My friend Naomi Devlin has an amazing profile. Having trained in London at the London College of Homeopathy, Naomi practices as a homeopath and nutritionist.
In addition to this, Naomi is also the mastermind behind the Go Ahead Honey, It’s Gluten-Free events which began back in 2008 on her blog, Straight Into Bed Cake Free and Dried. As if the Go Ahead Honey, It’s Gluten-Free event wasn’t great enough, from September 2012 through September 2013, GAHIGF is going Primal! I cannot wait to see all of the grain-free goodness this stirs up!
Naomi’s Low Carb Lunchboxes are a wonderful way to round-out our Healthy Lunchbox Series. I am so pleased she joined us this year.
Thanks Naomi! xo
____________________________________________Low Carb LunchboxesOver the years we have experimented with varying amounts of carb in our diets and found that, like our primal ancestors, we thrive on lots of plants and animals.For me, one meal can so easily be replaced with another at any time of day. Soup for breakfast? Fried eggs for supper? Why not? I’m just happy to eat what I like, when I like. I am lucky to be able to eat most of my meals fresh from the kitchen.For Finn and Nick however, the issue of lunch-boxes can present some challenges. For Nick, how to eat well and not get bored, or how to eat a bowl full of leaves and dressing on the train back from London? For Finn, how to eat well and avoid the incredulous stares of your fellow students as you produce yet more green from your tiffin tin and eat yet another piece of succulent chicken thigh with the skin bronzed and intact.My solution is to offer a mixture of salads through the shoulder seasons and summer, with days that include sandwiches made from nut bread or pancakes or a slice of juicy frittata. Maybe some egg crepe rolls and dipping sauce or an impromptu cheesecake (recipe below).When colder weather descends, a wide mouthed flask is unbeatable for Finn. It can contain soup and stew that stay warm right until lunch – perfect for dipping a buttered almond pancake or two.In the winter, when I make lots of tray bakes, Nick will just fill a jar with a generous portion and heat it up at work. This is brilliant if you have the facilities. The key is to always overcook and freeze anything you’re not going to eat in the next 48 hours. Instant fast food!I offer you a selection of links for tasty low carb lunch boxes, that won’t raise your blood sugar or have you reaching for a snack bar mid afternoon. Have fun!Grain Free Breads (more on the sidebar)Pecan and Apple Bread is perfect for cheese or ham sandwiches, spread thickly with some soft butter or thick yogurt.Carrot Pulp Bread, uses the leftovers from juicing to make a nourishing loaf that’s pretty versatile.Banana Bread - for a sandwich that thinks it’s dessert, try a couple of slices of this sandwiched with cream cheese and some extra walnuts.Pancakes for Dipping and Rolling Stuff Up In
Almond Pancakes - delicious any way if you ask me. Ideal spread with some paté, thick yogurt or creme fraiche. Great buttered and dipped into a hearty soup in winter. Make a ton and freeze, for instant mini pizzas when covered with tomato sauce and cheese (not Heinz ketchup though!).Pea Pikelets - little fluffy drop scones made with mashed peas, basil and nuts. Can be made with any mashable vegetable and are great hot or cold.Egg Crepes - the ultimate low carb wrapper for anything you can think of!Savoury Treats
Aubergine Crostini - throw away the bread and replace it with a slice of griddled aubergine. Melanzane parmigiane – eat your heart out!Cheesy Crackers - sable, cheesy biscuits. Store them in a high place or they won’t last five minutes!Courgette Frittata - a succulent, savoury wedge that is totally satisfying. All it needs it a handful of greens to make it a meal.Fresh Chorizo Sausages - struggling to find sausages that aren’t full of preservatives and cheap meat? Try these little spicy numbers, delicious dipped into something cool and creamy.Salads
A Salad For All Seasons - you can’t go wrong with a big bowl full of salad for lunch. Pop it in a tiffin tin or tupperware, smothered in a delicious dressing, with some satisfying protein and maybe some seeds in there. Yum!Cucumber and Poppyseed Salad - cool cucumber, chilli, lime, soy and poppy seeds make this salad incredibly moreish. Great with some cold lamb, roast meat or egg crepe rolls.Carrotslaw - make with carrot or red cabbage depending on your taste. Use mayonnaise or yogurt, or creme fraiche. Great piled into a gem lettuce leaf with a slither of cold meat or salami.
For soups, stews and broths – check out my sidebar.Instant Lowish Carb CheesecakePer person:a small handful of raw or unsalted roasted nuts – pecan or hazelnut are the best IMHO.salted butter1/2 tsp raw honeytwo heaped dessert spoons of Greek or dripped yogurthalf a banana mashed or a small handful of berries lightly squishedIn a food processor, grind the nuts to a finish crumb. Add honey and enough butter to make damp crumbs that will press together into dough, but not so much that they are sticky.press into a dariole mould (or small tart tin, metal ring etc) lined with a scrap of baking parchment.Spoon in the fruit and top with yogurt.Chill for a couple of hours and then dig in! Can be semi frozen for an iced version or made in a small round tupperware for a portable dessert.
This month’s Go Ahead Honey, It’s Gluten-Free is perfect for summer. With digits well into the 100’s here, I’m all for keeping my oven time to a minimum, so having an extra push to play with some of my favorite salad recipes was something I gladly jumped into!
This Chinese Chicken Salad is an updated version of a classic cabbage salad my mom used to make when I was younger. You may be familiar with the Top Ramen Chicken Salad? Loaded with fried noodles, salt and not-so-good for you ingredients, looking back at this ‘healthy’ meal makes me cringe a little.
That being said, I always enjoyed this salad. In fact, this was one of my pregnant cravings. Every.single.time.
V8, beef jerky and Top Ramen Chinese Chicken salad. My other cravings varied, but I guarantee you if I was pregnant, I would be wanting one or all of the above at any time nearly every.single.day.
While I am not pregnant, when I received two beautiful heads of Napa Cabbage in a recent order from Bountiful Baskets, I knew I wanted to finally nail down a more ‘me’ friendly version of this salad.
Having recently finished my first Whole30, I am a little obsessed with making anything and everything without sweeteners of any sort.
As you know, I have been using non-refined sugars for more than a year now; but this is different.
While the occasional fruit-juice sweetened item is allowed, part of the Whole30 program includes eliminating all sweeteners, including stevia. Effectively, the Whole30 program is designed to reset your body, your mind, and your taste buds.
The purpose of eliminating all sweeteners goes beyond a mere breaking the sugar cycle ideal, it ensures you taste your food for what it is, tasting your food for what it should be.
And you know what? Beyond being the most difficult part of the program for me (I even found stevia as an included ingredient on my favorite herbal tea, seriously!?) eliminating all sweeteners taught me something…
I don’t need to sweeten my food nearly as often as I thought I did, and when a little sweetness is required, a little fruit juice goes a long way.
So while I may use a bit of honey, maple syrup, palm sugar or stevia when I am not on the Whole30 program, expect to see many, many more recipes without any of the above.
And because of how I felt on the end of my first Whole30, the fact that I was running easier and faster, the fact that my skin was clearer than it has been (probably ever), the fact that I dropped quite a bit of weight (although I don’t know exactly how much because we don’t own a scale! But who cares? My clothes fit better and that matters more in the scheme of things); because of all of this expect to see many more Whole30 type recipes from here on out.
Want to learn more about the Whole30? If you read my review of Well Fed, you may have noted the mention of Melissa and Dallas Hartwig from Whole9. Whole30 is their brainchild and ultimately what pushed Melissa Joulwan into her own health-centric lifestyle.
The epitome of the paleo lifestyle, a great guideline and a fantastic way to live, the Whole30 program is something everyone can do and something I really feel everyone should do to rest our minds, our bodies and our lives.
In case you were wondering, despite being a paleo-centric lifestyle, Melissa and Dallas have made alternative menu suggestions for followers who are vegan, vegetarian and those suffer from any other food related allergies or autoimmune syndromes.
So yes, you too can do this! It’s worth it, I promise.
Learn more about the Whole30 and buy the Success Guide here; or even better, invest in Dallas and Melissa Hartwig’s new book: It Starts with Food: Discover the Whole30 and Change Your Life in Unexpected Ways. My copy should be here sometime today, after which I will begin my second Whole30 and with this, look forward to even more progress and continued success.
Without further adieu, here is my entry into this month’s Go Ahead Honey, It’s Gluten-Free
- 2 lbs Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breast
- 2 cloves Garlic, minced
- Salt and Pepper to taste
- 1 head Napa Cabbage, chopped
- 5 stalks Celery, sliced
- 3 Spring Onions, whites and greens, sliced
- 8 oz Snow Peas
- 1 c Raw Cashew Pieces
- ¼ c Coconut Aminos
- ¼ c Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- ¼ c Pineapple Juice
- 1 Tbs Dried Chives
- 1 Tbs Dried Onions
- 1 Tbs Dried Parsley Flakes
- 1 tsp Garlic Powder
- 1 tsp Onion Powder
- Preheat oven to 400f. On parchment lined baking sheet, sprinkle chicken breasts with garlic, salt and pepper. Bake until cooked through and internal temperature reaches 170f. Remove from oven and allow to cool.
- Prepare dressing by combining coconut aminos, extra virgin olive oil, pineapple juice, chives, onions, parsley, garlic powder and onion powder in a medium Mason jar or shaker mug. Shake until well combined and set aside.
- Prepare salad by mixing together cabbage, celery, spring onions, snow peas and cashews. Cut chicken into bite-sized pieces. Toss chicken and dressing in with salad base and refrigerate for at least one hour before serving.
- Make up to 2 days before serving, flavor is absorbed without salad becoming soggy (yay!).
- Serves 8.
This month’s Go Ahead Honey, It’s Gluten-Free event is focused on foods that bring healing to your mind, body and soul. Hosted by Maggie over at She Let Them Eat Cake , this is a great opportunity to start the New Year off with some amazingly delicious and wonderfully healing recipes.
As mentioned in my Cranberry-Orange Wassail post from last week I have been battling a head-cold and thus, have been loading up on yummy healing foods to help me move past this as quickly as possible.
After a long week loaded with church events, school events and personal events, my body finally gave in Sunday morning. My loving husband and wonderful children left me be and I managed to rest for a whopping 48 hours thereafter.
When I finally mustard the will to get out of bed, I knew I wanted something warm and soothing…oddly enough, the first thing that came to mind was not my easy egg drop soup, which is generally my go-to get-better-quick solution, no…I wanted cheddar bacon soup.
Cheddar bacon? Yummy, but not something someone on a dairy-free diet normally desires.
So, my creative mind began to flow.
How can I accomplish this in a way that is safe for my family, positively delicious, really cheesy yet nutritious enough to push me past this bug that weighed me down so firmly?
Then I remembered, I had a stash of roasted squash in my freezer. That would do the trick!
After much tinkering, I was glad to come up with a solution that killed my craving and helped me return to work and my family happy and healthy as ever (if you don’t count the sniffles that just won’t go away)…
To match the needs of this month’s event…this soup is loaded with healing ingredients:
Squash: Winter squash is known for carotene properties and offer a protective effect against many cancers, heart disease and type 2 diabetes. This recipe would work well is pumpkin, acorn, Hubbard or butternut squash, though I used roasted pumpkin in mine.
Chicken broth: chicken broth is the go-to secret weapon for moms world-wide. Having been used as a remedy for the common cold for centuries, scientific evidence now shows that chicken broth helps to clear a stuffy nose by inhibiting inflammation of the cells in the nasal passages. Now that’s good stuff.
Onions contain powerful anti-oxidants and are also natural anti-histamines and anti-inflammatory.
Palm oil has been shown to protect against many common health problems and to boost immunity.
As far as the bacon…well….the protein in bacon can help you feel full longer and apparently bacon is a good source of choline which can help prevent against heart problems. While the fat level in bacon keeps me from eating it every day, undoubtedly the high-quality stuff isn’t all that bad for you and well…it tastes good!
While there is not an ounce of cheese to be found, this recipe undoubtedly leads to one of the creamiest versions of cheddar bacon soup I have ever enjoyed. All in all, this soup is loaded with wonderful nutrients meant to help heal your body and warm your soul.
May this be just one of many recipes to bring health and happiness to you and your family all year long.
- 16 oz Smoked Bacon
- 1 c Butter-Flavored Palm Shortening
- 1 Medium Yellow Onion, diced
- 3 Cloves Garlic, minced
- 8 c Roasted Squash, cubed or pureed
- 4c (32 oz) Chicken Broth (Pacific Naturals is organic and gluten-free, or you can use your own homemade version)
- 1 Tbs Smoked Paprika
- 2 tsp Salt
- 1 tsp Pepper
- 1 Can Whole-Fat Coconut Milk
- Chives for garnish (optional)
- Cook bacon until crisp. I prefer to bake mine at 425f on parchment-lined cookie sheets. This has always proved to be the best way to achieve even results. Drain oil and allow to cool.
- In medium stock pot, warm palm shortening until melted. Add in onion and garlic, cooking until lightly caramelized. Stir in squash and cook until warm. Add in broth, paprika, salt and pepper. Bring to simmer over medium heat, cook for an additional 15 minutes.
- Puree soup by using hand blender or adding in small batches to your Vitamix. or other blender. Return to pot. Crumble bacon into bits. Stir in ½ bacon and canned coconut milk, allow to cook for an additional 5-10 minutes.
- Serve warm, using the remaining bacon and added chives for garnish.
- Makes 8-10 servings.
This is not one of those healthy desserts that I so love. This is one of those “I really need a chocolate fix, and not just any chocolate fix, something over the top” desserts that I indulge on just a few times a year.
When my family and I took the opportunity to turn a library day into a full blown out on the town, let’s take our books and have some lunch then go to a movie day; the restaurant we visited happened to be serving molten lava cake. The smell of this beautiful, luxurious dish permeated the air and sent my chocolate cravings into a tizzy. Obviously I could not enjoy what was so readily available…no amount of deliciousness is worth getting horrifically sick over (a lesson I learned early on), but the desire to partake simply would not leave me, no matter how hard I fought it.
The next day, after church and Sunday naps, the overwhelming need to create this dish would not go away.
So I gave in.
And you know what? I was amazed at how easily this came together.
Five ingredients. Well, six if you add the raspberries or strawberries I suggest…but the cake itself only has five ingredients.
Go ahead, splurge. This quick and easy dessert is so decadent, no one will ever guess how little time you actually spent putting it together.
You’ll be the talk of the town, the queen of the kitchen… the envy of all those around you.
Have your cake and eat it, better yet, have your cake and love it, too.
Molten Lava Cake (Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free, Grain-Free, Soy-Free)
1c Coconut Oil
¼ c Coconut Flour
¼ c Palm Sugar
Preheat oven to 350f. Grease 4-6oz ramekins, set aside. In microwave safe large mixing bowl, melt together chocolate chips and coconut oil, 30 seconds at a time mixing between each interval until smooth syrup has formed. Set aside. In large mixing bowl, whisk eggs together then add coconut flour and palm sugar, combining thoroughly. Add in chocolate mix and combine until smooth.
Fill each ramekin ¾ way until all the batter has been evenly divided. Place filled ramekins on cookie sheet and bake at 350 for 15-20 minutes or until cakes form with soft middles.
It will look something like this:
Allow cakes to cool slightly (5-10 min) before moving to plate.
This time is important for two reasons: 1. the cake will firm up slightly making the transition from ramekin to plate easier, 2. you are less likely to burn your tongue. Enough said.
Place plate upside down immediately on top of ramekin then flip ramekin and plate so that the two never separate in the process.
Cake will slip easily from the ramekin; too much transfer area will cause the tender, chocolate lava center to escape. Nobody wants that.
Remove ramekin and top with dairy free whipped cream, raspberries, strawberries or whatever other kind of berry you have on hand…
That, or eat as-is.
I thought about doing these in muffin tins. While the size would be correct, as mentioned above, moving these tender beauties could cause the middle to rupture and the filling to escape. The first time I made this though, I did a double batch and made it in a large casserole dish. The cake cooked for about 25-30 minutes. This turned out well, although the side servings had significantly less gooey yumminess than the middle servings…even so, going this route would be great for large potlucks where you would instantaneously become everyone’s best friend.
I nearly forgot that this dish fits perfectly into this month’s Go Ahead Honey, It’s Gluten Free which is being hosted by Diane over at The Whole Gang. The theme for this month is “It All Ends Here!” which is based on the tag line for the final Harry Potter film. Not only were
these cakes served at the end of our meal, the film we enjoyed following the lunch that inspired this dessert happened to be Harry Potter. I am beyond pleased to offer this recipe as my submission for this moth’s event. (Thank you, Diane!)
Whatever you do with this, however you chose to enjoy it or whoever you chose to share it with…undoubtedly this cake will become an instant family favorite.
Zucchini Brownies (Gluten-Free, Casein-Free, Refined Sugar-Free, Grain-Free, Vegan). Ingredient-Challenge Monday
When grown in the proper environment, zucchini plants can easily produce several dozen squash per plant. Because zucchini flourishes in an organic environment; preserves well as a frozen vegetable and pickles well, zucchini is often a top choice for home-growers.
Throughout growing season, my husband often asks: “Do you have to put zucchini in everything??”
I love zucchini in frittata, spaghetti, salad, bread, omelets, meatloaf, lasagna, muffins, shepherd’s pie, cake and now, I love zucchini in my brownies, too.
So yes, maybe I do have to put zucchini in everything.
But you know what? He doesn’t really seem to mind…especially since he doesn’t always know what I have included this fabulous vegetable in.
As I mentioned on Friday, 1 cup of raw zucchini has only 20 calories yet is rich in Vitamin A and C, as well as a good resource for calcium and iron. As a great filler, food extender and a fantastic way to turn baked goods into magnificent moist masterpieces, why wouldn’t you want to use this beautiful green vegetable in everything?
For this Ingredient-Challenge Monday, I am proud to share these delicious zucchini brownies with you. High in protein, no refined sugars, free of grains and vegan; nutritionally speaking, these brownies are something any parent would be proud to serve their family.
Not your typical brownie, these decadent desserts are so rich and moist, they must be eaten with a fork.
My eldest child, who often cringes at the number of veggies included on his dinner plate, gave these “200 thumbs up.”
I wonder though, would he feel the same way if he knew that he just received a heavy dose of vegetables in his dessert?
Doesn’t really matter…I am happy to make these time and time again, and given the response received from my husband, MIL and children…I have no doubt they will be happy to devour these time and time again.
Zucchini Brownies (Gluten-Free, Casein-Free, Refined Sugar-Free, Grain-Free, Vegan)
½ c Coconut Oil, melted over low heat
1 c Agave Nectar
1 tsp Vanilla
½ c Coconut Flour
½ c Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
1 ½ tsp Baking Soda
1 ½ tsp Natural Sea Salt
2 c Shredded Zucchini
½ c Chopped Pecans or Walnuts
6 Tbs Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
¼ c Coconut Oil, melted over low heat
1 ½ c Arrowroot Powder
¾ c Unsweetened Non-Dairy Milk (Coconut, Almond), divided
½ tsp Vanilla
Pre-heat oven to 350f. Prepare 9×13 baking pan by generously greasing with coconut oil and dusting with arrowroot powder. In medium mixing bowl, whisk together melted coconut oil, agave nectar and vanilla. Set aside. In large mixing bowl, combine coconut flour, unsweetened cocoa powder, baking soda and natural sea salt. Combine wet ingredients into dry ingredients, mix well. Fold in shredded zucchini and pecans or walnuts.
Bake for 25-30 minutes until a toothpick, when inserted, comes out clean.
Prepare frosting by first blending cocoa powder and melted coconut oil. Using a hand blender, mix in arrowroot powder, palm sugar and ¼ c non-dairy milk and vanilla. Once combined, continue to slowly add milk, ¼ c at a time, until desired texture is achieved. Set frosting aside until after brownies have cooled completely.
Frost brownies immediately prior to serving.
Be sure to visit Shea over at Dixie Chik Cooks to see what masterpiece she has created for this week’s challenge.
We look forward to seeing your zucchini creations as well! Please link up by 6/19/2011 and do not hesitate to include the blog-hop link on your page so your viewers can more easily follow all challenge recipes.
Have a great week! Xo
Celiac Awareness, Memorial Day and my fabulous Salted Cayenne Roasted Carob Cheesecake (Gluten-Free, Casein-Free, Grain-Free, Vegan)
May is a very important month for our family. A month dedicated to Celiac Awareness, I have found many reasons to share why it is I eat the way I do, and why I participate in the blogging community the way I do, this month.
Unfortunately being the last month of school, as a teacher and parent, I have found it very difficult to find the time to sit and write for you, to sit and share my feelings about Celiac Disease and what it means to me.
When I first revealed this dedicated domain, I shared my personal story and how my individual understanding of what Celiac Disease (CD) is has grown over time. Had it not been for friends and family willing to share their own experience with CD, I would have not known to push harder when an elimination diet proved wheat to be a leading cause of several years’ worth of illness and a more recently developed skin rash (which I later came to know as Dermatitis Herpetiformis (DH)).
In fact, if it had been left to my healthcare provider, I should have been satisfied with being diagnosed with a wheat allergy and nothing more.
What is the big deal with having been diagnosed with Celiac Disease? Why was it so important I know for certain that I didn’t just have an allergy to wheat, you ask?
First, one should understand that being wheat free is not equivalent to being gluten free. Gluten is a protein found in wheat, barley and rye.
There are many products that may prove to be wheat free, but contain ingredients such as barley malt flour, rye seed, or are processed on the same equipment with other gluten containing grains. These products are not gluten-free. For someone with CD, knowing the difference can literally be a matter of life or death.
The Mayo Clinic identifies a wheat allergy as an abnormal immune system reaction to one or more proteins found in wheat…the site goes on to say that wheat allergy is different from a disorder known as celiac disease, an immune system reaction that causes inflammation in the small intestines when a person eats any food containing gluten, one type of protein found in wheat.
Under Celiac Disease, The Mayo Clinic additionally states that celiac disease can cause abdominal pain and diarrhea. Eventually, the decreased absorption of nutrients (malabsorption) that occurs with celiac disease can cause vitamin deficiencies that deprive your brain, peripheral nervous system, bones, liver and other vital nourishment…
An allergy to wheat is best managed through diet and medication, which can help when one is accidentally exposed to wheat containing products.
At this time, there is no medication that will cure someone suffering from celiac, or that will help repair their intestine. The only way to effectively manage celiac disease is through a dedicated gluten-free lifestyle.
Can you see why it was vital for me to know exactly what I have? There is a significant difference between an allergy to wheat and celiac disease.
But celiac disease is extremely rare, right?
As it stands, if you have no immediate relatives who have been diagnosed with celiac disease, there is a 1 in 133 chance that you will be diagnosed with celiac disease. This number increases to a 1 in 22 chance if you do have an immediate relative who is diagnosed with celiac.
Currently, the number of Americans with celiac disease far exceeds those who suffer from Autism, Crohn’s Disease, Epilepsy, Unexplained Infertility, Lupus or any other number of syndromes.
Extending beyond celiac disease, it is interesting and extremely important to note that approximately 18 million Americans suffer from some form of gluten sensitivity.
With this information readily available, one must wonder why the Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer Protection Act of 2004 did not identify gluten as one of the 8 ingredients required to be clearly identified per US FDA Labeling Provisions.
The celiac community has been extremely busy this month, doing all they can to raise awareness.
On May 4th, the first Gluten Free Labeling Summit was held in Washington, D.C. where the world’s largest gluten-free cake was built. Symbolizing the need for clear, accurate and reliable gluten-free labeling standards, and the big deal these standards symbolize in the lives of the millions of people who depend on accurate labeling for their health. Please see 1in133.org for more information.
The Amazing Diane Eblin has been busy hosting a month-long event titled: 30 Days to Easy Gluten-Free Living. With 30 different ways that prove how gluten free living is easy, fun and extremely tasty, this event is surely something you must visit!
Other great events happen every week including: Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays, hosted by Amy Green of Simply Sugar and Gluten-Free; Allergy Friendly Fridays, hosted by Cybele Pascal of Allergen-Free Cuisine; Seasonal Sunday’s, hosted by Brittany at Real Sustenance.
Monthly events raise awareness all throughout the year, including: Go Ahead Honey, It’s Gluten Free!, an event created by Naomi Devlin of Straight Into Bed Cakefree and Dried; and Sweet or Savory which is hosted by Ricki Heller of Diet, Dessert and Dogs, as well as, Kim from Affairs of Living.
Finally, let’s not forget my own bi-weekly event: Ingredient Challenge Monday, which I am proud to host along with Shea Goldstein of Dixie Chik Cooks. Focused on using whole foods that will increase the overall nutrition of our home and yours, feel free to join our challenge every-other week! Be sure to check back often to see what surprises we have in store for you. xo
Tonight’s recipe brings me to another very important event that happens in the month of May: Memorial Day.
Traditionally observed in the United States on the last Monday of May, Memorial Day generally marks the beginning of Summer and is a day we gather together to enjoy food, friends and family.
Let us not forget why we take time to celebrate this very special day. Memorial Day, which was originally called Decoration Day, was proclaimed back in 1868 as a day set aside to observe and give thanks to those who have died in our nation’s service.
As the wife of a United States Army Veteran, I can attest to the importance of giving thanks to the great men and women who have sacrificed everything for our sake.
Please, in whatever celebration you hold this beautiful weekend, do take time to remember those who have died in service to protect the freedoms and liberties of this great nation.
Inspired by this month’s Sweet or Savory Challenge, I was thrilled to add carob to my personal repertoire.
I must admit, prior to this, I had never worked with carob directly. In fact, my only recollection of ever having tasted carob came through those little ‘imitation chocolate’ chips often featured at cheap corner ice cream shops. Even so, I was pleasantly surprised at how easy roasted carob powder was to work with and at how remarkably chocolate-like this ingredient is.
As devastating as it would seem for this self-proclaimed chocolate addict to be diagnosed with a chocolate allergy, I might just be able to survive so long as I have a ready supply of this tasty ingredient on-hand.
Because there is no baking required to make this delightful cashew cheesecake, this dessert is truly the perfect treat to share at your beginning of summer event.
Wherever you choose to share this dessert, may you find many reasons to celebrate!
Salted Cayenne Roasted Carob Cheesecake (Gluten-Free, Casein-Free, Grain-Free, Vegan)
1 ½ c Blanched Almond Flour
2 Tbs Roasted Carob Powder
½ tsp Ground Cinnamon
¼ c Coconut Oil, melted over low heat
3 c Raw Cashews, soaked for at least 3 hours
¼ c Agave Nectar
2 Tbs Vanilla Extract
1 Tbs Coarse Sea Salt
2 Tbs Palm Sugar
½ tsp Cayenne Pepper (more or less to taste)
For the crust, first mix together the almond flour, carob powder and ground cinnamon. Slowly add melted coconut oil until the mixture is dryer than cookie dough, wetter than cookie crumbs. Press mix into the base of a 9-inch pie or spring form pan, leaving just enough crust to cover half way up the sides.
Prepare filling in a high-speed blender, adding all ingredients at once. Tamper down the mix until the mix resembles cream cheese. Be careful not to go too far, lest you end up with a carob cashew butter; which would be wonderfully tasty but not solid enough for a cheesecake.
Using a spatula, slowly pour filling over prepared crust and smooth down to ensure and even fill. Allow to chill 20-30 minutes.
Now at this point, you will have a beautifully chocolatey cheesecake that is ready to devour.
While this is a really great dessert in and of itself, the salty-sweet and spicy topping truly brings this dish to the next level.
For the topping, simply mix together the coarse sea salt, palm sugar and cayenne pepper. ½ tsp cayenne was just enough for my guests to notice there was a little spice…feel free to add more or less, depending on your preference. Sprinkle as little or as much as you please on each individual slice, immediately before serving.
Now with this decadent topping in place, you have a dessert truly worthy of a holiday weekend.
Makes 1-9 inch pie.