Thursday, May 3, 2012

Coconut Almond Cookie Bites


When I first learned about the greatness of coconut flour, these cookies were my first success. Coconut flour is not only an amazing gluten free alternative to flour, it is low fat, low carb, low sugar and high in fiber. Every person who is striving to cook and eat healthy, must have coconut flour as a staple ingredient in their kitchen. Read more about the healthy benefits and baking tips on coconut flour here. 
Warning....you will find these cookies very addictive! I personally like them best cold after sitting in the fridge overnight. They almost have a cookie dough consistency but are not at all heavy. It's sort of like once you pop you really can't stop.




COCONUT ALMOND COOKIE BITES
1/2 cup of coconut flour
1 cup of granulated splenda
1 1/2 cups of unsweetened shredded coconut (I use low fat, but regular will work too)
1/4 teaspoon of salt
1/2 cup of butter substitute of your choice (I used I Can't Believe It's Not Butter)
1 cup of egg beaters
1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon of almond extract
1/3 cup of raisins
1/3 cup of sliced raw almonds (no added salt)
Makes about 20 cookies

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. In a medium size bowl, combine coconut flour, splenda, shredded coconut and salt. In a large bowl, blend together butter, egg beaters, vanilla and almond extract. While continuing to blend, pour in the dry ingredients into the wet. Blend and mix well. Stir in the raisins and almonds. On a greased baking sheet, scoop out small spoonfuls of dough (about the size of ping pong balls) and place them about an inch or so apart. (The whole batter should fit perfectly on one cookie sheet). The cookies really retain their shape and will look almost identical when fully cooked as they did as raw dough. Bake for 8 minutes. Cookies may seem like they are not done, but they are. Take em' out! Let them cool and serve.


Lemon Poppy Seed Mini Muffins


I am a huge fan of lemon flavor baked goods. There is just something refreshing and sweet about it that makes me eat one too many. Good news. These mini muffins are low fat, sugar free and gluten free. Perfect for a snack on the go or a mini breakfast treat.

LEMON POPPY SEED MINI MUFFINS
1/4 cup of coconut flour
1/4 teaspoon of celtic sea salt
1/4 teaspoon of baking soda
3/4 cup of egg beaters
1/4 cup of agave nectar
1/4 cup of grapeseed oil
1/2 teaspoon of fresh squeezed lemon juice
1 tablespoon of lemon zest
1 tablespoon of poppy seeds
Makes about 15 mini muffins

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine coconut flour, salt and baking soda in a medium size bowl. In a large bowl, blend egg beaters, agave nectar, grapeseed oil, lemon juice and lemon zest. Pour dry ingredients into wet while continuing to blend all together. Once combined, stir in poppy seeds. Pour mixture into a greased mini muffin pan and bake for 8 to 10 minutes. Cool and remove from muffin pan. Serve and enjoy!

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Famous Mango Guacamole

I must give credit to my Mother for inspiring this recipe years ago by adding mango to guacamole she made one day. A perfect twist that compliments all the flavors that are incorporated into a great guacamole. This is a definite crowd-pleaser and has been a regular in my recipe book for years. Enjoy!

FAMOUS MANGO GUACAMOLE
3 large hass avacados, perfectly ripened
1 medium ripened mango, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1 medium size tomato, chopped
1/2 medium size red onion, diced
1/4 cup of freshly chopped cilantro
The juice of 1/2 lime, freshly squeezed
1/2 tablespoon of good quality balsamic vinegar
Salt and pepper to taste

Start off by buying perfectly ripe avocados. Hass avocados. This is essential in order to make a good guacamole. Unfortunately the avocados we have grown locally in Florida are not as creamy and flavorful as the delicious little guys from Mexico.

Perfectly ripped avocados should be a brown/charcoal color.

*Side note: To check if an avacado is perfect ripe, the skin should be a dark brown/charcoal color (not green) and should be somewhat soft to the touch. You should be able to gently squeeze the avocado and it should feel evenly ripe all around. Put it back if one area of the avacado is much more soft than the other areas. This means there is a bruise in the avocado (similar to a bruise in any piece of fruit) and it will be brown in that spot. Since the Mexican avocados are so small it's important to be able to use all of it or else you wont have enough avocado to make a successful guacamole.

Next, separate each avocado into two halves and using a spoon scoop out the inside. Roughly cut the avocado into smaller pieces and put in a large bowl or a stone molcajete (as I use in the photo above). If you are using a bowl and not the molcajete which has the stone pestle to mix everything, get a fork and mash the avocados so there are no huge chunks. Add the mango, tomato and red onion. Using your fork or pestle, continue to mix and mash until everything is incorporated together. Add your lime juice and cilantro (feel free to add more or less depending on your taste. My husband LOVES cilantro so we tend to use more than 1/4 cup). Continue to mix. The last ingredient is the secret weapon. The balsamic vinegar. It magically ties all the flavors together and adds a touch of tang and sweetness. Mix this in well and add salt and pepper to taste. Serve with chips, veggies, or make yourself a margarita and have a taco night :)

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Banana Nut Ice Cream For Two


Today I went bananas....with bananas. Since last week we have had bananas just sitting in our fruit stand, untouched. Of course not till a week later, after they are more than fully ripened, I decided it's time to make use of those bananas. Which I guess is a good thing otherwise I wouldn't have come up with this new delicious recipe :)

Tonight was bananas TWO WAYS. First, I made banana raisin muffins with a pecan crumble --- however I don't think they are worthy enough yet to post. So stayed tuned for that. Second, a success! Banana Nut Ice Cream (well, it's actually made with Greek yogurt (fat free Greek yogurt I must add!) but the consistency was thick like ice cream, not like frozen yogurt. Hence why I named it ice cream). I pleasantly surprised myself (and my husband who MUST taste test everything) with how amazingly delicious this came out. What is most surprising, is there is no fat (with the exception of the added nuts), no sugar and it's gluten free. Chi-ching!

Oh, and did I mention it's extremely easy to make?

BANANA NUT ICE CREAM FOR TWO
1 cup of fat free Greek yogurt
1 large very ripe banana
1/2 cup of unsweetened applesauce
2 tablespoons of agave nectar
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
1 teaspoon of cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon of nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon of celtic sea salt
1/3 cup of pecans
Makes two full size portions


Combine all ingredients above (except for the pecans) in a food processor till it's mixed well. Pulse in your pecans so they are broken up into chunky pieces. Turn on your ice cream maker and pour in mixture. Process according to the directions of your ice cream maker.

For my Cuisinart ice cream maker it churned for 30 minutes until perfect
consistency.
Serve immediately and top with extra chopped pecans or dark chocolate chips....or both!


* Side note: I found when making home-made ice cream, it's best eaten right away and not saved in the freezer. This recipe is for two full size portions (AKA my husband and I) but if you are cooking for four, just double the ingredients (cooking for six, triple the ingredients, etc.)