Gigantic Chocolate Chip Cookie

     Last night I experimented with a huge chocolate chip cookie and it was a success! I used the recipe from: http://www.simplyvintagegirl.com/blog/index.php/2012/07/10/chocolate-chip-cookie-squares-gluten-free-grain-free-dairy-free/ and substituted chia eggs for chicken eggs to take this gluten-free, grain-free, dairy-free recipe to the next level: vegan. I have made multiple recipes that call for coconut sugar, but have substituted honey or maple syrup for it as I try to abstain from sugar as much as possible and use natural sweeteners instead. Last night the only thing I wanted to alter in the recipe was the eggs so I gave coconut sugar a shot and later did some research. Coconut sugar, also known as palm sugar is low on the glycemic index and has some other surprisingly beneficial properties. Made from the flowers of the coconut tree, coconut sugar is rich in various vitamins and minerals, especially potassium. Keep in mind, I’m not saying coconut sugar is a health food by any means, but it is an excellent alternative to white refined sugar.

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Gigantic Chocolate Chip Cookie:

  • 2 ½ cups almond flour
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ⅓ cup coconut oil, melted
  • 2 chia eggs
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 2 tablespoons coconut sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 cup Enjoy Life (dairy-free) chocolate chips

Directions:

Combine 6 tbsps water and 2 tsps ground chia seeds in small bowl (or mug) and let sit for 15 minutes. Meanwhile, combine dry ingredients (almond flour, salt, baking soda, and coconut sugar) in a large bowl. In a medium sized bowl, combine wet ingredients (melted coconut oil, vanilla, honey, and chia eggs. Once the chia eggs are ready, add to the wet ingredients and pour the wet ingredients into the dry and mix with wooden spoon or spatula until thoroughly combined. Stir in the chocolate chips. Place dough on parchment paper on top of a baking sheet. Form dough with your hands into a rectangle, distributing evenly. Bake at 350°F for about 20 minutes, until golden brown. Let the cookie cool for about 15 minutes and cut into squares.

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A dairy-free, gluten-free, pescetarian Thanksgiving

Happy Turkey (or Tofurkey) Day! My family and I started the day off with a 5k this morning, which got us in great moods as well as stimulated our appetites for a delicious feast. Since 3 out of 4 of us don’t eat meat and 2 of those 3 are on pretty strict diets, we certainly don’t have the typical Thanksgiving meal. Our Thanksgiving meal may be far from traditional, but it is certainly delicious!

This year we enjoyed fresh Scottish salmon, mashed sweet potatoes, kale salad, and roasted cauliflower. For dessert I made pumpkin fudge and apple crisp.

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The kale recipe can be found here: http://www.wegmans.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/ProductDisplay?langId=-1&storeId=10052&catalogId=10002&productId=765609

The roasted cauliflower recipe: http://www.bhg.com/recipe/roasted-cauliflower-with-cranberries/

Mashed Sweet potatoes:

Ingredients

4 large sweet potatoes

2 Tbsp soy-free earth balance

2 Tbsp unsweetened almond milk

¾ cup raw pecans

½ tsp sea salt

1 tsp cinnamon

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 F. Wash and scrub sweet potatoes.
  2. Bake for 1 hour or until potatoes are soft and skin can be easily removed.
  3. Once potatoes are done baking, remove from oven and turn down the oven temperature to 350 F.
  4. Chop pecans and roast in oven at 350 F for 5 minutes.
  5. Remove skin and mash potatoes in a large bowl. Add the salt, almond milk, and Earth Balance and combine. Top with cinnamon and chopped pecans.

Grilled Cedar Plank Salmon:

Ingredients:

2.5 lb fresh salmon

1 cedar plank

1 Tbsp dried Italian seasoning

1 tsp smoked paprika

½ tsp salt

1/3 cup brown sugar

Directions:

  1. Preheat gas grill to medium.
  2. Meanwhile, combine brown sugar, Italian seasoning, paprika, and salt in a small mixing bowl.
  3. With clean hands or a spatula, rub the mixture evenly throughout the top of the salmon filet.
  4. Place the prepared salmon onto the cedar plank (skin down).
  5. Grill for 30 minutes, or until salmon turns light pink and flaky.

The pumpkin fudge recipe can be found here: http://purelytwins.com/2012/10/15/how-make-healthy-fresh-pumpkin-pie-fudge-recipe/

The recipe for the apples was inspired by Detoxinista at http://detoxinista.com/2013/11/healthy-baked-cinnamon-apples/ and prior to baking the dish, I topped it with a crumb topping from http://greatist.com/health/gluten-free-apple-crisp-healthy-recipe using Earth Balance instead of butter.

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I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving.

“Be thankful for what you have; you’ll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don’t have, you will never have enough.” -Oprah Winfrey

Simple Stir-fry (recipe)

Simple Stir-fry

Stir-fry Ingredients:

  • 2 cups cooked brown rice
  • 6 oz extra firm tofu
  • ¼ of a small head of broccoli
  • ½ medium red Pepper
  • 2 tbsp fresh ginger
  • Small handful of arugula

Sauce Ingredients:

  • 1 tbsp gluten-free soy sauce
  • ½ tbsp Peanut Butter (no salt added)
  • 1 tbsp Extra virgin olive oil

Directions for the Sauce:

Add sauce ingredients to a small mug and mix vigorously with a whisk. *Hint: If you are using organic peanut butter (stored in the fridge), be sure to take it out about 30 minutes prior to making sauce to let soften.

Directions for the stir-fry:

  1. Cook rice according to package instructions. I used Trader Joe’s organic brown rice that cooks in the microwave for only 3 minutes!
  2. Dry tofu- Place tofu on a plate between 2 paper towels. First press tofu with hands, then add a few heavy books on top and let sit for 10 minutes with the books on top.  Once you have removed excess water from the tofu, slice it into cubes. For this recipe, I used Harrisonburg’s local Twin Oaks Tofu, which is ready to use so I got to skip the drying step. Check it out at http://twinoakstofu.com/.
  3. Cut broccoli into small florets, dice the red bell pepper, cut ginger into thin pieces and add all three ingredients to a pan (sprayed with non-stick cooking spray) over medium heat. After 5 minutes, add the tofu. Cook the tofu for 3 minutes on each side.
  4. Turn the heat down to low and add the cooked rice, arugula and sauce. Stir for 1 minute and then serve.

Serves 2.

The leftovers make a perfect lunch for the following day. Today, I brought my leftovers to school and planned to microwave them, but ended up eating the dish cold and it was still tasty!