Simply Whole Kitchen

September 30, 2012

I've Moved!

So, I finally did it! I've moved to a new format and a new name!  Please, join me in my remodeled kitchen/blog.  Pull up a chair and have a bite or two?

All of the old recipes will eventually make their way into my recipe box on that site.  For now, this site will remain if you ever want to come back and take a look around!

Please, come check me out!

September 25, 2012

Trail Mix Cookies {Whole Wheat}

Change is a very very difficult thing.  A friend emailed me last week and asked me for advice on how to change her diet.  She already eats well but needs to cut out the white starches and sugar even more out of her diet.  This has been one of her biggest challenges, as it is for many of us!

I know it is easier said than done, I told her, but it really is all about planning.  Pick a few 'better for you' recipes and plan ahead for at least the next three days.  Write out your meal plan (including snacks) then go to the store and purchase only what you need for that plan.  Then, take an extra 30 minutes over your weekend and prepare what you can in advance.  That way, when you are starving (which is when the binging on bad stuff usually happens) you are ready to fill yourself with nutritious and delicious food instead of something that will fill you with guilt and empty calories.

And it isn't just about food.  Prep your water needs too!  We are creatures of habit but even more, creatures of convenience (why do you think fast-food chains continue to do so well!).  Fill your water bottles in advance.  These easy little steps will help you reach your goals.  That's how I did it!
I would also suggest that you prep some "treats" in there too.  In my experience, many of my bad for me binging experiences have happened because I've completely deprived myself from anything 'special.'  So add in a treat or two* (like these cookies?!) into your meal plan, just remember to portion control (like put one or two in a separate container so you'll only eat what you should) and you'll be more successful in the end!
Trail Mix Cookies
adapted from Bob's Red Mill Cookie Recipe
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 c dark chocolate chunks (at least 60% cocoa)
1 tbsp honey
2/3 c unsweetened applesauce
3/4 c whole wheat pastry flour
1 c muesli

Sift flour, baking soda, and salt together and set aside. Blend applesauce, honey and vanilla together. Beat in egg. Add flour mixture and mix. Stir in muesli and chocolate chunks. Drop by tablespoons on lightly greased cookie sheet. Bake at 375°F for 10-12 minutes.

*Please remember that I am not a nutritionist or medical professional.  This advice is only what I've learned works for me and helps me stick to my diet plan.  Please consult your physician when making a diet or exercise plan.

September 19, 2012

Better For You Chocolate Milkshake

I used to be an aficionado of great milk-shakes (among many many other junk foods).  Well, I was before I found that it wasn't worth the calories and the side of guilt that they usually come with.  It is really one of the best, most delicious and easy to consume comfort foods that you can find and it is easy to make them delicious by adding more high-sugar, high-fat ingredients into them.

For years I used food as my solace, my peace, my stress-relief.  It is a wonder that I didn't weigh 500 pounds.  And milk-shakes were one of my favorite treats.

I have since found that I enjoy running so much more for stress relief and I completely bypass any side of guilt that comes with the usual junk-food comfort.
But today I stand as witness to you.  Proof that you DO  NOT need that side of guilt to enjoy a delicious treat.  You CAN make things that are delicious and 'better for you' than what you'll get from that enticing fast-food chain that makes high-calorie foods look and taste so great.  I hope my recipes and this blog as taught you that and given you hope of a better for you lifestyle made EASY.

And here is your proof.  Decadent desserts can still be so without all of the extras (and that guilt that we just don't need in our lives). Do yourself a favor, please!  Take the extra time to make it yourself!  Then at least you know what it in it and you can enjoy your treat and feel good about yourself too.
I will not lie to you and tell you that this is a 'healthy' dessert.  It is still a milk-shake and should be consumed in moderation.  But I am faithful to the belief that we deserve a treat now and then to keep life interesting and delicious.

I hope you try this one!
Dark Chocolate Milkshake
1/2 c homemade Dark Chocolate Ice Cream (or use a sugar free ice cream/frozen yogurt instead)
1/4 - 1/2 c cold skim or light soy milk (or a milk alternative)
1 square 70% + dark chocolate (I used 85%) (plus extra to shave on the top)

Put all ingredients into a blender and process until smooth.  Pour into a chilled, pretty glass (this step is important- your food should look good to) and top with shaved dark chocolate.  Enjoy!

September 17, 2012

Apricot & Fig Scones {Gluten Free}

We had an amazingly productive Saturday!  As you know, I woke up with crud in my throat and wasn't sure if I could make it through a full-day of landscaping.  We (hubby, myself and my wonderful neighbors) transplanted 11 full-grown bushes from my neighbor's yard into ours.  Yes, "woah" is the appropriate comment here.  At least that is how we feel today.

Needless to say, I was worthless on Sunday.  Bathrooms didn't get cleaned.  Laundry didn't even get started.  My poor dog didn't get a walk until he was dying to go.  All I could find the energy to do was make these delicious and delicate scones.  Somehow, they made my Sunday much brighter.

I was inspired to make these from this week's Food Matters Project recipe, chosen by Jen of Prairiesummers.  Go to her site to check out the original recipe and her beautiful Apricot Polenta Cake!

I decided to make scones instead because I needed to make something for breakfast and I added figs because I had them in the fridge screaming to be added into something.  The two together is a delicious combination!
Apricot & Fig Scones
2 1/2 c brown rice flour
4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
5 1/2 tbsp coconut oil (or butter)
3/4 c milk (cow, soy, rice)
2 eggs
2 tbsp honey
1/2 c diced figs
1/4 c diced dried apricots

In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, salt.  Add the coconut oil (or butter) and mix with a pastry knife or a large fork until the dough resembles small peas.  In a separate bowl, combine the eggs, milk and honey and whisk to combine.  Pour the wet mixture into the flour mixture and mix with a fork to combine.  Add the diced fruit and mix to combine.  Spoon the dough into a scone pan or turn out onto a lightly floured surface.  Form into a flat-topped circle and cut into wedges (you could also spoon onto a baking sheet and form small squares with your hands).  Put onto a parchment-lined baking sheet and bake at 400 degrees for 12-14 minutes.  Enjoy!

September 15, 2012

Peanut Butter, Pecan & Blueberry Oatmeal

Good morning and Happy Saturday! The weather has finally turned and the mornings are cool and refreshing.  I've been trying to get up early and do my run in the mornings, but this morning I woke up with a really sore throat and no voice. 

We have big plans today to do a lot of landscaping work so I needed something that could help me power through my illness and make it through to the afternoon.  This oatmeal is warm, throat comforting, filling and delicious!
 And incredibly simple!  This is my favorite combination of 'oatmeal mix-ins' but you can do anything you like- it is that easy!

Peanut Butter, Pecan & Blueberry Oatmeal
1/2 c quick-cook oats
2/3 c light soymilk (you can use skim or rice milk too)
1 tbsp no sugar added creamy peanut butter
handful of fresh blueberries
1-2 tbsp chopped pecans

In a microwave safe bowl, combine the soymilk and oats.  Microwave on high for 1/1/2 - 2 minutes or until thick.  Add the peanut butter and mix to combine.  Top with blueberries and pecans.  Enjoy!

September 12, 2012

Dark Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cookies

Can you feel it?  The mornings are cooler, the air is drier, college football has started (another love of mine that I've yet to share with you)...YES, that is Fall right around the corner!  And I LOVE Fall!  It is my favorite season loaded with all of my favorite foods and flavors!

Where I live in Georgia we've had a lot of hot, hot, hot (did I mention that it is hot) and muggy summer I'm really ready for Fall temperatures, Fall colors, and of course Fall food!  But I've decided to hold off on most of my apple, pumpkin, and cinnamon flavored recipes until at least toward the end of September.  Is that too early to start? 

Not when you are looking at these!

I've been searching and trying recipe upon recipe for the perfect, low-in-sugar dessert.  You've seen (and hopefully tried) many delicious dessert recipes on my blog.  I really am amazed at how many dessert options we (those eating a low sugar diet) have...but I'm still looking for that go-to, easy, and "sweet-tooth-satisfying" dessert....enter the double chocolate chip cookie!

I feel like this one deserves a 'ta-da' or something.  This one my hubby actually tasted and got a huge smile on his face, then he quickly got  up to go get another.  "That good?" I asked him (anxiously waiting for a positive response). "Amazing!!!" he answered with a huge smile on his face!

I guess you should know that my hubby, although I have altered his eating a bit, is still a full-sugar consumer.  He does his best and eats only what I make when at home, but I can only imagine the junk he is consuming out of the house. Even though I hate that he still does (he is an adult after all...) it makes these moments of high praise even more rewarding!  If I can convert him, I can convert anyone!
Dark Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cookies
adapted from Ingredients, Inc.
4 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped
2 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped
1/4 c dark chocolate chunks or chips (at least 60% cocoa)
4 tablespoons butter
2/3 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
2 large eggs
1/4 c dark agave nectar
1 tbsp stevia brown sugar mix
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 c dark chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350F. Heat chopped semisweet, unsweetened and dark chocolate chunks and butter in a microwave-safe bowl in 30 second intervals, stirring between each, until almost melted. Do not overheat. In another bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and salt.

In a mixing bowl, beat eggs, dark agave nectar and vanilla on high speed until combined. Reduce speed to low and beat in chocolate. Mix in flour mixture until just combined. Stir in dark chocolate chips.

Drop heaping tablespoons of dough 2 to 3 inches apart onto parchment lined baking sheets. Bake, rotating sheets halfway through, until cookies are shiny and crackly yet soft in the center, 12 to 14 minutes. Cool completely.