Cinnamon Star Cookies

So I’ve been on another egg-free kick lately. Now, egg-free, grain-free, nut-free, practically everything-free all at once is really, really hard. And it’s especially hard for making cookies. Thankfully, though, I can do brown rice flour! And I came across a website with a bunch of egg-free cookies from an Indian chef. They all look really fun! I started with the cinnamon cookies, and replaced the all-purpose flour with brown rice flour (they’re actually not crumbly or gritty, as I thought they might be!), used coconut sugar instead of regular, and translated the measurements from metric to…whatever it is we use in America. 😊 The result was delicious the first day, but the second day…wow! They brought back memories of baking pies with Mom and Grandma. We used to take the scraps left over from the pie crust and bake them up with cinnamon and sugar on top. That is exactly what these taste like! Delicious little cinnamon crisps. What’s even better than delicious food? Delicious food that carries happy memories!

Cookie Ingredients:

1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup coconut sugar 
1 1/2 tablespoons cinnamon 
1/2 teaspoon vanilla 
1 3/4 cup brown rice flour 
1/4 teaspoon baking powder 
2 tablespoons water

Cinnamon-Sugar Topping:

1 tablespoon coconut sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon

Melt butter, then cream together butter, sugar, cinnamon, and vanilla. Add brown rice flour and baking powder and mix well. Add water until the dough is workable, forming a medium-soft ball. Refrigerate dough for 10 minutes, then roll out on parchment paper till 1/8-1/4″ thick. Cut with cookie cutter, re-rolling the scraps and repeating the process till the dough is used up. Place the cookie shapes on a parchment lined baking stone. Sprinkle cookies with cinnamon-sugar mixture, gently pressing cinnamon-sugar into the cookies with your palm. Bake at 350° for 15 minutes. Cookies will not brown very much (they are already brown from the cinnamon and coconut sugar), but should be done then. Let cool about 10 minutes, then transfer to cooling rack to cool completely.

Ginger Berry Refresher

Getting your veggies can be difficult! But when you put them in a delicious smoothie, it’s a little easier. This refreshing drink includes one serving of fruit and one serving of vegetables, plus the anti-inflammatory power of ginger and probiotic punch of water kefir. Makes you feel clean, alert, and engergized!

1 stalk celery
1/2 apple
1/4 cup frozen blueberries
1/4 square inch fresh ginger
Juice of 1/2 small lemon (optional)
1/4 cup blueberry or ginger water kefir*
1/4 cup water

Cut celery and apple into chunks and place in blender. Add all other ingredients and blend until smooth. Pour into a glass and enjoy!

*To purchase water kefir grains and get started with making water kefir, visit Cultures for Health. Also visit yemoos.com for more about water kefir.

If you don’t have water kefir for this recipe, you can substitute coconut water or just plain water plus 1/2 teaspoon coconut sugar.

SautĂ©ed Chard with Mustard Vinaigrette

This dish is a wonderful way to use chard from the garden. Exact proportions depend on the size of your bunch of chard, so adjust ingredients according to your taste!

1 large bunch chard
7 garlic cloves, crushed or sliced
Salt and pepper
1/2 cup chicken broth
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1/2 tablespoon coconut sugar
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup pecans, chopped

Rinse chard, then slice stems to separate from leaves. Coarsely chop the leaves and set aside. Slice the stems and and sauté in olive oil till slightly tender. Add garlic and sauté a few minutes more. Place chard leaves in pan, pour in chicken broth, and season lightly with salt and pepper. Add in mustard and coconut sugar as chard is cooking. When chard is wilted nicely, add apple cider vinegar and turn off heat. Sprinkle in chopped pecans. Serve over simple salmon with roasted potatoes, or with your favorite hearty dish.

Orange Walnut Torte

This cake has been long in the making. I first wanted to create a non-chocolate nut flour cake, dense like a chocolate torte, but flavored with orange instead. At first I wasn’t sure about how it turned out. It was light and fluffy on top, but dense and moist underneath. But after my husband raved about it…well, I decided that’s how it’s supposed to be!

Next, though the cake had an elegant flavor, it certainly didn’t look elegant. So I experimented until, with a little help from my talented taste-testing husband, I came up with an orange-flavored icing that finishes of the cake beautifully, both in flavor and appearance! I hope you enjoy the results of our experimenting as much as we do!

Cake:

1 1/2 teaspoons orange zest (1-2 oranges)
1 1/2 tablespoons orange juice (1 small orange)
2/3 cup walnuts (or 1/2 cup walnut flour)
2\3 cup cashews (or 1/2 cup cashew flour)
5 eggs, separated
1/2 cup honey
1/4 cup coconut oil
1/4 teaspoon sea salt

Preheat oven to 300°. Grease an 8″ a springform pan with coconut oil and line with parchment paper. In a small saucepan, melt coconut oil, then allow to cool. Meanwhile, whip egg whites with the salt till soft peaks form. Grind nut flour in food processor. In a separate bowl (or food processor), whisk egg yolks with honey till pale, then mix in the orange juice and coconut oil. Add in nut flour and zest, then fold egg whites into batter a little at a time, until just mixed. Pour into springform pan. Bake at 300° for 45 minutes, on convection if you have it. Cake will be browned and springy when done, but still dense and somewhat sticky in the middle.

Icing:

1 cup cashews, soaked 4 hours, then drained
1/2 cup fresh squeezed orange juice (3 small oranges)
1 tablespoon orange zest (2-3 oranges)
1 1/2 tablespoons coconut sugar
2 tablespoons honey
1/4 cup butter
1 teaspoon vanilla

Blend all ingredients in food processor or Vitamix until smooth. Chill in refrigerator 30 minutes, then spread on cooled cake. Finish with a dusting of coconut sugar.

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Navy Bean Soup

A simple yet delicious soup for the autumn days!

1 pound dried navy beans
1 onion, diced
3 carrots, sliced
2 stalks celery, sliced
5 cloves garlic, minced
2 quarts chicken broth
2 tablespoons dried Herbes de Provence
2 bay leaves
1/4 teaspoon salt (omit if chicken broth is salty)
1/4 teaspoon pepper
4 large beef kiolbassa sausages (precooked), sliced

Rinse beans and soak 24 hours. Drain and rinse, then pour into crockpot.

Sauté onion, carrots, and celery in olive or coconut oil. When vegetables are tender, add garlic and sauté 2 minutes more. Pour vegetables into crockpot, then add herbs, bay leaves, pepper, and chicken broth. Cook on high 8-10 hours. Add the sausage slices in the last hour. When beans are tender, serve and enjoy.

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Nut Flour Muffins

The trees have turned beautifully golden, red, and all the delightful shades in between. The air is crisp with the approaching of winter, and frost appears on the grass at dawn. Fall is here—and it’s time for “comfort food.”

Everyone seems to have their own favorite comfort food. Mine is muffins. When I was a child, nothing said home to me like walking into our tiny apartment after a long ramble in the crisp fall air and being greeted with the warm, delicious fragrance of my mother’s freshly baked muffins. The aroma of those muffins and the memory of my mother’s loving welcome became all wrapped up together. And I suppose that is what makes comfort food…so comforting.
Fortunately, you can still have muffins, even if you’re going grain free! I found this recipe on a Specific Carbohydrate Diet site, which I can no longer find. I’ve added my own variations, and the option for making them with freshly ground cashew flour. Feel free to come up with your own variations. And share them with me! 😊

Basic Muffin Recipe

2 1/2 C blanched almond flour, or 2 3/4 cups raw cashews
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 C homemade yogurt, butter, or coconut oil
1/2 C honey
3 eggs

If using almond flour, combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix. If using cashews, place cashews in a food processor and grind into flour. Add other ingredients and blend until mixed.

Spoon batter into lined muffin pan (stoneware bakes the best). Bake at 350° for 16-22 minutes being careful not to burn. Muffins are done when golden brown and springy in the middle.

~Variations~

Blueberry Muffins

Add:
1 cup frozen blueberries, thawed
1 teaspoon vanilla

Lemon Raspberry Muffins

Add:
2 tsp grated lemon rind, plus juice from 1/2 lemon
1/2 cup frozen raspberries

Cinnamon Coffee Cake Muffins

Use only 1/4 cup honey, and use the remaining 1/4 cup honey to make topping/filling (alternate batter-filling-batter-topping):

1/4 cup honey
2 T butter, melted
2 T cinnamon
1/4 cup chopped walnuts or pecans

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Making Nut Flour

Since I do a lot of baking with cashew or walnut flour that I grind myself, I thought it might be helpful to post a tutorial on making your own nut flour, for those who may not have done it before. So here it is:

Place nuts in Cuisinart food processor. Process until crumbly. When crumbs start to turn into a paste at the bottom of the bowl, scrape sides and check consistency. Repeat until nut crumbs roll like play dough between your fingers. just past this stage, the nuts will start to become butter instead of flour, so keep an eye on it! That said…if you want nut butter, just run the processor a lot longer until nuts are completely smooth (note that some nuts may require additional oil to become entirely spreadable butter).

This does work in a Vitamix too, though getting uniform consistency is a little trickier.

And that’s all!

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