Monday, December 29, 2014

Overnight No-Cook Chocolate Mint Pudding

I think the following scenario will resonate with a lot of parents out there: you make your child(ren) food, they eat (or don't), you finally get your food ready, they are done, you clean them up, sit down to eat because you are starving, and they want a bite. Now, it is your offspring so you feel like you should share, but they just ate and this is your food! Ugh! I am not going to lie, this morning after she ate and I finally sat down with my eggs, sausage, and avocado she wanted a bite--- mind you I had made her the exact same thing and she spit it out-- I said no... sorry my love but you cannot have my food when I haven't had a cup of coffee yet and you didn't want yours... then the guilt sets in as the lip goes out... fine! have bites of mine until you even eaten all the sausage out. Sigh. 

My friend, Amber, tagged me in an Instagram post this week that made me laugh- "Dieting is easy. It's like riding a bike. And the bikes on fire. And the grounds on fire. And everything's on fire because you're in hell." I don't consider the way I eat "dieting" per se, but it definitely is for some people and I understand that. Dieting, or cleaning up your eating doesn't need to be "hell"- you just need to be prepared... and not kill yourself over it if you have one bad day. I have never had a problem turning down sweets, but I know a lot of my good friends do, so I have tried to come up with some decadent recipes that are better for you than their processed counterparts. So this is another attempt to appeal to the pudding lovers out there and give my friends something to have a small amount of (with fruit) before bed. If you haven't tried my "Peanut Butter" Chocolate Pudding you really should- the texture is a replica of real pudding. 

Chia seeds are good for you and naturally thicken things. I have made chia seed pudding before (see Coconut-Pineapple Chia Seed Pudding) and I add them to my shakes now and it dawned on me... the chia seed texture in pudding is normally a little off-putting if you aren't used to it. In my shakes that I mix in a blender it is much more pleasant... why not mix them in a blender for pudding making also??? Danielle Walker did something similar in her latest cook book I discovered and it's a great idea. I add instant coffee to any chocolate flavored dish because I think it enhances the chocolate without a coffee taste- if you don't have any or don't like, it's fine without. If you aren't a mint fan, swap out the mint for vanilla or almond extract. 

Overnight No-Cook Chocolate Mint Pudding

(Printable Version)

- 1 1/2 Cups Milk (any kind)
- 1/2 Cup Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
- 1/4 Cup Chia Seeds
- 2 Tbsp Coconut Oil
- 1 tsp Mint Extract or Essential Oik
- 1/3 Cup Raw Honey
- Heaping Teaspoon Instant Coffee (optional)
- Pinch of Salt

1. Place all ingredients in a blender. Blend on HIGH at least 30 seconds, up to a minute, until the mixture is very smooth. 

2. Pour into jelly jars, a big mason jar, or your serving dishes- cover and place in the fridge at least 8 hours or overnight. Right before serving, stir and enjoy. 

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Sore Throat Syrup

Since I didn't have Charlie-girl until Christmas Day, I spent a lot of my time at the box, actually getting to do everything in the programming. It is safe to say I am tired and sore and it is great. Sweat angels are the best :)

I don't know what it is when she leaves, but I have been sick the past two times I have been alone. It's like I finally get a second to relax and my body gives up also and I'm sick. My mom made me a jar of this when my throat was hurting this week, and after a couple of revisions, I think it is safe to safe I am obsessed with it. I drink it before bed, made some for sick friends and since I am not working for winter break, I usually have a cup or two during the day. I am not sure if it actually made my throat feel better sooner, but the warm liquid is soothing and drinking more water is always a good thing. The jar can be stored in the fridge at least a month, but I doubt it will make it that long! I think it would also be really good in tea. 

Sore Throat Syrup

(Printable Version)

- 1 Lemon
- 1 Stick of Cinninmon
- about 1" Fresh Ginger, grated (about 1 Tbsp)
- Raw Honey

1. Wash the lemon. Cut it in half, save 1/2 half for juice, and then cut the other half into thin slices. If you don't want a strong lemon taste, thinly slice the whole lemon and put it in the jar. 
2. In a jelly, or small, jar add the juice of half the lemon, ginger, slices of lemon, the cinnamon stick, and fill the rest of the jar with raw honey- let it settle between the cracks and make sure you have as much as you can. 
3. Put the lid on and store in the fridge at least the day or overnight... the long it sits the better it is.
4. When you want to drink it, stir or shake the jar, and use 1-2 tsp of the syrup for every cup/mug (8oz) of hot water.

Monday, December 22, 2014

Pear Butter and Biscuits

Everyone claims this is the season of giving and family and gratitude... but this is my view of the day- Tis the season for crazy drivers, rude strangers and dwindling bank accounts! I really just don't   understand why people can't take a deep breath, grab a coffee, be considerate and take it down a notch. The fact that you are out affording presents for loved ones means you are doing better than most in this world. You don't know how much just a smile and a hello to someone having to leave their family to work this week might mean. It's the thought that counts and giving someone something you know they will love. My sister and I have always been good at this with each other.

Tonight I decided to re-do my biscuit recipe I did with my strawberry shortcakes and top it with some homemade pear butter. I have been out of jelly for a while and thought making a sugar-free fruit spread out of the mass amount of pears I have sounded perfect. You could also use apples, but I am allergic so I didn't. :)

Pear Butter

(Printable Version)

(makes 1 small jelly jar)

- 2 Ripe Pears, peeled, cored, and diced
- 1 Tbsp Lemon Juice
- 2-3 tsp Cinnamon
- Pinch of Salt

1. In a sauce pan over medium-high heat, toss all of the ingredients. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to a simmer, cover and cook 15-20 minutes- stirring often so it doesn't burn to the bottom.

2. When the pears are soft, use an immersion blender, real blender, or potato masher to squish the pears to an applesauce- like consistency (or smoother if you prefer)
3. Pour back into the pan and cook, uncovered, at medium to medium-high heat, stirring almost constantly, or at least every minute, until it thickens. About 8-10 minutes. It will thicken a little more as it cools.

Grain- Free Biscuits

(makes 9 biscuits)

- 1/2 Cup Coconut Flour
- 4 Eggs
- 3 Tbsp Honey
- 1 1/2 tsp Baking Powder
- 1/4 Cup Coconut Oil, melted
- Pinch of Salt

Preheat Oven to 375 degrees.

1. Whisk all ingredients together. It is okay if it is a little lumpy. The batter will be thick and thicken as it sits because of the coconut flour.

2. Mound about 2 Tbsp of batter (per biscuit) onto a greased, or parchment lined cookie sheet. Bake 12-15 minutes, until golden brown.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Protein and Coffee Muffins

This weekend was terrible! Not only did I not have my baby girl, but I had the flu. Ugh. Along with the vomiting, I had a fever so bad my muscles were sore and my skin hurt. Not much of a worse feeling. She's now back with me and I am feeling better.... from a low to a high... life's way of double checking that you appreciate the good stuff maybe :) 

I have done it! I created a baked good that combined coffee and protein powder...and they are made in a blender...woohoo! They are easy to pop in your mouth which is perfect since I have 6 minutes to pee, sit down and grab more coffee/a snack between classes. For those who aren't teachers, they are a portable quick snack. :)

When I cut refined sugar out of my diet I was drinking coffee with just sugar. To combat that I tried going cold turkey with just black, I tried cream, but now I have settled on cinnamon and a touch of milk. The spices in these muffins come from that. If you want a stronger coffee flavor, just omit the cinnamon, or reduce it.

Protein and Coffee Muffins

(Printable Version)

(makes about 24 mini muffins)

- 1/4 Cup Room Temperature Coffee
- 1/4 Cup Coconut Sugar
- 1/2 Cup Chocolate Protein Powder
- 1 tsp Baking Powder
- 1 Egg
- 1 Tbsp Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
- 2 tsp Cinnamon
- 2 Tbsp Instant Coffee Granules
- 1 Ripe Banana, mashed
- Pinch of Salt (more for on top)
- 1/4 Cup Non-Dairy Mini Chocolate Chips (optional)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

1. Put everything in a blender, or use a hand mixer, and blend until smooth.

2. Add the chocolate chips (optional) and stir again- the batter will not be super thick.
3. Using a tablespoon, scoop dough onto a greased mini muffin cups. GREASE your pan really well (there's no fat in the batter) 

4. Bake for 10-12 minutes until they puff up and crack slightly on the top. Cool completely before removing. and enjoy. I stored mine in an airtight container in the fridge.
.... I also ate one.....
Nutrition Facts
Servings 24.0
Amount Per Serving
calories 41
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 1 g1 %
Saturated Fat 1 g3 %
Monounsaturated Fat 0 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0 g
Trans Fat 0 g
Cholesterol 11 mg4 %
Sodium 122 mg5 %
Potassium 45 mg1 %
Total Carbohydrate 5 g2 %
Dietary Fiber 0 g2 %
Sugars 3 g
Protein 3 g6 %
Vitamin A0 %
Vitamin C1 %
Calcium1 %
Iron1 %
* The Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet, so your values may change depending on your calorie needs. The values here may not be 100% accurate because the recipes have not been professionally evaluated nor have they been evaluated by the U.S. FDA.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Beef and Vegetable Soup

This weekend starts the second longest time I have been away from my peanut. She is headed to New York with her dad and I won't see her from Friday morning until Tuesday after work :( I will obviously keep myself busy, but it never gets easier saying "bye" even if it's just a night. I am used to having her around- my house is too quiet when she is not and there is no one to talk to- eventually I will get a dog again I think. :) I realize I can go out with friends, stay with family, etc. and it isn't that I can't be alone, I just don't like it, and I don't want to stay somewhere else, I like my house-- it's a hard feeling to describe. This summer, when she was gone a week, I wasn't working so I had spent every day for weeks with her, I was dating someone so we spent the week together, I could go out with him without worrying about a babysitter, and the summer is just nicer weather-wise so doing things outdoors and gardening, etc. kept me busy. Now that I am working, I don't see her as much so it makes this time I don't have her even worse, plus this deary cold weather just makes you feel down. She also threw up in my car last night, so I have that to remember her by all weekend as the smell is still lingering.... 
PS people- if you see someone dealing with a toddler puking on the street, instead of walking by, it might be nice to offer help or to get water or something... luckily my mom came to my rescue to help get her some water so we could get home. Sigh. 
Okay, enough complaining, it's always better to be positive! 

This recipe originally comes from one of our "box moms." They are the women at the box who take care of everyone one, are like second moms to us, understand what it is like to run a house and workout and raise kids.....and this one happens to be the main-momma... the owners' mom. I have been feeling a little under the weather, so I took her recipe and simplified it with things that I had. Perfection.

This recipe is made of everything I usually have on hand- including a frozen bag of vegetables. Charlie loves these and the just corn steam-fresh kind, and although I know they are "starchy" vegetables, there are worse things she could eat and I will never complain about her eating her vegetables. 

Want to plan ahead? This recipe freezes really well, so this week I doubled it, put it in mason jars, and froze it so this winter when I am running low on lunches, or need a quick dinner, I can just re-heat the soup right in the jar, lid removed of course.

Beef and Vegetable Soup

(Printable Version)

- 1 lb Grass-fed Beef
- 16-oz Bag Frozen Mixed Vegetables (I used green beans, peas, carrots, and corn)
- 1/2 Onion, chopped
- 2 Garlic Cloves, minced
- 1 tsp Italian Seasoning
- 4 Cups Low- Sodium Beef Broth (or Stock)
- 1 14-oz Can Crushed/Diced Tomatoes (optional)

1. In a large pan, over medium heat, add a bit of oil or fat and saute the onions and garlic until soft (about 5 minutes.) 
2. Add the beef and cook it through, using a spoon to break it up as much as possible. Drain the fat.
3. Add the remaining ingredients and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer 15-20 minutes. Enjoy!

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Simple and Fast Grain-Free Pizza Crust

This past weekend we went to see the Wild Lights exhibit at the Detroit Zoo. Charlie-girl really enjoyed the beautiful tunnels of lights and music. I think this would also make a fun date... dress warmly (or cuddle up), grab a coffee, and walk around the zoo enjoying the pretty lights followed by a casual dinner. :) Although sometimes it's a debate to go to things like this, I really think getting out of the house and doing something that you can only do certain times of the year is always a good idea. 
The picture doesn't show it, Charlie was grinning from ear to ear every time she passed us on the carousel.

I don't know if my followers have noticed, but I like pizza... a lot. I have 3 recipes posted involving different types of pizza crust- spinach and cauliflower, sweet potato, and zucchini- but this is the easiest to put together on a week night, or any night, and it takes hardly any prep time. The original idea for this recipe came from the cookbook, Primal Cravings, but I have made a few adjustments on ingredients and baking times and I am pretty happy that I can now make a delicious, thin-crust pizza any day of the week. Another reason I like this recipe is the ingredients. Tapioca flour is made from the root of the cassava plant... it helps bind and make the crust crispy. Potato starch is one of the cheapest gluten-free flours... I bought mine for less than $4 for the bag!

I also recently found this turkey pepperoni which will now replace my typical applegate salami topping... don't judge, my kid loves salami. :)

Simple Grain-Free Pizza Crust

(Printable Version)

(about the size of a small thin-crust... feeds 2-3 people)

- 1 Cup Potato Starch (** Not the same as Potato flour)
- 1/2 Cup Tapicoa Starch (flour)
- 1 tsp Baking Powder
- 1/2 tsp Salt
- 1 tsp Italian Seasoning
- 1/4 Cup Olive Oil
- 1 Egg
- 1 tsp Powdered Gelatin**
- 1/3 Cup warm Water

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

1. In a large bowl, whisk the dry ingredients.
2. In a small bowl, or your measuring cup, mix the water and gelatin.** I have made this without the gelatin and it turns out fine.... but still use the water! :)
3. Combine the dry ingredients, olive oil, egg and the gelatin/water solution. Mix until combined... it will be a very soft- to runny dough. Pour it, or roll it, onto a baking sheet lined with parchment, make it as thin as you want.

4. Pre-bake 15-20 minutes. Top and bake until the topping are melted- about another 5-10 minutes.

Servings 4.0
Amount Per Serving
calories 350
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 15 g23 %
Saturated Fat 2 g11 %
Monounsaturated Fat 10 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 1 g
Trans Fat 0 g
Cholesterol 46 mg15 %
Sodium 953 mg40 %
Potassium 24 mg1 %
Total Carbohydrate 54 g18 %
Dietary Fiber 0 g0 %
Sugars 1 g
Protein 2 g3 %
Vitamin A2 %
Vitamin C0 %
Calcium1 %
Iron3 %
* The Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet, so your values may change depending on your calorie needs. The values here may not be 100% accurate because the recipes have not been professionally evaluated nor have they been evaluated by the U.S. FDA.