Monday, January 26, 2015

Chocolate Chia Pudding

I am currently curled up in my apartment under a big brown blanket, drinking a cup of sleepy time tea, and awaiting the coming blizzard. It looks like New York will not be hit as hard as originally anticipated, but there will still be some snow and dangerously strong winds outside. So please, everyone – stay inside and cook up some Tasty Meditation recipes! :)

Here’s what I made today – Chocolate Chia Pudding. Perfect for evenings when you are stuck inside, want something sweet and chocolately, but don’t want to feel bad about the fact that you’re sitting on your couch watching Netflix instead of busting out your yoga mat and kettlebell (come on, I can't be the only one). 

Chocolate Chia Pudding

1 can light coconut milk
1/3 heaping cup (so a little more than 1/3 cup) chia seeds
1/4 cup maple syrup
2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 pieces dark chocolate (I use Dove)

1.      Combine coconut milk, chia seeds, maple syrup, cocoa powder, and vanilla. Mix until combined.
2.      Divide mixture into three dessert cups. Set in fridge for at least four hours. Place dark chocolate in the fridge, as well.
3.      When ready to serve, chop the dark chocolate (careful with that knife!) and sprinkle chocolate chunks and shavings onto the tops of pudding as a garnish.


East coast readers – stay safe!

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Gluten Free Bagels

I had an instagram request! – Bagels!

The first time I had a gluten free bagel was when Kristopher took me to the wonderful Jennifer’s Way Bakery in NYC. Now, this wasn’t just my first gluten free bagel. This was my first bagel in three years. And I come from a family of New Yorkers who all believe that there is nothing like a New York bagel. Nothing. Living in Colorado we suffered through the prepackaged brand-name pieces of bread with holes in them. We always looked forward to our summer trips to New York and would make sure that we saved room in our suitcases to bring home two dozen freshly made bagels from our favorite shop as a souvenir (all of which went directly into the freezer upon reaching the mountains – oh the pizza bagels we made!).

When I went gluten free, I came to the sad realization that there would be no more New York bagels for me. But I reminded myself that it was a small price to pay for getting healthy.

Then Jennifer’s Way opened, and I heard that she was making fresh, safe, gluten free bagels just a few blocks from my boyfriend’s apartment. We eagerly strolled over (me perhaps more eagerly than Kristopher), picked up our treats, and found a seat in the park. I had my first bite and – wow! I swear I nearly cried. I raved about the bagel the entire time I was eating it, mouth full and everything. It was pretty intense. And I talked about it for about an hour afterwards. I’m sure Kristopher thought I was slightly crazy (I seem to remember getting at least one “gee, it’s just a bagel”-type look), but THIS WAS A DELICIOUS GLUTEN FREE NEW YORK BAGEL!!!!

Now, the reason I hadn’t made my own bagels from scratch yet was because people were telling me left and right how hard they are to make. But I had a taste of what I had been missing, and I needed more! So I was going to make bagels and make them taste phenomenal, no matter what anyone said.

I scoured the internet for the best GF bagel recipe, and I came across The Baking Beauties webpage. Not only did these gluten free bagels look amazing, but they were also egg-free, dairy-free, and made with high quality, nutritious flour like brown rice flour, sorghum flour, and flax seed. And let me just say – those people who said that making bagels is insanely hard – they were so wrong. If you understand how to use yeast in a bread recipe, this is a piece of cake (and if you’ve never used yeast before, it’s easy to learn how!).

The only adjustment I made with this recipe is that I didn’t have rapid rise yeast on hand – I generally always have active dry yeast in my freezer. And there is a difference. So when you make these yourself, pay attention to which type of yeast you have and use the appropriate version of the recipe. I’ve also included the measurements for the flour in grams. I highly recommend food scales for baking. They ensure that you don’t put too much flour in your baked goods.

Below is a link to the Baking Beauties webpage – they have many wonderful recipes. It’s definitely worth several visits.

Also, if you are in New York or plan to vacation there, definitely make a stop at Jennifer’s Way Bakery – it is 100%  gluten free and filled with the most wonderful positive energy.

Gluten Free Bagels

1 cup brown rice flour (158g)
½ cup sorghum flour (63.5g)
½ cup ground flax seed (65g)
½ cup potato starch (85g)
½ cup tapioca starch (62.5g)
1 tbsp xanthan gum
1 ½ tsp salt
1 tbsp active dry yeast
1 tsp sugar
2 tbsp agave nectar
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
2 tbsp canola oil
1 ¼ cup warm water
1 tbsp molasses (for later use)

1.      Heat the water to 110 degrees F (check this with a food thermometer. Overheating the water will kill the yeast, and no one likes flat bagels that taste like bricks)
2.      In a small bowl combine the water, yeast, and sugar. Let sit for 10 minutes to rise
3.      Place all dry ingredients in a large bowl. Mix until well combined.
4.      In a small bowl, whisk together the yeast mixture, agave nectar, vinegar and oil.
5.      Pour the wet ingredients into the dry. Mix thoroughly with hands.
6.      Line baking sheets with parchment paper.
7.      Turn the oven on to 100 degrees F. Turn the oven off after 5 minutes. You want the oven slightly warm so your bagels can rise.
8.      During those 5 minutes, take a chunk of dough and form it into a bagel shape, creating a hole in the center. Place formed bagels on baking sheet a few inches apart from each other (note that this recipe makes 4 large bagels or 8 small)
9.      Place baking sheets in warm oven for 35-40 minutes. Afterwards you should see that they have puffed up.
10.  While the bagels are rising, fill a large pot ¾ full with water. Bring it to a boil and add 1 tbsp of molasses. Stir and continue heating so that it continues to boil.
11.  Remove the bagels from the oven.
12.  Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
13.  Place one bagel in the water (two if they fit in your pot). Boil on one side for 30 seconds, flip the bagel, and boil the opposite side for another 30 seconds. A pancake spatula makes this really easy. Remove bagel(s) from water and place on a plate. Repeat with remaining bagels.
14.  Place boiled bagels back on the parchment paper-lined baking sheets.
15.  Bake for 20-30 minutes or until they are golden brown. Remove from oven and allow to cool on a separate plate for 10 minutes.
16.  Serve fresh or slice in half and freeze them for later brunches.

Enjoy the best bagels ever!

Friday, January 16, 2015

Butternut Squash Soup

So far it has been a busy new year of cooking, though not much has made it onto the blog yet (a problem that is about to be resolved!). Most recently seen/tasted in my kitchen:

Bone Broth
Chick Pea and Kale Soup
Cauliflower Mashed Potatoes
Butternut Squash Soup
Tomato Soup
Parmesan Zucchini Bites
Lemon Tart
Goat Cheese Lemon Tart
Chocolate Mocha Tart
Apple Tart
Sourdough Pancakes

And all original recipes! Okay, so the tomato soup and apple tart both need a little work, but the rest are wonderful! (Hey, we can’t all be perfect on the first try) I’d say it’s a pretty good way to start off the new year.

Every Christmas I treat myself to a new kitchen gadget or two. This year, it was a crock pot and a mandolin slicer. Now someone tell me – why did it take me this long to get a crock pot?! Making soups is so easy now. There is no splatter, and I can cook soups overnight or even leave my apartment without fear that my kitchen will burn down.

So I happily waltzed out of Bed Bath and Beyond with the crock pot that my mother recommended. What did I find when I got home? Yes, I loved all of the settings and the digital timer, but it was gigantic! Much bigger than I anticipated. (Yes, I should have probably done a little more research). It’s basically the size of a cauldron. 6.5 quarts. I’m only one person, with one boyfriend and a cat. How much can we eat? I guess this means we need to have a lot of dinner parties….

This recipe can be made in a crock pot or on the stove, is very allergy friendly, and is ridiculously easy. But don’t tell your friends that. Tell them you labored over a hot stove for hours just for them and ask them to please refill your glass of wine. :)

Butternut Squash Soup

1 medium butternut squash, cubbed
5 cups broth
1/2 medium onion, sliced
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice (optional)
Dash of salt and pepper

1.       Place all ingredients in a crock pot and cook on high heat for 2 hours, until squash is soft. If you are making this on the stovetop, cover the mixture and bring it to a boil. Turn heat down and simmer for another 30 minutes or until the squash is soft.
2.       Let cool completely
3.       Blend all ingredients together in a blender (you don’t want to place very hot ingredients in a blender, as recommended by Blendtec and several other brands)
4.       You can now reheat on the stove top or freezer for later use.
5.       Garnish with black pepper