Fresh Pineapple with Lime Zest & Raw Honey (Easter Recipes)

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Food hasn't tasted quite as good these past months, which is a bummer since I live by the mantra, "I live to eat!"  Truly, I love to eat.  I love food.  One of the reasons I love my gym is because I'm surrounded by my people (those that don't shy away from eating).  But, what does a pregnant woman do when eating fluctuates, taste buds diminish and then Lent pops up?  

Take comfort that this too shall pass and hope by the time Spring arrives, the taste bud glory will return.  I'm beginning to see this, especially after slicing the fresh pineapple with my oldest hovering for a taste.  The girls complain that I put the lime zest, but I assure them that honey drizzled over it will make it come alive.  Our lunch consisted of Roasted Mustard Cauliflower, deviled eggs & this naturally sweet delight.  We agreed the pineapple won the gold.  

I implore you to serve this for dessert; rather, than going through all that extra effort of calorie forming pastry.  

Here are some other Easter Menu Ideas:

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This month's Jogo recipe contribution: Springy Kale-Quinoa Salad with Dried Cherries & Nuts 

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Fresh Pineapple with Lime Zest & Raw Honey (printable recipe)

Ingredients:

1 pineapple, peeled, cored and cut into quarter slices

zest of one lime

raw honey

Directions:

Put sliced pineapple into a bowl and add the zest.  Mix around to disburse the lime zest.  Line the pineapple on a large serving platter.  Drizzle with raw honey.  Serve.

 

Brown Butter Pumpkin Cake with Honey-Cinnamon Frosting (grain free & refined sugar free)

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Do you know that I love to bake? After my miscarriage, I found so much solace in the baking realm. Not everyone does, but there is always that one thing in which our souls were meant to do. It's where our abilities & creativity collide. Tsh from Simple Mom was one of the Keynote Speakers at Relevant. She quoted Eric Liddell:

God made me fast. And when I run, I feel his pleasure.

I've always loved this quote. His words give recognition that we do not need to categorize sacredness. We are created by a creative God & each of us has a form of creativity within us that emerges. My mother in law would most likely call herself as "non-creative," but she is skilled at cleaning. Like amazing skills turning trash into treasure. When she finds that tattered pack & play & restores it anew, she finds pleasure.

God made me with an impeccable sense of taste. And when I bake, I feel his pleasure. Not only that, but I feel the pleasure of those taking that first bite & satisfaction is voiced without words. My grain & sugar free brown butter pumpkin cake does just that. Where do you feel God's pleasure?

Brown Butter Pumpkin Cake with Honey-Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting (printable recipe)

I made a gluten & sugar filled brown butter pumpkin cake last year prior to eating without them. This year I wanted to recreate the recipe by taking out the grains & refined sugars by using blanched almond flour & honey. My friends who don’t eat this way were singing praises.

Cake Ingredients:

½ cup unsalted butter, grass-fed, more for pans

Coconut flour for dusting pans

12 oz (3 cups) blanched almond flour

1 1/2 tsp baking soda

1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

1 tsp ground ginger

3/4 tsp ground nutmeg

3/4 tsp sea salt

1/4 tsp ground cloves

½ cup honey

3 large eggs, room temperature

1 1/2 cups pumpkin puree, (how to roast & puree pumpkin)

Honey-Cinnamon Frosting:

¼ cup unsalted grass-fed butter

8 oz cream cheese, room temperature

½ cup honey

2 tsp ground cinnamon

Directions:

Make the Cake: Position a rack in the middle of the oven. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour (with coconut flour) the bottom & sides of two 9-inch round cake pans. Melt the butter in a 1 quart heavy bottomed pan, stirring occasionally until the butter turns a nutty golden-brown (around 4-6 minutes) and when it smells nutty. The browned butter will have three parts to it. The scum on the top (sounds good), the golden brown clarified butter/ghee, & the burnt milk solids at the bottom. Scrap off the scum & discard. Pour the golden brown ghee/clarified butter into a measuring cup, while trying to keep the browned bits at the bottom out of the cup. Set aside & allow it to cool.

In a large bowl, add all of your dry ingredients and whisk them together (almond flour, spices, salt, & baking soda). In a medium bowl, combine honey, eggs, & pumpkin puree & whisk thoroughly to combine. Add the browned butter to the wet ingredients to incorporate all the way. With a rubber spatula, stir in the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients until thoroughly combined & fully incorporated. Divide the batter equally between the two pans.

Bake the cakes for about 30 minutes (again make use of those olfactory sensors during baking as I baked my cakes for 28 minutes, because the cake smelled done), or when a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Let the cakes cool 10 minutes in the pan. When using almond flour to make a cake, you will need to use a butter knife to run it around the outside of the cake; as well as, gently using the knife to lift up the bottom edges, to ensure it doesn’t stick when turning it out of the pan. Turn it onto a cooling rack to cool completely.

Make the Frosting: Take your room temperature butter & cream cheese & beat them in an electric mixer on medium-high speed (that would be a 7 on my Kitchen Aid). Add your honey & cinnamon to the mixture. A pinch of salt is lovely to add. Taste to see if you need more honey then written.

Assembling: Get a large cake plate and place one cooled cake top side down. Spread about 1/2 -2/3 cup of frosting on the cake. Take your other cake and place it top side down. Frost the top and sides with remaining frosting. Top the cake with chopped pecans. I used pecans to hide imperfections at the base of the cake (gotta love it). I kept mine in a cake dome platter for a day & then transferred to the fridge, due to the frosting.

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Zucchini Walnut Anise Sandwich Cookies

Before I get to these lovelies, (which I'm sure you're dying to try) I have been reminiscing of high school gym class.  Worst yet, first day of gym class as a freshman.  Oh, and it's co-ed.  For me, nothing could have been worse.  I wasn't uncoordinated or even the last to be picked for teams in gym, so it wasn't about that portion.  It was about the vulnerability.  That ever-present reality of who you were standing there in rows, waiting for warm up in that all too often awkward gym uniform, while  sizing up who could be below you.  It wasn't like your academic classes, where you could hide your test scores or become the shadow on the wall (at least you were in your full clothing to say the least).

But gym class.  For the dreadfully modest, awkward body shapes, and lack of strengthened muscles--it was like watching the "all humiliation channel."  And for a person who has never been the "jock," I think that's what working out/exercising can be like at times.  So when I was considering joining Jogo Crossfit, it was as if all these fears of 9th grade gym class flooded my system.  Was I going to be able to keep up?  How out of shape am I?  What if I can't do the exercises required?  What if people are sizing me up?  Oi Vye!  The night before my first class I got those butterflies in my stomach (along with the multiple questions).

Yet, what I found was something so different.  When we were set up doing running warm ups, I was without a partner, which meant I would run by myself.  I was fine with this, but so surprised by one of my fellow Jogo teammates, that he came back to run every single warm up with me.  He did double time.  Everyone was encouraging me saying, "Good job!"  But not in that, "we're saying this because we have to" way, but in the, "I've been there, we've all been there..and you're honestly doing a good job," way.  I never thought you could be hospitable in a gym setting, but I feel like I found it here.  It's community being embraced.  It's working as hard as you can without sizing someone up and encouraging others toward the goal.  It's vulnerability and allowing others to see my weaknesses, while embracing where I'm at without comparison.

It's hard, really hard, but good.  In fact, I think it was due to me getting some hardcore exercise that gave me energy to make these here cookies.  I've had them on the dock in my memory bank for a while and I think I hit a home run with them.  They make use of the ever abundant summer zucchini (so why just use it for zucchini bread?).  The honey-anise cream cheese brings it together with great harmony.  I love the soft taste of zucchini with the licorice-fennel taste of the anise and crunch of the walnuts.  And if you just exercised a bit, then these whole wheat & unrefined sugar treats won't make you feel like it was done in vain.  So what are you waiting for?

A Year Ago: My Soul Finds Rest

Zucchini Walnut Anise Sandwich Cookies (printable recipe)

These cookies have an ever so subtle hint of anise, which pairs lovely with the summer zucchini & honeyed cream cheese. Use a box grater for the zucchini and be sure to squeeze out the water, as zucchini is full of it.

Zucchini Walnut Anise Cookies:

1 1/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour

1/2 cup quick cooking oats

1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg

1/2 tsp baking soda

1 tsp kosher salt

1/2 cup unsalted butter, slightly softened

1/2 cup Sucanat sugar

1/4 cup rapadura sugar

1 large egg, room temperature

1/2 tsp anise extract flavoring

1 1/4 cup grated zucchini, squeeze out the additional water

2/3  cup toasted & chopped walnuts

Honey-Anise Cream Cheese Frosting

8 ounce cream cheese

1/4 cup honey, mild flavor

2 tsp anise extract

Directions:

Pre-heat oven to 350.  Combine all the dry ingredients into a small bowl.  Beat the butter for 30 seconds on medium speed in an electric mixer with the paddle attachment.  Add in both sugars & beat on medium speed for another 30 seconds.  Scrape the sides down.  With the mixer on low-speed, add the egg & anise extract.  Mix until combined.  While the mixer is still on low-speed, slowly add the dry ingredients and mix until completely combined.  Squeeze out the water in the zucchini before you add it to the dough. Add the zucchini and mix until it is evenly distributed.  Then, add the walnuts and briefly mix just until they are combined.

On parchment lined sheets, drop one tablespoon of dough at a time, 1 to 1 1/2 inches apart.  Bake for 12-14 minutes.  Put on a wire rack to cool for 5 minutes, then transfer to foil or parchment sheet.

Make frosting: Put cream cheese in bowl of an electric mixer and beat for 30 seconds on medium speed.  Add honey & anise flavoring, beat for an additional 30 seconds to 1 minute.

Putting together: Put about 2 Tb of frosting on one upside down cookie and take another cookie (without frosting) and sandwich together.  Makes about 15-20 cookie sandwiches.