Raw Almond Butter Bites

Raw Almond Butter Bites

I love no bake treats because…well…I don’t like baking. This is another quick treat that doesn’t require baking and it’s a super healthy bite for those mid-day sweet cravings. Healthy enough for a snack and delicious enough for dessert. It goes really good with a cup of coffee. These bites are also the perfect boost for a pre-workout or a great pos-workout snack due to the natural sugars from the maple syrup, plus carbs from the oats and a dose of healthy fats from the almond butter and coconut oil. 

These recipe can also be made with raw almond butter or any kind of all natural nut butter. The oilier the butter the better. You can add more milk or more ground oats depending on how thick or thin the mixture turns out. Contrary to baking, it’ll be hard to screw this recipe up!

If you make them, please be sure to pop back and leave a comment with your thoughts!

Raw Almond Butter Bites
 
Author:
 
Ingredients
  • 1½ cup oats, ground slightly (measure before grinding)
  • ½ cup roasted almond butter
  • 3 tsp coconut oil, melted
  • 3 tsp maple syrup
  • ¼ tsp sea salt
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tbsp almond milk
Instructions
  1. Mix everything but the ground oats until smooth.
  2. Stir in the ground oats until a thick batter forms.
  3. Make small balls with the mixture (or any shape you like)
  4. Place in the refrigerator and let it sit for at least one hour until the bites are somewhat hard to the touch.

 

Spicy Mashed Chickpea Salad

Spicy Mashed Chickpea Salad

I’m excited to share this idea here. It’s pretty simple to make and so delicious.  I’m a big fan of chickpeas but they do need a lot of love to really get their flavors going. Mash them up with some cumin, lemon and a touch of heat and you have a delicious salad to tuck into pita bread, roll on a tortilla or kale leaf, serve as a dip or as a base for a tartine.

This is how I made this batch, but you can add or hold ingredients to taste.

Use one can of chickpeas, drain and mash it slightly to keep a bit of a crunch.

Spicy Mashed Chickpea Salad

In a separate bowl mix well until creamy:

  • 1 tbsp pure tahini
  • 1 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Juice 1/2 lemon (aprox. 1/2 tbsp)
  • 1/2 tbsp water
  • 1/4 tsp cumin
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp of Huy-Fong Chili Garlic Sauce (it can be replaced with Sriracha or fresh chopped garlic and chili flakes)

Spicy Mashed Chickpea Salad

Mix the sauce with the mashed chickpeas.

Spicy Mashed Chickpea Salad

I spread half of the salad evenly on top of a slightly toasted bread. Added some thin sliced cucumbers, watermelon radishes, chopped parsley, toasted almonds and lunch was ready.

I was so hungry…Taking the pictures was pure torture.

Spicy Mashed Chickpea Salad

I ate the other half of the salad as a dip for the extra cucumber slices and I finger licked the bowl.

What I learned from Martha Stewart

Stuffed Chicken Breast Rolls

When I first saw Martha Stewart on TV many years ago after I just moved here from Brazil, I  thought it was something seriously wrong with her. The slow talking, slow moving, the half smiles, the irritating hair in the eye, the missing sense of humor. What exactly is she? A baker?Designer? Not a chef, not a decorator…Wedding planner? I learned later that boring Martha was is an American icon and everyone loved loves to hate her.

I’m not exactly a fan but she has my respect. After all she has survived fame, prison, divorce, building an empire twice, and she has taught me how to pound a chicken breast properly.

Now, since I couldn’t find a video of Mrs. Stewart herself pounding the chicken breast here are the non-illustrated directions:

  1. Take a full chicken breast and place it on your cutting board.
  2. Take a piece of plastic wrap 2X bigger than the breast itself and put it over the chicken breast.
  3. With a meat mallet start pounding the chicken. Start from the center and work your way out. Use short and even strokes.

I use this method frequently to make chicken piccata, chicken scaloppini and chicken rolls. Stuffed chicken breast rolls is a quick ‘make ahead’ recipe. I usually stuff it with sauteed spinach, mushrooms, fresh mozzarella and basil, ham and provolone, and even stuffing. First you need to pound the chicken breast like you were Martha and then:

  1. Season the thin fillets with salt/pepper/garlic powder.
  2. Place a mound of stuffing on each breast.
  3. Wrap and roll the fillets over the stuffing.
  4. Secure breasts with toothpicks.
  5. Place rolls, seam side down, on a greased baking sheet.
  6. Bake at 380F for at least 40 minutes (depending on the size of the rolls)

Wrap the rolls in bacon or prosciutto for extra flavor. If we could only do the same to Martha Stewart!!!!

 

Peppermint Oreo Truffles AND Bourbon Pecan Balls. NO baking required!

If you landed here before you already know that baking is just not my thing.  It should be no surprise that I’m so frigging happy about these two ‘dealicious’ (hah I can’t help it) treats that I’ll be eating and sharing with much love and joy this holiday season.  Absolutely NO baking required! Nuff said.

PEPPERMINT OREO TRUFFLES

Peppermint Oreo Truffles

Use TJs Candy Cane Joe-Joes for these truffles, but it works equally good with regular oreos. You can also throw a couple of candy canes in the food processor and use regular Oreos if you can’t find Peppermint Oreos.

You’ll need:

  • crushed to dust peppermint candy OR peppermint candy dust (@WorldMarket or Sprouts)
  • 1 package of Ghirardelli (or whatever maker you prefer)semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 8oz. package cream cheese (room temp)
  • 1 package Trader Joe’s Candy Cane Joe Joe’s (or 1 package of regular Oreos and 2 candy canes)

Make it:

Peppermint Oreo Truffles

In a food processor, pulse cookies until they’re finely ground. Transfer them to a small bowl, add the softened cream cheese and fully combine (I used my hands for that.)

Mixture should be sticky. Roll it into little 1″ balls. Place the rolled balls onto a piece of parchment paper and place it in the freezer for 20 minutes (just enough to harden the outside of the balls)

Melt the chocolate according to the package directions.

Remove balls from freezer and dip them in the chocolate. Transfer them back to the parchment paper. Sprinkle the candy cane dust on top to garnish and then let the chocolate set and dry. Once dry, refrigerate the truffles and serve as needed.

BURBON PECAN BALLS

Bourbon Pecan Balls

I made them for the first time yesterday and they are just heavenly. Boozy, sweet and powerful! The better the Bourbon, the better the punch!

Simply combine all ingredients and shape into 1-inch balls; roll in additional powdered sugar. Store in an airtight container up to 2 weeks.

You’ll need:

Bourbon Pecan Balls

  • 1 box vanilla wafers crushed to dust in the food processor
  • 2 tbsp of cocoa powder (I used 100% unsweetened Ghirardelli cocoa)
  • 1 cup chopped pecans
  • 3/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup bourbon
  • Extra powdered sugar too roll the balls

Slow Cooker Chili with Kale and Fresh Tomatoes

Lean Chili with Kale and fresh tomatoes

No super tasty comments about how ‘dealicious’ this chili turned out. No orgasmic pictures either (chili is just not photogenic.) I just want to have this recipe documented because I must repeat the achievement. It was the best Chili EVER end of the story!

Slow Cook Lean Chili with kale and fresh tomatoes

Best Chili EVER! Slow Cooker required!
 
Author:
Recipe type: Winter bliss!
 
Ingredients
  • 1½ Lb lean ground beef
  • ½ cup of bacon or smoked sausage (optional...but I used a bit of both)
  • 1 large onion (diced)
  • 1 tbsp of VOO
  • 4 garlic cloves (crushed)
  • 5 medium roma tomatoes diced
  • 3 tbsp of tomato paste
  • 1 small can of white beans
  • 1 tbsp of molasses
  • Beef broth or red wine or beer for deglaze (2 tbsp approximately)
  • 1 Lacinato kale bunch chopped (optional....gotta put something green on it)
  • ⅓ cup of chopped cilantro (from our garden)
  • 1 hot cherry pepper (or any pepper available like serrano, jalapeno, or pasilla)
  • 1 tsp of these DRY/Powder spices mixed all together on separate small bowl:
  • cinnamon
  • pasilla
  • chipotle
  • paprika
  • smoked Spanish paprika/pimenton (can be replaced by an additional tsp of paprika)
  • thyme
  • oregano
  • 1 tbsp of:
  • salt
  • dry cumin
  • apple cider vinegar
  • liquid aminos OR soy sauce
Instructions
  1. Remove ceramic pot from slow cooker and keep it close to stove. Turn slow cooker on high and set timer for 3 hrs.
  2. Heat oil in a large saute pan over medium-high heat. Brown the meat (and optional bacon/sausage) first adding a little of the dry spices to it (I like to leave the meat in small clusters/chunks. Place it in the crock pot and reserve.
  3. In the same pan saute the onions, garlic, tomatoes, cherry pepper, kale and cilantro with a little of the dry spices until most of the liquid has evaporated. Place it in the crock pot and reserve.
  4. Deglaze the saute pan with beef broth, wine, beer, or water. Add tomato paste dissolving it in the deglaze (add more liquid if too dry). Add all the leftover spices to the broth. Cook for about 2 minutes and place it in the slow cooker.
  5. Add all the other ingredients (except for the white beans) and mix well. Transfer ceramic pot to the slow cooker and let it cook for about 2½ hrs then check for taste. Add the white beans (drained) and any salt or spice to taste. Let it cook another hour and tadah...best Chili EVER!!!!

Kids had chili leftovers for lunch. Husband had it at work. I ate it with rice. I ran out of rice. I ate it with pita bread. I ate it with chips. And when nothing else was available to accompany it,  I ate it with a spoon straight out of the fridge because I was running late to pick up the kids. It tasted good every single time!!!!

Dealicious Ground Sirloin at Sprouts

THE DEAL: If you want to give this recipe a try get the ground beef at  Sprouts. Starting today they have ground sirloin (93% super-lean) for $5.99 lb. (Check your local store for offers)

Thanksgiving past, present and future

First Thanksgiving Family Dinner

Until not too long ago, Thanksgiving was just something which I had no understanding of, whatsoever. Growing up in Brazil, turkey was a protein that we mostly ate at Christmas…and Christmas only. Since I moved to US zillion years ago this holiday and its special meaning has evolved with me. Thanksgiving used to be a nice long break from work and time to shop the best deals. Nothing else. Then some Brazilian friends married some American friends and unexpectedly we’re  all gorging on turkey and cranberry sauce and all the rest of the food that we traditionally saved for Christmas. Next, I married my American Hawaiian husband and we created our own Thanksgiving tradition. We feasted on ‘feijoada’ (a delicious Brazilian pork and beans stew); ‘kalua pig’ (because one can’t get enough pig); and even paella because we felt thankful for our cultural diversity and taste buds.

It was not until our first born started kindergarden that we had a real traditional Thanksgiving meal and only because he actually requested. Since then, many turkeys have been roasted and many side dishes made it to our favorite list. Every year, something different is introduced to our ever evolving menu…a side, a appetizer, a dessert or even a cocktail. Our last year winner was this amazing Balsamic-glazed brussels sprouts from The AOC Cookbook.

The OAC Cookbook recipe-Brussel Sprouts

For this year Thanksgiving dinner, I’ve been collecting some fall recipes from my favorite chefs, cooks, cookbooks, bloggers, pinners and instagrammers. So many dishes I’d love to cook but there’s always that ONE recipe that pops out and makes me want to run to the kitchen and start the magic.  I may not even wait for Thanksgiving to try them out.

Here are the 2014 Thanksgiving recipe nominees!

Sourdough Stuffing With Kale, Dates and Turkey Sausage

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Roasted Squash & Whipped Feta Tartine with Pistachio Dukkah

squash-toast-top

Black Rice, Kale & Aubergine Pilaf

Black_rice_kale_pilaf_04

 

 

Egg difference

Eggs dealiciouscooking.com

The last time I visited my mother in Spain she brought some fresh eggs from the “aldea” (village in Galician) where some of her extended family lives. Some of the eggshells were white, some were brown, some were bigger, some were smaller – no surprise there. It was the deep orange color of the yolk that really surprised me. I’m talking about a tone of orange I’ve never seen in any egg yolk before. At that time, I wasn’t that interested on ‘why’ the Galician yolks were much darker and brighter than the Californian yolks.

Those yolks were so brightly colored because the Spanish village chickens roamed around outside and they were out walking around and exercising in the sunshine, eating all kinds of grasses and insects in addition to the grains the chicken owner’s feed them. A more diverse diet and more nutrition made those eggs have more vitamins in them.  Those eggs were not pasteurized and probably infested with salmonella, all sorts of food born illness, hen’s crap, and other unsanitary issues…but it has been way over 72 hours and I’ve survived long enough to tell you that super fresh eggs from happy Spanish chickens that eat bugs and hang out in the sun all day are the BEST eggs I’ve ever tried.
Pasture Eggs dealiciouscooking.com

Last week I came across these pasture eggs from Vital Farms at my local Ralph’s.  They may not come from happy Spanish chickens but the flavor, color and texture of these eggs were in one word RIGHT! That’s how eggs suppose to be. I mean, look at the color of this yolk!!! No filter…straight from my iPhone. I wasn’t to excited to pay almost $6.00 for 12 of these delicious but not DEALicious (hah) eggs, but it was so worthy. So, it was over easy eggs for breakfast the whole week. The white part was consistently fluffy and the yolk so thick and creamy every time. And even though these eggs were not pasteurized, I’ve survived again to document them here.

Here are some facts I learn about eggs:

  • Shell color is breed specific and it’s no indication of quality.
  • Cage Free hens are not caged and they live inside barns, but they generally do not have access to the outdoors.
  • Free-Range and Free Roaming seem to mean the same.
  • Certified Organic the hens are uncaged inside barns and are required to have outdoor access, but duration of outdoor access is undefined. They are fed an organic, all-vegetarian diet, free of antibiotics and pesticides.
  • Vegetarian fed means that the hens’ food doesn’t contain animal byproducts.
  • Pasture-raised hens are kept outdoors for most of the year, on a spacious pasture covered with living plants, and are kept indoors at night for protection.
  • Pastured eggs have been shown to be higher in vitamins, omega-3 fatty acids and antioxidants, and lower in cholesterol and saturated fat.

Brazilian Coconut Yucca Cake

Yucca and Coconut Cake - Gluten Free

This traditional Brazilian cake is gluten and dairy free, packed with fresh coconut and real yucca root. It’s heavy as a very wet brownie, while chewy like a carrot cake.  There are many different variations of this cake, but this one is an easier and healthier recipe adapted from an old one that included condensed milk and milk. Replacing the ‘indulgent’ ingredients for ‘healthier’ alternatives didn’t seem to change the flavor or texture of the cake.

It all started because my kids wanted the thrill of opening a coconut. It took a lot of effort and youtube how to videos, but we won the battle.

Coconut BattleIMG_4454IMG_4457

Then what? What to do with the coconut meat? The kids tried some raw pieces and completely disliked it. There are not a lot of recipes out there that use raw coconut. Suddenly, I remembered this recipe and why I’ve never made it before…because it calls for fresh unsweetened unprocessed coconut. Perfect!

I peeled the coconut’s brown outside skin  (for lack of better word). It was not easy. I used a grater, knife, vegetable peeler…I totally botched the coco!!! And them I finished the job by shredding it in the food processor.

dealiciouscooking.com Yucca and Coconut Cake - Gluten Free

In the same food processor, I grated 1 lb. of yucca (previously frozen and thawed). I squeezed the water out gently before grating it. Frozen yucca can be found in the frozen food department of Latino and Asian stores. Some Asian stores carry the yucca already grated.

Yucca and Coconut Cake - Gluten FreeYucca and Coconut Cake - Gluten Free

I reserved the yucca and coconut separately. Using the same processor (and blade) mix the rest of the ingredients. I added half of the shredded coconut and pulse several times. Then I added the mixture to the yucca and remaining coconut. I mixed well and transfer the mixture to a greased cake pan (9 inches plus) and bake at 350F until the edges become golden brown.

dealiciouscooking.com Yucca and Coconut Cake - Gluten Free

 

Brazilian Coconut Yucca Cake
 
 
Ingredients
  • 1lb grated yucca, thawed (asian and latino markets carry grated frozen yucca and whole frozen yucca)
  • 1 fresh coconut grated
  • 4 eggs
  • 1½ cups of sugar
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 can of coconut milk (lite or whole)
  • 1 tsp of baking powder
Instructions
  1. See also the instructions within content and pictures.
  2. With a food processor shredded the fresh coconut flesh.
  3. In the same food processor grate the yucca (previously frozen and thawed, but fresh raw yucca can also be used). If using frozen, squeeze the water out gently. If using fresh, squeeze some of the water after grating the yucca in the processor by using a strainer.
  4. Reserve the yucca and coconut in separate bowls.
  5. Using the same processor (and blade) beat the rest of the ingredients. Add half of the shredded coconut and pulse several times.
  6. Add the mixture to the yucca and remaining coconut. Mix well and transfer the mixture to a greased cake pan (9 inches plus) and bake at 350F until the edges become golden brown.

Baba Ganoush

Baba Ganoush 5 ingredients dealiciouscooking.com

I first remember tasting Baba Ganoush when I was about 7-years-old. Our neighbors in Brazil had Syrian roots and they were pretty much responsible for my first taste of Middle Eastern food. Birthday parties in their home were, in one word, scrumptious. Best of both countries. Baba Ganoush, Hummus, mini Kibbees, Dolmas, Brigadeiros (Brazilian chocolate fudge bites), and coxinhas (Brazilian chicken fried dumpling.)

I don’t think I tasted Baba Ganoush again until I moved to the States.  Every time I eat Baba Ganoush I go back to my neighbors Claudia and Andreia’s birthday parties and Sunday suppers. I see their dad, Senhor Luis, in the kitchen mixing some Za’tar and proclaiming I would never taste anything like it.

I wish I could share this Baba Ganoush with Senhor Luis and tell him “thank you” for the delicious memories.

THE DEAL: I used 4 small eggplants (2 Casper and 2 Szechwan) from our garden for this recipe. It was the perfect amount and use for our fresh picked eggplants.

Fresh Eggplants from Garden dealiciouscooking.com

Roast the eggplant and garlic with the skin on. I dressed the eggplant slices with Trader Joe’s Pacific Smoked Salt and black pepper for extra flavor.

Roasted Eggplants for Baba Ganoush

Add all the ingredients to the food processor. Since the eggplants were so tender I didn’t remove the skin. I used pure Tahini sauce and I needed to add a little water to the final mixture to thin it out a bit.

Baba Ganoush dealiciouscooking.com

 

Baba Ganoush
 
 
Ingredients
  • 4 small Chinese eggplants or 1 medium regular eggplant
  • 4-6 garlic cloves, peel on
  • 3-4 tablespoons fresh lemon juice according to taste
  • ¼ cup tahini sauce
  • ½ teaspoon salt plus extra depending on size of eggplants
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil plus some extra for drizzling
  • Pinch of paprika for garnishing
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Slice eggplants in small pieces. In a bowl, toss eggplant slices with salt and 1 tbsp of olive oil. Place it on a baking sheet along with the unpeeled garlic. Roast until tender, 30-40 minutes. Remove the eggplant and garlic from the oven and allow to cool for 10 minutes before removing the garlic peel.
  2. Place the eggplant, garlic, tahini and lemon juice in a food processor and process until fairly smooth. Add the olive oil and salt and process it briefly. Scrape the mixture into a bowl, taste and add more lemon juice or salt to taste.
  3. With the back of a spoon, make a swirl in the top of the baba ganoush, drizzle olive oil in the swirl grooves, and sprinkle with paprika.

 

 

Making peace with fall and a Pumpkin-Free Autumn Recipe

Roasted Maple Pork Loin stuffed with Apples and Blueberries

While everyone can’t wait to talk about the crisp air and turning leaves, I’m quietly questioning why everyone seem to love this season. Although I have much to celebrate in the fall (anniversary, hubby’s birthday, Halloween and Thanksgiving) I seem to never really embrace it. With fall come super mutating viruses, crazy weather (even in SoCal), allergies, football, college football and the inevitable…winter! Treat or trick is fun for the kids and extra fat for me because I have no will power. Everything will soon die. No more flowers, no green…all will be red, brown and dead!!!!! It’ll be dark outside. Not a thing to wear because the weather won’t decide what to be; hot, cold, rainy, dry, frosty, windy????

Should I even mention the PUMPKIN everything? As much as I love the pumpkin coffee, pumpkin carving, pumpkin pie, pumpkin décor, pumpkin patches…it is just WAY too much pumpkin. Cooks act as if they will loose their minds if they don’t cram as much pumpkin in their recipes before the end of the season. How many people actually bother to cook with real pumpkin? It taste grosser than canned pumpkin to me.

How do I make peace with fall?

Since I can’t stop fall from coming and I can’t keep the world in perpetual, blissful summer, I’m going to embrace it (with moderation). I’ll grow fall vegetables in my garden, take daily antihistaminic, get the flu shot, buy new boots and scarves that match my tank tops, and think outside the pumpkin.

 

Because no food blog venting should post without a recipe, here is what I made today (sans pumpkin) for tonight’s dinner.

Roasted Maple Pork Loin Stuffed with Apple and Blueberries

THE DEAL: Costco had an instant rebate on Pork Loin ($2.80) yesterday on a package of 2. Each pack has 2 loins. I used 1 pack/2 loins for this recipe (I’ll freeze the extra pack.) In addition, apples are in season and on sale everywhere.

Ingredients for Maple Roasted Pork stuffing

For the stuffing you will need: 1 apple (diced); 1/2 cup of blueberries; 3 diced shallots or 1 small purple onion; fresh rosemary; 2 tbsp bread crumbs; 1 1/2 tsp olive oil; salt and pepper to taste.

On a medium fry pan heat the olive oil. Brown the shallots until translucent. Add apples and cook for about 3 minutes. Add blueberries, bread crumbs, salt and pepper. Cook for 1 minute or until the bread crumbs absorb the juices. Reserve.

Roasted Pork Stuffing

Butterfly each loin (I could not spare more than 3 minutes butterflying the loins, so there you have it. Not pretty but works. A reminder that this shit is real!!!!!!!Real cooking!!!!) Season all sides with salt and pepper (be generous but reasonable).

Butterflying

You could use the “Saran warp and meat hammer” technique (aka pound it until thin) to make it flatter and easier to roll. I had limited time and wanted to get dinner done as quick as possible, so I topped one loin with the stuffing and made a “sandwich”. Then I simply tied the loins together (no tying skills required). Placed the “sandwich” in a roast pan/pyrex lined with shredded napa cabbage (To add flavor and retain moist. This step is totally optional.) Season again with some salt and pepper and finished with 1/2 of maple syrup over the top.

Roast ready dealiciouscooking.com   Maple over Roast dealiciouscooking.com

Place a piece of foil over the loin (don’t cover the whole pan, just the loin to keep it moist) and roast for 45 minutes at 360-370F. Discard the foil and roast for additional 15 minutes.

I haven’t decided yet what to serve the roasted pork loin with. I know Farro will be a great side, but the kids can’t take it. I’ll probably make a quick couscous right about before dinner time. The whole family loves the roasted garlic and herbs couscous from Near East. It takes literally 5 minutes to make and 2 minutes to disappear from our plates.