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My Granola

GranolaMy kids and those who have tasted the goodness that is “My Granola” get excited when I mention that it’s “Granola Day”. This recipe is ridiculously easy to make but it takes a long time. Therefore, it earns its own special day. Granola Day, btw, is a good time to invite people over. It makes your whole house smell divine!

I first started with this recipe from Against All Grain’s, Danielle Walker. I adapted it and do my “little bit of this, little bit of that, more of this” thing. (And that’s the recipe for making love – do you know this song by Harry Connick, Jr.? It’s one of my favorites to play when I’m cooking.) I know the “dash of this and that” method drives devout recipe followers nuts but it’s my way. So if you need a set recipe to follow, use AAG’s. It’s absolutely delicious!

You can’t go wrong with this recipe, though. Leave the basics the same but switch out the nuts, seeds, and fruits per your preference. The main thing you’ll need to pay attention to is that have a good balance between your wet ingredients and the dry ingredients.

Tips:
*I prefer to use organic, local and gluten-free ingredients as much as possible.
*This recipe makes a lot but since it takes so long to cook, it’s best to make a lot.
*Measurements for the ingredients are not precise. (My apologies to all you recipe rule followers out there.)

Dry ingredients:
6 cups of raw oats (I use one big bag of Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free Oats)
2 cups raw slivered/sliced almonds
1 cup raw pumpkin seeds
2 cups raw unsweetened coconut flakes
1/2 cup coconut palm sugar
2 tbsp cinnamon
2 tsp sea salt

Wet ingredients:
1 cup honey
1 cup melted coconut oil
2 tbsps vanilla

Add after baked and cooled:
3 cups of dried berries (I prefer cranberries, blueberries and sometimes use pomegranate).

Directions:

Clear your schedule, find a side project to work on or a good movie or two, preheat oven to 250F, 

1. In a large bowl, stir together dry ingredients.

2. In a separate microwave-safe bowl, melt coconut oil. Then add in remaining wet ingredients and stir together.

3. Pour the wet ingredients over the dry ingredients and stir together to make sure all dry ingredients are coated fairly well.

4. Pour entire mixture onto one very large, *parchment-lined baking pan or two smaller (but still large) baking pans.

5. Bake at 250 for 3-4 hours, turning it every 20 minutes for even browning. The time is up to you. It will depend on how brown you want it to be. The granola will a little soft but it will crisp up as it cools. (Settle into your project or movie. Set your timer! I forgot to do that once. If it weren’t for a friend coming to the rescue, I would have missed seeing Wicked at the theater because I would have had to drive home to keep my house from burning down.)

6. Stir in dried berries and cool completely.

7. Store in an airtight container.

I enjoy this most over my favorite vanilla yogurt but it’s delicious as a cereal with your favorite milk (or milk drink) or as a munchie. It makes a fabulous road trip/travel snack.

*The parchment is not necessary but if you don’t use it then be sure to coat your pan with cooking spray or something beforehand. The parchment paper will also help you not make such a mess when dumping it into your storage container afterward.

 

Homemade Cashew Butter

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I realize this is the millionth recipe out there for homemade cashew butter but it’s the one I like and it works for me. After trying out making it just with cashews, it worked for sure but it took an eternity. It also didn’t have much flavor at all, kind of just tasted like cashews. 🙂 Anyway, although it made good bread, delicious Coconut Flour Bread, it wasn’t good on celery so I decided to add a little honey and coconut oil. That helped speed up the process significantly and it’s tasty! Feel free to leave out the honey when making the bread if you prefer.

This is so yummy eaten  with apples or celery or by the spoonful for a quick grab ‘n go bite. It’s packed with protein and good fat so be sure to note that it’s not low fat but it is healthy.

You’ll need a food processor for this one. I don’t have a fancy one and it works just fine. It took me 47 years to buy a food processor. Not sure why because now I couldn’t live without it. Even if you got one for this recipe it would be worth it.

Throw in the food processor:

16 oz raw cashews
2 Tbsp raw unfiltered honey
2 Tbsp organic coconut oil 

Blend away. It will take a while. It will go from cashews to grains to a big lump to smaller lumps to creamy butter. The whole process takes about 30-45 minutes or so but just make sure you give your food processor frequent rest breaks to cool down.

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It makes about 2 cups of cashew butter. Store in an airtight container in your pantry just like you would regular nut butters for about a week. If it lasts that long. Enjoy!!

Easy Coconut Flour Cookies – Grain Free

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I found a recipe for coconut flour cookies and made them. They didn’t do it for me but they almost did. I made some changes and now… they do it for me.

I’m excited to find a cookie that only needs a few ingredients and are super easy and healthy. These are great with tea or coffee and healthy enough to grab a few for a hurried breakfast.

Easy Coconut Flour Cookies

3/4 cup coconut flour
1 and 1/2 stick cold butter (must be cold)
4 Tbsp raw honey
1/2tsp sea salt
1 Tbsp maple sugar or coconut sugar

1. Place all ingredients in a food processor and blend until it’s a big ball of cookie dough. You can do this with a pastry blender but it will take some muscle. The food processor makes quick work of it.

2. Spoon out very small lumps of dough (a little bit bigger than a marble) onto your baking sheet (lined with parchment or your baking liner). You can make these as large as you’d like but due to the dry shortbread texture, a couple of small ones will satisfy.

3. Roll each lump into a ball and dip into your sugar and place back on the baking sheet.

4. Press down each cookie ball with the back of a spoon to flatten into a quarter size round.

5. Bake at 365F for about 8 minutes or until edges are slightly brown. Watch these because they cook quickly since they are so small.

6. Cool completely. They will crumble into bits if you take them up too soon. They really do firm up nicely but you have to let them cool completely. Patience!

7. Share and enjoy!

This recipe makes about 46 very small one-bite cookies. Kept in a air tight container, they will be good for at least a weak.

Almond ‘Bisconi’ Bites

Grain Free Almond “Bisconi” Bites (by Andrea Stunz)

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I’ve combined a few recipes to create this one. It’s sort of a scone and sort of a biscotti. Thus the name “bisconi”. These are not low fat but they are packed with good fat and protein and all things healthy and good.

4 cups blanched almond flour
⅓ cup arrowroot flour
1 teaspoon sea salt
4 teaspoons baking powder
4 Tablespoons pure maple syrup
1 teaspoon pure almond extract
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 large eggs
1/2 cup melted organic coconut oil
1/2 cup raw, slivered almond pieces (hazelnut would be good too)

In a stand mixer, stir together all dry ingredients.

Add in the syrup, almond extract, vanilla and eggs.

Add the melted coconut oil to the flour mixture and mix well. Note that the dough will seem a little bit oily.

Gently stir in the almond pieces or whatever nuts you’re using.

Heat oven to 350F.

Place the “ball of dough” onto a large cutting board and roll or press out (you can put plastic wrap over the top to make it less messy to press) to be about ½” thick. Try to square off the edges as best you can to get square pieces when you cut.

Use a knife to cut the dough into bite sized square pieces and transfer these onto a parchment paper lined baking sheet.

Bake for about 15 minutes or until the edges begin to turn golden brown.

Allow to cool completely before storing or serving.

Serve with a cup of coffee or hot tea. These are so good with this masala tea recipe.

Enjoy!

Frittata Muffins

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I’ve been making these and putting them in the freezer. It’s such an easy “grab & go” breakfast.  After they’ve cooled, I put two in a snack size ziploc to make them easier to grab and well… go. Just have to pop them in the microwave.

I don’t really call this my own recipe because I sort of combined a few different recipes and then do my own thing with seasonings and toppings depending on what I’m in the mood for or what I have on hand. For the sake of this recipe I will list what I just made and is pictured, but play with it and make it your own. Typically a frittata would have cheese. You may add cheese if you want but it’s delicious without it and one recipe that I don’t think the dairy is necessary.

I use organic, cage free, dairy free, carrageenan free, hormone free, nitrate/nitrite free, grain free ingredients.

Frittata Muffins (makes 12)

Ingredients:
1 doz eggs
1/3 cup nut milk (almond or cashew)
2 TBSP Coconut Flour
salt, pepper, garlic salt (I’d say “to taste” but you can’t really taste it so go easy. You can always add more seasonings when you eat them.)
Fresh baby spinach
8 oz. cooked bacon pieces

Optional: saute’ chopped onions and garlic with coconut or olive oil and add to the uncooked mixture.

Preheat oven to 350

Cook bacon

Whisk eggs then add milk, coconut flour, and seasonings

Grease muffin pan and line each cavity with fresh spinach. Approximately 8 leaves or so. It cooks down so cram it in there. For those who don’t like spinach, this is a great way to get them to eat it. When there’s bacon involved, the spinach sort of disappears. 🙂

Pour about 1/4 cup of the egg mixture on top of the spinach. Whisk the mixture occasionally so the seasonings stay mixed up.

Top with bacon pieces

Bake on 350 for about 15-20 minutes.

Serve warm.

Enjoy!!

Coconut Milk Coffee Creamer 2.0

I think I’ve perfected this wonderful liquid creaminess. Here is the original version that I created Coconut Milk Coffee Creamer. The previous version happens to be sugar-free and is still very very good and creamy. But I’ve since fallen in love with raw honey and coconut sugar (palm sugar) and have adapted this recipe to fit my taste. And boy, does it taste good!!

You’ll need:
* Some type of blender. I use my emersion blender or Nutri Bullet. The amount of liquid fits perfectly into the container that comes with it and it’s just easier to clean than a standard blender.

*A 1 qt container. Plastic is okay. Glass is better.

Now for the recipe…..

*3 tbsp melted organic coconut oil (melt it in your blender container to save a dish, only takes about 20 seconds if that)
*1 can preservative free (check labels!) coconut milk (my favorite is 365 organic from Whole Foods or Arroy D which was recommended by my Thai friend)
*2 tsp quality vanilla (I use my homemade when I have.)
*3 TBSP raw local honey or coconut sugar (I switch it up for different flavors and sometimes I use a little of both.)

Put all ingredients in the blender and blend well. Pour into your 1 qt container and refrigerate.

These are all ingredients I typically have on hand.  After you’ve made this a few times, you won’t even need the recipe. With these ingredients, it’s hard to mess it up.

Play around with the recipe and make it your own. Less sugar/honey, more sugar/honey, more vanilla, whatever you like. Enjoy!! I’m enjoying a cup of coffee with this creamy deliciousness as I type this.

Easy Shrimp Étouffée

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Here’s a yummy, easy recipe you might want to try. My friend, Staci, gave me the recipe and she’s Cajun as they come so it’s legit. So she says and I believe her since I’m not Cajun. 🙂 It makes a lot so half it if you don’t want to have a lot leftover. You’ll need some steamed white rice.

You can use precooked frozen shrimp but you just won’t need to cook it as long.

Ingredients: 1 green, red, and yellow bell pepper, 2 onions, 2 cloves garlic, two sticks of salted butter, 4 cans cream mushroom soup, 4 cans cream of chicken soup, 3 cans Rotel (use mild if you don’t want it too spicy), and peeled and deveined shrimp (amount is up to you but we like a lot). 
Melt butter and add chopped veggies.
Cook veggies until tender, then add soups and rotel. Cook 15 mins then add shrimp. Cook an additional 30 min.