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Curried Carrot Soup

You aren’t going to believe how delicious this soup is!  The best part is it took less than an hour to make it.

Ingredients:

1.5 pounds of carrots, chopped (helpful hint… the smaller you cut the carrots, the less time they take to cook)

1 small onion, chopped

3 cloves of garlic, chopped

1 avocado

1 tsp. yellow curry powder

1 tsp. red curry powder

raw pumpkin seeds ( I used a handful)

1 tbsp. fresh rosemary

4 basil leaves

Chives for garnish

4 cups water (you could use milk, cream, coconut milk if you wish)

2 tbsp. olive oil

2 tbsp. lime juice

Put your pot on the stove over a medium-high heat.  When it is hot, add the olive oil.  When it gets shimmery it is ready.

Add the chopped carrots and onions. Stir them around so they get coated in olive oil.

Let them cook a couple of minutes then add your chopped garlic.

Let them cook until the onions and carrots start to caramelize.

Add the water and let it come to a boil.

Turn it down so it won’t boil over.

I added the herbs at this point.  I also added the curry powders.  Stir to mix in.

Let it simmer until the carrots are soft.

Once your carrots are soft, it is ready.  You can eat it like it is or your can blend it all together.

I chose to blend mine together.  I used a hand blender (you know, that boat motor looking thingy).  You could use food processor or blender.  Whatever you have handy.

Blend it up.

Stir in, by hand,  the lime juice and pumpkin seeds after you blend it.

Right before you serve it, add some sliced avocado to the bowl of soup and sprinkle it with some chives.

Curried carrot soup

Curried carrot soup

Quinoa Brownies

I know this isn’t exactly a low carb dessert.  I made it the best way that I know how.  I started by tossing a cup of raw quinoa in my Vitamix and blended it on high for less than a minute and got a nice, fine flour.  (See photo’s below) I used a 1/2 cup of the flour and put the rest in a storage bag for use later.  I blended a cup because I wasn’t sure how much flour it would make.  I thought it was better to have more in case I needed it.  You can purchase quinoa flour at most stores in the flour section.  Me being me, I wanted to see if I could make it.  Turns out I can and it is cheaper for me to make it than purchase it.  Yea me!

I like my brownies to have a little kick to them so I toss in some ground cayenne pepper.  It makes them ever so yummy!

Quinoa Brownies

Quinoa Brownies

Ingredients:

1/2 cup quinoa flour

6 tbsp cocoa powder

1/4 cup honey ( more if you want it sweeter)

1/2 cup coconut oil

1 tsp vanilla extract

2 tbsp strong coffee

2 egg whites or 2/3 a cup of egg substitute

1/2 tsp ground cayenne pepper (more or less or optional)

Mix your dry ingredients in  a bowl.

Mix your wet ingredients in a separate bowl.

Combine the contents of each bowl.  Mix well.

Pour into a prepared baking dish (I prefer to use parchment paper)

Bake in a 325 degree oven for 25 to 30 minutes.  Check with a knife.  If it comes out clean, it is done.

Enjoy!

By the way, here’s what the flour looked like:

Quinoa turning to flour in Vitamix

Quinoa turning to flour in Vitamix

IMG_3522

Quinoa Flour

Rantings of an Amateur Chef Featuring Me!

Today is the day!  I am a guest blogger on Rantings of an Amateur Chef!

Please go and see my post today and please take some time to read his posts.

He has a fabulous blog!  I’m sure he has inspired many an amateur chef or cook with his posts.

Hurry, go, see, enjoy!

http://rantingchef.com/2013/01/09/guest-blog-post-multitaskers-meal/

Trout & Butternut Squash

I don’t know if I have mentioned this or not, but I am not fond of cleaning up after I’ve made a meal.  I do my best to keep the number of pots and pans to a minimum when cooking.  I did a superb job of it when I made this meal.  I used one baking pan and since I used parchment paper clean up was a cinch!

I took my butternut squash and put it on a parchment paper lined baking pan.  I poured a couple of tablespoons of olive oil over it.  I added some fresh rosemary, thyme and sage and a bit of salt.  Tossed it all together and pushed it to one side of the pan.

I took another piece of parchment paper and put two pieces of trout on it.  I sprinkled them with some ground chipotle and rosemary and drizzled some lime juice over them.  I folded the parchment paper around it and put it on the other side of the baking pan.

I baked them together for about 45 minutes at 375 degrees.  I like my veggies to still be a bit firm.  So if you want yours well done, I suggest cooking the squash about 15 minutes or so first then putting the fish on.  Oh, and however long you cook it, turn the squash halfway through the cooking.

Trout

Trout

IMG_3095

Squash and trout

Squash and trout

Plated sqaush and trout

Plated squash and trout

Chocolate Torte – Baked – Super easy!

This is the second of the two chocolate tortes I made over the holidays.  I made this one for my Mom’s birthday.

Torte Ingredients:

4 oz semisweet chocolate, chopped

4 oz bittersweet chocolate, chopped

1/2 cup cocoa powder

1/2 cup coconut oil

1/8 tsp salt

2 tbsp strongly brewed coffee

3 large eggs (or 1 cup egg substitute)

1/2 tsp allspice

Ganache Ingredients:

1 1/4 cups heavy cream

8 oz semisweet chocolate, chopped

8 oz bittersweet chocolate, chopped

1/2 tsp allspice

Supplies Needed:

Measuring cups and spoons

Double boiler or equivalent

Rubber spatula

Whisk

Pan to heat cream in

Prepared pan for torte

Instructions for Torte:

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.  Prepare your baking pan by greasing it with butter or oil.  I used coconut oil.

In your double boiler melt the coconut oil and chocolate together.  Once melted, transfer to mixing bowl.

Melt chocolate

Melt chocolate & oil

Add salt, coffee and eggs.  Beating until smooth.

Add the cocoa powder and mix until combined.

Spoon the batter into the prepared pan.

Bake for 25 minutes or until done (passes knife test).

Bake

Bake

Cool it in the pan for 5 minutes.  Loosen edges and turn out onto serving plate.  Allow cake to cool completely.

Ganache Instructions:

Heat the cream over gentle heat stirring constantly.  Heat until it is hot to the touch.  Remove from heat and add allspice and chocolates.  Stir until smooth.

Mix until smooth

Mix until smooth

Allow the ganache to cool to room temperature.

Pour over cake. I put the left over chopped nuts from the No Bake Torte I made on top.  Chill for at least one hour.

Chillin

Chillin

Chocolate Torte – No bake

Over the holidays I made two chocolate tortes.  Today I am going to show you the no bake one I made.

Ingredients:

8 oz 70% bittersweet chocolate, chopped ( I used Ghiradelli 70 % Extra bittersweet)

8 oz heavy cream

1/2 teaspoon allspice

2 tbsp strongly brewed coffee

1/4 tsp salt

one cup toasted, finely chopped almonds

Supplies:

skillet to toast almonds

food processor to chop almonds

double boiler or equivalent

rubber spatula

whisk

measuring spoons and cups

knife

cutting surface

baking pan

pan for heating cream

Oil or butter to grease pan

The first thing I did was toast some almonds then chop them in the food processor.  I wanted them finely chopped.  I toasted them in a dry skillet over medium high heat.

Toast almonds in a dry skillet

Toast almonds in a dry skillet

Chop in food processor

Chop in food processor

Toast and chop almonds

Toast and chop almonds

Chop the chocolate

chop chocolate

chop chocolate

I melted the chocolate in my “homemade double broiler” (a glass measuring cup over a pot of boiling water).  Worked like a charm.

Melt chocolate

Melt chocolate

Melting chocolate

Melting chocolate

Heat cream over gentle heat and stir in allspice, coffee, salt and orange extract.

Add allspice, coffee and orange extract

Add allspice, coffee, salt and orange extract

Heat cream over gentle heat

Heat cream over gentle heat

Stir it constantly so it doesn’t stick to the pan.  When the cream is hot to the touch, remove from the heat and add the melted chocolate and stir to mix.

Add chocolate

Add chocolate

Stir to mix

Stir to mix

Ganache

Ganache

Pour into prepared (grease with butter or oil – I used coconut oil) pan and cover with nuts.

Pour chocolate into pan

Pour chocolate into pan

Cover with nuts

Cover with nuts

Chill a few hours to overnight.  When ready to serve, remove from the pan, let it come to room temperature (ten minutes or so) slice and serve.

Please note, if you aren’t fond of bittersweet chocolate, exchange half of it for a sweeter chocolate.

Homemade Crackers

I’m still on a low carb kick. It is a lot harder than I expected. I’m always on the lookout for a low carb replacement for high carb deliciousness. Last night I made some flax seed crackers to eat with my soup. They were delicious. I can already see them being a staple with soup. They are so versatile you can flavor them with anything!

Ready to eat!

Ready to eat!

Here’s what you’ll need:

400 degree oven

Baking pan

Parchment paper or baking paper or silicone mat

Medium sized bowl for mixing

1 cup flax seed meal

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup water

chives to taste

sesame seeds to taste

Mix the dry ingredients together then add water and mix.

Mix dry ingredients

Mix dry ingredients

Pour, spoon or use method of your choice to put the mixture onto parchment paper or silicone baking paper.

I laid another sheet of baking paper on top and smoothed it out with my hand. I did not want to get out my rolling pin for some reason.

Roll out to desired thickness

Roll out to desired thickness

As you can see in the above picture I am smoothing it out as I took the picture. As for how thin to make it…. It is your cracker so your choice. If you like it thin roll it out thin. Whatever thickness you choose be consistent. The thinner it is the faster it will bake. So you don’t want parts of it to be thin and other parts to be thick.

I did not take the time to make sure mine was perfectly shaped. I really didn’t care. I was in a hurry to get it in the oven and baking so I could try them. I can be so impatient!

Rolled out crackers

Rolled out crackers

I was worried about cutting them afterwards so I scored them before I baked them.

Scored crackers

Scored crackers

I baked them for 15 minutes in a 400 degree oven then cut them while they were still warm. I also ate my first one while they were still warm. YUMMY!

Cut crackers

Cut crackers

Ready to eat!

Ready to eat!

MMMMMMM. Just look at all that cracker-y goodness!

We ate them with some hummus and our soup (click on links to see posts on those). I made about 24 crackers and we ate them all. I think next time I will try garlic and rosemary and see how delicious those turn out! How about some spice for some low carb fire crackers? Oh the possibilities are endless!

You know… you could even involve the kids with the rolling out. If they helped make it they would eat it. Think of it as a sneaky way to get your kids to make a healthier choice.