Raised from Scratch

growing up outside the box: alternatives to processed food and television

Sweet ‘n Spicy! January 2, 2014

chili coconut cup

chili powder coconut cinnamon

almond-butter cup

Two takes on chocolate cups here: almond butter and spicy chili coconut. Both are fabulous and it’s fun to make multiple types. Variety is always appreciated in this house. I’m sometimes guilty of making small desserts because they’re easy to pop into my mouth before a-certain-someone-whose-chocolate-intake-should-be-limited walks into the kitchen and demands one as well. I try to be sneaky, but it rarely works (trying to sneak food is like trying to sneak a quickie – kids ALWAYS know and will ALWAYS interrupt no matter how preoccupied they seemed beforehand). Anyways, my “limiting” little Ella’s chocolate is often simply drawing the line at no chocolate right before bed. It’s easier to justify frequent indulgences when you only buy good seriously dark chocolate, or make it yourself. This is one of the easiest desserts I’ve ever made. EVER. TRY IT!! Make enough to share, and remember that extra spicy chocolate is far less likely to be gobbled up by a child. (Heh, guess I am still a little sneaky.)

Almond Butter Chocolate Cups

Makes about 15 mini cups

¼ cup coconut oil (liquid) – warm over low heat if your oil is cool and solid

¼ cup cocoa powder or raw cacao powder – sifted!

3-4 T. pure maple syrup

Unsweetened almond butter

Whisk together in small bowl until smooth.

Fill about 1/3rd of the mini candy papers with the warm chocolate. Place in freezer 5 minutes, until chocolate is set. Place a small amount of almond butter (¼ – ½ teaspoon) on cooled chocolate, and cover with additional warm chocolate. Return to freezer 10 minutes or until chocolate is set. Best stored in the freezer.

DONE! Welcome to chocolate nirvana.

Taste buds craving a kick like mine? Try this…

Spicy Chili Chocolate

Mix coconut oil, cocoa powder and maple syrup as instructed above. Forget the almond butter and instead add ¼ t. high quality chili powder and a generous dash of ground cinnamon to your warm chocolate before filling your mini candy papers. Sprinkle a tiny amount of the chili powder and unsweetened desiccated coconut (optional) before freezing if you like the look of it, or want to make it easy to identify which chocolate you’re about to eat, because I definitely recommend getting creative with this recipe and adding whatever spices excite you.

Thanks to This Rawsome Vegan Life for posting amazing desserts such as the Give Me Chocolate Almond Butter Cups which inspired this post. This site rocks so check it out if you’re looking for more healthy inspiration!

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Quinoa Cashew Dinner Salad April 9, 2013

Filed under: Gluten Free,Lunch/Dinner,Salads,Vegan — annalope @ 10:46 am
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quinoa cashew salad

Sometimes my 3 year old is adamant that she does not like eating whole nuts, but cashews are the exception. I guess it’s because they are a fairly soft nut, easier to chew, and have a mild, sweet flavor. We liked snacking on these salted cashews so much (even though I nearly burned them because we were busy building a fort in the kitchen) that I had a hard time reserving any of them for dinner. If you don’t have millet you can use a full cup of quinoa, which is easier to find in stores these days. Did you know quinoa is the only grain that qualifies as a complete protein? Awesome stuff, easy to prepare and cooks a heck of a lot faster than brown rice.

 Quinoa Cashew Salad

Quinoa:

1 ½ cups water

½ t. sea salt

1 t. fresh thyme or ½ t. dried thyme

¾ cup quinoa, rinsed

¼ cup millet, rinsed

Use a sieve to rinse quinoa and millet in warm running water for about 60 seconds. Place in pot with 1 ½ cups water, salt and thyme, bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer, cover and cook 15-20 minutes until fluffy.

Cashews:

1 t. earth balance (can substitute coconut or olive oil)

Pinch of salt

½ cup raw cashews

In a medium stock pot or large saute pan, toast 3 minutes over medium heat, stirring frequently, then remove from pan.

Squash:

1 T. olive oil

½ butternut squash, peeled and cubed

1 large fuji apple, peeled, cored, cut into 12pieces and halved crosswise

¾ cup water

3 cups fresh spinach, rinsed, dried and roughly chopped

Salt and freshly cracked black pepper to taste

Dressing – whisk together:

2 t. apple cider vinegar

2 T. olive oil

1 T. molasses

Heat oil in the same pot used for cashews, cook squash 4 minutes, then add apple and water, cook 15 minutes until soft. Stir in spinach, cooked quinoa, and dressing. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Plate and top with toasted cashews.

kitchen fort

toasted cashews

 

Slow Down and Savor It: Oatmeal for Autumn October 18, 2012

If oatmeal conjures memories of mushy slop loaded with sugar and tiny dried apple pieces, it’s time you created new associations with this healthy grain. Oatmeal is fabulous, and a recipe like this one should leave the whole family satiated and smiling. Steel cut (Irish) oats are simply chopped oat groats – they are the least processed of all oat products, and they are typically stocked right alongside the old-fashioned and quick oats these days. If not, check the organic section of your grocery store. Seriously, once you try them, you’ll never want to go back to quick/instant oats.

I like to cook half of the apple pieces with the raisins 5 minutes before the oatmeal has finished cooking and add the rest with the sunflower seeds in my bowl for a little crunch. Just 2 tablespoons of pure maple syrup is plenty to sweeten the whole batch (in fact, I like it even without) because apples, raisins and cinnamon lend their natural sweetness to the oats. Enjoy the chilly mornings!

Autumn Oatmeal

4 cups water

1 cup steel cut (Irish) oats

Generous pinch of salt

½ cup raisins

1 cup apple, diced into ¼ – ½” pieces (about ½ of a large apple)

½ t. ground cinnamon

2 T. golden flax seeds

½ t. vanilla extract

2 T. pure maple syrup

¼ cup unsalted sunflower seeds, roasted or raw

Milk or milk substitute (optional) for serving

Place water, oats and salt in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a strong simmer and cook 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add raisins, ½ of your chopped apples and cinnamon; cook additional 5 minutes, stirring frequently.

Remove from heat, stir in flax seeds, vanilla extract and maple syrup. Place in bowls and top with remaining apples, a generous sprinkle of sunflower seeds, and a dash of cinnamon. Serve with milk or milk substitute if desired.

Serves 4

What are some of your favorite oatmeal add-ins?

 

Crispy Olive Oil Potato Wedges and The Great Caper October 17, 2012

Crispy Olive Oil Potato Wedges

Inspired by Oh She Glows crispy baked fries, the small amount of cornstarch gives these little potatoes such an awesome crispy texture. Definitely a method worth trying next time you’re in the mood for fries.

6-8 new potatoes

½ t. coarse salt

¼ t. Penzey’s Bavarian spice blend

¼ t. dried thyme

2 t. cornstarch

1 T. olive oil

Preheat oven to 400°. Wash and dry potatoes (peeling is optional). Halve or quarter potatoes. In a sealable container mix salt, spices and cornstarch together. Add potatoes, seal and shake to evenly distribute spices and coat potatoes. Add 1 T. olive oil to container and shake again. Place on a baking sheet spaced 1” apart and bake 15 minutes, then use a spatula to turn, bake additional 10 minutes or until easily pierced with a fork.

Serves 3-4

Caper Vinaigrette

The Caper, which is simply a pickled flower bud, is great in any Mediterranean dish, and easy to find in practically every grocery store. Jazz up your next salad with this tasty dressing. I think it’s perfect on a simple salad of greens with tomatoes and feta.

4 T. olive oil

1 green onion, chopped (optional)

1 ½ T. stone ground mustard

1 ½ T. red or white wine vinegar

2-3 T. capers

Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

If you want to use green onion, heat it along with the olive oil in a small saucepan for 2 minutes, until the onions become soft, then remove from heat, add mustard and vinegar and whisk well to combine. Stir in capers and season to taste.

If you’ve opted not to use the green onions, just grab a small bowl and vigorously whisk olive oil, mustard and vinegar together to combine. Stir in capers and season to taste.

Makes enough for 8 salads

 

Quinoa Waldorf Salad October 12, 2012

A perfect fall dish – great for potlucks and picnics as it tastes best at room temperature. I’ve brought this to multiple get-togethers and the recipe is always requested. With all the fruit and fresh greens, this salad is refreshing and a great way to celebrate the season. If you haven’t tried quinoa before (pronounced keen-wah), I highly recommend it. Quinoa is the only grain (okay, technically a seed, but cooked and eaten like a grain) in the world that is a complete protein, containing all 9 essential amino acids, so it’s wonderful for vegetarian diets. The tiny quinoa pearls have a ring around them, which will unfurl as it cooks and the seeds will become translucent. Many brands sell pre-rinsed quinoa, but rinsing in cold water at home prior to cooking ensures any bitterness from the seeds’ natural protective resin is washed away.

This recipe is easily modified. The most recent version I made, and the one pictured, I used regular raisins instead of golden, omitted the dried cranberries and celery, and used extra apples because I was bringing it to a potluck celebrating Johnny Appleseed Day. I hope you’ll try it next time you’re in the mood for a fall salad!

Quinoa Waldorf Salad

2 cups water

½ t. sea salt

1 cup quinoa, rinsed well and drained

1 large apple or 2 small apples (pink lady, gala or fuji are great), unpeeled, cut into ½” cubes

1 celery stalk, thinly sliced (optional)

2 scallions, thinly sliced

½ cup dried cranberries

¼ cup golden raisins

2 T. walnuts, chopped (optional)

2 T. seasoned rice vinegar

4 T. fresh orange juice

¼ t. ground ginger

2 cups fresh baby arugula, washed and dried

½ t. fresh black pepper + additional salt to taste

Using a sieve, rinse quinoa under cold water for about 30 seconds, briefly allow to drain. In a saucepan bring water and salt to a boil, add quinoa, cover and reduce heat to low and cook 15 minutes until water is adsorbed and quinoa fluffs easily with a fork.

Meanwhile, chop apple, celery and scallions and place in a large serving bowl along with cranberries, raisins and walnuts. In a small measuring glass whisk together rice vinegar, orange juice and ground ginger. Once quinoa has cooked and the water has all been absorbed, add it to the apple mixture and toss to combine. Pour orange vinegar dressing over salad, stirring. Gently fold in arugula to coat the greens but not tear them.

Serve with additional walnuts if desired.

 

Healthy Addictions: Chocolate Kale Smoothies October 4, 2012

Did you know that kale and chocolate both rank in the top 5 most nutrient dense foods on the planet? Per calorie, kale has more iron than beef, and more calcium than milk, it’s high in vitamin A (300% daily recommended value), C (89% daily value) and K (1,000% daily value), anti-inflammatory properties and antioxidants, is believed to help lower cholesterol, help with detoxification, and contains 10% of the recommended daily omega-3 intake.

Read more about this awesome green here and here.

So kale keeps you healthy, and chocolate, naturally, makes you fall in love. Chocolate raises serotonin levels, provides magnesium, improves blood flow, lowers cholesterol and blood pressure. Just don’t mix your dark chocolate with regular cow’s milk because it negates the antioxidant benefits. I use almond milk in the smoothie for this reason and for taste, and haven’t read anywhere that almonds inhibit the absorption of chocolate’s nutrients.

I created this recipe because my 3 year old loves dark chocolate but is not likely to chow down on a full serving of kale if served for dinner, so a smoothie felt like a promising way of delivering this powerful grow food, and anything containing chocolate is automatically viewed a “treat”. She asked for thirds, so we’ll be making this a lot in the future.

Create a healthy addiction in your life…start making more smoothies!

Chocolate Kale Smoothie

16 oz almond milk

¾ cup frozen blueberries

2 bananas, peeled and frozen

1 T. honey

¼ t. vanilla extract

1 ½ T. soy protein powder (optional)

1 T. unsweetened cocoa, sifted

1 ½ cups fresh kale, washed and torn into large pieces

Combine all ingredients in blender and process until smooth. Pour into glasses or mugs and sprinkle with sifted cocoa. Serves 2-3.

 

Say Yes to More Cookies September 30, 2012

Saying YES to a child always feels better than having to say NO, which is just one reason I love having healthy cookies on hand. Kids are always in the mood for cookies, and always want more than one…just like the rest of us. We could eat these for breakfast they’re so healthy, though if I actually allowed my 3 year old to do so I’d never hear the end of cookie requests at sunrise, so I’m just going to treat these as snacks and let the whole family eat as many as they want after breakfast.

Banana Coconut Almond Cookies

(gluten and sugar free, vegan if using coconut oil)

½ cup almond meal

1 ½ cups old fashioned oats

1/3 cup unsweetened finely shredded coconut (Bob’s Red Mill)

1 T. golden flaxseed

½ t. ground cinnamon

½ t. sea salt

1 t. baking powder

3 ripe bananas, mashed

½ t. vanilla extract

1 t. almond extract

4 T. unsalted butter or coconut oil, melted

½ cup raisins

Preheat oven to 350°. Whisk dry ingredients together in small bowl. In medium bowl use a sturdy whisk to mash bananas, then add extracts and butter. Stir in dry ingredients and raisins. Drop cookies on ungreased cookie sheet and bake 10-12 minutes, until slightly golden brown on bottom. Cool on wire rack. Makes 35 small cookies.