Paleo Peppermint Chocolate Chip Cookies

IMG_3347When you bite into these cookies you can’t help but think of Christmas.  The chocolate peppermint blend of tastes will make you wish you were curled up next to a warm fire with snow falling outside.  They are the perfect gluten free cookie to add to your Christmas cookie platter.  And bonus- they are simple to make!  No freezing the dough or having to use 2 sticks of butter.  Don’t forget to leave some out for Santa with  some delicious almond milk. Enjoy!IMG_2921 (2)

Ingredients:

2 cups almond flour

1/2 cup arrowroot powder

1/2 tsp sea salt

1 tsp baking soda

2 tbsp vanilla

1/4 tsp peppermint extract

1/2 cup oil (I used avocado but you could also use melted coconut)

1/3 cup maple syrup

1/2 cup chocolate chips (I use Enjoy Life)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.  Mix together your dry ingredients (minus the chocolate chips) in a large bowl.  In a smaller bowl mix together your wet ingredients.  Using a hand mixer or a stand mixer on a low setting, mix the wet ingredients into the dry.  Once thoroughly blended together add in the chocolate chips.  Drop cookie dough onto baking sheet using about 1-2 tbsp per cookie.  Wet the palm of your hand and gently flatten the cookies.  Bake for 15 minutes.  Makes about 18 cookies.

If you’re really enjoying the peppermint chocolate taste try our peppermint hot chocolate!  

Mint Hot Choc 3

Cashew Milk

IMG_2921 (2) Did you know you can milk a cashew?!  😉

Cashew milk is a great alternative to almond milk.  Personally, I feel like almond milk has a consistency closer to 2% milk where cashew milk is closer to whole milk.  I enjoy how easy it is to make and how you only need to soak your cashews for 4 hours where almonds need to soak overnight.  When making cashew milk, most people choose not to strain it but I like to.  And the left over cashew meat looks like a paste and can be turned into “cheese” or a filling for various recipes.  Here is how you make it!

Ingredients:

1 cup raw cashews (soak ahead for 4 hours)

2 cups water

Instructions:

Using a high powered blender, blend your cashews and 2 cups water until the cashews are pulverized (about 30 seconds to 1 minute).

Pour the cashew mixture through an almond milk bag into a bowl.  The cashew leftovers/pulp is very thick so you will have to be patient when you strain it–almond milk strains much quicker and easier.  Squeezing little by little you will get all the liquid out and end up with some great tasting milk! IMG_2913 (2)

This makes about 2 cups cashew milk (you can make a thinner cashew milk, closer to 2 % milk, by using 4 cups of water to 1 cup of cashews).  Store in the refrigerator for 3-5 days. IMG_2923 (2)

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Almond Flour Crackers

IMG_2160These crackers are paleo friendly and gluten free. One batch makes about 50-60 crackers so you will be able to enjoy these for a while (unless you live with my kid, who is a little cracker thief). Another bonus–they are easy to store! Add the crackers and a paper towel into a ziplock bag or bowl with a lid, and leave on the counter. You definitely don’t want to store these in the fridge or they will become chewy. I love to spread butter and jelly on top, but I’ve also been known to use them with dips and lunch meat. I hope you love them!

 Ingredients:

2 cups almond flour
1 cup tapioca flour
1 tsp sea salt
1 tsp honey
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/3 cup oil (I prefer avocado, olive, and sunflower seed oils the best for this recipe)
2 eggs

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Using your food processor, add the almond flour, tapioca flour, sea salt, and baking soda. Pulse together for 15 seconds. Add in the remaining ingredients and blend together for another 20-30 seconds.

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Next, lay down a piece of parchment paper onto the counter that is the same size as your cookie sheet. Form the dough into 2 balls and place one of these on the parchment paper. Put another piece of the same sized parchment paper on top of the dough. Using your hands gently flatten the dough down. With your rolling pin, roll the dough out to 1/8 inch thickness (rolling over the top piece of parchment paper so that the dough won’t stick to the rolling pin).

When I do this step I try to keep a rectangular shape by trimming the sides of the dough and filling in the gaps with the trimmings. Keep rolling until the consistency is even throughout the rectangle.IMG_2133Remove the top piece of parchment paper and cut the cracker shapes using a pizza cutter. A knife works too but it will take more time and your crackers won’t come out as even.IMG_2141

I like to cut squares that are about 2” X 2”. Slide the crackers with the parchment paper onto your cookie sheet and bake for 8 minutes. Repeat this process with the second ball of cracker dough.IMG_2144Let cool for 10 minutes and enjoy! Make sure they are 100 percent cool before storing them.

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Banana Bread French Toast

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Have I mentioned before that I love all things brunch? I love the laziness of eating later in the morning and how it makes you feel like you belong to a secret world where everyone loves to relax and indulge. Before going Paleo, brunch was a whole different thing for me. It was eating as many sweet things as I could find and “balancing” it out with high carb, starchy hash browns. This Paleo banana bread french toast is a Sunday morning favorite in our house…and bonus, it’s healthy! It takes brunch to a whole new level. It tastes delicious–like it should be awful for you– but I promise you, it’s not! Enjoy!

Ingredients:
1 loaf coffee crumble banana bread (recipe here)
2 eggs whisked
1 tablespoon water
1 tsp vanilla extract
cinnamon
butterIMG_1945

Mix together the eggs, water, and vanilla and pour into a low bowl. Slice 6-8 pieces of the banana bread (1” thick). Place a piece of bread into the egg mixture and let soak for 5 seconds. Flip the bread and let soak for 5 more seconds.IMG_1955

Sprinkle cinnamon onto both sides. Heat 1-2 tbsp of butter in a 12 inch skillet over medium heat. Cook the french toast for 5 minutes per side. Serve with butter and warm maple syrup.

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Makes 3-4 servings.

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Herb Crusted Chicken and Sautéed Brussels Sprouts

IMG_2859Can we say “yum?!”

This gluten free and paleo friendly herb crusted chicken is our family’s new favorite. I use a specific all purpose seasoning that is my personal favorite for chicken but don’t feel like you have to use that exact one to create this–use what you’ve got. I am always trying new creations for making chicken and this gem has made our top 10 list for go to weekly meals. Add in an all purpose dinner roll or an extra veggie like my stovetop kale recipe and you’ve got yourself a complete meal.

When you are preparing this, the trick is to make sure the oil for the chicken is good and hot. Placing the herb coated chicken in the hot oil helps to seal the coating and crisp the texture. I check my oil by running a little water over my hands and (standing back from the stove) flicking ta few drops over the pan. If it sizzles and spits a bit you know you are ready. If the oil is smoking, it is too hot– that will char your chicken. If the oil isn’t hot enough, your coating will get soggy and fall away from the chicken. Once your chicken is cooked, don’t throw away that oil! Your Brussels sprouts are going to sauté in that oily goodness.

Ingredients for the Herb Crusted Chicken:
1 lb. chicken breasts
2 eggs
1/2 cup almond flour
1 tbsp all purpose seasoning
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp dried onion flakes
1/2 tsp sea salt
a pinch of black pepper
1/3 cup high heat oil (I used sunflower seed oil–perfect for frying up some chicken)
1-2 tbsp water

Begin by preparing your chicken. Filet the chicken in half into 4 equal pieces.
In a shallow bowl whisk the 2 eggs with 1-2 tbsp water.
In a separate shallow bowl mix together the almond flour, all purpose seasoning, garlic, onion, salt, and pepper.
Using a 12 inch skillet, add the 1/3 cup oil and heat over a medium temperature.
Dip the chicken into the egg and immediately coat the chicken evenly in the herb mix. Coat all 4 chicken pieces.
Once the oil is ready, place the chicken in and cook for 10 minutes on each side (20 minutes total).

While your chicken is cooking begin preparing your Brussels sprouts.

IMG_2852Ingredients for Sautéed Brussels Sprouts:
1 lb. Brussels sprouts
a dash of sea salt
left over oil

Set your oven to warm.
Begin by washing, trimming, and quartering your sprouts.
When the chicken is browned and cooked remove from the pan and put in the oven single file in an oven safe dish.
Add the Brussels sprouts directly into the oil and shake some salt over them. Keep the stove top on medium heat and cook for 20 minutes stirring occasionally. The sprouts will brown up a bit and coat themselves in all of the left over herby goodness that was left behind from the chicken. IMG_2856

This makes 2-3 servings. Enjoy!

A side note- if you would like to double this recipe I would suggest to use 2 separate pans instead of cooking the chicken in shifts.  The oil needs to be clean for the chicken and dirty for the Brussels sprouts in order for the herb coating to heat properly.    

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Healthy No Bake Brownie Bites

IMG_2711These have been a staple in my diet since day one on my Paleo journey. I have made and brought these to almost every Paleo health talk I have given because they are a great example of how easy it is to make a delicious treat that is a great source of protein and healthy fats.

No Bake Brownie Bites work as a great party dessert. They are easy to transport, making them a great snack option and can even replace a meal on a busy day. I first saw this on Paleomg’s website (find the original recipe here) and modified them to fit my needs. I hope you enjoy them as much as we do!

Ingredients:
15 pitted dates
1 cup crunchy almond butter (smooth works too)
1 cup coconut flakes
1/4 cup dairy free chocolate chips (I use Sunspire or Enjoy Life)
3 tbsp protein powder (I use and love Nutiva Hemp Protein– GMO free and Organic)
2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tbsp raw local honey

Using a large food processor, blend together your almond butter and dates until dates are fully broken down (it takes about a minute). Add in the remaining ingredients (minus the chocolate chips) and pulse together until mixed.IMG_2708

Once done, transfer into a bowl and stir in the chocolate chips. Form balls (slightly smaller than a ping pong ball) and set into a pyrex dish. It’s that easy!

This recipe makes 18-24 brownie bites. Store in your refrigerator in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.

Bonus serving option:

IMG_2718Roll your formed balls in shredded coconut.

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Vanilla Pudding Cake

IMG_2567This recipe started out as a horse of a different color. I was working on a banana cream pie and made a vanilla pudding base that wouldn’t set right. I realized half way through that I used the wrong amount of gelatin.

But it tasted too amazing to just throw it out!  Instead, I added a blend of flours to the “vanilla pudding” that I have found to be a great base for cakes and muffins: almond flour, tapioca flour, and coconut flour (the trifecta). I love it when a unfortunate mistake turns into something delicious! Enjoy!

Ingredients:

Dry:
2 tbsp coconut flour
2 cups almond flour
1/3 cup tapioca flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp sea salt

Wet:
1 can of full fat coconut milk
1/2 cup honey
1 tbsp vanilla
6 egg yolks
1 & 1/2 tsp gelatin

In a 2 quart sauce pan, heat the honey and coconut milk over medium heat while whisking.  In a separate bowl whisk the egg yolks.  Add into the sauce pan the vanilla and egg yolks while stirring.  Bring to a low boil and remove from the heat.  Slowly whisk in the gelatin.  IMG_2439

Once fully incorporated, pour the mixture into a bowl and let cool in the refrigerator for 2 hours to set, stirring occasionally.  It will become thicker but not firm.  .  IMG_2446Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Using a medium sized bowl, mix the dry ingredients together until well incorporated. Add the dry ingredients into the wet.

Using 2 round 8 inch cake pans, grease with either coconut oil or shortening, and lightly sprinkle with about a tablespoon of almond flour. You also can cut 2 circles of parchment paper and line the bottom of the cake pans to help the cakes fall away from the pan easier.

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Bake the cakes for 35-40 minutes. Run a knife around the perimeter of the cake pans to loosen the sides. Tip upside down over a clean counter surface and give light taps on the bottom until the cakes fall away. IMG_2574

Drizzle with a lemon glaze (recipe here) and fresh berries. Simply to die for.