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!

Applesauce Cake

applesaucecake

We have a very important birthday coming up… number 3!

She wants cake and ice cream. But with our current diet, there is nothing that is good pre-made, that is also still healthy, ie, no sugars, xanthum gums, etc. We know, we’ve looked.

They all have something in them that is not good. Sugar. Xanthan gum. Corn derivatives. or they are just crumbly and dry.

So for the past two weeks I’ve been making different cake samples, and finally found one where Sweet Pea enthusiastically said, “I want this one for my birthday cake!!” (amidst a mouthful of cake).

The cake was so good Sweet Pea and I ate a large portion of it in less than 15 minutes, and by evening there was only a little piece left. I hope it will last through the night.

Since we make about 95% of our meals from scratch, I was quite shocked to see this note posted from a Mom whose kids are in a federal preschool.

http://www.momdot.com/a-doctors-note-for-gmos/ This mother has just been informed that she needs a doctor’s note if she is going to send her child to school with a homemade lunch. (here is another view on it: http://www.naturalcuresnotmedicine.com/2013/10/feds-to-parents-kids-cant-bring-lunch.html.)

What?!

And people ask why I want to homeschool my child.

This is really insane. It really is. And it’s a huge issue highlighting profit versus health… greed versus loving… and our freedom to live a healthy, happy life.

So if you do receive one of these notes, FIGHT BACK. Demand your freedom. For the rest of us, we need to make this world a better place. Cook, eat, smile and be happy. Let’s really change this world into a happy one. And make yourself a cake. Try this one, there is no sugar and it’s still good. And yes, you do have time.

This is really a super easy, healthy birthday cake, or anytime cake, even if you make your own applesauce to go with it. And I HIGHLY recommend making your applesauce from scratch because not only will your cake be healthier, but it tastes worlds better than if you use the stuff from the jar. The result will make you smile.

I’ll add what we will use to top it, and what we are doing for ice cream, in a later post.

This cake takes all of 15 minutes to put together (not including making the applesauce) and it tastes WONDERFUL! :)

Applesauce Cake

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups gluten-free flour
  • 1 teaspoon organic ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon organic ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon organic ground cloves
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup organic currants
  • 1/2 cup melted organic coconut oil
  • 2 cups organic applesauce (if using homemade applesauce, put the applesauce in a blender and blend until smooth before adding to the cake)
  • 1 big squirt Sunectar (stevia from Sunrider) or you could use 1/4 cup organic maple syrup, or coconut nectar (which has a low glycemic index)

Dishes Used:

  • Mixing bowl and spoon
  • Spatula
  • 8″x8″ glass baking dish

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350F.
  2. Mix dry ingredients together in a large bowl. If you have the time to sift the flour first, great, but if not, it will still turn out great.
  3. Add currents and mix well.
  4. Add applesauce, Sunectar, and melted coconut oil and mix very well.
  5. Pour into a lightly oiled baking dish (I used a little coconut oil) and bake at 350F for 50 minutes.

That’s it!

Avocado and Coconut Pudding

avocado coconut pudding

There must be avocados and coconuts in heaven.

Avocados and coconuts are two of my favorite foods ever! I could eat a coconut a day. Same with avocados… wait…I already do that…. Now for that tropical dream house with groves of coconuts and avocados right outside the door just waiting to be picked…

Recently I was ill and my liver was very affected. Strangely, I started wanting avocados all the time, which I didn’t quite understand.  Then, much later I read that avocados may protect against liver damage! Intuition is just great. Our bodies know so much if we just listen!

There are many benefits to avocados and if you want to read more, check out this great article by Dr. Mercola and this other lovely article by Natural News.

Healthy fats in general are great to eat because they help to coat the nervous system, feed the nervous system and help it heal. Therefore, you feel more grounded and calm and can think more clearly. I can use more of that.

And coconuts… young coconuts are just heaven. I can’t even open one up without my daughter eating at least half (if not 3/4) just right there. She drinks out the water and then starts saying “Meat! Let’s eat the meat!” before I can even rinse the straw! The list of benefits are also huge, but my main focus is that I love the taste. So does Sweet Pea.

Needing some more healthy fats in  my diet, and with my recent avocado cravings, this recipe was concocted to be a nice huge helping of healthy fats that tasted good and was easy to make. It is rich, so one recipe will serve 2 adults, but it is oh so good!

Avocado Coconut Pudding

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 avocado, peeled
  • 1/2 young coconut (meat only)
  • 1 1/2 Cups hemp milk, or whatever milk you like.
  • 1 Tablespoon flax meal
  • 1 squirt Flax Seed Oil
  • Sweetener to taste (Sunectar, 2 dates, honey or maple syrup)
  • And the secret ingredient: 1 packet of original Nuplus by Sunrider. (if you don’t have Nuplus, you are missing out!! You can of course make this without it, just lessen the amount of hemp milk a little so you have your desired consistency).

Dishes Used:

  • Knives and spoon
  • Vitamix

Directions:

  1. Peel the one half of an avocado and place in Vitamix.
  2. Open your young coconut. There are many ways to do it, but here is one to get you started (just make sure you make the hole on top big enough to fit a spoon in) How to Open a Coconut
  3. Once the coconut is open, pour out the water and enjoy it. Then scoop out half of the meat in the coconut in place it in the Vitamix.
  4. Add the rest of the ingredients to the Vitamix and blend on high for 2-3 minutes or until smooth.
  5. Serve with fruit and a few hemp seeds sprinkled on top! Serves 2.

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!

 

 

 

Blueberry Pie

blueberrypie

Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free, Sugar-Free pie. Is it even worth it?

As a child, one of my favorite foods was pie. Really, I liked just about every kind of pie. Chicken pot pie, Quiche, Fruit pies… all of it. However, my all time favorite was cherry pie. I loved it so much I always chose cherry pie over birthday cake on my birthday. The sweet cherries in their warm, bubbly syrup wrapped in a flaky, buttery crust was so much more appealing to me than cake with icing that was so intensely sweet I couldn’t have more than a mouthful without wincing. And the smell of pie baking… mmmm….

On rainy weekend nights, my teenage friends and I would curl up to watch old movies like Casablanca, Breakfast At Tiffany’s, or Singing In The Rain with a warm, delicious pie nestled in our laps.

Then, after some health issues myself, and my daughter’s sensitivities, the main ingredients of pie: gluten, dairy and sugar, were removed from our diet. Goodbye pies.

But I love pie.

So, giving up pie just wasn’t an option.

After much trial and error, I finally made a great pie crust with no dairy and no gluten! It is an easy pie crust that I don’t even roll out. I do it two-year-old style. Think play-dough… The filling was super easy too, and takes hardly any effort.

My daughter loves to help with the pie. I give her some extra dough to play with while I make the crust, and she usually helps me make the lattice top. And when she sees the berries, she immediately says, “I want some berries, please!” So she’s pretty entertained while I make this.

We made an apple pie and a blueberry pie for my husband’s birthday last month and the praise from friends was outstanding! By the end of the night everyone asked for the recipe, and within a week or so other people were asking for the recipe too.

And this from people who CAN eat gluten, diary and sugar.

Now that’s good pie.

So here it is. The greatest pie recipe of all-time, for those of us who have ingredient-free diets, and are entertaining a two-year-old, ha ha!

NOTE: If you can eat diary, gluten and sugar, you can certainly substitute and add them in as needed. If you like sweeter pies, or if you normally eat standard American food, this pie may not be sweet enough for your taste. If that’s the case, just add in some of your favorite sweetener to sweeten it a bit. Once you go off sugar for good, you’ll find your tastes change and suddenly you can taste all the different flavors you were missing before, so you don’t even miss the sugar!

 

Blueberry Pie

Ingredients

Crust:

  • 2 cups Gluten-free flour (I use this mix)
  • 1 cup organic coconut oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup water

Filling:

  • Fresh or frozen blueberries, about 2-3 pints
  • 1 teaspoon organic cinnamon
  • 1 Tablespoon thickening agent (Kudzu root works, just dissolve it in 2 Tablespoons of water before sprinkling it in) (I use Sunrider’s NuPlus – Regular flavor)
  • A dash of salt

Dishes used:

  • Mixing bowl
  • Spatula
  • Pie plate

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375F.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine flour and salt. Cut in coconut oil until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. I like to use my hands here to mix it together. Stir in as much of the water as you need so dough comes together into a ball. (Sometimes I use the whole 1/2 cup, other times I use none at all. It will vary depending on the humidity, warmth, etc of your kitchen.) 
  3. Divide into 2 balls.
  4. Now take one ball and squish it between your palms like you did when you were a kid playing with play-dough. Then, place your flattened ball into the pie plate. Now using your hands, gently spread the dough out evenly to cover the surface of the pie plate. Then work the crust up the sides until it comes to the rim.
  5. Pour half of the blueberries into the pie crust. Sprinkle with half the cinnamon, half the thickener, and a dash of salt. Then pour the remaining blueberries on top and sprinkle with the remainder of the cinnamon and thickener. Make sure the cinnamon and thickener are evenly spread out. If they aren’t, GENLTY mix the blueberries around (without harming the crust).
  6. Now for the “lattice” top. I put it in quotes because any real pie maker would probably cringe at this method, but this is the “I’m doing this with my two year old at my side helping me” version. Take a handful of dough from the remaining ball and squish it out on a clean countertop. Spread it out using the heel of your hand and your palm until it’s about 1/4 of an inch thick. Using the spatula, sharp knife, pizza cutter, or scallop-edged pastry wheel, cut a strip of crust about 1 inch wide and as long as you have available. Lift it up with the spatula and place it on top of the pie. If it breaks, no problem, just take it over piece by piece and gently attach the ends together on the pie. I usually do 4 strips across, turn it 90 degrees, and do 4 more strips.
  7. Place pie in the oven for 45 min, or until the blueberries are bubbling and the crust is golden brown.

Now you will have pie in 45 minutes and you have only two dishes to do: the bowl and spatula. And cleaning the counter top. That’s it!

Relax and enjoy your pie :)