Eat Happy, Be Healthy!
To celebrate Mother's day I would like to share my favorite spring tart. It is very refreshing, light, and symbolic of Spring and Summer. If you like lemony desserts then this is for you! Plus, it looks beautiful and is a wonderful dessert for any special occasion. Although each step is very simple and very easy, some steps do take some time. In order to make this tart with ease, I recommend making the cookie crust and lemon curd the night before so that you can sleep away the cooling time and quickly make the rest of the tart the following day. Fortunately, for those who may be on a restricted diet, this tart is gluten free and naturally low FODMAP if you stick with strawberries and raspberries. Also, it only contains butter, so those who are dairy sensitive may still be able to tolerate it. Serves 8.
Sweet Cookie Crust:
½ cup softened salted butter (I use Kerrygold)
¼ cup sugar
1 ¼ cup Bob’s 1:1 flour, plus more as needed
½ tsp baking powder
½ cup lemon juice (~3 lemons)
1 whole egg
3 tablespoons natural cane sugar
Zest of 1 lemon
2 T salted butter, flaked
1lb of organic strawberries, washed
12oz of raspberries (or another pound of strawberries)
Optional: Any other berries of choosing
Lemon Zest Gelee
1 cup (250ml) water, divided
2 ½ teaspoons gelatin or 1 packet Knox Gelatin
Zest of ½ lemon
2 tablespoons sugar
With a wooden spoon stir together the softened butter, sugar, and egg. Mix together the flour with the baking powder and gradually mix into the creamed butter mixture. Using the spoon and your hands mix dough until smooth, adding more flour as needed until the dough is no longer super sticky and easily handled. Gluten free flour will always be a bit more sticky than regular flour. Flatten into a disc and cover with plastic wrap or parchment paper. Refrigerate 1 hour or best overnight. When ready to bake the tart, remove the dough from the refrigerator and allow to warm up a bit until pliable and knead a bit. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly oil the pan. Then roll out the dough (or see tip) to fit a 10” tart pan. Poke holes into the crust with a fork and bake for 20 minutes or until lightly golden. Allow to cool completely.
Tip: Since gluten free dough tends to tear easily, and to avoid discarding bits of the dough, I prefer to break the dough into 4 or 5 equal chunks and divide it out directly onto the tart pan. Then using a baby bottle (without the top) I like to roll out the dough directly into the pan. Then using my fingers I spread the dough evenly into the sides. This way there is no transfer and all dough is used up.
Meanwhile, while the dough is chilling, make the lemon curd. In a small saucepan simmer the fresh lemon juice over medium heat until reduced down by half. Pour into a small bowl and set aside to cool. Create a double boiler by filling a saucepan with about 2 inches of water. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer. In a ceramic bowl that is large enough to sit in the saucepan without the water overflowing, mix together the whole egg, the egg yolk, sugar, and lemon zest. Add the cooled lemon juice, and whisk together.
Place the bowl into the medium saucepan, and whisk continuously until the mixture thickens. Using heat proof gloves remove from the heat and immediately add the salted butter flakes to the curd and whisk for about a minute to create a shiny smooth lemon curd. Transfer into a small glass jar and refrigerate.
While curd and cookie crust are cooling, prep the berries of your choice. If using strawberries, rinse well and cut off the green tops. Depending on the size of the strawberry slice into half, thirds, or quarters to have even slices. If using raspberries, leave them as is because water tends to soften them too much. Rinse and dry blackberries or blueberries if using.
Once the cookie crust is cooled and the curd is cold, use a spatula to evenly spread the curd over the bottom of the crust. Then arrange the berries on top in any way that suits your fancy and refrigerate.
Finally, pour ~1/4 of the cold water into a jar and sprinkle the gelatin on top. Pour the remaining water into a saucepan. Add the lemon zest and sugar and bring to a boil. Once boiling allow to simmer for a minute and then remove from heat. Add ~2 tablespoon of the hot liquid to the cold liquid and stir to combine. Then pour the cold liquid mixture back into the hot liquid mixture. Stir to combine.
Transfer the gelee mixture into a glass or metal bowl and refrigerate until it is just starting to gel. You want it to be spoonable and thick like kefir, but not thin like water. Check after 30 minutes, then again every 5 minutes so that you don't miss the perfect texture. If it does gel too much, just sit the bowl into a warm water bath to gently warm up the gelee and thin up a little. Gently spoon the mixture evenly over the entire tart to cover the berries as best as possible. Then refrigerate the entire tart until the gelee has fully set and ready to serve. Best enjoyed within 3-4 days after making, if it lasts that long. For extra decadence serve with homemade whipped cream, but it’s not required because it tastes super yummy on its own.
Bread....so comforting yet so convoluted in the gut health arena. If your struggling with digestive issues it's likely you have had to avoid bread or swap traditional breads with gluten-free alternatives. Unfortunately, most gluten free bread out there is S H I T. Firstly, the quality is horrible and secondly it tastes like nothing. So I made it my mission to make a bread that was 1) easy to make, 2) highly nutritious and delicious, and 3) gut friendly. So are you ready??
The Gut Friendly Loaf is THE BREAD for all you folks struggling with gut issues. Why is that?? Well firstly, it is prepared from raw, organic gluten-free grains (not flours). When grains are soaked in acidic water an enzyme called phytase is activated which breaks down phytates. Phytates can be irritating to an inflamed gut and can bind to minerals in our food. However, folks with good gut health and good gut microbiome diversity can tolerate a higher phytate diet because lactobacillus and other bacterial species can produce their own phytase. Most folks with gut issues already struggle with malabsorption and have dysbiosis. Therefore they often find symptom improvement on grain free diet likely because of previous high consumption of poorly prepared grains & flours. Unfortunately, the amount of phytase found in grains is reduced when they are ground to flour because phytase is easily destroyed by high temperatures. Also the longer the flour is stored, the less phytase there is. Optimally flours are ground fresh, soaked and/or fermented, and used immediately. Today convenience often takes precedence over proper preparation. If you are interested in learning more check out this article from the Weston A Price Foundation. Interestingly, buckwheat (a gluten-free pseudo-grain) naturally contains very high amounts of phytase, whereas quinoa does not. Therefore, combining the two grains during the soaking process allows you to reap the benefits of both. Both quinoa and buckwheat when properly prepared are high in plant protein, fiber, and minerals. Plus, they are both considered low FODMAP, which means individuals with IBS and SIBO are likely to tolerate them, especially if properly prepared.
Secondly, the bread is bound with chia seeds (also low FODMAP) in place of eggs or gums which often are not tolerated in gut sensitive individuals. Plus, this bread does not contain yeast, which also can be a common food trigger, and instead baking soda is used for leavening. And finally, this bread is naturally gluten-free and dairy-free, which also helps many.
So with a lot of thought and care I have developed this recipe to serve you in the best of ways. If you have been avoiding grains or eating refined non-organic gluten-free breads, then it's time to give this Gut Friendly Loaf a try. Perhaps it will help bring back more joy to your plate and to your palate and even connect you more with your food. It is simple, nutritious, and very satisfying especially when toasted. I personally love it toasted with butter and local honey or I make open faced sandwiches. Follow me on Instagram for more fun ways to use this bread.
Anyways, this is my holiday gift to you, your welcome!
Buckwheat Quinoa Chia Bread
Makes ~16 slices or 8 servings
1 cup organic tan quinoa
1 cup organic raw buckwheat grouts
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
¼ cup chia seeds
1 cup filtered water, divided
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons olive oil
½ teaspoon Redmond’s Real Sea Salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
Place the quinoa and raw buckwheat grouts into a large glass or ceramic bowl, cover generously with filtered water, and stir in apple cider vinegar. Cover with a clean kitchen towel and let soak overnight or at least 12 hours at room temperature.
Strain the soaked grains in a colander and rinse well. Allow the excess water to drain for about 5 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 350 degrees and mix the chia seeds with ½ cup filtered water. Stir with a fork and allow to gel, about 5-10 minutes.
Meanwhile prepare your loaf pan and line with parchment paper. See the video here for instructions. Ideally use a small Pullman pan, but a typical banana bread loaf pan works too (you just may need to bake it a little longer).
Once your grains are strained and your chia seeds are soaked you are ready for the next step. Transfer the strained grains into a high speed blender (I use a BlendTec) or food processor and add ½ cup filtered water, lemon juice, 2 tablespoons olive oil, and ½ teaspoon sea salt. Process until the mixture starts to become a batter and the blade runs well. Add the chia seeds and process some more until most of the quinoa seeds are blended but not all. Keeping some of the texture allows for a better rise. Finally, add the baking soda and pulse until well combined. Then transfer bread batter into the loaf pan and gently (not deeply) slice diagonal lines or X’s across the top to allow for a more uniform rise.
Bake for 90 minutes at 350 degrees or until inserted toothpick comes out clean. Remove from pan, remove parchment paper, and allow to cool on cooling rack completely before cutting. Store in the refrigerator for a week.
Nutrition Per Serving (2 slices): 200kcal, 30g carbs, 7g fat, 5g fiber, 6g protein.
Note: If you cannot tolerate quinoa, millet or sorghum will likely work too. However, I have not tried this combination yet. Please let me know how it goes if you experiment. Alternatively, use 100% buckwheat.
Oh AVOCADO….how much I love the. Especially when you are whipped with chocolate to a creamy perfection. So decadent, so rich, and so full of flavor! Who knew that this combination really is all that it could be! I originally posted this recipe on my old food blog Poppies and Papayas in 2015, but wanted to share it with you here as well. If you are looking for a dairy free and gluten free Valentine's Day treat, then this is for you!
Now it's time for you to go to the grocery store and pick out two large perfect avocados, ready to be whizzed to creamy chocolate perfection. You don't want one too ripe, nor one too hard. If you can find one right in the middle, your golden. If the avocado is too ripe, then the mousse has an "avocado flavor". If the avocado is too hard, it doesn't whip up to the right smooth and creamy texture. So here are my grocery store tips to help you find the perfect avocado:
Firstly, when pressed it should give only slightly. If the avocado gives too much this indicates that it is overripe. And if it does not give at all, it still needs to ripen.
Secondly, if you flick off the top nipple, the flesh should be completely green without brown fibers inside. If you see brown spots, this indicates that there could be brown spots inside the avocado.
Thirdly, try to find the avocado with a neck. This indicates it was ripened on the tree. If it is oval, and does not have a neck, it did not have the time to mature on the tree.
Benefits of the AVOCADO
The avocado is simply amazing. It is rich in fiber, vitamins and minerals, healthy fats, antioxidants, and many phytochemicals. Did you know that the dark green part of the avocado contains the most phytochemicals? Therefore when you scrape out the avocado, don't leave behind the stuff on the edges. Makes sure to get it all!
Also, what you may not know is that 1 cup of avocado (about 1 large) contains 10g of fiber, about 40% of your daily recommended intake. Therefore in combination with all the wonderful monounsaturated fats, avocados can be really satiating. The fats also help the body absorb all the wonderful fat-soluble vitamins A, E, and K that are abundant in the avocado and have powerful anti-inflammatory effects. There is so much goodness inside this single fruit it should not be overlooked!
Now when you mix avocado with rich dark cacao you will be feeling happy and satisfied in no time. Dark chocolate and cayenne naturally increase serotonin production. Serotonin is our feel good neurotransmitter, which is mostly produced in the the gut. Therefore, the combination of dark chocolate and cayenne can be a potent feel good therapy.
Decadent Chocolate Avocado Mousse (3 ways)
Makes 4-6 servings
¼ cup semi sweet chocolate chips
2 ripe large avocados
¼ cup extra dark cacao powder (I use Hershey's Extra Dark)
5 tablespoons maple syrup
2 pinches sea salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons creamy liquid (nut milk, soy milk, half and half, etc)
*Mint: Add 1 teaspoon organic peppermint extract
**Spiced Thai Ginger: Add 1 ½ teaspoon ground ginger and ¼ - ½ teaspoon cayenne (depending on your preference)
***Vanilla: Add an additional teaspoon vanilla extract
Set up a small double boiler by filling a small saucepan with a little water and placing a small ceramic bowl inside. Put the chocolate chips inside the bowl and heat the saucepan over medium to melt the chocolate.
Meanwhile add the avocados, cacao powder, maple syrup, sea salt, vanilla, creamy liquid, and additional spices (if you choose to make a variation) to your food processor. Blend until smooth. Add the chocolate when melted and continue to process until smooth. You may need to scrape down the sides with a rubber spatula.
Spoon the creamy smooth mousse into a glass bowl, cover and refrigerate 4 hours or overnight to allow the flavors to develop and the mousse to set. Garnish each serving with chocolate shavings and a strawberry. You can even go an extra step and serve the mousse with a dollop of whipped coconut cream (or regular whipped cream).
Adapted from the Food and Nutrition Magazine, November/December 2013
Enjoy the food bliss!
I hope you enjoy my creative, flavorful, and nutrient dense approach to whole foods cooking. All recipes are gluten free.