Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Grain Free "Granola" Bars

Even to this day one of my most beloved highly processed lunch food is a granola bar. I LOVED the granola bars covered in a layer of chocolate and full of chocolate chips and sweetness.. MMMmm Those are still yummy. But it is near impossible to find granola bars that are delicious and organic, gluten, and sugar free and that dont have chemicals or dyes. It never fails... if they don't have wheat, the have Corn Syrup. And that's pretty much the worse thing in this entire world for you.

Before Christmas I was making granola bars out of oatmeal and though they were dear to my heart and delicious they were VERY filling and and full of carbs. If I am going to have a healthy grain free snack oatmeal is a nono.
I searched my favorite recipe blogs looking for granola bar recipes. Of course I found them, but I made 4 different recipes. 1 was not sweet enough and was too wet in the middle. 2 looked very promising but when I cut them into bars they became granola. 3 was soft and was more like a cookie. 4. was my combination of all 3 of them. I was able to decide which I loved and didn't love and make the perfect granola bar.
Not only was number 4 the best but its better for you as it doesn't use oatmeal or grains. Though my great love affair with the chocolate coating had to be given up I was able to chop up some bakers bars and toss them in. Delicious!!
These are great because they are grain free and though they are preservative free I find they last easily a couple weeks in the fridge wrappers in plastic or parchment. 
You could definitely throw them in the freezer as 1 batch does make quite a few.

On a side note.....The other day I was making some fruit leather for Hubby as we had a huge bag of grapes all getting squishy at the same time so I had this thought that a delicious puree of grapes and other ingredients would be great as a leather.
I gave it to him on his way to work one morning and he didn't even try it that day. Just too busy (or so he says) LOL so the next day he tried it after I cried and was sad that I did all of that work for him to just ignore it. Haha what a sucker. He ate half the bag!!! I guess it was delicious! I still don't know how good it was because he hasn't even given me a piece!!!
Anyways, after I made the fruit leather I decided to make my cracker recipe and pop it onto the dehydrator to see how they come out. The only negative I had was the cracker took 4-5 hours to be crispy. But they are too die for. The crispy snap you would expect from a cracker but without any of the fuss of having to bake them forever and turn them  constantly and I didn't have to worry about them burning.
They are fantastic and I will be posting about my few changes made to the recipe as some pictures of my famous cheese ball and my crackers yum.

.... Back to the granola bars, I was thinking that dehydrating the granola bars would make them just as fantastic and crunchy as my big bucket of granola that I made. So I will be trying this in the future. If you have a dehydrator and want to try it and let me know please do.. otherwise just follow the recipe and munch!

Grain Free, Sugar Free, Gluten Free - "Mock" Granola Bars

I cant quite call these granola bars as they lack all of the traditional ingredients of granola.

2.5 cups of chopped or minced nuts and seeds
  • any combination of seeds is fine. I used:
    1 C Blanched almond slices
    1/2C Raw chopped walnuts
    1/4 C Pumpkin seeds
    1/4 C Sunflower seeds
    2 T unroasted sesame seeds
    2 T Hulled raw hemp seeds
    2 T Poppy seeds
    2 T Chia seeds
1 C dried fruit chopped or minced
  • any low glycemic fruit is recomended, I used:
    1/2 C golden unsweetened raisins without additives or dextrose
    1/2  dried cranberries without dextrose, color or flavorings
2 C unsweetened organic dried coconut shredded or flaked
1/4 C chopped unsweetened bakers chocolate
1/4 C melted clarified butter/ coconut oil
1/4 C palm sugar/Splenda/brown sugar sucralose blend
1/4 C raw agave nectar/palm syrup/date syrup**
1/4 C flaxmeal or 2 T ground chia meal
2 eggs
Filtered water

You can hand chop the dried fruit and nuts or you can cheat like me and beat them from whole in a food processor till roughly chopped or 5-7 seconds.
Place chopped nuts, dried fruit, coconut and chocolate in a large mixing bowl mix well.
Mix wet ingredients together and stir in flax meal and palm sugar. Let stand for 3 min.
Pour wet into dry and mix very well. Add just enough water to mixture that everything is moist and sticky. Adding too much water will cause your bars to be chewy and very soft and possibly not stick together well.
In a 9x13 pan line with unbleached parchment paper. Press granola into pan until evenly spread and firm. Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 min until the top is very firm.

Let cool completely prior to cutting as if they are still warm they will fall apart. Wrap individually and place in fridge. yum.

** recipes for palm and date syrup can be found on my blog here. **

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Chocolate Pudding - Grain free, Sugar Free, Gluten Free

Around Christmas time I was doing a lot of baking for the first time using alternative flours, sweeteners and using new methods foreign to me. 
One thing I came across was the benefit of cooking with gelatin instead of using starch. 
You can make the most delicious sugar free marshmallows (which i gave away) with gelatin instead of using eggs and  cornstarch. Of course you will get a more tender texture but so much better for you.
I also used it for the custard base in my Nanaimo bars which is usually made with custard powder (Corn starch and Maltodextrin). I also used it as a fabulous base for my Banana Cream Pie custard filling instead of the traditional lots of eggs, flour, butter and sugar.
It seems to be a very promising thickener without adding ANY Carbs at all to your dishes.
I also love how it doesn't clump together like corn starch or give you a chewy gelee texture like arrowroot. It hardly needs any cooking time or can be made strictly without cooking at all if using a pre-heated liquid.

So back to my story..... I am finding that eating some dark chocolate every day helps with cravings, keeping me on task and satisfies my desire for sweet most days without adding anything negative to my diet. We used to buy the dark 78% chocolate bars for our baking and eating. Then one day at my favorite bulk store I came across a bin that carried Dark, Unsweetened Bakers Chocolate. OHH MY GOD THERE IS A GOD, AND HE HAS SENT ME CHOCOLATE!
I didn't actually know you could buy completely sugar free chocolate. All though the dark is pretty close it definitely isn't sugar free. AND the only amount of sugar in it is the totally bad white, refined, processed, horrible, really bad for you sugar. So anyway to eat less of that crap in my opinion is a good idea.
I have now been using the bakers chocolate in every one of my recipes calling for chocolate. I haven't noticed too much of a difference in taste. A couple times I have just thrown in an extra tsp of agave or a pack of Stevia here and there to make up for the sweetness which is way better than eating the wrong sugar.

I noticed thought that my days of shoving my hand in the pantry to pull out a couple squares of chocolate are over as a square of unsweetened chocolate  is really not very good at all. Trust me you won't do that more than once! 
You can tell its chocolate, but, your brain is refusing to admit to you it's chocolate because the sugar spike it is used to receiving isn't there and it wants it lol.
Sooooooo I had to come up with a different way of getting my chocolate fix or I will just end up eating the cookie jar and that will not help anybody.
So here is an idea that popped into my head this morning as I walked into the pantry thinking about chocolate and a delicious way to eat it without adding carbs and junk.

Delicious Grain Free, Sugar Free Chocolate Pudding!!! MMMmmm totally beats those cups of chocolate pudding that you could leave in your pantry for months. Do I need to say more?? 
This is not a recipe for those of you who are fat phobics though. In our house we eat animal fat, non hydrogenated natural non-hydrogenated fat such as (dairy fat, fish oil, coconut oil, avocado oil and olive oil) and nothing that isn't found in nature. Of course you can always have too much fat, but the natural fats and animal fats are broken down completely differently in your body. 2% of every meal being a natural fat is what you should consume on a daily basis into your diet. 
Compared to toxic, man made fat such as vegetable oil, canola oil, margarine, cool whip etc... It's way worse to eat all of that junk (such as those flavored oil creamers in your coffee every morning or margarine on your toast).
For example if you put margarine on your toast every day or use fake coffee creamer or use skim milk BUT burn your bacon until it passes from a solid to a black dust bla... your really not helping yourself out in any way at all. 
Of course there is always the very first argument that comes out once I mention "only fats found in nature" .. "Canola oil is natural" true.. but there are chemicals added to the oil in order to keep it a liquid in hot weather, cold weather, 10 years from now etc! Those chemicals are just as bad for you as those bad BPA chemicals you get from reusing plastic bottles over and over.  If you wouldn't drink water that has sat in a plastic bottle on your window sill for a month.. why would you purposely ingest chemicals from hydrogenated oils??
Taking a lovely natural ingredient such as vegetables and make it into a oil (how the heck do you do that), add a bunch of chemicals to it and process the crap out of it, how is that good for you?
There is a huge amount of information out there for you but you have to go looking for it. If you don't you may end up with a sad bill of help way to early on in your life and then it may be too late.
So please don't shy away from the good fat that I recommend using in my recipes as it is very important and healthy!!
Only use full fat coconut milk  or 1-2% dairy milk for this recipe as you want it to thicken naturally. There is nothing natural about using skim milk and then adding starchy thickeners to it. Using a higher fat milk such as coconut milk has a great thickening characteristic without adding starch to it.
I did this recipe using 1 cup of 1% milk and 1 cup of coconut milk as I wanted it to thicken, add protein and fiber and I always add coconut milk to most of my cooking now. I find the chocolate over powers the coconut taste so if you don't like coconut you might benefit from this. If you do like it you could use solely coconut milk.
As I went through all of my ingredients in my pantry I came across one of those "JELL-O instant pudding" boxes that I forgot to throw away.
It was very ironic to stumble across that when I am planning out pudding in my head. So naturally I read the box. I was happy it was gluten free and sugar free (aspartame) but this itself is a chemical. At the bottom of the ingredient list was about 3 big long words that I couldn't even pronounce. So what is that? How is it going to help my pudding? Why is it there? 
If you can't speak it, don't know what it is and you wouldn't add it in yourself, don't eat it. Not to mention those weirdo ingredients probably did have gluten in them.
I threw it away and picked up my giant box of Knox Gelatin. 
What are the ingredients? 
What's in it?

Woohoo finally. And then I created this:

Grain Free, Sugar Free, Chocolate Pudding

In a small glass bowl:
1/2 C 1% or 2% dairy milk
3 packages of unflavored Knox gelatin
let sit for 3 min

In a sauce pan over medium heat:
1 C of coconut milk/almond milk/cashew milk
1/2 C 1% or 2% dairy milk
3 squares unsweetened Baker's Dark Chocolate or 1/2 C dark cocoa powder
2 T Coconut oil/Butter
1/2 C agave nectar/palm syrup/date syrup**
1 T vanilla

Melt coconut oil and add chocolate squares. Stir slowly until completely melted. Whisk in agave, vanilla and coconut, dairy milk. Bring to a simmer, immediately stir in gelatin mixture and whisk constantly for 1 min.
Remove from heat and pour pudding into individual ramekins and place in the fridge for 1 hour until set.
I got 7 full to the top ramekins. You could do small mini ones by pouring pudding into small muffin tins or 1 large baking tray. I don't know how well it will set up if the pudding is just one big deep bowl. Try it and let me know.

Top pudding with a layer of whipped cream (without sugar) or just plain heavy cream, and shave some unsweetened chocolate on top. yum. This recipe beats the crap out of store bought pudding and I didn't even know what I was doing!

**Substituting granulated palm sugar or Splenda may cause the pudding to not be as thick as it is a binding agent and natural thickener. Always use a liquid thickener substitute for agave.**

Monday, February 13, 2012

Liquid Sweetener Substitutes

An absolute necessary liquid sweetener used in grain free cooking and baking is agave nectar. It's used because it is a sugar free sweetener without chemicals or colorings and is raw and very low on the Glycemic index.
It's not only necessary for sweetening but is needed for moisture and as a binder when using coconut and nut flours. Coconut flour is always looking to absorb moisture. It will absorb about twice as much liquid as you use for flour or more. You will notice when you use grain free recipes they are always more wet when going in the oven than a traditional glutenous batter or bread mix. 
If you do not use the right amount of liquid in a recipe using coconut flour it will be VERY dry and may not even set up properly. Now I do not mean crusty bread dry I mean so dry you need 2 cups of water just to swallow it down dry. It's UN-apetizing and any recipe that I find that is that was goes straight to the trash. 
Part of my dilemma when baking savory dishes with coconut flour that you don't necessarily want sweet come out too dry for me. So I am slowly playing about with recipes until I get them just right.

Palm sugar is another very low Glycemic sweetener that is natural and used in sugar free cooking. It is not a sucralose base and tastes more dark like brown sugar in a way so its fabulous in rich muffin and bread recipes and not soo much in say whip cream.
I have tried using this as a substitute in replace of agave in some recipes either because I didn't have it or simply for experimentation sake. It has the same great flavor but the recipe is always unpleasantly dry. So I had put some thought into how can I use pal sugar instead of agave when I need to. All I need is to hit one sale on Palm Sugar a month and POOF I have so much of it it becomes necessary to make it work sometimes.

Palm Sugar Syrup:

1 1/2 C palm sugar
2/3 C filtered water
Bring water to a boil. Stir in palm sugar and return to a simmer for 3 min until thick and bubbly. Let cool completely. Stir constantly the second you look away it will be all over your stove. Store in a air tight glass jar in your pantry until use.
Use as 1:1 substitute for Agave Nectar in most recipes.

I have become so thrilled with my banana bread recipe. It's just sweet enough and has a delicious fruity taste that can only come from a fruit I can safely say I have never ate before in my life. DATES!
I had been fascinated by recipes using dates as sweeteners on many of the blogs I read. Of course I have to try it being they are so inexpensive compared to any other sweetener I buy. they last a long time, and are natural and unprocessed.
I buy my dates pitted and dried. They are only like 20 cents per 100g and go along way. Medjool dates are the sweetest variety but using a different variety may just mean you will have to use a few more. 
When you go to buy your dates just be sure to look at the ingredients. Don't be fooled by purchasing pre-chopped dates that are pitted and dried. They are coated with Dextrose which is one of the mysterious names for sugar in a simpler form than glucose. The dextrose is to make them sweeter and edible on their own and to help them from sticking together into a huge big blob. Buy your dates without the dextrose and chop them yourself.

You can use Date Syrup in any recipe but depending on your taste you may want to stick with only baked and stronger tasting recipes such as muffins, sweet breads, cakes, and so on. Only because they will have a date taste slightly and that may not suit you in a recipe you are not expecting it in. 

Date Syrup:

In a large glass measuring cup:
36 pitted dried dates
2 C filtered water
Microwave for 3 min until water is bubbling and dates are brown and soft add:
1/2 C palm sugar or sucralose brown sugar blend
Microwave another 2 min until bubbly and thickened slightly

Puree imediately in a food processor while dates are soft.

Recipe can be cooked on stove top as well. Let cool completely before use and store in an air tight sealed glass jar. 
Use as 1:1 substitute for Agave Nectar in most recipes

Use these recipes in any of my recipes where noted or for experimentation. Use in any of your own recipes. let me know what you think and how they work for you. I would love to know!

Grain Free Banana Bread - Sugar Free

One of my very favorite things used to be waking up to the warm aroma of banana bread baking in my bread maker so I could eat it for breakfast with a slice of butter. Mmmm..

I will say that is something I still miss extremely since going grain free. We never used to eat muffins, but now we eat muffins instead of toast. I always had everything on hand to make banana bread as bananas are super affordable and there is always some going bad.

Last year, I made a delicious Banana Oat Bread recipe without flour but using oats instead. It was firm, chewy, warm and oh soo good. However it was super dense, super filling, super high in carbs and took a looooong time to bake.

I have a TON of recipe blogs, books and printouts, bookmarks on my phone, tablet and computer. However, I was surprised to notice that none of those books had a banana bread recipe. There was banana in cookies, scones, smoothies, pancakes, and muffins. 
None of the recipes could I use to my advantage.
I could have used my basic muffin recipe and just added banana instead of berries but I wanted to incorporate more than just 3 cups of expensive almond flour. I also wanted to sweeten it naturally without having to use 1/2 C of agave nectar like in most of my muffin recipes.
I have been reading that you can use dates to sweeten in place of sugar and agave or honey in recipes. PERFECT they are seriously $2.10 per bag compared to the $18.00 agave bottle i buy each month. Some months, it's tricky to get the agave to last through so I have become smarter and have figured out different ways of making substitutes still using natural ingredients to replace the agave.
The only reason I use agave is for the fact it's low on the Glycemic scale compared to honey, and maple syrup which are just as natural.
You can't just simply replace agave in recipes with sucralose or palm sugar because they will completely dry out and be gross. Also most recipes using coconut flour need agave to help as a binder so not only would I run into problems with the chemistry of the recipe it will not taste as good so using say oil or water to replace the agave will not work out the same in the recipe.
So I Will share with you my delicious banana bread recipe and then my recipes to substitute agave and for use as a sweetener.

Grain Free Banana Bread - Sugar Free, Dairy Free, Gluten Free

You will need to use a food processor for best results!! or a large blender. I am not sure if this recipe will turn out the same without a food processor. If you try it let me know.

In a microwave safe dish:
12 pitted dates
1/4 C filtered water
Microwave for 4 min until dates are brown and soft.
1/2 C pre-cooked date syrup
Place dates and water in food processor and add:
1/4 C plus 3 T Flax meal or 1/4 Chia meal
3 T warm water
3 very ripe bananas
Puree until completely smooth and let stand 3-5 min. (if using date syrup simply pulse until combined)
1/4 grapeseed oil/coconut oil melted/melted butter
Add 1 T raw agave nectar/palm sugar/brown sugar sucralose blend**
2 t vanilla extract
3 eggs
Puree until smooth, Add:1/2 C chopped raw walnuts
1/4 C coconut flour
1/2 C almond flour
1/2 dark chocolate bar or 1/4 C chopped unsweetened baker's chocolate
3/4 t aluminum free baking soda
1/2 t Celtic sea salt
a splash of lemon juice or unfiltered apple cider vinegar
Pulse until blended

Mixture should be consistency of muffin batter. If too thick add water if too thin add some flax meal.
Spoon mix into a bread loaf pan oiled with grape seed oil and dusted with coconut flour. Mine was  8.5 x 4.25 x 2.5. Using a different size pan will change your baking time all together.
smooth top of batter to a nice smooth loaf. Bake at 350 for 45-55 min. Let completely cool to room temperature before eating to let the bread set.
Your loaf will rise 1 inch or so while baking. It will fall slightly once removed from the oven and cools. 

**Banana bread will be moist in the middle but should not be raw. Eating the bread hot out of the oven will cause the center of the bread to be squishy and fall apart. It's better if it is toasted slightly to reheat after it has cooled. Please be patient!!!

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Grain Free Pizza Crust - Sugar Free, Gluten Free, Egg Free

I feel it is very important to be well rounded in the recipe depatment. Knowing how to make recipes when you are missing groceries, or if someone has sensitivites. Or if you are on a budget.
I usually make my delicious Carrot Pizza Crust. However low in carb it uses alot of cheese and eggs when you have to make a double batch just to cover the pan.
I am always searching for ways to cut down on grocery bills without interrupting the integrity of our food.
We do save alot of money by not dining out soo much and not buying starches and grains. The negative is usually we spend more then we saved in alternative flours and in produce. As everybody knows the cheapest things in the store is the 3$ loaf of white starchy high sugar bread, the 4$ 10 pound bag of potatos and the huge sack of rice on sale at Costco for less than 20$.
If you went and bought 20$ worth of brocolli you would be pretty hungry after about 4 days.... But the huge sack of rice would still be keeping you full.
Anyways, alot of gluten and grain free cooking uses alot of eggs as a stabilizer and rising agent. I love eggs, but we used to go through about 3 dozen a month. Now we go through about 18-24 eggs per week. 5 times the amount!!! Eggs arent really that expensive and are very good for you, but I want to try to avoid eggs in alot of cooking if I can to cut down on cholesterol and to save some money. 

So here is a recipe I stumbled upon this morning on the internet of course. I LOVE cruising grain free blogs. I did have to change a few ingredients to make it grain free and lower carb. I crossed my fingers and watched it brown in the oven hoping it wouldn't fail with my alternative flours.
I am in complete and udder LOVE with this crust. It's a crispy thin texture that takes me back to the gluten and refined carbohydrate days. Mmm of course I miss pizza. I had the best pizza delivery place on the same street as me for a few years and I always found an excuse to need to order their pizza. It was delicous and would cost me more to make it at home.
In fact, even after moving out of Calgary I would pick it up on my home somtimes as we could not find one that tasted soo good for the same price anywhere. The sad part was all I had to do was walk in there and they smiled and waved at me and never asked for my phone number anymore lol.


This crust gets crispy and stays firm regardless of the toppings compared to my vegetable crust. Don't get me wrong the carrot crust is great but I have to sometimes burn the edges in order to get the middle firm enough for me. I also find the next day it's too soft for me. Which is sad because I could easily live off of pizza for a week.
This crust is great for people who are unable to have cheese or milk or nuts. Being egg free its also good when you run out of eggs. I could make it for people who are regular glutenous eating folk and I doubt they would complain. They will just be interested in knowing what you put in it.
It is definetly worthwhile though you will need a food processor. I always bake it in the morning after breakfast and then just let it sit until I am ready to bake it for dinner.
If you find the crust too dry, you could substitute sourcream or plain greek yogurt for the liquid. I didnt mind the dryness as it made it crispy.

Grain Free Pizza Crust - gluten free, casein free, dairy free

1 can 540 ml white Navy or Great Northern beans rinsed and drained
1/4 C  non-hydrogenated olive oil, grapeseed oil, coconut oil, melted butter
1/2 C coconut milk or almond milk or cashew milk**
1 package of stevia sweetener powder or 1 T sucralose
1 T plus 1 t unfiltered organic apple cider vinegar (or) unsweetened lemon juice
1/4 C plus 2 T Organic Coconut flour
1/4 C chia seed meal or 2 T whole chia seeds ground
2 T Potato/Tapioca/Arrowroot Starch
1/4 C flax seed meal (You could sub in almond flour but I haven't tried it)**
1/2 t aluminum free baking soda
3/4 t gluten free, corn free baking powder
1/2 t sea salt

1 T dried italian seasoning or Oregano
1/2 T onion powder
3 dashes garlic powder

In a food processor combine, beans, oil and milk. Blend well until no visible chunks appear.
Add all remaining ingredients and mix well but do not over mix.
Press dough together into a ball.
Flatten out dough on unbleached parchment paper with wet or oiled hands. Finish with a rolling pin by placing one piece of parchment ontop of crust and flatten slightly. Rolling out the crust thinnr than 1/4 inch will just cause it to burn. Try to keep the thickness even. You can definetly leave is thicker if desired or even build up the edge for a "crust" like a regular wheat crust.
Bake at 350 degrees for 35-40 min. Turn half way throuh to avoid the edges from burning.
Remove from oven and brush with 1/4 C grapeseed or olive oil imediately to stop it from drying out. Sprinkle generously with parmesan cheese and parsley. Let cool completely before topping to keep crust crispy.

Feel free to change up the spices in any way you please. This crust has NO coconut taste whatsoever so do not worry. Coconut does not belong in everything.

** If you substitutue in yogurt for the coconut milk you may need to cook the crust longer to remove extra moisture. I haven't tried it but there is no reason why it would not work. You can of course substitute in regular Dairy milk for the coconut without any troubles.
I have not tried substituting in Almond flour yet. It will increase the Carb content in the crust. It is on my to do list**

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Coconut Cream Frosting - Sugar Free

I made these delectable cupcakes for my Hubby for Valentines day. I made chocolate and red velvet chocolate cake Grain Free of course. I used the recipes from one of my most favorite recipe books. You can find the author's blog at elanaspantry.com.
Only last time I made them I made a classic butter cream icing recipe using a sugar free icing sugar substitute.
Everybody loved them including me, however I could not help notice a chemical taste left over from the sucralose based powder substitute. 
SOOOO this time I thought I would step out of the box and try to make a lighter version with hardly and sugar and no starches. I will say when I started I thought it was impossible as every recipe I had using coconut cream in a frosting used a thickener of some sorts.
I do my best to avoid starches. You would not believe this frosting is made completely, sugar, lactose and grain free. No starches of any kind. 
Also, on top of my gorgeous cupcakes is sugar free sprinkles. Which I MADE all by myself.
They are colored with India Tree Natural vegetable dyes. No chemicals or artificial dyes here. Nothing but organic goodness.

It does taste slightly coconutty so if you don't like coconut you will most likely not enjoy it. However, we enjoy coconut very much and I found it very refreshing. The last thing I want on a light good for you grain free cupcake is a super sweet bad for you icing that gives you a headache or makes you instantly crave ice cold liters of water.

Here was my attempt at terrific creamy and light substitute for frosting.

Coconut Cream Frosting - Sugar Free, Grain Free

1 can of full fat coconut cream (or) Coconut cream scooped from 2 cans of full fat coconut milk
1/3 C raw agave nectar or palm sugar syrup
1 T clear vanilla extract
3/4 C melted lard or coconut oil
1/4-1/2 C coconut flour

In a sauce pan heat coconut cream and agave until a simmer. Reduce heat immediately and stir for 1-3 min just until thick. Add in vanilla, and whisk in vigorously the melted oil slowly until well combined. 
Let cool slightly, place mixture in a Stand mixer bowl and beat on high.
Slowly dust in coconut flour until mixture becomes a thick cream. Use your discretion. Only add enough coconut flour until the cream is the consistency you would like. (Mine was as twice as thick as pancake batter.)
Place bowl in the freezer for 30-40 min. Stir every 10 min. Cream will become heavy whipping cream consistency when ready and top will start to freeze. 

Place on top of your cakes immediately and serve. Only place on top just prior to serving or refrigerate. Cream needs to stay cold at all times.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Vegetable Soup - Gluten Free, Sugar Free, Grain Free, Organic

One of my most FAVORITE things used to be Campbell's vegetable soup. Not the fancy ones the chunky, or the harvest, or the beef or anything other than the condensed vegetable soup.

I was very sad to discover there is ingredients in the soup that I am unable to eat. Not to mention sugar, and colors to name a few. 

Sooo when we decided to boycott sandwiches, not just because of the bread but because of the fact its very hard to watch your carb intake on sandwiches made with bread. 

So I was searching and searching to find some vegetable soup alternatives that were not 4$ a can and were not already prepared and were gluten free, organic, sugar free and didn't have anything unnatural such as colors and flavors added to them.

I stumbled upon these two wonders during my regular shopping spree at my favorite store.

The one on the left is like a bouillon powder for making soups in larger quantities or just to add flavor. The one on the left is the same bouillon powder but mixed with organic dehydrated vegetables. SO ALL THE WORK IS DONE FOR YOU.

Now don't get me wrong I love to make soup from scratch but it takes at least an hour to simmer and then I have to cut up all the veggies and cook them down and during the middle of my work day that is not going to happen.
So I cam up with a recipe that takes a miniscule 8 minutes from start to finish for 1 serving. I then creep down the stairs back to my studio and sip on my lunch slowly as I work PERFECT!

Vegetable Soup:

1 cup filtered water brought to a boil
1 heaping T of El Peto Gluten Free Vegetable soup mix
1 heaping T all natural vegetable broth
1 T of dehydrated vegetables unflavored (no msg) 
**vegetables only needed if not using soup mix**
1/4 t organic palm sugar*
1 t of milk/yogurt/cream/coconut milk
1 t of gluten free unsalted tomato sauce (optional)
1 t condensed chicken broth (organic or homemade) or chicken bouillon
 sprinkle of Herbamere and black pepper

In a small saucepan bring 1 C of filtered water to a rolling boil. Add soup mix or Vegetable broth and dehydrated vegetables.
Bring up to a simmer for 2-3 min till vegetables are soft. Sprinkle palm sugar, drizzle in milk, and tomato sauce. Heat through. Taste is needed add chicken broth for flavor and sprinkle with Herbamere and black pepper.

*palm sugar can be substituted with a pinch of stevia, pinch of sucralose or a touch of raw agave nectar*

This soup is perfect for a cold day, a rainy day, a busy day, an I'm feeling sick day, a lazy day or a regular day. Feel free to add any ingredients you deem fit.
Some days I throw in a can of flaked chicken or turkey or left over meatballs or whatever is in the fridge.