Wednesday, February 26, 2014

the world's best (and healthiest) french onion dip

last year i went all out for the super bowl. sure, it was the only time all season my family had sat down together to watch football, but it was also a very good excuse to make all those wonderful junk foods people consume while watching sports so, what the heck. ;)

i found this recipe here originally, but with some tweaking, it turned into what is featured below.

french onion dip

2 C plain yogurt, whole milk if you have it
1 large red onion, diced
4 T butter
1/2 t kosher salt
1/4 t black pepper
1/2 t curry powder or turmeric
1/4 t celery salt

the day before (12-24 hours before) you want to make the dip put a strainer over a bowl and line with paper towels or cheesecloth. place the yogurt in the strainer and let the whey drain off. you are making the healthiest, most probiotic rich sour cream! you're welcome.

when you are ready to finish making the dip, melt the butter in a pan and add the diced onion. cook over medium-low heat for 20-30 minutes, stirring often so the onions soften and caramelize and don't brown or burn. allow the onions to cool for 20-30 minutes after they are finished cooking before adding them and all the seasonings to the strained yogurt. once everything is mixed together, taste, adjust seasonings (may need to add more salt or curry/tumeric) and consume with great fervor...with or without a sporting event on television.

chewy chocolate chip grain-free cookies

today is may 14, 2014, and i am editing this recipe. if you previously grabbed this recipe, i suggest throwing out the old one and swapping it for the updated version. can't. stop. eating... ;)

cookies have always been my obsession. i can't get enough cookie dough, if i am stupid enough to make it, and like my cookies slightly under baked so they remain chewy long after they cool down. they are like lay's potato chips in that i can never have just one. or two. or ten. my near-famous recipe (full of wheat and sugar) is here, but for our health (and my waistline) we have mostly abandoned that delicious concoction for this new, grain-free variety.

chewy chocolate chip grain-free cookies

old recipe picture above, new recipe pictures below

1 C dates or raisins
1/2 C almond butter
1/3 C unsweetened vanilla almond milk or coconut milk
1 t vanilla
1/2 t baking soda
1 C blanched almond flour (again, i use anthony's almonds brand because it is the least expensive)
1/4 C mini chocolate chips

in a food processor, chop the dates/raisins and almond butter until smooth. add choice of milk, and flaxseed meal and process. add the baking soda and almond flour. i like to put the chocolate chips in the food processor, as well, but some people like to mix them in by hand. **note: if you make these cookies directly after making your almond butter (i mean, come on, the food processor is already dirty...) your chocolate chips will melt. you can always chill the dough and stir in more before baking or just roll with it. the result is delicious either way** do whichever method you prefer, then use a medium cookie scoop to place dough on a cookie sheet. these will not spread so you can place them 1"-2" apart without any problem. after all the scoops are on the sheet, smash the cookies down with the bottom of a cup (wet with water if dough begins to stick), fingers, or spatula. **note: taking out the flaxseed meal from the original recipe, i no longer smash these cookies**

bake for 10-15 minutes at 350. let them get a little golden before you take them out of the oven. allow to cool on the baking sheet for 5-10 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack. store in a container with lid or airtight bag.

as with nearly all paleo treats we have had, these are not the "real thing" but they are close enough to satisfy my craving in a healthy way. my husband even stated with amazement last night, "these are REALLY good!" i guess some of my attempts at treats have left him skeptical. ;)

occasionally i make this recipe with a few alterations. i add:
2 eggs
1/2 C coconut flour
1 t vanilla
1 t baking soda (instead of 1/2 t)
1/2 t kosher salt
and omit the flaxseed meal

the result is a little more cakey, but a little higher in protein. i prefer the original version, but like having the option to make it either way.

easy wraps, erin-style

to keep my kids from getting bored with their limited lunch options, i decided to try a couple paleo wrap recipes. after a little trial and error, a few alterations, and dozens of wraps later, i landed on this recipe as my new go-to.

easy paleo crepes/wraps

1 C blanched almond flour (i buy anthony's almonds brand almond flour from amazon because it is the most cost effective one i have found)
1 C tapioca flour
1/4 C coconut flour
1 can coconut milk (trader joe's is inexpensive and does not have any preservatives)
2 eggs

place all ingredients in a blender and mix well. heat an 8"-9" pan over medium heat. spray, butter, or oil your pan and pour in 1/4 C of the batter, swirling as you pour to spread the batter into an even circle. let cook until the top looks glossy and the sides begin to color, 2-3 minutes. flip and cook the other side, 1-2 minutes. cool on a rack and repeat with the rest of the batter. 

i think this recipe makes around 24 wraps, but i can't remember. i store them in a 9" round glass dish with a lid, on the counter if they will be consumed quickly or in the fridge if we will take our time. ;) they are WONDERFUL sprinkled with cheese and used to make a quesadilla-like grilled sandwich or for an egg burrito.

i usually double this recipe and it fits in my kitchenaid blender. if i want to only make 1 1/2 times the recipe, i opt to use half a can of water instead of having half a can of coconut milk left over.

easy, addictive almond butter

there are worse things you could be addicted to than almond butter. as a recovering peanut butter addict, i thought i would never be able to part with the delicious legume spread. store-bought almond butter was definitely not enticing was hard as a rock, difficult to stir without the aid of a stand mixer, and "ehhh..." as far as taste was concerned. then i decided to finally make my own almond butter and my whole world changed.

not only is this incredibly easy to do, but the results are, in my opinion, better than the fresh ground almond butter you can buy (costing an arm, a leg, and your first born child) at whole foods.

i typically use two pounds of almonds at a time, which amounts to four cups of almond butter. i have four children (and a strong, personal addiction). being mostly grain-free, we eat it with sliced apples and bananas, celery, and occasionally spread it on waffles and wraps (both recipes i need to post).

almond butter

preheat your oven to 350. spread 1-2 lbs of raw almonds on a baking sheet and roast for 12-15 minutes. i like to go until they just start to color and i can smell them. let cool for 5-10 minutes and then dump all the nuts into your 11 C (or bigger) food processor. it would be wise to have ear covers or ear plugs for the next step because it is LOUD for the first few minutes. process the almonds until everything is sticking to the side and not going anywhere. scrap the bowl, break up clumps, process again. repeat a couple times. by the third scraping, you should be able to let it continue to chop and mix until the oils begin to release and the almond meal starts turning into paste. this will take a few minutes. i like my almond butter very smooth, so i let it process until it is creamy. keep going until you reach the consistency you prefer. add 1 1/2 t - 2 t of real salt (redmond brand is what i have) or sea salt and mix for another minute. taste and add more salt, if desired. scrap almond butter into a container with a lid and consume copious amounts with sliced apples, celery, or (my personal favorite) straight off the spoon.

i have seen other recipes that include honey, a little cinnamon, and vanilla, but i don't need to make it more addictive than it already is. ;)

four cups of almond butter cost $11-$13, depending on where you get your raw almonds.

1/4 C of almonds has 132 calories, plus all these nutrients (all percentages of DVI)...

biotin: 49%
vitamin E: 40.2%
manganese: 26.5%
copper: 25.5%
vitamin B2: 17.6%
phosphorus: 15.9%
magnesium: 15.4%
fiber 11.2%

and 162 mg of potassium

(for more information than you ever wanted to know about almonds, go here)