230. Paleo Sandwich Bread

Paleo Sandwich Bread [Grain Free; Coconut Flour] 3 ingredients, 2 min | Ann Ning Learning How

The end of BBQ season is in sight, or else I’d call these “Paleo Burger Buns.”  But it’s almost time to start thinking about packing school lunches, so I went with the less seasonal “sandwich bread” – because this really does make a lovely sandwich.  And a burger bun.  I’ve tried it both ways and I have to say that I haven’t enjoyed food this much (since I got sick) until I started eating grain and dairy free.    🙂

This recipe is basically the coconut flour Paleo English Muffin by Grain Free Groupie, but I got tired of looking at the link I posted, could only remember 3 of the ingredients, and I wanted a flatter, thinner bread.  We’re having burgers tonight, so I’m going to do this again in about 30 minutes.  The weather is absolutely gorgeous today so I’m sitting on the patio and we’ll likely dine al fresco tonight, too.  Tans outside?  Voluntarily?  Hog wild, people, hog wild.

Paleo Sandwich Bread [Grain Free]
based on GrainFreeGroupie’s Egg McMuffin

1 egg
1.5 Tbsp coconut flour
1.5 Tbsp water

Mix well.  Pour into a greased glass loaf pan, or a similar microwaveable dish with a suitable surface area for 2 “slices” of bread.  Microwave for around 2 minutes. Let it cool a bit, cut into 2 and make your sammy!

So Simple: Paleo English Muffins | Almond or Coconut, Single Serving, Microwave | Ann Ning Learning How

227. Thin Mint Brownie Pie [Vegan | Gluten Free]

Thin Mint Brownie Pie |Gluten Free & Vegan | Ann Ning Learning How

It’s time for more pie!  To clarify:  I am not vegan, just like I’m not Paleo.  I just like incorporating elements of being vegan/Paleo into how I eat.  Plus I’ve invested in a bag of flax seed here at Ai Ai’s and I want to use it up.  So I made a Thin Mint / Grasshopper  Brownie Pie for Ai Ai and Josh since this summer has been very peanut-butter heavy and I’m trying to be more equitable about this.  Also, it could not have been easier to make.  One of the benefits of cooking the way I must is that I prefer things with only a few ingredients and simple assembly.

Side note:  I’m not a supple leopard, either.  

175.  Becoming a Supple Leopard

175. Becoming a Supple Leopard

The chocolatey smell of the brownie base was intoxicating as it wafted tantalizingly from the oven.  Sadly, when I actually made the effort to hold on to a nearby counter and bend down to look in the oven my brownie pie was bubbling in a very disturbing way.  So I figured I’d bake the life/effervescence out of it, hence the long baking time.  But then my sister suggested that we take it out of the oven since we were dangerously close to the burning zone and it would set up anyway.  Happily, it totally did.  The top looked pock-marked but I was going to cover it all in mint cream anyway so it didn’t matter.

We set it in the freezer for a while after I let the brownie cool and I topped it with the mint cream and sprinkled it all with chocolate chips.  We should have let it set more but we couldn’t wait anymore!  And let me tell you, I could have eaten the WHOLE THING and I prefer peanut butter.  Because I baked it so long the edges of the brownie were that gooey-crispy-fudgey combination that I love.  That might have been the clincher.  I had high hopes that my children would like it, but I think they have been biased by some experimental vegan strawberry funfetti donuts (grain free) I made that were epically disappointing for them.  If I figure out how to make them better you’ll see them, but in the meantime I vowed to bake something my children will actually enjoy and rushed out to the store to buy a cake mix.

They were so polite, though, in telling me that my Thin Mint Brownie Pie was not their preference – it was so sweet.  I wanted to get up and make those cake mix donuts right then.  But they had already hatched a backup plan:


For the record, though, Ai Ai and Timmy loved the Thin Mint Brownie Pie, too.  And it’s only because I feel too guilty to be eating pie at 9am that I’m not rummaging in the fridge right now for the leftovers.

Thin Mint Brownie Pie [Grain Free and Vegan]
preheat your oven to 350 and grease a pie plate

The Brownie:
inspired by Our Fifth House’s Paleo Brownie Pie

  • 3 flax eggs – room temperature.  I just put 3 Tbsp of flax seed in a bowl, added 9 Tbsp of water, mixed it up and let it sit and thicken for about 15-20 minutes.
  • 1 c cocoa
  • 3/4 c maple syrup
  • 3 Tbsp coconut oil
  • generous splash of vanilla
  • small splash of peppermint extract

Combine everything, mix well, pour into your pie plate and bake at 350 for 40 minutes.  Then turn the oven down to 300 and bake for another 15 minutes for a total baking time of 55 minutes.  Don’t be scared of the bubbles (see above).

The Mint Cream:

  • 1 cup raw cashews, soaked (my new method is to cover them with just boiled water for an hour or just microwave them in water for 1-1.5 minutes) – drained and rinsed
  • 1/2 c non dairy milk
  • 1 romaine leaf (this is to impart a delicate green hue to the cream – I would have used spinach but we didn’t have any; you can’t taste it, promise)
  • splash of vanilla
  • splash of peppermint extract
  • maple syrup (add to taste at the end).
  • chocolate chips for sprinkling

Blend everything except the maple syrup and chocolate chips.  Add maple syrup to taste at the end.  Chill the cream in the fridge while your brownie cools.  Pour the mint cream over the brownie base and sprinkle with chocolate chips (I used mini dairy-free ones – so cute!).  Let the pie set up in the freezer, then store in fridge before serving.

210. So Simple: Paleo English Muffins [Grain/Dairy Free], Almond or Coconut Flour

So Simple: Paleo English Muffins | Almond or Coconut, Single Serving, Microwave | Ann Ning Learning How

I love English Muffins…or any kind of muffin, really.  But at present I’m most interested in grain-free breakfast items that are not borderline desserts.  Ask me tomorrow, though, and I might very well be back on the giant muffin train – but for now I’ll point you in the direction of 2 options:  (1) Almond flour (recipe by Fitcupcaker)  and (2) Coconut flour (recipe from Grain Free Groupie).  The choice is up to you!

Paleo English Muffin (Almond Flour, Single Serving, Microwave) | Ann Ning Learning How

I used TJ’s just almond meal (I don’t think it’s the blanched variety many people recommend) – that’s why it’s speckled.  But I like the speckles 🙂

So Simple:  Paleo English Muffin (Coconut Flour, Single Serving, Microwave) | Ann Ning Learning How

I smeared my muffin with chocolate-hazelnut spread (“nutella”) I made in the Vitamix.  Yummy for my tummy!  The drink is an iced latte with no-strain hazelnut milk.  I love how the coffee just sits on top of the ice and the bottom layer is still milky white.  My colleague, C, had a coffee-drink calendar at her desk (2011) and I used to study the different drink pictures every month.  I was never able to achieve this striated effect except now, accidentally.
Both options are single-serving microwave recipes, so if you are anti-microwave, sorry – this ain’t for you.  But if you are not opposed to microwave usage these are great grain-free breakfast options that come together fast.

Another microwave, grain/dairy free option:

And if you didn’t click on the milk link…

186. So Simple: Coconut Chocolate Chip Bars [from delighted momma]

So Simple:  Coconut CC Bars || via Delighted Momma || Ann Ning Learning How

I was craving cookies on Saturday so I mixed these up really quickly and put them in the toaster oven and voila!  They were done before lunchtime.  Yes, I wanted cookies right after eating breakfast.  Being me, I chose to press the dough into a pan to make bars, although Delighted Momma’s original recipe is for cookies.  Very good looking cookies, I might add.  Scooping cookies out is doable for me, but fitting an appropriate baking tray into the toaster oven isn’t, so I opted for bars.  I also only had 1/4 cup of unsweetened shredded coconut on hand instead of the full 1/2 and the taste was still fabulous.  I only added a squirt of agave instead of the 3 TB of raw honey and the taste was plenty sweet for me.  Side note:   The chocolate chip and coconut combination is like a Mounds bar – score!

I’m still trying to use up the little bag of coconut flour that Mommy bought, and these were so good that I might have to start buying coconut flour in earnest.  The good part is that most recipes only use a little bit of it, so a little goes a long way because it’s really absorbent.  How do I know?  Elana says so.  These cookies/bars call for a full cup, but I might decrease it next time, especially if I add the full amount of coconut.  I already added some splashes of almond milk to help me mix this time, and I think the batter’s texture might benefit from some more moisture, but we’ll see.  As it was, I was very happy with the results.  So happy, in fact, that it was a good thing that RSKL came to visit, because I gave the majority of the bars to her (my GF friend), otherwise they would have all ended up in my tummy!

If you prefer no-holds barred baking:

34.  (Tough) Cookie Monster

34. (Tough) Cookie Monster

Did you catch my update on my ENT appointment yesterday?

Ed had a great time at the ENT's office...

Ed had a great time at the ENT’s office…

174. “Paleo” Porridge

"#Paleo" #Porridge || Ann Ning Learning How

What Country are you From || Ann Ning Learning HowI am a little scared of using the word “paleo” so I put it in quotes.  By doing this I am conveying my fond hope that people reading this will not argue with me over the merits of almond/coconut flour and/or eating paleo in general.  To clarify, I am NOT paleo.  I didn’t even know what “eating paleo” means until recently.

We got a random free magazine in the mail called Outside.  Living in Oregon made me enjoy being outside – mosquitoes were a non-issue and the summertime humidity attendant to living on the swamp of Washington, D.C. does not exist there.  The first time I flew home after I moved, I got out of the plane at Dulles and the wall of humidity hit me.  I was like, What is this feeling?!  I hadn’t been gone that long but I had already forgotten the sticky air of the DC Metro area.   Oregon didn’t make me a hiker or trail runner, though.  I just sat on my patio all the time, and trotted about my neighborhood for exercise.

So I’d never subscribe to Outside, but there was an interesting article in it called “The Truth About Paleo” by Nick Heil (Outside, June 2013, pp.54-58).  I use readers now, instead of the magnifying glass, and I made the effort to wade through the text, pausing once to laugh when I realized how close I was holding the magazine to my face.  It was very informative – apparently Loren Cordain’s article, “Paleolithic Nutrition”  in a 1985 issue of the NEJournal of Medicine started this whole business by laying out “a compelling argument that the healthiest human diet looks a lot more like what our Stone Age ancestors ate that the sugar-and-fat laden food Americans mostly rely on…”  And in his 2002 book, The Paleo Diet, Cordain “urged readers to abandon grains, dairy, and excessive sugar and salt in favor of meat, fish, poultry, fruits, vegetables, and nuts…” – essentially a pre-agriculture diet.

It took a few years after the 2002 book for the paleo idea to gain traction, but it’s mainstream now.   The funniest line in Heil’s article states, “Research hasn’t caught up with some of its acolytes’ most ambitious assertions, but what the movement lacks in double-blind studies it makes up for with rabid testimonials.”  A “rabid” paleo.  Tee hee.

It’s true – I’ve heard/read how some people say that adopting the paleo lifestyle is the best thing ever.  EVER.  But now that I’ve cleared up the matter of what “paleo” actually means, let me just say again that I am not paleo.  Although I limit my intake, I do consume grains and dairy.  I’ve been informed that now is not the time to cut things out of my diet wholesale and I know intuitively that this probably isn’t the best time health-wise for me to make drastic changes.  I lived and ate healthily pre-AVM, but now I’m trying to eat healthier without making any overly drastic changes.

I know – you’re shocked because it seems like I’m always posting grain-free cookies or something.  Well, that’s because I’m trying not to eat too many cookies, but in the event that I do eat a cookie (since I am a Cookie Monster) I’d prefer it not to contain flour.  Many of my experiments are nut or nut-butter based, and I do consider them “treats.”  Moderation is good in all things, especially for me since my mobility is not what it used to be.  Side note:  No matter how “healthy” your diet, a sedentary lifestyle is not optimal.  Get up and move!

So after this very long introduction, I’ll give you the recipe for “paleo” porridge.  This is a nice alternative to oatmeal.  The texture is like cream of wheat.  I really enjoy hot cereal – e.g. quinoa porridge.  And although I’ve resisted buying any alternative flours, Mommy picked up a couple of bags:  almond flour from the Indian grocery store (I think she was going to make macaroons, but we might be over it since we found a lovely macaroon assortment at Trader Joe’s), and coconut flour from the cooking section at Home Goods or something.  Thanks, Mom!  What I like about this is that you get to choose your flour (almond or coconut) and the fruit base.  It takes a minute to microwave, so if you have almond or coconut on hand, this is as easy as instant oatmeal – and the fruit is the natural sweetener.

“Paleo” Porridge

 serves 1 – this is a small “me” portion so feel free to add whatever you like to make it bigger

2 Tb coconut or almond flour

2 Tb unsweetened applesauce or a ~3in chunk of banana

milk or choice (for mixing) – as always, I used TJ’s unsweetened vanilla almond

 Use a large bowl or 2c measuring cup bc you don’t want your porridge to overflow as it heats.  If using banana, melt the banana in the microwave for 30 seconds (to facilitate mixing).  Mix the coconut or almond flour into the melted banana or applesauce.  Add enough milk so you achieve your desired hot cereal consistency.  I like to make mine a thick paste, microwave it, and then add more milk to cool it down and make it just right for me.  It also makes me think I’m adding bulk if I put more milk in later.  Microwave for 1 minute (or less) – your preference.  Let it cool a bit bc it’s hot!  Add your mix ins (e.g. desiccated coconut, cinnamon, PB2, raisins, nuts) and dig in.

P.S.  I’m on the mend but still a little bleary-eyed, so this week will be very recipe-heavy!

P.P.S.  I’ve started to get more search engine referrals for recipes.  I get referrals on all sorts of topics – the more subjects I write about, the more opportunities there are for me to get indexed and referred to.  I think it’s the funniest thing ever to look at my SEReferrals – I’ve even gotten a couple in other languages! Have you noticed the What Country Are you From page?  This might be the usual deal in cyberspace, but I am ridiculously pleased to keep on seeing new countries pop up on my Stats screen.  I’ve been keeping track over the past couple of months and just updated for May.  I might be so happy bc I can’t fly for long periods presently so this is the only way I’ll ever see many of the countries listed.  But I’d be happier if my readership would grow consistently in the countries I’m in.  They’ll show up on the list even if there’s only one view in the history of time.  I’m thankful for that one view, but would love to see more – so please keep sharing! (Easy sharing buttons are on the bottom of each post.)

Oh yeah -I’ve noticed the “usual deal in cyberspace” is for people to share every post on FB.  I originally wanted to keep my media channels wholly separate, but I’ve started posting my blog regularly on FB and will continue to do so since people might not come here but they might see something of interest they’ll click on in their Facebook feed.

P.P.P.S.  I updated my prayer requests – thank you!