November 30, 2015

Recipe Wrap-up: Sugar Free Paleo Treats



How was your Thanksgiving weekend? I hope amazing and filled with delicious food, friends and family! Being Canadian we already celebrated our Thanksgiving back in October so it was business as usual for me this weekend, but I was more than happy to partake in some amazing Black Friday deals I must admit. Did you buy anything special? I snagged a coat from Anthropologie that I had been stalking for a while and stocked up on my favourite Wild Rose Beauty Balm from Neal's Yard Remedies. And I even managed to do it all without stepping foot in the crazy busy malls. Double win if you ask me. I can't stand the mall when it's busy. I will never understand why people line up for hours to partake in the Black Friday shopping madness. No deal is that good if you ask me.

I also tried my first hot yoga class this weekend. Wow I don't think I have ever sweat that much in my life. Or been so aware of my heart beat. Seriously I could feel my heart pounding in my chest the whole time. It was bizarre.  I think I will have to go a few more times before I can really make up my mind how I feel about it. It's been my goal to focus more on meditation and other forms of mind-body healing so I want to make it a priority to go to yoga on a more regular basis. That's a really hard thing for my type-A personality to do though. If I am going to dedicate some of my precious time to exercise I always tend to favour spin classes, interval training or something more intense. It's something I'm working on. Baby steps my friends, baby steps.

The other day I heard a horrifying statistic. So horrifying I am not sure if I believe it but maybe it's true, who knows. Apparently here in Calgary where I live, approximately 800,000 disposable drinking cups are thrown in the trash each day. 800,000! Seriously? Calgary only has 1.2 million people in it, so that means almost every person in Calgary is using a disposable drinking cup each day and throwing it in the trash. I can only imagine what the numbers are like in larger cities. That is so much waste! Is it really that difficult to bring your own mug? Not only do you usually save money at coffee shops when you bring your own but you are helping keep those disposable cups out of the garbage. As a die hard recycler it actually disgusts me that so many people feel comfortable creating this much waste. Maybe that sounds harsh, but it's the truth. I hope after reading this you will consider brining your own mug the next time you go to buy your coffee or tea.

Okay rant over... Time to get to the good stuff - the food!

Do you have a sweet tooth? I mean really, who doesn't? Unfortunately we all know that eating desserts filled with sugar everyday is not a healthy long term strategy. And some of you may even be on a sugar restricted diet. Trust me I have been there too. Please stick with it! It will be worth it in the long-run. But just because you aren't eating sugar doesn't mean you have to go treat-free. There are some amazing desserts out there that are sweetened with natural ingredients like fruit, dried fruit and coconut. And it can be especially tricky to avoid those sugary filled treats during the holidays so it's always smart to have your own sugar free option on hand. So with that in mind I have put together a collection of 25 sugar free paleo treats. You can thank me later.

Happy eating everyone!

As always I would be thrilled if you visited my social media pages on PinterestInstagram and Facebook!






25 Sugar Free Paleo Treats 


Healthy Brownie Bites from Primally Inspired

Chocolate Fudge Haystacks from Pure and Simple Nourishment 


Frosted Carrot Cupcakes from Grazed and Enthused

Paleo Banana Bread from Jay's Baking Me Crazy

AIP Rustic Apple Cinnamon Rolls from Grazed and Enthused

Spiced Carrot Cake Bites from Pure and Simple Nourishment

German Chocolate No-bakes from Plaid and Paleo

Spiced Chocolate Covered Pecans from Paleo Flourish Magazine

Chocolate Raspberry Macaroons from Pure and Simple Nourishment

Paleo Mint Chocolate Fudge Pops from The Natural Nurturer

Chocolate Covered Date Cups from Everyday Maven

Double Berry Chocolate Ice Cream from Pure and Simple Nourishment

Skillet Apple Crumble from Grazed and Enthused

Mint Smoothie Bowls from Pure and Simple Nourishment

Two Minute Paleo Pudding from Raindrops Wellness

Chocolate Almond Date Balls from Anya's Eats

Coconut Butter Stuffed Dates from Paleo Flourish Magazine

Dairy Free Vanilla Milkshake from Pure and Simple Nourishment

Paleo Jello from Paleo Flourish Magazine

No-Bake Banana Cream Carob Pies (AIP) from Grazed and Enthused

Paleo Blueberry Lemon Bars from Jay's Baking Me Crazy

Dark Chocolate Orange Ice Cream from Pure and Simple Nourishment


Vanilla Cinnamon Almond Butter from Living Healthy with Chocolate

Paleo Vanilla Ice Cream from Pure and Simple Nourishment


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November 23, 2015

Grain Free Bagels and Without Grain Cookbook Review



Grain free bagels. Have I caught your attention yet? I hope so. Because today I am lucky enough to share the bagel recipe from the new cookbook, Without Grain by Hayley Ryczek. Plus I will be giving you a review of this awesome book. Honestly, beyond the friendships I have made, one of my favorite parts of blogging is getting to review cookbooks. You can never have too many in my opinion.

So what is Without Grain? Well, as the title implies it is a cookbook with 100 delicious grain free, gluten free and paleo style recipes. But it is also so much more!


The book opens with an introduction where Hayley emphasizes the importance of eating real foods, and shunning the trend for low fat-highly processed ones. She explains that for many people, simply eliminating gluten isn't enough, and that a grain free diet can truly help you heal from the inside out and achieve optimal health.  For her, a grain free diet helped heal her vitiligo, an autoimmune condition that affects the skin. This is the reason why she started her blog, Health Starts in the Kitchen.

The first chapter of the book outlines exactly why going gluten free isn't enough. Hayley explains how our ancestors evolved on a hunter-gatherer type diet of animals, nuts, seeds, leafy greens, tubers, roots and seasonal fruits and vegetables. It was not until the last 10,000 years, and especially during the 18th and 19th centuries that grains became a part of the human diet. Along with the dramatic increase in grain intake in the last few centuries there has been an associated increase in obesity, autoimmune diseases, heart disease, cancer and diabetes. There are many reasons why grains are problematic including the high lectin content, which can damage the intestinal lining causing leaky gut and inflammation as well as preventing your body from absorbing the vitamins and minerals in the grain; the acidity, which can cause stress on the kidneys, liver and pancreas; and the high omega-6 fat content which can cause inflammation and associated diseases like diabetes and heart disease.  Hayely goes into much greater detail as to why grains are problematic, and debunks many of the "healthy grain" myths that the food industry promotes. If you, or anyone you love is hesitant about eliminating grains from their diet, they need to read this section of the book. I promise she will convince you to change your eating habits, or at least to give it a try!

The next chapter details exactly how to embark on a grain free, real food based diet. Now that you know all the problems associated with grains she outlines exactly which foods are safe to eat and which are not. She provides a guide to help you stock your pantry with grain free, real foods. Everything from safe starches to highly quality fats. She also discusses the dangers of genetically modified foods, processed foods and toxic fats, and how to avoid these common food sources.

Then the book gets into the really good stuff- the recipes! There are so many amazing recipes in this book, and just some of the ones I am dying to make include:

  • Sandwich Bread
  • Flatbread
  • Tortillas
  • Dinner Rolls
  • Blueberry Muffins with Crumb Topping
  • Vanilla or Dark Chocolate Granola
  • Cinnamon Crunch Cereal
  • Cinnamon Rolls
  • Cake Doughnuts
  • Egg Rolls
  • Everything Crackers
  • Cream of Mushroom Soup
  • Hungarian Goulash
  • Sloppy Joe Baked Potatoes
  • Classic Meatloaf
  • Salmon Patties with Lemon Aioli
  • Crispy Beef Tacos
  • General Tso's Chicken
  • No-corn Corn Dog
  • Soft Pretzels
  • Key Lime Pie
  • No Bake Cookies
  • Fudgy Brownies
  • Banana Nut Bread
  • Apple Crisp
  • Dark Chocolate Dipped Waffle Cones
  • Chocolate Sandwich Cookies
Is your moth watering yet? Don't some of those dishes sound amazing? 

A few other highlights of the book include Hayley's tips for eating out and how to survive party situations, the allergy free substitutions section that provides great tips on swapping most unsafe food items for ones that are grain-free friendly and the resource section that provides information on where to find the best grain free foods online. 

Overall Without Grain is not only a great cookbook, but a great health resource to add to your home health library. I would highly recommend it to anyone looking for dietary advice to improve their health. Because remember, food really is medicine! 

If you are interested in Without Grain you can find out more by visiting here.

And scroll down below to get the Grain Free Bagels recipe. As always I would be thrilled if you visited my social media pages on PinterestInstagram and Facebook!

Until next time, happy eating everyone! 






Grain Free Bagels Recipe


Ingredients


3 cups (288 g) blanched almond flour (buy here
1 cup (122 g) tapioca starch (buy here
2 teaspoons sea salt
2 teaspoons home-made baking powder (**see recipe below)
2⁄3 cup (160 ml) warm water
2 tablespoons (30 ml) apple cider vinegar (buy here
2 tablespoons (40 g) honey
1 egg yolk, beaten
Optional toppings: toasted onion flakes, garlic powder, poppy seeds, sesame seeds, etc.

Directions


1. Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C, or gas mark 4). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
2. In a large pot over high heat, bring about 4 inches (10 cm) of water to a boil. Add a pinch of sea salt.
3. In a large bowl, combine the flour, starch, salt, and baking powder. Add the water, vinegar, and honey, and mix well.
4. Divide the dough into 6 to 8 equal portions. Dust your hands with additional tapioca starch and roll each section of dough into a ball. Flatten the ball and use your finger to push through the center to make a bagel shape. Place each bagel onto the baking sheet.
5. Working in batches of 3 or 4 bagels, carefully place each bagel into the boiling water for 1 minute (or until they float). Using a slotted spoon, remove them from the water and place them back onto the baking sheet.
6. Bake the boiled bagels for 10 minutes. Remove from the oven, brush with the beaten egg yolk, and top as desired. Return to the oven and bake for an additional 10 minutes.
7. After baking for a total of 20 minutes, increase the temperature of the oven to 425°F (220°C, or gas mark 7) and bake for 5 additional minutes, or until lightly browned and crispy.
8. Transfer the bagels to a rack and allow to cool. 

Yields: 6-8 bagels

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**Home Made Baking Powder 

1 cup cream of tartar (buy here
1/2 cup baking soda (buy here
1/2 cup arrowroot starch (buy here)

Mix the cream of tartar, baking soda and arrowroot starch together and store in an airtight container. 





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November 16, 2015

Chocolate Mocha Smoothie (Paleo, Vegan, GAPS)


Hi friends! How was your weekend? Amazing I hope.
It's back to the regular routine for me. I got home from San Francisco on Thursday. It was hard to leave I must say. Especially since I came home to winter. One word: Brr. Okay that might not be a real word, but you get my drift. You Californians have no idea how lucky you are with your weather. Or maybe you do? Either way I am jealous. But, it's not all bad. I have a pretty exciting recipe to share with you this week. It involves two of my favourite things. Chocolate and coffee. Actually three of my favourite things. Chocolate, coffee and coconut. Need I say more? Maybe not, but I will.

This smoothie is compatible with the paleo, vegan/vegetarian and GAPS diets. It also doesn't contain any added sugar and is sweetened with only real ingredients like banana, coconut milk, coconut butter and cacao powder. So if you are on a sugar detox you can even indulge in this little treat without feeling guilty. Just because you are eating a healthy, real foods diet doesn't mean you need to feel deprived. Right? Right.


Before I let you get to the recipe I have a few observations from my trip to San Francisco. I am curious if anyone else has noticed the same things?

I have never seen a city with so many laundromats. Seriously where I was staying there was at least one on every block. Are that many really necessary? Laundromats are almost extinct in Calgary. I honestly couldn't even tell you the location of one... Bizarre.

They have the cutest coffee shops. Yes they also have their fair share of Starbucks, but I was quite impressed by the number of local, unique coffee spots. There was one right by my apartment that had board games, a vintage television and a book exchange. How cool is that? And they allowed pets. I would go back there in a heart beat. I spent many afternoons sipping mint tea, reading The Loving Diet (if you haven't read this book you need to) and people watching.

The sidewalks are dangerous! I definitely bailed hard on a slippery grate while walking to the conference centre one day. Think torn pants, bloody knee, spilt coffee, and a majorly bruised ego. But I know I am not the only one. I saw a few other people either trip, or slip on the grates or uneven sidewalks while I was there. And I heard similar stories from other conference attendees as well. Needless to say I was way more careful on the sidewalks after that experience.

Alright but enough rambling from me. Time to let you get to the chocolatey goodness that I know you really came for. As always I would be thrilled if you followed me on my social media pages on PinterestInstagram and Facebook!

Happy eating everyone! 




Chocolate Mocha Smoothie Recipe (Paleo, Vegan, GAPS)


Ingredients

1 ripe banana
3/4 cup brewed coffee (ideally fair trade)
1/4 cup full fat coconut milk (I recommend this brand) (dairy milk could be used as well)
1 TBSP melted coconut butter (or coconut manna or concentrate)
1 TBSP melted grassfed ghee or coconut oil (use coconut oil for vegan) 
2 TBSP organic cacao powder (buy here)

Optional: 1-2 TBSP grassfed gelatin (I recommend the Vital Proteins Brand - buy here) (omit for vegan) 



Directions

1. Place all the ingredients into your high speed blender (this is the blender I have
2. Blend well until smooth
3. Place in the fridge for 30-60 minutes to cool 
4. Serve and enjoy!

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November 09, 2015

Plantain Waffles with Berry Compote (Paleo, AIP, Grain Free, Dairy Free)



Guess where I am right now? San Francisco!!!!! Can you tell I am happy about this? I love this city. Like love. This is my third visit here and I never get tired of it. I'm pretty sure I was meant to live by the ocean. I am just so much happier when I am by the sea. It's amazing what a change in environment can do for your mindset. Does anyone else find this? I just feel more rested, happier and more motivated. And my skin. My skin loves the ocean air. None of the dryer-than-a-desert Calgary air around here. Humidity is definitely my skin's friend. My hands are happier, my acne is better, and I don't have to slather myself in body oil every 5 minutes. Life is good my friends, life is good. The only thing that isn't good... the terrible Canadian dollar! Seriously, traveling to the US has become so expensive. Just imagine looking at a price tag and multiplying it by 125%. Not pretty is it? It is putting a serious dent in my shopping abilities I must say.



So why am I in San Francisco? For the American Rheumatology Conference. It's a big deal. It runs for 6 days and thousands of people from around the world attend. I can't even imagine how much this thing costs. So it's not all fun and games for me while I am here. I am spending many hours each day inside a lecture theatre madly learning as much as I can. The inner nerd in me loves it (you can start the mocking now it's okay). Last year I was so distracted by my Royal College studying that I couldn't get to nearly as many sessions as I would have wanted to so I am making up for it this year. But I am also making time for some sight seeing, real food eating, Soul Cycle spinning and friend visiting. I am one happy girl this week.


But even though I'm busy running around San Francisco I still made time to put a new post together for you guys. Yes I care about you that much. And it's a good one. Plantain waffles. Yes you read that right, waffles made with plantains. And these are grain free, dairy free, nut free and even compatible with the AIP diet. I know right? You can thank me later. 

Can you believe this is the first waffle recipe I have made for the blog? Shame on me. There are just so many other great paleo waffle recipes out there that I make on a regular basis that I had no need to make my own. The only problem is that so many of the recipes rely on nut flours, which I know many of you can't have. So it was time to find a solution. And these waffles are it. These not only make a great breakfast or brunch option, but are great for snacks as well. You can also use them as a bun for sandwiches if you want to get really adventurous. And topped with the berry compote that you see in the photos. One word: yum! I inhaled these the first time I made them. Literally inhaled. Needless to say I am pretty sure you will like them. Like 99.9% sure. Because nothing in life is 100% right? Right!

But enough talking about food. Time to get waffle making! 

Until next time, happy eating friends! 

As always I would be thrilled if you followed me on my social media pages: PinterestInstagram and Facebook



Plantain Waffles with Berry Compote (Paleo, AIP, Grain Free, Dairy Free)


Ingredients

3 plantains (I use green ones but if you like sweeter waffles then use yellower ones)
2 cups full fat coconut milk (I recommend this brand
1/3 cup melted coconut oil (I use this brand)
2 eggs or 2 gelatin eggs** (use the gelatin eggs for AIP)
1 TBSP organic vanilla extract (omit for AIP) (buy here
1/2 cup coconut flour (I use this brand
1/2 tsp sea salt

** To make a gelatin egg: combine 1 TBSP grassfed gelatin (I highly recommend this brand) with 1 TBSP cold water and stir vigorously until the gelatin dissolves, then add 2 TBSP boiling water and beat well (it should make a frothy type substance)





Directions

1. Puree the plantains with 1 cup coconut milk in your food processor or high speed blender (NOTE: altogether this should yield 3 cups - depending on the size of your plantains you may need to add a little extra coconut milk)
2. Transfer the purreed mixture to a mixing bowl
3. Add the remaining coconut milk, coconut oil, eggs and vanilla extract and stir well until combined
4. Add the dry ingredients and stir well until combined
5. Turn on your waffle maker and let it heat up
6. Transfer 1 cup of the batter to your waffle maker and cook for 5-6 minutes (mine took 6 minutes)
7. Continue until you use up all the batter
8. Serve and enjoy! 

Yields: 4 large waffles 

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Berry Compote Ingredients


3 cups berries (I used blueberries and raspberries this time but any berry should work)
2 TBSP coconut oil (I use this brand)
1/2 cup full fat coconut milk (I used this kind)
1 tsp organic vanilla extract (omit for AIP) (buy here)
1 TBSP arrowroot starch (buy here)

Berry Compote Directions

1. Place a medium pot on the stove on medium heat
2. Add all the ingredients to the pot and let heat until bubbling
3. Turn the heat down and simmer for 10-15 minutes to allow the berries to break apart
4. Stir in the tapioca flour and cook for another 5 minutes
5. Turn off the heat and let sit for a couple minutes to thicken

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