Yes, I’ve been MIA again. Life just seems to get busier every year. I’ll spare you the details for now but I just wanted to share something I thought was so exciting. Grain free tortillas! I’ve made versions of this with coconut flour but coconut flour has a very distinctive flavor that I like in baked goods but not much else. These tortillas are soft, elastic and pliable with a neutral flavor. Aren’t tortillas really about what you are eating them with?? These stayed together, didn’t get soggy and weren’t grainy. Can you tell I’ve tried several different versions? I’ve been doing a lot of reading about gut health, our microbiota and increasing dietary fiber. I’m certainly guilty of not having anywhere near enough soluble or insoluble fiber in my diet for years and years on end. And I’ve paid the price. So in my quest to rectify that I’ve been trying out new foods to work with. Plantains were on that list. Plantains have about 57 grams of carbohydrate for a medium green one. Yes, that’s a lot but I’ve never come close to eating a whole one in one sitting anyway. Of those carbs 4 grams are resistant starch. Resistant starch is a type of dietary fiber that we are unable to digest. It travels down to our large intestine where our bacterial army does it’s magic. That starch/fiber is what our gut bacteria feed on. If we don’t feed our micro flora they don’t tend to stick around and proliferate. We can take probiotics but unless we feed them they are transient and temporary. Why is our gut bacteria important? Well, It’s what keeps us healthy. 80% of our immune system is in our guts. It drives our metabolism and those bacteria are the producers of butyrate. Butyrate is a byproduct or waste product of our bacteria feeding on the resistant starch. That butyrate is used by our bodies as energy. It is also a powerful inflammatory in our guts, it helps decrease gut permeability and because that starch isn’t digestible by us but by our bacteria there is no spike in our blood sugar. Actually, resistant starch improves insulin sensitivity and reduces blood sugar. Amazingly, it has a “second meal effect” meaning that it helps control your blood sugar for the following meal as well as the meal in which it was consumed. Resistant starch is associated with a decreased risk of colon cancer and may help with weight loss due to its ability to decrease blood sugar spikes post meal. It may help decrease appetite and help to maintain lean muscle mass.
Anyway, back to the recipe. These are the reasons I am excited to find a way to enjoy plantain. Now to the recipe. This was super fast and easy. You will need a high powered blender and a large nonstick pan.
1 green plantain
2-3 T milk or water
pinch of sea salt
coconut oil for the pan
Peel and slice the plantain. Add it and the eggs and salt to the blender. Blend until smooth. Add just enough milk to thin out the batter so that you can pour out the batter into a thin layer. Water may work just as well if you are dairy free. Heat pan and enough coconut oil to lightly cover the bottom. Pour about 1/4 cup of batter into the hot pan and swirl the pan or use the back side of a spoon to spread the batter into and 8-10 inch round. Cook on medium heat until the bottom side is lightly browned and then flip to brown the top side. When finished lay it on a plate covered with a paper towel. Repeat for the rest of the batter stacking them on top of each other with paper towel in between. These were great warm with a little butter (has to be Kerrygold!) or dipped into olive oil. I added some Italian seasoning to one batch and it was great. Next time I will try some herbs de provence. Cumin and coriander might be good too. When they are completely cooled the paper towels can be removed and these can be stored, covered in the fridge. Warm slightly in the microwave for a few seconds to enjoy them later. They are just as soft, elastic and pliable the next day.
I haven’t done a dessert/sweet breakfast for a while and I think it is about time. I wanted to do something without nuts (coconut not included). I have nothing against nuts of course but it is really easy to go over board with them. Most desserts I make are nut based as are my muffins. I made a chocolate almond muffin (not my recipe) a while back and just for curiosity sake I put the data into Nutrition Data. I have to admit I was stunned with what I learned. One small muffin was nearly 300 calories. Man, I hope that thing is wrong. No, I don’t count calories nor do I even pay much attention to it but….holy crap that is a lot of calories for a SMALL muffin. The other little detail about nuts that I try to be aware of is their omega 6 content. It’s pretty easy to upset your Omega 6 : Omega 3 balance with nuts. So anyway, last night I was craving something sweet – no doubt because I had had a smoothie earlier in the day. (Anyone else like that? If you have something sweet or higher in carbs than you are used to, then the cravings for other carby things kicks into overdrive?) I went to my fridge and pulled out organic apples I had bought but turned out all mealy and soft (the kind that you have no choice but to cook them) and the remaining fresh organic blueberries (although I also made this with frozen and it worked out equally as good). This is what I came up with. I don’t really know what to call it other than a smashing success. The kids loved it and literally licked their bowls clean. Hubby gave it a thumbs up and helped himself to a second bowl. We ate it right out of the bowl by itself but this morning the leftovers were used to top waffles. Oh My! It was incredible. It’s a nice change from the usual bacon and eggs. As an added bonus to it’s flavor is the fact that it is lower carb and has no refined sugars so I had one waffle with some of this sauce and didn’t feel hungry for hours and hours. Had this been the sugary, gluten version I personally would have felt like crap right after and then felt hungry in less than 2 hours. It also did not leave me craving carbs all day. This topping would also be great on a minimally sweetened, dense, coconut pound cake. I am not sure if this will qualify for GAPS legal because of the baking soda in the waffles and the iffy stevia but it is absolutely 100% paleo goodness.
Apple Blueberry Sauce
2 T coconut oil
3 apples, peeled, cored and sliced
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp cloves
3/4 cup fresh or frozen blueberries
1/2 cup coconut milk
pinch of salt
liquid stevia to taste (I used about 1/2 a dropper full)
Juice of 1/2 lemon
unsweetened coconut flakes
Heat saute pan, add virgin coconut oil. Add apples and salt. Saute for 5- 10 minutes until they begin to soften. Add cinnamon, cloves, blueberries, coconut milk. Continue cooking until apples are soft and sauce has thickened a bit. When apples are soft remove from heat and add stevia and fresh lemon juice. Stir to combine. Serve hot in a bowl alone or serve on waffles or pancakes. Top with coconut flakes for garnish.
This waffle recipe was originally from The Food Lovers Primal Palate. I made it as they wrote it first then made some changes that suited our tastes. Here is what worked for us. For about half of the recipe I made these as pancakes the other half as waffles. It makes about 8 small waffles if you are only making waffles.
1/4 cup coconut flour
pinch of sea salt
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
liquid stevia to taste (I used approx one dropper full)
1/4 cup melted virgin coconut oil
Combine all ingredients and mix well with electric mixer. Tough hey? I used a couple of tablespoons of the batter onto each of the four sections of my waffle maker so that the waffles were small. They are done when the waffle is lightly brown and separates from the waffle maker easily. (Or when the light comes on and the steam subsides.) Top waffles/pancakes with Apple Blueberry sauce.
Happy Memorial Day everyone. I hope everyone is enjoying the holiday. I am having a great day. I worked for part of the day and then when I came home early everyone was out. It is such a rare thing to have the house and some time to myself. As icing on the cake the weather is unseasonably cool. It is only in the low 80’s which is pretty unusual here Arizona in late May. So I took advantage of these two rare events and I went for a long walk in the desert. It was beautiful.
A little bit of news here at gfrealfood. I started a Facebook page. I did this to save my friends and family the agony of hearing unsolicited rants and random facts about food and nutrition. However, in order to save their sanity I am going to need your help. I need people to chat with about this stuff. People who want to chat about this stuff. I am on Facebook pretty regularly and as much as I try not to talk about food and nutrition, occasionally, okay who am I kidding, frequently, I will post a fun fact or link to an article that I found interesting. It largely falls on deaf ears. Once I posted that clip on Youtube from the Dr. Oz show which featured Gary Taubes. I loved the clip. I loved how Dr. Oz was getting so annoyed at the idea of a high fat diet. He really looked like he might explode. Anyway, one friend of mine made a comment that made it clear that she thought I was posting it because I thought that it was all a big joke. ‘Who on earth would be stupid enough to eat a diet high in saturated fat’ sort of comment. When I responded that I was indeed serious and that I thought that was a very healthy way to eat. I got a “um, okay” type response. I am not going to try to convince anyone who isn’t at least interested in hearing a different point of view. So, back to you and how it is that I need your help. I would love it if you went to my Facebook page and clicked “Like”. In case you are new to “liking a page” this is what will happen. That will make comments, links, pictures, video, blog posts, etc that I post show up on your news feed. But even better than that, it can be a forum to chat, not just with me but with others who likely have similar interests. You would be able to post on the wall; comments, pics, links etc. Yes, I know that is what Twitter can be for. But I have to admit that even though I have a Twitter account, I don’t use it much. (And I don’t even know anyone in real life who uses it much) It feels to me like most people are just trying to sell something even if it is just their blog post. I think it would be fun to have a small group of people who exchange information,thoughts, food porn etc. Twitter feels too huge to me. My blog is small so I expect the numbers on my Facebook page will be small too but that feels more intimate. Besides, I have never been good in crowds. 🙂
Anyway, please save my friends and family and come chat with me. Here is the link to my page. Or you can click that little Facebook box in the upper right over there. That will take you there too. I hope to see you all there!
I apologize for my absence. Life has just been so busy lately I just can’t seem to find the time to blog as much as I want to. To fill in the gap a bit I thought I would look back about a year and repost one of my favorite recipes. It is for Almond Coconut Cookies. They are drizzled in dark chocolate and will be on my to do list for Christmas baking.
Almond Coconut Cookies
Have a great holiday everyone. I hope to see you back here in the new year where I promise to get busy again and post some new recipes.
Grain Free, Vegan, Chocolate Chip Cookies
Remember those classic chocolate chip cookies that many of us probably grew up with? The ones made using the recipe from the back of the bag of chocolate chips? They were pretty awesome, right?! I’ve tried several different gluten free versions over the years and many have been good. Then I found Elana’s Chocolate Chip Cookies. Life has brightened, colors are sharper, the sky is bluer. There really aren’t words to describe just how awesome these cookies are. They make the classic ones seem bland, boring and vastly inferior. These vegan chocolate chip cookies could be served to any gluten eater and it would convert them. They are grain free and sweetened with honey. Elana used Honeyville blanched almond flour, agave and grapeseed oil. I am too cheap to purchase almond flour. I make my own almond flour from raw whole almonds that I buy in bulk. I use expeller pressed coconut oil to help keep the omega 6 content down and I prefer honey to agave for a whole lot of reasons – none of which I will go into here. Because I make my own flour I had to tweak the proportions a bit but I wouldn’t dare add anything else because they are so perfect as they are. Elana is truly the queen of GF baking and I highly recommend her site. I am posting this recipe for those of us too frugal to pay for almond flour. I tried making her recipe as is with my almond flour and they were great but they spread a bit and were difficult to handle when shaping the dough balls. So here is her recipe with some tweaks if you are making your own almond flour.
Grain Free, Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies
2 1/2 cups almond flour lightly packed
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 T vanilla
1/2 cup honey
1/3 cup expeller pressed coconut oil (virgin would be good too)
1 cup chopped dark chocolate, 72% ( I use Trader Joes 72% dark chocolate bars and coarsely chop them up)
Preheat oven to 350. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper.
Combine dry ingredients in a large bowl
Stir together wet ingredients in a smaller bowl
Mix wet ingredients into dry
Form ½ inch balls and press onto a parchment lined baking sheet
Bake at 350° for 7-10 minutes
Cool (this is near impossible but they hold up better when cool) and serve
Store in the fridge – if there are any left to store, which is unlikely
Makes 24 cookies.
As many of you know the USDA has released their proposed new dietary guidelines. The USDA and HHS are hearing testimony regarding those proposed guidelines at public hearings. Here is one excerpt from one of the testimonies. This woman says it better than I could ever hope to. Here is another awesome smack down of the USDA’s food pyramid.