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Fast Lunch! Spinach Patty with Sauteed Greens… Happy Spring! (even with all this Michigan snow)

Spinach Patty and Sauteed Greens

Spinach Patty and Sauteed Greens

What says **Spring** more than fresh greens? Well, green grass might be nice, but since all we have in Michigan is snow, this green-based lunch will have to do for now ๐Ÿ˜‰

Swiss chard and baby bok choy

Swiss chard and baby bok choy

 

I LOVE growing greens in my garden, though I admit I am still learning what they like best to thrive. These greens are from the supermarket (I was lucky enough to find organic on sale, less expensive than regular produce prices… be sure to look at the organic section, don’t assume it’s *always* pricier!)

 

 

Spinach patties cooling

Spinach patties cooling

So this lunch is not only pretty, it was super-quick! Yesterday I made a batch of the spinach balls that I posted on St. Patrick’s Day (omitted the bacon and reduced butter by half this time) and I made some of them into patties. (Patties were my husband’s idea! We thought they might make nice buns, but even though sturdy, they were a bitย  heavy for that.) So today, I was looking at some of the pretty greens in my fridge, and thought that a quick saute of baby bok choy and a couple leaves of swiss chard (in coconut oil and a splash of vinegar) would be a perfect complement to the patty with a little melted cheese, tomato and gomasio!

It was delicious! I’m thinking that I’ll make this for dinner soon, keeping it light with a few shrimp or a bit of fish.

Spinach Patty and Greens!

Spinach Patty and Greens!

 

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COCONUT FLOUR TORTILLA! {Grain-free, Gluten-free}

Coconut flour tortilla with cheeseburger filling for lunch, YES!

Coconut flour tortilla with cheeseburger filling for lunch, YES!

 

I don’t do a lot of bread replacements, but I will definitely be using this one again. In fact, after I cooked it, and it was a success, I looked at it –blankly– for a bit, trying to figure out what to put in it, because my mind doesn’t even *think* in terms of sandwiches anymore!!

This is a recipe from www.freecoconutrecipes.com which is part of the Tropical Traditions coconut product website. I will probably tweak this a little after I have made it a few times, but as a basic recipe to work from, it ROCKS! I want to share this now because there are some who rely a lot on tortillas and wraps, and this might make your day a little easier and the switch to grain-free eating a little less scary.

 

Click for COCONUT FLOUR TORTILLA RECIPE.

It’s somewhere between a tortilla and a crepe, and was even sturdy enough for burger fillings! There’s no question it would be good with sweet dessert-type fillings as well, like sweetened cream cheese and berries, mmmm. I’ve been wanting to focus more on using coconut flour because almond flour can be a little harsh for my digestion, so this is perfect. KEEPER, thank you to my Facebook friend for posting this on her page, made my day!
 

 

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Sinfully Healthy EASY Chocolate Pudding (with a secret “super” ingredient!)

Sinfully Healthy EASY Chocolate Pudding (with a secret “super” ingredient!)

Silky, rich, creamy and nostalgic! Chocolate pudding has been enjoyed by many since childhood, but the varieties that we can purchase at the store in single-serving containers or powdered box form pretty much all contain ingredients that we either don’t want in our healthy diet, or worse yet, don’t even recognize!

The following is a recipe that I lifted from my Facebook friend, Carol (with her permission, of course!) and that she adapted from this one that is surely delicious, but is higher in carbs. Thank you, Carol! She has shared it freely on the Wheat Belly Facebook page, and it has gotten rave reviews from just about everyone who has tried it, including ME! It’s so simple, low-carb and borderline genius, that I had to share it with my readers here, because I believe everyone should know how to make it!

By now most of us know how many benefits there are to including avocados in our diets, and this is yet another way to use them, albeit somewhat anonymously ๐Ÿ˜‰ . The upside is also that I used a VERY ripe avocado (ummm questionably ripe), and it still turned out amazingly good! This can be vegetarian, sugar-free and dairy-free, though I made it with organic vitamin D milk.

Chocolate Avocado Pudding

Easy Healthy Chocolate Pudding made with Avocado!

I think that there is a lesson to be learned with this recipe and others like it…
THINK OUTSIDE THE BOX when it comes to including healthy ingredients in our diet.
Some foods that we may not be crazy about in their original form, can be incredible when used in unexpected ways. Avocado and cauliflower are two that come to mind right away. My recipe for cauliflower cream (soup base) is similar, in that it takes a mild food (that many don’t care for), that also has many nutritional benefits and changes it into something neutral that capitalizes on texture more than anything else.

Carol’s Chocolate Avocado Pudding/Frosting

  • 1 medium avocado, pitted and peeled
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/4 cup sweetener (like xylitol)
  • 1/4 cup + 2 T. unsweetened almond milk (or any type milk you prefer)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • pinch of salt

Put all ingredients in food processor and blend until smooth. Serve immediately or refrigerate until you’re ready to serve. Better if made an hour or so ahead. Stores well for several days. If large avocado, increase other ingredients accordingly. A few drops of peppermint extract can be added if desired.

To use as frosting, omit milk.

(Notes: I made a double batch, used dark cocoa, regular milk and slightly less sweetener, as the Truvia I used is on the sweeter side.) I’m wondering how this might be in a wheat-free low-carb pie crust, chilled with cream on top?!

 

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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!!

ย 

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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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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Chocolate Cake for Breakfast?! Low-carb, Easy Variations on the MIM (muffin in a minute/microwave)

Chocolate Cake for Breakfast?! Low-carb, Easy Variations on the MIM (muffin in a minute/microwave)

 

Hot Chocolate MIM!

Hot Chocolate MIM!

It’s been FAR too long (again) since I’ve written, I KNOW! Life is busy, which is a huge part of it… and I’m sure that’s not surprising to anyone ๐Ÿ˜‰ What might be more surprising is that I just haven’t been cooking or baking very much at all! I have been off wheat since March, which is 9 months now, and I have to say that never in my life has my interest in food and appetite been lower! I still enjoy and focus on HEALTHY foods, but the urgency of meals has just sort of faded away… if it wasn’t for feeding a teenager, I doubt I would be in the kitchen at all these days. We eat plenty of salads, grab quick snacks of cheese, nuts or veggies and call it good quite often.

(Now you are wondering, WHO IS THIS WOMAN??)

I want to reassure you though, that I am still as enthusiastic as EVER about being free from wheat and its terrible inflammatory effects, weight issues and health consequences. My husband and I meet new people all the time who are interested in this way of eating (maybe some of our new friends are reading right NOW!), and we are more than happy to fill them in on our transformation! I kind of look at this blog as my pet charity, because it’s not something I do to create an income (unfortunately), but I do it because I am passionate about educating people and providing them with the resources to try this lifestyle on for size and see if it helps them with those stubborn weight issues as well as other chronic long term problems.

Today I am posting a favorite recipe for a MIM… muffin in a minute, or muffin in a microwave. If you google the term, you will likely find all sorts of variations on this theme. I didn’t invent this by any means, and it’s been around for awhile… it is one of the staples around here for hot breakfast, especially for my son, he LOVES these.

The great thing is that this breakfast sticks with him and fills him up because he is getting a whole egg, a handful of almonds and some healthy fat, all in one DELICIOUS piece of cake! WIN/WIN baby!!! Oh, and I have no problem whipping it up at 6:30 am when my eyes are still half-closed, before I’ve even had coffee ๐Ÿ˜‰ Pretty key for a staple weekday breakfast recipe!!ย 

You can fool around with the recipe and get all sorts of wonderful variety, it really is a very forgiving concoction. This particular version is a result of going back and forth with a friend of mine to tweak a chocolate MIM. I used some flax in mine, and she omitted it… and my son preferred it like this, all almond flour. She wins!

This one happens to be chocolate (oh believe me, it’s YUMMY!) I will give you the recipe that I am using right now, but after I will also give you some suggestions for tweaking this to your liking and mood!

 

HOT CHOCOLATE CAKE (MIM)

  • 1 large egg
  • 1-2 TB mayonnaise
  • 4 TB almond flour
  • 2 tsp sweetener (or to taste, I used Truvia)
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 TB dark cocoa
  • pinch of salt (optional)
  • optional add-ins: 1TB dark choc chips, 1TB chopped walnuts or pecans

Mix all ingredients together in a flat-bottomed cereal-sized bowl until well combined. (The ones I use are about 5-5.5″ in diameter) Microwave for 2-2.5 minutes (depending on your microwave.) Remove, loosen the edges with a knife, and flip out onto a plate. (Be sure to scroll down to the bottom, past the pictures, for some alternative ingredients!)

I usually top with a pat of butter and a little Truvia, and presto! You have warm, delicious (low carb) chocolate cake. If we are having this as a desert, I top with a little whipped heavy cream. For us, one is enough to split as a desert serving, but for breakfast my son easily polishes off a whole one.

MIM batter, ready for the microwave.

MIM batter, ready for the microwave.

After nuking for 2.5 minutes.

After nuking for 2.5 minutes.

Flipped onto a plate, with a pat of butter and a little sweetener... YUMMY!

Flipped onto a plate, with a pat of butter and a little sweetener… YUMMY!

NOW, if you want to change things up, here are some suggestions:

  • Use coconut oil in place of mayonnaise. I usually do this for mine.
  • Use half almond flour and half ground flax. It will be a bit softer, more like a baked pudding. I prefer golden flax over the brown flax, but you can experiment and use whichever you have or like.
  • Add a TB of heavy cream and/or softened cream cheese for a different consistency.
  • Omit cocoa and add a few blueberries and a dash of cinnamon, or sliced strawberries.
  • Add 1-2TB of pumpkin puree and a tsp of pumpkin pie spice! This is delicious. I’ve done it by omitting the cocoa, and with keeping the cocoa. Both are great. When adding pumpkin, I sometimes have to increase the cook time.
  • Add 1/4 mashed banana, a little vanilla and walnuts, omit cocoa or not.
  • Omit sweetener and cocoa, sub 1TB of the almond flour for flax or buckwheat flour, add any seasonings of your choice (such as a little garlic powder, salt, pepper, herbs) and once cooled, slice in half and use as sandwich bread.

You can see by now that this is an extremely versatile recipe, and I am sure than you can think of all sorts of ways to make this recipe your own by adding, omitting and tweaking! I hope you enjoy and that this addition to your recipe arsenal makes this way of eating a little easier for you, and gives you some more ideas for breakfast and dessert!

 

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