Yummy In Your Tummy Coconut Flour Blueberry Muffins

7 Jul

The great muffin debate. This is what I used to call the enthused argument my friend Teo and I would have about muffins. Are muffins, cupcakes in a ‘healthy’ disguise? Can a muffin be a healthy treat? For the most part I would say that muffins are not as healthy as they seem, unless you are making your own at home. By baking your own muffins you can see how much sugar actually really goes into what you are making. I can guarantee you would be surprised how much sugar goes into a classic muffin recipe. Needless to say I do believe that muffins can be healthy treats…

Blueberry ( Coconut Flour ) Muffins

For this recipe you will need
Ingredients

6 eggs ( at room temperature)
3/4 cups and 2 TSP of Coconut Flour
2x(1/4) cups of Melted Butter or Melted Coconut Oil
1/2 a TSP of Salt ( to taste)
2x(1/4) cups of Raw Honey ( sweeten to your taste)
1 TSP of Baking Powder
8 TSP of Water
1 cup of Blueberries

Directions
1.Preheat oven at 375 Celsius and grease muffin tin (makes 12 muffins)
2. Combine all the dry sifted ingredients (baking powder, salt and coconut flour) into a medium to small bowl.
3. In a larger bowl mix all the wet ingredients (honey, eggs, butter)
4. Gently combine the dry ingredients in a whisk like motion until they are all mixed
5. Add water into mixture a teaspoon at a time until well mixed, mixture should be slightly glue-y
6. Add blueberries.
7. Baking time, 15-20 minutes or until you insert a toothpick and it comes out clean,tops should be golden.

What is great about these muffins is that every ingredients is accounted for. The honey which can be diminished-with apple sauce- is full of minerals and amino acids. So, although these muffins are sweet they are by no means related to cupcakes. The coconut flour is gluten free and filling and the blueberries are great antioxidants. Try them out… I guarantee this is the healthiest ‘yummy in your tummy treat’ you have had lately!

So until next time, enjoy the muffins treats!

If you have any questions drop me a line!

Teo’s Terrific Tuesday’s- Beets two ways….

29 Jun

Some more great food ideas from Teo!

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If you’re anything like me, beets are far from your mind in the
spring/early summer. Beets belong in the fall with all the other root
vegetables: boiled, roasted, pickled…served up with gherkins and
cocktail onions alongside your grand maman’s tourtière. But I can’t
stop seeing them these days. Tiny, bright beets at the tips of
ginormous veiny leaves, alongside decidedly summer fare like
cucumbers, tomatoes, and new potatoes. And after all, why the hell
not? Tiny, little, succulent, tender-as-they’ll ever be beets. Sign
me up.

Now, many people are not beet fans. It’s alright. I must admit that
I wouldn’t touch them myself until my late teens. And then, I
suffered through them for a while, convinced that–given their colour
and weird-ass taste–they had to be good for me. But now I love them.
And you should too.

These are two of my favourite beet recipes. If you are a tentative
beet-er, you may want to start with the cooked salad. If not, go
ahead and try the raw beet one. Either way, you’ll get lots of iron,
potassium, magnesium, phosphorous, and vitamins A and B. Beets are an
excellent detox-booster, as they tone blood and feed red blood cells.
Enjoy!

Beet slaw

For this recipe you will need
ingredients
5-9 beets, depending on the size
2-3 limes, depending on how many beets
1 carrots (optional, for colour)
1 clove of garlic
3-4 tbsp sunflower oil
Salt and pepper
1-2 avocadoes, ripe

Directions
1. Do not peel the beets if you can help it–the skin has most of the
fibre. Scrub them well, and maybe peel them a bit towards the top
(where the root meets the stem) and the skin is thicker. Peel around
any bumps and rought spots, but otherwise leave the skin on.
2. Grate the beets using the bigger setting on a cheese grater (I
have a flat handheld grater and it is a god send). Watch your
fingers. Try to grate directly into the bowl or you will have a
purple kitchen.
3. Grate the garlic into the beets. Raw garlic is an excellent
antimicrobial (ie, a yeast killer, it rids the intestines of bad
bacteria to leave room for the good ones to grow) and this is an easy
way to get some in. But if you are not a raw garlic fan you can skip
it here to no great harm.
4. Grate your carrot in for colour. I mean, the whole thing will be
purple, but some people like shades.
5. Squeeze your limes and toss the juice in with the beets.
6. Drizzle in the sunflower oil and toss well. Season to taste.
Place salad in serving bowls.
7. Cube your avocado and serve on top. Try to get a chunk of avocado
with each bite. Awesome…

Beet and corn salad

For this recipe you will need
ingredients
5-9 beets, depending on the size
1 red onion (or half if very big)
2-3 handfuls of frozen corn (ie, 1/2 to 1 cup), thawed
1 bunch of parsley, I prefer flat leaf (ie, Italian) in this recipe
but there is absolutely no reason why
3-4 tbsp of apple cider vinegar
Salt and pepper
Sunflower oil

Directions

1. Cook your beets. It takes a long-ass time. Be patient. When a
fork can make some headway in but they feel like they would still
crunch a bit, they’re ready.
2. Rinse your beets and soak in cold water. Peel them (the skins
should just rub off, but sometimes a little help from a knife is
welcome).
3. Cube them. You are going for bite sized pieces. Don’t chop too small.
4. Slice your red onion THINLY. You are going for quasi-Goodfellas
slivers. Toss them in with your beets.
5. Wash and coarsely chop your parsley, toss it in.
6. Drain your corn and toss it in.
7. Salt and pepper to taste.
8. Add vinegar. Drizzle with sunflower oil. Toss. Toss again. Eat!

PS. Beet greens are a whole other level of adventurous. Try
sauteeing them or steaming them. The trick is to cut the bitterness,
so add a little bit of orange juice or, oddly enough, balsamic…and
lots of salt and olive oil.

Fluffy Yellow Cake/Martha Washington Cake & My Glorious Disaster of an Experiment.

25 Jun

A couple of months back at the behest of a friend and for the sheer challenge of it, I decided to follow the paleolithic diet. After 30 days, I realized I felt great, I was sleeping better and feeling less cranky. This made me want to continue. In order to do so I decided to follow the primal blueprint. I really love food! This love of food began for me as a child in the kitchen, more notably it began with baking. Eating ‘paleo’ or ‘primal’ is a lifestyle that makes baking hard if not a challenge. Eating ‘paleo’ or ‘primal’ promotes many things, but two that I find very important. One, eat what is most nutritious and beneficial for your body, and two, eliminate sugar. Clearly baking does not fit with these two guidelines. Broken hearted, I found substitutes such as almond flour and coconut flour, both nutritious flours but harder to bake with, especially when trying to eliminate/replace both refined sugar and vegetable shortening or oil. All in all, baking is a complicated equation, most of the times everything balances out, as soon as you start to replace and/or eliminate elements in the equation, the end result does not add up.

Yesterday was the fateful day I attempted on of my childhood favorites. Cake. I took the easiest classic recipe from my Grandmother’s cooking bible.Instead of regular flour, vegetable shortening and the 2 cups of sugar the recipe called for, I used coconut flour, agave and good old classic butter. I have to confess my utter failure. The cake was edible but there is a lot of tweaking that needs to be made. I am adamant that I will be able to master this recipe. I will make the cake of my childhood memories for the present healthy adult in me. It’s okay to indulge sometimes, 80% of the time I’m on target with my health goals, though I aim to follow those goals a 100 percent of the time. Here is my indulgent suggestion for you…

Fluffy Yellow Cake/Martha Washington Cake

For this recipe you will need
ingredients
I cup of shortening
2 cups of sugar
4 eggs yolks
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
3 cups of flour
1/4 teaspoon of salt
3 teaspoon baking powder
I cup of milk
4 stiff beaten egg whites (beat till they form peaks)

Directions
1. Cream shortening and add sugar
2. add egg yolks and vanilla
3. beat WELL
4. add sifted dry ingredients ( flour, salt, baking powder) alternatively with milk and fold in egg whites
5.pour batter into 3 8-inch pans
6. place in oven at 350 degrees Celsius
7. leave baking for 30 minutes (check cakes at the 25 mark)

*use a toothpick to see if the batter is still raw, if the toothpick comes out clean your cake is done!

Lemon Frosting

For this recipe you will need
Ingredients

1 3/4 icing sugar
1/4 cup melted butter
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 tablespoon cream
1/8 teaspoon grated lemon peel
1 3/4 icing sugar

Directions
1. combine sugar with butter lemon juice, cream and lemon peel.
2. beat until smooth
3. add 1 3/4 cup of icing sugar
4. beat until frosting has a ‘spreading’ consistency
5. If the icing is too thing then add more sugar
( I also added some toasted coconut flakes and some coconut shreds to the top layer for decorative purposes!)

*for this cake I used double the amount of frosting to cover the whole cake and the in between layers.

So there you have it! An indulgence of the most decadent kind. It’s okay to indulge once in a while, a cake like this is great to make because you can see how much sugar goes into baking. If this is how much you put into your cakes, imagine what is the ones you buy in stores! So invite some friends over and have some nice Earl Grey tea or herbal tea and make of an afternoon of it! Enjoy treating yourself! So next time around I hope to have prefect my coconut flour version of this cake, without gluten without sugar, and definitely without icing… once perfected I’ll be happy to indulge more often with a nice slice of coconut flour cake! In the meantime have a slice of Fluffy Yellow Cake/Martha Washington and enjoy eating it too!

If you have any questions drop me a line!

P.s. Best priced coconut flour in Montreal can be found at Les Douchers du Marche in the Atwater Market.

Grandma knows best, atleast her cookbook does.

15 Jun

This is ‘the’ cookbook of my childhood cake dreams. My grandmother received a copy of Better Homes and Gardens when she graduated highschool in 1949. My memories of this cookbook, are my grandmother taking it out for special occasions, usually birthdays and making delightful cakes (which to me seemed to be 6 layers in height). In the next couple of weeks I am going to try to make some of these recipes with gluten, primal and paleo concerns in mind. In the meantime check this out.

Nicaraguan guacamole vs. the mainstream stuff

9 Jun

When I first arrived in Montreal, I was about 6. There was a lot of adjusting to be done, however it didn’t take long. Children are resilient in that way. One of the hardest things to adjust to was the food available. The change in produce required a change in diet. Needless to say when I discovered that avocados were sold here and so was guacamole, things didn’t seem so grim. However the guacamole that is popular in here by no means resembled my guacamole salad I had growing in Nicaragua. The texture seemed to be totally different and it was. The puree consistency of the North American version contrasts with the chunky Nicaraguan version. For these reasons I wanted to share two traditional Nicaraguan guacamole salad recipes, one that I grew up with Doña Petrona’s, and one found in 50 Años en la Cocina.

Doña Petrona’s Guacamole

For this recipe you will need
ingredients
4 small avocados cubed
2 hard boiled eggs cubed
firm cherry tomatoes (optional)
1/2 cup of onions cubed
1 lime juiced

Directions
1. Toss all the ingredients a bit if you like. The salad is supposed to remain chunky
2. Dry crumbly feta can be added as a garnish!

Traditional Nicaraguan Guacamole

For this recipe you will need
ingredients
3 large ( 6 small) avocados in pieces
2 tomatoes skinned and seeded in pieces
1 small onion cubed
2 tsp of olive oil
2 tsp of chopped cilantro

Directions
1.Delicately toss all the ingredients

Both these salads are a variation on a party classic. Sometimes I like to put these two salads on a bed a baby spinach. My preferred one and childhood favorite is Doña Petrona’s. I grew up with this lady who would help my mother out with some cooking here and there when my mother was at work back in Managua. I am pretty sure my love of cooking is partly due to her! So this is a nod to Doña Petrona! So until then, enjoy the salads as much as I!

If you have any questions drop me a line!

Popeye loved Olive Oil

3 Jun

and so should you. During the summer there is nothing that compliments freshly cut veggies or a salad quite like olive oil. The kind of olive oil you use makes a difference and I challenge you to go out hunting and tasting. Now for those of you that don’t believe me the type of olive used can enhance the flavors of the vegetables you are using. I recently had the chance to walk into one of my favorite stores in the Atwater Market, called Les Douceurs Du Marché to find an olive oil sampling going on. This store is great, the staff know their ABC’s regarding the multitude of spices, oils and sauces lining the store walls.

Two of my favorite oils are Nunez de Prado , a great olive oil that really compliments fresh vegetables very well. Its has a fresh light taste yet one can distinctly taste those fresh Spanish olives without it overwhelming the overall flavor. I love to use Nunez on freshly steamed asparagus, green beans or a Kale salad! The other incredibly amazing choice was Château d’Estoublon. It’s hard not to be attracted to this french Provencal olive oil when it is bottled in an old Channel no.5 bottles. This olive oil has a distinct taste and the lightness of extra virgin oil. It’s seems buttery and smooth yet it is not as sweet as Nunez. The flavor of Château d’Estoublon would compliment meats and mushrooms in marinades.

The best thing to do is go visit Les Douceurs Du Marché! The couple that owns it is charming, helpful and knowledgeable. They can maybe let you know when the next oil tasting will be! Tasting these different oils at once can help you distinguish the difference between them. Sometimes the difference is negligible and sometimes it is so different that it helps you hone in on what taste you actually do like. Like biting into a black olive versus a fresh green olive, taste is really everything. So try something different! The oil used makes all the difference. Out you go, an adventure awaits! Enjoy the olive oil quest!

If you have any questions drop me a line!

A Lovely Montreal Lady & A Singing Spring Asparagus Salad, what a duo.

29 May

This lovely Montreal lady is a good friend of mine and the one who introduced to me many recipes. This lady and I love going to the Jean Talon market to buy some market fresh seasonal ingredients. We make it into an adventure whenever we go, ask her about the time we bought some pepper plants! Her name is Teo, she is a fearless cook, who can throw herself into any recipe with a sense of enthusiasm and adventure that is almost enviable. I have invited her to share some of her recipes and she so graciously agreed! Here is Teo’s Singing Spring Asparagus Salad.
⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯

Wild rice is actually a seed, not a grain, so it’s a great go-to for
those of you eating paleo or staying away from refined carbs. [So is
quinoa, actually, but more on that later if Helen wants to invite me
back.] Asparagus is synonymous with spring, and whenever I see it in
big bunches at the market I get a little giddy. It’s everywhere now,
so try to get your fill before it’s gone. If you go to the Jean-Talon
market
, there’s a man selling bunches of wild Québec asparagus, for
pennies (South side, next to the fresh eggs and where, later, the
awesome garlic will be). Mental. If you get wispy thin stalks
(smaller than a pencil) then you should chop them in
two-centimeter-ish long pieces. Anything little-finger sized and
bigger should be chopped very thin. You might want to do them on the
thickest setting of your mandolin, if you have one…ie, about the
thickness of an earlobe would be good. Enjoy!

For this recipe you will need
Ingredients
4-6 leaves of fresh sage, slivered (tarragon would be good too)
1 french shallot (or a few tablespoons of onion), diced very very finely
1 bunch of asparagus, sliced as per headnote
1 handful and a half of hazelnuts
1 to 1 1/2 cups of wild rice
1-2 lemons, juiced (depending on how juicy your lemons are and how
tart you like your dressing)
1 small dollop of dijon mustard (3/4 of a teaspoon-ish)
Salt and pepper
Touch of maple syrup, agave, or raw honey
4-5 tablespoons of sunflower oil (or olive, if that’s what you’ve got)

Directions
1. Cook the wild rice, with a ratio of 1:3 rice:water. You might
want to do this the night before, it takes a while. Let it cool.
2. Roast your hazelnuts for a few minutes under the broiler or in a
pan. Once they darken, you can remove them and roll them around in
your hands if you want and the skins will rub right off. Not
necessary, but its up to you. This is especially good if you are a
notorious forgetter of nuts under the broiler, like I am. If you’ve
all about the raw, you can skip this step…but you’re missing out on
a little flavour.
3. Crush the nuts. If you’ve got a mortar, bust it out. If not, put
the nuts in a sandwich (or vegetable) bag, place it on a cutting
board, and hit it with a knife handle until you get the right
consistency. You are going for pumpkin-seed sized pieces. Stop or
you’ll get to flour.
4. Toss the salad ingredients together. Enjoy the colour combo.
5. Whisk your lemon juice with the mustard until frothy. Add your
sweetener. Your goal is to take the edge off, here, so be careful and
just use a touch. You don’t want to taste it in the final product.
6. Season to taste. Add the oil and whisk some more. Sunflower is
preferable because it is lighter and has a more muted flavour. Since
the flavours in this are subtle, you want to let them shine as much as
possible. But olive works, so don’t worry about it if that’s what’s
on hand.
7. Toss it all up! It’s a good idea to let this sit for a few
minutes before you eat it. The time to pour yourself a drink or get a
good book to read in the sun while you eat…

Enjoy! And thanks for having me.

Variations: if you’ve been to the market and have found some fresh
sweet green peas, you might try tossing them in here. If you do, I
recommend skipping the sage and opting for fresh mint instead. Fresh
mint and fresh peas is a marriage made in heaven…

You better eat those green beans!

25 May

a phrase I would hear a lot from my mother when I was younger. Lucky for me, I love green beans now. My trick as a child was thinking of them as green french fries my trick now is knowing how to prepare them. My favorite way is by making a green bean salad. I like going to ‘the PA’ as most Montrealers refer to it, to get some of the cheapest produce in the city. They lists their specials online and even have recipes to look at, a reason why its worth the trek. Anyways back to the easiest green bean salad ever… and here we go….


For this recipe you will need

Ingredients
1 pound of green beans ( really as much as you want)
1 small garlic clove finely chopped
1/2 a cup of sliced almonds
olive oil
apple cider vinegar
salt and pepper

Directions
1. Steam the green beans once you have removed the ends
2. While steaming check to see if they are bright green
3. take a bite and see if they are crispy ( don’t burn yourselves)
4. Once they are ready throw the green beans into a bowl of ice cold water
5.Let them cool!
6. In the meantime, toast your almonds set oven at 250 c.
7. wait till the almonds begin to faintly smell, at this point they are done.
8. take the green beans and cut them into slices about 2 inches in length.
9. Add almonds, green beans, garlic, a generous shake of olive oil, about 1 TBS of apple cider ( cider can be added to your liking), salt and pepper to taste.
10. Finally, TOSS TOSS TOSS.

This salad is easy and versatile you can add other ingredients such as walnuts or even raisins to make it a bitter sweeter. What I think makes a huge difference with this salad is the type of ingredients used. The type of olive used can really enhance the taste of your salads as well as do nothing for it. This however deserves a whole post onto itself! So until then, enjoy the salad!

If you have any questions drop me a line!

It’s BBQ season, keep it fresh.

20 May

Everything tastes great on the BBQ. Meats, tofu, portobellos and vegetables, anything goes! We have an old charcoal Weber that works wonderfully and gets a lot of attention over the summer months. As any avid meat eater, vegan or vegetarian knows… marinating is the key to spicing up an old favorite and the BBQ is the tool that renders it delectable. An another option is homemade pesto. Unlike the original homemade pesto can be anything you want them to be. After reading a recipe from Mark’s Daily Apple, I was inspired to try this cilantro pesto but I didn’t have many of the required ingredients. Keeping with my mantra, I went ahead and substituted and omitted more then half of the ingredients. I have to say I think my cilantro almond pesto turned out pretty good!

For this recipe you will need
Ingredients
1 handful of cilantro/coriander leaves
1 small handful of baby spinach
1 heaping TBS of Almond butter
1 TBS of olive oil
1 tsp of sesame oil ( to taste)
1 lemon juiced
2 green onion chopped
1 tsp of tumeric
salt and pepper to taste

Directions
1. gather all your ingredients
2. measure and prepare them
3. BLEND THEM ALL ( that is my favorite part)
4. refrigerate and wait for the flavors to set

If you like a creamier pesto, then add more almond butter as you please… if you like a more textured pesto I would add some coconut flakes.

This cilantro almond pesto is great on pretty much any meat and tastes really fresh and is perfect for a BBQ instead of your usual go-to condiment. I would venture to say that it would taste great on some BBQ Tofu or even on a giant portobello.

If you have any questions drop me a line!

Happy BBQing!

The Kale Salad of Awesome

18 May

This salad is definitely a healthy treat. Last summer I had the chance to have some of this great salad when a friend of my mine passed down the recipe. WARNING, this is a hearty filling salad and may become addictive, that is why I call it The Kale Salad of Awesome.


For this Recipe you will need

Ingredients
1 large bunch of Kale
1 one medium/large ripe avocado
2 carrots
1 lemon
1 garlic clove, or more if desired
Olive oil
salt

Directions
1. de-stem Kale ( remove all the tough spines on the leaves)
2. Pour olive oil on kale ( be generous)
3. massage bit size leaves with olive oil until all the leaves are coated
4. let it soak up the oil while you…
Wait about 15 minutes. Time you can use to prepare the other ingredients.
5. cut up the carrots julienne style
6.cut the avocado in two halves cut lengthwise and crosswise incisions into the meat
7. juice the lemon
8.press the garlic
9. Salt the kale leaves generously and TOSS
10. Add lemon juice, avocados and carrots
11. TOSS TOSS TOSS

This salad is awesome for many reasons:
Reason number one, the ingredients are super healthy ! Kale is amazing, I usually buy mine at Rachelle Berry, its fresh and organic and yummy. Reason number two with regards to awesomeness, is the textures in the salad the ripe avocado and the hearty kale leaves are a great contrast that is enchanced by the garlic and lemon. Reason number three, the salad will not wilt even with the dressing after a night in teh fridge. So you can definitely make this salad to have the next day.

If you have any questions drop me a line!

Have a happy kale time !

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