Friday, May 28, 2010

Carrrott Cake Cupcakes

I have been meaning to make some carrot cake for a while now and the bad weather has given me the opportunity. I like to think of carrot cake as a healthy dessert, but it certainly depends on what you are putting in them. If you wanted these to be more of a breakfast muffin then simply omit the frosting and voila! But lets be honest the frosting really makes it!

Allergy Resume: gluten free, sugar free, grain free, dairy free (option for frosting)

1/2 cup Almond Butter
1 Carrot
2 eggs
2 teaspoons Stevia Powder
2 teaspoons Vanilla
1/2 teaspoon Baking Powder
1/2 teaspoon Baking Soda
1/2 teaspoon Apple Cider Vinegar
2 teaspoons Flax Meal

Preheat oven to 375. Place almond butter, eggs, and flax in a bowl and mix well. Grate carrot and add to the almond butter mixture. Add stevia, vanilla, baking soda, powder, and cider vinegar. Mix the batter well and pour into cup cake tins. This will make six large cupcakes or eight regular sized cupcakes. Bake for about 20-30 minutes (depending on cupcake size).

1/3 cup Palm shortening
1/3 cup Cream cheese
1 tablespoon Stevia
2 tablespoons Shredded coconut

Place shortening and cream cheese in a sauce pan on low heat. Let the saucepan mixture melt while constantly stirring. Next add stevia and coconut, mix well and turn off the heat. When frosting has cooled a bit apply to cupcakes, the frosting will continue to cool and thicken.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Bacon Zucchini Roulade

I cooked this up for breakfast the other day, but it would also be great as an appetizer or side dish. This is one of those dishes that look a lot more complicated than they really are-- they're pretty easy. Also, the secret ingredient to this recipe is definitely the walnuts that really add an unexpected crunch (so don't leave them out!).

Allergy Resume: gluten free, grain free, grain free, and egg free.

1 Piece of bacon
1/4 Avocado
1 tablespoon Feta
1 tablespoon Spinach
4 Walnuts
1 Zucchini

Take zucchini and slice very thin layers length wise. Lay a piece of bacon on a cutting board and place a few layers of zucchini on top of the bacon. Next add spinach and feta in a small bowl and microwave for about 20 seconds so the feta melts and the spinach wilts. When the feta mixture is soft, but not watery, spread it on top of the zucchini layer. Slice avocado into small bits and evenly distribute them on top of the feta layer. Last but not least, chop walnuts and spread those on top of the avocado layer. Very carefully roll the roulade together like a cinnamon bun, careful not to spill the ingredients. Place roulade on a baking sheet and bake on 350 for about 20 minutes. If you like your bacon crispy put oven on broil for the last minute or two of baking. DE-light!

Cauliflower Feta Gnocchi

So I love gnocchi, but I don't eat potato because of all the starch. This has left me gnocchi-less for a few years...SO I got to work in the kitchen making gnocchi with cauliflower mash and feta cheese and I was very proud that this worked out! I was taking them to a dinner so I was nervous cooking something new for an audience, but everyone really loved them :-)

Allergy Resume: grain free, gluten free, nut free

2 1/2 pounds Cauliflower
1/3 cup + 1 tablespoon Feta Cheese
2 tablespoons Coconut Flower
4 Eggs
1 tablespoon Garlic Minced
1 tablespoon Pepper

Preheat oven to 350. Cut cauliflower into large pieces and bring to a boil in a large pot of water. Boil for about 15 minutes or until soft. Remove cauliflower from heat and place cauliflower (without water) in a food processor and blend until smooth. Add feta cheese to the food processor and blend again. When mixture has cooled a bit add eggs and coconut flower, blend again. Next add your seasonings: Garlic, and pepper is what I choose, but basil, or other Italian seasonings would be nice too. Line a cookie sheet with Parchment paper and place quarter sized dollops of batter on sheet. Bake for about 15 minutes, the bottoms will be golden brown with the tops a light brown color. Let them cool for about 5 minutes then they will be ready to serve. To reheat pop them back in the oven for a few minutes.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Peach Bacon Quesadilla

I'm a little ashamed, because this picture does NO justice to how good this was. Peaches just came in season and I was trying to think of how I could integrate them into typical meals. It's been a while since I've had a quesadilla and so this fit the bill. I don't eat any grains so I cannot have use a corn tortilla (although I have to admit I think it would be delicious!), so I used my cauliflower wrap as a tortilla which was great.

Allergy Resume: grain free, gluten free, nut free

2 tortilla/ cauliflower wrap
2 pieces of Bacon
2 slices of Cheddar cheese
1/3 of a fresh Peach

Fry bacon in a pan until crisp. Remove from pan and let cool. In clean frying pan warm tortilla on medium heat and butter the top facing side. Flip tortilla and warm other side, again buttering top facing side. Place cheddar cheese on top of tortilla, then place thin slices of peach covering the top of the cheese, then lay the bacon on top of the peach layer. Cover the quesadilla with the second tortilla and let cheese melt, while being heated on medium heat. Carefully flip quesadilla (carefully, so it does not fall apart), and heat the other tortilla. Once both tortillas are heated and cheese is oozing out of the sides, remove quesadilla from frying pan and enjoy!

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Fresh Tomato Pie

I really love tomatoes. There is just something so refreshing about them. This pie is not a pizza....just a word of caution :-) The hearty crust is balanced by: fresh, crisp tomatoes, basil and goat cheese. It is also quiet versatile, I just had some with breakfast this morning and topped it off with a fried egg. I used a small pan to cook my pie but have changed the ingredient's proportions to fit a loaf pan.

1 cup Almond Butter
3 Eggs
1.5 tablespoons Yogurt
1.5 teaspoons Minced Garlic
3 teaspoons Basil
1.5 tablespoons Flax Meal
2 teaspoons Oregano
1 teaspoon Salt
2 teaspoons Pepper

3 tablespoons Mayonnaise
2 tablespoons Tomato Sauce
1 teaspoon Garlic
4 tablespoons Feta Cheese
2 tablespoons Fresh Basil
1/2 cup Fresh Spinach
2 1/2 cups Cherry Tomatoes

Preheat oven to 350. Mix almond butter, eggs, yogurt, and mix well. Next add garlic, basil, salt, pepper, flax, and oregano. Line a loaf pan with tin foil and grease well. Pour batter into pan, but set aside about 1/4 cup of batter to be used on top of pie. The batter will be flat on bottom of the pan but we will curve it around the edges in a few minutes. Place pan into the oven for about 5 minutes. Remove pan and start to form the batter up over the edges of the pan, be gentle because the batter will be delicate. Return batter to oven for another 10 minutes.

In a new bowl mix, mayonnaise, tomato sauce, garlic, and feta cheese and mix. Take cherry tomatoes and mix 1 cup in the mixture. Take remaining tomatoes and chop into halves and quarters and add to mixture. Next add basil.

Remove crust from oven and line the bottom of the crust with chopped spinach then pour tomato mixture into crust. Use the saved batter and dollop onto the top of the pie to create an upper crust (these should be dollops, not a full crust-- see picture below). Return to oven for 20 minutes. Cool for 10 minutes and enjoy!

Sunday, May 9, 2010

The art of recipe making

...or at least my art :-) People ask me where I come up with all of these recipes. Well I just kinda get a hankering for something and I go up and make it. Sounds pretty easy huh? Well it doesn't always work out, sometimes I get it right away and others take all day to try to master. I've come up with my own system of testing out small amounts of batter before I cook all of the batter, in case it doesn't work-- I can still try to salvage the remaining batter. This week I was working on Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies...which I am still not satisfied with, after 3 different batches.

Usually I will start with a little research by looking at similar recipes. The thing you really want to pay attention to is the ratio of of eggs to flour, did they need baking soda, etc. Then I take into consideration that I am usually cooking with almond butter, or coconut flour, which changes the dynamic of the batter. When using almond butter, you usually need less oils or liquids, but more leavening than when you use traditional flour. When using coconut flour, you will need ALOT of eggs to avoid a crumbly chalky mess.

I'll head to the kitchen and whip together a batter (make sure to write ingredients down). On the menu today: Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies. I'll bake a few individual serving and wait for them to cool, which is the hard part...the waiting-- but the taste really will change once cooled. My first round of peanut butter cookies were alright, but not what I was expecting:

So that's when you go back to the drawing board trying to fix whatever it was that you didn't like. My cookies were too bitter, peanut butter can get bitter once cooked if you don't add enough sweetener. So I added more stevia and honey, I thought about adding molasses-- but decided to try it without it and made another individual serving.

Still not my favorite-- maybe now add the molasses and more peanut butter, and re-bake a batch. It just turns into a trial and error, which can be very time consuming. Now the reason why I advise making a few individual servings is that after eating enough peanut butter dough...your taste buds are kind out of it and need a break. I've found that the best tasting occurs the next day-- when the flavors have settled and cooled. The next day I realized that the first round of peanut butter cookies I made that day were my favorite out of all of them, even though I didn't like them at the time. Which is unfortunate cause I made a bunch of third round cookies that weren't my favorite- lol. But really now, how bad could a peanut butter chocolate chip cookie be...?

Friday, May 7, 2010

Light Fluffy Almond Bread

I wanted to put an emphasis on light and fluffy! I have a few other breads posted but this one is the most like normal sandwich bread because I use yeast. You actually get the little air pockets in this bread that you do with regular bread. Now some of you might not be able to have yeast due to any gut problems in which case, check out my other bread recipes (under breads). I was glad this worked because I have never used yeast with Almond butter, so there may be more to come. I also am daring to say it might work well for french toast...I'll try it out and let you know!

Allergy Resume: Gluten Free, Sugar Free, Grain Free, Dairy Free and Primal

1 1/2 cups Almond butter
4 teaspoons of Rapid rising yeast (in the little bags)
1 teaspoon Baking powder
1/2 teaspoon Baking soda
1 tablespoon Stevia powder
3 eggs

*This is the regular sandwich bread recipe, you can add different seasonings if you prefer a sweet or a savory bread.

Preheat oven to 375. Place almond butter and stevia in large bowl and mix well. Add yeast to bowl, cover and place in a warm spot (i put it in the oven on warm for a bit). Wait about 30 minutes for the yeast to sit. After 30 minutes add baking soda, powder and eggs mix well. The batter will be thicker than the other breads we have made, so don't be alarmed-- you're doing it right :-) Line a loaf pan with cooking grease and bake for 35-45 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Let cool for 15-20 minutes and enjoy.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Fudgy Red Wine Brownies

These are very rich very delicious. They are Super chocolaty with a hint of red wine to add a depth to the flavor. The best part is that they are super easy to make and you probably have everything you need at home. I love fancy desserts that aren't fancy to make!

Allergy Resume:
Primal, Sugar-free, Grain-free, Dairy-free, and of course Gluten-Free!

1 1/4 cup Cocoa powder
3 eggs
1/2 cup Red wine
3 tablespoons Coconut oil (or butter)
2 tablespoons Coconut milk (or any milk)
1/2 tablespoon Honey
5 tablespoons Stevia
1/4 teaspoon Baking Soda
1/4 teaspoon Apple cider vinegar

Preheat oven to 350. In large bowl add cocoa powder, eggs, and red wine. Mix carefully so that you don't spill the cocoa. Next warm coconut oil until it's liquid and add to the mixture. Next add coconut milk, honey and stevia and mix well, trying to eliminate any remaining clumps. Last but not least add the baking soda and vinegar and mix again. Pour batter into a greased loaf pan (the size of a loaf of bread) and bake for about 45 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clear.

While this is in the oven it's time to beat up some frosting.

1/2 cup Palm shortening
1/4 cup Cocoa powder
2 tablespoons Stevia
1 teaspoon Vanilla

Place shortening in a sauce pan and heat on low. Add cocoa, stevia and vanilla and mix with a fork, breaking up any clumps. Remove from heat when you are done mixing (you do not want the mixture to simmer or boil, just a lite heat). When brownie is cooled (about 15 mins), pour frosting on top of brownie and smooth evenly with a spatula. If the frosting has cooled too much to pour it, then reheat and then pour onto brownie. Let the frosting harden and set and serve brownie at room temperature or chilled. Enjoy!

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Finding Health through your Diet

I have a passion for eating foods that promote health. This didn't just happen for no reason, after all I'm a mid-20's city girl. Before being diagnosed with Celaic Disease I knew something was terribly wrong with my health. I started to focus on my diet-- eating organic, whole grains etc. the conventional nutrition stuff.
After about 2 years of being sick I was diagnosed with Celiac Disease and I gladly went gluten free. Several months after being gluten free I really did not have great improvement. Searching desperately for answers I turned to the famous book "Breaking the Vicious Cycle" from Elaine Gottschall. This diet is very strict and must be adhered to religiously in order to achieve success. In summary the diet is : high protein, low carb, no dairy, no soy, no sugar, no grains, no lactose. I followed that diet for about 8 months and did have dramatic positive results with my over all well being. I started to deviate a little bit, just to see how it went and eventually found a sythesis of the Specific Carbohydrate Diet (Gottschall's diet) and the Primal Diet. This synthesis diet contains: high fat (whichever type of fat you feel comfortable with), high veggies and moderate protein-- with no sugar, or grains. I feel like this is the best diet for my body.

I was just diagnosed with Lyme disease this week, which has been a pretty hard blow to absorb, but it does mean I can start my recovery, regardless of the pace. So I hit the internet and started researching the optimal diet for recovery and low and behold-- I am already on it.
It seems that for so many health issues adopting a low carb, high fat, high protein diet is a great tool towards recovery. The high amount of vegetables, fats, and organic meat and lack of packaged foods, sugar, and grains creates a very healthy diet. Some of the many benefits are: maintaining steady blood sugar levels, reduction of inflammation, high levels of macro and micro-nutrients, high in anti-oxidants and much more. I'm just disappointed that this concept is not more frequently recommended by Dr's or the mainstream, and really feel it's a huge disservice to public health.

I wanted to keep this post moderately short, but wanted to bring attention to the impact this type of diet has on the body's overall well being-- weather you're sick or not. I also wanted to mention that within every "diet", "protocol" etc., it is important to find your sweet spot. I cannot eat very high protein, with high fat-- I don't feel well and I gain weight. My sweet spot is making fat and veggies my priority and dropping the protein a bit; it takes experimentation. If you would like to read some more information, here is a good article that summarizes the health benefits in more detail: