Double Chocolate Biscotti

The first time I tried a biscotti, I was probably 6 or 7, and needless to day, I thought it was pretty awful. It hurt my teeth and it’s taste had a slight resemblance to cardboard, there just wasn’t enough sugar for my juvenile taste buds.biscotti3 biscotti2

Now, on the other hand, I love biscotti, but I pretty much love any excuse to eat a cookie for breakfast. The stark contrast of hot, full-bodied coffee and sweet crunchy biscotti is just so satisfying. So what if it’s not a balanced meal, so what if I ate 10 3 with my coffee this morning, who cares, we all die at some point right? Eat the darn biscotti! biscotti4

Double Chocolate Biscotti

1 stick butter, softened
1 cup brown sugar
3 eggs
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups unbleached all purpose flour
1/2 cup dark cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup mini chocolate chips

Preheat your oven to 350 and line a sheet pan with parchment (or spray with coconut oil cooking spray).

In the bowl of a stand mixer, or using a hand mixer, cream together the butter and sugar until evenly combined. Add the vanilla. Add the eggs, one at a time, scraping the bowl in between each addition.

In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt. Add to the butter/egg mixture in 3 stages, making sure the dry and wet ingredients are evenly combined each time.

Add the chocolate chips. Eat some of that mouthwatering dough.

Shape the dough roughly into the size of a 12×4 inch log and place of prepared sheet pan. Bake for 30 minutes.

Remove from oven and let the biscotti cool for 10 minutes. Using a sharp serrated knife, slice the biscotti into 1/2 inch pieces and lay flat on sheet pan. Bake again for 5-10 minutes. Flip biscotti and bake once for for an additional 5 minutes.

Remove from oven and let the biscotti cool completely. Grab a big ole cup of joe and enjoy the world’s best morning.

original recipe here!

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Mom’s Carrot Cake

Every year on June 1st, my father’s day of birth, my mom would make carrot cake. He really loves carrot cake, which was great because so do I. My moms carrot cake is unlike other, boring, bland carrot cakes that, if you’re lucky, might have a few walnuts. No, her’s is packed full of delicious little surprises at every bite.cc3cc7

Probably the best part about my dad’s yearly carrot cake was the the left overs. I would get up the next morning, hungry for one thing and one thing only. You guessed it: carrot cake. Holy moly, if you though carrot cake was good for dessert, try eating it for breakfast. Superb!cc1 cc2cc5

Mom’s Carrot Cake (kind of)

2 1/2 cups unbleached all purpose flour
1 1/2 cups raw cane sugar
4 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
4 eggs, beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla extracts
1 1/4 cup oil of your choice (I used olive)
3 cups grated carrots
1/2 cup golden raisins
1/2 cup walnut pieces
1/2 cup shredded coconut
1/2 cup crushed pineapple, canned or fresh

Cream Cheese Icing

16 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
8 ounces butter, room temperature
2 cups powdered cugar, sifted
2 teaspoons vanilla bean paste
1/2 cup golden raisins
1/2 cup walnut pieces
12 cup shredded coconut

Preheat oven to 350.  Grease three 6 inch cake pans and set aside.

In a large bowl, sift together the flour, sugar, spices, salt and baking soda. In a medium bowl, whisk together the oil, eggs and vanilla.

Using a spatula, mix the wet ingredients into the dry until just combined. Add in the carrots, raisins, walnuts, coconut and pineapple and mix until all of the fun stuff is distributed evenly, but do not over mix.

Pour the cake batter evenly into each cake pan and bake for 25-35 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean when cake is poked. Let cool completely.

For the Icing, place the cream cheese, butter and vanilla bean paste in the bowl of a stand mixer (or hand mixer) fitted with a paddle attachment and mix on medium until combined, about 2 minutes. Reduce speed to low, add in the sifted powder sugar and continue to mix. Remove the bowl from the mixer and, by hand mix in the remaining ingredients.

When cake is completely cooled, de-pan and slice each cake in half to get a total of 6 layers. Plop a little bit of icing on the first layer, spread it around and repeat. For the the top cake layer, use the underside of one of the cake layers to get a nice flat top. Ice the cake and viola!

The best part about this recipe, is because of all of the chunky goodness on the icing, no matter how you ice it, it will look great! I finished mine off by covering three quarters of the outside of the cake with left over walnut pieces. Coconut looks great as well.cc6 cc4

California BLT

I’m sure most people have tried a California burger: juicy burger patty topped with guacamole, bacon and usually everything else that goes on a burger. If you haven’t, go try it now. Better yet, make a California BLT instead.blt5

Growing up in California, guacamole and avocados have always been a staple in my diet. I could literally eat chips and guac for dinner every day. Taco Tuesday? Taco everyday! As long as there’s guac.blt1blt2

My sister planted an avocado tree in front of our house when we were young, but it took 3 seasons of teenage rebellion, two dogs and one divorce for that thing to finally start producing the sweet, sweet fruit that is an avocado. And man, they were they perfect.blt4 blt6

California BTL

1 avocado
2 tablespoons pico de gallo
salt

1 slice country bread or sourdough
1 tomato
4 bacon strips
romaine lettuce

Start by frying the bacon strips.

While the bacon is cooking, make your guacamole: cut the avocado in half and remove the pit. Slice both sides of the avocado into cubes and scoop out into a bowl using a large spoon. Add the pico de gallo and salt to taste. Mix well, but leave some chunks, texture is everything!

Toast your bread and slice your tomato. When bread if toasted, slather all of that guacamole goodness on it. Top with slices of tomato, bacon strips and romaine. You can add another toasted slice of bread on top of you wish; I prefer open faced BLTs because the top toast scratches the roof of my mouth.

Enjoy!blt8 blt7

Strawberry Shortcake

When I was a kid, I longed for the hot summer days when my mom would let us buy ice cream. It wasn’t often, but when it happened, there was no happier kid on the block! I guess from an early age I just always knew, I was different: I am in love with food. ss7 ss6

My ice cream preferences would change, depending on setting, practicality (no one wants a drippy ice cream cone) and of course, what my big sister was getting. Even though she used to push me down the stairs in laundry baskets, toppling me to my premature death, I still looked up to her, for whatever reason. I copied her unfortunate taste in anime on everything, and boy did my sister love strawberry shortcake. I don’t mean the delicious, real strawberry shortcake you get at a restaurant, I’m talking the pre-packaged, food color-laden, Good Humor brand crap.ss4 ss5

Don’t get me wrong, everyone loves a little childhood nostalgia now and then, but I think I’ll leave that to saturday morning cartoons and ingest food that I know all of the ingredients to.ss2 ss3

Strawberry Shortcake

2 cups unbleached flour
1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon baking powder
1 tablespoon sugar
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup butter, softened
2/3 cup half & half
1 egg, beaten

1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup flour
3 tablespoons butter, softened

4 pounds strawberries
1/2 cup sugar

Remove the ends of the strawberries and quarter them. Place them in a bowl with the sugar, mixing to coat eat strawberry piece in sugary goodness and refrigerate for at least 3 hours.

Preheat your oven to 350. Grease an 8×8 baking dish.

In the bowl on a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, add the flour, baking powder, sugar, salt and butter and mix on medium/low speed until the mixture takes on a course, sand-like appearance.

Slowly add the egg and half & half, mix until just combined. The cake comes together very quickly, be careful not to over mix.

Spread the cake mixture out into the greased baking dish and set aside. Using the same bowl and paddle, mix the second amount of flour, sugar and butter together to make the streusel topping. When crumbly and evenly combined, top the cake batter with the streusel.

Bake at 350 for 20-30 minutes, or until a fork comes out clean when poked.

Let the cake cool, top with strawberries and ice cream or whipped cream (or both) and enjoy!ss8 ss1

3 Ingredient Coconut shrimp

When I was a kid, I dreaded the houses on halloween that gave out the mounds and almond joys. The reason? Well, for one, my big sister loved both of those candies and would steel all of mine, without a proper candy swap. Rude. Two: I hated coconut. Since my trick-or-treating, pillow case-slinging days, my palate has matured (or as Dr Drew likes to say, muh-two-erd). shrimp9shrimp1 shrmip8

This gluten-free/dairy-free/paleo/whatever else dish is perfect, literally for anyone. I guess, unless you hate coconut…or shrimp. And only three ingredients?!?! Why yes, that is correct. Don’t get me wrong, if you’re used to cancer-laced restaurant quality (and by quality, I mean sodium-bathed) coconut shrimp, this may not be the world’s best recipe out there. However, if you enjoy real food, you will love it.

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This coconut shrimp is so easy, a child could make it…but wait, there’s more. Not really, just make it already. But Brianna, that looks like it has 4 ingredients, not 3. Yeah well, the shrimp doesn’t count. Jeez.shrimp 3shrimp103 Ingredient Coconut Shrimp

Coconut Flour
Unsweetened Shredded Coconut
Fully cooked shrimp (thawed if using frozen)
Eggs

Preheat oven to 400 degrees and line a sheet pan with parchment paper.

Pour coconut flour and shredded coconut onto two large plates. In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs, I ended up using 3 eggs for about 30 shrimp.

One by one, coat the shrimp in coconut flour, dip into eggs, roll in the shredded coconut and place on the lined sheet pan.

Bake shrimp for 13-16 minutes, flipping half way through. Bake until coconut is a light golden color.

Serve with your choice of dipping sauce and enjoy!

No Bake Granola Bars

I don’t know about you, but I love sugar. I also love real food. What I love even more, is satisfying my sugar cravings with real food that tastes like it should be bad for me, but it’s not. Spoiler alert: pretty much anything that comes pre-packaged is bad for you, even the “healthy” granola bars at my beloved Trader Joe’s. The problem is all of the unnecessary sugar, preservatives and fillers they throw in, but they taste so good! Alas, I have solved the problem for you.bars2bars5 In an effort to eat something relatively healthy, or at least all natural, I made no bake granola bars. These puppies are packed with so many nuts that they keep your hunger at bay, helping you resist the box of doughnuts in the staff break room. Resist the temptation my friend, resist. Plus, if you’re going to eat doughnuts, at least be a DIYer about it.
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My motto is: if you’re going to eat sweets, make them yourself. Jk, I don’t have a motto. But seriously, instead of falling victim to the trap that is corporate America and injecting your body with toxic, made-in-a-factory crap, try whipping it up yourself. Chances are, it will taste better anyway. I know, I know, I’m lazy too and I don’t like to make everything from scratch. Good thing these only take all of 5 minutes to make.bars6FullSizeRender

No Bake Granola Bars

3/4 cup almond butter
3/4 cup peanut butter
3/4 cup honey
2 cups old fashioned rolled oats
1 cup walnut pieces (raw or toasted)
3/4 cup almond slivers (raw or toasted)
3/4 cup sunflower seeds (raw or toasted)
3/4 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
1 1/4 cup unsweetened dried blueberries (or dried fruit of your choice)
2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips

Throw everything into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment (or a large mixing bowl) and mix on medium/low speed until everything comes together into a loose ball.

Line a half sheet pan with parchment paper. Spread out the granola mix evenly on to the sheet pan. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate over night, or at least 2 hours.

Remove from fridge and transfer the granola bar slab from the sheet pan to the counter. cut strips out of the slab to your desired size. Individually wrap bars in plastic, or place in parchment lined tupperware with parchment in between each layer. Store in fridge.

Now grab a couple and go for hike!bars1

Lavender Lemonade

I usually try to steer clear of sugary drinks and stick to wine water for my main source of fluid intake. I mean, really, if I’m going to ingest extra calories, it’s going to be in a burger and fries, not the soda. That being said, summer is the time of year when sweet, cold beverages sound amazing. Sometimes you just need to give in to temptation and drink the cool aid lemonade.lem3

My mouth is watering as I type. The tart lemons, sweet sugar and floral lavender come together to create something delightful: an explosion in your mouth, a lip-smackin’ good time…you get the picture.

lem4 lem6 lem8As a kid, I partook in the stereotypical lemonade stand with my siblings. Business was good, we had some regulars, but they were probably just there for the carwash. What can I say? We monopolized the market on Via Cereza street. We might have been able to open up a few different locations, had we known to just add some lavender.

Lavender Lemonade

2 cups water
2 cups sugar
5 tablespoons dried lavender buds
The juice of 6 lemons

Water
Ice

In a medium sauce pan, combine the water, sugar and lavender and bring to a boil over medium/high heat. Boil about 2 minutes; keep your eye on the syrup mixture, it tends to want to boil over. Set aside to cool.

Juice and strain your lemons, depending on the size, you should get 1-1 1/2 cups of juice.

When the syrup mixture has cooled, strain the lavender and discard. Mix the syrup and the lemon juice together in a pitcher and add cold water to taste. I probably added about 4 cups. Add some vodka ice and you are ready to be lounging, poolside!lem1 lem7 lem2