dairy-free

Recipe: Spiced Seed & Honey Granola (gluten-free, nut-free, low sugar)

Seedy Granola

So many packaged or bulk granolas have glutenous ingredients, are packed full of nuts (I'm allergic to almost all of them), are waaaay too sweet for my tastes, or have more dried fruit than I like. And thus, I prefer making my own granola. Not only is it cheaper, but I can make it fit my tastes and dietary restrictions perfectly! Here's a recipe I'm making a lot lately. It boasts a variety of seeds (pumpkin, sunflower, sesame, and flax) as well as coconut, honey, spices, vanilla, and raisins. As for the fat, I love using coconut oil in granola; it lends a wonderfully sweet flavor and fragrance. With a splash of coconut milk or a dollop of Greek yogurt, it makes a great energy-packed breakfast or snack. 

Spiced Seed & Honey Granola (gluten-free, nut-free, low sugar)

yield: 7-8 cups

This granola is very lightly sweetened with honey. I love the subtle sweetness in combination with the roasty toasty oats and seeds. If you prefer a sweeter granola, feel free to up the quantity of sweetener to 1/2 or 2/3 cup, to fit your tastes. It will still work a-okay, but based on my experiences, it will need to bake just a little longer due to the extra moisture. 

Ingredients

  • 4 cups gluten-free rolled oats
  • 1 cup coconut chips
  • 1 cup raw sunflower seeds
  • 1 cup raw pumpkin seeds
  • 1/4 cup sesame seeds
  • 1/4 cup ground flax seeds
  • 1 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons melted coconut oil
  • optional: 1 teaspoon gluten-free vanilla extract
  • 1 cup raisins

Directions

Pre-heat oven to 325º F and line two large baking sheets with parchment paper. 

In a large bowl, mix together oats, coconut chips, seeds, salt, and spices. Set aside. 

In a small saucepan on the stovetop, melt together honey and coconut oil over low heat, stirring often, until liquid. Stir in vanilla extract, if using. Pour liquid mixture over dry ingredients and stir until evenly coated.

Divide granola between baking sheets and spread evently in a thin layer over surface. Place in pre-heated oven and bake for 15 minutes. Remove pans from oven, stir granola, and place pans back in oven on opposite shelves. Bake another 15 minutes, until golden brown.

Remove pans from oven and let cool completely. Granola will crisp as it cools.

Once cool, store in sealed jars or containers. Will keep for 2 weeks.  

Substitution options:

  • Substitute raisins with any other dried fruit.
  • Substitute honey with other liquid sweetener (maple syrup, agave nectar, brown rice syrup). Keep in mind each one has a different intensity of sweetness, so it may be less - or more - sweet depending on your substitution. 
  • Substitute coconut oil with another oil, such as sunflower oil
  • Substitute sunflower and pumpkin seeds with any type of nut
  • Substitute sesame seeds with hemp seeds
  • Play with other spices, such as nutmeg or ground ginger 

*The information provided on this site is intended for your general knowledge only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice or treatment for specific medical conditions. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease without consulting with a qualified healthcare provider. Please consult your healthcare provider with any questions or concerns you may have regarding your condition.

*Heads up! This post may contain some affiliate links. If you buy something through one of those links you won't pay a single cent more, but I'll get a small commission that helps keep the content flowing. P.S. I only recommend products I use in my own daily life!

Recipe: Gluten-Free Pumpkin Muffins (GF, dairy-free, cane sugar-free, low sugar)

So it's not *really* spring here yet. Technically it is, but the ongoing weather proves otherwise. It was snowing out this morning! For obvious reasons, "spring" food isn't really happening yet. I yearn for pea shoots, fresh lettuces, tiny radishes, and sweet crunchy kohlrabi. But given the chilly temperatures, I'm still eating root veggies, cooked greens, etc etc etc. Geez.

Since it feels like we are moving backward through the seasons instead of forward, diving headlong back into fall, I decided to make some pumpkin muffins. They are a little autumnal for this time of year, but based on the chilly temperatures, they fit right in. Aaaaand they are gluten-free, dairy-free, and cane sugar-free. I like this recipe because it makes a muffin that isn't very sweet. You can really taste the pumpkin! I mean really, if you are looking for sugarbomb baked goods, you are reading the wrong blog. They are moist and just a little sweet, with a good balance of pumpkin flavor and spice. Nice.

Pumpkin Muffins (gluten-free, dairy-free, cane sugar-free, low sugar)

yield: 10-12 regular-size muffins

I like this recipe because it is free of xanthan gum or other binders, and is low in sugar. This yields 10 to 12 muffins, depending on how exact you are with filling the muffin tins and how large your muffin tins are. I have not tried this using a "flax" egg or another egg-substitute. If you do, please let me know how it works for you!

Ingredients

  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup melted coconut oil or sunflower oil (if you are a dairy-eater, this recipe is great with melted butter too)
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons agave nectar
  • 120 grams (1 cup) sorghum flour
  • 60 grams (1/2 cup) oat flour
  • 30 grams (1/4 cup) tapioca starch aka tapioca flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a muffin tin very well or line with cute muffin papers (I like dinosaur muffin papers).

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flours, starch, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and pumpkin pie spice until mixture is light and well-mixed. Set aside.

In a large bowl with stand mixer or hand mixer, combine pumpkin, eggs, oil, water, vanilla, and Agave nectar. Mix until ingredients are smooth and well-combined. Then add dry ingredients gradually, scraping sides as you go, until mixture is just combined.

Spoon batter into the prepared muffin pan, filling about 3/4 of the way ( I like using a cookie scoop for this - easy peasy!) and place in the pre-heated oven. Bake in preheated oven for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove from oven and cool 10 minutes in pan, then remove from pan and allow to finish cooling on rack.

Store in a well-sealed container or wrapped tightly in foil or in a storage bag. These muffins freeze well and can be thawed at room temperature or on a defrost setting in the microwave.

*The information provided on this site is intended for your general knowledge only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice or treatment for specific medical conditions. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease without consulting with a qualified healthcare provider. Please consult your healthcare provider with any questions or concerns you may have regarding your condition.

*Heads up! This post may contain some affiliate links. If you buy something through one of those links you won't pay a single cent more, but I'll get a small commission that helps keep the content flowing. P.S. I only recommend products I use in my own daily life!

A personal tale of overindulgence and a recipe for Totally Loaded Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

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During my time away from the blog, I made a lot of cookies. And by that I mean two batches or so every week for about two months. In retrospect, I believe I was possessed by a cookie demon, an apron-clad creature that breathes flour from its nose, has beaters instead of hands, and whose eyes are glazed sticky sweet with honey. My kitchen became host to mixing bowls in the sink, flour on the floor, and a tin of cookies on the counter at all times. I fed my housemates cookies. I bestowed cookies upon friends. I wooed with cookies. Yes, wooed. And of course, I consumed many of them myself. 

My baking bonanza was part of a larger pattern of self-indulgence that started last fall. I had been weaning off my drugs since last October after two years of heavy antibiotic treatment for Lyme Disease and related tickborne co-infections. My doctor had told me that I was in remission, and we should try running an experiment to see how my body behaved without treatment. I took my last pill in late November, a landmark event. In a somewhat reckless (yet well-deserved) move, I celebrated.

Caution, moderation, and self-control are not my natural and preferred methods of approaching the world. I've had to develop them in the last few years out of health-related necessity, and I managed to drum up gumption that I didn't know I had. I was so tired of regulating myself. So I threw care to the wind.

I let go. 

I cheered myself with wine and coffee and all number of things that I had forbade myself from partaking in the last 4 years, returning to a slightly amended version of my habits of old. Concurrently, I indulged my heart and body, spending obsessive amounts of time in a blissed out haze of crushy giddiness with a pleasure rebel of equal measure to me. I laughed more than I'd laughed in years, shaking out the dust and cobwebs from prior years of sick sorrow. I fed parts of my soul that had lay hungry for far too long. 

It was all so needed, a medicine all of its own. I knew all of that was a recipe for inevitable intense consequence, but I didn't care. I wanted to experience every moment the present so badly, so I did. 

Everything hit an unfortunately timed wall in the desolate grey of mid-February, a tsunami wave of intrinsically cyclical circumstances. Cookies, wine, and losing time in starry-eyed explorations were replaced by new antibiotic regimens, detox baths, and days lost in battling Herxes from Hell. I was in physical and emotional crisis. My behaviors had fed my soul, but had also fed all the sleeping bugs in my system and brought them back to life. I had symptoms I hadn't experienced in months and years. I felt nauseous from the drugs in my system and the lonely pit in my stomach.  My head throbbed and shooting pains transversed my flesh. Worse yet, my swinging manic depressive cycles joined forces with a wicked Bartonella brain freakout and an aching heart, forming an unholy trinity of psychological destruction. Thoughts of self-harm wracked my brain, unlike any I'd had in years. It was terrifying.

I couldn't eat, I couldn't sleep, nights were silent and solitary. I struggled to unravel the pain, grappling to discern what to attribute to the flare in my illnesses, or to side effects from the pharmaceuticals, or to the deep depressive cycles, or to the unraveling of intimacy. I was plagued by frustration for taking everything "too far", indulging "too much", feeling "too deeply". I thrived at very little other than taking my pills, crying, watching Netflix, and writing depressing poetry.

What a clusterfuck.  

hellobeautiful

Thankfully, within the last few weeks, a switch has begun to flip. My body has started to acclimate, my depression has started to lift, my lonliness has slowly subsided. Some light poked through the clouds and I have flocked to it. And now, I'm feeling pretty good -- all things considered.

Matters of the body, mind, and heart have all achieved a certain level of balance and redefinition and appreciation. Times like this are for learning, growing, and self-reflection. It takes patience and faith and hard work. And sometimes it sucks. But in my experience, in this life of mine, things usually end up better after a bout like this. And thankfully, they have. 

I'm not baking many cookies right now. My tendancy to overindulge doesn't bode well with the way antibiotics effect my body, so I'm putting on the brakes the best I can. But have a storehouse of recipes from my winter baking binge to revisit. I made these little love nuggets last weekend for a potluck, to great delight of all who ate. They are loaded with all kinds of stuff, a celebration of all the ways I like to overdo. But the gluttony is tempered by whole grains and healthy fat and sensible sweeteners. It's the sort of balance I am trying to achieve. 

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Totally Loaded Oatmeal Raisin Cookies  (gluten-free, dairy-free, cane sugar-free)

yields 3 dozen 3-inch cookies

In addition to boasting whole grains, raisins, cashews, and coconut, these cookies are totally loaded with protein, fiber, and amino acids. Sweet.

A few tips on the fat. Make sure to use softened - not melted - coconut oil. If you are a butter eater, an equal weight of butter can be substituted. Also, chill the dough in the fridge for 3-4 hours before baking. Why? Chilling the dough hardens the coconut oil and shortening, so it doesn't melt as quickly while the cookies are baking. Instead of spreading out like weird pancakes and ending up lacy and thin, cookies baked from chilled dough spread gradually and end up slightly chewy in the middle and crisp on the outside. Totally worth the wait, trust me. And besides, it gives you lots of time to sneak into the fridge and eat spoonfulls of dough. Because duh, why else bake cookies?!

  • 90 grams / 0.75 cup quinoa flour or amaranth flour*
  • 60 grams / scant 0.5 cup arrowroot starch or arrowroot flour (equal weight of tapioca flour or tapioca starch can be substituted)
  • 40 grams / 0.25 cup buckwheat flour 
  • 5 grams / 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 5 grams / 0.75 teaspoon salt
  • 9 grams / 1 tablespoon + 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 150 grams / 0.5 cup + 3.5 tablespoons softened virgin coconut oil 
  • 75 grams / 0.25 cup + 2 tablespoons palm shortening
  • 170 grams / 1 cup palm sugar (or equal weight of another granulated sugar, such as coconut sugar)
  • 80 grams / 0.25 cup maple syrup
  • 2 large eggs
  • 8 grams / 2 teaspoons gluten-free vanilla extract
  • 290 grams / 3 cups gluten-free rolled oats
  • 225 grams / 1.5 cup lightly packed raisins
  • 85 grams / 1 cup shredded unsweetened coconut
  • 100 grams / 0.75 cup toasted chopped cashews

In a medium bowl, whisk together flours, baking soda, and salt until well combined and light. Set aside.

In a large bowl, cream coconut oil and shortening until smooth and fluffy. Then add sugar, maple syrup, and vanilla and beat until smooth (some sugar granules may remain, that's okay). Add eggs and mix just until they are evenly combined. Gradually add flour and mix until evenly incorporated.

Then fold in oats, raisins, coconut, and cashews with a large sturdy spoon or spatula. Cover dough with plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for 3-4 hours.

Heat oven to 350º F and line baking sheets with parchment. Scoop chilled dough onto a baking sheet, leaving 3 inches or so between each cookie. Bake for approximately 16 minutes per batch, rotating pans half way through if baking two sheets at a time. Cookies should still be soft in the middle but browned around the edges, then remove from oven.

Let cool for 5 minutes before carefully transferring cookies to a wire rack to finish cooling. Store cooled cookies in a well-sealed jar, container, or bag at room temperature for up to 4 days (although they won't last that long).

*Flour Power! If you can't find quinoa or amaranth flour for purchase, or if you want to save some ching, grind your own. Simply place whole quinoa or amaranth grains in a high powered blender like a Vitamix or a coffee grinder, and grind until you create very fine flour with an even texture. So easy and so fresh!

*The information provided on this site is intended for your general knowledge only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice or treatment for specific medical conditions. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease without consulting with a qualified healthcare provider. Please consult your healthcare provider with any questions or concerns you may have regarding your condition.

*Heads up! This post may contain some affiliate links. If you buy something through one of those links you won't pay a single cent more, but I'll get a small commission that helps keep the content flowing. P.S. I only recommend products I use in my own daily life!

Recipe: Who needs potatoes when you have Parsnip Apple Mash?

Recipe: Who needs potatoes when you have Parsnip Apple Mash?

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I haven't eaten potatoes in almost 4 years. Although I undeniably enjoy the starchy goodness of a potato and the multiplicity of ways to enjoy them, consuming them just isn't worth the allergy-induced joint swelling and digestive discomfort that inevitably results. 

Instead of mourning over the loss of potatoes, I found solace in other starchy vegetables. Sweet potatoes have always reigned supreme over any other true potato in my book, and I enjoyed a reason to romance their sweet, orange flesh. I adopted my mother's love for parsnips and beets at a young age, and explored their versatility further, quickly becoming obsessed with their different yet equally sweet flavors and hearty textures. I explored the glory of the celeriac, the gnarly vegetable that is also known as celery root, and took a liking to its unique, strong flavor. I tried every squash I could get my hands on, and prepared it almost every way I could think of. I mashed cauliflower to use as a topping for shepherd's pie, made creamy pureed soups from turnips, and made french fries out of rutabagas and carrots. 

Truly, I haven't missed potatoes a bit. 

Recipe: No-Bake Sweet Potato Pie (gluten-free, vegan, low-sugar, grain-free, nut-free)

No-Bake Sweet Potato Pie

The original recipe for this pie was published in my 2011 recipe calendar A Year to Eat Freely. It was a really fun recipe project that I had for sale through Etsy. While I won't be publishing another calendar for 2012, I really enjoyed the learning process and experience of creating the first calendar. 

I made a few tweaks to the original recipe and wanted to share it with you. It is different than a traditonal sweet potato pie that is baked, but has its own distinctive flavor and texture that is very good. It would be perfect for your holiday table. 

No-Bake Sweet Potato Pie

yield 1 8- or 9-inch pie

Filling

  • 3 cups cooked sweet potato puree (from about 2 1/2 pounds sweet potato, or 3 large)
  • 1 1/4 milk full fat coconut milk or other non-dairy milk (a fattier milk like nut milk or hemp milk is better)
  • 1 teaspoon agar agar powder or 1 teaspoon unflavored powdered gelatin
  • 1 tablespoon melted coconut oil, ghee, or other neutral-tasting oil
  • 1 teaspoon gluten-free vanilla extract
  • 30-40 drops plain or vanilla stevia liquid
  • 3-4 tablespoons honey, maple syrup, or agave nectar
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 2 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Crust

  • 3 tablespoon finely ground chia seeds
  • 1 1/2 cups raw sunflower seeds
  • 1 1/2 cup unsweetened finely shredded coconut
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup, honey, or agave nectar, or more to taste
  • 25-30 drops plain or vanilla stevia liquid
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 3-4 tablespoons apple cider or apple juice

Bake the Potatoes

Heat oven to 400° F. Pierce each sweet potato several times with a fork. Place the sweet potatoes on a rimmed baking sheet lined with foil. Bake until tender, about 45 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool for 10-15 minutes.

Prepare Crust

While sweet potatoes cool, prepare crust. Lightly toast seeds and coconut in batches in a large dry sauté pan over medium heat, stirring often until lightly golden then remove from heat and let cool. Place cooled seeds and coconut in food processor, along with ground chia seeds, cinnamon, and salt, and grind until fine. Whisk together apple cider, maple syrup/honey/agave nectar, stevia, and vanilla in a small bowl. Pour into food processor with machine running, until it forms a sticky dough, stopping to scrape sides as needed. Add more apple cider/juice by the tablespoon if mixture is too dry. Let sit for 5 minutes. 

Lightly oil a glass pie plate. Reserve 2 tablespoons of the seed mixture, then press remaining mixture firmly on the bottom and sides of the pie plate, smoothing with wet fingers or a silicon spatula, forming a thick, even crust. Set aside as you prepare filing. 

Prepare Filling

Scoop out sweet potato flesh and place in a blender or food processor, and process until smooth. If too thick or dry, add a small amount of apple juice, apple cider, or water by the tablespoon until mixture moves smoothly. Scoop out 3 cups to use for filling, and save any extra for other recipes. 

Sprinkle agar agar or gelatin over 1/4 cup of coconut milk and sit for 5 minutes, then whisk vigorously. While it sits, bring remaining 1 cup of milk to a boil in a saucepan. Add whisked gelatin/agar agar liquid and stir while simmering, whisking until fully dissolved, about 3-4 minutes. Add hot milk mixture to a food processor blender along with sweet potato and remaining filling ingredients. Process until totally smooth, adjusting sweetener to taste.

Assemble the Pie

Spread filling evenly into prepared crust, smoothing with a spatula, then sprinkling top of pie with reserved seed mixture. Place in the refrigerator and cool for at least 4 hours, until filling is firm. Remove from refrigerator and let sit out for 15-20 minutes before serving. Store in the refrigerator.

*The information provided on this site is intended for your general knowledge only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice or treatment for specific medical conditions. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease without consulting with a qualified healthcare provider. Please consult your healthcare provider with any questions or concerns you may have regarding your condition.

*Heads up! This post may contain some affiliate links. If you buy something through one of those links you won't pay a single cent more, but I'll get a small commission that helps keep the content flowing. P.S. I only recommend products I use in my own daily life!