Chocolate not oat meal (instant breakfast cereal)

One of my favourite breakfasts growing up was a bowl of piping hot and steamy Chocolate Oatmeal. 

This morning I ran out of dried fruit for our regular chia cereal, so out of necessity I had to come up with a quick and easy alternative.

Then it occurred to me…. could I make something akin to ‘chocolate oatmeal’ with chia seeds?

Why yes, mam you can! And it’s better than the original (I prefer chia over oats any day).

Instead of chocolate, I used carob powder because it is a fruit that tastes like chocolate- without the caffeine. While using cocoa would be delicious, save that for dessert and start the day off right with this more nourishing version.

This recipe is kid tested and approved!

 

Chocolate Not Oat Meal
(serves 1)

1/4 cup chia seed
1/2 cup plus 1 Tbsp boiling hot water (or more to the texture you like).
1 tsp carob powder (or to taste, but you might have to add more water to absorb it)
1 tsp honey (or to taste)
pat of butter
cinnamon
1/4 cup cream/milk
optional: sliced banana on top!

How to do it:
Step 1 Boil water in a kettle.
Step 2: Place all ingredients in a bowl except cream and cinnamon.
Step 3: Pour boiling water on top and stir until butter is melted and the carob is distributed evenly.
Step 4: Pour in the cream, sprinkle cinnamon on top and stir.
Step 5: Let sit for 3 min.
Step 6: Serve with fresh ripe banana rounds on top!

Coconut Bean Nut Butter Fudge

This healthy homemade fudge packs a powerful protein punch not only because of the peanut butter, but also because of the beans! Along with the nourishing and grounding nutrition of coconut oil, these are not only nutrient dense, but a delicious treat you can feel great about serving up as a lovely afternoon or after dinner snack!

Coconut Bean Nut Butter Fudge 

What you will need:
3/4 cup of dried navy beans
1 cup peanut/almond butter
4-6 Tbsp honey
1 Tbsp vanilla extract
1 cup coconut oil
warmed to a liquid on the stove.
alteration: use butter instead of coconut oil or a combination of the two

How to do it: 
1) Soak beans overnight in plenty of water plus a splash of apple cider vinegar, then the discard water and cook in a crock pot with fresh water on low for 8 hours.
2) Rinse cooked beans and process with remaining ingredients.
3) Spread into a pie plate or other suitable dish (a la your desire) and then refrigerate until firm.
4) Cut into small pieces and serve immediately or layer into a food storage container with parchment or wax paper in between the layers.

Almond Flour Birthday Cake

This recipe is inspired and adapted from my new favourite cookbook: Grain Free Gourmet (if you are grain free, run, don’t walk to get this cookbook)!

I was trying to make their lemon cake but totally didn’t read the instructions! I thought the lemon custard part was the icing, but it was supposed to be part of the batter!

This time the mistake was a blessing really, because this basic cake recipe works well with pretty much any kind of icing on top- we’ve done chocolate too! It is easy and no one will know it isn’t wheat, especially if you use a less granular almond flour.

Almond Flour Birthday Cake

What you will need:
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup honey (add a 1/4 cup if you are going to serve them as cupcakes)
1/2 tsp unrefined salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
4 cups almond flour (I use Bob’s Red Mill)
1/2 cup yogurt
1/2 cup water
3 whole eggs
1 Tbsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp almond extract (optional)

How to do it:
1) Mix almond flour, water and yogurt in a glass or stainless steel bowl.
2) Cover with a cloth and let stand 4hrs (optional).
3) Melt butter and honey (if solid) on the stovetop.
4) Blend all remaining ingredients into the batter with a fork or electric mixer.
5) Generously coat a muffin tray with butter or coconut oil.
6) Bake at 325 degrees for 40 min.

Variations: Add citrus juice 1/4 cup, plus the rind (as shown in the photo!)

 

Juice Jello

 

Read the label on that box of Jello and you’ll discover that along with gelatin, it includes: white sugar (or artificial sweetener), artificial colour and artificial flavouring.

Sounds like the perfect recipe for bouncing off the walls, doesn’t it?

No mother wants that, yet most children love jello! What to do?

Want to discover the perfect alternative to conventional Jello?

I love this simple homemade juice jello recipe.

Not only does it make a great snack, but it can help the kids transition off of the juice habit. 

Gelatin is not only a protein rich, nourishing and easy to digest food, but it also helps to mitigate the impact of the concentrated sugars in juice-by slowing down their absorption and thus preventing your child from suffering the emotional roller coaster ride of sugar highs and lows.

Juice Jello 

Ingredients:

2 Tbsp Gelatin (from animals raised on pasture)  ie: Great Lakes
2 cups juice (Ceres Mango in the photo)

Instructions:

Step 1 Mix the gelatin into 1/2 cup of the fruit juice in a medium sized saucepan on low heat. Stir or whisk until dissolved completely.

Step 2: Mix with remaining juice and pour into dish or gelatin mould (I found mine at a second hand store).

Step 3 Cover with lid (or plastic wrap) and refrigerate overnight or until set.

Step 4 Serve with a generous dallop of whipping cream or slightly sweetened crème Fraiche on top for added nutrition and that grounding quality that keeps the kids calm.

Enjoy!

GAPS Pancakes (grain free, dairy free)

Can you imagine it? Pancakes-w/o flour?

I remember the first time I heard of GAPS pancakes- it was hard for me to conceptualize that one could even make pancakes without flour!

At the time I watched a youtube of a lady making the tiny toonie size pancakes and the whole idea seemed time consuming and delicate -so I never bothered.

This year though, as our family speeds through the intro stages for a digestive reset, I decided to give them a try. As you can see from the photo, they are a wee bit overcooked (I was busily flipping pancakes and whipping up answers in our Cultured Kitchen forum at the same time)!

The recipe is adapted from Internal Bliss- my version includes baked squash for more depth and nutrition. These are totally delicious and BTW- you can’t taste the squash! These are kid tested and approved (and my kids are totally squash phobic)!

GAPS Pancakes
(adapted from Internal Bliss Cookbook)
makes 10-15 med pancakes

What you will need:
1 very ripe and large banana
2 heaping tablespoons of peanut butter (seed or other nut butters would work well too)
3 whole eggs
the end of a squash cooked (see photo below)
pinch or two of unrefined sea salt
ghee (clarified butter)

How to do it:
1) Puree all ingredients in a food processor.
2) Add more nut butter if you guess that the batter is too thin (but as you can see from the consistency in the photo, the batter is quite runny and mine still flipped fine on a stainless steel pan)!
3) Turn your element onto medium heat and add generous amounts of ghee (let the ghee heat up before pouring the batter to avoid having it stick to the pan).
4) Let the top of the pancake bubble evenly before flipping.
5) Serve with a pat of ghee on top and drizzled honey.

If you are interested in learning more about our upcoming ‘getting started with GAPS’ e-course, get on the wait list!

Cultured at Birth: Why Healing the Gut fosters a Healthy Baby

What does it mean to be “cultured“ at Birth?

As our babies are being birthed, they are literally being “cultured“ by our vaginal flora.

“The medical science shows that the flora in the vagina comes from the gut. What lives in the woman`s bowel will live in her vagina… in women with recurrent thrush, no matter how many powerful anti fungal topical preparations are used, the thrush always comes back. Until she gets rid of it in the bowel, she is not going to be free from vaginal thrush. But why does this woman have an overgrowth of fungi in her bowel? Because she does not have a healthy gut flora to protect her from this fungus and many other microbial invaders. This woman has a condition called gut dysbiosis. She will not only have an overgrowth of Candida albicans in her gut but lots of other pathogenic microbes, causing many other health problems.“
Dr. Natasha Campbell McBride MD, MMedSci(neurology), MMedSci(nutrition)

Babies aquire their particular microflora balance at birth through the skin, eyes and mucous membranes of their mouth and nose, as they descend through the birth canal.

What happens when moms have gut dysbiosis (an imbalance of good vs. bad bacteria in the gut)?

Mother passes on her own gut flora (for better or for worse) to her baby. The state of mom’s flora has the potential to either promote healthy digestion, immunity and mental capacities or it can compromise her baby’s health right from birth causing a lot of unnecessary pain and suffering for both. Click here to read the article ‘How to prevent colic, diaper rash (and more) in baby’

Besides having a history of antiobiotic use (antibiotics kill our good bacteria leaving no competiton to keep the bad or pathogenic types in check) there are many other digestive, immune and mental indications that we need to restore our bacterial balance (or inner ecosystem).

Here are some key symptoms:

□ allergies and food sensitivities
□ vaginal yeast infections
□ difficulty losing weight
□ fatigue
□ depression
□ bi polar
□ OCD (obsessive compulsive disorder)
□ dyslexia or dyspraxia
□ ADD/ADHD
□ autism/aspergers
□ poor concentration
□ sugar/carb cravings
□ constipation
□ dairrhea
□ poor digestion and digestive disorders
□ acid reflux
□ sleeping poorly and night sweats
□ joint inflammation and stiffness
□ bad breath
□ gum disease and dental problems
□ frequent colds and flus
□ frequent infections
□ chronic yeast problems
□ acne
□ eczema
□ fungal infections
□ menstrual difficulties

If you suffer from 1 or many of the above symptoms you might be wondering how you can find the resources and the support you need to learn how to heal, restore or improve your current microflora balance, right?

Follow this step-by-step guide to improving your microbial balance in pregnancy:

  1. Eliminate white sugar and flour from your diet. If that sounds incredibly difficult or impossible, click here to read the article: How to get off Bread and Sugar-and by the way it is not your fault!
  2. Avoid natural sources of concentrated sugar ie: dried fruit, tropical fruits like bananas and mangoes etc. Instead include sour fruits like kiwi, berries of all kinds and green apples.
  3. Acidify your colon (good bacteria thrive in a lactic acidic rich environment)- eat plenty of cultured foods- start with the kid friendly ones if you are nervous about getting started.
  4. Eliminate all bleached, refined and deodorized fats like: margarine & vegetable oil food products like corn, soy and canola oil from your diet. Replace them with traditional fats like butter and coconut oil for baking and sauteing while using olive oil (raw only) for salad dressing.
  5. Alkalize your blood- modern people are often overfed, yet undernourished. Mineralize deficient blood by eating plenty of cooked green vegetables, crispy seeds, gelatinous bone broth and seaweeds.
  6. Take a probiotic pill with a wide variety of beneficial bacteria (10-14 or more strains) throughout your entire pregnancy and during breastfeeding.
  7. Upgrade the quality of the animal products that you consume to being antibiotic free, from compassionately raised and free range or grass fed animals.
  8. Drink, bathe and shower in water that has been filtered of chlorine (which is also unfortunately an antibiotic).

These practices must be adopted by couples planning to conceive, and by pregnant and breastfeeding women -and moms seeking to prevent common childhood disorders such as asthma, eczema, colic and tummy aches while promoting optimal immune health in their developing baby and children.

For people who don’t have severe digestive problems or a long history of antibiotic use, the aforementioned recommendations will be adequate to restore the gut flora in most cases.

However, in more severe situations such as autism, IBS and other chronic or persistent cases of digestive distress and mental illness, the family must in addition adhere to a grain free diet for 6 months to 2 ½ years to restore the gut back to its optimal state of health.

For more information about how to get started on that path check out our private consulting services or ‘Getting Started with GAPS’ e-course.

Want to learn more?
1) Watch Dr. Natasha Campbell Mc Bride chat about gut health.
1) http://gapsdiet.com/
2) http://bodyecology.com/autism/bedrobroch0609st.pdf

What should you do now, if you didn’t know about this before having your kids? These same steps apply for anyone who suffers from microbial imbalance. It is never too late to improve your own and your family’s health!

Want to learn more and how to make cultured foods at home that please even the kids (and kids at heart)? If you said yes, then check out our Cultured Kids e-course page where we show you a video of how we transform a standard North American lunch into a wholesome probiotic feast!!!

 

Coconut Cream Jello

This simple recipe will please young and old alike!

Recently we discovered pure creamed coconut in the ethnic foods isle at Superstore. While it isn’t organic, I am just happy that it is pure and has no fillers like guar gum -or nasty preservatives like it’s canned counterpart.

Simply open the package and melt it in 1 cup hot water for an alternative to canned coconut.

I thought I’d try using creamed coconut as the base for jello. I am always on the look out for ideas for nutrient dense snacks and add ons for brown bagging it!

Since this recipe is so rich with coconut fiber, it is best to serve in small portions- especially for sensitive bellies.

Coconut Cream Jello

What you will need:
1 box coconut cream
1 cup boiling water
1/4 cup water
2 Tbsp of gelatin
melted honey  to taste (or green leaf stevia powder if you don’t mind your jello being green)!
fresh chopped fruit (optional)
jam- melt and drizzle in before letting it set (optional)

How to do it:
Step 1: Pour 1 cup of boiling hot water on top of creamed coconut. Break apart with a fork as much as possible and let stand for about 5 minutes.
Step 2: Whisk the creamed coconut and water mixture with a fork until coconut is milky (without clumps).
Step 3: Take 1/4 cup water and a 1/4 cup of the coconut/water mixture and add 2 Tbsp gelatin and stir constantly on the stove  at medium high heat until gelatin is dissolved (this will be a little hard to determine because of the colour, but essentially, you shouldn’t see any gelatin sticking to the bottom of the pot when you tip it).
Step 4: Once the gelatin is dissolved, mix it into the rest of the coconut cream.
Step 5: Stir in melted honey to taste.
Step 6: Pour into containers of choice and refrigerate until set.

or alternately,

Step 7: Lay fresh fruit into a container or swirl in jam and pour jello on top for more nutrition, colour and flavour!

We like to set our homemade jello in little canning jars so that we can easily send them with school lunches -literally grab n’ go!

Cinnamon Apple Snap Granola

This is a  family favorite breakfast staple and while I wish I could take the credit for such an ingenious idea, this lovely recipe it is adapted from Sarah Smith’s Nourish and Nurtured blog.

While the original is fantastic, we add in cinnamon and trade the honey for greenleaf stevia, making an amply sweet but more blood sugar balancing version (of course due in part to the cinnamon too).

And yes, I know pecans are expensive, but trust me, it is worth every penny to have this ready made super delicious, digestible and grain free breakfast cereal on hand.

In our house we use this recipe in two stages. First we serve it wet with yogurt and berries for a muesli type dish and then we dehydrate it into a dry cereal- making for more variety (work once and get two different kinds of breakfast meals out of it!).

Cinnamon Apple Snap Granola 

What you will need:
4 cups pecans
2 cups apple sauce
1/2 tsp unrefined salt
1 Tbsp cinnamon
1 tsp greenleaf stevia (ground)

How to do it:
Step 1: Soak pecans in water overnight with 1 Tbsp salt.
Step 2: In the morning strain off the water.
Step 3: Process all ingredients in the food processor by pulsing 10-20 times (see above photo for the right texture).
Step 4: Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper and spread batter evenly.
Step 5: Dehydrate the cereal in your oven set at the lowest temperature until crispy and dry.
Step 6: Store on your counter top in a glass jar.

Serve with homemade nut milk or full fat yogurt. For extra nutrition and flavour add a dollop of creme fraiche or kefir cream and fresh fruit on top!

Enjoy!

Just like White ‘flour’ Dough (but not)

I’ve tried my fair share of grain free pizza doughs. While they all taste good, they often fall apart and rarely look like the real thing.

This recipe has been rocking our kitchen for a few months now and it is sooo versatile. We use it for both pizza and quiche (planning to try it for pie too!)

By the way, almond flour is way more nutritious than whole wheat flour (and of course gluten and grain free). In our house, pizza is a health food!

NOTE: Some almond flours have different behaviors so use more or less depending on the one you have in your kitchen (this recipe uses Bob’s Red Mill brand).

Just like White ‘flour’ Dough

What you will need:
2 1/2 cups almond flour
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese (or nutritional yeast)
1/4 tsp unrefined salt
1/4 cup coconut oil
2 eggs

How to do it:

Step 1: Gently melt coconut oil on the stovetop.
Step 2: Whisk eggs in a small bowl.
Step 3: Put remaining ingredients in a medium size bowl and mix with a fork.
Step 4: Stir whisked eggs into the batter and then stir in the coconut oil in after (otherwise if you stir them both in at the same time, you risk cooking the eggs from the heat of the coconut oil).
Step 5: Form into pizza crust or quiche shell.
Step 6: Bake crust @ 350 degrees F for 10 minutes.
Step 7: Fill or top and then bake until cheese melts for pizza or until eggs set for quiche (this all depending on the recipe you are using for quiche- you might be able to get away without precooking the shell)

Enjoy!