Sunday, February 16, 2014

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Visit me at my NEW blog.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Healthy Homemade Fruit Rolls

I started writing this earlier today, but forgot to hit save. Don't you hate that? You have something really good written the first time around, and then when you go back to rewrite it you don't remember a word of it. (PS- this IS a true story....)

Well anyways I know I was writing about my love for Lucky Charms, Oreo Cookies, and I can't forget Fruit Roll Ups. I really love Fruit Roll Ups. Of course I would happen to love very gonna bad for me. :(

After searching Pinterest I decided to make my own Healthy Fruit Rolls. They were actually really easy to make. I picked raspberries and peaches for mine, but you can make these with almost any fruit. 

Homemade Healthy Fruit Rolls
(I used 2 cups of raspberries and 2 peaches, but you can use whatever you'd like)

1. Preheat oven to 170ยบ
2. Line a cookie sheet that has a lip with plastic wrap (be sure to overlap your sides).
3. Puree your fruit in food processor until smooth consistency.
4. Add sweetener of your choice (I used Truvia) and sweeten to taste.
5. Pour mixture on to prepared cookie sheet and spread with spatula.
6. Bake for about 3-5hours. (Times may vary, most recipes I found said they should take about 6-7 hours, but mine only took 3) Wait until your center is no longer tacky.
7. Lift plastic wrap out of cookie sheet and place on the countertop to cool.
8. Flip over onto parchment paper.
9. Remove plastic wrap.
10.Cut into strips and roll. (You may want to secure them with a tie or tape if they won't stay rolled)

See easy peasy and SO Delicous! Not to mention they are sugar free and good for you. 

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Intense Brownie Cravings and a Yummy Gluten-Free Peanut Butter Swirl Brownie Recipe

I've been searching the internet high and low for a good gluten-free/low sugar brownie recipe. The last recipe I tried was a Paleo one that was way too chocolaty and not sweet at all. In other words it was YUCK! (At least to me... If anyone wants to give them a shot, let me know and I'd be more than happyto share the recipe.) Though they did look delicious.

Today my sister sent me over a link for some more Paleo brownies that seemed promising. I didn't have all the ingredients, plus I wanted to make them a little sweeter this time so I altered the recipe a bit and decided to add a peanut butter swirl to them since I've been dying for a Reese's cup!

Here is my version:

Gluten-Free Peanut Butter Swirl Brownies

    • 5 ounces Bittersweet or Dark Chocolate Chips
    • 5 tbsp Coconut Oil
    • 1/4 cup honey
    • 3 eggs, beaten
    • 3/4 cup Truvia Baking Blend (add more if after tasing batter you want them sweeter)
    • 1/2 cup plus 1 tbsp almond flour
    • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa  powder
    • 1/4 tsp baking soda
    • 1/4 tsp sea salt
    • 1/2 cup peanut butter

    Preheat oven to 325°F and line an 8"x8" or 9x9" baking pan with parchment paper. 
    Place chocolate chips and coconut oil in the top part of a double boiler on stove top. Melt chocolate chips and oil and mix until smooth. Remove from heat and let cool down slightly. 

    Pour chocolate mixture in bowl of stand mixer and add honey, eggs, and Truvia. Mix on low until thoroughly mixed. Add in almond flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and sea salt. Mix on medium speed until well combined. You can taste a tiny bit of batter to see if it is sweet enough. You may add a little more Truvia if you want the brownies to be sweeter. 

    Pour brownie mixture into baking pan. Microwave peanut butter for about 30 seconds. Pour melted peanut butter on top of brownie mixture and swirl with a fork for a marbled effect. 

    Place pan of brownies in the oven for 25 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean. Let cool for 15-20 minutes before removing from pan. 

    Monday, February 10, 2014

    Gluten-Free Almond Flour Crackers

    I've been trying to come up with something witty and cute to say about the recipe that I'm going to share with you today. Nothing came to mind, other than the fact that the crackers themselves were VERY, VERY cute and not to mention tasty. I even made them heart shaped in honor of Valentine's Day.

    Gluten-Free Crackers:
    cup almond flour or almond meal
    1/4 cup warm water
    1 Tablespoon unsalted butter
    1 teaspoon coconut oil
    1/2 teaspoon of honey 
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    Sea salt for the top of crackers

    Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour and salt. Add oil, melted butter, honey, and water and mix until the dough comes together into a ball. (Add more water if the dough seems too dry, but just a bit at a time, don’t overdo it. Or if the dough is too watery add a little more almond flour.)
    Pat the dough into a disk. Place the disk between two pieces of parchment and using a rolling pin, roll until very thin, about ⅛ inch.
    Remove the top piece of parchment from dough and cut dough with cookie cutter or you can cut into 1" squares. Lightly brush the dough with water and sprinkle with sea salt or seasoned salt.
    Keep the dough on parchment paper and move onto a cookie sheet. Bake at 400 degrees until crisp and slightly puffed, about 15-20 minutes. Rotate the cookie sheet after about ten minutes. Keep your eye on the crackers. It could take a little more or less time, it really depends on the gluten free flour blend that you use and how thin you roll the dough.
    Let crackers the cool fully on the cookie sheet.

    Thursday, February 6, 2014

    Just a Little Update

    Since I started my new doctor enforced diet/lifestyle change a few weeks ago I have lost close to 6lbs. already! :) And, while I am not following it as strict as I should be, I am working my way up to it. It has been a process cutting out as much bad stuff as I have, but it keeps getting easier. :) I have been having fun trying out new recipes and foods, not to mention sharing them with you!

    Like I previously mentioned although I have to change my diet, I do not plan on cutting my favorite foods out, I plan on making them healthier and altering them to fit my diet.

    My #1 FAVORITE food on the planet is Chicken Alfredo, which we all know has like a zillion calories. :(
    So I played around and experimented a little and made mine a lot healthier and just as tasty!

     "Skinny" Chicken Alfredo 

    3 boneless skinless chicken breasts cut into small pieces
    2 cloves Garlic, minced
    1 tbsp. coconut or olive oil
    1 cup almond milk
    1 cup chicken broth
    3 tbsp. gluten-free all purpose flour
    3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
    salt and pepper for seasoning
    1 package whole wheat pasta (gluten-free pasta would be ideal, but I didn't have any on hand)
    Chopped tomatoes for garnish (optional)

    In a large pot cook pasta until al dente. Drain Water and place in large bowl. In large pan sautee garlic using 12 tbsp. oil for 1-2 minutes over medium high heat. Add in chicken and cook thoroughly. In medium pot with remaining 1/2 tbsp. oil brown flour. Add in chicken broth and mix out any lumps of flour. Slowly pour in almond milk and simmer for about 5 minutes or until it starts to thicken. Mix in grated parmesan. Pour sauce over pasta and toss in chicken. Serve and enjoy! :)

    My Sweet Tooth and A Low Sugar Gluten-Free Dark Chocolate Chip CookieRecipe

    So I have a horrible sweet tooth, I always have. I love candy, and cookies, and cupcakes, and brownies, and I could go on forever. If it has sugar, you know I'll love it.

    Eliminating sugar has been one of the hardest things about my diet. I also didn't realize how hard it would be to find a sugar free and gluten free recipe for Chocolate Chip Cookies so I kind of made up my own. And guess what, they came out pretty good! :) 

    *They aren't completely sugar free, as they use Truvia Baking Blend, but they are a low sugar option.

    Low Sugar Gluten-Free Dark Chocolate Chip Cookies:

    1/3 cup Coconut Oil 
    1/3 cup Truvia® Baking Blend 
    2/3 cup Dark Chocolate Chips
    1 1/4 cup Gluten-Free All Purpose Flour
    1/2 tsp. Salt
    1/2 tsp. Baking Soda
    1 Egg White
    1/2 tsp. Vanilla Extract
    1 tbsp. Almond Milk ( You may need another Tbsp. if the dough seems too dry)
    1/3 cup chopped walnuts (optional)
    1. Preheat oven to 350° F. Spray baking sheet with baking spray.
    2. In a small mixing bowl combine the flour, salt and baking soda.
    3. In a separate medium bowl, combine the coconut oil and Truvia® Baking Blend and beat using an electric mixer on medium speed for 2 minutes until the mixture is slightly light a fluffy. Do not over mix.
    4. Add the egg, milk and vanilla. Continue to mix for 1 minute, or until all the ingredients are blended together.
    5. Mix in the flour, salt and baking soda mixture until combined. Stir in the chocolate chips and walnuts.
    6. Portion the cookies into 1 tbsp each. Place them several inches apart on the baking sheet. Press the cookies flat using the palm of your hand. They should be ¼” to ½” in thickness.
    7. Bake the cookies on the center rack of the oven for 7-8 minutes, until brown at the edges. Rotate the cookies half way through baking.
    8. Transfer the cookies to the top rack of the oven and bake for 1 addition minute, or until the top of the cookie slightly browned.

    Tuesday, February 4, 2014

    Sugar-Free Berry Compote Recipe

    So, I've already shared my new favorite almond flour waffle recipe with you, so today I am going to share my NEW favorite waffle topping! 

    Mixed Berry Compote:
    (This recipe is enough for 1-2 waffles, but can easily be adjusted)1 cup frozen mixed berries1 1/2 tsp. Truvia Baking Blend

    Place a saucepan over medium heat. Add your berries to the pan and coat evenly with Truvia, bringing them to a boil. Stir until all the Truvia dissolves and bubbles start to appear on the sides of the pan.

    Recipe for Chicken Stir-Fry

    Chicken Stir Fry:
    1 lb. boneless skinless chicken breast (Chopped into small strips)
    1 package frozen stir fry vegetables
    3 tbsp. low sodium soy sauce
    1 tbsp. corn starch
    coconut or olive oil

    In large skillet heat 1 tbsp. oil on medium-high heat. Throw in chicken and season with salt and pepper. Stir fry. When chicken is thoroughly cooked and slightly browned add in frozen vegetables and lower heat to medium. cook for about 5 minutes. Mix together soy sauce and corn starch. pour over chicken and vegetables and mix. Cook for about 3 more minutes. Serve

    Serve over rice and enjoy! :)

    Recipe for Garlic Parmesan Quinoa

    Garlic Parmesan Quinoa:

    1 tbsp coconut or olive oil
    3-4 cloves garlic, minced
    2 cups chicken broth
    1 cup uncooked quinoa
    1/4 tsp salt, or to taste
    1/4 cup Parmesan cheese

    In a medium sized pan, sautee  garlic in coconut or olive oil over medium-high heat for 1-2 minutes. Reduce heat to medium low.

    Add the chicken broth and quinoa. Cover, and allow to simmer until liquid is mostly absorbed and quinoa is cooked, about fifteen minutes.
    Remove from heat, and gently mix quinoa to distribute any excess moisture. Season with salt to taste, and top with Parmesan cheese.

    Recipe for Carne Asada Tacos

    Carne Asada Tacos:

    For Meat-
    1tbsp. Olive Oil
    1lb. Steak of your choice
    2 limes

    For Tortillas- 
    2 cups Corn Flour (Harina de Maiz)
    1 1/3 cups water
    1/4 tsp. salt

    For Guacamole-
    3 Avocados
    1 jalapeno
    1 tomato
    1 lime
    onion (optional)
    garlic salt to season
    Sour Cream and Salsa for tacos (optional)

    For tortillas, heat medium pan on medium heat on stove top. In a Medium Size bowl mix together Corn Flour, salt, and water. Mix with hands until masa resembles play-doh. Separate masa into 12 balls. Cover bowl with a damp dish cloth to hold moisture in. Essentially you should use a tortilla press, but I don't have one so this is what I did: Place one ball of masa between 2 pieces of wax paper. Roll out masa, trying to keep it as round as possible. Remove top piece of wax paper, then place back on top, but so it doesn't stick. Flip tortilla over and remove bottom piece of wax paper. Carefully place tortilla on pan and quickly remove wax paper from tortilla. Cook for about 30 seconds then flip tortilla and cook the other side for 30 seconds. Place in tortilla warmer or between a clean dish towel in a ziplock. Repeat with the other 11 balls of masa.

    For Guacamole, you need to cut open the avocados and remove the seed. Remove peeling from avocados and mash them in a small bowl. Chop tomatoes, jalapeno, and onion (optional) into small pieces and mix into avocado. Season with garlic salt. Sprinkle with juice from 1 lime. Place one avocado seed back into bowl to avoid browning.

    For Carne Asada, heat olive oil in large pan on medium to high heat. Place meat in pan and sprinkle with juice of two limes. Season with salt, pepper, and garlic. Cook until meat is cooked thoroughly.

    Assemble Tacos and enjoy! :)

    Recipe for BBQ Pulled Pork Sandwiches

     BBQ Pulled Pork Sandwiches:
    (This is an easy Crockpot recipe)

    1 Pork Roast (mine was about 2lbs.)
    Garlic Salt
    Your Favorite BBQ Sauce (about 1/4 cup)
    Cooking Oil
    Buns of your choice (I used whole wheat)

    Lightly Grease bowl of Crockpot with oil.
    Place Roast in crockpot and sprinkle with about 1-2 tbsp. Garlic Salt. Pour about 1/4 cup BBQ sauce over Roast. Cover with lid and cook on low for about 2 1/2 hours or until roast starts to pull apart. Pour remainder of BBQ Sauce on Roast and mix well. You can also season with other seasonings if you'd like. Roast will be done when it completely Pulls apart.

    My Week in Meals

    I have come to the conclusion that healthy eating does NOT have to be boring. I can still eat my favorite foods, just healthier homemade versions of them. :)

    This week I made:

    Monday, February 3, 2014

    Gluten-Free Banana Nut Bread and Baking without Sugar

    This week I've been cooking up a storm! With my new diet I am trying new recipes and trying to keep myself motivated by making food fun. I've been doing great so far and am already down 4.5lbs since I started! I know the diet is more for health reasons rather than losing weight, but it's definitely an added bonus.

    I think the hardest part of my diet change so far has been avoiding sugars, not like processed sugars in candy and soda's but sugars in baking. As a baker I want things to look and taste the same as before, though I know that will not always be the case.

    This week when my hubby and I went grocery shopping we came across Truvia® Baking Blend. While its not sugar free it does reduce the sugar content in recipes significantly and it has 75% less calories than sugar. I decided to give it a try. :)

    The first thing I decided to make with it was Banana Nut Bread which is one of my favorite desserts. Not only is this Banana Nut Bread low in sugar its also gluten-free. 

    Banana Nut Bread:
    (Makes one 8x4 loaf; 12 pieces)

    1 1/4 cups gluten-free all purpose flour
    1/2 teaspoon baking soda
    1/8 teaspoon salt
    2 eggs 
    1 cup mashed ripe bananas (I used 3 whole bananas)
    1/4 cup Truvia® Baking Blend
    1/4 cup apple sauce
    1/4 cup chopped walnuts

    1. Whisk together flour, baking soda, salt, and walnuts in a medium bowl. 
    2. Mix together eggs, bananas, apple sauce, and sugar in a separate bowl. 
    3. Pour wet ingredients into dry ingredients and mix until just combined.
    4. Lightly grease loaf pan with cooking oil and transfer banana mixture to pan. 
    5. Bake at 350° for 45-50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. 
    6. Cool for about 10 minutes before removing from pan. Set on wire cooling rack to continue cooling.

    *FYI There are about 111 calories per slice according to My Fitness Pal. (That is just an estimate though) 

    This recipe came out so good! My husband didn't even realize it was Gluten Free! :)

    Thursday, January 30, 2014

    Homemade Peanut Butter

    So I don't know about you, but I absolutely, positively LOVE Peanut Butter. I love it with apples. I love it with Bananas. I love PB&J. I love it with Chocolate. I even love it by the spoonful. 

    I love it so much I decided to make my own and guess what! It was SUPER easy!. Although homemade peanut butter is not really too much healthier than the store bought kind, you can control whats going in it which is a plus for me and it just sounds impressive haha. :) 

    I bought the whole peanuts since they were cheaper, but you can use any kind you'd like. After I got all the peanuts out of the shell I only landed up with about 2 cups which was only enough for a little less than an 8oz Mason Jar full of Peanut Butter so you many want to buy more. 

    Homemade Peanut Butter:

    -2 cups whole peanuts
    -salt (to taste)
    -sweetener of choice (I used honey)
    -cooking oil of choice ( I read somewhere NOT to use Olive Oil because it affects the taste. I used canola oil since it was all I had other than olive oil.)

    Add peanuts to food processor and blend until lump of peanut butter starts to form. Add a little salt and/or sweetener until you get peanut butter to a taste you like. Add about 1-2 teaspoons of oil and mix until combined. Transfer to jar. Enjoy! :)

    Monday, January 27, 2014

    Gluten Free baked Chicken Strips

    I've been experimenting with healthy recipes. I figured I'd try to make some of my favorite foods, just a little healthier. I don't know about you, but chicken strips and french fries are one of my favorite things to eat. I decided to do try my luck at a gluten free version.

    Gluten Free Baked Chicken Strips:
    (Serves about 4; about 287 calories per serving)
    1/2 cup gluten free all purpose flour
    1/2 cup almond meal
    1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
    2 eggs
    2 tbsp. milk ( I use Almond milk)
    1/2 tsp. garlic salt
    1/2 tsp. pepper
    1/4 tsp. salt
    1/4 tsp. oregano or Italian seasoning
    3 pieces of boneless skinless chicken cut into strips
    2 tbsp. olive oil

    Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Mix dry ingredients together in large bowl. Beat eggs and milk together in mixing bowl. Use 1 tbsp. olive oil to grease baking sheet.

    Dip chicken strips in egg mixture then in fllour mixture and place on baking sheet. Drizzle with remaining tbsp. of olive oil. Bake for 15 minutes then flip strips over to brown other side. Bake for additional 10 minutes. If you want the strips to brown a little more broil for a few minutes, keep an eye on them so they won't get too dark. 

    Friday, January 24, 2014

    Chocolate Nutella Macarons

    So Ferrero Rocher chocolates are my absolute favorite! I can eat like 10 in a row ( totally not healthy, I know, but so good!!!) Coley and I decided to re-create them in macaron form. They came out so good! 

    Chocolate Macaron Shells:
    110g blanched slivered almonds or almond meal/flour
    • 200g confectioner’s sugar (minus 2 tbsp)
    • 2 tbsp cocoa powder
    • 100g aged egg whites (3 egg whites), room temperature
    • 20g sugar
    • finely chopped hazelnuts for garnish
    1. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper or a silpat. 
    2. Grind the almonds, cocoa, and confectioner’s sugar in a food processor. Grind for 2-3 minutes until fine and like sand in texture. Sift 2-3 times to lighten the dry mixture. Reprocess as needed to get out all of the big pieces of almonds ground down, and lumps out of the sugar. You are looking for the consistency of sand.
    3. In a bowl of a stand mixer or large bowl with a hand mixer whisk the egg whites until a foam starts to foam. Slowly add in the sugar while mixing and whisk until a medium stiff peak forms. 
    4. Sift half of the dry mixture onto the egg whites, and mix in to lighten. Sift in the remaining dry mixture, and begin to gently fold in. Once mostly combined, tip the bowl at a 45° angle. Spread the mixture out on 1/3 of the side surface of the bowl, sweep under and fold it over on it self. Repeat this process 10-12 times. When you reach the 10th time, stop and lift up a spatula full of the mixture if it forms thick ribbons, watch the mixture and count to 10. It should absorb into the rest of the mixture with only slight indication of edges, your mixture it done. It should just very slowly settle on itself.
    5. Pour mixture into a piping bag fitted with a round tip. Pipe out following your guide pattern. Sprinkle with finely chopped hazelnuts. Gently tap the bottom of your sheet twice to remove air bubbles, and let it set out to dry to form a shell.
    6. Bake at 300°F for 18 minutes or until the shells easily lift off of the parchment paper. Once finished baking let cool for 10 minutes then remove from parchment paper. When they are completely cool it will turn off of the parchment quiet easily. If you are using a silpat you can let sit out to cool until you can easily remove from the silpat.
    7. Pair up the shells of the same size and flip bottom up to let cool completely before adding in filling.
    Nutella Ganache:
    2oz. Milk chocolate (Finely chopped)
    1/2 cup heavy cream
    6 tbsp. nutella
    2 1/2 tbsp. finely chopped hazelnuts

    Place chocolate and Nutella in a medium-sized heat-proof bowl. In a small saucepan, bring heavy cream to a simmer. Pour hot cream over the chocolate and Nutella and let sit for 20 seconds. Stir to combine until smooth. Place ganache in the refrigerator until thickened, but still pourable. Make sure to stir a few times during the process so the ganache is a uniform consistency throughout. Using an electric mixer, whip ganache until it is a pipeable consistency and light in color. Add chopped hazelnuts to ganache and whip until combined. Place ganache into a piping bag and pipe a small circle onto one macaron shell. Top it with a similar sized shell and squeeze together carefully.

    Tuesday, January 21, 2014

    Almond Flour Waffles and PCOS

    Last week I was officially diagnosed with PCOS (poly-cystic ovarian syndrome). I am also extremely high risk for developing Type 2 Diabetes (Which sucks for the baker in me). My doctor strongly recommended I get on a low-carb high-protein or strict "diabetic" diet. PCOS is a condition that causes infertility in women and is linked to an insulin resistance.  This is going to be a struggle for me, but I want kids in the near future so I am willing to do everything I need to do to make that happen.

    My husband and I researched what foods I can and can not eat and went grocery shopping. As I learn more about PCOS I'll share tips and recipes I've found. But first here is a NEW favorite recipe if mine:

    Almond Flour Waffles:
    (Makes about 2 Belgium waffles)

    1 cup almond flour
    1/4 tsp. salt
    1/4 tsp. baking soda
    4 eggs
    1 tsp. vanilla
    2 tbsp. honey
    1/4 tsp. cinnamon (optional)

    I've made this recipe twice this week already! The first day I tried it with fresh whipped cream and strawberries on top, and the next time I added 1 tbsp. peanut butter and half a smushed banana to the batter, then topped it with half a banana and a drizzle of honey.

    Sunday, January 12, 2014

    A New Year. A New Me.

    I've debated writing this because diets and exercising is something I'm horrible at and rarely stick to. I am going to try my best to get into shape. I realized yesterday while in tears in the dressing room at Kohls that I am living a very unhealthy lifestyle. My clothes do not fit me and I rarely find anything flattering. I could blame McDonalds or Taco Bell, or even Hostess for making those yummy chocolate cupcakes, but who am I kidding. It is all me! I need to learn to have self control and get motivated. Hopefully by putting it all out there on the internet I will hold myself accountable for my actions and eating habits. I know I will probably never be a size 1 again, and that is ok with me as long as I am healthy! Being that it is the beginning of a new week (and a new year) I figured it start my diet first thing today! 

    Funfetti Macarons & My 26th Birthday

    So my birthday was a few days ago. I turned 26 this year. Usually I am really excited for my birthday and countdown since like October lol. This year was different though, I found myself bummed out and not really excited. You see, I know it sounds dumb, but I feel like I have not really done anything that makes me happy in life. Like I'm letting my life pass me by and just floating along. This year I plan on changing that! I want to do more things that make me happy. I am going to craft and bake more, and hopefully start a business! The dream is to one day own a bakery, but until then I want to try my luck in an Etsy store or selling my baked goods at the Farmers Market (Nevada FINALLY passed a Cottage Food Law!). This year will be all about focusing on me and my family!

    Anyways enough boring, depressing talk for today! This year instead of a traditional birthday cake ( My favorite is still a box Funfetti cake) we decided to attempt "Funfetti" Macarons. We picked a vanilla shell and a raspberry curd filling. We used this recipe and just added the sprinkles to the macarons after we piped them onto the baking sheet (make sure to do this before the cookie forms a shell).


    My sister also took my husband and I to lunch at Pinches Tacos. It's located at the new Container Park (all the shops are inside of those cute shipping containers!) here in town. They have several locations in Los Angeles. I tried the Carne Asada and chicken tacos they were delicious. They even make their corn tortillas right in front of you. I ate my food so fast I forgot to get a picture...

    I don't know why my hair looks so wind blown lol. :(