Sunday, October 30, 2016

Gluten-Free Shortbread Cookies (egg-free, refined sugar-free)


Happy fall! I have a delicious gluten-free shortbread cookie recipe for you today! I recently became friends with a new family that came to our school. I began to talk this beautiful mama a few weeks ago at a birthday party and we could not stop talking about food! As it turns out she cooks just like I do, and creates many of her own recipes....all gluten-free, dairy-free, and refined sugar-free! She gave me a loose recipe for these shortbread cookies. I then tested it to create a recipe someone else could follow. I'm so grateful for this recipe as it can be used in so many ways! Pictured here I have them made into sandwich cookies filled with my dairy-free Sweet Potato Buttercream Frosting and then drizzled with melted dark chocolate. You could also dip them in melted chocolate and then decorate with whatever you have on hand. Try shredded coconut, crushed walnuts, goji berries, powdered freeze-dried strawberries, or natural sprinkles.

You will notice that this recipe uses a number of different gluten-free flours. I usually like to keep things simple and stick to one or two for my recipes, however, I found that this particular combination works wonders for shortbread cookies. My boys find that the quinoa flour is slightly bitter for their tastes, which is interesting because they normally eat a lot of bitter greens. Quinoa flour is very light and fine, and lends a very good texture to these cookies, which is why I use it. You can replace it with brown rice flour if you are concerned about the aftertaste, though I don't notice it at all.

This shortbread cookie recipe would also be great to bake during Christmastime using holiday-themed cookie cutters. Or Valentine's day....or Easter! Have fun with this recipe! I hope you like it at as much as we do. :)

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Dairy-Free Sweet Potato Buttercream Frosting (refined sugar-free, vegan)


It's not easy coming up with a whole food-based frosting that is as nutritious as it is tasty, but way back in 2010 I came up a sweet potato icing recipe based off of the ingredients I was using in the liquids for this Buckwheat Cinnamon Roll Recipe. I've made a number of different variations on this theme and included some in my cookbooks. I have even made this into a chocolate sweet potato frosting! Below you will find a delicious dairy-free sweet potato buttercream that you can use to frost your cakes or cookies.

Use this frosting to make sandwich cookies using my Gluten-Free Shortbread Cookie Recipe, or use it to frost your favorite cupcakes. Using orange-fleshed sweet potatoes will create a beautiful orange frosting (perfect for fall holidays), while using white-fleshed sweet potatoes will create a gorgeous white frosting (to replace those sugary vanilla frostings).

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Easy One-Pan Oven Roasted Chicken with Potatoes and Carrots


I love super easy meals on busy weekday evenings, don't you? This recipe (including the variations below) is one of my go-to weeknight meals. I wanted to share it with you because we all could use more ideas on how to create doable, nourishing family dinners. 

In addition to this meal, here are some more of my favorite weeknight meals: Baked Wild Salmon with Steamed Potatoes, Kale and Pesto. Slow Cooked Chicken Curry over cooked quinoa. Soothing Red Lentil Soup served with cooked quinoa or basmati rice and a dollop of Raw Cilantro-Lime Chutney. I also have plenty more recipes for easy weeknight dinners in my Nourishing Meals cookbook and Whole Life Nutrition Cookbook!

I love to serve this baked chicken and potato dish with a big green salad or some sort of raw kale salad

I know potatoes have received a bad rap for years, but did you know that potatoes contain high levels of potent antioxidants similar to levels found in dark cherries, strawberries, plums, and apples? In fact, the darker colored potatoes like the purple varieties contain the highest level of antioxidants....not surprisingly! All potatoes contain anti-inflammatory antioxidants like phenols, carotenoids, flavonoids, and anthocyanin compounds. Potatoes are also an excellent source of easily digested complex carbohydrates. Including something starchy with dinner can help induce restful sleep. I've seen many people (and experienced this myself) reduce their carbohydrate consumption too much to the point where they cannot fall asleep or stay asleep. For some, including potatoes with dinner might be just the thing! True comfort food! 

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Buckwheat Cinnamon Raisin Bread (gluten-free, vegan, nut-free, xanthan gum-free)


Today I wanted to share a recipe from my Nourishing Meals cookbook with you—another kneadable gluten-free bread! Creating a recipe for kneadable gluten-free (and xanthan gum-free) bread took me years and years to develop.

I still remember walking into my oldest daughter’s first week of preschool. The smell of freshly baked spelt rolls wafting throughout the house like a sweet perfume pervades my memory. My daughter took great care in carefully kneading each ball of dough into the shapes of her desire. The warm rolls were always served with raw honey and butter. All week she looked forward to bread day.

A few years later my second daughter was entering preschool. We found out she was sensitive to gluten during her toddler years, so she could not participate in the process of bread baking in preschool or kindergarten. I was at a loss for what to do. Yes, I was able to replace the gluten with gluten-free options, but none she could knead. None where she could be part of the process of grinding the grain into flour. None that connected her to the meaningful work that the whole process of bread baking imbued.

Inspired by the very real fact that my daughter could not participate in the entire experience of bread baking, I started down a path that was years in the making. I was almost there in the spring of 2010 when I posted this gluten-free baguette and Garlic-Rosemary White Bean Dip. I had been using chia and flax already for a while to help mimic the texture of gluten, but something was still missing. Still determined to create a kneadable gluten-free bread without xanthan gum, I had a flash of inspiration one day. What would happen if I added psyllium husk to the mix? I already knew how it worked to absorb liquid and create a gel, and so I had a pretty good feeling that it might help to mimic gluten in baking recipes. And that was it. I had finally cracked the gluten-free bread code! I eventually shared my Farmhouse Seed Bread recipe here with you in 2011. After many failures and triumphs (and partially edible loaves of gluten-free bread), I finally created a recipe that actually needs to be kneaded—a delicious, chewy round loaf of bread made from whole food ingredients! That recipe eventually morphed into many more gluten-free bread recipes using the basic framework I had developed, including this Buckwheat Cinnamon Raisin Bread and more, which can all be found in my Nourishing Meals book.

Years later, my twin boys entered kindergarten. By then there were so many children who were sensitive to gluten that the class was designated a gluten-free classroom, and their teacher only used my recipes for bread baking day. They ground their own buckwheat flour using a hand crank grinder. Different combinations of teff flour, brown rice flour, buckwheat flour, and arrowroot powder were used to form the dough. My boys would come home with rolls that they had carefully crafted into different shapes, tucked inside of little napkins. “Mom do you want to try my bread?” they called out to me after pick-up. Smiling, I said "yes."

Baking gluten-free bread is quite simple, though it requires a few extra ingredients compared to wheat-based bread recipes. To replace the gluten—the protein that gives bread it’s chewy texture and what helps it to rise by allowing gas bubbles to get trapped—I use a combination of ground chia seeds and psyllium husk. These ingredients form a gel that acts like gluten, allowing gas bubbles from the yeast fermentation to get trapped so the dough can rise. They also help to hold moisture and bind everything together.

Any gluten-free flour or blend of flours can be used in this recipe, but by using raw buckwheat groats, which can be ground into a soft flour using a hand or electric grain grinder, children get to experience the whole process of bread making, from grain to loaf—connecting head, heart, and hands.

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Raw Thai Kale Slaw with a Creamy Ginger-Almond Butter Dressing


You are going to love this nutritious raw kale slaw. It's full of detoxification and antioxidant compounds, and just bursting with the fresh, bright flavors of basil, mint, and cilantro. All tossed in a slightly spicy and gingery, creamy almond butter dressing. What I love about this salad is that it lasts up to 5 days in the refrigerator! Once it's made, you can take out portions as needed to easily fulfill part of your daily raw veggie needs.

I've been serving a large plateful of this Thai-style kale slaw with fried eggs for breakfast, or tossed with leftover rice and garbanzo beans for lunch. It's also delicious served with a thai-style main dish for dinner, such as Thai Coconut Fish Sticks, Thai Fish Curry with Garden Vegetables, or this Vegan Thai Green Curry.

And not to forget the oh-so-important nutrition information! As you might guess, this salad is rich in detoxifying compounds. Kale and cabbage both come from the cruciferous vegetable family, a family of vegetables known for their detoxification powers. Did you know that there is research showing that autistic children who consume sulforophane (one of the active compounds in cruciferous vegetables) show positive behavioral changes as a result of this nutritional superstar? Sulforophane is most concentrated in broccoli sprouts, but can also be found in raw (or lightly steamed) kale, cabbage, kohlrabi, radishes, watercress, and arugula!

Cruciferous vegetables are also very beneficial in calming down autoimmunity. Once consumed, sulforophane travels to our cells and changes how our genes are read. It literally allows us to read hundreds of beneficial antioxidant and detoxification genes. The result is a cell that has less toxins, and less inflammation. Can you function in a messy, dirty house? I know I can't! The cell is the same. It can't function very well if it has lots of toxins and debris lying around. Detoxification is, in essence, cleaning up the house of the cell. Antioxidants, then we could say, are the repair crew. When your cells are "clean" you might notice increased energy, clearer thinking, and less pain!