Marsala Truffle Cakes with Blackberry Agave Sauce

I have to say, I love me a good chunk of chocolate. Sometimes there is just nothing else that will satisfy a craving like a dark chocolate treat. Years ago, I was more a fan of milk chocolate, but as I refined my taste to eating fresh and whole foods, I began to see the beauty in dark chocolate. It has a rich deep flavor that is uncomparable to anything else. It is simply and truly divine! A gift from God to humans.

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These truffle cakes will definitely fill any chocolate void that you may encounter. Added bonus: there is no refined sugar. This recipe has all the flavor of a white cane sugar filled treat without the high glycemic side effects. By using a combo of different natural sugars, a unique yet heavenly flavor is achieved. Topped with a dangerously delicious Blackberry wine sauce and Oh Em Gee….

 

Marsala Truffle Cakes with Blackberry Agave Sauce

Rating: 51

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Yield: 12 Truffle Cakes

Serving Size: 1 Truffle Cake

Ingredients

  • For the Sauce
  • 6oz fresh blackberries
  • 1 cup marsala wine
  • 3/4 cup agave nectar
  • 1/2tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • For the Truffle Cakes
  • 1 bag chocolate chips
  • 3/4 cup coconut oil
  • 3/4 cup cacoa powder
  • 1tsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp espresso powder
  • 6 eggs
  • 1 cup coconut sugar
  • 1/4 cup marsala wine

Instructions

  • To Make Sauce
  • 1) Rinse 6 oz fresh blackberries.
  • 2) In a medium saucepan, bring 1 cup Marsala wine, 3/4 cup agave nectar, 1/2 tsp cinnamon, 1 tsp vanilla and blackberries to a boil.
  • 3) Reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes, gently crushing blackberries every 10 minutes or so. Place in the refrigerator and let cool completely. Sauce will thicken in the fridge.
  • To Make Truffle Cakes
  • 1) Melt chocolate chip and coconut oil in a small saucepan over medium heat until smooth. Stir occasionally so the mixture doesn't burn at the bottom.
  • 2) Add 1 tsp vanilla, 1 tsp espresso powder, 3/4 cup cacoa powder and 1/4 cup marsala wine. Mix until combined.
  • 3) In a mixer, beat 6 eggs and 1 cup coconut sugar until it becomes thick and custard-like in appearance.
  • 4) Add chocolate mixture to egg mixture and blend together for 1 minute.
  • 5) Fill 12 cupcake molds 3/4 full. Place cupcake liners in for easy removal.
  • 6) Bake at 325 for 20-25 min or until just set. A good way to test this is with your finger. Gently press the top of one of the cakes with your finger. It should bounce back up. If the finger impression stays in, or the cake feels loose, it is not quite done yet. Do not overcook them, or you will end up with a dry hockey puck.
  • 7)Take truffle cake out of the wrapper and place on plate. Top with Chilled Blackberry Agave Sauce.
  • 8) If you are planning to eat the cakes after they have cooled or the next day, pop the in the microwave to warm and soften for about 20 seconds just before eating. They are much better warm. Enjoy!

For a detailed picture tutorial, visit http://www.tiffanystrimtreats.com/2013/04/12/marsala-truffle-cakes-with-blackberry-agave-sauce

http://www.tiffanystrimtreats.com/2013/04/12/marsala-truffle-cakes-with-blackberry-agave-sauce/

CONTINUE HERE FOR PICTURE TUTORIAL:

Rinse 6 oz fresh blackberries.

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In a medium saucepan, bring 1 cup Marsala wine, 3/4 cup agave nectar, 1/2 tsp cinnamon, 1 tsp vanilla and blackberries to a boil.
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Reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes, gently crushing blackberries every 10 minutes or so. Place in the refrigerator and let cool completely. Sauce will thicken in the fridge.

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Get out your bag of Enjoy life Semi-Sweet Chocolate Mini Chips. These are processed, but contain a very small amount of ingredients which is always great if you have to use a processed product. They contain a more natural form of sugar and are also wheat, dairy, tree nut, peanut, egg, soy, fish and shellfish free. Fish and Shellfish? I didn’t know that was a problem with chocolate chips but good to know!

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Melt chocolate chip and coconut oil in a small saucepan over medium heat until smooth. Stir occasionally so the mixture doesn’t burn at the bottom.

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Add 1 tsp vanilla, 1 tsp espresso powder, 3/4 cup cacoa powder and 1/4 cup marsala wine. Mix until combined.

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In a mixer, beat 6 eggs and 1 cup coconut sugar until it becomes thick and custard-like in appearance.

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Add chocolate mixture to egg mixture and blend together for 1 minute.

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You should have a nice bowl of delicious chocolate batter. Try not to eat it all before it goes into the oven :)

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Fill 12 cupcake molds 3/4 full. Place cupcake liners in for easy removal.

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Bake at 325 for 20-25 min or until just set. A good way to test this is with your finger. Gently press the top of one of the cakes with your finger. It should bounce back up. If the finger impression stays in, or the cake feels loose, it is not quite done yet. Do not overcook them, or you will end up with a dry hockey puck.

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Take truffle cake out of the wrapper and place on plate. Top with Chilled Blackberry Agave Sauce.

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Mmmmmmmm! You want one really bad right now don’t you ;)

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If you are planning to eat the cakes after they have cooled or the next day, pop the in the microwave to warm and soften for about 20 seconds just before eating. They are much better warm.

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They are also great topped with Zabaglione Cream. Yum!

Enjoy!

Xoxo,

Tiffany

 

Cashew Milk

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One of the best tasting items on the juice fast I recently did was the cashew milk! I would put it in a martini glass at the end of the night and savor it slowly. The cashews make for a perfect creamy milk alternative.  Cashew Milk + Sunbutter and Jelly sandwich = smiling happy face :)

Cashew Milk

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 2 minutes

Total Time: 7 minutes

Yield: 5-6 servings

Serving Size: 1 cup

Ingredients

  • 2 cups raw cashews
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1tsp natural vanilla
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • Blender or Ninja
  • Nut Milk Bag or Cheesecloth
  • Fine Mesh Strainer

Instructions

  • 1) Soak the cashews in water overnight or at least 4 hours
  • 2) Drain and rinse the cashews well before blending
  • 3) Place cashews in a blender or Ninja
  • 4) Fill the blender up to the top marking. It should be about 6-8 cups of water.
  • 5) Add maple syrup, vanilla and salt
  • 6) Blend well for about 2 minutes.
  • 7) Drain cashew mixture through a fine mesh strainer over a bowl to catch the milk
  • 8) Rinse blender completely, and filter milk through the nut milk bag or double thickened cheesecloth back into the blender to catch and small pieces of cashews left over
  • 9) Pour milk into an airtight container and refrigerate. Lasts for about 5 days. Enjoy!

For a Picture tutorial, visit http://www.tiffanystrimtreats.com/2013/03/21/cashew-milk/

http://www.tiffanystrimtreats.com/2013/03/24/cashew-milk/

Continue Here for Picture Tutorial:

1) Soak 2 cups cashews overnight or at least 4 hours. Drain and rinse well. Add Cashews to blender or Ninja. Fill with water up to top measurement on blender cup. Add 2 tbsp maple syrup, 1 tsp vanilla and 1/4 tsp salt. Blend for 2 minutes.

 

 

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Strain cashew mixture over a fine mesh strainer. Make sure to drain it into another bowl to catch the milk.

 

 

 

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Rinse out blender well. Strain milk back into blender through a nut milk bag or a double thick layer of cheesecloth to get any fine cashew pieces out of the milk.

 

 

 

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Place milk into an airtight container and refrigerate. Will last up to 5 days if it has not been devoured before then :)

 

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Enjoy!

Xoxo,

Tiffany

 

 

 

Move over Pumpkin Pie. Make room for Pumpkin Flan with Maple Espresso Syrup!

Oh. Em. Gee.

I have discovered my new favorite dessert.

Always a lover of anything pumpkin, I was recently trying to create mini pumpkin pies for thanksgiving. The crusts weren’t my favorite, but the filling had real potential. I absolutely love any type of flan, so I decided to try to go that direction (then you don’t need a crust anyway).  So Pumpkin flan was born and let me tell you, I am glad it’s here!

This isn’t your typical dairy and  sugar filled confection. Every type of sugar used (very minimal) is low glycemic and less likely to sit around your waist after eating it.  It is a great source of egg protein and I can’t begin to tell you how great pumpkin is for you! Plus it is soooooo easy to make. I can see this being a weekly visitor in my kitchen through the holidays lol.

My husband looked at me and said, “Wow! This can’t be healthy.” Yup, that’s how good it is. This is truly a dessert you can eat proudly…guilt free!

In fact, I’m snacking on it for breakfast right now :)

 

What you’ll need:

For the Syrup

1/2 cup maple syrup

1 tsp bourbon vanilla (this is most of the natural vanilla’s at the grocery store…I got mine at walmart)

1 tsp espresso powder

Flan

4 eggs ( or egg replacer…follow box directions for 4 eggs)

1 13.5 oz can coconut milk ( or 1 + 3/4 cup milk of choice)

1 15 oz can pumpkin

2 tsp bourbon vanilla

2 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp allspice

1/2 cup coconut sugar ( I get mine at the health food store)

2 packets stevia

 

Kitchen Equipment

Saucepan

Disposable Foil cupcake pans ( enough to make at least 12 flans)

Blender or Ninja

Large roasting pan with deep sides

scissors

aluminum foil

 

Directions

Heat oven to 325°. Place all syrup ingredients (maple syrup, espresso powder, vanilla)  in saucepan and bring to a boil.

When mixture begins to boil, remove from heat. Make sure it doesn’t boil over as it gets foamy really quick!

Divide the syrup 12 equal parts among the cupcake pan(s). Set pan(s) aside.

Meanwhile, blend all remaining flan ingredients in a blender or Ninja for 2 minutes or until completely combined.

Take cupcake pan(s) and swirl syrup to coat the sides.

Slowly, pour the flan batter into the cupcake cups over the syrup that was placed in the bottom. Fill to the top of the cups. Place the cupcake pan (or pans… mine came with 6 cups each) into a large roasting pan.

Fill roasting pan with 2 inches of water, careful to not spill the water into the flan. You can also put thw water in first if it is easier, just allow room for the water to rise when you stick your cupcake pans in the roasting pan.

Bake for 50 minutes at 325°. When the flan is done, you should be ale to insert a toothpick and have it come out clean. Place flan in refrigerator to cool completely before eating.

When flan is completely cool, cut the foil pans so that  each flan is now separated from one another.

Loosen the edges of the flan from the pan with a knife.

Invert flan onto a plate, gently tapping the top of the foil pan to help it release. Don’t forget to let the syrup drizzle out on top!

Wrap up all other flans individually with foil so you can grab one out of the fridge anytime…

Like right now. I finished the one I was eating…I’m headed back for more:)

Xoxo,

Tiffany

 

Sweet Pork Potato Stack-Snack

I am SUPER excited today!!! The Ancient Olive, and amazing oil and vinegar company announced today on facebook that it will now have products available for purchase online. YAAAAAAYYYYY!!!!!! This is so great because I use their products all the time and unfortunately they are currently located only in St Augustine and Winter Park, Florida. Seeing that I live more than 45 min away from each location (and much farther for many of you), this is an ingredient problem for some of the recipes I create that use their products. Well, not anymore. Welcome to oil and vinegar heaven people!!

The Ancient Olive is a company that creates flavor infused olive oils and balsamic vinegars without any added sugars. It is much healthier than using butter, syrups or processed flavors to achieve that specific or unique taste you want to achieve in a dish. Unlike many other “flavored” vinegars, these really taste like the ingredient infused in them. Imagine this: coconut white balsamic vinegar paired with a lime oil marinated over tilapia for a Key West inspired fish dish. Sweet chocolate vinegar drizzled over a bowl of strawberries with no need for added sweetener. Red apple vinegar and walnut oil dressing over a goat cheese salad with candied pecans. Butter flavored olive oil topping your popcorn with the same great flavor. Yes please! If you can manage to make it to one of the “tasting rooms,” the very knowledgeable and friendly staff will let you sample the exquisite flavors and combinations of oils and vinegars that pair well together. For me, it really was love at first taste.

In honor of this glorious day, I would like to share a yummy snack that uses one of the tastiest vinegars I own…Vermont Maple Balsamic Vinegar. I have used it on several things, but it really tastes amazing on anything with pork! This recipe also pairs well with the Strawberry Barbecue sauce from last weeks post.

 

What you’ll need:

6 microwave ready sweet potatoes (found in the produce section next to the regular sweet potatoes)

1 pork loin (4 or 5 pounds)

3/4 cup Vermont Maple Balsamic Vinegar

1/3 cup maple syrup or agave nectar

Strawberry Barbecue sauce or organic low sugar barbecue sauce (for drizzling)

 

Kitchen Equipment:

Crock pot

cutting board

12 sandwich baggies and 1 large gallon freezer bag

saran wrap or tupperware to unused half of potato

 

Directions:

Place pork loin in crock pot. Pour vinegar and maple syrup over pork and rub to coat meat.

 

Slow cook on high for 4 hours or on low for 8 hours. When pork is done, it should pull apart easily with a fork. Place pork on a cutting board and pull apart into pieces with two forks. Separate into 12 portions and place each portion into a sandwich bag. Place all 12 bags into one large freezer bag. Place into freezer. (Picture shown below was done with chicken)

 

Microwave one sweet potato as directed on package. When it is soft and cooked through (test by piercing it with a fork or squeezing with your hand that had an oven mitt on it…don’t forget the oven mitt or you will be really angry at me and the sweet potato) remove and place on a cutting board. Remove the wrapping and slice through the potato lengthwise to make 2 portions. Using a fork, mash one of the halves, loosening the flesh of the potato. Wrap the other half and place in the refrigerator for a snack later.

When you are ready to assemble, thaw one bag of the pork and heat through. Place pork on top of sweet potato half and drizzle with barbecue sauce.

Do I really need to say more….:)

This recipe is DELISH! It is one of those snacks that is super filling with a nice combo of healthy carbs and protein. Plus it uses flavor infused balsamic vinegar and very little sugar so really, how can you go wrong! I once made these as lunch snacks for my family and it was seriously the easiest thing to throw together last minute in the morning.

If you’d like to check out more about the amazing oils and vinegars you that will be your new favorite kitchen companion, click here. They also have sleek and efficient pour spouts available to purchase on their site that fit perfectly in the bottles. I use silver for my vinegar and gold for my oil. Check them out!

White Cheddar Popcorn – Hold the Cheddar!

Once upon a time I couldn’t eat popcorn. I know, for all you popcorn lovers out there…very sad. I really liked popcorn and decided to get a huge bucket to go along with my movie at the theater one night. About an hour or so after the movie, I wasn’t feeling so good. Long story short…it ended up being a looooong night and the following day recovering from food poisoning. You see, movie theaters will reheat their butter, over and over and over and over and over again. This constant reheating changes the composition of the butter, and increases the risk of it going rancid which is ultimately what led to my popcorn demise. For several years, I couldn’t even stand the scent of buttered popcorn cooking. If any smell could bring me back to a particular moment in time, it was that one. I personally didn’t want to relive the nightmare!

It took awhile, but I finally began to enjoy non-buttered popcorn again (which is better for the body anyway so it was a win-win for me lol). I found I really enjoyed different varieties as well, such as salt and pepper, cheese, kettle, etc. I wanted to be able to make this at home, but they don’t sell any convenient “ready to make” popcorn for the microwave without adding some sort of butter flavor in the packaging. So I set out to do some research and found that it is just as fast and easy to make your own stovetop popcorn. There is also apparently a simple way to make it in a brown paper bag as well, but more on that later…

During my “popcorn research” I stumbled upon a little place that makes non-GMO popcorn called Amish Country Popcorn. They make all sorts of cute popcorn varieties, including blue popcorn (which for come reason I am infatuated this variety all because it is blue… go figure lol). I ordered several varieties and when they arrived it felt like Christmas! I’m still not sure why I got so excited over popcorn. Maybe it really is the simple things in life that make me happy :)

 

What you’ll need:

1/4  cup non-GMO popcorn

2-3 tbsp coconut or safflower oil

2-3 tbsp olive oil (for drizzling)

2 tbsp nutritional yeast (not brewers yeast)

1 tsp garlic powder

1/2 tsp  himalayan pink salt (or sea salt)

 

Kitchen Equipment:

Medium size stockpot

Large bowl lined with a paper towel

 

Directions:

Heat oil over medium high heat in saucepan.

Once oil is heated, add one kernel of popcorn into stock pot.

When the kernel pops, you know the oil is ready. Remove this kernel before the next step.

Add the rest of your popcorn to the stockpot.

Place a lid over the popcorn and gently move back and forth over burner. You should hear the kernels start to pop. Cook for about 30 to 45 seconds or until the popping slows down or stops. Place popcorn immediately into a bowl lined with a paper towel so that the popcorn does not burn in the pan.

Let popcorn sit in bowl for about 1 minute. Carefully remove the paper towel, leaving the popcorn in the bowl.

Drizzle with olive oil. Add nutritional yeast, garlic powder,  salt. Toss popcorn to coat well.

Separate into portion sized bowls and enjoy!

This literally take me less than 5 minutes to make plus this is so much better for your body than microwave popcorn! In fact, there are new studies emerging about something called “popcorn lung,” a disease causing scarring in the lungs of people who have inhaled a chemical called diacetyl. This chemical is what is used to add or increase the butter flavor in microwave popcorn. Click here to read more about diacetyl and its effects on the body.

Funny, I did a blind taste test on my popcorn with a friend and she really thought it was a white cheddar popcorn! The nutritional yeast gives you all the cheesy flavor without the fat and dairy. You also get the added benefits of B-vitamins, no sugar or gluten, and lots of protein. In fact, nutritional yeast contains 9 grams or protein in 2 tablespoons. This is right around the same amount of protein found in whey powder without all the added dairy and sugar found in many commercial powders. Who ever thought you could enjoy your popcorn and get your protein in at the same time?! I have one warning…this stuff is addictive! Make extra ;)

Still not convinced? Check out this article Scary Facts about Microwave Popcorn

Renal diet exchange: use Safflower oil instead of coconut and omit salt

Xoxo,

Tiffany

P.S. Click here for a link to cooking popcorn in the microwave using a brown paper bag. It sounds really interesting if you hate cooking popcorn on the stove. I am going to check it out soon!

 

The Skinny Shepherd

My husband and I were very blessed to be able to take a trip to Ireland last year. It is and will always be one of the most amazing places we have ever been. This country has spun out some of the best dishes I have eaten in my entire life. One of my absolute favorites is Shepherd’s Pie. This is my Ireland inspired “skinny” version that is to die for! I cook them in small ramekins so I can grab one and enjoy a nice warm afternoon snack while my mind drifts back to the emerald isle…

 

What you’ll need:

2 lbs ground free range turkey

1/2 lb (1/2 bag) organic baby carrots

1 cup peas

1 small red onion

2 tsp agave nectar or honey

1/2 tsp himalayan pink salt

1 tsp nutmeg

2 tbsp olive oil

For the topping:

1 head cauliflower

1/2 cup nutritional yeast

2 tsp garlic powder

1/2 tsp himalayan pink salt

3 tbsp olive oil

cracked pepper

 

Kitchen equipment

food processor or Ninja

medium stockpot

colander or strainer

Large frying pan or Magic green pan ( My favorite pan!)

cutting board

8 lightly greased ramekins placed on a baking sheet

 

Directions:

Bring 6 cups water to a boil in medium saucepan. Chop white part of cauliflower into medium sized chunks and place in boiling water.

Boil for 20 min or until cauliflower is tender.

While the cauliflower is cooking, place onion and carrots in a food processor and pulse until minced. Add 2 tablespoons olive oil to a large saucepan heated to medium high heat. Saute carrots and onions for 5 min.

Turn heat off on stove. Add ground turkey, peas, agave nectar, salt and nutmeg and stir to combine mixture. You do not need to cook the turkey.

Divide turkey mixture evenly among 8 ramekins.

Drain cooked cauliflower and place in food processor or ninja. Add nutritional yeast, garlic powder, salt, and olive oil. Blend until smooth and creamy.

Top the turkey mixture with cauliflower mixture by dividing it evenly among the 8 ramekins. Top with cracked pepper.

Bake on 350 for 30 min. Turn oven to broil and cook for another 5 min or until tops begin to turn a golden color.

Let cool for at least 10 min before eating. These pies are piping hot on the inside!!!

There is something so comforting about these Skinny Shepherds. I’m not sure if it’s the hint of nutmeg, the fact that they are so good for you, or the warm goodness in your belly after eating them, but I never get enough of this snack. It’s a great way to experience an Irish culinary treasure right in your own backyard.

Renal Diet exchanges: Eliminate all salt from recipe, use fresh or frozen peas (not canned) and do not use honey as an option in the meat mixture (agave nectar only).

Xoxo,

Tiffany

Almond Herb Cheese

One of the downfalls of having a dairy allergy is not enjoying a simple pleasure of life…cheese. Me and Cheese, we were best friends. We did everything together…pizza, sandwiches, soups, etc. You should’ve seen what we could do with a cracker! Ahhh…good times. But ultimately, cheese betrayed me and I was left alone, overweight, and sporting a puffy face with a daily headache. Enter my friend the almond. It really is one of the most versatile foods and makes a mean cheese spread (without the cheese of course). This is one of my favorite snacks EVER! It pairs well with crackers, veggies, as a replacement for ricotta, or just eating it straight out of the container. Guilty :)

What you will need:

1 cup almonds (blanched if you want a white cheese)

1 lemon, juiced, seeds removed

1/2 cup water

2 tbsp dried italian herbs

1/4 cup olive oil

1/2 tsp himalayan pink salt

5 or 6 garlic cloves

 

Kitchen Equipment:

Tupperware container or bowl with plastic wrap (for soaking)

strainer or colander

Food Processor

Spatula

 

Directions:

Place almonds in a plastic container or bowl and cover with water (make sure container has enough room for almonds to expand). Cover. Let soak for at least 8 hours or overnight.

After soaking is finished, drain and rinse well under cold water.

Place all ingredients in a food processor and process for 6 to 7 minutes until smooth and creamy.

Every 2 to 3 minutes stop food processor and scrape down the sides with a spatula.

When mixture is done processing, place in container and chill. If it is still too thick, you may add more olive oil to get it to the right consistency.

Serve with veggies, gluten free crackers or a spoon :)

The consistency will not be completely smooth if you use non-blanched almonds, but I like it with a little crunch to it. If you prefer a smooth cheese (that looks like cheese), definitely go for the blanched almonds. After soaking, they will have a strong vinegar smell to them (from the blanching process), so rinse well. I hope you enjoyed meeting my new best friend, almond cheese!

Xoxo,

Tiffany

 

Coconut Milk

Hello, my name is Tiffany and I am a coconut addict. There I said it! Is there really anything better in this world than being addicted to coconuts? I don’t think so :) Fortunately they are packed full of all kinds of vitamins, minerals and although they have saturated fat, your body metabolizes it differently than other saturated fats. Eating and drinking coconut really is like being in a win-win situation! If you enjoy it like I do, then you know it can tend to get a little pricey if you drink coconut milk. The store varieties also contain some scary preservatives (do you know what xantham gum is? Look it up….) I have found that the homemade version of coconut milk is much less expensive, lower in sugar and sodium, and tastes AMAZING!!! Think the best Pina Coladas you’ll ever have. Ever. Need I say more?

 

What you’ll need:

4 dates, 2 tbsp raw agave nectar, or 10 drops stevia (if you are watching your sugar)

2 cups unsweetened dried shredded coconut

4 cups water

4 tsp tapioca starch

 

Kitchen equipment

Ninja, Regular Blender or High Powered blender (preferred)

Small sieve strainer or Nut milk bag (preferred) – at the time I made this I did not have a nut milk bag, but it makes the process smoother

Large (at least 4 cup) heat proof liquid measuring cup

Small funnel

Storage container for milk

 

Directions:

Heat water in microwave for 3 min.

Once water is heated, mix tapioca starch with about a half cup water. Mix until starch is dissolved.

In blender or Ninja, add the rest of the warm water, coconut, and dates or sweetener of choice

Blend for 1 min and 30 seconds. Add tapioca starch mixture and blend for another 30 seconds.

Place container in refrigerator and let cool completely (usually 2 to 3 hours or overnight)

Once completely cooled, take out of refridgerator and strain

You can keep coconut puree for another recipe, or discard. Pour filtered milk into storage container using a funnel

Pour in a glass and enjoy. Or go make a Pina Colada :)

I usually make this in 2 batches at one time, let them cool and filter it all together. Delicious! You won’t go back to store bought after this!

Xoxo,

Tiffany

 

 

Zac and Cheese

When you hear the words “Comfort Food” what comes to mind? For me, mac and cheese has to be somewhere at the top of the list. The biggest problem with that is that cheese doesn’t like me all too well. I am very fortunate not to have all the lactose intolerant stomach cramps (and all the other gross stomach issues we won’t go into…), but my sinuses and kleenex will most definitely become best friends after a night of milk binging. What’s a girl to do?! Come up with something better :)

Putting together a list of ingredients for mac and cheese usually looks something like this: milk, wheat noodles, cheese (usually not hormone free), butter, lots of salt, and more cheese. Occasionally people might add something healthy like an onion to it. And that’s only the healthy homemade version! Boxed mac and cheese (depending on the brand) adds sodium tripolyphosphate, disodium phosphate, and or calcium phosphate as a food preservative. You can find many of these preservatives in household cleaners and corrosion inhibitors. Let’s not forget  our friends Yellow number 5 and Yellow number 6, the food colorings that turn mac and cheese a strange fluorescent orange sci-fi color. I don’t even think it even comes close to the color of sharp cheddar which usually is the brightest orange cheese. I once watched a family member consume an entire box of mac and cheese while thinking to myself, “That can’t be good…”

I don’t know about you, but I don’t want chemical cleaners or something with a number in my food. Preferably, I’d also like to feel good after eating it as well! This led to my creation of the new and improved “Zac and Cheese”!

What you will need:

For the sauce

2 cups raw cashews

2 cups water

2 cups organic nitrate free chardonnay

2 tbsp nutritional yeast, not brewers yeast

2 tsp garlic powder

1 tsp sea salt

1 lemon

 

For the “Macaroni”

5 medium zucchini

 

For the topping

1 cup almond flour

1 TBSP olive oil

1 tsp garlic powder

1/2 tsp sea salt

1 tsp onion powder (optional, but recommended)

 

Kitchen equipment

food processor or Ninja

fine sieve strainer

non-stick frying pan or Magic green pan ( My favorite pan!)

cutting board

3 bowls

8 lightly greased ramekins placed on a baking sheet

 

Directions:

To begin, blend the 2 cups cashews with 2 cups water until smooth and creamy (about 2 minutes). I love using my ninja for this because it seems to take less time and purees really nice. Once the mixture is smooth, strain through the strainer into a bowl and throw away the chunky pieces left in the strainer. Set cashew puree aside.

Bring wine to a simmer over medium heat and cook for 12 minutes.

While the Chardonnay is cooking, prep your zucchini. Peel using a vegetable peeler (recommended) or a knife.  If you want the macaroni small, cut zucchini into 3 pieces lengthwise. If you want it a little bigger, cut in half. Next slice along the length if the zucchini in half moons, about a half inch apart. Place zucchini macaroni aside in a large bowl.

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Once the wine has reduced by about half, add cashew puree, nutritional yeast, garlic powder, salt and pepper. Cook another 2 minutes. Squeeze lemon into sauce and stir.

Pour “cheese” mixture into zucchini noodles and stir well

Divide noodle mix evenly among 8 ramekins.

Place all topping ingredients in a small bowl and mix with a fork until small pea sized pieces appear throughout mix. Top zucchini mixture in ramekins.

Bake for 30 minutes or until tops are slightly browned. If you are in a hurry, you can turn the oven on broil after 30 min and cook for another 2 min to get the tops browned a little faster.

Let cool for at least 10 minutes because they are extremely hot coming out of the oven (my husband actually burned his mouth!) We enjoyed these as our afternoon snack for the next few days and they were really filling due to the use of almonds and cashew protein added to the recipe. The zucchini worked perfectly as a noodle replacement. The sauce almost resembled a creamy white alfredo cheese. Yum! I also didn’t have a sluggish feeling after eating them so…success! I hope you love them as much as we do!

Renal Diet Exchanges: exchange cashews for 16 oz cream cheese, no salt, exchange almond flour for rice flour, and add 1 tsp garlic powder to both the sauce and topping.

xoxo

Tiffany

 

 

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