Chocolate Coconut Cookies

gluten free / dairy free / flour free / grain free / refined sugar free

In the excitement of Easter and the beginning of spring break last week, I completely forgot to post the recipe for these amazing chocolate coconut cookies. I was introduced to these cookies by a girlfriend of mine and they are my go to cookies when I am jonesing for a sweet and have no time to bake. Enjoy! nom nom

Prep Time: 10 minutes       Bake Time: 12-15 minutes

Makes 12

1 1/4 cup unsweetened coconut, shredded

1/3 cup coconut sugar

1/4 cup coconut oil, melted

1 egg or flaxseed egg

1 tsp pure vanilla extract

1/4 cup chocolate chips; I prefer dark chocolate but any type will work!

  1. Preheat oven to 350. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together coconut, coconut sugar, coconut oil, egg and vanilla. Fold in the chocolate chips.
  3. Roll dough into golf ball size balls and place 2 inches apart on baking sheet. Lightly flatten with your palm or flat side of a measuring cup.
  4. Bake until edges are golden brown, 12- 15 minutes. Let cookies cool before handling.

Banana Oat Bread

Lately, we seem to always have overripe bananas laying around our house as my kids and hubby seem to be on some sort of cyclical banana eating pattern. As for me, I have a textural aversion to bananas and can only eat them in baked goods or pulversized in a chocolate smoothie. So with this weeks batch of overripe bananas I decided to try a recipe I had pinned from the Minimalist Baker blog. This banana bread is hearty with a mild sweet nutty flavor and paired perfectly with my afternoon almond latte. Enjoy! nom nom

Adapted from Minimalist Baker

4 ripe bananas

1 egg or flaxseed egg

2 TBS honey

1 1/4 cups GF oats

1/4 cup brown sugar; I use sucanat as an unrefined option.

1 1/4 cups almond flour

3 TBS coconut oil, melted

3 1/2 tsp baking powder

1/4 cup coconut sugar

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1 1/4 cups gluten free flour mix #1 or a store bought GF all purpose flour mix

3/4 tsp sea salt

1 tsp vanilla

3/4 cup almond milk

  1. Preheat oven to 350. Grease a loaf pan or 4 mini loaf pans with non stick spray or coconut oil.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk the almond meal, flour, oats and baking powder together. Set aside
  3. Mash bananas in large bowl. Whisk in remaining ingredients. Add flour mixture and stir to combine. Pour into loaf pan or divide amone the 4 mini loaf pans.
  4. For the large loaf pan bake bread for 60-75 minutes; 40-44 minutes for mini loaves. The bread should feel firm and golden brown on top.
  5. Let it cool completely or it will crumble!!!
  6. Store in container for a few days. Freeze for longer storage.

Ham and Red Pepper Quiche

This quiche came to my mind as a result of having ALOT of leftover ham from Easter. It is super simple to assemble and is great for any meal of the day! Feel free to change the vegetable and even the type of cheese. This is a basic quiche recipe so almost any ingredients would work! The gluten free pie crust makes enough dough for two 9 inch pie crusts so I  usually make two quiches and pass one forward to someone in need of some good food. I wrote the recipe below for one quiche but if you want to make two just double all the ingredients!! You can wrap any unused dough in wax paper and can keep it refrigerated for a few days or freeze it for longer storage. Enjoy!! nom nom

gluten free / dairy free option

Makes 1 quiche using a 9 inch deep pie plate

Prep: 20 minutes

Cooktime: 15 minutes to par bake pie crust, 40-55 minutes for quiche

1 1/4 cups ham, 2 in thick, diced

1/2 red pepper, diced;

1 1/2 cups cups almond milk

3 eggs

1/4 cup grated parmean cheese or non dairy parmesan

2 cups shredded cheddar or non dairy cheddar

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

Gluten Free Pie Crust; you will use half of dough for one quiche, save remaining dough for another use

Parbake Crust Instructions:

Once you have made the dough from the recipe above and placed it in the pie plate you will need to parbake it before adding in the filling. 

  1. Preheat oven to 425. Using a fork, poke 5-8 holes in the bottom of the crust.
  2. Place a piece of parchment over the crust and weight it down with pie weights or with a bag of beans spread evenly over parchment. side note: I didn’t have any beans when I made this so I used 3 mini oven safe ramkins as my weight and they worked great.
  3. Bake for 15 minutes or until crust is a light golden brown. Let cool completely before filling.

Quiche

  1. While crust is parbaking, Beat the eggs and almond milk together. Add salt, pepper and chedder cheese and whisk to combine. Set aside.
  2. Once crust is completely cool spread ham over bottom of pie crust. Sprinkle roughly half the parmesan cheese over the ham. Add peppers on top and sprinkle with remaining parmesan.
  3. Pour egg mixture over the ham and peppers. Place in oven and bake for 40-55 minutes until quiche is set, puffy and golden brown. There should be be a slight jiggle in the middle of the quiche. It will set completely as the quiche cools. If the crust is getting too brown, cover the crust edges with foil. Let set for roughly 10 minutes before serving.

Chocolate Quinoa Cake

gluten free / flour free / dairy free option

Easter was this past weekend and my mom always gets to choose the dessert. She observes Lent and gives up chocolate AND sugar EVERY YEAR!!! I know….crazy right?! So, I feel she above any of us should get to choose what her first dessert will be. I know, I definately don’t derserve to. In all the years (at least 35) she has observed Lent, I joined in…let’s say ten times and I was only cheat free once. My willpower when it comes to giving up my treats is next to none, or it is quite possibly even below that. As I said earlier; I’m a baked goods junkie! My mom thought about it for a few seconds and then stated her desire in two beautiful words; chocolate cake. And as soon as the words left her mouth, we both looked at each other, smiled and said “Oh! Chocolate Quinoa Cake!!” This cake is a family favorite and has been my son’s birthday cake for all of his 2 birthdays….and might I add that he devours it like a pack of starving people are chasing him. This cake rivals any “regular” chocolate cake I have ever had. It has a moist texture and the chocolate is so rich and decadent that everyone will want the recipe! I personally like the cake with a cream cheese frosting and will post it as such but you could do a buttercream as well. Because of the cake’s richness I think it is perfect with a a thick layer of frosting in the middle and on top while leaving the sides unfrosted. But….no one in my family agrees with me (except my non dessert eating husband) so we continue to frost the whole cake!! Enjoy! nom nom

2/3 cup quinoa, well washed

1 1/3 cups water

1/3 cup almond milk

4 large eggs

1 tsp pure vanilla extract

3/4 cup butter or vegan butter sticks, melted and cooled

1 1/2 cups coconut sugar (or natural cane)

1 cup (3 ounces) unsweetened cocoa powder

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

 

Cream Cheese Frosting (optional)

2 sticks of organic butter, softened

2 8oz boxes of cream cheese, softened

2 cups of organic powdered sugar, sifted

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

note: This is not the original cream cheese frosting recipe I grew up on with my grandma and mom. As my tastes have changed over the years the orginal version became overpoweringly sweet to me. So I fiddled with the ingredients until I came up with a frosting that was less sweet but didn’t taste like pure butter and cream cheese. This recipe has HALF the sugar of the original recipe and has a mellow sweetness to it that pairs perfectly with this cake, or any cake for that matter! But if you want the full frontal version (no judgements, it’s crazy good) just cut in half the amount of butter, cream cheese and vanilla. And use 1 pound of powdered sugar (appx 3 3/4 cups) instead of the two. You can also make this frosting vegan with non-dairy butter and cream cheese.

  1. In a medium saucepan, bring quinoa and water to boil; reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 10 minutes. Turn off the heat and leave covered saucepan on burner for another 10 minutes. Fluff with fork and allow to cool.
  2. Preheat oven to 350. Lightly grease two 8 inch round cake pans (13×9 pan works too). Line bottoms with parchment paper
  3. In a blender or food processor, blend milk, eggs and vanilla. Add 2 cups of cooked quinoa and butter; blend until very smooth, scraping down sides as needed.
  4. In a medium bowl, combine sugar, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Add to quinoa mixture and mix well, scraping down as needed.
  5. Divide batter evenly between pans. Bake on center ovenr ack for 40-45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into center comes out clean. Remove from oven and cool for 10 minutes. Turn cakes out of pans very gently, remove parchment paper from tops and allow to cool completely on wire rack.
  6. For frosting, beat butter and cream cheese in a stand mixer until combined. Add vanilla and mix. Add the powdered sugar and mix until throughly combined.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Slow Cooker Vegetarian Pasta Fagioli and Grown up Grilled Cheese Sandwiches

 

gluten free / vegetarian / dairy free option 

This meal represents to a tee both sides of my foodie mind. One the right side you have the very healthy, super easy vegetarian (with a meat option) pasta fagioli. And on my left side yo u have a decadent, gooey adult grilled cheese (which can also be made kid friendly with ease). This is a great mid week meal since the soup is done in the slow cooker and the grilled cheeses are super quick. I love these types of soup in early spring because they are still warm and hearty for the cold nights but at the same time is a light broth based soup perfect for those warmer days. The grilled cheese came about as a bit of a bribe… or better yet as a reward for my kids to eat the soup. And I can personally attest that this system worked like a charm since my five year old daugher ate it all, and even gave me a hug and said it was “a very good meal.” Score.

One reason we all love the slow cooker is because we can just “throw” it together, walk away, and 8 hours later we have a kitchen that smells like we’ve been cooking all day. Now, I don’t mean to be a negative nancy here but even though its a “throw and go” style of cooking  you still have to do whatever prep work comes with it. And if your mornings are anything like ours that prep work can sometimes be more than we can handle. So here are a few quick tips on how I make it as easy as possible. First, prep the night before by chopping your onion, garlic and cabbage/kale and put them into containers or baggies and store in the fridge. Also, set out your canned goods and your slow cooker. If you are adding meat to the dish, you can also go ahead and saute that the night before and refrigerate once it is cool. In terms of the grilled cheeses, you could also go ahead and carmalize your onions. That way in the morning, your prep time has been cut in half!! Now I know there are a few of you thinking “This lady is nuts…. I’m fried at the end of the day and the last thing I want to do is cook…again.” But hear me out….I wait until my kids are asleep, put on whatever music I feel in the mood for, perhaps I make a cocktail or crack open a cidre, and for the next 20 minutes I just jam, sip and chop. Before you know it, the prep work is done and your morning just got a whole lot easier!! Enjoy!! nom nom

Pasta Fagioli Soup

Prep time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 8 hours

2 tsp olive oil

1 medium onion, diced

2 medium cloves garlic, minced

2 tsp Italian seasoning

3/4-1 tsp kosher salt

1 tsp freshly ground black poepper

4  1/2 cups vegetable broth,

1/2 small green cabbage or 1 bunch of kale; stems removed, finely chopped (4 cups) For kids: the cabbage will be much softer aka”mushier” than the kale which typically makes it a better option. The kale adds a great heartiness to the soup and gives it more a rustic italian feel.

4 medium carrots, peeled and diced

1-2 medium zucchini, diced

1 (15-ounce) can dark kidney beans, drained and rinsed

1 (14-ounce) can diced tomatoes

1 cup small GF pasta of your choice

2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

Additional salt and pepper to taste

Optional: 1 lb of ground beef or 1/2 lb if you want to keep half of it vegetarian (see note below)

Optional toppings: Fresh parsley, shredded Parmesan cheese, or for a kick red pepper chili flakes

Note: In order for my kids to eat this soup I have to do two things. One, let them pick the noodle shape and two, add ground beef to the soup. I enjoy it both ways but since I am limiting the amount of meat I eat I choose to eat this vegetarian and save my meaty mains for something else.

  1. Drizzle the olive oil into a large saute pan set over medium heat. Add the onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, Italian seasoning, salt, and pepper and cook, stirring once or twice, for 1 minute. Splash in about 1/2 cup of the vegetable broth and scrape up any bits that are stuck to the bottom of the pan. Pour into slow cooker. NOTE: If you are pressed for time, you can leave the onions and garlic raw. But if you can, saute them! It definately enhances the flavor.
  2. To the slow cooker, add remaining vegetable broth, cabbage/kale, carrots, zuchinni, beans, and tomatoes. (If you’re adding 1 pound ground beef to the entire batch, you can cook and drain the ground beef and add it now.) Cook for 8 hours on low.
  3. About 20 minutes before the you are ready to serve soup bring a pot of water to boil. Add a drizzle of olive oil and your cup of GF pasta. Cook it according to package directions. Drain and set side. If you’re adding ground beef to half, set a large saucepan over medium heat, add the 1/2 pound ground beef, and cook, stirring occasionally, until cooked through, and no pink remains. Drain any excess fat. Transfer a little less than half the soup to the pan with the ground beef and let simmer, covered, until soup is heated through.
  4. Stir in red wine vinegar (divide between separate pots if doing the half-meaty version) and taste. Add additional salt and pepper if desired.
  5. Place the pasta in your bowl and ladle the soup over it. Note: GF pasta loves to suck up all the liquid in soups. So we just make the noodles seperate and add them to the soup before serving. This way we don’t use a ton of extra stock trying to add liquids back in!
  6. Serve topped with chopped parsley and with Parmesan cheese if desired.

 

Grilled Goat Cheese Sandwiches with Carmelized Red Onions

Serving: 1 sandwich

Prep time: 5 minutes

Cook time: 20 minutes

*to make these dairy free just sub in your preferred non-dairy cheese slices

2 slices of GF bread; we usually use Trader Joe’s GF bread but Rudi’s Sandwich bread is good too!

1-2 tsp butter or butter spread

1 oz of soft plain goat cheese

1-2 oz Drunken goat cheese; you can get this type of cheese at most stores such as Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods

2 TBS carmelized red onions (see note below)

handful of spinach and arugula salad blend. If you cant find that either one by itself would work.

  1. Thinly slice one small red onion and set aside. Heat a small skillet over medium high heat and add 1 1/2 TBS olive oil to pan. Once the oil is hot add red onion slices and cook until soft; appx 10 minutes. Once soft add 1-2 TBS balsamic vinegar and simmer until balsamic vinegar is reduced to a glaze on the onions; an additional  10-15 minutes. Set aside.
  2. Heat a large non stick skillet over medium heat and coat with a non stick spray or a light olive oil rub on the skillet. Butter one side of each piece of bread and lay butter side down on plate or cutting board to build your sandwich.
  3. Place the greens down first, followed by the cheese, and finish with the carmelized red onions on top.
  4. Place top piece of bread on sandwich and place in the hot skillet. Cook until bread is a golden brown, press down lightly on sandwich with the back of your spatula before flipping. This ensures the sandwich will stay together when you flip it. Cook until other side is golden brown. Remove from pan and slice sandwich diaganolly.

Variations: Proscuitto or Serrano ham give this sandwich the ultimate gourmet touch. 2 slices per sandwich.

Kid Version: If your kids are willing to try things, have them try the sandwich as is. The onions are sweeter because of the balsamic reduction and the greens are nicely masked by the cheese. If you have picky eaters, which I understand as I have one…. just take off the onions and greens. The goat cheese’s used are both mild so kids typically love this sandwich.

 

 

Chocolate Chip Cookies

gluten free /grain free /dairy free option vegan option /vegan option

It’s cookie time!!!!! One of my first and most beloved memories I have as a child is making Toll House cookies with my dad. He would sit me on the counter in the kitchen and I would watch with anticipation as he creamed together the butter and sugar, my legs swinging more excitedly with every stir  until the moment arrived to add the chocolate chips and get a taste of the dough. yes, yes….I know its bad to eat raw dough but it’s SO freakin’ good. This was a Friday night tradition in our house until I left for school and remains one of my favorite desserts. It is also hands down the best (albeit the only) thing my dad makes. My mom and I are convinced its because he is strong and can stir the dough until it is so smooth and creamy that the cookies literally melt like butter in your mouth. So, needless to say I have been searching for a chocolate chip cookie recipe that could not only live up to the beloved Toll House cookie and all the memories it carried but be better from a nutrition standpoint and delicious enough to be a favorite of my kids for years to come. The recipe below may very well be THE ONE.  I found it on Pinterest via the blog Texanerin Baking.  The only change I made was to not use brown sugar and to use coconut sugar instead. It’s a fantastic recipe in my opinion as it is gluten free, refined sugar free and grain free with a dairy free option! And the cookies….OH MY LORD. They are chewy, soft and the sweetness is mild because of the coconut sugar used. They are simple to make and if you don’t regularly use coconut or almond flour in your cooking you can just run and get the specific amount from the bulk section of your grocery. Enjoy!! And check back tomorrow because I am going to make these cookies using dark chocolate chunks and chopped nuts! nom nom

Update……These cookies are perfect to make ice cream sandwiches!!! We used So Delicious Vanilla Coconut Milk Ice Cream. I used a small ice cream scoop and placed 3 scoops on one cookie, placed the second cookie on top and applied light pressure to the top cookie to spread out the ice cream!!!! So good!!!!!

1 egg or flaxseed egg

6 TBS almond butter, room temperature

1 cup almond flour

1 tsp baking soda

1/4 cup coconut flour

3/4 cup of coconut sugar

1/4 tsp salt; I prefer fleur de sel

1 1/4 cups of chocolate chips, I use Lily’s dark chocolate baking chips

1 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract

6 TBS butter or butter alternative; room temperature

  1. In medium bowl, whisk together almond flour, coconut flour, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
  2. In stand mixer, beat together butter and coconut sugar on medium speed until well blended
  3. Beat in almond butter and vanilla on medium speed until combined. Slow mixer to low speed, add in egg  and mix until throughly combined. Add in the flour and mix until combined. Add in chocolate chips.Place dough in the refrigerator for an hour or until firm.
  4. Preheat oven to 350. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  5. Roll dough into balls that are slightly larger than a golf ball. There should be approximately 14 cookies. Place 2-3 inches apart on the cookie sheet. With the flat side of a measuring cup or your palm lightly press the cookie balls into discs. Bake 12-14 minutes or until center of the cookie no longer appears wet and the edges are slightly brown.
  6. Remove cookies from oven, place on wire cooling rack and let cool completely before eating.

 

Vegetarian Pot Pie

gluten free / dairy free / vegan option

Well….I am only 3 days late in posting this recipe which is honestly better than I predicted. It wasn’t necessarily a crazy week but it has been busy running around with my son trying to get his eye situation resolved. And with a huge sigh of relief I can say that he has been diagnosed with accomodative esotropia (crossed eyes). This is very common in children two and older and besides the headaches he gets from trying to focus causes him no significant pain. The first step is glasses and if that is not successful we will try patching his eyes followed by surgery as our last resort. We ordered his rubber glasses, blue ones, with the theory that since it is his fav color he might want to wear them. And yes, I know that is extremely unlikely to work since he is 2 and as stubborn a child as I have ever met. We also got state of the art indestructible, bullet proof lenses to go with them. Ok, just kidding about the bullet proof lenses, but the opthamologist did promise they would be hard to destroy. And with a skeptical look plastered on my face and my smart ass comments safely locked away I returned that promise with one of my own; “if there is even the slightest chance in hell that they can be broken, rest assured my kid will be the one to do it”.

okay…enough about me and on to the more important topic of food!! I decided to make this pot pie for a friend of mine who had recently been in the hospital for severe stomach issues. We cannot eat alot of the same foods and over the span of time we have been friends we have both slowly given up foods that we once loved. So when I found out she had been sick I reached out and asked what I could do to help. Her reply was….you guessed it, food. Whatever I made needed to be dairy free and gluten free but also be low spice and low acidity. Personally, I always veer towards comfort foods when either myself or someone else is sick. Unfortunatley, living with the dietary restrictions that myself and my friend have comfort foods tend to be off the table for us. For me, it is one of the main reasons I started this blog. On the one hand, I was more than willing to give up the gluten, dairy and refined sugar so I could reclaim my body and begin to heal. But on the other, I was devastated to think of all of my favorite foods being off limits and of all of the recipes I had grown up with disappearing in the blink of an eye. So, I did what any rational foodie would do. I pouted and moped around feeling sorry for myself. I ate what I was supposed to eat 99% of the time and here and there would go off the rails only to be slapped in the face with various unsavory ailments I won’t regal you with. And so the cycle went until one day I decided it was no longer worth the misery to eat those occasional “naughty” foods and that instead of giving up my favorite things I was just going to remake them to fit my needs. And here is one of my very first redo’s…..I am proud to introduce my new and improved vegetarian pot pie! Enjoy!

Ingredients

6 medium carrots; peeled and thinly sliced

1 large onion; finely diced

1 cup fresh or frozen peas

1 tsp French Thyme; dried

3 medium Yukon potatoes or 2 large sweet potatoes; peeled and chopped into 1 in pieces

2 cups vegetable broth

1/2 cup GF all purpose flour or gluten free flour mix #1

1/2 tsp black pepper; freshly ground

1 1/2 tsp kosher salt

4 TBS olive oil; divided

2 TBS butter or butter alternative

1 1/2 cups unsweetened almond milk

1/4 cup white wine; I prefer a sauvignon blanc but that’s purely because then I can drink the remaining bottle. A buttery chardonnay would work really well too! If you would rather not use wine, just sub in vegetable broth.

Gluten Free Pie Crust

  1. Preheat oven to 400 F.
  2. Peel potatoes and chop them into 1 inch dice. Place potatoes in medium saucepan, cover with water and bring to a boil. Boil 15-20 minutes or until the potaoes are fork tender. Drain water and set aside in a bowl.
  3. While potatoes are cooking heat a large pot or dutch oven over med-high heat. Add 2 TBS of oil. Once oil is hot, add carrots and saute 15 minutes or until they begin to soften. Add onions and continue to saute until they begin to brown and carmelize; about 15 minutes. Transfer to bowl with potatoes.
  4. Reduce heat to medium and add butter and 2 TBS oil to same pot
  5. When butter is melted, add in the flour and stir constantly for 1 minute. Slowly and gradually add in the milk, broth, thyme, salt and pepper into flour mixture. Continue to stir constantly as sauce thickens; appx 10 minutes or until mixture coats a spoon. Stir in wine and cook for an additional minute
  6. Turn off heat. Stir in cooked vegetables and peas into sauce until well combined. Taste for salt and pepper.
  7. Pour mixture into 13×9 dish. Roll out your pie crust and place on top of the pot pie mixture. Helpful Tip: Make sure the crust is appx 2 inches bigger than your dish so you have plenty of edging to make a crust and seal in the pot pie mixture.
  8. Brush the top of the crust with 1 lightly beaten egg. And sprinkle with 1/2 tsp of salt. This will give your crust a nice golden brown color. Bake 20-25 minutes until filling is bubbling and crust is a beautiful golden brown.

As always, if you can eat dairy and gluten feel free to add it all back in!!! NOM NOM