(Almost) Paleo Date Paste Almond Butter Oatmeal Cookies

Cookies are never far from my mind. One day while I was checking out (read:stalking) my friends’ diaries on MFP I saw that Cora had been eating oatmeal almond butter cookies. That sounded way too enticing for it to be healthy, so I immediately messaged her to ask what the deal was about these cookies. She sent me the recipe link http://cleaneatsinthezoo.com/index/2013/02/20/peanut-butter-or-almond-butter-oatmeal-cookies/and I checked it out. That is the recipe that inspired mine. They are pretty similar, but I had to try it with date paste since thats been my sweetener project lately. I also changed a few other proportions and added cinnamon, but wanted the flavor to be about the same. The texture was amazing, nice and crumbly crisp with a nice chewy nutty center. mmm. I literally ate 4 cookies as soon as they came out of the oven. I am that cookie crazy. I just had one after my lunch and am trying to resist going for another right now. I might keep messing with the recipe (that is inevitable with me) and try it out with a few different ingredients, but let me tell you, these things are darned addicting and it certainly won’t be my last batch! Image

 

(Almost) Paleo Date Paste Almond Butter Oatmeal Cookies

yield:35 cookies

nutrition per cookie

calories: 128

fat: 10.4 g

sodium: 58.9 mg

total carbs: 6.9 g

fiber: 2.1 g

sugar: 1.6 g

protein: 3.8 g

ingredients

2 eggs

3 cups almond meal/flour (if you want these to be paleo skip the oats and add an extra cup or so of almond flour)

2 cups old fashioned oats

½ cup coconut oil, melted

½ cup almond butter (or peanut butter if you like that flavor better, any nut butter will work)

2 ½ oz date paste

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp baking powder (gluten free, aluminum free)

½ – 1 tsp kosher salt

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 tsp cinnamon

  • Preheat oven to 350° and grease two large cookie sheets, or use parchment paper.
  • In a large mixing bowl mix together dry ingredients: almond meal, oats, baking soda and powder, salt, and cinnamon.
  • In a smaller mixing bowl beat together the eggs, almond butter, coconut oil, date paste and vanilla extract. Then add the wet and dry ingredients together in the large bowl.
  • Either roll cookie dough into balls with your hands and place on cookie sheet or use two spoons and place mounds of dough on the sheets. I tried it both ways and you need to squash the dough down slightly with both methods.
  • Bake at 350° for 8-10 minutes or until the cookies are cooked through and crisp on the bottom.

My cookies were amazingly delicious, however I had a few notes that I will point out to others. You can taste the salt a lot in these cookies since they are not overwhelmingly sweet. I am thinking about either upping my date paste amount or decreasing my salt on my next batch. I originally used 1 tsp salt but may try a little less next time. Or not, I really loved the way this first batch turned out. Almost like it was salty on purpose. You could almost make this a savory cookie by adding an herb like rosemary or thyme and leaving out the cinnamon. I am thinking of adding raisins next time and leaving the rest of the recipe as is. The raisins will add a pop of sweetness in each bite. Just try it out, see what you think and adjust as needed. Also, if you (like me) enjoy the cookies as they are, do warn people that they are a bit salty and not too sweet before their first bite! My uncle was very surprised when he tasted these without a forewarning! However my mother who is used to my experiments loved these. She’s used to my ‘healthy crap’ as my husband calls it. 😉

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ENJOY!

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Spring Vegetable Bulgar ‘Risotto’

IMG_4950No, this is NOT a real authentic style risotto. Please don’t be too dissapointed! I Love real risotto, but didn’t even think about making a risotto style dish until my bulgar was already cooked. I had planned on making it into a cool grain salad with fruit and herbs, but then became inspired while staring into the depths of my fridge to use up some veggies and make a risotto. I know I say this about all the dishes I make, but, holy cow is it delicious! I am in love with the nuttiness of the bulgar and the bright flavors of the veggies. Peas and asparagus (asparagi?) is one of my favorite veggie combos but I tend to forget this fact until I am tasting them!

I rarely cook bulgar, but happened to have some in my pantry and as it happens I am trying to do some spring cleaning on my pantry and use up old items. Sometimes I wish I did this more often as I tend to come up with some gems! Bulgar is great as a side dish, and if you add some protein in it can be a great main dish as well. If you’ve never tried it I encourage you to buy some and check this risotto recipe out, I plan on maing this every week now, or some variation thereof!

Spring Vegetable Bulgar Risotto
Yield 5 servings 6.8 oz each

Nutrition

Calories: 175

Fat: 4.4

Sodium: 153.5 mg

Total Carbs: 29 g

Sugar: 1.3 g

Protein: 7.4 g

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Ingredients:

1 cup bulgar wheat, dry *(use quinoa for Gluten Free option!)

2 cups water

1 tsp kosher salt, divided

freshly cracked black pepper to taste

4 oz asparagus, diced

4 oz zucchini, diced

2 oz white onion, diced, about ¼ cup

2 tsp extra virgin olive oil

2/3 cup frozen peas

1 cup chicken (or vegetable) stock

1 tsp butter

2 Tb grated Parmesan cheese

 

  • First, cook the bulgar wheat. Heat water and ½ tsp salt to a boil and add bulgar. Cover, reduce heat to simmer and cook for about 15-20 minutes, or until all the water has been absorbed. Mine was nice and fluffy by the time it was done cooking. Set aside until later.
  • Add the olive oil to a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add diced onion and remaining ½ tsp salt and pepper and saute til the onions start turning opaque.
  • Add in the asparagus and zucchini and saute for 5-7 minutes, or until veggies are tender-crisp.
  • Add the peas in and saute briefly to heat them.
  • Turn heat to medium high then add bulgar into the saucepan along with ½ cup of the chicken stock.
  • Stir until chicken stock is absorbed and then add the remaining stock.IMG_4949
  • Let most of the stock be absorbed by the bulgar then remove the pan from the heat and stir butter and Parmesan in.
  • Taste for seasoning and add salt and pepper for taste.
  • EAT.IMG_4951

Gluten Free Pumpkin Bread

Gluten Free Pumpkin Bread

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This is such a beautiful bread.

 I know, I know! It’s not fall anymore and therefore the craze for pumpkin is way,waaaaay over! Well spring had sprung, and then it decided to snow 10 inches in Saint Louis over this past weekend. So I decided pumpkin bread was the only solution! Ignore the seasons, just like nature, and make pumpkin bread while the snow falls! I recently bought some all-purpose gluten-free flour in hopes of creating something delicious for my gluten-free friends. I am a gluten-free flour novice and thought that an all-purpose baking blend was as good a choice of flours as any to start with. I am going to venture into others as soon as I use up this bag. Which certainly won’t be long with this recipe around!! I am usually counting every calorie like a miser counts his gold, (think: Scrooge hoarding his gold coins, that’s me, seriously), but I really wanted this bread have a good texture and wasn’t sure how my usual baking method (zero oil, sub greek yogurt) would work with the new flour. I used a bit of coconut oil and holy moly did it turn out great!! I hope you all try this and tell me what you think. Any tips/variations on flours would be helpful too. I would love to do more gluten-free/paleo baking. This may have been my first endeavour, but it certainly won’t be my last!

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C and I, playing in the snow the day after it fell. It had already melted a ton!

Yield: 10 Servings, each 81 grams

Nutrition per serving

Calories: 165.6

Fat: 7.8 g

Sodium: 300 mg

Total Carbohydrates: 20.3 g

Fiber: 3.6 g

Sugars: 5.1 g

Protein: 4.9 g

 

Ingredients

¼ cup coconut oil

½ cup baking stevia

3 whole eggs

2 tsp vanilla extract

1 ¼ cup canned pure pumpkin puree (Libby’s, always)

½ cup unsweetened applesauce

¾ cup water

4 Tb dry buttermilk

1 ¾ cup all-purpose gluten-free flour (I used Bobs Red Mill brand)

1 ½ tsp gluten-free baking powder

½ tsp baking soda

1 ½ tsp ground cinnamon

½ tsp ground nutmeg

¾ tsp kosher salt

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Dry buttermilk is great way to add lightness to your baking recipes.

  •  Preheat oven to 350°.
  • Coat a loaf pan with coconut oil or non stick spray. I lined the bottom of my pan with parchment so it would come out easily. Worked like a charm.
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    I took this picture after adding the eggs. It was depressing not being able to actually cream sugar and butter, but hey, big calorie and health savings.

    In a large mixing bowl attempt to cream together your stevia and coconut oil. I say attempt because they don’t really cream like butter and sugar would. I used a whisk and did my best.

  • Add in your 3 eggs and vanilla extract and continue whisking.
  • Add in the applesauce, pumpkin puree and water.IMG_4819
  • In a medium mixing bowl stir together the dry ingredients: gluten-free flour, baking soda, baking powder, dry buttermilk,cinnamon, nutmeg and salt.IMG_4817
  • IMG_4820

    mix slowly until…

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    voila! batter!

    Combine wet and dry, adding the dry to wet a little at a time.

  • Pour batter into prepared loaf pan.IMG_4824
  • Bake uncovered for an hour, then test for doneness by piercing with a knife or toothpick. If it comes out clean, its done. If not and it starts browning too fast, tent lightly with aluminum foil. Mine never needed tenting and its total cooking time came to an hour and 13 minutes.
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Ok, I need to make more of this. Right now.

 

Pumpkin is like crack to me. I ate the whole thing (practically by myself!) in about 2 days! I usually freeze any baked good within a day of making them so that they don’t go bad. I couldn’t bring myself to do that to this deliciously dense and moist bread! It looked nothing like a healthy food and I was enthralled! Christian thought it was pretty darned good too and did his part helping me take the whole pan down! It was great straight out of the oven, but even better the next day toasted and spread with coconut oil and honey. Mmmm…bliss. I will warn you that because of its lack of sugar (preservative) it should be refrigerated with a day or so of making to discourage any bacteria from growing.

 

*I thought this bread was wonderful! It was a lot like Starbucks in density, texture, and flavor. Which was exactly what I was going for. However the stevia wasn’t quite up to the sweetness level that I prefer in my pumpkin bread. I am going to try adding a bit of honey or date paste next time I make this. I might also amend the stevia to ¾ of a cup and see how that goes.IMG_4835

 

Chocolate Chip Banana Muffins, from Rissa

Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins

Yield: 18 Muffins

 

Nutrition

Calories: 99

Fat: 1.8 g

Sodium: 8.7 mg

Total Carbohydrates: 16.9 g

Fiber: 2.3 g

Sugar: 5.9 g

Protein: 3.8 g

 

Ingredients

2 Bananas

½ cup Applesauce

6 oz plain 0% Chobani Greek yogurt

1 cup Water

2 tsp Vanilla/Almond extract

1 ¼ tsp Stevia (the concentrated kind, or use ¼ cup baking Stevia)

2 ½ cups White Whole Wheat Flour

½ tsp Salt

½ tsp Baking Soda

2 tsp Baking Powder

2 Tb Dry Buttermilk

90 g (about 1/2 cup) Chocolate Chips

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 These are mini muffins, and roughly 3 equal one large muffin

  • Preheat oven to 425°
  • Grease muffin tins with nonstick cooking spray. You can use muffin liners, but the muffins stick to them and don’t peel off easily because of the low fat content.
  • Mix up wet ingredients.
  • Mix up dry ingredients.
  • Gently incorporate/fold the wet ingredients into the dry. Try not to over mix, just fold intil you don’t see any more flour streaks.
  • Spoon batter into the muffin tins.
  • Put muffins into the 425° oven and reduce heat to 400°.
  • Bake for 17-20 minutes or until golden and a toothpick comes out clean.

 

These muffins are so darn yummy! They are great as is, but you can also switch the flavorings and make them however you want. Leave out the chocolate chips and add in other things such as lemon extract and 1 cup blueberries, orange zest and 1 cup cranberries, 1 cup shredded carrots and carrot cake spices, 1 cup pumpkin puree and pumpkin pie spices (leave out one banana or it might be too wet). They are good in all these forms, I know, I’ve tried them all! You can also leave out ¼ cup of the flour and substitute ¼ cup of unsweetened cocoa and make them chocolate muffins! I’d love to try a double chocolate muffin next. I also might try and experiment with some other flours that are gluten free. That’s on my list of to-do’s for this week!

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Cheddar Garlic Scallion Biscuits (or muffins, whatever)

It was my sisters sons birthday today! So naturally we were hanging out at her house with our friend, Claire, and the boys were playing and we were talking about food. Duh. This is nothing new. Well, we happened to be on the subject of muffins. Savory muffins. All it took was a short trip to the kitchen to determine that we needed to make and sample an original recipe right then and there. And so it began. I am now I have something new to obsess about because these turned out great! I can’t wait to make the next batch, goat cheese and rosemary(!!!) and we’re going to try a little yeast in the dough/batter and see how that turns out. Anyway, here’s what you’ve been waiting for all your life. A healthy low cal cheddar biscuit. It has so many possibilities and combinations! Let me know if you try it a different way!

Yield: 21 muffins/biscuits

Nutrition

Calories: 78

Fat: 1.6 g

Sodium: 287.1 mg

Total Carbohydrates: 9.8 g

Fiber: 1.5 g

Sugar: 1.2 g

Protein: 5.2 g

Ingredients

2 ½ cups unbleached White Whole Wheat Flour

2 tsp Baking Powder

1 tsp Baking Soda

1 tsp Kosher Salt

2 Tb Powdered Buttermilk (this is optional, but I really think it makes for lighter biscuits and muffins)

8 oz 0% Plain Greek Yogurt

1 whole Egg

4 Scallions, chopped

2 Garlic Cloves, minced

1 cup Water

2 Egg Whites

¼ tsp Cream of Tartar

1 cup (4 oz) shredded 2% milk reduced fat Cheddar Cheese

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  •  Preheat oven to 425°.
  • Grease two cookie sheets with cooking spray. You can also do a combo of cookie sheet and small muffin tin like I did. Or all muffins. The muffins take a little longer to cook through, so allow for longer baking.
  • In a large mixing bowl combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and buttermilk powder.Image My Gorgeous Sis
  • In a medium mixing bowl mix Greek yogurt, the whole egg, scallions, garlic and water.Image
  • In yet another bowl whisk the egg whites with the cream of tartar until nice and frothy, and you can no longer see unfrothed egg white on the bottom of the bowl.Image
  • Mix the wet ingredients into the dry and gently fold in the egg whites and cheddar cheese.ImageImage
  • Using a ¼ cup measure, portion out your biscuits onto your greased baking sheets or muffin tins. Mine made 21 exactly. Image
  • Put into the 425° oven and reduce temperature to 400°.
  • Bake for 17 minutes, or until the biscuits are golden and a wooden toothpick comes out clean.Image

We ate ours plain, but they’d be great with a little butter, or as a side to some soup. My sister has a creamy tomato soup that’s 56 calories a serving that they’d be amazing with. I hope you give this recipe a try. It takes no time at all, you spend more time on dishes and assembling the ingredients than cooking. The results were better than I’d hoped for and I can’t wait to try them with yeast!

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My mom took a picture of me earlier today when I was writing my lunch eggs post.

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All the boys (big and little) had a great time today playing and celebrating Rowie turning two!

My very own Apple Cinnamon Overnight Oats and Date Paste

Yield: 1 serving

Nutrition

Calories: 205.3

Fat: 4.3 g

Sodium: 75.6 mg

Total Carbs: 44.3 g

Fiber: 6.8 g

Sugar: 8.9 g

Protein: 5.9 g

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Ingredients

½ cup dry Old Fashioned Oats

½ cup unsweetened Almond Milk

50 g diced apple, about ¼ medium apple, mine were Honey crisps

¼ tsp Vanilla

¼ tsp Cinnamon

¼ oz Date Paste, about 1 ½ tsp

Mix all ingredients except apples together in an airtight container, I used little canning jars. Place the apples on top and seal. Put the oats in the refrigerator over night and voila! Next morning a delightful breakfast awaits! If you want you can always substitute Stevia or Splenda for the date paste, I just am trying out a new form of sweetener. And I love dates. I served my oats this morning with a little bit of vanilla protein powder for extra protein. It.was.amazing.

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Date Paste

Yield: 9 oz total

Nutrition per ounce

Calories: 62.2

Fat: 0 g

Sodium: 0.9 mg

Total Carbs: 14.6 g

Fiber: 1.6 g

Sugar: 13 g

Protein: 0.4 g

 

Ingredients

183 g (1 cup?) Dates,  Medjool are recommended, but I used Deglet and they’re great. And cheaper.

Water

Small canning jar

Put your dates into the canning jar, packing in the dates to the top. Cover with water, put on the lid and place in fridge and let soak for 24-48 hours. Take your dates and water (Do not Discard!) and place in your blending device of choice. Since the dates are pretty tough even after soaking I chose my hand blenders mini food processor option. You can use anything that will blend up the dates. Blend! I pulsed mine and scraped down the sides of the bowl a few times to get everything nicely incorporated. If your dates are very tough or you don’t want to soak them I would suggest measuring them and the water out and heating them up in a small saucepan until they’re tender enough to blend. Once the dates are blended up I re-measured mine to see how many ounces it made, then put the date paste back into the jar for storage. Put it in the fridge and use in whatever you want! I will be using mine mostly in baking and oatmeal/oats. I am also planning on using some to sweeten my granola I’ll be making in the next few days. I will probably thin it out with water before mixing it in with the granola. I’ll let you all know how that goes!

Crockpot Steelcut Oats

Holy easy and tasty recipe! You may notice that I love things that I can eat for breakfast and also things I can make ahead of time. When these are combined it’s a happy day in my book! I have seen a million recipes for crock pot steel cut oats and one night decided to finally try my hand at this. Turns out, it’s ridiculously easy! Pour ingredients into crock-pot, turn it on, let it cook on high for an hour and a half, turn it off, (Do not open the lid to smell!) go to bed and in the morning, bam. Delicious steel cut oats without having to stir them for 20 minutes (which feels like an eternity if you’re hungry and tired and still waking up with coffee in hand. No? Is that only me?).

Crockpot Steelcut Oats

Yield: 4 Servings ~240 grams (each batch varies depending on exactly how much water was absorbed and if you added any extras, but mine is always plain and doesn’t change much)

Nutrition

Calories: 182

Fat: 3.6 g

Sodium: 41.2 mg

Total Carbs: 30 g

Fiber: 5.6 g

Sugar: 0.3

Protein: 7.3 g

Ingredients

1 cup Steel Cut Oats

1 cup Unsweetened Almond Milk

3 cups Water

1 tsp Vanilla Extract

1 tsp Cinnamon

*1 tsp Unsweetened Cocoa Powder (Hersheys, Ghirardellis) I dont always use this, but its tasty and adds about 1 calorie.

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*You can certainly add sweetener before you cook it if you like. Since Christian and I both eat these oats I like to leave them plain and sweeten them before I serve them. I use stevia or splenda and he gets date paste. I used to use brown sugar for him, but I’m trying to use more natural, unprocessed ingredients. The date paste is so yummy so occasionally I use it too, for a treat. I made that from scratch and will include how I did it in my next post.

Put all ingredients and any extras you want (chopped apples, dried fruit, nuts, peanut butter) in a crock pot on high. Cover and let it cook for an hour and a half. Turn the crock pot off, go to bed and wake up to breakfast. Now if only I could get someone to serve it to me in bed…IMG_4624