26 November 2011

Mint Mil-ah-NO (version 1.2)

Gluten-Free Mint Mil-ah-NOs
This post isn't necessarily going support my previous declaration that "not everything I make contains coconut".

However, I can provide this for corroboration1:
Not a Mint Mil-ah-NO: Oven Roasted Brussel Sprouts & Cumin-scented Quinoa
I made it today... just before I made the cookies.

Side note: In the end, yesterday's procrastination-worthy task turned out to be more of a benefit than I anticipated. I've seen it happen so many times before. I really need to continue to remind myself that when something seemingly horrible happens, invariably (typically?) something good comes out of it. It's difficult when you're in the moment, but I'm working on it.

OK... cookies!

While the cookies do contain coconut ingredients, they are not meant to don't taste like coconut at all2.
I started toying with this recipe last year. I wanted to see if I could replicate a gluten free (healthier) version of the Pepperidge Farm® Mint Milano® cookies3. Of course, since I was doing the creating, they would also have to be vegan. The first incarnation used gluten free oat flour and melted chocolate chips (contained soy and cane sugar).
They were a success, but I wanted to see how far I could take the recipe. This version goes several steps further by swapping out the oat flour for sorghum, being very allergy-friendly and eliminating all the refined sugar. Because oat flour has a fairly distinctive flavor, dare I say, these are even better4 than version 1.1

They may not be as "pretty" as the inspiration, but that's such a small sacrifice for a delicious cookie that is also vegan and gluten/soy/corn/nut/refined sugar free5.

I wanted to say that everything in these cookies was created in my kitchen, but then I realized I was treading into sticky territory, and that I really just meant that they don't contain pre-made products or packaged chocolate.
It was actually easier to make the chocolate myself, as opposed to melting down pre-made chocolate/chocolate chips. This also allowed me to completely avoid refined sugar and cane sugar AND control the amount of sweetener. I used coconut sugar for this batch, but they can also be made completely sugar free by subbing stevia6.

I have big plans for this recipe, so I'm still deciding whether or not to post it7. I will, however, share this tidbit: In order to get a successful texture from the cookie, you absolutely MUST let them cool completely :-)

Create a Fabulous Day!

1. There isn't a drop of coconut anything in this dish! 
2. That's gotta count for something, right? 
3. A very special someone is quite fond of those things.
4. The very picky and brutally critical bff more than happily scarfed them down, and then looked for more.
5. Isn't it??
6. I'm totally into that sort of thing, but it would've gone over like a lead zeppelin (reference intended) with the bff.
7. Sorry, y'all.
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25 November 2011

Coconut Cream Shortbread

You might not believe it, but not everything I make contains coconut1. Although I may not be helping my case by posting this recipe, I couldn't resist.
I hadn't intended to be baking today. I had nice plans for my day off that were unfortunately upended by the unexpected. I don't want to go and deal with the aforementioned "unexpected", so I'm procrastinating by baking, which is really quite a nice stress-reliever. Then, I'll continue to procrastinate by practicing some yoga, taking a bath, watching a movie...

But for now... shortbread!

These melt-in-your-mouth cookies are delicious as is, and they're so flexible2, they can easily be customized with fun flavors and/or glazes - lemon, fruit preserves, chocolate/chocolate chips, cinnamon sugar, chocolate mint...  Yum. Did I mention that they also have NO gluten, soy, corn, nuts or refined sugars?? Well, they don't.

Coconut Cream Shortbread
(makes 8-12 mini cookies)
  • 70g (1/2 Cup)  Sorghum Flour
  • 20g (2 Tbsp + 2 tsp) Tapioca Starch
  • 60g (approx. 1/4 Cup) Creamed Coconut or Coconut Butter (NOT Coconut Oil)
  • 1/2 Chia Egg (1 1/2 tsp Ground Chia + 4 1/2 tsp filtered water)
  • 30g (3 Tbsp) Coconut Palm Sugar
  • 2 tsp Vanilla Extract
  • Scant 1/4 tsp Sea Salt
Oven 325F/160C

Prepare your chia egg, and set aside to thicken.

In mixing bowl, combine creamed coconut, coconut sugar, salt, vanilla and 1 tsp of very hot water. I found that a fork works quite nicely to really mix the ingredients well.
In a separate bowl, stir/whisk together the tapioca and sorghum.

Stir the chia egg into the creamed coconut mixture, then add the dry ingredients. Mix/knead everything until a smooth, stiff dough forms - you will need to knead3 with your hands.

Once the dough is smooth and uniform, break off small pieces, and roll between your palms to form 1" balls. Using your fingers or a fork, gently flatten each dough ball  - to approx. 1/4" thickness - onto an ungreased baking sheet.
Place the cookie sheet in the fridge to chill for 15-20 minutes.

Transfer the baking sheet to a preheated oven and bake for 7-10 minutes. The cookies should seem slightly undercooked, when you remove them; they'll continue to bake a bit and firm up as they cool.
Allow the cookies to cool on the baking sheet (don't try to take them off while they're hot - really). Once they've cooled for 10-15 minutes, they can be transferred to a cooling rack.4

Allow the cookies to cool completely before serving or scarfing down.5

Create Procrastinate a Fabulous Day!

1. Although that wouldn't be a bad thing, it's true... I swear!
2. adjective 1. capable of being bent, usually without breaking; easily bent: a flexible ruler.
                  2. susceptible of modification or adaptation; adaptable: a flexible schedule.
                  3. willing or disposed to yield; pliable: a flexible personality.

3. Aren't I clever?
4. I let these cool right on the baking sheet, although I wouldn't recommend that method for most baked goods.
5. It might be difficult, but trust me, your patience will be rewarded. 
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19 November 2011

Mexican "Hot" Chocolate Pudding

To be honest, there's nothing technically hot about this recipe. It doesn't actually even require cooking. It does, however, have the cinnamon-ey, warming flavor of Mexican hot chocolate, plus tons of omega-3s, fiber, calcium, protein... I could go on and on, but at some point you'd probably like to be able to find the recipe.
"I'm versatile enough to be a dessert AND a pretty healthy breakfast."
It's super convenient to prepare in small batches (i.e., for one person), and with only a few simple ingredients, it's very allergy friendly :-)

Chia is ubiquitous at the moment. Although it does sometimes seem as though it's becoming the new "it" (or fad) food of late (I even saw big bags of chia at the local wholesale warehouse), I suppose it's not the worst thing ever because it's easy to find chia seeds or a chia [fill-in-the-blank] product just about anywhere.

I like to prepare a selfish girl little batch of this pudding, before I go to bed or leave for work1, and place it in the fridge to "rest". This way the seeds really have time to do their thing, and form a nice thick pudding.

Mexican "Hot" Chocolate Pudding (for One)
  • 28g Chia Seeds
  • 1 cup Coconut Milk (I used So Delicious Unsweetened; you can also use full-fat coconut milk for a much richer, creamier pudding)
  • 1 Tbsp Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
  • 1/3 tsp Ground Cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp Ancho Chili Powder
  • 6-8 drops Liquid Stevia OR 1 Tbsp Agave Nectar/Coconut Sugar (if you've opted for a sweetened coconut milk, cut down on or omit the sweetener)
In a shaker cup2 or blender, combine all ingredients, except for the chia, and blend (or shake!) until everything is smooth and well-combined.
Mix the chia into the liquid mixture, so that the seeds are pretty uniformly distributed. Keep an eye on the mixture for a few minutes as the seeds start to form their gel. Stir occasionally.
Once the seeds have reached the point where they can pretty much stay suspended without totally sinking to the bottom, let the mixture sit for a minimum of 10-15 minutes; the longer, the better.

Enjoy as is, or top with Whipped Coconut Creme, cacao nibs, chocolate chips3, or a combination of the above4.

Create a Fabulous Day!

1. This is an especially helpful method for me to deal with my impatience.
2. I used a resealable container as a makeshift shaker cup. I'm like MacGyver.
3. There are quite good allergy-free ones out there. It's also quite easy to make your own.
4. If you're into that sort of thing.
Read more ...

16 November 2011

Coconut Creme Pie (High Raw)

 So, my latest harvest of young coconut meat was longing to be transformed into something delicious (as if it wasn't already). I toyed with a nog idea, but I was also longing for something tropical. After all, it's only the middle of November; there's still plenty of time for the cold-weather-holiday nog recipes. Tropical won out, and I settled (fixated) on the Coconut Creme Pie.

Coconut Creme Pie, garnished with Whipped Coconut Creme & toasted coconut flakes
The recipe is not only vegan, gluten free and soy free, it is also high raw - with a couple of minor adjustments, it can be made 100% raw. The buckwheat groats can also be swapped out for an equal amount of additional pecans or even raw almonds (soaked for 5-6 hours). This pie tends to be extra delicious after being allowed to set overnight in the fridge; the flavors really have a chance to meld and develop.

Coconut Creme Pie;

For the Crust:
85g Raw Pecans
40g Raw Buckwheat Groats* (soaked, sprouted & dehydrated)
40g Pitted Dates
Pinch Sea Salt
1/2 tsp Unrefined Virgin Coconut Oil

Pulse all ingredients in a blender or food processor until the mixture reaches a coarse breadcrumb consistency. Evenly press the mixture to an 8" pie plate, starting at the bottom and working up the sides. Allow the crust to chill in the refrigerator, while you prepare the filling.

For the Filling:
300g Young Coconut Meat
1 Cup Coconut Milk (I actually used So Delicious Unsweetened Coconut Milk Beverage)
1 Tbsp Coconut Palm Sugar
1 Tbsp Tapioca Starch
1/4 tsp Agar Powder
1 tsp Unrefined Virgin Coconut Oil
Scant pinch of Sea Salt

In a high-powered blender, puree coconut meat with 1/2 cup of coconut milk, until very smooth. Avoid adding extra liquid. It may take a bit of patience, if your blender isn't a rocket ship. A tamper really helps the process. Using a food processor to begin to break down the coconut can also be helpful; it can then be transferred to a blender.
In a small sauce pan whisk together the remaining coconut milk, coconut oil, coconut sugar, tapioca, agar and salt. Bring the mixture to a simmer over medium heat, stirring constantly. The dry ingredients should be uniformly dissolved (don't fret, if you do end up with a couple of tapioca lumps, the next step will take care of them).

Add the coconut milk mixture to the pureed coconut in the blender and blend for 10-15 seconds. Pour the coconut filling into the prepared pie crust, and allow the pie to chill and set in the refrigerator for a minimum of 2 hours.

If desired, top with Whipped Coconut Creme and shredded coconut.

Create a Fabulous Day!
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09 November 2011

Pumpkin Spice Muffins

I was awake far too early (again) today. Nerves, excitement, thoughts of the day's tasks kept me from a peaceful slumber. I figured a productive use of my time would be to... BAKE! Cinnamon and pumpkin are so lovely and warming on rainy autumn days. Funnily enough, as soon as these gems popped out of the oven, the sun came out1. I'll have to remember that, next time it's gloomy.

These light, moist muffins have the perfect touch of sweetness and are gluten free (GF), soy free (SF), corn free (CF), nut free (NF), and (of course) vegan (V)! They are also free of refined sugars.I used pecans as a topping because it was what I had on hand (sans pecans, the muffins are NF!). I think they would be just as yummy unadorned or with candied pepitas. I'm definitely going to try the candied pepita version next.

Pumpkin Spice Muffins with (or without!) Candied Pecans
(makes four muffins)
  • 30g Tapioca Flour
  • 34g Sorghum Flour
  • 1/4 tsp Guar Gum (can be subbed with 1/2 chia or flax egg )
  • 1/4 tsp Baking Soda
  • 1/8 tsp Cream of Tartar
  • 1/8 tsp Salt (I use Pink Himalayan Sea Salt)
  • 2 tbsp Coconut Palm Sugar (if you prefer sweeter muffins, add an add'l 2-3 tsp)
  • 1/2 tsp Pumpkin Pie Spice (or a combination of ground: Cinnamon, Nutmeg, Ginger & Allspice)
  • 122g Pure Pumpkin Puree (canned or better still, home-baked and pureed - NOT Pumpkin Pie Mix)
  • 2 tsp Coconut Oil (warmed enough to be liquid)
  • 2 Tbsp Coconut Milk (I used So Delicious Unsweetened Coconut Milk Beverage)
  • 2 tsp Apple Cider Vinegar 

Oven 350F/180C

Lightly coat four standard sized muffin tin cups with coconut oil or line with baking cups.
In a mixing bowl, stir together the dry ingredients. Add the remaining wet ingredients and mix well.
Spoon the batter into the muffin tins and bake for approximately 25 minutes*. About halfway through baking time, add the Candied Pecan/Pepita topping (see below).

Candied Pecan (or Pepita!) Topping 
  • 2 Tbsp Chopped Pecans or Whole Pepitas
  • 2 tsp Raw Agave Nectar (or Brown Rice Syrup or Date Paste/Puree)
  • 1/2 tsp Coconut oil
  • Pinch Salt

Create a Fabulous Day!

1. Behold the power of my Pumpkin Spice Muffins!
*Jumbo or mini muffin tins will require a time adjustment
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04 November 2011

Cuckoo for Coconuts

I love coconuts and coconut-anything. My pantry and fridge are never without a coconut item; I panic when my jar of coconut oil starts to get low (!) When new coconut food items become available, my bff texts me a photo of the item, and then (usually) very kindly purchases said item(s) for me - the most recent being So Delicious® Chocolate Mint Coconut Milk and Coconut Milk Nog (heaven!).
I have yummy recipes in the works for those two bevvies, but I've been a busy this week with yoga training and taking on some extra teaching gigs, that I've barely (sadly) spent any time in my kitchen.
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