Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough

raw cookie dough

I remember baking cookies once in school. Sometime in the 4th grade my teacher decided this would be a fun way to learn measurements and fractions but to a group of 10 year olds, it was an excuse to get a sugar high.

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Most the kids were too impatient to get the cookies into the oven to bake. Instead, all the little fingers were reaching in the bowl to scoop up delicious clumps of raw batter… except for me. My mom always told me to stay away from raw eggs.

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Apparently I was the only kid in class that worried about salmonella poisoning; thanks momma! My teacher was so impressed, she called my mom to say just how great my ability to resist the globs of sugary goodness was.

Now I don’t have to resist, because this raw cookie dough is egg free! Not only that, but there’s also no added sugar that would keep the kiddos bouncing off the walls. So mix up a batch of this sweet cookie dough and eat to your healthy heart’s content!raw cookie dough

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough

vegan, grain free

Ingredients:

  • 1 can  white beans (garbanzo or canellini)
  • 1.5c medjool dates, pitted, soaked
  • 2T almond butter (cashew or coconut butter would be awesome)
  • 1T vanilla extract
  • almond milk (or coconut) to thin to preferred consistency
  • 1/3c vegan chocolate chips or cacao nibs
  • *optional 1oz. shot of Frangelico or Disaronno

Directions:

Place all of the ingredients in a food processor.  Add  almond milk as needed and process until very smooth.

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This frosting is thick like you might find in a jar of Pillsbury frosting, and because it’s not loaded with sugar and artificial ingredients, you won’t have to worry about that dreaded sugar hangover the next day.  I love to put this frosting on everything from baked plantains, and maple sweet potato doughnuts or paired as a dip with a fruit platter.  Then again, putting it on a spoon works just fine, too!

The frosting is simple, it’s not mind numbingly sweet and you can make it in less time then it takes to get to and from your nearest grocery store.

Nacho Cheese

nacho time

So I was watching the show Chopped with the hubby (I am slightly addicted to this show) and while at the same time, I’m disgusted by some of the basket ingredients. Though I think a lot of the reason I like the show is because it does give me some awesome ideas.

chopped

One of In In this particular episode, the basket item was “ball park nachos”. You know, the stale corn chips covered in an orange goo that’s just one chemical ingredient away from being plastic….

ball park nachos2Anyway, I felt inspired that evening to make nachos for dinner and use one of my favorite, non-junky cheese recipes. I looked in the pantry and saw I was out of cashews (frowny face) which seem to be the basis of most my cheese recipes. So in my own “chopped-esque” way, I thought, “darn it, I’m making cheese with what I’ve got!” and “what I’ve got” was tofu…

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All the tofu haters, just haven’t used this delightful ingredient to it’s full capacity. My friends, please, embrace the tofu!

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Actually, most my friends and family have unknowingly and joyfully consumed tofu on more than one occasion. So here is just one more awesome way to enjoy this culinary treasure, and who doesn’t love cheese, right?

tofu cheese

Nacho Cheese Sauce

  • 6oz firm tofu (definitely go for organic and sprouted if you can)
  • 1/4c almond milk; or non-dairy milk of choice
  • 1/4c arrowroot starch (a non-GMO corn starch will work, too)
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 4T *juice from a jar of jalapenos (or more almond milk)
  • 1T miso paste (optional, but great flavor)
  • 1/4c nutritional yeast
  • 1/2t lemon juice
  • 1T onion powder
  • 1T garlic powder
  • 1/2T salt (or more)
  • sun-dried tomatoes, cumin, chili powder, cayenne, red pepper are all great additions…

Directions:

Tofu and almond milk in a food processor or high powered blender and process till smooth.  Begin adding your other ingredients and blend, blend, blend.  Then be sure to taste!  Add more nutritional yeast to kick up the cheesey taste or more seasoning/ garlic to enhance the cheese’s flavor.  If it’s too thick or you’d prefer a runnier sauce, add a bit more almond milk or water.  Once you’ve reached the consistency and taste you like, you’re all done, so enjoy.

nacho time

Bonus, enjoy the fact that you know what’s in your cheese…. can’t really say the same about the ones at the ball park… #getWelli !

Amaretto Brownie Bites

Amaretto Brownie Bites

This last week has been a whirl wind of wonderful (big fan of alliteration), my growing business, Welli Desserts is still growing, yay! The community I live in is so amazing, everyone wants to help each other grow their businesses and  are eager to help however they can. If you’ve never been to Orlando, or all you’ve seen are the theme parks, you have to experience the real culture of the city.

beauty&thebeastOur Orlando City Soccer team actually has the second largest crowd for any MLS soccer team… not too shabby. And the new Dr. Phillips Performing Arts Center always has phenomenal shows (Phantom of the Opera and Beauty & The Beast were magical). We have it all, the arts, sports, and delicious food. The food here, in the words of Willy Wonka, is scrumdiddlyumptious!

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And speaking of scrumdiddlyumptious, I made some of these fantastic Amaretto Brownie Bites and I wanted to share the recipe with you. These brownie bites first made an appearance at my birthday party. The big Three-O! woot woot!… Then, a batch of these brownies made their way to an awesome benefit. Finally, more of these brownies made their way to our coffee table. My handsome hubby and I devoured the newest batch while enjoying some late night Family Feud. (Steve Harvey is entertaining!). Anyway, rave reviews meant this recipe was a must share, so here ya go, I hope you enjoy them as much as we did!

Amaretto Brownie Bites
Amaretto Brownie Bites

Amaretto Brownie Bites

v,gf (*grain free)

Ingredients:

  • 1c Sorghum flour*  (for a grain free option, use hemp flour)
  • 1/2c Carob powder  (sub cacao)
  • 1/4c arrowroot starch
  • 1/4c coconut flour
  • 1t baking powder
  • 1t baking soda
  • 1 flax egg (1T flax meal +3T water; stir and let sit 5 min to gel)
  • 1/4c Amaretto (sub your choice milk)
  • 1/2c + 2T applesauce
  • 1/2c maple syrup
  • 1/2c hot coffee

Amaretto Frosting

  • 1 batch of Cake Frosting
  • add 1 shot+ amaretto
  • Mix the two together and enjoy

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350 F and lightly grease your bite-sized brownie pan (I used this one). [You can also use a 9×9 pan, just bake the brownies about 30 minutes]. Now, sift together all of your dry ingredients, add the wet ingredients finishing lastly with the hot coffee. Mix all of your ingredients well, the batter should not be too runny.

Pour batter into your bite-sized pan and bake 11 minutes. Again, if you’re using a larger pan, you will need to bake about 20 minutes longer… but who has that kind of patience? Finally, when the oven timer buzzes, take out these delicious bite-sized gems of goodness and let cool for a few minutes before delighting in that awesomeness.

I frosted these goodies with the Amaretto Frosting but here’s a link for some more awesome frosting ideas.

 

Did Someone Say Football?!

bbq wings

Can you hear that?  The blow of the whistle, the cheer of the crowd, the crunch of the  helmets?… That’s right, football season is upon us!  America’s favorite past time has finally returned, and not that I haven’t enjoyed watching the Orlando City games (go Lions!),

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but football means Seahawks, time with family, friends and of course, food!

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According to the Huffington Post, over 11 million pounds of potato chips are eaten on Super Bowl Sunday alone. Almost 70 million pounds of avocados are consumed; holy guacamole! And, drum roll please, 1.25 billion chicken wings are eaten during the big game. Now I’m all for a good party and snacks, but all that food has to go somewhere…

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For some of us, those gluttonous few hours of thrilling sports entertainment reveal themselves on our hips, thighs and midsections. Even before the SuperBowl, we’re eating massive amounts of calories each week leading up to it, and we’re certainly not filling up on carrot sticks and celery.

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This football season, I want to make sure that my family is having a few healthy snacks to enjoy while watching the big game.  Here are some new takes on my favorite classic wings and a queso dip with a new kick! You won’t have any trouble getting the kiddos to eat their veggies with these recipes.

bbq wings

BBQ Cauliflower Nuggets

Ingredients:

  • 1 head raw cauliflower; chopped
  • 1/3c garbanzo/fava flour
  • 1/2t salt
  • 1/4t pepper
  • 1/2c your favorite BBQ sauce (divided in half)
  • 1/4c water

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 400°F.  In a mixing bowl, sift together all of your dry ingredients.  Slowly pour in the water and BBQ sauce, mix together until you have a batter about the consistency of pancake batter.  Pour your chopped cauliflower into the bowl and be sure to coat all of the cauliflower with the batter.  Spread the battered cauliflower across a parchment paper-lined baking pan and place in the oven for 20 minutes. When the timer goes off, pull the nuggets out and using a basting brush, lightly (or liberally) coat these nuggets with your remaining cup of BBQ sauce. Pop the nuggets back in the over for an additional 20 minutes.  When that timer buzzes, your nuggets are done and ready for eating. A finger licking good time!

vegan queso

Jalapeno Queso Cheese

Ingredients:

  • 1/3c cashews;  best when soaked at least two hours
  • 1/4c almond milk; or milk of choice
  • 1/4c jalapeno juice (from the jar of your nearly empty pickled jalapenos)
  • 1/4c arrowroot (or corn) starch
  • 3T Sriracha (if you don’t like Sriracha, substitute with any seasoning you like; Italian spices are good, too!)
  • 1T miso paste (optional, but great flavor enhancer)
  • 1/4c nutritional yeast – available at most Publixs’ or WholeFoods
  • 1T onion powder

Directions:

Place cashews and almond milk in a food processor or high powered blender and process till smooth.  Begin adding your other ingredients and blend, blend, blend.  Then be sure to taste!  Add more nutritional yeast to kick up the cheesey taste or more seasoning to enhance the cheese’s flavor.  If it’s too thick or you’d prefer a runnier sauce, add a bit more almond milk or jalapeno juice.  Once you’ve reached the consistency and flavor you like dig in to the spicy goodness!

Cauliflower Nuggets… or Wings

Hello Folks!

cauli nuggets7It is a surprisingly dreary looking day outside… but since it’s Florida in the summer, and it’s almost 90° outside, I’ll just pretend I’m walking through a water park.  Yesterday we probably could have used a little rain to cool off as my family and I walked around Orlando.

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My cousin is visiting all the way from Berlin, Germany and has never experienced downtown Orlando.  She’d been to the theme parks plenty but yesterday she and my mom came over to not only to celebrate both their birthdays, but to experience a little of downtown, check out our home and enjoy some of my homemade vegan food (recipe below).

We started the afternoon with a lunch of cauliflower nuggets for an appetizer, followed by black bean and sweet potato tacos.  I may have added a few nuggets to my tacos…

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After our delicious meal we were off on a journey through the city.  We made it about a half mile before the heat caught up to us and we stopped into a favorite bar that looks out over Lake Eola.  After cooling down and sipping our wines, we wandered through the farmers market and a few shops before heading back for coffee and cakes (it’s the German thing to do).

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We chatted for a long while and finally said bis dann or “see you later”.  I so enjoyed their company and was even more thrilled that my cousin could finally try some of the foods I’m constantly blogging and tweeting about!

cauli nuggetsLots of people have asked for my cauliflower “wing” or nugget recipe, and while I do have a lot of variations on it, here’s a pretty basic one for you all to enjoy.

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Cauliflower Nuggets (you don’t have to put them in tacos!)

Cauliflower Nuggets

vegan, grainfree

Ingredients:

  • 1 head raw cauliflower; chopped
  • 1/3c garbanzo/fava flour
  • 2T nutritional yeast
  • 1/2t salt
  • 1/4t pepper
  • 1/2t garlic powder
  • 1/2t onion powder
  • 1/2c water

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 400°F.  In a mixing bowl, sift together all of your dry ingredients.  Slowly pour in the water and mix together until have have a batter about the consistency of pancake batter.  Pour your chopped cauliflower into the bowl and be sure to coat all of the cauliflower with the batter.  Spread the battered cauliflower across a parchment paper-lined baking pan and place in the over for 45 minutes. When the timer goes off, your nuggets are done and ready for the dunking.

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not the prettiest picture… sorry about that… but dang, these are tasty!

We dipped our veggie nuggets in a homemade vegan ranch and spiced them up with a little of Frank’s Red Hot Sauce but dip away in whatever you enjoy! Have a great week!

 

Chocolate Mini Doughnuts and Berry Yogurt Frosting

mini doughnut2

Hi folks!

IMG_3373It’s another beautiful day in Florida.  There is never a day I wake up here in Orlando and think, “why does it have to be so sunny today?”  People always ask if I miss Seattle, and while I miss the hiking and outdoorsy-ness of Washington (the highest elevation in Florida is only 298ft!), the many, many days of cold, gray and rain was what I was not all that stoked about.

I loved growing up in the good ol’ Pacific NorthWest because people were so conscious of everything from their health to the environment. Can you believe the county we live in now doesn’t have a recycling program?!   That would have been unheard of in Washington, so it always feels weird to just throw a glass or plastic bottle in the garbage… will the guilt never end?…

mini doughnuts4Seattle also had a sweet market place I miss, maybe you’ve heard of it?  Pike Place Market!  If you’ve never been, put that on your bucket list immediately.  There is nothing cooler than throwing fish in the market or buying the most gorgeous bouquet of wildflowers.  Fun shops and delicious restaurants keep the place packed with locals and tourists alike.  [I can’t wait to take the hubby there].

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One of the best places to stop was The Daily Dozen Doughnuts.  I don’t particularly care for doughnuts and my mom was never big on any kind of junk food but my family and I always made a stop here to share a few of the tiny round treasures.  I was reminiscing about the mini doughnuts and decided to buy new baking pans so I could recreate a healthy version of my childhood treat.

 

mini doughnut3My delightful doughnuts are grain free, gluten free and contain no added sugar.  But these little minis are packed with flavor and protein and still taste oh, so sweet.  Enjoy!

mini doughnut
Chocolate Lemon Doughnuts (with Berry Yogurt Frosting)

Chocolate Lemon Doughnuts with a tangy Berry Yogurt Frosting

Ingredients:

  • 1/2c hemp protein flour
  • 1/4c cacao powder
  • 2T arrowroot starch
  • 1 flax egg (1T flax meal + 2T water; let gel 5 min.)
  • 1/2t baking powder
  • 1/4t baking soda
  • 1T maple syrup (optional)
  • 2T coconut oil
  • 6T organic lemon juice
  • 1/2c sweet potato puree
  • Stevia to sweeten (I used lemon stevia)

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 330F and grease a mini doughnut pan (or two).  Sift together your dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl.  Blend together all your wet ingredients.  Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and mix until well combined.  Add your flax egg and mix.

Scoop your thick batter into the mini doughnut pan(s) and bake for 15-18 minutues.  When finished, let these beauties cool down.  Warm or cold, these mini doughnuts are awesome, and super easy to make anytime!

Tangy Berry Yogurt Frosting

  • 1/2c berries  (I used raspberries, blackberries, and blueberries)
  • 3T non dairy (unsweetened) yogurt
  • 1/4c melted cacao butter
  • lemon stevia

Directions:

Puree all of your ingredients together… cool in fridge… done…. nice, right?

Trail Mix Cookies

fitness3

My final “F” word for my short series of them, which included, Faith, Family, and, of course, food, is Fitness.  I’m not talking about being a gym junkie or running marathons and working yourself into a lean, mean, sexy beast (unless you want to), I’m talking about staying physically active and doing something to get you movin’.

Personally, I love going to the gym in the morning and have the place to myself.

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I usually start out on a recumbent bike so that I can multi-task; thanks Oprah!  I like to do my devotionals, catch up on emails and read as I work up a sweat.  Then a little running and weight lifting and I’m ready to start a new day with a clear focus.  This takes all of one hour in the morning, it is my “me time” to de-stress and prepare for the day.  Every now and then, I enjoy a good race or mudrun.  Yoga (of the hot variety) and paddle-boarding are also high on my list.  However, I don’t have to do these things or force myself.  I found ways to incorporate Fitness that I actually enjoy.

fitness

I know a lot of folks tell me they force themselves to work out to lose weight.  Hate to burst your bubbles folks, but exercise is not linked to weight-loss *gasp*.  But…exercise is still super beneficial because it helps reduce your risk of heart disease, dementia, type 2 diabetes and some other  not so awesome diseases and health issues. So find something to keep you active that you actually enjoy!  Go out and shake your boo-tay on the dance floor, go for a walk with your girl friends, or get lost on a trail you’ve not explored (thank goodness for Google Maps!).

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The point is, when it comes to Fitness, (don’t force yourself ) do what you enjoy and do it with the right intention.  If you are concerned about losing weight, start with changing the way you eat.

Here’s a fun snack for you to take on your next stroll or yoga session.  [I thought of taking them hiking… till I realized I live in Florida, and my apartment is probably the highest elevation I’ll find!].

Trail Mix Cookies
Trail Mix Cookies

Trail Mix Cookies

Ingredients:

  • 1c brown rice flour
  • 1c sorghum flour
  • 2t baking powder
  • 1/2t baking soda
  • 1/2c sunflower seed butter
  • 2T coconut oil
  • 1/2c plus 2T applesauce
  • 1/4c maple syrup
  • 1t molasses
  • 1T vanilla extract
  • 1/2c trail mix [or make your own, I like walnuts, dried unsweetened cherries & cacao nibs]
  • *optional: cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger

Eat well. Stay Active. Be happy and healthy!

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