Thursday, December 13, 2012

18 Grain-Free Christmas Cookie and Treat Recipes!

All of these recipes are grain-free and gluten-free.  The majority are also GAPS-legal and Primal. I'll be taking a blogging break until mid-January.  Happy holidays everyone!

Leave a comment below to share your favorite grain-free recipes (or links to your favorite grain-free treat recipes)!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

French Apple Pie (gluten free)

French apple pie differs from the traditional apple pie in that, instead of having a crust on top, it has a crumble topping. This pie is sweetened with honey and sucanat.  The apple filling in this recipe is only lightly sweetened, preserving the delicious taste of the apples and cinnamon. For the bottom crust, I combined rice flour and ground nuts; I used a butter, rice flour, and sucanat-based crumble for the top.  Like most homemade pies, this recipe takes a bit of time to put together, but it is well worth it. My family really enjoyed this recipe, and it is sure to become a family tradition for us in the Fall and Winter seasons.

French Apple Pie
  1. This crust recipe will work best with cold ingredients.  Start by chopping the butter into small, pea-sized pieces.  Place the chopped butter into the freezer to cool more while you get everything else ready.
  2. Combine the ground nuts, rice flour, coconut flour, arrowroot, and salt in a food processor*.  Pulse a few times to combine.  
  3. Add the cold chopped butter to the food processor and mix just until the butter is well-incorporated into the dry ingredients and the mixture has a fine texture. Don't over-mix during this step.
  4. With the processor running, add the egg and mix just until well-combined and starting to clump-up.
  5. Grease a 9-inch pie plate with butter.  Dump the mixed crust ingredients straight into the pie plate.  Use your fingers to spread and press the crust into the pie plate. Make sure the crust is spread evenly over the bottom and sides of the pie plate.
  6. Put the crust in the fridge to chill while you assemble the rest of the ingredients.
  7. Wash and dry the food processor parts so you can prepare the crumble topping next.  
*If you don't have a food processor, I bet you could make this by cutting in the butter and then the other ingredients with a pastry cutter or a couple of butter knives. If you try that, I'd recommend that you beat the egg before adding it and then use a hand mixer to make sure it gets fully incorporated.
  1. Chop the butter into small, pea-sized pieces.  Place the chopped butter into the freezer to cool more while you get everything else ready.
  2. Combine the sucanat, salt, coconut flour, arrowroot, and rice flour in the food processor**.  Pulse a few times to combine.
  3. Add the cold butter and pulse until you achieve a coarse texture, a bit more chunky than a cornmeal consistency.
  4. Put this crumble topping in the fridge to cool while you make the apple filling. 
**If you don't have a food processor, I bet you could make this by cutting in the butter with a pastry cutter or a couple of butter knives.
  • For the apple filling
    • 4 med-large sweet-tart apples, such as Cameo, Fuji, or Granny Smith
    • 2 Tb arrowroot
    • 2 Tb mild-flavored honey
    • 1.5 tsp ground cinnamon
    • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
    • 1/8 tsp fine ground celtic sea salt
    • 1 Tb fresh lemon juice
  1. Peel the apples.  Remove the cores and slice the apples thinly, about 1/8-inch thick.
  2. Place the sliced apples into a large bowl.  Add the remaining ingredients and stir it all together.
  • Putting it all together
    • bottom crust
    • apple filling
    • crumble topping
    • sweetened whipped cream (recipe follows)
  1. Remove the bottom crust and crumble topping from the fridge.
  2. Pour the apple filling into the bottom crust, and then top with the crumble topping.  
  3. Bake in a 350 degree F oven for about 1 hour, until the topping is slightly browned.
  4. Remove from the oven and cool for a couple hours before you cut into it.
  5. Top with sweetened whipped cream and enjoy!
Sweetened Whipped Cream
  1. Beat the cream and salt together until the mixture starts to get thick and fluffy.  I like to use my Kitchen-Aid stand mixer with the wire whip attachment, but you could also use a hand mixer.
  2. Add the vanilla extract, and drizzle in the honey while the mixer is running.  Alternatively, you could drizzle in the honey a little at a time and mix between each honey addition. 
  3. If you're using a stand mixer, use a silicone spatula to scrape down the sides of the bowl a few times to make sure you don't have any clumps of honey at the bottom.  I like to beat it until it gets a bit stiff since it will tend to soften up a bit in the fridge over the next few days.
  4. Store the whipped cream in the fridge in an airtight bowl.
***If your raw honey is very crystallized, place it over a bowl of warm water to make it a bit runny.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Homemade Christmas Presents for 2012

Homemade presents are a wonderful way to celebrate the winter and Christmas holidays.  They are also a great way to be frugal. 

Gifts for Everyone
These ideas are sure to please.
 Gifts for Grandparents
Gifts for grandparents can be especially easy.

  • photo albums featuring the grandchildren
  • handprint or footprint ornaments - paint some silver paint onto your child's hand or foot, then place onto a large glass ball ornament; allow to dry and then write the year and child's name with a silver Sharpie
  • letters, stories, or pictures made by the kids - if they are too young to write themselves, type up a story dictated by your child and print it on nice paper; I like to leave a space on each page for my daughter to draw a picture to accompany the text
Gifts For the Real Foodie
All of these recipes store well, which makes them great for gift-giving. They are all grain-free.
What are your favorite homemade gifts?

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Molasses Cookies (grain-free : primal : gluten-free)

I developed this recipe for grain-free molasses cookies at the request of some readers who couldn't use my last molasses cookie recipe (which included some rice flour).  These cookies are crispy on the edges, and soft in the middle. Straight from the freezer, they are crunchy like a gingersnap. Yum!

Molasses Cookies
Makes 35 cookies
  1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. 
  2. In a medium bowl, combine the coconut flour, ground nuts, salt, baking soda, and dry spices.  Whisk to combine and break up any lumps.
  3. Beat together the softened butter and sucanat with a hand or stand mixer. Add the molasses and beat some more.
  4. Meanwhile, break the eggs into a glass measuring cup with a pour spout. Add the vanilla extract.
  5. With the mixer running, pour the eggs into the wet mixture one at a time.  Allow each egg to become incorporated before adding the next.
  6. With the mixer running, add the dry ingredients a bit at a time. Make sure everything gets mixed together well. 
  7. Scoop the cookies onto greased cookie sheets (or line the cookie sheets with silpats, which are wonderful since the cookies never stick and are less likely to burn).  I like to use a 1-Tb scoop for consistently pretty cookies, but you could just use a spoon. There is no need to press/flatten these cookies down.
  8. Bake the cookies at 325 F for about 17-20 minutes (or a few minutes longer if you are cooking them on stoneware). They are done when they are nicely browned.
  9. Remove from oven and allow to cool for about 5-10 minutes.  Then use a spatula to move them to a cooling rack.
  10. Once cool, store these cookies in an airtight container.  They can be stored in the refrigerator or freezer if you won't be eating them all in the next few days.  Storing them in the freezer will also remove the pressure of having to eat them all in a week or so, as they will last for months in the freezer.
*Sucanat is an unrefined sweetener that is rich in minerals, but it is not GAPS-legal. 

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Asian Beef Soup with Mushrooms and Bok Choy (grain-free : primal : dairy-free : paleo : GAPS : gluten-free)

Looking for some variety in our soups, I came up with this Asian Beef Soup.  It is lightly spiced with ginger and cumin, and the mushrooms and bok choy lend a hearty flavor to the broth.  Everyone in my family enjoyed this soup, and it freezes well too!

Asian Beef Soup with Mushrooms and Bok Choy
  • 1 small white onion, chopped
  • 3 carrots, chopped
  • 1 small-to-medium head of bok choy (or use 3 heads of baby bok choy), white and green parts separated and chopped
  • 3/4 pound of brown mushrooms, chopped
  • 1 pound of ground beef, preferably from a pastured animal
  • 4 cups chicken stock, preferably homemade
  • 1 cup filtered water (if your chicken stock is very rich, you should increase the water and decrease the chicken stock to equal parts making up 5 cups total liquid)
  • 1 Tb refined coconut oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • celtic sea salt, to taste
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/4 inch fresh ginger, minced or pressed
  1. In a 4-qt heavy-bottomed pot, melt the refined coconut oil over medium-low heat.  Add the chopped onion along with a sprinkle of salt. Saute for about 5-10 minutes, until the onion is translucent.
  2. Add the carrots and the white parts of the bok choy.  Season with salt. Saute for a few minutes.
  3. Add the mushrooms, another little sprinkle of salt, and cook for a couple minutes, just until the mushrooms release their moisture.
  4. Crumble the ground beef into the pot, season it with salt, and cook for a few minutes.  There is no need to fully cook the ground beef during this step.
  5. Add the ginger, cumin, and garlic.  Saute for a minute. 
  6. Add the chicken stock and water.  Bring to a low boil and skim off the foam.  Maintain a low simmer and cook for about 5-10 minutes, until the meat is nearly cooked.  Taste the broth and add more salt as needed.
  7. Stir in the green parts of the bok choy and cook for about 5 minutes.  Turn off heat.  
  8. Ladle into bowls, cool a bit, and enjoy!  This pairs especially well with a green salad dressed with homemade honey mustard mayo.