Friday, December 29, 2017

Raw Chocolate Coconut Truffles

Welllllll,  I didn't mean to post ANOTHER chocolate treat recipe...but, it just happened like that. This one was made around the Christmas holiday to add to the cookie plates. But now that we are looking forward to new year celebrations it seemed even more appropriate :) I mean it is a chocolate ball of goodness that you will need to drop in your mouth :) That is my husband rubbing off on me- he loves to play on words and puns :)
But seriously- this is one of those recipes that I have been making for years and just realized I never shared with you. I felt terrible and excited all at once because now I will share it and you can have this gem of a goodies tucked away for all the special occasions, or at the least for yourself when you are looking in the pantry and there is nothing to make but you have these random pantry items just waiting there to be created! This is a must try....
Raw Chocolate Coconut Truffle Recipe
{gluten, dairy, soy, egg, nut and seed-free}

1/3 cup of raw cacao powder
1/3 cup of finely ground coconut sugar
1/3 cup of unrefined coconut oil
1/2 cup of dairy-free chocolate chips
1 can of full-fat coconut milk (just use the cream, reuse/discard the water juices)
drizzle of maple syrup (1-2 TB) for flavor and sweetness
hearty pinch of sea salt

add in a drizzle of vanilla or organic orange flavoring...

additions for the rolling process:
1/2 cup of ground powdered coconut sugar with cacao powder blended to make a cocoa powder mixture for rolling. This is equal parts of cacao and sugar


1/2-1 cup of shredded coconut flakes/pieces to roll into

In a medium saucepan, put all of the above ingredients on low heat until they all melt and dissolve and turn into a ganache looking pudding. Then put a lid on it and put into the freezer or fridge until it is solid. This is about 4-6 hours. Then, use a TB-sized spoon to scoop out a ball and roll on parchment or in your hands until you get a solid ball and then roll in raw cocoa powder (or hot cocoa mix ) or raw shredded coconut. You should get about 2 dozen truffles. After rolling out the ball place on a parchment and place in a covered container to chill until you serve. They will be fine to pull out for a party but then keep in the fridge to stay stiff. But who am I kidding? These are easily gone after one party :)

As we reflect, gather and look forward to another year--- I hope you are able to reflect on the gifts and losses of this past year and let go of what needs to go so that you can embrace this coming year with arms wide open and free! Happy New Year's friends- I hope you ENJOY and much love as always xoxo

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Pumpkin Seed Cranberry Chocolate Bark

Merry Christmas, friends- I hope you are still enjoying in the glow and magic of Christmas! It has been easy for us to do that around here because we have the next week off of school and work. Plus, we have been heavenly blessed with buckets of snow. You can read that as sarcastic or enthusiastic depending on how you feel about it ;) Either way this magical winter land (with a whopping 6 degrees) has allowed us to get all nuzzled and snuggled up inside with old Christmas movies, hot cocoa and marshmallows. So we are enjoying the space to rest and reflect and enjoy each other company (for the most part ;)

This recipe was made before Christmas here and we have been enjoying a little bit every day. I am thinking I will make another batch before the New Year's celebrations- well, because, it's just that good!
I have said it before, simple ingredients makes the best treats! This is defiantly one of those recipes. And one of those that you don't really need a recipe for- but sometimes it's helpful too ;)

This was the easiest treat I made for Christmas, and was my favorite one to go back to! We travelled a bit all over for Christmas parties this year- visiting lots of all-sides of our families and included snowy drives, white-out's, sub-zero temperatures and of course lots of holiday cheer! So this was an easy one to bring with us on all of our travels :)
Pumpkin Seed Cranberry Chocolate Bark Recipe
{gluten, dairy, soy, egg, nut-free}

2 cups of roasted pumpkin seeds
1 TB of avocado oil drizzled
1 ts. of quality sea salt

On a large baking sheet spread out 2 cups of raw pumpkin seeds (green pepitas) with a sprinkle of salt and a drizzle of avocado oil, then roast them in a 350-375 degree oven for 12 minutes. Until they are no longer green but a roasted brown color. Then let them completely cool off. You will hear them snapping and crackling while they cool- such a fun surprise :)
Then when they are cooled, mix with them on the pan...

1 1/2 cup of organic dried cranberries (or raisins... or dried cherries)

Then in a pan or double-boiler, melt the chocolate and coconut oil on low heat until it is all liquefied and then let sit for a few minutes before pouring over the roasted seeds and cranberries. Stir and spread and basically just mix and spread out the mixed seeds with the chocolate. Spread thin all over the 12x15 pan until it is all covered...

2 cups of dairy-free chocolate chips (12 ounces)
2 TB of coconut oil

Once it is all spread out you can put in the freezer or fridge to harden, and then once after 30-60 minutes you can break up in uneven pieces to be a crunchy bark. You could also top with some course sea salt half way through it's cooling process if you want to add a bit more salt to the sweet...

Serve cooled and hard. If you need to keep for a few days if it is not gobbled up- then you can best keep in the fridge or in a cooler place so that the chocolate doesn't melt. This is an ideal winter treat- I be it would turn into a melty mess if it was the 4th of July ;) 

I hope you try and ENJOY this recipe as you stay snuggled up close to all that brings you love and hope. Much love and light to you!!!

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Peppermint Crunch Fudge

Are you a fudge lover? Peppermint lover? How about a combo for another Christmas cookie treat? I made this freezer fudge this summer and fell in love with an easy simple, not-too-much goodness, treat that you could make last minute or have for days. This one has a Christmas peppermint twist with some added candy cane goodness. Fudge isn't really photogenic if you ask me, or maybe were all just too excited to consume it so it doesn't last long enough to snap a photo, haha! 
But there is a lot more there on these ones than what a picture can show. Maybe if it was scratch and sniff you would get the real idea here :) Oh I will stop! Just do yourself a favor and make some and share some with all the Christmas cookie goodies this year!
Peppermint Crunch Freezer Fudge Recipe
{gluten, grain, dairy, egg, soy, nut, and seed-free, also vegan and paleo}

1 - 1 1/2 cup of date paste puree
1/2 cup of cacao or cocoa powder
1/2 cup of mini chocolate chips (Enjoy Life brand)
1/3 cup of organic virgin coconut oil
1/4 cup of maple syrup
1/2 ts. of quality sea salt
1 heaping teaspoon of all natural peppermint oil flavoring

optional add in: add in 1/2-1 cup of rice cereal to add some texture, or else you can keep that out and only add the crushed candy canes to the fudge mix and topping...

(2)- all natural peppermint candy canes crushed into extra small pieces for twirling and topping.

Put all of the above ingredients, (except peppermint and optional cereal) in a small saucepan and melt and whisk together. Then lastly add in the peppermint oil flavoring and taste to make sure you don't want more. Then if you want to add in 1/2-1 cup of rice crunch cereal and quickly pour into a parchment covered 9x9 pan or a 8x10 pan and spread smooth. Lastly mix or top the crushes candy canes before you put in the freezer to get hard. Put in the freezer for 2 hours and then cut into 2x2 squares. Keep in the fridge or freezer to stay fresh longer. 

Hope you are finishing all the run-around and busy-ness and starting to settle in and gather with those you love and are able to show your true self. That hope, joy, peace and LOVE abound. Much love to you all and ENJOY!

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Berry Chia Jam Thumbprint Cookies

This is one feels like tradition to make around Christmas time. It must be because I grew up around an old family version with lots of butter and even cream cheese, but this one is allergy safe with no eggs, dairy or gluten, even can be without nuts or seeds too! I love how it is still soft and crispy and buttery and melts in your mouth. This version also uses my most favorite homemade jam- made with bluberries and chia seeds. It is just the perfect bite-sized piece of wonderfulness! The added sprinkling of powdered sugar matches the powdery stuff falling from the sky today. Warm, cozy and magical is the mood- these are a must to add to the holiday cookie platter- I promise!

Berry Chia Jam Thumbprint Cookie Recipe
{gluten, dairy, egg, soy, nut and seed-free options}

1 1/4 cup of finely ground gluten-free oat flour
3/4 cup of finely ground buckwheat flour
1 cup of white rice flour
1/2 cup of tapioca flour
2 TB of potato starch
1/2 cup of coconut palm sugar
1/2 ts. of baking powder
1 ts. of sea salt
1 ts. of baking soda
1 TB of apple cider vinegar
2 TB of maple syrup
1/2 cup of date paste puree

1 cup of oil: do a mix of either 1/2 cup coconut oil and palm oil shortening OR you could sub in 1/2 cup of your favorite nut or seed butter for the palm oil shortening. It adds a beloved flavor combo of PB and J kinda-touch.

I first blend up my own flours for the GF oats and buckwheat. Then in a large mixing bowl, add in all the dry ingredients first. Mix together well and then add in the wet and room temperature oils. Use a spatula to mix well, or your hands usually do the best trick at mixing equally. You want it to be soft but also all together so you can roll it into balls. It should leave a little oil to the touch on the hands. That is what makes it melt-in-your-mouth- buttery kind of texture too!

Once smoothly mixed, roll into a large ball and put in the fridge for 20 minutes to stiffen up Then pull out and roll large 1 TB-sized balls between your hands to make about 2 dozen cookie balls. Put onto a parchment covered baking sheet and then press your thumb firmly and evenly into each cookie ball. This will leave you a space to pour your jam into. Once 1 large spoonful of jam is entered into the thumb print space on the cookie- bake in a 350 degree oven for 12 minutes. Until golden and bottoms are browned- do not touch or move for another 15-20 minutes to help them from crumbling!
I used my favorite homemade berry jam as follows. If you want to make the full batch and have some more for bread and toast then YES make the full batch, but if you are looking to just make some for these cookies, half or cut the recipe by 2/3's so that you make 1/3 amount to top the cookies :) Here is the recipe for your enjoyment ;)

Immunity Boosting Berry Chia Jam Recipe

2 cups of frozen blueberries
2 cups of frozen cranberries or raspberries
2 cups of frozen strawberries
1 cup of very concentrated elderberry tea*
1/2 cup of juice (I used Antioxidant Force by Smart Juice) but you could use pomegranate or other no sugar fruit juice like cherry, berry mix, or grape. Or at the least you could use water as well.
2 TB of grated fresh ginger
1 organic orange grated for zest and squeezed for juice (could easily sub a lemon)
1/3 cup of pure raw honey
drizzle of maple syrup (or add 1/4 cup more of honey)
pinch of sea salt
pinch to 1 ts. of pumpkin pie spice blend
1/2 cup of whole chia seeds

*Soak 1/2 cup of dried elderberries in 1 quart jar of boiling water and let sit for overnight or longer and then drain the berries out and you have elderberry tea. You could also sub in some already made elderberry syrup if you used up your berries already making that and have it on hand- but you would only use 1/2 cup of the elderberry syrup and add 1/2 cup water. And since the honey is in the syrup as well you may decide to not add as much honey in the rest of the recipe. 

In a medium saucepan, pour in the 6 cups of frozen berries with the tea and the juice and let cook to defrost and get soft. Then add in the ginger and orange juice and zest and bring to a soft boil and bubble and cook from any where to 10-15 minutes until the berries are very hot, juicy and mushy. Then use an immersion blender to blend in half of the mixture to be more smooth and have less chunky fruit. After this it looks like a fruit soup. Then add in the honey and syrup and stir well while it softly bubbles and boils. Turn off the heat and then add in the chia seeds. Stir in well so not to be clumpy and then let it sit in the pan and cool and let the chia seeds soak up the moisture and turn into a thick jammy substance. When it cools for 10-15 minutes you can pour into jars to continue to cool and thicken in the fridge. This recipe makes 3 pint jars. You can half it if you are looking to make less or you can also freeze and then thaw out when needed.

Happy Christmas cookie baking (and jam making ;) I hope you are finding some space to enjoy the baking and make new memories and traditions with gluten-free versions of your favorites. 

Much love and light as always, xoxo

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Cranberry Orange Shortbread Cookies

The past few Decembers, (8!) but who's counting ;) I have been blogging recipes about gluten and dairy-free Christmas cookies. And this month is no different- it's like once the Christmas tree is up and the snow starts falling all that I want to do is bake Christmas cookies and read stories by the hue of the magical lights. And these are just about the best of the best for that...
These perfect little cookies were born by chance at finding these lovely already diced and minced dried cranberries at my local market and at first sight it was love. I already dreamt up these cookies in my mind before I checked out of the store! I was thinking they would be the perfect flavors and colors for a Christmas cut-out cookie and goodness gracious- the result proved to be fabulous!

And then... I added some melted chocolate to some of them... whoa whoa whoa! Now the cookies are good and I feel like I could eat them with tea at just about any time of the day, but when you add that orange flavor infused chocolate- now that just feels fancy! A dessert really. Can a cookie be a dessert? Definitely at Christmas time ;) 
But mostly, I just love making the cookies, the varieties, the traditions, the flavors, the colors. It is all just magical and joyous! We have been talking alot about hope and joy at our house the past few weeks, and the kids and I agreed- that making Christmas cookies is one of the best ways to have and share the Christmas joy with others. I love teaching my littles that the beauty of Christmas is actually in the hope, joy, peace and love that we share. That is actually where the magic is, and these cookies are just a picture of that love that we share, and enjoy and give away. So... I hope you are enjoying some Christmas cookie making this December- get ready- I am about to share a few more in the next week ;) Happy baking and happy sharing joy!
Cranberry Orange Shortbread Cookie Recipe
{gluten, dairy, egg, soy, nut, seed and refined-sugar free}

3/4 cup of certified gluten-free oat flour
(I grind my own out of rolled oats)
3/4 cup of fresh ground buckwheat four
3/4 cup of rice flour
3/4 cup of tapioca flour
1/4 cup of coconut palm sugar
2 TB of potato starch
1 1/2 ts. of baking soda
1 ts. of sea salt
1 ts. baking powder
1 organic orange for 3-TB of fresh zest and 1/2 cup of fresh juice
1 TB of apple cider vinegar
1/3 cup of maple syrup or honey
1 cup of oil: I use a mix of coconut oil and palm oil shortening
1/2 cup of date paste puree

In a large bowl, mix together the flours and dry ingredients first, then add in the wet and oils, use a spatula to make sure the oils are evenly pressed through and the batter is soft. Then add in.. 

(PLUS ONE MORE CUP of GF oat flour added at the end for firming up and rolling out)
and 1 cup of finely chopped dried cranberries (you can use or more or less for preference!)

Roll all together and let sit in the fridge to firm up just a bit, like 15 minutes. Then roll out and cut out the cookies with your favorite cutters. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 15-18 minutes, until golden brown on the bottom. Let cool for at least 20 minutes from the oven before moving to help with less breakage.

They are also fun to use the cut-out cutters, but you could easily spread this batter out with a rolling pin in a 12x15 pan and pre-slice 3x3 or 3x2 cookie squares before baking for about 20-30 minutes at 350.  They are a play on Scottish or Irish shortbread squares. They would look a bit more simple, but the flavors and red popping out would make them just as wonderful. I might have tried that first if it wasn't December- and when I have little ones that want to use the Christmas shapes all day every day, you appease them.
You could also top with some melted chocolate that is infused with some orange flavoring, or some sweet orange essential oil that is made to eat. I melted 1 cup of bittersweet chocolate in a bowl over a pan of boiling water and then dropped a few drops of orange flavoring in it. It only amplifies the orange flavors! One of the most classic flavor combos- chocolate and orange- I can't resist!
You can use a special frosting pouch and decorator if you want to get even and fancy lines on the cookies, or you can do a rustic job as I did this go around and trace the shapes and fill in the middles. Once the chocolate dries- it will be stiff and hard like a chocolate bar. 

End result is fabulous! I love a little bitter sweet chocolate with a chewy cranberry crunch all smothered in a citrusy orange infusion! These cookies are also easy to make ahead of Christmas and freeze and pull out here and there for parties and gatherings. That is if you really want to make and wait to eat them ;) They are so yummy you will find yourself going back for more and then thinking about them in January when you decided to tighten up the sweets and goodies in your life ;)

But for NOW... ENJOY and happy baking friends, sending love, hope, joy and peace xoxo

Friday, December 1, 2017

Cardamon Pear Muffins with Cranberry Sauce

December! The Christmas tree is up. The twinkle lights are shining magic from room to room. The sun goes down at like 4:30pm...but right now, we don't care because the Christmas lights and magic is in full force. And it hasn't snowed here yet, so we are still anticipating that magic, but to help us get in the Christmas spirit the kids and I were making our baking treats list. Which for sure included cut-out sugar cookies and fudge and sprinkles and candy canes... ok I think the kids were more excited about all the other Christmas treats and I was thinking about the baking :) No surprise here!
These muffins are the perfect combo of moist, spice and texture. They are good for the soul. Yes, maybe I talk too much about how food can nourish you, or even how food can do more than just feed the stomach. But these little muffins remind me of just that. They bring joy and cheer. They bring hope and peace. They are just little muffins, yes, but they touch all of the senses when you mindfully surround yourself into the baking process. Each ingredient is added in love and opens your senses to the warmth, spice and delicious flavors of the season.
And... these little beauties can use up some of that leftover Thanksgiving cranberry sauce (if you still got it), and start the magical month out with a little special muffin baked with amazing cardamon and pear. The scents will fill the kitchen and will have you all warm and fuzzy from joy!
Homemade Cranberry Sauce
{gluten, dairy, egg, soy, seed, nut and refined-sugar-free}

16 ounces of fresh raw cranberries (I use organic if I can find them in Michigan)
1/2 cup of water
1 organic navel orange for 2 TB of fresh zest
plus 1/2 cup of fresh squeezed juice

Put all of the above in a small/medium saucepan, let the water and juices come up to a boil and POP the cranberries from their skins. This will take anywhere from 5-10 minutes. Then let them cook down just a bit and swirl in some honey and a pinch of salt

pinch of sea salt
1/3- 1/2 cup of honey or maple syrup

After cooking for 15-20 minutes, the liquids will cook down and the sauce will be ready to dish into a glass jar or bowl. Cover well and let it cool down and "set" in the fridge. After a few hours you will see that it naturally almost gels a bit and is the perfect sauce to top on just about everything ;) 

Cardamom Pear Muffin Recipe with Cranberry Sauce
{gluten, dairy, egg, seed, nut and refined-sugar-free}

1 1/4 cup of ground GF oat flour
1/3 cup of white rice flour
1/3 cup tapioca flour
1/4 cup of potato starch
1/4 cup of coconut flour
1/2 cup of coconut palm sugar
1 ts. of baking soda
1 ts. of sea salt
2 ts. of baking powder (I use Hain brand for corn-free)
1 TB of ground cardamom
pinch of ground cinnamon

3/4 cup of date puree- This involves pouring 3/4 cup boiling water over 3/4 cup of pitted dates and letting it sit for 5-10 minutes and then blending in a high powered blender to whip up a creamy date-pudding like substance

1/4 cup of unsweetened applesauce
1/2 cup of coconut milk beverage (or other non-dairy milk)
with 1 TB of apple cider vinegar
1 TB fresh lemon or orange juice
1/4 cup of maple syrup

2 small fresh pears finely diced and stewed in a saucepan until soft and reduced with a drizzle of water and maple syrup (about 1/4 cup of each) Makes about 1 cup of  stewed pears for muffins

Add in 1/2 cup or so of leftover cranberry sauce and use a tablespoon to spread some on top before baking.

Mix all the dry ingredients together in a large mixing bowl. Then add in the wet and whisk together well. Pour into 12 muffin tins, fill about 3/4 the way for a full muffin. Then spread some of the cranberry sauce (about 1 TB) on top and swirl around before baking. 
Bake in a 350 degree oven for 25-28 minutes until stiff. Wiggle and check the middles to make sure there is no jiggle. Then let cool 5-10 minutes before serving. Store in a cool dry place to last longer.

Happy baking and happy December, friends xoxo

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Creamy Curry 'Leftover' Turkey Soup

You probably made your way through the Thanksgiving leftovers already, so this recipe may be coming a bit too late for you, but maybe you stuck some of that leftover turkey in the freezer or you are still planning on roasting that turkey this coming month. This recipe I have been putting together the week after Thanksgiving the past few years. Turkey soup with a touch of some new flavors, is just the excitement you need after a week of prepping for the big feast. Soup is the easy recovery meal that lasts and nourishes without all the kitchen clean-up. Which then nourishes you in more ways than one when you are needing a little space and time away from the kitchen to rest :)
I think my most favorite meals to make are the one-pot-meals. Ones that have all the veggies, proteins, grains and whatever nourishing roots and vitamins your body craves in one simple pot. It all comes together and to me represents love, family, togetherness. It fills me up in so many ways!
Creamy Curry 'Leftover' Turkey Soup Recipe
{gluten, dairy, egg, nut, seed, soy and refined-sugar-free}

2-3 TB of avocado or olive oil
1 large onion finely chopped
4-5 garlic cloves finely minced
1 TB of fresh grated turmeric
2 cups of finely chopped celery
hearty sprinkle of sea salt
sprinkle of fresh ground black pepper
2-3 cups of chopped carrots
1-2 cups of chopped parsnips
1 TB of Italian spice blend (rosemary, oregano, basil, marjoram, thyme)
Or use fresh herbs if you got them!
1 TB of curry powder

8 cups of turkey stock (or a chicken or vegetable works too!)
1 can of full fat coconut milk

2-3 cups of your leftover turkey (white and dark meat together make the best combo!)
make sure you cut into bite-sized pieces before adding in

1 cup of finely chopped fresh parsley

add in 1 cup of dry small rice pasta or already cooked rice for another added texture
add more sea salt or pepper to your taste
add in a little more water or broth if you want more of a brothy soup

In a large 10 quart pot, saute your onion, garlic, turmeric, celery in the oil for a few minutes. I usually salt and pepper here so to sweat out and cook down the flavors perfectly. Then after 5 ninutes or so when everything softens up I add in the carrots and parsnips and continue to cook for a few more minyes. Then when everything is looking a little softer and smells fabulous- I add in the spices, herbs and liquids. I first cook in the spices the curry and the dried herbs and you can instantly smell them as they are add in and start cooking. Then I add in the stock, coconut milk cream and leftover turkey. This will slow everything down with cooking, but keep the heat the same and let it come up to a boil. After cooking for 20-30 minutes and the veggies are extra soft, add in the fresh parsley and dry pasta. Or if you prefer to add in already cooked rice, that works too! Cook for another 10 minutes and the noodles will be aldente and ready to eat. Serve with a sprinkle of fresh herbs and with a side of bread or biscuits!
Creamy, full of flavor, comforting and nourishing. That is this soup. A bowl of goodness. A bowl of love and gratitude. So much to be thankful for this season, and one way I show my gratitude is cooking nourishing food for my family and sharing it with others. It is a gift that keeps on giving. Happy cooking and resting, friends xoxo

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Fresh Ginger Snap Cookies

I've had a serious obsession with fresh ginger over the last year and it hasn't worn off yet. I want to eat it every day and it only intensifies when the winds start blowing and the temperatures and weather is fickle. Today we can hear the wind howling and it also can make one feel a little uneasy or unstable as the seasons shift over the next few weeks. There has already been so much change throughout the past months with autumn, but now as we settle into the darker colder winter months- it is ginger and other roots that I turn to for grounding support and strength. A Fresh Golden Ginger Milk Latte is a good place to start. And these cookies should follow ;) If you haven't tried the Cranberry Ginger Pear Warm Smoothie- then you must soon! But if you have pounds of fresh grated ginger like me ready to use- then these little cookies will be calling your name. I hope you nestle in and enjoy these sweet little treats. Much love and happy baking, xoxo
Fresh Ginger Snap Cookie Recipe
{gluten, dairy, egg, soy, nut and seed-free}

1/3 cup of sorghum flour
1/3 cup of millet flour
1/3 cup of tapioca flour
1/3 cup of potato starch
1/2 cup of rice flour
1/2 cup of ground GF oat flour
2/3 cup of coconut palm sugar
1 ts. of baking soda
1 ts. of sea salt
1/2 ts. of baking powder

1/3 cup of avocado oil (or if you prefer a softened coconut oil that works too)
1/3 cup of molasses
1/3 cup of date puree paste (applesauce is a good sub here)
1/4 cup of maple syrup

1-2 TB of finely grated fresh ginger

In a large mixing bowl, combine all the dry ingredients and mix well together. Then add in the wet ingredients and it will be a sticky batter. A little different than other cookie batters- it is meant to be a bit stickier and you can even put in the fridge for 30 minutes before baking to help it firm up just a bit. Then use a TB-spoon to scoop out the batter and drop on a parchment papered baking sheet. I can fit 12-15 cookies on a sheet and this recipe will make about 2 dozen to 30 cookies. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 15-18 minutes depending on if you like a chewy cookie, or if you want it a bit more crunchy and a "snap" to the cookie bake until it is darker brown and about 18 minutes. Pull from the oven and let it cool and crisp up on the baking sheet. If you move too quickly they will be too hot and crumble. Then ENJOY!

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Balsamic Butternut Squash with Sage & Thyme

Another SUPER SIMPLE,  4-ingredient, vegetable, colorful, tasty, savory and sweet, side to add to the list of Thanksgiving side dish ideas. This one is so simple it doesn't really need a recipe, and maybe you have tried this combo before, so this is just rocket science to me...BUT it deserves a recipe post of it's own! 
I love every part of this one. The easy prep, roast and serve part, but also the very fresh herb, sweet and savory part too. It checks off all the boxes for a side that many people will love and ask, what did you do?!? And then you mention to your allergy- or healthy friends and family that NO BUTTER or dairy, or sugar was involved??? WHAT!? Yes, ma'am it's true!
Don't be afraid of taking all the credit for the chopping and the roasting ;) This is a delicacy-dish! Don't reveal the secrets of how crazy simple and wonderful it is, well, until you can't help it and you love to share like I do :) You can't go wrong with squash and herbs in this season and when you are looking to add some to the feast... THIS. IS. IT!
Balsamic Butternut Squash with Fresh Sage and Thyme
{gluten, dairy, egg, seed, nut, soy and sugar-free}

1 large butternut squash peeled, and cubed into bite-sized pieces
(about 4 cups worth of cubed squash)
1/4 cup of avocado oil*
1/4 cup of NAPA VALLEY Raspberry Balsamic**
1/2 cup of FRESH finely chopped fresh herbs: sage and thyme
pinch of sea salt and sprinkle of fresh ground black pepper

*You can find the CHOSEN brand Avocado oil 32 ounce at Costco right now for under $10! A steal!

**You can use a regular balsamic as well, but Napa Valley has the BEST balsamic around and when it is infused with raspberry, fig or pomegranate it has the best results in salad dressings, or in this case, roasting butternut squash ;)

Toss all of the above together in a mixing bowl. Then spread out in a 9x13 Pyrex baking dish to bake, or use a 12x15 parchment covered baking sheet to get a more crispier results. Bake in a 375-400 degree oven for 25-30 minutes. And toss with a spoon and serve warm. You can easily DOUBLE and TRIPLE this recipe if you are cooking for a crowd too!

This is a melt-in-your-mouth kinda deliciousness! Try it out and you will want to have this more in your life than just for a Thanksgiving Feast :)

I hope you give this a try and ENJOY!

Much love and happy cooking xoxo

Friday, November 17, 2017

Caramelized Onion and Brussel Sprout Qunioa

This one is my newest favorite combo of fall herbs, vegetables, greens and quinoa. I add in the Dijon mustard and maple syrup for the perfect kind of sweet and tangy and it's just about perfect as a side dish to any side of roast, or make it the main event and add in a few other sides of vegetables or plant proteins and it's a feast better than the any epic feast from the history books. 
I just recently had this discussion with my first grader. He was informing me of all the foods they had at the first thanksgiving feast. And he saw a video about it at school- so he says- so he really knows what he is talking about over here! LOL So I guess according to him a feast should involve popcorn, turkey from a can, and pie with whipped cream?!? I'M SO CONFUSED!!!
Well, I am not sure of whatever they had at 'the first feast'. But I do know what I love to have this time of year to celebrate family time together...a warm, comforting, nourishing, from-the-earth (or backyard or farmer's market) kind of feast. And brussel sprouts and kale are the first on my lists of things to enjoy and have a part of an epic feast :) I'm going to share a few of my favorite VERY SIMPLE sides (or main dishes ;) in my next few recipe posts. It may be too late to add into the Thanksgiving planning but hopefully something to enjoy this time of year as we gather and give thanks and gratitude for all the gifts in our lives.
 Caramelized Onion and Brussel Sprout Quinoa Dish Recipe
{gluten, dairy, egg, nut, seed, soy, and refined-sugars-free}

Veggie Part
1 large stalk of fresh brussel sprouts, trimmed and cleaned from the stalk
(or use 16 ounces of fresh, washed, cut and cleaned brussel sprouts)

1 medium halved onion thinly sliced, not chopped (about 1/2 cups worth)

2 cups of finely chopped lacinato kale that has already been washed and dried

2-3 fresh garlic cloves, finely minced or use 1-2 ts. of ground garlic powder

1/3 cup of avocado oil
1/3 cup of Dijon mustard
1/3 cup of maple syrup

1/2 cup of fresh cut herb combo: thyme, sage, rosemary
healthy pinch of sea salt and black pepper

On a large 15x20 baking sheet, cover with parchment and spread out the kale, sprouts, and onion all over. In a small bowl, whisk together the oil, mustard, and maple syrup, and when all combined, drizzle over the whole tray of veggies. Spread all over and then sprinkle over the fresh herbs, and salt and pepper. Then use a spoon combo or just use your hands and rub and mix the dressing into the veggies. It should soak in and spread out all evenly! Then cook in a 375 degree oven for 25 minutes until everything is crispy, bubbling and caramlized. In the meantime while waiting for it to cook make the following quinoa part...
Quinoa Part
2 TB of avocado or olive oil
1/2 cup of red onion
1/4 cup of coconut palm sugar
1/2 ts. of sea salt

2 cups of dry quinoa
4 cups of water

In a medium pot, saute the onion in the oil and sugar until it gets all caramelly. Then add in the dry quinoa without the water and let it soak up the oil and juices. Then, add in the water and let it come up to a boil, then turn down the heat to low and cook on low until the water is gone and the quinoa starts to poof. Then turn off the heat completely and cover with a secure lid and let it cook the rest of it's time until its ready to fluff and mix with the roasted green part. 

Lastly, In a large bowl add in the cooked quinoa and the roasted veggies and mix together well. Add in a pinch more of salt and pepper and some fresh plucked thyme in the finished product. Serve warm, cooled, or even it is better the next day as leftovers. Isn't the the truth for all thanksgiving sides ;) 

My hope for you is that you find a few simple ways this season to enjoy the fruits and plants from the ground, let it nourish and center you into what matters most. May you be surrounded by those you love most and may you find ways to share and be kind with all of those around you!

Much love and ENJOY! xoxo

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Pumpkin Spice Waffles

Time for a little pre-Thanksgiving treat! I think this year we might start with the pumpkin pie for breakfast or maybe perhaps these pumpkin waffles. Maybe then we can really enjoy them instead of being too full of other goodness. Thanksgiving is not all about the food, yes?!? But so many times it feels that way since it is the focus point of the holiday. But truly, when we have all of our stresses taken away from what the menu is and what the plans are, maybe we can enjoy the simplicity of family and loved ones being together. Slowing down. Saying thanks. Living with amazement and gratitude for the gifts of life and cherishing the memories we can make together.
That is what Thanksgiving we are focusing on this year. Yes, the food. But more so, the time together. We have all had a busy and crazy year in so many ways, but this season begs us to slow down, say thanks and live fully present into our peoples lives. I hope this for you, I hope this for me. And sometimes making waffles and making lattes, is just the way to do it! So I share yet another pumpkin recipe as we gather and slow down and nestle into this holiday week.
Pumpkin Spice Waffles Recipe
{gluten, dairy, soy, nuts, seeds, eggs, refined-sugar-free}

1/3 cup of coconut flour
1/3 cup of potato starch
1/3 cup tapioca flour
1/2 cup of rice flour
1 1/2 cup of gluten free oat flour (I grind my own out of GF rolled oats)
2 ts. of baking powder (Hain brand-corn free)
1 ts. of baking soda
1 ts. of sea salt
2 ts. of pumpkin pie spice (or mix up cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and cloves)
1/2 cup of coconut palm sugar

1/2 cup of date puree
1/4 cup of pure maple syrup
3/4 cup of coconut milk beverage with 3 TB apple cider vinegar
2/3 cup of pumpkin puree (fresh or canned)
1/3 cup of melted coconut oil or avocado oil
optional addition: 1 ts. of pure vanilla extract

Mix all the dry ingredients together in a large mixing bowl. Then add in the wet and whisk together well. Let the batter sit and stiffen up while the baking powder ignites. Use an oiled 1/3 or 1/2 cup measuring cup to dish out enough batter to pour onto the waffle skillet. I have used this one before...

Then I use my waffle iron according to it's instructions and then even cook for a bit longer than that to get the crispiness we desire. Because this recipe is vegan and has no eggs it can tend to be a bit soft (or soggy) if you do not cook long enough. So its about a 3-4 minute cook time on my iron- but that might be different on yours.  This recipe makes about 6-8 waffles or 12 pancakes. When I make them, we usually eat half and have the rest in the fridge ready to toast up for the rest of the week- so a great leftover!!! Make a big batch and stick them in the freezer ready to go! 
Top with a dollup of maple syrup, coconut cream whip, a pinch of spice, or dried or fresh fruit or whatever your thanksgiving-pumpkin-loving-heart desires!

I hope you give this a try and ENJOY with your people. Much love and warmth as alaways, xoxo

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Warm Cranberry-Ginger-Pear Smoothie

It's been a busy few weeks of November here. Hence my lack of presence. It doesn't mean I haven't been cooking. Oh jeez- I have been cooking more actually! I have been cooking and baking again for another Women's Wellness Retreat . It is such a beautiful time together where women come together and rest, reflect, get nourished, just be, replenish their souls and find the mindful space to breathe, move, and dig deeper in asking questions of what their story is and where they want to go.

Women to me represent the life force of change and love in the world. We are the ones that can bring new life and healing into our worlds in ways that no one else can. And when we do this together- that's where the magic is.

So this little tonic was made a morning of one of the retreat days together and it was just about perfect as we watched the new snow fall outside our windows and were looking for a way to feel warm, nourished and grounded into this new season. It is similar to some ginger-blueberry shots I made this last summer, except this recipe embodies fall and all it's goodness. A must try if you are feeling need to nourish your immune system this season or you LOVE GINGER like I do :)
Warm Cranberry-Ginger-Pear Smoothie Recipe 
{gluten, dairy, soy, egg, nut, seed, and refined-sugar-free}

10-12 ounces of fresh organic cranberries
1/2 of organic orange sliced, with the peel, but pull out seeds if you have them
2 organic Bartlett pears sliced with peel is fine
1/2 cup of grated fresh ginger or 1/2 cup of fresh ginger roughly chopped
2-4 cups of organic pear or apple juice (2 cups of water can be subbed in)

drizzle to 1/3 cup of pure raw honey
pinch of sea salt
pinch of fresh ground cinnamon

optional: you could add in a few pinches of more warming spices like cloves, nutmeg and cardamon if you love spice and are looking for a bit more of it...

In a saucepan, put in the fresh cranberries first with 1/4 cup water and let them boil and pop open, then add in the rest of the ingredients, EXCEPT the honey,  and let it cook on low to medium heat for at least 10 minutes but you could do this for 30 minutes too if you are enjoying the smells :) Use 2 cups juice if you want it thicker, otherwise I have found 4 cups of juice works great too- or you can sub in 2 cups of water for the juice if you want too. After it is all cooked down together, turn off the heat completely and let cool just a bit and you can then drizzle in the honey and the pinch of salt and cinnamon. Then transfer the boiled goodness into a high powdered blender and blend on high for 2 minutes until creamy smooth. Be careful if it is still very hot or boiling and make sure to taste test before if it is too hot or if you want to add in a little more honey. 

You can sub the cranberries for 4 sliced apples instead or even 2 cups of roasted pumpkin too

Basically you can mix and match a few favorite fall fruits to make this smoothie. Use what you got.

I hope you give it a try and ENJOY and BE NOURISHED well.

So much love to you!

Monday, November 13, 2017

Tahini Ginger Chocolate Chip Cookies

This pic was snapped as I was running with a plate of cookies to share and when the plate came back- they were gone ;) So I guess this picture will have to do and the recipe is as quick and simple as follows too...

These cookies do contain seeds and eggs, so I couldn't make them for my little family because of the severity of my daughters allergies, but still a super simple cookie recipe for the rest of us GF/DF friends looking for a quick cookie fix with pantry items. I once posted a chocolate chip cookie recipe about this kind of simplicity, and I must say it was the first GF cookie recipe I made and will always remember how easy and lovely it was as a NEWBIE to the gluten-free world of baking over 10 years ago now. So if that is you, here you go!

So happy baking friends, and don't give up on enjoying and baking up new gluten free goodies for you and your loved ones. You are brave and you are persistent! Much love as always, xoxo

Tahini Ginger Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe
{gluten, dairy, and nut-free}

1 16 ounce jar of tahini (sesame seed butter)
Yes, you can use any nut/seed butter in this recipe :)
2 farm fresh eggs
1 cup of coconut palm sugar
1/4 cup of maple syrup
1 ts. of pure vanilla extract
1 ts. of sea salt
1 ts. of baking soda
1 ts. of baking powder
1 ts of ground ginger
1/2-1 cup of dairy-free chocolate chips

optional: add in 1/4-1/2 cup of rice or GF oat flour for a more crispy cookie 

In a large mixing bowl, fold in and mix all of the above ingredients, and then add in the chcoclate chips last. Fold in and scoop out a 2 TB- sized ball and roll it and press it into a baking sheet pan that has been lined with parchment. This recipe will make about 2 dozen cookies. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 18-20 minutes depending on your level of crispy and chewy you like. ENJOY!

Monday, November 6, 2017

Curry Cauliflower Grain Bowls

Starting out the month of November with a warm and colorful dish. It's one that reflects the colors outside our windows. Finally lots of yellow and orange leaves, and if and when, the sun does come out the golden colors feel magnified all around us. It is my favorite month. November weather is what my body loves after all the heat of summer. I can appreciate this season of going inside because it's getting cold, but also a time to go inward in your soul and reflect the busy months past, or at the least reflect on the many gifts of life what we can hold thanks and gratitude towards. 

This was inspired by one of my first recipe posts of Tahini Roasted Cauliflower... it is the BEST way to eat roasted cauliflower. It literally melts in your mouth and the flavors are paired just about perfectly!
Curry Cauliflower Grain Bowl Recipe
{gluten, dairy, egg, soy, nut, seed and sugar-free}

Quinoa Base
In a large pot, add 1-2 TB of avocado or olive oil, saute 1/2 cup of finely chopped onion, 1 TB of minced garlic and a ts. of fresh grated turmeric and ginger root, then add in 1 1/2 cup of dry quinoa and 3 cups of water (you can double this for a crowd to have more). Keep the heat on high until the water is all soaked in and a slight boil, then turn off the heat completely and cover with a lid and let it finish it's cooking by cooling down and soaking up- about 20 more minutes untouched. Then it will be ready to layer or mix in with the following...

Roasted Curry Cauliflower 
1 large head of organic cauliflower, washed, dried and chopped into bite-sized pieces
2-3 TB of avocado or olive oil
2-3 TB of tahini paste (sesame seed butter)
1 TB of curry powder (or if you don't like spice and want to just use turmeric, that works too!)
1-2 ts. of ground smoked paprika
1-2 ts. of ground garlic powder
a hearty sprinkle of sea salt and black pepper

In a large mixing bowl, add in the cauliflower and sprinkle in all the herbs and spices and oils. Use a large spoon or your hands to rub into the cauliflower, then spread out on a 12x10 baking sheet covered with baking parchment. Bake in a 400 degree oven for 25-30 minutes until the cauliflower is golden and crispy and super soft. 

Roasted Chickpeas and Sweet Potatoes
Use a 28 ounce can of organic Chickpeas/Garbanzo Beans
rinse and wash and pour into large mixing bowl.

Peel and cube 2 sweet potatoes and dump them into the bowl with chickpeas.

Then drizzle with 2 TB of avocado or olive oil. Mix well and sprinkle in the same spices from above, minus the tahini

1-2 ts. of curry powder (or if you don't like spice and want to just use turmeric, that works too!)
1-2 ts. of ground smoked paprika
1-2 ts. of ground garlic powder
a hearty sprinkle of sea salt and black pepper

Then put into a baking 9x13 Pyrex dish or on a parchment covered baking sheet.

Bake in a 400 degree oven for 25-30 minutes along with the cauliflower.

Chicken Addition (optional):
If you are looking to add in a little more protein and/or meat to this dish roast some chicken with a drizzle of avocado oil, lime juice, dried cilantro or oregano, and a healthy pinch of sea salt and black pepper. After I roast the chicken in a glass covered dish in the oven for 25 minutes at 400 degrees, I cut into bite sized pieces and layer on top of the quinoa or mix right in.

Tahihi Cream Sauce
1/3 cup of tahini
1/3 cup of olive oil
1/4 cup of fresh squeezed lemon juice
grated fresh garlic (1-2 cloves)
pinch of sea salt/black pepper
pinch of smoked paprika or cayenne pepper

Whisk all the above ingredients together to get a creamy dressing. You can easily double this amount to make more dressing, the above amounts are good for 2-4 people. 

Then FINALLY, layer all of the above parts and top with a hearty sprinkle of fresh chopped parsley

Optional topping of chopped walnuts, pistachios or sliced almonds as well... if you are looking for a little crunch and finishing flavor and you are not sensitive to nuts. Roasted pepitas or pine nuts work too!

I hope you give this colorful, flavorful and full of color and scents a try! It is absolutely wonderful first time around, but also just as wonderful as a packed lunch or dinner to go the next few days.

Much love and light to you this colorful fall season xoxo