I’m a big proponent of morning rituals. Starting my day with healthy routines can calm and center me for the busyness that lies ahead. I begin nearly every morning with at least 5-10 minutes of Vipassana meditation. I then enjoy a glass of room temperature water with lemon to get my digestive juices flowing. Next is breakfast. My daughter and I both adore eggs. She prefers hers scrambled, I prefer mine over medium. Two eggs with a thick golden runny yolk, dripping over a slice of perfectly toasted whole grain gluten free bread, slathered with ghee and chia seeds? Oh baby. My belly is happy, I’m happy, everyone around me is happy. 🙂
Although a nice consistent morning routine centers me, the adventurer in me gets restless every once in awhile. So this morning I was inspired to get a little creative. Wanting to stick with eggs, as I’ve noticed they provide me with the best fuel for my morning, I decided on deviled. I adore me some deviled eggs. If you ever happen to find yourself at a party with me and a platter of deviled eggs and you fancy a few for yourself, I’d advise not leaving them sitting around for too long. I have absolutely no self control around those things. I’ll have popped 6 of them before you take your first bite. I may have a bit of a problem. Is there a Deviled Eggs Anonymous? No, I think not. That acronym’s already been taken after all and I doubt advertising a DEA meeting would attract very many attendees. ANYHOO…
Although I do love the little buggers as they are, in all their mayo slathered glory, I decided to play around with a more wholesome version that would still dazzle the taste buds. I think what I came up with will excite you, I’m certainly a little twitterpated by them. 😉
Devilishly Delicious Angelic Eggs
- 12 hard boiled eggs, peeled and cut lengthwise
- 1 avocado
- 1/2 cup plain goat yogurt
- 3 tsp Apple cider vinegar
- 4 tsp Dijon mustard
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp cumin
- 1/4 tsp coriander
- 1/4 tsp turmeric
- 5 pepperoncinis finely chopped, I like this all natural brand
- Once hard boiled eggs are cool, remove egg yolks from egg whites and place in a medium bowl.
- Add in all other ingredients except pepperoncinis.
- Using a hand mixer on low, beat until smooth and creamy
- Add in pepperoncinis and gently incorporate with a spoon.
- Fill the hollow egg white halves with egg yolk mixture. If you have a pastry bag, this will look the most refined. If you don’t, no worries, a spoon will do the trick.
- Sprinkle the tops with a touch more of any or all of the spices used in the recipe.
- Voila! Serve these with a slice of toast for breakfast or next to a big salad for lunch/dinner.
Happy Eating friends!
We love Whole Foods around these parts. Yes, I mean the brick and mortar establishment. I assume the nourishing whole foods that we eat on the daily go without saying. 🙂 I can get utterly lost in Whole Foods. Their produce is absolutely gorgeous, their bulk section never ends and the layout is extremely visually captivating. The interior designer of that place needs a raise, immediately.
My love affair with Whole Foods is fairly superficial. I go inside, I look but I rarely buy. I mean who can afford those prices? Not me, not now anyway. So I longingly wander the aisles, sporting a big she boner and ultimately walk my proverbial blue balls straight on down to a place that I can afford, trusty old Berkeley Bowl.
If you don’t live in the east bay of California, it’s very likely you’ve never heard of Berkeley Bowl. Its an independent market that has only two locations. It’s nowhere near the eyegasm that Whole Foods is but dare I say, the produce selection is superior and at half the price! It’s a pretty rad supermarket and I feel lucky to have it so close, until I dump it’s ass for Whole Foods when I hit the mega jackpot that is. 😉
While I was perusing the cheese aisle of Berkeley Bowl a few days ago, I noticed an employee handing out free samples of some purple looking goop on gluten free crackers. I had my daughter with me so naturally she grabbed at it. She acts like a starved homeless child around other people’s food but at our dinner table, she often can’t be bothered. She may be single handedly responsible for my growing wrinkles. Anyway, after further inspection I realized the spread was made of beets. What an awesome idea I thought. The flavor was pretty good but I knew I could improve upon it. I was excited to get home and play.
- 4 beets, boiled and peeled
- 1/2 cup soaked almonds
- 1/4 cup tahini
- 1 tbsp miso
- 2-3 cloves of garlic
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- juice of 1 large lemon
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp cumin
- Place beets in a food processor and process until smooth and creamy
- Add in all other ingredients and process until well combined
- Spread on crackers, cucumbers or use as a spread for a sandwich… this would be incredible on so many things, your imagination is the limit.
Nom nom nom nom…
Today, I had a flash back of a really sweet moment in my childhood. I was 8 maybe 9, sitting at our dinner table with my brother, 6 and sister, still in diapers; chocolate smeared our faces as we chugged down ice cold milk. The milk was always ice cold in our house. My mother insisted it be so. Although I don’t drink cows milk anymore, I’d still have to agree with her; milk tastes best just before it freezes and accompanied by chocolate. Always.
In this instance the chocolate that lined our smiling mouths was frosting from a chocolate cake. This seemingly insignificant memory danced around my head all morning. I could smell the frosting, I could feel the crumble of the cake in my mouth. It was slowly driving me mad! I knew I had to make one.
The cake of my memories was a boxed Betty Crocker creation, no doubt. My mama was never much of a baker. I was inspired to create my own take on the delicious yet overly processed box version. It had been awhile since I used butter and sugar to create anything. In the interest of health, I’ve been going for coconut oil in lieu of butter and honey or maple syrup to substitute granulated sugar when baking. Although I believe the flavor rarely suffers with these substitutions, the texture inevitably does. Sugar and butter can create a more tender, moist baked good. For this cake, I wanted to create something as close to the original as I could get while using organic whole foods to make it happen. I think I succeeded. Here’s what I did,
(Recipe adapted from Tasting Table)
Gluten Free Chocolate Cake with Vegan Chocolate Frosting
- 1 cup cacao powder
- 1 cup filtered water
- 4 oz unsweetened baking chocolate
- 2 cups gluten free all propose flour (I made my own using 1/2 cup potato starch, 3/4 cup white rice flour, 1/2 cup sorghum flour and 1/4 cup teff flour)
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1 1/2 sticks grass fed butter, kerrygold is my all time favorite.
- 1 1/2 cups coconut sugar
- 5 eggs
- 3/4 cup goat milk
Vegan Chocolate Frosting
- 8 oz unsweetened baking chocolate, chopped
- The cream from one can of coconut milk, refrigerated overnight or frozen for a few hours
- 1/2 cup almond milk
- 1/4 cup cacao powder
- 8 tbsp coconut oil
- 2 tsp vanilla
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees
- Grease two 9-inch cake pans with oil or butter of choice and dust with cocoa powder, tapping out the excess.
- In a small bowl, stir the cocoa powder with the water until you form a paste.
- Using a double boiler or a small glass bowl atop a tea kettle, melt your 12 oz total of baking chocolate
- Mix flour, baking soda and salt together well in a large bowl
- Using a stand mixer or an electric hand mixer, beat the sugar and butter together until smooth.
- While still beating, add one egg at a time to butter and sugar mixture.
- Lower beater speed and add cacao powder paste and melted chocolate
- Add flour and milk a bit a time to ensure mixture doesn’t get too chunky and combines well
- Place batter evenly into greased cake pans
- Place in middle of oven for 30 minutes
- Meanwhile make frosting – Take can of coconut milk out of fridge/freezer and scoop out the separated coconut cream from the top.
- In a small saucepan over medium heat, warm the coconut cream and sugar, stirring often until the sugar dissolves, about 2 to 3 minutes
- Place the remaining 8 oz of chopped chocolate in a medium-large bowl.
- Pour the warm cream over the chocolate and let sit for 2 to 3 minutes or until the chocolate begins to soften. Whisk until smooth and allow to sit for another 5 to 7 minutes to cool slightly.
- Whisk the coconut oil into the chocolate, adding 1 tbsp at a time and whisking until it’s blended in before adding the next.
- Let frosting set in the refrigerator for an hour or so before taking out and adding cacao powder, milk and vanilla.
- Using an electric beater, mix cacao powder and milk into frosting until it becomes thick and creamy
- To assemble the cake, place one of the cake layers bottom-side up on a cake plate or platter. Using an offset metal spatula, ice with about 1 cup of the frosting. Place the second layer, also bottom-side up, on top of the frosting. Spread the remaining frosting over the sides and top of the entire cake.
- Dig in! Preferably with a cold glass of milk, I prefer the almond variety. 😉
These happy little morsels were a total accident. I set out to make a granola bar. When the batter was ready, I felt a wave of laziness wash over me. Laying out the dough, pressing it down evenly so it could then be cut into squares… So much work. I could be sprawled out on the couch reading my book right now.
Scooping little cookies out would be so much quicker, so that’s what I did. How often does laziness beget something awesome? Not often enough, dammit!
Once these tasty little bites were out of the oven and cooled just enough to stuff my face with, I realized that they boasted a delicious carrot cake flavor. I knew right away that I had to create a frosting… carrot cake without frosting isn’t carrot cake at all. It just isn’t. My big plans for lazing about would just have to wait, because although good, these ‘cookies’ had the potential to be something great and my greedy little taste buds just couldn’t pass that up.
My frosting is vegan and free of refined sugar. Maple syrup sweetens it up nicely. The lemon juice and zest adds the perfect tang that, in my opinion, carrot cake frosting simply must have. Tapioca flour stiffens it up the way that powdered sugar would, without it you’d have more of a sauce than a frosting. Behold, my accidental gluten carrot cake bite with vegan frosting,
Gluten Free Carrot Cake Bites
- 1 1/4 cup cooked squash (I used buttercup, nearly any winter squash would work well in this recipe)
- 1 1/2 cup rolled oats
- 2 eggs
- 1/2 cup almond butter
- 1 large carrot, grated
- 1/3 cup coconut flakes
- 1/3 cup chia seeds
- 1/4 cup raisins
- 1/4 honey
- 1/4 cup maple syrup
- 2 tsp cinnamon
- Bake squash on 400 degrees for 45 minutes to an hour
- Lower oven to 375 degrees
- In a large bowl, mix together the cooled squash, almond butter and eggs until well combined
- Add in all other ingredients and mix together until just combined
- Scoop balls of batter using a cookie scoop and place on greased cookie sheet, leaving a bit of space between each cookie
- Bake for 18 minutes
- Let cool while making your frosting
Vegan ‘Cream Cheese’ Frosting
- 1 cup cashews, soaked, drained and rinsed
- 1/3 cup coconut milk
- 3 tbsp melted coconut oil
- 1/4 cup maple syrup
- 2 tbsp tapioca flour
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 2 tsp lemon zest
- 1 tsp vanilla
- I would suggest soaking cashews for 4-6 hours in order to ensure that they blend easily
- Add all ingredients to a high speed blender and blend on high until frosting is completely combined and starts to look thick and creamy
- Set frosting in the refrigerator for 2-3 hours
- Frost your carrot cake bites however makes sense for you. I used an empty ketchup bottle to frost mine, I was feeling crafty. Any implement would work, hell you could even just dip the bites into the frosting if you are feeling frisky.
I’m one of those nutty people who adores celery. I like it so much that I’d prefer if you didn’t muck it up with peanut butter or cheese or ranch dressing or any of the other toppings that most people turn to to make celery palatable. I love it just as it is, in its crunchy, fibrous, earthy perfection. I realize that I am in the minority. This last weekend I had a 20 minute conversation at a good friend’s birthday party about how much this particular group of people disliked celery. They all agreed that they had trouble getting it down without covering it in gobs of something else. I recently found an article written exclusively about the author’s seething hatred for this delicious and endlessly nutritious vegetable. Looking for a good laugh? Check it out here. My husband belongs to the ‘not so crazy about celery’ club. He’ll eat it but he definitely won’t be doing a happy dance about it. Just why are so many adverse to this nutritionally dense stick of deliciousness? It’s beyond me, really.
As most of us can agree, winter is the season for soup. Soup is warming, soup is comforting, soup is a wonderful way to pack a bunch of nutrition into one pot. My favorite thing about making soup? Clean up is virtually nonexistent. How cool is it to have only 1 pot and 2 bowls to clean after bopping around in the kitchen for an hour or more? So very cool.
So, on a recent particularly chilly day, I decided to marry my love of soup and my love of celery. When I told my sweetheart of a hubby that I’d be making celery soup for dinner, he so tried to put on a happy face… but his underlying disappointment didn’t get past me. I let him wallow in his trepidation a bit while I went to work on changing his mind.
Celery Onion Soup
- 7 stalks of celery, chopped
- 1 large leek, finely chopped
- 1 yellow onion, finely chopped
- 1/2 large shallot, minced
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/4 cup ghee (Use butter or coconut oil if you’d prefer)
- 4 cups bone broth (I recommend using homemade broth for increased depth of flavor and nutrition boost, use regular chicken broth if you prefer. Use veggie broth or water to make this vegetarian)
- 1/4 tsp sea salt
- 1/4 tsp garlic powder
- 1/8 tsp black pepper
- 1/4 cup sour cream
- In a large pot, melt ghee on medium to high heat.
- Add all the different onions, garlic, salt, pepper and garlic powder and sauté for 10 minutes or so, stirring every couple of minutes.
- Add celery and cook for another 4-5 minutes or until tender
- Add broth and bring to a boil.
- Once boiling, reduce heat to low and simmer for 40-45 minutes.
- Using an immersion blender, (if you don’t own one, use a standing blender, blending in batches) purée soup until smooth and creamy.
- Add sour cream and whisk together until just combined.
- Season with more salt and pepper to taste
This soup was a home run. I topped it with some *gluten-free croutons and Hubby eagerly gobbled it up. He was very impressed and graciously made sure I knew it. ‘Babe, this is ridiculously good. I was a little worried when you told me we were having celery soup. I shouldn’t have been. This blew my mind.’ If I can blow his mind with a soup made with 7 whole stalks of celery, I’m pretty sure I can do anything…
*Gluten free croutons were made by chopping up half of this gluten-free baguette into little crouton shaped bites. Cook in a pan with ghee and salt for about 8 minutes or until they start to nicely crisp.*
I’ve really been embracing the winter squash this fall/winter. It’s incredible how many varieties there are! My new found love of preparing food for my family has opened my eyes to the beautiful bounty of the market all year round. In the past I would have just waited impatiently for the summer, when farmers markets are ‘worthwhile’. While summer produce is still my favorite, I now find the beauty in all seasonal produce. Shopping locally and choosing fruits and veggies that are in season is one of the easiest ways you can be good to your body. When you buy locally you can be more sure that food is at it’s peak of freshness. It hasn’t been stuck in a shipping crate for weeks while going over seas and had the chance to lose flavor and vital nutrients. When food has to be shipped from around the world, it is usually picked before the peak of it’s flavor in order to survive the long trip to your local grocery store. This leaves you with old produce which will likely spoil within a few days of purchase. No good, for your health or your wallet! Plus if you buy seasonal produce, you’ll be making sure you give your body a plethora of diverse nutrients all year round!
Butternut squash has a delicious delicate nutty flavor that lends itself extremely well to soup. In fact, before experimenting with this bread, I believe soup was the only way I’d ever eaten butternut squash! I’m glad to have branched out. This butternut squash bread is moist, fluffy and delicious. I happily enjoyed a slice with ghee and honey alongside my morning tea. Heaven!
Butternut Squash and Almond Butter Bread
- 1 1/2 cups roasted butternut squash
- 1/2 cup almond butter
- 1 1/2 cups almond flour
- 1 1/2 cups gluten free All Purpose Flour
- 3/4 cup almond milk
- 1 egg
- 1/3 cup maple syrup
- 3 tbsp honey
- 3 tbsp melted coconut oil
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp nutmeg
- Set oven to 400 degrees
- Skin butternut squash, remove seeds and chop into chunks
- Toss butternut squash in olive oil and salt and spread onto baking sheet
- Bake for 20 minutes
- Remove from oven and allow to cool slightly
- Lower oven temperature to 350 degrees
- Once cooled, mash up butternut squash in a medium bowl
- Add milk, egg, melted coconut oil, maple syrup, honey and almond butter and mix well until combined
- In another small bowl, combine almond flour, all purpose flour, baking soda, baking powder, spices and salt
- Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients and mix well
- Pour batter into greased loaf pan and bake in oven for 1 hour or until toothpick comes out clean when inserted
Hello all! I hope your holiday was merry and bright. Mine was lovely. Lots of friends, lots of family, lots of sweet holiday spirit. I’ve had a wonderful few days but I’m thrilled to be home again without anything pressing on the calendar for a while. What do I do with a little down time? Organize! I spent all of yesterday and part of today cleaning out our home, giving away the old to make room for the new. My entire house is clean, I’ve even organized the closets. It was such an incredible cleansing of the physical realm that I feel cleansed mentally and spiritually as well. Now I’m all ready to blaze into 2015, a few pounds lighter. 🙂
In the midst of all of this cleaning, I got hungry. Off to the kitchen I went. After giving it a good scrubbing, I scoured the fridge for goodies. I abhor letting food go to waste so I was thrilled to throw together this tasty little power ‘cookie’ with the random leftovers I discovered. My daughter and husband gobbled it up happily and asked for more… this makes it a win in my book. Although it’s packed with wholesome ingredients like sweet potato, quinoa, buckwheat and garbanzo flour, it’s also filled to the brim with yummy flavor. It’s a little dense, not quite as chewy and moist as a classic dessert cookie but the sheer volume of nutritious ingredients and tastiness makes up for that in my opinion. 😉
Sweet Potato Quinoa Power Cookie
- 1 cup cooked sweet potato
- 1 cup cooked quinoa
- 1/2 cup buckwheat flour
- 1/2 cup Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free AP flour (mainly garbanzo flour)
- 2 tbsp mesquite flour
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 2 eggs
- 1/4 cup almond milk
- 1/4 cup honey
- 3 tbsp melted coconut oil
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Place cooked sweet potato, cooked quinoa, melted coconut oil, eggs, almond milk and vanilla extract in a medium bowl and mix until well combined.
- Place flours, mesquite powder, salt and cinnamon in a small bowl and mix together.
- Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients and mix together until well combined.
- Add chocolate chips to batter and fold in gently with a spatula
- Grease cookie sheet with preferred oil and using a cookie scoop, place scoops of batter on cookie sheet leaving a few inches between each cookie.
- Bake for 20 minutes
- Allow to cool before diving in. I seem to make this mistake every time. A big shout out to the roof of my mouth for taking the abuse like a champ. 😉