Archive for August, 2012

Salted Mixed Nut Clusters

Another no-bake treat coming your way! If you can’t tell, I’m ALL about nuts and seeds these days. I can’t get enough almonds, walnuts, pecans, hazelnuts, pistachios, peanuts and pepitas…high calorie or not, nuts have been my go-to snack, baking ingredient and add-in around my kitchen.

I found myself adding a handful of walnuts, sesame seeds and sunflower seeds to a huge bowl of cooked quinoa that was also sprinkled with nutritional yeast. Yep, that was my quick lunch one day. No judging, please…it’s better than eating 12 of these treats for lunch with a glass of almond milk, right?

I guess this recipe could be called “salted mixed nut candy” or even a brittle, but the word “cluster” makes me giggle so I went with that.

I even enjoyed these goodies roughly chopped over a salad of grilled chicken, mixed greens, raspberries and blue cheese for dinner one night…YUM. Just like candied nuts but homemade and refined sugar free!

Salted Mixed Nut Clusters

Ingredients

1/4 cup chopped, sliced or slivered almonds*
1/4 cup chopped pecans*
2 Tbsp chopped walnuts*
2 Tbsp unsalted pistachios*
sea salt to taste (I used a medium pinch)
2/3 cup granulated sweetener (palm sugar, sucanat, etc)
1 Tbsp liquid sweetener (maple syrup, agave or honey)
2 Tbsp coconut milk
2 Tbsp creamy nut butter (peanut butter, almond butter, sunflower butter – use one that is more liquid than solid for easy incoporation)
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 Tbsp flaxseeds

Flavor variation ideas: add 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon or ginger, a couple shakes of cayenne for a sweet and spicy treat or even 2/3 tsp garam masala spice for an exotic flair.

Directions

1. Line a baking sheet with parchment or wax paper and set aside.
2. In a dry skillet, toast all nuts over medium heat for 3-4 minutes. Stir frequently and watch carefully to avoid burning. Remove from heat. Sprinkle with sea salt, toss and set aside to cool.
3. In a medium saucepan, add sweeteners and cook over medium heat for 5-7 minutes until granulated sweetener dissolves. Stir frequently to avoid burning.
4. Add in coconut milk, nut butter and vanilla and stir until smooth. Increase heat to medium-high and let boil for 1-2 minutes until slightly thickened.
5. Remove from heat. Stir in toasted nuts and flaxseeds and let cool for about 2 minutes or so until mixture starts to thicken.
6. Drop by tablespoons onto prepared baking sheet, drizzle with remaining mixture and let cool until hardened.

Makes about 12-18 clusters, depending on size you prefer
*Use your favorite combination of nuts and seeds in this recipe to suit your tastes – walnuts, sunflower seeds, pepitas, peanuts, brazil nuts, hazelnuts, etc can all be used!

 

August 30, 2012 at 7:16 am 8 comments

Cashew Chicken Lettuce Wraps – SRC

Move over PF Changs, these cashew chicken lettuce wraps are my new favorite! Plus, I don’t have to make a trip down all the way down to Colorado for a fix :)

Thanks to Kirstin at Troyer’s Loving Life blog, I can enjoy these hand-held wraps in the comforts of my own home at a fraction of the cost. I was assigned Kirstin’s blog this month for the Secret Recipe Club and the moment I spotted her recipe I was sold. I’d been craving PF Changs the past couple weeks and this recipe hit the spot and then some!

I made just a few tweaks based on the ingredients I had on hand (and needed to use up in my pantry). I subbed coconut sugar for the brown sugar in the teriyaki sauce and increased the ground ginger for some added heat based on my personal preference. In the chicken filling, I opted to use up my ground chicken in the freezer instead of breast meat in the original recipe, decreased the cashews to 1/2 cup and subbed water chestnuts for mushrooms for additional crunch (oh my yum!). I also added two cloves of garlic, crushed red pepper flakes and a drizzle of sesame oil based on my flavor preferences.

I am already craving these wraps after making them TWICE. I enjoyed them so much they are going to be put into my weekly regular dinner rotation. Thanks Kirsten, this one is real winner!

Cashew Chicken Lettuce Wraps
(Adapted from “Troyer’s Loving Life”)

Teriyaki Sauce:
2 Tbsp Braggs liquid aminos (or gluten free soy sauce or tamari)
1 Tbsp rice vinegar
1Tbsp coconut palm sugar (or could use honey or agave)
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp Sesame oil

Chicken:
2/3 – 3/4 lb ground chicken (or chicken breast or tenders, diced in small pieces)
2 garlic cloves, minced
6 green onions, finely chopped
8 oz can sliced water chestnuts, chopped
1/2 cup chopped cashews
1-2 tsp Braggs liquid aminos or gluten free soy sauce
coconut oil (canola or other neutral oil works here too)
drizzle of sesame seed oil
3 shakes of crushed red pepper flakes, optional
8 butter lettuce leaves

Vegetable Topping:
2 carrots, peeled & Julienned
1/2 Tbs. Sesame Seeds

Directions
1. Mix all sauce ingredients, making sure the sugar dissolves.
2. Place oil in a non-stick pan and cook chicken till cooked through and lightly browned. Add garlic, green onions, water chestnuts, cashews and 1 tsp. soy sauce and cook for two minutes. Add teriyaki sauce and cook on medium-high until sauce began to carmelize a bit on the chicken, stirring frequently. Lower heat to “low” and continue to cook a bit longer or until your desired consistency is reached.
3. Drizzle with sesame seed oil to taste if desired and crushed red pepper to taste.
4. Spoon chicken mixture into lettuce leaves and top with carrots and sesame seeds. Enjoy!

check out other recipes from Group D this month!


August 27, 2012 at 10:00 am 16 comments

Chocolate-Covered Strawberry Bars

Hello lovelies! I’ve been MIA lately. Life has gotten in the way but I certainly have NOT forgotten about you :)

I have a fun little treat to share with you today! This recipe morphed from a magic cookie bar into what I am calling a chocolate covered strawberry bar – sounds fancy, and tastes divine…and that’s a winning combo, right?

Most everything I am baking these days seems to involve chocolate and be in bar form, I must really be into the square shape this summer…I will have to analyze what that means later (haha). No matter what shape these are, they are heavenly, decadent and deeeeelicious! The base is a crumbly shortbread and the topping is dark chocolate with a gooey strawberry filling…and it’s all topped off with one of my favorite ingredients — coconut :)

You can always substitute your favorite fruit preserve to change the flavor but strawberry is what I had on hand and it worked beautifully. The shredded coconut on top can be omitted, but I find it adds nice visual appeal and helps absorbs a bit of the preserves below. If you do choose to omit the coconut, consider adding 1 to 2 more ounces of chopped chocolate for good measure and coverage :)

Chocolate-Covered Strawberry Bars (Vegan) 

Ingredients

For crust:
1 1/4 cups almond flour
4 Tbsp coconut palm sugar, powdered (or any granulated sugar)
1/8 tsp sea salt
4 Tbsp coconut oil, melted (butter or ghee can be subbed)
splash of pure vanilla extract

For Topping:
2/3 cup fruit-sweetened strawberry preserves
2 ounces of your favorite dark chocolate, chopped
1/3 cup unsweetened shredded coconut

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 350F. Grease or line with parchment paper a 8×8 pan or large loaf pan (this is what I used) and set aside.
2. In a medium mixing bowl, combine dry ingredients (flour through salt). Stir in coconut oil and vanilla until mixture comes holds together when pressed. If not coming together, add a touch more of oil (will depend on what flours are used, I used flours from Nuts.com).
3. Press mixture evenly into prepared pan and bake for 10 minutes until golden brown.
4. Remove from oven and let cool for 1-2 minutes. While crust is still warm, spread preserves over crust then sprinkle with chopped chocolate and coconut.
5. Let cool for 15 minute and then refrigerate until hardened, about 1 hour. Cut into bars and enjoy!

August 6, 2012 at 4:27 pm 5 comments


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