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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warm mushroom + toasted hazelnut salad

appetizer, dressing, mains, recipes, salads

Most of us know that our tastebuds react to four tastes – sweet, sour, bitter and salty. But did you know there’s a fifth taste called ‘umami’?  Uuuuumami! (That’s oo-ma-mee.)

Umami has been translated from Japanese as ‘yummy, deliciousness’ or a ‘pleasant savoury taste’. It is the taste sensation we often associate with food items that are ‘meaty’ and have a slow-cooked taste. This is why Black Bean Burgers, Lentil Meatballs and Portobello Mushroom Pizzas exist and make perfect vegetarian and vegan alternatives- it’s the umami! Again, this is the stuff I nerd out on. Very interesting TED talk on the topic and all you have to do is google ‘what is umami?’ and you can go down my same rabbit trail.

I enjoy this mushroom salad because it’s warm, colourful, nutty, packed with flavour from the vinaigrette and makes a great light dinner option that is quick and inexpensive to make.

Ingredients

Serves 2-3

For the salad:

1/2 cup hazelnuts (or preferred nut)
2 tablespoons finely diced shallots

2 handfuls of small cherry tomatoes
2 pounds mushrooms (chestnut or button are delicious, cleaned and sliced)
6 ounces salad greens (kale, arugula, spinach or a mix of your choice)
1 cup mix of fresh herbs (optional) such as chives, tarragon

2 tbs coconut oil

 

For the dressing: 

3 tbs white wine vinegar or balsamic

9tbs extra-virgin olive oil

1 tsp fresh thyme + rosemary

salt+ pepper

 

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Method

Preheat the oven to 375°F/190C. Toast the nuts on a baking sheet for 8 to 10 minutes, rolling them around once or twice to make sure they toast evenly.

Chop the hazelnuts and mushrooms coarsely in a small food processor.

Heat a sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add 2 tablespoons coconut oil, add the mushrooms, thyme, salt + pepper.

Sauté the mushroom mix for about 5 minutes, softened but not limp (your cooking time will depend on the type of mushrooms you used). Add tomatoes, cook till soft not mushy.

Spread salad greens on a plate. Sprinkle fresh herbs on top. Spoon hot mushrooms + tomatoes over the salad greens.

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For the dressing: whisk the shallots, vinegar, 1/2 teaspoon salt together in a bowl and let sit for five minutes (this will soften and almost pickle the shallots), before whisking in 5 tablespoons olive oil. Drizzle dressing over salad  and toss

Adjust to taste — you may need more salt, pepper, vinaigrette or even more vinegar.

Share with your people. x

 Notes

  • If you tolerate dairy, add some freshly grated parmesan or crumbled goat cheese
  • Not a hazelnut fan? Use almonds or pumpkin seeds for a crunch
  • To be AIP compliant, omit nuts/seeds, dairy + tomato. Can substitute a roasted vegetable of your choice. Toasted shredded sweet potato or parsnip perhaps?

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menu plan monday

food, recipes

Happy Monday, y’all.

I hope your weeks are off to a great start. This week, I’m focusing on AIP recipes that I can batch cook for convenience and that bring more of a variety than justing relying on the paleo go-to of grilled chicken and vegetables. I love food and I am feeling encouraged by some of the improvements in my health and wellness over the past several weeks as I continue diving into the AIP community. Here’s to another week of and culinary adventure, may your days be delicious!

Breakfast Recipes 

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This N’oatmeal (not oatmeal) Breakfast Bowl from Grok Grub, seems like the perfect start to these winter mornings. I made a variation of this last week with pumpkin and coconut and it was surprisingly quick, filling, and sweetened with fruit. I am a huge fan of anything with coconut, and it’s perfect for anyone sensitive to grains, nuts, or eggs.

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This Banana Zucchini Bread from the Saffron Girl is a weekly staple. I have been playing around with so many bread recipes over the past couple of weeks. And this one is a winner! I used apple puree and banana which gave it a nice moist texture that can sometimes be difficult when baking with coconut flour.

 

Warm + Comforting Vegetarian Recipes 

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Carbs are so delicious, am I right? I am missing the ‘full’ factor of grains these days and looking forward to trying this Butternut Squash Risotto from the brilliant ladies over at Autoimmune-Paleo.com. This is a perfect dish for winter and butternut squash always on hand in our kitchen. I love the roasted, nutty and sweet flavour it has. I love incorporating it into lots of our meals- I will probably make this in bulk to have on hand during the week.

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This time of year, a warm bowl of spicy chili is such a comfort. Unfortunately, traditional chili is not very AIP friendly as it is full of nightshades, beans, and dairy. However, the ladies over at Autoimmune-Paleo.com have done it again, and mimicked the texture of tomatoes with carrots and sweet potatoes. Chili is a slow-cooker tradition of ours and I am really excited to try this Carrot + Sweet Potato Chili  recipe that fits the AIP bill.

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This recipe for Stuffed Acorn Squash from Deliciously Organic looks so yum. I anticipate this being an easy mid-week meal and I love that you can fill it with anything that is on hand. I plan on using some shredded carrot, celery, leeks and courgette. At this stage, I will omit the nuts and honey but I think the burst of sweetness from the raisins will be delicious with the savory baked vegetables. I would also consider adding some lean ground turkey with thyme + rosemary for extra protein.

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Have you heard of Buddha Bowls?! Well, they seem to be all the rage, and every recipe I come across looks a-mazing! There seems to be a formula to this delicousness: mixture of greens + grain + beans + seeds + any variety of vegetables + sauce/dressing = Buddha Bowl. I have been totally inspired by this post from the Roasted Root for a Roasted Root Vegetable Buddha Bowl.  The problem (reframe that… challenge…) is how to fit something like this into an AIP lifestyle, but I am convinced to make it happen for my lunches at work this week.

  • Greens: lettuce, spinach, kale, beet greens, chard, arugula, etc.
  • Starch: roasted sweet potato cubes, apple slices, cooked winter squash, zucchini noodles, butternut squash risotto, cauliflower rice, or sweet potato ‘rice’
  • Protein: garden peas, salmon, tuna, shredded chicken
  • Extra Veggies (cooked, or raw, or a combo of both): cauliflower, broccoli, cucumbers, mushrooms, carrots, zucchini, onions, avocado, beets
  • Toppings: toasted coconut, toasted sweet potato hash, plantain chips, olives, pickles, sauerkraut
  • Dressings/Sauce: AIP Kale PestoGreek Tzatziki , Green Curry SauceHummus , Olive Oil + Lemon Juice or Balsamic Vinegar

 

Enjoy your week! With love, from Scotland. x

 

 

 

 

 

 

Grain Free Pumpkin Bread

dessert, recipes, snacks, treats
When the smell of cinnamony, nutmeggy pumpkin bread fills your home, it’s a special kind of nirvana in the nostrils. During these cold, dark and damp winter months in Edinburgh this easy pumpkin bread has won us over, time and time again. This perfectly moist, gluten-free, dairy-free and egg-free pumpkin quick bread is made with high protein almond flour and has no processed or refined sugars.

Ingredients – serves 4

  • 1/2 cup almond flour
  • 1/2 cup coconut flour
  • ¼ teaspoon sea salt
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ½ teaspoon ground cloves
  • ½ cup pureed pumpkin
  • 3 tablespoons honey
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 bananas (with a little green, too ripe does not work well for this)

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Method

  1. In a large bowl, combine all dry ingredients; flours, salt, baking soda and spices
  2. In a food processor, combine wet ingredients; pumpkin, honey, vanilla and banana, pulse for 2 minutes
  3. Scoop batter into a mini loaf pan
  4. Bake at 350°F (or 170°C)  for 35-45 minutes
  5. Cool for 20-30 minutes
  6. Take a whiff of pumpkin filling your kitchen, serve warm and share with your people

Notes

  • I have experimented with this recipe a few times. Eggs, no eggs, ‘flax eggs’, gelatin, banana… I opt for the vegan option because mashed banana makes a really nice binder. The texture is just right and it really brings out the pumpkin and spices in this recipe.
  • For another vegan friendly option, substitute the honey with date syrup or agave nectar
  • If you want an extra sweet treat, toss in some raisins and/or dark chocolate chips to the batter before baking
  • For an additional crunch, mix in or top the loaf with your favorite nuts or seeds halfway through baking
  • Coconut flour absorbs anything its mixed with. If your mixture seems a bit dry, stir in some dairy (2 tbs. at a time) of your choice to make a little wetter before putting in your loaf pan

I’m in love with pumpkin and I don’t care who knows it! I have had my share of the stuff for months now; curries, breads, pancakes, stews, breakfast hash… and I don’t plan on stopping.

If you too, are experiencing pumpkin obsession/heaven what is your favorite pumpkin recipe? How do you prefer to prepare winter squash that is in abundance this time of year?

 

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Thanksgiving: herb roasted root vegetables

appetizer, holidays, mains, recipes, sides

It is time to celebrate our second Scottish Friendsgiving.

Thanksgiving is less than one week away and we are grateful to have friends to share the occasion with in Scotland. This time of year, many people find it impossible to eat healthy. This side dish is seasonal, festive, mouth-watering and it won’t break the bank or increase the waistline. This recipe is great for a crowd because you can easily double the quantity and roast baking sheets full of veggies.

This year I am contributing these delicious herb roasted root vegetables. The mix is a wonderfully colourful and comforting mix of roasted parsnip, butternut squash and sweet potato. You can use any combination of root veggies you like. If you don’t like sweet potato, you can substitute white or red potatoes. Not a fan of parsnip? Use carrots instead. It’s a great way to clear out your produce drawer, and the process could not be easier.

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Ingredients

Serves 4

1 large butternut squash, halved, seeded and cubed
3 large sweet potatoes/ yams, scrubbed and cubed
1 medium yellow onion
3 large parsnip, cubed
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil (or coconut oil), plus more for drizzling
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt, chopped garlic, mixed herbs + thyme
Freshly ground black pepper
Top with 2 handfuls of pumpkin seeds

* Dairy options in notes below

Method

Place 2 baking sheets in the oven and preheat to 425 degrees F or 220 C/Gas Mark 7.

Cut all the vegetables into 1 1/2-inch pieces or cubes. Cut the onions through the base core to keep some of the layers in chunky pieces. Toss all the vegetables with garlic, oil, seasoning and salt in large bowl. Season generously with pepper.

Carefully remove the heated baking sheets from the oven, brush or drizzle with olive oil. Divide the vegetables evenly between the 2 pans, spreading them out to assure they don’t steam while roasting. Roast the vegetables until tender and golden brown, stirring occasionally, about 45 minutes to 1 hour.

Notes
-If you tolerate dairy, some sprinkled feta, parmesan, or crumbled goat cheese would be a nice addition.
– Best to keep seasoning simple in this recipe.  Root veggies have such earthy and wonderful flavors. For more flavor, you could sprinkle them with rosemary, oregano, a little cumin, or fresh chopped parsley. Be creative as you want.

-If you use red beets in this recipe, keep in mind that the roasting will release a pinkish juice that will color the other vegetables. If you’d rather not have pinkish veggies, use golden beets or omit the beets completely.

For more inspiration click here to see several healthy vegetarian side dishes for Thanksgiving from Food Network and Delish.

What do you plan to cook this Thanksgiving? I hope your day is a special and delicious time with family, friends and the ones you hold dear. May peace and grace be yours abundantly!

 

x

 

 

 

 

 

pea + mint hummus

appetizer, dips, snacks

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Me and a delicious snack are two peas in a pod.

There is no better place to get some snackspiration than at Earthy Café. On a recent visit, I indulged in some serious snack samples of homemade dips and spreads. Unique recipes like Lemon Hummus with Harissa, White Bean and Basil and Pistachio Hummus with Feta were all on point. After all of this sampling, I was inspired to try making our own using something in season and a bit unusual.

Pea + mint is not a new concept, it is a classic flavour combination but a bit out of the ordinary for me. However, this summer I had my first bowl of pea and mint soup and… wowza, loved it. Loved it so much I wanted it in dip form.

This dip is a simple, fresh and healthy way to snack. Peas might be small but they are packed with nutrients. A cup of peas contains about 115 calories, 8 grams of protein, and 14 grams of net carbs. Peas are an excellent source of folic acid, vitamin C and vitamin K and also rich in calcium, iron, zinc, copper and manganese.

I hope you enjoy this twist on hummus and the flavours that it brings with it! Who knows, you too might be in for a surprise.

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INGREDIENTS

serves 4-6

1/2 pound frozen green peas, thawed

1/2 tin chickpeas

1 clove fresh garlic, peeled and coarsely chopped

1/4 red onion, diced

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

2 tbs tahini

1/4 cup fresh mint leaves (about 3 to 4 sprigs), chopped

1/2 tsp black pepper

Juice of one lemon

Sea salt, according to taste

METHOD

1 In a small pan over medium heat, sauté chopped onion and garlic until soft and translucent, but not browned, about 4-5 minutes.

2 Combine all of the ingredients in a food processor and blend until smooth and well combined. Serve chilled. Easy peasy.

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NOTES
As with all hummus, there are countless ways to serve it up!
  • Enjoy as a dip for veggies- cut up carrot, cucumber, pepper or courgette
  • Enjoy as a spread over your favourite crunch – slices of whole grain pita, warm toast, or oatcakes
  • Top it up with grated feta, goat cheese, pumpkin seeds or reserved green peas
Enjoy!
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