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Tropical Mango Papaya Smoothie

Summertime is by far my favorite time of year. So, its not by chance that I decided to start this blog during the summer. After all, this is the time when fruits are at their peak, making it a perfect time for this Mango Papaya Smoothie!

Mango Papaya Smoothie | Sweet & Sorrel

This smoothie brings back memories of me picking mangoes from the mango tree in the yard of my childhood home in Jamaica. And it also involves one of my mom’s favorite fruits, the papaya. It’s a bit hard to describe a papaya to someone who has never had it before. It looks like a really large Caribbean avocado (in Jamaica we call avocados “pear”). When ripe, the inside of the papaya turns a vibrant orange color, and is filled with lots of small, black seeds (don’t eat them!). A ripe Caribbean papaya is sweet, juicy, and ooh soo GOOD! And bonus, papayas are filled with Vitamin C and other antioxidants. Don’t you just love it when things that are tasty are also good for you?!If you can’t find fresh papaya, you can buy frozen papaya, which still works great in this smoothie.

Mango Papaya Smoothie | Sweet & Sorrel

Today’s smoothie recipe makes papaya and mango the star, and uses fresh ginger and vanilla extract to accentuate the natural sweetness of the fruits. For an extra kick of protein, I also mixed in some hemp seeds. I know, not the typical tropical mango smoothie ingredient, but it takes this smoothie to the next level!

With the addition of bananas and almond milk, this smoothie is dairy-free, creamy, flavorful, and filled with lots of good-for-you ingredients.Plus, it takes less than a minute to prepare! Seriously guys, just throw all the ingredients into your blender, blend for 30 sec to 1 minute depending on your blender, and that’s it! Instant breakfast or snack (or lunch, or dinner — I don’t judge).

 

Mango Papaya Smoothie | Sweet & Sorrel

Go ahead and give this smoothie a try, you won’t regret it. Be sure to tag #SweetandSorrel!

Mango Papaya Smoothie | Sweet & Sorrel

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 large ripe mango, peeled and cut into chunks
  • 2 cups ripe papaya, peeled and cut into chunks
  • 1 frozen ripe banana (optional)
  • 2 tsp peeled fresh ginger
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 cups unsweetened almond milk (or milk of your choice)
  • 2 tsp hemp seeds

DIRECTIONS

  1. Peel the mango and papaya and cut into large chunks. Store in the freezer over night.
  2. In a blender, combine frozen mango and papaya with the frozen banana (if desired), milk, fresh ginger, vanilla extract, and hemp seeds. Blend on high for 30 seconds to a minute, until smooth. Then drink and be merry!

*Note: you can leave the bananas out of this smoothie, it just won’t be as creamy.

Makes 2 servings

Grilled Jerk Shrimp Skewers

Hi, and welcome to the first post on Sweet & Sorrel!

I thought a lot about what I wanted to prepare for the very first dish on Sweet & Sorrel, and behold! Grilled Jerk Shrimp Skewers. This dish is worthy of being the first recipe to be featured on the blog because it’s delicious, healthy, full of flavors from the Caribbean, and only takes about 15 minutes to prepare!

Grilled Jerk Shrimp Skewers | Sweet & Sorrel

Now you might be thinking to yourself, Danielle, a jerk recipe? How mainstream! While it’s true that “jerk” foods are now common outside of the Caribbean (think jerk chicken, jerk pork etc), few people actually understand what jerk seasoning is or know how to prepare it from scratch.

Jerk seasoning is a flavorful, robust, seasoning common in Jamaican cuisine. Jerk seasoning comes in two main forms: a dry jerk rub, or a wet marinade. The dry rub is usually for things like pork, while the wet rub is used to both as a seasoning and a garnish that is brushed on top of prepared meats. Today, I’ll show you how to make a wet jerk marinade to go with our shrimp.

Ok, so now that you know generally what jerk seasoning is, your next thought is probably how “how do I make a jerk marinade?” Its simple! A wet jerk marinade takes only a few minutes to make and uses ingredients like fresh ginger, thyme, garlic, and less common ingredients like “scotch bonnet” (the Jamaican name for a habanero or very spicy pepper) and pimento (dried all spice).

The ingredients are blended together to create a sweet, tangy sauce that has a distinct Caribbean flavor. I mean, just look at this beauty! TASTY!

Grilled Jerk Shrimp Skewers | Sweet & Sorrel

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 Let’s recap.  Grilled Jerk Shrimp Skewers. Make a quick marinade by blending hot peppers, garlic, green onions, all spice, and seasonings together, then leave the shrimp in the marinade for a few hours, or preferably overnight. When you’re ready to cook, just remove the shrimp from the marinade and place the shrimps onto wooden skewers that have been soaked in water to prevent them from burning. Then, grill the skewers on medium high heat until the shrimps turn pink, as they will continue to cook once they are removed from the heat. Once the skewers are off the grill, brush with more of the marinade and DONE.

EASY.

DELICIOUS.

HEALTHY.

You can serve these grilled jerk shrimp skewers on top of a salad, or pair them with some coconut rice (maybe even coconut cauliflower rice?!). The possibilities are endless.

Grilled Jerk Shrimp Skewers | Sweet & Sorrel

If you try this dish, please be sure to tag #SweetandSorrel! And leave a comment below, I’d love to hear from you. Enjoy!
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INGREDIENTS

For the shrimp

  • 2 lbs shrimp, peeled and de-vained
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • bunch cilantro, for garnish

For the jerk marinade

  • 1 habanero (scotch bonnet) pepper, finely chopped and seeds removed
  • 1 stalk green onions (scallion), finely chopped
  • 10 balls, dried all spice (pimento), crushed
  • 1 small cooking tomato, roughly chopped
  • 1 tsp freshly grated ginger
  • 2 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 3 springs fresh thyme
  • 1 tsp brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • juice of 1 small lime
  • 2 tbsp canola oil
  • salt and pepper, to taste

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Marinade: add all of the ingredients for the marinade into a food processor and pulse, being careful not to over process. The mixture should be thick and chunky.
  2. In a medium bowl, pour 3/4th of the jerk marinade over the shrimp. Toss to coat the shrimp with the marinade and let the mixture sit in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour, or preferably overnight.
  3. When you are ready to prepare the skewers, preheat your grill to medium high.  Remove the shrimp from the marinade and put 4 shrimp on each skewer. (Tip: soak the skewers in water for 10 minutes to prevent them from burning).
  4. Brush the grill with olive oil. Grill the shrimp for 1-2 minutes on each side, or until they become pink. The shrimp will continue to cook once removed from the grill.
  5. Brush each skewer with the reserve marinade, garnish with cilantro and enjoy!

Makes 4 servings

Skillet Jerk Salmon

Hi all,

This Skillet Jerk Salmon is perfect for anyone who wants to make a memorable dish for their special someone this Mother’s Day.  This recipe is quick, easy, and super flavorful, and the best part is it only requires a few ingredients and comes together in one handy skillet.

Skillet Jerk Salmon | Sweet & Sorrel

Happy Mother’s Day to all the moms out there! Whether you’re a mom who doesn’t want to be in the kitchen all day today (or any day!), or someone who wants to surprise a mom in their life but has no clue what to do in the kitchen, this recipe is for you.

Jerk chicken is almost synonymous with Jamaican food, but chicken isn’t the only thing that tastes good jerked. Saying “jerked” sounds kind of silly, but I think it works! Anyway, seafood is my favorite kind of protein to jerk, because it adds so much flavor. Salmon is especially delicious when jerked, since salmon has a lot of healthy fats and really soaks up the jerk seasoning.

Typically, I like to cook jerk salmon on a grill, but I think skillet jerk salmon tastes just as good! Plus, when you cook salmon in the skillet, it’s much easier to handle and makes less of a mess. After the salmon marinates in the wet jerk seasoning over night, you just sear the salmon in a well oiled skillet on both sides until cooked. I like cooking salmon with the skin on because it adds a ton of great flavor, but you can cook your salmon without the skin if you’d like.

Skillet Jerk Salmon | Sweet & Sorrel

After the salmon cooks, remove it from the pan and add the reserve salmon seasonings to the pot. I sautéed the seasonings and added some cooked brown rice to the skillet so that the rice could crisp up. Then serve it all together and you have a whole meal in less than 30 minutes.

I’m sure there’ll be many more jerk recipes on the blog in the future, but I’m already claiming this one as one of my favorites. Try it out and let me know what you think!

P.S. – I was experimenting with a spinach pesto, which you can see in some of the photos. Gotta test multiple things at once lol. Stay tuned to see how I use it!Skillet Jerk Salmon | Sweet & Sorrel

Ingredients

  • 4 salmon filets
  • 2 cups cooked brown rice
  • 2 tbsp canola oil (or other high heat oil)

Wet Jerk Marinade

  • 1 habanero (scotch bonnet) pepper, finely chopped and seeds removed
  • 1 stalk green onions (scallion), finely chopped
  • 10 balls, dried all spice (pimento), crushed
  • 1 small cooking tomato, roughly chopped
  • 1 tsp freshly grated ginger
  • 2 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 3 springs fresh thyme
  • 1 tsp brown sugar
  • 1 tsp browning
  • 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • juice of 1 small lime
  • 2 tbsp canola oil
  • salt and pepper, to taste

Directions

  1. Wet Jerk Marinade: add all of the ingredients for the marinade into a food processor and pulse, being careful not to over process. The mixture should form a thick paste.
  2. Season the salmon filets with the wet jerk seasoning. Add chopped onions, green onions, and tomatoes and place in the fridge overnight to marinate.
  3. Heat oil in a large cast iron skillet over medium high heat. Add salmon filets, skin side down, to the skillet and let it sear until the skin gets crispy, about 3-4 minutes (depending on the size of your filet). Gently flip over and cook for another 1-2 minutes. Remove salmon from skillet.
  4. Add the reserve onion and tomatoes from your seasoning to the skillet and cook for 1-2 minutes. Stir until the vegetables are coated with the jerk seasoning from the bottom of the skillet. Add cooked brown rice and sauté until rice becomes crispy. Add skillet back to the pot and serve immediately for a one pot meal.
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Baked Cinnamon Sugar Yucca

Happy Sunday!

I’ve got something a little different for you all today: Baked Cinnamon Sugar Yucca! It’s like fried yucca, but better because it’s baked, has cinnamon sugar all over, and is oh so GOOOD. Read on to learn how I make it.

Baked Cinnamon Sugar Yucca | Sweet & Sorrel

For some reason I’ve been craving sweet food lately, which is a problem because Caribbean food is often pretty savory. My solution? Turn savory into sweet. It took a little experimenting, but I think I’ve found the perfect savory ingredient to make sweet: yucca.

Baked Cinnamon Sugar Yucca | Sweet & Sorrel

Yucca, or cassava, is a starchy root vegetable, similar to a yam. You can grind it to make cassava flour, pound it out to make bammy, or dice it up and make fries. I made these sweet yucca fries by cubing some peeled yucca and cooking in boiling water for a bit. Then, cut the partially cooked yucca into 1/4 inch slices, coat them with oil, and bake them until they become gold and delicious. Drizzle with a quick homemade cinnamon sugar mixture while the fries are still warm, and that’s it.

Baked Cinnamon Sugar Yucca | Sweet & Sorrel

Best. Yucca. Ever! Seriously, I doubt you’ll ever want to eat plain yucca ever again.

 

Baked Cinnamon Sugar Yucca | Sweet & Sorrel

Go make these now! You won’t regret it.

Ingredients

  • 3 cups fresh or frozen yucca, peeled
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/4 cup organic cane sugar
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • salt, to taste

Directions

  1. Fill a medium pot with water and bring to a boil. Salt the water and add the  yucca. Boil uncovered on medium high heat for 10-15 minutes, until yucca is tender but not completely cooked (if you poke it with a fork, the fork shouldn’t go all the way through).
  2. Preheat your oven to 450 degrees. Line a baking tray with parchment paper and set aside.
  3. Remove yucca from the stove and cut into 1/4 wide wedges. Coat with olive oil and line on parchment paper. Bake on one side for 10-15 minutes, then flip and bake on the other side for another 10-15 minutes, until yucca is golden brown.
  4. In a large bowl, combine sugar and cinnamon. Coat the yucca fries in the cinnamon sugar mixture and serve immediately.

Orange Mango Green Smoothie

Hi all,

This Orange Mango Green Smoothie is the perfect way to sneak some healthiness into your morning.

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Healthiness? Yup, it’s a thing. And it’s especially important as the weather gets warmer outside. I don’t know what it is about warm weather, but it makes me want to eat all the things I know aren’t the best for me — ice cream….. barbecue ANYTHING… more ice cream.

But I recently came up with a theory: if I’m able to get some of the stuff that’s good for my body early in the day, I’m less likely to crave the not so good stuff. Sounds plausible, right?

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So here goes! This 5-minute smoothie is a super easy way to sneak in some greens and fruits, while at the same time filling me up and giving me energy throughout the day. For the liquid, I used the juice from a few freshly squeezed oranges, as well as some fresh coconut water. Then, it’s all about the fruits. Here, I used bananas, green apples, and mangoes. Finally, because green is the universal color for healthiness (no kidding!), I blended in a handful of spinach. And that’s it!

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The coconut water, oranges, bananas, and mangoes are obviously typical Caribbean ingredients, but they are also very easy to find in your local supermarket.

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P.S. For an extra dose of healthiness, I love to top my smoothie with a mixture of hemp seeds, chia seeds, and flax seeds. It’s an easy way to boost the flavor and benefits of a smoothie. Plus, it’s delicious!

Give this smoothie a try and let me know what you think 🙂

Ingredients

  • 2 ripe bananas, frozen and cubed
  • juice of 3 large naval oranges
  • 1 cup coconut water, plus more as needed
  • 1 cup frozen mangoes, cubed
  • 2 cups fresh spinach
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon

*makes 4 large glasses

Directions

  1. Combine all the smoothie ingredients in a blend and blend on high until smooth. Top with your choice of hemp seeds, chia seeds, or flax seeds. Serve immediately.

Spiced Moroccan Cous Cous

Well hello there!

Today I’m sharing a Spiced Moroccan Cous Cous recipe that is sure to be a staple meal prep option. This dish boasts exotic flavors and unique North-African ingredients, but best of all, it’s easy to make and tastes delicious! Read on to learn how to make this dish ASAP!

Spiced Moroccan Cous Cous | Sweet & Sorrel

It’s been so long since I’ve ventured onto the blog 😦 These past few months have been so hectic and I haven’t had many opportunities to come up with new recipes because I’ve been traveling so much. But, the benefit of all that travel has been my exposure to food from many different continents. In particular, I’ve become really inspired by foods from North and East Africa. Hence today’s recipe, which draws from a recent trip I took to Morocco.

Spiced Moroccan Cous Cous | Sweet & Sorrel

While I was in Morocco, I had many meals that were prepared with simple ingredients and lots of love. That’s exactly what I tried to recreate with this dish. The stars of this dish are turmeric and dried fruit and nuts (specifically apricots, raisins, and almonds). This recipe comes together in no time. The cous cous is easy to prepare, all you have to do is bring some water to a boil, add the cous cous to the water and let it sit covered until the cous cous puffs up.

Spiced Moroccan Cous Cous | Sweet & Sorrel

Once the cous cous is cooked, assemble the dish by mixing in the turmeric, dried fruits and nuts, and additional seasoning. Then drizzle with olive oil, top with some fresh micro greens, and you have a delicious dish that took less than 15 minutes to prepare.

So what are you waiting for?! Give this dish a try now and let me know your thoughts by commenting below. You can also comment on Instagram using the hashtag #SweetandSorrel.

Spiced Moroccan Cous Cous | Sweet & Sorrel

Ingredients

  • 1 cup plain cous cous
  • 5-6 grape tomatoes, diced
  • 1 small bell pepper, diced
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • dried apricots and raisins, chopped
  • roasted almonds, chopped
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • microgreens (optional)

 Directions

  1. In a saute pan, bring water to a boil over medium-high heat. Add cous cous and salt and cover. Turn off the heat, but leave the pot on the stove. Let the residual heat cook the cous cous until all the water is absorbed, approximately 5-10 minutes. Use a fork to fluff the cous cous and set aside.
  2. While the cous cous is cooking, sautee vegetables in olive oil in a skillet until al dente. Set aside and allow the vegetables to cool.
  3. In a large bowl, combine cous cous, chopped fruits and nuts, and sauteed vegetables. Add turmeric and toss until combined. Add salt and pepper to taste, then drizzle with olive oil and serve warm.

Red Bean Dip

Happy Super Bowl Sunday!

Its game day, so we need a game-day worthy recipe, and this 5 minute Red Bean Dip is the perfect choice!

Red Bean Dip | Sweet & Sorrel

Alright guys, I’ll keep it short today. I’m sure many of you have had a Mexican-style bean dip before, whether it was a cheesy re-fried bean dip or a black bean dip.

Today’s dip is a bit different because it’s made from red kidney beans, which are often used in Caribbean cooking (think rice and peas). This bean dip also has only 5 ingredients (minus salt and pepper), takes less than 5 minutes to make, ANNND its vegan. BAM! Who said game day couldn’t be good for you?!

Red Bean Dip | Sweet & Sorrel

This recipe is so easy and healthy, and its perfect for a crowd! You can cook it on the stove or just throw it into a slow cooker and forget about it.

Give this dip a try and let me know your thoughts in the comments below. Also be sure to tag #SweetandSorrel.

Ingredients

  • 1 15.5 oz can red kidney beans (do not drain!)
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1 tbsp paprika
  • 1 tbsp dried basil
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • salt and pepper, to taste

Directions

  1. Combine un-drained red kidney beans, garlic, paprika, basil, olive oil, and salt and pepper in a food processor. Pulse to form a smooth paste.
  2. Transfer the dip to a stove top (or slow cooker) and cook on low until the dip heats through. Be careful not to overcook as the dip will dry out.
  3. Spread the dip out on a plate and garnish with some more olive oil, salt and pepper. Serve with your favorite chips and enjoy!

 

Breakfast Oatmeal Cookies

Hey all!

These vegan Breakfast Oatmeal Cookies are hands down my favorite thing to eat right now. They’re  so easy to make and are packed with lots of nutrients. Who said that an on the go breakfast can’t be both both delicious and healthy?!

Breakfast Oatmeal Cookies | Sweet & Sorrel

If you know one things about Jamaicans, it’s that we take breakfast seriously. Breakfast is usually a heavy meal of yams, dumplings, bananas, and some kind of meat. It makes sense, since the idea is that breakfast is supposed to set you up for the long day ahead. But as much as I love a traditional Jamaican breakfast, it just doesn’t work with my schedule. I’m often running out the door in the mornings to try to make it to work and don’t have time to make a full meal, yet alone sit down to eat it!

Breakfast Oatmeal Cookies | Sweet & Sorrel

That’s why these oatmeal cookies are the perfect solution. These cookies are easy to make ahead of time, and can last me the whole week. Even better, because they are homemade, I can customize the ingredients. That means I can add all the good stuff, and none of the bad (ok, maybe just a tiny bit of the bad 🙂 )

Breakfast Oatmeal Cookies | Sweet & Sorrel

While I am not vegan (cheese is just too tempting!), I generally don’t have dairy or eggs in my house. These cookies use a flax egg, which gives you a generous amount of protein. They also feature rolled oats (you can use the gluten free kind), shredded coconut, pumpkin seeds, and cranberries.

Breakfast Oatmeal Cookies | Sweet & Sorrel

Once baked, these cookies can be stored in an airtight container for up to a week and can be enjoyed on the go.

Breakfast Oatmeal Cookies | Sweet & Sorrel

Give this recipe a try and let me know what you think. In the meantime, I’ll go back to stuffing my face with these cookies. Nothing to see here….

Ingredients

  • 1 cups traditional rolled oats
  • 1 cup oat flour*
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 flax egg **
  • 2 tbsp agave
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup shredded coconut (optional)
  • 1/4 cup pumpkin seeds (optional)
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries (optional)

makes 6 cookies

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Set aside.
  2. In a medium sized bowl, combine your dry ingredients: oats, oat flour, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In another bowl, whisk together the flax egg, vanilla, agave, and oil. The mixture should resemble caramel. Slowly fold the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients, making sure everything is evenly coated. Then fold in your optional mix ins.
  3. Using a greased ice cream/cookie scoop, portion out the batter into equal sized cookies. Press down on the cookies slightly to give them their shape.
  4. Bake at 350 degrees for 12 minutes. If you’re patient enough, turn off the oven and let the cookies sit in the warm oven for another 5 minutes after baking for additional color. Then enjoy!

* To make the oat flour, simply pulse oats in a food processor until fine.

** To make a flax egg, mix 1 tbsp ground flaxseed and 2 tbsp water. Let the mixture sit for 10-12 minutes, or until thick.

 

Haitian Pumpkin Soup Joumou

Happy Sunday!

This vegetarian Haitian Pumpkin Soup Joumou is a meatless take on a famous dish, and it’s sure to please any crowd. Usually reserved for special occasions, this heart soup is the perfect substitute for a game-day chili (because, what’s a more special occasion than game day?!).

Soup Joumou | Sweet & Sorrel

Soup Joumou is typically served on January 1, as a way to ring in the New Year and Haiti’s independence. It’s believed that Haitian slaves were not allowed to have this soup, which was instead reserved for white French slave owners. When Haiti gained it’s independence, freed Haitians celebrated by eating the soup they were once forbidden to enjoy.

Soup Joumou | Sweet & Sorrel

With a story like that, it’s impossible not to love this delicious soup. Traditionally made from calabaza pumpkin (i.e. Caribbean squash), potatoes, and a flavorful stock, this soup is often served with beef and pasta. (Note: you can replace the pumpkin with butternut squash). My version of soup joumou keeps many of the traditional ingredients, but removes the meat. But trust me, it’s not missing out on any flavor!

Soup Joumou | Sweet & Sorrel

While I have never been to Haiti, I would love to visit one day. In the mean time, I’ll have to make do with cooking (and eating!) food from the island. Given how delicious this soup is, I don’t think I’ll have any issues.

Soup Joumou | Sweet & Sorrel

If you have any additional recipes from Haiti (or anywhere else for that matter) that you’d like to see featured in the blog, let me know in the comments below! Can’t wait to hear from you.

Ingredients

  • 4 cups low sodium vegetable broth
  • 2 cups cut and peeled butternut squash (or calabaza pumpkin)
  • 2 small potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 1 bouillon cube
  • 1 sprig of thyme
  • 1 whole scotch bonnet pepper (optional)
  • 1 cup pasta (rigatoni or spaghetti) (optional)
  • 1 stalk green onion, chopped
  • 1 small sweet onion, diced
  • 1 large carrot, diced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, finely diced
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • salt and pepper, to taste

Directions

  1. Heat olive oil in a large pot over low heat. Add onions and garlic and saute until the onions become translucent, about 2 minutes. Add vegetable broth and pumpkin to the pot, cover, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and let squash cook for 20-25 minutes, then remove from heat.
  2. Add half the squash and half of the broth to a food processor and blend until smooth. Pour the pureed pumpkin back into the pot with the reserve broth and remaining pumpkin. Add potatoes, carrots, bouillon cube, thyme, green onions, salt and pepper. If you want a spicy soup, add whole scotch bonnet pepper. Bring pot to a boil and then reduce to a simmer. Cook for 15 minutes, until the potatoes are tender, but not done.
  3. Add pasta (optional) to the soup and cook for an additional 9-11 minutes, depending on how you like your pasta. If not using pasta, allow soup to simmer until vegetables are completely cooked. Remove from heat. Serve soup with your choice of toppings and enjoy!

makes 4-6 servings

Coconut Ginger Granola

Happy Sunday!

Today’s recipe is an aromatic Homemade Coconut Ginger Granola that uses simple ingredients to create a flavorful, delicious granola that’s better for you than the store bought kind.

cocogingergranola6

I have a confession: I am a picky eater. The kind of picky eater that has to separate the food on her plate so that they don’t touch. The kind who goes out to eat and asks the waiter to explain every ingredient on the menu before telling them to basically customize my dish. Yup, it’s bad.

Being picky means I’m often unimpressed by store bought granola. They somehow always seem to have something I don’t want (i.e. raisins or cranberries). My solution: make my own! Homemade granola is so simple to make, and the best part is that you can customize it to include only the ingredients you really enjoy. It’s also great because you can cut down on the amount of sugar and fat, which is often present in store bought granola and gives granola a bad rep. Well no more.

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Today, I’ve come up with a granola recipe that includes all my favorite things: Coconut Ginger Granola. This granola is the perfect balance of savory and sweet. Plus, the scent of warm ginger, coconut, cinnamon, and vanilla will make your kitchen smell like a decadent dessert, without all the prep (or the calorie-induced guilt!).

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Ginger isn’t typically something you find in granola, but don’t knock it til you try it! Not only does ginger have a ton of health benefits (growing up, ginger was the solution to every minor ailment, from headaches to stomach cramps and colds), it also tastes delicious. This recipe uses coconut and ginger in two forms to make sure those flavors shine through. Coconut oil adds a touch of sweetness, while coconut strips gives the granola a little extra crunch. Plus, ground ginger provides a hint of spice, and the candied ginger adds additional texture.

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Basically, this is the granola of my island dreams. And it’ll be part of your dreams too once you give it a try! Make a large batch of this granola and pair it with your favorite yogurt or fruits. Or just eat it all by itself. I won’t judge.

Ingredients

  • 3 cups gluten free old fashioned oats
  • 2/3 cup raw pumpkin seeds
  • 1/2 raw almonds, chopped
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened organic coconut chips
  • 1/4 cup uncrystallized candied ginger
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup (or agave/honey)
  • 1/4 coconut oil (melted)
  • 1/3 cup dried fruit (optional)

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a large bowl, combine oats, pumpkin seeds, almonds, ground ginger, cinnamon and nutmeg. In a separate bowl, whisk together coconut oil, maple syrup, and vanilla extract. Pour wet ingredients over dry ingredients and stir to combine.
  3. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and spread granola mixture onto baking sheet in one even layer. Bake 20-25 minutes, stirring half way through.
  4. Once the granola is done baking, turn off the oven. Remove granola and stir in candied ginger and coconut strips. Return to oven for 5 minutes to let the residual heat from the oven lightly toast the coconut. Remove granola and allow it to cool completely. Store in an airtight container.

 

 

 

 

New Year Spring Rolls with Peanut Dipping Sauce

Happy 2019!

The first Sunday of the new year ushers in new beginnings, and there is no better way to start the year than with these New Year Spring Rolls with Peanut Dipping Sauce! This East-meets-West (Indies) take on fresh Vietnamese spring rolls is a bright, colorful recipe that takes only 10 minute to make and tastes amazingly delicious.

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The start of another year has inspired me to try some new things, and this dish is one of them. For one thing, this recipe is Asian inspired, a first for the blog. I liked the idea of starting the new year by trying to make food from a different part of the world, and the challenge of trying to add Caribbean flavors to an Asian dish was pretty exciting. It was also surprisingly easy as Vietnamese and Caribbean food actually overlap quite a bit! Fruits like mangoes and herbs such as mint are commonly used in both cuisines and both are featured in this recipe.

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The second new thing about this recipe is that it uses brown rice paper wrappers, which I had never tried before. They are great! To me, they have more flavor than traditional rice paper wrappers and they are also a bit stronger, making them easier to work with. All you have to do is dip the wrappers in warm water for a few seconds and it’s ready to roll! (ha, I had to).

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I enjoy spring rolls you can honestly just roll up what ever you want. Today, I decided to go with shrimp, mangoes, spinach, bell peppers, carrots, mint, and cabbage. And because every roll needs to be dipped, I made a quick peanut dipping sauce from natural peanut butter and a few additional ingredients. The dipping sauce takes seconds to make but it is a perfect compliment to these spring rolls. Even with the peanut butter, this is a pretty healthy dish. You can easily swap out the shrimp for tofu to make the recipe meat-free.

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I hope that like me, you’ll use this year to try something new. Even better, I hope you start by making these rolls! If you do, let me know what you think in the comments below, or by tagging #SweetandSorrel.

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Ingredients

For the Spring Rolls

  • 1 package Vietnamese brown rice paper wrappers (about 24 wrappers)
  • 2 lbs jumbo shrimp, cooked and chilled
  • 2 cups baby spinach
  • 1 large red bell pepper, finely diced
  • 1 large carrot, finely diced
  • 1 small purple cabbage, finely diced
  • 1 large mango, peeled and sliced thinly
  • 12 mint leaves, torn loosely

For the Peanut Dipping Sauce

  • 1/4 cup natural smooth peanut butter
  • 2 tbsp low sodium soy sauce
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp sesame seeds
  • 1 tsp sriracha (optional)
  • 1 tbsp water (plus more if needed)

Directions

  1. Fill a large mixing bowl with warm water and set aside. Working with one wrapper at a time, dip wrapper into the warm water for about 10-15 seconds. Work slowly and rotate the wrapper in order to make sure the water coats it evenly. Remove the wrapper when it becomes soft and place on a clean, damp surface.
  2. Place three pieces of shrimp in the middle of the wrapper, followed by a few pieces of spinach, carrot, mango, mint, and cabbage. Bring one end of the wrapper towards the middle of the roll, then join the opposite end and seal the sides. Repeat with remaining wrappers and filling. While you work, cover the completed rolls with a damp towel to ensure that the rolls will not dry out.
  3. To make the peanut dipping sauce, whisk together all the ingredients for the sauce in a small bowl. If you desire a thinner sauce, add more water.
  4. Serve immediately.

A Lesson from 2018… You Reap What You Sow

Happy New Year!

2019 is officially here! In the spirit of the new year, I’ve decided to do something a little different and devote this post to reflecting on 2018 and to setting an intention for the blog for 2019.

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I’m not a big fan of making new year’s resolutions because we tend not to stick to them, but I am a huge fan of being purposeful and intentional 365 days of the year. When I started Sweet & Sorrel, I intended for it to be a space for me to collect recipes and photos of all the food I enjoying making in my spare time. I had no idea what the blog would look like, or how to even start one. But I knew I wanted to learn. After lots of Googling and a many mistakes, I finally started my very first blog, but then encountered more hurdles as I tried to teach myself food photography. I started out using my iPhone to take pictures, and I did not use any software to edit my first few photos. I say all that to say that this blog has come a long way in six short months! Now that I’ve invested some time into it, I realize that the purpose of the blog has evolved. Now Sweet & Sorrel serves as my creative outlet, it’s a space for me to challenge myself and share a piece of myself with whoever decides to venture into my little corner of the web.

The biggest lesson I learned in 2018 came from my dad. Last year, he planted some soft white yam in our backyard and today, in the early morning hours of the first day of the new year, he ventured out to dig up the yam. He brought out all his tools– a rake, a pitch fork, a machete, and a trowel– and went to work. He didn’t tell anyone what he was up to, but before long, there were three huge pieces of yam on our back porch. When my dad set out to dig up the yams, he didn’t know what he was going to get because what he was digging for was buried beneath the earth. But he had faith and trusted that the care he’d given to the soil for the past 12 months would yield something special. And it did.

Lesson: You reap what you sow!

Similarly, I want this blog to yield something special this year. For me, that doesn’t look like more followers or more views, because that’s just not what drives me to make new recipes each week. Instead, I want this blog to continue to challenge me to be a better photographer, food stylist, writer/blogger, and all around human being. Many years from now, I hope to look back at the posts on this blog and see how much I’ve grown from each recipe.

In order to properly reap, I’ll need the right tools– in my case that might mean taking some food photography classes, maybe buying a higher-end camera and photo editing software, and venturing out to find lots of recipe books and great food destinations for inspiration. But it’ll also mean investing more time into the blog (and into social media… a thought that I seriously dread). I may not be able to see what’s growing underneath the surface, but like my dad, I’ll believe that my effort will yield something special. If nothing else, this year will bring new challenges and new growth, and I’m excited to see how the food I make (and eat!) for the blog will reflect that.

Here’s to a new year and a new commitment to challenging myself to take a risk and do something that I want to do, simply because it make me happy. This blog may have started on a whim, but now I’d like to see what can happen when I devote some more time and energy to it.

I hope you all tag along for the journey. Happy New Year!

~xoxo, Dani