Paleo Chocolate Chip Cookies

by Michelle on April 9, 2016

The other day my BFF Christie texted me to ask if I’d ever tried Enjoy Life’s line of chocolate chips. She was making Paleo-friendly chocolate chip cookies and that brand is deemed acceptable by the Paleo Powers That Be. I hadn’t tried them, but I’ve had other products that Enjoy Life makes and I am always impressed with the taste and quality. But back to the cookie recipe. I try not to eat a lot of sugar so I am always interested in recipes that are healthier versions of traditional favorites. She reported that the cookies were really good despite the fact that they didn’t have any flour, butter or sugar—typical ingredients in a chocolate chip cookie. I got the recipe from her and so far I’ve made two batches—one with regular dark chocolate chips, one with the Enjoy Life brand, which I found at Whole Foods (plenty of grocery stores carry them as well as a slew of online retailers.)

Wow. As with their other products, these Enjoy Life chips did not disappoint. They’re dairy, nut and soy free and contain 69 percent cacao, making them a super clean chocolate for those of you who care about that sort of thing. They’re also an excellent alternative for kids with food allergies who might not be able to eat “regular” cookies. I cannot say enough good things about this product (full disclosure: I do have a contact at Enjoy Life and they are very generous with their samples, but I bought the bag of chips used in these cookies.)

OK, but enough about the chips. Now let’s talk about the cookies. I love this recipe. Christie told me that the batter was really good, though she did wonder if that’s just because she is off sugar and anything with even a hint of sweetness is now fantastic. After tasting it myself, I would agree that it’s surprisingly good. It almost tastes like a samoa cookie, probably because of the almond flour and coconut oil. I used Trader Joe’s almond meal, which is the cheapest almond meal I have found, but almond flour/meal is available at most major grocery chains these days so you shouldn’t have trouble finding it. (Be prepared for it to be pricey: $7-10 a bag, but worth it. You can use it to make these chicken fingers too.)

If you’re trying to watch your sugar intake, these cookies will satisfy your craving and you won’t feel guilty indulging. They’re also super easy to make and only need 10 minutes in the oven, so making a batch is simple. This is a good thing because they go fast. Also, if you don’t have the Enjoy Life chips, it’s fine to make them with regular ones. They’ll have a little more sugar but will still be healthier than a traditional cookie.

Paleocookies

Paleo Chocolate Chip Cookies (from Paleo For Dummies)

1 1/2 cups almond flour

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon sea salt

2 tablespoons coconut oil, melted

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/4 cup honey

1 egg, room temperature

3/4 cup Enjoy Life dark chocolate morsels

In a large bowl, combine the almond flour, baking soda and salt. In a separate bowl, beat the coconut oil, vanilla, honey and egg. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and mix well to combine. Mix in the chocolate chips, then cover and refrigerate the batter for 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven for 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and roll the dough into 12 balls. Bake for five minutes, then remove from the oven and flatten the cookies slightly with the back of a spoon. Bake for five minutes more. If you like softer, chewier cookies, remove them from the oven. Otherwise let the bake for another couple of minutes. Let the cookies cool for a minute before transferring to a wire rack.

 

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Buffalo Cauliflower

by Michelle on April 6, 2016

You’ve probably already had buffalo cauliflower (and if you haven’t, you need to remedy this immediately.) Cauliflower is having a moment right now and with good reason. Not only is it delicious, but so versatile. You can even make “tater” tots with it! I usually just roast it at 450 degrees for 30 minutes, tossed with a little olive oil, salt and pepper. It’s simple and flavorful, the best kind of veggie prep. But then I discovered this recipe for buffalo-style cauliflower last winter and we love it so much that the time has come for me to tell you all about it too. I found the recipe I use on the blog Ben and Birdy but I changed up the ratios a bit because I almost always run out of the batter. I don’t know if I just buy abnormally large heads of cauliflower but I always find myself having to mix more batter, mid- dipping. With these new ratios listed below, I had plenty to coat all of my florets.

A Facebook friend recently asked whether buffalo cauliflower was really worth it. I immediately chimed in with a resounding YES! No it doesn’t taste like a chicken wing, but this buffalo sauce is so good you won’t miss the meat. Plus, the cauliflower develops a nice crunch which is satisfying without all of the greasy frying. Serve this dish as an appetizer at your next event with a side of blue cheese and it’ll be gone in seconds!

Buffalocauliflower

Buffalo Cauliflower (adapted from Ben and Birdy)

1 large head of cauliflower, cut into florets

Cooking spray

1 cup brown rice flour

1 cup water

1 1/2 teaspoons salt

1/2 teaspoon granulated garlic

1/4 cup butter, melted

1/4 cup Frank’s Red Hot

Preheat your oven to 450 degrees and spray a large baking sheet with cooking spray (I like the coconut oil spray from Trader Joe’s.) Combine the rice flour, water, salt and garlic powder in a bowl until smooth.  Dip the head of each floret into the batter and place on the baking sheet. The batter will pool off of it but this is OK. Bake for 10 minutes, then flip and bake for 5 minutes more. While the florets are in the oven, place the butter in a glass measuring cup and melt in the microwave for 30 seconds, or until fully melted. Stir the Red Hot right into the butter. Remove the cauliflower from the oven and, using a brush, coat the florets with the hot sauce mixture. (If you run out, you can always add a smidge more melted butter and hot sauce until you have enough to coat each piece.) Place the cauliflower back into the oven and bake for 8-10 minutes more or until the florets crisp up and the sauce is absorbed. Remove from the oven and let sit 10 minutes (if you can stop yourself from pouncing on them!) and serve with blue cheese dressing.

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Quinoa Salad with Spicy Lime Dressing

by Michelle on March 13, 2016

I love telling people about recipes that I love (hence the reason I have a food blog) and I am only too happy when my friends are willing to share as well. My friend, Marisa, is always a great source for recipes and she texted me this one a couple of weeks ago. I couldn’t wait to make it because it stars one of my favorite grains—quinoa—and has lime dressing, which is never a bad thing. I wasn’t sure about the white beans because I’m not always a bean fan, but they blend in really well with the rest of the ingredients. And the dressing! Oh my goodness, it’s fantastic. I am already thinking about all of the other things I can use it on, like shrimp or grilled fish. This definitely has a kick to it so if you’re not into spicy food, you might want to omit or halve the jalapeño. This is an excellent and filling dinner, and makes for a nice lunch the next day.

Butternutsquashandbeansalad

Quinoa Salad with Spicy Lime Dressing (adapted from Food52.com)

For the dressing:

1 shallot, finely chopped

1 clove of garlic, finely chopped

1 jalapeño, seeded and finely chopped

Zest of 1/2 lime

Juice of 2 limes

1 teaspoon lemon juice

1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 tablespoons sunflower oil (The original recipe called for canola, which I didn’t have)

Salt and pepper to taste

In a small bowl, combine all ingredients, except the oils. Whisk the oils in a steady stream until combined. Adjust the seasonings to your liking and set aside.

For the salad:

1/2 cup pumpkin seeds

1/2 teaspoon olive oil

1 teaspoon smoked paprika

1 butternut squash, about 1 1/2 pounds, peeled and cubed

1 tablespoon sunflower oil

1 cup quinoa

2 cups water

1 15-ounce can, cannellini beans, drained

1/4 cup cilantro leaves, chopped

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Combine the olive oil, paprika and pumpkin seeds on a baking sheet and roast for eight minutes. Set aside to cool. Turn the heat up to 400 degrees and using the same baking sheet, toss the butternut squash with a tablespoon of sunflower oil and roast for 30-35 minutes, turning occasionally to promote even browning. Set aside. In a saucepan toast the quinoa until fragrant, about two minutes, then add the water. Bring to a boil, cover and simmer on low for 15 minutes or until all the water is absorbed. Transfer to a large bowl and add the squash, beans, half of the pumpkin seeds and half of the cilantro. Toss with the dressing, add the rest of the seeds and cilantro, and serve.

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