Archives for December 2012

Ciao, 2012.

Happy Monday y’all!
I can’t believe that this is the last day of 2012. This year has been crazy for me: i moved back home, started going back to school for most post-bacc degree, watched my baby seester graduate from college, rescued a new dog, won a recipe contest, and got some exciting news in my little foodie world. Somewhere in between I have dealt with all other things crazy that occur within my Italian family, all while baking cakes, cookies, and casseroles for all of you beautiful people. 
Seriously, with my blog of only 60-something subscribers, you have no idea what joy it brings me to share my life’s stories and recipes with all of you. I could be broke for the rest of my life in terms of money, but ultimately, I would still feel the richness I get with each blog I post. I am super ecstatic to see what 2013 has in store for me. I know that this year is going to be big and definitely has the potential to be epic for me. No doubt about it.
 So, I mentioned that my baby seester gave me a copy of the Practical Paleo cookbook for an early Christmas gift. Because I have been dealing with a few stomach issues, I thought I wold give the paleo plan a try. Do you know what this means for me? No peanut butter and no chickpeas…which means no hummus. My world has ended. Not really, but do your know how difficult it is to stare at a vat of your favorite red bell pepper hummus from Jason’s Deli and want to dive head first in it, only to stop yourself for the fear of painful stomach cramps as a consequence. Oh, and peanut butter. Let’s not even go there. I hope to reincorporate it back into my routine asap! For now, I must deal with almond butter…which is a good alternative…but totally not peanut butter.
Anyway, instead of making you some sort of lucky black eyed pea dip for the New Year, I thought I would bake you a cake.
A cake with bananas. 
Bananas are lucky for me.

A banana cake.

A Paleo Banana Cake.

This banana cake is seriously the best banana cake I have ever made. 

This banana cake is melt in your mouth divine with a nutty flavor of the almond flour combined with a hint of coconut flavor. 

It’s like a little piece of summer warmth during the winter. 
Please top with coconut butter. 

Only because coconut butter is lucky and oh so utterly delicious. 
But lucky too. 


Paleo Banana Snack Cake (GF, Grain-Free):

Ingredients:
2 c. almond flour
1 c. coconut flour
1/2 t. salt
1 t. baking soda
1/4 c. coconut oil, melted
1/4 c. honey
6 eggs
1 c. light coconut milk (or unsweetened vanilla almond milk)
1 T. pure vanilla extract
3 ripe bananas, mashed
slightly melted coconut butter, for topping, optional

Ingredients:
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9×11 baking dish with softened coconut oil.
2. In a large mixing bowl, combine the flours, salt, and baking soda.
3. In a separate large mixing bowl, whisk together the coconut oil, honey, eggs, milk, and vanilla. Add the mashed bananas and mix until just incorporated.
4. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix until just combined.
5. Pour the batter into the prepared baking dish and bake for 40-45 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.
6. Let the cake cool slightly.
7. Cut into squares and serve with a good topping of melted coconut butter.

Makes 20-22 squares of cake.

MANGIA!!!

My Life According To…

Happy Sunday y’all!
I am obsessed with Sunday. Although it may be the end of the week, it is the most relaxing day and it gives me a chance to prepare for a new week.
I smell buttermilk biscuits baking this morning.
O yes.
Let’s talk Christmas festivities y’all.
My mom and I went to my grandparents house on Christmas Eve. 

Just loved my grandmother’s Charlie Brown Christmas tree. So cute.

A little too excited on Christmas morning. It was pretty much 5 a.m. 

Seester and I are crazy. Nothing has changed. 

We had a blast opening up gifts with our parents. 

Just like the good ole’ days. 
Wait, these are the good ole’ days. 

I think the dogs liked their gifts a little too much.

More than a little too much. 🙂

Love my new coffee cup that seester got me 🙂
Coffee goes great with these

I have been making a ton of paleo recipes from the Practical Paleo cookbook that seester got me.
Exhibit A: crust less quiche.

Exhibit B: carrot gingerbread muffins…only I was out of carrot so I used shredded coconut instead. 
A.K.A.: the best freaking gingerbread muffins of your life. 

Yay for a new scarf!

Although who needs a scarf when you have all this hair?

My parents were dead tired after hosting Christmas Day festivities at our house. 

Oh and Annabelle was a little tired herself. Surprise. Surprise. 

In other news, I got the cutest shirt from the J. Crew Outlet near my house. 
I always cherish the bags more…great for lunches…winning!
Wishing you a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year from my family to yours. 
MANGIA!!!

Post-Christmas Detox

Happy Thursday y’all!
Now, I could have posted the past two days but seriously…I wanted to enjoy my Christmas that much more. I don’t know about you but I can’t believe Christmas is over. I love this time of year and the weather couldn’t be more perfect round’ these here parts. Finally! How was your Christmas? Did you get all dressed up? Did you go to Christmas mass? Did you go to a party and eat all of the unlimited Christmas cookies and get zonked on a bottle of wine? Christmas with my family could have not been more perfect, it was Christmas with my extended family that was a bit chaotic…Italians are loud. I found myself knee deep in a huge pot of tomato sauce, baking sheets filled with meatballs, and the highest octaves that can occur during loud family gatherings. You know what? I wouldn’t have it any other way. 
It’s my family…there is always some sort of “excitement” that occurs at these gatherings and this year did not disappoint. Think Sopranos meets New Jersey Housewives. Ouch. Anyway, I am all about keeping this Christmas thing going as long as I can. Seester informed me about the evils of agave nectar this past week and I have completely eliminated it from my vocabulary as well as from my diet. Honey and Maple Syrup are becoming my new bff’s. 
I have been really focused on making little bitty bites or “treats” if that is what you wish to call them. Little bites of semi-healthier desserts are a great way to feel good about yourself, right? Especially since the new year is right around the corner!
This year is going to be all about wholesome ingredients for me. 

This starts with unsweetened cocoa powder, almond flour, coconut, and chopped roasted almonds. 

Then we add some almond butter and honey! Oh, and vanilla.

Final product: No Bake Almond Butter Macaroons. 

Oh so utterly delicious and the perfect cookie for you sweet/salty tooth!
No Bake Cocoa Almond Butter Macaroons (GF/V/Paleo):
Ingredients:
3 T. natural almond butter (I used a homemade almond butter)
3 T. honey (use maple syrup for vegan)
1/4 t. pure vanilla extract
1/4 t. fine grain sea salt
1 1/4 c. unsweetened, shredded coconut
1/4 c. + 2 T. almond flour
1/4 c. chopped roasted, unsalted almonds
3.5 T. unsweetened cocoa powder
Instructions:
1. In a large bowl, combine the almond butter, honey, vanilla, and sea salt until smooth.
2. In a separate large mixing bowl, combine the shredded coconut, almond flour, almonds, and cocoa powder. 
3. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix until a firm dough forms.
4. Portion the dough out using a tablespoon measure or use your hands to roll the dough into tiny balls. 
5. Place in containers and freezer or refrigerate until ready to eat. 
Makes 15-20 macaroons.
MANGIA!!!

My Life According To…

Happy Monday y’all!
I apologize for being m.i.a. for a bit…I was too busy living in the moment with my family 🙂
Oh, and eating these

and this…oh mah gawwwwd.

Yesterday was my Dad’s birthday…so of course I made him some buttermilk biscuits. 

Seester brought her cat home with her…this could be the beginning of a new friendship
one that I am oh so not thrilled about. 

My bestest cousin Parker came over to hang out yesterday and I put him to work in my sweatshop 

kitchen making these awesome bracelets. Love you Parks!
Thanks for the swag!
MANGIA!!!

Crunch Time.

The end is near.?! Ummmmm sure, sure. I haven’t even had a chance to have my coffee this morning. Surely, the end is not near or happening today. Although, the freakishly cold temps around these here parts make me somewhat skeptical ;).
 Alright ladies and gents, it’s crunch time. If you haven’t even started your Christmas shopping (guilty) yet, you have some options. Option 1: Run to the store, act like a Grinch because somehow I am supposed to sympathize with your procrastination, and proceed to whine about how there are no free gifts left with your purchase of a $72 boxed set fragrance. Option 2: Spend every waking hour you have on Ebay, Amazon, hell, even Craigslist trying to find the perfect ” I procrastinated so now I have to get you the knock off version of that Coach handbag you wanted” gift. Option 3: Gift-cards: they may say “Hi, I am the procrastinator that “forgot” to shop on time for you so now I will purchase an impersonal gift for you to eat at one of your favorite local restaurants for a month,” but desperate times call for desperate measures. People, I suggest you get to steppin’. 
Oh, I forgot to include Option 4: Make a homemade gift, preferably including food. Something like this.
With a ton of nuts.

What we have here are pecans, pepita seeds, and sliced almonds, all coated with a bit of sticky black strap molasses

and spiced with cinnamon, ginger, and sea salt. 

Oh, and you know there is some shredded coconut in there as well.

Amazingly simple and 

utterly delicious.

Not to mention, the perfect creative gift for those procrastinators. 

Your giftee will think you planned this all along. 

Spiced Molasses Nut Clusters (GF/V/Grain-free):

Ingredients:
1 c. raw pecan halves
1/2 c. raw sliced almonds
1/2 c. raw pepita seeds
3 T. black strap molasses
1/4 c. unsweetened, shredded coconut
3 T. raw coconut sugar
1/4 t. ground cinnamon
1/4 t. ground ginger
1/4 t. fine sea salt

Instructions:
1. Preheat oven to 275 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
2. In a large mixing bowl, combine the pecans, almonds, pepita’s, and molasses. Mix until well combined.
3. Add the coconut, coconut sugar, cinnamon, ginger, and sea salt and mix again until everything is well incorporated.
4. Spread the mixture evenly out onto the baking sheet. Bake for 10 minutes, then rotate the pan and bake for another 10 minutes.
5. Allow the mixture to cool completely on the pan. Break the nuts up into clumps and store in glass jars or to give as Christmas gifts!

Makes about 3.5 cups.

MANGIA!!!