Saturday, June 29, 2013

Paleo Raspberry Almond Muffins

Trying to convert our household to a paleo lifestyle has definitely been a challenge.  I'm not going to lie, we like carbs.  The idea of cutting out breads, pastries and all things baked really isn't an option here so I had to find some creative ways to eliminate the bad stuff while still satisfying that craving.  Enter: Raspberry Almond Muffins with a Cinnamon Crumble.  Yeah, those don't sound so paleo-friendly, but I promise, they're 100% cave girl approved!

Paleo Raspberry Almond Muffins with Cinnamon Crumble

1/3 cup almond flour
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
4 eggs
1/2 teaspoon vanilla bean paste or extract
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup almond milk
1/4 cup coconut oil
1/2 cup fresh raspberries

2 tablespoons almond flour
1/4 cup of finely chopped almonds
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon maple syrup
1 tablespoon melted coconut oil

- Preheat oven to 350 degrees
- In a large bowl, combine flour, salt, baking powder and cinnamon
- In another bowl, combine eggs, vanilla, maple syrup and milk
- Add dry ingredients to the wet and whisk until smooth
- Melt coconut oil and slowly add it to the batter, continuously whisking.
- Fold in your raspberries gently as to not break them apart
- Combine your crumble ingredients
- Spray your muffin tins with nonstick coconut oil spray or line with paper cups
- Fill each cup 2/3 full with batter
- Spoon 1 teaspoon of the crumble on top of each muffin
- Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until you can poke them with a toothpick and it comes out clean

Monday, June 24, 2013

Welcome Summer!

First and foremost, we're over 10,000 page views - woot and thank you all for caring what I have to say.  Your readership is greatly appreciated, particularly to those who have watched the Tipsy Cupcake grow over the past two years.  There are a few projects in the works here and I'm excited to share them with you all as they begin to unfold, but more on that later.

We're hosting our latest give away with severals ways to enter:

     (1) Become a blog follower
     (2) Like our Facebook page [click here]
     (3) Share a Facebook post
     (4) Follow us on Twitter [click here]

Winners receive a customized dessert sampler with your choice of our Athletic Collection (paleo friendly), Tea Party Collection (to bring out the princess in all of us) and our Poker Night Collection (masculine inspired desserts that are all just a little bit sinful).  Enter as many times as you like!

So now, on to the primary reason for today's post.  Happy summer everyone [at least in the northern hemisphere]!  We celebrated the onset of the season last night a bonfire joined by some of our close friends and let's be honest, what good is a bonfire without s'mores?  Those of you that know me, know that s'mores take on a new meaning in my hands however.  Combine a freshly baked cinnamon graham cracker with a gooey, homemade marshmallow and creamy, classic chocolate square [sorry, I didn't make the chocolate myself].  While delicious and decadent, I do have to warn you - these are not even close to paleo friendly.  [Everyone needs to indulge a little once in a while].

Homemade Marshmallows

3 1/2 envelopes of unflavored gelatin 
1 cup of cold water (divided)
2 cups of white sugar
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1 tablespoon vanilla bean paste
2 egg whites
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar 
Nonstick cooking spray
1/2 cup confectioners sugar (for dusting)

- In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine gelatin and 1/2 cup of water and allow to sit for 5 minutes until the gelatin dissolves
- In a heavy bottom saucepan, combine 1/2 cup water, sugar, corn syrup and vanilla on a medium heat and allow it to dissolve
- Bring the sugar mixture to a temperature of 240 degrees (using a candy thermometer to gauge).  This should take about 10 to 15 minutes 
- Add the sugar mixture to the gelatin and whip on medium speed for 6 to 8 minutes until it resembles melted marshmallow 
- Add cream of tartar to the egg whites and whip until they form stiff peaks 
- Fold the egg whites into the sugar mixture until evenly distributed 
- Grease a 9"x9" metal pan and dust with confectioners sugar
- Pour the marshmallow mixture into the pan and level with a spatula 
- Allow them to stiffen in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours 
- Use a knife to cut around the edges of the pan and dislodge the marshmallows.  You may need to help them out with a spatula while inverting the pan
- Slice into 1" squares and roll in remaining confectioners sugar
- Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to one week 

Homemade Graham Crackers

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 1/3 cups graham flour 
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon cinnamon
2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
2/3 cup dark brown sugar
1 tablespoon molasses
2 tablespoons honey 

- In a medium bowl, combine flours, baking soda, salt and cinnamon; set aside
- In a stand mixer, using the paddle attachment, combine butter, sugar, molasses and honey and beat until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes
- Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula and slowly add the dry ingredients on medium speed until the dough begins to come together
- Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for a minimum of 2 hours or up to 7 days
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees
- Lightly flour your surface and begin to roll out your dough to 1/8 of an inch thick
- Use a pizza cutter to make even 2"x2" squares or cookie cutters to form shapes
- Lay on a parchment paper-lined cookie sheet and bake for 8-10 minutes or until crisp and golden brown
- Allow them to cool completely and store in an airtight container for up to 5 days 

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Citrus Olive Oil Shortbread with Sea Salt

I love shortbread cookies and wanted to share a spin I put on my lavender cookies from an earlier blog.  The olive oil adds a bright, fruity note but they still maintain the rich, buttery texture.  I lieu to the blood orange extract, you could also use an infused olive oil.  

Citrus Olive Oil Shortbread with Sea Salt

3/4 stick of room temperature, unsalted butter
1/8 olive oil
1 teaspoon blood orange extract
1/4 cup demerara sugar (white sugar will also work)
1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
1 cup of whole wheat pastry flour
1/4 cup of corn starch
1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 tablespoon flake sea salt 

- Preheat oven to 350 degrees 
- Cream your butter in a stand mixer for 3 minutes to incorporate air pockets, then add olive oil, orange extract and demerara sugar
- In a small mixing bowl, combine flour, corn starch and salt
- Add vanilla bean paste to the butter mixture and continue to mix on low speed
- Slowly incorporate your dry ingredients 1/4 cup at a time until well combined into a sticky dough
- Turn out the dough onto a silicone pastry mat and gently kneed to incorporate any dry pockets 
- Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper and form 1 1/2 inch balls, smoothing the surface of each
- Press each ball to about 1/4 inch thick and sprinkle with flake sea salt 
- Bake for 18 minutes or until cookies are lightly golden brown at the feet (all ovens differ to watch your first batch carefully)

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Creative Craving Cures - Quinoa "Mac" and Cheese

I absolutely love a good bowl of homemade mac and cheese.  Who am I kidding, I absolutely love nearly all things involving cheese, period.  I do however openly admit that most mac and cheese dishes are completely void of any nutritional value.  Yes, you can add broccoli, peppers or other vegetables but let's face it, you're still talking about a big bowl of pasta drenched in melted cheese.  Stop kidding yourself.

When you're talking about a dish with two primary components, creating a healthier alternative becomes a bit tricky without loosing the integrity of what you're making.  I've tried a few vegan recipes that substantially cut down the fat content but along with that, they destroy the texture and flavor.  Sorry, I love raw cashews but don't even try to pretend that they're a substitute for melted gruyere and b├ęchamel sauce.  Since I concluded that the cheese wasn't going anywhere, I had to address the mac portion of the dish.  Pasta, by definition doesn't bring a lot to the table in the way of nutrition.  It's a classic pre-endurance workout carb load, but unless you're running a marathon tomorrow, probably not the best option on the dinner table (apologies to all of my die-hard Italian friends).

Enter, quinoa.  I know I've written about this fabulous little seed in the past.  Heck, you'll probably see it again too.  I love quinoa.  Contrary to popular belief, this little wonder is a seed, not a grain, hence why it ranks in as one of the best plant sources of protein.  Eat more quinoa people.  There, I'm done with my pitch.

So I found a pretty fabulous recipe for a Cheesy Quinoa Mac and after a few tweaks and adaptations, I'm pretty happy with the outcome.  Granted, you can add anything you like and really make it your own [If I'm invited for dinner, I'm a sucker for a good lobster mac and cheese].

Cheesy Quinoa Mac

1 1/2 cups of white quinoa
2 1/2 cups chicken stock
1/2 cup white wine
1 clove of garlic, finely minced
1 tablespoon butter
1 1/2 tablespoons all purpose flour
1 egg
1 cup cold low fat milk
1 1/2 cups grated cheese (I used a gruyere, smoked gouda and cheddar blend)
1/4 cup panko breadcrumbs, for garnish
1 tablespoons chopped scallions, for garnish

- Preheat oven to 350 degrees
- In a large skillet, toast the quinoa until it takes on a light, golden color, about 7-8 minutes
- Bring the chicken stock and white wine to a slow boil
- Add the toasted quinoa and garlic, reduce the heat to medium and reduce out the liquid, about 15 minutes
- In your skillet, melt the butter and whisk in the flour until a roux forms
- Add the milk and remove the skillet from the heat, continuing to whisk until there are no lumps
- Whisk in your egg and grated cheese
- Once the quinoa is finished cooking, stir it into your cheese sauce, mixing well to incorporate all the ingredients
- Transfer to a baking dish and top with breadcrumbs
- Bake for 25-30 minutes or until breadcrumbs are a golden brown color
- Top with scallions and serve

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Super Foods Go International

Ever since I was a little girl, I have love Mediterranean flavors.  The balance of savory, acidic, nutty and briny that the region has brought to the culinary world is something that's highly addictive and so definitive of their culture.  One dish that I truly love, which I find to be a fantastic marriage of so many flavors is tabbouleh - a traditional cracked wheat and parsley salad.  The bright, fresh flavors with the array of textures really make it a fantastic and versatile dish.

While traditionally, the recipe calls for bulgar (cracked) wheat, I prefer to make mine with quinoa for a boost in fiber and protein content.  If you really break down the salad into its individual components, it's really easy to see why it truly is a "super food."

  • One bunch of Italian flat-leaf parsley packs three times the vitamin C of an orange, twice the iron of spinach and about 1/4 of your daily recommended intake of calcium, magnesium and potassium.  It really is so much more than a crappy garnish circa 1990.  
  • Onions and garlic bring anti-inflamatory properties and can help regulate cholesterol levels.
  • Cucumbers are high in fiber and water content and work as a great cleaning tool to help rid your body of unwanted toxins.
  • Mint leaves are an excellent digestion aid.
  • Tomatoes are high in vitamins A, C, K, lycopene, potassium and folate - all of which help fight free radicals and lower your risk of certain cancers.
  • Lemons are another digestion aid, loaded with vitamin C and when juiced, work as a great liver cleansing agent.
It really is just a nutrient-packed bowl of deliciousness!  

Mediterranean Tabbouleh

2 cups dry quinoa
1/2 cup dry white wine
3 cups water
2 bunches of flat-leaf Italian parsley, finely chopped 
1 larger cucumber, seeded, peeled and diced
2 medium roma tomatoes, seeded and diced
1 small red onion, finely diced
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
8-10 peppermint leaves, torn
1/4 extra virgin olive oil
1 lemon, juiced
1/4 teaspoon allspice
sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

- In a large skillet, toast the dry quinoa over medium heat for 7-8 minutes or until the kernels begin to turn golden brown 
- Bring the water and wine to a rolling boil and add the toasted quinoa
- Once fully cooked, set aside to cool 
- Combine quinoa, parsley, cucumber, tomatoes, onion, garlic and mint in a large bowl and toss well to evenly distribute the ingredients
- Mix olive oil, lemon juice, allspice, salt and pepper and drizzle over salad
- Serve immediately or store in an airtight container, refrigerated for 3-4 days 
- Tabbouleh can be served with soft pita bread and hummus, as a side dish with a protein or use it as a stuffing in roasted tomatoes or peppers