Sunday, September 28, 2014

Sweet n' Spicy Raw Pumpkin Seeds


Hello all! I hope you all are doing well. It's good to be back and keeping up with posting. I like having an excuse to be creative in the kitchen and for buying different foods that I ordinarily would not. It's research, right? ;P

Beautiful Chimayó Chiles
Picture Source
Anyhoo, the inspiration for today's recipe are the Chimayó Chili Pecans from Hail Merry. They are so good and have such an awesome kick of spice from the black pepper and Chimayó chile, which is said to be the 'creme de la creme' of the chiles. Who knew? It has a depth of flavor that other chiles do not have and is grown in Chimayó, New Mexico. However, if you do not have access to this chile (which I didn't :P), you can most certainly use cayenne pepper or for some extra smokiness, some chipotle pepper. They still turned out super tasty! But if you can get your hands on the Chimayó pepper, please do use it and you'll get the real authentic flavor to mimic those pecans from Hail Merry. Mmmm... Or if you don't have time or the resources to make these. Buy some of those tasty pecans from Hail Merry. You totally won't regret it. Darn tasty.

I love to put these seeds on salads, on grain and bean dishes, or just to eat out of hand! I hope you like them as much as me and my love did. :) Without further ado, here is the recipe! :)

Sweet n' Spicy Pumpkin Seeds

Yield: 1 cup
Prep Time: ~5 minutes (not including soak time and dehydration time)
Servings: About 8

Ingredients: 
180 grams (1 cup) pumpkin seeds
1 1/2 tablespoons coconut sugar
1/8 + 1/16 teaspoon fine pink Himalayan salt
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon cayenne

Instructions:
Place pumpkin seeds in a medium sized bowl and pour enough filtered water over them to cover them. Cover with a plate or towel and let soak at room temperature for about 6 hours. 

After the seeds have been soaked, rinse them until the water runs clear and drain well. Place in the same bowl that has been dried or another bowl of the same size. 

Add the coconut sugar, salt, black pepper, and cayenne and mix to combine. 

Place on two teflex (paraflexx or some nonstick silicone sheets) lined dehydrator sheets and spread out the seeds so that they are lying flat in one even layer. Dehydrate for one hour at 135⁰F (57⁰C). After the hour, decrease the temperature to 115⁰F (46⁰C) and let dehydrate for about another 15 hours or until crisp. They will crisp more once taken out of the dehydrator.

Store in a glass container in the refrigerator and enjoy!! :)  

Tips:
  • Soaking the pumpkin seeds helps increase the nutrition, activate enzymes, and decrease phytic acid of the seeds to aid in the ease of digestion and absorption. Some people say to soak nuts and seeds in water that has a little bit of pink Himalayan salt, which is said to also help deactivate enzyme inhibitors. But I usually soak them without salt. Do what works for you. :)
  • Feel free to use any other nut or seed for this recipe! I was really craving pumpkin seeds, so I used them. But any other nut or seed would be super tasty in this recipe. :)
Get in my belly! :D
Here is the nutritional information for this recipe from CRON-O-Meter. Although, it does not take into account the soaking of the seeds, the nutritional information will be similar. Pumpkin seeds are high in zinc, magnesium, and iron, which are all great for heart, immune, bone and prostate health. Yay for pumpkin seeds! :P

Thank you all for stopping by! I hope you all enjoy the recipe and let me know if you try it! I hope you all have a beautiful day. :)

Love,
Rawnessa <3

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Tuesday, September 23, 2014

How to Make Fresh Coconut Milk (Mylk) and Grain Free Three Seed Coconut Pulp Crackers!

Coconut mylk is so much better in a wine glass. :P
Hi all! I hope you are all doing well and are having an oobertastic day! Sorry, I get a little goofy sometimes. :P Still going with the theme of how to's, I decided to do a coconut mylk recipe along with a coconut pulp recipe!

The coconut mylk recipe is very similar to the almond mylk recipe that I just posted but, has one slight difference that can make or break the recipe. It's minor though and is still super duper easy! :) I also wanted to showcase the use of coconut pulp. Did you know that coconut pulp is the same thing as the coconut flour sold in stores? Except that coconut flour is ground down to a finer texture. So, if you like coconut mylk, then you can make your own coconut flour and use it in baked and raw pastries! Just dry out your pulp via the dehydrator or at a super low temperature in your oven (about 200F for a few hours) and whiz it up in your blender. Easy peasy and Super cool! :)

I like to leave my coconut mylk unsweetened because I like to use it in savory dishes. But feel free to add a few dates, coconut sugar, or whatever other sweetener you prefer when you are going to blend the coconut flakes with the first half of the water. Adding a pinch of salt will bring out the yummy flavor even more too if you'd like to add it in!


Fresh Coconut Milk (or Mylk)

Yield: 2 cups (500 mL)
Prep Time: 10 - 15 minutes

Ingredients:
95 grams (1 cup) raw unsweetened coconut flakes
500 grams (500 mL/2 cups) water
dates, coconut sugar, or other sweetener (optional)
pinch of fine pink Himalayan salt (optional)

Instructions:
Warm up the water in a small pot until tepid. Add half the amount of water with the coconut flakes and sweetener, if using, into a blender and blend until somewhat smooth on medium/high speed (you make need to use a tamper). Then add the rest of the water and blend for 5 seconds on medium/high speed again; not too long so as not to create too much air bubbles
Place the nut mylk bag in a medium sized bowl. Pour the contents of the blender through the nut mylk bag (or pillowcase or doubled up clean pantyhose) and gently squeeze the mylk from the bag into the bowl. Set aside the pulp for another use (or the yummy recipe below!). 

Add the pinch of salt (optional) to the mylk and swirl around to combine. Refrigerate and enjoy!

Tips:
  • The reason why I warm up the water first is to make sure the fat of the coconut doesn't separate from the liquid part when I start to squeeze the nut mylk bag. I've had to throw out batches of coconut mylk one too many times, where I've used cold water to blend up the coconut flakes. Big no no. All that comes out is fat globules and water. Not pleasant. :/
Now it is time for the crackers! These crackers completely surprised me. I couldn't believe how yummy they turned out! The flavor reminds me of a mixture between Mary's Gone Crackers and papadum (which is an Indian cracker that is usually made of black gram, chickpeas or other legumes and/or rice flour). They are super tasty and give such an awesome crunch to any dish, or can be used as a dipper for any dips! I varied the salt amount because I thought that the 1/2 teaspoon used was too much for me, while my boyfriend thought it was the perfect amount. Start off with less salt and see what taste better suits you. :) I hope you enjoy!


Three Seed Coconut Pulp Crackers (Grain Free, Gluten Free, and Nut Free)

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Servings: ~32 crackers

Ingredients:
2 tablespoons ground flax
4 tablespoons water
100 grams coconut pulp (1 cup)
30 grams tapioca starch (1/4 cup)
15 grams chia seeds (1 tablespoon)
10 grams sesame seeds (1 tablespoon)
10 grams flax seeds (1 tablespoon)
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 - 1/2 teaspoon fine pink Himalayan salt (depending on your salt preference)
1/8 teaspoon turmeric (optional)
125 grams water (1/2 cup or 125 mL)

Instructions:
Preheat your oven to 350 F (177C).
In a small bowl, whisk together the ground flax and the 4 tablespoons water until uniform. Set aside to thicken while making the rest of the batter.
In a medium sized bowl, mix the coconut pulp, tapioca, chia, sesame, flax seeds (not the ground flax mixture), onion powder, salt and turmeric until combined. Then add the water and the ground flax/water mixture.
Mix to completely combine. On a parchment (or silicone mat) lined baking sheet, drop the mixture by 1/2 teaspoonfuls. and spread these little lumps almost to paper thinness (about 1/16 inch), but not so thin that you can see through to the parchment (or silicone mat) underneath. Bake for about 12 minutes until crispy.
Take off the crackers and let them cool on a plate for about a minute. Repeat with the rest of the batter. Enjoy!!! :)

Tips:
  • Feel free to use any other seeds for the whole flax, chia and sesame seeds used in the recipe, such as pumpkin, sunflower, hemp, poppy or any other seed! :) Get creative and have fun! 
  • If you don't want to take the time to spread each cracker individually (who can blame you? It is time consuming), you can spread the batter into a rectangle shape and score it into squares or triangles. The baking time will be a little bit longer though (about 20 to 30 minutes). Check on them periodically to make sure they don't burn though! I know I always happen to forget things in the oven and end up burning them. :P 
  • Change up the spices in these to get a different flavor! Cumin seeds would be lovely in here, as well as some minced garlic, Italian herbs, or whatever suits your fancy! :)
  • I added turmeric to these for some extra yellow color, (love me some color!) but feel free to leave it out.

What I love about these crackers is that they are full of fiber as compared to other crackers on the market, and have a good amount of iron, carbohydrates and protein. Woot for homemade crackers and not wasting anything! :) Here is the nutritional information for them from CRON-O-Meter. 

I hope you all enjoy the post today! Let me know if you tried these recipes and what your thoughts are on them. I hope you enjoy the rest of your day. Sending out good vibes and happy thoughts!

Love,
Rawnessa <3


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Sunday, September 21, 2014

How to Make Almond Milk (or Mylk :P)!

Yum! I'm going to have a glass now...
Hi all! I hope you all are doing well. I've been doing well and wanted to dedicate this post to one of my friends.

I want to give a great big shout out to the queen of spoken word and an incredible yogi Ada McCartney. She is an awesome inspiration, a great friend, and was the first person to ever write a comment on this blog. She also has commented since then and that means a great deal to me. I really appreciate that she took time out of her day to actually read and write on my posts, especially since I know she's super busy. Seeing that there are readers to this blog makes me happy and more motivated to keep on posting and I think that goes for any blog. I love being able to hear people's perspectives and the things they want to see posted, as well as any questions they may have. It's such a pleasure to be able to help someone achieve in any way possible, being it in creating a recipe they didn't know was possible before or in helping them achieve their health goals. If I can help in any way in answering your questions or in any other way, please let me know and I will be more than happy to answer. :) And if you have a blog, I would love to check it out as well! Let's spread the love! :)

I am going to make more of an initiative to post on other people's blogs too. More often than not, I see awesome recipes and photos and am inspired by other blogs but don't give them a thank you on all their hard work to get that post ready to be published. I never realized the hard work that goes into it until I started my own blog. Especially with editing photos, writing and recipes. But don't get me wrong, it's loads of fun! I love having an outlet at the end of the night and I look forward to posting and doing all the work that goes into it. Sometimes life and lack of inspiration gets in the way of working on the blog, however, and that is why there is a lack of posts here, but I still aspire to keep the recipe creation and posts going.

So, if you are ever in the Phoenix area, you should hear Ada's spoken word and see how passionate she is about it. She usually performs at 24 Carrots (which is an awesome spot by the way for food, juices/smoothies, and awesome service! Totally recommend the place (: ) in Tempe, when they have their open mic nights. See how awesome she is and send her some love!

Anyhoo, here is the almond mylk recipe I promised you guys and I send a big glass to you Ada! :)

Almond Mylk

Yield: 3 cups (~750 mL)
Prep Time: ~15 minutes (not including soak time)

Ingredients:
145 grams raw almonds (1 cup)
720 grams filtered water (3 cups OR 750 mL) and extra water to soak the almonds
35 grams pitted chopped dates (2 packed tablespoons) or more/less to your desired sweetness
pinch fine Himalayan pink salt

Instructions:
Place almonds in a medium sized bowl and pour enough filtered water (not the 720 grams for the recipe) over them to cover. Cover the bowl with a plate or cloth and set aside to soak for about 8 - 12 hours. If you plan on soaking the almonds for longer, I recommend setting them in the refrigerator. 

Once the almonds are done soaking, rinse them well until the water runs clear, and place them in a blender. The almonds will weigh about 200 grams now and will yield about 1 1/2 cups. Add about 360 grams/ 1 1/2 cups (or half the amount of filtered water) to the blender along with the dates. Blend until somewhat smooth. The mixture will be very thick, which is okay! Then add the rest of the water and blend on medium/high speed for about 5 to 10 seconds. 

Place a nut milk bag (or old pillow case or doubled up clean pantyhose) in a bowl and pour the contents from the blender through it. Hold up the bag above the bowl and gently squeeze the mylk out of the bag so as not to rip the bag or the pantyhose, if using. You will be left with almond pulp in the bag, which can be used for other things, such as in the recipes below!

Add the pinch of salt to the mylk and stir around to distribute. Place in a jar and refrigerate for optimal chilled-ness. Enjoy! 

1.) Blending the almonds with the first half of water
2.) Almonds blended up with all the water and ready to be mylked! 
3.) Almond mylk coming out of the nut mylk bag! Yum!
Leftover almond pulp!

Tips:
  • The reason I blend half the water first and then add the rest of the water, is because it results in less air bubbles in the final product. Me no like air bubbles in my mylk. :/ But it will still taste delicious if you decide to blend all the water at once. No biggie. :)
  • If you's like to use a different nut or mix up different nuts/seeds to make another type of milk, feel free to do so! Cashew mylk or hemp mylk is especially easy to make, since there is no need for straining the mylk after blending! Woot woot! Although, I feel that the taste of hemp milk takes some getting used to (or maybe not, because I never liked it and still don't :P ). Although, I do know people who love it, so give it a try! :) 
  • If you like a thicker mylk, then add less water or if you like a thinner mylk, add more water. And if you like it less/more sweet, retract/add more dates! That's what I love about homemade recipes. You can suit it to your taste buds. :)
Leftover almond pulp can be used for many things like raw and cooked breads, cakes, cookies, granola, as a breading, and I've even seen it used in an almond hummus! Here are some of the recipes that I used almond pulp in from the blog:
Raw Bread


Here are what some other bloggers have made using almond pulp (although I have not tried these recipes, they sure look tasty!)

Thank you all for stopping by and checking out today's recipe. I really appreciate it. :) I hope you enjoy the rest of your day and spread love to everyone you meet today. :)

Love,
Rawnessa <3


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Sunday, September 14, 2014

How to Make Your Own Coconut Butter!



Hi all! I hope you all are enjoying your weekend. :) I was thinking of making a few posts on how to make some important ingredients that I use in some of my recipes. One of these ingredients is coconut butter, which is a little bit different than coconut oil.

Coconut oil is a product that is the extracted fat from older coconuts. This is a clear fat (at or above 75⁰F (23.8⁰C)) and is solid at temperatures below 75⁰F (23.8⁰C). This is pure fat from the coconut.

Coconut butter is a mix of the fiber and fat from the coconut and is thus a whole food product and has more nutrients than coconut oil. It is basically just dried 'meat' from old coconuts that have been ground into a butter-like consistency. It will turn solid at temperatures below 75 F but it can be gently warmed up to return back to a spreadable consistency.

Both of these products are so versatile to use in cooking, but I really enjoy using coconut butter instead because it is a whole food product and isn't just straight oil, like coconut oil. It also is a great replacement for some of the butter in baking recipes, as a butter substitute on toast, and is awesome added to a soup or stew at the end of cooking, to add that fattiness factor.

Fat helps the flavors of recipe to coat the tongue and come together to create a burst of flavor, and that's why I usually like to add just a little bit of fat in recipes to make the recipe taste its best. It's like a flavor enhancer and is surprisingly (at least to me it was a surprise :P) not considered one of the 6 tastes (if you include umami as one of the tastes).

Here goes the recipe!

Coconut Butter

Yield: ~3/4 cup
Prep Time: ~15 minutes
Servings: ~12, 1 tablespoon servings (~14 grams)

Ingredients:
166 grams coconut flakes (2 cups)

Instructions:
Place the coconut flakes in a food processor and let the processing begin! Just let it keep processing for about 10 - 12 minutes, stopping the food processor at about the 3 and 7 minute marks to wipe down the sides of the processor (or as needed). The texture should be creamy and look like a whiter version of tahini. Store and enjoy!

1.) This is when the flakes first went into the processor. They're getting ready to be whirled around!
2.) This is at about the 3 minute mark. The flakes are starting to breakdown.
3.) This is at the 7 minute mark. The mixture is starting to get creamy and runny! Almost there!
4.) We finally made it! This is at about the 12 minute mark. It's the perfect texture and ready to be used! Yay! :D

Tips:
  • Make sure the coconut flakes are at room temperature and are not used straight from the freezer (if you store your coconut flakes in the freezer). Being at room temperature helps the coconut flakes to release their oils much quicker than if they were frozen, making the coconut butter making process much faster. :)
  • Depending on how big your food processor is, you can double (or maybe even triple!) this recipe. Mine is an 11 cup Cuisinart food processor, so the recipe could have definitely been doubled for it. But if you have a 7 cup food processor, start at the amount the recipe says and then increase if you can. 
  • Coconut butter will sometimes separate (the fibrous content from the liquid fat), so just give it a good stir and it will be good to go! 
  • Coconut butter turn solid? No problem! To warm up coconut butter to a more spreadable consistency, just place the coconut butter in a tall glass container/cup and place that cup in another wider cup that is filled with hot water and gently stir (so as not to get the water in the coconut butter) until the butter gets to the consistency you prefer. Enjoy!
  • The coconut butter is not going to be completely smooth and will still have a slight grit to it, but it will still be super creamy and yummy tasting!
Here is the nutritional information for coconut butter from CRON-O-Meter. 

If you all think it is helpful to have some 'How to' posts, please let me know! I'm thinking of doing an almond milk, coconut milk, and kelp noodle paste 'How to' as well, since I know I promised the kelp noodle paste and the almond milk recipe a while ago. I'm so sorry about that! I do keep a mental note about it though! If there are any other 'How to' posts you would like, I would love to hear them! 

Thank you all so much for stopping by. I really appreciate it. :) I hope you all enjoy the recipe as well. Take care and wishing you awesomeness and happiness! :)

Love,
Rawnessa <3

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Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Peppery Ginger Cookies


Hi all! I'm so sorry I have been absent for so long. I hope everyone is enjoying the onset of fall. I know I am, even though it is still reaching the 100's here in Arizona. But it is not as often as it does in summer, so I am happy about that! And plus fall brings us fall flavors such as cinnamon, cloves, pumpkin, and so much more! Although, to be honest, I wouldn't mind eating these flavors all year long. :)

Those fall flavors bring us to these Peppery Ginger Cookies! I've been experimenting a lot with making ginger cookies and these little gems just hit the spot. I was originally inspired to make these cookies from David Lebovitz's Nonfat Gingersnaps, which I was trying to veganize. But as I kept playing around with different ratios and formulas for the perfect cookie, I went back and looked at the recipe to reanalyze it again; then I saw the egg whites and it all made sense. No wonder my cookies weren't looking like his and just were not the right texture. So, I gave in and added a little oil to the recipe.

And poof!

They came out amazing. Perfect texture. Chewy and soft on the inside and crispy on the outside. Lately I haven't been adding oil to my recipes, but since these were a treat for some friends of ours who were moving to Hawaii, I figured they would appreciate a little fat in them. I know my boyfriend sure appreciated the fat and kept decreasing the amount of cookies he wanted to give to his friend because he was eating them up! :P

I will definitely try to make a veganized David Lebovitz's version again but by substituting agar flakes for the egg whites. I read somewhere that agar mixed with water can be whipped into an eggwhite-like consistency after it sets in the refrigerator. Vegan and fat free cookies? I'm totally down to try! If anyone has tried this, please let me know if it has worked for you. I will let you know how my experiments turn out. :)

I was able to achieve a chewy texture for these cookies by cooking down the apple I blended up to reduce it to almost half the amount and weight. This reduces the amount of liquid in the apple and instead of creating a cake-like texture, which some fruit and veggie purees tend to do in baked goods, it created a chewier texture. I originially learned this from Levowitz's recipe and then saw it again on Tessa's blog in a recipe for Dense and Chewy Pumpkin Cookies. Instead, she cooked down the liquid of pureed pumpkin for dense and yummy cookies! I love the science of baking. :) Thank you David and Tessa for your experiments and lovely recipes!



Peppery Ginger Cookies

Yield: ~14 (1 tablespoon sized) cookies
Prep Time: 20 minutes or less
Bake Time: ~12 - 13 minutes
Servings: ~14

Ingredients:
100 grams apple, seeded and chopped (1/2 inch dice) (3/4 cup + 1/8 cup)
75 grams gluten free oat flour (3/4 cup)
25 grams buckwheat flour (see tip below) (3 tablespoons)
20 grams tapioca starch (2 1/2 tablespoons)
1 3/8 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon fine Himalayan pink salt
80 grams coconut sugar (1/2 cup)
50 grams coconut oil (4 1/2 tablespoons)
1 tablespoon flax meal
3 tablespoons water
           -
extra coconut sugar in which to roll cookies

Instructions:

In a blender, blend the apple until smooth. Add to a frying pan and cook down stirring every few minutes on medium heat until most of the liquid from the apple evaporates and you're left with a denser apple sauce. It will look about half the size it was originally and weigh about 50 grams. The approximate time is about 7 minutes to cook down. Set the dense apple sauce aside.

In a large bowl, whisk the oat flour, buckwheat flour, tapioca, ginger, black pepper, baking powder, and salt until completely combined.

In a blender, add the apple paste, coconut sugar, coconut oil, flax meal and water and blend until completely emulsified and smooth. Add to the flour mixture and mix with a whisk until completely combined. Cover mixture and let set in the refrigerator to set and firm up.

A few minutes before the batter is ready to come out of the refrigerator, preheat the oven to 350 F.

Take the batter out of the refrigerator and measure the batter into 1 tablespoon amounts. Roll these tablespoon amounts into balls and roll in some coconut sugar. Place the balls on a parchment or a silicon mat lined baking sheet. Flatten the balls with the bottom of a flat bottomed glass that was dipped in sugar so they are about slightly less than 1/2 inch thick. Bake for 10 - 11 minutes and take out to cool on the baking sheet for about 5 minutes. Flip the cookies over and bake for another 1 - 2 minutes. Set aside to cool on the baking sheet for a minute and then let them cool on a cooling rack. Enjoy! :)

Tips:

  • I always make my own buckwheat flour from raw buckwheat groats. They blend easily and it's cheaper too! Just weigh out for the buckwheat flour amount in a recipe and whiz them up in a high speed blender on high for 15 seconds. Boom! Instant buckwheat flour. I also do the same thing with my GF oat flour. Whiz up gluten free oats in the blender and you have instant GF oat flour without the price tag. :)
Notes:
  • I really wanted to add molasses to these guys but didn't have any in the house when I made these. However, I made a molasses version later on that were chocolate chip macadamia nut and coconut cookies that were amazing. The molasses gave such a great flavor! If you would like to do a molasses peppery ginger cookie version, use the same recipe above but add add about 15 grams oat flour to the flour mixture and 1 tablespoon molasses to the sugar mixture. Then follow the instructions as is. Then eat up!
Here is the nutritional information for the cookies from CRON-O-Meter. Since these are a treat, they are not the best in nutritional value, but for a cookie, I think they are not all that bad. Plus, they have apple and ginger powder for immune boosting power. I'll take it. :)

Thank you all for stopping by today and I hope you try the recipe. If you do, please let me know how they turned out! They are super duper yumsters and I know you'll love them. :) Take care and have an awesome day! 

Love,

Rawnessa <3

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