Paleo carrot-apricot buns

I’ll be honest, I have never really had much luck with gluten free bread before. Either my buns would feel like little rocks or they would taste way too “rustic”. Not to mention the dough that would always be impossible to work with. So for a while I actually gave up on gluten free bread..

However, today I did a little more experimenting in the kitchen and I made some absolutely delicious gluten free buns! I mean, if you are a bread addict like me you should seriously consider giving these a try. You won’t regret it!

The carrot makes the buns amazingly moist and the tiny apricot pieces add some natural sweetness to the bread. Oh, and then they are actually light and soft which is the best part!

The secret ingredient (although it’s probably not much of a secret) is fiber. It is what makes all the difference in wheat free baking. I like to use psyllium husk fibers. Here in Denmark you can get the regular type or a type for baking, and it doesn’t cost much at all, plus one box lasts for a long time. I use the type for baking but if you can only get the regular kind, just double the amount and it should work the same. You can also use coconut fibers if you prefer although that will of course give the bread more of a coconut flavor.

The fibers make the dough thicker but you want to make sure not to overdo it on these. If you add to many fibers, your dough will get too thick and you won’t be able to work with it. So, it’s better to hold back and wait a few minutes before you add more, in order to give the fibers a chance to expand.

Ingredients: (Makes 6 buns)  

2 eggs

1/4 cup / 1/2 deciliter of plain vegan yoghurt

1/2 tsp of salt

1 tsp of baking powder

1/3 cup / 2/3 deciliter of almond flour

1/4 cup / 1/2 deciliter of flax seeds

1/4 cup / 1/2 deciliter of pumpkin seeds

1 large tbsp of chia seeds

1/4 cup / 1/2 deciliter of finely chopped, dried apricots

1 carrot, finely shredded

1 tbsp of psyllium fibers for baking

Directions:

Whisk together the eggs and the yoghurt. Add the rest of the ingredients and whisk thoroughly. Let the dough sit for a few minutes and check on the texture. If you need to add a little more fiber, do so, but keep in mind that the dough is supposed to be really sticky.

Use a table spoon to scoop up the dough and shape it into 6 buns that you place on a baking tray covered with parchment paper. Bake at 350 F / 175 C for 15-20 minutes. If you preheat your oven, probably more like 10-15 minutes.

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Tip: You can replace the carrot with zucchini or the apricots with raisins or dates if preferred.

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Potato cake

Today is  a good day!! I actually succeeded in making a healthy version of my absolute favorite cake that I am extremely pleased with! So let me present this delicious potato cake made without gluten, sugar and dairy! And yes, I said potato! Potatoes are actually great for baking as it adds a moist and chewy element that’s really good in cakes and muffins. I used chia gel for this recipe. Chia seeds adds nutritional value and just like flax seeds can replace eggs and fat in a recipe if you turn them into a gel like texture adding water. Very easy really. And they have no taste, so you can easily camouflage them when you bake.

Ingredients:

3 eggs

150 grams of leftover, boiled potatoes

2 tsp almond extract

7 pitted dates

1 ripe banana

2 tbsp agave

50 grams / 2 large tbsp coconut oil (I used the neutral kind to avoid the coconut flavor in this recipe)

50 grams of chia gel

150 grams of gluten free flour (I used half almond flour, half potato flour)

1 tsp baking powder

Chia gel:

1/3 cup / 3/4 deciliter of water

1 tbsp chia seeds

Directions:

Start by making the chia gel. Simply mix the water and the chia seeds and let sit for a few minutes. Then keep stirring once in a while until you get a thin gel texture.

Then add the pitted dates, banana, agave and coconut oil to a minichopper or blender. Blend well. Separate the egg yokes from the whites in two different bowls. Whip the whites with a mixer until they are stiff and you can turn the bowl upside down without anything falling out. In the bowl with the egg yokes, add the mashed potato and almond extract and whisk. Then add the date mixture and 50 grams of the chia gel and whisk again. Add the flour and baking powder and mix well. Last, but not least, add the egg whites and fold them into the batter carefully. Once everything is mixed together well you put the batter into a greased tray. I personally like to use a pie tray. Grease with coconut oil.

Bake on 350° F / 175° C for about 20-25 minutes. Once you can stick a fork in the cake without anything sticking, the cake is done.

Once the cake has cooled off, add whatever frosting and toppings you like. I made the following almond frosting and some of my homemade Nutella where I added some extra water to make it thinner. Lastly, I sprinkled the cake with a little chopped dark chocolate.

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Almond butter frosting:

3 large tbsp of almond butter

5 tbsp of almond milk

1 tbsp agave

A pinch of vanilla bean powder

Directions:

Whisk all the ingredients together thoroughly and spread the frosting on the cake.

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Chocolate peanutbutter pancakes

There are many recipes for wheat- and sugar free pancakes out there. I, myself, have tried several of these. Some are great, some are impossible to make because they are so hard to flip on the frying pan that half of the batch (or all of it) end up in the trash.

Pancakes are delicious for breakfast and they can in fact be part of a balanced diet. Make them on a weekend when you have a little extra time to cook, or make a giant batch and freeze them in bags of three so they are ready to take out for the weekdays. I use cocoa fibers for this recipe because they are packed with protein and are very high in fiber which both thickens the batter a little and keeps you feeling full longer.

Ingredients: (Serves 1-2, makes about 8 pancakes)

1 ripe banana

2 eggs

1 tbsp peanutbutter

1 tbsp cocoa fibers

1/2 tsp baking powder

A pinch of salt

Coconut oil for frying

Directions:

Put all the ingredients in a blender and blend well. Fry the pancakes on medium. Top them off with chocolate chips, berries, fruits, agave or whatever you prefer.

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Crunchy chocolate-cranberry granola

The store bought granola brands are normally full of sugar and gluten. And if not, they are made with artificial sweeteners. Also, granola is expensive, especially if you want a higher quality brand. So why not just making it yourself?

It is not hard or time-consuming to do this. It literally takes about 20 minutes and you’re good to go! You can use whatever seeds, gluten free grains or dried fruits you have and you can choose to do a low carb version without grains if you prefer.

Granola is great for so many things – as a topping for chia pudding, yoghurt or smoothies, with almond milk or as a quick snack out of the jar! It looks decorative and tastes fantastic.

Ingredients: (Makes one large jar)

6 dates

1/3 cup or 3/4 deciliter of water

1 cup / 2 deciliters of gluten free old-fashioned oats

1/2 cup / 1 deciliter of coconut flakes

1/2 cup / 1 deciliter of dried cranberries

1/2 cup / 1 deciliter of almonds

1/2 cup /1 deciliter of flax seeds

2 tbsp of coconut oil

40 grams of vegan chocolate (at least 70 %)

Directions:

Heat up the oven to 350 F/175 C. Add the pitted dates to a blender with the water. Blend well until smooth and put aside. Roughly chop up the almonds, cranberries and chocolate. Mix everything together in a bowl, adding the coconut oil and blended date mixture last. Once everything is mixed thoroughly, spread it onto a baking sheet.

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Bake for about 8-10 minutes, then check on it. Make sure it doesn’t get too dark. If you don’t like too many chunks, simply take a spatula and chop it up a little. I generally don’t need to do that though as I like my granola a little chunky. Bake for another five minutes if needed. My granola was done after 12 minutes. You really just have to make sure, that it doesn’t burn, every oven is different so keep an eye on it!

Let the granola cool on the baking tray before you put it in a jar. Store at room temperature.

Tìp: Again, you can use any ingredients that you like. However, make sure it’s approximately the same ratio of dry and wet ingredients as in this recipe. Also, this makes as a cute little gift the next time you’re invited to a dinner party.

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Gluten free mini blueberry pies

It’s berry season and I love it!! During berry season my family likes to go pick strawberries ourselves and we are very fortunate to get raspberries, blueberries and black currants from my parents’ garden when they are in season. My mom actually came by recently with several bags of freshly picked blueberries and black currants, all organic of course!

So during berry season we stock up on all kinds of berries and freeze them for smoothies, jelly etc.

I recently made these mini blueberry pies completely wheat and sugar free. They turned out great and I wanted to share the recipe with you guys!

Ingredients: (makes 2 mini pies)

Pie crust:

3/4 cup / 1 1/2 deciliters of almond flour

1/2 cup / 1 deciliter coconut flour

1 large egg

1/2 tsp baking powder

A pinch of salt

Blueberry filling:

2 tsp coconut oil

1/2 cup / 1 deciliter of fresh or defrosted blueberries

3 pitted dates (blended with a few tbsp of water)

A pinch of vanilla

2 tsp coconut flour

Directions:

Start by making the pie filling. Blend the dates with a couple tbsp of water or just enough to blend the dates to a smooth paste. Put the coconut oil on a frying pan with the blueberries and heat up the mixture till the blueberries turn into jelly. Add the date butter, vanilla and coconut flour and stir. Turn off the heat.

Then make the pie crust. Mix the dry ingredients in a bowl and add the egg. Use your hands to form a slightly sticky dough. If you find that your dough is too dry, add a little water, and if too wet, add extra coconut flour. Be careful not to overdo it on flour though, as the dough can get hard to work with if it’s too dry.

Split the dough in 4 equal sized pieces. Grease two mini pie dishes and roll out two pieces of dough to cover the pie dishes. Add half of the blueberry filling to each pie. Then roll out the rest of the dough and cut out strips for the squares on top (see picture).

Then bake for about 20 minutes at 350 F/175 C. Decorate with fresh blueberries, coconut flakes and serve with coconut whipped cream or whatever you prefer.

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Homemade 3-ingredient nutella

I don’t think I know anyone who doesn’t like Nutella.. and honestly, I can’t have the real thing in the house, because I WILL eat it all with a spoon. I’m definitely a chocolate fiend, and my willpower disappears immediately when it comes to Nutella. But nutella is packed with sugar, dairy and added fats and is ridiculously unhealthy. My kids love it too (of course!) but I  don’t think it’s necessary to feed them crap like that. I have  been looking around in health food stores and exclusive chocolate boutiques for healthier substitute chocolate spreads, but they all cost an absolute fortune!

So instead, I like to make my own chocolate spread free of dairy and processed sugar. All you really need is a good blender and 3 simple ingredients. It’s so easy and inexpensive compared to store prices which is always a bonus!

So here you go:

Ingredients: (makes one medium sized jar)

1 cup / 2 deciliters of hazelnuts

5 tbsp agave

1/2 – 1 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder

1/3 cup / 3/4 deciliter  of water

A pinch of salt

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Directions:

Roast the hazelnuts for a few minutes on a warm, dry frying pan. Make sure they don’t burn, so keep stirring. Add the nuts to a blender right away and blend on high for a while. Again, you need a strong blender for this purpose as it will take a little bit for the nut butter to be done and some food processers will get overheated if they are on for too long. So the nuts will  first turn into flour, then get clumpier and eventually turn into butter. My own blender isn’t always that great, so I had to scrape down the sides several times. I eventually had to add a little water but skip this step if your blender handles the job without.

Once you have you butter, add the cocoa powder, water, salt and agave. Add just enough water to get the texture that you want. So just add a little at a time to see. Some prefer a thicker butter, some want it thinner.

Blend again and your Nutella is ready!

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Tip: You can add a little vanilla bean powder or extract or 1/2 tsp of caramel extract. You can also substitute the water for full fat coconut milk if you don’t mind the coconut flavor. Use on bread, pancakes, as a healthy frosting or chocolate sauce for desserts.

Brownies with vegan cashew chocolate frosting

Okay, so let’s be honest. What’s a food blog without a brownie recipe! And it just so happens that this healthy brownie recipe is probably my favorite dessert recipe so far. Of course it’s gluten free, dairy free and sugar free as usual. Also, no added fats. This doesn’t mean that it’s calorie free, however, but it’s made from real food – wholesome, nutritious ingredients instead of artificial sweeteners with that nasty aftertaste that we all know so well.

Bean brownie recipes have been popular for a while now, but only a few of the recipes out there are completely free of sugar, dairy and wheat, so I decided to develop my own recipe. This is what came out of it:

Ingredients: (Makes about 12-14 pieces)

2 large eggs

100 grams of beans or half a can (I used red kidney beans)

10 pitted dates

3 tbsp of strong coffee

1 tsp vanilla bean powder (or vanilla extract if you prefer)

1/4 cup / 1/2 deciliter of unsweetened cocoa powder

1/4 cup /1/2 deciliter of almond flour

1/4 cup / 1/2 deciliter of coconut fiber flour

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

A pinch of salt

About 50 grams of chopped dark chocolate (70 %)

Optional: A handful of chopped walnuts

Directions:

Put the beans, dates, eggs and coffee in a blender and blend until smooth. Add the rest of the ingredients except the chocolate. Once everything is mixed together, add the chocolate (and walnuts) and stir it into the batter. Grease a baking tray with coconut oil or use parchment paper. Then add the batter and bake for about 20-25 minutes at 350° F/175° C. Stick a fork in the cake to check if batter is still sticking. If nothing sticks to the fork, it’s done. Let it cool.

Vegan chocolate cashew frosting:

Ingredients:

1 cup /2 deciliters of unsalted cashew, soaked

1 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder

5 pitted dates

5 tbsp coconut milk

5 tbsp coffee

1/4 tbsp vanilla bean powder

Directions:

I generally soak my cashews for a few hours before use. Or if I know I’m baking brownies one day, I will put them in a bowl of water in the morning and let them soak for as long as possible. Add the cashews and dates to a blender with the liquids (Add a little at a time to see how much is needed). Blend till smooth. Then add the cocoa powder and vanilla and blend again. Make sure the frosting is smooth and thick. Spread the frosting on the cooled brownie and decorate with chopped nuts, berries etc.

Store your brownie in the fridge before eating. Enjoy!

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Pad Thai style pineapple fried rice

I actually made this as a side for the Vietnamese spring rolls the other day. And honestly, this might be the best rice recipe I’ve ever made! Also serving pineapple rice in a pineapple boat is just very decorative and cute.

I was inspired by a recipe from www.about.com/food/ and changed it according to my own liking (and ingredients in my fridge).

Ingredients: (Serves 4 as a side dish)

2 deciliters / 1 cup of rice

4 deciliter / 2 cups of water

1 pineapple

3 tbsp cooking oil

1/2 large onion

2 cloves of garlic

2-3 tbsp fish sauce

3 tsp curry powder

1 tbsp vegetable bouillon powder

2 eggs

2 deciliter / 1/2 cup of frozen peas

1 handful of chopped up peanuts

Directions:

First, cook the rice in the water and let it cool for a little bit while you chop the onions and garlic cloves. Beat the eggs in a separate bowl and carve out the pineapple: First cut of the one side of it and toss away. Then cut around the edges in the pineapple and scoop out the flesh of the fruit to make a boat. Cut the scoops in small pieces and set aside.

In a wok or large frying pan, fry the onion and garlic in the oil on high heat for 1 minute. Scoop aside and add the curry powder, bouillon powder and fish sauce and stir for 15 seconds. Then add the beaten eggs and scramble. Add the cooked rice, peas, peanuts and pineapple and stir till it’s mixed well. Serve in the pineapple boat.

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Vietnamese spring rolls with peanut dip

Fresh spring rolls are a huge hit in my house! They are so nutritious, packed with fresh, raw veggies and they are fun to make and eat for kids. Another bonus is they are gluten free, very decorative and you can make them the way you want: Vegan, vegetarian, pescetarian etc. What’s not to love?!

Fresh spring rolls are generally served as an appetizer.. but not in my family. We will make a giant tray of these and fill up on those. Sometimes I make a side of flavorful rice or noodles too, but it really isn’t necessary in my opinion.

So I generally make them with some sort of thinly sliced cabbage, thinly slices carrots, bean sprouts, vermicelli/thin rice noodles, finely chopped spring onions or chives and either Thai basil or just regular basil depending on the selection where you live. Traditionally you would use cilantro but I personally don’t like it so basil works for me. Of course you can use whatever herbs you like though. Sometimes I add a few shrimp or even slices of omelette. The key is to slice and chop everything thinly – you don’t want to choke on a big piece of raw cabbage, you want to taste all the flavors at once!

Directions:

It’s pretty simple.. just soak the rice papers in cold water for a minute and transfer onto the table. Add your filling and roll up your spring roll. There you go!

Now, the real secret is the dipping sauce! You absolutely need an awesome dipping sauce! There are plenty of processed sauces in jars available at the store, and I’m sure some of them taste alright. But you don’t want to ruin your healthy meal with a processed sauce. Instead, take the extra 5 minutes and make it yourself. Here is my absolute favorite one!

Peanut coconut dip:

3 tbsp peanutbutter (I like the crunchy kind, but you can use creamy if you prefer)

3 tbsp tamari

1 tbsp chilli sauce

3/4 deciliter / 1/3 cup of coconut milk

1/2 deciliter / 1/4 cup of water

1 tsp sesame oil

1-2 tbsp freshly squeezed lime juice to taste

Directions:

Mix it all together and you’re done! Bon appetit!

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Homemade almond milk

There are several recipes for homemade nut milk available, and they are pretty much almost the same with a few twists. Here’s a basic recipe that I always use. Just replace the almonds with hazelnuts, cashews, coconut or any type of nuts you prefer or mix them together.

Ingredients:

100 grams of almonds

1 liter / 5 cups of water

pinch of salt

1/2 tsp vanilla bean powder

Directions:

Soak the almonds overnight in a bowl or jar and store in the fridge (this process activates enzymes, makes the milk healthier and creamier as well as cleans off the nuts before use). The next day, rinse off the almonds and get rid of the water used for soaking. Put all ingredients in a blender and blend until the milk is white and creamy. Then pour it through a strainer to separate the pulp from the milk. Do it a few times to get all the pulp out (or just once if you don’t care about a little pulp in your milk). Pour the milk in a bottle or closed container and store in the fridge. It keeps fresh for about 3 days.

20160729_144150_wmTip: If you like your milk  a little sweeter, add a few pitted dates to the blender, or another sweetener of your choice. Add a little cocoa powder too and you have chocolate almond milk. After storing in the fridge, shake the bottle before you use it.

Remember to save the pulp for baking! See for instance my recipe for Clean chocolate-frosted banana almond muffins.