Quinoa and coconut cookie clouds

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If you like French Macaroons, but you want to skip all the drama of making them, then this recipe is for you. These cookies can be transformed into disks to make a layer cake and can even be gluten and dairy-free options for your guests. If you make your own almond milk, you can use the almond meal to make this recipe and save yourself some money.

I love this recipe because you don’t need many gadgets, is simple and rustic, perfect to make it with your kids!

Recipe:

  •        25gr shredded coconut
  •        25gr quinoa puffs
  •        50gr almond meal from almond milk
  •        100gr powder sugar, and extra to finish
  •        10 gr flour, or quinoa flour
  •        125gr (3 ea) egg whites
  •        30gr sugar
  •        1/4 tsp. cremor tartar, opt.

Take the eggs out of the fridge to reach room temperature. Preheat oven to 350°F. Toast the coconut to a light brown with a sauce pan or in the oven, moving it constantly and then let it cool down. Sift the powdered sugar and the almond meal together. Add the quinoa puff and the toasted coconut to the bowl. Whisk the egg whites until they start foaming and then slowly add the regular sugar into the mixing bowl. Whisk until you create stiff peaks. Add the dry ingredients in three steps, mixing well using the folding technique. Once all the dry ingredients are fully combined, start scooping the mix into a sheet pan lined with parchment paper, using a regular spoon to form cookies or disk shapes. Do not manipulate the shapes too much. Sift powdered sugar on top and bake them until they start cracking and look a little bit dark. Another way to know if they are ready is to lift the parchment paper and see if it has developed color at the base, about 20-25 min. Then, very important: let the cookies/disks cool down on a baking rack or on top of a muffin pan to develop that crunchiness, otherwise they will get humid on the bottom and start sticking to the paper.

For the chocolate mousse recipe made in the first picture click here. If you are interested in making the cake with strawberries, just mix these ingredients until you get a nice texture:

  •        1/2 cup mascarpone
  •        1+1/4 cup of cream
  •        vanilla extract or bean
  •        1/3 cup powder sugar
  •        1 tsp. lemon zest

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Home made granola.

The best cereal in the morning is home made granola. Why? Because you can see exactly how the cereal is put together, instead of worrying about “how do they make boxed cereal look the same, where do they prepare it and how much sugar am I really consuming”. Even checking labels can be tricky. For example, a cereal might boast that it’s “High in Fiber!” but it hardly matters if it’s basically 30% sugar. Companies often take a junky cereal with a lot of sugar and add fiber to make parents think it’s healthy for their kids.

Don’t get intimidated by all these ingredients. It’s simple and so much more nutritious than boxed cereal. You need oats, seeds, dry fruit, spices and maple syrup. Use what ever you have in your pantry, and apple juice to intensify the flavor without adding too much sugar!

Ingredients!

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  • 4 cups granola (gluten free if you want)
  • 1/2 cup raw mix nuts
  • 1/4 sunflower seeds
  • 2 tbsp. flax seeds
  • 2 tbsp. chia seeds
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 3/4 cup of dry fruit
  • 1 cup of apple juice
  • 1 whole cinnamon stick
  • 1/4 tsp. ginger powder
  • pinch of each salt and nutmeg
  • 3 tbsp. maple syrup
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 300°F. Mix the oats plus all the other ingredients up to the shredded coconut. Then place the apple juice, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and vanilla in a little pan to boil and reduce this liquid for 10 min. Add the maple syrup at the end and poor the mix into the dry ingredients.

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Place everything in a baking pan with parchment paper and put it in the oven. The idea is to let the granola absorb the moisture of the spiced apple juice and then to dry it out so that it is crunchy. In order to make this happen you need to move it around every 15 min. It takes 45 min. to an hour until it’s ready. Ten min. before the granola is ready add the dry fruit into the mix. Let it cool down for 15 min and is ready to be packed in a air tight container.

60 gr of this granola plus 3 tbsp. of cottage cheese and 1 tsp. maple syrup has 53 gr of protein, 50 gr of carbs and 24.5gr of good fats, making this breakfast great for athletes.

An alternative to the recipe: add the chia and the flax seed with the dried fruit at the end to be sure their fatty acids don’t get damaged.

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Cholesterol lowering chocolate mousse?

Yes, is time for the most healthy and nutritious drug you want to take for high cholesterol.

Avocado almond chocolate mousse.

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One avocado has the potassium content of three bananas. But a half of an avocado, which is one serving, has 4.25gr of carbohydrates and one small banana has 22.8gr, making this recipe a good choice even for those dealing with diabetes.

Also, the oils provided by an avocado are colesterol lowering unsaturated fatty acids. One study of individuals with moderately high levels of cholesterol who ate a diet high in avocado showed significant decreases in total cholesterol and they also exhibited an 11% increase in healthy HDL cholesterol (Murray, 2005).

Another great thing about this recipe is that you can use the over-ripped avocado.

Recipe:

  • 1 ripe avocado 
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk
  • 1 tbsp. date paste or 2.5 big dates
  • 1.5 tsp. cinnamon powder
  • 3 tbsp. cocoa powder
  • 1/4 vanilla bean, or 1/4 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp. maple syrup
  • 1 tbsp. almond butter
  • 1 tbsp. chia seeds for finishing

With a food processor or a hand blender start blending the avocado with the coconut milk. You can use almond milk if you like. Add the date paste or soaked dry dates if they are too dry. Add the rest of the ingredients and finish with the chia seeds or granola for a layer of good fiber and a nice texture.

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Retrieved from Murray, M.  The Encyclopedia of Healing Foods. New York, NY 2005, ATRIA Books

Complete protein pizza

IMG_3153Taking the recipe from gluten-free 5 min pizza dough and making some adjustments, this very lazy pizza is ready in 15-20 min tops! Add to this recipe 2 cups of mix greens salad and you will feed 2 people with less than 500 calories each.

Recipe:

  • 1/2 cup corn grits
  • 1/2 cup garbanzo flour
  • 1 cup of water or broth (chicken or veggie)
  • pinch of salt and paper
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp herbs (rosemary, thyme, oregano or sage)

Preheat oven to 400°F. Mix all the ingredients in a blender and pure the mix into a pre-sprayed 11 inch sauce pan. Cook in the oven until the dough starts setting and forms a nice base. This pizza is going to be very thin.

Meanwhile, peel a garlic clove, chop some green onions, break 2 crimini mushrooms with your hands and grab a handful of cherry tomatoes. Saute them all together with olive oil, salt, pepper and drizzle balsamic vinegar at the end. When the pizza dough is almost ready, spread a 1/2 cup daiya cheese on the top and let it melt for 3 min. Add the  cooked mushrooms, cherry tomatoes and finish with fresh basil. For a crispy crust use a pizza stone and place it in the bottom of the oven. Let the pizza dough cook here for 3-5 min before adding any ingredient.

This recipe contains 31.5 gr of complete protein by mixing grains and legumes which is the same amount of protein from 5 eggs. Enjoy!

My favorite Banana Bavarian Cake

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Everybody loves this cake. The best thing about this recipe is not its nutritional value, but the opportunity to express yourself on top of this tasty cake. I learned this recipe at the Argentinian Institute of Gastronomi, and I fell in love with its simple flavors. It has that light and sweet but creamy texture that you look for in a cake. This recipe is not for people with little patience since it is full of details and pastry techniques. The most exciting thing about this cake is that you can personalize it from the very beginning, producing a great reaction from those who you care for the most. Please be aware of the amount of dairy and use organic products to avoid antibiotics, hormons and pesticides.

You want to start with the banana puré so it’s ready for the next step:

  • Bananas 2 big
  • Butter 25 gr
  • Sugar 50 gr
  • Rum 15 cm3
  • Pinch of Nutmeg

Melt the butter in a sauce pan, add the bananas and cook for 3 min, add the sugar and nutmeg. Caramelize the bananas and add the rum at the end. Blend the puré with a food processor or hand blender and cool it down in the freezer.

For the biscuit batter you need:

  • 3 Eggs
  • Honey 75 gr
  • Powder Sugar 75 gr
  • Cake Flour 160 gr
  • Baking powder 7 gr
  • Butter 125 gr
  • pinch of salt.

Preheat the oven to 325F°. Melt the butter and leave it on the side to cool down. Place the eggs in a KitchenAid bowl and start whisking them until they start foaming, around 3 min. Incorporate the honey little by little in a steady and constant movement. Sift the dry ingredients and incorporate them in to the egg mixture with the KitchenAid on 2nd speed. Add the butter until it is just combined and finish incorporating it with folding movements. Spread the mix in a sheet of parchment paper (30×20 cm aprox.) over a table to get an even half cm of thickness. You may have some extra batter but don’t try to use it all in one sheet. Place the banana puré in a piping bag and write or draw whatever you’d like on the batter. Cook the batter on a flat sheet pan until the corners of the biscuit start getting a nice light brown (10/15 min). The biscuit should be flexible. Once cold, cut 2 circles for the top and bottom of the cake and with the trimmed pieces make a third one that will be 2 cm smaller than the others and spread the extra banana puré on the top. This last circle is going to be hidden in the middle of the cake for extra flavor and texture!

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For the vanilla bavarian cream

  • Milk 125 cm3
  • Cream (#1) 125 cm3
  • Sugar 63 gr
  • 3 Egg yolks
  • 1/2 Vanilla bean
  • Gelatine 6 gr
  • Cold water 15 gr
  • Cream (#2) 200gr.

Whisk the cream #2 till it gets soft peaks and save it in the fridge for later. Hydrate the gelatine with cold water and save it for later. In a pot, measure the milk and the cream #1, vanilla bean, and half of the sugar in the recipe, all together. Heat up the liquids until the sugar has disolved and the milk and cream start steaming. Put the egg yolks and the other half of the sugar in a medium size bowl, mix them well to avoid coagulation. Pour a 1/4 cup of the hot dairy mixture into the yolks mixing constantly. Now pour the new egg mixture back to the hot pot wile you mix constantly until the cream and yolks start to thicken, converting this preparation into a sauce (around 196°) called vanilla cream anglaise. Strain the cream anglaise into a clean bowl to avoid overcooking it and mix in the gelatine while it is hot. Then place the bowl into an ice water bath and let it cool down to room temperature. Take the whipped cream from the fridge, add a 1/2 cup of the cream anglaise to the cream and mix well, than combine the rest and the Bavarian cream is completed.

Assembling of the cake:

Place one of the biscuite circles on the bottom of a 6 inch cake ring. Avoid loosing any bavarian cream by sealing the inside of the cake with banana puré mix. Fill 3/4 of the cake ring with the bavarian cream and with a spoon cover the walls to avoid any unwanted bubbles. Carefully place the cake in the freezer and let it cool down. After 15 min, take the cake out, add the smaller biscuit circle with the banana puré in the middle of the cake and pour the rest of the bavarian cream until you fill the cake ring all the way up. Carefully finish the cake placing the last biscuit circle on the top and let it cool down in the freezer at least for three hours.

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Naan 101 and three colorful dips

What a great feeling having someone make you a warm, crunchy and fresh piece of bread to welcome you home. This recipe is easy and nutritious so it is just right for you if you lack time or energy after work. For the naan you only need 3 ingredients and kids can help you too. I learned this recipe at an Ashram in Rishikesh from a legit Indian Chef. You need:

  1. 2 cups of unbleached white flour
  2. 1 cup of water
  3. Salt to taste

You start with the flour and salt in a bowl. Make an indentation in the middle, add the water and mix until you get a sticky dough. Knead the dough and use more flour until it doesn’t stick to your fingers any more. Close your hand into a fist and push the dough gently to break any lumps. Separate it into 3 parts and cover them with a humid towel.

Let the dough rest while you start with one of the carrot dip recipes:

  • 2 carrots
  • 1 full tbsp miso
  • 2/3 caju nuts
  • 1 cup vegetable broth
  • 1 tsp sesame seeds

Cut the carrots and place them with the caju nuts and the broth in a small pan. Boil for 15 minutes until soft, turn the fire off and take the solids out and process them with a minipimer, vitamix or food processor. Then mix the miso with the rest of the broth and add it to the carrot puré. Decorate with black sesame seeds and it’s ready.

Get back to the dough and with a rolling pin or a wine bottle roll it until it is 1/4” thick. To cook it you want a cast iron pan but any pan available will do the job. Place the rolled dough without any oil and cook it until it starts turning whitish, turn it and do the same to the other side. Once the naan is firm, grab it with tongs and place it directly on the stove, moving it constantly to get it crunchy. When the naan starts inflating it is almost done. Finish it with a thin brush of melted butter and salt for an inviting extra flavor. Cook as many as you need and then warm them up later, like on a grill out side in the garden, surrounded by your friends with a glass of wine or beer.For a stuffed naan, press down the dough to the size of your palm, choose a dry filling like choped garlic and cheese or cooked kale with onions, place it in the middle and close it with your fingers like a big steam bun. You can watch the video for a better understanding. Than carefully press down the stuffed naan and roll it to a 1/2” thickness. Cook it using the same technique from above.

 

For the next yogurt dip you need:

  • 1 cup natural full fat organic yogurt
  • 1 English or Persian cucumber, seeded and chopped
  • 2 chopped garlic
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp mint, parsley, lemon juice and zest
  • A pinch of pepper and cayenne pepper

English and Persion cucumbers are great to use without removing the skin. Mix the cucumber and salt to take out the excess liquid from the cucumber. Let it drain for 10 minutes and then mix all the ingredients together.

For the last companion dish, we have this crunchy but flavorful and nutritios vegetable: pickled red cabbage.

  • 1 red cabbage, like 850 gr
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 50 gr brown sugar
  • 60 ml red wine or vinegar

Quarter and cut the tough core of the cabbage, then finely shred the leaves and place them in a bowl. Melt the butter in a large, wide pan and add the sugar and vinegar or wine with a little splash of water. Stir until the sugar has dissolved, then add the shredded cabbage and toss to coat it. Cook for 45 min until tende

Nutritional Highlights

These recipes are characterized by their high antioxidant content, fiber and cancer fighting properties.

Do you have little red bumps on your upper arm, near the shoulder? These bumps are a common sign of a Vitamin A deficiency. Carrots provide the highest source of provitamin A carotenes of the commonly consumed vegetables. These guys will be more easily absorbed by your body from the carrot puree than if you were to eat a raw carrot. Some of the carotine will be converted into vitamin A, and all of it will exert antioxidant activity. (Murry, 2005, p138).

The red cabbage is low in calories and full of antioxidantes and fiber. According to the American Cancer Society, cabbage is one of the key foods to fight cancer.

The flesh of the cucumber in the yogurt dip is a good source of vitamin A, C, and folic acid. The skin (don’t take it off!) is rich in fiber and silica, a mineral that helps reinforce the connective tissue in our bodies. Also, two compounds in cucumbers prevent water retention, which may explain why cucumbers applied topically are often helpful in reducing bagginess underneath the eyes. (Murray, 2005, p187).

References

Michael Murray and Joseph Pizzorno, et al. “The Encyclopedia of Healing Foods.” Atria Books 2005

Roasted pumpkin bowls with polenta thyme risotto and melted Toma cheese

I wanted to give you this great recipe before this Halloween weekend, so you have it as an option to offer to your loved ones in a potluck or in a dinner at your home. The pumpkins I’ve chosen for this recipe are “jack be little” because they look great once they’re cooked and the skin is soft enough to be eaten. It is better to pick the ones that are taller rather than wider to have more space to fill up.

Mini pumpkin bowl:

Cut a thin slice from the bottom of 3 mini “jack be little” or sugar pie pumpkins to give them a nice stable base. Set them on a rimmed baking sheet. Rub them with olive oil, than sprinkle with sea salt and pepper. Bake them in a 400° oven until tender (40 to 50 minutes). Once they’re done, let them cool down for 15 min and cut off a 2 inch-wide-lid. Carefully scrape out seeds with a small spoon.

Polenta with Toma cheese and vegetables.

  • 1/3 cup of polenta
  • 1 shallot
  • 4 mini organic bell pepers
  • 1 small onion
  • 1 garlic
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 3/3 cup of chicken/vegetable broth
  • 1 teaspoon thyme
  • salt and pepper to taste

Polenta’s most important rule is: 1 part polenta x 3 parts of liquid. The liquid could be broth (beef bone, chicken, fish, vegetable), milk, wine, carrot or orange juice, or even a combination of these liquids. To make a thick soup consistency, add 1 more part of liquid to the equation.

Using the risotto technic, cut bell peppers, onion, garlic, shallots in mini pieces and sauté with olive oil in a pot over medium heat until tender. Add the polenta grits and toast them just a little, stirring all the time for 3 minutes. Add the broth, salt and pepper and keep stirring until the polenta absorbs all the liquid. Keep cooking for 10 min and mix in the cheese with the thyme. Last but not least fill up the pumpkins and enjoy it with a glass of red wine. Bon Appetite!The nutritional highlights:

Pumpkin is a excellent sours of of carotenes-the richer the color, the richer the concentration. Carotene is a provitamin A, which is important in maintaining the health and structure of your skin. Many skin disorders, including acne and psoriasis, are often responsive to vitamin A (Murray, 2005). In addition to cancer and heart disease, diets rich in carotenes also appear to offer protection against developing type 2 diabetes, with pumpkin consumption being the most protective.