Archives for June 2014

Bacon Train.

Ahhhhhh. My entire low-back is in pain.

Let’s just say that a 6’3 chiropractor knows how to use a set of torture devices.

Damn car wreck.

On another note….I think wedding season is finally over for me.

Don’t get me wrong, I love me a good wedding, and Saturday’s wedding was top-notch, but after three weddings from April-now, I’m wedding worn-out.

My favorite part of any wedding is seeing my mom scarf a steak, salad, and plate loaded full of comfort carbs, down a glass of wine, and hit the dance floor.

Calories mean nothing.

I have training at work this week, and while my intention was to bake muffins for my co-workers and I…you know things don’t last long in my house.

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Especially muffins with chocolate bacon and homemade cashew butter.

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Yea, you read that correctly.

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Yes, Bacon Chocolate Cashew Banana Muffins.

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A little bit of sweet…

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a little bit of salty.

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Now,

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I’d say that’s a pretty well balanced muffin.

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Wouldn’t you?

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Verdict: Everything is better with bacon.

Chocolate Bacon Cashew Banana Muffins
Author: 
Recipe type: Muffins
Cuisine: American
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 9
 
Warmn, fluffy, muffins made flour-less with creamy, homemade cashew butter, slightly sweetened w/ maple syrup, balanced with a hint of chopped, salty bacon, dark chocolate. Gluten-free, paleo.
Ingredients
  • 1 large very ripe banana, mashed
  • ½ c. cashew butter, plus extra for topping
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 T. pure maple extract
  • ½ t. pure vanilla extract
  • ½ t. apple cider vinegar
  • ¼ t. baking soda
  • 1 3 oz. dark chocolate bacon bar, chopped (I used Mo's)
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a muffin cup pan with cooking spray.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine the banana, cashew butter, egg, maple syrup, apple cider vinegar, and baking soda until smooth.
  3. Fold in the chocolate.
  4. Divide the batter evenly into the muffin cups.
  5. Bake for 15-18 minutes, or until slightly golden, or when a toothpick is inserted into the center of each muffin, it comes out clean.
  6. Let cool slightly, top with extra slightly melted cashew butter.

MANGIA!!!

Wreck It.

Thank goodness it’s Monday!

What!? I know, I rarely ever say that about Monday.

You will probably never say that about Monday either.

Let me tell you about last week.

It was freaking amazing.

Until Wednesday… at about 3:15 p.m.

I was on my way home from work and had just come to a standstill on the overpass because there was a stalled car somewhere on the freeway.

This is normal for Houston traffic.

Person on the side of the road…traffic, paper flying across the freeway…traffic, bright metallic green escalade with 24-inched rims…traffic.

You get the point.

Anyway, at that very moment, for some reason, I looked up in my rear view mirror only to see that a car was coming at me around 50-55 m.p.h.

In that very moment, I knew I was powerless, I shut my eyes and waited for the impact.

He hit me, and hard.

I pulled onto the shoulder, got out of the car in tears from the impact, and immediately called my dad, then 911.

Wrecks are no fun.

Especially when you get hit by an 18-year old boy who speaks very little English.

Or at least he pretended to speak very little English.

He was texting and driving…duh.

Oh, and not to mention…my car is totaled.

But I count my blessings…it could have been worse.

Then, there are days where I have epiphanies and think…did I really just create that?

Yesterday was one of those days.

IMG_0399Let’s pulverize some cashews while we blow off some car wreck steam.

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Then, that stuff up there…ya that…homemade coconut butter.

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Let’s blend those two together.

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What you get is a giant bowl of smooth, creamy, nutty, coconut, cashew heaven butter.

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Then we get extreme by adding: chopped cashew pieces AND toasted coconut.

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Mhhhhmmm…we like to do awesomely insane things around here.

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I mean, I’m not really sure how I did this.

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What car wreck?

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I’m on a crunchy tidal wave of coconut and cashew epic-ness.

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This is fully legal.

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It’s also fully loaded.

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Your Monday just can’t get any better.

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Oh, yes.

😉

Crunchy Toasted Coconut Cashew Butter
Author: 
Recipe type: Snack, Nut Butter
Cuisine: American
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 10-12
 
Creamy, slightly sweet coconut butter + nutty cashew butter come together w/ crisp toasted coconut and chopped cashews for the perfect crunch! Gluten-free, paleo, vegan.
Ingredients
  • 3 c. unsweetened, flaked coconut
  • 2 c. dry-roasted, unsalted cashews, plus 1c. roughly chopped cashews, for add-in
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  3. Spread 1 c. of the coconut out evenly over the baking sheet.
  4. Bake for 5 minutes, tossing in between to prevent burning. Let cool completely on the baking sheet.
  5. Place the remaining 2 cups of coconut into a food processor and process on high until the coconut begins to break down and forms a smooth, silky butter. You want the end product to be a "drippy" consistency, very pourable. This takes about 3-5 minutes and you might need to stop the food processor and scrape the sides of the bowl down as you go. Set the coconut butter aside in a jar.
  6. Place the 2 cups of cashews into the food processor and process on high until a smooth and creamy nut butter forms.
  7. Pour in a ½ c. of the coconut butter and process until everything is combined. The nut butter should be extremely creamy and smooth with a semi-drippy like consistency, but thick.
  8. Fold in the toasted coconut, and the remaining 1 c. of chopped cashews.
  9. Serve on toast or spread on anything else that comes to your imagination. 🙂

MANGIA!!!

Secret Recipe Club

Lately, I’ve been pretty focused.

Work and school are consuming the majority of my time.

However, I have not let food take a back seat to my crazy life.

Nope.

We all know what happens when food isn’t a priority.

In my case, I get stressed, lose weight, become irritable, start snapping at people, and get the overall “hangries.”

And nobody wants that.

So, Secret Recipe Club is just what I need to take my life off of responsibilities today.

This month’s recipe comes from Mallory, the voice behind the blog, Because I like Chocolate.

Mallory is pretty awesome.

Why, may you ask?

Because she likes chocolate…no explanation needed. 🙂

Sooooo, of course, with a blog title like that, I couldn’t resist making something with chocolate.

Duh.

Oh, and because I looooooove chocolate, I chose to make Mallory’s Skinny Cheesecake Brownie Bites.

Now, you know…I detest that word “skinny.”

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A few years back, my great aunts would always walk up, grab my arm, and say “Ooooooh, so skinny, go eat some pasta.”

Seriously?

Back off!

To me, it just wasn’t an attractive word.

I felt criticized for being thin.

I can’t tell you how good the word “healthy” feels when I get that now.

I will make an exception for the word “skinny” when it comes to food, though.

It’s totally cute in that instant and makes me a feel a bit better about what I’m indulging in.

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Y’all…you can’t taste the skinny anywhere in these brownies!

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They are super rich, yet not chocolate overkill because of the awesome cheese cake swirl throughout the center.

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It’s the best of both desserts: silky, creamy, cheese cake, with moist, decadent brownies.

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Plus, while we are on the skinny train…I used gluten-free oat flour, and ya know…added some homemade cream cheese frosting on top.

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Now they are extra skinny cheesecake brownies.

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I’m pretty sure you don’t need much more confirmation than that.

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Just throw all of that responsibility out the window today.

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Or, you know…just place it on the ledge.

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Eat a cheesecake brownie.

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Or two…because/ya know…they are skinny and bite-sized.

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🙂

Skinny Cheesecake Brownie Bites
Author: 
Recipe type: Dessert, Brownies, Cheesecake
Cuisine: American
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 16-18
 
The best of both worlds, lush, silky, smooth cheesecake, swirled throughout a dark, decadent brownie and enjoyed in bite-sized pieces without the guilt. Top with extra cream cheese frosting for an enjoyable treat. Gluten-free, nut-free.
Ingredients
  • For the brownies:
  • ⅓ c. brown sugar ( I used coconut sugar)
  • ¼ c. white sugar (I used coconut sugar)
  • 1 large egg
  • ½ c. unsweetened apple sauce
  • ½ t. vanilla bean paste
  • ⅓ c. unsweetened cocoa powder
  • ½ c. all-purpose flour (I used gluten-free oat flour)
  • ¼ t. salt
  • ¼ t. baking powder
  • ¼ t. baking soda.
  • For the cheesecake batter:
  • 4 oz light cream cheese
  • 2 T. brown sugar ( I used Truvia baking blend)
  • ½ t. vanilla bean paste (or pure vanilla extract)
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • For the cream cheese frosting:
  • 4 oz. light cream cheese, softened at room temperature
  • 2 T. pure honey
  • ½ t. pure vanilla extract
Instructions
  1. For the brownies, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a mini muffin pan with cooking spray, or an 8x8 in. brownie pan with cooking spray.
  2. Place the sugar, egg, apple sauce, and vanilla in a large mixing bowl and mix until smooth.
  3. Stir in the cocoa powder, flour, salt, and baking soda.
  4. Pour the brownie batter into the prepared pan.
  5. For the cheesecake batter, using a stand mixer, whisk all of the ingredients together until smooth.
  6. If you are using the brownie pan, dollop the cheesecake mixture all over the top of the brownie mixture and use a knife to run the cheesecake mixture in a figure 8 like pattern over the brownies.
  7. If you are using a muffin pan, dollop about a pinky size worth over each mini-muffin cup filled w/ brownie batter and use a toothpick to swirl.
  8. Bake at 350 for 20-30 minutes if you are using the brownie pan, or 13-15 minutes for the mini muffins.
  9. Let cool completely.
  10. Slice the brownies into bite sized squares.
  11. For the cream cheese frosting, combine all of the ingredients in a stand mixture and whip until smooth.
  12. Spread the frosting over each "bite" of cheesecake brownie.
  13. Devour.

MANGIA!!!

Always time for Chocolate.

I’m pretty sure I’ve hit a wall.

Not an actual wall, but seriously…when did life get so busy?

This is usually how my days begin…wake up around 4 a.m., eat breakfast, take care of dogs, go for a run w/ my mom depending on our work schedules for that morning (this is usually around 5:30) or if I’m not running I will do an online Barre 3 class, or Tone It Up routine, work, work, work, lunch, work, end work, go home, take care of dogs, study for both of my online nutrition classes, dinner, more studying, and somewhere in between all of that I’ve managed to brush my teeth and make sure I remember what day it is.

Buuuuuttt…today is totally Friday!

It’s my weekend.

I can do what I want.

Go crazy.

This crazy involves lots of studying.

Probably cookie eating too.

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I’ve been really into seeds lately.

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Making seed butter has been my jam lately.

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I found some time to make some cookies with it…and stuff it w/ dark chocolate chunks.

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Because, ya know, I couldn’t let a Friday go without making you something sweet.

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Plus, there’s chocolate.

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Because chocolate is really the only reason you need to celebrate anything.

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Obviously.

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 😉

Nut-Free Double Chocolate Chunk Cookies
Author: 
Recipe type: Cookies
Cuisine: American
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 18
 
A crisp, yet chewy cookie that is completely flour-less and nut-free w/ homemade pumpkin seed butter, coconut sugar, and a hint of cocoa powder, and stuffed with chunks of dark chocolate. Gluten-free, paleo, nut-free.
Ingredients
  • 1 c. pumpkin seed butter (see notes)
  • 1 large egg, at room temperature
  • 1 c. coconut sugar
  • 1 T. + 1 t. unsweetened, cocoa powder
  • 3 oz. of 70% cacao dark chocolate, chopped
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the pumpkin seed butter, egg, and coconut sugar until smooth.
  3. Stir in the cocoa powder.
  4. Fold in the chocolate.
  5. Drop the cookie dough by rounded tablespoons onto the prepared baking sheet and bake for 10-12 minutes, or until cookies have slightly spread and look semi-firm to the touch.
  6. Let cool slightly and devour!
Notes
To make the pumpkin seed butter, place 2 c. of roasted, unsalted pumpkin seeds in a large food processor and process until a smooth, creamy, butter forms. This may take anywhere from 5-10 minutes, scrape down the sides of the bowl as you go. Fold in ¼ t. sea salt.

MANGIA!!!

This thing called Life.

I’ve been pretty M.I.A. around these here parts lately.

That’s because this thing called life is happening.

Between work and school (oh, did I mention I am going back to school to become a Registered Dietician, because obviously I just wasn’t satisfied with those 4 years of college before 😉 ) and the new dog (more on that to come soon), I am running around like a crazy person.

But wait, I’m already crazy so…an ultra crazy person.

You will just have to bear with me here on this life train.

If I had it my way, I would love to be a full-time blogger with 100% of my income coming from doing what I love, talking about food to you lovely people.

Buuuuuuutt…this is reality and I can only do my best.

I’m sure y’all totally get it.

Of course I didn’t show up today without a recipe.

I mean, who do you think I am?

We all know that coconut butter is my jam.

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So, I thought…why not make some and put it in my banana muffins.

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That’s like 10x’s the coconut in your banana bread.

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Not to mention these muffins are completely flour-less.

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I’m pretty sure your mind just went blank.

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Y’all…this is by far the best decision that I have made all year.

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And if you know me…decisions are not my thing.

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I’m that person who takes forever to pick out a nail polish color and choose where to go out to eat if the occasion arises.

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Don’t even ask me about my future.

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I’m pretty positive that I will explode…or crawl into the fetal position.

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Oh, this muffin?

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100% melt in your mouth.

Flour-less Coconut Butter Banana Muffins
Author: 
Recipe type: Muffins
Cuisine: American
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 12
 
Creamy, coconut butter muffins sweetened w/ banana for the perfect guilt-free treat. Flour-less, gluten-free, grain-free, paleo, nut-free.
Ingredients
  • 1 c. homemade coconut butter (see my recipe archive) or store bought, slightly melted
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • ¼ c. granulated stevia, optional
  • 2 large very ripe bananas, mashed
  • 1 t. pure vanilla extract
  • 2 T. pure maple syrup
  • ½ t. baking soda
  • 1 t. apple cider vinegar
  • extra coconut butter, for topping
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a muffin cup pan w/ cooking spray.
  2. In a large bowl, combine all of the ingredients until smooth.
  3. Divide the batter evenly into each muffin cup.
  4. Bake for 18-20 minutes, or until slightly golden and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
  5. Let cool slightly, top w/ slightly melted coconut butter if preferred.
  6. Devour.

MANGIA!!!