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Thursday, March 29, 2012

Soaked Spelt Flour Chocolate Chip Muffins

Soaked Spelt Flour Chocolate Chip Muffins

Eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince, and dinner like a pauper. ~Adelle Davis

i'm happy to say that these muffins, after some minor tweaks, would be fit for a king. aside from the fact that they have chocolate, and we all know that chocolate makes everything better, they're good for you. the spelt flour has been soaked for 24 hours, so you know that the phytic acid has been neutralized, releasing key nutrients to be absorbed by your intestinal tract, as well as break down certain hard to digest proteins, and best of all, they taste good. are they the best i've ever had? no. honestly, they are not. but they are the first of its kind that did not hurt my stomach. i'll settle for good tasting but sans stomach pangs any day.

i made these for a phamily brunch a few months ago. they're perfect for little parties, office meetings or just to have handy for a healthy breakfast.

Soak Spelt Flour Chocolate Chip Muffins

Soaked Spelt Flour Chocolate Chip Muffins
makes 12 muffins

1 1/4 cups soaked spelt flour
3/4 cup warm water mixed with 1 TBL lemon juice or vinegar (alternatively, can use yogurt)
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 cup extra virgin coconut oil
1/3 cup honey
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon vanilla
3/4 cup chocolate chips

For the crumble topping:
1/3 cup organic sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup (1/2 stick or 2 ounces) soy margarine, chopped into little pieces
3/4 cup spelt flour

to soak the flour, mix it with water + acid (vinegar or lemon juice, or with the yogurt) in a bowl. allow to soak overnight. ideally, allow to soak for 24 hours, but 12 is fine too.

the next morning, mix together the crumble in another bowl & set aside..

Preheat oven to 400F

add the rest of the ingredients into the flour mixture. pour into muffin pan, lined with silicone linings or cupcake liners. aim for 3/4 full, these do not puff up that much. add about a tsp crumble topping on top.

** i may have added additional lightly floured chips on top before putting the crumble top on.
** i feel that the coconut oil was a bit too much. when these baked, the excess oil did not integrate into the muffins. as a result, the muffins were extremely oily. when i make these again, i will either cut back to 1/4 cup or eliminate completely.

Bake for 15–20 minutes.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Soaked Lentils with Poached Eggs

Soaked Lentils with Poached Eggs

today i want to talk personal stuff. maybe even TMI stuff. but it's important. to me, and maybe, to you, too.

i have stomach issues. i don't have a professional diagnosis but i have determined, with a degree of certainty, that i'm lactose intolerant, and i feel like i talk about it All The Time. this has been an ongoing self-study for about 4 years now. there are levels of discomfort after eating some dairy products, i mentally track how i feel on a daily basis now, depending on what i eat, not just milk-related stuff. it's not scientific, fool-proof and extremely time consuming. it's also frustrating to have to dissect a menu, ask the waiter (who will then have to ask the cook) what is in everything, then feel self-conscious, embarrassed even, for being such a pain in the ass.

notably tho, it's edumacational. everything that passes my lips has been thought about, debated over if it's worth the bloat afterwards. i've learned that buying organic isn't enough, i still gotta read the labels. i've learned that dramamine contains anhydrous lactose, an inactive ingredient derived from milk to sweeten the pill. so it's either i vomit from motion sickness OR i get heart burn. i've learned that i require multiple feedings, that if i don't eat right when i'm hungry, my stomach will hurt and my day is shot. i've learned that even tho lactaid pills work sometimes, my regularity goes out of whack every time i pop it.

Soaked lentils with Poached Eggs

this is my body. being in my 30s makes me all the more aware of everything -- how my digestion and metabolism has slowed down, that i have to do more to maintain myself minimally. i keep track of when i go, if you know what i mean and i think you do, i take daily doses of fiber to ensure some kind of regularity.

this is my life. this is what it's been like for awhile now. add in that mix some running, bikram yoga, and a hungry boyfriend who is always game to try anything i cook up. and what i've been cooking up lately are grains and beans and legumes, but soaking them for 12-24 hours beforehand. off & on for a number of years, i've had more misses than wins but i am sold on the practice of soaking. to learn more about the value of soaking, go here, and here, and here, and here. anything that will help me break down & digest food is something i am on board for.

Soaked Lentils with Poached Egg

Soaked Lentils with Poached Eggs
adapted from Roost and Food & Wine

1 cup of red lentils, soaked in water 24 hours prior (1 tsp lemon juice or apple cider vinegar, optional)
1/2 cup leeks, thoroughly cleaned and sliced, white part only
1/2 cup carrots, peeled & diced
2 stalks celery, diced
1 cup white wine (eyeball it), or instead use water or stock
olive oil
salt/pepper
6 poached eggs (alternatively, you can fry your eggs, or use whatever protein on top)
handful baby arugula
balsamic vinegar

the night before, put 1 cup of lentils in a medium sized bowl. add water just past the top of lentils. check on it the next morning and add more water if you need to. the lentils will absorb the water & swell. prior to cooking, discard the water and rinse well.

when ready to cook, heat up olive oil in a big pan, med-high heat. add in the leeks. season with salt & pepper. as they cook down, add in the carrots. season again. after about 5 minutes, the leeks are slightly caramelized and the carrots are starting to soften, add in the celery. saute for another 5 minutes and then throw in the lentils. pour in the white wine, deglaze the bottom. bring to simmer, stir often, and allow the liquid to reduce. if the lentils are not cooked thru yet, add more wine/stock/water until lentils are tender, about 20 minutes. season with salt/pepper.

while that is cooking, poach up your eggs (or fry them) to desired doneness.

to assemble, plate up the lentils first, add a handful of arugula and then put the egg on top. season egg with salt/pepper. we had some thick balsamic vinegar in the fridge so we drizzled a bit around the plate.

this was the 2nd time we've made it and finally, it was how i wanted it to be.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Crock Pot Honey Soy Sauce Chicken

Crock Pot Honey Soy Sauce Chicken

it's been a manic time here in this space, in my life. making it thru this season in one piece with minor tantrums & tears would be considered a miracle. i won't bore you with the details, the fruits of the hysteria will more than likely make an appearance here anyway. because i am so busy and tired, listless and directionless, stretched thin of patience and time, i'm sharing a very simple recipe for a week night meal. i did not measure so the proportions listed are guesses. sorry about that. just taste it before you add the chicken & you'll be fine. as always, use the freshest ingredients possible, and organic of course.

naturally, despite all this, i still manage to gawk a few things. what i've been obsessing over lately:
basketweave icing tutorial (you're effing welcome, FINALLY, a post that shows how to make this cake design, even if it is in spanish.)
chunky/bulky cowl - i'm pretty sure this is knitting, which i need to get back into, cus crocheting is just not getting me this kind of bulky stitch
don't be like the rest of them darling - henry rollins said it better but you know, some people require packaging. cut yourself from stone.
most of my daydreams can be seen on my pinterest. play along, won't you?

Crock Pot Honey Soy Sauce Chicken

Crock Pot Honey Soy Sauce Chicken
adapted from Very Culinary who adapted from here.

1 lb skinless/boneless chicken thighs
1/4 cup honey
1/4 soy sauce
half onion, diced
1 TBL tomato paste, loosened with a smidge of water
2 cloves of garlic, minced
healthy shake of red pepper flakes
salt/pepper to taste

the night before, mix everything in crock pot bowl. get your hands dirty, rub that sauce all over the chicken. cover and leave in fridge. when ready to cook, set on low in crock pot for 3-4 hours.

since this cooks for just 3-4 hours if you've a timer, set it to start 4 hours before you get home from work, or if you're lucky like dw & able to come home during lunch break, start it then.

serve with brown rice, garnished with diced green onions.

a very similar chicken crock pot concoction: Sticky Chicken Thighs

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

deviled eggs + smashed avocados

Devil Eggs + Avocado

the schizophrenic change of weather tells me that spring is making her presence known. mornings have a slight chill, the dawn still grey from the departing night. the extra hour every afternoon is most welcome, allowing for twilight walks before dinner, basking in the golden glow of the setting sun. i nurse a steaming cup of tea during my 10am meeting, while in contrast, in the evening i lazily sip a cool beverage, homemade carbonation of course. i can't help but give into the polarizing sway of spring, frigid one minute and searing hot the next.

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tulip 2012

this past weekend was a life lister for me, dw & i completed our first half marathon. it's debatable if i'll ever run such a distance again, but it was quite the experience. we attended a concert that evening, standing around for two hours. i have learned that i am capable of hoofing it for 13.1 miles and then stay on my feet, sometimes dancing to the beat, in a crowded concert venue. the day after, a walk (albeit, a hobbling one) thru my favorite garden. the trees were in blossom, the tulips just a whisper kiss away from full bloom and my beloved read aloud a story. and then this. the most perfect snack to nosh on while sitting under a tree, petals falling all around, kids running barefoot and the breeze just hinting at the most beautiful season to come.

deviled eggs + smashed avocados

six eggs, hard boiled. peeled & halved
1-2 tsp dijon mustard
1/2 ripe avovado, smashed
salt/pepper to taste
sprinkle of paprika
1 TBL diced red onion or spring onion

scoop yolk out & place in bowl. with a fork mash it a bit. add in the ingredients, along with the avocado. mix but you still want the texture of the avocado & yolk. put back in the holes of the white part of the egg.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Pesto Potato Salad

Pesto Potato Salad
Pesto Potato Salad

there are two moments in the year where the stars seem to align and no matter where you are in the world, in the northern or southern hemisphere, the temps dip or rise to a mildness that brings about a sweetness in the air, and a fragile but hopeful beat to our hearts. it is neither hot nor cold, and it's my favorite times of year...

there is a small garden near dw's place that we like to run by when we're training, they have tulips budding and i can't tell you how excited i am about this. we walked thru last night, after work, holding hands and i silently counted the days until i would see the colorful petals. very soon it will be picnic season, and a floral breeze will sweep thru our open windows.

this recipe is inspired by the warming temperatures of spring's imminent arrival. perfect for picnics as it does not use easily perishable mayo. Use only the freshest of ingredients, organic if possible.

disclaimer: this is a sponsored post by the Idaho® Potato Commission. All opinions expressed are mine (because listen, everyone is entitled to my opinion). I was compensated for joining in the fun.

Pesto Potato Salad ~ organic and dairy free
serves about 5-6

scrub 4 medium sized organic Idaho potatoes. if using organic spuds, do not peel; the skin provides nutrients and texture. slice length-wise and then cut into bite size cubes
place in big a pot, fill with cold water, just barely cover. bring to a boil, lowering fire to medium for a nice simmer. cook potato cubes till just fork tender. drain water. set aside to cool.

Pesto
carefully pick leaves of half a bunch of organic parsley. wash and dry thoroughly.
1/4 cup of raw pine nuts. toast in small frying pan, being careful to not burn. you want the nuts to turn a nice golden shade all over.
salt/pepper to taste
2 cloves of garlic
splash of lemon juice
1/2 cup of good olive oil

in a blender or vitamix, add all ingredients except for the oil. slowly stream in the olive oil until all is emulsified. taste and season with salt/pepper.

incorporate pesto into bowl of potatoes. mix well. serve warm, at room temp or cold. you can also add diced red onions for color or even some capers and crushed kalamata olives for added saltiness. this is a perfect side for fried chicken, burgers, or hot dogs.

the daffodils are blooming and just yesterday i saw tulips peeking from their dirt beds. soon, gardens will be abloom, begging for checkered blankets, picnic baskets and frisbee games.

Pesto Potato Salad

hello Spring, you have been eagerly anticipated.

Serves: 4 to 6 as a side

INGREDIENTS

4 Medium Organic Russet ®Idaho Potatoes

Optional:
Diced red onion
Capers
Kalamata Olives - crushed

Pesto Dressing

½ bunch – Organic parsley, washed and thoroughly dried
¼ cup raw pine nuts
2 cloves garlic
splash of lemon juice
1/2 cup of good extra virgin olive oil
salt &pepper to taste

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Mint Chocolate Cake

Mint Chocolate Cake

it was dw's birthday over the weekend. for his family & friends, his birth is a joyous thing, one that is noted and most welcomed. for me, for my selfish heart, his being & his place in this world my world is absolute, and i intend to celebrate with happy abandon every year, for the rest of our lives together.

correction. i intend to celebrate him everyday. because everyday with him is wonderful.

Mint Chocolate Cake

Chocolate Mint Cake
adapted and inspired by (Ovr) Exchange

dw is not lactose intolerant, so he requested a full fat, full on-dairy doom confection.

for the chocolate cake, i used a tried & true chocolate cake recipe, also found here. i used a 6X3" pan. bake time was difficult to decipher, it was probably about an hour, leftover batter went into 6 cupcakes which baked for about 25 minutes.

Ganache
5oz semi-sweet chocolate
5oz milk
1 TBL butter

Place chocolate pieces in a bowl. Warm milk to very hot, do not scald. Pour over the chocolate. Allow the chocolate to warm thru, stir mixture. once it is fully combined, add in the pat of butter. mix until smooth & shiny. set aside to cool, but keep an eye out.

Vanilla-Mint Frosting
4 oz of cream cheese, at room temp
5.5oz powdered sugar
splash of milk
2 tsp peppermint extract
1 tsp vanilla extract

in a mixer, mix cream cheese until soft & smooth. sift in powdered sugar. splash of milk to loosen if needed. add in the extracts. mix until well combined, you want it to be light & fluffy.

Peppermint Whip
5 oz heavy whipping cream
1/2 tsp peppermint extract
1 TBL powdered sugar

in a mixer, with a whip attachment, whip all ingredients until light & fluffy.

Chocolate Shavings
4oz semi-sweet chocolate

melt chocolate, bain marie style. spread chocolate on piece of parchment paper, make it as thin as possible. roll up paper and place in freezer.

to assemble:

cut the cake into two even horizontal layers. place first layer on serving plate. wrap a piece of acetate around the cake, securing with a bit of frosting (i used cream cheese). pour the semi-cooled ganache over the cake layer. place in fridge immediately to firm up. when that's firmed up enough, remove cake for the next layer. with the use of a piping bag or gallon-size freezer bag (which is what i used) pipe frosting on top of ganache. somehow i started in the middle, working my way out. the original poster started on the outside. either way is fine.

place remaining layer of cake on top, pressing down gently. pile on the peppermint whip cream on top.

remove rolled chocolate sheet from from freezer, do not unroll. instead gently crunch the paper while holding the end over top of the cake. the shavings will release & slide down tube. (it's quite genius, really).

place in fridge until ready to serve. best cold, rather than room temp.

thanks Lynette for your help with this!

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

vegan peanut butter cups

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Vegan Peanut Butter Cups

i am just now surfacing from a cold. the human body is amazing -- the amount of mucus it can produce is mind boggling, and yet the human body's inability to deal with tissues is as equally puzzling. i tried a neti pot for the first time, to lackluster results, along with the biggest mess in the bathroom. but i persevered and attempted it again the next day, this time opening my nasal passages so that i remembered what it was like to breathe properly. it was a revelation.

and so all last week i lived off of cough drops, had a perpetual runny nose, and could barely taste anything i ate. i started feeling better friday night, and all in good time too, for i had these beauties to create. it was nuria's birthday this past weekend and her gentleman friend requested the chocolate + peanut butter combo. what's so great about this dessert is that no cooking or baking is required, it's easy, it looks impressive and most importantly, it tastes amazing.

vegan peanut butter cups
makes exactly 12

1 bag of (about 12oz) semi sweet chocolate chips
1 container of organic firm tofu
5 TBL powdered sugar
3/4 cup organic peanut butter
splash of soy creamer

materials:
clean/new paint brush
12 silicone cupcake liners
icing bag
1M tip (optional)

in a double boiler, melt the chocolate chips. as you progress you will have to warm up the chocolate mixture every so often.
when the chocolate is shiny and nicely melted, scoop 2 tsp of chocolate in a cupcake liner. with the paint brush, "paint" the chocolate up the sides, getting thru the nooks. it'll be thin, that's ok. do this for all 12 liners. put in fridge to harden.

meanwhile, make the peanut butter tofu in a food processor. this process is all about texture and consistency. you want it to be firmer than how the peanut butter pie was, but the method/gist is the same. add all ingredients in, mix until fully incorporated. put in icing bag along with 1M tip, or any tip you want to use.

take cupcake liners out, they should be hard. do another coating of the chocolate. i did 2 layers, but you can make a 3rd layer if you want. be sure to keep in fridge to harden completely. carefully pull the silicone back and pop the cups out. it seems fragile but it's quite durable. 

when ready to serve, pipe in peanut butter tofu filling. garnish with shavings if you like, or just plain. either way, they're adorable.

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i'm currently learning Light Room 3. as a result, some photos may come out looking... off. any pointers/tips would be greatly appreciated.