Grain Free Peasant Bread

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I’ve tested, tweaked, researched, asked for advice, used an ungodly amount of ingredients, and thrown away numerous recipe attempts in search of that one wonderful recipe that could really be worthy of being called, “bread”. And it was all worth it. I’ve finally found what I think are the right measurements and combination of items that  transform into a bread that I absolutely love. The second best part next to having a delicious bread we can sink our teeth into: the recipe is basic and can be used numerous ways with just a few little additions or subtractions. Hallelujah and amen.

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I’m sure I’ve told you in the past my least favorite thing about being grain free is the use of mass quantities of nut flours, coconut flour, and eggs. I cannot stand the texture of nut flours and since I’ve been on an elimination diet, I now see clearly that most nuts and I do not get along. I also use organic ingredients, so the use of a gazillion eggs or just egg whites in a grain free recipe can get extremely expensive.  Not to mention how irritating it is when the recipe you’re working on doesn’t turn out the way you had hoped, which in gluten-free and grain free cooking tends to happen often. I cannot tell you how many grain free bread recipes I’ve made that taste like a brick of play dough. Or they’re grainy, or they fall apart, or they taste too much like coconut when I don’t want them to.

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While I haven’t been able to completely eliminate eggs from my grain free bread recipes (YET!), I think they have a more reasonable amount of eggs, no more than 2 to 3. I’ve been able to omit nut flours and lower the content of coconut flour therefore, taking away the strong flavor of coconut. I don’t want bread that tastes like coconut and for a long time I thought that was too much to hope for. But not now!

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Every time I made a grain free bread I was looking for a certain texture, crumb, and taste that I simply wasn’t getting. And actually for a while, it just sucked the love right out of baking. You may have noticed the big gaps in my posting lately. Between health issues and going grain free and mostly “Paleo” and not wanting to inundate you with meat and vegetable dishes…our baking time together has suffered a bit. Baking is my favorite aspect of cooking and I think those items are the most sought after for allergen sufferers.  Comfort food is where it’s at for all of us!

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So after a few weeks of moping around the kitchen dying for a decent piece of bread that actually tastes like bread, I put my big girl britches on and got to work. Those of us who have to be, or choose to be grain free, no longer need to fret. This basic bread recipe, with a few tweaks here and there is going to provide us with all kinds of amazing goodies.

So stay tuned, the lull is over and you and I are back in the kitchen!

Grain Free Peasant Bread

*Grain Free *Gluten Free *Dairy Free *Low Glycemic *High Protein

3/4 Cup of Arrowroot Flour

1/2 Cup of Sweet Potato Flour

1/2 Cup of Coconut Flour 

2 teaspoons of Xanthan Gum

2 teaspoons of Double Acting Baking Powder

1/2 teaspoon of Sea Salt

2 Tablespoons of Coconut Sugar

1 1/2 Tablespoons of Active Dry Yeast

**

2 Eggs Separated

1 1/2 Tablespoons of Grass Fed Gelatin

1/2 Cup of Cool Water

1 1/2 Tablespoons of Apple Cider Vinegar

Measure all of the dry ingredients into a medium bowl and whisk to combine, set aside. Separate the eggs. Whites into a stand mixer with the whisk attachment, yolks into a small cup or ramekin. Beat the egg whites on high until they are very foamy and at least doubled in size, but not to soft peak stage.

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Add in the yolks and beat until completely combined, just a few seconds.

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Next, in a medium ramekin or in a glass measuring cup, add the 1/2 cup of cool water. Sprinkle the gelatin over the top and whisk in thoroughly with a fork. Microwave for 20 seconds.

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Measure the vinegar into the egg mixture and turn the mixer on low. Very slowly drizzle the warmed gelatin mixture into the egg mixture until fully incorporated. Turn off the mixer and switch to the paddle attachment.

With the mixer on low, add the dry ingredients to the egg mixture and beat on medium for about 1 minute. The dough will be soft.

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Flour a board or the counter with arrowroot flour and scoop the dough out of the bowl.

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Knead the dough several times being careful not to add to much extra flour. Knead it until it is able to be shaped, about 6 or so folds and turns. Shape it into a loaf and slit the top three or four times. Don’t slit it as deep as I did though, I got a little over zealous. Just skim the top about 1/4 inch in.

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Next, line a baking sheet with parchment or silpat. Spray a piece of plastic wrap with non-stick spray (mine was olive oil), lay it lightly over the bread and then cover the plastic with a tea towel and place the pan on the stove.

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Turn the oven on to 400 degrees and allow the bread to rise on top of the stove for 60 minutes. It will grow in size, but not a lot. It mainly becomes “fluffier”.

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Place in the oven and bake for 40 minutes draping it with tin foil the last 15 minutes. **If you’re not using a convection oven, time may vary and will likely take just a bit longer.**

Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 20 minutes before slicing. This is a delicious crusty bread that is wonderful served with dairy free butter, roasted garlic, vinegar and oil dip, served as garlic bread with pasta, served with different types of goat cheese, alongside soup, so many options! And while I was taste testing…I had it with dairy free butter, then with dairy free butter and jelly, and then finally, with chicken liver pate. All delicious!

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Double Dipped Coconut Treasures

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Happy Valentine’s Day!

Do you have any plans for the big day tomorrow? Or do you dread it and stay home waiting for it to go away? I’d say the like/dislike factor of Valentine’s Day is about 50/50 from the people I’ve talked to.

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I don’t put too much hype around certain holidays. I’d say Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Easter, are the biggies around here. Birthdays of course, are also very special. Valentine’s Day may or may not involve gifts, and most of the time, we’re just happy to hang out together. We’re typically easy going that way, and that’s how I like it!

I’ve never had a problem with Valentine’s Day, that I can remember. Any holiday that gives me an excuse to celebrate with food and candy can’t be all that bad. Even if you don’t have a significant other at this point in time, surely there’s always some type of love in your life to celebrate even if it’s furry love. And who needs a holiday for an excuse to eat chocolate?

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These Double Dipped Coconut Treasures are a lightly adapted version of Predominantly Paleo’sPaleo Almond Delights’. They are delicious. She’s right, they are better than Almond Joy Bars. I’m willing to bet they’re also better for you because they’re made with real ingredients and no chemicals.

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They’re extremely simple to make with ingredients that most of us have on hand.

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And if you need them quickly for a forgotten gift, a family treat, to say “I Love You”, or just because you’re having a craving, they’re ready to eat in about 30 minutes if you use your freezer to speed things up.

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Had my brain not been so clouded and excited at the prospect of having something resembling a candy bar, I would have done one thing differently.

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I would have wrapped the coconut mixture around the almonds, rather then stacking them when I did the double dipping.

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Either way, it didn’t change the taste, I just think they maybe would have been more aesthetically pleasing and I think I would have liked the almonds dispersed a bit. Maybe even chopped throughout? But that’s really neither here nor there, you can make these a variety of different ways with almost an endless amount of add ins and ingredients. You can also make them any size or shape you like. This will be a great recipe for future experimentation.

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Double Dipped Coconut Treasures

1 Cup of Shredded, Unsulphured Unsweetened Coconut (I used Bob’s Red Mill)

1 Tablespoon of Coconut Flour

3 Tablespoons of Raw Honey

1/4 Cup of Organic Unrefined Coconut Oil

Pinch of Fine Sea Salt

Whole Raw Activated Almonds (About 10)

1 Bag of Enjoy Life Chocolate Chips

1 Tablespoon of Organic Unrefined Coconut Oil

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Set aside. Add the Tablespoon of Coconut Oil and the chocolate chips to a glass bowl and place over a small sauce pan filled halfway with water. (Or use a double broiler) Heat the water and melt the oil and chocolate slowly. Don’t over heat.

In a medium bowl combine the shredded coconut, honey, coconut oil, coconut flour and a generous pinch of sea salt. Stir thoroughly until all ingredients are wet.

Using about a Tablespoon or so at a time of the coconut mixture, form miniature candy bars on the baking sheet. Place an almond firmly on the top (or, press in to the middle of the bar and cover). Set sheet in freezer for about 10 minutes to set the filling.

Remove from the freezer and using kitchen tongs, dip the candy bar into the melted chocolate. Wiggle it around to release any excess chocolate, then place back onto the parchment paper. Add another almond to the top if you’d like. Once they’ve all been dipped and extra almonds added, set the baking sheet back in the freezer for another 5-6 minutes or until the chocolate is set. Cut a fresh piece of parchment, set aside.

Remove the candy bars from the freezer. Remove them on the parchment from the baking sheet. Cover the baking sheet with a fresh piece of parchment and dip the chocolates again. Wiggle off excess chocolate before setting on baking sheet. Place back in the freezer for another 5-6 minutes or until chocolate is set.

Hot & Spicy Zucchini “Noodles”

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Just when you think there couldn’t possibly be another kitchen gadget you need, something else funky and fun comes along. This gadget isn’t new to the world of course, just to me. Well, relatively new. It’s been sitting in my pantry for 3 months waiting to be used. I think I felt like it was going to be more complicated and messy than it really is, so I kept putting it off for a day I felt like dealing with complicated and messy…which is never. I’m glad I finally decided to take another look and take it off the shelf over the weekend, because it’s not complicated and messy at all and now I’ve got all kinds of ideas dancing through my head.

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Once I decided to seriously do a grain free trial, I noticed lots and lots of the Paleo bloggers were eating zucchini and other vegetable noodles in place of grain noodles. My thought was….they look good and I like vegetables…but how can these people think that a vegetable “tastes just like the real thing” or they would, “rather have these than pasta any day!”

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That’s just crazy talk, because I’ve been down the spaghetti squash “noodle” road and no one is capable of convincing me that stringy stuff is an acceptable replacement for pasta.

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There are very few food things in this world that I would rather have more than a plate full of pasta siting in front of me. But, because of the grain free trial thing, I have to be flexible if I don’t want to lead a sad, noodle free life.

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So while zucchini noodles are not a plate full of soul soothing pasta, I have to admit, they are pretty darn good. I was impressed. And strangely enough, they do actually make a really decent replacement “noodle”.  They’re also fun to make.

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Last weekend Tony was on his annual guys ski trip in Deer Valley so I had four days to do whatever I felt like and to fiddle fart around the house and kitchen. These noodles, the Ginger Garlic Green Beans with Orange Zest, and the Sweet & Spicy Chicken Legs were what I made for Super Bowl Sunday snacks. I love the combination of sweet and spicy together, and because Tony wasn’t here, I could grate ginger into the food to my heart’s content and use cilantro and sweet chili sauce with reckless abandon, which he doesn’t really like. The “noodles” made it fun and I always think it’s exciting to try something new. Luckily the food was delicious because it ended up being the highlight of a very upsetting football game.

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Here’s a couple of things you need to remember when using zucchini for noodles:

1.  You can purchase a Spiralizer on Amazon. They are inexpensive and don’t take up much room. Easy to use, simple to clean.

2.  Zucchini cooks down. I used two medium/small zucchinis which cooked down to about maybe two medium sized servings. If you have a large family and you’re using it as a main dish, you’re going to need a lot of zucchini.

3.  Do not over cook it. I repeat, DO NOT over cook it. A quick saute (5-6 minutes tops) is all it needs. You want it to be slightly aldente, or you’ll end up with mush.

4.  You can peel or not peel, it’s up to you. Some people say that peeled tastes even more like pasta. If it’s peeled, it will cook faster, so keep an eye on it.

And that’s it! SO EASY. And fun.

Hot & Spicy Zucchini “Noodles”

2 Medium Zucchini

About 1/2 Cup Orange Bell Pepper, diced

3 Cloves of Garlic, peeled and minced

1/2 teaspoon of Crushed Red Pepper

2 Green Onions, sliced

1 1/2 Tablespoon of Cilantro, roughly chopped

About 1 Tablespoon of Olive Oil

1/2 teaspoon of Sesame Oil

2 Tablespoons of Coconut Aminos (gluten free soy sauce replacement)

1 Tablespoon of Sweet Chili Sauce

sea salt

Saute the bell pepper with the olive oil, sesame oil, garlic, and crushed red pepper just until the bell pepper is aldente. Add the zucchini “noodles”, coconut aminos, and sweet chili sauce and toss until zucchini has softened. Not too soft! Add the green onion and cilantro, a pinch of sea salt, and toss to combine.

Sweet & Spicy Chicken Legs

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I love sweet and spicy together. This would be fantastic on Asian-ish BBQ’d chicken wings too. Just pop them under the broiler to set the sauce, or use it as a dipping sauce. This sauce and chicken combined with the ginger, garlic, and orange zest on the green beans was an amazing combination of pleasing flavors. 

Sweet & Spicy Chicken Legs

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

6 Chicken Legs

1/2 teaspoon of Sesame Oil

1 Tablespoon of Coconut Aminos (gluten free soy sauce alternative)

Sriracha (I used at least a 2 teaspoons, it’s hot, I’ll leave the amount up to you)

About 1/4 Cup of Sweet Baby Ray’s Honey Chipotle BBQ Sauce

About 1/8 Cup of Sweet Chili Sauce

2 Cloves of Garlic, minced

1 Green Onion, thinly sliced

Place the chicken legs in a baking dish and drizzle with the sesame oil. Sprinkle the minced garlic and green onion over the legs. Drizzle the coconut aminos and sriracha over the top. Drizzle the BBQ sauce and sweet chili sauce over the top. With a basting brush make sure legs are evenly coated on tops and sides.

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Bake for 30-35 minutes. Spoon pan juices over the top.

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Ginger Garlic Green Beans with Orange Zest

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These green beans are so full of flavor and delicious, I ate the entire pound myself in two days! Half for dinner and half for breakfast the next day.

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Ginger Garlic Green Beans with Orange Zest

1 lb of Fresh Green Beans

1 teaspoon of Finely Grated (with a nutmeg grater) Fresh Ginger

1/2 Jalapeno, seeds and membrane removed

2 teaspoons of Orange Zest

2 Cloves of Garlic, minced

Avocado Oil

Sea Salt

Trim ends off of the green beans. Heat about 1 1/2 Tablespoons of avocado oil in a medium skillet on medium-low heat. (The beans will take a while to get to the aldente stage, you don’t want to cook them or the garlic too quickly.) Add the beans, ginger, jalapeno, orange zest, and garlic. Toss frequently while sauteing until aldente, about 15-20 minutes. Season generously with sea salt.

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Healthy Frozen Yogurt Dog Treats

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If you’ve been following my blog for a while you already know how important it is to get and keep our gut microbiomes healthy. Aside from soul and spirit, your gut is the epicenter of your body. If it’s unhealthy (candida, leaky gut, stress, etc.), you’re unhealthy.

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Well the same goes for your pets!

You can feed them special pet probiotics, or make your own probiotic treats, it’s very easy.

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But remember (!!) dogs and other animals can’t eat a lot of things that we can eat.

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Here’s a few lists to check so you can make sure you’re choosing the right fruits and vegetables to feed your favorite fur babies.

Fruits & Veggies For Pets

10 Best Fruits & Vegetables for Dogs

Dog Approved People Food

All you need are a few fruits and vegetables, plain greek yogurt, mini ice cube trays, and a blender. It’s that simple. I used 1 Cup of plain greek yogurt, about 1/4 cup spinach, about 3/4 cup of blueberries, 1/4 cup mango, and one very ripe frozen banana. You can check the lists and add anything in any combination you may think your pets will enjoy.

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Put it all in a blender, whiz it up, and then pour it into mini-ice cube trays. I put mine on a cookies sheet and stuck them in the freezer for two hours to set before removing them from the trays. Then, I shook them out into a storage container and popped them back in the freezer where they’ll last at least a month.

It’s very convenient to just grab a couple to feed your pets each day. Their small enough that they can be eaten quickly without making a mess. If you have really small pets, I would cut them in half after removing them from the trays.

SO easy and your pets will love having a special, healthy treat added to their diet!

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Here’s a list of foods NOT to feed your pets:

Foods You Should NOT Feed Your Dogs

Dangerous Foods Your Dogs Should Never Eat

What Foods Are Toxic For Dogs

Simple Vegetable Frittata

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I love slow Saturday mornings.

During the week the minute my feet hit the ground I’m typically in constant movement doing the this’s and that’s in life that need to get done.

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I like to move a little slower on the weekend mornings.

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Savor them.

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Brandon and his friends were over for a visit and a dip in the hot tub last night.

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Tony is in Deer Valley for his annual “guys ski trip” getting some rest and relaxation.

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After the kids left, I didn’t get to bed until midnight. That may be a late night record for me for the last year. ha

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So needless to say, I didn’t have any problem getting a few extra winks this morning.

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But because I slept in 3 hours past my normal rising time, I woke up hungry and ready for something other than my usual vegetable, coconut kefir, and fruit smoothie.

Still lots of morning vegetables, but this time in the form of a frittata.

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And of course no Saturday morning is complete without bacon.

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All done un-rushed and leisurely like, just as all weekend mornings should be.

And plenty of leftovers for an easy lunch to be eaten while reading a good book this afternoon.

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Vegetable Frittata

*Serves 2

Preheat oven to 375 degrees

4 Large Eggs

1/4 Cup of Baby Spinach, chopped

1 Tablespoon of Red Onion, diced

1 Tablespoon of Cilantro, chopped

1 Tablespoon of Green Onion, chopped

2 Tablespoons of Red & Yellow Bell Pepper, diced

1 teaspoon of Jalapeno, diced

1 teaspoon of Fresh Thyme Leaves

5 Sugar Plum Tomatoes, quartered

1 Clove of Garlic, diced

1/4 Cup of Diaya Cheese

Pink Himalayan Salt

Ground Pepper

Olive Oil

Bacon Fat

Heat about 2 Tablespoons of Olive Oil in a small oven safe skillet on medium heat. Add the red onion, bell pepper, jalapeno, thyme leaves, and garlic and saute until aldente, about 4-5 minutes. Add the chopped spinach and saute just until the spinach wilts. Remove from pan into a small dish.

Add about 1 Tablespoon of bacon fat to the pan. Melt and swirl around all the way up to the edges. Crack the eggs into a medium bowl and add the cilantro, green onion, and tomatoes. Whip the ingredients with a fork and pour into the heated pan coated with bacon fat. Sprinkle the Diaya cheese over the top and with a spatula, slowly stir the cheese into the egg mixture, scraping the bottom of the pan. Once the cheese is dispersed, allow the egg mixture to cook on medium for 3 minutes until it begins to set on the bottom and just barely around the edges.

Place the frittata in the oven and allow to cook for 8 more minutes. Just until set. Don’t over cook it!

Serve with bacon and fruit.