Friday, May 23, 2014

Chocolate Macadamia Nut Butter

Chocolate Macadamia Nut Butter
This is basically the same recipe as my chocolate walnut butter, but using creamy, buttery macadamia nuts instead. I honestly prefer the flavor of walnuts, but know that eating a variety of different protein sources is good and macadamia nuts are definitely one of a kind when it comes to flavor, texture and nutrient composition.  They contain high amounts of mono unsaturated fats, fiber, calcium, iron, magnesium, manganese, zinc and selenium, as well as many important B-complex vitamins such as niacin, thiamin, riboflavin and pyridoxine (vitamin B-6).  This recipe does contain a decent amount of maple syrup, so it isn't perfect, but I ate it mostly as a dessert and considering what I could have eaten instead, this is a much healthier, and ridiculously delicious, option.  I even mixed it into smoothies, oatmeal, and added it to peanut butter sandwiches for a little extra something.  I do plan on making some nut butters with considerably less sugar, so look out for those posts in the near future!!

Monday, May 19, 2014

Raw Piña Colada Bars

Raw Piña Colada Bars
After experimenting successfully with almond flour and coconut flour in a couple of cake recipes, I had to try a healthier twist, using all raw, natural ingredients.  Having recently bought a food processor I knew I now had the option of pureeing dried fruit in order to add sweetness to a recipe and after looking through my cupboards for inspiration I came up with this combination.  My son is not a big fan of chocolate like I am, and prefers sweet, fruity desserts, so this was made with him in mind.  And because it is made with nutrient, calorie and fat dense ingredients, I also knew that it would be perfect for my extremely active and quite skinny nine year old athlete.  Basically all you have to do is mix everything in a food processor, press into a pan and refrigerate, so it doesn't get any easier than that.  I had read different reports about not overusing or overcooking with almond flour because it is higher in fat and calories than other flours and because heat can disrupt the fat composition of the nuts.  But since this recipe uses the flour raw, the result is a delicious gluten free "dessert" that is also high in protein, and therefore perfect as an after sports snack, mid morning pick me up, or even a quick breakfast on the go.  My family ate them all up in a matter of days so I know they were a hit.

Friday, May 16, 2014

Italian Farro with Wild Mushroom Cream Sauce

Italian Farro with
Wild Mushroom Cream Sauce
This is a perfect dish for a rainy day, no matter what the time of year.  Even in the Spring or Summer, it is still nice to have a warm, hearty meal at the end of a long day.  Especially one that is easy to throw together on a stove top, and is as delicious as it is nutritious for you.  I am of the opinion that mushrooms are an often overlooked item in the produce department, especially by the health conscious, because they lack that bright color that we have been told is the key to a high nutrient composition.  But white is a color, and mushrooms offer an amazing supply of different vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, as well as being a delicious low calorie, low fat, gluten free addition to any meal, especially vegetarian ones as the robust flavor of mushrooms can mimic that of meat.
Usually I just buy fresh mushrooms, and saute them in oil or butter as a side dish, but I know that the many different types of dried varieties available today are even better for you.  Just make sure to follow the instructions on the package carefully in regards to how to prepare them. For this recipe I chose baby bella mushroom and dried porcini mushrooms, but you could easily substitute your favorite type as all mushrooms have the same health benefits.*

*For more information on the nutritional benefits of mushrooms:

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Strawberry Almond Scones

Strawberry Almond Scones
Happy Mother's Day 2014!!!  I wrote this recipe for a magazine that has since been discontinued, but I have been waiting to share it until Mother's Day because that is what I thought it would be perfect for.  It is an easy recipe that dads and kids can make together and surprise mom with on her special day, or any day for that matter.  Because moms work hard every day, all day, and deserve a delicious, healthy treat that can help them continue to perform the hardest, yet most rewarding job in the entire world.  So this is for all the mothers out there, young and old.  Thank you for all that you do. xoxo

Friday, May 9, 2014

Chocolate Almond Birthday Cake

Chocolate Almond Cake
One week ago today was my 34th birthday.  Not a big milestone and the day itself was a bit uneventful, but I did manage to make myself a cake.  I know you aren't supposed to bake a cake for yourself on your birthday, but since my mom lives four hours away, and I would prefer to bake one myself than find out what my husband could attempt or buy, I took matters into my own hands.  Of course I had to do something different and unexpected since I love experimenting and what better time than with a cake that is just for me anyway? I got the idea for this cake a few weeks before when I first experimented with almond and coconut flours and made mini almond cupcakes for Easter.  And since I love chocolate so much, I had to make a chocolate version of this decadent gluten free dessert.

The recipe, which I have since amended slightly, turned out better than expected, but not as good as I had hoped... which I suppose doesn't say a lot for my confidence.  It has more to do with not knowing a lot about gluten free baking than anything else, and also the desire to make as healthy and dark a chocolate cake as possible without it being dry or bitter.  I enjoyed the cake, and even ate it for breakfast a few times, and my husband and some friends of ours did as well, but my kids weren't so sure.  The texture of the original was more like a brownie and not very sweet, which I attributed to using too much melted unsweetened chocolate and not enough honey.  So I cut down on the chocolate and increased the honey on the recipe posted below.  Regardless, the delicious cake, topped off with fresh organic whipped cream and strawberries, was the perfect way to celebrate the beginning of another year.  Happy Birthday to me!!

Monday, May 5, 2014

Cocktail Sauce

Cocktail Sauce
Nothing super fancy or ingenious here, simply my take on the traditional seafood sauce minus the corn syrup, coloring and artificiality often found in store bought brands.  Full of flavor, not too salty, not too sweet, it goes perfect with cold cocktail shrimp.  The recipe does make a decent amount so it would be better for a party than as an appetizer for two or three like I had intended, but it was literally so good that I had a few spoonfuls of it alone when I was done with my shrimp, simply because I hate to see things go to waste.  I know it might be easier to just buy a jar, but honestly this took five minutes to stir together and the quality, taste, and nutritional value, are incomparable.