Monday, June 9, 2014

Watermelon-Chia Cooler

If the last two days are any indication of how hot it will be this summer, we're in trouble!  But I've been staying cool and hydrated drinking my refreshing Watermelon-Chia Cooler.

You can use any melon, but I like the natural sweetness and color of seedless watermelon.  Also chia seeds pack a powerful punch.  They are high in Omega 3s, protein, fiber and are hydrating.  I soak one tablespoon in one cup of filtered water in the fridge overnight and then use them in my juices and smoothies for added nutrition during the week.  To get the full benefit of chia seeds you really need to soak them before using.

Serves 1-2

1-1/2 - 2 cups organic seedless watermelon, chilled, cut into cubes
1-tbsp soaked chia seeds (You can add as much as you like, but they are very gelatinous and will thicken the consistency.  Also, I like using black colored chia seeds instead of the grey.  There is no difference in nutritional value between the two.)
1 tbsp finely chopped mint
1/4 - 1/2 cup sparkling water, chilled
Juice from a 1/2 lime
Agave nectar to taste (my watermelon was really sweet and so I didn't add any agave)

Method:  Soak 1 tbsp chia seeds overnight, covered in the fridge.  (Note:  one tablespoon will turn into 1/2 cup soaked seeds.)  Place watermelon in a blender and blend until smooth.  Transfer puree to a bowl and stir in the remaining ingredients.  Chill until cold and serve with a mint sprig.

Stay cool and enjoy!  


Thursday, June 5, 2014

Caprese Sandwich

Some of the best sandwiches are made with very few ingredients and this is one of them.  I remember years ago we were traveling in Normandy, France (which is fitting because tomorrow is the 70th year anniversary of the D-Day Invasion of Normandy) and were in Mont Saint-Michel, an island located on the coast with a beautiful medieval town perched near the very top.  Anyway, we stopped at a small outdoor stand and I ordered one of the best sandwiches I ever had, and it only had two ingredients:  Gruy√®re cheese and butter on a baguette.  Perhaps it was because we were sightseeing all day and we were exhausted, but coupled with the incredible scenery and history of the place, I will never forget eating that sandwich!

Now a Caprese sandwich has a whopping four ingredients but it is my go to sandwich when I want something quick after work for dinner in the summer.  I love eating this sandwich when the heirloom tomatoes are at their's just so delicious with the fresh fragrant basil, Daiya Havarti style cheese, good quality extra virgin olive oil and a crusty French sweet baguette!

Cin cin!


Sunday, June 1, 2014

Gluten Free "Hostess" Cupcakes

My husband's birthday was a couple of weeks ago and I wanted to bake him a gluten-free cake from scratch, but I really didn't have time when I got home from work and so I made cupcakes using Pamela's Gluten Free Chocolate Cake Mix.  They were absolutely delicious...moist, rich and super chocolatey!  For the egg substitute, I used Bob's Red Mill Egg Replacer, but ground flax meal/water would work just as great.

To be honest, my husband probably would of preferred if I made Hostess Twinkies instead of the cupcakes, but Twinkies are so's just a vanilla sponge cake with piped in frosting.  No creamy ganache icing or fun squiggly decoration on the top...just a boring sponge cake.  Anyway, he loved them and I think that I made a chocolate lover out of him!

For the filling I used the same buttercream recipe that I used for my Veggie Cupcakes, but only made half of the recipe and I added a little more cashew cream about 1 Tbsp to make the filling smoother.  Using a small plain piping tip and squeezed in enough frosting to cause the cupcake to puff up, but not to break.

For the ganache topping I used 1/2 cup Ghiradelli semi-sweet chocolate chips and about 3 Tbsp cashew cream.  I placed it in the microwave for about 30 seconds until melted and then stirred in 1 tsp Earth Balance Butter.  Before decorating the cupcakes, I let both the cupcakes and the ganache cool to room temperature and the iced the top of the cupcakes using a small off-set spatula. 

And for the squiggle design I used a 1/2 cup sifted confectioners sugar with 1 Tbsp cashew cream and stirred until smooth.  You want this to be really thick so that when you pipe the icing will hold its shape.  Also, let the ganache set-up completely for about 30 minutes before piping the squiggly design.  To speed up the process you can place the cupcakes in the fridge for about 10 minutes until the ganache sets.