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Pre Workout Snack of Champions

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Pre Workout Snack of Champions

Welcome to my latest obsession…

You may think I’m crazy for putting beets into chocolate and making a pudding, but don’t knock it until you try it. I do have a love for beets in general but a friend of mine turned me on to the combination of chocolate and beets and it really is a match made in heaven! This recipe would be perfect for curbing a sweet tooth but I actually think this is the PERFECT pre workout snack. 

Beet pudding before a workout? Really?

Really. 

Beets are high in nitrates and this creates a chain reaction where the body converts the nitrates in into nitric oxide. Nitric Oxide is a compound that enhances blood flow throughout the body and helps lower blood pressure. Many body builders take nitric oxide or pre workouts supplements that have nitric oxide for enhancing their workouts. The increase in blood flow yields better lifts for weight training and better blood flow for cardiovascular events. 

In addition to the increase in blood flow there is a nice balance of carbohydrates from the beets, energy boost from the cacao/chocolate, and vitamin C from the raspberries that give your body the proper balance for a killer workout. You could also eat this after a workout with some protein powder mixed for a complete post workout snack. I have been eating this for breakfast all week with some chopped almonds or hazelnuts on top and it is RIGHTEOUS! I feel so clean after I eat this and ready to take the day on.

Here is a link to a post I did about the health benefits of beets in pre and post workout nutrition.

Chocolate Raspberry Beet Pudding

Serves 4

Vegan - Sugar Free - Gluten Free - Grain Free - Paleo 

Ingredients

  • 3 Cups Steamed Beets (about 3-4 large beets or 5-6 small beets)
  • 1 Cup Raw Cacao Powder (or High quality Cocoa powder or Carob Powder)
  • 1/2 Cup Non Dairy Milk (Almond, Rice, Coconut etc)
  • 3 Cups Frozen Raspberries (Cherries would be amazing!)
  • 25-30 drops of Liquid Stevia or sweetener of choice to taste (Recommended Brand - Sweet Leaf Vanilla Creme)
  • 1 tsp Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 1/4 tsp Sea Salt

Instructions

  1. Steam beets in a steamer over simmering water for 10-15 minutes or until a knife is easily pierced through the skin. Allow to cool.
  2. Once the beets are cooled rub the skins off with your hands. ( I suggest wearing gloves and doing this over the sink to prevent staining on your skin)
  3. Slice the beets into small pieces and place in the work bowl of a blender.
  4. Add the remaining ingredients to the blender and puree until smooth and creamy.
  5. Taste for sweetness and adjust if necessary.

Notes

  1. If seeds bother you, heat the raspberries in a pan until softened with 2 TBL water and then mash with a fork. Strain the raspberries into the blender through a sieve to remove any seeds, pushing the solids with a spatula.
  2. Carob would be a great substitute for chocolate if you have any issues with caffeine or histamines that are in raw cacao/chocolate

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Recipe Remake: Sugar Free Paleo Peppermint Patties

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Recipe Remake: Sugar Free Paleo Peppermint Patties

pepermint patties

 I have my mind on my candy and candy on my mind. 

It’s that time of year….the time when most stores you walk into are filled with candy, candy, and more candy. Halloween is the precursor for the upcoming holiday season….the season of eating. Don’t get me wrong I love the holidays, and I like to indulge, but I like to control the ingredients and keep the junk out of my mouth and away from my hips. You feel me?

I wanted to start with one of my families favorites the refreshing, sweet and sinful peppermint patty. 

Feel the chill and float away on a rich bed of chocolate and creamy mint without any of the guilt…isn’t life grand? 

Oh and don’t worry if you don’t have a chocolate mold I have instructions for making these without one. If you feel so inclined here is a link to buy the one I use its only $9 and it really makes your candies and chocolates look very professional. 

Sugar Free Paleo Peppermint Patties

Yields 20

Vegan - Sugar Free - Paleo - Soy Free - Gluten Free - Grain Free

Ingredients

  • 1 Cup Unsweetened Coconut Flakes (shredded will work too)
  • 1 Cup Coconut Oil
  • 2 tsp Pure Peppermint Extract (see notes)
  • 1 tsp Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 2 Stevia Packets (recommended brand Sweet Leaf)
  • 2 Tbl Maple Syrup (divided in half)
  • 1/4 tsp Celtic Sea Salt (or any sea salt)
  • 4 oz Unsweetened Chocolate (high quality please and thank you)
  • 2 tsp Coconut Oil

Instructions

  1. In the bowl of a food processor add the coconut flakes, coconut oil, vanilla and peppermint extracts, stevia, 1 tbl maple syrup, salt, and blend until the mixture is smooth. Taste for sweetness and mint intensity. Feel free to add more of both depending on your palette.
  2. Place the coconut mixture in the fridge to firm up while preparing the chocolate for at least 20 minutes. The mixture should be firm while soft enough to scoop with a spoon. If the mixture if made ahead of time allow it to sit out on the counter before using.
  3. Chop up the chocolate and place in a double boiler. (if you don't have a double boiler place a bowl thats big enough to sit on the top of a saucepan without the bowl touching the water with simmering water underneath)
  4. Add the oil to the chocolate and stir until it is completely melted.
  5. Remove the chocolate from the heat and stir in the maple syrup and a pinch of salt.

If using a mold

  1. Pour the chocolate into the mold and swirl around over a bowl or something large enough to catch the excess.
  2. Using a flat edge spatula or a bench scraper or even the back of a butter knife scrape the excess chocolate off of the mold.
  3. Place the chocolate in the freezer to firm up for 10 minutes.
  4. Remove the chocolate and scoop the coconut mixture into the molds filling almost to the top of the molds.
  5. Return the mold into the freezer to firm up for 15 minutes.
  6. Remove the mold from the freezer and pour the remaining chocolate over the pieces and scrape off the excess so there is no visible coconut.
  7. Return to the freezer to firm up for an addition 15 minutes.
  8. Pop the pieces out of the mold and keep them stored in the fridge.

If you don't have a mold

  1. Line a sheet pan with parchment or wax paper.
  2. Scoop heaping tablespoons of the coconut mixture (it should be firm enough to hold a shape) leaving 1/2'' in between.
  3. Place in the freezer to firm up for 20 minutes.
  4. Remove from the freezer and pour the chocolate over each coconut mound making sure to cover every inch.
  5. Return the chocolates back to the freezer to firm up for an additional 15 minutes.
  6. Keep the chocolates in an airtight container in the fridge.

Notes

  1. Peppermint extracts can vary in intensity so I advise to start with 2 tsp of extract then taste the mixture. You can always add more but if you add to much the batch can be ruined so add 1/2 tsp at a time to increase the mint flavor.

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Decadence in Disguise....Chocolate Mousse Brownie Bars with Beets!

I have this odd craving lately and it’s not chocolate or ice cream or cake…its for beets. I can’t stop eating them, juicing them, and now I have started putting them in my desserts! Whaaaaa??? Yeah you heard me right, but hey when somethings good why not run with it? 

Less is more you say? 

BALDERDASH! 

This is America….More is More!

So stick with my kids because I’m putting beets in my ultra rich and chocolate  mousse bars with a pecan coconut crust and guess what?

Your going to fall madly in love with beets just like I have.

Have a non beet lover in the group? Have them try this mousse bar and don’t tell them what the magic ingredient is. Shhhh I won’t tell if you won’t.

Now go get some beets steaming so you can make a puree. The rest of this recipe is made in a blender and the crust comes together in minutes in a food processor so this recipe is easy breezy. Yep this baby is a no bake, vegan, sugar-free, gluten-free, grain free dream that tastes so decadent you will forget that it’s actually good for you. 

No Bake Chocolate Beet Mousse Bars

Serves 8

Vegan - No Bake - Grain Free - Gluten Free - Refined Sugar Free - Paleo 

Ingredients

  • 1/2 Cup Beet Puree (see notes)
  • 1/2 Cup + 2 Tbl Raw Cacao Powder
  • 1/3 Cup Coconut Oil Melted
  • 1 Cup soaked cashews (or nut/seed of choice)
  • 2 oz Finely Chopped Unsweetened Chocolate
  • 25 Pitted Medjool Dates Softened in Warm Water
  • 2-4TBL Coconut Milk as needed
  • 1/4 tsp Celtic Sea Salt

Crust

  • 3/4 Cup Medjool dates
  • 1/2 Cup Raw Unsweetend Shredded Coconut
  • 1/2 Cup Raw Pecans
  • 1 Tbl Raw Cacao
  • 1/4 tsp Celtic Sea Salt

Vegan Coconut Whipped Cream

Instructions

  1. Line a 9x4 standard bread pan (I use a square corner pan for clean corners bought at a restaurant supply store) with parchment paper. One piece should run the long way and another piece should run the other way and the paper should hang over the edges like a sling so the bars can be removed easily.
  2. Grease the parchment paper with coconut oil or light oil.
  3. Add the ingredients of the crust (dates, salt, cacao powder, pecans and coconut) and pulse until the pieces are broken up and the crust stays together when pressed between your fingertips. If its not coming together add a few more dates until it sticks together.
  4. Pour the crust into the bottom of the pan and press it firmly with the bottom of a greased flat bottomed glass or a greased spatula to form a flat surface.
  5. Place the crust in the fridge to set up while you assemble the rest of the bars.
  6. Cover the dates being used for the mousse bars in some hot water and set aside.
  7. In a small bowl add the coconut oil and the chopped unsweetened chocolate and microwave for 15 seconds at a time stirring in between until fully melted. (You can also do this on your stove in a double boiler). If there are still some small pieces of chocolate visible try stirring for a few seconds to see if they will melt so you don't overheat the chocolate in the microwave.
  8. Drain the dates and add them to a blender along with the pureed beets, salt, raw cacao powder, melted chocolate/oil mixture and blend until smooth.
  9. Drain and rinse the soaked cashews. 
  10. Now add the cashews and blend until smooth.
  11. If the mixture is too thick start adding coconut milk 1 TBL at a time until the mixture can run smoothly in the blender but is still very thick.
  12. Taste for sweetness. If you like it sweeter feel free to add some maple syrup or sweetener of choice to your taste.
  13. Pour the mixture over the crust and use a spatula to smooth it out. Tap the bottom of the pan flattly on the counter to flatten the mixture out.
  14. Place in the fridge to firm up at least 3 hours.
  15. Remove from the pan and slice the loaf in 4 long equal pieces lengthwise and then slice across to cut the 4 pieces in half to make 8 long skinny rectangular bars.
  16. Serve with a scoop of coconut cream.

For the Beet Puree

  1. Steam 4 beets until fork tender. Remove skin after steaming with gloves and cut up the beets into small pieces. Add the beets to a blender along with 1-2 TBL of the cooking water and blend until you have a smooth puree. Measure out 1/2 cup puree for this recipe.
  2. This recipe can be doubled to make a full cake using a 9'' spring form pan or a 9x9 baking pan.

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Rock Your Socks Off With This Half Cured Sweet and Smokey Salmon

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Rock Your Socks Off With This Half Cured Sweet and Smokey Salmon

Salmon cooked

Sometimes with gluten free or grain free recipes there is a palette adjustment or texture adjustment that one has to make mentally before eating a certain remake of a favorite food (ex cupcakes, or muffins). But when it comes to this Salmon, no adjustments are neccesary. I dare you to make this for any of your foodie friends and I promise the only thing you’ll be explaining is the recipe, not that its “paleo” or “gluten free”. 

Start out with a beautiful wild caught one side center cut fillet of Salmon with the skin on and pin bones removed. I like center cut because the thickness is more uniform which will help for even cooking.  This recipe is for a 1 lb piece so feel free to adjust the recipe for the size of your fish. I like the skin on because it holds in more moisture but make sure that before serving you peel off the skin because it won’t be crispy. 

Toast the coriander and cumin in a dry small saute pan over medium heat for 2-3 minutes or until the spices become fragrant. Make sure to stir the spices every 30 seconds or so for even toasting. 

In a mortar & pestle or a spice grinder add the toasted coriander and cumin seeds and process until finely ground. 

Add the smoked paprika, coconut sugar (or raw sugar), salt, and zest the lemon into the spices. Toss with your fingers.

Rinse the salmon off and dry with paper towels removing as much moisture as possible. Lay the salmon down on a sheet pan lined with foil and brushed with olive oil to prevent sticking. 

Generously cover the salmon in the spice rub pressing it into the flesh until it is completely covered.

Allow the salmon to sit out for 45 minutes and “cure”. 

After 45 minutes of curing with spice mixture.
After 45 minutes of curing with spice mixture.

Preheat the broiler and position a rack 3 inches from the broiler. 

After the 45 minutes place the salmon under the broiler for 6-8 minutes or until the thickest part of the fish reaches an internal temperature of 131 degrees F on an instant-read thermometer.

Cooked Salmon
Cooked Salmon

Allow to rest for 10 minutes before serving. 

This is how I like my salmon. Medium rare mmmm so good!
This is how I like my salmon. Medium rare mmmm so good!

Half Cured Sweet and Smokey Salmon

Serves 4-6

Ingredients

  • 1 lb Skin on Center Cut one Side Piece of Wild Salmon (pin bones removed)
  • 1 1/2 tsp Smoked Paprika
  • 2 Tbl Coconut Sugar 
  • Zest of 1 Lemon
  • 1 1/2 tsp Fine Sea Salt

Optional

  • 1 1/2 tsp Coriander Seeds (toasted and ground) or 1/2 tsp dried *
  • 1 tsp Cumin Seeds (toasted and ground) or 1/4 tsp dried *

Instructions

  1. Combine the smoked paprika, coconut sugar (or raw sugar), salt, zest of the lemon (and additional spices if using) in a bowl. Toss with your fingers.
  2. Rinse the salmon off and dry with paper towels removing as much moisture as possible.
  3. Lay the salmon down on a sheet pan lined with foil and brushed with olive oil to prevent sticking.
  4. Generously cover the salmon in the spice rub pressing it into the flesh until it is completely covered.
  5. Allow the salmon to sit out for 30-45 minutes and "cure".
  6. You know its ready when the spices have absorbed into the salmon and it has a sheen to it.
  7. Preheat the broiler and position a rack 3 inches from the broiler.
  8. After the curing, place the salmon under the broiler for 6-8 minutes or until the thickest part of the fish reaches an internal temperature of 131 degrees F on an instant-read thermometer.
  9. Allow to rest for 10 minutes before serving.

Notes

  1. For whole spices: Toast the coriander and cumin in a dry small saute pan over medium heat for 2-3 minutes or until the spices become fragrant. Make sure to stir the spices every 30 seconds or so for even toasting.
  2. In a mortar & pestle or a spice grinder add the toasted coriander and cumin seeds and process until finely ground. Add to spice/lemon zest/sugar mixture and proceed with recipe.

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Low Carb, Paleo, Grain Free Tortillas!!!

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Low Carb, Paleo, Grain Free Tortillas!!!

tortilla 13- taco
tortilla 13- taco
tortilla 13- taco

To all the paleo eaters, cross fitters, low carb lovers, and gluten and grain free guys and dolls out there I have an announcement to make….I have a new tortilla recipe for you and you aren’t going to believe what the main ingredient is….

Want to know what it is?.....

CAULIFLOWER!!!

What a versatile and tricky little veggie that cauliflower is. 

Now I have to say that this is sort of a “fake out” recipe because they look like corn tortillas, but have a different texture and have a more nutty, sweet taste. Except these don’t have any sugar, preservatives, or other weird ingredients manufactures think are necessary to make natural food taste more like “food”.

Pffftt amateurs!

You know very well that you can make something twice as good, and 150% more nutritious so come on already and let’s make some tortillas!!!

First off gather your ingredients…

tortilla mise
tortilla mise

3 cups of steamed cauliflower, 2 eggs, 2 tbl Arrowroot Flour, 2 1/2 tsp Coconut Flour, and 1/4 tsp salt.

Oh and preheat your oven to 375F and process the cauliflower into rice in your food processor. 

 It should look like this and if you can’t get it any finer its ok, you will be blending it again. Place the cauliflower in some cheesecloth and drain all the water out. 

Now put the drained cauliflower back into the food processor along with all of the other ingredients and mix until finely processed into a thick paste. Allow to sit for ten minutes for all of the coconut flour to absorb the liquid and swell. 

Line a sheet pan with parchment paper and drop 2 heaping tablespoons of batter onto the pan with plenty of room to spread into 4’‘ rounds. Press with your fingertips and make them as thin as possible wetting your fingertips if they begin to stick to the batter. 

 Use the side of your palms to form the tortillas into a circle as best as you can. 

Bake for 12 minutes or until the edges just start to turn a golden brown and when you try to flip them they don’t stick to the paper and look like this…

Flip the tortillas over and bake for an additional 12 minutes or until they look like this…

Now at this point you can place a piece of wax paper in between each tortilla and wrap them in plastic or in an airtight container  in the fridge or freezer or until ready to use. 

When you are ready to eat them, griddle them off in a dry skillet or on an electric skillet pressing on each side with the back of a spatula, or until they are equally browned and crispy.

Don’t worry they won’t stick. 

Fill with your favorite meat, veggie, or anything your creative heart and stomach can think of!

Grain Free Low Carb Tortillas

Yields 8

Paleo - Grain Free - Sugar Free - Gluten Free - Low Carb

Ingredients

  • 3 cups Cauliflower Florets cut into small pieces (stems removed)
  • 2 Eggs
  • 2 Tbl Arrowroot Flour
  • 2 1/2 tsp Coconut Flour
  • 1/2 tsp Fine Sea Salt

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 375F and line 2 sheet pans with parchment paper.
  2. "Rice" the cauliflower by placing it in to a food processor and pulse until finely pulverized into small rice like pieces.
  3. Then place the riced cauliflower into a bowl, cover with a dish towel, and microwave for 2 minutes.
  4. Stir the cauliflower, cover and microwave an additional 2 minutes.
  5. Place the steamed cauliflower into a dish towel or a few layers of cheesecloth and squeeze out all of the water so it is very dry.
  6. Place the drained cauliflower back into the bowl of a food processor along with the remaining ingredients.
  7. Process the mixture until it is almost smooth and becomes thick and pasty.
  8. Allow to sit for ten minutes for the coconut flour to absorb as much liquid as it can.
  9. Drop two heaping tablespoons of the batter per tortilla and spread out with your fingers as thin as possible.
  10. Use the sides of your hands to make it into a circle as best as you can.
  11. Repeat with the remaining batter. (About 4-5 tortillas will fit on a sheet pan)
  12. Bake for 12-13 minutes or until the edges of the tortillas are just golden and they do not stick to the parchment paper when you try to flip them.
  13. Flip each tortilla and bake for an additional 12-13 minutes or until golden brown all over.
  14. *If you are not eating them now you can bag them at this point and place a piece of wax paper in between each tortilla and refrigerate in a plastic bag or container until ready to eat.

When ready to eat

  1. Heat a dry skillet over medium high heat and griddle each tortilla by pressing them with the back of a spatula until they are golden brown and crispy on each side.

Notes

  1. These can be made ahead of time up until the step that they come out of the oven. They can be crisped up to order right before serving or else they will be soggy if eaten right out of the fridge. These can also be frozen and thawed out on a counter and then browned off in a skillet before eating.

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Grain Free Rosemary Almond Crackers topped with Balsamic glazed Pears, Mustard Cream Dressed Frisee and Goat Brie Cheese

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Grain Free Rosemary Almond Crackers topped with Balsamic glazed Pears, Mustard Cream Dressed Frisee and Goat Brie Cheese

It’s a Holiday weekend so I know many of you are scrambling to find some party friendly recipes to impress your family and friends. How about homemade grain free crackers topped with balsamic glazed pears a mustard cream sauce and goat cheese? Say yes, because these will knock your socks off and make you look like a rock star, especially since they are vegetarian, grain free, gluten-free, and refined sugar-free.

I found this recipe for grain free almond flour crackers on zenbellyblog.com and this is the base but its a great recipe to have in your back pocket for parties.

Some other options for topping these crackers:

  1. Smashed pea and olive oil puree with lemon zest and crumbled bacon
  2. Cashew Cream with chives and smoked salmon
  3. Store bought olive tapenade or Pate or Caponata with arugula tossed in balsamic vinaigrette
  4. Roasted Beets, orange zest, toasted pistachios and goat cheese

Make sure to check out my flavor combination pages to come up with some new and creative ideas for your menu this weekend. 

If you are dairy free you can omit the cheese in this recipe and replace it with some candied walnuts but if you are looking to splurge the goat cheese really sends it over the top. It might seem like a lot of steps and ingredients but it’s really simple and you can make all the components ahead of time and assemble when you are ready to serve.

Balsamic glazed Pears, Frisee, Mustard Cream & Brie Goat Cheese Appetizer

Grain Free- Refined Sugar Free – Corn Free – Gluten Free – Vegetarian

Makes about 24 pieces depending on what size cracker is used

Rosemary Almond Flour Crackers

Cracker recipe courtesy of http://www.zenbelly.com

  • 2 Cups Almond Flour
  • 1/2 tsp fine sea salt
  • 2 Tbl Fresh finely minced Rosemary
  • 2 Tbl Olive Oil
  • 2 Egg (pasture raised if possible)

Mustard Cream Sauce

  • 1/3 cup Raw Cashews soaked overnight in water
  • 3 Tbl Grain Mustard (gluten free or homemade)
  • 1 1/2 Tbl Dijon Mustard (gluten free or homemade)
  • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 2 tsp coconut nectar or honey or stevia to taste
  • 1/4 tsp freshly ground pepper
  • Pinch of fine sea salt

Topping Ingredients

  • 2 Firm (but ripe) Bosc Pear core removed and sliced into 1”x 1/4” match sticks
  • 1 Tbl Olive Oil
  • 2 Tbl Balsamic Vinegar
  • 1 Tbl coconut nectar/maple syrup/ or honey
  • 2 Tbl fresh orange juice
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme leaves or 2 tsp chopped fresh thyme leaves
  • 1/4 tsp fine sea salt
  • 1 head (about 2 cups) frisee lettuce washed and cut crosswise into small bite size pieces
  • 4 oz goat brie cheese sliced in 1’‘ x 1 1/4’‘ pieces or soft goat cheese crumbled into small pieces*

*If you can’t eat cheese replace with candied or roasted salted walnuts

Instructions for the Crackers:

  1. Pre heat an oven to 325F
  2. In the bowl of a food processor (or a large bowl with a whisk) add the egg and olive oil and pulse (or whisk) to combine. Add the salt, almond flour, and rosemary and pulse or mix until a ball of dough is formed.
  3. Kneed it a few times to make sure everything is well incorporated. Place the dough in between two pieces of parchment paper and roll out with a rolling-pin until the dough is 1/8” thick. Cut into squares (2’‘x2’‘) with a pizza cutter and transfer to a parchment lined sheet pan.
  4. Bake for 14-16 minutes or until they are golden brown around the edges.

Instructions for the Mustard Cream:

  1. Drain and rinse the soaked cashews and add them in a high powder blender or a food processor along with the orange juice.
  2. Pulse/blend until a smooth cream is formed. If it’s becoming hard to blend add more oj or water a little bit at a time.
  3. Add the mustard, honey/stevia/coconut syrup, pepper, pinch of salt and blend until a smooth cream is created.
  4. Taste for seasoning and sweetness. Set aside.

Instructions for the Pears and Assembling :

  1. In a saute pan over medium heat add the olive oil. When the oil starts to shimmer add the sliced pears and sprinkle with the salt and thyme, and saute for 3-5 minutes or until they start to brown and crisp up around the edges.
  2. Deglaze the pan with the balsamic vinegar, orange juice, and drizzle the honey or coconut nectar over the pears. Cook for one minute then lower the heat to a simmer and stir and cook for an additional 2-3 minutes or until the balsamic vinegar has reduced to a syrup and there is no liquid in the pan.
  3. Remove the pears from the pan and set aside in a bowl to cool.
  4. Right before assembling add the chopped frisee in  a bowl and start by spooning 3/4 of the mustard cream over and toss with tongs until the lettuce is well covered in the dressing adding more if needed.
  5. Lay the crackers out in an assembly line. Place a small handful of the dressed frisee on each cracker. Then add 3-4 slices of the sautéed pears over the lettuce and then top with a few small slices of brie or a few small pieces of crumbled goat cheese.

Optional to drizzle some additional mustard cream over the top.

Place on a serving platter and serve.

 

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Vegan/Paleo Sunflower Butter and Jelly Filled Chocolates

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Vegan/Paleo Sunflower Butter and Jelly Filled Chocolates

photo-31
Ahhhhh chocolate….it really could solve most of the world problems. But whats a girl to do if she is trying to get all of those empty caloric white sugars out of her life? Make my own chocolate silly and now you can too!

These are not as hard as you might think as long as you have a silicone chocolate mold, and luckily for you they are sold on amazon for about $10. 

So enough chat, lets turn that nostalgic PB&J sandwich on its head and put it into bon bon form. Giddy up.

Paleo/Vegan Sunflower Butter & Jelly Filled Chocolate Bon Bons

Paleo- Gluten Free -Vegan

Makes 16 bon bons

  • 5 oz unsweetened chocolate (use high quality like Ghiradelhi)
  • 1 TBL coconut syrup/ honey/ agave
  • 1/2 TBL Coconut oil
  • 1/2 cup Sunflower butter/Almond Butter/ or any nut butter you like (brought to room temp)
  • 8 tsp raspberry no sugar added jam/jelly (I use Whole Foods 356 brand sweetened with apple juice)
  • Coarse Sea Salt
  • Silicone candy mold

Chop the chocolate into pieces and place 3/4 of it in a small glass bowl and microwave for 15 seconds at a time. Stir the chocolate and continue to microwave for 10 seconds at a time, stirring in between, until the chocolate is smooth and shiny. Add the remaining 1/4 of the chocolate and stir until smooth. The chocolate should register 87 to 89 degrees F on a candy thermometer.

Pour the chocolate into a flexible chocolate mold and swirl it around above a sheet pan until every corner of the mold have been covered. Using a bench scraper or a flat bottomed spatula scrape the mold so that all the chocolate is leveled off and pour it off onto a sheet pan. Scrape the excess chocolate back into the bowl to use again.

Place the mold on a sheet pan to keep it level and place the leveled chocolates into the refrigerator for about 10-15 minutes checking after 10 minutes to see if the chocolate has set up. It should be somewhat firm to the touch and not leave a fingerprint when touched but do not leave it in for too long or else the chocolate with break when you open it.

Remove the molds from the fridge and spoon 1/2 tablespoon of nut-butter into the center of each mold. Then place 1/2 teaspoon of jam into the center of the nut-butter.

photo-30

Place in the fridge to set up for 5 minutes.

Pour the remaining chocolate over the top of the filled chocolates and swirl around so it is completely covered. Gently scrape off the excess with your bench scraper or spatula so that the top is completely leveled with the mold. (If your chocolate has cooled too much place it back in the microwave for 5 second intervals stirring in between to get it back to a pourable mixture)

Sprinkle each bon bon with a small sprinkling of coarse sea salt.

Place back on the sheet pan and into the refrigerator to set up for at least 15 minutes and up to 20 depending how thick your chocolate is. Test one to see if it comes out and if it cracks place it back in the fridge to set up longer.

Gently pop them out and place onto a plate and keep in the fridge until ready to eat

[shopeat_button]

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Spice up your V-Day dinner tonight with the exotic spice blend Dukkah

Happy Valentines Day you gorgeous babes!

I know I should be posting some recipe about chocolate or something pink and cute…. but I like to break with convention and do something different. If you are staying in and cooking for your sweetie (or yourself) why not bring some Egyptian spice into the mix and whip up some Dukkah.

This is an amazing aromatic and warm spice blend that is a staple in Middle Eastern cooking. There are countless ways to make this (think Garam Masala in India and how it is different in every household)

Basics of Dukkah

Nuts (macadamia, pistachios, almonds, pine nuts, hazelnuts, pecans etc)

Sesame Seeds ( I have made one without and subbed sunflower seeds and it’s still great)

Coriander

Cumin

Some optional Add ins:

Dried herbs

Dried fruit peel

Dried hot peppers

Sugar

Spices

Here is my blend and I am addicted to sprinkling it on top medium boiled eggs right now. I also dip apples in it and sprinkle it on top of yogurt. This is the aphrodisiac of spices my friends.

Dukkah

Gluten-free, Vegan, Paleo,

Makes one heaping cup

- 30 grams (1/4 cup) hazelnuts (unsalted) – 30 grams (1/4 cup) shelled pistachios (unsalted) – 4 tablespoons sesame seeds – 3 tablespoons coriander seeds – 2 tablespoons cumin seeds – 2 teaspoons dried thyme

- 1 teaspoon fennel seeds – 1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns

- 2 teaspoons dried lemon peel – 1 teaspoon salt

Toast the hazelnuts and pistachios in a dry skillet, or place on a sheet pan and roast on 350F for 8 minutes or until fragrant. In a skillet over medium heat toast the seeds and berries (from sesame to black pepper) in the skillet for 2-3 minutes or  until fragrant shaking the pan frequently so they don’t burn. Let cool completely. Add the salt and the lemon peel to the mixture and set aside.

First place the hazelnuts and pistachios (or larger nuts) in a spice grinder and pulse a few times to get the mixture started. Pour the nuts out onto a plate with the other spices and mix up with your hands or a spoon. In small batches add all the ingredients, and grind to a coarse powder in an electric grinder or with a mortar and pestle.

Pour mixture into a jar and  close tightly. Keep in a cool dry place.

Serving suggestions:

Sprinkle on top of roasted veggies, chicken, cheese, eggs, even fruit would be killer!

 

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Vegan Chocolate Banana Truffles for your sweetie (or you!)

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Vegan Chocolate Banana Truffles for your sweetie (or you!)

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Happy Tuesday to all my gorgeous gluten-free readers!!! In case you live under a rock Thursday is Valentines Day. I have mixed feelings about the holiday in general, but the one part that I do approve of is the unabashed excuse to eat chocolate! Now for all you love birds out there that have a date I strongly encourage you to make something from the heart rather than buy a premade box of terrible unhealthy chocolates (especially if your valentine has a food allergy or diet requirement). And if you are riding solo, like me ;) go ahead and make a batch for yourself. Aint nothin wrong with that and you can’t tell me otherwise.

Always remember just because it’s a special occasion doesn’t mean anyone should go without so this recipe is gluten-free, vegan, paleo, and freaking delicious! Did I mention its way easy too? Ok just checking. Lets make some magic!!!!

 

Vegan/Paleo Banana Chocolate Truffles

Raw-Vegan-Gluten Free-Paleo

Makes about 12 truffles

 

  • 5 oz Dark Chocolate finely chopped
  • 3.75 oz (just short of 1/2 cup) coconut cream (If using regular coconut milk chill for a few hours and scrape the cream off the top of the can. DO NOT USE LIGHT COCONUT MILK)
  • 1 over ripe banana
  • three finger pinch of sea salt

 

Place the banana in the work bowl of your food processor (if you have the small work bowl attachment that would be even better or mash finely with the back of a fork). Puree the banana with short pulses until it is a smooth paste. Add the finely chopped chocolate on top of the banana.

 

Heat the coconut cream in a small sauce pan over medium heat. Allow to heat until steam starts to form on top of the milk making sure to not allow it to come to a boil.

 

Pour the hot coconut cream over the chocolate and banana mixture. Allow to sit for one minute. Then cover and pulse the food processor until a fine smooth mixture.

 

Cover with a saran wrap so that it touches the surface. Refrigerate it until it is firm enough to scoop and roll, about 1 hour. Do not wait too long because if the mixture becomes too cold it will be difficult to work with so start checking after one hour. 

 

Pour the cocoa powder into a shallow bowl or a plate with high sides. Dust your hands with cocoa powder and use a small candy scoop or a large melon baller to form small balls from the ganache. Roll them in your hands one at a time to form a round ball. Place the formed balls into the bowl with the cocoa powder 5 at a time and shimmy the bowl or plate back and forth lightly so the truffles roll around and become covered by a thin later of the cocoa powder. You could also roll them in finely ground coconut.

Keep in the fridge until ready to eat.

 

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