Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Grain Free Lemon Poppy seed Muffins

I have been loving the blog The Healthy Home Economist. Sarah, who writes the blog is very knowledgeable on traditional cooking methods.  She references Sally Fallon's book "Nourishing Traditions" and the work of Dr. Westin A. Price as a primary premise for most of her posts.  I have been learning a TON!!!  lets just say, I'm having to RE-Learn a lot of what I THOUGHT was correct and sound information.

As I was browsing the blog I saw the recipe for these little Gems, Lemon Poppyseed Muffins

These are SO good! I just got them out of the oven and had to post pronto.  For a grain free muffin I am impressed. The muffins are very comparable to a regular lemon poppy seed muffin, in both taste and texture (don't get me wrong, the texture is NOT the same as wheat flour, but still very good).  The coconut flour makes it more light and fluffy than when made with almond flour, however both taste great :)

I did modify the recipe a little by adding zest of a lemon and replacing half of the honey with Stevia.

Grain Free Lemon Poppy seed Muffins
1/4 cup coconut flour
4 pastured, local eggs
1/4 cup local honey of choice, OR 2 Tbsp Honey and 10 drops liquid Stevia
1/4 cup expeller pressed coconut oil or butter
1/4 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp baking soda
1 TBL poppy seeds
Zest from one lemon
1-3 TBL fresh lemon juice (adjust based on how lemony you want the muffins to taste)

Soften coconut oil or butter and blend all ingredients together in a bowl until smooth.

Bake at 350F for about 10-12 minutes.
or at 275F for 12-15 mins

Makes about 20 mini muffins.

Enjoy :)


Saturday, March 19, 2011

Crunchy Snack Bars

Do you find yourself on the go and in need of a quick snack or bar that is convenient? I know that I do. I looked into buying those expensive whole food snack bars at the store to keep around and they are SO expensive. So when I came across this recipe for low carb snack bars on Laurens website Healthy Indulgences, I had to give them a try. I've been telling my sister Angela about them for weeks and I am finally getting them onto the blog.

These seem like a bit of work just looking at the recipe, but they really are quite easy, especially if you skip the chocolate topping. But I will say the chocolate topping makes them taste quite like an awesome candy bar or something :) Lauren says they remind her of a Samoa cookie. It is girl scout cookie time! so if you need something healthier to ward off the Samoa cravings, this will really hit the spot :) Definitely read the full recipe through a couple times so you can get an idea of what to do, and it will make following the recipe that much easier :)

These are a DELICIOUS and easy recipe to have on hand. (They freeze very well) and her site lists different versions of the recipe; I also make them without the chocolate topping, (a little less mess). 

The following is my absolute favorite version. It smells like a Samoa cookie, no joke!

Enjoy! Love Sara

Crunchy No-Bake Snack Bars


1/2 cup slivered almonds

1/2 cup pecans

1/4 cup golden flax meal (could also use sesame seed meal)

1/4 cup unsweetened shredded coconut

1/4 cup almond butter (could also use peanut or mac nut butter)

1/4 cup coconut oil (could also use melted butter)- UPDATE... I think 2 Tbls would be plenty.  This bar is a little oily, and when its closer to room temp a bit messy.  So i now cut down on the amount of extra oil.  I wouldnt be surprised if 1 Tbls would be enough.  Leave a comment if you try it, and let me know how it works out.
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon of raw honey

1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon sea salt

3 tablespoons erythritol**

1/8 teaspoon of pure stevia extract **

** If you don't have these ingredients just add a little more honey. That's what I did :) I increased honey to 1 Tablespoon. If you make this modification it does change the carb and sugar amounts that Lauren posted below.

Easy Chocolate Ganache Topping:


4 squares of 85% cacao chocolate

2 tablespoons non-hydrogenated palm oil shortening (could also use more coconut oil or organic unsalted butter)

1 tablespoon erythritol **

1/8 teaspoon pure stevia extract **

1 teaspoon organic heavy cream (or full fat coconut milk)

** you could substitute these two ingredients and put in 1 Tablespoon honey.


For Snack Bars:
Powder erythritol in coffee grinder or magic bullet. Toast coconut and nuts in a dry pan over medium-low heat or the toaster oven, until slightly browned. Pulse nut and seed mixture in a food processor just until nuts are chopped. Melt coconut oil and nut butter in the microwave for 30 seconds. Stir until smooth. Add vanilla extract, honey, erythritol, stevia, and sea salt, stirring until incorporating. Fold into nut mixture. Press into an 8 by 4 pan with a spatula. Quick set in the freezer for 20 minutes. Cut into 6 bars. Store in the refrigerator, covered with a paper towel and plastic wrap.

For Ganache Topping:

Powder erythritol in coffee grinder or magic bullet. Melt shortening and chocolate in microwave in for 30 seconds. Stir until chocolate is completely melted and smooth. Stir in cream, erythritol, and stevia, until mixture is completely blended. Spread over cooled bars immediately.

~4.35 grams net carbs per 1/6 of a recipe*

(*This amount is different if you added the extra honey)

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Tea Cookies, properly named 'Hamantaschen'

High Tea.  Have you ever had one?  Its such a fun experience and brings out a little bit of childhood girlishness in me.  Dainty little tea cups, beautifully tiered serving trays, homespun lace, fancy sandwiches and delicate little cookies.  I love this sort of thing, and I absolutely cant wait to buy Eva Pearl her first little tea set.

I was organizing my refrigerator the other day and picked up a jar of my mother-in-law's DELICIOUS strawberry jam.  I started to think of ways I could use the jam and it hit me, thumb print cookies!!  These type of cookies are so tender and buttery, and with a tiny dab of jam or preserves in the middle they are perfectly sweet.

So I went to Elana's website and found a recipe using jam.  They are called Hamantaschen;  A pastry traditionally eaten during the Jewish holiday of Purim.  Because I have no idea how to pronounce it, I am calling them Tea Cookies! (click this link for the recipe)

These are so delicious and delicate, definitely appropriate for an afternoon tea :)  I had a hard time keeping them in the triangle shape, (the mess up cookies were SOO good to eat, just not pretty) so next time I think I will make cut outs, and style them more like linzer sandwiches.  This was very easy to make, and definitely DELICIOUS, even my little 1st grade friend Lexi, loved them :)

My first pan of "mess ups"... Yummm!

Well, I am going to finish enjoying my afternoon cup of Tazo tea, and get Eva up from her nap!  I hope you have a beautiful day

Love Sara

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Sunbutter Brownies, 'Take 2'

I love brownies!  Especially the Duncan Hines variety, ha ha.  But these days I've been making home made recipes with all different types of ingredients. I've tried them with amaranth flour, coconut flour, and NO flour!!!
So, enters the Flourless Brownie recipe from Kelly Brozyna at The Spunky Coconut, I had to give it a try.  (by the way, Kelly is AWESOME! Definitely check out her website.  It is a great resource for people who have allergies)
There are a couple different ways you can make these brownies and I was intrigued because one of the variations uses Sun butter. (she compared it to being almost like peanut butter/chocolate flavor).  Before reading her post, I had never heard of "Sun Butter".  Tons of people are allergic to peanuts, so using sunflower seed butter can be a replacement.  I bought a jar of this stuff and its pretty good.  I mostly like it with sliced apples, and I'm still debating whether or not I like the taste of them in the brownies. 
I've made this recipe twice.  The first time I over baked them and the sun butter flavor just really overpowered everything.  I really didn't like them.  So I cut them out with cookie cutters, made them look cute and took a picture.  I tried to eat some warmed up, but I wound up throwing most of them away :)  They were pretty though.  Below is the picture

These brownies really have a lot of potential; so I thought I'd give it another try.  I'm not sure what I was thinking, but the second time around I used a full 1/2 cup of sun butter, instead of 1/4 almond, 1/4 sun butter (I cut the recipe in half).  I didn't want to waste my expensive almond butter?? who knows.  So once again the sun butter taste really came through.  BUT, I didn't over bake them, and after they sat over night, they were pretty good.  I'm actually eating one right now!  They are not bad :) OK, actually... I sort of like them now.  So anyway, I thought I'd share my experience.  If you like the taste of Sun Flower seeds, you will love this.  This is an AWESOME recipe that is very adaptable to whatever flavors you like.  I'm going to do all almond butter next time, with mint, just as Kelly suggests and make a mint chocolate brownie.  YUM!  This is a perfect recipe for those with peanut and wheat allergies!  If you do make these,  don't over bake.  They are almost better a little UNDER done.  Just watch for the edges to be set and the middle looking just set.  they will continue to bake a little once out of the oven in the pan.

Let me know if you try them, and if you come up with a cool flavor variation let me know :)

Love and Blessings!

Sunday, February 27, 2011

"Cauli rice"

I was in Meijer the other day and picked up some organic cauliflower that was on managers special because it was on the verge of not being good anymore.  (By the way, that is a great way to save some money on organic produce; as long as you intend to use it right away)

So when I got home I found myself staring at this cauliflower, thinking, "what in the world am I going to make with this?!?!"  Feeling the pressure of needing to use it sooner than later, I began looking up recipes on the sites of my 'go to' FAVORITE bloggers'!!  Well I shouldn't have been surprised that I would find an awesome recipe for Cauliflower Rice on Elana's Pantry.  She modified the recipe, which apparently, has been around a LONG time in the Low Carb world.  Who Knew??

So I immediately made this recipe for part of our Sunday lunch.  This recipe is in my opinion, one of THE BEST WAYS TO SERVE CAULIFLOWER!!  It lends itself to the appearance of what rice would be, but really has no other similarity than that.  So if you intend to make this recipe hoping for the taste and texture of rice, you will find it lacking.  BUT, if you just look at it as an awesome veggie side dish, that you could use in place of rice, you WILL NOT be disappointed :)

I was so happy with the way this turned out!  I served it today under a heaping portion of last nights chili left over from dinner.  I finished it off with a bit of sour cream, fresh grated cheddar cheese and some fresh chopped scallion.  Put this on a plate with one of my almond flour "corn" muffins and I had one of THE MOST AWESOME MEALS I have had in a while :)  The only modification I made, was to use a bit more seasonings, ex: more salt, and pepper.  I also sauteed the veggies in a generous portion of coconut oil.  You can use any oil or butter that suits you.

As I finished my lunch, and contemplated licking my plate, I imagined all the ways I can use this "Cauli Rice"  again :)    OK, I will admit it... I DID lick my plate :) ha ha!  It was that good!

So I hope you have an awesome day! After all; this is the day the LORD has made, so rejoice and be glad in it :)
Love Sara

Friday, February 25, 2011

Asparagus and Rosemary Fritatta

Its cold and snowy today in Central Ohio.  Most of the schools are closed, our county is under a level 1 snow emergency and I am enjoying Billy as he is working from home.  It is a winter wonderland outside my window; so I felt inclined to make a warm comforting breakfast.  My family was always big on breakfast, and I can remember snow days and weekends when my mom would make a big beautiful breakfast, breaking out her table cloths, china and fine drinking glasses.  She made it so special and its part of the reason why breakfast is my favorite meal of the day :)
Well, last night we had AMAZING Cajun fish and asparagus for dinner!  (I was going to take a picture and post but we devoured it so quickly I forgot!)  I woke up this morning thinking about my delicious asparagus and that in the coming months the farmers market will be open and beautiful, in season, asparagus will be plentiful!  I cant wait for that.  But until then my whole foods frozen asparagus will do, its still delicious. 

I wanted to make a hearty, healthy, satisfying breakfast and use some of my asparagus from last night.  Then it hit me.  I remembered watching someone on the food network whip up a frittata!  I've never made one before today, and honestly have never given them much thought.  Boy have I been missing out!!  Frittata's are like omelets but without all the hard work.  So I threw together some flavors I thought would be good, and it turned out WONDERFULLY!!

I used:

6 pastured eggs
salt and pepper to taste
a sprinkle of dry mustard (probably 1/2 teaspoon)
1 teaspoon of fresh chopped Rosemary

I whisked this all very well in my Kitchen aid until light and fluffy.

In an oven proof skillet I sauteed over medium heat:
(I used a good amount of coconut oil to saute)

1 small onion
5 spears of chopped Asparagus
1 small clove of garlic

once the veggies were tender I poured the egg mixture into the skillet so the eggs could set on the bottom.  Then I transferred the pan into a preheated 350 degree oven for about 10 minutes or until set.

I loosened the edges of the frittata and flipped it onto a sering plate. 

I topped the frittata with cheese and set under the broiler just to melt the cheese.  (I used oven safe dishes, but you could leave it in the pan and just top with cheese and set under broiler)

Then I topped with fresh chopped green onion.

It was so easy and DELICIOUS.  The possibilities are endless.

Do you have any good fritatta recipes???  Send them my way, I'm officially obsessed :)

Well, I'm going to go cozy up on the couch now with my coffee! Hope you have a great day :)

Love Sara

Monday, February 21, 2011

The past three days

I've tried out several recipes within the last few days.  So I decided I would take pictures of all and share in this post.  The first recipe was for coconut butter cookies by Bruce Fife in his book titled, "Cooking with Coconut Flour".  The link is a preview of his book from the simply coconut website.  I absolutely LOVED these cookies.  Think, coconut macaroons, but without all the work of beating the egg whites and gently folding in, etc, etc...  They have such a rich buttery flavor, and hold up so well.  My 2 year old niece Nevaeh ate two of them, and my mom (and myself) couldn't get enough :)  I did make a substitution for the sugar, using half a cup of Xylitol and several drops of vanilla flavored Stevia.  This adaptation made my cookies cane sugar free.  You could also use honey or any sweetener you prefer :) just depending on what you use might impact if they stay fluffy or spread a little more.  You will have to experiment.  If your interested in tyring coconut flour; which is very low in carbohydrates, high in fiber and great for those who have gluten intolerance, this link is a great starting point with lots of recipes.

The second recipe was my attempt at working with almond flour.  Almond flour tastes excellent and is ideal for an alternative to wheat flour.  I learned about this flour after reading Elana Amsterdam's blog called Elana's Pantry.  I finally broke down and bought a bag of this stuff.  It is expensive!  I couldn't wait to get it and try some new recipes.  Well, while I was waiting on my order to arrive, I found some videos on YouTube that showed you how to make your own almond flour.  So I made my own!!! It was so easy.  So I made Elana's chocolate chip cookies using my own almond flour.  The only modifications I made was to use Maple Syrup instead of Agave and melted coconut oil instead of the butter.  There are a lot of mixed ideas on the true health qualities of using Agave as a sweetener, so at this time I am choosing to use other sweeteners other than Agave.  I don't know if it was my homemade flour or the use of the coconut oil, but I didn't need to press down my cookies at all.  They were perfect and baked out just like normal chocolate chip cookies.  SO delicious, and after I calculated the nutrition facts, I think there were only 3 grams of sugar per cookie!  That is amazing :)  If you don't like the flavor of coconut I would definitely use the butter instead.  My husband is the PICKIEST eater you will ever meet, and he liked these cookies.  Although he said he did notice the coconut flavor.  All in all this recipe was a huge success in my book!

These are the cupcakes that I refered to in my last post.  Elana has two different Vanilla cupcake recipes.  One using coconut flour and the other using almond flour.  So I was inclined to try both :)  the one on the right with the coarser texture is the almond flour cupcake and the coconut flour cupcake was much more smooth.  They both tasted great, however the textures were so different they are completely different.  You will have to try them out to see which you prefer :)  The almond flour cupcake really almost reminded me of the texture of a corn muffin!!  They were delicate and moist and delicious.  I will make these again without the sweetener and crumble them up in some chili.  I will make that for dinner tonight I think!
I think I over baked the coconut flour recipe a little so it seemed a tad dry, but after sitting overnight they seemed much better!(I had one for breakfast with coffee, ha)  One thing I have noticed when baking with coconut flour, is that the baked goods seem to get better as they sit a day or two.  They seem to reabsorb the moisture or something!  So if you experimenting with baked goods using coconut flour, don't write it off until its really had a chance to sit and get better :) so below is the picture of both opened up so you can see the texture. :)
Well, I am going to go play with Eva now!  She is so cute :)  Until next time...
Love, Sara