Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Pancakes and Lasagne Makeover

We LOVE pancakes at our house. We eat them more often than any other meal; so when we cut out sugars and grains 30 days ago I wan't sure if we could find a good replacement. I will not tell a lie, these are NOT the same as the real deal, but this recipe was the best we've found and the kids did not complain.


This night I made this a savoury meal for Daddy. Topping these pancakes are a fried egg and a "white sauce" made with sausage, onion, cream, arrowroot powder (the thickener) and cheddar cheese. Below is the pancake recipe I used from one of my favourite sites, Health-Bent.com (only slightly adjusted).


Pancakes (SFGF)
makes 10-12 medium cakes
1 1/2 c almond flour
1/2 c almond milk
1 tbsp xylitol
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp vanilla
5 eggs
oil for frying pan (if needed)


Put all ingredients (except oil) into a blender and mix well.
Pour onto a medium hot pan or griddle to the size of your choice. Ready to flip once tiny bubbles form around edges. Keep warm until ready to serve and top with your usual favourites.




Lasagne is a classic especially if you have 4 hungry children to feed. This version was so yummy and now that I have made it once I could see myself making some simple adjustments to make it even more delicious and more like the classic version. Another one from Health-Bent.com that I would make over and over. I am curious if it would freeze well though. I would fear the squash might loose too much of it's firmness.


Butternut Squash Lasagne (SFGF)
1 lb italian sausage, casings removed
1 onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves
1 15oz can pasta sauce
1 roasted pepper
1/4 c olive oil
few leaves of fresh basil (opt)
1 small butternut or acorn squash



Preheat oven to 400ºF. Brown sausage along with the onions & garlic. Cut squash into 1/4" slices and peel. These will act like the noodles.
Make the sauce by pureeing the pasta sauce, red peppers, olive oil and basil in a blender.
Using a 9×9 oven safe baking dish, put down enough sauce to lightly cover the bottom of the dish. Next add the squash, trying not to overlap the pieces, then spoon on the sausage mixture, followed by the sauce. Repeat until all your ingredients are used up…trying to reserve enough sauce to cover the top of the lasagna.
Bake for 45 minutes. You’re looking for a bubbly pan with a crispy, browned top. Right out of the oven, the lasagna may by liquidy, let it set for a good half hour before cutting into it, as it will solidify.
Read the labels when looking for sausage and sauce. Many cased sausages have wheat or modified corn products in them and sauces as you may already know have a lot of salt and sugar. I used plain ground sausage and just added my own spices (anise or fennel, garlic, dried chilli peppers, salt and pepper). For the sauce I started with tomato paste and added some oregano, garlic and onion powder, thinning with some of the fat from the sausage and some water).
Quick Roasted Red Pepper
I made my own roasted red pepper very easily by quartering a pepper and broiling it skin side up until the skins are well charred. Place in glass bowl and cover with plastic wrap and cool slightly in fridge. Once cool enough to handle the skins will peel off easily.
Options to try in the future:
Might be nice to try adding spinach, cottage or ricotta cheese, mozzarella or even feta mixed in the layers.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Pizza Night II

Another pizza night with a different recipe for the crust. It was pretty good, but I think I preferred the cauliflower crust better. I had two votes for this crust and two votes for the cauliflower. The other two votes didn't seem to care.
We also made mozza cubes. These were VERY tasty and I would love to make them again. I don't like to fry things, so I baked them. It made the coating a bit too dry, but really, we didn't care. They were just too yummy!

Here is the newest crust recipe...

Paleo Pizza Crust
(adapted from paleodietlifestyle.com)

1/2 cup coconut flour
1 cup almond flour (meal)
1 tsp baking powder
2 tsp garlic powder
4 eggs
3 tbsp olive oil
1/2 cup almond milk

Just like with the cauliflower crust this also needs to be baked before you add the toppings. So make sure your topping are cooked. We used sautéd onions, mushroom and garlic as well as yellow pepper, spinach and some tomato, topped with mozzarella.

1) Preheat oven to 375˚F. Mix the dry ingredients well and then add the wet, blending with a fork until smooth.
2) Grease a pizza pan and spread dough to form the crust until about 1/8" to 1/4" thick. I think my pan was 14" (standard size) and I still had enough to make an extra 4" round. Bake until the crust begins to brown slightly (15-20 minutes).
3) Once baked, you can add your topping just as you like them. Bake again for another 10 minutes or until the cheese is melted.

This recipe cuts really nice and is easy enough to hold in your hand. We did find it a bit dry and I thought I could taste the coconut flour too much. I might try using 1/4 cup coconut flour and 1/4 cup chickpea flour. They both seem to have the same texture so I don't see why it wouldn't work out. I feel comfortable enough with this recipe to play around a bit.


These cheese sticks need some overnight or at least 4 hours preparation, but it is well worth it, I promise.

Baked Cheese Sticks or cubes as we did
(adapted from wellnessmama.com)

12 1" cheese cubes (or sticks)
2 eggs
1 cup almond flour (meal)
1 tbsp italian style seasoning (oregano, thyme, basil)
1/2 tsp sea salt
1-2 cup coconut oil for frying (if you prefer)

I baked them at 425˚F so no oil, though you might like to spray them a bit to get them browning better for baking.

1) Cut cheese into preferred size for your sticks. Line them on a baking sheet and freeze a minimum of 3-4 hours, overnight is best. Since mozzarella freezes so well, we chose that, but you can use any brick style cheese that you want.
2) Preheat over to 425˚F. And line a baking sheet with foil or parchment. I even used a cooling rack under the foil to allow heat to come up from under a bit better.
3) Beat eggs with a tsp of water in a small bowl. You want it to be well blended, but not frothy. In another bowl blend the dry ingredients.
4) Bring out cheese and work quickly so cheese remains as frozen as possible. With one hand (now called the wet hand), dip cheese into egg mixture. With your other hand (the dry hand) coat with the dry mixture. Repeat this process at least once more or until the cheese is coated well. If the coating is too thin the cheese will burst out right away.
5) Place on baking sheet, well spread out (we had a few burst, but melted cheese is yummy too). This is where I would spray (or lightly brush) them with oil/butter. Bake until lightly browned.

Serve with home-made pizza sauce and watch your family's faces light up! I think these could be made un huge batches and then frozen for later meals. We will certainly add this one to the keeper file!


Monday, February 20, 2012

The Best of the Best

My husband works rotating shifts so we will often make him breakfast for supper. It's fast and so yummy. When I came across this recipe for zucchini pancakes I was stoked to get them on the plate.

Zucchini Pancakes
(adapted from Paleo Diet Lifestyle.com)

3 medium zucchini, shredded
1 tsp salt
1 leek, cleaned and chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 egg
1/2 cup chickpea flour
1/2 tsp baking powder

1) Place zucchini in a bowl with the salt to draw out the water for at least 10 minutes. Squeeze out the water using cheese cloth or even a clean dish towel.
2) Return zucchini to a bowl and add remaining ingredients. The flour isn't required, but certainly helps them not fall apart.
3) Heat a large skillet or griddle to med-high heat. You want to make sure the pan is hot before you start cooking. Create 2-3" patties, placing them into hot pan (greased if needed), cooking for 3-4 minutes on each side. Serve warm or trust me cold is good too!

The eggs you see here are filled with spinach, red peppers, basil, oregano and topped with feta. This one is a real crowd pleaser.


I know eggs for breakfast and lunch? It's just a little bit here, but variety in lunches aren't as easy as suppers. I don't plan my lunches ahead, which is exactly why they can be tough to get in. This is a simple one really.


No Mayo Egg Salad

4 hard boiled eggs
1 ripe avocado, chopped
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp dijon mustard
salt and pepper (to taste)

Combine all the ingredients and enjoy on lettuce leaves. I made a side salad of tomatoes and feta. The children usually HATE egg salad but they all asked for seconds this day. I wonder now if it was the lettuce "wrap". Maybe I should try tuna salad next. They don't care for that stuff too much either.

If you have read a couple of my previous blogs you'll notice that I have been re-making some old classics. Well this one is no different. Who doesn't like a tasty Meat Loaf for supper?



Meat Loaf with Home-made Ketchup
(from Paleo Diet Lifestyle.com)

I pretty much made this one as the recipe said. I left out the honey and worcestershire sauce. So please do check out their site. I think you'll be pleasantly surprised by all the goodies they have. The home-made ketchup was a lot easier than I thought and the children loved it too.


Bacon and Egg Cups 
with a Berry and Spinach Salad

I also have this tasty breakfast for dinner for you. We managed to find some back bacon that was not sured with sugar. Took a while in the store reading labels, but my hubby loved me for it. I started by lightly greasing muffin tins and lining them with thinly sliced bacon. I cracked an egg in each one, baking them in a 350˚F oven until cooked.

We had some frozen berries, so I thought that a quick spinach salad might work with a berry "dressing". I thawed the berries in the microwave. I used a bit of arrowroot powder to thicken the sauce a bit. Dressed the salad with the berries and sauce and topped it off with a bacon and egg cup.

For the children I added a drop of green food colouring to make it green eggs and ham. Went over very well. Be careful to not overcook, because the tops can form a tough skin and that is kinda gross.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Keeping it Simple

Lunch... There are certain foods that I would just randomly miss. This day, I was craving Caesar Salad. Naturally, I looked on the side of the bottle (knowing what it would say) and there it was... SUGAR! The hunt was on. Here is what I found:
3 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup shredded parmesan cheese
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/3 cup olive oil

1) In a blender combine the 1st three ingredients. While processing, gradually add olive oil in a steady stream.

I put this dressing on some romaine, spinach and left-over salmon. It was super good and hit the right spot.

Not the greatest colour here, but it taste so good!
Supper... Having a freezer filled with yummy beef means I never have to worry about what cut of meat is on sale before I make my menu. Having just fallen in love with Mashed Faux-tatoes I knew a classic roast beef would compliment it so well. I didn't feel bad that I didn't serve a salad because there is a lot of veg on this plate. The children LOVE the cauliflower potatoes. Graeme (3yrs old) prefers this to the "real deal". This is the one who also sites broccoli his favourite food.

Not much, but at least you know that you can take your old go to recipes and make them more healthy for you.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Busy Days...

It never fails that when you start something big, life amps up to match it. This challenge to keep sugar (and al foods that turn into sugar) out of our diet has really consumed my time. I don't want this to discourage anyone. I am a hard core food lover. To the point that I prefer to not eat the same meal (dinner) more than twice in a month. So, it's my own fault for being such a meal snob I guess. Doing my menus this way takes some more time looking for the recipes. I have a few favourite sites that I will share with you at the end of this blog.

One thing I have noticed while doing my search is that this diet is extremely similar to the Paleo Diet. I had never heard of this before, but I must say, it does make sense. I spoke of this in a previous blog so I won't bore you by repeating myself. Just interesting really. So without further ado I give you our latest kitchen treats. As usual I try to use grain-fed meats and organic whenever I can. It does make a difference; especially in the meat department.

The Classic Shepherd's Pie
Mashed Faux-tatoes (see below)
1 tbsp coconut oil (or olive if you wish)
1 large onion, finely chopped
1lb ground beef (grain-fed is best)
1 stalk celery, finely chopped
1 cup frozen peas (or any veg blend you wish)
1 bell pepper, finely chopped
1 tbsp arrowroot flour
2 tbsp ice cold water
1 cup vegetable stock
2 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp dried oregano
1 pinch ground cloves
sea salt and pepper (to taste)

1) Prepare the faux-tatoes and set aside. Preheat oven to 375˚F.
2) In a large skillet, heat oil over medium heat and add the onion and celery. Cook, until soft. Add the ground beef and increase the heat to medium high heat until well browned; breaking up the chunks.
3) Add the remaining vegetables and sauté until warm (4-5 minutes). Add the stock, thyme, oregano, cloves, salt and pepper.
4) In a small bowl, combine the arrowroot powder with the ice water, stirring with a fork until smooth. This will act like cornstarch and thicken the sauce. Add to veggie and meat mixture, stirring well to combine. Bring to a boil and cook for 2-3 minutes or until gravy thickens. Transfer to a 9" round or 3qt casserole dish.
5) Spread the mashed faux-tatoes onto the meat, spreading evenly. Bake for 30-40 minutes or until the faux-tatoes are golden.

Mashed Faux-tatoes
adapted from Food.com
1 head cauliflower
4 oz cream cheese
1 tbsp butter
1/3 c cream (any you like)
salt and pepper (to taste)

1) Steam cauliflower until soft, but not mushy.
2) Drain really well and purée in food processor, adding the butter, cream cheese and cream.

You decide how smooth you want it. I like to use whipping cream.

As promised here are a few of my newest favourite sites. I might have to adapt the sugar to use xylitol from time to time, but the recipes are usually pretty good. Enjoy your menu planning!

Paleo Diet Recipes
Health-Bent
Healthy Living How To
Gluten-Free Dairy-Free Sugar-Free
Maximized Living

Friday, February 10, 2012

A Favorite Meal Re-Made

Cheesy Chicken Enchiladas
serves 4-6


3-4 chicken breasts (or 6 thighs), cut into strips
Oil for cooking chicken
1 medium onion, diced
1 red pepper, cut into strips
1 tsp cumin
2 cups cheddar cheese, grated
8 oz cream cheese, cubed
2 cups salsa


6-8 tortillas 5" (SF, GF recipe below)

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350˚F


Warm oil in a large skillet and cook chicken over med/high heat until fully cooked. Add cumin, peppers and salsa (reserve 1/2c for topping) and heat until warm. Turn off heat and add cheddar (reserve 1/2c for topping) and cream cheese. Mix well. It doesn't need to fully melt.


Fill tortilla shell enough so you can still roll them closed. Place seem side down in a 9x13 baking dish. Pour remaining salsa over top and sprinkle with remaining cheese. Bake until cheese is melted and slightly browned.


Let cool slightly (filling will be crazy hot) and serve with a side salad.

Homemade Tortillas
(sugar free, grain/gluten free)
makes 8-10 tortillas 5" round


4 eggs
1/4 cup grape seed oil
2 pinches of salt
1/4 cup coconut flour
2/3 cup unsweetened almond milk (though I used 1cup to thin it out more)


Directions:
Whisk together eggs, oil and salt. Sift in coconut flour and blend until there are no more lumps. Add the milk and blend well. Heat a pan or flat griddle over med/low heat. Wipe with a small amount of olive or coconut oil. Pour 1/8 cup batter onto hot pan and spread quickly (rotate pan in your hand or spread with bottom of spoon). Cook for 3 minutes or until you can safely lift to flip them over. Transfer to plate and cover to keep them warm. (I stored them in the microwave).

I could fit 5 on my griddle at one time, making the 5th a baby ones for our littlest.

You really need to get the batter spread fast because they cook quickly. I found this recipe more suited for crepes because the coconut flour was so sweet. Here are links to some other recipes I would like to try as a replacement. These would break pretty easy as well, but for baking them like I did, it would be okay.
http://eatthecookie.wordpress.com/2011/05/03/grain-free-tortilla/
http://www.thespunkycoconut.com/2011/02/tortilla-wraps-egg-free-grain-free.html

Berry Cole Slaw
serves 4-6


4-6 cups green and purple cabbage, finely sliced (approx. 1/4 head of each)
1/4 cup finely diced red onion
1 cup blueberries
1 cup sliced almonds


Dressing: (might need to adjust, because I didn't measure)
1/4 cup grape seed oil
1-2 tbsp wine vinegar
1/2 lemon squeezed
1 tsp xylitol (to taste)

This was a very tasty meal. I have noticed that we don't eat nearly as much food on this plan and I am not feeling very hungry. While I do prefer these tortillas made with traditional wraps better, I will still keep hunting for a healthier replacement. Darn that GMO corn, why do you have to taste sooo good?

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Twelve Big Thumbs Up


Pizza Night was a super big hit and I was skeptical to say the least. With all the children, Mommy and Daddy giving this meal a grand total of 12 thumbs up I think i's safe to say that this could make it to the "regular" menu with ease. So how do you make pizza with no flour? Another great find on Pinterest is how. It's called Cauliflower Pizza. We only doubled this recipe and served with two sides; Zucchini and Mushroom Crumble and a Spinach Balsamic Feta Salad (recipes also included).

This meal could very easily be vegetarian as well. We choose to put some cooked chicken on our pizza, along with spinach, peppers and onions.

Cauliflower Pizza
serves 2

1 cup cooked, riced cauliflower

1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

1 egg, beaten

1 tsp dried oregano

1/2 tsp crushed garlic
1/2 tsp garlic salt
olive oil (optional)
pizza sauce, shredded cheese and your choice of toppings*


To "Rice" the Cauliflower:
Take 1 large head of fresh cauliflower, remove stems and leaves, and chop the florets into chunks. Add to food processor and pulse until it looks like grain. Do not over-do pulse or you will puree it. (If you don't have a food processor, you can grate the whole head with a cheese grater). Place the riced cauliflower into a microwave safe bowl and microwave for 8 minutes. There is no need to add water, as the natural moisture in the cauliflower is enough to cook itself.
One large head should produce approximately 3 cups of riced cauliflower. The remainder can be used to make additional pizza crusts immediately, or can be stored in the refrigerator for up to one week.

To Make the Pizza Crust:
Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Spray a cookie sheet with non-stick cooking spray.
In a medium bowl, stir together 1 cup cauliflower, egg and mozzarella. Add oregano, crushed garlic and garlic salt, stir. Transfer to the cookie sheet, and using your hands, pat out into a 9" round. Optional: Brush olive oil over top of mixture to help with browning.
Bake at 450˚F degrees for 15 minutes.
Remove from oven. To the crust, add sauce, toppings and cheese. Place under a broiler at high heat just until cheese is melted (approximately 3-4 minutes).
Enjoy!
*Note that toppings need to be precooked since you are only broiling for a few minutes.


My husband is not a picky eater (good thing because not all things I make are great), but there are a few things he's just not a fan of: 1) Mushrooms, 2) Tomatoes 3) Those icky peppers on frozen pizza (who could blame him on that one). So you could imagine how shocked I was when he asked for seconds on the mushroom, zucchini crumble. He said "It tastes a lot like stovetop stuffing.". I did put a bit too much salt (my salt-a-holic son even agreed), but it was delicious. I got this recipe from our Chiropractor's office and it too will find itself on the pages of our favourite recipes.




Zucchini and Mushroom Crumble
serves 8-10

6 medium zucchinis, washed and chopped
3 cups mushrooms, mixed variety, chopped
1 medium onion, diced
1 tbsp dried thyme and parsley (or to taste)
sea salt and cracked black pepper (to taste)
1 tsp coconut flour
1 tbsp coconut oil

CRUMBLE TOPPING:
1 1/2 cup almond flour
1/2 cup sliced almonds
2 tbsp cold, unsalted butter
3/4 tsp sea salt
1/3 cup parmesan cheese, grated

Prepare the topping:
Combine almond flour, butter and sea salt in the food processor and pulse until it resembles bread crumbs (or you can work it together with your fingers). With your fingers, work in the sliced almonds until well combined. Refrigerate the crumble, covered, until the filling is ready to be topped.
Prepare the filling:
In a large skillet, heat about 1 tbsp of coconut oil at med/high heat. Add the onions and sauté for about 5 minutes, until softened. Add zucchini, thyme, parsley, salt and pepper. Stir to combine. Cover and reduce heat to low. Simmer for about 12 minutes with lid on or until zucchini is slightly softened.
Remove lid and stir in the chopped mushrooms. Return heat to med/high and cook about 10 minutes, until mushrooms have shrunk and released their water. Sprinkle with 1 tsp. of coconut flour and stir to thicken the mixture/absorb the excess liquid.
Pour the mushroom/zucchini mixture into a large glass casserole dish (9x13). Spread crumble mixture evenly over the top. Sprinkle the top with parmesan and bake at 300˚F for about 20 minutes or until crumb topping is nicely browned and cheese is melted. 
Note: Watch the topping closely because almond flour/almonds/nuts brown quicker than flour or oats.
* Use organic, grain-fed, raw ingredients as much as possible.


Spinach Balsamic Feta Salad
servings 4-6

6 cups baby spinach, washed
2 cups sliced, red, orange and yellow peppers
1 cup feta cheese, diced (or crumbled)
Dressing:
1/4 medium red onion, finely diced (or 1 shallot)
1 tbsp dried oregano (or to taste)
sea salt and cracked black pepper (to taste)
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup grape seed oil

Combine all dressing ingredients and mix well. Toss salad ingredients and add dressing. Toss again and serve.

Over all this was one of the best suppers I had made all month I think. We all walked away from the table feeling very full and satisfied. I won't lie, this won't ever really replace traditional pizza for us, but now we know that there are choices. Most of the time I hope to choose health over easy, greasy take out or store bought pizza. We will probably make our own 98% of the time in the months and years to come and this recipe will be in there for sure.

NOTE: Most of the time we choose to use our small plates, but this time we pulled out the larger dinner plates. Each pizza was about 5-6" wide.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

We're not Torturing Ourselves

When I tell people that we aren't eating sugar or grains (or any food that our body treats like sugar) I am faced with "Well, what can you eat?". They assume we can't eat anything and what we can eat (especially coconut milk, butter or cream) is high in cholesterol or fat. There is a lot of confusion about what is healthy for us. No wonder, there are so many ideas and theories out there. That is one of the reasons I wanted to blog about this. 

We are not torturing ourselves; we are just making better choices. Think of it this way, if we continually force our bodies to put out the "fires" we cause by eating bad food how can it work to keep the other parts of our bodies healthy? Sugar is the biggest one of those "bad foods". Our bodies have to work extra hard to process sugar (ask any diabetic who takes insulin and they would tell you how hard it is to manage just that tiny part). Refined sugars are the worst, so for 30 days we are giving our bodies the break it needs to get on a better path to healing itself.

Since breakfasts are usually shakes you might not get too many recipes from me on that. These are some keepers for sure. We do like to have breakfast for supper from time to time, so watch for that too.

This was a quick lunch from Sunday, inspired by pinterest. It's simply a small amount of cottage cheese, half an avocado, a few snap peas, a handful of almonds and cucumber sandwiches. The sandwiches have a bit of yogurt based feta cheese spread (no sugar) and spinach sandwiched together. If I had tomatoes and hummus these would have been the bomb.
These suppers were a pretty big hit. This Parmesan Crusted Salmon is one I've made before and we had frozen beet greens from our garden this past summer so I figured I could just whip up some yummy. For the salmon all you need to do is mix the zest from one lemon and an 1/8 cup parmesan and 1/8 cup almond flour. Squeeze the juice from  half the lemon over the fish and drizzle with 1 tbsp melted butter. Coat the top of your salmon and bake until salmon flakes easily.
The beet greens were basically sautéed with garlic, shallots, salt, pepper and a bit of nutmeg until warmed through. Finish them off by adding a small about of butter and there you go. Quick and easy. For the children I just made them a side of quinoa, lightly seasoned with butter, salt and pepper. Even they ate some of the beets.

This one was even easier. I found a good deal on some ribs and knew it was time to pull out the crockpot. Since most all store bought sauces have sugar and many other ingredients that I can't even pronounce I knew that I would have to make my own. None of these were measured so you basically need to go by taste. I used water, garlic, shallots, tomato paste, adobo seasoning (from epicure), chilli powder, salt, pepper and a small amount of xylitol (sugar replacement). Mix that together into a thick paste in the crockpot and coat the sauce all over the ribs. Set timer for 6-8 hours and wait for the goodness.
I served this over riced cauliflower which you can't see well in this photo, but it was pretty convincing. Also along side was a simple side salad with sugar-free homemade ranch dressing. It was so nice to have some "normal" food. The children didn't even notice the lack of rice in the "rice". Granted they all like cauliflower anyway.

Lastly for dessert I made another pinterest inspiration. I mixed a small amount of xylitol with cream cheese. Hollowed out some strawberries, filled them with the cream cheese mixture and sprinkled with almond flour (that I should have toasted first). These were better than having cheesecake for me, but then again I am not really a fan of cheesecake.
So clearly we are eating very well around here these days. So those of you concerned we've gone off the deep end on this "health" kick, know that we are just fine. As a matter of fact we are MORE than fine. I feel pretty amazing these days. More energy, better memory and much more calm to be perfectly honest. The children are less prone to outbursts, but it's hard to tell because the ones most prone to freak-outs are three and that age is known for extreme emotions.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

A Grainless Baking Success

The need for some sort of carb hit us hard in the 1st week of this 30 day challenge. I had searched out recipes and this one seemed possible for the baker that I am not. The next 30 days will be a crash course in what ingredients to use to make something more fluffy or more moist. It's hard enough doing that with regular baking and I just go and add no grain and no sugar to make things more difficult. I've never been known to take an easy road.


Here I made a classic Paleo Bread. For those of you not sure what Paleo is, click the link, but basically if people back in the age of "cavemen" people didn't eat something then we shouldn't either. I don't agree with everything, but it's a concept that I can appreciate. Let's face it without McDonalds we would ALL be healthier! So here is the recipe I used.

Paleo Bread
Servings: 8-10 
  • 1 cup coconut flour, sifted
  • 1 cup flax seeds, ground
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 10 eggs
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil, melted
  • 1/4 cup cream
  • 2 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
1. Preheat oven to 325˚F. Grease a small loaf pan.
2. Mix all the dry ingredients together.
3. Combine all the wet ingredients.
4. Add the dry ingredients to the wet and beat well. Batter will be thick.
5. Pour into loaf pan and bake for 40 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.
6. Cool completely before slicing.

I recommend used cream for a more moist bread, but you could use water or unsweetened almond milk as well. We slice it pretty thin because it will fill you up.

Today I had two slices with a fried egg topped with old cheddar. Oh, it was yum!

Monday, February 6, 2012

My Grainless Muffin Adventure

This was an interesting week to say the least. Seeing a TV commercial with burgers and fries would send me into a bit of a pout-a-thon. By Friday I was pretty cranky. I knew I had to make some grain-free bread products fast. It's amazing to me how we can trick out minds. It's only a few days later and I can say that seeing those commercials don't bother me anymore. It surprised me on Sunday when I was in the nursery at church and there were a few Tim Bits there and I didn't even want them. Out of habit I took a look, but turned away without a care. It wasn't until a few moments later that I realized what I had done. I was pretty proud of myself.

Here are some more photos and recipes from last week. I had a pretty epic fail making muffins. The second try was much better.
Grainless Pumpkin Muffins: Epic Fail, Fail and Success!
I had accidentally used the coconut flour when the recipe called for almond flour. Even after adding some cream, these muffins just weren't going to work. Since I still had some "batter" I figured I should try something to redeem them.

Thinking the mixture might work better with more liquid and an egg, I tried a few like that. No good, still too dry. Maybe if I had added more pumpkin it might have been better, but they were too dense and too dry. I'm not much of a baker really, so improvising is not too easy for me.

My third attempt was to follow the recipe much more carefully. Not like it was hard anyway. No trying to help my eldest son on the computer. Just straight baking, no interruptions. This was a hit. They are dense and filling. The original recipe called for liquid stevia extract, which we don't have and aren't big fans of anyway. We prefer to use Xylitol; so I used a teaspoon of that. That was not enough. I would need to use at least a tablespoon or more. The children liked them and with some butter they were good, just not sweet.

I do have more to post, but I will make it a new one. I want to try to keep these a bit shorter if I can. I like to talk so this is hard for me. I have some great keepers coming up so stay tuned.

Friday, February 3, 2012

30 Day Challenge Meals

Breakfasts are hard for me. 1. I don't often feel like eating in the morning. 2. Besides eggs most usual breakfast ideas are not on the "Advanced Plan". I can do shakes, but I do still need to feed my children. They get oatmeal with a choice of toppings (raisins, almonds, walnuts, orange slices, apples, coconut).

Here is our basic "grown-up" breakfast:
1c almond milk (unsweetened)
handful berries
1 scoop vanilla protein powder

I will mix it up using coconut milk and chocolate protein powder. We are almost out of powder, so time to get more!

This will often hold me for a few hours, but if I do get hungry a handful of almonds or a hard boiled egg will hold me over until lunch.

We are coffee drinkers, but we also like the nasty flavours that go in them, so black it is for me. To be honest I don't feel like I need coffee these days anyway. My husband uses milk/cream with a bit of xylitol in his coffee at work. I think if I had to sit all day to work I would need coffee too.

Lunch is a bit easier but I do find myself taking bites of apple that I have cut for the children with our noticing. Makes me ask how much other food I eat that way?

I will allow the children crackers and bread, just not as much as they would have normally. This was tough today when I made them crackers with peanut butter. I miss crackers. I WILL master a cracker recipe this week I think.

This little number was inspired by pinterest. They had eggs fried inside a pepper slice. I did that, only added tomato and almond flour mixed with butter and salt. Finished it off under the broiler.

I also made a salad of romaine, tomato, peppers, walnuts and my homemade ranch dressing. This was good for me.

Often I will eat a serving of the previous night's supper and serve the children their usual.


Dinner is challenging today because it's Friday and I really wanna treat myself. The new way of thinking says that the steak in the oven is my treat. Thanks Dad for the gift of healthy meat.
Ratatouille & Socca

 The 1st recipe here is the Ratatouille. I knew in advance I would not care for this one. I do not like eggplant, but thought if my son wanted it so bad I should make it for him.

The only highlight here for me was the Socca recipe. I think that if I were to make this chickpea pancake thin enough it could work like a crepe.


Warm Wasabi Avocado Salad with Chicken
This one was not the success I wanted it to be. I would certainly make it again, just like the recipe said. I think what made this one work was that I served it warm with chicken (omitting the carrots for the adults). Maggie LOVED the steamed broccoli and cauliflower. Who knew she would like wasabi?

Chicken "Noodle" Bowls
Lastly I have this asian inspired number. It is like a noodle bowl buffet. I cut up all the "toppings" and each person could add their own according to their likes. We had: rice noodles (kids only), chicken, pineapple (kids only), shredded carrots (kids only), almonds, walnuts, shredded cabbage (slightly steamed) and cauliflower (slightly steamed). The sauce was made of garlic and ginger infused vegetable stock and a splash of gluten free soy sauce. I served this warm over the "noodle" bowls. This was good, even the next day. We often top our asian inspired foods with chilli garlic sauce and we were surprised to see it contained no sugar. Yay for us!

Dessert is the one I thought might be most tough, but actually it is the easiest of them all. Coconut milk is a great thing people!

Here we have a simple mousse made from chilled then whipped coconut milk. The key here is to only use the congealed portion of the can (save the liquid for your shake). Chill overnight in the fridge and whip with cocoa powder (or chocolate protein powder) and xylitol (to taste).


Blueberries topped with Chocolate "Mousse"

I will keep you posted as to the successes as they come. As of today I have lost 2.5 lbs and clearly I have more energy. After day 1 I had a mild headache, but after being adjusted there have been no more. I really wanna eat some junk right now though and sadly I don't think the steaks will be ready before I have to leave for youth :(