toasted coconut + persimmon salad with cranberries

appetizer, dressing, mains, recipes, salads

Weekends are the best.

Weekends for us mean that we get to slow down. We look forward to long brunches and multiple cups of coffee. I like getting my apron a little messy and experimenting with new recipes. There are a gazillion more reasons that I love weekends, but high up on the list is just being in the kitchen.

After a long and wonderful holiday visit in the States, let’s just say that my body has been craving/demanding/needing some very colourful and nutrient dense food as we indulged/celebrated/feasted on all the delicious comforts from home.

This recipe was not on my meal plan for the week. It came together, because I just started grabbing for things I had on hand. I felt like a true (salad) artist. A little bit of this… a little bit of that… mixing in this…I even had to google if it was okay to eat raw cranberries. Have you ever had a raw cranberry?!

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Alone, a raw cranberry is super tart. I definitely made a baby eating a lemon face, for sure. But… I tried it and I liked it. I liked it even more after reading about all the health benefits: an antioxidant powerhouse, a low-calorie flavour booster, UTI preventer, full of vitamin C, high in fiber and loaded with phytonutrients!  I was so pleasantly surprised at how much I liked the combination of flavours when I topped them on the salad.

Coconut is also all the rage in the paleo world. It adds a healthy fat and nice crunch along with a good dose of fiber. The dark leafy greens have loads of vitamins and minerals and paired with healthy fats from the dressing your body will actually absorb more of their nutrients.

In addition to the cranberries, the persimmon gives this salad the most amazing flavour explosion on your tastebuds. Persimmon, also known as sharon fruit, are a winter fruit and in season October – February. They are the perfect way to boost the immune system and aid in digestion.

My love for salads is intense, as you probably know by now, and I love how much there is going on in this bowl.

tart + sweet
filling + flavourful
super healthy + crunchy
loaded with super foods+ fiber

The dressing is simple: apple cider vinegar, olive oil, ginger, cinnamon, and any sweetener of your choice with a little sea salt….simple, but oh so delicious.

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Toasted Coconut + Persimmon Salad with Cranberries

Prep time: 15 minutes // Serves: 2 mains // 4 sides 

Salad Ingredients

  • 6 cups mixed greens, I also through in some kale
  • 2 persimmons, quartered and cut into chunks
  • 1/2 cup fresh cranberries
  • 1/2 cup organic dried coconut chips
  • Optional protein: grilled chicken breast, green lentils, tofu/tempeh

Dressing Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup apple cider vinegar (Go with Braggs!)
  • 1/2 cup quality olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ginger
  • sea salt to taste
  • Optional sweetener: honey, coconut crystals or agave nectar

You can serve this salad cold or at room temperature, but I really enjoyed the greens and persimmons cold and everything else warm. It is oddly the perfect balance.

This would make the perfect weeknight meal when you are craving something quick and healthy. Bonus? I think this would please vegans and non-vegans alike as it is easy to toss some lean protein on board and the leftovers make a great lunch for the next day.

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What recipes have you accidentally made and loved? Do you have any advice for unique flavour combos?

Have a delicious week! x

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coconut chicken + vegetable soup (AIP)

food, mains, recipes

Hands up if you think that coconut and curry are one of the most blissful combinations in THE world (🙌🏼).  I am obsessed with curry. Indian, Thai, African, you name it. Love it. Here is the problem though, AIP and those foods just do not go together very well and that has been a hard one for me to take.  Most dishes are full of nightshades or nightshade/seed based spices, peanuts, soy and . . . yadda yadda. 

My slow cooker is not something I use in the cold months, she is one of my bestie all year long. Honestly, the aroma when you walk in the door after a long day and dinner is done?.. Amazing. I decided to create a version of this soup that would meet AIP standards and still be very flavorful, despite missing that distinctive chili/curry/spice. This soup is super flavorful, and the closest thing to curry that you can have on the autoimmune protocol (AIP). This recipe is a weekly staple because it is quick to toss together in the crockpot, full of healing/nutritious/delicious ingredients and if there is enough for leftovers, the flavours become even more intense and is one of my favourite ways to start the day for breakfast.

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This loaded veg and chicken soup can be as light or hearty as you like – laddle over rice or gluten free noodles to bulk it up, or keep it light and pour over from freshly steamed broccoli and spinach. The vegetables that I use are AIP compliant but it is a versatile recipe that allows you to incorporate your favourite veggies.

Serves 4 

Ingredients

  • 3/4 slow cooker of water (based on 2.5L crock pot)
  • 4 chicken breasts
  • 2 yellow onion diced
  • 1 full celery stalk diced
  • 6-8 medium carrots
  • 2 heads of broccoli (steam and add just before serving)
  • 1 1/2 -2 tbs turmeric
  • 1 1/2 -2 tbs ginger
  • 1 1/2 tbs sea salt
  • 1 1/2 tbs mixed herbs
  • 2 tbs chopped garlic
  • 1 can full-fat coconut milk (see notes)

 

Method

It doesn’t get easier. Ready?…

  1. First, add celery, carrot, onions, all spices, salt
  2. Then fill crock-pot (slow cooker) with 3/4 water
  3. Place chicken breasts on top
  4. Set on medium heat and leave for 5-6 hours
  5. Before serving, remove chicken breasts from the top and place in large bowl. Shred the chicken completely and add back to the slow cooker.
  6. Add the can of coconut milk to the slow cooker just before serving, stir in completely
  7. Steam two heads of broccoli (boil for 7ish minutes) and add to the slow cooker or use as a base in your bowl before you pour your soup.
  8. Before serving, taste broth. If you prefer more seasoning, this is the stage to do it. I generally like to keep my salt, turmeric and ginger at the same ratio, but feel free to experiment (see notes)
  9. Share with your people, enjoy! x

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Notes

  • Coconut milk – Fragrant and creamy, coconut milk adds just the perfect touch of delicious comfort to this soup. I prefer regular coconut milk over light, for its added creaminess and flavor, but feel free to substitute with light.
  • Seasoning – I almost always use more seasoning that this recipe calls for. But I thought I would start mild because it seemed like the crowd friendly thing to do. Feel free to go a little crazy and taste as you go. Also be careful with your turmeric powder, it stains surfaces and cloth easily!
  • Water in the crock –  this recipe is based on 2.5L crock pot adjust your recipe accordingly
  • Chicken- if for some reason you don’t want to shred the chicken at the end you can dice the chicken before hand if you prefer
  • Makes for delicious leftovers. Will keep two to three days in the fridge

 

If you love ethnic foods and this recipe meets your need for something exotic on the AIP, tell me about!  I’d love to know what you think of it.

Have a delicious week!

x

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lemon + coconut cake

dessert, recipes, treats

[This recipe has been edited since it was originally posted. I appreciate your feedback about my initial recommendation of coconut flour. I have reworked a few ingredients and hope this variation proves to be more successful for you as it requires less coconut flour! Keep the feedback coming y’all]

Grain-free and sugar-free baking can be intimidating, crumbly and expensive. But it can also be easy, delicious, affordable and make a restrictive diet fun again. Yep, I love fun that you can eat.

When it comes to basic GF/DF/SF/Paleo baking, we do not have to reinvent the wheel. Thanks to all the wonderful blogs, cookbook authors, Pinterest and friends with Celiac and Hashimoto’s, or individuals following the auto-immune protocol, it is easier than ever to modify and experiment with any recipe imaginable.

I first made a version of this cake at the beginning of the year and what a difference a few months make in learning how to make vegan, grain-free, naturally-sweetened baked goods all that you want them to be. Patience wins again!

I started my ‘cake experiment’ with a very basic vanilla pound cake recipe from Elana’s Pantry.  I have used this recipe as a base to experiment with banana bread, blueberry morning loaf, cinnamon raisin pumpkin loaf and chunky zucchini bread. I am really excited about this batch of lemon cake because it is super moist, dense yet light, not too sweet, and this case, deliciously lemony! I have to omit eggs from baking and find that banana, applesauce and arrowroot flour bind nicely. This cake is good naked and can also be topped a layer of coconut creme.

Ingredients
1/2 cup coconut flour
1/4 cup arrowroot flour (can sub tapioca or almond flour)
2 ripe bananas
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 coconut milk (or dairy alternative of your choice)
1/2 cup (4 ounces) unsweetened applesauce
1 tsp vanilla extract
lemon juice from 2 lemons
zest of 2 lemons

Heartbeet Kitchen’s | Ingredients for whipped coconut cream 

1/2 can very cold full fat coconut milk (refrigerated overnight)

2 tablespoons honey or maple syrup (omit for AIP)

½ cup unsweetened toasted coconut flakes

 

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 350F / 175C
  2. Coat a 9″ loaf pan with light layer of coconut oil and set aside.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, combine all dry ingredients: flours, salt, and baking soda.
  4. In a mixer or a small processor, combine the bananas, milk, applesauce, vanilla + lemon juice
  5. Pour the wet mixture into the dry and stir to combine. Add lemon zest.  Then pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan and smooth the top into an even layer.
  6. Top with sliced almonds, omit for AIP. 
  7. Bake for 30 minutes until the top is golden brown, then tent with foil and bake for another 30-35 minutes until a toothpick or knife comes out clean.
  8. Cool in the pan for 20 minutes, then remove from the pan and cool completely on a wire rack before topping with coconut cream and serving your people!

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Coconut cream:

  1. Open the refrigerated coconut milk, being careful to keep it level. Scoop out all the hard cream that has come to the surface, until you hit the liquid. Leave the liquid in the can, do not add.
  2. Put the coconut cream in a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer. Using a mixer or handheld mixer on high speed – whip the coconut cream for 3 to 5 minutes until it becomes fluffy and light, with soft peaks.
  3. Stir in the honey and frost cake. Best stored in refrigerator, then let it come to room temperature before serving.

 

 Notes

  • Store leftovers in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days
  • I recommend Meyer lemons if you can find them
  • I recommend using a food processor to blend the batter nice and smooth, like an eggy consistency
  • Try letting the cake sit for a bit before eating – the texture improves a bit and the middle should firm up

Enjoy! x

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summer peach oven cake

breakfast, recipes, treats

August and festivals, they just go together.

Here in Edinburgh we are celebrating the start of the Fringe Festival, International Festival and the  International Book Festival. The population is said to triple and it is just about impossible to find an available room in the city. It is one big party around here.

August is also one of my favorite times of year in our dear ‘ol Colorado. It has become a family tradition to pack up the car and head to the Palisade Peach Festival to celebrate all things peaches. Attendees sample peach ice cream, peach pie, peach cobbler, peach liquor, peach pancakes, peach jam, peach smoothies and Dad’s favorite, peach salsa. The festival is complete with a peach eating contest, peach cuisine demonstrations, a full parade down main street and one lucky gal is crowned Peach Queen.

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One of the highlights of the trip is to return home with crates of the fuzzy fruit. We would bring back dozens upon dozens of freshly picked peaches for friends and family. This juicy fruit was a part of my growing up and using them in this easy peach oven cake recipe brought back some sweet memories!

I got the idea to try an oven-baked pancake after a post about Swedish Fat Almond Cake from Green Kitchen Stories. This baked pancake called ugnspannkaka or tjockpannkaka, means oven baked pancake or thick pancake. It tastes like a huge pancake and is perfect for sharing. I wanted to try a version of my own, because I think we can all appreciate the simplicity of the recipe and not having to stand at the stove and flip pancakes.

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Sweet: This recipe is sweetened naturally by the warm, juicy peaches, with a hint of nuttiness from the almonds and coconut. We like to top with butter and agave nectar.

Simple: It couldn’t be easier. Whip the ingredients together and throw into the oven.

The pancake will rise during baking, it should be fluffy with a golden outer crust and a soft peachy inside- the perfect summer comfort food.

INGREDIENTS

4 servings

3 peaches, cut into thin slices

1/2 cup milk *your preference, I used coconut milk

1/2 cup gluten free all-purpose flour

3 eggs

2 tbs coconut flour

2 tbs almond meal

1 tbs butter

1 tsp ground cinnamon

1 drop vanilla extract

1 pinch salt

1 pinch ground nutmeg

1 tbs optional sweetener

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METHOD

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F (220 degrees C)

Melt butter in a cast-iron skillet in the preheating oven

Combine peach slices, sweetener, nutmeg and cinnamon in a bowl; gently toss to coat the peaches well. Cut the peaches into bite sized pieces. Set aside.

Beat eggs, milk, flours, almond meal, vanilla extract, salt together in a bowl until batter well-combined but a little lumpy. Pour into skillet.

Top batter with the peach mixture. Place the peaches into the top of the cake. They can be nicely arranged, but feel free to get as many peaches you can into the oven cake.

Bake in preheated oven until set in the middle, about 25 minutes.

Whatever you decide, breakfast, lunch, dessert… Enjoy!

x

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Palisade Peach Festival 2014

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strawberry + mixed greens salad with toasted nuts

mains, recipes, salads, sides

The bright and beautiful strawberries used in this recipe were picked at Craigie’s Farm. This pick-your-own farm and cafe is one of Edinburgh’s treasures and it is easy to see why city folk like myself flock to the farm on weekends. We wandered up and down the greenhouses and fields filling our baskets with strawberries, raspberries and cherries. This proved to be highly addicting. My baskets were full but I just couldn’t stop looking for deep, red, ripe fruit. I would find one and say, “okay, this is the last one” but it would turn into another fifteen minutes of foraging. Needless to say, the entire experience made me rethink the times I have sat and plowed through a carton of raspberries in 1.5 minutes. This week when I looked at my berries, I thought more about the colors, the textures, the hands that picked them and the joy of finding them- but I still ate them rather quickly. 

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One of the best parts about summer? Salads! And tossing fruit into our salads! Hooray! I love salads because they are customizable and can be easily experimented with. Putting in the stuff you like and picking out the stuff you decide you are not crazy about is easy peasy. The idea of strawberries on salad is not a new concept. There are many wonderful strawberry salad recipes out there, two of my favorites that you can view here are from the wonderfully talented The Minimalist Baker and Oh She Glows.

This strawberry salad is fresh, satisfying and super… super easy to make.  I always prefer a little crunch in my salad, so tossing in some unsweetened coconut flakes and toasted nuts are delightful additions. They also provide important healthy fats and a protein boost, win-win.
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INGREDIENTS
DRESSING

3 tbs olive oil

1/3 cup balsamic vinegar

1-2 tsp date syrup (or sweetener of choice)

Mix all ingredients in small jar, set aside

SALAD

1-2 c (150-200g) quartered strawberries

200g arugula + watercress mix

200g spinach

3 tbs unsweetened shredded coconut

3 tbs raw hazelnut + almond (or nuts of choice)

METHOD

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 C) and place nuts on lined baking sheet. Toast for 5-8 minutes then set aside

Add mixed greens, strawberries, coconut and toasted nuts in a large mixing bowl

Drizzle 2-3 tbsp of balsamic dressing and toss gently

Notes
*Serve additional dressing, nuts and coconut on the side
*Best when fresh. Share it for 2 entrees or 4 small salads
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