Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Gourmet Pizza

Today's recipe comes to you courtesy of the man of the house.   As I mentioned before he's on a quest to find the perfect pizza.  The story behind it is a little long so I won't bore you with all the details but the end result is there is lots of pizza eating happening in my house and I don't have to cook. The bad thing is I've been doing my best to avoid gluten, and I avoid dairy as much as possible, so this isn't helping in the least. Another drawback is he won't eat veggies so the majority of the pizzas have been meat and cheese. Given the fact that he's trying to perfect this for the general public I can't complain.
You can imagine my excitement when I came home to a pizza just for me. He makes the dough from scratch in the KitchenAid and was shocked the first time how easy it was, and he thought I was crazy for wanting to spend that much money on a mixer.  I was just softening the blow for when the Vitamix

The recipe was messily scribbled on a tiny piece of paper so I don't have measurements but it's pizza so I figured it really doesn't matter.

Sweet Onion Ricotta Pizza

Preheat oven to 425- 450

Pizza dough of your choice
Olive oil
Mozzarella cheese
Sweet onion (Vidalia or Spanish), sliced thin
Parsley, finely chopped
Tomatoes, finely chopped
1/2 Lemon

Spread olive oil over dough.  Sprinkle with mozzarella, thinly sliced onion and ricotta.  Bake till crust is cooked to desired doneness. Remove from oven and sprinkle with parsley, chopped tomatoes, and a squeeze of lemon juice.  Return to the oven to warm the tomatoes.

It turned out really well and was quite tasty.  The next time we make it I think I'll add some roasted garlic to the base and maybe some feta.  It's a great recipe to play with and make it your own.


Monday, September 17, 2012

My Favorite Gingersnap Cookie Recipe

I did it, I survived my return to work from vacation.  As I suspected it wasn’t  a smooth return but the work got done and nobody got hurt in the process.
One of my guilty pleasures is cookies and I don’t discriminate I love cookies of all kinds.  Sadly your average cookie recipe is far from healthy.  You know what I’m talking about, white flour, white sugar, brown sugar, butter or shortening nothing there even remotely resembles nutrition. 
This recipe originally came from my grandmother and I think mom told me she used bacon fat in it.  I know sounds odd but mom swears that’s what it was back in the day (I’m still skeptical). When the recipe came to me it was lard or shortening and I changed it to butter flavoured Crisco…. doesn’t that sound yummy.
I’m now on a quest to healthify some of my favorite cookie recipes.  I’ve already done my chocolate chip cookie recipe so this one was the next on the list.  I’m very please with the result.
Gingersnap Cookies (Gluten Free)
  • 2 cups Gluten Free Flour mix
  • 1 tbsp ground ginger
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 3/4 cup coconut oil
  • 1 cup coconut sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup black strap molasses
  • organic sugar for dipping
Sift dry ingredients. Set aside.  Cream coconut oil and sugar together.  Add egg and molasses.  Beat well.  Gradually add dry to wet until well combined.  Roll into balls dip in sugar and flatten with a fork.
Bake at 350 for 12 mins.  Let cool completely
These do have a little different taste than the original recipe which I think is from the blackstrap molasses instead of the regular molasses.  If you’ve never had blackstrap it has a deeper toasted caramel flavour.  I also think I will add a little more ginger next time only because the flavour of the molasses is stronger so the ginger takes a little bit of a back seat.
GINGER COOKIES                                 
                   GINGER COOKIES 1
I think this was a pretty good job of healthifying them and still keeping the cookie integrity. 
~~ Jackie

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Olive Oil and Balsamic Vinegar {Liquid Gold}

Here we are again, another week of vacation comes to an end. This week of vacation was pretty uneventful.  I spent most of the time working on my RHN course.  I know it's not how most would chose to spend their vacation but it works for me.  This course is so interesting and I love learning about everything. While everyone else has been spending their time engrossed in Fifty Shades of Grey, I haven't been able to put down, Eating Alive, Healing Arthritis, and The Nutritional Bypass...who'd have thought!

I did take some time off from studying and ventured over to Halifax with hubby.  I indulged in some Chai Masala Gelato and a Skor Bar Latte (made with Almond Milk) from Humani T Cafe. They make their own gelato and sorbetto from scratch without artificial flavouring or colouring, and use organic ingredients or ingredients from our local market. Something else I noticed was they have Gluten Free cones. I didn't try them but always a great option. They have a great lunch menu as well.  Made fresh with local ingredients whenever possible and offer Vegan and Gluten Free options.  If you're in Halifax you should make a point to visit them.  (I didn't have my camera with me so these photos are from their site)

One of our other stops was a little piece of Foodie Heaven, well at least for me.  Hubby didn't find it quite as exciting as I did.  I had been meaning to check this place out for some time now but never made it over the bridge.  Now that I've been once I guarantee it will not be my last visit.  I wanted one of everything!!  This little piece of heaven is called Liquid Gold Tasting Bar & All things Olive.  You can find them in the Hydrostone Market along with other great shops, cafes, and restaurants (oh, and if you like garlic you have to try Salvatore's Ceasar Salad). Back  to the Liquid Gold.  Not only do they have olive oil, they have Balsamic Vinegar, Flavour infused Oils, and Gourmet Oils.  The best part is you can taste them all before you decide. I was like a kid in a candy store.

I couldn't decide on an olive oil so I came home with three Balsamic Vinegars . Cranberry Pear White Balsamic, Maple Balsamic and Dark Chocolate Balsamic.  Yup that's right I said Dark Chocolate Balsamic.  If only strawberries were still in season this would be perfect drizzled over the top. 

If you have any recipe ideas for me please let me know.

~~ Jackie

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Vacation - Chicken and "Rice"

It's that time again, I'm on vacation.  Unlike my last couple weeks off where the weather was sweltering hot this vacation started off with a monsoon. We didn't have any flooding in our area but about an hour away there was some serious flooding.

Hopefully the water recedes soon and everyone can start the clean up process.

One thing I will be working on during my vacation is getting a good start on some goals I set for myself in September.  Something I need to overcome is the fact my goals are usually vague, big picture, and lacking a plan with little goals along the way. As a result I end up getting distracted and never quite seem to get to the desired end result.  Which in turn leads to negative thoughts and feelings about myself.  My September goals aren't lofty by any stretch of the imagination but slow and steady wins the race, right!

A few of my September goals are:
1.  Walk at least 30 minutes 5 days per week.  
2.  Complete and submit tests/assignments for 2 modules in RHN course.

One of my upcoming goals is to organize my recipe collection. I have 59765 recipes I need to get under control, but I have no idea how.  Do I sort them by meal type, chef, type of cooking (Gluten Free, Vegan, Raw) etc. Anyone have suggestions?

On the subject of recipes,  last night I was sitting here among my 59765 recipes while searching online and  I still couldn't find anything for supper. Sadly this occurs more often than I would like. Supper obstacle #2 hubby won't eat what I eat so I have to cook something different for him.

Here's what I decided on for me, Ginger Cilantro Chicken  and Cauliflower Rice. 

Preheat Oven to 375

4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
1" piece of fresh ginger, grated
3-4 garlic cloves, minced
1 jalapeno pepper seeded
1/3 cup cilantro leaves
1/4 - 1/3 chicken stock or white wine
2 tbsp reduced sodium soy sauce (or Tamari)
1 tsp sesame oil (I used about 1/2 tsp hot sesame oil)
Sea Salt and Pepper
chopped green onions for garnish

Put all ingredients (except chicken and green onions) into your food processor and process till smooth.

Sear chicken on both sides in a skillet. Remove from skillet and place in baking dish.  Pour sauce mixture over chicken and bake till chicken reaches 165 and juices run clear.

Remove and serve topped with some chopped cilantro and green onions.

Since I liked everything in the recipe I figured it would be a winner and it was.  

Cauliflower Rice
1 medium head of cauliflower

1/2 - 1 cup chopped onion 
1 small carrot, shredded
1 - 2 cloves roasted garlic, mashed
1 tbsp EVOO or coconut oil
Sea Salt and pepper

Place shredding blade in food processor (you can use a box grater too). Processes cauliflower.
Saute onions till soft, add cauliflower, mashed garlic, carrot, salt and pepper.  Saute about 10 minutes.  I wanted mine a little crispy so I probably cooked it a it longer.

I was skeptical about the "rice" but it turned out really well.  A great way to get in some extra veggies and skip the carbs.


Monday, September 3, 2012

Are Chocolate and Avocado Really BFF's?

Chocolate and avocado are not a new combination in the blog world.  I'm sure you've all seen the pudding, cake, and cupcakes, but to be honest the thought of adding avocado to my yummy baked goods kind of freaked me out.  I was skeptical to say the least.  That was until I tried this recipe Marie posted on her blog over at Marie Tower Nutrition.  Marie hasn't steered me wrong yet so I had to give them a try.

I made three slight modifications to the recipe.  One I wanted to see how they would work using a gluten free flour mix, two I was running out of maple syrup so I didn't use as much and three I read if you add a little apple sauce, pumpkin or something with pectin in place of some of the fat it would help bind things together with the GF flours.

Chocolate Avocado Cupcakes (Gluten Free)

1 1/2  cups gluten free flour mix (or AP flour. Spelt would probably work good too)
3/4 cup coco or cacao powder
1 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp sea salt
1 large avocado pitted and peeled
3/4 cup pure maple syrup
3/4 cup unsweetened almond milk
1/3 cup olive oil (I subbed approx 1/8 cup unsweetened apple sauce for some of the oil)
2 tsp vanilla

Preheat oven 350

Line 12 cup muffin pan with paper liners.  Whisk dry ingredients together in a large bowl.  Combine wet ingredients, including avocado in your blender and blend until creamy.  Add avocado mixture to dry ingredients and mix till well combined.  This batter is very thick a large ice cream scoop would be perfect to use to put the batter in the muffin cups.

Bake for 25 mins or until a toothpick inserted comes out with a few crumbs attached.  Let cool (if you can wait that long) and enjoy!

They were velvety smooth, yummy and held together really well. The next time I make them I'll be adding in some dark chocolate for a little extra chocolaty goodness.

If you would like to try the GF flour mix here it is. I've used it in muffins, and brownies too all with great results.

2 cups sorghum flour
2 cups potato starch (not flour)
1/2 cup coconut flour
1/2 cup brown rice flour
1 tbsp xantham gum (or guar gum)

Mix together and store in an airtight container in the fridge or freezer for longer shelf life.

Enjoy your Labour day holiday!!

~~ Jackie