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Edible Sarasota presents The Naked South with Charlotte Abrams

Charlotte’s mission is to teach, inspire, and empower you to make small changes toward a healthier diet while enjoying all the deliciousness food has to offer. The healthy eating “rules” are always changing and everyone’s body has a different relationship with food, so The Naked South focuses on variety and moderation. No rules, no judgment, just inspired food your body will appreciate.

How The Naked South makes dinner easy, fun, and light

There are two things I’m always looking to do to make dinner fun, easy, and not too heavy: 1. Turn appetizers into meals, and 2. Make it on the grill. This recipe accomplishes both. Anyone who doesn’t despise mushrooms enjoys them stuffed. (I’ve heard those mushroom-hating people are out there, but I choose to believe that’s an urban myth, because who could truly despise mushrooms?) Stuffed things are just superior to non-stuffed things in general. Quail, pizza crusts, stockings — all benefit from adding the word stuffed. Mushrooms are no exception. These were inspired by my love for pizza and my love for not feeling how I do after I eat pizza.

Key Components:

I’m so excited to talk to you about coconut aminos. This product is truly amazing (until research comes out that it’s bad, which is always possible).  It’s the sap tapped directly out of the coconut tree and aged with sea salt, creating a sort of sweet and salty soy sauce without the soy. It’s naturally abundant in 17 amino acids (the building blocks of protein), B-vitamins, vitamin C, minerals, and a probiotic! And it tastes delicious, addictingly so. In case you’re wondering, amino acids are important because they repair and rebuild muscle tissue, help to enhance overall brain and nervous system function, and assist in boosting the immune system and physical energy levels. Find it next to the soy sauce and tamari in health food stores such as Earth Origins and Whole Foods.

Millet is an underutilized, gluten-free grain that is as versatile as it healthy. It can be soft and creamy or slightly crunchy and fluffy, depending on how you cook it. One thing that sets millet apart from other healthy grains is its particularly high content of magnesium, which research shows can lower high blood pressure and reduce the risk of heart attack.

If you are someone who doesn’t consider mushrooms a favorite food, you may want to reconsider. Mushrooms are so good for you. Most interestingly, research is finding that Portobello mushrooms provide vitamin B12, which is typically reserved for animal products and is an important vitamin to include if you’re eating more vegetarian meals. Mushrooms are amazing for immune system support and are anti-inflammatory. They’re also rich in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidant boosting phytonutrients.

Millet-Stuffed Mushrooms with Tomatoes and Mozzarella

Yield: Makes 4 mushrooms

Millet-Stuffed Mushrooms with Tomatoes and Mozzarella

Ingredients

  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 packed cup arugula, lightly chopped
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon coconut aminos
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 4 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese, cubed
  • Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 cup cooked millet (or cooked quinoa)
  • 4 large Portobello caps, gently wiped clean
  • Basil, for serving
  • Toasted rustic bread, for serving (optional)

Instructions

  1. To cook the millet: Rinse ½ cup millet thoroughly. Combine with 1 cup water and pinch salt in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil, reduce to simmer, cover and cook 15 minutes. Turn off heat, place dry paper towels under lid and let sit 5 minutes. Fluff with fork.
  2. Combine tomatoes, arugula, olive oil, coconut aminos, and garlic in a large bowl. Add cheese and season with salt and pepper. Add cooked millet (or quinoa) to tomato mixture and toss to combine.
  3. Prepare a grill for medium heat. Season mushrooms with salt and pepper. Fill each with tomato-millet mixture and carefully transfer to grill.
  4. Cover grill and cook until cheese melts, about 4 minutes. (This can also be made in an oven set to broil. Arrange mushrooms on a baking sheet and transfer to oven and cook until cheese melts.) Top with basil leaves and serve over toasted bread, if desired..
http://ediblenetwork.com/sarasota/recipes/how-the-naked-south-makes-dinner-easy-fun-and-light/

Recipe Editor Charlotte Abrams serves up weekly recipes for "inspired food your body will appreciate" in her new column. The Naked South.About The Naked South with Charlotte Abrams
Charlotte’s mission is to teach, inspire, and empower you to make small changes toward a healthier diet while enjoying all the deliciousness food has to offer. The healthy eating “rules” are always changing and everyone’s body has a different relationship with food, so The Naked South focuses on variety and moderation. No rules, no judgment, just inspired food your body will appreciate.

 

 

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Breakfast for the busy in The Naked South

Oatmeal has long been one of my favorite breakfasts. My grandma would regularly make it for me with brown sugar, whole milk, and plenty of butter. It was more like a creamy soup with a scoop of slow-cooked oatmeal drenched in salty, sweet, buttery goodness. This version is a little less indulgent, but just as tasty and comforting. Plus, like many households, mornings are busy around here. So the simpler the breakfast, the better. This soaked oat-and-chia combination is quickly stirred together the night before and popped in the fridge, making breakfast while you sleep. It couldn’t be more perfect for smoothing over hectic mornings.

Oat and Chia Porridge

Key Components

Oats are a fabulous grain for people who are trying to eliminate or reduce gluten in their diet. Even oats that aren’t labeled as “gluten-free” are better tolerated by people with gluten sensitivities. But gluten doesn’t need to be a concern to start incorporating oats into your regular diet. With a high fiber content and unique antioxidant compounds, they are particularly beneficial for heart and digestive health. Soaking the oats, as we do in this recipe, makes them even easier to digest and therefore reap all their rewards.

Chia seeds are becoming more and more popular as the news of their benefits beyond sprouting into adorable “pets” (remember the Chia Pet?) spreads. Firstly, chia is one of the few plant sources to contain all nine essential amino acids, making it a complete protein (a status typically reserved for animal products). They provide plenty of antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, and omega-3s. Like most nuts, seeds, and grains, soaking them helps release all their powers.

Overnight Oat and Chia Porridge with Mango and Coconut

Yield: Makes 1 serving

Overnight Oat and Chia Porridge with Mango and Coconut

Ingredients

  • ⅓ cup rolled oats
  • 1 tablespoon chia seeds
  • ⅔ cup almond milk (preferably homemade)
  • 1 mango, diced
  • 1-2 tablespoons coconut milk
  • 1-2 tablespoons pure maple syrup (preferably grade B)
  • 1-2 tablespoons shredded unsweetened coconut

Instructions

  1. Combine oats, chia, and almond milk in a small bowl. Cover and refrigerate overnight (8 hours).
  2. Top with mango, coconut milk, syrup, and shredded coconut to taste. Eat. Be happy.
http://ediblenetwork.com/sarasota/recipes/breakfast-for-the-busy-the-naked-south/

Recipe Editor Charlotte Abrams serves up weekly recipes for "inspired food your body will appreciate" in her new column. The Naked South.About The Naked South with Charlotte Abrams
Charlotte’s mission is to teach, inspire, and empower you to make small changes toward a healthier diet while enjoying all the deliciousness food has to offer. The healthy eating “rules” are always changing and everyone’s body has a different relationship with food, so The Naked South focuses on variety and moderation. No rules, no judgment, just inspired food your body will appreciate.

 

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It’s salad season in The Naked South

With summer officially here, it’s time to fully embrace the season of salads. Cool, refreshing, hydrating, and light, salads are the perfect food to fuel your summer activities. I created this cabbage and corn mixture to hold up well whether it’s being knocked around in a cooler, hanging out in the refrigerator for a couple days, or sitting out in the sun. It stays crisp and satisfying despite the elements, and it’s tasty too. I like to eat this salad as a cool complement to anything off the grill, or with chilled shrimp or crab mixed right in.

Cabbage and corn salad with pecans and Parmesan

Key Components

Did you know cabbage helps detoxify your body? I just learned this and have added it to the list of cabbage’s amazing health benefits, including cancer-fighting powers and tons of antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals. Eating it raw, like we are in this recipe, is the best way to get the most out of this vegetable.

Arugula, cabbage’s cousin, is the most nutritious salad green you can eat. Plus it has a robust flavor that rounds out any dish. Once again, raw is best.

Along with a delicious buttery and sweet flavor, pecans offer a lot of health benefits. Rich in fatty acids and antioxidants, pecans help keep our hearts healthy and protect against cancer. They are high in fat but make up for it by warding off hunger and protecting our skin from free radical damage.

Cabbage and Corn Salad with Pecans and Parmesan

Yield: Makes 4 servings

Cabbage and Corn Salad with Pecans and Parmesan

Ingredients

  • ½ medium head cabbage
  • 2 ears corn, cooked and cooled
  • ¾ cup very finely chopped arugula
  • 1 celery rib, finely chopped
  • ½ cup pecans, very finely chopped
  • ¼ cup finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese (see note)
  • 1½ tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, plus more if needed
  • 1½ tablespoons fresh lemon juice, plus more if needed
  • Pinch sugar
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper

Instructions

  1. Use the large holes of a box grater to shred cabbage; you should have about 2½ cups. Place shredded cabbage in a large bowl.
  2. Cut corn kernels from cob and add to cabbage. Add arugula, celery, pecans, and cheese. Toss to combine.
  3. Add oil, lemon juice, and sugar. Taste and add more oil or lemon juice as needed to moisten.
  4. Season with salt and pepper and serve.

Notes

Whenever I call for a "finely grated" ingredient, I want you to use a Microplane grater. If you don't have one, pick one up at most grocery or kitchen stores. It's a very handy tool.

http://ediblenetwork.com/sarasota/recipes/its-salad-season-in-the-naked-south/

Recipe Editor Charlotte Abrams serves up weekly recipes for "inspired food your body will appreciate" in her new column. The Naked South.About The Naked South with Charlotte Abrams
Charlotte’s mission is to teach, inspire, and empower you to make small changes toward a healthier diet while enjoying all the deliciousness food has to offer. The healthy eating “rules” are always changing and everyone’s body has a different relationship with food, so The Naked South focuses on variety and moderation. No rules, no judgment, just inspired food your body will appreciate.

 

 

 

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A sandwich for Dad from The Naked South

The first grouper reuben I ever tried was at a small, homey-type restaurant called Dominick’s in Ft. Pierce, a favorite place for my grandpa to take me when I’d come home for a visit. The fish was crispy fried, the bread was buttery, it was dripping with Russian dressing, and came topped with a mound of coleslaw. It was one of the best sandwiches I’d ever had. That was in the early 2000s. For many years after that I started custom-ordering it at restaurants that had the components on the menu, but not the actual grouper (or mahi would do) reuben.

Eventually I started seeing the sandwich on most Florida-style menus with minor variations: coleslaw or sauerkraut, Thousand Island dressing or Russian, fried fish or blackened. I’m not sure who’s responsible for the original masterpiece (I’ve heard it’s Skipper’s Smokehouse in Tampa) but I’ve gone and made my own version. Turns out, when done at home, this flavor bomb of a sandwich can be just as nutritious as it is tasty.

grouper reuben and a beer

Key Components:

Raw sauerkraut is one of the healthiest foods you can put into your stomach. Fermented foods are well-documented as being probiotic powerhouses. The healthy bacteria improves your immune system (90% of your immune function is located in your gut), improves digestion, and helps produce serotonin, making you happier too. Why raw and not canned? The high heat of the canning process may destroy a lot of the probiotics as well as other vital nutrients, so seek out raw when possible. Try Beagle Bay, Sarasota’s own organic, raw sauerkraut available at Whole Foods and Earth Origins. Adding fermented foods to your daily diet is probably the single most important thing you can do for your health.

Rye is a nutrient-dense grain with many health benefits, including regulating blood sugar, helping with weight loss, and reducing breast cancer risk. It does contain gluten, however, so if you’re avoiding gluten, this is not a grain for you. A quality rye bread is typically a mix of rye and wheat flour with caraway seeds. Most grocery store varieties use very little rye and add sugar, making it a not-so-smart choice. To keep rye bread a healthy choice, seek out a local baker who sticks with traditional methods, such as Bavarian Bread Co. in Sarasota.

Grilled Grouper Reuben

Yield: Makes 4 sandwiches

Grilled Grouper Reuben

Ingredients

    For the Russian-ish dressing:
  • ½ cup Greek yogurt (or mayonnaise/Veganaise)
  • ⅓ cup ketchup
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon prepared horseradish
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • For the sandwiches:
  • 1 cup raw sauerkraut, drained (such as Beagle Bay)
  • 1 large carrot, grated
  • 1 pound grouper, cut into 4 (4-ounce) filets
  • Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 8 slices rye bread
  • 8 slices swiss cheese
  • Olive oil, for grilling

Instructions

  1. To make the dressing, combine all ingredients in a medium bowl and whisk until thoroughly combined. Refrigerate until ready to use.
  2. To make the sandwiches, combine sauerkraut, carrot, and ¼ cup dressing in a medium bowl and mix well. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
  3. Prepare grill for medium-high heat. Season fish with salt and pepper and drizzle with oil. Transfer fish to grill and cook, turning once, until cooked through, 12–17 minutes depending on thickness of fish. You'll know it's done when juices start to surface and fish flakes easily when pierced with a knife.
  4. Add bread to grill and toast on one side.
  5. To assemble sandwiches, spread dressing on non-grilled side of each piece of bread. Top with fish, sauerkraut mixture, cheese, and top with remaining slices bread. Transfer to grill and cover to quickly melt cheese. Serve immediately.
http://ediblenetwork.com/sarasota/recipes/grilled-grouper-reuben-the-naked-south/

Recipe Editor Charlotte Abrams serves up weekly recipes for "inspired food your body will appreciate" in her new column. The Naked South.About The Naked South with Charlotte Abrams
Charlotte’s mission is to teach, inspire, and empower you to make small changes toward a healthier diet while enjoying all the deliciousness food has to offer. The healthy eating “rules” are always changing and everyone’s body has a different relationship with food, so The Naked South focuses on variety and moderation. No rules, no judgment, just inspired food your body will appreciate.

 

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Look what The Naked South brought back from vacation

I just returned from a week-long camping trip to Long Key State Park in the Florida Keys. It was heaven. I haven’t missed a summer down in the Keys for as long as I can remember. My grandparents spent a lot of time down there while I was growing up and I spent a lot of time with them, so the Keys became a second home for me, Little Torch Key in particular. When I met my husband, he had never visited the Keys before. It quickly became the first trip we planned together (and where he first told me he loved me), and now he’s just as hooked as I am. It’s magical and seedy in all the right ways. Plus, it’s famous for my two favorite things: drinking before noon and Key Lime Pie.

If you think Key Lime Pie is redundant on menus in Sarasota, it’s downright ubiquitous in the Keys. But that doesn’t stop me from ordering it whenever it’s available. It is, in case you didn’t know, the official pie of Florida. When I set out to make my own version, it had to be something I could feel good about feeding my family whenever they wanted, as is my general rule when I make sweets.

Traditionally, Key Lime Pie is made with egg yolks and sweetened condensed milk in a shortcrust pie shell. This recipe has none of those things, plus it’s frozen. Welcome to dairy-free, egg-free, cane sugar-free, and gluten-free Key Lime Pie Pops. They are awesome.

Key Components

I eat a lot of nuts — pecans, cashews, walnuts, almonds — because they’re full of vitamins, minerals, and healthy fats, and are a good source of protein. If you also eat a lot of nuts, there are two very important things you need to know that I will explain to you here in a simplified manner. First, nuts (and seeds, legumes, and grains) have a natural coating of phytic acid that protects the nut, but hurts our stomachs and prevents us from absorbing all the the nutrients they have to offer. In order to combat this, you need to soak your nuts in salted water and consume within a day or two, or dehydrate them for longer storage and to make them crispy. I don’t always do this, but I try. Second, when nuts are exposed to high temperatures, like in “dry roasting,” a lot of nutrients are diminished. So purchase raw nuts when possible and do the toasting yourself.

Avocados are a great stand-in for the eggs and dairy usually found in Key Lime Pie. They are rich, creamy, and high in healthy fats that help lower bad cholesterol. Plus they lend a pretty green hue to these pops.

Key Lime Pie Pops

Yield: Makes 8 (3-ounce) pops

Key Lime Pie Pops

Ingredients

    For the crust:
  • 1 cup chopped pecans
  • ½ cup pitted dates
  • 1 tablespoon virgin coconut oil
  • Pinch sea salt
  • For the filling:
  • 1 cup raw cashews, soaked in water overnight
  • 1 Haas avocado
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated lime zest
  • ½ cup fresh lime juice
  • ½ cup cup pure maple syrup, grade B (or raw honey), plus more if needed
  • ½ cup virgin coconut oil
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract

Instructions

    For the crust:
  1. Combine pecans, dates, coconut oil, and salt in bowl of a food processor. Pulse until finely ground. Transfer to bowl and set aside. Wipe out bowl of food processor.
  2. For the filling:
  3. Rinse and drain cashews thoroughly. Combine cashews, meat of avocado, lime zest, lime juice, maple syrup, coconut oil, and vanilla in bowl of food processor. Process until completely smooth and creamy. Taste and add more sweetener if necessary.
  4. Firmly press about 2 tablespoons crust into the bottom of each pop mold. Pour filling over top and sprinkle with additional crust.
  5. Transfer to freezer and freeze for 30 minutes. Insert popsicle sticks and freeze until firm, about 4 hours. Carefully dip bottom and sides molds in warm water to release.

Notes

Don't want to make pops? No problem! Just press the crust into little single-serving cups and pour filling over top. Refrigerate until thoroughly chilled. Serve with a spoon right out of the cup.

http://ediblenetwork.com/sarasota/recipes/4664/

Recipe Editor Charlotte Abrams serves up weekly recipes for "inspired food your body will appreciate" in her new column. The Naked South.About The Naked South with Charlotte Abrams
Charlotte’s mission is to teach, inspire, and empower you to make small changes toward a healthier diet while enjoying all the deliciousness food has to offer. The healthy eating “rules” are always changing and everyone’s body has a different relationship with food, so The Naked South focuses on variety and moderation. No rules, no judgment, just inspired food your body will appreciate.Read More

 

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Mason jars ain’t just for pickles in The Naked South

I recently shared a recipe for the perfect portable lunch on the Suncoast View: Mason Jar Salad. It was such a hit that I decided I should share it with The Naked South readers, too. I grew up eating and drinking out of Mason jars, as I’m sure a lot of you have. They are durable, reusable, and look cute, too. Using this method for building a salad in a Mason jar is great for summer beach picnics and prepping a portable lunch to take to work. Once assembled, it can even sit overnight in the fridge.

Chances are you’ve already seen this idea circulating on the Internet but have yet to try it. Now’s your chance! Feel free to swap out any ingredients you either don’t like or don’t have on hand in this Tex-Mex-inspired recipe, but don’t fool with the Chipotle-Lime Vinaigrette — it’s dynamite exactly the way it is.

Key Components

I learned something new about romaine lettuce this week: It helps fight breast cancer. Eating foods rich in folate like romaine lettuce (and black beans, too — a double-whammy in this recipe!) may reduce your risk for breast cancer by 44%.

My neighbor’s mango tree is overflowing with fruit, so they’ve been showing up in a lot of my cooking lately. Mangoes provide the antioxidant zeaxanthin, which works to protect your eyes from the sun and may help prevent macular degeneration. How appropriate for summer! Eating seasonally never ceases to prove its benefits.

The Chipotle-Lime Vinaigrette is a powerhouse of healthful ingredients. It really pays to get in the habit of making your own salad dressings. It’s so simple and a great opportunity to do something awesome for your body. Extra virgin olive oil, for example, fights cancer. But not all EVOO is created equal. Look for cold-pressed and unfiltered oils to make sure you’re getting the most benefits.

Mason Jar Salad

Yield: Makes 1 (1-quart) salad and ⅓ cup of dressing (enough for 2 Mason jar salads)

Mason Jar Salad

Ingredients

    Vinaigrette ingredients:
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon raw, local honey
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • ¼ teaspoon chipotle powder (or to taste)
  • Sea salt, to taste
  • Salad ingredients:
  • 3 tablespoons vinaigrette, divided
  • 1 tablespoon chopped scallions
  • ⅓ cup cooked black beans
  • ⅓ cup chopped orange bell pepper
  • ¼ cup chopped avocado
  • ⅓ cup halved cherry tomatoes
  • 1 cup packed chopped romaine lettuce
  • ⅓ cup chopped mango
  • 2 tablespoons pumpkin seeds

Instructions

    To make the vinaigrette:
  1. Combine all ingredients in a small Mason jar, secure lid, and shake vigorously until combined.
  2. To assemble the salad:
  3. Pour 2 tablespoons vinaigrette in bottom of a 1-quart, wide mouthed Mason jar.
  4. Top with remaining ingredients as follows: scallions, black beans, bell pepper, avocado, cherry tomatoes, lettuce, mango, pumpkin seeds.
  5. Drizzle with remaining vinaigrette. Secure lid on jar.
  6. When ready to serve, make sure lid is secure and shake and twist jar in every direction until thoroughly mixed. Eat immediately.
http://ediblenetwork.com/sarasota/recipes/mason-jar-salad-naked-south/

Recipe Editor Charlotte Abrams serves up weekly recipes for "inspired food your body will appreciate" in her new column. The Naked South.About The Naked South with Charlotte Abrams
Charlotte’s mission is to teach, inspire, and empower you to make small changes toward a healthier diet while enjoying all the deliciousness food has to offer. The healthy eating “rules” are always changing and everyone’s body has a different relationship with food, so The Naked South focuses on variety and moderation. No rules, no judgment, just inspired food your body will appreciate.

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What to grill for a long weekend in The Naked South

Whenever I contemplate becoming a sworn vegetarian, I think of shrimp. Shrimp make me happy. Maybe because my grandma (the love of my life) has a thing for them, too. And Ursula. Remember that scene in The Little Mermaid when Ursula grabs the lazy shrimp (or shrimp-looking creature anyway) that didn’t scurry away from her approaching hand and devours it? That part always made me hungry. And like many women in their 30s, The Little Mermaid and my grandma are pretty much responsible for the person I am today.

With Memorial Day weekend coming up, I figured it was time to take matters into my own tentacles (that one was for the true fans) and make a grilled dish that both my grandma and I will be more than happy to sink our teeth into. Plus, Florida peaches are still going strong, so get them while you can. I’ve been finding them at the Farmers’ Market, Whole Foods, and Detwiler’s.

Key Components: 

Herbs like cilantro and basil are time-honored for being antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, and supporting heart health. Making a chimichurri or pesto sauce is a great way to get a concentration of these healthy benefits. 

Shrimp are a surprisingly healthy choice when choosing animal proteins. Most notably is their high concentration of the antioxidant selenium, which prevents cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, and depression. Although shrimp are high in cholesterol, recent research has not concluded whether or not shrimp should be avoided because of cholesterol levels. It is known, however, that shrimp have a beneficial ratio of omega-3 to omega-6, which is important in combating obesity and high blood pressure. Eating animal proteins in moderation is always the best way to limit health concerns. To find out which shrimp are the most environmentally friendly, visit seafoodwatch.org. 

Rich in fiber, antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals, peaches are among the most beneficial fruits. Especially the skin. This can be tricky, though, as peaches are often heavily sprayed with pesticides to protect the sweet, delicate flesh from bugs. And finding organic peaches can be a challenge. I recommend seeking out a local farmer who opts not to spray their fruit. King Family Farm in Bradenton is a good resource, but not always easy to get your hands on. If you can’t find someone who doesn’t spray, then you may want to peel the skin off to minimize exposure, or scrub the peaches well to at least get the residue off the surface. Since the season is so short, I accept the pesticide risk and enjoy one of nature’s most delicious fruits. I think you should, too.  

Grilled Shrimp and Peaches with Basil Chimichurri

Yield: Makes 2 main course servings, or 4 as an appetizer or accompaniment

Grilled Shrimp and Peaches with Basil Chimichurri

Ingredients

  • ¼ cup packed basil
  • ¼ cup packed cilantro
  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil, plus more for grilling
  • 2 scallions, roughly chopped, plus more for garnish
  • 2 cloves garlic, smashed and peeled
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt, plus more for seasoning
  • 1 pound large shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 4 peaches, pitted and quartered
  • Freshly ground pepper, to taste

Instructions

  1. Combine basil, cilantro, oil, scallions, garlic, lemon juice, water, and salt in a blender. Blend until smooth. Set chimichurri aside.
  2. Heat grill to high. Thread shrimp and peaches on grill-safe skewers. Season with salt and pepper and drizzle with oil. Grill until shrimp are cooked through, about 2 minutes per side.
  3. Arrange skewers on a serving platter and drizzle with chimichurri.
http://ediblenetwork.com/sarasota/recipes/what-to-grill-for-a-long-weekend-in-the-naked-south/

Recipe Editor Charlotte Abrams serves up weekly recipes for "inspired food your body will appreciate" in her new column. The Naked South.About The Naked South with Charlotte Abrams
Charlotte’s mission is to teach, inspire, and empower you to make small changes toward a healthier diet while enjoying all the deliciousness food has to offer. The healthy eating “rules” are always changing and everyone’s body has a different relationship with food, so The Naked South focuses on variety and moderation. No rules, no judgment, just inspired food your body will appreciate.

 

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Summertime is coming soon to The Naked South

Local watermelon has arrived at the farmers’ market just in time to help us cope with the heat. The arrival of watermelon lets me know it’s time to buy a new swimsuit, because summer-like weather is quickly approaching — and the only way to beat the heat in the South is to stay wet. And to eat watermelon; see below for why.

In this week’s recipe, I put a spin on a classic summer salad pairing: watermelon and feta.  

Watermelon with Feta & Cayenne

Key Components:

When it gets hot, it’s important to stay hydrated — watermelon to the rescue! This warm weather-loving fruit is over 90% water, helping to keep us hydrated when we start sweating. It’s also high in vitamin C, phytonutrients like lycopene (awesome for heart health), and antioxidant carotenoids, making this a surprisingly anti-inflammatory and healthful fruit. This is news to me! The riper the watermelon, the healthier it is, and the best way to know if you’re getting a perfectly ripe watermelon is to trust the farmer you’re getting it from. Luckily for us, there are local farmers who can help you out with that, such as Worden Farm.

Microgreens are the baby sprouts of vegetables and herbs, usually harvested within the first two weeks of growth. Yes, they are a somewhat annoying restaurant trend, but don’t let that stop you from making them a part of your diet. They are too healthy to dismiss! Some varieties have up to 40 times the nutritional content of their fully-grown counterparts! Think of them as juiced-up superfoods.

Cayenne pepper is one of nature’s hardest-working medicines. From easing cold and flu symptoms, preventing migraines, and relieving allergies; to aiding digestion, preventing blood clots, and supporting weight loss, this spice is one worth having on hand and using often.

Watermelon with Feta and Cayenne

Yield: Makes 4 servings (2 slices per person)

Watermelon with Feta and Cayenne

Ingredients

  • 2-pound piece of watermelon, sliced into 1-inch-thick rounds
  • 3 ounces feta cheese, crumbled
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped mint
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped scallions
  • Juice and zest of ½ lemon or lime
  • Handful microgreens or sprouts
  • Cayenne pepper, to taste
  • Sea salt, optional

Instructions

  1. Cut each watermelon round into 4 triangles. (If watermelon is already quartered, simply slice into wedges.) Arrange on a serving platter.
  2. Combine feta, mint, and scallions in a small bowl. Squeeze lemon over watermelon slices.
  3. Top with feta mixture, microgreens, and a tiny pinch of cayenne. Season with salt, if necessary (the feta may provide enough salt, depending on the brand). Serve immediately.
http://ediblenetwork.com/sarasota/recipes/summertime-is-coming-soon-to-the-naked-south/

Recipe Editor Charlotte Abrams serves up weekly recipes for "inspired food your body will appreciate" in her new column. The Naked South.About The Naked South with Charlotte Abrams
Charlotte’s mission is to teach, inspire, and empower you to make small changes toward a healthier diet while enjoying all the deliciousness food has to offer. The healthy eating “rules” are always changing and everyone’s body has a different relationship with food, so The Naked South focuses on variety and moderation. No rules, no judgment, just inspired food your body will appreciate.

 

 

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How to celebrate Mom in The Naked South

I was recently asked to create the ideal brunch recipe for Sarasota moms. When I think of moms living on the Suncoast, I think of active, savvy ladies who love to get outside and take advantage of everything this gorgeous town has to offer. We also love food … really good food. And just because we want to eat really good food, it doesn’t mean we want to feel anything less than great after we’ve eaten it. That’s why I wrote this recipe for a sweet, tart, and luxurious cashew-based yogurt. Wait, did I call this yogurt? It’s really more like cheesecake, but calling it yogurt makes it sound less indulgent. Either way, it’s ridiculously good and good for you. So all you Suncoast moms, hand someone who loves you this recipe, eat a bowl, and hit the beach! Happy Mother’s Day to all you beautiful creators of the future!

Key Components:

Cashews are one of my favorite nuts. They are versatile, creamy, and have a natural umami flavor. Loaded with heart-healthy monounsaturated fats and antioxidants, these buttery beauties help keep your ticker top-notch. Plus they protect your bones, boost energy, and provide protein. Please always purchase raw nuts, as exposing nuts to extended periods of high heat (like done in most commercial roasting) destroys much of what makes them so awesome for you.

Pure maple syrup is sap extracted from certain varieties of maple trees and then boiled down to concentrate the sweetness and flavor. This is not at all the same as “pancake maple syrup,” which is often high fructose corn syrup with maple flavoring. When in doubt, read the ingredients: It should say “maple syrup” and that’s it. It’s not cheap, but it’s well worth the cost — and when used in moderation, like all sweeteners should be, it’s not cost-prohibitive. Maple syrup is one of my preferred sweeteners because it’s minimally processed, has an amazing flavor, is low in fructose (fructose is a simple sugar that when consumed in abundance can contribute to liver and heart problems), and contains a healthy dose of minerals (like iron and zinc) and antioxidants. 

I use a lot of lime in my cooking. Probably because my parents have always had a lime tree growing in their yard, so they just taste like home to me. Fortunately, they are flavor bombs that pack a healthy punch, too. Lime juice provides calcium and folate (both great for women’s health), as well as vitamin C and cancer-fighting limonoids. 

The beginning of mango season is underway and blueberries are in full swing. If you can’t find a neighborhood mango tree that’s ready for picking yet, use Florida peach instead — they are mighty sweet this year.

Lime-Cashew “Yogurt” Bowl

Yield: Makes 4 servings

Lime-Cashew “Yogurt” Bowl

Ingredients

  • 2½ cups raw cashews (soaked in water overnight)
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • ½ cup pure maple syrup, grade B
  • ¼ cup virgin coconut oil, melted
  • ½ cup fresh lime juice, plus zest for serving
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • ¼ teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 pint blueberries
  • 1 mango, sliced

Instructions

  1. Drain cashews well. Combine all ingredients in a powerful blender and blend until completely smooth and creamy, scraping down sides as necessary. This may take a few minutes, be patient. Add additional water, if needed, to get the desired consistency.
  2. Transfer mixture to a bowl and refrigerate until chilled, about 2 hours. (Keeps for several days in refrigerator.)
  3. To serve, spoon cashew yogurt into bowls and top with blueberries, mango slices, and lime zest.
http://ediblenetwork.com/sarasota/recipes/how-to-celebrate-mom-in-the-naked-south/

Recipe Editor Charlotte Abrams serves up weekly recipes for "inspired food your body will appreciate" in her new column. The Naked South.About The Naked South with Charlotte Abrams
Charlotte’s mission is to teach, inspire, and empower you to make small changes toward a healthier diet while enjoying all the deliciousness food has to offer. The healthy eating “rules” are always changing and everyone’s body has a different relationship with food, so The Naked South focuses on variety and moderation. No rules, no judgment, just inspired food your body will appreciate.

 

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The secret’s in the crust in The Naked South

Like tacos and sweet treats, pizza is a recurring item in our house. It’s adaptable, fun to eat, and comforting. I’ve been seeing alternative crust pizza recipes circulating for years — ones that avoid white flour,  gluten, or grains in general. And I’ve tried most of them with less-than-exciting results. Until now.

This cauliflower-based version is an instant favorite. Does it taste like cauliflower? Yes. Does it have the texture of a traditional pizza parlor pizza? No. Is it amazing? Yes. It’s sturdy enough to eat with your hands and the texture (because of the cheese in the dough) is chewy and satisfying. If you get past the fact that the “dough” requires the use of a food processor, then it becomes a very simple recipe, much faster and easier than a traditional homemade pizza dough. Plus, it’s wheat-free, gluten-free, grain-free, and guilt-free. With this many veggies in your pizza, what’s there to feel guilty about?! 

Cauliflower Crust Pizza

Key Components:

Cauliflower is such a gem of a vegetable. From subbing for grains in salads (see my recipe for Cauliflower Couscous) and pizza to fighting cancer, this vegetable rocks.

Cheese is heavily debated in the world of nutrition. There are many reasons why people are avoiding dairy these days: environmental and animal welfare concerns, lactose intolerance, and casein (milk protein) sensitivities, to name a few. But there are also studies that suggest the consumption of cheese has its benefits, such as stabilizing blood sugar and preventing type 2 diabetes. Either way, I currently can’t live without it. As with all animal products, quality (and sometimes moderation) is key to making it a healthy choice. Seek out cheeses made with milk from grass-fed cows, preferably organic and raw when available. If you’re concerned about a cow milk sensitivity, try cheeses made from goat and sheep’s milk. 

Almond flour is simply almonds ground into a fine meal. Almonds support heart health and are a great source of vitamins, minerals, and protein. You can find it in the alternative or gluten-free baking section of most supermarkets. 

Garbanzo bean flour is ground garbanzo beans (chickpeas). Chickpeas are one of my very favorite foods for their versatility, protein, fiber, and positive effect on blood sugar. Find this in the alternative or gluten-free baking section of most supermarkets as well.

Flaxseeds are an omega-3 and fiber powerhouse, helping to reduce your risk of heart disease, cancer, stroke, and diabetes. They also contain high amounts of lignans which have antioxidant and estrogen regulatory qualities. With a wholesome, nutty flavor, they’re perfect for baked goods, including pizza dough. Find them with the supplements or in the alternative or gluten-free baking section of most supermarkets.

I’ve gushed over arugula before in a Beet & Salmon Open-Face Sandwich recipe. In a nutshell, it’s loaded with antioxidants, the most of any other salad green. Plus it has a peppery bite that keeps me coming back for more.  The fresher, the better, so buy local when possible.

Cherry tomatoes are my favorite tomato and have always been the variety I most often purchase. So I was very pleased to discover that they are one of the most nutrient-dense of all tomatoes! In general, smaller and darker tomatoes have more lycopene and vitamin C than their relatives. Purchasing local and organic tomatoes is pretty important to preserve their nutrients and reduce exposure to toxins. Luckily, they are easy to find in our area!

Cauliflower-Crust Pizza with Tomatoes, Arugula and Squash Blossoms

Yield: Makes 1 (13-by-10-inch) pizza, about 4 servings

 Cauliflower-Crust Pizza with Tomatoes, Arugula and Squash Blossoms

Ingredients

  • 1 head cauliflower, cut into florets and roughly chopped
  • 8 ounces low-moisture mozzarella cheese, grated, divided
  • ½ cup almond flour/meal
  • ¼ cup garbanzo bean flour
  • ¼ cup ground flaxseed
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt, plus more for seasoning
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 2 cups arugula
  • 8 or so squash blossoms, petals only
  • ½ cup ricotta cheese or cubed fresh mozzarella
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Shaved Parmigiano-Reggiano, for serving
  • Handful fresh basil, for serving

Instructions

  1. Heat oven to 400°. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
  2. Combine cauliflower florets and 1 cup grated cheese in bowl of a food process. Pulse until finely chopped and wet.
  3. Transfer mixture to a large bowl. Add almond flour, garbanzo bean flour, flaxseed, garlic, salt, and eggs. Mix well until you can from a very wet ball.
  4. Press dough onto parchment-lined baking sheet into a rustic 13-by-10-inch pizza. Bake until browned and firm, about 25 minutes.
  5. To prepare squash blossoms, cut off bottom ½-inch and discard, reserving petals.
  6. Top baked crust with remaining cheese, tomatoes, arugula, and squash blossom petals. Dot with ricotta, drizzle with oil, and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  7. Return to oven until cheese is melted and browned in spots, 15–20 minutes. Garnish with shaved Parmigiano and basil and serve.

Notes

The toppings on this pizza can be changed up to suit your tastes. I designed this recipe around what's currently in season in Sarasota, but you can do whatever you want. Swap out arugula for spinach, or squash blossoms for thinly sliced zucchini -- just have fun and make it good!

http://ediblenetwork.com/sarasota/recipes/the-secrets-in-the-crust-in-the-naked-south/

Recipe Editor Charlotte Abrams serves up weekly recipes for "inspired food your body will appreciate" in her new column. The Naked South.About The Naked South with Charlotte Abrams
Charlotte’s mission is to teach, inspire, and empower you to make small changes toward a healthier diet while enjoying all the deliciousness food has to offer. The healthy eating “rules” are always changing and everyone’s body has a different relationship with food, so The Naked South focuses on variety and moderation. No rules, no judgment, just inspired food your body will appreciate.

 

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A tribute to Sarasota’s delicious diversity by The Naked South

Growing up in Florida has many advantages: year-round flip-flop wearing, citrus and tropical fruit trees growing in the backyard, airboats, and … diversity. Now, I know what you’re thinking: Florida … diverse?? Florida may have a podunk reputation, but compared to other less-cultured areas we have variety, at least where food is concerned. Especially here in Sarasota. Our beautiful beaches and no-snow guarantee attract all makes and models of foodies, some of whom bring the amazing foods of their culinary heritage — and for that I’m very grateful.

Thai food is an example of a cuisine that if I had grown up in, say, Chesterfield, Missouri (this is a dig at my husband), I may not be as familiar with the ingredients and techniques of Thai cooking — and then life wouldn’t be nearly as delicious. This recipe brings the fragrant, rich, and healthy flavors of Thai into your kitchen. And it’s ready in a snap!

Cashew-Coconut Curry Noodle Bowl 2

Key components:

Coconut milk is made by processing grated coconut meat from a mature, brown coconut with water to extract the “milk.” It is quite rich, creamy, and high in a healthy saturated fat called lauric acid. Lauric acid is healthy for you because it raises good cholesterol (HDL), which works to remove bad cholesterol from the bloodstream and helps to prevent heart disease. Plus, coconut milk tastes awesome and helps keep you satiated. 

Red curry paste can be found in the international isle of most grocery stores. It’s loaded with a concentration of amazing spices including ginger, lemongrass, and red chilis. Let me list a few of the reasons why spices = awesome: immune support, nasal decongestant, anti-bacterial, helps lower blood pressure, and rich in antioxidants. Don’t be afraid to spice up your food!

I like switching up the grains I eat and feed my family, never relying on one too often and always focusing on whole grains. Brown rice pasta is one of my family’s favorites. Quality brands are made from just brown rice and water. If your body can tolerate grains, this is a good one. It’s rich in fiber, manganese (which aids the nervous system), and selenium (which protects the colon), and is just as full of phytonutrients as vegetables and fruits. 

Cashews, like most nuts, are good for your heart and help prevent weight gain. Purchase raw cashews and do the toasting yourself. Exposing nuts to high heat can damage the healthy oils. Same goes for cashew butter: Look for raw or lightly-toasted cashew butter in order to maintain its healthful qualities.

The broccoli, carrots, zucchini, basil, and cilantro used in this recipe are in season locally and available at the Farmers’ Market.

 

Cashew-Coconut Curry Noodle Bowl

Yield: Makes 4 servings

Cashew-Coconut Curry Noodle Bowl

Ingredients

  • 1½ cups coconut milk
  • 1 cup vegetable broth
  • 1 tablespoon red curry paste
  • 3 tablespoons cashew butter
  • 1 tablespoon tamari or soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon virgin coconut oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 sprigs fresh basil, plus more for serving
  • 2 sprigs fresh cilantro, plus more for serving
  • 2 cups broccoli florets
  • 1 zucchini, thickly sliced
  • 2 carrots, cut into matchsticks
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
  • 8 ounces cooked brown rice spaghetti (or noodle of choice)
  • ½ cup cashews, lightly toasted
  • Gochugang (Korean red pepper powder) or red pepper flakes, to taste

Instructions

  1. Combine coconut milk, broth, curry paste, cashew butter, and tamari in a medium bowl. Set coconut milk mixture aside.
  2. Warm oil in a large skillet over low heat. Add garlic and cook until golden, about 2 minutes.
  3. Add coconut milk mixture, increase heat, and bring to a simmer. Add a basil, cilantro, broccoli, zucchini, and carrots.
  4. Simmer until vegetables are just tender, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in lime juice.
  5. To serve, fill bowls with noodles and top with vegetable-curry mixture. Add cashews and gochugang to taste. Garnish with herbs.
http://ediblenetwork.com/sarasota/recipes/a-tribute-to-sarasotas-delicious-diversity-by-the-naked-south/

 

Recipe Editor Charlotte Abrams serves up weekly recipes for "inspired food your body will appreciate" in her new column. The Naked South.About The Naked South with Charlotte Abrams
Charlotte’s mission is to teach, inspire, and empower you to make small changes toward a healthier diet while enjoying all the deliciousness food has to offer. The healthy eating “rules” are always changing and everyone’s body has a different relationship with food, so The Naked South focuses on variety and moderation. No rules, no judgment, just inspired food your body will appreciate.

 

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It’s taco night in The Naked South

Tacos are a regularly featured item in my house, from grilled shrimp and fish to spicy cauliflower and corn. This particular taco recipe plays into my slaw obsession. I love slaws and how simply you can change them up depending on what’s in season. Right now organic corn from Worden Farm is available at the Sarasota Farmers’ Market and it is delicious. I’m totally hooked and having a lot of fun coming up with fun ways to eat it. Such is the case with this crunchy, very simple slaw placed on top of classic guacamole and stuffed into grilled tortilla shells. It’s the latest addition to my taco repertoire.


Key Components
 

Purple (or red) cabbage is in season right now. Not only is it beautiful, but it’s awesome for you too. Cabbage is full of glucosinolates, which studies show detoxify the body and stop the growth of cancer cells. Plus, since it’s the red/purple variety, it’s a powerhouse of antioxidants — six times more than green cabbage! When eaten fresh from the market, it’s sweet, crunchy, and guaranteed to be loaded with nutrients.

I absolutely love corn. It has a bad reputation among the health-conscious for being heavily sprayed with pesticides, high in starch, and potentially genetically modified. But I’m too in love with it to let those concerns stop me from enjoying it. In fact, I think corn’s pretty great: It provides a good amount of fiber, phytonutrients, several B vitamins, and magnesium. That’s enough for me! I recommend buying organically to avoid those pesky pesticides and GMO issues. Shoot for local whenever possible, as it loses its nutrients (and flavor) rapidly once picked.

Pinto beans (and all beans) are extremely healthy. We should all be eating more beans. Firstly, they are loaded with antioxidants, even more than cauliflower or carrots. They’re also known to combat high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, obesity, and cancer. Beans are high in fiber and protein too. No, not a complete protein like eggs or meat. But when paired with a grain (like the corn and rice in this recipe) all the essential amino acids are present to form a complete protein — no meat required!

Avocados are one of my favorite foods in the whole world, rich in healthy fats that lower bad cholesterol and keep us satiated and happy. They taste great, look great, and make us feel great. I love them. I have to shamefully admit, however, that I prefer the Haas variety over the ones we grow in Florida. I’m so sorry, Florida avocado growers! Please forgive me!

Guaco Tacos with Corn, Cabbage and Bean Slaw

Yield: Makes 4 servings

Guaco Tacos with Corn, Cabbage and Bean Slaw

Ingredients

    For the slaw:
  • ½ small head purple cabbage, shredded
  • 4 ears organic corn, grilled and cut off cob
  • 1½ cups cooked pinto beans
  • Handful fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 4 scallions, finely chopped
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • For the guacamole:
  • 3 ripe avocados
  • Juice of ½ lemon
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • ½ teaspoon cumin
  • ½ cup chopped tomato
  • Sea salt
  • For taco assembly:
  • 8 sprouted corn tortillas, grilled
  • 2 cups cooked brown rice
  • Hot sauce, optional

Instructions

  1. To make slaw, combine cabbage, corn, beans, cilantro, and scallions in a large bowl. Toss with lime juice, a drizzle of oil, and season with salt and pepper. Set aside.
  2. For guacamole, mash meat of avocados with lemon juice and garlic until smooth. Stir in cumin and tomato. Season with salt.
  3. To serve tacos, fill each tortilla shell with rice and guacamole. Top with slaw and sprinkle with hot sauce, if desired.

Notes

To enhance the flavor of the brown rice, replace half of the required cooking water with vegetable broth.

http://ediblenetwork.com/sarasota/recipes/its-taco-night-in-the-naked-south/
 

Recipe Editor Charlotte Abrams serves up weekly recipes for "inspired food your body will appreciate" in her new column. The Naked South.About The Naked South with Charlotte Abrams
Charlotte’s mission is to teach, inspire, and empower you to make small changes toward a healthier diet while enjoying all the deliciousness food has to offer. The healthy eating “rules” are always changing and everyone’s body has a different relationship with food, so The Naked South focuses on variety and moderation. No rules, no judgment, just inspired food your body will appreciate.

 

 
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Indulging a whole family’s sweet tooth in The Naked South

My entire household loves sweets. Big time. Put a cookie and a piece of bacon in front of us and ask us to choose — we’ll pick the cookie every time. (Add a beer to that scenario, however, and you’ve lost my husband — he’s going for the beer.)

One of my goals when I feed my family is to provide sweet treats that are balanced with protein and fiber and use minimally-processed sweeteners. This isn’t always easy and I don’t always hit the mark, but it’s something I’m mindful of. In fact, I’m especially mindful of it when I’m failing miserably as I watch my family chow down on a piece of bakery cake at a mate’s birthday party. It happens. And in these moments I can count on my husband to give me a wry smile, wink, and say, “YOLO, baby.”

Anyway, balancing sugar with protein and fiber and choosing minimally-processed sweeteners helps the body to regulate blood sugar. This is a good thing, because extreme spikes in blood sugar can wreak havoc on your pancreas and cause hardening of the blood vessels (atherosclerosis). This can lead to a plethora of other problems that I won’t list here because they’re too much of a bummer. But with the growing number of people falling into the prediabetes category, we can all benefit from being mindful of our sugar intake.

As for this recipe, it’s so delicious. It’s by no means sugar-free, but it does use a slew of healthful ingredients to create a decadent frozen treat you can feel good about.The Naked South: bonbons
 

Key Components

Bananas have to be the most popular fruit. They’re famously a great source of potassium (fantastic for the heart), plus they release their sugars slowly into the body, helping to control blood sugar. And they taste like ice cream when frozen. Sweet. 

I’ve already talked to you about how awesome almonds are in other recipes. Same goes for almond butter, which is just almonds ground down until they release their oils and create a paste. In this recipe the almond butter provides protein and creates a nice, creamy texture. I recommend splurging on organic and raw almond butter when you can find it.

Coconut flour is made from grinding dried coconut meat. It’s gluten-free and high in fiber, protein, and healthy fats. You’ve no doubt heard all about the coconut craze and it’s still going strong. Studies show that the medium-chain fatty acids found in coconut oil provide health benefits that are nothing short of amazing, from helping to prevent heart disease and combating obesity to killing harmful bacteria and protecting from sun damage. 

Hemp hearts add another source of protein to this recipe, plus a hefty amount of essential vitamins and minerals.

Date sugar is finely ground dates. That’s it. That makes me so happy. Sure, they are still sugar, but a great, minimally-processed choice.

Bonbons

Yield: Makes about 36 (1-inch) balls

Bonbons

Ingredients

  • 2 large, ripe bananas
  • ¼ cup creamy, unsweetened almond butter
  • ¼ cup coconut flour
  • 2 tablespoons hemp hearts
  • 2 tablespoons date sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ¼ teaspoon sea salt
  • ½ cup bittersweet or semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1 tablespoon virgin coconut oil

Instructions

  1. Mash bananas with almond butter in a medium bowl, mixing well until completely smooth. Add flour, hemp, sugar, vanilla, and salt and mix until thoroughly combined.
  2. Line a small baking sheet with parchment paper. Use a small scoop (about a heaping teaspoon) to portion approximate 1-inch balls and transfer to baking sheet. Freeze balls for 10 minutes.
  3. While bonbons firm up in the freezer, prepare chocolate coating. Combine chocolate and coconut oil in a medium bowl set over a small pot of simmering water. Stir until melted and smooth.
  4. Remove bonbons from freezer and dip in chocolate, coating completely. Transfer back to parchment-lined baking sheet and return to freezer.
  5. Freeze until firm, about 1 hour. Transfer to a freezer-safe container for storage.
http://ediblenetwork.com/sarasota/recipes/indulging-a-whole-familys-sweet-tooth-in-the-naked-south/

Recipe Editor Charlotte Abrams serves up weekly recipes for "inspired food your body will appreciate" in her new column. The Naked South.About The Naked South with Charlotte Abrams
Charlotte’s mission is to teach, inspire, and empower you to make small changes toward a healthier diet while enjoying all the deliciousness food has to offer. The healthy eating “rules” are always changing and everyone’s body has a different relationship with food, so The Naked South focuses on variety and moderation. No rules, no judgment, just inspired food your body will appreciate.

 

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An addicting open-face sandwich from The Naked South

Growing up in a coastal town, I ate a lot of fresh fish as a kid. However, this town was in Florida, so salmon was not one of them. To this day I have a hard time falling in love with salmon dishes. It’s just so … salmony. Nevertheless, since salmon is incredibly good for you, I strive to make it a part of my diet, but not without a lot of flavor going on. Such is the case for this Beet & Salmon Open-Face Sandwich. It’s inspired by one of the few restaurant salmon dishes I’ve fallen in love with: the salmon and beet sandwich at Station 400 in downtown Sarasota (and out in Lakewood Ranch too). This is my version of that awesome and addicting sandwich. 

Beet and Salmon Open-Face Sandwiches  2

Key Components

I love to sing the praises of beets, especially right now while they’re in season locally. They are full of nutritional surprises, from being nicknamed a “veggie Viagra” to being chock-full of antioxidant properties (we’re talking 50 times more than a typical carrot). Plus, they get their color from a phytonutrient called betalain which is an incredible cancer fighter. As if that weren’t enough, they also contain a nitrate that reduces blood pressure and increases stamina. They do contain a good hefty amount of sugar, but they are also high in fiber and do not have a major impact on your blood sugar. The darkest ones are the healthiest and cooking them by steaming or roasting (like we are in this recipe) increases their health benefits.

Salmon gets a lot of press, so I’m sure you already know all about its reputed health benefits, mainly from the high content of omega-3 fatty acids in the forms of EPA and DHA. Cardiovascular support, mood enhancement, improved eye health, and decreased cancer risk are a few of the omega-3 benefits research supports. To best reap these rewards and minimize potential health risks and environmental hazards, it is best to purchase wild-caught salmon from Alaska, California, Oregon, or Washington, and avoid farmed salmon at this time. If you want more information about what types of salmon to purchase and why, visit SeafoodWatch.org.

Arugula, also called “rocket,” is my favorite salad green because of the punch it packs both in flavor and nutrition. It’s the highest in antioxidants than any other salad green, as well as in calcium, magnesium, folate, and vitamin E. And interestingly enough, it’s a member of the cabbage family, making it rich in those anticancer compounds. Arugula is most beneficial eaten raw, but a quick sauté won’t destroy the nutrients too badly. Fresher is better, so buy local when you can — it’s in season right now.

 

Beet & Salmon Open-Face Sandwiches

Yield: Makes 4 sandwiches

 Beet & Salmon Open-Face Sandwiches

Ingredients

  • 2 medium beets, any variety
  • 1 pound wild-caught salmon, cut into 4 filets, skin on
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 4 ounces goat cheese, room temperature
  • 4 thick slices rye bread, buttered and toasted
  • 2 cups arugula
  • Fresh dill, for serving
  • Slices of colorful raw beet or radish, for garnish (optional)

Instructions

  1. Heat oven to 400°. Wrap beets in foil, place on a baking sheet, and roast until tender, about 1 hour.
  2. Remove beets from foil and let cool slightly. Use a paper towel to remove skins from beets and thinly slice.
  3. While beets cool, prepare the salmon. Rub both sides of salmon with a little bit of oil. Season with salt and pepper. Place skin-side down in a well-seasoned cast iron skillet.
  4. Transfer to oven and roast until white fat bubbles on the surface of the fish and is slightly firm to the touch, about 15 minutes. You can carefully remove the skin before serving, or leave it on, it depends on your taste.
  5. To assemble sandwiches: Slather goat cheese onto each piece of toast, top with arugula and a roasted salmon filet. Shingle beet slices over salmon, top with plenty of dill, and serve.

Notes

I purchased my rye bread from the Bavarian Bread bakery on Tamiami Trail. My husband prefers this as a gigantic sandwich, so feel free to slap another piece of bread on top if that sounds good to you, too.

http://ediblenetwork.com/sarasota/recipes/addicting-open-face-sandwich-the-naked-south/

 Recipe Editor Charlotte Abrams serves up weekly recipes for "inspired food your body will appreciate" in her new column. The Naked South.About The Naked South with Charlotte Abrams
Charlotte’s mission is to teach, inspire, and empower you to make small changes toward a healthier diet while enjoying all the deliciousness food has to offer. The healthy eating “rules” are always changing and everyone’s body has a different relationship with food, so The Naked South focuses on variety and moderation. No rules, no judgment, just inspired food your body will appreciate.

 

 
 
 
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Chocolate for breakfast in The Naked South

I have a confession to make: In the not-too-distant past I was hooked on chocolate Carnation instant breakfast packets. They’re just so easy and sweet and chocolatey. But as I learned about nutrition and started paying attention to ingredients, I realized I can make a healthier choice without much more effort. 

Breakfast can be tricky — picky eaters, time restraints, grogginess. Despite the obstacles, my advice is to do your best to keep it healthy, because your first meal sets the tone for the entire day. This chocolate shake is my current favorite way to start the day, and my son and husband love it too. It’s easy and sweet with some powerhouse ingredients to fuel your morning.  


Key Components
   

Soaked whole almonds are one of the best foods you can eat. Why soaked? Because it makes them easier to digest and therefore better for you. Soaking almonds is so simple. Just do it. See the recipe note to learn how. Anyway, almonds are awesome — good for your heart and filling, too.

Coconut water is a natural source of electrolytes (super hydrating) and potassium, plus it tastes great.

Hemp seeds are a good source of protein. They also come loaded with vitamins and minerals that provide sustaining energy, which is nice in the morning.

Dates are mostly sugar but they also provide a hefty dose of fiber and essential minerals, making them a healthy choice for sweetening.

Cacao (or cocoa) powder is ground from the bean from which chocolate is made. In its natural state it is a powerful antioxidant that boosts energy, supports heart health, and protects our bodies from free-radical damage.

Cinnamon reduces inflammation and fights bacteria, but mostly it just tastes good.

Chocolate Breakfast Shake

Yield: Makes 1 large serving (or enough to share with a wee one)

Chocolate Breakfast Shake

Ingredients

  •  ¼ cup soaked whole almonds (preferably raw)
  • 1 cup coconut water
  • ½ cup unsweetened almond milk
  • ½ ripe banana
  • 1 tablespoon shelled hemp seeds (or hemp hearts)
  • 1 pitted large date, such as Medjool
  • 1 teaspoon cacao powder (preferably raw)
  • Pinch sea salt (preferably Celtic or Himalayan)
  • Pinch ground cinnamon
  • Handful ice cubes

Instructions

  1. Combine almonds, coconut water, almond milk, banana, hemp seeds, date, cacao, salt, and cinnamon in a powerful blender.
  2. Blend until completely smooth -- it takes about 30 seconds on high in a Vitamix.
  3. Add ice and quickly blend again to chill. Serve immediately.  

Notes

Keeping soaked almonds on hand in the refrigerator makes healthy snacking and breakfast a cinch. Simply place a couple cups of almonds in a large jar or container with a lid, cover with filtered water, and place in the fridge overnight. The almonds will soften, making them easier to digest and to blend into delicious milk and shakes. Keep stored in water in the refrigerator for up to a week or so, changing the water when you think of it.  

http://ediblenetwork.com/sarasota/recipes/chocolate-for-breakfast-in-the-naked-south/

 Recipe Editor Charlotte Abrams serves up weekly recipes for "inspired food your body will appreciate" in her new column. The Naked South.About The Naked South with Charlotte Abrams
Charlotte’s mission is to teach, inspire, and empower you to make small changes toward a healthier diet while enjoying all the deliciousness food has to offer. The healthy eating “rules” are always changing and everyone’s body has a different relationship with food, so The Naked South focuses on variety and moderation. No rules, no judgment, just inspired food your body will appreciate.

 

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