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Yum Friday Recipe: Roasted Vegetables

15 Mar
Roasted Carrots, Beets & Sweet Potatoes

Roasted Carrots, Beets & Sweet Potatoes

We tell you over and over, eat your veggies for healthy, beautiful skin. So, maybe you have been including more of them, but have become bored with raw or steamed vegetables.  We’ve got good news for you.  Roasting vegetables livens their taste; it is very easy to do, and it is a great way to maintain their nutrient value. Roasting is also a good for trying vegetables you may have not liked in the past.  It is also easy to add herbs/seasonings to the vegetables for even more and varied flavors.  We have a few flavorful suggestions at the end of the recipe.

Yum Roasted Vegetables – serves 4        Oven: 425 degrees

4 cups of vegetables–cut into about 2 inch pieces (broccoli, cauliflower, asparagus, potatoes, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, brussel sprouts, carrots, mushrooms, beets, parsnips, onions – you get the idea.)
3 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (or any quality oil, such as coconut or peanut)
1 minced garlic clove or 1 tsp organic garlic powder
Salt/pepper to taste

Clean and cut vegetables.  Put oil, garlic, salt and pepper in a bowl.  Add vegetables and toss vegetables in the bowl to coat with oil.
Place vegetables on a baking sheet.  Bake until soft/crisp and slightly brown – about 10-12 min.

Suggestions:
You may need to experiment with the time and oven temperature because ovens vary.

Roast vegetables at 375 degrees for 15-20 minutes.  This is a way to have roasted vegetables without the browning.

A mixture of different vegetables can be roasted at the same time.  Just make sure they are similar in texture so they are done at the same time.  For example, roast carrots, potatoes, brussel sprouts on the same baking sheet, but asparagus and scallions will need to be baked separately.

Try seasoning with different herbs.  Try these herbs: thyme, rosemary, oregano, basil, fennel, sage, curry, or freshly grated ginger or nutmeg, etc.  Mix herbs in with olive oil mixture.  Combine different herbs together.

Add a tablespoon of fresh squeezed lemon juice or lime juice to the olive oil mixture.  The juice can also be tossed on vegetables after cooking.

Balsamic or champagne vinegar added to the olive oil mixture or tossed with baked vegetables adds a nice dimension to the flavor.

Grate a few tablespoons of Parmesan cheese on top of roasted vegetables immediately after they come out of the oven.  Or top roasted vegetables with a couple tablespoons of feta or goat cheese.

Allow vegetables to come to room temperature and mix with greens for a salad.

Grill vegetables on an outdoor grill.  May need to cut vegetables larger if grilling directly on grill, or place in a grill pan.

 About the Recipe’s Nutrients

Without going into detail about all the different vegetables, suffice to say that fresh vegetables are incredibly healthy.  Roasting or grilling them also helps to maintain their highest nutrient value as compared to cooking them in water.  We say this over and over, and we will say it again: To have healthy, beautiful skin you need to eat fresh vegetables on a daily basis.

ENJOY!!

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Yum Friday Recipe: Golden Sweet Potato and Cilantro Hummus

15 Jun

Yum Recipe: Golden Sweet Potato & Cilantro Hummus

This hummus was inspired by one served at a friend’s barbeque on Memorial Day.  I raved about it so much my friend gave me some to take home with me.  The next morning I made one of my favorite breakfasts with it.  I take a rice cake, spread on some hummus, add a couple slices of avocado, tomato, and onion. Mmmmmm.  And it’s so skin helpful.  My friend served the sweet potato hummus as a dip with some crackers.

Yum Recipe: Golden Sweet Potato & Cilantro Hummus on Rice Cake

I changed out the copper-skinned sweet potatoes she used for golden (pale-skinned) sweet potatoes.  They aren’t as sweet.  Also, they absorb the color of the other ingredients more readily.  So, when the cilantro is added to the hummus it turns a nice green. 

Yum Recipe: Golden Sweet Potato & Cilantro Hummus

What I had most fun with in making this recipe was  serving it.  While looking for something different to serve it in, I remembered the old China tea and dessert set I bought at a garage sale a few months ago.  I haven’t had a chance to put them to much use.  So, I decided to serve the hummus in the teacups with the vegetables and crackers surrounding it on the saucers and dessert plates. 

Yum Recipe: Sweet Potato & Cilantro Hummus

Yum Recipe: Golden Sweet Potato and Cilantro Hummus

1 ½ pound pale sweet potato
½ cup packed fresh cilantro minus coarse stems
1 ½ Tablespoon tahini (sesame oil paste)
1 ½ cloves garlic coarsely chopped
3 Tablespoon fresh lime juice
3 teaspoon pepper sauce (optional) i.e. Franks Red Hot Sauce
1/4 to 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
Salt to taste
Olive oil for drizzling.

Wash sweet potatoes.  Pierce with knife or fork.  Bake 350 degrees 45 – 60 min., depending on the size.  Allow them to cool to touch.  Peel off skin of sweet potatoes.  They can also be cut in half and the flesh scooped out.  Place the sweet potatoes in a food processor.  Process sweet potatoes for a few seconds until they start to become mashed.  Stop the food processor.  Add cilantro, tahini, garlic, lime juice, pepper sauce, salt and process again.  Pour olive oil in a stream through the lid opening.  Use enough olive oil to make a creamy hummus.  Continue to process until hummus is smooth and ingredients are well blended.  After moving to serving container, drizzle some olive oil over the hummus and garnish with some cilantro or chopped scallion.  Best served room temperature or chilled.

Serve with vegetables or crackers.  I served them with sesame rice and a cheese rice cracker.

Yum Recipe: Golden Sweet Potato & Cilantro Hummus

Sweet Potatoes Benefits for the Skin
Sweet potatoes are great for the skin because they are loaded with beta carotene, a precursor to vitamin A.  Vitamin A is essential to keep skin healthy.  Because of its high anti-inflammatory and an anti-oxidant properties, it also helps the skin to heal, slows wrinkle formation, and helps with acne.  One cup of cooked sweet potato has over 400% of the daily value for vitamin A! 

Sweet potatoes are also high in another skin loving nutrient, vitamin C.  Collagen helps with prevention of wrinkles and helps maintain healthy skin.  It is synthesized by vitamin C.  Scurvy while extreme shows the importance of collagen for the skin–the skin breaks down with sores appearing.

Sweet Potatoes also have other skin friendly nutrients, such as some B’s and copper.

Cilantro Benefits for the Skin
Cilantro is high in phytonutrients that helps with anti-aging and fight free radicals.  Also, cilantro also contains anti-bacterial properties, which is good for fighting skin issues such as acne or eczema.

So, while this hummus is choked full of skin loving nutrients, it’s the taste of it that will have you making it again and again.

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Yum Friday Recipe: Pink Salt & Pepper Truffles

1 Jun

Pink Salt & Pepper Truffles, by Natalia KW

I’m excited today to post this wonderful recipe for raw chocolate truffles from raw food chef, Natalia KW.  Check out her beautiful website  http://www.nataliakw.com  with other great raw recipes including wonderful-looking raw Chocolate Cherry Truffles.  Yum!  These chocolate recipes show that you can eat fabulous desserts that are also body and skin friendly.

This recipe centers around raw cacao.  Anything chocolate has its beginning with cacao (cuh-COW).  Cacao is the edible part of the cocoa bean.  While cacao is filled with hundreds of beneficial nutrient compounds, these nutrients do not get passed into your favorite chocolate bar.  Processing, cooking, & refining destroy the nutrients.   

Antioxidants (flavonoids especially) are one of the nutrients that are plentiful in cacao.  Antioxidants as we have reported are important to skin health and aid in repairing any damage to skin from sun, aging, acne, eczema, etc.  A report in Clinics in Dermatology (2009) said, “consumption of flavanol-rich cocoa acutely increased microcirculation of the skin….”(1).  Skin microcirculation  increases blood flow thereby delivering more nutrients to the skin and expatiating removal of toxins.  

However, don’t think you are getting these healthy benefits in milk chocolate and other common chocolate treats.  Besides being destroyed in processing, the antioxidants in cacao have also shown to be inhibited in the presence of dairy ingredients.  Studies also show that cacao has anti-microbial and reduces inflammation (2).  It’s also a great natural mood enhancer.  Of course, moderation is advised because cacao also contains caffeine.

So, enjoy these decadent truffles knowing you are also helping your body and skin.

Pink Salt & Pepper Truffles

by

Natalia KW

Exotic chocolate blends are pretty hot right now and I love to come up with exciting combinations.  I’ve always loved slightly salty chocolate and was looking for a spice to complement my favorite Himalayan salt–and to offer a bright contrasting color.  The pink peppercorn was perfect!  It’s actually a berry–a bit sweeter than black pepper, but still spicy with hints of citrus.  The raw chocolate truffle base here is ultra simple, so feel free to get creative and mix up your own favorite flavors.  

  • 3/4 cup raw cacao powder
  • seeds of one vanilla bean
  • 1/2 cup pitted medjool dates
  • 1/4 cup raw honey
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 1 teaspoon ground pink peppercorns
  • 1/8 teaspoon pink Himalayan salt, course ground

Instructions:
Place the cacao powder and vanilla bean in a food processor.  Pulse gently to combine.  Add the dates, honey and coconut oil and process until sticky and smooth.  To make each truffle, roll about one tablespoon of chocolate into a 1″ ball with your hands until very smooth.  In a small bowl, mix the salt & pepper.  Place a pinch of salt & pepper on the top of each truffle as a garnish and press to set.  Place the garnished truffles in the refrigerator for one hour to firm.  Indulge with pleasure!

Natalia is available for coaching to help those who want to heal their body and be healthy through raw foods. 

“Raw foods work their magic when integrated properly and sustainably—for your unique lifestyle.  When these foods are practical to prepare and at the same time, deeply pleasurable, you discover your sweet spot.” 

You can contact her through her website: http://www.nataliakw.com/contact/

Click to Buy Our Great All-Organic Skincare Line:

YumScrubhttp://bit.ly/1jKksLG

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1 Davis, Stephen BS, Perez, Robert PhD, “Cosmeceuticals and Natural Products: Wound Healing.”  Clinics in Dermatology (2009) 27, 502–506.  Department of Dermatology and Cutaneous Surgery, University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, 1600 NW 10th Avenue,
Room 2089, Miami, FL 33136, USA.  online: http://www.worldcocoafoundation.org/scientific-research/research-library/Cacao_HumanNutrition.asp#Antimicrobial.

2 “Cacao Research: Human Nutrition,” World Cacao Foundation.  Online: http://www.worldcocoafoundation.org/scientific-research/research-library/Cacao_HumanNutrition.asp#Antimicrobial

Yum Friday Recipe: Kombucha Salad Dressing and Kombucha Green Smoothie

25 May

We are very happy and exited to share two wonderful recipe from guest blogger, Lis Viehweg, M.A., CNFC.  Lis is a Denver-based Certified Natural Food Chef.  Lis created two fantastic recipes using kombuchaPassionberry Kombucha and Fresh Raspberry-Tarragon Salad Dressing and Green Kombucha Smoothie.  Can’t wait for you to try them.

Kombucha Salad Dressing by Lis Viehwig

Kombucha is a fermented tea loaded with probiotics enzymes.  It is said to have originated in Russia in late 19th century.  It comes in different flavors and is sold in most natural foods stores in the refrigerated section.  All the benefits Lis addresses below help the skin by allowing the skin to receive more nutrients.  Also, when toxins are prevented from forming or are reduced, they won’t show up on the skin in the form of  wrinkles, dry skin, blemishes, eczema, keratosis pilaris, etc.

Kombucha:  Fizzy, Fermented, and Fabulous

by:

Lis Viehweg  M.A., CNFC
Certified Natural Foods Chef

Trust me, your stomach can use all the help it can get.  Friendly bacteria, contained in probiotic food sources, are just the guys for this job.  Probiotic enzymes improve immunity (so you don’t get sick) and help your body absorb vitamins and minerals better (so you don’t get sick AND you feel better, to boot).  Win-Win.  The fermentation process enhances the enzyme content of foods and chemically kick-starts digestion. 

Food that remains undigested in your gut can lead to such unappetizing outcomes as cell damage and toxic strain on the liver and kidneys, thus creating a “perfect storm” environment for allergies, inflammation that is a causative agent for diseases such as cancer, heart disease, metabolic syndrome, and immunity issues.  So drink your kombucha, children.  Or eat it!  Kombucha is an easy additive to smoothies-  I’ve included my favorite green smoothie recipe.  But one day, I said to myself:  I wonder how kombucha would work as a salad dressing?  Et voila. 

Passionberry Kombucha and Fresh Raspberry-Tarragon Salad Dressing

Ingredients for Dressing:

Kombucha Salad Dressing by Lis Viehwig

½ cup fresh raspberries
2 Tablespoon finely chopped fresh tarragon
½ cup Passionberry kombucha ( any fruity kombucha will do)
1 Tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon honey or agave nectar
½ teaspoon freshly-squeezed lemon juice
3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
Sea Salt or Grey Salt
Freshly-ground  Pepper to taste

Method:

Muddle raspberries and tarragon in the bottom of a mixing bowl.  Add kombucha, Dijon mustard, honey, and lemon juice; whisk to blend.  Slowly drizzle in olive oil while whisking constantly until the mixture thickens.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  Refrigerate until ready to use.

Yield:  1 1/2 cups

_______________________________________________________________

Green Kombucha Smoothie

Ingredients:

1 cup green kombucha
1 small apple (preferably organic), unpeeled and cut into chunks
1 banana
1 cup of frozen strawberries
A big handful of (organic) greens:  salad greens, baby spinach
1 Tablespoon chia seeds (optional)

Method:

Throw all of the ingredients into a blender and whirl until smooth.  If you like your smoothies thicker, add more frozen strawberries or ice cubes.
Note:  Chia seeds are a good source of fiber and Omega 3 fatty acids, important for good digestion and a healthy heart, among other things.

Yield:  approximately 2 ½ cups

Besides being a natural foods personal chef in the Denver area, Lis is available for healthy food consultations and specializes in transforming cultural/traditional recipes into healthy ones.  You can contact her: lis@foodie1.com.

Lis Viehweg M.A., CNFC
Certified Natural Foods Chef
Honest Chow.  Real, good food prepared with care and a dash of humor by the curly girl….
lis@foodie1.com

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Yum Friday Recipe: Asian Style Anti-Inflammation Soup

16 Mar

I love soup; I could live on it.  They are easy to make; you can be very creative with ingredients; they are healthy and everything is in one bowl to eat.  Let me retrace my steps a bit to “healthy,” and add that most soups are healthy.  Those heavily creamy mixtures that are also cheese laden, not quite so healthy.  You know who you are broccoli, cauliflower, cheese, and one I just saw online, “Cream Cheese Potato Soup.”  Whoa!   My arteries are clogging at the thought while my mouth is watering with a craving.  Not for me, though, the dairy would send my stomach into a tailspin.

Lately, my soup tastes have been going  Asian  with a hunger for ginger, turmeric, and a thinner broth.  And that is where this recipe comes in.  It relies on those ingredients as the base spices.  It is also a very versatile soup, lending itself to easy adaptations.

While there are some really great nutrients in the vegetables in this soup, the stars are the spices and herbs.  It is heavily dosed with anti-inflammatory ingredients, such as ginger, turmeric, garlic, onions, and cilantro.  So, the bottom line is this soup is really good for the skin and because of its anti-inflammatory ingredients it’s great for skin conditions, such as acne, eczema, psoriasis, keratosis pilaris, etc.  Including this soup in your regular diet along with foods high in omega 3, fresh fruit, and fresh dark green vegetables will have your skin glowing.

Ginger has been used in eastern cultures for centuries as “food medicine.”  Turmeric in Ayurvedic medicine is considered a healing food for acne and other skin conditions.  If you can get fresh turmeric, it’s the best.  While dried is good, fresh turmeric has a smoother, less pungent taste then it’s dried form.  Asian markets and larger Whole Foods carry it.  It really makes a difference in the taste.  But, I don’t always have fresh turmeric on hand, so I use the dry form. 

The base of the soup always has either vegetable or chicken stock, onions, ginger, turmeric, cilantro, and garlic.  While I change-up certain vegetables, I always include onions, some type of mushroom and greens (spinach, kale, watercress, etc.).  Really, the soup is delicious with just those three vegetables.  And it great served with lime wedges.  Lime juice adds another level of flavor. 

I love using homemade stock, but hey, time doesn’t always allow for it.  When I use commercial stock, I use a very good quality stock and always organic.  I also find commercial stocks much more condensed in taste, so I dilute them.   Usually, I dilute them about half stock and half water.  Vegetable stock I may dilute a bit more.

This soup is a great one to play with for flavor and ingredients.  I usually serve it with bean thread or rice noodles.  Lately, however, we have eaten it without any starch, or I have really enjoyed serving it with sticky short grain rice.  That’s what I love about it, you can play around with the ingredients.  For examples, if I could eat shrimp I would probably add some at the end of the cooking process.

The other thing I enjoy about making this soup is that the vegetables are rough cut.  They aren’t diced in small pieces, so it really speeds up the time.  The soup can be made in about 30 minutes or less, depending on the vegetables added. 

Yum Asian Style Anti-Inflammation Soup – serves 6

64 oz homemade chicken or vegetable stock – if using commercial stock dilute 32 oz of stock with 32 oz of water
1 large onion cut in half lengthwise and thinly sliced – about 4 cups

2 cups sliced mushrooms of any variety (frozen shitake nice to have on hand for this soup)
2  cups rough cut chopped greens (spinach, kale, swiss chard, watercress)
½  cup chopped cilantro
1 Tablespoon fresh grated ginger

2 – 3 teaspoons fresh grated turmeric (if using dry turmeric, 2 teaspoons)
4 cloves garlic chopped
1 Tablespoon chopped jalapeno or other hot pepper (optional)
salt/pepper to taste
6 lime wedges
4 – 5 cups prepared rice noodles, or 4 cups cooked rice (optional)

If serving with rice noodles, start the noodles soaking.  If serving with rice, start cooking rice.

In a large pot, add the stock, onions, ginger, turmeric, garlic, salt and pepper to taste.  Bring to a boil; reduce heat so soup simmers.  Cook about 12 minutes; add the mushrooms and greens, cook about 10 minutes; add cilantro.  Taste for seasonings. You want a nice balance between the ginger and turmeric.  Simmer for additional 5 minutes.  Serve as is or over rice noodles or rice.

Options
other vegetables – If you use other vegetables, make sure to keep a nice balance of the amount of vegetables used so the soup remains brothy.  Also add the vegetables that take longer to cook first, so the softer vegetables, keep their color. 

Some vegetables suggestions: celery, carrots cut on diagonal.  If you use celery or carrots, add them with the onions and cook until tender soft.  Other vegetables, such as snow peas or peas, add in the last 5 minutes to keep their texture and color.

Add a couple tablespoons of tamari or soy sauce.  If you do this, reduce or eliminate the salt.

Add a little shrimp in the last few minutes.

Add some bean sprouts last 5 minutes of cooking

Sometimes I sauté the onion (carrots and celery too if being added) in some extra virgin olive oil for a few minutes then add half the spices (ginger, turmeric, garlic) and sauté for about a minute or so before adding the chicken stock.  Then I add the remaining portion of the spices after the stock begins to simmer.

Happy Eating

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Yum Friday Recipe: Spicy Sweet Potato and Parsnip Soup

17 Feb

Yum Spicy Sweet Potato and Parsnip Soup

East meets west in this hearty soup that combines  Thai/Indian seasonings with sweet potatoes and parsnips.  Besides taste, we love this soup for the nutritional bang it brings to skin.  Sweet potatoes are the main ingredient that delivers this nutritional punch; they’re loaded with beta-carotene.  Beta-carotene converts to vitamin A in the body; vitamin A ramps up skin cell production and sloughs off old skin cells.

We added parsnips to the soup to bring a nice buttery and slightly spicy taste.  Another reason we added them is that parsnips like sweet potatoes are a root vegetable.  Root vegetables in eastern medical traditions are warming foods that aid in digestion.  Proper digestion is necessary for the body to absorb nutrients and to remove waste.  Also, root vegetables are grounding, just the thing we need in the cold winter months.  They are a good source of potassium and magnesium.  In case you are interested, the Romans considered parsnips an aphrodisiac.  So…well, that’s all we’ll say on that score.

A dollop of coconut milk cream placed on the soup when serving rounds out and heightens the richness of the soup.  As we have reported before, coconut milk is rich in lauric acid.  Lauric acid is in mother’s milk and is said to be antiviral, antibacterial, and antifungal.  Check out our post “Coconut Milk Shake” for details on benefits of coconut milk.

Eating sweet potatoes or other foods high in beta-carotene is absolutely necessary for anyone who wants healthy beautiful skin.  But is really important for those with skin issues such as dry skin, premature wrinkles, acne, eczema, psoriasis, keratosis pilaris, etc.  In addition, recent research indicates, sweet potatoes have a nutrient in them (batatosides) that have anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties.  You can boost the absorption of vitamin A from foods by eating them with a bit of fat, such as olive oil, ghee, butter, etc.

If you are looking to attract a significant other into your life you may want to boost your consumption of cartenoid nutrient rich foods because researchers found they give the skin a healthy glow.  This healthy glow has yellow undertones, which people find attractive.  This attraction is true for all ethnicities.  We covered it in a post awhile back, “Carrots, Attraction, and Bugs Bunny – Huh?

I like sweet potatoes baked, oven fried, added to potato salad, in risotto, and mashed with some garlic, but I love them in this soup.  Come Thanksgiving, however, I pass those cloyingly sweet babies right by me.  It was those Thanksgiving sweet potatoes that kept me for years and years from embracing them and thereby missing out on their skin healthy benefits.  BTW–I do not get adding sweetener to an already sweet food.  They’re called sweet potatoes….  So, I love this recipe because their natural sweetness is balanced with some lime juice, and the flavor is tweaked with ginger and cilantro. The spiciness also chases winter chills away.  Those with eczema and psoriasis will want to make the soup without the jalapeno.  Spicy food is thought to exacerbate these conditions.

One cup of cooked sweet potatoes has 438% of daily value of vitamin A.  438%! Along with vitamin C, some B’s and copper, you can see why we think it’s one of skin’s ultimate foods. One other interesting and very beneficial aspects of sweet potatoes that researchers have recently discovered is that certain antioxidants in sweet potatoes bind heavy metals and helps to remove them from the body.

Cilantro another ingredient in the soup also helps to remove heavy metals from the body.   This detoxification of metals from the body is very important for everyone, but especially those with health conditions.  Cilantro is also rich in phytonutrients that are anti-oxidants and has anti-bacterial benefits.  In India, it is used for its anti-inflammatory benefits.  It is also a good source of the specific skin loving nutrients, zinc, copper, and the vitamins A, C, E, K, and some B’s.

Keep Cilantro Fresh in a Glass Jar

Yum Recipe: Spicy Sweet Potato and Parsnip Soup –
serves 6

3 cups (approx. 1#) sweet potatoes
2 cups (approx. ½ #) parsnips
1 cup chopped onion
3 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1-3 teaspoons chopped jalapeno  (depending on amount of fire you want)
1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
1 Tablespoon + 2 teaspoons fresh lime juice
3 cups high quality chicken or vegetable stock
4 cups water
¼ cup fresh cilantro chopped plus a few sprigs for garnish
salt and pepper
¼ – 1/3 cup of the cream from top of the coconut milk in a can (use the rest of the coconut milk in a smoothie – check our recipes for one–or use in another recipe.)

Peel and cut the sweet potatoes in 1 to 2 inch cubes.  Peel and cut the parsnips in 1 inch slices.  Parsnips like potatoes do turn black after being peeled.  If you peel and cut them ahead of time, place them in a bowl of water.

Pour olive oil in a 4 quart pot or Dutch oven over medium heat.  When the oil is hot add the chopped onion and sauté until translucent.  Add the sweet potatoes and sauté for about 4 minutes.  Add the parsnips and cook for about an additional 5 minutes, stirring occasionally so mixture does not burn.  Add the garlic, jalapeno, ginger, and 1 Tablespoon of the lime juice.  Also add salt and pepper to taste.  Cook for about 2 minutes, stirring vegetables occasionally so they don’t burn.

Pour in the stock and water.  Bring the soup to a boil then reduce the heat so the soup simmers.  Simmer soup until the sweet potatoes are very tender–about 20 to 30 minutes.  Remove soup from heat and add the cilantro and remaining 2 teaspoons of lime juice.  Stir and allow to sit a minute until the cilantro becomes a bit wilted.

Use an immersion blender or blender to make the soup smooth and creamy.  If you use a blender, do the soup in batches.  Be mindful because the soup is hot, and you don’t want to burn yourself.
Serve with a dollop of the coconut cream.  Garnish with a sprig of cilantro.

Notes:

If you use homemade vegetable or chicken stock, don’t dilute it.  Commercial stock, especially vegetable, is stronger than homemade, so I always dilute it.

As mentioned in the text, if you have eczema or psoriasis don’t add the jalapeno.

Serving suggestions:

The soup can be served rustic style.  Do not blend the soup.

Top the soup with some parsnip crisps.  Cut some very thin peeled parsnip slices and cook until golden and crispy in some hot oil.  Drain on paper towel and sprinkle a pinch of salt on chips.


Reference:

“Sweet Potatoes.”  The World’s Healthiest Foods.  Online: http://whfoods.org/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=64

Yum Friday Recipe: Citrus Spinach Pecan Salad

27 Jan

I think I must have been close to scurvy this morning.  I had such a craving for citrus that I made this salad for breakfast.  Salad for breakfast?  Why not? 

Mother Nature knew what she was doing when she planned the citrus season for winter.  It comes at just the right time for us humans.  Besides giving us the health benefits of vitamin C right when we need it most, the sweet juicy tang of citrus fruit refreshes and says, “spring is coming.”  This salad sings freshness, just what we need for the doldrums of winter.

The stars of this food show are the oranges and pink grapefruit.  We round out the recipe with chopped spinach, pecans, and red onions.  Drizzled over top is a citrus/sweet dressing made from red ruby grapefruit juice.  It’s a great salad for the opening act of any meal–brunch, lunch, or dinner–and breakfast for the adventurous.

Citrus fruit is high in Vitamin C.  The body does not make it, so it is imperative that you eat foods with vitamin C in them.  While you may know vitamin C helps prevent colds and flu, it is also great and necessary for skin health.  Collagen production gets a big boost from ascorbic acid (vitamin C).  Collagen is needed for all skin types because it helps to strengthen and firm skin as well as repair it.  Dry, mature, oily, acne, wrinkled, sunburned skin all need vitamin C.  Skin wounds from surgery, cuts, etc. need it to help heal.

Dr. Andrew Weil even suggests asking your doctor for a vitamin C drip while having surgery to aid surgical wound healing.  That is how important vitamin C is to your skin.  I notice my skin becoming drier and duller if I don’t have vitamin C for just a few days.  Vitamin C is also high in antioxidants.  Antioxidants slow the damage caused by free radicals.  Free radicals are believed to be present in the cause of many diseases.  For the skin, free radicals damage collagen and cause skin dryness.  So, the moral of this story is get some vitamin C into you daily.  That reminds me: The body doesn’t store vitamin C, so it needs to be continuously replenished.

Spinach and the pecans in the salad provide another essential nutrient.  BTW, essential nutrients are those nutrients that the body does not make, and so we have to get them from food sources.  Spinach and pecans have omega 3.  Omega 3 acts as an anti-inflammatory in the body, which helps the skin.  Omega 3 is also important for brain development and function.  Spinach is also high in skin loving vitamin K.  Both spinach and pecans have other nutrients and phytonutrients that are important to the skin.  Onions  have several nutrients, especially flavonoids.  Flavonoids boost vitamin C, are ani-inflammatory, fight free radicals, and protect cell structure.  So, onions are nothing to cry about…..

Yum Recipe – Citrus Spinach Pecan Salad  – serves 2
2 navel oranges
1 ruby red grapefruit
½ cup chopped spinach
 1/3 cup chopped pecans
2 Tablespoon chopped red onion
fresh ground pepper

Ruby Grapefruit Dressing Ingredients
Juice from ½ red ruby grapefruit (about 1/3 cup) – remove any large seeds
1 ½ Tablespoon sunflower oil (or other light vegetable oil)
2 teaspoons agave or honey
pinch salt

Salad Dressing Directions
Make the dressing first.  In a blender or a bowl if using an immersion blender, add all the ingredients for the dressing.  Blend until thoroughly emulsified (1 – 3 minutes, depending on speed of blender).  The dressing will have a peach color to it.  Set aside.

Salad Preparation
Peel oranges and grapefruit, making sure to cut close enough to the fruit to remove the white part of the skin.  Section the fruit.  To section the fruit: cut sections away from the membrane on either side.  Using a knife, slice down the inside of the membrane on each side and using the knife lift the section away.  The other way to do this is to slice down the inside of one side of the membrane; bring the knife under the section and up along the other membrane side (the section is removed in one movement).

As you remove the fruit sections, place them in a colander over a bowl.  Once you are ready to prepare and serve the salad, put all the ingredients in a bowl.  Toss.  Drizzle the salad with the Ruby Grapefruit Dressing.  Grind fresh pepper on the salad after serving.  It’s also nice to plate the salad individually then add the dressing and fresh ground pepper.

Enjoy.
A Yum Scrub Organics Recipe

 

 

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Yum Friday Recipe: Scrambled Tofu with Vegetables

20 Jan

For a long time I was afraid of tofu. Yeah. I would buy it, and it would sit in the refrigerator until past the expiration date because I didn’t know how to use it.  And most of the recipes that I came across had this elaborate method of draining the liquid from it.  It involved placing the tofu a day ahead in a strainer over a bowl with something heavy on it.  For some reason, finding the heavy object to put on the tofu was a stumbling block for me as well as the day ahead process.  Tofu was a mystery.  Except for adding it to hot and sour soup, I gave up on making recipes with tofu and ate it when out at restaurants.

 

Yum Scrub Organics Recipe: Scrambled Tofu and Vegetables

Then one day I had scrambled tofu at a favorite vegetarian restaurant in Denver, the Watercourse Foods Restaurant.  The light bulb clicked; I could make scrambled tofu.  Bravo!  Other recipes followed including buffalo wing tofu; an adventurous and creative family member even cut the tofu into the shapes of wings.  Some might say he has too much time on his hands.  But, my basic tofu recipe is scrambled with vegetables.

Skin and Other Body Nutrients
Many people know that tofu is an excellent source of protein.  However, it also has some
pro-healthy skin nutrients, such as omega 3 fatty acids, selenium, and copper.  Copper helps with the formation of collagen and elastin.  Copper also has anti-oxidant properties along with the manganese found in tofu.  Tofu is also a source of phytoestrogens, which is good for peri-menopause and menopausal women.   Because estrogen in this group begins to wane, the skin becomes thinner and drier.  Phytoestrogens, specifically isoflavones, act like weak estrogen in the body.  Tofu is high in tryptophan and a good source of iron and calcium.

This recipe also uses turmeric for coloring.  However, turmeric has much more to offer than just pretty dressing.  Turmeric is valued in the Indian Ayurvedic and Chinese medical traditions as an anti-inflammatory.  Turmeric is suggested for people who have acne and people with inflammatory bowel disease and Crohn’s disease.  It’s also high in the anti-oxidant manganese .

Yum Recipe: Scrambled Tofu with Vegetables
The recipe below is a basic outline.  While tofu is bland just straight from the carton, the great thing about it that it absorbs flavors easily.  So, it will taste like what you add to it. Potatoes, onions, spinach, peppers, and garlic are the vegetables I used for this recipe, but you can add whatever vegetables you want.  I flavored this recipe with poultry seasoning, but you can use others, such as a curry or Italian herbs, ginger, or just the basics of salt, pepper, and garlic.

 

 

 

 

 

Scrambled Tofu with Vegetables – serves 4

 

 

1 container of organic tofu
5 – 6 cups chopped or diced vegetables
(potatoes, onions, peppers, mushrooms, broccoli, spinach, kale, etc.)
½ teaspoon turmeric (more for deeper color, but this needs to be balanced against how much turmeric flavor you want.)
1 Tablespoon + 2 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
2 -3 teaspoons herbs or spices (i.e poultry seasoning, curry, ginger, or Italian seasonings) – The amount depends on strength of spice.  i.e  Curry is very strong, so you would use less.
¼ teaspoon garlic powder
salt and pepper

Remove tofu from container and place in a colander over a bowl.  With clean hands squeeze the tofu, or use a spatula to press excess liquid from the tofu.  Tofu should break into pieces and look similar to scrambled eggs.  Empty the liquid from the bowl and place the “scrambled” tofu in it.  Sprinkle the turmeric over the tofu and mix it in until the tofu is colored uniformly.  Add the 1 Tablespoon olive oil, seasonings, garlic powder, and salt/pepper.  Mix thoroughly and then set aside.

Seasoned Tofu

Sauté the vegetables in the remaining olive oil.  Remember to add the vegetables according to how long they take to cook. For example, potatoes and onion take longer than most other vegetables.   Add spinach and other greens last.  Cook 1 minute then add the tofu.  Sauté the scramble for about 5 to 7 min, stirring occasionally.  Serve and Enjoy.

Light and Love to all.
A Yum Scrub Organics Recipe

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Reference:
The George Mateljan Foundation for The World’s Healthiest Foods, “Tofu.” Online: http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=111

 The George Mateljan Foundation for The World’s Healthiest Foods, “Turmeric.”  Online: http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=78

Yum Friday Recipe: Dark Green Leafy Vegetables the “Super Food” for Skin

2 Dec

Dark green leafy vegetables (DGLV) are turning out to be the skin-loving “super food.”  In previous posts, DGLV have been mentioned as a great all-around source for skin-loving nutrients, vitamins K – A –C – Copper – B’s, zinc and selenium.  But, did you know they also have omega 3 fatty acids and lutein?

Omega 3 is already well known to be very beneficial to the skin.  However, omega 3’s are usually associated with fatty fish (salmon, halibut, sardines, etc.), walnuts, and flaxseeds and not associated so much with vegetables.  Lutein is not as well-known as a nutrient that is good for the skin.  Lutein is mostly known for keeping eyes healthy.  Recent studies show that the skin needs lutein too.  Researchers found that 10mg a day of lutein improved skin’s hydration, elasticity, and lipid content.  Lutein is antioxidant that protects the skin and eyes from environmental pollutants and light particles[1].  Lutein can also be found in peas, eggs and corn.

So, what are some of the DGLV?  Spinach, kale, romaine lettuce, leaf lettuce, mustard greens, collard greens, chicory, Swiss chard, dandelion greens, mustard greens. 

One of our favorite ways to make DGLV is to sauté them.

Yum Recipe: Sautéed Greens and Golden Garlic with Aged Balsamic Vinegar – serves 4
3 – 4 quarts of greens (any of the above except for the lettuces)
8 large garlic cloves thinly sliced lengthwise
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 – 1 teaspoon red chili pepper flakes
salt and pepper to taste
¼ cup aged balsamic vinegar

Wash the greens – no need to dry them.  Remove any tough stems.  Chop the greens into large pieces (spinach may not need to be chopped at all).

In a large frying pan heat the oil until hot over medium to medium-low heat.  Add the garlic slices and fry until golden brown, about 2 – 3 minutes.  Transfer the garlic slices with a slotted to a paper towel.

Add the greens to the pan and cook until the greens begin to wilt.  Add chili flakes, salt and pepper at the end and cook for another minute.  Stir or toss greens–tongs  as they cook.  You can add the greens in batches to the pan if the pan is not large enough to hold all of them at once.

Remove from heat and transfer to serving dish.  Toss the greens with the garlic and balsamic vinegar.

Suggestions:
Saute thinly sliced onions with the greens.  Start them about 1 – 2 minutes before adding greens.
Add some grated ginger and sesame seeds to the greens while cooking.

A Yum Scrub Organics Recipe


[1] “Lutein and Skin Health,” Lutein Information Bureau.  Online: November, 2011: http://www.luteininfo.com/skin.

YUM Recipe – French Macarons with Three Fillings

15 Nov

[Update: Nov. 22 , 2014]

Scroll down to see the cutest addition: Elmo macarons we made for a birthday party. Directions are given. Also added some information about making the chocolate ganache.   elmo1

Why the Recipe on Our Blog

This recipe is definitely not typical of the recipes we post on this blog. We focus on creating healthy recipes that are good for the skin (and body too…). because we are a skincare company, specializing in 100% organic products and solutions for skin problems.

 However, we made an exception to our normal recipe posting  because of the many requests for our macron recipe.  For wedding favors, Lisa (with some help from mom) made these fantastic French Macarons and boxed them for some “Sweet Dreams.”  Because so many wedding guests loved them and wanted the recipe, we decided it was easier to just post it on the blog. Ironically, it is the most popular post on our blog. And has been pinned on Pinterest by others. We love it. Thank you.  Periodically, we update the post to add new things we’ve discovered about making them. Hope you enjoy.

About French Macarons

French Macarons are a delicate french pastry traditionally made with egg whites, almond flour, and confectionery sugar.  While they look like a sandwich cookie, they have particular characteristics.  A perfect macaron has pied (feet) aka ruffle on the edge of the cookie, a shiny dome shape, and the right texture of crunchy on the outside with chewiness on the inside.  And the filling, should not come out past the edges.  In fact, a macaron should be able to stand on its sides without the filling coming out of it.  Oh, and they are not pronounced macaroonsMacaroons with two “o’s” are made with coconut and rhyme with moon.  French macaron has only one “o” and is pronounced mac-a-roan; it rhymes with tone and phone.

Our Chocolate and Blueberry macarons

About Our Recipe

We adapted our French Macaron recipe from the Regis Hotel’s Adour restaurant in Washington, D. C.  Adour’s recipe was first posted on a wonderful blog, We Love DC.  For those of you in the D.C. area, the Regis Hotel, home of Adour, offers classes in making macarons.

After scouring the web and bookstores for the best macaron recipes and testing several of them, we decided this was the best and the most foolproof macaron recipe.  French macarons have a reputation of being very finicky.  Something like humidity can affect them.  All the more reason we love this recipe, we made them on a humid and hot D.C. August day.

The difference between this recipe and most other macaron recipes is that the flour/sugar mixture is dried out for a day, and an Italian meringue is used in the batter.  Italian meringue is meringue made with the addition of a sugar syrup to the whipped egg whites.

Also, in our recipe we give two types of measurements for some of the ingredients– typical home cooking measurements and measurements in ounces.  We do this because some of the ounce measurements require a food scale and many home kitchens do not have food scales. However, because egg white weight varies, it’s better to have a food scale and measure.

We discovered in our testing of other macaron recipes that one pan would bake beautifully and the next be a flat disaster.  But, with this recipe they were all beautiful.  This recipe does have more steps than some others, but the consistency of the cookies makes the extra steps worth it.

French Macarons are a delicate treat that require a little patience and practice to learn how to make them.  But, do not be intimidated by them and everything will turn out fine.  One of the important keys to getting a perfect macaron: a stiff, dry meringue. That can’t be said enough.

Chocolate, Vanilla, & Blueberry macaron in box with crinkle paper

The Wedding Macarons

For the wedding, we made three different macarons.  There was a vanilla macaron with a white chocolate ganache filling; a chocolate macaron with a chocolate ganache filling, and a purple macaron with a blueberry buttercream filling.  This macaron recipes is  for all three.

Links for Pics and Video

Pictured in this post are our macarons.  For even more pictures of the process head over to, We Love DC.  Pastry chef, Fabrice Bendano, from Adour, demonstrates on the video below how to make them.  I really suggest watching it to get a feel for how they’re made.  Hope you all enjoy making French Macarons as much as we did.  If you have any questions about the recipe, leave a comment below and we’ll get back to you.  Bon Appétit!!


RECIPE: Yum French Macarons with Three Fillings

(Makes about 150 petite sandwich cookies)  Adapted from Adour’s Chocolate Macarons.

Piping the cookies requires a medium to large pastry bag with a ½ inch or larger tip (depending on the size cookie desired).  The ½ inch tip will pipe about a walnut size cookie.

Almond Flour Batter

2 ¼ cups almond flour plus 2 Tablespoons (18 oz plus 2 Tablespoons)
2 ¼ cup confectionary sugar  (18 0z)
Whites from 5 large eggs (6 oz)* – room temperature

Meringue

Whites from 6 large eggs  (7 oz.)* – room temperature
2 1/4 cup sugar (18 oz)
2/3 cup water (5 oz)

Additions for Variations:

Chocolate – Reduce almond flour by 2 Tablespoons and replace with 2 Tablespoons of cocoa.
Colored Variations – Add gel food coloring of choice to the Italian meringue batter–there’s a reminder when to add it.  The amount will depend on the color desired. See the section below about using gel or paste food coloring.
Vanilla Flavor – Add the seeds from 1 – 2 vanilla beans or 2 teaspoons of pure vanilla extract into the Italian meringue–there’s a reminder when to add it.

* For best accuracy, it’s best to have a food scale. The whites from eggs can measure from 1 oz to 1 1/2 oz. From our observation, they average between  1 to 1 1/4 oz.

The DAY BEFORE BAKING THE MACARONS

Almond Flour Mixture:

Blend almond flour, confectionery sugar, (and cocoa if making chocolate) together in a food processor or pulse in a blender for about 20 seconds–until well blended.  After blending, spread the mixture on a baking sheet (can place parchment paper on the baking sheet for easier pouring later in the recipe). Leave uncovered on the counter or in a cool oven overnight.

Eggs:

Separate the eggs. Have separate bowls for each set of egg whites (one bowl with 6 oz. and one bowl with 7 oz egg whites) of egg Place covered with a clean kitchen towel in the refrigerator. Label each of bowls with the egg white measurement in them before storing. Some leave the egg whites out overnight.

We leave them out while prepping other parts of the recipe on the day before then place them in refrigerator overnight, and take them out early in the morning the day we make the macarons. So, it’s a combination of the two methods. While this is important, it’s more important to get very stiff peaks when whipping the meringue.

Note: Egg whites do need to be brought to room temperature before using. Leaving out overnight is a personal call.

BAKING DAY

Remove the egg whites from the refrigerator and allow them to come to room temperature.  IMPORTANT: Make sure they are at room temperature before using.  Measure the remaining ingredients and set aside.

(Time saver hint: While waiting for the egg whites to come to room temperature, the filling can be prepared, or it can be prepared the day before.)

Step 1 -Italian Meringue Mixtures

Into a saucepan, add the granulated sugar and water.  Cook over medium heat until the sugar dissolves (stir occasionally) and the sugar syrup reaches 250 degrees Fahrenheit. 

In the meantime while the sugar mixture is heating, place the egg whites from the 7 oz bowl  into a mixing bowl and beat until they reach stiff peaks! Remember the egg whites need to have stiff peaks that form when beaters are lifted.  Keep the meringue in the mixing bowl with the mixer.

Step 2 – Italian Meringue (Incorporating Meringue and Sugar Syrup)

When the sugar syrup reaches 250 degrees, turn the mixer with the meringue back on high and pour the syrup in a steady stream into the meringue.  Continue to whip on high until the mixture begins to cool–about 4 to 5 minutes.  This  prevents the heat from the sugar water cooking the egg whites.  Add food coloring or vanilla beans/extract–if using–to the batter at this point.  A toothpick works well for adding gel food coloring.  The finished meringue should be smooth, thick, and glossy.  Set aside.

Step 3 – Mixing Almond Flour Mixture and Remaining Egg Whites

In a large mixing bowl, add the remaining egg whites (6 oz eggs/5 eggs) and the almond flour/confectionery sugar mixture.  Mix by hand with a spatula until well incorporated.

Step 4 – Mixing the Final Macaron Batter

Mix by hand with a spatula a small portion of the meringue into the almond flour/egg white batter.  Add the remaining meringue into the batter.  Now you will need to use your muscles (or borrow someone else’s…).  Beat very vigorously with a spatula the mixture until the batter is fully incorporated–about 1 to 2 minutes. Don’t be shy about beating it; sometimes we get one of the guys in the house to do it :).  Do it by hand though, not with a mixer. A mixer will add too much air.

The batter should be thick enough that slight mounds form when piped. Unlike many meringue recipes that require the meringue to be folded into the recipe, this recipes requires thorough mixing/beating of the meringue into the batter.

Step 5 – Piping Cookie Batter and Baking

Suggestion: Since all ovens are different, it may take some experimenting with temperature and the time. So, before piping an entire cookie sheet, test the time and temperature with just a few piped cookies.  The perfect macaron will have a glossy dome shape; a ruffle on the edges; be crispy on the outside, and chewy on the inside. You can check below for solutions to other things that could have gone wrong.

Fill a pastry bag half full with the batter.  For petite cookies, pipe about a walnut size of the batter onto ungreased baking sheets.  (This is where watching the video from Adour helps).

Tap the cookie sheet a few times against a hard surface to remove air bubbles and flatten the cookies.  Allow the piped macarons to rest uncovered for 20 to 25  minutes.  This allows the batter to flatten and dry out a bit so that the pied (feet) are created when baked. 

Bake at 300° F for 12 minutes.   

Step 6 – Filling the Macarons

Match cookies in pairs to similar size and shape.  Pipe the filling on the flat side and top with its match.  Don’t worry if some of the cookies have holes on the filling side.  Match them with solid cookies and pipe a little extra filling into the hole. Filling recipes are below.

Storing French Macarons

Store macarons in a airtight container.  Macarons get better with age.  Preferably, finished macarons should be refrigerated for at least 24 hours before eating.  It gives the cookies time to rest and the result is the perfect crispiness on the outside with the right tenderness on the inside. But, if you can’t wait…dig in.   French macarons are best eaten within 4 or 5 days.  They can be frozen unfilled or filled for up to 3 months.

Elmo Macarons

Check out the Elmo Macarons we made. We used our recipe above. For the color of Elmo’s skin, we used about 4-5 bottles of Wilton’s No Flavor Red Gel Food Coloring. For the nose, we used Wilton’s white fondant and added yellow food coloring, forming the noses into Elmo noses. The eyes were purchased: Michaels or Paper Mart. For the filling, we used the ganache recipe below.  The Elmo Macarons were a huge hit at child’s birthday party.

elmo1

 

What Went Wrong?

Oh no! They don’t look like the pictures.

Flat Deflated Cookie – Egg whites were not at room temperature before using, or not separated a day ahead.  Meringue was not stiff or dry enough.  Ingredients were not properly measured or oven temperature was too low.  – Fix: Bake at slightly higher temperature.  If that doesn’t work add a small amount of almond flour to the batter.

Hollow Undersides – The cookies were baked too long or in too hot of an oven (Don’t throw them away; they can still be filled.)

Separated Cookies – If the cookies separate while removing them, they were not baked long enough.
Very important to follow directions precisely.  Macarons do not like shortcuts.

Runny Ganache – We learned this the hard way.  Most obvious is measurements were wrong. However, the most likely thing is the chocolate. Chocolate varies from company to company in butter fat and other ingredients that can affect the outcome of ganache. Try for at least 61% cacao. This is why it’s important to use a high quality chocolate that has high cocoa butter fat.

Remedy: Heat the ganache until it’s hot and then add more chopped chocolate. The amount will depend on how runny the chocolate is. When this happened to us once (maybe twice), we ended up using more than twice the amount of chocolate to get it thick. BTW, it was a Whole Foods Brand of chips I used when it was runny. Now we know, price and quality matters.

 

The purple boxes with custom label (designed by the bride) that the macarons were handed out in

French Macaron Fillings

The filling should be of a consistency that is soft and yet firm. It should not spread on its own to the sides of the cookies.  The filling should come to just inside the edge of the cookie when the top is placed on it.

Chocolate Ganache

(makes about 1 ½ cups)
1 ¼ cup. heavy cream (10 oz)
1 ¼ cup (10 oz) dark chocolate or bittersweet chocolate
optional: 2 teaspoons of vanilla

It is really, really important to use very high quality chocolate. (Scharffen or one with at least 61% cacao). The less expensive chocolates do not have enough cocoa butter in them to allow the ganache to thicken. Cheaper chocolate will cause the ganache to be runny, and you will end up adding a lot more chocolate to get it to thicken, which will end up costing you more than if you had just purchased the expensive chocolate.

Pour heavy cream in a saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat.  Remove from heat; stir in chocolate until completely incorporated.  Mix slowly so as not to incorporate air.  Add vanilla if using.  Allow to cool to room temperature before piping onto macarons.  The ganache will harden if placed in a refrigerator.  Allow to come to room temperature for piping.  If the ganache becomes too soft while piping, set it in the refrigerator for a few minutes. 

White Chocolate Ganache

(makes 1 ½ cups)
1 1/4 cups high quality white chocolate, chopped (10 oz)
1 2/3 cup heavy cream (13 0z)
1 Tablespoon unsalted butter
Pour heavy cream in a saucepan and bring to a boil over medium low heat.  Remove from heat, add the white chocolate, and stir until ganache is smooth.  Stir in butter.  Cool to room temperature before using.  Ganache can be made ahead of time and refrigerated.  However, it will harden, and therefore need to come to room temperature before using.

Blueberry Butter Cream Frosting

1 cup softened unsalted butter
3 ½ cup confectionery sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/8 – ¼ cup milk
1 cup fruit sweetened blueberry jam
purple gel paste food coloring
Beat softened butter until smooth and fluffy.  Add sugar and beat until combined with butter about 3 minutes.  Add vanilla and milk; beat frosting for about 7 – 8 minutes.  Beat in the blueberry jam until well combined.  Using a toothpick, mix in just a small amount of the purple food coloring. (Continue to add purple food coloring in small amounts until the right color is achieved.)

About Gel Food Coloring

Color can be controlled better with gel or paste food coloring.  Also, deeper colors can be obtained with gel or paste food coloring.  Too much  liquid food coloring could alter a recipe.  With something as temperamental as macaroons, this is very important.  A toothpick works well for adding gel food coloring.
Gel food coloring can be bought at stores that sale cake decorating supplies, such as Michael’s or William and Sonoma.

About Almond Flour

Almond flour is flour made from ground almonds.  It’s often a staple in homes of people who are gluten intolerant.  Bob’s Red Mill is one of the larger suppliers of almond flour.  It can be bought at many natural grocery stores or bought online.
You can also make your own almond flour by grinding blanched almonds in a blender, coffee grinder, food processor, or vita mix.  While unblanched almonds can also be ground into flour, for macarons blanched almonds should be used.  Grinding almonds into flour is a lot less expensive then buying almond flour, but it’s also a lot more time consuming to make your own.

A half a pound of almonds yields about 2 1/4 cup of flour. Grind about 1/2 cup of almonds at a time until you have a fine meal; be careful not to over grind or too much oil will be released, and then it will be more of a paste.  After grinding, remove all the ground almonds from the blender and sift the ground almonds through a sieve colander to remove any large pieces.  Don’t use a flour sifter because the oil in the almonds will gunk up the sifter.  Place large leftover pieces back in the blender and regrind.  Continue grinding and sifting until all the almonds are ground. The almond flour should have a very fine consistency.  Store in the refrigerator.

Remember:  You are the master of the macarons; don’t let them master you!

Please let us know how they turned out for you and leave a picture. If you have any questions, also leave them.

If you think we did a great job on this recipe, you should see how great our skincare products are. We dedicate the same attention to detail to create highly effective organic skincare. Our Clear Skin products is the best organic/natural solution to acne. Our hydrating serum has been reformulated for even greater moisturizing and wrinkle repair.

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