Thumbprint Cookies

Ok, I’m so happy to be back and baking! So, from the last time I wrote I got pregnant, moved to San Francisco for the summer then back to Portland, had baby, home with baby AND husband has finished law school and is currently studying for the bar. Whew!! This year has been, in the words of Rachel Zoe, so major. (Yes, I just quoted RZ, dont judge!)

Anyway, yummy delicious will be 8 months on Friday and we have kind of picked up a nice routine (for now – changes all the time). My husband made a comment the other day about how I used to have healthy sweet treats in the house all time and that he really missed that. Alas, I modified this great recipe for the perfect cookie. The best thing about it is you can put anything in the middle. If you have all the ingredients on hand, it really is so quick and simple.

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Recipe:

1 cup whole almonds

1 cup oat flour

1 cup coconut flour

1/3 cup maple syrup

1/2 cup coconut oil (You can also use applesauce as oil substitute, I didn’t have any)

1 tsp vanilla

1 tsp salt

2T milk (i used almond milk)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Finely ground your almonds to a flour like consistency (or use almond meal, I have a bulk size bag of raw almonds that I wanted to use) Add the rest of the flours, then add your wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix together to form dough. Then on a lightly greased cookie sheet or lined with parchment, roll dough into balls. I fit 12 on each sheet. Gently press your thumb in each ball and then add filling of your choice. I used a delicious raspberry jam from my wonderful mother in law!

Bake for about 13 minutes.

These cookies came out delicious. I really love cookies. There is nothing like a cookie with my tea or coffee any time of the day!

Coconut Flour & Oil: Why is it good for me and where do I get it?

I am pleased to see the amount of love for the Almond Joy Brownies!

I noticed that there are many questions about where to find coconut flour and coconut oil. Most grocery stores carry both. Definitely Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s. If you’re not looking for it, you’ll never see it.

I promise you, you’ll see it now at the grocery.

I used Bob’s Red Mill Coconut Flour. It was found in the aisle with all of their products. No matter how big or small the selection the store has, it is almost always available if they carry this brand. Let me just tell you about some of the healthy benefits of this stuff. Coconut flour is a great alternative gluten free flour. It’s full of fiber – in fact its  composed of a whopping 58% of dietary fiber and has very few carbs (less than some veggies!) Also, it has way more protein in it than other common flours.

A great alternative flour. Perfect for sweets.

 

As for the coconut oil, it is fabulous for your immune system and boosts your metabolism! Plus, it is know to keep your hair shiny and your skin young.

The oil can be found in the same proximity, usually, to the alternative flours. It comes in a jar and I have only seen it in solid form. When I bake with it, I usually melt it and take the amount I need, and store the rest separately. It has a light sweet taste and smells like Hawaii.

I love Spectrum brand oil, but any will do!

I hope this helps and answers those questions!  Let me know if you have more.

Seriously, you should make these brownies because they are so easy and delicious!

 

Almond Joy Brownies

I was in the mood for gelato. There is nothing like a big scoop of chocolate next to a big a scoop of pistachio. That has to be my favorite flavor combo (that and chocolate and orange, but I wasn’t in the mood for that).

Noticing I had pistachios in the pantry, I decided to make some fudgey brownies.

Has anyone ever used coconut flour? Coconut flour, is an alternative flour, naturally sweet and high in fiber. I have had some Bob’s Red Mill coconut flour in my fridge,  and a friend recently suggested using it (Thanks, Rachel!). So with that in mind, I made my delicious Coconut Brownies. I also used Extra Virgin Coconut oil. I bought that because it has so many beneficial nutrients in it and can totally replace butter in cooking, plus, on the packaging, it blatantly stated something about beautiful people using it. A debutante is as debutante does! Beautiful, I shall be.

Crushed pistachio tops the delicious brownie

Almond Joy Brownies:
1/3 cup coconut oil
1/2 cup coconut flour
½ cup cocoa powder
6 eggs
3/4 cup honey
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon vanilla
1 cup nuts, chopped (optional)

Directions:

Preheart oven to 350 degrees.

In a sauce pan, mix the oil and cocoa together. The coconut oil in the jar may come out a bit dense, I melted it and measure for a 1/3 of a cup.

Set that aside to cool and get together your flour, cocoa,and salt (dry ingredients)  and mix with honey and eggs. Then, add the chocolatey cocoa mixture from the stove. Mix together well, add nuts if you choose. ( I added pistachios).

And that’s it! Super easy and totally delicious! This batch fit perfectly in my 91/2 in 63/4 pan, or in a 1 qt. dish. For some reason, there wasn’t enough to fill a 9×13, which is what I usually make my brownies in.

I cooked it for 30 minutes, and it was done. The middle was gooey, but not ooey gooey, so I was wishing I cooked them for 20-25 minutes. If you like your brownies more dense, 30 minutes will be perfect.

DebuTips:

  • Add nuts or chocolate chips of your choice, if you’re feeling daring
  • Add shredded coconut to the batter or sprinkle on top
  • Coconut flour is very flavorful, (as well as the coconut oil) and is best used in making sweet treats
  • Feel free to double the recipe (excluding the eggs!) for a bigger crowd

Baked not Fried

Breaded doesn’t always mean fried. Unless, of course, you fry it. Here is a healthy twist on a traditionally unhealthy food.

Voila! I added a little lemon and capers for extra flavor

I went to the grocery and picked up some fresh cod. There are so many ways to make cod, but my husband really felt like fish and chips cod. At home I had a few pieces of bread left, almost going bad, so I needed to use it pronto. I made a homemade panko. Panko is really just baked bread crumbs. So, I put the bread in the food processor and threw crumbs in the oven for 10 minutes until nice and toasty. I also added some ground pistachios and spices into the bread crumb mix to give it extra crunch and flavor.

Now, to make the fish. Beat an egg in a bowl. That will be your dipping bowl. Place your panko mix on a dish. I always rinse the fish, I don’t know if that’s necessary, but it makes me feel better. After I rinse (just a light rinse), I dip the fish into the egg bowl, remove excess egg and then I roll it in the panko crumbs and then place it on a greased cookie sheet. Once all your pieces are ready to go, place them in the 350 degree preheated oven for 30 min. Check on them mid-way and turn over so they will cook evenly. You can also, lightly fry them in olive oil on the stove. That will be faster. Actually, that’s what i did. I needed the oven space!

Ok, next. My husband has also had a hankering for onion rings. He loves when I make these onion rings for him. It’s easy and

Baked Onion Rings

makes him so happy. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Slice the onion into rings. Pull them apart. (I love that part because it makes a fun noise as they come undone.) Beat another egg and make a dipping bowl. Note: If you are making these for the same meal, do NOT use the same bowl. (Always keep it clean with raw fish and meats, but obvi.) Either wash it out with soap or use another bowl. Too much bacteria is floating around and has to be unsanitary. Then make a plate of your batter. If you have panko left over that will work (but not if the fish was dipped in it!), or other bread crumbs (non baked) or matzo meal. Get that together, and don’t forget to add spices. Make sure to add salt. Dip your onions in the egg and then the batter plate. Place on cookie sheet, then once they have all been dipped, place on wire rack in oven for 10 minutes. They should come out nice and crunchy. Yum.

I always try to incorporate greens with every meal. So I roasted asparagus. Make sure to wash and snap off the ends, place on cookies sheet roll them in a little olive oil and add salt and pepper. They are ready to go in the oven and bake with onion rings! They take about 15 minutes. Should all be ready at the same time.

Now, time to eat

DebuTips:

  • You can bread and bake anything that you love
  • Add different spices and spice up your dinners!
  • Add nuts or various breads to your panko or breadcrumb mixture

Stuffed Grape Leaves: Grandma, I love you, I’m sorry.

Every day this week, my husband brought home an ingredient. First, it was the rice, than it was a pound of lemons, and finally, a jar of grape leaves. Ok, I’m not that dense, I get it. He wanted  stuffed grape leaves. In our family, those are something we ration out. We take them very seriously.

I’ve never made them by myself, usually I’m helping my mom or grandma. Thanks to my grandmother’s step-by-step directions, I

This is how your station should look before you begin. Have your pyrex, leaves, and what you're going to stuff in front of you.

successfully made a batch.

What was that you say? Isn’t this supposed to be  a healthy and nutritious blog? Why, yes. See, I didn’t listen to my grandma. Shame, shame, I know, but do you want a dish that calls for a cup of oil in your kitchen? No? No, I didn’t think so.

Ok, you can go ahead a stuff the leaves with anything! If you’re a big meat eater, add ground meat. I just used brown rice and quinoa. The brown rice, quinoa and the grape leaves have a great amount of fiber, so don’t feel too guilty eating these bad boys. Add the herbs of your choice to spice it up. Then, roll it in the grape leaf. Insert finished leaves into a glass pyrex tray, add water so it covers the bottom and place in oven for 45 minutes, until rice is fully cooked.

Delicately arrange finished ones in pan

The oven should be preheated at 350.

These make  great hors d’oeuvres, if you don’t mind them being eaten. That’s up to you.

Or, you can keep them and enjoy yourself!

Inside: Ooey and gooey. Just the way I like them!

Rainy Day Stew

I think I was spoiled by the few sunny days we had over here. I was falsely under the impression that it’s time for sundresses, a new pair of sunglasses, and time to get my tan on. Alas, the winter is continuing on for the few weeks it has left (yay, spring!) and my wishful thinking has subsided.  Feeling completely deceived,  I should have known better. Oh well.

So, besides turning the heat on this am, I knew I needed something warm to defrost these old bones.

Side note: Do you love bulk bins? I do. I love getting all my flour and beans from them. What I do NOT like is when I have cabinets full of ingredients that I have totally forgotten existed.

Pet Peeve: The shelf with endless bulk bags

Today, I took control of the situation. I emptied out all the bags full of rice, lentils, split peas, and other beans, chopped a few carrots and defrosted a boneless skinless chicken I had in the freezer (another pet peeve: what is in my freezer!),  and made a delicious stew for this cold and rainy day.

Make sure before anything else to wash the beans. Some need soaking overnight, so make sure you use the beans that only need a little rinsing. Put them in a strainer, wash and into the soup they go!

Split peas and all types of lentils should be rinsed

I also used a vegetable broth. Not necessary, but I had it on hand. Water will work fine, too. Depending on how thick you want your stew, add desired water. Make sure to add salt, pepper, garlic, or whatever spices strike your fancy. And there you go, a quick and effortless stew, that takes less than an hour to enjoy!

You are sure to enjoy every bite of this hearty stew

DebuTips:

Get as creative as you want!

  • Use any type of meat
  • Use tomato sauce or lemon juice as a base, if that sounds good to you
  • Add extra veggies if you have some

Chocolate Chip Cookies of Heavenly Descent (#gluten free)

Makes about 32 mouth watering cookies

Yes, they’re gluten free Yes, they’re truly delicious.

I’m just going to give it to you straight.

Chocolate Chip Cookies:
3/4 cup  quinoa flakes
1/2 cup quinoa flour
1 cup sorghum flour
1/2 cup tapioca flour or potato starch (not potato flour)
3/4 cup maple syrup
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon xanthan gum
3/4 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2/3 cup light olive oil

Make sure to flatten them on pan

1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 eggs
Warm water, as needed
1 cup chocolate chip

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In an electric mixer, whisk together the flours, baking powder, baking soda,  magical xantham gum, and sea salt. Then add the oil, maple syrup, vanilla  and eggs to the dry ingredients.Mix together well. Stir in chocolate chips.

I put them in the fridge to cool for probably an hour. The dough seemed a little difficult to with work, so I thought refrigerating it would help. It did.

After its cooled,  roll dough into balls, smaller than golf balls. I used a spoon to help me shape it and I had a cup of water nearby to wash off dough, when needed (it got a little sticky). Also, I noticed at the end (of course) that it helped to add a little water to the ball of dough in hand to give it more of a dough-like texture. Place balls on a greased pan. I used a Silpat, which also worked great, but totally not necessary. Once  balls are ready to go, press down with the back of the spoon to flatten them in cookie shape. You will thank me later for telling you that now, so take my word for it.

Throw these guys in the oven for 10-12 minutes or until they are cooked on the outside. Cool on baking rack.

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I have really been enjoying trying out these new flours, to make something tasty and guilt-free…well, mostly.

For these cookies, I used:

Bob's Red Mill, of course. (L to R) Sorghum Flour, Tapioca Flour, and Xanthum Gum(center).