Posts tagged ‘organic’

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.

December 7th, 2010

Welcoming December With Potstickers

As my sweet husband put it, the seasons are beings very organized. Fall was fall, and Yesterday, on December 1, it snowed for the first time. It wasn’t anything major, but I nice little dusting to put me into Christmas cheer.

We actually spent the day with my Dad, waiting on our new countertops to show up. After they were finally installed, (at 6:30 PM!!) B and my Dad could get to work putting the plumbing back together and tiling. I felt bad because my dad drove up for just the day and thought he could be home that night to eat dinner with my mom. They live an hour and a half away.

Since we were taking him hostage for the night, we thought we would go get something to eat. Since I’m eating gluten-free, organic and for the time being, dairy-free, it’s hard to think of restaurants I can eat at! I always forget about it but we have a great Thai restaurant in town that use organic ingredients, free range meats and as much local as posible. My Dad loves asian food so this was a win win for me.

It was just us in the restaurant since it was a little before the dinner rush. The food was great, but what made it so awesome was looking out of the window at the falling snow, illuminated by the street lamps. It was such a perfect site to jump start the Holiday Spirit.

I don’t know what it is about winter but all I want to eat is potstickers. It was the highlight of my Chinese Restaurant experience as a kid. Every year since I’ve learned to make them, I just can’t get enough.

The best thing about food blogs, is that people bring their family recipes to the cyber table to share. I love Chinese food but could never recreate it at home, especially potstickers. I found a great blog, UseRealButter, that showed step by step instructions on how to make them. I make these babies in bulk and given them as gifts, they are so good.

I have since played with the ingredients and made my own, vegetarian, gluten free version, that hits the spot every time.

For the Wrapper

1/2 C. Tapioca starch
1/2 C. White rice flour
3/4 t. Xanthan gum
1 T. Toasted Sesame oil
6 or 7 T water

In a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, mix all ingredients until well combined. Add the water until it forms a soft but not stick dough ball. Be sure to keep it moist until ready to use. I cover the bowl with a damp cloth or plastic wrap.
Adapted from Hey that tastes good!

Pot sticker filler

2 green onions
1 C. Quorn grounds
2 leaves of napa cabbage
1 oz gluten free soy sauce
2 T chopped ginger
1 clove of fresh garlic
1/2 C. dried shitake mushrooms
1/4 C. mushroom water
1 T tapioca starch
1/3 C water (for steaming)
2 or 3 T sunflower oil

In a skillet, heat the sesame oil to medium heat. Add the quorn grounds (I use them frozen) and cover to cook. Once the grounds are soft, add the soy sauce. Chop very finely the ginger, napa cabbage, green onions, and garlic. Add the dried shitake to a small pot of water and rehydrate them. This takes me about 10 minutes. Once they are soft and rehydrated chop them very finely. You can put all the “hard” ingredients into a food processor, but you need to be sure not to make it too paste. Add all the chopped food to the skillet and cook until every thing is cooked through and not raw. With 1/4 C of the remaining mushroom water add it to 1 T of tapioca starch and combine with your clean fingers. Add to the filling mix over medium heat. It will thicken everything, making it easier to fill the wrappers. Cool completely.

To assemble

Roll a small ball of the dough, about 1 tablespoon, and place between 2 pieces of parchment paper, do not use wax paper. With the back of a small pan, flatten the ball. Once it’s flattened, you can use a rolling pin and roll it a little thinner, but be sure to keep it circular. Peel it from the parchment and in the middle of the circle place a small teaspoon amount of the filling in the center. Fold it in half and press the sides together and place on parchment until ready to cook. Or you can lightly oil a pot sticker press and use it.

To cook

In a skillet that has a tight fitting lid, add 2 or 3 T of oil on med/high. Place the dumplings, side down in a circular pattern around the skillet, facing the same way to make the most room. Pan fry until the bottoms are golden brown. Once the bottoms are cooked, quickly add 1/3 C of water, it will spit and spatter, and cover with a tight fitting lid. Cook until the water has all cooked off. Uncover the pan and brown up the bottoms a little more to make sure they don’t stick. These are very hot, too hot to eat, so once they slide around, turn off the heat and make your dipping sauce.

Dumpling dipping sauce
1 oz. soy sauce
1 t. honey
a little bit of chopped green onion
1/2 t rice wine vinegar

Combine all ingredients. You can heat all the ingredients to concentrate the flavors.

November 2nd, 2010

Pumpkin Waffles With Apple Maple Syrup


There it is! I’ve been waiting for my cooking/baking urge to kick back in. It took a break after my umpteenth batch of summer ice cream.

I was getting a little worried because it’s fall. What’s better than baking in the fall?! All the cinnamon, clove, pumpkin and apple flavors to play with. Here’s a secret, I don’t like cinnamon! I mean, not to the point of refusing to eat something because it has cinnamon in it. I guess I just don’t like just cinnamon as the main flavor. I hate snicker doodles, oatmeal raisin cookies, cinnamon coffee, you get it. I like the smell of it but I guess in my mind, I figure if you’re going to eat something decadent, why wouldn’t you eat chocolate! I know there is the other side of the argument, where people just don’t like chocolate, like my Dad for instance.

I do like when cinnamon is an accent flavor. On Saturday, it felt like the perfect fall morning, crisp and cool and I could smell the neighbors wood burning stove. B was outside raking leaves. This was the morning I would make pumpkin waffles for the first time this year. I knew it would be a little different, since the last time I made them they were made with wheat flour. These would be made grain and gluten free.

They were a success! Warm pumpkin, spiced up with cloves, ginger, cinnamon and vanilla. I think they were even better, because I made a homemade apple syrup from reduced, fresh pressed apple juice, mixed with warm maple syrup. Fall perfection! These were also guilt free since they were grain-free. No grains to burden your body and made with healthy ingredients.

Grain-free Pumpkin Waffles
3 T coconut flour
1 T mesquite flour
1 t baking powder
1/2 t baking soda
1/2 t cinnamon
pinch of ginger
1/8 t ground cloves
2 T almond flour
3 eggs
3/4 C. pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)
1 T virgin coconut oil melted

Combine all the dry ingredients with a whisk in a medium bowl. In another bowl, combine the eggs, pumpkin and oil until well combined. Heat your waffle iron on medium (if you have numbers I used about a 3.5). Mix the dry into the wet. I did not butter my waffle iron since I think there is enough oil in the batter. Spoon your batter evenly on the waffle iron and cook until it lets you know they’re done. This makes 4 square waffles.

Reduced Apple Maple syrup
juice of 4 apples (I used a juicer)
Reduce the juice in a sautee pan until thick and syrup-y. Add in about 1/4 C. of maple syrup and serve.

October 14th, 2010

Flour-less Chocolate Chip Cookies


The other night when B and a friend were watching a basketball game, I had a hankering for chocolate chip cookies, so I got out my almond flour recipe book and looked it up. The recipe didn’t seem familiar. I had made them before, and I noticed that some ingredients were different.

I went with the old recipe, and changed things up a little. The cookies were perfectly addictive, and I didn’t feel too bad about eating more than I usually would. They are made with almond flour =protein and fiber. Instead of granulated sugar, I used honey, so that’s a little easier on my system.

Chocolate chip cookies are one of my favorite things. There are a lot of talented chocolate chip cookie makers in my family, so I was never far from a good cookie. Store cookies NEVER compared. However, I never gave into my desires to eat the whole plate of cookies. Those are all terrible for you. White flour, white sugar, some times, gasp, Crisco was used. I wasn’t about to give them up, since I started eating less grains. The fact that there are no grains in these make them worth making weekly! I don’t feel like I’m clogging my insides with plaster when I eat these. Even B, who loves the way things used to be sometimes, loved these. He even asked me if I could make more.

If you’re going to indulged in cookies, you might as well eat something that’s going to benefit your health! Cheers to yummy cookies!

Almond Flour Chocolate Chip Cookies
1 1/2 C almond flour
1/4 t baking power
1/4 t salt
1 t vanilla
1/4 C. honey
5 T melted butter
1 egg
1/2 C chocolate chips

Measure out the the almond flour in a medium bowl. Melt the butter over low heat. Add all the dry ingredients to the almond flour and combine with a spoon or whisk. Add the butter, honey and eggs and stir until well combined. Stir in chocolate chips. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. While the mix is chilling, pre heat the oven to 350 degrees. Measure out about 1 tablespoons worth of mix, they will spread to leave an inch between each cookie. Bake until the edges are golden brown, about 9 minutes. I hate warm cookies, so I put them on a plate and refrigerate them! Enjoy!

*recipe inspired by Elanaspantry.com chocolate chip cookie recipe

September 30th, 2010

Vegetarian Tortilla Soup

When my parents would take us out to eat on Sunday nights, there was something I was always irritated with. Soup! I love soup. Being a vegetarian, and loving soup, there is always a moment of disappointment when you ask the server if the soup is made with meat stock, and their answer is yes (or you get the server who has no idea and makes up the answer, such as, I don’t think so…I don’t trust those servers!).

Some of B and I’s friends have made up a saying, based on one of our heated “disagreements”. They thought it was so funny and bring it up from time to time. When we were first married, B asked what we were having for dinner one night, I told him “soup” with no hesitation. He kept asking, “soup aaaaaand…..” I was confused, because, wasn’t soup enough? My parents always had just soup for dinner sometimes, and no one ever complained.

I continued to tell B that it was just a hearty soup. He said “you can’t just have just soup, there needs to be a point of interest, like a sandwich or quesadilla. I don’t even like soup”. I finished the “conversation” with a loud, “I like soup, soup fills me up!”

I guess I can see why this is funny to other people. You see, I got the last laugh. B loves soup now, and is happy when I serve soup for dinner.

I had never had tortilla soup, but I was always eyeing whoever ordered it, whenever we ate out. It looked and smelled so good. One day, I had had enough and started making my own. I love this recipe so much. It’s such a warm and hearty soup.

As fall has made it’s debut here in Ohio, soup was definitely on the menu. I always save those tiny bits at the bottom of the tortilla chip bag. They are perfect for my tortilla soup. I feel so included when I make this soup. I even make it with Quorn so it tastes authentic. B, a meat eater, even loves this soup!

Vegetarian Tortilla Soup

1 T extra virgin olive oil
1 C frozen Quorn tenders
1 t hot sauce
1/2 t smoked paprika
2 C veggie stock
2 C water
1 1/4 C diced tomatos (or you can use crushed)
1 jalapeno de-seeded
2 chopped garlic cloves
1 C chopped leeks or onion
1/4 t cumin
1/2 t chili powder
1 t. garlic granules
1/2 t pepper
2 T chopped fresh cilantro
1/2 a lime juiced
2 t celtic sea salt (course)
1 C old tortilla crumbs
1 C pepper jack cheese
1.Add the evoo to a medium size pan, and heat on medium heat.
2. Add the Quorn, hot sauce and paprika. I use the Quorn frozen. Sautee until the spice has absorbed. About 2 minutes.
3. Cover with the stock and water and add in all the other ingredients, except the salt, cheese and tortilla crumbs. Bring to a boil and once it boils, cover and turn to medium low for about 20 minutes.
4. Once the ingredients has cooked together add the cheese, tortilla crumbs and salt. Continue cooking for about five more minutes.
5. Top with shredded cheese and plain greek yogurt.

*my favorite brand of chips to use are organic Xochitl.

September 27th, 2010

Coconut Porridge

As the mornings are getting a little colder here, I have noticed a void in my breakfast ventures. Since changing my diet to low grain/mostly gluten free, breakfast isn’t as familiar as it used to be. I used to eat eggs and toast, pancakes, crepes, homemade english muffins, oatmeal, you get the picture, mostly carbs/grains!

On the cooler, misty, fall mornings, it seems like nothing will satisfy like oatmeal. I haven’t had oatmeal since the winter, probably. I’m not the biggest oatmeal fan, but as an adult, I was learning to love it. I used to love those Quaker instant packs as a kid. They even had ones where there was a squeezable topping, like strawberry jam, or chocolate fudge. I have a hard time finding people that remember those. Anyways, those are less than healthy, so I gave those up a long time ago.

I figured, to fill the void, yet sticking to my grain/gluten free diet, I would play around with some ingredients. I had been making a lot with shredded coconut, so that was going to be my medium. To my delight, things turned out just as I had hoped. It was warm, creamy, filling and satisfying. There was no grains, which made my belly happy.

The coconut offers a lot of health benefits and there’s a lot of fiber in it. Add in whatever trips your trigger. I topped it with honey and raw, slivered almonds and a white wine poached pear (left over from the party).

Coconut Porridge

2/3 C. coconut milk (or whatever milk you like)
1/4 C. shredded, organic coconut (unsweetened)
1 t. vanilla
a pinch of salt
2 T almond flour
1 T. golden flaxseed meal
honey to taste

Heat the milk in a small sauce pan and add in the remaining ingredients, cook on medium heat until it reaches the desired thickness.

September 23rd, 2010

Black bean noodles

I’m still recovering from the party! I don’t know why it’s taking so long, maybe it’s just mental. In the days following I just wanted healthy, nutritious food. It’s probably because I was up to my elbows in sugar for 4 days straight. Whatever the reason, I needed healthy eats.

I had a bundle of fresh green beans in the fridge and a new bag of black bean noodles I was excited to try. I remember hearing, on some show, that black bean noodles existed. I thought that was too good to be true but it wasn’t! I saw it in the gluten free section of my health food store and I grabbed the last bag for around $5!! Whatever, I was excited to try it.

What I liked about it was that it was way lower in carbs than other GF pastas, had more protein, a lot more. One of my favorite snacks has always been pasta with soy sauce and toasted sesame oil. I don’t know why, but it just hits the spot.

The noodles are short, thin and dry feeling. Very delicate, unlike other GF noodles. When cooked, they are a bit rough on the tongue and dry tasting as well. They are best suited for an asian application. I really did like them, despite my negative toned description. They held onto my sauce well.

This did make me feel better. I think my body was satisfied with the unexpected protein punch.

The brand I got was Explore Asian Authentic Cuisine. It was called gluten free black bean spaghetti. I also liked that it was organic. All the ingredients are- black beans, water. An added bonus was also that it was locally made.

Black bean spaghetti- Asian style
2 oz. black bean spaghetti
Cook the noodles for about 6 minutes and drain in a fine sieve.

Add about 1 tablespoon of GF tamri, 1/4 t. toasted sesame oil and a little bit of red pepper flakes to taste to a warm pan and toss with the noodles. Finish with sesame seeds.

This is how I like it but you can adjust it to your taste.

September 20th, 2010

Surprise!

I apologize for my absence. I’m currently sitting on the couch, nursing a sore back and tired body. I am exhausted.

Yesterday, B and I, and my family, threw my Dad and my Uncle, his twin brother, a surprise 70th birthday party! This is why I couldn’t post anything last week, because incase my Dad would have seen it, it would have ruined the surprise.

I spent the past 4 days shopping, baking, cleaning, painting, cutting, decorating and scheming! B was in charge of the art, and my brother and sister-in-law came over to help paint a huge banner that would hang in the party hall. I spent most of my time baking.

I may have mentioned before that I was born on my Dad and Uncle’s Birthday. I’ve always had a special bond with them because of that. When I was a kid, my mom would put together a huge get together for the birthdays. I remember our dining room table being covered in cakes and tarts and a few cookies. My mom did all of the baking and every one loved it and looked forward to it. I always thought everyone had that many cakes at their birthday parties! Come to find out, in later years, most people weren’t born on their parents birthday, and most people didn’t have 20 desserts to choose from.

Whenever my Dad’s side of the family got together for an occasion, there would always be tons of desserts. A lot of the photos from family events are of friends and family sitting around a table full of desserts, enjoying their coffee or tea and cake. I have sweet memories!

After 2.5 days straight of baking, and not sleeping much, it was party time!

My mom rented the party room of the German soccer club my Dad’s been a part of since he came to the States, from Germany. I spent a lot of my weekends and holidays at the club, usually on the sidelines of the soccer field, watching my Dad play soccer with all of his buddies. The kids of the other players and I would conger up weird myths and stories about the club that still stick with me today! My Opa (Dad’s father) actually help build the club and I have deep roots there. I have great memories of the club and I love going back.

My Dad and Uncle thought there was an “Old timers” game at the club. This was just the rouse of course, but my Dad was so excited, he was calling all his old players and cleaning up the field weeks before. We invited almost 200 people and I feel like all of them showed up!

My mom called me, telling me that she couldn’t hold my Dad down and that he was going to show up early. This sent me into panic mode, but everyone said it will be what it’ll be.

Guests started coming in and gave a satisfied look at the massive amounts of desserts. They loved the decor and were excited to be there. My Dad and Uncle arrived and were delighted with the surprise (even though my dad knew something was up). They went around the room greeting all who came, and I even saw a shiny tear speck of emotion on my dads cheek. I could just tell how loved they felt and how excited they were for each person who was there.

The party was awesome. People kept telling us how great it was. There was even an impromptu soccer game and yes, I was crazy enough to join in. The minute the cakes were cut, it looked like a tornado hit the table. People were skipping the food and going straight to dessert.

I loved seeing what went the fastest of what people went back for. My Mom’s cakes like her marzipan torte, poppyseed kuchen, and cheesecake were gone in a flash, of course. Another winner was my coconut macaroons. I don’t know why but I’ve had a thing for them lately. My Dad has always loved them, so I was sure include them on the list. I even had my picky cousin, yelling at me across the room, mouth stuffed saying, “I don’t even like coconut but I love these!” They are really good! They are probably the best macaroon recipe I have ever tried.

There were some family friends there who I was wondering if they had gotten anything to eat, because I was pretty sure they were gluten-free eaters. I asked if they had gotten and thing to eat and they politely said yes, and that everything was great. Then, I let them know that most of the desserts I made were GF. When I said that, it was a different story! They went to the table and I pointed out the “safe” desserts. They were so happy to be included. It’s the way I feel when I’m at a pizza place that has GF pizza!

The night was a success. My Dad couldn’t have asked for a better day. He was surrounded with friends and family that truly love him, there was a table full of his favorite desserts, he got to play a soccer game with his old teammates and his son, daughter, and son-in-law, all at the same time. Perfect!

Now I’m just deflating, like the hundreds of balloons that we used to decorate. If I’m up to it, I’ll post some more recipes that I used for this momentous occasion.

Coconut macaroons

adapted from David Lebovitz recipe
4 large egg whites
1¼ cups organic sugar
¼ teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon honey
2½ cups organic unsweetened coconut
1 T organic coconut flour
½ teaspoon vanilla extract

Mix all the ingredients, except the vanilla, in a skillet over medium heat. Stir together constantly until there is a slight scorch on the bottom of the skillet. Take off the heat and stir in the vanilla. Use a small ice cream scoop and scoop out 1 inch mounds. I like to pack them down a little bit. Bake at 350 degrees for 18-20 minutes or until lightly golden brown. Cool completely

If you would like to dip them in chocolate…

tempered chocolate
1 1/2 C organic chocolate chips

in a double boiler melt 2/3 of the chocolate, until it reachers 110-115 degrees F. Take off the heat and add in (seed) the rest of the chocolate chips. Stir until it cools to 80 degrees F. After it gets down to temp. put it back on the double boiler till it reaches 90 degrees F. Dip the macaroons immediately and put on parchment or wax paper.

*In the picture, you can see some are darker than others. I actually forgot a batch in the oven. These are surprisingly forgiving so, bake them how you like them…shorter for really moist and “doughy”, or longer for a toasted, crispy flavor.

August 23rd, 2010

Chocolate Truffle Cookie Bites


I adore days like today. It’s been a little bit overcast all day, a tiny bit humid, with a refreshing East breeze with a hint of cool. Today’s temperature is 77 degrees. I love it because it’s August. I always feel like right when I’m getting totally sick of Summer’s hot revenge, God blesses me with a day like today. It’s like a fall teaser. It should be hot and humid, but it’s just barely humid and cool, especially in the evening.

I love thinking about Fall and it’s magical transformations, cool, brisk evenings, and affectionate rendezvous with the outdoors, savoring the farewell to your time outside. It might just be me, but I want to jump the gun on feeling fall as soon as possible. I want to get in the kitchen and create an atmosphere, specific to fall memories.

There are all kinds of cookies I love, but there is something really special about a truffle cookie. I had the ingredients on hand, so I just started to create. It all worked out for me, one try! I think I might play around with it a little more, but these cookies were so addicting just the way they are. The crunch of the chocolate chips is the source of the addiction, I believe.

I used “Let’s Do Organic” coconut flour, and I must say, I’m not a fan. I got it because it was cheaper that Bob’s Red Mill, but it was the same weight so I thought why not. The reason why not is because it’s very grainy and not powdery like a flour. But regardless, it worked out. But next time I’m going to use Bob’s and it will probably provide a bit denser crumb.

Chocolate Truffle Cookies- Grain and Gluten free
8 oz butter room temp. (I used salted)
3/4 C sucanat sugar
1/4 C mesquite flour
1/2 C coconut flour (if you use BRM you may need a little less)
1/4 C almond meal
1/2 t baking soda
1/2 t salt* (I like a salty bite but dismiss if you don’t want it salty)
1/4 C. coconut milk
2 squares (28 g) unsweetened baking chocolate- chopped
5 squares (63.3 g) semi sweet chocolate- chopped
1 t vanilla
1 T virgin coconut oil
3 eggs
1/2 C chocolate chips

Pre heat oven to 355 degrees
In a small sauce pan, boil the coconut milk and add the chocolates and stir until melted.
Add in the vanilla and coconut oil and set aside to cool slightly.
In the bowl of your mixer, cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.
Add eggs one at a time
combine flours and almond meal, salt and baking soda and add to the cookie batter.
Mix on medium until well combined and turn down to stir.
While the mixer is on the lowest speed, add in the melted chocolate mix and stir until fully incorporated.
Stir in the chocolate chips
on a parchment lined cookie sheet, use a small ice cream scoop to measure out the cookie batter.
press down to compound a little bit to push out trapped air.
Bake for 15 minutes.