Indian Butter Chicken

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Last week marks 1 year since our wild trip to India! I’m hankering for another adventure! We’re currently hashing out the details of our next trip (new destination). I can’t wait to share it with you when everything is finalized! For now, I’ll spend today reminiscing about this magical place. I give you Indian Butter Chicken at it’s best!  It’s just like the one we had in Delhi! So many lovely spices.

Ingredients
6 tablespoons butter (cubed)
2 lbs chicken breasts (cut into bite size chunks)
1 sweet onion (diced)
3 garlic cloves (pressed)
3 tsp garam masala
2  pieces Cassia Bark (regular cinnamon sticks will do just fine too)
1 tbsp fresh grated ginger
1 tsp Kashmiri chili powder
1 tsp ground coriander
½ tsp turmeric
14 oz tomato sauce
2 cups cream
salt & pepper
cilantro

Instructions
  1. Use 2 tbsp of your butter to brown cubed chicken in a skillet. Cook until the outside is golden and the inside is still pink. Scoop out the chicken into a bowl. Set aside.
  2. Using the same skillet as before, add another 2 tbsp of butter to the rendered chicken fat. Add diced onion, and cook until caramelized. Add all the dry spices, garlic and ginger. Stir to combine and cook for 1 minute until the spices become aromatic. Add tomato sauce. Stir. Stir. Stir.
  3. Let simmer for five minutes before adding the cream. Stir again. Add the partially cooked chicken and let simmer for 20 minutes on low heat. Cover with lid (that sauce will stain)!
  4. Stir in the remaining 2 Tbsp of butter and add salt and pepper to taste
  5. Serve over jasmine rice, top with fresh cilantro

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A few of my other posts from India if you care to read more…
How was India
How to Book a Rice Boat
Kolkata and a Beautiful Indian Wedding


Valentine’s Day Edition: Ladurée French Macarons

Ladurée French Macarons
A few years ago, I posted a recipe for Ladurée macarons that seemed to be a big hit with readers. I thought making a special Valentine’s Day edition would be fun. Same recipe with a cute Valentine’s Day Twist. Just grab some edible markets from Amazon and turn these classic treats into a special Valentine’s Day dessert.

This is a macaron shell recipe from Ladurée — the crème de la crème of macarons in the world! And I whipped up the filling recipe myself…

Makes approximately 50 macarons
Bake at 300F
Macaron Shell Ingredients
2 ¾ cups + 1 tbsp (275 g) fine almond flour
2 cups + 1 tbsp (250 g) confectioners’ sugar (aka powdered sugar)
6 +1/2 egg whites (room temp)
1 cup + 1 tbsp (210g) granulated white sugar
3 drops of whatever food coloring you desire
Directions for Macaron Shells:
1. Combine the ground almond flour and the confectioners sugar in a food processor. Pulse a few times until the mixture resembles a fine powder {do not over mix or you will end up with paste! Nooo!}. Sift through a sieve to remove any lumps.
2. In a large bowl {I use my KitchenAid}, whisk 6 egg whites until foamy. Once they are frothy, add a third of the granulated sugar {precisely 83.3 oz}. Whip until the sugar has dissolved. Add another third of the sugar. Whip for 1 minute. Add the last third of the sugar and whip for one minute. Egg whites should be glossy and hold soft peaks. Using a spatula, delicately fold the almond flour and confectioners’ sugar into the whipped egg whites. In a separate bowl, beat the remaining 1/2 egg white until just frothy. Then add it to the final mixture, folding gently to slightly loosen the macaron batter.
3. If you only want to make one color of macarons, then add your desired food coloring to the batter bowl. If you want multiple colors, divide your batter into separate bowls and add coloring to each. Try not to over mix.
4. Transfer the mixture into a piping bag {you can also use zip lock bags with a cut corner}. Pipe small macaron rounds 1 1/2 inches in diameter onto a  lined baking sheet. I like to line mine with a silpat or this fancy macaron mat. Parchment paper will also do. Lightly tap the tray on the counter to release any air pockets. Allow the macarons to sit uncovered for 10 minutes, so a thin dry coat forms on the top {you should be able to gently touch them without the batter sticking to your finger}. Now they are ready for the oven. Only bake one tray at a time. Bake at 300F for approximately 15 minutes or until they form a smooth shell and little foot.
*You can prepare the next tray while you wait for the first batch to bake.
5. Ok here is where you’ll need to be extra patient. Wait until the macarons have completely cooled before peeling them off the mat. If they stick, they are not ready. * My method {because I’m impatient} to speed things up, try placing the hot baking sheet on top of cold damp dishtowels. This can cut your waiting time in half!
Macaroon Filling Ingredients
8 tbsp jam
4 tbsp soft butter
splash of whipping cream
Fills approximately 50 macarons
{If you want to make different flavors on a smaller scale just measure 2:1 ratio for jam and butter}
Macaron Filling Instructions
Easy part!
1. You can use any flavor you want. For these macarons, I made different flavors for each color — peach, strawberry, blueberry and chocolate. Mmmmm. My friend gave me some amazing homemade jams that I mixed with butter and a splash of whipping cream.  Your measurements will vary depending on how much filling you want for each flavor. Just mix jelly, butter and whipping cream until you reach a semi-solid consistency at room temp. This one is pretty hard to mess up.
*I used Nutella for the chocolate hazelnut filling.
Good luck my friends!
Ladurée French Macarons
Ladurée French Macarons

Blood Orange & Passion Fruit Panna Cotta

Blood Orange Passion Fruit Panna Cotta
Blood orange and passion fruit panna cotta with no refined sugars, a little less fat than the traditional method and more protein! Oh yeah! And it’s sexy enough to be the star of your Valentine’s Day dessert – guilt free! Happy almost Valentine’s Day friends. I hope you have some special plans with the one you love, whether is be a night out on the town or snuggled up at home watching your favorite shows…it’s all good.

Makes 6 4oz servings
Ingredients
1 1/2 tsp unflavored gelatin
2 tbsp cold water
1 cup non fat greek yogurt
1 cup half & half
2 tbsp honey
1 tsp vanilla bean paste or vanilla extract
2 tbsp freshly squeezed blood orange juice

Directions
In a small dish, mix gelatin powder and water together. Set aside

In a small saucepan, combine half & half with honey and simmer until bubbles begin to form around the edge of the pan. Remove from heat. Add gelatin and greek yogurt into the half & half – honey mixture. Whisk until smooth. Add vanilla and blood orange juice. Whisk again.

Pour into silicon molds or small jars. Refrigerate for 4 hours. Serve with passion fruit and blood oranges.
Blood Orange Passion Fruit Panna Cotta Blood Orange Passion Fruit Panna Cotta Blood Orange Passion Fruit Panna Cotta


Vanilla Bean Purple Sweet Potato Creamy Cashew Berry Cake

How about a slice of vanilla bean purple sweet potato creamy cashew berry cake? These cakes are vegan, gluten free, wheat free, refined (cane sugar) free, dairy free, soy free and yes they’re still delicious! Flavor packed little squares! Here is the easier-than-you-think recipe!

Ingredients: 

Crust
6 soft dates (pitted)
3 tbsp cocoa powder
2 tbsp shredded unsweetened coconut
2 tbsp coconut oil
3 tbsp almond meal
1/2 nuts (almonds, peanuts whatever you have)
1/2 cup rolled oats

Bottom Layer
1 cup cashews (soaked in water for 3 hours and drained)
1/2 purple sweet potato (peeled and steamed)
2 tbsp coconut BUTTER (melted)
1 tbsp maple syrup
1 tsp vanilla bean paste
1 tbsp rice flour
3 tbsp water

Top Layer
1 cup cashews (soaked in water for 3 hours and drained)
10 raspberries
1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 tbsp maqui powder
1 tbsp pomegranate powder
2 tbsp beet (finely shredded)
2 tbsp coconut BUTTER (melted)
1 tbsp maple syrup
1 tsp vanilla bean paste
1 tbsp rice flour
3 tbsp water

Directions
Make each layer separately in the food processor (wash the container between each layer). Starting with the crust – throw all ingredients into the processor and blend until a ball is formed. Crust should be pliable and easily to shape without falling apart. Line square glass dish with parchment paper and press the crust into the paper and the edges of the dish. Spread evenly.
Wash out the food processor and blend the first layer ingredients together until smooth and silk. Pour into the dish. Wash and repeat with the second layer.
Place the layered “cheezecake” in the freezer for 3 hours. Cut into squares and top with desired goodies (I used chocolate covered cacao nibs and blackberries). If you want to drizzle it with a magic chocolate sauce shell, mix 1 tbsp cocoa powder with 1 tsp of coconut oil and maple syrup. Serve when cakes are thawed, yet still cold. Like cheesecake.


Burn Boot Camp Workout Video and Chocolate Coconut Protein Muffins

Burn Boot Camp | A Bit of Bees Knees
This is my second month at Burn Boot Camp and I am really enjoying my time here! It has become my daily routine – wake up in the morning, put on my workout clothes and lace up my shoes, fill up a water bottle, pack an extra outfit for work and I’m good to go. My whole day is more productive, my mind is sharper and I’m excited to be spending time focusing on my health. Burn Boot Camp’s pillars of success are mindset, organic whole food nutrition, strength training, burst training, and providing a positive environment – it’s just the place I want to be.
Burn Boot Camp | A Bit of Bees Knees
My trainers help me focus on my goals, give nutritional advice and push me to improve in strength and cardio training. There is a “weekly protocol” that changes every week and they never do the same workout twice! Classes are always interesting, challenging and fun. Every other day we alternate between different muscle groups with burst and strength training techniques. Here is an example of our weekly protocol –>

Weekly Protocol

Monday – upper body superset w/ elevator push-ups
Tuesday – bodyweight burst training mini-camp w/ sprint finisher
Wednesday – cardio pyramid whiteboard w/star crunch finisher
Thursday – partner leg strength chipper w/ partner bunny hop finisher
Friday – partner core/conditioning droplet w/ half burpee jump knee tuck finisher
Saturday – full body strength circuit w/ squat press finisher
Burn Boot Camp | A Bit of Bees Knees

A word from my trainer Brittanny:

“Burn Boot Camp focuses on 2 exercise formats: strength and burst/cardio training.  On strength days we are working on muscle hypertrophy meaning we are seeking maximum growth of our muscles lifting heavier weights working toward muscle fatigue and muscle failure, making those last few reps of the set nearly impossible to sustain.  Burst training is HIIT (high intensity interval training) with more cardio and athletic conditioning; a full body work that builds strength, power, mobility, balance, and agility.  On burst and cardio days your heart rate will spike much higher than strength days – that’s one big difference. We never combine the 2 types of training so it’s either cardio/HIIT day or a strength day.  We never train the same body part the following day because we expect our clients will be sore! It’s a good thing therefore we work on a totally different muscle group or training format. No workout is every the same and the protocol changes every week.”

I asked my trainers, Jeffrey, Brittanny and fellow BBCer Shastin to help me make a short clip to demo some examples of strength and burst/cardio training that we do at the gym.

Song by: MØ – Final Song

weighted back lunges
bicep curls to overhead press
bent over low rowers
jump squats
jump tucks
cricket burpees
**************************************************************************

I always follow my BBC workouts with lots of protein – usually a protein shake, lean turkey or chicken with a side of veggies will do, but somedays I’ve got mad cravings for chocolate! Here is a yummy recipe from “Beyond the Blender Bottle” by Burn Boot Camp that uses  After Burn protein powder – everything you need to fuel your potential.

Chocolate Coconut Protein Muffins


Chocolate Coconut Protein Muffins

Ingredients:
2/3 cup oat flour
1⁄4 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
1 serving of Afterburn whey protein
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking powder
3 tablespoons coconut sugar (or sweetener of choice)
1⁄4 cup unsweetened chocolate almond milk (or regular almond milk) 3 egg whites
2 tablespoons liquid coconut oil (or melted coconut oil)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and place 8 silicone cupcake liners on a sheet pan. Whisk together egg whites, almond milk, and coconut oil in a mixing bowl until smooth. Add remainder of ingredients into the bowl and stir until well combined.

Evenly divide cupcake batter among cupcake liners.

Bake in the oven for 14-16 minutes, or until center is cooked. Let cool and enjoy! Makes 6 servings; 1 serving is 1 muffin
NUTRITION INFO: Macros for 1 serving: 126 calories, 6.5g protein, 12.8g carbs, 6g fat, 3.6g sugar 1.9g fiber
*I made my muffins smaller (bitesize) so the nutrition info is cut in half for 12 mini muffins. Drizzle with natural PB and a few crispy coconut chips

Chocolate Coconut Protein MuffinsChocolate Coconut Protein Muffins Chocolate Coconut Protein Muffins Chocolate Coconut Protein Muffins