Cantaloupe Lime Mint Popsicles

Cantaloupe Lime Mint Ice PopsYou’ve never seen anyone eat a popsicle so slowly until you’ve seen my little sister eat a popsicle. Being the oldest I occasionally got to stay up late and watch T.V. with Mom before I had to go to bed, especially in the summer time. Before I could hang out late watching cool T.V. my little sister was told to finish her popsicle, then go to bed. It would take her a lifetime to slowly and meticulously savor that popsicle until I just wanted to scream. I mean I had shows to watch. Cool cable shows that I only got to watch with Mom if my sister was in bed. Shows that you couldn’t watch whenever you wanted because you recorded them on your DVR. No, you had to watch it when it was on or you missed it. But there was my cute blonde haired blue eyed innocent looking sister eating her popsicle slower than a snail. It always tested my limited patience.

Not all my summertime popsicle memories involve getting frustrated with my sister, but they all involve her. Every summer time involved popsicle breaks of some kind in between hours spent playing outside together. We’d often take a break from playing outside to get into the garage fridge for an otter pop. Savoring the tongue staining coldness of that that sickly sweet pop with the mouth cutting plastic wrapper. Or we’d chase down the ice cream truck so I could get an ice cream sandwich and a cherry and pineapple swirl popsicle while my sister got the more expensive whatever crazy cartoon popsicle they had at the time.

Cantaloupe Lime Mint Ice PopsWhen we were older our popsicle tastes got a little more refined. The town we lived in at the time had a teeny tiny shop that sold paletas (Mexican ice pops) in every imaginable flavor and then some. I’m not even sure how we found the shop to begin with. It didn’t have much in the way of signage and it was off the main drive in an area we didn’t normally frequent. Every time I drove near that store, and sometimes I drove us there just to get a paleta, we’d go inside. I loved that place. One of my favorite flavors was a cantaloupe paleta which I used as inspiration for this recipe. My sister often ordered a watermelon flavor that will be featured in an upcoming post. Even though we had moved on to more sophisticated flavors, that sister of mine still ate her frozen treat so slowly I was always surprised it was still frozen by the time she got to the last bite. She still eats her frozen treats that way. In contrast, I inhale mine.

I used a popsicle mold from Williams and Sonoma to make the popsicles in this recipe. Amazon has a nearly identical mold that would work wonderfully. The trick to getting the pops out once frozen is to run warm water over the outside of the mold for a few seconds, then they pull right out. You could also use Zoku Classic Pop Molds or a Zoku Quick Pop Maker to make this recipe or any other popsicle recipe.

Cantaloupe Lime Mint Ice Pops

Prep time: 

Total time: 

Serves: 6 to 8 Ice Pops

Ingredients
  • 4 cups diced Cantaloupe
  • Zest of 2 Limes
  • Juice of 2 Limes
  • ½ Tablespoon Mint Leaves, roughly chopped
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt, fine ground
  • ½ cup cold Water
Instructions
  1. Place all prepped ingredients in a blender or food processor. Mix or pulse until cantaloupe is pureed. There will be some texture to the mixture, this is expected.
  2. If using a blender, pour directly into ice pop molds. If using a food processor transfer mixture into a bowl or measuring cup with a spout for easy pouring into ice pop molds.
  3. After filling molds place popsicle sticks into mixture and place in freezer for 4 to 6 hours.
  4. Remove from molds and enjoy.

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Fruit Gummies Recipe

Blueberry and Coconut Water GummiesGelatin not only makes for some fun gummy treats, it’s excellent as a daily dietary supplement. The collagen in gelatin is great for tightening loose skin when ingested (the collagen proteins in gelatin are too large to be absorbed by the skin, so external collagen creams are useless) and some people claim it helps with cellulite. While I’m not sure about the cellulite, it certainly doesn’t hurt. Gelatin supports healthy hair, skin, and nail growth. It also supports a healthy digestive system and it’s great for your joints and can help ease recovery post workout. Gelatin does contain protein, but it is not a good source of pre or post workout protein. Although the amino acids in gelatin do help support better sources of protein, such as meat, in helping to build muscle.

In other words, fruit gummies are not only a great daily treat for yourself or your children, they are good for you too!

I prefer to use Vital Proteins Beef Gelatin (with the green lid) when making gummies. Why Vital Proteins? Vital Proteins gelatin gives the most consistent results for making gummies. Other gelatins do not set up as well as Vital Proteins, which is why it is my first choice for gelatin to make gummies. My second choice is Great Lakes Gelatin in the red or orange cans. Great Lakes gelatin works well, but does not always set firmly making it hard to use in silicone molds. It also has a tendency to clump into hard nearly impossible to remove chunks which can be a hassle or it can work perfectly. You never know. Store brand and name brand gelatins located in the grocery store come from unknown sources, often from animals that are not healthy or raised in commercial feedlots not pastures. This results in collagen and gelatin that is not as healthy as what comes from Vital Proteins or Great Lakes. Vital Proteins gelatin is sourced from pasture raised cows resulting in gelatin that is great for the health of your hair, skin, nails, and gut.

There are other ways to get your daily gelatin intake other than tasty gummies. Vital Proteins also has collagen peptides (with the blue lid), which do not gel up in warm or cold liquid. This makes it perfect for adding to coffee or a smoothie. I add mine to my post workout protein powder in addition to having a scoop in my morning green vegetable juice. Great Lakes Collagen Hydrolysate, in the green can does not gel in cold liquids just like the Vital Proteins collagen peptides, making it another option to get your daily intake of gelatin.

Lego Silicone MoldsOkay, back to the gummies. I used silicone molds, from Michaels, to make the batch of blueberry and coconut gummies in the photos. But I’ve also used Lego man and Lego brick molds and dinosaur molds. Check out the Gelatin Gummies section of my Amazon store to find links to purchase the molds I’ve used (they also have Hello Kitty, Star Wars, Robots, Dr. Who, and yes even bear molds!). You can also make gummies in a glass baking dish and just cut them into squares to enjoy. The silicone molds are 100% optional fun.

The basic fruit gummies recipe below can be altered in many ways depending on what fruit and liquid you want to use. The basic gummies recipe requires approximately 2 to 2 ½ cups of liquid, not including the 1 cup of cold water the gelatin blooms in and the lemon juice. This means you can mix up the recipe to make any number of flavor combinations. I’ve made gummies with alcohol before for adult party treats as well as gummies with fruit for the kids. The possibilities are endless. To get you started, here are some suggestions for flavor combinations for the fruit and liquid portion of the recipe below:

  • 2 cups blueberries, ¾ cup coconut water
  • 2 cups raspberries, ¾ cup water, 1 Tablespoon Raspberry Honey
  • 2 cups mango, ¾ cup coconut milk
  • 2 cups of Red Roobios tea
  • 1 ½ cups champagne, ¼ cup orange juice
  • 2 cups kombucha, any flavor

Fruit Gummies Recipe

Prep time: 

Cook time: 

Total time: 

Ingredients
  • 1 cup cold Water
  • 6 Tablespoons Vital Proteins Beef Gelatin/Collagen Protein (Green lid)
  • 2 cups fresh or frozen Berries or Fruit, measure before blending into a puree (Optional to strain if using berries to remove seeds)
  • ¾ cup Liquid (water, no sugar fruit juice, champagne, coconut water, etc.)
  • Juice of two Lemons
  • Optional: 1 Tablespoon Maple Syrup or Honey
Instructions
  1. In a small bowl, add collagen protein to cold water. Stir and set aside to bloom while preparing fruit mixture. The collagen will start to set in the water as it blooms, this is expected.
  2. Puree chosen berries or fruit in a blender with liquid of your choice and lemon juice.
  3. Pour pureed fruit mixture and optional Maple Syrup or Honey into a small sauce pan over medium heat. Stir frequently until warm, about 3-5 minutes. Do not boil.
  4. Use a spatula to loosen collagen protein from bowl and break into four smaller portions. Add bloomed collagen protein to fruit mixture in sauce pan carefully to prevent splashing.
  5. Stir mixture slowly until all collagen protein has melted into the fruit mixture.
  6. There are two options on how collagen protein can set, in a glass baking dish (Step 7) or silicone molds (Step 8)
  7. Glass baking dish- Pour gummy mixture into an 8x8 glass baking dish and allow to set in the refrigerator for 60 to 90 minutes or until firm. Cut into small squares and enjoy.
  8. Silicone molds- Place molds on a cookie sheet or cutting board for easy transfer to refrigerator, mixture will make 3 to 4 dozen gummies based on the size and depth of silicone molds used. Transfer half of mixture into a measuring cup with a pouring spout, such as a Pyrex measuring cup. Pour slowly into the molds. Repeat with remaining half of mixture. Place cookie sheets or cutting boards with molds in the refrigerator and allow to set for 60 to 90 minutes until firm. Remove gummies from molds and enjoy.
  9. Gummies can be stored in the refrigerator for one week.

For more on the benefits of gummies and collagen:


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Easy Cauliflower Fried Rice

I’ll fully admit I’m team white rice and team white potato. You cannot fool me into thinking cauliflower rice or pureed cauliflower tastes anything like a lovely bowl of white rice or a creamy side of buttery mashed potatoes. I’m not afraid of dense carbs timed right, especially since I lift heavy weights and need to refuel my glycogen stores so I can lift heavy weights again. But there are reasons to enjoy cauliflower rice at times, such as if you aren’t as active or your focus is on weight loss. It’s particularly easy to enjoy cauliflower rice since Trader Joe’s made it even easier with their new frozen riced cauliflower with only two ingredients, cauliflower and sea salt.

Another reason to have cauliflower rice is when you want a quick side dish to serve with dinner. This easy cauliflower fried rice is ready in 30 minutes, from prep to table. Perfect amount of time to cook a protein such as chicken or pork to serve along side this dish. Since it’s all vegetables, and some egg, you get a great serving of colorful vegetables to go along with your meal too.

I used Trader Joe’s Organic Riced Cauliflower to make this a super easy recipe. If you do not have a Trader Joe’s near you or prefer to rice your own cauliflower, no problem. Check out this post from Oh My Veggies on how to make cauliflower rice with a food processor or a box grater. You will need one and a half cups of cauliflower rice if you make your own. This will add about 10 to 15 minutes to the recipe time, but that’s okay especially if you plan ahead.

Easy Cauliflower Fried Rice

Prep time: 

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Serves: 3 cups

Ingredients
  • 1 package (12 ounces or 1.5 cups if making your own cauli rice) Trader Joe's Organic Riced Cauliflower
  • 2 medium Carrots, peeled and diced
  • 1 Red Bell Pepper, diced
  • ½ bunch Green Onions, chopped
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 Tablespoons Ghee, plus ¼ teaspoon
  • 1 Tablespoon Red Boat Fish Sauce
  • 3 Tablespoons Coconut Aminos
  • 1 teaspoon ground Ginger
  • ¼ teaspoon Red Pepper Flakes
  • ¼ teaspoon Black Pepper
  • Pinch of Sea Salt
Instructions
  1. Prep all vegetables. Dice carrots and bell pepper. Chop green onions. Open package of Trader Joe's Organic Riced Cauliflower or rice your cauliflower.
  2. In a small bowl combine Fish Sauce, Coconut Aminos, Ginger, Red Pepper Flakes, Black Pepper, and pinch of salt. (Recipe Tip: Go easy on the salt since the packaged Cauliflower has salt added and the fish sauce is salty. A pinch really will do it, you can always add a little more salt at the end if you feel it is needed.)
  3. In a large skillet, melt 2 Tbsp Ghee over medium-high heat.
  4. Once ghee is melted, add riced Cauliflower, Carrots, and Red Bell Pepper. Cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking. (Carrots and Red Bell Peppers will still have a slight crisp texture after 10 minutes, if you prefer them to be cooked further add an additional 5 minutes to the cook time.)
  5. While vegetables are cooking, in a separate skillet melt ¼ teaspoon of Ghee, and scramble both Eggs. Once eggs are cooked break them up into smaller pieces with spatula. Set aside.
  6. After cooking vegetables in skillet for 10 minutes, add scrambled Eggs, Green Onions (reserving some for garnish if desired), and sauce mixture. Stir together and let cook for another 1-2 minutes.
  7. Remove from skillet and serve.

 

Kasandrinos Olive Oil

 

Kiwi Cucumber Mint Salsa

Kiwi Cucumber Mint SalsaGrilling is traditionally a summer time activity and it’s about that time of year. Burgers, steaks, chicken, ribs, fish, vegetables, you name it! In our house we don’t let the season dictate grill time, we grill year round. I’ve been known to grill a steak while it’s snowing and my husband will grill in the rain. There is something relaxing about the time spent outside with a cool beverage in hand, staring off into the trees, while you cook your food over the flame that is relaxing, not to mention meat tastes awesome when it’s grilled.

This kiwi cucumber mint salsa is a perfect topping for food grilled on hot summer days. Spooned over grilled fish or chicken it’s tart and refreshing. It’s even awesome on non grilling days, on top of a burrito bowl with any protein to give it a little kick depending on how much jalepeno you add.

I used Kasandrinos extra virgin olive oil in the recipe because it’s the freshest best tasting olive oil I’ve ever tasted. All olives used in their oil are sustainably sourced from olive orchards in Laconia Greece and are pressed within 48 hours of harvest via cold extraction. If you check the harvest date on other olive oils on the store shelf, they were harvested months if not a year or more before it gets to you to purchase. The difference with Kasandrinos is it’s harvested, pressed, and then ready to purchase in a short amount of time. Which makes all the difference in taste, freshness, and quality. It’s pretty amazing stuff. I use it on salads with an acid such as lemon juice and in salsas, pesto, chimichuri, to roast vegetables, homemade mayo, and so much more.

Roll out the grill, take the cover off, get some heat going, and grill up something good!

Kiwi Cucumber Mint Salsa Ingredients

Kiwi Cucumber Mint Salsa

Prep time: 

Total time: 

Serves: 3 cups

Ingredients
  • 1 pound Kiwi (approximately 4 large Kiwi's), peeled and diced
  • ½ English Cucumber, Diced
  • 3 Green Onions, thinly chopped
  • 2 Tomatillos, diced
  • ½ to 1 Jalepeno, depending on personal spice preference, seeded and diced
  • Zest of 1 Lime
  • Juice of 2 Limes
  • 1 Tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil (I prefer Kasandrinos for taste and quality)
  • 1 Tablespoon Fresh Mint, diced
  • 1 teaspoon Sea Salt
Instructions
  1. Add all ingredients to a medium sized bowl.
  2. Stir to combine.
  3. Serve and enjoy!
  4. Flavor will intensify and liquid will increase when refrigerated.

 

Instant Pot Corned Beef

Instant Pot Corned BeefOh lovely March, when you arrive so does the corned beef! The Smithsonian online magazine has an excellent article describing how corned beef evolved from salted beef made with the ash of burnt seaweed to a dish Irish American immigrants shared with Jewish immigrants. The salt cured and slow cooked meat was a way to transform a tough cut of meat into tender flavorful corned beef. Add some potatoes and cabbage, cooked in the same liquid as the corned beef, and you have an easy tasty meal. Corned beef and cabbage is especially easy to enjoy today when you cook it in an Instant Pot.

While you can brine your own beef brisket, I prefer to save time and purchase already brined brisket. Most of the corned beef available in the grocery store is gluten free, unless a malt vinegar is used in the brine (not likely). Just be sure to check the package label and ingredients to be sure. You can also purchase corned beef from your local butcher and even Costco carries a grass-fed gluten free corned beef this year.

About those potatoes? The second half of the recipe below is for cabbage, carrots, and yes potatoes to be cooked in the same liquid the corned beef was cooked in. The corned beef and the vegetables cook at different times in the Instant Pot which is why this is a two step process, the good thing is corned beef tastes great even if it isn’t super hot just from the pot so don’t worry about it getting cold while you cook the vegetables. While potatoes may not fit into your personal diet template, they fit in ours, so I’ve included them. It is okay to exclude them and just make the cabbage and carrots to serve alongside your corned beef.

Instant Pot Corned Beef and Cabbage

Rating 

Prep time: 

Cook time: 

Total time: 

Two Step Process- After cooking the Corned Beef in your Instant Pot, remove the corned beef from the pot and strain the liquid with a slotted spoon to remove any large pieces of fat and herbs. Retain liquid in pot as it will be the same liquid you use to cook the second half of the recipe- Cabbage, Carrots, and Potatoes.
Ingredients
  • 3-4 pound Corned Beef Brisket
  • 3 cups Beef Broth
  • 3 cups Water
  • 1 Shallot, peeled and roughly chopped (substitute ¼ medium onion)
  • 3 Garlic Cloves, peeled and whole
  • 15 Whole Black Peppercorns
  • 9 Whole Allspice
  • 3 Bay Leaves
  • 5 sprigs Fresh Thyme
  • 6 small to medium Red Potatoes, rinsed and cut into eighths (optional)
  • 5 Carrots, peeled and cut into 2-3 inch pieces
  • 2 Shallots, minced (substitute ½ minced onion)
  • 2 cloves Garlic, minced
  • ½ teaspoon Diamond Kosher Salt
  • 1 head green Cabbage, cut into 8 wedges
Instructions
  1. Place corned beef brisket in Instant Pot fat side up. Add beef broth, water, rough chopped shallot, 3 garlic cloves, peppercorns, allspice, bay leaves, and thyme.
  2. Place lid on Instant Pot in locked position, making sure vent is sent to "sealing". Plug in Instant Pot.
  3. Press "Manual' and "+" to increase cooking time to 60 minutes at High Pressure.
  4. After a moment the display will turn to "On" while the pot heats up and pressure increases, once the pot has warmed up the display will start counting down.
  5. When finished cooking wait to open lid until the pressure float is down on it's own, or release pressure manually by moving vent to "venting". Unplug Instant Pot.
  6. Remove Corned Beef from pot, saving liquid for cabbage, carrots, and optional potatoes. Cover corned beef with aluminum foil and set aside.
  7. Strain cooking liquid with a slotted spoon to remove fat, bay leaves, and thyme.
  8. Place optional potatoes, carrots, shallots, garlic, and salt into cooking liquid then place cabbage on top.
  9. Place lid on Instant Pot in locked position, making sure vent is sent to "sealing". Plug in Instant Pot.
  10. Press "Manual' and "+" to increase cooking time to 10 minutes at High Pressure.
  11. After a moment the display will turn to "On" while the pot heats up and pressure increases, once the pot has warmed up the display will start counting down.
  12. When finished cooking wait to open lid until the pressure float is down on it's own, or release pressure manually by moving vent to "venting". Unplug Instant Pot.
  13. Remove vegetables from Instant Pot and serve with sliced corned beef.
  14. For Slow-Cooker Variation
  15. Place all ingredients except cabbage (corned beef, beef broth, water, 3 shallots, 5 cloves garlic, peppercorns, allspice, bay leaves, thyme, optional potatoes, and carrots) in large slow-cooker (7 quart or larger), and cook on high for 4 hours.
  16. Add cabbage on top of corned beef, cook for another hour on high.

 

Instant Pot Corned Beef

 


 

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