Too Delicious to resist, Heavenly Coconut Balls; Gluten and Dairy-free

This is probably one of my favorite recipes that I will have posted to date. I do love all the other recipes; they are a part of my life and who I am and what I love to eat. With food, I generally think of things that go good together and make a dish that more often than not turns out to be amazing (That’s what my husband says). But this one recipe in particular, may it be because I don’t consider myself a baker or maybe because it didn’t take me one time but about 10 times at this point to get it perfect and somewhere that I felt good enough to publish (not that the other ten times they weren’t good I just wanted perfection), or whatever the case I love it and I’m proud of it!

I love coconut so although I must’ve eaten about 30 of these in the past 2 months, I’m glad because I actually lost weight and have a new found love for coconut and it’s healthy reputation.  Growing up here in Italy one of my favorite candy bars, were the famous Bounty bars made with shredded coconut and covered in chocolate. Yum. Then along came Ferrero chocolate company with it’s Raffaello chocolate with an almond in the center and covered with nothing but coconut itself.
Well, I stopped eating all these chocolates about maybe 8 years ago, occasionally indulging in one but don’t really have that love for them anymore because they are just too sweet and of course full of “other ingredients” that I can’t really even spell out.
All of these delicious products eventually become something I never craved or think of because they just aren’t part of the healthy woman that I am or became. I much rather indulge in things that are home-made and fresh. Don’t get me wrong occasionally a friend or someone will offer me one and I’m not saying I would never stick one of these in my mouth but I wouldn’t go out of my way to buy them, especially because now I have this recipe and the ingredients and flavor in these are so much more rewarding.

Also I am not saying that you are going to lose weight if you eat these. I love to work out and eat healthy foods and I guess that the combination of working out and the adding this healthy fat have really worked out for me and I couldn’t be happier.  It was a coincidence and a welcome at that.

Coconut has really been exploding over the world these past few years as a good for you fat, and how you should cook with it and use it as a fat substitution and try to incorporate it in your everyday diet (information we all knew just forgot about it). Just like nuts they are a healthy fat and you should eat them everyday. Be careful though that doesn’t give you a hall pass to go crazy, you still need moderation, after all that is the secret to being your best self ever! But do make them for New Years and serve them, your friend will go crazy. Or when you have a girls get together you can serve these as a little dessert this way you keep your waistline in check but your belly happy and indulged.

I should mention though the one that has really eaten about 100 of these is my husband, he loves them. Since I’ve know him and been married to him which is 9 years; he always eats a chocolate after dinner, but since these he will not buy chocolate and eats one of these every night and looks forward to them like a cute little puppy that he is, (in a mans body of course!) For him (seeing that he’s a chocolate lover ) I cover in dark chocolate, but I like to leave mine plain. So you choose how you want yours. If you want them plain just don’t dip them in the chocolate. I make this batch once a week and store it in a cookie tight container and they maintain wonderfully. Enjoy!

 

Ingredients:

Makes about 15 balls

2 cups of Coconut, shredded

1 cup of Almond flour*

2 Egg whites

4 tbsp. Honey

3 tbsp. Flax oil**

1 tsp. Vanilla extract

½ tsp. Salt

1 bar Dark chocolate

 

Preheat the over at 350°F (or 180°C).

Mix all ingredients besides chocolate in bowl. If you have an ice cream scoop use it, it will save you all the tedious work. If not (like myself) wet your hands and grab a spoonful of the mix and compact balls together patiently. (They will sometimes fall apart, just restart the ball, they are really light so this is bound to happen.)

They will turn out just takes time, don’t worry about them being too perfect.

Place balls one by one on the baking sheet or cookie tray and bake for 15 minutes, or until golden. Remove allowing to cool down.

If Chocolate coating them:
Get your chocolate bar and break into pieces, place in a ceramic or glass bowl and melt at Bagno Maria a.k.a Bains-Marie (which means to place in a small pot of water, over medium heat, place a smaller bowl or pot inside it and gently allow ingredient to melt); if not place bowl in microwave and melt about 2-3 minutes. Mix until smooth with a spoon and one by one dip the balls in, gently roll them around in the chocolate and then place on wax paper (or use the same baking paper you cooked them in). Allow to harden.
You can leave them at room temperature for about 2 hours, or place them in the fridge for half hour and they’re done.

*You can omit the almond flour and either replace with oat four or coconut flour itself**You can replace the Flax oil with coconut oil, or linseed oil, grape seed oil; I liked mine best with the flax oil.

Advertisements

Gluten-Free Crunchy Peanut Butter Nutella Cookies

A sweet treat for all mythineaters to make this holiday. You didn’t think that I would just expect no one to be craving something yummy and sweet, especially considering that there will be great temptation.

This is how it all started. We had dinner with a friend the other night and I really wanted to bring something. He wasn’t feeling good and I figured that if we brought a bottle of wine (which is our go-to, especially here in Italy, it’s always everyone’s favorite), he probably wouldn’t drink it.
He said that Pizza was on the menu and to not worry about bringing anything. I for one can’t bring myself to not bring something when going over to someone’s home. He’s been really nice to us, he often goes back to the States and every time brings us back something, like for instance hot sauce for my hubby, and organic peanut butter and for me; well let’s say I wanted the 50 Shades of Grey book series in English and couldn’t find them here in Italy so he brought them back from the USA.  Anything that we can’t find here in Italy he does the favor of getting them for us.

Well, it was cold outside I didn’t want to have to leave the house to go to the store (also cause I had no idea what I wanted to get). So I opened the cupboards, by this point I knew I wanted to make a dessert but not to heavy and also without flour considering that we were going to have plenty of it for dinner. I saw the Peanut and knew in that moment that it would be cookies. I also saw the Nutella and figured that seeing that they are pretty much the same consistency they should go good together, this was perfect. A power cookie with a little extra yummy goodness in there, afterall Nutella is made of hazelnuts and chocolate. They turned out fantastic and our friend really enjoyed them, my husband said that they tasted like a Reeses Peanut butter cup.
So, here is the super easy and delicious recipe. Now you can indulge this holiday without feeling too guilty. Enjoy!

Ingredients:Makes about 24 small cookies

1 cup smooth Peanut Butter (try to get the natural ones, no sugar or other additives)

1/2 cup Nutella*

3/4 cup Sugar

1 tsp. Baking Soda

1 Egg

1/4 cup Hazelnuts (finely chopped)**

1/4 cup Dark Chocolate (finely chopped)

Preheat the oven at 350°.
In a medium bowl mix sugar with baking soda, whisk in your egg and then add your peanut butter and nutella. Mix all ingredients. Stir in your chopped hazelnuts and chocolate. Prep 2 baking trays with parchment paper.
Get tbsp and scoop out dough; make balls and set on the trays.
Once you’re done with the balls grab a fork and make crosspatch patterns on each cookie.
Bake for 15 minutes, or until cookies are lightly browned. Let cool before eating.

* Nutella is optional you can follow the recipe the same way and just leave it out
** Hazelnuts that’s what I had but you can replace with any nut you want
*** You can also make larger cookies that is up to you, I did!

Healthy Side Dish Alternatives for Christmas

Christmas, Yet another holiday is among us and life is at its ultimate stress mode. There is so much to get done, so many things to decide and so little time to do it.
First of all I want to tell you the one secret, Breathe! No one is expecting you to perform the way you are expecting yourself to perform. You are your biggest judge, and Christmas is a time of Love, Forgiving and no Judging. So just breathe, it’s not like if you stress you are gonna get anything extra accomplished. It actually might just do the opposite.

I am one of those girls that like to occasionally spice up a Holiday Tradition; what I mean by this is sometimes I like to make roasted potatoes vs. mashed potatoes, or throw in a lasagna, or just make something different to add to the Turkey or Chicken and all the other standard side dishes that go along this festive late lunch/dinner.

Vegetables, yes I pretty much name this food group in every single one of my posts because I simply love them and can’t imagine my meals without them. So I have just a few simple and fast side dishes that will keep your dinner lighter but still delicious.

Lets start off with something I came up with that ended up being a success not to long ago when I had to bring something to a lunch. It can be served as an appetizer, finger food or main course if you’re going all vegetarian. Really simple.

Ricotta and Pesto Stuffed Artichoke Cap

Ricotta and Pesto Artichoke

Get your Artichoke cap*, scoop a 1/2 tbsp. of Pesto** and a dollop of Ricotta***, sprinkle some Pepper. Place in a baking tray drizzled with a little olive oil and  bake in the oven at 320° for 20 minutes.

*For the Artichoke: I found some frozen artichoke caps, I boiled them for 10 minutes and let them cool. You could try to do with fresh artichoke just remember to clean correctly and boil for approx. 20 minutes. You could also substitute with mushrooms caps.
**For the Pesto: I used a fresh store-bought version. I think in the USA you could probably find the Barilla version, if it’s to thick? Take it out if the container, put in a bowl add some olive oil mix until a little more creamy.
***For the Ricotta: Put the ricotta in a small bowl, add a drizzle of olive oil, some salt and 2 tbsp. of either Parmigiano or Pecorino. Incorporate all ingredients and that’s it.

Now for Side dishes I have a few delicious options:

Roasted Cauliflower

Roasted Cauliflower

Put your clean and chopped Cauliflower in a baking tray, drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle salt and pepper and bake at 350° for 20-30 minutes. It tastes so good you would’ve never thought that so little ingredients could make Cauliflower taste so darn good.

Roasted Cabbage with Pancetta

Roasted cabbage with Pancetta

Grab a head of cabbage and slice it in 4 or 8. Get out 4 or 8 big enough piece of aluminum foil to cover each piece of cabbage individually. Lay out 1 pc. of foil, place 1 slice of cabbage facing up, drizzle olive oil, sprinkle some salt and pepper, get about 1 tbsp. of diced pancetta and sprinkle on top. Cover the cabbage completely with the foil, to where no holes (like if you were to steam). Repeat the same steps with remaining cabbage. Place in the oven and bake at 380° for 25-30 minutes. Leave in foil so each person can open in their own plate.
Be careful when you open as steam may let out.

Artisanal Flat buns

You can also try out these Artisanal flat buns recipe here, so delicious and perfect to accompany your dinner, or for a sandwich with the leftover Turkey.

And last but not least I always prepare a salad, it’s fresh and perfect for accompanying a heavy meal. Here are some recipes:
My Light Grilled Corn and Mushroom Salad
Elegant Zucchini Ribbon Salad
Green Bean and Cherry Tomato Salad
No-Carb Grilled Veggie Stack

Well, I hope that I gave you some yummy and healthy ideas for this Holiday feast or for any other day. Happy Holidays!

Ciao

 

A few Blogger Awards to Mythineats

I have been nominated several times for a few different awards and feel it only right to say Thank you to all Mythineats readers and followers, but also how much I appreciate your support. I wish I could nominate everyone because you all do such a great job and it’s so nice that you share your experiences, hobbies, frustrations, goals and everyday life with the world but I only can nominate a few.

For starters I want to give Thanks to some of the people that have nominated Mythineats:

http://cooktolove.com
http://birgitlikes.wordpress.com

http://rezichfamilykitchen.wordpress.com
childrenshealthnaturally.wordpress.com

Such a fantastic group of bloggers, passionate about what they blog and willing to share all their positive experiences with all of us. Check them out!

https://i1.wp.com/www.breakfastblogspot.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/11/beautiful-blogger-award.jpg

For the Beautiful Blogger Award, you are required to list seven interesting facts about yourself, so I’ll do all of that here before I list my nominees for each.

  1. My favorite meal has to be Spicy. And by spicy I mean HOT. I love, love, love spicy food. The spicier the better. I always have powdered Cayenne pepper at the table and put it in my plate before I eat.
  2. I prefer to cook than bake. I feel that with cooking you are constantly doing something you can see how it’s turning out and add stuff to it along the way; whereas with baking you have to wait to see how the final product comes out and there is not alot of action.
  3.  No matter what I have to eat popcorn while watching a movie. I love popcorn (homemade) and no matter how full I am or whatever, if I am going to watch a movie it needs to be accompanied by popcorn. I pop it with extra virgin olive oil, add sea salt and cayenne. Delicious.
  4. I love almonds. I eat a small ramekin of Almonds pretty much everyday. My favorite are the dry-roasted ones. Lightly salted or not slated (depends on the mood).
  5. My favorite exercise is Yoga or Pilates. I love Vinyasa, Ashtanga or Power Yoga; anything that will kick my ass while keeping my Chi in check. Perfect body toning exercises.
  6. Cleaning is my salvation. There is nothing better than a clean house. I feel like I can breathe and move on with my day when the house is completely clean and tidy. A bit OCD i would say.
  7. I love my husband. Seriously! I don’t know where I would be in life without him, he is the most amazing thing that has ever happened to me and I feel lucky to know that there is someone out there that has that much love, appreciation and most of all trust in me. Babe, I love you. Thank you for encouraging me to start a blog.

And The Beautiful Blogger Award goes to…

Lattes and Leggings A southern girl with an Italian Flare, Passionate about Latte and Leggings, right up my alley!

Pilates Evolution Now  Peta Serras A Pilates Instructor, passionate about sharing healthy ways of staying in shape while eating and working out.

@ Dieffs An amazing girl showing us that you shouldn’t diet but create a lifestyle with some of the most scrumptious and tasty dessert recipes ever.

Diane Abroad A west coast girl who moved to Paris for love and adventure, all the meanwhile sharing her food and other experiences with us while living abroad.

Clean and Lean with Lisa A gorgeous mother of two and a Certified Personal Trainer &
Nutrition and Wellness Specialist
, showing us how to get it done and look fantastic.

Mile High Healthy A Colorado Girl who lost over 50lbs and sharing her wonderful story with everyone about how you can achieve anything if you put your mind to it.

Creative Liar A woman that speaks her mind in the most creative ways possible.

Happy Holidays from us and I will be back next week with a fantastic recipe. Buona Giornata a Tutti. A.k.a Good day to you all. Ciao

                                                     Under Italian Christmas tree

Simple Handmade Tagliatelle

Oh this is one of my favorites and it’s so simple. Listen, I know that making your own pasta can seem daunting and complicated, but it’s really, really simple. It cost’s less and tastes better. It’s a win win situation.

I love any type of pasta really, and I also don’t eat it so often because I like to vary with different things like rice, quinoa, potatoes, couscous and sometimes even bread. I know that pasta has a bad rep, and honestly I don’t believe any of it. Italians eat pasta atleast 6 days a week and they are all so thin and in shape.  Have you ever heard of eating Spaghetti in a bikini? Well, come here to Italy and you’ll see people including girls at the beach eating pasta in their bikini’s with absolute pleasure. I’m not saying that this is what we should all do, but I can say that when I eat pasta I am less bloated the next day than when I eat a salad. Trust me it just depends on your body’s digestion, how much you eat and what you put on it. I wrote a whole blog about it here: Skinny Italians Eat Pasta

Anyhow, this is a step by step of how to make it with a roller, but if you have a machine (which is so much easier…but less exercise) I would suggest using it, and just skip the last few steps. You can make this authentic Italian homemade Ragù a la Bolognese to put over it. Or keep it light and follow one of my other recipes for pasta. Enjoy!

 

Ingredients:

Serves 2*

200 gr. Flour

2 eggs

Pour your flour on a flat surface and make a well in the center with your hand or fork.

Step one- Pasta fatta in casaThen carefully crack the eggs in the center of the well.

Step 2- Pasta fatta in casa

Carefully start incorporating the flour with the fork gently scooping it into the eggs. Starting from the center towards the outside. You may start kneading with your hands until you obtain a solid ball of dough. Knead until smooth for about 3-5 minutes. **

Step 3- Pasta fatta in casa

Start rolling it out, you have to obtain a really thin layer. Could take anywhere from 15-20 minutes of rolling it out. Continue until if held up to the light you could see the light through it.

If you are using the Pasta machine then start on the thickest setting an start feeding the dough through, fold and feed again repeat this step about 5 times, folding each time.
Start reducing the settings one pass at a time. It will start getting long so be gentle and careful with it.

Step 4- Pasta fatta in casa

Now fold in half, fold in half again, and fold in half once more. but do not press down on the fold. Grab a really sharp knife and carefully slice about 1/4″ in thickness (if you want papardelle do them thicker, your choice.) just make sure that they are all even. Then try to immediately unravel on a lightly floured surface. You can do this by inserting the dull side of a large knife into each slice and gently shaking it loose. But I just use my hands, it’s easier and no risk of slicing them. And you’re done.

If you are using the pasta machine: Once you are on the last setting you may pass it through to make the tagliatelle, put over a lightly floured surface and let rest until you finish them all.

Step 5- Pasta fatta in casa

Final Step Tagliatelle

Now for the cooking, bring a pot of salted water to boil. Gently throw in your pasta and allow to float to surface, it should take about 2 minutes. Drain and serve with your favorite sauce.

Tagliatelle fate a mano con Ragu

Accompany with a Delicious Red wine

Tagliatelle con ragu e vino rosso

*This should be helpful: 100 grams of Flour + 1 egg = 1 Serving So for each additional serving you add: 100 grams of Flour + 1 egg. Easy!

** Kneading ensures a silky smooth pasta, it’s an important step.

One of My many Low Calorie Meals: Spinach and White Bass

We all have go-to dishes that we cook when we feel like we need to get back on track from a weekend or holiday of eating a little too much. I for instance; when away on vacation for a week or so can’t wait to get home and cook my own meals. Although I try not to overdo it, I still don’t know the exact ingredients on my plate and can’t always get it cooked exactly how I like. I almost feel like a need a palate refresher.

My Husband without fail always says “I can’t wait to get home and have one of your salads or meals”. That always makes me feel good because I know that my meals are things he looks forward to even when away enjoying other things he can’t wait to get back to my cooking. I love cooking. I mean I truly enjoy it. So, to know that I can create and put meals together that not only are delicious but also make you feel healthy is so rewarding. Really!

I love fish. My favorites being Salmon, Branzino (Sea Bass), Tilapia, Sole, Cod, Tuna, Grouper, Mahi-Mahi, etc… It’s so good for you and easy to make. The health benefits are so many that you just feel good knowing that you are going to eat it, most of all it is delicious, delicate and light.

I used European White Bass in this recipe but you can use really just about any fish that you have. This is any easy and quick meal with so many benefits. Enjoy!

Ingredients:

1 lb. Fresh Spinach

400 gr. White Bass (cut into 2 slices)

3 Tbs. Extra Virgin Olive Oil

1/2 Lemon

Red Chili Flakes (optional)

Salt and Pepper to taste

Place a large non-stick sauce pan over medium heat, add the rinsed Spinach and cover allowing to wilt for about 5-7 minutes.

Grab a medium pan place over high heat and add 1 tbsp. of Olive oil along with some Chili flakes (if using), allow the oil to heat and in the mean time salt and pepper both sides of your fish. Once the oil is hot place the fish and allow to cook for 2 minutes and then lower the flame to medium low and cook for another 3 minutes.

Check on your spinach, mix around and if wilted turn off add salt, pepper, 2 tbsp. of Extra Virgin Olive oil and squeeze half the lemon, mix well until all ingredients are incorporated. Set aside.

Return to your fish flip over and cook for about another 3 minutes. Turn off and Serve.I served the fish over the spinach, but you do what you like. Ciao