Beauty From the Inside Out!

 If you haven’t incorporated avocados into your meal plans, except for the guacamole at Mexican restaurants or Super bowl parties, now is the time to take notice!  Avocados are fruits. They grow on trees; though ripen best in a brown paper bag on your counter.  A ripe avocado has just a little give when given the gentlest of test pressure with your thumb.

To assist in your consideration are some facts, and one of my favorites, Avocado Toasts!
Avocados have it all when it comes to being healthy, even fat.  Avocados are of the healthiest fruits that can be incorporated in to your meal plan. They are a good source of vitamins A, B-complex, C, E and K, phosphorous, potassium, magnesium, copper, zinc, iron and manganese. The fruit is also a good source of protein and dietary fiber.   Additionally, Avocados are unique in that as a fruit, they do have a high amount of fat.  Good fat that is! A serving of 170 grams contains 285 calories. Fats account for about 25 grams. Most of these are monounsaturated fats, which are considered as healthy fats. 

A True Beauty from the Inside Out warrior, avocados can easily replace butter or mayonnaise on sandwiches.   Versatile, avocados can be eaten fresh or used to make a dips, smoothies, juices or purees.  I've even tried it with pasta sauce mimicking a rich creamy sauce.  It worked! 

Avocado Keeping It Real Disclosure:   As a Beauty Treatment for Skin and Hair try 1 avocado mashed with a tablespoon or so of honey, applied to clean skin and left on for 10 minutes promotes moisture and has anti-aging properties against wrinkles.  On hair, the same recipe works as a pre-poo conditioning mask, avocados bring the radiance!
Delicious and gives you the all-around glow, Avocados Rule!

 Avocado Toasts
Yield: Serves 2
The Method: The Ingredients
4 slices of rustic pumpernickel and sunflower seed bread (or any bread of your choice)
1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil
1 avocado (the one happen to be Haas)
zest and juice of ½ lemon
1 - 1 ½ teaspoons of red pepper flakes (depending on your preference for spice)
pinch of kosher salt (to taste)
1 - 2 radishes, sliced

The Madness: The Assembly
Slice and toast a thick, good-quality piece of bread.  This recipe also works well on regular sliced white or wheat bread.  If you’re using thinly sliced bread, toast it plain.  For thicker more rustic pieces of bread, drizzle bread with the olive oil, and toast it either in a heavy skillet, preheated grill pan or preheated 400 degree oven for 4 – 5 minutes.   
While your bread toasts, slice your avocado in half, remove the pit, and scoop out all of avocado flesh into a small bowl.  Add half of the lemon zest, and one good squeeze of lemon juice.  Start with a 1 teaspoon of red pepper flakes, and adjust the spiciness to your preference.  Sprinkle with salt, and mash mash mash until all ingredients are well incorporated, but your avocado still has some texture.  Taste and adjust seasonings to your flavor.   
Spread the mixture over your toasts, garnish with sliced radishes for crunch, and the remaining lemon zest.  Rejoice in devouring this!

This week on Beauty from the Inside Out, we’re going Bananas!!
Black Hair Media described concisely the health benefits of this ubiquitous tropical fruit.  Bananas contain potassium, iron, and B Vitamins (including B6 and B12).  Bananas have a great deal of health benefits for such ailments as anemia, depression, cramping, constipation and diarrhea.  Bananas also promote healthy bones, teeth, regulation of blood pressure, kidney health, improved nerve function, and stress relief. 
Further, a good banana mask for your hair works wonders on frizz.  Consider.
Today, we’re making Banana Ice Cream!  Don’t say, “Well, I don’t have an ice cream maker”, because you don’t need one!  I don’t think that calling this an ice cream is at all a misnomer, though this recipe contains no dairy.  A creaminess of the fruit’s texture takes place when blending frozen bananas.  Completely vegan, this recipe is one more reason to keep and freeze over ripened bananas.

The world of food blogging is very much in line with fashion blogging when it comes to developing trends, “hotness vs. hot mess” systematically applies across these two worlds.  The minute The Kitchen published this ‘how to’, headlines and post titles across the food blogo sphere were amazed by the tale.  Everyone made One Ingredient Banana Ice Cream!  Google it, you’ll see. However, you won’t have to; this recipe is as easy as it gets.  All you need are frozen bananas and either a food processor or a high powered blender. That’s it! I added toasted pecans and a tablespoon of peanut butter just to complicate things a little, but neither is necessary to make this recipe work.
Imagine making this for kids, or kids at heart, they’ll go Bananas!  Just make sure you make enough for sharing.  You’ll love it to!
THIS is absolutely the cleverest recipe I’ve ever made!  It’s like magic!

Absolutely BANANAS, Banana (& Peanut Butter) Ice Cream!

     Yield:  2 Servings.  Feel free to multiply this recipe out. It’s as flexible as they come.
The Method: The Ingredients

4 frozen ripe bananas, peeled and chopped
1 tablespoon of creamy peanut butter (optional)
1/3 cup of toasted pecans (optional)

The Madness: Assembly
To toast the pecans:  Place your pecans in a small dry pan on the stove under medium high heat. Stir or shake the pan occasionally for 4 minutes. The nuts will become toasted and fragrant.   Set aside to cool. 
On to the magic; I keep an arsenal of frozen bananas as thickeners and flavoring for smoothies; therefore, my bananas were frozen whole. Peel and slice the bananas into rounds.  
You can use unfrozen bananas; however, make sure to slice and freeze them until completely frozen. About 2 hours. 
Place the banana slices into your food processor. BLEND the bananas, be sure to stop and scrape down the sides of the bowl occasionally.  As the frozen mixture starts to blend, you’ll see the ice cream start to take shape.
The mix goes from a bowl of frozen bananas to banana ice cream in NO TIME!

Just as the mixture starts to resemble thick ice cream add the peanut butter.
Continue to blend to desired consistency.  

Garnish with toasted pecans, or enjoy immediately.  If your mixture is a little thin, feel free to place into the airtight freezer container to firm up just a bit.  Frozen leftovers keep well too; but, don’t worry, you won’t have any!
Let me know what you think, right here at The Lajule Chronicles, where beauty starts from the inside out!

Roasted Sweet Potato with Pecan “Candied” Compound Butter

Health and Beauty start from the inside out is what we’re dishing on Bon Appégeechee with The Lajule Chronicles. Welcome to easy additions to your meal plan that don’t sacrifice flavor, won’t stress your budget, and will be having you looking forward to healthy, beautiful, and inspirational recipes!

My passion for cooking started in my Grandmother and Mother’s kitchens and watching Julia Child on PBS.  My love of fashion started with Elsa Klensch on CNN, and my Mother never letting me leave the house without earrings or lip gloss.  My journey and history unite the two on a new website I call Bon Appégeechee. Our world and kitchens are very different places now.  Let’s dish and bring them closer, with each recipe, here on The Lajule Chronicles.  If you have any food related questions or recipes you’d like to see featured on The Lajule Chronicles, feel free to email me here at The Lajule Chronicles.   

This week, we’re talking Beauty from the Inside Out with the gorgeous Sweet Potato.
A piece of Food History and trivia for you, we’re talking Sweet Potatoes, not Yams.  Food Historian and author of the African Culinary Diaspora, Dr. Jessica Harris explains in this article for the New York Times that the mix-up of referring to sweet potatoes as yams began when African slaves in the Caribbean took to calling the local tubers nyami, the Senegalese word for "to eat."  Yams are long hairy tubers, that if you saw them in your local grocery store, you would definitely stop referring to them as the taut sometimes bronze, red, or orange skinned sweet potatoes.

As a healthy addition to your eating habits, sweet potatoes are a “Super Beauty Food”.  They are an excellent source of the following Vitamins:

Beta-carotene or vitamin A as an important antioxidant

The heart healthy Vitamin B6

Vitamin C is not only as an antioxidant, but also shown to support the growth of collagen.  Collagen is a protein known to smooth out wrinkles, giving the glow and appearance of a fuller younger appearance.

Sweet potatoes, in addition to being rich in A and C is also packed with Vitamin E. Vitamins A, C, and E are most often used as supplements in beauty creams and aids.  Each of these vitamins promotes healthy, radiant complexion and vibrant hair.

On review, it’s the Sweet potato that should be the spokesperson for cosmetic and hair care commercials.  I can see it; the glamor glitterati would hail the sweet potato as the new Chiquita Banana!

Growing up, there wasn’t a Sunday meal that didn’t include candied sweet potatoes.  Ok, maybe not when we ate spaghetti with meat sauce, but I’m sure there were always some leftovers in the refrigerator just in case.  I’ve taken candied sweet potatoes; traditionally boiled or roasted in white sugar, cinnamon, a touch of vanilla, and butter and made a dish we can eat any time or day of the week.  This roasted sweet potato is a satisfying lunch with a salad, or it can be a complimenting side to grilled or roasted meats for dinner. 

The treat of this recipe, is that we get all of the “candied” flavor and satisfaction from a dressed up compound butter that tastes just as decadent without indulging in all of the sugars and fats in the traditional version of candied sweet potato. A little goes a long way!  Bonus: You can get double duty out of the compound butter by using it on toasts, bagels, or pancakes.  It keeps well in the refrigerator for weeks.

xo, Bon Appégeechee

Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Pecan “Candied” Compound Butter

Yield: 3 servings

The Method: Ingredients for Roasted Sweet Potatoes

3 medium Sweet Potatoes
3 slices of aluminum foil
1 baking sheet
1 tablespoon of extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

The Method: Ingredients for “Candied” Pecan Compound Butter

8 ounces unsalted butter, softened
¼ cup of chopped pecans, toasted
1/8 teaspoon of cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon of nutmeg
pinch of paprika
1/2 tablespoon of molasses
1 tablespoon of brown sugar

The Madness: Assembly of Roasted Sweet Potatoes & “Candied” Pecan Compound Butter  

Preheat your oven to 350˚

Under cold water, wash your sweet potatoes.  Dry the potatoes well using a paper or clean kitchen towel. Set them aside. 

To make the compound butter, be sure to use softened butter.  Allow it to sit on a dish off it itself as you go about your day until you’re ready to mix it.

To toast the pecans:  Place your pecans in a small dry pan on the stove under medium high heat. Stir or shake the pan occasionally for 4 minutes. The nuts will become toasted and fragrant.   Set aside to cool.  We don’t want to put warm pecans into the softened butter.  Once the pecans have cooled, we’re ready to make the compound butter.

Unwrap the butter into a medium bowl.  Add cinnamon, nutmeg, paprika, molasses, and brown sugar to the butter. Mix until well combined.  Your butter will take on a rich caramel color.  Add your toasted pecans to the butter. Fold in the pecans until they are well incorporated into the butter.  Butter is made!
To complete the sweet potatoes, tear off three sheets of aluminum foil, about 5” each.  You want just enough foil to wrap around the sweet potatoes with a little overhang to make sure that you’re potatoes are securely wrapped.  Place the sheets of foil down the length of a dry baking sheet.  Place one sweet potato in the center of each piece of foil.  Using a fork, carefully poke six or so holes into each sweet potato. This allows the sweet potatoes to steam through as they roast, and the kosher salt to further season the sweet potato.  Now drizzle the tablespoon of extra virgin olive over each potato. Rub or brush the olive oil all over the sweet potatoes.  Season the outsides of each sweet potato with the kosher salt.   
Bringing up the sides of each foil packet, securely wrap each sweet potato into its own foiled package.  Place the entire baking sheet into your preheated oven.  Roast the potatoes 1 hour – 1:15.  The sweet potato is done when you can pierce a fork into the potato without resistance.  Be careful as you remove the baking sheet from the oven, and open each potato, there will be steam.  Slice down the center your potato creating a wedge for your compound butter to melt and flavor the sweet potato from the inside.

xo, Bon Appégeechee

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