Raised from Scratch

growing up outside the box: alternatives to processed food and television

Sweet ‘n Spicy! January 2, 2014

chili coconut cup

chili powder coconut cinnamon

almond-butter cup

Two takes on chocolate cups here: almond butter and spicy chili coconut. Both are fabulous and it’s fun to make multiple types. Variety is always appreciated in this house. I’m sometimes guilty of making small desserts because they’re easy to pop into my mouth before a-certain-someone-whose-chocolate-intake-should-be-limited walks into the kitchen and demands one as well. I try to be sneaky, but it rarely works (trying to sneak food is like trying to sneak a quickie – kids ALWAYS know and will ALWAYS interrupt no matter how preoccupied they seemed beforehand). Anyways, my “limiting” little Ella’s chocolate is often simply drawing the line at no chocolate right before bed. It’s easier to justify frequent indulgences when you only buy good seriously dark chocolate, or make it yourself. This is one of the easiest desserts I’ve ever made. EVER. TRY IT!! Make enough to share, and remember that extra spicy chocolate is far less likely to be gobbled up by a child. (Heh, guess I am still a little sneaky.)

Almond Butter Chocolate Cups

Makes about 15 mini cups

¼ cup coconut oil (liquid) – warm over low heat if your oil is cool and solid

¼ cup cocoa powder or raw cacao powder – sifted!

3-4 T. pure maple syrup

Unsweetened almond butter

Whisk together in small bowl until smooth.

Fill about 1/3rd of the mini candy papers with the warm chocolate. Place in freezer 5 minutes, until chocolate is set. Place a small amount of almond butter (¼ – ½ teaspoon) on cooled chocolate, and cover with additional warm chocolate. Return to freezer 10 minutes or until chocolate is set. Best stored in the freezer.

DONE! Welcome to chocolate nirvana.

Taste buds craving a kick like mine? Try this…

Spicy Chili Chocolate

Mix coconut oil, cocoa powder and maple syrup as instructed above. Forget the almond butter and instead add ¼ t. high quality chili powder and a generous dash of ground cinnamon to your warm chocolate before filling your mini candy papers. Sprinkle a tiny amount of the chili powder and unsweetened desiccated coconut (optional) before freezing if you like the look of it, or want to make it easy to identify which chocolate you’re about to eat, because I definitely recommend getting creative with this recipe and adding whatever spices excite you.

Thanks to This Rawsome Vegan Life for posting amazing desserts such as the Give Me Chocolate Almond Butter Cups which inspired this post. This site rocks so check it out if you’re looking for more healthy inspiration!

 

Banana-Coconut Cake with Agave Frosting March 6, 2013

Gluten-free banana coconut cake

Last week I turned 30, and had one of the best carrot cakes EVER to celebrate. Made out of almond flour with raisins and walnuts, topped with coconut agave frosting, containing no gluten, dairy or refined sugar, it was deliciously satisfying and just what I wanted. Total dream cake for someone who loathes a major sugar crash and the subsequent cravings for another high. I have Elena’s Pantry to thank for posting that recipe, and for inspiring this new Banana-Coconut Cake out of a necessity to use up excess frosting which I simply couldn’t let go to waste. So if you use her frosting recipe too, scale it down if you only intend to make one cake.

You’ll notice below that my measurements for this cake are in ounces and grams because I’m trying to use my scale more often, especially when creating gluten-free baked products. It can make a big difference in the finished product, and really it makes it easier for me to record amounts when I’m eye-balling ingredients. I’ve tried to include standard cup measurements as well, but do recommend using your scale if you own one. There’s so little sweetener in this cake because the frosting provides plenty, but even on its own the cake is delicious and healthy. My 3 year old and I like it best featured at one of our frequent tea parties.

I ate my birthday cake to the tune of “Older” by They Might Be Giants, which reminds you with upbeat repetition “You’re older than you’ve ever been…and now you’re even older…now you’re even older…now you’re even older.” After I frosted my Banana Cake this week and sliced some for my little Ella she started singing the tune again, replacing “older” with “sweeter”. Hopefully it’ll make your day sweeter too.

gluten-free banana coconut cake

 Banana-Coconut Cake

Free of gluten, dairy, refined sugar

2 oz coconut oil (1/4 cup)

2 ripe bananas

2 ½ oz honey (3 ¾ Tablespoons)

2 eggs, room temperature

1 t. almond extract

95 grams oat flour (scant 1 cup)

18 grams buckwheat flour (2 ½ Tablespoons)

33 grams almond flour (5 ½ Tablespoons)

42 grams unsweetened shredded coconut (about ½ cup)

1/8 t. sea salt

1 t. baking powder

1 ½ oz chopped dates

Preheat oven to 350° and grease two 6” cake pans with coconut oil. (Or substitute with one 9” cake layer and make a few muffins if you have excess batter)

Warm coconut oil in a small saucepan until smooth and clear. Move to mixing bowl, add ripe bananas and honey and mix (hand mixer is sufficient) for 1 minute. Add the eggs and extract, mixing well.

In small bowl whisk together all dry ingredients. Pour dry mix into the banana batter, mix well, then add chopped dates.

Pour into your two greased cake pans and bake 25 minutes or until skewer test is clean. Cool in pans 5 minutes, then place on cooling racks.

Frost after cooling completely (recipe link below) and store in refrigerator. *note that the frosting recipe will take about 2 hours to achieve the right consistency in the refrigerator, and a reminder that the Banana-Coconut Cake only requires less than half the original recipe

Agave Sweetened “Vegan Coconut Cream Frosting” Recipe from Elena’s Pantry

gf banana coconut cake

banana coconut cake

 

Cinnamon-Orange Cranberry Sauce with Medjool Dates (no refined sugar!) November 8, 2012

Pictured on Gluten-free Cinnamon Amaranth Biscuits

This probably isn’t the cranberry sauce of your childhood. If you’re looking for a traditional American cranberry sauce with lots of sugar to cover the tangy bite of fresh cranberries, this is not the recipe for your holiday meal. This recipe is designed to excite your taste-buds and challenge your concept of what a cranberry sauce should taste like. And while it doesn’t contain any refined sugar, the cinnamon, dates and brown rice syrup ensure it is still delightfully sweet. Thanks to aged balsamic vinegar, fresh orange juice, and medjool dates, I can honestly say I’ve never tasted a cranberry sauce with so many tiers of flavors. If you give it a try I suggest you have some biscuits waiting so you can start devouring this amazing sauce right away. Let it chill in the refrigerator overnight and it’s practically like jam. It’s incredible with a sharp white cheddar cheese. If ever there was a reason to stock up on fresh cranberries, this is it.

 Cinnamon-Orange Cranberry Sauce with Medjool Dates

cooks in 30 minutes

For approximately 2 cups sauce:

12 oz fresh or frozen cranberries (1 bag, rinsed in cold water if frozen)

¼ cup + 2 T. water

½ cup + 2 T. brown rice syrup

1 strip orange zest (use a peeler for one long strip)

½ cup fresh orange juice

½ T. aged balsamic vinegar (I used a 12 year barrel aged vinegar from Spicewood Food Company)

1 cinnamon stick

½ cup medjool dates, pitted, chopped (4 large dates)

1/8 t. ground cinnamon

In a heavy bottomed saucepan, combine water, brown rice syrup, orange zest, orange juice, vinegar and cinnamon stick. Over medium heat, cook 3 minutes. Add ½ of the cranberries and half of the dates; cook 7 minutes, or until cranberries begin to pop, stirring occasionally. Add remaining cranberries and dates and cook additional 7 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Using a slotted spoon, remove cranberries from the pot and place aside in a small bowl. Return pot with cooking liquid to the heat so it can reduce and thicken, adding ground cinnamon and making sure the cinnamon stick is still in the liquid (orange zest should be removed). Simmer over medium heat 12-15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Return cranberries to the sauce, stir and allow to cool to room temperature. The sauce will thicken further as it cools. Can be made ahead and stored in the refrigerator for 3 days.

For approximately 4 cups sauce:

24 oz fresh or frozen cranberries (2 bags, rinsed in cold water if frozen)

¾ cup water

1 ¼ cup brown rice syrup

2 strips orange zest (use a peeler for one long strip)

1 cup fresh orange juice

1 T. aged balsamic vinegar (I used a 12 year barrel aged vinegar from Spicewood Food Company)

1 cinnamon stick

1 cup medjool dates, pitted, chopped (8 large dates)

¼ t. ground cinnamon

Inspired by a recipe from Gourmet magazine entitled Cranberry Sauce with Dates and Orange

 

Granola Bar Pie…or Oatmeal Pecan Breakfast Bars November 6, 2012

Sometimes what you name your food determines your child’s excitement level, and this was certainly true this morning when I poured the breakfast bar batter into a pie pan and dubbed this the Granola Bar Pie. Try getting creative with food terminology and see how your toddler responds.

The bars (or pie wedges) are very portable once cool, maintaining enough moisture to not crumble in the car on the way to preschool. My kid has always been a night owl, and getting her up and ready to leave the house by 8:30 twice a week is damn difficult sometimes. THE most time consuming part of our morning is always breakfast because Ella loves to eat, and she likes to take her time doing it. No kidding, a small bowl of yogurt takes 30 minutes to consume sometimes. I’m completely thrilled that she’s a good eater and want to avoid rushing her meals or making them a source of stress at all costs. Keeping a portable breakfast food around, and remembering it’s okay to brush her teeth in the car (it’s not like the toothpaste I give her is harmful if swallowed, so why not?) is really helpful. She thinks brushing her teeth in the car is hilariously silly and likes that her car seat can occasionally be the dentist chair as well.

 Granola Bar Pie/Oatmeal Pecan Breakfast Bars

vegan and gluten free, contains no refined sugar

1  1/4 cup oats

1/2 cup ground pecans

1/4 cup coconut flour

3/4 t. ground ginger

1  1/2 t. ground cinnamon

pinch of ground cloves

1/4  t. sea salt

1 T. flax meal (ground flax seeds)

1/2 T. salba or chia seeds

1 cup almond milk (or milk of choice)

1/2 T. vanilla extract

1 T. maple syrup

2 frozen bananas, thawed, mashed

1/4 cup raisins

Preheat oven to 375 F. Allow frozen bananas to thaw in a bowl on the stove (especially if your oven exhaust fan pushes all the hot air onto your stove-top like mine does), or place in the oven for a few minutes as it starts to preheat, or thaw in the microwave for 30-45 seconds.

Combine all dry ingredients in a large bowl. Add almond milk, vanilla, maple syrup and thawed bananas, mix well. Stir in raisins. Butter a pie pan (or use coconut oil) and pour batter into pan, smoothing the top with a spatula. Bake 25-30 minutes until firm. Allow to cool 5 minutes before slicing into 8 wedges.

Inspired by: Banana Raisin Oatmeal Bars from Quinoa, Kale & Exhale

 

DIY Cranberry Almond Granola October 24, 2012

Boxed granola from the grocery store is typically loaded with sugar, and it’s pretty darn expensive when you consider the low cost of oats. With just a few ingredients and 30 minutes, this homemade granola recipe will leave your kitchen smelling of warm cinnamon and toasted almonds and you’ll have a healthy snack to munch on all week. If you’ve never tried making your own granola before, this is a great starter recipe, easily adaptable to whatever nuts, dried fruits or add-ins you’ve got in your pantry. Today it’s also satisfying my sweet tooth because I am completely out of cookies. 😦 I’m not sure how I let that happen, but the granola is actually a great substitute.

Cranberry Almond Granola

2 cups rolled oats

1 t. ground cinnamon

½ t. sea salt

3 T. canola oil

¼ cup + 1 T. honey (or agave for vegan granola)

1 t. vanilla extract

1/4 cup unsalted sunflower seeds

1/3 cup dried cranberries

1/3 cup sliced or slivered almonds

2 T. flax meal or whole flax seeds

Preheat oven to 325° F.

In large bowl combine oats, cinnamon and salt. In small bowl combine oil, honey and vanilla extract; pour onto oats and mix well. Add sunflower seeds and cranberries. (Almonds and flax are added later.)

Cover a baking sheet with parchment paper or very lightly oil pan. Spread granola onto pan evenly, but don’t spread it too thin, and remember clumpy granola is okay.

Bake 10 minutes, then add almonds and flip gently with a spatula. Return to oven, bake additional 15 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from oven and immediately sprinkle with flax so it will stick to the oats. Allow to cool completely. Store in glass jar or other air-tight container. Yields 3 1/2 cups. Best eaten within 1 week.

 

Buckwheat Flax Crepes & Spiced Raisin Mascarpone (gluten-free) October 20, 2012

I have to thank Andrea Drugay for posting a recipe for Easy Flaxseed Wraps on her blog, which inspired a week-long obsession and several new recipes. The original recipe called for 100% flax, and it’s a delicious wrap, but in order to create a gluten-free crepe that I was happy with for breakfast or dessert, I decided to try using a little buckwheat flour as well. And because I’m always looking to incorporate more vegetables into my family’s diet, I tried first grated carrot, then grated zucchini and settled on the latter for this recipe. The crepes are simple to make, and the mascarpone makes them quite memorable, but it’s totally optional – the crepes are marvelous on their own, or filled with fresh peaches and cottage cheese or just bananas and a sprinkle of cinnamon for a healthy breakfast. No sugar is called for in the crepe batter, but a little pure maple syrup is of course a tasty complement if you’re in the mood for a sweeter treat. At the bottom of this post you’ll find a recipe scaled down to serve 1 person (2 small crepes), and more pictures of some of the many crepes I made this week.

Buckwheat Flax Crepes:

Crepes are gluten-free, sugar free and dairy free if using coconut oil

 

¼ cup buckwheat flour

½ cup flax seed meal

1 t. baking powder

1 t. ground cinnamon

¼ t. sea salt

2 T. coconut oil, earth balance or butter, melted

4 eggs

½ cup finely grated zucchini (about 1/3 medium zucchini)

2 T. water

Spiced Raisin Mascarpone Cream:

½ cup raisins

¼ t. cinnamon

1 whole clove or a dash of ground cloves

3 T. water

3 T. unsweetened pure apple juice, or water

½ cup mascarpone (Italian cream cheese)

In a small saucepan, combine raisins, cinnamon, clove, water and juice. Bring to a simmer and cook 6-8 minutes, until raisins are plump and liquid has been absorbed. Assemble crepe ingredients while raisins are cooking. Remove from heat, remove and discard clove and let cool.

In medium bowl, whisk together buckwheat flour, flax meal, baking powder, cinnamon and salt. Pour in melted coconut oil or butter, add egg, water and zucchini, and mix well. Preheat a small nonstick pan over medium heat and lightly coat with coconut oil (a couple drops will do). Once pan is hot, pour ¼ cup crepe batter into the pan and quickly tilt the pan to evenly distribute the batter over the pan. Crepes should be thin – use just enough batter to cover your pan. Cover the pan and cook approximately 1 ½ – 2 minutes or until the batter has cooked through (no need to flip). Move crepe to a plate, lightly oil your pan again and repeat. Recipe yields 8 crepes.

Once you’ve given the raisin mixture a few minutes to cool (Remember to find and discard the clove!), pulse in a food processor 30 seconds. Move to a small bowl and fold in mascarpone, mixing well.

Serve crepes with the raisin-mascarpone cream, sliced bananas and a drizzle of maple syrup. Or forget the bananas and create a crepe cake, spreading the raisin-mascarpone cream between 4 or more layers of crepes and slice like a cake.

Amounts for 1 serving (makes 2 crepes):

1 T. buckwheat flour

2 T. flax seed meal

¼ t. baking powder

¼ t. spice (mix it up depending on your fillings)

Generous pinch of sea salt

½ T. coconut oil, earth balance or butter, melted

1 egg

2 T. finely grated zucchini

1/2 T. water

For Carrot Crepes: substitute finely shredded carrots for the zucchini

For 100% Flax Crepes: replace buckwheat with flax meal (3/4 cup total for full recipe)

 

Slow Down and Savor It: Oatmeal for Autumn October 18, 2012

If oatmeal conjures memories of mushy slop loaded with sugar and tiny dried apple pieces, it’s time you created new associations with this healthy grain. Oatmeal is fabulous, and a recipe like this one should leave the whole family satiated and smiling. Steel cut (Irish) oats are simply chopped oat groats – they are the least processed of all oat products, and they are typically stocked right alongside the old-fashioned and quick oats these days. If not, check the organic section of your grocery store. Seriously, once you try them, you’ll never want to go back to quick/instant oats.

I like to cook half of the apple pieces with the raisins 5 minutes before the oatmeal has finished cooking and add the rest with the sunflower seeds in my bowl for a little crunch. Just 2 tablespoons of pure maple syrup is plenty to sweeten the whole batch (in fact, I like it even without) because apples, raisins and cinnamon lend their natural sweetness to the oats. Enjoy the chilly mornings!

Autumn Oatmeal

4 cups water

1 cup steel cut (Irish) oats

Generous pinch of salt

½ cup raisins

1 cup apple, diced into ¼ – ½” pieces (about ½ of a large apple)

½ t. ground cinnamon

2 T. golden flax seeds

½ t. vanilla extract

2 T. pure maple syrup

¼ cup unsalted sunflower seeds, roasted or raw

Milk or milk substitute (optional) for serving

Place water, oats and salt in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a strong simmer and cook 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add raisins, ½ of your chopped apples and cinnamon; cook additional 5 minutes, stirring frequently.

Remove from heat, stir in flax seeds, vanilla extract and maple syrup. Place in bowls and top with remaining apples, a generous sprinkle of sunflower seeds, and a dash of cinnamon. Serve with milk or milk substitute if desired.

Serves 4

What are some of your favorite oatmeal add-ins?