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. :(