For my granola loving friends, I am super excited about this how-to and recipe. Most commercial granolas, even when gluten-free, are loaded with gut-upsetting grains, and worse yet – vegetable oils and loads of sugar. After lots of experimenting and playing around, I created the perfect base recipe for this grain-free granola, with two variations. Sweet and Savory.
Using the formula for the base, you can get creative there with your favorite nuts and seeds and then when it comes to flavor combinations, the sky is the limit – so get creative and make it your own.
We returned home last Monday after spending over a week Loreto, Mexico, in the Baja California Sur, celebrating the nuptials of our very good friends, Debbie and Dan. Since I was coming off a full month + of exceptionally strict eating, since I did Whole30, I was feeling really, really great, but on top of it, I was also several weeks in on experimenting with the ketogenic diet, as an attempt to get my autoimmune kidney disease into remission (more on this soon as I continue to experiment).
I had some slight trepidations in spending a week at a resort, both in how hard it would be for me to keep up my preferred way of eating, but also from the standpoint of my actual health and well-being, if 1 week away would ruin 1 month of hard work.
The answer is it wasn’t hard and no it didn’t.
If you are like me, there is never a shortage of super dark chocolate in your house. Since I’ve been experimenting and making my own dark chocolate bars the last few weeks, I have had more chocolate in the house than ever! Not at all a problem I am complaining about, but I am finding myself extra inspired by this gorgeous, silky, velvety, homemade dark chocolate.
This unique side dish take classic roasted cauliflower to new levels. Crisp-tender with a smoky char, the cauliflower gets the red carpet treatment with this luxurious, silky sauce, featuring the most unsuspecting of ingredients. Dark chocolate.
With the start of fall and now as we enter October, I say this means it’s officially, official that we can go all-in on the pumpkin spice everything. Sure it’s considered Basic B*tch to some, but I don’t care, call me “Basic Beth” if you wish – I want to pumpkin spice ALL the things, like these Maple Glazed Pumpkin Spice Almonds.
These lightly sweetened with just a hint of salt, crunchy, crispy, coated almonds are flavored with my homemade Pumpkin Spice Blend (but of course any store bought pumpkin spice blend will work) – they get coated with maple syrup and then if you allow them time to dry slowly, they harden, up, get crispy and will wow you! Otherwise you end up with sticky, stuck together, not-so-crispy nuts.
Since I have started sprouting foods myself, a few months back, I have been pretty excited not only with how much more delicious so many of my favorite foods are, but how much easier they have been to digest. Sprouting seeds and beans especially, have seriously reduced the amount of bloating I have felt with certain foods. Sprouted quinoa is one of my absolute favorites to sprout. It’s super simple and I love knowing that I am maximizing the full nutritional benefits of the quinoa this way. Be sure to check out my recent post on how-to sprout, to read more about why this is and how to do it.
This super easy, vibrantly-colored quinoa bowl is so easy to throw together and it’s full of so many amazing flavors. Seriously, if you don’t count the sprouting time, you can have this for dinner – completely made and on the table in under 30 minutes. It’s just that easy. Besides the food processor to make the pesto, it’s a one pot meal, which I am ALL about. I love easy meals like this, where it can all cook in one pot and your entire meal is in one bowl. Doesn’t get much easier than that.
With all of the many different greens we’ve been getting in our CSA box each week I have actually made variations on this recipe too, last week I actually made it with swiss chard instead of the kale and it was just as amazing. I know arugula or spinach would be incredible, too.
How-to Make Homemade Nut Butters
I am so excited about this next post in the Tutorial Tuesday series. It has been quite the undertaking sampling, soaking, dehydrating and playing with different flavors but it is so easy and so totally worth it to make your own homemade nut butters. OK, so I may have gone a little overboard, but hopefully all of your nut butter questions have now been answered.
Besides the simple how-to instructions, I wanted to include some insight as to why I recommend soaking your nuts and seeds, how to also dehydrate them after you have soaked them and all of the various times for doing so. Plus, you will find some various flavor combinations that I love and even a nut-free sunflower seed butter recipe. Hope you guys enjoy.
Basically if it’s a nut (and even many seeds) and you like it, you can make a butter out of it. I have sampled so many different types of nut butters and the sky is the limit. I wish I could afford to buy enough of each of the nuts pictured to sample making nut butters with all of them for you guys, but that is certainly out of the budget when buying organic. So for this tutorial, I just went with a couple of my personal favorites. Almond, cashew, pecan, hazelnut (in a homemade nutella) and I even made a nut-free sunflower seed butter for you.
To Soak or Not To Soak.
Why I Choose to Soak: Most nuts, seeds, grains and beans are covered in natural chemicals – enzyme inhibitors and toxins – that protect them while growing, both from sprouting prematurely and also from predators. These nutritional inhibitors and toxic substances are enzyme inhibitors, phytates (phytic acid), polyphenols (tannins), and goitrogens. Once harvested, those same chemicals, the major one being phytic acid – are indigestible to the human body and must be broken down before consumption. When food containing phytic acid is consumed, the acid combines with important minerals like calcium, magnesium, copper, iron and especially zinc in the intestinal tract and blocks their absorption which inhibits our digestive systems’ ability to break the nut down properly.
The very simple process of soaking releases these chemicals, helping you to absorb your food’s essential minerals and nutrients. Additionally, by soaking the nuts with the removal of these nutritional inhibitors and toxic substances, the flavor and taste is much more ideal and appealing.
To summarize: Soaking nuts and seeds makes them easier to digest and improves their flavor. Read the rest of this entry »
I wrote this recipe up back when we were still in Buffalo staying at my parents house but I never had the time to make them while we were there. Both of my parents and Mark are coffee-aholics. Man do they love their coffee. Me, I could take it or leave it these days. I probably drink 2-3 cups a month, at most. Most times it is part of a super early wake up call for an event or on a long road trip. I love the way coffee tastes, but I don’t always like how it makes me feel. I don’t like the caffeine jitters or the burny, acid bitterness of some cups of joe.
Mostly I like the smell of coffee and the culture surrounding it. Yeh, I know that’s weird. I love coffee cups and mugs, local coffee shops, french presses, pour over coffee, fancy organic fair trade beans, and yes, I even love cookies meant for dunking in coffee. That is exactly what I think of when I think of biscotti. That crispy, crunchiness is just begging to be dunked into coffee.
All the nights at my parents house when the three of them would fill up their mugs, add their splash of cream, grab a sweet of some kind and then come out to the living room to watch the evening news. I felt kinda left out. Sometimes I would have a cup (then have a terrible time getting to sleep that night), sometimes I would have some tea and other times I opted for another glass of wine! I should have made these cookies when I was staying there, they could have added dunking these yummy cookies to their evening ritual and I would have dunked mine into Mark’s hot cup of java.
I was inspired to combine orange and dark chocolate in these biscotti because my mom LOVES that flavor combo. So do I. Just the smell alone is so delicious. Looks like I’ll just have to make these for my parents when then come visit in June! (Which by the way, I cannot wait for) I originally wanted to make these with cocoa nibs, but was unable to find any at the stores locally, so I just went with dark chocolate chunks, I cannot wait to get my hands on some cocoa nibs and make these again!
Do you drink coffee? What is your favorite thing about coffee?
[print_this]Grain-Free Orange, Almond & Dark Chocolate Biscotti – Gluten-free + Vegan
Makes 12-15 cookies
- 1 1/2 cups blanched almond flour (tightly packed)
- 1 tablespoon arrowroot powder (or tapioca starch)
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 cup maple syrup or honey
- 1/4 cup sliced almonds or other nut
- 3 tablespoons freshly squeezed orange juice
- 2 tablespoons orange zest
- 1/4 cup dark chocolate chunks, mini chocolate chips or cocoa nibs
Preheat oven to 350ºF. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper
In your food processor￼ combine the almond flour, arrowroot powder, salt and baking soda. Process until all of the ingredients are well combined. Then pulse in maple (or honey), orange juice and orange zest until the dough forms a ball. Fold in chopped almonds and chocolate chunks by hand.
Dampen hands and form the dough into a log approx 10″ long and 2″ wide on the parchment paper￼lined baking sheet. Bake at 350° for 15-20 minutes, or until lightly browned and firm to the touch. Remove from oven and let cool for 1 hour. Turn the oven to 250º F.
Once fully cooled cut the log into 1/2-inch slices on the diagonal with a very sharp knife.
Spread slices out on a baking sheet cut side down and bake at 250° for 10 minutes then turn over and bake another 10 minutes on the other side. Turn off the oven and let them sit inside the oven on the baking sheet until cool.
Once cooled they should be nice and crispy. Serve with coffee, tea, ice cold almond milk, etc. Also, you’ll want to consider sharing these with friends or you will likely eat the entire batch yourself. In one sitting.