Slow down, grow up

slow-down

This week things are slow. My stamina in running is growing, but my foot muscle pain prevents me from running as long as I’d like. I can only run for about 15 minutes before my feet hurt enough to make me think it’s smart to stop. So that’s not going how I’d like it to.

Yesterday I read a bunch about the health benefits of fermented foods on our stomachs and digestion. I read this article that mentioned wheat intolerant people (in some cases) being able to eat rich sourdough breads. It can help my digestion and cost a fraction of all my other flours do? I decided to try it, so now I’m on day two of growing my own sourdough starter. The whole process is going to take about a week for just the starter and then the bread will take a good while to make too. Apparently, the longer the bread “prooves”, the more likely the cultures will eat the gluten out of the bread. Or something sciencey.

So far this month, I’ve slowed down a lot. Enjoying the pace of the (start of the summer). Reading, swimming, trying to run, baking, when I’m not working.

Usually, I’m all about fast, but for some reason I’m getting used to this slow persistent nurturing thing. That’s probably a good thing, right?

Also: I’m going to name my sourdough starter “monster.” Comment away with your name suggestions!

No Bake Sugar-free Chocolate Cheesecake

cheesecakeMy husband and I are away from home so frequently that I have learned to become pretty adaptable wherever I am. I’m rarely home-sick for our apartment or even Montreal, anymore. When we were in the US this summer for four weeks, I did get home sick for Canada. As soon as we were across the border, I was fine. Four weeks seems to be the max I can endure away from my country.

The one thing that happens every time I’m away from home, is that I get home-sick for the food we love. The wheat-free and sugar-free food we love. Both our sets of parents are always very accommodating when they cook for us, but finding sugar-free things is not easy, which is why I always end up making things from scratch.

While we were visiting my in-laws for Christmas my mother-in-law made a No-Bake Chocolate Cheesecake that looked so yummy. I’ve been looking for a good no-bake cheesecake recipe, so I gave this one a shot. It calls for bitter-sweet Bakers chocolate squares, so I knew it would be easy to sub in unsweetened chocolate and then add more natural sweeteners.

bakers

Last night I gave it a try. I’m very glad I did! It was glorious. I haven’t had a cheesecake in 10 months?

So if one of your goals for the new year was to eat healthier or you’ve finally resolved to go sugar-free, then here’s a recipe to try. I use NuNaturals powdered stevia, xylitol and agave (you can use honey instead, but if you’re concerned about glycemic index impact, then use more xylitol or stevia).

Ingredients

  • 1/3c chopped almonds, toasted, or use a graham cracker/butter crust like I did.
  • 2 packages (250g each) cream cheese softened,
  • 1t powdered stevia
  • 1/4c and 2T agave nectar
  • 1/4c and 1T xylitol
  • 6 squares unsweetened bakers chocolate
  • 1 envelop unflavoured gelatin, or 1/4t tapioca starch
  • 1c whipping cream, whipped

Directions

  1. Grease an 8 1/2″ springform pan.
  2. Sprinkle with almonds or press your graham base in the bottom
  3. Beat the cream cheese in your mixer until smooth. Add 1/2t of the stevia, 1/4c of agave and 1/4 xylitol.
  4. Melt chocolate in a microwave safe bowl in the microwave starting with 1 minute, then reduce to 30 seconds. Once there are smaller chunks, just stir until it is smooth. Add the 2T agave, 1T xylitol, and 1/2t stevia. If the chocolate isn’t sweet enough for you, keep adding sweetener until it is in small amounts.
  5. Sprinkle the tapioca starch in 1/4c cold water in a microwave safe dish. Let sit 5 minutes, stir a few times to incorporate.
  6. Put tapioca water into the microwave. Cook for 10 seconds, stir, then 10 seconds again, stir, then 5 seconds. Mixture should turn clear and glue-like. Let sit to cool.
  7. Mix chocolate with cream cheese until fully incorporated.
  8. When tapioca is warm, mix thoroughly into the cream cheese mixture.
  9. Whip the whip cream, then fold into the cream cheese until fully incorporated. Pour into the pan and put in the fridge for 2-3 hours.

Tip: if you use the gelatin instead of the tapioca, it will be less firm.

I LOVE THAT MASTER MIX: Sugar Free/Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Cookies

As soon as those biscuits were a hit, I knew I needed to try the recipe for the cookies using the master mix. They looked good going into the oven, they looked good coming out of them, but boy, can I just say: HOLY SMOKES. They were so good. So sweet, so non-wheaty. I haven’t had a good cookie in 10 months! I’ve tried to make a few but they’ve all just been busts.

These are wins! Major wins. My husband loved them, too, which is a really big win. Now I’m scheming for Christmas aka How Many Baked Goods Can You Eat In One Week And Not Die?

It’s basically all I can do to not eat the entire batch in one sitting, which is especially hard when you know you’ll get no sugar rush because there’s zero glycemic index impact!

Thanks to Ginger Lemon Girl for these recipes.

Ingredients

2 ¾ cups MASTER MIX
½ cup palm shortening, Crisco, or butter (I used Crisco)
1/2 c more fiber stevia
1/3 c Erythritol
2 eggs
1 teaspoons vanilla
2-4 tablespoons water
dark chocolate chips to taste

Directions

  1. Pre-heat oven to 350.
  2. Cream sugar with shortening/butter.
  3. Add eggs and vanilla. Stir in master mix.
  4. If needed, add 2-4 tablespoons of water until you get a stiff (not crumbly) batter.
  5. Fold in chocolate chips.
  6. Drop by tablespoons onto baking sheet. Flatten cookies slightly with the bottom of a glass or the palm of your hand, as they will not spread.
  7. Bake at 350 for 8-10 minutes. Makes about 2 dozen 1″ cookies.

Gluten free biscuit/master-mix recipe.

I haven’t had any pastry-like item for 10 months. Nothing but gluten-free or wheat-free bread or cookies. No flaky chocolatines, no biscuits, no buns, and definitely no baguettes. Every time we’ve been to a restaurant and they bring that warm bread before the meal I die a little inside. And salivate a lot.

Today, I decided to try a biscuit recipe using a gluten-free version of fake bisquick that I found online. I was pleased because I happened to have all (or almost all) the ingredients already, and just adapted the others. This master mix apparently can be used for cookies, and a bunch of other things too.

I’m thrilled. I had a biscuit with my soup tonight. It was smothered in butter and it was all kinds of awesome. So yummy I didn’t take a picture. This one is from the original recipe website.

I made a few adjustments based on what I had on hand. It turned out great, except had a slight coconut taste from the coconut oil, which would be yummy if it were in a cookie. I halved the recipe for the master mix.

Anyways.

Recipe

Source: Ginger Lemon Girl

1 1/2 cups brown rice flour (I used white)
1 cup sorghum flour -or- millet flour (I used millet)
3/4 cups arrowroot starch -or- tapioca starch (I used 1 c of cornstarch replacing both starches)
1/4 cup potato starch
2 tablespoons brown rice protein powder -or- almond flour (I used almond meal)
2 tablespoons ground flax seeds (optional – great for a whole grain texture & extra fiber! — I did this)
2 teaspoons xanthan gum
1 teaspoons salt
1 tablespoon + 2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 cup coconut oil or spectrum palm shortening (I used coconut oil)

Whisk all dry ingredients together thoroughly. Cut in shortening, until it is thoroughly mixed into the dry ingredients and looks like tiny peas. Store in a tightly-sealed container in fridge or pantry.

Can’t wait to make my Red Lobster Biscuits again. GLORY BE!

Evernote + Food = Productivity (Sugar-free Pumpkin Pie with Spelt Crust)

I use Evernote every day. I use it to manage my to-do lists, store ideas, make grocery lists, meal planning and store/adapt all my recipes there. Another time I’ll show you how that process works in case you’re not familiar. Every so often Evernote does a cook along to advertise how to use Evernote Food for cooking. I’m still not totally sure how to use Evernote Food and plan on making a pie for (Canadian) Thanksgiving this weekend, so I thought I’d give this a shot. In doing the Harvest Cook-along it inspired me to another Evernote organizational activity related to holidays and food. I will post on that as well later.

It occurred to me yesterday that this my first Thanksgiving since going wheat/sugar-free. I’m glad I’ve figured out my life in that way so that I feel comfortable enough to have guests and not worry that I’ll ruin dessert for them. A few months ago I found this spelt pie crust from Seasonal Ontario Food, I have not used anything since. This one is the best/easiest one I’ve tried. Today I made a sugar/wheat-free pumpkin pie which tasted great, adapted from a recipe I found on the Food Network. You can see the Evernote Food post here.

You’ll notice I missed documenting the whole pie filling. Funny story related – a lesson in communication. It was 10PM last night and we had spent a few hours prepping some of the dishes for today’s Thanksgiving Dinner so we could have a more relaxed Saturday. As I was trying to decide whether to prep the pie filling, we walked through how the day would go. I figured I’d have plenty of time to prep a pie especially if I had all morning and afternoon to do it. After saying the turkey would take about two hours to bake, my husband said he would put the turkey in at around 10AM.

“After that, I’ll do the dishes and then I figure people will show up after that.”

That’s odd, I thought, why would people come four or five hours early to thanksgiving dinner? “When exactly are people coming?” I asked.

He gave me a funny look. “Well, we’re eating at one, so probably around noon.”

Ohhhhh. Lunch. Hmm. Missed that one.

This year is the second anniversary of us falling for each other. He invited a bunch of people over for Thanksgiving “Dinner” (lunch), I being one of those people. We fell for each other that weekend, started dating officially shortly after that. Were engaged three months later. Last year we had my dad, brother and his (now) wife over for Thanksgiving “Dinner.” In my mind that was an exception to the rule of Dinner being eaten at Supper time. These last two years have been exceptions to the rule in my mind, where extenuating circumstances have caused the cosmic act of Dinner being changed to Lunch Time. In my husbands mind, that’s the way it just always is. Thanksgiving Dinner and Christmas Dinner are eaten at Lunch. Go figure.

Last night was a great example of how I’m really glad I’m a laid-back person. People were going to arrive 6 hours earlier than I had expected and I didn’t freak out. Ok so maybe just an eensy weensy bit of freak out.

Hence why there are no pictures of the pie filling steps. The adapted recipe for the filling is below, the Evernote Food post is how to do the Spelt Pie Crust. It has a wonderful nutty flavour and honestly, I like it more than regular flour crusts! Maybe it’s the hipster in me that prefers something less mainstream. Another thing Evernote Food didn’t capture well was the hissy fit I had in making the pie crust. Pro-tip: the crust always works better after you roll it out once, get angry, and start all over again. I think it has something to do with the way the butter awkwardly shifts around and distributes itself better under your chagrin.

Sugar-Free Pumpkin Pie*

Pumpkin Pie

  • 2 cups canned pumpkin (500 mL)
  • 4.5T + 2tsp truvia
  • 3 tablespoons fancy molasses
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
  •  1/2 teaspoon fine salt
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 c evaporated milk
  • 3 tablespoons brandy

Spiced Whipped Cream

  • 1 cup whipping cream
  •  teaspoons sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • pinch nutmeg

Directions

Pumpkin Pie

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. On a lightly floured surface, roll out dough to just under ¼-inch thick. Dust the bottom of a 9-inch pie shell with flour and line with dough. Trim edges, keeping scraps to roll and cut for garnish, if desired. Chill while preparing filling.
  3. For filling, whisk pumpkin with brown sugar, molasses spices and salt. Whisk in eggs, then whipping cream and brandy or orange liqueur. Pour into chilled pie shell.
  4. Bake for 10 minutes, then lower temperature to 350 degrees F. and bake for 20 to 30 minutes, until filling puffs just a little around edges but still has a bit of jiggle in center when moved. Allow to cool to room temperature, then chill completely.
  5. To serve pumpkin pie warm, it is recommended to bake and chill completely, then re-warm in a 300 degrees F. oven for 15 minutes before slicing. Serve with spiced whipped cream.

Spiced Whipped Cream

  1. Whip cream with sugar and spices until medium peaks form. Dollop over the pieces of pie.

 

*This pie would have zero glycemic index if it weren’t for the molasses.

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