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Miso “Ramen” Polenta

Miso “Ramen” Polenta

[Jump to the recipe by clicking here]
The final miso polenta with ramen toppings. Back when I was on the restriction phase of the low fodmap diet I tried making polenta for the first time. This was a challenge to myself to branch out from the rice I was eating multiple times a day. The first polenta I made was simple – water, cornmeal, butter, and parmesan cheese – but it was so easy and so good I was hooked.

After eating it a couple times with more “traditional” toppings of mushrooms, asparagus, or sausage I started to brainstorm some fun other ideas to hype it up. The first idea that came to mind was to use miso rather than just salt to flavor the polenta. I love miso. I love miso with butter even more. I also love ramen and haven’t had it in a very long time (not eating gluten for 6 weeks + local ramen shops not being open). The combination of these two thoughts led me to this recipe – miso ramen broth inspired polenta with ramen toppings!

If you make this recipe all in one day, much like ramen, it will take a while to do. I think it took me about two hours. Worry not! You can make EVERY component ahead of time, including the polenta! Everything heats up very easily or can be served cold. Of course you can always change up the tops to match your favorite ramen toppings as well! The toppings I used are some “traditional” miso ramen toppings.

If you want to make this recipe low fodmap friendly, do not add the garlic to the corn or the whites of the scallion to the char siu. That easy!!!

Final miso polenta with ramen toppings

Miso “Ramen” Polenta

Directly below is what is required to assemble one bowl.
If you follow all the recipes you will make enough polenta, char siu, and corn to make 4 bowls.

¾ cup of miso polenta
5 to 6 pieces of char siu
¼ cup garlic butter corn
sliced green scallion
over easy, sauna, hard boiled, or poached egg
pickled ginger
marinated bamboo shoots

The recipes for the miso polenta (and the dashi I use in it), char siu, and garlic butter corn are below. To assemble the full dish put polenta in the bottom of a wide bowl then add ingredients however you want to the top! No real rhyme or reason to it, just have fun.

Char Siu

Recipe modified from Japanese Farm Food

1 lb pork belly
1 tablespoon neutral oil (corn, canola, etc)
2 scallion whites – split in half
1 inch ginger – cut in large pieces
½ cup sake
2 tablespoons mirin
4 tablespoons soy sauce
(if going gluten free make the soy sauce gluten free)

  1. Cut pork belly into sections big enough to fit into saucepan.Ingredients for char siu: pork belly, scallions, ginger, soy sauce, mirin, and sake.
  2. Heat cast iron skillet to just below smoke point. Add oil.Brown the pork belly on each side.
  3. Brown all the sides of the pork belly.
  4. Add sake, mirin, soy sauce, ginger, and scallion whites to saucepan. Add in browned pork belly. If the pork belly isn’t completely covered add enough water to cover it.On the left is the browned pork belly in the liquid. On the right water is added to cover it and ginger and scallions are added as well.
  5. Place the saucepan over medium heat and bring to a simmer. Cook with top off for 15 minutes then flip the pork over. Cook an additional 15 minutes.
  6. Continue to cook down the liquid until you are either 1. ready to eat the pork or 2. the liquid cooks almost all the way down. I cooked mine for an hour. This is about how long it took for the liquid to cook down for me as well.
  7. Remove pork from liquid and prepare for use.
    Note: I highly suggest you keep the liquid and use it as a sauce with the char siu. It is super porky and delicious.

Garlic Butter Corn

1 cup corn
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
1 tablespoon butter

  1. Heat up cast iron skillet to close to smoke point.
  2. Add corn straight to skillet. Let sit for 5 minutes or until charred on one side.
  3. Stir and let sit for another few minutes.
  4. Turn off heat and add in garlic and butter. Stir for 30 seconds then transfer to a bowl. Set aside.

Dashi (stock)

Recipe modified from Japanese Farm Food

Two 6×3 inch long kombu sheets
3 cups water
1 packet/1 handful Katsuobushi (dried bonito flakes)

  1. Put kombu sheets in a jar or other sealable container. Add 3 cups of water and seal. Set container on counter for over night to 24 hours.Pour water over the kombu and let it sit for 24 hours to add a great umami flavor.
  2. Remove kombu and place liquid in small saucepan. Bring liquid to a light simmer.This is what the kombu water looks like after the kombu has soaked for 24 hours.
  3. Add katsuobushi simmer for 7 minutes then remove from heat for 10 minutes. Strain out katsuobushi.
  4. Put finished dashi in a sealable container in the fridge until ready to use.

Miso Polenta

Modified from The Kitchn

1 cup dashi
3 cups water
1 cup cornmeal
1 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons miso
2 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons parmesan cheese
white pepper to taste

  1. Place 1 cup of pre-made dashi, 3 cups of water, and salt in a large saucepan. Remove 4 tablespoons of mixture and put in small bowl and set aside. Bring the liquid in the saucepan to a boil.
  2. Once the liquid is boiling, slowly add in cornmeal a little at time, stirring as fast as you can to prevent clumps. Turn down to a low simmer.
  3. Keep stirring until the cornmeal thickens. I stir about 5 minutes.
  4. Put top on the saucepan and let cook for 10 minutes.
  5. After 10 minutes stir for 2 minutes.
  6. Repeat steps 4. & 5.
  7. Continue to cook until polenta reaches desired thickness. I prefer cooking for about 35 minutes total.
  8. In the small bowl that was set aside add 3 tablespoons of miso. Stir until miso is fully incorporated and there are no lumps.
  9. Add miso mixture, butter, parmesan cheese, and white pepper to the polenta and stir until fully incorporated.
  10. Dish out into bowls, add toppings and serve!

This polenta is just hands down delicious. You can put so many different toppings on it and it is amazing. We ate the leftovers for brunch on Sunday with asparagus, kale, mushrooms, char siu, and an egg and it was so freaking good. Have fun and experiment with it. If you find a topping combination you particularly like with it let me know!Miso polenta works great with all sorts of toppings - here it is with asparagus, mushrooms, kale, fried egg and left over char siu.

 

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Low Fodmap Diet – Week 4, 5, & 6 + A Fluffy Almond Cookie Recipe

Low Fodmap Diet – Week 4, 5, & 6 + A Fluffy Almond Cookie Recipe

[Jump to the recipe by clicking here]
[Jump to my fodmap diet update by clicking here]
I am obsessed with almond flavored baked goods. If I had to pick only one pastry/baked good to eat for the rest of my life it would probably be an almond croissant. But right now I am not eating wheat grains or lactose which means I can’t splurge on one for days like Valentine’s Day where I used to celebrate with fun treats. As a result I decided to come up with something else to try and fulfill this desire. (Note: I am not actually eating sugar in baked goods right now so other than tasting this recipe I don’t really eat the cookies. Mr. Physics however was an amazing additional taste tester.)

My Veganized Holiday Nutmeg Cookie recipe is already vegan, and thus lactose free, so I used it as my starting point for coming up with a recipe. The first thing I did was make it gluten free by using coconut flour and almond meal rather than regular flour. This was perfect since it gave my almond flavored cookie I had been desiring! Except…the first batch of cookies was super crumbly and fairly one note (they actually got much better 2 days later…but who ever heard of a cookie recipe where you let the cookies rest for two days…). The Holiday Nutmeg Cookies were so crunchy and perfect. It is amazing how much changing one ingredient makes a difference. I decided to try glazing them with coconut milk and powdered sugar to make them better…but that didn’t seem to help. Finally after two more attempts I decided, screw it, I would try something different.

Rather than going crunchy, I went for something more fluffy and chewy. I normally am not a fan of fluffy cookies but I could eat these all day. The almond meal combined with the fluffiness works really well.

A few notes on this recipe right away:

  1. This was also my first time working with chia seeds as an egg replacement. I read a lot of different suggestions online on how to do this but was limited in a few ways. First, I did not have something sufficient to grinding the chia seeds as many suggested. As a result I added just enough water to make a paste of whole seeds. I kind of like seeing the seeds, it reminds me of poppy seeds. Grinding the seeds might make this recipe a little more dense as it will even them out more but I haven’t tested it yet.Chia seeds soaked in water for 15 minutes to replace the egg.
  2. These cookies are technically a low fodmap food but keep three things in mind:
    • Almond meal is low fodmap in moderation. You shouldn’t eat a lot of it. Recent research seems to suggest that under ¼ cup is fine a day. This recipe uses ½ so just don’t eat half of the cookies in one day ok1I read a lot about almond meal and coconut flour to try and figure out how much you can eat. In the end everything I read seemed to point back to the Monash University App. I wish I knew where exactly they got their information from to read the articles myself. It seems like they have a lot of their own researchers. You can download their app along with a lot of other apps (see superscript 2) that can help with the diet. I did not during my 6 week restriction phase. Instead I just remembered the foods that I could eat and stuck to those ingredients most of the time (rice, kale, peppers, carrots, corn, meats, certain cheeses, etc) because 1. I am cheap and didn’t want to buy an app and 2. I like the challenge of coming up with fun new fodmap friendly things I can eat using the same set of ingredients.
    • There is not a lot of information out there on coconut flour. Coconut in general is fine on the diet but just be aware that this could change as more research comes out. At only ¼ cup for the whole recipe it is probably ok, just don’t eat the full batch in one day ok 😉.2A Little Bit Yummy has a great write up about coconut flour that you should read if you are concerned. She links back to Fodmap Friendly which is another option for apps you could try. This app seems to mark products as fodmap friendly and again I can’t really find any information from where they get their research from. In the end use the app at your own choice and discretion. Click the 1 superscript above to read about another app and why I didn’t use any.
    • Chia seeds also fall in this category. Eat them only if you know they are ok for you. They were on the list I used as food that was ok to eat and never removed them and never had an issue, though I never ate more than a couple tablespoons a day.

These cookies are vegan, gluten free, low fodmap friendly, chewy, fluffy and delicious!Fluffy Almond Cookies

Makes 16 small cookies.

3 tablespoons coconut oil, room temperature
¼ cup sugar
½ cup coconut cream*
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon chia seeds in 3 tablespoons water
1/8 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon baking soda
¼ cup coconut flour
½ cup almond meal

  1. At least 15 minutes before you are ready to make the cookies, combine chia seeds and water in a small jar. Stir and set aside. Stir again a few times before you get to step 4.
  2. Preheat over to 350° F. Prepare two parchment paper or silpat lined baking sheets.
  3. Combine coconut oil and sugar in a mixer. Beat until creamed. This does not take very long with the coconut oil, I only cream about 2 minutes on medium in my Kitchen Aide Stand Mixer. A hand mixer works equally well. (If you want a lesson on why you need to make sure you don’t over cream see my Sourdough Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe).
  4. Turn off mixer and add in vanilla extract, chia seeds, and salt. Turn mixer on the lowest setting and slightly mix (30 seconds).
  5. Add in coconut flour, almond meal, and baking soda. Mix until just incorporated. The dough should stick well together.
  6. In a separate bowl whip up coconut cream. It is fine if it doesn’t whip up much, mine was stubborn and didn’t. Then add to dough and mix until just incorporated.*
  7.  Remove tablespoon sized chunks from the dough and roll in your hand. Place on the baking sheet and press down slightly.**Slightly the cookies before baking them.
  8. Bake cookies for 15-20 minutes until sides begin to turn golden (mine took 18 and I am at 5000 feet). Remove and allow to cool for 5 minutes on sheet then move to rack.

Notes:

* You don’t really have to whip the coconut cream here. You can just fold it into the cookies to have time and clean up. I honestly could not tell a whole lot between whipped and non whipped cream since it has to be stirred in. You could also use full fat coconut milk instead.

**It might be easier to roll the dough into balls if you refrigerate it for 30 minutes or so. I did an experiment where I did half the batch right away without refrigeration and half with 30 minutes of refrigeration and I could not tell any real difference between the cookies. If you want them asap don’t refrigerate but you can also make them when you need them after leaving them in the fridge.

Now to the Week 4, 5, & 6 update!

If are just joining me you can see the diet I am following and why here.
I talk about the first week on the diet and the questions I am going to answer here.
I talk about week 2 & 3 on the diet here.

Have I broken the diet in the past 3 weeks?

Yes. This time it was again the same culprits: beer and onion/garlic. I went out to eat 5 times over the past three weeks. I am proud that one of these times I actually managed to eat something without onion or garlic, the other two not so much. The meals followed low fodmap in every other way though.

We went to a beer release for our favorite local brewery, Powder Keg Brewing, on Saturday, February 18th. They were releasing Palisade Reunion, Batch 2. This is an american wild ale with peaches and it is SO FREAKING GOOD. They also had some other awesome offerings at the release: Coconut Telegraph – imperial stout with vanilla and coconut, Insomnium – Coffee Stout, and Keyboard Warrior – an experimental IPA. Oh man they crushed it and because of that I had more than the 1 beer that is allowed on the diet. I regret nothing.

What has been hard?

These last three weeks what was hard was not the diet for me but on Mr. Physics. He isn’t on the diet but it is drastically influencing what we eat. I have tried very hard to make things that are low fodmap friendly but more exciting and I think I have been doing a good job of it for the most part. What he misses however are things like pizza, ice cream, or ramen which we used to occasionally “splurge” on. He actually went out to get ice cream with a friend on the 5th Friday night because he missed having it. That worked out very nicely but in contrast we were in Denver one Wednesday afternoon for a talk but rather than having an awesome date night in the city…we drove home for leftovers that I could eat. He also has started cooking some of his own foods occasionally, like roasted brussels sprout, to change it up.

Overall this was probably the hardest thing during the 6 weeks. Yes, eating out was hard so I just cut it out. I don’t mind. It saves us money and I like cooking anyway. But that is a sacrifice that if I was one person is much easier to make. We are two people though, a couple, and we should function as one. Watching Mr. Physics have to come along for the ride with me because I make most of the meals and we usually eat out together was tough. I wanted to bring this up in case you did want to try this diet at the suggestion of your doctor. If you are in a relationship remember it will effect your partner too. Even if they are super supportive as Mr. Physics was, 6 weeks is a long time and there might be times the diet is not only taxing on you but them. (Of course if your significant other is as easy to please as mine you can buy them It’s-It’s and sourdough bread and they will be pretty darn happy 😄)

What has been easy?

At this point the living day to day on the diet. I have gotten into the groove now and my fridge and pantry are full of things that work.

What I learned…

I still need to be prepared. For the beer release I ate a great breakfast then went to help out at 11:30 am. I did not bring any snacks with me which was really dumb because I knew I would be there all day and into the late afternoon. I did not eat anything until 4 pm when I picked up some chips at a local super market…super healthy. I got super cranky by the end and this was entirely my fault. I learned that no matter how comfortable you might feel with a specific diet you still need to be prepared!

Overall the 6 week restriction phase has taught me that there are some things that I think do bother me, even though I don’t have any actual gut issues anymore with great consistency. But even with the mild issues I have, for those that have gut issues, you understand…I felt so consistently good and regular during this diet. I am glad that I did it and felt some results and I am very glad that I stuck with this for 6 weeks. Now the harder part (at least for me) of reintroduction begins.

My favorite things I made these 3 weeks…

  1. The cookies in this post! Granted I only ate one or two but Mr. Physics said they were awesome.
  2. Another granola experiment. This one was made with banana and coconut and was delicious! A little bit of granola in the morning feels like such a splurge enough though I made this granola and I know it has no sugar in it.
  3. Potato hash with a runny egg. I love this dish, we make it a lot when I haven’t thought of what I am making for dinner ahead of time. It is potato, kale, and some sort of meat in together with an egg on top. It is so easy. For this week I cut bacon into small strips and placed in the cast iron skillet. While the bacon was cooking I microwaved small cut potatoes with butter covered for 5 minutes. I then add the potatoes to the bacon in the skillet and cook until potatoes are the crunchy consistency I want. In another pan I put thinly chopped call and cook until done. Through the cooked kale into the potato pan then cook your eggs on the warm pan used to cook the kale. Dish out hash and put egg on top and done! The hash reheats the next day really well too.

Now I start the next hard step of re-introducing foods! I will blog about how this went when it happens.

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Low Fodmap Diet – Week 2 & 3

Low Fodmap Diet – Week 2 & 3

The picture in the heading was taken from near the top of Flattop Mountain in Rocky Mountain National Park. We went for a snow hike/snowshoe up there two weekends ago. It is so nice to get away to the outdoors when things are stressful especially in these recent political times. Get out and enjoy and support our National Parks and other public lands. They are truly treasures that we must cherish.

Hiking all the way up over thousands of feet uses a lot of energy so snacks are necessary. To stay fodmap friendly I brought Trader Joe’s Mochi Rice Snacks (which I am kind of obsessed with at the moment), assorted nuts, and Unflavored Pedialyte (Yes I know, the one for babies. I don’t like that Gatorade and things like that have coloring and artificial flavors. I much prefer the unflavored, uncolored version I can get with Pedialyte).

Now on to the three week answers to my low fodmap diet questions series.

If are just joining me you can see the diet I am following and why here.
I talk about the first week on the diet and the questions I am going to answer here.

Have I broken the diet?

Yes. You could call the first breaking of the diet this past two weeks a “planned break”. Mr. Physics and I had bought tickets for a beer and food pairing for Black Project Spontaneous and Wild Ales Third Anniversary party about a week before I decided to go on this diet. Thus I decided that since 1. the tickets were already purchased, 2. Black Project has all spontaneously fermented beers so they must have good bacteria to cancel out drinking more than one glass (right???), and 3. the menu seemed decently ok for the diet, that there was no reason not to do it to be strict on myself. Plus it would be a good test to see if anything really bothered me. Also Black Project makes freaking awesome “sour” beers and I really wanted a chance to try them. If you like sour beers I highly, highly recommend you check out there tap room if you are ever in the Denver area. They do bottle some of their beers to go but they are in limited quantity and difficult to get.Kimchi Pancake, Smashed Potato, Pork Belly, and Dessert with their sour beer pairings.

The pairing combined four Black Project beers with small plates of food made by Brewed Food. The pairings were (from top left to bottom right) a kimchi pancake with bbq sauce and mayo (okonomiyaki style) paired with 2016 Oxcart, a smashed potato and four different toppings paired with Silverplate (a dry hopped tart farmhouse), pork belly with mustard and fennel/tarragon salad paired with Supercruise: Cab Franc, and finally a passion fruit dessert of some sort paired with Kalmar Spontaneous Gose. Excuse the pictures, lighting was tough in there.

I really enjoyed the dinner. The amount of food was small but it was totally worth the $25 price to attend.

The only big break, besides drinking more beer than recommended on the diet, was the kimchi pancake. The compromises I made to stay as much on the diet as I could were that I only ate the one topping with the potato that was low fodmap friendly and I only had a single bite of the dessert. Considering this was my first experience eating in a non controlled environment on the diet, not bad!

I also broke the diet again this past weekend with beer. We went to a bottle share for the Super Bowl and, though I was very reasonable in how much I drank, I know I had more than 1 glass total all day. That being said all I ate food wise was carrots, some corn chips, and low lactose cheese and said on diet. I am pretty proud of myself for that.

What has been hard?

The fact that I can’t eat out is still really hard. It seems almost impossible to eat out without getting some garlic or onion in something. If anyone has any tips on this front let me know!!!! I really miss being able to go out to the occasional social meal with people.

Also it isn’t easy to explain why you aren’t eating in a social setting. At the Super Bowl party people kept asking me to try things and I had a really hard time trying to explain that I couldn’t eat it. By the end of the night people understood but it still wasn’t fun and I got some questioning looks but I also got a lot of interest in the diet as well.

It was also hard telling myself it was ok to “break” the diet for the beer pairing. I felt really bad about it going in because I was working so hard on other days to keep it. In the end because I let go I really enjoyed myself. I am glad I did. This is a low fodmap diet not a no fodmap diet. I need to remember that moving forward past the first 6 weeks.

What has been easy?

Forcing myself to expand my repertoire. These two weeks I challenged myself to stop eating a ton of rice and come up with other options and it actually turned out really great. I was much more creative in what I ate and I am excited to expand even more next week. I plan to make something with polenta and try cooking with quinoa for the first time.

What I learned this week…

This hasn’t been as crazy difficult as I thought it would be. It is actually been much harder for me to remove sugar completely from my diet than it has been to eat low fodmap friendly. There are lots of options on things to eat out there and it is really fun to be creative in the kitchen thinking up low fodmap recipes.

I went through all the recipes I had pinned on pinterest and created a low fodmap pinterest page for quick reference for myself. Turns out not a lot of the recipes I have previously pinned are low fodmap, however many of them could be easily modified to be so. Time for more experimenting!

I also learned that this diet does make me feel better. These past two weeks have been great. My gut feels great, I feel like I am less tired, and I have been sleeping better. These things might not all be related to the diet but I will take it!

My favorite things I made these 2 weeks…

These past two weeks had a lot of really awesome foods in it modified to be low fodmap friendly. My top 3 were:

  1. Cornmeal Pancakes – I blogged this recipe because they were so good! I made them three times last week and ate them both for breakfast and lunch in many different ways. They are so fast to make that you can make them for breakfast even on a week day.Fast and healthy cornmeal pancakes with no gluten, lactose, or sugar!
  2. Jajamen – a japanese pork, cucumber, and udon dish. I made it without garlic or onion and with rice noodles rather than udon. We ate this for 3 meals and I already want to make it again.Jajamen - a japanese noodle dish made to be low fodmap friendly. We ate this three nights and I already want to make it again.
  3. Whole steamed fish – for Lunar New Year I made a full steamed fish with sesame oil, soy sauce, ginger, and the greens from scallions. It was SO GOOD! Also discovering that the greens of scallions are fodmap friendly was a great discovery.For Lunar New Year we ate a whole steamed fish with the greens of scallions, ginger, soy sauce, and sesame oil with rice and green beans.

Half way there!

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Simple Cornmeal Pancakes

Simple Cornmeal Pancakes

[Jump to the recipe by clicking here]
Simple low fodmap friendly, gluten-free, lactose free pancakes! Perfect healthy and fast choice for a fun breakfast.Since starting the low fodmap diet I have been eating a whole lot of rice. In general that is fine because I like rice but, with the discussion of arsenic levels in it, I don’t want to make it a twice a day part of my diet like it was the first week. If you would like to read more about arsenic and rice the FDA and consumer reports have some good information on it. A lot of this information applies more to pregnant women and children but it is still interesting. To sum it up they pretty much say it isn’t a huge concern for healthy adults and just be aware of where your rice is coming from. This can be difficult for products like rice cakes, rice noodles, and other pre-made rice products so eating a balanced diet of grains is always advised. I am trying to heed that advice! Plus it makes eating and cooking more fun to try lots of things.

There are lots of other grain options: quinoa, buckwheat, corn flour, cornmeal, and oats for example. Each have their own “ideal” applications so for a fun weekend breakfast I decided to work with cornmeal and corn flour first. I fell in love with cornmeal pancakes through Johnnycakes. We made them once in elementary school when we had a “colonial day” where we all dressed up in colonial attire and had different jobs that might exist in colonial times (I was a glass blower who made lanterns out of tin cans…surprise I didn’t get to actually blow glass in our multipurpose room at 10). The “baker” in town made johnnycakes for us to purchase. I have no idea if the ones they made were at all historically accurate but I fell in love with them for their slightly mealy texture and minimal sweetness. I tried to copy that idea with these pancakes. I am really not a normal sweet pancake person at all but these I will eat for pretty much every meal. I am already thinking of other ways I could use them at this very moment.
Tycho the cat enjoyed watching me pour the maple syrup on the pancakes.

And no Tycho is not allowed on the table when we eat. I just enjoy him interacting with me in pictures. He has his own chair that he sits at between the two of us for every meal. Not kidding:Tycho the cat has a seat at the table for meals. He likes to watch us eat, especially things like fish.

Cornmeal Pancakes

Makes about 6 small (3 inch circumference) pancakes

½ cup corn flour*
¼ cup cornmeal
½ teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons coconut oil (melted)
½ cup coconut milk**
½ tablespoon maple syrup
1 egg
½ teaspoon vanilla extract

  1. Combine corn flour, cornmeal, baking powder, and salt in a medium sized bowl.
  2.  In another bowl, add egg to coconut milk and beat until fully combined. Add maple syrup and vanilla extract, stir.Corn flours, cornmeal, salt, and baking powder in one bowl with coconut milk, egg, vanilla extract, and maple syrup in the pyrex.
  3. Stir melted coconut oil into dry ingredients and then slowly add the wet ingredients, stirring lightly as you go. Mix until almost fully combined. There may be some lumps but this is fine.
  4. Set pancake mixture aside and turn on pan/cast iron/whatever you like to use to cook pancakes. I heat up my flat cast iron Le Creuset*** on medium heat for a few minutes then turn the heat down to low. Add coconut oil in a thin layer over pan.
  5. For pancakes the size in my pictures, place just under ¼ cup scoop of batter on the pan. Smooth out slightly to desired size. The batter is pretty thick and will want to stay clumped together. Continue to place pancakes until pan is full. You can make any size pancakes you want of course!Cook pancakes until you start to see bubbles on the stop of the pancakes or the sides look fully cooked.
  6. Let pancakes cook until you can see bubbles all over the top of the pancake or the sides of the pancakes begin to look cooked (which will happen first if they are thicker), about 4 minutes. Then flip.Not the greatest flipper but you get the idea. The perfect cook is when they are golden brown!
  7. Cook 4 more minutes on other side. Times will differ depending on your stove/surface you are cooking on.
  8. Remove from pan and eat as soon as you can! If you can’t eat right away store them in the oven on a low temperature (150°F or so).

Notes:

* If you don’t have corn flour you can take cornmeal and blend it down. This will create a finer textured cornmeal and substitutes well enough.

** If you are usually full fat coconut milk from the can (which is the only type I buy) the batter will be REALLY thick. I would advice one of two things:

  1. If you are using canned milk, without guar gum as this will keep the cream from separating, do not shake the can before opening. Open the can, remove the solid coconut cream and put it in a separate container and then use the water and milk left in the can. This will result in a less thick coconut milk. You can then use the cream for other things, like coconut maple cream for pancakes/waffles pictured below or whipped coconut cream! If you want more cream you can cool the cans before hand. This separates the cream and liquid more and makes the process easier but results in less coconut milk in the liquid.An example of coconut cream with maple syrup on buckwheat waffles!
  2. Rather than ½ coconut milk use 1/3 cup full fat coconut milk then fill the measuring cup up the rest of the way to ½ cup with water. This will create a thinner coconut milk.

** Somehow this pan doesn’t exist anymore. I can’t find it anywhere online but I love it. I use it for quesadillas and pancakes all the time. Any flat pan will work fine though.

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Low FODMAP Diet – Week 1

Low FODMAP Diet – Week 1

To keep myself accountable, and to give some first hand experience to anyone else thinking of trying the low FODMAP diet, I decided I would post weekly about my experience: did I break the diet, what has been hard, what has been easy, what I have learned thus far, and my favorite thing I have made that period.

(I originally planned to post every week but I realized while working on week 2 that answering these questions every week wouldn’t be that interesting. So I decided to change it up moving forward with week 1, week 2 & 3, week 4-6, and the reintroduction process.)

If you want to see the diet I am following I talk about it here.

Have I broken the diet?

Twice, both my diet and the actually FODMAP diet with the same food it turns out – Worcestershire Sauce. I wasn’t really thinking and made my pho-caesar dressing. This dressing is lemon juice, olive oil, salt, pepper, parmesan cheese, and worcestershire sauce. I made a double serving of it for salad without really thinking about it and ate it two nights. This breaks the no sugar (my personal rule), no garlic powder, and no onion powder rule. I saw no ill effects so that is good.

I also had cream cheese once because the original Stanford print out I had from the year ago said cream cheese was fine and I didn’t do enough additional research the first few days until I actually made my blog post. Now I know! (Also how sad is it that avocado isn’t low fodmap and I can’t just eat as much as I want on this diet)

My 1/4 of an avocado a week made to shape like totoro on a rice cake with cream cheese (whoops)
The cream cheese culprit plus avocado in Totoro form!

What has been hard?

No garlic and no onion (^big surprise!!!). My goodness I never thought that would be so hard. It is harder than even my self imposed no sugar and no alcohol. I realized this week that because of this requirement of the diet it will be very difficult, if not impossible, to go out to eat anywhere.

Snacks, omg snacks!!!! I am a snacker. I don’t snack in large quantities but occasionally on some crackers here and there, a small chocolate, or from the Trader Joe’s mixed popcorn tin now taunting me. I very quickly realized this week that I didn’t have anything that I could really eat between meals in the house. I went out and bought some rice cakes and those have been life savers but they themselves don’t have a ton of calories so I put peanut butter on them. Oh also calories…I have been way under calorie amount this week. Which is nice for losing weight…kind of…that wasn’t my goal with this…because eating under the calorie amount you should isn’t a good idea…

What has been easy?

Surprisingly, shopping. Or maybe not surprisingly for me because I tend to not buy any pre made items anyway and have always read labels for high fructose corn syrup. I tend to be an “on a whim” shopper in the sense that I go to the store and buy fruits, vegetables, and meat that are on sale in my price point and then figure out what to do with them when I get home. I don’t tend to go to the store with a specific recipe in mind. This might have to change a bit moving forward because of the calorie issue listed above.

What I learned so far…

  1. Keep a food journal. This has helped me so much for two reasons – 1. it makes me write down what I am eating which helps me stay more honest and 2. if I do feel any discomfort I can record when and where and then look back to see if there are any consistencies with the food I ate that day. (ALSO OMG ISN’T THIS JOURNAL COVER THE BEST EVER ❤️️❤️️❤️️❤️️ TOTORO AND STUDIO GHIBLI SO MUCH!!! Also the avocado above…I sense a theme…)Totoro cover of my food journal.
    Inside of the food journal where I keep track of date, day of the week, and what I eat. Very simple.
  2. I need to plan ahead a little more and make more leftovers. I tend to make just enough food for one meal plus lunch for Mr. Physics and I the next day. This however needs to change because a lot of my go-to fast meals are out because of gluten, sugar, garlic and onion in them. I made two chicken breasts at once one evening and that lasted us 3 meals and was a great idea. If I don’t have something like that around I am going to eat a lot of eggs and rice for lunch…
  3. When I remove gluten, I eat a ton of rice. Maybe too much rice. I need to branch out and give other gluten free options a try like quinoa and buckwheat.

My favorite thing I made this week…

It may sound cliche because I blogged about it but my Peanut Butter Banana Granola. I have eaten it every morning with coconut milk, blueberries, and banana and it is making me very, very happy.

After that would be the zucchini lasagna I experimented with. It turned out pretty dang good actually and I will probably make it again slightly modified. If it gets good enough maybe it will become a blog post, who knows! I did learn it is shockingly hard to find tomato only tomato sauce. I managed to find a single can in King Soopers labeled “Tomato Puree” and that was it.Healthy low fodmap friendly zucchini lasagna made with ground turkey.

Are you doing the low FODMAP diet? How are you doing with it?

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Whole30, FODMAP, and Peanut Butter Banana Granola

Whole30, FODMAP, and Peanut Butter Banana Granola

[Don’t want to read about the diets? – Jump to the recipe by clicking here]Granola that is low FODMAP friendly made with Peanut Butter, Banana, Oats, Nuts, Seeds, and Brown Rice Syrup. A perfect way to start the morning.
If you follow food people on Instagram in January you are probably very aware of the #Whole30 craze going on right now. You can read more about it here, but the Whole30 is a 30-day “reset” program to get your body inflammation down. Now I have issues with it, and started to write my reasons until I realized some other bloggers did the same. Plane, Trains and Running Shoes has a post that I mostly agree if you want to see a well written piece with some issues with Whole30. Long story short I decided that the Whole30 diet wasn’t for me but I still wanted to do something to jump start my year after a lazy and treat filled holiday season.

There is another food diet out there I have been interested in called FODMAP. The FODMAP diet was originally brought to my attention by my doctor, which in my mind already gives it bonus points over the Whole30 diet. In High School I was diagnosed with a digestive issue. I had many tests done and was part of a no drug, experimental program to help with the symptoms. For the most part this issue hasn’t affected my adult life in a major way. However symptoms come and go enough that my current doctor suggested I try the FODMAP diet. The FODMAP diet, like Whole30, is a diet you stick to for a period of time (in the case of the FODMAP it is 6 weeks). After that period you are allowed to add food back in slow to see how it makes you feel.

The foods you cut out of the two diets are similar and different. The nice thing about the FODMAP is that it explains why you don’t eat certain things. It also used to have a list of foods that you can eat in moderation. That is one of my biggest issues with Whole30; it is all or nothing. On some level I do understand this but on another it seems too harsh. There should be some foods that you can eat in moderation, especially in a specific moderated amount like FODMAP suggests.

Note: I am in no way an expert or have a history or degree in nutrition (my masters is in biochemistry and cell biology). These are just my own personal feelings about the diets and what I plan to do under the suggestion of my physician but with no direct guidance from her. This is also just for me to make it public so I can be held more accountable, I know a lot of people probably don’t care about my diet choice 😛!

These are the two version of the FODMAP diet I used to make my diet here and here. These lists conflict in a lot of places which is frustrating (ex: tofu and cabbage). The Stanford one is very yes/no while the IBSdiets.org is a little more lenient and detailed. It is easier for you to look at them then to explain it since it is more complicated than “don’t eat insert large food group here”. These are the changes I made:

  1. I followed the guideline of Whole30 and decided to cut out all alcohol…except the occasional beer. The FODMAP diet doesn’t say you need to cut out all alcohol. You are even allowed one beer a night. I just thought completely cutting out alcohol for a bit would be a good thing for me to do. Beer, however, is a really big part of what Mr. Physics and I do eventwise in Colorado. We don’t drink a lot of it; we just travel and drink high quality beer with other people. As a result I decided I would allow myself to drink one beer when in a social setting like a brewery or other venue for a beer event. No more at home with dinner beers though *sad face*.
  2. I don’t eat beef so I will continue to not eat beef.
  3. I plan to go for the most part gluten free. FODMAP doesn’t say you have to not eat gluten as it is not a gluten free diet but a FODMAP free one. I might add sourdough bread in later in the diet as sourdough does a great job reducing gluten.
  4. Though the FODMAP diet does allow sugar, I plan to remove it as well like in Whole30. What is really hard is that honey and agave are not allowed on the FODMAP diet so you can’t really use a sugar substitute. In recipes where I really think some sweetener should be use I plan to use brown rice syrup or maple syrup. I tried really hard to follow no sugar in anything but it became apparent at 4 weeks in that maple and brown rice syrup did not give the same effect to savory cooking recipes that have sugar in them. As a results I decided to allow myself to use sugar in savory cooking recipes and limit the no sugar rule to pastries, baked goods, candy, and other dessert like items. (Note I already don’t eat high fructose corn syrup and don’t buy anything with it in it).
  5. In general I will follow the more strict Stanford one with a few exceptions: I enjoy soy and will continue to eat firm tofu and the occasional miso and I will follow the moderation rules for the vegetables on the IBSdiets page.
  6. I will allow myself ½ an avocado once a week because I love avocado. If on days I eat it I notice I feel worse, I will remove it.
  7. Whenever I eat nuts or seeds I will soak them overnight before eating them to break the enzymes down and make them more easily digestible. I have always wanted to do this but it takes thinking ahead. This diet will help me think ahead!*Soaking seeds and nuts can help break down phytic acid to make it easier to get more nutrients and minerals out of the nuts and seeds.

These aren’t drastic changes in my diet as I already don’t eat out much or eat much processed foods and cook most of my meals from scratch, but it will still have its challenging parts (gluten, cheese, sugar, and beer reduction). We shall see how this goes. I will keep all of you updated if there are any crazy changes and will write a final post on what I felt after it is over. I will also follow the Whole30 rule and not measure or weigh myself during the process (though we don’t even have a scale in the house anyway…). Wish me luck and to start off the diet with excitement here is a FODMAP approved breakfast recipe!

FODMAP diet approved healthy homemade peanut butter banana granola recipe in a mason jar

Peanut Butter Banana Granola

Makes about 6 cups of Granola

¼ cup coconut oil (or other oil)
2 tablespoons brown sugar syrup (or honey)
½ cup peanut butter (crunchy or smooth)
2 bananas (very ripe is best)
¼ teaspoon salt
3 cups oats
½ cup pumpkin seeds
½ cup sunflower seeds
½ cup almonds***

  1. Preheat the oven to 375°F and line a baking tray with silpat or parchment paper.
  2. In large bowl mix together oats, seeds and nuts.
  3. In a small saucepan over lower heat add oil, sweetener, and salt.
  4. While contents of saucepan are warming up mash up bananas in a small bowl. Once the ingredients in the saucepan all meld together (they don’t have to be that warm), remove from heat immediately and add the peanut butter and bananas****. Stir until smooth (if you use chunky peanut butter there will be more lumps, also the banana will leaves lumps unless you pureed it)The finally mixture of the wet ingredients: coconut oil, brown sugar syrup, peanut butter, salt, banana
  5. Pour liquid into the oat mixture and stir until all the oats are coated.
  6. Smooth wet granola on the baking sheet until it forms and even layer.Spread the granola over the entire sheet pan before putting it in the oven.
  7. Place baking sheet in the oven and cook for 10 minutes, remove from oven and stir bringing the outside granola into the middle, cook for 10 minutes, remove and stir, cook for 5 more minutes, remove and stir, cook for 5 more minutes (total of 30 minutes, though every oven is different so judge accordingly). At this point the granola should be close to being done so watch it closely so it doesn’t burn. It always looks like it isn’t done right before it goes too far. Once it looks done, remove it and let cool until room temperature.

    Leave the granola too cool and if you have a cat like I do, cover with a keep cat out towel covered with cats!
    Leave the granola to cool in the sheet pan and if you have a cat like I do, cover with a “keep cat out towel”, covered with cats of course, so he doesn’t eat it!

Note:

* I presoaked the seeds and nuts to break down the enzymes and make them easier to digest as I mentioned in the post above. To do this I take 1 tablespoon of salt for 2 cups of warm water and soak the nuts 8-24 hours. If you are really motivated, which I plan to be moving forward, you can do this as soon as you buy nuts from the store then dehydrate them and store them already ready to go! There are many websites out there with more information on this, some with very specific soaking ratios depending on the nuts. Check them out for more information.

** If you are presoaking the nuts like I did make sure to remove them from the water enough ahead of time so they can dry out (12 to 24 hours in a food dehydrator). The first batch I made I removed the almonds right before I baked them and they were still moist in the middle when the rest of the granola was cooked. Still good but if you don’t eat the granola fast enough it will make the rest of the ingredients less crispy in the storage container.

*** Keep in mind that almonds are one of those limited amount foods so don’t go super heavy on the almonds. I count them as they fall in my bowl.

**** Peanut butter does not particularly liked to be heated up. If you have every tried it you have probably experience this and the gross smell it gets. The heating is to melt the coconut oil and the brown syrup. You don’t particularly want to heat the peanut butter.

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Big Beers and Breckenridge

Big Beers and Breckenridge

[To skip right to the festival review, click here!]
When we first moved to Colorado the only beer festival we really knew about was The Great American Beer Festival (GABF), which happens in Denver sometime in October. This is probably the best known beer festival in Colorado and maybe even the United States/World. However, as we got to know people better in the beer community we were informed of another worthy of attention. This one was a much more intimate festival that was brewer focused and organized with pairings, seminars, a home brew competition, and a commercial tasting. You must go they said. This is the best festival they said. So this year we did.

The festivals name is Big Beers, Belgians and Barleywines Festival. This was our first time attending and the first time the event had been held in Breckenridge, Colorado (the previous years it had been in Vail, CO). Breckenridge is a gorgeous historic town tucked away in the Rocky Mountains (and closer to us than Vail *highfive* for less driving). I had never been before and was excited to visit for the weekend…buuuut…we were a little late in our ticket purchase and all that was left was the commercial tasting and some seminars on Saturday. Turns out that was a good thing as Mr. Physics came down with a cold and even as we rolled out of the house at 6:23 Saturday morning he still wasn’t feeling 100%.

Now I say 6:23 because the exact minute we left is important. It is important because…ski traffic. Here in Colorado sure we have normal commute to work traffic like everyone else but we also have early Saturday morning and late Sunday evening through the mountains traffic. This is a public service announcement if you are ever heading into the mountains to ski at this time from the Front Range; plan for double the time. We left about 13 minutes later than we should have and it took an hour longer. This fit perfectly with the i70 website prediction, “Saturday WB – As is the typical pattern, traffic will build very quickly starting at 6:00 a.m., be at its heaviest around 8:00 a.m. and will last until Noon. Last year on this Saturday, heavy traffic caused an additional one hour of travel time”, yup spot on and sigh.View of the mountain from the coffee shop at Breckenridge

Breckenridge greeted us with a winter wonderland of snow and 12°F weather and a strong desire for coffee and sustenance. First stop, Daylight Donuts! Donuts aren’t something I eat a lot of but occasionally crave. There are very few donut places around where I live and when I want something fun and special I usually think donuts or other breakfast pastries. Daylight Donuts did not disappoint. I got a bear claw bigger and heavier than my hand and a sprinkles risen donut to go. Mr. Physics got a sprinkles risen donut and an all chocolate cake donut. Sooooo goooooood! It also had other plated breakfast options that looked really delicious and the ambiance was fun with pictures and licenses plates on every possible bit of space.Huge bear claw and other doughnuts at Daylight Donuts for breakfast! in Breckenridge.

We then trekked up the main street to find that coffee place and, I have to say, the beauty of Breckenridge did not disappoint. There were holiday decorations everywhere made even more beautiful by the snow. The street was full of cute shops and we stopped into many of them along the way before entering Cabin Coffee Co. for cappuccinos. The view from the window of the town and the slopes was amazing and we lingered over our coffee contemplating on what to do next. Normally we would snow shoe or snow hike but with how Mr. Physics was feeling we settled for the less active more tourist route of continuing to explore the town.

Cappuccino at Cabin Coffee Co. with a great view of the Breckenridge runs in the Rocky Mountains

Once we got our fill of site seeing we stopped in for a quick and delicious soup and sandwich lunch at Park & Main and headed up to big event of the day for us, the commercial tasting at Beaver Run Resort and Conference Center. The tasting consisted of 139 breweries across 3 floors of the conference center and did not disappoint! No way you could try them all (Each brewery probably had an average of 4 beers a piece – about 556 beers. I don’t know the exact number because many breweries didn’t bring exactly what they said they would in the program – which you can see here). I see now why people highly recommended that we attend this event. It was crowded but not overly so and we were able to taste all of the beers that were on our must taste list.

Pros of the event:

  1. Lots of different breweries and lots of different beers. All the breweries also brought enough beer so most did not run out, even of the popular stuff, for a few hours or even at all.
  2. The beers that were being poured were in general high quality beers that are sometimes very difficult to find otherwise.
  3. There were water and bread stations in every corner of the room. If you don’t know why this is important you haven’t been to a beer festival! (at elevation no less, remember Breck is at 9600 ft so drink that water and eat that food especially when drinking beer)
  4. They had a coat check!!!!
  5. You got one free meal ticket with three options to eat. Nothing that works if you were vegan and only one vegetarian option but still it was “free” food.
  6. Breckenridge was beautiful and the conference center looked out over the ski slopes.Station 26 Brewing Co. German Chocolate Dark Start Imperial Stout at Big Beers

Cons for the event:

  1. The rooms got really hot. With so many people and the weather so cold outside that they could not open the windows, it got uncomfortably hot. So much so that I took breaks on the second floor and the halls a few times.
  2. Some of the table placement in the halls was not ideal. I appreciated trying to get more breweries in but if the brewery in the hall was popular it blocked everyone from walking by and made it so the people could not really line up for those breweries or talk to the brewers.
  3. Some breweries only brought one beer that did not fit the theme of the festival. If those breweries were going to be there, they should have been the ones in the hall.
  4. It was hard that it was the first weekend after New Years. It would be nice if they could make it one week later so you weren’t still recovering from family and holidays. It would have also allowed for a longer weekend as well.

Would I go again next year? Yes for sure. It was totally worth the price for the beers you got to try and Breckenridge was really nice to visit. I like beer festivals in general because they allow me to try some of the hyped beers without having to drink the full bottle. Goose Island BCS Proprietors 2016 for instance, fun to taste, not sure I could ever come across or would want a full bottle. Next time I would get a ticket for a seminar and would plan to come up the night before. We waited too last minute this year but still enjoyed ourselves.

I highly recommend visiting Breckenridge if you like quaint historic towns with more expensive shopping. We went into a Jerky Outlet (bought some way too expensive elk jerky), multiple “vintage” stores, and I can’t even count on two hands the number of outdoor wear and sports stores we walked passed. At night it was beautifully lit up with all sorts of holiday lights. Be aware the waits for dinner at restaurants got crazy long. We didn’t eat but we knew people who were trying to. Instead we got hot chocolate with a little coffee to walk the streets admiring the lights and prepare for the late night ride home. I wish I could comment more on the outdoor events to give you a sense of other things you can do but shop and ski, maybe next time. Also next time we will have to try the local brewery and beer scene so we can get a sense of what that is like without Big Beers in town.

Snow and lights at night on main street Breckenridge through catching a bulbasaur in Pokemon Go and slow shutter speed.
Yes the best picture of took of the snow and the lights at night was in Pokemon Go on my phone. I tried a slow shutter speed picture of the street but I forgot the tripod and it is a little blurry, but it gives you an idea!

Now that we are home and looking back on the event, our top beers of the day we drank were Station 26 Brewing Co. German Chocolate Bourbon Barrel Aged Dark Star, Wiley Roots Brewing Co. Catacombs #5 and Funk Yo Festivus, Casey Brewing and Blending – everything…not joking Supreme Clientele, Dry Hopped Nectarine CFP, Leaner, Jammy, and Santa Rosa Plum The Cut were all amazing, Odd13 Brewing I-P-Alien, Jester King Brewery SPON Methode Gueuze 2016 Blend 4, and Black Project 3 Year Spontaneous Still (one of the components of Oxcart). I am sure I missed some others and I skipped some that I had already had and knew I liked that probably would have fallen in the top beers.

Cheers to your beer experiences!

 

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Veganized Holiday Nutmeg Cookies

Veganized Holiday Nutmeg Cookies

[Jump to Recipe]

Vegan holiday decorated with a spiral pattern nutmeg cookies are the perfect holiday treat. Go great with milk for santa or really anything!I am a sucker for old cookbooks. Well not just cookbooks, also old gardening, house, picture, or etiquette books too; any book that contains old knowledge. Anytime I go to a garage or estate sale I always make a b-line to the shelves.

I picked up The French Chef in Private American Families by Xavier Raskin, published in 1922, in a used book store a couple years ago for $10 and I am so happy I did. The version I have is the actual 1922 original version, though in researching this blog post I realized you can buy a more recently published version on Amazon (though I don’t know what “remains as true to the original work as possible” means…) or read it online for free as it is old enough to be in the public domain.The French Chef in Private American Families by Xavier Rasking in its original 1922 published form.

It is like a little time capsule. There are recipes to cook things over fire in a hanging pot, he never gives oven temperatures just ranges (at medium heat), he also doesn’t always give cook times just desired result (until golden brown on the bottom), and there are so many recipes I have never heard of!

It has always been my goal to accept the challenge this book offers and try to recreate some of the recipes in modern terms. With the holiday season in full force I decided a fun way to start would be cookies; something which still exist today in many recipes and forms.

At first I thought I would try and modernize them by going the “awesome” decorating route. I have always wanted to recreate cookies similar to those Pillsbury Shape cookies. You know the ones that come in a tube and already have a design down the middle? This was not as easy to replicate as I thought it would be…these are supposed to be Christmas trees…CAN’T YOU TELL???? Sigh.My original non vegan shape cookie failure!

I haven’t given up quite yet. I have some more ideas. But I was running out of time and I needed cookies that were “blog worthy”. I had already picked my recipe and had worked with it so many times (the attempt above was not the only failure…I’ll spare you the repetition) that I didn’t want to just scrap it. Then it hit me, this recipe could be great if made vegan (Is veganized a word? Who cares we are making it one!).

These cookies are so freaking easy and take relatively little hands on time. If you don’t make fun holiday designs they take even less. The key to this recipe is to start with everything room temperature but then keep everything as cool as possible. These make GREAT keep in the freezer and slice when you need them cookies too! The coconut oil makes these super crispy and crunchy, which I prefer in my cookies. UPDATE: If kept in a well sealed container these maintain their crispy for pretty much ever. We left on holiday travel and came back 2 weeks later and they are still freaking delicious. Yes I ate two week old cookies and enjoyed them. What about it??? Also they are perfect hiking snacks.

Vegan nutmeg cookies are the perfect hiking snack. Small, easy to eat quickly, good sugar and carb hit, and they stay crunchy!

Veganized Holiday Nutmeg Cookies

Recipe modified from Nutmeg Cookies in The French Chef in Private American Families
Makes 24 small cookies. Also can be known as Vegan Coconut Nutmeg Cookies.

¼ cup (4 tablespoons) coconut oil, room temperature
1/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup coconut milk, room temperature*
¼ teaspoon nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon baking soda
1 cup flour

  1. Combine coconut oil and sugar in a mixer. Beat until creamed. This does not take very long with the coconut oil, I only cream about 2 minutes on medium in my Kitchen Aide Stand Mixer. A hand mixer works equally well. (If you want a lesson on why you need to make sure you don’t over cream see my Sourdough Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe).Cream the coconut oil and sugar.
  2. Turn off mixer and add in coconut milk, nutmeg, and salt. Turn mixer on the lowest setting and slightly mix (30 seconds).
  3. Sift in flour and baking soda. Mix until just incorporated. The dough should stick well together but be a little oily.
  4. Place dough on plastic wrap. If you are keeping it one color then wrap up the dough in a 7-inch cylinder. Roll it with your hands to make it as smooth as possible and place in the fridge. Go to step 10.The uncolored dough rolled in a cylinder.
  5. If you are making the swirl design, place dough on scale and remove 1/3 of the weight. The recipe comes out to a little more than 300 grams, so remove about 100 grams.
  6. Place the 100 grams back in the mixer and add food coloring. I added about 4 drops of green but add as much as you want in whatever color you want. Mix until fully incorporated. Remove and place on plastic wrap and roll colored dough into 7-inch long cylinder. Wrap up the plastic wrap, rolling slightly to smooth out then place dough in the fridge.
  7. Leave the dough in the fridge for at least 30 minutes. This chill is to make it easier to work with the sticky dough. Remove and roll both colors of dough out in the long direct until both are about 5×7 inch rectangles. The colored dough (100g) will roll out much thinner.Roll into 5x7 inch rectangles then place one dough on top of the other.
  8. Place the colored dough rectangle on top of the white dough rectangle then take one of the 7 inch ends and slowly roll the dough back into a cylinder. Wrap the plastic wrap back around the dough and roll to smooth out edges. Place dough in the fridge.Place one dough color on the other and roll up with the help of the plastic wrap.
  9. Turn the oven to 350° F and preheat. Turn it on as early as you need to for it to hit temperature. Mine can take up to an hour. Prepare baking sheet with parchment paper or silpat.
  10. After the dough has chilled for an hour, remove from the fridge. Roll slightly to make back into circle (one side might flatten a bit in the fridge. If you look closely at the picture below you can see one side is still flat 😂). Take a knife and cut ¼ to 1/3 of an inch slices. Place 2 inches apart on baking sheet.After being chilled the dough slices very easily. Slice into 1/4 inch sections and place on cookie sheet.
    Place the uncooked cookies a couple inches apart on the cookie sheet.
  11. Bake cookies for 10 minutes until sides begin to turn golden. Remove and allow to cool for 5 minutes on sheet then move to rack. Eat whenever desired!Allow cookies to cool on a rack. Eat whenever desired!

Notes:

*You can use any milk substitute you want here. Keep in mind however that these cookies have a very light flavor on their own. This means that your milk choice will most likely dominate the flavor profile over the nutmeg. I use coconut because I love coconut flavored foods and it goes well with nutmeg. Nut milks will work if you like the specific nut flavor. I don’t now if I would use rice or soy milk personally.

I have stored the dough for over a week and made cookies from it and it still works well. These seem to be the perfect freeze, slice and bake later cookies! Make sure you keep them in a cylinder form for easy slicing.

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My Families Sweet Cornbread – Thanksgiving Recipe

My Families Sweet Cornbread – Thanksgiving Recipe

[Jump to Recipe]
The menu for Thanksgiving at my parent’s house has been the same for as long as I can remember. It was always a huge spread, cooked up by my mom: turkey, gravy, anadama bread stuffing, butternut squash puree, mashed potatoes, green beans in some form, fruit salad, and cornbread. I had a special ritual in how I ate Thanksgiving dinner – I start with the butternut squash -> turkey with cranberry sauce and gravy -> stuffing -> green beans -> mashed potatoes -> fruit salad -> with the cornbread as the grand finale.Grist and Greens | My Families Sweet Cornbread - A delicious family tradition on every Thanksgiving meal!

My ritual for the cornbread was as follows: every Thanksgiving the cornbread had the seat of honor in the middle of the bread plate all alone and off to the side – sliced in half with butter and honey. There it sat in all its glory until all of the rest of my meal was completed (maybe not a smart decision as it has resulted in more than one overstuff belly…). Then I took small bites, savoring it like a dessert, and maybe in some ways to me it was.Sliced cornbread with butter and honey just how I eat it on Thanksgiving Dinner

This cornbread is slightly sweet and that is perfect with all the savory at Thanksgiving dinner and with spicy food like chili. Normally I am not a huge fan of sweet, but for this I make an exception time and time again.

This recipe is one of those family recipes that slowly changes over the years depending on who is making it and the ingredients we have on hand. I don’t know what cookbook the recipe originated from, or if it even did. The story I remember is that the father of my brother’s friend made it one Thanksgiving and we asked him for the recipe, which he nicely supplied. Since then we have changed it up many times to result in the deliciousness it is today.

Cornbread after baking, complete with cracksNote: For a fun decorative touch I added a blue cornbread swirl to the top. This is not traditional how it was made but I wanted to amp it up and bit for Thanksgiving and I think it turned out awesome! You do not have to do this. If you don’t use the blue cornmeal add ¼ cup yellow cornmeal more than the amount (total of 1 cup)

Simple Sweet Cornbread

Makes one 8×8 baking pan or about a dozen muffins

¾ cup (120 g) yellow cornmeal
1 ½ cups (160 g) whole wheat pastry flour*
2/3 cups (130g) sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons melted butter
1/3 cup oil
1 tablespoon honey
2 eggs, beaten***
1 ¼ cup milk**

¼ cup blue cornmeal
2 tablespoons milk

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease an 8×8 inch square baking pan.
  2. Combine yellow cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl.Combining dry ingredients - cornmeal, flour, sugar, salt, and baking powder - and warming up the eggs
  3. In a medium bowl melt butter (I put it in the microwave for 30 seconds) then add honey, oil, and milk. Set aside. In a small bowl beat eggs.
  4. If you are doing the decorative topping, add blue cornmeal to a small bowl. Take two tablespoons of the wet mixture and add to bowl. Add additional milk as needed to make the mixture slightly liquid.
  5. Add wet mixture to dry yellow cornmeal mixture and stir slightly. Add eggs and stir until the batter is just blended. You do not need to remove all the lumps.
  6. Pour batter into prepared baking pan. If you are doing decorative topping, spoon blue cornmeal mixture over the top of the batter. It does not need to be even or pretty, you just need it to be in all parts of the batter (see first image below). Take some pointed object (I used a chopstick) and place the tip just in the batter. Run it back and forth across the batter until it has a fun pattern you like. I went back and forth once then rotated the pan and repeated for the design I have here.Blue cornmeal placed randomly on top of batter  Running a chopstick through the batter creates the pattern on top
  7. Place baking pan in oven and cook 35 to 40 minutes or until inserted toothpick comes out clean.
  8. Allow to cool 10 minutes before cutting.

Notes:

* If you don’t have whole wheat pastry flour you can use white flour, or half white and half whole wheat flour.

** I use whole milk for this recipe but you don’t have to. Also I recommend, for best results when adding the milk to the melted butter, that you use room temperature milk. If you take it out of the fridge right before using, microwave it a little bit so it isn’t so cold.

***I would also recommend that you let the eggs warm up to room temperature as well.

This recipe can also be baked as muffins! Below are two examples of muffins I baked with it. The muffin on the right is with a cast iron muffin pan and the one on the left is baked in silicon muffin/cupcake wrappers in a traditional muffin pan. They both turned out well but I the cast iron pan puffed up a lot more and I thought was lighter and more delicious. Reduce the baking time by 5 minutes if making muffins.

Silicon Muffin Wrapper versus Cast Iron Muffin Pan Cornbread Muffins

They are great for if you are traveling for Thanksgiving!

Basket of Cornbread Muffins

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Late Summer Salad with Shiso Vinaigrette

Late Summer Salad with Shiso Vinaigrette

[Jump to Shiso Vinaigrette Recipe]
[Jump to Late Summer Salad Recipe]
I love any recipe that allows me to use small amounts of different ingredients that I wouldn’t be able to make a full dish on their own. Bonus points if I can wipe the dish up quickly. Salads fall in this category. They are a great way to combine all sorts of produce in one delicious dish.Late Summer Salad Ingredients - Peach, Mizuna, Beet, and Mozzarella

For this late summer salad I combined small amounts of late summer produce from here in Colorado: corn, peaches, and beets with mizuna – a Japanese mustard like green. I then covered it with a light shiso vinaigrette. I love the way the light vinaigrette combines with the sweetness of the toppings and the bitter of the greens.

Eating the Completed Salad

Shiso Vinaigrette

Makes a little under 4 ounces (8 tablespoons) a little bit more than needed for this recipe

5 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
1 teaspoon shiso simple syrup*
white pepper and salt to taste
half a shiso leaf cut in strips**

  1. Combine ingredients in a small bowl or 4 ounce mason jar. I prefer the mason jar because I can shake it as much as I like easily and then store it after if I prefer.
  2. Whisk or shake until fully combined.

Note:
* If you do not have shiso simple syrup, any simple syrup will do. It is best if the simple syrup matches the added herb, but it doesn’t have to. If you do not have simple syrup you can use ¾ teaspoon of sugar or honey. If you do this make sure to whisk or shake really hard to dissolve in the vinaigrette.

** If you want to make simple syrup for this but don’t have shiso, mint or lemon balm are great substitutes. They aren’t the same flavor but they work very well with this salad combination. I have directions on how I make shiso simple syrup here.

Late Summer Salad

Makes 2 full meal salads, 4 side salads

1 cold roasted beet, sliced*
1 peach, sliced
kernels removed from 1 corn ear
3 cups mizuna, chopped to bite sized pieces**
2 tablespoon toasted pepitas
2 ounces of mozzarella cheese
6 tablespoons shiso vinaigrette

  1. Heat up cast iron skillet or pan over high heat. Cut corn kernels off of ear. Pour corn in skillet and let sit for 3 minutes then stir. Remove from pan when corn is nice brown and roasted and let cool.
  2. While corn is roasting, clean and cut mizuna. Place mizuna in a mixing bowl. Add 2 tablespoons of the vinaigrette and toss. Place mizuna split amongst plates.Adding the Dressing to the Mizuna
  3. Slice peach and beets. Place in same tossing bowl as the mizuna. Add 2 tablespoons of vinaigrette and toss. Distribute peaches and beets evenly across all plates.Adding dressing to peaches
  4. Evenly distribute corn kernels, pepitas, and cheese across all plates.
  5. Add any additional vinaigrette to top of salad as desired. I like a more lightly dressed salad but my husband added a couple teaspoons to his.Completed salad with corn, pepitas, peaches, mizuna, mozzarella, and beets

Notes:
* I roast my beets all at once when I get them in the CSA then store them in a jar in the fridge to use later. To roast the beets I follow The Kitchn:

  1. Preheat the oven to 400° F
  2. Remove leaves and scraggly tip of beets, wrap beets in tin foil, place on baking sheet and bake for 45 to 60 minutes. You can place the beets in the oven before it reaches temperature and it is just fine.
  3. At 45 minutes I unwrap and check beets by sticking in a fork. Bake more if needed. When the fork goes in smoothly the beets are done.
  4. I then let the beets sit on the counter in the tin foil until they cool. I leave them in the tin foil because I find it makes the skin easier to remove.
  5. Remove skins and use or store.

** If you don’t have mizuna available you can use arugula, though it is more peppery than mizuna. Really any green can work.

I have made other variations of this before. If you follow me on instagram you probably saw me post this previously this summer. This version had no corn and the more traditionally dark beets.Modified version of the late summer salad

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