Superfood Gluten Free Cherry and Dark Chocolate Cookies

written by Tamar Saskin

These gluten free cookies are vegan and made with dark chocolate, cherries, oats, cacao nibs, maple syrup, molasses, hemp seeds and flax seeds

Calling all cookie lovers! These gluten free and vegan cookies are extremely delicious and rich in fiber, protein, and low in sugar, making them nutrient dense. We’ve sweetened these cookies with only whole food sweeteners, maple syrup and blackstrap molasses, and a little bit of dark chocolate and cacao nibs make them extra delicious. There is a quarter cup of both ground flax and hemp seeds in the recipe. Ground flax is high in omega 3 fatty acids, protein, and fiber (which will keep you feeling full for longer).  A cookie that keeps you full and is guilt free!?!

Hemp seeds are rich in two essential fatty acids called linoleic acid ( this is an omega 6) and alpha linoleic acid (this is an omega 3).   These essential fatty acids can support the body’s immune response and help with reducing inflammation, which can potentially help with inflammatory conditions like eczema. Hemp seeds are also a great source of vitamin E, iron, magnesium, calcium and 25% of their calories come specifically from protein. We used ¼  cup of hemp seeds in these cookies, which means there are 22 grams of protein in them. Hemp seeds contain all essential amino acids and are therefore considered a “complete” protein. This is very rare for plant based foods as many of them (besides hemp seeds and quinoa) lack all of the essential amino acids.

The next important ingredient in this recipe is pumpkin seeds. They add a little crunch and a large amount of nutrients to the cookies. There is 1 cup of pumpkin seeds per batch. Pumpkin seeds are full of essential nutrients and minerals including iron, zinc, and magnesium. Consuming foods such as pumpkin seeds that are high in the antioxidant vitamin E can reduce inflammation and help protect your cells. Studies have shown that eating pumpkin seeds can lead to cancer prevention for breast and prostate cancer.  Pumpkin seeds are a great source of magnesium, which is essential for so many processes in the body including your heart health, muscle relaxation and good sleep. Most importantly, they are very easy to add to your diet. Pumpkin seeds can be eaten on top of salads, in granola, or even in delicious desserts like these cookies. Check out the recipe below we hope you enjoy them!

These gluten free cookies are vegan and made with dark chocolate, cherries, oats, cacao nibs, maple syrup, molasses, hemp seeds and flax seeds

 

Superfood Gluten Free Cherry and Dark Chocolate Cookies

One batch makes about 24 big cookies

2 ¼ cups old fashioned rolled oats
2 cups gluten free flour (we used 1 ½ cups oat flour and ½ cup buckwheat flour)
¼ cup hemp seeds
¼ cup ground flax
1 cup pumpkin seeds
½ cup unsweetened shredded coconut
¼ cup chia seeds
1 Tbsp cinnamon
Pinch of sea salt

¼ cup blackstrap molasses
½ cup maple syrup
3/4 cup melted coconut oil
1 ½ cup unsweetened coconut beverage

½ cup chopped dark chocolate bar
½ cup cacao nibs
1 cup dried cherries or dried cranberries

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

  2. Mix dry ingredients in one bowl and the wet ingredients in another.

  3. Add wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir to fold together.  Fold in the chopped chocolate, cacoa nibs and dried cherries.

  4. Line 2 big baking sheets with parchment paper.

  5. Use a ⅓ measuring cup to scoop the dough and flatten it until it is approximately an inch thick.

  6. Bake cookies for 25-35 minutes or until lightly browned.

  7. Cool and then store in fridge.

These gluten free cookies are vegan and made with dark chocolate, cherries, oats, cacao nibs, maple syrup, molasses, hemp seeds and flax seeds

Watermelon Chia Popsicles

Written by Tamar Saskin

these watermelon popsicles are made with chia seeds, banana and baby spinach.  They are vegan popsicles and fruit-juice sweetened only

Feeling too hot during the summer and need a refreshing snack? Don’t worry, Living Kitchen has got your back!  These vegan watermelon chia seed popsicles are absolutely delicious and refreshing. They are designed to look like a watermelon using different fruits and veggies.

The bottom layer is made with watermelon, lemon juice and chia seeds. Chia seeds are an excellent source of protein, fiber, fat, calcium and magnesium. More importantly, they are loaded with antioxidants and are high in Omega 3 fatty acids. In fact, chia seeds contain more Omega 3 fatty acids than salmon, gram for gram!  Chia seeds also contain a lot of calcium, in fact more than most dairy products gram for gram. This means that they are an excellent alternative to dairy for vegans, and anyone following a plant based diet, for calcium and bone development. Chia seeds are easy to add to your diet and can be included in almost anything to increase the nutritional value of the food. The chia seeds in these popsicles don’t just  add nutritional value, but also a little crunch, basically hidden goodness!

The middle layer of the popsicles is made of coconut milk and monk fruit (or you can use honey instead of monk fruit). The bottom layer, intended to look like the watermelon rind, is made with spinach, banana, and coconut milk. Popsicles are a delicious way to disguise your greens and get them into your daily diet! Spinach is an excellent superfood. It is a great  source of iron, especially for those following a plant based diet who miss out on iron from meat. Spinach also contains calcium and magnesium, minerals that are important for bones and help with maintaining blood pressure. Spinach also contains the green pigment chlorophyll. A 2013 study showed that chlorophyll is effective at blocking some carcinogenic effects.  Spinach also contains Vitamin A, which can help with healthy skin and hair, and is rich in vitamin C, which is critical for building collagen, a protein that’s responsible for giving skin strength.

There are many other healthy ingredients in these popsicles, but enough about the health benefits, these popsicles are absolutely delicious! Get to your kitchen and make yourself some delicious popsicles while this hot weather is still going on. This recipe is completely dairy free, paleo friendly, gluten free and suitable for almost any type of diet.

These watermelon popsicles are made with chia seeds, banana and baby spinach.  They are vegan popsicles and fruit-juice sweetened only

Watermelon Chia Popsicles

Watermelon Flesh Layer:
2 cups watermelon juice (around 3 cups of chopped watermelon blended)
2 Tbsp chia seeds
1 tsp lemon juice

White Watermelon Rind Layer:
¼ cup full fat coconut milk (from can)
1 tsp monk fruit (you can use honey instead)

Green Watermelon Rind Layer:
1/3 cup full fat coconut milk (from can)
1/3 cup baby spinach
¼ cup of chopped banana or 2 tsp of monk fruit

These watermelon popsicles are made with chia seeds, banana and baby spinach.  They are vegan popsicles and fruit-juice sweetened only

Directions:

  1. Add the watermelon and lemon juice to a blender and blend until smooth and liquidy.

  2. Stir in the chia seeds.

  3. Pour the mixture into the popsicle molds (filling ¾ of the way full).

  4. Place the popsicle sticks in and freeze for about 3 hours to set.

  5. In a bowl-mix together ¼ cup coconut milk with monk fruit or honey. Set aside

  6. Rinse out the blender and add the 1/3 cup coconut milk, baby spinach, monk fruit or banana. Blend until smooth and creamy.

  7. Remove the watermelon popsicles from the freezer and pour a thin layer of the coconut milk mixture over top (don’t fill up completely). Place back in the freezer or another 30 minutes.

  8. Then pour the green coconut mixture over top to fill up the popsicles completely. Place back in the freezer until solid.

These watermelon popsicles are made with chia seeds, banana and baby spinach.  They are vegan popsicles and fruit-juice sweetened only

Avocado Mint Chip "Ice Cream" Bars (dairy-free and sugar-free)

This is creamy avocado, dairy free, mint chip ice cream that is made with vegan ingredients and also sugar free because it's only sweetened with monk fruit or xylitiol

This is one of those recipes that you won't want to share.  Well, you'll want to share it because it's so delicious, but you might find that you want to keep every last little bite for yourself.  If you're sharing, we highly recommend doubling the recipe!  Creamy avocadoes act as an incredible replacement for the cream and milk in traditional ice cream, making this 100% dairy free.  Besides being dairy free, avocadoes provide an array of nourishing fats from the high level of anti-inflammatory monounsaturated fats they contain.  Olives and extra virgin olive oil are also rich in monounsaturated fats, which gives them their reputation of being good for heart health.  Avocadoes also contain fiber, potassium, vitamin K and E. 

You'll want to use as much of the darkest green flesh that's against the peel of the avocado because the  phytonutrients are most concentrated in this part of the flesh.  Use a spoon to scoop all of this nutrient rich dark green flesh off of the skin. 

If you are trying to keep your calorie intake up or prevent weight loss due to cancer treatment or any other health condition that's impacting your ability to maintain your weight, then this avocado ice cream is a perfect addition to your diet. 

Another wonderful thing about this recipe is that it's sugar-free.  We've made this ice cream with monk fruit sweetener or xylitol, which do not impact blood sugar at all.  However, if you prefer, you can always sub in another whole food sweetener such as coconut sugar, maple syrup or raw honey.

this is dairy-free and vegan ice cream that is made with avocadoes, chocolate and mint

Avocado Mint Chip "Ice Cream" Bars

2 large ripe avocadoes (or use 3 smaller avocadoes) 
1 Tbsp virgin coconut oil
1/2 cup coconut milk (beverage) or other non-dairy milk
2 Tbsp monk fruit sweetener
2 drops food grade peppermint essential oil

1/2 cup of dark chocolate chips or chocolate bar, chopped roughly

Directions:
1. Blend the avocado, coconut oil, milk, sweetener and essential oil in  food processor until the mixture is smooth and creamy.  You can also use a blender if you don't have a food processor (it's just a bit more challenging to scoop out).
2. Once blended, stir in the chocolate chips or chopped chocolate with a spoon.
3. Pour the mixture into a loaf pan that is lined with parchment paper.
4. Place in the freezer for a couple of hours, until firm.
5. Then cut into bars.
6. If you are storing in these in the freezer overnight or for multiple days, it can be helpful to take out a bar a few minutes before you want to eat it, so that it can soften up a bit.  Best eaten with a fork!

Grain-Free, Paleo and Sugar-Free Strawberry Shortcake

strawberry shortcake grain-free, gluten-free, sugar-free, paleo

Fresh strawberries, fluffy cake and whipped cream is always a magical combination in the summer; there's nothing quite like strawberry shortcake.  Since we are huge fans of this dessert, we wanted to create a healthier version of the recipe that is not only grain free and gluten free, but sugar free as well. This strawberry shortcake contains healthy fat and protein that will keep your blood sugar stable and is even nutritious enough to eat for breakfast (why not, when it's possible, have dessert for breakfast). 

We use almond flour, coconut flour and tapioca flour instead of white flour in this recipe and coconut milk instead of dairy for the whipped cream.  We've been wanting to try out using monk fruit sweetener in place of sugar (and even in place of natural sweeteners like maple syrup and coconut sugar) in order to create a truly sugar free recipe.  And, you won't even know the different when you taste this recipe, the monk fruit sweetener works perfectly!

strawberry shortcake grain-free, gluten-free, sugar-free, paleo

Grain-Fee, Paleo and Sugar-Free Strawberry Shortcake

For the shortbread:
1.5 cups almond flour
1/4 cup tapioca flour
1 Tbsp coconut flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 Tbsp monk fruit sweetener
pinch sea salt

3 eggs
1/4 cup butter or coconut oil, room temperature
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract

For the strawberries:
1 container strawberries, sliced in thin pieces
1/2 lemon, juiced

For the whipped cream:
1 can full fat coconut milk (you'll be using the coconut cream part, not the liquid)
2 tsp monk fruit sweetener (optional)

strawberry shortcake grain-free, gluten-free, sugar-free, paleo

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 375. Mix together the dry ingredients for the shortbread. 
2. Use a food processor to pulse in the butter or coconut oil (or use a pastry cutter or butter knife) until you have a fine crumbly mixture that's starting to stick together.
3. Add in the eggs and vanilla extract and mix all together to form a thick batter.
4. Oil a muffin tin well with butter or coconut oil.  Scoop the batter evenly into the muffin tins (it won't fill the tins very much).  Make sure the batter is flat and spread out evenly.
5. Bake for 10 minutes.
6. Remove from the muffin tin and let cool for 15 minutes.
7. Meanwhile, prepare the strawberries by slicing them in thin pieces and mixing together with lemon juice in a bowl.
8. For the whipped coconut cream: Carefully scoop the fatty cream part of the coconut milk off of the surface (you don't want the liquid part, you can save that for smoothies!).
9. Whip the coconut cream with a mixer or you can pulse in the food processor a few times instead if you don't have a mixer.  If you want to sweeten it, add in the monk fruit sweetener while whipping.
10. For the shortbread: Once it is cooled, carefully slice off the edges that have browned so that you can see the inside of the fluffy cake.  Note, this part is optional, you can definitely eat the lightly browned edges if you want to skip this step.  Slice off the puffy top of the shortbread, so that it is flat.  
11. Scoop a dollop of coconut cream on top of 6 of the shortbreads.  Scoop some strawberries over top.  Then place another shortbread on top, to form 6 mini layered cakes.  Top these with coconut cream and more strawberries.

 

 

 

Gluten or Grain-Free “Think Pink” Donuts

Written by Bronwyn Cawker

paleo donuts, vegan donuts, grain free donuts, healthy donuts, sugar free donuts

We’ve created a baked donut recipe with gluten-free and grain-free variations that we hope you will go nuts for. Forgive the pun; we are really excited to share these! We think these are the perfect sweet treat to bring along with you to Easter dinner. Our grain-free recipe is also Passover friendly.

These donuts are packed with fibre rich oat flour – almond flour in our grain-free version – sweetened with maple syrup and topped with a decadent coconut butter glaze coloured with beet juice. Beetroot's beautiful pink hue comes from a plant pigment called betalains, which is also present in prickly pears and red pitaya. In addition to betalains being studied for their antioxidant properties and anti-inflammatory effects, they are a fantastic option for natural food colouring in lieu of artificial dyes (Gengatharan, A, 2015).

If you don’t have a donut pan, no problem! Feel free to bake these in a well-greased muffin tin and proceed as usual.

paleo donuts, vegan donuts, grain free donuts, healthy donuts, sugar free donuts

 

Gluten or Grain-Free “Think Pink” Donuts

Gluten-Free Donut base:
1 1/4 cups oat flour
1 tbsp chia seeds
1 tsp baking powder
1/8 tsp salt
¼ cup maple syrup
¼ cup coconut milk
2 Tbsp coconut oil, melted (plus extra for greasing pan)
½ cup organic apple sauce (or 2 eggs if you are non-vegan)
½ tsp vanilla extract

Grain-Free Donut base:
1 1/4 cup almond flour
1 tbsp chia seeds
1/4 cup arrowroot flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/8 tsp salt
¼ cup coconut milk
¼ cup maple syrup
2 tbsp coconut oil, melted (plus extra for greasing pan)
2 eggs
½ tsp vanilla extract

Unbeetable Pink Icing:
1/4 cup coconut butter
1 ½ tbsp maple syrup
Water or non-dairy milk (as needed)
1 peeled beet, chopped into medium pieces (or 1 tsp beetroot powder)
1/4 tsp vanilla

Optional Toppings:
Cacao nibs
Toasted coconut flakes

paleo donuts, vegan donuts, grain free donuts, healthy donuts, sugar free donuts

Directions:

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 F / 176 C. Generously grease a 6 mold donut pan with coconut oil.

  2. Combine the dry ingredients – flour, chia, baking powder, and salt in a bowl, whisking to combine. Make a small well in the center of the dry ingredients and add all of the remaining wet ingredients. Stir together until it is a smooth, uniform texture.

  3. Equally distribute the batter between the 6 donut molds using a spoon, making sure the top of each doughnut is smooth. Place in the oven for 12-15 minutes until cooked through. Allow to cool completely and gently remove from the pan using a knife.

  4. Place peeled, chopped beet into a small sauce pan over low heat with ¼ cup of water. Allow to cook for 10 minutes. Turn off heat. Strain beets from the liquid, and set aside.

  5. Combine all ingredients for the glaze except for the vanilla extract and beet liquid in a small pot over medium-low heat until melted. Turn off heat and slowly incorporate beet liquid until desired colour is reached. Stir in vanilla extract. Adjust texture with water or non-dairy milk (if required).

  6. To assemble dip the donut in a generous amount of glaze. Top with a sprinkle of toasted coconut flakes or cacao nibs if desired. Enjoy!

Tips:

  1. You can use 1 tsp of beetroot powder to colour your icing if you have it on hand. Repurpose the cooked beet in a salad or smoothie recipe.

  2. You can make your own coconut butter by blending 2-3 cups of unsweetened coconut flakes in a high-powered blender or food processor until it resembles a smooth paste.

paleo donuts, vegan donuts, grain free donuts, healthy donuts, sugar free donuts

We hope this recipe has you thinking pink. Drop us a line at @livingkitchenco if you try it out!

References:

Gengatharan, A., Dykes, G. A., & Choo, W. S. (2015). Betalains: Natural plant pigments with potential application in functional foods. LWT - Food Science And Technology, 64645-649. doi:10.1016/j.lwt.2015.06.052

Cranberry Apple Sauce w/ Ginger and Cinnamon

cranberry sauce, sugar free cranberry sauce, cranberry apple sauce

If this recipe had another name it would be "All the warm and fuzzy holiday feelings sauce!"  It's our warming, spiced, boost your immune system winter sauce that's the perfect combo of sweet and tart.  Cranberries, orange, and apples simmered with fresh ginger root, cinnamon and maple syrup will make your home smell so comforting and welcoming.  We love eating this sauce with breakfast, as a snack, as a healthy dessert or you can use it in any meal where you would use standard cranberry sauce.

cranberry ginger sauce, sugar free cranberry sauce, cranberry apple sauce

Cranberry Apple Sauce w/ Ginger and Cinnamon

1 bag of cranberries
1 apple, diced
1 orange, peeled and chopped roughly
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp fresh ginger root, grated or minced
1 cup water
1 Tbsp maple syrup

Directions:

1. Rinse off the cranberries and apple, and peel the orange.

2. Dice the apple and cut the orange roughly in small pieces.

3. Grate or mince the ginger root.

4. Combine the cranberries, apple, orange, ginger root and cinnamon in a pot.  Pour in the water.

5. Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer.  Cover and simmer on low heat for 20-25 minutes, until the fruit is soft and cooked well.

6. Stir in the maple syrup.  You can mash the fruit if you prefer that it is smooth.

cranberry apple sauce, sugarfree cranberry sauce, cranberry ginger sauce