Sunday, March 28, 2010

Feta Garlic stuffed chicken, wrapped in prosciutto

What a mouthful, literally. I tried to find a shorter name for this, but it just wasn't happening. These chicken breasts are stuffed with a garlic, feta and spinach then wrapped in prosciutto to bake. Its a great mixture of light and rich flavors and simple to prepare. This recipe serves two, so make 1 piece of chicken per person to make appropriate servings.

2 Boneless skinless chicken breasts
4 tablespoons Feta cheese
1 tablespoon Minced garlic
1/8 cup Steamed spinach
2 Large pieces of prosciutto
salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 425. Place feta and garlic in small bowl and mix with fork, if your feta is too hard add a small amount of olive oil to make it more malleable. Steam spinach and chop, after chopped measure out 1/8 cup. Add spinach to feta mixture and mix well. Take chicken breast and butterfly cut length wise (like slicing a bun for a hamburger, only don't cut all the way in half). Place feta mixture in the middle of the chicken like a sandwich. Sprinkle salt and pepper over chicken breast and place large piece of prosciutto over chicken, covering as much as you can. Place chicken on baking sheet and bake for about 30 minutes or until chicken is fully cooked. Serve along side your favorite side dish and enjoy!

Friday, March 26, 2010

Cookie Brownie-- Yes its both of them!

Ahh America's two favorite baked goods cooked into one. Now, this isn't a blondie-- I wouldn't do that to you. This is a cookie with a brownie on top, baked in layers :-) I made these as cupcakes, which can be easier if you're cooking for a crowd. Also its important to put the cookie layer on the bottom, so that the brownies can be fluffy and rise a bit.


Cookie layer
2/3 cup Almond butter
2 teaspoons Vanilla
1 Egg
3 tablespoons Milk (almond, coconut- whatever floats your boat)
3 teaspoons Olive oil
1 tablespoon Stevia
1/4 cup Chocolate chips

Brownie layer
1 cup Cocoa powder
2 Eggs
4 tablespoons Olive oil
1 teaspoon Vanilla
1 tablespoon Honey
1 tablespoon Stevia
1 teaspoon Apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon Baking soda

Preheat the oven to 350. Start with cookie batter: mix almond butter and eggs together in bowl. Next add oil, vanilla and milk and mix well. Finish the batter off with stevia and chocolate chips. Grease muffin tins and place about a tablespoon of batter in each cup-- recipe should make about 8-10 cupcakes.
Move onto the brownie batter. Mix cocoa powder with eggs, oil and honey, mix well. Next add vanilla, stevia when they are thoroughly mixed add apple cider vinegar and baking soda. The batter should be pretty thick as this is fudge like brownie. Add the brownie batter on top of cookie in cupcake cups, careful not to mix the two batters together. Place try in oven and bake for about 35 minutes or until a knife comes out clean. Enjoy!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Sprouting Nuts-- its not nuts!

I remember the first time I heard of soaking nuts....and I thought "well that's weird and unnecessary". The beauty of life is how we can learn and then change :-).

Sprouting or soaking nuts is not...nuts! In fact there are various health benefits to soaking nuts. Soaking legumes has been more commonly understood, as it breaks down much of the starch and other toxins. Soaking raw nuts is actually similar. Raw nuts contain phytic acid, and enzyme inhibitors. Phytic acid is more abundant in grains but is also found in nuts. Phytic acid is a mineral chelator, which in plain English means that it flushes important minerals from your body-- like calcium, zinc and magnesium--no good. Enzymes in your body aid in digestion and nutrient absorption; so they are essential to get all the benefits from that nutritious food I know you're eating.
I can hear you asking, "well, Whitney, why don't we just eat roasted nuts then?". Roasting nuts adds Omega 6 oils, which would not be a bad thing if American did not already over consume Omega 6's. The average amount of Omega 6's consumed by American causes inflammation among other nasty things. Roasting them also breaks down the Omega 3s and other key nutrients.
This brings us to sprouting raw nuts. Soaking raw nuts for 24 hours will break down both the phytic acid and the enzyme inhibitors. Which pretty much makes nut perfect! Adding a small amount of salt to the soaking water aids in effectiveness and can add some flavor. Native South Americans have traditionally soaked their nuts in sea water and laid them out to be dehydrated by the sun. Once your nuts have soaked for 24 hours remove from water, spread them out on a cookie sheet and leave in the oven on the "warm" setting overnight. You'll have great, digestible, healthy nuts waiting for your breakfast. I was particularly surprised by the cashews that turned purple during the sprouting process...whooo know? Even if you don't eat them, they really look beautiful. Enjoy!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Chocolate Almond Meringue

Meringues can be a bit temperamental, so believe me when I say that you dont want to make these on a rainy day. The damp air really can make a difference in this delicious fluffy cookie. This is a great guilt-free dessert that will impress!


3 Egg whites
1/4 teaspoon Cream of tartar
1/4 teaspoon Vanilla
1 tablespoon Cocoa powder
1/2 tablespoon Stevia

3 tablespoons Coconut oil
1 1/2 tablespoons Cocoa powder
1 teaspoon Honey
2 teaspoons Stevia
1/3 cup Almonds

Preheat oven to 300 degrees. In a clean mixing bowl place egg whites and beat until stiff peaks form. Add vanilla and cream of tartar and beat egg whites again for another few minutes to insure egg whites are as stiff as possible. Slowly fold cocoa and stevia into egg whites. Line a cookie sheet with parchment (oiling a pan may cause egg whites to fall) and dallop small spoonfuls of batter and bake for about 40 minutes. Cool for 30 minutes.

When cookies have cooled place coconut oil in double broiler. Melt coconut oil, then add cocoa powder, honey and stevia and mix well. Chop almonds and set aside. Gently place meringue in chocolate mixture, cover and remove, scraping off excess chocolate from cookie. Sprinkle chopped almonds on top of the cookie and leave to cool so chocolate hardens. Cover all cookies and enjoy!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

How un-hungry are you? Try to"IF"

Last Saturday my Mom and I took Lulu for a long walk to the Starbucks for their weekly special blend. We left around 10:30 and got home around 12:30. I realized that I hadn't eaten anything and really I wasn't HUNGRY, meaning I could eat, but wasn't feeling like i needed to eat. I should tell you I always eat breakfast and always eat it on time. I realized it felt pretty good to not have had breakfast! So I waited until 2 to have my lunch.
Lately I have been spending so much time at home, which is great for baking, but also allows me to fall into a pattern of eating out of habit. Many of us have our daily routine: wake up, breakfast, rush to work, lunch, meeting, etc... Do you stop before that breakfast and say "hey, body!? are you hungry in there?". I really don't ask my body that before I sit down with my omelet and coffee. Then lunchtime rolls around and I will eat something light, even if I don't feel that hunger pain,'s lunch! Now don't get me wrong, I don't sit down with a huge burger and fries, but still, I am eating when my body is not asking for food.
There are a few methods of eating: the graze all day, the 5 small meals etc. It seems I have been introduced to Intermittent Fasting or "IF". Studies have shown that IF can help with metabolism, weight loss, neurological oxidative stress, memory, LDL, triglycerides, blood pressure, insulin and blood sugar levels. Sounds pretty good huh!? Now this isn't some new starvation diet. Looking towards my diet's roots: the Paleo or Primal ideologies, it is very natural for all living things to have some uneven patterns in eating--where food would be more scarce than others. It would seem that our bodies aren't built to have food constantly put in them day after day, and a little black out time would be totally natural biologically.
Now look-- I like food, if you're reading my blog you do too. So start small: skip breakfast, if you feel okay skip lunch and have a snack around 4 and then have regular dinner. Do what you can! Btw, having fruit juice is NOT allowed (tea and coffee ok- no sugar/ honey, it will mess up blood sugar). This isn't something you should be doing every day or even every other day, but maybe once a week or so. Mark Sisson of Primal Blue Print highly recommends IF, and has a few really great articles on IF's benefits (link at bottom). Remember you can start small: try not eating until around 4, or even until dinner, once a week and see how it goes. It has made me realize that I am eating way more than I need, which puts an unhealthy pressure and stress on my body. I'm a convert!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

St Pattys: Mint Chocolate Espresso Beans

Ahhhh these are tasty! Since discovering I can make my own chocolate with coconut oil and stevia I really have been out of control. This is a special variation of my beloved chocolate covered espresso beans. I use candy molds instead of covering individual beans as its difficult to really cover each bean by itself. You can also use ice cub trays or small ramekins.

1/4 cup Coconut oil
3 tablespoons Cocoa powder
2 1/4 teaspoons Stevia
3 teaspoons Honey
3 teaspoons Mint extract
3 tablespoons Coffee beans

In a small bowl microwave coconut oil for 30 seconds until liquid. Stir in cocoa powder, making sure it is completely dissolved. Next add honey, stevia, mint extract and stir well. Chop coffee beans into medium sized pieces and mix them into the chocolate mixture. Pour mixture into candy molds. Once mixture is settled in the molds you want to make sure there is enough chocolate so that you cannot see the espresso pieces from the top. If you can see the espresso you may want to mix up some more chocolate and divide it between the molds-- I say this because the size of coffee beans and candy molds may differ and if you don't have enough chocolate the candies may come out too bitter. Place molds in the fridge until hard. Once hardened remove from molds and enjoy!

St Patty's Day: Hidden Leaf Muffins

I truly love holidays. Any excuse to celebrate life and enjoy it with delicious food. These healthy muffins sneak in some great vegetables that you wouldn't even know were there despite their color. I use veggie puree to add a green color instead of chemical dye-- it also adds vitamins and fiber. These muffins wont appear VERY green on the outside but will be green on the inside.

3 tablespoons Finely chopped broccoli
3 tablespoons Pureed spinach
1/3 cup Flax meal
1/4 cup Almond butter (or meal)
2 tablespoons Milk (i used coconut)
1 1/2 teaspoon Apple cider vinegar
1 1/2 teaspoon Baking soda
1 1/2 tablespoon Cinnamon
1 tablespoon Stevia
3 Eggs

Preheat oven to 400. Finely chop or grate broccoli tops until 3 full tablespoons are prepared. Place spinach in food processor, make sure no large chunks remain and add to bowl with broccoli. Add flax meal and almond butter to mixture and mix well. Add egg, milk, cinnamon, and stevia to mixture. Last add apple cider and baking soda and mix thoroughly. Pour batter into muffin cups and bake for about 20 minutes, or until top of muffins begin to brown. Let cool and serve with butter or honey and enjoy!

Monday, March 15, 2010


Ahh the taste of these is prefect! That cheesey flavor with some twang at the end. These aren't quiet as crunchy as the normal cheese-its but they sure hit the spot.

1/3 cup Pureed white navy beans
1/3 cup Cheddar cheese
1 tablespoon White wine
1/3 cup Corn starch
1 1/2 teaspoon Mustard powder
1 Egg yolk
1/2 teaspoon Salt

Preheat oven to 325. Combine beans and grated cheese together. Microwave mixture together at 30 second increments, mixing in between. When cheese is melted add white wine, corn starch and mustard powder. Make sure mixture has cooled a bit before adding egg yolk-- you don't want to cook the yolk. Place mixture on greased cookie sheet and place parchment over the batter and begin to kneed and flatten out the the batter until it is a thin layer on the sheet. It should look like a giant pancake. Place baking sheet in oven for about 15-25 minutes until light browning occurs. Flip over the mixture and place back in oven to brown other side of crackers, this helps them become more crispy. Careful not to over cook.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Flourless, Nutless Bread....really

My two go to ingredients are: almond flour or white beans. The only downfall of beans is that you have to use corn starch, so its not grain free 100%, but it has a lot of other wonderful health qualities :-) This is an all purpose bread great for: toast, peanut butter and jelly-- all that normal eaters' stuff!

1 1/3 cups Pureed white navy beans
2/3 cup Corn starch
2 Eggs
1 tablespoon Stevia
1 tablespoon Honey
1 teaspoon Baking soda
1 teaspoon Apple cider vinegar

Preheat oven to 350F. Combine beans, eggs, honey together and mix well. Next add stevia, corn starch, mixing again until smooth then add baking soda and apple cider vinegar. Pour batter into a parchment lined loaf pan and bake for 35-45 minutes or until tooth pick comes out clean. Let cool 30 minutes and enjoy!

Coconut Vanilla Double-Layer Cheese Cake

This is a bit decedent, so save it for a rainy day. This cheesecake has thick and distinctive layers. An almond crust is followed with a layer of sweet coconut cheesecake, once this is baked and cooled another thick layer of vanilla cream is added and cooled in the fridge. The coconut layer is a creamy lighter layer with a coconut taste, while the vanilla cream layer is a much thicker rich contrast. This recipe fits a bread loaf pan so keep that in mind when calculating your serving size.

1/2 cup Almond butter
2 Egg
1/4 cup Coconut milk

Preheat oven to 350. Add all ingredients together in bowl and mix well. Line a bread pan with tin foil and grease well. Pour batter in pan and bake for 15 minutes.

Coconut cream cheese layer
2 1/2 boxes of Cream cheese (room temp)
1 1/2 cups Coconut milk
5 Eggs
2.5 teaspoons Gelatin
2 1/2 teaspoons Stevia
1/4 cup Coconut extract

Place cream cheese into a sauce pan on low heat, stir constantly until cream cheese becomes smooth. Pour cream cheese into bowl and add coconut milk, stevia and coconut extract. Mix ingredients well then add gelatin and eggs and mix again. When crust is finished pour batter over the crust and return to oven for about 30 minutes or until top becomes a light brown color.
Let cool in fridge for 1 hour.

Vanilla cream cheese layer
2 boxes of Cream cheese (room temp)
1 tablespoon Vanilla
2 teaspoons Gelatin
2 teaspoons Stevia

Place cream cheese in sauce pan and heat at low temperature until it becomes smooth, stir constantly. Add gelatin, vanilla and stevia to sauce pan and continue to stir. Pour mixture over coconut layer and return to fridge and chill for about 30 minutes before serving. Once chilled pick up sides of tin foil and lift cake out of the bread loaf and carefully remove tin foil from cake for a beautiful presentation.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Photo walk with Lulu

I'm starting to work on my photography a bit more so I went for a photo walk with my puppy Lulu. What's a photo walk? Well let me tell you! I take Lulu for a walk every day and always see things that I think would make a great picture or see small details that I find interesting. So I decided to start photo walks. I go out for about an hour and every block I walk I need to take a picture (of something on that block). Not every block has something interesting, so this is where you get creative and start to look at things a little differently. It helps me realize that it isn't the subject matter that needs to be interesting but the way its photographed and the way that it is approached. Yesterday was my first one and I really enjoyed it. It was relaxing, almost like a meditation.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

LuLu's new rain coat

I just had to share this adorable picture of my 8 month old mini-poodle puppy LuLu. She seems to get cold very easily, especially when wet-- viola, a rain coat for LuLu :-)

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Oscar Party Pizza Sliders

These are GREAT for get-togethers, when people are hanging out and noshing. Its also an occasion to get creative with flavors. We made: a deep dish slider, shrimp with pesto, garlic chicken and traditional veggie supreme. You could even have your guests build their own, for some active entertainment.
*To make a deep dish slider place the batter in a greased muffin tin and mold halfway up the side of tin.

Crust (makes 4-6)
2 tablespoons White bean puree
2 tablespoons Corn starch
2 tablespoons Egg (whites or whole)
1 teaspoon honey

Preheat oven to 350. Combine ingredients together in bowl and mix until smooth. On a greased pan dollop batter into pan and place parchment paper over the batter. Over the parchment start to flatten out the batter dollops with your hands; I use the parchment so the batter does not stick to your hands and batter will smooth out. When pizzas are formed put in oven for about 10 minutes. When crusts begin to turn brown remove from oven and add your toppings.

Return pizzas to the oven and cook for another 10-15 minutes. Let cool, but not too much! Enjoy!!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Thin Mints: Girl Scout Cookies III

Ahhh my cookie tri-fecta is complete! I have manage to recreate all three of my favorite girl scout cookies. These were pretty easy to make and were so delicious I gave myself a stomach ache eating all of them!

3/4 cup White bean puree (navy or great northern)
2/3 cup Cocoa powder
1/6 cup Butter (melted)
1/4 cup Honey
2 tablespoons Stevia
1 teaspoon+1 tablespoon Mint extract
1/2 teaspoon Baking soda
1 bag Dark chocolate chips
1 bag Milk chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 325. Mix bean puree, cocoa, honey and butter together, mix until smooth. Next add remaining ingredients: stevia, mint and backing soda. The batter should be pretty thick, but not clumpy. Place small dollops of batter (about half tablespoon) on greased cookie sheets and bake at 325, after 10 minutes open oven and flatten out the top of the cookies with a spoon. Return to oven for another 30 minutes. Cookies should be relatively hard, if they are not then return to oven.

In a double broiler add 1/2 bag of dark chocolate chips and 1/2 bag of milk chocolate chips. Wait until chocolate melts and add 1 tablespoon of mint extract and mix well. Drop 1 cookie into the mixture and cover with chocolate. Pick up the cookie with a spoon, remove excess chocolate and place parchment to cool. Cover all of the cookies with chocolate and cool. Chocolate should harden when cookies are ready to eat! Enjoy!

Monday, March 1, 2010

Best Tasting (fill blank) = Best Job Ever

I am doing some mid-morning reading online; this begins with my usual gossip sites: Perez, Pink is the new, Pop-Sugar, etc. followed by my recipe perusing. I usually like the content of Yahoo's Shine, but am often annoyed with typos and mistakes (for example the picture in the link below... is sideways-- no big deal)-- not to say my blog is always perfect. This morning there was a "Best-tasting coffee to buy in stores" article with a list of other "best-tasting..." articles at the bottom.

This got me thinking that I really must re-think my career path. Who ARE these tasters and how did they get there-- WHAT are the qualifications!? I don't think that I am alone in this thought, so I did a little research, and like most things in life, it's not as easy as it sounds. Godiva Chocolate hires employees that have attended the "Chocolate School" in Montreal-- yes "Chocolate School". This is followed by intensive training at the Godiva factory. The taste is not just discovered with the bite. There is an aesthetic examination, sniffing, followed by a very conscious bite where a flavor's layers unfold. The taster must note each flavor, its strength, tone, etc. These tasters must be able to detect even the smallest deviation of flavor. Hmmm almost sounds stressful, then remember again its chocolate for God's sake! These tasters make $30-$60k on average with some senior level execs making six figures.

Coffee tasters usually begin their career by interning for a professional "coffee cupper". Cupping-- a coffee tasting ritual--is where six to ten small cups of coffee are presented for a tasting. The coffee must be prepared in a very ritualistic manner in order for the tasting experience to be perfect. Internships with a cupper can last up to four years-- more time than it takes to complete a masters or law school. A degree in food science is also helpful to get you in the door

So it may not be all rainbows and smiley faces, but still sounds better than a life in a cubicle with a deli sand which from down the block.