Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Banana Cream Panna Cotta

After eating no sweet treats for the last week, I was getting desperate for a little something and my kids were begging for banana pudding. So then this little treat was created. I wasn't sure what to call it but here it is... A thick creamy custard-type gelatin treat, BUT no sugar and sweetened only with fruit. So my friends, this is ONE special dessert ;)
I just love a thick, have to use your spoon, kinda dessert. It's one you might want to lick the jar clean but won't, so you pretend your spoon is your tongue and you try and get every last bit. The cute jars help with savoring each lovely bite too, and you can't help but wish there was another secret compartment on the bottom somewhere. 
But what makes this dessert sweet and worth every bite, is the date puree and the fresh vanilla bean- both with such rich deep flavor- oh and the banana. Which I have found is one of those foods and flavors that people either LOVE or HATE- there is no middle ground on it. I happen to love banana, but some can only imagine baby food. So maybe this recipe is not for you, but if you are a banana pudding or everything LOVER- then this is a must try! Hope you ENJOY!
Banana Cream Panna Cotta Recipe
{gluten, dairy, egg, nut, seed, soy and sugar-free}

2 ripe bananas smashed and pureed
1/2 cup of date paste puree 
1 can of full-fat coconut milk
1/2 vanilla bean scraped for the beans (or use 1 TB of vanilla extract)
1/2 lime squeezed or 1 TB of juice
a pinch of finely grated fresh ginger
pinch of sea salt
pinch of ground turmeric

Put all of the above ingredients in a small saucepan to get warm on low heat. Warm till it is steaming but not boiling or bubbling. Then, in a separate small bowl, mix up the following to let the gelatin bloom...

1/2 cup of coconut milk beverage
1 1/2 TB of pure gelatin 

When the gelatin stiffens, scrap into the saucepan with the rest of the ingredients and turn off heat completely. Then whisk in the gelatin so it is one mixture and pour into a blender and blend until frothy and mixed well and then slowly pour into 1/2 pint glass jars, or even in the smaller size meant for small jams (the 1/2 cup size... called 1/4 pint maybe?). Then put on lids and slide into the fridge for 3-4 hours and then you are ready to eat and ENJOY!

If you are not a banana fan you can add in 1 cup of pumpkin puree in it's place or just leave it as vanilla coconut. I will save those recipes for another post ;)

I hope you give this ONLY fruit sweetened dessert a try! It totally hits the spot when you haven't been enjoying many deserts ;) It is a new favorite around my house and I know Ill be making many more varieties as the month goes on...

Much love and light! xoxo

Friday, January 5, 2018

Raisin Bread with Berry-Chia Jam

January is for snuggling, hygge-ing, and bread making :) It is for me at least. I told you I have challenged myself to a plant-based diet for a few weeks and no sweets except those in fruit. Well for breakfast I have been enjoying Buckwheat-Date Porridge or some GF quick cooking oatmeal topped with blueberries, pumpkin seeds, coconut flakes and chia seeds...BUT when it comes to breakfast, I still love a piece of whole grain toast smothered in a seed butter and jam ;)
This bread recipe is a combination of [this oat and this buckwheat-quinoa-millet] beloved bread favorites and my favorite homemade jam [from all those frozen blueberries] that I make weekly, but this time I threw in a few new twists so as to avoid sweeteners other than fruit and add in a few other parts to get the most I could out a having bread and jam for breakfast. The raisins were added in to help bring out some natural sweetness and honestly I LOVE a breakfast bread with a little dried fruit. I am already thinking up some future bread recipes... ones with cranberry, orange and seeds, or a molasses and raisin one. I cracked open a multitude of ideas... some of those have been tucked back there for a while. But for now- it is raisins, lightly sweetened with applesauce and cinnamon, and the love is ever great and nourishing.
Raisin Bread Recipe
{gluten, dairy, egg, yeast, nut, seed, and sugar-free}

3 TB of psyllium husk powder (must be powder, not seed or husk)
2 cups of pure water or non-dairy milk (or a combination of both)
3 TB of apple cider vinegar
3 TB of unsweetened apple sauce
2 TB of olive oil
1/2-1 cup of organic raisins

1 TB of cinnamon
1 cup of finely ground fresh GF oat flour
(grind 1 cup GF rolled oats in high powered blender)
1/2 cup of quinoa flour
1/2 cup of buckwheat flour
1/2 cup of millet flour
1/2 cup of rice flour

1 ts. of sea salt
2 ts. aluminum free baking powder
1 ts. of baking soda

sprinkle up to 1/2 cup extra oat flour for kneading 

In a large mixing bowl, whisk the psyllium husk powder, water, milk and apple cider vinegar together. It will turn into a thickened blob in a few minutes, then whisk in the oil and applesauce in together. Lastly mix in the raisins and let them get wet before mixing in the dry...

Then, add all of the dry ingredients, flours, cinnamon and salts, and mix with a spatula or wooden spoon until all of the flour is blended, but be careful to not over mix and make it too sticky. Then use your hands with a sprinkle of extra flour if needed to knead and roll our the dough until it starts to get a skin and no longer sticky. Once you got a nice skin on the dough and have rolled around you will have less cracks and stickiness. This is where I roll out to a long oval-shaped loaf and tuck all the spots under the loaf that have cracks or whatever. It doesn't have to look perfect because the skin will turn into a thick crunchy crust after baking. 

No need to proof or prove or whatever you normally do with bread because there is NO YEAST!! So just after rolling out a loaf, put on a parchment papered baking sheet and bake in a 350 degree oven for 1 hour. Let cool for 20-30 minutes before cutting into. Serve warm, which is my favorite! But also let it cool and slice out the loaf and save in a bread container for the rest of the week. It does a great job at keep at room temperature but you may find that you still like to toast it to warm it up a bit. 

Berry Chia Jam Recipe
2 cups of frozen blueberries or a mix of whatever berries you have
1/2 cup of juice (I used Antioxidant Force by Smart Juice) but you could use pomegranate or other no sugar fruit juice like cherry, berry mix, or grape
1/2 cup of pear or apple juices for sweetness too
also, you can use elderberry tea as in sub from the juice (as in my other chia-jam recipe)
1 TB of grated fresh ginger
1 organic orange grated for zest and squeezed for juice
pinch of sea salt

1/4 cup of whole chia seeds

In a medium saucepan, pour in the 2 cups of frozen berries with the tea and the juice and let cook to defrost and get soft. Then add in the ginger and orange juice and zest and bring to a soft boil and bubble and cook from any where to 10-15 minutes until the berries are very hot, juicy and mushy. You can use an immersion blender to blend in half of the mixture to be more smooth and have less chunky fruit if you want a smoother jam. After this it looks like a fruit soup. Turn off the heat and then add in the chia seeds. Stir in well so not to be clumpy and then let it sit in the pan and cool and let the chia seeds soak up the moisture and turn into a thick jammy substance. When it cools for 10-15 minutes you can pour into a pint jar to continue to cool and thicken in the fridge. It will be best after at least 4 hours in the fridge. This recipe makes 1 pint jar and will keep up to 2 weeks. 

There you have it, my most favorite recipes adapted to have NO sweetener but fruit. I hope you give them a try regardless and ENJOY! It is a great way to start off the new year trying to love and nourish the body with ways that it cannot hide behind sugar, caffeine and crappy processed foods to feel numb and yucky. Feed your body LOVE, friends!

Much love as always, xoxo

Thursday, January 4, 2018

Cauliflower and Sweet Potato Chickpea Curry

HAPPY NEW YEAR, friends! I hope you had only positive affirmations, dreams and goals as you process the past and look forward to the next year. I am challenging myself to a "January reset" after a few months of feasting and indulging throughout the holidays. This reset includes two things... to eat a plant based diet and to only eat fruit for sweetness, so no honey, maple syrup, or coconut sugar... just fruit and veggies to get sweetness in my life. So this is my way of showing myself some self-love this month. It isn't about restrictions or rules, just a way to say to my body, "I love you and you are worth it!" I want to help my body clean out whatever needs to go and reduce inflammation, anxiety and imbalances. It is about nourishing, loving and bringing more goodness and simplicity to my diet. I am NO fan of January juice, raw, or rules diets- these to me can cause so much confusion and stress on the body when all it wants this time of year is to be WARM, nourished and replenished.
Another great thing about this recipe is how cost effective it is. I bought all of the above at my local health grocery store for around 10 dollars and add in the extra rice it is a huge meal for around $12 dollars. This recipe will be my lunches for the whole week, but it could easily feed a family of four twice! So is it nourishing...AND cheap! And did I say it's packed with fresh ginger and turmeric too?!? This means that is is perfect for warming the bones too...our temperature here this week is in the single and negative digits as is many part of the country, so I know we are all looking for a meal to warm us from the inside out!
Cauliflower and Sweet Potato Chickpea Curry Recipe
{gluten, dairy, egg, soy, and sugar-free, vegan if you use vegetable stock}

2 TB of avocado oil for sauteing
1 large onion finely chopped
4-5 garlic cloves finely minced
1-2 TB of finely grated fresh ginger*
1-2 TB of finely grated fresh turmeric*

2 cups of raw washed, cut into bite sized pieces, cauliflower
2 cups of pealed and cut and cubed pieces of sweet potato

1 14 ounce can of diced organic tomatoes
1 can of full-fat coconut milk
2-3 cups of chicken or vegetable broth
1 14 ounce can of organic pre-cooked garbanzo beans
1 ts. of curry powder
1 ts. of ground paprika
1 ts. of ground cumin
1 ts. of ground coriander
1/2 ts. of ground cinnamon
pinch of cayenne
pinch of cloves
1 ts. of sea salt
hearty pinch of fresh ground black pepper
optional: 1-2 TB of tahini, or a nut butter like almond or peanut for extra thickness and flavor

2 cups of fresh finely chopped greens (spinach, kale or chard)
handful of fresh chopped cilantro
1/2 cup of raisins (I like a mix with golden raisins included ;)

for serving:
serve over prepared basmati or jasmine rice (or quinoa)
limes juice and wedges
sprinkle of fresh cilantro or parsley

In a large pot, saute the onion, garlic, tumeric, ginger with the oil and a sprinkle of salt and pepper, when it cooks down, add in the bite-sized cauliflower, sweet potato and spices and cook for another 5 minutes, then add in the coconut milk, tomatoes, beans and broth. Let cook, bubbling and covered for 15- 20 minutes until the potatoes are soft and the broth reduced. Then add in the raisins, fresh greens and herbs and let those get soft. It is ready for serving now, or you can turn off the heat and let it sit and cool a bit and thicken up. Then serve with prepared basmati or jasmine rice. With a slice of lime and a sprinkle of some fresh herbs too. 

*If you do not have access to fresh ginger or turmeric root, then you can for sure used dried spices. I would start at 1 ts. each and add in more if you desire a little more punch...
This curry recipe is an easy base recipe for a vegan curry. You could easily swap out the sweet potatoes for carrots or add in other favorite blend of veggies. I love the sweet potatoes for a little extra sweet in my life while fasting from sugar and also the cauliflower holds up so nicely and pairs so well with the spices. The raisins add just the right touch of sweetness to the spice and then get soft and plump up on the sauce so they are a must of you ask me. BUT if for some reason you don't have raisins on hand or dislike them then they can easily be nixed. This is thick, creamy, hearty, nourishing bowl of goodness that I hope you find yourself making again and again before it gets warm. Maybe a weekly occurrence until we get above the freezing point.

What new ways are you showing yourself some love and nourishment this new year? What hopes to you have to learn and challenge yourself in 2018? I know my little way of showing some love this January will come with it's ups and downs, and I hope to share a few more of my no-sugar-no meat experiments with you :) Stay warm and cozy friends!

Much love and HOPE xoxo