Strawberry Frosting {Grain-Free, Paleo, and SCD legal}

Simple Strawberry Frosting {Grain-Free, Fruit Sweetened, Palo, SCD-legal}:

1 cup Spectrum organic Palm Shortening
1/2 cup freeze dried bananas, ground up in a spice grinders, mixer, or blender until it makes a powder
3 Tablespoons freeze dried organic strawberries, crushed {I like to have some larger chunks to see and taste}

First, I mixed the shortening with my hand mixer just to get a creamy consistency. Next, I added in the powdered banana and blended until well combined. I added the strawberries in last and mixed just until incorporated.

I transferred the icing to a piping bag. This was the perfect filling for the “Chocolate Covered Strawberry Macaroons” that were in the Palo Valentine’s boxes we did this year

.Chocolate Covered Strawberry Filled

This was  also the perfect topping for the Paleo Mini Lemon Muffins I made last week. :9 Oh the deliciousness!

Gluten Free, Sugar-Free Chocolate-Glazed Donuts (Baked, Dairy-Free, Egg-Free Option, Sugar-Free)

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Yes!! A donut made gluten-free and with NO cane sugar, even down to the delicious chocolaty goodness that is dripping from each heavenly little round of joy.

I can’t begin to post this recipe before, first, apologizing for the delay in posting. Life seems to happen, at least for me, in waves. Sometimes I feel ultimately inspired and the time seems to be so friendly, like we are working together, me and the hours of the day, so beautifully. Then there was November of 2013!  Haha! It really seems like amay have accidentally sneezed off the entire page of November from the calendar or something. But here I am, back in the saddle again and glad to be posting this delicious gluten-free treat!

When I need an idea for a recipe, I always hit the ol’ search engine for some inspiration. My five year old’s pre-school today was serving up a store-bought chocolate donut with pretzel antlers and a gum-drop nose. Well, yes, that sounds very cute and very creative, but I was just sure I could come up with an alternative for him that would be gluten free, sugar free, soy free, (high-fructose-corn-syrup-free). We do mostly a dairy-free diet, but for these, I did use one tub of yogurt that was from a quality source, grass-fed and organic. Because we are far less sensitive than we once were, this shouldn’t pose any real threat as a one-time treat.

I started with a recipe from The Gluten Free Goddess for baked donuts. Her pictures looked very promising and yummy! I made a few tweaks here and there; used an all-purpose flour blend instead of individual flours for simplicity {and because I found a large bag of Namaste Perfect Flour Blend for a thrifty price at our Costco}, I opted for piping my batter out into donut shapes, since I don’t have donut pans and my batter was a bit stickier (probably due to more liquid ingredients, since I used coconut oil instead of palm shortening, and maple syrup instead of brown sugar. I also used real eggs, since we rotate those into our diets now, too. I chose to dip ours in a cane-sugar-free chocolate syrup.  Um, yum. Yes, that’s it, just three letters to sum that up. Yum.

Hope you enjoy :o)

The DONUT.
Dry Ingredients:
2 cups Namaste Perfect Flour Blend GF Flour
3 tablespoons blanched almond flour (I keep this on hand in my freezer)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon real salt

Wet ingredients:
1/3 cup coconut oil, liquid measure
1/3 cup organic grade b maple syrup
2  eggs (or 1 tablespoon Ener-G egg replacer powder mixed with 1/4 cup water for egg-free option)
1/4 cup non-dairy milk (I used organic unsweetened rice milk)
1 small container of grass-fed, organic, plain yogurt (I used Maple Hill Creamery)
1 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla
Preheat oven to 350 degrees

In a large mixing bowl, I whisked together all of my dry ingredients (I just really hate sifting because I always make such a mess, so this is my compromise – using a wire whisk for my dry ingredients.)

In another container, I combined all of my wet ingredients, poured the wet ingredients into the dry mixture, and carefully stirred everything together.

I used a large zip-top bag and cut about a half an inch corner off to pipe out my rings. I eye-balled the piped out rings into about the size of a mini-donut you would find in a hostess package. They do rise a bit in the baking process, so if you want  a hole in the center, which I DID for my cherry “Rudolph nose”, be sure to make your ring large enough for the expansion during baking.

I used my fingertip dipped in a little coconut oil to smooth down the seems and help give a little better crisp during the baking process.

Bake at 350 for 15 minutes.
Cool on a wire rack to room temperature before dipping.  {You could also sprinkle with some cinnamon & coconut sugar at this point and not dip in the chocolate at all}

The CHOCOLATE DIP:
1/4 cup coconut oil
1/4 cup grade b organic maple syrup
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla

Heat the first three ingredients in a small sauce pan just until melted and dippable {oh, sure, that’s a word!))
Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla.

Now, simply dip those donuts, one at a time, into the chocolate mixture and return to the wire rack to dry.

For our Reindeer, we used Tillen Farms Dye-Free Bing Cherries for the Rudolph nose, and two halves of a gluten free pretzel on each for the antlers. Picture of those to come, they are lost for now on my cell phone, which took a plunge in the bath tub just this morning. I will make a new batch of donuts tonight and hopefully recapture the delight, for now, at least I have one!

~Happy donut-making, Canaries.

Honey Caramel Popcorn Balls {Sugar-Free Caramel Corn}

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Oh, sweet Caramel.
Such a beautifully, buttery sweetness, melting on my tongue; oh my caramel, how I do love thee.

On our journey to sugar-free eating, I wondered if I would ever achieve quite the same delight I had always so loved in the flavor of caramel but in a healthier allergy-friendly version. I now wonder no more. This caramel popcorn is so delicious! And it is the perfect recipe as the holiday season commences. Perfect for the Halloween treat-table, or to gift for the holidays.

{dairy-free, sugar-free, additive-free, clean eating ingredients!   mmmm, mmmm, good}
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This caramel is simply made with honey instead of over-processed, highly-refined brown-cane-sugar. I molded mine into these kid-friendly popcorn balls and we so enjoy the treat. From our happy kitchen to yours, we hope you enjoy this recipe as much as we do.

6 cups popped organic non-gmo popcorn
1/3 cup coconut oil
1/2 (generous) cup raw honey
1 1/2 tablespoons blackstrap molasses
1/2 teaspoon real salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda***
1 teaspoon pure vanilla

***If making popcorn balls, OMIT the baking soda and add 1/4 cup of water to the liquid mixture.

Heat in a saucepan over medium-high heat the oil, honey & molasses ***(and 1/4 cup of water if you will be making popcorn BALLS as opposed to just caramel popcorn).

Bring to a boil , then turn heat down to medium and cook for 4-5 minutes without stirring.

Remove heat source and:
OPTION 1 for caramel corn: stir in the salt, baking soda***, and vanilla. The caramel will fluff and rise like a delicious science experiment.
Pour over the popped popcorn and stir to coat the popcorn as evenly as possible. Do this with a bit of finesse, as the caramel will be very hot!  Fold out onto a parchment lined baking sheet.
Bake at 250 for 45 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes

OPTION 2 for Popcorn Balls: stir in the salt and vanilla.
Pour over the popped popcorn and stir to coat the popcorn as evenly as possible. Do this with a bit of finesse, as the caramel will be very hot!
When the caramel corn has cooled enough to be comfortable to handle, form your popcorn balls. Let cool completely ~ if you can keep your hands off of them long enough!

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Apple Cider Gummy Bears

Apple Cider Gummy Bears

2 cups organic Apple Cider
3 Tablespoons Gelatin

Simmer the cider down to 1 cup liquid. Thoroughly mix in your gelatin until there are no more lumps.
Let cool almost to room temperature and pour into molds.  I found these molds here.

Also, see the cherry bears for another flavor option. These are super fun and very yummy! It can also be a fun vessel for vitamins or probiotics. Happy Eating!

* I added extra cinnamon to the cider just for more fall flavor. So yummy!

PUMPKIN PIE ChiaSCAKE

Delcious layers of pumpkin and a cheesecake you don't have to feel guilty about eating.
Delcious layers of pumpkin and a cheesecake you don’t have to feel guilty about eating.

PUMPKIN PIE ChiaSCAKE

Have I mentioned that I LOVE THE FALL ~ well, I haven’t mentioned it yet today, so there it is. Guilty!

My husband would tell you that I have been distracted as of late. My kids would likely say that I have not been a “good listener”. Well, if you could be a fly on the wall of my brain, you would know perfectly well that all this spaciness is due to the pumpkin eclipse that occurs once a year in October!  All I can think about is pumpkin : how crazy we should get with carving, which grocer to grab from, which patch to patron, and mostly, what creative pumpkin concoctions can I come up with in the kitchen?!

This year, I really wanted to test out an idea for a pumpkin cheesecake. Being dairy free, this would be a pumpkin cheesecake without cheese. Yes, you read that right. Many of the dairy-free cheesecake recipes call for vegan cream cheese. This is not my favorite option. I really wanted to find a different way to do a dairy-free cheesecake, one that seemed somewhat healthy and had no artificial ingredients and no cane sugar. So, my creative juices started to flow down a pumpkin path of a freezer cake, a layered freezer cake, and I thought about the creaminess I can get from chia seeds, like with the chia pudding that I sometimes make.  This is what I came up with:


This recipe is done in stages, but it is not difficult, so please don’t let the long explanation scare you off. I suggest reading through the instructions before you begin so that you can plan for each step.

LAYERED PUMPKIN PIE FREEZER ChiaSCAKE

Prior to making your cake/pie, soak 1/2 cup pecans and 1 cup of cashews in the refrigerator (seperately) for two hours. If you can plan ahead, it is easy to simply soak them in the fridge over night.


THE CRUST

{This part is a work in progress. I loved the flavor of this crust, but the consistency was a bit too gooey to me and made the pieces hard to serve, I will revise when I come up with a better solution, but my next try will be more nuts and less dates} :

1/2 cup pecans (or nut of choice), soaked for at least 2 hours and drained
10 medjool dates
1 tablespoon coconut oil

Combine in food processor or blender. Press a thin, even layer into a glass pie pan or a 6-cup pyrex dish (8x6x2)*
Set aside and move on to the PUMPKIN PIE LAYER.

THE PUMPKIN PIE LAYER
1 can of organic pumpkin puree
1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons chia seeds
3/4 cup coconut milk, full fat
1/3 cup organic maple syrup
1 teaspoon pure vanilla
2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
pinch salt
I always opt for the simplest method possible. I combined all the ingredients into my Vitamix and blended until smooth. (You may see some specs from the chia seeds. This is okay)  Spoon the mix over the crust and smooth out with a spatula. Stick in the freezer while you rinse out your blender and move onto your ChiasCAKE LAYER.

THE ChiasCAKE LAYER
1 cup cashews (soaked for at least 2 hours and rinsed)
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/4 cup coconut milk
2 teaspoons pure vanilla
1/4 cup maple syrup
2 tablespoons chia seeds

Combine all the ingredients for the ChiaSCAKE Layer into your Vitamix or blender. Blend, starting on low and moving up to higher speeds, until you reach a thick, creamy consistency. There may be some specs from the chia seeds again. This is okay. Take the dish out of the freezer and add this layer to the top.

Cover and freeze for at least 2 hours.

When ready to serve, take the freezer cake out of the freezer and thaw on the counter for 20-30 minutes, just until it is thawed enough to cut into pieces. Cut and serve.

The first time we tried this, I was not sure how the flavors would go over for the kids (they are 5 and 7). They looked at it skeptically at first, which could always go either way. After the first bite, I could see it written all over their faces. We had a winner, folks! They were soon licking their forks clean and asking {politely, of course} for another piece.  {Music to a momma’s ears.}  2 pieces each for breakfast the next morning and 1 more for an after-dinner-dessert and we managed to polish off this cake in close to a 24 hour period. Not too shabby!  Hope you enjoy it as much as we do.

~Happy Dairy-Free Cheesecake eating ~

Goblin’s Eyeballs

Goblin's Eyeballs

These are an easy crowd pleaser and the kids love them!
Very simple. Gacamole stoffed into a cerry tomato and topped with a sliced black olive.

Pepi-Chia Herb Crackers

When I began on our special diet journey for our suffering then-3 year old, we removed in one fail swoop the triad of typical Standard American Eating : Wheat, Milk & Eggs. This is how my career-in-the-kitchen began.

Molly is our little canary in the kitchen, and we have since learned that her immune-dysfunction provides us with a perpetual game of guessing as to what her immune “soldiers” may be bullying around each day.  We have come an amazingly long way since those days of desperate prescription filling (with no avail). Her rashes were given so many names and so many treatments, but it was not until we removed the underlying cause of inflammation that we began to see big changes; and the bonus changes ~ her neurological issues associated with sensory processing disorder, obsessive compulsion, and Aspberger’s Syndrome actually began to improve.  Behaviors that we were settling in on with a “non-progressive but incurable” diagnosis were actually changing. Hope. Light. and a Passion beyond comparison to share this “Secret” with the world, just in case what worked for us may work for other suffering families.

As we began, I worked hard to mimic the flavors and textures that we were all used to eating. But once you go as far as I had to take out milk and wheat and eggs, and once you understand how calming that inflammation has long-lasting effects, effects that may mean the difference between her having to be put on dangerous drugs with very long lists of side effects, or the difference in her developing cancer in her 50’s or 60’s and her living a long a healthful, vibrant life, those choices don’t seem so difficult at all! Quite the contrary.  I get excited about finding new ways to promote our health through food!!

Since I started, I have been traveling ever-further into healthful choices in our kitchen, subsequently we actually do very limited grains now and have severely  down-sized our consumption of animal proteins.

We eat rices, and some quinoa, and occasionally gluten-free oats (on a 4-day rotation), but every once in a while, I still get that craving for a crunch that a simple nut won’t appease. Today, I was having such a craving.

We are relaxing at home today, football playing for dad, kids enjoying the cooler outdoor weather and making “gluten-free mud pies” and I have put on a pot of chili with beans and zucchini and some chopped greens and stewed tomatoes.  In our past life, I would have eaten my chili on a bed of frito chips and a large handful of cubed colby ~ not today.
We now are dairy-free (processed) and have recently decided to take corn out of the equation as well.  So today, I went into creative mode to come up with a cruchy cracker that fit the bill.

My challenge: No Grain, No Sugar, No Fruit, No Eggs, No Milk Crackers
My solution: Pepi-Chia Herb Cracker
My surprise: Everyone loved them, including our 2 year old grazer.


Pepi-Chia Herb Crackers

1 cup + 1/3 cup raw pepitas (shelled pumpkin seeds)

½ cup non-dairy milk (I like almond or hemp)

2 tablespoons cold-pressed olive oil

2 tablespoons chia seeds

2 tablespoons raw shelled sunflower seeds (or more)

1-2 tablespoons dried parsley

1-2 tablespoons dried rosemary

1 1/2 teaspoon baking soda

½ teaspoon Real Salt (optional)

In your food processor or spice grinder, grind 1 cup of the pepitas into a meal
or course nut flour.

In a medium mixing bowl, dump in your pepita meal and stir in the chia seeds, sunflower
seeds, herbs, baking soda and Real Salt. Now add the non-dairy milk (or you
could use water) and the oil and stir just until combined.

On a parchment lined baking sheet, spread the mixture into one even layer about
1/4 inch thick. Sprinkle the remaining pepitas over top and bake at 325 degrees
for 25-30 minutes. Take out to and cool on baking sheet. Cut or break into desired shapes.