Summertime Peach Cobbler

I’ve been on the hunt for a grain free peach cobbler for months – long before peaches were actually in season. Now that they’re overflowing the Franklin Farmer’s Market, I knew it was high-time to commit and actually make some cobbler!

This is a spinoff of an Elana’s Pantry recipe. Her Peach Crisp looked tempting, but I think I’m more of a cobbler girl!

Summertime Peach Cobbler

  • 6 Peaches, Sliced
  • 1 1/2 Cups Almond Meal
  • 1 Tbsp Vanilla Extract
  • 3 Tbsp. Arrowroot Powder
  • 1/2 tsp. Salt
  • 1/2 tsp. Baking Soda
  • 1/4 Cup Oil (I used a combo of Coconut and Butter)
  • Scant 1/4 Cup Honey
  • 1/8 tsp. Stevia Powder

Preheat oven to 350. Place peaches in a large bowl and toss with Vanilla and Arrowroot Powder until evenly coated. Place in a coated baking dish that has a cover. In a smaller bowl, combine Almond Meal, Salt, Baking Soda, Oil and Honey. Crumble this mixture over peaches. Cover and bake for 1 hour, or until the juices begin to bubble on top of dish. Remove cover and bake until golden brown.

Serve with lots of Vanilla Ice Cream!

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No Oat Chocolate Chip “Oatmeal” Raisin Cookies

I purchased a new cookbook, enchantingly titled Fairytale Food. I’ll be writing a full review of it coming up soon, but suffice it to say, it made me crave sweets as if I were under the spell of Hansel and Gretel.

While I have at least 5 different recipes for Chocolate Chip cookies (some of them on this blog alone), I needed something a bit different. Oatmeal cookies were calling my name.

No, these did not come from the fairytale cookbook, but they are so delicious they certainly could be a fairytale food!

No Oat Chocolate Chip “Oatmeal” Raisin Cookies

  • 1/2 Cup Creamy Almond Butter
  • 1/2 Cup Sunbutter
  • Scant 1/4 Cup Honey
  • Fill remaining 1/4 Cup with Maple Syrup
  • 1/8 tsp. Stevia Powder
  • 2 tsp. Vanilla
  • 4 Tbsp. Water
  • 1 Tbsp. Ground Flax Seed
  • 1 1/2 tsp. Cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp. Nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp. Salt
  • 1/2 tsp. Baking Soda
  • 1/2 Cup Shredded Unsweetened Coconut
  • 1/3 Cup Dried Fruit of Choice (I used dried Blueberries this time, but Raisins are more traditional)
  • 1/4 Cup Enjoy Life Chocolate Chips

Preheat oven to 350. Mix all cookie ingredients in a large bowl, adding Dried Fruit and Chocolate Chips last. Drop the dough onto greased or parchment lined cookie sheets using a large tablespoon. If you want uniform, pretty cookies, flatten and shape them slightly. Bake for 10-12 minutes and gobble them up!

Lemon Meringue Bars

I just made these bars this afternoon, and am impatiently waiting until my brother and his wife arrive for dinner before digging in. Shockingly, I found a recipe for lemon bars on a GAPS friendly blog, and modified it to include some yummy meringue – I had a mishap with eggs earlier and the result was an overabundance of egg whites!

And you know what they say – when life gives you egg whites, make lemon meringue!

Lemon Meringue Bars

Crust

  • 1 1/2 Cup Almond Meal
  • 1/2 tsp Sea Salt
  • 1-2 Tbsp. Honey
  • 2 Tbsp. Room Temp. Butter
  • 1 Tbsp. Vanilla

Lemon Filling

  • 1/2 Cup Organic Lemon Juice
  • 3 Eggs
  • 1/4 Cup Honey
  • 1/4 Cup Melted Butter

Meringue

  • 5 Egg Whites
  • 1/2 Tbsp. Maple Syrup (or Honey)

Preheat oven to 350. Grease an 8×8 pan with butter, making sure to coat the sides, as well. Dust the dish with almond meal. In a large bowl, mix Almond Meal and Sea Salt, then add in Butter, Vanilla, and Honey. Mix by hand until a ball has formed. Take this and press into the bottom of the coated pan. Bake for 10-15 minutes, until golden brown on top.

While the crust is baking, mix all of the lemon filling ingredients into a bowl, using a whisk or blender to make sure everything is incorporated. Take out the almond crust and pour the lemon filling over it. Return the baking dish to the oven, baking for 15 minutes (watch the crust, you don’t want to burn it!)

In the meantime, take your Egg Whites and Maple Syrup and mix until soft peaks form. I used my KitchenAid Mixer and it worked flawlessly in less than a minute!

Take the dish out of the oven, coat the top with Meringue (making any pretty design you desire), and pop back in for 5-8 minutes, watching carefully so as not to burn the top.

Allow to cool for approx. 30 minutes, and then put in the fridge to set!

Be sure to check out my recipe, as well as many other tasty creations, at “Keep It Real” Thursdays with Beyond the Peel!

Banana Split Cheesecake Bites

Banana Splits may be one of my favorite summertime memories from childhood. In terms of desserts, this was perhaps one of the healthier things I adored – and it was so delicious! They could keep their cherries, though. I wanted to be loaded up with more strawberries and chocolate sauce.

Now that my days of sugar are over, that absolutely doesn’t mean I can’t find ways to indulge in warm weather treats! The internet is truly a beautiful thing in this regard. There are so many amazing bloggers out there; I only wish I were as creative as many of them! Chocolate Covered Katie is one such blogging guru. She has taken what many times are nostalgic, childhood treats, and turned them into something edible for those of us that stray from the American dietary norm. Thanks Katie!

Banana Split Cheesecake Bites

  • 1/4 Cup Canned Coconut Milk
  • 2 tsp Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 1/3 Cup Mashed Banana (Measured after Mashing)
  • 1 Packet Stevia
  • Dash of Salt
  • 1/3 Cup Raw Cashew Butter or Coconut Butter. (If you can’t find either, you can make raw cashew butter by soaking raw cashews for a few hours until soft, then draining and blending. Be sure to measure the 1/3 cup after blending.)

Using a food processor, blend everything together well. If desired, add some shredded coconut. Pour into cupcake liners, or you can increase the recipe to make a traditional size pie. Freeze until hardened (a couple hours). Store in the freezer. Top with Heavy Whipping Cream and Raspberries if you’d like!

Going Primal – What to Eat

As of this week, I have been 100% Primal. What does this mean, you may be asking? In a previous post, I outlined the differences between The Maker’s Diet, Paleo, and Primal. In essence, it’s eating the way our ancestors ate. I’m not talking about grandparents here – I am referring to our paleolithic past. This means eating a diet of what some may call “caveman foods.”

Through the help of many books and a lot of research, I’ve realized that eating a low-fat diet filled with whole grains like bread, rice and pasta can make you unhealthy – overweight, unhappy, and sick. This might be a shock, since our USDA food pyramid suggests that whole grains be the base of our daily intake. And while I haven’t been eating low-fat foods for awhile now due to the Maker’s Diet, I decided to take the next step in feeling better inside and out. With the grains have also gone the stomach pain and bloating that followed me around like a bad habit (which in a sense, grain has been!).

I chose Primal over Paleo primarily for dairy. Primal allows for raw, unpasteurized milk and cheese, which I can obtain through a local farmer on a weekly basis. I don’t eat dairy every day, but it’s nice to be able to incorporate it into recipes, or drink a glass of cream-quality raw milk a few days a week!

As for Diet, here is the low-down at a glance, straight from Mark Sisson’s Primal Blueprint:

Beverages – Water, Unsweetened Teas (can use a small amount of Stevia).

Coconut Products – Butter, Flakes, Flour, Milk, and Oil offer healthful medium-chain fats; great sub for dairy, trans fats, and wheat flour.

Coffee – Enjoy in moderation (cream and minimal sweetener ok)

Dairy – Raw, fermented, high-fat and organic products are preferred (Cheese, Cottage Cheese, Cream Cheese, Kefir, Whole Milk, Yogurt) in moderation.

Eggs – Local, pasture-raised or certified organic for high omega-3 content.

Fats and Oils – Coconut, Dark-Roasted Sesame, First press or Extra-Virgin Olive, Palm, and High Omega-3 oils. Animal fats (Chicken fat, Lard, Tallow), Butter and Coconut Oil are best for cooking.

Fish – Wild-caught. Small, oily, cold water fish best (Anchovies, Herring, Mackerel, Salmon, Sardines).

Fruit – Locally-grown or wild, organic, in-season preferred. Berries are premier choice. For soft-skinned fruits, go strictly organic. Moderate intake with higher glycemic/lower antioxidant values, and dried fruit.

Herbs and Spices – Organic preferred. No preservatives.

Indulgences – Dark Chocolate (75%+ cocoa content), and Red Wine are best choices. Be sensible and moderate.

Macadamia Nuts – Great Omega6/Omega3 ratio

Meat and Fowl – Local, pasture-raised, or USDA-certified Organic critical. If you must eat conventional meat, choose the leanest cuts and trim excess fat to minimize toxin exposure.

Other nuts, Seeds and their derivative Butters – Cold-processed, organic if available.

Snacks – Berries, Canned Tuna or Sardines, Celery with Cream Cheese or Nut Butter, Cottage Cheese with Nut or Fruit topping, Hard-Boiled Eggs, Jerky, Nuts, Olives, Seeds, Trail Mix and other high-fat and/or high-protein, low-carb primal foods.

Supplemental Carbs – Those without excess body fat, not wishing to lose additional weight, can enjoy Sweet Potatoes and Yams in moderation. Occasionally Quinoa and Wild Rice.

Vegetables – Locally grown, organic, in-season preferred. Go strictly organic for large surface area (leafy greens) and soft, edible skins. Wash all thoroughly.

Shopping trips to the grocery store have certainly been different, but contrary to popular argument, eating this way (Organic meats, veggies, and fruit) has not been more expensive! Simply by steering clear of the middle aisles that contain boxed and bagged foods, I have significantly cut down on other expenses, allowing me to purchase better quality ingredients for the food I am now eating. I haven’t felt the pangs of any food deprivation, have been full for long stretches, and have loved having butter on my vegetables, yolks with my eggs, and many new recipes to look forward to!

Brownie Batter on a Stick

Food is simply more fun when it comes on a stick. Think carnival foods – cotton candy, lollipops, and corn dogs – snacks that bring to mind good memories. When I found this recipe for brownie batter on a stick from Holistic Nutrition coach Amy Layne, I thought I would share the fun!

Amy’s approach is all about being natural and giving your body what it actually needs, not craves. But she’s also very creative, and has come up with a myriad of tasty “desserts”.

Brownie Batter on a Stick

With ingredients like Pumpkin, Cocoa Powder, and Stevia, I actually feel pretty good about indulging in brownie batter!

 

Two Delicious Chocolate Chip Cookies that Anyone will Love

I thought about entitling this post “A Tale of Two Cookies,” but thought that perhaps others had over-played that title already. So instead of going for clever, I went with a more straightforward approach.

Yesterday, I worked. I cleaned the house from top to bottom, washed clothes, and worked on numerous school projects. After all that, my stomach was growling, demanding that I feed it after such a strenuous morning! The first thing I thought of was cookies. Perhaps not the healthiest thing to put in an empty stomach, but a craving is a craving, and my mind was made up. With cookies on the brain, I set about finding a recipe that would be delicious, as well as gluten free.

I finally decided on TWO recipes. When baking and using alternative flours, the final product may be quite different from what was originally claimed. Not wanting to fail in my cookie attempts, I ensured that at least one batch would turn out delicious by baking two versions. I also altered the recipes to match what I envisioned for my little indulgence. Guess what? They were both a success! While I now have an over-abundance of cookies, my sweet tooth is sufficiently satisfied.

Almond Meal Chocolate Chip Cookies

  • 1 1/2 Cups Almond Meal
  • 1/4 Cup Butter, Room Temperature
  • 1/3 Cup Honey Granules (or Sugar of your Preference)
  • 1 Egg
  • 1/4 tsp. Salt
  • 1 tsp. Vanilla
  • 1/4 tsp. Baking Soda
  • 1/2 Cup Enjoy Life Chocolate Chips

Preheat oven to 375. In a bowl, cream Butter and Honey Granules until smooth. Mix in the egg, then add vanilla, salt, and baking soda. Slowly add Almond Meal to the mixture until all is incorporated. Fold in the Chocolate Chips.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, and then scoop dough by the spoonful. Bake for 12 minutes, or until golden.

Nut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

  • 1/2 Cup Almond Butter
  • 1/2 Cup Peanut Butter (I prefer Earth Balance)
  • 3/4 Cup Honey Granules
  • 1 Large Egg
  • 1 tsp. Vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp. Baking Soda
  • 1/4 tsp. Salt
  • 1/2 Cup Enjoy Life Chocolate Chips

Preheat oven to 350. In a bowl, stir together Almond Butter, Peanut Butter, Honey Granules, Egg, Vanilla, Baking Soda, and Salt until well blended. Mix in the Chocolate Chips. Drop balls of dough onto a parchment lined baking sheet, giving them enough room to spread while cooking. Baking for 10 minutes, or until golden.

Enjoy, and let me know which is your favorite!

This blog is a part of Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays!

Chocolate Coffee Caramel Bars

I may have said it before, but I’m not sure there are many things that can compare to the combination of Chocolate and Caramel. Unless, that is, you throw Coffee into the mix. I found these tasty treats on PaleOMG, and I must say – WOW. Dense and not too sweet, this dessert just may make it into my home cookbook, for those times when attempting to please everyone!

Chocolate Coffee Caramel Bars

Crust

  • 12 Dates, Pitted
  • 1/2 Cup Almond Butter
  • 1/4 Cup Unsweetened Shredded Coconut
  • 2 Tbsp. Raw Honey
  • 3 Tbsp. Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
  • 1 tsp. Cinnamon
  • Pinch of Salt

Caramel

  • 14 Dates, Pitted and Soaked in Water for 1 Hour
  • 6 Tbsp. Canned Coconut Milk
  • 3 Tbsp. Water
  • 1 tsp. Vanilla
  • Pinch of Salt

Topping

  • 1 Cup Enjoy Life Chocolate Chips
  • 1/4 Cup Canned Coconut Milk
  • 2 tsp. Ground Coffee
  • Course Sea Salt, to top

Add all Crust ingredients to a food processor and mix until well combined. Add this mixture to a bread pan or similar, and push down until the mixture is flat.

Once this is done, add remaining dates to the food processor and mix until they have broken down – about 1 minute. One Tablespoon at a time, add Coconut Milk while the food processor is still running. Add Water, Vanilla, and Salt. Mix until a creamy caramel is formed – this may take 3-5 minutes total. Pour over Crust and spread evenly.

Next, melt Chocolate and Coconut Milk together in the microwave by heating for 30 seconds, mixing well, and reheating as necessary. Once completely melted, add ground coffee and mix well. Pour chocolate mixture over caramel and spread evenly.

Add Sea Salt to top. Put in the freezer to harden – approx. 10 minutes.

Enjoy!

Recipe and Photo Courtesy of PaleOMG

Germany’s Karamell-Küche in Epcot

There is simply nothing like the smell of warm caramel.

That was my first thought as I tumbled my way into Disney’s Karamell-Küche, located in the country of Germany at Epcot’s World Showcase. Once the aroma hit me, I found myself repeatedly coming back during my time in Disney World – it seemed to be addicting!

What did this German storefront contain before it was turned into a sweetshop? My memory blurs a bit, but I think it was a trinket shop that sold tiny porcelain figurines and the like. The food fan within me cried out for joy when I realized that something involving sugar would be replacing the expensive knickknacks.

The inside is just as authentically Old-World Germany as its exterior facade. Tiled walls, shelves housing earthen vessels (filled with Pooh’s honey?), and row after row of colorful confections.

With so much to choose from, my husband and I found it hard to make our selection. I’m afraid we held up the line somewhat, which had begun to snake its way around the counter and halfway out the door. Yielding to pressure, we hastily made up our minds. But that’s not to say that it would be my only time at that counter while on this particular vacation!

Isn’t Disney wonderful for allowing guests to see the inner-workings of some of their creations? I had to stop and admire the work that went into the making of all these Werther’s sweets. Each and every sugary bite is coated in Werther’s Caramel, and the German cast members that work at Karamell-Küche seem decidedly happy with their jobs. Who wouldn’t love to earn a paycheck from a candy-coated heaven?

I was surprised at the number of items that were Gluten free! Chocolate and Caramel covered Strawberries and Apples were among the most beautiful of those selections, as well as many caramel chocolates and other bon bons. But it was the sight of that caramel being poured over popcorn that really called my name, and my first purchase came in a white bag filled to the brim with sticky, popped corn.

Jeremy was perhaps just as traditional, selecting a Caramel-coated Chocolate Chip Cookie. He loved it so much, that it was hard to wrestle it away in order to snag a photo! Although we didn’t make any cupcake purchases, I simply had to leave you with one last shot of the beauty that is Karamell-Küche – enjoy!

Perhaps the Healthiest Strawberry Swirl Cheesecake

I happened upon this recipe for Strawberry Swirl Cheesecake at Fast Paleo, and simply had to share it with the world. It is really more Primal/Maker’s Diet, but I won’t tell them over at Fast Paleo. Who knew that a dessert this beautiful could actually be good for you! There is no refined sugar at all, and very little carbs…thank you for adapting this recipe and making it worthy of a dinner party!

Paleo Strawberry Swirl Cheesecake

  • 1 Cup Walnuts
  • 3/4 Cup Almonds
  • 1 Tbsp. Almond Butter
  • 2 Tbsp. Maple Syrup
  • 3 Eggs
  • 16 oz. Cream Cheese
  • 1 Cup Sour Cream
  • 3 Tbsp. Honey
  • 3 1/2 Cups Sliced Strawberries
  • 1 tsp. Vanilla

Preheat oven to 350.

For the Crust:

In a food processor, combine all nuts until fine. Mix in the almond butter and maple syrup until all binds together. Spread this mixture on the bottom of a 24 inch Springform cake pan and chill until needed.

For the Filling:

Cream Cheese, Sour Cream, and Eggs should be at room temperature. With an electric mixer on low, combine Cream Cheese, Vanilla, Sour Cream and Honey until smooth. Beat in the Eggs one at a time, being careful not to over beat (too much air will crack the cheesecake). Pour half the mixture into a separate container and set aside.

Puree the sliced strawberries in the food processor until they are the consistency of a thick jam. Stir this into one half of the cheese mix.

Using the crust you set aside, begin pouring the filling into the base in alternate layers – first the plain, followed by the strawberry. This is more about appearance than anything, so feel free to use your own creativity – the more swirly, the better!

Bake for 40 minutes. Don’t be tempted to open the oven door and peek – the change in temperature could crack the cheesecake. When the cake’s ready it should be firm at the edges but still wobbly in the middle. It will firm as it sits to cool. To really ensure that it doesn’t crack, don’t remove the cake from the oven when it’s cooked. Just leave the door open so it can gradually cool.