Chia pudding

Chia pudding is a wonderful grain free breakfast option or a great dessert.  It is packed with fibre and a basic recipe can be low carb (depending on other ingredients in the chia pudding).  It can be served plain or be topped with fruit, berries are especially good, seeds, nuts or coconut.   You can add nut butter or protein powder if you want to increase the protein content.  It you like chocolate, add some cocoa powder or a little bit of chocolate.  It is very adaptable and there are countless variations.

Many people love the seedy texture of chia pudding, but if you don’t, mix up the basic ingredients and then put the pudding in the blender before putting it in the fridge and then the texture will be smooth (great tip for people with texture issues or when making for picky kids)

Basic chia pudding

  • 1-4 Tbsp maple syrup or a few drops of stevia or a small amount of honey
  • 1 pinch sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups almond milk, coconut milk, cashew milk, hemp milk, oat milk
  • 1/2 cup chia seeds

Whisk or shake together, put in the fridge for several hours or overnight, shake/stir occasionally.  Eat at least 4 hours after putting in the fridge.  Add anything extra you would like.

Here’s a great video with different variations!

Fancy chia puddings

OVERNIGHT CHOCOLATE CHIA SEED PUDDING

  • 1/4 cup cacao powder or unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 3-5 Tbsp maple syrup
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon (optional)
  • 1 pinch sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups almond milk or light coconut milk for creamier texture
  • 1/2 cup chia seeds
  1. To a small mixing bowl add cacao powder (sift first to reduce clumps), maple syrup, ground cinnamon, salt, and vanilla and whisk to combine. Then add a little dairy-free milk at a time and whisk until a paste forms. Then add remaining dairy-free milk and whisk until smooth.

  2. Add chia seeds and whisk once more to combine. Then cover and refrigerate overnight, or at least 3-5 hours (until it’s achieved a pudding-like consistency).

  3. Leftovers keep covered in the fridge for 4-5 days, though best when fresh. Serve chilled with desired toppings, such as fruit, granola, or coconut whipped cream.

    Recipe found here

    Peach Pie Breakfast Parfaits

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup chia seeds
  • 1 tablespoon pure maple syrup or liquid sweetener of choice
  • 1 1/2 cups almond/coconut/hemp milk
  • 2/3 cups rolled oats gluten-free if necessary
  • 1/3 cup raw pecans
  • 5 – 6 medjool dates depending on the size, pitted
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon divided
  • 3 medium peaches

Instructions

  1. Make the chia pudding: combine the chia seeds, syrup and almond milk in a bowl of large mason jar. Mix together until incorporated, then refrigerate to set for at least 2 hours.
  2. Make the crumble: toast oats and pecans in a dry skillet over medium heat until golden brown, about 5 minutes. (alternatively you could also toast them in a toaster oven on the medium setting) Once toasted, transfer to a food processor along with dates and 1 teaspoon of cinnamon. Process to form the texture of coarse sand.
  3. Make the peaches: slice the peaches in half, discarding the pit, and chopping into bite-sized pieces. Add to a bowl with the remaining 1 teaspoon of cinnamon and toss to combine.
  4. Assemble the parfaits: divide the chia pudding evenly among two stemless wine glasses or mason jars. Add a layer of the crumble, then divide peaches evenly and place on top of crumble. Sprinkle with a touch of crumble topping and enjoy!

Recipe from here

Creamy Chia Pudding

Creamy chia seed pudding made with cashews, dates and vanilla! This treat is much healthier than traditional pudding. Find a chocolate pudding option, too. Recipe yields 3 to 4 small servings.

INGREDIENTS

Chia seed pudding

  • 1 ½ cups water
  • ¼ cup chia seeds
  • 6 large dates
  • ⅔ cup raw cashews (if you don’t have a high-powered blender, these will likely need to be soaked in water for 2 to 4 hours, then drained)
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • Pinch of sea salt

Optional toppings

  • Fresh fruit: berries, sliced bananas, chopped pineapple, etc.
  • Sprinkle of cocoa powder, mini chocolate chips or finely chopped dark chocolate, toasted coconut, cinnamon, etc.

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. In a liquid measuring cup, combine the water and chia seeds. Set aside until the mixture forms a gel, about 20 minutes.
  2. If your dates aren’t soft and plump, place them in a bowl and pour hot water over them. Set aside for up to 20 minutes, or until the chia seeds are ready. Drain.
  3. Pit the dates. In a blender, combine the pitted dates with the cashews, cinnamon, vanilla and salt. Pour in half or more of the chia gel (I prefer chia seeds in their blended state, so I poured in almost all of mine). Puree until smooth. If your pudding gets warm in the process, you’ll need to chill it until cool.
  4. Serve individual portions of pudding with any remaining chia gel swirled in. Top with any garnishes you’d like. Store leftovers in the refrigerator.

Original recipe from here.

 

 

Seed breads and crackers

I love seed based recipes as low carb option for breads and crackers.  They are high fibre without being high in net carbs, full of healthy fats and protein.   All the recipes here are gluten free and all but one are grain free.  All are corn and can be dairy free.  All are amazing for people dealing with constipation who need to increase fibre without increasing sugars and starches in their diets.

Below there are 2 bread options, one is grain free and the other is vegan, both are delicious and I love them both equally.  The slices should be cut thinly and are absolutely delicious toasted.  Both breads can be frozen after being sliced and defrosted in the toaster.

Life-Changing Loaf of Bread (vegan, gluten free)

Psyllium seed husks are available at natural food stores or online. Other than the husks, which you can use in powder or intact form but are otherwise non-negotiable, this bread is adaptable to your mood and your pantry. Swap in like for like (nuts for nuts, grains for grains, and so forth), and your life can change a little bit differently every time. 

Makes: 1 loaf
Prep time:  3 hrs
Cook time: 1 hrs

Ingredients

  • cup (135 grams) sunflower seed kernels (not in the shell)
  • 1/2 cup (90 grams) flax seeds (ground or whole)
  • 1/2 cup (65 grams) hazelnuts, almonds, walnuts or pecans
  • 1 1/2 cups (145 grams) rolled oats (if making gluten-free, make sure to get certified gluten-free oats)
  • tablespoons chia seeds
  • tablespoons psyllium seed husks (3 tablespoons if using psyllium husk powder)
  • teaspoon fine grain sea salt (add 1/2 teaspoon if using coarse salt)
  • tablespoon maple syrup or honey (for strict low carb diets, use a pinch of stevia or omit)
  • tablespoons melted coconut oil, ghee or olive oil
  • 1 1/2cups (350 milliliters) water

Directions

  1. In a flexible, silicon loaf pan or a standard loaf pan lined with parchment, combine all dry ingredients, stirring well. Whisk maple syrup/honey, oil, and water together in a measuring cup. Add this to the dry ingredients and mix very well until everything is completely soaked and dough becomes very thick (if the dough is too thick to stir, add one or two teaspoons of water until the dough is manageable). Smooth out the top with the back of a spoon. Let sit out on the counter for at least 2 hours, or all day or overnight. To ensure the dough is ready, it should retain its shape even when you pull the sides of the loaf pan away from it or lift the parchment.
  2. Preheat oven to 350° F / 175° C.
  3. Place loaf pan in the oven on the middle rack, and bake for 20 minutes. If desired, remove bread from loaf pan, place it upside down directly on the rack and bake for another 30 to 40 minutes, you can also turn the bread onto a baking sheet instead of directly on the rack. Bread is done when it sounds hollow when tapped. Let cool completely before slicing.
  4. Store bread in a tightly sealed container for up to five days. Freezes well too – slice before freezing for quick and easy toast!

Recipe adapted slightly from this recipe.

Stone age nut and seed bread (grain free)

You can easily customize the recipe with your preferred nuts and seeds. Simply make sure that you follow a nuts to seeds ratio of 2 cups of nuts to 4 – 5 cups of seeds. Suggested nuts for addition/substitution: pecans, pine nuts, hazelnuts. Suggested seeds for addition/substitution: poppy.

  • 1 cup raw almonds
  •  1 cup raw walnuts
  •  1 cup whole flax seeds
  •  1 cup raw sunflower seeds
  •  1 cup raw pumpkin seeds
  • 1 cup sesame seeds
  • 5 eggs
  • 1 ½ teaspoons sea salt
  • 1/3 cup olive oil or water

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. In a large mixing bowl, combine all ingredients.  Mix thoroughly with a spatula or spoon.

Line loaf pan with parchment paper and pour in batter.

Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 1 hour. Note that this is a very dense bread that won’t leaven. When finished baking, the loaf should sound hollow when tapped.

This bread will keep in the refrigerator for around a week, and it also freezes very well. For that reason, it’s always a good idea to make two at once — one for now and one for the freezer. Once you get a taste, you’ll be glad to have another one on hand when you run out.

Original recipe

There are many variations of seed cracker recipes, they are quite adaptable.  I love these low carb crackers dipped in guacomole, nut butter, hummus or with some brie.  Crunchy and delicious!

Seed crackers

Vegan, gluten-free, grain-free, nut-free, oil-free, refined sugar-free, soy-free

Different seeds can be substituted but I would recommend keeping either chia, sunflower or flax as 1-2 of the seeds used.
Ingredients:
  • 1/2 cup chia seeds
  • 1/2 cup sunflower seeds
  • 1/2 cup pepita seeds (or pumpkin seeds)
  • 1/2 cup sesame seeds
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 large garlic clove, finely grated on a Microplane grater
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt, plus more for sprinkling

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 300ºF. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the chia seeds, sunflower seeds, pepita seeds, and sesame seeds.
  3. Add the water, garlic, and salt. Stir with a spatula until combined. Allow the mixture to sit for a couple of minutes until the chia seeds absorb the water. After the 2-minute rest, when you stir the mixture, you shouldn’t see a pool of water on the bottom of the bowl.
  4. With the spatula or between 2 pieces of parchment paper, spread the mixture onto the prepared baking sheet in either two small rectangles, about 12×7 inches each and 1/8 to 1/4 inch thick or one giant cracker the size of a cookie sheet. Sprinkle additional salt on top.  If desired, you can score the cracker into smaller squares which makes it easier to break into similar sized pieces, however it does make it much harder to flip.
  5. Bake for 35 minutes. Remove from the oven and carefully flip each rectangle with a spatula. If you have done one big cookie sheet full of crackers put a new cookie sheet over top of the first cookie sheet halfway through baking and then flip the whole thing quickly.
  6. Bake for 25 to 35 minutes more, until lightly golden around the edges. Watch closely near the end to make sure they don’t burn. Let cool for 10 to 15 minutes on the pan and then break the rectangles into crackers and let cool completely on the pan. Store in an airtight container or jar on the counter for up to 2 weeks. You can also freeze the crackers in freezer bags for up to 1 month.

Nutrition Information

Tips:

  • * If the crackers soften while storing (this can happen in humid environments), toast them in the oven on a baking sheet at 300ºF for 5 to 7 minutes. After cooling, this should return them to their former crispness!

Original recipe

 

Keto Flaxseed Focaccia Bread

Recipe type: Paleo, Gluten-free, Dairy-free, Sugar-free, Yeast-free, Corn-free, Grain-free, Nut-free, Keto
Prep time:  
Cook time:  
Total time:  
Serves: 12
Grain-free, low-carb, keto bread recipe made entirely of flaxseed with a very bread-like texture. Perfect for toast and sandwiches.
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350F and line a 13×9 baking pan with parchment paper draped over the sides. Set aside.
  2. Combine flax seed with baking powder, herb mix and sea salt in a large bowl. Whisk to combine fully and set aside.
  3. Add eggs, water and oil to your blender. Blend on high for 30 seconds, until foamy.
  4. Transfer liquid mixture to the bowl with the flaxseed mixture. Stir with a spatula, just until incorporated. The mixture will be very fluffy. Once incorporated, allow to sit for 3 minutes.
  5. Drop mixture into prepared baking pan. Smooth with the back of the spatula and transfer the pan to the preheated oven.  If desired, you can add whole olives or sundried tomatoes to the top of the dough so that each piece of bread has a little treat.
  6. Bake bread for 20 minutes, until top is golden. Remove from the oven and lift bread (from the parchment paper sides) to a cooling rack. Peel the parchment paper from the bottom of the bread and allow the bread to cool on the cooling rack for an hour.
  7. Cut into 12 pieces.
  8. Bread can be toasted or frozen. Keeps in the fridge for 3-4 days and in the freezer for up to 3 months.

Original recipe by Leanne Vogel and can be found here 

 

Salad Bowls

My favourite things in the kitchen right now are salad bowls.  Fresh beautiful local produce, a source of protein, a delicious dressing and an optional grain or noodle makes a wonderful meal.  Healthy, filling, beautiful and uses up odds and ends in the fridge.

You can mix and match depending what you have in the house but I would recommend adding some leafy greens, something with some crunch, something a little bit sweet, refreshing or salty, at least one protein and fill it up with anything else you love.

Crunchy options:

  • nuts or seeds
  • green onions
  • sugar snap peas
  • Kale chips
  • crumbled nacho chips
  • red peppers

Sweet, refreshing or salty options:

  • berries
  • dried raisins/cranberries
  • fresh peas
  • orange slices
  • grapefruit segments
  • candies or salted nuts
  • corn
  • baby tomatoes
  • spiralized and grated beet or carrot

Grain (or grain alternative) options:

  • rice noodles
  • brown rice
  • quinoa
  • bean thread noodles/glass noodles
  • kelp noodles
  • buckwheat
  • oat groats

Protein options:

  • chicken
  • turkey
  • pork
  • beef
  • beans
  • fish
  • seeds and nuts
  • lentils
  • tofu

Sauce options:

Recently I made a delicious salad bowl with quinoa, black beans, basil lime dressing, leftover chicken, leftover red cabbage, kale chips, sugar snap peas, red peppers, green onions and a dollop of fresh pesto.  It was a perfect meal and and a fun game for my six year old to count how many different veggies were present in the meal 🙂

Pumpkins, pumpkins everywhere!

This month our CSA delivery (a box of vegetables that comes from a local farm delivered weekly to our house) has brought an abundance of pumpkin and squash. We’ve already carved one, enjoyed it and had it go bad already and we aren’t even close to Hallowe’en yet! Last week I decided to take one of our pumpkins and do some baking. I got more than I bargained for out of one pumpkin!

I started with a small-medium sized pumpkin, cut it in half and scooped out the seeds. I put the seeds aside to roast later that night. Then I rubbed the cleaned out pumpkin’s cut sides with a little oil, placed the cut sides down and put it in a 350 degree oven for about an hour (until it was soft when I pressed on the outer skin). I then let it cool and removed the flesh by scraping it off the skin (the same way you would if you roasted a squash). When it was cool I ran it through the food processor until it was smooth. From there it could be used as any pureed pumpkin from a can (except fresher, tastier and much, much cheaper!).

There’s a limit to how much I can get accomplished while my little guy naps, so I put all the puree in the fridge to use the next day for baking. I ended up making 2 recipes of pumpkin scones, a crustless pumpkin pie and pumpkin spice muffins. All gluten and dairy free and all delicious, all from one smallish pumpkin! At the moment I can’t local the pumpkin pie recipe I used but I will post the others and hope the pumpkin pie recipe turns up. The trick to a crustless pumpkin pie is to make your regular filling recipe and add 1/4 cup of gluten free flour and grease the pie plate and it will work as a delicious crustless pumpkin pie or pumpkin custard.

Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

Scrape out the insides of a pumpkin.
Pick all the stringy parts off the seeds so you have just seeds left then rinse them.
Lay out in a single layer so they can dry (on parchment, tea towel). You can lay them on paper towel to dry but if you leave them too long you can end up picking off bits of dried paper towel.
When seeds are dry, toss with a little olive oil (or your favourite oil) and salt.
Bake at 350 in the oven until they start to brown at the edges, 20-30 minutes. Stir them occasionally and watch them closely so they don’t burn.
Enjoy a tasty snack with lots of protein, fibre, iron and magnesium!

Pumpkin Muffins (gluten free, dairy optional, corn free)
⅔ c. brown rice flour
½ c. freshly ground buckwheat flour
½ c. arrowroot starch (or tapioca starch, corn starch as a last resort)
½ tsp. cinnamon
½ tsp. nutmeg
½ tsp. cloves
¼ tsp. baking powder or corn free baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
¾ tsp. salt
¾ c. honey OR 1 c. sucanat
2 eggs OR 2 Tbs. freshly ground flax + 6 Tbs. hot water mixed and set aside until it gels if avoiding eggs
½ c. melted butter or coconut oil
¼ c. cold water
1¼ c. pumpkin puree (canned or homemade)
Instructions
Mix the dry ingredients together. Mix the wet ingredients separately. Stir or beat well.
Line muffin tin and pour about ¾ full into 12 muffin cups. Bake in a preheated 325 degrees for 40-45 minutes (20-25 for 24 mini muffins).

Pumpkin Scones (gluten free, dairy optional, corn free)
I made two batches, in the first I used all rice flour and tapioca, forgot the sugar and used the glaze. In the second batch I switched some rice flour to quinoa flour, added date sugar (looks like brown sugar but made from ground up dates) and didn’t do a glaze. I liked the second batch best but both were good.

3/4 cup brown rice flour
1/2 cup quinoa flour
1/4 cup tapioca starch
1-2 teaspoons xanthan gum or guar gum (use guar gum if avoiding corn)
2 teaspoons baking powder ( if avoiding corn use corn free baking powder)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup granulated sugar or date sugar or sucanat. Can be left out entirely if desired.
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 tsp ginger
1/4 tsp clove
6 tablespoons coconut oil or butter
1/2 cup pumpkin puree
2 tablespoons milk or milk alternative (almond, rice, soy)
1 large egg or 2 small eggs
egg white or milk to brush the tops of the scones with (optional)
1 tablespoon course sugar to sprinkle on the top (optional but consider it if not sweetening the scones)

Spice Glaze (completely optional, don’t use if avoiding corn):
1/2 cup confectioners’ (or icing) sugar (contains corn)
1/4 tsp cinnamon or pumpkin pie spice
1 Tbsp milk or milk alternative

Instructions

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Dust the parchment paper with brown rice flour. Set aside.

Mix all of the dry ingredients (bowl or food processor).

Cut in the butter/coconut oil with a pastry blender, two knives, your hands or use the food processor to blend thoroughly with the dry ingredients.

Mix pumpkin puree, milk and egg in a separate bowl.

Mix wet and dry ingredients by hand or with a food processor just until dough comes together in a ball.

Turn the dough out onto the baking sheet. Dust your hands with brown rice flour, and quickly form the dough into a 10-inch circle, approximately 3/4″ thick.

With a sharp knife, cut the dough into 8 wedges. Carefully move the wedges apart, leaving at least 1″ between them so that they will not touch when baking.

Brush the tops of the scones with milk or egg white (optional), and sprinkle with coarse sugar (optional).

Bake in preheated oven for 14-16 minutes, or until golden brown.

Remove from oven and allow to sit for 5 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack. If desired drizzle with Spice Glaze and serve.

Corn free baking powder
1 tsp. of baking powder, add instead 1/2 tsp. cream of tartar and 1/4 tsp. baking soda.
1 1/2 tsp. of baking powder, add instead 3/4 tsp. cream of tartar and 3/8 tsp. baking soda (1/4 plus 1/8 tsp.).
To make a large batch of baking powder, mix ¼ cup starch (arrowroot or tapioca) with ¼ cup of baking soda and ½ cup of cream of tartar. The starch is very important! Otherwise you get concrete when it sits between uses. Keep in a sealed jar or Tupperware. 1 tsp. mix equals 1 tsp. baking powder.

Snickerdoodle cookies (grain free, gluten free, egg free, dairy optional)

This weekend I was in the mood to bake and the kids were in the mood for cookies, what a great combination! The problem is that baking seems to be getting trickier and trickier in our house.  My husband doesn’t do well with butter and is highly sensitive to coconut oil, my two little kids can have coconut oil but they are very dairy sensitive, one can manage butter and the other can’t.  I don’t want to use margarines because they are a terrible health choice and my older stepgirls are teenagers and don’t want anything that tastes “too healthy”.   This presented quite a cookie problem.  Last time this problems happened I used one of my favourite simple cookie recipes that uses nut butter to be the fat and the flour in the recipe, it is here, so simple, yummy but higher in sugar than I would like (yes, I’ve tried to substitute honey and they were pretty good too but I just wasn’t in mood for peanut/almond/cashew butter cookies).

This weekend’s baking mission was to experiment with using oil instead of a solid fat in cookies.  I do it all the time in muffins and cake but cookies almost always use solid fats that are creamed with sugar to start.  In my research I found that butter is 85% fat and 15% water so the recommended way to substitute oil for butter is to use 85% of the amount of butter in a recipe and use oil instead.  Calculating 85% of 1/3 of a cup called for more math than I was in the mood to do so I just added a bit less than the 1/3 of a cup (somewhere between 1/4 and 1/3 on the measuring cup).  I have since calculated and it should be approximately 70 mL (4 2/3 tbsp or 1/4 cup plus 1/2 tbsp).

The resulting cookies were fantastic, they were chewy and the sugar on the outside gave a bit of crunch.  I loved that mostly they were sweetened with honey with just a tiny bit of cane sugar mixed with cinnamon to roll them in to make a sparkly outside.  

I wish I had taken a picture but they were eaten so fast I just didn’t have a chance!

Snickerdoodles –  (Paleo, Vegan optional, egg free, gluten free, grain free, dairy optional)

2 cups/200 g/7 oz blanched, fine ground almond powder (not packed)

1/4 tsp salt

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/3 cup melted palm shortening, butter, ghee or coconut oil OR 1/4 cup plus 1/2 tbsp of oil such as sunflower oil

1/4 cup mild honey (like clover) 

11/2 tablespoons vanilla extract

Cinnamon coating:
2 tablespoons raw cane sugar, coconut sugar or maple sugar (optional)

2 tablespoons ground cinnamon

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and line and grease or line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a medium sized bowl, combine dry ingredients; mix together well. In a separate bowl, mix together the oil, honey and vanilla. Add the wet ingredients to the almond flour mixture and mix till combined. Let rest for a few minutes. It will thicken up some but may still be sticky. 

Combine the raw sugar/coconut sugar/maple sugar (optional*) and the ground cinnamon in a small bowl. 

With clean hands (so the dough doesn’t stick) use a rounded tablespoon, scoop out the dough; then gently form into a ball. Roll in or sprinkle all sides with the cinnamon mixture. Place the balls of cookie dough on a parchment lined baking sheet, about 3 inches apart. 

Gently flatten each cookie using your hands, bottom of a cup/jar or parchment paper. Dip the bottom of the jar or cup in some of the sugar & spice mixture to help keep the cookie form sticking to the jar. 

Bake in a 350 degree oven for 8-9 minutes. Leave cookies on the cookie sheet while cooling. They may seem under-baked at first, but they will firm up to just the right texture as they cool. 

Recipe adapted from: http://urbanposer.blogspot.ca/2012/06/snickerdoodle-cookies.html

 

Paleo Banana Bread

chocolate-chip-banana-bread

I’ve been trying various grain free banana bread recipes to try to find the perfect one and I think I’ve finally found it. This is a bit of a mix of various recipes I’ve found online, it is moist, delicious and filling. If you add chocolate it is a little treat but it is just as delicious with nuts instead of chocolate and it can be made leaving out the honey and the bananas sweeten it nicely, it is just a little more decandent with the honey.

Banana Bread with coconut flour
(gluten-free, grain free, dairy free, no refined sugar)
This banana bread is moist and delicious, it can be made with or without honey and with or without addition of nuts/chocolate chips/cocoa nibs.
Ingredients:
2 eggs
3 bananas (mashed)
2 tbsp honey (or maple syrup or leave out entirely)
1/4 cup coconut oil (melted)
1-2 handfuls of raw cocoa nibs, 70-85% dark chocolate bar chopped into pieces, chocolate chips or chopped nuts
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
3/4 cup coconut flour
a heavy dash of cinnamon (1 tsp-1Tbsp), if desired also a dash of nutmeg
Directions:
Blend eggs, mashed bananas, honey/maple syrup and coconut oil together.
Mix the dry ingredients and then combine with wet ingredients.
Pour into greased bread pan and bake at 350F for 45 minutes, or until you can insert a toothpick and it comes out clean.

Delicious, creamy, dairy free salad

In our house we eat a fair bit of salad but had fallen into a salad rut. I make a vinegrette that is yummy out of maple syrup, mustard and various types of vinegar and it has been our standard for a few years. Everyone likes it but we’ve eaten it more times than I can count. This week our salad world has been rocked in a really good way.

In our house we can’t do dairy based dressings and most mayonnaise based dressings are out of the picture so I can’t remember the last time before this week that a creamy salad dressing had been on our table but things have really changed. Our 3 1/2 year old who never eats salad has become a voracious salad eater, she now starts with grownup sized portions of salad and asks for more. She’s even choosing salad over everything else on her plate. With this salad dressing providing a good dose of healthy, satisfying fats I’m happy about her new favourite.

The creamy texture comes from pureed avocado and the lemon and garlic bring a ceasar salad to mind (especially when using romaine lettuce). If guacomole and ceasar dressing had a baby, this would be what it would taste like. If you add the garlic pesto comes to mind. YUMMY!

I’m excited about this dressing for patients who can’t do vinegar, either due to reactions or because they are a yeast free diet and can’t eat anything fermented. Plain salad or salad with lemon juice with salt and pepper on a salad gets old in a hurry. This gives a great new option!

This dressing is also great in place of mayonnaise in a sandwich (it was delicious with the leftover turkey sandwiches we had last week) and works as a dip for veggies, crackers or nachos.

Creamy Avocado Salad Dressing (dairy free, vinegar free)
1 avocado
juice of 1 lemon or lime
salt and pepper
1 clove or 1 tsp garlic
1/4 cup of olive oil
1 cup of fresh basil (optional)

Puree in a food processor or blender. If it is too thick with the fresh basil add a little more olive oil. Will keep in the fridge for a few days.

Gluten free Easter Bread (sweet bread)

One of the hardest times for people with food sensitivities can be the holidays when they are surrounded by flavours and smells of foods that represent the holiday traditions of their families.  These foods can instantly transport us to holidays of previous years and missing out on these foods can sometimes feel like missing the holiday itself.  This year I attempted (quite successfully I think) to make gluten free Easter Bread, as a child this was a constant of every Easter and it was the only time of year we had it.  I have fond memories of helping my grandma make it when I would visit her house in the spring, until this year I hadn’t had Easter Bread in about 15 years.  For my Easter Bread experiment I used my mother in law’s Portuguese Easter Bread recipe which I think is slightly different from the Hungarian Easter Bread that I grew up with, while the finished product doesn’t conjure up memories from childhood exactly it is close enough that a few tweaks in future years might get it there (next year I will try adding soaked raisins like my grandma does).  In the meantime, my family has devoured 2 loaves of this bread in just over 24 hours, I consider that the bread was a pretty big success!

Gluten Free Easter Bread

2 1/2 pounds of gluten free flour (I used 8 oz teff flour, 16 oz of brown rice flour, 8 oz tapioca starch and 8 oz white rice flour)
3 tbsp xanthan gum
1 tsp salt

650 mL milk (I used goat milk but intend to experiment with almond in the future)
1 cup butter

6 eggs
2 cups sugar (I will try to cut this back and perhaps alternate sweeteners in future)
1 tsp vanilla

1 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp yeast (I might use less next year)
1/4 cup warm water

Mix yeast, 1 tbsp sugar and warm water together and let sit.  Mix flours, xanthan gum and salt in a separate bowl.  Melt butter on low heat and add milk, heat until slightly warm.  Mix eggs, sugar and vanilla together.  Add milk mixture and egg mixture together.  Slowly add flour mixture to this and finish by adding the yeast mixture.

Transfer dough to a greased bowl and put somewhere warm to rise for 2-4 hours covered with a tea towel.  Cut the dough into 4 pieces, each piece will be a loaf of bread.  Then transfer into loaf pans or make free form round loaves on a cookie sheet (I made both and preferred the round loaves).  Let rise another 4 hours.  Bake at 325 F for 30-40 minutes.

Guilt free Chocolate Chip Cookies

This weekend I made a great new find, Grain free Lactation Cookies!  They are delicious and almost guilt free.  They contain no grain, no dairy, low amounts of refined sugar, tons of fibre and omega 3s.  To make things better they have been fantastic for my milk supply and I LOVE them.  The fennel, fenugreek and anise are all galactagogues which increase milk supply. My little guy has been quite happy to nurse extra today to take advantage of the increase in milk.  All 3 other kids have been trying to eat all the cookies because they are tasty, it is only fear of lactating that is keeping them away!  I’m absolutely sure that I will make batches in the future without the herbs and that it is going to be our new go-to chocolate chip cookie recipe.

Grain Free Lactation Cookies

1/2 C coconut oil, liquified

1/4 C maple syrup

4 eggs

1 Tbsp vanilla extract

2 Tbsp anise seed ground

2 C almond flour

1/2 C flax meal

1 tsp baking soda

1 C walnuts, chopped

1/2 C dates, chopped

1 C dark chocolate chips or chunks

1-2 tsp Fenugreek ground or powder from capsules

2 tbsp ground fennel seeds

Instructions

1.Whisk together syrup and oil

2.Add eggs and whisk in one at a time

3.Add anise, fenugreek and fennel and vanilla

4.In separate bowl, combine almond flour, flax, and baking soda

5.Slowly add dry ingredients to wet as you beat or mix to combine

6.Fold in nuts, chocolate and dates

7.Spoon one tablespoon of batter onto greased or lined cookie sheet

8.Bake at 350 degrees for 10 – 12 minutes until top just starts to brown

Makes a whopping 36 cookies – but they freeze well if you don’t need that many.

original recipe found on PaleoParents.com

Happy Birthday to me (with Vanilla Berry Nut Cake)

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It has been a really, really long time since my last blog post.  Since my last entry, I was pregnant, have had a baby and have almost finished my maternity leave.  My son Truman is almost 2 ½ months old but self-employment means I start back to work in a touch over a month.   It has gone fast, but I am grateful to still have a month, with my daughter Evora, I had started back to work by this point.

New additions have brought new food parameters to work around.  Our little guy is sensitive to dairy and if I want to keep his spit up and fussiness to a minimum that means no dairy for me while nursing.  Even though we have dairy issues already in the house with my daughter, I am generally fine with dairy.  I hadn’t actually realized until cutting it out again that I had been eating a fair bit of cheese in the past couple of years and miss it.  Thank goodness for occasional sheep cheese to satisfy cheese cravings.  The hardest change at this point is chocolate!  I am always a dark chocolate eater so being off milk chocolate is easy but trying to avoid cocoa and dark chocolate is more of a challenge.  I keep going to grab a square of dark chocolate as a treat but then remember all the fussing and crying that it seems to lead to and then I think better of it.

I started writing this post on my birthday while I was feeling glum in search of a non-chocolate, non-dairy, gluten free birthday cake.   For the first time we braved a nice restaurant to celebrate with the two little kids and wanted to keep it short and do dessert at home.  This was partially to avoid kid meltdowns and partially out of necessity since finding a restaurant non-dairy, gluten free dessert is a challenge.

I ended up feeling very successful when I not only managed to bake a lovely cake with both kids awake but it was great too!  The winner was a grain free berry cake – so delicious and quite healthy!  This cake is delicious warm with some vanilla non-dairy coconut ice cream.  It is also delicious the next day with a cup of herbal tea.

Recipe: Vanilla Berry Nut Cake

(original recipe found on http://cleaneatsinthezoo.com)

Cake
1.5-2 cups almond flour
1/2 cup tapioca starch/flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup coconut oil, butter or Earth Balance, melted
4 eggs
1 TBSP vanilla
3/4 cup honey

Berry Swirl
2 cups raspberries or mixed berries
1/4 cup honey
dash of salt

For cake:

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Grease an 11×7 or 9×13 pan with coconut oil/butter. Combine dry ingredients in large bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk together melted coconut oil/butter, eggs, vanilla and honey. Add to dry ingredients and thoroughly combine. Pour into greased pan. Meanwhile, add raspberries, honey and salt to a medium saucepan. Heat over medium heat and mash with a potato masher (or a fork) until heated through and nicely mashed. Place spoonfuls of berry mixture onto cake batter.  Swirl in an “S” motion with butter knife.

Bake in oven for 25-35 minutes, until toothpick inserted in middle comes out clean. Watch carefully the last 5 minutes or so to make sure it doesn’t burn. If it’s getting too brown, turn down the heat a bit. Remove from oven and enjoy while warm with vanilla ice cream or non-dairy ice cream (or cooled, it is yummy both ways).

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