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.

 

 

 

Breakfast Isn’t Boring Anymore

10 Feb

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In our house we do breakfast every day, I mean a full breakfast. My daughter isn’t a big lunch eater so we try to pack in the nutrition in the AM as best we can. I make a mean poached egg and slamming Matzoh Bri, the occasional Hash or the ever popular Chilaquiles. Over the years my husband has become quite the breakfast maker, he started off on the weekends and He even took over school weekday breakfast for a whole school year. He’s got his own funny recipes like the Framble, and the Encharadia.
Weekday breakfast is back on my plate now and we are board! I’ve made it my mission to try and make breakfast new again. It doesn’t take much effort to make it fun or different. The night before I set out bowls and chopsticks so when they sat down they had a surprise!
Today I made Breakfast Fried Rice, they ate it up, I will be a staple on our breakfast menu from now on. You can use brown rice and add frozen peas and carrots and anything else you can dream up. We like Applegate Organic Bacon, it’s thin and not too salty. You can add a sliced orange to finish the meal with just like at a Chinese restaurant!

Breakfast Fried Rice

When making fried rice it is best to use leftover rice, it clumps and soaks up the flavors well. Make your rice the night before and you can even make and chop, the bacon the night before. For ease I crack and scramble the eggs in a separate container. In the morning I just add the eggs to a pan scramble, and then add the rice.
Serves four

2 cups cooked white rice
5 slices bacon, cooked and chopped
Three large eggs
Salt
Pepper
Soy sauce
2 Tbs. grape seed oil or coconut oil
1 avocado, sliced

Heat oil in a pan on medium heat. Eggs, scramble until almost dry, remove from pan, set aside.
Add rice and chopped bacon to pan (you may need more oil if not using a non stick pan)
Fry rice until hot, stirring rice until cooked through, add eggs back to pan with rice. Season with salt and pepper.
Add soy-sauce and sliced avocado to taste.
Serve in boxes or bowls.

My Other Life

23 Jan
Carolyn Tillie Sushi Ring made from Gachapon toys

Carolyn Tillie Sushi Ring made from Gachapon toys

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Matthew Carden - Cauliflower Farmers

Matthew Carden – Cauliflower Farmers

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Cara Brown Watercolor

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Victoria Mimiaga Broccoli in Plastic

Victoria Mimiaga Broccoli in Plastic

imageMany of my readers may not know about my other life.  For years my husband, photographer Matthew Carden and I dreamed of having some kind of food related art business. We weren’t sure how it would take shape but two years ago in April it was suddenly born as Super Fresh Art Gallery. It only made sense, I’m a chef and cookbook author and he’s a fine art food photographer. Just by chance we stumbled upon a fantastic light open space on the Main Street in Old Town Novato,  just four blocks from our house. We weren’t quite ready,  but are you ever really ready for a new adventure?

Carolyn Tillie Broccoli Earrings

Carolyn Tillie Broccoli Earrings

We rented the space and  took off from there. We opened the world’s first all Food Art Gallery, all our art has some relationship to food. It’s funny, people walk by and I can hear them saying “food art, that’s weird” or they get all excited and love what we are doing! At first we opened as an appointment only showroom for my husband’s art work but in the last year and a half we find ourselves moving in to being a full blown gallery. Dividing  my time between the gallery,  my cookbook and food styling have been a challenge.

We started selling on the new Amazon Art site when it launched this summer and that has been really fun!I do love running the gallery and I love when my clients get so excited about the art. Recently we have a very nice article written about our crazy life, focusing on the gallery. It was wonderful for us because it brought so many new food artists out of the woodwork and to our attention. Since the article I have acquired four new artists and two more on the way. I am really excited that we can represent artists who document our culture through food and some who just find it the subject they love to work with. Thank you to all my readers for the support and positive energy you always seem to throw my way.

carden_Chron

Click to read article

Check out our other artists too:

Jim Bachor - Humorous mosaics

Caren Alpert - Amazing Magnification photography

Happy 2014!!

31 Dec

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Hoping 2014 will bring everything you wish for

Writing a Cookbook? Guest Post from Grammarly

27 Dec

Here is a bit of advice from a grammar perspective (boy do I need that!) If I’d known I’d be a writer I would have listened more in English class!!

Cookbooks: A Recipe for Disaster?

Why are some cookbooks not successful? The road to producing a high-quality cookbook is full of pitfalls. The good news is that others have gone before you! You can learn from their mistakes. To evade disaster in your own writing endeavors, avoid the six most common mistakes made by first-time cookbook writers.

Wow, Thanks!

Everyone knows how to make toast. If you include a recipe for toast in your cookbook, ensure that there is a unique element that makes your toast better than all the other toasts. Think outside of the box. Homemade pumpkin bread toast with cinnamon butter sounds simply delicious, does it not?

The Same Game

Certain foods, such as spaghetti, are very common. There are literally thousands of spaghetti recipes in cookbooks and online. If run-of-the-mill dishes fill your cookbook, you will severely limit your readership base. Each year, cooking shows popularize trendy ingredients. I learned about sriracha sauce from the Chopped television cooking competition. Now, it is common to see sriracha sauce appear in the list of ingredients. Common foods and trendy ingredients are a risk. On one hand, people search for cookbooks that feature good basic recipes or novel ingredients. However, reflect on fashion trends. In time, basic gets boring. Furthermore, once a style is out of favor, people laugh when they see it!

Fairy-Tale Lettuce

In the food court of the college that I attended, they featured a unique type of lettuce. One of my amazed friends referred to it as “fairy-tale lettuce.” To be sure, not everyone is familiar with radicchio and watercress. For those who grew up in iceberg lettuce families, these ingredients intimidate! Limit the amount of foreign, obscure, or rare ingredients.

The Deflated and Defeated 

Before publishing, test each recipe in your cookbook. Typing errors in the proportions and omitted ingredients destroy the effectiveness of recipes. Successfully-executed recipes motivate readers to try other recipes in the book. He willingly recommends the cookbook to his friends. Your reputation as a chef is at stake. Do not allow a careless error to ruin future sales.

Too Many Cooks Spoil the Broth!

Have you heard of this ancient adage? I invented a new version. Novice cooks spoil the broth! Do not assume that your audience knows how to perform complicated cooking techniques. Explain procedures within the recipe or create a special section to discuss necessary techniques. Provide the reader with details. Do you want finely chopped onion? Do you want a small, medium, or large onion? Do you prefer a white, yellow, or red onion? Pictures are powerful. Cookbooks often publish pictures of the completed product. However, photographs of the steps of the cooking process are extremely valuable.

‌Déjà Vu

After you write and test each delicious recipe, perform the final step of the process. Avoid plagiarism! Yes, you personally wrote each recipe. Yet, the small selection of cooking terms limits creative expression. Therefore, duplication is a common mistake. I am an employee of Grammarly. I examine writing tools and ways to improve English writing skills. I always recommend that clients verify that the text of a document is original with a free online plagiarism checker. Check for plagiarism before sending a document to a publisher.

Disaster is not an ingredient for a recipe book! Consider the skill level and the geographic location of the target readers. Use unique recipes with ingredients that are easy to attain. Prepare each recipe using the instructions that you provided. Explain any complicated steps. Do not plagiarize. Beware of the six prevalent pitfalls. With these tips, you possess the sure recipe for culinary success!

 

By Nikolas Baron

http://www.grammarly.com

 

 

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

betty

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;

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