Yum Peaceful Cooking: April 2014

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Vegan Chocolate Hazelnut Spread

Chocolate hazelnut spread. A great flavor combination. And, that very famous brand.....which I really did like.....except for one thing. It left a strange waxy coating in my mouth. And honestly.... it's not the healthy snack spread that's boasted about on those commercials. I mean...really....2 tablespoons at 200 calories? Over half of the calories come from fat.  Not to mention 21 grams of sugar, 12 grams of fat, plus....artificial flavors. 

As if we should expect anything else. After all, it is the sad fact of processed food. 

But that's beside the point....my focus here is on an amazing alternative. Because no matter how much I question the "famous" one....I still crave that combination.  Because really...I do love it. And now I have a great, healthy, easy alternative. That not only leaves my mouth feeling 'wax-free', but makes me feel so much better about eating it. 

My daughter found the recipe on Instagram and unfortunately there wasn't a website link for me to give credit to. If you are an 'instagramer'...you can find the recipe on laulweighlossjourney's account. 

I've made this mock Nutella twice. Once I blanched the hazelnuts first to remove the skins. The second time I left the skins on. There's no difference in the texture or flavor. Just in color.....

The main difference between the store brands and the homemade version is the consistency. It's thinner....and a bit grainier. You'll think you messed up when you first mix it up but don't worry, it does thicken once refrigerated. It doesn't become as thick as store brands, but it's enough. 

And really....it's so easy. No cooking involved. Just a food processor. And if you make your own almond milk (which doesn't get cooked)...you can call this "raw". All of the ingredients are raw, or are available raw.

Are you ready to get a little healthier and step a little further away from the processed?

Let's do it! 

Vegan Chocolate Hazelnut Spread

1 cup hazelnuts (skins on or off, its up to you)
1 TB coconut oil
3 TB cacao powder
4 TB maple syrup
1/8 tsp salt (also known as 'a pinch')
1/2 cup almond milk

In a food processor, pulse the hazelnuts a few times then puree them until they start forming a paste. Add in the coconut oil and continue processing until smooth. 

Add in the remaining ingredients and process until completely combined and smooth and creamy.

It will be a bit runny, but just pour and scrape it into a container (mason jars work great!), cover and place in the refrigerator.

After a couple of hours, you will notice that it's getting thicker. After that, I have no idea because It has yet to last more than 12 hours in my house. 

My daughter found some Belgian Chocolate Thins at the Italian Deli today....and let me tell you....I could eat the whole box with my Chocolate Hazelnut Spread. 

And not feel guilty.

Well, at least not very much. 

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Garlic Trifecta with Quinoa Pasta and Spinach #NationalGarlicDay

Happy National Garlic Day!

Garlic is wonderful. It's included in most of my dishes. It's one of my favorite ingredients. I can't imagine cooking without it. It's often thought of as a spice, even though it's actually a vegetable. It's health benefits are note worthy: it boost your immune system, contain antioxidants, good for your heart, has anti-inflammatory properties, repels mosquitoes...and the list goes on. Not to mention....the flavor.

Oh, the flavor!!

In honor of one of the most popular vegetables, I am sharing an incredible dish with you that includes garlic that has been cooked 3 different ways....roasted, fried and sauteed. I'm also participating in a blog-wide GIVEAWAY with several other food bloggers who have some amazing garlic recipes (listed below) and we're giving away some fantastic garlic related goodies! Scroll down to participate. Meanwhile, enjoy this dish in celebration of garlic!

Garlic Trifecta with Quinoa Pasta and Spinach
Inspired by Three Garlic Pasta by Martha Stewart

1 head of garlic plus 8 cloves
2 TB olive oil
8 oz quinoa pasta
1/2 cup chicken broth
1/4 cup dry vermouth
1 tsp red pepper flakes
4 cups fresh spinach
Salt and Pepper
Grated Parmesan cheese and chopped fresh flat leaf parsley to garnish

Preheat the oven to 425' F

Wrap the whole head of garlic in tin foil and roast in the oven for about an hour, or until soft. Let cool then slice the head of the garlic off and squeeze out the soft buttery roasted garlic. Set aside.

Cook the pasta according to package instructions, rinse with cold water and set aside.

Take 5 of the 8 garlic cloves and slice into thin slivers, set aside.. Finely chop the remaining 3 garlic cloves.

In a medium skillet, heat the olive oil. Add the garlic slivers and saute until crisp and golden brown, stirring frequently. Watch them carefully as they go from almost done to over done very quickly and you do not want bitter, burnt garlic. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside.

Add the chopped garlic to the pan and saute over low heat until translucent, about a minute.

Add the creamy roasted garlic, chicken broth and vermouth. Stir to combine. Add the spinach and cook until the spinach has wilted and the liquid has reduced slightly.

Toss in the pasta, red pepper flakes and salt and pepper to taste.

Garnish with the garlic slivers, parsley and grated Parmesan cheese and serve.

Note: if you are sensitive to spicy heat, you may want to reduce the amount of red pepper flakes or omit all together.

Here is a list of some amazing dishes shared by other garlic lovers in our food blogger community:

  • Black Garlic Chocolate Chunk Ice Cream from girlichef
  • Caesar Tartlets with Sweet Garlic Butter Crusts from Karen's Kitchen Stories
  • Easy Garlic Infused Olive Oil from MarocMama
  • Garlic and Herb Lamb Chops from Healthy. Delicious.
  • Garlic Bread from My Catholic Kitchen
  • Garlic Dill Roasted Potato Wedges from From Gate to Plate
  • Garlic Fried Rice from Crazy Foodie Stunts
  • Garlic Soup with Cheese & Garlic Olive Crunch Bread from The Not So Cheesy Kitchen
  • Garlic Trifecta with Quinoa Pasta and Spinach from Peaceful Cooking
  • Gnocchetti with Asparagus and Garlic-Gorgonzola Sauce from The Spiffy Cookie
  • Heart Healthy Roasted Garlic Chicken Recipe from It's Yummi!
  • Roasted Garlic Butter from Basic N Delicious
  • Roasted Garlic Chicken Pizza Pockets from Cindy's Recipes and Writings
  • Slow-Roasted Lamb with 40 Cloves of Garlic from Food Lust People Love
  • Vampire Garlic Dip from Kudos Kitchen By Renee

  • Giveaway
    In honor of National Garlic Day and our love of the stinking rose, we are giving away a Garlic Lovers Prize Pack (valued at over $100) that includes:

  • The Garlic Farmers' Cookbook

  • One-year membership to the Garlic Seed Foundation

  • 5 Garlic Button Covers

  • OXO Good Grips Garlic Press 

  • The Ultimate Garlic Peeler

  • Tumbleweed Pottery Garlic Clove Canister Keeper with Vented Lid

  • Terra Cotta Garlic Roaster

  • 2 Bulbs of Whole Black Garlic

  • To enter, simply leave a comment on this post (mandatory) answering this question: What is your favorite GARLICKY dish (or one that you'd love to try)?

    After you've answered the question for entry into this contest, be sure to record that you did so inthe rafflecopter widget below; doing so will unlock many more optional ways to earn entries.
    a Rafflecopter giveaway

    This giveaway is open to residents of the Continental USA. Entries will be accepted through 11:59 pm ET on Thursday, April 24, 2014. All entries will be verified. A winner will be chosen from qualifying entries via random draw, and notified via email within 48 hours of the close of this contest. The winner will have 24 hours from the time the email is sent to respond with their complete name and mailing address (no P.O. Boxes). If no response is received within 24 hours, a new winner will be chosen.

    Prizes provided by The Garlic Seed Foundation, Food Lust People Love and girlichef. Prizes may vary slightly from images shown and are subject to replacement with comparable items if ones pictured are no longer available at the close of this contest. Items may be shipped separately.

    Saturday, April 5, 2014

    Russian Sailor and a Lovely Candy Co #Giveaway

    Spring is in the air. Gardening is on many of our minds. Prepping the earth, plotting and planning and planting. Then comes the nurturing and tending to those little seedlings, with high hopes of a bountiful harvest. The sweet, sweet satisfaction of growing your own fruits and vegetables. The pureness of it all. Fresh, flavorful, and nutritious.

    We all do our best to feed our families healthy foods. Although it's not always easy or affordable. Organic, non-gmo produce isn't in everyone's budget. With our own gardens though....it's a bit more affordable and very controllable, making every garden prepping, back breaking moment worth it.

    But every once in a while (or more) we have that craving....the child in us is crying out for some good old fashioned candy. Sure, that freshly picked strawberry is as sweet as sweet can be. But it's not candy. There are times when I really want candy! I dunno about you, but I have never seen a mainstream candy bar with the words organic or non-gmo on the label. Maybe when you're hunting down a candy bar, you're far from thinking ...'is this good for me?" cuz when the craving hits, all that matters is getting your fix.

    Well, if you shop at Target....I have some good news for you. You can get your candy fix and feel good about it, at the same time.

    Check it out!!! Lovely Candy Co. makes non-gmo, organic, gluten-free, certified kosher. no soy, no artificial  colors or ingredients, no high fructose corn syrup Fruit Chews and Caramels. And they can be found in many U.S. Target stores.

    And...they are seriously delicious!!

    The Fruit Chews didn't last long in my household, with this little bits of fruity flavor. The only reason the caramels did, was because their were 2 bags...Original Caramel and ...Chocolate Swirl Caramel.

    Which reminds me....today, April 5th is National Caramel Day!

    And you get to enter for a chance to WIN 3 bags (one bag of each flavor) of this wonderful candy! 

    How sweet is that?!

    Let me give you an adult way to enjoy it ....

    I say 'adult' because it does include alcohol. What I'm about to do can be done with any of the candies I was given. I chose the Chocolate Swirl Caramels. Mainly because I wanted to make a cocktail with it afterwards.

    Now you all have seen flavor infused vodka at the market, haven't you? Do you know how easy it is to make?

    I took about half a dozen of the Chocolate Swirl Caramels and placed them in a mason jar filled with Vodka.

    And let it sit on the counter for a couple of days. Every once in a while (when I thought of it) I shook that jar up. Once the caramels had dissolved, I strained it through a coffee filter lined sieve

    And whaddya know....I had infused vodka!

    Perfect for making my cocktail.

    Russian Sailor

    3 oz caramel infused vodka
    2 oz coffee liquor
    1 oz cream
    good pinch of sea salt
    caramel sauce to drizzle (optional)

    In a shaker full of ice, combine the vodka, coffee liquor and cream. Shake for a few seconds then poor into a chilled martini glass. Sprinkle with a good pinch of salt and drizzle some caramel sauce over it if desired.

    This will not only take care of any sweet craving you could possibly have, but it'll knock your socks off as well. Which you just might need after a long day prepping the garden.

    How would you like to give this consciously crafted, better-for-you candy a try?

    Lovely Candy Co. will send one lucky U.S. resident winner a 6oz bag of each of the following:

    Lovely Candy Original Caramels
    Lovely Candy Chocolate Swirl Caramels 
    Lovely Candy Superfruit Chews

    Leaving a comment is a mandatory requirement for entering to win. All other entries are optional.

    Good Luck!

    a Rafflecopter giveaway

    This giveaway is open to US residents only. This giveaway will run from Saturday, April 5, 2014 through Thursday, April 10, 2014 (11:59 pm PT). Winner will be notified within 48 hours of the close of the contest and given 48 hours to respond before a new winner is chosen. 

    I was not compensated for this post, however Lovely Candy Co supplied me with 3 bags of candy to try. They are also supplying 3 bags of candy for the giveaway.  All opinions are my own.