Amazing gluten free – grain free pizza crust

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Have you ever tried cauliflower pizza crust?

This is how I feel about cauliflower pizza crust.

I mean, it is technically pizza, so I obviously ate it.  But I just don’t know about it… maybe I did it wrong?

I will probably attempt it again with tweaks, but I’ve got to say, since going grain free  I have missed pizza most of all.   Real, chewy, hold it in your hand and let your fingers get all greasy pizza.

And so I busted out my arsenal of grain free flours and whipped up a pie my kids actually LOVE and ask for at least once a week.

I guarantee I will never hear them request cauliflower pizza again.  But my grain free version of pizza with chicken apple sausage and cashew feta.  Yep.  They can’t get enough.

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Easy grain free pizza crust

Ingredients:

1.5 cups bobs paleo flour blend

salt to taste

2 tablespoons coconut flour

1/4 cup oil

1 egg

1/3 cup water

1 tsp vinegar

1/4 cup finely grated parmesan cheese (it gives a really nice chewy texture, but just omit if you have severe dairy allergies, it’s good both ways.)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400
  2. Mix the paleo flour with salt but reserve the coconut flour.
  3. Add the liquid ingredients including the cheese and combine into a wet dough.
  4. Slowly add the coconut flour until it comes together just enough to handle without sticking to fingers.
  5. Roll out between two pieces of parament and toss onto a sheet pan or pizza stone.
  6. Prick the surface with a fork and bake for 10 minutes.
  7. Top with desired toppings and bake for an additional 15. (*If using any nut cheeses put them on at the very end after the pizza has been baked.)

 

Butter chicken that tastes like butter chicken – grain free – primal

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I finally did it. After years of experimentation and an assortment of varying failures,  I pulled off butter chicken so good that I found myself compelled to make it three times in one week.

Even my kids who usually hate anything curry related devoured it.

I’m not sure why it took so long or was so hard to get the flavours right, I’ve followed countless online recipes only to be disappointed in the end.

I’ve gone to specialty grocery stored searching out ingredients like menthi leaves or garam masala, certain they would be the smoking gun, finally pulling everything together and replicating the savory, sweet, tangy and slightly spicy combination I had come to enjoy in restaurant versions.  My kitchen would always smell glorious, but when I would taste the finished product it was a major let down.  The flavours would never live up to the promising aroma and I would be forced to rely on a mountain of basmati rice to help wash it down.

Since dropping grains from my diet there is not room for error in curries or sauces, it has to taste good enough to be eaten solo or I might as well save my ingredients and make something fool proof.

Still, there is something about butter chicken that brings upon occasional cravings so intense the only solution is a big bowl of hot creamy buttery goodness.  And with my new primal way of eating, to heal my autoimmunity, takeout is generally not an option.

In this recipe I used real grass fed butter because I have done an elimination diet and found my body actually loves the stuff, but for the yogurt I found plain almond yogurt worked beautifully.  If you eat dairy, go for some really good full fat Icelandic yogurt, and always choose grass fed.

I also discovered what I believe to be the secret ingredient for nailing this flavour profile… pumpkin pie spice!  I added it on a whim and it really brought this bad boy together.  I know its not traditional, but try if you try it, let me know what you think.

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Butter chicken (that tastes good enough to eat) grain free – primal – whole 30.

 

Ingredients:

2 pasture raised chicken breasts

1 small yellow onion

2 roma tomatoes

crushed tomatoes

1/2 cup chicken or beef stock

lemon juice

1 cup full fat coconut milk

grass fed butter or butter replacement

vegan or grass fed plain yogurt

1 clove garlic

1″ piece ginger

1tsp cumin seeds

1tsp coriander

1tsp paprika

1 tsp garam masala

1 tsp pumpkin pie spice

2 tsp pataks curry paste

pinch menthi leaves

coconut sugar or honey

cilantro for garnish

cooking oil (olive or coconut)

 

Directions:

  1. Mix 1/2 cup yogurt and 1 heaping tsp curry paste and juice of 1/2 lemon into a marinade. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  2. Marinade whole chicken breasts for 1 hour or up to 24 hours.
  3. Heat oil in a saucepan and lightly sauté cumin seeds and chopped onion and cook until soft.
  4. Toss in spices, remaining curry paste, ginger and garlic and sauté 30 seconds.
  5. Add Roma tomatoes and stock.
  6. Bring it back up to a simmer and place whole chicken breasts and the yogurt marinade in the saucepan.  Transfer to a 350 degree oven for 25 minutes.
  7. After 25 minutes remove the chicken breasts from the cooking liquids, add 3/4 cup of coconut milk and 2 tbsp. butter to the rest of the ingredients.
  8. Once the butter has melted, use an immersion blender (or any old blender will do) to puree the onion tomato liquid mix into a creamy sauce.
  9. Finally, add the sugar and menthi leaves, shred the chicken back into the sauce and drizzle the remaining coconut milk over the curry.
  10. Top with fresh cilantro if desired.

I made a pot of basmati rice for my grain loving family, but ate my curry over a bed of wilted spinach and a side of aloo gobi.  It was so good I didn’t miss the grains at all.  Seriously.

Next time I’m going to serve it with a warm, soft platter of paleo naan bread in an effort to encourage my family to eat less grains.

Both my Aloo Gobi and Paleo naan recipes are coming soon!

 

 

Why juicing is my favorite, and juice fasting is a total health game changer

pexels-photo-616833.jpegHopefully my kids never read this, and I apologise to any woman struggling with fertility for how this may come across, but I have never once tried to get pregnant and have been blessed with two kids.

This may not seem at all crazy to the countless woman every year who experience unwanted pregnancies, but the thing that set my pregnancies apart from the millions of others is that I got pregnant with PCOS.

PCOS is the most common cause of infertility and led me to believe I would probably never have kids thus, when I shacked up with my now husband, I wasn’t terribly cautious with birth control.

For four years, I managed to have a fairly healthy sex life without any hint of pregnancy. This would be pretty unheard of for any early 20 something with no fertility issues doing the deed daily, but not me, I had that inbuilt birth control that at my age was the one symptom of PCOS I actually welcomed.

Despite losing tons of hair, having s**tty skin, and facial fuzz, it wasn’t until I stepped on the scale and realised I had gained A LOT of weight that I decided it was high time to get a grip on my pcos symptoms. I changed up my diet (less carbs more greens), started supplementing with maca powder, and walked/biked everywhere, but I’m convinced one of the main things that turned it around for me was juicing.

My guy bought me a juicer as a gift of encouragement when I had been working out hard for a few months and still hadn’t lost much. His friends wife owned a health food store and she swore to him that juicing was a game changer, so I was finally baptized in the juice of cucumbers and celery, and my health really began to turn a corner.

Every cup of juice was like a shot of energy to my cells, but not like a caffeine shot of energy where you feel jittery and wired. Juice energy is more like a calm and peaceful sense of ‘I have enough energy to climb a f**cking mountain, write a book and conquer the world all at the same time.’ The greener the juice the better (though admittedly some tastes took a bit more getting used to)

After about two months of juicing daily and continuing an active lifestyle I was just 12 pounds short of my goal weight and seemed to have hit a plateau. It was late one night in my ‘research’ (googling) that I came across the concept of juice fasting.

What? I could really just drink nothing but juice for days and I wouldn’t die?

I researched (googled) the phenomena of juice fasting for weeks, certain people must occasionally die from it. Yet I found that, not only did they not die, but many people regained lost health and transformed their bodies and their lives in the process.

Some of these amazing people consumed nothing but juice for months and were still alive to tell the tale.

So that was it, I was sold. I made a list of juice recipes to try and bought what I thought was an aggressive amount of produce (it barely got me through the first day.) But I was off and juicing and while it was honestly a pretty rough three days, the results were glorious.

The first day I was in a fog. I felt weird constantly aside from the short spikes of energy I would get immediately after consuming my juices. My mouth tasted like someone’s butt hole and I had zero energy to do even the simplest tasks. Luckily, I researched well (thank you google) and planned to begin my fast on the weekend so I basically laid on the couch and binged on curb your enthusiasm and juice.

The second day I awoke with a renewed sense of clarity and purpose. There is a spiritual element to juicing that can only really be experienced. You feel closer to God, to your fellow humans animals and the earth. You do a lot of reflection, and while your body is detoxing, your mind and heart is also.

I went to a local park, lay by a pond, read a book and felt like freaking snow white, all the birds and squirrels were my friends and I was glowing like an angel.

By the time I rode my bike home I was starving and had transformed into the evil witch. I quickly double checked with google to make sure I hadn’t missed any stories of people dying on a juice fasts while glaring with hatred at my boyfriend eating KFC across the room. The smells were amplified by 100% and I eventually had to leave while he finished dinner.

This is one thing to remember about juice fasting. Do not be anywhere that smells like food. Hot dog stands, mall food courts, county fairs, torture.

Later that night I was still seething as my boyfriend ate his way through an entire bag of jalapeno chips. I had initially wanted to fast for as long as possible but was starting to feel like unless I was in an ashram somewhere far away from all food, three days would suffice.

I stepped on the scale that night and was down a whopping seven pounds, IN TWO DAYS. Granted it was mostly all water weight but I was going to take it. It was the push I needed to get me through the final day and I went to bed dreaming about the healthy green salad I would eventually break my fast with (ha!).

As much as I love google, you can’t always trust it. Almost everything I read swore that by the third day I wouldn’t feel hungry anymore. It was all LIES.

The third day was the worst. I think it was a combination of extreme caffeine withdrawal ( I should have weaned off coffee before beginning the fast), detoxing and hunger but I was basically a psycho hose beast the entire day.

When my boyfriend dared to come home with sushi for dinner I actually had a flash visualisation of stabbing him with the chop sticks.

By this point I not only had terrible breath but my body odor smelled like three day old tacos. Thank you detox symptoms.

I spent a few hours indulging in food porn before going to bed dreaming about all the glorious things I would be able to eat the next morning. When I stepped on the scale I was only two pounds off of my goal weight and I felt triumphant knowing I would soon be chewing food again.

When you break a fast you are supposed to take it easy and start with light foods. I wish I could say I followed this advice but after devouring a whole package of blackberries that tasted like manna from Heaven, I waited a few minutes to make sure my stomach wouldn’t burst before sampling bites of everything in sight.

I actually baked fresh bread for my first time ever in my life. I was ready to eat all the food.

But, because my stomach had shrunk a bit, I found I got full fairly fast, and in the days following the fast portion control was much easier for me than it had been previously.

In many ways it was like my short juice fast reprogrammed my eating habits entirely. Suddenly, I craved veggies constantly and had completely lost the desire to eat meat.

Maybe it was that snow white moment by the pond but my juice fast completely kicked off a life of conscious eating, beginning with vegetarianism and eventually veganism. (I am no longer a vegetarian or a vegan but do ensure that at least half of my meals are entirely plant based and all my food choices are consciously made.)

It was like the whole experience gave me a fresh perspective on the roll I play in the world and my responsibility to share it peacefully with the other creatures who live here.

My skin went from being broken out and zitty to the skin of a baby. Literally, NO cream, serum or peel has ever been able to come close to what juicing for three days did to my skin. I also noticed a slight reduction in hair shedding (interesting) and the peach fuzz around my jaw line seemed to have diminished.

I had obviously lost a lot of water weight, but when my boyfriends babe of a friend (who is literally a male model) commented weeks later that I looked like I had lost a lot of weight (blush) I realised the fast must have kick started healing in my body that eventually led to sustainable fat loss.
(There is evidence that fasting can help activate an insulin response in individuals with insulin resistance!)

Within a couple months I had dropped below my goal weight and was looking and feeling amazing, all thanks to three (long) days of juicing, and a follow up of healthier eating and daily exercise.

And that’s when it happened… My boobs magically went up a full cup size. Was this another welcome side effect of juicing? I googled it ready to jump right back into another juice fast asap. But, no.

Missing a period was so common for me I had no idea when my period was even ‘due’ but on a strange hunch I bought a pregnancy test and took it in a community pool bathroom. When the two lines appeared I felt a strange sense of peace come over me. I yelled out loud and emerged from the stall with tears of joy streaming down my face.  People probably thought I was crazy.  But I didn’t care, I had been given a gift. I was going to have something I never thought I could and until that moment hadn’t even realised I wanted.

There is indisputable proof that for women with PCOS, a reduction in body fat is an excellent way to increase fertility, but it is a cruel catch-22 that losing weight with PCOS is really really hard.

I am 100% positive that my mini juice fast helped activate my insulin response, allowed me to shed a few important pounds and was a contributing factor in my being able to conceive. I always sing the praises of juicing to anyone who will listen. I turn to mini (one day) juice fasts whenever I’m feeling run down, and have been able to stave off colds, cure freak breakouts, and get bathing suit ready quick with fresh juice in my healing arsenal.

Don’t just take my word for it, if you need inspiration about the powers of juicing, just watch the movie ‘fat sick and nearly dead’ on Netflix, it is a mega motivator.

Lately my body has been calling me to do another longer fast, and I’m not going to lie, I’ve been putting it off. But I think when I get mentally ready I’m going to aim for a minimum of 5 days and will post the results here when I finally gather the willpower to do it. (Cooking for my family while fasting is a torture I am quite honestly terrified to endure)

What do you think? Do you juice? Do you love it? Has it changed your life in some profound way? Let me know, and if you’ve never juiced what are you waiting for?!