Thursday, 14 November 2013

Protein Packed Peanut Butter Squares!

Since learning I can no longer eat almonds, I have been forced to give up my favourite protein bars of all time - the Elevate Me Bar. I used to take these bars tucked in my purse whenever I left the house. Vacations in places where Gluten Free options are less available usually meant I took a case or two whenever I traveled.  

Unfortunately, I've since discovered that most protein bar options are either gluten-free or almond-free but not both (or they just taste awful ha). One exception has been the Quest Chocolate Peanut Butter Protein bar, which upon me finding it, promptly disappeared from stores nearby.

To top it all off, this week I ran out of my Vega protein powder and was unable to restock as it seems there has been a recall on the product.

This all must be a sign for me to stop procrastinating and begin developing my very own protein bars. The day I share protein bars with you will not be today however.

Sadly, after making these (my first attempt), I discovered that the protein content was probably too low to qualify as a protein bar. They do however make a delicious protein packed square.

The picture is not that great, but they are awesome so I urge you to try them!

Protein Packed Peanut Butter Squares

10 medjool dates, pitted
1/2 cup peanut butter
1 cup coconut milk
1 chia egg (I used 1 tbsp hulled to 3 tbsp water simply because I couldn't find my whole seeds)
1/2 cup whey protein powder (I used New Zealand Whey)
1/4 cup hemp seeds
1/2 cup sweet rice flour
1 tsp baking powder
60 ounces dark chocolate, chopped

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. mix dates in food processor until smooth
  3. In stovetop over medium heat, add dates, peanut butter and coconut milk and whisk until blended
  4. Remove from heat and mix in all remaining ingredients (waiting to add the chocolate until last)
  5. Pour into tart
  6. Bake for 18-20 minutes
  7. Cool thoroughly
  8. Cut into squares
  9. Enjoy!

Tuesday, 12 November 2013

Zuch-agna Rolls and A Warm Slice of Apple Pie

Today was a day for experimentation! I have been playing around with substitutes for pasta (my comfort food) for a while now, but had yet to tackle lasagna. 

I initially intended to make a zucchini noodle lasagna, but decided to use up some of the ingredients in my fridge and ended up with these gorgeous little black-bean roll-ups instead. 

These rolls use zucchini in place of noodles for what I feel is a pretty light meal. I filled mine with black beans, apples, apricots, a pepper and brussel sprouts for a good mix of sweet, hot and salty flavours.

Because dinner was so light, and also because I found a bag of Spy apples (my fave for baking) at the grocery store across the street, I decided to make an Apple Pie for dessert. 

Hahaha - don't laugh! I almost published this without typing up my recipes. Was sitting here wondering why the post was looking so short and then something clicked. It might help to actually add my recipes!

I hope you enjoy - let me know what you think of the pie! Gluten free crust is always a challenge. This one had a great texture in my opinion :) Nothing tastes exactly the same as gluten-full pie sadly! I used millet flour in this attempt which was quite distinctive but tasty nonetheless. Next time I will try something milder (and make a raspberry pie - my favourite, but the Monk prefers apples) :)

Zuch-agna Rolls

Filling Ingredients:
1/4 cup apricots (preferably unsulphered), rehydrated in boiling water for 15 mins 
zest of one lemon
1 hot pepper, chopped finely (I used a habanero pepper)
handful mint, choped
2 cups black beans (cooked)
juice of 1/2 lemon
1 apple, chopped finely (I used a Spy apple)
1 1/2 cup brussels sprouts, chopped
1/4 cup feta, chopped
1/2 tsp paprika
salt to taste

Zucchini Noodles:
2 Zucchinis peeled into noodle slices with the vegetable peeler (I got about 30 usable slices)

Ricotta cheese (preferably fresh) - I used about half of a 500g container

Salsa to serve

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Mix together filling ingredients
  3. Spread thin layer of ricotta cheese on zucchini noodles
  4. Spread filling over the ricotta cheese
  5. roll up tightly (as shown below)
  6. Bake  for 30 minutes
  7. Serve with Salsa drizzled on top
Apple Pie

2/3 cup millet flour
2/3 cup amaranth flour
2/3 cup brown rice flour
1 1/2 tsp xantham gum
1/2 tsp salt

1/3 cup coconut oil
1/3 cup butter

3-4tbsp cold water

6 cups Spy Apples, peeled and cut into slices (about 12 per apple)

1/4 cup coconut sugar (or more to taste depending on how sweet you like your pie)
juice of one lemon
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tbsp cornstarch

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Mix together all filling ingredients in a bowl
  3. Mix together flours, xantham gum and salt
  4. Cut in butter and coconut oil until crumbs are formed (I do this by rubbing the butter into the flour gently with my hands, but you can use a pastry blender
  5. add just enough cold water that the dough forms into a ball
  6. Separate dough into two balls (1 slightly larger than the other - this will be your bottom crust)
  7. Roll out larger ball of dough and line pie tin (I like to roll on plastic wrap for easy transfer - and best of all no sticking)
  8. Fill with apple filling
  9. Roll out smaller dough and cover pie, pinching crust edges together
  10. Bake in oven for ~45 minutes until golden 

Monday, 11 November 2013

Chewy Zucchini Cakes

I've been entirely uninspired in the kitchen lately. I've been struggling to make some decisions about what to do next with my life and have sadly been doing very little cooking experimentation as a result. 

I've also been trying to cut back on my baked goods, I admit, possibly the bigger factor here!

This weekend, I decided I wanted some cookies and set out to make something interesting and new. I started throwing ingredients I liked into a bowl haphazardly and ended up with these cakes instead. They are nowhere close to cookies, but they hit my craving for something sweet and the Monk requests that I make them again soon.

I made these cakes in muffin tins but the consistency is more like brownies (minus the chocolate) than muffins. I might try them in tea cake moulds next time :)


Chewy Zucchini Cakes

Dry Ingredients:
1/3 cup Sorghum flour
1/3 cup amaranth flour
1/3 cup quinoa flour
1/3 cup tapioca starch
1/4 cup coconut sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp baking powder
dash salt

Wet ingredients:
1/3 cup finely grated zucchini (I used a zester)
3 medjool dates, chopped finely
1/3 cup coconut milk
1 chia egg (1 tbsp chia seeds whisked in 3 tbsp of water until jelly like)
1/4 cup coconut nectar
1/4 cup olive oil

Add ins:
1/3 cup cocoa nibs

  1. Preheat over to 350 degrees
  2. Mix dry ingredients
  3. Mix wet ingredients
  4. Mix wet ingredients with dry ingredients
  5. bake for 30 minutes
  6. let cool thoroughly