Pineapple Frozen Yogurt

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This recipe came about in kind of a strange way…I bought a carton of yogurt I really didn’t like. I was at a store I don’t often go to and couldn’t find my usual brand. And every other brand I recognized was all skim milk. So I grabbed one that was supposedly Greek yogurt but turned out to be kind of slimy and icky but I couldn’t stand to just throw a whole container away. I had some pineapple and was suddenly inspired!
I added a little of this and a little of that and all of three of us loved it. Even my hubby, who isn’t crazy about frozen yogurt, especially the fruity kinds. (He prefers the chocolate variety. Or peanut butter. Or chocolate and peanut butter…you get the idea.)

A few notes about the ingredients:

Yogurt: So, what about the skim milk? Part of it for me is I eat almost no dairy. The almost? Is yogurt. That, and the occasional real cheese on pizza every once in a while. I also use ghee in place of butter (butter that has been clarified and the lactose and casein are removed; it’s easier to digest and rich in vitamins – yes, it’s from real butter and it’s good for you!). And I hate to admit I’ve become a bit of a yogurt snob. I’ve become very picky about it, but part of that is as I mentioned, it’s usually the only dairy I have. I just have not been able to make or find a store-bought dairy-free version I like, so if I’m going to cheat on the dairy, then why not enjoy it?! The other thing is a personal choice. The other part of the picky is the type of dairy.

I largely stay away from dairy because I don’t handle it well, but have discovered I do fine with small amounts of good-quality, full fat dairy. Skim milk is very processed; all the fats – and the vitamins it naturally contains – are taken out then synthetic vitamins are added back in. That doesn’t make much sense to me. And recent studies actually claim that full fat dairy is actually better for you. I bought into the low/no-fat fad years ago…and ended up the unhealthiest I have ever been. When I simply started focusing on real, wholesome food I lost weight I had been struggling with for years (without really trying which I didn’t think was humanly possible) and several health issues drastically improved or disappeared completely. It’s a matter of personal choice, but an interesting one I did not come about lightly.
And fermented dairy, aka yogurt, is easier on the tummy. Does it ever bother me? Sometimes. I actually consider it a treat. It’s one of the few things I’ve been able to reintroduce to an already quite restricted diet and I enjoy it. Like I said, personal choice. Here’s some food for thought. In her book, Nourishing Traditions, the author Sally Fallon says “the fermentation of milk results in numerous beneficial changes. Fermentation breaks down casein, or milk protein, one of the most difficult proteins to digest. Culturing restores many of the enzymes destroyed during pasteurization including lactase, which helps digest lactose or milk sugar. Lactase produced during the culturing process allows many people who are sensitive to fresh milk to tolerate fermented milk products. Both vitamin B and vitamin C content of milk increase during fermentation.”

Collagen Peptide: Collagen is an insoluble protein made up of amino acids. You can find it naturally in things like a well-made broth and in cuts of meat that contain skin and bone. It contains high amounts of proteins and also vitamins. It’s good for your gut as well as your hair, skin, and nails. I get it in powder form and add it to just about anything. I try to add it to at least something every day (there’s no taste and you won’t even tell it’s in there). I add it to my coffee, yogurt, smoothies, hot cereals, and even some baked goods! There are lots of good articles out there about its benefits if you’re curious. I started using it years ago and haven’t looked back.

Pineapple: These are one of my favorite fruits! Super sweet but also so good for you. Fresh is best, and it’s on the Clean Fifteen list, which means It’s low on the pesticide scale and safe to buy conventional over organic (hence, it’s more budget-friendly!). Pineapple is very hydrating and anti-inflammatory, it boosts energy, is a natural decongestant, and is rich in vitamins like vitamin C, B6, folate, and thiamin. It contains minerals like manganese, copper, magnesium, and potassium. It’s also a good source of fiber and healthy carbohydrates. (Yes, there is such a thing as a healthy carb; they fuel your body, regulate your blood sugar, and make you feel fuller – as opposed to the opposite that an unhealthy carb does.)

Ginger and Turmeric: These are anti-inflammatory spices that taste good and are good for you! Ginger is great for the immune system and can relieve an upset tummy. It’s also a natural anti-viral. Both are natural detoxifiers for the body. Turmeric is also good for the digestive tract. It’s also very good for the liver and it has been used in Chinese medicine as a natural anti-depressant. The health benefits are good, but I used them because I like them and think they are a great accompaniment to the pineapple.
Himalayan Pink Salt: Himalayan Pink Salt contains 80-plus minerals and elements without the negative effects your run of the mill table salt contains, where all the minerals except for sodium and chloride are stripped away. It also helps balance the pH in your body, which is very important. Here, I added it for its health benefits, but also because a small amount of salt helps balance the sweet.

Raw Honey: The difference between raw and conventional honey is raw honey has not been heated, which can destroy the vitamins, nutrients, and enzymes it contains. Local honey, which I used, is also a great choice if you suffer from allergies or environmentally-induced asthma. It will contain local pollen, which can help in the anti-histamine reaction the allergies induce. It has anti-viral and anti-fungal properties and can help stabilize blood sugar, instead of throwing it out of whack like refined sugar does. Also, check your labels. You might be surprised to find how much of that regular “honey” is actually high fructose corn syrup. I’ve even seen some that advertise, “made with real honey,” and maybe it was, but the first ingredient is the aforementioned highly processed corn syrup and honey is very low on a very long list. When buying honey, whether raw or not, there should only be ONE ingredient: HONEY. I initially wasn’t going to add any but then added only about a teaspoon full after adding the ginger and turmeric; the sweet helps balance the spice, I think.

I hope you found this information helpful. I personally find it really interesting when someone breaks down ingredients I may or not be familiar with. It’s good to always be learning! Now onto the recipe! Note, some of the amounts are approximate because I really did just add everything to taste and according to what I had in my fridge/pantry. Please feel free to adjust to your personal tastes. Enjoy!

Pineapple Frozen Yogurt
1-1/2 cups pineapple, cubed
16 ounces plain yogurt of choice
½ teaspoon powdered ginger
¼ teaspoon powdered turmeric
1 scoop (or about 2 heaping tablespoons) collagen peptide
A pinch of Himalayan Pink Salt
Raw Honey to taste

~ Add all ingredients to a blender and blend until smooth. Add to an ice cream maker and churn until thickened. Mine took about twenty minutes – just long enough for me to do the other dishes before we enjoyed this for dessert!

In Good (and pineapple-flavored) health,
Emily

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Sources:
Sally Fallon with Mary G. Enig, Ph.D. Nourishing Traditions. Washington, DC., 1999
http://time.com/4279538/low-fat-milk-vs-whole-milk/
http://holisticsquid.com/milk-hero-or-villian/
https://www.organicfacts.net/health-benefits/fruit/pineapples.html
https://wellnessmama.com/3058/collagen-hydrolysate/
http://fitlife.tv/10-health-benefits-of-turmeric/
https://ritely.com/benefits-of-ginger/
http://www.lifejacks.com/health-benefits-himalayan-pink-salt/
https://bodyunburdened.com/health-benefits-raw-honey/

Double Chocolate Mug Cake (Paleo, Gluten-Free, Nut-Free, with AIP-Variation)

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Need a break from all things pumpkin? Or busy preparing for the holiday and need a little something for yourself? Don’t need a reason? Come on! It’s chocolate times two. Who needs an excuse?! If you need another, this recipe is also paleo-friendly, grain-free, gluten-free, nut-free, dairy-free, and refined sugar-free, plus it’s so good the first thing both my husband and I said to each other on trying it was, “Mmm!” It can also be made autoimmune-protocol compliant – and believe or not, my husband and I liked it better that way!

I personally wasn’t looking for a break from pumpkin; I love it and make pumpkin-flavored goodies all year long. And we are moving a week from yesterday so another family member graciously invited us to join them for Thanksgiving, so I’m not cooking all week. I simply wanted something chocolate the other night. I love mug recipes. I don’t use my microwave very often but when you really want a piece of cake or a muffin and don’t want to spend all that time in the kitchen or wait all that time it’s awesome.

I’ve tried a few mug cake recipes and haven’t been overly impressed. The last one I tried was so dry I literally almost choked on it. I smothered it in yogurt to finish it. (Come on, it was chocolate! I wasn’t going to throw it out.) Also, almost all of them I’ve seen contain almond flour, which is fine for some, but I limit the amount of nuts I eat due to the fact I don’t handle them well. They are a treat for me, and so is this frankly, but I don’t always have almond flour on hand, plus to be honest I’m not crazy about the texture it gives baked goods.

A couple more notes about these. I like adding the wet ingredients first otherwise the dry ingredients tend to clump up badly when you dump the liquid on top. It also helps if you mix as you go. Finally, you can substitute a flax egg and use carob powder over the cocoa powder and it will be completely AIP-friendly. Both ways are very yummy but the flax egg version turns out almost fudgy. It is beyond good!

So I decided to create my own and combined several recipes, add a little of my own twist to it, and here you go! I didn’t tell my husband what I was doing the first time I made these and he came wandering out of our home office, sniffing, while the first one was cooking and I was mixing up the second. We joked having chocolate cake that was this good and that fast was either a really good thing or really bad. Yes, we can now have warm chocolate cake in a matter of minutes. On the other hand, we can have warm chocolate cake in a matter of minutes anytime! This is still a treat; a guilt-free one but a treat nonetheless.

I hope you enjoy it. I had to resist the urge to lick the mug.

Double Chocolate Mug Cake (Paleo, Gluten-Free, Nut-Free with AIP-Variation)
Serves 1
1 egg or 1 flax egg (mix 1 Tablespoon ground flax seed to 3 Tablespoons water and let sit a few minutes to gel)
2-1/2 Tablespoons coconut oil, liquefied
2 Tablespoons honey or maple syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 Tablespoons coconut milk
3 Tablespoons coconut flour
3 Tablespoons cocoa OR carob powder
1 Tablespoon chocolate chips (I like the Enjoy Life brand; they are dairy, soy, and gluten free. If you are full AIP and do not handle chocolate well there are carob chips out there; try those or just leave them out – it’s still good!)

1. These puff up beautifully so use a good-sized coffee mug. Mix your wet ingredients together – in the cup (one dish is all that’s needed, which is part of the beauty of these) then add the coconut flour and cocoa powder, mixing well to combine. Stir in chocolate chips.
2. Place in the microwave and cook for 2 minutes.
3. Let sit a couple of minutes to cool slightly and then enjoy while still warm. (When I make these for my husband I do his first – being the good wife that I am – and then make mine. While they cool I get him a glass of milk and make me a cup of tea, and they’re perfect; his cools while mine cooks and mine as my tea steeps.)

These would make a great Thanksgiving dessert if it’s just a couple of you and you don’t want to make an entire dessert. Hmm…that got me thinking. Maybe I should make a pumpkin one next!

Happy Tuesday!

Emily

Chocolate Cashew Clusters (Paleo, Gluten-Free, No Added Sugar)

Anybody who knows me knows I love chocolate. I can pass up most sweets but not chocolate. Some people say there’s always room for Jell-O, I say there’s always room for chocolate. Have you seen the graphic floating around social … Continue reading

Red, White, and Blue Coconut Flour Cupcakes for Memorial Day (Grain Free, Gluten Free, with Dairy Free and Paleo Options)

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       These are my family’s latest favorite cupcakes and they come from Hannah, over at HealyEatsReal.  I found them long before I went grain free and made them the first time for my son’s second birthday party last August, a pirate-themed beach party.  I used puréed blueberries in my frosting to make them blue (plus my son LOVES blueberries) and I made a dairy-free frosting using coconut whipped cream.

        I’ve made them a few times since.  Just a couple of weeks ago I made them for a tea party my best friend hosted at her house with my two-year old and her four-year old.  Her little girl asked for cupcakes, so I made these as they are something me and Blessing can eat but so good no one will care they are grain free if they don’t have to eat that way!  I thought about sharing them then and didn’t, but then the other day I decided to make something sweet for dessert on Memorial Day and immediately decided to make these again.

        They are very easy and contain ingredients I typically have on hand.  (They will turn out fine, I think, without the sparkling water but these do turn out nice and fluffy and I’m sure those bubbles help with that.)  Every time I make them I prepare them dairy free and use coconut oil over butter and coconut milk.  This last time I was a little low on coconut oil so I used palm shortening and that also worked fine.  I typically use coconut sugar but honey works well also. 

        One more note; I now make my own baking powder.  Baking powder has cornstarch in it (a no-no if you’re Paleo but also that cornstarch is usually GMO).  Did you know it is super easy to make your own?  To make one tablespoon baking powder mix together 1 teaspoon baking soda with 2 teaspoons cream of tarter.  I mix up a big batch at a time and store it in a labeled jar in my pantry to use as needed.

        She recommends mixing them in a food processor so every time I have made them I use my blender, which works great, and you dump everything in at once.  As I said, they are very easy. 

        The last two times I have made them I have done her strawberry variation in the frosting – look how pretty that pink frosting is with the specks of REAL strawberries!  That’s not food coloring – it’s real food!  And they taste divine.  I went to Pinterest looking for another alternative to the whipped coconut cream frosting I always used (good, but I wanted an actual frosting), and I found this.  It’s called The Best Paleo Frosting Ever and it’s by Real Food RN and it is not only the best paleo frosting I have ever had but may be one of the best I’ve ever had.  It’s like a buttercream but is completely dairy free.  Trust me.  You’ll want to eat it with a spoon.

        I made it according to the recipe but then added my puréed strawberries (I’m sorry but I didn’t measure either time and just eyeballed it but it was about half a cup puréed.)  Since that adds a little more liquid I added a little more coconut flour and arrowroot powder (about a tablespoon of each at a time) until I got the thickness I wanted.  Then I simply scooped it into a plastic bag, snipped the side, and did a little piping just for fun.  (I want a set of actual piping bags with the tips; not a necessity, I know, but it would a lot of fun, I think.)

        At the tea party I added a sliced strawberry to the top of each and they were very pretty!  On Monday I added some puréed blueberries to make them red, white, and blue.  Just blueberries.  I added a heaping teaspoon to the top of each cupcake and spread it out just a bit before frosting them and I’m pretty proud of myself.  They look pretty cute, don’t they?  And they are amazing.  I am not ashamed to say I ate two of them last night.  They are that good and SO worth every calorie.

        Here are the recipes.  The Coconut Flour Cupcakes, via HealyEatsReal can be found at: http://www.healyeatsreal/coconutflourcupcakes.  The frosting, from Real Food RN can be found at http://www.realfoodrn.com/best-paleo-frosting-ever/.

        Just one more thing.  I can’t close this post without saying something about Memorial Day.  I know it’s not about barbecues and cupcakes.  It’s about the men and women who have served and sacrificed for our country so that we can have the freedom we take for granted every day.  The love the saying, Home of the Free Because of the Brave.  It is so true and I am very blessed to have many of those brave in my circle of friends and family, some still with us and some not.  I was telling Henry about what the day meant and realized three out of his four great-grandfathers all served and then I went on to tell him about the uncles and great-uncles and close family friends and I thought, ‘Wow, what a legacy this little boy has!’  I look forward to the day he can understand and be as proud as I am.

 

Have a great day,

Emily

My First Paleo Easter

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If you have been watching my blog – or my Facebook page, Twitter feed or even Pinterest! – you know my diet has changed as I continue on a journey to heal my body with real, natural food and a cleaner lifestyle. I went to a Paleo diet almost exactly a month ago and it’s going well. Though I am still dealing with some eczema and tummy issues, both are better and the acne I have been plagued with since I was a teenager (and that has actually gotten worse in recent years, believe it or not) is almost nonexistent in just this short amount of time.

            It’s taking time for my body to heal and I’m trying to be patient but here I find myself with my first major holiday after my change! (It seems to be a pattern for me; I changed to a gluten free diet five years ago in November – right before Christmas!) We had already been asking some family about plans and when no one had any we volunteered! If I cook I know exactly what I can eat – and if you have eaten a meal at my house at any time in the last five plus years you know I rarely spend the time and money cooking something I can’t eat myself!

            In addition to cutting out all grains and dairy, I have also eliminated all nightshades. Nightshades are a term for certain types of fruit, vegetables, and other plants; they contain certain attributes that some people have a hard time processing and it can lead to digestive issues and allergic-like reactions. These include white potatoes, tomatoes, sweet and hot peppers, eggplant, tomatillos, pimentos, and spices like anise seed, annatto, celery seed, fennel, fenugreek, mustard seed, nutmeg, sesame seeds, cayenne, chili powder, curry, paprika, and a few others. Quite a list, isn’t it? And it includes several things I really like, so it’s been an adjustment, but the health benefits will be well worth it in the long run.

            I’ve been on an “elimination” diet the last month. It’s often also called a “hypoallergenic” diet and the point is to remove all potential allergens or irritants from your diet for a set time and then slowly add them back in gradually, taking stock of any reactions that might spring up to any particular food. I did something similar five years ago that helped me pin down my gluten issues. So, out went the eggs, dairy, nuts, soy, sugar, and the nightshades as I mentioned. (Wheat and gluten are usually included in this, but I eliminated those long ago.) This coming week I am going to start adding things in one by one (the rule of thumb is to wait about five days between each to give yourself ample time to identify any reactions and give your body time to heal if there are any.)

            I was a little discouraged at first because I already avoided soy and consumed very little dairy or refined sugar, so I wondered how much good it could do, but I did and completely cut out the dairy and sugar and am hoping I can add back in eggs and nuts. I’m going to try this week, as you will see from my menu, but I got off subject. Back to Easter.

            My husband requested ham. I have prepared ham several times in the last five years and if you are gluten-free it is one of those meats you need to be very careful of. Also if you eating a clean, real-food diet because so many of them are coated with glazes filled with sugar and processed or artificial ingredients. A basic glaze is very easy to do and can be tailored to any dietary needs in the family or simply personal tastes!

            I’ve done it a few different ways and one of our favorites is a simple savory/sweet spice rub that caramelizes as it cooks and so I was going to use that and just change out any spices I needed to, and then I got an e-mail from George, at Civilized Caveman. He sent out an Easter menu – that happened to be headlined by a ham – complete with links to the different recipes and it all looked so good it became my Easter menu with just a couple of changes. You’ll find what I picked and chose plus a few others from some other favorite blogs, complete with links to their recipes.

            Our guests are all bringing things and so I asked them to bring some family favorites everyone can enjoy and everything I am making fits into my diet and will be dairy, grain, and nightshade free. Don’t worry, though, it’s going to be super yummy!

            Here it is!

 

Our Menu:

            Dinner is being served between four and five o’clock because my husband is working and so I plan on having some yummy appetizers to hold us over, and then when he gets home, we’ll eat! There is church that morning, but we don’t go until eleven so that leaves time for fun Sunday breakfasts, which we like to do.

I found this recipe for a Breakfast Fruit Soufflé that is grain, dairy, and nut free, from Primally Inspired and you can find it at: http://www.primallyinspired.com/breakfast-fruit-souffle/ . I plan on serving it with some bacon or sausage and maybe some grain-free muffins, which would be nice with it.

 

Appetizers ~ Chicken Liver Pate with Seed Crackers, Fresh Fruit and Veggies

            Yes, I am making pate! My first one. We enjoy buying it but I haven’t been able to since changing my diet as the one we used to buy has both dairy (butter) and nightshade spices in it. Some of you who know me may find this completely hilarious because until three years ago I was a vegetarian! I’ve never liked meat and even now if you told me at this moment I could never eat meat again I don’t think I would really miss it, but when I got pregnant with Blessing the first thing I craved was meat. I continued eating it after he was born because you need even more protein and iron when breastfeeding than while pregnant and so it was just easier that way. Then I began learning more about it and I’m getting off subject again so maybe I should do its own blog post about it, but suffice it to say I am working on my bravery and have added one of nature’s greatest super foods to our diet – liver. Did you know it was a super food? I didn’t. I really should just do another blog post because I was just fascinated when I started learning about it; the website for the pate, from Balanced Bites, contains some great info if you’re curious and advice for making sure you get it from a good, clean source.

            A great place to start if you’re not feeling very brave is to add it to ground hamburger when you brown it. A butcher at your local meat counter will ground it for you if you don’t want to do it yourself (it can easily be done in the blender – not pretty but effective) and then just freeze small portions (I used an ice cube tray) and then I add one or two (depending on how much meat I’m using) and you’d never know it was in there! We make some meatballs we actually prefer that way; they turn out much moister and with a deeper flavor. Pate is also a nice option; it’s puréed with spices and spreadable for a nice crusty piece of bread or some crackers. I don’t buy it regularly but when I was we liked to have it for a light meal with fresh fruit, olives, and cheese. Be brave and give it a try! I’m glad I did.

            The Chicken Liver Pate, from Balanced Bites, can be made with any liver you can find and the darker the better, she says. It’s very reasonable and was the only ingredient in the recipe I didn’t have on hand but it will only cost me just over $3.00! (I’m going to double the recipe so that is for 2 pounds!) The recipe for the pate can be found at: http://balancedbites.com/2011/05/easy-recipe-chicken-liver-pate.html and I am serving it with some grain, nut, and egg free crackers I found from Whole Food Simply. I’m going to swap out the cinnamon and vanilla for something savory – like garlic and an herb maybe. That recipe is at: http://www.wholefoodsimply.com/seed-crackers/ . Why am I making crackers you ask? Because I want crackers and I can’t find any grain-free versions that don’t have dairy or nightshades. These look very easy and I can make them at any time in the week ahead, as well as the pate. It will keep fine for a few days in the fridge (and I actually recommend making it at least the day before to allow the flavors to meld together).

 

Dinner ~

  • Honey Baked Ham with Spiced Apples and Peaches, from Civilized Caveman, found at http://civilizedcavemancooking.com/entrees/pork/honey-baked-ham-with-spiced-apples-and-peaches .  Again, watch your ingredient list on the ham you buy but an all-natural ham isn’t as hard to find as you might think.
  • Roasted Rainbow Carrots, from The Spunky Coconut, and that recipe is at:  http://www.thespunkycoconut.com/2013/02/roasted-rainbow-carrots/ .  These look so pretty and perfect for spring!
  • Lacinato Kale Salad, from Marin Mama Cooks, at:  http://www.marinmamacooks.com/2012/03/lacinato-kale-salad/ .  My mother-in-law is bringing a side or salad so I initially decided to take this off the list but then added it back on because it looks so good and can you have too many salads?  I’ll be omitting the red pepper flakes and Parmesan cheese from the recipe and serve them on the side instead if someone wants them.
  • Sweet Potato Drop Biscuits from Beyond Bacon and these are at:  http://paleoparents.com/featured/beyond-bacon-recipe-sweet-potato-drop-biscuits/.  Drop biscuits are so easy because they require no rolling or cutting.  I make sweet potatoes regularly so I’m going to bake an extra one at mealtime before I make these, making them even easier!  Again, this is a recipe that can be made ahead and frozen if you want and just thaw and place in the oven a few minutes to warm before eating.  I’m going to use palm shortening over the lard (because that’s what I have).

 

Dessert ~ I found some yummy, clean candy recipes from My Whole Food Life I can’t wait to make. These can be made ahead and stored in the freezer.

 

So there’s a glimpse at our Easter dinner! I’m thinking everything but the ham and carrots can be made ahead of time so I’m off to get cooking! Have a blessed and healthy holiday!

 

Emily

Chocolate Chip Cookies (Gluten, Grain, and Refined Sugar Free, Vegan)

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            I am over three weeks into my elimination diet, trying to gain control over some ongoing health issues, and it’s going well. I’ve gone to a Paleo diet, which has been an adjustment, but not as big as it could have been. I’ve been gluten free for over five years and I’ve been making Paleo recipes for over a year so it wasn’t like I heard I should try it then dove headfirst into it the next day. It’s still been an adjustment, though, and I’m working through it.

            At first I felt really overwhelmed; I’m even more limited to what I can eat with the elimination diet and so at first I felt very deprived…and hungry! You know what I realized, though? I felt very similar to this when I started on a gluten-free diet but now I don’t even think about it anymore. I can convert pretty much any recipe and very rarely feel deprived anymore. I’ll get to that place again with this adventure.

            So…back to being deprived and hungry. I love sweets but have cut out all refined sugars. That too, is not a huge adjustment. For a long time I have been substituting more natural sweeteners, like honey, maple syrup, or agave, in treats, but I really didn’t realize how many things sugar is in. Wow! I needed some go-to snacks and I had been craving something sweet. I had some Enjoy Life-brand chocolate chips in the pantry and decided I wanted chocolate chip cookies, but I’m eliminating nuts at the moment (with the elimination diet) and so I went in search of a coconut flour cookie, which was a lot harder than I thought it would be!

            I finally found one in a book I had but it still wasn’t right. It had dairy, nuts, and eggs! All off-limits for the moment. So, I set to tweaking and this is the result. If you haven’t baked with coconut flour before, a word of advice I had to learn the hard way. You have to sift it and it works best if you use an electric mixer and not try to do it by hand. For some reason it just needs that extra help to turn out nice and fluffy. Believe me, it’s worth it.

            The original recipe called for white sugar and I think coconut sugar would be great in these – but I was out. I like the almost caramel-like flavor it lends to things, much like brown sugar will do, so I used maple syrup, hoping that would add a little of that extra kick. Use more or less, depending on your taste. I didn’t want them really sweet but I tasted one after the first pan and they just weren’t sweet enough.

            Another bit of advice. Don’t get too impatient; these need time to cool and “set,” so to speak. I was so discouraged the night I made them because they were coming apart so easily but once they completely cooled, they were fine! It may have been the flax eggs; those work most of the time but they don’t always work as well as eggs will.

            I miss eggs! I made hubby and Blessing omelets one night this last week and they looked SO good! It will be a month for the elimination diet on the seventeenth and I’m pretty sure that’s going to be one of the first things I try adding back in! Hopefully I can add them back into my diet permanently; they are so good for you and one of my favorite easy go-to meals.

I am feeling much better but still having some bad eczema flares, mostly at night much to my frustration. Especially now that Blessing is FINALLY sleeping through the night. Overall, though, I am so much better. At least I’m not completely and totally miserable ALL of the time. I was getting discouraged about that too, and like the other feelings I mentioned, I realized it took some time when I went gluten-free. Though I felt so much better initially, it took time! (Gluten damage can take anywhere from six months to two YEARS to heal!) So, I know I must be patient but I’m also doing some other research and also continuing to pray to the Great Physician, the most important part of my healing journey!

Be well! And have a cookie!

 

Chocolate Chip Cookies (Gluten, Grain, & Refined Sugar Free, Vegan)

 

Ingredients

½ cup palm oil shortening

½ cup plus 1-2 Tbsp. maple syrup

1 tsp. vanilla

4 eggs (I used flax eggs which worked out to 4 Tbsp. flax seed meal to ¾ cup water; mix together and let sit for a few minutes before adding to recipe)

1/8 tsp. salt

1 cup coconut flour, sifted

1 cup chocolate chips (I like the “Enjoy Life” brand; they are naturally sweetened and free of gluten, soy, nuts, dairy, or anything artificial)

 

Directions

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F and line a standard baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone liner.

 

In the medium bowl combine the shortening, syrup, eggs (or egg substitute), vanilla and salt, and beat with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Stir in the sifted flour and chocolate chips, mixing until well combined.

 

Scoop 1-2 Tablespoons of the dough on the prepared cookie sheet, flattening slightly (your hand is fine), and bake for 9-12 minutes.

 

Note: A friend told me years ago that the best way to make cookies is to pull them out of the oven when they are JUST starting to brown at the edges. I did that with the first pan and it wasn’t quite long enough; they turned out kind of crumbly. For me and my oven the 12 minute mark was about perfect, but you may have to experiment with yours.

 

XO,

Emily