Tag Archives: almonds

Your Friends Will Love These Treats – Paleo-Friendly Granola Bars

On the tails of last week’s post: this time, some people treats!

My crossfitting significant other sent me this paleo-friendly recipe via Flipboard message about a year ago, and I’ve been making it ever sense, especially for road trips and hiking. Most recently, I heard my next adventure is going to involve food price sticker shock, so naturally I whipped up some, and thought it a good morsel for you to try.

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Pro-Tip Tuesday: Buy the Oranges, and Make Macaroons too!

Pro-Tip of the Day:
Have you been buying those boxes and bags of oranges on sale at the store?

Next time pick up a bag of coconut flakes and sliced almonds, and you can make this quick, yummy (gluten-free) byproduct treat from in-season fruit!

Just remember to take 30 seconds to grate the rind off before you eat the orange, and you’ll have enough for this recipe. Note: try not to take too much of the white parts (the pith), that’s bitter. Continue Reading

Pro-Tip Tuesday: Tea Infuser + Dessert Dusting

How can you dust powdered sugar on your holiday desserts without making a mess, AND conserve the left over for the next round?

Try a tea infuser! Here’s the shortest video I’ve ever intentionally made, lol.

I’m pretty sure even if you don’t have one with an easy handle and all, it’ll still work neater than a gigantor flour sieve. Then you can return the rest to the bag! You know how I hate food waste..

For the delicious (although blurry) gluten-free chocolate cake in the limelight of this video, Continue Reading

Home Made Almond Milk

You guys, I finally gave in and tried making home made almond milk! Blame it on that Monday MLK holiday, and a big bag of expensive-feeling almonds from Cash & Carry. As a lactard, I ordinarily drink almond milk at home en lieu of regular milk, when I’m not indulging with coconut milk to lace my coffee, so it’s already a staple in my house. It was delicious, and I can’t believe it took me so long to finally try making it, especially as I was gifted with a powerful Vitamix last year.

Almond milk: snapped this pic just before the rest of it got gobbled down!
Almond milk: snapped this pic just before the rest of it got gobbled down!

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No Knead Artisan Bread with Dried Fruit

I wanted to give my friends a housewarming gift that would not add to the giant pile of things they just had to move into their new home, so I tried my hand at some rustic, thick crusty bread. I doubled the portions but the bread was a tiny bit wetter than I’d like so I didn’t adjust the portions below for the double portion.

WARNING: this is one of those crazy multi-day recipes. The trade-off with no knead is waiting for the air bubbles and yeast to develop. And no, this was not something I did last night, it’s from Sunday. You know, that day you have time to do crazy things like bake bread..

Originally called:
Cranberry Orange Almond Artisan Bread from Simply So Good

Ingredients

3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon instant or rapid-rise yeast
1 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cup dried cranberries (I did a mix of dried cranberries, chopped dried apricots and golden raisins)
1/2 cup chopped almonds (I used toasted almond slices)
Zest from one orange (I used lemon rind, didn’t have an orange on hand)
1 1/2 cups water  (water does not have to be warm)

 

Mix dry ingredients, add water and mix, cover and wait for ever, then bake!

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Beat the Heat: Part Zillion!
Zucchini Basil Salad

Fresh back from a cross-country road trip through 4 national parks, three rolls of campfire-cooked Pillsbury products, and too many kinds of 80+-degree weather, I give you…

Cold Zucchini Basil Salad
A variation from simply real health I googled after a random Instagram find.

Ingredients:
1 large heirloom tomato, sliced into bite-sized pieces
3-4 zucchini total (prefer a mix of green and yellow summer squash)
1/4 c goat cheese
A handful of basil, rolled and chopped into ribbons
olive oil (the highest quality you have on hand)
Salt & pepper, to taste
1 fresh lemon
1/4 c slivered almonds

Steps:
1. With a vegetable peeler, thinly scrape the zucchini and summer squash into long ribbon slices, tossing the seedy core, or saving it for a Sunday frittata mix.
2. Add the ribbons to a bowl, season with sea salt* and pepper*, basil, drizzle with olive oil* per preference. [*NOTE: if you want salad for later, pack the zucchini separate from the olive oil, salt, pepper and lemon juice to keep the crunch, and combine just before eating]. Toss to mix.

Ribboned zucchini with salt 'n' pepper.
Ribboned zucchini with salt ‘n’ pepper.

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[Broccoli & Spinach] Miso Slaw

As a kid, my mom would make steamed broccoli, and my favorite parts to eat were the little slices of tender stalk (outside bark was peeled off) that she would steam along with the usual tree-like shapes I would stick in bowls of rice to create a tiny diorama before eating. It wasn’t until years later that I learned other people don’t necessarily consider the stalk worth even cooking.  I found this combo while searching for recipes to use up the giant quantity of miso I will have left over from another one that calls for only a few tablespoons.

Miso Slaw
From The Kitchn’s recipe.

Pretty green close-up, post-mixing.
Pretty green close-up, post-mixing.

Miso dressing
1/3 cup rice vinegar
3 tablespoons yellow or red miso (note: check labels to ensure specific gluten-freedness)
3 large garlic cloves, peeled
2 teaspoons sugar
2 teaspoons chopped fresh ginger
2 teaspoons sesame oil
2 teaspoons soy sauce
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup mayonnaise

Chop chop chop chop chop chop, chop chop, blend.
Chop chop chop chop chop chop, chop chop, blend.

Step 1: mix everything in a blender.

Salad ingredients
4 broccoli stalks, julienned into bite-sized pieces*
4 cups chopped spinach
1/2 cup finely chopped sliced almonds

Step 2: mix dressing and salad ingredients in a large bowl. Garnish with almonds and chill or serve.

Consumed on Day 1 with a side of brown rice and baked tilapia.
Consumed on Day 1 with a side of brown rice and baked tilapia.

Today’s Recipe Rating:
Novelty Rating: 4 of 5 stars.
This was astonishingly a salad I was both happy to eat, and that I thought was good for me, and the flavors only seemed to get better on day 2 and day 3.
Likelihood of Repeat: 20% See below.
Lesson Learned: Unfortunately, being the thrifty person I am, *I did not buy “Trader Joe’s broccoli slaw,” so the amount of time it took to shred broccoli stalk myself was maddening, and did not feel equal to the amount of slaw I got out of it. Still seems weird that Trader Joe’s would sell something people often might thing to throw away, or could get out of spare stalk, though..

Quinoa, for breakfast?!
Coconut Quinoa Breakfast Blend

An old classmate of mine has been keeping a blog too, Monica’s Cheddar Cheese Popcorn, which includes plenty of food talk. It seems she’s on a new year health kick and has been trying some different food habits. Below is my rendition of the idea I got from her. It plays right into my urge to reinvent my breakfast routine, since the old irish-oats-in-rice-cooker-overnight-plus-toppings drill has started to feel stale.

Coconut_Quinoa_Collage
The viscosity of the coconut milk threw me for a loop: the top looked like whipped cream! Yum! Also: made a total mess of the pot since I kept turning up the heat and letting it boil over. Oops.

I haven’t specified the portions of the toppings below, as I’m sure every one has their own preference for ratios.

Coconut Quinoa Breakfast Blend

Day 1: with pear, et. al.
Day 1: with pear, et. al.
Day 2: with apple, &c.
Day 2: with apple, &c.
Day 3: before heating and adding toppings, transported via mason jar.
Day 3: before heating and adding toppings, transported via mason jar.

Ingredients:
1 cup coconut milk
1 cup water
1/2 cup quinoa
Toppings: take ’em or leave ’em
cinnamon, to taste (~a dash)
salt, to taste (very little)
sliced almonds
pecans
dried pineapple
dried cranberries
granola (for crunch)
honey
flax seed
chia seeds
pear, sliced

Steps
1. Boil coconut milk and water on high until almost boiling, add quinoa and cook until liquid is absorbed, about 20-30 minutes.
2. While cooking quinoa, lightly toast almonds and pecans, grind flax seed with mortar and pestle (to release the nutritional oils), and slice the pear.
3. Scoop out some quinoa, top with your choice of toppings, and enjoy! Toppings could certainly be simpler, I just got carried away on a day off. I think it might even be good with a little jam on top.

Note: chia seeds are hella expensive. I scavenged some from my house, since it turns out my “roommate” bought a bag a long time ago. I think it’s safe to say that more than a teaspoon of either flax or chia seeds may be too much. I have read that said chia seeds have magical ‘make-you-feel-full’ properties. Beh. I also panicked a little after 20 minutes when the whole mix still looked watery, but after I’d eaten a small bowl (straining out some liquid), I found that the rest of the quinoa left on the stovetop had absorbed the water, so it worked out fine.

Interestingly, my first bowl of this I found I needed to drizzle honey on top, but by the next day, some sliced apples were enough sweetness for me. I packed a little mason jar of this for breakfast at work, and found it turned out to be too filling! How surprising. I tampered with the portioning to half the amount I would normally eat for oatmeal, which means I ended up eating it for breakfast for four straight days, but, no complaints, once I got the portions right (a little quinoa, lots more fruit and nuts).  [Insert lecture here extolling the virtues of quinoa as a healthful false grain, vs. a regular ‘evil’ carb. Then insert lecture on the economic issues of quinoa, driving up the prices so that those who natively ate it as a staple in the Andes switch to more fattening staples. That leaves me, the overthinker, sort of leaving it at a wash for now..]

Today’s Trial Recipe Rating:
Novelty Rating:
5 of 5 stars The endless possibility of topping variations is quite appealing. I’m interested to find out how much fat I just added to my breakfast routine..
Likelihood of Repeat: 100% Yum! I’m definitely going to try and make oatmeal in coconut milk too, especially since I’ve got some coconut milk left over in the fridge. This combination inches me closer to the USDA MyPlate guidelines.
New standard review note!
Lesson Learned: oy! Don’t let the [coconut] milk boil over! Related lesson: I am really bad at cooking staple grains on stovetop. That’s what my robot butler, a.k.a. rice cooker, is for.

What do you do for breakfast? How do you keep it interesting?

Day 4: with berries and bananas. Still tasty, and very filling. The chia seeds started looking scary fuzzy, but no ill effects so far..
Day 4: with berries and bananas. Still tasty, and very filling. The chia seeds started looking scary fuzzy, but no ill effects.

Almond Florentines

Cookies Part 3 of 4.

almond florentine: the orange zest makes all the difference
almond florentine: the orange zest makes all the difference

(originally from a Food Network recipe, with minimal substitution)

Makes: ~5 dozen 3-inch Florentines, or 2 1/2 dozen 6-inch Florentine
Total Time: 1 hr 35 min
Prep 30 min
Inactive 45 min
Cook 20 min

I first had these a few years ago at Zeitgeist Kunst & Kaffee, a coffee shop in downtown Seattle near my work, and it lit up this light bulb in my head that insisted I look it up to make myself an infinite supply. It has a great crunch, and the orange zest with chocolate drizzle is just the right combination.

Ingredients
* 1 3/4 cups sliced, blanched almonds (about 5 ounces) (I still have no idea what unblanched almonds would be, I just buy sliced almonds, however they come)
* 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour (can substitute: almond flour, same amount)
* Finely grated zest of 1 orange (about 2 tablespoons)
* 1/4 teaspoon fine salt (I use kosher salt without much consequence)
* 3/4 cup raw sugar
* 2 tablespoons heavy cream
* 2 tablespoons light corn syrup
* 5 tablespoons unsalted butter
* 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Chocolate Topping, optional (but why would you ever skip it):
* 2 to 4 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped (or chocolate chips)

Directions
– Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with a silicone baking mat or parchment paper.
– Pulse the almonds in a food processor until finely chopped, but not pasty. Stir together the nuts, flour, zest and salt in a large bowl.
– Put the sugar, cream, corn syrup and butter in a small saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until mixture comes to a rolling boil and sugar is completely dissolved. Continue to boil for 1 minute. Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla, then pour mixture into almond mixture and stir just to combine. Set aside until cool enough to handle, ~30 minutes.
– Scoop rounded teaspoons (for 3-inch cookies) of batter and roll into balls. Place on prepared baking sheet, leaving about 2 to 3 inches (shrink accordingly with cookie size) between each cookie since they spread.
– Bake 1 pan at a time, until the cookies are thin and an even golden brown color throughout, rotating pans halfway through baking time, about 8-10 minutes. Cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes, then transfer to racks to cool. Repeat with remaining batter.

“Optional” chocolate topping:
– Put the chocolate in a medium heatproof bowl (or smaller saucepan).
– Bring a (larger) saucepan filled with 1 inch or so of water to a very low simmer; set the bowl over, but not touching, the water. Stir the chocolate occasionally until melted and smooth.
-Drizzle melted chocolate over Florentines as desired (after trial with chopsticks, metal spoons, and other options, a rubber spatula works best).
– Set aside at room temperature until chocolate is set.

Storage tip: Store baked cookies carefully, separated by parchment or waxed paper, in an air-tight container for up to 3 days. Florentines are best stored separated from moist cookies and cakes.

Note: Special thanks to my chocolate-know-how friend for advising that getting any water in the smaller sauce pan (including a porous wooden spoon that’s wet), and using any metal for distribution would cool the chocolate too fast.

Today’s Cookie Recipe Rating:
Novelty Rating:
4 of 5 stars
In my head, this is a big ordeal to make (not especially true), so when I do make them, it still feels novel. Plus, that crunch!
Likelihood of Repeat: 99%
Chocolate, almonds, sugar, and orange zest, yum yum yum! This time I even verified that you can make it with gluten-free flour for your gluten-liberated friends, hooray! Try it with some tea or coffee too.

Sweet & Spicy Almonds

Cookies Part 3 of 4. This one whips up fast, and it’s even vegan!

sweet & spicy almonds: roast, melt the slurry, coat, add dry mix, cool. easy!
sweet & spicy almonds: roast, melt the slurry, coat, cool. easy!

(originally from All Recipes, HQ’d in Seattle! ..one adjustment here)
Makes: 2 1/2 cups almonds
Total processing time: less than 30 minutes

Ingredients
1/4 cup raw sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 1/2 cups whole almonds
1 tablespoon water
1 tablespoon honey
1 teaspoon olive oil

Directions
1. Preheat an oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Spread the almonds onto a baking sheet, and toast until the nuts start to turn golden brown and become fragrant, about 10 minutes. Watch the nuts carefully as they bake: they burn quickly.
2. Stir together the sugar, salt, and cayenne pepper in a mixing bowl; set aside.
3. Stir together the water, honey, and olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Once the mixture begins to bubble, stir in the toasted almonds until evenly moistened. Pour the almonds into the sugar and spice mixture, and toss until evenly coated. Spread onto baking sheets in a single layer, and cool to room temperature.

Notes: don’t breathe in too deeply when you’re mixing the dry ingredients, or you will end up coughing. I keep reading this note and still doing it. :p Also: you could use agave syrup instead of honey, it won’t stick as well and will feel a little more oily.

Today’s “Cookie” Recipe Rating:
Novelty Rating: 1 of 5 stars
Likelihood of Repeat: 85%
Since these are marginally better for you than cookies, I make them year-round, so they are very familiar. I also like that they don’t require egg whites, another recipe I tried used egg whites and things turned out funny.