Almond Flour Chocolate Chip Cookies (Paleo, GF, DF)

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Happy 2018!! Let's start things off right with these grain free cookies. I've been hiding a bag of chocolate chips on myself for the last month or so until I felt like whipping these up. I have a hiding spot in one of the difficult to reach cupboards that I never go into and that is away from all the other food. I use this to hide things from myself like crackers specifically for a get together, nutella or chocolate chips. I would have eaten these chocolate chips if I had not hidden them, same for said crackers. Maybe not the same for the nutella. 

Back to the cookies! These are a super yummy chocolate chip cookie made with almond flour and sweetened with maple syrup. I'm really pleased with this recipe: grain free, paleo, dairy free, refined sugar free, easy to make and soft. I like a soft cc cookie, don't you? 

A note on ingredients: Use almond flour, not almond meal. I use Nutiva coconut and red palm shortening. The coffee grounds should be very fine, like espresso. I had courser drip sized grounds here so I buzzed them in the grinder for a few seconds until they were fine. They can be considered optional but really give these cookies a warm, toasty flavor. I also used an electric hand mixer for all of the mixing, besides folding in the chocolate chips. You can also use a stand mixer with the paddle attachment. 

makes 24 cookies. 

Almond Flour Chocolate Chip Cookies

3 cups almond flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon course kosher salt

dash cinnamon

1 tablespoon very finely ground coffee

2/3 cup coconut & red palm shortening, room temperature

2/3 cup maple syrup

2 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 1/2 cup chocolate chips

In a bowl, whisk flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and coffee to evenly combine. Set aside. 

In a mixing bowl, use a hand mixer to beat shortening and maple syrup together until it no longer looks curdled, about 2 minutes. Add eggs and vanilla, mix 2 minutes more. Mixture will look weird and slightly curdled or separated. This is ok. Add dry ingredients to wet and mix well. Fold in chocolate chips. 

The batter will seem much different than your usual cookie dough - lighter, wetter and stickier. This is ok. 

Chill in refrigerator for 30 minutes. In the meantime, heat oven to 350 degrees and line two cookie sheets with a silicone baking mat or lightly oiled parchment paper. Remove dough from fridge and drop tablespoon sized spoonfuls of dough onto the prepared trays. Give them some room as they will spread when baking. Bake 15 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool a bit on pan before removing. 

Cookies are best warm out of the oven or stored in the fridge in an airtight container. 

Cranberry Bundt Cake (Paleo, GF, DF)

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I made a conventional version of this cranberry bundt cake for Thanksgiving and it was so good I knew I wanted to make a healthier, grain free version. This cake is very balanced - a slightly sweet crumb with a bite of fresh cranberry here and there. If this was made in a loaf pan, I'd call it a cranberry bread. 

This can be glazed or dusted with powdered sugar and served as dessert or slice a piece off and smear it with coconut butter for breakfast. Or snack on it as is. Would doesn't need more snacking cake in their life? (We all do.) Either way, its a great festive, paleo cake to make for the holiday. 

Serves 10. 

Paleo Cranberry Bundt Cake

1.5 cups almond flour

1.5 cups coconut flour

1 tablespoon baking soda

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 cup agave

1/3 cup coconut oil, melted

2 cups unsweetened applesauce

6 eggs, at room temperature

zest and juice of 1 orange

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

12 oz fresh cranberries

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 12 or 14 cup sized bundt pan and set aside. 

In a large bowl, whisk together almond flour, coconut flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. In a medium bowl, whisk agave, oil, applesauce, eggs, set, juice and vanilla until very smooth. This can be done with a mixer or by hand. Pour wet ingredients into dry ingredient and stir until well combined. Make sure the dry ingredients are very well hydrated. Stir in fresh cranberries.

Transfer batter to bundt pan - since this is not a very pourable batter I spoon it into the bundt pan and the smooth the surface with a spatula or spoon. Make sure its even so the cake isn't lopsided. Bake until deep golden brown on top and set in center - about 1 hour and 30 minutes. I like to start checking every 15 minutes after the 1 hour mark. Remove from oven and cool in pan. Invert onto plate and serve. 

Pickled Red Onions

This is possibly the quickest, easiest way to transform your meal into something special. It's true - imagine a simple taco, now imagine said taco with pickled red onions on it. Let's think outside this taco for a minute and explore what else you could improve with these onions. Sandwiches, salads, grilled cheese, fried rice, quesadillas, hot dogs - there are many more but I'm starting to get too hungry thinking about it. 

I like to keep a jar of these in the fridge and put them on everything. Since I can't have hot sauce, (why are you a nightshade, chile pepper???) I use these instead. They're not spicy at all but fulfill the same need with their sharp, briny punch. 

Feel free to add more aromatics if you like -  bay leaf, chiles, other seeds. I leave everything free floating in the jar but you can wrap the aromatics up in a piece of cheesecloth to keep things tidy. 

Pickled Red Onion

1.5 teaspoon kosher salt

1 teaspoon sugar

1/2 teaspoon black peppercorns

1/2 cup or so white vinegar

1 red onion, thinly sliced

Add kosher salt, sugar, peppercorns and vinegar to a 12-16oz jar. Shake or whisk to dissolve. Add onion slices to jar, pressing down to fit if needed. Top off with water so onions are covered in liquid, if needed. Leave them alone for one hour. After that, they are ready to eat. Store in fridge. 

Chicken + Dumplings (AIP, Paleo, GF, DF)

I love comfort food. I especially love chicken and dumplings. Chicken, vegetables and dumplings simmered in a thickened stock. I tested several combinations to get the dumplings just right. The first batch were made with cassava flour and while the flavor was great, the texture was that of gummy mochi. Not good. 

It was really important to me to keep this recipe AIP friendly since there are so many comfort foods we miss out on on the AIP. I'm happy to say this is a great AIP version of the classic dish that I would feed anyone whether on the protocol or not. There is an extra step of baking the biscuits first and adding them to the finished stew but it's worth the effort.

Makes about 6 servings. 

AIP Chicken +Dumplings

for the dumplings

2/3 cup arrowroot powder

1/3 cup coconut powder

1 teaspoon cream of tartar

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

1 teaspoon dried herbs (I used 1/2 thyme and dill)

2 tablespoons olive oil

1/2 cup warm water 

for the rest of it

dash olive oil

1 yellow onion, chopped

4 stalks celery, chopped

4 carrots, chopped

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 bay leaf

1 teaspoon dried thyme

1 teaspoon dried parsley

2 quarts chicken stock

1.5 # boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into small pieces

6 oz sliced mushrooms

6 oz green beans, chopped

3 tablespoons arrowroot powder

Heat oven to 400 degrees. Prepare a small baking tray with a silpat or parchment paper. 

In a bowl, whisk arrowroot powder, coconut flour, cream of tartar, baking soda, salt, pepper and dried herbs together. Stir in olive oil and water. Add more water as necessary. The dough should resemble playdough and hold together, Form into ping pong sized spheres, arrange on prepared baking tray and bake 20 minutes. Dumplings will be a lovely golden brown. Set aside. 

In a large pot, heat oil over medium heat. Add onions, celery, carrots, garlic, bay, thyme and parsley. Cook about 5 minutes until soft and glossy. Add stock and mushrooms. Bring to a boil. Add chicken. Reduce to a simmer and cover for 20 minutes.

Make a slurry with arrowroot powder and a bit of water. Stir into pot. Add green beans. Continue cooking until green beans are soft, about 5 minutes, covered. 

 To serve, place a couple biscuits into a bowl and ladle over stew. 

Almost Mac + Cheese (GF, DF, Vegan)

I've been dying for mac n cheese but just couldn't bring myself to cheat. After coming across a forgotten jar of nutritional yeast and box of Banza pasta in the way back of the cupboard, I decided I could make my own vegan, gluten free version. 

Banza is one of my new favorite things. It's a gluten free, grain free pasta made from chickpea flour and tapioca starch. As a former lover of all things pasta, I love it. So far, it's my favorite alternative pasta. (This post is not sponsored  - I just like to share good things when I find them.)

Makes 2 large servings. 

Almost Mac + Cheese

1 stalk broccoli, peeled, chopped

6oz banza pasta 

1 cup cashew milk

1/2 cup nutritional yeast flakes

1/2 teaspoon arrowroot powder

1/4 teaspoon mustard powder

pinch nutmeg

1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar

s + p 

dash of Worcestershire, optional (not vegan or vegetarian)

Boil a pot of water. Add broccoli. Blanche for 2 minutes. Drain. Set aside. 

Boil a pot of water and cook pasta until al dente, about 8 minutes. Drain and set aside. 

In a  pot, whisk cashew milk, yeast flakes, arrowroot, mustard powder and nutmeg over medium high heat. Add pasta and broccoli, stirring until thickened and hot. Add vinegar. Season with salt and pepper. Stir in Worcestershire if using. 

 

 

Baked Falafel Salad + Tahini Cucumber Dressing (GF, DF)

After a week of pondering a new salad, I came up with this one.  I've probably mentioned this but every sunday Cameron and I do a big round of batch cooking, making everything we're going to eat for the week.  Always it's at least a big salad, homemade dressing, a soup, curried cauliflower and a breakfast option.

I have about 5 salads that I rotate through but really wanted to add a new one.  I'm pretty excited about this one.  It's a clean, healthy, vegetable filled salad with falafel.  The falafel are baked but still crispy outside with a creamy, flavorful middle.  The dressing is adapted from Detoxinista and I think I would eat pretty much anything with this dressing on it.  There's a lot of flavor in this salad bowl - I hope you enjoy!

About 6 servings. 

Baked Falafel Salad

for the falafel

2 tins chickpeas, rinsed, drained

1 1/4 cup diced red onion

2 garlic cloves, chopped

1/3 cup fresh cilantro leaves

1/4 cup fresh parsley leaves

1 tablespoon olive oil

juice of 1 lemon

1 tablespoon cumin

1 teaspoon coriander

1/2 teaspoon paprika

1 teaspoon coarse salt

1 teaspoon baking soda

for the tahini dressing

1 cup chopped cucumber

1/4 cup tahini

1/4 cup water

1 clove garlic

juice of 1 lemon

1 teaspoon cumin

1 teaspoon coarse salt

for the salad

spinach leaves

shredded cabbage

shredded carrots

olives

chopped parsley and cilantro leaves

pickled red onion 

sliced cucumber

Falafels: Heat oven to 400 degrees.  Place a baking tray on the middle rack. 

Place chickpeas, onion, garlic, cilantro, parsley, oil, lemon juice, cumin, coriander, paprika, salt and baking soda in the bowl of a food processor fitted with an S blade.  Pulse until it smoother but still chunky.  It should look like minced onions and chickpeas held together with hummus.  

Remove hot tray from oven and brush liberally with a high heat oil.  Use a tablespoon to portion falafels.  Form thin, patties.  You want more surface area.  This results in a crispier falafel.

Bake 20 minutes.  Carefully flip patties.  They should be browned on the bottom before flipping.  If they come apart, press them back together.  Back another 20-30 minutes or until both sides are browned.  Remove from oven and cool.  

Tahini Dressing: Blend cucumber, tahini, water, garlic, lemon, cumin and salt in a blender until smooth.  

Assemble salads with spinach, shredded cabbage, shredded carrots, olives, pickled onions, chopped herbs, falafel patties and dressing.       

Apple Breakfast Cake (Paleo, GF, DF)

This is one of those things that you can eat for breakfast or dessert.  Don't you love those?  It's the beauty of a quick bread.  I was really worried about this one but it turned out so great.  So much like a normal treat.  The crumb is sweet, moist and holds together - which is no easy feat with Paleo baking.  

Weekends and weekends of rain had passed and I was dying to go apple picking.  Finally, this past weekend it was a beautiful fall day so we got in the car and headed to Wrightmans Farm in Morristown, New Jersey.  It's a very nice farm with snacks, hayrides, a farm store and u pick apples.  My favorite part of the day was wandering the apple orchard, getting lost in the corn maze and oogling all the pumpkins and gourds on display.  We have so many apples. Er, had so many - their numbers are dwindling but luckily I have enough left to make another one of these breakfast breads.     

If you don't have applesauce but have apples - peel, core and chop two, place them in a pot with about 1/3 cup water.  Cover and simmer until apples are tender, about 10 minutes.  Use a stick blender to puree.   

When arranging apple slices in the pan, go for one layer.  Thicker slices (1/4") are good.  Double layers won't stick together and when you invert the pan one side will most likely stick to the pan and one with the cake.  Just a tip. 

Apple Breakfast Cake

1 large apple, cored and sliced

1/2 cup almond flour

1/2 cup coconut flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 cup honey

2 tablespoons coconut oil + plus extra for the pan

1 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce

2 eggs, beaten

Heat oven to 375 degrees.  Generously run a loaf pan with coconut oil - really don't be shy. Arrange apple slices on bottom of pan - aim for a single layer.  In a medium sized bowl, whisk together almond flour, coconut flour,  baking soda, baking powder, salt and cinnamon.  Set aside.  

Warm honey and coconut oil and whisk together.  Whisk in apple sauce and egg.  Combine well with dry ingredients.  Carefully, pour over apple slices in loaf pan.  Smooth and level top of batter.  Bake 55 minutes.  Remove from oven and let cool in pan 5 minutes.  Invert onto plate and cool.  

Gingerbread Not-Meal (AIP, Paleo, GF, DF)

Have you heard of this 'Notmeal' business?  It's usually things like squash or other vegetables grated and prepared like oatmeal.  I call it sort of oatmeal - it's made with riced cauliflower and coconut milk, spiced up like gingerbread.  Breakfast is a big challenge on AIP and sometimes you get sick of meat patties and avocado slices.  If you are, here's something warm and sweet, just in time for this cooler weather.  

To rice the cauliflower, place roughly chopped florets and stems into a food processor and pulse carefully until cauliflower is in riced sized bits. This can also be found pre-riced in the produce section if you're feeling a little lazy. 

Makes 4 servings. 

Gingerbread Sort of Oatmeal

4 cups riced cauliflower

1 cup coconut milk

2 tablespoons molassas

pinch salt

3/4 cup unsweetened coconut flakes

1 teaspoon ground ginger

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground all spice

1/2 teaspoon ground clove

Place everything in small sauce pan.  Simmer gently until cauliflower is soft, about 20 minutes.