Grain Free Pumpkin Pecan Coffee Cake

1 Comment

_DSC3808

I know, I know. It’s a little early for all things pumpkin. For most people it’s like cilantro, they either hate all the Fall flavored stuff or love it. I’m obviously in the last category. Even though our days are still in the 80’s and 90’s, our mornings are much cooler now and typically in the low 50’s. Perfect for coffee cake and a nice cup of tea or coffee. I’m so tired…of eggs, or smoothies, or dinner leftovers for breakfast. In fact, a few times over the last couple weeks I’ve settled with just a miserable little apple until lunch because I was feeling so uninspired about my breakfast plan. I’ve changed my mind set though, and now I’m focusing on switching it up a bit and adding a little more excitement.

_DSC3830

I’m taking the coolest three week class called, “Love Your Body” through a therapist I know. She’s a Body Image Recovery Coach, and the Founder of MindSexBody Decide To Be Healthy. She studied Executive And Professional Coaching at the University of Texas at Dallas, and is currently studying Human Sexuality at Widener University…and she is full of all kinds of information pertaining to the history of body shape, objectification, and the space where fact and fiction collide where society has completely lost their minds about what healthy looks like. I have learned so much!

One of the tools we’re working with this week is intuitive eating and exercise. Intuitive eating is truly thinking about what your body needs for energy, nutrients, and satisfaction, rather than suffering through meals that are not fulfilling your personal needs. When we’re just going through the motions (or emotions) with our meals, we end up eating fast, bored to death, not being mindful, and end up unsatisfied. That leads to unhealthy food choices and over stuffing because we keep looking for that “something” we’re craving but we aren’t truly paying proper attention to it. It’s healthier to stop and really think about what your body needs at that time. Does it need healthy fats, crunchy, sweet, savory, protein, fruit, vegetables, carbohydrates?  When choosing to be more mindful about what we really need and what we’re eating to fulfill those needs, we naturally transform to the size and shape our body is comfortable and happy with. The same goes for intuitive exercise.

_DSC3834

Examining what type of exercise is the best fit for you personally that is fun, rewarding, and makes you look forward to doing it, makes all the difference. Life is too short to be doing squats if you hate them with a passion. Look for exercises that fit where you are in life. Can you slip in a few walks here and there? Maybe a hike once a week? Or maybe you’re a runner, or a CrossFit enthusiast or a swimmer. For me at this stage in my life and with my individual health concerns, I have found that Pilates and an old Jane Fonda Fat Burners workout works well for me a couple times a week. I also do some serious stretching every morning, sometimes yoga, and we also get some exercise by walking with the dogs. When Fall hits and the weather cools down, I’ll begin hiking again as well. Not because I feel like I HAVE to but because I love it and my body and mind feel better with it, than without.  Whatever it is, find what you love, and you’ll be much more apt to look forward to adding healthy, stress reducing, exercise into your weekly routine.

So maybe for the rest of this week you’d like to join me in focusing on intuitive eating and exercise? If you do, shoot me a note and let me know your thoughts. Lets start focusing on simply being the healthiest body (individually!!) we can be, rather than what the media and the rest of society has deemed to be the standard. Each of us has our own unique genetic make up that makes us who we are. We can treat it properly by focusing on making it the healthiest possible body, by ignoring outside negative voices (and our own negative commentary about ourselves) and by being more mindful of the package we’ve been given to take care of.

_DSC3793

Pumpkin Pecan Coffee Cake

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 12 Servings.

1/4 Cup of Arrowroot

1/2 Cup of Sweet Potato Flour

3/4 Cup of Coconut Flour, sifted

2 teaspoons of Double Acting Baking Powder

1 teaspoon of Baking Soda

1/4 teaspoon of Sea Salt

1 teaspoon of Pumpkin Pie Spice

3 Tablespoons of Dairy Free Butter, cold

3 Eggs

1 Cup of Canned Pumpkin

1 teaspoon of Pure Vanilla Extract

1/4 Cup of Pure Maple Syrup

For the Crumb Topping:

1/4 Cup of Coconut Flour, unsifted

2 Tablespoons of Sweet Potato Flour

1 Tablespoon of Arrowroot

4 Tablespoons of Coconut Sugar

1 teaspoon of Ground Cinnamon

6 Tablespoons of Dairy Free Butter, cold

1/4 Cup of Chopped Pecans

Measure the 3/4 cup coconut flour, 1/2 cup sweet potato flour, 1/4 cup arrowroot, baking powder, baking soda, sea salt, and pumpkin pie spice into a large bowl. Cut in the 3 Tablespoons of cold butter. Add the pumpkin, vanilla, and maple syrup and whisk to combine.

Spray an 9×9 inch baking dish with non stick spray and spread the batter. Set aside.

For the crumb topping: Measure the 1/4 Cup coconut flour, 2 Tablespoons of sweet potato flour, 1 Tablespoon of arowroot, coconut sugar, cinnamon, sea salt, and pecans into a medium bowl. Cut in the 6 Tablespoons of cold butter and sprinkle over the top of the batter.

Bake for 27 minutes. Serve warm or room temperature. I like mine warm with a little pat of dairy free butter!

 

Gluten Free Banana Bread

2 Comments

2016-07-14 08.21.20The majority of the time, I’m grain free. But every now and then, I venture out and eat gluten free grains. You can make grain free banana bread too, and I’m sure somewhere out there someone has a recipe that you’ll love…but I have yet to find or create a grain free recipe that I love.

I made this banana bread with Mama’s Coconut Blend Flour and it was absolutely delicious. The flour is a blend of coconut, tapioca, potato starch, and rice flours. It had perfect texture, it was beautifully moist, held together well, and I was able to bake it in a normal bread pan rather than my tiny bread pan made for grain free breads.

2016-07-14 08.00.17-1

When you bake with gluten free grains, things come out fluffy and cushy and light. Most grain free baked items are a heavier and more temperamental. I’m not used to being able to make bread in a normal sized bread pan and have it rise over the top. That was a treat in itself!

2016-07-14 08.22.41

Of course, actually eating the banana bread warm with lots of dairy free butter was the real treat.

2016-07-14 08.24.11

Gluten Free Banana Bread

2 Cups of Mama’s Coconut Blencond Flour

1 teaspoon of Baking Soda

1 teaspoon of Double Acting Baking Powder

1/4 teaspoon of Sea Salt

1 teaspoon of Ground cinnamon

4 eggs

3 Very Ripe Large Bananas

3/4 Cup of Coconut Sugar

1/3 Cup of Avocado Oil

1 teaspoon of Pure Vanilla Extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9×5 in loaf pan generously with coconut oil and set aside.

Whisk all of the dry ingredients together in a medium bowl. In another medium bowl whisk all of the wet ingredients and the sugar together until fully incorporated. Add the dry mix to the wet mix and fold gently, just until combined and dry ingredients are fully incorporated.

Bake for 40 minutes. (I use convection)

2016-07-14 08.21.20

Life Is Too Short Not To Eat Onion Rings

2 Comments

2016-07-14 18.54.37-1

It turns out that I’m not the only one that needs an onion ring every now and then. For those of us who can’t eat gluten and dairy, craving breaded fried foods can pose a problem. As you already know, that’s my goal here on this blog. Proving to people that an allergen free life doesn’t have to be boring and restrictive. While it may be a problem finding these types of foods when you’re eating out, it’s not a problem if you’re willing to make them at home.

Sometimes, it’s just necessary to eat comfort food and enjoy an onion ring…or 10. It’s as simple as that. Just like every now and then, I need a piece of cake for breakfast…but that’s a story for another time.

2016-07-14 18.58.37

I hadn’t planned on posting this so I don’t have any prep or process photos and the photos I do have are lacking excitement…or so I thought. I posted a couple pictures of last night’s dinner on my Gluten Free Zen Facebook page and on Instagram and received a few messages asking for the recipe. It’s a pretty simple recipe. There’s a few steps involved, but once you get that down, making them at home is worth every. single. bite.

2016-07-14 18.58.54

Gluten Free Dairy Free Onion Rings

*You’ll need a dutch oven or deep fryer and a deep fry/candy thermometer, 2 baking sheets lined with parchment or tin foil if you don’t want an oily mess, and 2 cooling racks that will fit on top of the baking sheets. You will also need a large slotted spoon or tongs.

50.7 ounces of Avocado Oil (About 1 1/2 bottles of Chosen Foods 100% Pure Avocado Oil, I buy mine at Costco)

5 Medium to Large Sweet Onions (Peeled and sliced save middles for something else)

3 plus 1 Cups of All Purpose Gluten Free Flour (I used Mama’s All Purpose Almond Flour Blend)

3 Tablespoons of Arrowroot

3 teaspoons of Garlic Powder

1  Tablespoon of Sea Salt plus more for sprinkling

1 1/2 teaspoons of Cayenne Pepper

3 teaspoons of Bragg’s Seasoning

2 teaspoons of Coconut Sugar

1 1/2 Cups of Gluten Free Beer (I used Green’s Amber Ale the dark ale would work well too)

1 Cup of Perrier (or any sparkling mineral water)

1 Large Egg

Pour the oil into the dutch oven, insert the thermometer, turn the burner on medium or slightly higher,  and heat to between 325-350 degrees. This will take some time.

(It’s easiest if you set up an ingredients “station” right next to the stove top.)

While the oil is heating measure the flour, arrowroot, garlic, sea salt, cayenne, Bragg’s, and sugar into a large bowl or baking dish. Whisk to combine. Reserve 1 cup of the flour mixture in a bowl and set aside. Dredge all of the onion slices in the larger amount of flour mixture and set aside on a paper towel or plate.

In a medium bowl combine the beer, sparkling water, and egg. Pour into the larger mixture of flour and whisk to combine.

Preheat the oven to 250 degrees and place the prepared baking sheets in the oven.

Once the oil reaches temperature:

Remove the thermometer. Take an onion and dip in the liquid flour mix, then dredge quickly in the smaller dry reserved flour mix, dip quickly one more time into the liquid mix and then put into the oil. Repeat with 6-7 slices at a time but don’t overcrowd. I let the oil heat up a bit more between each wave of onions. The onion rings won’t brown as much as traditional onion rings. Allow to cook for about 1 1/2 minutes on each side, depending on how thick the onion slices are. Remove from the oil with a slotted spoon or tongs onto the racks and season with more sea salt. Try a piece (or two) from the first batch and see if they’re crispy to your liking, then you can adjust the cooking time from there. Keep warm in the oven. Serve as soon as all the onions are done.

Dipping Sauce:

Olive oil mayo, ketchup, and sriracha. I use about 1/2 C of mayo, 1/4 C of ketchup, and a generous squeeze of sriracha. Amount will depend on how seasoned you like yours and how many people you’re feeding.

2016-07-14 18.54.37-1

Mixed Berry Tart with Goat Cheese & Coconut Cream

3 Comments

2016-07-04 13.59.07

I’ve been dreaming about and creating this dessert in my head for a while. Monday we celebrated America’s Independence Day so I had the perfect reason to make a special dessert. Not that I need a reason of course…but neither one of us like a lot of sweets lingering around the house as they become increasingly difficult to ignore.

2016-07-04 11.02.53

2016-07-04 11.07.08

2016-07-04 12.02.31

2016-07-04 12.36.53

I’m very happy with the result. The flavors are exactly what I imagined in my head.  Believe me, I’ve dreamed up countless recipes in my head that didn’t translate well into real life, so when I get a perfect outcome the first try, I allow myself a little celebration and mental high fives.

2016-07-04 11.28.47

2016-07-04 11.30.48

2016-07-04 13.24.32

2016-07-04 13.26.46

2016-07-04 13.29.57

2016-07-04 13.33.20

2016-07-04 13.37.25

The only bummer was that it fell apart when I plated it. Only because I didn’t make it the day ahead and allow it to set in the fridge over night like I had planned. So when you make it, make it a day ahead and all will be well.

2016-07-04 13.43.23

My mother’s friend turned us on to a wonderful organic store just across the border in Idaho called Pilgrim’s.  When I was growing up Pilgrim’s focused just on supplements but now it’s turned into a very lovely health food grocery store. All the fruit on the tart came from Pilgrim’s and it was gorgeous. Not one yucky piece or under ripe morsel in the whole bunch.  It made me want to move right next door so I could wander around in there every day basking in the glow of what healthy produce should look like. They sell almost everything that Whole Foods sells, just on a smaller scale.  They also have a salad bar, hot food bar, and freshly baked GLUTEN FREE (can you believe it?) goods. It’s amazing and I think it’s well worth the 20 minute or so drive seeing that I typically have to go to three grocery stores in our own town to get what I need and it’s rarely very fresh.

2016-07-04 13.53.11

2016-07-04 13.58.05

2016-07-04 13.58.16-1

For the tart filling if you’re not bothered by cow’s milk dairy, you can use cream cheese instead of the goat cheese, regular heavy cream for the whipped cream instead of coconut milk, and regular vanilla yogurt (plain  will be too tart). If you’re vegan or don’t care for goat cheese, you can substitute the goat cheese with Diaya cream style cheese. You could also add pureed fruit to the filling for different flavors. You could make it a chocolate filling by adding cocoa powder to the yogurt and goat cheese mixture and maybe some dairy free chocolate chips to the filling. There are many options to fit different needs. The crust does have gluten free grains, but you could easily make it with a grain free cookie crust as well.

2016-07-04 17.41.47

Mixed Berry Tart with Goat Cheese & Coconut Cream

*For everything to come together properly, you’ll need to make the whipped cream ahead of time. The tart will set up more solid and plate better if allowed to chill in the fridge overnight or all day prior to serving.

For the tart shell:

1 Cup Mama’s All Purpose Almond Flour

1/4 Cup of Ground Buckwheat Groat Flour (I buy the groats and grind them in my VitaMix)

1/2 teaspoon of Xanthan Gum

1/2 teaspoon of Sea Salt

2 1/2 teaspoons of Pure Almond Extract

1/3 Cup of Coconut Sugar

1/2 Cup of Dairy Free Butter, cold

Measure the flours, xanthan gum, and sea salt into a bowl and whisk to combine. In a mixer, whip the butter and coconut sugar until fully combined and creamy scraping down the sides of the bowl a few times. Add the almond extract and the flour mixture and mix on medium high until combined and the mixture begins pulling away from the sides of the bowl.

Quickly press the dough into a removable bottom tart pan. Refrigerate for at least one hour until solid and chilled. Remove from fridge and poke holes throughout the tart with a fork. Bake at 325 degrees for about 20-25 minutes until crust is a light golden color. Remove and cool completely. (I cool completely and then chill for 15 minutes in the freezer before adding the filling.)

For the filling: 

1 oz. of Goat Cheese (the log is creamier and softer than a brick of goat cheese)

1 1/4 Cups of Coconut Milk Yogurt (you can use store bought, but you may want to cut it down to 3/4 – 1 cup as mine is thicker than store bought)

Sweetened Vanilla Coconut Whipped Cream made with 2 Boxes of 100% Coconut Milk – 2 Cups (Chilled over night and then whipped into coconut cream with vanilla and sugar. I think the whipped cream is more stable when it’s allowed to rest and chill in the fridge for at least 2 hours. You could also make it a day ahead, then just pour off any amount of coconut water separation.)

Zest of 1 Lemon

About 3 Cups of Berries/Fruit For The Top Of The Tart

In a mixer with the whisk attachment, add the goat cheese and  yogurt and whip until smooth. Add the lemon zest and whip to combine. Remove the whisk and mixer bowl and gently fold in the whipped coconut cream. Pour into tart shell and smooth with a spatula. Top with desired fruits.

2016-07-04 13.59.07

Spicy Grilled Shrimp with Garlic Ginger Veggies

2 Comments

2016-06-07 17.40.58

This meal is super simple!

2016-06-07 17.17.47

In a large saute pan drizzle about 3 teaspoons of avocado oil and 1 teaspoon of sesame oil. Turn heat to medium/medium high and add 2 cups of cauliflower, 1 1/2 cups of broccoli, 1 package of cremini mushrooms sliced, 3 large minced cloves of garlic, 1 inch piece of peeled and grated ginger, a pinch of sea salt, and about 2 Tablespoons of coconut aminos. Saute until aldente.

2016-06-07 17.29.11

While the veggies are cooking, rinse the shrimp and remove the shells. Slide them onto skewers. In a small bowl, combine 2 teaspoons of coconut aminos, 1/2 teaspoon of sesame oil, 1/2 teaspoon of avocado oil, 1 Tablespoon of your favorite BBQ sauce, 1/4-1/2 teaspoon of sriracha depending on how spicy you want it, 1/2 teaspoon of garlic powder, 1/2 teaspoon of dried cilantro, and 1/8 teaspoon of dried ginger. Whisk to combine and brush onto both sides of shrimp.

Preheat a grill on high.

2016-06-07 17.37.07

Grill the shrimp quickly, only a couple of minutes on each side.

2016-06-07 17.41.14

Plate the veggies, add the shrimp, and enjoy!

2016-06-07 17.42.53

Cherry Chocolate Chip Coconut Macaroons

4 Comments

2016-06-09 10.42.03

Sometimes you just need a little something. Rather than eat my way through the pantry trying to satiate that “something” I’m craving, I just usually go ahead and make what I know will satisfy it.

These are bite size macaroons. This recipe makes 32 miniature servings. They don’t require any added sugar because the chocolate chips and cherries are just the right balance of sweet and tart.

2016-06-09 10.13.55

2016-06-09 10.14.19

2016-06-09 10.20.31

It all comes together very quickly so they’d be easy to make in a pinch if company showed up or if you felt like I do today…in need of a bit of something!

I’d say about 5 minutes to mix the dough, a few minutes to scoop them out, 18 to bake, a couple minutes to cool…that means you can have a delicious treat in under 30 minutes. A satisfying treat that ends up being lower in overall thigh growth potential than grazing through the pantry trying to satisfy the longing for what you really want.

2016-06-09 10.41.55

I love the crispy coconut mixed with the soft, tart cherries and the sweetness that comes from the chocolate. A perfect, satisfying, balance!

2016-06-09 10.49.14

Cherry Chocolate Chip Macaroons

2 Cups of Organic Unsweetened Shredded Coconut

1 Cup of Organic Unsweetened Flaked Coconut

1/2 Cup of Organic Dried Cherries, chopped

3/4 Cup of Enjoy Life Mini Chocolate Chips

1/8 teaspoon of Sea Salt

1 teaspoon of Organic Pure Almond Extract

1 teaspoon of Organic Pure Vanilla Extract

4 Organic Egg Whites

4 Tablespoons of Arroy D 100% Coconut Milk

Preheat oven to 325 degrees and line two baking sheets with parchment.

Measure all ingredients into a medium bowl and mix well with a spoon or spatula until fully incorporated. Scoop dough out a Tablespoon at a time and bake for 18 minutes. Allow to cool before transferring from baking sheet.

2016-06-09 10.42.03

The Great Pizza Roll Experiment

4 Comments

2016-06-03 08.06.44

I have a huge binder of recipe ideas for this blog full of all different types of sweets and savories. I love to look through it and be inspired, but I rarely actually use it! I guess food blogging feels more exciting to me when it’s somewhat spontaneous where I can experiment with random ideas and things that sound good right then and there.

2016-06-02 17.55.23

2016-06-02 17.57.28

That’s where The Great Pizza Roll Experiment Comes onto the scene. I’m always looking for ways to create those comfort foods we all crave but don’t get to eat because they’re usually full of all the things we’re allergic or sensitive to.

2016-06-02 17.58.53

I wasn’t going to post this recipe until I made it twice so I could tweak it here and there and perfect it. But who needs perfect? I like rustic and beautiful comfort food that’s off the cuff that doesn’t look like it’s manufactured. Hand made, from the heart of the kitchen. That’s my kind of soul food.

2016-06-02 17.59.48

2016-06-02 18.02.58

There are two things I want to try differently the next few times I make this. One, the portions were big and I think I would like a little less bread, so next time I’ll try them a bit smaller. Pat the dough out thinner, but stick with the same amount of filling.

2016-06-02 18.14.20

2016-06-02 18.14.34

I was also thinking I’d like to try a pie version where I would pat half the dough into a rectangle, layer all the fillings, and then roll out and add the top dough, crimping the edges.

2016-06-02 18.18.31

2016-06-02 18.59.35

Another idea I thought would be really pretty and great for guests, is to do it in two long rectangular braided loaves similarly constructed like my cherry braids. The only concern would be that my bread dough is very light and fluffy, so it needs a lot of extra arrowroot flour if I’m going to work with it with my hands like a cherry braid needs. That may change the texture, if so, I’ll let you know the next time I make it.

2016-06-02 18.59.40

2016-06-03 08.06.52

Then of course, the filling options are endless. You could do sweet or savory. Mexican, Italian, German…OH YES…now see, I’m already having visions of kielbasa and sauteed onions with a fabulous sauce hanging out in those buns….

2016-06-02 19.03.03-1

Any way you choose to experiment with the recipe, you won’t be disappointed. Like I said, this was my first run on this recipe and it got the two thumbs up “WOW” factor from both my husband and I. Incredibly flavorful, definitely rustic comfort food, it looked fabulous plated…I’m looking forward to more experimenting.

2016-06-02 19.04.12

Grain Free Pizza Rolls

*This recipe makes 6 large servings

1 Batch of My Grain Free & Dairy Free Dinner Roll Dough

Extra Arrowroot Flour or Sweet Potato Flour for patting (arrowroot is less expensive to use on hands!) 

1 Batch of My Vegan Spinach & Basil Pesto

About 12 ounces of Goat Mozzarella,  cubed or sliced

About 24 Large Pepperoni Slices

1 Small Can of Tomato Paste

Dried Oregano for Sprinkling

Olive Oil, Oregano, Basil, Garlic Powder, and Rosemary to brush on the tops.

Organic Garlic & Herb Marinara Sauce (for dipping)

Turn the oven to 375 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment.

Using half the bread dough and floured hands, pat out 6 rounds of dough onto the parchment. Divide the can of tomato paste equally between the rounds and spread with a spoon. Squeeze a little pesto onto each one. (I freeze my pesto in ziplock baggies and then thaw when I’m ready to use. I snip the end and squeeze it out of the baggie.)

Place a couple of slices of mozzarella on top of the rounds and top with two slices of pepperoni. Sprinkle with oregano. Then top with a little more pesto, two more slices of cheese, two more slices of pepperoni, and sprinkle again with a little oregano. 

With floured hands, pat out the top dough on your palm and place it over the filling topped rounds. Press the edges down and lightly cup your hand over the dough and tuck the edges under all around.

Spray a piece of plastic wrap with non-stick spray and lightly lay over the top of the buns. Top with a kitchen towel and set on top of the stove to rise for 35 minutes.

While the bread is rising, warm the marinara sauce on medium low in a small pan. Then, in a small bowl, add about 1/8 Cup of olive oil and about 1 teaspoon each of oregano and basil, about 1/2 teaspoon of rosemary, about 2 teaspoons of powdered garlic, and about 1/2-1 teaspoon of sea salt. Whisk together with a fork and brush liberally over the buns right before they go into the oven.

After 35 minutes, remove the towel and plastic from the pizza rolls and bake for about 20-25 minutes or until lightly browned. 

2016-06-03 08.06.44