Triple Chocolate Cookies

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Say what you will, but sometimes you just need a cookie. I have this feeling multiple times a day, especially after breakfast. I love a cookie after breakfast. I try not to do it around my kids because, you know, role modeling healthy eating habits and all, but man, a tasty homemade cookie after a savory breakfast is good living. These chocolaty, chewy drop cookies are just the ticket. I think I have some on the counter now. Excuse me, I feel a feeling coming on…
Triple Chocolate Cookies
(makes approximately 30 2-inch cookies)
1/2 cup butter (1 cube), melted
1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons brown sugar
1/4 cup sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 tablespoons milk3choc.cookies4
1/2 cup + 3 tablespoons white rice flour
1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons almond four
1/4 cup tapioca flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum
3 tablespoons cocoa
1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup white chocolate chips
In a stand mixer, combine melted butter, brown sugar, and sugar. Beat well, approximately 2-4 minutes, until smooth. Add egg, vanilla, and milk. Beat well until combined.
Add flours (rice, almond, and tapioca), baking soda, baking powder, salt, xanthan gum, and cocoa. Beat until well combined.
Add chocolate chips, semisweet and white, mix to combine. Now, let the batter rest for 30 minutes. It seems like a waste of time, I know, but honestly, it will make all the difference.
Heat oven to 350 degrees. Drop batter by spoonful onto an ungreased baking sheet. Bake 9-11 minutes – cookies will be slightly soft when done and better to err on the side of underdone than to cook them into crumbles.
Cookies will keep about 5 days in an airtight container, but you’ll probably eat them up faster than that, as you should.

 

Toast: Smoked Salmon and Asparagus

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I opened the fridge and a Tupperware full of cooked asparagus fell on my foot. It was obviously volunteering itself as my lunch so I accepted its sacrifice and set about figuring out what to do with it. Cooked asparagus isn’t your everyday leftover. It’s not like meatballs where you just reheat them and you’re good. Reheated asparagus is about as exciting as, well, reheated asparagus. My solution was, I freely admit, inspired. This little toast experiment was shocking in its deliciousness and has since become one of my most favorite excuses for cooking too much asparagus.

 

Smoked Salmon and Asparagus Toast

Bread of choice (mine was gluten free)
Mayonnaise
Cooked asparagus, at least 5 stalks, cut in half
Smoked salmon, at least 2 slices
Capers, 5-10 as preferred
Squeeze of lemon

Toast bread to desired toastiness. Spread with as much or as little mayonnaise as you like.

Arrange cut asparagus on bread in a single, or double, layer, as preferred. Lay sliced smoked salmon atop asparagus. Top with capers and a squeeze of fresh lemon.

Enjoy. Then go cook more asparagus for dinner so you can enjoy this little treat again tomorrow.

Simple Granola Balls

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“I’m hungry.”
“Mom, is there anything to eat?”
“I’m still hungry.”
“I need to eat.”
My children are bottomless pits. My son, in particular, seems insatiable lately. I want them to eat filling things so I don’t have to hear, “I’m hungry,” thirty times a day, but I’d like those things to be healthy and natural and tasty, too. My neighbor had these yummy granola balls in her fridge one afternoon and my kids gobbled them up like they had never before tasted food. I think they each ate three of them and I swear, I didn’t hear requests for food until dinnertime. A miracle, I tell you.
Honestly, I don’t know what I’m going to do when they become teenagers and the eating gets serious. Make a ton of these awesome granola balls, I suppose…
Simple Granola Balls
(makes 15-18 golf ball-sized balls)
1 cup old fashioned oats
2/3 cup unsweetened flaked coconut
1 tablespoon flaxmeal
1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup almond butter (peanut or other nut butters would work)
1/3 cup honey
2-3 tablespoons diced dates or raisins (optional)
Add all ingredients to a large bowl. Mix to combine. Cover and chill for approximately one hour.
Once chilled, roll large spoonfuls of oat mixture into balls. Refrigerate and enjoy at your leisure. These will keep for quite a while in an airtight container in the fridge, but don’t expect them to last long. They are too tasty and easy to eat!
P.S. – You can easily double or triple this recipe if you need a big batch of snacks to last you a while.

Spicy Jicama and Mango Slaw

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I recently introduced my kids to jicama. One liked it and repeatedly asked for more, one (barely) tolerated it dipped generously in hummus. Me, I like it. It occupies the same space as celery for me – basically crunchy water – but in a pleasant way. I thought it might make a nice base for a little slaw – a little sweet mango, a little tart lime juice, a few spicy spices, and of course, some crunchy water.

Spicy Jicama and Mango Slaw
(serves 8 with leftovers)
4 cups (about 1/2 a whole jicama) jicama, cut into matchsticks
3 cups (about 2 mangos) mango, cut into matchsticks
Cayenne pepper, for garnish

Dressing
1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice (about 1-2 large limes)
1 teaspoon Cholula hot sauce
Dash salt

Combine cut jicama and mango in a large, pretty bowl.

In a small bowl, combine lime juice, hot sauce, and salt. Mix well.

Pour dressing over jicama mixture and toss well. Garnish with a sprinkling of cayenne pepper. I find that the best way to garnish this salad is to sprinkle a bit of cayenne into your palm, them rub them together over the salad. This breaks down any larger chunks of the pepper and also saves you from accidentally dumping in too much. You just want a little red dusting over the top for effect, not an eye-watering spice-fest.

 

P.S. – Have you watched that video on how to use a glass to peel a mango? It’s life changing.

Zucchini Fritters

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I have found, through personal experience, that when a child claims not to like a certain vegetable, there are ways around it not involving tense standoffs. For example, if there is a way to turn that vegetable into a delicious little fried patty, said child is likely to change his or her mind. Now, I tend not to divulge the ingredients of my “fritters” when serving them – curiously, when children know the tasty little things in front of them are made of zucchini they  suddenly remember their dislike, so I suggest you do the same unless you have one (or more) of those rare creatures that eat vegetables willingly. Luck be with you…

Zucchini Fritters

2 medium zucchini, shredded (about 2 cups)
3 tablespoons cauliflower rice (optional)
1 egg
3 tablespoons almond flour*
2 tablespoons tapioca flour*
1 clove garlic, crushed
1/4 cup grated mozzarella cheese
Juice of 1/2 a lemon
Salt and pepper to taste
2-3 tablespoons olive oil, for frying
Lemon wedges, for garnish

*Both flours can easily be replaced with regular wheat flour. Use 4 tablespoons (total) wheat flour if replacing.

Roll shredded zucchini into a thin dishtowel and squeeze out as much liquid as possible. You can do this with paper towels, too, but they tend to tear so an old dishtowel will work better. Once you’ve removed as much moisture as possible, add zucchini to a large bowl.

Add cauliflower rice (if using), egg, flours, garlic, cheese, lemon juice, salt, and pepper to bowl and stir to combine.

Heat oil over medium heat in a large non-stick skillet. Working in batches, drop dollops of zucchini batter into hot oil using a large spoon. Use the back of the spoon to flatten the fritters into a pancake-like shape. Allow to cook, undisturbed, approximately 4-5 minutes per side.

Serve warm with lemon wedges. These little devils go very well with lamb chops and chicken, just don’t tell the zucchini haters in your circle what’s in them!

 

The Only Chocolate Sauce You Need

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There really isn’t much to say here. This is the only chocolate sauce you will ever need. Ever.
3 ounces unsweetened chocolate
2 tablespoons butter
2 cups powdered sugar
2/3 cup evaporated milk
Melt chocolate and butter in the top of a double boiler. Stir until smooth. Add powdered sugar and evaporated milk. Stir until smooth. Eat on just about anything. Or by itself.
Sauce will keep very well in the refrigerator for quite a while. You can either gently reheat it in the microwave or just spoon it out cold. Either way works and the only thing you will be thinking once it’s done is, “Why didn’t I make this sooner?” and “What else can I put this on?”
You are very welcome.

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Cauliflower Rice

caul.rice.1There are endless ways to make cauliflower rice. The internet is absolutely bursting with recipes. Some recipes are intricate with hand-ground spices, others are simple and contain almost nothing more than the cauliflower itself. My preference is for this version with onion, carrots, garlic, and ginger because the end result doesn’t taste anything like cauliflower, which I don’t really like. If you like it, that’s totally fine. I won’t tell you you’re wrong, but I admit you’ll have to go to some length to prove to me you’re right.

In any case, this dish keeps the wonderful earthiness that really is the only redeeming quality of cauliflower and pairs it with the savory spirit of fresh ginger and garlic. Use it as a base for stir fry, fried rice, tacos, or this wonderful, homey meal that I eat as often as possible. I also hide cauliflower rice (minus the carrots) in my child’s regular rice. He gobbles it up and asks for more, something that would just never happen if I fed him cauliflower in its natural state. Welcome to the world of cauliflower rice – where trickery is rewarded!

Cauliflower Rice
1 medium head cauliflower
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1″ fresh ginger, diced (optional)
1/2 brown onion, thinly sliced
3 carrots, cut into thin disks
1/4 cup water (or broth)
Salt, pepper, and lemon to taste

Chop cauliflower into large florets, discarding the tough core. raw.caul.ricedWorking in batches, pulse the raw cauliflower in a food process until it resembles grains of rice.

Add oil, garlic, ginger (if using) to a large skillet over medium heat. Stir. When the oil starts sizzling, add onion and carrots. Saute until onion is soft and translucent and carrots are nicely browned, approximately 10 minutes.

Add riced cauliflower to skillet. Stir to combine. Saute approximately 10 minutes. Stir, taking care to scrape the bottom of the pan.

Add 1/4 cup water (or broth) and cover, letting vegetables steam approximately 5 minutes. Uncover, stir, scraping the pan, and combining vegetables well. Cook, covered, another 5-10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until liquid is absorbed.

caul.rice.2When the cauliflower is tender, add salt, pepper, and a squeeze of lemon to taste. Turn off the heat and use it as you would rice or any other grain.

PS – This makes quite a bit. Cooked cauliflower rice will keep, covered, in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.