Description Welcome

I've always been an experimentalist in the kitchen. Just ask my Mom. I loved to invent new recipes when I was younger. Though I flopped a lot I never lost that drive to tinker with flavors and food whilst creating my own signature versions. Now, I've added experience, photography and the Trim Healthy Mama lifestyle to my repertoire and I'm excited to bring you my brand new adventures!Since I don't believe in sacrificing my taste buds for the sake of health here is where you're going to find the recipes I've scoured for (and more than likely tweaked) to be successes in that brutal criteria. I guarantee vibrant flavor and textures that will make you happy that you switched to REAL food.So please come on in! Grab a spoon and a mug before you cozy in at my kitchen table. We'll chat awhile about health and life and all the things we love while I serve you up some of my favorites!

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Crunchy Coconut Granola

            I had high hopes for this granola.
 Maybe it's ridiculous to want a oats based granola that has tons of flavor, crunch, and tastes moist and full of fat without truly being so.
It smelled amazingly coconutish.
It had the basis of all the right ingredients and a glowing overview from the recipe creator.
How crestfallen I was when it turned out not to meet my expectations. For one thing it wasn't sweet enough for me, I would probably double the Stevia powder amount. And it was a bit too dry and loose for me, not enough clumps even though I added extra egg whites when I got suspicious about it not holding any shape in the mixing bowl. I think the extra whites steamed it more so than browned it though. I'm not sure if I tried a sticky erythritol syrup if that would help hold it all together? I like this recipe's flavors ( I added coconut and almond extract to mine) and concept, so I would like to try to tweak it to my vision of a perfect E go-to-granola.
 While I'm still searching for (or recreating) that perfect recipe at least, for now, I have a baggie of granola to scratch that itch I sometimes get. If you're feeling adventurous give this recipe a try and let me know what you think! This is an E style granola which is really nice to throw a handful on your morning bowl of yogurt of layer it up for a parfait for a little more fancy effect.

Lemon Curd Makes Me Oh So Happy!

I am a hunter. I hunt down beauty, taste, textures. I grab my Cannon and zoom in close, figure out the angle. Focus in on the dripping, the steaming, the bubbling. Hunt down the colors. Oh, but my camera is not the only weapon I use to catch the wild and elusive beauty in a moment. The tongue is a great tool, as are the eyes. The vibrant colors, the silky textures, the tangy bite at the end. Those deep and rich notes marrying with acidic and explosive. Indeed, I enjoy the hunt.
I enjoy creating. That part of me that God designed in His Image. If creating these edible art forms gives me such pleasure, how much pleasure did (does) God take in all of His creations. And He never has flops!

Ever since I started THM I have been finding so many recipes to explore and create; to design with my own personal fingerprints. I am honored to share with you today some of my latest adventures

You've already been previewing pictures of Sugar Free Lemon Curd, and while I do admit to touching up the pictures some to make them jump off the page a little more, it truly was a beautiful yellow color, akin to sunshine in a jar.

We buy farm fresh eggs from a neighbor and the yolks are a beautiful deep golden, almost ochre. Just one of the reasons I love living in the country. Can I share with you one of my dream ambitions? Okay, lean in a little closer. ...... I really, (no I mean like seriously) want to keep a flock of my OWN chickens one day. There is something about hearing the clucking, the downy feathers fluffed up in the breeze, gathering the eggs, still warm, into cupped hands.
Ah, but I digress. Whether you have your own homegrown eggs or buy them from the store, you'll need plenty of Omega rich yolks. The color of your yolks will determine the color of the finished product.
Just in case you need another enticement to make this delightful dessert, it has a superb tart and refreshing flavor. Perfect to savor as you sit on the front porch listening to the birds chatter excitedly about the new life bursting forth all about, a mild Spring breeze blowing through your hair. Perfection. Yes, almost.
This recipe can be whipped up in a snap and is a great way to use up any leftover egg yolks you have when only whites are required. Or if you don't want to wait to accumulate some yolks, just separate the eggs and keep the whites in the fridge for a recipe that calls for only whites. Easy and saves time later on.

Well, I guess it's time to confess. About my flop that is. I love lemon. Have you come to that conclusion yet? I really enjoy sweet and decadent desserts but I have always been a fan for changing it up with a bite of tart here and there. Lemon is my favorite way to get that tart fix. So not long ago I thought I would tweak a Lemon Bar recipe. Let's say the results were edible but less successful that I had hoped. We wouldn't be trying that again. The crust was magnificent, the filling...oh you mean, there is supposed to be a silky layer over the shortbread? Ah yes! Somehow I ended up with a skin dotted with un-dissolved xantham gum, then a runny yellow substance much like an egg yolk texture and delightfully tart and lemony almond crust with a major crumbling issue. This recipe couldn't be the best there was! Yet, out of that flop I found a great crust recipe or shortbread cookie, whatever use you needed at the time.

I happened to be making cheesecakes on this same marvelous baking day and had some extra almond shortbread mixture left over so I baked it into bars. I thought it might go well with my lemon curd. Oh boy! While the lemon curd is much more rich than a normal lemon bar filling the textures and flavors were almost exactly what I wanted.

You can find the recipe to these delicious crumb beauties here:

I did note when I was making them that using store bought almond flour yields the best results. If you want to use your own almond flour (I experimented with [image that!] homemade ground almonds into flour and it is much more oily in my experience) I would cut down quite a bit on the butter but that's where this recipe becomes your own playground! :)  Also, I made these once with the lemon zest and I liked that the best for sure for the pure and pungent flavor, but lemon extract maybe substituted if need be.
You really need to try both of these recipes. Either together or separately. Honestly, they don't take long. Whip them up during nap time and eat them for dessert that night. Or better yet set your daughter to it! :)  Prepare yourself for the adventure of beauty and yummy. Your senses are in for a wild ride! Enjoy!

If only there were smell-a-vision.....

Another recipe I've recently enjoyed getting acquainted with is
 Cinnamon Roasted Almonds.

Now don't fly off your rocker rushing to the pantry thinking these are the kind that you cannot resist buying at the mall because the tantalizing smell follows you everywhere. The first bite you taste, warm and comforting, sweet and spicy cinnamon. Yeah, I don't  have that secret recipe for you today. However, I present to you this deliciously tantalizing and dare I say, slenderizing, version. Now you can feel good about eating a whole handful without undoing your budget or your slim waistline (or waistline in progress, don't worry ladies I'm right there with ya!). Plus, you can make them at home right now, today, in your pajamas. Go ahead! I'm not judging. The comfort of home, the comfort of food, they just go together in the most wonderful ways!
 This recipe makes quite a few single servings (I try to keep my serving size to about 16 almonds because it's really easy to overdo on portion sizes with something so yummy!) so I divided the batch up into 2 Ziploc quart bags and froze half for later. This ensured they stayed super fresh and yummy without that dreary stale taste. Of course, if you have several in your family who like almonds, these will be gone in a flash! They are great for a quick on the go snack or even for a little sweet after dinner satisfaction. For you THMers I even used them for the Cheesecake Berry Crunch recipe in the book (previously I used raw almonds) and I love it even more! Who knew that was possible!  ;)

 If you aren't following any diet restrictions feel free to try it with normal granulated sugar. However, if you are doing a THM lifestyle like I am you can super easily swap out the white sugar for granulated erythritol or Truvia 1:1.  Also, I found that real egg whites whip up best for this recipe, the carton whites generally stay pretty liquidy and don't whip up even if you do add some cream of tartar to them. I used a mixture for this recipe because I was short on time but I wish I had taken the few extra minutes to separate some fresh whites. The more foam you have the more cinnamon/sweetener mixture sticks, and who doesn't want more sweet & spicy in their lives right!