Monday, March 29, 2010

Almond J*oy! - Tropical Chocolate Chip Cookies

Almonds! Currently my favorite nut as evidenced by a slight sensitivity showing up on my food test. Sometimes if you eat to much of something it can cause a sensitivity and this is apparently what has happened with me and almonds. I am supposed to only eat almonds every 4th day - this is difficult as I bake with almond flour, use almond milk (daughter is off dairy), eat almond butter and LOVE dry roasted almonds. I will continue to use all of these things but try and use them in moderation - I won't have almonds for mid afternoon snack every day :-) They are kind of like potato chips are to some people - once I start snacking on them it is hard to stop.
I love baking with almond flour! I get my almond flour from here and I get most of my recipes from this site, Elana's Pantry and her cookbook which is available on Ama*zon The Gluten-Free Almond Flour cookbook Almond flour is very easy to bake with and does not require a lot of ingredients (just my type of baking) Also the results are very tasty! I will share one of my favorite recipes with you from Elana's cookbook. I have taken these to a few gatherings and they get eaten up by everyone - not just those that are gluten free. This particular recipe is egg free as well so I can make them without having to substitute anything else. (I just bought some egg replacment but haven't tried it yet in my baking)

So without any further ado here is the recipe for the cookies with a few minor change from the original:

Tropical Chocolate Chip Cookies

2 1/2 cups blanched almond flour
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup coconut oil, melted over very low heat
1/2 cup of palm sugar (recipe calls for agave but I think they taste even better with palm sugar)
1 Tbsp vanilla
1/2 cup mini semi dark chocolate chips (her recipe calls for coarsley chopped dark chocolate (73 % cacao)
1/2 cup cashews, toasted and coarsely chopped
1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut, toasted

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper.
In a large bowl combine almond flour, salt and baking soda. (if using palm sugar in place of agave)Measure 1/2 cup of palm sugar and put in a marked measuring cup. Add hot water to make 1/2 cup (as the sugar disolves you will add more water) or use agave if desired. In a medium bowl combine sweetener (palm sugar mixture or agave), coconut oil and vanilla. Stir the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients until they are thoroughly combined. Fold in the chocolate, cashews and coconut. Spoon the dough 1 heaping tablespoon at a time onto the prepared baking sheets (I use my smallest pampered chef scoop - perfect size). Press the cookies down with the palm of your hand to flatten, leaving 2 inches between each cookie.
Bake for 7-10 minutes, until lightly golden. Let the cookies cool on the baking sheets for 20 minutes and then remove. Don't overbake - I bake mine for 9 minutes and they are perfect. Everyone's oven is a little different so test it. They will look a little underbaked when done. If you overbake they really do not taste good.
These freeze great as well. I put a few in a sandwich bag and then place them all in a freezer bag. Troy can pull a bag out for his lunch or the kids and I can have a mid afternoon treat.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Changes, again!

I have not blogged for quite some time and it has been mainly because I have been frustrated by the fact that I cannot cook like I used to and switching my whole way of thinking and cooking has been hard. I have some definite answers now about what I can and cannot eat so now I feel like I at least have a jumping off place.
A few posts back I blogged about changes in my diet and what I was eating etc. That has all changed once again so here goes again!
I have suspected for some time that I was gluten intolerant and have been eating somewhat accordingly. I knew when I was eating strictly this way I felt better. My back has improved so much since September when I quit eating most gluten. Last month at the urging of my doctor I had a food sensitivity test done. I was not surprised to find that I was very sensitive to gluten and grains associated - wheat, spelt, barley, and rye. The thing I was not at all prepared for and really shocked by is that it showed I was extremely sensitive to eggs! That is just about the worst news I could have gotten (as far as eating goes) I was an avid egg eater and was counting on eggs in my next undertaking which was to find out what my carb threshold is (more about that later) Anyway, I also showed some moderate senistivity to most beans, including green beans and dungeness crab and oysters (neither of which are part of my diet)

I will post a recipe that I had for dinner and as time goes on I will try and post more about what I am eating - so if you know anyone who cannot eat gluten or eggs - send them my way and I will try and put up some great recipes as I discover them :-) They will be great healthy recipes as well if you are just looking for some healthier things to eat.

My sister told me about this salad she had had at a restaurant so today I got the ingredients and made it for dinner - it was soooo yummy and so nice for a change as I have been eating basically the same thing for my meals since I found out about my sensitivities.

I don't have a name for this salad but here goes:
Now have a name:

Yardhouse Chopped Salad
1 cucumber or 2 small persian cucumbers (diced)
1 tomato (diced)
1/2 cup of frozen corn (defrosted)
green onion (to taste)
1 stalk of celery (chopped small)
cilantro (a few leaves chopped)
1 avacado, sliced or diced
***add bacon*** (see note)
Balsamic Vinaigrette dressing

I chopped this all up and tossed with a little of the dressing. Next time I would probably put the avacado on the side if I was eating it by myself so I could put some in the fridge and eat it later. I meant to add a little feta cheese on top and forgot to but a little bit of cheese would be wonderful with it as well.
I grilled a chicken breast and ate it with the salad and savored every bite - it was so yummy!
You could vary the ingredients to your taste - I am not a celery person but am learning to eat it.

*****Note - so my sister says it needs bacon as well - my choice of bacon these days is Trader Joes Turkey bacon - it is really good and I like it better than regular bacon. It has no added nitrites or nitrates and is minimally processed.*****