Modifying Original Recipes to Fit Your Needs!

A blog about healthy eating, healthy living and happiness. Join me and I'll show you how easy it is to substitute, modify and enhance your favorite recipes to accommodate your special diet, all without missing a thing!

July 28, 2012

Healthy Buckwheat Chocolate Chip Cookies

Today was a big day.

I cut off 10 inches of my hair to donate to Pantene Bautiful Lengths hair donation in which Pantene partners with the American Cancer Society to create wigs for women with breast cancer.

Yea... it's kind of a big deal. This actually is the second time I've donated. Wanna know how long it took me to grow it back to the length it was this morning? Just about 3 years. Told ya (but I'll tell you again...) - kind of a big deal!

Tonight, however, was a time to relax and fully enjoy several hours in front of the TV to watch the Olympics! But of course, I couldn't sit on the couch for all these hours while watching such athleticism and talent.


I got up. Walked into the kitchen. And baked some cookies. 

(Ahhh... the life of a self-proclaimed foodie and food blogger, 'aint it grand?)

I've been meaning to make chocolate chip cookies for quite some time now but just hadn't found a recipe that really impressed me. They all seemed basically the same. Until I found these Soft Macadamia Nut Chocolate Cookies from Chocolate Covered Katie

I love using oat flour in baking but I wanted something a little different so I used her recipe as a starting point and came up with these babies... (thanks for the inspiration!)

Healthy Buckwheat Chocolate Chip Cookies
1/2 c white buckwheat flour*
1 tbsp ground flaxseed
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking powder
4 tbsp + 1 tsp brown sugar
2 tbsp white sugar
1/4 c chopped macadamia nuts
4 tbsp vanilla hemp milk
1 tbsp canola oil
1/2 tsp vanilla
2 tbsp enjoy life mini chocolate chips

Grind buckwheat groats in a coffee/spice grinder to make 1/2c buckwheat flour. Combine all dry ingredients and whisk together. Combine wet ingredients and add to the dry mix. Fold in the mini chocolate chips. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a baking sheet with canola oil or cover with parchment paper. Create 13 cookie balls (12 if you just have to have an even number but I highly recommend 13.. for tasting purposes of course!) Bake for 10 minutes, until edges are golden brown. Remove from oven and let cool on baking sheet for another two minutes. Move cookies to a cooling rack and there you have it, delicious, healthy chocolate chip cookies at your finger tips. 
*Grinding whole buckwheat groats provides a much softer and subtle taste. Traditional buckwheat flour will provide a different texture and an entirely different flavor. 

Like Katie, I thought I'd include the nutrition facts for these cookies to really make you see that they are in fact, healthy. 

Per serving [1 cookie]
83 calories
4g fat (healthy fats!)
11g carbohydrates
1g fiber
1g protein
4g sugar (that's the real kicker!)

 Yum. Yum. Yum. These cookies are sweet enough that one cookie will satisfy your sweet tooth (though I do advise stepping away from the kitchen, you'll be extremely tempted to "test" the remaining cookies - you want to make sure they are all this good, right?) There is a slight grittiness from the buckwheat flour but the macadmia nuts cover up that minor side point. These cookies are soft and melt in your mouth. If you prefer a crunchier cookie I'd suggest flattening out the balls before baking and also cooking a tad longer. You could also try adding a little more fat.. perhaps butter ;-)

You'll love them. You'll eat them up. I sure did.

See that sad little cookie off to the corner... the lonely #13...

Don't worry... I took care of it :)

July 15, 2012

No Nuts Chocolate Granola

I love it when things come together.

You take a chance... a blind shot in the dark if you will. And when the outcome is better than you expected, well, that's a pretty good feeling ;-)

That is exactly what happened with this granola. I had a few criteria I wanted to meet...

(I've had a serious hankering for chocolate lately... especially in the morning - weird, I know.)
(To add [healthy] pounds, protein is a must at any meal or snack.)
(Since my stomach has been uber sensitive lately, I've found that less ingredients are better.)
(This is a requirement for any homemade good, am I right?)

With these things in mind, I based this granola recipe off of my homemade chocolate rice protein bars (recipe coming soon, I promise!). I was a little nervous because the taste of this mixture pre-baking wasn't all that special. But, what was I to do - everything was already mixed together - so I went with it hoping for the best, and the outcome? 


 Before I give you the recipe, there is one caution you should prepare yourself for... when putting your chocolatey, protein-filled, simple, yummy granola away... you may loose at least one serving from tast-testing. This stuff is addicting... no kidding.

1 1/2 c EnviroKidz Koala Crisp Cereal
1 c gluten free rolled oats (I use Bob's Red Mill)
*2 scoops protein powder (I use Jarrow Formulas Optimal Plant Proteins)
2 tbsp cocoa powder
2 tbsp canola oil
2 tbsp brown rice syrup (honey or agave would also work)
1/4 c unsweetened applesauce

Preheat oven to 350. Spray a large baking sheet with canola oil. Combine cereal, oats, protein powder and cocoa in a large bowl. Combine wet ingredients in a microwave safe bowl and heat for 10 - 15 seconds (this helps the ingredients to mix together). Add the wet ingredients to the dry, ensuring to coat all dry ingredients (look for the protein powder and cocoa that has set on the bottom of the bowl - be sure to incorporate this!) Pour mixture onto prepared baking sheet and bake for 6 minutes. Take out, spray with more canola oil and stir (you want to move the granola around, especially near the edges to avoid burning). Return to oven and cook another 4-5 minutes. Now you'll want to test for texture - I like my granola on the crunchy side so I cooked for another 2-3 minutes. Once it is to your crunchy liking, let the granola fully cool. Store in an airtight container on the counter (preferably a clear container so you can show off your baking skills!)

*The protein powder I use is vanilla flavored but this didn't seem to disturb the chocolate-flavor at all. If you have chocolate protein powder, I would suggest reducing the cocoa to 1 tbsp. Unsweetened protein powder would work great as well.

I'm pretty sure this granola won't be around too long - it is just chocolatey enough to suppress that craving, and is healthy enough that you don't feel an ounce of guilt for enjoying it. Don't believe me? Take a look...

Nutrition Facts
[per one 1/2 cup serving]

160 calories
23g carbohydrates 
3g fiber
5g protein
10g sugar

Told ya!

Enjoy this with a banana and non-dairy milk for breakfast, atop your favorite yogurt, for a mid-morning or afternoon snack, or enjoy as a healthy dessert. Anyway you eat this, I guarantee it will put a smile on your face. Hooray for chocolate and hooray for recipes that come together :) Happy eating!

July 7, 2012

Cracker Crust Pizza Flatbread

The name for this one? Yup... it's right on. This... bread-like deliciousness you are feasting your eyes on was made with crackers and a little quinoa flour.

Care to know more?

The idea came to me when I was halfway through my "adult" lunchable [don't worry, you'll hear about this soon ;-)] - you see, sometimes when I'm packing my lunch in the morning I'm even more indecisive than usual, which sometimes prompts me to bring more than one option in my lunch. Then when lunchtime rolls around I take a bite of my options and see which one is most satisfying for the time being. Not a horrible idea right?

Anyway, I had brought Crunchmaster 7 Ancient Grain Cracked Pepper & Herb crackers along with a few rice cakes. I don't eat dairy very often so knowing these crackers contain whey and milk I wasn't sure how many I should eat. So, after eating half of the amount I brought (oops..) the light bulb went off! What if I used the rest of these in my homemade pizza crust tonight?! Yup. That thought was enough to switch me over to the rice cakes and finish my lunch[able].

I got home from work and got started right away - its Friday Night Pizza Night after all! Into the mini food processor it all went... and a miracle pizza crust flatbread was born...

Cracker Crust Pizza Flatbread
6-8 crackers (any gluten free crackers will work but these already have great flavor for the crust!)
~ 1/4 cup quinoa flour
1/4 tsp baking powder
a pinch of salt

1 tbsp olive oil
1/4 tsp apple cider vinegar
~ 3 tbsp water (as more as needed)

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Combine dry ingredients in mini food processor. Transfer to small bowl. Add wet ingredients and mix until combined (adding water until you have a dough consistency that doesn't stick to the bowl or your hands.

Lightly flour a small piece of parchment paper. Roll out dough into a thin layer (about 1/8 inch thick, or less - mine was an oval shape about 6 inches across). Move parchment paper (with rolled out dough) to baking sheet and bake for 6-8 minutes (until edges start to brown). Remove from oven and add toppings of choice. Slide back into the oven on just the parchment paper (be careful!) and continue to bake for 4 minutes. Your toppings should be melted and heated through and the crust will, get this, feel like a cracker! [Yup - I had to throw that in there ;-)] Enjoy with a small side salad and a glass of red wine. Perfection.

*I topped mine with sauteed orange bell pepper and onion (cooked up by my lovely boyfriend), along with sharp cheddar cheese (FYI - hard cheeses are easier on digestion!) and chopped green onion.

Before you run off to make this beautiful little accidental crust let me give you some insight on why I'm calling it pizza crust and flatbread. It is so thin that it makes you feel like you're eating flatbread, but with how it is cooked and the type of toppings added you feel like you're eating pizza. Thus, pizza flatbread.

*Another note: feel free to use any flour with the same weight as quinoa flour - amaranth, garbanzo, soy are all good options. I'm sure an all-purpose flour mix would also work or try your favorite combo of flours and make it your own experiment!

However you make it, this is the perfect individual portion for a Friday night, especially when the rest of your night is filled with even more baking :)

July 2, 2012

Foodie Pen Pals! - Second go-round

 Foodie Pen Pals! 

Ahhh.... the last day of the month... it is quickly becoming my favorite :-) Why you ask? Well my friends, I get to post about the box full of goodies I received from this month's Foodie Pen Pals!

I know, I know... It's not June anymore... But I promise I have a good excuse as to why I'm a little late on this posting... I was in Winter Park, Colorado all weekend with family and friends having the most amazing time at the 10th annual Blues Festival, and, let's not forget that Sunday was the birthday of the most amazing woman in the world... my mom :) (told ya it was a good excuse!)

So here we are, July 2nd - but HERE (drum roll please).... is the box of goodies I received from my yet again amazing [foodie] pen pal, Tiffany of To The T^2!

She was so great in finding these items, all things so very unique that she mentioned can only be found at a little ethnic shop in Brooklyn. [Well now I feel special :)]

Let's review the goodies, shall we?
Mild green salsa from The Brooklyn Salsa Company, Hot Fireman's Pear Jam with Chipotle & Cinnamon (uh, yum!), Harissa Powder (complete with a hand drawn recipe map!), and let's not forget these babies - Dark Chocolate covered Goji Berries. What can I say? I scored, yet again.

Now seriously, how adorable is this recipe map?! I'm probably going to need to laminate this so I don't wreck it when making the recipe... this is the kind of thing that could be framed and mounted in a kitchen! Ooo... that's not a bad idea ;-)

Thank you SO MUCH Tiffany, for the truly amazing, so unique and so delicious goodies you managed to pack in this box! *Sidenote... Although it's only 7:00am I'm enjoying some of those chocolate covered goji berries on my blackberry buckwheat bake as we speak! SO delicious!*

And one last thing, for those of you who still haven't joined the wonderful group of Foodie Pen Pals - it's never too late! This is something that I truly look forward to every month - shopping for unique goodies is so much fun and hearing back from your pen pal with how much they love everything you sent is such a great feeling! Not to mention... the goodies you receive are totally out of this world!

If you forgot what exactly Foodie Pen Pals is, here's a little refresher...

On the 5th of every month, you will receive your penpal pairing via email. It will be your responsibility to contact your penpal and get their mailing address and any other information you might need like allergies or dietary restrictions.

You will have until the 15th of the month to put your box of goodies in the mail. On the last day of the month, you will post about the goodies you received from your penpal! The boxes are to be filled with fun foodie things, local food items or even homemade treats! The spending limit is $15. The box must also include something written. This can be anything from a note explaining what’s in the box, to a fun recipe…use your imagination!

You are responsible for figuring out the best way to ship your items depending on their size and how fragile they are. (Don’t forget about flat rate boxes!)

Foodie Penpals is open to blog readers as well as bloggers. If you’re a reader and you get paired with a blogger, you are to write a short guest post for your penpal to post on their blog about what you received. If two readers are paired together, neither needs to worry about writing a post for that month.

I'm off to start my day, and what better way than by publishing this post... a reminder of how friendly and kind people are - especially those fellow foodies!

Until next month ;-)