Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Vanilla Mango Panna Cotta—Tuesdays With Dorie—Baking Chez Moi

Mango Panna Cotta

I missed the last TWD, which was an apricot raspberry tart.  I bought a big container of organic apricots at Costco that I was planning on using, but my kids all like apricots so much (so do I) in their perfect, fresh form, that they all got eaten super fast before I was able to make the tart.  The tart sounds like something I’d love, so it was probably a good thing that I wasn’t tempted to eat it.

Today’s recipe for the Vanilla Mango Panna Cotta was super simple so I decided there was no excuse to get it made.  I used organic cane sugar so I could taste it.  I normally don’t eat things with milk and cream much anymore but decided this was an okay excuse because I really wanted to try it.

Mango Panna Cotta 

Panna Cotta, as I described it to my kids, it just a gelatin (Jell-o) made with milk and cream. It’s pretty low in sugar, too.  With this one, a mango puree is put in the bottom of each cup.  I would not be against just going with more puree (half the cup!) and half panna cotta.  It would even be good with the mango mixed in with the milk/cream mixture. 

This is how I served it here after nice photos--

Vanilla Mango Panna Cotta 2

You can never have too much fresh fruit!  I followed Dorie’s recipe exactly, even using lime juice and a teaspoon of honey in the puree.  I used vanilla extract as I didn’t have a vailla bean.  I’m tell you, super easy for a nice dessert.  This recipe made four servings but would also be a cinch to double or triple it for a crowd.  You want the recipe, don’t you?  I’ve told you before—get Dorie’s book, Baking Chez Moi.  Loving it!  A lot more panna cotta to behold with the group, check it out here

This would be good with any fruit and surprise, surprise, I’m thinking there’s got to be a way it would be really good with chocolate, too.  Ooh, raspberry puree, raspberries on top and chocolate shavings or a drizzle of melted chocolate.  That would be my ideal panna cotta.  What would be your favorite?

Sunday, July 26, 2015

White Popcorn Lime Kettle Corn

Lime Kettle Corn with White Popcorn and coconut oil

Looks like regular ol’ popcorn, I know.  But it’s different and better and……yummy!  Sometimes I want/need a little treat.  I’m over the wish for decadent desserts, cakes, cookies, brownies, ice cream, etc., well, mostly over it.  Every now and then I want something like that.  But I just get over it.  Healthy treats, like the ones I occasionally make with dates and such do the trick.  Every now and then, I want something crunchy and salty. 

One of my favorite things is making popcorn.  NEVER, and I’m serious, never eat microwave popcorn—all that butter “flavoring” stuff in it is NOT good for you.  Bad, bad.  But before I knew that a few years ago, I found Orville Redenbacher’s Lime and Salt microwave popcorn and I loved it.  Nowadays, I make my own with my Orville Redenbacher Presto Stirring Popper (no affiliate link, just love it).  Photo courtesy of Amazon.com. 

prestopopper

I have come to love white popcorn.  It’s just better.  Try it if you haven’t.  You can find it in most stores now.  Even better, but harder to find is organic white popcorn.  The kernels are smaller and it just has a more tender crunch.  You can use any popping corn you like.  The popper is great, you add a little oil to it and I ALWAYS use organic coconut oil.  I’ll never go back to anything else.  I love the slight coconut flavor and that it is a healthier option.  Plug in the popper after adding some oil, let it heat for just a minute.  Then add the popping corn and put the big, ventilated, plastic lid over it.  You can watch the corn start browning a bit, hear the sizzle and then you see the corn start popping.  Listen for the pops to almost stop, then unplug it and turn the whole thing upside down and the lid becomes the bowl (until you move it to a bowl that isn’t ventilated with holes to add all the yumminess to it).

I most often make the popcorn with just the coconut oil and some salt.  It doesn’t need butter!  Sometimes I add lime zest.  That lime and salt really is a great combination on popcorn.  Try it!  Just zest a little lime right onto the freshly popped and salted corn and stir it together.  Mmmm!

Today though, I felt like a little sweet and salty, so while the corn was popping (it’s fast), I mixed together a little salt, organic cane sugar and lime zest so that as soon as the popcorn was done, I could sprinkle it on the fresh, hot corn and stir it all together.  You can drizzle it with a little more coconut oil as soon as it is done popping, but it isn’t necessary. 

White Popcorn Lime Kettle Corn, by Katrina, Baking and Boys!

1/4 cup organic coconut oil, 1 tablespoon or more to drizzle over popcorn if desired

1/2 cup white popping corn kernels

1 teaspoon fine sea salt

1 1/2 teaspoons organic cane sugar

zest of 1 lime

Put the 1/4 cup of coconut oil in the popper (*I use the Orville Redenbacher Presto Stirring Popper).  Plug it in and let the wire arm start moving around and the oil heat up for a minute.  Add the popping corn and put the lid on the popper.  Combine the salt, sugar and lime zest in a small bowl and stir it together.  Within minutes the popcorn will pop the corn.  Unplug it and carefully (with hot pads) turn it upside down so all the popped corn is in the lid.  Put the popcorn in a large bowl, drizzle with extra coconut oil if desired. Sprinkle the salt/sugar/lime mixture evenly over the popcorn a little at a time and stir it to combine.  Serve.  When you get to the bottom of the bowl, you’ll see lots of the lime mixture left, but you can still taste it throughout.  (I tried a little coconut oil drizzle on some and stirred the lime mixture around and it stuck to the popcorn more, but I was fine with the taste when it had less, so do it to taste.) *You can pop popping corn with any popper you’d like, including an air popper, this is just my preferred method.) 

White Popcorn Lime Kettle Corn 2

There is a big bag of popcorn at Costco called Skinny Pop because it just has popcorn, oil and salt.  My friend, Paige, at For Love of the Table mentioned how hard it is to eat just a little bit once you open the bag.  I’ve seen it and resisted the temptation to buy it because I know I can just make my own popcorn at home.  I thought it was funny that Paige posted a photo of the empty bag of popcorn with Skinny crossed off the label and she wrote in Piggy.  She thinks it should be called Piggy Pop because it’s hard to stop eating it once you get started.  I’ll just say that this combination of lime and salt (and a little sweetness from the sugar) as well as just my version of plain popcorn with coconut oil and salt is pretty hard to stop eating when I make a big bowl of it.  It’s my version of Piggy Pop. Winking smile

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Grain Free Blueberry Muffins (Gluten Free and Refined Sugar Free, too)

Grain Free Blueberry Muffin

Sometimes I miss a good muffin.  You try to make a perfect one gluten and refined sugar free.  I realized I had some organic blueberries and that muffins should and could be made.  I checked out a number of different recipes online and went with a grain free one made with almond flour.  I am super happy with how these turned out.

My favorite part (besides the blueberries) is the coconut almond topping.  These were so easy to make.

Grain Free Blueberry Muffins 2 Grain Free Blueberry Muffins (Refined Sugar Free), by Katrina, Baking and Boys!

1/4 cup (56 grams) coconut oil (the oil I used was already melted, it’s summertime)

1/4 cup (84 grams) raw honey

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 teaspoon almond extract

3 tablespoons full fat coconut milk

2 large farm fresh eggs, room temperature

2 cups (224 grams) almond flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/8 teaspoon salt

1 cup fresh blueberries, washed and set out in an even layer to dry

2 tablespoons chopped almonds (or pre-sliced)

2 tablespoons unsweetened flaked coconut

*Optional, 1 teaspoon lemon zest would be great added to the batter

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Grease a muffin tin (only 9) with coconut oil, just put a couple drops of coconut oil in each one and rub it around evenly with your fingers.  Set aside.  In a medium sized bowl, add the coconut oil, raw honey, almond extract, vanilla extract and coconut milk.  Whisk together until well combined.  Whisk in the eggs.  Add the almond flour, baking powder and salt and stir with a wooden spoon just until combined.  Fold in the blueberries.  Fill each of the 9 muffins cups using a medium sized cookie scoop if you have one.  Combine the almonds and coconut together and sprinkle some on the top of each muffin.  Bake for 14-16 minutes.  Let sit for a few minutes in the tin, then carefully remove each just using your fingers.  None of them broke when I removed them from the pan.  If you tip them upside down out of the tin, you’ll lose a lot of the topping.  Let cool on a wire rack until you can’t stand it any longer and have to eat one…..or two.

Grain Free Blueberry Muffins

These have a perfect slightly crisp outside and are tender and muffin-y on the inside.

Grain Free Blueberry Muffins 3

The raw almonds and coconut toast perfectly on top of the muffins.  Sliced almonds would be great, but I didn’t have any.  Chopping whole almonds worked just fine!

Friday, July 10, 2015

Coconut Almond Raw Brownies

Coconut Almond Raw Chewy Fudge

I need a treat—stat!  I made lots of goodies for our recent family reunion, cookies and cakes galore.  None of which I took a single bite of.  Go me, whatever.  I’m kind of over the whole thing of wishing I could eat certain things and for the most part seeing them and baking them doesn’t even  tempt me.  BUT, I do still need my own sweet treats now and then and these are perfect…and healthy!

I’ve posted similar things like these before, but looking back I didn’t see this exact thing with coconut and almonds (and chocolate!) being the star.  I did keep thinking of these Healthy Almond Joy or Mounds Coconut Candy that are dunked in a healthy melted chocolate, I suppose these are similar, but easier and a bit healthier since they aren’t dunked in more chocolate.  Never fear, there is a little Enjoy Life chocolate chips added.  You can make all kinds of flavors using different nuts and mix-ins.  I suppose they are similar to Lara Bars and other protein/energy bars, but I’ve tried some of those and I definitely think the homemade kind taste much better!

Coconut Almond Raw Brownies, by Katrina, Baking and Boys!

1 cup pitted dates, soaked in hot water about 10-15 minutes

¾ cup raw cashews

¼ cup raw cacao (or cocoa powder)

3 T. raw honey

¼ teaspoon almond extract

1/3 cup unsweetened shredded coconut

1/3 cup toasted almonds

2 T. Enjoy Life mini chocolate chips

After soaking the dates, drain the water and chop the dates on a cutting board.  This is to make sure there are no pits, sometimes they are still there ready to tear up your food processor. ; )  Put the chopped dates and cashews in a food processor and pulse until they are starting to be pretty finely ground.  Add the cacao and honey and continue letting the food processor blend them until they start forming a thick paste that clumps together.  Add the almond extract and pulse a few times.  Add the shredded coconut and toasted almonds and pulse until well combined.  The mixture may need to be scraped from the sides of the bowl and off the blade, then mixed again a few times.  Leave the nuts and coconut a little bigger for added texture.  Add the chocolate chips and pulse a few times to combine.  Spread the mixture into a 9x5 inch bread pan that is lined with nonstick foil (or spread coconut oil evenly in the pan).  Let chill in the refrigerator for at least an hour before cutting into squares.  Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator. 

Coconut Almond Raw Chewy Fudge

These are good!  A while back, I bought 10 pounds of pitted dates (from a nut company that ships products) and keep them in the freezer.  After a short soaking in some water, they are ready to be made in to all kinds of treats.  I’ve also recently made some of these “raw brownies” with some dried bananas, peanut butter and peanuts as the star (and chocolate!).  I need to tweak that recipe just a bit but I will share it soon. I like using cashews as the base nut, then using other nuts for the different flavors.  Cashews don’t seem to have a major distinct flavor so they work well.  I buy them in bulk as well. 

Friday, July 03, 2015

Easy Cake Mix Cookies (Devil’s Food or Any Flavor)

Cake Mix Cookies 7-1-15

Cake mixes are not my favorite thing.  I try not to use them.  That said, when they are on sale, I get some to have in my pantry.  Since I eat gluten free and sugar free and no processed foods, I don’t eat these kinds of things, but many do and when you’re in a pinch for a super simple, quick treat, these cookies are a great option.  Also when my boys want to make something in the kitchen, a cake mix is the best way to go!

I have looked online and found thousands of recipes for cake mix cookies, but this one is from a friend of mine in Arizona.  Most of the ones I looked at online have TONS of oil, not enough eggs and/or added sugar and other things.  I was bummed that in all my searching through my recipes, and knowing the one from my friend was on a recipe card, I couldn’t find it!  But I persevered and kept looking and I found it!

Cake Mix Cookies (Any Flavor and Add Ins), by Cori Peterson (She might have gotten it somewhere else)

2 boxes cake mix (any flavor), I used Devil’s Food chocolate

5 large eggs

2/3 cup vegetable/canola oil

1 12 oz. bag of chocolate chips, peanut butter chips, butterscotch chips, etc.

Sprinkles, any color, optional

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.  Add both cake mixes, the eggs and oil to a stand mixer.  Beat until all combined.  Scrape sides of bowl making sure it is all mixed well.  Add the chocolate chips (or nuts or any mix-ins you’d like, including M&Ms or Reese’s Pieces candies).  Scoop dough onto baking sheets lined with parchment paper, about 2 tablespoonsful size dough balls, spaced about 2 inches apart on baking sheet. Sprinkle each cookie with rainbow sprinkles or colors of your choice.  Bake for 10 minutes.  Do not overbake.  Let sit on baking sheet for 3-5 minutes before removing to wire rack to cool completely.

Cake Mix Cookies

These seriously only take minutes to mix up and before you know it you have dozens of cookies to take to any event for any occasion.  I thought the colorful sprinkles were great for the 4th of July, just around the corner.  Of course, red, white and blue sprinkles would be great, too!  You have your freedom, I have mine!  Happy Independence to everyone!

Devil's Food Cake Mix Cookies

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Berry Shortcakes Franco American Style—Tuesdays With Dorie—Baking Chez Moi

Strawberry Shortcakes Franco Amercian Style--TWD

Today’s post for Tuesdays With Dorie--Baking Chez Moi are Strawberry Shortcakes Franco-Amercian Style (pages 338-340 and 424-425).  They are basically a ladyfinger dough, piped onto a baking sheet.  Two cookies/cakes are sandwiched with fresh whipped cream and berries.  Dorie’s recipes has a great filling with a strawberry compote as well as another option for roasted strawberries.  My family likes fresh berries, so I made the cakes, whipped some fresh cream and washed some berries—raspberries, blackberries and strawberries and let everyone choose what they wanted.

It was fun to make the ladyfinger batter, which I hadn’t done before.  The simple dough is made with whipped egg whites added to minimal ingredients of the yolks, a little flour and sugar and some cornstarch.  So easy and I liked doing something new.  The dough is put in a piping bag and piped into three inch circles and baked for a short time.  The cookies are tender and cake-like.  I tasted a little piece of one.  They could easily be made with a gluten free flour and organic sugar.  I will try that next time. 

IMG_9543

If I have learned anything from all my years baking from Dorie’s cookbooks with TWD, it is mise en place—everything in its place.  I love getting everything ready to go before I begin assembling a recipe.  The parchment is ready to go and the piping bag.

IMG_9544

Quite the simple batter and piping is easy—don’t be afraid of it.  Yes, filling the bag gets just a little messy, but that’s what baking is all about, right?

IMG_9546

Baked to a perfect golden color, the shortcakes are ready to go with whipped creamy goodness and fresh berries!

IMG_9548 

I set up a quick dessert station and let my family have at it.

Berry Shortcakes Franco-American StyleGlad I participated in this one.  Check out the other bloggers’ posts for their shortcakes here.  Who knew that ladyfingers dough/cookies were so easy?  

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

No Bake Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Granola Bars (Gluten Free)

Gluten Free No Bake Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Granola Bars

I know there are some great health benefits to having raw honey in your diet each day.  A friend recently told me to just add some honey to some warm water in the mornings.  I did that.  And had to really choke it down, then ended up adding a little lemon juice and ice just to finish it.  So I decided to come up with my own way of getting some honey in everyday.  I put together these easy no bake granola bars and they have been my dose of daily honey for the last week or so.  Happy me!

These are perfectly sweet and just a little bar does me in for that little bit of sweetness I sometimes think I need.  No guilt since they are gluten free.  If you don’t want the chocolate chips, leave them out, they’d still be a great peanut butter and honey granola bar.  Because there isn’t a bunch of other sugars, you can really taste the honey, which I like.

No Bake Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Granola Bars, by Katrina, Baking and Boys!

2 cups gluten free old fashioned oats

1 cup gluten free crisp rice cereal (I used Nature’s Path Organic Chocolate Koala Crisp, mmm)

2/3 cup raw honey

1/3 cup natural peanut butter

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 cup roasted, salted peanuts

1/2 cup Enjoy Life mini chocolate chips

Line a 9 inch square pan with nonstick foil.  Cover lightly with coconut oil.  Put the oats and cereal in a bowl and stir to combine.  In a microwave safe bowl or a small saucepan, put the honey and peanut butter in and heat just until barely heated enough to whisk together.  It only took 30 seconds in the microwave.  (If it gets too hot, let it cool slightly, you don’t want it to melt the chocolate chips—although that wouldn’t be the end of the world.)  Stir the vanilla into the honey peanut butter mixture.  Pour over the oats and cereal mixture and stir until all of dry mixture is moistened.  Stir in the peanuts and chocolate chips and fold together until they are well mixed.  Spread the granola bar mixture into the prepared pan and press down evenly.  Refrigerate the bars for about an hour.  Remove from the pan using the foil edges.  Peel the foil off the bars and cut into rectangles (I cut them into 12.)  Keep stored in an airtight container in the fridge (they stay perfectly firm and chewy).

GF No Bake Chocolate Peanut Butter Granola Bars

This potato masher is the perfect way to press down on things like these granola bars, or my other favorite—Rice Krispies Treats.  I just coat it with a little cooking spray or in this case, coconut oil (I don’t use cooking spray on things I eat), then tamp down all over the bars until they are even.  I find that it reaches in the corners better than a glass would or something like that.  And whenever I use my hand, I don’t like the sticky.  Try it sometime.

potato masher

 Have you had any raw honey lately?  Don’t buy the commercial stuff, even though the label doesn’t say, many are filled with more than just honey.  Get ones that saw raw and unfiltered on them.