Chocolate-Flecked Sesame Cookies

I don’t talk about it much here (because nowadays I eat everything), but I had quite a few food sensitivities at one point in my life. This was a while ago: back in my early 20s. Boy do I wish I’d had a book like Naturally Sweet & Gluten-Free back then!

naturally sweet and gluten free

Ricki Heller was one of the very first bloggers I met (albeit virtually) when I started blogging. She’s an absolute sweetheart and I’ve always admired her incredible creativity when it comes to recipes. Ricki’s diet may be limited, but her recipe offerings are anything but…she’s an absolute whiz at coming up with innovative baked goods that don’t contain any animal products, gluten, or refined sugars.

Ricki sent me a copy of her book Naturally Sweet & Gluten-Free: Allergy Friendly Vegan Desserts to review. It’s beautifully photographed and everything looks very delicious.

Most of the recipes in the book do require quite a few ingredients, some of which I do not keep on hand. Since I do not have dietary restrictions, I adapted one of the recipes so I could make it with ingredients I already had.

Chocolate Sesame Cookies | Healthy Green Kitchen

These Chocolate-Flecked Sesame Cookies are adapted from Ricki’s Chocolate-Flecked Pumpkin Seed Cookies. They are so yummy: I have been snacking on them all week. The coconut sugar gives them lovely flavor and a bit of crunch I just adore, but be warned: they are a little crumbly due to the almond flour (and the flax seed being the only “binder”).

Ricki’s recipe is below…my changes are in parentheses.

Be sure to follow Ricki on facebook and twitter for more news about her book!

Read more

Gluten-Free Chocolate Chip Cookies

I am both a big fan and a friend of Shauna Ahern (aka Gluten Free Girl), so I was very happy to accept a copy of her newest book, written with her husband Danny–Gluten-Free Girl Every Day–for review.

Shauna’s food blog was one of the very first I discovered, and I’ve always loved her work, but this book has really exceeded my expectations. The photography (by the exceptionally talented Penny De Los Santos) is wonderful, and I really adore the short and sweet headnotes: they make the book a true pleasure to read. Perhaps my favorite thing about the book, though, is the “Feel Like Playing?” blurb that accompanies many of the recipes. This is where Shauna notes different ways you can change up the dish, and it’s genius.

I’ve cooked from Gluten-Free Girl Every Day over the past few months (I don’t review books here unless I’ve made and enjoyed at least three recipes). Today I’d like to share these delicious gluten-free chocolate chip cookies, ever so slightly adapted from the book.

gluten-free chocolate chip cookies

One of the things I’ve always appreciated about Shauna is her dedication to the development of flour combinations that make gluten-free baked goods not taste gluten free. You see, when I eat gluten free, it is by choice…not necessity. I have neither celiac disease nor a gluten sensitivity, so if I am going to eat gluten-free cookies, they damn well better taste good (so many gluten-free baked goods simply don’t). My family and some friends we had staying with us really loved these chocolate chip cookies!

The flour in these cookies is Shauna’s Whole-Grain Gluten-Free Flour Mix, a combination of nutrient-dense teff flour, millet flour, and buckwheat flour. That’s all: nothing weirdly starchy or devoid of wholesomeness. You make up a batch of it by combining 300 grams of each of the flours. (A scale is really a must for successful gluten-free baking: this is the one I have.) In the book, Shauna mentions that you may swap out the buckwheat flour for oat flour or sorghum flour. (Be aware that not everyone with celiac disease will tolerate oat flour.)

The recipe calls for hazelnuts and I didn’t have any on hand, but I recently heard from someone “in the know” (Shauna’s editor Justin!) that not adding the hazelnuts was a BIG mistake. Because there’s that whole nutella-like aspect if you use the hazelnuts, you know? So next time I make these, I won’t leave the hazelnuts out.

gluten-free chocolate chip cookies | Healthy Green Kitchen

Shauna’s recipe is below, and I’ve put the slight changes I made in parantheses. Also note that I sprinkled a bit of coarse sea salt (I like Celtic Sea Salt) on top of the cookies as soon as they came out of the oven. I almost always do this when I make chocolate chip cookies: the salt really intensifies the flavor of the chocolate ;)

Read more

Grain-Free Thumbprint Cookies

Grain-Free Thumbprint Cookies from www.healthygreenkitchen.com

These thumbprint cookies are ridiculously easy to make. Seriously…they might be the simplest cookies ever, and they’re also really delicious. I adapted them from the Jammin’ Sugar Cookie Thumbprints recipe in my dear friend Abby Dodge’s cookbook—Desserts 4 Today—so that they’re gluten-free (in fact they’re free of all grains). This means they’re perfect for nibbling on this week if you keep kosher for Passover; they’ll be lovely on your Easter table, too, if you’re looking for an alternative to wheat-filled cookies.

Grain-Free Thumbprint Cookies from www.healthygreenkitchen.com

Thumbprint cookies are great because you can fill them with SO many things. Take this opportunity to show off (and maybe use up, if necessary) your favorite jams, marmalades, fruit curds, and nut butters.

Fillings for Grain-Free Thumbprints from www.healthygreenkitchen.com

I filled the cookies you see here with homemade chocolate raspberry jam, tangerine vanilla marmalade (so lovely: the recipe is found in here), Meyer lemon curd, and peach rose petal jam (I promise to share this recipe this summer…it’s amazing). I also made a few with almond butter.

Have fun with these cookies, and have a very happy Passover or Easter if you’re observing one of these holidays this week :)

Read more

My Thoughts on Resolutions, NOT Dieting, and Buckwheat Cinnamon Rolls

buckwheat cinnamon rolls

As many of you know, I spent 2012 writing about the power of simple changes. I posted about the subject extensively here on my blog; I also wrote a book (tentatively titled One Simple Change) that will be published by Chronicle Books sometime in the fall.

Despite being an “evangelist” for the pursuit of optimal health via lifestyle tweaks, I am not really a big fan of New Year’s resolutions. While I certainly appreciate the sentiment behind resolutions (the determination/desire to make a change), I believe resolutions are often doomed to failure. Why? Because most people don’t make resolutions that are realistic, nor do they create a practical plan for how to achieve them.

The one I dislike the most is probably the most popular resolution of all: the resolution to go on a diet. I hate the “go on a diet” resolution for slightly different reasons than I mentioned above: I hate it because I don’t think restricting your food intake is healthy for your body or your mind. In addition, I really and truly believe going on a diet is a waste of time because most diets don’t work. In fact, the first chapter in my forthcoming book is all about why you should not diet.

So…if you started a diet in the last day or two (or if you plan to start one soon), I invite you to reconsider. Instead of dieting (and therefore depriving yourself/counting calories and fat grams/worrying constantly about what you think you’re not supposed to be eating), you’ll be much better off if you make it your goal to spend your precious time and energy nourishing your body with real, whole foods. I also recommend putting effort into figuring out which foods really work for your body and which ones don’t. Your health will most definitely improve if you do these things, and you might just lose weight, too.

Now, you might be surprised to see a recipe for cinnamon rolls on a healthy recipe blog at the beginning of January, but these are not your typical cinnamon rolls. These are wholesome, yet really delicious, gluten- (and grain-) free cinnamon rolls.

gluten free cinnamon rolls

Read more

Italian Apple Cake (Grain and Gluten-Free)

Italian Apple Cake

I was so pleased when Ginny contacted me and asked if I’d like to be part of the blog tour for a brand new book published by her mom’s company: A Family Farm in Tuscany: Recipes and Stories from Fattoria Poggio Alloro. I am definitely a cookbook junkie…and I’m particularly excited about books that celebrate seasonal sustainable foods.

The photos that grace A Family Farm in Tuscany are so dreamy: flipping through them had me seriously contemplating a Tuscan vacation (I’ve never been). I want to go even more after reading the tales and cooking a few of the comforting recipes from the farm featured in the book.

Italian apple cake

Read more