August 10th, 2011

Coconut Flour Blueberry Muffins

It’s been awhile since I’ve posted. I’m not going to pretend I’m sorry, or that I haven’t had time to post. I simply just didn’t feel like posting. I’m keeping myself from making this blog a job.

Since my last post, we’ve added a new member to our little family! Meet Toaster!

Toaster was hanging out under our friends deck and on their porch. B and I had been playing around with the idea of getting a new cat, so that B can actually have a pet that loves him. Acey is a little scared of B and always has been. When we took him home, I was assuming Acey would hate him right away, and I was right. But after a few days, she wasn’t acting as hostile toward him and we thought she would. We thought she would go through a total personality change or lash out with undesirable behaviors, but she hasn’t. Toaster jumps on her and tries to play with her, and she runs from him, but the best part is, she chases him back! It’s as if she’s been telling us this whole time that she’s been lonely! She would follow me every where, sleep on me, eat with me, and talk to me, every hour of the day.

Need less to say, he is a welcomed addition to our family! I almost feel like I have a baby, though. He takes a lot of energy and wants to play all of the time. I haven’t been cooking much since we’ve had him, and breakfast food especially, is a turn off. I’ve been eating too much of the same thing and I’m finally burnt out. I bought a huge carton of fresh blueberries to force myself to bake some stuff with them, before they went bad.

I went with a smoothie first, and added them into a salad to use up the bult of them. Today, I tried out a new cookbook and went with a classic, blueberry muffins. They were super easy to make and they were delicious, bursting with juicy warm berries and slathered with salted butter. These will probably be made over and over and over. I love that I can eat more than one muffin and not feel guilty about it, since these muffins are made with a little honey, and healthy oil and fiber filled coconut flour. Try them! You won’t be able to stop eating them.

Blueberry muffins
adapted from Cooking with Coconut Flour by Bruce Fife
3 eggs
3 T melted virgin coconut oil
3 T raw honey
1/8 t almond extract
1/4 t sea salt
1/4 C sifted coconut flour
1/4 t baking powder*
1/2 C fresh blueberries*

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F

Heat an empty pan until hot, and turn off the heat and melt the coconut oil.

Blend all ingredients, except the blueberries, in a high speed blender until smooth. *I use a blendtec and used the batter button.

Fold the blueberries into the batter.

Pour the batter into 6 lined muffin cups.

Bake for 16 minutes.

These are enjoyed best warm from the oven.

*I’ve made them again and they puff up more with 1/2 t of baking power and brown a little more. I like them better this way.
* frozen blueberries tend to make the muffins a bit soggy, if this is your only option, try using sugar instead of honey.

July 5th, 2011

Stuff I Love- Green Genius Bags

The Green Genius
I have tried a lot of eco-friendly trash bags in my “green” life so far. It was a frustrating and costly search. Most of the bags I tried we not realistic for daily use, like for a tall kitchen trash can liner. Most were ill sized and of poor quality. They would tear easily, and start to disintegrate after being wet for a little bit. I would say most of the true eco friendly bags out there are not all that strong. Sure, they are prob. great for picking up poo, or as a diaper bag, but not for heavy duty use.

I found the powdery, delicate, expensive bags a waste of money, but I couldn’t stand the thought of using real plastic bags for the kitchen and other trash cans in the house. I gave it one last go, and I found The Green Genius! Hallelujah, my search was over! A true, biodegradable, strong, true to size, “plastic” bag! They are awesome, and I haven’t had a problem since I’ve bought them over a year ago. I use nothing else for my throw-aways.

I order mine in bulk off of amazon to save a couple of bucks. If you’re like me and can’t stand the thought of using plastic bags, try these!

June 24th, 2011

Bangkok Peanut Ice Cream

Bangkok peanut was one of the first flavors I tried at Jeni’s Ice cream. I loved the warm peanuty-ness, and then you get hit with the spiciness of the cayenne pepper. I didn’t realize it, until I got the Jeni’s Ice Creams cookbook, that this ice cream is supposed to taste like the ice cream version of Pad Thai, and it does!

It has notes of coconut, peanut butter, ginger and cayenne pepper. It’s definitely a unique ice cream flavor that I think is a winner! The recipe is super easy, and clear to follow. I’m going to be making a lot of the recipes in this book so come back, also for a chance to win a copy of Jeni’s book, that I will be giving away in a few more posts!

In her book, she lists ingredients that are easy to obtain for the home cook. If you shop at a health food store, you can get the ingredients true to the recipe.

Bangkok Peanut Ice Cream

1 1/4 C whole milk
1 T plus 1 t of cornstarch (I used tapioca starch)
1 1/2 oz cream cheese, softened
1/4 C natural peanut butter ( I accidentally used 1/3 C and it was fine)
1/2 t natural fine sea salt
1 1/4 C heavy cream
3/4 C unsweetened coconut milk (not light)
2/3 C sugar
2 T light corn syrup (I used organic tapioca syrup)
2 T honey
1/2 C unsweetened shredded coconut, toasted
1/8 t cayenne pepper
4 coins of of fresh ginger (optional)

In a medium bowl, cream peanut butter and cream cheese and salt together and set aside.

Toast you coconut, being careful not to burn it. I prefer to put mine in the toaster oven for about 2 minutes, on toast.

Take 2 tablespoons of the milk and mix the corn or tap starch and milk together, and set aside.

Combine the milk, cream, coconut milk, sugar, honey, tapioca syrup, and ginger over medium high heat until it comes to a rolling boil, about 4 minutes.

Once it comes to a boil, take it off the heat and add the milk/starch slurry. Return to medium high heat, for abut 1 minute, until slightly thickened.

Remove the ginger (of added) and slowly whisk the hot milk mixture into the peanut butter mix, until smooth.

Add the cayenne pepper and toasted shredded coconut, and chill over night.

When its thoroughly chilled, freeze according to you ice cream makers instructions. It will be soft, so freeze for 2-3 hours before serving.

* The recipe is perfect! It tastes just like the real thing. The texture is smooth and creamy and professional tasting!

June 22nd, 2011

Wordless Wednesday

June 15th, 2011

Wordless Wednesday

June 14th, 2011

Stuff I Love- GT’s Kombucha

I love this stuff. Really, I do! It’s a treat for me. I don’t buy it all the time since it’s $3.50 a bottle.

It’s super fizzy and a little bright tasting. Some people think it tastes like it has a tiny bit of vinegar in it, but really it’s just a fermented tea with natural fruit juices and the kombucha starter. It’s a great, healthy soda-alternative.

Kombucha started in Russia I believe, and it’s used as a powerful health-giving elixer. It has vitamins and minerals and lots and lots of good bacteria (probiotics). It’s living, organic and raw. Whenever I’m under the weather, this is definitely in my arsenal of “feel good” products. It calms and relaxes me immediately.

During my “monthly” I always grab a bottle to ease cramping. It eases muscle tension and just makes things go much smoother.

A lot of people say they have increased energy and it tames their appetite. I can see how this happens because the drink it’s self it very filling.

My favorite flavor is Guava Goddess. It’s the smoothest tasting in my opinion. If you would like to give it a try, it’s in the refrigerated section at a lot of health food stores.

Check out all the flavors and info here at GT’s Kombucha.

June 8th, 2011

Wordless Wednesday

May 26th, 2011

Balsamic Glazed Brussel Sprouts

I never touch a brussel sprout until I was married. Our first year of marriage I watched a lot of Food Network. I saw a recipe for brussel spouts, and it didn’t look like the same brussel sprouts that conjured up images of children stuffing their food into their napkins, or forking the sprout into their mouth, nose pinched. My Mom said she never liked them, so, we never ate them.

I tried the recipe out and I’ve been in love with brussel sprouts (this way) ever since.

The key to making these sprouts fantastic is really good balsamic vinegar. My parents brought me back a bottle of St. Helena Olive Oil Co. Traditional Balsamic, when they went to Napa Valley. The company says it’s more like a dessert vinegar, thick and sweet. It’s my favorite Balsamic, for sure.

These brussel sprouts, when done right, are full of flavor, have crisp edges, and are salty and sweet.

!0 large brussel sprouts, washed, halved and stem trimmed.
1/4 C veggie stock or water
1/4 C EVOO
1/4 C balsamic vinegar (you should do this by taste)
salt and pepper to season

In a large sauté pan over med/high heat, add the first 3 ingredients. With the pan uncovered, let the stock steam the sprouts until slightly tender until the oil is left. About 5 minutes
Sautee the sprouts until golden brown and the pan starts to brown. About 3 minutes.
Add the balsamic, and continue sautéing, making sure to let the sprouts come in contact with the pan long enough to brown and crisp the edges. This takes about 2 or 3 minutes.
Season with salt and pepper and enjoy!

* For an easier method, you can also toss all the ingredients together, place on a baking sheet, and into a 375 degree oven for about 15-20 minutes, turning occasionally. this method seems to make them more spicy, which is why I prefer te sauté method.

May 11th, 2011

Wordless Wednesday

May 3rd, 2011

Justin’s Nut Butters- Stuff I Love

Shame on them. I mean really, it should be a crime to make something this addicting.

Right before Easter, me and the Hubs were cruising the aisles of Whole Foods and stumbled upon some cute looking peanut butter cups by Justin’s. We got them, as well as some other chocolates. These were definitely the best peanut butter cups I had ever had. They were dark chocolate and had a great snap. They were also organic, which is always a bonus!

I had always seen the jars of Justin’s Nut Butters at the store, but I never bought them because I assumed they weren’t organic. I don’t know why, but I was compeled to visit their website. After reading about the company and the founder, I was excited! They were a responsible company, dedicated to doing their best for people, and the planet. They use great ingredients and they are passionate about their products.

I started to obsess over getting some. The next day, we were headed out of town for Easter, and we were running short on time. That night, I had tossed and turned, thinking about this freaking peanut butter!

We went to a grocery store out of town and it wasn’t there. I was crushed. 2 days later, when we got home, I finally got some! I bought a couple squeeze packets and a jar. I could hardly wait to try it, so as we were on our way home, I tried the honey peanut butter squeeze packet. I was a little bummed. It was good, but nothing out of this world. When we got home, I opened the jar of Maple Almond Butter (Justin’s favorite), and had a small spoonful. As I was trying it, I didn’t have high expectations, since the peanut butter wasn’t great. As I was tasting, I thought,” oh, this is pretty good….WHOA, THIS IS AMAZING!” I had B try it, and he had the same reaction! It’s the definition of nutty and warm. It’s so good, and worth every penny. We find ourselves, daily going into the pantry for a spoonful!

I have since tried their other flavor of Chocolate Hazelnut, and this is very reminiscent of the famous hazelnut spread. It just has better ingredients. They have several flavors, but the maple almond is my favorite. The squeeze packets are also super convenient for your purse, or travel. If it’s sold around you, don’t walk, run to get some!