Archive for December, 2013

Coconut Flour Carrot Bars (Grain Free)

Looking at what I’ve compiled to post for the next month, I’ve realized that I have a lot of recipes dealing with butternut squash. To break up this pattern, I’ve got some carrot bars to share (Back to butternut squash next week!)

Now, I’m very fond of these bars as I practically lived off them last semester. Plus, they’re bright orange (more so than what the pictures show) and you all know I’m a sucker for pretty colors 🙂 I usually cut these into bite-sized pieces and pop them into my mouth as I run out the door.

Coconut Flour Carrot Bars (Grain Free)

Coconut Flour Carrot Bars (Grain Free) 

Ingredients: 

2 cups carrots, shredded*

1 cup plain whole milk organic yogurt

2/3 cup honey

2 tsp pure vanilla extract

2 tbsp grounded flaxseed

1 cup coconut flour

1 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

1/4 cup raisins (or dark chocolate chips)

1/4 cup coconut flakes

1/4 cup chopped almonds

*To shred, place carrots in a food processor and pulse until they are in small pieces

Directions: 

Preheat the oven to 350 and spray a greased 9×13 baking pan. In a large bowl, combine the shredded carrots, yogurt, honey, vanilla extract, and flaxseed. Let sit for 5 minutes. Meanwhile, in a separate bowl, combine the coconut flour, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt. Add in the raisins/chocolate chips, coconut flakes, and almonds. Add the coconut flour mixture to the wet mixture. Stir altogether and pour into the baking pan. To spread the batter evenly, press down with a spatula or with your hands. Bake for 20 minutes. Let sit for 20 minutes before cutting with a plastic knife. To intensify flavor and harden, store in the fridge.

Coconut Flour Carrot Bars (Grain Free)

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Butternut Squash Gratin (Grain-Free)

A few years back, my mom took over hosting Christmas Eve dinner from my grandparents. Since my Mom-Mom was famous for making her lasagna every year, my mom realized that if she tried making it, everyone would compare it to hers. So, we’ve been trying to come up with a menu that we can make into a tradition.

This year, were adding this to the list.

It’s interesting. I’m so used to using, shall we say “alternative” techniques and recipes, that I always forget how my relatives think my food, on appearances alone, is either downright “weird” or (hopefully) “creative.” Fortunately, my mom tasted it and thought it yummy and “creative” and requested that I make it for our menu!

Butternut Squash Gratin (Grain-Free)

Butternut Squash Gratin (Grainless) 

Ingredients:

1 tbsp ghee

3 cups peeled and finely cubed butternut squash

1 small onion, chopped

1 tsp dried parsley

1 tsp dried thyme

1/4 tsp nutmeg

salt and pepper

1/2 cup cashews

1/2 cup organic feta cheese

Directions: 

Heat ghee in a skillet until melted. Add in butternut squash and sauté for 20 minutes, until slightly tender. Add in onion, parsley, thyme, nutmeg, salt and pepper and cook for 5 more minutes. Spoon into a sprayed baking dish (about 8-9 inches in diameter). Bake at 350 for 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, pulse cashews in a food processor until reduced to fine pieces. Add in feta cheese and pulse a few more times. Sprinkle 2/3 a cup over butternut squash. Bake for another 20 minutes and serve. Set out the remaining cashew mixture and sprinkle over butternut squash, if desired (highly recommended).

Chocolate Almond Butternut Squash Cookies

Before the end of zucchini season, I made a large batch of my Chocolate Almond Zucchini Cookies and froze them at my mom’s house, hoping to have the occasional cookie throughout winter.

One week later: 

“Mom, where’s my cookies?”

“I thought you made them for me.”

“But where are they?”

“Ummm.”

“…”

So, I began working to adapt the recipe to include a vegetable in season. This is the result! And it tastes exactly like the zucchini cookies. Now, I get to enjoy these cookies in all four seasons!

And just in time too with Christmas around the corner! (For more past cookie recipes, see below)

By the way, for those who are hesitant, they taste exactly like regular cookies- you can’t even tell there’s squash in them 🙂

Chocolate Almond Butternut Squash Cookies

Chocolate Almond Butternut Squash Cookies 

Ingredients: 

*1 cup roasted butternut squash puree

1/2 cup water

1 organic egg

2 tbsp organic molasses (EDITOR’S NOTE: No molasses? Up the water to a 2/3 cup and use 2/3 cup brown sugar instead of cane sugar)

1 tsp vanilla extract

1/2 cup cane sugar

3 tbsp cocoa powder

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp salt

2 cups whole wheat flour

1/2 cup chocolate chips

1/4 cup chopped almonds

*To make puree, slice the butternut squash in half long ways and place face-down (peel side up) on a foil-lined baking pan. Roast in the oven at 425 degrees for 45 minutes. Flip face-up and roast for 10 more minutes. Once cooled, scoop out squash flesh and blend in a food processor until smooth. 

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray baking pans with cooking oil and set aside. Whisk butternut squash puree, water, egg, molasses, and vanilla together. Dissolve in sugar. Add in cocoa powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt. Slowly stir in flour. Add in chocolate chips and almonds. Scoop into tbsp sized-balls, and plop on the pans. Bake for 12 minutes. Allow to cool for at least 5 minutes. Store in a container or freeze.

Other Cookies for the Holidays:

Flourless Banana Cookies

Flourless Banana Cookies

Flourless Peanut Butter Cookies

Flourless Peanut Butter Cookies

Coconut Macaroons

Coconut Macaroons

Chocolate Almond Zucchini Cookies

Chocolate Almond Zucchini Cookies

No-Bake Pumpkin Cookie Dough Balls

No-Bake Pumpkin Cookie Dough Balls

Beet “Cookies”

Beet “Cookies”

Asparagus Salad

I love recreating meals I’ve had while eating out. Granted, I usually put my own twist on the dish. But still, I try to get as close to the original dish’s taste as possible. It’s like a challenge for me.

For my birthday this year, I went to a restaurant and ended up eating an asparagus salad. Overall, it was pretty simple to guess the ingredients. What really captured my interest in recreating this dish, however, was the egg on top. I love eggs. And on top of a salad? I’m in.

In non-related food news, I’m excited to announce that I’m going to India in January 2015! Not only do I get to do some sight seeing, but I’m also going to be teaching in some of the villages! And I know, that’s still awhile away, but this is a big deal for me. I’ve never been outside the country (or traveled around this country, as a matter of fact). I’ve lived in South Jersey all my life, surrounded by corn fields and apple orchards. The most exciting thing that happens to me is a runaway horse or sheep wandering into my front yard. So, let the count down begin!

Asparagus SaladAsparagus Salad 

Ingredients: 

2 tbsp pine nuts

2 lb Asparagus

1 pint cherry tomatoes

2 tbsp olive oil

1 tbsp lemon juice

feta cheese, (optional)

salt and pepper, to taste

eggs (1 for each person)

Directions: 

In a bread pan, spread out pine nuts. Bake at 375 for 8 minutes, shaking pan occasionally to prevent burning. Afterwards, IMMEDIATELY transfer the pine nuts to a bowl to stop the cooking process and let cool.

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Break off the tough ends of the asparagus. Place spears and tomatoes in a large bowl. In a small bowl, whisk together olive oil and lemon juice. Pour on top of asparagus and tomatoes, add salt and pepper, and toss. Place the asparagus and tomatoes on baking pans and roast in the oven for 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, cook egg(s), sunny side up.

After asparagus and tomatoes are done, spread out on individual plates. Sprinkle with cooled pine nuts and feta cheese. Slide 1 egg on top of each plate and finish with more salt and pepper, to taste.