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Sunday, 19 March 2017

Sugar-free Catalina Salad Dressing



We live in the country now and that means sometimes running out of stuff and not having a lot of options near buy. I was making taco salad and realized I was totally out of Caralina Dressing. I wasn't about to go to the corner store and pay $5 for a small bottle so I did some googling. I wasn't happy with what I found (recipes full of sugar) so I decided to take notes and make something I was happy with (and I dare to say it's almost healthy for you too!)

Here's my take on Kraft's Catalina Dressing (and after this I'm not going back - this is my new fav)

Sugar-free Catalina Dressing 


3/4 cup honey 
2 teaspoons sea salt 
1 1/2 teaspoons paprika 
1⁄2 teaspoon chili powder
1⁄2 teaspoon celery seed
1⁄2 teaspoon dry mustard
1 teaspoon onion flakes 
1⁄2 cup apple cider vinegar
1/3 cup ketchup (or tomato paste) 
1 cup Olive Oil 


Mix it all together in a jar or bottle and you can start using it right away. I like to leave mine sitting on the counter for 2-3 hours first, to really have the flavours come out. Store in the fridge. With the vinegar in it it can store in the fridge for up to 2 months (but I tend to use it up well before then!) 

I use this on taco salad, on chicken, with rice, in pulled pork or, as a dip for other veggies. It's got a really nice smoky taste. 

Enjoy! 

Sunday, 12 March 2017

Homemade Ginger Beer (no added yeast)




I make kombucha often and I wanted to give another fermented drink a go. I found this recipe and have tried it twice now. It's a bit too open and loose for me so I wanted to write down my exact take on it to give you all a little more guidance in your journey.

First you'll have to do up a Ginger Bug (like kombucha you need a starter).

(A photo of my ginger bug)


Once you have that ready you're ready to start making Ginger Beer.




Homemade Ginger Beer (no added yeast)


What you'll need:

  • 4 1/4 L of water 
  • Ginger, grated (I use 1.5-2 very large rhizomes)
  • 2 cups Sugar
  • 2 cups Ginger Bug starter(chunks strained out).  
    • Put aside 1 T of liquid or more reserved to continue feeding for future batches.
  • The juice of 1 large lemon (3 tablespoons lemon juice will also work)

Instructions

  1. Get out a very large pot, and pour in the water (I use a 12L one) 
  2. Add your grated ginger to the pot (I grate this up in my Vita Mix - Dry container)
  3. Bring to a boil
  4. Reduce to a simmer and cover.  Let simmer for 15-20 minutes
  5. Remove from heat
  6. Let it cool until it’s a comfortable temperature for straining out the ginger (I find this to be around 4 hours)
  7. Once you’ve strained your ginger, add your sugar and stir until dissolved
  8. Once the mixture is cool enough (room temp) add your starter liquid
  9. Squeeze in your lemon juice 
  10. Mix it
  11. Put it in a large container (I use a glass jar) and cover with cloth that will keep bugs out (Cheese cloth or a coffee filter works great).
  12. Stir it once a day
  13. Watch for bubbles.  Once you see those (1-5 days) it’s time to bottle your brew for full carbonation.
  14. Pour it into your prepared bottles and seal them (I use snap top glass bottles). Only fill to just below the neck of the bottle. 
  15. Keep the bottles at room temperature until they get hard (I find this is 1-3 days - with glass you just should un-snap them and see if it's carbonated) 

Important Tips:
- USE ORGANIC GINGER! I've tried it both ways but I can't stress enough the difference. With standard ginger you don't have that natural yeast on the peel that you want (also why you can get away with not adding brewers yeast to this recipe) and you might also end up with this chemically taste in your finished ginger beer (due do what they spray on the ginger). With organic ginger it's amazing the difference in flavour, carbonation, and gut reaction (my gut is so much happier with the organic ginger beer). 
- Check the bottles every day - You don't want to over carbonate (remember - the longer it carbonates the more sugar it eats)
- Leave them to chill for at least 6 hours and then take a taste.  
- Be prepared for massive pressure when you open your bottle!  They’ll still ferment in the fridge, and you should periodically check them to see if they’re too pressurized.
- Opening the bottle to release pressure and making sure they aren’t too full are good ways to prevent the big burst  (I simply snap them open, let out some of the build up glass and re-snap them).  


Adapted from here.

Tuesday, 7 March 2017

Gluten Free, Sugar Free Sweet Potato Brownie


Ingredients

  • 2 cups sweet potato puree
  • 2 cups peanut or almond butter OR allergy-friendly sub
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup + 2 tbsp GF flour (I use this blend)
  • 1/2 cup mini chocolate chips + more for the top, optional
  • 1 1/2 cups coconut sugar 
  • 3 scoops hemp protein powder
  • 1/2 cup + 2 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 2 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt

Instructions

Preheat oven to 325 F.

Line an 9-inch pan with parchment paper or grease well.

Throw all the ingredients together in a Kitchen Aid (minus the chocolate chips) and mix until smooth.

Fold the chocolate chips in.

Spread evenly throughout pan.

Bake on the center oven rack 20-40 minutes. It will look a little underdone, but it firms up as it cools. (If you're having trouble with it cooking in the centre put tin foil over it and cook as long as you need)



Adapted from here

Thursday, 12 January 2017

Chocolate Chip Cookies (Sugar free, dairy free, grain free)


Since I had such good luck with the breakfast cookie recipe I thought I'd try converting it into something a bit more party or "I want a sweet treat but not something full of crap" friendly. 
It was a lot of fun playing around and I have to say I love these cookies! Not your "Subway full of fat and white flour but oh so chewy good" cookies, but rather your "full of yummy good and hardy things, and still pretty dang good" cookies. 
I hope you like them too! 

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup coconut flour*
  • 1 cup tapioca flour*
  • 3/4 cup almond flour*
  • 1/2 quinoa flour* 
  • 2-3 bananas 
  • 1/2 apple sauce 
  • 4 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 3/4 cup peanut butter 
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 3/4 cup shredded coconut
  • 1 cup chocolate chips
  • 1/2 raisins 
  • 3 tsp baking powder

Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350
  1. In your Kitchen Aid mix all the dry ingredients EXCEPT baking soda 
  1. Add bananas
  1. Add apple sauce 
  1. Add peanut butter and coconut 
  1. Add vanilla 
  1. Add baking soda
  1. Chocolate chips and raisins 
  1. Make palm size balls (size of about a racquetball) and flatten into 1 inch discs non-stick baking sheet (They don’t flatten out so make them about the size you want).
  1. Bake at 350 for 15 minutes. DON'T over bake them. They will become a bit dry so watch out for that! 

*You could also take these flour amounts and convert it into the same/equal quantities of my Flour Blend instead

Breakfast Cookie 2.0


I've created myself a flour blend that I just love - healthier, more protein and less starch!


So here's the Breakfast Cookie 2.0 - new and improved.



Ingredients
  • 1 1/2 cups flour blend
  • 3 bananas 
  • 1/2 apple sauce (if you want it just a touch sweeter add 4 tablespoons maple syrup)
  • 1 cup peanut butter 
  • 1/2 cup pecans (or nut of your choice)
  • 1/2 pumpkin seeds (or pine nuts!)
  • 1 cup shredded coconut
  • 1/2-1 cup dried fruit (raisins, dried cranberries or other dried fruit – I LOVE apricots so I use those)
  • 2 tsp baking powder
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350
  2. In your Kitchen Aid mix all the dry ingredients EXCEPT baking soda 
  3. Add bananas
  4. Add apple sauce 
  5. Add peanut butter and coconut 
  6. Add baking soda
  7. Add dried fruit 
  8. Make palm size balls (size of about a racquetball) and flatten into 1 inch discs non-stick baking sheet (They don’t flatten out so make them about the size you want).
  9. Bake at 350 for 15 minutes. DON'T over bake them. They will become a bit dry so watch out for that! 

Enjoy! 

Gluten Free Flour Blend


I saw a lot of flour blends out there and I really didn't like what was in them. I wanted something healthier and with less starches. (I'm sure you've noticed on your gluten free journey that some gluten free stuff is just full of weird ingredients just to make the product look and taste just like the "normal" option.) 

Oats are often used in gluten free flour blends and I can't have oats either so I needed to get a bit created. 

I experimented a few times, made adjustments, and came up with a blend that I love! It's a hardier flour blend, great for breakfast cookies, breads, but not something you'd want to use for a fluffy sugar cookie (try Cloud 9 for that). 

Enjoy! 


Amanda's Flour Blend

- 6 cups brown rice flour 
- 3 3/4 cups quinoa flour 
- 2 cups Millet flour (sub for more rice and quinoa if you'd rather)
- 2 cups chickpea flour 
- 4 1/2 tablespoons Xanthan Gum
- 8 tablespoons flax Meal 
- 4 tablespoons corn starch 
- 1/4 cup chia seed (ground up) 
- 3 tablespoons cream of tartar 

Wednesday, 4 May 2016

Gluten Free Sandwich Bread


INGREDIENTS
YEAST MIX:
  • 1½ Cup Water or Milk (or Milk Alternative)
  • 4 Tablespoons Honey
  • 2½ teaspoons Dry Active Yeast 

DRY MIX:
  • 3 Cups of GF Flour (you can make your own blend or use Cloud 8 or your fav blend) 
  • 1½ teaspoons Xanthan Gum 
  • 4 teaspoons Baking Powder
  • 1 teaspoon Salt
  • (you can add sweet or savoury seasonings to taste)

WET MIX:
  • 2 teaspoons Apple Cider Vinegar or Lemon Juice
  • ¼ Cup Olive Oil
  • 2 Large Eggs
INSTRUCTIONS
  1. In measuring cup, measure & warm milk to just above body temperature - should be warm to the touch (not hot or cold). Stir in Honey and add Yeast last. Set-aside & let proof for approx. 10 minutes.
  2. Combine Dry Mix ingredients in small bowl.
  3. Combine Wet Mix ingredients in bowl of stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix just for a few seconds.
  4. Add in the proofed Yeast Mix and mix again for just a few seconds.
  5. Add the Dry Mix and beat on medium-high for approx. 3 minutes. Dough will be wet, but thick and sticky!
  6. If necessary, oil and flour your 9x5 Loaf Pan or spray with non-stick coating. 
  7. Using a spatula, scrape the bread mixture into your prepared loaf pan and set on top of your stove to proof while the oven is preheating (for 20-30 mins). Be sure to smooth out the loaf with spatula or wet fingers before proofing as the loaf will not smooth out itself.
  8. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.
  9. It is important not to over-proof the bread - just let it rise until the mixture is approximately double in size (20-30 minutes depending on your room temperature.) Don't let it rise above your loaf pan… or just until it crests the top. Gluten free breads do not maintain their structure and will flow over the pan or collapse if left to over-rise or over-filled.
  10. Bake for approx. 30-45 minutes. If the crust is darkening too quickly, you can cover it with foil (tent open ended) and return to baking until done. (If it helps, I usually cook mine until I get an internal temperature of 210 - 220 degrees on my digital thermometer).
  11. Remove loaf pan from oven and let cool for 3-5 minutes before turning out onto your cooling rack. Allow to cool completely before attempting to cut into slices. 


Amanda's Flour Blend

- 6 cups brown rice flour 
- 3 3/4 cups quinoa flour 
- 2 cups Millet flour
- 2 cups chickpea flour 
- 4 1/2 tablespoons Xanthan Gum
- 8 tablespoons flax Meal 
- 4 tablespoons corn starch 
- 1/4 cup chia seed (ground up) 
- 3 tablespoons cream of tartar 

Adapted from here.


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