Dark Chocolate Orange Coconut Macaroons

Easter is here! Probably one of my favorite holidays for many reasons, one being all of the time spent with family! It was requested of me to bring dessert to our family get together tomorrow, but not just any dessert, coconut macaroons. That picture at the top of the page, those are my delicious coconut macaroons I made this summer following the Trader Joe’s recipe on the back of the coconut flour bag. Unfortunately, I don’t shop there anymore because we just don’t have one close enough, and no longer have the recipe for their version of the cookie. So, after much googling (yes I just turned Google into a verb), I decided to just wing it.
SCARY.
I had all of the ingredients one would need for these sweet goodies, so I decided to find one simple enough that I felt I could substitute for Paleo ingredients. Again, SCARY.
But, I have been pleasantly surprised with the outcome. And so has Ben. So, without further ado, I bring to you, Dark Chocolate Orange Coconut Macaroons.

Coconut Macaroons
4 egg whites
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp sea salt
3/4 cups coconut sugar
1/4 cups coconut flour
2 cups shredded/flaked coconut

Dark Chocolate Orange Glaze
juice of 1/2 orange
1 cup dark chocolate chunks
1 tsp of vegetable oil (not paleo but it helps the chocolate stay smooth)

Set your oven to 325 degrees and gather your ingredients. I like to lay mine out for easy access. I’m not a very whimsical baker that’s for sure.

Separate your egg whites and add them to a large bowl. Add your vanilla, and get to whipping until they double in size and begin to form peaks. That’s a lot of work using a whisk so I highly recommend using an electric beater. Then, slowly add your coconut sugar and whip until stiff. Again, much easier with that electric beater.

In a separate bowl combine coconut flour, salt, and shredded coconut and mix together. Then slowly fold in to the egg and sugar mixture. Just like that, the hard part is done. Hurray!

Spoon onto a lined baking sheet and bake at 325 for about 15-20 min.

While those bake, make the glaze. Combine the chocolate and fresh orange juice and zest (if you’re feeling zesty). You can melt it on the stove top using a double boiling method. Boil water and place glass bowl over the pot and melt away. Unfortunately I don’t have a glass bowl, so sad I know. So microwave for me!! If you’re using the microwave, place the ingredients in a microwave safe bowl, and start with one minute. Then stir and if not melted to desired meltiness continue to microwave and stir at 20-30 second increments until smooth.

Once the cookies are cooled, dip or drizzle or dunk, whatever you want to do, the chocolate glaze on top, or bottom. I’m not bossy, or picky, do it to your liking. I’m more of a dunker. That’s the chocoholic in me.

As always  , let me know how they turned out!!

It has been so fun to receive feedback from my family and friends trying my recipes! I love seeing your Facebook and Instagram posts and look forward to seeing these cookies real soon!!

Get to baking, and happy Easter all!!!

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Spring has Sprung

Nothing says spring, quite like springing forward at daylight savings time! I have found myself absolutely flustered as we transition into longer days and warmer weather. Don’t get me wrong, I am in love with this time of year, I was still a little shocked when it was already time to set my clock forward an hour! Now, you’re all probably like “ok we get it today’s the first day of spring!”, but I will not stop talking about spring, because today I am posting my recipe for Spring Rolls! I have a new obsession with these mini Asian burritos of goodness since I tried them at the Camp in Costa Mesa at a little restaurant called East Borough. East Borough is a French Vietnamese restaurant that creates fresh spins on the classic spring roll. So, I decided to make my own spin on a spring roll and get creative!!

Cilantro Lime Chicken Spring Rolls

What You’ll Need:
For the Chicken:
chicken (breast or boneless skinless thighs)
1 bunch cilantro
soy sauce
Siracha or garlic chili sauce
olive oil
juice of one lime

For the Rolls:
1 packet of rice paper (I used Greenland Rice Paper)
shredded carrots
1 head of lettuce
1 red pepper
5 green onions
1 lime

For the Sauce:
1 tablespoon peanut butter
1-2 tablespoons soy sauce
1-2 teaspoons Siracha or garlic chili sauce
lime juice

This list might look intimidating, but its very easy once you get it all started. After some preparation you will become a well oiled machine, loading and rolling these fresh colorful goodies. So, don’t worry, I’m going to give you a step by step how to of spring roll magic.

First, let’s start with the protein. You can use any meat you want, or go the completely veggie route. but I made some delicious shredded cilantro lime chicken I know you’re going to want to try. Start with the marinade. Combine the juice of one lime, 1 tablespoon of olive oil, 2 tablespoons of soy sauce (I use gluten-free) or coconut aminos, and half of the head of cilantro, chopped. I added some garlic chili sauce to my mixture, but that’s your call. I like the spice so I put that stuff on pretty much everything. Then, you can do one of two things. You can chop up your chicken and throw is straight into the mixture, then cook it. Or, what I did, boil your chicken, shred it, add it to the cilantro-soy-lime mixture and saute it until crispy. I like the shredded as it was easier to fill the spring rolls and keep them tight while rolling. While your chicken is boiling/cooking, since it takes about 15 minutes ish depending on the size, you can prep all of your veggies so you can get to filling faster.

Now it’s time to slice and dice those vegetables. I bought previously shredded carrots so that was easy. Then I sliced red bell pepper, chopped the lettuce, and green onion, and washed some cilantro. I put all of these veggies on a huge platter like a beautifully colorful veggie bouquet, so that I could easily access the goods, and just keep rolling!Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset

Once your chicken and veggies are prepped and ready, you are ready to rock… and roll. So, open that rice paper package, and don’t be intimidated by the crispy roundness. Follow the directions on the back of the package, mine said to soak in water for 5 seconds. Seriously, only soak it for five seconds. It made the rolling easier, and the rice paper was still soft enough. Layer the veggies and chicken just like you would a burrito, since that’s kinda what these are. And then get to rolling. It’s kind of difficult at first because the rice paper is sticky, but imagine you’re in line at Chipotle and you’re watching them roll your burrito. Tuck the sides in and roll, tightly. Key word,  tightly.

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The sauce is one of the most important parts of a meal to me. I have always been like that. So I decided to create a little mixture using 1 tablespoon peanut butter, 2 tablespoons of soy sauce, 1 teaspoon of chili sauce, lime juice, and topped it with green onions. Mix these parts together until sauce is smooth, and spice is to your liking. And Ta-da! You have just made an easy lunch, dinner, or snack packed full of veggies, protein, and delicious crunch! Spring has sprung everyone, get to rollin!
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Of course, let me know how your culinary adventure goes! I love your comments and look forward to hearing about all of the ways you made these little crunchy spring rolls!

Paleo Portabella Pizza

After a vacation hiatus, I’m back. This past weekend, I went to Mammoth to celebrate my Dad’s birthday and hit the not so snowy slopes. Of course, they have snow now, but that’s just because I’m gone. Despite the minimal snow, the slopes were wonderful, but the company was even more so. We spent four days with family and friends and of course, food. Vacation food is my favorite because I don’t have to feel so guilty, it’s a hard earned vacation, so I get to eat whatever I want. Pretty much my mentality. But especially in Mammoth since 6 hours of your day is spent sliding down an icy slope at top speeds, twisting and turning the whole time. Although the vacation was amazing, the vacation food left me feeling blah all week, because I seriously shocked my body with chips, bread and all sorts of things I don’t usually consume on a daily basis. So in an effort to get back on track, I made one of my favorite paleo comfort foods, Portabella Pizza. I’ve been a fan of these stuffed goodies for a while, and for some reason forgot all about them until I stumbled upon beautiful portabella mushrooms at the store the other day. It was then that creativity struck.

Portabella Mushroom Pizzas

You will need:
4 large portabella mushrooms
1 lb ground turkey
1 can fire roasted tomatoes
spinach
goat cheese
crushed red pepper
salt and pepper

First things first. Clean those mushrooms! Take a damp paper towel and wipe the dirt off the tops and sides. Then hull out the middle with a spoon. You want to make sure its totally clean inside, remove the stem and the stuff around the stem for maximum filling capacity.
Once your mushies are all cleaned up, lightly coat them in olive oil, and roast them in the oven at 375 for 10 minutes.
While the mushrooms are roasting, brown up the ground turkey until fully cooked. Season it while cooking with salt, pepper, and crushed red pepper for a bit of spice (if that’s your thing). Once cooked thoroughly, add the can of roasted tomatoes and a solid handful of spinach and combine completely until spinach gets soft. I used fire roasted tomatoes with garlic added to give it a little extra flavor.

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Now comes the fun. Stuff your mushrooms with your turkey mixture. Really stuff em though. They can overflow, that is totally acceptable in my book. Then top with about a tablespoon of goat cheese crumbles each, and bake until the goat cheese is warm. About five minutes. That’s it. That’s all you have to do. 15 minutes, and you have a “pizza” ready to eat. There’s no gluten, no sugar, and the only dairy used is completely removable if desired. I used a very clean goat cheese, as I do with any goat cheese recipes, because sometimes a girl has got to have her cheese.

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I love these pizzas because they are so quick, so filling, and so fun to make. You can fill them with really any protein you want. Crumbled ground chicken sausage, ground beef, it’s up to you. And the toppings are limitless. Pile on the fresh veggies, and clean sauces, like brushetta sauce from Trader Joes and you’ve got a clean pizza that won’t make you miss the bread and the bloat that follows a piece of the real thing. You can even cut veggies ahead of time and let everyone make their own. Ya, I went there. A paleo portabella pizza party. Sounds like my kinda party.

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As always, let me know what you think, and how you made it!
Enjoy!

A Cookless Dinner

Sometimes, I just don’t feel like cooking. So, tonight I decided to boycott the stove altogether. It’s been a long three day weekend full of three different cities, a bunch of family, and no time for filling the fridge. Now, a boycott of the kitchen can mean two things. Eating out, which is never cheap, and almost never healthy, or busting out the picnic dinner of boiled eggs and popcorn. Yuck.

When facing a stalemate with stale rice cakes, I chose option three.

Anybody ever had P.F. Chang’s chicken lettuce wraps? Ya, they rock. Here’s a way to create a far from similar lettuce wrap with a somewhat Asian twist in your own kitchen.

Soy Ginger Chicken Lettuce Wraps

What you’ll need:
butter lettuce (or iceberg, or romaine)
chicken
1 red bell pepper
4 green onions
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
1 lime

Start with the chicken. You can really make these any way you choose. Cube up and saute some chicken breast or whatever protein you have handy. Sometimes I’ll use taco seasoned ground beef and make fake tacos. I chose my previously shredded chicken, because as I mentioned, I’m boycotting the kitchen. Warm or cold chicken, it doesn’t matter as long as it’s cooked.

Place that chicken on some lettuce cups, and get to topping. Just like tacos, but healthier! I topped mine with some veggies I had laying around: red bell pepper, green onion, and cilantro because pretty much everything I eat involves cilantro lately. I think it reminds me of summer, and if I’m honest my brain is at the beach most days. Really you can top these beauties with anything you have on hand. Some celery for crunch, some avocado to add some extra yummy and healthy fats. Whatever you’re feeling! Then, I added Tessamae’s Soy Ginger salad dressing to the tops to give it some extra Asian-ness, and fresh lime too.

And just like that, you have a dinner that not only satisfies both taste and hunger, but it involves little to no cooking whatsoever.

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Enjoy!
And don’t forget to tell me what you think!

Ode to a Doughnut

If there is one thing that I am constantly craving, it’s sweets. But not just any sweets, it’s sweets for breakfast. Doughnuts, pancakes, french toast, you name it, I crave it. Last weekend after church, I had a doughnut hole, or six, and at first I was jammin. I mean sugar high had me ready to conquer the day, until about 10 minutes later when I got a raging headache. And then, the rest of the day, ruined due to my sugar induced aching head.

I decided I needed to find a solution to my ever increasing morning obsession, so I tried my hand at some Paleo baking. The first time I did that, I faileoed. Thanksgiving 2014 family pie bake off ended up in an absolute loss, with me in last place behind my dad’s accidentally botched peppermint apple pie. So this time, I embarked on a Paleo baking adventure with help from Dianne Sanfilippo’s Practical Paleo. This book is my go to for all questions Paleo, & I highly recommend it. The first 200 or so pages are all about Paleo, the whys and hows of the diet if you will. Inside this beaut is a recipe for Lemon Blueberry Muffins. Somehow, I had all of the ingredients already, so, I went for it, and I highly suggest you do too!!

What you’ll need:
6 eggs
1/2 cup butter or coconut oil, melted (I recommend butter)
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 cup grade B maple syrup
1 lemon, juice and zest
1/2 cup coconut flour
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup fresh blueberries

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

Combine eggs, melted butter, vanilla extract, maple syrup, lemon juice, and lemon zest in a large bowl. Sift in the coconut flour, sea salt, and baking soda. Stir the ingredients until they are well combined, then gently incorporate the blueberries. Be gentle, very gentle.

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Then, scoop about 1/4 of a cup of the batter into a muffin cup and bake for 35-40 minutes.

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I know that seems like a long time for a muffin but it’s so worth it. Once a toothpick can come out of the center of a muffin, these beauties are ready for consumption, of course, let them cool first.

I love all things coconut, so I added some shredded coconut to the batter, and to the tops of the muffins before I baked them. The nice toasty look to the tops made these bad boys even more delectable than they already are.

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I know the word Paleo can seem a bit intimidating. I’m not a Paleo pro, just a real girl trying to fuel my body the way it should be fueled. Feel free to change up the recipe however you see fit! Although these were the bomb.com, I don’t think I can fairly say that I will replace these with doughnuts permanently, because let’s be real, this girl has got to get her glaze on. But, I don’t see that happening for a long while. I’m a little bitter at sugar and think we need a break at the moment. So, expect some more sugar free recipes coming up very soon!!

I hope you enjoy these muffins as much as I did! They are quiet the breakfast, or mid morning treat, or both!! Enjoy, and Happy Valentines Day!

Goat Cheese, Basil, and Balsamic, Oh My!

I have been in a dinner rut lately. Although, if you ask Ben, he’d say anything I cook is great! However, eating chicken every week can get pretty old. The budget gets what the budget wants, and it wants chicken. So, tonight, after taking some chicken out of the fridge that I had been marinating over night, I decided I wanted to do something different. Just plain baking these balsamic beauties wasn’t gonna cut it. So, I got out my goat cheese, and some fresh basil, and ta da, Goat Cheese and Basil Stuffed Balsamic Chicken Thighs. Now instantly I thought that sounds like something I could get at an Italian restaurant, which made me think of the forbidden carby goodness we call pasta. Now, I’m not saying that carbs or pasta are a terrible thing. In fact, what I mean by forbidden is, I LOVE IT. I love it so much, that if I could, I would find a way to eat pasta once a day. I’m a carb-a-holic, there, now it’s out there and I can start getting help. Anyways, to substitute and sustain my love of pasta, I have discovered the wonderful invention known as a zoodle maker. You can find the one I have here. This invention takes veggies, like a zucchini, and turns them into spiral strings similar to spaghetti. So, to accompany my chicken, I created a Chili, Lemon and Garlic Zoodle. All in all, I’d say this was a successfully creative culinary night in the Thompson household.

Now, I guess I should tell you how you can make this delicious and nutritious meal on your own.

What you’ll need:

Goat Cheese and Basil Stuffed Chicken Thighs
boneless skinless chicken thighs
3 table spoons goat cheese
fresh basil
balsamic vinaigrette
salt and pepper to taste

Chili Lemon Garlic Zoodles
4 zucchinis
1 tablespoon ghee or butter
2 cloves of garlic
crushed red chili peppers
salt and pepper to taste

First things first. Marinade that chicken. I used boneless, skinless chicken thighs which are perfect for stuffing. But you can pound out some chicken breasts if white meat is more your thing. Up to you. Now a good salad dressing and marinade will make all the difference in the flavor of your chicken. My new favorite brand of dressings and marinades is Tessamae’s. The best part is its all natural, and most of the brand is gluten free, sugar free, dairy free, vegan, and paleo, which makes me feel wonderful about putting it into my body! Tonight I chose the Tessamae’s Balsamic dressing, well actually last night, when I doused my chicken in the balsamic goodness and put it in the fridge for today.
So, 24 hours later, your chicken is ready for action. Lay it flat on a cutting board so the smooth side is down. Now, lay a leaf or two of fresh basil onto the chicken, and cover that said basil with a spoon full of goat cheese. Once all of your chicken thighs have the delicious yet simple filling, its time to roll. Start at one end, like your going to fold a burrito, and fold it into itself, then put a toothpick in it for good measure.
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Once all of your thighs are stuffed, lay them in a lightly greased pan and bake it in a 375 degree oven for 45 min to an hour, until golden brown on the outside and cooked thoroughly on the inside. And, there you have it, quiet simple actually.

Now, to make the zoodles, start with well, the zucchini. I used four average sized zucchinis and used my handy dandy spiral slicer to create noodles.

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Then take the ghee, although, you can use butter or olive oil if you want, but I am totally in love with the flavor of ghee, so I used that. Melt it over medium high heat in a saucepan with a teaspoon of crushed red chili flakes, and two cloves of minced garlic. Once sizzling, add the zoodles, and cover in the spicy buttery goodness. Once the zoodles are fully cooked, about 3 minutes, squeeze half a lemon over it for some extra fresh flavor.

There you have it. An out of the ordinary yet straightforward dinner, from my table to yours.

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Let me know what you think, and how it turned out for you!
Any questions? Comment bellow!

 

 

Pull Up a Chair

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Pop a squat, come on down, grab a seat! Come sit at my table, which at the moment, is currently holding a Stumptown Coffee bottle filled with fresh lavender and a salted grapefruit candle I received as a gift this week. However, on any other given day you can find my table filled with much much more than that. Sometimes it’s covered in mail, although really only the sad kind of mail, the kind of mail asking you for your money. Other times its covered in books, and my computer, and stuff from my husbands work. But, my favorite times at my table are when I’m sipping fresh coffee in the morning with bacon and eggs and the new sunlight is streaming softly in, or even more so when I’m sipping a cheap glass of cab while I dive in to a fresh, hot dinner with my love by my side.

Anyways, I guess it’s time to come out with it. I am in a deep, deep committed relationship with food. I am a real girl, with a real passion for culinary. But, I am a real girl, which means I have a real budget, and a real BIG appetite. And, if there’s one thing those two previously mentioned real things have taught me, it’s that real food, is a real big deal.

So, that’s where this blog is coming in handy. I’ve got this feeling that I’m not the only person in this world with a budget, and an appetite for fueling their body with wholesome and fantastic foods. So, I thought, what the heck, lets write about it! And that’s what I’m doing. Writing. Writing terribly formed sentences, because one semester out of college has already effected my writing habits like you wouldn’t even know!

I know that good food has the ability to change lives. It has changed mine on so many different occasions (seriously In-n-out is one of the reasons I married Ben), but that’s a whole other story. So, here we go. Well, here I go. I’m embarking on expedition to a more finger-licking life, and I would be thrilled if you would come along with me.