Sugar-Free Fruit Juice Jello

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This jello was inspired by another recipe I discovered today for grape jello in a wonderful post about the many health benefits of gelatin (see post here). I just happened to have some organic grape juice in my pantry, so I went for it! I don’t normally give my children straight juice–and if I do, it is very watered down–so I cringed a little at the thought of all that concentrated sugar and almost added in some probiotic powder, but I held back. Then I smiled and took a deep breath and let my worries go, imagining what a yummy treat this would be for my kids (and myself).

Now I actually have never been a big jello fan per se, and to tell you the truth it used to appear nothing short of gross to me. Those jello salads or molds full of grapes and orange slices and mini marshmallows shimmying and shaking away in their bowl could easily turn my stomach. I always passed on those quietly if they appeared at a Thanksgiving dinner, and I shivered a little in wonderment at how anyone could eat such a thing.

But, now I know about the great benefits of eating clean, naturally sourced gelatin from grass-fed animals, and, always on the lookout for good protein sources and healthy super foods, I have been won over by gelatin!

I like a more firm jello personally, so I use a ratio of 1 tablespoon gelatin granules per cup of liquid and I find this makes a firm but satisfyingly jiggly jello. I also used grape juice, but any juice will do; heck, any flavored liquid, such as stevia-sweetened water will do the job. So use what you’ve got–but of course, don’t forget the gelatin! I like Bernard Jensen’s 100% Bovine Gelatin (available here or here) or Great Lakes kosher gelatin. (For gelatin to use in drinks, that mixes easily and doesn’t gel, I love this.)

Sugar Free Fruit Juice Jello

• 2 cups fruit juice (no sugar added)

• 2 cups filtered water

• 4 tablespoons gelatin powder (see above for sources)

• liquid stevia drops (optional)

In a large glass measuring container pour in the 2 cups of fruit juice. Sprinkle in the gelatin and stir to blend. In a medium sauce pan heat the remaining 2 cups of water until steam begins to form, but not until boiling. Turn off heat and add the juice mixture to the sauce pan and optional stevia drops; stir until gelatin is fully dissolved. Pour into a square baking dish or whatever mold you would like, and cool in the refrigerator for at least two hours or until set. Cut into squares or shapes and enjoy!

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Apricot-Ginger Coconut Crisps

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I was hungry for a tasty snack, but my cupboards were bare (well, bare of store-bought “snacks” anyway). While looking through the pantry and fridge for ideas, I spied a bag of coconut chips from the bulk bin just sitting there with nothing to do. So I looked up some “coconut chips” recipes online, got inspired, and used what I had on hand to make my own version of a crunchy chip that satisfied my sweet tooth, too.

After I made these I could not stop eating them! They have just the right crispy-crunch, just like a chip but without all the bad stuff! And the flavor is mildly sweet and yummy, not overpowering, an actually very light and delicate snack. But it’s easy to eat a whole batch in one sitting! Good thing coconut is so good for us.

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These are so versatile–eat them as-is right out of the oven (cooled), add them to cereal, yogurt or oatmeal, mix with “crispy nuts” (nuts that have been soaked overnight with sea salt and then dehydrated or baked on the lowest setting in an oven until crispy~ala Sally Fallon of Nourishing Traditions) and dried fruit for a homemade trail mix, and even trade-out ingredients or add more spices, etc.

Apricot-Ginger Coconut Crisps

• 2 cups large coconut “chips” (unsweetened, preferably organic)

• 1/4 cup dried apricots, soaked in warm, filtered water enough to cover to soften (save soak water to use in purée)
• About 1/2 inch fresh ginger, sliced (or about 1 teaspoon grated)
• 1/2 tsp cinnamon (optional)
• Dash sea salt
• Few drops stevia to taste (optional)

Soak apricots in warm water for up to an hour, or until soft. Combine all ingredients except for coconut chips in a food processor or high speed blender and blend until well puréed and very smooth, adding more water by the teaspoon if necessary.

In a large bowl measure out the coconut chips. Add in the purée mixture and mix gently until well blended (I had to use my hands to get all of the coconut pieces covered), doing your best to keep the coconut pieces intact. The largest pieces are the most like “chips”!

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Next, spread the coconut mixture out on silpat- or parchment-covered baking sheets and bake in the over on 275 degrees for about 30 minutes, or until crispy. You may need to gently shake or turn the coconut pieces midway.

Alternately, to retain more of a “raw” quality you can bake these in your oven overnight on the lowest setting (mine is only 170, but best to bake at 155 degrees or less for “raw”) OR use a dehydrator. I baked mine overnight in the oven because I am prone to burn things (my memory ain’t what it used to be!), and they came out delicately, crunchily delicious!

If you would rather not use the oven or a dehydrator, these may be gently heated in a non-stick sauté pan on medium-low, turning frequently to avoid burning until they have a nice crisp.

However you decide to prepare them, I hope you enjoy this healthy snack as much as I do!

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