Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Joy [Almond Shortbread] Cookies

We are a laid back family and because of this chill attitude, we do not have any "must do" traditions for a holiday. But I must add, I do enjoy baking especially in the colder months. Ever overdo it when it comes to baking? I did. Yep, just this past Christmas. However, it was a joy to bake and enjoy the goodies. And, did I enjoy them! Yum! I'm already contemplating when I will bake my next batches! These cookies break almost all the rules but I tell myself that if I choose better quality ingredients then I'm not breaking ALL the rules. =) 

Today's post will be a recipe I originally found in a magazine for military commissaries about 3 years ago. For this past Christmas, I was thumbing through various old recipe cookbooks and I stumbled upon this one I'm sharing today. 

I love finding recipes I have not made in a while and in this case, since the Christmas before. I have two shelves dedicated to recipes I have made over the years and I keep all the good ones from the recipe cards found inside the CSA box pick-ups. Pinterest is a great place to store recipes, too. Are you following? Follow me on Pinterest with the 6K+ others - go do it now before you forget. I'll wait. =)

Joy Cookies - Almond, Chocolate YUM - #ConveyAwareness

One of the best parts of having a blog is having your own online recipe index. My husband recently asked me if I'd like for him to order a series of cookbooks for diabetics and I declined. I replied that the recipes were most likely using artificial sweeteners. (You're probably wondering if we are diabetic. We are not but several of my clients are or are borderline and they're usually asking for recipes on what to cook.) I told my husband that I / we can find whatever I / we need already on my blog or on countless other real food blogs. 

This recipe is not unique as you may find various renditions online but it is delectable and you get to control how big of a piece you want and with any recipe, you get to choose the quality of the ingredients. This year I cut the cookies bigger than in years past. Other years I made them into bite size squares and I think that is a good idea especially if you like cookies. If I'm not thinking about vegetables, you can best believe I'm thinking about cookies! And these are nothing short of "I'll have three (or more) of these." 

Preheat oven to 375°.

Ingredients:
2/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup butter, room temp
1/3 cup oil
1 egg 
1 T milk
1 tsp almond extract
1 2/3 cup flour (this is my favorite flour for baking)
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt (omit if butter is salted)

Toppings:
3 T melted chocolate
1/4 cup slivered almonds

Notes:
In this recipe, I used coconut oil and since it is cold here the oil was solid. I melted it and then let it cool slightly before adding the egg. I also took the egg out earlier in the day so that it would be room temperature. When mixing ingredients for baked goods, I find that everything should be close in temperature or the ease of spreading in the pan may not be as effortless. 

Choose organic ingredients when possible. 

Directions:
1. Grease and dust the cake pan with coconut oil and a a pinch of flour. 
2. Combine the first three ingredients in a mixer then add in the next three ingredients one at a time. 
3. Mix in the flour a half cup at a time then baking powder and finally if necessary, salt. 
4. The batter will be soft and non-sticky. No refrigeration required for this recipe. 
5. Using a silicone spatula, spread the batter into the prepared cake pan. It may seem that you don't have enough but you do. You will have enough batter to fill the cake pan with a thin even layer across.


6. Bake for 10 minutes. You may need an additional 2-4 minutes depending on your oven. You will be looking for brown edges and a light brown color across the top. If the edges are dark brown, it'll make for extra crunchy shortbread cookies. They're still delicious!!
7. Prepare melted chocolate while the shortbread cookies are cooling. If you don't already have chocolate spread (like this (most of these types have hazelnut but you may be able to find a plain cacao or cocoa)), you can take your favorite chocolate and melt a few squares with some coconut oil. One of my favorite brands of chocolate is this (ethically traded and non-GMO) or this one is also a great option and it's easier to find in big box stores (it's organic too). 
8. Let cookies cool in the pan at least 10 minutes before cutting. 
9. Slice cookies to the size you prefer and drizzle melted chocolate over each square. (You could drizzle first then cut as well.)
10. Then top each cookie with slivered almonds. You can make them neat for superbly awesome pictures for a blog or just neat enough to eat! =)

Joy Cookies - Almond, Chocolate YUM - #ConveyAwareness

Store prepared cookies in an airtight container for up to 3 days. You can also leave the prepared cookies in your cake pan and cover with foil. It'll be a lot easier to grab and go if you just roll back the corner of the foil. ;)

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I do receive a small commission from Amazon.com if you purchase anything through their site using one of the links above (read my full advertising disclosure here). 

Thank you very much for your generosity in helping to offset the costs of website upkeep, so that I can keep sharing wellness resources with my community and beyond.


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Choose, eat, and live well! =)




Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Try This to Improve Your Life and Relationships {Guest Post}

iConveyAwareness - T'ai Chi Chih for Improved Relationships with photo cred: Seek a Little Solace

Are you interested in serenity, longevity, and good health? Or, perhaps you are interested in becoming better at golf, skiing, or whatever you most enjoy doing. Maybe you would just like to feel less stressed, and more relaxed, less fatigued, and have a general feeling of well-being. If any of these benefits appeal to you then T'ai Chi Chih can help achieve this and much more. People who do the movements regularly have reported a more balanced weight, lower blood pressure, improved vision, asthma greatly relieved, along with clearer mental focus and insights. 

[T'ai Chi Chih improves quality of life which means improved relationships - what a positive byproduct!! - added by Jessica David.]

What is T'ai Chi Chih?

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Apple Brownie Squares

The apple season extended into the late Fall this past year and so I had tons of apples from my CSA box and the extra bags of organic apples from the grocery store. Ever forget about your upcoming CSA box and buy the very items at the grocery store that you already bought through your CSA subscription that you have yet to pick up? I have been there countless times! Between the apples (and the pears), this family of 3 wasn't eating them fast enough. 

As I contemplated what I could do with the excess, I remembered this apple cake my late grandma would bake. Momma mia! So darn good!! I could taste the cake through this vivid memory. I sent my mom a text in the hopes that she would have this recipe and by golly, she did! Thank heavens! She did me a favor. She sent me grandma's apple cake recipe and a simpler one. Both recipes are dairy free. 

For this post, I will share my rendition of the simpler one and in a future post, I will share the other but I will need a bundt cake pan first. How much I'd give to have the seasoned one from my grandma's house! 

Apple Brownie Squares - #ConveyAwareness

I ended up making two apple brownie batches. One with and one without walnuts. The second batch was a request from my husband to leave out the walnuts. Personally, I prefer the batch with the walnuts. The funny thing is... the batch with the walnuts got eaten a lot faster than the second batch. Hmmm... which would you say tasted better? Option A?! Ding Ding... Yep!!

Preparation: Preheat oven to 325°. This recipe is done by hand. See, yet another reason it is simpler.

Ingredients:
2/3 cup oil (like this)
2 eggs, room temp
3 cups peeled, diced apples (use this tool for even further simplification)
1 T vanilla extract 
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 3/4 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp cinnamon

Notes: I used coconut oil. If your coconut oil is solid, heat it until it liquefies then cool slightly before using. You can easily cut back the sugar amount to 1 cup especially if you're using sweeter apples. Here's a great guide on apples and their uses by Epicurious.  

Always use organic ingredients when possible. 

Directions
1. Grease and flour a cake pan. 
2. In a medium bowl, beat the eggs and oil until foamy. Stir in the apples, sugar, and vanilla extract. 
3. In a large bowl, combine flour, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon and stir apple mixture into flour mixture.
4. If you want nuts, add 1 cup of chopped walnuts or pecans. 
5. Spread thick batter into prepared cake pan. 


Apple Brownie - #ConveyAwareness

6. Bake for 40 minutes. You may need up to ten more minutes in the oven. The top should spring back when touched lightly. 
7. Cool for ten minutes before cutting into squares. You may move the apple brownie squares to an airtight container for up to 3 days or you can leave them in the pan (uncut) and cover with foil. 
8. The apple brownie squares are moist and full of flavor! You can pair it with ice cream if you'd like but they're darn good on their own! 

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I do receive a small commission from Amazon.com if you purchase anything through their site using one of the links above (read my full advertising disclosure here). 

Thank you very much for your generosity in helping to offset the costs of website upkeep, so that I can keep sharing wellness resources with my community and beyond.

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Choose, eat, and live well! =)

Monday, December 14, 2015

One Pan Roasted Veggies

There are dozens of ways to eat more vegetables like blending, juicing, sautéing, Juice Plusing, eating them raw and more!

Vegetables are nutrient dense giving you hundreds of thousands of phytonutrients that your body recognizes as food and it uses the nutrients the right away (bioavailable).

I challenge you to eat 5 different vegetables daily. Can you do it?

Eating more vegetables daily may help you to eat less of the red light foods (empty, junk calories with little to no nutritional value). More information on traffic light eating can be found here

The following recipe is really simple because you can use any 5 or more vegetables of your liking and look here – you've just hit your daily goal! Choose various colors. I roasted: onions, carrots, asparagus, white eggplant, tomatoes, zucchini, and potatoes. 
One Pan Roasted Veggies via iConveyAwarenss - Can you meet the challenge?
Preparation:

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

2. Cut the five to seven colorful varieties of vegetables roughly the same size for even roasting.

3. Toss the vegetables with extra virgin olive oil (organic if possible), sea salt, and rosemary (or your herb of choice; oregano or thyme works brilliantly here too) and roast for 40 minutes.

4. At the 20 minute mark, toss them for even roasting. Don't overcook them; you want them to be al dente (little firm on the outer edge and softer in the middle). The vegetables should not be mushy.

5. Serve with a clean protein of your choice, rice or quinoa, or eat them without any sides – they can stand alone surely!


Great news! Through the end of the year, I have doubled the donation amount for non-profits! When you sponsor a non-profit through one of my 3-week online Nutrition Simplified classes, I will donate 50% of the proceeds! Contact me for more details.

Nutrition Education and Empowerment Services 

I do receive a small commission from Amazon.com if you purchase anything through their site using one of the links above (read my full advertising disclosure here). 

Thank you very much for your generosity in helping to offset the costs of website upkeep, so that I can keep sharing wellness resources with my community and beyond.

Download my free eGuide when you subscribe to my newsletter.

Choose, eat, and live well! =)