Easy Natural Food

Healthy everyday meal ideas

Category: Baked Goods/Sweet Treats

Cashew Raisin Cookies

Cashew Raisin Cookies gluten freeHmmm, cookies! Well I don’t actually eat cookies that often, but when I do, I like them to be as healthy as possible. That’s why I love my Cashew Raisin cookies! They are gluten free, grain free and only use natural sweeteners – honey and raisins.

The texture of these cookies is slightly soft and chewy. Because of this it is hard to tell they’re made of nuts. If you didn’t know, you might just think it was flour.

I like to use roasted unsalted cashews for these cookies. I think the roasting gives a richer flavor. If you can only find salted cashews then I’d probably skip the 1/4 teaspoon of salt in the recipe below since your cashews are adding the salt to the recipe.

Cashew Raisin Cookies

2 cups roasted unsalted cashews
1/2 cup tapioca or arrowroot flour
Scant 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/3 cup raisins
4 tablespoons honey (liquid honey is easier to work with)
1/4 cup oil (I like to use a 50:50 mix butter and coconut oil)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 egg

1. Gently melt the butter and coconut oil in a saucepan over low heat.
2. Blend the cashews into a flour/meal consistency using a food processor.
3. Combine cashew flour, tapioca/arrowroot, salt and raisins in a large bowl.
4. Mix in the honey, oil, vanilla and egg. Mix it well. The dough will be quite sticky and gooey.
5. Form the mixture into 1 inch (approx.) balls of dough and place onto a parchment lined baking sheet.
6. Flatten each ball into the shape of a biscuit (either use the palm of your hand or a fork dipped in flour).
7. Bake at 350F for 12-15 minutes, until the cookies just start turning brown around the edges. Cool and serve.

Makes approximately 20 cookies.

Linking to: Real Food Wednesdays, Allergy Free Wednesdays, Healthy 2day Wednesdays, Full Plate Thursdays, Simple Lives Thursday, Pennywise Platter Thursdays, Foodie FridaySunday SchoolInspire Me Monday, Make Your Own MondaysHomestead Barnhop, Meatless MondaysFat Tuesday, Traditional Tuesdays, Slightly Indulgent Tuesday, Hearth and Soul HopGluten Free Fridays

Cherry Vanilla Yogurt

Cherry Vanilla YogurtI love plain yogurt on it’s own, or with some chopped fruit added. I typically don’t add any sweetener, I just like to enjoy it as is. My daughter will eat plain unsweetened yogurt quite happily too. But just for fun I decided to try making a “special treat” yogurt with real cherries, vanilla, and sweetened with a little honey.

This really is a special treat because it is pretty decadent, but perfect for dessert or a yummy snack 🙂

The difference between this recipe and the store-bought fruity yogurts (even the organic brands) is that the fruit is real and fresh, there is NO refined sugar, and there are only 4 ingredients.

I started with a store-bought plain yogurt that contains active/live bacteria (some store-bought brands may be pasteurized after the yogurt has been cultured, which kills off the beneficial bacteria). A nice thick homemade yogurt would be even better if you make your own yogurt.

Cherry Vanilla Yogurt

8oz (1 cup) plain yogurt
1.5 teaspoons vanilla extract
2-3 teaspoons liquid honey (preferably raw) or maple syrup*
8 ripe cherries

1. Pour yogurt into a bowl and mix in the vanilla extract and honey until there are no streaky remnants of vanilla or honey.
2. Cut each cherry in half and remove the pit. Cut each half into quarters and add to the yogurt.
3. Stir in the cherries and watch your yogurt take on a pretty light pink hue!

*Amount of honey used will vary depending on personal taste and the tartness of your yogurt.

Linking to: Full Plate Thursdays, Simple Lives Thursday, Pennywise Platter ThursdaysFight Back Friday, Foodie FridayInspire Me Monday, Make Your Own Mondays, Homestead BarnhopFat Tuesday, Traditional Tuesdays, Slightly Indulgent Tuesday, Hearth and Soul HopReal Food Wednesdays, Allergy Free Wednesdays, Healthy 2day Wednesdays, Wildcrafting Wednesdays

Carrot-Zucchini Muffins (gluten-free)

Carrot Zucchini MuffinsMuffins are such a comfort food for me. I don’t eat them that often, but every so often I really REALLY feel like eating a muffin, and if I don’t have one on hand then I feel kinda bummed 🙁  You see, I just love a freshly warmed muffin, sliced in half with butter melting into it. So good!

When I first started eating gluten free I was making muffins out of almond flour. I liked them at first, but after a while I started feeling like the almond flour was too heavy for me. I dabbled a little in coconut flour, but I really didn’t like it and I felt very uncomfortable with the amount of fiber that coconut flour contains (if you’ve ever read Fiber Menace you will understand why too much fiber can be bad for you).

So……I’ve been experimenting with a mix of gluten free flours to find something that I think works well for muffins. I’ve kept some almond flour because I think it lends a nice firmness to the muffins and gives them structure, but I’ve also added some white rice flour, amaranth flour and arrowroot. I’m very happy with this gluten-free flour mix for muffins. I’ve made them many times now and they turn out great every time. They hold together well and have a nice light, springy texture without being too fluffy or dry and crumbly.

They also freeze really well. I make a batch of a dozen and freeze them in zip lock freezer bags. I gently lay them in the freezer to make sure they’re not squashing one another, and I squeeze all of the air out of the bag before I seal it. When I anticipate that I’m going to want a muffin, I pull one out and either let it defrost on the counter and then put it in the oven briefly to warm it through, or I turn the oven on low and defrost it in the oven. Either way, I like to eat them warm!

A note on the sweetness of these muffins: I only use 4 tablespoons (1/4 cup) of whole, unrefined sugar. This makes it plenty sweet enough for me, especially with the raisins, but I have a very low tolerance for sugar and try to minimize it as much as possible. If you feel you need to add a little more sugar then go for it….but try not to 🙂

Carrot-Zucchini Muffins

1 ½ cups almond flour
½ cup white rice flour
½ cup amaranth flour (or sometimes I use sorghum flour)
2 tablespoons arrowroot powder
4 tablespoons Sucanat or coconut palm sugar
½ teaspoon sea salt (less if you’re using salted butter)*
2 teaspoon baking powder
1 tablespoon cinnamon
½ cup raisins
1 medium carrot, grated (about ¾ cup)
1 medium zucchini, grated (about 1 cup)
¼ cup oil, softened/melted (butter or palm shortening)
2 large or extra large eggs
1 ¼ cups milk of your choice (I prefer to use 50:50 coconut milk/water)

1. Preheat oven to 350F
2. Mix all dry ingredients together in a large bowl.
3. Mix in the raisins, grated carrot and grated zucchini.
4. Add the oil, eggs and milk. Mix until all ingredients are combined.
5. Spoon mixture into greased muffin tins
6. Bake at 350F for 25-28 minutes.
Makes 12 muffins

*Note: I use palm shortening instead of butter (because I can’t have dairy at the moment), but palm shortening is unsalted. If you’re using salted butter then use less salt – maybe 1/4 teaspoon instead of 1/2 teaspoon.

Linking to: Fat Tuesday, Traditional Tuesdays, Slightly Indulgent Tuesday, Hearth and Soul HopReal Food Wednesdays, Allergy Free Wednesdays, Healthy 2day WednesdaysFull Plate Thursdays, Keep it Real Thursday, Simple Lives Thursday, Pennywise Platter ThursdaysFight Back Friday, Fresh Bites FridayFoodie FridayInspire Me Monday, Make Your Own Mondays, Homestead Barnhop, Meal Plan Monday

Multi-Purpose Crepes/Tortillas (gluten-free)

I make these quite a bit. I make them when I feel like crepes. I make them when I feel like wrapping something up tortilla-style. I make them when I feel like a sandwich wrap. I even tried cutting them into strips once and using them as lasagna noodles, but the jury is still out on that one 🙂

They are strong, but flexible. They store in the fridge for 4-5 days (if they harden in the fridge, they become nice and flexible again when heated gently on a skillet). They also freeze well.

They are gluten-free and dairy-free (option), but they are not grain-free. They are not low-carb either, but they are slightly lower carb than equivalent-size wheat tortillas (refer my calculation at the end of this recipe). There are low-carb crepe/tortilla recipes out there using coconut flour, but I prefer not to use coconut flour for various reasons, and this recipe simply works so well for me!

I’m posting this recipe because it is the basis for several other recipes that I can’t wait to post. Look out for them soon!

Multi-Purpose Crepes/Tortillas

1/2 cup tapioca flour or arrowroot (I’ve tried both and both work equally well)
1/4 cup rice flour (I use white, but could also use brown)
1/8 teaspoon sea salt
2 eggs
1/2 cup milk (or I use 50:50 coconut milk/water mixture)

1. Add the flours and salt into a small bowl and mix together.
2. Add the eggs and the milk (or milk-substitute of your choice) to the flour and salt. I use a whisk to break up the egg yolks, then whisk everything together until it is smooth. The batter should be fairly runny.


2. Heat a cast iron skillet to medium-low and lightly oil with some butter (or oil of your choice).
3. Ladle approx. 1/4 cup of batter onto the skillet, then immediately pick up the skillet and tilt it around in a circular motion to spread the mixture evenly into a crepe. My cast iron skillet is too hot to handle, so I have two kitchen towels at the ready to grab the skillet on each end.


4. Cook until the underside is starting to turn brown, then flip.
5. Once both sides are lightly browned, remove the crepe from the pan and place on a plate.
6. Repeat steps 1-5 for the remaining crepes.
Makes 5 crepes.

Carb Calculation:
Out of interest, I calculated the carbs in my tortillas, based on the nutritional information provided on the packages:
Bob’s Red Mill Tapioca Flour: 26g carbs per 1/4 cup
Bob’s Red Mill Arrowroot Flour: 28g carbs per 1/4 cup
Bob’s Red Mill White Rice Flour: 32g carbs per 1/4 cup

1/2 cup arrowroot (or tapioca flour) = 2 x 28g = 56g carbs
1/4 cup rice flour = 32g carbs

56 + 32 = 88g carbs. Divide by 5 (makes 5 crepes) = 17.6g carbs per crepe/tortilla.

Linking to: Real Food Wednesdays, Healthy 2day Wednesdays, Whole Food Wednesday, Allergy Free Wednesdays, The Recipe BoxFull Plate Thursdays, Simple Lives Thursday, Pennywise Platter ThursdaysFight Back FridayFresh Bites FridayFoodie FridayMonday Mania, Make Your Own Mondays, Inspire Me Monday, Meatless MondaysHomestead BarnhopFat TuesdayTraditional TuesdaysHearth and Soul Hop

Double Chocolate Date and Almond Cookies

Double Chocolate Date and Almond CookiesA while back, Amber at The Tasty Alternative posted her Double Chocolate Hazelnut Coconut Cookies and I just about died and went to heaven! But the thing was, they reminded me of my favorite cookies from my childhood – something called Afghan biscuits.

I guess me and Afghans were always meant to be, given my love of chocolate. However since going gluten free (and refined sugar free) a few years ago, I haven’t made them, and they were fading into distant memory…..until I saw Amber’s cookies, which gave me an idea to try to make my own gluten-free version of Afghan biscuits! However I decided to jazz it up a little with chunks of dates and chocolate 🙂

Double Chocolate Date and Almond Cookies

1 1/2 cups almond flour
1/2 cup arrowroot flour*
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
6 medjool dates, pitted and chopped into small pieces
2 oz dark (at least 70%) chocolate, chopped into small pieces
4 tablespoons (1/4 cup) honey
1/4 cup oil (I like to use 50:50 mix of butter and coconut oil but you could use one or the other)
1 egg

1. Gently melt the butter/coconut oil in a saucepan over low heat.
2. Combine the almond flour, arrowroot flour, cocoa powder and salt in a large bowl.
3. Mix in the dates and dark chocolate.
4. Mix in the honey, oil and the egg. The mixture gets thick and sticky, but make sure it is mixed well.
5. Form the mixture into balls of dough (no more than 1.5 inches diameter) and place onto a parchment lined baking sheet.
6. Flatten each ball into the shape of a cookie with the palm of your hand. I actually use a fork, dipped in a little arrowroot powder to prevent sticking, to flatten out each ball of dough.
7. Bake at 350F for 13-15 minutes.
Makes 20 cookies.

*I like to use arrowroot powder to soften the texture a little. Arrowroot is a starchy root (like tapioca), it is not a grain. You could replace the arrowroot with 1/2 cup tapioca starch (I have done this) or an additional 1/2 cup of almond flour if you don’t like the starch (although I haven’t actually tried this myself.)

Linking to: Real Food Wednesdays, Healthy 2day Wednesdays, Whole Food Wednesday, Allergy Free WednesdaysSimple Lives ThursdayPennywise Platter ThursdaysFight Back Friday, Freaky Friday, Friday Food Flicks, Fresh Bites Friday, Foodie FridayMonday ManiaMake Your Own MondaysInspire Me MondayMeatless MondaysHomestead Barnhop, Real Food 101Fat TuesdayTraditional Tuesdays, Creative Corner Hop

Winter Fruit Salad

Each year as we head into winter, I start to feel like there are hardly any fruits available. Apples, oranges, pears….I get a bit stuck after that. My daughter loves fruit, so I started taking a closer look at the available selection at my local farmers market and orchard store. I was surprised at the wide variety of fall/winter fruits that were sitting right in front of my eyes. I just wasn’t seeing them!

Here’s a list of fruits that are seasonal this time of year where I live:
Apples
Citrus – oranges, mandarins, grapefruit
Pears
Grapes
Persimmons
Kiwis
Cranberries
Pineapple Guavas (also known as feijoas)

Are there any other fall/winter fruits that you like?

I bought a selection of fruits, and added them to what I already had in our fruit bowl at home. It was starting to look a bit like a fruit salad! So I decided to make one for dessert that night.

I’ve listed below the fruits that I used, but of course you could use whatever fruits you have. This is a lovely, healthy way to finish off a meal, and leftover fruit salad is great the next day with granola, oatmeal, yogurt etc.

Winter Fruit Salad

Apple
Orange
Persimmon
Banana (not a local fruit, but always readily available and very tasty in fruit salad!)
Cranberries (I used dried sweetened cranberries)
Kiwifruit
Grapes

1. Dice up the fruit, peeling as appropriate.
2. Mix all fruits together in a bowl.
3. Serve either on its own, or with cream/coconut milk or a dollop of yogurt.

Fruit salad can be made ahead and kept in the fridge, but not for more than about 2 days.

Selection of winter fruit:


Linking to: Fat Tuesday @ Real Food Forager, Real Food Wednesdays @ Kelly the Kitchen Kop, Healthy 2day Wednesdays @ day2dayjoys, Full Plate Thursdays @ Miz Helen’s, Fight Back Friday @ Food Renegade

Apricot Cashew Slice

A little while back I posted my Carob Nut Slice and I mentioned that I had other variations on my “no-bake nut slice” concept. Well let me introduce Apricot Cashew Slice!

I love making these nut slices and knowing that I have a tasty, healthy treat available when I feel like it. I also like that these slices are not baked, so you get all of the benefits of the raw ingredients, particularly the coconut oil.

The slice should be kept in the fridge to keep it hard and firm, otherwise the coconut oil which binds it will soften at room temperature.

Apricot Cashew Slice

1 cup crispy almonds*
1 cup roasted cashews
½ cup crispy sunflower seeds*
1 cup dried apricots (I prefer organic Turkish apricots), finely chopped
1 cup shredded coconut
1/3 cup coconut oil, gently melted
¼ cup raw honey (liquid is easiest to work with)
Level ½ teaspoon sea salt
1 tablespoon vanilla extract

1. Gently melt coconut oil in a pan over low heat.
2. Place almonds, cashews and sunflower seeds in food processor and pulse until finely chopped but not pulverized.
3. Add apricots, shredded coconut, coconut oil, honey, salt and vanilla to the food processor and pulse until the mixture starts to clump.
4. Line a large shallow dish with parchment paper and spread the mixture about 1 cm thick.
5. Refrigerate for several hours until firm.
6. Slice into small squares and store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

* Crispy nuts is a Nourishing Traditions cookbook concept, where it is recommended to soak nuts in warm, salted water for up to 24 hours (to help neutralize phytic acid), then to dry the nuts at a low temperature (I use my dehydrator) until they are completely “crispy”. I follow the same process with sunflower seeds.

Linking to: Real Food Wednesdays @ Kelly the Kitchen Kop, Healthy 2day Wednesdays @ day2dayjoys, Full Plate Thursdays @ Miz Helen’s, Fight Back Friday @ Food Renegade, Sunday School @ Butter Believer, Monday Mania @ Healthy Home Economist, Real Food 101 @ Ruth’s Real Food, Fat Tuesday @ Real Food Forager

Carob Nut Slice

I don’t eat many sweet treats these days. It’s not out of desire (my sweet tooth still lurks), but out of a combination of awareness of the damaging effect that sugar has on my health, and the new-found self control that has given me.

However…..it’s nice to have something sweet to snack on from time to time, right? Something that you can look forward to when you feel you’ve earned it. But something that doesn’t contain any refined sweetners, and also contains beneficial ingredients such as coconut oil.

About a year ago I started experimenting with making raw, refrigerated nut slices. The coconut oil hardens in the fridge and binds the slice nicely…..but this isn’t a lunchbox item, it needs to be kept cool.

So far I have created three “flavors” of my nut slice, and the first one, using carob, is probably still my favorite. I like carob because it is naturally caffeine-free and naturally sweet (so less added sweetner is required). Compared to cocoa, I find that carob has more of a caramel-like taste, which I like.

Carob Nut Slice

1 cup crispy almonds*
1 cup crispy pecans*
1/2 cup crispy sunflower seeds*
1/2 cup carob powder (I use toasted)
1 cup dried, shredded coconut
Scant 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 cup raw honey (liquid honey is easiest to work with)
1/3 cup coconut oil, gently melted
1 tablespoon vanilla extract

1. Place almonds, pecans and sunflower seeds in food processor and pulse until finely chopped but before they reach “flour” consistency.
2. Add the carob powder, coconut and salt to the food processor.
3. Add the wet ingredients – honey, coconut oil and vanilla.
4. Pulse until everything is well-mixed and the mixture starts to clump.
5. Line a shallow dish (approx. 9″ x 12″) with parchment paper and spread the mixture no more than 1/2 inch thick.
6. Refrigerate for several hours until firm.
7. Slice into small squares and store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

* Crispy nuts is a Nourishing Traditions cookbook concept, where it is recommended to soak nuts in warm, salted water for up to 24 hours (to help neutralize phytic acid), then to dry the nuts at a low temperature (I use my dehydrator) until they are completely “crispy”. I follow the same process with sunflower seeds.

Linking to: Pennywise Platter Thursdays @ Nourishing Gourmet, Full Plate Thursdays @ Miz Helen’s, Fight Back Friday @ Food Renegade, Monday Mania @ Healthy Home Economist, Make Your Own Mondays

Apple and Blackberry Crumble

During blackberry season here in Northern California there are blackberry brambles growing all over the countryside. Needless to say, I’m out there every few days picking blackberries. We snacking on them, blend them into smoothies, bake with them, and freeze as many as possible.

Blackberries pack a real punch when it comes to nutrition. They are a good source of vitamins A, C and K, and minerals such as magnesium, potassium, copper and manganese. Blackberries are also rich in a variety of phenolic acids which are antioxidant compounds that have many health benefits.

Fruit crumbles are the type of dessert I absolutely adore. Actually forget dessert, I’ll eat them for any meal :). This recipe is based off a favorite recipe from my childhood, but I modified it to be gluten free and more healthy by replacing the flour with almond flour, soaking the oats, and using whole sugar instead of refined sugar. Although not grain free, having the oats gives the topping a nice texture.

Blackberry and Apple Crumble

Filling:
5-6 apples, peeled and sliced
½ cup blackberries
½ teaspoon cinnamon
1-2 teaspoons Sucanat or coconut/palm sugar (only needed if the apples and blackberries are on the tart side)

Topping:
½ cup rolled oats (I use gluten free), soaked overnight in a bowl of warm water and a small spoonful of yogurt or whey*
1 cup almond flour
1/3 cup Sucanat or coconut/palm sugar
Sea salt (couple shakes)
2 oz (½ stick) butter, softened

1. Set the oats to drain for about 30 minutes beforehand to let as much of the water drain out as possible.
2. Mix the sliced apples, blackberries, cinnamon and optional sugar in a medium size pyrex (or similar) baking dish.
3. In a bowl, mix together the almond flour, sugar and sea salt.
4. Add the softened butter and work it into the almond flour mixture with your fingers until crumbly.
5. Add the oats and mix in with a mixing spoon. Because the oats have been soaked, the mixture will become more wet, but should still be crumbly-ish.
6. Crumble/spread the mixture over the top of the fruit in the baking dish.
7. Bake at 350F for 30-35 minutes until the filling is bubbling.

I love to eat this with a good dollop of either plain yogurt, cream, or sour cream.

* Soaking grains in a warm, slightly acidic medium is a traditional practice that helps to make the grains more digestible.

Linking to: Pennywise Platter Thursdays @ Nourishing Gourmet

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

© 2016 Easy Natural Food

Theme by Anders NorenUp ↑