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Chocolate and Coconut Heaven (and almost healthy)

22 Mar

20140322-143037.jpgNews Flash, I love brownies. I really can’t get enough of the gooey chocolate deliciousness. We grew up on Betty Crocker boxed brownie mix.  Seriously, back then those were the bomb, all fudge with that extra fudge pack you’d add just in to really make sure thy were fudge-y enough. Times have changed and we try to stick to a healthier diet of wholesome ingredients so when I crave chocolate I scour the internet in search of the perfect treat. I stumbled upon Paleo Grub and a particular recipe by  jumped right out at me. Yes it is a brownie recipe and yes I made them twice in two days, and yes I ate most of them!

the cool thing about these is that they have no grain, the star of these is almond butter, who knew? They don’t taste like almonds and the texture is very brownie like. As good as these are I needed a bit of sweet on top so I went a step further, yes I did. The brownies were so delicious but I needed more, I was having a bad sweet tooth. I created this dairy free recipe for icing using the Kelapo Oil. It does have sugar so it is not entirely Paleo but you can create your own from this base recipe, go for it!

Recently I received a bunch of Kelapo Coconut oil and I’d been thinking of using it but hadn’t quite put my finger on anything. (lightbulb moment coming) Frosting for these healthy brownies, what a great way to test out the new coconut oil. We use a lot of coconut oil on our house from skin and hair moisturizer to sweet and savory recipes. The Kelapo oil is so coconut-y, it is very delicious and I can’t wait to use it again in another recipe.

All I can tell you is beware because this icing is way too easy to just eat by the spoonful!


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Dairy Free Coconut Icing

Makes approximately  1 1/2 cups

2 Tbs Kelapo Extra Virgin Organic Coconut Oil

2 Tbs room temperature Earth Balance or Butter (if you are not dairy free)

3 Tbs coconut butter

pinch salt

2 Tbs almond milk or milk (if you are not dairy free)

1 1/2 cups organic powdered sugar

 

Mix the butters and salt in a bowl with an electric mixer until very smooth. Add sugar a half cup at a time mixing until smooth.

Use immediately. To store chill for up to a week. To use from refrigerator let sit at room temperature for 30 minutes to soften and stir vigorously for easy spreading.

 

 

 

Gluten Free Gingerbread Cookies

23 Dec

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I just started working on a Gingerbread cookbook and Kit, something I have always wanted to do.  I want to have a great alternative Gluten Free dough. This is one of my first attempts, it’s a modified version I have used in the past. I just love it. It works fantastically for cookies, they hold their shape. I haven’t tried a whole house from this dough yet but as for cookies it is perfect. I used Cup 4 Cup flour from Whole Foods it has xanthum gum added already.
Pair these with my delicious almond milk for an allergy free treat.

Gluten Free Gingerbread Dough

Combine the following dry ingredients in a bowl and set them aside:

2 1/4 cups All-Purpose gluten free flour (with xanthum gum added)
Or
2 1/4 cups All-Purpose gluten free flour plus a 1/2 teaspoon xanthum gum)
Or
(I used 1 1/4 cups Cup for Cup flour plus a pinch of xanthum gum)
1 cup cashew meal (Trader Joe’s now has cashew meal)
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
Pinch salt

6 tbs butter, softened
1/2 cup brown sugar

1 large egg
1/2 cup molasses
1 teaspoon vanilla

Add
softened butter and brown sugar in the bowl of your mixer beat on medium speed until
very light and fluffy.
Add egg, molasses and vanilla, and beat briefly on medium-low speed. You don’t want to incorporate too much air in them, they hold their shape better the less you beat them.
Add dry ingredients, mix until just incorporated

The dough will be soft but will firm up once it’s chilled. Divide the dough into two equal pieces and wrap them separately in plastic, then flatten each package into a disk for easier rolling. Chill for at least 2 hours, or overnight for best results.
When you’re ready to roll and cut the dough, remove it from the refrigerator and preheat your oven to 350°F.
Roll the dough about 1/4″ thick and use the gluten free flour to help the dough release. Choose the cutters and cut  your cookies, transfer to a foil or parchment lined cookie sheet.
Bake the cookies for 10 minutes. They’ll firm up on the edges, but should still be soft in the middle. Cool completely before decorating.

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Gluten Free – Chocolate Chocolate Chip Ice Box Cake

11 Dec

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Last week I went to Florida to surprise my mom, I literally just flew across the US and walked into her house at 7 pm. She was shocked to say the least! We had a lovely time just doing nothing!

On the flight home I sat next to a really sweet gal named Camron, we started joking immediatly and I knew the long flight would be less dreadful than usual. We struck up a conversation about gluten because the snack packs on the flight were less than desirable for gluten low gals, especially for a person with Celiac. She let me know that she had been involved in the Betty Crocker® Gluten Free baking contest. I am always looking for Gluten Free items that are more mainstream that anyone can make, this one fits the bill. So if you are experimenting with gluten free, try this one! Thanks to my new friend Cameron for making the flight way more fun than it usually is!

GLUTEN FREE

Chocolate Chocolate Chip Ice Box Cake

1 box Betty Crocker® Gluten Free chocolate chip cookie mix 1/2 cup butter, softened
2 teaspoons gluten-free vanilla
1 egg

2 cups whipping cream
12 oz gluten-free mascarpone cheese
1/2 cup sugar
3 tablespoons unsweetened baking cocoa Chocolate shavings or miniature chocolate chips

Preparation Instructions:

  1. Heat oven to 350°F. In medium bowl, mix cookie mix, butter, 1 teaspoon of the vanilla and the egg until soft dough forms.
  2. Drop dough by rounded teaspoonfuls 2 inches apart onto ungreased cookie sheets to make 36 cookies.
  3. Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until edges are light golden brown. Cool 2 minutes; remove from cookie sheet to cooling rack. Cool completely, about 30 minutes.
  4. In large bowl, beat whipping cream, mascarpone cheese, sugar, cocoa and remaining 1 teaspoon vanilla with electric mixer on low speed until blended. Beat on high speed until soft peaks form.
  5. To assemble cake, arrange 7 cookies in bottom of 8- or 9-inch springform pan. Break 1 additional cookie apart to fill in spaces. Spread 1 cup of the whipped cream mixture evenly over cookies. Arrange 7 more cookies over whipped cream layer; top with additional 1 cup whipped cream mixture. Repeat 3 more times with remaining cookies and whipped cream mixture. Spread the top smooth; cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate at least 12 hours.

         6. To serve, run a sharp knife around edge of pan to release cake. Remove side of pan. Place cake on serving plate. Garnish with chocolate. Cut into wedges. Store covered in refrigerator.

Nutrition Information
Calories:370; Calories from Fat:210; Carbohydrate Choice:2 1/2; Cholesterol:75mg; Fat:4 1/2; Other Carbohydrate:1 1/2; Potassium:45mg; Sodium:220mg; Starch:1; Total Carbohydrate:38g; Total Fat:23g; Monounsaturated Fat:4 1/2g; Polyunsaturated Fat:1/2g; Protein:3g; Saturated Fat:14g; Sugars:25g; Trans Fat:1/2g; Fats & Oils:2tsp;

More Than You Ever Wanted to Know About Pumpkin Pie

27 Nov

It’s time….pie time! Here is a cute little info graphic all about pie. Have a wonderful holiday season!

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Homemade Almond Milk

25 Sep


pulpHow did I ever buy almond milk? Had I known how delicious, creamy and refreshing the homemade stuff was I would have never bought the other stuff. The real reason is probably because before I owned my Blendtec Blender I wouldn’t have thought the regular blender could hack it. A high powered blender really makes a difference when making the nut milks, plus I use it for tons of other things.

I have been making smoothies for my morning routine for about a year now and I love them. I use almond milk because cow milk is not my friend. I was buying a 4 cup box of the Silk Almond Milk since I am the only one using it, it tends to go bad before I finish it. I started buying the one serving packs but the amount of wasted packaging just made me feel like a bad person every morning. I’m starting my day with a healthy drink, I shouldn’t have to feel crappy about what I’m throwing away.

Solution, homemade almond milk, easy, fast, healthy and delicious!! Now my only waste is the occasional old wrinkled paper bag for transporting the almonds from the store to home. I have been collecting the pulp in the freezer for baking with but even if toss some in the compost I can feel good about that too. For really great Almond milk I recommend you soak the almonds overnight, soaked almonds are much easier to digest. We love to eat the soaked plump almonds, I add them to my daughter’s lunch often.

This pitcher comes apart so I can secure the bag into the threads of the black part.

This pitcher comes apart so I can secure the bag into the threads of the black part.

I do like to add two dates to my almond milk even though they have sugar they also have tons of calcium and potassium, and are not refined. Make sure you get a nut milk bag for straining the milk, it will make the process so much easier than using cheese cloth. Cheese cloth works but the milk will be so much smoother with a nut milk bag. Good luck!

the almond on the left has been soaked for 24 hours. The almond on the right is unsoaked.

the almond on the left has been soaked for 24 hours. The almond on the right is unsoaked.

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Here is the kicker, my kid LOVES the almond milk with lots of cinnamon, it is so good for her and I couldn’t be happier. I didn’t think she would drink it but she helps herself to it, adds cinnamon and guzzles it down.

Silky Almond Milk

Makes about 2 cups


1 cup organic raw almonds*, soaked

3 1/2 cups of water, plus more for soaking

2 dates, pitted

1/2 vanilla bean or 1 tbs vanilla extract

*I do not like Trader Joe’s Organic Raw Almonds, when they soak they give off a very brown dye I am not sure exactly why. I use Whole Foods Almonds in general.

  1. *Soak the almonds overnight or up to 2 days. Place 1 cup almonds in a jar or glass container with a lid, chill overnight or up to two days. Sometimes the almonds will give off a fuzzy looking stuff, it’s fine don’t worry about it.
  2. Set up your nut bag, I use a tall pitcher with a rubber band around the nut bag to hold it in place. If using cheese cloth line a colander in a bowl.
  3. Drain and rinse the almonds with cool water. THe almonds should be plump. Taste one, they are delicious.
  4. Combine the almonds and water in a blender. Add 3 1/2 cups of water to the blender with the almonds, pitted dates and vanilla.
  5. Blend at the highest speed for 2 minutes. Blend until the milk is white and foamy.
  6. Pour the milk in to the prepared strainer.
  7. Let the almond milk sit to drain. Gather the nut bag or cheese cloth and squeeze the nut milk out with very clean hands until no more milk comes out. Either discard the pulp, dehydrate or freeze for future use.
  8. Refrigerate almond milk. Store the almond milk in sealed container in the fridge for up to four days.photo 1

Breakfast in Bed (kind of)

30 Jul

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 “Noosa Finest Yoghurt would like to serve you an Aussie-style ‘brekkie in bed,’ hand delivered to your door on a morning of your choice.”

Um OK, who doesn’t like breakfast in bed? When Noosa decided they wanted to drive to Novato to serve us brekie we said heck yes-sir-ee!! We usually eat eggs but I made an exception for this morning. I set the alarm for 7:30 and on the dot at 8 the van rolled up. Out came the most bubbly delivery gal, the sun wasn’t out but it didn’t matter she was so sunny and cheerful.

Not only did we get yoghurt hand delivered we got, organic granola, fresh juice and fruit brought right to our door. She unpacked her cooler onto the breakfast table and then we went outside to take photos of the van. She drove back to San Francisco and we dug in. We opened all the flavors right away, tasting them and giving our opinions. The raspberry was a hit even though I didn’t think I would like it, I loved it.   I really loved the honey flavor and so did Claire. The fruit purees are delicious too, not gummy or overly sweet. Noosa yoghurts stay away from artificial ingredients of any kind, including flavors, colors and preservatives, it just feels like good homemade food.

contact-page-sb-img1I had seen them at the store but I never picked one up but now I will, for sure, in fact when we were in Nantucket last week I grabbed a few at the market there. Noosa uses the best seasonal produce the market has to offer, and pack it in clear tubs so you can see for yourself the lusciousness of what you’re about to enjoy. And it was lush, I am used to lactose free yogurt so this to me was like the most creamy luscious treat.  I had never had Aussie style yoghurt, it has a uniquely sweet/tart tang and thick, velvety texture, I’m hooked. Noosa is made in small batches, on-site at the family-owned Morning Fresh Dairy in Bellvue, Colorado, and infused with locally produced clover alfalfa honey.images

We decided that we could get used to this breakfast delivery thing. I think this would be a great business for someone, I am lazy in the morning, just ask my husband! Once a week can someone can come over and bring breakfast to us,  I would be so in to that?

Yoghurt has roots all over the world, India, Greece, Bulgaria, Switzerland, France and so on…..It’ s used in savory and sweet dishes you can read more here.

Lets clear up this spelling thing…yogurt or yoghurt?

The word is originally derived from Turkish, to be curdled or coagulated; to thicken. There are many variations of spelling but they are mostly all pronounced the same so spell it however you want. Just don’t forget to try Noosa!!

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Sorry Noosa I don’t think I’ll be tasting the Vegemite anytime soon…I’m sure it’s delicious ;)

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Who doesn’t love ice cream?

8 Jul

 

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Yes was the answer….when Tillamook wants to send you free ice cream you just say yes!
Before the Fourth of July a large box arrived on our porch, full of ice cream! I knew that I was going to give it away at the parade but we couldn’t resist getting in to it the very night it arrived.
We got, strawberry, marionberry pie (my fave), s’mores, chocolate peanut butter, mud slide (my other fave) and vanilla. Luckily I have two freezers or this large delivery would have been an issue!
Yes, the truth is that we chipped away at it for a few days, we just couldn’t help ourselves.

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On the fourth, I set up outside our art gallery and started scooping, it as about 99 degrees out, I scooped fast. I yelled out “free ice cream” and it worked, I had a bit of a line but managed to give it all away. One man took what was left in the bottom of one of the gallons and added all the flavors right in to the container.  It put a smile on everyone’s faces, ice cream just does that. You can’t help but love this happy food, especially when you can get all six flavors from some stranger in the street, for free.
I don’t really buy ice cream and wouldn’t have thought about Tillamook but I have to tell you, this stuff is really good. It’s creamy and not too dense, not to airy, just right. Some companies have more over run than others (that’s ice cream lingo for air added when mixing) this one got it right. I would buy this again for sure. Thanks ice cream fairy for delivering this to us and letting us put smiles on other people’s faces.

Tillamook has a contest going until July 16 th, get in on the action here!

Bullseye Pops

11 Jun

EMWC Summer 2013 Stone's Soup Corner

THE KIDS are ALL Right

Photo Matthew Carden

Another share from Edible Marin Wine Country, I couldn’t pass up sharing this recipe!

When I sat down to write this issue’s Stone’s Soup Corner, I thought I had it all worked out. Melon soup was on the agenda. Perfect for summer— cool, refreshing and easy.

I usually clear my ideas with my 9-year-old daughter before I discuss them with my editor, but this time I never got around to asking her what she thought about this soup idea. Her reaction when she heard: “Mom, no kid is going to eat that!”

And she was right. I had lost sight of whom I was writing for. So, together, we brainstormed for a summer melon-y idea and came up with these creamy pops.

Food is at the center of so much of our lives and too often it becomes simply a chore. We shoo the kids away so we can get the cooking done, clean up and get on to the next task. But food should be fun, not stressful or humorless. That is why I like cooking for kids and silly grown-ups.

Sometimes on a hot day sharing a moment with a sloppy, drippy homemade pop is simply the right thing to do. Forget all the to-do lists and the dirty laundry, just for a moment. These Bull’s Eye Honeydew Pops highlight the ripest melons of the season. They are creamy, refreshing and dairy free!

Make an extra batch to keep in your freezer—it’s nice to have homemade pops ready for a playdate or family dessert on a hot summer night.

bullseye

Bullseye Honeydew Pops

Yield: 6 regular-size pops or 24 ice-cube-size pops

3⁄4 cup full-fat coconut milk
1⁄2 cup sugar
6 large mint leaves (Mint grows wild, so go check your garden before

you buy it at the market.)
3 cups very ripe Honeydew melon flesh (about 1⁄2 a melon 24 fresh or frozen cherries
Decorative straws (cut to size) or Popsicle sticks

Extra Tools

Straws or wooden Popsicle sticks

Small pop molds (Note: pop molds look great, but an ice cube tray will work just fine.)

Add coconut milk, sugar and mint leaves to a small saucepan and warm slowly over medium heat, scraping the sides constantly with a rubber spatula. When the sugar is dissolved, remove pan from heat and cool mixture to room temperature.

Dice the melon flesh into small pieces and place in a blender. Drain the mint from the cooled syrup, then add syrup to the blender. Blend until smooth and frothy.

Place four cherries into each pop mold—or, if you are using ice cube trays to make your pops, place a stick or straw into each cherry and place 1 in each cube reservoir.

Pour the coconut-melon mixture around the cherries in each mold, then place a straw or Popsicle stick into the center. If you are using ice cube trays, carefully pour the mixture around each cherry in the tray.

Freeze for 4 hours or until firm.

edible marin & wine country summer 2013 | 53

Gingerbread Wishes

25 Dec

Happy holidays!!! I wanted to share our tradition of making a gingerbread house with you. Here are three different ones, the cute unfinished one is my daughter’s. she is using Golden Grahams cereal to create a thatch roof.
The house with the nerds rope wreath has been eaten!!! The others will be eaten this week.
Thanks for reading and happy new year from our houses to yours!!

House_1 House_2 House_3

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Horchata – Rum Spiked or Not?

10 Dec
20121210-100820.jpgI wouldn’t normally write a post about Rum, but when I opened the box from Shellback I was inspired! First off the box was personalized just for me, how cool is that? When I opened it up, inside I found a very funny certificate (pictured) about the Rum.  The packaging was flawless, each bottle nestled in a pillowed covering and unharmed. ” Sourced from some of the finest Caribbean sugarcane,20121210-095747.jpg and blended with twelve spices and other natural flavors, Shellback is a modern rum for discerning palates.” The website is really fun….check it out!20121210-095801.jpg
I thought, how can I write about booze on this blog? Then it hit me…it’s holiday time and I bet you need a break, just a small moment of peace, something that the kids will like while mommy or daddy relax too.
Growing up I never had Horchata, that sweet, cinnamon-y, creamy frothy beverage. We had Knishes, Matzoh balls and occasionally chinese take out! Mexican food in the 70′s in Upstate NY was just not something we had.  Since I moved to the Pacific coast I have been introduced to so much fun Mexican food and Horchata is one of my favorites.20121210-095755.jpg
Some say Horchata has roots in Egypt, Spain and then Mexico, Some use almonds some use rice as the base, either way it is a deliciously sweet indulgent treat. Traditional Horchata is dairy free, made only with rice or almond milk.
If you can’t have milk this recipe is easily made dairy-free, just skip the milk and condensed milk.
So make up some tacos and Horchata and for dinner and spike yours with yummy Shellback Rum! The kids can have theirs too but make sure to keep the rum all to yourselves!20121210-095816.jpg

Horchata with a Twist

This recipe will come out best if you have a high powered blender like a Blend Tech or Vita Mix but you can use any blender or food processor.
1 cup uncooked long grain rice
2 quarts warm water
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 1/4 cups milk
1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed
milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup rum, or to taste (optional)

Mix the rice and warm water together in a bowl, and let stand for about an hour.  Drain the rice and reserve the water for later use. Place the rice in a blender, add the cinnamon and process until a paste forms. (you may want to add a bit of the reserved liquid if it too thick) Return the rice to the water and let stand at least 2 hours, stirring occasionally as the water turns milky white.

Strain the rice through a fine strainer into a bowl or pitcher. Using cheesecloth in a strainer will give you the best results. Stir in the milk, condensed milk, vanilla until evenly blended. Refrigerate at least 2 hours.

Before Serving toss in the blender  or use a stick blender to froth.

Pour the chilled horchata over the ice, add  even amounts of rum to glasses.

For the kids OMIT the RUM!!

If you are looking for some other rum drinks check this out.

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