Lavender Biscotti Di Regina Cookies

Every Christmas I looked forward to 3 things, having fun with a loud crazy family, Biscotti di Regina Cookies and Cream Cheese bars.  In the more recent years I have replaced the Cream Cheese bars with a large glass of Sparkling Rose (mostly out of necessity of course), but looking forward to the Biscotti and family have never changed!

My cousin just had her second baby yesterday a beautiful little girl and I wanted to make her some lactation cookies. YES FOLKS, I SAID L-A-C-T-A-T-I-O-N. I added brewers yeast and made some oat flour to incorporate into the recipe to increase production, fenugreek as a dried herb or tincture would have been a nice addition too, but I didn’t have it on hand. Also, a big shout out to my lovely friend down the street who donated 2 sticks of butter and a lemon so I didn’t have to fight a Cinco de Mayo crowd at Publix!

So by omitting the brewers yeast and fenugreek you wont have to worry about randomly starting to lactate, even if you didn’t these cookies are wonderful but not a miracle worker you should not compulsively start to lactate after consumption. 

I have tried SO many recipes to get the right one and they always turned out too dry or too soggy. I adapted Carrie’s from For The Feast to make these amazing little bites.

When I make deserts I try to add ingredients that are beneficial to my health so I don’t feel so bad about the sugar intake. I decided that as a mom of a toddler and newborn, my cousin would definitely benefit from some lavender.  A study by Keukdong College, Korea in 2006 showed that lavender helped relieve college age women of insomnia. Another study by the University of Parma and published in November 2004 in “Life Sciences” showed that  Lavender is also widely associated as containing oils that relieve migraines and induce relaxation, not to mention true lavender oil and flowers have an amazing aroma, versus lavender fragrance (gross!).  I also added some lemon zest to counter balance the lavender.
Instead of using all purpose flour for all 3 cups, I used 1 cup oat flour (just processed rolled oats in my ninja blender for 2 minutes on high until a powder). Whole oats are high in antioxidants and beneficial plant compounds called polyphenols, in addition to being gluten free. If you don’t have oat flour you can by all means just use 3 cups of all purpose flour.

Instead of dipping the entire cookie in heavy cream as the recipe in For The Feast recommends, I roll them into a ball instead of a log and dip only the top of the cookie into almond milk or coconut milk, then into chia seeds or hemp seeds. Both Chia and Hemp Seeds have a high content of Omega 3 fatty acids.  Studies have shown that chia seeds can reduce the resistance of the body to insulin, while reducing fat and cholesterol levels in blood. Chia seeds even have 500% more calcium than the same amount of milk according to Daily Natural Remedies. One University study conducted in Finland demonstrates that “The two main proteins in hempseed are edestin and albumin. Both of these high-quality storage proteins are easily digested and contain nutritionally significant amounts of all essential amino acids.” Albumin is the protein necessary for the body to repair itself and the level of albumin in your body can be a measure of your overall health and show as a marker for malnutrition. According to Superfoods for Superhealth,  other research showed, hemp proteins are easier to digest because of their lack of oligosaccharides and trypsin inhibitors, which can affect protein absorption.

So if you are looking to change it up a bit and add a few ingredients to boost the nutritional value of your desserts try these out and let me know what you think!

Lavender Biscotti Di Regina Cookies

2 Cups All Purpose Flour
1 Cup Oat Flour (Rolled Oats, in your food processor or blender until powder)
2 Sticks of Butter (unsalted)
1 Teaspoon Baking Powder
2/3 Cup Organic Sugar
2 pinches of Himalayan Sea Salt
3 Teaspoons of Vanilla
1 Egg
2 Tablespoons Dried Lavender Flowers
1 Tablespoon Fresh Lemon Zest

To make a vegan version, substitute egg with a flax egg, and butter with Earth Balance.

For Dipping:
Almond Milk
Chia Seeds and Hemp Seeds for Dipping

Preheat oven to 350F

Combine Flour and Butter in a bowl with a mixer. Next add Sugar, Baking Powder, Salt, Vanilla and Egg. Mix all ingredients until combined well. Lastly, add Lavender Flowers and Lemon Zest, mix until combined throughout.
Mix will be crumbly.

Form cookies by taking a spoonful and rolling in hand until a circle, dip one side into Almond Milk and then into chia or hemp seeds and place on non stick cookie sheet.

Bake for 10-15 minutes, I take them out just before they brown. They will still feel a bit mushy when you pull them out. Let them sit for 10 minutes to firm up before eating.
ENJOY!

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Vegan (almost raw) Pecan Pie

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Hey Guys!!!!
I am always looking for desserts. Yes, as in always looking at my house, online, at the store….anywhere. Sadly, my daughter totally got this trait from me :/ So A few years ago I started making “healthy” desserts. It doesn’t mean I ignore Starbucks Vanilla Bean Scones because if you know me, you know that is virtually impossible. It just means that instead of buying chemical, high fructose corn syrup, raw egg, and artificial colored junk, I try to make my desserts out of REAL FOOD.
I told myself around Thanksgiving I was going to make these, but I ended up spending most of my time nursing my littlest or running after the 3 year old, while trying to make veggie pot pies and the rest of the meal. So, today was the day! I saw this recipe on Pinterest, it is from a website called Damy Heath. I found that there wasn’t nearly enough filling so I doubled that part and left out the nutmeg. Also, I didn’t presoak the dates, I just added some water to both parts of the recipe. So below you will see my adjusted recipe. But feel free to check out their page! 🙂

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Also, the best part about making vegan
or raw pies and cookies is I don’t feel bad
about my little ones eating the dough. There is
usually no raw sugar and never any raw egg!
This is my 3 year old monkey chowing down on the pie filling

Pie Crust Ingredients:

1.5 Cups Coconut Flour
1/4 Cup Coconut Oil
1/4 Cup Agave Nectar
1 tsp Vanilla Extract
1/4-1/2 cup water
Dash of Salt

Pecan Pie Filling Ingredients:
2 Cups Dates
2 Cups Pecan Meal (just grind down your pecans)
1/4 Cup Chia Seeds
1 Ripe Banana
3 tsp Vanilla Extract
1/2 Tbsp Cinnamon
1/2-1 cup water
Extra Pecans to Top

Mix all Pie crust ingredients in food processor, except for water. Pulse adding water until dough texture and holding together (may be a bit crumbly) Remove and push evenly on the bottom of your spring form pan (or regular pie pan if you don’t have a spring form.
Place all pie filling ingredients in food processor, except water. Add water & scrape sides back down until you get a thick paste like texture. Spread this on top of your crust. Top with Whole or chopped pecans. I then drizzled with Agave, although I was dreaming of caramel 🙂 .
Place in the freezer for 3-4 hours and serve
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Curry Cashews & Peas over Kale

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I started my workouts again from my “holiday break”. I use that phrase loosely as I broke long before the holidays :/
After I wanted something quick, with lots of protein and fresh but warm (since it was a FREEZING 60F here if Florida). So I decided some lightly sauteed Kale and to add Cashews. So this is what I came up with. It would also be great to take as a dish to a party! wpid-20140102_113331.jpg


I got this BEAUTIFUL Organic Purple Kale but you can use any kind, Lacinato, green Curly or whatever kind you can find.

Ingredients:
2 cups roughly chopped Kale
1/2 cup Raw Unsalted Cashews
1/4 cup Peas (i used frozen….its the only was I can get organic year round)
1 Tbl Curry Powder
Pinch of sea salt
Pinch of red pepper flakes
Coconut oil

Add about 1 TBL coconut oil to a large skillet heat to medium. Then add Kale and a pinch of salt. Saute only for a few minutes stirring consistently. **I usually only saute it until it changes color to a bit darker green, I don’t really want it to break sown at all because then I will be loosing a ton of nutrients** Remove from pan into serving bowl.
Add another 1/2TBL of coconut oil if needed to pan. Then add Cashews, Peas, Red Pepper flakes & Curry powder. Saute in pan roughly 3-5 minutes. Add to Kale and mix.
Serve warm or cold and enjoy!

Agave & Goat Cheese Stuffed Peppers

I love love love love love this super simple recipe! I serve it with a tomato & tomatillo chopped salsa to cool down the heat from the peppers. I usually do it with these amazing little spicy red and orange peppers from our local farmers (The Barefoot Farmer) but I didn’t make it to the market on time this week! So this time I just did it with jalapenos, another favorite way to serve these is using peppadew peppers. YUM! Here is the recipe try it and let me know what you think!!!!
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Stuffed Peppers:
6-8 oz goat cheese
4 peppers (sliced in half and cored)
1tsp agave nectar
coconut or grapeseed oil
pinch of himalayan salt

Salsa:
1 tomatillo (chopped small)
1/2 cup cherry tomatoes (chopped small)
5 sprigs of cilantro (chopped including stem)
1/2 lime
pinch of himalayan sea salt

Preheat the oven to 400F. Rub the cored and halved peppers with oil and salt. Put in the oven until tender (about 10 minutes). While these are cooking you can make the cheese mix and the salsa.
Using a fork mix the goat cheese and agave set aside
Chop & Mix all ingredients of the salsa and set aside.
Once the peppers are done cooking pull them out ad stuff them with the cheese mix. Place back in the oven for roughly 5 minutes, then broil them until cheese starts to brown on top.
Serve with the tomato tomatillo salsa!

Spicy Curry Sauerkraut

My husband always says I come up with the best recipes when we have no food in the house. I kind of agree with him.
Although I love to have any ingredient that I want at my finger tips, it is nice to force my mind to be creative. That is what I did on this rainy morning. I really wanted sauerkraut but I didn’t feel like making it into my normal new years eve tomato and blackeyed pea stew. I wanted SUPER QUICK AND EASY. So I cut up some tomatoes threw them in a skillet with some sauerkraut and seasoning and bam! I had a super yummy lunch! Here is the recipe it would be great also as a side dish!

Ingredients:
Spicy Curry Sauerkraut

1/2 pint of organic cherry tomatoes (halved)
1 1/2 to 2 cups organic sauerkraut (I use Eden Organics)
1 tbl yellow curry powder
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
1 tsp agave (or dark variety honey)

Heat skillet to medium and add halved cherry tomatoes let the tomatoes get warm. Add sauerkraut, then agave, red pepper flakes and curry. Stir until combined then let sit on medium heat for about 3 -5 minutes. I didn’t drain the sauerkraut so when I let it sit it got some really yummy stock type liquid at the bottom of the pan. Once sauerkraut is a bit more translucent and is a dark yellow tint from the curry, you can pull it off the heat. Pour into a bowl and eat or serve as a side dish. This was so yummy I think I will be making it for dinner too!

PS please ignore the unprofessional children’s sippy cups in the background 😉

Indian Spiced Cabbage Rolls w/ Coconut Chili Sauce & Mango

Indian Cabbage RollsSometimes I crave the texture of ground beef, but the thought of eating it makes me squirm. This is where tempeh comes in. Tempeh is a fermented soybean patty. I love using these because being fermented means the soy does not affect my estrogen levels. This means my hormones stay in check and my husband doesn’t grow man boobs (haha, okay so it is very rare this would happen just from eating soy. Although, in all reality there are many studies done on the negative effects of soy especially GMO soy and lets face it…if it is soy or corn and it’s not Organic , it’s GMO)
So anyway! I decided I was going to make these yummy cabbage rolls and then saw a beautiful mini can of coconut milk and thought YUM a spicy coconut sauce to top it and some fresh mango! I was so excited making them it was hard not to eat them before I got a chance to take a picture!

Cabbage Roll Ingredients:
Cabbage Leaves (2 large)
1 Orange or Red Bell Pepper (I used 3 of the little bell peppers)
1 Leek
1/2 package of Organic Tempeh
1 tsp Red Pepper Flakes
1 Tbl Garam Masala seasoning
1 tsp Curry seasoning
1/2 tsp Mustard Seeds
1 pinch Sea Salt
Coconut or Grapeseed Oil

Coconut Chili Sauce
5 oz Canned Coconut Milk (I found this great little baby can, but you could just shake up a regular can and use only 5 oz)
1 Tbl Chili Garlic Paste (usually has a green top can be found in the Asian section of grocery store)
4-5 grinds of fresh Black Pepper

Toppings:
1/2 Mango Chopped small
4 – 5 sprigs of Cilantro
1/2 Lime

Preheat oven to 375F
In a skillet heat 1 Tbl oil  on medium heat and add chopped Leeks. Let them start to caramelize, add chopped Bell Pepper. Stir to distribute oil and add just a bit more if needed. Crumble the tempeh into the skillet and add the seasonings (Curry, Garam Masala, Salt, Mustard Seeds and Red Pepper Flake). Stir together. Let everything cook stirring a few times for about 5 minutes, or until you start getting a nice caramel / light brown color.
Take your cabbage leaves and put half the mixture in each cabbage leaf. Roll the cabbage leaf once over the mixture then fold in sides, then roll once more (just like you see  the deli roll a sub).
Place in a small glass dish with the folded side down so that they stay together. You may have to press them down a bit. Place in the preheated oven and cook for about 15 to 20 minutes or until you see the cabbage starting to soften.

In the same pan you cooked the vegetable-tempeh mixture, add your coconut milk and chili paste. Let it come to a boil and stir frequently to let it reduce. You want to let it bubble and stir for about 5 minutes or until you see the texture thicken. Pour into a separate dish.

Chop up your mango and cilantro.
The cabbage rolls should be done now. Take out of the oven and plate, make sure to support the bottom of the roll so the filling doesn’t fall out. Top with a little bit of Coconut Chili Sauce. Add the mango and cilantro, squeeze fresh lime over the top. I also line the place with a bit of the sauce just in case you decide you want some extra!
We decided at first bite this was a new staple in our house! Enjoy!

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Chili Garlic Shrimp LoMein

Tonight I had a crazy 3 year old going sticker crazy in my living room and a teething 4 month old who just wanted to be held. This would have bee fine except my husband got home 10 min later than usual. 10 minutes no big deal right? I wish that I was not so OCD that 10 minutes made all the difference in the world in our night. However, I somehow still managed to make this yummy yummy dish. While still trying to get our youngest to sleep my husband walked in to profess his love of the lo-mein and ask if i wanted more…. Wanted more!? I’m still trying to get the baby to sleep, dear lord don’t tell me you have eaten it all! Luckily I had already portioned myself some.   🙂

So try it out for yourself and see what you think!

chili garlic shrimp lomein
Ingredients:
1 lb shrimp (please make sure you buy wild caught shrimp NOT farm raised, I will jump on my soap box another day to go into further detail)
2 tbl chili garlic paste (you can find in the asian section of your market)
1 package of Lo-mein noodles
2 cups broccoli chopped
1/2 onion chopped into rings then halved
1/4-1/3 cup Organic Tamari sauce (similar to soy sauce make sure you get organic, you don’t want GMO soy)
1 1/2 tbl agave nectar
2 green onions roughly chopped
1/2 lime
sea salt
cooking oil (I prefer coconut oil as we are cooking on high heat in this dish)

There are 2 parts to this dish… The shrimp and the noodles. So first make sure that your shrimp are peeled and ready to be cooked, set aside in a bowl mixed with garlic chili paste .
Start a pot of water to boil.
In a large skillet on medium heat, place onion and 1 tbl coconut oil (or whatever oil you use to cook with), add onion and let cook stirring frequently until translucent. Then add broccoli, additional oil, a pinch of sea salt. Cover and turn heat down to medium-low. Let cook for 3 minutes You don’t want the broccoli to get mushy just get the cooking process started on them.
Your water should be boiling by now, so add the lo-mein noodles, they should only need to cook for about 4 minutes, then rinse in cold water.
Add tamari and agave to the vegetables & mix throughly. Turn the heat up to high and add the cooked noodles. Mix everything until the sauce has been spread evenly. let cook for about 2 minutes stirring frequently so that the noodles do not stick to the pan. Pour the noodles out of the skillet into a bowl.
In the same pan (on high heat) add 1tbl coconut oil. Once the oil is hot add the chili garlic coated shrimp and stir continuously until they are pink. Pour shrimp and juices from pan on top of the noodle veggie mixture. Squeeze 1/2 lime over the whole bowl and add green onions to top.
Serve family style and enjoy!

Spaghetti Squash Bowls

This was a quick simple dish I made with just throwing what I had picked up at the farmers market together!
The important part of cooking spaghetti squash is to season it! I cut it in half and seed it (save the seeds for toasting! Then rub it with whatever oil you have sprinkle salt and pepper on it. Then throw it in the oven at about 375 or 400 face up so that the juices run into it not out onto the pan. About 10 minutes in use a basting brush to bast the juices from the center onto the entire squash. Then cook approximately 10 more minutes or until the squash can be shaved easily with a fork.
You can then fill it with whatever you want marinara and cheese YUM! or fresh veggies like I did this one. Pick whatever veggies you want. This recipe is a basic just get creative!

Spaghetti squash bowl

Ingredients:
cherry tomatoes (1 pint) sliced in half
1/2 yellow onion chopped
2 cloves minced garlic
(I added okra to this one because I had it but you could do mushrooms, spinach etc.)
2 pinches of red pepper flake
sea salt
fresh coarse black pepper
2 pinches of paprika

In a saucepan over medium heat add 1 tbl oil and the chopped onion with a pinch of salt. Stir frequently until the onions are translucent. Then add chopped tomatoes, garlicand the rest of the spices. Turn down to low and simmer until tomatoes are soft.
Use a fork to shred the inside of the spaghetti squash and then add the veggie mixture to the spaghetti squash bowl! Grab a fork and enjoy!

Fig, Rosemary & Goat Cheese Quiche

I always thought figs looked gross and probably tasted bad too. Until a good friend that I used to work with brought some into our store for everyone to try. He happened to have a fig tree in his yard as well as one of my other favorite trees (japanese plum – loquat)! So after trying the first bite. I found myself making my way to the back room as much as possible that day for another bite of this awesome perfectly textured and sweet but not too sweet fruit.
Since that day, I am always looking forward to fig season! Well, it is that time here in Florida  so I decided to try my hand at a classic combination. I have to say it turned out AMAZING! There was something almost cinnamon tasting about it. This would be perfect for a Thanksgiving alternative to a turkey or as a breakfast quiche, you could even make this appetizers for a great party just buy the pre-made mini shells!

I served it with balsamic & smashed garlic potatoes. Literally just smashed the garlic and chopped potatoes with a bit of grapeseed oil and balsamic, salt & pepper. Tossed them and threw them in the oven at 375F while I started my quiche. So excited I finally made this! YUM!
Fig Rosemary Goat Cheese Quiche
Ingredients :

  • 1/2 onion (sliced very thinly so that they are half circles)
  • 5 figs depending on size (I used mission figs but you could use whatever type you would like)
  • 2 sprigs of fresh rosemary
  • 2 oz crumbled goat cheese
  • 5 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup almond milk
  • sea salt & fresh ground pepper

Preheat oven to 375F

In a skillet over medium heat caramelize your onions. You will cook them at medium with a little bit of oil stirring until they are translucent, then you let them cook at a low-medium heat until they are slightly browning (not burning) and if you taste one it should be slightly sweet.

Then add your sliced figs and rosemary. Leave over a low-medium heat for about 3 minutes, do not stir too much as you will break down alot of the fig.

While Fig mix is cooking crack 5 eggs into bowl and add milk, 2 pinches of sea salt & a couple grinds of black pepper. Whisk until combined. Add Fig mixture to egg mix, then put goat cheese in. Stir gently then pour into pie crust. Put in the oven at 375F for about 20-30 minutes just keep checking until the center is no longer giggling 🙂

Let set for 10 minutes and serve!

Grown Up Grilled Cheese – Parmesan, Basil & Sundried Tomato

I love a plain grilled cheese, but I also like to take simple easy dishes and make them feel fancy!
The key to this “grilled cheese” is Naan bread. You used to only be able to get it at health food stores, but now the bakeries at regular stores like target & publix are catching on! I also use this in my Spicy Masala Sweet Potato Sandwiches, which will be posted soon.
These can be cut ito small portions for a party or shared as a great picnic food. I encourage you to use this as a template and experiment with different ingredients. Beets and goat cheese with basil would be yummy too!

Grown Up Grilled Cheese

Ingredients:

1 Naan bread
5 sundried tomato halves (chopped roughly)
6 -8 large basil leaves
handful of shredded parmesan cheese

Heat a large skillet on Medium
Cut the naan inhalf
Use Earth Balalnce (or whatever butter you use – this one is vegan and soy free and taste AMAZING!) to coat one side of each of the bread pieces
Place one piece of bread “butter” side down in the skillet, then layer the cheese, tomatoes then basil. On top of that you will put your other piece of bread, butter side up. Cover so that the heat will melt the cheese. It should cook for about 2-3 minutes on each side. After you flip it, press down on it so that the ingredients stay in and to flatten the sandwich a bit.
Then serve however you would like, bite size pieces for a party, or a whole sandwich with a lovely glass of wine 🙂