Monday, January 2, 2017

Soft and Fluffy Natural Yeast Whole Wheat Bread

Note: This post assumes the reader has experience making bread.  For detailed directions on water temperature, dough consistency, etc...just search Google and find a tutorial.  :)  Happy breadmaking!

1 c. Natural Yeast (this is NOT the dried commercial yeast flakes...this is a living, cultured yeast.  For more information, read Melissa Richardson aka the Bread Geek's books and website)
4 c. Warm Water
1 Tbsp. Sea Salt
7-8+ c. Whole Wheat Flour

Place Natural Yeast in mixing bowl (I like to use my Bosch mixer with the bread hook, you can do this by hand).  Add warm water to mixing bowl.  Add Sea Salt and mix (important to not put salt in before water, salt breaks down natural yeast when it's poured directly on it).  Mix.  Add 5 cups flour.  Mix until combined.  Continue to add flour until dough reaches desired consistency.  Turn dough out onto lightly floured work surface.  Knead dough until reaches desired consistency.  Place dough in large covered stockpot, place in warm area to raise and sour for 6-12 hours. Feed Natural Yeast (every time you use it, feed it).

After dough is finished raising and souring, form into loaves (or rolls, breadsticks, etc), and place into lightly greased pans (we love to use coconut oil for this).  Cover with tea towel and let rise for 1-3 hours (until doubled in size).  Bake at 350 for 45-55 minutes.

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Wendy's Honey-Sweetened GF, Grain-Free, Cheesecake

(GF, Grain-Free, Honey-Sweetened)

I adore my friend Wendy.  She loves to cook for people, understands dietary restrictions, and brings joy everywhere she goes.  Everyone needs a friend like Wendy.  My hubby was extremely supportive of our dietary changes, but he confided to me after two years that he missed cheesecake.  My dear friend Wendy asked what she could bring for his birthday, and I joked that she could bring cheesecake.  Bless her soul, she DID!!  And a new addiction began. :)  Here is that delectable recipe.  My hubby prefers to make it without the crust (almonds are expensive, and he really just loves the cheesecake sans crust).  But I do love this crust...with Honey-Sweetened Chocolate Pie, too.  Happy baking!

(Optional) Crust Ingredients:
2 cups almond flour
3 Tbsp. coconut oil
4 Tbsp. honey
1/8 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1 Tbsp. vanilla extract

Pour all ingredients into blender and pulse until mixed.

Crust baking instructions:
Press into greased pan.  Bake at 350 degrees for 8 minutes.  Let cool.

Cheesecake Filling Ingredients:
4 eggs
4 tsp. vanilla extract
4 tsp. fresh lemon juice
4 packages cream cheese
2/3 c. honey

Cheesecake Filling Instructions:
Pour over crust (or skip the crust and pour directly into pan).  Prepare water bath in your oven by placing rimmed cookie sheet (jelly-roll style pan) in the oven on the middle rack, place your cheesecake pan in the center of the cookie sheet, then fill the cookie sheet with water, almost to the rim.  This will make your cheesecake fluffy.  If you skip the water bath, the cheesecake is more like a dense brownie texture.   Bake at 350 degrees for 60-90 minutes.  Check at the 60 minute mark, then every 5-10 minutes after.  Toothpick inserted into the middle of the cheesecake will come out clean.

Winter Squash and Root Veggies (Butternut, Acorn, Spaghetti Squash, Potatoes, Sweet Potatoes)

So I love winter season and its plethora of inexpensive root vegetables and winter squash varieties.  Full of nutrition and fiber that keeps tummies full, I often get a bit overzealous when they're on sale, or sometimes get a bunch harvested before the squash bugs claim my garden plants.  This year we harvested 403 pounds of potatoes from our garden, and you can bet I want to use them all.  So now I've got a race against the clock to use or store the squash and potatoes before they begin to get yucky.  But it's also one of the busiest (and funnest) seasons of the year, so I'd rather be baking pies and cookies than prepping squash.  The honest issue is that I get lazy and forget to prepare them squash in time, and so we miss using these delicious and inexpensive foods for meals.  So I've been searching for easy and convenient methods to cook them (like crock pot and microwave), or simple ways to freeze them to use later.  Happy harvest cooking!

Butternut Squash

Crock Pot: Rinse outside of squash to remove any dirt.  Cut in half lengthwise, remove seeds (these can be soaked and roasted if they are big enough).  Place halves in crockpot, skins down or touching the sides (if they are sideways, they will leak some juices onto the crockpot, its a bit messy but doesn't hurt anything).  Cook on low 5-6 hours, or until squash is tender.

Freezer: Rinse outside of squash to remove any dirt.  Use a paring knife or vegetable peeler to peel the skin off of the squash.  Cut in half, remove seeds, cut the flesh of the squash into 1-inch cubes.  Label bag with contents, date, and measurement.  Place cubes into freezer bags and place in the freezer (pre-measure so that you have the right amount for your recipes).  To make roasted butternut squash from frozen: When ready to use, preheat oven to 425, remove cubed squash from the freezer bag and place on roasting pan.  Add minced garlic, quartered onions, cubed sweet potatoes, and cubed carrots.  Drizzle with melted butter or coconut oil, roast for 20 minutes, or until veggies are tender.  Salt and pepper to taste.  Serve and enjoy.  You can make a delicious soup base by blending this mixture and adding some meat stock, plus some herbs and more veggies and meat.  There is an excellent soup recipe with measurements in Danielle Walker's "Against All Grain" cookbook on page 86.

Acorn Squash
coming :)

Spaghetti Squash

Microwave: Rinse outside of squash to remove any dirt.  Puncture squash skin with a fork or knife, make at least 10 holes.  Place squash on a microwavable plate and place in the microwave.  Cook on high for 8 minutes.  Squash should yield to pressure when you press on it with your hand.  When outside is soft, remove from microwave and cut open (be careful--inside is full of steam).  Remove seeds, scrape spaghetti squash out of skin.  Discard skin and seeds (or feed them to your chickens).  Serve with spaghetti sauce, alfredo, pesto, or your favorite sauce.  Or slather with butter and cinnamon and coconut sugar for a fun (and unusual) sweet treat.

Potatoes and Sweet Potatoes

Just FYI, baked and pureed sweet potatoes freeze and reheat very well.  Some homemade mashed potatoes do well, too.  It depends on how much butter/cream, etc are added.  Mashed potatoes reheat better if they will be slathered in gravy or sauce (or used in soup).  That's my favorite way, anyhow :)

Microwave: Wash outside of potato/sweet potato to remove any dirt.  Puncture potato skin with a fork or knife, make at least 10 holes.  This allows steam to release and keeps the potato from exploding in your microwave.  Cook on high for 1-4 minutes at a time (start with 4 minutes for medium to large potatoes).  Test for doneness by squeezing the potato.  When it is done, it will yield easily to a squeeze from your fingers, without any hard spots.  When done, cut open and enjoy (it will be the texture of a baked potato).  You can serve with sweet or savory toppings.  We love mashed sweet potatoes with butter, honey and a little cinnamon.

Sweet Potato Freezer:

Cube Method: Rinse outside of sweet potato to remove any dirt.  Use a paring knife or vegetable peeler to peel the skin off of the sweet potato.  Cut sweet potato into 1-inch cubes.  Place cubes into freezer bags and place in the freezer (pre-measure so that you have the right amount for your recipes).

To make roasted sweet potatoes from frozen: When ready to use, preheat oven to 425 degrees.  Remove cubed sweet potato from the freezer bag and place on roasting pan.

For savory recipe, add minced garlic, quartered onions, (optional: other veggies such as cubed potatoes, winter squash or cubed carrots).  Drizzle with melted butter or coconut oil, roast for 20 minutes, or until veggies are tender.  Salt and pepper to taste.  Serve and enjoy.

For sweet recipe, place frozen sweet potatoes in a casserole dish, drizzle with melted butter or coconut oil, roast for 20 minutes, or until tender.  Smash roasted sweet potatoes.  Drizzle with more butter, plus honey and/or coconut sugar and a dash of salt.  Bake in the oven for an additional 5 minutes, or until everything is melty goodness.  If desired, top with homemade honey marshmallows.  Serve and enjoy.

Potato or Sweet Potato Fries Method: 
Rinse outside of sweet potato to remove any dirt.  Use a paring knife or vegetable peeler to peel the skin off of the sweet potato.  Cut sweet potato into french fries (tip: you can do thin ones, but too thin will get black and overcrisp very fast).  Label bags with date, contents.  Place fries into freezer bags, add enough olive oil to coat to prevent freezer burn. Add seasoning (we like sea salt or Red Robin Seasoning).  Seal bags and place in freezer.

To make sweet potato fries from frozen: When ready to use, preheat oven to 425 degrees.  Remove sweet potato fries from the freezer bag and place on roasting pan.  Bake until fries can be spread evenly on pan, then spread them so they cook evenly (about 10 minutes).  Add more seasoning if desired, bake until cooked through and desired crispiness.  Enjoy.  

Crock Pot Mashed Potatoes:
Fill crock pot about halfway with water.  Add a dash of salt to the water.  Rinse potatoes to remove any dirt.  Peel potatoes if desired (we like skins in our mashed potatoes, and it's faster).  Cut potatoes into quarters (if they are huge potatoes, cut into about 2-inch cubes).  Place cut potatoes into crock pot water.  Water should cover potatoes.  Add or remove water as needed (if it's overflowing, remove some water).  Cover crock pot and cook on high for 3-4 hours, or until potatoes are soft, easily pierced with a fork.  Turn off crock pot.  Drain potato water (save it if you plan to make soup or potato bread or spudnuts...I'll be posting a recipe soon!).  Place cooked potatoes into a Bosch mixer or large mixing bowl.  Mix for a few seconds, until pieces start to smash.  Add milk, butter, cream, yogurt, salt...whatever you love in your mashed potatoes.  Mix until desired consistency (be careful not to overmix, it makes the potatoes get a weird texture).  Serve.

This can be prepped the night before (like when we have early church and want a yummy meal when we get home).  Just prep the potatoes, soak them in the water in the crock pot stone liner, refrigerate until ready to cook, then place the stone insert into the electric base and turn it on.

Hashbrowns: COMING SOON!

Best Sweet Potatoes EVER!!

3 huge sweet potatoes
¼ c Ghee and dash of salt (or salted butter)
¼ to ½ cup Honey

Cut ends off sweet potatoes and prick skins all over with a fork.  Place sweet potatoes in a baking dish and bake at 425 for 60 minutes.  Remove from oven and cool.  When cool, peel the skins off of the sweet potatoes.  Mash peeled sweet potatoes in baking dish.  Add butter/ghee and honey to the mashed sweet potatoes and stir.  Cover baking dish with foil and bake at 350 degrees until bubbly and heated through.  Stir and serve.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Whole Food Honey-Sweetened Chocolate Goodness

Chocolate is tricky when you're eating no processed sugars.  I was a really good girl when I was following the GAPS diet.  I thought that meant deprivation.  So I did not partake of chocolate for more than a year, since I couldn't find any that tasted good and used whole food ingredients.  My amazing friend Angelica Orr helped me see that life can be both delicious and healthy. She brought me this amazing hot fudge, as well as the PB chocolate cups, and I was inspired.  We found hot chocolate (and the cake that's on another post) with the help of my dear friend Nicole R, who adapted her daughter's birthday party treats to accommodate my little girls (I love you Nicole!).  The ice cream recipe was inspired by three I found online (after we had a lot of raw milk and needed help using it for a while).  Thanks ladies!   Happy healthy chocolate eating.  :)

Whole Food Hot Fudge

THANK YOU Angelica Orr!

1/3 c. coconut oil
1/3 c. cocoa powder
1/3 c. raw honey
2 Tbsp. butter
2 Tbsp. milk or almond milk
1/4 tsp. sea salt

In a small sauce pan, heat ingredients on medium-low until everything is melted together, whisking constantly.  Store leftovers in fridge.

Honey Chocolate Ice Cream

1 c. honey
3/4 c. cocoa powder
1/3 c. butter
1 pinch sea salt
3/4 tsp. vanilla
1 1/3 c. cream (raw milk cream is perfect)
2 2/3 c. whole milk (raw milk is divine)

Combine honey and cocoa powder in a medium saucepan; stir to incorporate
Add the butter, burn the heat to low on the pan, continually stir to combine
Turn off the heat once most of the butter has melted and continue stirring until the butter is fully incorporated.
Add the cream a little at a time, stirring after each addition, to fully incorporate the chocolate sauce
Add the milk, stir to combine.  Add salt and vanilla.
Refrigerate for at least 2 hours
Follow instructions on your ice cream maker.

Honey Sweetened Hot Chocolate

Adapted from "Recipes to Nourish"

1 1/2 cups milk
1 1/2 Tbsp. cocoa powder
1 Tbsp. raw honey
3/4 tsp. vanilla extract

In a sauce pan, heat milk on medium low heat until warmed through
In a small bowl, mix together the cocoa powder, honey and extract until you make a sauce (like for the chocolate ice cream)
Stir the syrup into the warmed milk and enjoy.

Makes 1 serving

Homemade Hot Cocoa Mix 

Just 3 ingredients!  You can make this ahead and just add warm milk when you are ready)  SO DELICIOUS!

Peanut Butter Chocolate Cups

THANK YOU Angelica Orr!

1/2 c. coconut oil
1/2 c. natural peanut or almond butter
1/3 c. cocoa powder
1/3 c. raw honey
1 tsp. sea salt
1 tsp. vanilla extract

Heat all ingredients in a saucepan on medium heat just until melted together.  Use mini muffin pans and paper liners, fill cups 3/4 full.  Makes 24.  Store in the fridge.

Incredible Whole-Food Chocolate CAKE!

Since we began our whole food journey two years ago, I've been looking for a really good cake recipe.  Each birthday celebration would come and go with sad imitations, and my children were very good-natured about it.  But coconut flour recipes I'd used in the past never really got the texture right.  I consigned myself to this new texture, and moved on. friend Nicole invited us over for a birthday party and served this delightful cake.  I was in love.  My birthday is coming, so I thought I'd post it in celebration.  My 12 year old is now in charge of cake-making, and I love that he can!  This recipe is based on this post:

We love to use raw milk and cream in our recipes, and I don't drink coffee, and we prefer I modified some things.  Here it is!

Amazing Chocolate Cake (Grain-Free/GF, honey-sweetened with DF option)
(makes two 9-inch cakes)
1 cup coconut flour
3/4 cup cocoa powder
3/4 tsp. baking soda
3/4 tsp. sea salt
9 eggs
3/4 c. coconut oil/butter/ghee, melted (plus some for greasing pans)
1 c. honey
3/4 c. raw milk (or water for DF)
1 1/2 Tbsp. vanilla extract
parchment paper (to line cake pans)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Grease cake pans and line with parchment paper
Sift coconut flour into small mixing bowl
Add cocoa, baking soda and salt to coconut flour and mix until combined
Put your whisk attachment on your Bosch/KitchenAid
Whisk the eggs in your mixer
Add the melted oil (or butter/ghee), honey, milk (or water) and vanilla to the eggs
Continue to mix until combined
Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients
Mix on low until completely combined
Scrape the batter into the two cake pans
Spread out the batter so it is relatively smooth
Bake for 30 minutes, inserted toothpick will come out clean when baked through
Cool on a wire rack for 10-15 minutes
Loosen the cake from the pan and allow to cool completely.
Frost and enjoy!!

Gluten Free Crust (not grain free)

GF Pie Crust

There are lots of great tutorials online about making pie crusts, so if you need help, find a good one on YouTube.  This is just the ingredients and basic instructions.

1 & 1/4 cups Namaste GF Organic Perfect Flour Blend (or your fave GF flour)
1/2 tsp. sea salt
1/3 cup butter
1/4 ice water

Combine flour and sea salt in a medium bowl.

"Cut-in" butter with forks or whisk.  Keep cutting until butter is pea-sized.

Add water 1-2 tablespoons at at time. Use your fingers to get the flour wet (gently).  You're not mixing!  Mix gently until it's all evenly mixed.  You want to make the dough barely wet enough to form into a ball.

Roll the dough out on a floured surface, until about 1/8 inch thick.  Gently lift your crust onto your pie plate and follow pie directions (if you need to precook the pie crust, go for it).

Fill with yummy pie filling and enjoy!!

More GF, Honey-Sweetened Yummy Pies!!

It's Thanksgiving time, which means yummy pies on the table.  We struggled our first two years eating GAPS to find dessert recipes that we could eat.  It was a depressing first Thanksgiving.  Then my amazing friend Erica Miller shared her pies with us, and was kind enough to share her recipes.  She created a GF/DF/Honey-Sweetened Cream Pie recipe that is versatile and tasty.  We can now eat some grains, and we eat raw dairy, so we have modified the recipe a bit.  You will see our notes in parentheses.

Honey Sweetened Chocolate Cream Pie 

(Gluten-Free, Grain-Free Dairy-Free option)


2 cups blanched almond flour
2 Tbsp. coconut flour
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. sea salt
1/3 cup honey
1/4 cup coconut oil (or butter), melted
1 tsp. vanilla extract

2 Tbsp. water
2 & 3/4 tsp. unflavored gelatin (1 envelope)
2 & 1/2 cups coconut milk (we use raw milk)
3/4 cup honey
1/4 tsp. sea salt
3/4 cup cocoa powder
4 egg yolks
1 & 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

For crust, combine ingredients and press into a 9 inch pie pan.  Bake for 12 minutes at 350. Erica found that the crust was really thick, she doubled the recipe and made 3 crusts with it).

For the filling, in a small bowl shake the gelatin over the 2 Tbsp of water and set aside.

In a medium saucepan heat coconut milk (or raw whole milk) and cocoa powder.  Combine egg yolks, honey and salt in a separate bowl.  Temper the eggs by adding half of the heated coconut milk to the egg yolk mixture, whisking continuously.

Return mixture to the saucepan and cook for 6 minutes, stirring frequently.  Do not allow to boil (eggs will curdle and get chunky--but it is still salvagable).

Whisk in the gelatin and cook for 2 more minutes, stirring to ensure the gelatin is dissolved completely.  Mixture is just thick enough to coat the back of a spoon.  Add vanilla.  Pour the mixture through a mesh sieve (to catch any bits that curdled or didn't dissolve well) into the pie pan (we have skipped this step before when we know we didn't curdle the mixture).  Let stand at room temperature until cool then refrigerate.

Chocolate Mint...add 10 drops peppermint essential oil to the crust mix.  Add 5 drops to the filling at the same time you add vanilla.

Banana Cream...omit the cocoa powder from the crust and decrease oil to 2 Tablespoons.  Omit the cocoa powder from the filling and decrease honey to 1/2 cup.  Cut some banana pieces into the pie crust before pouring the filling.  Top with more banana slices just before serving.