Thursday, November 21, 2013

Orange-Car​damom Date Nut Bars

1425540_10152080801316663_706446332_n It’s Improv Cooking Challenge reveal day and this month for the Improv Cooking Challenge our hostess Kristen of Frugal Antics of a Harried Homemaker challenged the participating bloggers to make any recipe of their choosing using the specified ingredients of orange & cardamom.  My very first thought were of some delicious orange & cardamom Christmas cookies which I haven’t had in years, but as I’m not eating wheat, gluten, sugar or sweeteners these days, they weren’t going to happen.  But, I did have my heart set on something sweet which would fit into my current diet and after a little looking around I found this wonderful recipe for Orange-Cardamom Date Bars with a Nutty Crust

1426136_10152080801216663_979848146_n I made only one small ingredient change to better fit our diets and I simplified the process of making the bars.  The bars are delicious and sweet with no added sugar or sweeteners and the flavor of the orange and cardamom works perfectly with the flavors of the nuts and dates.  Even though there’s no cooking or baking involved, the nuts make a wonderful crunchy crust and the date puree in the center is creamy and delicious.  A wonderful little treat if you’re looking for a healthy sweet dessert or snack.

1474647_10152080801431663_582691904_n Orange-Cardamom Date Nut Bars (adapted from here)

Grease an 8-inch-square baking pan with the coconut oil.  Working over the bowl of a  food processor, peel the oranges and remove and discard all the white pith and the membranes.  Add the dates and process to a smooth puree. Scrape the puree into a bowl.  Rinse and dry the processor bowl.  Add the almonds to the empty processor bowl and process until very finely ground. Add the pecans, cinnamon and ground cardamom and pulse until the pecans are coarsely chopped. Add 1/4 cup of the date puree and pulse until the mixture holds together. Using oiled fingers, press half of the nut mixture into the prepared pan in an even layer. Spread the date puree over the crust. Crumble the remaining nut mixture evenly over the filling; pressing down to compact it. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours, until firm enough to cut.

Cut into 24 squares and serve.


My previous Improv Cooking Challenge entries:


Sunday, November 3, 2013

Lamb & Eggplant with Chiles

1395326_10152001167371663_784997146_n Does anyone else feel like the holidays are racing toward them like an out of control speeding freight train?  I just feel like in a blink of an eye 2013 will be over and I have so much left to do before that happens!  I thought that once I made it through Maisie’s birthday and the party, that life would settle down and I could find the time and return to things like blogging but alas, this and my Moments with Maisie blog have both fallen by the wayside even as fun times with Maisie and daily cooking continues.  Guess in the scheme of things, if one thing needs to be cast aside for a while, it’s better to be living and eating than reporting on it all.

I guess that it’s good that I participate in the Secret Recipe Club and the Improv Cooking Challenge, otherwise I don’t know when I would have added recipes over the past couple of months.  Sometimes it’s nice having those deadlines, just to keep myself in the game and in touch.  Anyhow, it’s Secret Recipe Club time and this month I was assigned Jenna’s Cooking Journey. I scrolled through Jenna’s blog and found it filled with hundreds of delicious sounding recipes but the one that really caught my eye was her Lamb & Eggplant with Chiles over Orzo.  I adore eggplant and it just happened to be a loss leader at the market recently and I had a package of ground lamb in the freezer, so it was kismet!  I did change Jenna’s recipe a bit, most notably, I left out the orzo and instead decided to serve the lamb and eggplant over roasted spaghetti squash, and I served it with a side of grilled sweet baby peppers.  I changed around a few items and the cooking steps but overall, I kept very close to the original recipe.  Jenna stated that her one regret when she made the dish was that she only used one chili and the dish lacked some of the heat she was hoping for.  I went in the other direction and used two red jalapenos from my garden and left the seeds in…so the dish had a really, really good kick, perfect for me but I’m sure way too hot for most so adjust those chilies accordingly.  This dish had wonderful flavor and was just all around delicious.  Thanks Jenna for a wonderful recipe.

 1381572_10152001165406663_1161039357_nLamb & Eggplant with Chiles (adapted from here)

  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil 
  • 1 onion, coarsely chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 pound ground lamb
  • 1 medium, firm eggplant, peeled and chopped into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 2 red jalapenos, sliced in half rounds (seeded for less heat)
  • 2 tablespoons fresh rosemary, minced finely 
  • 1 can (15 ounces) diced tomatoes
  • 1 cup Cheaters Chicken Soup 
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

Heat the coconut oil in a large skillet, over medium-high heat.  Add the onions and sauté until caramelized.  Add the garlic and stir until fragrant.  Add the lamb and cook until well browned, about 10 minutes, seasoning with salt and pepper.  Stir in the eggplant, jalapenos & rosemary.  Partially cover the pan and cook until the vegetables are softened, about five minutes. Stir in the tomatoes and chicken soup.  Lower the heat and simmer, partially covered, until thickened, about 5 minutes.  Serve over orzo, couscous, pasta or spaghetti squash.


My previous Secret Recipe Club Recipe Posts: 

Fijian Ceviche
Carrot & Sweet Potato Pancakes   
Chicken Burgers with Spinach & Mushrooms 
Paradise Mango Curried Shrimp 
Laura Goodenough’s Apple Coffee Cake 
Loaded Potato Soup
Lemon Almond Biscotti 
Creamy Mints 
Thai Peanut Noodles with Chicken 
Baked Buffalo Chicken Wings 
Fried Green Tomatoes 
Chicken Satay Noodle Salad 
Double Chocolate Mousse Cake 
Candied Popcorn
Fruit, Nut & Poppy Seed Chicken Salad 
Broiled Sushi 
Health(ier) Peanut Brittle 
Crunchy Fudgy Heart Bites 
Texas Chicken with Lime Butter 
Pork Belly Soup with Collard Greens 
Thin Mint Irish Coffee 
Levain Chocolate Chip Walnut Cookies 
Welsh Cakes 
Nutella Crêpes 
Cilantro Lime Chicken 
Holy Guacamole 
Home Style Chicken Curry

Secret Recipe Club
Related Posts with Thumbnails