zesty lemon + coconut cheesecake bites

Let me introduce the things I practically lived on throughout the entirety of last week, when all I could think about was exams exams exams with a side of memorising the angle of refraction of different wavelengths of light in three-dimensional prisms…

As you can tell, I’m still recovering from post-exam mush-brain, side effects of which include sleeping for longer than seems humanly possible, constantly gorging on guacamole + black olive lettuce cups, and almost accidentally feeding the cat lemon coconut cheesecake filling instead of tuna… almost.

Grain-free, Nut-free Lemon Cheesecake Squares (AIP + GAPS friendly)

Now that said horrors are over, it’s time to celebrate! 

Preferably with these zesty, zingy, silky smooth lemon coconut cheesecake bites, with their golden speckled base and their creamy, melt-in-your-mouth topping. Made with only coconut, dates, lemon, and a splash of pure maple syrup, they’re just slightly sweet, with the bright, punchy tang of lemon invading every crevice in your mouth as you take a bite.

Just a warning, though: I’m obsessively infatuated with all things lemon, so you may find you need to add a little more maple syrup to your bites if you’re not quite as addicted to all things lemon as I am!

Grain-free, Nut-free Lemon Cheesecake Squares (AIP + GAPS friendly)

I’m absolutely positive that serving these as tiny pieces is always the better option. Not only do they look adorable, but if you cut them up, nobody will notice if there’s a piece or two missing… why hello, second breakfast!

And don’t even get me started on all of the bits you’ll need to trim off to get straight-edged squares.. someone’s got to eat them, right?!

Grain-free, Nut-free Lemon Cheesecake Squares (AIP + GAPS friendly)

I’ll have 273, please… oh wait, I might’ve already scarfed them down!

 

zesty lemon + coconut cheesecake bites

by Alessandra Peters

Prep Time: 20 minutes (plus 2 hours setting time)

 

Ingredients

    For the Base

    • 1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
    • 1/2 cup soft Medjool dates (about 4), pitted
    • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
    • 2 tbsp coconut oil

    For the Filling

    • zest of 2 unwaxed lemons
    • juice of 1 lemon
    • 1/2 cup coconut butter (homemade is my favourite!)
    • 1/2 cup coconut oil
    • 1/2 cup coconut cream (to make this, place a can of coconut milk in the fridge for at least 24 hours, then open the can and scoop out the white, fatty cream, leaving behind the coconut water at the bottom of the can)
    • 1/4 cup pure maple syrup

    Instructions

    1. Line an 8×8 inch baking tray with a smooth layer of plastic wrap.

    2. In a food processor, combine the base ingredients for about 30 seconds, until the mixture starts to form a ball. Remove from the food processor and press the mixture in to the baking tray, making sure to evenly distribute it and press it down quite firmly. You can use your hands or the back of a spoon! Place the baking tray in to the fridge while you make the filling.

    2. Place all the filling ingredients in a small saucepan over medium-low heat. Whisking constantly, heat until everything melts together to form a smooth mixture. Remove from the heat, let it cool slightly, then taste the mixture. You can add a little more maple syrup here to taste if the lemon is a little too bold for you.

    3. Once the filling has cooled, remove the base from the fridge and pour the filling on top. Return the bars to the fridge and leave there for 2-3 hours, until firmed up.

    4. Remove the bars from the fridge and use the plastic wrap to transfer them to a cutting board. Cut into 1×1″ squares using a sharp knife. Serve immediately, or place them in an airtight container and store in the fridge for future use. Enjoy!

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    how to cut and open a pomegranate + two-ingredient pomegranate spritzer

    Yes, there is a way which doesn’t result in crimson-splattered walls and stained hands for days!

    Two-Ingredient Fresh Pomegranate Spritzers + How to Open A Pomegranate // thefoodieteen.com

    If you’re anything like me and are constantly conflicted between said pomegranate-induced crime scene and being able to enjoy those juicy, deep scarlet arils by the handful, I’m pretty sure this method is the answer! I’ve eaten more pomegranates in the past few days than I care to admit thanks to this incredibly easy, mess-free way to open one.

    To begin, score all around the pomegranate about 1/2 inch below the pointy top of the pomegranate with a paring knife, then remove the top with your fingers.

    How to Open a Pomegranate the Easiest Way! // thefoodieteen.com

    Follow the ‘lines’ created by the white pith sectioning the pomegranate into pieces with a paring knife all the way down to just above the base of the pomegranate,  just about cutting through the pomegranate skin but no further.

    How to Open a Pomegranate the Easiest Way! // thefoodieteen.com

    Gently pull out one section of the pomegranate with your fingers. If you have trouble with this, run the paring knife through the slits again, this time cutting a little deeper.

    How to Open a Pomegranate the Easiest Way! // thefoodieteen.com

    Now pull out all of the sections to produce a pomegranate ‘flower’. Remove any sheets of pith separating the sections.

    How to Open a Pomegranate the Easiest Way! // thefoodieteen.com

    And there you have it! Either use your fingers to gently prise the arils off the sections and into a bowl, or cut off one section at a time and eat the arils straight off the pomegranate piece!

    pomeditrsz4

    And if you’ve got a few minutes and some sparkling water, why not make yourself a pomegranate spritzer too? Refreshing, slightly tart, and full of juicy fresh pomegranate flavour, it’s incredibly easy to make but just that little bit more luxurious and indulgent than a glass of water. It’s also free of any added sugar – a great recipe to kick off a healthy 2015!

    Two-Ingredient Fresh Pomegranate Spritzers + How to Open A Pomegranate // thefoodieteen.com

    I wish you all a very happy and healthy new year filled with joy, laughter, and lots of delicious food! Enjoy!

     

    pomegranate spritzer

    by Alessandra Peters

    Prep Time: 10 minutes

     

    Ingredients

    • 2 pomegranates, arils only
    • sparkling water

    Instructions

    1. Place the pomegranate arils in a blender. Pulse a couple of times, until you have a ruby red juice (if you blend for too long, the seeds will break down and will turn the juice bitter and cloudy).

    2. Strain in a mesh sieve set over a small bowl, pushing the pulp with a back of a spoon until all the juice has been extracted.

    3. Fill glasses halfway with pomegranate juice, then add a few ice cubes and top up with sparkling water. Enjoy!

    Store leftover pomegranate juice in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week.

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    salted caramel pecan chocolate bark

    Enter the easiest, most delicious (ahem, addictive) holiday treat I’ve ever made.

    Salted Caramel Pecan Chocolate Bark (Paleo, Vegan, Refined Sugar Free) // thefoodieteen.com

    Sorry to everyone who’s had problems accessing my blog over the past few days – I had some issues with the server but all is back to its normal salted-caramel-covered state again now!

    On the plus side, I discovered that eating copious amounts of dark chocolate happens to be a fantastic stress reliever in the process…

    Salted Caramel Pecan Chocolate Bark (Paleo, Vegan, Refined Sugar Free) // thefoodieteen.com

    … and I also found out that eating salted-caramel-covered pecans straight from the pan is an even better stress reliever. So when you combine the two?!

    Salted Caramel Pecan Chocolate Bark (Paleo, Vegan, Refined Sugar Free) // thefoodieteen.com

    All thoughts of ‘aaah-my-whole-blog-just-disappeared-into-cyberspace-what-do-i-do‘ went away instantly. Salted caramel pecan chocolate bark magic, I tell you!

    Salted Caramel Pecan Chocolate Bark (Paleo, Vegan, Refined Sugar Free) // thefoodieteen.com

    Rich, silky dark chocolate speckled with golden nuggets of fragrant, nutty pecans draped in a smooth, soft layer of ever so slightly salted, buttery caramel sauce – utter perfection.

    I’d highly suggest making a double batch…

    Salted Caramel Pecan Chocolate Bark (Paleo, Vegan, Refined Sugar Free) // thefoodieteen.com

    Trust me, I speak from experience!

     

    salted caramel pecan chocolate bark

    by Alessandra Peters

    Cook Time: 10 minutes

     

    Ingredients

    • 1 1/2 cups pecans, roughly chopped
    • 2 tbsp full-fat coconut milk
    • 1/2 tsp coarse sea salt
    • 1 tsp vanilla extract
    • 1/3 cup coconut oil
    • 3/4 cup coconut palm sugar
    • 1 tsp arrowroot starch
    • 3 tbsp maple syrup
    • 200g dark chocolate

    Instructions

    1. Melt the chocolate in a double boiler. While the chocolate melts, place the remaining ingredients expect pecans in a small saucepan over medium-high heat and whisk constantly for 3-4 minutes, until thick, smooth, and golden. Fold in the pecans and set aside.

    2. Transfer the melted chocolate to a lined baking sheet and spread around with a spatula.

    2. Remove pecans from the caramel sauce with a fork one by one and place on the melted chocolate. Repeat until all pecans have been transferred, then place in the fridge for 10-20 minutes, break into pieces, and enjoy!

    (You can store the remaining caramel sauce in an airtight jar for up to a week, then melt by placing in hot water for a few minutes and use it over ice cream!)

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    homemade peppermint marshmallow snowmen

    So I may have gotten a little carried away whilst decorating these homemade peppermint marshmallows…

    Egg/Corn/Refined Sugar Free + Paleo Peppermint Marshmallow Snowmen // thefoodieteen.com

    And then I just couldn’t stop myself. It was bad.. as in, freeze-half-to-death-by-walking-around-outside-for-an-hour-looking-for-the-perfect-sized-twigs-to-make-arms-bad, spend-two-days-dehydrating-homemade-fruit-leather-t0-make-scarves-bad, and make-three-batches-of-marshmallows-in-order-to-get-perfectly-round-snowmen-bad. I may have been a tiny little bit obsessed?

    Egg/Corn/Refined Sugar Free + Paleo Peppermint Marshmallow Snowmen // thefoodieteen.com

    I blame my obsession on the ubiquitous festive feeling in the air at the moment, from an amber-flamed fire roaring in the fireplace to the soft glow of the tree dotted with golden spheres of light to the festive spices imbuing the house with their sweet, fragrant aroma.

    It’s also obviously the holiday season that made me eat half the batch in the space of a few minutes.. ahem.

    Egg/Corn/Refined Sugar Free + Paleo Peppermint Marshmallow Snowmen // thefoodieteen.com

    But how could I not be infatuated with these pillowy balls of fluffy, minty, gooey goodness precariously stacked upon one another, draped with fruity scarves and dotted with those silky melted chocolate eyes? With their slight minty tingle, they’re unbelievably and adorably lovable whilst also being a seriously tasty addition to the multiple mugs of hot cocoa I consumed throughout the recipe testing process! The things I do in the name of research…

    Egg/Corn/Refined Sugar Free + Paleo Peppermint Marshmallow Snowmen // thefoodieteen.com

    This recipe is slightly adapted from the wonderful The Urban Poser! Enjoy!

     

    snowman peppermint marshmallows

    Prep Time: 3 hours

    Ingredients (a dozen snowmen)

    • 1 cup water
    • 2 peppermint tea bags
    • 3 tbsp gelatin
    • 1 cup maple syrup
    • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
    • 1/2 tsp peppermint extract (optional)
    • arrowroot starch, for dusting

    Instructions

    1. A few hours before you start making the marshmallows, boil the water and add the two teabags to the boiling water to infuse. Leave to cool for 2 hours, then remove and discard the teabags.

    2. Prepare two lined baking sheets by dusting them generously with arrowroot starch. Prepare a piping bag with a large round nozzle.

    3. Place half a cup of the cold peppermint tea in the bowl of a stand mixer and add the gelatin.

    4. Add the remaining half a cup of cooled peppermint tea to a small saucepan over medium heat. Add the maple syrup to the saucepan, whisk to combine, and simmer for about 12-14 minutes, until it reaches 240F on a candy thermometer (you must use a candy thermometer here, or the recipe will not work).

    5. Turn the stand mixer to high, then very, very slowly pour the very hot syrup mixture in to the bowl in a slow, steady stream. Continue beating for about 5-7 minutes, until the mixture holds a soft peak, then add in the vanilla extract (and peppermint extract, if using) and mix for another minute or so. Working quickly, transfer the mixture to the piping bag and begin to pipe round balls on top of the prepared baking sheets in three different sizes (these will be the lower body, upper body, and heads of the snowmen). I managed to pipe thirty-six balls in total (which equates to 12 finished snowmen), but it depends on how big or small you pipe them. Once finished, wet your fingers, then smooth down any peaks on top of the balls.

    6. Leave to set for about three hours, then dust the balls with arrowroot starch using a sieve.

    7. To assemble a snowman, take one large ball, stand a toothpick upright in the centre, then add a medium sized ball on top, which will be supported by the toothpick. Finally, add a small ball (head), then cut off any toothpick visible poking out through the head. Decorate with pieces of fruit leather and melted chocolate! Enjoy!

    8. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to a week.

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