Saturday, 16 August 2014

Beetroot Chocolate Brownies (Paleo, GAPS)

Now this was fun!
I've been roasting a couple of beetroot each week in my weekly veggie roast.  I usually roast pumpkin, carrots, fennel and potatoes for the kids on a Sunday night.  I love having left over roast veggies to snack on during the week.  I've been adding a couple of beetroot to the roasting for the past few weeks.  It's really easy, you just chop off the beetroot leaves, wrap in foil and put in a 180C oven (350F) for about an hour.  I then leave them to cool and put them in the fridge.  To peel, place plastic freezer bags on your hands and peel off the skin.  No stained fingers. :) 
I usually make beetroot dip out of them in the food processor with some tahini, spices and lemon juice.
Anyway, I was having lunch with some friends last week and one of the girls mentioned beetroot chocolate cake.  Yum!  That got me thinking... :)
My kids have loved trying the few different versions I've made this week.  These are our favourites.  They are sweet enough for me, but add a bit of extra honey if you feel it needs it.
Enjoy! :)

Beetroot Chocolate Brownies.

Prep time: 10 mins
Cook time: 30 mins
Makes: 25


Ingredients:
1 beetroot (roasted & cooled)
3 eggs
1 cup dried dates

1/2 teaspoon bicarb soda
1/2 teaspoon vanilla powder
1/4 cup coconut flour
1/2 cup cacao powder
1/4 cup honey


Method:
  • Preheat oven to 170 degrees celsius (340F).
  • Line 20 cm (8 inch) square baking pan with baking paper.
  • Put dried dates into small bowl, cover with water and microwave for 2 minutes.  Drain.
  • Peel roasted beetroot, chop roughly and process in food processor with 3 eggs and drained dates.
  • Add the rest of the ingredients and process again until well blended.
  • Pour mixture into lined baking pan.
  • Bake for 30 minutes until just done.
  • Cool in pan.
  • Slice and serve.
  • Freezes well. :)
Instagram 


Tuesday, 5 August 2014

Pumpkin Spice Muffins (Paleo, SCD, GAPS, Keto)

Hi everyone!
I must apologize that it's been so long since my last post.  I admit I'm spending more time on Instagram and less on my blog.  IG is so quick and easy to share ideas and recipes. If you are on Instagram, come find me at @anaussiewithcrohns :)

Instagram
I've had a wonderful week away at Port Douglas during the school holidays.  I loved the beautiful blue skies, sunshine and gorgeous beaches.  Snorkeling on the Great Barrier Reef and exploring the Daintree Rainforest were highlights.

Now I'm home, I'm loving making these muffins.  They are a variation on my Hot Cross Buns, without the crosses and with added pumpkin.  I don't add any sweetener, because the pumpkin is sweet enough, but if you'd like it sweeter, just add a tablespoon or two of honey.  I store these in the freezer and microwave for 30 seconds to reheat.  Delicious! :)

Pumpkin Spice Muffins


Prep time: 5 mins
Cook time: 20-25 mins
Oven temp: 170 Celsius

Ingredients:
4 eggs
1 cup coconut milk

1/2 cup cooked, mashed pumpkin 
1-2 Tbsp honey (optional)
1/2 cup coconut flour
1/2 teaspoon bicarb soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon mixed spice (pumpkin spice)



Instructions: 

  • Preheat oven to 170 degrees Celsius (340F)
  • Grease 9 muffin tins with coconut oil
  • Beat the eggs with an electric beater for 1 minute.
  • Add the coconut milk, mashed pumpkin and honey (if using) and beat again.
  • Add the coconut flour, bicarb soda and spices and mix with the electric beaters for another minute.
  • Scoop batter into muffin tins.
  • Bake at 170C for 20-25 minutes.  Cool in tins.


  
 

Wednesday, 25 June 2014

Sauerkraut



I’ve been making sauerkraut for a few months now and I LOVE it!  Even my KIDS love it! Yay!
I’ve been reading about how to heal a leaky gut, and found that adding good bacteria is one of the ways to go.  The Specific Carbohydrate Diet that I follow includes  24 hour yogurt as a major part of its healing protocol, but I am intolerant to dairy.  So instead of the yogurt, I just take daily probiotic capsules.  This has worked well for me, but after 2 years on SCD, I started to wonder if I could improve further.  SCD is enough to keep me in remission, but how about actually HEALING my gut?
So I’ve been experimenting with fermenting.  My kids have been fairly tolerant (there have been a couple, ‘What is that smell, mum?’ questions, but they humour me). 
So far I’ve made sauerkraut, fermented tomato sauce and fermented carrot sticks.  I’ve also been experimenting with kefir, but that’s another story. :)
Firstly I tried buying sauerkraut from the supermarket, but then read that because it is pasteurized, it doesn’t contain the beneficial lactic acid bacteria. 
To get the good stuff, you have to make your own.

Having healthy gut bacteria is so important.  I think everyone should add sauerkraut to their diet to help their immune system.  It is also very high in vitamin C with good amounts of vitamin B6 and iron.  Awesome.
Thankfully, sauerkraut is really easy to make.  And fun!

Sauerkraut
Ingredients:
1 head of cabbage
Sea salt
Sauerkraut brine from previous batch (optional)

You’ll also need:
Chopping bowl
Large knife
Large bowl
Large jar or crock

Method:
Wash the cabbage, peeling off the tough outer leaves.
Use your knife (or a food processor) to quarter your cabbage and cut out the core. 
Finely slice or shred your cabbage. 
As you chop it, put the shredded cabbage into a large bowl.
Grind some sea salt onto each layer of cabbage as you add it to the bowl. 
(In total, you need around 2  tablespoons of salt for a medium cabbage).
When the bowl is almost full, spend a few minutes massaging or kneading the chopped cabbage in the bowl.  (I like this step; it’s therapeutic!)

Massaging the cabbage, along with the addition of the salt, draws out the moisture.  Time will also do this.  You can fill your bowl with the layers of cabbage and salt, leave it to rest for 30 minutes or so and it’s easier to release the juices.
Then spoon the cabbage and the released brine into your jar or crock.
Yes, it’s messy!  Mine goes everywhere. :)
Keep chopping up your cabbage and layering up your bowl with cabbage and salt.  Massage and/or leave each bowlful before adding it to your jar or crock.
Important note:  Do not fill your jar up to the top! 
I always find I actually need two jars, so have extras ready just in case.
Keep adding your cabbage and salt to the jars.
When your jars are three quarters full, leave them to sit for a while or if you’re impatient, just go to the next step:

Use the end of a rolling pin to squash down the cabbage in the jar.  This releases more juices. 
Keep squashing down the cabbage with the rolling pin until the brine covers the top of the cabbage.  This may take 5 – 10 mins.  Get the family to help!  (Again, very good therapy!)
If you have a tablespoon of sauerkraut juice from a previous batch, add it at this stage; it will help kick-start the fermentation.
If you can’t get enough brine to cover the cabbage, make up some brine by mixing 1 cup of boiled water with 1 teaspoon of salt.  (I’ve always had enough brine just from the cabbage.)

To ferment, the cabbage must be BELOW the surface of the brine.  The fermentation is anaerobic; without air. 
To keep the cabbage below the brine, there are a couple of options:
If you are using a crock, use an upside-down saucer weighted down with a sterilized rock (or something heavy) to keep the cabbage submerged.  (traditional method)
In my jars, I use an old glass jar that I’ve put some water in to weigh it down.
Then cover the whole thing with a tea towel to keep out any bugs, dust, etc.
You must leave a space (bigger than you think you’ll need) at the top of your jars, because the fermenting process causes much bubbling and overflow.  I put my jars out of the sun in a corner of my kitchen bench, but I must admit that each time I don’t leave enough space at the top of my jars and I have cabbage brine covering my bench top!  Still learning on this one. 
After a few days, you can close the lids of your jars.  I take out the weighted down with water jars, close the lids and store them in my pantry until they are ready. 
Leave your jars to ferment for at least one week.  In warmer temperatures they will ferment quicker than during winter.
I like my sauerkraut after it’s reached the 4 week mark, but my last batch I only left for 2 weeks as we had run out and couldn’t wait any longer.  So 2 to 4 weeks to ferment is my suggestion.
You can taste test your sauerkraut after one week and see how you like it.  Just make sure all the cabbage is under the brine if you decide to leave it for a bit longer.
Once it’s the taste you like, store your jar in the fridge.
I’ve left my second jar to continue fermenting until we finish eating the first one.
Apparently white mold can grow on the top of your sauerkraut as it is fermenting.  I haven’t had this happen, but the advice seems to be just to skim it off, that the sauerkraut beneath the brine is fine.

What do you eat sauerkraut with?
I like it on my salads or as a condiment to meat.  The sour, tangy taste really adds something special.
How do you get your kids to eat sauerkraut?
After I read the GAPS book, I tried the encouragement method with my teenagers.  At first they were reluctant to give the kraut a go, but after some encouragement, ‘No, you don’t HAVE to eat it.  Go on, give it a try!  Just a tiny bit!’ 
Followed by lots of over-the-top praise:  ‘Awesome!  Well done, sweetie, I’m so proud of you!’  LOL.  They all decided they like it and are eating it most days.  Yay! 
Isn’t cabbage hard to digest?
Yes, it can be.  I’ve found sauerkraut easier to digest than cooked or raw cabbage, but start slowly.  The GAPS book suggests starting with a teaspoon or so of the sauerkraut brine before eating the cabbage.  If you are having lots of digestive distress, this may be a good way to start.
It’s so great to have another delicious food I can eat that is really good for me.

A few variations I’d like to try:


  • Using red cabbage
  • Using a combination of green and red cabbage to make a pink kraut!
  • Experimenting with adding spices; caraway seeds are traditional but I’ve also heard of fennel or coriander seeds, ginger and chilli.


Wednesday, 11 June 2014

Coconut Flour Pancakes (Paleo, GAPS & SCD)

Pancakes!  Aren't they wonderful?  :)
For me, they are such a special, weekend treat.  Definitely not something I make very often!
I've been experimenting with a pancake recipe for a LONG  time now, but have finally got it right.
I'm using coconut flour more often in my baking, as it is lighter and easier to digest.  But coconut flour is finicky; you can't just substitute another flour and have everything work out OK.  Trust me on this one! :)
This recipe makes 4 pancakes, but multiply the recipe as you need to.  I've found these pancakes are best make thick.  I usually use the back of the ladle to spread them out, but they are better if you don't.  Anyway, enjoy experimenting with how you like them best.
Yum, Yum! 

Coconut Flour Pancakes

Makes 4.

Ingredients:
2 eggs
1 cup coconut mik
1/4 cup coconut flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda

Method:
  • Whisk the eggs in a bowl.
  • Add the coconut milk and whisk again.
  • Sift the coconut flour and baking soda into the egg and milk mix and whisk well.  Getting lots of air bubbles in the mixture helps them rise. :)
  • Ladle spoonfuls of mixture onto hot frypan, oiled with coconut oil if needed.
  • Cook for a few minutes on each side, until golden brown.
  • Eat! 
  • I've topped mine with homemade blueberry jam and coconut milk yogurt.
Instagram  

Saturday, 31 May 2014

Chocolate Bliss Balls (Paleo)


Every day I say, "I LOVE food!" 
My kids are sick of hearing it, but I really do!  I love all the delicious, fresh foods that I eat every day.  Now I can add a little bit of cacao powder back into my diet, I really love food!   :)

I've been having great fun teaching some Food Technology and Health lessons at school.  It's inspired me to try so many new dishes.  Tonight I'm trying the Spiced Rice that my Year 11s cooked this week, but mine will use cauliflower instead of rice.  If you're on Instragram, you'll be able to see how it turns out!

Do you prefer cookies or bliss balls?  I just can't decide.  I do know, though, that these Chocolate Bliss Balls are my favourite version so far.  If you haven't already, check out my Original Bliss Balls, Banana Bliss Balls or Orange Bliss Balls.   
I love the way Bliss Balls are so quick and easy!  This version are rich, chocolatey and gooey in the  middle.  Enjoy!

CHOCOLATE BLISS BALLS

Ingredients:
1 cup cashews
1 cup dried dates
1/3 cup coconut butter/paste
2 Tbsp coconut oil
2 to 3 Tbsp cacao powder 
Desiccated coconut for rolling.

Instructions:
  • Toast cashews in frypan until golden brown.
  • Blitz cashews in food processor until fine.
  • Put dried dates into a microwave proof bowl.  Cover with water and microwave for 2 minutes.
  • Drain dates well.
  • Put in food processor with the cashews.  Add the coconut butter, coconut oil and cacao powder. 
  • Process until mixture comes together.  Add a bit more coconut butter if you need to.
  • Roll teaspoons of mixture into balls and roll in desiccated coconut.
  • Eat straight away or store in fridge to harden slightly.
:) Happy :)

Sunday, 18 May 2014

Coconut Cookies (SCD, Paleo, Keto)

Life has been super busy!  I seem to be spending more time doing food prep, but hopefully I'm getting a bit more organised.  Since reading the GAPS book, I'm making bone broth and coconut yogurt a couple of times each week.  I've also just started making kefir.  (That's another story!)  We're also eating a greater variety of veggies which has been awesome but does take time.  Add in some organ meats... ahh!  :)  There really aren't enough hours in the day to cook all the recipes I'd like to try.   

So I've been experimenting with very quick and easy treats to make.  I've found Instagram is so much quicker than blogging!  If you're after quick and easy recipes, IG is the place to be.  I'm constantly inspired by the real food IG'ers that I follow.  Lots of fun!

Have you tried Coconut Butter?  My local heath food shop carries a
couple of brands, but this Loving Earth one (called Coconut Paste) is a lot cheaper.  So far I've eaten it straight from the jar, made these cookies from it and also made some Choc Coconut Truffles from it.  If you haven't already, give it a try and you'll be addicted like me!  :)


COCONUT COOKIES.
Prep time: 5 min
Cook time: 10 mins
Makes 16

Ingredients:
1/2 cup coconut paste/butter

1 cup desiccated coconut
2 Tbsp melted coconut oil
1 egg
1-2 Tbsp honey (optional)

Method:
  • Preheat oven to 170 degrees Celsius (340F)
  • Line baking tray with baking paper.
  • Melt coconut butter/paste in the microwave to soften.
  • Mix all ingredients together in a bowl.
  • Roll heaped teaspoons of mixture into balls.
  •  Flatten balls with palm of hand
  • Bake for 10 minutes until lightly browned.
  • Cool on trays.
  • Store in freezer.

How quick and easy is that!  
Add in some vanilla or other spices for variety.
I like to eat them straight out of the freezer.  Enjoy! :)

Instagram



Wednesday, 30 April 2014

Coconut Milk Yogurt and Sour Cream (Paleo & SCD)



I have a lot to say today!  Hope you’ve got a minute!
Firstly, I had my check up colonoscopy.  It’s been 2&1/2 years since my last one, which was done after the huge flare that led to my diagnosis of moderate to severe Crohn’s Disease.  (More info under the My Story tab if you’re interested.)  I quickly started healing after starting SCD 2&1/2 years ago and have had fabulous blood test results ever since.  BUT, my GP still wanted me to have a colonoscopy to have a look.
I’m so excited to say that I had PERFECT results!  My Crohn’s is ‘inactive’ (I could have told them that!).  I asked the doctor if they could take some photos of my innards and the comparison of the BEFORE and AFTER SCD pics are amazing.  The before shots showed the horrible cobblestoning and ulcerations of Crohn’s and the after shots are smooth and pink.  (There is a little scarring showing where damage was done 2&1/2 years ago, but nothing to worry about.)  I’m so pleased.  All of the discipline of SCD has been worth it for me to be well.  Woo Hoo!
 
Let’s talk about yogurt…. :
Most people following the Specific Carbohydrate Diet or GAPS start eating yogurt very early in their healing journey.  I did too, but I learned I don’t tolerate cow or goat milk so I’ve just been taking daily probiotic capsules instead.  After reading the GAPS book, I have a better understanding of why I need to repopulate my system with good bacteria.  So as well as making fermented veggies (recipes coming soon!),  I’ve been trying to make coconut yogurt for many months now.   I’m happy to say I’ve finally found a method I’m happy with.  My notebook is full of different versions, with many cross outs and ‘Yuck!’s  written next to them.  I’m SO pleased I’ve found a version that is delicious.   Really, it’s not very hard and I don’t know why it’s taken me so many tries to get this result!  Actually, I do.  It’s because I’ve tried many different starters, milks and whether or not to include gelatine to help with setting. 
More on my experiments after the recipe if you are interested….

So here it is!  (Coconut Sour Cream Recipe at bottom of page.)
Simple Coconut Milk Yogurt.
Makes 1 cup. (Multiply as necessary).

Ingredients:

1 cup coconut milk (no additives)  I like Ayram brand from the supermarket. 
1 Tablespoon yogurt (my favourite is Jalna Greek yogurt, but you can also use commercial coconut milk yogurt)

Instructions

  • Open your can of coconut milk (mine measures about 1 cup) and tip it into a clean, sterilised glass bowl. (Just rinse it with boiling water.)
  • Scoop in 1 tablespoon of your commercial yogurt.
  • Whisk them together with a plastic whisk, making sure they are thoroughly combined.
  • Pour the mixture into containers then put into your yogurt maker.
  • Leave to process for around 9 hours.  (More or less for a milder or tangier yogurt).
  • Refrigerate when done.
  • Stir before eating.


If you don’t have a yogurt maker, try one of these methods:

Processing times:

Most yogurt recipes heat the milk to kill any bacteria before letting it cool slightly and adding the starter.  This gives you a warmer mixture to start with and if you don’t have a yogurt maker, I’d recommend using this method so you start with a warm mixture.  (Only add starter when the milk feels just warm on your skin or else you will kill the bacteria in the starter and your yogurt won’t work).
I’ve found I can skip the heating of the milk before adding it to my yogurt maker; just let it process for a bit longer than if you start with a warm mixture.

 Experiments:
There are many different ways to make yogurt.
If you like experimenting, you can try:
Using a probiotic capsule as the starter – I found it too strong in taste.
Adding honey or sweetener to your yogurt – I didn’t like it and am trying to keep my carbs low.
Add some gelatine to help set. - I tried this with homemade coconut milk (recipe coming soon) but it wasn’t a success.  The canned coconut milk doesn’t need gelatine to get the right consistency.
Instead of using coconut milk, try using coconut cream and adding a little water.  (The coconut milk is the same as the coconut cream but with some water added.  For the same price, you’re better off to buy the cream and add a little water).

Coconut Sour Cream

You can make coconut sour cream from coconut cream and adding lemon juice and apple cider vinegar.  However, I like this version better if you have time:

  • Follow the recipe above for Coconut Milk Yogurt, just substitute Coconut Cream for the coconut milk.  

You get a thicker result which you can use for sour cream in all your favourite recipes.  This has opened up a whole world of possibilities for me!  I’ve made the same Vegetarian Lasagne three times this week using the Sour Cream as the topping.  It’s divine and I’ll post the recipe soon. 
Instagram 
Happy yogurting!