This blog is all about Food. Real Food. Food that Nourishes, Heart and Soul.

Real Ingredients, Organic and Locally sourced whenever and where ever possible, shared with love.

No packages, no ingredients that are impossible to pronounce.

Real, honest food, from my kitchen to yours. Enjoy!

Sunday, 22 November 2015

Grain Free Dried Cherry Walnut Espresso Bars

These bars (and numerous variations thereof) have been floating around my house for what seems like eons and I am so excited to finally share them with you! I baked numerous batches on the BBQ this summer (my oven heats up my house like crazy, even if the air is on, so I avoid it like the plague during the hottest times) and I knew the flavour was bang on. But the BBQ tends to bake on the hot side, even turned to low, and they were coming out dry. Worth the effort… but drier than I wanted them to be. Now that the cooler weather is here, and my oven is back to being a productive member of my household, I was able to bake these bars at a more appropriate temperature, and I can finally share the yumminess with you all!

Luckily the multiple test batches allowed me to play with the dried fruit/nut combo, and this is the one that we all like the best (although the cranberry/ pecan were a close runner up!) The espresso accents the chocolate, and compliments the bitter and sweet of the dried cherries and walnuts. I have used both our espresso machine and a French press to brew the espresso.   Strong coffee would be an OK substitute, but if you choose to leave it out altogether, be sure to add in another ½ cup liquid to the batter.

Grain Free Dried Cherry Walnut Espresso Bars

6 tbsp ground espresso beans
1 cup boiling water
1 cup almond flour
1/3 cup coconut flour
¼ cup arrowroot flour
½ cup cocoa powder
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla powder (or extract)
2/3 cup coconut sugar
2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
½ cup softened coconut oil
½ cup kefir (sub yogurt or sour cream if desired)

Add ins:
1 cup chopped walnuts (or pecans)
1 cup dried cherries (or cranberries)

Preheat oven to 375F

Line a 9X13 glass baking pan with parchment paper and set aside.

In a French press, place ground espresso beans and boiling water. Set aside.
Measure all other ingredients (EXCEPT for the espresso and the add ins) into a large mixing bowl. Mix well with an immersion blender, scraping down the sides as needed.

At this point, pour your espresso from your French press into a half cup measure. Discard the rest. (or enjoy it yourself if you are so inclined!)
Mix into the batter with the immersion blender until well combined.
Stir in your add ins and mix well with a spatula. 
Scrape evenly into the parchment lined pan, smooth the top and bake in preheated oven for 27-30 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out moist but clean. Try not to over bake.
Using the edges of the parchment, lift the cooked bars from the glass pan and set them  on a wire rack. Cool, cut and store as desired. (We wrap them and store in the freezer for quick grab and go snacks)

Chop walnuts carefully with  knife if they are large pieces

Sunday, 1 November 2015

Grain Free Pumpkin Spice Muffins

When I whipped up my Grain Free Pumpkin Cream Cheese Streusel Muffins a few weekends ago, I was left with one cup of pumpkin puree...such a dilemma! I had already accomplished a lot of baking, and was tempted to just put it in the freezer for another day. But, being in the baking mode I decided to forge ahead and make one more batch of muffins. I used the same batter ingredients from that pumpkin muffin because it had spectacular flavour(why reinvent the wheel, right??) and simply added some soaked raisins and pumpkin seeds to it. This created an entirely different muffin! (which is also dairy and nut free to boot) I was going to list it as a variation with the Cream Cheese Streusel Muffins but the end results were so completely unlike each other, I felt they each needed a post of their own to let their little spirits shine :)

These ones have a more earthy and hearty feel to them, and scream fall harvest with every morsel. They are not quite as photogenic as the cream cheese ones,  but what they lack in beauty, they make up for in taste.

A note on the soaked raisins...feel free to skip this step if you like. I am not a fan of chewy raisins, and this re-hydrates and infuses them with a lovely vanilla flavour that is more to my liking. Totally skipable, but for me a necessary step!

Go ahead, try both recipes...neither will disappoint! Submerse yourself in the flavours of autumn, and enjoy each and every bite!

Grain Free Pumpkin Spice Muffins

Muffin Batter:
½ cup coconut flour
1/3 cup arrowroot flour/starch
2 tbsp chickpea flour
½ cup coconut sugar
½ tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp cloves
1/8 tsp allspice
½ tsp freshly ground nutmeg
¾ tsp freshly grated ginger (use a kitchen rasp) or ½ tsp dried ginger
3 eggs
2 Tbsp coconut oil
1 cup pumpkin puree (not pumkin pie filling!)
1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar

1/2 cup raw pumpkin seeds
1/2 cup raisins (optional soaking method: place in heat proof glass bowl, cover with boiling water and a splash of vanilla. let stand for 10 minutes, drain and use as you would other raisins.

Preheat oven to 375F.  Line 12 cup muffin tins with papers or grease well and set aside.

Measure all muffin ingredients EXCEPT for the add ins, into a large mixing bowl and blend well with an immersion blender. Measure in the raisins (drained well if you are soaking)and the pumpkin seeds. Mix well with a wooden spoon or spatula.

Divide batter evenly between the 12 sections of the muffin tray. 

Bake in preheated oven for 20-23 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. 

Remove from tray and let cool on a wire rack. Store leftovers in fridge or freezer.