Snack

Snack, Breakfast, Gluten Free, Summer

MINI ROASTED STRAWBERRY ALMOND MEAL MUFFINS

mini roasted strawberry almond meal muffins . sprouted kitchen
mini roasted strawberry almond meal muffins . sprouted kitchen

Earlier this week, our pillow talk included a how-long-can-you-hold-you-breath contest. I lost, Hugh capable of cutting off oxygen about twice as long as I could. I likely could have gone longer but I was afraid of passing out. This has less to do with my lung capacity, more to do with fear of pain, but that's another issue. This tumbled into looking into the world record for breath holding. You guys. TWENTY TWO MINUTES. I can do a lot of things in twenty two minutes, surviving under water is not one of them. What is so fascinating is that this Dutchman's method for dropping his resting heart rate is meditation by recalling childhood memories and imprinted mental imagery. Stig! You breath-holding genius. So I played the game myself, except I included breathing, as I tried to fall asleep. This is usually a process for me, falling asleep that is - going to the bathroom a dozen times, tossing and smushing my pillow for optimum head elevation and trying not to think about my list for tomorrow.  I also gave it a go as I was having a cavity filled. Novocaine shots! They make my hands clammy. I need major calming and to mentally go to a happy place.

I got thinking about past family vacations from when we were kids. We never did anything extravagant, but they are some of the most vivid memories I have of childhood. We had yearly trips with other families to San Clemente (yes, 15 minutes south) for beach camping. I remember my dad cursing every time while putting up the tent, orchestrating those long poles in a mangled X over the top, dirt sticking everywhere, we came of age when he offered to pay the teenage boys in the group to do it for him. The kids made the rounds on bikes as the parents unloaded for the weekend. It was here that I timidly rollerbladed, not completely grasping how to use the brake on the heal. Never the athletic one. Always cautious. The Costco size bag of powdered donuts we chipped away at for breakfast, the ones with so much powdered sugar they made your mouth dry or the tuna salad with Ritz crackers my sister and I ate under the bridge that the Amtrak train went over. Us and our favorite girlfriends put our backs up against the wall to feel the heavy vibration of the train rumble through our bodies as it went right over our heads. It was at this campground that we all sat around a campfire with the radio playing through a car stereo the evening Princess Diana died, and where I learned to shave my legs in those public showers that cost a quarter for five minutes of warm water. None of these memories euphoric in nature, but I can see them, like pictures, in my memory, and they are calming for the mere fact that these moments existed. Days, weeks, they're always in motion, but I can think back and time stands still. Maybe that is what is so peaceful about good childhood memories. They never include a hustle, weighty emotions pushed to the periphery of our memory, but they can be recalled as fine, almost delicate snapshots of our own story. 

We have no camping plans coming up, but if I were to replace those powdered donuts today, I would bring along these muffins. They're barely adapted from Rebecca Katz' cookbook. It's a naturally gluten and dairy free recipe, which most of her book is composed of. What I love most is all the great nutritional information in the beginning and how she promotes eating to enhance life, longevity and good health.  I swapped out blueberries for some roasted strawberries, but any small pieces of fruit will do here. Maybe a peach with cinnamon? With mini muffs, you want to be certain the pieces of fruit are small or they take up too much space in the muffin, not leaving enough room for the batter that holds it all together. Take that and run with it, the base recipe is just lovely and simple. The season of the super sweet, gorgeous strawberries is fading, so I roasted some down to stir into the almondy batter. Even if you do use another fruit, promise me you'll roast some strawberries before the summer is over just so you can soak in that smell. Sweet heavens, that smell is going on the list of my happy places next time I get a shot. "I know when to add chocolate chips to a backed good. Always." Thank you, chez Hugh. The chocolate takes them into the perfect afternoon snack category when you need a little something special. Glad to have these in the rotation.

mini roasted strawberry almond meal muffins . sprouted kitchen
mini roasted strawberry almond meal muffins . sprouted kitchen

MINI ROASTED STRAWBERRY ALMOND MEAL MUFFINS // Makes 24 mini muffins

Recipe adapted from The Longevity Kitchen by Rebecca Katz

The original recipe calls for two cups almond meal. I subbed in a bit of cornmeal because I love how it pairs with berries, the occasional bit of crunch, and wanted to see if I could just barely pull the flavor through. Either way should work. I am new to playing with coconut sugar and really love the sandy texture and almost smoky, caramely smell. It turns the end result a bit more murky brown but I'm not too concerned with that. A maple sugar, muscavado or natural cane sugar would work fine here as well. 

If using a standard muffin tin, I am guessing you'll want to add about 5-7 minutes to the baking time. Haven't tried it yet, so just keep an eye on them. 

  • 1 1/2 cups almond meal
  • 1/2 cup cornmeal
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/3 cup coconut sugar
  • 1/4 tsp. sea salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp. honey
  • 1/2 tsp. almond extract
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup roasted strawberries*
  • 1/3 cup chocolate chips, optional
mini roasted strawberry almond meal muffins . sprouted kitchen
mini roasted strawberry almond meal muffins . sprouted kitchen

Preheat the oven to 375'. Prepare a mini muffin tin with paper liners, or coat the pan generously with coconut oil.

In a large bowl, combine the almond meal, cornmeal, baking soda, coconut sugar and salt. In another bowl, whisk the eggs, olive oil, honey, almond and vanilla extracts together. Whisk it up real well until fully combined and even in color. Add the wet to the dry ingredients and stir to mix. The batter will be fairly thick. Fold in the strawberries and chocolate chips. Fill the muffin liners to the top, they don't poof too much.

Bake on the middle rack for 16-18 minutes until the tops are golden brown and a toothpick poked in the center comes out clean. Turn the muffins on their sides in the pan, or remove to a wire rack to cool. 

*Roasted Strawberries: Oven to 350'. Toss 4 cups quartered strawberries with a pinch of salt and 2 tsp. melted coconut oil (or olive oil works too). This will do for ripe, juicy berries. If yours are dry or lacking flavor, add a splash of maple or honey to sweeten. Spread them in a single layer on a parchment lined baking sheet. Roast for 25-30 minutes or until juicy and reduced in size. Set aside to cool. This may yield more than you need for the recipe. Mix the extras in plain yogurt or in your morning oatmeal. 

mini roasted strawberry almond meal muffins . sprouted kitchen
mini roasted strawberry almond meal muffins . sprouted kitchen
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Appetizer, Snack, Summer

ZUCCHINI TOASTS

There are moments when the weight of something simple, gets the best of you. All the beliefs and values we have, that compose this big ol' life of ours, can get generalized or maybe even overlooked until someone or some moment or some thing breaks out and makes life quite genuine.

I was reminded yesterday of how much we need people. I have some great people around me, and I am so thankful for the different facets of relationships. All the little wedding decisions and to-do lists got the best of me yesterday, and I lost it while talking to my mom about the color of invitation paper (by lose it, I mean tears, not angry rage). We sat on my parents backyard steps, and I needed her to hug me right then and change the subject. I needed her to comfort me, and ummm, I needed her to go pick out the paper as well. I am SO excited to get married, beyond anxious, but a few tears are expected in all of this. We're not as independent as we'd like to think we are, and it's humbling to admit that we need people; that we're dependent. Sometimes I think we need to be reminded of the obvious, and sometimes it's the little things that take us there. I could keep my mini life lessons to myself, but knowing how I often get wrapped up in my own inner dialogue, I thought one of you may need to get out of your head for a second as well.

On that note, it seems avocado toast is the trendy snack of the summer. I am a partaker myself, but needed another quick snack option, that resembles the satisfying greatness that comes from goodies piled on a good slice of grainy toast. You could use any spreadable cheese of choice, but ricotta keeps everything nice and moist here. Consider making extra zucchini, then you're set for the next few snack times.

ZUCCHINI TOASTS // Makes 4 Toasts, Serves 2

1 Fresh Whole Grain Loaf

4 Zucchini (About 2 1/2 Cups when diced)

1 Tbsp. Olive Oil

2-3 tsp. Lemon Pepper

1 tsp. Fennel Seed (optional)

Sea Salt (If your Lemon Pepper Blend DOESN'T have salt already)

1 Cup Ricotta Cheese

2 Tbsp. Minced Shallot

1 Tbsp. Dijon Mustard

Fresh Parsley + Mint

Oven to 475'

1. Cut both end off the zucchini. Cut each in half length wise, then each long half into 4 sticks, dice. Repeat with remaining zucchini.

2. Spread zucchini on a large baking sheet, drizzle the olive oil and lemon pepper, optional fennel seed, and salt IF needed. The zucchini should have a very light coating of oil, add a bit more if need be. Use your preferences on the amount of spices too. Spread to make one even layer on the baking tray for more browning. Bake on the upper third rack for 18-20 minutes, or until they've got some good crispy edges. Remove to cool.

3. While zucchini is roasting, mix the ricotta, mustard and shallot together in a small bowl, set aside.

4. Chop even amounts parsley and mint, about 1/3 cup in total.

5. Toast your bread slices, I thought 1/2'' thick was perfect. Spread a few dollops of the ricotta mix, a sprinkle of the herb mix, pile zucchini on top, and another sprinkle of herbs. Yum.

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Dessert, Snack, Spring, Summer

BLUEBERRY & CREAM TARTS

We made a quick day trip over to Palm Springs, CA this week to take care of a few wedding things and holy goodness was it toasty. My car thermometer read 115' at one point! I am just now getting over the shock that is extreme heat, and more than ready for the beach this weekend. So, this weekend you will find me in the ocean, swimming, actually getting my hair wet and then making another batch of these mini tarts.

These make a simple and tasty dessert for a number of reasons. They're small, which means you can justifiably eat a few of them. But maybe that's a selling point for just me? The simplicity lends itself to use any type of fruit you have, they'd be great with peaches, strawberries, maybe even fresh mango and use lime instead of lemon if you like tropical flavors. If you want to complete a few steps in advance, you could cut and score the puff pastry, put it on a baking sheet and leave it in the fridge til dessert time. The cream mix and blueberries can be prepped in advance as well, in under 5 minutes mind you. The ingredient list is short, and the hands on time is limited which means I will be making these frequently.

Sidenote: If you'd rather be cooking outside, we had a post on Etsy yesterday of the Rustic Fig Pizza we made awhile back!

BLUEBERRY & CREAM TARTS // Makes 9

I have not attempted to make my own puff pastry, however, Helene at My Tartlette has both a regular and a gluten version on her site if you feel up to it! Recipe inspired by Real Simple.

1 8-oz. Sheet Frozen Puff Pastry, thawed

1 Egg, beaten

6 oz. Reduced Fat Cream Cheese, room temperature

3 Tbsp. Honey, divided

3 Tbsp. Fresh Lemon Juice, divided

Zest of one Large Lemon

1 Cup Fresh Blueberries

Lemon zest and powdered sugar for garnish, optional

Oven to 375'

1. Unfold the the puff pastry and roll over it with a rolling pin about three time, just to thin it a bit.

2. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Using a cookie cutter or top of a mason jar, gently cut out circles and put them on the parchment. My cutter was about 2'' diameter, you can use what you have, but use your better judgement to increase or decrease baking time.

3. Using a paring knife, score a 1/4'' thick circle border inside each tart cut out. Brush the outer edge with the beaten egg and sprinkle each with a bit of sugar (1 Tbsp. between all of them). Bake on middle rack until golden and puffed, about 14+/- minutes.

4. In the meantime,mix the cream cheese, lemon zest, 2 Tbsp. of the lemon juice, and 2 tbsp. honey until fully mixed and a bit fluffy. Put it in the fridge.

5. Remove the tarts, rescore the circle and press down gently on the middle part to flatten. Allow them to cool about 5 minutes.

6. Dollop about 1 Tbsp. of the creamy mixture in the middle of each tart (again, this will depend on the size). Put the blueberries in a bowl. Warm the remaining 1 Tbsp. honey in the microwave for 15 seconds to loosen it, pour over the berries along with the last 1 Tbsp. of lemon juice and toss to coat. Pile a hefty spoonful of berries on top of the creamy mixture. Serve at room temperature.

* Garnish with fresh lemon zest and a sprinkle of powdered sugar if you please.

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