Category Archives: Gift Ideas

Flourless & Sugarless Chocolate Torte

Say hello to chocolate heaven!!! Do I need to say anything else? I think not.
What makes this dessert so amazing? Could it be the combination of different types of chocolate as well as fats that really hits this one out of the ballpark?

INGREDIENTS
12 oz unsweetened baking chocolate, cut or shaved
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 sticks butter or 2/3 cup of coconut oil
1 1/3 cup equivalence of stevia or sweetener
6 large eggs
1 tablespoon coconut flour
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
2 tablespoons chocolate whey protein
1 cup ground pecans or any nut of your choosing (I also have used macadamia nuts and it has been amazing)

DIRECTIONS
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Grease a spring-form 8 inch pan with butter and add parchment paper to the inside and grease again with butter.

Brown the butter on the stove, be careful that it does not burn, once the color begins to change, decrease the temperature to low. Add the chocolate in small bits and stir constantly until everything is melted beautifully.

Add the sweetener of your choice and allow the temperature to cool down until you can touch the side of the pan without it being hot.

Add the eggs in and stir, add the remaining ingredients.

Transfer to the pan and bake for 30 minutes covered.

Serve with fruit compote and whipped cream.

Spicy Indian Vegetable Fritters

Vegetable Fritters

Makes about 24 fritters
Ingredients
1 small head cauliflower, cut into small florets
2 large organic eggs
2 scallions
4 tablespoons parsley, coarsely chopped
¼ cup almond flour
1 green chili, minced
1 tablespoon ginger, finely grated
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1/8 teaspoon asafetida
1/8 teaspoon of baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 cup nuts (choose peanuts, macadamia nuts or anything else you like, chop them down so they are a manageable size)

4 cups of oil to fry

Directions
In a food processor rice the cauliflower florets until it is grainy but not fully pulverized.Microwave the mixture for 5 minutes.Transfer the cauliflower to a towel and twist out all of the excessive moisture.

Mix the cauliflower in with the remaining ingredients.

Make each of the fritters into 1 inch round balls and press down to make a disc shape.
Bring the oil up to 350 degrees F.
Fry 2-4 at a time without overcrowding the pan. When you add too many, it drops the temperature of the oil and instead of frying quickly, the fritters just soak in all the oil.

Almond Butter Cookies

Almond Butter Cookies

Ingredients
1 and 1/4 cup almond flour
1 cup sugar equivalent (I love Stevia)
1/4 cup butter, at room temperature
2 large eggs
1/2 tablespoon vanillaDirections
Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees F.

Line baking sheets with parchment paper or use a non-stick baking mat.

Set the almond flour aside and blend in the room temperature butter in small chunks. Add in the eggs and vanilla until well incorporated.

Form the dough into 1-inch balls on a cookie sheet and and flatten them out.  I like to poke holes and shape them like traditional butter cookies. If you are using crystallized stevia, sprinkle some on top.

Bake for 8 to 10 minutes or until golden brown on the top.

Allow the cookies to cool before removing.

Ghee: The Gift of The Gods

Ghee is truly a gift from the Gods! I have to say that as an Indian, this is a huge staple in my diet. When my mom was a young girl, everything in their house was fried in coconut oil or ghee. That was just the way they rolled back then. I liked their style!

See my YouTube video oh the benefits of Ghee.

I know there is a huge misconception that is fat is bad, that is whack (sorry, I just had to go there.) Please refer to my previous post on butter (which includes my recipe for butter chicken) for further information.

While I have you here, I want to break down the main reasons ghee is amazing (aside from the fact it tastes amazing!)

High Smoke Point (250 °C  482 °F).
This means that it won’t break down when cooking and you get to keep all of the benefits of it. Compare this to extra virgin olive oil which has a smoking point of 207°C, 405°F.

Here is a list of oils and smoke points, just so you are fully educated.

Oil
Smoke Point
Grape Seed
485ºF or 252ºC
Avocado
480ºF or 249ºC
Sesame
410ºF or 210ºC
Canola
400ºF or 204ºC
Macadamia
385ºF or 196ºC

 

Not Going Bad Anytime Soon
They have discovered ghee in temples in Indian that are a few decades old and it is still good. Unlike butter, ghee has been cooked down and the milk solids removed so it won’t go bad any time soon. I don’t recommend that you store it away for years but it can stand on your counter and still be good for a few months, don’t worry- it won’t last that long.

Fat is PHAT!
Ghee is comprised of full spectrum short, medium and long chain fatty acids, both unsaturated and saturated. What does this mean for you?

Ghee has good fats in it which can raise HDL (good) cholesterol just as much, if not more, protecting the body from the bad (LDL) cholesterol levels and heart disease.

Medium-Chain Triglycerides (MCTs) are fatty acids that are naturally found in “super foods” such as coconuts, palm oil, and ghee. What are MCTs and what does it mean for you?

These smaller chain lengths means that the fats are readily absorbed by the liver and more quickly metabolized so you get faster fuel. These fats aren’t turned into fat. Learn more about MCTs here.
Lactose Intolerant? No Worries!
Because ghee has been cooked down from butter, it no longer contains the milk solids which cause your allergies. You can now indulge without guilt!

Nutritious As Well As Delicious
Contains oil soluble vitamins, A D and E.

Vitamin A:
Important for your eye development.
Creates skin, hair and mucous membranes and keeps everything in working order.
Strengthens your immune system.
Develops bones, teeth and epithelial cells.

Vitamin D:
Helps with calcium and phosphorous absorption.
Regulates calcium movement from bone to blood.
Helps prevent osteoporosis.

Vitamin E:
A potent antioxidant.
Protects the fats that outline ever cell in our body.
Protect fats from free radical damage before we eat them.

Ghee contains Omega 3 and Omega 9, nine phenolic anti-oxidants, as well as numerous other minerals.

Go Grass Fed

Grass-fed butter (which is turned into ghee) has been shown to contain K2 and CLA (Conjugated Linoleic Acid) that have anti-viral properties.

Recent research indicates that CLA may help prevent and even fight cancer cells and also help in the mitigation of type II diabetes. This isn’t found in normal butter, so go organic to get these benefits and more!

GHEE
Yield: Less than 1lb
INGREDIENTS

1 pound of organic, grass-fed unsalted butter

DIRECTIONS

Place the butter in a medium heavy-bottomed sauce pan and bring it to a soft boil from medium-high heat. Allow the butter to boil for 2-3 minutes then turn the heat down to medium.

Foam will form on the top and then disappear.

A second layer of foam will appear, this will be about 8-10 minutes into the process.

The butter will become a beautiful golden color, this is an indicator that the process is complete. Milk solids will brown and sink to the bottom of the pan, keep a close eye because it doesn’t take much for it to burn.

Allow it to cool for a bit and strain out the milk solids and keep the ghee in a metal or glass container.

I like my ghee a bit darker, it is a personal preference for a nice burnt butter flavor. That is why mine is a much deeper color, play with the timings until you find what you like.

Father’s Day Brunch Ideas

Best Dad!Father’s day is right around the corner! Are you excited?? I always say that everyone goes all out for Mother’s Day but what about our dad’s? They deserve as much love and attention, so let’s try to make this Father’s Day the best yet!

Brunch out at a nice restaurant is always nice but I find that on holidays like this, everything is booked, solid. Also, do you really want to fight the crowds (love the traffic) to wait in line for 30-60 minutes for a reservation you made for sub-par food? On crazy days like this, restaurants are trying to push out orders so fast that sometimes the quality of food isn’t as great. Not only that, but you are stuck listening to kids cry, it is so loud you can’t hear yourself think and you feel rushed so the next person can be seated for their reservation. YIKES!

Why not avoid this all together and take dad and mom out the night before and then spend Sunday at home? Plan a great family brunch/bbq and serve dad his favorite foods. Lucky for you, I have compiled together a list of my favorite dishes for dad! Visit my Pinterest Page to see all of the recipes that I have compiled for this special day!

Now that the meal is planned, what about dad’s gift? If you still haven’t found dad the perfect gift, no worries! I done the leg work for you already and compiled together a list of great gift ideas any dad would love.

Perfectly Crispy Pork Belly

I adore bacon but I can’t stand to buy bacon from the store. Have you ever read the labels? There are preservatives and sugars (dextrose being one) that are not good for human consumption. I prefer to make my own which is actually cheaper. I go to the local butcher shop and buy Pork Belly which is bacon. The butcher is kind enough to slice it to my preferences (thick-cut all the way baby!) In Uncooked Pork BellyChicago, I found organic bacon for $4.99 which is the same price as pre-sliced treated bacon that isn’t even organic. So, this is a better deal and so much healthier!
Ingredients
1 pound pork belly (aka bacon)
black pepper
salt

Directions
Place the oven rack right in the center.

Line a baking sheet with foil and leave excess foil so it hangs over the pan, this will keep the bacon grease from dripping onto the pan.

You can use a cooling rack on top of the foil to get the crispiest bacon. If you would like to do this, spray the cooling rack and place it on the foil.

Place the cut pork belly on the foil or on the cooling rack. Place the pork belly in a single layer and do not allow it to overlap. I like to add pepper to my bacon at this point to give it added flavor.Perfectly Crispy Pork Belly

Turn the oven on 400 degrees F, it is very important that you do not preheat the oven. You will be placing the bacon in a cold oven.

Cook the bacon for 12-17 minutes. The cooking time will depend on how thick you back was cut. I prefer to have thick cut bacon, you should start looking in on your bacon at the 10 minute mark. Do not open the oven, just turn on the oven light. Once the bacon looks golden brown, remove it from the oven. Remember that it will continue to cook even outside of the oven so if you let it get brown it will only brown further, which you don’t want.

Place the bacon on a paper towel to absorb the grease and cool off, you can also place it on a clean cooling rack if you desire. I like to salt the pork belly at this point.

Save the bacon grease for cooking eggs or meat. It should not be wasted.

TIPS
The oven should not be preheated, you will be placing the bacon into a cold oven.

To freeze the bacon: undercook the bacon a bit, freeze it after cooling off. When it is time to cook the bacon, place it in the microwave for 30 seconds on high and you will have perfectly cooked bacon.

Remove the bacon immediately after cooking. The bacon will continue to cook from the residual heat that it holds within but you don’t want it to continue cooking from the heat that comes off of the baking sheet.

For the non-low-carbers, you can sprinkle some brown sugar or dip the bacon in maple syrup before baking. This makes a great variation.

Mother’s Day Brunch

Three days until Mother’s Day and every decent restaurant in the tri-state area is fully booked. What are you going to do?You don’t want mom to think you forgot (even if you did) or that yo don’t appreciate her (because that is the farthest thing from the truth.) It is time to pull out all the stops and make this day, a very special one!

I prefer to make mom a homemade meal with her favorites, give her the presents that I put thought and care into and just spend some quality time with her watching movies or doing something she would love. We spend Mother’s Day at home treating mom like a goddess and then pick another day (where you can actually go outside without being stampeded over by everyone else in the country) to celebrate the day.

What are you going to cook for mom?? No worries, I have compiled together a list of items that will make mom thankful to have such an amazing and thoughtful child. Check out my board of recipes dedicated to mom on Pinterest.

Now that you have the menu planned, what about the present? Keep Calm & Call MomDon’t worry, I have a few idea that your mom will love, check out my post on Mother’s Day Gift Ideas.

No matter what happens, just spend the day with your mother (if it is feasible), if not shower mom with your love. Instead of just making the one customary call to wish her a happy Mother’s Day, call her a few times to tell her how truly loved she is and how much you appreciate her. Something I love to do is celebrate Mother’s Day and then two weeks later, do something out of the blue and tell mom that I appreciate her every single day. This always makes her smile.

I hope you have an amazing time together!!