Paleo Shamrock Shake

Oh, hi.

I know I haven’t posted in a while.  I’m sorry.  It’s not you, it’s me.

I’ve been busy, and my health has needed more tweaking, and I have been lazy about my diet and haven’t been making as many things from scratch.  I’ll try to do better!

Right now I just really wanted to share this recipe from Primally Inspired.  Even though St. Patrick’s Day was on Sunday, and it’s sort of irrelevant at this point.

I didn’t even bother taking a decent picture of it, so here is one from my iPhone with a terrible vintage filter:

Shamrock Shake with a terrible vintage filter.

I made this for dinner last night, because I had a huge carb-heavy lunch and I was too lazy to make a real dinner after pilates.  And it was awesome.  So:

Paleo-ish Shamrock Shake – Single Serving Edition

    • 3/4 cup unsweetened Coconut Dream
    • 1/2 avocado
    • 1 1/2 Tbsp raw honey
    • 1/2 cup ice cubes
    • 1/2 Tbsp pure vanilla extract
    • 1/3 tsp peppermint extract

Blend.

Notes:

The original recipe called for a can of coconut milk.  I didn’t want anything that heavy, so I used Coconut Dream.  Real coconut milk would be creamier.  I also toned down the peppermint extract because I thought it was too strong, but if you’re into that sort of thing then use 1/2 tsp.

Burnt Cookies

Well, I’m 0 for 2 with cookies this week.

Which is too bad, because I really wanted to make a post about paleo chocolate chip cookies.

It was my own stupid fault, because I’ve made these cookies many times with great success, but today I am hungover and when the timer beeped I just went “urghlhggglhnnnnnn,” until my boyfriend announced: “I smell burning.”

So I’m not going to post about my paleo chocolate chip cookies.  But I am going to link you to this really awesome chocolate chip cookie recipe from my friend Free.  She made a batch for me for my birthday, and they were glorious.

Nothing I Make Ever Looks Like the Picture

There’s nothing I enjoy more than spending a bunch of time and using a ton of expensive ingredients, only to end up with a shameful embarrassment of a food.  I have decided to post these failures more often, because if the internet can’t laugh at me, who will?

This past weekend, I was invited to a “cookie party” and decided to bake grain free gingerbread cookies.  The recipe? Paleo Gingerbread Cookies by Bill Staley and Hayley Mason from The Food Lovers Kitchen. If you haven’t seen their cookbook, Make it Paleo, you should check it out, because it’s a great book full of amazing photography.

These are their gingerbread cookies:

© The Food Lovers Kitchen

Cute, right?

My first mistake was probably using blackstrap molasses.  The batter was very dark and sticky, and it was almost impossible to cut out shapes.

Not chocolate.

I had to keep it in the fridge for much longer than the recipe said, but the batter was still warming up too fast when I rolled it out, so I could only get 1 or 2 hilariously deformed shapes out of it before it turned into the mush pictured above.

My boyfriend had the brilliant idea of covering the rolled out batter with ice packs, and only uncovering small parts at a time to cut shapes.  It worked very well, and I was able to get several disfigured men into the oven.

Then I burnt them.

I mean, seriously, what is this?

“SOMEBODY LOVE ME.”

One of my friends pointed out that this is basically the botched Ecce Homo painting of gingerbread cookies.  Although, it did taste like it probably would have tasted good if it weren’t burnt.  (That’s right, I ate it.)

In summary, let’s compare:

ORIGINAL.

Potato Jesus Cookie

MINE.

I’m basically Martha Stewart you guys.

Instagram Party + Lemon Orange Frosting

On Wednesday, my boyfriend turned 30 (!).  We had a party last night.

1 & 4: I trimmed my basil plants and had no idea what to do with the trimmings, so I shoved them in mason jars and spent the whole night asking people, “wanna smell my basil?”

2 & 3: Dan made taco dip – we counted 7 layers.  It included homemade guacamole, homemade salsa verde (which was SO GOOD it’s almost a shame he put it in a dip), and lettuce from my garden.  I love saying that.  Lettuce.  From my garden.

5 & 8: I made sangria. I am no sangria expert, but it was delicious!

6 & 7:  These cupcakes… omnomnom.  They are Gluten-Free GoddessVanilla Cupcakes topped with That’s the Best Frosting I’ve Ever Had (note: it is).  I would like to point out that even though I made a gluten-filled cake, everyone went for the gluten-free cupcakes.  “They taste normal!” was the most common response.

I also wanted to share this frosting recipe.  Every year, Dan demands a boring white cake from a box.  I’ve offered to bake something from scratch, but no, it has to come from a box.  He agreed that I could make the frosting, so last year we came up with this together (I mixed, he taste tested).  Then we lost the recipe, and we were sad.  A few weeks ago, Dan found it (in his recipe book… fancy that) and it’s exactly as yummy as we both remembered.

Lemon Orange Frosting

3 tbsp orange zest
3 tbsp butter
3-4 tbsp fresh squeezed lemon juice (to taste)
About 2.5 cups icing sugar

  1. Add orange zest to butter and mix with a hand mixer until creamy.
  2. Add 3tbsp lemon juice.  Slowly add icing sugar while mixing until you achieve the desired consistency, adding more lemon juice if desired.

It makes enough to cover a 13×9″ cake.

Busy Bee

Let me tell you internet, my life has kind of exploded in the last few weeks.  In a good way.

I started working again a few weeks ago, for the first time since last June.  (I’m a photographer.)  I was only going to do one assignment, and then another one came up, and another one, and another one.  I also acquired my new studio on February 1st, and decided to have a workshop this past Saturday with 11 other photographers, 3 models, and 2 makeup artists.  So I was very busy organizing that nonsense, and I have been recovering ever since!

Health-wise, I am still continuing to feel better every day.  I’ve been increasing my activity levels every week.  I do need more naps than when I was sitting around doing nothing, but only on my Ease into 5K running days (just finishing week 2!), or on days where I’m working on my feet all day.  However, I can get through a workout or a work day with minimal problems (as long as I keep to my routine and eat regularly), and that’s pretty awesome.

I made a yummy smoothie this morning with some frozen açaí pulp I found at Whole Foods.

Valentine’s Day Açaí Smoothie

1/2 cup apple juice (not from concentrate)
3/4 cup plain Greek yogurt
1/2 banana
1 package Sambazon frozen açaí

Blend!

I wanted to do some Valentine’s Day baking, but I’ve been too busy.  Excuses, excuses.  One day this will be one of those blogs where I post the amazing things I bake all the time.

We don’t usually do anything on Valentine’s Day, but tonight we’re going to my favourite restaurant to eat pizza.  I hope everyone has had an awesome day, and:

Donuts 2.0

Everyone likes my Gluten-Free Baked Sprinkle Donuts, especially my gluten-eating friends (who once requested that I bake them while drunk at a party, which I did, and they were glorious).

However, I feel like since I stopped eating gluten, I’ve been relying too heavily on Silvana‘s All-Purpose Flour mix from Cooking for Isaiah.  It’s an awesome mix, but I’ve been really wanting to experiment with different flours, and to try ones that are higher in protein and fiber than rice flour.

Especially since I have accumulated a ridiculous amount of flours:

Gluten-Free Dairy-Free Baked Donuts
Yield: 10 donuts

1/2 cup brown rice flour
1/4 cup coconut flour
1/4 cup tapioca flour/starch
1/2 tsp xanthan gum
1/2 cup golden cane sugar
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/2 cup original almond milk (or other milk substitute)
1 egg
4 Tbsp Earth Balance soy-free buttery spread
1/2 tsp apple cider vinegar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

  1. Preheat oven to 350F.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together flours, xanthan gum, sugar, baking powder, salt, nutmeg, and cinnamon.
  3. In a small saucepan on low heat, whisk together almond milk, egg, Earth Balance, vinegar, and vanilla. Mix until it is well blended and feels warm to the touch (do not overheat).
  4. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix just until combined.
  5. Put the batter into donut pans.  (I use my finger; some people prefer to pipe the batter into the pans.)
  6. Bake for about 12-15 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out dry and just before the donuts start browning.
  7. Cool and decorate!

Topping

1/2 cup icing sugar
2 Tbsp almond milk
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
Shredded coconut

  1. Mix icing sugar, milk, and vanilla extract into a paste.  Dip donuts in glaze.  Cover with coconut.
I also made some with red sugar, which was a terrible idea because the sugar just melted and now I think the donuts are too sweet.  But oh well.

I was really happy with how the donuts turned out.  They are very moist and delicious!  I definitely want to start using coconut flour in more things.

 

Adventures in (Gluten-Free) Bread-Making

Once upon a time, during a family dinner, my brother asked “which foods would you not be able to live without?

I immediately answered, “bread.”   I would not be able to live without bread, no way.  Bread is the best food in the world.  Covered in butter, toasted with jam, dipped in oil and vinegar.  My favourite was golden flax bread from Stonemill Bakehouse, and if I went to a restaurant, I could polish off an entire basket of bread by myself.

A couple of years ago, I was talking to a friend, and she told me she could no longer eat bread or dairy.  NO BREAD OR DAIRY?  This was the first I’d heard about celiac disease.  I expressed my deepest sympathies and thought to myself: “if I couldn’t eat bread and dairy, I would LITERALLY DIE because that would be the worst.”

It’s amazing how we can adapt when we need to.

I stopped eating gluten last May.  I remember getting a phone call from my boyfriend sometime during the first week.  He was at the grocery store near work, and he said, “I have good news and bad news.  The good news is that I found gluten-free bread!  The bad news is it’s as hard as a rock and it expires in October.”

No thanks.

I have found a couple of local bakeries that make good bread, but I’ve realized I don’t actually miss it all that much, and I rarely buy it.  I hardly flinch when they put the basket of bread in front of me at restaurants (they always put it in front of me).  I don’t get mad when we visit my boyfriend’s parents and everyone eats crazy bread in front of me.  I even choose to eat burgers with a fork, even though I’ve found a company that makes delicious gluten-free buns.

So it turns out I won’t actually die from lack of bread.  Amazing!

That being said, my mom got me a gorgeous Emile Henry ceramic loaf pan for Christmas, and I bought a KitchenAid mixer from Amazon during Boxing Week sales (it was 60% off! and I had gift cards!  it only cost me around $40!), so I’ve been wanting to bake bread.  FOR THE FIRST TIME EVER!

I spent ages trying to find a recipe, but all of the ones I found were for a bread maker, or they were flavoured (like pumpkin cranberry), or they used about 40 ingredients I don’t have, and I wanted to make something basic.  I ended up finding a recipe on the celiac.com forums and thought it looked pretty good (read: simple).  I’m not generally a huge fan of bread made from rice flour, but this was an experiment, not a Food Network competition (that’s a thing, right?).

Moments of panic during the bread-making process:

  • “It doesn’t say which attachment to use for the mixer!  Do I use the regular beater or the dough hook?!  AHHHHH!”
  • “It says to let the yeast proof for 15 minutes but it’s taking me longer than that to do the next step!  What if it’s sitting for too long?!  AHHHHH!”
  • “The recipe doesn’t say what kind of oil to use!  AHHHHH!”
  • “Where am I supposed to put the bread to let it rise?!  AHHHHH!”
  • “The recipe doesn’t say which size pan to use!  What if mine is the wrong size?!  AHHHHH!”

I was excited to see the bread rise.  Bread is so cool.  I love science.

I forced myself not to peek in the oven until the timer went off.  When it did, I saw this:

Holy crap!  Could this be a success?!

Yep, that looks like bread.  Magic!

Gluten-Free Dairy-Free Sandwich Bread Recipe

  • 1 Tbsp yeast
  • 1 Tbsp sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups warm water
  • 3/4 cup white rice flour
  • 3/4 cup brown rice flour
  • 1/2 cup potato starch
  • 1/2 cup tapioca starch
  • 2 tsp xanthan gum
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp oil (I used grapeseed oil)
  • 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
  1. Mix yeast, sugar and water in a small bowl.  Let it rise for 15-20 minutes. You should have at least 1 1/2 inch of foam on top of the water.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk all of the dry ingredients together.
  3. Put eggs, oil and vinegar in the stand mixer bowl and mix for 3-4 minutes, until the mixture is creamy.
  4. Add proofed yeast and all dry ingredients into egg mixture. Mix for 4-5 minutes with the dough hook attachment, scraping the sides at least once with a spatula.
  5. Line your bread pan with parchment paper.  Using a spatula, scoop the dough into the pan and shape into a loaf.  Let it rise for 50-60 minutes, or until the dough reaches the top of the pan.  At some point during this time, preheat your oven to 375F.
  6. Bake for 55-60 minutes.  Let it cool for 20-30 minutes before slicing.

Verdict:  Not bad!  It has a strong rice flavour that I don’t like, but it’s good covered in Earth Balance, especially fresh out of the oven.  It’s really, really soft with a nice crunchy crust.  I’m interested to see how long it lasts over the next few days.

Yay!  I don’t need to use my “kitchen failures” tag!

Smoothies in a Bowl

I put chocolate chips in my breakfast ’cause I’m a grown up and I do whatever I want.

After I said that smoothies in a bowl are my new favourite breakfast, I googled it and found out it’s actually a popular thing in blog-land.  Now I know what bloggers are talking about when they talk about SIAB (and it’s not side impact airbags)!  Check out the Smoothie in a Bowl page on Kath Eats Real Food.  Her pictures make me want to have breakfast for every meal of the day.

This smoothie was made with:  2 clementines, 1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk, 1 frozen banana, 1 handful of spinach, 1 cup of frozen blueberries and raspberries mixed, and 1 cup of frozen strawberries.  Topped with 1.5tsp chia seeds, 1tbsp unsweetened coconut, and a handful of tiny dark chocolate chips.

I need to start getting more creative with my smoothie base.  What are your favourite smoothie recipes?