Coconut scones

Coconut scones

I got off of work later than usual one night last week. I also, unusually, brought my laptop along to work. Because the 3-4 hours I get paid to do nothing seemed like the perfect opportunity to edit some photos. Anyway, dark clouds started rolling in and all I could think about was how silly I was for not checking the daily forecast. Of the ten days a year precipitation falls from the sky, one of them has to be the day I bring something extremely valuable to work. WHY WAS I NOT PREPARED FOR THIS?

So, I texted Thom and asked him to send good vibes to the rain gods. You know, to convince them to hold off on the torrential downpour until my laptop was safe inside the house. Good vibes were sent, as were weird text messages. The entire ride home I received questions like: At which stop are you getting off? How far are you? Are you getting close? All I wanted to say was Dude, bug off! It’s a little rain and I’m a big lady. I’ll make it home ok. I didn’t put two and two together, which is why I was totally surprised when the bus rolled up to the stop and there was Thom – standing in the pouring rain – with an umbrella. Ready to walk me and my precious laptop all 40 feet to our front door.

Coconut scones

It took my breath away. And as hard as I try, I can never fully comprehend the magnitude of his presence on my being. He enriches my life in more ways than I have fingers and toes. And every morning I roll over to his oily head, I thank the winds for the unfortunate circumstances that lead us to one another. Lately, I’ve been so caught up with school, work and the blog, that I haven’t expressed my appreciation for him as much as I should. So, when he got sick two nights ago, I decided to wake up first thing yesterday morning and make him something comforting for breakfast. Scones. Chock full of coconut and undivided love.

Coconut scone

These scones are so full of coconut flavor that it makes my heart sing. Five of the nine ingredients are coconut derived – and it’s freaking awesome. We prefer our scones slightly on the dry side, so if you prefer yours moist, add 7 total tablespoons of coconut yogurt. Also, I used pastry flour to yield a lighter scone. If you’d prefer a dense scone, replace the pastry flour with (more) unbleached flour. And yes – these babies can be made gluten free by replacing the flour with a gluten free flour blend and xanthan gum.
COCONUT SCONES (GFO)

1 cup unbleached flour
1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 cup coconut sugar
1 cup fine shredded coconut
1/2 tsp fine sea salt
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 cup coconut oil, solid
1/3 cup coconut yogurt
1/2 cup coconut milk, full fat

Preheat oven to 375˚F. Line a large baking sheet with a silicone mat or parchment paper; set aside. In a large bowl, whisk together the flours, sugar, coconut, salt and baking powder. Cut in the coconut oil until the mixture resembles coarse meal; set aside. In a small bowl, stir together the yogurt and milk. Create a well in the center of the flour mixture and pour in the yogurt mixture. Scoop the dry ingredients from from the bottom of the bowl and fold over the wet ingredients. Repeat this just until the mixture is combined. Do not over mix the dough. If the dough is too wet, add additional flour 1 tablespoon at a time.
Line a flat surface with parchment paper and sprinkle lightly with flour. Pat the dough into a large circle, about 1 inch thick. Using a sharp knife, cut the dough into eight triangular segments. Transfer the dough segments to the prepared baking sheet. If desired, lightly brush each scone with melted coconut oil and sprinkle with vanilla sugar. Bake at 375˚F for 14-16 minutes, or until golden. Transfer to a wire rack to cool then store in an air tight container for up to three days. Unbaked dough can be kept frozen in the freezer. Simply place the scone segments in a freezer safe container, until ready to use.
Yield: 8 scones

Bite size brownies

Bite size brownies

I’m a fan of bite size everything – from almond joy and chocolate dipped shortbread, to gingerbread folk and these brownies. But – if I’m going to be completely honest here – part (ok, most) of the reason I decided to make bite size brownies is because the mister is one of those people who’ll cut a brownie from the pan and go eat it on the couch. Without a plate. Or a napkin. Which means CRUMBS GET EVERYWHERE. Because, contrary to popular belief, his hand is not a sufficient crumb catcher.

My solution? Bite size brownies. They go straight from the jar, into his mouth. And don’t create any crumbs. Which means no clean up for the lady.

Bite size brownies

If you’re not a fan of brownie edges, these are not for you. No ooey-gooey centers, here – just soft, chewy, bite size brownie goodness. And if you want to make the brownies even more decadent, top them with a dollop of that two ingredient caramel sauce.

I used sucanat in these brownies becuase I wanted a slight hint of molasses. But you can certainly substitute cane sugar, or any other sugar. This is also a really simple recipe to make gluten free by replacing the flour with a gluten free flour blend and xanthan gum. The thicker the dough, the better (mine could have been rolled into cookies) – so if you add the flour and it’s still sticky, continue adding small amounts of flour until the dough is nice and firm.

BITE SIZE BROWNIES (GFO)

6 tbsp vegan butter
1/2 cup vegan chocolate chips
1 1/4 cup sucanat
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
2 tbsp flax meal
1/4 cup filtered water
3/4 tsp fine sea salt
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup cacao powder
1 1/4 cup unbleached flour
Preheat oven to 350˚F. In a double boiler over medium heat, melt the butter into the chocolate chips; heat just until melted and remove from heat. Stir in the sugar and vanilla extract; set aside. In a small mixing bowl, stir together the flax meal and water; set aside. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the salt, baking soda, cacao powder and flour. Stir in the chocolate mixture, as well as the flax mixture, and mix just until combined. The batter should be thick. Using a 1 teaspoon cookie scoop, scoop the batter and drop it into each of the wells of a silicone tray. I used two silicone trays with 18 1″ cube wells. Place the tray(s) onto a cookie sheet and bake at 350˚F for 18-20 minutes. Allow the brownies to cool in the trays for five minutes, then transfer to a wire rack. Store in an air tight container for up to five days.
Yield: approximately 90 brownie bites

How to make caramel sauce

Caramel sauce

Two ingredient caramel sauce. CAN YOU BELIEVE IT? Of course you can.
This stuff is good. Drizzled over ice cream, tossed with popcorn, poured into molds and eaten as candies, scooped straight outta the jar – get it? Good. And before you go all THIS IS THE MOST UNHEALTHY RECIPE EVER! on me, let me offer you a lower fat alternative – simply replace the amount of coconut milk fat with coconut milk or almond milk – you will have to cook the mixture longer, but you will wind up with a similar end result. However, I prefer the milk fat based caramel, as it can be used to make perfectly chewy caramel candies. Which I adore.

CARAMEL SAUCE (GF)

1 1/2 cups coconut milk fat
3/4 cup sucanat

Refrigerate two cans of coconut milk overnight, for at least 12 hours. The next day, scoop the fat off of the top of each can and measure out 1 1/2 cups. Place the coconut milk fat into a small sauce pan and heat over medium heat until liquid. Add the sucanat and whisk until the mixture turns a dark caramel color. Add a pinch of salt, if desired. Allow mixture to boil for 15-20 minutes, whisking the crap out of it every 3-4 minutes. For a thin caramel sauce, cook it for 10-15 minutes; for thick, candy making caramel, cook it for 35-40 minutes. Refrigerate in an air tight container until ready to use. Reheat to soften.
Yield: approximately 1 cup

Pea and sun dried tomato fettuccine

Pea and sun dried tomato fettuccine

I know what you’re thinking. Another savory food recipe? Is she on crack? Does she not realize that we don’t come here to look at Brussels sprouts and dishes of pasta? GIVE US DESSERT, WOMAN.

Yeah, yeah, yeah. I know I’ve been veering from my usual dessert heavy path – but it’s for the better, you guys. Because I only eat the healthiest of “healthy” food, so sharing these recipe means you can, too. I would insert 1,000 exclamation points and a really big smiley face, but it’s 7 in the morning and last night’s dinner decided to come up at 5. So no one is smiling over here. I’m especially not smiling at the dude laying next to me in bed, who has denied me a liter of water in fear that it’ll come right back up. Probably all over him. Because apparently I’m 8 years old, with an uncontrollable gag reflex, again.

fettuccini-4

This pasta can be enjoyed warm or cold, which is one of my favorite things about it. If I’m eating it myself, I’ll halve the recipe and eat the first half warm, then eat the leftovers cold. Or I’ll double the recipe and eat it every day for a week. Because sometimes I’m a straight up carb junkie. No shame, people. No shame.

PEA AND SUN DRIED TOMATO FETTUCCINE (GF)

7 oz brown rice fettuccini noodles
2-3 tsp olive oil
1/4 cup sun dried tomato pieces
1/2 cup sweet peas
1/4 cup chopped arugula
1/2 cup shredded cabbage
1 tbsp dried basil
Salt and pepper, to taste

Prepare your noodles according to the cooking instructions on the package. Transfer to a strainer and drain the water. Rinse with cold water then toss with olive oil, sun dried tomatoes, peas and arugula. Divide evenly between 4 plates and top with basil, cabbage, salt and pepper. Serve immideately. Refrigerate in an air tight container for up to one week.
Yield: 4 (big) servings

Chocolate hazelnut tartlets

Chocolate hazelnut tartlet

If you haven’t noticed, I’m really into simple recipes. Like chocolate hazelnut tartlets. And I’m even more into recipes that aren’t time consuming. Like chocolate hazelnut tartlets. Because any recipe that requires me to dirty half of the dishes in my kitchen – then stand over the sink for an hour, scrubbing butter and crumbs out of the crevices of the pan – will never be featured on this blog.

Which brings me to this: I don’t like the kitchen as much as you might think. I like it just enough to bake in it. And create simple, not time consuming things. If the first word that comes to your mind is lazy.. you’re probably right. But don’t ever tell me that to my face. Cause I’ll smack you. Then run like a little bitch.

Chocolate hazelnut tartlets

As simple as this is, it’s really quite decadent. I used two, single origin chocolate bars from one of my favorite chocolate companies – Askinosie. However, you could get by with using any chocolate, since Askinosie chocolate bars aren’t exactly easy on the pocketbook. To me, they’re worth every penny. Especially if you’re sharing these tartlets with guests. The crust can be made gluten free by replacing the flour with gluten free flour(s) of your choice. For a sweeter filling, increase the maple syrup to 1/2 cup; for a lighter tart, reduce the chocolate to 3 ounces. And between you and me, you can totally just make the chocolate filling, store it in the fridge for 20 minutes, then enjoy it as chocolate mousse.
CHOCOLATE HAZELNUT TARTLETS (GFO)

3/4 cup hazelnut meal
1 1/4 cup spelt flour
2-3 tbsp sucanat
1/2 cup vegan butter, cold
6 oz good quality dark chocolate
12 oz lite firm silken tofu
1/4 cup maple syrup
Pinch of fine sea salt
Preheat oven to 350˚F. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the hazelnut meal, flour and sucanat. Cut in the butter until the mixture resembles a coarse meal. If the dough is too crumbly and doesn’t stick together when pressed between your fingers, add cold water 1 tablespoon at a time, until the desired consistency is reached. Divide mixture evenly between 4 4″ tartlet pans and firmly press the dough up the sides of the pans. Poke a few holes in the bottom of the crusts. Bake crusts at 350˚F for 4-5 minutes, or just until a hazelnut aroma fills your kitchen.
In a double boiler over medium heat, melt the chocolate. Transfer to a high speed blender, such as a Vitamix, and blend with tofu, maple syrup and salt until smooth; about 15-20 seconds. Divide mixture evenly between the baked tartlet crusts. Bake at 350˚F for 5-6 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool. Refrigerate in an air tight container for up to 3 days.

Yield: 4 4″ tartlets

At home

Morning light

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Neighbors

His & hers

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After damn near a week, we’re finally unpacked and settled into our new loft. And I’m pretty much obsessed with it. In fact, I am so obsessed with it that it makes me never want to leave Denver. Ever. The ceilings are 20 feet high, both of the bedrooms have exposed brick walls, 100 year old tile floors span the main living area and the entire unit is flooded with natural light (and enormous windows).

We spent 10+ months looking for a space that met up to all of our standards, and when we finally found it, we jumped and put down a deposit immideately. Which just goes to show that good things come to those who wait. Don’t roll your eyes at me and my cheesy cliché – I’m serious! And! The best part? Now that the place is put together, I can finally get back to utilizing my kitchen. Which means tasty things will be coming your way in the very near future.

Roasted Brussels sprouts

Roasted Brussels sprouts

Up until a couple of weeks ago, I didn’t particularly care for Brussels sprouts. I thought they were disgusting. Pungent and repulsive, even. Just the sight of them in the produce aisle made me nauseous. But only because the first time I tried a Brussels sprout, I nearly puked. Thankfully, after learning about their health benefits, I opted to give them another try. And guess what? It turns out I do like Brussels sprouts! Just not when I’m eating them while they’re still in the form of a miniature cabbage. Because eating them that way seriously disturbs my gag reflex. Yours too? No? REALLY? Well.

Pasta with roasted brussels sprouts

I enjoy roasted Brussels sprouts as is, but I especially enjoy them over pasta tossed in olive oil, then sprinkled with toasted almonds. It was the perfect first meal to prepare in the new loft. And in case you couldn’t tell by my absence (again!) this week, the move was rough. Exhausting. So exhausting that not only have I not been baking, but I also haven’t been running or lifting or CrossFitting. Every muscle in my body aches. But don’t feel sorry for me – it’s my own fault. Now, go have yourself some Brussels sprouts. Even if you hate them, I’m fairly certain you will enjoy them when they’re roasted to perfection. 

ROASTED BRUSSELS SPROUTS (GF)

1 pound Brussels sprouts
1 tbsp olive oil
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 tsp minced garlic, optional
Preheat oven to 400˚F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper; set aside. Place the Brussels sprouts in a large bowl, cover with water and let soak for 15-20 minutes. Drain water and dry the sprouts. Using a sharp knife, slice the Brussels sprouts 1/4″ thick and place on the prepared baking sheet. Transfer all straggling pieces, as well; scatter them around the Brussels sprouts. Drizzle with oil, then sprinkle with fresh salt and cracked pepper. If you want a hint of garlic, sprinkle with minced garlic. Bake at 400˚F for 10-15 minutes. Serve immideately.