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:

almond-flour-table

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

Homemade Dark Chocolate in 3 Minutes

So I’m sitting here with a napping toddler writing some recipe substitution tips when it hits me: I could really use a bite of dark chocolate, and I don’t have any, I don’t have any chocolate chips, and I can’t run to the store. Serious Emergency!

But I have cocoa… and coconut oil… and maple syrup… and another wackadoodle recipe is born chez Reilly:

Emergency Dark Chocolate
Serves 10

1/2 cup coconut oil
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa
3 tbsp liquid sweetener (maple syrup, agave…)
1/4 cup flax seeds, hemp seeds, or other seeds/ chopped nuts (optional)

In a saucepan over medium heat, heat oil, cocoa, and sweetener. Remove from heat and stir in seeds or chopped nuts if using. Pour into dish and spread thin. Chill in fridge for 1 hour. 

What do YOU do in this kind of emergency situation? xo

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!

 

The Brady Brunch

brunch

School day breakfasts are speedy and a bit of a blur… 4 young kids downing cereal, instant oatmeal (yes, it happens!), raisin toast, or other freezer fare. But breakfasts on the weekends chez Reilly are an adventure, an experience, a complete kitchen tornado, and downright sticky fun. Here is our latest experiment. Chocolate chip Belgian waffles with raspberries and maple syrup, sloshed down with a tall glass of vanilla soymilk. But the best part? the foods you don’t see!: Pumpkin, ground chia seeds, and beets! I should be arrested for this!

Beet these Waffles
Makes 6 large waffles
Equipment needed: waffle maker (if you don’t have one, just make pancakes with this same recipe), blender, and an electric mixer or a really strong arm

2 cups waffle or pancake mix (I like Trader Joe’s multigrain pancake mix, but sometimes it’s Krusteaz from Costco)
1 cup unsweetened soymilk
1/2 cup pumpkin puree (canned pumpkin)
1/2 cup blended beets (I buy them already cooked and peeled from Trader Joe’s, and then blend them. Canned works too though!)
1/4 cup ground chia seeds (purchase these already ground here, or grind them yourself in a coffee bean grinder)
2 Tbsp vegetable oil
nonstick vegetable oil spray
1/4-1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips (optional, but CRUCIAL in my opinion)

Spray waffle maker with nonstick spray and plug in. Place all ingredients in a mixing bowl and mix with electric mixer while waffle maker heats up. Add more soymilk or water 2 tablespoons at a time if batter is too thick. Pour 1/2-3/4 cup batter into waffle maker, drop 10 or so chocolate chips on top, and close.

Keep cooked waffles warm in the oven while the kids finish up their Minecraft game and you hide the pumpkin and beet remnants. Serve with pure maple syrup or all alone. Once the kids have eaten, enroll them in kitchen clean-up.

Nutrition info per waffle: 281 calories, 11 g fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 43 g carbohydrates, 9 g fiber, 12 g sugar, 7 g protein, 65% daily requirement of vitamin A, 330 mg calcium, 12% daily requirement for iron.

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?

Strawberry Lemon Tart Reunion

Strawberry Lemon Tart from "Skinny Dish!"

Strawberry Lemon Tart from “Skinny Dish!”

Now that you successfully decluttered your closet and possibly enjoyed the world’s tastiest latte on Day 8, it’s ok to add a little dessert back in without needing to detox again. When I wrote my Trader Joe’s Skinny Dish! cookbook, I really really wanted to master a cheeseless cheesecake eventhough I never understood the draw, and frankly never understood the point of dessert that wasn’t chocolate. Well, I failed! But, out of the laboratory, this tart was born. Free of chocolate and so totally good (huh?!?) that your engine might just start on its own. Embrace your success and celebrate! And call me crazy, but it totally rocks with green juice :>) xo

Strawberry Lemon Tart
Makes 12 slices
Prep time: 20 minutes
Hands-off cooking time: 35 minutes plus 1 hour for chilling

This far-out dessert started as a cheese-less cheesecake and morphed into a ridiculously delicious tart. It will wow you again and again.

Cinnamon Graham Crust
3 cups (about 90) Cinnamon Schoolbook Cookies, or about 8 oz graham crackers
1/3 cup Earth Balance Natural Buttery Spread, or other non-hydrogenated margarine

1 Preheat oven to 350° F.

2 In a blender or food processor, blend cookies until they’re crumbs. Add margarine and process until evenly mixed.

3 Press mixture into the bottom and sides of a 9-inch round pie pan so the edges come nearly to the top. The filling will only reach halfway up the pie pan, so the crust doesn’t need to come precisely to the top.

4 Bake crust for 5 minutes, and let cool completely before adding filling and baking further.

Lemony Filling and Strawberry Topping
1 (8-oz) container Tofutti Better Than Cream Cheese, or other non-dairy cream cheese
¾ cup sugar
2 tsp vanilla
3 Tbsp lemon juice
2 Tbsp cornstarch
10 medium strawberries, stems removed and sliced lengthwise (preferably organic)

1 Blend together cream cheese, sugar, vanilla, lemon juice, and cornstarch until smooth.

2 Pour filling into cooled crust and bake for 35 minutes, until the filling puffs up completely and has a golden glimmer. Let cool in the fridge for about 1 hour to solidify the filling. (If you can’t wait, at least let it cool to room temperature, and then top with strawberries. It will be a bit gooey, but still incredibly delicious.)

3 Arrange sliced strawberries on top and enjoy right away.

4 Store leftover slices (if there are any) in the fridge for up to 5 days.

NUTRITION SNAPSHOT
Per slice: 208 calories, 10 g total fat, 5 g saturated fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 169 mg sodium, 27.5 g carbohydrates, 1 g fiber, 26 g sugar, 2 g protein, 0% vitamin A, 11% vitamin C, 0% calcium, 2.5% iron

Breakfast Detox Soup

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Day 6! That happened fast, right?

I confess that I just could NOT drink a cold smoothie today. I went for a 15-degree walk this morning and the last thing I wanted when I came back inside was a freezing cold green smoothie to further numbify my feet and hands. Ice statue just wasn’t on my morning agenda.

So, I pulled some ingredients out of the fridge and made this Detox Soup instead. Dare I say it was better than a hot cup of coffee? Clearly the Detox is morphing my mentals!

Detox Soup
Serves 4

2 cups filtered water
1 cube vegetable bouillon
5 basil leaves, torn
2 cups chopped kale
5 carrots, scrubbed, unpeeled, chopped
1 cup garbanzo beans
1 cup crushed tomatoes (from a can)
1/2 teaspoon salt
Dash pepper

Bring all ingredients to a boil and then simmer for 10 minutes. Good morning, warm sunshine!

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

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