Thursday, July 19, 2012

Cinnamon Honey Almond Butter.

Almond butter is one of my mom's favorite foods.  We enjoy using to make protein bars, waffles, and as a topping of one of our morning breakfast bowls.  It's a great primal peanut butter alternative, and it is much more digestible than peanut butter.  We've both tried lots of almond butter over the years, raw, roasted, organic, natural, salted, unsalted, fresh ground, homemade, either fresh or in jars of all forms.

After trying all the different varieties, I can definitely say that fresh ground, either raw or roasted, is the best.  Fresh ground almond butter comes just like fresh ground peanut butter from those nut grinders you can find at Whole Foods or your local health food store, except these grinders have dry roasted almonds in them instead of peanuts!

I have also found that fresh roasted peanut and almond butters from these machines (that you grind right in front of you! :) are much more digestible than the jars you can buy at the store.  I think that's because fresh ground is, well, fresh, and the stuff in the jar has been there for who knows how long.  The oils there have likely become old and rancid.  That said, I always stick to fresh ground nut butters.

One day I had some of fresh ground almond butter on hand and I decided to make it a little bit more exciting.  First I added coconut oil for some nourishing MCFA's, then some raw honey for some raw enzymes and probiotics, then molasses for flavor and iron, and then some cinnamon and sea salt to really make the sweetness of the honey and almond butter come out.  What I got was a lovely new take on almond butter.  Why try to buy this in the store when you can make it yourself?  This stuff is very flavorful, spreadable and delicious!  It's also Primal and paleo!

Cinnamon Honey Almond Butter.
    makes about 24 ounces

    16 oz  fresh ground dry roasted almond butter
    4 oz  organic coconut oil
    2 oz  organic raw honey
    1T  blackstrap molasses
    1 tsp  cinnamon
    1/2 tsp  unrefined sea salt

To make your almond butter:
  1.  In a large bowl, combine all ingredients together.  You can use less honey and it will be less sweet.  Personally, 2 ounces tastes very sweet to me.
  2.  Transfer to a jar of choice.  Eat within 2 weeks or store in the fridge for longer periods.

Try spreading cinnamon honey AB on homemade banana or zucchini bread for a delicious snack!  This would also go great with cacao nibs and celery to make celery logs snacks.  Or even on top of grain-free pancakes or yogurt and berry breakfast bowls!

Enjoy :D

Monday, July 16, 2012

Grain-free Kefir Brownies.

Sometimes my best recipes come from nowhere.  These brownies are definitely a testament to that.  One day I was in my apartment and I had some soured kefir that I had made.  It was past the palatable drinking stage, and not wanting to waste it, I threw together these brownies.  I didn't expect the results to come out very well, but I was completely surprised.  These are so incredible, I may like them better than my favorite grain-free brownie recipe.  I gave the pan away to one of my advisors as a thank-you, and he ended up (due to the pestering of his students) sharing them the with his entire class!  I got an email the next day with rave reviews.  I think you'll rave about them too ;)

Mhmm. Fudgey cakey chocolatey goodness!

Grain-free Kefir Brownies.
    makes one 8x8 pan

    2 cups  soured homemade kefir
    1 cup  organic coconut flour - source
    4  happy eggs
    1 cup  raw cacoa powder - source
    16 oz  chocolate chunks, I used Enjoy Life
    1 Tbsp  vanilla extract
    1 tsp  baking soda
    1/4 tsp  sea salt
    2 full droppers plain stevia - source

To make your brownies:
  1.  Preheat your oven to 350 degrees (mine is convection).
  2.  In a large bowl, combine all ingredients except chocolate chips.  Mix well.
  3.  Add chocolate chunks and mix again.
  4.  Bake for about 30-40 minutes or until the top is cracked, the sides are slightly firm and there is a tiny bit of jiggle in the middle of the pan.
  5.  Remove from oven and let cool.  Try a slice warm.  Let it cool and try another slice.  Share.  Serve with a nice cold glass of raw milk. Yum!

I love these brownies, not only because they are delicious, but that they are low in sugar and carbohydrates!  The only added sugar comes from the sugar in the chocolate chunks.  If you use unsweetened chocolate the brownies will not taste very sweet.  For those of you who are not partial to stevia, feel free to omit it.  I haven't made the recipe without stevia so I don't know if it will grossly affect the flavor, but my guess is that it will make a small difference in sweetness.

Mhmm. Chocolate chunks.

These will freeze very well.  They will also make a great accompaniment to homemade french vanilla ice cream and homemade raw whipped cream.  I love anything chocolate and vanilla combined!

Here are some of my other delicious brownie recipes:

Grain-free Coconut Flour Brownies
Gluten-free Brownies (for you whole-grain folk)

Friday, July 13, 2012

Primal Pea(nut) Butter Cookies.

As soon as I typed the title to this post I realized what I had done.  I just called peanuts Primal!  Peanuts are actually a legume (which is like a bean), not a nut, and legumes are not Primal.  Oops!  But if you're like me, you are Primal, but you still eat peanut butter.  I don't eat gobs of it like I used to, but on occasion, it's great!  For those of you who are pure Primalists, try making these cookies with almond butter, cashew butter, pecan butter, tahini, the list goes on!

I love this recipe because it has barely 6 ingredients.  And it's so easy!  You can even let your kids help you make these!  I made the ones with MMs specifically for my brother, but his favorite was actually the chocolate/sea salt combination.

Primal Pea(nut) Butter Cookies.
    makes 14 cookies

    8 oz  (1 cup)  organic creamy unsalted peanut butter (best is fresh ground or homemade)
    4 oz  (1/2 cup)  organic coconut sugar
    4 oz  (1/2 cup)  blanched almond flour
    1  happy pastured egg
    1/2 tsp  baking soda
    pinch unrefined sea salt

    Optional toppings:  various candies, sea salt, dark chocolate, raisins

To make your cookies:
  1.  Preheat the oven to 350 degrees (mine is convection).
  2.  Combine all ingredients in a bowl with a electric mixer.
  3.  Use your hands or a cookie scoop to make balls of the dough.  Place peanut butter balls on a silicone lined baking sheet.
  4.  Bake for 7 minutes, then remove from the oven and make criss-cross design with a fork.  This will flatten the cookies.  Add toppings if desired.
  5.  Bake for 5 more minutes or until golden brown and chocolate has melted.
  6.  Remove from oven and let cool on the sheet.  Carefully transfer to a wire rack when cool and place cookies in the fridge to set the chocolate.  Enjoy!

Don't forget to share! (It won't be easy :)

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Lactation (Oatmeal) Cookies.

My lovely sister in law just gave birth to TWINS!  I could not be more thrilled.  It is my first time being an Auntie!  Now I have two adorable little boys to love and spoil.  Now that the twins are here, my brother and sister in law have a lot to keep them busy! 

One thing that a lot of new moms struggle with (so I am told) is keeping up their milk supply, sleeping, and keeping their calories up sufficiently to breastfeed.  My friend Heather created the idea of a "lactation cookie" when she had her first child (and she has also had twins recently!).  This is exactly what nutrition is all about, using food to meet your bodies needs.

These lactation cookies are pretty much just like your standard oatmeal raisin cookie. (Men don't worry, you won't lactate if you eat these).  These are called lactation cookies because the main ingredient is oats, and they also have some flaxseed.  Oats are very well known to increase milk supply for mothers, and flax help increase milk supply too.  They also do not have a lot of sugar (you can eat many and not get blood sugar spikes), and the oats and almond flour provide some protein, which is crucial for breastfeeding!  Cookies are also great for new moms because suddenly life revolves around the baby(ies) and finding time to eat can be hard.  Having twins doesn't leave a lot of time on your hands!  Cookies can easily be grabbed and eaten with one hand.  Just make sure they're as nutritious as these!  Beware - I am told husbands like lactation cookies too!  Moms may want to guard them ;)

Lactation Oatmeal Cookies.
    makes over 2 dozen cookies

    2 1/2 cups  toasted rolled gluten-free oats (mine were sprouted and soaked oat groats)
    1 cup  blanched almond flour
    1 Tbsp  organic coconut flour - source
    2 sticks  grass-fed butter, softened - source
    1/2 cup  coconut sugar - source
    2  real eggs
    1 cup  organic unsweetened shredded coconut
    1 cup  organic raisins (can use chocolate chips)
    2 tsp  vanilla
    2 tsp  cinnamon
    1/4 tsp  unrefined sea salt
    2 Tbsp  organic raw honey -- for topping - source
    2 Tbsp  organic raw ground flax seed -- for topping
    2 Tbsp  warm water

To make your cookies:
  1.  To toast your oats, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Pour oats onto a silicone lined a baking sheet and spread evenly. Place in the oven for 5 minutes, stir and return to oven for another 5 minutes or until oats are toasty (be careful not to burn!).
  2.  In a large bowl combine almond flour, coconut flour, sugar, coconut, cinnamon and sea salt. Whisk until combined. Add toasted oats.
  3.  In another large bowl, beat together butter, eggs, and vanilla with an electric mixer.
  4.  Combine the dry into the wet ingredients, incorporating together with a spatula. Add raisins, and mix again.
  5.  On silicone lined baking sheets, use your hands to make balls of the dough and place cookies in rows 4x3.  Place sheets into the fridge to set for about 30 minutes.  Then pull from fridge and bake in oven for about 12 minutes until golden brown.
  6.  Make your topping in a small dish combine honey, warm water and ground flax.  Mix together with a pastry brush. Let cookies cool for about 10 minutes.  When cookies are warm, but not hot, brush the flax-honey mixture on top of the cookies.  Remove cookies from pan with a spatula, transfer to a wire rack, and place in the fridge to set the topping.
  7.  After about 10 minutes in the fridge, cookies are ready to eat!

Do the new moms in your life a favor - bring them these cookies :)