October 31, 2013

Alternative Sweeteners



Carrot Cake with Coconut Butter Frosting

You will need:

4 large carrots, peeled
2 cups spelt OR brown rice flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
½ teaspoon ginger
1/2 cup maple syrup
1 1/4 cups sunflower oil
2 large eggs
1 1/2 cups walnuts, toasted and chopped
1/2 cup raisins
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease a loaf pan and a mini loaf pan.
Grate the carrots and set aside.
Whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger in medium bowl to blend.
Whisk the maple and oil in large bowl until well blended. Whisk in the eggs one at a time. Add flour mixture and stir, and whisk until blended. Stir in carrots, 1 cup of walnuts and raisins.
Bake for about 45 minutes for the loaf and about 30 minutes for the mini loaf. Remove from oven and let the loaves rest in their pans for 10 minutes. Turn out onto rack and wait until cool to frost.

Coconut Butter Frosting
You will need:
1/2 cup coconut butter
1/4 cup maple syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
dash cinnamon

Place all ingredients in a small pot. Heat gently, whisking and stirring to blend.

To assemble, spread a light layer of frosting onto each loaf, swirling decoratively.  Sprinkle with the remaining toasted walnuts.

This frosting is amazing with the cupcakes below, too! Try it and see what you think.
***
Chocolate Banana Cupcakes

You will need:
1 1/2 cups spelt OR rice flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
3 tablespoons of cocoa
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
1 large egg
1 cup mashed bananas (3 medium)
1/2 cup applesauce
1/4 cup coconut oil

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Grease the bottom and sides of a muffin tin (or loaf pan, if you're so inclined). In a medium bowl, combine the flours, baking powder, baking soda, cocoa and spices and set aside.

In another bowl, combine the egg, mashed bananas, applesauce and butter. Add the wet mixture all at once to the dry mixture and stir until just moistened.

Bake in the prepared pan for about 20 minutes for muffins (50 to 55 for a loaf), or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool in pan for 10 minutes then remove.

***
Blueberry Apple Pie

You will need:

3 pounds apples
1 cup blueberries
1 1/2 tablespoons rice flour
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup maple syrup

For the crust:
2 1/2 cups spelt OR rice flour, plus extra for rolling
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes OR equally as much coconut oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 to 6 tablespoons cold water

Combine flour and salt in a bowl. Cut in the butter using a pastry cutter, fork or your hands. Mix and crumble together until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Add the ice water 1 tablespoon at a time, tossing and stirring with a fork until it just holds together. Wrap in plastic wrap and let rest in refrigerator at least a half-hour. Remove and let warm up a bit, about 5 minutes, before you roll it out.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Chop apples.
Toss apples with the blueberries, flour, lemon juice, cinnamon, salt and maple in a large bowl.

Roll out 1 piece of dough into a 12-inch round on a lightly floured surface with a lightly floured rolling pin. Fit into a 9-inch pie plate. Trim excess dough, leaving a half-inch overhang.
Roll out remaining piece of dough into an 11-inch round on a lightly floured surface with a lightly floured rolling pin.

Transfer filling to pie shell. Cover pie with the top dough. Press edges together, crimp and then trim excess. Cut 2 vents in top crust with a sharp knife.

Place the pie on a baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 375 degrees. Continue to bake until crust is golden-brown and filling is bubbling, about 50 minutes more. Cool pie to room temperature before serving.

October 16, 2013

Sourdough Best Practices

It is easy and rewarding to make your own sourdough and bake bread from it. As my friend Nick says, "it's the pet that feeds YOU!". Just like any pet, you must care for it.

To make your own sourdough starter, click this link.

If you have a starter and wish to ensure that your loaves give you a fluffy, delicious result, follow these guidelines. They are most helpful if you keep your starter in the refrigerator. 

Mix well to re-incorporate any liquid that has formed on top of your sourdough starter. Whole grain flours especially will yield a darker liquid.

Remove 1/4 cup of sourdough starter from the fridge and place it in a large jar or bowl. Feed the starter with 1 part starter with 1 part water and 2 parts flour. For example, feed 1/4 cup of starter with 1/4 cup of water and a scant 1/2 cup of flour.

Mix the starter, flour and water together and stir vigorously, incorporating plenty of air. Cover the starter with a towel or cheesecloth secured by a rubber band. Leave in a warm spot for 4 to 12 hours until the starter becomes bubbly.

Repeat this process two more times prior to baking using the same ratios listed above.


By the third feeding the starter should be very bubbly and rising to double its size within 8 hours of being fed.

Remember to add some freshly made sourdough starter back to your master sourdough culture.

October 10, 2013

SuperSnacks!

Boost immunity, gain some afternoon energy, and tonify your adrenal and endocrine system with these healthy snacks.
They're great after-school snacks, too.

Tahini-Date Salted Caramels

You will need:
1 cup pitted dates
1/2 cup tahini
2 tablespoons coconut oil (room temperature)
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom (optional)
1/8 teaspoon fleur de sel or other coarse salt 


Combine the dates, tahini, coconut oil, and cardamom in a blender or food processor.
Transfer the mixture to a parchment-lined loaf pan (or another equivalent container) and use a spatula to press it down evenly. 
Sprinkle with salt.
Freeze until firm. Remove from the pan and cut into bite-size pieces.
Store in an airtight container in the freezer for up to a month. 

***

Home-Made Energy Bars
 
You will need:
¼ cup dried, unsweetened apricots
¼ cup dried, unsweetened dates
¼ cup raisins
¼ cup sesame seeds – toasted
¼ cup pumpkin seeds – toasted and coarsely chopped
½ cup walnuts, pecans, almonds (choose any combination of these) - toasted and coarsely chopped
1 cup nut butter (almond, cashew, peanut butter or a combination of these)
¼ cup honey
4 Tablespoons shredded, unsweetened coconut
1 teaspoon cinnamon
Pinch salt

Boil 2 cups water. As water boils, coarsely chop all dried fruit and place it in a small mixing bowl.
Pour boiling water over fruit. Soak for 15 minutes and drain.

Meanwhile, mix honey, nut butter, coconut, cinnamon and salt in a medium mixing bowl.
Chop walnuts/almonds and pumpkin seeds.
Toast all seeds and nuts. Add to mixing bowl and mix.

Add soaked dried fruit to the above ingredients.
Oil a glass baking dish: 7×11″ is a good size.
While the mixture is still warm, press it flat into the dish with wax paper. Chill for 1 hour.

Slice into squares.
Cover with plastic wrap or store in baking dish in the fridge. Keeps for 2 weeks refrigerated.

***

Zoom Balls
based on a recipe by Rosemary Gladstar

You will need:
1 cup tahini (roasted sesame seed butter)
½ cup cashew or almond butter
¼ cup honey (more or less to taste)
1 teaspoon each: cinnamon and cardamom powder
3 Tablespoons coarsely chopped walnuts
½ cup coarsely chopped almonds
2 oz unsweetened shredded coconut

Mix tahini, nut butter and honey until smooth.
Add coconut and nuts - mix in well.   
Mix in enough coconut to make dough thick.
Roll the dough into small balls. You can also spread the mixture onto a baking sheet and cut into squares.
Store the balls in baking tins in a cool place. They will last for 3 weeks.

October 6, 2013

Orange October Soups

This is the new moon that heralds autumn. It is time to nourish, go inside, ground down, and fill the freezer with soup.
Make these bright, beautiful sunny soups all at once, freeze portions, and enjoy during the month of October. Be well.

Sweet Potato Soup
You will need:
2 Tbsp. Olive Oil
2 large sweet potatoes
1 large onion, loosely diced
2 garlic cloves, smashed
1-inch knob of fresh ginger, chopped
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. ground cloves (optional)
1 tsp. ground cumin
1/2 tsp. turmeric
3 c. chicken broth
Salt and pepper to taste

To garnish:
Avocado slices drizzled with lime juice
 
Heat 1 Tbsp. olive oil over medium-high heat in a large, deep sautee pan.  

Add onion and cook for 5 minutes on medium heat until onion is clear and soft.

Add diced sweet potatoes.  Sautee for 7-8 minutes or until ingredients turn golden brown.
Reduce heat to low, add garlic, and cook 10 more minutes, until vegetables are a caramel color.

In a separate soup pot, add 1 Tbsp. oil, ginger, and the spices.  Sautee 5 minutes on medium heat, until the spices are fragrant.  

Add broth/water and vegetables to soup pot.  Add tahini.
Bring to a low boil over medium-high heat.  Reduce heat to low and simmer for 20 minutes, partially covered, until the sweet potatoes are tender.

Puree in a blender or mash with a potato masher.
Add salt and pepper to taste. 

Garnish with avocado and lime.

***
Peanut Soup
 

You will need:
Sesame or olive oil
1 onion, chopped
2 large carrots, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 inch fresh ginger root, minced

1 teaspoon each: salt, black pepper, turmeric, cumin powder, coriander powder
1/2 teaspoon each: fenugreek seeds (or powdered fenugreek) and cinnamon
pinch cayenne if desired

1/4 cup peanut butter (you can substitute almond or cashew butter if you like)
3 1/2 cups chicken broth or vegetable broth
2 cups stewed tomatoes

1 cup chicken or tofy, sautéed in:
2 Tablespoons sesame or olive oil
1 teaspoon Tamari (i.e. wheat-free soy sauce)

chopped fresh cilantro for garnish


Sauté onion on low heat for 10 minutes, until browned. Add carrots, garlic and ginger. Add spices and sauté on low heat for 3-4 minutes, stirring occasionally.


Add nut butter and stir to dissolve.
Add broth and tomatoes. Bring to a boil, reduce to summer and cook about 30 minutes on medium-low heat.


Prepare chicken or tofu.
Add to soup pot.
Mince cilantro and mix into soup.


Serve hot with rice and lime wedges.

***
Pumpkin Cashew Soup

You will need:
1 Tablespoon coconut oil 
1 can full fat, organic coconut milk (8 oz.)
1 onion, chopped 
3 cloves garlic, chopped 
1 inch fresh ginger root, chopped
2 cups pie pumpkin, peeled and diced 
1/2 cup roasted cashew nuts
4 cups vegetable or chicken stock
pinch each: ground nutmeg, ground cinnamon, ground coriander
freshly ground black pepper 

Heat coconut oil in a large stock pot. 

Add onion and sauté for a few minutes, until softened. Add garlic, ginger, pumpkin and cashew nuts. Save some nuts for garnish if desired. Cook gently for 2 minutes. 

Add the stock and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, add coconut milk and simmer to 20 minutes, until pumpkin is tender.

Place into a blender or use an immersion blender and process until smooth.  

Serve with a garnish of cashews if you like.

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