Category Archives: breakfast

Spiralized Hash Browns

spiralized hash browns blog

Confession time.

For over a year, my spiral slicer sat tucked away in a cabinet, unused. I originally bought it back when I was neck-deep in a lot of paleo insanity, briefly interrupted by a few weeks of some random raw vegan diet I tried to follow. I wanted to make noodles out of zucchini with it. I did, multiple times. They were tasty, but they left me hungry, and they definitely weren’t a direct replacement for pasta, gluten-free or not.

During the last year, however, I’ve worked hard to regain a healthy relationship with myself and with food. I’ve healed my digestive system, but healing my relationship with food has taken a bit longer. There are certain foods that I equated with restriction; things I made myself eat in the name of health for so long that I stayed away from them for the past year. I’ve moderated my intake of vegetables, for example. I love veggies, but forcing all-vegetables-all-the-time made me enjoy them less. (Recently, I’ve started embracing them more once again.) Along with this process, I tried to ignore my spiral slicer.

For me, that spiral slicer equaled a time of restriction. A time where I wanted pasta, but instead settled for this lacking representation of what I really craved. So I decided I hated it for a while. I considered it a useless tool to encourage orthorexia. I meant to get rid of it several times, but never got around to it. Poor little spiral slicer – the recipient of so much hatred.

But now, I’ve put enough distance between that old line of thinking and today. I can’t say I’m perfect (who can?), but I’m happy and healthier than I’ve been in a long time. So the other day, I decided it was time to make amends with this recently-despised little tool of mine.

I was making spaghetti for dinner the other night, and a friend had given me a ton of zucchini from her garden. I actually wanted to enjoy the taste of zucchini in my spaghetti, so I drug out the spiral slicer, and made some zucchini noodles. I then opted to pile regular pasta on my plate, top it with zucchini noodles, and then my meaty sauce. While I’m not really a fan of zucchini-only “spaghetti”, zucchini noodles in addition to regular noodles was delicious, fresh, and filling. I’d decided that perhaps my spiral slicer wasn’t so bad after all.

So then, I started to brainstorm on what else I could make with my spiral slicer. The following morning, I was making breakfast, and thought to make hash browns. However, rather than shredding the potatoes, I instead opted to “spiralize” them. I figured that making them in these fine “noodles” that I’d have a better chance of making them crispy and brown in a few minutes’ time.

I wasn’t wrong. After a good squeeze to get all the water out (I use my potato ricer for this – it’s more effective at squeezing the water out than any other method I’ve tried), I spread these potatoes out on a good, hot pan, and they crisped right up. They were brown and delicious, and perfect for breakfast, especially with a drizzle of Sriracha and a side of eggs. They’re also a great option for a Father’s Day brunch (hint, hint – it’s this Sunday!).

This healing of my relationship with food thing? It’s a journey for sure. I’ve been actively working on it for more than a year now. But it’s certainly been worth it. Because now, my journey includes my spiral slicer. And hash browns.

Print Recipe

Spiralized Hash Browns (gluten-free, vegan-adaptable)

1 lb red potatoes, peeled

2-3 T butter or your oil of choice

Salt and pepper to taste

Chopped parsley and Sriracha to garnish (You can certainly top with anything you like – cheese, sautéed onions, bacon, ketchup, etc.)

 

Using a spiral slicer, cut all of the potatoes into “noodles”. Lightly sprinkle salt over the potatoes, toss, and place in a potato ricer and squeeze the water out well. Allow to sit over a bowl for a few minutes, and squeeze again. Do this until you’re no longer getting a stream of water when squeezing.

Meanwhile, heat a cast iron skillet to medium-high heat. Add butter to the pan and allow to melt and start to foam. Add the potatoes to the pan, spreading out in a single layer. Don’t move the potatoes for about a minute, allowing them to brown. Use a spatula to “cut” them a bit shorter (typically the spiral slicer makes some long noodles!), and then flip and spread out again to brown the other side. Do this until these are sufficiently browned all over. Season to taste and serve immediately, garnished as you desire.

Makes 2-3 servings.

Meyer Lemon Olive Oil Poppyseed Cake

lemon poppyseed cut cake blog

You know those cloudy, dreary, sometimes wet days that come with springtime? The ones that leave you wanting to snuggle on the couch with a blanket all day?

We’ve been having a few of those here lately. I’m thankful – we desperately need the rain – but it doesn’t mean that I don’t wish for sunshine as well. But when the sunshine won’t come from outside, we have to make it ourselves. And what better way than to make something with lemon?

I had a gorgeous large Meyer lemon in my refrigerator, just waiting for the perfect opportunity to become something great. Apparently, it was destined for cake. Not a fancy, extravagant cake, however. This lemon wasn’t destined for a birthday or a holiday. Instead, it was destined for something humble. You can make this cake anytime it feels dreary out and you’d like to brighten someone’s day. It’s an “everyday” cake – the type my grandmother often bake when we would come visit, so we had a special treat to enjoy after lunch. It’s not too sweet, and there’s no fancy frosting or layers. But there is a light lemon flavor, the pop of the poppyseeds, and a tender, moist crumb. It’s also great with an afternoon tea, or even for breakfast.

In my mind, it’s a happy-making cake. And on any spring day, dreary or otherwise, who couldn’t use a little happy?

Print Recipe

Meyer Lemon Olive Oil Poppyseed Cake (gluten-free, dairy-free)

2/3 c sweet white rice flour (I like Mochiko)

2/3 + 2 T c superfine brown rice flour (I like Authentic Foods)

2/3 c tapioca starch

1 T baking powder

1/4 t kosher salt

1 1/2 t unflavored gelatin (I like Great Lakes)

2/3 c milk (dairy or non-dairy variety of your choice)

1/2 c olive oil (any variety)

1 t vanilla extract

3 eggs, room temperature

1 c + 2 T granulated sugar

1 T Meyer lemon zest (from one large or two smaller Meyer lemons)

1/3 c Meyer lemon juice (from one large or two smaller Meyer lemons)

1 1/2 T poppy seeds

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Oil a 9-inch round cake pan and dust with brown rice flour. Set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flours, baking powder, salt, and gelatin.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the milk, olive oil, vanilla, eggs, sugar, lemon zest and lemon juice until well-blended and a bit frothy.

Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and whisk until smooth. Add the poppy seeds and whisk again.

Pour the batter into the prepared baking pan. Rap the pan against the counter once or twice to prevent bubbles in the cake. Place on center rack in the oven and bake for 35-40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with a few crumbs clinging to it.

Remove and let cool on a wire rack. Can serve slightly warm.

Makes one 9-inch cake.

Dairy-Free Basics: How to Make Almond Milk

almond milk

When I was struggling with poor digestion, I had trouble not only with gluten and dairy, but often, I struggled with digesting carrageenan and gums, such as guar and xanthan gum. In order to avoid these ingredients, I rarely ate gluten-free baked goods that contained gums, which sometimes was difficult. But even more difficult was finding a non-dairy milk that I could use that was gum and carrageenan-free.

So I decided to make it myself.

If you’re new to dairy-free, struggle with digesting gums, or are just looking for a simple way to enjoy a non-dairy beverage without resorting to store-bought “milks”, making almond milk is an easy alternative, and only takes a few minutes of active time. In my opinion, the flavor is also superior to the store-bought milks, and you can customize the milk to be as thick or thin as you desire.

With just raw almonds, fresh water, a pinch of salt, and an optional sweetener, you can make this at home! Here’s how:

Print Recipe

Almond Milk Recipe (gluten-free, vegan, sugar-free)

1 c raw almonds

3 c filtered water

pinch salt

optional: 1/2 t maple syrup, agave nectar, or honey

Add the almonds to a medium bowl and cover with water. Allow to soak for at least 4 hours and up to 8. Drain.

Place soaked almonds, 3 cups fresh water, salt and optional sweetener into a blender. Blend on medium speed until smooth and frothy (with a high-powered blender, this won’t take but a minute; with a regular blender, you may need to blend for several minutes).

Using a nut milk bag, a clean flour sack towel, or several layers of fine cheesecloth, strain the milk into a bowl or large container. Be sure to squeeze the bag or towel to get all of the milk out, leaving only the pulp behind. Discard the pulp (I find it works well in my compost pile) and refrigerate the milk. Use within 4-5 days, and be sure to shake before use.

Makes about 3 cups milk.

Almond-Coconut Granola

almond coconut granolaSchool has been in session for a few months now. Chances are, the kids are tiring of the same ol’ stuff that is being packed in their lunchboxes. Sure, those bags of gluten-free crackers and applesauce cups were exciting in August, but now that it’s November, they’re old hat. You’re in need of something new. Something reasonably healthy. And something you wouldn’t mind packing in your own lunch, because, let’s face it: you’re tired of the same ol’ stuff as well.

Enter homemade gluten-free granola.

This almond-coconut granola is unlike most granola recipes. First of all, there are no oats. There’s also no butter or oil either. It’s supremely easy to make – simply mix up the ingredients, spread out on a baking sheet, and bake for a few minutes. And the results far outweigh the effort involved. You are rewarded with a slightly sweet, crunchy mix filled with almond-y, coconut-y goodness. It’s perfect for snacking, or for topping yogurt or even making a parfait. I personally have never gotten past eating it straight out of hand. It’s also nearly gone in just a few days every time I make it. It’s very more-ish. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

Print Recipe

Almond Coconut Granola (gluten-free, vegan, refined sugar-free)

 1 1/3 cups almonds, toasted and chopped

1 brown rice cake, crumbled (equals about ½ cup) (I used Lundberg rice cakes)

1/8 teaspoon salt

¼ cup chopped pitted dates

¼ cup large unsweetened coconut flakes, toasted

1 tablespoon chia seeds

1/3 cup brown rice syrup (I used Lundberg brown rice syrup)

1/8 teaspoon almond extract

1/8 teaspoon coconut extract

 Preheat the oven to 300 degrees. In a large bowl, add almonds, brown rice cake crumbles, salt, dates, coconut flakes, and chia seeds. Pour brown rice syrup, almond and coconut extracts over and toss to combine everything and get everything coated evenly with the syrup.

 Line a baking sheet with foil or parchment paper. Spread mixture out on the baking sheet evenly. Bake for 15-18 minutes, stopping to stir every 5 minutes or so, to ensure even cooking. Allow to cool to room temperature and store in an air-tight container.

Homestyle Meatloaf

Meatloaf. It’s one of those polarizing meals, it seems. Most people either hate it or love it. Personally, I think that has a lot to do with what meatloaf you grew up eating – some people had some unappetizing versions that haunt them forever. (Or maybe it was those bad memories of the song “I Would Do Anything For Love” that’s so haunting?)  In my mind, though, there is only the ultimate comfort food version of meatloaf, packed full of flavor, warming, and the perfect neighbor to a big pile of mashed potatoes on your plate.

My Mom wasn’t a great cook, but she had a few dishes she made that were definitely family favorites. Her meatloaf evokes fond memories for me. While my version is likely quite a bit different than hers, one thing remains a constant – the ketchup topping. I’ve opted instead to use a corn syrup free version – and sometimes might even make my own – but it’s still ketchup. Sure, there are more refined ways to top a meatloaf. But in my opinion, meatloaf isn’t about refinement. It’s about comfort. And by the way my family manages to devour the entire pan, I’d say comfort wins.

Homestyle Meatloaf (grain-free, dairy-free)

1 small onion

1 celery stalk

3 cloves garlic

1 carrot, peeled

1 T olive oil

1/2 lb spicy ground pork sausage

1 lb ground beef

1 lb ground pork (or another pound of ground beef)

1 egg plus 1 T chia meal

¾ c almond flour (can substitute gluten-free breadcrumbs or oats)

1 t kosher salt

1 ½ t freshly ground black pepper

2-3 sprigs fresh thyme, leaves picked and chopped (1 t)

2-3 leaves fresh sage, leaves chopped (1 t)

1/3 c minced fresh parsley leaves

2 tsp plus 1 dash Worcestershire sauce

1/3 c ketchup (I like to use either Annie’s or Organicville, or sometimes even make my own)

 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

 Cut onion, celery rib, garlic, and carrot into large pieces. Place in a food processor and blitz until the vegetables resemble a coarse paste.

 In large skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add vegetable mixture and cook, stirring, for about 5 minutes. Remove from heat.

 In a large bowl, combine the sausage, ground beef, ground pork, eggs and chia seed meal, almond flour, vegetable mixture, salt, pepper, herbs, and 2 teaspoons Worcestershire. Form into a loaf and put into loaf pan. Mix remaining ketchup with dash of Worcestershire sauce, and cover loaf with sauce.

 Bake loaf for one hour.

Pear Buckwheat Cake

It’s been a while since I’ve made a rustic cake like this. Something that could be as welcome at a breakfast or brunch table as after dinner. Something your grandmother might make. Something unpretentious; something that just says “Hey, it’s late summer, sit down and enjoy some pear cake.”

I’d picked up some small pears at the farmer’s market, and they sat around in my kitchen for about a week. I knew I wanted to do something with them, but wasn’t sure what. I wasn’t up for making jam. (Although I need to sometime before pear season is over – I’m out of habanero pear from last year!) I opted instead for cake. After all, who doesn’t like cake?

Buckwheat happened to be the perfect compliment to the subtle sweetness of the pears. Now, I am not really a fan of store-bought buckwheat flour. It’s really strong in flavor. However, if you take raw buckwheat groats and grind them (I use my Vitamix), the flour that results is much lighter in flavor – something that’s more readily accepted by the gluten-eaters. It also doesn’t overwhelm the pears. And even if your flour isn’t powder-fine (mine wasn’t), there’s no residual gritty texture once the cake is baked. Buckwheat flour isn’t for everything, but in this cake, it was lovely.

Of course, if you don’t have access to raw buckwheat groats, you could simply substitute sorghum flour or superfine brown rice flour. I haven’t tried these substitutions myself, but since they are similarly weighted flours, I imagine they would substitute pretty well. Don’t have pears? Apple slices would make an equally delicious cake. The beauty of a cake like this? It’s opportunistic. What you have available is what you use. (That’s often how many recipes appear here, to tell the truth!)

Print Recipe

Pear Buckwheat Cake (gluten-free, dairy-free)

6 T vegan butter, softened

¾ c plus 2 T sugar

1 large egg

1 t vanilla extract

¼ t almond extract

½ c buckwheat flour (raw buckwheat groats ground)

¼ c sweet white rice flour

¾ c arrowroot starch

¼ + 1/8 t guar gum

2 ½ t baking powder

Pinch salt

½ c coconut milk

1 T grated lemon zest

About 1 lb pears, peeled, cored, and thickly sliced

Confectioner’s sugar, for serving

 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Oil a 9-inch springform pan and dust with sweet white rice flour.

Beat the butter and ¾ cup sugar in a large bowl with an electric mixer until creamy. Add the egg, vanilla and almond extracts and beat for about a minute on medium.

Whisk together the flours, baking powder, guar gum and salt in a bowl. Add the flour to the butter mixture a little at a time, alternating with the coconut milk, beating well after each addition. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and beat for at least another minute or until everything is well mixed. Add the lemon zest and mix in.

Scrape the batter into the prepared springform pan and spread out evenly with a spatula. Arrange the pear slices in a circle on the top of the batter, starting at the edge of the pan and standing them on end with the narrow point in the batter. Fill the center with as many slices as you can fit. They should be close together. Sprinkle the top with the remaining 2 tablespoons of sugar.

Bake for about 50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the cake (not the pears) comes out clean.

Allow the cake to cool on a wire rack, removing the outer ring after about 10 minutes. Once completely cool, serve, dusted with confectioner’s sugar, if desired.

Blueberry Syrup at The Balanced Platter

Today over at The Balanced Platter, I’m sharing an easy recipe to make blueberry syrup. It’s a delicious way to save some of summer’s best for the non-blueberry months of the year. Head on over and check it out!

Cold Brew Iced Coffee


This isn’t really a planned post, but I thought maybe I shouldn’t keep the amazingness all to myself. So you’ll have to be satisfied with an iPhone photo over something that comes from my DSLR. I’m sure you’ll let it slide…this time. Right?

I have recently learned the ways of cold brew coffee. And my friends, it is truly amazing.

Normally, I drink my coffee black. And hot. I tend to be a coffee snob, buying high-quality beans (and if I can find them locally roasted, even better) as much as I possibly can. When you drink coffee black, the taste of the bean is something you can’t compromise on. There’s no sugar or cream to hide the flavor. At least, that’s my opinion.

Of course, then I break all those rules by drinking coffee at the bowling alley where my hubby and I spend Sunday mornings together, and it’s cheap, mediocre coffee. But hey. I gotta keep my coffee snob level down to a minimum as much as possible, right?

Now, the whole game changed when I decided to try to cold brew my coffee. The flavor of the coffee is different. I’m using the same beans, but it’s a totally different experience. It’s smoother. Less acidic. And because of that, you pick up different notes in the coffee that you wouldn’t taste if it were brewed hot. Not to mention the fact that it’s iced makes it infinitely more refreshing. Especially on mornings when the thermometer already reads 80 degrees F when I wake up. And while I have no idea if this method makes for a more highly caffeinated cup of coffee, it sure seems that way – it’s a welcome jolt for my drive into work!

What makes this even more appealing? It’s not any harder to do than brewing regular coffee. You stick coffee grounds and water in the fridge the night before, and the next morning, you filter it. That’s it. If you have a French press, you can do this easily. I don’t, so I throw my grounds and water in a quart-sized jar, and then strain through a fine-meshed strainer with a coffee filter lining it. Easy peasy.

I prefer mine with a splash of coconut milk and a smaller splash of maple syrup. Not a lot of either, as I really still want to taste the coffee itself. While I’m fine without cream or sugar in a hot cup of coffee, I really enjoy that little extra in my iced coffee. It’s a divine way to start the morning.

Print Recipe

Cold Brew Iced Coffee (gluten-free, vegan, refined sugar-free)

3/4 – 1 cup coffee grounds (I prefer closer to a cup, as I like my coffee strong)

3 1/2 cups water

Coconut milk, maple syrup, and ice, for serving

Place coffee grounds and water in a French press or a quart-sized jar, making sure the grounds get submerged into the water. (I shake my jar a bit.) Place in refrigerator overnight.

The following morning, push down the plunger on the French press, and your coffee is ready. If you used a jar, then place a fine-meshed strainer over a large measuring cup and line with a coffee filter (this is optional – if you don’t mind a rogue coffee ground getting in your coffee, you can skip). Pour the coffee through the strainer/filter. You may have to stop and allow it to drip through, so doing this in stages may be needed.

To serve your iced coffee, divide into two 16 oz mason jars (or similarly sized glasses). Stir in a desired amount of coconut milk and maple syrup. (For me personally, this is about 1 1/2 tablespoons of coconut milk and about 2 teaspoons of maple syrup.) Add ice, and enjoy.

Makes 2 servings.

Blueberry Breakfast Bread

What do you do when you buy a dozen pints of blueberries at once?

What, you don’t buy a dozen pints of blueberries? I thought that was a normal thing. I’m actually worried that I need to buy more. I froze most of them so I can have blueberries throughout the year for smoothies and baked goods, but I also shoved as many as I could in my mouth. Both fresh and frozen. Frozen blueberries are amazing. Almost like chilly, refreshing candy. Something you must try at one point. But really, I must get more. Last year, I ran out months before the summertime came, and it was a sad, lonely, blueberry-less time for me.

But anyway, besides all of that storing and munching of blueberries, I managed to save enough to make a little breakfast bread. I wanted something tasty to go with coffee – a lightly sweet, delicious treat. This was just the thing. Slathered with a little vegan butter, it was perfect. I could barely wait the time it took to cool – and I still ate my slice when it was quite warm. Definitely warm enough to melt that butter. And then I had another slice. You know, for research purposes. I had to make sure it was good enough for all you wonderful people.

I highly suggest you “invest” in some blueberries before the season is over, and set aside a few for a breakfast bread like this. You won’t be sorry. It’s a great little pick-me-up.

Print Recipe

Blueberry Breakfast Bread (grain-free, refined sugar-free, paleo, dairy-free)

3 T canned full-fat coconut milk

1 T lemon juice (from 1 lemon)

2 T coconut oil, melted (but not hot)

1/4 c + 2 T coconut palm sugar

1 t lemon zest (from 1 lemon)

2 eggs, room temperature, whisked in a small bowl

1 t vanilla extract

1/4 c blanched almond flour

1/4 c coconut flour

3 T tapioca starch

3/4 t baking soda

1/2 t kosher salt

1 c fresh blueberries

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Oil a small loaf pan (mine is about 2 1/2″ X 5 1/2 “) and set aside. In a medium bowl, whisk together the coconut milk and lemon juice. Then add the coconut oil, coconut sugar, lemon zest, eggs, and vanilla and whisk until well-blended.

In a large bowl, whisk together the almond and coconut flours, the tapioca starch, baking soda, and salt. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and whisk together until well-blended. Fold in the blueberries. Scrape the batter into the prepared loaf pan and bake for 40-45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow to cool for 10-15 minutes before slicing.

Serves 4.

Chocolate Protein “Frosty”

It’s getting warm outside, and you’ve just come inside from an afternoon of soccer games, a run, softball, or even just mowing the lawn. It’s hot, and you want a refreshing treat – something cool, creamy and delicious. But you want a healthier treat. Why not try a Chocolate Protein “Frosty“? It’s easy to whip up and definitely hits the spot. Check out my recipe (and learn about some good, healthy sources of protein) over at The Balanced Platter today!