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Posts Tagged ‘gluten-free’

I love a good Sunday brunch and growing up brunch was always a stack of steaming pancakes, buttered and drenched in pure maple syrup served with a side of crispy bacon.  Up until I was in my teens, pancakes in our house were delivered courtesy of Aunt Jemima, a prepackaged mix consisting mainly of bleached flour, sugar and preservatives (yikes!).   Later, my mum traded in Aunt Jemima for her own recipe and what she still believes to be a much “healthier” version made using whole wheat flour.  While both were equally delicious, they are both full of refined grains and sugar, making them far from paleo friendly.   

Since moving to a paleo/primal lifestyle, I’ve been experimenting with pancake recipes and think I have finally come up with a recipe that makes super light and fluffy pancakes that I believe are far tastier than the traditional paleo pancakes that use almond meal or coconut flour as their base.  The trick I found to making these ones light and fluffy is to beat the egg whites into soft peaks before adding the remainder of the ingredients.   These pancakes are fluffy, delicious and taste just like pumpkin pie.  Feel free to serve them up with some fresh berries and bacon because bacon makes everything better!!!

Ingredients:

  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup egg whites
  • 1/4 cup organic pumpkin puree (make sure you use puree not pumpkin pie filling)
  • 1 tbsp raw almond butter
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1/8 tsp vanilla seeds (optional)
  • 1 tsp pure maple syrup (optional)
  • 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • cinnamon to taste (optional)
  • 1 tsp coconut oil

Directions

  1. Separate egg.  Place yolk in one bowl and egg white in another.
  2. To the bowl with the egg white, add the additional 1/4 cup of egg whites.   Beat egg whites with electric mixer on high-speed until soft peaks occur ~ 2-3 minutes (you can also use a whisk, but this will take much longer!)
  3. To the bowl with the yolk, add the remaining ingredients (pumpkin puree, vanilla, vanilla seed (if using), almond butter and spices).  Blend with mixer until combined.
  4. Add the pumpkin mixture to the egg whites and beat on slowest speed with mixer until just combined.  Don’t over-mix as you don’t want to lose the air out of the egg whites. 
  5. Heat a large skillet or griddle over medium heat.  Melt coconut oil and remove excess with paper towel.
  6. Pour about 1/4 cup of the batter into the pan to make one pancake, repeat to make 2 or 3 more depending on the size of your skillet. 
  7. Cook pancakes for about 2 or 3 minutes until golden brown on bottom.  Flip with spatula and continue cooking on other side until cooked through and bottom is golden brown ~ 2 to 3 minutes
  8. Remove to plate and serve immediately.  
  9. Feel free to serve the pancakes with any of your favorite fruits and of course bacon! 

***For a twist on this recipe try replacing the 1/4 cup pumpkin puree and pumpkin pie spice with 1/4 cup mashed very ripe banana and cinnamon.   Equally delicious!

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Recently, Crossfit Vancouver organized a Grass-Fed Bison delivery from Maluma  and I was quick to jump all over this.  My “starter box” of varying cuts of meat weighing in at a whopping 45lbs arrived straight from the farm.  I’m not going to lie, 45lbs of meat is a little bigger than I imagined it would be!   Thankfully all of it fit nicely into my freezer and since arriving I’ve been experimenting in the kitchen just a little bit!   Bison meat is awesome and one of my new favourites.  It’s so full of flavor and it’s health benefits are far superior to traditional red meats. 

For this recipe I’ve used braising steaks which are traditionally a tougher cut of meat so are best if marinated overnight.  In addition, it’s important to not over-cook your Bison.  You will find that the meat will cook much faster than your traditional store-bought meat and like any grass-fed meat it’s better served medium-rare.  

Ingredients:

  • 2-3lbs Braising Bison Steaks (any kind of steak will work)
  • 1 cup beef stock
  • 1 tbsp dried rosemary
  • pepper to taste
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1/2 lb sliced mushrooms
  • 1 1/2 tbsp dry sherry wine (optional)

Directions:  

  1. In large ziploc bag combine 1/2 cup of the beef stock, rosemary and pepper.  Add the Bison steaks, seal the bag and place in refrigerator to marinade over night or up to 24 hours.   
  2. Heat coconut oil in large cast iron skillet over medium-high heat.   Remove Bison steaks from marinade and discard marinade. 
  3. Add Bison to skillet and sear both sides of Bison (~ 2 min/side).  Remove Bison and set aside
  4. Add remaining 1/2 cup beef stock to pan and de-glaze pan (basically scrape the skillet to free up any stuck bits and mix these into stock). 
  5. Add mushrooms to pan, cover and cook until mushrooms are tender ~ 10 minutes.
  6. Add Sherry and bring to simmer, this will evaporate any alcohol from the Sherry.   Simmer for 2-3 minutes.
  7. Add Bison to mushroom mixture and heat until Bison is medium rare.  This will depend on the thickness of your steak  – for 1″ thickness this was about 5 minutes. 
  8. Remove Bison and mushrooms from pan and simmer sauce until thickened slightly.    Pour over Bison and enjoy.
  9. I served my Bison with a mixture of sautéed swiss chard, mushrooms and onion.

This recipe may seem a like it has a lot of steps, but it was dead easy and ready in about 20 minutes (minus the marinade time of course)!

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With the days getting shorter and the temperatures falling, I find myself craving warm hearty meals once again.  Being the kid of a British mum, Shepherd’s Pie was a fairly regular weeknight winter meal at our dinner table.   It was one of our favorite dishes and seldom were there any leftovers.  We would even fight over who got the crispy potato pieces left on the sides of the empty dish!

This recipe is my take on this classic favorite where I’ve switch out many of the traditional ingredients to create a much healthier paleo friendly meal that will definitely have you coming back for seconds.  Enjoy!

Ingredients:

  • 1.5 lbs lean ground beef or ground bison
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 carrot, finely chopped
  • 1 stalk celery, finely chopped
  • 1/2 small onion, finely chopped
  • 1/2 red pepper, finely chopped
  • 1/2 lb cremini mushrooms, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup beef stock, or more if required
  • 1 bunch of black kale (or any kind of kale), washed, thick part of stems removed and torn into bite size pieces
  • 1/2 tsp each red pepper flakes, thyme and fennel seed
  • 1 tsp each dried rosemary and parsley
  • 1 bay leaf
  • salt & pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees
  2. In large saucepan over medium high heat, heat coconut oil
  3. Add carrot, celery, onion and red pepper and saute for a couple of minutes until soften slightly
  4. Add mushrooms and saute until being to sweat ~ 5 minutes
  5. Add ground meat and cook until browned ~ 7-10 minutes, stirring frequently
  6. Add spices and beef stock, cover and simmer over low heat for ~ 20 minutes
  7. Add kale, stir to combine and cover and continue cooking until kale is tender
  8. Using a slotted spoon so not to transfer any remaining fluid, transfer meat mixture to oven proof casserole dish
  9. Top with Mashed Cauliflower (see recipe below), spreading evenly to all sides to completely cover the meat mixture .  Then, using a fork, lightly drag it across the cauliflower mixture to create lines (this will help with browning)
  10. Bake in 350 degree oven for 25 minutes until heated through
  11. Turn broiler on for last 5 minutes of cooking time (or more if required) to create a lightly browned top 
  12. Remove from oven and cool for 5 minutes before serving

Mashed Cauliflower

Ingredients:

  • 1 head cauliflower, cut into small florets
  • 2 tbsp coconut milk
  • salt & pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Steam cauliflower until very tender
  2. Transfer to food processor and puree until mashed consistency
  3. Add coconut milk and season with salt & pepper and puree until combined

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Roasted Mixed Nuts

For most of us who follow a primal/paleo diet, nuts have become a daily staple as they are a quick satisfying snack that also provides us with a good dose of essential fats and minerals.  In addition, many nuts including almonds and walnuts have also been linked to reduced cardiovascular risk. 

However, having to deal with food allergies has also opened my eyes to what is really included in commercially roasted nuts.  While it’s easy to reach for the roasted nuts over the sugar laden variety in the store, roasted nuts can often contain added unfavorable oils (i.e. corn, soybean or peanut), refined sugars and/or preservatives (i.e. wheat starch), thus making these commercially prepared varieties unacceptable under the primal/paleo eating plan and also very dangerous to those with food allergies. 

Roasting raw nuts at home is an easy way to avoid these hidden dangers and also produces what I believe is a fresher tasting more flavorful product then anything you can buy in the store.  When selecting what nuts to roast keep in mind that peanuts and cashews are not considered paleo as peanuts are in fact a legume and cashews contain a poisonous toxic making them inedible when raw.   For my nut mix, I selected almonds, walnuts and pecans, all acceptable under the primal/paleo eating plan and are also of similar size making them easy to roast together. 

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups of mixed nuts (I’ve used raw almonds, raw walnut pieces and raw pecans)

Let’s get Roasting

  1. Spread nuts into single layer on an aluminum baking sheet
  2. Roast in 400 degree oven for 12 minutes or until the nuts emit a fragrant aroma.  Turn once during cooking

Note:  Keep and eye on the nuts to ensure they don’t burn.  If you’re using a non-stick baking sheet, the nuts will cook much faster and will need to be turned more frequently to ensure they are evenly roasted.

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Being a Vancouver resident, and a new one at that, you can only imagine how exciting the past few weeks have been with the lead up to the Olympics, hence the lag since my last post!    This City has truly come alive and it almost surreal to believe that the Olympics is happening right in my backyard… literally!  It is only Day 5, but it has already been an unbelieveable past few days, with memories to last a life time and ones that I’ve been able to share with some great friends and family.  To kick it all of and get the party started right, I hosted a  “Go Canada Go!!!” Opening Ceremonies party.  

Seeing that I love to bake and am a huge believer that any good party is only complete when it has a great cake, I wanted to create a dish that was as primal as possible, but still a crowd pleaser for all my non-primal friends.  Like most of my baking, coconut flour forms the basis of this recipe as I prefer it to almond flour as it’s lower in fat and when sifted is of better consistency for baking cakes and muffins.   It doesn’t hurt that it is also high in fibre and very low in carbohydrates, making it an excellent primal choice.  

For the Cake:

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups coconut flour
  • 12 eggs
  • 4 ripe bananas mashed
  • 4 tbsp grape seed oil
  • 4 tbsp coconut milk
  • 4 tbsp maple syrup
  • 2 tsp gluten & corn free baking powder
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 cup chopped pecans

Let’s Get Cooking:

  1. In large bowl beat eggs until light and fluffy
  2. Add oil, milk and maple syrup and beat for ~ 1 min
  3. Add banana and vanilla and beat until well combined and mixture becomes a bit frothy
  4. In separate bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, cinnamon and salt
  5. Add flour mixture to liquid mixture and mix on low speed until well combined
  6. Stir in pecans
  7. Pour into 9 X 13 parchment paper lined baking dish and bake in 375 oven for 20 minutes or until cake tester comes out clean

Note: For a smaller cake, you can cut the recipe in half and cook it in an 8X8 square pan or alternatively, make muffins instead. 

Semi-Primal Cream Cheese Frosting

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup whipping cream
  • 250 g cream cheese
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 tbsp vanilla 

Let’s Whip it Up

  1. In bowl beat whipping cream until stiff peaks appear
  2. In separate bowl, beat cream cheese until smooth
  3. Add maple syrup and vanilla to cream cheese, beat until combined
  4. Fold in whipped cream to cream cheese mixture until combined
  5. Refrigerate until ready to use

To assemble, turn cake on to plate and spread top and sides of cake with frosting.   For the leaf and rings I added a small amount of food colouring to the icing mixture and piped it onto the cake.   The cake is equally as good minus the frosting if you want to be a little bit more paleo/primal conscious. 

GO CANADA GO!!!

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Today is Superbowl Sunday and with that there is usually an array of all things non-primal and non-allergy friendly.   The wings, the beer, the nachos, the chips… you name it, it will all likely be there.   While I do support the need to have a good cheat day every once and a while, many of our favorite party foods can be easily modified with just a few simple changes and little creativity.   Being extremely short on time today and also in need of an easily transportable dish that could be served cold, I came up with this little number.   It took only about 20  minutes to prepare and is a great refreshing, healthy and primal friendly dish that will be sure to please any crowd.   

Ingredients:

  • 3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1 inch cubes
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil
  • Salt & pepper

Cilantro Lime Pesto

  • 1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 1 inch piece of ginger root, peeled and chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves peeled
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk
  • 1 large bunch of cilantro
  • 4 springs of mint
  • 1/2 tsp of salt
  • juice of 1 -2 limes

Let’s get Cooking

For the chicken:

  1. Season chicken with salt & pepper
  2. Heat coconut oil in fry pan over medium-high heat
  3. Add chicken and sauté until cooked through, remove from pan and cool

For the Pesto:

  1. In food processor, purée pepper, garlic, ginger and coconut milk until it forms a paste
  2. Add cilantro and mint and pulse until the herbs are blended
  3. Add salt and with food processor running add limes, one half at a time.  Taste after you have added 1 lime to see if you want more flavour, if so add the remaining lime
  4. Remove from food processor and serve.
  5. The pesto will also keep refrigerated in a sealed jar for up to a month. 

Note:  The chicken can be served either hot or cold.  As I needed a dish to transport, I’ve opted to serve my cold. 

If you’re looking for more primal friendly party food ideas, check out my friend Cosmopolitan Primal Girl’s blog for some great primal twists on a few classic dishes.

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I have to admit that at first, the idea of cooking a whole chicken to feed just myself  seemed just a little bit excessive.  However craving a good old-fashioned Sunday Dinner like my Mum makes,  and knowing that it would give me lots of leftovers for the week, I decided why not give it a whirl.  The great thing about this one is it takes just minutes to prep the chicken and then you just let the oven do all the work.  All it takes is a few simple ingredients placed inside the cavity of the chicken to give you a wonderfully tender, moist and flavourful meal. 

Ingredients

  • 1 small roasting chicken
  • 1 lemon, washed and cut in half
  • 10 sprigs of fresh thyme
  • 4 garlic cloves, peeled and cut in half
  • Freshly ground salt & pepper
  • Olive oil

Let’s get cooking: 

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. If the chicken has been tied, remove the string and also ensure you remove the bag of giblets inside the cavity if they came with your chicken
  3. Rinse chicken in cold water, both inside and out, dry thoroughly as this will make sure the skin crisps up.
  4. Season the chicken cavity with salt & pepper
  5. Layer the thyme, garlic and lemon halves inside the chicken cavity
  6. Place on roasting rack, breast side up.   No need to tie it back up as it will cook faster spread eagle style!
  7. Rub skin all over with olive oil – I used about 1/2 tbsp
  8. Place in oven and roast at 350 degrees for about 1 hour and 30 minutes.  The time will depend on the size of your chicken.  Best way to check is to make sure the chicken registers 165 degrees when tested with a meat thermometer in the thickest part of the thigh.
  9. Once cooked, remove from oven and tent with foil for 10-15 minutes. 

Note:  I used thyme for this one, but any spices will do so don’t be afraid to experiment.  Rosemary, sage, shallots would be great as well.

Stuck on what to do with the leftovers – Why not whip up a batch of Chicken and Kelp Noodle Soup.  Using cooked chicken will save you about 10 minutes cooking time.

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