Homemade Gluten Free Poptarts

gluten free poptarts, homemade poptarts

Slow mornings are always the best for making something special for breakfast.  A few weeks ago, on one of these types of slow mornings, we had a craving for poptarts.  Not the gross, sugary, refined flour poptarts, topped off with bright pink icing glaze though.  But, for some reason the thought of homemade flaky poptarts, filled with real fruit just sounded so good.  

So, after some trial and error, we came up with this recipe.  It is gluten free and can also be made completely vegan as well (instead of using real butter, just substitute in a healthy vegan butter).  Working with this crust can be a little tricky sometimes.  You want it to be chilled just enough so that it sticks together, but not too cold that it's not malleable.  Another variation that you could do is substitute in spelt flour if you can eat other grains and aren't avoiding gluten.  Spelt flour would definitely be easier to work with and would ensure the dough rolls out nicely. 

The best part about this recipe is that the filling is made with real fruit.  And, you don't even need to sweeten it.  We use chia seeds to create a "jam" and this provides soluble fiber in an easy to eat treat.  This recipe is especially good for kids, as they won't even know the fibrous chia seeds are mixed in with the berries.

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Homemade Gluten Free Poptarts

2 ¼ cups gluten free flour blend (such as Bob’s Red Mill or Pamela’s)
¼ cup coconut sugar
½ cup coconut oil
¼ cup butter (or dairy free vegan butter)
⅓ cup apple sauce
pinch of sea salt

Chia Seed Berry "Jam" Filling:
1 cup frozen raspberries
½ cup frozen blueberries
2 tsp chia seeds

Directions:

  1. Combine the flour, sea salt and coconut sugar in the food processor.

  2. Add in the coconut oil and butter, pulsing in the food processor to cut into the dry ingredients.  Pulse until a crumbly mixture is formed.

  3. Add in the apple sauce and pulse until dough forms.  You might need to add a spoonful or two of cold water, if the dough is too dry.  You’ll know that it’s working when the dough turns into a ball.

  4. Form dough in a ball and wrap with plastic wrap.  Put in fridge for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, prepare the jam! See directions below.

  5. Then place the ball between two sheets of parchment paper and  roll out dough into ¼ inch thickness sheet.

  6. Cut out equal sized rectangular pieces for the poptarts to make 12 rectangles.

  7. Then place 6 of the rectangles on a parchment lined baking sheet.

  8. Place 2 to 3 tsp of jam in the center of each rectangle.

  9. Place a dough rectangle on top of each one and then seal the edges with a fork, pressing down to leave indents from the fork prongs.

  10. Bake at 350 for 20 minutes.

  11. Allow to cool.

 

Directions for the Chia Seed Berry Jam:

  1. Place the berries in a small pot and heat on low heat.  

  2. Once they start to heat up, stir and mush them together.  After 5 to 10 minutes the berries will be soft and mushy.  

  3. Stir in the chia seeds and let side for 10 minutes.  

  4. The mixture will be thick like jam.

  5. If you prefer sweetening the jam, you can stir in maple syrup.

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Breakfast Cookies (grain free, gluten free, refined sugar free)

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We used to be skeptical of breakfast cookies.  Can a cookie really be healthy enough to serve for breakfast?  Thankfully we discovered that using seed or nut butter as the main ingredient for a cookie, creates a high protein and nutrient dense cookie that is healthy enough for breakfast.  Instead of using oats, which are very common in breakfast cookie and granola bar recipes, we wanted a recipe that would work for all of our clients, including the ones that can’t eat grains or gluten. You’ll find that this recipe is still filled with seeds, coconut, and dried fruit - the usual suspects in granola bar recipes (plus we added in cacao nibs for even more flavour and crunch).

These breakfast cookies are based on a recipe that one of our private chefs, Lara Rae, shared with us.  Lara has been a part of our team for over a year, and prepares delicious food for our clients in their homes.

We hope you love this recipe as much we do!  We'd love to see photos if you make this recipe at home.  Share your photo and tag us (@livingkitchenco) on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter!

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Breakfast Cookies

grain free, gluten free, refined sugar free

1 cup tahini (you could use almond butter or peanut butter instead)
1 cup shredded, unsweetened coconut
½ cup dried cranberries, fruit juice sweetened
¼ cup goji berries
½ cup cacao nibs
¼ cup pumpkin seeds
¼ cup sunflower seeds
¼ cup maple syrup
1 egg
½ tsp baking soda
pinch sea salt

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350.

  2. Mix together ingredients.

  3. Form into small cookies.  We usually make around 14 to 16 cookies.  

  4. Place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.

  5. Bake for 15 minutes, or until just lightly browned on top.

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End of Summer Salad with Corn, Red Pepper, and Avocado

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There’s something so special about fresh, sweet, locally grown corn at the end of summer.  At any other point during the year, we rarely even think about eating corn or using it in recipes.  And, in fact, some of our clients have dietary sensitivities and feel better when they don’t eat corn.   Similar to soy and wheat, corn has been grown in massive quantities and is used in large scale production for many types of processed foods that use poor quality corn flour, corn starch or even corn syrup.  This isn’t the type of corn that we are talking about eating.

Fresh corn on the cob is actually full of nutrients, especially B vitamins and, of course, a lot of insoluble and some soluble fiber (the insoluble fiber is what some people find irritates their digestion). It’s important to buy organic corn to ensure that you are eating a high quality, nutrient dense variety of corn.  When grown organically, corn is also rich in phytonutrients that have antioxidant properties that protect your cells from damage.

This time of year, as the summer is slowly turning into fall, there are so many delicious vegetables harvested in abundance.  We love combining these veggies together in salads with simple, flavourful dressings for a delicious lunch or pairing with some sort of heartier option like chickpeas, kidney beans, nuts, seeds, fresh fish or grilled chicken.  

Another delicious modification that you can make to this recipe is to grill the red peppers and corn before chopping and adding into the salad.

 

End of Summer Salad

2 ears of organic corn
1 red pepper, diced
1 medium cucumber, sliced in thin circles or half moons
1 bunch of romaine or red leaf lettuce, rinsed off and dried well
1 avocado, sliced

Other optional veggies to add in:
Roasted or grilled zucchini, diced
Fresh peaches or nectarines, sliced
Cherry tomatoes or heirloom tomatoes, diced

Optional herbs to add in:
Cilantro
Basil
Parsley
Mint

Additional toppings:
Hempseeds
Other nuts and seeds that you like


Dressing:
3 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
¼ up extra virgin olive oil
1 small garlic clove, minced
2 tsp dijon mustard
Sea salt to taste


Directions:

  1. Rinse off the lettuce, dry well and chop roughly into smaller pieces.

  2. Steam the corn for a few minutes until crisp.  Then cut the kernels off the cob.

  3. Chop the pepper and cucumber.

  4. Prepare any other veggies or herbs that you’d like to add into the salad.

  5. Mix the veggies all together, except for the avocado.

  6. Make dressing ingredients together and toss with the salad when ready to serve.

  7. Slice the avocado and add on top of the salad before serving.  You can also add hempseeds, fresh herbs an

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chia Pudding (peanut-free version too)

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Chia pudding is one of the easiest ways to ensure that you eat a filling breakfast and have something prepped to start the day off.  If you haven't had chia pudding before, it's a bit different than normal pudding but still tastes delicious (and is so much healthier).  Chia seeds are high in soluble fiber and thicken liquids when mixed together because they absorb liquid and expand, becoming softer and more plump.  This is good for 2 reasons:

1. Chia seeds naturally create a pudding like texture when mixed with coconut milk, almond milk or other dairy free milk.  This is quite filling and can keep you satiated in the morning.  All without the use of thickeners, starches or flours.

2. The high soluble fiber content of chia seeds is good for your digestive system and helps your body remove toxins and waste properly in the bowel.  You can think of chia seeds as lending a helping hand in soaking up the toxins. 

This recipe adds in peanut butter for protein and fat to keep you fueled for longer.  We use cacao powder instead of regular cocoa powder because it is rich in minerals, such as iron and magnesium.  You can add maple syrup to your taste preference.  Or, if you are sugar free, you can actually use some stevia to sweeten this pudding instead.  And, if you can't eat peanuts than you can replace the peanut butter with almond butter (or any other type of nut/seed butter that you love).

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Peanut Butter Chocolate Chia Pudding

1 1/4 cups coconut beverage (or use almond milk or other non dairy milk)
1/4 cup chia seeds
2 Tbsp organic peanut butter (or almond butter)
2 Tbsp cacao powder
Maple syrup to taste

Directions:
1. Mix all of the ingredients together until smooth.
2. Store in a mason jar or other container in the fridge overnight.
3. In the morning you can serve in bowls.  Top with berries of choice, some cacao nibs and any other toppings that you like!

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How to Make an Iced Matcha Coconut Latte 2 Ways!

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We have a thing for matcha lattes over here.  And it seems that a lot of other people do too, seeing that matcha lattes are appearing on menus at so many different coffee shops and cafes.  The thing is that buying matcha lattes can get quite expensive and often have added ingredients, like sugar, that we don't love.  So, making matcha lattes at home is a great way to not only save money but also ensure that you know exactly what ingredients are used.

Matcha is made from high quality green tea leaves that are turned into powder.  This means that matcha is much richer in flavour than a normal green tea as well as going to give you a mega dose of antioxidants, including EGCG (Epigallocatechin gallate), the famous component in green tea that's linked with preventing free radical damage and cancer.

We have many different ways of preparing matcha lattes at home and during the winter we love to sip on a hot cup of steaming non-dairy milk frothed together with matcha.  However, in the summer, we need icy, refreshing beverages. The most exciting part about this is that we can use coconut water in our matcha lattes (we wouldn't recommend heating up coconut water- not only would it destroy the nutrients in it, but it just wouldn't taste good).  Coconut water is a wonderful source of naturally occurring  electrolytes, including magnesium and potassium.  It also naturally has a sweet taste to it.  When you buy coconut water, check the label and make sure that you get a brand that doesn't have any added sweeteners.  

Here are two different recipes for a refreshing, iced matcha latte.  The first recipe is super duper easy and only requires two ingredients.  Using coconut water means that you can avoid using other sweeteners, like sugar, because it will naturally sweeten the matcha. The second recipe is a little bit more complex and rich, but still super easy to whip up, and a great choice if you want something creamy but dairy-free (it's almost like a matcha smoothie).  The second recipe also contains some protein and anti-inflammatory fats from hempseeds, which is a great option if you want something more filling. 

 

Iced Matcha Coconut Latte Version 1

2 cups coconut water
1/2 tsp matcha green tea

Directions:
1. Simply combine the coconut water and matcha in the blender.
2. Blend for 30 seconds or until creamy and smooth.
3. Pour over ice and serve.

 

Iced Matcha Coconut Latte Version 2

1/2 cup coconut water
1 cup coconut milk (or other non-dairy milk, unsweetened)
1/2 tsp matcha green tea
1 Medjool date
2 Tbsp hempseeds

Directions:
1. Combine all of the ingredients in the blender.
2. Blend for 1 minutes o until creamy and smooth.
3. Pour over ice and serve.

 

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The 5 Most Popular Private Chef Recipes that Clients Love

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We thought it’d be fun to give you a peek into how we plan menus as private chefs.  Whether you are curious about what our recipes look like or are a current client and want to know what other clients are eating, we’ve got some tasty ideas for you here.   

Whenever we start working with a new private chef client, we always find out as much about their dietary likes, dislikes and preferences as we can.  The most common things we see are gluten free, dairy free, grain free, nightshade free, sugar free, dairy free (vegan), nut free (any so many other unique nutritional needs). 

We also like to know what’s going on with our clients' health, so that we can focus on ingredients that are going to help them the most.  We’ll alter our favourite recipes or come up with new recipes for anyone that has food allergies, sensitivities, or a long list of foods that they are trying to omit from their diet.   Yes, this means, you can usually find us with our heads buried in cookbooks (and food blogs) to find new ideas and inspiration!

While everyone's menu is unique and different every week, we have found that there are many recipes that are really popular and repeated on menus more often than other recipes, because everyone loves them so much.

We’ll let you in on some of our most popular private chef recipes for omnivores, vegans, and everyone in between.  And, we’ll even give you one of the recipes, so read through to the end!  And, if you love the sound of everything, but need some help with cooking, let us know.
 

The Top 5 Most Popular Recipes:

1. Kale and Romaine “Caesar” Salad

We love creating interesting salads, especially when using local, in season ingredients to inspire the combination of veggies (sometimes they are raw and sometimes we roast veggies in the colder months to make more comforting salads).   But, no matter how many interesting salads we’ve made, this classic “Caesar” salad is well loved by all.

We make this creamy salad dressing with cashews as the base, so it's completely dairy free.  But, we also have many variations that don’t use cashews, in case you can’t eat them (hempseeds and macadamia nuts make a wonderful dressing).

We love adding some other special ingredients into this salad, such as homemade croutons (made from gluten free bread of sprouted bread), coconut crisps, or “cheese” made out of hempseeds and nutritional yeast.

 

2. Tahini Lemon Roasted Cauliflower with Pinenuts and Fresh Herbs

Hands down, this is one of our favourite all time dishes.  Cauliflower and tahini, two of our most loved ingredients.  We love tahini so much that we use it in everything from breakfast recipes to dessert recipes and everything in between.  Have no fear, if you don’t like tahini, we would never put it on your menu!

Roasted cauliflower is absolutely delicious, slightly crisp on the outside, soft inside and infused with the flavours of olive oil, garlic, and sea salt.  The tahini lemon sauce is vegan and makes this dish more substantial, especially with the addition of toasted pinenuts.

 

3. Black Bean and Rice Bowl w/ Roasted Asparagus, Cherry Tomatoes and Avocado

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This is one of the most popular vegan meals that we prepare, packed with flavour and yet flexible (so we can always swap out veggies that you don’t like and add in different vegetable options).  

One of the things that we keep in mind when planning vegan or vegetarian menus is the importance of including a wide array of plant based sources of proteins on the menu.  We know this can be a challenge and it can take time to prepare interesting vegetarian meals, especially if you get tired of eating boring salads and don’t want to depend on tofu as your protein.

Because we love this recipe so much, we are going to share it with you below! And, an important note if you don’t eat beans or grains.  You can use our recipe-modifying skills and change this recipe to work for you.  Omit the brown rice and black beans.  Instead, use some chicken as your protein and add in finely chopped cauliflower “rice.”

 

4. Fresh Herb Salmon Grain-Free Burgers

We have found that many of our clients feel better when they eat a grain-free diet (we also work with lots of people who still eat grains and love them).  If you’ve ever struggled with figuring out how to prepare a plethora of grain free meals, the secret is to focus on vegetables.  There are so many wonderful and varied veggies, so it becomes a lot easier to plan a grain-free menu when you think about amping up the veggies and focus on complex, interesting vegetable side dishes instead of thinking about how to replace grain based dishes.  So many of the main dishes that we prepare are inherently grain free, so we focus on creating more interesting mains that highlight beautiful ingredients instead of relying on things like pasta and rice based mains.  

These salmon burgers are loved by adults and kids.  We use almond flour in them instead of a grain.  We also use mashed sweet potato to help keep the burgers together.  However, we also have versions of this recipe that are almond-free and sweet potato-free, in case you can’t eat those ingredients!  

 

5. Almond Flour Chocolate Chip Cookies

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Although many of our clients follow a low-sugar diet, everyone loves dessert.  Some of our clients get more dessert and snack items prepared than others.  Since everyone’s menu is personalized, we usually focus on preparing lots of main and side dishes, but sometimes we make more snack, dessert and even breakfast items on a menu.

These chocolate chip cookies are grain free and refined sugar-free, sweetened with maple syrup.  They can be made with eggs or absolutely no eggs, depending on what you’re able to eat. We even have a variation of this recipe that incorporates in oats.  And, we have cookie recipes that are made with tahini instead of almond flour (those are quickly becoming one of the most popular recipes).

 

And, now for the recipe:

Black Bean and Rice Bowl with Roasted Asparagus, Cherry Tomatoes, Avocado and Organic Corn

Let us know if you end up making it or make your own variation of the recipe. We’d love to hear from you and see a photo of your meal if you post it on social media platforms, be sure to tag us @livingkitchenco so we can see it!

And, if you need help with cooking, don’t hesitate to get in touch!

Ingredients:
1 small can black beans, drained and rinsed off
½ tsp paprika
½ tsp chilli powder
½ tsp garlic powder
Dash of tamari
Olive oil

½ cup brown rice

1 bunch asparagus
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 small box cherry tomatoes
1 ear of organic corn

¼ cup cilantro, chopped
1 lime, juiced
1 avocado, sliced

Directions:

  1. Cook the brown rice with 1 cup water in a small pot.  Bring to a boil and then reduce to simmer, cover and cook on low for 35 minutes until liquid is absorbed and rice is fluffy.

  2. Chop garlic and white ends off of the asparagus.  Place asparagus, cherry tomatoes, garlic and olive oil on baking sheet (leave asparagus on one side of the baking sheet and the cherry tomatoes on the other side)- roast at 375 for 15-20 minutes, until cooked.

  3. Steam the corn in a pot with a little bit of water for 5 minutes.  Cool down under cold water. Then cut off the cob.

  4. Drain and rinse the black beans. Saute the black beans in a pan with the spices, olive oil and dash of tamari.

  5. Chop the cilantro.  

  6. Toss cilantro together with corn and the cooked cherry tomatoes and lime juice.

  7. In a bowl: place the cooked rice and beans.  Add corn and cherry tomato mixture.  Add the asparagus.

  8. Add avocado on top along with with a handful of fresh cilantro. Yum!