This recipe is adapted from James Trenda’s Ultimate Paleo Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe. His chocolate chip cookies are my all time favorite. They. Are. So. Good. They don’t taste grain free or dairy free either. I tweak his chocolate chip recipe a bit by using coconut sugar instead of maple sugar and lowering the amount from 12 ounces to 10 ounces. I also just use arrowroot instead of his combination of arrowroot and tapioca. I’ve tried different combinations of grain free flours, to no avail. And really, why mess with something so delicious?
The other day I was thinking about his chocolate chip cookies, as I often do…and wondering…what if I were to switch it up a bit with other tweaks and additions? That is where the double chocolate cherry chip cookies were born. The first time I tried, it was a flat cookie failure.
With a few tweaks here and there, the second attempt resulted in a delectable chocolaty cookie with the surprise of cherry filled bites.
Double Chocolate Cherry Chip Cookies
Depending on size, this recipe makes about 18 cookies
2 3/4 Cups Chestnut Flour
1/2 Cup plus 1 Tablespoon of Sweet Potato Flour
1/2 Cup of Arrowroot
1/2 Cup of Cocoa Powder
1/2 teaspoon of Espresso Powder or Instant Coffee Powder
1 teaspoon of Sea Salt
1 teaspoon of Baking Soda
1 Cup plus 3 Tablespoons of Coconut Oil (solid, not melted)
2 Cups of Coconut Sugar
3 Tablespoons of Full Fat Coconut Milk
1 teaspoon of Pure Vanilla Extract
1 Cup of Dairy Free Mini Chocolate Chips
3/4 Cup of Dried Cherries
Measure the chestnut flour, sweet potato flour, arrowroot, cocoa powder, espresso powder, sea salt, and baking soda into a medium bowl and whisk to combine.
In the bowl of your mixer, add the coconut oil and coconut sugar and beat to combine. Just until it comes together. Add the coconut milk and vanilla. Then add the eggs, one at a time mixing thoroughly. Add the chocolate chips and cherries and mix on medium low until incorporated.
Refrigerate dough for 1 hour. Preheat oven to 35o degrees.
Line baking sheets with parchment and take a spoon full of cookie dough. Flatten it out slightly with your fingers (sometimes it’s somewhat solid from chilling). Bake for 10 – 12 minutes.
Living a grain free life is not an easy row to hoe. Existing on just meat, fish, vegetables, and fruit is fabulously anti inflammatory and healthy, but every now and then we need a little treat.
Something that says comfort and makes the house smell amazing. So I’ve made it my mission for the fall and winter to try to come up with more grain free recipes that we can have on Sunday mornings, with company, on holidays, or just when we need a special little something.
The reason I started this food blog is so that people could see that meals and snacks can still be enjoyable while being allergen free, organic, refined sugar free, whole, and healthy. You can find a large variety of recipes here that are gluten free, dairy free, and grain free. Some call for refined sugar but can easily be replaced with unrefined coconut sugar.
And while I don’t recommend eating any type of sugar on a regular basis, or even grain or gluten free baked items on a regular basis, it’s nice to have a treat now and then that feels extra special.
Once you have a handle on what types of foods you’re sensitive to, there really are so many different ways to work around those issues without feeling like you’ve had to give up everything you love. It takes a little research and effort, but that’s what you have me for.
Cinnamon Date Rolls
*8 Large Servings
For the Filling:
1/2 Cup of Dairy Free Soy Free Butter
1/2 Cup of Coconut Sugar
2 teaspoons of Cinnamon
Pinch of Sea Salt
For The Crumble Topping:
1/2 Cup of Coconut Flour
4 Tablespoons of Sweet Potato Flour
2 Tablespoons of Arrowroot
1/2 Cup of Coconut Sugar
2 teaspoons of Cinnamon
3/4 Cup of Dairy Free Soy Free Butter
1/2 Cup of Pecans, chopped
For the Rolls:
12 Medjool Dates, seeded and chopped
2/3 Cup of Arrowroot
1 1/2 Cups of Sweet Potato Flour
1 Cup of Coconut Flour
4 teaspoons of Xanthan Gum
4 teaspoons of Double Acting Baking Powder
1 teaspoon of Sea Salt
3 teaspoons of Cinnamon
2/3 Cup of Dairy Free Soy Free Butter
3 Tablespoons of Yeast
2 1/2 Tablespoons of Coconut Sugar
1/2 Cup of Warm Water
6 Eggs, separated
3 Tablespoons of Apple Cinder Vinegar
3 Tablespoons of Grass Fed Gelatin
1/2 Cup of Cool Water
Extra arrowroot for hands
*Turn the oven to 375 degrees.
For the filling: Mix all ingredients together in a bowl until smooth and fully incorporated with the butter. Set aside.
For the topping: Whisk all the dry ingredients and chopped nuts together. Cut in the butter. Set aside.
For the rolls:
Spray an 8 1/2 x 11 pan and line bottom with parchment. Set aside.
Measure the arrowroot, sweet potato flour, coconut flour, xanthan gum, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon into a medium bowl. Whisk to combine and cut in butter. Set aside.
In measuring cup, combine the warm water, yeast, and coconut sugar, whisk and set aside.
In a stand mixer, whisk the egg whites to soft peak. Add the egg yolks and quickly whisk to combine. Turn off mixer and add yeast mixture.
In a microwavable measuring cup, add the 1/2 cup water and gelatin and whisk. Heat for 20 seconds and remove. With the mixer on low, slowly drizzle the gelatin mixture into the egg mixture. Add the apple cider vinegar and mix to combine.
Switch out the whisk for a paddle piece. Add the flour and butter mixture in three parts, mixing on medium. Add the dates.
The dough will be wet. Scoop dough out onto a piece of parchment floured with arrowroot. Flour your hands. Do NOT knead the dough. Separate the dough into 8 similar sized portions.
Taking one portion at a time, pat out into an oblong shape. Don’t overwork it or try to make it smooth. Take a small spoonful of the filling and spread along the length. Pinch both long sides together so that it looks like a fat, short, snake. Take both ends and bring them together forming a circle and pinch together. Place in the pan and repeat until finished. If you have leftover filling, place a dollop on the top of each roll.
Sprinkle the crumble topping over the rolls, cover lightly with sprayed plastic wrap and a light kitchen towel. Set on top of the stove (while the oven is heating) and let rise for 35 minutes.
Remove the towel and plastic and bake for about 30-35 minutes. I use convection which cooks faster. If you’re using conventional, start checking the rolls at 30 minutes and go from there. You want then “just done”, if they are over baked they will be dry.
They can be served room temperature or warm with a dollop of dairy free butter on top.
I’m thinking I need to have chocolate crepes for breakfast more often. When is chocolate not a good idea? Uhhhh..never.
I woke up feeling like I can only guess what a curmudgeonly 90 year old feels like. Stiff and tired and brain foggy and grumpy. When I have those days, it helps foster more compassion for the angry old people I see in the grocery store. If only I could serve them all chocolate crepes and give them a hug and tell them, “I understand!”.
I contemplated staying in bed with a book or a Netflix binge. But, if I’m not feeling absolutely terrible, I force myself to get out of bed and get moving. My friend Tamela and I talked about the levels of sickness when you have a chronic illness the other day. Guess what, she’s not chronically ill, and she understood what I was talking about. I love that about her. Those “sick” levels either allow you to do things with your day or don’t, and it can be different every day. Some days, the hardest battle you’ll fight, is with yourself. But we’ll talk about that another time.
I dragged myself out of bed and saw my husband off to work. He had to come back twice for things he’d forgotten. Seems we were both feeling a bit foggy. I logged into a group I belong to where I watched two videos by friends I admire very much. It’s an out of the box kind of support group, and the people in it, have been instrumental in my life in so many ways that I cannot even begin to list them. Let’s just say, they helped save me from myself.
One video was recorded from London and one was live from L.A. The first video was about the importance of having a friend you can trust to unload all the things that are weighing on you. Someone who will just listen with love and understanding and no judgement. What you tell them doesn’t need to make sense to them or even to you, and you don’t need them to solve it, you just need to get it out there. Sometimes, we don’t really know why we’re in a funk and we just need to list all the things that are heavy. Your feelings may change a day from then or even an hour from that point, but right then and there, it’s important to have someone in your life who will be that listener.
The second live discussion was about the stress of feeling overwhelmed. How we often jump in with both feet a little too fast and a little too hard and end up frozen or not being able to move forward because the enormity of how we’ve chosen to tackle it, is just too much. Its OK to admit that you know. It was about stepping back and finding new ways to manage all the things on our plate. By looking at each task on its own and breaking it down into small steps and increments, we are able to alleviate that overwhelming tendency to have that “all or nothing” attitude. We all know when we are overwhelmed. We feel anxious, exhausted, grumpy, and want to run in the other direction and things rarely get accomplished like we’d hoped. We’re mean to ourselves about it. We feel guilty. You know the drill.
The reason I love my “support” group is because they’re real. Not one person is fake. We are all there for the same reasons. We are raw and honest and completely transparent and everyone respects it. We are all there to grow, to learn, to give support and get support, to become our best selves and we do that by learning from each other and by being honest. By being a friend. By giving hope to those who have wandered off their path and feel lost. The focus is about peeling off the layers of “pretend” that this world insists we carry. With layers and layers of pretend, you can’t get to know yourself or anyone else in a truly authentic way. You can’t reach out for support or give proper support. You can’t heal anything or be genuinely, deeply, happy when you are protecting yourself with layers of pretend.
The coolest part about those videos this morning? They were personal stories from the people who were doing them. It wasn’t a tutorial on how they have the perfect life and have it all together and how, “you can too!”. They are both successful life coaches, successful, human beings. And guess what? They struggle too and they’re not afraid to show it. They aren’t afraid to reach out when they need it. That’s what makes them successful. And I don’t mean monetarily. I mean success at a healthy, happy, life.
My morning improved dramatically when I reached out. When I allowed people to hear how I felt. When I allow people to see the real me, the struggling me, me in all my forms, happy, sad, together, not together, it opens amazing doors into deep connection with others and true friendships. It leaves room for people to be authentic. To say, “Hey…ME TOO!!” And when people can say, “Hey me too!” there is less judgement, more room for sharing and support, and room for what I believe relationships are really supposed to look like. Authentic. Not always easy or comfortable, but always worth it.
Authentic is my mantra. Even when I wake up and feel like a crippled curmudgeon and want to hide from the world. I don’t like people to see me sick or struggling, or even unhappy. But, that is life. There is no reason to hide it or pretend that it is anything different. I reached out this morning, I sought support and a kind word from true friends. It felt so good, I gave support too! Sometimes when you feel like you have so little to give, all it takes is a couple friends to remind you that it doesn’t take much to fill up the tank, even to spilling over.
Love is a healer. Kindness is a healer. Being your authentic you and setting aside the fear of what other’s will think, say, or do, is a healer. Guess what? I was able to peel off that 90 year old layer. I’m not as stiff, I’m not as brain foggy, I’m not grumpy at all anymore.
Reach out. Love you. xo
Chocolate Pumpkin Spice Crepes with Peach Compote & Chocolate Coconut Whipped Cream
*Makes about 8 crepes. Serves 2 people.
It’s best to make the peaches first so they have time to cool. You can eat them warm too, but the whipped cream you’ll want to put on top of them will melt.
About 1 1/2 Cups of Frozen or Fresh Peaches
1/2 teaspoon of Pumpkin Spice
1 Tablespoon of Coconut Sugar
Bring ingredients to a simmer in a medium saute pan. Turn the burner to barely just a simmer and allow the juices to mingle and thicken. About 10-15 minutes. Remove from burner and cool.
1/2 Cup of Sweet Potato Flour
1 Tablespoon of Coconut Flour
2 Tablespoons of Cacao Powder
2 teaspoons of Coconut Sugar
Dash of Sea Salt
1 1/2 teaspoons of Pumpkin Spice
1 Cup of 100% Full Fat Coconut Milk
2 Tablespoons of Water
1 1/2 teaspoons of Pure Vanilla Extract
Whisk all ingredients together in a deep bowl until completely incorporated (makes it easier for scooping) and set aside. Heat a crepe pan or non stick small frying pan on medium. Oil with a little dairy free butter. You won’t need to oil for every crepe.
Using a 1/4 cup dry measuring cup, scoop out crepe mix and pour it into the pan swirling gently to fill the bottom of the pan. When you are able to pick the pan up and loosen the crepe, it’s ready to be flipped (it’s a fast process, don’t overcook them!). Flip with a large spatula so it doesn’t tear and cook on the other side for just a few seconds. I slide mine out onto a plate covered with parchment. They won’t stick to each other. Repeat.
Chocolate Whipped Cream
1 Cup of 100% Full Fat Coconut Milk
2 Tablespoons of Cacao Powder
2-3 Tablespoons of Powdered Sugar (or whatever sweetener you like to use)
2 teaspoons of Pure Vanilla Extract
In a stand mixer, whisk the coconut milk (I have to cover mine with a towel) until thickened. Turn off the mixer and add the cacao powder and the powdered sugar. Cover again, and whisk until incorporated, scraping down the sides once or twice. Add the vanilla and whisk until thickened. This can be made ahead of time too and lasts quite nicely in the fridge for 24 hours. The coconut water will separate a bit, but all you have to do is pour it off. Don’t stir the whipped cream!
This will just be a quickie because I like to keep this blog about all of the cool things in life like food and family and experiences.
However, I feel compelled to speak about this because I see it more and more on social media, within Lyme groups, and how people who are battling Lyme Disease refer to themselves.
I don’t know where this meme came from so I can’t credit it, I found it on Pinterest. This person (along with countless others) has labeled themselves a, LYMIE. And do you notice how cutsie and pretty the meme is?
If I was going to make a meme about me having Lyme Disease, I can guarantee you it would not look like this.
If I hear another person dealing with Lyme Disease refer to themselves as a “Lymie”, I’m going to blow a gasket.
You are NOT a lymie. You are a human being in a great battle with a chronic bacterial infection, but you are NOT the illness you battle. Don’t label yourself. Don’t own negative crap like that. Don’t get comfortable with it, don’t hug it and cuddle with it and make it part of your identity. Look at it logically, like how you would read directions on how to build a shelf. And with that amount of emotion. Educate yourself, find treatments that work for you, take care of yourself, but don’t get so wrapped up in the weight of it all that it becomes your identity and you begin to label yourself with pet names like “Lymie” or “Spoonie”.
Focus on all of the parts of you outside of Lyme Disease. Yes, I understand that having this infection changes our lives. I understand that many of us can’t do all of the things we used to be able to do, that we feel like crap a lot and that it’s a major challenge and sometimes can be very scary and is frustrating ALL the time. I get that.
But you are still YOU. Set aside what others think about this illness. Make sure people in your life are treating you like YOU. Focus on the parts of you that need loving tenderness and fun and excitement and fulfillment. At whatever level you can do. Take small, even tiny, steps toward doing things the non-sick you would do. Every little moment and every little step toward focusing on the blessings in your life no matter how large or infinitesimal, makes a huge impact on your health.
You are not your illness, you are battling an illness, there is a big difference.
xo ~ Gluten Free Zen
This was my first tri tip experience. Our typical meaty go to is marinated and grilled flank steak, but to find it grass fed and somewhat local is a task. They are priced about the same, 2 lbs of grass fed for about $24.00, which served along other side dishes will feed about 3-4 people. I loved the cooking method as it was out of the ordinary for me and the taste was fabulous! The tender meat combined with the spicy and bold flavors of the rub was amazing. I’ll be stocking up on tri tip in the future and experimenting with different dry rubs and serving ideas.
For this dry rub I used a generous amount of sea salt, garlic powder, chili powder, cumin, oregano, cilantro, hot pepper flakes, and freshly ground pepper.
I had to Google how to prepare a tri tip. Ha! The method made me a little nervous because I didn’t want to end up with a tough, grainy, chunk of meat. Tri tips are thick and grass fed meat isn’t very fatty and doesn’t provide a lot of marbling for tenderness. Thankfully, it all went well and was so fabulous I’ve been thinking we may need another one this week.
It’s important to pay attention to the natural direction of the grain prior to coating with the rub and cooking. My hand is pointed in the natural direction of the grain.
The secret to enjoying certain types of meats that would otherwise be tough, is not only in the preparation but also in how long it rests after it’s been cooked and especially the angle at which it’s cut.
After it’s cooked, you’ll cut it in thin slices against (across) the grain.
Once you’ve trimmed off any large pieces of silver skin, place the meat into a dish prior to coating with the rub.
Then begin sprinkling and patting the rub all over the meat, making sure every nook and cranny is nicely coated. Cover, and place in the fridge for a minimum of 4 hours or it can also be prepared a day ahead of cooking.
Remove from the fridge and allow to come to room temperature (or close) for about 30-45 minutes. Set the oven to 450 degrees (I used convection). Heat a dry (don’t add oil) ovenproof pan to medium high/high and sear the meat on both sides until almost blackened. You’ll need a well working stove top fan for this…mine is pitiful so I had to open all the doors and windows for a cross breeze. You can also do this entire cooking process on a grill as long as your grill heats very, very, well and consistent. I started mine off on our grill and was worried it was taking too long and would overcook so moved to the kitchen method instead.
Once it’s seared really well on both sides, put it in the oven for 8-10 minutes. I used convection which cooks faster. 8 minutes with convection will get you medium rare, 10 will get you medium. Of course, the ends are thinner and smaller so they will likely be closer to medium regardless of time. If you’re not using convection, cook for 10 minutes and test with a meat thermometer. For medium rare about 125-130, medium/medium well 135-140. But keep in mind that it will continue cooking for the first few minutes it’s resting, so you may want to take it out a touch sooner than what the thermometer is telling you to do.
Remove from the oven and let rest uncovered for 15-20 minutes.
While the tri tip was cooking and resting, I sauteed some peppers, onions, and garlic for the tacos. When that was done I added black beans and sauteed until the beans were heated through.
Super easy meal from beginning to end. And quick, which you don’t normally experience with a thicker cut of meat. Once the meat has rested, remember to slice thinly against the grain for tenderness.
You can top the tacos with anything you like. Cheese, salsa, whatever sauces you think might go well. I had planned to make a creamy cilantro sauce but then discovered I didn’t have cilantro available like I thought. Next time! Even without a sauce, they were fabulous.
Spicy Tri Tip Tacos
*I’ll give a run down of ingredients. The cooking methods are above with the photos.
1 Tri Tip Roast, they are typically around 2lbs
(The amount of seasoning will vary by your taste and the amount of heat you want.)
These are approximates as I didn’t measure…
2 1/2 teaspoons of Sea Salt
1 1/2 Tablespoons of Garlic Powder
1 1/2 Tablespoons of Chili Powder
1 1/2 Tablespoons of Cumin
1 1/2 Tablespoons of Oregano
1 1/2 Tablespoons of Cilantro
1 teaspoon of Hot Red Pepper Flakes
Several Grinds of Fresh Peppercorns
2 Bell Peppers
1 Large Red Onion
Chopped Garlic (I used two large cloves)
About 1 teaspoon of Oregano
About 1 teaspoon of Chili Powder
1 Can of Black Beans, rinsed and drained
Avocado Oil for sauteing vegetables
I’ve been very mindful of my diet the last couple of weeks. I can almost hear the collective eye roll from people who can eat “anything”. Such is life. I can’t eat anything I want, although I’d certainly like to, so therefore I have to be really aware of what I feed my body. I am always gluten and dairy free. But even with abstaining from gluten and dairy, there are plenty of inflammatory foods that if eaten on a regular basis, can cause some significant issues for me. We’ve talked about the effects of the inflammation bucket in the past, and over the last few weeks, mine has been spilling over.
I’ve been in what I would consider a “medium” Lyme flare for 6 weeks. It took me a couple weeks to even recognize what was going on because I had been feeling so good for several months prior to the flare. It’s as if I had almost forgotten I even had Lyme if you can believe it! The flare is a reminder that even when we’re feeling really good, we can’t forget that our bodies don’t work like the average Joe’s body. We have to stay on top of things even if what we’d really like to do is forget we’re in a battle with a very smart and nasty and potentially deadly, bacterial infection.
One major component of a Lyme flare is inflammation. I swear inflammation is the root of all evil when it comes to illness. Once you get past the point of mild inflammation, things just get uglier from there. It can take several weeks to several months to get it back under control. So as soon as it finally dawned on me what the heck was going on, I went into inflammation battling mode.When we can put out the flame, our immune system can fight its battle properly.
The first thing I always do when I recognize a flare is examine my diet and lifestyle and start asking myself a lot of questions. Have I been too loosey goosey? Inflammatory foods aren’t just problematic for the obvious reasons, they also cause gut issues which further imbalances the immune system. Am I detoxing enough? Detox is something people with Lyme have to keep up with on a regular basis. Our livers need help getting rid of toxins. Are my intestines eliminating on a regular basis? (In other words, we need to be pooping a lot, and often!) Am I eating enough vegetables that feed the good bacteria in my gut (pre biotics)? Do I need to consider switching up my supplements and probiotics? Have I been too generous with gluten free grains, sugar, and ignoring my stress level? Have I been exercising to much or too little? Have I changed something that may be causing issues?
Self care has to stay consistent in order to keep the Lyme bacteria in remission. Consistency isn’t always easy. Sometimes flares are completely out of our control, but other times, it can be due to sticking our heads in the sand and not sticking to a good health plan. Stress is the number one issue for me when it comes to my immune system. The second issue is germy, sick people whose germs wiggle under the radar. And equal to pesky germs, is the impact that my diet choices have on my body. I have to be careful because any imbalance in my immune system and it flies off on a negative health tangent. Making sure my self care is at top notch (which it wasn’t), helps me deal with attacks on my immune system.
I have also had to remind myself that even when I’m feeling great, gluten free grains and other inflammatory foods can be a big problem if I add them to my daily diet. Because I was feeling so well, I was being a little careless with the inflammatory foods. My body can process them and handle the inflammation if I indulge every now and then, but not on a regular basis.
So, the last two weeks while I’ve been practicing intuitive eating (see my last post), I’ve also been experimenting with different types of foods to see how my body reacts. I eat two or three meals a day with anti inflammatory, very clean foods, and then every couple of days I’ve been trying one item with gluten free grains, or certain potatoes, or other inflammatory foods. It’s been interesting to see my body’s response. Very telling.
I’m getting reacquainted with my body in different ways and am getting the inflammation under control. Sometimes it takes a painful and worrisome setback for us to be mindful and remember that self care and consistency need to be the foundation of healthy living. It’s back to basics and grain free foods with a major focus on anti inflammatory foods and detox. I’ll save the little indulgences for special occasions.
Going “Back To Basics” certainly doesn’t have to be boring though! This breakfast cake is grain free and dairy free. It can also be made without refined sugar by using coconut sugar in the frosting.
Grain Free Blueberry Breakfast Cake
*Makes 16 servings
3/4 Cups of Coconut Flour
1/2 Cup of Sweet Potato Flour
1/4 Cup of Arrowroot
2 teaspoons of Double Acting Baking Powder
1 teaspoon of Baking Soda
1/4 teaspoon of Sea Salt
3 Tablespoons of Coconut Sugar
6 Tablespoons of Dairy Free, Soy Free Butter
1 Cup of 100% Full Fat Coconut Milk
1 teaspoon of Pure Vanilla Extract
1 teaspoon of Pure Almond Extract
1 1/2 Cups of Frozen (or fresh) Blueberries
For the frosting I just did a basic powdered sugar frosting. Powdered sugar, almond extract, melted dairy free butter, a little water to thin.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a 9×9 inch square pan with parchment and coat with non stick spray. Set aside.
In a large bowl, whisk together all of the dry ingredients. Cut in the 6 Tablespoons of butter. Add the eggs, coconut milk, vanilla and almond extracts, and whisk to combine. Fold in the blueberries.
Spread the batter into the pan and bake (I use convection) for 35 minutes. Remove the cake from the pan by grabbing the edges of the parchment liner and place on a cooling rack. Cool completely and frost.