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All Natural Pre Workout Juice for Champions

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All Natural Pre Workout Juice for Champions

Beet juice words

There is a lot of hype out there in the bodybuilding/workout community advertising pre workout supplements. I would be lying if said I have never tried one…ok truth talk I have tried about all of them. I use to be somewhat of a gym rat and if a supplement helped my lifts and gave me energy I didn’t really pay attention to any of the additives, dyes, or crummy ingredients written in tiny print next to a warning label….whoops :/

Now a days I haven’t been in the gym in a few years due to a couple of back surgeries ( a story for another time) so I have had the luxury of looking at these supplements with an unbiased perspective and the view is not pretty.

Top selling pre-workout supplements such as USP Labs Jack3D, MusclePharm Assault, & MuscleTech NeuroCore contain the following chemically derived ingredients:

Sucralose: An artificial chlorinated artificial sweetener in line with aspartame and saccharin, with detrimental health effects to match(aka Splenda). Sucralose has been show to decrease gut health by 50% and despite its “diet” artificial sweeteners have been shown to: 

  • Stimulate your appetite
  • Increase carbohydrate cravings
  • Stimulate fat storage and weight gain

FD& C Red #40: 

  • A petrochemical. A highly processed, petroleum based chemical used to color foods to make them more visually appetizing.
  • It goes by several names including: Allura Red, Food Red 17, C.I. 16035, FD&C Red 40.
  • It is banned and/or being phased out in much of Europe due to concerns over health effects.

Acesulfame-K: is a potassium salt containing methylene chloride, a known carcinogen.

Reported side effects: Long term exposure to methylene chloride can cause nausea, headaches, mood problems, impairment of the liver and kidneys, problems with eyesight and possibly cancer. Acesulfame-K may contribute to hypoglycemia. 

Concerns: Of all artificial sweeteners, acesulfame-K has undergone the least scientific scrutiny. Early studies showed a potential link between the sweetener and development of multiple cancers in laboratory animals. 

When you take a step back and think about the long-term damage you are doing to your body for short-term gains in the gym it seems pretty insane. 

So whats the solution to still getting huge pumps, increased lifts, and long-lasting energy to tear the gym a new one?

BEETS!!!!

Natures Candy
Natures Candy

So why are beets the key to succesful workouts?

  • Beets are a great source of inorganic nitrates which friendly bacteria in the mouth convert to nitrate, and then through the body is converted to nitric oxide. Ever heard of it? If you are a gym rat you probably are very familiar with nitric oxide as a pre workout supplement that helps increase your lifts because of its positive effect on blood flow, muscle contraction, and neurotransmission. Basically bigger lifts and more energy. 
  • Beet juice has been shown to drop systolic blood pressure by 5-10mmHG depending on the dose. The more the better (1 cup is a good serving suggestion) but you will want to start small (about 1/4 cup) or else you could feel a bit light-headed if you are an athlete and your blood pressure tends to run on the low side. 
  • It is best to drink this a few hours (2.5 hours to be exact) before your workout for the peak levels to be reach while exercising but one hour before will still yield positive results.  

 Great article on the scientific benefits of beet juice and energy output

Other health benefits from Beet Juice:

• It is an amazing antioxidant and helps prevent the formation of cancerous tumors. 

• Beetroot juice detoxifies the liver and aids in healing diseases of the digestive system. 

• Good source of folic acid and helps in providing protection against birth defects.

• Beet juice lowers bad cholesterol level.

You can buy a beet root powder but I like to juice mine fresh along with turmeric ( a natural anti-inflammatory which will help decrease muscle soreness), ginger (for added heat to increase blood flow and beat muscles soreness), and carrots for some sweetness and to prevent muscle cramping. This juice is also an amazing pain killer for post workout as well so basically anytime anywhere you can drink this juice and feel amazing!

Bonus Add ons:

  • Maca Powder: A powerful adaptogen that increases oxygen, energy, and balances hormones
  • Scoop of favorite protein powder to balance the natural sugars and give your body more to work with for extended workouts.
  • 1 tbl of chia seeds to aid in fluid retention, halting absorptions of sugars, and for a boost of protein. 

Pre Workout Beet Juice Drink

Yields 3

Vegan- Alkaline - Gluten Free - Grain Free - Paleo

Ingredients

  1. 3 Organic Peeled Beets
  2. 4 Organic Peeled Carrots
  3. 2 Small (about 1'') Pieces Peeled Turmeric
  4. 1 Small Coin of Ginger
  5. Optional: Maple Syrup, or Honey to Taste but raw and pure is best

Instructions

  1. Juice all of the ingredients in a juicer and store in an airtight glass container.
  2. One serving is 4-8oz (1/2 -1 cup) but start small.

Notes

  1. Don't have a juicer? Chop all of the ingredients into very small pieces and add them to some warm water in a high power blender and puree then strain through cheesecloth.
  2. Feel Free to add in protein powder for extended workouts and maca powder to increase energy and oxygen levels.
  3. Excessive consumption of beet juice may cause your urine to turn pink. This is normal and nothing to be worried about.

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Raw Vegan Pub Cheese!!!

When I was growing up Friday nights in my house were great. My mom would let us put our feet up on the table and recline back like old men, we would eat pub cheese, and my mom would crack a rolling rock while we listened to tunes on the radio. Life was simple. Good cheese, family, and music was all we needed. 

Unfortunately dairy is no longer a friend of some members of my family (nor is the gluten in beer anymore) so we have had to make some changes. 

I have made a raw vegan version of the famous pub cheese to fill the void and luckily there are some great Gluten Free beers hitting the market to recreate the magic. 

Here is a list of the top 10 Gluten Free Beers from Gourmet Magazine

I made this with soaked raw almonds and macadamia nuts. The great thing about soaking your nuts before eating them is that it removes a lot of the lectins (protein binding carbohydrates that are found in plants and animals). Lectins can be harmful for digestion because of their binding qualities that can attach to the intestinal lining and cause a lot of problems such as reduced nutrient, mineral, and protein absorption, as well as leptin resistance (a pre diabetic condition linked to obesity). This is important information for people with gluten allergies who are probably dealing with or have dealt with some kind of intestinal damage like leaky gut :/

Read more about lectins and how to reduce them in your diet here

Not to fear because soaking nuts greatly diminishes the lectins levels so this recipe is free from gluten, grains, and dairy as well as gut friendly :) 

First off rinse and then soak your nuts overnight in filtered water.

Drain the nuts and rinse off any additional residue and place in a blender along with the remaining ingredients. 

Blend until smooth. Taste for seasoning. 

Transfer to a fine sieve lined with cheese cloth and place over a bowl to drain overnight. ( I know there is a lot of waiting here but the prep is stupid easy so it all works out in the end)

Turn out the cheese and eat up! 

Raw Vegan Pub Cheese

Raw - Vegan - Paleo - Gluten Free - Grain Free - Soy Free - Sugar Free

Ingredients

  • 1 cup raw cashews 
  • 1/2 cup raw macadamia nuts 
  • 3 Tbl Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 3/4 cup Water
  • 1/4 cup Fresh Lemon Juice
  • 1/4 tsp Fine Sea Salt
  • 1 Garlic Clove minced
  • 3 Tbl chopped Parsley (measure after chopping)
  • 2 tsp Dried Thyme
  • 1/8 tsp Black Pepper
  • 2 Tbl Chopped Chives (measure after chopping)

Instructions

  1. Rinse off the nuts and place in a bowl.
  2. Cover with water and place in the fridge to soak overnight.
  3. Drain and rinse the nuts and place in a blender along with all of the remaining ingredients minus the chives.
  4. Blend until smooth.
  5. Fold in the chives and transfer the cheese to a sieve lined with cheesecloth placed over a bowl to drain.
  6. Fold the cheesecloth over the top and place in the fridge to drain overnight.
  7. Turn out the cheese and serve!

Notes

  1. The flavors need time to mellow in this recipe so if you taste it right out of the blender don't be surprised if the garlic and lemon come on strong. Feel free to play around with the amount of garlic to suite your preference. If you don't like a raw onion favor feel free to leave the chives out but they really lend a good bite to the cheese.

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Beat the Heat: Chilled Cantaloupe Gazpacho

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Beat the Heat: Chilled Cantaloupe Gazpacho

canteloupe gazpacho ariel

Excuse my absence this week, I’ve been a bit busy and hot. Sooooo hot. There has been a heat wave all over the country so I know I’m not alone melting away here. 

When its this hot out I crave light refreshing food that does not require the use of the stove. 

This was my lunch yesterday…

Chilled Cantaloupe Gazpacho….ahhhhhhh 

I used a Tuscan cantaloupe because they have a sweeter flavor and more delicate flesh but whatever melon you have is just fine. Honeydew could actually be a very interesting substitute especially if you add half of an avocado.

This soup is raw, vegan, gluten-free and very cleansing. This makes one very large bowl but with a sprinkle of chopped nuts I think it’s the perfect light summer lunch or snack. If you are really hungry perhaps some brown rice or quinoa to soak up the soup would be a perfect addition. 

 

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You put the lime in the coconut and cover it in chocolate!

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You put the lime in the coconut and cover it in chocolate!

On my last post I made a raw pistachio date crust for my Strawberry Banana Frozen Cheesecake, and I am still obsessing over the crust! I love this crust so much I made it again, except this time I made a Banana Coconut Lime filling and covered it with homemade sugar-free dark chocolate, sea salt, and lime zest.

Yeah these are pretty rockin, oh and they are also raw, vegan, gluten-free, sugar-free, Paleo, and stupid easy to make. 

Ready?

Pulse 1/2 cup shelled raw pistachios along with 4 pitted medjool dates along with a big pinch of sea salt and the zest of 1 lime in a food processor. When the mixture is sticky, coarsely ground and holds its shape when pressed between your fingers you are ready to go. 

Line a bread pan with a piece of parchment paper fashioned as a sling so the sides hang over the edge for easy removal later. I also grease the pan and paper with coconut oil for extra insurance. 

Now pack the crust into the bottom of the pan making it as flat as possible. If the crust it sticking to your fingers simply wet your fingertips when touching crust. 

Place in the fridge while you assemble the filling. 

In a blender combine 3 ripe bananas, 3/4 cup coconut cream (if you can’t find coconut cream leave a can of coconut milk in the fridge overnight and then scoop the cream that is chilled on the top leaving any water in the can), the zest and juice of 2 limes, 1/4 tsp fine sea salt. Blend until a smooth mixture is achieved , add liquid stevia or sweetener of choice to taste and then pour into the crust. I like to zest additional lime on top before freezing.

Place in the freezer to firm up for at least 4 hours but overnight is best. 

Take the pan out of the freezer and use a knife to separate the sides from the pan. Pull the whole thing out using your parchment paper sling and place on a cutting board.

Cut into 1’‘ squares (this recipe will yield 18 squares).

Place the cut squares on a rack with a sheet pan underneath lined with foil or parchment paper. Make sure that the squares are not touching and have at least 1’‘ (2.5cm) distance from each other.  Return the squares to the freezer to firm up while you make the chocolate. 

Over a double boiler (or a sauce pan with a bowl over the top with 2 inches of simmering water, making sure the bowl does not touch the water) add 4 tbl melted coconut oil, 1/2 cup plus 2 tbl raw cacao powder and heat gently over medium low heat whisking constantly. When fully combined add 1 1/2 tbl sweetener of choice and 1/2 tsp vanilla extract off of the heat and stir to combine. 

Remove the ice cream bites from the freezer and generously pour the chocolate over each bite so it drips over the sides. The chocolate is going to firm up almost instantly so move fast. If you need more chocolate remove the rack and spoon off the dripped chocolate on the lined sheet pan (this is why we put down foil or parchment paper). 

After the chocolate immediately zest some lime over the top and sprinkle lightly with a coarse salt. I used a Himalayan Pink Salt but the choice is yours. 

These are ready to eat! Like anything frozen I like to let it sit for 10-15 minutes out on the counter to soften lightly before eating it. The colder something is the less flavor it has so by letting it defrost just a touch you will have a creamier texture and more flavor! 

Chocolate Covered Banana Coconut Lime Ice Cream Bites

Yields 18

Vegan - Raw - Sugar Free - Paleo - Gluten Free 

Crust

  • 1/2 cup Raw Shelled Pistachios
  • 4 Medjool dates (pitted)
  • 1/8 tsp Fine Sea Salt
  • Zest of 1 lime

Filing

  • 3 Ripe Bananas
  • 3/4 Cup Coconut Cream (if you can't find place a can of full fat coconut milk in the fridge the night before and scrape the cream off the top)
  • 2 Limes
  • 1/4 tsp Fine Sea Salt
  • 1 Maple syrup, wild honey, yacon syrup, or sweetener of choice to taste 

Chocolate Coating

  • 4 Tbl Melted Coconut Oil
  • 1/2 Cup + 2 Tbl High Quality Dark Cocoa Powder
  •  1 1/2 Tbl of Maple syrup or wild honey or yacon powder or syrup or sweetener of choice
  • 1/2 tsp Pure Vanilla Powder or Essence

Garnish

  • Zest of 1 lime
  • Coarse Finishing Salt (I used Himalayan Pink Salt)

Instructions

  1. Pulse 1/2 cup shelled raw pistachios along with 4 pitted medjool dates along with a big pinch of sea salt and the zest of 1 lime in a food processor. When the mixture is sticky, coarsely ground and holds its shape when pressed between your fingers you are ready to go.
  2. Line a bread pan with a piece of parchment paper fashioned as a sling so the sides hang over the edge for easy removal later. I also grease the pan and paper with coconut oil for extra insurance.
  3. Now pack the crust into the bottom of the pan making it as flat as possible. If the crust it sticking to your fingers simply wet your fingertips when touching crust.
  4. Place in the fridge while you assemble the filling.
  5. In a blender combine 3 ripe bananas, 3/4 cup coconut cream (if you can't find coconut cream leave a can of coconut milk in the fridge overnight and then scoop the cream that is chilled on the top leaving any water in the can), the zest and juice of 2 limes, 1/4 tsp fine sea salt.
  6. Blend until a smooth mixture is achieved, add sweetener of choice to taste mix and then pour into the crust.
  7. Zest additional lime on top of the filling before freezing.
  8. Place in the freezer to firm up for at least 4 hours but overnight is best.
  9. Take the pan out of the freezer and use a knife to separate the sides from the pan. Pull the whole thing out using your parchment paper sling and place on a cutting board.
  10. Cut into 1'' squares (this recipe will yield 18 squares).
  11. Place the cut squares onto a rack with a sheet pan underneath lined with foil or parchment paper. Make sure that the squares are not touching and have at least 1'' (2.5cm) distance from each other.
  12. Return the squares to the freezer to firm up while you make the chocolate.
  13. Over a double boiler (or a sauce pan with a bowl over the top with 2 inches of simmering water, making sure the bowl does not touch the water) add 4 tbl melted coconut oil, 1/2 cup plus 2 tbl raw cacao powder and heat gently over medium low heat whisking constantly. When fully combined add 1 tbl sweetener of choice and 1/2 tsp vanilla extract off of the heat and stir to combine. 
  14. Remove the ice cream bites from the freezer and generously pour the chocolate over each bite so it drips over the sides. The chocolate is going to firm up almost instantly so move fast. If you need more chocolate remove the rack and spoon off the dripped chocolate on the lined sheet pan (this is why we put down foil or parchment paper).
  15. Right after the chocolate is drizzled zest some lime over the top and sprinkle lightly with a coarse salt.
  16. These are ready to eat! Like anything frozen I like to let it sit for 10-15 minutes to soften lightly before eating it.

Notes

  1. Double the recipe and use a 9'' greased Spring-form pan or a greased and parchment lined 9x9 square pan for a full sized cake.

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Raw Vegan Frozen Strawberry-Banana Cheesecake

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Raw Vegan Frozen Strawberry-Banana Cheesecake

Its Summer time baby so now is the time for no bake healthy recipes and oh man do I have the recipe for you…

I am so obsessed with this crust so stay tuned because tomorrow I am going to do another no bake recipe with it but I digress…

This recipe is for two 5’‘ pie tart shells but if you double the recipe you can use a 9’‘ springform pan for a full size cheesecake. 

Prep for this recipe by soaking 1/2 cup raw macadamias or cashews (or 1 cup for a full size cheesecake) in just enough water to cover them for a minimum of 4 hours but overnight is best.

Also place one can of full fat coconut milk into the fridge overnight for later use (If you can get your hands on a can of Coconut Cream then you can skip this step).

Start by placing 1/2 cup raw shelled pistachios and 4 medjool dates with pits removed into the bowl of your food processor along with 1/4 tsp fine sea salt and the zest of 1 lime. (again double this if making a full version) 

Pulse the mixture until it is coarsely ground and becomes sticky. 

The mixture should stay together when pressed in between your fingers. If not process with 1-2 more dates until the desired consistency is achieved. 

Grease the tart shells or pan you are using. 

Press the nut-date mixture into the bottom of the tart shells/pan and firmly pack to make it as flat as possible. A flat bottomed greased glass is the perfect tool for this. You can bring the crust up the sides if you want but that is a personal choice. 

Place the prepared crusts into the fridge while you assemble the remaining ingredients. 

Open up the chilled coconut milk and scrape the cream off the top leaving the coconut water in the can. We just need the cream for this so feel free to drink the water  or save it for a smoothie. 

Drain the nuts and place in the workbowl of a blender along with 2 Tbl of the coconut cream, the zest and juice of 1 lime, 1/4 tsp fine sea salt, 1 1/4 cup sliced strawberries and 1 ripe banana. Blend until very smooth and taste for sweetness. If you need it sweeter add 10-15 drops liquid stevia or 1 tbl of maple syrup, honey, coconut sugar or sweetener of choice. 

Fill the tarts almost to the top with the filling and place in the freezer to chill for at least 6 hours but overnight is best. You can add the pistachios later if you want. 

Top with sliced strawberries, pistachios, and extra lime zest right before serving. I like to let it sit out on the counter for 15 minutes (30 minutes for a full size pie) before serving so it has a creamier texture. 

Strawberry-Lime-Banana Frozen Cheesecake with Pistachio Date Crust

Serves 2

Raw - Vegan - Paleo - Sugar Free - Gluten Free - Grain Free

Filling

  • 1/2 cup raw Macadamia or Cashews (soaked overnight in water)
  • 1 1/2 cups Fresh Strawberries
  • 1 Ripe Banana
  • 2 Tbl Coconut Cream (or place one can coconut milk in fridge overnight and scoop cream off top)
  • 2 Limes
  • 1 tbl maple syrup, wild honey, yacon syrup or sweetener of choice to taste 

Crust

  • 1/2 cup raw pistachios
  • 4 Large Medjool Dates (pits removed)
  • zest of 1 lime
  • 1/8 tsp Fine Sea Salt

Instructions

  1. Prep for this recipe by soaking the raw macadamias/ cashews in just enough water to cover them for a minimum of 4 hours but overnight is best.
  2. Place one can of full fat coconut milk into the fridge overnight for later use.
  3. (If you can get your hands on a can of Coconut Cream then you can skip this step)
  4. Start by placing the raw shelled pistachios and medjool dates with pits removed into the bowl of your food processor along with the fine sea salt and the zest of 1 lime.
  5. Pulse the date-nut mixture until coarsely ground and it becomes sticky.
  6. The mixture should stay together when pressed in between your fingers. If not process with 1-2 more dates until the desired consistency is achieved.
  7. Grease the tart shells.
  8. Press the nut-date mixture into the bottom of the tart shells/pan and firmly pack it to make it as flat as possible. You can bring the crust up the sides if you want but that is a personal choice.
  9. Place the prepared crusts into the fridge while you assemble the remaining ingredients.
  10. Open up the chilled coconut milk and scrape 2 tbl of the cream off the top leaving the coconut water in the can.
  11. Drain the nuts and place in the workbowl of a blender along with the coconut cream, the zest and juice of 1 lime, 1/4 tsp fine sea salt, 1 1/4 cup sliced strawberries and 1 ripe banana.
  12. Blend until very smooth and taste for sweetness. If you need it sweeter add 1 tbl of maple syrup or sweetener of choice to taste. 
  13. Fill the tarts almost to the top with the filling and place in the freezer to chill for at least 6 hours but overnight is best.
  14. Top with the remaining 1/4 cup sliced strawberries, pistachios, and extra lime zest right before serving.
  15. Allow to sit on the counter for 15 minutes (for small tarts) 30 minutes (for full size pie) before serving to defrost.

Notes

  1. For a full size cheesecake double this recipe and use a 9'' springform, grease lightly with oil, and line the sides with parchment paper.

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Rock Your Socks Off With This Half Cured Sweet and Smokey Salmon

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Rock Your Socks Off With This Half Cured Sweet and Smokey Salmon

Salmon cooked

Sometimes with gluten free or grain free recipes there is a palette adjustment or texture adjustment that one has to make mentally before eating a certain remake of a favorite food (ex cupcakes, or muffins). But when it comes to this Salmon, no adjustments are neccesary. I dare you to make this for any of your foodie friends and I promise the only thing you’ll be explaining is the recipe, not that its “paleo” or “gluten free”. 

Start out with a beautiful wild caught one side center cut fillet of Salmon with the skin on and pin bones removed. I like center cut because the thickness is more uniform which will help for even cooking.  This recipe is for a 1 lb piece so feel free to adjust the recipe for the size of your fish. I like the skin on because it holds in more moisture but make sure that before serving you peel off the skin because it won’t be crispy. 

Toast the coriander and cumin in a dry small saute pan over medium heat for 2-3 minutes or until the spices become fragrant. Make sure to stir the spices every 30 seconds or so for even toasting. 

In a mortar & pestle or a spice grinder add the toasted coriander and cumin seeds and process until finely ground. 

Add the smoked paprika, coconut sugar (or raw sugar), salt, and zest the lemon into the spices. Toss with your fingers.

Rinse the salmon off and dry with paper towels removing as much moisture as possible. Lay the salmon down on a sheet pan lined with foil and brushed with olive oil to prevent sticking. 

Generously cover the salmon in the spice rub pressing it into the flesh until it is completely covered.

Allow the salmon to sit out for 45 minutes and “cure”. 

After 45 minutes of curing with spice mixture.
After 45 minutes of curing with spice mixture.

Preheat the broiler and position a rack 3 inches from the broiler. 

After the 45 minutes place the salmon under the broiler for 6-8 minutes or until the thickest part of the fish reaches an internal temperature of 131 degrees F on an instant-read thermometer.

Cooked Salmon
Cooked Salmon

Allow to rest for 10 minutes before serving. 

This is how I like my salmon. Medium rare mmmm so good!
This is how I like my salmon. Medium rare mmmm so good!

Half Cured Sweet and Smokey Salmon

Serves 4-6

Ingredients

  • 1 lb Skin on Center Cut one Side Piece of Wild Salmon (pin bones removed)
  • 1 1/2 tsp Smoked Paprika
  • 2 Tbl Coconut Sugar 
  • Zest of 1 Lemon
  • 1 1/2 tsp Fine Sea Salt

Optional

  • 1 1/2 tsp Coriander Seeds (toasted and ground) or 1/2 tsp dried *
  • 1 tsp Cumin Seeds (toasted and ground) or 1/4 tsp dried *

Instructions

  1. Combine the smoked paprika, coconut sugar (or raw sugar), salt, zest of the lemon (and additional spices if using) in a bowl. Toss with your fingers.
  2. Rinse the salmon off and dry with paper towels removing as much moisture as possible.
  3. Lay the salmon down on a sheet pan lined with foil and brushed with olive oil to prevent sticking.
  4. Generously cover the salmon in the spice rub pressing it into the flesh until it is completely covered.
  5. Allow the salmon to sit out for 30-45 minutes and "cure".
  6. You know its ready when the spices have absorbed into the salmon and it has a sheen to it.
  7. Preheat the broiler and position a rack 3 inches from the broiler.
  8. After the curing, place the salmon under the broiler for 6-8 minutes or until the thickest part of the fish reaches an internal temperature of 131 degrees F on an instant-read thermometer.
  9. Allow to rest for 10 minutes before serving.

Notes

  1. For whole spices: Toast the coriander and cumin in a dry small saute pan over medium heat for 2-3 minutes or until the spices become fragrant. Make sure to stir the spices every 30 seconds or so for even toasting.
  2. In a mortar & pestle or a spice grinder add the toasted coriander and cumin seeds and process until finely ground. Add to spice/lemon zest/sugar mixture and proceed with recipe.

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Low Carb, Paleo, Grain Free Tortillas!!!

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Low Carb, Paleo, Grain Free Tortillas!!!

tortilla 13- taco
tortilla 13- taco
tortilla 13- taco

To all the paleo eaters, cross fitters, low carb lovers, and gluten and grain free guys and dolls out there I have an announcement to make….I have a new tortilla recipe for you and you aren’t going to believe what the main ingredient is….

Want to know what it is?.....

CAULIFLOWER!!!

What a versatile and tricky little veggie that cauliflower is. 

Now I have to say that this is sort of a “fake out” recipe because they look like corn tortillas, but have a different texture and have a more nutty, sweet taste. Except these don’t have any sugar, preservatives, or other weird ingredients manufactures think are necessary to make natural food taste more like “food”.

Pffftt amateurs!

You know very well that you can make something twice as good, and 150% more nutritious so come on already and let’s make some tortillas!!!

First off gather your ingredients…

tortilla mise
tortilla mise

3 cups of steamed cauliflower, 2 eggs, 2 tbl Arrowroot Flour, 2 1/2 tsp Coconut Flour, and 1/4 tsp salt.

Oh and preheat your oven to 375F and process the cauliflower into rice in your food processor. 

 It should look like this and if you can’t get it any finer its ok, you will be blending it again. Place the cauliflower in some cheesecloth and drain all the water out. 

Now put the drained cauliflower back into the food processor along with all of the other ingredients and mix until finely processed into a thick paste. Allow to sit for ten minutes for all of the coconut flour to absorb the liquid and swell. 

Line a sheet pan with parchment paper and drop 2 heaping tablespoons of batter onto the pan with plenty of room to spread into 4’‘ rounds. Press with your fingertips and make them as thin as possible wetting your fingertips if they begin to stick to the batter. 

 Use the side of your palms to form the tortillas into a circle as best as you can. 

Bake for 12 minutes or until the edges just start to turn a golden brown and when you try to flip them they don’t stick to the paper and look like this…

Flip the tortillas over and bake for an additional 12 minutes or until they look like this…

Now at this point you can place a piece of wax paper in between each tortilla and wrap them in plastic or in an airtight container  in the fridge or freezer or until ready to use. 

When you are ready to eat them, griddle them off in a dry skillet or on an electric skillet pressing on each side with the back of a spatula, or until they are equally browned and crispy.

Don’t worry they won’t stick. 

Fill with your favorite meat, veggie, or anything your creative heart and stomach can think of!

Grain Free Low Carb Tortillas

Yields 8

Paleo - Grain Free - Sugar Free - Gluten Free - Low Carb

Ingredients

  • 3 cups Cauliflower Florets cut into small pieces (stems removed)
  • 2 Eggs
  • 2 Tbl Arrowroot Flour
  • 2 1/2 tsp Coconut Flour
  • 1/2 tsp Fine Sea Salt

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 375F and line 2 sheet pans with parchment paper.
  2. "Rice" the cauliflower by placing it in to a food processor and pulse until finely pulverized into small rice like pieces.
  3. Then place the riced cauliflower into a bowl, cover with a dish towel, and microwave for 2 minutes.
  4. Stir the cauliflower, cover and microwave an additional 2 minutes.
  5. Place the steamed cauliflower into a dish towel or a few layers of cheesecloth and squeeze out all of the water so it is very dry.
  6. Place the drained cauliflower back into the bowl of a food processor along with the remaining ingredients.
  7. Process the mixture until it is almost smooth and becomes thick and pasty.
  8. Allow to sit for ten minutes for the coconut flour to absorb as much liquid as it can.
  9. Drop two heaping tablespoons of the batter per tortilla and spread out with your fingers as thin as possible.
  10. Use the sides of your hands to make it into a circle as best as you can.
  11. Repeat with the remaining batter. (About 4-5 tortillas will fit on a sheet pan)
  12. Bake for 12-13 minutes or until the edges of the tortillas are just golden and they do not stick to the parchment paper when you try to flip them.
  13. Flip each tortilla and bake for an additional 12-13 minutes or until golden brown all over.
  14. *If you are not eating them now you can bag them at this point and place a piece of wax paper in between each tortilla and refrigerate in a plastic bag or container until ready to eat.

When ready to eat

  1. Heat a dry skillet over medium high heat and griddle each tortilla by pressing them with the back of a spatula until they are golden brown and crispy on each side.

Notes

  1. These can be made ahead of time up until the step that they come out of the oven. They can be crisped up to order right before serving or else they will be soggy if eaten right out of the fridge. These can also be frozen and thawed out on a counter and then browned off in a skillet before eating.

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3 Ingredient Frozen Fruit Popsicles - Vegan - Paleo - Gluten Free

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3 Ingredient Frozen Fruit Popsicles - Vegan - Paleo - Gluten Free

Popsicle

I believe most problems can be solved, or at least greatly diminished, by food frozen desserts. Ice cream, frozen yogurt, popsicles…..I could survive solely on those items and die a happy girl. But dammit why does all the ice cream and frozen goodies in stores and shops have to have all of these gross ingredients added like xantham gum, corn syrup, and artificial food colorings???? 

No need to fret my dear, I can solve this problem with three ingredients and few hours in the chill chest. 

All you need is a blender, some awesome popsicle molds, non dairy milk, and some frozen fruit of your choice. Wait, you don’t have cyclone shaped popsicle molds?

No problem son!

Simply fill some small paper cups and place lollipop sticks or leftover popsicle sticks in halfway through the freezing process (about 1 1/2 hours in) and voila!

I will say though that these crazy fun silicone molds make the whole experience that much better so just pull the trigger already and buy some because you know you will be making these all summer.

Oh and don’t be surprised if after trying these you have the sudden urge  to jump through the sprinkler with all your clothes on….do it I highly endorse that decision :)

3 Ingredient Frozen Fruit Popsicles

Yields 4

Vegan - Gluten Free - Grain Free - Refined Sugar Free - Paleo - Raw

Ingredients

  1. 1 cup Non Dairy Milk ( Almond, Coconut, Hemp, Rice)
  2. 1 cup frozen fruit of choice (raspberries, strawberries, mangoes etc)
  3. Stevia, Maple Syrup, or Sweetener of choice to taste

Instructions

  1. In a blender add all of the ingredients and puree until smooth. Add sweetener of choice to taste. If the fruit has seeds strain the mixture through a sieve.
  2. Pour the mixture into popsicle molds and freeze for at least 3 hours or until the pops release from the molds in tact.

Notes

  1. If you don't have popsicle molds use kiddie size paper cups. Fill the cups 3/4 way full and freeze for 1 1/2 hours or until the mixture is frozen enough to hold a lollipop or popsicle stick in the center. Freeze for an additional 2 hours and when ready to eat simply peel the paper cup away from the pop.

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Chic and Simple Middle Eastern Inspired Appetizer

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Chic and Simple Middle Eastern Inspired Appetizer

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Hopefully you had a beautiful, long, holiday weekend. My pool is open, I can smell the grill, and the weather is finally warming up :)

I find during the warmer months I am drawn to lighter fare with fresh ingredients, big punches of flavor and acidity.

Enter last nights appetizer that turned into dinner: 

Middle Eastern Sumac Roasted Eggplant with Basil Serrano Salsa Verde

With the addition of an egg this can totally function as a light dinner. The components can also be served chopped up and tossed into mesculin greens using the salsa verde as a salad dressing. If you aren’t into eggs might I suggest you replace the egg with some soft goat cheese and feel free to sub the sunflower seeds with your favorite nut or seed (Marcona almonds, or pistachios would work beautifully). 

Middle Eastern Sumac Roasted Eggplant with Basil Serrano Salse Verde

Serves 2

Gluten Free - Grain Free - Paleo - Vegetarian - Dairy Free

Ingredients

  • 10 Baby Eggplants
  • 1 tablespoon Olive Oil (for eggplants)
  • 2 teaspoons Sumac
  • 2 teaspoons Smoked Paprika
  • 1 cup Flat Leaf Parsley
  • 4 cups Basil Leaves
  • 1/3 cup Olive Oil (for Salsa Verde)
  • 1/4 cup Nutritional Yeast
  • 1 Serrano Pepper (Diced with seeds removed)
  • 2 teaspoons Lemon Zest (About 1 lemon)
  • 2 teaspoons Lemon Juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon Fine Sea Salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon Freshly Ground Black Pepper
  • 2 Eggs
  • 2 heaped tablespoons Roasted Sunflower Seeds

Instructions

  1. Roasted Eggplant
  2. Step 1
  3. Pre heat the oven to 475F
  4. Split the eggplants in half lengthwise and liberally cover them in olive oil.
  5. In a small bowl combine the Sumac, Smoked Paprika, and two big pinches of fine sea salt.
  6. Liberally sprinkle the eggplant with the spice mixture reserving a small pinch for the eggs.
  7. Place the eggplants on a sheet pan and roast for 25-30 minutes or until charred and softened. (A knife should pierce very easily when pressed against the flesh)

Basil Serrano Salsa Verde

  1. In the work bowl of a food processor add 1/3 cup olive oil, diced and seeded Serrano pepper, lemon zest, lemon juice, 1/2 tsp salt, basil and parsley.
  2. Pulse for about 1 minute until the herbs are broken down.
  3. Add the nutritional yeast and pulse to incorporate.
  4. Taste for seasoning.
  5. If the mixture is too thick stream in more olive oil until the desired consistency is reached.

Medium Boiled Eggs

  1. Place the eggs in a small sauce pan and cover with water to just cover the eggs.
  2. Heat over medium high heat, uncovered, until the water just comes to a boil.
  3. Turn off the heat, leaving the pot in place, and set a timer for 8 minutes.
  4. When the timer goes off wait 30 seconds and then drain and cover the eggs in ice water.
  5. Allow the eggs to rest for 5-10 minutes.
  6. With the back of a spoon gently tap all around the surface of the egg to create as many little cracks as possible.
  7. Roll the egg around in your hands over the sink.
  8. WIth the faucet running gently peel the eggs under the running water.
  9. Split the eggs in half and dust with the remaining sumac, salt, smoked paprika spice mixture.

Assembly

  1. Place 5 eggplant halves in a plate along with two halves of an egg.
  2. Generously spoon the salsa verde over the eggs and eggplant.
  3. Sprinkle 1 tablespoon of roasted sunflower seeds over each plate.

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Cha Cha Cha Chia!!! Chia pudding that is

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Cha Cha Cha Chia!!! Chia pudding that is

Remember Chia pets? Those hilarious glass animals that grew grass hair when watered?

Well you know those same seeds inside those toys, chia seeds, are actually edible, high in omega 3 fatty acids, and high in protein.

Ingredients

  • 6 oz Almond Milk (or other non dairy milk of choice)
  • 2 Tbl Chia Seeds
  • 1 cup frozen blueberries (or frozen fruit of choice)
  • 1/2 tbl maple syrup, yacon,  lacuma powder or sweetener of choice
  • 2 Tbl Coconut Milk (or other non dairy milk of choice)

Instructions:

In a container that has a lid, stir together the 6 oz of non-dairy milk and the chia seeds, and allow to bloom in the fridge covered overnight or on the counter for at least 2 hours.

Place the bloomed chia seeds (they should be doubled in size and look gelatinous) and milk into a blender along with the blueberries, stevia or sweetener, and 2 Tbl coconut milk.

Blend until a smooth and thick pudding is achieved.

Eat immediately or store in the fridge covered until ready to eat.

 

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New Ways to Eat Your Beets

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New Ways to Eat Your Beets

I have recently been asked for some new ways to serve beets beyond the usual steam and eat. Well first off, never underestimate the power of roasting any vegetable on high heat with olive oil salt and pepper but beets love acid, nuts, and cheese. Check out my flavor combination pages for more ideas for your veggies but here are some of my favorite combos for beets:

  • Beets+chives+orange+vinegar (Dress warm beets with orange juice, vinegar, chives salt and pepper)
  • Beets+citrus+goat cheese+walnuts (Use in a salad with a citrus dressing, citrus segments, roasted walnuts and cheese)
  • Beets+endive+pecans+pomegrante seeds (Use the endive as a serving vessel with beets, pecans, and pomegrante inside drizzled with balsamic vinaigrette)
  • Beets+olive oil+balsamic vinegar (Roast these with some rosemary or thyme)
  • Beets+pistachios+yogurt+honey (Caramelize beets in honey and serve with a dollop of vanilla scented yogurt and pistachios)
  • Beets+mint+yogurt (Make a smoothie with beet juice or pureed beets, yogurt, ice, stevia or honey and mint)
  • Beets+chocolate+orange (Coat quartered roasted beets and sliced oranges in melted dark chocolate and sprinkle with coarse sea salt)

Here is my new favorite recipe that I made using these flavor combinations:

Beet and Carrot Pancakes with Orange Parsley

Aioli

Gluten Free – Grain Free – Vegetarian – Sugar Free – Paleo – Soy Free – Corn Free

Yields 10 Pancakes

Adapted from Epicurious

Pancakes

  • 1 1/2 cups (packed) coarsely shredded peeled beets (from 2 medium)
  • 1 cup coarsely shredded peeled carrots (from 2 medium)
  • 1 cup thinly sliced onion (about 1 small onion)
  • 2 large egg lightly beaten
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/4 cup coconut flour 

For Pan Frying

  • 3 tablespoons coconut oil or grass fed ghee

Orange Aioli

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 300°F. Place baking sheet in oven. Combine beets, carrots and onion in large bowl. Mix in egg, salt and pepper. Sprinkle over the flour; stir to blend well.

Heat 1 1/2 tablespoons oil in heavy large skillet over medium heat. Using 1/4 cup beet mixture for each pancake, drop 4 pancakes into skillet. Flatten each into 3-inch round. Cook until brown and cooked through, about 4 minutes per side. Transfer pancakes to baking sheet in oven; keep warm. Repeat with remaining beet mixture make sure to wipe out the pan and start with fresh oil before each new batch. Keep warm in oven until ready to serve.

Aioli:

In a medium bowl add all of the ingredients and whisk to combine. Taste for seasoning and top each pancake with a spoonful. This can be made up to a week in advance and stored in an airtight container in the fridge.

 

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Grain Free Rosemary Almond Crackers topped with Balsamic glazed Pears, Mustard Cream Dressed Frisee and Goat Brie Cheese

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Grain Free Rosemary Almond Crackers topped with Balsamic glazed Pears, Mustard Cream Dressed Frisee and Goat Brie Cheese

It’s a Holiday weekend so I know many of you are scrambling to find some party friendly recipes to impress your family and friends. How about homemade grain free crackers topped with balsamic glazed pears a mustard cream sauce and goat cheese? Say yes, because these will knock your socks off and make you look like a rock star, especially since they are vegetarian, grain free, gluten-free, and refined sugar-free.

I found this recipe for grain free almond flour crackers on zenbellyblog.com and this is the base but its a great recipe to have in your back pocket for parties.

Some other options for topping these crackers:

  1. Smashed pea and olive oil puree with lemon zest and crumbled bacon
  2. Cashew Cream with chives and smoked salmon
  3. Store bought olive tapenade or Pate or Caponata with arugula tossed in balsamic vinaigrette
  4. Roasted Beets, orange zest, toasted pistachios and goat cheese

Make sure to check out my flavor combination pages to come up with some new and creative ideas for your menu this weekend. 

If you are dairy free you can omit the cheese in this recipe and replace it with some candied walnuts but if you are looking to splurge the goat cheese really sends it over the top. It might seem like a lot of steps and ingredients but it’s really simple and you can make all the components ahead of time and assemble when you are ready to serve.

Balsamic glazed Pears, Frisee, Mustard Cream & Brie Goat Cheese Appetizer

Grain Free- Refined Sugar Free – Corn Free – Gluten Free – Vegetarian

Makes about 24 pieces depending on what size cracker is used

Rosemary Almond Flour Crackers

Cracker recipe courtesy of http://www.zenbelly.com

  • 2 Cups Almond Flour
  • 1/2 tsp fine sea salt
  • 2 Tbl Fresh finely minced Rosemary
  • 2 Tbl Olive Oil
  • 2 Egg (pasture raised if possible)

Mustard Cream Sauce

  • 1/3 cup Raw Cashews soaked overnight in water
  • 3 Tbl Grain Mustard (gluten free or homemade)
  • 1 1/2 Tbl Dijon Mustard (gluten free or homemade)
  • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 2 tsp coconut nectar or honey or stevia to taste
  • 1/4 tsp freshly ground pepper
  • Pinch of fine sea salt

Topping Ingredients

  • 2 Firm (but ripe) Bosc Pear core removed and sliced into 1”x 1/4” match sticks
  • 1 Tbl Olive Oil
  • 2 Tbl Balsamic Vinegar
  • 1 Tbl coconut nectar/maple syrup/ or honey
  • 2 Tbl fresh orange juice
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme leaves or 2 tsp chopped fresh thyme leaves
  • 1/4 tsp fine sea salt
  • 1 head (about 2 cups) frisee lettuce washed and cut crosswise into small bite size pieces
  • 4 oz goat brie cheese sliced in 1’‘ x 1 1/4’‘ pieces or soft goat cheese crumbled into small pieces*

*If you can’t eat cheese replace with candied or roasted salted walnuts

Instructions for the Crackers:

  1. Pre heat an oven to 325F
  2. In the bowl of a food processor (or a large bowl with a whisk) add the egg and olive oil and pulse (or whisk) to combine. Add the salt, almond flour, and rosemary and pulse or mix until a ball of dough is formed.
  3. Kneed it a few times to make sure everything is well incorporated. Place the dough in between two pieces of parchment paper and roll out with a rolling-pin until the dough is 1/8” thick. Cut into squares (2’‘x2’‘) with a pizza cutter and transfer to a parchment lined sheet pan.
  4. Bake for 14-16 minutes or until they are golden brown around the edges.

Instructions for the Mustard Cream:

  1. Drain and rinse the soaked cashews and add them in a high powder blender or a food processor along with the orange juice.
  2. Pulse/blend until a smooth cream is formed. If it’s becoming hard to blend add more oj or water a little bit at a time.
  3. Add the mustard, honey/stevia/coconut syrup, pepper, pinch of salt and blend until a smooth cream is created.
  4. Taste for seasoning and sweetness. Set aside.

Instructions for the Pears and Assembling :

  1. In a saute pan over medium heat add the olive oil. When the oil starts to shimmer add the sliced pears and sprinkle with the salt and thyme, and saute for 3-5 minutes or until they start to brown and crisp up around the edges.
  2. Deglaze the pan with the balsamic vinegar, orange juice, and drizzle the honey or coconut nectar over the pears. Cook for one minute then lower the heat to a simmer and stir and cook for an additional 2-3 minutes or until the balsamic vinegar has reduced to a syrup and there is no liquid in the pan.
  3. Remove the pears from the pan and set aside in a bowl to cool.
  4. Right before assembling add the chopped frisee in  a bowl and start by spooning 3/4 of the mustard cream over and toss with tongs until the lettuce is well covered in the dressing adding more if needed.
  5. Lay the crackers out in an assembly line. Place a small handful of the dressed frisee on each cracker. Then add 3-4 slices of the sautéed pears over the lettuce and then top with a few small slices of brie or a few small pieces of crumbled goat cheese.

Optional to drizzle some additional mustard cream over the top.

Place on a serving platter and serve.

 

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Dairy Free Paleo Grapefruit-Lemon Curd and Lemon Mousse

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Dairy Free Paleo Grapefruit-Lemon Curd and Lemon Mousse

I have had a bug in my bonnet all week and that bug is lemon curd. I have been on a mission to make a refined sugar and dairy free version of this tart tangy and luscious spread….its been quite a week to say the least.

5 versions later I have learned a few things:

  1. If you use coconut sugar your curd will turn brown :(
  2. If you use a combination of egg yolks and whole eggs the curd will come out way better
  3. A double boiler is the best method for making a curd
  4. Coconut oil makes a perfect substitute for butter in curds

This spread is so amazing on cookies, in a tart shell, stirred in with some granola or off a spoon standing up in your kitchen at midnight. I decided to take the traditional lemon curd and switch up a portion of the juice for grapefruit. I would encourage you to play around with some other citrus juices like orange, lime, or yuzu they all work interchangeably and don’t forget the zest will yield a lot more of the fruits flavor then the juice itself. Here is the recipe for my curd and scroll down for instructions on how to turn it into a Paleo lighter than air mousse that will rock you silly.

Dairy Free Coconut Grapefruit Lemon Curd

Gluten Free- Paleo- Dairy Free- Refined Sugar Free

Adapted from The Secrets of Baking by Sherry Yard - makes about 1 1/4cups

Note: The citrus juice can be replaced by any other citrus juice such as orange, lemon, yuzu, etc just keep in mind the total juice required is 3oz. If doubling this recipe use 3 large eggs otherwise everything is else doubled properly. 

Ingredients

  • 2.5oz Honey (or sweetener of choice but coconut sugar will yield a light brown color)
  • 1 Tablespoons grapefruit and or lemon zest (finely grated on a rasp)
  • 1 large eggs
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 2 oz or 1/4 cup fresh grapefruit juice
  • 1 oz or 1/8 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 2 1/2 Tablespoons chilled coconut oil (if you can tolerate butter you can use that instead)

Directions

1. Fill the pot with about one inch of water. Bring to a simmer over medium heat.

2. Combine the zest, honey, eggs and egg yolks in the heatproof bowl. Whisk together for one minute to incorporate the honey and yolks. Place the bowl over the pot with simmering water and whisk constantly for about 30 seconds, or until the honey is dissolved.

4. Add the grapefruit juice and lemon juice and cook, whisking constantly for 8 to 10 minutes, until the curd reads 160° F on an instant read thermometer and has the consistency of sour cream and coats the back of the spoon. Remove the bowl from the heat.

5. Use a spoon and scoop small pieces of the cold coconut oil one by one and whisk until it is completely incorporated. Strain the curd through a fine-mesh sieve into a clean bowl.

6. Cover with a piece of plastic wrap and push it into the surface of the curd to prevent a skin from forming. Chill for at least one hour to allow to firm up. Will stay for over a week covered in the fridge and up to 3 months in the freezer.

Dairy Free Paleo Lemon Mousse

Gluten Free- Dairy Free- Refined Sugar Free

In the bowl of a clean stand mixer (or metal bowl) begin to whip the egg whites and cream of tartar. When it starts to become foamy increase the speed and add in the honey or sweetener of choice and whip until medium firm peaks form.

In a separate large bowl add the lemon curd and cashew cream and fold together. Then scoop 1/4 of the egg white mixture and stir it into the lemon/cashew mixture to make the integration of the rest of the egg whites easier. Then add 1/4 more of the whipped egg whites into the lemon curd and fold in gently. Continue to add the egg whites in these intervals two more times and fold gently until a light and fluffy mousse is attained.

Cover with plastic wrap and allow to firm up in the fridge for at least an hour before eating.

 

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Vegan/Paleo Sunflower Butter and Jelly Filled Chocolates

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Vegan/Paleo Sunflower Butter and Jelly Filled Chocolates

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Ahhhhh chocolate….it really could solve most of the world problems. But whats a girl to do if she is trying to get all of those empty caloric white sugars out of her life? Make my own chocolate silly and now you can too!

These are not as hard as you might think as long as you have a silicone chocolate mold, and luckily for you they are sold on amazon for about $10. 

So enough chat, lets turn that nostalgic PB&J sandwich on its head and put it into bon bon form. Giddy up.

Paleo/Vegan Sunflower Butter & Jelly Filled Chocolate Bon Bons

Paleo- Gluten Free -Vegan

Makes 16 bon bons

  • 5 oz unsweetened chocolate (use high quality like Ghiradelhi)
  • 1 TBL coconut syrup/ honey/ agave
  • 1/2 TBL Coconut oil
  • 1/2 cup Sunflower butter/Almond Butter/ or any nut butter you like (brought to room temp)
  • 8 tsp raspberry no sugar added jam/jelly (I use Whole Foods 356 brand sweetened with apple juice)
  • Coarse Sea Salt
  • Silicone candy mold

Chop the chocolate into pieces and place 3/4 of it in a small glass bowl and microwave for 15 seconds at a time. Stir the chocolate and continue to microwave for 10 seconds at a time, stirring in between, until the chocolate is smooth and shiny. Add the remaining 1/4 of the chocolate and stir until smooth. The chocolate should register 87 to 89 degrees F on a candy thermometer.

Pour the chocolate into a flexible chocolate mold and swirl it around above a sheet pan until every corner of the mold have been covered. Using a bench scraper or a flat bottomed spatula scrape the mold so that all the chocolate is leveled off and pour it off onto a sheet pan. Scrape the excess chocolate back into the bowl to use again.

Place the mold on a sheet pan to keep it level and place the leveled chocolates into the refrigerator for about 10-15 minutes checking after 10 minutes to see if the chocolate has set up. It should be somewhat firm to the touch and not leave a fingerprint when touched but do not leave it in for too long or else the chocolate with break when you open it.

Remove the molds from the fridge and spoon 1/2 tablespoon of nut-butter into the center of each mold. Then place 1/2 teaspoon of jam into the center of the nut-butter.

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Place in the fridge to set up for 5 minutes.

Pour the remaining chocolate over the top of the filled chocolates and swirl around so it is completely covered. Gently scrape off the excess with your bench scraper or spatula so that the top is completely leveled with the mold. (If your chocolate has cooled too much place it back in the microwave for 5 second intervals stirring in between to get it back to a pourable mixture)

Sprinkle each bon bon with a small sprinkling of coarse sea salt.

Place back on the sheet pan and into the refrigerator to set up for at least 15 minutes and up to 20 depending how thick your chocolate is. Test one to see if it comes out and if it cracks place it back in the fridge to set up longer.

Gently pop them out and place onto a plate and keep in the fridge until ready to eat

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Spice up your V-Day dinner tonight with the exotic spice blend Dukkah

Happy Valentines Day you gorgeous babes!

I know I should be posting some recipe about chocolate or something pink and cute…. but I like to break with convention and do something different. If you are staying in and cooking for your sweetie (or yourself) why not bring some Egyptian spice into the mix and whip up some Dukkah.

This is an amazing aromatic and warm spice blend that is a staple in Middle Eastern cooking. There are countless ways to make this (think Garam Masala in India and how it is different in every household)

Basics of Dukkah

Nuts (macadamia, pistachios, almonds, pine nuts, hazelnuts, pecans etc)

Sesame Seeds ( I have made one without and subbed sunflower seeds and it’s still great)

Coriander

Cumin

Some optional Add ins:

Dried herbs

Dried fruit peel

Dried hot peppers

Sugar

Spices

Here is my blend and I am addicted to sprinkling it on top medium boiled eggs right now. I also dip apples in it and sprinkle it on top of yogurt. This is the aphrodisiac of spices my friends.

Dukkah

Gluten-free, Vegan, Paleo,

Makes one heaping cup

- 30 grams (1/4 cup) hazelnuts (unsalted) – 30 grams (1/4 cup) shelled pistachios (unsalted) – 4 tablespoons sesame seeds – 3 tablespoons coriander seeds – 2 tablespoons cumin seeds – 2 teaspoons dried thyme

- 1 teaspoon fennel seeds – 1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns

- 2 teaspoons dried lemon peel – 1 teaspoon salt

Toast the hazelnuts and pistachios in a dry skillet, or place on a sheet pan and roast on 350F for 8 minutes or until fragrant. In a skillet over medium heat toast the seeds and berries (from sesame to black pepper) in the skillet for 2-3 minutes or  until fragrant shaking the pan frequently so they don’t burn. Let cool completely. Add the salt and the lemon peel to the mixture and set aside.

First place the hazelnuts and pistachios (or larger nuts) in a spice grinder and pulse a few times to get the mixture started. Pour the nuts out onto a plate with the other spices and mix up with your hands or a spoon. In small batches add all the ingredients, and grind to a coarse powder in an electric grinder or with a mortar and pestle.

Pour mixture into a jar and  close tightly. Keep in a cool dry place.

Serving suggestions:

Sprinkle on top of roasted veggies, chicken, cheese, eggs, even fruit would be killer!

 

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Vegan Chocolate Banana Truffles for your sweetie (or you!)

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Vegan Chocolate Banana Truffles for your sweetie (or you!)

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Happy Tuesday to all my gorgeous gluten-free readers!!! In case you live under a rock Thursday is Valentines Day. I have mixed feelings about the holiday in general, but the one part that I do approve of is the unabashed excuse to eat chocolate! Now for all you love birds out there that have a date I strongly encourage you to make something from the heart rather than buy a premade box of terrible unhealthy chocolates (especially if your valentine has a food allergy or diet requirement). And if you are riding solo, like me ;) go ahead and make a batch for yourself. Aint nothin wrong with that and you can’t tell me otherwise.

Always remember just because it’s a special occasion doesn’t mean anyone should go without so this recipe is gluten-free, vegan, paleo, and freaking delicious! Did I mention its way easy too? Ok just checking. Lets make some magic!!!!

 

Vegan/Paleo Banana Chocolate Truffles

Raw-Vegan-Gluten Free-Paleo

Makes about 12 truffles

 

  • 5 oz Dark Chocolate finely chopped
  • 3.75 oz (just short of 1/2 cup) coconut cream (If using regular coconut milk chill for a few hours and scrape the cream off the top of the can. DO NOT USE LIGHT COCONUT MILK)
  • 1 over ripe banana
  • three finger pinch of sea salt

 

Place the banana in the work bowl of your food processor (if you have the small work bowl attachment that would be even better or mash finely with the back of a fork). Puree the banana with short pulses until it is a smooth paste. Add the finely chopped chocolate on top of the banana.

 

Heat the coconut cream in a small sauce pan over medium heat. Allow to heat until steam starts to form on top of the milk making sure to not allow it to come to a boil.

 

Pour the hot coconut cream over the chocolate and banana mixture. Allow to sit for one minute. Then cover and pulse the food processor until a fine smooth mixture.

 

Cover with a saran wrap so that it touches the surface. Refrigerate it until it is firm enough to scoop and roll, about 1 hour. Do not wait too long because if the mixture becomes too cold it will be difficult to work with so start checking after one hour. 

 

Pour the cocoa powder into a shallow bowl or a plate with high sides. Dust your hands with cocoa powder and use a small candy scoop or a large melon baller to form small balls from the ganache. Roll them in your hands one at a time to form a round ball. Place the formed balls into the bowl with the cocoa powder 5 at a time and shimmy the bowl or plate back and forth lightly so the truffles roll around and become covered by a thin later of the cocoa powder. You could also roll them in finely ground coconut.

Keep in the fridge until ready to eat.

 

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Chocolate Cashew Cream Banana Almond Tart (Vegan and Paleo)

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Chocolate Cashew Cream Banana Almond Tart (Vegan and Paleo)

These are the best thing I have put in my pie hole this year, plus they are so cute and little (The cuter something is the less calories it has right? No? We aren’t friends if you keep saying things like that).

Heres the trick to this indulgent tart...cashew cream! I posted the recipe yesterday because you need to soak the cashews overnight. I made the tart shells out of almond flour and whole hazelnuts for a richer flavor. If you want this tart to be raw you could simply leave out the oil and replace with 1/2 cup dates (soaked in warm water for 15-20 minutes to soften) process into a fine paste and press into the bottom and sides of the shell and then refrigerate for at least 2 hours before filling to set up.

Chocolate Cashew Cream Banana Almond Tart

Makes enough for 4 mini tarts

  • 4 mini prepared tart shells (see recipe below)
  • 4 overripe bananas (I mean black like on the verge of throwing out)
  • 1-2 fresh bananas cut into thin slices and placed in a bowl covered in water with juice of 1/2 lemon to keep from browning
  • 1 cup thick cashew cream
  • 2 TBL pure maple syrup (or sweetener of choice)
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
  • 2 TBL melted and slightly cooled coconut oil (or light flavored oil like grapeseed)
  • 3/4 cup organic raw cacoa powder

For Garnish

  • 1/2 dark organic chocolate bar for shaving
  • 3/4 cup thick cashew cream + 1 TBL maple syrup(optional)

Instructions

  • Remove the bananas out of the water and place on a paper towel to dry off while preparing the filling.
  • Place the 4 overripe bananas, cashew cream, cocoa powder, oil, maple syrup, salt, nutmeg in a blender and blend until very smooth.
  • In the bottom of the cooled tart shells place a single layer of the sliced bananas in the bottom of each shell.
  • Then scoop 2-3 TBL of the chocolate mixture over the bananas until it reaches just shy of the top of the crust.
  • If garnishing with additional cashew cream whip some with the maple syrup and place in a piping bag or a plastic bag with the tip cut off. (I buy the piping bag tips and place them in the cut corner of a plastic bag)
  • Pipe a small amount in the center or as much as your heart desires.
  • With a vegetable peeler shave some chocolate on top of each tart.
  • Refrigerate for at least 2 hours (overnight would be best) to allow the chocolate filling to set up.
  • Relish in the beauty of your creation by stuffing your face with it :)

Vegan/Paleo Pie Crust 

Makes 4 mini tarts or one regular size tart shell

Ingredients

  • 1 cup almond flour
  • 1/2 cup whole dry roasted hazelnuts
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 2 TBL melted coconut oil

Instructions

Place the first three ingredients in a food processor and pulse until the hazelnuts are a fine flour. With the motor running slowly pour in the melted coconut oil until a sand like dough forms.

Test some by pressing a small handful and if it remains together you are good but if it falls apart you may need for oil. If it’s very wet and oily add more almond flour until the desired consistency is achieved.

Bake the tarts on a sheet pan for 10-12 minutes or until golden brown. Let cool for at least one hour before filling.

 

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