Tag Archives: almonds

Spicy Coconut Green Bean & Sausage One Pot Wonder

 

We ate this at my in-laws house over Christmas and I loved it. If you were to step in my mother-in-law’s (Cherie) kitchen, she would be the first to boast of her ineptitude in the kitchen. However, I think she’s much harder on herself than anything. So I’m here to boast of her dish and give it special spot on my recipe wall of Fame. It’s simple, quick, tasty, you can forgo the small pan to toast the nuts and make it in one pot. Plus, it has cumin, fits our eating plan & did I mention tasty? Try it.

 

A Year Ago: Posole & Cinnamon-Almond Danish Rolls

Spicy Coconut Green Bean & Sausage One Pot Wonder (printable recipe)

My sweet mother-in-law made this for us while we were visiting during Christmas. I made a couple changes…mainly increasing the amount of cumin, because lime/cumin/pepper flakes are divine.

Ingredients:

1Tb olive oil or coconut oil

2 Tb blanched slivered almonds

1/2 cup finely chopped onion

3 cloves garlic, finely chopped

1 Tb + 1 tsp ground cumin 1/2 tsp cumin seed

1 tsp ground coriander

1 tsp paprika

1/2 – 1 tsp red chili pepper

1 1/2 tsp sea salt

1 lb sausage (pastured-raised)

1 can coconut milk (full fat)

1 lb of trimmed green beans, or broccoli

Juice of 1 lime (or two if you like)

Directions: In a small saucepan, heat 1 Tb olive oil or coconut oil over low-medium heat. Add slivered blanched almonds and
toast. Constantly stirring the almonds to avoid burning (it doesn’t take long to toast). Transfer the almonds to a small bowl and set aside for later. In a large saucepan, add the remaining Tb of olive or coconut oil over medium heat. Add the onions, stirring until they get a bit soft. Add the garlic & stir (about 20 seconds). Add all spices, ground cumin, cumin seed, coriander, paprika, and red pepper chili flakes. Now, stir constantly for 30 seconds to 1 minute. The goal is to toast the cumin seeds and cook up the spices. It will get a bit dry and that’s okay–just keep stirring.

Add the sausage & salt to the pan and thoroughly stir the onion/garlic/spice mixture into the sausage. Continue stirring occasionally until the sausage is completely cooked. Pour the coconut milk in, stir. Add trimmed green beans and stir around. Turn the heat to low and cook uncovered for 5 minutes. Cover the pan and continue to cook for another 10-15 minutes (depending on how soft you like your green beans). Squeeze fresh lime juice over it and stir. Add the toasted almonds and serve.


Satisfaction & Lemon Ricotta Muffins

We’ve been busy, but that seems like a typical December response. Our oldest began her special little school this past week. It seemed harder for me than her. I’m amazed by her growth. This little girl is showing signs of improvement with every week, which makes me excited with anticipation to see it all unfold.

As I see life twirling around with what seems longer lines and crowded parking lots, I’ve been reminded to breathe and bring in my family to bunker down. Each night we light our Advent candle, read a small portion of Scripture, say a prayer of thanksgiving and see which girl gets to blow out the candle to conclude one more day.  I’m so thankful that I’m able to be in a season of seeing each day as a gift these days.  When I look back on the summer, walking in some of the darkest days I’ve known to see God’s grace & faithfulness on the other end.  And now here I am in the season of Advent to welcome in the coming of not only Jesus’ birth, but the reminder that he will again bring hope.

So remind me of this moment friends…when I begin to worry about whether V will move beyond her current developmental delays, about my health or my families’, or anything else under the sun (you can fill in your own blank here), that there lies a hope, which I find in this Advent season.  I think King David puts it well:

I will be fully satisfied as with the richest of foods;
with singing lips my mouth will praise you.

On my bed I remember you;
I think of you through the watches of the night.
Because you are my help,
I sing in the shadow of your wings.

I cling to you;
your right hand upholds me.

Here’s to some satisfaction with yummy muffins.  I have yet to make anything with gluten for a while, so these are from this summer.  However, I think they are fitting for any season, especially a Saturday morning cozy with your loved ones.  Where are you finding satisfaction or sharing that these days?

A Year Ago: Intensely Chocolate Cake & Cranberry-Orange Crostata

Lemon Ricotta Muffins (printable recipe)

This recipe is adapted very slightly from Giada De Laurentis.

Ingredients:

2 cups unbleached flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 Tb lemon zest
1 cup whole-milk ricotta cheese
1 large egg
1 Tb fresh lemon juice
1/2 tsp almond extract
1/3 cup thinly sliced almonds

raw sugar for sprinkling
Directions:  Preheat oven to 350.  Line a 12 cup muffin tin with papers.  In a medium bowl, add flour, baking powder, baking soda, & salt, whisk together.

In a large bowl, (or bowl of an electric mixer) using an electric mixer, beat the sugar, butter & lemon zest until light & fluffy (2 minutes).  Beat in the ricotta.  Then, beat in the egg, lemon juice, & almond extract until just combined.  Slowly add the dry ingredients and stir till just combined (the batter will be thick).

Scoop the batter evenly among the 12 lined muffin cups.  Sprinkle with thinly sliced almonds & some raw sugar on top of muffins.  Bake until the muffins just become pale golden on top, about 20 minutes (it will smell amazing).  Cool slightly.  Serve warm or at room temperature.


Whole 30: Day 30 & Key Lime Pie Kamillebars

Well friends, today is day 30 of my 30 day challenge.  It is officially over at 12:01 am, but I will avoid any temptation of getting out of bed for a glass of wine.  These 30 days have been quite remarkable, in the physical yes, but even more in the emotional, mental & spiritual realm.  It’s interesting when I tell people about this challenge, because there have been typical responses.

  1. Eyes pop out of their head
  2. They realize their eyes popped out and try to compose their facial expression to a more subdued look.
  3. Nodding of the head (as in I cannot believe you are doing this to yourself).
  4. The response, “Wow, you must have a lot of willpower,”
  5. Or my other favorite response, “That’s amazing (but I wonder if they really think I’m nuts), but I couldn’t live without…FILL IN THE BLANK!”

As for willpower.  I guess if you asked my mom about me being a girl, if I had a strong will, she’d say yes.  If you asked Ben the same, he’d probably agree.  However, I think willpower is more about seeing the potential for something good and setting on the course to achieve it.  It’s making choices everyday because you see the end goal.  I make choices now as a mother to discipline my girls, in order for them to know of life’s consequences and how to have enough “willpower” to say no when faced with life’s bigger dilemmas (you know the ones that have catastrophic effects).

When I looked at myself in the mirror even three years ago, I didn’t see someone who was healthy or someone I wanted to be.  But when you hit a place in health decline, whether that’s being overweight, chronic health issues, lethargic, etc, you can easily get so trapped and wonder, “How did I get here?  And how do I get out?”  This goes for any challenge in life, it just happens to be nutrition & exercise for me.  And specifically, this 30 day challenge was a challenge; considering I love to bake and my shelves are overflowing with cookbooks.  Yet, when I see myself now compared to the girl who walked into Jogo August 4th for a basecamp fitness introduction (ached for days), I remind myself of her.  I see that girl and think, “that’s willpower, to get up at 5:30am to come workout, completely out of shape and all because she wanted better in life.”

Who would’ve thunk it?  Certainly not me, but I’m SO VERY THANKFUL for it.  In fact, it’s amazing how alive your taste buds are when you take away sugar for 30 days.  Dates are simply ethereal (and a bit dangerous) and figuring out how to make my own Larabars were even more so.  I first had a Key Lime Pie Larabar during the challenge, and I could have sworn there was cream cheese in it.  The ingredients simply said: dates, cashews, almonds, key lime concentrate.  I set out to do what any rational person would do…figure out how to make my own.  And they’re good, really good!  But, I’m warning you right now to only save a couple and share the rest, because 1. you’ll be sure to make friends that way and 2. you’re body will thank you later.

Key Lime Pie Kamillebars (printable recipe)

I have made these twice.  The first time they turned out better than the second time, merely because the nuts didn’t get finely chopped in the food processor.  I realized that the first round I used dates from Trader Joes, which were more dry.  I think more dried dates work better in this recipe.  While the second time I had these wonderful, soft dates from Costco.  Due to the dates being quite soft, they pureed before allowing all the nuts to puree.  So the pureed dates caused everything to stick without chopping.

Ingredients:

16 ounces dates (weight is based on dates with pits still in)

2 cups/225 grams raw cashews

1 1/8 cup/165 grams raw almonds

1 cup/80 grams unsweetened shredded coconut

1/2 tsp pure lime oil

3-4 key limes, juice OR juice of 2 limes (the kind you find at the grocery store)

Directions: Place cashews, almonds, coconut, & pitted dates into the bowl of a food processor.  Process until the nuts are almost pureed, just not into a nut butter.  You may want to pulse a couple times.  Once the the nuts & dates are chopped well, add the lime juice & oil and pulse to combine.  You will want the mixture to be a bit sticky.  Taste to see if you need to add more lime juice.

Put in a 9×9 square pan, patting down evenly.  You can slice fairly soon after.  I cut mine into small squares; rather, than the traditional bar.  If left out they will dry a bit.  So cover them if you want to retain some moisture.


Energy Bars

I can recall ubiquitous labeled ‘energy bars’ everywhere in the 90s.  It seemed like they popped up in all shapes, sizes, flavors or non.  I also recall most them making me want to gag.  They were full of healthy ingredients, but a little too healthy that you wondered why they didn’t just call it a multi-vitamin bar instead.

That being said, I’ve never been a big fan of Luna bars or crunchy granola bars.  What was left was soft, yet sugar filled granola bars.  All of them lacked various components.  When I think about an energy bar, I don’t want to see sugar on the label, or carob, alfalfa or cooked so long that it chips a tooth.  Luckily, I married a man who agrees with me on all accounts, which is probably why he found Great Harvest Bread’s energy bar stellar.  It was chewy, a bit moist, but not crumbly, rounded flavor and filling.  Everything an energy bar should behold.

Here are the ingredients in order on the G.H.B.’s energy bar: rolled oats, dates, natural peanut butter, honey, almonds, oat bran, whole wheat flour, cinnamon, vanilla & sea salt.  Of course, we don’t know how much, but that’s what my job is–right?!  I cracked a code and came up with a pretty darn close replica.  I used a full 6 cups in this recipe, but after baking them, I think 5 cups would have been better.  I had planned on using 1 1/2 cups of peanut butter, but only used 1 cup.  If I had used 1 1/2 cups, then the 6 cups of oats might not have been a problem.  But enough with what I did–go on and make them and let me know what you think.  They’re sure to be a hit and be gone more quickly than you can make them.

Energy Bars (printable recipe)

These are great to tie you over and quite filling.  If you’re vegan, then try using maple syrup or agave nectar.  If you have a peanut/tree nut allergy, you could always use sunbutter.

Ingredients:
5 – 6 cups; 17.5 – 21 oz; 500-600 grams rolled oats
2 1/4 cups; 8 1/2 oz; 236 grams medjool dates (seeds out)
1/2 cup hot water
1 cup; 8 oz; 226 grams natural smooth peanut butter
1/2 cup; 6 oz; 170 grams honey
3/4 cup; 3.5 oz; 100 grams almonds
1/2 cup; 2.5 oz; 65 grams oat bran
1/4 cup; 1.25 oz; 34 grams whole wheat flour
2 tsp cinnamon
1 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 tsp kosher salt
Directions: Soak your pitted dates in a bowl with the hot water and cover with a plate for about 10 minutes.  Drain the water and dump dates into a food processor.  Puree it up.  You will need to scrap the sides occasionally.  Add the peanut butter to the dates and puree again.  While the machine is running, add about 1/3 of the honey (save the rest for later).  The mixture will clump into a ball and that’s okay.
Remove as much of the date mixture into a small bowl–set aside.  Put in the almonds and pulse at 3 second intervals until they are coarsely chopped.
In a large bowl, combine 5 cups (or 500 g or 17.5 ounces) of rolled oats, leaving the additional 1 cup of oats aside, oat bran, w.w. flour, almonds & salt.  Mix it all up.
Put the date puree mixture into the rolled oats bowl.  Add the vanilla now & using your hands, begin to mix the ingredients altogether.  This will take a bit to incorporate the oats into the date puree.  You want the oats to be completely bound by the date mixture.  Go ahead and add the rest of the honey to help soak more of the oats & bind it all together–mix some more.
Line a half sheet pan with parchment paper and press mixture into the pan.  You will want them to be about 3/4 inch thick.
Bake at 300 degrees for 20 minutes.  The underside of the bars will have more of the toasty look.  (You can cut them and turn them over & bake for an additional 5 minutes)  Cut them into squares (or bars).  Serves about 12-15.

Cinnamon-Almond Danish Rolls

The summer I got engaged I got hired to work in a bakery.  I was one Math class short of getting my A.A. degree, which seem to be taking much longer than intended.  But it’s because my major path kept changing and I wasn’t going to go into debt taking university classes aimlessly.  And since I had thought about going into catering or do something with the Patisserie world, what better way to find out than get a job in the field–right?

I wholeheartedly encourage getting a job in the field before spending the money.  It helped me in my pathway of self-discovery, work ethic and respect for the doughnut maker.  That’s right, the “time to make the doughnuts” guy or gal.  In non-specialized bakeries (ones that do just about everything), when you apply for a job without any work experience you will start at the bottom.  In this instance, it’s the doughnuts.  This means getting to work at 2:00 am, sluggishly weighing the flour, heating up the dispiscable vat of oil, taking the yeast doughnuts out of the proof box…all the while standing in the far back, next to 500 degree ovens, where the only person you converse with from 2am-9am is…YOURSELF.  By day two on the job, I no longer judged the people my manager spoke of during the interview who quit in the middle of their shift (I never became one of them though).

However, the day before my first day of ‘Time to make the doughnuts,’ I had already committed myself to providing breakfast goods for a college student conference.  I was a bit stressed thinking about starting my job, getting my body adjusted to a weird sleep schedule, moving out of my house that week, and being the perfectionist I am about what I produce in the kitchen.  Luckily, Ben reassured me that he could take care of the cinnamon rolls I was making.  I went over how long they needed to be in there a couple times and all the other steps.  I was a bit nervous, but went to bed at 7:00 pm on a Washington summer day (meaning the sun doesn’t set till 9:00pm).  I awoke around 10:30 a bit disoriented, wondering if it was time to get ready.  Not only was I confused about the time, but I had a bad dream about my cinnamon rolls and hurried downstairs.

When I got downstairs I began to panic.  The table was empty.  The counter was empty.  The top of the fridge was empty.  The fridge was empty.  My cinnamon rolls were no where to be found.  I was worried, enraged, baffled and about 1/4 awake.  And let it be known, I am NOT, in any way, shape, or form the person you want to wake in the middle of the night or too early in the morning.  I need my space and as my good friend Hilary said to another roommate, “No, Kamille’s not mad at you…just don’t talk to her in the morning when she first wakes up.”  Well, as I’m searching on the main floor for some answers, I notice some people are in the living room watching a movie.  I slide open the gigantic door to find eaten cinnamon rolls.  I flip.  I absolutely flip and am ready to attack.  I don’t quite remember what I said, but I do remember hearing from Ben what Hilary said, “Ben…Kamille woke up, started rambling, had death in her eye, and–she was SCARY!”

I went back to bed and started my first day with ease.  But what I learned later was my cinnamon rolls got burnt in the oven, so Ben took care of it (like he said he would).  He went and got bagels & cream cheese (the next time I made scones for the college students) while I was the night of living dead towards my friends.  He offered the cinnamon rolls to be eaten for anyone who enjoyed black bottom cinnamon rolls.

There were three other things I learned from that experience.  One is “let it go” (enough said).  Two, I’m still great friends with Hilary and this is a picture of loyalty & love.  And three, my outlook on doughnuts has forever been tainted (Apple fritters go in at 3 oz each and come out of the vat of grease at 6 oz) and that’s not a bad thing.  However, my view on danishes & cinnamon rolls have not.  So why not combine the two and indulge in flaky, buttery goodness.  But make them when you’ve volunteered to bake for say…24 people.

Cinnamon-Almond Danish Rolls (printable recipe)

The recipe is adapted from The Great Scandinavian Baking Book.  The author offers two Danish dough recipes to choose from, so I chose the quick method.  You don’t have to fold in the butter using this method, but a food processor instead.  And the dough had the flakiness I was desiring in a Danish dough.  This is also a two part recipe.


Quick Method Danish Pastry (printable recipe)

Ingredients

  • 3 1/2 to 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/4 inch slices (think a pat of butter)
  • 2 packages active dry yeast (4 1/2 teaspoons)
  • 1/2 cup warm water, 105 F to 115 F
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream or undiluted evaporated milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground cardamom (optional)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt (in baking always use table salt, unless otherwise indicated)
  • 2 eggs, room temperature
  • 1/4 cup sugar

Measure 3 1/2 cups flour into a food processor with a steel blade.  Add the 1/4 inch slices of butter to the flour.  Process the mixture until the butter is about the size of kidney beans.

In a large bowl, dissolve the yeast in the warm water.  Let stand 5 minutes.  Stir in the cream or milk, cardamom (if using), salt, eggs, and sugar.  Turn the flour-butter mixture into the wet mixture, and with a rubber spatula, mix carefully just until the dry ingredients are moistened.  Cover and refrigerate 4 hours, overnight, or up to 4 days.

Turn dough out onto a lightly floured board or surface; dust with flour.  Pound and flatten to make a 16-to 20-inch square.  Fold dough into thirds, which will make 3 layers.  Turn dough around and roll out again.  Fold from the short sides into thirds.  This should make a square  (If not, don’t worry too much about it).  Repeat folding and rolling again if you’d like (which I did).  Wrap and chill the dough 30 minutes or as long as overnight.

Cinnamon-Almond Danish Rolls

Ingredients

One batch of Quick Method Danish Pastry

Filling

  • 1/2 cup softened butter
  • 1 cup light or dark brown sugar, packed
  • 1/3 cup sliced almonds (the original called for 1 cup chopped pecans)
  • 1-2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1 slightly beaten egg

Icing

  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 3-4 tablespoons hot coffee

Place paper cupcake liners in 24 muffin cups.  Roll pastry out on a lightly floured surface to make a 20-inch square.  Spread with the butter.  Sprinkle with the brown sugar, almonds, cinnamon & cardamom.

Roll up jelly-roll fashion (remembering to roll tight enough so the ending circle will fit inside muffin tin).  Cut into 24 slices.  Place slices with the cut side up in each muffin cup.

Let rise in a cool place for 30 to 45 minutes, or cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.

Preheat oven to 375 F.  Brush pastries with beaten egg.  Bake 20 to 25 minutes or until puffed and golden.  Mix the powdered sugar with coffee.  Drizzle the icing over the hot pastries.  Serve warm.