Sunday, February 26, 2012

Fermented Vegetable Juice Day 11-Through-16

Hey everyone, sorry for being so MIA. My health and my life has been crazy lately! But have no fear, the experiment... for the most part, continues on. Due to a few unforeseen issues, I accidently missed 3 days but I've been contemplating going to the doctor over some chronic and excruciating back problems I've had ongoing this passed week or two. In either case, I am still consuming the lovely fermented juices and in the next couple days, something very exciting will happen... I'll get to open another bottle, a different flavor... yay! I am so excited because to be honest, the Beet Juice has a pretty overpowering flavoring and I am starting to get a touch bit bored with it. I'm excited for something along the lines of the Sauerkraut Juice because I am having fantasies of soaking some vegetables in it and having myself a lovely "Pickled" platter, lol. I just ADORE the fermented flavor, even if the undertones of what is fermented may or may not be my very favorite. I think I will truly enjoy getting a new flavor because for a little over two weeks now, it's been Beets, Beets, Beets and while it's been lovely, I'm ready for a little change.
As you can see, Day 11 I missed due to not being able to stand/walk or hardly move from back pain. Day 12 I took it like a shot, perhaps one of the quickest ways to get it in me. Day 13 same as day 11. Day 14 I had a delicious piece of Chicken in some lovely Chicken Broth with lightly sauteed Lettuce and Tomatoes, 1 teaspoon of the Fermented Beet Juice (which is what gives it that amazing color!) and a Tapioca Flour roll on the side, Mmm yummy! Day 15 I had it like a shot, 1 teaspoon of the juice with a tablespoon or two of water and drank it plain. Day 16 (this morning) I had my 1 teaspoon Fermented Beet Juice in a glass of mixed, fresh juiced juice that contained - Pears, Apple, Green Grapes and a Lemon. I strongly suggest if you try this, drink the Beet Juice as a shot and then drink the juice afterwards because the combination kind of reminded me a bit of dirt flavor.

How am I doing? All in all, my constitution is no longer doing so good, perhaps due to the missed doses but I just haven't been well enough or had enough free time to drink my fermented juice. I do part time work for a volunteer magazine and business has been hectic lately. Meetings, manuals, etc. I also have a condition that causes regular intestinal issues and this is probably just part of that. There isn't much to update about but I am very excited to announce the next flavor and give it a try!

Do you have a suggestion for what type of Fermented Juice to open next? Sauerkraut Juice, Red Cabbage Juice, Carrot Juice or Daikon Juice? Feel free to leave your suggestion in the comments below.

Until next time, I wish you Peace, Health and Happiness!

Jill Is Having Another Giveaway!

Hello everyone, I just thought I would let you know that my dear friend Jill over at The Real Food Forager Blog is having another wonderful giveaway and I wanted to share it with you all! She is giving away a book called "This Ain't Normal Folks" by Joel Salatin so be sure to stop by Jill's Blog and check out her Giveaway.

Until next time, I wish you Peace, Health and Happiness!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Self-Layering Pecan Pie Cake

 Okay, I'm going to be honest with you... this actually was not at all what I intended on getting when I made this recipe, it truly was supposed to be Pecan Pie. - However, the result I got is quite lovely and some of best discoveries are made by accident. This is a truly UNIQUE dessert, I have never had anything like it. It's super crispy on the outside with a really heavy moist layer and really light and fluffy layer. To tell you the truth, everything separated into layers on it's own. That is why I call it "Self-Layering" - Pecan Pie Cake.
This is a great image of the layers on the left. The top layer is a crispy nut layer, the layer just below that is a cakey, maple flavored layer, the layer just below that is a heavy, moist, eggy, maple flavored layer and the layer just below that, the bottom layer, is like lightly sweetened pie crust. - I just stumbled on this tonight as I attempted to invent my own Pecan Pie recipe, it turned into this. I have indeed sampled it myself, as well as a few other people and thus far, two thumbs up! It's an incredibly unique, dessert eating experience with the different textured layers and flavors.
Self Layering Pecan Pie Cake:
1 and 1/3 Cups Almond Flour or Meal
2 Tablespoons Melted Butter OR Oil
2 Tablespoons Maple Syrup or Liquid Sweetener

1/4 Cup Melted Butter OR Oil
2/3 Cup Maple Syrup or Syrup of some kind
1/2 Teaspoon Salt
3 Large Eggs
1 and 1/2 Cups Chopped or Ground Pecans/Nuts

Preparation: Begin by heating your over to 350 degrees, Butter or Oil/Grease your Pie Plate. Mix Almond Flour, Butter and Syrup crust mixture and press it into JUST the bottom of the Pie Plate. Bake for 10-12 minutes. (I did 12 minutes)  Then start preparing the filling, in a medium sauce pan, melt 1/4 Cup Butter over Medium-Low heat. Add Syrup and Salt once Butter is melted. In a separate bowl, whisk the 3 Eggs until thoroughly mixed. Pour the Egg mixture into the sauce pan, stirring until well combined. Mix in the nuts and continue to heat for another 1-2 minutes. Remove from heat and once your Pie Crust is done baking, pour the filling mixture into the Pie Plate and bake for another 35-45 minutes until it is fully set and no longer jiggles. (I did 40 minutes) A butter knife inserted in the center should come out clean. Allow to cool slightly, then cut, serve and enjoy!

I am particularly curious about everyones thoughts and comments on this recipe. Does this sound interesting? Does this sound good? (It is good, even if it doesn't sound good) Would you like to try this recipe? Have you tried it and got something to say about it? I'd love to hear from you, just leave your message in the comments below.
- Until next time, I wish you Peace, Health and Happiness!
This Post has been linked to Healthy 2Day Wednesday!

Fermented Vegetable Juice Day 5 - 10

Hello everyone, sorry I have been AWOL for a while but life got really hectic and then I was sick for a while with a head cold and some sort of stomach bug. Either way, I am back and fear not, I've still been doing the Fermented Vegetable Juice Experiments!
So far it's been going great, the burning that usually accompanied consuming it at first... is now gone. I have tried taking it in many ways. Day 5 it was in a Smoothie of Pureed Banana, Orange Juice and Almond Milk. Day 6 it was in a Smoothie of Pureed Banana, Applesauce and Almond Milk. Day 7 it was in a Smoothie of Pureed Banana and Orange Juice. Day 8 I had my Fermented Beet Juice in a Pureed Banana.

I haven't upped my dose due to the being sick and getting caught up in other things, so I'm doing an extra week at 1 teaspoon. Day 9 - I had my Beet Juice mixed in with some Broccoli Chicken Soup, Mmm, Yummy!
On Day 10 - I tried doing a shot of it slightly watered down. That would be the image of the dark reddish fluid, I put the 1 teaspoon Beet Juice in with maybe a tablespoon of water. Not bad.

I haven't yet had my dose today, which will be day 11! I have been alternating taking it mornings, afternoons and nights. Either one seems to work just fine.
Official Report:  I truly and firmly believe that drinking the Fermented Juice was a HUGE part of why I didn't get very sick. Everyone else around me was miserable for days but mine was fairly mild, I only had one truly bad day and then I was pretty much fine. I actually think this is helping and making a difference in my digestion and health. I have even been a lot more productive lately, though you'd never guess that from the fact that it's been about a week since I've posted, lol. I am very sorry about that, it was just really hectic here.

Questions? Comments? Stories?
Please feel free to share with us in the comments, we'd love to hear from you.

Until next time, I wish you Peace, Health and Happiness!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Fermented Vegetable Juice - Day 4

 Today my Fermented Beet Juice was served in a smoothie along side my breakfast. How appropriate that on Valentines Day it would tint my little smoothie such a lovely shade of pink.  -  This smoothie contains one pureed Banana, 1/4 cup Orange Juice, 1/4 cup Pineapple Juice and 1/4 cup Almond Milk with my added 1 teaspoon of Fermented Beet Juice. It was undeniably delicious, I cannot even tell you how much I am loving this stuff. I tasted my smoothie before adding the Fermented Beet Juice and quite frankly, I think it tasted better AFTER I added the Beet Juice. Yum, yum!
Breakfast: Pineapple Chunks, A Banana and
 My YUMMY smoothie!
In all honesty, I thought incorporating this was going to be a lot harder than it actually is. 
While it is still too soon to tell, I think this may be doing my digestive system quite well. The one and only downside I have experienced thus far is the extreme sugar cravings and the hypoglycemia that I had beat... is now back. I am not certain why this is but I attribute it to possible die-off. If the good bacteria is getting in there and kicking the bad bacteria butt, in particular - Yeast, it may be causing them to cry out for sweets in their dying hour. This is of course just a simple hypothesis. Other then that, things are going great in the experiment so far. I certainly think this little endeavor is very promising indeed.                                                                                                                                                      

Any questions or comments? Feel free to post in the comments below. 
Peace, Health and Happiness to all and to all a great day!

Monday, February 13, 2012

Sweet Glazed Pecans

Sweet, buttery and luscious! - These make a delicious snack and happen to be one of my favorite combinations. Sweet Protein. See, I have problems with my blood sugar. So I practice the fine art of trying to make my sweets as protein packed as possible to prevent the spike and crash roller coaster.   - This is like natures popcorn only better because Pecans are so healthy and they make the perfect nut for this job. They are easier to chew, not like the harder nuts that make you feel like you're going to break a tooth AND they are naturally mild in flavor.

Don't forget that Nuts contain anti-nutrients
and it is best if they are soaked prior to eating.

So YumMmmMmmy!!!
Sweet Glazed Pecans:
1/2 Cup Pecans
1 Tablespoon Butter
2 Tablespoons Maple Syrup
 -  Directions :
Place Butter (Or Coconut Oil) in a frying pan and melt, add Maple Syrup and lightly fry the Pecans over medium - high heat for 5-10 minutes.
Be CAREFUL - These WILL be Very HOT! - Allow to cool and get to snacking. These are fantastic with a glass of Almond Milk on the side and they satisfy a sweet tooth in a very healthy, protein filled way.
  -  Enjoy!

Any questions or comments? Have you tried making these? How did they turn out? What did you think? Do you have any additions, suggestions or tips? We're listening. Please feel free to share in the comments below.  - Until next time, Peace, Health and Happiness!

Fermented Vegetable Juice - Day 3

Today's dose of Fermented Beet Juice was served in an interesting way. I initially wanted to have a salad but alas there was no lettuce. So I hard boiled an Egg, I washed, peeled and shredded a Carrot, washed and quartered some Cherry Tomatoes, sliced some Black Olives, diced the Egg White and reserved the Egg Yolk. From there I mashed the Egg Yolk with a teaspoon of Walnut Oil, a teaspoon of the Fermented Beet Juice, some Black Olive Juice, some of the Tomato Juice from cutting the Tomatoes and a splash of Almond Milk, this made a very tangy and tasty "dressing" for my "salad" - All in all it wasn't a bad "salad" and the Fermented Beet Juice really put some tang in my "dressing."

I have noted increased energy with each dose upon first taking the juice and it lasts about an hour. The mild tummy discomfort it caused on Day 1, has not been back since Day 1. Both Day 2 and so far Day 3 have been Gastrointestinally uneventful, lol. Though there is still a mild burning sensation in my stomach and while I cannot say for sure that it is the juice, it did begin the day I started taking it. I assume this is much like the effect Fermented Apple Cider Vinegar has, it too causes a mild burning sensation when ingested. Fear not though, this is a good thing! It's an indication that your body has adequate Hydrochloric Acid for proper food digestion. I thought today we might take a look at what makes Beets SO darn healthy!

Beets are a root vegetable with a plethora of benefits. They have been used for many, many purposes through history and modern times. In the past Beet Leaves were used for binding wounds and Beet Root was used to treat a whole host of ailments. Beets contain a strong color pigment called Betalain that has Antioxidant, Antifungal and Anti-inflammatory properties. It is useful in detoxification and may help support Cancer recovery. The Leafy Green part of Beets is high in many vitamins, including Vitamin K, Vitamin C, Vitamin, Iron, Copper, Potassium, Magnesium, Sulfur, Calcium, Choline and Silica. Though you should be warned that consuming large amounts of Beet Juice or Beets in general, may cause your stool and urine to darken or redden. Beets are quite high in naturally occurring Sugar, so I suggest taking it easy on them, maybe just a few ounces of Beet Juice a week or just a couple servings of Beets per week. 

Of course you may eat them as often and as you see fit, I have read that too much can be not so good. So like anything else, everything in moderation. Beets are especially healthy Raw because Oxalic Acid can become somewhat toxic when cooked. Though if you have eaten cooked Beets for years now, you probably know more than me, so just keep doing what you're doing. These are merely guidelines and some helpful information for folks who may not know a lot about our friend the Beet. Juicing is another wonderful option, especially if you Juice the whole Beet, greens included because the greens contain much of the nutrients in a Beet. Raw Beet and Beet Juice consumption have been show to help with Arthritis, Cancer, Eye Problems, Kidney Stones, Varicose Veins and Cardiovascular health as well. It's also been indicated that Beets and Beet Juice may help with Stomach Acid Production and improve the function of many organs.
- Any questions or comments? Feel free to leave me a message in the comments below. I'd love to hear your stories or input on Probiotics or Fermented Foods.

Until next time, Peace, Health and Happiness!

French Toast Scrambled Eggs

Have you made yourself French Toast and you wondered to  what do with the left over Egg mixture?  - Well the perfect answer to this question is ------------------------
French Toast Scrambled Eggs!
 - It probably sounds a little strange but it is quickly growing to be my favorite breakfast, second only to my Something Cereal which is fantastic for mornings when you're in hurry or want something cold. French Toast Scrambled Eggs are a sweet and protein packed way to start the day, one in which I throughly enjoy.

I am going to be completely honest with you, I regularly go out of my way to make my eggs this way, whether I am making French Toast or not. In the picture above you'll see I made mini French Toast with some thinly sliced, day old Chebe Rolls. However I frequently make these Eggs on their own and sometimes I pour a little Almond Milk over the top which makes a delicious and nutritious, sweet but protein rich warm "Cereal."     - 
It's sweet, cinnamony and oh so tasty. I've made these a lot lately! 
French Toast Scrambled Eggs:
2 Eggs
2 Tablespoons Maple Syrup
1-2 Teaspoons Cinnamon
4 Tablespoons Almond Milk or Other.
--- Whisk ALL ingredients in a bowl until mixed well and pre-heat a skillet to medium-high heat. Melt 1-2 Tablespoons Butter or Oil in the pan and add Egg Mixture and scramble them as you would any scrambled eggs.  -  Serve on a plate alone or in a bowl with milk of your choice, optionally you can drizzle on more maple syrup. Mmm, Mmm Tasty!

If you love French Toast but haven't found any bread substitutes that you like or that fit your diet, you can still enjoy all the flavors, minus the bread... with this recipe. When served in a bowl of milk, it is strikingly similar to a breakfast my Mother made me as a child. She would served cooked rice in a bowl of milk with melted butter, cinnamon and sugar. It brings back wonderful memories of breakfasts gone by. 

Have you got any creative, healthy breakfasts you or your family just love? Please post in the comments and share with us, we'd love to hear them. Or if you have any comments on this recipe, we'd love to hear those too.
 - Until next time, I wish you Peace, Health and Happiness!

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Fermented Vegetable Juice - Day 2

So tasty! So Nutritious! So Red and Green and Festive looking!
 Today I had my one teaspoon of Fermented Beet Juice in soup! -
It was delicious! I was surprised by how that 1 teaspoon really punched up the flavor of this simple Broccoli Chicken Soup. Yes, very simple, because that is a whole piece of chicken in chicken broth with cooked broccoli.

I could so easily see why these Fermented Vegetable Juices would be amazing for flavor boosting and in the case of the Beet Variety, clearly some potent food coloring as well. I am dreaming of all the pink things I could make with this and that is definitely an added bonus because I am not using food coloring at all anymore. I feel it's best to use nutritious things to tint whatever I wanted colored.

How the juice experiment is going...
Well yesterday certainly got things going but I consider that a good thing. : )  - By late last night I was suffering something highly unusual for myself... I have been off refined sugar for around 6 months and I considered myself to be pretty done with the Sugar Demons. However, last night they were back with a vengeance and I could barely stand it. I ate a Banana to try and stave off the sweet cravings but it barely sufficed. Today it occurred to me, as I sat on my couch tweaking for a sugar fix... "Why am I having such bad sugar fits???" - Suddenly it dawned on me, perhaps those little soldiers, those good and friendly bacteria... are killing off some bad guys? Like Yeast, Fungi, etc. and maybe in their dying hour, they crying out for sugar to survive. Since we all know Yeast and naughty bacteria love and thrive on sugar in it's many forms. That got me to thinking, this is probably some sort of die off effect that I am experiencing. Which leads me to a conundrum, do I feed the sugar cravings somewhat safely with Maple Syrup and Fruit... or do I deny the heck out of these sensations and risk feeling like crud but maybe eventually coming out the other side feeling better?

Now todays dose did not "get things going" - so to speak and I feel my body acclimating and giving into the sugar cravings is certainly making this easier. I think resisting might be the better road though but for now I have too many things going on and I need to be able to function properly.

That's all for now, tune in tomorrow for more "Adventures In Fermented Juice!"

Any comments? Feel free to share.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Fermented Vegetable Juice - Day 1

Hello and welcome to Day 1 of my little experiment. Honestly I couldn't be more surprised by the initial results and believe it or not... there ARE initial and immediate results. Today I decided I would consume my 1 teaspoon of Fermented Vegetable Juice in some Raw, Fresh Juiced Juice. I selected 1 pound of beautiful, Organic Carrots, washed and prepared them accordingly. I then chose 3 gorgeous, Organic Apples and washed and quartered them as per the instructions of my Juice Extractor. My whole family of four decided to join in on this so I divided the Carrot Apple Juice into fourths between us all.

I added 1 teaspoon of the Fermented Beet Juice to each glass and I added some Almond Milk to mine.
I have to admit that I was weary of the flavor of the Fermented Beet Juice but it actually tasted pretty good even by itself. The mixture I concocted was a creamy, dreamy, delicious and refreshing beverage that I thoroughly enjoyed. On top of that, it was healthy, how can you beat that? The most shocking part of all is within 15 minutes of beginning drinking the Juice Mixture, I felt an almost immediate surge in energy and alertness. I was much more aware after drinking it than before drinking it. I truly felt energized and revitalized and that feeling is still with me.

Maybe all those Probiotic Soldiers went in there and got started doing their jobs right away or perhaps it was the Fresh, Raw Juice... or a combination of all of the above. In either case, day 1 is considered a smashing success and I cannot wait to see what other benefits I will experience after a few days or after a week or more. I would be very thrilled to have less stomach problems and to digest my food better. Considering how much you health goes hand in hand with digestion, no wonder it's so important! Tune in tomorrow for another brief update of how it is going, how I consumed it and how it went.

 Have you got any experiences with Fermented Vegetables or Fermented Juices? Feel free to share in the comments below. What about Juicing? Do you Juice? Feel free to share you experiences and knowledge in the comments below. If you have any questions, I'd be happy to answer them.  - 
Until next time, I wish you all Peace, Health and Happiness!

Disclaimer:  There is no scientific proof or evidence in this experiment and results may vary.

Update: I see what they meant when I read that "Fermented Juices" are good for the constitution. I typically have a great deal of problems with constipation but about forty-five minutes to an hour later, this concoction, whether it be the tiny amount of Apple Juice or the Fermented Vegetable Juice, certainly got things moving. I will say there was a small amount of discomfort that was quickly remedied but it definitely shows this is indeed doing things.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Fermented Vegetable Juice and Juicing

                                                       Isn't it a beautiful sight to see all those little Organic Labels?

I am so pleased to tell you all that this past week I had the wonderful opportunity of participating in a Fermented Vegetable Juice Giveaway hosted by Jill of the Real Food Forager Blog and I won! The giveaway featured a wonderful product called Caldwell's Organic, Raw, Cultured Vegetable Juices. I cannot even begin to explain how prompt the delivery was, I am very impressed by this companies fast shipping. It arrived in a nice styrofoam cooler with dry ice packs all around the Juice, so it was already ice cold and ready to sample!

If you are interested in reading more about the benefits of Fermented Cabbage Juice, Jill at the Real Food Forager Blog put together two beautifully detailed and well researched posts called 6 Reasons To Drink Fermented Cabbage Juice. And 8 Reasons To Add Probiotic Food To Your Diet, I found them to be very informative and I learned a lot, it's definitely worth checking them out. Definitely look into her article The Autoimmune Crisis: What To Do About It because it is very eye opening and talks about the connection between gut health and autoimmune disorders. After doing research about the benefits of Fermented Vegetables and Fermented Vegetable Juices, I am excited to incorporate these into my diet. Not only to try them and enjoy their flavors but to see if I might benefit from consuming them regularly.

My prize was a variety pack that contained five, 8oz bottles of Fermented Vegetable Juices, including Beet Juice, Daikon Juice, Carrot Juice, Sauerkraut Juice and Red Cabbage Juice. Freezing these juices is perfectly safe, so I intend on freezing four of my five flavors because it is very important to start introducing Fermented, Probiotic Rich Foods and Beverages very slowly to avoid stomach upset. I am going to look at this as somewhat of an experiment, I'll be starting out with 1 teaspoon of the Fermented Juice in a glass of Raw, Fresh Juiced Juice OR perhaps as a dressing or condiment or just added to my food once cooled, on a daily basis. I'll increase to 2 teaspoons after the first week and move up from there until I reach a daily dose of 2 tablespoons of Fermented Vegetable Juice a day.

I will then report back any changes or benefits that I note and write progress report entries for my blog so you all can read and experience it along with me. I have a multitude of stomach problems and I anxiously await the prospect of this potentially easing some of those issues. I'll be starting tomorrow, Saturday, February 11th - 2012. Coincidentally this will also be the inaugural, maiden usage of my brand new Juice Extractor, so that is also exciting. Anyway, I hope you will all join me on this journey and hopefully we will all learn something and benefit as we go.

Are you interested in purchasing some of these juices for yourself? Then I have great news for you, thanks to Jill, anyone interested in purchasing these juices can get a 10% off discount coupon and place an order simply by clicking this link for Caldwell's Raw, Cultured Vegetable Products!  Please note: This offer is valid until March 3, 2012 for orders over $50. Shipping is free to mainland USA.

Also, don't forget to stop and see my friend Jill, she has a wealth of knowledge available to read on her blog.
And feel free to leave me a comment, ask questions or share your experiences with Fermented Foods and Beverages in the comments below.

Disclaimer: I am NOT receiving any kick-backs, promotions or money for you clicking the links in this article.

Grain Free Tortillas/Crepes

Hello one and all, after doing some experimenting and long missing the wonders of burritos, my family came up with this recipe. These work well as Tortillas or Crepes and I am sure you could do many, many things with them. Simply by adding/removing or changing up seasonings, you could completely alter the way you use them. For instance, a little cumin and other seasonings would make this a perfect Tortilla for Burritos. If you were to add a little sweetener, cinnamon and other seasonings instead you could easily use this to serve cut fruit with a creamy dressing or topping like Cream Cheese or Custard or a Nut Butter.

Grain Free Tortillas/Crepes
(makes about 6 - 8 crepes)

1 Cup Tapioca Flour
1 Cup Water, Milk or Milk Substitute (or combination)
2-3 Tablespoons Coconut Flour
1 Egg
Optional Seasonings
For Tacos/Burritos - 
1/8 Teaspoon Onion Powder, 1/8 Teaspoon 
Garlic Powder, 1/4 Teaspoon Ground Cumin, 
a dash of Salt and a sprinkling of Italian Seasoning.
For a sweeter version - 

1/8 Teaspoon Nutmeg, 1/4 Teaspoon Cinnamon 
and 1 Teaspoon Granulated Sweetener like 
Maple Sugar.

Put all the ingredients in a bowl and mix well. Heat a frying pan on medium heat and melt a small bit Butter or Coconut Oil for in the pan. Use Measuring Cup or Soup Ladle to scoop out some batter. Remember, this batter will be VERY runny, like really thin Pancake Batter. Pour it into the pan to coat a thin layer or whatever desired thickness in the bottom of the pan and fry until golden brown, 3-5 minutes per side. You will know when they are not cooked enough as they will be very difficult to scoop and flip. If you are having a hard time with this, you may not be cooking on the first side long enough.
I am sure you can do so many things with this recipe and I would love to hear what some of you try, please post in the comments and share.

Update: I recently made a Coconut Free, Dairy Free Sweet Version of these.

1 Cup Tapioca Flour
1 Cup Water
6 Tablespoons Almond Flour
1 Egg
1-2 Tablespoon Maple Syrup
Instructions are the same as above.
And they were FANTASTIC! I served them with a variety of things, for instance one was served with Cream Cheese and Cherries for my Brother who is NOT Dairy Free. Another was served spread with Creamy, Sweetened Pecan Butter and I loved it! The Creamy Sweetened Pecan Butter was made by tossing my Sweet Glazed Pecans into a food processor and processing for about 5-10 minutes. However this morning I had one filled with my French Toast Scrambled Eggs and it was a fantastic breakfast.
This post is linked to Healthy 2Day Wednesday.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Something Cookies and Cereal!

Yeah, that is kind of strange title for Cookies and Cereal isn't it? I'll tell you why I chose that name. Right after I made these cookie for the first time, I thought to myself... "Wow, that tastes just like something I used to eat before I changed to a real food diet!" - They are of course very addicting because they remind me so much of something I once loved but what was that something? I never figured it out. Even more interesting is how everyone who tasted them said a similar thing. They all said "Man, this tastes like something! but what?..."  - some had ideas or eventually figured it out but they were all different. One person said "It tastes just like a waffle cone!" and another replied "No, it tastes exactly like Cowtails!" (Those cylindrical carmel, cream filled chewy, candy sticks. Not an actual cow tail, lol.)

These cookies are super addictive and I usually end up eating half of them before I am even done baking them all. They are a thin cookie but they have a nice slightly crisp on the outside, chewy on the inside texture. I always bake these on parchment paper though because stick pretty bad, especially if you prefer to make them chewier, rather than crispier because they come off quite easily when cooked crisp but half of them tends to stay on the pan if you go for chewy. Or maybe that is just because I am always pulling them off while still warm and eating them long before they are ready, lol I am not sure. Either way, these taste great and are simply amazing and who here that has gone grain free doesn't miss cereal? ACTUAL cereal with a nice crisp texture that you toss into milk or milk substitute and eat freely? I know I have missed cereal desperately.

But now that I have experimented with my Something Cookies recipe, I have also discovered Something Cereal and it is fabulous in a bowl of Almond Milk. It's crispy, it's satisfying, it's sweet but nourishing, it's the perfect balance. I just make up a batch of Something Cereal, bake it and store in an air-tight container. Then for the next few days I can eat cereal and Almond Milk and be happy as a clam for breakfast. Well I suppose I should get to sharing the recipe, now shouldn't I?

Something Cereal before being baked.

"Something" Cookies:
We call these "Something" Cookies because everytime someone take a bite of one of these cookies for the first time they always say "This tastes just like something!" and my family has been back and forth about what they may or may not taste like but one thing is for sure, they taste absolutely amazing! and they remind
everyone of "Something"

1 cup Almond Flour
1/4 Teaspoon Baking Soda
1/4 Teaspoon Sea Salt
1/2 cup Maple Syrup
1 Egg OR Flax/Chia Gel if you are allergic to Eggs, though I haven't tried this, it should work.

Just throw all these ingredients into a single bowl and mix with a wooden spoon, couldn't be simpler. After it is all stirred together, you will see this is an incredibly runny cookie dough. That's okay, because you can just take a spoon or measuring spoon and spoon some out onto parchment paper lined baking pans. You may or may not want to butter or grease the parchment paper, I never do but it can stick if you don't. Smaller amounts are better because this will spread. I usually do about 1/4 of a tablespoon size cookies. Bake at 350 degrees for 10-15 minutes. I know that is quite a discrepancy but it depends on how crisp you want them. I usually do 12 minutes for my cookies.

***NOTES:  The longer you bake, the more crisp they will be. The less time you bake them, the harder they will be to remove from the parchment paper. Always allow to cool for several minutes before trying to remove them. The center of cookies that are baked less will be almost caramel like. The less you bake them, the chewier they will be when they are cooled. The longer you bake them, the crispier they will be when cooled and the easier they will be to remove from the pan after cooling. These cookies come out quite thin but they make up for it in flavor.
****TIPS: These would make great sandwich cookies if you put frosting in the middle OR they would be excellent Grain Free/Gluten Free ice cream sandwich cookies. 

*    "Something" Cereal:
Follow the same recipe as above only put tiny drops of batter, the size you desire. I aimed for about Pea sized drops and after baking they became Dime/Nickel sized cookie bites. Bake at 350 degrees for 5-10 minutes depending on taste, you really do want these crisp, so try to let them bake until thoroughly cooked crisp. When cooked crisp they slide right off the parchment paper, even without buttering or greasing the
paper. Then store in a ziplock bag or air tight container and use as cereal, in a bowl of whatever milk or milk alternative that you want. Or you could use them as bite size cookies, snacks, trail mix addition or put them on top of ice creams, custards, etc. These are great in Almond Milk!

Until next time, Happy, Healthy baking to all!

Anyone tried making these? How did they turn out? Any suggestions for what else could be done with these? Or do you have a Grain Free Cereal recipe? Feel free to share in the comments below.

I participated in the Healthy 2Day Wednesday Link-Up! and the Monday Mania Blog Carnival!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Waking Up - Part I

Okay, some might wonder why I chose this title but I have very good reasons for choosing it. Those of you who are confused as to what this post is about, it's about making the switch from the SAD - Standard American Diet - to REAL food. This series will just be periodical updates into how I am doing with my new way of eating and how it evolves over time. The reason I chose the title "Waking Up - Part I" is because when I first switched over, I felt awake for the first time in years. Now sadly the amazing way I felt at first is barely there anymore but I am always trying to make improvements. At first I was eating ALL organic, hormone/antibiotic free, grass-fed beef, vegetables and almost nothing but Beef and Vegetables. It was pretty incredible. Having grains gone for the first time in my life was really invigorating, I felt awake, alert, less fatigued, slept less, my chronic nausea went away, my foggy head got clearer, I just felt better, so much better. I had almost no stomach aches, less mood swings, happier in general, lighter, brighter and much healthier feeling.

Unfortunately a few of those things are back now but I blame my diet. I had cut out Chicken in the beginning for a reason, I feel I might be sensitive or intolerant to it and now I am eating Chicken again. So that could easily be causing problems. The Beef I am eating is now sadly conventional Beef and that is due to being impossibly poor and broke right now. I keep telling myself... when I get the money, I will do this and that and this... well that day will come, just not yet. I want to go completely organic/grass-fed/pastured as soon as I am able. Another change, I included Coconut Oil and Coconut Flour into my diet and these were wonderful, they gave me more energy and had me regular within a week or two... but then it hit, the part I don't like. The part where what I am doing either stops working OR... at least appears to make me sicker? Say what?! Yes, that is why I keep changing my diet, because I'll be doing well and then all of a sudden, not well at all. I have severe digestive issues and now the mere act of eating 3 cookies made partially with Coconut Flour causes me severe and excruciating stomach cramps.

Over all, I am more awake, more alert, less depressed and my stomach issues have improved but all of this is not to my satisfaction. My goal is to completely fix my stomach problems, be able to put on some weight, have the kind of energy I did in the beginning and somehow get to the point where I feel like I know what is best for me. See, this is a very individual journey, we all have sensitivities, allergies and intolerances to different things, we all have different tastes, likes and dislikes. So my diet of NO Grains, NO Dairy (except Butter,) NO Soy, NO Corn, NO Caffeine, NO Chocolate and NO Fast Food/Process Food, Pre-packaged, boxed, bagged or wrapped food and junk food of any kind. Is definitely not the ideal diet for everyone, heck... I am not even sure it's the ideal diet for me yet because I am not as well as I want to be. I am still always making adjustments to my diet and I have goals of where I want to be and how I want to be eating in the future. This will chronicle my adventures into Real Food and hopefully help inspire others to do the same.

I started this way of eating roughly in October of 2011 and so at this time, it has been about four months. Let me assure you, it is not hard at all. Do I still miss things like Oatmeal Cream Pies? Pasta? Candy Bars? and Chips? - Sure I do, just ever so slightly. However I am finding great and creative ways of making Real Food somehow mimic that naughty stuff I wont eat anymore. I can make my own potato chips and they are just as good, I just substitute for things that fit this way of eating and keep me from feeling deprived. Now I do not have will-power of steel but it has been four months since I've eaten chocolate, over two years since I've drank soda and going on three years without ice-cream and milk. It has taken a while to phase dairy out but the first things to go were milk, ice-cream yogurt, cottage cheese, cream cheese, then almost a year later processed slices and all cheese in general. Up next to go... Butter. And then I will be completely Dairy Free. Of course this is only because I am lactose intolerant, anyone who tolerates dairy well would be fine simply switching over to healthier forms of dairy, like organic, grass-fed, pastured, etc.

Yes I miss Oatmeal and Grains in general but I feel like grain free is way for me to go. I am skipping out on ALL Corn and Soy because most of it is GMO and that is very bad. All in all, four months is not long enough to put into something to see how well it will work, after all, I ate Fast Food every day for the previous six months and nasty SAD food all my life prior. This is going to take some time to undo all the bad that has been done. I need to replenish the good bacteria and enzymes in my stomach, I need to always do my best to avoid and eliminate toxins from my life. This is still a work in progress and you all can join me on my journey, I'll keep you up to date periodically so if you enjoyed this entry be sure to keep your eyes peeled for "Waking Up - Part II"

Have you made the switch? Thinking about making the switch? Any thoughts about switching at all? Feel free to comment and let us see what you have to say about it.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Apple Cinna-Mini Muffins

Don't let the picture fool you, these are absolutely delicious! Even my junk food junkie, conventional food eating friends like them. A.K.A. People who eat wheat, grains, gluten, refined sugar and junk food in general. Now that is saying something. I just created this recipe tonight and after eating four of them, I decided it was definitely time to post these little babies. There isn't much rise to the batter so you can feel free to fill to the top of the muffin pans but aside from that, they are simply scrumptious! Very easy to throw together, as I mentioned earlier, I didn't even use a recipe, I just wrote everything down as I added it to the bowl. They have a very lovely, lightly crispy exterior and a soft, moist interior. Wonderful flavor and great for fixing a sweet craving. I could see these being a fabulous breakfast, snack or dessert. They might be muffins but they are not your typical bland and somewhat flavorless muffins, they almost count as cupcakes considering how tasty and satisfying they are.

Apple Cinna-Mini Muffins

1/4 Cup Tapioca Flour - (I REALLY love this stuff!)
2/3 Cup Almond Meal (You could use Almond Flour here too if it's all you've got.)
4 Tablespoons Almond Flour
3/4 Teaspoon Baking Soda
1/4 Teaspoon Salt
1 Teaspoon Cinnamon
1/4 Teaspoon Nutmeg
1/8 Cup Maple Sugar OR other Granulated Sweetener Equivalent
4 Tablespoons Applesauce
1/4 Cup Maple Syrup OR Honey, Agave or Other Similar Liquid/Syrup Sweetener.
2 Tablespoons Melted Butter - Or Oil if you are doing Dairy Free.
1/2 Teaspoon Molasses
2 Eggs OR - Flax or Chia Eggs if doing Egg Free, I have not tested how well this works though.
1 Apple, Peeled, Cored and Finely Diced

Place Tapioca Flour, Almond Meal, Almond Flour, Baking Soda, Salt, Cinnamon, Nutmeg and Maple Sugar in a bowl, mixing well. Add Applesauce, Maple Syrup, Melted Butter, Molasses and Eggs, stirring until well combined. Mix in Finely Diced Apple and spoon into a Mini Muffin Pan. I did not grease, oil or butter my pans and they did not stick bad at all but you may still want to grease, oil or butter your pans for easy release. Bake at 325 degrees for 18-23 minutes. Mine took exactly 20 minutes to perfection but every oven is different. You could probably do these as full size muffins or even bread but I do not have the baking times or temps for those. Makes approximately 2-1/2 to 3 dozen Mini Muffins.

Be warned though, if you make these... they go really quickly.  Yum!
- Also on a side note, if you don't care for fairly sweet things, you may want to cut back on the sweetener in this recipe. I really wanted something sweet since I spent over an hour staring at bakery, snack cakes and sweets in the grocery store, so I made them nice and sweet. However if you opt for a less sweet version, just cut the Maple Sugar/Granulated Sweetener out, it wont change the consistency at all. If you want it even less sweet than that, replace some of the Maple Syrup with equal amounts Applesauce to keep the moisture ratio and consistency the same.

This picture seriously doesn't do it justice, they are much cuter in person. My apologies, I have to learn how to use Macro on my Digital Camera so I can get clearer, up-close shots. Bear with me folks.

Until then, have fun and - Happy, Healthy Baking!
Baked anything delicious lately? Comment and share with us! 
Have you tried baking these? Did you alter the recipe or bake them exactly? How did they turn out?

Monday, January 30, 2012

Natural Hygiene Part I

As we all know, so many personal care products these days have chemicals and other unappealing things added to them. Antiperspirants contain Aluminum which is linked to Cancer and Alzheimer's. One of the biggest problems with antiperspirants is that they clog your pores and literally hinder your ability to sweat. Now I know what you might be thinking... "Makes it so you cannot sweat, isn't that a good thing?" - No, this is a bad thing. Your body needs to sweat, your body was created to sweat, sweating is one of the ways your body detoxifies itself and it is also a built in mechanism to help prevent over-heating. Mother Nature ALWAYS has it right, only humans try to defy Mother Nature... but we were created and built a certain way, these are things that help us, whether we like them or not. I love my body enough to not try and suppress what comes naturally to it. Smelling like a human is how we all came to exist. Without a potential mates ability to smell you, there would have been no way you'd get "lucky" back in the caveman days. Body aroma... Yes, Aroma, NOT odor! Is what allows us to smell natural pheromones, you know... those things that attract people to us.

I hate when people around me smell like an aisle in the store rather than a human being. I do not use deodorant, antiperspirant, perfume, cologne, body spray, spritz or other similar Toxic Fume Fumigation products. I also do not use conventional lotion, soap, shampoo, conditioner, toothpaste, etc.

Now one might think, "Oh wow, this girl must really smell...."  - Not so, I use natural and non-toxic alternatives. I think I smell just fine and have never received any complaints from those near or far or otherwise. As a matter of a fact, I believe the "Odor" we know and associate negatively these days, just might be caused by the use of all these products. I have been almost Deodorant/Antiperspirant Free for a few years now, using it only occasionally, like 3-6 times a year. Now I am completely rid of it and all that much happier for the wise decision to love myself and care for my body. I think using deodorant/antiperspirants make you have body odor or make you stink quite honestly. As I haven't had a problem since I cut it out of my life. I also believe Shampoo and Conditioner strips your hair and causes it to actually produce more oil to compensate for the excessive and extreme stripping it is subject to.

Products like Toothpaste typically contain Silica and it forms a coating over your teeth, this coating is said to "protect" your teeth but in fact it does more damage in the long run by not allowing the minerals and enzymes in your saliva to remineralize your teeth. Yes, I said it... Remineralize your teeth, because they can and do when people allow them. Teeth, like bones, can heal to an extent but like most modern day money hungry businesses, they want and need you to depend on their products, their services, etc. to make them more money. However there are natural and alternative products available that are better for you than conventional ones and on top of that, there are at home alternatives that work quite lovely if I do say so myself. I'll give a few examples and uses of such alternatives.

Baking Soda
This can be used for everything from cleaning your house to cleaning yourself. Once monthly I give my teeth a good brushing with plain warm water and Baking Soda, it's like just leaving the dentist clean, I love it! I don't do it too often though because while it's great for removing hard to clean plaque, it can be too harsh to use more than every few days for some folks. Simply wet your Toothbrush with warm water and dip it in a bit of Baking Soda, pretty much nothing removes plaque build up like this method. Brush your teeth as you normally would and as with all brushing, keep it to under 2 minutes. There may be a slight stinging/warm sensation but this goes away a few minutes after you rinse thoroughly. I also wash my hair with it once monthly for a super, thorough cleansing. Simply wet your hair and pour a handful of Baking Soda in your hand, rub it around and through your hair, washing as you normally would, it will feel gritty but just keep washing. After a minute or two, rinse thoroughly. This may make your hair slightly frizzy as it's a pretty good stripping and without all the toxic chemicals like shampoo has, I think a good stripping once monthly is beneficial. I have also heard of many people using Baking Soda as an underarm dust, just patting it under their arms dry to absorb the sweat. This can be irritating to some with sensitive skin though and you should limit this to only a few times a week if possible. These are just a few of the things you can do with Baking Soda, as we all know it is an amazing cleanser and deodorizer as well.

Unrefined, Extra Virgin Coconut Oil
Another INVALUABLE item that I always keep plenty of on hand. It is so versatile you can do a dozen things with it as well. Aside from being one of the healthiest high-heat cooking oils, a healthy source of good fats and a delicious compliment to warm beverages. It also makes one of the creamiest, silkiest, all-natural, non-toxic Lotions you've ever tried. Simply dip a dab from the jar and apply to your skin, rub it in, it will melt from your body heat and a little goes a LONG way. It makes a great Conditioner for hair as this is how all the in-the-know Island Girls girls keep their manes so sleek and chic. Just take a tiny bit in your hands, let it melt, rub your hands together and then run your hands through your hair, no need to rinse. This is very nourishing and soothing for your luscious locks and again, a little goes a LONG way. Be warned, if you overdo it you may have to rewash your hair because it might look too oily. Another awesome use for Coconut Oil is as Toothpaste, you could probably mix a drop or two of mint, peppermint or spearmint essential oils in it if you want it to leave you minty fresh, simply warm slightly, add oils, mix thoroughly and store in an airtight jar for use. OR you could use it plain, nothing else added. Just put a small amount on your toothbrush, similar to the amount of toothpaste you like and brush as you normally would. Unrefined, Virgin Coconut Oil is great for Toothpaste because it possesses amazing Antifungal, Antiviral and Antibacterial properties in it. It also leaves your teeth feeling silky clean! Because of that fact, it is great to rinse your mouth with if you have Thrush, it's also Natures most perfect, medicated ointment for Fungal/Yeast related rashes. A little massaged into your nails daily is what hand models swear by. Many people just spread a tiny bit of this under their arms for deodorant and say it works well, I have yet to try this though, so I cannot comment. It has about a million uses, this really just touches on the endless topic of Coconut Oils awesomeness!

Apple Cider Vinegar (Organic preferably)
This make a great additive to baths as it really helps to naturally exfoliate your skin. It does wonders for cleaning and cuts grease like you wouldn't believe... but I use it mostly for hygiene. It works well as a very watery conditioner, simply add a tablespoon or two to a container and water it down, quite heavily. Pour it into your hair, let sit and soak for a minute or two and then rinse thoroughly. I've done this many times and it does leave your hair silky and healthy looking. Though the initial odor of vinegar is a bit hard for me personally to stomach. I prefer adding it to baths as I love the way my skin feels when I get out after that. This is also great to gargle with when you feel a sore throat coming on, just put a swig into your mouth and gargle as usual. It helps to kill the bacteria in your throat and stave off viruses, though it does taste quite powerful, it's worth it. Along the same lines, it makes great mouth wash for the same reasons, it really gets in between those teeth and helps to kill bacteria and germs. However you may want to do this and then brush your teeth with some Coconut Oil, with or without added Essential Oils, as this will prevent Apple Cider Vinegar from being the last thing you taste in your oral routine. The reason I advocate these things is because Mouthwash has a whole host of ingredients in it, read them sometime and then do yourself a favor and look into what those ingredients are and can do to you.

Castile Soap
There is some wonderful, all natural Castile Soaps out there, read ingredient labels and find one that suits you and your family. I personally use Castile Soap for most of my washing needs, I wash my hands with it, my hair with it, my body with it. Some people even brush their teeth with it, though I have never tried that so I really couldn't say what it is like. I can tell you that a teaspoon or two of liquid Castile Soap added to a Foaming Soap Dispenser 3/4's of the way full of water makes excellent all-natural, non-toxic foaming hand soap. You could follow a similar method for foaming body wash or foaming shampoo. I currently use a Castile Soap Bar to wash my hair, the lather in it is even far superior to the lather of what comes out of the foaming soap dispenser. Your hair will feel "gluey" after this, you can rinse with Apple Cider Vinegar as mentioned above or you could skip that. If you skip that, your hair may take unusually longer than average to dry, I personally blow dry my hair right after washing and skip the Vinegar when I am going out. It feels nasty but after blow drying it, it looks beautiful and shiny and clean and light and feathery, not frizzy or fly-away, just fantastic.

Other people dust their underarms with Corn Starch or Arrowroot Powder but be warned, if you are prone to problems with Yeast Infections, especially of the skin, Corn Starch can make this problem much worse. Experiment, find things that work for you. Just reach out, look and learn all you can.

Do you have any Natural Hygiene Tips to share? Feel free to post them in the comments section, I'm sure we'd all love to hear them.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Dressing Anyone?

Okay, so I know I said I rarely exit the realm of dessert but when I came up with this recipe, I really felt the need to share. I made it for my family and I for the first time yesterday and it was AWESOME!!! So I will call this "Awesome Dressing" and it has many universal uses. This dressing is sadly not for anyone with an egg allergy, sensitivity, intolerance or egg free diet for any other reason as it contains Egg Yolk. Now if your problem is only with egg white, you could probably still partake of this seriously amazing sauce. It came to me one day while eating hard boiled eggs after a failed attempt to make Mustard. News flash.... Ground Mustard Powder and Water to make a paste of Mustard consistency is NOT for the faint of heart. However my Dressing/Sauce is universal, very customizable and delicious as all get out, so it can be enjoyed by many people. It doesn't take long to prepare, it's simple and it is versatile enough to be used in a multitude of ways.

This picture doesn't display it's deliciousness as well as I'd like but it gives you an idea of what it looks like.
Awesome Dressing:

5 Hard Boiled Eggs
5 Tablespoons Water
3 Tablespoons Walnut Oil or Oil of choice but this may change the end texture if you use a solid oil.
1/4 Teaspoon Sea Salt
1/8 Teaspoons Garlic Powder
1/8 Teaspoon Onion Powder
1/8 Teaspoon Ground Mustard

Hard boil 5 very large Eggs, Jumbo if possible or maybe 7 Large Eggs. Let cool but do not allow to sit any longer than 1 hour or they will get rubbery. Remove shells and slice the Egg Whites open to remove the Egg Yolks. Reserve the cooked whites for snacking or whatever other use you can think of, I'll suggest one towards the end of this. Place the Egg Yolks in a shallow bowl and mash them with a fork, add 3 Tablespoons of Water, mixing until creamy. Put in all the seasonings and mix thoroughly. Vigorously mix in the walnut oil and then add the remaining 2 Tablespoons water and mix until well combined. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Notes and Suggestions:
If you cannot think of anything to do with the Egg Whites or you just really miss Egg Salad, you could easily chop the Egg Whites and mix with just enough Sauce to make Dairy Free, Mayo Free, Non-Processed, Healthy Egg Salad! You could also leave out 3 Tablespoons Water and 2 Tablespoons Oil and you'd wind up with a thicker result that you could fill the Egg Whites with, like "Deviled Eggs" without Mayo. This Dressing as is goes great over Salads, Braised Romaine Hearts or other greens. If you left out 2 Tablespoons Water and 2 Tablespoons Oil, it might make a lovely Dip for chips or crackers. You can use the dressing as is for a mayo replacement on sandwiches or rolls among many other things. With a little tweaking this could easily be turned into a simple "Hollandaise Like Sauce" - You can also feel free to change up the seasonings and spices to customize this to suit any taste or occasion, it can be made a million ways and I bet tons of them are yummy!

If you make this recipe, please feel free to comment and let me know how it turned out and/or what adjustments you made to it.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Fruit Roll Cookie Fun

This is perhaps one of my favorites and the most exciting by far. GIANT Newton Cookies? How could that be anything but awesome. They are delicious and versatile, I bet they could be made a million ways. I just discovered this wonderful cookie dough last night through experimentation and I love it. I am going to call the cookie dough "Anything And Everything Cookies" because so many things can be done with this dough. Just in this single batch, I made these Giant Fruit Filled Roll Cookies and a batch of Over-Stuffed Thumb-Print Cookies. I had no problems rolling this dough out, no problems with this dough sticking and that is usually one of the biggest pitfalls of wheat/grain/gluten free baking.

Not only that but they have got a great texture once baked. Let me try to describe it, in the Fruit Filled Roll Cookies the texture is soft, very, very similar to a newton cookie. It holds up well as long as you aren't squishing or being otherwise rough with the Fruit Filled Roll Cookies, in other words, a toddler might have this squished all over them but an older child or adult could easily and fairly mess free, hold these in their hands and enjoy bite after bite of their deliciousness. The texture of the same dough baked into Thumb-Print Cookies is sturdy yet soft, it melts in your mouth and both versions offer a very satisfying bite. At the end of this I will include a picture of the Thumb-Print Version as well as some notes, ideas and suggestions for anyone interested in trying to make these. Now... what you've all been waiting for.... the recipe!

Fruit Filled Roll Cookies:
Prepare dough and filling or filling of choice.

Anything And Everything Cookie Dough:
3/4 Cup Tapioca Flour
1/2 Cup Coconut Flour
1/4 Cup Almond Flour
1/2 Teaspoon Baking Soda
1/4 Teaspoon Sea Salt
1/2 Cup Maple Syrup OR Honey, Agave OR other similar Syrup of choice.
1/8 Teaspoon Molasses
1/4 Cup Melted Butter OR Butter Substitute OR Oil of choice if doing Dairy Free.
2 Eggs OR Flax/Chia Eggs if doing Egg Free

In a medium to large bowl, add Tapioca Flour, sift in the Coconut Flour and Baking Soda. Add Almond Flour, Sea Salt and mix dry ingredients thoroughly. In a medium bowl whisk the Syrup, Molasses, Butter and Eggs until well combined and almost completely uniform in color. Pour wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and stir together with a wooden spoon. The dough should begin to form a ball, mix well and fold dough into itself a couple times. Refrigerate the dough for 2 to 24, I left mine in the fridge for about 12 hours before I began making my cookies.

Raisin Date Filling:
1/2 Cup Raisins
4-8 Dates, Pitted
1-3 Tablespoons Water

Place Raisins and Dates in the food processor, process until chunky. Add Water, 1 Tablespoon at a time, pureeing and checking consistency in between each addition because you want it to be somewhat paste-like or jam-like.

Preparing Fruit Filled Roll Cookies:
After dough is chilled thoroughly, remove from fridge and place between two sheets of parchment paper. With a rolling pin, roll dough out to about 1/8th inch thick and remove top layer of parchment paper. Cut trim edges to make a oblong rectangle of whatever size you wish. Also, just because mine were giant doesn't mean you couldn't divide the dough in half to make ones more newton size if you wish. Whatever size you decide, just have it rolled out about 1/8th inch thick, trim the edges but make it twice as wide as you want your cookie. Spread the filling or whatever filling you use on half of the sheet of cookie dough, leaving about a 1/4-1/2 inch naked edge to seal them shut with. Once filling is spread, using the parchment paper to help you, fold one half over the other, I suggest folding the empty half over the side with the filling. Seal all edges, including ends shut to help prevent filling from spilling out during baking. Just seal the edges by pressing them together and smoothing out the seam, nothing special, no egg white or any stickiness needed.

Baking Instructions:
Preheat over to 350 degrees. Bake Fruit Filled Roll Cookies in whole roll form for 12-14 minutes, mine baked 13 minutes exactly but all oven temperatures and times vary. Slice Fruit Filled Roll Cookies to any desired size after baking and cooling slightly. Mine were not hot but still warm when I sliced them. If you chose to just roll the chilled dough into 1-inch balls for Thumb-Print Cookies. I rolled mine, slightly flattened and then made a depression in the center. I filled them with a dollop of the Raisin Date Filling and baked them at 350 degrees for 9 minutes. So the baking time on them would be about 7-11 minutes at 350 degrees.

Notes And Suggestions:
You could fill either of these cookie types with 100% Pure Fruit Preserves, Jam, Jelly or Spread OR Nut or Seed Butters of any kind. The Thumb-Print Cookies might be good with Chocolate or Carob in the depressions. I bet you could fill both cookies with just about anything. Be creative! If you are going to fill them with a nut or seed butters, you may want to do this after baking. You could also just make the dough into plain cookies if you roll them out and flatten them with a fork or spoon. You could then Chocolate or Carob dip half the cookie and lay them out on parchment paper to firm OR drizzle with Chocolate or Carob. You could also bake them plain and spread them with whatever you'd like to personalize each cookie after baking. There's Frostings, Butter, Coconut Butter, Nut or Seed Butters, Jams or Fruit Spreads, etc. OR maybe put a small scoop of ice cream between two cookies and try it like an ice cream sandwich. Another thing you could consider is adding items to the dough and baking them that way, for instance Chocolate or Carob chip, raisins, nuts, seeds, dried fruit, etc. Or you could also possibly try rolling them out on parchment paper and using cookie cutters to make shaped cookies, the dough held up so well, I think it could probably handle it. The possibilities are endless, let your imaginations run wild, explore, have fun!

Happy, healthy baking to one and all!

Update: (2-12-2012) I made these again and used Apple-Pear filling this time, I simply simmered Apples and Pears, pureed and sweetened them and then thickened it with some Tapioca Starch. It was a bit thinner than my first filling but still delicious! I'll add more photos for reference.

This is me rolling out my dough, cutting the edges smooth, on the left and then on the right I re-rolled the dough slightly and added my Apple-Pear Filling.
This is just prior to rolling over and sealing the edges to form the cookie roll.
------------ ~ * ~ * ~ -----------
On the left is already baked and sliced roll cookies and on the right are the Apple-Pear Thumb-Print Cookies that I make with the left over dough from this. You could do more rolls but my Mother is particularly fond of the thumb-prints so I make plenty of those as well.

I participated in the Nutritious and Delicious Blog Hop!
Linked to Make Your Own! Monday.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

That Really Takes The Cake!

Everyone will always run into an occasion where they cake and a good cake is not always easy to find. This cake is already fairly allergy friendly and can be made to be even more allergy friendly and tailored to special dietary needs. When holidays, special occasions and birthdays roll around, people typically think of cake as being part of the package. I know that at least my opinion, no special occasion is complete without a special dessert to help celebrate the moment. This cake is not only very healthy for being a cake, it is also easily altered to fit any diet and be allergy free. Might I say, it is also incredibly delicious! Light, fluffy and entirely satisfying. The Chocolate Cake, combined with the two types of frosting make this cake nearly gourmet, each bite an adventure as though every bite cleanses the palate before descending into the depths of yet another flavor. Okay... on to the cake!

Chocolate Cake
3/4 Cup Coconut Flour
1/2 Cup Cocoa Powder
1 Teaspoon Sea Salt
1 Teaspoon Baking Soda
10 Eggs OR Egg Replacer OR Flax/Chia Egg  (See NOTES below, on how to do this.)
1 Cup Melted Butter OR Butter Substitute
1 Cup Maple Syrup OR other Equivalent Liquid Sweetener
1 Teaspoon Molasses

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Oil the sides and lay parchment circles in the bottoms of two 8″ or 9" cake pans and set aside. Mix the Maple Syrup, Cocoa Powder and Molasses in a bowl, whisk until well combined. It should look a lot like Chocolate Syrup. In another  bowl mix Coconut Flour, Sea Salt and Baking Soda. In a large bowl whisk 10 eggs, then mix in the chocolate mixture and mix chocolate/egg mixture into the dry ingredients. Pour the batter into pans and bake for approximately 35 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Let cakes cool and remove from pans.

Coconut Pecan Frosting
1 Cup Maple Syrup, Honey, Agave, Brown Rice Syrup or other Syrup or a combination to equal 1 Cup.
1/4 Cup Butter OR Butter Substitute if doing Dairy Free
1/4 Cup Ground Pecans
1-1/4 Cups Unsweetened, Shredded Coconut
2 Tablespoons Milk or Milk Substitute
2 Tablespoons Arrowroot Powder + 2 Tablespoons Milk or Milk Substitute, mixed

Mix Maple Syrup and Butter in a sauce pan over Medium to Medium-High heat, stirring constantly until melted and combined. Bring to a heavy simmer, still stirring. Stir in the Milk, Ground Pecans and Shredded Coconut and simmer 2-3 minutes. In a small dish mix the Arrowroot Powder and 2 additional Tablespoons Milk together and then add to the Coconut Pecan Frosting Mixture. Continue to cook another 1-3 minutes until thickened. Remove from heat and allow to cool, it will continue to thicken more as it stands.  Spread this frosting between the two layers of the cake and of course, on top of the cake. It is too runny to frost the sides, it slides right off but the double frosting duo on this cake is what adds the extra special kick to it.

Chocolate Side Icing
4 oz. (1/2 Cup) Pure Bakers Chocolate OR Dark Chocolate of choice.
1/4 Cup Coconut Oil (I don't know if you can substitute this, Palm Oil or other SOLID at room temperature Oil should work.)
3 Tablespoons Maple Syrup  OR  Honey, Agave or other Syrup of choice.
2 Tablespoons Honey  OR  Maple Syrup, Agave or other Syrup of choice.
1/8 Teaspoon Sea Salt
2 Teaspoon Maple Sugar OR other Granulated Sweetener Equivalent.

In a sauce pan over low heat, melt the chocolate and oil, stirring constantly. Mix in the Maple Syrup, Honey, Maple Sugar and Sea Salt until thoroughly mixed. Remove from heat, place in fridge for a half hour to 45 minutes. Check often to make sure it isn't getting too thick. Remove it from the fridge and with a hand mixer blend on high until light and fluffy. If it is too solid, set sauce pan over bowl of warm water and mix with hand mixer or let stand at room temperature until softened enough. If it is not solid enough it will not whip very well so you'll need to put it back in the fridge for  bit and check it again every few minutes or so. When it is the right consistency, it will beat well with a hand mixer and resemble whipped frosting. Frost the sides of the cake quickly with this because it doesn't perfect for long, it eventually takes on a fudge texture on the outside of the cake.

So... If all was done correctly, you have a beautiful, double layer, fluffy, grain free chocolate cake. With two gourmet, home made frosting blends. Chocolate Icing on the side and Coconut Pecan Frosting for the top and center. Now of course you could use any frosting of your choosing or if it is a frosting recipe you are after, one of these two might fit the bill. However be warned, the Chocolate Icing gets very stiff, almost like fudge or a truffle, as a matter of fact, we put little dollops of it into candy cups with the left overs and ate them as candy. Also be warned that Coconut Pecan Frosting is rather thin, so it is great for topping items but may not suit frosting the side of a cake well... which makes it almost ideal for cupcakes if that is what you are making. You could also easily turn this cake recipe into cups and top with either one or a combination of both frostings.  Remember...  The most important thing is to have fun with your baking... and what is more fun than a baking?

You use 1 Tablespoon Ground Flaxseed whisked into 3 Tablespoons Water and allow it to stand until thickened to replace one egg. Yes... I realize you'd have to do this ten times but if you need Egg Free, if may be worth it... There are many Egg substitutes, Chia Seeds can be used in a similar fashion to replace Eggs, I have also heard of Mashed Banana being used to replace Eggs.

Please feel free to comment and if you make this recipe, let me know how it goes. Also don't forget to stop by the Suggestions page and give me feedback or make a recipe request. I am looking for new and exciting things to try making. More information can be found on the Suggestions page.

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