Chocolate Brownies (Grain-free, full of protein)

Once again Laura, who works with us provided me with another great recipe.  I made these last night and not only are they moist and delicious but quite nutritious as well.  The recipe comes from http://www.yumuniverse.com/2012/06/11/gluten-free-protein-power-flourless-black-bean-brownies/ I’ve made a few slight changes to the recipe and for the most part, this recipe is copied almost verbatum from the original site including the awesome pictures. The original recipe states there is about 85 grams of protein in this one batch, that’s a lot and is really helpful to balance out sugars when we think about it from a blood sugar perspective.  I hope you and your family enjoy these as much as we did.

Takes: 55 minutes: 10 to prep, 35-45 to bake

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup walnuts
  • 1/2 cup almonds
  • 1/2 cup pecans
  • 2 1/2 cups cooked, drained black beans
  • 1/4 cup unrefined coconut oil (melted)
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 red apple, cored and chopped
  • 10 dates, pitted
  • 2/3 cup chocolate protein powder (I used vanilla protein powder, the one I recommend is Kaizen brand from Sobeys or health food stores.  It is lactose-free and gluten-free, found in the organic section)
  • 1/4-1/2 cup maple syrup (Taste the batter before baking and adding nuts, just sweeten to taste…Obviously, the less sugar your family can get used to, the better)
  • 1/2 tsp fine ground sea salt
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract

Directions:

1.  Soak and rinse your black beans.  Ideally you can make them on your own which is preferable to canned.  I just use canned last night in an effort to save time.

2.  Preheat oven to 350°F.  Use parchment paper to line your baking dish—it makes for easy lift-out and cutting of brownies once cool.  Trim with kitchen scissors if you need to.  I usually run one long piece across the bottom and up along the sides, and another piece on top, perpendicular to the first piece.

3.  Place all ingredients except nuts in the food processor and mix until creamy.  You may need to pulse it a few times to get it going.

4.  Once creamy, add nuts and pulse about 10-20 times, just enough to break them up a bit—not too much. You want texture.

5.  Spread into 9×9 pan and bake for 35-45 minutes, or until a knife comes out clean after inserting.

6.  If you’ve cooked for over 45 mins and you still get a bit of batter on your knife, go ahead and remove and allow to cool completely. This usually happens with the 9″ baking pan, but it’s a-ok.  The center will become like fudge once cooled. Yes, fudge—mmm.

7.  Once cool, lift out of pan by the parchment, cut up and enjoy.  I like to store them in a glass container with a lid in the fridge.  My 9″ baking dish comes with a lid so it’s perfect!

Chocolate Ice Cream (dairy-free)

I made this amazing chocolate ice cream recipe today, it was so quick and easy too.  The recipe comes from The Spunky Coconut Dairy-Free Ice Cream recipe book that I purchased from https://www.createspace.com/3867959.  The author is Kelly V. Brozyna and I haven’t tried one of her recipes yet that hasn’t been satisfying.  This mom of three is brilliant with her creations of healthy recipes.

The ingredients are relatively easy to find.  The only one I had to purchase that is not usually a staple in my pantry is guar gum.  It is a thickening agent and if you want your ice cream less thick, you can leave it out.  I bought mine at a health food store.  It may have even been found in the organic section of the grocery store.

Ingredients:

In a high power blender (like Vitamix) or food processor, add:

  • 2 cups coconut milk (canned)
  • 10 pitted dates (soak them in water first if they are dry)

Puree until smooth.

Add:

  • 1 cup cashew milk (blend 1/4 cup raw cashews with enough water to make 1 cup, we didn’t have cashews so I improvised by using 1/4 cup of cashew butter with enough water to make 1 cup)
  • 1/3 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp guar gum
  • 5 drops of vanilla liquid stevia (I added this to the original recipe  for added sweetness without the blood sugar spike, I’m sure it would taste great without it as well)

Puree until creamy and smooth.

Freeze this mixture in a container for an hour or until cold.  Add to the ice cream maker until your desired texture is reached.  We put ours in for about 1/2 hour and then it was just right to serve in a cone.

Date Balls

There are many variations to this recipe but for a quick and healthy dessert/snack, this can be whipped up in minutes.  Laura, who works with us at the clinic brought them into work the other day and I couldn’t help but make them the next day.

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups of cashews (or another nut you enjoy)- I use a combination of whatever nuts are available in my pantry, hazelnuts, walnuts, pecans, almonds, and cashews)
  • 1 cup pitted Medjool dates, packed
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1-2 tablespoons of maple syrup (optional)

Directions:

  1. Place the nuts in a food processor and break them down into chunks.  Add the dates in pieces and vanilla.  Process until the nuts and dates form a batter together.  Taste the batter, if you desire additional sweet flavour add maple syrup. OPTION: You can also add a couple tablespoons of ground flax seeds for added nutrients and fiber.
  2. Grab a handful of batter and test the consistency by rolling into a ball, make sure it holds together.  If it is not sticky enough, add a few more pitted dates or maple syrup and process until they hold together.
  3. Once your batter is ready, roll into balls (approximately 1 inch in diameter) and store in the fridge so they become firm. This will make approximately 24 balls that are an easy and healthy grab on the go snack!

*Can also be frozen and taken out when needed.

Curried Chicken Salad with Raisins

My neighbour sent me this recipe after her little boy’s birthday party.  I ate several of the lettuce wraps she had prepared with this curried chicken salad and loved them.  In a pinch when I’m looking for a quick healthy protein snack, I will cut up some cucumber and dip it into this type of salad or the egg salad.  Hope you enjoy it as much as we did!

Ingredients-

Mayo –

  • 1 cup of olive oil-based mayonnaise
  • 2 tsp of yellow curry powder (more or less, to taste)
  • 1/2 tsp maple syrup

*Any extra mayo can be used for dipping sauce for sweet potato fries or as a spread for bread-free burgers, etc

Chicken salad –

  1. Cut up 1 cooked chicken into bite-sized cubes.
  2. Place cubed chicken into mixing bowl.  Spoon in mayo and mix by hand until mixture reaches preferred consistency or moistness.
  3. Throw in a handful or two of raisins and mix through.
  4. Spoon into preferred bread or bread substitute (lettuce, wraps, etc) and enjoy!

*Making this salad the night before can often make it taste better the next day.

Egg Salad

I have been trying to get Jason to give me his step by step instructions for his tasty egg salad for a while now.  It’s always a little different as he is so great at putting a little bit of this and that to make it delicious.  Every time his mom visits us, I’m reminded how the apple didn’t fall too far from the tree as she is the same way, no measurements needed, just great skills for the right amount of spices.  He did his best to measure it for me tonight so here it is.  I will be putting these in the grain-free sandwich bread for lunch tomorrow.

Ingredients:

  • 12 eggs (hard-boiled)
  • 1 cup finely chopped celery
  • a little less than 1/4 cup mustard
  • a little more than a 1/4 cup of mayonnaise (we use olive-oil mayonnaise)
  • 3 tbsp relish
  • 1 tbsp Bragg’s soy sauce
  • 1/4 tsp onion powder or minced chives (2-3 tbsp)
  • pepper to taste

Directions:

In a medium-sized bowl, use fork to mash up the eggs.  Combine all the ingredients together and mix well.

 

 

 

 

Grain-free Sandwich Bread (Paleo)

Since discovering this bread from www.againstallgrain.com I have made this bread twice.  It tastes great and although it may be pricier to make than other breads most people eat, it’s certainly a whole lot healthier.  I used cashew butter on its own the first time I made it and used 1/2 cup cashew butter + 1/2 cup macadamia butter the second time.  It was excellent both times.  We used it for breakfast as toast and throughout the day as a snack with a nut butter and maybe a little honey. I ran out before we had a chance to use it in a sandwich.

Grain-free Sandwich Bread (Paleo and SCD)

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Here’s the moment you have all been waiting patiently (and some not so patiently!) for. And because I ♥ my readers, I’m giving it to you a week earlier than planned: Grain-free, yeast-free, dairy-free sandwich bread. It’s moist on the inside with a slight crust on the outside, has an amazing texture and taste when toasted, and can also be used straight from the fridge with some almond butter and jam.

We’ve been having a bit of bread overload in our house lately. I’ve made this loaf 6 or 7 times now, changing tidbits here and there until I had it perfected and ready to share with you. Of course, we had to try it out with all of our former beloved bread recipes like paninis, french toast, and fried egg sandwiches first. I also plan to make an egg strada with this and probably even a bread pudding. But most of all, we just like to eat a slice toasted with homemade blueberry jam in the morning with our eggs.

 

 

Ingredients (makes 1 8.5×4.5 loaf)

  • 1 cup extra smooth raw cashew butter at room temperature (I use Artisana Organic)
  • 4 large eggs, separated (mine weighed about 9 ounces in their shells)
  • 1/2 to 2 tablespoons honey (use 2tbsp if you plan to use if for sweeter dishes like french toast)
  • 2.5 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup almond milk
  • 1/4 cup coconut flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt

Directions

Preheat your oven to 300 degrees.

Line the bottom of an 8.5×4.5 glass loaf pan with parchment paper, then spread a very thin coating of coconut oil on the sides of the pan.

Beat the cashew butter with the egg yolks, then add the honey, vinegar, and milk. I’ve done this with both electric hand beaters and a stand mixer and both seem to work equally as well. I would not try to make this by hand due to the stickiness of the butter.

Beat the egg whites in a separate bowl until peaks form. I used an electric hand mixer, but if you want a bicep workout, you can also do it by hand.

Combine the dry ingredients in another small bowl. Sorry for all of the dishes!

Make sure your oven is completely preheated before adding the egg whites and the dry ingredients to the cashew butter mixture. You don’t want your whites to fall, and the baking soda will activate once it hits the eggs and vinegar.

Pour the beaten egg whites into the cashew butter mixture, mixing until just combined. Make sure to get all of the sticky butter mixture off of the bottom of the bowl so you don’t end up with clumps.

Pour the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients, and beat until combined. This will result in more of a wet batter than a dough.

Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan, then immediately put it into the oven.

Bake for 45-50 minutes, until the top is golden brown and a toothpick comes out clean. Don’t be tempted to open the oven door anytime before 40 minutes, as this will allow the steam to escape and you will not get a properly risen loaf.

Remove from the oven, then let cool for 15-20 minutes. Use a knife to free the sides from the loaf pan, then flip it upside down and release the loaf onto a cooling rack. Cool right-side up for an hour before serving.

 

Wrap the loaf up tightly and store in the fridge for 1 week. I actually think the loaf gets better as the days go on.

 

A couple of notes

So far, the only way I’ve used this bread cold and not toasted is with an AB&J, and it was delicious! It is definitely on the more dense side compared to your breads with gluten and yeast, but it’s much lighter than a lot of the gluten-free breads sold in the store that are made with rice or tapioca. The bread gets even lighter and somewhat flaky when toasted or grilled in the panini press, so that is the way I’ve preferred it.

As for the cashew butter – I love Artisana’s product. I could eat it by the spoonful. It’s pricy, but no more expensive than almond butter (and I just found out has the same fat and calorie content!). You can make your own if you own a high-speed blender, but it takes some work. You may need to add a little coconut oil to get the extra smooth consistency that Artisana offers (I’ve used 1/4 cup oil with 1.5 cups raw cashews). If you have a lumpy cashew butter, this bread will not work. The loaf made with homemade cashew butter will also come out a little darker and a bit more moist due to the oil.

The loaf doesn’t stand very tall, so for larger slices of bread like the french toast below, slice it in half, then lengthwise.

And lastly, for all of you coconut-phobes out there- Not to fear – this bread tastes absolutely nothing like it despite the use of coconut flour!

 

Chocolate Chip Cookies (gluten-free and grain-free)

I made these delicious cookies today from one of my favorite blogs www.thespunkycoconut.com

Chocolate Chip Cookies
gluten-free, grain-free, egg-free

Add to bowl:
1/2 cup applesauce
4 tbsp flax seed meal or 2 tbsp Chia Seed meal
1/2 tsp guar gum (can be purchased at health food stores and also Superstore in health food section)
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
12 drops vanilla liquid stevia
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp sea salt
1/4 cup honey or coconut sugar
1/4 cup coconut oil or ghee (which is casein-free), liquified
Mix with electric mixer.
Add:
1 cup almond meal flour
1/2 cup coconut flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1/3 cup dairy-free chocolate chips (I chopped up a 72% cocoa bar)
Mix again.
Roll into balls and flatten the balls in your hands (they don’t really change shape in the oven)
Or roll out with a rolling pin and use cookie cutters =)
Bake on a greased cookie sheet at 350 degrees for about 12 minutes.

 

 

Birthday party fancy food

We have the greatest neighbours and today they had a birthday party for their little boy.  Typically at birthday parties for kids, there are tons of snacks but not always a lot of healthy options available.  One thing I know is that the more healthy options we give them, the more people at least have a choice to eat well vs sugary and processed foods.  Check out the healthy trays she made for snacks.  Pair these with hummus or guacomole and there is plenty for everyone to enjoy!

Ingredients:

Top tray-  Blueberries for the face, the smile is made with blackberries, eyes are mushrooms and 2 blueberries as eyeballs.

Middle tray-  Brocoli for the face, blueberries for the mouth, shredded carrots make up the hair and mushrooms and blueberris for the eyes and eyeballs.

Bottom tray-  Lots of mini tomatoes for the face, blueberries for the mouth, mushroom eyes and blueberry eyeballs, and carrots as the nose.

There were lots of happy kids and a beautiful table of great food.  There was a bowl of date rolls, which I will soon be posting a recipe for.  There was a bowl of berries, a bowl of almonds, some salsa to go along with the corn chips.  The wraps were filled with delicious egg salad or chicken salad with cumin and raisins.  People could choose between the wheat wraps or the salad wraps, I chose the latter and they were spectacular.  I will be posting recipes shortly for the chicken salad and egg salad fillings for the wraps.