Monday, May 15, 2017

Paleo Salted Dark Chocolate Chunk Cookies

I'm really picky about my chocolate chip cookies. They have to be crispy, yet still chewy and soft in the center. You want a certain amount of crunch and chewiness at the same time. I like them pretty thin, and not the slightest bit cakey.

Now that's hard to come by for a "healthier" cookie. But I think I found a winner.






These cookies are RIDICULOUSLY good and guilt-free. Full of almonds, dark chocolate, ghee, and flax, you're literally nourishing yourself with every bite! Well, almost. There's also some sugar in there, but at least you can feel good about eating these kind of cookies.

I adapted this recipe I came across and these really are the best paleo cookies I've made to date. And what better day to make cookies than on National Chocolate Chip Cookie Day!



Ingredients: (makes 8 large, 5 inch cookies)

1 cup blanched almond meal
1/4 cup tapioca flour
1/4 tsp pink salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 cup creamy almond butter (I used Trader Joe's raw almond butter)
1/2 cup packed coconut sugar
1 tbsp pure maple syrup
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 cup ghee (melted and cooled)
1 tablespoon ground flaxseed meal
3 tablespoons water
3 oz of dark chocolate, chopped (I used Eating Evolved Caramel Crunch)
flakey sea salt for sprinkling

Preheat oven to 375. In a bowl combine the flax meal and water and let sit for five minutes. In another bowl add almond flour, tapioca flour, salt, and baking soda and set aside.
Back to the flax mixture, add melted ghee, almond butter, coconut sugar, maple syrup, and vanilla and mix well, then add the dry ingredients and chopped chocolate and mix until combined.

Scoop dough into about 1 1/2-2  inch rounds and place on baking sheet, making sure cookies are at least 2 inches apart. Flatten down with fingers until its about half as thick. Sprinkle each cookie with flakey sea salt. Bake for 9-10 minutes or until cookies begin to brown slightly around the edges.

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Truffled Polenta and Eggs with Kale

I make polenta all the time and I often have a small amount leftover. Rather than throwing it out, I save the leftovers for breakfast the next morning. You can make this breakfast using leftover polenta, or you can make it fresh. Either way, it's a delicious and decadent breakfast for any occasion. And why not try it out this Mother's Day and wow your family?!

I make polenta all the time and I often have a small amount leftover. Rather than throwing it out, I save the leftovers for breakfast the next morning. You can make this breakfast using leftover polenta, or you can make it fresh. Either way, it's a delicious and decadent breakfast for any occasion. And why not try it out this Mother's Day and wow your family?!

I prefer the taste of vegetable broth in my polenta, but feel free to use any kind of broth that you like. I always add a tablespoon of butter to finish it off, and a bit of organic parmesan cheese to make it extra creamy. You can easily leave the butter and the cheese out, however.


I topped mine with a drizzle of truffle oil, but it would be even more decadent with crispy prosciutto crumbled on top, if you're a meat-eater.

Ingredients: (for 6 people)

6 pasture raised eggs
6 cups of chopped kale
1-2 tablespoons olive oil
pink salt and pepper to taste
truffle oil

For the polenta:
1 cup of organic polenta
5 cups of vegetable broth
1/2 cup parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon organic butter
1/2-1 teaspoons of pink salt to taste
1-2 tablespoons truffle oil

(Skip this step and simply reheat your polenta if you're not making it fresh )
Begin by boiling your vegetable broth, then slowly whisking in the polenta corn grits. Lower heat and let simmer for about 30 minutes, whisking frequently. After 30 minutes have passed, add butter, truffle oil, parmesan, and salt, and whisk until creamy. Set aside.

In another pan sauté the kale with olive oil on low heat, adding salt and pepper to taste. Once the kale is soft, plate the kale on top of large dollop of polenta, then set aside. Begin to fry the eggs, one to two at a time (or however many will fit in your pan) and top the kale and polenta with the fried egg. Finish with a sprinkle of pink salt and a small drizzle of truffle oil.


Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Maple Sea Salt Almond Milk

I often forget just how easy it is to make homemade almond milk, and how much better it is for you. Don't get me wrong, I definitely buy almond milk from the store, but it gets to be super expensive when you're going through one to two half gallons a week. You can easily buy a bag of almonds (or cashews or hazelnuts!) from Trader Joe's for about 7$, and make about three, half-gallons of almond milk. So you're saving money, plus it's not full of gums and strange ingredients, and it actually tastes better!





And here's the best part: you don't even have to let the nuts soak overnight if you don't have the time! This milk can be made in about five to ten minutes. However, you CAN soak the almonds for 12-24 hours for extra creamy almond milk and just skip the whole boiling process in the recipe below.

I also started using an Ellie's Nut Milk Bag for the first time, and let me tell you, it's a game-changer. It was so much easier to clean than the huge cheesecloth that I've been using, and it doesn't absorb the liquid like a cheesecloth does, AND it's super affordable. You can use the code "honeyandbrie" for 10% off your order.

 So without further adieu, here's the recipe for the tastiest homemade maple sea salt almond milk. Feel free to cut the water in half for a homemade coffee creamer. I hope you enjoy it!

Ingredients:

1 cup raw almonds
3 cups filtered water
2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
pinch of pink himalayan sea salt
Extra filtered water for boiling

 Put almonds in a pot with about 2 cups filtered water and bring to a boil. Once the water has boiled for one minute, strain the almonds and rinse under cold water until cool. Peel the skin off the almonds by gently pinching between your fingers, and discard the skins.

Place almonds in a blender with 3 cups of filtered water and blend until smooth.

Pour the milk into a nut milk bag or cheesecloth, and squeeze as much of the milk out as possible into a clean bowl.

Add the maple syrup, vanilla, and salt to the bowl and mix, then transfer milk into pitcher of choice.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Fluffy Omega-3 Pancakes

I came up with this recipe completely by accident, but it turned out to be the best accident ever. These pancakes are ridiculously fluffy and flavorful, and full of good-for-you ingredients. They're super filling and chalk-full of omega-3's, fiber, and protein, keeping you full for hours with zero guilt.    



Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups oats
2 eggs
2 tablespoons chia seeds
2 tablespoons hemp seeds
1 tablespoon maple syrup or honey
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup kefir or yogurt
1 banana
1/4 cup almond milk
1/4 teaspoon pink salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda

In a blender or food processor add all the ingredients except the baking soda and process until smooth. Fold in the baking soda and let the mixture sit for 10 minutes. Cook pancakes on a skillet with ghee or coconut oil, on medium low heat. Serve and enjoy!

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Mighty Bars

Okay, I officially suck at blogging.  It's been close to two years since I last did a blog post. I'm in desperate need of a blog redo, it looks pretty bad right now so don't judge.

Since my last post, I've gotten pregnant, given birth to a cute little girl, and been taking care of her during the day while I also work part-time from home. Needless to say, I've been BUSY. And a lot has changed, but I can fill you in later. Plus, I'll admit, I'm a bit lazy. Blogging is a lot of work!  






Anyways, I finally got around to trying out a new recipe, which I haven't done in, I dunno, well over a year. Honestly, the last thing I want to do at night these days is cook. I'm so exhausted at the end of the day that I'd rather order take out or pop some frozen ravioli in a pot and call it dinner. Apparently this is what life as a mother is like. Unless you're super mom and can do it all, which I am not.

So I came up with this recipe last weekend while baby girl was taking a nap. I had tried Cafe Gratitude's Mighty Bars at a friend's event in Orange County and I fell in LOVE. I wanted to make my own version at home that didn't cost an arm and a leg, because let's be honest, children not only steal all you're energy, but they steal all your money too. And I'm broke these days. Here's my version of these bars. You guys, they are SO GOOD.

They might not have exactly the same ingredients as the real thing, but who cares, right? They're delicious, and good for you. A perfect pick-me-up in the afternoon or as a post-workout snack. I made half of them as bars, and half of them as delicious little chocolate covered balls with sea salt on top. You can do either or both. And feel free to change up the ingredients and throw in what you want.




1/2 cup dates, pitted and soaked in hot water for 15 minutes
1/2 cup goji berries, soaked in hot water for 15 minutes
2 tablespoons almond butter
1 tablespoon ground flax
2 tablespoons chia seeds
1 tablespoon coconut oil
1/2 cup sunflower seeds
1/2 cup pepitas
1/2 cup hazelnuts

Throw all the ingredients in a food processor and pulse until it starts to come together. You can test it out by squeezing a small ball in your hands, it should hold together a bit and not fall apart. Place in a 8 x 8 baking sheet lined with parchment paper and smooth it out as evenly as possible. Melt the dark chocolate bar and poor on top, topping with a bit of sea salt if you wish. Trust me, you wish. Place in the fridge for 30 minutes or the freezer for 15, or until the chocolate is set. Cut as you wish and store in the fridge!

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Rosemary Olive Oil Crackers (GF)

I started making these crackers after coming across this recipe for vegan gluten-free crackers. So many crackers in stores nowadays are full of enriched flour and ingredients that I can't pronounce, so I wanted to make my own. I like knowing what I'm putting into my body.



 I adapted this recipe according to what I had at home. They're a huge hit here, I make them every week or two and keep them in an airtight container.

Feel free to get creative with them. You can sprinkle garlic granules or onion powder for extra flavor. Personally, I like the rosemary-olive oil combination best.


Ingredients:

1 1/4 cup gf oat flour
3 tablespoons ground chia seeds (measured after grinding)
1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
1/2 tsp salt
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon maple syrup or honey
1/4 cup filtered water


Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.

In a bowl combine all the ingredients. Mix well and let sit for a minute or two. It will appear to be too wet but as it sits the ground chia seeds will start to absorb the liquid. Remove from bowl and knead until it forms a nice dough.

Split the dough in two even rounds and roll each one out between to pieces of parchment paper. You want the dough to be very thin, like a cracker, but not so thin that it would rip. Cut the dough into any shape you want, I've done squares, rectangles, diamonds, and circles (with a small biscuit cutter). Place on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet making sure to leave about a centimeter of space between each one. You may have to bake in two rounds if you can't fit them all on one sheet.

Bake for 10-12 minutes, or until lightly golden, making sure to check half way through. Sprinkle with sea salt once you remove from the oven and enjoy!

Copycat Levain Cookies

I went to New York last summer and stopped by Levain Bakery after a friend told me I had to try their cookies.

Since then, I've been completely obsessed with trying to recreate the recipe at home. I tried a ton of recipes, read a ton of blogs/forums/discussions regarding the potential 'secret ingredients' in these delicious cookies. I tried letting the dough rest 36 hours, I tried adding cornstarch to the dough, I tried all different baking temperatures, and I even tried adding powdered sugar instead of granulated sugar. I could never quite get the recipe right, somethings was always off.



Until now.
I think I have discovered a way to recreate the Levain Bakery chocolate chip cookie at home. It came to me out of no where after I was reading a forum about the bakery. Someone mentioned that they thought Levain Bakery used super hot bread baking ovens to get their cookies to crisp up so perfectly. So I thought to myself, okay, I'll try to mimic the ovens by preheating a baking sheet in the oven and throwing some ice cubes on it after putting the cookies in the oven.

I had attempted this cookie recipe several times and given the batches to my husband to take to work. His coworkers would always ask him when I was going to make my "scone cookies" again. I didn't think anything of it at first-maybe it's their shape?

Then it hit me. Why am I not making these using a scone baking technique?! I mean, it makes perfect sense. The Levain cookies are buttery and fluffy, yet perfectly crisp on the outside. Unlike any cookie I've ever had before… EXACTLY. So I decided to cut in the butter rather than beat it until it's fluffy, like all the other chocolate chip cookie recipes out there.

BINGO. This created the fluffy cookie texture that I wanted. Also, after much trial and error, I decided on a combination of bread flour and cake flour for the cookies, rather than all-purpose flour. Combined with under-baking and the high oven temp/ice cubes, I was able to create the BEST copycat cookie recipe (I think) so far. Give it a try and be sure to tell me what you think.




 Personally, I don't add walnuts to the cookies because I don't like walnuts, but feel free to add them.

I also made mine half the size of the real Levain cookies, but you can do whatever you want. The recipe below calls for the normal size, but feel free to make them half that size and cut the baking time down to about 10 minutes



Ingredients:

 2 cups cake flour
1 1/4 cups bread flour
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
2 sticks COLD unsalted butter, cubed
2 eggs (cold)
1 tsp vanilla
1- 1 1/2 cups good quality chocolate chips
3/4 cup toasted walnuts (optional)

 In a bowl whisk together eggs and vanilla and set aside. In a separate bowl sift together first 7 ingredients (dry ingredients). Cut the butter into the dry ingredients until it resembles crumbles. Pour in the egg mixture and mix until just incorporated. Carefully add in chocolate chips and incorporate. Do not over mix, you want them to be rough and scone-like.

Put the dough in the fridge while preheating the oven.

Set oven at 425 degrees and place a baking pan on the bottom rack to heat up (for the ice cubes). When the oven has reached 425 degrees, remove the dough from the refrigerator and scoop the dough into baseball sized mounds. (Yes, I said baseball sized. If you have never had these cookies, they are MASSIVE). You want it to look rough, not smooth like a ball.

Place the dough mounds on a greased baking sheet and slightly push down. Place on the center rack of the oven. Add 3 ice cubes to the empty baking pan in the oven and close the oven door immediately. This creates steam to give the cookies that wonderful crispy outer layer.

Bake for 12-15 minutes, depending on your oven, and watch closely. Ideally you want them to have a light golden color, but also appear to be under baked.

 
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