Almond Flour: Where Have You Been All My Life?

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I love baking. LOVE it. I love changing recipes, adding veggies and beans to cakes and brownies, tricking my family with nutrient-rich chocolate chip cookies, making the house smell a bakery, and I get giddy when I’m declared the best mom ever for feeding my tribe secretly healthy desserts.

Now, as some of you know, my son Jake has type 1 diabetes. He’s nearly 7 years old and also happens to be one of my pickiest eaters. This stinks (in a non-bakery nice smelling way) because I’ll make or bake something that has lots of healthy protein from hemp seeds or chia seeds, is low in white carbs, and will be perfect for preventing roller coaster blood sugars, and everyone will love it but him. Makes me CRAZY!!!

Until finally…. the stars aligned and I was clued into Simple Mills gluten-free, handful-of-natural-ingredient baking mixes based on almond flour. Not the crunchy, coarse almond meal that was in my fridge, but a fine, delicate, rare gem-quality flour made from blanched almonds. The Simple Mills mixes are pricey, so after I tried making one of each of their offerings, I decided that all I really needed to do was replace regular flour with almond flour in my favorite (and Jake’s favorite) recipes. This is why:

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Almost 1/4 the carbs, 6 times the fiber (so 1/7th the net carbs) and twice as much protein. I knew right away that if this simple substitution worked, I would have discovered the Holy Grail of diabetic baking.

So. I learned that Jake doesn’t care for pumpkin anything (no son of mine). But, if chocolate chips are involved, he’s all in (definitely my child!). I’ve redone my famous marriage-inducing and TJ’s-published Chocolate Things recipe, with Jake, health, and flatline blood sugars in mind. Now presenting!:

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Chocolate Things: Almond Flour Version

Makes 9 large squares

This is a lower carb, lower sugar, higher protein version of my classic “Chocolate Things.” It may look like there’s a bizarre combo of sweeteners. There is! While I tried to make these 100% sugar-free, too much erythritol or stevia gave them a not-so-funky funk. Feel free to replace the erythritol, sugar, and maple syrup with 1/2 cup sugar plus 1 teaspoon maple extract (optional).

2 cups fine almond flour (like Bob’s on Amazon here)
1/2 cup white, wheat, or oat flour (blend gluten-free rolled oats to make oat flour)
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp iodized salt
1 tsp baking powder
1 Tbsp ground flaxseed meal
2 Tbsp Swerve (erythritol)
2 Tbsp sugar
2 Tbsp lite maple syrup (like Wholesome! brand with 33 g carbs per 1/4 cup)
1/4 cup melted Smart Balance, Earth Balance, or other non-hydrogenated margarine
3 tsp vanilla
3/4 cup unsweetened soymilk or other nondairy milk
1/2 cup (100 g) semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Sift dry ingredients together. Add wet ingredients to the dry and stir to combine. Stir in chocolate chips. Pour and spread into a lightly greased 9 x 9-inch baking dish and bake for 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

Per square: 21 g total carbs, 4 grams fiber (17 g net carbs), 7 grams protein

And here is Jake’s blood sugar graph after eating one of these sweet little thangs at 10am. No spike! And no crash! We did it!

Let me know how almond flour works for you. It’s been a baking lifesaver for us.

xo

Jen

Making Raw Hemp Milk Couldn’t Be Easier – Video!

Raw Hemp Milk
Makes 4 cups

1 cup hemp hearts (shelled hemp seeds)
4 cups filtered water

Blend, and store in the fridge for up to 5 days. Add to smoothies, pudding, desserts, soups, or cereal. High in protein, fiber, and Omega-3’s. Yum!

 

Mason Jar Salads: Lunchin’ Munchin’ for Smart People

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So I’m a little late to the party, but figured maybe some of you haven’t even gotten on the subway yet!? BuzzFeed posted these 18 great mason jar salads back in December, and not only are they pure genius, but they’re nice to look at, easy to make, store, and transport, and they are all about Operation: Fit Into Last Summer’s Clothes.

But what I love more than any of those things is that you can make your week’s worth of lunches in about TWENTY minutes! What’s 20 minutes? That’s about how long I spend trying to figure out why I just walked into the dining room. I could be making salads!

So, what you do:

It’s Sunday. Line up five 24-ounce mason jars, grab a bunch of ingredients, a cutting board and a knife, and get all assembly line-up in the kitchen. Everybody clear OUT! The salad belt has been turned on. Stuff your jars in this order:

Start with Dressing: Either something bottled (like TJ’s Light Champagne Vinaigrette) or 2 T rice vinegar plus 1 T olive oil plus 1/2 tsp salt.

Next, fill with Protein: Tofu cubes, beans, tempeh cubes, hemp hearts, chia seeds, and shelled edamame beans are some of my favorites. They’ll marinate in the dressing. Genius again!

Next up, Chunky Veggies and/or Grains: These are ones that can afford to get a little juicy with dressing: Cucumbers, tomatoes, peppers, carrots, mushrooms, jicama (is that a veggie?), corn… and quinoa, wild rice, pasta, roasted potatoes…

And Finally: Greens and herbs. Spinach, kale, mesclun, basil, dill, cilantro…

Optional Salad Toppers: Croutons, cranberries, sunflower seeds, those Asian noodle thingies. Not necessary, but oh so good.

Stick those 5 pieces of gloriousness in the fridge and take one each day for lunch (or have for dinner if that’s where healthy food prep time is at a minimum). Either shake it while IN the jar, or if it’s too jam-packed, empty the contents into a bowl and toss to coat dressing. No more excuses people!

What’s YOUR favorite salad stack?

Eggless Eggs Still on the Menu

Even with news of chicken eggs back on the cool list, Eggless Eggs are still a family favorite, a hometown staple, and a great way to enter into tofu addiction — no matter if they’re stuffed into a burrito, alongside toast, or eaten solo by the Paleos. Make a big batch on the weekend and choose your method of delivery on the day of. To breakfast! (Or dinner!)

Eggless Eggs with Whole Grain Toast, Orange Wedges, and Fruit Juice

Eggless Eggs with Whole Grain Toast, Orange Wedges, and Fruit Juice

Eggless Eggs
Makes 4 servings
Prep and cooking time 20 minutes

Searching for scrambled eggs without all the fat and cholesterol? Take this creation out for a spin, and you’ll find yourself singing its praises from the hilltops. Serve with fresh fruit and toasted 100% Whole Grain Fiber Bread. Compared to a 2-egg omelet, a serving of Eggless Eggs has 150 fewer calories, 11 fewer grams of fat, 450 fewer milligrams of cholesterol, and 2 more grams of fiber. Eggs never tasted so good.

1 (15-oz) block extra firm tofu
2 tsp olive oil
1 green onion, or 1 Tbsp diced onion
½ red bell pepper, diced (preferably organic)
½ green bell pepper, diced (preferably organic)
1 medium carrot, diced
½ tsp garlic powder
½ tsp turmeric (optional, makes the “eggs” yellow)
½ tsp salt
1/8 tsp black pepper (optional)
Hot sauce to taste (optional)

1 Press Tofu: Place 6 paper towels on the counter. Drain tofu from package. Place block of tofu on the paper towels. Place a cutting board or baking sheet on top of tofu. Place 2 or 3 cans of beans or similar weight on top of the cutting board, and let sit for at least 15 minutes. This process gets excess water out of the tofu, allowing it space to soak in other incredible flavors.

2 Meanwhile, heat oil in a medium-sized skillet over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low and sauté veggies, spices, and salt until tender, about 5 minutes.

3 Crumble tofu into the skillet; continue to cook until heated through, about 5 minutes.

4 Serve warm topped with black pepper and hot sauce if desired.

5 Store leftovers in the fridge for up to 3 days.

NUTRITION SNAPSHOT
Per serving: 161 calories, 8.5 g total fat, 1 g saturated fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 298 mg sodium, 5 g carbohydrates, 2 g fiber, 1 g sugar, 15.5 g protein, 3% vitamin A, 54% vitamin C, 19.5% calcium, 13.5% iron

Now and Later Veggie Curry (Slow-Cooker / Freezer Meal)

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Now and Later Veggie Curry Ready for the Freezer

I posted 4 years ago (!!) about slow cooking, and I’m finally starting to have a love-love relationship with it. I have to admit, for quite a while, my crockpot did nothing other than look down on me and laugh from its prime real estate space the pantry. Now, it is pure LOVE, especially with the discovery of Little House on the Prairie-style freezer meals. So what if they didn’t have freezers on the prairie? I can still wear my apron and bonnet and call it homestead survival.

So here is my latest. I make a double batch: One goes in the crockpot for that night’s dinner, and the other compilation gets thrown in the freezer. The freezer concoction can be taken out and thawed in the fridge overnight and then tossed into the crockpot in the morning. 2 dinners, 1 dinner-prep cleanup, and lots of telecommute cooking.

Now and Later Veggie Curry
Serves 6

1 block extra firm tofu, diced
1 cup cooked garbanzo beans
1 cup frozen peas
1 cup fresh or frozen greens

15 oz tomato sauce
1/2 can coconut milk
1 cup water
2 tsp garlic powder
2 Tbsp curry powder
1 tsp salt
1 tsp crushed red pepper (optional, makes it quite spicy)
2 Tbsp agave nectar
1 onion, diced (optional, sometimes I skip this b/c I don’t have onions or time to chop)

Add all ingredients to crockpot and/or freezer container.* For the crockpot meal, cook on “low” for 3 hours. Thaw freezer meal in fridge overnight before crockpotting. Serve over rice or with whole grain bread.

*Sometimes I take the extra step and combine the tomato sauce, milk, water, spices, and agave in a bowl, and stir through–or even use a mixer–and then pour it over the chunky ingredients. I poured it over the tofu and beans, and then added the peas and greens in the picture above.

Nutrition Info Per Serving: 213 calories, 9 g fat, 1 g saturated fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 25 g carbohydrates, 4.5 g fiber, 7.5 g sugar, 13 g protein, 74% vitamin A, 36% vitamin C, 60% manganese, 17% folate, 12% calcium, 17% iron, 20% phosphorous, 11% zinc, 15% selenium, 22% magnesium.

What’s YOUR favorite freezer meal?

Detox Day 2: The Hummus Understudy

Lentil Pate

You survived Day 1 and most of Day 2! You are rockin’ this detox like it’s your job! Your reward is a new recipe, or a reminder of a recipe. As much as you love the award-winning vegetable delivery vehicle of 2004, once in a while it’s sure nice to have an alternative. So, here it is from Skinny Dish. A pâté so zesty and brown (pâté is supposed to be brown, people), that it will have you saying ooh la la in no time! Shmear it on large veggie slices or rice crackers while detoxing.

Lentil Pâté
Makes 10 (¼-cup) servings
Prep time 10 minutes

Spread this tangy pâté on Sesame Melba Rounds, toasted baguette slices, or pipe it into hollowed-out cherry tomatoes or steamed and hollowed-out Brussels sprouts. It even works well as a sandwich spread. Heck, eat it right off the spoon for breakfast. You only live once!

1 (17.6-oz) pkg refrigerated Steamed Lentils, or 2 ½ cups cooked lentils
5 cloves garlic, peeled
12 large pitted black olives
3 Tbsp capers, with juice
2 Tbsp lemon juice
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp chopped fresh rosemary (optional)
¼ tsp salt
1/8 tsp black pepper

1 In a food processor or powerful blender, process all ingredients together until combination is a smooth paste (some chunks may remain).

2 Store leftovers in the fridge for up to 5 days.

NUTRITION SNAPSHOT
Per ¼-cup serving: 81.5 calories, 2 g total fat, 0.5 g saturated fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 301.5 mg sodium, 11 g carbohydrates, 4.5 g fiber, 1 g sugar, 4.5 g protein, 0.5% vitamin A, 3.5% vitamin C, 2% calcium, 11.5% iron

Detox Day 1: Emergency Cookies

PB cookies

Happy Detox Day 1! I just love this day. Everything green is exciting and beautiful. A piece of fruit tastes like sugary heaven, and the background headache is somehow OK. Enjoy!

Well, as a preventative measure just in case the excitement of plant matter wears off during the week, make up a batch of these. They fit in the detox guidelines nicely and will taste oh so good while you’re drowning in raw green goodness. I mean, while you’re LOVING drowning in raw green goodness of course. To dessert!

Gluten-Free, Banana-Sweetened Almond Butter Cookies
Makes 20

1 cup gluten-free oat flour, almond meal, or coconut flour (see below on how to make oat flour)
1 cup cooked garbanzo beans (no liquid)
1/2 cup almond butter (or other nut or seed butter)
1 ripe banana

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

To make oat flour, in a food processor or blender, blend about 1 1/4 cups of gluten-free oats to make about 1 cup of flour. Set aside.

In a food processor or Vita-Mix, blend beans, nut butter, and banana until creamy.

Combine “flour” with bean mixture until mixed through.

With wet hands, form dough into balls (if not detoxing, the balls can be rolled into a bit of sugar at this point), and place on an ungreased baking sheet. Press down in a criss-cross fashion with a wet fork to prevent sticking.

Bake for 10 minutes.

Per cookie: 77 calories, 4 g fat, 9 g carbohydrate, 2 g fiber, 1 g sugar, 2 g protein.

See you tomorrow! xo

Where’s that blender?!? 7-Day Detox Starts Monday!

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Are you ready to tell 2015 who’s boss? Ready to get green fuel from your head down to your to-ee-oes? Join the masses on Monday, January 5th in a 7-day race to declutter your intestinal closet and refuel your engine.  Check out my 7-Day Detox Page for detox prep info and the detox guidelines, along with a day-by-day meal plan (yes, you can veer off the plan as long as you stay within the guidelines).

Spend the next couple days chowing down on veggie meals as you phase out caffeine, alcohol, sugar, gluten, dairy, eggs, and meat, and stock up on detox essentials:

Plantfusion Protein Powder
Kale (Organic)
Cucumbers (Organic)
Celery (Organic)
Carrots
Spinach (Organic)
Onions
Garlic
Bell Peppers (Organic)
Lemons
Apples (Organic)
Frozen Berries (Organic)
Bananas
Beans/Lentils
Quinoa
Corn tortillas (Organic)
Hummus
Tempeh
Raw nuts/seeds
Nut/seed butters
Rice crackers/rice cakes

See you on Monday! Chowder!

XO Jen

Clean Bean Casserole

Clean Bean Casserole

If it’s not broke, don’t fix it, right? Well. Grandma’s classic isn’t exactly broken, it just needs a little modern-day health booster. This version is just as easy, even tastier (if you can believe it), dairy-free, gluten-free, uses all plant powered, clean, whole foods, and even has a touch screen. Welcome to the millennium, green beans! Give them a spin anytime you’re feeling thankful.


Clean Bean Casserole

Serves 8

Creamy Mushroom Gravy:
1 cup raw cashews, submerged in water and soaked overnight (or at least 4 hours)
1 Tbsp olive oil
20 oz sliced white mushrooms
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 vegetable bouillon cube

“Fried” Onions:
1 large onion, sliced into crescents
¼ cup almond meal
1 Tbsp cornstarch
½ tsp black pepper
½ tsp salt
2 Tbsp olive oil

Green Beans:
2 lbs green beans, ends removed

Preheat oven to 350°

Mushroom gravy: Blend cashews with soaking water. Set aside. Heat oil in sauté pan and sauté mushrooms and garlic until cooked through. Add cashew “cream” and bouillon cube and continue to cook over medium heat until bouillon cube dissolves. Set aside.

Onions: In a medium-sized bowl, combine almond meal, cornstarch, black pepper, and salt. Stir sliced onions until well-coated. In a sauté pan, heat olive oil and “fry” coated onions. Set aside.

Green beans: Place green beans into a 13 X 9-inch baking dish (pre-steam them for softer beans). Pour creamy mushroom mixture over top and stir to coat green beans. Top with onions and bake, uncovered, for 30 minutes.

Nutrition Information Per Serving: 211 calories, 13 g fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 19 g carbohydrates, 6 g fiber, 8.5 g protein, 16% vitamin A, 37% vitamin C, 6.5% calcium, 15% iron, 11% zinc.
Cheers and thanks!

xo

Jen

Anytime Apple Crisp

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When the Reilly kids go apple-picking, they take it to the extreme. I kid you not, they picked 100 pounds of Fuji apples in less than 15 minutes! Of course, they had to taste-test an apple before deciding Fuji was the one they wanted, and I *have* read that an apple can energize you more than caffeine….

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So other than eating them, handing them out to everyone we see, and making a lifetime stash of addiction-worthy Pumpkin Apple Butter, what will we do with all these apples? First on the list, an apple crisp so tasty and balanced, that it qualifies as a complete meal. My oldest mini chef played a key role in the super simple prep…

Anytime Apple Crisp
Makes 8 generous servings

FILLING
8 apples, unpeeled, cored, and cut into chunks
1 tablespoon cornstarch or potato starch
1/4 cup sugar
1 Tablespoon ground cinnamon
Juice of 1 lemon, or about 2 Tbsp lemon juice

TOPPING
1 cup oats (I use gluten-free rolled oats)
1/2 cup chopped walnuts (optional)
1/4 cup chia seeds (optional)
1/4 cup almond flour, cashew flour, or coconut flour
1/4 cup pure maple syrup or agave
1/4 cup melted non-hydrogenated margarine, or coconut oil
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

In a large bowl, toss to combine all FILLING ingredients. Pour into a lightly greased 9 X 13-inch baking dish.

In the same bowl (no need to rinse), stir together the TOPPING ingredients. Pour evenly over apple combo, cover with foil and bake for 35 minutes. Uncover and bake another 10 minutes to let the topping brown.

Nutrition Info Per Serving (including walnuts and chia seeds): 292 calories, 14 g fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 41 g carbohydrate, 8 g fiber, 21 g sugar (mostly apples!!), 5 g protein, 10% iron.

How do YOU apple up? xoxo

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