dewpoint was 86 on Sunday. The only other place in the Western Hemisphere with a dewpoint over 80 at the time was the Amazon, and that was in the low 80s. Take that, Brazil, ha!

Why do I live in a place that tortures residents with windchills of -30º F in the winter and then does this in the summer? Am I insane?

To add insult to injury, the power went out on my street last night. I was out picking up an air conditioner from my friend, and returned home about 10:30 pm to find my block powerless. So, I left the air conditioner in my car, and I spent the evening sweating my brains out. The air was still, heavy, and hot, and had it not been 11:30 by the time I was ready to get to bed, I would have sought refuge at someone else's house! It was awful. I kept waking through the night, only to find myself drenched in sweat and feeling faint. At 5 am I gave up, took another shower, gathered my stuff, and went to work, which is where I sit now, basking in the air conditioning. The power on my street may not be fixed until 6 pm tonight, and I'm imagining that all the food in my fridge is going bad as I write this. Ugh. Being without electricity is fine when you are living in a situation that doesn't require it, like when you're camping or at a cabin. But when everything you need to live your daily life is dependent on electricity, it sure is a pain to not have it.