Raw Chia Cardamom Cocoroons

Raw Chia Cardamom Cocoroons

I love cookies. Who doesn’t right? If they weren’t so void of nutrition I’d likely be popping them all day. I used to be able to eat like that. In fact I used to eat so poorly that I’m surprised I didn’t have a coronary by my senior year.

In high school, I’d polish off an entire medium sized dominoes pizza for dinner and about 10-12 chips ahoy cookies for dessert. All.by.my.self. This was only after my McDonalds breakfast of 2 egg, cheese and ham McMuffins with 2 hash browns and my lunch of a double quarter pounder with cheese with a large fry and soda.

Yes… I’m serious. I ate like that nearly every day until I was 18. I was an active teen, playing water polo and swimming and I have good genes so I never gained any weight, regardless of the fact that I rarely ingested anything green or with much fiber. Although I didn’t get fat externally, my organs were obviously bearing the brunt of the abuse. I suffered from rampant infections; bladder, kidney and yeast, had intense heart palpitations, crippling headaches and I was sick 6-8 times a year. All the while I was never able to connect the dots. I had no idea that what I was putting into my body was affecting my health. Nutrition finally came to my rescue after highschool. I became a more aware individual in every facet of my life; I started reading more, expanding my consciousness and quickly concluded that I would die if I kept eating this way. I completely changed my diet for good by age 22, cutting out soda, fast food and gluten and I’ve never looked back. Now when I crave cookies, I make my own.

These little babies are bursting with healthy fats, fiber, phosphorus, calcium and manganese. They are still cookies and calorically dense so try your hardest not to eat the whole batch in one sitting. I managed to keep my hand out of the cookie jar after my first two. My little one was not fond of my restraint. She unarmed all of her big guns in trying to get cookie after cookie into her little hands. She’s a master manipulator, this one. She should really teach lessons in ‘getting what you want.’

Now that I’m a mama, I hope that I can strike a balance between guiding my daughter on her own path of healthy eating and letting her indulge once in awhile. Forbidding things seems to be the surest way to get children fixated on them.  Plus, I believe that life is about pleasure. These cookies allow my girl to satisfy her sweet tooth all while I inject her with some much needed nutrition. Everybody wins. ๐Ÿ˜Š

Raw Chia Cardamom Cocoroons

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Ingredients – Makes about 12 golf ball sized cookies

  • 1 1/2 cups shredded coconut
  • 1/2 cup coconut butter
  • 1/4 cup coconut flour
  • 3 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup chia seeds
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1 1/2 tsp almond extract
  • Seeds from one cardamom pod, grinder

Process

  1. Grind cardamom seeds in spice or coffee grinder
  2. Throw all ingredients in a food processor and process for a few seconds, until batter starts to stick together
  3. Press batter into little macaroon sized balls (or whatever shape tickles your fancy)
  4. Enjoy a few now with a hot cup of tea and save the rest in an air tight container for future taste bud pleasing

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XO ~ Sam

Individual Flourless Chocolate Cakes with Cherry Sauce

Individual Flourless Chocolate Cakes with Cherry Sauce

I’ve never been very good at sharing. I am the oldest of 4 children, so I had my fair share (ha! see what I did there?) of practice. Nonetheless when I started dating my husband and he often recommended we share our dishes at restaurants, I experienced an inner battlefield of indignation. I agreed because I was on my best behavior in this new incredible relationship but inside I was a petulant child; No, it’s MINE!!! It didn’t take too long for him to discover my true selfish colors. When he asked to share my Icecream one day, my pretenses crumbled. I can put on a happy face and share my salad but Icecream is where I draw the line my friends. I do not share things that I lick. Will.not.do.it. No Icecream, no Popsicles, no lollipops and no cereal for that matter. Something about the milk dropping out of your mouth back into the bowl gives me the heeby jeebys. We all have our idiosyncrasies. Thankfully, he loves me anyway and we get along just fine. He stays away from my Icecream and I share nearly every other acceptable meal with him. Relationships are all about compromise people.

Now, on to cake. Thankfully you don’t have to share this cake. You are not going to want to. You can have your very own ramekin and slurp it down greedily in the corner if you wish. I tried to do that but Marvel’s sweet little face made it impossible. My sharing muscles have been getting a major workout since getting married and having our girl. I just can’t escape the inevitable big blinky eyes coaxing me to give them a bite.

Individual Flourless Chocolate Cake with Cherry Sauce 

Chocolate Cake – Serves 4 

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Ingredients 

  • 4 oz cacao butter
  • 1/2 cup cacao powder, more for dusting ramekins
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil, more for greasing
  • 4 tbsp coconut sugar
  • 3 farm fresh eggs
  • 1 tsp freshly scraped vanilla bean, approximately 2 vanilla beans

Process

  1. Preheat oven to 350
  2. Grease and lightly dust 4 6-8 oz ramekins
  3. Place cacao butter, cacao powder, honey, vanilla and coconut oil in a double boiler or in a glass bowl atop a boiling kettle.
  4. Once cacao butter is completely melted, stir and take off heat
  5. Using a beater by hand, beat sugar and egg until just combined.
  6. Add in chocolate sauce and combine
  7. Pour batter evenly into 4 ramekins
  8. Bake for about 20 minutes
  9. While cake is baking, make cherry sauce

Cherry Sauce

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Ingredients 

  • 2 cups halved and pitted cherries
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp arrowroot starch

Process

  1. In a saucepan, bring all ingredients except arrowroot starch to a boil over medium heat 
  2. Stir a few times 
  3. After about 3 minutes add arrowroot 
  4. When sauce starts to thicken, 2-3 minutes later, take off heat
  5. Let cool slightly, pour onto cooled cake and enjoy – by yourself or with others if you’re feeling generous ๐Ÿ˜‰

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‘Wine tasting in Burgundy’ DIY Lipstick

‘Wine tasting in Burgundy’ DIY Lipstick

Health is something that I don’t often fully appreciate until it’s compromised. I guess that is one perk of not being well; when you get well again you are so grateful for your vitality that you vow to take better care of yourself from then on. With my health being less than optimal these last few months I decided I needed to get myself back on track. I took myself to a naturopathic physician to find a solution. A bunch of tests were taken and a few things were discovered. First discovery, I have borderline hypothyroidism, which I will get more into another day. Second, my cortisol levels are too high, which I am now controlling with magnolia root. Third, I tested in the high range for a few toxic metals; aluminum and lead. High levels of aluminum in the body has been linked to Alzheimer’s. High levels of lead in the body has been linked to nerve disorders, memory and concentration problems and muscle and joint pain. The aluminum is from using aluminum based non stick cookware and the lead is from using store bought makeup. Crazy isn’t it? I have since thrown out all my cookware and replaced it with either stainless steal or cast iron to reduce my aluminum exposure. I started making my own makeup a few months ago but I didn’t replace everything. Now that I have these results back I am newly committed to replacing all of the toxic makeup in my makeup bag. The only makeup that I use is lipstick, concealer, mascara and very occasionally blush/bronzer for a little sparkle. I made my own organic blush from beets and hibiscus a few months ago so I’ve got that covered. Next and arguably most importantly on my list is lipstick. I wear it nearly everyday and the store bought lipsticks contain unnatural dyes filled with lead. Considering the fact that this stuff goes on your lips, it is safe to assume we ingest a bit of it every time we put it on. I’m done poisoning myself. I can give my lips the color I love without sacrificing my health to do it. I measured, melted and mixed some of my favorite natural ingredients and created a really beautiful, deep red lip color with a hint of purple. I’m simply in love and frankly I’m never buying a lipstick again.

‘Wine Tasting in Burgundy’ DIY Lipstick

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Ingredients – makes about 2-3 lipsticks depending on size of container. I used .15 ml Chapstick tubes

  • 2 grams beeswax  (I use a scale here because hard beeswax is easier to measure this way)
  • 1 tsp mango butter
  • 1 tsp Shea butter
  • 1/2 tsp meadow foam seed oil
  • 1/2 tsp sweet almond oil
  • 1/4 tsp vitamin e
  • 3/4 tsp Australian red reef clay
  • 1/4 tsp bentonite clay 
  • 6 drops essential oil (I used Ylang Ylang)

Process

  1. Melt together butters/oils in a double boiler or in a glass bowl atop a boiling tea kettle
  2. Take off heat and add in vitamin e
  3. In another bowl mix together red reef and bentonite clay 
  4. Add melted oils/butters to clays and mix until well combined 
  5. Add in essential oil and pour into tubes
  6. Let sit at room temperature for 15-30 minutes to harden
  7. Apply to lips
  8. Leave natural lipstick marks on a lucky lover

DSC_1066 The rich burgundy color evoked images of me with a wine stained mouth in the rolling green hills of France; hence the title of the lipstick. If your lip color can transport you all the way to Burgundy, you know you’ve got a winner. ๐Ÿ˜‰ If you like your lip color a little less dramatic, just use a little less red reef clay. Enjoy your gorgeous red lips without sacrificing your health. XO ~ Sam

My little Marvel is 2, let’s eat cake!

My little Marvel is 2, let’s eat cake!

Tuesday was my little love’s 2nd birthday. Yes, I had a precious little Cinco de mayo baby. Poor thing will always have large groups of adults getting wasted on her birthday, a burden she shares with my hubby, born on the 4th of July. Partiers aside, it was a beautiful day full of smiles, sweets and celebrations. ๐Ÿ™‚ Marvel has been spoiled silly this year; the celebrations began a few weeks ago at my mother’s house in LA and continued on until last night when we sat down with my in laws for dinner and more cake. I’ve eaten more birthday cake in the last three weeks than I have this entire year. I can’t complain though, I mean really, who complains about cake? The grinch maybe, or fascists? Perhaps nazis would complain about cake. Thankfully I’m none of those things. I absolutely love me some cake.

This delectable cake is a welcome reprieve from the traditional slathered in frosting, chocolate layer cake, that most birthday parties are sporting; which I totally made this last weekend for yet another of Marvel’s birthday parties. This cake is an orange and lemon bundt cake. My mother in law made this in a big flower cake pan so technically the cake you see in the pictures is not a bundt cake but it’s meant to be one. The edges are slightly crusty and taste of caramelized sugar. The inside is moist and spongy with bursts of citrus in every bite. It is an AWESOME birthday cake. Frankly, it is an awesome anytime cake. I ate a small slice after my breakfast this morning. If you haven’t had breakfast dessert yet, let me say, you are sorely missing out. It went absolutely perfectly with my green tea. I made some coconut whipped cream to serve on top and couldn’t have been happier with the pairing. I strongly suggest you serve this cake with some sort of whipped cream. The two go together like peanut butter and jelly. ๐Ÿ™‚

 

Triple Citrus ‘Bundt’ Cake

Adapted from a Martha Stewart Recipe

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Ingredients

Cake

  • Coconut oil for greasing
  • 2 3/4 cups flour (I used a gluten free blend of sorghum, teff and white rice flour)
  • 3 lemons
  • 2 large oranges
  • 1 cup coconut sugar, processed super fine in a spice grinder
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 3/4 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup coconut cream
  • 6 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups coconut oil

Syrup

  • 1/2 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup fresh squeezed orange juice
  • 1 cup coconut sugar, processed super fine in a spice grinder

Process

Cake

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Grease a bundt pan with coconut oil
  3. With a sharp knife, cut away the peel and the white pith of a lemon. Holding the lemon over a bowl, cut between membranes to release segments in the bowl. Here is a handy video on how to do this.ย Squeeze juice from remaining membranes into another bowl. Repeat with remaining 2 lemons and 2 oranges
  4. Sift together flour, sugar, baking powder and salt into a bowl
  5. Add coconut cream and using an electric beater, beat until combined
  6. Add eggs one at a time beating to combine
  7. Beat in coconut oil and citrus juices
  8. Add citrus segments and beat on low just to combine
  9. Transfer batter to pan and bake rotating pan once until a toothpick comes out clean, about 45 minutes. (If you are using a flatter, larger pan like I did, it will take about 15 minutes less.)
  10. When cake is done, set on a wire rack to cool for about 20 minutes
  11. Transfer cake to a shallow dish
  12. Brush top and sides of cake with syrup below
  13. Add some sort ofย whipped cream and make your mouth happy. ๐Ÿ™‚

Syrup

  1. Bring citrus juices and processed coconut sugar to a boil in a saucepan stirring until sugar is dissolved, boil for 30 seconds more

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Raw Energy Balls

Raw Energy Balls

The clan and I have been doing quite a lot of traveling around these last few weeks. Moving, visiting friends, flying to LA to spend a few days with my family, driving to the beach an hour away for some fun in the sun… all of our little excursions require that we have handy sustenance for the road. Fruit and nuts are our go to car snacks but sometimes it’s nice to have a special treat to nosh on to make that hour fly by more quickly. 

These bite sized date balls are that perfect special treat. They are sweet enough to feel like an indulgence yet healthy enough to gobble up 6 of them without feeling those all too familiar pangs of regret. I whipped these up in just under 5 minutes. How groovy is that? Groovier than bell bottoms that hug John Travolta’s perfectly sculpted butt in Saturday Night Fever, I reckon. ๐Ÿ˜‰ 

You can dress these up with any of your favorite extras. I rolled a few of them in raw cacao powder for an elegant antioxidant boost. You could dip them in melted chocolate if you wanted a more decadent dessert ball. I found that these satisfied my ever present sweet tooth just fine as is.

Raw Energy Balls

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Ingredients

  • 1 cup walnuts
  • 1/2 cup Dates
  • 1/4 cup almond butter
  • 1/3 cup chia seeds
  • 1/2 cup sunflower seeds
  • 1/4 cup shredded coconut
  • 1/4 cup cacao nibs
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 1/4 tsp salt

Process

  1. Place all ingredients in a food processor 
  2. Process until ingredients are finely chopped and starting to stick together
  3. Roll into bite sized balls and decorate however tickles your proverbial pickle. DSC_1033

XO ~ Sam

Orange and Lemon Coconut Cookies

Orange and Lemon Coconut Cookies

My daughter has been talking up a storm these days. Her favorite words seem to be Mama, Cookie, Please and Thank you; she prefers to use them in this order. Since I am such a dutiful servant mama I made her some cookies today when she asked for them. If you read my last post you will remember that I have just moved in with my parents in law. I now have many old and beautiful cookbooks at my disposal. One is titled simply, ‘Cookies’. I opened it up this morning and skimmed through while nearly drooling all over the pages. I found a recipe I liked and substituted a few things, honey for white granulated sugar, coconut flour for all purpose. The result is a very crumbly, very delicious, very toddler friendly cookie… My husband came home and ate 3 of them himself. I guess they are pretty husband friendly too. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Orange and Lemon Coconut Cookies

~Paleo, Gluten Free, Vegan, Refined Sugar Free!~

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Ingredients

  • 1 cup coconut flour
  • 1/2 cup arrowroot flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup fresh squeezed orange juice
  • 1/4 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • zest of one orange
  • 1/2 cup honey, sub maple syrup if strictly vegan
  • 3 tbsp coconut oil, plus more for greasing

Process

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees
  2. Line a large cookie sheet with parchment paper
  3. Grease parchment paper with coconut oil
  4. In a small bowl mix together all dry ingredients, set aside
  5. In a small saucepan, heat orange, lemon juice, honey and coconut on low heat until it becomes slightly syrupy
  6. Combine dry ingredients with wet ingredients
  7. Scoop out little balls onto cookie sheet and slightly flatten with a spatula
  8. Bake for 10 minutes
  9. Nom nom nom!

These sweet little cookies are best with a cold, creamy glass of milk. I enjoy almond milk, my little one prefers goat milk. Any kind of milk will complement this cookie perfectly.

XO ~ Sam

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Ch-ch-ch-ch-ch-ch-changes and Cheesy Herb Bread.ย 

Ch-ch-ch-ch-ch-ch-changes and Cheesy Herb Bread.ย 

Hi, my name is Sam. I’m 30 years old, married, have a 2 year old daughter and I am living with my in laws. This is a reality I could not have guessed for myself. Weren’t you supposed to have your life figured out at 30? Seems the older I get, the more I realize just how clueless I really am. Life is one big experiment and we’re all trying our best to thrive in each moment while dodging the inevitable catastrophic explosions. I won’t get in to the long story with you now but I will say this, my thyroid has been acting up and we had to rule out cancer. For those of you who aren’t familiar with that process, it’s an expensive one. Fortunately, very fortunately, I’m in the clear. Yay!! ๐Ÿ˜Š UN-fortunately, I’m down nearly 10 grand. Add that to the debt we were already nursing and you’ve got many thousand really good reasons to move in with your parents

As uncomfortable as it can be to share a space with your in laws, especially my in laws, there are enough perks that I think I can overlook the pitfalls for a few months. First, we’ll be saving nearly 3,000 dollars a month. Can you believe that? California, you are so obscenely expensive… good thing you are so effing purty. Secondly, living with my MIL means more help with my daughter. Get this – I was able to just up and drive off to my dentist appointment this morning. I didn’t have to bust my ass finding a sitter I didn’t trust or have to bring her along for a sweaty, traffic filled, hour long car ride. Nope. I.simply.went.by.myself. Gah! It was almost like I was a single unattached adult human again. Aside from the 10 minute tantrum she threw as she clung to my leg, begging me not to go of course. Trivial details darlings. Point is, having G-ma in the same house is granting me daily slivers of much needed freedom. I’m grateful to say the least. Thirdly but arguably most importantly, my MIL is a phenomenal cook. She is of Armenian descent but was born and raised in Turkey. Her cooking is fresh, vibrant, flavorful and I can taste her heritage and her love of food in every bite. She passed along this bread recipe to me yesterday. We baked together for nearly 2 hours. At the end of it I had dough in my hair, flour on my clothes and a belly full of cheese. Not a bad way to spend an afternoon, even if it is with your MIL. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Gluten Free Cheesy Herb Bread 

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Ingredients

  • 2 1/4 cups gluten free flour, I used 1 cup buckwheat, 3/4 cup white rice and 1/2 cup garbanzo
  • 3 eggs
  • 1- 1 1/2 cup grated manchengo cheese
  • 1/4 cup dill, finely chopped
  • 1/3 bunch of italian parsley, finely chopped
  • 4 stalks of green onion, finely chopped
  • 3 tbsp sunflower oil
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt

Process

My favorite part of cooking with my Mama in law is watching the way she does things. She moves quickly, she makes a mess and she rarely measures anything out. She made a loaf with gluten – I watched her every forceful move and then copied her, sans gluten.

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees
  2. Throw eggs in a bowl and using either a fork or an electric beater, beat until nice and frothy.
  3. Add in herbs, onions, oil and salt and mix together until combined – I used my clean hands. It’s more fun that way. ๐Ÿ™‚
  4. Add in flour and baking powder and mix again until well incorporated. Since this recipe is gluten free you don’t have to worry about over mixing! You want to avoid over mixing wheat flour as it activates the gluten and can make your finished product firm, not fluffy and moist like you’d want. 
  5. Pour batter into a greased loaf pan and bake for 45 minutes.
  6. Let cool, slice and savor.

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Happy cooking loves!

XO ~ Sam

PS- Here are some of the pretty things I get to look at every day now… Maybe moving in with your in-laws isn’t all THAT bad after all. ๐Ÿ˜‰

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