Dairy-Free Creme Brulee

  My Mr. is a genius in the kitchen.  I know I’ve said as much before, but seriously folks, he figured out a way to make creme brulee dairy-free so a friend of ours who can’t tolerate dairy could have some.  Mad cooking skills on that man of mine.
  So without further adieu, I’ll hand the how-to over to him:
1 can (14 oz, +/-) coconut milk
1/2 cup sugar
6 egg yolks
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp xanthan gum
1 tsp lemon juice
  Preheat oven to 325.  Boil 2 or 3 quarts of water.
  Whisk egg yolks, sugar, lemon juice, xanthan gum and vanilla
Scald (i.e. heat to almost, but not quite boiling) the coconut milk on the stove or or microwave.  Slowly add the hot coconut milk to the egg mixture while whisking.
  Place ramekins into a baking dish, Pour mixture into ramekins, pour hot water around ramekins until approximately halfway up the sides.  Bake at 325 for 40-45 minutes until set.
  I have found the best results occur when the ramekins aren’t too full.  I prefer around 1/2 inch to 3/4 inch.
  Alternately, the microwave may be used, though timing and power level will vary.  Our 1000W microwave can do the job in about 20-25 minutes at 30% power.  I haven’t found the time savings to be worth it.
  Cool ramekins on the counter, then chill for at least two hours.   Remove from fridge half an hour before serving.  Sprinkle more sugar on top.   Caramelize with a blow torch.
  I’ve had a lot of this creme brulee.  The Mr. wanted to make sure he got the recipe just right so there were many, many test batches.  I know, I know, my life is so hard, right?  I’m honestly not sure I could tell that this wasn’t traditional creme brulee if you didn’t tell me.  Honestly, even knowing it’s not dairy based I question if this isn’t all some elaborate hoax on the part of my husband…
  Point being, it’s incredibly delicious, and if you know someone who is dairy intolerant, you should make them some.  Pretty sure you’ll be their hero.

Coconut & Macadamia Nut Freezer Bars (Primal)

  With this heat wave sweeping the nation, I think it’s time to make something cold.  While we’re at it, lets make it sweet…and decadent.  Avert your eyes if you’re trying to keep things low fat.
1 c unsweetened flaked coconut
3/4 c raw, unsalted macadamia nuts
3/4 c almonds
3/4 c melted coconut oil
1 Tbsp chia seeds 
Pinch of sea salt
  Start by preheating your oven to 350 ºF.  Place your coconut flakes on a baking sheet and toast them for around 5 minutes til they’re lightly browned.
  Set up your food processor and use it to combine your nuts and coconut oil until they’re nice and smooth.  Add the coconut flakes and chia and mix everything together by pulsing a few more times.
  Line an approximately 8″x 8″ pan with parchment paper and pour your mixture into it.  Sprinkle a bit of sea salt on top and place in the freezer to solidify.  They should be cold enough to serve in about half an hour.  Cut them into bars to serve.
  The original recipe for this uses all macadamia nuts.  I love macadamia nuts, but those suckers are expensive, so we subbed in almonds for half the volume.  Unsurprisingly with all the fat in them, these are really rich.  They have a fabulous flavor and, hooray! lots of healthy omega 3s.  They’re not in-your-face sweet, but they’re a wonderful treat!

Nutella and Goat Cheese Turnovers

  Well, I’m not quite back to my pre-pregnancy body, but for just under 3 months out, I’m pretty happy with how quickly the weight has come off.  My Mr. is doing his best to sabotage my efforts though…look what he made the other night:
  Yeah…Nutella and goat cheese in a turnover.  So much for my decision to skip dessert that night.  He started with this recipe and modified it to use the goat cheese.
Here’s what you need:
1 sheet Puff Pastry, thawed
¼ c goat cheese, softened
2/3 c Nutella
1 Egg
1 Tbsp Water
2 Tbsp Powdered Sugar
  Start by preheating your oven to 350 degrees.  Roll out your puff pastry.  You want to do this either on a silicone mat or a floured surface so it won’t glue itself to your counter.  You should wind up with an approximately 12″x12″ square.  Cut this into 9 equal squares (approximately 4″).
  Whisk together your goat cheese and Nutella in a bowl until they are smooth and evenly mixed.
Drop 1 Tbsp of the cheese/Nutella mixture into the corner of puff pastry. Leave a small edge on the puff pastry so when you fold the squares over the edges can be crimped together. Fold the opposite side of the square over the Nutella/cheese mixture. Seal the edges together.
  Place the turnovers onto a baking sheet lined with parchment or a silicone baking sheet.  Whisk together your egg and water to make an egg wash. Brush each turnover with the egg wash.
Place your turnovers in the oven and bake for about 25 minutes. Move them to a wire rack to cool when they are done cooking. Sprinkle powdered sugar over the top and serve warm.  Attempt to not eat 15 in one sitting.  Fail miserably (just me?).
  Gah…I don’t think I have to tell you that these are incredible.  That man of mine, he’s trouble in the kitchen.  Goodbye willpower, hello yummy.

Homemade Energy Bars

  Today’s recipe is one of my Mr.’s.  With all the perusing of low carb recipe sites we were doing towards the end of my pregnancy with R, we came across lots of homemade versions of energy bars.  The store bought ones are a bit of a vice of ours (they tend to have lots of sugar and other junk you don’t really want), so my Mr. developed his own version.  He started with this and this recipe and went from there.
  Be warned, these are addictive!
  Here’s what you need:
2 dozen dried dates, pitted
 1 Tbsp coconut oil 
1-2 Tbsp chia seeds
1 cup shredded or grated coconut (unsweetened)
1/2 cup almonds (Unsalted – raw, blanched or roasted)
1/2 cup other nuts or seeds (pumpkin, sunflower, walnut, pecan)
1/3 cup coconut oil
1/4 cup honey
2 Tbsp cocoa powder
1/3 cup unsweetened peanut butter 
  Run dates, chia seeds and coconut oil through food processor until the mixture is a cohesive and paste-like.  
Add coconut and pulse until mixed.
Add nuts and seeds, pulse until mixed and nuts are desired size 
  Heat the oil, honey and cocoa powder until gently bubbling, then cook for 1 minute continuously folding the mixture into itself. Add the peanut butter and stir until melted.  Add to processor and pulse until mixed.
  Press into a rectangular pan or individual cups in a muffin pan (I like the silicon muffin pans) and refrigerate until set up.
  These are so ridiculously good.  They’re a fabulous cookie substitute for kids (or adults) and thanks to the nuts, peanut butter and chia seeds, have a ton of protein.  If you’re not a fan of seeds, you may want to leave the chia out, since they give these an almost fig-like texture, but try them!

Paleo No-Bake Cookies

  We’ve found a lot of really delicious low-carb recipes lately.  The bulk of them have been main-dish dinner recipes, and fairly sin-less (if maybe a little heavy on the cream), but I wouldn’t want you to think we’ve gone entirely without indulgences.
  As happy as we’ve been with the majority of the paleo recipes we’ve tried, we decided we kind of had to try at least one paleo dessert.
  Traditional no-bakes have been a favorite at our house for a while, since they’re fast and easy, but now that we’ve tried these, I don’t think we’ll be going back.
  Here’s what you need:
1/3 c honey*
1/3 c coconut oil or butter
1 1/2 Tbsp cocoa powder
1/3 c almond butter or peanut butter
1 tsp vanilla
2 c unsweetened, shredded coconut
*We’ve actually reduced this down to a little less than 1/4 c with no loss of taste in our opinion.
  Heat your honey, cocoa powder and coconut oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat and bring to a boil.  Allow to boil 1 minute before removing from heat.  Stir in your vanilla and nut butter and mix until entirely blended before adding coconut.  
  Scoop spoonfuls of this mixture onto parchment paper and place in the fridge to cool until set and hard.
  The original recipe for this makes me laugh.  They claim this serves 5.  HA.  My Mr. and I fight over these and it takes a lot of self control to even let G know we’ve made them, let alone allow him to have any.
  We have a huge weakness for Samoas/Caramel Delights here, and these remind me of them a lot.  …but there are barely any sweetener in them, lots of good coconut fats and protein from the nut butter.  These may as well be health food…right?
  That’s what I tell myself while I wolf down a half dozen of them in a sitting anyhow…

I’m a piggy, but a HEALTHY piggy.

  I don’t know about you, but as it gets colder, I always find myself wanting to dive face first into a pile of fattening foods.  Goodbye salads, helllllloooo cream laden cake-soup (that’s a thing, right?).

Mm, delicious insulation
  While my body may be craving the extra padding to keep me warm this winter, I don’t really want to chunk out like a hibernating squirrel, so what’s a girl to do?  I guess there’s the whole “self control and denial” option…but that doesn’t sound like a whole lot of fun.  I’d rather trick myself into thinking I’m eating something awful for me while eating something more or less healthy.
  Time for this stuff: 
Thunder thighs, HERE I COME
  Looks like a delicious heart attack in a bowl, doesn’t it?  Here’s the thing: it’s mostly garbanzo beans.  YUP.  Tastes like cookie dough, nutritional make up of hummus (with a little bit of added sugar of course).
  I found the recipe here.  The girl who writes the blog is vegan, so this is supposed to be (though I question if most chocolate chips don’t contain some milk…), but there’s no reason it HAS to be.  I’ve made it as she has it written, using coconut milk and almond butter, but I don’t see any reason normal milk wouldn’t work perfectly well.  I used brown sugar as my sweetener.
  This is definitely my kind of cooking in that all you have to do is dump stuff into a food processor and you’re done.
  I personally add an extra Tbsp of oats, because I like my dough really thick.  When everything comes out of the blender, it will be really runny.  Mix the chocolate chips in and stick it in the fridge for a few hours.
  Once it has chilled, the dip will be nice and thick, just like cookie dough!  This is a great way to fool yourself into thinking you’re eating junk food while getting healthy bean proteins and fiber.  I eat it by the spoonful, but it’s really, really filling, so this bowl will probably last me a week.
  Have you found any good recipes for fooling yourself into eating healthy?  I’d love to try them!