December 21, 2011

fruit and nut bars

Need a break from Christmas cookies?  Not yet? Me either, but if you do these bars are a great alternative to cookie cravings.  They are just the right amount of salty and sweet.  Did I mention they are also ridiculously easy to put together?  There, I just did.  Now go on, go make some and enjoy.

Fruit and Nut Bars
Adapted from Cave Women Cafe

1 cup of almonds
1 cup of cashews, raw and unsalted
½ cup of nut flour, (I used Bob’s Red Mill Almond Meal)
½ cup of unsweetened dried coconut
½ cup sun butter (or your favorite peanut butter)
½ cup of coconut oil
¼ cup of honey
2 tsp of pure vanilla
½ teaspoon of salt
½ cup dried cherries
½ cup dark chocolate chips 
½ cup raisins 

In your food processor pulse together the almonds and cashews until they are a coarse meal and stir into the nut flour in a medium bowl.

In a microwave safe bowl, warm up the coconut oil and sun butter for about 20 seconds, in the microwave and stir them together well. Add the honey, vanilla, and salt then mix till all creamy. Fold the nut mix into the honey mix then add the fruit and chocolate chips. 

Pat into an 8 x 8 baking dish and stick in fridge for 1 hour or more till nice and solid. Cut into squares or rectangular bars. 

I wrapped them individually and kept them in the fridge (if you leave them out they will get soft); these made a great breakfast and or snack before running.  

Merry Christmas ya'll!  

December 13, 2011

morning glory bread

I have a group of gal pals back home in Seattle (plus the one that resides in Vancouver, B.C.) that I chat with almost daily via group email.  There are six us total, we are all so very different and have been besties since for-evah, we share everything with each other and would do anything for one another.  That's how this recipe came about, one of the gal pals asked me to come up with a muffin that tastes like the morning glory muffin from The Macrina Bakery in Seattle (one of my absolute favorite bakeries in Seattle) that is without sugar, white flour or butter.  

I got to work right away, making these reminded me of when I lived in a little Victorian one bedroom apartment on top of Queen Anne Hill,  I would meet one of my childhood friends in the morning at the bus stop and we would walk to our respective offices downtown Seattle, stopping for morning glory muffins and coffee along the way.  It was usually raining,  you could smell the warm sweet fragrance of the bakery blocks before arriving there.  There was always a line out the door, the muffins would be warm and the coffee would be topped off with a scoop of vanilla sugar (they keep it out on the counter for everyone to use). I miss home. 

I first made this recipe into muffins, top them off with a little raw sugar and when you close your eyes you'll swear you are sitting in the Macrina Bakery.  They were so good I thought I would make a loaf of bread, just to see what happens.  The bread was equally as good and did not last long at our house. 

Morning Glory Bread (or muffins)

2 cups almond flour
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp sea salt 
1 Tblsp cinnamon
3 ripe bananas
3 eggs
1 cup raisins + 3/4 cup raisins for adding into the mix
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup coconut oil
1 1/2 cup carrots, shredded
1 cup unsweetened coconut
Parchment paper

Preheat oven to 350.

In a small bowl, combine almond flour, baking soda, salt and cinnamon
In a food processor, combine 1 cup raisins, bananas, eggs, vinegar and oil
Transfer mixture to a large bowl and blend until completely combined
Fold in carrots, remaing 3/4 cup raisins and coconut
Pour mixture into parchment paper lined bread pan  (or paper lined muffin tin)
Bake at 350° for 60 minutes (for bread) 25 minutes for muffins


December 9, 2011

baked tofu and peanut sauce

Do you have one of those go to quick fix weeknight dinners?  Well this here is mine, its about as easy as pie to make, actually even easier.  I like to make this medley with enough to take for lunch the next day.  The flavors get even better the day after making.  Even my meat loving hubby enjoys this meal. 

Baked Tofu and Peanut Sauce

1 block extra firm tofu (not silken)
1/8 cup gluten free Kikkoman soy sauce
1 package A Taste of Thai Peanut Sauce
1 can coconut milk (full fat if you want the sauce to be thicker)
2 cups broccoli florets
1 cup cauliflower chopped into bit size pieces
1 small red onion sliced or chopped (your preference)
1 cup frozen peas
1/4 raisins (optional)
2 tablespoons oil olive
1 box quinoa (pre-washed)

Pre-heat oven 375

Slice tofu into 1 inch cubes.  Brush cubes on all sides with soy sauce and allow to marinate for 10 minutes.
Place on lightly oiled baking sheet and bake for 30-45 minutes, turning halfway through until deep golden brown and crispy on the outside but still tender on the inside.  Remove from oven and set aside.

Meanwhile, chop up your broccoli, cauliflower and onion, in a large skillet over medium high heat saute your vegetables with two tablespoons olive oil until tender-crisp, about 5-7 minutes.  In a medium size bowl whisk together the peanut sauce packet with a can of coconut milk.  Pour mixture over vegetables, bring to a boil for 1-2 minutes then reduce heat to a simmer.  Add in your frozen peas, raisins and baked tofu to the peanut sauce vegetable mixture.  Let simmer for 1-2 minutes (until peas are warmed through).  Serve over quinoa or brown rice.  

It's Friday! Looks like mother nature decided to paint the sky this morning in celebration of the weekend.

December 7, 2011

pesto zucchini and squash "spaghetti"

A couple of my friends are doing the Paleo Diet I've heard of it but never really investigated it.  I tasted some muffins a friend made this weekend and thought, I need to check this out.  The muffins were mighty taste and gluten free.  After a bit of research it appears the Paleo plan is naturally gluten free and has an emphasis on whole foods and no processed sugars.  Turns out, unbeknownst to me and the hubby we already eat a Paleo Diet, give or take a few things.  I'm rambling. 

The whole point of this is that while I was researching this eating plan I discovered a recipe for "spaghetti" made of zucchini.  We generally use spaghetti squash in place of noodles so I thought I would attempt this for dinner last night and it did not disappoint.  It was also very easy to prepare and was just as satisfying as a plate of pasta without the carbicide bloat. 

Pesto Zucchini and Squash "Spaghetti"
Adapted from Perry's Plate

4 medium zucchini, julienned thinly (I did this by hand so my pieces are far from uniform, a mandoline slicer would have been the ideal gadget to use)
2 medium yellow squash, julienned thinly
1 package hot/spicy ground sausage
2 cups broccoli florets
1 cup mushrooms, sliced
1/2 cup onions sliced thinly
4 Tblsp prepared basil pesto (or more to taste)
1/2 cup goat cheese (optional)
3 pieces cooked bacon, crumbled (optional)

Thinly slice zucchini and yellow squash.  Place zucchini and squash strips in a colander over a bowl or in the sink.  Sprinkle zucchini and squash with salt and toss to combine.  Let the veggies sit for 15 minutes while the salt extracts the moisture.  Drain excess water, squeezing zucchini and squash if necessary.

Meanwhile, cook ground sausage in a skillet over medium heat until crisp, turn frequently.  Once the sausage has cooked through toss in the onions, broccoli, mushrooms and cook until the veggies are crisp-tender. 

You can cook the bacon at this time with the sausage; I prefer to bake my bacon in the oven at 425 degrees for 15 minutes, set aside and crumble into the mixture after it is prepared.

Remove sausage/veggie mixture from the pan, set on a plate with a napkin to drain any excess oil.

Return pan to medium heat.  Add zucchini and squash with 2 Tblsp. of the pesto tossing to combine all the ingredients.  The mixture of veggies only needs to cook for about 4 minutes.  Once cooked, add back your sausage and veggie medley plus the additional 2 Tblsp pesto, crumbled bacon and 1/2 cup goat cheese.  Toss until all ingredients are mixed evenly.  Serve warm! (Serves 4). 

December 1, 2011

cranberry sauce muffins (gluten free)

I made a boatload of cranberry sauce for Thanksgiving.  I might have been a bit overzealous about our guests appetite for this delicious sauce.  My husband saw the vat of sauce I was making and informed me that I would most likely be the only one eating it.  Did this stop me? Nope. Now to be fair, some of our guests did enjoy the sauce but the hubs was correct that I made way to much. I didn't know what to do with the extras until I spotted a box of King Arthur's Gluten Free Muffin Mix in my pantry.  I figured, why not?  Let's just see how this works out and low and behold the muffins came out light and fluffy with just the right amount of tart and sweet.  I added a little turbinado sugar to the top of the muffins while they baked and it created the prefect little crunch, let's be real here, who doesn't enjoy crunchy little sugary bits on top of a muffin? 

Cranberry Sauce

1 (12-ounce) bag of fresh cranberries, cleaned
1 3/4 cups agave
1 Granny Smith apple, peeled, cored, and chopped
1 orange, zest grated and juiced
1 lemon, zest grated and juiced
3/4 cup raisins 

Cook the cranberries, Agave, and 1 cup of water in a sauce pan over medium heat for about 5 minutes, or until the skins pop open.  Add the apple, zests and juices and cook for 15 more minutes.  Remove from heat and add the raisins.  Let cool and serve chilled.  

Cranberry Sauce Muffins

1 box King Arthur's Gluten Free Muffin Mix 
1 1/2 cups cranberry sauce
3 eggs
6 tablespoons melted butter (I used Earth Balance)
3/4 cup almond milk
Follow directions on the box and add in your cranberry sauce, top them with some turbinado sugar.  Pop them in the oven at 375 degrees for 18-20 minutes and enjoy!