Archive | July, 2013

Toasted Sesame Coconut Cookies

29 Jul

Did you read my intro post? Good. Then you know I spend my days working in a bakery, making absolutely scrumptious pastries that I do my best to avoid eating. When a broken cookie or a slightly-smashed cupcake is staring at me from the end of the counter, it’s hard to look it in the eye and say “NO!”, but I’ve spent the last year strengthening my willpower. However, some treats are harder to resist than others. I have my favorites that give me a particularly devilish stare. One of those is the cupcake we recently developed based on those sesame seed balls stuffed with sweetened coconut found at Asian restaurants. Something about the pop and crunch of those little sesame seeds…the buttery nuttiness of toasting them…oh my!

When this delectable sesame cupcake appeared on the menu a couple weeks back, and I didn’t sneak one single bite, I knew I had to reward myself with a sesame-laden paleo treat when I got home.

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These Toasted Sesame Coconut Cookies are wonderfully chewy, delightfully nutty, and perfectly sweet. I brought them along to girls night with my coworkers and this honest group of taste-testers loved them. The leftovers were apparently eaten for breakfast…

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Cherry Vanilla Clafoutis

24 Jul

I didn’t use to like cherries. I can honestly say I’ve never eaten a classic piece of cherry pie. When I was little, I would spend summer days climbing the cherry tree at my best friend Betsy’s house, picking buckets of the shiny red fruits for her mom to make a pie that I didn’t even want to eat. If a piece was ever served to me, I picked away at the crust and the ice cream melting alongside it and strictly avoided the sticky sweet filling.

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It wasn’t until last summer that I realized I actually like cherries now. There was a heaping bowl of freshly-picked local Oregon cherries sitting among the dishes at a friend’s 4th of July party and, to my surprise, I was tempted! They just looked so darn pretty and I figured it was high time to give them another chance. After all, I used to hate squash and rarely ate leafy greens up until a few years ago, and now I eat them all the time. Taste buds change. Don’t keep assuming you’ll still despise something you used to dislike as a kid! You could be missing out on something truly tasty– like this beautiful Cherry Vanilla Clafoutis!

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Of course, you all probably think I’m crazy/weird for hating cherries to begin with. I also don’t care for blueberries. That’s still true.

If you’ve never eaten, made, or even heard of clafoutis before, it’s basically a fancy French word for a baked custardy, pancake-ish dessert that could easily pass for breakfast food. You can really make this with any fruit (I’ve done rhubarb before), but cherries are traditional. Vanilla bean makes this look super sophisticated, but it’s honestly one of the easiest desserts you could whip up for a crowd. Plus, it’s just as good cold or at room temperature as it is warm, which makes it great picnic fare!

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Going Paleo: my journey from whole-grains to no grains

17 Jul

My name is Carly, and I’m a serious foodie. My life revolves around food. I’ve always loved eating it, I love cooking and baking, and I went to culinary school so I could make a career out of it. I’ve been working as a pastry chef since 2010 and I love my job. I spend my days dipping my hands in buckets of flours and sugars.

Oh and by the way, I’m paleo.

This is a fairly recent development. Prior to fall 2012, I was a happy gluten-eating, whole-grain advocate. I believed that eating grains was what we, as healthy humans, were supposed to do. The recipes on my last blog, Tart to Heart, were all about recreating tasty treats with a blend of 100% whole grain flours. I was trying to do something good, and it never crossed my mind that I could be doing my body harm. Sure, sugary baked goods are always an indulgence, but at least I was making them with more fiber-, vitamin-, and protein-rich whole grain flours! In my opinion, I felt great– I didn’t suffer from stomach cramps or intestinal problems or any chronic health conditions. So why should I change my eating habits?

Meanwhile, my mother started following the paleo diet and I thought she was CRAZY. You’re not eating what?! You’re telling me grains and beans are bad for me? That everything we’ve ever heard about what’s healthy isn’t true? Cholesterol isn’t all bad, saturated fat isn’t a death sentence? I questioned all the facts she quoted from Rob Wolf and Loren Cordain. Hey, my minor in college was Biology, I needed some scientific evidence here!

So I fought this paleo premise for quite some time. I strove to be a healthy, happy person based on the conventional diet wisdom we all hear all the time– low fat, less calories, fewer meat products, more whole grains. But then it stopped working. Weight was creeping up on me, I went through a series of sugar highs and energy crashes all day, and came home from work starving even though I wasn’t truly hungry. I needed a new approach.

Reluctantly, I borrowed books about the paleo diet from my mom. I ordered a couple more online. I read a lot and then I started cutting non-paleo foods from my diet. Out with my daily bowl of cereal or oatmeal, goodbye sandwiches, no more sides of quinoa or brown rice with dinner. I stopped eating beans and legumes and I swapped out the canola oil with olive and coconut oils.

Long story short, I felt awesome! My energy levels were more stable, my cravings more manageable, and my digestion more regular. I completed a Whole 30 challenge and dropped 5 pounds even though I was eating way more fat than I had for years. Okay, mom, maybe there’s something to this whole paleo thing!

But I still love to bake! I realized that if I still wanted to eat muffins or cookies or pancakes I needed to learn how to re-make them with paleo-friendly ingredients. My old blog fell by the wayside for nearly a year, and now it’s time to start fresh! I’m excited by the recipes I’ve created and I’m ready to share them with the world. Whether you’re paleo or not, I promise everything I post on The Lucky Clover Kitchen will be delicious!