Saturday, March 14, 2015

Easy Baking Ideas (Especially, for new Moms!)



Life with a newborn is pretty wonderful but it is pretty busy! I don't have as much time to cook and bake as I did in the past. It actually took me quite awhile to get back into the kitchen after my baby was born. The first month luckily, I was living near my parents and they brought dinner over nightly for my husband and I. They pretty much had a little catering business going on and it was wonderful! 

Then we moved away from California and away from them :( .  Our first month in Colorado we ate a lot of frozen veggie burgers (and we still do!), as well as some microwave dinners. Eventually, I missed cooking and being in the kitchen so I made myself get out my cookbooks and look on Pinterest to find some fun, quick and easy meals and snacks to make. Usually, these were recipes I could quickly get together or at least prep while my baby was taking a nap. Below are two snacks that I've made a couple of times. The muffins I had to make twice because the first batch I accidentally left out on the counter and my dog ate ALL of them! The cookies are so yummy and I don't think they lasted longer than a day in the house!







Chocolate Chip, Almond, Coconut Cookies

Ingredients (8 large cookies)
  • 1 cup almond flour
  • 1 cup All-Purpose unbleached flour
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 6 Tbsp melted coconut oil (melt before measuring)
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/2 tsp almond extract
  • 2 Tbsp water
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup shredded unsweetened coconut 
Instructions
Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a large cookie sheet with a silicone baking mat or parchment paper.
In a large bowl, combine almond flour and all-purpose flour, salt, and baking soda. Whisk, making sure to break up an clumps of flour.
In a small bowl, whisk together the melted coconut oil, honey, almond extract, and water.
Add wet ingredients to dry and stir with a rubber spatula or spoon until combined.
Fold in the chocolate chips and shredded coconut.
Scoop out 1/4 cup portions and place on prepared cookie sheet. Using the back of a spoon or your fingers, gently press down on the scoops of cookie dough so they form discs.
Bake for 12 minutes, or until cooked through and lightly golden brown around the edges. Cookies will be very soft.
Allow cookies to cool on the cookie sheet for 10 minutes before transferring to a baking rack to cool completely.

Slighting adapted from: Healthy Food For Living




The other fun little snack are these Flourless Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Mini Blender Muffins.   

I'm just linking the blog where I found them because I followed the recipe exactly. Enjoy!




Ciao,
Betsy

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Palm Springs Memories: Banana-Walnut Date Shake/Smoothie

Okay, it's been awhile again! I have just been enjoying the time being a mom to my little one. We have been taking Stroller Strides exercise classes and attending our local library for story time.  Besides that, I've finally started cooking interesting meals again, as well as attempting to bake......   moving to a place with high altitude has been a challenge!

Since life with a newborn definitely changes your schedule and time, creations in my current kitchen need to be quick and easy!

So thankfully, the Vitamix came out of hiding and we've been making this smoothie/shake a lot! It is made with simple healthy ingredients but tastes a lot like ice cream. Plus, it is made with dates (one of my favorite foods!) which makes me miss living in California and reminds me of my fun trip to Palm Springs last year.

My Mom, Grandma (90 years old!), and I headed on a girls weekend to Palm Springs to see The Fabulous Palm Springs Follies before it ended it's run that began in 1992.



There was a huge event going on in town, and it was hard finding a reasonable priced hotel. Luckily, I came across a wonderful charming gem called La Maison. La Maison is a small Mediterranean boutique hotel with charming rooms, a nice relaxing pool, and a great location. The innkeepers were very friendly, and Richard will even make you made to order lattes in the morning! I highly recommend this cute hotel that is away from some of the louder touristy areas. Plus, it's in walking distance to Native Foods, a great locals Italian place, and a cupcake shop (for the drive home, of course)!




Oh and there is a resident Inn dog too!

Try the eggplant parm pizza at Giuseppe's!

Cupcakes for the drive home!

View from our room



L'occitane bath products

Palm trees in Palm Springs


Lavender satchels to take home :)
                                       


If you didn't know, the Coachella Valley is the "Date Capital of the World." Palm groves have thrived there since the 1800's. Dates are something I just love (I ate a ton of them while pregnant and use them in my Biscoff Dough Balls). If you go to Palm Springs, you can't leave without getting a famous Date Shake! There are places selling them all over but we stopped in at Great Shakes and their Date Walnut shake was delicious!!! They serve all of their shakes with an adorable mini-donut on the straw too. This retro themed shake shop is a must!








Since it is currently a blizzard outside in Denver, I made this shake today to remind me of the nice warm weather (we went in April) in Palm Springs! It's quite a bit healthier too :)



BANANA-WALNUT DATE SHAKE
Makes 2 servings

Ingredients:
2 cups milk (First I used 1% but today I tried Vanilla Almond Coconut milk!)
2 frozen bananas
1 cup ice
1/2 cup walnuts
8-10 dates (the more you add the sweeter it will be)
2 TBSP flax seed meal
1 tsp Almond extract

Instructions:
Place all the ingredients into a blender in the order above. Blend until smooth!


Recipe inspired by: Meaningful Eats



Ciao,

Betsy











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