Saturday, January 12, 2013

Coconut Butter and Coconut Date Cookie Bites

Last week I knew I had several meetings out of the building and would be running around like crazy, so I wanted to be prepared, food-wise. I bought some Lara bars that were coconut cream pie flavor. It sounded too good to be true. It turned out to be absolutely delicious.So I started thinking about how I could make something similar. I googled and looked around. I knew the basic ingredients words dates and almonds and coconut and so I wanted to find something creative to do with dates and coconut.

I found this recipe And I was intrigued.

First I needed to make some coconut butter.

Luckily I almost always have some unsweetened finely shredded coconut from let's do organic. I added one cup of this dried coconut to my tiny little food processor. And started to process. It took a long time and the coconut went through several stages, just like it does as you're making a nut butter. It seems like nothing is going to happen to the coconut, but you just have to keep processing. In all it took about 10 minutes.

Add 1 cup of dry, finely shredded, unsweetened coconut to your food processor.

This is my tiny little food processor. It cost less than five dollars on a black Friday deal several years ago, and it has been a tremendous kitchen helper.

The first thing you'll notice with the coconut if it will start to look a little moist and little tiny clumps will form. Scrape down the sides, stir up the coconut and turn the processor back on.

Then the coconut butter will start to look wet but still not really sticking together to form anything that resembles a nut butter. Again, scrape down the sides, stir the coconut and turn the food processor back on.

Finally you have coconut butter. Transfer this to an airtight container maybe a half pint mason jar or a snack cup from Tupperware.

Now it's time to make the cookie bites.

I started with just the two ingredients that the original recipe had but I think my dates were drier then the one she used and I don't know that my coconut butter added enough moisture to keep things together. So I modified the recipe a bit and added a little coconut oil. My coconut oil was solid but by the time it processed and warmed up from spinning around in the food processor it was just enough moisture to hold it together.

Add about two thirds of a cup of dates to your food processor. These should be pitted unsweetened dates. Mine were very tough. It might be because I didn't buy the brand name kind! I once I realized the dates were to tough, I took them out of the food processor and cut them into smaller chunks using a knife and a cutting board. After I did this they processed very easily. Also add 2 tablespoons of your coconut butter, and a little under a teaspoon of coconut oil.

Process In your food processor until everything is uniformly chopped and mixed.

Next I added some 85% dark chocolate. You want to add this at the very end, and only process it a little bit so your chunks don't completely disappear. At a grocery store near me, called Aldi, I get this 85% dark chocolate and it is perfect because it comes in a large bar that is separated into five small chocolate bars inside. This is great for me because then I am able to portion the chocolate outs and not be tempted to eat an entire large bar! I added one small bar to my food processor.

Next dump the entire contents of your food processor out onto a working surface. I used the cutting mat from pampered chef, but you could also use a large piece of waxed paper or another silicone mat. Using a spoon you a small amount into your hand and roll it into a ball.

This batch made six cookie bites and I immediately ate one, maybe two. I folded the aluminum foil up to make a little pouch and stored these in the freezer



Sunday, January 6, 2013

Thinking about goals - where I've been and where I want to go

One year ago, on Christmas break, we were sitting in the waiting room of the Cardiac Surgery Center waiting.  For 7.5 hours we waited.   No news at all...just knew it was bad and they would need some time.   The surgeon told us he WOULD come out when he was done, but not in between and he didn't send any of his staff out, not the way he works.  SO we waited.  And waited.

My nephews and niece and sister and brother-in-law and my mother and aunt and uncle who drove in later in the day.  We waited, tried to read, play with the kids, watch TV, but waited.

And that 5 way bypass that my dad had that day was a success.  An incredible success.  In so many ways.  He has a healthy heart now, more controlled blood sugar. Dad has lost a lot of weight and is closer to a healthy weight than he has been in all my life. My mom and dad are eating healthy and exercising regularly. I am a healthier, active person who has lost 90 lbs.   I am a smaller size than I was when I started middle school - in 7th grade I was already a 14/16W and an XL/2XL.  

We have come so far....and it took nearly the worst thing possible to get us there.

Last year, around President's Day, once I was back to my routine and dad was healing and I was no longer traveling home every weekend, I was ready to change.  And Medifast did that for me.  

I made a 3 part goal to be healthier in 2012:
  • lose weight (I thought I wanted to be around a size 14/16, not necessarily a weight goal) - little did I know I would make it smaller than that!   I couldn't even IMAGINE a 14/16 on me! 
  • to be more active,  (I made a goal to finish (Walk/Run/Crawl if I had to) 12 5Ks in 2012.   On New Years Eve Afternoon I RAN my 14th 5K + 1mile race.  I can run an entire 5K without stopping now when I could barely run 90 seconds at the start).  I have learned to use running and yoga and exercise as my stress relief instead of food.
  • strengthen my heart and build endurance.  

Now it's time for 2013 - another great year ahead of me.   I have been thinking long and hard about my goals for this year.  Finding it hard to decide on one, so I'm settling on a multi-part goal again this year:
  • Continue healthy Paleo eating and drop closer to a healthy body fat%
  • Continue running/yoga/zumba/gravity classes.   Get stronger!  Build more muscle and endurance AND Try a new class or two in 2013  - spin, TRX or kettlebells maybe?
  • Run!  
    • Running Mileage Goal - I will run 500 miles in 2013.  RUN, not just my everyday FitBit tracked steps.
    • Train for Nike Women's Half Marathon - April 28.  My goal is to jog/run it.   I walked a 1/2 in 2005 and took forever, this one will be faster.
    • Complete Warrior Dash May 18 - including climbing the wall.
I can do this - after 2012, I know that I can accomplish EVERYTHING on this list.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

What do I eat for breakfast?

I often am asked, "WHat do you eat for breakfast then!!?" when I tell people I don't eat any wheats or grains. Traditional breakfast foods (donuts, pastries, toast, bagels, muffins, french toast, pancakes, etc) are all grain!
First, I cook a breakfast every morning. It means I have to get up a little earlier, but having a nice warm and yummy breakfast is important to starting my day right!

And secondly, I eat a lot of meat and eggs. Haha. Bacon, ham, even steak or chicken. I scramble, poach, fry in a pan, even have done baked egg cups. My favorite is definitely the frittata.

But I also changed the way I think about breakfast - it doesn't have to be a "traditional" breakfast food. Often times I eat something leftover from an evening or lunch meal.

This morning I had veggies with chicken breast when I got up. I cut up 2 tomatoes, a yellow bell pepper and the leftover veggies from last night's dinner (zucchini and broccoli) into bit size pieces. I sautéed a couple of chicken breasts in a pan (no oil), added the veggies and covered with a lid just till the pepper softened up. I added some seasonings (pepper, a steak-and-chops herb mix and some cayenne pepper).... and voila! A delicious breakfast. This made 2 servings.


This was delicious, healthy and so filling! What do you eat for breakfast?