Strawberry Basil Scones

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These amazing strawberry basil scones are the perfect “grab-n-go” breakfast treat and totally beat those drab ones you buy at the coffee shop!

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When it comes to breakfast pastries, a flaky croissant, a glazed danish or a fruity muffin is my go to. I can’t remember the last time I actually ordered a scone or even requested one when I was traveling. I don’t not like them, but there are about 5 other sweets in line that I’d rather gobble up in its place.

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That was all before I had a bite of these.

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These buttery and flaky scones are a total game changer for me. They are the scone that will make me never want to make another kind of breakfast pastry again. I don’t know if it’s because of the strawberries, the basil or the butter, but I could eat these for every single meal of the day and never get sick of them. And I sort of did the day I made these. One for breakfast, one for lunch and definitely one for dinner. I had to make E take the rest to his colleagues at work so I didn’t do the same thing the following day.

Although I do wish I had one to go with my third cup of coffee this morning. Did I mention it’s barely 9am? It’s going to be one of those days.

Strawberry Basil Scones

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CLICK HERE FOR THE PRINTABLE VERSION OF THIS RECIPE!

Yields about 8 – 10 scones. Recipe adapted from Port and Fin.
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: About 20 minutes

Ingredients: 

  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup almond meal
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/3 cup raw brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons pure clove honey
  • 2 tablespoons strawberry preserves
  • 2/3 – 3/4 cup chopped basil
  • 2 1/2 cups chopped strawberries
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cold and cut into pieces
  • 2 tablespoons unsweetened applesauce
  • 1/2 cup low-fat milk
  • 1/4 cup light cream
  • Glaze for drizzling (I used this recipe)

Directions: 

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper and lightly grease with nonstick cooking spray. In another bowl, toss the strawberries with the brown sugar and set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk the flour, almond meal and baking powder. Add the butter to the flour mixture and cut it in using a pastry knife until it’s coarse (and resembles sand). Stir in the applesauce, milk, cream, honey, preserves and mix until a soft dough forms. Gently fold in the strawberries and basil and mix just enough to blend (you don’t want the strawberries to bleed or the basil leaves to bruise).
  3. Using a large spoon, scoop out a heaping spoonful of dough. Using your hands, gently roll the dough together (it’ll be a little crumbly still) and drop onto the parchment paper, leaving an inch or so between each scone.
  4. Once all have been scooped, place in the oven and bake for about 20 – 24 minutes, or until golden brown. Let cool slightly on the parchment paper and then move to a wire cooling rack.
  5. Once completely cooled, drizzle with glaze and serve with speckles of strawberries.

Nutritional information per scone: 

Calories: 236.5
Fat: 9.7 grams
Carbohydrates: 33.5 grams
Fiber: 1.5 grams
Protein: 4.1 grams
Weight Watchers Points: 6 

Arugula and Balsamic Pizza

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Once upon a time, there was a girl who started a blog because she hated her day job. She was miserable doing work she knew she was over qualified for, miserable in a field she didn’t even care to understand. At this point, she wanted to be a nutritionist so she started writing about health. She’d find stories on dietetics, write her thoughts on them and hit post. The blog at this point was private, a hidden place online where I could write about things that excited her. Things that gave her passion, excitement, a reason to wake up. Finally, after months of writing in this little secret journal, she decided to hit publish on her first live blog post.

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You could probably guess that girl was me.

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The post was titled “Out with the old…In with moderation.” It was this piece on weight loss resolutions. I read it now and cringe at the writing style, of course. The post was written well, I don’t mean that. But there’s no “me” in this piece. There’s not a spec of Claire anywhere in it. The real “claire” didn’t enter any of the posts until my first recipe, complete with a lovely iphone photo accompaniment. A breaded salmon steak with a little salsa. Nothing fancy, of course, but it was my first REAL post as a food blogger. After that, every post had a little more “me,” and instead of trying to put on this “I’m a smarty pants nutrition major” hat, I could just be ME. The crazy girl who can’t seem to lose these last 10 pounds and who loves food more than anything.

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That salmon post was published on July 18, 2010. Now, almost 4 years to the dot, I’m sitting here staring blankly at this blog that has grown into something I could have never imagined, finding myself with little to say. I find myself finding 10,000 reasons not to blog instead of 10,000 reasons why I can’t wait to. In the past four years, I’ve gone through blogging highs (like a cookbook offer) to blogging lows (like going a month without writing). Now, here I am, trying to find a reason to even keep this thing going.

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Some of the reasons for my radio silence include time. I don’t have much of it. I’ve been to 5 countries in 2 months. I’m just tired. Secondly, I’m in the process of a gigantic redesign. A site that will be more lifestyle, more travel focused, less posts about recipes. This is all stuff you guys know. Until that’s ready, I’m not sure how regular my posts will be here. I have 8 recipes to share, so there will be, but I can’t promise they will happen 3 days a week on the dot.

I can promise I’ll be here and I can promise that my new site will be 100% me, happy, sad, excited and ridiculous. And if you can all wait until then and be patient with me while I find that spark, I can promise to make it all worth your time.

Arugula and Balsamic Pizza

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CLICK HERE FOR THE PRINTABLE VERSION OF THIS RECIPE!

Serves about 8 -10.
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 22 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1 pie crust (use my favorite no-fail recipe)
  • 2 – 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 can diced or crushed tomatoes, drained
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 6 ounces sliced fresh mozzarella
  • 1 large heirloom tomato, sliced
  • 1 cup baby arugula
  • 2 tablespoons chopped basil
  • 2 – 4 tablespoons high quality balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons freshly grated parmesan cheese
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Directions: 

  1. Prepare the crust according to the directions on this post. Using a floured rolling pin, roll out the crust to about 1/4 inch thickness. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F and dust a pizza stone with cornmeal.
  2. To make the sauce, heat two tablespoons of olive oil in a dutch oven over medium high heat. Add the onions and garlic; cook until just softened, about 3 – 4 minutes. Add in the tomatoes, reduce heat to low and let simmer until slightly thickened, about 15 minutes. Stir in salt, pepper and crushed red pepper. Mix in the chopped basil.
  3. Remove from heat and spread over the pizza crust to liberally coat. Bake for about 6 – 8 minutes. Remove from heat and place the mozzarella over the top of the sauce. Add slices of tomato to the top of the cheese. Bake for about 8 more minutes, or until cheese is melted and crust is golden brown.
  4. Sprinkle the top liberally with arugula. Drizzle the balsamic over the pizza and slice into pieces. Serve immediately with cracked pepper and parmesan cheese.

Nutritional information per slice: 

Calories: 250
Fat: 11 grams
Carbohydrates: 22 grams
Fiber: 5 grams
Protein: 8 grams
Weight Watchers Points: 4

Tofu Masala for #SummerofStirFry

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I’m keeping it short and sweet here folks, because today’s recipe doesn’t need a lot of fluffy words to make it sound good.

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This tofu masala is made with crispy baked tofu bites, sautéed vegetables, super spicy sauce and creamy, buttery saffron rice. It can be made in less than 30 minutes flat and can be doubled, tripled or quadrupled for leftovers all week long. Honestly, I don’t know what else to say. El and I ate the entire batch (meant for 4) in one evening and I proceeded to make the exact same dish for dinner the next night.

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I mean, look at it, wouldn’t you make it two nights in a row too? It’s total comfort food for the soul, especially when you’ve been as crazy, stressed and insane as I’ve been lately. My absolute favorite part about this spicy Indian dish has to be that it’s made in just one pan. That’s one, one giant wok is all you need to recreate this perfect recipe at home.

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I have to thank Circulon, especially, for including me in their Summer of Stir Fry campaign. I’m all about one pot meals, and it makes it so much easier to create them when you have a fantastic product to start with! Plus, thanks to them I am happy to be giving away 1 Circulon Acclaim 12-inch Covered Wok!!

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Good luck! Now go make some tofu.

Tofu Masala

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Serves about 4.
Prep time: <10 minutes
Cook time: 15 minutes

Ingredients: 

For the rice:

  • 1 package saffron rice
  • 3 tablespoons butter

For the stir-fry:

  • 1 1/2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 package extra-firm tofu pressed and cubed
  • 1 large onion chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves minced
  • 1/2 large zucchini chopped
  • 1/2 summer squash chopped
  • 2 carrots sliced
  • 1 cup chopped oyster mushrooms
  • 3 tablespoons garam masala
  • 1 teaspoon ground tumeric
  • 1 tablespoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 tablespoon flour
  •  Salt and pepper
  • 1 1/2 can (21 ounces) diced tomatoes(not drained)
  • 1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons heavy cream
  •  Fresh cilantro for garnish

For the directions on how to make this, be sure to check out Circulon’s website!

To enter to win the Wok, fill out the prompts below!

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Frozen Pineapple, Blueberry & Coconut Gin Coolers

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Looking for a refreshing summer cocktail? Look no further than these frozen pineapple, blueberry & coconut gin coolers! Each drink is filled with fresh fruit flavor and are made with less sugar than normal cocktails!

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It’s just now 9am and I want to take 4 of these cocktails to the face. It’s been THAT kind of day.

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Actually, no, scratch that. It’s been that kind of WEEK. I had an amazing weekend and then, to punish me for having fun, Monday welcomed me with a speeding ticket, an exploding toliet and an unexpected financial strain on my bank account. I thought it was just Monday, but no. Every day this week has been a festival of bad luck, frustrating circumstances and overwhelming stress. So the thought of sipping one of these refreshing frozen pineapple, blueberry & coconut gin coolers, turning off my computer and laying by the pool all day seems almost too good to pass up.

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But no. As a responsible adult, I need to power through these feelings of stress and frustration and tackle my hauntingly long to do list. Which includes making a wedding cake, lavender ice cream and fried chicken today. Which to the average person would seem like a dream. To me, though, it’s terrifying. It’s 6,500,456 degrees outside and we have a very sad and pathetic little air conditioner who sounds like he wants to break every time I turn him on. And given my week of charms already, don’t be surprised if you see a photo of my face melting off on Facebook.

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Luckily I just have a few more days of very heavy workloads and then I’m cooking and stress free for 9 days while I explore the African wonderland of Kenya. Even though it will be extremely hot there, I’ll be sweating while staring at lions and elephants, and to me, that totally beats sweating staring at my computer screen.

Frozen Pineapple, Blueberry & Coconut Gin Coolers

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CLICK HERE FOR THE PRINTABLE VERSION OF THIS RECIPE!

Yields 2 drinks.
Prep time: 5 minutes

Ingredients: 

  • 6 teaspoons sugar
  • 12 teaspoons water
  • 1 1/4 cups frozen pineapple chunks
  • 2/3 cup fresh blueberries
  • 1/3 cup (2.4 ounces) Tanqueray gin
  • About 3/4 cup Coconut water
  • 1/2 cup low sugar cranberry juice
  • About 6 – 7 fresh basil leaves
  • Ice

Directions: 

  1. Mix the sugar and water together in a microwavable safe dish. Microwave on high for about 2 minutes, stirring after 1 minute, until the sugar is fully dissolved. Pour the mixture into a blender. Add the pineapple chunks, blueberries, gin, coconut water, cranberry juice and basil leaves. Add a handful of ice and blend until fully combined.
  2. Pour the mixture into two chilled mason jars. Add some fresh basil to garnish on the drinks and skewer a few blueberries onto a wooden skewer. Serve chilled.

Nutritional information per drink:

Calories: 250
Fat: 0 grams
Carbohydrates: 42 grams
Fiber: 0 grams
Protein: 1 gram
Weight Watchers Points: 5

Gluten Free Mixed Berry Crumble

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This gluten free mixed berry crumble is the perfect dessert for any summer party, potluck, picnic or any summer day. You’ll never want another crumble recipe again!

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As many of you know, I’ve recently finished editing an entirely gluten-free cookbook for a project with Adams Media.

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Even though I loved every second of publishing my first cookbook (ON SALE HERE!), it was a lot of work. And I’m still not 100% happy with the final product. So when I was approached to create 60 new recipes for an all gluten-free book, I almost said no. But then I thought about it. My best friend is gluten intolerant, and so many of my family members are struggling with celiac and allergies, and it always breaks my heart that they can’t eat the foods everyone else enjoys at parties and potlucks.

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So, after convincing my husband that we’ll definitely be taking that vacation later this year and that I won’t fall into a tunnel of perfectionism and despair with this one, I said yes. And exactly one month later, I had every single recipe turned in (it was a very busy month) and felt more accomplished than I had in a long time. Gluten-free cooking and baking is challenging. Because you’re losing the one property that keeps most of our cakes, breads and pastas binded, you have to play with different chemicals and flours to recreate gluten. Xanthum gum and psyllium husks became my best friend, and soon my cabinet was filled with 12 different kinds of flour, including an all purpose blend that set me back about the cost of a new iMac. (Not really, but almost).

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I learned very quickly that some of the recipes I loved to make on a regular basis (like pizza crust, homemade pasta and soft pretzels), just wouldn’t turn out by simply subbing in gluten-free products. I had to reconstruct these recipes so they would turn out. And let me tell you, I’ve never had more recipe fails in my life than I did doing this book. But instead of getting frustrated by each fail, I felt more inspired. This book was very tough, but I truly feel like I learned so much about gluten-free cooking. I really challenged myself as a cook and the end result was that much more gratifying.

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Choosing which recipes to include was definitely difficult. I wanted to make recipes that my friend and my family would love, as well as recipes picky kids and even vegans would enjoy too. I narrowed down my list and even had to cut recipes I made from it because I didn’t think they quite fit. Funny enough, this gluten free mixed berry crumble was one that got the ax. Not because it’s not incredible (trust me, it is), but simply because I had another fruity summer dessert and wanted to make sure I had plenty of variety.

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But, that’s okay because then I can share it with you guys right now. This crumble is one of my new favorites for summer. The topping is buttery, crispy and crunchy, while the tart mix of blueberries, blackberries and strawberries offers the perfect tart, juicy and sweet contrast. Topped with some vanilla bean ice cream and this is downright criminal.

One bite and you’ll be hooked. I promise you.

Gluten Free Mixed Berry Crumble

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CLICK HERE FOR THE PRINTABLE VERSION OF THIS RECIPE!

Serves about 10.
Prep time: About 10 minutes
Cook time: 1 hour

Ingredients:

For the filling:

  • 2 cups fresh blueberries
  • 2 cups fresh blackberries
  • 2 cups fresh strawberries, chopped
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 3 tablespoons almond meal or coconut flour

For the crumble topping:

  • 3/4 cup high quality gluten-free all purpose flour (I swear by Gluteny)
  • 1/2 cup almond meal
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons white sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 3/4 stick COLD unsalted butter, cut into slabs
  • 1 vanilla bean, scraped
  • 1 jumbo egg, room temperature
  • 3/4 teaspoon freshly grated cinnamon stick

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Liberally grease a casserole dish, pie plate or 8 x 8 baking dish with nonstick cooking spray and set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, toss the berries with the sugar and almond meal, lemon zest, lemon juice. Cover with saran wrap and let sit at room temperature for about 30 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, prepare the crumble topping. In another mixing bowl, whisk the gluten-free mix, almond meal, brown sugar, white sugar and baking powder together until fully combined. Using a pastry knife, cut into the butter slabs into the mix (much like you would with a pie crust) until mixture resembles a coarse sand.
  4. Lightly beat the egg with the vanilla bean and mix into the butter/crumble mixture.
  5. Pour the berries into the bottom of the prepared baking dish. Liberally sprinkle the top with the crumble and add the grated cinnamon to the top. Bake for about 42 minutes, or until the top is golden brown. Serve warm with vanilla ice cream.

Nutritional information per serving:

Calories: 350
Fat: 15 grams
Carbohydrates: 45.3 grams
Fiber: 2 grams
Protein: 4 grams
Weight Watchers Points: 8

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