Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Grain Free, Sugar Free Apple and Cherry Crumble

Happy New Year to any MOT out there!  As you know, I was trying to come up with an apple-y dessert for Rosh Hashanah.  It is customary to ring in the new year with apples and honey.  RH is definitely one of my favorite holidays so this was a challenge I was pretty excited about!  With fall in the air, what better dessert than an apple crumble (or crisp? what the diff?)  I was really pleased with the outcome and best of all, it can really be modified for any kind of fruits- pear and cranberry, peach blueberry, whatever!

Grain Free, Sugar Free Apple and Cherry Crumble (and vegan too!)
3 apples, chopped into small bite sized pieces
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/4 cups almond flour
1/2 cup walnuts, chopped
1/2 cup dried unsweetened cherries
3 tbsp sweetener, like stevia in the raw
1 tsp cinnamon
1/8th tsp nutmeg (use more if you want it spicier!)
pinch salt
2 1/2 tbsp vegan butter, like earth balance

Toss apples and cherries with 1 tsp of vanilla and pour into greased 8x8 baking dish.  In separate bowl, combine flour, chopped walnuts, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt, and sweetener.  Add room temp butter and incorporate until the mixture is crumbly.  Crumble over the apples and cherries evenly, and bake in a preheated 350 degree oven, covered, for about 50-55 minutes, then uncovering for 5-10 min so the top can brown. 

In other crumble recipes, I've tossed the fruit with a bit of cinnamon, sweetener, vanilla, and orange juice so the fruit doesn't oxidize, then crumbling the mixture over.  This would give you a juicier result.  This version is not juicy, so it just depends on what you're in the mood for. 

Dinner was nothing special- asparagus mushroom tomato and onion stir fry with spinach chicken sausages.  S ate an entire sausage by herself and all her veggies.  She is a little veggie monster!  And yes, once again I am going to tout the amazingness of TJ's frozen veggies.  I never knew that frozen asparagus could be so good.  I am consistently amazed by the quality of their frozen veg. 

Completely OT, what new fall shows is everyone watching?  Did anyone see New Girl??  Really cute and funny!  Although Zooey's nasal-y Peewee Herman voice may get a bit irritating if she doesn't tone it down.  We are also big Boardwalk Empire fans and I watch a ton of other reality garbage.  What's your new fall fave??  XoXoGFG

Use (up) What You Have Tuesday, or Kitchen Pantry Salad

Sometimes the only fresh ingredient you really need for a great salad is lettuce.  With a well-stocked pantry you can make a quick, easy, and delish salad in no time at all. 

Kitchen Pantry Salad
1 head of lettuce, chopped
1 can of tuna, packed in oil preferably
3 tbsp roasted red peppers, chopped (I like the ones in brine, not oil)
3 tbsp green olives, chopped
1/4 to 1/3 cup of Italian Gardiniere pickled veggies, I used Mezzeta, chopped
1 can of rinsed and drained garbanzo beans, or cannellini
Throw in a handful of cherry tomatoes if you have 'em!
3 tbsp red wine vinegar

I threw everything in a bowl as well as the oil the tuna was packed in, then drizzled some red wine vinegar over the salad for some acid.  This was a super fast, delicious, and healthy salad that was plenty filling.  The pickled veggies worked really well with the garbanzo beans and tuna.  With a bag of lettuce on hand you can throw this together in under 5 minutes.  Enjoy!

Monday, September 26, 2011

Catching Up: Pesto Chicken, Almond Flour Chocolate Chip Cookies...

Wow!  It has been a busy past 6 days.  As usual work is nutty, and with MKG out of town over the weekend I didn't have much time to spare.  S and I had an awesome time together at the Plaza Art Fair, OP Fall Fest, and we even got our first pair of shoes!  These cuties:
I even got to sneak out to a cocktail party and see The Help, which I had been wanting to see for awhile!  I loved the book, and the movie was really great too.  All in all, a busy and fun fall weekend.  S got to wear lots of new outfits too!

I can barely think past to last week at this point but I did have a few minutes to whip up some Almond Flour Chocolate Chip Cookies on Saturday- the texture was amazeballs.  I'm not sure if it is because I've been using my convection feature or what- but they were crunchy and had a good snap, not cakey or sconey like past cookie attempts have been.  Super simple recipe.

Almond Flour Chocolate Chip Cookies, Grain-Free & Sugar-Free
2.5 cups almond flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon (I love cinn and choc together but this is optional)
1/2 cup oil (coconut, grapeseed, canola etc)
1/2 cup sweetener like Stevia in the Raw, I used a smidge less
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup choc chips.  I had a few bars of partly eaten choc chips laying around so I combined them all and cut them up.  Takes more time than opening a bag of choc chips but it allowed me to combine three different types of chocolate.  72% cocao- 85% cocao, and 90% cocao.  This created different layers of flavor that I really liked!

Combine flour, salt, baking soda, and cinnamon thoroughly.  In a separate bowl, combine vanilla, sweetener, and oil.  At this point I added a few tablespoons of nut milk because I had a feeling the mixture would be too dry.  Probably 3 tablespoons or so.  This depends on what sweetener you are using, so you'll have to experiment with the amount of liquid.  The batter should end up being wet enough that you can form it into little 1 inch balls.  If it's too crumbly, you may want more liquid.  Add dry to wet and mix, then adding in chocolate chips.  This would also be a great time to add in 1/2 cup of walnuts, dried cherries, etc.  Place balls of dough on parchment lined cookie sheet.  I got 20 cookies total.  Bake at 350 for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown on top.  I used my convection oven and was very happy with the texture.

Yesterday- after the cukoo weekend, we all decided to stay in for dinner.  And I was itching to make some pesto after this latest purchase:
Yay!  I don't know why I waited until now to buy basil.  It's my favorite herb and I never have any of it on hand.  Next I need to get some rosemary.  Anyways- I never measure out pesto- I eyeball it and add more ingredients as I go along, tasting as I "pulse."  We had a simple dinner of pesto chicken breast and spinach salad.  Suuuuuuuuuuper easy.

Walnut Pesto Chicken Breast
2 boneless skinless chicken breasts
      Marinade:  (2 hrs in the fridge'll do it!)
      1 lemon
      1/4 cup red wine vinegar
      2 tsp salt
      1 tbsp Meyer Lemon Olive Oil (or reg EVOO)
1 cup basil
1/3 cup walnuts
2 tbsp EVOO
1 tsp minced garlic
2 tbsp grated parmesan
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp black pepper

Pulse pesto ingredients in cuisi until a thick paste forms, you may need to scrape the sides down once or twice.  If you want this to be more saucy, add more oil as you pulse the mixture until you reach the right consistency.  You'll need to add more salt most likely.  I wanted mine to be more spread-like than saucy.  Remove marinated chicken and place in baking dish, pour remaining marinade over chicken.  Spread pesto over chicken and bake at 415 for about 45 minutes or until cooked through and juices are clear.  Let sit for 5 min before eating!

I'm so glad MKG is home and we can all have a great Rosh Hashanah together this Wednesday night.  Rosh Hashanah is the Jewish New Year and typically you welcome it with apples and honey- so I'll need to come up with a special apple dish that is GFG appropriate!  Stay tuned!  XoXoGFG

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Use What You Have Tuesday= Cumin and Paprika Spiced Carrots and Orange Roughy


Yes, that's right.  I am beginning yet another post with an ode to some frozen bag of veg from TJ's.  S looooooves carrots.  I love carrots.  We all love carrots.  I have had this bag in the freezer for awhile and have seen some awesome carrot recipes lately- many of them calling for cumin.  One of my top five favorite spices- well, top ten anyways (celery salt- how did I not know about you until now?).  Along with some frozen fish and a can of chickpeas- dinner dunzo in about 25 minutes.  Best of all, the pumpkinhead scarfed down her spicy fish and carrots like a champ.

Honestly- there is no need to post an actual recipe.  I sprinkled cumin, paprika, salt and pepper quite liberally over the carrots and a can of rinsed and drained chickpeas on a sheet pan with EVOO and roasted at 500 degrees for about 25 minutes.  I seasoned the fish just the same and cooked in a large saute pan over med-high heat, 3 or 4 min. per side.  I drizzled just a bit of EVOO over the fish so the spices would stick, et voila!  The fish I was using is super easy to cook, it comes skinless and boneless, and there is about 16 ounces total, certainly plenty for 2-3 people.

I've also discovered that my favorite Door County Tart Cherries can also be ordered online!  OMG that is definitely going on the list of things to order.  I have not been able to find dried unsweetened cherries that actually taste like something resembling a cherry.  These cherries are a rare find-!
   Having a grand old time swallowing five hundred vitamins a day, although I'm pleased to report no more burping clouds of cinnamon through my nose.  HIIT is also super (not) fun and I like how efficient it is- I was in a rush this morning so squeezed my workout into 20min, how can you complain about that?!  Last random thought of the night- have you heard of these
Teeny tiny eensy weensy little cans of champagne!  Or, sparkling white wine I suppose since it's from CA.  OMG these things are freaking cute as hell!  My cousin was serving them at her rehearsal din and I about died.  They are so stinkin' cute.  It's ridiculous.  I could just be woefully behind the times, I don't get out much and certainly not to very many drinking establishments these days, but these things are just obscenely presh.  If I ever have a party, with like, adults, again, I'm so serving these little babies.  Alrighty then- that's it for me.  G'night all- XoXoGFG