Valentine’s Day Chocolate Heart Shaped Quinoa Coconut Macaroons 

This is one of my favorite holidays. I am such a hopeless romantic. I love Love.❤❤❤

Valentine’s Day can be decadent and nourishing. We usually see quinoa used for savory dishes, but this is one of my favorites. You guys know how much I love quinoa. Check out all the delicious recipes here on my blog, but try this one first. 😘

< y Chocolate Heart Shaped Quinoa Macaroons is one you will come back to often. Enjoy these on Valentine’s Day or any day of the week. It’s an awesome recipe to share with your kids as well.  b>Ingredients 6 tablespoons egg whites (from about 3 large eggs)

1/4 cup maple syrup

1 1/2  cups unsweetened shredded coconut

1 cup cooked  white quinoa. Follow package instructions.

Pinch of sea salt

Instructions:<<<
bine the egg whites and maple syrup in a heatproof bowl.

Begin by tempering the eggs, which will create a nice crispy cookie exterior. Place the bowl over a pot with boiling water and whisk the eggs and maple syrup  together until creamy and warm. When they’re warm to the touch, they are ready to go.

Remove the bowl off the heat and add in coconut, quinoa and salt, mix well.

Chill in the fridge for at least two hours.

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F and line a baking sheet with a non-stick baking mat or double parchment paper,( so they will not burn under the bottom)

Spray canola oil inside a heart shaped cookie cutter.  Using an ice cream scoop, place the mixture in the heart shaped cookie cutter and fill to the top.<<<
tly press down the mixture into the cookie cutter, molding it into a heart shape. Remove the cookie cutter and continue until you have used all the mixture.  Separating the cookies about 1 inch apart.

Bake in the center of a warm oven for 15 minutes until the cookies are nice and golden brown.

Let them cool for at least 10 minutes or until completely cooled.

Top with Chocolate Ganache<<<
colate Ganache

4 oz dark or semi milk chocolate baking bar, chopped

1/2 cup milk or organic almond milk or any non dairy milk or heavy cream

Pinch of cayenne pepper

Easy version<<<<
ce chocolate pieces in a large bowl. Heat milk on medium high until it comes to a boil. Remove from heat and immediately pour milk or cream over chocolate and stir until completely mixed and glossy. Add a pinch of cayenne pepper and stir. Drizzle over cooled heart shaped macaroons and Enjoy!!<<<<
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Cooking today with William Sonoma ~ Gluten Free Holiday Treats ~ Sneak Peak

It is always a pleasure to come out and share my passion for delicious, healthy eating with William Sonoma’s staff and customers. Today I am cooking up some yummy, decadent and   gluten free holiday appetizers and my gluten free brownie bites with a twist. I will be using William Sonoma’s famous Original Peppermint Bark as a topping for these rich and luscious brownies. I will also be making tuscan white beans stuffed in a roasted campari tomato and yummy zucchini bites stuffed with gruyere and parmesan cheese.

I am so excited to share some of my families favorite holiday treats today with William Sonoma’s customers, as they shop for wonderful gifts for their love ones. So stop by and find some great gifts for your family and have a brownie on me. Here’s a sneak peak of today’s menu.  

Zucchini Bites

INGREDIENTS

2 cups zucchini, grated

1 egg

1/4 cup yellow onion, diced,finely 

1/2 cup cheese gruyere

1/2 cup parmesan 

1/2 cup gluten free  bread crumbs – I used Italian style

Salt and Pepper, to taste. 

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat oven to 375F. Spray a mini-muffin tin with non-stick spray, set aside. Grate the zucchini and then place in a dish towel to squeeze out the excess water- like when using frozen spinach.  In a bowl combine, the egg, onion, cheese, bread crumbs, zucchini, salt and pepper. 4. Using a spoon or a cookie scoop, fill the muffin cups to the top. Bake for 15-18 minutes, or until the top is browned and set.  

  • Gluten Free Brownies with Chocolate Ganache these will be topped with William Sonoma Original Peppermint Bark

1/2 cup Ghirardelli Semi-Sweet Chocolate Baking Chips 

4 ounces Ghirardelli Semi-Sweet Chocolate Baking Bar 

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into pieces

1 cup firmly packed light or dark brown sugar 

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

2 large eggs 1 egg yolk

3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons gluten free-purpose flour. I love Bob Mills Gluten free baking flour or Pillsbury Gluten-free baking powder. 

1/4 teaspoon baking powder

3/8 teaspoon salt

DIRECTIONS
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Butter and flour an 8-inch square baking pan. Chop the 4 ounces of semi sweet chocolate bars into 1″ pieces. In the top of a double boiler or in a heatproof bowl over barely simmering water, melt the 4 chopped chocolate and butter, stirring occasionally until smooth. Remove the pan from the heat and let cool to room temperature. Stir the brown sugar and vanilla into the chocolate mixture. Add the eggs and mix well. In a bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, and salt. Slowly fold the flour mixture into the chocolate mixture, mixing well until blended. Stir in the chocolate chips and pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake for 30 -35  minutes, until a tester comes out clean. Remove from the oven and cool for at least 10 minutes before cutting into 2-inch squares.

This recipe is gluten free, gluten-free flour can take a little more time to bake. It usually takes about 33 minutes on these. 

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  • Campari Stuffed with Tuscan White Beans with a balsamic glaze

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Raw Chocolate Ganache Three Ways, inspired by a journey HOME.

Some encounters bring you back home to what your soul is yearning for. This year has done that for me and my family. I have been around people and places that have made me feel like, I was coming home. One of those encounters inspired me to move my culinary creative juices back to Raw Foods. Raw foodism is the dietary practice of eating only uncooked, unprocessed foods. It only includes, fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds. Now I AM NOT A RAW FOODIST, VEGAN OR VEGETARIAN, but my diet is about 80% plant based. I believe eating whole foods is better for my body, mind and spirit. So, how did I come back home to raw foods? My best friend. She wanted to take a yoga class one morning and  I did have the time, I had so much work to do. I was behind schedule on several projects, I felt run down and just wanted to work and maybe catch a nap in.  However, inside of me, my spirit was calling from some release, so I went.

The funny thing is, as we were driving to the studio, it hit me where we were going, to my old yoga studio. The place I learned about the healing beauty of yoga and meditation, ironically another one of my best friends introduced me to this studio, 13  years prior. I got some teacher training here from some the best yoga teachers in the United States. I was very ill during that time, fighting kidney disease and trying to take care of a toddler.

The yoga studio was a place of love and great healing for me. As we walked into the yoga studio, there on her mat was the owner and one of my first yoga teachers. My heart felt so much joy. I felt like I was back HOME.  The class was amazing and I felt more energy in my body and spirit, plus so much peace.

My yoga teacher and I caught up and we talked about health issues. She shared with me her journey of healing and it hit me why I was there. Food has been a healing art for me. So of course, my best friend and Creative Marketing Director of my wellness company, mentioned what I had been up to lately with food. My yoga teacher was excited, she had been eating raw to heal, but she runs three businesses and doesn’t have time to prepare the food. She asked me to help her and of course it was my pleasure to say, YES. The yoga studio and her classes brought me so much healing and now I could give back. Life is always trying to bring us home, if we just take the time out to slow down and listen.

Here are three ways you can use my Raw Chocolate Ganache.

Raw Chocolate Ganache: You can use this for many other desserts

Ingredients:

1 cup maple syrup
1 cup cacao powder
1/4 cup coconut oil, pinch of sea salt

Directions:
Using your blender, mix together syrup and coconut oil until well combined. Add in your cacao powder and a pinch of sea salt, and process until smooth – scraping down the sides as needed. Use immediately, or keep in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a couple weeks. If using the ganache after being refrigerated, simply place the container in warm water for a few minutes to let it soften up a bit, or roll out ganache truffles using a melon scoop. 🙂

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Raw Chocolate Ganache Torte with Pistachio Dust and Black Berries

Raw Chocolate Ganache Torte with Pistachio Dust and Black Berries

1/2 cup black cherries, thawed out frozen cherries

 

3/4 cup Raw Chocolate Ganache

1 tbsp maple syrup

crushed pistachios and a black cherry

Using a blender Blend everything together, using a biscuit cutter, place on a sheet pan with parchment paper . Pour the ganache mixture into the biscuit cutter, almost to the top, leave room to add the pistachios. Add the pistachios and top with a black cherry. Put into the freeze and allow to set over night or for at least 2 hours to get it very firm. When ready to serve, allow to set room temperature for about 2-3 minutes, this will make it easier for you to push the torte out of the biscuit cutter. Gently remove, by pushing up from the bottom with a frosting spreader or the back of a spoon.

Serve and enjoy immediately because the base is made of coconut oil, it must be eaten immediately or kept frozen.

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Raw Chocolate Ganache Torte

 

Pears Dipped in Spicy Raw Chocolate Ganache topped with walnuts and cardamom with a side of cardamom coconut cream

Ingredients:

1 pear cut in half and seeds removed

Raw Chocolate Ganache, in it’s liquid form. if using the ganache after being refrigerated, simply place the container in warm water for a few minutes to let it soften up a bit.

crushed walnuts

whole coconut milk

1 tsp cardamom and a little more to dust over the pears

1 tbs maple syrup

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Pears Dipped in Spicy Raw Chocolate Ganache topped with walnuts and cardamom with a side of cardamom coconut cream

Directions:

Super simple. I add a little lemon juice to the pears, so they would not brown. Dipped them  into the ganache. I dipped half of the pears here, added crusted walnuts, sprinkled with cardamom, you can also drizzle maple syrup, honey or agave over them for more sweetness.  Put the pears into the fridge for an hour or overnight so the ganache can harden on the pears properly. The coconut cream is also super simple.

Open up a can of coconut milk and remove the creamy top part and add to a bowl.  Using an electric hand mixer whisk attachment, beat the cream until fluffy and smooth. Add in maple syrup and cardamom.  Put whipped cream in the fridge to harden a bit, about 10 minutes. Remove the pears and whipped cream from the fridge. Add whipped cream to the pears and serve immediatley.

NOTE: This ganache has a coconut oil base so it will melt fast, so keep it in the fridge until ready to serve.img_4922

Pears Dipped in Spicy Raw Chocolate Ganache topped with walnuts and cardamom with a side of cardamom coconut cream

 

Last one, but oh so good.  My grandson helped me make these, notice the heavy handed areas of pistachios. Love it.

Raw Chocolate Ganache Bark with Peppermint and Pistachios 

Ingredients:
3 tbsp cacao
2½ tbsp raw virgin coconut oil
1 1/2 tbsp maple syrup
small pinch sea salt
2 tbsp crushed pistachios
1 crushed soft peppermint stick

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Raw Dark Chocolate Ganache Bark with Peppermint and Pistachios

Instructions
Whisk together melted coconut oil, raw cacao and maple syrup in a small bowl until completely smooth.
Add a pinch of sea salt and combine well.
Add nuts and peppermint

Line a cookie sheet with non stick parchment paper.
Pour the chocolate mixture into the lined cookie sheet and spread out evenly using the back of a spoon, spread it thick so you bark doesn’t melt so quickly when eating it. 🙂 Add the goodies on top.

Place the container in the freezer for 30 minutes until the chocolate is completely hard.
Break up the pieces and serve immediately.
Store in the freezer.
PSA
Since the base of this bark is coconut oil it will melt at room temperature, so please keep it in the freezer, until ready to serve. Eat immediately.

 

Galettes ~ Easy ways to Celebrate Summer’s bounty

A galette is probably one of the easiest ways, I know how to celebrate summer fruits. Today I am sharing my Summer and Fall versions of my favorite dessert, The Galette. Sometimes you need to enjoy a little sweet treat and I love dessert. The truth is, I look at the dessert menu first, when I go out for dinner. It determines what I will order for my main course. I believe,  Dessert first, makes life a little sweeter. These easy recipes will open your mind up to the possibilities of the rustic beauty and elegance of this humble tart.

Today after Mother’s Day I was thinking of my mom and all those southern dishes she use to make for us growing up. My mom always inspires my cooking and baking. I just like to take a more healthier route, but dessert, forget about it. Indulge a little.

Here is a basic galette recipe that I love to use. This is my favorite go to recipe by the one and only Chef Jacques Pepin. You can find this recipe here  Basic Galette Recipe

 

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Sea Salted Caramel Apple Galette
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Sea Salted Caramel Apple Galette

This recipe is for an Apple Galette.

Pastry

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 stick plus 2 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1/3 cup ice water
Apples

3 Green apples
2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon honey, preferably wildflower
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, cut into small pieces

For my  Sea Salted Caramel Apple Galette, I used the same basic galette recipe, and treated my apples according to Chef Jacques Pepin’s recipe. I just decided to make a homemade caramel to drizzle over it.

Sea Salted Caramel Sauce

Ingredients:

1 cup granulated sugar
1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar
3 tablespoon water
1/4 cup butter, cut into chunks
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon William Sonoma fine grey sea salt

Directions:

Add sugar, cream of tartar and water to a medium saucepan, bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Cook without stirring until mixture begins to caramelize. Use a rubber spatula to gentle stir occasionally until mixture reaches a honey color.

Reduce heat to medium-low, continue to cook until mixture turns a deep amber, roughly 3-5 minutes.

Remove from heat, immediately whisk in vanilla and butter. Whisk in cream and sea salt.

Cool slightly in pan before pouring into glass storage or a bowl for immediate use.

Cool completely before covering and chilling. Warm before using.

I drizzled this over my Galette once it cooled.

Directions for Pastry and Apple Recipe

  1. In a food processor, combine the flour with the sugar, salt and butter and process for about 5 seconds. Sprinkle the ice water over the flour mixture and process until the pastry just begins to come together, about 10 seconds; you should still be able to see small pieces of butter in it. Transfer the pastry to a work surface, gather it together and pat into a disk. Wrap the pastry in plastic or wax paper and refrigerate until chilled. (You can also roll out the pastry and use it right away.)
  2. Peel, halve and core the apples and slice them crosswise 1/4 inch thick. Set aside the larger center slices and coarsely chop the end slices and any broken ones; about half of the slices should be chopped. In a small bowl, combine the sugar and cinnamon.
  3. Preheat the oven to 400°. On a lightly floured work surface, roll out the pastry to a 12-by-14-inch rectangle and transfer to a large rimmed baking sheet. Spread the chopped fruit over the pastry to within 1 inch of the edge.  If you are using blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, no need to chop them, just lay them in the center of the galette.
  4. Drizzle the honey over the fruit. Decoratively arrange the apple slices on top in concentric circles or in slightly overlapping rows. Sprinkle the cinnamon sugar evenly over the apples and dot with the pieces of butter.
  5. Bake the galette for about 1 hour, until the pastry is nicely browned and crisp and all of the apples are tender. Transfer the pan to a rack and let the galette cool. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Galette OPTIONS:

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Georgia Peach and Blueberry Galette

 

For my Peach and Blueberry galette. The galette recipe is the same. I just added the peaches in the pastry as you would do the apples. I made the blueberries sauce separated. It is so simple to make my  Blueberry Sauce. Just three ingredients, that’s it.

Ingredients

1 1/2 pints fresh blueberries, rinsed
1 cup organic sugar
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

Directions:

Combine the blueberries and sugar in a large heavy saucepan. Add 1 cup of water, the lemon juice to the saucepan and bring to a boil over high heat, stirring occasionally. Reduce the heat and simmer for 15 minutes.
Remove from the heat. Cool to room temperature. The cooling will allow it to thicken more. You can use it soon as it cool or cover and refrigerate for later.

 

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Strawberry Galette

For my Strawberry Galette, you can use the same galette recipe. I sliced my strawberries added them to a bowl with organic sugar and a little lemon juice and pinch of cardamom. Cardamom does something magical to strawberries.  Add the strawberries into the pastry and fold the edges and bake. These are mini galettes, so you do not have to share. LOL. 🙂

 

 

 

Mother’s Day Story ~ Breakfast in Bed Ideas

I love Mother’s Day. I have two boys, one 29 and my youngest is 15. I have two grandchildren, I adore and could get up with a biscuit and some gravy. They are truly yummy. My favorite thing growing up as child was to think about how I was going to make my mom feel special for Mother’s Day. Of course, I did the usually cards with macaroni glued to them and flowers, candy and little things I made with popsicles sticks. Okay, I need to confess soon as I wrote, macaroni, I thought about my mom’s cheesy, buttery, gooey macaroni and cheese, bubbling over in her special mac and cheese glass bowl. So where were we? Yes, Mother’s Day. One year I came up with the idea to make my mom, breakfast in bed.  Now granted I was about 9 years old and I never really cooked a meal all by myself, but I was determined to do this for her.

I went into the kitchen very quietly. I made sure not to make a sound. I remember opening up the fridge and getting out,  bacon, eggs, butter and the orange juice. Yes. I was going to make my mom, a good old southern, bacon and eggs breakfast. I put on a cup of coffee, aka, hot water and Folgers, put the cast iron skillet on the stove and added the bacon. It smelled so good, but it was making too much noise, so I closed the kitchen door.

I added the eggs to the skillet, with lots of butter, just the way my mom did.  Well, maybe too much, but hey I was 9. I cracked the eggs, very gently into a bowl and used a fork to gently whisk them. I was doing something. I felt like my mom, for just a moment. I remember my little sister and brother getting up. I pulled them in the kitchen and demanded they keep quiet. We made our brother sit at the table quietly and my sister made the toast and poured the juice.

All of a sudden I hear footsteps. I wanted to cry.  Oh no, it will not be a surprise anymore, I thought. But, it was my dad. He open the door very slowly. It seemed as if, it took forever for him to open that door and for me to see, it was Dad, not Mom.

He asked with a smile on his face, What are you guys doing? We replied, Making mom breakfast. He left out and said, Okay, carry on.

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My grandson Mikey
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My oldest son Bernard and granddaughter Naleyla
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My granddaughter Naleyla
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My husband, Joseph, my youngest son,  Tyler and my granddaughter Naleyla

It was almost done. I had my sister run into the dining room and get a pretty tray from our china cabinet. We got a rose from my Dad’s rose garden and put it in a nice vase. I was so proud of that breakfast. The toast was a little burnt and the the bacon on the crispier side, but my eggs were awesome. We carried the tray to her bed and the best thing about that day that I remember, is my mom’s face when she say we had made her breakfast in bed.

Just writing this makes me cry. She has been gone for 14 years now and I miss her as though it was yesterday, when she left this Earth. She kissed me, my sister and brother and said, Thank  you so much, this makes mama feel special. But I remember the special look in her eyes she gave me. She was so proud of me, she knew how much this meant to me.  I will never forget that look as long as I live. She ate that breakfast as though it came from a five star restaurant. This is properly where my love of cooking for those I love comes from.  The day I first Set the Table with Love for my Mama.

Thanks everyone for taking time out to read this post. I usually don’t write long. I just get to the recipes, but that will change. I believe setting the table with love, is much more than just good healthy food, it’s about expressing love and that love being experienced through food.

Happy Mother’s Day. 🙂

Check out these links for some yummy Mother’s Day breakfast and brunch idea.

Gluten Free Vegan Potato and Leek Waffles

Southern Style Biscuits No Lard Needed Sorry Mom

Caramelized Pears with Homemade Granola

Gigi’s Fluffy Pancakes with Nutella Almonds and Chocolate Chips

 

White Chocolate, Cranberry and Coconut Bread Pudding

I do indulge sometimes. This recipe my friends have been asking for me to post, so here goes.

The other night I wanted bread pudding, but not the same old vanilla with raisin bread pudding. If I was going to indulge I wanted something fancy. So this bread pudding is So Fancy. I will cut to the chase on this one, because soon as you read the recipe you will want to go and make it. Well once you see the picture you will want to go and make it. : )

White Chocolate, Cranberry, Coconut Bread Pudding
White Chocolate, Cranberry, Coconut Bread Pudding

White Chocolate Cranberry and Coconut Bread Pudding

Ingredients:

12 slices day-old baguette or stale bread, cut into 3/4-inch
cubes

4 organic eggs, at room temperature

1/4 cup organic cane sugar

3/4 tsp. vanilla extract

3/4 cup Ghirardelli Candy Making & Dipping White Melting Wafers ( white chocolate lovers go for it!!)

3/4 cup Organic Dried Cranberries

1/2 cup Dehydrated Organic Coconut Flakes

Pinch of cinnamon

Pinch of salt

4 cups almond milk or coconut milk

Directions:

Lightly butter an 8-inch square baking dish. Spread the bread cubes in it.

In a bowl, whisk together the eggs, sugar, vanilla, cinnamon, and salt until well blended. Pour in the milk and whisk until combined. Add the bread to the greased baking dish. Add the white chocolate chips and coconut. Mix the ingredients into the bread thoroughly, where you see the ingredients throughout the dish. Pour the mixture over the bread cubes. Let stand, pressing down on the bread occasionally, until it is evenly soaked, about 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, preheat an oven to 350°F.

Scatter the cranberries evenly over the surface of the soaked bread and press to submerge the fruit. Set the baking dish in a large, shallow roasting pan. Add very hot tap water to the roasting pan to come halfway up the sides of the baking dish.

Bake the pudding until a knife inserted near the center comes out almost clean, 45 to 55 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature.