that's forking good

adventures in a culinary neophyte's kitchen

Posts Tagged ‘clean eating’

the great do[ugh]nut debate

Posted by culinaryneophyte on February 6, 2015

mint chocolate paleo doughnuts​I recently got into a spirited debate (at the gym, of all places) about the proper spelling of everyone’s favorite circular, fried treat with a hole in the middle. I steadfastly stood in the “doughnut” corner versus two “donut” supporters. Listen, people: It’s doughnut. “Donut” is part of a brand name; it should follow “Dunkin” or any other company/product that has legally filed its name to include the misspelling, but that’s it. Are you one of those people who calls tissues Kleenex? Stop giving these companies free marketing! (And if you’re spelling it that way because you’re too lazy to type it the correct way… just… go. Please.)

The great doughnut debate of 2014 reminded me that I had not made doughnuts in a really long time, so I took to Pinterest to find myself a healthy[ish] alternative to Dunkin’ Donuts (note the proper spelling in this instance), and found these paleo mint chocolate doughnuts from the Healthy Maven. (Sorry if you’re sick of paleo. I’ll make the next post something bad for you.)

The doughnuts were pretty minty, and the frosting was pretty pretty with the green tint come from a bit of matcha mixed into the coconut cream. I opted to top mine with crumbles of Mrs. Thinsters brownie thins for a little added pizzazz. (If you really want to unhealthify [speaking of poor grammar] this treat, Thin Mints would also be a delicious topping.)

(​​Slightly adapted)

Makes 6 doughnuts

For doughnuts
♦1 c. almond meal
♦2 tbs. coconut flour
♦1/4 c. unsweetened cocoa powder
♦1/4 tsp. baking soda
♦1/2 tsp. baking powder
♦1/4 tsp. sea salt
♦1/2 c. unsweetened applesauce (*I did not have applesauce in my house, so I made my own from one apple — peeled, chopped into bits, tbs. of lemon juice and boiled til it was soft enough to pulverize with my immersion blender. Yes, everything must be a project.)
♦2 eggs
♦3 tbs. honey
♦1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
♦1/2 tsp. peppermint extract​
♦Toppings if desired

Combine almond meal, coconut flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a large bowl.Add applesauce, eggs and extracts. Stir well.

Grease a doughnut pan with coconut oil, and divide batter evenly. (You could also roll into balls if you don’t have a pan.) Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes. Allow doughnuts to cool 15-20 minutes before removing from pan. Carefully transfer to wire rack to cool completely.

For frosting
♦1 can full-fat coconut milk (left in fridge for at least 1 hour), do NOT shake
♦1/2 tsp matcha powder (mostly for color — not taste; you may also use spirulina powder)
♦1 tbs. honey

While doughnuts are cooling, open coconut milk. (Do not shake the can before opening.) Scrape the cream from the top and place in mixing bowl. Beat on high for several minutes until the cream stiffens and can hold peaks. Add in matcha or spirulina powder and honey, then beat for one more minute. It does not look like a lot, but it will go a long way. Carefully spread frosting on doughnuts.

Total time? 10 minutes prep, 15 bake, 10 minutes decorate
Cost? $6.99 almond meal, $8.99 coconut flour, $6.99 matcha powder, $1.99 canned coconut milk, ? applesauce (or the cost of the time I won’t get back from having to whip up homemade applesauce to make doughnuts… Not bitter.)
Overall success relative to expectations? 10 out 10. These were good — like, way better than I expected. I immediately fell in love with the frosting. It was only coconut cream with a little bit of matcha, but I could have eaten it with a spoon if I hadn’t globbed all of it onto the doughnuts. (A little goes a long way, but not enough to have a frosting snack.) The doughnuts stayed fresh for at least four days (I had to fend off a few suitors to make them last that long), and the flavor was good. Obviously, they’re not going to taste like fried balls of doughy goodness, but they’re definitely a viable alternative, especially if consumption of any traditional doughnut leaves you with guilt pangs for hours… days… weeks… Do not mock; this is why I stopped going to Dunkin’ Donuts. Well, that, and the misspelling.

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chocolate-covered strawberry paleo pancakes

Posted by culinaryneophyte on January 19, 2015

Thank you to Mrs. Thinsters for featuring my breakfast on their social media channel!

paleo chocolate-covered strawberry pancakes with Mrs. Thinsters brownie batter cookie thin crumbs.

chocolate-covered strawberry pancakes with Mrs. Thinsters brownie batter cookie crumbs.

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on Sunday morning

Posted by culinaryneophyte on September 29, 2014

chocolate coconut pancakesThis weekend, we held a surprise retirement party for my dad, who’s retiring early and moving to NC to play golf all day, erryday. In catching up with family friends whom I have not seen in years, I got a lot of questions about whether or not I’m still writing — for work (barely) or in my blog (embarrassingly little). It is one of those things I think about almost on a daily basis, but life has been flying by — more so this year than ever before — and so many things have been pushed aside if they are not of the utmost priority.

(And yes, pretty much every post I publish here now is some sort of apology and/or promise to write more. This is no exception.)

To be honest, Instagram has taken the place of my blog because it’s “Twitter for people who can’t read,” and I can post from my phone while I’m laying in bed worrying about all the things I didn’t get done today and all the things on the horizon for tomorrow. If you are interested in checking out my latest creations, please follow me on IG, @thejerc. I will also try to make a better effort to post them here to at least keep you drooling.

In other news, these are the pancakes I made yesterday morning using AboutTime chocolate coconut protein as part of the sauce and these fancy new little brownie thins from Mrs. Thinsters. I tried them at a festival in Philly this weekend, and they’re delicious. I can’t wait to use them on top of my “protein ice cream” and other assorted goodies. (Also, big thanks to them for the recent shout out on social media!)

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bejeweled breakfast

Posted by culinaryneophyte on December 27, 2013

This year, most of my gift giving and Christmas revelry took place in advance of the actual holiday, leaving my Dec. 25 all to myself. I did not let this opportunity go to waste. I set my alarm for a rare “late” start (10 a.m.), donned some mismatched sweats, put on a little Ke$ha and got to work in the kitchen. What emerged was a a glorious breakfast of coconut vanilla waffles with vanilla protein “fluff” and homemade pomegranate syrup.

coconut pom waffles

I had this idea saved on Pinterest for weeks, but wanted to make it paleo/clean, so I made some alterations and thankfully ended up with a beautiful and tasty plate. Frankly, I was giddy over it. While everyone on Facebook was posting pictures of their presents, their babies, their dogs, their dogs with presents, their babies with presents, their babies with dogs as presents…  I was posting pictures of waffles.

I have been obsessed with pomegranates for awhile now. Once I had my first taste of those  juicy little jewels, I couldn’t get enough. I already had my pomegranate deseeded, so that saved time because it’s a slight process. There are a few ways to get into that baby, but I use the water bowl method: cut pomegranate in half, submerge in water for 10 minutes, then pull apart the rind and allow it to float to the top of the water while the seeds (arils) sink; strain arils, then dry on paper towel.

The genesis of the protein “fluff” was initially for aesthetic purposes (I wanted to brighten it up a bit before adding the dark pom syrup), but I dug the creaminess it added, plus it’s always nice to sneak a little extra protein into a meal that may not otherwise be that rich in it.

This was a fabulous start to my day. I ran around cleaning and organizing the file cabinet I bought for myself (oh yeah, be jealous), then spent the next five hours marathoning the hell out of season two of “Girls.” Pretty much the best Christmas ever.

coconut pom waffles 2makes two waffles
inspired by foodiecrush
♦1 egg, whisked
1/8 c. coconut milk
3/4 c. almond meal
1/8 c. shredded unsweetened coconut
1/2 tbs. coconut flour
1 tbs. honey
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. sea salt
1/4 tsp. cinnamon

Heat waffle iron. Whisk egg, then add milk. Combine almond meal, coconut, coconut flour and baking soda, then add to wet mixture. Add honey, vanilla, sea salt and cinnamon. Put batter into iron and cook for three to four minutes or until golden.

for protein fluff
1/2 scoop vanilla protein powder (I used Cellucor)
about 2 tsp. almond milk
(play around with these measurements until the consistency is correct; you want it somewhat liquescent, but not runny)

for pomegranate syrup
1/2 c. pomegranate arils
1 c. POM Wonderful juice
1/8 c. organic coconut sugar
1/2 tbs. coconut oil

Heat coconut oil over medium heat. Add arils, juice and coconut sugar. Heat until sugar is dissolved and mixture has reduced by half. (This took a bit longer than I thought it would, so start it going before you start cooking waffle mix.)

Total time? 20 minutes (without deseeding of pomegranate)
Cost? $3.99 POM, $1.50 pomegranate, $6.99 almond meal, $8.99 coconut flour, $3.99 organic coconut, $4.98 organic coconut sugar, $5.99 coconut oil
Overall success relative to expectations? My first bite of the waffle on its own was underwhelming. I thought it was a little bland and moderately dense. (I may separate the egg first next time.) The good news is all the toppings help sweeten and moisten up the dish, and the combination is perfect — like a holiday in my mouth.

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it’s like pizza, but not

Posted by culinaryneophyte on November 24, 2013

Thanksgiving is really this week?! I refuse to believe this year is almost over, and therefore, I am sharing something very un-TurkeyDay-like while I can: Italian-roasted chickpeas. These little babies taste a lot like pizza and suffice as a meal or a snack. Give them a try!

italian roasted chickpeas

Warning: I went complete eyeball on this one, so no measurements. Just follow your heart (and taste along the way) and you’ll be happily surprised.

Combine sun dried tomatoes, EVOO, minced garlic, a little bit of parmesan cheese, a little bit of tomato paste, Italian herbs and a squirt of Dijon mustard. You can either use a food processor or an immersion blender (what I did) to blend into a paste.

Drain and dry a can of chickpeas on a sheet for at least 30 minutes. Next, coat chickpeas in the mixture and bake at 350 degrees for a little less than an hour, making sure to flip every 20 minutes or so. The chickpeas will get crispier as they cool.

Total time? 8 minutes prep, 25-30 minutes bake.
Cost? $1 chickpeas, $3.29 sun dried tomatoes, $2.59 parmesan cheese, 79 cents tomato paste
Overall success relative to expectations? 8 out of 10. I love the taste of these and was happy to snack on them while I prepared the main portion of my dinner. While I was in Chicago last month, I had fried chickpeas, and while obviously these are a lot healthier, I still couldn’t get the beautiful crispiness of those out of my head. Only other knock here is that they don’t keep as well as leftovers; when I reheated them the next day, the flavor was still good, but the consistency suffered a bit.

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tfg enters the toddler phase

Posted by culinaryneophyte on September 9, 2013

Today marks my blog’s third birthday. When I look back at where I was when I started this thing, I simultaneously can’t believe it’s been only three years and it’s been that long.

A few things in my life have remained constant — family, friends, my ability to mess up seemingly innocuous tasks. (Oh, and my beloved car, which also celebrates its birthday this week.) But then, so much has changed. When I started, I baked and wrote to take my mind off the crapstorm my life had become. I was pecking away about mac n’ cheese in my secluded cubicle cave at a failing newspaper, and spending all of my free time on foodgawker. Sometimes I’d be sitting in the dark, the bedroom illuminated only by the laptop, scrolling through the endless trove of food porn until 2 a.m. When I got laid off that winter, I had even more free time to experiment in the kitchen — my roommates often coming home to some strange plate of food on the kitchen table. They would have eaten it regardless of how it tasted or what adjectives I put to it, but it appeared I actually had a smidge of culinary talent despite my sometimes… unconventional methods (or “brilliant” shortcuts that led to burnt eyeballs and broken appendages).

(Not even kidding… As I write this, I just realized I left a wing sauce on the stove for about 15 minutes too long and it is now a burnt, sticky substance at the bottom of my pot. I got lost in my little blogging world over here. Writer > chef.)

The three biggest developments of this last year started with the purchase of my condo in December, which marked the real beginning of my “big girl life,”  No more roommates — just me, on my own. Yes, that meant bug killing duties rested solely on my shoulders, but I now had free rein of my [bigger] kitchen and the foreign task of cooking for one.

Once I got settled, I started looking for a new “thing,” and that’s when I fell into a brand new “fitspo” world. Well — not entirely new because I have always been active, and at that time, was playing on three soccer teams, but I wanted more. I joined kickboxing. I started consistently doing “Insanity.” Shaun T became my best friend. I became my downstairs neighbor’s worst enemy. I felt great and knew moving my diet even further along the healthy spectrum would only improve my life. I started “clean eating.” (Enter my friends mocking my “#cleaneating Instagram posts.) I cut back on the bread. I cut dairy almost entirely out of my diet. I relished the challenge of making people drool with things that were actually good for them. Now, I’m teetering on the edge of being “one of those Crossfit people,” but I make no apologies for feeling stronger (both physically and mentally) than I have at any other point in my life, and much of it comes back to the food.

The last development builds on last year’s mover and shaker: Pinterest. In last year’s blogiversary post, I made it my goal to make one Pinterest meal per month. I actually did a double take when I went back and read that. Per month?! I’m doing, like, three per week. I will always have a place in my heart for foodgawker, but Pinterest has become my new food porn purveyor. And it helps a Type A-person like me organize everything into neat little boards. Many of my favorite creations have been inspired by something I’ve found in Pinterest.

This past year has brought about a lot of changes. Some good. Some bad. Some itty bitty. Some monumental. I’m in a much different place now than I was when that’s forking good turned two, but for your sake, a few things have stayed the same… I still love writing. I still love cooking. I still love taking pictures. And I still haven’t conquered corn soup.

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