COCONUT WHIPPED CREAM
1 can full fat coconut milk, refrigerated overnight
2 tbsp powdered cane sugar
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extractOpen the can of coconut milk and scoop the top layer of white, fatty goodness into a decent sized mixing bowl (discard the coconut water or save it for smoothies). Blend the chunks of coconut milk with a hand mixer on high speed for 15-20 seconds, just until the mixture turns to liquid. Sift in the powdered sugar and mix until combined. Add the vanilla extract and blend on high speed for 1-2 minutes, until light and creamy. Whipped cream is best served immideately, but can be stored in an air tight container for up to three days. It will harden in the fridge, so when ready to serve, simply blend with a hand mixer on high speed until creamy again.
Yield: about 1 1/4 cups
So, for the next 90 days I’m going to be constantly reminding myself that in the very near future I’m not going to be able to eat my typical vegetable heavy diet or wash my hair with my favorite shampoo, just because I like the way it calms my natural waves. I won’t be seeing familiar faces, spending early mornings lifting heavy things, or keeping up with the demands of taking a bunch of vitamins I don’t really know if I need, but I swear make me feel better. I’m trying to prepare myself for the fact that I’m going to be showering in flip flops, sharing rooms with strangers, and eating a bunch of food I probably wouldn’t touch if we were still in Denver (pizza marinara, I can’t wait to get my hands on you). But despite any impending difficulties or metaphorical bumps in the road or having frizzy hair every single day of the trip, I think I’m going to experience four of the most spontaneous and adventurous months of my life. Europe, I can’t wait to see you.
RAW LEMON GOJI BERRY BITES
2 cups raw almonds
Pinch of Himalayan salt
10 medjool dates, pitted and soaked for 15 minutes
Juice and zest of two meyer lemons
1/2 cup goji berries, chopped
1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut, optionalIn a food processor fitted with the S blade, blend the almonds and salt into a fine meal. Add the dates and lemon juice/zest; pulse until combined. Transfer the mixture to a small mixing bowl and mix in the goji berries and coconut with a wooden spoon. Using a 1 teaspoon cookie scoop, drop the dough onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Roll into round balls, if desired. Freeze for 30 minutes then transfer to an air tight container. Will keep in freezer for several months but I doubt they’ll last that long.
Yield: about 85 bites
I’ve been looking for a way to make caramel sauce that is less involved than my other recipe. Because I don’t have time to wait around for 25 minutes, watching as coconut milk and sugar evolve into golden, syrupy goodness. And you probably don’t either. In the amount of time it takes for a pot of caramel to come to life, you could watch a rerun of The Office. Without the commercials. Or you could clean the kitchen. And when you’re done with that, maybe organize all of your stuff in the bathroom? No? Fine. But I really don’t think it’s necessary to have two dozen replacement razor heads or a year’s supply of bio-rutin supplements or three different conditioning treatments taking up precious bathroom real estate. Speaking of conditioner, maybe you could take a shower? And wash your hair while you’re at it because not washing your hair for four days is gross. I don’t care if you’re trying to protect your cylindrical filaments from the arid Colorado climate. It’s not cool to go on a hair washing strike when you share a bed with another human being. Your hair is dirty. Wash it.
Did that get weird? That kind of got weird. Anyway, I’m not saying we should ditch the old recipe entirely (ok, maybe we should), but this recipe is nice to have on hand when you don’t have half an hour to devote to making caramel sauce. It’s also nice to have on hand when you want to make caramel apple crumb pie at the eleventh hour. Like, maybe later this week?
Notes: Feel free to use brown sugar or muscovado sugar in place of the whole cane sugar (sometimes found under the brand name sucanat). I use whole cane sugar because a) I’ve got a lot of it hanging around my kitchen and b) it’s a nice alternative to highly processed brown sugar. Which actually starts out as whole sugar, but has the molasses removed for processing and then added back at the very end. Are you making a weird face? I did too when I first found out. So just buy the natural stuff, yo. Oh, and say you forget to whisk your caramel for a few minutes and it burns and sticks to the bottom of the pan. But you don’t find out until you go to whisk it and burnt flecks of caramel ruin your perfectly golden sauce. No worries! Simply pass the caramel through a fine mesh strainer a couple of times then place it back on the stove (in a clean pot, of course) to finish cooking. Crisis averted!
EASY CARAMEL SAUCE
1 13.6 oz can full fat coconut milk, refrigerated overnight
1/2 cup whole cane sugarStart by opening the can of coconut milk and separating the thick, white milk fat from the water. Add 1/4 cup of the coconut water to a small saucepan set over medium-high heat. Whisk in the sugar and bring to a boil. Boil for 5-6 minutes, whisking only a few times, then stir in 1 cup of the coconut milk fat (you may have more or less, depending on your can of coconut milk – that’s ok). Reduce the heat to medium and boil the mixture for 5 minutes, whisking every minute or so. If you added less than 1 cup of coconut milk fat, you’ll want to cook the mixture for an extra 2-3 minutes. Off the heat, then transfer the caramel to a glass jar and cool on counter, uncovered, until the caramel reaches room temperature. Refrigerate for at least four hours before using; caramel will thicken as it cools. Will keep for up to one week.
Yield: 2/3-1 cup caramel sauce
Are you following along? So far: first breakfast > second breakfast and, if you’re single, this recipe is for you. But if you’re not single, this recipe might still be for you. Like, maybe you have a significant other who sleeps in two hours past breakfast time? Yep, this waffle’s for you. And if he tries telling you that this recipe technically makes enough waffles for two breakfasts, just remind him who wakes up at 6AM to go to the gym. Who spends an hour running and competing over the only good set of 35 pound dumbbells with a bunch of meatheads. Remind him who walks all the way home in the cold (COMMITMENT) with a bottomless pit for a stomach, while he’s still sleeping like a baby. So he wouldn’t know the first thing about eating a proper breakfast because babies don’t eat that much.
BUCKWHEAT WAFFLE WITH BLUEBERRY MAPLE SYRUP, FOR ONE
1/2 cup buckwheat flour
1 tbsp potato starch
1 1/2 tsp cane sugar
Pinch of fine sea salt
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 cup almond milk
2 tsp coconut oil, melted
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/4 cup frozen blueberries, optional
Blueberry maple syrup
1/2 cup frozen blueberries, divided
2-3 tbsp pure maple syrupPreheat a 2 slice Belgian waffle maker. In a small mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, starch, sugar, salt, baking powder, and cinnamon. Create a well in the center of the dry ingredients and add the milk, oil and vanilla extract; whisk just until combined. Let the mixture stand to thicken for 1-2 minutes, then stir in the blueberries using a spatula. Spray the waffle maker with oil then cook according to the manufacturer’s instructions.For the blueberry maple syrup, bring 1/4 cup of the blueberries and maple syrup to a simmer over medium-high heat. Cook for 3-4 minutes then strain the cooked blueberries from the syrup. Add the remaining blueberries to the syrup and let sit for 10 minutes to allow the berries to thaw. Once ready, drizzle over waffle then top with whipped cream and a sprinkle of cinnamon, if desired.
Yield: 1 waffle
AROMATHERAPEUTIC Hand & Body Care Hard-working, naturally derived ingredients and essential oils provide a fresh and clean approach. Oh, how gentle LAVENDER has been valued for it’s wonderful scent that is soothing & believed to RELIEVE FATIGUE. All from an herb.
Wait a minute. You can read the soap label? From here? YOU CAN READ THE SOAP LABEL? Jump up off the toilet. Forget to wash my hands. Run out into the main living area and stand across the room from the bookshelf. I can read every title. Every subtitle. I can identify the books that were loved too much; their bindings are broken, their corners are worn. I can see the growth rings and knots in the woody frame. I can see everything. Clear as day.
Jump with joy. Literally. Do that weird kick/punch thing you do when you get excited. Maybe knock over a chair. You should probably pick it back up. Cry. Hard. For your new vision and ability to see every detail of this beautiful place. Every detail that not even glasses could help you see. Every detail of which you were robbed for the first 24 years of your life. Wash your hands. Give thanks to the man who corrected your 20/200 vision with that fancy laser machine. Think about kissing his face all over next time you see him. Run into the bedroom and kiss Thom’s face all over. Make waffles. Stuff your face with raw almond coconut cacao nib bites and ruin your appetite for waffles. Eat a waffle anyway because not eating a waffle just wouldn’t be right. Eat a waffle anyway because today we’re celebrating eyeballs that finally serve their purpose. All thanks to a man and his fancy laser machine.
RAW ALMOND COCONUT CACAO NIB BITES
1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
3/4 cup raw almonds, divided
Pinch of Himalayan salt
8 medjool dates, pitted
3 tbsp raw almond milk (or water)
1/4 cup cacao nibsIn a food processor fitted with the S blade, blend the coconut, 1/2 cup of the almonds, and sea salt into a fine meal. Add the dates and pulse for 30-45 seconds. Add the nut milk; pulse until combined. Transfer the mixture to a small mixing bowl. Coarsely chop the almonds then stir into the mixture, along with the cacao nibs. Using a 1 teaspoon cookie scoop, drop the cookies onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Freeze for 30 minutes then transfer to an air tight container. Will keep in freezer for several months but I doubt they’ll last that long.
Yield: about 55 bites
But it’s true, I was tired. So. Incredibly. Tired. My inability to sleep past 5am is only matched by my inability to fall asleep before midnight (except for the other night when I fell asleep on the couch at 10:30) (that was rad), and it’s taking its toll. I have no appetite or energy to go the gym. My body aches all over. And all I want to do is sit on the couch, kick up my feet, and daydream about Thom feeding me chocolate for every meal. Daydream because I have no appetite, remember? And even if I did have an appetite, he wouldn’t ever let me get away with eating chocolate for every meal. He’s kind of a stickler for a well-rounded, vegetable heavy diet.
Another favorite way to make these waffles: replace 1/2 cup of the flour blend with 1/2 cup buckwheat flour, swap the sweet potato puree with applesauce, and omit the cacao nibs. Top waffles with sliced bananas, a drizzle of full fat coconut milk, cinnamon, pecans, and shredded coconut. They’re perfect for those days that you’re looking for a satisfying breakfast without the sugar high.
SWEET POTATO WAFFLES WITH CACAO NIBS
1 1/2 cups gluten free flour blend
1/2 tsp xanthan gum
1/4 tsp fine sea salt
3/4 tsp baking powder
1 tsp ground cinnamon
3/4 cup sweet potato puree
1 1/2 cups almond milk
2 tbsp coconut oil, melted
1 tbsp muscovado sugar
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/4 cup cacao nibsPreheat waffle iron. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, xanthan gum, salt, baking powder, and cinnamon; set aside. In a small mixing bowl, stir together the sweet potato puree, almond milk, oil, sugar, and vanilla extract. Create a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour in the wet ingredients; whisk until combined. Stir in the cacao nibs.When the waffle iron is heated, spray it with oil. Cook waffles according to the instruction for your iron. I added a scant 3/4 cup of batter to my iron that makes round 7″ waffles. Serve immideately, topped with with your favorite fruit and real maple syrup. If cooking for a group of people, keep waffles warm in a 225˚F oven – no need to place them on a cookie sheet, just put them straight on the oven racks. Cooked waffles can be kept frozen for up to one month. Break in half and reheat in toaster.
Yield: 5 waffles
The consistency of canned coconut milk varies greatly. If using Thai Kitchen (one of the higher quality coconut milks, in my opinion), you’ll want to boil the mixture for only 5 minutes instead of 10. If using Native Forest, follow the instructions as laid out below. Unfortunately, I have not tested any other coconut milks.
Update: I tried making this with a cheaper variety of dark chocolate and it did not turn out properly. It is important that you use the best quality chocolate you can find – I’ve used Valrhona le Noir 61% chocolate and Whole Foods 56% cacao with great results.
CHOCOLATE HAZELNUT POTS DE CRÈME
4 oz good quality dark chocolate
1 3/4 cups full fat coconut milk
2 tbsp muscovado sugar
1 tbsp hazelnut liqueur
3 tbsp tapioca starchPreheat oven to 325˚F. Line the bottom of a shallow baking pan with a small towel; set aside. Chop the chocolate and place it in a large mixing bowl; set aside. In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine the coconut milk, sugar, and hazelnut liqueur; bring to a boil and let rumble for 10 minutes, whisking occasionally. Remove from heat, pour over chocolate, and let sit for 5 minutes; whisk to combine. Sift in the tapioca starch and whisk vigorously until all clumps have disappeared. To reduce the number of air bubbles (or leftover starch clumps, if any), pass the mixture through a fine mesh strainer.
Divide the creme between four 4 ounce ramekins and place them in the prepared baking pan. Fill the pan with warm water, just until it reaches halfway up the sides of the ramekins. If you don’t want a thin layer of “skin” to form atop the custards, cover the pan with foil. However, covered custards will take considerably longer to set. Bake at 325˚F for 20 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool (room temperature), then chill in fridge for at least 4 hours to set. Top with cacao powder, whipped cream, toasted hazelnuts, and cacao nibs, if desired.
Yield: 4 pots