Crispy Coconut Tea Cookies

3 Comments

2015-07-27 15.47.18

The weather has been a bit “chilly” the past few days around here. We’ve been in the 70’s instead of 100 degree weather, which we’ve actually gotten used to and like. It feels cold now!

_DSC1892

When it’s chilly my body goes into almost instantaneous Fall mode. I like to turn on the fireplace, grab a good book, have hot cups of tea and crispy cookies to go with that tea. My favorite tea right now is organic green tea, raw honey, and coconut milk. To. Die. For.

_DSC1895

Yesterday while these cookies were cooling, I had three failed batches of grain free bread. Had these cookies not turned out, it would have been a very disappointing day!

_DSC1909

I was able to salvage one batch of bread and turn it into something else, so at least all was not lost. You’ll be seeing that recipe in a few days.

_DSC1916

Testing recipes can be very time consuming and expensive. Grain free baking is a big challenge compared to gluten free baking. All of the science is different, the flavors are different, the textures… and I’ve probably had more fails than I have wins.

_DSC1917

Having numerous fails are disappointing of course, but I don’t shy away from challenges because when I finally come up with a win, it’s like a super duper win and very satisfying!

I’d consider this new cookie recipe a super duper win and I think you will too. Now, I’m off to have my afternoon tea and cookies and muster up the energy to bake yet another loaf of bread so we can have it for french toast this weekend.

Fingers crossed!

_DSC1915

Crispy Coconut Tea Cookies

*Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line two cookie sheets with parchment paper

3/4 Cup of Soy Free Dairy Free Butter

1/4 Cup of Organic Powdered Coconut Sugar

1 teaspoon of Pure Almond Extract

1 teaspoon of Pure Vanilla Extract

3/4 Cups of Organic Coconut Flour

1/2 Cup of Chestnut Flour

1/8 Cup of Arrowroot Flour

1 teaspoon of Organic Coconut Sugar

1 3/4 Cups of Organic Shredded Unsweetened Coconut (Let’s Do Organic brand)

Organic Coconut Sugar

Organic Cinnamon

Beat the butter and powdered sugar until fluffy, scraping down sides of bowl. Add the extracts and mix well. Add the coconut flour, chestnut flour, arrowroot, the 1 tsp of coconut sugar (not powdered), and the shredded coconut. Mix until fully incorporated. 

Roll dough into small balls and press with fork. Sprinkle generously with cinnamon and coconut sugar. Bake for 12-14 minutes. Cool on cookie sheet for 5 minutes before moving to a cooling rack to cool completely. 

Serve with tea, hot cocoa, coffee, or dairy free milk

Independence Day & Grain Free Double Chocolate Raspberry Cupcakes

1 Comment

2015-07-04 16.21.51

Ahhhh…summer. How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.

2015-07-04 15.55.37

After having an unusually sunny and warm spring, we’ve been blessed with a sunny and hot summer. The sunlight, the heat, the patio and gardening time…cupcakes and barbecues… It fills my soul.

Homemade coconut sugar powdered sugar.

Homemade coconut sugar powdered sugar.

I cringe when I hear people complain about it. Don’t they remember our long, long, gray winter just a few short months ago here in the Northwest? I want to yell, “bite your tongue!” God forbid we get stuck with a terrible summer that sneaks its way into 6 months of winter.

We need to appreciate every second of it.

I try to absorb as much sunlight and heat as possible to prepare for the long winter ahead, skin cancer be damned.

2015-07-04 16.54.06

 In fact, I read an Australian study that stated that people who cover themselves with chemical laden sunscreen and spend less time in the sun are actually more likely to get skin cancer than those of us who bask in gorgeous rays. The key is to get just enough, not too much.

We celebrated a quiet Independence Day a couple of weeks ago. I made a big batch of Double Chocolate Raspberry Filled Cupcakes…grain free and dairy free of course! And, some fantastic roasted red potato fries, broccoli and veggie slaw, and burgers topped with sautéed mushrooms and onions.

2015-07-04 13.39.16

I splurged and allowed myself potatoes and an Udi’s gluten-free bun. My body doesn’t like those things on a regular basis, but once in a blue moon, it’s a real treat.

2015-07-04 17.40.23

Broccoli slaw and diced veggies. Toss with dressing of olive oil mayo, apple cider vinegar, fresh herbs, coconut sugar, salt, and pepper.

Broccoli slaw and diced veggies. Toss with dressing of olive oil mayo, apple cider vinegar, fresh herbs, coconut sugar, salt, and pepper.

2015-07-04 17.40.30

This year’s Independence Day was not quite the same party we had in New Hampshire last year, where it’s legal to set off any kind of firework anywhere that your heart desires.

2015-07-04 16.38.11

Personal fireworks are illegal in Washington.

2015-07-04 17.55.19

There are three public firework shows to choose from that are close to us, but wanting to avoid the thousands of people who attend, we opted for a nice relaxing 4th of July dinner and evening at home. No crowds, no traffic.

And it was worth every bite.

2015-07-04 16.20.08

Double Chocolate Raspberry Cupcakes

*This recipe is adapted from Satisfying Eats

Preheat oven to 350°

1 Cup of Organic Coconut Flour

3/4 Cup of Organic Unsweetened Cocoa Powder

1 1/2 Cups of Coconut Sugar

2 teaspoons of Double Acting Baking Powder

2 teaspoons of Baking Soda

1/8 teaspoon of Sea Salt

8 Organic Eggs

1/2 Cup of Earth Balance Soy Free Dairy Free Butter

3 Tablespoons of Pure Vanilla Extract

1 Cup + 1/2 Cup of Organic Full Fat Coconut Milk

1/2 Cup of Strong Brewed Decaf Coffee

1/4 Cup of Dairy Free Chocolate Chips or Chopped Dairy Free Dark Chocolate

Add the dry ingredients to a mixing bowl and whisk together. Add the eggs, butter, vanilla, coffee, and 1 Cup of the coconut milk. Mix on medium to blend well, scraping down sides. Let the batter rest while you’re getting the cupcake tins ready. Add the 1/2 Cup of coconut milk and mix on medium just until combined.

Spray each of the cupcake liners lightly with non-stick spray and fill each 3/4 of the way full. Bake for 22 minutes. Cool completely before frosting.

Chocolate Buttercream Frosting

3/4 Cup Dairy Free Butter

3 1/2 Cups Powdered Sugar (I use homemade coconut sugar powdered sugar)

1/2 Cup Cocoa Powder

1/2 teaspoon Kosher Salt

1 1/2 teaspoons Pure Almond Extract

3-4 Tablespoons of Full Fat Coconut Milk

About 1 1/2 teaspoons Instant Coffee Granules

Pour the coconut milk in a measuring cup and add the instant coffee granules, stir to combine. Set aside and allow the coffee granules dissolve.

Cream the butter in a mixer until it is light and fluffy, scraping down sides once or twice. Add the powdered sugar, cocoa powder, salt, and almond extract. Mix on lowest setting (so you don’t end up with a cloud of powdered sugar and cocoa powder over your whole kitchen) until mixture starts to come together.

 With the mixture on medium, slowly add the coconut milk coffee mixture, 1 Tablespoon at a time (keeping an eye on the consistency…not too soft!) scraping down the bowl once or twice in between. Once all of the coconut milk has been added, beat on medium for 3 minutes.

Pina Colada Ice Cream

4 Comments

_DSC1842

I’m still on that ice cream kick.

It’s hard not to be when it is so easy to make!

_DSC1840

You only need a few ingredients, and the options are endless.

_DSC1835

Have you tried the Dang Toasted Coconut Chips?

They are delicious! Just coconut, coconut sugar, and sea salt. Gluten free, non GMO, and vegan. They are a perfect little sweet snack or you can put them on top of ice cream, brownies, cake…anything you like really.

(photo courtesy of Dang.com)

product-set2

They went perfectly with the pineapple and rum flavor in the ice cream.

_DSC1848

Pina Colada Ice Cream

3 Cups of Organic Non-BPA Full Fat Coconut Milk

2/3 Cups of Organic Coconut Sugar

1Vanilla Bean, Split down the length and scraped

8 Organic Egg Yolks

2 Cups of Fresh Organic Pineapple, peeled and cored

1/4 Cup of Small Pineapple Chunks

Juice of 2 Key Limes (Or about 2 Tablespoons of Lime Juice)

5 Tablespoons of Dark Rum (Or Rum Extract but you would only need probably 1/2 teaspoon)

Dang Toasted Coconut Chips (Or, toasted coconut flakes)

In a blender, add the 2 Cups of fresh pineapple, the key lime juice, and the rum. Blend until smooth, set aside.

In a medium saucepan add the coconut milk, sugar, vanilla bean and scrapings, and the egg yolks. Heat on medium stirring constantly until it comes to a tiny bit of a simmer and the liquid coats the back of a spoon. About 20 minutes or so. You should be able to run your finger down the back of the spoon and it will leave a line. Fish out the vanilla beans with a slotted spoon or large fork and discard. Add the pineapple puree and stir. Stir in the 1/4 Cup of pineapple chunks.

Pour the liquid into a heat proof container and allow to cool on the counter for 30 minutes. Then, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until completely chilled, 4-8 hours. It can also be left over night.

Pour the chilled liquid into your ice cream maker and follow the manufacturers directions. Serve as soft serve or scoop into a freezer proof container and allow to set in the freezer at least 3 hours before serving. When ready to serve, allow it to sit out on the counter with the lid off for 15-20 minutes before serving with an ice cream scoop. This helps it to defrost, allowing for a creamy consistency, avoiding the ice crystal texture that coconut milk ice cream sometimes has.

_DSC1837

Vanilla Bean Nectarine Ice Cream

5 Comments

_DSC1736

I’m on an ice cream making kick.

A couple of years ago I bought the ice cream maker attachment for my KitchenAid Mixer. It makes ice cream making an absolute breeze.

_DSC1742

The ice cream making bowl goes in the freezer for several hours. I usually put mine in a day ahead. Then, you make your ice cream base, chill it, and attach the bowl and paddle to your mixer.

_DSC1744

Pour the chilled ice cream base into the frozen bowl and let it churn on low for about 20 minutes.

It’s as easy as that.

_DSC1738

Vanilla Bean Nectarine Ice Cream

3 Cups of Organic Non-BPA Full Fat Coconut Milk

2/3 Cups of Organic Coconut Sugar

3 Vanilla Beans, Split down the length and scraped

6 Organic Egg Yolks

1/4 teaspoon of Ground Cinnamon

5 VERY Ripe Organic Nectarines, 3 sliced with peels, 2 pureed with peels

In a medium saucepan add the coconut milk, sugar, vanilla beans and scrapings, cinnamon, sliced nectarines, and the egg yolks. Heat on medium stirring constantly until it comes to a tiny bit of a simmer and the liquid coats the back of a spoon. About 20 minutes or so. You should be able to run your finger down the back of the spoon and it will leave a line. Fish out the vanilla beans with a slotted spoon or large fork and discard. Add the pureed nectarines and stir.

Pour the liquid into a heat proof container and allow to cool on the counter for 30 minutes. Then, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until completely chilled, 4-8 hours. It can also be left over night.

Pour the chilled liquid into your ice cream maker and follow the manufacturers directions. Serve as soft serve or scoop into a freezer proof container and allow to set in the freezer at least 3 hours before serving. When ready to serve, allow it to sit out on the counter with the lid off for 15-20 minutes before serving with an ice cream scoop. This helps it to defrost, allowing for a creamy consistency, avoiding the ice crystal texture that coconut milk ice cream sometimes has.

Chocolate Cherry Chunk Ice Cream

12 Comments

_DSC1716

What is normal?

“I just want to eat like a normal person.”

I hear it in the allergen free isle at the grocery store, I hear it from people with chronic illness in the numerous health groups I belong to, and I read it on social media all-the-time. And although those words haven’t really slipped from my lips in years and years, sometimes I do fantasize about what I would eat if I had one 24 hour allergen free day and a promise that I wouldn’t feel terrible.

_DSC1721

So, I do understand the mindset of wanting to eat like a “normal” person. Having to eliminate things from your diet in a such a major way because it’s harming your health can be overwhelming. It takes research, extra time, and usually involves a lot of whiny grumpy family members, and friends who think you’ve lost your mind who try to sabotage your diet.

I have to continually be diligent and try new ways to help my body feel well. I started dairy free living many years ago, then went gluten-free, and as of about 6 months ago, I’m grain free the majority of the time as well. Believe me, I feel your struggle. That’s why I try to come up with tasty things for you and I to eat so we don’t feel like we’re missing out.

_DSC1717

Now, let’s think about how these so called “normal” people really eat. If we base a normal person’s diet just on what people in the U.S. are consuming, the majority of their diet is fast food and prepackaged food, which is loaded with chemicals, pesticides, and hormones. They drink gallons of refined sugar laden, caffeine boosted, carbonated drinks every year. They eat meat that is fed GMO corn and wheat, and meat that is saturated with growth hormones. They eat chickens that have never seen the light of day and are fed only grains and chemicals.

_DSC1718

“Normal” eaters consume vast amounts of soy in all of the packaged and fast foods they eat. Which is not only highly estrogenic, but also the most genetically altered food on the planet. The majority of their diet is white. They fill their bodies all day, every day, with things that their systems no longer even recognize as food. Enter leaky gut, candida overgrowth, and auto immune disorders. Our guts are damaged, and what we know now is that our gut is the epicenter of our immune system. A damaged gut puts your immune system and histamine into overdrive which means that your body is working against you and the inflammation in your body sky rockets. This leaves you vulnerable to a whole host of auto immune issues, viruses, bacterial infections, and parasites which leads to big trouble.

_DSC1715

These people with a “normal” diet who some people think are so lucky to be able to eat whatever they want, are suffering dearly. They can’t really eat whatever they want without any issues. Let’s be logical. Our nation, along with many others are having major health issues. Human beings are on TONS of pharmaceuticals because they are treating only the symptoms of what really ails them. And sadly, many of these “normal” people, along with their under educated physicians, often have their heads in the sand when it comes to learning and implementing new ideas about diet and health.

_DSC1725

 A “normal” person’s school lunch program considers a chemical laden ketchup packet a vegetable serving. Cancer is rising, chronic illness is rising, psychiatric issues are rising, pain levels are rising, heart disease is rising, obesity is rising, children’s behavioral issues are rising, auto immune diseases are rampant. There are all kinds of studies now that link what we eat and how those eating habits wreak havoc on our bodies inside and out.

In fact, they are learning more and more now about how the damage we’ve done to our bodies changes our cells and affects future generations. Leading an unhealthy lifestyle can determine which DNA is switched off and on for your descendants. Diseases, mental illness, deformities, behavioral issues… Scary stuff.

_DSC1722

The good news is that by taking care of yourself and eating well, you can actually reverse damage. It’s a pretty amazing thing to know that the way you live can determine how your future generations will fare, health wise. If you’ve been negative and acting like a Debbie Downer about the dietary changes you’re required to make, work at changing your perspective.

Taking control of your health and educating yourself IS normal. Getting rid of allergen foods that are setting you up for chronic illness and slowly killing you, IS normal. Trying to focus on eating real food, and loving your body for your own sake and those you love, IS NORMAL.

_DSC1713

Jump for joy that YOU are NOT society’s definition of “normal”!

You have been empowered to make a positive change in your life and the lives around you. When you are healthy and feeling good, you are happy. You are energetic, you sleep well, love well, and enjoy life. Life is meant to be so much better than settling for “normal”.

Be well.

11280250_387779468089089_520197689_n

Chocolate Cherry Chunk Ice Cream

3 Cups of Organic Non-BPA Full Fat Coconut Milk

2/3 Cups of Organic Coconut Sugar

1/4 teaspoon of Instant Coffee Granules

1/2 Cup of Organic Unsweetened Baking Cocoa

Pinch of Sea Salt

1/4 teaspoon of Organic Ground Cinnamon

1 Can (drained) of Dark Sweet Cherries (15 oz)

6 Organic Egg Yolks

3 Ounces of Organic 70% Dark Chocolate, chopped/chunks

In a medium saucepan add the coconut milk, sugar, instant coffee granules, cocoa powder, sea salt, cinnamon, cherries, and egg yolks. Heat on medium stirring constantly until it comes to a tiny bit of a simmer and the liquid coats the back of a spoon. About 20 minutes or so. You should be able to run your finger down the back of the spoon and it will leave a line.

Pour the liquid into a heat proof container and allow to cool on the counter for 30 minutes. Then, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until completely chilled, about 4 hours.

Pour the chilled liquid into your ice cream maker and follow the manufacturers directions. Fold in the chocolate chunks. Serve as soft serve or scoop into a freezer proof container and allow to set in the freezer at least 3 hours before serving. When ready to serve, allow it to sit out on the counter with the lid off for 20 minutes. This helps it to defrost, allowing for a creamy consistency, avoiding the ice crystal texture that coconut milk ice cream sometimes has.

_DSC1720

Angel Food Baby Bundt Cakes

6 Comments

2015-06-05 09.35.51

I set out on an angel food cake adventure yesterday.

This one had so much hope. I used sweet potato flour and arrowroot.

2015-06-04 14.24.06

But then…..this happened. It crumpled up like one of those kitchen apple grandma’s as it cooled. It was dense and rubbery, and ended up in the trash. Basically, 12 organic, free range egg whites…wasted. Not an inexpensive adventure.

2015-06-04 15.10.09

I already had the fruit all sugared and marinating in the fridge, so I got on the computer and researched as many Paleo (grain free, nut free, dairy free) angel food cake recipes as I could.

2015-06-04 14.44.39

There aren’t many that actually look like a traditional angel food cake.

2015-06-05 09.33.31

Then I ran across Cassidy’s Craveable Creations version. Although hers didn’t have the traditional color of an angel food cake because of the use of coconut sugar, from the photos on her blog, it looked like it had a pretty reasonable texture.

2015-06-05 09.34.36

So, I just threw my recipe testing out the window and went full steam ahead using her recipe.

2015-06-05 09.30.36

I put the batter in mini bundt pans because I was fearful that it would collapse again. I hoped that with a smaller amount of batter there was less chance of collapse. Thankfully, I was right. Once they cooled just a little. I set them upside down to cool the rest of the way on top of drinking glasses on each edge.

2015-06-04 17.12.55

The only downside, is that typically, you don’t ever grease or oil an angel food cake pan. The same doesn’t hold true for bundt pans evidently…even if they’re non-stick. So if you choose to make these, make sure you at least spray your pans lightly so you aren’t digging them out with a fork like I had to.

2015-06-05 09.30.24

Had I sprayed the pans they would have come out easily and would have been much prettier to look at. But oh well. they were going to be bathed in berries and whipped cream anyway….

2015-06-05 09.31.00

Luckily, they tasted fabulous. They had that same bouncy, sticky, kind of texture that a “real” angel food cake has. They were just sweet enough and the coconut sugar gives them a caramel color as well as a bit of a caramel taste.

2015-06-05 10.05.59

2015-06-05 10.06.34

I’d already cleaned the kitchen three times and didn’t want to drag my heavy duty mixer out of the pantry again for whipped cream after dinner. I used some full fat coconut milk (the solid part with a bit of milk) with vanilla and coconut sugar in the Nutribullet and it worked out great!

2015-06-05 09.39.00

2015-06-05 09.37.00

24 eggs later, we had a very pretty and delicious dessert last night. And if you think I just couldn’t find room to eat two more for breakfast…you’re wrong.

You can go here for Cassidy’s Recipe. It’s grain, nut, dairy, and refined sugar free.

2015-06-05 10.07.40

Peanut Butter Bars

3 Comments

2015-05-27 15.48.48

Sometimes in life, peanut butter and chocolate are called for.

2015-05-27 13.36.56

There is no substitute, in my opinion.

2015-05-27 13.26.42

I don’t crave a lot of sugar luckily, but when I do, I think the perfect little snack is an organic dark chocolate square with a dollop of salty, crunchy, peanut butter. It’s quick, satisfying, easy, and doesn’t break the sugar bank.

2015-05-27 14.03.47

I’ve been trying to bake and cook and roast things here and there in order to have some back up items in the freezer.

2015-05-27 13.50.25

If you’re on an allergen free diet, specifically grain free and dairy free, you know what I mean. If you’re not prepared with quick and easy foods to eat, the kitchen can be a dismal place.

2015-05-27 14.26.17

There are days I stand in front of the fridge and the pantry several times and think, there’s just nothing to eat. 

2015-05-27 14.27.57

But, you know as well as I do that isn’t true because most of us with food allergies have a plethora of vegetables in our fridges and healthy items in our pantry.

2015-05-27 15.02.07

That,” there’s nothing to eat thing ” just actually means that, #1 The fridge is full of things I don’t feel like preparing, or #2 That feeling that I would rather starve than eat yet another vegetable.

2015-05-27 15.02.54

I had a day like that yesterday. So, I made these peanut butter bars.

2015-05-27 15.35.26

I ate 2 and they hit the spot. And now I have several in the fridge for those days I need a little something special.

2015-05-27 15.37.16

Grain Free & Dairy Free Peanut Butter Bars

*Makes about 24 bars

*Bottom Layer*

1 Cup of Coconut Flour

1/4 Cup of Arrowroot Flour

2 Tablespoons of Coconut Sugar

1/4 teaspoon of Sea Salt

2/3 Cup Dairy Free Butter, measured then melted

1/3 Cup Coconut oil, measured then melted

About 8 Tablespoons of water added one at a time

*Topping*

1 Cup of Dairy Free Chocolate

1 Tablespoon of Coconut Oil

1 Cup of Crunchy Peanut Butter

1/4 Cup of Coconut Sugar

Line and 8×8 baking pan with parchment and set aside. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Whisk all of the bottom layer dry ingredients in a medium bowl. Add the butter and coconut oil and stir well. Begin adding the water one Tablespoon at a time, mixing after each addition. You want the dough to be of the consistency of cookie dough or slightly softer. (See picture above) Press dough into pan lined with parchment. Bake for 20-25 minutes until the dough is golden and no longer soft in the middle. Cool completely.

In a small bowl stir the peanut butter and 1/4 cup of the coconut sugar together. Spread over the cooled crust. Place the bars in the freezer for 20-30 minutes. Meanwhile, melt the chocolate chips and coconut oil. Remove the bars from the freezer, spread the chocolate and return to the freezer for another 30 minutes.

Remove the peanut butter bars from the freezer and pull them out of the pan with the parchment overhang. Slice into squares with a sharp knife and store in the fridge or freezer.