A 5'3 Perspective


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Chewy Chocolate Coconut Cookies, They Are Healthy Too

There is only one word to describe these cookies – absolutely delicious. Okay, that is two words but I’m sure you get my point. This is probably the easiest recipe I have ever baked and the result, well the cookies were gone the next day. And I ate them all myself. Don’t let the unappealing picture deceive you – these are to die for. Gluten and lactose free as usual!

Healthy Chocolate Coconut Cookies

Inspired by: Healthful PursuitHealthy Chocolate Coconut CookiesIngredients

1.5 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
½ cup almond flour
½ cup cocoa powder
½ cup honey
2 eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract

Directions

Preheat oven to 350F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and mix until combined.
Form the dough into 8 – 10 cookies on your baking sheet.
Bake for 15-18 minutes, or until golden. Mine were perfect at 15 minutes.

Doesn’t get much easier than that.

xo Lauren


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A Chewy, Can’t-Just-Eat-One, Oatmeal Raisin Cookie Recipe

Sometimes a healthy cookie just doesn’t measure up to the real deal. A few weeks ago I made “N’oatmeal Raisin Cookies” and I thought they were absolutely delicious – the verdict from my dessert loving friends and family: too healthy tasting. Since I am always subjecting my taste testers to healthy alternatives, even when they prefer the real deal, I figured it was time to treat them a little. These chewy, gigantic oatmeal raisin cookies did the trick – but don’t say I didn’t warn you when you can’t get your hand out of the cookie jar!

Chewy, Can’t-Just-Eat-One, Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

Recipe from: Little Bites of EverythingOatmeal Raisin CookiesIngredients

1 ¾ cup flour
½ tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
½ tsp cinnamon
2 sticks butter, room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 cup dark brown sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 ½ cup rolled oats
1 ½ cup raisins
Directions
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Combine flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt and mix using a fork.
In another larger bowl, beat (using an electric beater if you have one) the butter, vanilla, granulated sugar and brown sugar until combined.
Add in the eggs to the sugar and butter mixture and beat to combine.
Next add the dry mixture to the wet ingredients little by little while mixing.
Fold in the oats and then the raisins.
Make balls out of the dough, about 2 inches thick and place on baking sheet, about 4-6 at a time.
Lightly flatten each ball slightly and bake for about 10-11 minutes.
Leave the cookies on the baking sheet for about 10-12 minutes to finish cooking outside of the oven and then place on a cooling rack.
Serve and enjoy!

Happy [hearty] baking friends!
xo Lauren


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If Baklava And Muffins Mated [A Simple And Delicious Recipe]

If you asked me what baklava was four years ago I probably would have told you it was some volcano version of the Lock Ness Monster. No, this isn’t a joke. Before meeting Neil I was a pretty picky eater, luckily my Greek man opened my eyes to the finer things in life – enter baklava, which unfortunately I can no longer indulge in due to my weak stomach. But for the rest of you, this is probably one of the best recipes I have ever made [says the Greek himself]. It is a combination of ooey, gooey, syrupy [is that even a valid descriptor?] baklava filling, surrounded by a fluffy muffin exterior, all topped with honey. If that description didn’t convince you turn on your oven and get baking, then how about this – the entire process took no longer than half an hour, and that includes 15 minutes of baking time.

Baklava Muffins – Not Gluten, Dairy or Sugar-Free, Just Irresistible!

Recipe from: Nigella Lawson

Baklava MuffinsIngredients

Filling:
½ cup chopped walnuts
1/3 cup sugar
1 ½ teaspoons ground cinnamon
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted (or margarine)

Muffins:
1 cup + 7 tablespoons all purpose flour (or whole wheat)
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
¼ cup + 1 tbsp sugar
1 large egg
3 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted (or margarine)
1 cup + 2 tablespoons buttermilk (or 1 tbsp lemon juice mixed with 1 cup of regular milk – allow this mixture to sit for 5 minutes before using)

Topping:
honey – as much as your heart desires

Directions

Preheat the oven to 400ºF. Line a 12-cup muffin pan with paper baking cups.

Mix all the filling ingredients in a small bowl and set aside.
In a large bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder and baking soda; add sugar.
In a wide-mouthed measuring cup, whisk the egg, melted butter and buttermilk. Make a well in the dry ingredients and pour in the liquid. Mix lightly and gently – I used a fork to mix it.
Fill the cups 1/3 full, add a scant tablespoon of filling, then cover with more muffin batter until 2/3 full.
Bake for 15 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove the muffins from the pan and place them on a rack. Drizzle with honey.

This recipe makes 12 absolutely divine baklava muffins.

Now what are you waiting for?! Don’t walk, run to the kitchen and impress everyone with this to die for recipe!

xo Lauren


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Raw, Vegan, Grain-Free Carrot Muffins with Cashew Cream “Cheese” Icing

I’ve been craving carrot cake with cream cheese icing something fierce lately! I don’t know why, since I was never a huge fan of the dessert, but after weeks of carrot dreams I knew I had to come up with a healthy alternative. These muffins/cupcakes are simple, delicious and the perfect summer treat because you don’t even need to touch your oven!

Raw, Vegan, Grain-Free Carrot Muffins with Cashew Cream “Cheese” Icing
Adapted from: Chef Amber Shae

20130513-214908.jpgIngredients
For the cake:
1 cup pitted dates, soaked in warm water for 15 minutes and drained
1/4 cup water
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1 pound carrots, peeled if desired, shredded
3/4 cup coconut flour
Stevia to taste (optional)

For the Cream “Cheese” Icing:
3/4 cup cashews soaked for 2 to 4 hours and drained
1/2 cup nondairy milk of choice
1 1/2 teaspoons lemon juice
15 drops liquid stevia, or to taste
Pinch of sea salt

Directions
Combine the drained dates, carrots, water, lemon juice, cinnamon, salt and vanilla in a food processor and blend until almost smooth and well combined.
Add the coconut flour and stir until the batter is combined and uniform. Taste the batter, and if you think it needs a little more sweetness, add stevia to taste. Set the batter aside for 5 to 10 minutes to allow the coconut flour to absorb the liquid mixture.
Fill 8 silicone muffin tins with the mixture and place in the freezer for at least 4 hours.

To make the cashew cream “cheese” icing, combine all ingredients in a blender [I used my Magic Bullet] and pulse until smooth. Place the icing in the fridge until you are ready to decorate your carrot muffins.

Just a note: these muffins taste best when you allow them to defrost for at least 30 minutes so remove them from the freezer with that in mind!

Now you can have your [carrot] cake and eat it too!
xo Lauren


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Grain, Dairy, Sugar Free Chocolate Mini Muffins

I am sure you are all well aware by now that my favourite treats to bake are ones that I can eat [which means no gluten or dairy]. It is definitely takes some practice to make recipe substitutions but once you realize that it is okay to go wild in the kitchen – you end up with some amazing baked goods that are healthy and delicious!

Grain, Dairy and Sugar Free Chocolate Mini Muffins

Inspired by: The Detoxinista

 sugar, dairy free mini muffins

Ingredients

1/4 cup coconut flour
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1/8 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3 eggs
1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
1/3 cup sugar free maple syrup
1 tablespoon vanilla extract

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350F and line a mini muffin tin.

In a medium bowl, combine the coconut flour, cocoa powder, sea salt and baking soda.

Add the eggs, coconut oil, maple syrup, and vanilla and whisk again until a smooth batter is achieved.

Using a spoon, evenly fill the muffin tin. This batch makes about 18 mini treats. Do not overfill as the batter rises.

Bake for approximately 15 minutes, testing with a toothpick after 12 minutes.

Allow to cool and enjoy.

These muffins are quite delicious as is, however, if you want a real treat – add a chocolate glaze.

Easy Chocolate Glaze

Ingredients

3 large squares of dark chocolate (70 – 80% darkness)

1 – 2 tsp of coconut oil

Directions

Heat the chocolate and coconut oil and stir until well combined and completely melted. I use the microwave for this.

Dip the tops of the muffins in the glaze and place in the fridge to harden.

Hope you enjoy these delicious chocolate treats as much as I did!

xo Lauren


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The Best Muffin Recipe Ever

I tested this recipe out a few weeks ago with every intention to share it – but then I totally forgot. Perhaps it slipped my memory because they disappeared as quickly as they were baked – these were [and I quote] “the best muffins ever” according to Neil. I didn’t try any because they contain both gluten and dairy [and sugar] but based on his reaction, the only downfall about these muffins is that a dozen in a batch isn’t nearly enough.

Cinnamon Apple Streusel Muffins

Recipe from: Fork Knife Swoon

Cinnamon Apple Streusel MuffinsIngredients

Muffin Batter
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground cloves
8 tbs unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1-1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1-1/2 cups chopped apples (I used Macintosh)

Streusel Topping
1/4 cup brown sugar, packed
1 tbs all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tbs unsalted butter, cold

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 375. Grease twelve muffin cups.

2. For the streusel: In a medium-sized mixing bowl, mix together the brown sugar, flour and cinnamon. Using a fork, cut in the butter, until combined, forming small pea-shaped pieces. Set aside.

3. In a large mixing bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves until evenly combined. Set aside.

4. Using a stand-up or hand-held electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy, about two minutes. With the mixer on low-speed, slowly add the eggs, and then the vanilla until combined.

5. Stir the apples into the wet ingredients. Slowly add the apple-mixture to the dry ingredients and stir to combine. The batter will be very thick.

6. Spoon the batter into the prepared muffin tins and top with a sprinkling of the streusel mix. Bake for 18-20 minutes until golden brown and a cake-tester comes out clean. Allow the muffins to cool for five minutes in the muffin tin before removing and cooling on a baking rack. Serve warm.

I would assume you can store these in an air tight container for at least a week and subsequently in the fridge, however, the batch I made didn’t even come close to lasting that long.

Happy Baking!

xo Lauren

 


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Gluten, Dairy and Sugar Free Pumpkin Loaf

I seem to have a lot of success when using pureed pumpkin in my baking. Not only do the recipes taste delicious and savory, but they are always soft and have the perfect texture. Today’s health-ified pumpkin loaf proves me right once again. As usual this is an extremely easy recipe to follow with very few ingredients.

Gluten, Dairy and Sugar Free Pumpkin Loaf

Inspired by: Slim Palate

Healthy Pumpkin LoafIngredients

1¼ cup almond flour
1¼ teaspoon baking soda
pinch of salt
heaping ½ teaspoon of cloves and cinnamon
heaping ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
1 cup pumpkin
2 droppers full of liquid Stevia (if you want this to be a sweet treat use 3)
⅓ cup melted coconut oil + a bit extra for greasing the loaf pan
3 eggs
⅓ cup water

Directions

1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.

2. Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and mix well [I used a fork to mix].

3. Grease a loaf pan with coconut oil to ensure that you’ll be able to remove the pumpkin bread once it has finished baking.

4. Pour mixture into loaf pan and spread around so it is spread out evenly in the loaf pan and place in the oven for about 1 hour and 10 minutes.

5. Allow to cool – or not – serve and enjoy!

Healthy Pumpkin Loaf

I like to eat mine warm topped with coconut butter, it is so delicious [and healthy enough to have for breakfast]!

Give it a try – I promise it is worth it!

xo Lauren


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Bacon Chocolate Chip Biscotti

Valentine’s Day is just around the corner and if you’re anything like me, you are probably racking your brain trying to find a new and meaningful way to show your significant other just how much you appreciate them. Sure it is easy to pick up a box of chocolates, flowers and a store bought card – but that isn’t how N and I roll. We like to do something special for each other, something that requires thought and effort – usually something homemade.

This year I spoiled my boyfriend a bit early with an amazing new recipe – Bacon Chocolate Chip Biscotti. They say the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach, and after making these treats I can believe it! These biscotti are infused with bacon fat and dotted with rich chunks of chocolate – satisfying your sweet, salty and savory desires all in one bite. Whether you dunk them in your morning coffee or indulge after dinner – these unique treats are sure to be a hit, and a conversation starter.

Just a warning – these aren’t one of my healthy dessert creations. They are decadent and delicious and should be enjoyed in moderation!

Bacon Chocolate Chip Biscotti

Inspired by: Serious Eats

You'll find yourself licking the plate clean because these Bacon Chocolate Chip Biscotti are so delicious.

You’ll find yourself licking the plate clean because these Bacon Chocolate Chip Biscotti are so delicious.

Ingredients

3 strips of bacon (reserve the fat – should be just slightly less than 1/4 cup)
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup unsalted butter, softened
2 large eggs
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
coarse sea salt

Directions

  1. Fry bacon in a skillet until browned and crisp [and completely cooked]. Transfer to a paper towel-lined bowl to remove any excess grease and allow it to cool completely. Remove all excess bacon fat from the skillet and set aside. DO NOT THROW THIS AWAY – you’ll need it in a minute.
  2. Chop the cooled bacon – it should be just a touch larger than the bits you would find in a caesar salad. Set aside.
  3. Whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt in medium bowl. In large bowl, beat the butter,  reserved bacon fat and sugar with an electric hand mixer until light and fluffy, two or three minutes. Add eggs one at a time and beat to combine.
  4. Combine the wet and dry ingredients and beat until blended. Stir in bacon and chocolate chips.
  5. Gather the dough into one large ball and divide it into two equal pieces. Wrap each half in plastic and refrigerate for 20 – 30 minutes.
  6. Preheat the oven 350ºF and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  7. On floured surface, roll each piece of dough out into a 12 to 14-inch log. They will seem very thin for biscotti but trust me. Sprinkle each log with a pinch of coarse sea salt.
  8. Transfer logs to baking sheet spacing them 3 to 4 inches apart. Bake until light golden and dry to the touch, about 30 minutes.
  9. Remove baking sheet from oven. Reduce oven temperature to 300ºF. Allow logs to cool for 15 minutes.
  10. Transfer logs to cutting board and slice logs on the diagonal into 1/2 thick pieces using a serrated knife.
  11. Return slices to baking sheet, standing upright, and bake until dry and golden, 20 to 30 minutes – depending on the desired crispness.
Allow to cool and enjoy!

Allow to cool and enjoy!

These little gems have been a hit amongst everyone I’ve shared them with. I know there are a lot of steps in the recipe but it is really easy to follow. Most of your time is spent waiting as opposed to working. Give it a shot – they are too delicious to pass up!

xo Lauren


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Walnut & Sweet Potato Biscuits

2013 – boy does time fly! Hopefully you had a great time ringing in the new year and spending time with your loved ones – I know I did.

What better way to start the year than a new recipe. Yesterday I spent a lot of time in the kitchen fooling around with ingredients. I had a few recipes bookmarked that I was dying to try but didn’t have the necessary ingredients. What’s a girl to do when EVERYTHING is closed?! Substitute. But really – do I ever follow a recipe as written? Luckily this time my baking turned out great, so now I can share it with you!

If your New Year’s resolution is to eat better and get into shape, I would recommend whipping up a batch of these Walnut and Sweet Potato Biscuits – they are lactose, gluten and sugar free [crazy right?!] and pass the boyfriend taste test. Oh and they are so simple to make as long as you have a food processor or blender.

Walnut & Sweet Potato Biscuits

Inspired by: A Dash of Megs’ Sweet Potato Biscuits

Gluten Dair Sugar Free Walnut and Sweet Potato Biscuits

Ingredients

1 large baked sweet potato

2 tbsp coconut flour

1/2 cup egg whites

1 cup walnut pieces

1/4 cup fat free greek yogurt (naturally lactose free)

1 tsp baking powder

2 tbsp almond coconut milk

1 tsp cinnamon

2 droppers full of liquid stevia

pinch of salt

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 350F.

2. Grind 1 cup of walnut pieces in the food processor until it becomes a crumble like texture. This takes between 45 seconds to a minute.

3. Add the remaining ingredients into the food processor and mix until a smooth batter forms.

4. Drop batter onto a parchment paper lined baking sheet. I was able to make 9 biscuits from this mixture.

5. Bake for 20 – 25 minutes or until the tops have browned just slightly.

6. Allow to cool and enjoy!

Healthy Treats

These biscuits are really tasty and moist have good crumb. They melt in your mouth!

If you’re interested in the nutritional information for these biscuits [1 serving = 1/9th of the batter] here it is:

Calories: 121 / Carbohydrates: 9g / Fat: 8g / Protein: 7g / Sodium: 42mg / Sugar: 3g

Now that is a good looking nutritional profile – eat up!!!

What have you been baking lately? Any healthy treats?


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Get In My Belly Banana Bread

In our house someone always ends up buying more bananas than they can eat, in hopes that they will magically turn into banana bread. That someone usually gets his wish – what a lucky guy!

I can’t remember where I came across this recipe, but I have made a few tweaks over the years and it seems to work out perfectly every time.

Part of the reason I am sharing this recipe with you guys is because I need to rewrite my post-it note of ingredients or else I may soon lose it.

Seriously… this is a health hazard. And look at how I spelled flour – I don’t know if I can ever live that one down.

I always thought making banana bread was a really tough feat – until I came across this recipe. I have been using it for as long as I can remember and I hate to brag [kinda] but I’ve been told it is the best out there! I should probably mention that this isn’t the healthiest recipe on the market [it isn’t the worst either though], but it is totally worth it!

GET IN MY BELLY BANANA BREAD

Makes 1 loaf

What you will need:

Simple and few ingredients – as usual!

3-4 very ripe bananas [the ones in the picture are for show, I usually freeze my brown bananas and defrost them when I am ready to bake]

1/3 cup melted butter or margarine [either work so it is your preference]

1 cup sugar

1 and 1/2 cup all purpose flour [I have made this recipe using whole wheat flour with success]

1 tsp vanilla

1 tsp baking soda

1 egg

pinch of salt

What to do:

Step 1:  Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Step 2: In a large bowl, thoroughly mash the bananas – I use a potato masher for this task.

Step 3: Add the melted butter and sugar and continue to mash everything together.

Bananas, margarine and sugar mash.

Step 4: Add all of the remaining ingredients and mix well using a fork or spatula, whichever you prefer.

Ready to be poured into the pan.

Step 5: Grease a loaf pan using butter or margarine. This is essential to easy removal from the pan.

Step 6: Pour the batter into the loaf pan – the batter will be quite thick and sticky.

Before the oven.

Step 7: Bake for 60 minutes.

Step 8: Allow to cool in the loaf pan for 15 – 20 minutes.

And after. I love the way it cracks at the top and caramelizes – so pretty and tasty!

Step 9: Serve and enjoy!

This banana bread doesn’t last more than a few days in my house. I bake for banana bread purists so I don’t add any extras, however, adding nuts or chocolate chips would be delicious – your call though!