Paleo banana flax pancakes

Paleo banana flax pancakes cutThis was breakfast this morning. It’s by far my kids’ favourite breakfast. It’s easy to make and I can eat it without guilt because it’s not only gluten-free, it’s grain-free, dairy-free (if you use coconut oil rather than ghee) and free of refined sugar. Personally, I eat them with almond butter rather than maple syrup, though my kids (of course) go for the maple syrup. Either way, they’re delicious. Continue reading

Oven-baked root vegetable crisps (chips)

Oven-baked root vegetable crispsSince I came to the UK, I have all too often indulged in Tyrell’s veg crisps, made with beetroot, parsnips, and carrot. They are delicious – but they’re also very greasy, salty, and made with sunflower oil, which isn’t a very healthy oil. After some trial and error, I have come up with an alternative that’s even more delicious. My oven-baked root vegetable crisps are crunchy, satisfying, and because they’re a lot less greasy and salty, the real taste of the root vegetable shines through. And lest you think this means they’re yucky, let me tell you: my junk food-loving small children adore these. Continue reading

Sweet potato raisin muffins (Paleo, no added sugar)

Sweet potato raisin muffinsI’m almost afraid to admit this because it seems like such a trendy thing, but for many reasons I’ve been moving towards a more paleo/primal diet. Cutting down on grains has been a gradual process but for the last two and a half weeks I’ve been strictly following a grain-free, dairy-free, legume-free diet. I’m not sure if I always will be this strict – I’m doing this as an elimination diet and plan to later experiment with adding in various foods to determine what really does bother my gut – but for now I can report that I’ve been feeling better than I have in years.

I have, however, been craving a treat. For my elimination diet I’ve decided to give up all added sugar, even things like honey and maple syrup (which paleo people eat), so I thought I’d try to use naturally sweet ingredients to make muffins. That’s how I came up with these sweet potato muffins, which are studded with raisins and subtly spiced for a taste and smell somewhere between pumpkin pie and oatmeal raisin cookies.

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Tropical banana muffins (Gluten-free, dairy-free, low-sugar)

Tropical banana muffinsI love banana muffins and banana bread but today I was feeling a bit bored of my regular nutty ones. It’s February and I was feeling like a taste of the tropics, so I decided to break with tradition and make banana muffins with coconut and mango. (Mango is high-FODMAP but I find I can stand a little bit. It can easily be replaced with papaya if you’re more sensitive to it.) I also wanted to make muffins with little or no added sugar. Loosely using my own sweet potato coconut muffins as a guide, I added a little bit of this and a little bit of that, fully expecting this initial attempt not to turn out very well. To see what disaster I’d come up with, I made a single small test muffin. Much to my surprise, it turned out perfect.*

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Healthy banana nut flapjacks (oat bars) with optional hazelnut toffee crunch

Nutty banana oat flapjacksWhen I first came to England, I didn’t understand what a flapjack was. I thought of it as a down-home-American word for a pancake. Even once I understood what a flapjack was in England, I didn’t get for a long time what all the fuss was about (the English LOVE their flapjacks). As far as I can tell, the classic British flapjack is essentially a very sweet and buttery granola bar without all the good stuff associated with granola bars, other than oats. Little by little, however, I have come to see the potential of the British flapjack. Oat bars are almost a blank canvas, to which you can add any number of ingredients and still bake up a tasty treat. After considerable experimentation, I’ve come up with a version that’s really quite healthy.

My flapjacks are much lower in sugar and fat than the classic flapjack. They’re gluten-free and dairy-free – in fact, vegan. For added nutrition, I add a lot of nuts. Lots of banana keeps my flapjacks moist and sweet. For a quick and easy everyday snack, that’s where I stop. However, for a more decadent treat or to serve to guests, I like to add chocolate drizzle and hazelnut toffee crunch. Continue reading

Citrus dill gravlax (plus three more flavours and bonus sushi rice recipe)

Gravlax ingredientsI’ve been wanting to make gravlax (AKA gravad lax) for some time now. Salmon is one of my favourite foods, especially when raw or semi-raw, and the idea that I might be able to cure my own salmon without buying a smoker or paying extortionate prices for sashimi-grade salmon strongly attracted me. However, for a long time I was nervous because the recipes I’ve seen vary dramatically. Some call for as much as a full cup of salt while others call for as little as a couple of teaspoons. Some call for much more salt than sugar; others call for much more sugar than salt. Some recipes I’ve seen also make the process seem incredibly complex, involving weights, precisely timed curing, even the use of thin slices of lime that can’t actually touch the fish.

After consulting a ton of recipes, I became convinced that a fairly minimalist approach would work, but although I wanted to simplify the process (and avoid ending up with a fish-flavoured lollipop or salt lick), I also wanted to experiment with a variety of flavours. So I ended up making four different kinds. Continue reading

Gluten-free cheddar cornbread muffins

Cornbread muffinsI love cornbread muffins but a lot of them are too crumbly for my taste. I get that cornmeal is crumbly by nature but it gets to be too much when it’s difficult to eat. These gluten-free savoury cornbread muffins are moist and not crumbly at all. With the addition of cheese, corn kernels, chives, and smoked paprika, I got a tasty, easily packable breakfast or lunch food that reheats well. Plus they’re refined-sugar-free!

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