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

Dill Salmon

Do you ever have those days where you’ve deprived your body of so many nutrients for so long that all you want to do is pump vegetables into your system? Well after the 4th of July weekend, I was definitely craving some vitamins. I love crappy holiday food: chips, hot dogs, burgers, beer…but after bingeing on crap for four one day, all I could think about was salmon…and bagels, but that’s a post for another time.salm 4

My mom made fish more often than I cared for growing up, which made my life difficult, considering my hatred for vegetables and fish. I basically only wanted to eat the rice pilaf, but all of that changed when she started making salmon on the regular. Suddenly my eyes were opened to the wonderful possibilities of fish. I felt like Ratatouille when he eats the lightening-charred mushroom for the first time. There are so many different ways to cook/eat salmon, but my go to for a healthy recipe is always a simple dill salmon.salm2 salm1

Dill Salmon

Wild Caught Alaskan Salmon, fresh or frozen
1/2 tablespoon butter, cold
Dill, fresh or dried
Olive oil

Preheat your oven to 400. If using frozen salmon, defrost over night in the fridge.

Drizzle a baking dish with olive oil. Place the salmon filet(s), skin side down, in the baking dish. Top each salmon piece with 1/2 tablespoon of butter, sprinkle generously with dill and pop in the oven.

Bake 15-20 minutes, or until salmon flakes easily with a fork.salm5 salm 6

4th of July Parfaits

The 4th of July is always an interesting holiday. You have the over-the-top patriotic types yelling “‘Merica!” every chance they get, the soccer moms in their token american flag Target t-shirt, the people who just want an excuse to get wasted celebrate, and then, of course, you have everyone else. No matter which category you fall into, everyone’s gotta eat! And what better way to start off the day of commemorating our nations independence than with a…wait for it…bomb breakfast?p4p1

Now, this probably won’t work for all of the partiers out there who need a little more substance to soak up their pursuit of 12 hours of alcohol consumption, but it is definitely one way I’ll be celebrating all year.p5

4th of July Parfaits

Fresh blueberries
Fresh strawberries
Plain greek yogurt (or vanilla of you’re feeling fancy)
Granola, store bought or homemade

This recipe couldn’t be easier, simply grab yourself a mason jar and start layering: strawberries, yogurt, granola, yogurt, blueberries, yogurt, granola. Bam! These little treats would also be great for brunch, mini patriotic parfaits anyone?p2 p4

Handmade Crunchy Tacos

There are many reasons why I love living in Seattle. One of the reasons is definitely not the lack of Taco Tuesday’s. Taco Tuesday takes the worst day of the week and turns it into one of the best. It basically give you something to live for, if your life sucks and you love tacos, that is. I mean, how can you beat soft corn tortillas made right in front of your face, endless chips and salsa and $3 margaritas? But, isn’t it Thursday? Whatevs, it’s Taco Tuesday somewhere.taco5

Now, I didn’t make the tortillas from scratch, but I did fry them to make the crunchy shells…that has to count for something, right?taco1 taco2 taco4

Handmade Crunchy Tacos

1 pound lean, grass-fed ground beef
1 tablespoon Trader Joe’s taco seasoning (not the other crappy brands filled with food coloring and cancer)
8 corn tortillas
pico de gallo
shredded mexican cheese
chopped romaine lettuce
oil for frying (canola or olive)

Heat a tablespoon of oil over medium/high heat in a large sauté or frying pan and add the ground beef and taco seasoning. Cook until done, stirring frequently.

In a separate large frying pan, heat 1-2 inches of oil over medium heat. Place a tortilla in the hot oil and fry for 30 seconds then flip and fry for 30 more seconds. Using tongs, bend the tortilla into the shape of a taco shell (hold the tortilla in place with the tongs if necessary) and fry until golden and crispy, flipping sides as needed. Repeat with each tortilla. Place shells on a paper towel to cool and to remove some of the excess oil.

Load the cheese into the tortilla, top with the ground beef, pico de gallo and lettuce, grab a margarita and enjoy! Olé!taco3 taco6

Pain Au Chocolat

The pain au chocolat, or for the non-pretentious (unless you’re actually french) chocolate croissant, is by far, one of my favorite dessert/breakfast foods. It is also one of my favorite pastries to make. I didn’t catch my oven on fire this time, and I’m happy to say that these little bad boys turned out pretty darn delicious. I mean, seriously, what’s better than chocolate wrapped in flakey layers of butter? NOTHING.c10

c11I spent the better part of my day making the pain au chocolat and even though I will never get back those precious five hours I could have spent binge watching Orange is the New Black season 3 contributing to society and helping the poor, it was totally worth it.c1 c2 c3 c5c7

Pain Au Chocolat

3 1/2 ounces water (105-115 degrees f)
1/4 ounce active dry yeast
2 1/2 ounces bread flour
1 1/4 ounces sugar
3/8 ounce salt
6 ounces milk
3/4 ounce water
1 pound bread flour (or all purpose)
10 ounces butter
chocolate chips
1 egg

Start by making a sponge: add the water, yeast, 2 1/2 ounces bread flour and sugar to the bowl of a stand mixer and whisk together. Cover with plastic wrap and let sit about 30 minutes. The mixture should be lumpy and, when ready, have small bubbles on the surface. The bubbles are a sign of the yeast activating, no bubbles = dead yeast.

When sponge is ready, add the salt, milk, water and 1 pound bread flour. Mix on medium speed with a dough hook attachment until combined. Do not over mix. You want the dough to be moist and lumpy. If dough is too dry, add a little bit of water, one teaspoon at a time.

When ready, place the dough on a vegetable-sprayed piece of parchment paper and cover with a vegetable-sprayed piece of plastic wrap. Let sit in a cool place for 1 hour. Alternately, you could refrigerate the dough overnight.

With your butter, cut each stick hotdog-style, then cut again to get 4 even slices. Lay the butter out flat on a large piece of plastic wrap, making a rectangle shape. Cover with another large layer of plastic wrap and beat the butter with your rolling pin until the butter is a smooth, pliable texture.

When dough is ready, place on a floured surface and roll it out to twice the size of the butter. Lay the butter on one half of the dough and fold the other half over it. Pinch the sides of the dough to enrobe the butter. Roll out the dough to a long rectangle shape. Make a 3 fold with the dough by folding one side 2/3 of the way down, then folding the other side over it. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate for 30 minutes. Do this two more times.

After 3×3 folds, roll dough out to 1/4 inch. Using a pastry wheel or pizza cutter, cut out small rectangle shapes. The size of the rectangles depends on how big you want the croissants, I made mini croissants. You can roll out the individual rectangles more if they are too small, or too thick. Add a small hand full of chocolate chips to each piece and fold over itself, similar to the 3 fold.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees f.

Place croissants on a sheet pan with parchment paper. Make egg wash by whisking together one egg, a splash of water and a pinch of salt. Brush the top of each croissant with egg wash and place in an enclosed area to proof. I made a small batch and placed my croissants on my toaster oven with a bowl of steaming water under the sheet pan. The main goal is for the croissants to be covered in a humid environment. Croissants are fully proofed when they have roughly doubled in size and when they resemble jello when shaken. Depending on the temperature of the room and size of the croissants, this can take anywhere from 30 minutes to 2 hours.

Place croissants in oven and bake for 10 minutes. Reduce the heat of the oven to 350 degrees f and continue baking until done. Croissants are done when they are a deep golden brown; they will feel very light if you pick one up. Celebrate the wondrous feat you have just overcome by eating all of them!c12 c9