Caprese Risotto

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You know risotto, right? That creamy Italian rice dish, usually cooked with a splash of wine? And you also know Caprese salad, the traditional Italian salad consisting of just tomatoes, mozzarella, and basil? (I gave you a nice preface to today’s recipe by sharing the recipe for Insalata Caprese Tradizionale last month on the blog.) Do you know what happens when you combine these two ideas into one dish?

You get a delicious creamy, rice dish with flavors of tomatoes, mozzarella, and basil! Risotto is usually a pretty hearty, comforting dish, better for cooler months, but this one has delicate summer flavors so you can have a risotto for every season. Because It’s mid September, my family back home in Michigan has been wearing jackets and pants for weeks, meanwhile it’s still in the mid 30’sC / 90’sF here in Florence. I’m dreaming of cooler weather, breaking out the sweaters and cozy socks, lighting candles, and making hearty chilis, soups, and everything pumpkin spice and nice. And risotto. So I compromise with a taste of summer, the remnants of summer Italian produce, and a comforting cooler month recipe.

This Caprese Risotto is a bit of a mix between Italian and American cuisines. It’s a risotto and involves all the ingredients from Caprese, but that doesn’t necessarily make it Italian. It’s one of those dishes stuck in the in between, and that’s ok. If it’s anything, it’s American. And I thought I should let you know that, so I don’t give you the false impression that I’m giving you some nonna’s recipe passed down for generations. Nope, this is me being American, taking one thing and combining it with another to create something that doesn’t fall into any category really. That’s one of my pet peeves actually, when I see recipes labeled Italian this or Tuscan that…just because something has oregano, basil, sun-dried tomatoes, or parmesan, does not make it Italian. Especially if it’s a meat, usually chicken is what I see, mixed with pasta. That’s a big no-no in Italy. Pasta is a primo piatto, or first course, and chicken and proteins are always a secondo piatto. You will also never find chicken on pizza. Or pineapple. This doesn’t mean to say you can’t do these things, of course you can, but just keep in mind that it is not Italian. After that, call it as you wish. Oh, and hand me a nice slice of pizza with pineapple, ya? Thanks.

Back to this summery risotto. When I first was making this I wanted to make sure the tomato flavor was closer to a fresh, sun-ripened tomato as it would be for Caprese, and not pungent and salty/sweet like we associate with a lot of canned tomato soups. I love tomato soup, just not the flavor that I was going for here. By using fresh tomatoes and getting saltiness from just the low-sodium broth, this turned out quite nicely. Add the creamy, pull-apart cheesiness from the mozzarella and the sweet, nutty basil, you’ve got a winner summer dinner! If you like, although not traditional to the Italian Caprese salad, add a drizzle of balsamic vinegar at the end. This dish isn’t traditional, so I feel ok about adding it. ;)

Bonus, this dish is also effortlessly gluten-free.

This post may contain affiliate links. If you make a purchase using these links, Jennyblogs may receive a small commission, at no extra cost to you. This helps to support Jennyblogs. For further information see the privacy policy. Grazie!


Caprese Risotto

Serves 4-6

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Ingredients:

  • 6 cups / 1,422g low-sodium vegetable broth

  • 2 Tbsp / 28g olive oil

  • 1/2 onion, diced

  • 3 cloves garlic, minced

  • 1 1/2 cups / 278g arborio rice, uncooked

  • 1/2 cup / 119g white wine, optional

  • 3 medium tomatoes, chopped

  • 1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, halved or quartered

  • 1 1/2 tsp fresh oregano, or 1/2 tsp dried

  • about 16 fresh basil leaves, sliced into ribbons

  • 1/2 cup / 50g grated parmigiano reggiano

  • 200g fresh mozzarella, sliced into chunks

  • extra virgin olive oil, more cherry tomatoes, basil leaves for garnishing, and balsamic vinegar if desired

Directions:

  1. Heat broth in a pan over low heat.

  2. In a large pot, heat oil over medium heat. Add onions and simmer for a few minutes, until starting to turn translucent.

  3. Add garlic and rice, stirring occasionally, until rice is toasted and just starting to turn translucent on the edges; about 3-4 minutes.

  4. Add the wine slowly, stirring all the while, until mostly absorbed by the rice.

  5. Add all of the tomatoes, stir until heated through.

  6. Begin adding heated broth to the rice mixture, 1/2 cup / 119g at a time, stirring and allowing broth to be mostly absorbed before adding the next bit. As you near the end of the broth, start checking the rice every minute or two. When it looks cooked and is al dente when tasted, remove from heat. You may not need all the broth, but make sure it’s not too dry or thick. You’ll want to pull it from the heat when it still looks a bit soupy, as it will continue to cook and absorb liquid. (Thick, moundable risotto is a technically overcooked risotto. It should lazily settle back into the plate if you try and mound it.)

  7. Add oregano, basil, parmigiano, and mozzarella. Stir until parmigiano is melted and mozzarella is stringy.

  8. Spoon risotto into plates, drizzle with olive oil and garnish with cherry tomatoes and basil leaves. Drizzle with a bit of balsamic, if desired. Serve immediately.


Jenny’s Notes:

  • In a pinch you can use a 14.5oz / 411g can of diced tomatoes instead of the 3 medium tomatoes. Fresh tomatoes will always be better but sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do!

  • If using wine, try using a dry white wine, nothing too aged or overpowering, as this is a risotto with more delicate, summery flavors. Think Pinot Blanc, Gewurztraminer, a young Riesling, etc. Whichever wine you use in your cooking should ideally be served with the meal. Because of this, it is mistaken to use the “cheap” wines in cooking and then bring out the nice stuff for the meal. Remember, you’re cooking out (most of) the alcohol, not the flavor.

    In fact, because of the delicate flavors of this risotto I don’t add wine, but it’s up to you if you do! Wine is traditional in risotto so you may think me odd that I don’t add it. :)

  • If you have only bouillon cubes or normal-sodium broth on hand, you can substitute part water for the broth to keep the sodium levels down. I recommend using 4 cups / 948g worth of broth/bouillon broth and 2 cups / 474g water.

  • Using heated broth speeds up the cooking time so you’re not waiting for the broth to simmer and be absorbed between each addition. I have, however, made risotto many a time before I learned this trick, and although it takes a bit longer to cook when adding cold or room temp broth, it won’t in any way ruin your risotto.

  • Parmigiano Reggiano (parmesan cheese) is another ingredient typically used in risotto. It’s not used in caprese but it lends a cheesy hand to the mozzarella which is quite mild.

  • Another idea I’m drooling over right now, would be to add a nice portion of burrata on top of the plated risotto right before serving. Burrata is very similar to mozzarella, except it’s softer. It usually comes in round form, and the moment you cut into it the super soft, creamy center oozes out. Oh yes. Oh yes please.

    If you don’t live in Italy chances are burrata and even fresh mozzarella will cost you, so you may opt for one or the other in this recipe. If your budget allows, go for both!! Here in Italy fresh mozzarella can be found easily for 2-3euro a pound.

gluten-free caprese, risotto, rice, tomatoes, fresh basil, fresh mozzarella, parmesan cheese, parmigiano reggiano, burrata, Italian recipe, oregano, extra virgin olive oil, balsamic vinegar, white wine, which wine to use in risotto
dinner, vegetarian
Italian, American
Yield: 4-6 servings
Author:

Caprese Risotto

Creamy risotto playing off the classic Italian summer dish of caprese; tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, fresh basil, parmesan cheese and a hint of oregano.
prep time: 45 Mcook time: total time: 45 M

ingredients:

  • 6 cups / 1,422g low-sodium vegetable broth
  • 2 Tbsp / 28g olive oil
  • 1/2 onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 1/2 cups / 278g arborio rice, uncooked
  • 1/2 cup / 119g white wine, optional
  • 3 medium tomatoes, chopped
  • 1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, halved or quartered
  • 1 1/2 tsp fresh oregano, or 1/2 tsp dried
  • about 16 fresh basil leaves, sliced into ribbons
  • 1/2 cup / 50g grated parmigiano reggiano
  • 200g fresh mozzarella, sliced into chunks
  • extra virgin olive oil, more cherry tomatoes, basil leaves for garnishing, and balsamic vinegar if desired

instructions:

How to cook Caprese Risotto

  1. Heat broth in a pan over low heat.
  2. In a large pot, heat oil over medium heat. Add onions and simmer for a few minutes, until starting to turn translucent.
  3. Add garlic and rice, stirring occasionally, until rice is toasted and just starting to turn translucent on the edges; about 3-4 minutes.
  4. Add the wine slowly, stirring all the while, until mostly absorbed by the rice.
  5. Add all of the tomatoes, stir until heated through.
  6. Begin adding heated broth to the rice mixture, 1/2 cup / 119g at a time, stirring and allowing the broth to be mostly absorbed before adding the next bit. Keep an eye on the rice; when it starts to look cooked and is al dente when tasted, remove from the heat. You may or may not need all the broth, but make sure it’s not too dry or thick. You’ll want to pull it from the heat when it still looks a bit soupy, as it will continue to cook and absorb liquid. (A thick, moundable risotto is a technically overcooked risotto. A correctly cooked risotto should lazily settle back into the plate if you try and mound it.)
  7. Add oregano, basil, parmigiano, and mozzarella. Stir until parmigiano is melted and mozzarella is stringy.
  8. Spoon risotto into plates, drizzle with olive oil and garnish with cherry tomatoes and basil leaves. Drizzle with a bit of balsamic, if desired. Serve immediately.

NOTES:

In a pinch you can use a 14.5oz / 411g can of diced tomatoes instead of the 3 medium tomatoes. Fresh tomatoes will always be better but sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do! If using wine, try using a light white wine, nothing too aged or overpowering, as this is a risotto with more delicate, summery flavors. Think Pinot Blanc, Gewurztraminer, a young Riesling, etc. Whichever wine you use in your cooking should ideally be served with the meal. Because of this, it is mistaken to use the “cheap” wines in cooking and then bring out the nice stuff for the meal. Remember, you’re cooking out (most of) the alcohol, not the flavor. In fact, because of the delicate flavors of this risotto I don’t add wine, but it’s up to you if you do! Wine is traditional in risotto so you may think me odd that I don’t add it. :) If you have only bouillon cubes or normal-sodium broth on hand, you can substitute part water for the broth to keep the sodium levels down. I recommend using 4 cups / 948g worth of broth/bouillon broth and 2 cups / 474g water. Using heated broth speeds up the cooking time so you’re not waiting for the broth to simmer and be absorbed between each addition. I have, however, made risotto many a time before I learned this trick, and although it takes a bit longer to cook when adding cold or room temp broth, it won’t in any way ruin your risotto. Another idea would be to add a nice portion of burrata on top of the plated risotto right before serving. Burrata is very similar to mozzarella, except it’s softer. It usually comes in round form, and the moment you cut into it the super soft, creamy center oozes out.

Calories

423.93

Fat (grams)

21.69

Sat. Fat (grams)

8.54

Carbs (grams)

36.34

Fiber (grams)

2.31

Net carbs

34.03

Sugar (grams)

7.25

Protein (grams)

16.20

Sodium (milligrams)

714.71

Cholesterol (grams)

42.80
Nutritional information is approximate and based on 4 servings.
Created using The Recipes Generator
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Jeannie's Healthy Breakfast Cookies

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What could be better than a cookie? How about a cookie that’s packed with nutrients and can be eaten anytime, especially for breakfast, guilt free?

I love cookies. They are my go-to when I want to whip up something with limited time, or don’t have much energy for other more entailed desserts. I’m sure this has NOTHING to do with the fact that cookies are also one of my favorite things to eat. It ends up turning into a win-win-win situation because I’m having fun, being productive, get to eat some of the ingredients while baking, get to eat some dough while baking, and BONUS if there is enough dough to actually be baked into cookies! So many wins.

I have to bring up the negative, however, to classic cookie baking. They’re kinda calorific and not very good for you. I’m all for eating cookies for breakfast, but that usually goes along with a sugar crash later on. What to do?

Bake healthy cookies! They have to be delicious of course, and not gross. I have just the recipe for you, made up by my mom many years ago when we needed a portable nutritious breakfast for a trip. This recipe has been in my recipe box ever since as “Jean’s breakfast cookies”, made with many adjustments because the add ins are very versatile depending on your tastes. My mom likes to be called Jeannie (not by her kids of course) so I adapted the title accordingly.

One thing this recipe is not is a taste-alike recipe to say, chocolate chip cookies with a surprise twist that it’s healthy. Nope, these cookies have a satisfyingly healthy look and taste and are upfront about it from the get go. They get positive feedback and recipe requests wherever they go!

The recipe that follows is just one version of many, many possibilities. Just keep in mind that major adjustments may need other adjustments. For example, if you don’t have any honey or maple syrup on hand for the sweetener, you could use raw or regular cane sugar. Substituting a liquid for a dry ingredient, however, will mean you may need more liquid from elsewhere. Maybe add another egg, a bit more oil, or even water until you get a cookie dough consistency once again. Other ideas to make the recipe your own:

  • Use any kind of flour you wish instead of wheat flour. Oat flour, almond flour, coconut flour…I often use wheat germ in place of part of the flour or flaxmeal, usually 1/4 cup.

  • If you want these cookies to be gluten-free, ensure that your oats are gluten-free, and use a gluten-free flour.

  • Change up the spices. Sometimes towards fall I also add a bit of ginger, nutmeg, and cloves. Cardamom is also nice.

  • Beyond dried fruit and walnuts, get creative with your add-ins! Just try not to go too far beyond 1 cup, otherwise there might not be enough dough to hold everything together. In the photos on this post I used dried apples, dried cranberries, and walnuts. I’ve also added various combinations of dried cherries, prunes, dried apricots, raisins, dates, dried figs, dried pears, fresh apples, grated coconut, pecans, hazelnuts, dark chocolate, crystallized ginger, and anything else I had on hand!

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Recipe adapted from my mama


Jeannie’s Healthy Breakfast Cookies

Makes about 18-22 cookies

Ingredients:

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  • 1/2 cup / 112g olive or coconut oil

  • generous 1/3 cup / 120g maple syrup or honey

  • 2 eggs

  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

  • 1 cup / 120g all-purpose or whole wheat flour

  • 1 1/2 cups / 135g rolled oats

  • 1/2 cup / 90g flaxmeal

  • 1/2 tsp baking soda

  • 1/2 tsp salt

  • 1/8 tsp cinnamon

  • 3/4 cup / 105g nuts, roughly chopped

  • 1/2 apple, diced

  • 1/4 cup / 50g dried fruit, chopped if necessary

Directions:

Oven 375°F / 190°C. Baking sheet lined with silpat or parchment paper.

  1. In a large bowl combine wet ingredients: oil, maple syrup, eggs, and vanilla; beat with a spoon until smooth.

  2. In another medium bowl whisk together dry ingredients: flour, oats, flaxmeal, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon.

  3. Add dry ingredients, nuts, apple, and dried fruit to wet ingredients, mix until well combined.

  4. Spoon generous tablespoons of dough onto prepared baking sheet and flatten slightly as they won’t spread much, leaving at least 1 inch between cookies. Bake for 8-10 minutes or until edges turn lightly golden brown and centers are no longer doughy.

Jenny’s Notes:

  • you can make flaxmeal at home by simply processing some flaxseeds in a coffee or spice grinder.

  • olive oil has a rather strong taste so if you prefer to avoid that, try going with the coconut oil option or even a neutral oil like peanut oil.

  • 3 egg whites can be substituted for the 2 eggs for cholesterol-conscience people.

healthy, nutritious, cookies, gluten-free, dairy-free, refined sugar-free, dried fruit, apple, fall spices, oats, nuts, coconut, portable
breakfast, dessert, snack
American
Yield: 12-16 cookies
Author:

Jeannie's Breakfast Cookies

Healthy cookies packed with nutritious ingredients that make for a great breakfast or anytime snack. Dairy-free, refined sugar-free, and can easily be made gluten-free.
prep time: 20 Mcook time: 10 Mtotal time: 30 M

ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup / 112g olive oil or coconut oil
  • generous 1/3 cup / 120g maple syrup or honey
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup / 120g all-purpose or whole wheat flour
  • 1 1/2 cups / 135g rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup / 90g flaxmeal
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp cinnamon
  • 3/4 cup / 105g nuts, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 apple, diced
  • 1/4 cup / 50g dried fruit, chopped if necessary

instructions:

How to cook Jeannie's Breakfast Cookies

  1. Oven 375°F / 190°C. Baking sheet lined with silpat or parchment paper.
  2. In a large bowl combine wet ingredients: oil, maple syrup, eggs, and vanilla; beat with a spoon until smooth.
  3. In another medium bowl whisk together dry ingredients: flour, oats, flaxmeal, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon.
  4. Add dry ingredients, nuts, apple, and dried fruit to wet ingredients, mix until well combined.
  5. Spoon generous tablespoons of dough onto prepared baking sheet and flatten slightly as they won’t spread much, leaving at least 1 inch between cookies. Bake for 8-10 minutes or until edges turn lightly golden brown and centers are no longer doughy.

NOTES:

you can make flaxmeal at home by simply processing some flaxseeds in a coffee or spice grinder. olive oil has a rather strong taste so if you prefer to avoid that, try going with the coconut oil option or even a neutral oil like peanut oil. 3 egg whites can be substituted for the 2 eggs for cholesterol-conscience people.

Calories

265.40

Fat (grams)

15.87

Sat. Fat (grams)

2.49

Carbs (grams)

27.23

Fiber (grams)

3.34

Net carbs

23.89

Sugar (grams)

9.53

Protein (grams)

5.72

Sodium (milligrams)

188.36

Cholesterol (grams)

31.00
Nutritional information is approximate and based on 12 servings.
Created using The Recipes Generator
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Insalata Caprese Tradizionale - Traditional Caprese Salad

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Insalata Caprese, often just referred to as Caprese, is by now known the world over and has been adapted into many different dishes and styles. In today’s post we are going to cover the traditional Italian Insalata Caprese, unaltered and in its purest form. How the Italians make it. Leave aside the Caprese grilled cheeses and Caprese pasta for just one second.

Insalata Caprese (EEN-sah-lah-ta cuh-PRAY-zay), or Caprese Salad is an Italian dish consisting of merely 5 ingredients: fresh mozzarella, fresh tomatoes, fresh basil, extra virgin olive oil, and a touch of salt, maybe pepper. Oregano is also added sometimes. That’s it, simple and fresh.

Because there are so few ingredients, no cooking required, and little spice, the quality and freshness of the ingredients are of upmost importance. This is one of the golden rules of the Italian kitchen. In fact, I would say that any caprese salad you’ve eaten in the States is probably a far cry from the shining beacon that it is here in Italy. This is not through any fault of your own, but Italy has certain protected regions and methods for making foods, with rigorous control checks and rules, which holds the product to high standards.

You may be familiar with some of these rules, especially if you seen some Italian wine bottles. You might have noticed special seals that read DOC or DOCG (Denominazione di Origine Controllata or Denominazione di Origine Controllata Garantita), which basically act as a quality seal. One such wine, considered one of the kings of Italian wine, Brunello di Montalcino, will always have the DOCG seal because it can only be grown in the Montalcino region near Siena which has ideal soil and climate for this particular wine. If it doesn’t have the seal, don’t buy it. Hazelnuts, mozzarella, how to make a Neopolitan pizza, and many other food items and processes, sometimes connected to a specific region, are protected by law in Italy.

I just mentioned mozzarella, so you may be understanding how I managed to go on that long spiel and still connect it today’s subject matter. :) Suffice to say, Italian mozzarella, the good stuff, is in a class of its own.

That’s the beauty of Italian summers, where lunches are made up of ripe tomatoes, a slab of cheese, a drizzle of olive oil. Maybe with a hunk of fresh, salty focaccia. Or maybe just prosciutto and melon.

But maybe you aren’t IN Italy, and you’re wondering how you can make the best Insalata Caprese possible? Let’s dissect the ingredients real quick before getting into the recipe.

Suggestions for selecting ingredients for the Insalata Caprese

  • Tomatoes. You want the freshest, tastiest tomatoes available. The most widely used in Italy would probably be the tomato variety “cuore di bue” or literally, “ox heart,” which originated in America. There are two prinicipal varieties of cuore di bue, Arawak and Albenga. These tomatoes are ideal for salads because they have a thin skin, great flavor, and very few seeds and water inside. They are not usually very round, but fall into the ugly tomato category with lots of ridges. As they say, the uglier the tomato, the more delicious it will be. If you can’t get your hands on a cuore di bue, use your favorite, fresh tomatoes.

  • Mozzarella. You’ll want the freshest mozzarella possible, which might not be that easy to find unless you know a cheese producer. Traditionally the mozzarella di fiordilatte is used (normal cow’s milk mozzarella), but if you want to up your game, go for the more expensive mozzarella di bufala (buffalo mozzarella) which can also be protected by one of the laws we were talking about earlier, this time the DOP.

  • Basil. Fresh basil, torn into pieces if desired and ideally added just before serving so it can’t even think about wilting.

  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil. I cannot stress enough to you the importance of having a good bottle of olive oil on hand. In Italy there are usually two kinds of olive oil, those used for cooking, and those use for drizzling just before serving. Select your oil carefully, paying attention to where it is produced, when, and when it expires. Olive oil generally has a best if used by date of two years from being bottled. So if you find a bottle that expires in a year or less, you know that bottle has already been sitting on the shelf for too long and is best used for cooking. Also pay attention to wording like “produced in” or “bottled in.” The latter may mean that olives were brought in from elsewhere and merely bottled in Italy so they could write that on the bottle. No really, there are so many shady practices when it comes to olive oil, it can be hard to decipher the great ones, especially when dealing with imported bottles. My mom used to order bottles straight from Italy to get some of the high quality stuff. Basically, you don’t want to pay less than $15 for a bottle in the States. Frantoio Franci and Laudemia are two very high quality brands. If you know your EVOO’s, select a light and fruity oil.

  • Salt and Pepper. Usually just the tomatoes are salted, and pepper is completely optional.

  • Oregano. Oregano is also optional, but a bit of fresh or dried is a nice touch!

This post may contain affiliate links. If you make a purchase using these links, Jennyblogs may receive a small commission, at no extra cost to you. This helps to support Jennyblogs. For further information see the privacy policy. Grazie!


Insalata Caprese

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Serves 2

Ingredients:

  • about 1/2lb / 200g fresh mozzarella

  • 2 medium tomatoes

  • a few fresh basil leaves, whole or torn into pieces

  • extra virgin olive oil, for drizzling

  • salt and pepper, to taste

  • fresh or dried oregano, optional

Directions:

  1. Slice the mozzarella and the tomatoes into equally sized slices and place on a plate.

  2. Drizzly lightly with olive oil and sprinkle tomatoes with salt. Sprinkle with a bit of pepper, if desired.

  3. Garnish with basil leaves and oregano; serve.

Jenny’s Notes:

  • It may seem strange, but some recommend to serve the mozzarella at room temperature. If the mozzarella is cut while cold it may lose more water, interacting with and changing the flavor of the tomatoes. If the mozzarella is losing lots of liquid regardless, it may not be as fresh as desired.

  • You can use a paper towel on both the mozzarella and tomatoes to absorb any excess liquid, dabbing or letting them sit on the paper towel if they are very wet.

  • Contrary to American belief, Caprese Salad does not traditionally have balsamic vinegar. Nor mayonnaise, olives, eggs, or other non-Italian inventions.

Gluten-free, tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, mozzarella di bufala, extra virgin olive oil, fresh basil, fresh oregano, Italian recipe
Side, Lunch
Italian
Yield: 2
Author:

Traditional Caprese Salad

This classic Caprese Insalata is bursting with summer flavors. Tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, basil, and extra virgin olive oil, just as the Italians would make it.
prep time: 5 Mcook time: total time: 5 M

ingredients:

  • about 1/2lb / 200g fresh mozzarella
  • 2 medium tomatoes
  • a few fresh basil leaves, whole or torn into pieces
  • extra virgin olive oil, for drizzling
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • fresh or dried oregano, optional

instructions:

How to cook Traditional Caprese Salad

  1. Slice the mozzarella and the tomatoes into equally sized slices and place on a plate.
  2. Drizzly lightly with olive oil and sprinkle tomatoes with salt. Sprinkle with a bit of pepper, if desired.
  3. Garnish with basil leaves and oregano; serve.

NOTES:

It may seem strange, but some recommend to serve the mozzarella at room temperature. If the mozzarella is cut while cold it may lose more water, interacting with and changing the flavor of the tomatoes. If the mozzarella is losing lots of liquid regardless, it may not be as fresh as desired. You can use a paper towel on both the mozzarella and tomatoes to absorb any excess liquid, dabbing or letting them sit on the paper towel if they are very wet. Contrary to American belief, Caprese Salad does not traditionally have balsamic vinegar. Nor mayonnaise, olives, eggs, or other non-Italian inventions.

Calories

326.94

Fat (grams)

25.15

Sat. Fat (grams)

11.64

Carbs (grams)

7.00

Fiber (grams)

1.73

Net carbs

5.27

Sugar (grams)

4.09

Protein (grams)

19.14

Sodium (milligrams)

663.60

Cholesterol (grams)

64.09
Nutritional information is approximate and based on 2 servings.
Created using The Recipes Generator
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Strawberry Nutella Coconut Milkshake

This post may contain affiliate links. If you make a purchase using these links, Jennyblogs may receive a small commission, at no extra cost to you. This helps to support Jennyblogs. For further information see the privacy policy. Grazie!

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Buon Ferragosto!

Also known as the day where everything is closed and I feel slightly trapped. Hmmm the gelato place is closed so I’ll just run to the store and pick up some…oh wait, all the grocery stores are closed. Ok, well maybe I’ll go browse some shops, oh wait, all closed. I’ll go walk around in the center for a bit…nope, hardly any buses running today to get to the center. Even if I could find a bus, all the places I could buy a ticket are closed. Ok, so I’ll walk to the gym to work out and enjoy some air conditioning. Ah, closed. So, I hunker down and eat whatever food is in the house, try to stay cool. Actually we’ve come to a bit of a cool spell, today only has a high of 90°F. I’ll take it!

I actually planned ahead this year and went grocery shopping last night. I got fruit and veggies for lunch and dinner today, but why didn’t I get better snackies? But then I remembered that I have a good stash of gelato in the freezer, and made me think of this delectable milkshake I made a few weeks ago.

So with all this time on my hands, I shall be milkshaking and sharing this milkshake with you! What’s so great about this milkshake?

It’s a Strawberry Nutella Coconut Milkshake. That’s such a long name, and kinda going against my own rule of not listing every ingredient in the title, but otherwise I didn’t quite know how to get the dream across, ya know?

How about this: Strawnutelloco Milkshake. Stranucoco Milkshake. Conuterry. Strawconutella. Regardless, this milkshake tastes like a chocolate covered strawberry rolled in coconut with a hint of hazelnut.

I have a confession to make. I originally made this milkshake to try and hide this not-awesome gelato I bought. There was a sale on a brand I had never tried before at the grocery store, and they had coconut and I love coconut but it just did not end well. Icy and so much coconut it was chewy. I didn’t want to waste it, but I also didn’t necessarily want to force myself to eat gelato?

Enter the milkshake idea. I had strawberries, Nutella, and milk, and this beautiful combo was born. The copious amounts of coconut from the gelato still rendered my milkshake a bit chewy, but if you have a GOOD brand of coconut ice cream, or even vanilla ice cream with a bit of flaked coconut and maybe a drop of coconut extract or two thrown in, you’ve got yourself the perfect summer day’s treat.

So thank you, gelato brand that shall remain unnamed, for the not delicious gelato that prompted me to create a delicious milkshake.


Strawberry Nutella Coconut Milkshake

Serves 2

IMG_0947.jpg

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups coconut ice cream, slightly softened

  • 1/2 cup milk, any variety

  • 1/2 cup hulled strawberries, fresh or frozen

  • 2 heaping Tbsp Nutella

  • Dash of vanilla extract, optional

  • Whipped cream, optional

Directions:

  1. Add all ingredients except whipped cream to a blender and blend until smooth. Check consistency and add more milk if desired.

  2. Spoon into 2 glasses and top with whipped cream. Serve immediately.


Jenny’s Notes:

  • Don’t have coconut ice cream but still want that coconut taste? Substitute chocolate or vanilla ice cream and add a bit of flaked coconut and a drop or two of coconut extract.

  • For creamier shakes, use whole milk.

  • For thinner shakes you can sip, add more milk. For thicker, spoonable shakes, add less milk. Some blenders don’t blend thicker shakes well, so if yours is having problems, either wait a minute or two for the ice cream to soften a bit more before continuing to blend, or add a touch more milk.

  • To make fresh whipped cream, whip about 1/4 cup / 60g heavy whipping cream with 1 Tbsp / 14g sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with whisk attachment, or with a handheld mixer. This makes about 1/2 cup fresh whipped cream. Store in fridge, best if used within a few days.

milkshake, milk, strawberry, Nutella, coconut, ice cream, vanilla, fresh whipped cream, dessert, summer
Dessert, Beverage
American
Yield: 2 Servings
Author:

Strawberry Nutella Coconut Milkshake

Thick and creamy milkshake with coconut ice cream, Nutella, strawberries and whipped cream on top.
prep time: 5 Mcook time: total time: 5 M

ingredients:

  • 2 cups coconut ice cream, slightly softened
  • 1/2 cup milk, any variety
  • 1/2 cup hulled strawberries, fresh or frozen
  • 2 heaping Tbsp Nutella
  • Dash of vanilla extract, optional
  • Whipped cream, optional

instructions:

How to cook Strawberry Nutella Coconut Milkshake

  1. Add all ingredients except whipped cream to a blender and blend until smooth. Check consistency and add more milk if desired.
  2. Spoon into 2 glasses and top with whipped cream. Serve immediately.

NOTES:

Don’t have coconut ice cream but still want that coconut taste? Substitute chocolate or vanilla ice cream and add a bit of flaked coconut and a drop or two of coconut extract. For creamier shakes, use whole milk. For thinner shakes you can sip, add more milk. For thicker, spoonable shakes, add less milk. Some blenders don’t blend thicker shakes well, so if yours is having problems, either wait a minute or two for the ice cream to soften a bit more before continuing to blend, or add a touch more milk. To make fresh whipped cream, whip about 1/4 cup / 60g heavy whipping cream with 1 Tbsp / 14g sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with whisk attachment, or with a handheld mixer. This makes about 1/2 cup fresh whipped cream. Store in fridge, best if used within a few days.

Calories

440.85

Fat (grams)

23.21

Sat. Fat (grams)

19.31

Carbs (grams)

54.51

Fiber (grams)

3.87

Net carbs

50.64

Sugar (grams)

40.58

Protein (grams)

6.95

Sodium (milligrams)

49.23

Cholesterol (grams)

9.42
Nutritional information is approximate and based on 2 servings and includes whipped cream.
Created using The Recipes Generator
IMG_0943.jpg

Sicilian Almond Cookies - Paste alle Mandorle

2019-05-13+15.18.28.jpg

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Paste alle mandorle, or almond cookies, are one of the simplest and most delicious cookie recipes you could ask for, requiring only 4 ingredients and an overnight refrigeration, so you can make the dough one day and bake the next. And because they only use almond flour, they are gluten-free friendly!

These cookies and many variations of them hail from Sicily, where the land is full of sunshine and Mediterranean breezes, charming towns, and has the perfect climate for some of the most succulent citrus fruits and almonds. Or so I’ve heard, I have yet to actually go there! The first time I found a bag of Sicilian almonds in Italy I snatched them up, hoping for a taste experience like never before. Basically setting myself up for disappointment. They were good, yes, but I think it would be best to eat them fresh, in Sicily. Until that day when I go to Sicily, I will content myself with tastes of their culture, like the occasional good arancini (fried pyramids of rice stuffed with cheese and veggies or meat) that you can find around Florence, granita ( a slushy type drink), brioche stuffed with gelato, and cannoli. And of course, these almond cookies. And they’re so simple to make. Dangerous.

Original recipe adapted and translated from GialloZafferano


Sicilian Almond Cookies - Paste alle Mandorle

Makes about 2 dozen cookies

2018-12-22 12.26.58.jpg

Ingredients:

  • 2 1/2 cups / 250g almond flour

  • 1 1/4 cups / 250g granulated sugar

  • 2 / 60g egg whites

  • 1/2 tsp almond extract

Garnishes (optional)

  • powdered sugar

  • whole, sliced, or slivered almonds

Directions:

Oven 350F / 180C

  1. In a medium bowl, combine the almond flour and the sugar.

  2. Mix in the egg whites and the almond extract until thoroughly combined. This can be done with a spoon, a hand mixer, stand mixer, or even in a food processor.

  3. Cover dough and place in fridge overnight or for at least 7 hours.

  4. Remove dough from fridge and roll into balls, then roll in powdered sugar. Flatten cookies a bit, as they will not spread much in the oven. Press in a few almond slices on top. Alternately, shape them as you wish, as they hold their shape well after the overnight refrigeration.

  5. Place cookies on a silpat or parchment covered baking sheet, leaving about 1” between cookies.

  6. Bake in preheated oven for 8-12 minutes, until just lightly golden. Be careful no to overbake, cookies should be crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside.

Jenny’s Notes:

  • If you have almonds and a method to grind them, such as a food processor, go ahead and make fresh almond flour! Be careful not to overgrind, you don’t want the almonds to heat up and the oil to start to escape, resulting in almond butter.

  • If you prefer other extracts, go ahead and play around with other flavors; vanilla, orange, lemon, coconut, etc.

  • This recipe, if you go by weight instead of imperial measurements, is very easy to modify or double, triple, halve, etc.! You can see that the ratio of almond flour to sugar is 1:1: essentially all you have to do is mix together equal weights of almond flour and sugar, with just enough egg whites to bind them together easily and a touch of extract for flavor. Voila.

  • These cookies have many variants and shapes and are often piped with candied cherries on top. I’m not a huge candied fruit person, and so I found a simple recipe and omitted the piping for one of the simpler almond cookie methods, rolling in powdered sugar and decorating with almonds.

Italian
Yield: 24
Author:

Sicilian Almond Cookies - Paste alle Mandorle

A classic Italian cookie originating in Sicily with a soft center and crunchy exterior. 4 ingredients and gluten-free.
prep time: 30 Mcook time: 12 Mtotal time: 42 M

ingredients:

  • 2 1/2 cups / 250g almond flour
  • 1 1/4 cups / 250g granulated sugar
  • 2 / 60g egg whites
  • 1/2 tsp almond extract
Garnishes (optional)
  • powdered sugar
  • whole, sliced, or slivered almonds

instructions:

How to cook Sicilian Almond Cookies - Paste alle Mandorle

  1. In a medium bowl, combine the almond flour and the sugar.
  2. Mix in the egg whites and the almond extract until thoroughly combined. This can be done with a spoon, a hand mixer, stand mixer, or even in a food processor.
  3. Cover dough and place in fridge overnight or for at least 7 hours.
  4. Remove dough from fridge and roll into balls, then roll in powdered sugar. Flatten cookies a bit, as they will not spread much in the oven. Press in a few almond slices on top. Alternately, shape them as you wish, as they hold their shape well after the overnight refrigeration.
  5. Place cookies on a silpat or parchment covered baking sheet, leaving about 1” between cookies.
  6. Bake in preheated oven for 8-12 minutes, until just lightly golden. Be careful no to overbake, cookies should be crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside.

NOTES:

If you have almonds and a method to grind them, such as a food processor, go ahead and make fresh almond flour! Be careful not to overgrind, you don’t want the almonds to heat up and the oil to start to escape, resulting in almond butter. If you prefer other extracts, go ahead and play around with other flavors; vanilla, orange, lemon, coconut, etc. This recipe, if you go by weight instead of imperial measurements, is very easy to modify or double, triple, halve, etc.! You can see that the ratio of almond flour to sugar is 1:1: essentially all you have to do is mix together equal weights of almond flour and sugar, with just enough egg whites to bind them together easily and a touch of extract for flavor. Voila. These cookies have many variants and shapes and are often piped with candied cherries on top. I’m not a huge candied fruit person, and so I found a simple recipe and omitted the piping for one of the simpler almond cookie methods, rolling in powdered sugar and decorating with almonds.

Calories

110.04

Fat (grams)

5.24

Sat. Fat (grams)

0.40

Carbs (grams)

14.38

Fiber (grams)

1.31

Net carbs

13.07

Sugar (grams)

12.51

Protein (grams)

2.76

Cholesterol (grams)

0.00
Nutritional information is approximate.
Created using The Recipes Generator
2019-05-13+15.17.27-2.jpg

Navigating the Italian Flour Section - FARINA part 1

IMG_0730.jpg

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Farina in Italia

You’ve recently moved to Italy, still walking around completely starry-eyed from the beauty of the country, and are about to go grocery shopping because you realize, unfortunately, you can’t order pizza every night. So you decide to make it at home, crust and all. (Sneaky, aren’t you?) When you arrive in the flour section, you realize that it’s going to be a touch more than just translating “flour” to “farina” and trying to figure out which ones are all-purpose, cake flour, and bread flour. Instead, you find not only types of flour, but numbers to boot. What does it all mean? How are you supposed to use flour in Italy?

Or maybe you’ve lived in Italy for awhile and have been experimenting with the different flours with results ranging from baked goods turning out great, turning out awful, or turning out…different. This was me the first year of my life in Italy. Add on top of that ovens that don’t have temperature gauges, are strange sizes, or only cook from the bottom, you get some interesting results. Can’t I just buy a dang bag of all-purpose flour without having to figure out all the factors in this Italy baking equation?!? No, Jenny. No you cannot.

After talking to people (is there therapy for bakers? Can that be a thing?) and other expats here, reading many articles online, and of course my own many trials and error, hopefully this post will help demystify the flour section a bit for you! Reading this blog post, which is part 2, on the six categories of wheat will also help you, as some of that will then be helpful to understand (or translate) in Italian. Let’s start with a quick Italian flour cheat sheet, then keep reading to understand the properties of the Italian flour better.

Italian Flour Baking Cheat Sheet

  • For cookies, bars, cakes/cupcakes, biscuits, scones, or anything that needs a tender crumb, use Farina di grano tenero, 00. This is your “cake flour.” Nobody wants a chewy cake.

  • For bread, I recommend starting off with Farina di Manitoba, grano tenero, 0; this is similar to standard American bread flour. As you progress, you can start to add in Farina di grano duro, or Semola Rimacinata di grano duro. These flours will have a different feel and look to them as you knead your bread and in the final product, which is why I recommend starting out with just a small portion, around 25% of the total flour, in your recipes until you know how they act.

  • For every day needs you can buy one bag of Farina di grano tenero, 00 and one bag of Farina di Manitoba, grano tenero, 0 or Farina di grano duro and mix them together to make your own homemade all-purpose flour.

Farina Explained

Grano Duro and Grano Tenero

Hard wheat and soft wheat, or as they are known here in Italy, grano duro and grano tenero, will be written on just about every bag of standard flour.

Breads and pastas usually use grano duro, or hard wheat, because of the higher gluten content. Most sweets and cakes use soft flour or grano tenero. Keep in mind however that there are some breads made with soft flour, as you will find in the bakery section at your local grocery store, or a combo of both soft and hard flour.

Flour Grinds: 00, 0, 1, 2

This is pretty straightforward: The smaller the number, the finer the flour. And in your local grocery store, 00 and 0 will be the most common by far. They don’t have every variety of flour in every grind, so the work is mostly already done for you. If you know you want a soft/grano tenero, you’ll probably find only 0 and 00. You won’t have to decide between a soft/grano tenero 00, 0, 1, or 2.

Semola and Semola Rimacinata

Semola, also know as pasta flour or sometimes semolina in the States, comes from durum wheat and has a yellowish hue. It is usually grown in the spring and is the hardest of all wheat, which makes it ideal for pasta and bread making. In Italy it comes in two primary forms: Semola and Semola Rimacinata (reground, or twice ground, making it finer). Semola is used for eggless pasta and Semola Rimacinata is used for egg pasta.

Farina di Manitoba

Named after the Canadian province of Manitoba, this is the “bread flour” of Italy. This one always threw me for a loop, because it is a grano tenero, yet has a high gluten content. Because of its unusual characteristics, it is often categorized as a “special” flour. It is often used in the fine grind of 0 and is great for breads that require long-leavening periods, such as French Baguettes, pizza, and breads that use natural yeast or madre lievito. Read more about Manitoba Flour here.

Farina per Pizza, Pasta, etc.

Because Italy is the land of pizza, pasta, and bread, you will find plenty of bags of pre-mixed wheat varieties that are supposed to be perfect for rustic breads, or focaccia, or pizza, or pasta. I’ve never bought any of these because I’ve been preoccupied with figuring out how to use all the other flours, but I’m sure they’re great for their specific purposes!

Farina e Lievito

This would be the equivalent of the self-raising flour in the States. I don’t use this in the States nor in Italy, but I’ve read that it works well here! You could also make your own, adding 1 1/2 tsp of baking powder and 1/2 tsp salt per cup (120g) of flour. (I recommend using baking powder from the States as I’ve heard that the Italian baking powder/lievito in polvere does strange things.) I would use farina di grano tenero 00 if you’re planning on making biscuits or cookies.

Specialty Flours

There are also many specialty flours here to inspire your baking or aid your gluten-free needs. Some worth noting are saraceno (buckwheat), farina di riso (rice flour), farina di mais (cornmeal), farina d’avena (oat flour), teff, farina di ceci (chickpea/garbanzo bean flour), among others.

Happy baking and good luck with the farina Italiana and finicky ovens!

Pumpkin Pudding

IMG_5018.JPG

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Fall is coming fall is coming! Or, autumn is coming autumn is coming! Either way, I’m excited. I love the changing of seasons and the different nostalgias and expectations that come with each one. Living in Italy, the nostalgia is a little bit stronger. Autumn is still autumn, but the changes are a little less distinct, and the comfort of knowing where to pick out the best pumpkins and buy the best apple cider is not something I have down pat yet. It’s not even that easy, finding the new places to do the things you’ve always done, because some things aren’t done here, or at least not in the magnitude they are in the States. Pumpkins will be few and far between, unless you’re lucky enough to stumble upon some markets that have the mini gourds; apple cider is practically nonexistent; trick-or-treating happens, but most Italians wear scary costumes instead of characters; the leaf change is not the brilliant red, orange, and yellows like in Michigan, but more of a subtle green-to-yellow with the occasional leaves fluttering down. Despite the differences with what I grew up with, there are still oodles of things I love to do to make my home fall-y and to welcome the chilly evenings. Lighting candles, brewing tea, pulling out the fuzzy socks and sweaters (even if I’d be sweating if I actually tried to wear them yet) and baking and eating lots of fall goodies that include pumpkin, cinnamon, and spices, breads, soups, and hearty autumn recipes.

Now that I’m officially feeling ready for fall after dwelling in those thoughts, what are we making? Pumpkin Pudding! It’s like pumpkin pie, but without all the fuss of the crust. This is great to make in the time leading up to Thanksgiving, because you’re not ruining your appetite for pumpkin pie (you can’t call it pie if it doesn’t have a crust, therefore, totally different) while not wasting time NOT eating pumpkin. Oh, and so, so easy.

Recipe from my mama


Pumpkin Pudding

IMG_5023.JPG

Serves: 4-6

Ingredients:

  • 15 oz / 425g pumpkin purée

  • 2/3 cup / 132g sugar

  • 1/2 tsp / 2.5g salt

  • 1 tsp / 5g cinnamon

  • 1/2 tsp / 2.5g ginger

  • 1/4 tsp / 1g cloves

  • 1 cup / 237g milk of choice

Directions:

Oven 375F / 190C. Lightly greased 8x8in / 20x20cm baking pan.

  1. Mix all ingredients in a bowl until smooth.

  2. Pour into prepared pan; bake for 20-25 minutes in preheated oven until edges are bubbling.

Jenny’s Notes:

  • To dress this lovely and simple dessert up you can top it with confectioner’s sugar or crumbled cookies such as shortbread or Nilla Wafers, or serve with ice cream and/or whipped cream.

  • This recipe is gluten free, vegan (if you use a milk substitute like coconut or almond), and probably many of the other diet fads that I can’t quite keep track of. Eat up!

American
Yield: 4-6
Author:

Pumpkin Pudding

Like pumpkin pie but without the hassle of the crust. Gluten-free and can easily be made vegan.
prep time: 10 Mcook time: 25 Mtotal time: 35 M

ingredients:

  • 15 oz / 425g pumpkin purée
  • 2/3 cup / 132g sugar
  • 1/2 tsp / 2.5g salt
  • 1 tsp / 5g cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp / 2.5g ginger
  • 1/4 tsp / 1g cloves
  • 1 cup / 237g milk of choice

instructions:

How to cook Pumpkin Pudding

  1. Oven 375F / 190C. Lightly greased 8x8in / 20x20cm baking pan.
  2. Mix all ingredients in a bowl until smooth.
  3. Pour into prepared pan; bake for 20-25 minutes in preheated oven until edges are bubbling.

NOTES:

To dress this lovely and simple dessert up you can top it with confectioner’s sugar or crumbled cookies such as shortbread or Nilla Wafers, or serve with ice cream and/or whipped cream. This recipe is gluten free, vegan (if you use a milk substitute like coconut or almond), and probably many of the other diet fads that I can’t quite keep track of. Eat up!

Calories

198.32

Fat (grams)

1.49

Sat. Fat (grams)

0.88

Carbs (grams)

45.81

Fiber (grams)

3.85

Net carbs

41.97

Sugar (grams)

36.49

Protein (grams)

3.31

Sodium (milligrams)

279.59

Cholesterol (grams)

4.74
Nutritional information is approximate. Based on 4 servings.
Created using The Recipes Generator
The slowly melting confectioner’s sugar…

The slowly melting confectioner’s sugar…




Chia Persimmon Pudding (Vegan)

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I had never eaten a persimmon before living in Italy.  I probably couldn't have even picked it out from a line up of fruit.  But if you asked me, of course I would want to try a persimmon!  I had heard good things about them, especially the elusive "persimmon pudding."  

I used to go the market several times a week for my fruit and vegetables, one of my favorite weekly errands.  It was a large market, the ground floor of the Mercato Centrale if you’ve been there, with lots of vendors, but there was this dear old man that always had the best tomatoes and lettuce.  He would say "Ciao, bella," shake my hand, and always round the price down for me.  He also had this habit of sneaking in a fruit or vegetable that I hadn't ordered.  Whether that was a sweet gesture or a marketing strategy, I may never know.  One day, after getting my usual tomatoes, I arrived home to find this strange object that looked curiously like an orange tomato, but was most definitely not.  So....squishy and lacking that earthy, pungent, tomato vine smell.  After a little research, I found I had in my possession a kaki!  Okay, now what is a kaki?  

After a little more research, I found that kaki is what the Italians call persimmons. Sweet, mysterious persimmons.  Now...how to eat it?  I quickly realized they are like jelly on the inside when ripe, and it's only the skin that holds it together.  If that skin breaks, you have a real mess if you weren't prepared with a bowl or your mouth beneath it.  I ate that first one in hurry, before it all dripped from my hands onto the floor. 

From then on I bought them in packs and beautiful things happened, including various versions of persimmon pudding.  Below is a raw and vegan version of the Persimmon Pudding.  Makes for a great dessert, snack, or breakfast!  Kaki on.  

Recipe adapted from Blissful Basil.


*Note: Make the Chia Pudding the day before you want to eat the pudding, as it takes at least 8 hours to set up.  

Chia Persimmon Pudding

Serves 4

Ingredients:

For the Chia Pudding Layer

  • 2 cups / 474g unsweetened coconut milk or milk of choice

  • generous 1/2 cup / 90g chia seeds

  • 3 Tbsp / 60g maple syrup or honey

  • 2 tsp / 9g vanilla extract

  • 1/2 tsp / 1g cinnamon

  • pinch of cardamom

For the Persimmon Pudding Layer

  • 3 ripe persimmons

  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon

Directions:

You’ll need 4 small (about 12 oz), clear glasses or bowls.

Make the Chia Pudding

  1. In a medium bowl whisk together milk, chia seeds, maple syrup, vanilla, cinnamon, and cardamom.  

  2. Cover and refrigerate overnight or at least 8 hours.  

Make the Persimmon Pudding

  1. Remove the stems from the persimmons and place in a food processor or blender.  Add the cinnamon and blend until smooth.  

  2. Spoon about scant 1/4 cup Persimmon Pudding into the bottom of each glass.  Top with a scant 1/4 cup Chia Pudding.  Repeat layers until both puddings are gone.  Should make three layers of each, or 6 layers total in each glass. Top with additional cinnamon, if desired.

Jenny's Notes:

  • You'll want your persimmons to be very ripe and very soft all the way through; they should be bursting when you try to remove the stems.

  • Persimmons are a great source of vitamin A, vitamin C, and high in fiber.  

vegan, raw, no bake, chia pudding, persimmon pudding, dairy free, gluten free, refined sugar free
American
Yield: 4
Author:

Chia Persimmon Pudding (Vegan)

Layers of spiced coconut milk chia pudding and juicy persimmons are a simple, vegan, dairy-free, gluten, raw, etc. dessert, breakfast, or snack.
prep time: 15 Mcook time: total time: 15 M

ingredients:

For the Chia Pudding Layer
  • 2 cups / 474g unsweetened coconut milk or milk of choice
  • generous 1/2 cup / 90g chia seeds
  • 3 Tbsp / 60g maple syrup or honey
  • 2 tsp / 9g vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp / 1g cinnamon
  • pinch of cardamom
For the Persimmon Pudding Layer
  • 3 ripe persimmons
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon

instructions:

How to cook Chia Persimmon Pudding (Vegan)

Make the Chia Pudding
  1. *Note: Make the Chia Pudding the day before you want to eat the pudding, as it takes at least 8 hours to set up. 
  2. In a medium bowl whisk together milk, chia seeds, maple syrup, vanilla, cinnamon, and cardamom.
  3. Cover and refrigerate overnight or at least 8 hours.
Make the Persimmon Pudding
  1. You’ll need 4 small (about 12 oz), clear glasses or bowls.
  2. Remove the stems from the persimmons and place in a food processor or blender. Add the cinnamon and blend until smooth.
  3. Spoon about scant 1/4 cup Persimmon Pudding into the bottom of each glass. Top with a scant 1/4 cup Chia Pudding. Repeat layers until both puddings are gone. Should make three layers of each, or 6 layers total in each glass. Top with additional cinnamon, if desired.

NOTES:

You'll want your persimmons to be very ripe and very soft all the way through; they should be bursting when you try to remove the stems.

Calories

266.73

Fat (grams)

9.61

Sat. Fat (grams)

2.90

Carbs (grams)

43.72

Fiber (grams)

12.46

Net carbs

35.76

Sugar (grams)

25.11

Protein (grams)

4.73

Sodium (milligrams)

12.43

Cholesterol (grams)

0.00
Nutritional information is approximate.
Created using The Recipes Generator

Enjoy your Kaki Pudding!

Homemade Marzipan

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Marzipan!  That weird almond dessert that no one seems to really talk about in America, but people rave about in Europe.  It really should catch on in the US, because:

  1. It tastes like almonds and is delicious

  2. It's easy to make

  3. It's fun to work with and versatile

 It can be used as filling or toppings of baked goods, and it can also be colored and molded into shapes or rolled out and used to cover cakes in a fondant fashion.   Fondant has it's place, but I would rather eat a marzipan covered cake any day over a fondant cake.  

marzipan.jpg

You may have seen almond paste sold in stores, and although almond paste and marzipan are made from the same ingredients, they are not usually equal.  This depends on what part of the world you call home.  In many European countries the terms marzipan and almond paste are interchangeable, in other parts, such as the US, they are different products.  If they are different, for example in the US, marzipan is smoother, sweeter, made with egg whites and sometimes rose water, whereas almond pasted is less sweet and has a coarser texture.  When I first started dabbling in marzipan, I used almond paste as a base to make marzipan, but now I prefer to make it from scratch.

It's so simple, as you can see for yourself!

Recipe adapted from La Cuochina Sopraffina


Marzipan

Makes about 280g of marzipan, or about 10 oz. 

Ingredients:

  • 125g / 1 1/3 cup almond flour or almonds

  • 125g / 1 cup powdered sugar

  • 1 egg white (about 30g)

  • 6 drops almond extract

  • 3 drops rose water, optional

Directions:

  1. If using whole almonds, place in a food processor and process until finely ground.   

  2. Process almond flour, powdered sugar, egg white, almond extract, and rose water until a thick dough forms.  If the consistency is too thin, add more powdered sugar.  

  3. Turn marzipan out onto a surface lightly dusted with powdered sugar, knead for a few seconds.  Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate until needed, or freeze.  

Jenny's Notes:

  • This recipe is very simple to adjust to the amount you need, especially if you scale/weigh your ingredients.  As you may have noticed, the almond flour to powdered sugar is a 1:1 ratio.  

  • If you are worried about eating or serving raw egg whites, be sure to buy pasteurized egg whites from the store.   

marzipan, almond paste, European sweets, marzipan fruit, fondant, gluten-free, dairy-free, raw
Yield: 10
Author:

Homemade Marzipan

Marzipan is a versatile and tasty European almond sweet, often paired with chocolate, molded into fruit shapes, or used to cover cakes in place of fondant. Gluten and dairy free.

ingredients:

  • 125g / 1 1/3 cup almond flour or almonds
  • 125g / 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 egg white (about 30g)
  • 6 drops almond extract
  • 3 drops rose water, optional

instructions:

How to cook Homemade Marzipan

  1. If using whole almonds, place in a food processor and process until finely ground.
  2. Process almond flour, powdered sugar, egg white, almond extract, and rose water until a thick dough forms. If the consistency is too thin, add more powdered sugar.
  3. Turn marzipan out onto a surface lightly dusted with powdered sugar, knead for a few seconds. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate until needed, or freeze.

NOTES:

This recipe is very simple to adjust to the amount you need, especially if you scale/weigh your ingredients. As you may have noticed, the almond flour to powdered sugar is a 1:1 ratio. If you are worried about eating or serving raw egg whites, be sure to buy pasteurized egg whites from the store.

Calories

131.15

Fat (grams)

7.44

Sat. Fat (grams)

0.57

Carbs (grams)

14.21

Fiber (grams)

1.86

Net carbs

12.35

Sugar (grams)

11.43

Protein (grams)

3.51

Sodium (milligrams)

6.80

Cholesterol (grams)

0.00
Nutritional information is approximate. Based on 10 servings.
Created using The Recipes Generator

Ratatouille

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Rat patootie.  Ratatouille.  Only one of my favorite Pixar films AND one of my favorite foods.  A cartoon that takes place in Paris, is all about cooking, French accents, chefs, crispy baguettes....ah yes.  Never fails to make me hungry for cheese, saffron (although let's be honest, I've never actually had saffron that I am aware of, even though I bought some in Florence for a steal - UPDATE: as of 2018 I’ve now had saffron and learned how to tell if it’s real!) bread, and maybe some wine.  From the day I first saw it, in the theatre in New York City with my mom back in 2008, I wanted to make ratatouille.  I didn't know what it was before the movie, but Pixar animation made it look delicious.  

After some research and googling, I soon learned that there were many different versions of ratatouille, originally a hearty peasant dish from the region of Provence, France.  (Remember Igor's flashback to his mother's cooking and country home when he firsts tastes the ratatouille?) One source likened it to stew in America.  What kind of stew you ask?  This is exactly the point, as every region and cook in America has their own version of stew, and it can vary widely.  Apparently this is also true of ratatouille.  

After making this many times over the years, I came down to two favorite recipes.  

One involved sautéing the eggplant first for 10 minutes with the spices, then adding it to the bottom of the baking dish. The remaining vegetables were then layered over the eggplant, with a sprinkling of parmesan cheese between each layer of vegetables.

The second involved spreading a seasoned tomato sauce in the bottom of the baking dish and then alternating the vegetables around the dish in a pretty spiral, like it’s served in the film.

I could never decide which version I wanted to make, so finally I combined the two for the best of both worlds.  I omitted sautéing the eggplant, kept the tomato sauce on the bottom, and kept the cheese and the pretty spiral.

That combination is what follows.

Looking for an oval baking dish? I used this pan and couldn’t love it more for casseroles and baking! It’s prettier than a 9x13 rectangular pan and is so easy to clean, even the baked on cheese from this dish!

That combination is what follows.

Looking for an oval baking dish? I used this pan and couldn’t love it more for casseroles and baking! It’s prettier than a 9x13 rectangular pan and is so easy to clean, even the baked on cheese from this dish!


Ratatouille

Serves 4-6

Ingredients:

IMG_4690.JPG
  • 1 1/2 cups / 355g tomato purée or sauce (unseasoned)

  • 1/2  onion, finely chopped

  • 2 garlic cloves, minced

  • 1 tsp fresh oregano or 1/4 tsp dried

  • 1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes

  • 2 Tbsp / 28g olive oil

  • 8 oz / 240g mushrooms, thinly sliced

  • 1 medium eggplant

  • 1 medium zucchini

  • 1 medium yellow squash

  • 1 bell pepper, optional

  • 1 cup / 110g shredded parmesan cheese

  • fresh or dried thyme

  • salt and pepper, to taste

Directions:

Oven 375°F / 177°C.  Ungreased oval baking dish, about 10in / 25cm long, or 9x13in / 23x33cm pan. 

  1. Add tomato purée to a small bowl.  Stir in onion, garlic, oregano, red pepper flakes, 1 tablespoon of oil, salt, and pepper.  Spread in the bottom of the baking dish.

  2. Layer sliced mushrooms over tomato sauce.

  3. Using a mandolin or chopping by hand, slice eggplant, zucchini, yellow squash, and bell pepper into 1/4 inch slices.

  4. Working in concentric circles, alternate and arrange the vegetables over the mushrooms.  You may have a small handful of misfit vegetables left over.  Save for another use (stir fry!) or lift a layer of your vegetables in the pan and sneak the excess underneath where the eye can't see. 

  5. Drizzle vegetables with remaining tablespoon of oil, season with salt and pepper, and sprinkle cheese evenly over top.  Sprinkle thyme over cheese. 

  6. Bake for 45-55 minutes or until tomato sauce is bubbling around edges of the pan and vegetables are tender when pierced with a knife.  

  7. Eat as is, or served over quinoa, rice, couscous, or with some crusty French bread!

Jenny's Notes:

  • 1 6oz can / 170g tomato paste mixed with 3/4 cup / 170g water can be substituted for the tomato purée.

  • Sometimes I omit the red pepper flakes and use a spicy oil in place of the plain olive oil.

  • If you want to save time assembling the vegetables you can layer them instead of alternating and making circles.  i.e. layer all the eggplant slices, then squash, zucchini, etc.  

  • You could add an extra layer of cheese between the mushrooms and vegetables.  

  • Feel free to add or substitute vegetables! 

Hello, World!

ratatouille, Pixar Ratatouille, thyme, eggplant, zucchini, yellow squash, vegetables, healthy, gluten-free, parmesan cheese, tomato, mushrooms, peasant dish
Lunch, Dinner, Side Dish
French
Yield: 4-6 servings
Author:

Ratatouille

A classic French peasant dish made famous by the Pixar animated film "Ratatouille." This version has a tomato base, plenty of eggplant, zucchini, squash, and mushrooms, with thyme and parmesan cheese. Naturally gluten-free.
prep time: 40 Mcook time: 55 Mtotal time: 95 M

ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups / 355g tomato purée or sauce (unseasoned)
  • 1/2 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tsp fresh oregano or 1/4 tsp dried
  • 1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
  • 2 Tbsp / 28g olive oil
  • 8 oz / 240g mushrooms, thinly sliced
  • 1 medium eggplant
  • 1 medium zucchini
  • 1 medium yellow squash
  • 1 bell pepper, optional
  • 1 cup / 110g shredded parmesan cheese
  • fresh or dried thyme
  • salt and pepper, to taste

instructions:

How to cook Ratatouille

  1. Oven 375°F / 177°C. Ungreased oval baking dish, about 10in / 25cm long, or 9x13in / 23x33cm pan.
  2. Add tomato purée to a small bowl. Stir in onion, garlic, oregano, red pepper flakes, 1 tablespoon of oil, salt, and pepper. Spread in the bottom of the baking dish.
  3. Layer sliced mushrooms over tomato sauce.
  4. Using a mandolin or chopping by hand, slice eggplant, zucchini, yellow squash, and bell pepper into 1/4 inch slices.
  5. Working in concentric circles, alternate and arrange the vegetables over the mushrooms. You may have a small handful of misfit vegetables left over. Save for another use (stir fry!) or lift a layer of your vegetables in the pan and sneak the excess underneath where the eye can't see.
  6. Drizzle vegetables with remaining tablespoon of oil, season with salt and pepper, and sprinkle cheese evenly over top. Sprinkle thyme over cheese.
  7. Bake for 45-55 minutes or until tomato sauce is bubbling around edges of the pan and vegetables are tender when pierced with a knife.
  8. Eat as is, or served over quinoa, rice, couscous, or with some crusty French bread!

NOTES:

1 6oz can / 170g tomato paste mixed with 3/4 cup / 170g water can be substituted for the tomato purée. Sometimes I omit the red pepper flakes and use a spicy oil in place of the plain olive oil. If you want to save time assembling the vegetables you can layer them instead of alternating and making circles. i.e. layer all the eggplant slices, then squash, zucchini, etc. You could add an extra layer of cheese between the mushrooms and vegetables. Feel free to add or substitute vegetables!

Calories

319.11

Fat (grams)

15.92

Sat. Fat (grams)

6.00

Carbs (grams)

33.75

Fiber (grams)

9.15

Net carbs

24.60

Sugar (grams)

15.12

Protein (grams)

16.35

Sodium (milligrams)

571.85

Cholesterol (grams)

19.80
Nutritional information is approximate and based on 4 servings.
Created using The Recipes Generator
IMG_4693.JPG

Healthy Chocolate Chip Cookie Pie

Some people are adverse to the word healthy.  Don't be one of those people.  Oh, but what I would give to have a little slice of this pie right now, healthy or not!  Actually, I wouldn't give much.  But that doesn't mean I don't want it.  Yes, Whole30January is still happening.  It has gotten easier in recent days...but you can ask my mom who is doing it with me if that's a true statement.  So here is yet another recipe you can make and eat in my stead.  Please, for my sanity.  Just don't tell me how delicious it is.  I like to ask the people around me who are eating delicious nonWhole30food to tell me how disgusting it is.  It almost make me feel better.  Won't you be glad when Whole30January is over so you won't have to hear any more of my sardonic complaining?  Yes ok, on to this nutritious pie that somehow tastes like dessert!

Healthy Chocolate Chip Cookie Pie

12-16 servings

Ingredients:

  • 2 cans white beans or garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed (navy, great northern, cannellini)

  • 1 cup oats or ground flax seeds

  • 1/4 cup applesauce or oil

  • 3 Tbsp oil (if you are not using applesauce, that would be a scant 1/2 cup oil total)

  • 2 tsp vanilla extract

  • 1/2 tsp baking soda

  • 2 tsp baking powder

  • 1/2 tsp salt

  • 1/2 cup brown sugar

  • 3 tsp stevia powder

  • 1 cup chocolate chips or chunks, plus more for sprinkling

Directions:

Oven 350 Fahrenheit.  Greased 8 or 9 inch pie pan.

Combine all ingredients in a food processor and mix until smooth.  Stir in chocolate chips. 

Scrape dough into prepared pan and sprinkle with additional chocolate chips. 

Bake in oven for 30-35 minutes.  Allow to cool before slicing and serving. 

Jenny's Notes:

This recipe is gluten-free, vegan, dairy-free, and nut free.

I adapted this recipe from Chocolate Covered Katie.  She is very good about giving lots of options if you are gluten-free, vegan, have a nut allergy, etc.  I simply narrowed it down to my favorite combination of ingredients from her options, and preferred amount of sweetener so that it tastes like dessert without giving in to your sugar dragon too much. 

Feel free to add more sugar if you feel the need! 

If for whatever reason your batter comes out too thick or thin, (didn't drain the beans as much, the applesauce brand you use is soupier, etc.) you can add more oats or flax to thicken, or applesauce, maple syrup, or milk to thin. 

Adapted from Chocolate Covered Katie.

Pumpkin Coconut Bars (Vegan)

One week until Thanksgiving!  'Tis the season for baking too much, cooking too much, and eating too much.  But sometimes you don't want to wait until Thanksgiving for a slice of pumpkin pie, yet you don't want to ruin it, or sometimes you just want something of a lighter nature that you can feel good about eating.  The upcoming season of delicious foods and feasting does not mean that you should be eating plain lettuce, carrot sticks, and rutabaga all day to "save up" for the holidays.  In fact, if it's not delicious, then you shouldn't eat it.  I believe food is a good gift and should always be enjoyed, and never suffered through.  If it's not delicious, then something isn't being done right.  Nutritious can be delicious.  But delicious does not always have to be nutritious.  Everything in moderation.  Do you follow me?  Well, never mind.  Now for something that falls into the three most important categories: Delicious, Nutritious, AND Festive. 


Pumpkin Coconut Energy Bars

Makes 8-10 Bars

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup pitted dates

  • 1/2 cup nuts of choice, raw and unsalted

  • 2 Tbsp pumpkin seeds or chia seeds

  • 2 Tbsp unsweetened shredded or flaked coconut

  • 1/4 cup oats

  • 1 tsp cinnamon

  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg

  • 1/4 tsp cloves

  • 1/4 tsp ginger

  • 1/4 cup / 60g pumpkin puree

Directions:

Combine all ingredients in a food processor.  Blend for several minutes, until slightly chunky or completely smooth, as you wish.

Line an 8x8 in baking dish with parchment paper.  Lightly sprinkle with oats or coconut to prevent mixture from sticking too much.

Scoop mixture into dish and carefully spread to the edges.  Use lightly oiled or wet hands to help this process.  Sprinkle with more coconut, pumpkin seeds, or both.

Place in the freezer for a couple hours, then slice into bars.  Store in at room temperature, in the fridge, or in the freezer, depending on how firm you want the bars to be. 

Jenny's Notes:

I used a combination of almonds, pecans, hazelnuts, cashews, and Brazil nuts.  Why use only 1 or 2 varieties of nuts when you can use 5?? Haha


Peanut Butter Energy Bites

What is energy, and why do these bites have so much?  I'm not about to give you a lesson in physics, I'll leave that to Iggy Azalea, but basically they are filled with good calories (energy) from the nutrients and natural sugar.  If there is the word energy in the title, it probably just means it's high calorie.  But if they were called Peanut Butter Calorie Bites, who would make them?  Calories get such a bad rap, poor things.  Calories, I can't liiive without yooooou!  Literally. (If you just sang that to the tune of "Without You" by Badfinger, congratulations.  Me too.)  So if you need a boost of energy or a quick pick-me-up, these are your friends.  Also great if you are about to expend a lot of energy, like going for a run or playing Twister.  They are small but pack a punch, so they don't make you feel too full.  

Peanut Butter Energy Bites

Makes about 15 1-in. diameter balls

Ingredients:

A mass of energy...

A mass of energy...

  • 1 cup oats
  • 2/3 cup flaked or shredded coconut, unsweetened
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup wheat germ, chia seeds, or ground flax seed
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup mini chocolate chips

Directions:

In a medium bowl, combine all ingredients using a spoon or your hands.  If dough seems too dry, add more honey or peanut butter; if they seem too wet, add more oats or wheat germ. 

Form into balls and store in the fridge or freezer for when you want a quick snack.

Jenny's Notes:

For vegan bites, be sure to use diary free chips and replace honey with maple syrup.

For gluten-free bites, make sure your oats are certified gluten-free and use chia or flax seeds instead of wheat germ. 

Get creative with these bites, substitute or add to the chocolate chips with your favorite dried fruit or nuts, or even types of cereal, such as grape-nuts, puffed rice, granola, etc.

Adapted from Gimme Some Oven

No-Bake Pumpkin Date Bars

Happy Wednesday/Buon Mercoledì!! Still didn't quite make the "Baking Tuesday" but today I shall dub "Baking Wednesday."  And it shall be good.  And involve all things healthy disguised as dessert (did I just lose you? Don't go away just yet, I don't put gross food on my blog!), chocolate (there, now you'll stay), pumpkin, spice, and everything nice! Life is too short to eat and drink poorly.

"La vita è troppo breve per mangiare e bere male" - Eataly

These bars feature a creamy, pumpkin chocolate chip filling atop a wonderfully soft and chewy-sweet date crust .  They can easily be made gluten-free, vegan, and dairy-free.  And you can eat them anytime for breakfast or a healthy snack (to be pronounced snaaaaaack with the Italian hand going) because there is no refined sugar (except from the chocolate chips), protein from the beans, fiber from the oat flour and dates, antioxidants from the maple syrup and spices, and lots of vitamins and minerals from the pumpkin and above mentioned ingredients!  You guys, this is such a win-win.  In fact, these bars might help you not die.  That last claim is not backed by science. 

No-Bake Pumpkin Date Bars

Ingredients:

For the Date Crust

  • 1 cup packed dates
  • 1 cup raw almonds
  • pinch of salt

For the Pumpkin Chocolate-Chip Filling

  • 1 15 oz can white beans (navy beans, great northern, etc.)
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 cup oat flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp cloves
  • 1/4 tsp ginger
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup packed dates
  • 5 Tbsp maple syrup or honey
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2/3 cup semi-sweet mini chocolate chips, plus extra for topping

Directions:

Make the Date Crust

In a food processor combine dates, almonds, and salt.  Pulse until the almonds are finely ground and everything comes together into a soft, crumbly dough that sticks together when pressed between your fingers.  If after a few minutes the crust doesn't come together, add a few more dates.

Spread and press crust into a 8x8 or 9x9 in square pan.  Clean food processor, you are about to use it again.

Make the Pumpkin Chocolate-Chip Filling

In the food processor, combine all the filling ingredients except for chocolate chips.  Blend until smooth.  Scrape filling into a bowl and stir in chocolate chips.  Spread over crust and top with more chocolate chips. 

Cover and refrigerate for two hours before slicing and serving.  Of course, that's in an ideal world, if you just can't wait, it will be okay.  The center will just be softer.  (And I know this because...)

Jenny's Notes:

Vegan Version: Simply make sure your chocolate chips are vegan. 

Gluten-free: Use certified gluten-free oats.

Dairy-free: Make sure your chocolate chips are dairy-free.  Easy, no?

Don't have oat flour? Make your own! Put the amount of oat flour you need of oats in a food processor or blender, plus a little extra, and blend until finely ground into flour! Tada.

Regarding all spices ever, they should be ground for recipes.  I will indicate only if they should be whole.  For the most part I try to reduce redundancy, since most spices come pre-ground.  For optimal flavor I would recommend buying spices whole and grinding them as needed. A labor of love, but the flavor is so fresh.

If you like sweeter desserts, or are serving a crowd that isn't used to "healthy" desserts, you could always add an extra 1/2 cup or so of brown sugar to the filling.

Maple syrup made by my dad, home-ground oat flour, dry beans, homemade vanilla extract

Maple syrup made by my dad, home-ground oat flour, dry beans, homemade vanilla extract

Adapted from Imma Eat That

Healthy Chocolate Chip Banana Cookies

What has chocolate and oats in it, tastes like a cookie, but is sneakily nutritious for you?  These cookies!  Yay for things that taste good and are healthy simultaneously.  And don't forget fun to make!  So many wins, I want to make these all over again.  Instead, I shall have just as much fun writing out the recipe for you. 

Chocolate Chip Banana Cookies

Makes about 30 cookies

Ingredients:

  • about 15 dates (if medjool, you'll need less)
  • 1/4 cup milk almond milk (or milk of choice)
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter
  • 1 small very ripe banana, mashed
  • 1 egg
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 12 oz bag semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans (optional)

Directions:

Oven 350 Fahrenheit.

In a blender or food processor, blend dates until very finely chopped.  Slowly add milk and continue to blend until a smooth paste forms.  If using a food processor, be extra careful adding the milk as it may splatter; food processors tend to not have as good of a seal as blenders.  

Add peanut butter, banana, egg, and vanilla to the date paste and beat well. 

In a separate bowl whisk together oats, baking soda, and salt.  Add to date mixture.

Stir in chocolate chips and pecans just until combined.  Refrigerate dough for 15 minutes. 

Drop by spoonful onto cookie sheets lined with parchment paper and bake for 12-15 minutes until edges start to turn lightly golden.  Allow cookies to cool and set a bit before removing from pan. 

Jenny's Notes:

These can easily be made vegan, dairy and/or gluten-free: Make a flax egg instead of a normal egg by adding 1 Tbsp flax powder to 3 Tbsp water, use vegan chocolate chips, use certified GF oats and vanilla extract.  Voila!  Now anyone can eat these delicious morels. 

Adapted from Veggies Don't Bite

Coconut Banana Breakfast Cookies

Everyone wants to eat cookies for breakfast.  And lunch.  And for a snack, and dinner, and second breakfastsies.  If you don't, then you might not want to read this post.  Just...leave quietly.  But before you go, these are no Chips Ahoy. (No judgment there, if that was your breakfast.  In fact, invite me over next time.)  These are delicious and nutritious and with no refined sugar.  Think bananas, coconut, pecans, and apricots with a light tough of maple syrup and oats.  Of course, I practically just gave you the whole ingredient list so let's just get baking, shall we?? 

Coconut Banana Breakfast Cookies

Makes about 15 cookies

Ingredients:

Directions:

  • *1 1/2 cups oats
  • 1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut or flakes
  • 1/2 cup coarsely chopped pecans
  • 1/4 cup coarsely chopped almonds
  • 1 Tbsp flax seeds
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup dried apricots, chopped
  • 3 very ripe bananas, mashed
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
  • 1 Tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Oven 350 Fahrenheit

In a medium bowl, stir together oats, coconut, pecans, flax, salt, and apricots.  Add the bananas, coconut oil, maple syrup, and vanilla until combined.  Spoon generous mounds onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or silpat. 

Bake 23-25 minutes, until lightly golden. 

Some raisins snuck into these ones

Some raisins snuck into these ones

Jenny's Notes:

Recipes like this are great because they can be so easily adapted to your tastes, or simply to change it up.  Feel free to use any kind of nuts you wish, or a combination of several, change up the dried fruit, or use honey instead of maple syrup.  I recommend also trying dried blueberries and dried cherries!

*Most recipes will list whether quick oats, rolled oats, or old-fashioned oats should be used.  You'll notice I don't specify unless I think the recipe really needs a specific kind of oat.  I've found that in most recipes the different kind of oats can be interchanged without affecting the quality of your product.  Just keep in mind that quick oats are more absorbent, so use slightly less than called for if substituting for old-fashioned or rolled, or slightly more rolled if substituting for quick.   

 

White Russian Tart

Mmmmm I love me a White Russian.  Or a Black Russian.  Or you can just give me the Kahlua.  But you know what I love more?  This tart.  Not to mention it is raw, gluten-free, refined-sugar free, and somehow delicious.  Nah I'm just kidding, there a lot of really delicious healthier desserts and foods out there, but the ones that aren't so much tend to get the attention and give the above labels a bad rap. 

When I'm experimenting and trying new recipes in the "healthy" department (as defined by trying to limit refined-sugars or flours, using a vegetable or bean or something that doesn't normally go in that there fudge brownie) I look for the 3 different categories of reactions from my tasters.  I tend to like some very strange things so I can't always judge by whether I like it or not...  Unsweetened cocoa powder by the spoonful, anyone??

  1. The category of "This is honest deliciousness."  When people ask for a recipe or have no idea that there are chickpeas or spinach powder hidden in what they're eating.  Something a normal or even picky eater would eat. 
  2. The category of "It's good for a healthy dessert!"  So it's palatable and they're not gagging, but most would still take a slice of cheesecake over it.  
  3. The category of "I would rather just eat a salad."  If I'm tempted to remedy the taste by adding cups and cups of maple syrup, then when that isn't strong enough, real sugar, it's probably beyond saving.  I know it's bad if I don't even like it.  No worries, those recipes won't come anywhere near this blog. 

This tart is a solid category 1.  Even my mom and brother approved this, and they keep me pretty honest when it comes to healthy desserts. 

I bounce back and forth between decadent desserts and healthier desserts.  I have a love and respect for both, and each have their place and time.  Some days it's honey, nuts, and coconut oil, and other days it's sugar, heavy whipping cream, and butter.  Variety is the spice of life.  Today, it's dates, avocado, and mascarpone.

White Russian Tart

Serves 8-12

Ingredients:

Crust

  • 1 1/2 cups almonds
  • 2 Tbsp unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 8-10 dates
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt

Chocolate Vodka Cream

  • 1/4 cup coconut oil (virgin, unrefined)
  • 1 Tbsp finely ground coffee beans
  • 1 large ripe avocado, peeled and sliced
  • 3 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp vodka
  • 1 tsp rum or Kahlua (of course the Kahlua option adds sugar)
  • 2 Tbsp maple syrup

Mascarpone Cream

  • 8 oz mascarpone cheese
  • 1 Tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Directions:

Make the Crust

In a food processor, combine almonds and coconut and pulse until small crumbles.  Add dates, vanilla, cocoa powder, and salt.  Process until well combined. 

Press into the bottom of a 8 or 9 inch spring-form pan or pie plate.

Make the Chocolate Vodka Cream

Heat coconut oil in small pan over low heat until liquefied.  Combine the melted coconut oil, coffee, avocado, cocoa powder, vodka, rum or Kahlua, and maple syrup in a food processor until smooth.  Stop and scrape down sides and bottom occasionally.  Spread over crust and place in freezer for about 30 minutes.

Make the Mascarpone Cream

Shortly before taking tart out of the freezer, combine mascarpone, maple syrup, and vanilla in a small bowl.  Take the tart out of the freezer and spread mascarpone mixture over it.  Place in fridge for about 2 hours before serving.   

Jenny's Notes:

This tart is not very sweet and really lets the mascarpone shine through.  However, if you or your guests prefer things a little on the sweeter side, feel free to add more maple syrup in either of the creams. 

Also, I like to use black cocoa powder in this recipe.  Sounds ghastly, but it's the stuff of Oreos.  (I didn't know the flavor of Oreo was supposed to be chocolate until I was an adult, but they get their unique flavor from black cocoa.)  If you can get your hands on it, it's really great.  I usually order it from Amazon. 

Adapted from The Clean Dish