Blackberry Ricotta French Toast

I wouldn’t say I am a health nut by any means. I eat what I want when I want to, for the most part, paying attention to food quality and how it makes me feel. Luckily, I actually enjoy the taste of vegetables, fruit, and healthy grains, but I really miss bread.

Or at least I did until I discovered Alvarado Street Bakery! I have a gluten intolerance, but I cheat a lot, then I feel sick. But once I started eating the sprouted bread from ASB, it was like I discovered life again! I can eat sandwiches that don’t taste like cardboard! And more importantly, I can make french toast again.

I started making this recipe a while back when I was still eating regular bread and I missed it so much. It’s a special treat, Saturday morning kind of breakfast. Enjoy!

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Blackberry Ricotta French Toast

Prep time 10 min

Cook time 15 min

Makes 5 Sandwiches

Ingredients:

½ cup blackberry preserves

½ cup ricotta cheese

10 slices of California Style Sprouted Bread

1-2 TBSP butter

4 large eggs

¾ cup of milk

½ tsp vanilla

¼ cup of powdered sugar

½ tsp cinnamon

Directions:

  1. In a large mixing bowl, combine eggs, milk, vanilla, and cinnamon. Set aside.
  2. Assemble 5 sandwiches, spreading ricotta cheese on 5 slices and blackberry preserves on the other 5 slices. Press sandwiches together.
  3. In a large skillet, heat 1 tsp of butter. Dip sandwiches into the egg mixture and cook in the buttered skillet on medium heat on both sides until they are golden and crispy.
  4. Sprinkle each french toast sandwich with powdered sugar, slice in half, and serve with maple syrup on the side for dipping.

Sponsored Post, recipe developed for Alvarado Street Bakery. 

Chocolate Banana Zucchini Bread

It’s been a while since I’ve made any loaf style bread so when I realized National Zucchini Bread Day was upon us, I had to make some. But of course, I had to be extra about it and make Gluten Free, Vegan, Chocolate Banana Zucchini Bread.

It’s a constant battle convincing people who never actually try my recipes (*cough, *cough, my family) that you can bake delicious desserts without milk, eggs, and butter. I’m not a vegan by any means, but with gluten and dairy allergies in my house, it’s just easier to bake this way. And this might be the best thing I’ve ever baked thanks to my secret ingredient: North Coast Organic Apple Sauce!

So, yes, again, it’s gluten-free and vegan and it’s delicious! If you don’t believe me, TRY IT YOURSELF!

Ingredients:

-1 cup of gluten-free flour

-¼ cup cocoa powder

-½ cup of brown sugar

-1 tsp baking soda

-¼ tsp baking powder

-½ tsp salt

-1 cup of shredded zucchini

-2 medium overripe bananas

-2 TBSP melted coconut oil

-1 tsp vanilla extract

-½ cup North Coast Apple Sauce

-½ cup of chocolate chips

Directions:

-Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

-Line a bread loaf pan with parchment paper and grease.

-Mix all your dry ingredients and set aside.

-Place shredded zucchini, bananas, coconut oil, vanilla, and apple sauce into a blender and blend until smooth.

-Slowly add wet mixture to dry ingredients and mix well until you’ve created a smooth batter.  Add your chocolate chips and mix a bit more.

-Pour your batter into your greased loaf pan and bake for 45 min.

-Let your bread cool for 20-30 min before removing it from pan.

Gluten Free | Dairy Free | Apple Strawberry Muffins

I think it’s finally safe to say that I can bake now. I used to really suck at it because I hate following directions and I like improvising, which isn’t really allowed in baking.

I think I’ve finally learned when I can and cannot improvise and have since had several successful baking experiences. I got really into baking when I started working with North Coast Organic. Baking with apple products like sauce and apple cider vinegar adds interesting flavor and texture. (Keep in mind that I AM one of the weirdos who thinks apple cider vinegar cures everything.)

I was inspired to bake muffins and had a bunch of fresh strawberries from Oliver’s Market so I baked!

Ingredients:

3/4 cup chopped strawberries

1 cup softened butter (I bake with Earth Balance)

1 cup brown sugar

4 eggs

3/4 cup North Coast Cinnamon Apple Sauce

1 3/4 cup gluten-free flour

2 TBSP baking powder

1 tsp salt

Directions:

-Pre-heat oven to 350 and line muffin tin with papers.

-Heat chopped strawberries in a saucepan on medium and stir occasionally until berries break down. About 5 min.

-Beat sugar and butter, then slowly beat in each egg.

-Add strawberries and apple sauce and beat a bit more.

-Combine dry ingredients and slowly add to wet ingredients until batter is smooth.

-Fill paper liners almost to the top. Add thin slices of strawberry to the top if you’d like.

-Bake for 15 min. Makes approx 15 muffins.

*North Coast Organic is an organic, nonGMO apple products company made from US grown apples, based in Sonoma County, CA. North Coast is a social media marketing client. This is a Sponsored Post. 

Lemon Ginger Cookies | Gluten & Dairy Free

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I hate baking. Probably because I’m terrible at it and I fail 9 times out of 10. But, for some reason I am really good at making chocolate chip and sugar cookies.

I didn’t want to make plain old sugar cookies so I added some fresh lemon juice and grated ginger. These cookies turned out SOOOO well. They lasted about an hour in my house. My only regret is not adding enough fresh ginger. The lemon was definitely the more dominant flavor. I added 1 tsp of fresh ginger, but next time I think I will add 2, so I’ve adjusted the recipe below.

Dusting the cookies with powdered sugar at the end was my favorite part because I usually don’t “decorate” my food. Not gonna lie, I got into it. It was cute.

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These aren’t overly sweet and go great with fresh lemonade or tea! Enjoy!

Lemon Ginger Cookies | Gluten & Dairy Free

*All ingredients are organic, and purchased at Oliver’s Market in Sonoma County, CA

Ingredients:

1.5 cups of all purpose gluten free flour ( If your blend doesn’t had xanthan gum, add 1.4 tsp )

1/2 cup of dairy free margarin

1 cup of sugar

1 large egg

1/2 tsp gluten free baking powder

1/4 tsp salt

1/2 tsp lemon zest

2 tsp of freshly grated ginger

1 TBSP lemon juice

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

powdered sugar for dusting

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. In a Kitchen Aid or hand mixer, cream margarine and sugar together. Add egg, vanilla lemon juice, lemon zest and grated ginger. Combine, but don’t over mix.
  3. In a separate bowl, mix dry ingredients. Slowly add dry ingredients to the wet, scraping down the sides from time to time to make sure everything is well mixed.
  4. Cover the bowl with cling wrap and chill in the fridge for at least 30 min.
  5. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Do not skip the parchment paper! I learned this the hard way.
  6. Grab a heaping TBSP of dough and flatten out onto cookie sheet with your hand or a fork. Repeat until sheet is full.
  7. Bake for about 13-15 min, Keep an eye out for browning edges, then take out.
  8. Allow to cook completely before trying to pull off from the parchment paper. Also learned that the hard way.

*Told you I’m a terrible baker. But these cookies rock! Please let me know how they turn out if you give it a try!

 

The Best Quinoa Salad Ever!

The Best Quinoa Salad ever!

My dear friend Monica introduced me to cold quinoa salad recently, and I’ve spent the last four months or so trying to create the ultimate recipe. I’ve come a long way from just tossing a couple veggies and whatever quinoa was on sale with some apple cider vin and olive oil.

My final recipe is a masterpiece. This is by far the best quinoa salad I have ever had, and possibly one of the best salad’s I’ve ever had.

The magic is in the dressing, which I can’t take total credit for. Jennifer Harris, local queen of fermentation and pickling, showed me how to make dressing with sauerkraut. The recipe here is my edited version.

The latest edit to this dish is the roasted brussels sprouts. It’s my go-to veggie that always pleases my household and takes 5 seconds to make. (That’s not true it takes like 20 min, but it can be done while multitasking.)

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I started with roasting the brussels and letting them cool. Then I made the quinoa, transferred to a large bowl and then stuck in the fridge to chill. This recipe is NOT good if the quinoa hasn’t completely chilled so be patient.

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While all be chillin’, make your dressing and chop your veggies.

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This recipe makes A LOT of food so use your biggest bowl to mix. Toss all your ingredients and enjoy! This recipe is easily made vegan if you sub vegetable stock for the chicken stock when making the quinoa.

To make a meal out of it, cook up some chicken sausage on the side, and bam, happy and full household!

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Ingredients:

For The Roasted Brussels Sprouts:

-Approx. 20 Brussels sprouts

-1 TBSP olive oil

-1/2 tsp garlic powder

-1/2 tsp salt

dash of pepper

Preheat over to 400 degrees. Peel and quarter the sprouts, toss sprouts in oil, garlic powder, salt and pepper. Spread evenly on a baking sheet and roast for approx. 12-15 min or until golden brown around the edges. Set aside.

 

For the Quinoa:

-3 cups of quinoa ( I used 1.5 cups of sprouted quinoa because its easier to digest and 1.5 cups of red quinoa, strictly because it looks cool.)

-1.5 cups of chicken stock and 1.5 cups of filtered water. (sub vegetable stock to make this recipe vegan.)

Lightly toast the dry quinoa in a large skillet, stirring frequently so they don’t burn. You will start to smell a toasted, nutty aroma and eventually hear a bit of crackling. That’s when you know its time to add the liquid. Bring to a rolling boil, then reduce to simmer and cover. Cook for 15 min. Do not over-cook. Al dente quinoa is better than mushy, especially for this dish. Put in fridge to chill.

For the Dressing:

  • 1 cup of Bubbies Sauerkraut ( I only use traditional, fermented sauerkraut.)
  • 2 TBSP Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp celery seed
  • 1 tsp mustard (Any kind will work, but I like to use Dijon.)
  • 1 TBSP local honey
  • 2 TBSP olive oil

Blend dressing ingredients in a magic bullet or food processor until most of the kraut chunks are blended thoroughly.

For the Salad:

  • 1 small stalk of broccoli , chopped
  • 1/2 of a small head of purple cabbage, shredded
  • 1 cup of cherry tomatoes, sliced
  • a handful of fresh basil, roughly chopped
  • avocado, sliced to your preference

Throw it all together and toss well with a little S & P to taste! Test out the recipe and let me know how it turns out!

 

 

A Brunch Fit For A Queen

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I got inspired yesterday and planned out a Mother’s Day brunch to make for my mom this morning. Being an only child, I usually plan my meals around things that sound good to ME and then adjust them for whomever I am cooking. So this morning’s brunch was designed to be a protein-rich, gluten-free, diabetic-friendly and yet, decadent meal.

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Spinach and Feta Frittata:

8 eggs

2 TBSP Half & Half

1 tsp of Garlic Salt

Pinch of Black Pepper

3/4 Cup of Feta

2 Cups of Fresh Spinach

1 Cup of Paper Thin Sliced Red Onion

Bacon Caprese Bites

6 Slices of Black Peppered Bacon

2 Cups of Cherry Tomatoes

6 Small Fresh Mozzarella Balls

Fresh Basil

1 TBSP of Olive Oil

1 tsp Balsamic Vinegar

Dash of Sea Salt

Dash of Ground Black Pepper

Toothpicks

Triple Berry Mascarpone Salad

1 Small Package of Fresh Blueberries

1 Small Package of Fresh Raspberries

1 Box of Fresh Strawberries

2 Cups of Mascarpone

1 TBSP of Honey

I wanted to create a beautiful plate and table, to make my Mom feel extra special, so I got up at around 8am and starting cooking. I love getting up early when I stay the night at my parents’ house ( Yes, 8am is early for me). They make the best coffee and the hot tub always calls my name, especially when it’s foggy out. I wanted to get some prep done before making the frittata and soaking in the tub.

Here is how it’s done:

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Heat the oven to 350 degrees and lay foil on a baking sheet. Lay your bacon on the sheet and cook for 12-15 min. Do not over-crisp the bacon or it will crumble apart when you toothpick it.

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Slice cherry tomatoes in half and mozzarella balls into thirds and put in a large bowl. Toss with olive oil, vinegar, salt and pepper and set aside. Tear 1 inch pieces of basil and set aside.

When the bacon is done, remove from baking sheet and set on paper towels to soak up grease. When the bacon has cooled enough to touch, tear into one inch pieces.

Begin to assemble your bites using two halves of a cherry tomato as the “bread” of the caprese bite. Keep three small leaves of basil as a garnish for your berry salad.

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Lay bites on a tray and cover with plastic. Put the bites in the fridge for later.

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Pour blueberries and raspberries in a large mixing bowl. Slice strawberries into small pieces, small enough that they are relatively the same size as other berries. Pour slices berries into the bowl and drizzle half the honey over the fruit. Mix berries, and add the other half of the honey. Mix again. Cover berries and refrigerate for later.

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Now grab your coffee, robe and towel and have a soak in the hot tub, while your mom sleeps in. Discuss politics and TV shows with your dad and have more coffee.

When mom is about 20 min away from being ready to eat, begin to assemble your frittata. Slice red onions paper thin and set aside. Whisk together eggs, half & half, garlic salt and black pepper. Add spinach and feta and whisk again. Heat a TBSP of olive oil in a large frying pan, making sure the oil covers the whole pan. Pour whisked egg, spinach and feta into pan and heat on medium low.

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When the bottom starts to solidify, lay red onion across the top, preferably in a pretty pattern. Cover and continue to cook on the lowest setting for about 10 minutes. Check on it regularly, using a spatula to lift the bottom. Don’t let it get too brown. Turn off heat.

Leave the cover on to keep the frittata warm and assemble your berry salad.

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Take two cups of mascarpone cheese and heat for 30 seconds in the microwave, just enough to soften it.

Grab three bowls, and scoop a layer of the mascarpone into each bowl. Add two or three spoonfuls of the berry mix. Then add a generous dollop of mascarpone on top. Garnish with a small basil leaf.

Grab yourself a large cutting board and gently slide the frittata out of the pan and onto the board. Slice the frittata like a pie and serve. Arrange however you like. My table ended up looking like this!

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Make sure to do ALL the dishes afterwards, especially if you’re at your parents’ house, and especially if it’s Mother’s Day.

The meal was a hit, even for my picky father who tends to prefer corned beef and hash, smothered in ketchup for breakfast. Today we’re finishing out the day doing small projects around the house and watching movies On Demand. Life is sweet.