Friday, November 22, 2013

Grain-Free Banana Ginger Snack Cake

This is a very slightly sweet snack cake. Sugar or honey could be added to make it sweeter to taste.

Puree in blender:
1 ripe banana
1 chunk (2-inch, appx.) fresh ginger root, peeled and sliced
2 large eggs
1 c. coconut oil, softened butter, or palm shortening
3/4 c. almond or coconut milk
1 tsp. apple cider vinegar
1 tsp. vanilla extract

Combine in large mixing bowl:
1 1/4 c. chick pea flour 
1/2 c tapioca flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder

Add blended wet ingredients to dry ingredients and stir until mixed well.

Combine in small mixing bowl:
1/3 c cocoa powder
8 drops stevia or 2 T honey

Pour 3/4 c batter into cocoa powder mixture and stir together. Pour remaining batter into greased 9x11 or 9x9 cake pan (depending on thickness desired). Drop spoonfuls of cocoa batter on top and swirl through with a knife. Bake at 350 for 20-30 minutes - till lightly golden brown on edges and springy in center.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Pineapple Chicken

I wanted to make a yummy pineapple chicken skillet dinner without using sugar, soy sauce, tomato or peppers and this is what I came up with! Many people use coconut aminos in place of soy sauce, but I didn't have any and I had tamarind paste (bought on Amazon) so that's what I used. It turned out sticky, savory and yummy!

Sticky Pineapple Chicken

(Start by having your chicken pieces out of the package and set aside on a dish so you can add them quickly to your skillet when the seasonings are about to brown.)

In large skillet or other wide pan with a lid, melt together over medium heat:
1 T butter
1-2 T olive, coconut, or sesame oil

2 T sesame seeds
1-2 cloves minced garlic
2 tsp. minced dried onion or 1/2 small fresh onion minced
Stir over medium heat till beginning to sizzle and brown very slightly.

5-6 chicken drumsticks or thighs - about 1 'regular' package
Continue stirring - meat pieces should stay on one side long enough to brown, but don't let the seasonings burn. Flip chicken pieces after a few minutes and lower heat.

Add and stir:
1 - 1 1/2 cups pineapple chunks (fresh or canned and drained)

Combine in small bowl and pour over meat and pineapple in skillet:
1 T tamarind paste 
2 t salt
3/4 c water, pineapple juice or chicken broth 

Cover skillet and cook on low heat for 45-60 minutes, checking every 10-15 minutes to loosen sticking portions and add a little more liquid to prevent scorching if needed. Done when chicken is coming away from the bones and pineapple sauce is sticky. Serve over rice (or peas if you can't eat rice).

Monday, August 12, 2013

Best Baked Beans

My love for beans is a fact of which I refuse to be ashamed. Beans freshly boiled with a stick of kombu seaweed in the pot,  served in a bowl with heaps of melted butter is my favorite style of bean-eating. But I don't take that homely dish to potlucks. If I want to get my beans into a potluck, they have to be dressed for society. And if I want to get my society beans into me too, I have to dress them carefully. No sugar, soy, tomato sauce or nitrates are allowed to defile them. So this is one way I've dressed my beans for society.

Best Baked Beans - Slow-Cooker Style

1/2 lb. kidney beans
1/2 lb. great northern or navy beans
1/4 lb. large lima or butter beans
Cook the beans. That is, soaked overnight or quick-soaked (brought to a boil in water, then allowed to sit with heat off for an hour before cooking), drained, and cooked in salted water till tender, but not mushy - they will be cooked longer!

(You can use canned beans if you prefer. I cooked my kidney beans from dry and used 2 cans of Northern and one of butter beans. If you have all three beans in dry form, they can be cooked in one pot.)

Drain beans and dump beans into your slow cooker crock.  Then stir in:

2 T dried minced onion
1-2 T maple syrup (or if you're not being purist, brown sugar)
1 T unsulphured molasses
1/3 c. dijon mustard --key ingredient!
1/2 c. water (you can reserve 1/2 c of the bean liquid if you prefer)
1-2 T bacon grease, beef tallow, turkey fat, lard or butter
1 tsp. paprika
1/4 tsp. ground black pepper
Salt to taste - depending on how salty your cooked beans are. Taste them and see if they need salt.

Stir all the seasonings in thoroughly. Then cover your crock and cook  the beans on low for 4 hours or on high for 2 hours, stirring occasionally. The beans can continue to be cooked on low for a long time and just get better and better. 

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Sardine Upside-Down Skillet Pie

I had opened a can of sardines one day and made a salad that I had heard was healthy and indistinguishable from tuna salad. Sardines contain lots of good omega fats and minerals, and are virtually free of mercury - plus they are really cheap - so they are a great food choice. This was a can of particularly cheap sardines, however, (Chicken of the Sea - I'd say the worst in sardines) and I was not impressed. In fact, I was having second thoughts about my resolution to never feed the feral cats in the backyard. I added more dressing, more seasoning...peas, lemon juice...they still tasted awful. Then I remembered the canned salmon 'pie' (finely chopped cooked meat under a biscuit dough crust) that my mother used to make often, and decided to try making a small one on the stove. I mixed up some bean flour dough, heated and buttered my little skillet, spread in the sardines, covered them with the dough and put on the lid. When I uncovered my experiment and tried a slice, it was delicious! Of course, I've been known to have strange taste in food, so I couldn't be sure it was good until I tried making it for dinner - my husband liked it too and asked for seconds. So it was a success.

Here's what I think the recipe is - it's been a little different every time.

Add to large skillet (use one that has a lid or can be covered)
1 tablespoon butter - spread evenly to grease

Mix in medium bowl before adding to buttered skillet
2 cans of sardines - if in olive oil, use the oil; if in water, drain water off 
1 or 2 tablespoons olive oil (depending on if your sardines have oil)
2 tablespoons lemon juice or vinegar (or one Tbsp of each)
1/4 tsp. ground black pepper
1/2 tsp. onion powder or 1 tsp. dried mince onion
1/2 tsp. Tabasco sauce (or just shake some in)
1 tsp. dried parsley or handful of chopped fresh parsley
1/4 cup frozen peas or finely chopped celery (totally optional - add jalapenos if you're in the mood!)

1 cup gluten-free flour (or adjust to less if using some coconut flour)
 -- I use 1/2 cup bean flour (garbanzo, pea, etc.), 1-2 T coconut flour, 1/4 cup arrowroot or tapioca starch and a tsp of guar or xantham gum, but any half/half combination of some bean/grain and some starchy flour, or pre-mixed gf blend should work, or just white flour if you eat gluten
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt

<<Now is a good time to turn on your skillet with the sardine mixture in it - med-low heat..

Blend into dry ingredients until crumbs are fine: 1/4 c. butter or coconut oil

Beat together before adding slowly to dry ingredients:
1 egg
1 tsp. apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup milk, water, or coconut or rice milk

Stir together until  blended, adding a little more water or milk if needed (depends on your flour type) to make a soft dough like thick cake batter. Drop spoonfuls evenly over sardine mixture in pan; try to cover the mixture completely. Cover. Raise heat to medium for 5-10 minutes (know your stove) to get the pie cooking and then turn heat down to low, leaving covered for about 15 minutes. Check to see if dough is done and cover and cook longer if not. Allow to cool at least 10 minutes before serving. It's good warm, but also at room temperature or even cold!

This recipe could also be baked in a 350 degree oven for 30 minutes or so if you're making an oven meal or don't have a covered skillet. I just like to use the stovetop in the summertime because it saves on energy and keeps the kitchen a little cooler.

Makes four servings.
Serving ideas - good with sides like green salad, herbed peas, gingery carrots, or citrusy broccoli.

P.S. If you're not into ultra-cheap and like sardines, these are some of the best - from Kinda smokey-tasting and very dense and meaty. Yum!

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Grain-free Mini Skillet Bread

I needed something to use for 'breadcrumbs' in a meatloaf recipe and didn't want to buy expensive gluten free bread, or take a lot of time or turn on the oven to make bread, so I came up with this tasty little cake of bread that takes minutes to prepare and minutes to cook on top of the stove.

You need a small or medium skillet with a lid or cover that will fit into it - I use a lid from one of my pots - to seal in the heat while it cooks. It is so simple and delicious - and healthy too.

Grain-free Mini Skillet Bread

Get out all your ingredients and put your cast iron skillet, greased thickly with olive oil and/or butter, on the stove over medium-low heat before starting.

Combine in a small mixing bowl:
1/4 c split pea (or bean or chickpea) flour
1/4 c arrowroot (or potato or tapioca) starch
3 T almond meal
1 T flax meal
2 t coconut flour
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp aluminum-free baking powder
1/4 tsp onion powder

Blend with fork, pastry cutter or hand into dry ingredients:
2 T soft butter

Beat in just till combined:
1 egg
1 tsp cider vinegar
1 T olive oil
1/3 c water (or more if needed)

Spread batter into warm greased skillet. Cover securely and cook on medium-low till center is dry and springs back to the touch - 10-15 minutes. If edges seem to be getting too brown before center is done, lower heat and flip with a large turner (like a pancake) and cover again. With an older electric stove that stays hot after being turned off, the heat may be turned off while it finishes cooking the last few minutes.

Delicious warm, cut into wedges and drizzled heavily with olive, flax or pumpkin seed oil. This recipe could easily be adapted to be baked in a regular oven at 350.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Plum Cake sounds better than Prune Cake

I made this spicily re-vamped version of a coffee cake recipe for my hubby today. He liked it, and I was pleased because and it's a  healthy dessert and moist enough for the lunchbox.

Yogurt-filled Plum Cake

Grease an 8x8 baking pan with butter

Combine filling ingredients, then set aside:
1 cup strained (Greek-style) yogurt (or plain yogurt mixed with 1/2 tsp xantham/guar gum to thicken)
1 egg
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 cup raw/natural/brown sugar

Mix dry ingredients:
1 1/2 cups of flour (I used spelt flour)
1/2 cup quick oats
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp. cloves
1/4 tsp. allspice
1/2 tsp. ginger

Cut in:
1/4 cup soft butter
Stir in:
1/2 cup prunes, snipped

Mix wet ingredients:
1 cup buttermilk (or sour milk, or room temperature milk mixed with vinegar/lemon juice)
1 egg, beaten in
1/4 cup raw/natural sugar or honey

Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients. Mix till combined. Pour half the batter into your greased pan. Sprinkle with additional cinnamon. Top evenly with yogurt filling. Top with remaining batter. Sprinkle with walnuts, cinnamon or additional raw sugar crystals if desired. Bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes or till puffy and golden brown.

Thursday, March 14, 2013


To eat Nutella with a spoon is one of the special pleasures of women in the free West - unless one happens to be allergic to chocolate and sugar, in which case she only imagines that it must be scrumptious to do so. Eating almond butter with a spoon is a pleasure less exquisite and can even tend to make one morose and non-conversant.

Enter maca-laced carob-infused almond butter, aka "Macobella". This buttery dark brown treat is not only free of sugar (and chocolate and peanuts and other troublesome things) but it is tremendously satisfying and energizing, full of protein and healthy fat. I would encourage anyone who does not usually like carob to give this a try, because the rich, buttery texture brings out the best of the carob flavor (more than many recipes in which carob is substituted for cocoa and ends up tasting like mildly sweetened dirt). The carob is used mostly for the natural sweetness it contributes.

This recipe is for one or two servings, because for some reason it seems more appetizing freshly made than if it were made in a big batch and dipped from a jar. It's a great healthy snack for those cravey times of the month, and an out-of-this-world dessert topped with frozen berries and coconut milk. I would post a picture, but that I just ate the photo subject again and am composing this post in the energy of it. 


1 tablespoon almond butter
1 tablespoon sesame butter (or another of almond butter if you don't have sesame butter)
1 tablespoon coconut oil
1 heaping teaspoon carob powder
1 heaping teaspoon maca powder 

Optional additions:
1 heaping teaspoon flaked coconut
1 teaspoon flax meal
Dash of coconut milk if your mixture is too dry.

Mix everything in a small glass dish until smooth and dough-like. Eat now or later. A handful of frozen blackberries or raspberries and coconut cream poured over top are a recommended indulgence.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Cauliflower Chowder

Cauliflower is wonderful. From the  to the great nutritional benefits to the extraordinay potential for crunchy, chewy, creamy, buttery, fluffy foods that can be derived from it, it's clearly one of God's gifts to mankind. Today I made cauliflower chowder. I usually blend my cauliflower soup to a smooth creamy texture, but this one I just stirred to a really fine consistency, maintaining some of the chunkiness. You could try blending the first section of ingredients before adding the second section and it might just be good. I added part of this to some freshly cooked-in-butter flounder for a fish chowder, but I think the recipe deserves to stand on its own with the fish as an option.

Cauliflower Chowder

Cook over medium heat in a large saucepan:
1 medium cauliflower head, cored and chopped
2 tsp. minced dry onion or 1 tsp. onion powder or 1/4 c. raw onion
1 tsp. minced dry or fresh garlic or garlic powder
1 cup chicken broth
1/2 tsp. dry thyme
1/4 tsp. black pepper
1 tsp. sea salt

Stir occasionally, breaking cauliflower into smaller bits. When cauliflower is very tender, add

1/2 c. sesame tahini
Juice of half a lemon
Bits of chopped uncured ham or bacon (optional)
Chopped parsley

(For yummy, non-dairy fish chowder, pan-fry any mild white fish fillet in butter with salt and pepper until flaky and add to your cauliflower chowder after the first step.)

Enjoy in a bowl.