March 12, 2017
paleo hamantaschen recipe

Hamantaschen is a pastry traditionally served during the Jewish holiday of Purim. “Hamantaschen” is the Yiddish word meaning "Haman’s pockets". But probably originally it was from the German "mohn" + "taschen" meaning "poppyseed pockets". Poppyseed cookies were very popular in that region and is still one of the most common and traditional fillings for a Hamentaschen cookie. In Hebrew Hamantaschen are called אוזני המן or "Haman's ears" - in some accounts it is said to be reminiscent of the practice of cutting of the ears of criminals. Haman is the villain in the story of Purim, who was thought to wear a three pointed hat. Jews eat hamantaschen on Purim as part of the celebration to remember how Jews escaped Haman’s evil plans.

I grew up eating mohn cookies (poppyseed cookies). They are a classic Jewish type of cookie. My Dad would bring them home from the local Jewish deli. I always loved the very specific taste of poppyseeds and the bit of crunch it gave the cookies. I also liked that the cookies themselves were not to sweet. This year I started making hamantaschen before the holidays because my son goes to a Jewish school where they are already starting to learn about the holiday of Purim.

My daughter requested classic hamantaschen with poppyseed filling. But my son asked for date filling. My favourite is actually prune filling. You could really fill them with anything you want - jam, chocolate chips...! But I'm somewhat of a conservative traditionalist when it comes to holiday cooking. Nowadays you can find all sorts of hamantaschen with mint filling and chocolate pastry or chocolate filling etc... My favourite traditional hamantaschen growing up was walnuts, honey and cinnamon. But since my son has an anaphylactic allergy to nuts no more walnuts or pecans. I switched it up to pumpkin and sunflower seeds with raw honey and cinnamon. Delicious!

For the cookie dough I used coconut and arrowroot starch in place of regular flour. They're also egg-free cookies. So safe for people with nut, egg, gluten and wheat allergies or sensitivities. The dough is really almost a shortbread dough with the amount of butter used...my favourite!

paleo hamantaschen
Ingredients:

Hamantaschen dough
1 cup coconut flour
1/2 cup arrowroot starch
5 TBSP maple syrup or honey
2 tsp ground cardamom
zest of 1 orange
1 cup pasture raised or organic cultured butter, room temp
pinch sea salt

Filling:
1/2 cup organic prunes
zest of 1/2 lemon
1/4 cup chopped pumpkin & sunflower seeds
1 tbsp unpasturized honey
1/2 tsp cinnamon

Method:

  1. Mix all dough ingredients together by hand until butter is all blended in evenly throughout mixture. If the dough is too dry put a very small amount of juice from the orange in the dough as needed. Roll into 2 balls, place in bowl, cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
  2. Use arrowroot powder to sprinkle on rolling surface and on dough if it is too sticky. Gently flatten dough ball by hand then place on rolling surface. Make sure there is enough arrowroot powder on surface and on rolling pin so it doesn't stick to either surface. Gently roll out dough until ~1/8 of an inch thick.
  3. Use medium round cookie cutter or small mason jar lid to cut out circles. Repeat until finished dough of both balls. Place circles on a silat or parchment paper on a cookie sheet or two. Preheat oven to 350F.
  4. To make the prune filling, chop prunes and place in small saucepan on stove with lemon zest and a tbsp of water. Cover and simmer on low heat, checking and mixing often until a mushy paste. Let cool.
  5. To make seed & honey filling, chop seeds and mix with honey and cinnamon.
  6. Use teaspoon to spoon small amounts of filling 1-2 tsp per round cookie.
  7. Gently pinch edges of dough circles to form a triangle. Make sure that dough doesn't crack since it is quite delicate without egg. Repair any cracks with your fingers.
  8. Place cookie sheet(s) in oven for 10-15 minutes (until edges are slightly golden). Let cool completely before moving. Can put it in fridge to cool.I find that the hamantaschen taste even better the day after, but if your are really anxious to eat them cool them for a short while in the freezer. Enjoy!
October 11, 2016
mini crustless protein pumpkin pies recipe

Every year around Thanksgiving I start trying out new pumpkin pie recipes. The problem is that my son has nut allergies and we are grain-free so most crusts are out of the question since so many contain almond flour. It's difficult to sub the almond flour to make a descent crust. I've tried so many options. The photo above is my pumpkin pie this year with the crust. I tried a crust made from plantain. A big fail (although, strangely, my son loves it). I think I'm just going to stick with the crustless pie. Honestly it's the filling that is the most delicious part of a pumpkin pie anyhow. Crusts from the supermarket pies and farmers markets (the non-grain-free variety) usually contain trans-fats. Pretty nasty stuff.

Foregoing the crust, I wanted to make a filling this year that is high in protein so added in some whey. Always looking for new ways to get more protein in my diet. Turned out awesome. So good that I'm about to make my third batch today. I only tried it with plain unflavoured New Zealand whey (from Ergogenics). That's the one I prefer. There's no strange flavours or gums or emulsifiers or sweeteners and it's supposed to be from grassfed cows from NZ.

For the pumpkin filling I've been using orange hubbard squash this year, but have used pie pumpkins or butternut squash too. You can halve the squashes or pumpkins, clean out seeds and pith, put face down on baking sheet with water and bake for 20-40 minutes at 350 until soft. I prefer using fresh instead of canned. Roughly 2 cups is a 15oz can.

mini crustless protein pumpkin pies
Ingredients:

2 cups mashed pumpkin or squash (15oz can)
3 large happy eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup organic coconut milk
1/4 or 1/2 cup maple syrup (depending on how sweet you like it)
2 scoops plain unflavoured New Zealand whey protein
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground clove
pinch of sea salt

Optional topping:
whipping cream or whipped coconut cream

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 325F.
  2. Grease silicone baking cups (or 9-inch pie plate) with coconut oil or butter.
  3. Whisk 3 eggs then add in mashed pumpkin and whisk.
  4. Add in remaining ingredients mixing thoroughly.
  5. Pour batter into greased baking cups (or pie plate).
  6. Bake in oven for ~10-15 minutes. They're ready when the batter is no longer liquidy. When you gently tap top it bounces back.
  7. Let cool for 10 minutes on rack.
  8. Gently remove crustless pumpkin pies from the baking cups and refrigerate for 2 hours before serving.
  9. Serve with whipped cream or coconut cream.
April 15, 2016
banana coconut chocolate chip muffins recipe

Banana muffins are a simple stand-by in many homes. I mean what else to do with ripe bananas? Most banana muffins have walnuts in them, but with my son who has nut allergies we can't put nut in them. A crunch is nice so I put in cocoa nibs and what the heck, shredded coconut too! So the muffins are more like an everything muffin. Sometimes if I have them I will also cut up some dried figs and throw them in too! The muffins are moist and delicious and since I make them mini muffins I probably tend to eat too many...ugh.

I only make baked goods now that are grain-free and nut-free. These banana muffins are also paleo since there are no grains, added sugar or dairy ingredients. For nut-free chocolate you can use enjoy life chocolate chips or chocolate chunks or Pascha chocolate bars chopped up. I love Pascha chocolate! It's free of all the top 8 allergens (soy, nuts, peanuts, dairy, wheat, corn, shellfish, fish). The funny thing is that I can only find Pascha chocolate in the United States, not in Canada, but it's actually a Canadian company here in Toronto! I get them at Fresh Market in South Florida when I visit my parents, who are snowbirds.

banana coconut chocolate chip muffins
Ingredients:

3 ripe bananas, mashed
3 happy eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup tahini paste
1/4 cup coconut butter (manna)
1/4 cup coconut flour
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
pinch of sea salt
1/4 cup cocoa nibs
1/4 cup shredded coconut
1/4 cup chopped nut-free dark chocolate or chocolate chips

Optional:
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1-3 dried figs, chopped
1/8 cup maple syrup

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 350F.
  2. Mash bananas until liquidy.
  3. Whisk 3 eggs then add in mashed bananas and whisk.
  4. Add vanilla to egg/banana mixutre. Add in maple syrup if you desire (the bananas make them sweet enough for my liking).
  5. Whisk in tahini and coconut butter (you can melt them first a bit to soften if necessary, just don't burn).
  6. Whisk in coconut flour, salt, cardamom (and cinnamon if you wish) and baking soda.
  7. Mix in remaining ingredients - cocoa nibs, coconut, chocolate and chopped fig.
  8. Fill the greased mini muffin tins with batter.
  9. Bake for 10-15 minutes.
  10. Let cook before removing from muffin tin.
February 4, 2016
pear & parsnip soup recipe

Soup season is every season in our house. But in the autumn and winter soups are a great way to get a lot of nourishment and warmth in one bowl. My soups are always simple and easy to prepare.

In the winter there are an abundance of beautiful, in-season root vegetables available. Rutabaga, parsnip, celery root, carrots... just waiting to be made into soups! The great thing about soups is that you can prepare them in large quantities each week and just reheat or even freeze them in mason jars (only put the lid on once it is frozen to prevent breakage of the glass jar).

These winter root vegetable soups are a fantastic and healthy way to eat good quality starch carbohydrates rather than eating fillers like rice or bread. Processed grain products are not nutrient dense, they contain less fiber, no phytonutrients, and they have a high glycemic index (will spike your blood sugar). Better to eat real foods like these amazing root vegetables.

Parsnips are one of the most under-appreciated vegetables. Parsnips are taproots similar to carrots. They contain many antioxidants, many minerals, are high in Vitamin C, B-Vitamins (specifically folate and choline), fiber and possess nutrients that are anti-cancer, anti-inflammatory and anti-fungal.

This creamy and delicious soup is a great addition to a gluten-free, grain-free, paleo or primal diet. It can be made with vegetable stock if you prefer a vegetarian or vegan version. Or you could use bone broth in place of chicken stock to make it even more nourishing and delicious!

pear & parsnip soup
Ingredients:

Optional:
2 TBSP butter, grassfed or organic preferred
4 parsnips, peeled and coarsely chopped
2 bosc pears, peeled and coarsely chopped
1 medium onion chopped
6 cups homemade chicken stock or bone broth
1/2 can coconut milk with cream, organic
4 sprigs of fresh thyme
salt & pepper to taste
black seed oil, to drizzle
black cumin seeds to sprinkle on top

Method:

  1. Melt butter in medium soup pot.
  2. Add in chopped onions and sautee until translucent.
  3. Tie the thyme sprigs in a bundle using one of the sprigs as a tie.
  4. Add pear and parsnip. Sautee for another 5-8 minutes on low-med heat.
  5. Add thyme bundle and soup stock.
  6. Bring to a boil then lower, cover and simmer until parsnips are very soft (~20 minutes).
  7. Remove thyme bundle, gently pull more of the leaves into the soup.
  8. Blend using stainless steel hand blender until smooth. Add in coconut milk, salt & pepper and blend again.
  9. If the soup is too thick add more liquid to thin it out.
  10. Plat into your favourite soup bowls, drizzle black seed oil and put a small sprinking of black cumin seeds. Enjoy!
January 22, 2016
2-ingredient pancakes recipe

We love pancakes in our house. We also eat a primarily grain-free diet and I've had to experiment a lot for the perfect pancake recipe to suit all palates. Most days of the week we make either scrambled eggs with greens (kale, parsley, cilantro, chard, broccoli - whatever we have in the house), or steel-cut oats with apples or pears. But on weekends we usually make huge brunches. The kiddies look forward to these days the most when we are usually not in such a hurry and have time to make a gorgeous spread of healthy and colourful foods. On days my husband makes brunch, he makes hands-down, the best frittata ever (kids call it the 'weekend egg') and organic bacon. My days I make grain-free, gluten-free, paleo pancakes or waffles, a variety of fresh organic fruits and grassfed yogurt and smoked herring for my husband and I (kids still won't eat it). I tried many different recipes using coconut flour, but the kids didn't love them. Then I started using either plantain or banana, and not only are they more simple, everyone loves them.

They're so simple you don't really need my recipe! Last night I had a patient who mentioned to me that her husband found a version of the 2-ingredient pancake on a Google search and she made them. It's so great to see people trying something new and having the whole family involved in thinking about healthy food ideas! But this is why I'm posting my recipe. I'm trying to compile healthy, easy recipes for my patients to easily access rather then sending them to many different blogs and sites (which I also do).

Just a few small tips for making these. Since there is no flour, the pancakes are very delicate. You need to keep the pan on quite a low heat, just play with it until you get it right (and you will). Also use a very thin spatula for flipping. I have a bunch of different spatulas for different cooking situations and my favourite for this is my thinnest, metal spatula. Lastly, keep the pancakes small. Many silver dollar pancakes are what we are going for, not large ones because they are more difficult to manage when flipping. I usually just add in cardamom or cinnamon, but on the occasion added in something else. I would recommend first just doing the simple pancakes (with or without the spices) to get the hang of making these and then become more adventurous if you like. We prefer them fairly simple.

2-ingredient pancakes
Ingredients:

4 organic bananas
6 pasture raised or organic eggs

Optional:
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp cardamom powder
shredded coconut
blueberries
chocolate chips
raisins
dried cranberries
cocoa nibs
flax seeds

Method:

  1. Mash all bananas in a medium mixing bowl until liquidy.
  2. Crack eggs into same bowl and whisk together.
  3. Add in cinnamon, cardamom or other ingredients as you desire.
  4. Heat either butter or coconut oil (if you are dairy-free) in a medium pan on med-low heat.
  5. Using a gravy spoon, place pancake batter into ~5-6 small circles.
  6. Let cook for about 1 minute or so and check the underside to see if slightly golden (we're not going for burnt).
  7. Flip when ready and cook for another minute or two.
  8. Since there are so many pancakes, as they are ready I put them on a baking pan with a silicone sheet and place them in a low oven at 200F until we are ready to eat so they stay nice an warm.
  9. Enjoy with your favourite pancake toppings. Enjoy!