Strawberry Pistachio Caprese Salad

I stumbled upon this yummy twist on a classic Caprese Salad when I ran out of tomatoes just before heading out to a potluck brunch today. I substituted strawberries for the tomatoes and added a crunch of pistachios (my husband’s suggestion) and a pinch of sugar to the classic dressing. Not a drop left after the brunch and everyone wanted the recipe!

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Others at the small brunch brought deviled eggs and a hearty grainy skillet cornbread, slathered in butter and topped  with a jalapeño raspberry dressing.  This would make a delicious summer backporch or picnic supper, maybe add some slices of country ham (with sides of gourmet mustards) to up the protein.

Enjoy!

Strawberry Pistachio Caprese Salad

serves 4

1 cup small mozzarella balls, in oil marinade, mostly drained (okay for some oil to cling to the balls)

2/3 cup strawberries, leaves removed and cut into quarters

1T balsamic Vinegar

1 t olive oil

Pinch salt, pepper and sugar to taste

3 fresh basil leaves, rolled and cut into thin strips

1 heaping T.  Roasted  pistachios

In a small bowl or casserole dish layer mozerrla balls, strawberries. Sprinkle with sugar and salt and pepper. Drizzle vinegar and olive oil.  Add fresh basil   Gently toss until salad pieces are well-coated. Garnish with pistachios.

 

 


The Best Low-Carb Gluten-Free Chocolate Chip Butter Nut Cookies

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I have probably made these cookies 50 times over the last year! (I had to keep experimenting with the recipe until I found “perfection.”A sacrifice, but someone had to do it.)

Made with ingredients I have on hand, these yummy treats cook up fast, and turn out great every time.   The best part is…even though they are low carb and gluten free —  I truly like them better than regular chocolate chip cookies.  As do most people who taste them.  Rich in butter, moist, delicate, and just-right-sweet.

Even if you use real sugar there is only 3 T of sugar in 2 dozen cookies, so the carbs remain fairly low even as taste remains high.  I was out of sugar-free chocolate chips today so I diced up a 1/2 of a Lilly’s stevia-sweetened chocolate bar into “chip-size” pieces.   I’ve also made these cookies without the chocolate chips but with lemon peel and lemon juice (in place of vanilla) for delicate lemon nut cookies.

I discovered that using 1 T. of agave nectar in place of a tablespoon of the sugar or sweetener  makes a nice moist cookie.

RECIPE

Chocolate Chip Butter Nut Cookies (Low Carb, Gluten Free)

Makes 2 dozen small cookies

Heat oven to 375 degrees 

1 1/2 c. almond flour (from blanched almonds)

1/2 c. butter  (softened for ten seconds in the microwave, or until it is easily stir-able)

3 T. sugar (white, brown or some combo thereof)  or granulated sweetener of your choice (I use 1 T. agave nectar and 2 T. xylitol)

1 egg

1 t. vanilla

1/4 t. baking soda

1/4 t. salt

2/3 to 1 c. chopped pecans or walnuts (depending on how “nutty” you like your cookies)

1/4 to 1/3 c. chocolate chips (I use Lilly’s brand,  sweetened with stevia and delicious)

Cream together the almond flour, sugar (s), and egg.  (You can use a mixer but I have also made these, mixing by hand with a sturdy whisk or wooden spoon,  with good results.) Add vanilla, baking soda, salt and mix well.  Fold in the nuts and chocolate chips.

Drop by heaping teaspoonfuls to make 2 dozen cookies.

Bake for 8 minutes at 375 degrees or until lightly golden.  (I bake them on a baking stone and they turn out perfect.) Let them cool at least 5 minutes on pan and remove carefully (they are delicate) to flat plate.

I store these cookies in a cookie tin, between layers of wax paper or plastic wrap.  If you don’t eat them in a couple of days, keep in the fridge to keep them fresh. They also freeze well.

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Healthy “Kitchen Sink” Candy (Lower Carb, Gluten Free)

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I love Reeses.   But I’ve been trying to tame my loves and make them lower in sugar and higher in protein and good fats and nutrition.

And so, I invented this easy, no-cook, nutritious and delicious candy — just in time for Christmas sweet cravings.   So tasty, you will savor the indulgence. So healthy, you won’t mind if your kids have them for a snack, or even for breakfast.  Each candy has little bitty mini Reeses in the middle — and they add two carbs each to the recipe, but I really do think those two carbs are worth it.   Still, the candy can be even lower in carbs and very tasty if you prefer to leave them out, or maybe top with a pecan  or sugar-free chocolate chip instead.

This basic recipe can be played with dozens of ways, with pretty much whatever you have on hand in your pantry!  Everything but the “kitchen sink” — thus, the name.   Have fun, and let the kids help to make the job go fast.

 

Healthy Kitchen Sink Candy

1/2 cup nut butter (I like peanut butter)

1/2 cup coconut oil

1 t. vanilla

Stop and mix the above together with a whisk until until the coconut oil is melty and the mixture is smooth.

Then add in:

1/2 cup fine grated, unsweetened coconut

3/4 cup super-healthy stuff (I used a combo of hemp seeds and ground chia seeds and sunflower seed kernels.  What you do you have in your pantry?  Sesame seeds? Wheat germ? Whatever you’ve got that is tasty and looks healthy and you need to use up — dump it in!)

1/2 c. chopped nuts (I used pecans)

1 to 2 T. cocoa (depending on how dark you like your chocolate candy)

2 to 3 T.  of sweetener  (I used 1 T. of agave nector and 1 T. of xylitol.  It was sweet enough for me.  Use whatever you like from sugar to maple syrup  to stevia or any other sugar substitute that works for you.)

*optional — I added about 1/4 cup of Lilly’s stevia sweetened chocolate chips.  Have some left-over dark chocolate bar?  You can chop it into fine pieces as well, and add to the candy.  Again, just make this fun — using add-ins that fit your diet and taste.

Stir all this goodness together and put in the fridge until the mixture resembles a thick cookie batter, so you can roll it in the palms of your hands into balls.

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Roll a heaping teaspoon of the mixture in your hands into a ball  and then drop into small bowl of unsweetened coconut or ground nuts (or a mixture of both) and coat.   Put on a plate, flatten just a bit, and make a little indention with your finger into the middle of each candy.   Gently press a mini Reese’s candy in the middle.  I like both the white chocolate and regular versions.

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Keep in the fridge in a Tupperware-like container. Enjoy whenever those candy cravings hit, and feel like an angel for doing so.

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Healthy Low Carb Cantaloupe & Cheesy Almond Bites

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During the hot summer months, nobody wants to turn on an oven or stand around for long in the kitchen, with the great  outdoors calling our name! But still, we do need fuel for summertime play, and we’d like it to be tasty, quick, and healthy.

Here’s a snack that fills the bill.  I often enjoy this for breakfast as well as a mid-day snack or to go with a glass of wine to make Happy Hour even happier.   And they are so delicious and pretty — you’ll feel great about serving them as a summertime appetizer to anyone, almost any diet plan.  Low carb, high protein, gluten-free and smart in calories as well.

And if you are looking for a nourishing, funny and uplifting summertime read to take to the beach (or your porch swing) —  may I suggest you check out our books: We Laugh, We Cry, We Cook and Nourished: A Search for Health, Happiness and a Full Night’s Sleep.

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grunge image of a field

 

Directions:

Simply cut a piece of string cheese in 8 equal pieces, then arrange on plate sprayed with Pam. Nuke for 15 seconds. Put a smoked almond in center of each piece of cheese while warm. Cut “cantaloupe crackers” (slices of fresh cantaloupe in cracker-sized pieces) and place cheese & almond on top.

This appetizer is cold and warm, sweet and salty, soft and crunchy. So easy so good so healthy.  Enjoy! cantaloupe


PBJ Cookies: Healthy, Low Sugar, High Protein

 

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Long time, no blog!  (Insert holidays, travel, book deadline.) Since  my husband Greg and I have decided to cut back on carbs and sugars, I’ve been a crazy woman in the kitchen,  experimenting with new recipes, generally making big messes and having a great time.  Lately I’ve been  searching for a yummy but healthy cookie, that is low in carbs, low in sugar (artificial sugars don’t like me so I don’t use them), high in protein and/or fiber.

It took me several hits and misses, but I may have created it: the perfect healthy cookie. Good enough for dessert, but healthy enough to enjoy for breakfast with a cup of coffee or your fave glass of cold milk.  In fact, you can feel great about giving these to your kids for breakfast or after school snack.

They are rich, made of little more than peanut butter and egg, so one or two will truly satisfy you!  A half teaspoon of low sugar jelly (no artificial sweeteners) melts like a  ruby jewel into the middle of a tender, flaky peanut butter nest.  The cookies have about 5 grams of protein, weighing in at a  little over 5 carbs each (less if you want to sub the sugar for a sugar sub).  Gluten-free (if you use a GF baking powder).

This recipe makes just one dozen, can be easily stirred by hand in a smallish bowl, and takes no time to mix up.  The secret with these cookies, since they have no flours at all, is to cook them in two stages.   I found it is best to cook them for ten minutes at 350 to get them started on crispy/golden, then lower the heat to 300 and cook for 10 more minutes to make sure they cook all the way through.  I really love natural stone or clay for baking cookies, they cook so evenly and rarely burn!

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Healthy PBJ Cookies 

1 c. peanut butter

2 T. brown sugar

1 T. organic sugar

1 egg

1/2 t. baking powder

1/4 t. salt

1/4 cup  low sugar jam, preserves or  jelly

 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a medium mixing bowl, mix the first 5  ingredients together (everything but the jelly)   with a fork until thick, glossy and smooth. Drop 12 spoons  of batter (about a tablespoon) onto greased cookie sheet, evenly spaced apart. Using the back of a rounded 1/2 teaspoon, make a little crater in the middle of each cookie, as shown below.  (You can dip the back of the 1/2 teaspoon into hemp or chia seeds, almond or coconut flour or sugar to keep the batter from clinging as you make the craters.)

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Fill each peanut butter crater with 1/2 teaspoon of low sugar jelly.

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Bake at 350 for 10 minutes.  Turn the heat down to 300  and bake for 10 more minutes.  Let cool before moving carefully with a spatula off the cookie sheet.

These get even better as they cool.

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Our book, Nourished, for $2.99 on Kindle!

Happy Valentine’s Day Everyone!  

If you are wondering what to give friends, family or your sweetheart for Valentine’s Day, can we recommend the gift of laughter and self-care?  Pamper your Loves with a book that bring smiles,  lift spirits and lasts far beyond Valentine’s Day.

All for just… $2.99!  

Click the picture below to link to Amazon for this special Kindle Deal.

(Or cut & paste this URL into your search bar: http://www.amazon.com/Nourished-Search-Health-Happiness-Nights-ebook/dp/B00J1UEAA6/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8

NOURISH E-BOOK SALE (1)

We’d so appreciate it if you’d spread the word via social media about this fabulous deal that goes through the end of February.

I’m hard at work on another book,  but should be back to cookin’ and bloggin’ and makin’ messes again soon!   So many good recipes and stories I’m wanting to share with you as soon as time opens up again.

In the meantime,  we send heart-bouquets of gratitude and gratitude to you and yours.

Love,

Becky & Rachel

 

 

 

 

 


Pecan Pie Perfection (& the Accidental Boneless Turkey Affair)

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DSC_0744It’s the morning after Thanksgiving, my favorite part of the holiday.  I’m going over the post-food highlights the way the guys go over the after-football game highlights.

The absolute funniest and surprisingly tastiest part of our meal was the turkey.  I gave it a good massage with oil and butter and seasonings, stuffed the cavity with celery and garlic then tucked it into a cooking bag. Finally I put the who shebang into an electric roaster. (By the way, a wonderful purchase to free up your ovens on holidays.)  Several hours later I asked my husband to turn off the roaster.  He did not hear me and I was busy with guests… and well, that turkey roasted itself an extra 2 hours at 325.

When it was time to “deal with the bird” my sister-in-law Gail and I positioned ourselves so that I could lift the turkey out of the pan and juice for “carving” with a pair of heat-proof rubber gloves. But when I lifted the turkey…. to our shock, all the meat literally fell off the bone.

And I mean, ALL the meat.

Both breasts slid off in chunks, like a landslide, and then almost cartoon-like — the wings and thighs dropped off — plop, plop, plop, plop– into the broth.  And there I stood, my eyes wide as saucers, holding nothing but a meatless turkey carcass.

Gail and I stood there, up to our elbows in steaming turkey parts and juice, trying so hard not to laugh as we stared at the skeleton I was now holding in disbelief. Instead of carving the turkey, we had to serve it more like pulled pork.  There was nothing, really to photograph.  You’ve seen one meatless turkey backbone, you’ve seen them all.  But it was the juiciest most delicious turkey  meat we have ever had!  I am seriously contemplating repeating my “Accidental Turkey” recipe on purpose next year.

The second biggest hit was, at least for me, the pecan pie!  I culled together all the best advice I could get and came up with what will be my go-to pecan pie recipe from now on!   The best part is that there isn’t much “eggy-goo” — just a  delicate, buttery, rich praline-like filling chocked full of pecans. By making a layer of chopped pecans, and then arranging pecan halves over the top of the pastry,  you end up with a beautiful and crunchy pie!

So before I forget how I made it, here’s the recipe!

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Pecan Pie Perfection

1 unbaked pie shell

3 large eggs

1 cup dark Karo  (corn) syrup  (I don’t like using or eating much corn syrup, but once a year, it is worth it!)

1/3 cup sugar

1/3 cup brown sugar

6 T. salted butter (if you don’t use salted butter, then add 1/4 t. salt)

1/2 t. vanilla

1/2 t. brandy flavoring

1 cup chopped pecans

about 1/2 cup of pecan halves or enough to decorate the top 

Directions:

In a medium mixing bowl crack and beat the eggs, then add the sugars, the butter and flavorings and stir well with a whisk.

Into prepared, uncooked pastry shell, spread the chopped pecans.  Now, over the chopped pecans, arrange the halves in a pretty pattern, side by side.  Very slowly and carefully pour in the filling and the pecans will rise to the top, and surprisingly, won’t shift around much — so the pattern will stay beautiful.   Bake at 325 for about an hour or until the crust is is deep golden brown and the filling is set.  I like my pies to lean a little on the extra brown side as the crust does not get soggy.