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Archive | April, 2013

Making Your Own Nut Butter

15 Apr

I’ve posted before about specific recipes for different flavors of nut butters I’ve made, but I’ve gotten a lot of questions as to how to even go about making homemade nut butter!

So I’ve decided to dedicate today to showing you all the steps in making it:) It seems appropriate since just yesterday I made a huge container of fresh, homemade almond butter. It was heavenly. There is just something about the homemade stuff. Something that tastes so much better than the store bought butters!

And guess what? Not only is it easier, just requiring whatever nuts you desire plus the food processor, but also very healthy without all the extra added oils and sugars, and cheaper than store bought!

Yesterday, I even took it a step further and split it up into two containers, making a chocolate caramel almond butter, and a coconut vanilla one. Talk about delicious creations. I was eating it by the spoonful!

But first, let me take you step by step as to how to make it!

Step 1: Toast almonds (or whatever nut you are using) in oven on broil, watching very closely until they are slightly browned. I emphasize watching closely, because I have burnt many batches of good nuts myself by taking my eyes off of them for just a quick minute!

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Step 2: Place toasted nuts into food processor.

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Step 3: Turn food processor on, and let those babies grind and grind and grind!

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First it’ll just look like chopped nuts, like above. Then, it’ll become finely processed like an almond flour type consistency.

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After a couple more minutes of food processing, it’ll finally begin to look like butter! You may have to stop a couple times to scrape down the butter from the sides, and then proceed to process again.

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Finally, you will be done! And you will have an excellent, creamy, homemade butter!

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This is when you can get creative and add in your own flavors of liking:) I split my batch up this time, and put a tablespoon of cocoa powder and a teaspoon of caramel extract.

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And the other half, I put vanilla and coconut extract in, with just a little bit of unsweetened shredded coconut! So delicious:)

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Hope you can now go and make your very own nut butter!:)

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Mint Chocolate Chip Cookie Cake

14 Apr

Okay, so I cheated with this one. Not necessarily a homemade recipe this time. But I’d like to think I made it my own by adding in certain things:)

Are you a big mint fan? York Patties. Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream. Shamrock Shakes. Well this is for you!

It was my boyfriend’s birthday and I was trying to think of what to make him. He loves Mint. He loves Chocolate Chip Cookies. So what did I come up with? Chocolate chip cookie cake!

But I was a little too lazy and short on time to make homemade dough. So I went the easy way out :)

This is made with store bought dough. Yet..special ingredients added it! So I guess I can still call it my own:)

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Mint Chocolate Chip Cookie Cake
-1 pouch of sugar cookie mix
-ingredients on back of pouch for cookies
-1 bag of mint and dark chocolate chip
-1 tsp mint extract
-Optional: green food coloring
Directions: Preheat oven according to back of mix. Made sugar cookie dough as instructed on back of mix. Add in extract and chips. Add green food coloring in for a fun effect if desired. Cook according to back of mix for cookies, or make in a round pan for a cake!

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Here’s another time I made this recipe but added green food coloring and made as cookies instead! So fun for the holidays especially:)

Overnight Oats

13 Apr

I decided to join in on the overnight oats parade.

Haha, but seriously, it’s definitely the most popular breakfast among so many people these days! Yet in hot, sunny Florida, warm oatmeal has just never been my kind of breakfast..at least most days.

But sometimes, a warm, comforting, big bowl of oatmeal tastes just right. Especially after it’s been absorbing all the delicious flavors while sitting overnight in the fridge. Mmmm.

And if you’re in a rush, having it in a jar makes it all the more convenient to literally, grab and go.If you’ve got time at home to eat, then take that baby out, microwave, add whatever toppings seem good at the moment, and enjoy!

For me, the other day I was in a chocolaty Peanut Butter kind of mood. But then again, what’s new? That’s basically my mood 24 hours of the day, 7 days a week. What? I’ve got a sweet tooth:) Good thing when you eat clean, you can have your chocolate and live healthy too!

This provides a breakfast that is high in protein and fiber. One that will keep you satisfied all morning and not reaching in the pantry for snacks continuously. Breakfast is the most important meal of the day! For so long I would skimp out on this meal or not eat one at all..so bad! If you aren’t eating breakfast, I highly recommend that you begin today. And this is a great place to start. A healthy, quick and easy idea:)

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Overnight Oats Base
-1/2 cup oats
-1/2 cup Chobani Greek yogurt (flavor of choice)
-1 cup almond milk
-sweetener of choice and a touch of salt

-For my chocolate version-
-2 T cocoa powder
-2 T agave
-1 T chocolate peanut butter
-1 tsp cinnamon
-Toppings: Chocolate Fiber One cereal, 1 T homemade almond joy butter(recipe on site)

Directions: Place all ingredients in a jar except for the toppings. Screw lid on and shake until all combined. Let sit in fridge overnight. In AM, either cook in microwave and place toppings on, or just enjoy cold and immediately put toppings on. Enjoy!

Curried Cauliflower Bites

12 Apr

Ever just crave something that’s just crunchy? Don’t you wish you had a recipe you could make to satisfy that craving without it being fried.

Well I got one for you! Not only is this not fried, but made with a veggie. How much greater can it get?

The other night I was really wanting something with a crunch to it to go alongside of my chicken for dinner. I looked in my fridge. What did I see? A bag of cauliflower that needed to be used up. So what did I do? Created something that would both, use this bag of veggies up, and satisfy my craving.

Usually curry is made with lots of cream. But not this one! This one has protein-packed greek yogurt in it! And gives it that same, lovely curry taste.

Make it alongside of other things for a meal, or make for a simple snack when getting those afternoon cravings! Either way, this is a healthy, yummy food that you don’t want to pass up:)

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Curried Cauliflower
1/2 head of cauliflower
-1 container of chobani plain greek yogurt (about 1/2 cup)
-1T soy sauce
-2 tsp apple cider vinegar
-1T curry powder
-Seasonings: garlic salt, pepper, sea salt, onion powder, anything else you want!(about 1/2 tsp of each)
Directions: Combine all but cauliflower in a bowl until mixed. Add in cauliflower and toss until thoroughly coated. Let sit for 15 minutes. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place cauliflower on oil-sprayed(else they WILL stick!) baking tray. Bake until browned, about 15-20 minutes. Turn oven on broil for last couple minutes for further browning.

Cranberry Jelly

10 Apr

Who says cranberry jelly is only for Thanksgiving and all the other big holiday dinners with turkey?

I sure don’t think so! I love making homemade jellies to put on toast in the morning, or as a snack throughout the day (especially on top of peanut butter)! Yes, as you can probably tell I’m a little nut butter obsessed as I make so many of my own varieties (and more recipes will be coming!), but sometimes I’m just feelin more of a jelly mood:)

You may ask, isn’t jelly full of unneeded sugar and calories? Why would you eat this for breakfast? Why yes, it is..which is why I made my OWN jelly that isn’t so packed with sugar and other processed ingredients! Why NOT make it part of your daily diet under these circumstances?! See, I don’t think of this recipe as I would think of that cranberry jelly you buy in a can and serve for thanksgiving–that jello looking, not so good stuff. I think of this as more of like any other kind of jelly you would buy, like your normal strawberry or grape, that you find in jars. It’s more of that consistency and yummy goodness! And, it’s best of both worlds..because it is still SO good served with turkey! Mmmm.

Use it as a spread on toast/waffles, a dip for crackers, something to spice up your plain yogurt with, or a jelly for meat (or just eat with the occasional spoon to mouth technique like me!) I won’t judge :)

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Homemade Cranberry Jelly
-1 16 oz bag of cranberries
-4 cups water
-1/2 cup agave/stevia
-1 T guar gum/xanthan gum
-touch of sea salt (while boiling on stove)
Directions: Heat water on stove to boil. When boiling, add cranberries and reduce to medium/high heat. Allow to cook for 5 minutes (cranberries will begin to “pop” as they crack). Add in T of gum and salt, cook for 10/15 minutes more until it has thickened quite a bit. Add agave/sugar in. Taste and add more sweetener if desired. Enjoy! Store in jar in fridge.

Chicken and Veggie Stir-fry

9 Apr

After a long week of classes, I love looking forward to date nights with my boyfriend :)

Lots of times we go out to make it easier on ourselves when we’re tired, but since he knows I love to cook, last night we made dinner together. I love nights like these!

His parents came up for Easter this past week and we had SO many leftover fresh vegetables from the big meal we all prepared (that us college kids don’t normally have on us) :) So we decided to use them up!

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What a better way to enjoy a lot of fresh, colorful veggies, than making a stir-fry?! The healthy way of course without all the added heaps of oil:) Added some teriyaki cooked chicken to the mix once the veggies were all cooked, and bam! A good dinner we certainly had. A healthy one too loaded with lots of vegetables and protein packed chicken!

Cooking with coconut oil has so many added benefits, and gives it a great taste. If you haven’t tried it yet, please do! I even put it on toast with a touch of sugar for a yummy, sweet snack:)

Then to finish off the meal we had some mashed regular potatoes and sweet potato casserole on the side of this delicious stir-fry :) Mmm, it was a yummy night to say the least! Here’s the recipe for the stir-fry, so easy!

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Chicken and Veggie Stir-fry
-2 chicken breasts, cooked in teriyaki sauce
-1/2 red onion, sliced thinly
-1 red bell pepper, sliced thinly lengthwise
-4 cups of broccoli
-2 cups baby carrots
-2 T coconut oil
-1/2 cup water
-1 T cornstarch
-2 T soy sauce
-Seasonings: Italian seasonings, garlic salt, season salt, pepper, red pepper powder(if you like it a bit spicy!)
Directions: Put all veggies in a pan on stove with coconut oil, and sauté until soft. Mix water, cornstarch, and soy sauce in bowl together. Add to pan of veggies. Season with all above to taste. Add cooked chicken in and cook for one more minute. Enjoy!

Berry Coconut Chai Latte Pancakes with Coconut Cream filling

8 Apr

Remember how I mentioned I was entering in that pancake contest? The first week was the Moconut pancakes I’ve posted already, which didn’t win. This past week I had to incorporate berries, which is why I made these pancakes with blueberries, in high hopes of winning..but I didnt:/

I still enjoyed them and so did my boyfriend though! I spent a lot of time thinking of what to make and had a ton of fun creating them. That’s all that counts..right?

Well, even though these pancakes once again, didn’t win the contest, I think they are surely worthy of posting the recipe for. I bet you all will really like them:)

You may ask, blueberry and chai flavored? How? Well the blueberries is a simple explanation, but the chai flavor is what made them special! All you do is make strongly brewed tea with a chai tea bag, and use that as part of your liquid for the batter! How simple yet yummy?!

Blueberries contain so many antioxidants, coconut flour is very high in fiber compared to most, and using chai tea in place of milk or other liquids lowers the fat and calorie content. Healthy you think?? I say so! These would serve as a great breakfast, post workout meal, or even dessert! I know you’ll love them if you give them a try:)

Next week is the last week for the contest! And the theme is you have to incorporate veggies into it.. Guess you’ll have to see what I come up with! What veggie do YOU think I’ll use?!

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Berry Coconut Chai Pancakes
For Pancakes:
-3/4 cup oat flour
-1/4 cup coconut flour
-1/2 cup coconut milk (canned)
-1/2 cup strongly brewed chai tea
-1/4 cup egg whites
-1 egg
-1 T agave/packet of stevia
-1 tsp each: vanilla extract, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, baking powder
-touch of salt
-1 cup blueberries
Directions:Stir all ingredients together except berries. Fold in berries right before cooking. Cook in pan on stove in coconut oil on medium heat!

For coconut cream:
-1/4 cup cottage cheese
-1/4 cup vanilla greek yogurt
-1/4 cup coconut milk
-2 T cream cheese (can use fat free)
-1/4 cup unsweetened coconut
-2 T agave
-optional: blue food coloring (for aesthetics haha)
Directions: Blend altogether in blender. Fill pancake layers with cream. Top with toasted coconut and blueberries