wpid-20141124_184620.jpg

Battered Wheat-free Artichoke Hearts

Fumbling Towards Evolution with Dina

Battered Artichoke Hearts
Battered Artichoke Hearts

I seriously just got choked up. One of my favorite Thanksgiving treats was my grandmother’s fried artichokes hearts. My mother kept up the tradition after grandma passed and it has been a staple at our Thanksgiving giving table for four generations dating back to my great-grandmother. Just last week my cousin asked me for Grandma’s recipe and alas I didn’t know it. What I did know is that it was off-limits. Until now!

My sister and I were discussing this the other day and she said you could make this ‘your way’, translation wheat-free. I never even gave it thought because I know the batter calls for white flour and I just couldn’t think of substitute that would do it justice.

Then as if my grandmother whispered in my ear….use CeCe flour (or chickpea flour). I said it out loud and my sister was like OMG! Panelle battered artichokes, those would be sooo good. Panelle being fried chickpea flour mixed with water, salt, and parsley.

You know what…she was right! These are sooo good!

I had to make healthy so they are fried in coconut oil at medium temperature. They are light, crispy, and the center is the salty brined artichokes. A pleasure for the senses I guarantee you! To honor my grandmother and mother I placed them on one my grandmothers beautiful purple glass plates.

Come to the kitchen…

Ingredients:wpid-20141124_182536.jpg

  • One can of artichokes I like Cento brand
  • 1/2 Cup of Chickpea flour
  • 1/2 Cup of warm water
  • 1/2 Teaspoon of Baking Powder
  • 1/2 Teaspoon of Rapid Rise Yeast
  • 1/8 Teaspoon of Sea Salt
  • A generous sprinkle of pepper
  • 1/4 Cup of Refined* Coconut Oil for frying
  • 4 Sheets of Paper Towel

*Refined coconut oil doesn’t have a coconut taste

Directions:

  1. Mix all your dry ingredients then add water.wpid-20141124_182814.jpg
  2. Whisk until it thickens and set aside.
  3. Drain the can of artichoke hearts of brine and place them in a colander/food strainer.wpid-20141124_182959.jpg
  4. Slice each heart in half and place back in colander.wpid-20141124_183032.jpg
  5. With two paper towels gently press the excess brine water form the hearts.wpid-20141124_183124.jpg
  6. In a medium size frying pan bring your coconut oil hot enough to fry. You can test it by dropping a little batter to see if you browns. wpid-20141124_183300.jpg
  7. Generously dip each heart in the batter, shaking off the excess.wpid-20141124_183359.jpg
  8. Fry on each side until golden brown and lightly re-salt while cooking.wpid-20141124_183406.jpgwpid-20141124_183944.jpg
  9. As these fry they plump up, so gently press them down with a spoon to release excess water/brine.Be careful because the water might spit.
  10. Turn them so both sides get golden brown, then place on a plate lined with paper towel to absorb the excess oil. wpid-20141124_183952.jpg

Tips for storage and re-heating

Battered Wheat-free Artichoke Hearts
Battered Wheat-free Artichoke Hearts
  • Do not cover until they are fully cooled otherwise you have soggy hearts.
  • If you refrigerated place a bowl lined with paper towel to keep them dry.
  • To reheat place on a cookie sheet in a 350 degree oven for 5-8 minutes.
  • These can be served with a dipping sauce, but they honestly don’t need it!

    Battered Artichoke Hearts
    Battered Artichoke Hearts

I know my uncle is going to be happy that I mastered grandmas’ battered artichoke hearts. I’m happy that my family can enjoy them without the impact of wheat!

This girl is thankful….thanks Grandma!

Evolve with me

 

Wheat-free Italian-American Stuffing from Fumbling Towards Evolution with Dina

Wheat-free Italian American Stuffing

Fumbling Towards Evolution with Dina

Wheat-free Italian-American Stuffing from Fumbling Towards Evolution with Dina
Wheat-free Italian-American Stuffing from Fumbling Towards Evolution with Dina

When I started to think about creating a stuffing that would satisfy the masses I was stumped. To me, an Italian American stuffing was always ground pork, with liver, rice, onions and garlic.  Both my Italian grandmothers made it that way and so did my mother with slight variations. No one in family ever put breading in our stuffing. We stuffed our turkeys almost the same way we would stuff a pepper, minus the sauce. Since the second major ingredient was rice I was stuck.

The store-bought stuffing with breading, celery, carrots, and whatever else. This was something we had once in a while with chicken, if that. So how’s a girl to make something that pays homage to her heritage but also satisfy the variety of wheat-free followers.

Well I did both in one and it came out way better than expected. Seriously, when I tasted my creation I thought to myself my grandmothers would be proud. My stuffing has all the things that a good Italian and American stuffing should have. Ground pork, garlic, apples for sweetness, Pancetta for richness, celery and carrots for color, crunch, and vitamins. Can you believe it, there’s toasted “breading” too! This is so good I guarantee your guests won’t know the difference. My croutons not only satisfy the bready consistency, but they hold together beautifully.

Come to the kitchen…

Note: Click on highlighted Wheat-free Focaccia and Bone Broth for those recipes below.

Ingredients:

Wheat-free Italian-American Stuffing from Fumbling Towards Evolution with Dina
Wheat-free Italian-American Stuffing from Fumbling Towards Evolution with Dina
  • 1 pound of ground pork meat
  • 5 thinly sliced pieces of Pancetta (Italian Bacon) or just use bacon
  • 1/4 cup of Olive Oil
  • 2 Tablespoons of Butter
  • 1/4 cup of White Wine
  • 3 diced scallions
  • 1 Large diced onion
  • 3 stalks of finely diced celery
  • 1 large minced diced carrot
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic minced
  • 1 cup of bone broth (I used chicken based bone broth, but wheat-free stock would work too)
  • 3 Tablespoons of grated cauliflower
  • 1 apple diced
  • 1 Cup on chop mushrooms
  • 1 heaping tablespoon of bacon fat
  • 2 Tablespoons of Pinnoli nuts or Pine nuts (you can use pumpkin or sunflower seeds too)
  • 1/4 of Basic Wheat-free Foccacia cubed and toasted with a butter greased pan

Seasonings:

  • 1 Tablespoon of Italian Seasoning (the kind with rosemary in it)
  • 1-2 Leaves of Sage crumbled and sprinkled
  • Sea -Salt and Pepper to taste
  • As much fresh parsley before and after

Directions:

Preheat Oven to 375 degrees

  1. Lightly grease a cookie sheet with butter and bake cubed wheat-free focaccia for about 8-10 minutes or until golden brown and crispy. Set aside.wpid-20141123_112904.jpg wpid-20141123_112927.jpg
    Focaccia Croutons
    Focaccia Croutons
    Wheat-free Focaccia becomes breading.
    Wheat-free Focaccia becomes breading.

    Oven Toasted Focaccia Croutons.
    Oven Toasted Focaccia Croutons.
  2. While that’s crisping up, dice, mince, chop all your onions, scallions, and garlic.

    Onions, scallions, garlic sauteed.
    Onions, scallions, garlic sauteed.
  3.  Heat a large sauce pot on high and add one tablespoons of butter.
  4. Add the onions, garlic, and scallions and cook until slightly caramelized.
  5. Add about 1/2 of your white wine and mix the onion mixture thoroughly.
  6. Roll and chop Pancetta into smaller pieces then saute with the onion mixture on medium.wpid-20141123_114820.jpg wpid-20141123_114901.jpg
  7. Add the ground pork and use a wooden spoon to break up the meat as it cooks.

    Brown ground pork with onion mixture.
    Brown ground pork with onion mixture.
  8. Lightly salt and pepper and continue cooking until all the pork is browned.
  9. Reduce heat to lowest setting and remove pork and onions from the pot and set aside.

    Set aside ground pork after fully cooked.
    Set aside ground pork after fully cooked.
  10. Add another tablespoon of butter and about tablespoon or so of olive oil.
  11. Saute carrots, celery, mushrooms, and apples. wpid-20141123_120505.jpg
  12. Season the vegetable mixture with Italian seasoning mix and sage. Lightly salt and pepper again. wpid-20141123_120549.jpg wpid-20141123_120703.jpg
  13. Add the rest of the white wine and continue to brown on medium heat, then cover for 5-8 minutes so it cooks through.
  14. Raise the heat to high and add 1 cup of bone broth and stir letting the broth evaporate.

    Bone Broth made from poultry.
    Bone Broth made from poultry.
  15. Add the pork mixture back into the pot, stir in the bacon fat and pignoli nuts. wpid-20141123_121248.jpgwpid-20141123_121514.jpg wpid-20141123_121413.jpg wpid-20141123_121426.jpg
  16. Finally, when the entire mixture is combined and 90% of the liquid has evaporated, add in the toasted focaccia bread and mix well.
    Cook until broth is 90% evaporated.
    Cook until broth is 90% evaporated.

    Lastly, add wheat-free "breading".
    Lastly, add wheat-free “breading”.
  17. Sprinkle with fresh parsley and serve!wpid-20141123_122511.jpg
    Wheat-free Italian-American Stuffing from Fumbling Towards Evolution with Dina
    Wheat-free Italian-American Stuffing from Fumbling Towards Evolution with Dina

    wpid-20141123_122533.jpg

If your making your stuffing the day before I would allow it to fully cool before refrigerating so the “bread” part of the stuffing doesn’t get to soggy.

Wheat-free Italian-American Stuffing from Fumbling Towards Evolution with Dina
Wheat-free Italian-American Stuffing from Fumbling Towards Evolution with Dina

If your making the same day go ahead and stuff!

There’s absolutely no reason why you shouldn’t have a delicious traditional stuffing or dressing to accompany your turkey.

Stuffing will last about 4-5 days in refrigerator.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Wheat-free Italian-American Stuffing from Fumbling Towards Evolution with Dina
Wheat-free Italian-American Stuffing from Fumbling Towards Evolution with Dina

Evolve with me

Fumbling Towards Evolution with Dina

Sunken Vanilla Cupcakes with Chocolate Buttercream Frosting

 Fumbling Towards Evolution with Dina

Sunken Vanilla Cupcakes with Chocolate Butter  Cream Frosting by Fumbling Towards Evolution with Dina
Sunken Vanilla Cupcakes with Chocolate Butter Cream Frosting by Fumbling Towards Evolution with Dina

During the summer I made these great cupcakes that were a huge hit with my friends and family. I haven’t made them since, but this weekend I was in a baking mood and decided to make them again.

Vanilla Cupcakes with Chocolate Butter Cream Frosting by Fumbling Towards Evolution with Dina
Vanilla Cupcakes with Dark Chocolate Frosting by Fumbling Towards Evolution with Dina

This time, when I mixed the ingredients I forgot to add coconut flour and realized a little to late. Fumble!!!

As my cupcakes baked I noticed that they didn’t rise in the middle, I’m guessing the absence of coconut flour caused these little guys to look like a crater.wpid-20141115_142605.jpg

When I took them out of the oven I taste-tested one, and wouldn’t you know…absolutely moist and delicious. So I thought ok, lets make lemonade out of lemons.

http://www.slate.com/content/dam/slate/articles/news_and_politics/explainer/2011/12/111228_EX_cupcakes.jpg.CROP.rectangle3-large.jpg
Photo copied from Slate.com

I’m not a huge fan of cupcakes with a pile of frosting on top. I’ve mentioned before I don’t have a sweet tooth.  I usually scrape off about half to three quarters of the frosting. I also hate biting into to one of those tower high cupcakes and getting frosting all over my face. I feel like a sloppy kid a birthday party.

Enter my sunken cupcakes…I whipped up a batter of my creamy chocolate buttercream and spread into the little well of the cupcake. Now we’re talking! The frosting descends slightly into the center, leaving you with a perfectly even cupcake with a chocolaty center.

Fumbling Towards Evolution with Dina
Sunken Vanilla Cupcakes with Chocolate Buttercream Frosting by Fumbling Towards Evolution with Dina

Needless to say I ate two of them, hubby downed one, and my chocolate loving sister devoured another. These are moist, delicious, and a grownup version of your standard cupcake.  Wheat-free, grain-free, low-carb, and totally scrumptious!

Come to the kitchen…

Ingredients:

Recipe yields approximately 24 cupcakes

  • 1 Cup of Almond Flour
  • 1/2 Cup of Hazelnut flour or you could use another 1/2 cup of almond
  • 2 Teaspoons of Baking Powder
  • 1/2 Teaspoon of Baking Soda
  • 1 Cup of Natural Sweetener (I used Coconut Palm Sugar)
  • 1/2 Cup of Salted butter (I used organic grass-fed salted butter, this cuts out adding salt to every recipe, especially sweet ones like this)
  • 1/4 Cup of Coconut or Olive Oil
  • 4 Eggs
  • 1 Teaspoon of Vanilla
  • 1/2 Cup of Heavy Cream
  • 1/4 Buttermilk

Note: To make standard cupcakes with the normal (boring) amount of rise just add 1/4 cup of coconut flour to the dry ingredients.

Directions:

Preheat Oven to 350 degrees

  1. Mix all the almond meal, hazelnut flour, baking powder and baking soda until well combined, set aside.

    Dry batter and creamed butter with sweetener of choice from Fumbling Towards Evolution with Dina
    Dry batter and creamed butter with sweetener of choice from Fumbling Towards Evolution with Dina
  2. In a separate bowl cream together butter, oil, sweetener of choice until almost fluffy with an electric hand mixer.

    Creamed butter, sweetener, and oil. Fumbling Towards Evolution with Dina
    Creamed butter, sweetener, and oil. Fumbling Towards Evolution with Dina
  3. Then one at a time add you eggs and mix on medium with a electric hand mixer, and then vanilla.

    Fumbling Towards Evolution with Dina
    Fumbling Towards Evolution with Dina
  4. Lastly, add heavy cream and buttermilk to the egg, butter, sweetener mixture. When fully combined mix together with the dry ingredients.
    Fumbling Towards Evolution with Dina
    Fumbling Towards Evolution with Dina
    Fumbling Towards Evolution with Dina
    Fumbling Towards Evolution with Dina

    Fumbling Towards Evolution with Dina
    Fumbling Towards Evolution with Dina
  5. Get a large muffin tin and line with paper or parchment cups. If you use parchment cups skip the next step.

    Fumbling Towards Evolution with Dina
    Fumbling Towards Evolution with Dina
  6. Using a mister lightly spray all the paper cups and then coat with a dusting of coconut flour to prevent sticking.
  7. Using a 1/4 measuring cup, fill and pour into each.

    Fumbling Towards Evolution with Dina
    Fumbling Towards Evolution with Dina
  8. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until golden brown and toothpick comes out clean of your biggest cupcake.wpid-20141115_140337.jpg
  9. Remove from baking pan and let completely cool on a wire wrack.

    Sunken Vanilla CupcakesFumbling Towards Evolution with Dina
    Sunken Vanilla Cupcakes Fumbling Towards Evolution with Dina

Chocolate Butter Cream Frosting

  • 1/4 Bag of Ghiradelli 60% Cacao Chocolate Chips
  • 1/4 Bag of Enjoy Life Chocolate Chips
  • 2 Tablespoons of Butter
  • 1 Tablespoon of Coconut oil

Directions for Frosting

Note: I like to make the frosting while the cupcakes are baking. This gives me time to make and refrigerate it while they bake in cool.

  1. Heat oil and butter in a medium saucepan on medium to low heat.

    Fumbling Towards Evolution with Dina
    Fumbling Towards Evolution with Dina
  2. Add coconut oil, then butter and keep stirring.
  3. Don’t let it smoke or burn, your just going for the solids to turn to liquids.
  4. Once the butter and coconut oil have melted add your chocolate chips and keep stirring on a very low flame until all the chips have melted.

    wpid-20141115_141905.jpg
    Fumbling Towards Evolution with Dina
  5. Refrigerate for 10 minutes to firm up the mixture then remove and whip with an electric mixture into a creamy frosting, then spread.

Note: If the frosting get’s too hard just re-melt slightly and then whip.

wpid-20141115_151119.jpg
Top view of Sunken Vanilla Cupcakes with Chocolate Buttercream Frosting by Fumbling Towards Evolution with Dina

 

 

  1. Fumbling Towards Evolution with Dina
    Sunken Vanilla Cupcakes with Chocolate Buttercream Frosting by Fumbling Towards Evolution with Dina

Substitutions: You can melt cream cheese and a variety of extracts for different flavors like banana, orange, mint, etc.

Keep cupcakes in a airtight container. If you refrigerate be aware that your frosting may harden, so remove from fridge about half hour before serving.

Enjoy!

#Evolvewithme

 

 

Applesauce-Coconut Muffins by Fumbling Towards Evolution with Dina

Applesauce Coconut Muffins

Wheat-free Applesauce Coconut Muffins
Wheat-free Applesauce Coconut Muffins

Author: Fumbling Towards Evolution with Dina

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup coconut flour
    1/4 cup shredded coconut
    2 tablespoons of golden flaxseed
    1/2 cup coconut oil or butter melted
    4 eggs, at room temperature
    2 Tbs. unsweetened applesauce
    1/4 of natural sweetener of choice
    1/4 tsp. Baking soda
    1/4 tsp. Baking powder
    2 tsp. apple cider vinegar
    1 tablespoon of vanilla extract

Instructions:

1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
2. Grease an 8 muffin pan with coconut oil and lightly coat with coconut flour.
image

image
Batter makes eight regular-size muffins.

3. Mix together the coconut flour, flaxseed meal, baking soda & powder , sweetener, and mix dry ingredients thoroughly.
4. In a separate bowl beat in the eggs until smooth.
5. Mix dry ingredients with oil, applesauce, apple cider vinegar, then fold in eggs and mix well.
6. Divide between the prepared cups and bake about 25 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean or tops are a light golden brown.

Let muffins cool completely on a wire wrack
Let muffins cool completely on a wire wrack
Cooled muffins topped with sugar-free jelly and butter.
Cooled muffins topped with sugar-free jelly and butter.

Trick: Put all ingredients, both dry and wet in a blender and max on high until completely integrated, then pour.

Top with butter, unsweetened preserves, or spread some apple butter.wpid-photogrid_1415454467253.jpg

Evolve with me.

wpid-20141026_135806.jpg

The Best Wheat-Free Gravy on Earth!

wpid-20141026_135806.jpg
The Best Wheat-Free Gravy on Earth by Fumbling Towards Evolution with Dina

Author: Fumbling Towards Evolution’s with Dina

When I was a little girl my father was a butcher, so having fresh good quality meat was never in need. We were lucky. Later when my father changed professions mid-life and became a successful accountant our families obsession with well-roasted meats didn’t waiver. Roasted beef, lamb, and pork with savory gravies are my mothers specialty. She has perfected the art of cooking a variety of meats. Her gravy has always been a thing of legend. Of course, she would add her own special blend of seasonings.

Thank the Goddess we can enjoy protein as often we like in the Wheat Belly lifestyle. Luckily, I have inherited my mothers knack for cooking the best tasting roasts. While Au jus is delicious, hubby and I were both missing the creamy texture of a nice thickened gravy.

I’m sure by now many of you have heard of bone broth. If you haven’t just Google it and you will see tons of recipes and articles touting the benefits of broth made from bones and vegetables. I’ll keep it simple. This traditional remedy has become something of craze amongst the Paleo and Grain-free communities. Bone broths heal your entire digestive tract, cure allergies, help with arthritis, reduce cellulite, and can improve skin electricity. There’s more and if you suffer from any autoimmune conditions it’s especially beneficial.

Aside from cellulite, I luckily don’t suffer from any serious illnesses…and any ailments I did have all have disappeared since removing wheat, grains, and refined sugars from my diet.

A girl still needs a nice gravy with her meat…

Enter the bone broth gravy…My recipe is slightly different then the multiple versions you’ll find online. I have a trick that adds depth to the flavor and prevents you from not wasting a single piece of organic waste. Not only do I use all my kitchen scraps but I roast everything before simmering. Follow my recipe for the best tasting bone broth and gravy you’ll ever have!

Ingredients:wpid-0907140951b.jpg

Scraps: Vegetables, eggshells, herbs, meat, fat, bones, et. Fumbling Towards Evolution with Dina
Scraps: Vegetables, eggshells, herbs, meat, fat, bones, etc. Fumbling Towards Evolution with Dina

Note: Pictures used for this post are from two separate times I made this broth so the ingredients and scraps were different. Both times the broth and gravy tasted amazing!

For 1 week save all your edible scraps in the meat, vegetable, and egg family. That’s right onion skins, peels, bones, fat, bacon grease, egg shells, discarded lettuce, whatever you would normally throw away…save.wpid-20141031_110229.jpgThen head to your local butcher or supermarket and purchase cheap fatty pieces of beef, lamp, pork, with the bone in. If you can find something with cartilage even better. Some butchers will give you scraps for a super reduced price or even free. Large supermarket chains sometimes pre-package bones for broths.

Come to the kitchen….

Directions:

Preheat your Oven to 400 degrees

  1. Rinse all the food scraps and drain. I usually put mine through a salad spinner but this step isn’t necessary.
  2. Mix your vegetables, herbs, egg shells, fat and whatever else you have on hand in big bowl and generously salt with either sea salt or Himalayan Sea Salt (my new favorite).wpid-20141031_110229.jpgwpid-0907140959.jpg
  3. Drizzle with Olive Oil or Coconut Oil and spread on the largest baking sheet you can find.
  4. If all the scraps and bones don’t fit on one sheet then use two.
  5. Season with a little bit of everything in your spice rack…you really can’t go wrong here. Just sprinkle a little bit of everything. The more variety you add the richer the flavor of broth.wpid-20141031_110607.jpg
  6. Roast vegetable scraps, meat, bones, etc for 1 hour or until blackened.wpid-0907141107.jpgwpid-20141031_133442.jpg
  7. Then with a large scoop or ladle place all the goodies into either a large stew pot or a crock-pot. I have done both.wpid-0907141108a.jpg
  8. For the crock-pot I set it on low cover the entire thing with water, add a couple of bay leaves and let it slow cook for 8-12 hours.wpid-20141031_133745.jpg
  9. For stove-top, same directions but I simmer on medium to low heat for about 4 hours.wpid-0907141112.jpgwpid-20141031_133911.jpg
  10. When it’s finished I ladle the remnants out of the pot into a colander and let it drain.wpid-0907141330.jpg
  11. Allow the broth to completely cool before putting away.wpid-0907141148.jpg

If you are going to make gravy for dinner that evening measure about a cup to two cups depending on what your serving and family size.wpid-20141026_135006.jpg

My favorite add in for thickened gravy made from bone broth is mushrooms sauteed in butter in thyme.wpid-20141026_135126.jpgwpid-20141026_135222.jpgwpid-20141026_135304.jpgwpid-20141026_135712.jpgwpid-20141026_135806.jpg

To Thicken: I add coconut flour a teaspoon at a time to slowly thicken the broth. You could also use cream of tarter, and xanthan gum. I have used all three and each work great!

If you prefer not use a thickener at all, just let your broth simmer on low and allow for your liquids to evaporate and reduce and it will naturally thicken.

Storage: I store my extra broth in freezer zipper bags in serving sizes enough for soups, stews and gravies. I measure enough for my family’s needs. You can also refrigerate the broth up to a week.

Here are couple of dishes I created using this broth:

wpid-20141026_144536.jpg
Chicken Florentine-Stuffed with Prosciutto, Provolone, Wrapped in Bacon and covered with Mushroom Gravy with White Wine. Fumbling Towards Evolution with Dina

 

Roast Beef with Cauliflower Mash and Thickened Bone Broth Gravy
Roast Beef with Cauliflower Mash and Thickened Bone Broth Gravy-Fumbling Towards Evolution with Dina
Baby Meatballs with Gravy and Cream and Onions-Fumbling Towards Evolution with Dina
Baby Meatballs with Gravy and Cream and Onions-Fumbling Towards Evolution with Dina

Other uses: Besides being the best gravy starter on earth, it’s a perfect base for soups and stews. You can also use it as a flavor enhancer for chop meat dishes like meatloaf or meatballs. Saute it with onions, shallots, garlic, and wine for a Marsala.

Whichever way you end up utilizing this recipe you can’t go wrong. It’s full of vitamins and minerals, chock full of health benefits, and completely versatile. This is a winter must have on hand at times!

Evolve with me

 

 

Almond Flour Pastry Crust

Wheat-free Almond Flour Pastry Crust

Author: Fumbling Towards Evolution with Dina

Almond Flour Pastry Crust
Almond Flour Pastry Crust

Hubby is missing pastry crust pies. Since going wheat-free in December 2013 I’ve only made this nut crust. I wanted to personalize and create a crust that’s similar to a traditional grain pastry crusts. With a little research and some tinkering I’ve made a delicious crust that harkens back to autumn desserts past.

This recipe is simple and you can make the crust ahead of time and refrigerate if you’re not ready to use it now. It also works perfectly with quiches and other pies. Trust me, I’ve made several versions and this is one I’m sticking with!

Come to the kitchen…

Ingredients:wpid-20141018_102744.jpg

  • 2 Cups of Almond Flour/Meal
  • 2 Tablespoons of Melted grass-fed Butter or Coconut Oil (I’ve used both and the result are the same)wpid-20141018_102931.jpg
  • 1/4 Teaspoon of Cinnamon
  • 1/4 Teaspoon of Baking Powder
  • 1/4 Teaspoon of Natural Sweetener of choice I used Truvia for baking (omit for savory dishes like Quiche)wpid-20141018_103058.jpg
  • 1/8 Teaspoon of Sea Salt
  • 1 Egg and 1 Egg White

Directions:

Preheat Oven to 350 degrees

  1. Mix Almond flour, salt, cinnamon, and baking powder.
  2. Melt butter or coconut oil and add to a well-mixed dry ingredients.
  3. Then crack an egg and mix into flour mixture until fully integrated.
  4. Using a 9-inch pie dish press the crumbly mixture into the pan.

    wpid-20141018_103402.jpg
    Press a round flat cup or bowl to even out your crust.
  5. I used a measuring cup to flatten the bottom first, then the sides.wpid-20141018_103726.jpg
  6. Once you’ve forked the edges for a little flair, then lightly brush the entire crust with the egg white. I find the egg white helps hold the crust together and adds a little shine.wpid-20141018_103847.jpg
  7. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 8 to 12 minutes depending on your oven.

Or You could refrigerate the crust and save for later, if you’re making a pie or Quiche now then just fill with ingredients and bake as usual.

That’s it, simple, delicious, low carb and wheat & grain free nutritious crust…

Take a look at this beauty!

Almond Flour Pastry Crust
Almond Flour Pastry Crust

Evolve with me

A slice of apple pie with cinnamon-vanilla pecan nut crust.

Apple Pie with Buttery Nut Crust

Author Fumbling Towards Evolution with Dina

image
Apple Pie with Pecan-Nut Crust by Fumbling Towards Evolution with Dina

Probably my hubby’s absolute favorite dessert is homemade apple pie. Tis the season for crisp organic apples.

Luckily apples are sweet enough that you don’t require much sweetener. For this recipe I used Swerve and Hollow Honey.

One of my foolproof tricks for great apple pie is to simmer the apple mixture on the stove while the crust is baking. This makes for soft apples and you don’t need flour to get that syrupy thickness you get with traditional pies.

Crust choices: Just click for either recipe!

Pecan-nut crust for a crunchy and overly nutty crust with vanilla and cinnamon or

Almond Flour Pastry crust for a more traditional pastry crust.

This time I chose the nut-crust because I wanted a crunchy crumbled on top as well, but both work beautifully.

For the filling

  • 4-5 Large apples peeled, cored, and diced into chunks.
  • 1 Lemon squeeze over apples
    1 Handful of grapes cut in half
    1 Tablespoon of Cinnamon
    2 Tablespoons of Vanilla extract
    1/8 teaspoon of All-Spice
    1/2 Cup of Swerve or other sweetener of choice equivalent to 1/2 cup of sugar
    1/4 Cup of Hollow Honey or Raw Honey
    1 Tablespoon of Baking powder
    1/4 cup of water
    1 Tablespoon of Coconut flour
    1 Tablespoon finely shredded unsweetened coconut

Directions:

  1. In a large bowl mix all the ingredients above until well combined.

    Dice apples and slice grapes for filling.
    Dice apples and slice grapes for filling.
  2. Preheat your oven to 425 degrees.
  3. On a stove pot medium size pot scoop out apple mixture and simmer on medium to low heat while your oven preheats.

    Stove-top heating of apple pie ingredients for a nice syrupy pie center.
    Stove-top heating of apple pie ingredients for a nice syrupy pie center.
  4. Make sure you are stirring constantly and if it starts to burn then reduce heat.
  5. If the mixture is too dry you can anther 1/4 cup of water.
  6. Fill apples into crust of choice and bake for 15 minutes at 425.
    Pecan Nut Crust with Cinnamon and Vanilla
    Pecan Nut Crust with Cinnamon and Vanilla

    wpid-20141018_103726.jpg
    Almond Flour Pastry Crust
  7. Reduce heat to 350 degrees and continue to bake for another 30-35 minutes.
    Filled pie crust. Then more of the nut-crust mixture sprinkled on top.
    Filled pie crust. Then more of the nut-crust mixture sprinkled on top.

    wpid-20141013_113654.jpg

  8. Remove and let cool completely before refrigerating.

    Hot out of the oven apple pie!
    Hot out of the oven apple pie!

I like my pie hot out of the oven with a scoop of homemade vanilla ice cream. Hubby prefers his cold from the fridge. Whichever way you choose this apple pie is sure to please even the non-wheat free masses!

A slice of apple pie with cinnamon-vanilla pecan nut crust.
A slice of apple pie with cinnamon-vanilla pecan nut crust.

Evolve with me

wpid-20141011_175244.jpg

Chicken Ceasar Salad Slice with Personalized Fat Head Crust

Author: Fumbling Towards Evolution with Dina

wpid-20141011_175244.jpg

For the past year I have mourned the loss of pizza. There are not many things that I miss since going wheat-free, but pizza is definitely a sore spot. I was always really picky about the pizza I would eat and where it was from. As an Italian American we have pretty strict standards when it comes to crust, sauce , and good toppings. I wasn’t one for fast-food pizza, it had to be a hot slice from my favorite pizza man in Brooklyn, NY. An old-school Sicilian man whose sauce is perfect and sweet. His crust always thin, crispy, and delicious. I say often that if I ever do cheat it’s going to be when I know he’s retiring and I’ll never have his pizza again. I probably won’t but I like to pretend.

Anyway, I have seen the Fat Head pizza recipe floating around wheat-free and Paleo pages and blogs, but I never really gave it a thorough look. I figured there’s just no way it could come close to the real thing, so why bother. I was wrong…dead wrong.

I made a Margarita pizza (that’s fresh tomatoes, basil, and mozzarella) for some guests. It was the first time and it was so good everyone remarked on the delicious crust. If you follow me and read my recipes you know I have a tendency to play with recipes and make them my own. So here’ s my version of Fat Head pizza.

The Crust

Enough for 1 large pie

  • 3 Cups of Shredded Mozzarella
  • 1/2 cup of Garbanzo Bean flour or CeCe flour (original recipes uses almond flour
  • 4 Tablespoons or 1/4 Cup of Cream Cheese
  • 2 Eggs
  • 1 Tablespoon of grated Parmesan Cheese
  • 1 Teaspoon of Italian Seasoning (parsley, basil, oregano, garlic powder, and rosemary if you like it)
  • 1 Pinch of Sea Salt & Pepper each
  • 1 Tablespoon of Extra Virgin Olive Oil (1/2 for greasing the other half for stove-top preparation of crust)

You will also need a round pizza pan or square baking ceramic stone, but a cookie sheet will work too. You’ll also need parchment paper that is oiled on both sides lightly.

Directions:

Preheat Oven to 425 Degrees

Note: I don’t own a microwave, don’t like them and only use them in emergencies so I melted the cheese on stove-top with a non-stick pan. You can microwave these ingredients on High for 1 to 2 minutes. I would stop and stir it after a minute or until the cheese is thoroughly melted. See directions for microwave use here: Fat Head Pizza Crust recipe.

  1. Drizzle about a 1 teaspoon of extra virgin olive oil in a non-stick pan heated on very low.
  2. Add your shredded mozzarella, cream cheese, grated cheese, seasonings and stir until well combined.
  3. Beat eggs and put in a bowl, when the cheese is melted mix in beaten eggs and continue to integrate into the cheese mixture.
  4. Lastly, slowly add Garbanzo Bean Flour a sprinkle a little bit at a time and turn off the heat and continue to combine into fully mixed in. Use a rubber spatula.
  5. Spread crust on a parchment paper lined cookie sheet/stone/pizza pan.
  6. Bake for 6-8 minutes or until crust browns.
  7. Remove from oven and dress with whatever toppings you like.

Across the street from where I work is a pizzeria. Before I went wheat-free I had a favorite slice that they prepared. I never cheated on my old Sicilian man for a regular slice, because no one compares to his, but there Chicken Caesar Salad slice was the bomb! So I recreated it using this crust. Here’s the recipe.

Chicken Caesar Salad Slice

wpid-20141011_175539.jpg

  • Grill chicken breasts with olive oil and seasonings of choices then slice into thin strips and cut in half.
  • Roughly chop 1 head of Romaine Lettuce and mix with chicken
  • Take 1 Cup of shredded mozzarella and mix in with the lettuces and chicken.
  • Then take another Tablespoon of grated Parmesan and about a 1/2 Cup to a 3/4 cup of Creamy Caesar Dressing: I used this dressing from The Black Peppercorn minus the anchovy paste because I don’t like fish. You can also use store bought Caesar just make sure it has natural ingredients and its gluten-free.
  • In a pinch Annie’s is my go-to Creamy Caesar. See here: Annie’s Organic Caesar Dressing.
  • Mix it all together, but save about two tablespoons of dressing to coat the cooked crust.
  • Spread the salad mixture over entire pizza and feel free to add more mozzarella or grated cheese as desired.
  • Bake in 425 Degree oven for 5 minutes, slice and serve.

wpid-20141011_175244.jpg

So delicious and you get all you need in one plate! Protein and Veggies!

Evolve with me

Fumbling Towards Evolution with Dina

Wheat-free Moist Vanilla Cake with Dark Chocolate Frosting

Fumbling Towards Evolution with Dina-Recipe adapted from Bob’s Red Mill Magically Moist Almond Cakewpid-photogrid_1409574843515.jpg

I don’t have a sweet tooth, but a nice of cake every now and then with a cup of coffee is nice and makes me feel normal. The problem with most wheat & grain free cake recipes is moisture and texture. They are either too dry, crumbly, or have way too much coconut flavor.  This recipe is moist and spongy, but not too spongy. My husband said, “If you didn’t tell me otherwise I would’ve thought you made box cake.”

I changed a couple things from the original recipe. For one, instead of milk I used heavy cream to add a moist density. I also upped the Vanilla Extract for a more box-cake like flavor. I  use “heaping” teaspoons of baking powder in my baking. I find a little extra goes a long way for rise. I used salted butter instead of adding salt, but if your butter is unsalted just add 1/8 of teaspoon. Lastly, I of course swapped out the sugar for an approved Wheat Belly sweetener and reduced it by a 1/4 of a cup.

This cake makes a great base for frosting, whipped cream and strawberries, sugar-free jelly, and toasts up like pound cake.wpid-20140831_171015.jpg

When done right, frosting can make or break a cake. Don’t get me wrong, the cake part has to be moist and flavorful too. I read a couple of homemade frosting/ganache recipes and in the end I just kind of winged it. The results were fabulous. wpid-20140831_173718.jpg

I perfected a chocolate frosting recipe that is to die for. It spreads just like creamy Duncan Heinz chocolate frosting. It’s so versatile you can use it as either a ganache or frosting, it refrigerates well and spreads beautifully! You can also use this to dip fruit in or drizzle over cookies.

This cake batter works great as cupcakes too…so your choice!

Ingredients for Cake:

  • 1-1/2 cups Almond flour/meal sifted
  • 1/2 cup and teaspoon (keep separate for baking pan) of Coconut flour sifted
  • 3/4 cup Grass-fed salted butter
  • 3/4 cup of sweetener of choice (I used Turbinado Sugar or Swerve Sweetener)*
  • 2 heaping teaspoons of baking powder
  • 4 Eggs
  • 1/2 cup Unsweetened almond milk or for extra richness Heavy whipping cream
  • 1 Tablespoon & a half of Vanilla Extract or Almond Extract if you prefer a nuttier flavor.
  • Optional Topping: I sprinkle slivered almonds on the frosting before it hardened, you can also sprinkle Almond meal.

*Original recipe calls for 1 cup of sugar, but my Wheat Belly refined taste buds don’t require things so sweet, especially when adding frosting or other toppings. I used Turbinado sugar because it has a caramel like taste that adds depth to the vanilla flavor when I made it for guests. If you want to keep this recipe super low carbohydrate use 3/4 Cup of to 1 Cup of Swerve. I made this recipe with both sweeteners and it tastes great either way, it’s about what I have on hand.

Directions: For Cake

Grease a 9′ by 13′ Cake Pan, or Bunt Pan, two small round cake pans or 12-cupcake pan. Note: baking times will vary depending on the kind of pan you use. This recipe baking time is the 9′ by 13″ Pan and cupcakes.

Preheat Oven to 350

  1. In a large bowl combine sifted almond flour, coconut flour, and vanilla.wpid-20140824_170013.jpg
  2. In a separate bowl, using an electric mixer, blend butter with sweetener until you have a thick creamy consistency.wpid-20140824_164758.jpg wpid-20140824_164923.jpg
  3. Slowly add the eggs, one by one into the sugar-butter mixture.wpid-20140824_165029.jpg
  4. Once all the eggs have been added, then add vanilla and milk.wpid-20140824_165349.jpg
  5. Using an electric mixer combine until you see a fluffy thick yellowish batter.wpid-20140824_170220.jpg
  6. Slowly add the flours and continue to mix on medium until batter is fully integrated.
  7. Grease pan with butter, olive oil, or coconut oil then using a sieve or sifter sprinkle a thin coating of coconut flour around the pan. No parchment paper needed!wpid-20140824_170352.jpg
  8. Fill pan of choice with batter and spread evenly with a plastic spatula.wpid-20140824_170536.jpg
  9. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.
  10. Remove cake from oven and let cool down for a good half hour to an hour before attempting to plate or frost.wpid-20140824_174003.jpgwpid-20140824_185941.jpg

**The pictures in the post reflect the top and the bottom of the cake. I flipped the cake to show you how perfectly it bakes and stay’s together.

Ingredients for frosting:

Directions for Frosting:

  1. Heat oil and butter in a medium saucepan on medium.
  2. Add coconut oil, then butter and keep stirring.
  3. Don’t let it smoke or burn, your just going for the solids to turn to liquids.
  4. Once the butter and coconut oil have melted add your chocolate chips and keep stirring on a very low flame until all the chips have melted.
  5. If the cake has fully cooled off you can spread the melted chocolate on top the of the cake for hard chocolate topping.
  6. Otherwise, refrigerate for 10 minutes to firm up the mixture then remove and whip with an electric mixture into a creamy frosting, then spread.

Note: If the frosting get’s too hard just re-melt slightly and then whip.

I refrigerated my cake because my hubby like’s his cake cold, but you can store it out on the counter. Once you taste it I doubt it will last very long.wpid-20140831_173658.jpg wpid-20140831_173703.jpg wpid-20140831_173724.jpg

Evolve with me

 

 

 

 

wpid-img_20140822_092932.jpg

Creamy Cauliflower Mash

Fumbling Towards Evolution with Dinawpid-0822140856b.jpgI’ve had cauliflower mash in restaurants several times before. I was never really wowed or thought, “Yes! that tastes like mashed potatoes”. Something was missing. At a BBQ this summer, Frankie (my best friend) made some cauliflower mash, and it was all over! You remember Frankie, he’s the one who made those awesome wheat-free mozzarella sticks! Needless to say, we were all fighting for seconds and thirds of this creamy delight. His secret ingredient???

Cream Cheese…more specifically Temp Tee Cream Cheese BREAKSTONE'S - TEMPTEE - CREAM CHEESE WHIPPED

Just a 1/4 cup adds such depth and creaminess, you swear your eating mashed potatoes. This recipe satisfies a couple other foods cravings. I have been missing Farina (Cream of wheat) and Grits. When I was a kid, Farina was a regular breakfast with butter and salt prepared by grandma or mom. When I was older and traveled to New Orleans, I discovered my love of grits. Both of these hot morning cereals are a no-no on Wheat Belly. Until these!!!

After making my own batch I had some in the morning with eggs and butter, just like a plate of southern grits…Oh my Goddess! So good!

Later that night hubby brought home thinly sliced roast beef and bone broth gravy (Recipe to be uploaded soon)…wpid-20140822_172025.jpgGuess who had a huge helping of cauliflower mash with gravy and roast beef. Can I tell you this was one of most satisfying meals I’ve had in a long time. Between the bone broth gravy and the mash, I felt like I was cheating! The beauty of all these foods, totally allowed and Wheat Belly friendly!

So here’s the recipe…I suggest you make a whole head of cauliflower because this will go quickly!

Ingredients:wpid-20140820_171305.jpg

  • 1 head of cauliflower (removed leaves and stem-hint save scraps of bone broth gravy)
  • 4 Tablespoons of grass-fed butter I use Kerrigold*
  • 1/4 Cup of Temp Tee Whipped Cream Cheese
  • 1/4 Cup of Heavy Whipping cream (my addition for added creaminess, but optional)
  • Salt & Pepper to taste
  • For Garnish…Parsley and Paprika (optional)

*Kerrigold makes garlic and herb butter too, so if you want to flavor your mash with garlic you can use this or saute one clove of garlic in butter and combine with ingredients below.

Other Variations: If you’re making it more like a hot breakfast cereal add cinnamon, natural sweetener of choice, chop nuts, a couple of raisins.

Directions:

  1. In salted water, boil a head of cauliflower chopped into four pieces until a fork goes all the way to the center easily.wpid-20140820_171657.jpgwpid-20140820_171714.jpg
  2. Remove from water and drain well. Frankie (see who he is above) squeezes his between paper towels to remove excess water. I didn’t do this step, but you can if you want stiffer mash.wpid-0822140851.jpg
  3. You can mash the cauliflower in a large bowl or in a non-stick large pan with butter. It doesn’t matter which way you do it. I chose the frying pan the second time because I made it more chunky then creamy and wanted it a litter dryer and sauteed.wpid-0822140836.jpgwpid-0822140847.jpg
  4. While the cauliflower is hot, mash with a potato masher and add butter, salt and pepper. Continue to mash until desired texture. The first time I made this my result was smooth and creamy like box mash potatoes or cream of wheat/grits. The second time I made it, I left it a little more chunky. Texture is totally up to you, I like both versions equally.wpid-0822140841a.jpg
  5. Once the butter and seasoning are well integrated, mix in the cream cheese until well-combined.wpid-0822140845.jpgwpid-0822140847.jpg
  6. You can refrigerate for later and reheat in a saucepan or on a low heat stovetop in a non-stick pan, or you can microwave or bake in the oven with cheese and wheat-free breadcrumbs.wpid-0822140855.jpg

Serve hot with gravy, more butter, sour cream & chives, nitrate-free bacon bits. Reheat with eggs and sausage for a grits like breakfast. Or place in a baking pan and cover with shredded cheddar and my wheat-free bread crumb mixture for a Creamy Mash bake!wpid-0822140856.jpgwpid-0822140856a.jpg

Any way you serve this outstanding Creamy Cauliflower mash, you’re sure to enjoy it!wpid-img_20140822_092932.jpg

Evolve with me