Monday, September 30, 2013

{Cranberry Orange Bread}

It is fall!!!! I'm excited to start experimenting with new recipes, cooking up some wonderful fall time classics. Especially now that I'm HALF-WAY done with college applications! Whoohoo!!!! Can you tell I'm excited? :)

Anyway, with that accomplished, I got a little relaxing time to bake. Not for me, because this recipe is not egg-free or nut-free (at least not yet. I will be attempting egg and nut free bread soon), but for my family. As I've said before, my family cannot get enough of the apple-cinnamon bread I make, so I though I'd experiment. Since we had a HUGE bag of dried cranberries, that my brother uses for making his own trail mix, I thought an orange-cranberry twist would be fun. 



Needless to say, it was a hit. Half a loaf was gone in probably ten minutes. The rest soon followed. My brother said it tasted like a bagel in that it was chewy and soft. I took that as a high compliment, coming from the world's pickiest eater ever!

Here's a picture of my brother in pure heaven. 




And another. I think I just became the best sister in the entire world right there. 






You'll notice this is basically the same recipe as the apple cinnamon bread, with a few slight variations. That said, feel free to use the framework and get creative with your own variations! I know I'll be trying a pumpkin bread and cinnamon swirl soon! :)


{CRANBERRY ORANGE BREAD}








Ingredients:

2 cups almond flour 
1/2 cup potato starch
1/2 cup tapioca starch
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 Tablespoon xanthan gum
3/4 teaspoon salt


2 teaspoons sugar
2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
1/2 cup hot water (110 F) 

1/2 cup warm almond milk (110 F)
3 eggs
3 Tablespoons olive oil

1/4 dried cranberries
1/2 teaspoon orange zest



Instructions:

Here's how I've found the most success: 

1. Preheat the oven to 325 F.  Place the almond flour in the food processor and grind about 15 seconds in order to break up clumps. Mix all the dry ingredients in a large food processor and pulse for a few seconds. Next add the orange zest and mix thoroughly.

2. Mix the yeast, sugar, and hot water in a small bowl. Mix it up gently, place a towel over the bowl, then place it in a warm and disclosed place and set a timer for 10 minutes. 

3. While waiting for the yeast, heat up the milk, bring eggs to room temperature (put them in a bowl with hot water). 

4. When there is about 30 seconds left for the yeast, mix in the warm milk, eggs, and oil. Then pour the yeast into the food processor and  mix for one minute, until a dough forms. 

5. Gently pour the bread into the loaf pan, then carefully fold in the cranberries. 

6.   Bake for 45 minutes, or until done (to test with a toothpick, poke it in the center of the bread. If the tooth pick is clean, it its done. If it has dough on it, set the timer for another 5 minutes and check again). 

7. Let cool for 20 minutes, then slice and serve. 



~I hope you enjoy this fall treat as much as my family does!



Sunday, September 29, 2013

{Coconut Cobbler}

Three day weekends are seriously the best. I just need that one extra day to catch up and sort of have an opportunity to relax before the whirlwind of life begins again. However, I'm usually terrible about relaxing and using that extra day to do something fun. But this time I did it. My friend Maddie came over and we continued our tradition of making coconut cobbler. First, before I tell you how incredible coco cobbler, as we nicknamed it, is, let me tell you the background story of this magnificent creation. 


Last year during the cross country season, Maddie invited me over to her house to cook me a meal. Now, as a person with many allergies and severe consequences following contamination, I don't let anybody cook my food. Not even my mother! So Maddie, being the amazing friend she is, decided I needed to face my fears in her very clean, Italian,  and "safe" kitchen. First, we made a kelp noodle stir fry with turkey meat, which was delicious. And safe. Then we experimented with a "dessert," since no Italian meal is complete without sweets. 
 
{Maddie enjoying our Coconut Cobbler}



And thus emerged Madney's Coco Cobbler, the most delicious dessert in the entire world.  Seriously, we are obsessed with this stuff! Gooey, moist, and delicious, and topped with fresh fruit and coconut sugar, this is a treat that you can feel good about eating.  Whenever I finish eating it, I feel like I could die and go to heaven well content. When you make this, be sure you only make as much as you can still maintain self control- yes, its that tempting!



Now back to the coconut sugar. Maddie and I go nuts over this stuff. I know, it sounds weird, but the only way I can think to describe it is like brown sugar meets maple sugar, but richer and better. Anyway, its delicious, and good for you. Coconut sugar is low glycemic, only a 35 on the glycemic index, which is good news for me, since I have a very low tolerance to sugar (even certain fruits make me sick!). I'll admit, I have eaten coconut sugar by itself- its THAT good!!! Maddie even bought me my own coconut sugar for my birthday! 



I promise this is worth your while. It is easy, simple, and delicious! Making coconut cobbler is not only fun, but a great social opportunity, whether you make it with friends, siblings, or kids. I hope you begin your own coconut cobbler traditions of your own!

{COCONUT COBBLER}

 Serves 2
Ingredients:

4 Tablespoons coconut flour
*2 flax "eggs" 
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1 Tablespoon coconut sugar
1/4- 1/3 cup of water

Instructions:
 Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

Mix coconut flour, flax "eggs," cinnamon, coconut sugar together in a medium sized bowl. Add the water, beginning with 1/4 cup, and slowly adding more while mixing until it reaches a doughy consistency. 

Spoon the batter into mini loaf pans, a small cobbler bowl, or muffin tins and bake for 20-25 minutes, until cooked through and firm.

Carefully divide the cobbler into bowls and top with fruit, jam, coconut sugar, extra cinnamon- get creative


*Flax eggs: for the equivalent of one egg, mix 1 Tablespoon of flax meal and 3 Tablespoons of warm water, then let it set for 10 minutes

 




 




Monday, September 2, 2013

{Flaxjacks Revisited: A Zucchini Twist}


As I've entered the cross country season, I've fashioned a high-vegetable, Whole 30 sort of diet to increase my nutrient intake, and hopefully positively affect my racing. Since most of my breakfasts revolve around  a little bit of fruit, I've decided to amp up my flax jacks. I mean, I can't have a green smoothie everyday!


Thus, enter zucchini flax jacks. Using the same basic recipe as my original flax jacks, I included some various variations so you can choose, along with the zucchini addition.



First, I tried blueberry-zucchini flax jacks, increasing the amount of cinnamon by a smidge and adding in a few fresh blueberries from Trader Joes in the batter. After the flax jacks cooked, I sprinkled some more berries on top. Yum-yum, those were good! 



Then I decided to try a fall edition by adding some diced apples to the flax jacks for an apple-cinnamon twist. With 1/4 teaspoon of nutmeg, 1/4 teaspoon more of cinnamon, and about 1/4 cup of diced apples (depending on how apple-y you like your fall flax jacks), this edition was a delicious way to wake up. I mean, apple, cinnamon, and nutmeg are a perfect fall combination, awakening memories of cozy evenings with tea, classic music, and a good book.

Pulled from a previous recipe of orange-banana-zucchini bread, I decided to add in 1/2 teaspoon of orange zest for a citrus zing. It's fun to mix it up!

Feel free to make your own combinations, like cranberry-orange and banana-cinammon  Most of the fun is found in being creative and trying new things, so enjoy the process!


  

~ZUCCHINI FLAX JACKS~


Ingredients:

1/2 cup coconut flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
4 flax eggs (see below)
1/4-1/3 cup water, almond milk, or coconut milk

 1/2 cup shredded zucchini

{Flax eggs}
To make the equivalent of one egg, combine one tablespoon of flax meal with three tablespoons of hot water. Stir and set aside for ten minutes.

Instructions:

Combine the coconut flour, baking soda, and cinnamon together in a medium-sized bowl. Add in the flax eggs and stir until everything is thourgoughly mixed. Slowly add in the water and zucchini, stirring at the same time, until the mixture turns to batter.

Pour batter into the skillet in tablespoonfuls over medium-high heat. Cook on the first side for about five minutes, then flip and continue cooking until desired.   


 

Sunday, September 1, 2013

{Spectacular Spanish "Rice"}

Summer is now over and the college application process has begun! I'm almost done with my first one- actually I am, but honestly pushing "submit" is the most terrifying thing in the world, so I'm avoiding it at all costs. Seriously, I'm having mini panic attacks and arguments in my head!

Now that I'm a senior in high school, I'm transitioning to adulthood, learning about how to live on my own. With that comes learning how to cook on my own, and be creative in an affordable way. As the summer ended, so did my time to cook and experiment, which has also led me to try quick and easy recipes. That said, this recipe is quick, easy, and affordable, not to mention DELICIOUS!

In our household, my family cannot survive a week without at least one Mexican dinner. Before going Paleo plus, I would always have a taco salad and Spanish rice. Then I'd have Spanish rice for lunch the next day. And as a snack. And for lunch. And when it was all gone, I'd wait in anticipation for the next Mexican dinner. That said, when I cut out grains, I was severely jealous, eating my skimpy salad as I savored the smell of that forbidden rice. 

Even as I made dishes with cauliflower "rice," I didn't even think of trying to make a Paleo plus edition of Spanish rice, for it was forcibly pushed out of my memory. Then, as I experimented new veggie recipes and learned my new desire for spice, memories of that delicious dish of old came flooding back and I KNEW I had to see if I could resurrect this old love. 
 

Need I say I was successful?!? O I wasn't sure what to expect, but when I put a steamy spoonful into my mouth, I was almost afraid because it tasted like I remembered. How could cauliflower be made to taste so delicious?!? What made it even better, is it took about ten minutes of actually doing something before it cooks. So as the cauliflower cooked, I was able to do homework (exciting right?). 



Coming up with the "Spanish" part of the dish was complicated. I did not want to spend time making my own salsa, or the money for fresh tomatoes. Instead, I used Trader Joe's Fired Diced Tomatoes because peppers and spices are added for a spicy decadence. If you do not use this option, I recommend using another spicy canned tomato sauce, or adding in some red peppers, a little chili pepper with fresh or canned tomatoes.



This can be served as a side dish, as a snack, or even used as a base for a chicken/vegetable entree. Now its quick, easy,delicious, affordable, economic, and versitle! Can it get any better?!

I hope you come to enjoy this favorite as much as I do! 





~SPANISH RICE~


Ingredients:

Coconut oil
1 can Fire Roasted tomatoes, pureed
6 ounces tomato paste
4 cloves of garlic, pressed or minced
1/2 cup chicken broth
1 cauliflower, chopped into florets

Instructions:

Heat coconut oil in the bottom of a pan on medium high. Grind cauliflower in a large food processor. Pour into the pan and cook until slightly browned, about 10 minutes. Add in garlic and cook until fragrant, about 15 seconds. Slowly add in the pureed tomatoes and tomato paste (be careful- it may splatter). Stir until well-incorporated, then add in the chicken broth. 

Cover the pan, lower temperature to medium, and cook for 35 minutes. When the time is up, stir the cauliflower, and if there is still substantial liquid, cook for about 5 minutes more. 

Serve and enjoy!