Lots of us seem to be eliminating gluten from our diets these days. Whether it's for medical reasons like Celiac disease, or gluten intolerance and sensitivity, or simply because a loved one is cutting out gluten, it's important to know that you can still have sweets when you're cutting wheat. And gluten-free certainly does not have to be taste-free—these delicious recipes are proof of that!
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Even though I had a great gardening fail, I did manage to get a few things out of it. Parsley was abundant as were carrots, and thankfully, the zucchini.
I plant zucchini each year because they are healthy and there are so many things I can make from them. From "noodles" to salads to breads and these muffins, it's a versatile vegetable that will always have a place in my garden.
If any edible-slash-catchphrase is more iconic than "mom's apple pie," it is surelymilk and cookies. A classic after-school snack, a hallowed bed-time ritual, a staple of Sesame Street monsters and small children everywhere, milk and cookies combine both healthfulness and treat (protein, sugar), and offer the fraught parent a last-ditch compromise in the battle with picky eaters ("You can have another cookie if you finish your milk").
In our own milk-and-cookie childhood, there was a standout: Pillsbury Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough. It was (and remains still) a cylindrical tube of slice 'n bake artificial deliciousness that always made a fraction of the promised end product, because we had eaten much more than we spoon-dropped onto the baking sheets.
Homemade cookie dough was pretty good, too; although its consumption was spoiled somewhat by our mother's warnings about salmonella from the raw eggs. But Pillsbury's grainy dough seemed impermeable to contamination, with its millennial stale-dates and its oleaginous sweetness, no matter a long tenure in the refrigerator's cheese drawer.
You can't go home again, though, not now that we know just how terrible all that processed food really is. So, below, our healthier take on a favourite cookie (it is egg-free, so you can lick the spoon for old time's sake!)
Not long ago, I sent out this tweet:
Thankfully, I am speaking of it again because it was a sucess.
But we need to talk about this recipe because, let's face it...the shortbread we are all used to is made from butter and white flour. Period. End of story. But...this is me. I always have the curiousity to re-create my favourites to make them a bit healthier and to give people with allergies to certain ingredients, special, diets, and food restrictions the chance to once again enjoy things they once loved. Not to mention, the fact that I am using all plant-based products (hello, planet-friendly recipe!) makes me happy.
Before I put together my recipe, I did a little research to get an idea of how to go about this task and admittedly it kinda felt like I was trying to re-invent the wheel, who does that? Luckily, I'm stubborn—why not have two different types of wheels so everyone can partake?
Now before you try this recipe, let me tell you this...you are not going to fool anyone into thinking these are the traditional thing. They ARE rich and crumbly and have the same texture and mouth-feel as the regular stuff but they have a different flavour—slightly coconutty, but yummy. Pair them up with a cup on tea.
For me (and you too, I'm sure) the holidays are one of the times during the year when I (mindfully) indulge in almost anything I want to eat. I also indulge during vacations. On my birthday. Friends' birthdays...bottom line is, I like to eat, but I try my best during these times to not letwhat I can't eat too much of get in the way.
I have a weakness for baked goods, which I'm sure I've mentioned before at some point. But nowadays, over-indulging in those delicious baked goods is not the best thing for me because of wheat and other things that I have become sensitive to. So, when it comes to the cookies and treats I make at Christmas, I now do a mix of traditional recipes along with some modified recipes.
Chewy, chocolaty gingerbread cookies are one of my favourites, because well, GINGERBREAD + CHOCOLATE! So I took one of the traditional recipes I used to make, made a few modifications to make them vegan, gluten-free, and a little bit on the less refined side. What I came up with was the deliciousness you see in the pictures.
This gluten-free blueberry pancake recipe is just like any other pancake I have had. They are fluffy, they are delicious, and are perfect for a lazy weekend breakfast. They also happen to be vegan! They make a regular appearance on our breakfast table because my family loves them...but really, who doesn't love pancakes?
If you are gluten-intolerant, you can still enjoy great tasting food by being creative and experimenting! Here are five things every gluten-intolerant person should know and a delicious gluten-free brownie recipe:
Double your protein intake: Your body will need more protein to rebuild itself, so make sure you eat enough proteins.
It is best to eat 6 small meals a day, rather than 3 large meals.
Make sure you keep hydrated.
There is a new gluten free grain on the market. It is from Canada and it is often referred to as ‘the rice of the Prairies’ but the real name is Lavena Nuda.
And most important: read the labels, even if it says ‘gluten free’ on the package doesn’t mean it is good for you. Unfortunately, a lot of these products contain a long list of unhealthy ingredients.
I’m fairly new to the world of gluten-free baking; I’m more of a gluten-ful girl, to be honest. However, I have friends with Celiac disease and friends who avoid gluten and wheat, and I like to accommodate them when making treats, especially around the holidays. Should we exclude people from holiday cookie exchanges and treat sharing, just because of the inability to eat gluten? No! We should not!
Enter this cookie recipe, which is not only gluten-free, but is also vegan and packed with protein, fibre, and mint chocolatey deliciousness. It’s simple to make with ingredients that are easily found in any grocery store. Whip up a batch of these, and all your friends—the gluten-free and the gluten-ful alike—will be sharing in the holiday spirit, holding hands in a circle like the Whos down in Whoville.
A note about these cookies: they are delicate little snowflakes that require care when storing. They need to be keep in an airtight container with wax paper between each layer of cookies to avoid sticking together, unless you like eating cookies in stacks of fours and fives—in which case, by all means, store them however you wish.
I’m not one to back down from a challenge. Whether it’s solving a tricky website coding problem, teaching myself how to use my DSLR camera in manual mode (the pics in this post are pretty good, right?), or even making a lotion that is healthier than store-bought, I’ll stick with the challenge until I’ve won. I’m stubborn that way.
So when I decided to change the way I eat a few years ago, I was presented with a new and complex challenge: changing all of my favourite recipes so they are better for me. This means that everything has to be mostly plant-based and because of a slight wheat sensitivity, everything also has to be wheat-free. Obviously, I'm your dream dinner-party guest.
This is a challenge I am happy to say I am totally winning. I love taking a regular recipe, making a few changes and substitutions, and ending up with something that is healthier for me and tastes just as good as the not-so-healthy-for-me version (like these pancakes). There have been some learning-moment fails along the way, but most of them have been successes—like these cookies.
Now, I’m not going to lie and say that these are healthy for you—is there even such a thing as a healthy cookie? But what I will say is that they are better for you than their traditional counterpart and taste just as delicious—maybe even better.
Not long ago, I shared the method I use to make my own homemade pumpkin puree. So now, it's only fair that I share my favourite way to use up that puree, right?
The season of "everything pumpkin" makes me happy because I can do this and not feel bad about it:
Yes, I am one of those people who loves everything pumpkin, and honestly, I don't get sick of all the pumpkin recipes being shared during this time of year.
I actually make these muffins year-round. It's impossible for me to wait to make them only during fall because, well, they are lightly spiced, they pair perfectly with a cup of tea on a chilly day, and they are delicious. I'm pretty sure you will agree.
This winter I found myself faced with a family dinner party and no ingredients for a dessert, and whipped up these two-ingredient wonders on the fly. Not only did the kiddos gorge, the "gromups" (as Sweaty Kid #2 calls us) enjoyed a couple as well, with our post-dinner coffees. Okay, okay, there may also have been post-dinner Grappa...
Over the past two years, since my lovely nutrition buff and massage therapist sister turned me onto primal/paleo eating, I've been slowly reducing the amount of wheat and many other grains in our family's diet. The Sweaty Kids are pretty much on board. Out of necessity (and by necessity, I mean mommy forgot to shop and/or cook), they eat a sandwich 1-2 times per week at lunch. They have the odd piece of toast if we eat breakfast out, or pasta if we eat dinner out. We now get most of our carbohydrates from starchy vegetables, fruits, and occasional traditional grains and seeds such as quinoa, rice, and oats. I've seen great improvements in our family's health, particularly symptoms of allergy such as frequent cough and cold, skin irritations and even hive outbreaks that were too frequent for my liking.
Limited options = greater creativity! Necessity is the mother of invention, as they say, and having to be creative with what I have in the fridge has led me away from store-bought or prepared items, and to trying my hand at a few new kid-friendly and figure-friendly recipes.
Even if your tummy and skin are happy eating grains, changing your definition of a "treat" can also make processed foods and treats taste overwhelmingly sweet and artificial, and you won't feel the temptation to overindulge as you have in the past. Give it a try — cut out added sugars and processed foods for 2 weeks and the next time someone serves you a grocery store pastry or jarred tomato sauce, I guarantee you'll taste every bit of sugar, salt and hydrogenated fat. And not in a good way.
There's still room for treats in a wholesome diet. This recipe is easy to make with your little ones. The banana takes on an ice cream quality and the crispy chocolate coating is fantastic texture and just enough sweetness. Add it to your dessert repertoire and substitute some ice cream, cookies and candy out! Except when the ice cream truck comes around. Then you should definitely, definitely, hit that.