Chocolate Kiss Cookies

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I was introduced to Italian meatball cookies a few years ago. They are these melt-in-your-mouth mounds of joy– not too sweet but just sweet enough. These lovely cookies are a derivation from the traditional Italian meatball cookie.

WHAT YOU NEED

  • 1 sheet pie crust (enough to make a 9 inch pie – it will say so on the box) – thawed
  • 15 chocolate kisses (or whatever tiny chocolate candy you like – ROLOs or mini peanut butter cups)
  • 3/4 C confectioner’s sugar

WHAT TO DO

  1. Preheat oven to 350F. Line a baking sheet and spray with cooking spray; set aside.
  2. Place pie crust on a lightly floured surface and using a pizza wheel, slice into approximately 16 sections, about 2-inch squares.
  3. Place one chocolate kiss in the center of each section.
  4. Using your fingertips, seal the dough at the top to fully contain the kiss. Pat smooth with your palms and flatten slightly into a mound. Place mound on prepared baking sheet; repeat with remaining crust sections and kisses until gone.
  5. Bake for about 13 to 17 minutes, or until crust is just set and done.
  6. Allow puffs to cool on baking tray for about 15 minutes.
  7. Dust on confectioner’s sugar.

Banana Pecan Shortbread

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Vegan AND gluten-free shortbread? Are you kidding me?

NOPE! Who doesn’t love short bread. Buttery, melt-in-your-mouth pieces of deliciousness. They remind me of Christmas for some reason. Maybe it’s those tin cans of short bread cookies that stock up at Costco during the winter season. Oh Costco.

Makes: 30 cookies

WHAT YOU NEED
  • 1 cup coconut oil (or butter)
  • 1 mashed ripe banana
  • 3/4 cup sugar of your choice
  • 2 1/2 cups gluten free flour
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1/4 cup pecans, finely chopped
WHT TO DO
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Mush up oil, sugar and banana.
  3. Add vanilla, sea salt and keep mixing.
  4. Add flour and continue mixing.
  5. Add pecans and mix once more.
  6. Move to a large piece of parchment paper and roll into a tight log (use the parchment paper to roll it up so it is like a big wrapper for a tootsie roll, ~ 2 inches wide.
  7. Freeze for 15 minutes.
  8. Unroll paper and slice cookies into slightly less than 1/2 inch discs with a sharp knife.
  9. If the dough has become too hard, let it rest for a few minutes at room temp to soften. If it’s too soft, freeze longer.
  10. Place on an un-greased baking sheet. They won’t spread much, so they can be placed close together.
  11. Bake for 18-22 minutes at 350 degrees, or until light golden brown.

Healthy Pad Thai (No Noodles)

I love noodles. In fact, I love noodles so much that I will pick an Italian Restaurant over a Steakhouse for my birthday celebration. The truth of the matter is, I rarely ever eat noodles– except for my birthday or new years. On an average day, I will eat noodle substitutes instead– kelp noodles, shirataki noodles, zucchini noodles, etc. It’s much healthier– with fiber, antioxidants, and vitamins– and doesn’t taste THAT different. In fact, for my birthday I received a vegetable-noodle maker! So exciting. But like I said, on special occasions, I like the consistency and taste of handmade noodles!

I also love Thai food. It incorporates so many flavors into one dish, and is usually complex to the tastebuds. Here’s an easy, healthy Pad Thai recipe!

Noodle-Free-Pad-Thai-Minimalist-Baker

WHAT YOU NEED
  • For the Dressing
  • 1 Tbsp tamarind sauce
  • 1 Tbsp soy sauce
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 1 tsp Asian chili garlic sauce
  • 1/2 tsp fresh grated ginger or 1/4 tsp ginger powder
  • 1 Tbsp agave, maple syrup or honey
  • For Pad Thai
  • 5 carrots, washed and ribboned with vegetable peeler
  • 1 zucchini, washed and ribboned with vegetable peeler
  • 1/4 cup firm tofu, drained, pressed and cubed
  • Toppings: peanut sauce, sriracha, crushed peanuts, cilantro

WHAT TO DO

  1. Whisk dressing ingredients together and taste to adjust seasonings.
  2. Add carrots and zucchini and toss to combine. Let marinade for 5 minutes, then add tofu and toss again.
  3. Divide between two serving plates and top with peanut sauce, fresh cilantro, sriracha and crushed peanuts.

Strawberry Balsamic Goat Cheese Wraps

This is my perfect lunch. First off, strawberry + goat cheese + balsamic salads are my absolute favorite salads. Sometimes, I substitute apples or peaches for strawberries, but what makes it amazing is the quality of balsamic vinegar or dressing that you use. Here, we make our own dressing, because that’s the best way. I also use brown rice wraps because they’re gluten free, but you can use any type of wrap you desire.

Strawberry-Balsamic-Wraps-minimalist-baker

WHAT YOU NEED
  • 2 whole grain wraps
  • 1 cup spinach, chopped
  • 1 cup strawberries, chopped
  • 2 ounces goat cheese, broken up
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp honey
  • Optional: Meat, Walnuts, Tofu

WHAT TO DO

  1. In a large bowl mix honey and balsamic vinegar. Add olive oil and add salt and pepper as desired.
  2. Add strawberries and let them soak for a bit.
  3. Mix in chopped spinach
  4. Get the wrap ready on  flat surface. Add the spinach mixture.
  5. Sprinkle on goat cheese.
  6. Add extra ingredients such as meat, tofu, or WALNUTS. I love walnuts with this sald.
  7. Drizzle a Tbsp of the extra dressing and roll up.