Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Teff Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies (Gluten Free, Vegan & High Protein)

These cookies are so high in protein and fiber! They're filling and pretty guilt free!
I'm on a bit of a wheat-free baking kick these days. Ever since I stocked my pantry with all kinds of alternative flours, I'm on a mission to use them all so they're not just taking up space in my crowded kitchen.
This was such a simple batter! 
I found a recipe for Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies made with Teff flour on page 275 of Clean Food: A Seasonal Guide to Eating Close to the Source with More Than 200 Recipes for a Healthy and Sustainable You and found a very similar recipe on the back of my bag of Bob's Red Mill Teff Flour. I merged the two recipes and came up with the following:

1 1/2 c teff flour
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1 c peanut butter
3/4 c maple syrup
1/4 c canola oil
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 c chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350* F. Combine teff and salt in stand mixer on low speed. Add peanut butter and increase speed gradually. Add remaining ingredients and mix until combined. Be careful not to overmix.
Love that pampered chef scoop. These bad boys are ready for the oven!
Spoon heaping teaspoons (or perfectly formed pampered chef balls!) onto parchment-lined cookie sheet. Bake for 12 minutes or until lightly browned. Don't overbake them! Remove from oven and transfer immediately to a wire rack to cook. Don't burn your tongue on the hot chocolate chips!

Monday, January 30, 2012

Gluten Free Banana Nut Muffins

The texture of these muffins is really moist.
I had some very ripe bananas on my hands and a bag of coconut flour that I have been dying to try to bake with. Ever since reading Wheat Belly, I've tried to substitute alternative flours in for wheat wherever I can. I scoured my cookbooks and ultimately found a few muffin recipes online that used coconut flour (and a LOT of eggs), so I modified and came up with the following:
Ingredient line-up

Tip: Make sure the eggs and maple syrup aren't too cold, or they'll make the coconut oil solidify.

3 eggs (local, organic, and humanely raised of course)
3 tb flax meal + 9 tb water (or an additional 3 eggs)
3 very ripe bananas
1 tsp vanilla
4 tb coconut oil (in liquid form)
1/4 c maple syrup
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp baking soda
3/4 c coconut flour, sifted
1/2 c walnut pieces

Preheat oven to 400* F. Crack the 3 eggs into a stand mixer and set the speed to medium-high (If you don't have a stand mixer, a hand mixer and a bowl work just fine). Beat the eggs for about a minute and add in the 3 tb flax meal and the 9 tb water. Increase the speed and mix until the flax meal is fully incorporated, scraping down the sides if necessary. Add in the rest of the ingredients one at a time in the order listed above. Spoon batter into a mini muffin pan greased with coconut oil and bake for 18-20 minutes. You may need to use a plastic utensil to get these muffins out of the pan. A few of mine crumbled a bit as I tried to remove them, so be careful because they're a bit delicate when warm. Transfer to a wire rack to cool. Enjoy!

Delicious, Healthy, and Easy!
If you're curious about the healthfulness of coconut flour, check out this article on livestrong.com, which states, "The National Institutes of Health report that exposure to gluten, especially wheat flour, can cause an inflammatory response in the body, even in healthy individuals... Coconut flour contains almost double the amount of fiber found in wheat bran." The article goes on to explain that coconut flour is a good source of plant-based protein. 

Question: Have you ever baked with coconut flour? If so, what were your results? What are your favorite Gluten Free flours to bake with?

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Tropical Smoothie + Pictures from Jamaica!

I don't know about you, but it seems like pineapples have been staring me down lately. They're on sale at all my local grocers and on a whim, I bought one last week. I had the highest aspirations for my precious pineapple. It travelled so far just for me to eat it after all. But out of nowhere, a stomach bug struck on Wednesday and I had no choice but to put the pineapple in the fridge. I trimmed it today and filled 2 pint-sized ball jars with pieces for future use.

I threw the rest of the pineapple (about a cup) in the Vita-mix with a banana, a few pieces of frozen mango, 1/3 cup of light coconut milk, 4 ice cubes, a tablespoon of chia seeds, 1/4 cup of coconut water, and... 2 kale leaves. I had to get something local and green in there somewhere!

I turned the Vita-mix up gradually from one to ten then flipped the switch to high and blended until smooth, about a minute. My post-yoga smoothie was so delicious that I drank the whole thing (the recipe yielded about 16 ounces!) before I even thought about sharing the recipe. Shame on me for not taking any pictures of my tropical smoothie, but I hope you'll take a few pictures from our recent Jamaican vacation instead. :-)
We visited a rasta village, where this rastaman oriented us to their plant-based diet 
The rastamen fed us some delicious fresh fruit!
Then the rastamen made some music for us!
Then they made us make some music with them.

We also went to the Blue Mountains to see where Jamaica grows coffee. That's me... roasting coffee beans!
And that's me grinding coffee beans (or at least pretending to)  ;-)
It was so cool to actually PICK a coffee bean!
Popping coffee beans out of their berry is fun! 

Our tour bus dropped us off at the top of the mountain and we rode down to the bottom, stopping for lunch and to learn about the local plants. We had a blast, despite the rain, and decided to really ham it up for our poncho pics!
Where's the sun?
Can you see the waterfall?

We just used our imaginations to see through the fog.
Pretty ponchos... er... waterfall ;-)

It was too cold to swim!

We made it down in one piece!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

ALLocal Dinner at nourish in Lexington

Allocal Dinner Header

Site LogoLast night, I attended my second ALLocal Dinner  (Read about the one at EVOO here.) The dinner was at at nourish in Lexington and was hosted by The Sustainable Business Network of of Greater Boston to benefit the Boston Local Food Program which produces the Boston Local Food Festival

Karen Masterson Speaking Passionately About Local Food
In addition to eating a delicious dinner prepared entirely from local ingredients, we got to hear from Karen Masterson, founder and owner onourish. I first met Karen at the 2011 Boston Local Food Festival, where nourish was the Local Champion restaurant. nourish served the most locally sourced meal, and the most sustainable servings, exemplifying the Boston Local Food Festival mantra. Listening to Karen speak last night made me feel like all of my local, sustainable food dreams were coming true! She's truly a leader in the movement and an inspiration to anyone who likes to know where their food comes from. 

The Soup was so Rich and Delicious!
Feeding a restaurant full of people locally sourced food in January is a challenge anywhere, let alone in New England, but Karen makes it happen all the time and last night was no exception. Dinner started with house made crackers with local cheese and cranberry chutney. The Butternut/Sweet Potato Soup topped with Goat Cheese was my favorite dish of the night. Next up was Local Pollack with Brussels Sprout Greens, potatoes, beets, and winter slaw for me. James got the Mustard Maple Tempeh. As always, we shared our entrees. The omnivores indulged in nourish's Famous Meatloaf made with Vermont Quality ground Beef.  
Local Tempeh, Potatoes, Beets, & Winter Slaw
nourish served an Oat Biscuit with Hearloom Apple Cranberry Compote sweetened with Maple Syrup and topped with Whipped Cream for dessert! On the back of the menu were the sources of all of the ingredients used in our meal. Tangerini's Farm in Millis, Crown of Maine Coop, High Lawn Dairy, New England Cranberry Company, Associated Buyers, Blue Heron Farm, Nashoba Bakery, Cape Ann Fresh Catch, 21st Century Foods, Natic Community Organic Farm, Piantedosi Baking Co, and Bug Hill Farm all helped supply our delicious local meal. I love knowing that my dinner supported the local economy and NOT Cargill, Land-O-Lakes, or Monsanto! 

We also heard from JD Kemp, founder of Crop Circle Kitchen and Organic Renaissance/Food Ex. After dinner, I told JD that he was living my dream connecting food producers to customers! This past weekend, I also attended the Massachusetts Farmers Markets annual meeting and the SBN Advisory Council meeting. If it's not obvious, let it be known that I'm trying hard to network with local food advocates. While my time to volunteer is very limited after work, school, cooking, and exercising, I'm working on finding the right opportunities for me to really get involved in this movement in a high-impact capacity! 

The next ALLocal dinner is on Monday, March 5 at Local 149 in South Boston. I hope to see you there!

ALL = Absolutely Local and Luscious

Sunday, January 15, 2012

BOS to AUS Food Swap

I participated in a food swap in December organized by Boston Food Bloggers and the Austin Food Blogger Alliance. I thought the idea of sending local foods to someone in Texas and getting some Texas goodies in return sounded like an awesome idea, so I picked up some maple syrup, raspberry applesauce, and Taza chocolate from the Somerville Winter Farmers Market and sent them to Rebecca Otis of rebeccammendations.com.
I also sent Rebecca a box of Sunsational and a jar of my homemade icebox cookies (I  don't think anyone could tell that I replaced some of the all purpose flour with brown rice and whole wheat flours this year! I'll try to post that recipe soon.).
In return, I received this awesome box of Texas goodies! Didn't Rebecca do an awesome job packaging everything so beautifully? Presentation was so much better than my box, which consisted of lots of reused bubble wrap and packing paper. Thanks, Rebecca!!

I did tell Rebecca that we love to add heat to our food and eat a lot of rice and bean dishes, so I'm really excited to try some of this spicy stuff out and will try my best to let you know how we end up using it! If I ever make it to Austin, you can be that the Tears of Joy hot sauce shop will be high on my list of places to go. It sounds to me like James' version of paradise.
Overall, I thought this food swap was an awesome idea. It was a lot of fun to get to know a food blogger in another state. Rebecca and I exchanged emails and chatted online a few times and she's sweeter than those longhorns. It was certainly challenging to find local foods that I thought would transport well, but to me, maple syrup and Taza chocolate were no-brainers and all of the ingredients in that applesauce are grown here in MA, so that was a fun find. The Sunsational isn't widely available yet, but the company was started by someone based locally and I happened to have a few extra boxes on hand. And I really wanted to send something homemade, so freshly baked cookies rounded out my box to Rebecca.

QUESTION for New Englanders: Do you think I missed any local favorites that you would have sent to someone in Texas? 

Friday, January 13, 2012

Cleansing Ginger Carrot Leek Soup

1 Gallon Homemade Veggie Broth
When the sun sets at 4:30 and the temps hover around freezing, sometimes the only way warm up is with a big bowl of soup and a mug of tea. I improvise soup recipes all the time with what I have on hand and whipped up this easy pot of carrot soup with ginger and leeks a couple weeks ago. I froze leftovers and have been enjoying it for lunch this week. Carrots are a great cold storage crop, so if you're lucky enough to have a winter farmers market in your town, you might still be able to find local carrots.

1 lb carrots
1 pt cashew cream (recipe here)
3 leeks, white and light green parts only
2 in Ginger Root
Freshly grated nutmeg, for garnish

This is a blended soup, so you don't have to worry about chopping carrots and leeks into pretty uniform pieces (time-saver!). Slice the leeks in half lengthwise and into thirds across. Rinse well under cold running water to remove any sand that might be hiding between the layers. 
Leeks fight cancer, lower cholesterol, rid the body of uric acid, stabilize blood sugar, & provide iron, folate, & Vitamin C.
Great source of heart-healthy oleic acid!
Clean or peel your carrots. I chopped the carrots in the vitamix (you could use a food processor or rough chop by hand) to speed up the cooking, but you could just throw them in whole if you don't want to prep but have more time for cooking.  

Put your broth in a large pot over high heat. Add the carrots and the leeks and bring to a boil. Reduce to medium heat and add the cashew cream and ginger. 

I used some young ginger that I had stored in the freezer. You don't have to peel young ginger, so I just chopped it into a few smaller pieces and threw it in. Simmer over medium-low heat for at least 20 minutes. I love to let soups like this simmer all afternoon to let the flavors really deepen, but this soup will be cooked in less than 30 minutes if you start with chopped carrots. If you throw your carrots in whole, just be sure to cook until the carrots are tender. 

Ginger reduces inflammation and relieves uncomfortable gastrointestinal symptoms.
Now it's time to blend. You can use an immersion blender or work in batches in an upright blender. Just be sure to cover the top of the blender with a kitchen towel and hold the lid on, since hot liquids can explode.
Looks healthy and delicious, doesn't it?!
Serve with a garnish of freshly grated nutmeg and transfer leftovers into pint sized mason jars for lunches. The wide-mouth pint sized ball jars are freezer safe and are perfect for just about everything!

My favorite thing about soup (other than how nutritious and delicious it can be) is how well it keeps for leftovers. Most soup recipes (this one included), actually taste better after a day or two in the fridge and many of them freeze well. I love to store my leftover soup in pint-size wide-mouth ball jars. They freeze and transport well and offer the ultimate home-cooked lunch convenience. A pint of this soup is really satisfying and if it's not enough to fill you up for lunch, just take along a salad or some veggies with hummus to round out a healthy meal. 

Eat more soup (they're all vegan and delicious!):

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Happy New Year (and Sunsational Winner!)

I'm in the way to Logan Airport to catch a flight to Jamaica and just realized I totally spaced and forgot to post the 2 winners of Sunsational Sunflower Seed Milk!

Congratulations to Rogue Wild and mommaheart2heart! You'll both be recieving 3 vanilla and 3 original boxes of Sunsational as soon as I get home next week! Just email FromSeedtoStomach at gmail.com with your shipping address!

HAPPY 2012!
I don't always make resolutions, but in 2012, I really want to be less judgy, especially about food.  We're all on our own journeys and I respect everyone's individual food choices, so I want to make sure I do that consistently. What's your New Years Resolution?