Monday, November 18, 2013
Hello, everyone! I just want to say that, yes, I am alive. Medical school does not leave me much time for anything, including the necessities like vacuuming, much less writing a blog post!
With the holidays around the corner (Thanksgiving! Christmas!), I wanted to share some links with you of some yummy things I've been eyeing. This Thanksgiving I'll be spending with my friend S and her hubby and family and friends. She's relatively new to GF and paleo-ish, so it's going to be a fun time in the kitchen making delicious food.
Thanksgiving Ideas 2013 --> just click the links below!
Start your day of food prepping and cooking with this bright and light smoothie, just be sure to add some protein so you don't crash later!
Every Thanksgiving table needs... Cranberry sauce, roasted veggies of all kinds, cauliflower garlic mashed potatoes, squash fries, some form of sweet potatoes, corn bread, corn bread, (yes two kinds is perfectly acceptable!), brussel sprouts, and green bean casserole, if that's your thing. And what about a broccoli-bacon salad? Or a light and easy spinach salad?
The main event... Want to switch it up this year? How about smoked turkey?
Who loves muffins? My mom's favorite snack and side for nearly any fall/winter holiday is these grain-free pumpkin muffins. If pumpkin muffins aren't your thing, or you want something to more easily please many different taste buds (young and old)... try these crowd-pleasing grain-free cranberry orange muffins, chocolate chips are optional!
This is my favorite pumpkin bread... Pst, it's unsweetened! ;)
Is there anyone who wants egg-nog before Christmas?
Dessert options are many...
My inner New-Englander loves any kind of grain-free apple crisp; this version has a crunchy delicious topping!
And of course there's vanilla ice cream, because apple crisp and paleo pumpkin pie always must be served with ice cream.
Cake, because it just may be someones birthday on or around Thanksgiving.
And for those of you who always need some chocolate, how about some brownies ;)
Lastly... After the main event... make some delicious grain-free waffle sandwiches using all your leftover turkey and cranberry sauce!
I hope you all have a warm and safe Thanksgiving holiday! Enjoy the time with loved ones, and don't forget to crunch some leaves if you have them :)
Saturday, September 14, 2013
Cocoa butter is one of those ingredients that I've been wanting to flirt with for a while, yet the "high" price tag has always bothered me. Recently, however, some of my blogger friends have been using cocoa butter in their recipes, effectively making me jealous (well, more so curious!), so I jumped in and got some myself.
Cocoa butter is the fat that is extracted from the cocoa bean; and that's why it is white/yellowish in color, and not brown. Good quality cocoa butter should be at least $15/lb, and if it's less than that, you're either getting scammed or you just happened on a good deal. Look for a brand that has good reviews, is raw and organic, and can be used to make both food items and lotions. If you're using your cocoa butter for food applications, like here, you do not want to buy a non-food grade cocoa butter, so be sure to read the description on the product before you buy. I am a fan of Tisano brand organic cocoa butter, which you can find the link to on my ingredients page.
Cocoa butter comes in chunks or wafers (look for the kind made of chunks) and is easily meltable. For best results, store in the fridge before you're ready to work with it. And don't be afraid to try a chunk on it's own. I think it texture is like a bit like really smooth fatty coconut, but instead of coconut flavor, a hint of chocolate flavor instead! That being said, it's super versatile, and you can use it in chocolate sauces, puddings, and in things like these delicious protein bars :) I actually had a little bit left after making my protein bars, so I mashed some ripe bananas into it, added some cocoa powder, a little coconut sugar, ground chia, salt, and vanilla, and Viola! Chocolate pudding!
"Reverse" Nourishing Protein Bars 1.2.
a spin off my original protein bars
1 cup whole raw walnuts
1 cup whole raw pumpkin seeds
1/4 cup ground chia seed
1/2 cup organic whole cranberries - mine were from Trader Joes
1/2 cup organic unsweetened coconut chips
1/2 cup organic sunbutter - mine was homemade :)
1/2 tsp unrefined sea salt
1/2 cup organic coconut oil, melted
1-2 Tbsp organic local wildflower honey
2-3 tsp vanilla
~ 1 cup organic raw cocoa butter, melted - source
~ 1 cup coconut cream concentrate - source
~ 1/4-1/3 cup organic coconut oil
1 dropper vanilla creme liquid stevia (optional)
1 Tbsp vanilla
* Please note the ingredients with an "about" sign in front of them are just estimates of amounts. I really just added some cocoa butter, ccc, and coconut oil to a double boiler and melted it together, adding the stevia (for sweetness) and vanilla (for flavor) at the end. I wanted a lot chocolate coating on my protein bars, but feel free to use less if desired.
To make your protein bars:
1. Place walnuts, pumpkin seeds, ground chia, cranberries, coconut, sunbutter and salt in a food processor. Pulse to combine.
2. In a small sauce pan, melt coconut oil using LOW heat. Remove from heat and add vanilla and maple syrup.
3. Add melted oil mixture to the food processor and pulse/grind ingredients until it forms a coarse paste.
4. Scoop out the mixture and press down hard into an square bar pan.
5. Melt coconut and cocoa butter in a double boiler, add stevia and vanilla last when finally melted. Pour the white mixture on top of the already pressed down bars, it should be liquid. Place into the fridge until chocolate has hardened. To serve, take bars out of fridge for at least 2 minutes. Work a knife around the edges gently, or insert a large knife on side and gently pop out the bar and place pieces of plastic wrap or small baggies. Freeze for later or munch right away :)
You can even cut them into smaller or easier to bite shapes, like in the second photo. Enjoy this easy + nutritious option on the go!
Wednesday, September 4, 2013
You will certainly feel my enthusiasm once you taste these muffins. I orginally found the recipe on Tropical Traditions coconut recipe website (which is great for inspiration), but have never made a recipe from there before. I never make a recipe from someone I don't know, or a blogger I don't respect. I've done it before, and they don't work out. Anyways! So these muffins looked so great, and after looking at the ingredient list I figured they couldn't go wrong, so I whipped up these muffins. I am so glad I did! They are moist, with just the right texture and not overloaded on any one ingredient. My favorite thing is that you can make these in one bowl quite easily, then pop them into the oven and you've got some delicious muffins to share!
I made some minor changes to the recipe, like subbing coconut water vinegar for lemon juice, since it's what I had on hand, and I didn't toast the coconut before adding it to the batter, since that would just be another step. I've also found that the recipe makes 14 muffins, so you'll need more than one muffin tin. Head over to thepaleomom.com for the original recipe!
Banana Macadamia Muffins.
makes 14 muffins
2/3 cup macadamia nuts of choice, chopped
2/3 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
1 cup blanched almond flour
¼ cup organic coconut flour - source
3 ripe bananas, peeled and mashed
2 eggs, room temperature
1/3 cup raw creamy honey
1/3 cup organic coconut oil, melted and cooled
¾ tsp baking soda
½ tsp unrefined sea salt
1 tsp coconut water vinegar or apple cider vinegar or lemon juice
1 tsp vanilla extract
To make your muffins:
1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees convection. Take out 2 muffin tins and place muffin liners inside.
2. In a large bowl, add nuts, coconut, flours, baking soda, salt; mix to combine.
3. To the same bowl, add eggs, bananas, honey, coconut oil, vinegar, vanilla; mix again to combine.
4. Drop by tablespoons into the muffin tins. Fill 14 muffins full. *This will make 14 full sized muffins as long as there is no batter eaten in the process.
5. Bake for about 30-35 minutes, rotating the pans at 20 minutes for best results. Let cool in pan for 5-10 minutes. Then move muffins to a cooling rack, which helps to firm up their bottoms. Enjoy!
These muffins can be frozen or refridgerated! I recommend storing them in the fridge, versus the countertop before eating. Be sure to share these with your family and friends, they're quite tasty!