“Paleo” Peanut Butter* Cups [gluten-free]

double-peanut-butter

*Okay, really, these are only “paleo” if you sub them with sun butter, almond butter, cashew butter or the like. So, pick your butter and go with it. :)

In a small saucepan, melt on super-low heat:

4 Tablespoons [58 g] coconut oil

Add to a 2 cup (or larger) liquid measuring cup, and whisk together with:

1/2 cup [128 g] nutbutter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract (I prefer vanilla paste)
4 Tablespoons [84 g] honey
1/8 teaspoon [pinch] salt

Pour into 12 mini-muffin tin (lined with parchment liners), about halfway full. Place in freezer to cool. While in freezer, stir into remaining nutbutter-mixture:

1/4 cup cocoa powder

When mini-muffin cups are firm (about 20 minutes), pour a bit of chocolate topping onto each muffin cup. Return to freezer to harden, then can be stored in refrigerator until done.

Enjoy! Sharing Optional.™

**Recipe adapted by Dr. Mark Hyman’s Double Peanut Butter Cups

KitchenNut…going Paleo??

I rather detest “diet trends” and such, but having a daughter that is gluten-intolerant, can’t have dairy and “shouldn’t have” eggs hasn’t left me much choice. I’ve tried developing/substituting recipes, but if you’re a frequent reader, I do *not* believe in substitutions. I believe a well-tested recipe is good and final…when you start subbing, too many things go wrong and the recipe fails. So, what’s left? I’ve come across the “paleo diet,” which is really eating grain-free (gluten-free!) and dairy-free (yay!), but lots of eggs (oh, darn!). So, I’ve been working on finding some vegan-paleo recipes, for easy search terms. However, I’m a drop in the bucket of many, many food bloggers…and tastes of passable vs. palatable are all over the board. Thus far, I’m on a roll with “Elana Amsterdam” recipes. She makes a good point, though, that basically any protein recipe works, but I’m on the hunt for some other baking recipes, too. I enjoy good fruits and veggies, but I still need a little “substance” to help make the days pass, as well. :)

Lactose intolerant…but butter and heavy cream?

In preparation for some birthday cupcakes, my friend asked me if the recipe would have any dairy (as her daughter is lactose-intolerant). She mentioned that her daughter can tolerate butter, but not “milk.” In my scientifically-curious mind, I had to set about understanding why that might be! And truth-beknown, sure enough…the lactose is in the “watery” part of the milk, and very little in the cream. There is still some, but it explained to my mind why someone could handle butter, but not milk.

 

RecipeNut.com…oddly too close for comfort!

Hubby sent me an interesting link today…as soon as I saw the title, my eyebrows had to raise. It is RecipeNut.com  Oddly enough, it is the exact same idea I had when I first began the website “KitchenNut.” A few years ago, hubby and I met with some developers in the Twin Cities to find out the cost to have the site coded and supported. We would do the design ourselves, but lacked the knowledge to design and build ourselves. Unfortunately, we lacked the funds to hire it to be done, as well. We continued to hope that it could be a “someday project.”

Thus, imagine our surprise when a site, built in the Twin Cities, with a too-close-for-comfort name, and yet the exact same idea as ours went live. Maybe next time we won’t involve any third parties in our ideas…just in case.


Organic “Rice Krispies” Treats

4 tablespoons organic refined coconut oil
10 ounces organic marshmallow creme
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon organic vanilla extract
4 cups [150 grams] Whole Grain Brown “Rice Krispies” cereal

  1. Using the coconut oil, grease a 9 x 9 commercial cake pan. Line with unbleached parchment paper and grease.
  2. Melt coconut oil over medium heat in medium pot. Add marshmallow cream and stir together until well-blended and melted. Remove from heat.
  3. Add sea salt and vanilla. Stir well.
  4. Add cereal and stir until well-coated. Add extra cereal if you prefer a crisper treat [I do].
  5. Spread into greased pan, allow to cool.
  6. Enjoy. Sharing Optional!™

The 2010 “Dirty Dozen” – and why!

1. Celery
Celery has no protective skin, which makes it almost impossible to wash off the 64 chemicals that are used on crops.
Alternatives: organic celery, broccoli, radishes, and onions.
2. Peaches
62 pesticides are regularly applied to these delicately skinned fruits in conventional orchards.
Alternatives: organic peaches, watermelon, tangerines, oranges, and grapefruit.
3. Strawberries
If you buy strawberries, especially out of season, they’re most likely imported from countries that have less-stringent regulations for pesticide use. 59 pesticides have been detected in residue on strawberries.
Alternatives: organic strawberries, kiwi, and pineapples.
4. Apples
Like peaches, apples are typically grown with poisons to kill a variety of pests, from fungi to insects. Tests have found 42 different pesticides as residue on apples. Scrubbing and peeling doesn’t eliminate chemical residue completely, so it’s best to buy organic when it comes to apples. Peeling a fruit or vegetable also strips away many of their beneficial nutrients.
Alternatives: organic apples, bananas, and tangerines.
5. Blueberries
New on the Dirty Dozen list in 2010, blueberries are treated with as many as 52 pesticides, making them one of the dirtiest berries on the market.
6. Nectarines
With 33 different types of pesticides found on nectarines, they rank up there with apples and peaches among the dirtiest tree fruit.
Alternatives: organic nectarines, watermelon, papaya, and mango.
7. Bell peppers
Peppers have thin skins that don’t offer much of a barrier to pesticides. They’re often heavily sprayed with insecticides. Tests have found 49 different pesticides on sweet bell peppers.
Alternatives: organic bell peppers, green peas, broccoli, and cabbage.
8. Spinach
New on the list in 2010, spinach can be laced with as many as 48 different pesticides, making it one of the most contaminated green leafy vegetable.
9. Kale
Kale is known as a hardier vegetable that rarely suffers from pests and disease, but it was found to have high amounts of pesticide residue when tested this year.
Alternatives: organic kale, cabbage, asparagus, and broccoli.
10. Cherries
Even locally grown cherries are not necessarily safe. In fact, in one survey in recent years, cherries grown in the U.S. were found to have three times more pesticide residue then imported cherries. Government testing has found 42 different pesticides on cherries.
11. Potatoes
America’s popular spud reappears on the 2010 Dirty Dozen list, after a year hiatus. America’s favorite vegetable can be laced with as many as 37 different pesticides.
Alternatives: organic potatoes and sweet potatoes, eggplant, cabbage, and earthy mushrooms.
12. Grapes
Imported grapes run a much greater risk of contamination than those grown domestically. Only imported grapes make the 2010 Dirty Dozen list. Vineyards can be sprayed with different pesticides during different growth periods of the grape, and no amount of washing or peeling will eliminate contamination because of the grape’s thin skin. Remember, wine and juice is made from grapes, which testing shows can harbor as many as 34 different pesticides.

Refreshing Summer Herbal Beverage

Grab some organic herbal teas–Summer flavors, of course, such as Raspberry, Lemon-Lime, Orange, Blueberry, etc. Bring 16 oz [4 cups] of filtered water to a boil; remove from heat and steep [soak] four bags for five minutes. Cool and put in large mason jar. Refrigerate. When the mood hits, add half cold water and half herbal tea and enjoy! For an extra sparkle, use half sparkling water (my favorite) mixed with 1/2 herbal tea. Ahhhh, delicious!

Live in L.A.? Lucky!

Check out this awesome new site LocalOranges.com It’s an awesome resource for local farmers, markets, and awesome eco-friendly tips. Really well-designed, as well!

Homemade Garam Masala Recipe

An odd spice, but nice to have on hand for last-minute dinners, it can be pricey! So, using the spices you already purchase, you can mix one up!

Quality is important with spices, so get the best.

1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon ground cardamom
1 tablespoon ground coriander
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

Mix well and keep in air-tight container–an empty spice jar works great!

As taken from The Best 30-Minute Recipe

Forget Reese’s!

Oh, wow! I just made a recipe from King Arthur Flour for no-bake peanut butter squares! Amazing! Of course, I made my own changes:

Updated Recipe:

  1. Melt chocolate in glass container in microwave, or in small saucepan on stove over low heat—stir continuously. Remove from heat (or microwave) when only partially melted and stir well until melted completely.
  2. Process graham crackers in food processor until fine crumbs. Add salt, butter and sugar. Pulse until well mixed. Add peanut butter and pulse until well-mixed.
  3. Spread peanut butter mixture into greased 9 x 13 cake pan; Spread melted chocolate on-top, evenly.

Happy surprises: The crumbs melt into the product, so there is no graham-crunch. Perfect!

Hands-on time: ten minutes

Tired of the flavor of meat. I…

Tired of the flavor of meat. I need a restaurant-style marinade recipe. Suggestions?

Quickest and Yummiest Pasta Dinner!

I crave pasta…but, it has to be good. And, for it to be good, it has to be homemade—which does not mean it has to take a long time! My absolute favorite pasta is the Target brand 100% whole what angel hair. Absolutely divine.

Ingredients:

  • 1 box of pasta (thinner is good, but use what you’ve got)
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 28-ounce can of whole or diced tomatoes, pureed to desired chunkiness in blender (or other apparatus of choice)
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons dried basil flakes

TA DA! Seriously…that’s all the ingredients. Now…the twenty minute countdown to chow time begins.

  1. Heat the oil in a skillet or shallow saucepan over medium to med-high heat. Bring a 4 quarts of water to boil in an 8-quart stock pot.
  2. Chop onion (while oil heats). Throw onion in pot, add 1/2 teaspoon of salt and basil. Stir occasionally.
  3. About the time the onion starts to brown, the water will be boiling. Throw 1 tablespoon salt into boiling water (no need to stir; the boiling water takes care of that part for you). Now pour pureed tomatoes into pan with onions.
  4. Add pasta to pot, and stir to make sure the noodles are separated. Stir sauce to scrape up yummy brown bits off of bottom. Continue to stir both, occasionally. In the meantime, set the table and grab condiments (freshly-ground parmigiana can’t be beat).
  5. When the pasta is done, save about one-half cup of the pasta water (just dip a glass measuring cup in there—no need to be precise!!), then drain pasta. While pasta is dripping through strainer, in sink, grab sauce off heat. 
  6. If you’re a mixer, toss both together in large bowl and thin as needed with pasta water. If you’re a separator (my family raises hands), place all three containers on table.
  7. Enjoy! Wash and repeat. Many, many times.

(Optional). Okay—so, your’e thinking—-where’s the veggies?? I’ve got you covered!! Between steps 3 and 4, throw in one pound of chopped fresh broccoli into the boiling, salted water. Count to 60 (okay, one minute), and use a strainer to remove and place in serving bowl. Douse with loads of freshly-ground pepper and continue with step four. See? Healthy AND it only took an extra two minutes!

Roasting Asparagus & Sweet Potatoes

In the interest of frugality, I’ve got to use the veggies that I’ve in my house—before they spoil! Among them included a bag of locally-grown sweet potatoes and locally-grown asparagus. I happen to love sweet potatoes, and have had dishes which I’ve liked with asparagus, but I needed something fast.

Using my favorite kitchen tool, my mini oven (seriously—my very favorite!), I washed/trimmed the asparagus (just the woody ends) and rolled them in some extra-virgin olive oil, added a generous amount of sea salt and freshly-ground black pepper and tossed them in the oven. I think around 425º. After seven or eight minutes, I rotated them around, then popped them back in. Once the tip of a paring knife could slide in/out easily, they were done!

As for the sweet pots, I’ve partaken of many fried strips at restaurants, but had no desire to fire up a pot of oil. So, mimicking the asparagus, I cut them into very long strips, about one inch thick perimeters, followed the same dressing idea and roasted away. Same temp, about the same time.

DIVINE!!

I now find myself wondering how many asparagus stalks and sweet potato sticks one can consume in my sitting without making oneself sick.

Best Carrot Cake I’ve had!

I had a serious craving for cake (no surprise there), but I decided to have a nice carrot cake, so I could pretend I was being healthy. In my quests of late to cut back on sugar, I’ve continued my intrigue with older recipes (pre-1950s) when cakes/muffins/cookies weren’t quite as sweet as they are now–at least in the U.S. In reality, if you pull down a Euro-Baking book, you’ll definitely get recipes with minute amounts of sugar—which I quite enjoy.

I pulled down one of my favorites, The Best Light Recipe,  to review the ingredients. However, I felt it still had too much sugar. Each night that I’m at the gym, I pass the time by watching an episode of Alton Brown on the Food Network; great knowledge and entertainment. Recently, he had done a carrot cake recipe, which is probably what sparked this whole thing…so, I flipped to his recipe.

Comparing the two, they were amazingly similar with only two exceptions: CI had more carrots, AB had less sugar. Success! I combined their efforts and I am delighted with the results!

Clickety here for recipe

My suggestions for change

  1. Use one pound of carrots
  2. Use a 9 x 13 cake pan (the double-layer 9″ took seemingly forever to bake)
  3. I grated the carrots by hand
  4. I used my KitchenAid mixer (too lazy to pull out the food processor)
  5. Use the same weight of flour, but King Arthur Flour Organic 100% White Whole Wheat

Giver her a try and report back!

Eating local…for the satisfaction of it.

There are many arguments as to why (or why not) to eat local, but I propose to do so for this: straight-up and selfish satisfaction. Yesterday, though only 47º outside, I headed to the local farmer’s market to see many vendors who are proud, passionate, and dedicated to their foods. As they should be—they’re beautiful!

I purchased three things: one dozen eggs, one jar of homegrown and home-canned organic strawberry jam, and another of raspberry. Oh, wait. Four things: and a homemade raspberry-rhubarb pie that was heated in a toaster oven while waiting. Wow.

As I escaped the cold to head back to my car, I was filled with such a joy to have exchanged money with the farmer who gathered the eggs just a few days (if not the same day) earlier. Chatting with the berry grower and canner, and hearing the pride in in his voice as he shared about his process. More than anything…I know where my eggs came from. I know where my jam was grown and processed. And, I know that my money went to a good family.

Breakfast was lovely today.

Baked From Scratch