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Flourless Peanut Butter Cookies

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!

Peanut Butter Cookies

Flourless Peanut Butter Cookies

INGREDIENTS:
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)

Makes 1 dozen medium cookies

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Gluten Free Powerhouse Bread

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!

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Gluten Free Powerhouse Bread  

INGREDIENTS:

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‚Ä® cup chia seeds
1/2 
cup nut of your choice
4‚Ä® Tablespoons psyllium husks*
2 
Tablespoons ground flax seeds
1 
teaspoon Himalayan salt
1-1/2‚Ä® cups room temperature water
3 
Tablespoons melted coconut oil
1 
Tablespoon maple syrup or honey

Makes 1 loaf

 

DIRECTIONS:

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¬į.

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 ‚Äď 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.

                       

Pear and Fennel Salad Rolls with Toasted Walnuts

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.

Directions:

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.

Local vs. Organic: What Should You Choose?

Bee Heaven Farm
It’s not uncommon when we begin to make a change in the way we do things – whether it’s eat better food, taking care of the environment, or becoming more socially¬†responsible – that we come to a crossroads. We assess every decision that we make, weighing the pros & cons, and often ending up paralyzed with indecision. You know what I’m talking about, if you are actually reading this, chances are you too have spent many an hour staring blankly at all the labels, nutrition facts, ingredients, with still no clarity on the best choice.

A current question that often comes up is what is more important, buying local or buying organic? This is a topic that is near and dear to my heart, and the answer for me is very clear. I am an avid supporter of farm-to-table, and purchase as much produce as possible from local farmers markets, often spending a precious day off in search of the freshest seasonal and most community supporting goods. I want food that is as local, clean, and pure – and purchase organic ingredients whenever possible.

The problem is that the local farmers often not selling “organic” produce. The truth is that the USDA Organic certification is very expensive and it is difficult for small farms to afford it. Many small farms these days are not “spraying” and will also tell you if their crops are non-GMO. Ask them, they will tell you. Get to know the farmers that you buy from, you will build trust, loyalty and appreciation for their work! Here is a¬†video to provide a good point of view on¬†this topic.

From the video, “organic certification or a piece of paper will never ensure¬†that you‚Äôre getting good food. You have to know your farmer.‚ÄĚ Which is why they believe in the motto, ‚ÄúLocal First, Certification Second.‚ÄĚ

But my favorite part of the video is what farmer Jay Martin replies about his certifications: “Face Certification: direct contact between the farmer and consumer creates an environment based on trust and faith.”

Face Certification

So the answer to Local vs. Organic isn’t quite as simple as we’d like it to be. Walking into a grocery store and making the decision between two products is different…because we don’t have that “Face Certification”. Just as we can’t walk into a farmers market and choose produce from any stall without getting to know the people at that booth, learning about them, and about their food. (Not all produce at a farmers market is local.) You have to find the right vendor, and you may just find out that they practice very organic methods…they just aren’t certified on paper.

Pinecrest Farmers MarketWe have to get to know our farmers. Meet them. Ask questions. Learn something new. And suddenly, the decision-making becomes easy.

People are always asking where I shop and especially where I get my amazing avocados. Pinecrest Gardens on Sundays boasts some awesome local produce (even better in a few months) and LNB Groves is a Naked Bite staple! Thanks Adina and Walt for your INCREDIBLE contributions… I go through withdrawals without your avocados.

In South Florida, also check out Teena’s Pride CSA and a very complete listing of local CSAs all across the region¬†on Local Food South Florida. Anywhere else across the USA, find your local listings on Local Harvest.

I would love to hear your comments below – how do you buy your food, and make your decisions?

Grain-Free Pumpkin Cranberry Muffins

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 Muffins

Grain Free Pumpkin Cranberry Muffins

Ingredients:
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

Directions:
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¬į 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.

What Is It Like to Have a Personal Chef?

While you may know that The Naked Bite offers personal chef services, you may not be able to imagine: What is it like to have a personal chef?

Personal Chef Services offered in Austin, Miami, & Phoenix.

Personal Chef Miami

Personal Chef services from The Naked Bite are highly customized based on each client’s needs and desires. What you can count on, however, is that you will be receiving pure food: fresh, healthy, and whole. Here are a few scenarios that our current clients enjoy.

All Services Include: Menu planning, done in advance and previewed by the client for any necessary changes. All shopping, preparation, packaging/serving and clean up is done by the chef. We are also able to pick up other groceries upon request. Services are billed hourly plus the cost of groceries. We have a 4 hour minimum including 15 minutes for menu planning.

The Possibilities~

  • Juicing/Snacks¬†can include of a few days worth of juices in jars ready to go, and/or snacks such as trail mix, power bars, kale chips, crackers, etc.
  • Breakfast can include smoothie ingredients prepped or fully prepared. Frittatas, quiches, cut up fruits & veggies, granolas, whole grain muffins/pancakes etc.
  • Lunch will typically be 2 components such as a soup and hearty salad or a wrap/sandwich and salad with fruit or healthy snack if desired.
  • Dinner will include a main dish and 2-3 side dishes.
  • Entertaining if you are throwing a gathering and want some help in the kitchen the chef can assist with some of the prep. (Catering services are separate and priced on an individual basis.)

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Avocado Miso Toast

I’m not the biggest breakfast person. I know that it is the most important meal of the day, and I realize that as a health food professional I should be more diligent. But tell this to my appetite. I am a yogi and you are not supposed to eat 2+ hours before practicing yoga and I don’t like to eat before my 1 precious cup of coffee in the am (organic with fresh cashew milk mind you). So I go with such things as a simple slice of Ezekiel bread with homemade nut butter or something fun and unique like¬†this¬†awesome avocado recipe below. Fast and healthy and pretty darn good if I do say so myself!

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Avocado Miso Toast

INGREDIENTS:

2 slices sprouted whole grain or gluten free bread
2+ teaspoons mellow white miso paste
1 medium ripe avocado
Lime to taste
1 Tablespoon seasoned dried seaweed flakes (I like Sea’s Gift Korean Nori)

Makes 1-2 servings

 

DIRECTIONS:

Toast the bread. While it is toasting roll the avocado with your hand on a cutting board to soften. Cut in half and scrape out the inside into a bowl. Mash with a fork and add a squeeze of lime and set aside.

When toast is done, spread 1 teaspoon of miso evenly over the bread. Top with the avocado and sprinkle with the seaweed and eat!

Tips & Notes~

Add some sliced red onion, ripe tomato or your favorite hot sauce on top.

An egg fried in virgin coconut oil is amazing.

For a BLT type of effect~ slice some tempeh thinly and pan fry in coconut oil until crispy and serve on top of the toast.