Awesome Almond Flour Muffin

I’m going out on a limb here and naming this the “Awesome Almond Flour Muffin” because it’s so yummy and versatile. This has become my go-to breakfast and mid morning snack for the kids and myself on Friday mornings as we rush off to Friday School (homeschool co-op).

Below is the recipe for Carrot Spice Muffins, but you can use the basic recipe for zucchini muffins, blueberry muffins, apple spice muffins, or banana muffins. And it’s a kissin’ cousin to my Chocolate Cupcakes. See below for variations.

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Carrot Spice Muffins

Heat oven to 350, and prepare 2 muffin tins (24 count) with greased paper liners (yes, greased).
Place in food processor with S blade:

5 large carrots, chunked

Process until mostly fine, then add:

3.5 cups almond flour (I use Bob’s Red Mill; almond meal from Trader Joe’s works too, but is just a little more crumbly)
2 tsp. soda
1/2 tsp. fine sea salt (Real Salt)
1TBS. cinnamon
1 tsp. ginger
1 tsp. nutmeg
1/4 tsp. cloves

Pulse to incorporate dry ingredients into carrots. Add:

1 tsp. vanilla
1 TBS. apple cider vinegar
4 large eggs
1 cup honey (can go down to 3/4 cup if you prefer)

Blend all ingredients until smooth. Don’t over-blend.

Ladle into greased muffin papers. Bake for about 25 minutes in 350 degree oven, or until beginning to brown, but firm in middle. Remove to wire racks. Allow to cool (ha, ha) before serving with butter. Yum!

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Variations:

Zucchini Spice Muffins
Replace carrots with 2 medium zucchini, processed with S blade until fine at outset of recipe. Omit ginger. Add 2 TBS coconut flour with dry ingredients to help absorb additional moisture from zucchini.

Apple Spice MuffinsOmit carrots and ginger. Add 2 TBS coconut flour with dry ingredients to help absorb additional moisture from apples. Add 2 cups chopped apple at the end, after blending all ingredients smooth. I like to fold it in with a spoon after removing bowl from food processor. Add an additional 3/4 cup raisins if desired.

Blueberry Muffins
Omit carrots, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, cloves, and vanilla. Add 2 TBS coconut flour with dry ingredients to help absorb additional moisture from blueberries. Add 2 tsp almond flavoring. Add 2 cups blueberries (frozen is fine) at the end, after blending all ingredients smooth. I like to fold them in with a spoon after removing bowl from food processor.

Banana Muffins here.

Chocolate Cupcakes here.

Clean Eating Day 1 [SCD, GAPS, Whole30]

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Breakfast
Hot tea, Scrambled eggs in lard (both eggs and pork pastured)
Turkey sausage patties
Half grapefruit or banana
Lunch
Veggie Soup (see recipe below)
Hot Dog link (Applegate farms from TJ’s: organic grassfed with no sugar or nitrites)
Pear Wedges
Dry roasted salted almonds
Dinner
Roasted pastured chicken (sprinkled inside and out with herbs, garlic, and coarse salt, roasted at 375 for about 2 hours)
Roasted carrots (bag of baby carrots with olive oil and coarse salt in 375 degree oven for 20? minutes alongside chicken pan, splash with balsamic and roast additional 10 minutes at 500 degrees) -wow, yum
green beans
Romaine salad with pears and soaked/dried walnuts and dressing:

Salad Dressing
juice of one lemon
1/4 cup white balsamic vinegar (TJ’s)
2 tsp. dijon mustard (TJ’s has no sugar added)
1/4 cup apple cider or juice
1/2 tsp fine salt
1 tsp tarragon, crushed fine
1 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil (TJ’s has a great price for organic)

Veggie Soup made with bone broth
Sautee 1 chopped onion, 2 lbs chopped carrots, and 1 bunch chopped celery in 4 TB ghee in a large soup pot. I do it until the sugars are released/begin to caramelize, about 30 minutes, while stirring occasionally. Add a qt. of strained bone broth, either directly from crockpot or from jarred broth. Salt with coarse sea salt, about 1 tsp, then wait 5 minutes for it to dissolve, then add more if the broth flavor tastes bland or sweet. Add water if there is not enough broth ratio for veggies and chicken. Allows to simmer until veggies are all soft, about 30 minutes. Optional: 1 Tb. curry powder. Optional: puree of all soft tissues strained from broth.

The dinner picture above doesn’t really look blog worthy…but I was too busy devouring my dinner to mind. 🙂

After dinner I removed all the leftover chicken from the bones, then put the carcass, a lemon halved, and about 3 qts of water into the crockpot to make into bone broth for lunch soup throughout the week.

A Month Of Clean Eating

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We are doing a month of “Clean Eating” for January. This was inspired by the Whole30 diet (no grains, sweets, starches, dairy for 30 days). That means eating lots of veggies, eggs, meat, some fruit, some nuts, and healthy fats.

Of course this is similar to the SCD/GAPS intro diet which we began in July 2011, although we added the SCD dairy into our diet before 30 days, and we had sweets like juice and honey from the get go.

But…we have been cheating our SC diet more and more this fall and winter, and I was making so many yummy desserts like the Chocolate Hazelnut Yule Log, and Honey Brittle that I noticed myself gaining a little weight. And I began to feel like my children survived on snacks (nuts, fruit, cheese, nut muffins) between meals…meals which were stared at glumly until cold, then gagged down under threats. (Anyone would gag on cold cooked vegetables!)

So, in addition to not eating honey, stevia, xylitol, dairy, beans, lentils, and baked goods this month, we are cutting out snacks. (I’m still serving some of the nut and fruit snacks, just at the end of the meal.) Also, the Whole30 diet allows sweet potatoes, but we won’t be having them since we are still wanting the healing benefits of SCD/GAPS.

Hopefully we can get into a habit of eating hearty at meals, and not munching all day long.

The clean fridge above? That was just before my trip to Costco, New Seasons Market (a local shop with, among other things, breakfast sausage without sugar), and Trader Joes. Now all those empty drawers are filled with veggies, meat, and eggs. Clean Eating, here we come!

My husband was delighted to note today that Superbowl Sunday is on February 3rd this year, meaning that we can snack away on all the goodies (gluten free of course) which we are denying ourselves in January.

I will attempt to give a brief overview of our eats on each of our 30 days. (Thirty days of posts…gulp.)

Chocolate Hazelnut Yule Log [SCD, GAPS]

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I made this Chocolate Hazelnut Yule Log for church potluck in December; there are about 8 other people (besides the 6 in my family) in my small church also following an scd/gaps diet, which makes potlucks a joy. This dessert turned out to be a little more effort than I had envisioned, but it made it worth it to share it with others (adults!) who appreciate the quality and effort behind such a delicious treat.

So give the recipe already, right? Here you go:

There are 4 parts to this log: the chocolate cake, a pudding filling with coconut and hazelnuts folded into it, a topping of caramel, and a frosting of Creme Fraiche and honey.

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Chocolate Cake
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Melt in saucepan on stove:
1/4 stick butter
4 Tb cocoa
1 Tb water
Combine in food processor with s blade:
1.5 packed cups almond flour
2 Tb coconut flour
1/4 tsp Real salt
3/4 tsp soda
2 tsp cinnamon
To the dry mixture, add:
Cocoa/butter mixture from stove
2 large eggs
1/4 cup scd yogurt (homemade yogurt fermented 24 hours)
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup honey
1/2 dropper stevia liquid (I used English Toffee flavor)
Pulse until smooth, scoop batter out into a greased baking paper in a sheet cake (jelly roll) pan. Use a piece of seran to flatten/squish the batter to an even thickness across the pan, about 1/2 in thick. Remove Seran and bake until fork comes out clean, 12-15 minutes. Allow to cool completely before rolling into a log.

(Because it will smell fabulous, and you/your kids can’t help yourselves, trim uneven edges off, and munch on the scraps.)

Hazelnut Filling
1/2 cup honey
1 stick butter
1/4 tsp salt (more if butter Unsalted)
Melt this together in a saucepan over medium heat, stirring constantly. When it begins to simmer, add:
1 cup almond milk (or coconut milk)
Meanwhile (don’t you love that I said ‘meanwhile’ while you are stirring constantly?), separate:
3 egg yolks (or 4 if small yolks)
from their whites into a glass bowl (save the whites for adding to another recipe). Whisk the yolks slightly, and when hot mixture is simmering, add half of it to bowl with egg yolks, whisk then pour back into the rest of mixture and whisk until yolks cook/mixture coats a spoon.
Remove from stove and stir in:
1 cup shredded unsweetened coconut
1 cup chopped hazelnuts
1 Tb rum, hazelnut flavoring, or vanilla

Allow to cool until not runny, then spread on top of chocolate cake layer. Then carefully roll the cake lengthwise and place on your serving platter.

Caramel Topping
Use this recipe for Caramel. Allow to cool about an hour before drizzling over the top of the yule log.

Craime Fraiche Frosting

This requires homemade Craime Fraiche (whipping cream cultured with yogurt starter for 24 hours).

1 pint Craime Fraiche, chilled
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 cup honey (approximately)

Using handheld electric beaters, whip cream until it thickens just as when making whipped cream. Add vanilla, then slowly add honey until all combined and light and firm peaks form.

Frost over top of Yule log. Garnish with more chopped hazelnuts.

Enjoy!

Last Week’s Meal Plan

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Mock Parmesan Chicken and Greek Salad

I made a meal plan last week, and actually stuck to it. Seems like I usually end up switching my days up, or failing to plan part of the week and ending up in a scramble, or stretching the leftovers in odd ways. Not this week!

This was my plan; just dinners, as breakfast is smoothies, eggs, yogurt, or muffins and lunch is leftovers, veggie chicken bone soup, or Applegate Farms excellent organic grassfed sugar free uncured hot dogs.

M: herb roasted pastured chicken, celery sticks and herb yogurt dip, cantaloupe
T: spinach bacon mushroom quiche and kale salad
W: chicken divan
(meat from Monday’s bird, a bag of frozen organic broccoli, mock hollandaise sauce with some added nutmeg and curry powder, topped with quatro formaggio cheese and baked at 350)
T: greek salad alongside mock chicken parmesan (4 jumbo chicken breasts in the crockpot layered with a jar of marinara, a package of sliced havarti or provolone, 1/2 cup almond flour, and 1 cup of Parmesan, cooked on high for 6 hours; cut up chicken and leave lid off for last two hours)
F: hamburgers in SCD buns with bacon and all the fixings, spiced pear tart for birthday dessert
S: grilled sirloin steak, grilled summer veggies, cantaloupe: gorgeous weather and we ate out on the patio
S: Leftovers, mainly lunch soup and chicken marinara

I planned an oven dinner for Wednesday so the oven would be warm when I began the yogurt that night, and a crockpot meal for Thursday so I wouldn’t need to use the oven while the yogurt was still in there. I soaked walnuts and almonds on Tuesday to have them ready to dry in the warming drawer while the yogurt was going in the oven. This worked so well, I’m going to do it weekly.

Also, instead of drying all the almonds, I reserved 1.5 cups of soaked almonds to make almond milk, and used the leftover meal from making the milk to make pancakes on Friday morning.

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The kids were delighted to have pancakes (with blackberry syrup) and “peach tea lattes” made with almond milk and honey on Hudson’s birthday this week. 🙂

Pizza [gluten free, SCD]

Making pizza tonight; here’s my recipe, which I’ve been using since we went grain free. It isn’t a yeast bread, so when we are back to “normal” gluten free eating (vs. grain free) I plan to perfect a better wheat dough imitation. In the meantime, this is enjoyable.

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Heat oven to 400 degrees, with stone in oven if using a pizza stone.

In food processor mix:
3 cups almond flour
3/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese (fine, in the tub)
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp soda
1 tsp Italian seasoning

Add, then process just until combined:
3 large eggs
2Tb olive oil

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Place dough onto baking parchment, cover with seran, press and/or roll into a crust the size of your pan/stone, discard seran. Remove stone from oven, and slide paper onto stone (or pan).

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Parbake for 8 minutes, then top with sauce, cheese, toppings, and more cheese. Bake at 500 for 10 minutes.

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My husband wants a “real” pizza each week (this is the only meal which he opts out of the diet the rest of us are on…and to be fair, he has never liked homemade pizza, gluten or otherwise). So the pizza on the bottom of the oven is the take-and-bake which he picks up each week. His pizza bakes at 425, so that’s what we’re baking ours at -for 14 minutes- but I think next time I will bake them separately.

Gluten-Free Ad Nauseum

I know. I’ve written a lot of gluten-free posts lately.

This isn’t intended to be a gluten-free blog; mainly my focus (normally) is how to make changes to a clean-green lifestyle. Avoiding chemicals in the home. Using personal care products that aren’t toxic. Learning some forgotten methods of cooking. Starting healthy habits.

However, since it’s the holidays, I’m doing a lot more (gluten-free) baking than usual, so that is coming out in my blog.

My apologies to those of you who don’t cook gluten-free. You’re welcome to those that do.

And post variety will resume after the holidays.

Cookie Exchange: The Perfect [GF] Chocolate Chip Cookie

Are you ready for this one? A perfect (as in the real deal) Chocolate Chip Cookie, in GF form.

It’s taken me awhile to attempt this classic. I made it today for a Christmas Party/Desert, and I knew I’d succeeded when I heard those words from a surprised guest:

They’re gluten-free? But they are so good . . . I would never have known.

GF Chocolate Chip Cookies

Whisk together:
2/3 C. brown rice flour
2/3 C. sorghum flour
1 and 1/3 C. tapioca flour
3/4 tsp. Xanthan Gum
1 tsp. soda
1/2 tsp. salt

In a separate bowl, cream:
1 cup organic butter, softened* (see note below)
3/4 C. packed organic brown sugar
3/4 C. organic granulated sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
1 large egg

Add half of flour mixture to wet mixture, work in with beaters, then work in the rest of the flour. Add:

1 bag (12 oz.) semi-sweet chocolate chips

Drop in rounded spoonfuls onto an ungreased baking sheet (I use my baking stones). Bake at 375 for 10-12 minutes, or when you begin to see the edges browning. Remove from oven and let stand on baking sheets for 2 minutes, then remove to racks to cool.

Yields 3-4 dozen cookies, depending on how large you like ’em. (I make mine like prizes: 3 dozen is all I got out of one batch.)

* The key to perfect cookies is to have butter at the right temperature. Leaving butter on the counter for about an hour will cause the butter to be soft enough to cream yet firm enough to hold the cookie in shape while it bakes. Melted butter is a disaster: flat cookies. Cold butter won’t cream.

Six and Twenty Blackbirds, Baked in a Pie

OK, so I didn’t have black birds, just a turkey. But turkeys have a lot of meat, so after the initial roasted turkey meal, I usually do a lot of soup, sandwiches, and an occasional casserole.

But after such success with my GF pie crust, I decided to make a turkey pot pie.

Oh Yum.

I sauteed onion in butter, added GF flour, salt and pepper, simmered with turkey bone broth and some leftover GF gravy. I layered this in a GF pie crust with cut up turkey dark meat and peas and carrots. Baked until golden and flakey.

That’s comfort food.

 

Fantastic (Gluten Free) Pie Crust

Just made this pie crust for Thanksgiving; used it for a single crust pumpkin pie, and a two crust peach pie. It was so fantastic my mother preferred it to her white flour pie crust.

Fantastic (Gluten Free) Pie Crust
(adapted from a recipe by Jo Ella Sellers)

In a medium size bowl, whisk together:

 

Cut in until the size of beans:

  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
  • 1/2 cup beef tallow, duck fat, or lard

 

Beat the egg using a fork, then add with the vinegar and ice water:

Stir into the flour mixture, forming a ball. You may kneed this a bit, since this dough can stand handling. Wrap the dough in seran and refrigerate for 1 hour or more to chill. Divide the dough into 2 pieces, which will each be a pie crust. Roll with a little sweet rice flour between two pieces of seran. It is easier if you have a small rolling pin. Remove the top layer of seran, invert into the pie plate, then remove the remaining seran. Crimp edges, and bake as the pie recipe directs. (I did not prebake before pouring in the pumpkin pie filling and baking.)

For a baked crust, prick the pastry with a fork on the sides and bottom. Bake in a preheated oven at 375 for 10 minutes, or until slightly browned. Cool before filling.

Makes enough pastry for two 9 inch pie shells, or one two crust pie.