Handmade gifts go a long way (especially the edible kind), and are a much nicer gesture than a gift card, specifically for the Winter Holidays or Valentine’s Day (though I am a HUGE fan of receiving a gift card :). They are inexpensive and thoughtful and if you pick less complex recipes, will not take that much time. These chocolate cherry pistachio bon bons are quick, delicious, vegan and gluten free and paleo…viola! Oh and they’re great just as a gift to yourself as well!
Chocolate Cherry Pistachio Bon Bons
1/2 cup vegan dark chocolate, chopped
1/2 cup coconut milk, full fat
1-2/3 cup shelled pistachios, divided
1 cup dried cherries
1 inch square piece ginger, washed and roughly chopped
1/2 unsweetened flaked coconut
2 Tablespoons maple syrup
A good pinch of Himalayan salt
Last Sunday I did an open house at Teena’s Pride farm. I just love, love, love basking in all the glory of such fantastically fresh and delicious produce! It is so easy to make it taste good…it already does! Much of the produce that we buy at the grocery stores are more than a week old (if not older, especially if it is from another country) and losing flavor and nutrients by the minute. This is a fantastic reason to get on board with a CSA (community supported agriculture)or to regularly visit your local farmers market.
This salad was the inspiration that came from the incredible bounty at Teena’s, easy, light, and uber fresh…perfect for the new year. You could also just blend all of the ingredients and make an Asian style gazpacho…yum!
Tomato Cucumber Salad with Sesame Oil & Lemongrass
1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes, cut in half
4 small Persian cucumbers, sliced into 1/4 inch rings
(or 1/2 English cuke cut into half moons)
1 teaspoon salt
2+ Tablespoons Umeboshi plum vinegar*
1 Tablespoon toasted sesame oil
1+ Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons honey (local preferred)
2 teaspoons very finely chopped lemongrass (optional)
2 teaspoons finely grated ginger
1/4 packed fresh mint leaves, roughly chopped
1/4 cup chopped roasted peanuts
Salt & freshly cracked pepper to taste
Place the tomatoes and cucumbers in a salad bowl and add the 1 teaspoon of salt. Toss gently and allow to sit for 15-30 minutes lightly tossing on occasion. This will allow the natural liquid to seep out (allowing for maximum flavor from dressing).
After this time has passed; drain off the escaped liquid and reserve for another use.
Mix the vinegar, oils and honey, lemongrass and ginger together in a small bowl and pour over the veggies. Add the remaining ingredients, season lightly with salt and pepper (the umeboshi vinegar is quite salty so keep this in mind) and toss gently but completely. Taste and adjust oil and vinegar if needed. Serve immediately!
Tips & Notes~
*The Ume vinegar is a vegan option for fish sauce, although it has more tang as fish sauce is mostly salty. Use this is Asian dishes as a vegan alternative. It is also amazing in partnership with other vinegars in all sorts of recipes. I just LOVE this stuff!
OMG this recipe for Flourless Peanut Butter Cookies is a revelation! Though I used to be a pastry chef, I have little patience for baking these days…never really liked to measure much. These little gems you can practically make with your eyes closed. They are gluten, grain, dairy and refined sugar free to boot! I adapted this recipe from Claire Robbinson for a catering I did last week. At first I was skeptical that they would have the texture I was looking for but after trying my own version (cut down on sugar and substituted coconut sugar and different peanut butter). But now I will never go back to the “real” thing…I defy anyone to figure out that there is no flour or butter in them!
Flourless Peanut Butter Cookies
1 cup unsweetened organic peanut butter (I prefer fresh ground)
3/4 cup coconut sugar
1 large farm egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
Organic cane sugar for sprinkling and coarse sea salt for sprinkling (optional)
I found the inspiration for recipe through a really amazing foodie website called Food 52. The pics are to die for and the recipes are mouthwatering. Bread gets a bad rap these days…sad to say. This bread however is healthy, gluten free, easy and ridiculously deelish. I have made a few tweaks but it is basically the same and totally worth the short time it takes to make it!
Gluten Free Powerhouse Bread
1-1/2 cup rolled oats (gluten free if this is a concern)
1 cup raw sunflower seed kernels (not in the shell)
1/2 cup chia seeds
1/2 cup nut of your choice
4 Tablespoons psyllium husks*
2 Tablespoons ground flax seeds
1 teaspoon Himalayan salt
1-1/2 cups room temperature water
3 Tablespoons melted coconut oil
1 Tablespoon maple syrup or honey
Makes 1 loaf
Line a silicon loaf pan or a standard loaf pan with parchment. In a medium mixing bowl combine all dry ingredients, stirring well. Whisk water, coconut oil and maple syrup together in a measuring cup. Add this to the dry ingredients and mix until everything is incorporated, if the dough is too thick and hard to stir, add one or two tablespoons of water until the dough is manageable.
Transfer the mixture to the prepared loaf pan and smooth out the top with the back of a spoon. Let the loaf sit out on the counter for at least 2 hours, up to overnight. To ensure the dough is ready, it should retain its shape even when you pull the sides of the loaf pan away from it or lift the parchment.
Preheat oven to 375°.
Place loaf pan in the oven on the middle rack, and bake for 20 minutes. Remove bread from loaf pan, place the loaf in the parchment directly on the rack and bake for another 30 minutes. Bread is done when it sounds hollow when tapped. Let cool completely before slicing.
Store in a tightly sealed container for up to five days. This bread freezes well also – slice before freezing for quick and easy toast!
Tips & Notes~
Add some dried cranberries, raisins or other chopped dried fruit.
Caraway seeds and some caramelized onions are also a nice addition to make a rye-flavored bread.
*Psyllium husk can be found online or in the supplement area of most grocery stores.
Everyone loves portable food, especially these days. These salad rolls wrapped with Asian rice paper wrappers are so easy to work with and can turn many different foods into a something that you can take on the go. Fill them with just about any kind of salad or cooked veggie and even add some protein and VIOLA…a meal on the go!
Pear and Fennel Salad Rolls with Toasted Walnuts
Ingredients: 5oz of mixed greens or arugula (1 bag)
1 medium ripe pear or apple, cored and sliced thinly
1 small fennel bulb, thinly sliced
1/2 cup dill, roughly chopped (optional)
3/4 cup walnuts, toasted and chopped*
1/2 cup dried cranberries, chopped
1/4 cup red onion, thinly sliced
Asian rice paper wrappers as needed**
For the Dressing: 1+ Tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 Tablespoon dijon mustard
2 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil Salt and pepper to taste
Servings varied depending on how big you make the rolls.
Place all ingredients for salad up to the wrappers, into a large bowl. In a small bowl; whisk the vinegar, mustard and olive oil together and pour over the salad. Season with salt and pepper and toss well. Taste and adjust the vinegar and seasoning if needed.
Fill a wide bowl filled with a few inches of room temperature filtered water. Have a clean cutting board or counter (preferably wood or plastic) in front of you and the salad in arms reach.
Lightly oil a serving plate with olive oil and set next to the cutting board.
Dip the first rice paper in the water for about 8-10 seconds; making sure that every bit of the paper gets wet. Remove, shaking off the excess water and lay the wrapper on the cutting board in front of you.
Starting at the edge closest to you; place a good handful of the salad on the paper in a horizontal shape but not going all the way to the edges. The wrapper will begin to soften as you do this.
When the paper feels pliable; pick up the end of the wrapper closest to you with your thumb and forefinger and fold tightly over the salad and then fold in the sides. Do not let go and continue to roll using your pinky fingers to continue to tuck the sides in so that nothing is poking out. Roll until the end wraps around and sticks to the outside the paper. This may take a few attempts so have a few extra papers just in case.
Cut the finished rolls in half and place on the oiled serving plate. Repeat until you have used all of the salad. Cut in half and serve immediately.
Tips & Notes~
This salad works well with pretty much any kind of nut.
You can use these wrappers with all kinds of salad, they make a great portable meal or a party appetizer.
*To toast the nuts~ Spread them on a sheet pan in a single layer. Bake at 325 degrees until the nuts are toasted and fragrant, about 7 to 10 minutes. Let the nuts cool, and then coarsely chop.
**The rice paper wrappers are available in the ethnic section of many grocery stores or in an Asian market.
Fall is here! There is no better way to celebrate the beginning of the season than with these muffins. They have all of the fall flavors, but are grain-free. Enjoy!
Grain Free Pumpkin Cranberry Muffins
3 pasture raised eggs
1/4 cup coconut oil
1 cup pumpkin puree
4 medjool dates, pitted (or 8 small dates)
A piece fresh ginger the size of your thumbnail
3 Tablespoons coconut sugar or 15 drops of stevia
1/3 cup coconut flour
3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon Himalayan salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup walnuts, toasted and chopped, plus more for the top
3/4 cup fresh or frozen cranberries, chopped
Makes 8 muffins
Place eggs, oil, pumpkin, dates, ginger and desired sweetener in a blender and blend on medium-high until well combined and the dates are broken down.
Add in coconut flour, spices, salt and baking soda and blend gently until smooth. Transfer to a bowl and fold in walnuts and cranberries.
Scoop batter into a lined muffin pan and top with more walnuts if desired. Bake at 350° for 20-22 minutes until the top springs back to the touch. Cool and serve!
Tips & Notes~
Use 1/2 cup dried cranberries or raisins in place of the fresh.
Substitute 2 medium ripe bananas for the pumpkin, you may want to decrease the sugar to 2 tablespoons.