I was chatting over email with a friend the other day (seems to be the way so many of my chats go nowadays) about how we’re so busy, we sometimes buy stuff–stuff that we really intend to use, stuff that we actually really need–and then, because our schedules are packed tighter than Madison Avenue on a Friday afternoon, we put our purchase down somewhere and then promptly forget about it. If I never cleaned my house (wouldn’t that be a dream come true? Oh, wait a sec, I suppose in that case I am already living the dream!), well, then I could leave all those bags of kitchen utensils, clothing, dog toys, CDs, etc., hanging around and never worry about them.
I’m a bit abashed to even tell you how many blouses, sweaters or pairs of shoes I have in my closet, many still with the tags on them, that I have never worn. In fact, I more or less have forgotten most of them. (This is totally different from that adorable blue wool mini skirt I purchased from the thrift store back in my 20s, barely too small on the day I bought it, but I loved “so much I’ll buy it anyway and save it for when I lose weight.” That sat in my closet, too, but I never forgot about it; I just couldn’t bear to part with it no matter how many times I moved. And–lo and behold–during one of my “slim” periods more than a decade later, I finally fit into the thing, and got a great year’s wear out of it. The next cycle of weight gain, I finally gave it away, though these days I wish I hadn’t. . . I’d still love to wear it if it ever fit me again). Similarly, I have piles of kitchen tools, cute little pans and molds, magazines, even paperbacks (yes, those do still exist among the Kindle-less), that are still patiently waiting for my attention.
Sometimes, recipes fall into this category, too. I mean, here we are all holiday-themed with Diwali just past and US Thanksgiving around the corner, and I completely forgot about this gem of a recipe that I had shared over a year ago on the XgfX blog! Sadly, the blog appears to be out of commission these days, but this recipe should be good forever. I thought I’d bring it over here to share with those of you who may have missed it, or those of you who saw it when first posted and, like me, had it slip from your memory.
The pudding is a creamy, luscious, pillowy base of pumpkin, oats and nuts (or seeds), blended to silky smooth perfection, lightly spiced and dotted with tart cranberries throughout. Straight from the oven, it makes a wonderful warm mousse-like dessert (especially great baked in a soufflé dish and topped with whipped cream); when cold, it thickens and (in my opinion) provides an equally appealing breakfast. And with this combination of ingredients, you won’t have to feel guilty eating it that way, either.
Unlike that blue woolen mini skirt, this one is a keeper. Well, until it’s baked, at least–at which point you no longer want to keep it, just eat it.
1/2 cup (75 g) lightly toasted hazelnuts (filberts), with skin
1/2 cup (75 g) lightly toasted walnut pieces
2/3 cup (100 g) old-fashioned rolled oats (not instant or quick-cook)
1 cup (240 ml) packed pumpkin purée
2 tsp (10 ml) pure vanilla extract
2 Tbsp-1/4 cup (30-60 ml) agave nectar (or if you can have it, maple syrup is lovely), to your taste*
1 Tbsp (15 ml) cinnamon
1/2 tsp (2.5 ml) ground ginger
1 tsp (5 ml) Chinese 5-Spice powder (or use 1/8 tsp/.5 ml cloves and about 1 tsp more cinnamon, to taste)
1/8 tsp (.5 ml) fine sea salt
1-1/4 cups (300 ml) unsweetened plain or vanilla soy, almond, rice or hemp milk
1 cup (240 ml) cranberries, fresh or frozen (do not thaw if frozen)
Preheat oven to 350F (180C). Grease a 4-6 cup (1-1.5 L) casserole dish and set aside.
Place all ingredients except for cranberries in the bowl of a high-speed blender and blend until smooth (you will need to scrape down the sides as you go). If you don’t have a high-speed blender, you can still make the pudding, this way: place nuts, oats, and milk in a blender and blend until perfectly smooth. Add remaining ingredients except for cranberries and blend until smooth (you may have to blend this part in smaller batches).
Pour the mixture into the casserole dish, then gently fold in the cranberries (scatter a few extra berries over the top as garnish if you like, as they won’t sink).
Bake in preheated oven for 40-50 minutes, rotating the casserole dish about halfway through, until the edges begin to puff and crack and the top appears dry (it will still seem unbaked in the middle—this is how it should be). Allow to cool about 10 minutes before scooping out and serving; may be served warm, at room temperature, or cold. Top with coconut whipped cream, if desired. Makes 4-6 servings. Store, covered, for up to 5 days in the refrigerator, or freeze.
Suitable for:ACD Stage 3 and beyond (For ACD Stage One, substitute with plain or vanilla flavored liquid stevia,about 1/4 tsp/1.5 ml); sugar-free, gluten-free, dairy-free, egg free, soy-free, vegan.
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My, it feels as if it's been a while since I've posted something new! Here at the DDD household, 2012 is off to a fairly slow start. I had fully intended to post this recipe last week, but was sidelined by a wiley sinus infection that has had me drinking ginger tea, irrigating my nasal passages (but only after I boil my water carefully!), and taking all manner of naturopath-prescribed herbal remedies to try to stave off the need for antibiotics. So far it's been one sneeze forward, two sneezes back. . . I'm functioning. . . but barely.
So, since I've hardly cooked anything all year (heh heh), I thought I'd take y'all for a little trip down memory lane today (well, actually, more like just "a few steps down memory lane," since we're only heading as far back as December 25th, 2011.). It was at our Christmas dinner last year that I first concocted this recipe for Indian-spiced fava bean balls.
I don't know about you, but it took me a long time to come round to trying the fearful fava. And it all stems from my love of popular culture. Movies, to be exact.
As far back as I can remember, I've been ill suited to watching scary movies--and that includes sci-fi thrillers, horror shows, shoot-em-up adventures, monster movies, etc. (My mother loved to tell the story of how, when I was 7 or 8, she had to forbid me from watching The Adams Family on TV with my sister because after just one show, I had recurrent nightmares of being at a tea party in the fictional family's back yard, served cups brimming with ladybugs instead of liquid; I'd wake screaming). Clearly, not the best constitution for blood, guts, and gore on the big screen.
So it made sense when The Silence of the Lambsfirst came out, I had no desire to go see it. Weeks went by, and soon all my friends were buzzing about Anthony Hopkins and Jodie Foster, what great onscreen chemistry, what a twisted plot, what a genius performance of a diabolical killer, what a great, great, great movie it was, yadda yadda yadda. "Don't be such a wimp!" they'd chide me, or "but you'll really love the suspenseful plot twists and the mystery of it," or, "Aw, c'mon, Ric, if you come with me I promise I'll hold your hand through the whole thing--ya big baaaaby!! Hahahahaha!!!".
I would have stuck to my guns, too, if not for Mr. Ranch Hand. You see, back when the movie premiered (in 1991), I had just recently re-entered the world of singledom. I'd sworn off men for the time being and had spent the previous year (or thereabouts) reading books from the library, watching videos from the library, cooking soup (very comforting) and baking (even more comforting) for my room mate and me, or sitting in our living room every evening watching my (pre-recorded) soap opera with my room mate's two cats (roomie, on the other hand, was usually out on dates in the evenings.). So when a friend dragged me out to a jazz club one night, and I met Mr. Ranch Hand (from Calgary, Alberta, who had just moved to Toronto) and he asked me out on a date--an honest-to-goodness cowboy--how could I refuse? And--go figure--he wanted to see a movie. Which movie? Yep, you guessed it--Silence of the Lambs.
Let's just say I didn't hold Mr. Ranch Hand's hand during the movie. And oh, there was no second date.
My memory did, however, become indelibly imprinted with the phrase, "I ate his liver with some fava beans and a nice chianti," which will forever more be associated in my mind--and heart--with blood, guts, and gore. (New age math equasion: Hannibal Lecter + fava beans = blood, guts and gore.) Needless to say, I avoided fava beans thereafter. In addition, I never again slurped my food. Ever.
As a result, fava beans were put on the back burner (so to speak) as far as "new foods Ricki would like to try," for the longest time. It wasn't until I cooked up the Egyptian Fava Bean breakfast on this blog a couple of years ago (it was my love of all things spicy that finally convinced me) that I came to recognize the appeal of favas. And while I never tire of that particular combination of smooth, creamy beans, caramelized onions, spicy jalapeno and juicy tomato all dusted with cumin, I've been wondering what other dishes I might create with the formidable fava. Time to move on--and to heck with Hannibal Lecter!
I had planned to create bean balls that could be served atop a larger curry-rice dish. However, by the time I'd finished prepping all the other side dishes for our dinner and The HH had kidnapped and skinned (oops, nope, wrong memory--damn you, Hannibal Lecter!) cooked his turkey, I was too pooped to mix up the rice. Instead, I opted to top the balls with cranberry sauce in lieu of chutney. The outcome was tasty, but I could tell it hadn't reached its full potential: the insides were a little too soft, the sauce a little too cloying
Last week, I toyed further and developed a chutney of my own, combining grape tomatoes and cranberries. The result was spectacular. These bean balls are crisp on the outside and moist on the inside, with a hearty flavor that's not quite sweet, exactly, nor quite spicy--yet with an understated sweetness of squash alongside warming Indian spices like cumin and garam masala. The bright blood-hued scarlet condiment is at once tangy, sweet and slightly sour with its own mélange of spices to best highlight the fruitiness in the tomatoes.
In fact, the HH and I loved these little gems so much that we've now eaten them three more times. But please, just don't offer me a glass of chianti to go with them.
Spiced Fava Bean Balls with Cranberry-Tomato Chutney
Compared to most other beans, favas are a truly lofty legume: measured against chickpeas, lentils, and black beans, they offer the most protein for the fewest calories (14 grams of protein per cup/240 ml, second only to lentils for protein; but lentils deliver 226 calories to fava's mere 182). These balls make a great grain-free main course on their own, or use them to top off a rice pilaf or curry for additional protein.
2 tsp (10 ml) extra virgin olive oil, preferably organic
1 medium onion, coarsely chopped
4 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
1 tsp (5 ml) yellow mustard seeds
1/2 tsp (2.5 ml) garam masala
1/2 tsp (2.5 ml) cumin
1/2 tsp (2.5 ml) mild curry powder
1/2 tsp (2.5 ml) smoked paprika (plain is fine, too)
1 large carrot, washed and cut in chunks (no need to peel if organic)
2 cups (480 ml) very well cooked small dried fava beans (or use one 19 oz/540 ml can, very well rinsed and drained--I did NOT use fresh [green] beans in this recipe)
1/2 cup (120 ml) packed baked squash flesh (I used butternut)
2 Tbsp (30 ml) almond butter (or use tahini or sunflower seed butter for nut free)
1/4 tsp (1 ml) fine sea salt, or to taste
Preheat oven to 350F (180C). Line two cookie sheets with parchment, or spray with nonstick spray.
Heat the oil in a frypan over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and sauté until the onion is translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the mustard seeds, garam masala, cumin, curry powder and paprika and continue to cook, stirring constantly, for another 2 minutes. Remove from heat.
Meanwhile, in the bowl of a food processor, process the remaining ingredients until almost smooth (it's okay if there are a few flecks of parsley here and there, but there should be no large chunks of carrot visible). Add the onion-garlic mixture and process again to blend. The texture will be moist, but it will be thick enough to hold its shape.
Using a small ice cream scoop or tablespoon, scoop the mixture and place on the cookie sheets. Wet your palms and roll each mound into a ball.
Bake in preheated oven for 30-40 minutes, until the exterior is dry and beginning to crisp up. The bottoms will be well browned. May be served immediately, or, for a firmer texture, make the balls ahead and store in the refrigerator overnight, then reheat. Makes about 2 dozen bean balls. May be frozen (freeze on cookie sheets, then transfer to freezer bags once solid).
This recipe is the result of my quest to do something different with my cranberries, coupled with a box of grape tomatoes on my counter begging to be used. The combination produced one of the best chutneys I've ever tasted; and it doubles beautifully as a jam on your morning toast or pancakes.
1 Tbsp (15 ml) extra virgin olive oil, preferably organic
1/4 tsp (1 ml) fine sea salt, or more, to your taste
2 cups (480 ml) grape or cherry tomatoes, measured and then sliced in half
2 cups (480 ml) cranberries, fresh or frozen
30-40 drops plain stevia liquid, to your taste (it should be sweet but still tangy)
In a medium sized heavy bottomed pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion, coconut sugar and vinegar and cook, stirring frequently, until the onion is very soft and translucent, 7-10 minutes. Add the ginger and mustard seeds and cook another 2 minutes, stirring constantly.
Add all remaining ingredients except for the stevia and stir well to combine. Lower heat to simmer, cover the pot, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the cranberries and tomatoes are very soft and most of the cranberries have popped, 20-25 minutes.
Add stevia and adjust for sweetness. Store in a clean jar in the refrigerator for up to 10 days. Makes about 2 cups (480 ml).
Happy Monday, everyone! It’s also the beginning of the final month of the year–a perfect time for some announcements and updates (plus a request for your help–see last item in this post!). With so much going on here at DDD these days, I thought I’d take the opportunity to collate some items in a single post. But I warn you, this is a long’un–so grab a Carob Chai Latte (or, if you prefer, a glass of Holiday Nog), put your feet up, and read on!
Yes, that’s right: it’s been so chaotically busy over here that I completely neglected to post the winner of last week’s giveaway! As I mentioned last week, the book is great for anyone who eats gluten-free, and also contains a good number of vegan recipes. And I loved the Beet Tagine! A random selection from all entries resulted in a winner:
Number 8: Rick–the Health Sleuth! Rick’s comment: “I have never had tagine, omg i would love this cookbook! please add me to the contest!”
Congratulations, Rick! Please email me at dietdessertdogsATgmailDOTcom with your full name and address, and I’ll be sure the book gets out to you asap!
I’m giddy with excitement that I’ll be among the presenters at the brand new Nourished food bloggers’ conference, coming to Chicago in April 2012! The conference is the brainchild of Amy Green from Simply Sugar and Gluten Free, plus Jen Cafferty, the woman behind the Gluten and Allergen-Free Expos and the blog Gluten-Free Life. The conference is the first of its kind, “tailored exclusively to the needs of those on special diets, writing about special diets, and niche bloggers.” These days, that includes more and more of us!
Some of the confirmed speakers who will guide you toward more fun, effective and popular food blogging include Susan Voisin of Fatfree Vegan Kitchen (one of my vegan blogging idols!), Silvana Nardone of Silvana’s Kitchen, Dianne Jacob of Will Write for Food and Cybele Pascal, renowned allergen-free cookbook author. I’m thrilled that I’ll finally get to meet so many of my blogging colleagues at the conference as well–and I do hope I get to meet some of you, too!
Free Ticket Giveaway! I’d love if you can make it out to Chicago next April and join in the event. The conference founders want you to be there, too, so they’re holding a giveaway for a free ticket to the conference, until Decmeber 8th! There’s still time to enter to win a free ticket. Hop over to the Nourished blog and leave a comment to enter.
III. Osteopenia Update:
Holistic Approach, -1.3; Conventional Approach, -2.2 (or, a Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Bone Density Test)
Some of you may remember my outrage a couple of years ago when my doctor unceremoniously informed me that I had osteopenia (a decrease in bone density that can be a precursor to osteoporosis). As a person who studied holistic nutrition and takes pains to eat a balanced diet of whole, natural foods, I was appalled that I could even fall within that category (or anywhere else, in fact, since I’d probably fracture a hip or something if I did fall). Last year’s results were even more dire: my T Score clocked in at -2.2, just a hair’s breadth away from full-on osteoporosis!!
As a perpetual student who’s been accustomed to doing well on tests, I was really ticked off at that abysmal score. Since I was in the midst of battling candida with my amazing naturopath at the time (I’ve subsequently continued the battle on my own), the first thing I did at our next appointment was ask how I could reverse the diagnosis. (I had asked the same question of my family doctor as well, of course, but her response was: “There is no way to reverse it. The best you can hope for is that it doesn’t get worse. And if it does get worse, we’ll have to put you on Fosamax.”).
Well, um, no thank you. Instead, my naturopath explained that “It’s not always what you’re eating that matters so much as how much you absorb from what you’re eating.” In other words, women who take 2000 mg of supplemental calcium a day could still end up with osteoporosis if their bodies aren’t able to absorb and actually use that calcium.
As a result, my naturopath designed a specific nutritional plan which I’ve been following for the the past year. The plan aims to (a) clear out as much of the candida as possible (I’m about 90% there); (b) improve my digestion; (c) increase my intake of the minerals essential for a healthy bone matrix through supplements; and (d) increase my intake of specific foods that help to build bones as well. I also committed to exercising 6 days a week, walking and lifting weights every day.
So, how did I do? I’m happy to report that I’ve been totally consistent taking my supplements; I endeavor to drink wheat grass juice daily (I actually like the taste of the fresh stuff); and I consume dark leafys at least once a day. I’ve managed to keep up with the exercise routine about 80% of the time as well (I will occasionally slip to 4 or 5 days a week).
I had my latest bone density test a couple of months ago. I found it odd that I didn’t hear back from the doctor’s office, so I decided to take the initiative and call them. The secretary (who read out my numbers to me over the phone) was clearly astounded when she compared them to last year’s digits: my score had risen from -2.2 to -1.3, moving me to the low-risk group (less than 10% risk for fracture)! Whoo hoo! The Mighty Kale triumphs again!*
I must admit, I’m not sure which was more satisfying about the results: the fact that my bones are now stronger (which means I needn’t worry as much about falling while walking the dogs over ice and snow in winter); or (once again) proving to my doctor that natural, nutrient-based “medicine” can work as well as, or better than, the conventional kind.
For once in my life, I don’t mind being called “dense.” To celebrate my healthier status, I whipped up this calcium-rich smoothie the other day. Combined with cranberries and pears, it’s both festive and nourishing. Hooray for holistic medicine! (See recipe at end of post).
IV. A Question–for All of You.
This last section is directed at all of you–all of the wonderful and much-appreciated readers who visit DDD on a regular basis. More than anything, I write this blog for all of you. Without your presence here, without you showing up regularly and reading; without your insightful, witty, supportive and empathic comments; without your feedback and input, this blog would really have very little reason for existing at all.
With the new year just beyond the horizon, I’ve been feeling a little restless with the blog and thinking about implementing some changes. In some ways, it seems I’ve lost sight of the original cornerstones of DDD and the types of posts that served to build the blog from the beginning. Too often, the focus has shifted toward events and giveaways–and, while I really do enjoy the latter, I don’t want to overlook the former.
So, I’ve decided to ask you what YOU would like to see on the blog. I’m posting three questions below, and I’d love to know your answers to one, two or all three, as you like. Instead of a survey, I’m asking that you simply leave your ideas in the comments section, and feel free to write about anything I may have forgotten to mention as well. Here goes:
Question One: If I revamped the blog, which sections or aspects of the blog are essential to keep? (Wellness Weekend? Stories? Recipes? Giveaways? The Girls’ input?) Let me know what you’d like to see remain as fundamental elements on the blog, or what you’d want to see more of!
Question Two: Is there anything on the blog you feel could be eliminated? (Wellness Weekend? Stories? Giveaways? Tabs at the top of the page? –etc.) If there’s something you feel isn’t necessary, is merely taking up space or simply bugs you, take note of it in the comments as well!
Question Three: Is there anything not already here that you’d like to see added to the blog? Is there a particular feature or specific content that you wish I’d add? If so, let me know!
I plan to introduce some updates and changes to the blog in the new year. Look forward to improvements and a sharper look as well!
Thanks, everyone, for your help! I can’t wait to hear what you think and read through your ideas.
And if you’ve made it this far, I think you deserve a reward! How about a big, frosty Cranberry Smoothie? Enjoy!
“Mum, a new look for the blog is a great idea. But you’re not seriously thinking of getting rid of US, are you?! Besides, ‘Diet, Dessert and HH’ just doesn’t have the same ring to it. . . . Mum?”
Calcium-Rich Cranberry Smoothie
A snap to whip up, this smoothie makes a refreshing breakfast (or any time) drink, with just the right amount of sweetness. Sesame seeds are high in calcium, as are almonds, and both will add creaminess to this drink as well.
1 cup (240 ml) unsweetened soy, almond, rice or hemp milk
1/2 cup (120 ml) cranberries, fresh or frozen
1/2 pear, cored (you can keep the skin on)
2 Tbsp (30 ml) sesame seeds
2 Tbsp (30 ml) raw natural almonds
1 scoop plain or vanilla rice-based protein powder (I use BioNature)
1 1-inch (2.5 cm) piece of fresh ginger, peeled
15-25 drops plain or vanilla liquid stevia, to taste
Place all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Drink immediately. Makes one serving.
* When my friend Eternal Optimist, who has also been diagnosed with osteopenia, heard about this reversal of fortune, she decided immediately to go on the same regimen. I can’t wait to see how her results turn out next year.
Now, since Canadian Thanksgiving occurred a month ago, many of you have already encountered my own list of favorite Thanksgiving recipes that I posted here (and please do feel free to use them for your American Thanksgiving, too!). Personally, I’m not averse to celebrating twice. So let’s get to it!
I was chatting yesterday with some online buddies about Canadian-vs-American Thanksgiving (I’d say the tacit consensus was that Americans make more of a fuss about it) and I admitted that, in the home of my childhood, we never actually celebrated T-Day. My memory about it is fuzzy (who am I kidding? My memory about everything is fuzzy these days), but I think the first traditional Thanksgiving celebration I attended was at the home of my first boyfriend’s mum.
I was madly in love with Spaghetti Ears and adored his mother, an Irishwoman who had been widowed at a young age and lived on her own in a little bungalow across town from the university. She was a pixieish woman, perpertually smiling, her dancing blue eyes flitting about the dinner table as she regaled us with stories of her Irish relatives and friends. Her cheeks were permanently flushed pink and her bobbed gray hair, normally hugging her head like a shawl, would swing back and forth as she reached across the table to pass bread or pat my hand. She also made the most delicious curried beef I had ever tasted (okay, so it was the only curried beef I had ever tasted). And I still possess–and use–the hand-knit tea cozy she gave me for Christmas almost 30 years ago, its red and green woolen stripes just as vibrant today as they were back then. I was honored to be invited to her holiday celebration!
Although I loved the idea behind the Thanksgiving feast (and the feast itself) from the first time I experienced it, the cranberry sauce was one aspect I just couldn’t rally behind. I always found it far too sweet for my taste; in fact, canned cranberry sauce is the reason I thought I didn’t like cranberries for many years. Last year, I decided to combine the crimson berries with some stewed apples for a stellar Cranberry Apple Compote, which I was happy to eat alongside nut roast or on toast, and the HH was delighted to enjoy with his turkey. This year, I opted for something a little different:
Today’s recipe comes courtesy of our organic produce delivery, which arrives like clockwork every week ,whether or not I’ve finished up the previous week’s fruits and veggies. As has happened in the past, I left some plums in their paper bag to languish on the counter, unnoticed until it was almost too late to save them.
I decided to combine the soft, squishy plums with their hardier, tarter cousins, and cooked up a quick Plumberry Compote. It offered up the perfect mix of tangy, sweet, and spreadable, with a deep magenta hue and gemlike brilliance.
[How I freeze my plumberry sauce. . . no, the color in the photo isn't off--this pic is frozen apricot spread.]
I hope you give this unconventional cranberry sauce a try. The flavors work beautifully in tandem to offer up a thick sauce that is nearly sweet enough even on its own, without added stevia. It’s also tasty enough to use as jam on toast–something traditional cranberry sauce can’t quite match, which means that leftovers will actually get used! It’s quickly become a favorite condiment here, as it can be used by the HH on his Thanksgiving turkey (that is, if he had had turkey this year), can be spread on some savory nut roast, can double as a chutney with a nice Indian curry, or can be used in lieu of maple syrup on a stack of pancakes or a breakfast bake (as in the photo above).
Yep–it’s time to forge a new tradition, I say!
And don’t forget about the fabulous giveaway this week!
Kim is giving away a copy of Laura Russell’s Gluten Free Asian Kitchen. Just head over to her blog to enter! Here’s a list of the other bloggers who are participating in the event as well:
And my post on Dateless Date Squares from last week, click here.
[A new favorite--breakfast bake topped with Plumberry Sauce and chocolate almond butter.]
Plumberry Sauce or Jam (Suitable for ACD Stage 2 and Beyond)
This sauce is so easy to make, it’s almost embarassing to write it out as a recipe. Freeze any leftovers in silicone muffin tins, then pop out and store in plastic bags in the freezer, for up to 3 months.
6-7 small, ripe black plums, pitted (leave the skins on)
20-30 drops plain or vanilla stevia liquid, to your taste
In a small food processor or blender, purée the plums. Transfer to a medium pot and add the remaining ingredients except stevia.
Cook, stirring frequently, until desired thickness is reached and most of the cranberries have popped (if you have a splatter screen, this is a good time to use it. Otherwise, place a lid on the pot with just a crack open to let the steam escape. That way, you’ll avoid speckling your stovetop and any other surface within sight).
Once the desired thickness is achieved, add the stevia and stir well. Pour into a clean glass jar or container and store in the refrigerator for up to 10 days. Alternately, freeze in silicone muffin cups, then pop out of the cups and keep frozen in a plastic bag or freezer container for up to 3 months. Makes about 2 cups (480 ml).
I grew up in a home where my two sisters and I learned to bake before our birthdays hit the double digits. Before we learned to read, before we wore a training bra, before we could drive a car, we were baking. As young as four or five, we’d be enlisted to help stir a cake batter, knead a streusel dough or lick the beaters from my mom’s “famous” chiffon cake. So I was pretty stoked when I rented my first apartment at age twenty and finally had my own kitchen, which meant I could bake to my heart’s content.
And yet, bizarrely, the first foodstuff I prepared in the new, steamer trunk-sized kitchen, was not a cake. Nor was it cookies, brownies, a pie, a soufflé–or any other baked good. No, the first dish I cooked up in the miniature kitchen was split pea soup with ham.
Split pea soup with–what?!?!
I know. It seems weird to me, too. You see, my dad (who owned a butcher shop at the time) wanted to give me something pragmatic as a housewarming gift. So he gave me a cooked ham. Was it because my boyfriend back then–for whom I was itching to cook–loved ham? (Unlikely, since my dad disapproved of said bf). Was it because the meat was pre-cooked, and, therefore, could survive the trip between Montreal and Windsor, where I returned after my long weekend at home? (Again, probably not. My parents had sent along much more perishable items, such as fresh cheeses or homemade chocolate chip cookies, before that). Was it because I’d been home for Easter Weekend, and my dad’s butcher shop was burdened with an abundance of unsold ham left over after the holiday, which he chose to pawn off onsave from the garbage bin generously bestow upon me? (Bingo).
And so, I dutifully cooked the pea soup, took one taste and determined that I abhorred it, then donated the entire batch to my boyfriend and his housemates. (It was a perfectly lovely ham and pea soup, I’m sure, but even back then I wasn’t exactly fussy on meat).
I then decided I’d turn to what I knew best–baking! In the first week alone, I’d already mixed up all my favorites: brownies (dense, moist, fudgy, with whole squares of Caramilk chocolate bars embedded within); my mom’s recipe for “Surprise Crackles” cookies (also known as “Chocolate Crinkles“–a rich, melty, puffed chocolate cookie coated in powdered sugar, which “crackles” into mosaic patterns as they bake); Tunnel of Fudge cake (a precursor to chocolate lava cake and a recipe I’d copied down during a summer at my cousin’s in Boston); the Nurse’s recipe for Nanaimo Bars (chewy coconut and chocolate bars); and the ubiquitous chocolate chip cookies, which I had first learned to make alongside my dad’s Great Aunt Yetta.
And then, semi-comatose from my cacao overdose, I began to look further afield than chocolate.
One of my classmates at the time, a pseudo-hippie with a health foodie streak (as I recall she introduced me to true bran muffins, the first time I’d had them made with actual wheat bran rather than All-Bran cereal) brought over a pan of apple crisp/crumble. For someone whose previous reaction to apple desserts had been tepid at best, I found that crumble to be a revelation. Who knew that when you combined apples with sweet, cinnamony, oatmeal-and-butter topping that they’d be transformed into something ethereal?
I must admit that I went on a bit of an apple crumble binge (do we detect a pattern here?). I tried mixing apples with raisins for more sweetness and textural variety (not a fave); using several different types of apples in one crisp (lovely); and experimenting with various proportions of apple-to-crisp-topping (I definitely preferred a heavier topping-to-apple ratio).
What I loved about the recipe was that you didn’t really need a recipe: just grate up some apples, add cinnamon and sugar, then pinch together your flour,sugar and butter, add oats and cinnamon to taste, sprinkle, bake, and eat. I could mix it up, bake it and have sugary juices trailing down my chin all within 40 minutes. And best of all, it made a delicious cold breakfast the next morning. Much more forgiving than cakes or cookies, crumble could be infinitely altered and the proportions changed without too much negative impact.
This particular version goes beyond apple alone, to combine our first fruit with pear and cranberries, our SOS Kitchen Challenge ingredient this month. The trio works particularly well together, the solid, robust apple providing structure to the meltingly soft pear and the sometimes too-tart cranberry. Yet mixed together, they create a beautiful synergy. The crumble topping itself is also grain-free, but believe me, you won’t miss the oats. Once baked, it browns and its sweetness deepens to a perfectly crisp and crumbly topping. We loved this dessert. Next time, I’d heed the HH’s suggestion and top it with some coconut whipped cream as well. Divine!
I’ve had my own kitchen for quite some time by now, and it’s true, the novelty has worn off. But baking? Well, that never gets old.
This is another one of those “desserts-that-can-be-breakfast.” With the abundance of fall fruit and limited grains, this dish makes a great way to start your day. Add a bit more protein and you’re all set!
30 drops plain or vanilla liquid stevia, to your taste
1 tsp (5 ml) pure vanilla extract
3 Tbsp (45 ml) water
For the Fililng:
2 medium pears, washed, cored and diced
2 medium sweet apples (I used Honeycrisp), washed, cored and diced
1 cup (240 ml) fresh or frozen cranberries
1 tsp (5 ml) cinnamon
1/4 tsp (1 ml) ground ginger
2 Tbsp (30 ml) coconut sugar
juice of 1/2 lemon
40 drops (about 1/2 tsp or 2.5 ml) plain or vanilla liquid stevia, to your taste
Preheat oven to 350F (180C). Grease a casserole or soufflé dish with nonstick spray or coconut oil.
Make the topping: place the coconut sugar, walnuts, almonds, coconut flour, potato starch, cinnamon and salt in the bowl of a food processor and process until the mixture resembles a fine meal with no pieces of nuts visible.
In a small heavy-bottomed pot, melt the coconut oil. Whisk in the stevia, vanilla and water. Pour the mixture in a ring around the dry ingredients in the processor and pulse until it all come together. It should look like moist clumps. Set aside.
Make the filling: In a large bowl, toss the pear, apple and cranberries together with the cinnamon and ginger. In a small bowl, mix together the coconut sugar, lemon juice and stevia and stir until the coconut sugar begins to dissolve. Drizzle over the fruit in the bowl and then toss again to coat evenly.
Turn the fruit mixture into the casserole dish and sprinkle with the crumble topping. Press down gently on the topping.
Bake in preheated oven for 40-60 minutes (depending on the depth of your pan, you will need more or less time for the fruit to cook), rotating the dish about halway through, until the topping is deeply browned and the fruit is soft. Serve immediately or at room temperature with a little coconut whipped cream. Makes 6-8 servings. May be frozen.
Note: for earlier stages of the ACD, you can replace the coconut sugar with more stevia. Note that your crumble won’t hold together as well, however.
Welcome back to our very first SOS Kitchen Challenge of the new season! After a slightly protracted summer break, Kim and I are back in fine form with our monthly event that asks you to cook up either sweet or savory recipes using a featured ingredient. Many thanks to all of you who’ve been asking about the event–it feels great to be back!
Our ingredient this month has a humble history, but has recently joined the ranks of “super foods” like blueberries, spinach, and pumpkins. Their ravishing red color is unmistakable and their sweet-tart flavor is unique and versatile. And, they’re just in time for Canadian Thanksgiving (October 10th)–and the start of the fall/winter holiday season in general! Any guesses yet? Okay, okay, we’ll tell you. Our featured ingredient this month is…
Cranberries are related to blueberries and grow in sandy bogs in cool climates of the Northern hemisphere. The short shrubby plants have long trailing vines featuring evergreen leaves, distinctive pink flowers, and shiny plump berries. Unripe cranberry fruits are white and the fruits deepen to the characteristic red color as they ripen. Native Americans used cranberries as food, medicine and dye. European settlers quickly caught on to the versatility of cranberries. In fact, they are responsible for the name,”cranberry,” which derives from “crane berry”. The distinctive shape of the wiry stem and flower petals and stamen reminded them of the neck, head, and beak of a crane. American colonialists shipped plants to Europe in the early 1800s, where the cranberry quickly gained popularity throughout Great Britain and Scandinavia.
Kim and I are lucky, as we both live in cranberry country–cranberries are grown throughout southern Canada and in northern portions of the United States. In fact, Kim’s home state of Wisconsin leads the way in U.S. production, pushing out more than 50% of the crop! Kim has often mentioned how she and her family drive through the countryside to find low-lying bogs dotted with shining red berries, how she grew up eating them in a variety of ways (and even once toured the Ocean Spray cranberry plant in Tomah, Wisconsin and the Cranberry Festival in Eagle River, Wisconsin–I’m so envious!). While my own history isn’t quite so cranberry-filled, I do love them and have been enjoying cranberries both fresh and juiced ever since I first embarked on an ACDdiet back in 1999. Today, cranberries in some form are an almost-daily occurrence in my diet.
Cranberries are in season from October through December, and can be found fresh at grocery stores and green markets. Frozen berries can be found all year round. Almost 95% of the cranberry crop is processed into juice, dried cranberries, and sauces, while the other 5% is sold raw. When selecting fresh, raw cranberries, look for firm fruits that are deep red and free of blemishes. Firmness is a key indicator, and ripe cranberries will actually bounce when you drop them. This trait has earned them the nickname “bounceberries”.
Fresh cranberries can be stored in the refrigerator for up to three weeks or can be frozen for several years (!). If freezing them, rinse the berries, then place in a single layer on a flat baking sheet or pan, and freeze. Remove the frozen berries from the pan and place in a freezer bag and seal tightly. Frozen cranberries can be used as-is in recipes; there is no need to thaw. Cranberry juice should be stored in the refrigerator or frozen for later use. Dried cranberries will keep for 6-12 months if well-sealed.
Culinary and Nutrition Benefits of Cranberries
The fruits are incredibly versatile. Thanks to their sweet-tart flavor, they can be used for a variety of sweet or savory applications. Use them in sauces, chutneys, relishes, smoothies, and in baked goods and other desserts. Dried cranberries are an excellent addition to breads and muffins, granola or meusli, or as a snack on their own. For a savory option, try adding to stuffings, salad dressings, salads, or as a tart flavor element to soups or stews. Cranberry juice can be used to make everything from agar agar molds to punches to flavorful apple cider blends or even Tempeh Bourguignon! Kim and I have both enjoyed using cranberries on our blogs. Check out Kim’s Stevia-Sweetened Apple-Cranberry Sauce or my Stevia-Sweetened Dried Cranberries, for instance. In addition to amazing culinary variety, cranberries pack a lot of nutrition in a small package. They are a good source of Vitamin C, Vitamin K, and dietary fiber.
Additionally, they contain powerful phytonutrients that may help support the cardiovascular system, immune system, and may even reduce the risk of cancer. Cranberries also contain compounds that may help prevent and eliminate bacterial infections of the urinary system, particularly in cases of urinary tract infections. Cranberry pills or unsweetened cranberry juice are often suggested to people (and animals) struggling with UTIs! Cranberries are truly an amazing fruit! Kim and I both think these little red berries pack an admirably powerful punch. And we want to see what you can do with them, too.
So feel free to get cooking and show us your best with cranberries this month!
How to Participate in the SOS Kitchen Challenge
To participate, please adhere to the following guidelines. We hate to remove entries, so PLEASE READ THE GUIDELINES CAREFULLY BEFORE LINKING UP!
Cook up a recipe–whether yours or someone else’s with credit to them–using cranberries (for our purposes, you can use whole berries, fresh or frozen; dried cranberries; or cranberry juice).
Your recipe must be made for this event, within the month of the challenge–sorry, no old posts are accepted. Then, post the recipe to your blog (if you don’t have a blog, see instructions below).
Be sure to mention the event on your post and link to the current SOS page so that everyone can find the collection of recipes. Then, link up the recipe using the linky tool below.
As a general rule, please use mostly whole foods ingredients (minimally processed with no artificial flavors, colors, prepackaged sauces, etc.). For example, whole grains and whole grain flours; no refined white flours or sugar (but either glutenous OR gluten-free flours are fine).
Please ensure that recipes are veganor include a vegan alternative (no animal products such as meat, fish, chicken, milk, yogurt, eggs, honey).
Please use natural sweeteners (no white sugar, nothing that requires a laboratory to create–such as splenda, aspartame, xylitol, etc.). Instead, try maple syrup, agave nectar, brown rice syrup, coconut sugar, dates, yacon syrup, Sucanat, stevia, etc.
Feel free to use the event logo on your blog to help promote the event
Have fun and let your creativity shine!
You may enter as many times as you like, but please submit a separate entry for each recipe, and submit only one entry per blog post.
If you don’t have a blog, you can still participate! Simply email your recipe, or recipe and a photo, to firstname.lastname@example.org. We’ll post it for you.
For all the details (and to view past challenges), check out the SOS Kitchen Challenge page. Deadline for submission is Monday, October 31, 2011.Kim and I look forward to seeing what you do with cranberries this month. It’s good to be back!
With all of my 175 students’ assignments, exams and final marks finally submitted–I am now officially on holidays until 2011–whoo hoo! That makes me one very celebratory gal. Par-tay, I say!
And how about having everything all ready to start cooking my big holiday meal?
Um, no. (Insert sheepish expression here).
“Mum, did you say, ‘sheep?’ I’m half border collie, you know. And just being off-leash at the trail is enough of a party for me!”
In an ideal world, I would not only know exactly which dishes I’m cooking, but would have prepared an entire rehearsal Christmas dinner already, expressly for the purpose of photographing and writing about it for this blog (excuse me while I guffaw).
For the past two years, the HH and I have shared an Indian feast at Christmastime with the CFO, who’s made the trek from Montreal. The CFO isn’t able to join us this year, and I have a feeling that the multi-course Indian buffet will also make itself scarce, at least for this year.
I do have a couple of great ideas for potential dishes I’ve been wanting to try (and about which I’ll post, post-holidays.) But what with the HH’s accident; frenzied shopping for a new car; a fire at the campus where I teach resulting in only TWO days to mark all my students’ exams and submit them; a last-minute invitation to appear on a local daytime TV show (which happened this very morning)–I haven’t yet decided exactly what we’ll be eating at the festive table. Throw in a couple of doctor’s appointments, a visit to the vet, a haircut and typical holiday-time social activities, and there has been precious little time to cook.
If you’re like me and still thinking about what to prepare, I thought I’d share this list of some of my favorite holiday-worthy recipes (many of these are not yet listed in the Recipe Index–updating it is one of my new year’s projects!).
All are ACD-friendly recipes (ie, gluten free, sugar free, dairy free, egg free, low glycemic) unless otherwise specified.
And to everyone who’s celebrating this time of year: have a wonderful holiday season!
[This year, I decided to offer a "Festive Freebies" series in which I give away some of my favorite food products. . . hand-picked by me! These are things I already love and actually eat (or use) regularly, and which I'd love to share with you. Here's my fourth Festive Freebie--click here to enter!]
All the way from Australia–our winner is SUSAN from Kittens Gone Lentil! Here’s Susan’s comment:
The book I am most keen to get my hands on at the moment (though there are several) is Party Vegan by Robin Robertson. I love her books and recipes, and I love menu plans and putting together themed dinners, so this book just sounds like heaven!
CONGRATULATIONS, Susan! I can’t guarantee you’ll get it by the holidays (Australia is pretty far away from here. . . ) but I’ll be ordering your book as soon as I hear from you with your full name and address and you can Party Vegan through the new year! Please email me at dietdessertdogsATgmailDOTcom before Friday to receive your book!
These treats would make a great holiday gift for anyone who’s new to the kitchen, whose busy schedule prohibits too much baking, or who is interested in healthier, yet still deliciously homemade-tasting, cookies. And they are one of my all-time favorites.
Click here to read my review and enter the giveaway. [Note: I am required by the rules of BlogHer to place my giveaway on a separate page. Sorry for the extra clicks, everyone!]
III. A Quick Smoothie Recipe
I’ll be back later with last month’s SOS Roundup and those winners, too, but in the meantime, I’ve got another breakfast recipe for y’all. Breakfast (as you might recall) is my favorite meal of the day, and I never tire of new breakfast options. Here’s a really quick and refreshing smoothie recipe I enjoyed earlier this morning.
I was feeling like oatmeal when I first got up today [groaner alert]–funny, I don’t look like oatmeal. . . well, actually, maybe that’s not entirely true these days–but knew I just didn’t have the time to cook it up. So I concocted a festive smoothie that includes a touch of oats along with a protein kick and some seasonal cranberries. Yes–raw cranberries. The result was creamy, filling, and tart yet not lip-puckering. It offered just enough sweetness for my taste with only a few drops of stevia, but sweeten as you like. The recipe will be included in my upcoming ebook on ACD-friendly breakfasts.
This is a great smoothie for those in Stage 2 of the anti-candida diet. It provides a good amount of protein to offset the carbs in the smoothie, and since cranberries don’t “count” as a fruit, the smoothie includes the natural sweetness of pear as well.
1/3 cup (80 ml) fresh or frozen unsweetened cranberries
1 cup (240 ml) unsweetened rice, almond or soy milk
small handful raw walnut halves (about 6)
1 Tbsp (15 ml) brown rice protein powder (not flavored or with added ingredients–I use NutriBiotic, which is rice protein and nothing else)
[Sometimes, you just want to eat something now. I've decided to offer a mini-post every once in a while, for a dish that comes together incredibly quickly or else is so easy to make that no recipe is required. Here's today's "Flash in the Pan." (For other FitP recipes, see "Categories" at right).]
[Here's how the cranberries look straight out of the oven.]
As you know, I love baking. (I know, I can almost hear you say, “NO WAY!). But what I miss these days, since the ACD vetoes all dried fruit, is baking with. . . dried fruit. Raisins, currants, dried cherries, dried cranberries, even goji berries–I just love adding them to baked treats and desserts.
But infirmity is the mother of invention (or something like that). Ever since embarking on the ACD, I’ve been forced to find innovative ways to reproduce common ingredients. I came up with a homemade substitute for sundried tomatoes (since they’re not permitted, either), based on Martha Stewart’s Oven Dried Tomatoes. Since they’re used basically straight from the oven, my premise is that they don’t have time to develop mold. And they are truly yummy.
Well, I thought I could apply the same principle to cranberries. Why not just bake up my own, made with agave and stevia, in place of the sugar-laden ones you get in stores? Bags of cranberries abound in the markets these days, and I even had a couple in my freezer. And I’d bet that several Vegan MoFo participants this month have some at home, too!
I used these very berries in the Sweet Potato Biscuits I baked up for My Little Biscuit the HH the other day. And I’m so glad I did. Even if the biscuits themselves could have been better, at least the berries tasted great.
Use these anywhere you’d use raisins or conventional dried cranberries. Because these do retain some moisture, however, they can’t be stored at room temperature like the regular kind or they’ll develop mold. Keep refrigerated for up to 3 days, or freeze in an airtight container.
1 Tbsp (15 ml) agave nectar
2 tsp (10 ml) extra virgin olive oil or melted coconut oil, preferably organic
10 drops plain or vanilla stevia liquid
12 ounces (340 g) fresh or frozen cranberries, rinsed
Preheat oven to 225F (105 C). Line a large rimmed cookie sheet with parchment.
In the bottom of a large bowl, whisk together the agave, oil and stevia. Add the berries and toss well to coat them all as much as possible. Spread the mixture evenly on the cookie sheet, taking care that the berries are in a single layer and don’t overlap.
Bake for 45 minutes, then check. The berries will puff up and then begin to wrinkle like raisins. If necessary, continue to bake (it will depend on the size and moisture content of the berries), stirring every 30 minutes or so, until desired texture is reached. They should still be soft in the middle, but slightly shrivelled and smaller than when you began. (NOTE: If you set your oven temperature lower, there is less risk of the berries browning or drying out too quickly, but it takes longer for them to be ready. I was just too impatient–but feel free to use a lower temperature!).
Allow to cool before using. Store, covered, in the refrigerator up to 3 days, or freeze for later use.
I couldn’t resist submitting this recipe to Amy’s Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays, which asks for healthier recipes. This fits the description so perfectly! Check out the event, or perhaps add your own recipe!
While the HH likes to spend his weekends in the same fashion each week (sleep in; brunch at our favorite place; toodle around a bookstore; come home and listen to classical music on his beyond-our-means stereo system), I’d rather do something entirely different each Saturday and Sunday–go to the museum, say, or the farmers market, or read my latest book of choice, or cook up something new in the DDD kitchen, or launch a campaign to get on The Ellen Show.
Similarly, on his watch, the HH takes The Girls along the exact same route each time they go for a walk. I, on the other hand, can’t help but mix it up a bit: one day to the baseball field, the next to the park, the third to the pond, and so on.
I can’t imagine how people consume the exact same meal every day, or wear the same uniform to school, or choose the same car every time they purchase, or set up a room and never rearrange the furniture. I mean, don’t they get bored of those foods/ vehicles/ outfits/ spouses (sorry, must have been the influence of the recent Tiger Woods/Jesse James scandals–meant to say, “houses”)?
As you may recall, I am a lover of pancakes. My favorite breakfast back in the day (that would be the “pre-ACD, looked-okay-on-the-outside-but-was-actually-deteriorating-on-the-inside” day) was pancakes, sausages, scrambled eggs, and home fries. Never mind that those calories alone could power the entire Gulf Coast cleanup mission; the quality of what I ate was none too great, either.
One aspect of my standard “big breakfast” at restaurants that I didn’t enjoy, however, was the sameness of it. Wherever we went, it was invariably the same pancake mix each place used, resulting in identical puffy, seemingly inflated, fried-in-hydrogenated-grease cakes that resemble those colored kitchen sponges a little too much for my comfort. (I think they just all used Bisquick as their base, now that I look back on it). Even in my own kitchen, I’ve had to attempt various types and flavors of pancake to keep my flapjack love alive.
[Millet, rice, tapioca, chickpea flours with blueberries and cashew custard sauce]
Well, the more I’ve experimented with GF baking, the more I’ve come to love the fact that most recipes require a long ingredient list with at least two or three types of flour. At first, like everyone else, I found this necessity a real drag; I mean, who has all these items in the pantry? (Of course, there’s always all-purpose GF flour, but to me that sort of defeats the purpose.). Unlike baking with wheat, I realized, gluten free baking affords the opportunity to alter the recipe to your mood, to a particular meal, to a personal taste. Feel like something rustic and hearty? Try amaranth, or quinoa as the main flour. Something light and delicate? Your choice is millet or sorghum. A hint of chocolate? Teff adds depth and color. And so on. Baked goods made with gluten free flours are unique and distinctive; like snowflakes, no two are alike. And this is a good thing.
Still, there are ways to streamline the process. Something I noticed when baking from an established GF recipe was that most GF mixes include a grain, a starch, and a bean or legume flour. In a pinch, they even replaced the beany flour with another grain. If I didn’t particularly like the flavor of the specific grain or bean that was chosen, or if I was missing an ingredient, I decided to experiment, swapping out one for the other. And guess what? It almost always worked! Better yet, sometimes my result was even more flavorful or texturally appealing than the original.
You know how slot machines (those “one-armed bandits”) always display a new combination of pictures (cherries, oranges, and lemons, say) each time you pull the lever? That’s how I think of this recipe. Like Michael Ruhlman’s concept in Ratio, this basic recipe provides the proportions, and you can change up the contents any way you wish.
There are four main categories–grain, starch, legume and fruit or nut–and you can exchange any item from one category for another from the same category. So each time you make these pancakes, they’ll turn up a little differently, yet still delicious.
If you’re feeling adventurous, go ahead and experiment, too. Luckily, this pancake recipe was created for substitutions, so any combination should come out palatable, at the least (and once in a while, you get that “coins pouring out the slot in waves” lucky combination that you write down and keep forever.).
There are four flour ingredients in these pancakes, in varied amounts: either 1/2 cup (120 ml) or 1/4 cup (60 ml)***. Feel free to replace the grains with any other grains from the same category and your pancakes should still be light and fluffy (see exception, below). Replace the starch with any other starch (see exception) and your pancakes will still be light and fluffy. And pull out that bean and replace it with another bean or legume and yes, Virginia, your pancakes will still be light and fluffly.
[Amaranth, teff, oat and sorghum with blueberries and warm almond sauce]
So far, I’ve made these with the following combinations: amaranth, teff, oat (a grain exception that functions as a starch in these recipes) and sorghum; millet, buckwheat, oat and whole bean; rice, arrowroot and carob; and rice, millet, arrowroot and garfava–and they’ve all come out great.
This is the perfect pancake recipe for me: I can switch it up every time I have pancakes for breakfast, yet know that whatever I’ve got, I’ll enjoy the results. No more breakfast boredom! The spice of life never tasted so good.
I’d love for you to try out your own unique combination of pancake ingredients and share them here! Feel free to play with the recipe and replace the flours with others from the same category, the tahini with nut butter or other seed butter, the fruits with one(s) of your choice or nuts/seeds, the flax with chia (just remember that you’ll need much less chia–about 1 tsp/5 ml finely ground–instead of each Tbsp/15 ml flax), or the soy milk with almond, hemp or rice milk. Instead of vanilla, how about almond extract, or lemon? Instead of cinnamon, how about ginger, cardamom, or another spice? It’s all good!
[Rice, millet, arrowroot and garfava flours with walnut-cacao nut butter]
With all the possibilities out there, I can’t wait to hear about what you create! Let me know if you try out your own combination, and I’ll add a link to your post.
Have fun with it, and enjoy your varied pancake breakfasts! And with Mother’s Day tomorrow, pancakes might just offer a perfect brunch for you and Mom.
“Mum, we’re not that great at cooking pancakes–lack of opposable thumbs, and all that–but we would be happy to share them with you tomorrow.”
** Corn flakes with 1/2 banana, 6 prunes, and a cup of tea, in case you were wondering.
Pick-Your-Own GF Pancakes
This recipe is a serendipitous invention that came about because I was out of brown rice flour for another pancake I wished to make. By the time I was done, I’d altered almost every ingredient on the list and had discovered a fabulous, all-purpose generic pancake recipe. This is the last pancake recipe you’ll ever need!
1/2 cup (120 ml)*** millet or other grain flour, or use 1/4 cup (60 ml) each of two different grain flours (see List A, below)
1/4 cup (60 ml) sorghum, oat, or other starchy flour (see List B, below)
1/4 cup (60 ml) chickpea or other bean-based flour (see List C, below)
1/2 tsp (2.5 ml) xanthan gum (optional, but pancakes will be less cohesive without it)
1/2 tsp (2.5 ml) cinnamon, ginger, or other spice of choice (you may need to reduce the amount to 1/4 tsp/1 ml for other spices)
1 Tbsp (15 ml) GF baking powder
1/4 tsp (1 ml) baking soda
1/4 tsp (1 ml) fine sea salt
1 Tbsp (15 ml) freshly squeezed lemon juice PLUS
plain or vanilla soy, almond or rice milk to equal 1-1/4 cups (300 ml)
2 Tbsp (30 ml) sunflower or other light-tasting oil, preferably organic
1 Tbsp (15 ml) finely ground flax seeds
1 tsp (5 ml) pure vanilla extract
1/2 tsp (2. 5 ml) additional flavoring, such as almond, lemon, or coconut (optional)
1/2 cup (120 ml) fresh or frozen berries or chopped fruit (such as apples, bananas or pears–do not thaw first if frozen), or nut pieces
In a large bowl, sift together the grain flour, starchy flour, beany flour, xanthan gum, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
Pour the 1 Tbsp (15 ml) lemon juice into a glass measuring cup and add milk of choice until liquid measures 1-1/4 cups (300 ml). To the cup, add the agave or stevia, oil, flax seeds, vanilla and other flavoring, if using.
Pour the liquid mixture over the dry ingredients and stir just to blend. Gently fold in the fruit or nuts.
Heat a nonstick frypan over medium heat. Using a large ice cream scoop or 1/3 cup (80 ml) measuring cup, place scoops of batter in the preheated pan and spread out a bit so that pancake isn’t so thick. Cook 4-5 minutes, until the tops are dry on top (they will lose their shine) and begin to brown on the edges (this may take time–be patient!). Flip pancakes and cook another 3-4 minutes, until both sides are deep golden brown (they need to be well done or the insides will remain too moist). As you finish the batter, keep pancakes warm in a low (300F/150C) oven. Makes 7-9 pancakes. May be frozen.
These are great when fresh; if you wish to store them a day or two, wrapped in plastic in the fridge, they may dry out a bit and become a bit more crumbly next time round. To avoid this outcome, you can always add 1/2 tsp (2.5 ml) xanthan gum to the dry ingredients when you first prepare the pancakes.
***Note to Metric Cooks: I’ve used volume measurements even for the flours here, as weights will vary depending on which grains, beans, etc. you choose. I’ve found that scooping and leveling with a dry measuring cup (the graduated metal ones) works well.
Here’s a basic list of gluten-free flours and beans/legumes (notice that oats are now on the list!) to help you along. Easy!
And here are the lists of various flours I’ve found that work well (sorry, I haven’t mastered how to insert a chart yet!). The various combinations I’ve tried so far are listed at the bottom of the post.
Do you know of any others? Let me know! And have fun!
List A: Grains
brown rice flour
buckwheat flour (technically a seed, but functions as a grain)
List B: Starchy Flours
sorghum flour (technically a grain, but functions as a starch)
oat flour (technically a grain, but functions as a starch)
List C: Beany Flours
chickpea (besan) flour
whole bean flour (possibly only available in Canada, at Bulk Barn)