Product Review: Cavemen Gluten-Free Cookies

I recently received a tasty package from Cavemen Cookies, which the company sent me to sample.  These chewy treats are gluten-free, dairy-free and 100% natural made from nuts, honey and berries.

Cavemen cookies are based on the principles of the Paleolithic Diet (aka the Caveman Diet), which is based on eliminating our modern-day processed foods and replacing them with all-natural foods that early humans could have gathered and hunted.  There is no added sugar, no artificial ingredients, high-protein  and just 65-70 calories each.

Not bad for eating like a caveman…

The cookies come in two varieties:

Cavemen Cookies

Made with honey, almond flour, walnuts, raisins, ginger, nutmeg and cinnamon.

Tropical Cavemen Cookies

Made with almond flour, honey, unsulfured coconut, macadamia nuts and ginger.

My clients and their children enjoyed these tasty cookies, which were surprisingly chewy and soft.  They preferred the Tropical flavor as they are fans of macadamia nuts.  These cookies were mild, yet had a hint of ‘tropical’ flavor.  My clients and I enjoyed sampling these cookies and many of their children who are gluten-free and dairy-free thought these cookies were “pretty good.”

My clients and I enjoyed the fact that these treats are made with natural, simple ingredients.  The short and pure ingredient list was surely what kept the ‘moms’ interested.  They said, “It’s just like baking gluten-free or dairy-free cookies in your own kitchen, but tastes just as good as homemade”.

As you all know,I always prefer making homemade food and treats rather than opting for packaged goods such as these cookies, however, if you are in a pinch and need a quick go-to gluten-free and dairy-free dessert for your kids or yourself, taste a Cavemen Cookie and let me know what you think.

Enjoy!

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Tu-Lu’s Gluten-Free Bakery, NYC and My Secret Gluten-Free Peanut Butter Cookie Recipe

I recently had the pleasure to sit down with Tully, the proud owner of the fabulous Tu-Lu’s Bakery here in Manhattan.  Like me, Tully is gluten-intolerant, as well.  Tully graduated from Le Courdon Bleu school in Texas and enjoys creating her own mix of gluten free baked goods. I love Tully’s treats because she offers a vast array of gluten-free and vegan treats that are incredibly tasty.

Me and Tully at Tu-Lu’s Gluten-Free Bakery, NYC

How did you come up with the idea for Tu-Lu’s Bakery?

I had been cooking professionally for about 4 years at catering companies in NYC. I left my job and enrolled in NYU’s Food Studies masters program. While taking a food entrepreneur class, I came up with my business plan to start a wholesale gluten-free company. After being 3 months in business, I quickly decided that I wanted to open a retail shop to sell my baked goods fresh and be able to interact with my customers.

Tell me about your typical day at Tu-Lu’s Bakery.

I think people have the misconception that my day is spent in the bakery. I actually spend most of my time in the office! Placing orders, emailing, dealing with payroll, paying bills, etc. take up most of my time. The best moments are playing with new recipes and talking to customers.

What is your favorite gluten-free dessert?

A Chocolate soufflé.

What is your favorite gluten-free meal to cook?

Parmesan polenta with roasted chicken and oyster mushrooms.

What is your favorite New York City restaurant?

It’s so hard to choose one! From fancy to casual, my picks are Eleven Madison Park, Little Owl, and Caracas Arepa Bar.

What is one kitchen tool that you couldn’t live without?

A microplane.

What do you see in the future for Tu-Lu’s Bakery?

I would love to expand the online ordering to include many of our other treats and perhaps cupcakes.

Describe your kitchen at home.

TINY! It’s crammed with all sort of cooking ingredients and gadgets. I’m thankful I have a dishwasher though.

Even though you are a famous baker, do you consider yourself to be more of a cook or a baker at home?

Well…I wouldn’t call myself famous! I am definitely a cook. I did not go to culinary school to specialize in pastry, but when I went gluten-free all I wanted was baked goods. That’s how it all started.

What is your best kitchen advice?

Prep all your ingredients (chopping, grating, etc.) before you being so you complete the recipe quickly and correctly.

What inspires your baking?

I try to think of what people miss eating the most. We just came up with a delicious peppermint chocolate cookie that resemble another cookie whose name I won’t mention. I hope that people will be thrilled to find treats in my bakery that they used to love!

Did you always have a passion for food growing up as a child and throughout your adolescence?

Growing up I loved being in the kitchen with my mom and taking cooking lessons. I’ve always read cookbooks like novels.

What is always in your pantry?

Olive oil, aged balsamic vinegar, apple cider vinegar, agave, sliced almonds, dried cherries, polenta, brown rice pasta…and so much more. Remember? I have a small kitchen that is about to burst!

Desert island cookbook?

Any of the Barefoot Contessa books. I love the simplicity of her cooking.


The next time you find yourself in the East Village of Manhattan, stop into Tu-Lu’s Bakery and taste Tully’s delicious baked goods…my favorite are the chocolate chip cookies and dark chocolate brownies..they’re quite delish and by far the best freshly baked gluten-free treats I’ve come across here in Manhattan.

And, to go along with the ‘Gluten-Free Bakery’ theme of today’s post, I thought I’d share my secret Gluten-Free Peanut Butter Cookie recipe with all of you…Enjoy!

The Healthy Apple’s Secret Gluten Free Peanut Butter Nibbles

Ingredients

  • 1 large egg
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 tsp. gluten-free vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp. almond extract
  • 1/4 tsp. ground flax seeds
  • Pinch of Salt
  • Optional: Pinch of Cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. organic smooth peanut butter

Directions

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Beat egg, sugar, baking soda, almond extract, vanilla extract, salt and cinnamon on medium-low speed with an electric mixer.
  • Slowly add in peanut butter.
  • Spoon teaspoon sized amounts onto a baking sheet lined with wax paper.
  • Bake 8-10 minutes or until golden brown.
  • Remove from oven and transfer to wire rack for cooling.
  • Enjoy!

Smoked Paprika Carrot Fries and a Giveaway ‘1, 2, 3 Gluten-Free Cookies and Cake Mix’

Here is yet another one of my famous ‘healthy french fry’ recipes, however, this time I am using carrots! What a great way to get a nice dose of Beta Carotene!

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Ingredients

  • 6 Large, fresh carrots, cut into fry-like shapes
  • 1 Tbsp. Olive Oil
  • Dash of Sea Salt and pepper
  • 1 tsp. Smoked Paprika

Directions

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  • Slice carrots diagonal into ‘french fry’ strips and place on a baking sheet.
  • Drizzle with olive oil, sea salt and pepper.
  • Sprinkle with smoked paprika.
  • Bake for 30-40 minutes.  Be sure to mix the carrots on the baking sheet every 10 minutes
  • Enjoy!

Enter for your chance to win a box of 1 2 3 Gluten Free Scrumdelious Cookies and Devil’s Food Chocolate Cake Mix Giveaway!


Simply leave me a comment on this post telling me why you’d like to try 1,2,3 Gluten-Free products and I will pick a random winner on Wednesday morning.

Good Luck!


Gingerbread Cookies

How adorable are these cute little gingerbread men and women? I couldn’t resist…as with every year I have to make my special gingerbread people.  It’s a fun, festive ritual that I take part in and enjoy every second of the process from grading cutting shapes with my cookie cutters to decorating the clothes and features on the gingerbread people.  Here is a wonderfully delicious gingerbread recipe that will surely compliment your gingerbread house this season.

I was so excited to make these gingerbread guys and gals because I used two of my new Open Sky products, my Winco Aluminum Rolling Pin, which was fabulous and created an even and smooth surface for my cookie cutters and my Copper Bowl, which was perfect for mixing my ingredients to create the gingerbread dough.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3 cups whole-wheat flour
  • 1 ½ tsp. baking soda
  • 1 ½ tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. ginger
  • ½ tsp. cloves
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • 2 Tbsp. wheat germ
  • ¼ cup ground flax seeds
  • 1 stick butter, unsalted and softened
  • 1 tsp. honey or agave nectar
  • ¼ cup oil
  • 1 cup sugar or stevia
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup molasses
  • 2 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar

Directions

  • Preheat oven to 350°F. Coat several baking sheets with cooking spray or line with parchment paper.
  • In a large bowl combine whole-wheat flour, all-purpose flour, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, flax seeds, wheat germ and salt; mix well. Beat butter, honey, oil and sugar in another large bowl with an electric mixer until it forms a creamy texture.
  • Add egg, molasses and balsamic vinegar; beat until combined. Add the dry ingredients and stir to combine.
  • Divide the dough into 4 equal portions, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate until chilled, at least 3 hours or overnight.
  • On a floured surface, roll each portion separately to create a 1/4 inch thickness. Cut cookies using cookie festive cutters. Combine scraps and roll dough again to make additional cookies.
  • Place cookies on baking sheets.
  • Bake the cookies, about 10 to 12 minutes or until golden brown.
  • Transfer to a wire rack to cool.
  • Decorate with icing and personalize each gingerbread man and woman.

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Interview with Babycakes NYC Vegan Bakery Founder, Erin McKenna

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Babycakes NYC, a vegan bakery here in Manhattan, is my favorite spot to cure a sweet tooth The Healthy Apple way: Refined Sugar-Free, Gluten-Free, Wheat-Free, Soy-Free, Casein-Free, Egg-Free, Vegan and Kosher.  What more can a Manhattan gal ask for?  This is bakery heaven for myself and many of my clients who suffer from food intolerance’s and allergies.

Good Morning, Erin.  Thank you so very much for your time; I am a huge fan of Babycakes—not only am I a frequent visitor of your Manhattan bakery, but I use your Babycakes cookbook to bake all of my treats!

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What is your food philosophy?

I am a fan of food combining – not pairing protein with carbohydrates and eating fruit alone.  I also eat food that is as close to its natural state as possible.  The fewer ingredients, the better.

I agree, completely as I always eat as close to the natural source as possible.  What inspired you to start baking gluten-free, vegan baked goods?

I have a sensitivity to wheat, dairy and sugar so I was inspired to create desserts that I could enjoy.

What made you decide to open Babycakes? How did you come up with that adorable name?

I opened the bakery because there was nowhere in New York that I could go to for sweets and I wanted to create it.  I wanted it to be a place that I would want to go.  The name came from the idea that the ingredients in the baked goods would be so carefully chosen and mindful of sensitive digestive systems, that even a baby could eat them. Hence the name, BabyCakes.

Many of my clients (myself included) suffer from gluten and dairy intolerance so I know the frustrations in trying to find foods free of allergens and additives.  I know that you avoid wheat, dairy, soy, caffeine and refined sugars largely due to stomach and digestion problems.  How did you know that you had trouble with all of these foods?  Did you cut all of these out of your diet at once?

Yes, it was by cutting them all out, all at once, that I found a great improvement in my digestion.  That along with food combining really helps me.

I am curious to know what your symptoms were from eating soy.  How did you to realize soy was another of your ‘problem’ foods?

Soy actually isn’t a food I’m sensitive to, but I make my desserts soy-free because it’s a problem for so many others.

Since you avoid refined sugars, what sweeteners do you use?

Agave nectar in the baked goods and I personally use a lot of stevia in drinks at home.

I agree; I’m a big fan of using agave nectar for baking and stevia in my hot beverages.  What is the one food you can’t live without?

Nuts!  Any and all kinds.  I don’t know that I could ever cut them out of my diet – I eat almost a cup of nuts a day!

Do you do all of the recipe testing yourself?

Yes, I’m a bit of a control freak regarding recipes.

Wow; very impressive.  Did you always dream of opening your own bakery?

Never!  I wanted to be a costume designer for a sketch comedy like SNL.  The bakery happened because it needed to.

What is your favorite meal to cook?

I’m not vegan because I eat fish so my favorite meal is as follows.  I put a white fish in parchment paper along with cherry tomatoes, garlic, zucchini and whatever fresh herbs I have – sometimes rosemary, thyme, basil or sage.  Pour olive oil all up on it and sprinkle salt, pepper and chili flakes.  Then, I secure the parchment closed and bake it for about 20 minutes until the fish is done.  When you open it up, everything is infused with the herbs and it is so simple and delicious.

Sounds delicious; I love parchment baked fish fillets.  Have you inspired friends and family to be gluten-free, dairy-free and vegan?

No, I’m not on a mission to change people.  I just want everyone to see that it can be delicious if they choose to ever go gluten-free or vegan.

You must be thrilled to open your L.A. location!  What are your future plans for Babycakes?

I’m very excited for LA, it’s like having a second baby.  I have big plans for the future, but can’t discuss them just yet!

babycakes

Thank you again, Erin for taking the time to meet with The Healthy Apple.  Good luck with the launch of your new LA location—you’ll have the West Coast taste buds dancin’ for joy in no time!

Product Review: Goji Gourmet

A big thank you to my friend, Allison over at Goji Gourmet for sending me a package of their tasty cookies.  I had the delightful opportunity to meet Allison last week to hear about her exciting new business and taste her deliciously-healthy cookies.

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Goji Gourmet offers a wonderful variety of cookies packed with superfoods and antioxidants!  All of their cookies are handmade, with no refined sugar added, no preservatives, low calorie and all-natural!  These bite-sized snacks are perfect for an evening nibble or for your child’s afternoon treat.

Be sure to check out Goji Gourmet and taste the goodness of their 4 yummy flavors:

Goji Almond Oat

1

Goji Cherry Cacao

2

Goji Ginger Walnut

3

Goji Orange Mint Chip

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My clients and I enjoyed sampling these tasty treats; we snacked on them right out of the cute little bags (which are resealable and easy to toss into your bag for travel).  I decided to use my creativity and introduced the Goji Gourmet cookies to my clients paired with a dollop of Greek yogurt, crumbled atop a fruit and yogurt parfait and used as a crumb topping for my favorite pie and cake recipes.

I love Allison’s unique Goji Gourmet flavors: the combination of Goji berries with almonds and oats is incredibly satisfying and has a nice crunch…the Goji cherry cacao was my favorite, as I loved the raw chocolate taste and dried cherries happen to be my favorite dried fruit.  Goji ginger with walnuts had a nice crunch to them, as well and the touch of ginger was mild, yet added the perfect ‘zing’.   The Goji orange mint with chips were a huge hit with my clients- as it ‘Tasted like mint-chocolate chip ice cream”, they said.

Thank you again, Allison for sending us a fabulous assortment of your delictable cookies.  There’s nothing like enjoying a tasty treat that’s packed with superfoods and antioxidants- they’re mini guilt-free nibbles.  Be sure to keep your eyes peeled for Goji Gourmet, which are popping up everywhere–I assure you–you’ll be hooked on your first little nibble.

Pumpkin Bran Cookies

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Earlier this week I was in the mood for some serious pumpkin…it must be the fall foliage and autumn breeze that spark my yearning for harvest foods.  These are the days when Central Park is remarkably beautiful; the leaves turning beautiful shades of auburn and rust…reminds me of pumpkins and produce-packed cornucopias.  It’s hard to believe Thanksgiving is next month, although we still have time to enjoy these October days I’m eager to whip up new tasty seasonal recipes.  And what better ingredient to use than good ‘ol pumpkin?

For this particular recipe I used canned pumpkin, which can easily be found in your food store.  Be sure not to purchase ‘Pumpkin Pie Mix’ because the can looks quite similar to regular ‘Pumpkin’.  I always reach for Libby’s canned pumpkin as it has a delectable taste and is incredibly delicious eaten directly out of the can (Yes, you caught me…I have been known to scoop a few spoonfuls of Libby’s right into my mouth).  In this case, try not to eat all of the pumpkin as you’ll need 1/3 cup for the recipe.  I do recommend, however, purchasing another can of Libby’s pumpkin as it is incredibly inexpensive and is wonderful when mixed with a dollop of Greek yogurt and cinnamon for a tasty treat.

I have yet to test this recipe with fresh pumpkin, however, I will be experimenting soon and I’ll be sure to fill you in on the recipe.  For this particular case, canned pumpkin is a perfect option for a quick and easy way to create these healthy treats.  When I’m short on time, but desire flavor I reach for canned pumpkin and it always does the trick.

As for the bran crumbs, they can also be found in your food store…just take a peak down the baking aisle and you’ll be amazed to see numerous boxes, all of which are perfect suited for this delectable recipe. Bran crumbs are a fantastic way to enrich your recipes with a hearty crunch and a dose of heart-healthy fiber.

Not only are these cookies incredibly tasty, but they’re chock full of fiber and pack scores of beta carotene, as well.

Ingredients

  • 1 1/4 cups flour
  • 1 1/4 cups sugar
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 cup ground flax seeds
  • 1/3 cup canned pumpkin
  • 1 egg (or egg substitute)
  • 1/2 cup rice milk
  • 1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp. cinnamon
  • 2/3 cup butter (or butter substitute), melted
  • 2 cups bran crumbs or (stale bread mashed into crumbs)
  • 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 Tbsp. dried basil

Directions

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Sift together dry ingredients in a large bowl.
  • Combine wet ingredients, then add to dry mixture.
  • Slowly add melted butter and bran crumbs; mix well until it forms a cookie dough consistency.
  • Drop teaspoon sized spoonfuls of cookie dough onto ungreased cookie sheets.
  • Bake for 10-12 minutes or until done.

There are ways to enjoy these fiber-ific pumpkin cookies.  Here are some of my favorites:

  • Pumpkin Cookies crumbled and sprinkled atop morning oatmeal, Greek yogurt and fruit parfait, applesauce or whipped banana pudding.
  • Frozen Greek yogurt sandwiched between 2 Pumpkin Cookies, then rolled in chopped nuts to make ‘Flying Saucers’.
  • Add soft baked Pumpkin Cookies (cut into quarters) to your trail mix or popcorn for a harvest taste.

What is your favorite way to enjoy fiber-rich cookies?