Wednesday, October 8, 2014

A walk + Cakey Brownies

I went on a gorgeous walk the other morning. The leaves have finally started to turn over here and it was a bit foggy out... my ideal walking weather. I did a familiar loop that took me past my favorite mural, garden and park.

After walking I needed brownies. So I made these.

These brownies are made with...wait for it...

CASHEW BUTTER! You could also use almond butter. Despite being grain & dairy-less, these brownies bake up into a cakey dream. I have no idea how, but I am just going to roll with it.

Add your favorite non-dairy ice cream to make this a healthy dessert. Or pile on vanilla gelato like I did. Either/or.

Cakey Brownies (grain&dairy free)
makes an 8x8 pan

1/2 c almond or cashew butter (smooth)
1/4 c honey
2 eggs
2 Tablespoons coconut oil, melted and cooled slightly
1 teaspoon vanilla (or chocolate) extract
1/3 c cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
handful chocolate chips
ice cream, optional but recommended
- - -
1. Pre-heat oven to 325F and line an 8x8 baking pan with parchment (or mist with baking spray)
2. In a large mixing bowl whisk together all ingredients except chocolate chips
3. Gently fold in chips
4. Pour batter into prepared pan and bake at 325F for 25 minutes
5. Cool before cutting and topping with vanilla ice cream!

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Pumpkin Pie (grain&dairy free)

Jeff and I have been eating a little... different as of late. To make a long story (extremely) short he is on a new diet that means no processed foods, grain, or dairy. Want to hear a funny story? I tried to attempt this diet with him. I lasted four days before I had a panic attack and bought Cinnamon Pop Tarts, Halloween Oreos and English muffins + butter. My willpower is amazing.

Despite my imma-eat-all-the-carbs moment, I have been trying to follow the diet with Jeff. We have found a lot of new recipes that we like. I have actually really enjoyed learning new techniques and about ingredients I never used before.

One thing I have been trying to do is recreate our old favorite foods within the limits of the diet plan. Some endeavors have been successful, others have been total shit. Such is life.

Last week I shared the almond butter cups that we have been snacking on in place of my dearest peanut butter cups. This week, I made a pumpkin pie that has zero grain and zero dairy in it. I don't even know myself anymore. However I do know that I have eaten this pie for breakfasts, snacks and desserts this week so it is pretty legit.

This crust is made from almond/pecan flour. It is more dense than a typical pie dough but I like the added flavor. The dough is filled with basic pumpkin pie custard, subbing the evaporated (or sweetened condensed) milk for almond milk and the sugar for maple syrup.

Pumpkin pie needs whipped cream. This one happens to be made with coconut because apparently coconuts can do any/every thing.

That whipped cream though...

Pumpkin Pie (dairy and grain free)
makes 1 pie

For the crust
1 1/2 cup almond meal (flour)
3/4 cup whole pecans
1 tablespoon coconut oil, melted and cooled slightly
2 tablespoons honey
1 egg
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger

For the filling
1 15 ounce can pumpkin puree
1/2 cup almond milk (or milk/your substitute of choice)
3 eggs + 1 egg yolk
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/2 cup maple syrup

For the "whipped cream"
1 can coconut cream, chilled overnight
maple syrup to taste
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
- - -
1.  Add the pecans to a food processor and process until they become a coarse flour
2. Add remaining crust ingredients and pulse until dough comes together
3. Line a springform (or tart/pie pan) with parchment
4. Transfer dough to prepared pan and, using your fingers, press the dough into an even layer along the bottom and about 1" up the sides of the pan
5. Using a fork, prick the dough all over; chill 10 minutes
6. Pre-heat oven to 325
7. Bake crust for 10 minutes; allow to cool completely
8. Increase oven to 350F
9. Make your filling by whisking together all the "filling" ingredients in a large mixing bowl
10. Pour the filling into your cooled crust
11. Bake at 350F for 35-40 minutes (it will be a little jiggly in the center)
12. Turn off the oven and crack the oven door; allow the pie to cool in the oven like this for 25 minutes
13. Chill until cooled completely
14. Make your whipped cream by whipping chilled coconut cream in a stand mixer fitted with a whisk on high until stiff peaks form; add cinnamon and syrup, mixing to just combine
15. Top your cooled pie with the coconut whipped cream and enjoy!

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

(Spiked) Caramel Apple Cider

I have been trying to enjoy relaxing things more lately. I have realized that most of what I spend my time doing is rushed. I rush through breakfast, rush to work, rush home (while multitasking errands,) go for a run (as fast a possible,) shower quickly... fast fast fast. I love all of the things I get to do in a day, but I find myself skimping on relaxation time and counting the minutes until "the next thing."

To me, a fast pace was always a good thing. In high school I even had a slightly inappropriate track t-shirt that read fast girls finish first. I wore it proudly (and unaware of the double entendre.) While I recognize that a fast pace has its place (at work or even on a run) maybe I don't need to rush through everything else? So I am working on it as best as I can.

I have been trying to do more yoga, reading and just hanging out at home. It is pretty dang nice. Caramel apple cider is nice too...

This recipe is one of my fall favorites! It has become a tradition around our house. Once the calendar flips to September Jeff will ask me when I am making caramel for cider. It is a thing.

You can make this toddy spiked or not. Either way, it is spicy and wonderful  - the ideal reading companion.


(Spiked) Caramel Apple Cider
serves 2

12 oz apple juice
1 cinnamon stick
3 whole cloves (or a pinch of ground cloves)
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
pinch allspice
pinch ginger
4 oz rum, optional (dark or spiced rum is best)
caramel sauce (recipe follows)

Caramel Sauce
1 c granulated sugar
2-3 tablespoons water (enough to make sugar look like wet sand)
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 c heavy cream
5 Tablespoons butter
- - -
1. Make caramel following this recipe and tutorial
2. Combine juice, spices and cinnamon stick in a small saucepan and bring to a boil
3. Spoon 1-2 tablespoons of caramel in the bottom of two mugs
4. If you are spiking your cider, add 2 oz rum to each mug, stirring to combine
5. Top with hot spiced apple cider, stirring gently to incorporate
6. Drink up!

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Links & Such

I was lucky enough to be a part of one of my best/oldest friend's wedding yesterday. It was a beautiful (sunny!) day and I couldn't be more happy for them! This girl is the best and was such a beautiful bride! Over the last few days I have eaten a ridiculous amount of buttercream so I am going to take a few days off from making anything sweet and butter-filled. While I am reeling from my frosting hangover, please enjoy these gems.

These tacos are intriguing.

Potato Veggie Breakfast Tacos |

They follow the taco commandments!



Jessica's book tour is coming to Seattle and I can't wait to go get my signed copy of Seriously Delish.

seriously delish I

At some point I am making these cupcakes.

Pumpkin Cupcakes with Maple Cinnamon Frosting

This video is spot on.

These look dangerously addictive. 

Paprika Cheddar Cheez-Its |

Gilmore girls comes to Neflix on October 1st! Aaaand there goes all my free time.



Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Almond Butter Cups

For the longest time, I claimed I didn't like pork belly. It is all over restaurant menus right now (and has been for some time.) I tried it once and thought the texture was too gummy, too fatty. From then on, at the mention of pork belly I would grimace.

Last night, on a whim, I tried pork belly again. Guys, it was so damn good. To all the people who I grimaced at for mentioning pork belly, I am truly sorry. I was wrong.

Lately, in addition to trying pork belly again, I have been working on some "healthier" recipes. Do those two thoughts go together? Probably not.

So... almond butter cups?

These are a somewhat healthier version of my peanut butter cups. They rely on dark cocoa powder, coconut oil and honey as a sweetener. All that gets wrapped around salty/sweet almond butter.

This recipe requires a little patience while you wait for the various layers to set up in the freezer. The end result is worth it! Store these candies in the refrigerator or freezer. They will begin to melt to the touch (thanks to the coconut oil) so once you unwrap one, eat it quickly (as if there is any other way.)

Almond Butter Cups
makes 12 candies

For the chocolate coating
3/4 c coconut oil, melted
1/2 c cocoa powder
3-4 Tablespoons honey (a bit more or less depending on how sweet you want the shell to be)

For the almond butter filling
1/4 c almond butter
salt & honey (to taste)
- - -
1. Line a mini muffin tin with baking cups
2. In a medium bowl whisk together the ingredients for the chocolate coating
3. Spoon/scoop some of the coating into each lined well of the muffin tin (I used 1-1 1/2 teaspoons per cup)
4. Freeze until set (about 5 minutes)
5. In a small bowl mix together the ingredients for the almond butter filling, adjusting the amount of honey and salt to your liking
6. Divide the almond butter mixture evenly among the 12 cups, using the back of a spoon to press it into a flat layer on top of the set chocolate
7. Freeze for 10 minutes
8. Divide the remaining chocolate coating among the 12 cups, spoon/pour it over the almond meal mixture until it is completely covered/smooth looking
9. Freeze until set (10-15 minutes)
10. Store in the fridge or freezer!