Friday, November 11, 2011

Grain Free Socca Bread

When I saw this socca bread recipe in Living Without magazine, I knew I had to try it. I love the simplicity of this recipe. I was very pleased with how it turned out, which is why I shared it here on the blog (I usually don’t share recipes from books or magazines).  If you like the flavor of garbanzo bean flour, you’ll dig this recipe.  It’s definitely something fun and different.
Grain Free Socca Bread
Serves: 6 - 8
  • 1½ cups garbanzo bean flour
  • 1½ cups filtered water
  • 2½ tablespoons oil (walnut or olive)
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary (you must use fresh!)
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper
  • 1 tablespoon minced dried onion (I used onion powder)
  1. Whisk together chickpea flour, water, 2 tablespoons oil, rosemary, salt, pepper, onion (minced or powder). Let sit at room temperature for 30 minutes. This gives the batter a chance to thicken up a bit
  2. Coat a large round nonstick skillet with oil and heat over med until hot (add oil to pan after removing the socca and get it nice and hot for the next one)
  3. Pour ½ cup batter into pan and swirl around a bit (sort of like a crepe). use heat-safe spatula to loosen sides
  4. Cook socca until crispy on one side, flip and brown on the other side
Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Posted by Amber at

Labels: allergy-friendly, grain free, sides, vegan.

Roots and Fruits (Roasted Parsnips, Apples, Pears and Walnuts)

This side dish is a really nice alternative to traditional white potatoes.

-5 medium parsnips, peeled and chopped
-1 small red onion, chopped
-2 pears, peeled and chopped
-1 Granny Smith apple, peeled and chopped
-1 1/2 cups walnuts
-Oil (of choice)
-2 tablespoons garlic granules (salt is optional, I personally don’t use it when I roast) 

How To:
1.  Add parsnips, onion, pears, & apple to favorite baking dish and drizzle with oil.  Add 2 tablespoons garlic granules
2.  Roast at 400 degrees for about 35-40 minutes (check at 35)
3.  Lightly toast walnuts in saute pan on the stove top.
4.  Add walnuts to roasted roots and fruits 
5.  Mix together
6.  Add salt if desired, I omit.  
Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Posted by Amber at

Labels: sides, thanksgiving side dishes.

5 Super Easy and Super Tasty Side Dish Ideas For Your Thanksgiving Feast (dairy free, gluten free, white potato free, cane-sugar free, vegan)

Turkey is great, but a side dish can be the star of the Thanksgiving show!  I love to see what people have lined up at their Thanksgiving mealyou know the turkey is going to be there, no big surprise, but let me loose on the buffet table so I can check out how the sweet potatoes are dressed, what’s going to shine in the cranberry sauce, what’s that awesome looking bread?  Creating alternatives to traditional Thanksgiving cuisine is super easy.  Check out my 5 very easy side dishes.  There are endless possibilities for your meal, but my motto is to keep it easy, keep it fun and keep it super tasty!
Roots and Fruits
(Roasted Parsnips, Apples, Pears and Walnuts)

5 medium parsnips, peeled and chopped
1 small red onion, chopped
2 pears, peeled and chopped
1 Granny Smith apple, peeled and chopped
1 1/2 cups of  walnuts
Oil (of choice)
Garlic granules 

How To
*Add parsnips, onion, pears, & apple to favorite baking dish
*Drizzle with oil
*Add 2 tablespoons garlic granules
*Roast at 400 degrees for about 35-40 minutes (check at 35)
*Lightly toast walnuts in saute pan
*Add to roasted roots and fruits 
*Mix together
*Add salt if desired, I omit.  
*Serves 4-5
Socca Bread 
Gluten free, Grain free, Sugar free, Vegan, ACD, Xanthan gum free, Yeast free, Egg free….absolutely AMAZING flatbread!!!
(recipe from December/January issue of Living Without Magazine, pg.41)
1 1/2 cups chickpea flour (garbonzo bean flour)
1 1/2 cups filtered water
2 1/2 tablespoons oil (I used grapeseed)
1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary (you must use fresh!
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 tablespoon minced dried onion (I used onion powder)

How To
*Whisk together chickpea flour, water, 2 tablespoons oil, rosemary, salt, pepper, onion (minced or powder).  Let sit at room temperature for 30 minutes.  This gives the batter a chance to thicken up a bit
*Coat a large round nonstick skillet with oil and heat over med until hot (add oil to pan after removing the socca and get it nice and hot for the next one)
*Pour 1/2 cup batter into pan and swirl around a bit (sort of like a crepe).  use heat-safe spatula to loosen sides
*Cook socca until crispy on one side, flip and brown on the other side
*Serves 4-5
Smashed Sweet Potatoes and Cauliflower 
(this is really nice substitute for those of you who don’t want white potatoes at your meal; the cauliflower adds a nice texture and balances out the sweetness of the sweet potatoes – and best part, no boiling required!)

3 large sweet potatoes, chopped
1 head of cauliflower, separated 
Oil of choice
Garlic granules (or 4 cloves fresh garlic)

How To
*Add sweet potatoes and cauliflower to your favorite roasting dish
*Drizzle with oil 
*Add about 1 1/2 tablespoons garlic granules (or smash the fresh garlic cloves and add in)
*Toss ingredients with oil and garlic 
*Roast at 400 degrees for 40 minutes
*Keep ingredients in roasting pan and use a potato masher to smash ingredients together.  Add another drizzle of oil for some additional moisture
*Add 1/4 teaspoon salt 
*Smash everything together well 
*Top with a little cinnamon (optional)
*Serves 4-5
20-Minute Cane-Sugar Free Cranberry Sauce
(my kids ate this up like candy!)

4 cups fresh cranberries
1 cup filtered water
1 sweet red apple, small chop
3 dates, seeded and small chopped 
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/3 cup honey
1 large orange

How To
*In medium sauce pan bring cranberries and water to a boil, stir and turn down to a simmer
*Add apple, honey, dates and briskly stir
*Turn down to low and gently simmer for about 15 minutes 
*Turn off heat and add juice of 1 orange and cinnamon 
*When cool, transfer to fridge until ready to serve
*Top with orange zest
Fig and Walnut Stuffed Acorn Squash 

2 acorn squash
2 cups fresh chopped figs
1 Granny Smith apple, peeled and chopped
1 ripe pear, peeled and chopped
1 1/2 cup walnuts, chopped
Oil of choice
3 tablespoons honey
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
pinch of ground ginger 

How To
*Cut squash in half and remove seeds, run oil around inside of squash
*Place face down in baking dish, coated with a little oil 
*Bake at 400 for 30 – 40 minutes (check at 30)
*In sauce pan, add oil, apple, pear, & walnuts, saute or a few minutes
*Add figs and salt, saute for a few minutes
*Add in honey and spices, saute together and cook on low until all ingredients are soft and have combined juices and most of the honey and oil has cooked off.  Turn off and allow to cool a bit before adding to baked squash
*Remove squash from oven when finished and turn over.  Allow to cool face up
*Add mixture to squash
*Serves 4 very hungry folks or up to 8 if each squash half is divided 

Wishing You a Health-full and Happy Thanksgiving
Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Posted by Amber at

Labels: cane sugar free, dairy free, egg free, gluten free, sides, soy free, thanksgiving side dishes, vegan.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Pumpkin Coconut Almond Smoothie

What to do with all that pumpkin puree in my fridge?  Ah ha!  Give it to the kids in a super healthy drink.  Did it work?  I’m tipping my imaginary hat as we speak!  Hubby loved this drink too.  Seriously though, drink your pumpkin – it’s super yummy.

-1 cup plain homemade pumpkin puree
-1 cup full fat coconut milk (BPA free)
-1 cup filtered water 
-1 teaspoon vanilla 
-2 tablespoons almond butter
-2 tablespoons honey (vegans, use maple syrup) add more if needed 
-2 tablespoons carob powder 
-1 teaspoon cinnamon (or just top smoothie with a pinch)

How To
1.  Add all ingredients to blender (high speed or otherwise)
2.  Blend until smooth

*My kiddos drank this straight from the blender (okay not literally – but I did when no one was looking) so it wasn’t chilled and still a hit
*Place smoothie in the fridge for a few hours if desired (no separation will occur)  
*I used carob in this recipe.  I gave this drink to my kiddos today as a late afternoon pick-me updidn’t want to give my daughter stimulating cacao this late and my son can’t eat cacao due to his eczema.  I would just omit this completely if you don’t like carob or thinking about substituting with cacao, as if you add cacao it essentially becomes this drink – which is all good toobut this coconut pumpkin smoothie is so awesome without the very overpowering taste of chocolate.
Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Posted by Amber at

Labels: cane sugar free, dairy free, drinks, gluten free, soy free, vegan.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Chocolate Pumpkin Brownies

Did I mention my husband is a HUGE chocoholic?  Well he is.  More than anyone I’ve ever met in my life.  And he likes the good stuff this man.  I’m not talking about a Hersey’s bar (although if you gave him one he would eat it).  My husband’s list of loves would probably go something like this: 1) his family, 2) the outdoors, 3) chocolate.  And if he was outdoors with his family eating chocolate he would probably explode (with joy).  So this chocolate series is dedicated to my sweet-teeth husband…and my daughter who is quickly following suit in the chocolate-loving department.
Here we have recipe #2 in the pumpkin + chocolate series.  I don’t know about you, but I like chewy brownies.  Not cake-like brownies.  I thought it would be a fun challenge to make these grain free.  So the trick here was to make a grain free brownie that didn’t crumble apart.  I’m pleased with the final product.  My husband LOVES this brownie, as does my daughter.  They both gave it a two-thumbs up, and that’s saying something from my chocolate connoisseurs.  How wonderful to make something so healthy and sinfully tasty for the ones I love.
(grain free, gluten free, dairy free, cane-sugar free, egg free, soy free, xanthan gum free) 

-2 cups raw almonds
-1 cup raw walnuts
-1/2 cup raw cacao powder
-1/4 cup coconut flour
-2 tablespoons arrowroot powder
-1/4 teaspoon baking soda
-1/4 teaspoon salt
-1/2 cup pumpkin puree
-1/3 cup + 1 tablespoon grade B maple syrup (room temp)
-1/2 teaspoon liquid stevia (vanilla or cocoa flavor is nice)
-1 teaspoon vanilla
-1/4 cup applesauce (room temp)
-1 tablespoon ground chia seeds
-3 tablespoons water
-1/4 cup coconut oil – liquified
-1/4 cup non-dairy milk (or water)
-1/4 teaspoon ginger

How To
Preheat oven to 375

In a food processor:
1.  Add almonds and grind until fine and slightly moist
2.  Add walnuts to almonds and blend together until the nuts start to stick together a bit- test with fingers
3.  Add cacao powder, blend/pulse
4.  Add arrowroot, baking soda, ginger, coconut flour, and salt…
5.  Blend, blend, blend, pulse, pulse, pulse

In a separate bowl:
1.  Whisk together: pumpkin puree, maple syrup, vanilla, coconut oil, applesauce and milk (or water)
2.  In a separate small bowl stir together chia and water until thick then add to wet ingredients. mix
3.  Add dry ingredients from food processor into wet ingredients and mix
4.  Transfer batter to 8×8 baking dish
5.  You can either line the 8×8 baking dish with parchment paper or spray oil and dust with coconut flour.  I used oil & flour.
6.  Bake 30 minutes or until sides start to harden and crisp up

*The middle will be moist, but will firm up as it cools, but overall stays rather moist.
*I would wait several hours before cutting into the brownies (if you can) or wait until the next day (yeah right).
*Top with melted chocolate (I melted 1/2 of this chocolate bar with 1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice)

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Posted by Amber at

Labels: chocolate, chocolate + pumpkin, dessert, egg free, grain free, Paleo, vegan.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

4 Easy Steps to Get You Up and Gardening This Winter

So you want to start a winter garden?  Good for you!
Gardening is extremely satisfying and cathartic.  
I highly recommend it in any shape or form.
But where to start?
Check out my 4-Step guide to starting out.  
This is meant to get your wheels going here.  So join in.
I see gardening as a hobby with the added benefit of eating my labor. How many hobbies can offer that?  Plus I love playing in the mud.  I remember one year, I was dead set on growing carrots, parsnips and beets.  I tried 3 or 4 times and nothing.  No carrots. No parsnips. No beets.  I felt defeated.  But then I looked at what I did grow, and with great a success (peas, potatoes, radish and lettuce) – not enough to live off of, of course, but thought now wait a minute, my entire garden doesn’t have to work.  It took a while for my type-A personality to get this.  Amber, it’s all good!  
It’s about the process!!
It’s about being outside with your kids, digging in the dirt, playing in the mud, making a garden bed, adding the dirt, placing those delicate little seeds in the soil, watering, and the waiting…waiting…waiting until that exciting day when you see those first sprouts!  Joy. 
Garden pics
Step#1: Set a Goal and Have Reasonable Gardening Expectations:
Check out books and online resources to help guide you on what crops  grow in your climate. Pick five or six crops.  Research these crops.  Visit a nursery and talk to the owners. It’s very important to set a goal for the season.  What do you want to accomplish this growing season?  Be realistic.  When I started gardening I came from a place of “all or nothing.”  So vegetable garden = self sufficient food supply.  But if you’re like me, you tend to tackle projects in the extreme, so you must practice letting go and pull in the reins when gardening because there is so much out of your control in this department. It will behoove you to separate two expectations:  Expectation number one: Successfully grow something start to finish (seed to harvest) that you can actually eat.  Expectation number two: Completely live off your garden and be successful at growing everything. These do not have to be one in the same. Expectation number two is waaaay too much!  This is how I started. Bad idea.  If you hold this high expectation you will never feel satisfied with what you do grow and harvest.  You will still have to buy carrots, and broccoli, and sweet potatoes at the store, but you may not have to buy them as often (ah, yes).  If you can accept this, you have defeated expectation #2 and can move on to realistic gardening.
images (1)
Step#2: Know Your Soil.  
Get your soil tested before you start gardening.  Who knows what was here before you.  This maybe a good place to start or contact your local agricultural department for more information on soil quality testing, kits. how to, etc.
Step #3: Know Your Climate. 
I live in Northern California.  We have long HOT summers and mild wet winters (no snow in my region).  So I don’t need to make any sort of covers for my plants.  You may or may not need to do this depending on your climate.  I plant what thrives in my region to ensure success.  I urge you to do the same.  Visit your local nursery and ask what they recommend for your region and climate.
Step #4:  Find the Sun.  
Find a sunny spot in your yard (front or back), balcony, roof, etc.  Just find the sun and watch the pattern of the sun in this spot.  How many hours of sun?  This is important.  Sun is sparse in the winter, so your garden should be where the sun is shinning.  This tip will help your garden immensely.  I once planted a garden in the shade.  Sad.  But don’t fret if have little sun, some plants are shade tolerant, so look for these varieties.  
DSC_0052 (2)
And remember:  gardening is fun!
Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Posted by Amber at

Labels: adventures in gardening.

A Fun Book for Bloggers: My Mommy is a Blogger

I found this super cute children’s book on one of my favorite green blogs Safe Mama.  You can see her review of the book here.  This is a super cute idea for any family that blogs in any form, whether it’s as a full time job or a part time hobby.  
Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Posted by Amber at

Labels: books.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Raw Carrot Hummus (SCD, Paleo GAPS).

I try to make a few raw dishes every week.  So this week instead of making my usual cooked hummus I did a little raw twist and wow!  Yum to the tum.  First off, my son LOVES it.  He couldn’t get enough and my daughter gobbled it up too.  When you make something your children eat and love and it’s super healthy you can’t help but feel like the day has been a wild success.  I used the carrot hummus at snack time and dressed with some veggies.  How fun was snack time today.  And remember, this version is to my taste (and my kid’s), you may like less of this and more of that, and that’s great – have fun make and it your own.    

4 medium organic carrots 
2 – 4 tablespoons organic raw tahini (use the 2 tbsp if you want more carrot taste, I used 4 because I love the taste of tahini and I used the 1 & 1/2 lemons)
Juice from 1 & 1/2 lemons (if using less tahini, use less lemon)
1/2 teaspoon celtic sea salt (or to taste)
1/2 teaspoon garlic granules
Oil (of choice) I use grapeseed

How To
1.  Peel and rough chop carrots
2.  Add carrots to food processor and give a quick run 
3.  Add tahini and mix until incorporated
4.  Add lemon, salt and garlic
5.  Blend
6.  Continue blending and drizzle in oil until desired creaminess
Some other presentation ideasthe color is brilliant! 
My daughter’s creation: 
a one-eyed carrot monster, she called it.   
Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Posted by Amber at

Labels: dairy free, dips, gluten free, raw, SCD, snacks, vegan.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Chocolate Pumpkin Hemp Smoothie

I know, pumpkin and chocolate?  Sounds sort of strange.  But the key here is to get all those wonderful health benefits from that beautiful orange squash right?  And we all know chocolate makes everything taste decadent.  I enjoyed this rich and creamy smoothieand yes, it’s still warm, warm here in Northern California (80s). So a smoothie with fall flair really fit the bill today.

This is post #1 in my chocolate + pumpkin series.  Stay tuned for the following recipes:

~Pumpkin brownies 
~Pumpkin spiced chocolate covered pears
~Pumpkin chocolate ice cream

Chocolate Pumpkin Hemp Smoothie


-1/4 cup homemade plain pumpkin puree (I used the Cinderella variety)
-4 cubes frozen hemp milk from this hemp milk recipe
-1 cup hemp milk 
-3 tablespoons honey (vegans use maple syrup) 
-2 tablespoon raw cacao powder (or to taste)
-1/2 teaspoon vanilla
-1/4 teaspoon cinnamon or pumpkin pie spice 

How To:
1.  Combine ingredients in blender until smooth


*You can obviously use any dairy free milk
*Frozen banana would taste great 

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Posted by Amber at

Labels: beverages, chocolate + pumpkin, fall cuisine, nut free, smoothie.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

How to Make Homemade Hemp Milk

What are hemp seeds anyway?
Good question.
Another excellent question.
One 8-Ounce glass contains the following healthy nutrients:
  • 900mg Omega-3 Fatty Acid
  • 2800mg Omega-6 Fatty Acid
  • All 10 Essential Amino Acids
  • 4 grams of Digestible Protein
  • 46% of RDA of Calcium
  • 0% Cholesterol
  • Potassium
  • Phosphorous
  • Riboflavin
So how do I make hemp milk?
Hemp milk is so very easy to make.  
Check it out…
-1/3  cup organic shelled hemp seeds, soaked for 5-8 hours or overnight
-3 cups filtered water
-3 dates, soaked in 1 cup of water for 2-4 hours
-1 teaspoon vanilla
How To:
In blender (I use Vitamix)
1.  Drain hemp seeds from water and add seeds to blender
2.  Add 3 cups filtered water
3.  Add dates with date-soaked water and vanilla and blend until well incorporated, 90 seconds should do it. 
4.  Let sit for a bit and skim off foam
5.  Store in glass container with lid in fridge up to 5 days 
*You can most certainly strain this milk if you prefer a smooth texture.  I prefer the thick milk with the seed and date pulp…plus I am benefiting from the raw seeds and all their healthful nutrients.
Enjoy and be well.
Shared on Traditional Tuesdays
Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Posted by Amber at

Labels: allergy-friendly, beverages, nut free, seed milk.