Lent inspires most of us to not only pause and reflect on our spiritual life but also time to choose a simpler and healthier lifestyle – away from the sugars and fats that infiltrate our daily life. Our Convent has been scaling back this lent and doing just this. It has made us more grateful for what we have and savor the more special moments.
One of our Sisters, who spent some time in Germany, is a big fan of homemade Muesli. I got inspired to take this idea into a bread. Since one of our most visited recipes is a gluten free oat bread, I thought readers might enjoy this hearty and beautiful muesli bread which is also gluten free! Packed with fiber, dried fruits and nuts, it’s so hearty that one slice will easily take care of your morning hunger pangs. If you are on a low fat, low sugar diet, this is the recipe for you. Blessed Lent!
Fruit and Nut Muesli Bread
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease a 7-by-3-inch loaf pan with pam and dust with almond flour or lined with baking paper.
- In a large bowl, mix the almond butter and agave nectar with a handheld mixer until smooth, then blend in the eggs. In a medium bowl, combine the almond flour, arrowroot powder, salt, baking soda, and flax meal. Blend the almond flour mixture into the wet ingredients until thoroughly combined. Fold in the apricots, cranberries, pistachios, hazelnuts, sesame seeds, and sunflower seeds. Pour the batter into the loaf pan.
- Bake for 50 to 60 minutes on the bottom rack of the oven, until a knife inserted into the center of the loaf comes out clean. Let the bread cool in the pan for 1 hour, then serve.
It’s strawberry season on Cape Cod! If you take a walk around the community, you’ll see an abundance of perky little red berries peeping out from under their lazy green foliage in many of our gardens. If we can get to them before the deer and rabbits, then we are bound to have some scrumptious desserts here in the Convent, which is a rare and welcome treat!
Summer on Cape Cod usually conjures up images of days at the beach followed by ice cream and sunsets. We are fortunate to have cream from our Jersey cows, freshly picked strawberries, and a generous donation of agave nectar, so I set out to make a creamy homemade strawberry ice cream. I found just the recipe to pull all of these together. Start it the day before as it needs to chill before transferring to your ice cream maker. Enjoy this on a hot and humid summer day and you are sure to feel refreshed!
Homemade Strawberry Agave Ice Cream
- If your strawberries aren’t already pureed, do that in a Cuisinart (I used a potato masher to leave some good chunks). Add lemon juice and set aside.
- Beat eggs and egg yolk together very well. Set aside.
- In a heavy pot, heat half and half and agave nectar over med-high heat until temperature is 180 F. Stir frequently.
- Drizzle ½ cup of hot mixture into eggs, whisking briskly. Add another 1/2 cup in the same manner. (This keeps the eggs from scrambling).
- Then, drizzle egg and cream mixture back into the pot, whisking briskly.
- Turn heat down to med-low and bring to 190 F, stirring bottom constantly. To check for doneness, dip a metal spoon in the pot. Remove. Run a finger through the custard coating the spoon (like parting the 'custard sea'). If the custard stays on either side of the stripe (doesn't run in to fill the space), then it's done.
- Strain into a 2 qt. bowl and add all but 1/3 cup of the strawberry puree to this.
- Cool in an ice bath and then transfer to fridge overnight.
- Freeze according to manufacturer's instructions. When the ice cream is done, take the remaining 1/3 cup of the strawberry sauce and swirl it directly into the finished ice cream. Freeze again, if needed, before serving.