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Coconut Sugar Chocolate Chip “Health” Cookies

I am not a baker. I don’t pretend to be one nor do I play one on television. I just love food. Today, I received my first ever Kitchen Aid hand mixer and was super excited to make homemade chocolate chip cookies. For the most part, I have an idea of what goes into making chocolate chip cookies and was able to gather ingredients easily. However, I always like to alter ingredients and see what I can substitute with healthy ones.

The finished product!

A few years ago I fell upon a type of sugar called coconut sugar and I swear by it when baking. It is relatively a 1:1 substitution for regular cane sugar and is made from the heart of the coconut. I actually use it for a substitution of brown sugar as well, but this recipe calls for both coconut sugar and light brown sugar. It’s low glycemic and has a beautifully sweet smell, except it doesn’t yield such a strong sugary flavor *disclaimer: I did mention these were going to be healthy chocolate chip cookies, so if you’re a sugar-fiend or really enjoy a traditional Toll House cookie, this may not be for you, but in fairness, give it a try and see what you think!* 

I started with my dry ingredients in a large bowl, whisking the flours (1 cup cassava, 1 cup A.P (all purpose)) salt and baking soda. Setting that aside, I took my butter, brown sugar, and coconut sugar and whisked together with my fancy new hand mixer *ooooh, ahhhhh* until it was fully blended and smooth.

After the mix blended, I cracked an egg into the brown sugar and butter mixture and blended on medium speed one at a time (two eggs in total) until fully immersed. I slowly added in the flour and mixed until all the flour was fully blended in and the batter became sticky. I decided to throw in two kinds of chocolate chips: milk chocolate chips and stevia dark chocolate mini chips because #yolo.

On two separate baking trays, cut parchment paper and scoop a tablespoon of batter into your hands and form small balls with the batter. Place on the rack and fill with three rows of four balls (12 in total per rack, 24 balls altogether). Bake for 15 minutes at 375 degrees, switching the top and bottom cookie trays halfway to cook evenly (and NOT do what I did and have one batch be perfectly brown while the other had black bottoms, sigh… I did say I’m not a baker…)

Let cool and enjoy 🙂 Again, these are not your typical chocolate chip cookies; they will be chewy, a little doughy, definitely healthy, and altogether quite tasty! I can’t wait for you to give these a try! ~ Nomaste

Coconut Sugar Chocolate Chip “Health” Cookies

Course Cookies, Dessert
Cuisine American, Cookies
Keyword cassava, coconut, cookies, healthy, paleo
Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Resting time 10 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Servings 24 cookies
Author nomastehungry

Ingredients

  • 1 cup cassava flour
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 12 tbsp unsalted butter (or 1 1/2 sticks) room temperature
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2/3 cup light brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup coconut sugar
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup chocolate chips or cocoa nibs

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees and make sure oven racks are in the middle of the oven.

  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the flours, baking soda, and salt.  Set aside

  3. In another large bowl, blend together on medium speed the unsalted butter and two different sugars until fluffy and creamy. About 4-5 minutes.

  4. Crack in one egg at a time into the butter mixture and continue to beat until fully blended.  Add in the vanilla extract and mix.

  5. Slowly begin to pour the flour into the butter mixture and blend on medium speed.  Add in the chocolate chips and mix well, about 2-3 minutes.

  6. Scoop some of the cookie batter into semi-wet hands to form balls and place on two baking trays lined with parchment, making 3 rows of four balls each tray (24 balls altogether).  Bake for 15 minutes, rotating the pans from top to bottom halfway through.

  7. Take trays out and let cook on the baking trays for 5-7 minutes.  Serve and enjoy!

Brooklyn Eats: Glasserie

Cuisine: Mediterranean; Location: Greenpoint, Brooklyn

It was a Monday evening, first day of Hanukkah, and I get a call from my cousin:

“Hey, dinner for Sunday?”

“Sure! Where?”

“I’ll let you know…”

I always trust my cousin for choosing restaurants because he has an adventurous palette and I like trying new foods too.  We were going out to dinner to celebrate the lasts night of Hanukkah and well, to wine and dine together as a family. I get a text with the name, “It’s called Glasserie, btw.”  Of course, I decided to check the menu online and initially, I was confused.  I wasn’t sure what to make of the menu, because some names of the foods involved I was unfamiliar with, but as I researched I grew more excited and anxious to give them a shot.

Sunday rolls around and it’s time for dinner.  I throw on some jeans, makeup, jump in an Uber with hubs and head over to Greenpoint, Brooklyn.  When I tell you that this place is tucked away in an industrial part of town, I am not kidding.  Inside the restaurant lies this adorable, modern, open-style seating with such aromatic smells coming from candles and of course, the food. Hubs and I got there early and we sat at the bar: a glass of red and an Old Fashioned to start as my family rolled in.

We sat down and started ordering: griddle and flatbreads, labneh, tahini, cauliflower, rabbit dumplings, lamb steak, chicken, and scallop crudo. I mean, we absolutely went overboard, but it’s Hanukkah and it’s family, so all is good.

**UPDATE** I took a girlfriend back there because everything was freaking delicious, the hostess remembered me and I got a complimentary glass of cava! I swear people are super kind and this place won my heart with their griddle bread and chicken avgolemono. If you’re looking for a hip, understated, and different restaurant to go with friends and family alike, you need to come here!

Cheesy Orzo and Broccoli

Who has two thumbs and LOVES mac and cheese? This girl! I also really just love cheese in general, and what’s funny about that is that when I was in high school, I would always tell a friend of mine that I did not like cheese. In reality, I love it, I just have particular types that I dislike… like gorgonzola, blue, and goat cheese. Sorry y’all.

This is one of the most delicious and easy recipes I’ve played with, because it’s a homemade cheese sauce with boiled orzo pasta and broccoli. I have a secret too: I boil the broccoli in the SAME pot as the orzo cooks! *gasp* It’s just easier this way, and when it’s all mixed together, the broccoli chunks break down and coat the pasta in a light green colors… it’s good I swear 🙂

The cheese sauce is made with a Roux: a simple mixture of butter and flour with simmered milk. I take three tablespoons of butter and 1 tablespoon of cassava flour and whisk together until its fully combined with no lumps. Then I add in milk and chicken stock and simmer until the liquid becomes a bit thick. I turn the heat off and pour in all the cheese. I used mild cheddar for this. Sprinkle salt and pepper into the mix and voila, you have a cheese sauce!

For the pasta, I made regular orzo and boiled as per package instructions. I threw in the broccoli at the same time so both ingredients finished simultaneously. I drained in a strainer and added back to the pot. I poured the cheese sauce into the orzo and broccoli and stirred. At the last second I decided to add another cup of cheese because #yolo and the results were a deliciously cheesy, creamy, pot of lovely orzo and broccoli. Nomaste!

Cheesy Orzo and Broccoli

Course Dinner
Cuisine American
Keyword broccoli, cheddar, cheese, orzo, pasta
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Servings 8 cups
Author nomastehungry

Ingredients

  • 1 pkg orzo
  • 1 16oz bag sharp or mild cheddar cheese
  • 3 tbsp butter
  • 1 tbsp flour
  • 1 cup milk or creamer
  • 1 cup chicken stock/broth
  • salt
  • pepper

Instructions

Cheese Sauce

  1. In a small sauté pan, heat and melt butter.  When butter is melted, add in the flour and whisk until blended.

  2. Add in the milk and chicken stock.  Bring to a rolling boil and stir frequently.  Keep at this heat for 5-7 minutes.

  3. Turn heat off and add in cheese.  Stir to blend and melt.  Add in salt and pepper to taste

Orzo and Broccoli

  1. In a 3-4 quart pot, fill the water 3/4 of the way and heat on high.  Let water boil and add salt.

  2. Add in the orzo and broccoli and cook together until al dente (around 8-9 minutes).  Drain in a strainer in the sink and add back into the pot.

  3. Layer in the cheese sauce and stir until fully coated.  Add in 1/2 cup more of cheddar and mix.  Serve immediately.

Latkes!

Happy Hanukkah and Happy Holidays!  I love this time of year, not just for the food and holiday break, but for the warm feeling that is thrust upon us when surrounded by family and friends, and friends who are family!  It’s a time for kindness, love, belly laughs, and building lifetime memories, which more often than not, are created around a dinner table.  Growing up, I always loved Hanukkah: the lighting of candles, the story behind the holiday, the jelly doughnuts, but what I really loved were the homemade latkes my mother and grandmother would make.  The crispy, fried potato pancakes drizzled with sour cream (or apple sauce…) and served nice and hot out of pan… SO DELICIOUS!IMG_0364.JPG

There are two schools of thought: to use a food processor, or to go old school and hand-grate the potatoes and onions with a cheese grater.  I chose the latter as I find that they always taste crispier and fresh when hand-grated.  I start by peeling one and a half large onions and grate on the side with the larger holes (julienned side).  Grating onions will cause your eyes to water and tear if you are sensitive to onions, so be warned!  I then set this aside in a large mixing bowl.  Then, I peel and grate 5 medium potatoes (I happened to have one gigantic potato and 3 smaller ones, but 5 medium should yield the same results).  I use a cheesecloth to ring out the starch and liquid.

Crack and whisk three eggs together and pour into the mixture, along with one cup of flour – I used cassava flour.  Mix all ingredients together, add a dash of salt and onion powder.  Heat a large sauté pan and add in oil, just enough to coat pan.  Scoop some mixture into a spoon and carefully place into the oil.  You’ll know when to flip them when the sides are nice and crisp.  Sprinkle some kosher salt at the very end and serve immediately.  Another school of thought: the condiment.  Some latke-enthusiasts like a sweet condiment such as applesauce, or some (like myself) prefer a savory, such as sour cream.  I use sour cream, but try both and see what fits your fancy ~ NOMaste!

Latkes

Course Appetizer, Dinner
Cuisine Mediterranean, Vegetables
Keyword fried, latkes, oil, pancake, potato
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Servings 24 latkes
Author nomastehungry

Ingredients

  • 5 medium Russet potatoes peeled
  • 1.5 large yellow onions
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup flour by preference, I used cassava
  • 4 tbsp oil
  • onion powder to taste
  • kosher salt

Instructions

  1. Peel potatoes and first layer of onions.  Take a four-sided cheese grater and using the large julienned side, start grating the onions. Place grated onions in large mixing bowl.

  2. Take peeled potatoes and grate on the same side and place in a cheese cloth to squeeze out the mixture into the sink. Let sit for 10 minutes. Add to the onions.

  3. Crack and whisk three eggs.

  4. Add eggs to potato and onion mixture.  Add in one cup of flour and mix.  You can add onion powder here and some kosher salt for seasoning.

  5. Preheat pan on medium (or around 375*).  Add oil, just enough to coat the bottom of the pan in a thick layer.  Spoon a large dollop of mixture into the oil, flipping when sides are nice and golden/crisp.  Repeat for rest of mixture.  Add extra oil as needed.

  6. Sprinkle kosher salt and serve immediately with choice of condiment: sour cream or applesauce.

Bean(less) Beef Chili

Let’s face it.  There are a bagillion and five ways to make chili.  Do I add beans? If so, what kind? Should I make it in the crockpot? Instapot? Dutch oven?  How long does it cook for?  Do I add rice? Veggies? GAH!  Chili has become such a versatile and fun dish to make because the truth is, it’s whatever you want it to be.  To be fair, and to give credit, chili in its traditional sense is cooked low and slow on a burner for a few hours, and has a variety of beans and made with beef, but this can absolutely be made with turkey if that’s your prerogative.  Tonight, it’s made in a dutch oven and blended with fresh veggies!IMG_0329

The chili I make is most of the time bean-less as I don’t prefer beans (and being that I’m 90% of the time eating Paleo-style, beans are not part of the Paleo protocol) and they’re just added texture that I just don’t like.  Now, that’s not to say this chili isn’t flavorful… because it definitely packs a punch!  With layered seasonings like cumin, chili powder, pepper flakes, onion and garlic powder, and of course S&P, it creates a harmony unlike no other.  I start with a large onion and roughly chop it so that the pieces are not all the same, but relatively small and thin. I heat my dutch oven before adding the oil, then add in the onions and some salt.  The onions will begin to become translucent and fragrant, then I add the in sliced cherry tomatoes (really just for fun and texture) and let it settle.IMG_0317

I take 2 lbs of grass fed ground beef and add it to the pot, seasoning with just the salt, onion and garlic powder, and mix together well.  As the ground beef begins to brown, I break apart the large meat chunks with a wooden spoon.  Mix all together and add in the tomato sauce (for tonight, I just used what I had in house, which was a jar of Classico sauce, but I prefer traditional tomato sauce in a can).  Stir together to coat all ingredients and then add in the chili powder, cumin, pepper, and red pepper flakes. Stir and let sit on a low flame for two hours.  After one hour, I add in chopped zucchini.

Alas, the results is a chunky, hearty, and bean(less) chili that packs a kick and warms the soul simultaneously.  Top it off with sour cream, cheese crisps, or grated cheddar for extra pizzazz.  Enjoy and, Nomaste 🙂

Bean(less) Chili

Course Dinner
Cuisine American, Chili
Keyword beanless, chili, dinner, healthy, Hearty, paleo, Soup, winter
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 2 hours
Resting time 5 minutes
Total Time 2 hours 10 minutes
Servings 10 cups
Author nomastehungry

Ingredients

  • 2 lbs grass-fed ground beef
  • 1 jar low-sugar tomato sauce
  • 1 large onion chopped
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes sliced
  • 1 medium zucchini sliced then chopped
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp cumin
  • 1 tbsp red pepper flakes
  • 1 tbsp chili powder
  • 1 tbsp garlic powder
  • 1 tbsp onion powder
  • Salt
  • Pepper

Instructions

  1. In a large pan or dutch oven, turn heat to medium and then add the olive oil.  Add in chopped onions and begin to let simmer. Add tomatoes and stir.  Let simmer and occasionally stir, waiting for the skins to begin to peel and the onions to be translucent

  2. Add in ground beef and break apart with wooden spoon.  Stir together with onions and tomatoes, adding garlic and onion powder and salt. Let sit and brown, about 7-8 minutes.

  3. Pour in tomato sauce and stir to coat evenly.   Sprinkle in chili powder, red pepper flakes, pepper, and cumin.  Cover and turn flame to low.  Simmer for 2 hours

  4. After one hour of cooking, add in the chopped zucchini.  Stir and cover.  Cook for remaining time; stir occasionally.

  5. Serve over rice or sweet potato, regular potato, etc. Add cheese or favorite condiments as needed and enjoy!