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Monthly Archives: January 2013

{Easy!} Banana Walnut Bread… Gluten-free, Grain-free and Dairy-free!

{Easy!} Banana Walnut Bread… Gluten-free, Grain-free and Dairy-free!
Grain-free Banana Walnut Bread, Warm from the oven!

Grain-free Banana Walnut Bread, Warm from the oven!

 

Banana bread is one of those traditional flour-based foods that offers a lot of homemade comfort; from the amazing smell of it baking to the wonderful banana nut flavor, it’s a favorite of many. Unfortunately, when it’s made with wheat flour, it has all the appetite stimulating and inflammatory effects of grains that we work to avoid. Lucky for us grain-free peeps, using a combination of almond flour and coconut flour, this was a pretty easy recipe to tweak ๐Ÿ˜‰ (If you are avoiding dairy, make this with the coconut oil, and obviously don’t spread with butter.) My son couldn’t get enough of this, and I’ve made it twice this past week! Everyone who’s tried it here thus far has given it a thumbs up, so it’s definitely a new staple in our house.

Bananas are one of those borderline forbidden fruits that are relatively high in carbs, and yet have a texture, flavor, aroma and nutrient profile that makes it appealing in small quantities. If you are watching your carb count, this banana bread can still fit into most diets… 16 slices in a loaf ends up being about 5g net carbs per slice. Not too shabby, as it’s pretty filling! We follow Wheat Belly, and though fruit is eaten in moderation, we find that this works for our personal limits. Note: in the pictures you may notice that I added a few chopped dried cranberries (1/4C). This raises the carb content by about 1-2g per piece, but since it was mainly my son eating this loaf, I wasn’t concerned about it.

I usually use dry sweeteners such as Swerve or Truvia, but in this case, I used Torani sugar-free caramel flavored syrup. I found it in the aisle with the coffee ๐Ÿ™‚ Caramel was a great flavor addition, but I’m sure that maple or hazelnut would be wonderful as well… I just used what I already had on hand. I will be honest, in that I don’t really care for the flavor of this syrup on its own or as a topping due to the sweetener, but mixed into the batter, it was wonderful! If you don’t have the syrup, you could use a dry sweetener and increase the water in the recipe.

Mashing bananas with my vintage dough blade. Love this tool!

Mashing bananas with my vintage dough blade. Love this tool!

Grain-free Banana Walnut Bread

  • 1 C almond flour
  • 1/3 C coconut flour
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 3 TB coconut oil, melted (or butter)
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 ripe bananas, mashed
  • 1/3 C sugar-free syrup (I used Torani caramel flavored)
  • 1 TB vanilla
  • 2 TB water
  • 1/2 C chopped walnuts (optional)

Directions: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a bread pan with butter or coconut oil. (I used a silicone bread pan, and rubbed it with butter.) Combine almond flour, coconut flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a large mixing bowl. Whisk to combine completely. In a separate bowl, combine mashed bananas, eggs, coconut oil, syrup, vanilla, and water. Add to dry ingredients and mix until combined, mix in walnuts.

Batter, mixed and ready to go in the pan

Batter, mixed and ready to go in the pan

 

Pour into prepared pan and smooth out on top. Bake at 350 for a total of 40-45 minutes (or until a skewer inserted in the middle of the loaf comes out cleanly), rotating once halfway through baketime. Remove to wire rack to cool, removing from pan after cooling slightly. Serve with butter, whipped cream or cream cheese. (Total carbs about 80 for the loaf, 5g net carbs each for 16 slices.)

 

Grain-free Banana Walnut Bread, fresh from the oven, Mmmmm!

Grain-free Banana Walnut Bread, fresh from the oven, Mmmmm!

 

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Coconut Shrimp {Grain-free and Low Carb}

Coconut Shrimp, Gluten and Grain Free!

Coconut Shrimp, Gluten and Grain Free!

 

This is a super simple recipe that is great for coconut shrimp, but it’s also wonderful for chicken strips or anything else that you may want to pan fry without traditional grain flours. The main ingredients in the “breading” are almond flour, shredded coconut and grated Parmesan cheese, and while I will give you the proportions that I used, feel free to tinker with the ratios to your own liking! I added a little Old Bay seasoning to compliment the seafood flavor I was after, but many times I will use my own seasonings such as garlic powder, fresh cracked pepper, oregano, basil, cayenne pepper, or whatever you prefer. This is less sweet than many versions of coconut shrimp I’ve had in the past, but my palate prefers it that way. If you’d like it sweeter, just add a little sweetener (such as Swerve or Truvia)ย  to the dry ingredients.

I splurged a little on carbs when it comes to the marmalade dip, but it’s much lower than a traditional dip. Using the low sugar marmalade, and mixing in some butter and sriracha (hot sauce) will give you the flavor without the usual high carb content. If you want to stay Wheat Belly compliant, skip the sauce!

We love shrimp, and I much prefer to buy it raw than pre-cooked. We don’t have easy access to fresh seafood where we live, but frozen is great as well. When I peel the shrimp (after thawing), I like to leave the last tail section in place, but remove everything else. To devein, run a sharp knife along the backside of the shrimp, removing the dark vein. To butterfly, as I do for this recipe, remove the vein and then slide the knife a little deeper to open up the shrimp, but be careful not to cut all the way through. Here is a 25 second video demo in case you need a little visual to help!

Coconut Shrimp

Egg mixture and breading

Egg mixture and breading

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb large raw shrimp, peeled, deveined, butterflied and patted dry
  • 1/3 C grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 C shredded coconut (unsweetened)
  • 1/2 C almond flour
  • 1 tsp Old Bay seasoning (or seasonings of your choice if altering)
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1/4 C mayonnaise
  • coconut oil for pan frying

Directions:
Combine the Parmesan cheese, almond flour, shredded coconut and seasonings; set aside.

Frying shrimp in batches

Frying shrimp in batches

Beat together eggs and mayonnaise. Heat coconut oil in a skillet (I used our new ceramic coated non-stick, which rocked!) over medium-high heat. Dredge each shrimp in the egg mixture, removing excess against the side of the dish, and then press into the almond flour mixture to coat. Place each shrimp into the hot oil, cooking about 3 minutes per side, turning once. Cook in batches, moving shrimp as needed to ensure even browning. Remove to plate to cool. Serve with marmalade dip if desired.

A plate of shrimpy goodness!!

A plate FULL of shrimpy goodness!!

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Low-Carb Marmalade Dip

  • 1/4 C reduced sugar marmalade, melted
  • 1/4 C melted butter
  • dash of sriracha or other hot sauce

Combine all ingredients and serve with coconut shrimp.

Healthy fried food is possible!

We don’t have fried foods very often, but late on a Saturday night, using healthy coconut oil, this was perfect!!

 

 

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Crispy Herbed Tamari Ginger Chicken with Asian Inspired Shirataki Noodle Salad

 

Either you like crispy chicken skin, or you don’t… we DO! Mmmmm! It’s such a wonderful combination of texture and taste, and a good source of healthy fats. So, for the crispy-skin-lovers out there, I hope you enjoy this simple chicken recipe!

Crispy Herbed Tamari Ginger Chicken with Asian Inspired Salad

Crispy Herbed Tamari Ginger Chicken with Asian Inspired Salad

Most of the recipes I post here are for foods that traditionally contain wheat or high carbohydrate content, and that have been modified to fit into a grain-free, low-carb way of eating. This tends to include lots of baked goods… not because we eat lots of goodies (we don’t) but because that seems to be the hardest thing for people to convert within a new lifestyle.

This is a recipe that is just plain yummy, and it’s something I would have made in the pre-wheat-free days as well. If you enjoy a crispy skin on tender chicken, this recipe is a great base which can modified in numerous ways to fit the seasonings that you prefer or have on hand.

In this case, I was using Tamari, which is the gluten-free version of soy sauce, and it inspired me to season further with ginger, garlic powder, some fresh tarragon (because I had it on hand) and my homemade Gomasio. (If I’d had some green onion, I would have used it in place of the tarragon, but the tarragon was great!) Take note in the recipe that I pulled the skin back on the chicken to get the herbs and seasonings underneath. This helps to infuse the meat with wonderful flavor, and the skin to become nice and crispy, mmm. Don’t be afraid to mix up the flavors if you prefer lemon/garlic, blackened/cajun or any other combination you enjoy!

Shirataki Noodles

Shirataki Noodles

To accompany the chicken, I made a simple chopped salad of romaine lettuce, fresh avocado, cubed cucumber, shirataki noodles, slivered almonds and Gomasio, topped with a dressing I threw together that my husband ended up being crazy about. It’s very fresh tasting and was also an experiment in using the shirataki noodles in this way. Shirataki noodles are still a new ingredient to me, though I have been hearing about them for quite some time. They are in the refrigerated specialty section in some larger groceries, though they don’t carry them in my small town, so I picked some up when I was in a neighboring Kroger the other day. They are gluten-free and grain-free, and made of tofu, though I wouldn’t say that they have a tofu taste or texture. I quite liked them in this salad, and I also added some to a nice hot bowl of miso soup the other day, and enjoyed that as well!

Crispy Herbed Tamari Ginger Chicken

Ingredients:

  • 4 chicken quarters (thigh/leg)
  • 1/4-1/2 cup tamari
  • 2Tb each fresh tarragon and parsley, finely chopped
  • garlic powder to taste
  • powdered ginger to taste
  • gomasio to taste
Seasoning under the skin

Seasoning under the skin

Directions:
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Line a baking sheet with foil. Rinse chicken and pat dry. Gently separate the chicken skin from the meat (leaving it attached at the sides) and brush under the skin with the tamari, season with the herbs and spices as desired (except gomasio). Pull the skin back into place and brush the chicken on both sides with tamari, season with herbs, spices and tamari. Bake for 45 minutes at 375, rotating the pan partway through cooking. Raise temp to 425 degrees and cook for another 10 minutes or until internal temperature reads 165. Serves 4.

Ready to bake

Ready to bake

Asian Inspired Salad with Shirataki Noodles

Chopped Salad

Chopped Salad

Ingredients for Salad:

  • 2 cups chopped romaine hearts
  • 1 avocado, pitted and chopped
  • 1 large cucumber, peeled, seeded and chopped
  • 1/4 C slivered almonds
  • 1 bag shirataki noodles, rinsed and drained
  • gomasio to taste

Ingredients for dressing:

  • 2-3 TB tamari
  • juice of one lime
  • 2TB honey/ginger balsamic vinegar
  • 3-4 TB sour cream
  • 1 tsp honey or sweetener to taste
  • 1/4 tsp ground ginger
  • 1TB fresh tarragon, finely chopped

Combine all salad ingredients in a bowl, set aside. Combine all dressing ingredients, and use as desired on salad.

 

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Grain-free Belgian Waffles {with dairy-free option}

Grain-free Belgian Waffles {with dairy-free option}
Grain-free Belgian waffles

Grain-free Belgian waffles with a little butter and frozen raspberries!

Crispy on the outside, soft on the inside, it’s a wonderful switch from eggs for breakfast, especially if you need to feed children or teens. Also great as a base for desserts, Belgian waffles are classic! But they are also usually full of wheat and high carb… We purchased a Belgian waffle maker for Christmas this year, and I have been experimenting with all sorts of alternative grain-free batters that will cook up into those wonderful waffley shapes!

I have used the MIM batters with mixed results, they tend to be a little softer overall and slightly dry, so need a little more tweaking before I can give you a very low-carb recipe that I am truly pleased with. That being said, this recipe is more moderate carb, and is a definite winner for taste and texture.

Freezing Belgian Waffles to reheat later!

Freezing Belgian Waffles to reheat later!

Many of us, as adults, are very conscious about eating grain-free and not eating sugar, but we still have children or teens who can tolerate a higher carbohydrate exposure without any ill effects. This recipe still has 40% fewer carbs than Eggo waffles, (27g in two Eggo waffles vs. 16g in 2 sections of this recipe), so I believe it does have a place in the healthy kitchen. My son isn’t crazy about the texture of flaxmeal, which makes some of the other lower carb waffle recipes unappealing to him, and we weren’t thrilled with the texture of the coconut flour waffles either, so in the meantime, this is a good solution! If you are abiding by Wheat Belly, and prefer to keep your carb exposure to 15g or less per meal, you may want to give this one a pass.

I have hesitated to post this recipe, not because it isn’t easy and delicious (it is!) but because it’s not quite as low carb as what we normally eat. It also uses some potato starch, which is an ingredient I generally steer away from because it’s more or less a junk carbohydrate…. If you are offended by using starches, don’t make it ๐Ÿ˜‰ I just happen to have a teenage son who is also a very picky eater, and this recipe strikes a balance for him as far as I am concerned. The convenience of making these ahead of time and being able to pop them in the microwave or toaster is a nice change too!

Grain-free Belgian Waffles

Combining Ingredients

Combining Ingredients

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/4 C almond flour
  • 1/2 C potato starch
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 TB sweetener (I used Truvia)
  • pinch of cinnamon
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1/4 C sour cream (or canned coconut milk for non-dairy)
  • 1/4-1/3 C milk (or almond milk for non-dairy)
  • 1 TB vanilla extract
Into the pre-heated waffle maker

Into the pre-heated waffle maker

Directions:

Preheat waffle maker. Combine dry ingredients in medium mixing bowl. Add wet ingredients and mix completely. Spoon batter into waffle maker and cook to desired doneness. (How much batter you use will depend on the size and shape of your waffle maker. Mine is a round shape with 4 sections, and this recipe fills the waffle maker 3 times, giving me 12 waffle sections total.) Top as desired with sugar-free syrup, fruit, whipped cream, or whatever you prefer!

One full waffle has 4 sections, 8 carbs per piece.

One full waffle has 4 sections, 8g carbs per section.

 

 

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All-In-One Buns! {Grain-free, Nut-free}

Burger Bun, Pizza Crust & Breakfast Muffin?

All-In-One Buns

All-In-One Buns

This is a savory bun-style base recipe that is grain-free and also nut-free, which is a benefit for those who have a difficult time tolerating the nut flours. It started out as a recipe for pizza crust, but has evolved into one of the most versatile recipes I’ve been using as of late. Top as mini pizzas… ham and cheese melt… use as small sandwich buns, open-faced or sliced in half… burger buns… top with bruscetta mixture…ย  breakfast muffins with either ham or bacon added in… what about a little onion and broccoli? feta cheese? chili peppers? sausage?

I’ve had an ongoing health evolution since I changed to a grain-free, lower-carb diet in March of 2012, and I am still tweaking and figuring out which foods make my body feel the best, and which are causing some discomfort. I find that I can have nut flours in small amounts, but that I feel best when exposure is limited, so I love that this is based on eggs and cheese instead. Low-carb, Wheat Belly friendly.

All-In-One buns!

All-In-One buns… Cooling on a wire rack, these will be baby pizzas pretty soon!

These are sturdy, delicious and filling. This recipe makes 24 at a time (to keep on hand for a hungry teen),ย  but it can easily be halved or even cut to 1/3 if you don’t need as many. I will apologize in advance for not having pictures of everything we’ve made with this recipe so far, but they disappeared too quickly! I’ll try to add some in the future ๐Ÿ˜‰

All-In-One Buns

Ingredients:

  • 12 oz cream cheese, softened
  • 6 eggs
  • 3C mozzarella cheese, grated (I process it in my ninja to get a small crumble texture)
  • 3/4 C Parmesan cheese, also grated
  • 1 tsp garlic powder (or preferred seasonings)
  • 1 TB oregano

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 350′.
  • Blend cream cheese until smooth, either by hand or in the bowl of an electric mixer.
  • Blend in eggs, one at a time and mix until fairly smooth.
  • Mix in cheeses and seasonings, combine well.
  • If using add-ins such as ham, bacon, veggies etc, stir in last.
  • Spoon mixture into 2 muffin-top of bun pans (or bake one pan at a time, as I did!) making sure that the pans are oiled/sprayed well.
  • Bake for 20 minutes, rotating pan halfway through bake time.
  • Cool slightly and remove from pans.
  • Store in bags or containers in fridge for up to a week, if they last that long!

IMG-20121226-03305

 

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