Sunday, March 4, 2012

Flour-less Reese's cookies

I love Reese's. Peanut butter and chocolate were meant for each other and this cookie is the epitome of both. So without further adieu, taken from Southern Living and adapted....

Flour-less Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

1 cup natural smooth peanut butter (I use Laura Schudders or Smuckers Natural)
1 cup organic sugar
1 medium egg
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup enjoy life (dairy, soy, gluten free) chocolate chips

Mix all together in a bowl and use a 1 inch cookie scoop, placing them on parchment paper on a cookie sheet at least one inch apart. Bake at 325 for 10 minutes or until puffy and golden brown. Let cook and enjoy! Makes about 15 with roughly 170 calories each.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Information Overload

It's been awhile since I've posted a recipe here and believe me, there is a reason.

I'm on information overload. I've watched in the past few weeks:

  • Food Inc.
  • Forks over Knives
  • Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead
They are all a wealth of information, but I'm still trying to see clearly through the muddy water (er, information). I'm battling what I think is true, the morality of the food I eat, and trying to figure out what makes me feel the best.

All that to say you may see some changes in my philosophy soon, but there is one thing I do believe without a doubt. You are what you eat. And so whatever I do eat will affect my health, my mind, and my spiritual life.

So, stay tuned, it's gonna be gooooood (once I figure it all out that is).

Monday, November 14, 2011

Gluten-Free Cranberry Apple Tart with Homemade Cinnamon ice cream


I've been sick for two days with "the crud." It's like the common cold on steroids; sore throat, itchy eyes, sneezing, hacking. So for two days I've quarantined myself in my house and after about 12 hours of that, let's just say I got bored. Really bored.

I had apples, I had cranberries, I had time and I had enough almond flour to feed an army, and thus my new recipe was born. Sadly my camera is out of commission so I had to borrow a photo, but I kid you not, it looked almost exactly like this.

For that tart crust:

2 cups almond meal
5-6 medjool dates
1/2 cup walnuts or pecans (I like a mixture)
coconut oil 
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
2 teaspoons organic palm sugar

This is the easy part. Throw all the ingredients in adding the coconut oil as you need to until it starts to form a ball in your food processor. Roll it out this on wax paper and place in the freezer for about 10 minutes. Then add it to your pie dish. Bake for 10 minutes on 375 until the edges get golden brown.If you add too much oil, never fear, just add more almond flour.

For the filling:

7 sweet small red (gala or crisp) apples chopped
1 bag whole cranberries
2 tablespoons coconut oil
3 tablespoons honey
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

In a saute pan cook the apples and cranberries together with the coconut oil and honey on medium-high for about 20 minutes. The cranberries should start to pop and open. Make sure to stir continually so that the cranberries do not burn and so the apples get consistently soft. They will be done when the apples are the consistency of an apple pie filling and the cranberries have opened to color the apples and the sauce a fuchsia pink.

Once you've cooked your pie crust as instructed above, simply pour the hot filling in and drizzle honey on top. Let it cool for about 20 minutes before cutting to serve with your ice cream.

For the homemade ice cream:

2 cups 2% milk
3 eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla flavoring
1 cup organic palm sugar
1 tablespoon saigon cinnamon

In a saucepan, add the milk, flavoring, 1/2 cup sugar, and cinnamon and set it on medium until the sugar starts to dissolve. Once that is done, pull off heat and set aside. Meanwhile mix the three eggs with the other 1/2 cup of sugar and once the milk mixture has cooled, add that and again bring it to medium temperature slowly (so you don't cook the eggs). Do this until all sugar is combined and the mixture coats the back of a wooden spoon.

Pour the mixture into an ice cream maker for 35 minutes or until firm, place in an airtight container in a freezer for at least one more hour before serving and voila!

Seriously, my whole family loved this. The almond crust pairs nicely with the apples, cranberries, and cinnamon ice cream. So good! If you're going dairy free, simply replace the cow's milk with coconut milk (full fat) to make your own version of the cinnamon ice cream. This recipe can also be vegan if you take out the honey and use either agave, coconut nectar, organic palm sugar or other sweetener to the filling.

Sometimes being sick has it's creative advantages!

Check out more healthy recipes here at Slightly Indulgent Tuesday here and here for the Newly Weds Recipe Link up!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Modern Vegetable Oils and why they are killing us.....

There is a movement stirring to go back to a time when modern man made oils and fats weren't in everything (hello soybean oil), where eating meat was okay, and when your ingredient lists were actually words you could say and spell. Where eggs weren't the size of baseballs, meats didn't turn brown so quickly, and you never heard the words "meat glue."

This movement is a grassroots push to eat simple and nutritious. Fake is out and real is in. Real food. Real dairy and meats, whole saturated fats, and less GMO's.

One of the best food blogger voices for this movement is found at The Food Renegade. Her recent post on the dangers of modern vegetable oils, and the video that accompanies it only mirrors the concerns of millions of Americans. Richard Morris' recent book A Life Unburndened highlights how real the dangers of processed foods are and how healing eating real foods can be.

Not everyone is on the bandwagon yet, but the trend is growing. Farmers markets and co-ops are springing up everywhere. Even in my large metropolitan area there is a real dairy farm (with no added hormones, antibiotics, or even crowded stalls) not far from me. There's a co-op thirty minutes or so from me that carries fresh eggs, milk, and produce from a local Mennonite farm and there's a few restaurants nearby that focus on fresh, local food.

Since the 1970's, though deaths by heart attacks are down (due to quick response time and better healthcare), the incidence of heart disease and obesity is only rising. And yet the consumption of whole saturated fats has dropped! What does that tell us?

What we are doing isn't working.

We're getting fatter, sicker, and unhappier, and it seems like man made vegetable oils aren't solving anything.

So what do we do?

We try something else. Thus this movement back to real food, real sustenance, and real nutrition.

This is also the reason I try to be gluten-free. I'm not a celiac, I just believe that our wheat (which is actually genetically modified) isn't healthy. Plus white flour has no real nutritional value or fiber and is shown to slow down digestion.

Part of why I started this blog is to try out this theory that real is good and fake is bad. After a few diagnoses like Diabetes Type II and PCOS and after being on many medications that seemed to only make me worse, I've decided to try nutritional healing.

What we are doing isn't working. I'm game to try something else now. Are you?

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

My neck hurts...

It's 11pm-ish my time and I'm tired. I didn't cook tonight. In fact, I'm sad. I miss the preparation that it takes to make a dish. It calms me, readies me for a meal. But I'm tired so tonight it's leftovers for this girl. But I couldn't NOT post what I'm about to post. It's too good not to share with you.

I love to share products that I think work. I'm a believer in advocating for small companies with good products that frankly...make my life easier.

I've had a neck problem for a long time now. I think it has to do with sitting all day with my head tilted toward the phone. It's part of my job and literally "a pain in the neck." was until my gluten-free, organic loving, hippy dippy (in every good way)  friend turned me on to what I'm about to show you. She saw me rubbing my neck, offered me this odd looking cream, and BAM. I was hooked.

Raymac Medic-Moist is a product developed locally in our area of Northern Texas, but due to the patent laws, he could only sell it to salons and wholesale beauty warehouses. He has actually passed on and the daughter has taken over running the company. At one point she was going to sell it, but so many people swore by the product and wrote her letters that she decided to keep it.

Thank God for that. I know what's in this is organic. And I know it works. Always. I've never tried it on an ache or pain that it couldn't take care of. Headaches, neckaches.....I'm kind of a believer now.

I find it locally but amazon also sells it here.

I'm a firm believer in finding products that actually work and I'm always down for organic and natural ways to alleviate pain without popping advil.

My incredibly sensitive stomach also likes the break from the NSAIDs.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Gluten-Free Cranberry Pumpkin Upside Down Cake

My best friend is an amazing cook. I mean amazing. The other day she made this Cranberry Pumpkin cake that was to die for and it became my mission to make a version that was gluten free and just as yummy. I took my cake base from Erin McKenna's Banana Bread and went from there. The result was a cake that even my mom and brother couldn't tell was gluten-free! Plus you can't go wrong with pumpkin, but I could be a bit biased. This cake is best served warm and on the day it's made.

1 1/2 cups Bob's Red Mill Gluten-Free Flour
1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

1 1/2 cups pumpkin puree (canned organic pumpkin works)
1/2 cup agave nectar (honey or coconut nectar work too)
1 cup almond milk (rice or coconut work too)
1/3 cup coconut oil (melted)

The Upside Down topping:
2 cups chopped walnuts
1 1/2 cups fresh cranberries
1/2 cup organic brown sugar
Coconut oil to grease the bottom of the pan

In a sautee pan on medium cook the walnuts and cranberries with one tablespoon of agave or honey. Wait for the popping sounds (the cranberries opening) to start before pulling it off the heat. The agave or honey will also start to caramelize. As soon as this happens remove from heat and set aside to cool.

Once mixture has cooled, use the coconut oil to coat the bottom of a 9x9 square pan. Then pour the walnut, cranberry mixture in the bottom, evenly distributing it. Sprinkle the brown sugar on top of this. Set pan aside until ready to pour in the batter.

In a mixing bowl combine first the dry ingredients and then the wet. Whisk together and pour batter over the walnut mixture. Cook the cake for 45 minutes on 350 degrees. Once a toothpick is inserted and comes out clean, it's ready to be taken out. Let the cake cool for 30 minutes before turning it upside down on a plate.

A word of caution. Measuring in this recipe is key. Too much xanthan gum or too little baking powder/soda will get you a very dense, rock like cake. Believe me, two batches later, measure wisely....

Go here for more healthy and fun recipes at Simply Sugar and Gluten Free's Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays and here at the Newlyweds blog for the recipe link up.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Not So Healthy Homemade Parmesan Cheese-its

Confession. I feel a bit odd putting up a recipe that though gluten-free, is not exactly as healthy as it could be. But you know, sometimes you just need a salty, buttery snack and for all those with gluten-free kiddos, I'm telling you this---they are perfection. Salty, sweet, flaky, crunchy, cheesy.... sometimes you just gotta satisfy a craving and truth be told, to date I have not found a good gluten-free cracker that didn't taste "gluten free" until I stumbled upon this gem.

I tweeked the recipe in the post before because to be real cheese-its, they have to be oozing cheese in every little bite. I mean, who doesn't like more cheese?

I also needed an excuse to use the massive amounts of grated parmesan I had left over from yesterday. My husband and I are affectionately calling it "the Great Cheese Debacle of 2011." I had mistakenly sent my culinary miscreant husband to the store to get parmesan cheese. He came back with a non-name aged parmesan that was simply too soft to even grate. A fight ensued and to make things right he bought me entirely too much parmesan reggiano. Gotta love a man who apologizes with cheese right?

So on to the recipe.

You'll need:

2 tablespoons gluten free cornmeal
3/4 cup gluten free flour (I use Bob's Red Mill)
1 3/4 cups parmesan cheese
5 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 egg

Mix the flour, cornmeal, parmesan, and softened butter together with a fork. Add the salt and the egg and continue to stir with a fork until the whole thing sticks together. Place the batter on wax paper with another piece on top and roll out to about 1/4 of an inch thick. Cut into squares one inch by one inch, dust with salt, and bake on 350 for about 15 minutes or until golden brown. Makes about 50.

Trust me, these taste exactly like cheese-its. My husband was popping them in his mouth before I could even get them into a container. These are not the healthiest little buggers. Whether you use butter or coconut oil you're getting a huge helping of fat, and not necessarily healthy, but everything in moderation right?

Find other yummy treats here at Simply Sugar and Gluten Free's Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays and here at Mess Hall to Bistro's Made from Scratch Tuesdays.