Thursday, July 10, 2014

Rosemary Olive Oil Crackers (GF)

I started making these crackers after coming across this recipe for vegan gluten-free crackers. So many crackers in stores nowadays are full of enriched flour and ingredients that I can't pronounce, so I wanted to make my own. I like knowing what I'm putting into my body.

 I adapted this recipe according to what I had at home. They're a huge hit here, I make them every week or two and keep them in an airtight container.

Feel free to get creative with them. You can sprinkle garlic granules or onion powder for extra flavor. Personally, I like the rosemary-olive oil combination best.


1 1/4 cup gf oat flour
3 tablespoons ground chia seeds (measured after grinding)
1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
1/2 tsp salt
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon maple syrup or honey
1/4 cup filtered water

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.

In a bowl combine all the ingredients. Mix well and let sit for a minute or two. It will appear to be too wet but as it sits the ground chia seeds will start to absorb the liquid. Remove from bowl and knead until it forms a nice dough.

Split the dough in two even rounds and roll each one out between to pieces of parchment paper. You want the dough to be very thin, like a cracker, but not so thin that it would rip. Cut the dough into any shape you want, I've done squares, rectangles, diamonds, and circles (with a small biscuit cutter). Place on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet making sure to leave about a centimeter of space between each one. You may have to bake in two rounds if you can't fit them all on one sheet.

Bake for 10-12 minutes, or until lightly golden, making sure to check half way through. Sprinkle with sea salt once you remove from the oven and enjoy!

Copycat Levain Cookies

I went to New York last summer and stopped by Levain Bakery after a friend told me I had to try their cookies.

Since then, I've been completely obsessed with trying to recreate the recipe at home. I tried a ton of recipes, read a ton of blogs/forums/discussions regarding the potential 'secret ingredients' in these delicious cookies. I tried letting the dough rest 36 hours, I tried adding cornstarch to the dough, I tried all different baking temperatures, and I even tried adding powdered sugar instead of granulated sugar. I could never quite get the recipe right, somethings was always off.

Until now.

I think I have discovered a way to recreate the Levain Bakery chocolate chip cookie at home. It came to me out of no where after I was reading a forum about the bakery. Someone mentioned that they thought Levain Bakery used super hot bread baking ovens to get their cookies to crisp up so perfectly. So I thought to myself, okay, I'll try to mimic the ovens by preheating a baking sheet in the oven and throwing some ice cubes on it after putting the cookies in the oven.

I had attempted this cookie recipe several times and given the batches to my husband to take to work. His coworkers would always ask him when I was going to make my "scone cookies" again. I didn't think anything of it at first-maybe it's their shape?

Then it hit me. Why am I not making these using a scone baking technique?! I mean, it makes perfect sense. The Levain cookies are buttery and fluffy, yet perfectly crisp on the outside. Unlike any cookie I've ever had before… EXACTLY. So I decided to cut in the butter rather than beat it until it's fluffy, like all the other chocolate chip cookie recipes out there.

BINGO. This created the fluffy cookie texture that I wanted. Also, after much trial and error, I decided on a combination of bread flour and cake flour for the cookies, rather than all-purpose flour. Combined with under-baking and the high oven temp/ice cubes, I was able to create the BEST copycat cookie recipe (I think) so far. Give it a try and be sure to tell me what you think.

 Personally, I don't add walnuts to the cookies because I don't like walnuts, but feel free to add them.

I also made mine half the size of the real Levain cookies, but you can do whatever you want. The recipe below calls for the normal size, but feel free to make them half that size and cut the baking time down to about 10 minutes


 2 cups cake flour
1 1/4 cups bread flour
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
2 sticks COLD unsalted butter, cubed
2 eggs (cold)
1 tsp vanilla
1- 1 1/2 cups good quality chocolate chips
3/4 cup toasted walnuts (optional)

 In a bowl whisk together eggs and vanilla and set aside. In a separate bowl sift together first 7 ingredients (dry ingredients). Cut the butter into the dry ingredients until it resembles crumbles. Pour in the egg mixture and mix until just incorporated. Carefully add in chocolate chips and incorporate. Do not over mix, you want them to be rough and scone-like.

Put the dough in the fridge while preheating the oven.

Set oven at 425 degrees and place a baking pan on the bottom rack to heat up (for the ice cubes). When the oven has reached 425 degrees, remove the dough from the refrigerator and scoop the dough into baseball sized mounds. (Yes, I said baseball sized. If you have never had these cookies, they are MASSIVE). You want it to look rough, not smooth like a ball.

Place the dough mounds on a greased baking sheet and slightly push down. Place on the center rack of the oven. Add 3 ice cubes to the empty baking pan in the oven and close the oven door immediately. This creates steam to give the cookies that wonderful crispy outer layer.

Bake for 12-15 minutes, depending on your oven, and watch closely. Ideally you want them to have a light golden color, but also appear to be under baked.


Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Weekly Menu

I decided to start posting my dinner menus for each week. I usually write each meal down on our chalkboard and let my husband choose which one he wants for dinner. It leaves room for about as much spontaneity as possible with meal planning. Here's our menu from last week!
I feel that it's important to have a good mixture of meals. Some vegetarian, some vegan, some paleo, and some that are just flat out fattening and indulgent. We love to have 'app night' about once every two weeks. If it weren't for the fact that I'm trying to stay away from cheese, I would have it every night. Cheese is my weakness. Along with fries… and burgers… and bread…

Peanut Butter-Banana Green Smoothie

This smoothie is so incredibly easy and so delicious. The peanut butter flavor over powers all of the veggie flavor, and it's super creamy and sweet from the bananas and dates. I love to have this smoothie for breakfast, or even as a post-workout meal. It holds you over for hours.

I use an organic, non-GMO powered peanut butter because it's lower in fat and calories spoonful for spoonful than regular peanut butter, but you can use any type of nut butter you like. The great thing about this smoothie is that it's super versatile, you can throw in pretty much any veggies you like, given that the flavor is not too over-powering. Some great add-in's are kale, spinach, avocado, zucchini, or any mild tasting vegetable or fruit. However, using banana is key in this recipe as it allows for the smoothie to be creamy.

Ingredients: 1 serving

1 chopped frozen banana
1 date (optional)
1 cup almond milk
1 cup spinach
1/2 cup chopped zucchini
1 tablespoon peanut butter powder (or regular peanut butter)
sweetener to taste (stevia, honey, maple syrup, agave, etc)

Place all ingredients into a blender and blend on high until smooth and creamy.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Cauliflower Crust Pizza Revisited

I posted a cauliflower crust pizza recipe last year, but since then I'm come to perfect my recipe. With the addition of coconut flour instead of almond flour, I've discovered that the pizza gets much more sturdy after baking. I also added some mozzarella cheese in with the cauliflower 'dough' to help hold it together and give it a bit more crunch. This one definitely holds up, no silverware needed!
Give it a try!

Due to the fact that my husband gets home so late from work, I only have horrible lighting to work with. Hopefully I'll be able to take better photos soon!

Ingredients: Serves 2 people (you can easily double the recipe if you'd like)

1/2 head of cauliflower, cut into florets
1/4 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1/4 cup parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon coconut flour
1/8 teaspoon garlic powder (or 1 clove of minced garlic)
1/8 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon psyllium seed husks (will work without it)
1 egg

In a steaming pot steam the cauliflower florets until soft and set aside to cool.

In a bowl mash or rice the cauliflower florets until they resemble white rice. Place the riced cauliflower in a mesh cloth or rag and squeeze excess water out over a bowl or into your kitchen sink. You really want to squeeze the crap out of it and get as much water out as possible, thus allowing your crust to get nice and crispy. 

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Return riced cauliflower to a bowl, it should resemble a dry puree or dough. Add in all the remaining ingredients, mixing and kneading well until completely combined. On a baking sheet lined with parchment paper (that has been sprayed with cooking spray or oil) mold the cauliflower dough into a rectangular shape. I find the rectangle shape allows the dough to crisp up the best, but you can also do two round personal pizza's instead.

Bake pizza for 20-25 minutes or until it just starts to brown on the top. Remove from oven and carefully add pizza toppings of choice. I did kale and mozzarella with truffle oil for me and pepperoni for my husband. Bake for another 10 minutes or so.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Zucchini Waffles - Gluten Free

I came up with this recipe when I had some extra zucchini lying around, and I wanted to somehow sneak it into my husband's breakfast. He hates eggs/omelettes, so I had to do something sweet, but zucchini bread takes over an hour to make. So I came up with this zucchini waffles recipe and Brett LOVED them. They're full of good-for-you ingredients and you can't even taste the zucchini. Perfect for picky eaters.

Ingredients:  makes 2-4 waffles

3/4 cup gluten free oat flour
1/4 cup buckwheat flour
1/2 cup almond flour
1 tsp psyllium seed husks
2 packets stevia
1 tbsp olive oil (or coconut oil)
1 egg (can sub chia or flax egg)
3/4 cup almond milk
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup grated zucchini

Blend wet ingredients in blender, then pour into a bowl. Fold in dry ingredients. If batter is too dry, add hour almond milk as needed. Pour batter into waffle iron as directed. Serve with pure maple syrup, fruit, or nut butter or choice.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Meal Planning and Sample Grocery List

I've had a few people ask me about meal planning each week, so I decided to post my grocery list and meals I have planned for this week. This can give you an idea of exactly how easy meal planning can be, and it also helps to make your grocery trip a lot easier and quicker. Brett and I also never eat lunch out, unless we have a day off together, so I also included lunch meals/ingredients into the grocery list. We often eat leftovers for lunch, however.

Almost all of these meals are gluten free, however I do use some soy sauce that contains gluten. I choose to eat gluten when we eat out, in moderation, because it doesn't bother me all that much. I also firmly believe in EVERYTHING IN MODERATION. No foods are completely off limits, unless they're horrible for you. Like soda, in which case, I have zero desire to drink.

Meals this Week:

Monday: Spring Rolls with Quinoa and Peanut Dipping Sauce
Tuesday: Chicken Sausage and Lentil Veggie Soup
Wednesday: Cauliflower Crust Pizza and Salad
Thursday: Pho
Friday: (Eat Out, Parent's in Town)
Saturday: Mexican Black Bean Pizzas
Sunday: (Eat Out)
Monday: Chicken with Roasted Sweet Potatoes and Veggies

Lunches For Bree: Miso Soup with Veggies, Black Bean Patties and Salad, Zucchini/Cucumber Salad w/ Peanut Sauce, Tempeh and Veggies, Leftovers)

Lunches for Brett: Caprese Quinoa Salad, Leftover Soup, Leftover Cauliflower Pizza, Veggie Sandwich, Tomato Soup)

Breakfasts: Yogurt and Granola, Sweet Potato Muffins, Oatmeal and Almond Milk, Green Smoothies, Hard Boiled Eggs

This weeks menu is a bit different as I am having a flare up of silent reflux, and in order to get my acid back under control, I am having to cut back on all citrus, tomatoes, garlic, and onions. And sadly, coffee and wine, which is so hard for me. Anyways, back to this weeks grocery list. I put the meals that each ingredient will be used in in parentheses.

I go to two grocery stores because I know that some things are cheaper at certain places than others. And Whole Foods has certain ingredients that I can't get at Trader Joe's.

Trader Joes:

1 Pack Organic Zucchini       (Sausage Lentil Soup, Lunches)

1 Bag Organic Broccoli Florets    (Pho, Miso Soup, Tempeh and Veggies)

1 Bag Organic Baby Romaine    (Pho, Salads)

1 Bag Organic Spinach       (Pho, Salads, Green Smoothies)

1 Bag Organic Sweet Potatoes   (Chicken w/ Roasted Sweet Potatoes and Veggies, Muffins)

1 Cauliflower head      (Cauliflower Pizza Crust, Chicken and Roasted Veggies)

1 Organic Cucumber     (Spring Rolls, Zucchini/Cucumber Salad, Miso Soup)

5 Bananas           (For my reflux and Smoothies)

1 Bag of Organic Quinoa      (Spring Rolls, Caprese Quinoa Salad)

1 Box Organic Tomato Soup     (Brett's Lunches)

1 Dozen Eggs   (Breakfasts)

1 Box Ginger Miso Soup Broth      (Pho)

1 Box Low Sodium Organic Chicken Broth     (Sausage Lentil Soup)

1 Package Organic Free Range Chicken Tenders      (Chicken and Roasted Veggies)

1 Bottle of Dark Horse Cabernet Sauvignon   (MY FAVORITE)

Whole Foods:

1 Bunch Organic Asparagus  (Sausage Lentil/Veggie Soup, Chicken and Roasted Veggies)

2 Bunches Organic Kale   (Salads, Green Smoothies, Sausage Lentil/Veggie Soup)

1 Cantelope   (For my reflux)

1 Container Greek Yogurt   (Breakfasts)

1 Liter Almond Milk      (Breakfasts)

1 Bag of Dried Organic Black Beans  (Mexican Black Bean Pizza)

Aloe Juice   (For my reflux)

1 Package Raw Cheddar Cheese    (Mexican Black Bean Pizza, Snacks)

1 Bag Organic Brown Rice      (Just to have on hand)

1 Bag Organic Popcorn Kernels      (Snacks, Just to have on hand)

2 Perfect Bars    (Snacks)

Things I Already Had at Home:

Mozzarella Cheese   (Cauliflower Pizza, Caprese Quinoa Salad)

Condiments for Dressings/Dipping Sauces  

Brown Rice Thai Noodles     (Pho)

Dry Lentils     (Chicken Sausage Lentil/Veggie Soup)

Chicken Sausage    (Saved from last week and frozen for Soup this week)

Brown Rice Tortillas  (Mexican Black Bean Pizza)

Brown Rice Paper Wrappers  (Spring Rolls)


Creamer    (So bad for us, but I can't live without my International Delight)

Tomatoes   (Caprese Quinoa Salad, Mexican Black Bean Pizza)


Onions, Both Green and Red

Bread  (Gluten Free and Regular Crusty Table Loaf,  kept in freezer)

Organic Vegan Frozen Black Bean Patties       (Bree's Lunches)

There it is, I hope that's not confusing. Just an example of how I try to use ingredients all week so that as little food as possible goes bad. You don't have to buy all organic, I just try to.

As I've been doing research on Silent Reflux lately, I discovered that a lot of packaged foods have acid added to them to increase their shelf life. While this is much more convenient for me, it isn't great for someone with excess acid. In fact, it's probably not great for anyone. So as a result, I've been looking more closely at ingredients list on the labels and discovered that SO many things have absorbic acid, lactic acid, or citric acid added to them. Even organic products. That is why for this week, and probably from now on, I bought dried beans and zero canned ingredients. We will see how that goes.