Cauliflower Pizza Bites

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Cauliflower Pizza Bites on coconutcourtney.com https://coconutcourtney.com/2014/05/21/cauliflower-pizza-bites/

I love pizza. I know, I know, who doesn’t? It’s just that I’ve recently realized how much I miss eating this scrumptious treat.

Cauliflower Pizza Bites on coconutcourtney.com https://coconutcourtney.com/2014/05/21/cauliflower-pizza-bites/Cauliflower Pizza Bites Being allergic to yeast hasn’t been too big of an issue, until suddenly I am struck with a pizza craving. Yeast free bread? No big deal. But yeast free pizza crust? A bit trickier. That’s when I stumbled on cauliflower pizza crust. Whaaaat?! I had no idea that this was a thing!

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The cauliflower “dough” after squeezing out the excess water.

https://coconutcourtney.com/2014/05/21/cauliflower-pizza-bites/

Pizza sauce and my chosen toppings. Roasted garlic, arugula, green onions, bell pepper, basil, and sliced tomatoes. YUM!

https://coconutcourtney.com/2014/05/21/cauliflower-pizza-bites/

The crust before cooking.

DSC_0019DSC_0021I searched around and found this lovely recipe for The BEST Dairy Free Cauliflower Pizza Crust by The Lucky Penny. With one minor change to make it vegan, it was perfect! I decided to use the base crust recipe to make mini pizzas. Because let’s be real, they’re adorable!

DSC_0025 DSC_0026Along with being super cute, the smaller crusts also get crispier, making them easier to pick up with your hands. If you are new to the cauliflower-crust-world, the downside of adding another veggie to your pizza is that the crust typically doesn’t firm up enough to pick up. Using the method of squeezing out the excess water, along with making these fellas mini allowed me to battle the crumbly-cauliflower issue.

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The cauliflower is such a mild flavor that it tastes truly amazing with the spices mixed in. Add on some delicious and super easy pizza sauce, and you’ll find your pizza craving dancing with happiness! And the absolute best thing about this? It’s stupidly fun! Using your hands to mix the dough and form the crusts, then adding the sauce and toppings to make your perfect pizza… there’s nothing better than that!

DSC_0039 DSC_0040 DSC_0043I’m excited to try this with my oldest niece and nephew. They won’t eat it, because they’re picky they have yet to realize that vegetables taste great, but I’ll enjoy hanging out with them in the kitchen!

DSC_0046 DSC_0041CAULIFLOWER PIZZA BITES
Prep time: 20 minutes   Cook time: 30 minutes
Total time: 50 minutes

Ingredients:
Crust:
1 flax egg (1 TBSP flax meal + 2.5 TBSP warm water)
1 medium sized head of cauliflower – should yield close to 3 cups once processed
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp dried basil (crush it even more between your fingers)
1/2 tsp dried oregano (crush it even more between your fingers)
1/2 tsp garlic powder
A few shakes of crushed red pepper
2 TBSP almond meal
1 TBSP nutritional yeast*
1 tablespoon olive oil

Pizza Sauce:
4 oz tomato paste
1/4 cup water
1.5 tsp dried basil
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp garlic powder
1 pinch of salt

Toppings:
Use whatever your heart desires! Here are some examples:
Daiya cheese
Bell peppers
Sliced tomatoes
Mushrooms
Onions (carmalized onions are unstoppable on pizza!)
Roasted garlic
Basil
Arugula
Pineapple

*The nutritional yeast is optional if you have it. It adds great flavor!

Directions:
Place a pizza stone or pan in the oven. Preheat oven to 450. Place a piece of parchment paper aside for later use.

In a small bowl, prepare your flax egg by adding 2.5 TBSP of water to 1 TBSP of flax. Let sit for 5 minutes.

Cut the florets off the head of cauliflower. Add the florets to your Vitamix or food processor. Pulse until the mixture is mostly fine grains, yielding about 3 cups. Pour the cauliflower into a cheesecloth or tea towel and squeeze out the excess moisture.

Transfer the cauliflower to a bowl and add in everything else, except the egg. Mix well. Add the flax egg and mix again.

Using your hands, form the cauliflower dough into small crusts on the parchment paper on top of a cutting board or an upside down baking sheet. Make whatever size you wish—the smaller they are, the more crispy they will get, but I’ve also made one large crust out of this recipe and was still able to pick it up. Using the cutting board or baking sheet, transfer the crust on to the pre-heated pizza stone in the oven.

Bake for 10-15 minutes until the edges are just turning golden brown and crispy.

While your crust is baking, mix up your pizza sauce. Combine the tomato paste with the water and mix well. Add in the spices and mix again. Taste and adjust seasonings.

Remove from the oven. Add your toppings and return to the oven. Bake for another 5-10 minutes, depending on your toppings. I went with 10 minutes since I wanted the peppers to soften up a bit.

ENJOY!

Carrot Cake Bites

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These make a great gift or road-trip snack!

After making carrot cake pancakes, I found myself on a carrot cake kick! Say that ten times fast… I just tried and failed.

Rainbow carrots--so gorgeous

Rainbow carrots–so gorgeous

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That’s when I discovered these gorgeous little bundles of spring. I absolutely love hemp hearts/seeds, and have a big ol’ mason jar full of them in my freezer. I typically add them to my daily green smoothie (or this Peanut Butter and Beet Smoothie), and was stoked to have another use for them. Hemp seeds are a great source of protein and healthy fats, making them a great addition to these carrot cake bites!

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Another bonus? They are sweetened with dates, rather than refined sugar. I absolutely love dates and plan on using them a lot more in my desserts. During my last shopping trip, I noticed the woman ahead of me in line purchasing a bundle of these deliciously sweet treats. The cashier didn’t know what they were—she even said that she had never seen anyone buying them before. I was shocked! I encourage everyone to venture into the world of date-sweetened desserts.

Wanna date, anyone? Too bad, I'm taken.

Wanna date, anyone? Too bad, I’m taken.

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These little carrot cake bites are packed with protein from the hemp seeds, beta carotene from the carrots and healthy fat from the almonds and the hemp seeds. They provide antiseptic properties from the cinnamon along with digestive aid from the ginger and nutmeg. Man oh man.

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I packed these little beauties for our roadtrip to Portland, and ended up eating an entire mason jar full of them. Oops! Good thing they are such a nutritional powerhouse.

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The original recipe from the absolutely gorgeous and genius Blissful Basil calls for walnuts, but feel free to use whatever you have on hand. I seem to always have almonds hiding somewhere. If you don’t have hemp seeds, you can substitute flax seeds.

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CARROT CAKE BITES
Prep time: 5 minutes   Cook time: 0 minutes

Ingredients:

•           1½ cups pitted Medjool Dates
•           ½ cup finely shredded carrots
•           ½ cup raw almond pieces
•           ⅔ cup GF rolled oats
•           2 TBSP shelled hemp seeds (aka hemp hearts)
•           ½ tsp vanilla extract
•           1 tsp cinnamon
•           ½ tsp ground ginger
•           ⅛ tsp nutmeg

Directions:
Add all the ingredients to a food processor or Vitamix. I put the 3 carrots in the Vitamix first to shred them super quickly, and then added the rest of the ingredients.

Pulse until the mixture starts to come together. Roll the dough into 20 bite size pieces. Place them in the freezer for 15 minutes to set up. Store them in the freezer or fridge for a great, healthy, protein-packed snack!

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Mason jar full o’ carrot cake!



Peanut Butter + Beet Smoothie

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Spoiler alert: mad beet puns ahead.

This morning I decided that it was time to use that beet in the freezer or else it was just going to keep staring at me. Whenever I reached around it to grab frozen apples, I would have to avoid eye contact with that deep purple, frozen rock. Welp, today was the day.

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Got canned beet in my heels tonight, baby! Oh Jamiroquai… anyone else feeling a desire to watch Center Stage?

Sweet beet oblivion. The beet escape. Cream of beet. I think you get it.

I’m not a stranger to using beets in my “green” smoothies; however, I had previously used only half of a beet at a time. Due to extreme laziness, I had bypassed cutting this sucka in half, leaving me with a solid beet-rock (rock those beets!). I was afraid that the beet flavor would be too intense and I would end up using 2 smoothie’s worth of fruit just to mask it. Enter lightbulb moment! PEANUT BUTTER.

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Mmmm… peanut butter.

Have you ever had a smoothie that required you to pinch your nose just to gulp down those greens? Been there. Done that. Never again. Hopefully you’ve discovered a secret to fixing this dilemma—I’ve read that a squeeze or two of lemon can work wonders. Have you tried that? I haven’t experimented with this trick, myself, as I am currently on a peanut butter (or almond butter if I haven’t eaten all of it almost immediately after making it) kick. I’m telling you, pals, pb will be your new BFF, if it’s not already.DSC_0019

Beets provide a stupidly awesome amount of nutrients.. They are chock full of vitamins and minerals, and all kinds of amazing compounds that can do such things as boost sex-drive, elevate mood, lower blood pressure, etc. Seriously, go get some beets right now!

PEANUT BUTTER + BEET SMOOTHIE
Prep time: 5 minutes
Servings: 1-2, depending on how much you want–I drank the whole thing myself!

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup vanilla almond milk (or your preferred non-dairy milk)
  • 2 cups of greens* (spinach, kale, etc.)
  • 1 TBSP hemp hearts
  • 2 TBSP peanut butter
  • 1 roasted beet**
  • 1 frozen banana
  • 1 cup of frozen berry blend

*I personally freeze my greens—that was another lighbulb moment when I realized I would never have to throw away rotten greens again!

**To roast my beets, I follow these instructions. Yum!

Directions:
If you have a Vitamix, then you already know what to do! Just add the ingredients in the order listed and blend blend blend!

If you don’t have a fancy-pants machine and are using a less-powerful blender, then blend the almond milk with your greens first. Then add in the beet and blend that up. Lastly, add the remaining ingredients and away you go!

Feel free to adjust the fruit:greens ratio. I have been drinking green smoothies for quite a while now, so I tend to use more greens than fruit. Check out simplegreensmoothies.com and their fabulous Green Smoothies 101 info. I’ve learned so much from these amazing girls!


Irish Soda Bread

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The two things I have missed in my gluten-free and yeast-free world are grilled cheese sandwiches and toast. Not necessarily the healthiest things, but some of my favorite indulgences! Sunday dinners with my parents were often grilled cheese and tomato soup (Mmmm…comfort food), and a quick dessert favorite of mine has always been toast with butter and cinnamon. Add in the Earth Balance coconut spread—holy cow. This led me to my recent determination: to make my own bread that I could use for both of these tasty treats!

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The solution: IRISH SODA BREAD. Genius. The trick was to make it vegan and gluten-free. There are tons of recipes out there for exactly that, so I just needed to find one and tweak it to perfection. Thank you, Gluten Free Goddess, for her Gluten Free Irish Soda Bread Recipe. With only a few minor changes, I ended up with delicious bread that has already fit so many purposes!

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I have used it to make both of my weaknesses. And each treat was a huge success. The bread has enough flavor to be delicious on its own, but not enough to overpower a sandwich or toast. Perfect!

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IRISH SODA BREAD
Prep time: 10 minutes   Cook time: 30 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup GF oat flour (I used Bob’s Red Mill GF Oats ground into flour)
  • 1/2 cup Bob’s Red Mill All-Purpose Flour
  • 1/2 cup potato starch flour
  • 2 TBSP brown sugar
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1.5 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 2 tsp xanthum gum OR 2 tsp chia seeds + 4 tsp water
  • 5 TBSP coconut oil* or vegan butter (I used Earth Balance butter since I had it on hand)
  • 3/4 cup plain non-dairy milk (I used unsweetened almond milk)
  • Juice from 1/2 of a lemon
  • 2 Tbsp flaxseed meal + 5 Tbsp water
  • 1 TBSP agave nectar or maple syrup

*Note—if you use coconut oil, measure the 5 TBSP in a separate bowl and then place the bowl in the freezer for about 10 minutes. It will make the coconut oil more solid, and therefore closer in consistency to butter. This helps keep the bread a bit fluffier. It is helpful to place your large mixing bowl and pastry cutter in the freezer before beginning the recipe, as well.

Directions:
Preheat oven to 375F. Prepare an 8- or 9-inch round baking pan by greasing it with coconut oil or vegan butter. Sprinkle the pan with GF oat flour.

In a large mixing bowl, prepare your flaxseed eggs by combining the flaxseed and water in a small bowl. Let sit for 5 minutes. If using chia seeds instead of xanthum gum, add the chia seeds and the additional water to this same bowl. While these set up, prepare the rest of your ingredients.

Add the dry ingredients to the large mixing bowl and whisk together. Using a pastry cutter or a fork, cut in the butter or coconut oil.

In a separate mixing bowl, combine the wet ingredients. Slowly fold the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients. The final consistency of the bread should be a sticky dough. Mine had a bit more liquid in the dough, which made for a denser, yet moister (literally was stumped when trying to replace that with a less-gross word), bread. If your dough appears too dry, add more almond milk, 1 TBSP at a time.

Transfer the dough to your prepared cake pan. Give the pan a few shimmies and shakes (technical terms) to make sure the dough is even. If this doesn’t work, wet your hands and flatten the dough out. Using a sharp knife, cut a cross through the top of the dough. Because my dough was less dry, the cross didn’t quite survive the baking process. I hope yours does, as it definitely adds to the aesthetic appeal of the bread!

Bake for 30-35 minutes, until the top is a crispety-crunchety texture, and a toothpick comes out clean when stuck in the middle of the bread. Let the bread cool in the pan for a few minutes and then transfer to a cooling rack. Enjoy!

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Roasted Parsnip and Garlic Mushroom Soup

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Before September, my cooking experience consisted of mac and cheese (and not the good kind) and microwave lunches. Oh man. Vegetables? Nah, bro. Who likes those, anyway? As it turns out, I’m a pretty big fan of those nutrient-packed fellas!

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While living with some incredible friends (shout to the Felvernackis!), we were faced with a conundrum: what the heck do we do with all of these parsnips?!? I did some searching on one of my top 5 fave blogs, Fat Free Vegan, and found this beauty: Roasted Parsnip and Garlic Soup with Mushrooms. My roommates and I loved this creamy, garlicky goodness, with chunks of meaty mushrooms throughout. This soup marks the beginning of my utter obsession with all things involving mushrooms. And that roasted garlic! Are you kidding me? Delicious!

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The most recent time that I made this soup, I didn’t have any navy beans or white pepper on hand, so I improvised with some garbanzo beans and red pepper flakes. The result was great. The boyfriend and I ate this over some rice to turn it into a full meal. It was super filling and the leftovers are just as awesome.

 

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Roasted Parsnip and Garlic Soup with Mushrooms
Prep time: 10 minutes            Cooking time: 45 minutes
Servings: 4

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound parsnips, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1 head garlic
  • 1 small yellow onion, roughly chopped
  • 1 rib celery (including leaves), chopped
  • 4 to 5 cups veggie broth
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 cup cooked garbanzo beans
  • 10-12 ounces mushrooms, sliced
  • salt and black pepper to taste

Directions:
Preheat oven to 400F. Place the parsnip cubes on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a silicone mat . Cut the top off of the head of garlic, just enough to expose the tops of the cloves. Spritz it with olive oil (or don’t, if you are avoiding oil) and wrap the entire thing up in foil. Place it on the baking sheet with the parsnips. Bake for 15 minutes, turn over the parsnips, and cook for 15 more minutes until parsnips are tender and just touched with brown. Remove from oven and allow the garlic to cool in its wrapper.

Heat a non-stick saucepan and cook the onion until it’s translucent. Add the celery and cook for 2 more minutes. Add 3 cups of the broth, the parsnips, and the red pepper flakes. Squeeze the garlic out of the cloves into the pan. Cook for a few minutes, until parsnips have softened. Add the beans.

Carefully pour the soup into your blender. Split into 2 batches if necessary. Add more veggie broth if you prefer a thinner soup. Return the pureed soup to the pan and warm over low heat. If the soup is too thick, add more broth until it reaches your desired consistency, keeping it covered to prevent any spattering.

Cook the sliced mushrooms in a small skillet until they soften and release their juices. Season them with salt and stir them into the soup. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Variations:
I definitely like the added texture from the mushrooms, but if you want a creamier soup, add the mushrooms with the celery and cook until softened. Blend with the other vegetables as directed.

If you enjoy parsnips, then chances are you also like carrots. Try these delicious carrot cake pancakes!

Gluten-Free Flour Blend

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Flours and Flowers!

Flours and Flowers!

This will be a quick post to discuss my go-to flour blend in this new world of gluten-free baking in which I find myself. A couple of months ago an allergy test informed me that I am allergic to gluten, yeast, lima beans (well there goes my diet!), coffee, as well as a few other minor things. I don’t drink coffee and my sister has been gluten-free for years; therefore, this wasn’t too big of a hurdle for me to leap (except for those darned lima beans).

Not to mention, I had recently discovered my favorite blog, which has mostly gluten-free fare. Therefore, finding the perfect flour blend merely required a quick visit to Minimalist Baker. I can’t imagine what I would do without this recipe, which I followed with only a minor change to the blend.

I doubled the recipe, as I use it almost any time I bake, which is often!

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  • 2 cups GF oat flour (blended from GF oats)
  • 2 cups buckwheat flour (blended from buckwheat groats)
  • 1/2 cup yellow cornmeal
  • 1 1/2 cups white rice flour
  • 2 cups brown rice flour

Instructions:
Blend the GF oats into a fine powder. I poured about 3 cups of oats into my blender so that I have extra oat flour on hand.

Blend the buckwheat groats into a fine powder. I did the same thing here, using extra groats to make more flour than I needed.

Add in yellow cornmeal, white rice flour, and brown rice flour. I used Bob’s Red Mill for all 3 of these.

Now the fun part: shake up your container to mix up the blend! Use and enjoy!

The original recipe calls for xanthum gum, which is totally great, but I didn’t have any at the time of making the flour blend. How to fix the lack of this crucial binding agent? Just use the same amount of flax or chia seeds with twice that amount of water. This is the same concept for a flax or chia seed egg. Therefore, if I am using flax eggs in a recipe, I will use a tsp of chia seeds with 2 tsps of water as my additional binding agent.

So far, I haven’t noticed any problems with this method. Which is why I still have yet to purchase any xanthum gum–we’ll see if that changes in the near future!


Roasted Red Pepper Dressing

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This was my second time making this amazing salad dressing from Nutrition Stripped–check it out, McKel is a genius! The first time, it was delicious but I knew it could be better. I had skipped a couple of ingredients and didn’t really adjust for their absence, so the dressing was a bit runny the first time around. This time, that definitely wasn’t a problem.

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The original recipe calls for a tablespoon of miso paste. However, due to a need to avoid soy, I substituted a teaspoon of coconut aminos instead. It’s super concentrated (and delicious), which is why I only used a teaspoon. Feel free to adjust to taste!

Because the miso paste is thicker, I compensated for this by removing the filtered water and adding in some flax seed meal. I like super thick dressing that sticks to and coats the salad—plus, the color of this dressing is so gorgeous that I wanted it thick enough to really POP!

Lastly, I altered the amount of tahini used from the original recipe. I used 3 tablespoons, rather than the 2 the recipe called for. Why? Well, honestly, the jar had 3 tablespoons left and I felt ridiculous putting it back in the fridge with a skiff of tahini! So there’s your answer 🙂

Ingredients:

  • 2 organic red bell peppers, roasted and charred
  • 1 organic red bell pepper, raw and seeded
  • 2 tablespoons raw apple cider vinegar (Braggs Raw)
  • 3 tablespoons organic tahini
  • 2 tablespoons flax meal
  • 1 teaspoon coconut aminos
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup (sugar free version use stevia to taste)
  • 1 garlic clove
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 teaspoon salt, to taste

To roast the 2 red bell peppers, preheat your oven to 450 F. Place the peppers on a silpat (my preferred method) or a baking sheet on the middle rack. Rotate the peppers every 5 minutes for 20-25 minutes, until fully charred.

After removing them from the oven, place in a glass bowl, cover with saran wrap, and place in the fridge for at least 15 minutes. You want the peppers to still be a bit warm when you take them out, as this will help the skin slide off more easily; however, you also don’t want them to burn your fingers clear off!

Once they are cool, peel the skin off by hand. If some skin is left on the pepper, no biggie. Then open up the pepper and remove the stem and seeds. I wasn’t too picky about removing all of the seeds.

Place the freshly seeded bell peppers in your blender, along with the rest of the ingredients. Puree until smooth. Adjust the seasoning and thickness as desired.