Category Archives: nutritious treats

Blackberry Crisp.

Now that I’m finally coming down from the craziness of this week and weekend, it’s time to share this little gem of a dessert that kept my sweet tooth satisfied throughout a stress-filled, overloaded week.

(Excuse the instagrammed photos; my phone is still having “storage” issues.)

When I was younger, my grandparents would take my sister and I blackberry and blueberry picking every summer when we came to visit them in Virginia. Out of the buckets and buckets of berries we collected, my grandmother would make pies for weeks, even months on end from the fresh and then frozen and thawed berries. Out of all the pies she makes, blackberry remains a favorite of mine for the sour, sweet burst of flavor it provides.

I decided to make two single serve blackberry crisps after I picked up two half pints of blackberries (for $2.99!) at a small Asian market last week. They were too sour to eat by themselves and they were going bad too quickly to keep in the refrigerator, so as I made and enjoyed the first blackberry crisp, I placed the second half pint of berries in the freezer.

This recipe occurred purely by coincidence, based on what I had in my pantry. I’d recently made a modified batch of Elana’s grain-free granola using dates, pepitas, sunflower seeds and cashews and figured it would make a great crumbly topping. I was right.

For this recipe, you will need:
at least a half-cup of grain-free granola
1 half pint blackberries
1/2-1 tbs. maple syrup, to taste
1.5 tbs. coconut oil, preferably melted
yogurt or ice cream, for serving

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Grease a small ramekin with a small amount of the coconut oil. I often try to melt coconut oil by putting it in a small dish and submerging in in a larger bowl filled with hot water, but I’m often not patient enough to let it melt entirely.
3. Place blackberries along the bottom of the greased ramekin, making a second layer as necessary.
4. Pour maple syrup over blackberries. You might not need sweetener if your blackberries are naturally sweet, but unfortunately mine were not.
5. Mix together granola and remaining coconut oil in a small bowl, and place over top of the blackberries. I had a bit of trouble getting all the granola I used to fit inside the ramekin, so it’s good to pat it down!
6. Bake in the oven for 15 minutes. Make sure to check on the “crisp” part to make sure it’s not burning. You could potentially cover the crisp with tin foil but I was too lazy to do that and therefore got a few browned, but still completely edible spots.
7. Let cool for ten minutes. Serve with a dollop of plain yogurt or vanilla ice cream, and enjoy!

I got two servings out of this recipe, but could’ve easily eaten the whole ramekin in one sitting. I love how the heat really brings out the flavor and juiciness of these berries; it’s the perfect treat with which I say goodbye to summer.

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Filed under grain-free, nutritious treats, paleo-friendly, recipe

Review: Organic Nectars Raw Cacao Bar.

Today as I perused my local health food store, I picked up a bar of Organic Nectars Raw Cacao 70% chocolate. It piqued my interest because it proclaimed itself as soy free and dairy free, made with 100% entirely organic incredients. The bar consists solely of organic raw cacao, organic coconut sugar, organic Madagascar vanilla and organic sunflower lecithin. Soy free/dairy free chocolate? I’ll take it!

The price was a little steep at $5.79 for a 1.4 oz bar of chocolate. However, when I carefully tore open the packaging and took my first bite, I decided that the price was worth it. The flavor is spot on and not overly bitter, as some other 70% cacao bars are. I was actually surprised by how mild the flavor was; usually after a bite of dark chocolate, I feel like I need to rinse my mouth out. Not the case with this bar. The aftertaste is not overpowering in the least.

The bar is divided into four rectangular segments which makes it easy to break off (as compared to the painfully small blocks of Green & Black). This also makes it easy to save a few blocks for later…or not, if I’m being completely honest. It’s that good. I also appreciate the quality of ingredients with which the bar is made; raw cacao for it’s antioxidant value and coconut sugar for it’s low glycemic index. The absence of soy and dairy is simply another plus. This is a bar that I can feel good about eating and the price is steep enough to keep me from buying buckets at a time.

I chopped up some of my bar tonight and sprinkled it over some homemade banana almond butter soft serve.

Delicious.

*I was not paid to endorse this product; I bought it with my own money and simply loved it at first bite. 

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Filed under nutritious treats

Very Berry Primal Ice Cream.

A few weeks ago, I picked up a pint of the most tart, unpalatable black raspberries known to man. They were extremely bitter and full of seeds, but I didn’t want them to go to waste. So I did what immediately came to mind; I made a makeshift primal black raspberry ice cream. Of course, if you have an ice cream maker you could certainly make a true, authentic ice cream, but in a pinch berries and cream are really all you need. And also, I don’t have an ice cream maker.

Ingredients:
1/4 cup grass fed heavy whipping cream
1/3 cup full fat greek yogurt (I used Fage)
1 cup berries of choice (I used 1/2 black raspberries, 1/2 strawberries)

If you want, you could add honey or maple syrup as a sweetener, but the sweetness of the strawberries was good enough for me. Also, depending on your preference, you could use more greek yogurt and less heavy cream, etc. Do what works for you and your taste buds.

First, I added everything to my blender in no specific order.

Then I blended everything together!

And out poured this shockingly-pink, creamy delicious mixture.

You could totally consume this right out of the bowl or in a glass as a smoothie, but for a more ice cream consistency I placed my mixture in the freezer for about thirty minutes.

And voila, I had a semi-frozen ice cream like treat. I garnished the ice cream with some honey roasted almonds. To be honest, I think I liked the non-frozen mixture better, but if you’re really in the mood for something icy, this will do! Serves 2-3, depending on your serving sizes.

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Filed under nutritious treats, primal, recipe

Farm Fresh Food.

On Saturday morning, I went to the Bryn Mawr Farmer’s Market to stock up on produce and check out all the local vendors. The market is definitely bigger than the Media Farmer’s Market, which is both a good and a bad thing. For instance, they had a ton of produce stands, but there were also more greedy people grabbing what you wanted right before your eyes! I only say this because as I patiently waited in what was the apparent line to grab a few apricots, a man WHO WASN’T IN LINE grabbed the last three pints and dumped them into a plastic bag. I just stared in horror and then promptly left the fruit stand. People can be so rude!

As for my findings, I left with a bunch of butter lettuce, a bunch of radishes, three beautiful red onions, a bulb of garlic, two zucchini, a pint of cherry tomatoes, a jar of raw honey, a block of raw cheese and a carton of pastured eggs. I also stopped by a bakery stand and couldn’t pass up a coconut cupcake to bring to Jay. I settled on a gluten free cornmeal lime zest cookie. Although it was far from paleo, the flavor combination was too exciting to pass up!

So good and so big that I broke off pieces for all my siblings and my parents. Even then, it was more than enough!

Last night’s dinner was super simple and easy, composed mostly of my farmer’s market finds. I chopped up some butter lettuce, onion and radishes and topped the mix with some raw cheese, salt and pepper. I topped it with a bit of homemade walnut-balsamic vinaigrette after the photo because it’s not the prettiest dressing. I had some leftover lemon chicken soup that I thawed from the freezer to go along with the salad.

Bright and beautiful! I love how bright the color of butter lettuce is. In addition to the salad supplies, I also put a dent into my zucchini and egg supply.

Last night I whipped up a batch of coconut flour zucchini-walnut muffins that I adapted from Elana’s Pantry. Instead of chocolate chips, I used the last of my chopped walnuts and added a tablespoon of chia seeds. Instead of grapeseed oil, I used coconut oil and instead of agave nectar, I used honey. I also reduced the amount of sweetener used to 1 tablespoon, as I’m really trying to cut back on my non-fruit sugar intake. These muffins are great when you’re in the mood for something bready…or when your entire family is subsisting on a huge batch of monkey bred and you’re left staring at the unripe fruit basket in misery, wondering why the bananas just won’t ripen. Also, it’s hard to feel bad about a muffin that’s infused with superfoods such as coconut oil, chia seeds, zucchini and eggs.

Although this batch was less sweet and less moist than my last batch (probably due to less honey and the addition of chia seeds), they still taste great and satisfy my cravings for a quick treat. They also pair wonderfully with a bit of raw almond butter, which adds its own natural sweetness!

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Filed under nut butter, nutritious treats, paleo, primal, salad

Maple Whipped Cream.

Ever since trying out the primal diet, I’ve been in a bit of a dessert rut. What is low in added sugars, gluten/grain free, not greek yogurt or fruit, and also delicious? I found my answer last night, as I racked by brain high and low for an acceptably primal but also widely recognizable dessert.

Strawberries and cream. Maple whipped cream, to be exact. I simply poured one cup of heavy whipping cream into a bowl with one tablespoon of maple syrup and whipped to my heart’s content with an electric mixer. You could also add vanilla extract or cinnamon to the mix, or as I ironically discovered this morning, peanut butter!

I brought this dessert to my grandparents last night, as I needed something quick and easy to prepare that they would (hopefully) enjoy. Of course, I also provided some freshly baked brownie/fruit bars from the bakery at work, but I knew that if I didn’t eat dessert with them that they would try their best to find anything and everything for me to eat. Cookies! Ice cream! Cake! It’s like that, and it’s overwhelming, and so this was my happy medium.

It’s quite a happy medium, I think. So fluffy and delicious and indulgent. The perfect pairing to any fruit, and so much better than that canned stuff.

Do you like fresh whipped cream?

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Filed under nutritious treats, primal, recipe

Burger Salad Love.

This week I’ve been all about cooking several servings food at once so that I have leftovers to munch on throughout the week. While I would’t say I’m completely aligned yet with batch cooking, I’ve noticed that cooking a few meals at once has saved me lots of prep time and dishwashing this week.

For breakfast, I’ve been enjoying a crustless spinach, mushroom and shallot quiche. To make it, I simply followed my recipe for veggie quiche but omitted the crust. I also used heavy cream instead of the milk and half and half combo and used raw sharp cheddar instead of Manchego.

The great thing about not having crust is that you can eat more of the eggy part! I’ve consumed 1/4 of this quiche every morning since Monday and will be sad when the final quarter is consumed tomorrow morning.

Another note about crust: the quiche filling essentially formed a crust of it’s own, as you can see by the browned edges. The crust of each piece is a bit chewier –and cheesier– than the rest of the quiche! It’s my favorite part.

For lunch I’ve been downing more lemon chicken soup. Yesterday I paired my soup with a mixture of chopped avocado, heirloom tomato, pickles, balsamic, evoo, salt and pepper. So good! Clearly it was rainy when I took this picture.

I finally faced my fear of raw meat last night and made buffalo burgers! I minced together two cloves of garlic and six sun-dried tomatoes and added them to a package of Nature’s Rancher Ground Buffalo. I also spiced the burgers with salt, pepper, garlic powder, an egg, and red pepper flakes.

I served my burger atop a salad of mixed greens, kale chips, diced avocado, heirloom tomato and sauteed mushrooms! This dinner was absolutely delicious and I’m pretty proud of myself for working with raw meat. I guess there’s a first time for everything.

Lately, I’ve been snacking in the afternoon and evening on either raw cashews, fresh rainier cherries, dried apricots, or bananas sliced with almond butter. I did indulge today in some 70% Lake Champlain Dark Chocolate Squares, which were free in the break room at work! I simply couldn’t resist.

How’s your Wednesday going?

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Filed under breakfast, lunch, nut butter, nutritious treats, paleo, primal, salad, wiaw

Slow-Roasted Tomatoes.

Confession: I’ve been a little obsessed with tomatoes lately. I currently have fresh, sun-dried, and slow-roasted sitting in my fridge, waiting to be consumed. When I tried my first slow-roasted tomato last week, I knew that I had to recreate their depth of flavor at home. It was perfect timing, because Kelly had just bought two pints of cherry tomatoes. I figured she wouldn’t miss one.

You will need:
1 pint of cherry tomatoes
olive oil
a few cloves of garlic
salt and pepper, to taste

First, preheat your oven to 225 degrees. Make sure you have a good 2-3 hours of uninterrupted time on your hands. If you have to share a kitchen, do not do this around dinner time! I know from experience; after 1.5 hours of roasting, Kelly decided that she had to make dinner and vamp the oven up to 350. So I had to take out my precious tomatoes, cover them with paper towels, and wait until the kitchen was cleared.

Slice your tomatoes in half, lengthwise, and place them in a large bowl. Drizzle them with a bit of olive oil and a few dashes each of salt and pepper, mixing the tomatoes around to ensure an even coating of olive oil/spices. Arrange the tomatoes face side up on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper with a few cloves of garlic, and place in the oven.

Now all you have to do is wait. I roasted mine for about three hours, until the edges of the tomatoes were crinkly and they were mostly, but not fully, dried out.

You can either use these right away or store them in a jar with some olive oil once they’ve cooled. They’ll last for a few weeks that way. I’ve even heard that you can freeze them for use during the winter, but I haven’t tried that yet.

I ate a few right off the pan and then let them cool. I peeled the cloves of garlic and placed the tomatoes, peeled garlic, and a few drizzles of olive oil into a jar for later use.

I’ve been using these little gems ever since on salads and most notably on top of everything bagels with cream cheese:

They pack just the right amount of flavor and add a boost of delicious to almost anything you want to spice up.

Enjoy!

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Filed under breakfast, nutritious treats, recipe