Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Roasted Tomato And Carrot Soup


Last week, one of my friends gave me a bag full of tomatoes from her friends garden. I was adding them to my salads but the bag still remained full of tomatoes . Not wanting them to go bad, I decided I would make soup. The weather has been cooling down so it was a good day for soup. I looked on foodgawker for inspiration. Recipes always intimidate me so I took bits and pieces and just kinda went with it. The result came out very well for my first attempt. Now all I need is some bread and cheese. Grilled cheese and tomato soup is the absolute best combination!

Roasted Tomato And Carrot Soup
(This is not a formal recipe. I was experimenting with this but the result turned out great! )

Ingredients:
2-3 pounds tomatoes. (I'm estimating how much I had on hand)
3 medium carrots, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
fresh basil leaves/dried basil (I used both. Our little basil plant isn't doing so hot right now.)
salt and pepper to taste
cayenne, more or less depending on how spicy you want your soup. 


I roasted the tomatoes with olive oil and a little salt at 400 degrees for about 12-15 minutes. 
In a small pan I sauteed the garlic. 
It wasn't until the last minute I decided to add carrots. I steamed them. I'll be roasting them the next time I make this soup. 



I added tomatoes, garlic and carrots to the blender along with salt, pepper, cayenne, and basil.
Puree until thick and creamy. My mom and I then enjoyed a cup of yummy tomato soup with a dollop of Greek yogurt on top.



Thursday, October 18, 2012

Gluten Free Banana Cranberry Peanut Butter Granola


It's been quite awhile since I've done anything with this blog but today I have a recipe worth sharing.  Banana Cranberry Peanut Butter Granola. Lately I've been making my own granola. It's so great. I always need something yummy and quick for breakfast or a snack. I must say, I did enjoy a bowl for dinner one night when I was too lazy to cook for myself. The last couple batches I've made have been free of gluten and sugar. In this batch, I'm using a flavored peanut butter which contains some sugar. To omit the sugar, use plain pb and add a little cinnamon. 


I just discovered this local peanut butter last week at the farmers market. They are based out of Ventura, CA and have some interesting flavors.




Gluten Free Banana Cranberry Peanut Butter Granola

Ingredients:
3 cups gluten free oats
2 tablespoons ground flax seed
1/4 cup peanut butter (I used Handsome Carver's cinnamon & honey. This stuff is yummy!)
2 medium bananas mashed
1/4 cup sugar free maple syrup
1 packet of stevia or more to make sweeter
2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup dried cranberries


Directions:
Preheat oven to 300 degrees F. 
Grease a large baking sheet or use a silpat mat.
In a large bowl combine oats and flax seed.
In a medium bowl mash the two bananas and add in the maple syrup, peanut butter, pumpkin pie spice, vanilla extract, and stevia. 

Mix well to remove any lumps. Add mixture to oats and gently stir to combine.

Evenly spread mixture on baking sheet and bake for 25 minutes. Gently stir and bake for an additional 10-15 minutes.

After granola has been removed from oven, wait about 5 minutes or so to add cranberries. 

It tastes like banana bread. Enjoy :)




Thursday, July 12, 2012

Revised Gluten Free Pancakes


 If you are familiar with my Instagram, you know how much I love pancakes. It's almost become a tradition that every Tuesday (which is actually my Sunday) I make myself a batch along with a cappuccino. I just figured out how to use the machine we have at our house. I'm not the best with technology though I've mastered it and I'm now addicted to making myself a triple capp with almond milk.
Anyway, back to the pancakes. For the most part, I like to eat gluten free. I have purchased gluten free pancake mixes in the past and though they tasted yummy, I wasn't too keen on all the ingredients. I'm not in any way bashing these brands but I wanted something more nutrient dense than rice flour and potato starch as the main ingredients. I came across a recipe using garbanzo flour. After some test batches and altering, I ended up with a flour blend that I really like. Its the closest thing to real pancakes for me. I have been practicing for a while now, trying to come up with a good pancake recipe and I'm almost ashamed at what I used to think was tolerable for a gluten free mix.
Below is the recipe. It's free of gluten and sugar. Hopefully you will enjoy these just as much as I do for my "Sunday" brunch. Recipe yields 4 medium-sized pancakes.


Ingredients:

1/4 cup garbanzo/fava flour ( I think plain garbanzo would work just fine.)
2 tablespoons almond meal
1 tablespoon ground flax meal
1 tablespoon sorghum flour (sweet rice flour)
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
Pinch of salt
1-2 packets of stevia depending on how sweet you want them.
1/3 cup water
1 egg separated.

Instructions:

Mix together all dry ingredients in a medium size bowl.
In a smaller bowl combine egg yolk and water. Keep egg white is separate bowl.
Add the egg yolk and water to dry ingredients and mix well.
Whisk the egg white for about a minute and then add to the rest of the mixture. Combine well.
At this stage I usually add blueberries to my batter. You can be creative by adding other fruit or carob/chocolate chips. Or be simple and keep them plain.
In a greased frying pan, add the batter in even scoops. I usually use my 1/4 cup measuring cup.
Cook for a few minutes on each side.
When pancakes are done stack on a plate a top with some more yummy fruit, yogurt, or maple syrup. I use a sugar free maple syrup that's sweetened with xylitol.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Love What You Do


 The beginning of this month marked the second year I've been with Enjoy Cupcakes. I was hired as baking assistant with no previous knowledge of baking. Well, except for the experiments I created in my own kitchen. Always having a love for sweets and a passion for food I knew this was going to be a fun job. I was absolutely right about that. It never really feels like work to me. Don't get me wrong, we are not dancing around in the kitchen like sugar plum fairies. It's without a doubt hard work. Especially trying to finish on time during our busy mornings. I enjoy it so much it never bothers me. Amber is the most amazing boss I have ever worked for. She is so warm and kind and such a fun person to work with. Assisting her for the past two years has been an amazing experience. I've learned so much from watching her work as well as all the little things she's taught me. I'm so thankful she gave me this opportunity. 




 
Along with working beside Amber in the kitchen I've babysat her sweet little daughter Opal. We watch princess videos on my phone and love talking about Disneyland. I've also worked with Amber's husband Kevin, with his team building events. If anyone reading this has been into the shop and met the cupcake "muffin man" himself, they know what an awesome guy he is. This family is truly special and I'm so happy to have them in my life.




Friday, March 23, 2012

Salted Cashew Cranberry Ginger Bark

 Who doesn't love chocolate? Well, some people don't but there are many that do. Especially women and especially around that time of the month. Chocolate is rich in magnesium and can also boost levels of serotonin which are often times lowered in women during pms and menstruation. Instead of just eating a piece of chocolate, I thought I'd add some health promoting foods to make it even better.


I love ginger. It's a great warming herb as well as a digestive aid. It has antiviral properties and is also said to reduce inflammation in the body.


Cashews are full of healthy fats along with being a rich source of copper and magnesium.


Cranberries provide antioxidant protection. They are a great source of vitamin C.

 

Salted Cashew Cranberry Ginger Bark

3/4 cup bittersweet chocolate chips
1/4 cup chopped roasted and salted cashews plus some for topping
1/4 cup fruit juice sweetened dried cranberries plus more for topping
1 teaspoon grated ginger plus more for topping
1 teaspoon coconut sugar (optional)
Generous pinch of salt

Using a double boiler or a makeshift one (small pot with a metal bowl placed on top) melt down the chocolate. When it's about halfway melted, add the grated ginger. Once all the chocolate has melted add the chopped cashews and cranberries. Mix well to combine. Transfer mixture to a wax paper or parchment paper lined baking sheet. Spread the mixture out evenly and top with remaining cashews, cranberries and grated ginger. I mixed the grated ginger with a little coconut sugar for texture. I like the way it came out. Lastly, top the bark with a generous pinch of kosher salt sprinkled over evenly. Place in the freezer for about 20 minutes or until the bark has hardened.

 

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Chocolate Chip Cookies


 The simplicity of chocolate chip cookies sounds so comforting. My migraine came on yesterday afternoon and is finally almost on it's way out. I felt so horrible all morning. I was well taken care of, though. Coffee and a yummy omelette were brought to me in bed this morning. 

My boyfriend is the sweetest!

 Staying home sounded like the best plan for me today. When I used to stay home sick from school as a kid I always baked during the day. Most of the time I just pretended to be sick. I never liked school. So for today, baking seemed like a good idea. Something simple, easy, and comforting. Chocolate chip cookies fit the bill. These aren't the classic cookies I remember from my childhood but a healthy updated version that satisfies my sweet tooth these days as I try my best to avoid gluten and sugar. These cookies are almost sugar free. I used bittersweet dark chocolate chips. As much as I use unsweetened carob chips for everything, I knew the result wouldn't be the same... They just don't melt like real chocolate. The recipe I used was from Elana's Pantry. It calls for yacon syrup as the sweetener. For those that aren't familiar, yacon syrup is derived from the root of the yacon plant native to South America. It is free of glucose, therefore having a low glycemic index which doesn't spike blood sugar. It's great for diabetics and people who follow a candida conscience diet. I used to use yacon in most of my dessert making until I discovered Jerusalem artichoke syrup. It has pretty much the same properties of yacon and an almost identical taste. Plus it's about half the price so it's what I use now. Two other changes I made to the recipe was using almond extract instead of vanilla and replacing 1 Tablespoon of almond meal with ground flax. I love the flavor the almond extract gives to the cookies.
Hope everyone has a lovely day! Today is my Sunday so I'm excited to go back to work tomorrow.


Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Breakfast and Lunch

By far, cooking is one of my favorite things to do.  Today my brother asked me "Are you constantly eating all day? You're always cooking."  His statement may be a bit of an overstatement but I do like to spend a lot of time in the kitchen. It's hard for me to prepare a meal quickly because I like to take the time putting my efforts and focusing on what I'm doing. The kitchen is also a place where I get to experiment and create. Having a job where I get to be in a kitchen is also a plus. I have such a love for my job. I get to learn from an amazing woman and it never really feels like work to me.
Now that we are in a new year, I'm focusing more on my diet. I'm not trying to restrict certain foods, rather I'm trying to pay more attention to healthier foods. I definitely notice that when I eat this way I feel better and I worry less about what I'm eating. For instance, I used to freak out about carbs. Even whole grains like oatmeal, brown rice, and quinoa. I had it in my head that these foods would make me gain weight. I'm starting to notice that when I eat whole grains with a meal I feel more satisfied and I'm less likely to snack between meals or crave sugar, which I've had a big problem with. 

Lately for breakfast I've been making myself oatmeal. This morning I created a yummy concoction I called C's Oatmeal when I posted the photo to instagram. Chia, carob, coconut, and cherry.


I soaked the chia seeds for about 15 minutes prior to topping the oatmeal. I like the softer texture as opposed to the harder crunch. Mixed in with the oatmeal after cooking was a scoop of almond butter to give it more of a creamy consistency and one stevia packet. 

For my lunch today I made a vegan pizza on pita bread. To accompany my pizza I had a spinach salad with added butternut squash and tofu for protein.


For the cheesy aspect of my pizza I mashed up butternut squash and mixed in tahini, lemon juice, nutritional yeast, Braggs liquid aminos, and cayenne. It turned out to be some spicy goodness. I topped the pizza with spinach and sauteed onions, red pepper flakes and pumpkin seeds.



Sunday, January 1, 2012

Hello Two Thousand Twelve.


Happy New Year. I have a feeling 2012 is going to be a very special year. This morning I made my own version of oats in a jar. I've never even had the "real" oats in a jar before... I need to try that. With the little bit of peanut butter I had left, I cooked some oatmeal and poured it into the jar along with a packet of stevia, stirring to melt the pb that's always so hard to get out of the bottom of the jar. I added a dollop or two of plain yogurt, chunks of apple that had been steamed with cinnamon oil,  raisins, cinnamon powder, and chopped apple peel. It was delicious and satisfying after a night of sipping wine and champagne.

The last month of 2011 was a hectic one. I'm a little ashamed I didn't do a single post.  Here are some photos of my favorite meals I enjoyed during the month.