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.

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

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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!

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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Pink Thumbprint Butter Cookies with Coconut Ganache

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thumbprint cookies

Just because Valentine’s Day is long gone, that doesn’t mean that we can’t all enjoy a touch of the yucky-love-stuff. When I saw this recipe posted by spabettie, I knew I had to try them. My dad grew up eating beets, but I had never heard of them being used in baking. It turns out that they are nature’s food coloring! The flavor of the beet doesn’t come through in the cookie, due to the large amount of butter and sugar… there’s nothing wrong with that! The original recipe called for a whiskey ganache (hubba hubba) but I didn’t have whiskey in the house. Crisis! Instead, I made up a ganache using dark chocolate chips and coconut cream. Yummy! These pretty little numbers are delicious when chilled. I even sent them to the boyfriend in the mail, and they held up splendidly!

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Proof that the cookies survived the trip in the mail!

Ingredients:
1 cup vegan butter (I always use soy-free Earth Balance)
1/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla
2 cups flour* (I used whole wheat pastry flour)
1/4 cup milk (I use the 30 cal vanilla almond milk)
Juice from 1 beet

*To make these gluten-free, use your favorite gluten-free AP blend

Coconut Ganache:
8 oz of dark chocolate chips (I use Enjoy Life chips)
2 tablespoons of full-fat coconut milk (I’ve always heard that Thai Kitchen is the best for separation)

Directions:
Wash and juice the beet. I chose a relatively large beet, as I wasn’t sure how much juice I would need. A smaller one would be perfectly sufficient! I believe you can also buy powdered beet that required that you add water. Genius!

Preheat oven to 300 F. Prepare a cookie sheet with parchment paper. 

In a large mixing bowl, cream together the butter, sugar, and vanilla. Add the flour, ½ a cup at a time. When the dough begins to get too thick, add milk, 1 tablespoon at a time.

Once well mixed, add the beet juice. I added it splash by splash, mixing well after each addition. I added a total of 2 tablespoons to make it the deep pink color shown below. I would suggest adding a bit more, as the insides of the cookies were a bit dull after cooking. thumbprint 2

Knead the dough into a ball, place it back in the mixing bowl, and refrigerate the pink goodness for at least 10 minutes.

Roll the dough into balls, about a tablespoon each, and place on the prepared cookie sheet. Using your thumb, make an indent in the middle of the cookie. Bake for 25 minutes.

Prepare the Ganache:
5 minutes before the cookies should be done, prepare the ganache. Using a small sauce pan over low heat, melt the dark chocolate chips and the coconut milk together. Use the thicker, creamier portion of the coconut milk—the full fat and delicious business! The ganache should be thick and matte-like.

Remove the cookies from the oven and spoon a small amount of the ganache on to the cookies. If the thumbprint indent hasn’t held up to baking, feel free to push down a bit to make the indent more pronounced. Place the ganache-d (that’s a word, right?) cookies back in the oven for 3 minutes. Let them cool for a few minutes on the cookie sheet, and then move to a cooking rack.

Eat and enjoy! They taste awesome when chilled!


Double Chocolate Chip Mint Cookies

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Double Chocolate Chip Mint Cookies

 

Delicious cookies, complete with my favorite Frozen mug!

Delicious cookies, complete with my favorite Frozen mug!

With the excitement of a visit from my sister, I made a batch of the Double Chocolate Chip Rosemary Cookies. They were such a hit with my parents that I couldn’t resist! My foodie sister suggested a new and wonderful spin on this cookie, due to my latest obsession with peppermint extract. I want to put it in everything! As a result, this lovely minty cookie resulted.

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My boyfriend—let’s call him Brad—will be my official taste tester for the next couple of months (lucky duck!). We tossed around the idea of having our dogs weigh in on the chocolate-free recipes, but decided that wouldn’t be fair since they will eat almost anything (Baxter recently ate an entire bottle of omega 3 supplements—gotta get your essential fatty acids in!). So instead they will simply have to stare longingly as I cook/bake and eat everything myself. Maybe I’ll whip up some vegan dog treats for them.

mint cookies

These cookies are wonderfully chocolate-y, with a lovely hint of mint. My favorite way to eat these drops of heaven? Crumbled up in a bowl, smothered with almond milk. Holy crow! Try it–you’ll love it!

Ingredients:
2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
2/3 cup cacao
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup vegan butter (I use soy-free Earth Balance)
1 1/2 cups sugar (preferably evaporated cane juice)
1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon ground flax seeds
1/2 cup almond milk (I use the 30 cal vanilla variety)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon peppermint extract
3/4 cup dark chocolate chips (I used 1/2 cup of dark chocolate and 1/4 cup of Enjoy Life semi sweet chocolate mega chunks—dairy, nut, and soy free)

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350°.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together flour, cacao, baking soda, and salt until well mixed.

In a mixer or with hand beaters (or even with a fork as recommended by Isa, the original source of these cookies) cream together the butter and sugar. Add ground flax, almond milk, vanilla and peppermint extract, and mix until totally combined.

Add the dry ingredients 1/2 a cup at a time. Pour in chocolate chips and mix into the dough.

Use an ice cream scoop or a spoon (I used heaping tablespoons) to scoop dough onto a greased cookie sheet (I am addicted to my Artisan non-stick baking mats) about 2 inches apart.

Bake for 15 minutes, until edges are crisp and tops begin to crack. Remove from oven and let sit on the cookie sheet for a few minutes before moving to a cooling rack.

Once cool they can be moved to a storage container for up to a week.

This recipe made 24 cookies.


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.