Category Archives: grain free

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

3-Ingredient Grain Free Banana Pancakes

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This week on Facebook I shared three videos (1, 2, & 3) featuring Elaine Gottchall speaking about gut health and the Specific Carbohydrate Diet (SCD).  Elaine is the author of the popular and ground breaking book, Breaking the Vicious Cycle.  Her book delineates the SCD and her research and science behind the nutrition, the mind/gut connection, and why it’s important to avoid certain foods when healing a compromised digestion.  Here is more about this inspiring lady.  I highly recommend this book to anyone looking into healing their gut and immune system.  Personally, I’ve been on a healing journey since diagnosed with Crohn’s disease nine years ago, and just discovered this diet last year, crazy!  

I learn more and more about my body each year.  For example, it has become quite apparent that I am unable to digest nuts (even nuts that have been soaked and dehydrated).  As you know, nut flour is a staple in the grain free diet.  However, I eat nut flours very sparingly.  Since I don’t use a lot of almond flour, I rely on coconut flour, which is one of the three ingredients in this recipe.  These banana pancakes are 100% inspired by Elaine and her recipe suggestion in this video.  
I just HAD to give it a try.  

 
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3-Ingredient Grain Free Banana Pancakes
 
The recipe is Paleo, SCD, and GAPS friendly.
Author:
Ingredients
  • 8 ounces ripe peeled banana (a little more than 2 medium - please weigh the banana for accuracy)
  • 2 large whole eggs + 1 egg white (my eggs weigh around 2.0 - 2.2 ounces each)
  • 3 tablespoons + 1 teaspoon coconut flour*
  • 2 to 3 teaspoons coconut oil (for cooking/frying)
Instructions
  1. Smash the bananas in a bowl with a fork until the mixture is wet and smooth.
  2. Add in the two whole eggs and the one egg white and whip with a fork until well incorporated.
  3. Add in the coconut flour and mix thoroughly. Allow to rest for 3 to 5 minutes.
  4. While the batter is resting, heat the coconut oil in a non-stick pan or cast iron skillet.
  5. Mix the batter again and add to the skillet in small scoops (I like doing two tablespoons at a time). Remember to cook on a low heat so the inside cooks through without burning the outside. Cook on each side for about 3 minutes. Cooking in oil like this takes a little skill. It's new to me, so it took me a few tries to get the heat right and to know when to flip. The less batter you use obviously, the easier they are to manage.
  6. Transfer to a plate and drizzle with honey!
Notes
*When measuring coconut flour: (1) scoop (2) level off.

Smaller scoops are easier to manage (about 2 heaping tablespoons of batter each)

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Labels: breakfast, GAPS, grain free, nut free, Paleo, SCD, snacks.

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Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Raw Banana Coconut "Cream" Pie with Raw Paleo Chocolate Sauce (dairy free, gluten free, grain free, cane-sugar free, SCD/Paleo, raw)

This pie is 100% inspired by Gabby’s No-Bake Pumpkin Mousse Cake.  Gabby is the author of The Veggie Nook and creates some incredibly delicious recipes.  I’ve made her aforementioned mousse cake like, oh, 7 or 8 times!!  It’s delicious and every single time I make it, family and friends rave about it (and they are all traditional eaters).  Her recipe got me thinking about making something of my own with the banana (which is an ingredient in the mousse cake).  My family happens to love bananas and I thought a banana “cream” pie loaded with coconut oil sounded like a fun and tasty challenge.  I’ve tested this recipe many times and feel confident sharing it with you today.  It’s very rich (in my opinion), but what a delightful treat for those on the SCD or following a primal OR raw diet.  If you follow the SCD, omit the chocolate sauce, as it’s illegal.  A nice alternative could be a white chocolate sauce (raw cocoa butter, honey, vanilla and coconut oil) – this would make a lovely drizzle.  I hope you enjoy this dessert as much as we do.  And thank you, Gabby, for the inspiration.  
Raw Banana Coconut Cream Pie with Raw Paleo Chocolate Sauce
(inspired by Gabby @ The Veggie Nook)


Ingredients and directions for everything:

Crust


Ingredients:

-3/4 cup seeded and chopped Medjool dates
-3/4 cup pecans
-1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract 

How To:

1.  Add the dates, pecans, and vanilla to a food processor and blend for 1 minute.  Mixture should be thoroughly incorporated.  
2.  Line the bottom of a 8 inch spring-form pan with nonstick paper (such as wax or parchment) and press the date mixture evenly around the bottom.  Or you can skip the paperit’s entirely up to you.
3.  Place the crust in the fridge while making the banana cream pie mixture.


Raw Coconut Banana Cream Filling


Ingredients:

-2 cups raw cashews soaked for 6 – 8 hours (no less than 6)
-8 ounces of ripe bananas (2 medium, please weigh for accuracy)
-1/3 cup melted coconut oil*
-1/3 cup honey
-1 tablespoon vanilla

How To:

1.  In a blender (or food processor, I use my Vitamix to get an extra creamy texture) add the drained cashews, banana, honey, and vanilla.  Start to blend on low, then increase the speed to high, using your tamper as needed.
2.  With the blender running, drizzle in the coconut oil.  I blend until the mixture is creamy (no detectable grit or chunks).
3.  Poor the mixture onto the refrigerated crust.  Place back in fridge for about an hour to set up before you top with the coconut whipped cream.

Coconut Whipped Cream Topping


Ingredients:
-1 can of full fat COLD coconut milk* (this brand is SCD legal & BPA free, this one is another choice for BPA free)
-2 tablespoons honey
-1 teaspoon vanilla extract 

How To:
1.  Into a bowl, scoop out all of the full fat coconut cream from can (leaving the coconut water that remains at the bottom of the can).
2.  To the coconut cream, add in the honey and vanilla, and blend by hand or with a hand mixer until well incorporated.  It’s okay if you have tiny specks of coconut fat in the mixture.  
3.  Pour the whipped coconut cream on the top of the banana cream and smooth around.

Final directions for the pie:
1.  After you top with the coconut whipped cream, top with ground pecans.
2.  Place the pie in the freezer and allow to set for 2 – 4 hours.  When ready to serve, remove from freezer and place in fridge at least an hour before to thaw.  
3.  When ready to serve, remove the spring form, cut and serve. 
4.  Drizzle with chocolate sauce.  

Raw Paleo Chocolate Sauce


Ingredients:
-2 tablespoons coconut oil
-2 tablespoons honey*
-1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon raw cacao
-1/2 teaspoon vanilla

How To:
1.  Place all the above ingredients into a 1 cup glass Pyrex.  
2.  Place the glass Pyrex into a pan of very hot water and mix around until everything is melted.  Do not heat over 110 degrees.

Notes:
*To keep the coconut oil raw, measure out the 1/3 cup in a 1 cup glass Pyrex and put into some hot water.  Mix constantly until melted, then immediately remove from water.  Do not let the oil heat over 110 degree.  I melt the chocolate the same way.  It only takes about 45 seconds for it all to melt and the temp gets to about 93 degrees.  Perfect raw chocolate sauce baby!! 
*I suggest keeping several cans of coconut milk in the coldest part of your fridge, always.  Then you have some on hand when you need it.  When making whipped “cream”out of coconut milk, it’s best to have the coconut milk in there for at least 5 days.
*Non-paleo vegans, use maple syrup to replace all the honey in the recipe.  It’s really the best sub here and tastes fabulous!  I recommend grade B.

Posted by Amber at

Labels: cane sugar free, dairy free, dessert, gluten free, grain free, Paleo, raw, SCD.

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Friday, January 25, 2013

Roasted and Mashed Celery Root – A Healthy and Tasty Alternative to Traditional Mashed Potatoes (SCD, Dairy Free, Vegan, Paleo)

Over the Holidays I made mashed potatoes a couples of times for family get togethers (I used red, New Potatoesmy favorite variety).  And so my kids have been asking for mashed potatoes quite often since.  As much I do really loves potatoes, I know they are not the healthiest choice.  Perhaps the most important thing to understand about potatoes is that they are a nightshade, and thus contain alkaloids which can impact nerve-muscle function and digestive function.  Now I can attest to this first hand.  Potatoes do not agree with me (for me, they cause digestive disruption and seem to exacerbate inflammation).  If you follow the SCD, GAPS, or Paleo diet, you know that potatoes are not allowed.  If you’re interested, you can read more about nightshades here.  So I use celery root A LOT as a sub for potatoes.  A while back I made Jill’s celery root fries, and LOVED them.  And I’ve graduated to using celery root to replace mashed potatoes. And I have to say, it’s a very tasty alternative.  One thing you will notice is celery root has a creamy, velvety texture.  I just love this.  Not as starchy as potatoes.  So do my kids love celery root mash as much as mashed potatoes? My son loves it, but by daughter would rather have the massed taters (but my kids don’t get a choice, if they are not allergic to it, they have to eat it).  I usually make roasted celery root mash with chicken and a lovely dairy free lemon garlic gravy, so it all works really well together and I get few objections.  I highly recommend roasting the celery root as a way to impart a deep, rich favor in the dish.  Enjoy!


Ingredients:
-4 large celery root, peeled and small chop (5 to 6 pounds)
-4 tablespoons oil + 1/3 cup olive oil (must be olive oil, or another rich, creamy oil)*
-1 teaspoon + 3/4 teaspoon garlic granules
-3/4 teaspoon salt (or to taste) 
-Pepper to taste  
-Omit paprika if avoiding ALL nightshades 

How To:
Preheat oven to 400 degrees
1.  Peel and small chop the celery root.  Add celery root to your favorite roasting dish (I recommend 13×9 inch pan or larger, I use a glass Pyrex), along with 4 tablespoons oil and 1 teaspoon garlic granules.  Toss all ingredients well and make sure the celery root is well coated with oil.  Roast in a 400 degree oven for 60 minutes* (you will want browning to occur for maximum flavor).  Move the celery root around after about 25 minutes of roasting. 
2.  After the celery root is well roasted, allow to cool for about 10 minutes.
3.  Add the roasted celery root to a food processor.*  Pulse a few times to get things incorporated.  With the food processor on, drizzle in the oil.  Please use more if the mash is not creamy enough for you.  But start with 1/3 cup.  
4.  After you add the oil, add in 3/4 teaspoon salt, 3/4 teaspoon garlic granules, and pepper.  Blend until all the ingredients are well incorporated (see notes).  
5.  The mixture should be creamy, velvety and warm.  
-Serve immediately.  Serves 4 – 5 (depending on serving size).  Top with optional paprika. 

Notes:
*I honestly recommend olive oil as the oil in this dish, as it adds a creamy, buttery flavor that is difficult to emulate with a light oil. 
*It’s important to roast the chunks until they are very tender, this will ensure it whips up in the food processor.
*I have a fairly small food processor, so I put all the roasted chunks in at first, add the oil, salt, garlic granules, and pulse until everything looks incorporated, then I take half of it out, and whip in two batches to make sure everything is smooth.  If you do not roast the celery root long enough or over pack the pan, you will have a chunky mash.  
Whipping it up in a food processor works really well.  
I have had no success trying to do it by hand.  

Coming soonout of this world lemon garlic chicken gravy (SCD).  Seriously, SOOO good! 

Posted by Amber at

Labels: dairy free, grain free, Paleo, SCD, sides.

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Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Guest Post from Lauren at Empowered Sustenance: Zucchini Pasta with Sausage and Roasted Garlic Sauce (grain free, SCD)

Hi Tasty Alternative Readers!

I’m Lauren, and I write Empowered Sustenance, a blog filled with nourishing recipes for the SCD, GAPS diet, Paleo diet, and nut free diets. I am excited for this opportunity to share a healing recipe with you! Amber has been so encouraging and supportive ever since I started my blog, and it is an honor to guest post here.


Part of the challenge of a restricted diet is recreating nostalgic dishes with allowed ingredients. I enjoy this obstacle posed by the Specific Carbohydrate Diet. When reproducing an off-limits recipe, I follow a general outline (what I remember the dish to taste like) and express my creativity within that outline (using new ingredients or adding new flavors, for example). Oddly, I’m passionate about ballet for the same reason: I have room for artistic interpretation within the confines of proper technique. 

This faux-pasta recipe started with a memory of a favorite family dinner. My mom used to toss Tinkyada brown rice pasta with mashed roasted garlic, salt, and olive oil. Our family heaped this side dish next to pork chops and sauteed apples. In my grain free translation, I’ve doused zucchini pasta with a creamy, dairy free roasted garlic sauce. The mellow sweetness from the smoked apple sausage gives a nod to the apple and pork chop combo. 
Those on grain free diets usually sing the praises of versatile zucchini. I love how easily this bland veggie transforms into al dente pasta.  I use a julienne peeler to cut my zucchini into strips.

 Trader Joe’s offers a SCD and GAPS diet friendly sausage. Substitute any other sugar and grain free natural sausage.

I used Trader Joe’s Smoked Apple Chardonnay Chicken Sausage here. This is a great convenience food option for the SCD and GAPS diet. The ingredients are: chicken, apples, salt, celery, white pepper, nutmeg, thyme, ginger, chardonnay, rosemary, natural pork casing. I always remove the casing from this sausage, because it is tough and chewy.

Zucchini Pasta with Sausage and Roasted Garlic Sauce

For 2 servings, double as needed

-2 all natural, sugar free, fully cooked sausage (I used Trader Joe’s Smoked Apple Chardonnay Chicken Sausage)

-2 Tbs. butter or olive oil

-2 small zucchini, cut into pasta 

-2 Tbs. roasted garlic

-1/4 cup homemade 24-hour yogurt or additive-free coconut milk

-Salt, to taste


How To:
Bring a small pot of water to a boil. Heat the butter (or olive oil) in a small sauté pan over medium heat. Remove the casing from the sausage if desired (it usually peels off easily when the sausage is cold). Slice the sausage and brown in the butter/olive oil.

While sausage is browning, add the zucchini pasta to the boiling water. Cook for 1 minute to soften, then drain. Remove the sausage from the sauté pan and set aside. Stir the roasted garlic and yogurt/coconut milk into the remaining butter in the pan. Warm through, and season the sauce lightly with salt. Top the sausage pieces and pasta with the warm sauce.


———————


Thanks again for this opportunity, and for all your support as I’ve started my blog

Have a great rest of the week!

Posted by Amber at

Labels: grain free, guest post, main dish, SCD.

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Saturday, July 14, 2012

Chewy Granola Bars (grain free, dairy free, cane-sugar free, SCD friendly)

We are a granola bar loving family.  My husband takes one to work everyday with his lunch and the kids love them for an afternoon snack.  However, it’s hard to find granola bars with (1) no cane-sugar, (2) no grains, and (3) SCD friendly.  So I made some.  And they are super delicious.  They are everything I like in a granola bar: chewy, not too sweet, and easy to digest.  These granola bars are great for SCDers, not only because they are legal, but because all the main nuts and seeds have been soaked and dehydrated for optimal digestion.  I hope you enjoy them as much as we do!
Ingredients:

Wet
-2.5 ounces seeded Medjool dates (6 dates) soaked for at least 3 hours (I soak mine for 5)
1/4 cup + 1 tablespoon honey 
1/4 cup + 1 tablespoon cashew butter (I love this brand)
-2 tablespoons coconut oil

-1/4 teaspoon salt

Dry
How to soak and dehydrate nuts/seeds for better digestion 
-1 cup almonds
-1 cup walnuts
-1/2 cup sunflower seeds
-1/2 cup pumpkin seeds
-1/2 cup dried Turkish apricots, must be finely chopped 
-1/2 cup dried cranberries (sugar free, unsulfered)

How To:
Preheat oven to 350
1.  Add almonds and pumpkin seeds to food processor.  Pulse until they are broken down, especially the almonds.  Mix around with a spoon so the larger pieces are exposed to the blades.  
2.  Next add the walnuts and sunflower seeds and pulse until incorporated and they are slightly chopped (this only takes a few pulses).  These granola bars will only hold together if the nuts and seeds have been chopped enough.  Transfer nuts and seeds to a large bowl and add the chopped dried apricots and dried cranberries.    
3.  Clean out food processor.  Add all the wet ingredients and blend until smooth and creamy.
4.  Add the wet ingredients to the nut/seed/fruit mixture and mix WELL. 
5.  Spoon onto a silicone baking mat and bake on a baking sheet.  I have only made this on a silicone baking mat, so I’m not sure how it will cook on any other surface.  Watch for burning if on a baking sheet or parchment paper.  
6.  Form a large rectangle.  I literally smack this together with a silicone spatula – this also pushes the ingredients together.  You’ll need just over 1/2 inch in height.   
7.  Bake for 18 minutes.  Watch for browning.  Every oven is different.  Check at 15 minutes.  You just want a slight browning of the edges.
8.  Remove the mat from baking sheet and transfer the mat to a cooling rack.  Cool completely before cutting.  
Makes 18 – 20 bars

It helps if you wet or oil the spatula while pounding into place 

Crumbled up, these bars make a great cereal!

Serve with homemade milks
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Labels: dairy free, gluten free, grain free, SCD, snacks.

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Friday, July 13, 2012

Breaded Jalapeno Poppers Stuffed with "Cheese" and Bacon (dairy free, gluten free, grain free)

In college I ate A LOT of jalapeno poppers.  They were my favorite finger food.  Scott and I would buy those deliciously unhealthy frozen ones filled with cream cheese and deep fried in lard.  But oh man did they taste awesome with a tall glass of Guinness.  I haven’t thought much about poppers in years, but a few weeks ago I decided my cashew “cheese” would taste fab stuffed in a pepper – and why not throw some bacon in there too.  Or keep them vegan, both ways are fun.  This “cheese” spread is outrageous.  It makes a great spread on gf toast, stuffed in celery, and I’ve used it as a “cheese” in grilled turkey and cheese sammies for the kids.   If anything, just try the filling.  But I think you’ll really like these tasty popper alternatives to the gut-busting traditional version.  These would make fantastic appetizers for your next allergy-friendly shindig!  Serve with a cold glass of gluten free beer.
Ingredients:
-15 to 30 jalapeno peppers – quantity really depends on the size of the pepper, so you be the judge.  Twenty medium sized peppers should do ya. 
-1 cup cashews soaked for at least 4 hours (I soak mine for 8)
-1/4 cup + 1 tablespoon filtered water   
-2 tablespoons lemon juice
-1/4 teaspoon garlic granules, onion granules, salt, and Italian Seasoning (the Italian Seasoning is optional but I love these herbs and think they taste great with the cashews).  
-4 to 5 strips of bacon (1/3 cup)

How To:
Preheat oven to 375 
1.  With careful, patient hands, hollow out the jalapenos.  I place all the jalapenos in a large bowl of water.  Wash, keep them in the water, and hollow out each one.  I rinse each one off after I hollow to remove any remaining seeds. 
2.  Cook bacon and set aside. 
3.  In a food processor, add drained cashews, water, lemon juice, and spices.  Blend until well incorporated.   Chop up the bacon into little pieces and the add to the food processor.  Blend until well incorporated. 
4.  With a pastry bag (with no tip) pipe in cheese bacon.  
5.  Do not fill completely, as the cashews cheese expands quite a bit when it’s baked.  I leave a little room on the end.  
6.  Mix together breading (almond flour, salt and garlic grans).  Beat the eggs in a separate bowl.
7.  Dip each pepper in the egg, then roll round in the breading.  You can do this twice for extra thick breading.  Be sure to coat and bread the opening of the pepper.  This will help the cheese stay in place.  
8.  Line a baking dish with parchment paper and place each breaded pepper on the paper (say that 5 times fast)!
9.  Bake for 30 to 40 minutes, or until the breading is slightly browned.  
10.  Serving size will depend on the size of the pepper.   I’ve made one batch with 20 (big ones) another batch had 30 (smaller ones).  

The Breading Ingredients:
Mix together: 1 cup almond flour, 3/4 teaspoon salt and garlic granules.  Add more as needed  
-2 eggs
Notes:
*The breading is not essential, but makes them taste more like their traditional cousins.  The most time consuming part of this recipe is hollowing out the peppers, the remainder is pretty simple.  Just please be careful with the peppers.  And don’t touch your face under any circumstances.  Bad news.  

Awesome bacon, but not SCD friendly I’m afraid 

This bacon “cheese” is ridiculous.  Love it
Here are some breaded bacon stuffed mixed with naked vegan stuffed ready for the oven (the first time I made these I didn’t line the baking dish, I recommend this step).
Just out of the oven (the middle popper was double breaded) 
See how the “cheese” pushes out.  This is fine, still tastes great, but if you egg and bread over the opening, it helps to hold the stuffing in place (and don’t over stuff). 
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Labels: appetizer, dairy free, gluten free, grain free.

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Thursday, July 5, 2012

Strawberry Cherry Pie with Cashew Cream Topping (gluten free, grain free, dairy free, cane-sugar free, SCD friendly)

This pie is fantastic.  I do believe cherry pie is the greatest thing EVER.  I made this for my sweetie pie (my husband) for our 10 year anniversary.  He LOVED it and I’m so excited to share it with you (and psst, it’s SCD friendly) hooray!  As you might know, us folks on the SCD don’t have a lot of options in the thickening department.  Gelatin (while not my first choice otherwise) is great at thickening desserts.  But fruit does contain natural pectin, so this may thicken up a bit without the gelatin, but won’t hold its shape.  For vegans not following SCD, I’ve provided options below.  
Enjoy!   


Pie Filling Ingredients:
-1 pound seeded black cherries
-1 pound strawberries
-1/4 cup honey (vegans use 1/4 cup agave or maple syrup)
3 dates, seeded and chopped
-1/4 cup orange juice
-1/3 cup cool water
-1 packet of gelatin which is 1 tablespoon (vegans use guar gum)*

How To:
1.  Wash and trim strawberries.  Wash and seed cherries (see below for how I seed cherries).
2.  To a medium sauce pan, add strawberries, cherries, honey, chopped dates, and orange juice.  Bring to a boil and then turn down to a simmer for about 10 minutes.  
3.  Remove pot from heat.  In a small bowl, mix 1/3 cup cool water with 1 packet of gelatin.  Pour gelatin into hot berry mixture.  Stir to incorporate.  You will see it start to thicken up a bit.  
4.  Pour hot berry mixture into baked pie crust (you will have some leftover, so don’t overfill crust.  This leftover mixture makes a tasty jello, so place in a small glass container and store in fridge, when firm, top with cashew cream for a yummy snack).
5.  Allow pie mixture to cool at room temperature.  When cool, place in fridge and allow to set up for at least 4 hours.
6.  Top with cashew cream and serve.

Crust:
-I used this cookie recipe for the crust (omit cacao for SCD and add 2 tablespoons coconut flour)
-It helps to oil the entire glass pie dish, line the bottom with wax or parchment paper, then push in the dough.  Poke some holes in the bottom of the crust before baking. Bake 375 for 12 minutes.  See notes for additional crust recipes. 

Cashew Cream Topping:
-2 cups cashews soaked for 4-6 hours
-1/4 cup coconut oil
-1 1/2 tablespoons vanilla 
-1/3 cup honey (vegans use agave or maple syrup) 
-3/4 cup liquid + more to blend up properly (you can use date sweetened water, nut milk or just plain water for the liquid).  
-2 tablespoons vegetable glycerine  (optional) 
-1 teaspoon lemon flavor (optional)

How To:
1.  In high speed blender, blend above ingredients.  Add the initial 3/4 cup liquid and blend.  Add more liquid until a soft, creamy texture is acheived.  
2.  Transfer into glass storage and place in fridge for at least 4 hours (this mixture will thicken in the fridge)
3.  Top pie

Notes:
*As a general rule, if a recipe calls for 1 packet of gelatin, vegans can substitute 3/4 teaspoon of guar gum.  This resource says to replace gelatin with guar gum at a ratio of 1 part guar gum for every 5 parts gelatin (e.g., 1/2 teaspoon guar gum will replace 2 1/2 teaspoons gelatin). 
*Additional SCD crust recipes: (1) Honey Gram Cracker Crust, (2) Dan’s Awesome Pie Crust, (3) Vegan Raw Pie Crust, (4) Deep Dish Pie Crust

I use one of my stainless steel straws to seed the cherries – they pop right out!
Serve with coconut vanilla bean ice cream (SCD friendly) 


Posted by Amber at

Labels: cane sugar free, dairy free, dessert, gluten free, grain free, SCD, summer treats.

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Sunday, June 17, 2012

Happy Father’s Day Chocolate Tarts (grain free, dairy free, cane-sugar free, paleo))

Something a little sweet and a lot healthy for my special husband on Father’s Day.  

To the best man I know.  To the love of my life.  Thank you for being you, and for being the most amazing father to Sky and Ethan. You’re adored and loved more than you’ll ever know.  

Ingredients:
For the chocolate filling
-3 cups cashews, soaked for 6-8 hours
-5 dates, soaked in 1 1/2 cups filtered water for 4 hours
-1 cup date water (or a little more until smooth texture is achieved) 
-1/4 cup honey (use agave or maple syrup for vegan) 
-1/4 cup coconut oil
-1/4 raw cacao (or more to taste) 
-1 tablespoon vanilla
-Grain free crust*

How To:
1.  Drain and rinse cashews.  
2.  Add cashews with other ingredients to high speed blender.
3.  Blend on high to create a nice, smooth texture – use tamper if needed to move the mixture around (add a little more date water if needed).  Blending this in a food processor will yield a gritty texture.  I’m not sure how a regular blender would work, please leave a comment below if you blend in a regular blender (meaning, not with a high speed). The mixture should be thick and smooth.  
4.  Scoop chocolate filling into crusts and decorate with your favorite fruits or other choice toppings.  
5. Transfer to fridge and allow filling to set up (at least 4 hours). 

Notes:
*This crust was inspired by Amy from SS&GF.  
For the crusts I soaked 2 cups of walnuts for 8 hours, then roasted.  I blended them in a food processor with 3 soaked dates and 2 tablespoons of coconut oil.  Then I baked the crusts at 375 for about 15 minutes (not the best crust to remove from tart pan, it sort of falls apart, but still super tasty).  I’ll keep trying.  The walnuts might not have been completely dried and I may need to add less oil.  
Serve with homemade nut milk, such as hazelnut 
Posted by Amber at

Labels: cane sugar free, dairy free, dessert, gluten free, grain free, Paleo, summer treats.

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Friday, May 25, 2012

Lemon Ginger Cookie Chews with Lemon Cream Icing (grain free, low glycemic, vegan)

Something about the combination of ginger and lemon is incredibly pleasing to me.  I use it together in many recipes (especially soups, and my mint ginger lemonade, that I look forward to sharing with you next month).  And when it comes to cookies, I just can’t think of a better combination.  I simply adore ginger snap cookies, but I must admit, I love a soft, chewy cookie.  I hope your family enjoys this recipe as much as we do!

Ingredients 
-100 grams almond flour* (1 cup)
-15 to 30 grams coconut flour (2 to 4 tablespoons) 
-15 grams arrowroot powder (2 tablespoons) 
-2 teaspoons ground ginger 
-1/2 teaspoon baking soda
-1/4 teaspoon salt
-1 tablespoon ground chia + 3 tablespoons water
-20 grams coconut sugar (2 tablespoons)
-1 teaspoon vanilla 
-1/4 cup oil (I use grapeseed) 
-1/4 cup yacon syrup
-1 teaspoon lemon zest + 1 tablespoon lemon juice
-1/4 teaspoon lemon flavor (optional) 

How To:
Preheat oven to 350
1.  In a bowl add chia and water, mix until incorporated.  Let rest for a few minutes.  
2.  To chia add coconut sugar and mix until incorporated.  Then add vanilla, oil, yacon, lemon zest and juice (and optional lemon flavor).  Mix.
3.  In a separate bowl, mix together almond flour, baking soda, salt, ginger, and arrowroot.
4.  Add dry ingredients to wet, mix.
5.  Start adding in the coconut flour until a thick, sticky batter develops.  For homemade almond flour, I use 4 tablespoon.  
6.  This is a thick, sticky batter (and needs to be so to create these soft, chewy cookies).  So oil your hands well, and make little balls, then press slightly into cookies.  Don’t be afraid of this batter, they will turn out, I promise.
7.  Bake for 12-13 minutes on non-stick surface (I keep mine in for exactly 13 minutes).  

Notes:
*To make the almond flour, I add 1/2 cup cold (refrigerated) almonds to my Vitamix.  I blend on high for exactly 20 seconds, then turn off and scrape around the blades with a knife, then another blend on high for 10 seconds.  The flour made in a high speed blender is much finer than the food processor.  I was using a coffee grinder to make flour too, but it took forever, and left huge chunks of almonds.  So, I like the Vitamix.  I can’t guarantee recipe results with any other flour, that’s why I have a varied amount of coconut flour.  P
lease let me know if you experiment with other almond flours.  If you’re a seasoned grain-free baker, then you will know what the batter is supposed to feel like when it’s just right.  
*The coconut cream is totally optional.  These cookies are amazing all on their own! 
*For coconut cream icing, add the coconut cream from 1can of full fat coconut milk (keep in fridge for several days).  To the cream, add 2 tablespoons of honey, agave or maple syrup; 1/2 teaspoon lemon flavor, 2 teaspoons vanilla, and 1/4 teaspoon xanthan gum if it needs thickening.  Blend with hand mixer.   

*If you don’t want coconut cream, you can make a cashew cream icing. Soak 2/3 cup cashews for 6-8 hours.  In a small blender, add drained cashews, 2 tablespoons sweetener, 2 tablespoons lemon juice, 1/2 teaspoon lemon flavor, 2 teaspoons vanilla, 2 tablespoons oil, and water until desired consistency. 

Posted by Amber at

Labels: allergy-friendly, cane sugar free, cookies, dairy free, dessert, gluten free, grain free, low glycemic.

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Friday, May 18, 2012

Chocolate Caramel Chews (vegan, grain free, low glycemic)

Here’s another chocolate recipe, inspired by Ricki.  I’m no chocolate making expert – this is all new to me.  But can I tell you, I’m having a BLAST experimenting.  I’m sure this recipe, like all things, will evolve over time.  This latest creation is chocolate stuffed full of ooey gooey caramel.  Reminds me of a Caramello (anyone remember those)?  I just can’t eat traditionally made caramel (my stomach hurts just looking at those ingredients).  But I can tell you in all honesty, this is a very, very tasty alternative.  And I feel really good about the ingredients.  I just know Scott is going to go crazy over these when he gets home.  Can you tell I love surprising my husband with chocolate.  I’m working on a few other homemade chocolate recipes: ginger chocolates and bacon chocolates (yes, bacon- I know, crazy, but I hear it’s all the rage). I hope you enjoy these in the meantime.  And you can visit here for my chocolate covered strawberries (sweetened with stevia). 

Ingredients
Chocolate
-2 ounces cocoa butter, shaved 
-1/4 cup cashew butter *
-3 tablespoons raw cacao powder 
-1 to 2 tablespoons raw agave (more or less to your sweetness taste, I went with 2)
-1/2 teaspoon vanilla 
-Pinch of salt 

Caramel
-3 tablespoons yacon syrup
-2 tablespoons coconut sugar
-1/2 teaspoon vanilla
-Pinch of salt


How To:

1.  In a small non-stick pan add chocolate ingredients and melt – taking care to not burn.  I recommend stirring the entire time.  Remove from heat once in a while, continue stirring.  Stir to break down the cashew butter.  When the mixture looks smooth with no cashew butter chunks, transfer to 1 cup glass Pyrex (with pour spout).
2.  Fill each miniature silicone baking cup 1/3 of the way with chocolate. 
3.  Place in fridge or freezer to set up.  (The chocolate will only take a few minutes to set up in the freezer).
4.  While the chocolate is setting up, make the caramel.  In a small non-stick pan, add the caramel ingredients.  Heat ingredients on med/low, and stir the entire time.  You want to heat this slowly and dissolve the coconut sugar.  Remove from heat when the mixture starts to thicken and stir rapidly, then transfer to a small bowl.  
5.  Remove chocolate from fridge for freezer.  They should be completely solid.
6.  Add an equal amount of caramel to each cup, filling to the halfway mark.  I use a slightly oiled spoon to get the caramel out of the bowl.  It will thicken and get very sticky as it cools.  So work quickly.  After you’ve filled each cup, the caramel should be firm inside the cups from the cold chocolate.
7.  At this point, simply fill the cups with the remaining chocolate and place back in the fridge or freezer.  I utilize the freezer.

Notes:
*Because these are made with agave instead of stevia, they melt much quicker at room temperature (and from fingers).  They are best out at room temp for no more than 10 minutes.  It goes without saying, it’s best to store these in the fridge.  The caramel stays ooey and gooey in there too!
*To make cashew butter, add 1 – 2 cups raw cashews to food processor.  Turn on and blend until creamy.  It will get creamy right after the ball of nut butter forms.

*
Melting the chocolate: 
Caramel Sauce: 
Middle layer of caramel:
Sliced open: 
 The caramel stays nice and chewy in the fridge 
Posted by Amber at

Labels: allergy-friendly, cane sugar free, dairy free, dessert, grain free, low glycemic, vegan.

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