Archives for July 2011

Flipping out over Figs: A recipe for homemade Wheat-Free Raspberry Fig Newtons!!!

Figs!!!

Fig Filling!

Roll out the dough

Spread with the fig filling

Top with the raspberry preserves

Fold the dough in half and seal the sides

Fresh from the oven!

By this point I was drooling over them…

Then I nearly fainted before getting my last decent shot…

Happy Wednesday all,
I know that I usually set aside Wednesday to be a “wordless” day on my blog. However, I was just so excited to talk about my recipe that I couldn’t wait another day. Seriously, this recipe is one of the best ideas I have had so far. Now, you may remember a popular cookie…I think it’s called a Fig Newton. Anyway, the newtons look like this and I eat them one by one like this. As a child my mother would take my sister and I to the grocery store and Fig Newton’s were always our treat for being good. I remember sitting patiently in the push-cart while my mom handed me the beautiful yellow box filled with figgy goodness. My sister and I would tear into the carton of cookies right away, devouring half the tray before reaching the check-out line. Moving on, about a week ago my mother and I were at the grocery store and we discovered these wheat-free fig bars in the bulk section that were absolutely to die for! Because my sister has celiac, my mom has been on this gluten-free kick, which has helped her control her anxiety. My mom absolutely fell in love with these fig bars and started eating them for a morning, noon, and night snack. Side note: These fig bars are great if you are running low on energy and need a pick me up in the middle of the day, also a great pre-workout snack! So, when my mom sent me to the grocery store for a few items the other day, the wheat-free fig bars were at the top of her list. Much to my dismay, I couldn’t find the wheat-free fig bars anywhere in the store and unfortunately I had to relay the bad news to my mother who wasn’t pleased. Then I had a brilliant idea to raise her spirits by making the darn cookies myself! I wasn’t going to let an unreliable grocery store stop me from replicating a truly cherished item. I got down to business right away, but of course I had to take the homemade fig bars one step further and add fresh raspberry preserves to the mix. This was an excellent idea and I must say that my mom will never have to worry about being out of wheat-free fig bars because homemade is the only way to go! Let me tell you, I will never go back to regular fig newtons. My recipe for Wheat-Free Raspberry Fig Newtons are the bomb.com! The smell of the newtons baking in the oven was enough to send me into a whirlwind of anxiety, frantically checking the oven because I couldn’t wait to pop one of these babies into my mouth. As soon as they were finished baking, my mom and I stood over the baking sheet, patiently waiting for the newtons to cool slightly, anticipating the taste of the chewy newton that we all know and love. The wait was definitely worth it, as the combination of the chewy fig and sweetness of the raspberry preserves oozed out of the cookie and into my mouth. Sweet symphony! These newtons are so moist and delectable, I didn’t even have the words to speak as I savored my first bite. My mom kept saying the same thing over and over again…”Chelsy, O my Lord, O my Lord.” What can I say, I have surprised myself once again with my ability to outsmart the grocery store. BAM! I would suggest that you run off to make these homemade wheat-free raspberry fig newtons right now and you will see what I have been raving about all along. Feel free to eat these newtons slightly warm and wash them down with a big ole’ glass of cold milk.

Wheat-Free Raspberry Fig Newtons:

Ingredients:
Filling:
1 c. dried figs (I used California figs)
1/2 c. of lemon juice (I used the juice of 1 Meyer lemon)
1 Tbs. vanilla extract
1 c. raspberry preserves
Dough:
2 1/2 c. almond flour
1/2 tsp. sea salt
1/2 c. agave nectar
1/4 c. molasses
1/4 c. grapeseed oil
1 Tbs. vanilla extract

Instructions:
1. Place the figs in a food processor and blend for 30 seconds until they are well chopped.
2. Add the lemon juice and vanilla; process until a smooth paste results.
3. Using an electric stand mixer, combine almond flour and salt.
4. In a smaller bowl, combine agave, molasses, grapeseed oil and vanilla.
5. Mix wet ingredients into dry, then refrigerate dough for 1 hour.
6. Divide chilled dough into 4 parts.
7. Between 2 pieces of parchment paper, roll out 1 part of the dough into a 10×4 in. rectangle, 1/4 in. thick.
8. Spread 1/4 of the filling evenly down the right side (lengthwise) of the rectangle.
9. Spread 1/4 c. of the raspberry preserves over the fig filling.
10. Fold the dough in half down the long side-resulting in a 10×2 in. bar.
11. “Mend” the seam so the bar is symmetrical.
12. Repeat with the 3 remaining parts of dough, filling, and preserves.
13. Transfer each bar to a parchment lined baking sheet; bake at 350 F for 10-15 minutes.
14. Allow to cool slightly; cut bar every 2 inches to form the fig newtons.
15. Serve.

Makes about 20 newtons.

MANGIA!!!

It’s all Greek to me!!!

Look at that expression…too cute!

What a stud-muffin!

Green Beans!

OPA!

Happy Tuesday all,
Well, it has been a busy past couple of days for me. You see, this weekend I became a Godmother to the cutest baby in the world, Lucas Wade Ethridge. Now, this is a big responsibility that I have accepted and I have to live up to my full potential and be the best godmother in the world. Thank heavens I have awesome godparents myself that have definitely set the bar high. I seriously don’t know how I will ever live up to their greatness! Haha! Anyway, I didn’t do much cooking this weekend because I was super busy being a super godmother. However, yesterday I really got back into the swing of things and decided to make a scrumptious dinner for my parents. My dad has been back and forth between California and Texas for work, which unfortunately has left him starved of a home cooked meal for a few months. Not to mention, California doesn’t exactly have the essential fast food joints we are used to round’ these here parts in Texas…for example, California is without the king of all fast food burger joints “What-a–burger” (sound it out…and no, it’s not pronounced “Water-burger!”). Other pitfalls include no Tex-Mex (their idea of queso is grated cheddar cheese) and don’t even think about asking for mayo on your burger…the In-And-Out employee will have a staring contest with you for five minutes and then hand you a burger with “special sauce” (I tell you, that sauce sure is “special”, so special that I definitely wanted to get in-and-out of that burger joint a.s.a.p.!). So, beside the fantastic weather that California has, expect to come crawling back to Texas malnourished and starving for some real Texas chili (you know, the kind without beans!). Now, that I am done bashing Cali (don’t get me wrong I would trade in my cowgirl boots for a surfboard for a day…well, maybe half a day), I took it upon myself to make my parents a good home-cooked meal. I wanted to make a meal that tasted like I had been slaving away for hours in the kitchen, but was really super simple. That being said, for the main dish I made a fragrant baked basil pesto chicken. The real goodness comes when I served it with a side of Greek green beans. We also had a bowl of fresh mixed salad greens with sliced tomatoes. Now, let me tell you my story about my first encounter with Greek green beans…or with Greek food in general. Throughout high school my sister and I were always looking for new cuisines and restaurants to try out. So, each weekend we would set out in search of some good ethnic food. Honestly, some of the best food I have ever tried has been with my sister…she introduced me to sushi, and then Greek food. I had always wanted to try Greek food and lucky for me, my sister knew of a great restaurant just around the corner from our house. So, one Saturday night we went to a small Mediterranean restaurant on the outskirts of our neighborhood. We both got the baked lemon chicken, which came with a Greek side salad and two side dishes. Side number one was a gorgeous mound of roasted golden potatoes spiced with a hint of paprika, side number two was customer’s choice. Of course, being a lover of green beans I wasted no time choosing my second side. Now, I wasn’t expecting anything other than a side of ordinary green beans (you know, the kind your momma made you when you were little, with half a slab of bacon in it?). To my surprise, my meal came out with a side of green beans that brought tears to my eyes…these green beans looked and tasted spectacular, slow-simmered in a tomato broth and seasoned to perfection with fresh parsley and a hint of salt and pepper. The dish was utterly simplistic, yet seemed like a culinary masterpiece. From that moment, my entire perspective of green beans has been completely biased. Now, I only eat Italian green beans (it’s a secret family recipe), or these marvelous Greek green beans. Lucky for me, last week I stumbled across a fabulous Greek food blog, Ella says Opa, where they had a recipe for Greek green beans! Score! Opa! I had to make them right away, and let me tell you, one bite of these green beans last night and I was right back at that little Greek restaurant with my sister. My parents didn’t seem to have a problem cleaning their plates. Seriously, these green beans make me want to visit the island of Greece even more…I can already picture myself living off feta cheese and olives, stomping grapes to make wine, and swimming in the crystal blue Mediterranean sea. P.S. This was my first time making a recipe using actual fresh green beans, and after this I will find it difficult to use canned green beans ever again. I hope you all enjoy these Greek green beans as much as I did and make them a.s.a.p.!

Greek Green Beans:

Ingredients:
1 Tbs. olive oil
1 white onion, diced
28 oz. can low-sodium crushed tomatoes (I used Bionaturae Organic Crushed Tomatoes from Italy)
1.5 c. of water
1-1.5 lbs. of fresh trimmed green beans
1/2 c. freshly chopped flat-leaf Italian parsley
salt and pepper, to taste

Instructions:
1. Heat the olive oil in a large pot.
2. Add onion and cook until translucent.
3. Add green beans, tomatoes, water, parsley, salt and pepper.
4. Bring to a boil, cover the pot with a lid, then reduce the heat a little to allow the sauce to cook and thicken.
5. This will take about 45 minutes to 1 hour.
6. Turn the heat off and serve immediately.

Optional: Of course I eat mine with freshly grated Parmesan cheese and a side of Tzatziki sauce.

MANGIA!


Cuckoo for Coconut!

Coconut!!!




Happy Thursday all,
It’s almost the weekend and I have some exciting news…well, it’s exciting for me anyway. This Sunday I will become the “Godmatha” to my newest baby cousin, Lucas Wade Ethridge. I am so ecstatic, being as this will be my first godchild…hopefully there will be more godchildren in my future seeing as I just love kids (not ready for my own…but this will be good practice, haha!). Anyway, lately I have been on a cookie kick! Who could blame me? I mean, they are super simple to make and always great for a take along snack…or for a late night fridge raid. My favorite cookies are from the Great American Cookie Company in the mall, you may have see them…they are the ones with the big chunks of white chocolate and macadamia nuts in them. Well, these things stare me down as I trudge pass the big glass cookie case on the outskirts of the food court, screaming “buy me”…or “buy five of me because if you buy five of me, you get the sixth cookie free.” Lucky for me, I have a particular family member that absolutely loves their Chewy Pecan Supreme cookie so needless to say, I get my money’s worth. While I adore myself a big ole’ cookie cake (reminds me of the time I turned 15 and my grandmother and cousins made me a homemade chocolate chip cookie cake that was bigger than my body), today I thought I would make a smaller cookie. Don’t be fooled, these things are literally packed with coconut. Lucky for me, I am a huge fan of coconut…something about it that just sends me to an island in Hawaii, where I imagine myself lounging on the beach under a cabana, being served pina colada’s with the little umbrella’s in them (of course the guy that is serving me these drinks is smokin’ hot…haha!). Okay, well back to reality. Yesterday I was craving coconut and I needed to use the container that was staring me down every time I opened the freezer door to get some ice. So, of course, my first thought was to put them into a cookie…but not just any cookie, a Coconut Cookie. Now, this cookie is unlike any other because it is made with coconut flour, which gives it that extra punch of coconut. Not only are these cookies easy to make, but they are moist on the inside and crisp on the outside, absolutely PERFECT! Not to mention, they will most likely send you to the island of your dreams each time you take a bite. Then again, these cookies are bite-sized so after one cookie, I can guarantee you that you will be reaching for the next to enjoy that lasting island experience. I hope that you all enjoy these cookies and if you aren’t able to take a vacation this summer, I insist that you go make these cookies a.s.a.p and get a little rest and relaxation by the pool!

Coconut Cookies:

Ingredients:
1 1/2 c. coconut flour
1/2 tsp. sea salt
2 c. unsweetened shredded coconut
3 egg whites
1 c. agave nectar

Instructions:
1. Preheat the oven to 350 F. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper.
2. In a large bowl, combine the coconut flour, salt, and coconut.
3. Using an electric mixer with the whisk attachment, whisk the egg whites to stiff white peaks. Blend in the agave nectar.
4. Fold the wet ingredients into the coconut flour mixture using a rubber spatula.
5. Spoon the dough 1 tablespoon at a time onto the prepared baking sheets, leaving 2 inches between each cookie.
6. Bake for 15-20 minutes, until golden around the edges.
7. Let the cookies cool on the baking sheets for 30 minutes, then serve.

Makes about 28 cookies.

MANGIA!!!

Cuckoo for Coconut!

Happy Thursday all,
It’s almost the weekend and I have some exciting news…well, it’s exciting for me anyway. This Sunday I will become the “Godmatha” to my newest baby cousin, Lucas Wade Ethridge. I am so ecstatic, being as this will be my first godchild…hopefully there will be more godchildren in my future seeing as I just love kids (not ready for my own…but this will be good practice, haha!). Anyway, lately I have been on a cookie kick! Who could blame me? I mean, they are super simple to make and always great for a take along snack…or for a late night fridge raid. My favorite cookies are from the Great American Cookie Company in the mall, you may have see them…they are the ones with the big chunks of white chocolate and macadamia nuts in them. Well, these things stare me down as I pass the big glass cookie case at the mall, screaming “buy me”…or “buy five of me because if you buy five of me, you get the sixth cookie free.” Lucky for me, I have a particular family member that absolutely loves there Chewy Pecan Supreme cookie so needless to say, I get my money’s worth. While I adore myself a big ole’ cookie cake (reminds me of the time I turned 15 and my grandmother and cousins made me a homemade chocolate chip cookie cake that was bigger than my body), today I thought I would make a smaller cookie. Don’t be fooled, these things are literally packed with coconut. Lucky for me, I am a huge fan of coconut…something about it that just sends me to an island in Hawaii, where I imagine myself lounging on the beach under a cabana, being served pina colada’s with the little umbrella’s in them (of course the guy that is serving me these drinks is smokin‘ hot…haha!). Okay, well back to reality. Yesterday I was craving coconut and I needed to use the container that was staring me down every time I opened the freezer door to get some ice. So, of course, my first thought was to put them into a cookie…but not just any cookie, a Coconut Cookie. Now, this cookie is unlike any other because it is made with coconut flour, which gives it that extra punch of coconut. Not only are these easy to make, but they are moist and decadent and will most likely send you to the island of your dreams each time you take a bite. Then again, these cookies are bite-sized so after one cookie, I can guarantee you that you will be reaching for the next to enjoy that lasting island experience. I hope you all enjoy these cookies and if you aren’t able to take a vacation this summer, I insist that you go make these cookies a.s.a.p and get a little rest and relaxation by the pool!

Wordless Wednesday

Finger-licking good…







Mini Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins (Gluten-Free)


Ingredients:
1/4 c. coconut flour
1/4 tsp. sea salt
1/4 tsp. baking soda
3 eggs
1/4 c. agave nectar
1/4 c. grapeseed oil
1 Tbs. lemon zest
1 Tbs. poppy seeds

Instructions:
1. In a small bowl, combine the coconut flour, sea salt, and baking soda.
2. Using an electric mixer, blend together the eggs, agave, oil, and lemon zest.
3. Blend the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients.
4. Fold in the poppy seeds.
5. Spray a mini muffin pan with non-stick cooking spray.
6. Spoon 1 tablespoon of batter into each greased mini muffin cup.
7. Bake at 350 for 8 to 10 minutes.
8. Cool and serve.

Makes about 24 mini-muffins. (Adapted from Elana’s Pantry).

MANGIA!!!