Chicken and Waffles

I can't get enough of these waffles.  I started making them when Chef was in my life.  We loved them so much.  One morning he was in the kitchen in our old apartment making chicken strips while I was making us waffles. They became a real staple in our house, and now I'm making them regularly for my fam. 

I'm not used to cooking chicken, I grew up in a vegetarian friendly house where the only meat that was cooked, OCCASIONALLY, was fish. Chef taught me to cook chicken, and I suggest that if its your first couple of times cooking it, even if you're an expert, please open it up before you eat it to make sure its fully cooked. 

Waffles:

Cassava flour 1 cup 

Brown rice flour 1/2 cup 

Tapioca flour 1/2 cup 

Buckwheat flour 1/2 cup

Baking soda 1 1/2 teaspoon

Maple sugar 4 teaspoons

Salt 1 teaspoon 

Coconut oil 2/3 cup

Egg 2

Almond milk 1 1/3 cup 

Apple cider vinegar 1/2 cup

How to make:

Heat the waffle maker.  Melt the coconut oil. I do this by placing the jar of coconut oil in a lightly simmering water bath in a pot on the stove. In a bowl whisk together the flours, baking soda, salt and maple sugar. Add the liquids and egg, mix to combine. Scoop the batter into the waffle maker. Place the waffles on a cooling rack to ensure crispiness.  

Tip: to clean the iron, place a wet paper towel on to the iron and close it.  

Chicken tenders 

cassava flour 3/4 cup

buckwheat flour 3/4 cup

Himalayan salt 2 teaspoons+ 1 tablespoon for seasoning the chicken

turmeric 1 teaspoon

black pepper 1/2 teaspoon  + 2 teaspoons for seasoning the chicken

coconut oil  1 cup (for frying)

How to make:

Heat coconut oil in a large frying pan on low-medium heat.  I flick a little water onto the oil to make sure its hot enough, it should sizzle/ crackle. Place the flours separately on plates.  Whisk the egg and place in a shallow plate/bowl. Season the chicken with salt and pepper. Place some of the chicken strips (I used tenderloins) in the buckwheat, then into the egg then into the cassava.  Make sure they are completely covered. Gently place strips into the oil.  Cook the first side until deeply golden brown, then flip over doing the same on the other side.  Cook all of the strips and place on a cooling rack so they stay crispier. 

Top with whatever you like.  I added guac, maple syrup and mustard.  I also sometimes like to use a thick coconut yogurt as a sour cream replacement. 

 

Enjoy!

Peanut Butter Cookies

peanut butter FTW.  Is anyone with me?  I took a peanut butter hiatus after college.  I can't even tell you how much I was eating.  In fact, it was almost the only thing I was eating.  I would get cereal from the cafeteria, generally cheerios and dip my spoon in pb and then stick it in my cereal bowl and eat the sticky, glutenous mess by the spoonful.  That was a pretty dark time for me.  I was dating a guy who was cheating on me although it wasn't confined until a few years later (still with him) I took it out on myself and went hard into eating disorder land, because of course his infidelity was all about me.... NOT.

SO... after eating so much pb an allergy test came back with a severe, not life threatening allergy. Needless to say, I was off the pb train for a loooong time.  I suppose my grandma's opposition to peanuts also came lightly into play.  She told me they were terrible for me because of the mold content...  Lets say, I should have paid more attention, because I may not have candida... well thats exaggerated, but maybe?

But, recently started dating this incredible guy.  I don't want to spill too much, buuuuut, he's a total peanut butter addict and I caught the pb bug again.  Oh man.  In my true controlling fashion, I only allow myself pb when I'm with him.  You'd think that would limit the consumption, but I really should have gone the opposite route.  

B also has a cookie a night cookie habit.  When I first met him, he was skateboarding to the local deli overnight for a cookie (he's lucky he scored me).  So, I took my talents to the kitchen and made him a peanut butter cookie that fits all of his allergy needs.  I think this is the ONLY time I've made something specifically for someone I'm dating.  Does that mean something? Maybe not.. who knows.  

So, lets just say, he's the best tester I have these days. He's currently testing the shelf life, lucky me and him.. mostly me... swoon.  

 

So, without further adieu here is my vegan peanut butter cookie recipe that both B and I love. 

peanut butter (I prefer chunky): 1 cup

coconut sugar: 1 cup

vanilla extract: 2 teaspoons

oat flour: 2/3 cup

baking soda: 1 teaspoon

Himalayan salt: 1/2 teaspoon (I like my peanut butter cookies salty, if you don't use 1/4 teaspoon)

coconut milk: 1/4 cup

toasted coconut shreds: 1/4 cup

chocolate chips optional: 1/4 cup

 

Pre heat the oven to 350

Toast coconut until golden brown and allow to cool. 

In a medium bowl mix the peanut butter, salt, sugar and vanilla extract.  Add in the oat flour and baking soda (make sure this gets mixed throughly) then coconut milk and shreds (also chocolate if you're using any).  The mixture will be crumbly.  With your hands, or an ice cream scoop, roll even amounts of dough into a ball and place on a tray with parchment or silpat.  With a fork, create a cross hash. 

Bake the cookies for 9 minutes, or until the edges start to darken. 

Store in a container for 7 days. You can refrigerate them, but don't need to.  As of now, B has only tested the cookies for 7 days, but we will hopefully get to 10!

Enjoy!

Coco 

 

Zero Waste

I am usually inspired by my customers, but theres one customer in particular, Aubrey, who is so off the charts rad, she inspires at least one customer of mine every time she stops by my booth on Sunday mornings.   She pulls up to the booth with a kid-less stroller, cloth bags and glass bottles properly placed.  She pulls out a tupperware and hands it over.  I then take the poppy loaf out of my tupperware and place it in hers.  She then carefully, as not to touch any others, picks up three brownies and sticks them in there with the loaf.  

The first time Audrey stopped at my booth I was amazed, fully amazed.  She seemed so organized and eco-friendly that I could only imagine she drives an electric car or a bicycle that powers a blender that can make a smoothie.   She brought out the container she said she's had since her days in college.  She could see that myself and my customers were in awe of how together she seemed that she said she's as close to zero waste as she can get and we can visit her website to read about her journey.  Recap, she has a blog/website, is a well respected lawyer, drives an electric car ( I assume) has more than two kids, is fit, brings her own bags and tupperware to the market/is beyond eco friendly.    

From that day on, at least 5 of my regulars have brought their own containers to the farmers market on Sunday.  Sorry to over praise, but she's a dream!  

Take away, use reusables whenever you can, market, ice cream shop, coffee shop etc.!

Here is Aubrey’s website if you're interested in enlightening yourself 

http://roadtozerowaste.blogspot.com/

One Pan Breakfast

I'm always in the kitchen, and don't get me wrong, I absolutely love my time dancing around, tossing ingredients into the bowl to the beat of Miranda Lambert. It makes me really happy, but washing dishes doesn't make me happy, not when there are 10 just for breakfast alone. It also just seems like a huge waste of water. 

So, when I have a long day, I make this really simple, delicious, light, but filling breakfast. 

Pancakes 
Turkey bacon 
Eggs 
Avocado   
Check. 
So,  here it goes.

First, make the batter.  It's a batter that can sit for a few days, so you can make ahead.  Tip: Let the batter sit in the fridge for an hour or so to let thicken. 

2 organic cage free eggs

1/2 cup almond milk

1/2 cup raw honey 

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar 

1/2 teaspoon salt 

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1 1/2 cups almond meal

 

Put the raw honey, almond milk, salt, eggs, apple cider vinegar, vanilla extract in a blender and blend together.  Add the almond meal, baking soda and blend.  Place in fridge.  

I use a 10 inch non stick pan for this epic breakfast. 

Heat the pan on a medium flame.  When it is hot, you can spray with a nonstick spray. I like the Trader Joes' Olive Oil spray.  I also like to just use olive oil or coconut oil.  Cook pancakes as you normally would. 

Once the pancakes are done, make sure there aren't any left over pancake bits.  Don't wipe the pan.  Next, turn the burner back on as to heat the pan.  Add in the turkey bacon, and drizzle olive oil over it.  I LOVE crispy bacon, I think I got it from my Dad, so I like to leave it on medium heat until I see it darkening (or blackening on the underside).  I flip and continue to cook.   



Take the bacon off at your desired doneness.  Add the eggs and scrabble, or however you enjoy your eggs.  Cook, sprinkle with salt and pepper then serve!  



Oh, add avocado, hot sauce or anything else you'd like!


I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as Chef and I do, and we do, at least 2 times a week!

Please join me in celebrating a healthy and delicious life

My First Dinner Party

Last week I spent an incredible evening with some of my closest friends at my new apartment.  It was my first time hosting, but after years of watching my mother and my God Mother do it, I figured it would be simple.  It was for the most part, but it was also slightly stressful, attempting to make everything to my liking. I am lucky enough to have a great partner in crime, an incredible chef by my side to help make things come together, and make delicious food.  

 

     

 

 

 

I wanted to share some of my recipes, as well as Chef’s recipes (with his permission) because they were such a hit. 

 

I lost the natural light by the time I got to shoot the guac, but that doesn’t take away from the fresh, bright flavors he incorporates into it!

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Guacamole: serves 6 or 7

6 avocados

½ of a red onion

2 cloves garlic

2 medium tomatoes

5 cups cilantro

2 limes

Dice onions and tomatoes, and put into bowl. Mince the garlic, cilantro and avocados and add to bowl.  Squeeze limes on top (if they aren’t juicy, then roll them on the counter with your palm and apply pressure).  Add salt and pepper.  Fold together as to not squish anything!

 

Next on the list was a simple, do-ahead, salad.  I’m a huge fan of raw veggies and crudité, so I suppose this could be my crudité salad.  I used beautiful red and orange peppers  Persian cucumbers (their skin isn’t as tough, and they are more delicate than others), English breakfast radishes, Haas avocados, lightly steamed skinny asparagus, I also added, mint from my family’s garden.  I’m so in love with mint now, I suppose this isn’t anything new, but cucumber and mint water is always in my refrigerator.   Side note; if I had pitted Castlevetrano olives I certainly would have added them.  They add a beautiful color, but also a mild olive flavor.  

 

3 medium sized bell peppers

4 Persian cucumbers

6 small radishes

1 avocado

2 sprigs of mint

1 bunch of skinny asparagus

 

I don’t exactly have a preference on how I cut my vegetables.  Some people like a uniform cut, but I don’t care, so I will only tell you how I do it with the assumption that you will do it your way!

 

Cut peppers in half, take off stem and deseed.  Cut into ½ inch slivers length wise.  Cut each sliver into 5 “chunks”, place in a bowl. Cut cucumbers in half, then into quarters, cut so that they are the same size pieces as the peppers, salt the cucumbers and leave for a minute, then toss into the same bowl.  Lightly steam the asparagus, only for a minute or so to ensure the crunch still remains, when cool, chop into pieces and place in the bowl.  The radishes I cut a little different.  I ended up with skinny long slivers, so cut them lengthwise so you have 4 or 5 flat disks.  Place the disks on the cutting board and slice thin, lengthwise.  Depending on when you intend to serve this, I would hold off on adding the avocado, mint and dressing.  Cover the top and place in the fridge.  I suggest that 10-20 minutes before you serve, you chop the mint and avocado into the salad, salt and pepper it and toss it.  Then add your dressing, to your desired amount.  Toss together and enjoy. 

 

Salad dressing: 

1 teaspoon mustard (I use Whole Foods brand Dijon)

½ teaspoon apple cider vinegar

juice of a half an orange

½ cup extra virgin olive oil

salt and pepper

I like putting everything in a cup and whisk it together with a fork.  You can also put it into a container and shake everything together.

 

For dinner we had roasted chicken and mashed sweet potatoes.  Hopefully I can get Chef to share his mash recipe with me! 

Dessert was extra sweet and experimental.  Who better to use as guinea pigs than friends?  Honesty is the best policy.  I love orange and chocolate, so I made a chocolate orange zest cake with a meringue frosting, dusted with chocolate and zest.  As well as a classic brownie with a raw fudge frosting.  

 

 

I hope you enjoy these recipes as much as we did!

 

Please join me in celebrating a healthy and delicious life

What the Hell is Wrong?

I am lucky enough to know a magical food maker named Kippy Miller, of Kippys Ice Cream.  She lead me to the GAPS realization which in turn had me researching something called leaky gut. The permeability of the intestinal lining where bad bacteria can breach and get into the blood stream causing problems including autoimmune diseases. Whether I have that or not, I don't know for sure, but no one else was able to tell me what was going on in my stomach.  I figured that with the state I was in, I was willing to try anything and Kippy made a great sale. So, a month later and lots of bone broth consumed, I can say that I am feeling better and have not been riddled with pains, aches or nausea.  While I didn't follow the diet rigorously, removing carbs, sugars and most fruits has helped tremendously along with the addition of bone broths. 

I can't even tell you how strange the thought of a broth made with knuckle bones of a cow sounds to someone who grew up in a vegetarian house. 

I have found a fabulous woman who makes incredible chicken broth at the Culver City Farmers Market, Linda of Smart Simple Gourmet (also available on Good eggs)  and she uses all natural "CB" approved chicken from another vendor Rainbow Ranch Farms ( the only place I buy chicken from and its the most incredibly flavorful, juicy, tasty chicken Ive ever had).  They are both conveniently located at the Culver City FM.

 

It's really amazing how many people suffer from gut related issues.  It's only when we open our eyes to what's going on around us that we find that we are all pretty similar.  

Please join me in celebrating a healthy and delicious life. 

 

 

 

 

My First!

I'm pretty sick of my story, so I'll tell you the one you haven't heard, the full version. The idea of not eating dairy came to me in Paris while I was studying at Le Cordon Bleu, however at that point I was so immersed in my hunt for the best pan au chocolate. ( I shouldn't have stopped eating dairy when my favorite pain au chocolate shop closed. Oh how the universe gives us signs). So, when I returned home, dairy went out the window. The sinus infections I got monthly were gone with it. On my journey of self realization I noticed that something I was eating still made me fuzzy and lethargic.  I was also having bad stomach problems, reluctantly I started my first ever juice cleanse using Pressed Juice. 3 days lead to 7 and I was back at work, Huckleberry, under the butter and sugar genius Zoe Nathan, and once again having the same symptoms.

I cut out dairy and gluten completely (I was so upset to give up those meatballs, they were a 10 am tradition with a coworker). I remember tasting the pastries I made to make sure they were right, but instead of swallowing it, I'd spit it into the trash, I'm pretty sure I may have offended someone or everyone always thought my products turned out horribly wrong. Oh well.  

After 15 months and a lot of thought, I reached the decision to quit. I had been experimenting with gluten and dairy free baked goods for a while and was confident that the window I was about to jump through was fully open with people on the other side, searching for a high quality, natural, healthy and delicious baked good that they would feel good about eating. 

Further along on my journey I realized that something was giving me gas and also was making me fuzzy, it had to have been sugar. Now don't get me wrong, I am one of those people who would walk out of a Sweet Factory candy store with at least two pounds of candy, mostly the sour face making, teeth rotting, toe curling kind. Needless to say, I love sugar. A day without sugar was possible every now and again so I was able to pin point it. Sugar too went out the window. Therefore, like the evolution of my products, I began making cakes without refined sugar.

Now, I must say, I get a few people every week who ask for sugar free bakes goods. Just like margarine of all types, no matter how organic they say they are, fake sweeteners are pretty much out of the question too. I stick to organic raw honey, organic maple syrup and a juice sweetener.  I still do use organic pure cane sugar in my cookies as of now, sometimes it's just unavoidable, and I am a firm believer in eating things in moderation, even sugar, if it doesn't irritate people. 

As of now, I find myself craving sweets less and less and most things are just too darn sweet for me. It's interesting how cravings dissipate days or weeks after the food is taken out of a diet. 

In the present day, I am a combination of GAPS and Paleo (without the dairy). After three straight months of nausea, bloating, gas and stomach aches after eating almost anything, I took a trip to the doctor. I'm wary of Western medicine doctors, to be perfectly honest. I don't mean to sound paranoid, but I'm skeptical  about lots of things, but I'll address that. After tons of testing, the doctor told me that I had some food allergies, but basically nothing was internally wrong. The primary blood panel, showed mild allergies to wheat, peanuts and corn (my favorite food in the world).  

Here is where my skepticism comes in, I would honestly just say that I'm allergic to GMOs. To some that sounds ridiculous and to others it sounds about right.  Wheat Belly is an informative book on the issue. But in short, to feed so many people and produce the millions of products that include wheat in the country, its no surprise that the crops need to grow more, more quickly and stronger and how do you make that happen? 

Moving along, I actually feel relieved to not have to be a 'slave' to food corporations, food lobbys, and the unfit for human consumption wheat that is produced. It was pretty incredible to finally be forced to recognize how much I consumed carbs of any sort and how much of the super markets are made up of those products. Not to say that all wheat is bad, I'm sure there are some healthy, organic crops out there.  This part of my journey has lead me to make one of my favorite products and one that I'm most proud of, a nut and seed bar made caramelized raw honey, nuts and seeds, Maldon sea salt. 

I have realized that I am really lucky to have had these challenges and the challenges of my customers because if you truly love what you do, you should love a challenge, not shy away. They have only enhanced the collection of Coco bakes treats. 

Please join me in celebrating a healthy and delicious life.