Chloe Coscarelli’s Vegan Italian Apple Cake

Italian apple cake

By Nancy Smorch, Foodie Bitch

I know I said it earlier, but you have seriously got to pick up one of Chloe Coscarelli’s cookbooks!  I finally had a chance to sit down and peruse through two of her cookbooks:  Chloe’s Vegan Italian Kitchen, and Chloe’s Vegan Desserts, and everything looks amazing!!  I know I’ve probably said this before about other cookbooks, but for a vegan cookbook, everything does seriously look phenomenal.

Chloe's vegan italian kitchen

But does it taste amazing?  I can enthusiastically say “YES!!” My family,  a mix of vegetarian and non-vegetarians, whole-heartedly agrees.

So far I’ve tried the Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins from her desserts cookbook.  I made those this past Saturday morning for the company we had that spent the night.  They were a big hit and they held everyone over until I finished making breakfast.  I wish I had a picture to share with you, but I wasn’t thinking that morning and they didn’t last long.  But everyone, guests and all, loved them.

Then last night for dinner, I made the Pasta in Pink Sauce, or more authentically, Pasta Con La Salsa Rosa, from her Italian cookbook.  I got more compliments and thank you’s from everyone than I can ever remember getting from cooking.  Everyone thanked me over and over for making it, and went on about how great it was!

Now, I did tweak this pasta recipe a bit – I wanted a little more substance so it wasn’t just pasta and sauce.  So I sautéed some mushrooms, onions, red pepper and broccoli, and added it into the sauce at the end.  I think what made this so good was the “cream” sauce that was added, which of course, is not cream, but a mixture of cashews and water blended in the Vitamix.  What would also be great with this particular dish would be to add the vegan meatball sliders.

I think another thing that made it so good was that, since I eat gluten free, I used the Jovial brand of brown rice pasta, which I hadn’t used in quite a while.  I actually really like the texture of these noodles better than the corn-based Farmo brand.

I was on a roll with Chloe’s recipes, so for our Monday night “Dancing with the Stars” party, I thought I would try her Italian Apple Cake, or again, more authentically, Torta di Mela.  I thought it would make a perfect fall dessert and a perfect ending to a great Italian meal.  And, once again, she did not disappoint!  Click here for the recipe for Chloe’s vegan apple cake.

But you know what I’m really excited about?  Her books and recipes have inspired me, and a new spark has been ignited for cooking again.  Quite honestly, I felt like I was going through a bit of a slump, and I wasn’t being too creative.  My family was being very polite, but there were probably only so many sautéed vegetable dishes they could take!

What I also love about Chloe is that she doesn’t push a vegan way of eating on everyone.  She is a vegan and that works for her, but she doesn’t make  you feel bad if you aren’t a vegan.  She just says to maybe give some of her recipes a try and see what you think and how you feel.  Or maybe just try one vegan dish a week and see how you like it.  Everyone is different, and her way of presenting is so lovingly non-judgemental.  We could all learn from that.

Chloe has also got me thinking about all of the creative ways to make substitutions.  I’ve tried a ton of Paleo recipes where they have made substitutions for dairy or sugar or some other ingredient, but the Paleo world, in my opinion, hasn’t quite figured it out yet (the exclusion being, perhaps, Julie Bauer and George Bryant’s “The Paleo Kitchen”).  The substitutions Chloe has made for vegan dishes and desserts work amazingly well.  So much so, that you don’t even miss the ingredient that is being substituted.  I think her victory on the Food Network’s “Cupcake Wars” is a testament to that.  If the judges on that show awarded her the winner (the first vegan chef to enter), then I think it’s safe to say, most people would find her creations to be winners as well!

So a big thank you to Chloe Coscarelli for all of her hard work testing and re-testing recipes, adapting her family recipes to fit the vegan lifestyle, and for putting herself out there and sharing all of this wonderful food with the world.

And, if you know anyone who is a vegan or vegetarian, or is just looking to maybe start a Meatless Monday program with their family, her cookbooks would make great gifts – for a hostess gift, holiday gift, thank-you gift, or even a just a “thinking about you” gift.

Maybe even give yourself the gift – especially if you are looking for some different options as we move into the holiday season.

Try some of her recipes and let me know what you think!

Advertisements

Olive Oil and Sea Salt Brownie Cookies from Butterlust!

Olive Oil cookies
By Nancy Smorch, Foodie Bitch
It was one of those cold fall evenings last night – the kind that was damp with occasional rain, and as the evening went on, the wind from Lake Michigan was on the rise.  The girls and I couldn’t get warm, no matter the thickness of our sweatshirts or how many blankets we cuddled in.
It was time for a fire.  I hadn’t made one in quite some time, but I didn’t want to use the fireplace, so I used the pizza oven.  We have quite a stash of wood in the garage, so I grabbed some wood and kindling and got a good fire going in no time.
Now that I was a little warmer, I could think a little more clearly about dinner and dessert.  I wanted to make something different for dessert.  I realized the other day that I used to make basic chocolate chip cookies quite often, but once I went gluten free, I started making them less and less frequently.  The other night I realized it had been weeks since I had made cookies.  It was time.
I wanted to try something a little different, though, and I was pretty sure my family would appreciate a change as well.  I was in the mood for something chocolatey.  So I grabbed my file that has a bunch of recipes I’ve printed off over the last few months or torn out of a magazine – recipes that are different from what I would normally see and ones I definitely want to try.
I came across this recipe from Butterlust Blog:  Olive Oil & Sea Salt Brownie Cookies.  It looked perfect – how could a cookie containing chocolate, olive oil and sea salt be anything but good?  So Frankie and I got right to work making them.
These cookies call for olive oil , which you don’t see too often in sweet treats.  I’ve been wanting to try some sort of dessert with olive oil for quite some time and when I saw this recipe, it looked relatively easy and the combination of ingredients looked like they would work together nicely.
The only change I made in the recipe was that I used Cup4Cup Gluten Free Flour in place of regular flour.  Other than that minor change, I stuck close to what Butterlust suggests.
Well, I have to say, this recipe jumped right into my top 5 favorite cookies! The girls were equally thrilled with the way they turned out.  It was funny because when we all took our first bites, we just looked at each other like we couldn’t believe they were that good.
I know olive oil in a cookie sounds a little strange.   But you have to give these a try!!!

Clean Eating No-Bake Cookie Bars

clean eating no bake bars

By Shannon Keirnan, Contributing Foodie Bitch

My sweet tooth isn’t what it used to be, but gol’ dang it… sometimes I just need to chew on something sweet, chocolatey, and caloric. It happens to the best of us, and there’s no fighting it.

A lot of gluten-free desserts just seem like a poor substitute for the really naughty stuff, and frankly, I’m a terrible baker, so sometimes the extra steps manage to defeat me.

10480181_10105279722999604_4359787264301162093_n

This counts as one.

Luckily, there is Pinterest, where people who are more creative than I am have collected some delicious recipe options just waiting for people like me who can’t follow directions, don’t have any patience, and refuse to turn the oven on when their home is not air conditioned.

My favorite recipe I plucked off of Money Saving Mom… who got it from I Hear Exercise Will Kill You… who lifted it from New Nostalgia.

So basically, it’s a really good recipe – enough to be making the blog rounds and land here on Foodie Bitch. It’s also super easy to personalize and tweak, so feel free to visit the other versions, or to make it your own!

Here is my interpretation:

Ingredients:

– 1 cup organic nut butter (almond or peanut)

– 1/2 cup raw honey

-1/2 cup organic coconut oil

– 2 cups gluten-free oats (not instant)

– 1 1/4 cup chocolate chips (dark or semi-sweet)

– 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

– Optional finishing salt (Like Maldon’s)

Other add-in options:

Chopped nuts

Dried fruit

Shredded coconut

Instructions:

Melt the nut butter, honey, and oil together over medium heat. Remove from heat.

Add in the oats, chocolate chips, and vanilla. Stir together until chocolate is melted.

Pour into a greased 9×13 pan.

Sprinkle lightly with finishing salt, if desired, for a savory kick.

Put whatever you haven’t already eaten from the pan in the fridge to cool.

Cut into bars once hardened. Store in the refrigerator or freezer.

Enjoy! Thanks to all those who contributed to this great recipe! If you have any suggestions for healthful Foodie Bitch add-ins, leave them in the comments!

It’s Strawberry Season! Strawberry Sorbet Recipe

Strawberry sorbet

By Nancy Smorch, Foodie Bitch 

I was so excited last Wednesday to see fresh strawberries at the Holland Farmer’s Market!  I love strawberry season.  Actually, there are many seasons I love in the summer (raspberry, cherry, peach, blueberry, tomato…), but I can’t help but be especially excited for strawberries!

I wanted to try something new this year, so I went to my trusted Food52 site, and found a strawberry sorbet recipe.  The basic recipe for their strawberry sorbet can be found right here.

It was a good base, but I tweaked it a bit because when I tried it, it didn’t have a strong enough flavor, despite the fact that I used fresh strawberries.

So, here’s what I did:

I combined in a blender (Vitamix) the

Ingredients:

4 cups fresh strawberries

1/2 cup fresh strawberry jam

1 pinch of sea salt

3 1/2 tsp. fresh lemon juice

1 Tbsp. honey

Then I put it in a 13 x 9 glass pan in the freezer for about 4 hours.  I scooped it out and blended it again, and served.  It was still a little soft for me, so I just had a little bit (I couldn’t resist), and put it back in the freezer in a covered container to harden some more.

It is soooo easy and everyone really loved it.  It’s quite refreshing and a fun summertime dessert for your family and friends.

By the way, how many of you have a Vitamix?  I’ve had mine for over 8 years and it’s still going strong.  This is the 4th time I’ve used my Vitamix today – once for a smoothie for breakfast, once to make the sorbet, once to make a Bulletproof Coffee, and once again to blend the sorbet after it was frozen.  You gotta love Vitamix!