Jan 282013
 

It’s an all avocado weekend here it seems. First we had veggies and guacamole, zesty with lime and zingy with garlic and chipotle,  for dinner. And to treat myself for a week of damn healthy eating – if you ask nicely I’ll let you see my food journal – I’ve whipped out my Blendtec and whipped up a batch of raw avocado chocolate pudding. And it’s awesome, so awesome that I’d be remiss not to share the recipe with you. So go forth and treat yo’self.

Mostly Raw Avocado Chocolate Pudding

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 10 minutes

Yield: 2 servings

Mostly Raw Avocado Chocolate Pudding

Ingredients

  • 1 ripe Hass avocado (do not attempt this with an unripe avocado, you will be sorry, trust)
  • 1/2 cup homemade almond milk (made with raw almonds) or store bought
  • 1-1/2 TBSP raw cacao powder
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 15 drops liquid stevia (you can also use honey, maple syrup or agave to sweeten instead)
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • pinch of sea salt
  • pinch of chipotle chile powder or cayenne.
  • Optional toppings: raw cacao nibs, raw almonds, raspberries

Instructions

  1. Halve and scoop flesh from avocado.
  2. Add almond milk, to Blendtec (or food processor), followed by avocado, raw cacao powder, vanilla, stevia, cinnamon, salt, chipotle powder.
  3. Blend or process until smooth and creamy.
  4. Taste to adjust sweetness. Raw cacao seems to require plenty of sweetness to round it out. If using stevia, add two or three drops at a time until you've achieved your ideal balance.
  5. Spoon into serving dishes and top with raw almonds and cacao nibs. Don't skip adding something crunchy! The contrast of smooth and velvety with crispy is fabulous.
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Jan 272013
 

Now that I can no longer pick up the phone and order a pizza, what to make on a lazy Sunday evening. Honestly, I am less hungry (and three pounds lighter) since starting on my new meal plan, and with three avocados and a ton of veggies in the house, guacamole seemed the way to go.

Want to make it yourself? Sure you do. It’s as easy as uno, dos, tres.

Guacamole Uno, Dos, Tres

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 10 minutes

Yield: 2 serving

Guacamole Uno, Dos, Tres

A simple, yet tasty and tangy, guacamole with only 6 ingredients, perfect for dipping veggies for carb-free deliciousness.

Ingredients

  • 1 Hass avocado
  • 1 juicy lime, juiced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 -5 sprigs of cilantro, chopped
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt (I all about Pink Himalayan Salt)
  • 1/8 tsp chipotle chile powder or cayenne pepper

Instructions

  1. Halve avocado. Remove seed by implanting the blade of your knife in it and giving it a gentle twist (this sounds kinky to me, but that shouldn't really be a surprise). Scoop flesh into a bowl. Save shells for serving, if desired.
  2. Add lime juice to bowl and roughly mash avocado, leaving some chunks.
  3. Make a paste by mashing chopped garlic with salt,use the edge of your knife, and stir into mashed avocado along with the cilantro.
  4. Spoon mixture into avocado shells and sprinkle with chipotle or cayenne. Go easy, you can always add more. Me, I like it when the pepper makes my lips tingle. So sexy.
  5. Grab whatever veggies you have in the house and dip away.

Notes

I used sugar snap peas, carrots and celery but you could do anything you had on hand, broccoli, cauliflower, snow peas, cucumber, etc.

Another option, for those avoiding corn products, greasy nacho chips or going gluten-free, is brown rice crackers.

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And since I’ve been so good all week, and so has my house guest, Twanna, (she’s kind of had no choice, poor thing) I’ll be making dessert tonight. And it will involve an avocado. Recipe to follow.

 

 

Jan 252013
 

Five years of eating pretty much whatever I wanted to eat have caught up with me. Mind, I like good, real food, including ice cream, homemade cookies and cakes, and cashew nuts;  junky, processed foods don’t enter into my thoughts much less my mouth. Still, high blood pressure and high cholesterol have sent me running back to my old nutritionist. She previously helped me lose a ton of weight and get all my numbers where they should be…despite my hesitancy about the science behind the blood type diet and food combining. However, I’m not about to argue with success.  And I’ve already lost 3 pounds in 5 days without feeling really deprived. Hands in the air, bitches. \o/

Things like homemade almond milk, turned into a treat with the addition of raw cacao powder and nibs, help when I’m feeling a little sorry for myself. And, I love any excuse to use my Blendtec.  There is a huge difference between store bought and homemade almond milk; it is even cheaper since one cup of almonds makes four cups of almond milk.

Just remember to soak your nuts the night before, if not longer.

 

Hot Cocoa with Homemade Almond Milk

Prep Time: 8 hours

Cook Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 8 hours, 10 minutes

Yield: 2 servings

Serving Size: 8 ounces

Hot Cocoa with Homemade Almond Milk

The goodness of homemade almond milk combined with raw cacao makes a warming treat on a cold winter's day.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup of almonds, soaked overnight or longer (discard soaking water and rinse nuts)
  • 2 cups of filtered water
  • 1 TBSP honey
  • 1 seeds from half a vanilla bean
  • pinch of sea salt
  • 2 TBSP raw cacao
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • Optional: Cacao nibs, chipotle powder, ground ginger, nutmeg

Instructions

  1. Combine water and pre-soaked almonds in blender.
  2. If using a Blendtec, use the Whole Juice setting or blend until nuts are well pulverized.
  3. Strain into a bowl or measuring cup using cheesecloth or a nut bag.
  4. You can reserve and freeze the almond pulp for use in smoothies, if you like.
  5. Pour strained milk into blender and add honey, vanilla bean seeds, cacao powder and cinnamon and your choice of optional ingredients.
  6. Blend on Soups (if not using a Blendtec, simply blend until combined and gently heat in a pan on the stove to your desired warmth).

Notes

The prep time is all in the soaking of the almonds, which can be soaked for 8 to 24 hours. Once you have soaked (sprouted) almonds, the blending and straining takes mere minutes.

The amount of raw cacao powder makes a light cocoa, if you want to deepen the chocolate flavor, add more cacao but you'll also need to bump up the sweetener. Try more honey or even stevia.

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Saucy Saffron Seafood Stew

 Food  Comments Off
Jan 092013
 

Ah, alliteration, how I love thee.  This simple and speedy recipe generate loads of subtly saffron scented sauce that’s sure to bring some sultriness to a sleety, snowy winter’s eve. Whew, glad I got that out of my system.

Stews are one of my favorite meals to put together. Easy to make, they can be light and brothy, as this seafood one is, or, if made with meat and potatoes, hale and hearty. But since I prefer my winter meals to be warming but not  leave me feeling like sluggish, fish stews are a staple here in Tess’s kitchen. Mussels, with their unique brininess, that you suck from their shells right into your eagerly awaiting mouth, shrimp, delicately curled and cooked so they have a soft snap when you bite into them, and monkfish, its texture and sweetness so reminiscent of lobster, form the base of this meal. Tomato puree, fennel, leeks, clam juice, sake, thyme, and saffron allow the tastes of these treasures from the sea to shine through while forming a sauce you’ll be eager to sop up with a slice of French baguette (if you’re not gluten-free, of course).

Saucy Saffron Seafood Stew

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 45 minutes

Yield: 4

Saucy Saffron Seafood Stew

A delicate seafood stew with mussels, shrimp and monkfish, subtly scented with saffron, perfect for a cold winter's night. Ready in under an hour!

*Adapted from Saffron-Scented Seafood Stew

Ingredients

  • 1 leek, finely sliced
  • 1 bulb fennel, fronds reserved and chopped for garnish, thinly sliced
  • 4 sprigs thyme
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 36 mussels, de-bearded and scrubbed, if needed
  • 1 1/2 lbs monkfish, cut into chunks
  • 1/2 lb shrimp, shelled and deveined
  • 1 cup tomato puree
  • 2 cups clam juice
  • 1 1/2 cups sake
  • 3/4 tsp saffron

Instructions

  1. Heat olive oil over medium heat in large saute pan.
  2. Add sliced leeks, fennel and thyme sprigs and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 - 7 minutes.
  3. Add garlic and cook, stirring to prevent burning, for about a minute.
  4. Add tomato puree, clam juice and sake, cover and simmer for 5 minutes to allow flavors to blend.
  5. In a small bowl, crush the saffron threads and add a tablespoon or two of heat water. Let sit while you finish the dish.
  6. Raise the heat to medium-high, add mussels and cook, covered, for 4 to 5 minutes.
  7. Add shrimp and monkfish and cook, covered, for another 4 - 5 minutes, stirring occasionally to make sure fish is cooking evenly.
  8. Add saffron infused water and stir gently to distribute.
  9. Garnish with fennel fronds.

Notes

I purchased a two pound bag of mussels and steamed the remainder in the leftover broth, which upped the servings to 6.

Freeze leftover tomato puree in silicone ice cube trays. When frozen, place in labelled zip-lock baggies.

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Dec 212012
 

It’s Friday and the end of the world didn’t happen, so there’s twice the reason to treat yourself today. Hands in the air! \o/

I’m all but obsessed with pomegranates; I love them with yogurt, honey and pistachios, mixed in salads, or just straight from the bowl into my mouth. Pomegranates are seductive. Red on outside, their real beauty lies hidden inside. Opening a pomegranate reveals jeweled treasure. These precious little seeds tease, taunt and tantalize, requiring effort to remove and staining your hands tell-tale scarlet. So sexy! Each one of these minute gems is filled with juice that is at once sweet and tart. A perfect contradiction. I’m pretty sure the apple Adam handed to Eve was a pomegranate.

Today, drizzly and gray, was a great day to try baking with these delightful bites. Lime and pomegranate reminded me of a Pom Cosmo and  we all know “you mix the lime with the coconut and then you feel better” and so these muffins were born. They were a great early evening snack and I’m planning on having them for breakfast, perhaps with a schmear of coconut manna.

 

Treat Yo’self – Almond Lime Pomegranate Muffins – Gluten Free

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 17 minutes

Total Time: 32 minutes

Yield: 15 muffins

Treat Yo’self – Almond Lime Pomegranate Muffins – Gluten Free

Bursting with fresh pomegranate seeds, these nutty gluten-free muffins are low on sugar and will delight your taste buds with the zing of fresh lime.

Ingredients

  • 3 cups almond flour blend*
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/3 cup coconut oil (at room temperature)
  • 1/3 cup coconut sugar
  • 4 eggs (at room temperature)
  • 3 Tbsp lime juice
  • zest of one lime
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/4 cup toasted pine nuts
  • 1 cup pomegranate seeds
  • unsweetened flaked coconut
  • pink Himalayan salt

Instructions

    For *Almond Flour Blend
  1. Using kitchen scale measure 350 grams almond flour, 50 grams coconut flour and 200 grams tapioca starch.
  2. Unless you have a large scale, to prevent a floury mess, it's best to measure each separately, move to a large bowl and then blend the flours and starch together.
  3. For Muffins
  4. Pre-heat oven to 350.
  5. Place baking cups in muffin pans.
  6. In a large bowl, mix together 3 cups of almond flour blend and the baking soda
  7. In another large bowl, cream together coconut oil and coconut sugar until well combined.
  8. Add eggs, one at a time to coconut oil and sugar. If your eggs are not room temp, you'll need to scrape down the bowl often so that eggs blend with the coconut oil.
  9. Add lime juice, lime zest, and vanilla and mix well.
  10. Add almond flour mix, one cup at a time, blending until just combined.
  11. Mix in pine nuts and pomegranate seeds.
  12. Fill baking cups about 3/4 full, top with a pinch of salt and a few flakes of coconut.
  13. Bake for 17 minutes.
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Dec 202012
 

This is the recipe that inspired my Bawdy Berries post.  So, while it’s a quick breakfast to put together, hence Lazy Girl, be sure to take the time you saved cooking and savor those warm, plump, luscious berries. Make it one of your moments of zen for the day.

 

The Lazy Girl’s Sexy Blueberry Almond Oatmeal

Prep Time: 2 minutes

Cook Time: 3 minutes

Total Time: 5 minutes

Yield: 1 serving

The Lazy Girl’s Sexy Blueberry Almond Oatmeal

A quick, easy, heart-healthy, sexy breakfast of oatmeal (that can be made gluten-free) brimming with blueberries warmed to bursting and glazed with sticky honey.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup old fashioned oats (for a gluten-free meal use certified gluten-free oats)
  • 3/4 cup almond milk
  • 1/2 cup frozen (or fresh) blueberries
  • 1 Tbsp almond butter
  • 1/2 Tbsp pumpkin honey
  • salt to taste

Instructions

  1. Please oats in microwave safe bowl. This is the Lazy (or in a rush) Girl's breakfast.
  2. Mix in almond milk, blueberries, almond butter and salt.
  3. Microwave on high for approximately 3 minutes. Stir in between if your microwave doesn't rotate.
  4. Remove from microwave and let sit for a minute or two to absorb liquid.
  5. Drizzle with honey.
  6. Enjoy!
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Bawdy Berries

 Food, Sex  Comments Off
Dec 202012
 

(14/365) :: Blueberry gelatin-like thing

Smooth, warm skin rolls along my tongue. My head is filled with fragrant sweetness. Heat, contrast, aroma. I want to taste it — but not too soon. I want to savor it; to let it play out long and lush. I let it run along my tongue until it settles gently between my teeth. I imagine the juice contained inside, swollen from the heat, eager to escape its restrictive skin. Again, not too soon. Wait for it; it’s best when you can no longer contain yourself, when your desire overcomes your patience. The rough porcelain ridges of my teeth play gently with the delicate flesh until it happens, until my endurance yields to my need. I bite down and the essence escapes. Despite the wintery weather, I’m transported to summer, to earthy scented fields of verdant green and deep blue, to fingers stained purple, to baskets overflowing with nature’s bounty.

Yes, my friends, food is sexy, sensual and erotic. This is where my mind went when I was eating my Blueberry Almond Oatmeal. I had mixed frozen berries into my oats and lazily microwaved the whole thing. Those berries, warmed to bursting, brought the sexy to my breakfast. I don’t think there’s a better way to start the day. In fact, I’m going to start today off just that way.

Baked Very Berry Oatmeal

 Food  Comments Off
Dec 162012
 

I’m trying get get healthier. During the holidays, it’s even more of a challenge than usual but I often say I love a good challenge. Of course, this may be delusional thinking but losing weight, lowering my blood pressure and cholesterol are really imperative to leading the life I want to live; one filled with vibrance, passion and gratitude. As the heart-breaking events at Sandy Hook Elementary serve well to remind us, each day is a precious gift . That is my first affirmation. Let’s all repeat that ten times. Each day is a precious gift.

Today, I start out appreciating this gift of life my being kind to my body with food that is both healthy and freaking delicious.

Baked Very Berry Oatmeal

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 30 minutes

Yield: 3 to 4 servings

Baked Very Berry Oatmeal

A quick, easy, heart-healthy breakfast full of antioxidants.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup certified gluten-free oats
  • 1/3 cup fresh or frozen organic cherries
  • 1/3 cup fresh or frozen organic blueberries
  • 1/3 cup fresh or frozen organic raspberries
  • 1/3 cup pomegranate seeds
  • 2 Tbsp slivered almonds
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 Tbsp pure maple syrup
  • Handful of shredded coconut

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 375.
  2. Melt coconut oil and use a pastry brush to oil the bottom and sides of a pie dish.
  3. Place oatmeal in a medium bowl and add boiling water to just cover. Let stand until water is absorbed, about 10 minutes.
  4. While oats soak, combine cherries, blueberries, raspberries and pomegranate seeds in a small bowl.
  5. Toast slivered almonds either in the microwave or in a skillet over moderate heat, being careful not to let them burn.
  6. When the water has been absorbed by the oats, gently mix in the berries, toasted almonds, cinnamon and maple syrup.
  7. Smooth mixture into prepped pie pan.
  8. Top with shredded coconut.
  9. Bake for 20 - 25 minutes.

Notes

I toasted the slivered almonds in the microwave by placing in a microwave safe bowl and cooking on high for 2 minutes. After 2 minutes check, if needed stir and microwave again in 30 seconds until fragrant and slightly golden.

If you're not watching your salt intake, feel free to add salt to your liking.

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This was really delicious,especially when biting into a crisp, aromatic almond or a juicy explosion of pomegranate. I’m still having a love affair with pomegranates and find they offer a moment (more like 5 minutes) of  zen to de-seed. I love the vibrant reds and lush purples of the berries and the creamy white swirls of coconut that are edged with gold after baking.

This recipe was inspired by Deliciously Ella’s Baked Oatmeal and I hope it motivates you to play with your food. Find a recipe you like and make it your own. What’s the worst that can happen? Oh, yes, the worst reminds me of my early days of cooking when I foolishly attempted to make a jerk chicken recipe found in a microwave cooking magazine. I know, I know, but I didn’t way back then. After taking a bite, my darling hubby sheepishly looked up at me and said, “would you mind very much if I scrambled some eggs?” After letting him know, I’d be delighted, as long as he made enough for me, we had a good laugh, a trash can full of some truly awful chicken and a long standing joke.

 

Nov 282012
 

You’ve waited for it all week long and Friday has finally rolled around. For me, today, Friday brings a return to better health (bye bye, hacking cough) and the promise of an art filled weekend with Peekskill’s Winter Windows Art Crawl. What better way to end the week than to do something lovely for yourself? You know you deserve it. I know I do.

My original idea of ending my week with a delicious and relaxing adult beverage has been waylaid due to a course of antibiotics (see hacking cough reference above) but being ever resourceful, having a pantry full of goodies and a passionate love affair with baking, especially of the gluten-free variety, led to an adventure in Rocky Road.

Almond flour rocky road cookies

Almond Flour Rocky Road Cookies

(Adapted from Meaningful Eats)

1/2 cup softened unsalted butter
1/4 cup softened coconut oil (I love and almost exclusively use Nutiva)
3/4 brown sugar (since I knew I was adding marshmallows, I used a bit less sugar)
2 tsps vanilla
2 large organic eggs
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
3 cups blanched almond flour (I used Bob’s Red Mill Almond Meal/Flour with great results)
1 1/2 cups of Ghiradelli Double Chocolate Bittersweet Chips (if you like these the way I like these, love would be closer, check out your local BJ’s for the 3 pound bag — or not if eating them straight out of the bag is going to be a problem)
1/2 cup toasted walnuts (yes, take the time to toast them, it’s worth it)
1 1/2 mini marshmallows

1) Preheat oven to 350 and line your cookie sheet with a Silpat non-stick baking mat. (Silicone, it’s not only for sex toys!) If you don’t have a Silpat and you bake a lot, do consider getting one, they really are fantastic, or you can use parchment paper.
2) In a large bowl, cream together butter, coconut oil and sugar until ingredients are well blended.
3) Beat eggs, one at a time, and vanilla.
4) Mix together baking soda, salt and almond flour in a medium bowl and slowly add to the butter/sugar/egg mixture until just blended.
5) Stir in chocolate chips, walnuts and mini marshmallows.
6) I like large cookies, so I used about 1/4 cup of dough, formed into little mounds, for each cookie. Don’t crowd your cookies, they will spread.
7) Bake for about 13 – 14 minutes. The marshmallows will melt and you’ll notice caramelized sugar around the edges.
8) Let sit on the sheet for about 5 minutes or until the cookies are cool enough to move without breaking, then transfer to a cooling rack.
9) Devour.

Almond flour rocky road cookies

I bake for my friends a lot and Twanna, who happened to be the recipient of this batch declared them her favorite thing I’ve baked so far. Win! Though I cannot lie, just because these delicious sugary treats use almond flour doesn’t mean they are healthy. If you make big cookies, like I did, you’ll only need one to satisfy your sweet tooth.

Almond flour rocky road cookies

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