Pumpkin Muffins

pumpkins

It’s pumpkin time again!

This recipe is an adaptation of the Banana Muffins recipe. We made this one in order to use up all the extra pumpkin puree we have around this time of year.

Pumpkin Muffins

Ingredients:

  • 1/3 cup (5 1/3 Tablespoons) organic Coconut Oil
  • 2 organic eggs
  • 1 cup organic pumpkin puree
  • 1/4 cup organic coconut nectar (substitute coconut sugar)
  • 2 TB maple syrup (or 2 squirts Sunrider Sunectar)
  •  1 3/4 cups gluten free flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp each of nutmeg, cloves, allspice
  • 12 organic walnuts (optional for topping)

Dishes Used:

  • Mixing bowl
  • Hand mixer
  • Spoons
  • Spatula (optional)
  • Muffin tins

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350F.
  2. With your hand mixer, beat the coconut oil, coconut nectar and maple syrup until creamy (if it is hot in your kitchen, the oil will be runny so you can skip this step).
  3. Add eggs and pumpkin puree and beat together.
  4. Add flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder and spices and mix together.
  5. Line muffin tins with baking cups and spoon in mixture to fill each 2/3 to 3/4 of the way full.
  6. You can add walnuts on top of the large muffins if you’d like.
  7. Bake at 350F for 25 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. The muffins should be a beautiful golden brown.

Note: If you use coconut sugar instead of coconut nectar, you may need 1 1/2 cups of pumpkin puree so the batter is the right consistency.

That’s it!

Apple Almond Bread

AppleAlmondBread

Gluten-free, dairy-free, grain-free bread! It’s moist and yummy. Can be used for sandwiches, toast, just by itself, or pour applesauce over it for a healthy, not-too-sweet dessert.

This is one of my favorite recipes ever. I found a similar one online that was very dry, so a friend of mine, Susie, and I played with it until we found perfection. Now you can enjoy it and it is VERY EASY!

Apple Almond Bread

Ingredients:

  • 6 eggs
  • 1 TB apple cider vinegar
  • 3/4 medium apple, grated
  • 2 1/4 cups almond meal/flour
  • 1/2 cup tapioca starch
  • 1/2 cup golden flaxmeal
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 3/4 tsp baking powder
  • coconut oil for oiling loaf pan

Dishes used:

  • Bowl and spatula
  • Mixer
  • Loaf pan
  • Measuring cups

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350F.
  2. Beat eggs 3-5 minutes or until frothy.
  3. Add apple cider vinegar and grated apple and beat 1 minute.
  4. Then add all other ingredients and mix well.
  5. Using the coconut oil, grease the glass loaf pan.
  6. Pour in the batter.
  7. Place it in the center of the preheated oven for 45min.

Let sit until cool, then remove from the loaf pan and enjoy!

That’s it!

Chocolate Currant Cookies – Gluten-free and Vegan

chocolatecurrantcookies

Chewy, delicious, addictive.

And oh so fast and easy.
Really, it’s about 15 min start to finish.

My daughter is three and a half and hasn’t yet had a real cookie.  Until now.

Why? Gluten-free and dairy-free cookies are usually so… blah. So I made my own! Even the batter is so so good, and it is vegan so you can eat it raw!

This recipe is great because there is no refined sugar in it, and it is super yummy! How do you like it? Please reply below as I’d love to hear your comments.

Chocolate Currant Cookies

  • 2 cups almond flour
  • 4 TB maple syrup
  • 1/3 cup organic Nutiva Coconut Oil, melted
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup currants (could use chocolate chips/cranberries/date pieces/nuts/etc!)
  • 1.5 Tablespoons organic cocoa powder

Dishes Used:

  • Bowl and spatula
  • Baking sheet
  • Measuring spoons/cups

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350F.
  2. Combine dry ingredients.
  3. Add wet ingredients and mix well.
  4. Form into small cookies, about 1 Tablespoon of batter each, and place on parchment paper on baking sheet. I usually make them into balls, then my daughter flattens the with her sweet little hands.
  5. Bake at 350F for 8-9 min.
  6. Let cool before enjoying.

That’s it!

Raw Vegan Chocolate Bars

Chocolate Coconut Bars

I can’t even begin to explain how good these are.

I have made these for friends and family and not only did adults rave about it, but after a taste, a sweet 11 month old waved his arms at the dish calling “ahhhhhhh!!!!” which translates to: “More please… now!”

Now my three year old sees the baking dish (which is now completely devoted to these bars) and immediately says, “I want some please.” She doesn’t even check to see if it is empty… they just MUST be there!

It seems we can’t live without these chocolate bars anymore. Sometimes I call them raw vegan brownies. Either way they are heavenly.

The great thing is there is only good stuff in them, so they are healthy too!

There was only one ingredient that I wasn’t sure about: Coconut Manna. I just didn’t know if it was truly healthy or not. Then I found out something really interesting about Coconut Butter (I’m using Nutiva’s Coconut Manna as it’s my favorite) by Dr. Thomas Cowan:

“Another food worth mentioning is coconut butter, which should be started in the first month that the child is eating food. Coconut oil is nature’s richest source of Lauric acid, one of the predominant fats in human breast milk. This valuable fat helps protect the child against fungal and viral infections, thereby giving them a chance to build up their natural immunities.”

Visit Dr. Thomas Cowan’s Website

So I researched this Dr. Cowan to see his background, interests, creditibilty etc. Overall, I liked what I found. He is a a founding board member of the Weston A. Price Foundation™, which is based on Weston Price’s work. If you don’t know much about Weston Price, he studied the link between nutrition and physical health. You can read about his unbelievably important work on the Weston A. Price Foundation website. I highly recommend reading about his work as it is so crucial to solving many of the health issues that are happening in our world today. There is lots of information about healing tooth decay naturally.

Back to the bars…

I can’t go long without thinking about them.

I took these on vacation to visit my family in Florida and they loved them! We ate them regularly for dessert. Or snack. Or even as part of breakfast…

I was inspired by this recipe off of Elana’s Pantry. It is a good recipe, but I found those bars were very crumbly and difficult to eat. They tasted good, but not “I want to eat the entire dish NOW because it is that good” kind of good. So I improvised, and after several versions, this one is my favorite.

Raw Vegan Chocolate Bars

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup organic hemp seeds (you can substitute with soaked and blanched almonds if you must)
  • 1/2 cup organic golden flaxmeal
  • 1/2 cup organic currants
  • 1/2 cup organic Coconut Manna (Nutiva’s brand is sooo good)
  • 2-3 Tablespoons of organic almond butter (you can substitute your favorite nut or seed butter)
  • 2 Tablespoons of organic Coconut Oil
  • 1 organic date, pitted (optional, but makes it hold together better)
  • 1 1/2 cups organic dried coconut flakes
  • 1 Tablespoon organic cocoa powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon Sunrider’s Sunectar (Stevia) – or you can substitute with 1 tsp of maple syrup or honey

Dishes Used:

  • Food Processor
  • Square 8×8 glass baking dish
  • Spoon and measuring cups/spoons

Directions:

  1. Place all ingredients into food processor.
  2. Turn on until well mixed and starting to stick together (about 2-3 minutes).
  3. Spread out evenly into baking dish and pat down well with a spoon. Score them in squares now so they are easier to cut later.
  4. Place in fridge 1 hour. (Longer if you are in a warmer climate)
  5. Cut into squares and enjoy!

(Keep refrigerated)

That’s it!

Roasted Chickpeas

roastedgarbanzos

Well, she can’t eat them all.

Did you hear that rice now contains high levels of arsenic in it? I was surprised when I read about it in consumer reports and natural news.

“In virtually every product tested, we found measurable amounts of total arsenic in its two forms,” says Consumer Reports. “We found significant levels of inorganic arsenic, which is a carcinogen, in almost every product category, along with organic arsenic, which is less toxic but still of concern.”

I’ll be updating the flour blend soon so that it will not contain brown rice flour since brown rice is the worst offender.

So out go the rice cakes and crackers. We’re gluten free, what do we do for a nice, crunchy snack?

Garbanzos.

The lovable, adorable chick pea. Roasted to perfection and seasoned so well that you will wonder why you ever ate rice cakes in the first place.

Trust me. My three-year-old daughter took over the whole bowl and happily munched away as I was trying to take the photograph. Can you see her arm protectively around the bowl? Yeah, they taste that good.

If you make them from scratch, which is my recipe here, you will find they are super easy and very, very inexpensive. I don’t suggest buying the canned variety as can liners tend to leech into the food, thereby lacing your lovely garbanzos with ugly toxins. Buy them dried in the bulk section and go from there instead.

Some people say to spice them before you roast them, some say afterwards. I prefer before as the spicing stays on a little better, but try both and see what you like.

So do away with rice cakes, and try these for a nice change!

Roasted Chick Peas (Garbanzo Beans)

Ingredients

  • 2 cups organic dry garbanzo beans (chick peas)
  • 1/4 cup organic sesame or sunflower oil
  • paprika
  • salt and pepper to taste

Dished Used

  • baking sheet
  • bowl and spoon
  • Pot

Directions

  1. Cover garbanzo beans in water (so there are 3 inches of water above the beans). Soak garbanzos overnight. 
  2. Once they’ve soaked overnight it’s time to cook the garbanzos. Heat up enough water to cover the beans about an inch and bring it to a boil. Drain and rinse garbanzos and then add to the pot. Cook for about 30-45 minutes. You can add a bay leaf or any other spices you might want.
  3. Once they are finished cooking, strain them and pat them dry with a clean dish towel or paper towels.
  4. Preheat oven to 400F. (this gives them extra time to dry while you wait for the oven to heat up)
  5. Toss the garbanzos with some oil, just enough to coat them, then sprinkle liberally with salt, pepper and paprika. You can also use cumin, turmeric, really anything you want to try! You can make them spicy and add some cayenne pepper… be creative!
  6. Once they are well coated with oil and spices, spread them out on parchment paper on a baking sheet and cook at 400F for 30-40 minutes. They should be crunchy (not soft). You may need to watch them carefully the last 10 min or so to make sure they don’t burn.
  7. Pour them into a bowl and be prepared to be wowed.

That’s it!

Sausage and Gravy Biscuits

biscuitsandgravy

How ya’ll doin’?

Yes, I am from the South. Jacksonville, FL, which is only a little less southern than Savannah b/c we have more palm trees, but it’s pretty darn close.

But I don’t really have the accent. I have a wonderful Danish mother so I have some words that I say that are quite Danish-y, but any southern left after I moved out here to the Pacific Northwest. People generally can’t place where I’m from, and I kinda like that. I feel like I can be mysterious. Until they ask.

Sausage and gravy buttermilk biscuits is one of the most southern meals you can find. I haven’t had it since I went to a wedding breakfast back in Jacksonville about 20 years ago.

So it was long overdue.

It’s a very simple recipe that reminds me of a good, warm southern morning where the temperature at dawn is just about perfect, and as the sun colors the sky from orange to gold to a beautiful shining blue, it gets so hot that there is nothing to feel but the pure bliss of being warm and in the sun. And with a belly full of sausage and gravy biscuits, it’s even better.

Sausage and Gravy Biscuits

Ingredients

  • 1 pound bulk sausage. The Chicken Apple variety from PCC is great for this.
  • 2 Tablespoons organic oil
  • 1/4 cup gluten-free flour mix
  • 1 1/2 cups dairy-free milk (we used almond milk)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Piping hot “buttermilk” biscuits

Dishes Used

  • Pan and spatula
  • Measuring cups

Directions

  • Start warming biscuits in the oven.
  • Cook sausage in a pan with a little oil. Make sure you cut it up into little pieces once it’s cooked.
  • Add the flour and stir well.
  • Start adding the milk bit by bit and stir as you add until you reach your desired consistency.
  • Add salt and pepper to taste.
  • Serve over hot biscuits

That’s it!

Gluten-free Dairy-free Corn-free “Buttermilk” Biscuits

buttermilkbiscuits

It was a dark and stormy night. It really was. Very stormy.

We don’t get many storms here in the Pacific Northwest, not by my Florida standards anyway, but this one was pretty good. Wind gusting so hard the house shook and the noise of the wind in the trees was so loud it was hard to notice anything else.

We are currently starting our own indoor garden so we can plant our organic garden in the spring and have veggies ready almost right away. We start them in water, then move them to an indoor planter. We took a little trip to Home Depot to buy some nice terra cotta planters that fit in our window box.  These nice terra cotta ones are so simple that you don’t have to worry about toxic chemicals on them (like wood or painted ones, or plastic ones) and they match our decor, which is also very important.

windowgarden
While we were at the store, we were waiting for some assistance in the outdoor garden area and that’s when the wind started to pick up. The gusts were blowing rain right through the whole area, but we live in the Pacific Northwest, so some rain and wind won’t  deter us… yet.

As we were looking at some super cute brightly-colored garden decor of birds and butterflies, a huge gust of wind ripped through the place. Within the span of a breath, a wind chimes display came crashing down and a potted plant crashed right at our feet.

Now that’s some wind.

The people there immediately came over to make sure we were ok, which we were, and they hurried up the process of getting our planters to us so we didn’t have to stand out there in all that wind (the planters were packed way up on a pallet on the top shelf I might add).

They were so kind and responsible that they made my day so much happier. The rest of the day Sweet Pea referred to them as the nice man and lady at Home Depot. She kept telling me how much she liked them. Isn’t it amazing how being so kind and friendly can make such an impact to not only an adult, but a three year old?

She’s still talking about it.

When we got home, my little Sweet Pea and I decided we better make some really yummy food for the rest of the day since the power was now starting to flicker.

“What would you like to make?” I ask.

“Biscuits Mommy. I want to try biscuits” she replied.

“Well, ok, let’s try!”

My favorite biscuits are buttermilk biscuits. The kind that has all that full-of-dairy buttermilk in them. So after searching and finding most gluten-free recipes still have loads of dairy in them, I had to figure something out as a substitution. These aren’t quite the same, I mean there is no dairy in them, but they are quite good. We are substituting coconut oil for butter and almond milk with lemon juice for buttermilk, but if you can use dairy, you don’t have to do those substitutions.

This was a whopping success, so much so that I’m sure I’ll be making them again. And again.

Play with this recipe as you like… add some sweetener like coconut nectar or maple syrup and have a shortcake type of biscuit you could top with strawberries, just make sure you decrease some of the “buttermilk” so you can the right consistency as described below. Most of all have fun and enjoy your meal!

Gluten-free Dairy-free Corn-free “Buttermilk” Biscuits

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup of non-dairy milk (we used almond milk)
  • 1 teaspoon fresh organic lemon juice
  • 3 cups all purpose gluten-free flour mix
  • 1.5 tsp gluten-free baking powder
  • 1.5 tsp salt
  • 5 Tablespoons organic coconut oil (instead of butter or shortening)
  • 2 organic eggs

Dishes Used

  • Bowl and spatula
  • Whisk
  • Baking sheet
  • Measuring spoons and cup

Directions

  • Preheat oven to 400F.
  • Make the “buttermilk”: Mix non-dairy milk and lemon juice together in a separate bowl and let stand.
  • Combine dry ingredients and mix well.
  • Add coconut oil to dry ingredients and mix until it resembles coarse crumbs.
  • Add eggs and combine well.
  • Now start adding some of the “buttermilk” to the mix, stirring well. Keep adding it, bit by bit until your dough is sticky but not gooey. It should be able to stand together on its own without “melting” or losing it’s shape. You may use less or more than the recipe calls for… if you need more (which might happen, but unlikely) you can just add more non-dairy milk instead of mixing up more “buttermilk”.
  • Start making balls of dough that are a little squished in shape so they aren’t completely round, and place them on a baking sheet with parchment paper. It should make between 10-15 depending on the size you make.
  • Bake for 20-30 minutes until the top is starting to brown and smell is making your mouth water.

That’s it!

Chicken Soup

chickensoup

A classic soup loved by many. Did you know it is really easy to make? And you can customize it to suit your tastes! Sometimes we add kale or spinach just to change things up a bit.

This soup is well-known for it’s wonderful healing properties, but only when it’s homemade. The kind you buy in a can is filled with chemicals and preservatives and is rarely healthy, however, you can make your own in not much time at all, and you’ll really feel the difference.

I had never actually made chicken soup before, but a good friend of mine made some and brought it to me. WOW. So that’s what it’s supposed to taste like!

Sweet Pea loves this stuff. She’ll eat bowl after bowl. I can tell pretty quickly if she likes something or not, and this one wins every time.

This soup is also good for your bones and teeth because the bones are cooked with the soup for several hours, so the good nutrients soak into the broth.

Chicken Soup

Ingredients:

  • 4 organic bone-in drumsticks or 2 hind quarters
  • 2 organic carrots
  • 3 stalks organic celery
  • 1 small organic onion
  • 3 organic bay leaves
  • 2 tsp organic turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp organic cumin powder (optional)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • Enough water to cover everything by several inches
  • 1 cup rinsed organic jasmine rice

Dishes Used:

  • Knife and cutting board
  • Pot and spoon
  • Bowl for washing the chicken

Directions:

  • Wash chicken pieces in a good Fruit and Veggie Rinse (I like Sunrider’s b/c it’s non-toxic)
  • Fill a standard stock pot 3/4 of the way full of filtered water and bring to a boil.
  • Add chicken pieces and let simmer for 3-6 hours (or more if you are up for it). Periodically check and make sure there is enough water, and if not, add more until pot is 3/4 full.
  • Remove all chicken pieces and let cool enough to touch. Remove meat from bones, chop and return meat to the soup. (Either compost the bones or you can return them to the soup for the last half hour of simmering and remove them before serving.)
  • Chop all veggies and add to soup. Add the rice and spices and stir.
  • Add any extra water you need to keep the pot 3/4 of the way full.
  • Simmer for 30-40 min.
  • Remove bay leaves and serve warm.

That’s it!

Amazing Gluten-Free Bread

FreeBread

Now this is a surprise for me.

Gluten-free, dairy-free, yeast-free bread that 1. stays together and has a good texture 2. tastes good enough that my daughter and I will eat it up and 3. is so easy I can barely stand it.

In fact, I could barely take the photo with all the slices of bread there… but we managed it for you. Mere seconds after the photo was taken, that first piece of bread was gone. Then the second.

Of all the gluten-free, dairy-free, yeast-free breads I’ve tried, this one is the winner! No more crumbling or half-baking, just great bread.

I can barely believe it.

Thank you Dr. Rodio, b/c this is the best! I’m basically reposting her recipe from here: http://www.naturarx.com/recipes/gluten-free-bread-loaf.html because it is just so good everyone who does gluten-free should know about it!

Did I mention there is no Xanthan gum?

It’s so easy that I just can’t stand it. :)

FreeBread2

Amazing Gluten-Free Bread

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups gluten-free flour
  • 2 Tablespoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 organic eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups filtered water
  • 1 teaspoon organic coconut oil (or favorite oil, but the coconut oil does really well)

Dishes used:

  • Bowl and spatula
  • Bowl and whisk
  • Loaf pan

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 450F.
  2. Mix dry ingredients.
  3. Mix wet ingredients.
  4. Then mix all ingredients together.
  5. Using the coconut oil, grease the loaf pan and lightly flour it.
  6. Pour in the batter. I drew three little hearts on top. That is totally optional.
  7. Place it in the center of the preheated oven for 20 min, then once the 20 min is over, turn off the oven and leave the bread in there, in the warmth, for about 3-4 hours.

It comes out spectacularly.

That’s it!

Navy Bean Soup

NavyBeanSoup

I’ve never been a huge soup fan, maybe I had too much of the stuff from a can in my past. Campbells stuff. We used to have to collect labels in school (did you have to do that too?)

I think it was all for a charity, which is great, but I REALLY think it was just the Campbell’s soup marketing department getting children to do some market research for them. Brilliant.

Weeks of work walking through neighborhoods, hounding the neighbors for all their soup labels, keeping track of lists of who gave how many labels… The elementary aged children pounding the streets … uh oh, here they come again, but it’s not girl scout season!

Maybe they had teamed up with the Planters Peanuts fitness program and it was actually just a way to get us in shape.

After eating that much canned soup, we were due for some fitness. Have you ever noticed what’s in that stuff anyway?

Chicken soup is SUPPOSED to be healthy, so why is it filled with MSG, modified food starch and tons of chemicals that I can barely pronounce?

Here is the official list of ingredients in Campbell’s Chicken and Rice soup:
http://www.campbellfoodservice.com/details.aspx?code=207

CHICKEN STOCK, WATER, COOKED RICE, COOKED CHICKEN MEAT, CARROTS, CONTAINS LESS THAN 1% OF: SALT, CHICKEN FAT, POTATO STARCH, MONOSODIUM GLUTAMATE, CELERY, COOKED MECHANICALLY SEPARATED CHICKEN, CHICKEN FLAVOR, ONION POWDER, MODIFIED FOOD STARCH, FLAVORING, DISODIUM INOSINATE, DISODIUM GUANYLATE, BETA CAROTENE FOR COLOR, SOY PROTEIN ISOLATE, SODIUM PHOSPHATES, LACTIC ACID, DEHYDRATED GARLIC AND CHICKEN FLAVOR (CONTAINS CHICKEN STOCK, CHICKEN POWDER, CHICKEN FAT)

Yuck.

It’s not just Campbell’s, by the way, I mention them b/c they are so mainstream. Most canned soups have toxins in them from the can liners leeching chemicals into the food. So even if the ingredients look good, beware of the can linings.

Well, THIS soup is not from a can, and I have always loved it.

I remember when my mom would make this and I’d come home from school to the smell of … NAVY BEAN SOUP! She would make so much that she’d have tons of leftovers that she’d store in huge air-tight jars in the fridge and freezer. Once everyone was asleep, I’d sneak downstairs and have another bowl or four. And after school, I’d sneak in yet another bowl.

I wonder if she ever noticed?

Maybe that’s why she made so much.

Now I’m ready to expect the same behavior from my daughter who already loves this soup and asks for it often. A great bonus of this recipe is that you can also double or triple or quadruple the recipe and freeze the extras so you have an easy-to-prepare meal later in the week.

This is a recipe adapted from my Mom’s original recipe to make it vegetarian. If you like pork, you can add in a generous handful or two of cubed smoked ham, but since we do not eat pork, we made this dish completely vegan! And you know every ingredient in it.

This soup is grounding, nutritious and very tasty. And there are no labels to collect. And you can sneak some in the middle of the night because it’s just that good. Enjoy!

Navy Bean Soup

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups dry organic navy beans
  • 2 organic carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 2 stalks organic celery, chopped
  • 3-4 organic red potatoes, scrubbed and chopped
  • 1 small organic onion, chopped
  • 2 organic bay leaves
  • 3 cups organic veggie (or chicken) broth (optional)
  • Water
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Dishes Used:

  • Knife and cutting board
  • Pot and spoon

Directions:

  1. Wash and soak navy beans for at least 24 hours. Then rinse and drain.
  2. Place all ingredients into stock pot, adding enough water to cover the beans and veggies by about 2 inches.
  3. Bring to a boil, then simmer for 1.5 hours. Stir occasionally and add water or broth if needed. You can see from the picture the consistency is a hearty soup, not too broth-y.
  4. Taste and add salt/pepper to your liking. Remove bay leaves before serving.

That’s it!