Friday, November 11, 2011

Coconut Ginger Snaps

It is Aloha Friday on 11/11/11 and that is reason enough to whip up a batch of seasonal cookies to share with family or friends. These treats are so easy to make that you can even get your kiddos involved in the fun and the warmth and aroma it creates in your home will make you want to bake every night of this holiday season. I promise it is much more satisfying than a holiday glade candle because your nose and taste buds get a nice treat that everyone will appreciate!

Gluten-Free Organic Ingredients
makes about 20 cookies
  • 2 1/2 cups brown rice flour
  • 1 cup sucanet (evaporated cane juice)
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 3 Tbs Molasses
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract (make sure to get a gluten and corn syrup free brand)
  • 1 teaspoon coconut extract (optional)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons  ground cinammon 
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon  ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon  ground cloves
  • 1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 2 TBS sucanet
- Pre-heat oven to 375 and place 1 oven rack on the lower middle position and one on the upper middle position.
- On a baking sheet with parchment paper spread the coconut flakes evenly and bake in the oven for 10 - 15 minutes or until toasted.
- In a bowl, add the coconut flakes and 2 Tbs. honey or sucanet and mix together.
- In a large mixing bowl, beat the butter, sucanet, egg, molasses, vanilla, and coconut extract with an electric mixer or by hand.
- Add the flour and the rest of the dry ingredients and beat until blended.
- Roll the dough into 1 1/2 inch balls, dip in coconut flakes, and place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper spaced 2 inches apart.
- Slightly flaten each cookie by pressing with a spoon or thumb.
- Bake for 20 minutes and rotate the baking sheets halfway through baking time.
- If you have allergies to tree nuts just make without the coconut ingredients.

Now enjoy these scrumptious tasty treats!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Healthy Holidays

Now that Halloween has come and gone and we are already in the month of November (can you believe it?) the holiday season is in full swing. We all know what that means: lots of social gatherings, lots of food, lots of drinking, did I mention lots of food? With high calorie meals and sweets constantly around and practically in your face it can be hard not to go overboard on the eating during this time of year. If you need a break from the high fat foods and sugary sweets just try this simple recipe that is not only light in fat and calories, but very filling and rich in plenty of nutrients. 

Don't get me wrong, I fully enjoy holiday treats or just sweets in general, but they still should be enjoyed sparingly even when you make them with healthy unrefined ingredients. My hubby and I love to splurge once a week on a heavier meal (usually meat and higher fat foods) and one of my homemade gluten-free tasty treats, but the rest of the time we stick to the basics and keep it simple: brown rice, quinoa, veggies, and beans. It gives our sensitive stomachs a break from hard to digest rich foods and it makes those splurge eats and treats even more enjoyable! So this year keep a more balanced ratio of healthy foods and holidays splurges by cooking more simple meals at home. Here is just one of the many simple and healthy meals I will be sharing this season.

Aduki Bean Soup with Cabbage Salad
Serves 4

- Add 2 cups dry Aduki beans and 8-10 cups water in a cooking pot.
- Bring to a boil, then turn down to low and simmer for 1 1/2 hours. These beans are great because of their short cooking time.
- At the end of the cooking time season with desired amounts sea salt, ground black pepper, granulated garlic, and oregano.
- Add fresh chopped cilantro and onion to the beans and serve with a scoop of brown rice or quinoa
- Then top it off with the prepared cabbage salad.

Prepare the cabbage salad while beans are cooking:

-  For 15 minutes soak 1/2 cabbage head, 2 carrots, green onion bunch, and aduki bean sprouts (any bean sprouts will work) in a large bowl with 1 tablespoon unrefined Apple Cider Vinegar and water to remove all bacteria and parasites.
- Rinse veggies and finely chop the cabbage, grate the carrots, chop the green onion, then add all chopped veggies and sprouts together in a large bowl.
- Add sea salt and about a half teaspoon each of cayenne, chili powder, and paprika to the salad.
- Add less of the seasonings if you do not handle heat well, it can be spicy. 
- Add fresh squeezed juice of 2 lemons.
- With clean hands or spoon mix all salad ingredients together.

I like to add the cabbage salad to the bean soup with the quinoa or brown rice and eat it all together in one big soup bowl. For healthy fats I add a teaspoon of olive oil or some fresh sliced avocado on top.  This meal has so many great flavors and they all come together very nicely. So eat up and enjoy, I know I did!

Fun Health Facts:

- Aduki beans detoxify the body, reduce swelling and inflammation, and promote weight loss.
- Aduki beans and all sprouts are easier to digest than other beans and legumes.
- Cabbage improves digestion, beautifies the skin, and purifies the blood. It can be used to treat constipation, the common cold, cough, and even mental depression or irritability.
- Carrots are one of the richest sources of the anti-oxidant beta carotene which protect against cancer and other diseases.