Chocolate 3-Ways Workshop

Wednesday was a nice night for a chocolate making party. Six ladies and one young gentleman joined me in making delicious white chocolate, toasted coconut chocolate and some chocolate dessert cups with toasted coconut banana ice cream.

One of the girls came ready to cook with her own apron which made me think, I must get aprons for my customers! I’m sure everyone would appreciate it.

Desserts are not my specialty, but chocolate by far is one of the easiest desserts to show how to make. The chocolate firms up fast in the freezer. It took a full 30 minutes. Everyone seemed to enjoy both chocolates, but the white chocolate was my personal favorite.

We used honey as the sweetener for the chocolates. We were able to incorporate it into the chocolate mixture by whisking it for a full minute without it separating. Mixing honey with chocolate is like mixing oil and water. I got a tip from another blogger that said to add a little coconut flour and it worked brilliantly to help it emulsify.

We made the banana ice cream at the end. I got some surprised looks after some of them sampled the banana ice cream. It’s made with frozen bananas and does not require any sugar (and it doesn’t need it). We added some milk, vanilla and toasted coconut and it was simply delicious. “It’s a really great way to get your potassium!” one of the girls so eloquently put it. My sentiments exactly!

I always have some great conversations during these workshops especially when we’re finished cooking and we’re sampling our foods. The son of one of the girls already has an appreciation for healthy foods. He proudly told me the story of how he and his mom had made delicious oven roasted talapia the other night seasoned with Italian herbs and olive oil. His mother, who has been gluten-free and free of processed sugar for 30 years now has taught her son the importance of eating organic and healthy. I think he has a healthy future ahead of him.

It was nice to learn that two of the girls like to go to events around our area. I always enjoy finding new venues to spark the imagination and be creative. I’m hoping our workshop inspired everyone.

One of the girls won our drawing for an 8 oz. jar of Williams of Sonoma coconut oil.

It was a very sweet night!

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People Inspire

Wherever I go, whomever I meet, people inspire me to do great things personally and in my business. You see, I follow the theory that people are placed in your life at the exact time you need them. They are meant to inspire you and vice versa. From the shop owner to the server at a restaurant, if you open up a conversation, you’ll find it can unite both your worlds. There really is common ground.

In talking with people, I find that they really do want to eat healthy, know what’s in their food and buy local to support their community. They are also experiencing real issues: food intolerance, celiac disease, diabetes, etc. That’s the kinds of things that are driving me to develop classes that are healthy for almost anyone.

I’ve made connections with some really great local business owners who are providing healthy local products. Just by picking up the phone, going to a business, or emailing them, I am bridging that gap for my customers. It’s really encouraging to be amongst people who have the same healthy goals. I want to share these kinds of resources with my customers.

In my workshops, I’ve had some interesting conversations with my customers. I like to get to know their levels of awareness. It gives me the opportunity to let them in on what they might not be aware of. This is the kind of value I like providing.

After moving from California to Tennessee over a year ago, I decided early on that I would not be a wallflower. I’ve joined a few groups and have met people who are supporting me in unique ways. If there’s anything I’ve learned, you cannot replace the need for human networking. That will never go out of style.

Cauliflower Fried Rice

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I just love it when an ingredient gets replaced and comes pretty close to the original recipe. I took a childhood recipe for fried rice and replaced rice with riced cauliflower. We were going to try this last night in my Gluten-Free workshop, but were just too full from consuming the two delicious cauliflower pizzas.

This is what we had for lunch today. It was all ready to go, so I just fried it up and served it. Instead of meat, I used mushrooms.

Recipe for Cauliflower Fried Rice

Ingredients:
• 3 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil or safflower oil, divided
• 1 cup meat, optional (Chinese sausages, sliced small, shrimp, roast port ham, chicken or tofu)
• 2 eggs beaten
• 1 head cauliflower, riced (rough chop in food processor)
• 2 Tbs cooked green peas
• 1 Tbs chopped green onions
• 2 tsp soy sauce (Bragg Amino Acids is lowest in sodium)
• Salt to taste

Instructions:
Heat 1 Tbs of oil in a wok. Pour in eggs and stir fry quickly until eggs are in pieces and remove from wok. Heat the another Tbs of oil and stir fry meat about 7-10 minutes. Add peas and fry 1 minute. Remove from wok. Heat the last Tbs of oil. Fry green onions and the cauliflower rice. Mix well, add soy sauce and salt. Reduce heat and stir until rice is thoroughly heated. Add remaining ingredients and mix well.

Tuesday Night Gluten-Free Workshop

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It was a small class tonight, but it wasn’t lacking in personality or quality!

Thanks Sandi and Suzy for weathering the storm to come out and make 2 gluten-free pizzas made from cauliflower. Sound weird? Well, I just made two more people love this great tasting pizza!

I must add, not only is this pizza gluten-free, it’s a great way to get your servings of vegetables.

The cauliflower crust contains herbs and garlic and is topped with a homemade pizza sauce.

For a side, we made a beautiful spinach salad with a homemade roasted almond dressing.

Salad dressing is easy to make, budget friendly and tastes much better than store bought! In addition, you know exactly what’s in it.

Our next class in March will be on ways to impart some great flavors into your dishes by using alcohol or vinegar.