Grain Free & Dairy Free Crepes

3 Comments

2016-02-22 15.07.54

I can see these crepes becoming my new favorite thing.

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Crepes are so incredibly easy to make.

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Seriously.

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And versatile. I’m big into versatile foods.

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Crepe batter is made with few and simple ingredients and they are kind to whatever you top them or fill them with.

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Crepes can be dressed up with anything you like.

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Sweet or savory.

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Layered, rolled, flat…topped with mounds of coconut whipped cream, syrup, powdered sugar and lemon, filled with fruit, filled with chocolate, filled with vegetables, filled with meats…you name it, your options are only limited to your imagination.

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Monday, I topped mine with ripe bananas sauteed in dairy free butter and coconut sugar. Amazing.

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Tuesday, I topped them with coconut sugar powdered sugar and a squeeze of lemon. Delicious and refreshing. 

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They keep well in the fridge if you don’t use them all, but I doubt you’ll have a problem with that.

Grain Free & Dairy Free Crepes

*Makes 8 Crepes

1/2 Cup of Sweet Potato Flour

1 Tablespoon of Coconut Flour

3 Eggs

2 teaspoons of Pure Vanilla Extract

Dash of Sea Salt

3/4 Cup of 100% Coconut Milk 

2 Tablespoons of Water

Dairy Free Butter for Frying

Whisk the flours, eggs, vanilla, salt, coconut milk, and water together well. I also whisked it every time I scooped batter to make a crepe.

Heat a non-stick skillet or crepe pan on medium heat. Add about 1/2 teaspoon of dairy free butter to the pan and allow it to melt. With a 1/4 measuring cup, pour crepe batter into the pan and swirl lightly to coat bottom of pan. After a minute or so when you can see tiny bubbles begin to form, flip crepe. They fry very quickly.

For the Banana Topping:

2 Ripe Bananas, sliced

2 Tablespoons of Dairy Free Butter

1/4 Cup of Coconut Sugar

Heat the butter and sugar in a small pan until melted and lightly caramelized. Add the bananas and toss gently.

2016-02-22 15.07.54

Poached Cod with Vegetables

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2016-02-22 13.12.10

I’m trying to be diligent about getting more fish into my diet. I ate a lot more fish and shellfish when we lived in New Hampshire.

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It was readily available and always fresh. Here, we basically live on the border of Washington and Idaho where “fresh” seafood means a little something different.

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We were spoiled in NH so it’s hard to get excited about seafood when it comes frozen (or previously frozen) in the grocery store. But I’m trying.

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I’m definitely a red meat kind of girl. In fact, if you put a rib-eye in front of me a few nights a week you wouldn’t hear any complaints.

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However, because I deal with inflammation issues related to Lyme Disease, my diet has to involve a  lot of vegetables and lighter meals as well as the occasional bloody rib-eye.

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It’s easy to get in the rut of baked fish dishes, but poaching brings a little something different to the table.

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It’s very easy and fast. If you poach it properly, the fish is amazingly moist and flaky. You can poach a large variety of fish with a large variety of ingredients which make the options endless. And lastly, I think it’s gorgeous.

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The contrast of the fish with the broth and whatever other ingredients you use can make for a really beautiful dish. Great for company because it looks so fresh and bright and like you really know what you’re doing.

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When in reality, all it takes is a few minutes to slice some vegetables, a quick saute, and then about 6 tiny minutes to poach the fish. Easy and delicious!

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Poached Cod with Vegetables

1/2 of a White Onion, sliced

1/2 of an Orange Bell Pepper, sliced

3 Large Cremini Mushrooms, sliced

4 Small (thin) Carrots, sliced

About 25 Heads of Asparagus

2 Large Swiss Chard Leaves, sliced

3 Cloves of Garlic, diced

2 teaspoons of Avocado Oil

1 1/2 teaspoons of Fresh Rosemary, minced

2 teaspoons of Fresh Thyme Leaves

1/4 teaspoon of Sea Salt

Several Grinds of Pepper

4 Cod Fillets

32 ounces of Chicken Broth

Fresh Lemon & Parsley For Garnish

Prepare all of the vegetables, herbs, and garlic and set aside. Heat the avocado oil in a large pan and add the vegetables and garlic.Saute over medium high for a few minutes until the onions and peppers begin to soften. Add the chicken broth, salt and pepper, and herbs. Bring the broth and vegetable mixture to a simmer. Add the cod, cover with a lid, and poach for 6 minutes.

**Serve immediately. If you leave the fish in the broth on the stove, it will overcook and become tough.

2016-02-22 13.12.10

Grain Free & Dairy Free Cinnamon Rolls

3 Comments

2016-02-19 18.10.47After telling you in my last post that adding non gluten grains and nuts back into my diet in small amounts “was working just fine”…I ended up sick, sick, sick. First with a cold sore on the left side of my mouth, then a few days later with one on the right side of my mouth. Then flu symptoms and now a bad and lingering cold.

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Seems crazy I know, that food can wreak such havoc on our bodies. There’s research upon research proving that it does and how it does, yet most of the time, we have to learn it the hard way.

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Sometimes the only way to figure out if there are foods that make you sick is to do an elimination diet, removing all of the foods for an extended period of time that commonly cause issues with people.

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I’ve done that numerous times over the years and I keep a food journal so that I can see if there are ties with what’s going on with my health and what I’m putting into my body. This is especially important when you deal with a chronic illness. People with chronic illness like Lyme Disease and auto immune disorders, have to be very loving with their guts and immune systems.

By doing elimination diets and keeping a food journal, I’ve discovered that my body cannot handle dairy or gluten. And since contracting Lyme Disease and dealing with the inflammation and problems that arise with an ongoing bacterial infection, I can now no longer handle grains and nuts & seeds on a regular or even semi regular basis.

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So while I’m always gluten and dairy free, it’s back to grain free and nut free living the majority of the time for me. My body has certainly given me some red flags that cannot be ignored. And since my goal is healthy living and feeling well, I listen to my body.

Thankfully, there are still plenty of delicious and healthy foods that we can all enjoy, even on what most people would consider very strict diets.

2016-02-20 11.06.36

Grain Free & Dairy Free Cinnamon Rolls

*Makes 15 cinnamon rolls

For the dough:

2/3 Cup Arrowroot (plus more for rolling)

1 1/2 Cups Sweet Potato Flour

3/4 Cup Coconut Flour

4 teaspoons Xanthan Gum

4 teaspoons Double Acting Baking Powder

3/4 teaspoon Sea Salt

3 Tablespoons Yeast

3 Tablespoons Coconut Sugar

2/3 Cup Dairy Free Butter

6 Eggs Separated

3 Tablespoons Grass Fed Gelatin

1 Cup Cool Water

3 Tablespoons Apple Cider Vinegar

For the filling:

About 3/4 Cup Dairy Free Butter (room temperature)

About 3/4 Cup Coconut Sugar

Ground Cinnamon

For the Frosting:

Powdered Sugar

Dairy Free Butter

Pure Almond Extract

Water

Measure the arrowroot, sweet potato flour, coconut flour, xanthan gum, baking powder, salt, yeast, and sugar into a medium bowl and whisk well to combine. Measure in the dairy free butter and work lightly through the dough with your fingers until the butter is about the size of small peas and distributed throughout the flour mixture (or use a pastry cutter). Set aside.

Next, separate the eggs. Place the egg whites in a stand mixer with a whisk attachment and beat until stiff peak.

In a glass measuring cup filled to 1 cup with cool water, add the 3 Tablespoons of gelatin and quickly whisk with a fork. Place in the microwave and heat for 25 seconds. Add the egg yolks to the beaten egg whites, add the apple cider vinegar, and turn the mixter on low. Slowly drizzle the gelatin mixture into the egg mixture. Beat on medium for 15 seconds.

Switch the whisk attachement to the paddle attachement and with the mixer on low, slowly add the flour and butter mixture. Once it’s all been added, turn the mixture on medium and beat for one minute. It will be very wet.

Place a piece of parchment paper on your counter and flour it with arrowroot or sweet potato flour (arrowroot is much less expensive). Spray a 13x9x2 baking dish with coconut oil and set aside. Turn the oven to 375 degrees.

Scrape the dough onto the floured parchment paper and sprinkle with more flour. Pat into a rectangle with floured hands and roll dough out with a floured rolling pin to about the size of a baking sheet.

Dot the dough all over with the room temperature dairy free butter. Spread with a spatula. Sprinkle with the coconut sugar and spread out a little if necessary with your hands, and then sprinkle generously (very) with the ground cinnamon.

Using the parchment, carefully roll up the dough into a cylinder, pressing the dough down a little as you go to seal. Pinch the ends and squish them in a little. Cut into about 2 inch sections and place in rows in the baking dish. Cover loosely with sprayed plastic wrap and a kitchen towel and place on top of the oven to rise for 45 minutes.

Remove the plastic and towel and bake for 25 minutes.

Cool for 10 minutes and frost. The frosting is a personal preference depending on how much you like. Just make a basic powdered sugar frosting flavored with pure almond extract.

2016-02-19 18.10.47

Simple Homemade Yogurt & Granola

1 Comment

2016-02-09 09.26.36

It’s interesting how we don’t crave things until we figure out we can’t have them. There’s nothing like being told that your body doesn’t deal well with dairy, gluten, and grains, to make you crave all things dairy, gluten, and grains. All the things you realize now, you took for granted when you were able to eat them supposedly without issue.

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It’s like the reverse psychology we use on our kids when they’re little to get them to do something they don’t want to do…except in reverse…reverse… if that makes any sense.

2016-02-09 09.12.03

I’ve said in previous posts how I thought going dairy free and gluten free was a walk in the park compared to going grain free, potato free, legume free, and nightshade free, like many Paleo people do. I’ve never managed a complete Paleo diet, but I have been very Paleo-ish for almost two years.

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It wasn’t until recently that I began adding non gluten grains, legumes, nuts & seeds, and white potatoes back into my diet in very small amounts on a semi-regular basis. I was curious to see how my body would react after abstaining for so long. I also have been working on my gut health which is the key to healing and getting rid of food sensitivities.

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So far, I’m only doing small amounts, and as long as I don’t overdo it, it seems to be working out OK. If I have a reaction to something I eat, I can usually tell within a couple of hours with the onset of a headache or stiffness in my joints. Sometimes, it doesn’t hit until the next morning when I wake up with stiff fingers, puffy eyes, and feeling like I have a hangover. This is why I tell people who are having health issues to keep a food journal. We have busy lives, it’s difficult to remember what we eat every day, what we’re dealing with stress wise, and how it’s affecting us. With a daily food journal, you can find patterns in your diet that are causing issues. Keep in mind, food issues don’t just cause physical problems. They contribute to PMS, anxiety, sleeplessness, depression, mood swings, anger, ADD and ADHD…the list goes on.

2016-02-08 09.59.09

I’ve held off on oatmeal for a long time. Every time my husband has it for breakfast, I think it smells and looks amazing. Which is strange, because I wasn’t much of an oatmeal eater at all before I gave up grains. I do believe that our bodies crave what they need though. It’s important to pay attention to that, as long as what you’re craving isn’t junk.

2016-02-09 09.20.05

So I took the leap yesterday and decided to make gluten free granola that we can eat on coconut milk yogurt or just as a snack now and then. It’s nice to be able to switch up your breakfast routine with something exciting. I either eat dinner leftovers, smoothies, eggs, and on Sundays we usually have buckwheat pancakes (buckwheat is a seed). Sometimes though, I wake up and think I’d rather not eat anything than face the same old thing every day! Being able to eat yogurt with a bit of granola on the top of it yesterday was a real treat. I may even have it again this morning.

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I do a lot of reading and research, and the bottom line is that your gut is the center of your health. Commit that to memory. It’s imperative to know what foods you’re sensitive to and to take care of your gut. You can even change your DNA history and the DNA history of your future family generations with your diet! Research suggests that autoimmune diseases are all linked to the gut microbiome. In fact, many prominent scientists and doctors believe that all illness is related to our gut health. If our gut isn’t healthy, neither is the rest of our body, and as a result of that, we aren’t able to fight off infections, viruses, and cancers.

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Your main focus with food allergies, sensitivities, and illness, should be your gut. Once that begins to heal, your entire body will begin to heal. Eventually, you’ll be able to start testing the foods that bothered you previously. But remember, healing the gut from years of abuse and damage takes time, and it’s possible that there will be some foods you’ll never be able to tolerate. Sometimes it’s two steps forward and one step back. But eventually, you’ll reap the benefits of a healthy diet and it will change your life.

Coconut Milk Yogurt

The recipe below is the “quick” method for making yogurt. If you would like to make yogurt the traditional way with kefir grains, you can go HERE for more information.

**I use this yogurt maker. It’s only $20 on Amazon Prime and works great.

4 1/2 Cups of 100% Coconut Milk

2 Tablespoons of Pure Maple Syrup (You can use 2 organic dates instead, or organic raw honey)

Powder from 1 Probiotic Capsule (I use one with different strains than what is in my daily probiotic capsule)

2 1/2 teaspoons of Grass Fed Gelatin

In a blender, add the coconut milk, maple syrup, and probiotic powder. Blend on medium low until fully combined. Turn the blender to low and while it’s running, slowly sprinkle in the gelatin. Turn blender on medium and blend for 30 seconds. Pour into the yogurt cups, turn the yogurt maker on, tighten the lids, put the cover on, and allow to sit for 8-10 hours. I also cover mine with a towel to keep the heat in, as we keep our house cool. Halfway into warming time, you’ll notice the milk has separated. Pick up each yogurt container and swirl to combine and allow to warm for the remaining time.

When done warming, swirl the cups again to combine the liquids and refrigerate overnight before eating. It will thicken as it cools.

 Blueberry Almond Granola

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2 Cups of Gluten Free Rolled Oats

1/4 Cup of Pure Maple Syrup

1/8 Cup of Avocado Oil

Pinch of Sea Salt

1 teaspoon of Ground Cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon of Ground Ginger

1/4 Cup of Activated Raw Almonds, roughly chopped

1/2 Cup of Organic Dried Blueberries

Cover a baking sheet with parchment and set aside. Toss all ingredients together in a medium bowl until oil is evenly distributed. Spread out onto the parchment paper and bake 20-25 minutes stirring halfway through. I like my granola darker and crunchy, so I went the full 25 minutes. Make sure you watch it though, at a certain point, it darkens very quickly and burns easily. It will crisp more as it cools too. Allow to cool completely and store in an airtight container.

2016-02-09 09.26.36

Cherry Turnovers

4 Comments

I hear from a lot of people that they don’t like to bake.

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Many complain that it’s too labor intensive, or they’re single or there’s only two of them left at home and much of their baked goods go to waste.

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Or, it’s too calorie dense.

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I can’t help you with your calorie worries, other than to tell you that life’s way, way, too short not to indulge in an extra special treat now and then. Especially pastries!

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But, I can tell you that if you want to learn to love baking, preparation is key, especially when baking things that require a crust.

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I try to keep a batch of pie dough in my freezer at all times. That way, when the mood strikes, we have unannounced company, or a birthday dinner is coming up like last night, all I have to do is thaw it and roll it out.

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For me, making the dough and baking with it at the same time, seems labor intensive.

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Plus, most doughs require refrigeration prior to use anyway.

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With the dough made ahead of time, whipping up an impressive dessert or even a chicken pot pie, or quiche, with little notice is pretty darn easy.

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If there’s only one or two of you at your home and you think these aren’t going to get eaten in time, these pastries freeze very well. You can also cut the recipe in half, or even quarter it. I wrap each one in a freezer bag and then layer them in a larger freezer bag. Simply take out however many individual servings you plan on eating and allow them to thaw before serving.

2016-02-08 12.49.55

 Cherry Turnovers

~ Makes 14 Turnovers~

*Preheat oven to 35o degrees

1 Recipe of my Gluten Free & Dairy Free Pie Dough

3 – 14.5 oz cans of Tart Cherries, drained well

1/2 Cup of Coconut Sugar

3 Tablespoons of Mama’s All Purpose Almond Flour, plus more for rolling

1 teaspoon of Pure Almond Extract

About 4 Cups of Confectioners Sugar

About 1/4 Cup of Dairy Free Butter

2 teaspoons of Pure Almond Extract

Water to thin out frosting

Remove dough discs from freezer and allow to thaw on counter for about 30 minutes. If you’re making the dough the same day you’re making the turnovers, refrigerate the dough for two hours before rolling. Place a large sieve over a large bowl and drain all the cherries while lining two baking sheets with parchment, preparing your rolling surface, and preheating the oven.

Move the drained cherries to a large bowl and add the sugar, flour, and 1 teaspoon of almond extract. Toss carefully to combine thoroughly. Set aside. Roll dough out one disc at a time and cut into rounds. Place rounds on baking sheets. Continue to roll out dough until you have enough rounds to top the turnovers. Once the rounds are on the sheets, pat each one out a little bit with your fingers.

Place a large spoonful of the cherry mixture in the middle of each round on the baking sheets. With a spoon, drizzle a small amount of cherry juice around all of the edges. Roll each top out a little more after cutting and cover the cherries. Press down into the cherry juice on the bottoms, and crimp edges (I used the handle end of a fork). Poke each top once or twice with fork tines.

Bake for 35 minutes. Move to cooling racks and let rest for 30 minutes before frosting.

For the frosting:

Melt the butter, add the powdered sugar and almond extract. Whisk until combined adding a little water at a time to make a thick drizzling consistency. Drizzle over the tops of each turnover, allow to set before serving.

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Happy 49th to my hubby. xoxo

2016-02-07 09.54.06

Instant Pot Braised Beef

7 Comments

I’m still singing the praises of the Instant Pot.

Seriously. You need one.

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Life will be easier and better with one.

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I love this braised beef dish but without the Instant Pot, it has to simmer on the stove for at least three hours.

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Which means I have to stick around for those three hours to adjust the flame and check on things. If you’d like the slow version you can go here.

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In the Instant Pot, this braised beef dish takes just about an hour from beginning of prep to the end.

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It tastes just as delicious as if it simmered for three hours, if not even better. The actual pressure cooking time is only 43 minutes.

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Sometimes I serve it over mashed potatoes and sometimes over roasted potatoes like this night.

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Or, you can serve it over rice, quinoa, pasta, whatever you like.

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The morning after, I had it warmed up for breakfast with a side of grain free bread and dairy free butter.

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Instant Pot Braised Beef

2 Pounds of Beef Stew Meat

1 Large Onion, sliced

About 10 Large Cremini Mushrooms, sliced

5 Garlic Cloves, peeled & minced

1/2 Cup of Sun Dried Tomatoes (the ones packed in oil)

6 oz Can of Tomato Paste

4 Cups of Beef Broth

1 Cup of a Good Red Wine

1 Bay Leaf

1 Tablespoon of Dried Rosemary

1 Tablespoon of Dried Oregano

1 Tablespoon of Dried Thyme

Several Grinds of Fresh Pepper

1 teaspoon of Sea Salt

Avocado Oil for Browning

2 Tablespoons of Arrowroot Flour

Place the Instant Pot on your stove top under your overhead fan and plug in. Press “saute”. Drizzle the pot with avocado oil and wait for it to heat up. Add the meat and saute until browned. I had to remove some liquid so it would brown thoroughly (reserve the liquid!).

(While the meat is browning, prepare your potatoes for roasting or boiling. When I roast mine I cut them into wedges and toss in avocado oil, garlic powder, sea salt, and oregano. Then I lay them out on a parchment covered baking sheet. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and set potatoes aside.)

When the meat is browned removed to a bowl and set aside. Drizzle a little more avocado oil into the pot and add the onions and mushrooms. Saute until the onions are almost translucent. Add the minced garlic and saute.

Unplug and transfer from the stovetop to the counter. Plug in.

Add the meat, any reserved meat juices, the tomato paste, the herbs, salt and pepper, beef broth, and wine. Stir well to combine ingredients. Secure the lid, push the “Meat/Stew” setting, and adjust the time up to 43 minutes. Put the potatoes in the preheated oven to roast. Everything will be done right about the same time.

When the timer on the Instant Pot goes off, release the pressure. Remove the lid, hit the cancel button. Push the “saute” button. Mix 2 Tablespoons of Arrowroot Flour with about 2 Tablespoons of water or so, mix well and drizzle while stirring into the braised beef. It will thicken quickly. Turn the pot off and serve.

Grain Free Mini Focaccia

2 Comments

This is one of my favorite ways to make a really quick focaccia. It’s incredibly easy and they are very tasty.

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They are the perfectly sized for individual servings and go great with salads and pasta.

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I even love to pop the leftovers in the toaster and eat them warmed when I’m hungry for a “bread-like” snack. They’ll make your house smell fabulous while they’re baking (and in the toaster!)

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They also work very well for party snacks. You can make them even smaller and serve them with a few nice wedges of hard cheese and sauteed mushrooms and onions, or roasted garlic, balsamic, olive oil…pesto…there are a lot of options! They’re also great for road trip food, and even for camping.

I also use this base for my grain free pizza crust that I’ll be posting later this week.

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Enjoy!

Grain Free Mini Focaccia

*14 Servings

Preheat Oven to 375 degrees

For the Topping:

1/4 Cup of Extra Virgin Olive Oil

6 Cloves of Garlic, minced

About 1/2 Tablespoon of Rosemary, Thyme, & Oregano

A Generous Amount of Sea Salt

Mix it all together with a fork and set aside.

For the Dough:

2 Boxes of Chebe Focaccia Mix

4 Tablespoons of Extra Virgin Olive Oil

4 Eggs

1/2 Cup of Water

About 1 Tablespoon of Garlic Powder

About 1/2 Tablespoon of Oregano

About 1/2 Tablespoon of Thyme

Sometimes I use Bragg’s Seasoning Instead

Measure all the ingredients into a medium bowl and stir with a fork until dry ingredients are wet. Then, kneed with hand until dough forms a ball and is relatively smooth. Pinch or cut dough into 14 pieces and pat out onto parchment lined baking sheets (2).

With a pastry brush, generously brush each focaccia with the oil and herb mixture. You will have some leftover which will be used to brush over the top again after baking.

Bake for 20-30 minutes. (I use convection)