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Cookie Time!

Yes.  I dropped the ball. But I’ve picked it back up and throwing it down – bounce is better than ever baby! You know how it goes – it was summer, so much going on – music concerts, birthday parties, trip to Vegas, family from Australia, hot weather, nice patios, girls nights out, margaritas everywhere – what’s a girl to do? Not work on her blog – that’s what she do!

Welcome to (mid) September! September marks the start of a new school year but more importantly (since I don’t go to school), it’s the kick off to the season premiers of all my favourite TV shows.  So raise your remotes cause this post goes out to my home girl COOKIE – one helluva woman from Empire on Fox (watch if you love hip hop and drama). She is dy-no-mite and I love her.

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NO ONE MESSES WITH COOKIE!

Cookies are a treat but sometimes you just need that little somethin’ somethin’ to get you through that clean eating life.  I have these 2 on repeat when I am keeping the diet on point and hitting the gym hard (actually I eat these any time…who am I kidding).  And just like Cookie from Empire, these 2 recipes are nothing to mess with – they will be your easy, go to recipes for all time (or until I find you some new ones!)

1 MINUTE COOKIE DOUGH from Life Made Full
Recipe found here!
Prep Time: 1 Minute (it’s in the title!)
Bake Time (optional) : 10 Minutes
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You can actually eat this in the cookie dough form or just round up some balls and throw them in the oven for 10 minutes.  I prefer them baked but you have to let them cool before you man handle them – I learnt the hard way.  These cookies are vegan, grain free, gluten free and dairy free (yes – those are dairy free chocolate chips from Enjoy Life Foods and can be found at your local grocer). Containing only 8 simple ingredients, these are super quick and easy to make and all you need is one bowl.  No muss no fuss!  This is a great recipe to make with kids or if you are super impatient and just need a cookie NOW!
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Soft & Chewy Double Chocolate Cookies from PaleOMG
Recipe found here!
Prep Time: 10 Minutes
Bake Time: 10 Minutes
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No one at the gym would believe  me that these cookies are paleo! And when it comes to cookies – I don’t lie!  Again, here we have gluten free and dairy free chocolaty goodness.  And once again, this is a simple recipe with just 8 ingredients and needs only 1 bowl. Quick and dirty – sweet and simple! This recipe also calls for “Barney Butter Smooth Almond Butter” and I highly recommend using this particular brand of almond butter.  It is smooth and creamy and you will want to eat it off the spoon like peanut butter (I don’t lie, remember?) Some almond butters are a little on the oily side and this won’t help your cookies bind.  It is a little on the expensive side but totally worth it for making these cookies. Another hit with children (tried and tested on my friends’ kids) and an easy way to satisfy that gimme chocolate now craving.
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Both of these recipes are neither time consuming or labour intensive and clean up is super easy.  Once you have the ingredients stocked in your pantry, you can very easily whip up a quick batch of cookies for any occasion.  Perfect for an afternoon tea, movie night with the girls or wrap them up nicely and give them out as gifts.  Who doesn’t love a cookie, right?
The one thing to keep in mind for both recipes is that they contain almond flour or almond butter – so sorry to my nut allergy friends – this may not be for you.
I hope that you will give these cookies a try – you will not be disappointed!  As my girl, Cookie likes to say – “thats my name, take a bite”.

First Rule of Cookbook Club….Talk about Cookbook Club (and wear elastic waist pants)!

12 fantastic women. A beautiful cookbook. Great conversations and a whole lotta food. This is Cookbook Club! Just like a regular book club but it’s about cooking, eating, sharing and learning (not so much “reading”).

Developed and organized by My Edible Advice (MEA), cookbook club is a great concept bringing people together through food and fun. A cookbook is chosen, recipes are tested, food is shared – and it’s a lot of fun.  I was lucky to have been a part of MEA’s first cookbook club experience which featured “The Green Kitchen” by David Frenkel and Luise Vindahl (www.greenkitchenstories.com)

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This is how it went down…..

(So the following is just a quick play-by-play. For the interests of time, I’ve just given you the overview here. But trust me—it was a great time!)

Meeting #1 – Appetizers
*Met MEA and other club members
*Met friend from high school (no joke!)
*Sat at a beautifully set table at the Juice Truck Store Front
*Admired The Green Kitchen Cookbook
*Sampled appetizers from cookbook prepared by MEA
*Ate and chatted
*Got my main course assignment for next meeting

 Meeting #2 – Main Courses
*Brought my assigned main dish
*Introduced my dish to the group and let them know how it went
*Sampled all dishes and discussed likes and dislikes
*Got my dessert assignment for next meeting

Meeting #3 – Dessert
*Brought my assigned dessert
*Ate a lot of dessert
*Talked, discussed, evaluated and ate more dessert. Woo hoo!

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Now let’s get down to the foodie nitty gritty. What did I make from this vegetarian cookbook?

My first assignment was the “Sicilian Parmigiana Di Zucchine” – basically a vegetarian lasagna. BUT it didn’t use traditional “pasta”, so this recipe is completely gluten free!

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This was awesome and a big hit with the club members.  Starts off with a basic tomato sauce (recipe also from cookbook) and then is layered with sliced zucchini (this replaces the pasta), hardboiled eggs, buffalo mozzarella, grated parmesan, mint and basil.  You just layer it all up, season with salt and pepper and throw it into a 400 degree oven for 40 minutes.  Easy peasy, super cheesy and not so messy.  Buffalo mozzarella is a bit on the expensive side so you could very easily substitute for another fresh mozzarella. The next time I make this, I may add a little cilantro to the tomato sauce just to give it a little more added flavour (and also because I love cilantro – I know it’s a bit of a love hate relationship for some)

Here is the basic tomato sauce recipe (also found here)

Basic Tomato Sauce
makes around 1 litre / 4 cups / 34 fl oz

2 tbsp cold-pressed olive oil, coconut oil or ghee
1 yellow onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1/2 tsp dried chili
3 x 400 g (14 oz) cans whole plum tomatoes
5 sprigs of basil, leaves picked
sea salt and freshly ground pepper

Heat oil in a saucepan on medium heat. Add onion, garlic and chili and sauté for a couple of minutes until golden. Stir in the tomatoes, basil, salt and pepper. Use a wooden spoon to crush the tomatoes. Lower the heat, cover and gently simmer for about 20 minutes. Use immediately or cool and store in an air-tight glass jar in the fridge. Keeps for about a week.

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Now, you are probably wondering what my dessert assignment was. Well feast your eyes on my “Cardamon and Apple Buns.”

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A variation of the recipe I used can be found here (this recipe includes hazelnut)

These turned out well but for some reason my yeast didn’t work so there was not much rising action. They were a bit dense but the flavour was good and it would make for a nice breakfast/brunch treat with a nice cup of coffee or tea, You could even hit it with a chai tea and have a cardamom explosion in your mouth!!  BA-BAMMM!!!

The ingredients are basic and easy to find – nothing too fancy,  It’s made of spelt flour so not your traditional “dessert” flour. I am not dying to make these again but definitely will give it another try to see how they turn out when the dough actually rises – give yeast a chance, right?

Now that’s what I was prepared – but the genius behind cookbook club is that you get to try so many more other recipes from the same book that you may not have necessarily made on your own. Here’s a list of some of the things the other club members made and variations of the recipes can be found on the Green Kitchen Stories website:

Appies and Small Bites
– Red Pepper & Rosemary Spread
– Sage & Walnut Pate (I highly recommend this one! YUM!)
– Orange kissed seed crackers (big hit with the group!)

Main Dishes
– Fennel & Coconut Tart (YUM!)
– Moroccan Vegetable Tagine (perfect comfort food on a cold day)
– Pizza with Cauliflower crust
– Savoy Tacos with Corn & Mango filling

Treats
– Frozen Strawberry Cheesecake on a Sunflower Crust (YUM!)
– Carrot, Coconut & Banana Cupcakes (YUM!)
– Hemp Protein Bars (YUM!)
– Decadent Beetroot & Chocolate Cake (NOT SO YUM – let’s just say the beetroot flavour is not subtle. I love beets and I love chocolate cake – just not together).

The Green Kitchen is a beautiful cookbook and the photographs are ah-mazing,  The book contains a variety of recipes and the level of difficulty ranges from quick and simple to a little more challenging and time consuming.  But for those who only eat a vegetarian diet, this cookbook does provide a good variety of choices. They got breakfast, lunch, dinner, dessert, snacks and beverages covered. They are all healthy options including some gluten free and dairy free recipes.

Cookbook Club was a blast and I will joining My Edible Advice and Friends again later this month with a new book (not telling!)

My Edible Advice has done an awesome job of putting this all together and I highly recommend signing up for a session when you get a chance,  The location and cost of the sessions varies but it is worth every penny.  You get to meet great people, talk about food and EAT!

Good times, good times – 2 Spoons Up!

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“It’s not a bad thing to fall in love with me…”

You know what’s harder than writing your first blog post?  The second blog post!  I am not exactly sure where the time went but I blame the holidays and the flu (and perhaps the multiple viewings of Elf – best holiday movie ever!).

So here we are, 2015! New Year, New You (How many times have you heard that?)!   Well, I’ve decided to practice “New Year, Better Me!”  Why do I have to be new?  The 2014 me wasn’t so bad – perhaps some room for improvement and some changes, but I am not going to be new – I am going to be better!

And with being better, comes eating better and it doesn’t get much better than this – We still need treats when eating clean, right?

Let me introduce you to Health-Bent’s  “Chunky Monkey Muffins” from their cookbook “Primal Cravings”.

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This recipe can also be found on the Health-Bent blog here!

These Chunky Monkey muffins are gluten free, lower on the glycemic index (uses coconut sugar instead of regular refined sugar) and paleo (depending on your definition of paleo).  Here’s the thing, if a  cookbook or a blog calls something paleo then I will be calling it paleo – kapish?  These are a really nice “semi” guilt free treat that taste delicious.  They come out very moist and two of my taste testers (my cousin and my friend but I swear they are not biased) said they are great for breakfast with a nice cup of coffee!  These muffins don’t have a strange aftertaste that some gluten free baked items can have and keep nicely up to a week refrigerated.

The recipe is simple and easy to follow. The ingredients are not overly obscure and you won’t have to shop at a specialty grocery store to get them.  The link to the recipe is posted above but here is the ingredient list for your viewing pleasure:

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Coconut Flour
Tapioca Flour
Baking Soda
Butter
Coconut Sugar
Bananas
Vanilla
Eggs
Chocolate Chips
Walnuts

 This recipe is also a “no mess – no fuss” kinda deal that doesn’t require a lot of supplies.  All you need is your ingredients, 2 bowls, a whisk, a spatula, measuring cups, measuring spoons and a muffin tin (and an oven of course).  The recipe makes 12 standard sized muffins but I used a mini muffin pan which resulted in 24 bites of goodness.  Baking time is only 20 minutes but every oven is different so you may have to give or take a few minutes – I suggest checking in at the 15min mark.  

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So you might have caught earlier that I referred to these muffins as a “treat” and that they were “semi” guilt free.  Although these are “better for you muffins”, they are a treat and shouldn’t be a daily staple in a clean eating lifestyle. These would be great for your gluten free friends, or part of a “healthier” weekend brunch or just when you are craving a little somethin’ somethin’ but don’t wanna grab that Kit Kat bar! I just wanted to start the New Year with a fun recipe and not a salad – there’s plenty time for that later. 

Here is the nutrition break down based on a regular size muffin:
243 Calories
17g Fat
21g Carbs
4g Fiber
5g Protein

Just for comparison sake, a Tim Horton’s Whole Grain Pecan Banana Muffin has:
350 Calories
11g Fat
60g Carbs
5g Fiber
6g Protein
(Nutritional info from Tim Horton website)

 Salads will come and go, but muffins are forever.

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I hope that you will give this recipe a try and if you do please let me know what your experience was like – hopefully just as tasty as mine.  The Primal Craving cookbook has lots of other healthy delicious recipes ranging from snacks, sides, and mains to desserts and other treats.  I’ve made the “Thick & Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies” that are also definitely worth a try and I am dying to make the Thai Chili Chicken Meatballs.  Each recipe is no more than a page long and the pictures are great!  I received my copy of the cookbook as a gift because my friend knew I was a big fan of Health-Bent’s blog but this is one book I would have bought myself. 

So until next time my friends – eat well and be better.

Peace Out!

This is it….

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I’ve been thinking about this forever.
I’ve been brainstorming for a year.
I’ve been procrastinating for months.
I’ve talked to many.
The time has come.

This is it…

This is 2 Spoons Up, a blog about food!  I know, not a groundbreaking concept but keep reading. This is not your average food blog – well, maybe it is, but just keep those thoughts aside for a sec. My hope is to combine my love of food, cookbooks, cooking, eating, music, friends and family into one place…a place called “2 Spoons Up.”

2 Spoons Up will share my experiences with food – mostly other people’s food through their cookbooks and blogs. Did I mention I love cookbooks??? I especially love the ones with pictures because the ones without are just cooknovels in my opinion. My cookbook collection continues to grow and I’ll introduce you to many of them and share my cooking tales of how each recipe I try turned out. The recipes will focus on CLEAN eating, but it will be far from BORING eating. They’ll run the gamut from paleo to vegetarian, from gluten free to some indulgences. I am not one to preach about any one specific diet or food trend. I am simply an advocate for eating – eating good food!

I ask for your patience – the blogging world is a new realm for me. I am still trying to figure out how this whole wordpress thing works and how to make it all look pretty and cool.  But one thing I know for sure – it’s all about making good food and good memories while making good food. I hope you enjoy and share your own memories and stories along the way.

I’m hungry – let’s eat!!

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Not just another food blog…..

Under construction – stay tuned