Tag Archives: chocolate

for bean’s sake and some life lessons

23 Sep

Who is ready for FALL!? This girl. I love cold weather. I like big fluffy vinyasa scarves, hoodies, pumpkin EVERYTHING, runs that you aren’t dripping with sweat, walks in the leaves…..I love everything about Fall. I love that soups, stews and baking are now the thing and yummy warm food coating your tummy. Fall is where it’s at in my book.

This week has been amazing, hard, fun, eye opening and crazy all at the same time. I’ve learned a lot of life lessons this week and honestly. I’ve had a GREAT week with the little ones I nanny for and they are the joy of everyday, that’s for sure. I have no qualms about my childcare and cooking abilities! But, it’s those little other things in life that I sometimes am too hard on myself for. Take running, I’ve kind of taken a step back from it so I need to get back at it in full gear for the 15K and then the Disney Half so….basically…get it, girl! It’s amazing how a surgery can change your life. I used to be a eensy weensy teeny little runner and gymnast, now I am trying to get back there after being not able to workout for 6 months due to my surgeries last year. Oh well…. I LOVE running, so it’ll happen!!!

I am reading a new book, that you all should, called DARING GREATLY by Brene Brown. She is amazing. It’s all about vulnerability and how to basically love ourselves and not worry about being vulnerable or too hard on ourselves. This book totally came out at the right time.

With that being said, curling up in bed, with a hot bowl of stewy soup and this amazing book with brownies cooking in the oven….I mean sounds like heaven right!? So here goes, some yummy, gooey almond butter swirl brownies, navy bean, spinach and bacon soup and then kale salad. I wanted to post this kale salad because it is simple and I eat it quite a few times during the week. It’s a great way to get lots of vitamins in and just some yummy veg!

KALE CARROT BEET AND PEA SALAD

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups kale, washed and patted dry with a paper towel
  • beets, however many you’d like (I have about 3)
  • 1 orange
  • 1/2 cup frozen peas
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste

This is SUPER easy! In a small bowl, squeeze the juice from your orange, add your olive oil, salt and pepper and wisk to emulsify. Set aside. Take your kale and toss with one tablespoon of the olive oil and orange liquid, set aside. Then, take your frozen peas and run them under hot water until defrosted. Take your shredded carrots from your fridge, or shred your own carrots, about 1-2 carrots will be great. Next, either you can roast your own beets, or buy them, already roasted, peeled and cut from Whole Foods.

To roast your own beets:

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Remove the tops and the roots of the beets and peel each one with a vegetable peeler. Cut the beets in 1 1/2-inch chunks. (Small beets can be halved, medium ones cut in quarters, and large beets cut in eighths). Place the cut beets on a baking sheet and toss with the olive oil. Roast for 35 to 40 minutes, turning once or twice with a spatula, until the beets are tender.

After this is done, put them in a large bowl and add the orange juice and olive oil vinaigrette you just made. Let them sit and soak up the goodness!

After the beets have cooled, assemble your salad. On a plate, Put down your kale down on the salad plate. Next add your shredded carrots, beets on top of that, then your peas. DEVOUR the goodness!

FUDGY YUMMY GLUTEN FREE BROWNIES WITH A NUT BUTTER SWIRL

  • 1/2 cup almond flour
  • 1/3 cup brown rice flour
  • 1 cup Ghirardelli 60% Cacao Bittersweet Chocolate Chips, or extremely dark chocolate, or super natural bitter chocolate chips
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into chunks
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup apple sauce, unsweetened and not the cinnamon kind
  • 1/2 cup nut butter of choice

Preheat your oven to 325 degrees. Line an 8×8-inch metal baking pan across the bottom and up two opposite sides with parchment paper or spray it with olive oil cooking spray or grease it. I greased my pan with a little coconut oil. You can use whole almonds and add them to a food process with the rice flour and pulse until the nuts are finely ground. If using almond flour, mix it with the rice flour. Set aside.

Place the chocolate, butter and salt in the top of a large double boiler over barely simmering water. Stir frequently until the chocolate is melted and the mixture is smooth. Remove the bowl and let cool for 5 minutes. Stir in the honey and vanilla. Stir in the applesauce. Add the almond and rice flour mixture and stir until moistened, and then mix briskly until really well combined.

NOTE: You can make these without the nut butter. You can add nuts, more chocolate chips, the sky is the limit!

Take your nut butter of choice. I use almond butter or a nut butter that has a bit of sea salt in it. You can find GREAT nut butters with sea salt at Trader Joe’s. That way these aren’t overly sweet. This is a peanut butter and almond butter mixture, but feel free to use just almond butter, cashew butter, peanut butter, sun butter, what have you. Place it in a microwave safe bowl and microwave it for 30 seconds so it gets a little gooey and creamy. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and spread it evenly. Spoon dollops of the nut butter onto the brownie batter. Using the spoon, swirl the nut butter into the brownies. This is done the easiest by taking the spoon and bring it down the length of the batter, then across and keep doing it until you like the swirl. Bake 20 to 25 minutes or until the brownies are slightly puffed all over and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out moist but clean. Cool and get your EAT on!

NAVY BEAN AND SPINACH SOUPY STEW

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup diced onion
  • 1 cup diced carrots
  • 1 cup diced celery
  • 1/2 lb grassfed pork bacon, about 8 slices of thick cut (or regular if you prefer and don’t care about where your meat comes from)
  • fresh savory herb
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 cans organic navy beans
  • 1 can organic black beans
  • 1 quart of homemade chicken bone broth or organic free range chicken broth
  • 2 handfulls of fresh spinach (or KALE!!!!)

Slice and cube your bacon. In a dutch oven, place your bacon in on medium high heat and cook until brown. While the bacon is cooking and browning and smelling lovely, you can cut your veggies. You want to have uniform cuts so that the mirepoix (fancy French word for carrots, celery and onion, the base of LOTS of dishes) can cook together and soften. Add your onions while the bacon is cooking and let them soften in the bacon fat. Add your carrots, celery, chopped savory herb (if you do not have this or can not find it, just use fresh thyme, rosemary, another type of savory tasting herb), dried thyme and the black pepper and cook until the veggies are soft, but that the carrots and celery still have a little crunch.

Drain and rinse your beans. You want to rinse off the starchy liquid that they come canned in. Add your beans and cook for about 2 minutes so the beans are warm. Add your chicken broth and simmer until bubbly. Add your salt and pepper to taste and continue to simmer. With soups I’ve found that adding the salt last, and letting it cook a bit before tasting, helps out a lot. If you add too much salt, there’s no going back. So add a little at a time. Plus, for this recipe, the bacon adds a bit of a salty smokey flavor (DELICIOUS), so you want to hold off on the salt until you’re ready and the flavors have simmered. So basically, add about a 1/2 teaspoon of kosher salt at a time, let it simmer, taste it, then add more if needed.

Take your spinach and put in as much as you want. I used about 2 large handfull, maybe 3. Let is cook down  a bit in the soup. Bowl the soup up and eat nice and hot on a cold blustery day!

You could also add KALE to this. And for those doubting kale, and my love for it. Here’s a great infographic!

http://nutribulletblog.com/all-hail-kale/

brunch. chocolate zucchini bread and cast iron skillet frittata

15 Sep

What a great week this has turned out to be and very much full of all kinds of lessons and moral tidbits. Yesterday I spent the day back with the most wonderful little girls ever. I am so happy and so excited for the next year or so to come with these little munchkins. They are two little girls who have changed my life over the last (almost) two years and I am so grateful to be back learning, growing, teaching, playing and cooking with them. I met with so many amazing people this week and finally closed a few chapters in my life. It’s been amazing. I’ve had the chance to pipe up for myself this week in a way I never thought I would and am really proud of myself for that. I’ve learned so much over the last couple months, about myself, my work, my future and my self worth. I am really blessed to have had these opportunities and can’t WAIT for the AWESOME times to come. I would say that’s quite a lot of lessons and growth opportunities!

So with all these lovely lessons, I decided to teach myself and experiment in the kitchen with some lessons of my own and also to go back to basics, like with the simple, yet delicious, frittata. I have a problem with buying tons of produce, with good intention, and then not finding the time to cook with it or make as many meals as I’d planned. Kale and raw spinach are no brainers, I can use those in everything or even juice them or make smoothies, so when I buy those and haven’t used them yet, I generally can use them up in the couple days before they turn. As for asparagus, I buy it like CRAZY. Most of the time I roast it with a little coconut oil, sea salt and pepper, but sometimes, I need a new spin on it, or just forget about it and then have to use it quickly. Same with tomatoes. I love cherry tomatoes, especially heirloom cherry tomatoes, but I buy those and then eat a few and then have to quickly use them as well. This must all have to do with the fact that I am madly in love with grocery shopping so all of this amazing produce looks fabulous and then my time management and cooking skills don’t match up with the produce I buy ha! So, I wanted to use up some of the savory things I had and what better way then to make a frittata!?

On another note, for something less savory, I thought what could be better then CHOCOLATE!? I also had a ripe zucchini needing to be loved and so I thought I would try my hand at working out some kind of gluten free bread that doesn’t use the typical rice flour or potato flour. I saw a couple recipes online and then adapted them to make my own from what I have learned lately with gluten free baking. I am not a huge fan of all of the “gums” like sorgum or xanthan gum so I wanted to try something new and see if eggs and a small bit of coconut flour could hold this together. Plus coconut flour is relatively cheap and much easier to find then trying to make a blend of rice flour, potato flour, the gums, etc. etc. etc. That’s the hard thing about gluten free cooking, it’s not like when I used to eat gluten and I just tossed in all purpose flour, there’s a science to it and a mixture of lots of different flours sometimes. I like it simple.

CHOCOLATEY NUTTY ZUCCHINI BREAD

Ingredients:

  • 1 medium sized zucchini
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tablespoons coconut flour
  • 3 tablespoons good quality cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup almond butter
  • 2/3 cup honey
  • 1 tablespoon coconut milk
  • 1/4 cup dark chocolate chips

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Grease your loaf pan with coconut oil so that the bread has a nice bed of oily goodness to lay on and not stick to. Shred your zucchini by placing chunks of it in your food processer and pulsing until you have nice shredded pieces, but not too fine. Lay out 6 paper towels on your counter, and dump all of your zucchini on them. Zucchini shockingly has a lot of water, so grab all that shredded zucchini in the paper towels and ring out as much of the water as possible in the sink. Dump the zucchini into your mixing bowl, add all of the other ingredients, along with 1/2 of your chocolate chips and mix! Now, the almond butter may be hard to mix in so make sure you mix everything extremely well. Pour the mixture into your greased loaf pan and smooth it out with your spatula. Top with the rest of the chocolate chips. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes, but until a toothpick comes out clean. Every oven varies so it could take longer. When done, let cool, turn out of the pan, slice and EAT EAT EAT! yum. This isn’t an overly sweet bread, but super yummy.

USE THOSE VEGGIES! FRITTATA WITH GOAT CHEESE AND GRASS FED PORK SAUSAGE

Ingredients:

  • 3 eggs
  • 1/4 cup coconut milk
  • 1 tablespoon grass fed butter
  • 1/2 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 1 lb ground pork breakfast sausage, preferably grass fed organic
  • 1bunch of asparagus
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes
  • 1 cup broccoli florets
  • goat chevre
  • salt and pepper to taste, plus 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper for egg mixture

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. This is great, it’s a ONE PAN dish! NOTE: If you do not have a cast iron skillet, use a skillet that has a metal handle and can be put in the oven, Calphalon makes nice ones. Wash and prep your vegetables. Cut the cherry tomatoes in half, trim the asparagus and leave the flowery tops and a couple inches of stalk. Trim into 1 inch pieces. Wash and trim your broccoli as well. Crack your eggs into your bowl, add the coconut milk, 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper and mix well.

In your cast iron skillet, add your butter and oil and melt. This will coat the skillet and a lot of it will sink in so your frittata is easier to grab out later. Cook your breakfast sausage down so it’s nice and brown and crumbly. NOTE: If you do not want any meat, just cook the veggies this way! Add your veggies and cook just for a bit till they turn green. Pour the egg mixture over your veggies until they are covered. Crumble your goat cheese on top. Also top with more cracked pepper and sea, kosher or table salt.

My sausage is from a grass fed farm called U.S. Wellness Meats. They are amazing. Order online and they ship right to you all packed in dry ice and ready to pop in your freezer. They are well priced and amazing quality for all kinds of meats.

Bake in the oven at 350 degrees for 45 minutes. You’ll be able to tell it is done when the edges are crispy and it does not wiggle anymore. That means the eggs have set, are firm and ready to eat. Cool and cut into slices. This is a GREAT recipe for your weekly breakfast! ENJOY! YAY BRUNCH!

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