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New Uses for Orange Peel

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The past week I've explored using fresh orange peel in many of my clients' dishes from breakfast to dessert and it's already done wonders for their palates. Just in time for your fresh spring and summer dishes -- fresh orange zest adds the perfect touch of sweetness without added sugar to everything from oatmeal to cookies. I've created an entire week worth of unique ways to incorporate orange peel into my clients' healthy eats.

Monday

If you've eaten just a few too many treats over the weekend -- you can start fresh on Monday morning with green tea and orange peel.

Freshly peeled orange is best; use a peeler if you have one, otherwise a sharp knife will do. Once you have a piece of peel, rub the inside around the rim of the cup so with every sip you will taste the luscious orange flavor. Place the used piece into the cup of tea and enjoy the extra zest.

Tuesday

There's another office birthday party and it's your turn to bring the cake. What are you going to do? While the cakes are usually decorated with icing, try using a homemade orange peel frosting by combining orange zest with thick Greek yogurt and stevia for a sugar-free spin on the classic sugar-shock icing.

Use a grater to gather small pieces of an orange peel. Then, add warm water with a teaspoon of honey or agave nectar. Place this mixture in a spray container. Just before serving, spray the outside of the cake with your orange peel mixture. This mist creates a scrumptious smell and adds a little something extra to your cake that no one will quite be able to put their finger on!

Wednesday

Use your morning to prepare a salad dressing for your dinner atop a broccoli quinoa salad. Using a sharp knife, remove scrapings of orange peel; place these into a sealed container with a mixture of olive oil and mix well. Cover the container to keep all the fresh flavors in place in the fridge and use this sweet orange infused olive oil on your lunch and dinner salads or grilled vegetables. This also pairs well with grilled chicken, tofu and fish so you can use it again for another meal later this week.

Thursday

It's time to create a treat for the weekend ahead. Begin by finely chopping an orange peel; add it to a hunk of 70 percent dark chocolate and melt in a non-stick saucepan with two tablespoons of water over medium heat.

When the chocolate has melted, pour it onto a non-stick tray and place in the fridge. Once the chocolate has hardened, it may be removed from the fridge and cracked into bite size pieces. Dark chocolate can be quite rich so you will only need a few pieces to cure your sweet tooth for dessert. Store the remainder for future treats, or place them in small pouches to serve as fun edible gifts for friends.

Friday

Children love sweet treats after school, so I am always trying to think of healthy snacks for afternoon nibbles. Try these flavorful orange basket fruit salads. Using a sharp knife, cut an orange in half; slice around the orange peel to remove the inside of the orange. You now have a bowl made out of orange peel to put your fruit salad in.

Using the orange segments, as well as other favorite fruits such as berries, make a fruit salad and place it back inside the orange bowl. This is a fun way to present a fruit salad inside a piece of fruit! I fill up my orange bowls with blueberries, strawberries and course oranges along with passion fruit on top.

So, there you have it, an entire week worth of orange peel ideas to play with. Who would have thought that the pretty orange peel we so often discard could have so many uses.

How do you use orange zest in your cooking and baking?