Posts Tagged ‘sugar-free’

As much as I love sleeping in, I would rather spend that extra time in the morning relaxing with a hearty breakfast, a hot cup of tea, and the local paper’s crossword.  Whether I have a big day ahead of me or not, it is just that little time with myself that I really look forward to when I fall asleep at night.  That and what I have on the menu for daybreak!

I prefer to put something warm in my tummy, especially on cold winter mornings when the only source of light comes from the one you turn on above the breakfast table.  My go to is usually a warm bowl of oatmeal topped with goat yogurt, fruit and any nut butter or seed I find in my fridge and cupboard.  But we all know that change is very important, even if it’s something small like what’s in your breakfast bowl!

Lately I have been experimenting and revamping a pancake recipe that has been good each time but I think I have finally mastered it enough to share.  It can be made in one bowl, has few ingredients (which also happen to be nutrient rich,) and is really quick and simple to put together even if you don’t allot as much time as I do for breakfast in the morning.

The best part is that you can top it with as much or as little as you want depending on how hungry you are or what the day ahead of you looks like.

pancake1

Single Serving Blueberry Banana Pancake Pancake

1/2 Banana
1 egg
1/4 cup gf rolled oats
1 packet stevia
1 tbsp. coconut flour
1/8 tsp. cinnamon
1/8 tsp. baking powder
2 tbsp. frozen blueberries
1/2 tsp. coconut oil

1. Mash the banana with a fork and then whisk in the egg. Stir in the oats, flour, stevia, cinnamon and baking powder. Fold in blueberries.

2. Grease a frying pan on medium heat with coconut oil. Pour the batter onto the pan in such a way that you form one big round pancake with it. When bubbles begin to form on the top it is time to flip. This usually takes about 5 minutes. It’s ready when it has nicely browned on each side.

3. Top with your favourite ingredients, or try a combination of my favourite!

Optional toppers
– goat yogurt
– fresh fruit
– nut butter
– chopped nuts
– raspberry puree
– dried fruit
– cacao nibs
– coconut flakes
– agave nectar
– granola
– coconut oil
– hemp hearts
….

pancake2

The list is infinite. Open your taste buds. Be creative. Be the change. Enjoy.

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This past week I discovered a smell that I had never been subjected to before…A smell that many may never be subjected to unless you find yourself knee deep in compost, in the midst of an extreme heat wave in Texas, or faced with an overflowing box of grapefruit.

I was faced with the latter.

Last week, after a nice visit with Adam’s parents, we became parents to a heaping cardboard box of juicy Ruby Reds.  Now, don’t get me wrong, we are huge fans of grapefruit…Big or small…White or pink…But seeing this load of grapefruit steaming before my eyes, I suddenly started to feel defeated.  How on earth were we going to get through this many grapefruit before they started turning and growing mutant limbs of their own?

Adam didn’t hesitate for one second.  Immediately upon saying good-bye, he rolled up his sleeves and began peeling…And peeling…And peeling.  And then he started blending…And blending…And blending.  After a good day or two, he had successfully peeled, blended, and froze nearly 30 grapefruit.

Now even though we have to be extra cautious when it comes to opening the freezer these days to avoid being catapulted in the head by a pink hockey puck, I’d say our grapefruit overload is pretty much under control….Emphasis on the pretty much.  There are still, to this day, TWO more grapefruit sitting out in the fruit basket just waiting ever so patiently to be eaten…And it is those TWO grapefruit that have turned me away from ever freshening the air with a spritz of citrus, soaking in a hot tub of grapefruit water, or exfoliating with a sugar grapefruit scrub.

The smell of an overripe grapefruit is overpowering.  There is no way of masking the wretched odour that develops from a grapefruit just a mere two days too old.

But on that note, I still have a few dozen hockey pucks to get through this winter. So let’s get started, shall we?

grapefruit2

Gluten Free Blueberry Grapefruit Date Muffins with a Brazil Nut Streusel

* yields 12 small muffins

1 cup gf rolled oats
1/4 cup coconut flour
3 tsp. stevia
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/8 tsp. sea salt

3/4 cup grapefruit puree
3 tbsp. chia seeds
1/4 cup non dairy milk
3 tbsp. coconut oil

1/4 cup chopped dates
1/4 cup frozen blueberries

Streusel Topping

1 tbsp. rolled oats
2 tbsp. Brazil Nuts, roughly chopped
1 1/2 tbsp. unsweetened apple sauce
1/2 tbsp. coconut oil
1/2 tbsp. coconut sugar
1/2 tsp. cinnamon

1a. In a small sauce pan or microwave safe dish, combine all ingredients and stir until fully melted. Set aside to top muffins with after!

1b. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line a muffin tray with liners or grease and set aside. In a blender, puree the grapefruit and the chia seeds to create a smooth gel like substance. Then blend in the milk and coconut oil. Set aside.

2. In a large bowl, combine the dry ingredients. Pour the wet into the dry and stir. Fold in the blueberries and dates. The mixture will be quite thick because of the coconut flour but don’t fret.

3. Spoon the mixture into the individual cups and then top each one with about 1/2 tsp. of the streusel topping. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until the top has turned to a nice golden brown. Remove from oven and let cool.

grapefruitEnjoy warm with a little bit of coconut oil or butter!

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It didn’t take three weeks of restricted eating to start experimenting with baked goods; in fact, it didn’t even take three days.  I was in the kitchen on day two with my hands elbow deep in dry gooey sugarless dough trying to create the world’s best brownie-like bar – minus the sugar, butter, nuts, chocolate and wheat.

Not an ounce of doubt streamed through my blood…Not after seeing my coconut oil turn green from adding hemp butter to it, or watching my dough crumble before my eyes as I tried incorporating the green liquid into the dry ingredients, or even after trying to press the batter into the pan without having it stick to everything around me…Okay…Maybe I was skeptical after that…

It was an adventure to say the least.

I have since done three different takes on the somewhat same recipe and loved each and every one of them.  Adam’s hatred towards them, on the other hand, has exponentially increased each time and he is now at the point where he merely nibbles the corner of the already microscopic piece I have cut for him, turns his nose up, and quickly returns it to me.  I too have quickly caught on and begun cutting larger pieces in order to “sneak” in a second, or third, bar for myself.  You can’t put back an already chewed on piece, right? I am proud to say (or am I??) that I have officially eaten two pans of these bars — and am currently on my third — all to myself! Thank you, Adam.

So before making this recipe, do recognize that these are sugar free and you truly have to love the flavour of cacao to enjoy these.  Or you have to be on an extremely restricted cleanse and as a result will eat anything and love everything that is on the “green light” list of food.

And on that, I give you chewy cacao bars.

brownies

Chewy Cacao Bars

* yields 12, 2X4 inch bars

1 cup brown rice flour
2/3 cup buckwheat flour
2 tbsp. arrowroot powder
1/3 cup raw cacao powder
4 packets stevia (or 2 tsp.)
1/4 tsp gf baking powder
1/8 tsp sea salt

1 1/2 tbsp. chia seeds
3 tbsp. water
12-14 dates
water, just enough to cover the dates
1/4 cup coconut oil
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/3 cup unsweetened apple sauce
1/4 – 1/3 cup non dairy milk

4 tbsp. raw cacao nibs
3 tbsp. unsweetened shredded coconut flakes
2 tbsp. hemp hearts

Method

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line an 11 X 7 baking pan with parchment paper. In a small bowl combine chia seeds with the 3 tbsp. of water and set aside to gel up like an egg. In a small sauce pan, put the dates in just enough water to cover them and then bring to boil and simmer for about 10 minutes or until they soften. Stir in the coconut oil and vanilla and allow to melt.

2. Meanwhile in a large bowl combine the dry ingredients and set aside. In a food processor add the date/coconut oil mixture and blend into a puree. Blend in the chia egg, apple sauce, raw cacao nibs, coconut and hemp hearts. Then slowly begin to add in the dry mixture, alternating each addition with a little bit of milk to ensure the mixture doesn’t get too dry. The mixture will be quite dry and hard to blend but don’t fret. Blend until a dough ball forms.

3. With wet hands, transfer the dough to the prepared pan. Wet hands are important here as gluten free flours tend to be very sticky and it’s easier to maneuver if you’re hands are wet. Press the dough into flat and deep into the corners with wet fingers until it is completely set into the pan. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes until the top lightens and slightly cracks. Remove from oven and cool for about 15 minutes before removing it from the pan. Cut into squares, or cut as you go to ensure each piece is fresh and chewy. Once cooled completely, store in the refrigerator or freezer (if you have cut the pieces.) Enjoy!

brownies 2

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It’s not cake.

That sweet potato had been staring at me for quite some time now…(Not as long as I have neglected my blog though, or it would have been a little unsightly and possibly lethal.)  And even though russet potatoes are more commonly known for having eyes, this sweet tater was competing with its starchy counterpart and growing one very cutting set of eyes.

Rather than relying on my quick 17-minute-dinner-fix of quinoa and veg, I decided to expand my dinner prep time to 25 minutes and boiled that potato until it was tender.

However, I am not one to settle for boiled potatoes for dinner, a Friday night dinner at that, so after a little brainstorming and perusing of the other dying produce in my fridge I decided on potato cakes.  I mean who can say no to cake? Especially cake for dinner…But that just brings me to one of my childhood resentments: improper wording in regards to food.

The amount of times I had to quickly dampen my excitement, or even hold back tears, is immeasureable as it happened daily, sometimes even twice. “T, do you want a fudgesicle?!” “WHAT! A FUDGESICLE?!” Throwing open the freezer door without a second between I quickly realized that no, they’re not fudgesicles; they’re never fudgesicles.  And no, I don’t want one of your all-natural frozen fruit popsicles. Or, “Hey T! We got chocolate bars!” “WHAT! Chocolate bars?!!!” Wait. No. Mom made apple sauce oat bars with carob, again.

So before we go further, and I become the biggest hypocrite on earth, next to Stalin, I’ll tell you, these “sweet potato cakes” are not actually cakes.  There’s no icing, and there aren’t  even any candles.  I guess I’ll refer to them as griddle cakes.  No, actually patties. Sweet potato patties.

Sweet Potato Pea Patties 

* Inspired by Candle 79 

1 large sweet potato, peeled and cubed

1/2 onion, finely chopped

1 garlic clove, minced

2 tsp. Italian seasoning

1 tsp. cayenne pepper

1. tsp cumin

Salt and pepper, to taste

olive oil, for sautéing

1/3 cup frozen peas

Method

1. With cubed taters already submerged in the water, bring to a boil and cover.  Boil for 20 – 25 minutes or until tender (or until a fork can easily be inserted.) Drain potatoes and rinse with cold water.  Set aside.

2. Saute onion and garlic in olive oil until translucent.  Add spices to taste. Combine the potatoes and onion mixture in original boiling pot and mash.  The idea is for more of a rustic finish opposed to a typical mashed potato.  Meanwhile add the peas to the pan for a pre-cook, and then stir into potato mixture.

3. Heat up a little more olive oil in a large pan and form potato mixture into patties.  Fry until golden brown (8-10 minutes on each side depending on how hot the pan is.)

Serve alongside any main dish, or even as a side at breakfast.

I had these alongside apple Dijon baked tofu, some sautéed kale, and a white wine infused avocado puree.  It was incredible, and the avocado puree acted as a great accompaniment to the potato patties.

Enjoy!

 

 

 

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The Cuffin Man

Like most kids, in grade school I had a tendency to take advantage of the fact that mom or dad prepared my lunch — complete with a snack and maybe even a nice little note. I would just throw it in my bag (usually upside down so that the lentil soup could saturate all of its contents by the time lunch came,) zip it up and run out the door. It was a meal that required little to no mental planning… Besides the order in which I planned to eat it.

Now, here I am in my final year of university and I am still struggling with the act of packing a lunch. It has never been a top priority of mine as the only time I think about it happens to be when my stomach starts growling around noon loud enough for everyone in my lecture to hear.

So after four years of draining my bank account at noon on dry sandwiches and cold soup, I made a vow on the first day of last semester to never buy a lunch again. Two days later I have successfully bought two lunches…Fail.

No.

I will not fail.

In fact I’ll even include snacks, maybe even notes (written by…me?) in these new lunch concoctions of mine!

To start this goal off on a yummy, yet healthy, note I decided to whip up a batch of cookie-like things this evening.

Now, I am not one to go too crazy with recipe inventing, but I will tell you that these were quite the creation and mix match of ingredients…. Nevertheless, I loved them. After first bite.

Even my roommate who cringed after I made her swallow a spoonful of puréed dates loved them. Now will you try??

Powerhouse Lunch Cuffins

1/2 cup oat flour (I blended rolled oats in the food processor)
1 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp sea salt

4 tbsp coconut oil, melted
3/4 cups puréed dates (see how to below)
3 tbsp crunchy natural peanut butter
1 1/2 tbsp agave nectar (more or less depending on desired sweetness)
4 tbsp unsweetened unflavored almond milk
1 tsp vanilla extract

1/4 cup carob chips and 1/4 cup gogi berries
1/4 cup bran
1/4 cup chopped pecans
1/4 cup unsweetened shredded coconut

Method

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. In a large bowl combine all of the dry ingredients and stir.

2. In a separate small bowl, whisk together all of the wet ingredients until a smooth butter-like consistency forms.

3. Add wet mixture to dry mixture and stir until its all combined. I don’t have an electric mixer so I got in there with my hands… Needless to say, it was necessary! Should you need more wetness, slowly add more almond milk mixing as you go.

4. Add in the add-ins and continue to blend, and/or manipulate with your hands until everything is combined.

5. Drop small ball sized dough onto pan (about 2 tbsp per ball) and bake for 15 to 18 minutes, or until the tops are slightly golden.

6. Remove from oven and let cool. Taste. Sample. Eat. And maybe eat again.

These really turned out incredible even though they contain no sugar and little to no fat. The texture is almost like a muffin and yet it still looks like a cookie… So cuffin it is.

At least I have one thing to pack in my lunch for tomorrow. Maybe I can trade it for a sandwich??

No. Sandwiches are not worthy of my cuffin.

Pureed Dates

1. In a small sauce pan with a lid, add the amount of dates you need for cooking.  Add cold water until the dates are fully covered.  Add about 1 teaspoon of vanilla should you desire.

2. Bring to a boil for a few minutes, and then cover and reduce to low. Simmer for about 35 to 40 minutes, or until most of the water has disappeared.

3. In a food process, puree the soaked dates until a butter-like texture forms.  About a minute.

4. Use in this recipe right away, or in replace of sweetener in any other recipe.  This puree should last a few weeks stored in the fridge.

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Full of Beans

It could be a good or a bad one, but every house has a distinct smell, a smell that can usually only be picked up on by an outsider.

I became quite aware of this in grade six, or the ripe age of 11.  A few weeks of school had gone by and I was nervously bringing home a new friend from class for the first time.  I repeat, nervously.  What were we going to talk about? What embarassing thing is my mom going to say? What are we going to eat for a snack?  Will she like my room? All of these questions were racing through my head and I could feel my heart beat speeding up as my mom drove us up the hill from the bus stop.  My dogs came charging down the driveway as we pulled in and I took one last deep breath.  Everything was going to be fine.

“Your house smells like beans.”  These were her first words.

Great.  The question of “what is she going to think my house smells like?” didn’t even cross my mind!  To me it didn’t smell of anything, or in this case reek of beans.

But looking back on it now, I realize at least one meal a day consisted of some sort of bean concoction.  And due to my dad’s prevailing usage of cumin and tumeric, they all smelled the same…As a result my house most definitely did not smell like lavender essential oils which I later found out hers did.

So rather than covering up the pungent odour with essential oils the other night, I decided to fully embrace it and made a bean dish.  A darn good one at that. 

Refried Beans with a Chip-Kick

Ingredients

1 can black beans (or about 2 cups of soaked and cooked beans if you have time)

1 tbsp. olive oil

2 cloves of garlic, minced

1 medium sized white onion, diced

1 small green pepper, diced

1 small tomato, diced

3 chipotle peppers, including a few adobo sauce from canned chipotle (more or less depending on spice preference)

salt and pepper, to taste

Method

1. Heat oil in a large frying pan on medium heat.  Add garlic, onion and pepper and saute for about 6 to 8 minutes.

2.  Meanwhile in a food processor, blend the can of beans with the chipotle pepper and sauce until smooth.  Add salt and pepper if desired. 

3.  When onion is translucent and the pepper is tender, add the bean mixture to the pan.  Fold in diced tomato.  Taste and add more salt and pepper if needed. 

These refried beans were not only VERY quick and easy to whip up, they were velvety with just the right amount of smokiness from the chipotle peppers.  They were delicious.  I wrapped the beans up in a whole wheat tortilla with brown rice, homemade guacamole, and mozza cheese, but you can do anything with them like as a healthy dip alternative to store bought ones. 

I wasn’t even embarassed that my house smelled like beans after these.

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Just For You

Growing up, there was never just one person in the kitchen.  I don’t know which one of us decided it was okay to nix the   “too many cooks spoil the broth” cliche, but we did.  And for the most part (putting aside a few kitchen mayhems,) it worked.  Mom would chop, my sister would stir, I would whip (and place orders,) and dad would spice.

However, let’s not undermine spice.  Half the time I don’t even think my dad would dip his finger in to taste test before he went “spicing” away. 

Okay...Maybe sometimes he did!

He had (and still does) this magical flick to the wrist that would somehow make the concoction of cumin, tumeric, marjorom, thyme etc. palatable…for some people.

 

If you look really closely, you can see that "wrist flick."

 

Dad’s spicing technique was not what some would consider “child-friendly…” Heck, I don’t even think many would call it “adult-friendly.”  He had a way of adding a KICK to just about every meal.

I remember many a times where he was the only one eating as we were too busy placing rice balls on our tongues and patting down our glistening foreheads. 

Sure, we didn’t necessarily “spoil the broth,” but we had a way of really ruining dinner time. 

After one too many utterly hot dishes (say 10 years worth,) we were forced to build up a tolerance to them.  Now I can’t tolerate a meal WITHOUT spice.

So in honour of my father, who turns 55 years old today, I decided to pick up a bundle of hot chilis from the farmer’s market in order to make my very own hot sauce. 

This is something I have never actually attempted before as I rely (a little too much) on my Sriracha.  But there’s never harm in trying and I figured if my dad can do it then so can I!

After reading through a number of recipes I discovered that there was one common message: wear goggles and gloves…However being known for slicing the tips of my fingers weekly, I figured that this would only impair my judgment further so I decided to reject it and away I went!

PBF Sauce (aka my father’s initials)

* Inspired by Homemade Hotsauce

** For your own safety, I too recommend gloves and goggles

Ingredients

1 cup chopped white onion

4 cloves of minced garlic

2 banana peppers sliced lengthwise, seeded, and diced

4 cayenne peppers sliced lengthwise, seeded, and diced

3 cups crushed tomatoes (I used a can)

1/3 cup dried figs, roughly chopped

3/4 cup white vinegar

1/4 cup balsamic vinegar

olive oil, for cooking

salt, to taste

Method

1. In a large pot, saute the onion and garlic in olive oil for about 2 minutes.  Add the peppers.  Saute for another 10 minutes until the onion is translucent and the peppers are soft. 

2.  Stir in the figs and continue to simmer for a couple more minutes.

3.  Add the crushed tomatoes, vinegar, and salt and simmer until the tomatoes have spread apart.  Taste to see if you need more salt.

At this point I really started to second guess my abilities...

4. Carefully transfer to a food processor and blend away. Puree until a sauce has formed.

5. Optional: put sauce through a seive with very small holes to collect any of the bits that didn’t blend.  I didn’t do this because I like a rustic looking sauce, but if you want to go for it!!

6. Allow to cool, and then bottle it up.  Store in the refridgerator.  Thanks to the vinegar, the sauce will keep for months in the refridgerator.

I am so pleased with this sauce as it is one that tastes absolutely amazing yet packs a serious punch.  It can be used in stir fries, as a sandwich topper, on pizza, as a dip…ANYTHING.

And dad, even though you’re not here to try it, I know you would be impressed. 

HAPPY BIRTHDAY to the most wonderful man in the world.

 

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