Sunday, March 25, 2012

Fruit and Nut muffins. ...................... and... veggies too!

Of course!!!!! Who doesn't like fruit and nut muffins?? Well, sadly I came across this recipe and I had to try it. But I believe in low sugar, low calories, and grain free with low carbs so this recipe was challenging to change as I had to use different things then what the recipe called for. I had to use low sugar fruit and low sugar vegetables and neutral vegetables that would not change the taste but add density and moisture. AND of course the ratios are all different, so what part of the recipe stayed the same?? WELL... LET ME SEE. I actually think just the name! and sadly I can't even take credit for the name as I have managed to sneak in seeds instead of nuts and vegetables AS WELL as fruit. So let's call them veg, fruit and seed muffins. 

These are a good way to use up anything you feel may fit into them. You can just substitute using the same measurements. I would however not recommend a really wet fruit unless you are prepared to add more flax meal. 

These muffins are completely flourless and the base is flax meal. The bonus? Low carb, good for you easy on your pocket book :) I expect you to make these once you have hit the end of your grocery budget at the month and all you have left is a wimpy carrot and a bruised apple. 

Fruit and Nut Muffins:

1 C of fruit grated
  • 1/2 C unpeeled organic scrubbed carrots
  • 1 C organic grated Gala apple (I recommend using organic apples if you are not going to peel it)
You could use zuchinni, eggplant, beets for the vegetable. You could use crushed pineapple, strawberries, cherries, pears etc.

Mix dry ingredients:
1 1/2 C flax meal
1/2 C chopped raw walnuts/ground almonds/ chestnuts/pecans/dry roasted pumpkin seeds/hulled hemp seeds.  
  • I used hulled hemp seeds, just because I have a ton of them that need to get used up and the health benefits are way too good to ignore.
1 1/2 t aluminum free baking soda
1/2 t sea salt
1 T cinnamon
1/4 C palm sugar/ brown sugar sucralose blend

Mix wet ingredients:
2 t real vanilla extract
1 T organic unfiltered apple cider vinegar/real lemon juice
4 eggs
1/4 C raw agave nectar
1/4 C warm filtered water

Blend wet ingredients into dry while mixer is turning. Spoon in vegetable and fruit mix and stir well. Grease Muffin tin well with grape seed oil or use parchment baking cups.
Scoop muffin cups 2/3 full and mound. 

Bake at 350 degrees for 25-28 min. Makes 12-15 muffins.

**Batter should be wet but stick together. If mix is too dry add more water. if it's too wet add more flax meal. This will vary depending on the produce used and the climate and elevation.**

Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins :) - Gluten free, grain free, low lactose, sugar free

I looooooove muffins. 

We eat muffins as our main, dessert, snack, breakfast, or on the go. It's become what we munch on instead of bread, sandwiches or buns. So therefore, I am making weekly muffins. 
I am excited and yet exhausted trying to think up different muffin recipes and combinations as cranberry muffins gets old. So.. Here is what I have come up with lately.

Lemon poppy seed muffins. YUM! They are easy as you don't need to have any fruit readily available and I always have lemon juice.

So... I was excited to experiment with a vanilla muffin base this time instead of a bran of flax base. I also am avoiding almond flour currently unless it is necessary so this is what I came up with.

Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins

Mix dry ingredients:
1/4 C plus 2 T organic coconut flour
1 T aluminum free baking soda
1/2 t sea salt
1/2 C Sucralose or 6 pkg of Stevia
2 T flax meal or 1 T ground Chia meal
1 T poppy seeds
1/4 t Gluten free xanthum Gum
1 lemon zested

Mix wet ingredients:
3 T fresh lemon juice
1/4 t lemon extract (optional)
3 eggs
2 t real vanilla extract
1/4 C grapeseed oil/melted clarified butter
1/4 C plain natural yogurt (unsweetened) or sour cream

Mix wet ingredients into dry thoroughly and let stand 1 min. Grease the muffin tins very well or use parchment liners. Batter will become frothy from the baking soda and will be slightly frothy and bubbly. Lightly scoop the batter into muffin tins half way full without beating or squishing the frothy texture. (this will keep the muffins light and airy).

Bake for 18 min @ 350 degrees. Makes 9 muffins. Double for 18 muffins.

**When cooking with coconut flour please expect your batter and dough to be twice as wet as regular dough as the coconut flour will suck up 3 times its volume in liquid. If you don't have enough liquid you end up with VERY dry unapetizing food. It's better to have too much moisture and then have to cook the recipe longer compared to not enough.**

These muffins are light and delicious. I have made it my mission to make coconut flour moist and delectable. Most coconut recipes I find leave me with a disappointed dry tasting muffin. If you are in a moist climate such as "British Columbia" You may want to use 1/2 C organic coconut flour if your batter is soupy.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

"Bran" Muffins - Gluten free, Sugar free, Dairy free

I was really enjoying my oatmeal raisin cookies today. I have never actually like them but my recipe is so divine they have become my new favorite. However the ginger snaps are so delicious I may have eaten all of them already lol. I cannot believe how delicious they are. I cannot wait to get invited somewhere so I can bring some fantastic cookies yum!
So I really wanted a muffin today. I opened the fridge to sneak one of my cranberry muffins and low and behold I was already beaten to them. I was briefly sad, as I love the idea of having to make some more. 
I was down to my last bag of frozen cranberries. We went crazy and bought them all after Christmas and just froze them. I get about 2 batches of muffins out of one bag so they have lasted a long time. I am hoping to make it until Easter so they will have lots of Cranberries out again and I can pick them up right after the holiday for a bargain. 
Soo.. I was thinking about muffins. One of my most favorite muffins has always been the bran muffin. It`s soft and tender, chewy and moist. 
Alas, I had to stop eating them once I discovered that they were about 285 calories for 1!!!!!!!
So.... I have probably gone bran muffinless for  about 2 years. Now of course, I can never eat a bran muffin again due to all of the glutenous products that make up those lovely dense bundles of joy. 
But if I am able to make ginger snaps out of pumpkin puree, and chocolate cake out of beans then why the heck can I not make muffins that taste like bran muffins?
So of course I was so excited to think of a new muffin recipe.
I am very proud to say this recipe took me only one shot, one try no adjusting whatsoever. Perfectly done and all of the measurements were divine. I am so proud of myself! 
I think back to just October when I was so depressed that I could never eat anything if I couldn't have wheat. No buns, no bread, no french toast, no pancakes, no waffles, no chocolate cake, no cookies. HAHA I have completely conquered that notion and I will never go back!
Back in October I had tried a few recipes but I was really ignorant of all of the alternative flours out there and where to get them. Also, I had no idea how to make anything. So I would search and search for a recipe and try it and be so sad when it tasted like crap and was dumbfounded as where to go from there. Never thought I would be standing here with a blog and a pile of recipes that not just me, but lots of people are enjoying. 
I have read a ton of books, I follow a TON of blogs and I have watched a crap load of videos and have come along way with my knowledge. Without it, I would still be standing here crying that I will never eat a hot dog again... or a bran muffin :)
So I did some searching for "Grain Free Bran Muffins". Of course I knew the first few recipes I would stumble upon would be made from almond flour. Low and behold I did not go disappointed. Every recipe was 3 Cups of almond flour. YIKES. 
I love almond flour don't get me wrong, but 3 C of it will give you about 12 muffins if you are lucky. PLUS, the calories will be quite high though the health benefits of the flour will be very great and low in carbs, it's not worth it for me. 
I have tried muffins with coconut flour. They are not bad, but they don't taste muffin like to me, they are more cupcake like. I wanted a hearty, chewy bran muffin. 
Now I know that I used oat meal in these, but it's a low amount and anything under a 1/2 C is insignificant on the Glycemic index. Since one muffin will not contain 1/2 C it's good to go the way they are. This is one of the only grains that I still consume from time to time. I will have to list my delicious breakfast cereal and granola for you to try soon. I find after I eat potatos or rice per say I feel sluggish and slow and very full for hours. Oatmeal doesn't do that to me so I am pleased to keep it in my diet. I don't buy the Kosher Gluten Free Oats because contaminated foods have never bothered me. If you want to you can double up on the almond flour or on anything else you feel like throwing in if you would rather not eat it. I think it's the perfect texture and taste for a bran muffin.
So I whipped out my food processor and this is what I came up with:

"Bran" Muffins - Gluten Free, Sugar Free, Dairy Free

In a mixing bowl or food processor combine:
1 1/2 C ground flax meal
1/2 C gluten free oat bran/quick oats
1/2 C ground almonds**/walnuts/blanched almond flour
1 1/2 t aluminum free baking soda
1/2 t sea salt
1/2 C sucralose/palm sugar
2 T cinnamon

In a glass measuring cup mix together:
1 T organic apple cider vinegar/real lemon juice
1/4 C unsweetened apple sauce
3 eggs plus 2 T egg whites
1 T sugar free breakfast syrup/maple syrup**
1/4 C warm water
1 T real vanilla extract 
1/4 C grapeseed oil/coconut oil/melted butter

Mix dry ingredients until well combined. Slowly pour in wet ingredients as mixer is turning. 

Add 1/2 C sultana raisins/chopped apple slices/chopped pitted dates

Gently pulse until raisins are just folded in. It will be very thick and firm. That is what you want, if the batter is too watery it won't set up.
Scoop into a well greased muffin tin with grapeseed oil. Fill the cups only half way as the batter will double in the oven. Sprinkle 3-4 raisins on top of each cup and sprinkle with palm sugar. MMM... Bake at 350 degrees for 25 min. Let cool completely before removing from the pan in order to keep them intact.

**I used ground raw natural almonds. You can substitute with blanched almond flour but I like to save on costs wherever possible. You will however get the same result. I used sugar free pancake syrup unflavored. It just gives them a flavor that they would be lacking otherwise, If you omit this you may want to sweeten with some stevia as they will be bland. **

These looked so fantastic in the oven. I always check a new recipe at about 6 min into bake time. If the batter hasn't puffed up by that time, there is something wrong with the mix. I was very happy to say they were golden brown and puffy. My favorite part was the delicious crunchy raisins on top. I may have eaten all of the loose ones off. lol  The muffins will bake exactly shaped as they go in the oven so if your batter looks all bumpy and crazy you will have very interesting looking muffins. But I don't care.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Cookie Adventure!

This is what happens when you are all alone with your dog for 4 hours on a Saturday morning. LOL cookies!
I knew I was going to make cookies. But I actually had time to do some experimenting. I made my classic Chocolate Chip Cookies and then thought about my beloved husband. He LOVES Oatmeal Cinnamon raisin cookies. I will say that back in the day even my brother preferred raisin to the chocolate.
So I thought how delicious would it be to make Cinnamon Raisin cookies. 

I put them out on a plate and when he came home he tried one. I waited for him to tell me if he liked them and he does! I switched from blanched almond flour to using natural un-roasted ground almonds as a substitute to save on costs. They taste exactly the same. You can use the regular blanched almond flour instead if that suits you best.

Oatmeal Raisin Cookies - Gluten Free, Sugar Free, Dairy Free

Mix Dry ingredients together:
1/4 C Coconut flour
3 T Tapioca Flour/Arrowroot /Potato Starch/Corn Starch
1 1/2 C Ground Almonds*
1/2 t sea salt
3/4 t aluminum free baking soda
1 C sucralose/Palm sugar
1/2 C Gluten Free Vanilla Sunrise Cereal
1/2 C quick oats/oat bran
1/2 C Sultana raisins
1 1/4 t cinnamon

Mix wet ingredients together:
1/4 C raw agave nectar/palm syrup
1/2 Grapeseed oil/Coconut oil/Melted butter
2 eggs
2 t Real Vanilla extract

Mix wet into dry as mixer is turning. Scrape into a glass bowl and cover and refrigerate for 15 min. Place into piles of 2T or smaller. Bake on parchment paper pan at 350 degrees for 16 minutes.
Let cool completely before eating in order to set the middle. I always find these cookies firm up and taste so much better the next day.

Then I was thinking about my dad and how he liked Double Chocolate Chip cookies. I have actually never been a fan of these. Probably because all of the ones I have ever had were hard as a rock. I don't like hard cookies. I don't want them to crumble or fall apart but be soft and chewy in the middle as I eat them.
These weren't too bad. My biggest critique liked them. I think I would slightly adjust the ingredients so I am going to write the modified recipe on here just for you. Let me know what you think.

Double Chocolate Chip Cookies - Gluten Free, Grain Free, Sugar Free, Dairy Free

Mix Dry ingredients together:
 1/4 C organic unsweetened Dark Cocoa Powder
2 T Coconut flour
3 T Tapioca Flour/Arrowroot /Potato Starch/Corn Starch
1 C Ground Almonds*
1/2 t sea salt
3/4 c aluminum free baking soda
1 1/3 C sucralose/Palm sugar
2 Squares unsweetened bakers chocolate or 1/4 C
1/2 C unsweetened coconut flakes
1/2 C Gluten Free Vanilla Sunrise Cereal

Mix wet ingredients together:
1/4 C plus 2 T Grapeseed oil/Coconut oil/Melted butter
1/4 C Strong Coffee
2 eggs
2 t Real Vanilla extract

Mix wet into dry as mixer is turning. Scrape into a glass bowl and cover and refrigerate for 15 min. Place into piles of 2T or smaller. Bake on parchment paper pan at 350 degrees for 16 minutes.
Let cool completely before eating in order to set the middle. I always find these cookies firm up and taste so much better the next day.

 Then I was thinking about my Mom. She loves Gingersnaps. They were probably my least favorite cookies growing up as they were rock hard and I never cared for the taste. But I actually really enjoyed my gingerbread recipe that I made at Christmas. It was delicious and soft in the middle. The longer it sat the better it tasted.
I used my gingerbread man recipe to make these cookies but I of course adjusted and changed everything that I didn't like.
They have the same firm crust, and get harder as they cool. I used Palm Sugar for the dusting and they came out delicious. Moist and soft in the middle.

Ginger Snaps - Gluten Free, Grain Free, Dairy Free, Egg Free, Sugar Free

In a mixing bowl combine:
2 T flax meal
1/4 t gluten free xanthum gum
1/4 t sea salt
1/2 C plus 2 T palm sugar
2 t ground Cinnamon
1/4 t allspice
1 t ground ginger
pinch nutmeg
2/3 C blanched almond flour
1/3 C coconut flour
1 1/2 T aluminum free baking soda

Mix wet ingredients:
1/2 C Pumpkin Puree (recommended)  or unsweetened apple sauce
 1/2 T apple cider vinegar
2 t Real vanilla extract
1/4 C grapeseed oil/melted butter
2 T molasses

Mix the wet ingredients into the dry as the mixer is turning. Once well blended scrape into a glass mixing bowl and refrigerate for 15 min.

Take out and roll the batter into 1-2 inch balls. (think donut hole size). Roll the balls in palm sugar and work quickly. The faster the batter heats up the quicker the palm sugar begins to melt. Do not substitute a chemical sweetener such as Sucralose for the palm sugar as sweeteners melt upon any moisture.

Place on a parchment lined cookie sheet and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Place the cookies on the counter and press down to flatten slightly with a ramikan. They will not grow any bigger than they already are except upwards so they only need as much space as they need. 

Bake them for 30 min at 350 degrees. They will feel soft to the touch but have a crust. Let them cool completely and you will feel them firm and hard like a gingersnap after room temperature. The inside will be so tender and chewy its delicious. These cookies don't quite have the same taste as a traditional snap because they don't have heavy Molasses base. Molasses has sugar in it, the bad sugar. If I had Yacon syrup that would be a great substitute if not, keep the molasses to 2 T. If you are feeling they are not as tasty let them sit for a few days.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Butter Cream Frosting - Sugar Free, Gluten Free

So you have to make a cake quick because your in laws are coming over and you don't have time to go shopping for grain free flour and......... you don't have enough yogurt to ice a cake. 

WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO DO!?!?! think cake. MMmmm.

Well, I was intelligent this morning and decided instead of cheesecake (which I have had enough of lately to be sick of) how about chocolate devils food cake. Not just because it's the best cake ever! But because I want to test out my new bean recipe to make sure that it is delicious and it is not just me. 

If you all remember my FABULOUS wedding cake. This tastes exactly the same. The best part, no flour, half the calories, half the carbs, no refined sugar, no wheat, no gluten. So I am hoping that when we indulge in this cake today we will all be able to think back to that lovely wedding day and compare the two.
MMM I can't even wait to eat this I tell you. It's a delicious cake, moist and chocolate fudge like with a coffee taste. yumo. Luckily I had just the recipe! I took my Chocolate Bean cake recipe, however, last time I made it into cupcakes so it was a test.

I took 2 nine inch cake pans and made the standard recipe and just divided it in half between the pans. I greased the snot out of the pan with Grapeseed oil in the hopes the cake would just fall out when I tip it over. I wanted to layer the cake with butter cream inside so instead of making 1 big cake and having to cut it in half I just made 2.
This cake is dense and great for icing as it does not crumble, but if you cut it in half I am certain it would not hold its shape without gluten or flour. So not really a good idea.

This cake will be paired with Champagne, Gluten free beer, Curry Cream Corn,  Green Apple Garden salad, and Honey Chicken. Well we don`t eat honey so it will be Agave but it tastes the same.

I baked the cake for 25 minutes exactly at 350 degrees It was perfectly done and to my surprise it was nice and flat on the top so there was no necessary trimming. I cannot wait to eat it. The best part the cake had cooked and completely moved away from the edges of the pan so when i flipped the pan over tadaa a perfect cake fell out of the pan. Please excuse my decorating skills. lol trust me when I say it tastes divine.

Chocolate Bean Devil's Food Cupcakes - Grain Free, Sugar Free, Gluten Free, Starch Free 

In a food processor:
2 C or 1 lrg 19oz can Black beans, rinsed and Drained
3 eggs
3 t real vanilla extract 
Blend until creamy and no visible chunks 1-2 min

Add all at once:
3/4 C dark unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 C sucralose/Stevia**
3 T organic raw agave nectar/palm syrup/date syrup (please see my recipes)
1 1/2 t baking soda aluminum free
1 1/2 t gluten free baking powder
1/2 fine sea salt
1/3 C instant skim milk powder/organic coconut milk powder
Puree until thick
Slowly pour in 1/2 C warm strong coffee and mix well.

Fill 2 well greased 9 inch pans evenly full. Bake 25 minutes in middle of oven 1 pan above the other at 350 degrees. It will have a slight crust in the middle and may crack but will be dense and soft on the edges. Cake should pull away from the edges of the pan is greased properly.
And so my delicious devils food cake is born. Layered with vanilla butter cream and shaved unsweetened chocolate crumbles. yum.
For the icing, I have adjusted a recipe my mom passed down to me for the butter cream we have all loved for years. I have made it sugar, and gluten free. It can also be vegan by substituting vegetable shortening or coconut oil for butter.

Vanilla Butter Cream - Sugar free, Gluten free

In a small saucepan:
1/4 C organic butter/vegetable shortening/coconut oil 
3 T oat flour**
3/4 C milk/heavy cream
1 T real vanilla or 1/4 C cocoa powder for chocolate flavored

Melt the butter until starting to bubble and froth. Whisk in oat flour and stir immediately until well dissolved and brown. Slowly stir in milk and bring to a simmer until you are left with a thick paste. DO NOT BURN. If you burn the milk throw it out as it will taste horrid.
Stir in vanilla once a paste and place in the fridge for 30 min until cool.

**Use fine ground oat flour not the chunky oat flour that looks like oat bran or wheat germ. You want a flour, if you don't have oat flour use brown rice flour. Using rice flour will increase the Glycemic index 50% more than oat flour and will add carbohydrates.**

In a food processor:
1 1/2 C Sucralose Granulated/Isomalt
2 t tapioca flour/corn starch**
set aside

In a mixer: 
1/2 C room temperature butter softened
Cream butter on high in mixing bowl and scrape down sides. Add in butter and flour mixture and beat on high until smooth. Slowly dust in sucralose powder mixture. Beat until smooth and creamy. Place frosting in the fridge for 15 min to firm up.
If you need it sweeter add in some stevia instead of sucralose. Too much sucralose will leave you with a chemical taste in your mouth bleh..

**Don't use arrowroot powder. Arrowroot and dairy products do not get along. It will become slime and unappealing. If you are going to freeze the icing use corn starch not tapioca as it will hold up better in the end**

Put 1/4 inch thick layer of butter cream between the cakes. Decorate as inspired for the top and sides. Using a sharp knife cut shards of unsweetened bakers chocolate and sprinkle over top layer of butter cream. 

Mmmmm. Next I am going to make my vanilla cake into a layered cake. I will actually admit that my vanilla bean cake recipe is so fantastic it's nearly better than the devils food. It would taste just as fantastic with butter cream piled high and a strawberry on top. I may even have to add some India tree color to get a pink hue in the cream. Ooo fabulous. 
Can't wait until someone birthday so I can whip out that cake!!!!!!!

PS Mom that means you :)

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Savory Flatbread/Tortillas- Grain free, sugar free, gluten free, lactose free, egg free

One of the best things I ever did was develop my cracker recipe. They are so darn good I have never bought crackers since. Not only are they easy to make, but you get a huge bunch out of one batch and they last forever if they are cooked all the way through or dehydrated. So make one batch and throw them in your pantry and then one day you will find a use for them like tuna salad!

I was thinking one day when I was making crackers, how great would it be if I could turn the great taste of my toasted seeds and cracker yumminess into a tortilla. 
I have made a great deal of tortilla recipes lately. Sometimes, I really want a taco or a breakfast burrito or a quesadilla. Unfortunately all of the recipes I have used either use rice, quinoa or bean flour and are udderly gross. I cannot stand the taste or quinoa flour its over powering and the smell of it just being added to the batter is nasty. bleh. 
I love cooking with beans but bean flour is not low in carbs and is not ideal for us. And rice flour, that no longer belongs in our house. I suppose I could use oat flour or coconut flour but those usually have added starch and calories and carbs to hold them together. 
So I thought maybe I would try it. I would try to make my cracker recipe into a tortilla and just see what happens. I want a savory toasted sesame tortilla to wrap around my egg salad. 

So I simply adjusted some ingredients and added some moisture in order to make the recipe sticky so it would be bendable without cracking and drying out. 
Here is what I came up with:

Delicious toasted grainy, seedy, "tortilla" wraps. I didn't have any problems at all with them holding together and not cracking. However I wasn't piling in a huge mountain of ingredients because like all things grain free these have no gluten. None. So filling them crazy full and causing them to break is not a good idea, have 2 instead that are smaller. 
Making these tortillas gave me ideas for a flat bread and a pita!!
Maybe even a delicious bagel. I have been using a recipe for bagels from The Spunky Coconut that is delicious. However I am missing my seedy and spicy everything bagel that I used to smother with cream cheese. I am thinking that using this recipe as a bagel will be fantastic and so with some tweaking I will be making it next week and loving it!

Savory "Tortilla" Wraps - Grain Free, Sugar Free, Gluten Free, Lactose Free, Egg Free

These might be a little tricky when rolling and cutting out but that will but the hardest part I promise. If you like you can make small ones free form or with a large cookie cutter like I did. You can even use a small round plate and cut out the shape with a knife. Whatever works easiest for you. I rolled out the dough to just bigger than 1/8inch thick between 2 pieces of parchment paper. Cut out using a large cookie cutter and removed the excess. Then LEAVING the tortilla still on one piece of the parchment I baked it. Removing it from the parchment will cause it to break as it will be very moist before baking.

In a glass bowl mix and let stand:
1/4 C flaxmeal or 2 T chia meal
1/2 C warm water
2 T olive oil/grapeseed oil/coconut oil/melted butter
1 T Real lemon juice/organic apple cider vinegar
3 T unsweetened apple sauce
let stand for 5 minutes.

In a mixing bowl combine:
1/3 C coconut flour
1/4 t fine sea salt
1/2 t garlic powder
1/2 t onion powder
3/4 t xanthum gum
1/4 t tapioca flour/arrowroot flour/potato starch
1/2 t baking soda aluminum free

In a coffee grinder coarsely grind:
1 T sesame seeds roasted/un-roasted
1 T poppy seeds
1 T dry roasted unsalted sunflower seeds
1 T raw hulled hemp seeds
1 T dry roasted unsalted pumpkin seeds

Add seeds to mixing bowl and blend together. Slowly pour the wet ingredients into the dry mixing very thoroughly. Form into balls and roll out thin between 2 pieces of parchment. 
Cut tortillas to size while dough is on parchment. Remove excess dough and leave the tortilla on the parchment. Bake in the oven on a cookie sheet tortilla side up directly on the parchment paper. Bake for exactly 6 minutes at 350 degrees. Ovens may very cooking time, check after 6 minutes take a tiny slice out of the tortilla and taste to see if the center is soft or firm. You want them to be firm but bendable. Cooking them longer will cause the edges to crack and dry them out too much.
Once cooked set aside on a cooling rack. Wait 1-2 min before removing the parchment so tortilla does not stick. Let cool completely on rack before packaging. Store in a Ziploc bag with paper towel or wax paper between each tortilla in the fridge or eat immediately. Please eat within 1-3 days.
If tortilla is soft just before eating place in the toaster oven on light and low for a minute or so just until the outside firms up.

Remember that I was talking about flat bread....? This is what happens when you have wild and crazy dreams about a delicious flat bread that you can eat all smothered in goat cheese. OMG where has this recipe been?

I took the exact recipe for Tortillas and simply divided the dough into 5 balls. I then flattened the ball rustically with my hand pressing it down onto a parchment board. Make sure the bread is evenly flat so it doesn't burn in thin spots. Bake for 18-20 min at 350 degrees. The longer you bake it the firmer, and crunchier it gets. if you want it soft, take it out sooner. It was just right at 20 minutes, golden brown and crunchy outside with a tender middle.

They are fabulously delicious. Smother with goat cheese, olive oil and salt and pepper. Or, do what Kyle did and chop it in half and make it into a hamburger bun. MM one of the best hamburger buns ever. It was firm and didn't fall apart, didn't get soft from toppings and was just thick enough.

Well, maybe next time I will have a nice juicy bagel covered with peanut butter and bananas to show you. Until then, off to eat my crackers!

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Beans, beans the magical fruit.

I couldn't decide what recipe to list today!!! It was a tie between my delicious crepes and my newest recipe. 
Have you ever finally sat down on the couch after a long exhausting day of errands, vacuuming, dusting, cooking, and laundry. You feel so accomplished and successful. That is exactly how I feel after I open the oven and see a spectacular recipe baked to perfection. 
Now sometimes, looks can be deceiving. Like with my banana bread. It looked fantastic every time but needed to be tweaked several times before the inside tasted as good as it looked. It's so tricky baking with alternatives that it can be super frustrating to spend 10$ worth of almond flour on a recipe that doesn't rise, or set.
Talk about frustrating!!!!!!!!!! GAH!
So, I decided that after a few months of the same old same old huge grocery bill no matter how I plan it out.. I needed to change how I was making some things.
The most expensive things that we now buy are:
1. Produce
2. Almond Flour
3. Agave Nectar
4. Palm Sugar
Almond flour is super duper pricey in Canada, so I will be stocking up on my next road trip to the USA. However, that doesn't help me right now. The produce really can't be changed much. I used to buy more canned vegetables until the preservatives in the cans became worse than the cost of fresh.
Agave, I buy a min of 2 Liters a month. Only to barely scrape by the last 10 days because I have none left and using recipes that need it and don't get it become a disaster. The cost of agave is just a tad lower than almond flour itself.
Palm Sugar, I have found the last few times on a huge sale and then I seriously just buy the whole bin. That sale makes it cheaper to make palm syrup than to buy Agave Nectar and that never goes on sale.
All of this has lead to my last few posts on making your own sweeteners out of dates and palm sugar, and my pizza crust being made without a whole brick of cheese. It always costs more to eat better, yea I know/.
So, my drive to come up with a new recipe for my 3 favorite things is not determination. 2 days ago my first trial and error lead to me almost in tears. I used a recipe I had found, barely tweaked it at all and ended up with a huge disaster. I unfortunately have this bad habit of obsessing over a recipe that didn't work and making it work or at the very least understanding how and why it failed.

SO, this is what I came up with. My favorite things to make a few times every month is chocolate and vanilla cupcakes with my sugar free sprinkles. AND my delicious lemon cranberry muffins. (I have not posted that recipe online yet because I have been searching for a way to make them different then just straight out of the book). Don't worry. I will list that recipe soon but in the mean time I wanted to take that delicious recipe and come up with my own that is BETTER for you and CHEAPER.
I compared all of the nutrition from the lemon cranberry muffins made with almond flour versus my new recipe. I was shocked to say that making a recipe using beans as the binder, moisture and bulk of the recipe versus almond flour, almond butter or starch and coconut flour is lower in carbs by almost 50% and costs much much less.
It costs about $2.21 per cup of almond flour versus 2 cups of beans is $0.79. PLUS if you buy dry beans and cook them yourself it's only 3$ per 2 kg bag. This of course will vary depending on brand but my almond meal is about 1650 calories divided per 12 muffins cup versus 400 cal with beans divided by 15.
So why have I waited so long to use beans? I already use beans in my pizza crust, and my waffles..... I used them to make my dad's birthday cake at chirstmas!!! I am certain I could use it in pancakes also. (I will be trying those shortly) Why not in my muffins, and cupcakes?
So I searched Google for hours it seemed and finally stumbled upon a bean recipe without flour. PERFECT!!!!! Without flour is even better! Better for you, lower in carbs and economical. I did have to tweak the recipe in order to better the taste and to eliminate refined sugar.
Ta da! Here was my delicious Chocolate Cupcake Recipe, without ANY flour :)

Chocolate Bean Devil's Food Cupcakes - Grain Free, Sugar Free, Gluten Free, Starch Free 

In a food processor:
2 C or 1 lrg 19oz can Black beans, rinsed and Drained
3 eggs
3 t real vanilla extract 
Blend until creamy and no visible chunks 1-2 min

Add all at once:
3/4 C dark unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 C sucralose/Stevia**
3 T organic raw agave nectar/palm syrup/date syrup (please see my recipes)
1 1/2 t baking soda aluminum free
1 1/2 t gluten free baking powder
1/2 fine sea salt
1/3 C instant skim milk powder/organic coconut milk powder or 1C evaporated milk
Puree until thick

As food processor is running slowly pour in 1/2 C warm strong coffee.

Pulse until well blended, smooth and creamy. Line cupcake tin with parchment paper liners. Scoop 1/4 C into each mold. 350 degrees for 20-25 min.

They should be firm in the center when pressed and not caved in. I find the beans will rise high when baking and sink in if they are not cooked all the way through as they cool. 15 Cupcakes.

If you don't have a food processor simply puree the beans, vanilla and eggs in a blender or magic bullet and then transfer to a mixer.


MMMMmmm yummy. Chocolate cupcakes are delicious. AND the best part is they taste exactly like the recipe I was making with coconut flour that was very expensive but t o  d i e  f o r !!
The coffee gives it a devils food taste that I love, if you don't want to use it no worries. Water will give you a great chocolatey taste.
I do enjoy using milk powder in recipes. It saves on milk, which I also don't always have, suppose you would be able to substitute evaporated milk instead or perhaps just milk but that is not something I am able to judge the outcome of. Using beans is tricky, if there is too much liquid the outside edges will cook and the center will be gummy and raw. If there is not enough liquid the cake will crack and be dry. I find using the least amount of liquid offers a more firm cake.

NEXT is my excellent Vanilla Bean Cupcakes. YES, this recipe was not even a tweaked one I searched for. It was completely from my own head. I of course did use my chocolate recipe and changed it slightly but in all of the right ways!

Vanilla Bean Cupcakes - Sugar Free, Grain Free, Gluten Free

Add to food processor:
2 C or 1 lrg 19oz can White Navy or Great Northern Beans rinsed and drained
3 eggs
3 t Real Vanilla Extract
Puree until smooth

Add to processor all at once:
 3 T raw agave nectar/palm syrup/date syrup
1 1/2 sucralose/palm Sugar
1/4 C coconut flour
1 1/2 baking soda aluminum free
1 1/2 gluten free baking powder
1/2 t salt
1/4 C instant skim milk powder/organic coconut milk powder/1/3 C evaporated milk
Puree until thick

While processor is running slowly pour in 3 T filtered water. 

Pulse until well blended, smooth and creamy. Line cupcake tin with parchment paper liners. Scoop 1/4 C into each mold. 350 degrees for 20-25 min.

They should be firm in the center when pressed and not caved in. I find the beans will rise high when baking and sink in if they are not cooked all the way through as they cool. 15 Cupcakes.

MMmmmmm delicious!! They were moist, vanillla, decadent and you cant even tell by looking at them there is something missing. lol. 

Now of course to top off the cupcakes you want a delicious frosting with no added sugar, butter, starch, chemicals or flavors or there is no point in eating a good for you cupcake. Sooooo I was thinking, how can I make a frosting into a frosting without adding flour, nuts, agave, starch, chocolate, cream cheese or butter.
I didn't feel like whip cream today. And the coconut whip cream, no not that either. Meringue? bleh.. Kyle would rather die then eat it lol. Butter cream frosting is delicious but full of everything bad. Then there was a light bulb!!!!!!!!!!!

WHAT ABOUT YOGURT! You know how they make sour cream glaze and cashew cream? What if I use the thick part of the yogurt to make my frosting?? hmm yum.
So here it is:

Vanilla Yogurt Frosting - Sugar free, Grain free, Gluten Free, Starch Free

1 C thick plain unsweetened Greek or Balkan yogurt or yogurt cheese
1/2 C sucralose or stevia to taste
1 t clear vanilla extract
1/2 instant milk powder
2 T coconut flour (to thicken)* only add if wanting it to stay in shape

I put everything in a bowl and whisked it together. I let it sit in the fridge for 1 hour and then piped it onto my cupcakes. If you are just going to spread the icing on or don't care about looks omit the coconut flour and just drizzle it on. The coconut flour just keeps it thicker so when I pipe my pretty design it stands up.
Go ahead and make it any color or flavor. The best part is, it tastes similar to that jar of processed marshmallow fluff my mom used to buy when I was a kid.

AND last but not least, is my Cranberry muffins. MMmmm I love muffins for breakfast. When you don't eat bread you need something to go with your boiled egg. These are perfect. The best part, they are way easier on the wallet and the waist line.

Lemon Cranberry Muffins - Sugar free, Gluten free, Grain Free

In a food processor:
2 C or 1 lrg 19oz can pinto beans rinsed and drained
3 eggs
1 t vanilla
Puree until smooth.

Add to food processor all at once:
1/2 C blanched almond meal/chopped walnuts/chopped pumpkin seeds
1/2 C flax meal
1/2 C date syrup or 1/4 C raw agave nectar/palm syrup
1/2 C palm sugar/brown sugar sucralose blend
1 1/2 t baking soda aluminum free
1 1/2 t gluten free baking powder 
1/4 t fine sea salt
1/3 c instant skim milk powder/organic coconut milk powder
3 T lemon juice

Puree until mixed, add:
1 1/2 T cinnamon
1 C whole cranberries/blueberries/raspberries/strawberries
1 dash nutmeg
Pulse just until mixed.

Spoon into parchment muffin liners until 3/4 full. Sprinkle muffin tops with palm sugar before baking.350 degrees for 30-35 min.

Please invite me over for breakfast before you make these as I would really like some. These are fantastic. You can change the almond meal for more flax or any kind of seeds, or nuts you so desire. Whatever you want to add into your diet for the morning energy. If you want to add in fruit that is sweet such as a banana you will need to adapt the sugar measurements to accommodate. It will be a trial and error. If you want to bake banana muffins I strongly suggest baking my banana bread recipe in a muffin tin, well greased and perhaps floured.

I suggest following the bean suggestions I have offered.  If you can't find one of the bean types, navy beans are suitable for every recipe as they have a pale color and bland taste. I chose black beans for the chocolate mostly for the look and because they are very easy to come by. Pinto beans were chosen for the muffins because they are a light brown and pinkish bean which made a classic brown muffin batter. You could substitute even garbanzo beans for a nuttier taste if you like. Using a bean such as chick peas will give a chewier texture as they are harder to puree. Experiment.

Well..... I am off to work on some orders and then take the night off to play with Willa. I would appreciate your comments :)

Thursday, March 1, 2012

No Bake Cheesecake - Gluten free, Grain Free, Sugar Free, Egg Free

One of the most delicious things I have ever made is Cheesecake. 
It's so cheesy and thick and cold and creamy and yummy. The best part about cheesecake is it kicks my sugar craving without doubling over in carbs.
I did think I was going to have to go most of my life without ever going to the Cheese Cake Cafe ever again. Then one day I remembered I used to make a no-bake cheesecake with my mom when I was little.
So I went onto Google and searched for a no bake basic cheesecake recipe. They are relatively low in sugar anyways so I just simply substituted the bad sugar with good sugar, and the bad fat with non hydrogenated fat.

The first few times I made this recipe I made it with Gluten Free Graham Crackers which I found at my local grocery store around Christmas time. They are seriously 10 times more delicious than a regular Graham Cracker made from graham flour and refined sugar. They are firm and crunchy and golden brown. MMmm.
The crust came out relatively the same texture and crumbly as a traditional graham cracker crust. Then I decided we were eating it often enough that it was important to make it sugar and grain free.
The Gluten Free Graham Crackers are pretty good for you on there own. However I am always striving to look for any way to reduce sorghum and rice flour from our diet. Also, the brown sugar used in them is the bad sugar that I am always talking about so I definitely don't want to eat if I can help it.
At first I thought I would have to look for a grain free Cracker recipe and then I thought, well really that just seems like a bunch of very unnecessary work when all I am going to do is turn the crackers into a crust. But then I thought of course I could just bake the cracker recipe into a crust and skip the cracker making. However, that was completely steering away from my no-bake less work easy to do Cheesecake.
So I came up with this recipe. Late that night Kyle came home after hockey and had some without knowing the difference in the crust. He loved it and said he actually likes it better (He always says that ) lol but I did think it was quite delicious. Here is the well anticipated recipe for my mom:

Grain Free, Sugar Free, Gluten Free Cheese Cake (No- Bake)

In a mixing bowl combine:
1 C almond flour 
1/2 C dried unsweetened organic coconut (no preservatives)
  •  I added the coconut as an attempt to reduce the carbs. I didn't taste the coconut at all while eating the cake. If you are a coconut phobic simply substitute Almond Flour

1/4 melted Organic Butter (No GMO) or coconut oil
1/2 C palm sugar/Brown sugar sucralose blend** (do not use a liquid sweetener)
1 T cinnamon
2 dashes nutmeg
Pinch salt

Mix the dry ingredients well in a mixing bowl and slowly pour in the melted butter just enough that the crust all sticks together. If needed add more butter up to 1/2 C in total.
Press into a well greased (with Grapeseed oil) 9 inch pie plate all the way up the sides.
Place into the refrigerator immediately.

*Using splenda will take away from the brown sugar taste or Graham Crackers. If you are going to use Splenda I recommend using 1 t of molasses to bring out the flavor.
*Using palm sugar granules to sweeten the crust allows for the crust to be evenly sweet throughout each bite versus if you use a nectar such as agave. I am not sure what the result will be if you use agave.

2 bricks of Cream cheese (light or whole) Room temperature  
1 C whipping cream (do not use light or coffee cream it will not set up)
1/2 T real lemon juice*
2 T raw agave nectar/palm syrup
1 T clear vanilla extract*

In a cold mixing bowl cream together cream cheese and lemon juice until soft. Add in agave, and vanilla. Slowly whip in Cream until smooth and very well blended without any chunks (about 1-2 min on med high).

Pour filling directly into chilled firm crust and spread out the top till its flat and evenly spread in the pie plate. Place in the refrigerator for 3 hours or in the freezer for 2.
Only cut into the cake once the center is completely set or your center will run out into a sloppy mess when you take out a piece.

*The lemon juice is needed to help break down the cheese into a smooth texture it's not for taste. I suppose any acid could be substituted such orange juice, lime juice or apple juice.
*Using caramel vanilla extract will cause the filling to be a darker brown but will taste the same.

For the topping I used my home made sugar free freezer jam that I made from scratch in December. It's so delicious its the best jam I have ever had. It tastes like I poured pureed raspberries all over my cheesecake. Compared to the really sweet jam that you can't even tell what fruit was in it because there is just so much sugar. Its really good and it takes like 10 whole minutes if you have time I encourage you to make some.

I followed the recipe on the back of the package to the T. If you don't have these handy packages you can simple buy Pectin in the store and make jam following directions on the box but use palm sugar or Splenda or Stevia as the sweetener.

It was so simple, 4 cups of any fruit, 1 pack of Bernardin and stir for 3 minutes. Place into freezer jars (which i highly recommend you buy) and put in the freezer. Yum.
I will say that pectin does have gluten in the form of "Maltodextrin" in the package. But is a very miniscule amount and doesn't bother me.