Tag Archives: Dessert

Blueberry and Lemon Muffins. Paleo Style.

17 Jan

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DO NOT BE ALARMED.

This blog and myself have not gone Paleo. Though, that would be a good excuse for my absence. Something like: ‘I hate everything and everyone. You can all just piss off. I am so miserable that I have to give up grains and beans that I might die and this blog is just not worth it anymore’! Now THAT would be an excuse.

Instead, same old – same old. Your girl is busy.

Don’t get me wrong here. I respect those who have made a commitment to a Paleo diet. I know someone who had terrible arthritis and has been Paleo for more than a year now, her symptoms are all but gone. There is no doubt that some people have allergies to food and have no idea that their health problems may be affected by what they are eating. It is certainly worth it to give an exclusion diet a shot if you feel like your health might be affected by an allergy.

With that in mind, I asked for this book for Christmas. See what the fuss was all about.

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I had picked it up once before and thought that the basic nutrition principles were great, something that I would enjoy reading. Really concise and easy to follow. The recipes were also right along my lines of healthy and holistic eating. I do really enjoy the book and will have my way with adapting the recipes to my liking. Not that they need much, they are pretty great.

OK: the goods. These muffins caught my attention in that they would be a low-glycemic-protein-packed-snack-on-the-go type of treat. You know how I roll, this is my thing.

Why you should eat this? 

It’s cold/flu season! What you need now is antioxidants. Blueberries are full of antioxidants and these muffins are not shy of blueberry goodness. In fact, I feel as if the ingredients in this muffin that are not blueberries, are just there to showcase how much blueberry goodness there is in these muffins. Added bonus that the muffins are hearty in egg which makes them packed with protein and gluten-free which makes them low glycemic. Perfect snack to make you feel full until the next meal.

Rejoice in these muffins, guys. They are healthy and delicious.

Blueberry Lemon Muffins

Source: Diane Sanfillipo (Servings: 12)

  • 6 eggs
  • ½ cup butter or coconut oil, melted
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • ¼ cup grade B maple syrup
  • 1 lemon, juice and zest
  • ½ cup coconut flour (I feel like you can use Almond flour or Oat flour if your not going Paleo here)
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup fresh blueberries

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Whisk together the eggs, butter or coconut oil, vanilla, maple syrup, and lemon juice/zest.

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Fold in the blueberries.

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Add mix to lined muffin pan and bake for 30-35 minutes.

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They won’t rise very much, so keep an eye on how brown they get.

Eat warm with a slather of butter or just as they are.

Trust me. So good.

Nichole

Gluten-Free Almond Sponge Cake

13 Jul

Raise your hand if you love strawberry shortcake. The dessert, not the cartoon.

Oh, you too?

Well, I am deeply devoted. The perfect summer time dessert. Yeah, yeah, yeah, ice cream is good, but you can have that ANY time of year and don’t even say frozen yogurt to me.

Here is my take on the perennial favorite: a gluten-free almond sponge cake, fresh strawberries, and a simple, sweet whipped cream. My goodness.

I made this for friends to enjoy on the 4th of July. Boy, did they ever. OK, I may or may not have also made bourbon and coke floats too…. which may or may not have impaired their judgement. But seriously, as a Chef, if you are NOT trying to impair the judgement of your diners with alcohol:  you’re not doing it right.

Float in question. Bourbon+Coke+Vanilla Ice Cream = happy guests.

Happy Birthday America.

Here I am on the holiday+the BBQ that I was invited to = reason for bourbon and coke floats.

Why you should eat this? 

Back to the headline: GLUTEN-FREE ALMOND SPONGE CAKE. ANNNNDDD it’s sugar free.

For just a second, forget about that float up there and imagine this guilt-free cake, with fresh in-season strawberries and a maybe the cashew cream  we discussed a few weeks ago. Super healthy, over-top-goodness.

The cake stands up with the help of almond flour (you will be making your own). Almonds being the sweethearts that they are nutrient dense, full of fiber, good fats, rich in vitamin E, potassium, and manganese. Almonds are essential for a healthy heart, protecting against heart disease with monounsaturated fats. They have been proven to lower LDL cholesterol and protect against diabetes.

I know, what are we waiting for!!

Gluten-Free Almond Sponge Cake 

  • 4 Eggs, Seperated
  • 1 ½ Cups Whole Almonds (will need 2 Cups ground)
  • ¼ Cup Honey
  • 1 Tbsp. Vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp. Baking powder
  • ½ tsp. Salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Oil and parchment a 9” cake or springform pan.

Separate the eggs. Add yolks to one bowl.

and whites to another.


Grind the almonds in a food processor until finely ground. Careful not to grind too much or you will end up with almond butter, which wouldn’t be terrible, but it won’t make a cake. AND that is what we are here for, cake.

Add to the bowl with egg yolks and the rest of the cake ingredients and whisk together.


Whip the egg whites with a whisk or mixer until peaks form.


With a spatula, gently (I SAID GENTLY) fold the egg whites into the almond mixture until well-combined.

This is well combined, you can do it. GENTLY.

Pour into the prepared pan and put into the oven. IF, you are the type of person who likes to do jumping jacks while a cake bakes… this is not the time. This cake’s height and airiness are dependent on those egg whites staying nice and fluffy. If you slam the oven door, check on the cake too much, or do jumping jacks in the kitchen while this cake bakes… you will have a flat cake. You do not want a flat cake.

Step away from the oven

Bake for 25-30 minutes, checking at 25 minutes with a toothpick.

As for the strawberries: I cut up fresh ones into quarters and sprinkle VERY lightly with powdered sugar. Let these sit in the fridge for an hour or so, to let the strawberries’ natural juices release and mix with the sugar.

Whipped topping? You know what to do here. Make your own.

Trust me, so good.

Nichole

Gluten-Free Strawberry and Rhubarb Crumble

12 Jun

Let’s get seasonal. It is officially late spring/summer and the markets are starting to fill up with strawberries, cherries, rhubarb, and many other berries and stone fruits.

It’s time we all get serious about pie. Or fruit desserts. I know what your thinking: “all this sunshine, I want to wear something sleeveless, no pie for me please”.  Fine, I have your compromise. Relatively guilt-free fruit crumble that happens to be gluten-free!

You’re welcome.

Look out sunshine, here we come!

This here strawberry and rhubarb crumble is protein packed, gluten-free, full of anti oxidants…. (whispers) some sugar and butter. What? I suspect (with certainty)  that you can substitute out the butter for coconut oil and make this vegan. I then presume you can also decrease the amount of sugar (lets say by half)  in the crumble part of the recipe as coconut oil is naturally pretty sweet. Why didn’t I do this, in this here recipe? Forgive me, this was a spur of the moment deal that I threw together, then loved it and was eager to share it with you. I will in the future (VERY near future) try out the alternate crumble with all of the beautiful cherries that are at the market lately, how about that? For now, make this – it’s really stinking good.

Why you should eat this? 

Strawberries. First thing, first: go organic here. I won’t go into the politics, but if you want to make a difference in the world, buy organic strawberries. (The pesticides used to grow non-organic strawberries, have been found to be toxic to not just those that eat them, but the workers who pick them). There.

Strawberries have a unique combination of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory nutrients, so the benefits to improve cardiovascular health, lower blood sugar, and the prevention of cancer have all been proven many times over. PLUS, there are walnuts in this crumble, if you’ve been paying attention (last weeks post), you know that those healthy fats are also very nutritious.

Strawberries and rhubarb also have a pretty quick season, so make this while you can. If you can find either of these in the winter months, you are not paying any attention to my first request up there…. don’t disappoint me.

This is rhubarb. Looks like red celery and has a tart taste. Pairs oh so perfectly with sweet strawberries.

Gluten-Free Strawberry and Rhubarb Crumble (Servings: 6-8)

  • ¾ cup oat flour (Can also use AP flour)
  • cup  walnuts, lightly toasted
  • ½ cup rolled oats
  • ½ cup natural cane sugar
  • ½ teaspoon fine grain sea salt
  • teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • ½ cup natural cane sugar
  • ½ lb.  hulled strawberries, cut into quarters
  • 12 ounces trimmed rhubarb, sliced into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 2 teaspoons of lemon zest
  • ¼ cup port wine (OR red wine, optional)

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

Butter (or coconut oil) a 9×9 glass baking dish.

Lightly toast the walnuts, this adds a warm depth of flavor. They will get further toasted when all is cooked together, but lets keep the details simple, shall we?

Chop them into smaller pieces.

Combine the oat flour, walnuts, rolled oats, sugar, salt, and pepper (YES, black pepper) together in a bowl.

Use a fork to stir in the butter (or coconut oil).

Squeeze into a few patties, wrap in plastic,  then place in the freezer to chill at least ten minutes.

Meanwhile, make the filling by whisking together the cornstarch and sugar in a large mixing bowl. Add the strawberries, rhubarb, lemon zest, and toss until evenly coated.

Wait three minutes, add the port and toss again.

Transfer the filling to the prepared pan, remove the topping from the freezer, and crumble across the top of the filling. Get it? CRUMBLE. Make sure that you have some small pieces and some large pieces. Do it.

Bake for 35 – 40 minutes, or until the topping is deeply golden and the fruit juices are bubbly.

You’ll want to let things cool a bit before serving, 20 – 30 minutes. Serve warm with a scoop of whatever vanilla ice cream that you are into. This should come natural, like putting chips in your sandwich.

Then get out and enjoy some sun.

Trust me, so good!

Nichole

Dark Chocolate Nut, Seed, and Fruit Brittle

26 Feb

I might need to change the title of this blog to something like: Girl-on-the-go-needs-something-to-shove-in-her-face.

So here it is, another recipe for jet-setting. This one rich dark chocolate, cinnamon, and orange. Protein packed full of nutritious nuts and seeds. A tart zing from the dried fruit. So good.

I end up making different versions of this a few times a month. Seems that I have been going through a lot of it lately.

I have really been giving it away pretty frequently too. I like to bag it up into portions, so that it is easy to grab and go. This makes it easy to control the amount I eat because if you set a large bag in front of me, I might not know how to stop myself. The bags make sharing pretty convenient too. If someone mentions that they are hungry, need something sweet, or looking for a snack. I reach into my bag and have this ready to satisfy.

Food in my purse? That’s how I roll.

Being my friend DOES have its minor perks…. aside from my stunning personality. I just might feed you.

This version has unsweetened cranberries and turkish apricots as its dried fruit additions. I like the sweet apricots and tart cranberry contrast. You can pretty much use any dried fruit. I often use Goji berries or dried cherries, maybe Thompson raisins if I have them around.

As for the nuts and seeds? Anything, really. I would highly recommend that you use raw nuts and seeds. You can find them in a bulk section at most health food stores. These are not roasted or salted, which leaves the flavors really true and lets the fruit and chocolate shine though. If you HAVE to use roasted and salted nuts…. fine. Maybe you can do me a solid and at least go unsalted? Thanks.

I typically keep a rotation of cashews, almonds, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, and flax on hand. If I happen to see pecans or walnuts that interest me, then I will throw some of those in too. As for the flax, I know, you won’t get the full benefits of all the omega-3’s without grinding them, but I like to add them in hopes that I can smash a few in my teeth to make a difference. At the minimum, they are at least adding a little extra  fiber.

Who doesn’t need fiber, right?

Why you should eat this? 

Lets go with the fun one here: Dark Chocolate.

Packed with natural antioxidants, dark chocolate and cocoa sit in the same good-for-you category as green tea and blueberries. That’s because chocolate comes from cacao beans, which are full of natural plant nutrients. Most of the studies to date highlight dark chocolate’s health values because it has the highest percentage of cocoa solids, therefore more flavanol antioxidants. I like to chose dark chocolate that is over 70% cacao content. This means there is little to no milk and sugar. I say most because you always want to read the labels of the chocolate you are buying, a shame, but some chocolates are better than other. In fact, most over 70% cacao is very low on the glycemic index, meaning it will not spike your blood sugar like most sweets are known to do.

Dark chocolate is something that I have found to be best bought in these 3.5oz bars. I haven’t found one that I like in bulk. I like the one pictured because it is Organic, over 70% cacao, and fairly traded.

I should mention that if you wanted to use milk chocolate or any other type of chocolate in lieu of dark, go ahead. It works. Just disregard all of the time I spent putting together the above information on dark chocolate, fine.

Dark Chocolate Nut, Seed, and Fruit Brittle

  • 2 – 3.5oz Bars of Dark Chocolate
  • 1/2 c. Raw Cashews, chopped
  • 1/2 c. Raw Pumpkin Seeds
  • 1/3 c. Raw Sunflower Seeds
  • 1/4 c. Flax Seeds
  • 1/2 c. Unsweetened Dried Cranberries
  • 1/2 c. Turkish Apricots, chopped
  • Zest of 1 Orange
  • 1/4 tsp. Cinnamon
Prepare a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
Add your nut, seed, and fruit selection to a large mixing bowl.
Add the orange zest and cinnamon and give the mixture a good stirring.
Chop chocolate into even sized pieces. I like to chop directly on the paper (on top of a cutting board, of course) so that I get all of the little pieces to slide off right into the double boiler.
If you do not have a double boiler, you can boil water in a pot. Put a metal or glass bowl (one that fits nicely, not too big, too small would be a disaster) directly on top of the pot of boiling water.
With a whisk or fork stir chocolate pieces constantly to melt and remove from the heat.
Should be shiny and smooth. Be VERY CAREFUL, when you lift the bowl off of the boiling water. You will want to wipe away the water on the bowl quickly and not get any water in the chocolate or on the nut and fruit mixture.
Water and tempered chocolate are mortal enemies.
Add chocolate to the nut mix and stir to coat.
Spread mix into an even layer on the prepared baking sheet.
Let set in the fridge for a least 30 minutes.
Break into pieces.
Share the health and enjoy!