Orange, Saffron, and Olive Oil Shortbread Cookies {Gluten and Grain free}

I’m afraid my Instagram account isn’t so good for my blog.

It’s way too easy to take one pic, hashtag the life out of it, and post it…all on one little gadget.

Life has been busy, too, but I really have no legitimate excuse for not posting for…well, however long it’s been. Too long.

We were invited to a friend’s house last night for pizza and sundaes and a movie. It wasn’t just any pizza and sundaes though – it was cheese pizza with a delicious gluten free crust and sundaes with homemade berry ice cream, bananas, and homemade honey salted caramel sauce! Jealous yet?

I experimented with some shortbread cookies to go along with the sundaes. The challenge was that they had to be nut, wheat, and refined sugars free. Bring it on!

If you’ve read my blog for long, you know I gravitate toward orange and almond, or orange and ginger, or orange and cardamom flavor combinations. Those are all SO good, but I had to do something else this time. I decided to pull out the saffron my sis-in-law gave me years ago. (Does saffron go bad??? Don’t tell me if it does.)

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I kept with the orange, though half way through I wished I had gone with grapefruit instead. And, of course, I went with my favorite natural sweetener – dates!

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Orange, Saffron, and Olive Oil Shortbread Cookies

  • 1 c. dates, pitted
  • 1 c. coconut flour
  • 2 t. organic orange peel
  • 1/2 c. butter
  • 1 pinch sea salt
  • juice of one orange
  • 1/4 c. extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/8 to 1/4 t. saffron (I used 1/4 but my saffron might be a little weak. :)

Heat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

Combine dates, coconut flour, orange peel, butter and salt and pulse until mixture is well combined and fine textured. Add remaining ingredients and pulse again. My dough never formed a ball, but looked like this…

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However, it pinches together readily. Make one inch round balls and roll or press flat onto parchment paper.

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Bake for 10-12 minutes or until golden around the edges.

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They soften as they sit and, if you’re like me, you like them a bit crunchy, so place them in a warm oven just before serving.

And the movie? Well, it was Frozen, ’cause my little friends keep telling me about it and I had to see it for myself.  Aren’t you glad it’s summer? :)

Nori Seaweed Wraps with Sprouts and Avocado

I don’t know about you, but I like sushi. You probably know I like sushi from my post about Sushi Salad, but sometimes I can’t help repeating myself.

I’m not sure if the kind of sushi I like is technically 100% authentic sushi, but I don’t think it get’s much better than smoked salmon, cream cheese, and avocado – with pickled ginger and wasabi, of course. It doesn’t hurt to add some cucumber in there, too, and maybe some carrot for crunch. My, oh my, that’s good!

I’m not sure why I started off with that sushi rant, except that I’m thinking about seaweed and avocado and the other good things you can make with said ingredients.

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I’m sharing this recipe, or idea rather, that a good friend shared with me, ’cause I think you need it in your life.

Sometimes, we landlubbers just need to eat some seaweed in order to get a taste of the ocean and remember what it’s actually like to dip our toes in the foamy salt water and breath in the smell of fish and sea and sand. Ah, I miss it!

Nori Wraps with Sprouts and Avocado

  • Toasted Nori Seaweed Sheets (You should be able to find these in the Asian section of your grocery store.)
  • cream cheese
  • low-sodium deli turkey, or sardines if you really want to go “ocean”
  • sprouts – I use radish, but alfalfa sprouts from the store would be just as satisfying
  • shredded carrot
  • avocados

Spread cream cheese on one edge of a sheet of nori. Top with remaining ingredients. Roll up tightly and use a little water to seal the end. Repeat until you aren’t hungry any more. It’s that easy!

These pack well for lunches, afternoon snacks, or pre or post-workout meals (depending on your workout philosophy.) Also, the filling possibilities are endless. But you already figured that out, didn’t you?

My readers are just smart like that.

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Sharp Cheddar Cheese Crackers

I’m not sure what it is about me and grocery shopping, but it always makes me hungry. Not the hungry-for-anything kind of hungry, the I-NEED-cheese-crackers kind of hungry. I scan the shelves…Annie’s cheese bunnies? Cute, but never enough cheese. Late July’s buttery crackers sandwiching cheese spread? Still not enough cheese. I want Cheez-its kind of cheesy, only healthy.

Is that too much to ask, world?

Apparently, it is, so I came home and made my own.

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I think you’ll agree that they are better than anything you can find at the store.

I posted this recipe on my Instagram (I finally joined…and shocked my brothers in the process! I’ll be posting short recipes and food inspiration for you over there, so give me a follow if you feel so inclined @cheffingitwithstiritup .), but when a friend asked me to do a post about it, I didn’t hesitate. Can you have too many cheese crackers in your life?

Sharp Cheddar Cheese Crackers

  • 1/4 c. coconut flour
  • 4 oz. shredded extra sharp cheddar cheese – I used Calbot’s
  • 3 T. butter
  • dash of garlic powder
  • dash of paprika
  • as much fresh ground pepper as you please

Combine all ingredients in a bowl and blend together with your hands (or use a food processor) until it looks like this…

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Yes, it’s crumbly, but you should be able to squeeze it into balls. If not, add another tablespoon of butter.  Form into balls and place on parchment paper.

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Press the balls flat using your finger tips to get them as thin as possible.

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Poke holes in them with a fork or toothpick. Bake at 350 degrees for 12 minutes. Turn the oven off, crack open the door and let them sit in there for about 5-10 minutes to get nice and crispy. Remove from oven, let cool, and enjoy!

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