Easy herb and garlic cashew ricotta

Easy herb and garlic cashew ricotta

I’m just going to cut to the chase on this one.  No backstory of my entire life leading up to the discovery of this amazing ricotta.  Because this one is too good to skip over.

This ricotta knocked my socks off.  I whipped it up for a zucchini lasagna and it barely made it into the recipe because I couldn’t stop dipping apple slices and paleo crackers into the stuff.  It also came together in a flash.  I have made vegan cheeses in the past that are a multi-day event.  Not this.  This took 15 minutes start to finish. 

Follow my ratios exactly for the perfect fluffy creamy ricotta texture and then go ahead and tweak the herbs and garlic to your taste, or leave them out entirely if you are needing ricotta for a dessert.

This one is sure to please!

Ingredients:

2 cups cashews

¼ cup water

½ tsp lemon juice

½ tsp apple cider vinegar

1 tbsp nutritional yeast

1 clove of garlic

1 tbsp olive oil

2 tbsp fresh parsley (or other herbs of choice)

Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

Boil raw cashews for 5-10 minutes.  Drain and rinse thoroughly.

Add all remaining ingredients except for the herbs to a food processor.

Process until ricotta-like in texture.

Add herbs and pulse a few more times to incorporate.

Taste and add more salt and pepper if needed.

Use in any dish that calls for traditional ricotta.

Paleo saskatoon berry pancakes

Paleo saskatoon berry pancakes

Last year we moved into a 70s split level with weird laminate floors, original oak kitchen and every room painted a different color.  Sounds like a dream right? Truly, it was not the finishing’s that won us over but the magical, enchanted, fairy garden that came with the house.  Seriously guys, this garden is zen af.    Sometimes I just sit out there and feel overwhelmed with gratitude that I get to live here every day.  There are fruit trees, foot bridges, streams and cobble stone paths running through it.  Every time I walk in the garden I discover something new, but it literally took me until august of this year to discover a saskatoon tree hidden in a corner, dripping with ripe purple berries.  I had no idea it was even there and then, bam, berry heaven. 

For me saskatoons evoke nostalgic memories. They grow abundantly in the prairies where I grew up and have been staining my fingertips purple since the earliest summers in my memory.  They are also a nutritional power house.  Saskatoons contain 2 times more fibre, potassium and iron and 4 times more magnesium than blueberries.  They are also an excellent source of calcium and rich in antioxidants.   

My little tree is a berry making maven.  Since it’s discovery I have enjoyed fresh saskatoons almost daily yet have barely made a dent in the total berry count.  Sadly, last week I noticed a few berries were starting to look wrinkled and spoiled, a tell tale sign of autumns fast approach.  So now I have begun to harvest the fruit with greater urgency and have been trying out different saskatoon recipes, (tip: don’t put them in a smoothie unless you like drinking gel!)

My favorite way to enjoy saskatoon is just plucked straight from the tree, my second favorite are in these delish paleo pancakes.

Of course you don’t neeeeed saskatoons to make these pancakes.  They are great with blueberries, chocolate chips or all on their own, but the sweet tartness of saskatoons do just take them to the next level.  These pancakes are light and fluffy with a cake like flavor, they aren’t quite as thick as traditional flour pancakes, and strangely kind of remind me of the pancakes from a certain fast food chain that serves breakfast until 10.

The dry components of this batter can be premixed and stored so all you need to do is add the wet ingredients when your pancake craving strikes.  These store well in the fridge or freezer and can even replace the bread in a breakfast sandwich.  If you have been looking for a fast, delicious paleo breakfast here you go.  

Dry ingredients:

2 cups paleo flour blend – I highly suggest following my recipe to make your own but if you would rather just order one thing and be done with it, this is the only premixed paleo flour blend I have used with success.

1 tsp paleo baking powder – traditional baking flour is not paleo, I suggest making your own or with the magic of the internet you can conveniently purchase it here.

1/2 tsp salt

Wet ingredients:

2 eggs

¾ cup almond milk

3 tbsp maple syrup

1 tbsp melted coconut oil or ghee

1 tsp vanilla

Directions:

Mix your dry and wet ingredients into a smooth batter stirring until just combined with no lumps.

Heat a non stick skillet over medium heat, add a bit of oil just to glaze the pan.

Pour a scant quarter cup of batter for each pancake.

Sprinkle the pancake with fresh saskatoons.

Wait until bubbles form in the batter, flip and cook until golden brown on the other side. 

These bad boys are ready to flip

Enjoy them hot and store any extras in the fridge for future snacking.   

These will last in the fridge about a week or can be frozen for months.

Please note, this post contains amazon affiliate links, if you make a purchase through one of these links I may receive a small commission at no cost to you.

Cup for cup paleo flour blend

Cup for cup paleo flour blend

As I learn more about nutrition, I have moved farther away from extreme forms of eating including removing entire food groups from my diet. Due to my autoimmune issues I still strictly avoid gluten and most dairy, but I’ve been slowly introducing non-gluten grains into my diet with success.  

If eaten in moderation, I believe grains can be healthy additions to most diets.  They are rich in fibre and vitamins, particularly b-vitamins and can provide your body with lots of concentrated energy. 

The problem with grains come when they are eaten in excess.  Grains contain anti-nutrients that can be gut irritating and inflammatory.  They also can cause blood sugar spikes due to their high concentration of carbohydrates. 

I can say with complete certainty I feel healthier on a Paleo diet than I ever did when I was a vegan.  I have more energy, less inflammation and fewer gut issues.  That being said, I still feel just as healthy eating a mostly paleo diet with the occasional addition of grains and grass fed dairy so I will continue to do so and keep an honest dialogue about my health progress. 

Whether you eat grains or not, it never hurts to have some good paleo recipes in your arsenal.  Paleo foods are often nutritionally dense and extremely satisfying.  Paleo desserts and baked goods keep my blood sugar levels stabilized while still allowing me to indulge my sweet tooth. If done right, they are just as good as their grain based counterparts (maybe better!)

Anyone who has dabbled in paleo baking is probably familiar with all the flour options out there.  Decadent almond flour, sweetly dense coconut flour, chewy tapioca, and many more.  The problem is, they all do slightly different things and substituting any one of them for wheat flour is a recipe for disaster.  Many of us have had a terrible experience with paleo baking at some point or another, and have shed tears over a dry crusty batch of failed cooking that cost a pretty penny in ingredients.   

So, what is a girl (or guy) to do when they want to whip up some paleo baking quick without fussing with a million different paleo flours and producing something disgusting in the end?  You could;

a. spend a bazillion dollars a year on paleo flour blends that aren’t even that good or

b. create a big batch of your own paleo flour that works amazing in almost any recipe where wheat flour is called for and enjoy paleo baked goods whenever the mood strikes.

Obviously, b is the correct option and the entire purpose of this rambling blog entry, so without further ado, here is my favorite paleo flour blend that can be used cup for cup in most recipes.   

I’ve provided affiliate links to the exact flours I use in my blend. I may earn a small commission when readers purchase through the links.

Paleo flour blend:

4 cups almond flour – Almond flour has a light delicate texture and delicious nutty taste. It counteracts the density of most paleo baking and is the perfect base for any paleo flour blend.

2 cups arrowroot flour – Arrowroot flour add a bit of texture and bite to paleo baking so that your desserts won’t just crumble apart in your mouth. It makes an excellent thickener, or a coating to crisp up fried foods and adds a neutral flavor to your flour.

1 cup coconut flour – Coconut flour has a lovely sweet flavor, perfect for baked goods. It adds a melt in your mouth texture to baking but because it is super dense, I recommend using it in moderation in baking.

1 cup tapioca flour – Tapioca flour and cassava flour both come from the cassava plant but their extraction processes are different. Tapioca mimics gluten, giving baked goods elasticity and helping hold them together. It works best as a part of a flour blend and should only be used alone as a thickener.

1 cup cassava flour – Cassava flour is a very flour-like paleo flour. It has a very neutral flavor and somewhat chewy texture. It works well on it’s own in many recipes and adds another element of texture to your paleo baked goods when part of a flour blend.

I like to mix all the flours together and store in a large mason jar in the pantry. It can also be tossed into a freezer bag and shaken for a super quick process that is easy to store.

This flour is awesome for, pancakes, cookies, muffins, brownies, and many more delicious baked goods.  I’ll be posting some of my own paleo baking recipes over the next few months so I wanted to be sure to get this blend out there for when I refer to it in the future. 

When using it in your own baking, it can in theory be used cup for cup, but you may want to tweak it in certain recipes for improved consistency.

Please keep in mind, if you are substituting paleo flour for wheat flour you should not make any other substitutions, especially when it comes to eggs!  Recipes are kind of a science and we all know the more variables are changed in an experiment, the less controlled the outcome.    

So go get baking and please tag me in or share any paleo recipes you create with this amazing blend!

This post contains amazon affiliate links.

Paleo plantain burgers

Paleo plantain burgers

Anyone who has been on the Paleo train for more than a minute has likely eaten their share of lettuce wrapped items.  And while I too enjoy a good lettuce wrap from time to time, there are moments that just call for something a little more substantial. 

The other day I picked up local grass fed beef and decided to kick off the end of summer with some grilled burgers.  Because nothing helps me forget that this summer flew by in a nano second and that the leaves are already falling more than a thick juicy patty grilled on an open flame.  It is the quintessential food of summer. 

As I began assembling my burger toppings I felt a tinge of jealousy.  While I should have been drooling over the smell of the grill I was actually feeling sorry for myself about the fact that I was about to eat yet another lettuce wrapped thing while my kids and husband enjoyed their burgers on a bun.  So I made a quick u turn on the lettuce wrap and decided to try a different breed of burger, a plantain burger. 

OMG yes! As soon as I bit into my burger all jealousy subsided.  Not only was I more satisfied than I am after my usual lettuce wraps, I was in flavor heaven.  I actually felt sorry for the rest of my family not eating their burger on a plantain.  Seriously, I can’t believe I haven’t done this before!

The key to a plantain that will hold up as a burger bun is to use a very starchy plantain, aka a green one.  Once  your plantains have reached the point of yellow with black spots they’ll probably be too soft to hold all your toppings.  Yellow plantains also take on more of a sweetness that lends itself better to sweet flavours, imo.

My favorite way to enjoy plantains is twice fried, also known as tostones.  They become soft and fluffy on the inside with a great crunchy shell, the perfect vessel for all your burger needs.  One full plantain is a good size for one burger so if you make these for a group make sure you get a bunch. 

For one burger you will need:

One plantain

One tbsp coconut oil

Sea salt

Directions:

Heat your oil over medium low heat

Slice your plantain in half and slowly start to brown in the hot oil. Don’t cook it too fast as burned plantains take on a bitter flavour, allow it to caramelize slow and low.

When your plantain is golden brown on all sides remove from the heat and place on a paper towel to cool for a minute. 

Using the back of a glass gently flatten the plantain to just over ¼” thick. 

Return to the oil and continue frying slow and low until it super golden brown and crispy. 

Drain on a paper towel and sprinkle with sea salt while still hot.   

Top with burger toppings of choice and enjoy.  

Tangy vegan cheeze queso

Tangy vegan cheeze queso

This cheezy queso is so good. Flavor wise it’s as close as cheesily possible to the real thing. My kids gobble it up without comment, so it’s definitely good enough to fool the palette of ten years olds. Their dad has them convinced that ‘vegan’ is a homonym for ‘gross’ so I let them happily believe my queso is made with all the animal products and they don’t complain one bit.

When I was young and nutrition was the farthest thing from my mind, I would frequent a popular convenience store for hot dogs and absolutely crush them with chili and queso.  Now I wouldn’t touch a convenience store hot dog if you paid me, and store bought queso is not something you will ever find in my pantry, but that doesn’t mean I cant dip things into a velvety bowl of cheeze sauce when the mood strikes.   

Cutting dairy from my diet has led me to better skin and fewer digestive upsets but I am only human, and sometimes I find myself craving the savory taste of cheese.  Miyokos vegan cheese cookbook is the very first book I ever purchased on Amazon. I’ve played around with a variety of vegan cheeses trying to recreate that authentic cheese flavor.  Some have been pretty good and some have been worthy of the compost bin.  But this queso…this is the business.

Both vegans and non vegans LOVE it.  It can be easily be customized and used as a cheeze sauce for veggies, or vegan mac and cheeze.   It’s not as nut heavy as some other vegan cheeses, making it lower fat and easier on the wallet.

If you have been disappointed with other vegan cheeze sauce or are looking for a new recipe that really is hard to screw up, this is the one.  It is tangy, creamy, smooth, satisfying, and CHEESY. This right here is the answer to all your dairy free prayers.

Tangy vegan cheeze queso

Ingredients:

2 medium potatoes peeled and cubed

1 carrot peeled and cubed

1/2 cup soaked cahsews

2 cups veggie or mushroom stock

1/8 cup nutritional yeast

1 tbsp lemon juice

1 tsp apple cider vinegar

1/2 tsp garlic powder

1/2 tsp onion powder

1/2 tsp chili powder

1/2 tsp dijon mustard

1 tsp arrowroot starch

2 tbsp canned chillies

1 tbsp chopped pickled jalapenos

Directions:

Peel and cube the potatoes and carrots and simmer in the 2 cups of stock for about 30 minutes or until softened

Use a slotted spoon to remove the boiled veggies from the broth and place in a high powered blender. Allow to cool slightly

Add all the remaining ingredients except for the jalapenos and chilis to the blender and pour 1/2 cup of the reserved stock over the ingredients

Blend on high speed until all the ingredients are combined and become velvety and cheesy in texture.

Season with additional salt, pepper, nutritional yeast and acid to your taste if needed

Pour into a serving bowl and stir in the pickled chilies and jalapenos (feel free to omit for picky eaters)

Serve immediately and enjoy