Thursday, September 4, 2014

Coconut Strawberry Cake

In keeping with the healthy coconut strawberry theme, I give you this addicting cake. This is one of those desserts that is healthy and still tastes really good. It's gluten-free, vegan, and sugar free (aside from natural sugars from the fruit of course), and very refreshing. If you like coconut and strawberry, you will like this easy to make cake!

Coconut Strawberry Cake

How I Did It:

4 tbsp coconut oil, melted and slightly cooled
1 cup almonds, soaked for a few hours in water
4 cups shredded unsweetened coconut
1/2 cup pitted dates, soaked for a few hours in water
3 cups fresh strawberries

1. In a food processor, grind almonds until very fine.

2. To the processor, add 2 tbsp coconut oil, 2 cups coconut, and the dates and process until well combined.

3. Press evenly into the bottom of an 8x8 inch baking pan.

4. Clean out the processor and then place the remaining ingredients ( 2 tbsp coconut oil, 2 cups coconut, and the strawberries, reserving a few for the top if you'd like).

5. Pour the strawberry coconut mixture on top of the crust and even out with the back of a spoon. Slice strawberries in 3rds or 4th and place on top.

6. Cover and refrigerate for a couple hours or overnight before serving.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Gluten-free and Sugar-Free Berry Coconut Oatmeal Cookies

It's easy to make a tasty cookie, it's not as easy to make a tasty cookie that is gluten-free, sugar-free (excluding fresh fruit), no unprocessed nuts/seeds, peanut-free, dairy-free, chocolate free, and full of flavor, but not too sweet (read: barely sweet). I was pretty proud to have come up with these cookies. I wasn't entirely sure how they would turn out, but even as a lover of sweets I enjoyed them.  They are basically a guilt-free cookie that you want to eat.They are dense - more like a bar and there is zero sweetener other than the strawberries and blueberries (which do add a nice amount of sweetness). I like to think of it as handheld oatmeal.

Berry Coconut Oatmeal Cookies
How I Did It:

1 3/4 cups rolled oats
1/4 cup raw almonds
1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp all spice
2 eggs
1/4 cup + 1 tbsp coconut oil, melted and slightly cooled
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup strawberries, chopped
1/4 cup wild blueberries

1. Preheat oven to 375.

2. Place almonds in a food processor and grind into a flour. Keeping the almond flour in the processor, add in 1/4 cup of the rolled oats and process that into a flour as well.

3. In a large bowl, combine the flour/almond mixture with the rest of the rolled oats, unsweeetened shredded coconut, salt, cinnamon, and all spice.

4. In a seperate bowl, mix together the eggs, coconut oil, vanilla until well combined.

5. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry along with the blueberries and strawberries. Make sure the the fruit is well distributed.

6. Form dough into balls and place onto cookie sheet and flatten. They will not expand or rise/flatten so shape them as you wish to serve them.

7. Bake for about 15 minutes or until the edges start to brown and the center looks dry.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Gluten-Free Coconut Oatmeal Cookies

In making gluten-free treats for other people, nothing is more obvious than some version of an oatmeal cookie. Of course, traditionally oatmeal cookies have flour in them, but it's easy enough to use oat flour instead. I got this recipe from the Vanilla Sugar Blog which always has creative and fun food creations. They didn't turn out crunchy for me at all...more crumbly. I took them out when the bottoms started to deeply brown, but I probably could have kept them baking for a bit longer to crisp up a bit more. They were very tasty though and the texture was fine, just not what I was looking for. It was somewhere between chewy and crunchy...not dry though. If I make them again I would try coconut oil instead of butter, flatten them a little more, and cook them longer.

Gluten-Free Coconut Oatmeal Cookies
How I Did It:

2 cups rolled oats (not quick cooking)
3/4 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tbsp cornstarch
3/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup dark brown sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla extract

1. Preheat oven to 375.

2. In a food processor, grind 1 cup of the oats into a flour.

3. Mix together the oat flour, rolled oats, coconut, baking powder, cornstarch, and salt until well combined. Set aside.

4. In a larger bowl, cream together the butter and the sugars until light and fluff and then beat in the egg and vanilla.

5. Slowly beat in the dry ingredients to the wet, until not quite combined. Finish mixing with a spoon until just combined.

6. Roll rounded tablespoon sized chunks of dough into balls and place on the parchment papered or Silmat covered cookie sheet. Flatten the the balls down with the back of a spoon or the palm of your hand.

7. Bake for about 15 minutes or until the edges/bottoms start to deeply brown.

8. Let cook for a few minutes before removing to cooling racks to finish cooling.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Chunky Pineapple Salsa

Believe it or not, I have never made salsa. So easy and it tastes so good when it's fresh and yet for some reason I always just buy it. My first ever salsa product is this pineapple salsa which is perfect for the summer. I have had pineapple salsa before of course, but never homemade and it has always been tomato based. This was pretty good, although maybe a bit too heavy on the pineapple. The spice helped cut the sweetness though and it was pretty tasty with some blue corn chips as well as over some coconut chicken that I had made. I would say this was hot/spicy, but not overly so. Every day you let it sit in your fridge it will loose a bit of heat, so keep that in mind.

Chunky Pineapple Salsa
How I Did It:

1 cup chopped canned pineapple
1 cup canned corn
1/2 red onion, diced
1/2 orange bell pepper, diced
1 jalapeno, diced (removed ribs, keep seeds)
1 serrano pepper, diced (seeds and ribs removed)
2 tbsps lime juice
1/8 tsp pinch of salt

1. Place all ingredients in a bowl and mix until well combined.

2. Cover and refrigerate for about an hour (or more) and then serve with whatever you desire. Keep leftovers covered and refrigerated for up to a week.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

After recently making a healthier version of oatmeal raisin cookies and previously making a sugar-free vegan and gluten-free version, I wanted to make a more traditional oatmeal raisin cookie for comparison. I've made oatmeal cookies plenty of times, but it was my first time making a traditional oatmeal raisin cookie. In the very least I tend to add in chocolate chips which is always a welcome addition, but in a way it takes away from the comforting depth of flavor that we all know and love in the oatmeal cookie. This cookie is solid, but chewy and full that oatmeal cookie flavor!

Oatmeal Raisin Cookies
How I Did It:

1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
2/3 cup dark brown sugar
1 egg
1/2 tsp vanilla
3/4 cup all purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups rolled oats
1 cup raisins

1. Whisk together flour, baking soda, cinnamon, salt and rolled oats until well combined. Set aside.

2. Cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in egg and vanilla.

3. Slowly stir in the flour mixture to the wet ingredients. Mix just until barely combined. Stir in raisins.

4. Cover tightly and let the dough relax in the fridge for at least an hour.

5. When you are ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350.

6. Scoop tablespoon sized (or larger) balls a couple inches apart on your Silmat or parchment paper prepared cookie sheet.

7. Bake for 8-15 minutes (depending on size) or until the edges are set and the center looks slightly unset still. Remove from oven and let cool for 2 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

S'mores Muddy Buddies

I used to think I loved chocolate covered raisins way too much. That was until I made my own muddy buddies (or puppy chow if you prefer). In continuing with my tradition of always trying new variations I have gone rogue and used honey grahams cereal instead of rice Chex for these s'mores flavored muddy buddies. Summer is s'mores season and I adore s'mores. I do love the crunch of the Chex, but the flavor that honey grahams add is worth the substitute. And of course adding a bit of Nutella makes everything a whole lot better. I love peanut butter, but using Nutella instead is definitely the way to go here. These muddy buddies are amazing.

S'mores Muddy Buddies
How I Did It:

6 cups Honey Grahams
3/4 cup Nutella
1/2 cup milk chocolate chips
1/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
3/4 cup mini marshmallows
1 cup powdered sugar

1. In a double broiler or medium heat, melt the Nutella and the chocolate chips together, stirring occasionally.

2. While the Nutella/chocolate mixture is melting, lay out a large sheet of parchment paper on a flat work surface and pour the Honey Grahams into a large bowl.

3. Once the Nutella and chocolate chips have melted and are well combined, remove from the heat and stir in 1/2 cup of the mini marshmallows.

4. Pour the chocolate mixture over the cereal and gently stir to coat. Stir in the remaining 1/4 cup of mini marshmallows. Keep mixing until all of the cereal is coated.

5. Slowly, in 3-4 stages, pour the powdered sugar over the chocolate covered cereal and stir to coat. Keep gently mixing until it is evenly coated.

6. Carefully pour the wet muddy buddies onto the parchment paper and spread out so it can dry. Once dry, pour back into a bowl to serve or store in an airtight container for later enjoyment.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Spicy Asian White Bean Dip

This has to be one of the best bean dips I have ever had, and definitely the best I have ever made. Don't let the picture fool you, it really tastes amazing. It's not only easy, but it's really quick and there is a good chance you already have most if not all the ingredients in your kitchen, just waiting for you to throw this together. Keep in mind I enjoy some spice in my food, but this isn't that spicy. You could use more or less of the hot sauce depending on preference. Good as a bread/chip/cracker dip or as a spread...I was even dunking raw carrots in it and love the flavor combination.

Spicy Asian White Bean Dip
How I Did It:

15 oz (1 can) cannellini beans (any white beans would work), drained and rinsed
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp sesame oil
2 tsp soy sauce
2 tbsp sriracha hot sauce
1 clove garlic
1/2 tsp curry powder
1/4 cup water
1 tbsp lime juice

1. Place all ingredients in a food processor. Combine until smooth.

2. Serve as desired and store any leftovers in the refrigerator in an airtight container.