Jamaican Flavor Dinner

To say I love Jamaican food is an understatement. I like to think at 31 years old I’ve been well exposed to a variety of cultures and cuisines and Jamaican cooking is absolutely in my top five favorites, if not top three.

Jamaican cuisine infuses flavorful spices for unique flavors you will always remember. While I haven’t been fortunate enough to visit beautiful Jamaica yet, I’ve fallen in love it and can’t wait to visit. There is so much I love about Jamaican culture but in particular is how gracious and happy the very large majority of Jamaicans I’ve met have been.

I love reggae music, I’ve rasied my two daughters listening to it from a young age and I even my husband at a dance-hall reggae club night. When I hear reggae, I instantly relax and think of beautiful blue water by my feet, the smell of the ocean, all the good things you can expect. It is also powerful, reggae lyrics are some of the saddest and most beautiful lyrics I’ve heard. Message about love, respect, inequality, change, its music that forces you to think beyond comfort zones.

Jamaican Blue Mountain Coffee is one of the tasteful, bold coffees I’ve tasted (THIS I know I am an expert in!). This all organic coffee tastes radiant in the start of your morning. Grown in the beautiful Blue Mountains of Jamaica at a very high elevation, this coffee is as rich as any I’ve tasted.

Once you are done with your cup of coffee, let’s think dinner. My two favorite meals I’ve tried (thus far) is curry chicken and jerk chicken. Both will have you eating off the plate!

I’ve been cooking this recipe or well a similar variation of it for Jamaican curry chicken for years and let me assure you it is beyond delicious! Courtesy of the New York Times!

Photo by New York Times

Try it out this weekend, pair this delicious recipe with a cold drink, some reggae tunes and you’ll thank me!

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 tablespoons allspice berries
  • 1 tablespoon thyme leaves
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 2 Scotch bonnet or habanero chiles, halved, stems removed
  • 6 scallions, roughly chopped
  • 1 tablespoon black peppercorns
  • 1 ½ teaspoons salt
  • ½ teaspoon grated nutmeg
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 2-inch piece ginger, thickly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce, optional
  •  Juice of 2 large limes (about 4 tablespoons)
  • 6 large chicken legs, leg and thigh attached

PREPARATION

  1. Put allspice, thyme, garlic, chiles, scallions, peppercorns, salt, nutmeg, cinnamon, ginger, soy sauce and lime juice in a blender or food processor and grind to a rough paste.
  2. Put chicken in a baking dish, add seasoning paste and coat chicken well, using a spoon. Cover and marinate, refrigerated, for at least 6 hours, preferably overnight.
  3. Heat oven to 350 degrees and bring chicken to room temperature. Turn chicken once more in marinade to coat well, then put baking dish in the oven, uncovered. Bake for 1 hour or until well browned and juices run clear when probed with a paring knife. Put dish under the broiler for a minute or so to char chicken slightly. Remove and serve with coconut rice, if desired.
  4. Voila!

Gluten-Free, Vegan Chocolate Pancakes Recipe

I am always on the lookout for creative “healthy” recipes. The truth is I find most “healthy” meals to taste awful. Cauliflower for dinner? No thank you.

However I do try to make a conscious effort to eat healthy and more importantly have healthy options for my two daughters Zoe and Mackenzie. I’d like to think I found the perfect balance between “most of what we eat is natural  (if that’s even possible now a days and shouldn’t all food be natural?) and “you only live once” have the ice cream and pizza because why not?

When I found this recipe for gluten-free, vegan chocolate pancakes from Organic Authority I was over the moon! No sugar and chocolate in one recipe!!

The girls and I gave it a shot last Sunday. What intrigued me the most about the recipe was using coconut flour and coconut sugar. I’ve never worked with either before and I am SO excited for the chance to replace wheat flour and sugar with a better recipients. I will warn that the price for both is on the higher end ($5ish per package) however I really do believe if you’re going to spend money on anything, nutritious food should be it.

Serves 4

Ingredients
  • ¾ cup coconut flour
  • ¼ cup coconut palm sugar
  • ¼ cup cocoa powder (or raw cacao powder)
  • 2-3 pinches sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3 tablespoons chia seeds soaked in 1 cup water
  • ¼ cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 2 cups almond milk
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • ¼ cup carob chips (optional–note most carob chips contain refined sugar)
Directions
In a large mixing bowl, add the coconut flour, coconut sugar, cocoa powder, sea salt, and baking powder. Mix until evenly combined.
In a small bowl, whisk together the chia seed mixture, applesauce, milk, and vanilla extract.
Add the wet mixture to the dry mixture slowly, whisking as you go. Once well combined, stir in the carob chips. Cover the bowl with saran wrap and let it sit in the fridge for 15-30 minutes.
Remove the batter from the refrigerator. Head a pan to medium/low heat. Once heated, lightly grease the pan with coconut oil or vegetable oil. Scoop about ¼ cup of the mixture at a time onto the pan to make one pancake. Cook each pancake for 2-3 minutes before flipping. Cook for another 2-3 minutes on the other side. Repeat for all pancakes.


My beautiful baking assistant, my daughter Mackenzie



                       Sorry no end results pictures, we were too busy eating the delicious results!