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!

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!

Blueberry Compote

blueberrycompote

Warm blueberry compote is great on crepes, muffins, “oat-less-meal”, by itself, on ice-cream (non-dairy of course, ha ha), really on lots of things.

And you always know who has been eating some, because they have a distinctive blue-mouth. So after you eat this, make sure you can brush your teeth before going out!

Blueberries are high in antioxidants (especially if you eat them raw), but you won’t get all those benefits unless you get organic blueberries. Organic makes a huge difference, that’s why I keep repeating it! Just take a look at this study comparing the properties of organic and non-organic blueberries:

If you want to maximize your antioxidant benefits from blueberries, go organic! A recent study has directly compared the total antioxidant capacity of organically grown versus non-organically grown highbush blueberries (Vaccinium corymbosum L., var. Bluecrop) and found some very impressive results for the organically grown berries.

Organically grown blueberries turned out to have significantly higher concentrations of total phenol antioxidants and total anthocyanin antioxidants than conventionally grown blueberries, as well as significantly higher total antioxidant capacity. Numerous specific antioxidant anthocyanins were measured in the study, including delphinidins, malvidins, and petunidins. The antioxidant flavonoid quercetin was also measured. Read the Blueberries article.

You can make this compote with just about any berry: strawberries, raspberries, blackberries or cherries. You can also add apple chunks. You can use more than one type of berry, or just one. It is versatile, and super easy.

 

Blueberry Compote

Ingredients:

  • 2-3 cups fresh or frozen organic blueberries
  • 1 teaspoon organic cinnamon
  • 2-3 Tablespoons water

Dishes Used:

  • Pot and spoon

Directions:

  1. Place 2-3 cups of blueberries into a small pot (however much will fit!).
  2. Sprinkle cinnamon over the blueberries, then water.
  3. Heat on medium stirring occaisionally until cooked, about 15 minutes.

That’s it!

Berry Parfait

BerryParfait

My husband had never had parfait.

So he never really understood the line in Shrek where Donkey says to Shrek,

You know what ELSE everybody likes? Parfaits! Have you ever met a person, you say, “Let’s get some parfait,” they say, “[Heck] no, I don’t like no parfait”? Parfaits are delicious!

On his birthday, I asked our daughter what we should make for Daddy for breakfast, and you know what she said? Parfait. This little darling remembered from a conversation a few days before that he had never had parfait, and she requested it for his birthday breakfast. It’s amazing how these little ones teach us to live from our hearts. :)

The crumb layer is actually adapted from a recipe by Will Sanderson in his cookbook The Tara Cookbook: Cooking with Love. It is a lovely cookbook, but I don’t think it is in print anymore. It has a wealth of great recipes that taste divine!

This particular parfait is red, white and blue, so it’s perfect for the 4th of July. Happy Independence Day!

 

Berry Parfait

Ingredients:

  • 6-7 organic strawberries, sliced
  • 1 cup organic blueberries
  • 2 1/2 cups organic almond yogurt (either berry or vanilla or plain)
  • 3 organic mint leaves
  • 1/4 cup organic nuts (almonds and cashews work well)
  • 1 organic date
  • 3 organic dried apricots
  • Dash organic cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon organic vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon organic soy sauce (or tamari)
  • 1/4 cup organic coconut cookies

Dishes Used:

  • Food processor
  • Cutting board and knife
  • Spoon

Directions:

  1. In a food processor, blend nuts, dates, apricots, oil, cinnamon, soy sauce and cookies until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
  2. Layer in a glass like so, making two or three layers:
    Berries
    Yogurt
    Crumb Mixture
  3. Serve with a sprig of mint on top! Eat it right away as the crumb mixture can get too moist if it sits too long with the yogurt.

That’s it!

Banana Muffins

bananamuffins

Do you know the muffin man?

That is one of my daughters favorite songs. Of course we change the lyrics as our muffin man is named Stan and he has a wife named Fran who makes good flan. They live on Drury Lane.

And they must make great muffins because these don’t last long. I had to take a photo of just two as the others were eaten so quickly, but the recipe makes about a dozen regular and a dozen mini muffins (or 12 large muffins).

This recipe is based on a recipe from my wonderful Mom who always made these amazing muffins. Since we couldn’t have gluten or dairy, I played around with the recipe until I got it just right…

I have never, ever had a muffin better than these. Ever. My husband feels the same way!

These are melt-in-your-mouth, light, fluffy, flavorful and actually healthy. No sugar. Hee hee.

They are great served with applesauce (like in the photo above), blueberry compote, or just by themselves. They freeze well too! Sometimes I make a double or triple batch and store them in the freezer in Ziploc freezer bags. They rewarm in 7 min for the mini, 10-11 min for the regular size at 350F. They are great to take along as a snack, or to have as a quick breakfast in the morning.

I recommend using baking cups so you don’t absorb the teflon or aluminum that usually accompanies baking tins. I like the If You Care brand as they are chlorine free and are recycled.

If you want to make banana bread instead of the muffins, make the batter as described below, but place in a well greased (using coconut oil) glass 2 quart loaf pan and cook for 45 – 60 min at 350F. A toothpick should come out clean.

 

Banana Muffins

Ingredients:

  • 1/3 cup (5 1/3 Tablespoons) organic Coconut Oil
  • 2 organic eggs
  • 3 ripe organic bananas
  •  1 3/4 cups gluten free flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 12 organic walnuts (optional)

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 until creamy (if it is hot in your kitchen, the oil will be runny so you can skip this step).
  3. Add eggs and bananas and beat together.
  4. Add flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder 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. I usually fill up the mini tins first, then the big tins.
  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.

That’s it!

Ooo La La, Crepes!

crepes

Crepes is a magic word around here.

We have searched high and low for recipes, ingredients and ideas for how to make perfect gluten-free, dairy-free crepes that are actually good. Months and months of testing, and of eating trial batches, until we finally found them.

Yum.

We eat them at least once a week and we have soooo many toppings (coming soon) ranging from breakfast to dinnertime.

Our love for crepes started several years ago and we bought a Le Creuset crepe pan to celebrate this newfound love. We couldn’t find a “crepe spreader” (or “wooden rabot” for the real crepe enthusiasts) so we use a regular wooden spatula that is quite thin and it works great. Many recipes say to use a “swirling” motion with the pan to spread out the batter, but with a heavy Le Creuset pan, we’d been needing new wrists within the month. The spatula is much easier.

When my daughter and I ended up with gluten and dairy allergies, we thought the crepes were gone for good, but, thanks to my crepe-tastic husband, we found a way around it! We tried with so many different gluten free flour blends and single flours, and he would not give up until we made it perfect. Which was fine, because even a not-perfect crepe is still a crepe. We tried with many different oils and many of them came out either too mushy or not a great taste.

Then we finally found THE gluten-free flour blend and THE shortening.

Life became much more fun after that.

The first crepe we tried with these new ingredients were beyond delicious. They were crepe perfection. Crepe-tastic. Ooo, la la!

And even better news. They freeze really well. Once they are finished cooking, let them cool, then place some parchment paper between each one, and stick them in a freezer bag. They will last in the freezer for a week or so and still taste great. (They’ve never made it beyond a week in our house, so longer than a week is simply untested.) You can rewarm them in a 350F oven for 10 min.

We usually make a triple or quadruple batch and freeze what we don’t eat so we have several more meals ready to thaw at a moments notice.

You can’t even find crepes better than these in a restaurant. We’ve tried. Especially if they are gluten and dairy free. Then they just look at you and say, “Non.”

Merci.

So, with much joy, we bring you the best allergy-free crepes we’ve found so far!

 

Crepes

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup gluten-free flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 organic eggs
  • 1/2 cup organic almond milk
  • 1/2 cup filtered water
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 Tablespoons organic coconut oil + a little more for oiling the pan

Dishes Used:

  • Crepe pan (or regular pan) and spatula (or rabot if you must)
  • Whisk
  • Bowl
  • Measuring cups
  • Fork

Directions:

  1. Put the flour, baking powder and salt into a large mixing bowl.
  2. Crack the eggs into a measuring cup and beat.
  3. Pour eggs into the dry ingredients and mix with a fork until well combined.
  4. Combine milk and water and optionally any sweetener you would like, and pour slowly into the mixture stirring well and mushing out any lumps. When the mixture becomes runny enough, switch over to using a whisk.
  5. Once all the liquid is mixed in, whisk well until all lumps are gone.
  6. Preheat the crepe pan on medium heat.
  7. Melt the coconut oil in a little pan or oven-proof dish on medium-low heat.
  8. Whisk melted coconut oil into batter. Mix well.
  9. Put a little coconut oil on the crepe pan and spread it out. Then add about 2/3 cup of batter (depending on the size of your pan) and use your spatula to spread it out evenly.
  10. Let it cook until the underside is golden brown (2-3 minutes), then flip and cook until both sides are golden brown.
  11. Fold in half, then in half again (quarters) and place on a warm plate. You can, of course, leave them open and wrap them around the filling as another option.
  12. Repeat steps 9-11 until you are out of batter.
  13. Serve with your choice of a yummy topping! To make it quick, try slicing some bananas and strawberries and serve with a dollop of almond yogurt or make blueberry compote.

That’s it!

 

 

 

Puffed Amaranth Cereal

puffedamaranthcereal

One thing I never thought I’d do was to make my own cereal.

I was reading online about how the superfood Amaranth is taking over GMO fields where they are using “Round-Up Ready” crops. That means they are spraying everything in toxic Round-Up (the main ingredient is glyphosate) and it kills everything, except the GMO crops which are “engineered” to withstand it.

Well, apparently no-one told the Amaranth, which is a superfood, that it was supposed to succumb to the extremely toxic sludge these farmers are dousing it with. It is surviving and thriving. From the article linked above:

“Mr. Anderson, the farmer, is wrestling with a particularly tenacious species of glyphosate-resistant pest called Palmer amaranth, or pigweed, whose resistant form began seriously infesting farms in western Tennessee only last year.

Pigweed can grow three inches a day and reach seven feet or more, choking out crops; it is so sturdy that it can damage harvesting equipment.”

 

It sounds like Mother Nature is telling us to love ourselves and the earth, not poison it. We give it poison, yet the earth gives us a superfood that is taking over the “engineered” crops.

Thank you, Mother Nature, thank you.

Here is some more resources on GMOs and Round-Up if you care to read more:
http://gmo-awareness.com/resources/glyphosate/

So Amaranth is a superfood. I read that you can pop it like popcorn, and I thought that sounded like fun experiment with my daughter. And it was! It was so fun in fact, that we went through most of the amaranth we had in the house, popping it. “Let’s pop more amaranth, Mommy!”

We have cereal and more cereal and now enough cereal for a couple of weeks at least! And it was super fun. Just make sure you cover the pan or you will be finding popped amaranth for a couple of weeks, ha ha! If you burn a batch or two, don’t worry, just keep trying and you’ll get the hang of it.

By the way, toddlers are really good at finding all those tiny little puffed amaranth grains that pop everywhere in case you aren’t fast enough with the lid.

 

Puffed Amaranth Cereal

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup Organic amaranth grain
  • Fruit to garnish
  • Milk of choice (we use rice or almond)

Dishes Used:

  • Pot or pan and it’s lid
  • Bowl and spoon

Directions:

  1. Heat up a heavy bottomed pot or pan (I recommend a pot because it has higher sides) on medium heat until it is nice and toasty. You know it’s hot enough if you place a droplet of water in the pot and it quickly turns into steam.
  2. Pour in one Tablespoon of dry amaranth grains.
  3. They should start popping in less than 5 seconds. If they don’t, the pan is not hot enough, so quickly pour them out and try again in a few moments.
  4. Once they start popping, put the lid on quickly and gently move the pot back and forth to keep the grains moving, just like when you pop popcorn. It will take about 10-15 seconds to finish popping.
  5. When they are finished popping, pour them into a cereal bowl (or container of choice) and place the pot back on the stove.
  6. Repeat steps 2-5 until you have enough. Once they are cooled, the puffed amaranth can be stored in an air tight container for a week or so in the refrigerator. Serve with milk and fruit like a regular cereal, or even add hemp or chia seeds for extra nutrition.

That’s it!

 

 

 

Apple-Cinnamon “Oat-less-meal”

no-oatmeal

Gluten-free oats are hard to find, and when you do find them, and they are organic, they are usually pretty expensive. Even the organic whole oatmeal is heat-treated (since oats have a high fat content which causes the grain to go rancid during storage). I thought they were worth buying anyway until I read this book called “Cure Tooth Decay Naturally” where Ramiel Nagel points out that oats are actually very bad for teeth.

“The take-home message from these experiments is that oatmeal has a devastating effect on teeth, and that the maximum amount of bone growth and tooth remineralization in these studies occurred with grain-free diets.” p.66

“…oatmeal interferes more than any other grain studied with tooth mineralization.” p.66

Well, I guess that means no oats for us…

Since we still like oatmeal, I decided to create something that will take its place. It turns out that all of us loved it just as much as oatmeal! My daughter ate her portion and most of mine, and some of her Daddy’s. So then her Daddy made more again today, and she ate most of it as well! So it certainly passes the yummy test :)

You could also try this with Quinoa (not a grain), and it is very good, but less oatmeal-like. Rice is in the second tier of grains that are not good for teeth, so it may be worth switching it up once in awhile. We like the quinoa version too, and you make it the same way. Just pre-soak the quinoa before using to make it more digestible.

 

Apple-Cinnamon “Oat-less-meal”

Ingredients:

Rice

  • 1 cup basmati rice
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ginger
  • 2 cups water
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

“Oat-less-meal”

  • 2 apples, peeled and chopped
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup almond or rice milk
  • 2 Tablespoons hemp seeds
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ginger
  • 1/2 cup water
  • Sunrider’s Sunectar, coconut nectar, or your favorite sweetener, to taste

Dishes used:

  • Pot
  • Spoons & cup measure
  • Baking dish

Directions:

  1. Making the rice: Boil water in a pot, then add rice, salt, spices. Cook for 20-25 min or until rice is tender.
    The rice can be made ahead of time, then stored in the refrigerator. You will end up using about 2 cups of the cooked rice.
  2. Preheat the oven to 350F. In a baking dish combine 2 cups cooked rice, apple pieces, cinnamon, ginger and water, and mix well.
  3. Place in the oven for 20-25 minutes, or until the apples are soft. You will want to check it part way through to make sure it isn’t getting dry… if it is, just add a little more water and stir.
  4. Remove from oven and add almond milk, hemp seeds and sweetener. Mix well and put back in the oven for 5 minutes. Serve warm.

Feel free to play with the amount of milk to make the “oatmeal” a consistency you like.

That’s it!