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How much do you know about apple cider vinegar and its benefits?  What are your thoughts on it?  Well, let me share you some personal thoughts and experiences, as well as some different ways of using this liquid that you may not have thought of before.

I watched my dad for years have apple cider vinegar every day, and remember driving to a local farm to pick up some on a regular basis for him.  He was told to drink it to reduce the number of leg cramps he was getting.  When I tried drinking it as a kid, I think I just had it by the spoonful and it felt like it burned my throat.  Later I found out that he drank it with some fruit juice as well …

Apple cider vinegar morning drink

Fast forward a number of years to now and as most of you who’ve been following my culinary journey for a while realize, I have a special snowflake stomach with many, many, many digestive problems.   And over the past year or so I’ve come to find some (note, some) relief when I have some sort of apple cider vinegar in my daily food and drinks.  Many people recommend taking apple cider vinegar on an empty stomach, so I developed a morning drink that I try to have every day before breakfast.  But I wanted to share with you some other ways that I’ve incorporated apple cider vinegar in some, maybe surprising, ways through my daily cooking and baking adventures.

 

 

Sauces

Ketchup

Ketchup (Whole30)

BBQ sauce

BBQ sauce (Paleo, vegan)

 

Let’s start of with some more obvious uses, shall we?  How many of you have looked at the back of a ketchup (or tomato sauce for my Aussie readers) and cringed at all the ingredients, especially the high fructose corn syrup?  And how many of you have actually checked out how easy it is to make ketchup, with no sugar?  If you haven’t yet, you should check it out and see that making ketchup at home only needs simple ingredients, one being apple cider vinegar.  And, while this doesn’t taste like the commercial ketchup, it’s very handy to have this in the fridge!

In a similar vein, what about BBQ sauce?  Oh, you can imagine the tangy BBQ flavor on so many foods right now, can’t you?  But again, have you looked at the ingredients in some of those commercial BBQ sauces?  Check out this recipe for homemade BBQ sauce, using apple cider vinegar to give it a good zing in taste! 

Marinades 

Honey tamari marinade

Peanut satay sauce (vegan)

Ok that’s enough about sauces.  Let’s look at some marinades that use apple cider vinegar, shall we?

Let me introduce you to my all time favorite marinade.  This honey tamari marinade is my go-to for marinated chicken.  Just ask my family.  Any time they see marinated chicken on the whiteboard for our weekly meal plan, they’re pretty sure I’m going to be pulling out this recipe.  And you know the funny thing is – I often make it Whole30 compliant, so without either honey or tamari … but I still call it a honey tamari marinade and no one is the wiser!

Now this next marinade is so versatile, it can be used as a dip, a marinade, or even a sauce for a curry.  And it involves my favorite food group – peanut butter (yes, I did just say that peanut butter was a food group!).  A lot of Thai sauces need to have that combination of sweet, savory, sour, salty and bitter – and this is where the apple cider vinegar comes in for this peanut satay sauce.  Definitely on the sour and bitter side, but perfectly balanced by the peanut butter and other ingredients in there.

Salads

Spicy Thai cucumber salad (vegan)

Broccoli and bacon salad (Whole30)

Following on the Thai theme, check out this spicy Thai cucumber salad.  So many fresh veggies in the actual salad, but it’s the vinaigrette where the zing comes in from the apple cider vinegar.  And of course, you can’t have the salad without nuts for added crunch!

Then there’s one of my all time favorite salads – this bacon and broccoli salad.  Two foods that I thought I’d never use in the same phrase as ‘favorite’, let alone in a salad!  And the addition of apple cider vinegar on this salad is so simple.  Just drizzle it over the veggies before adding the mayonnaise and eat to your heart’s content!

Entrees / main meals

Stroganoff baked potatoes (Whole30)

Avocado chicken zoodles (Whole30)

As a side note, why do Americans call their main course an ‘entree’ while in Australia, an entree is what you have before a main meal?

But I digress.  Two yummy savory dishes/ main meals / entrees that use apple cider vinegar.  And both are some of my favorite meals.  The stroganoff baked potatoes are always a hit in my family – to the extent that once I make it, I get asked to make it again.  Soon.  And the avocado chicken zoodles – well that’s a personal favorite because no one else in my family is as enamored with avocado as I am.  But in each case, the apple cider vinegar helps to give the sauce an extra zing to the taste!

Breads

English muffins (Paleo)

Pumpkin bread stuffing (Paleo)

Paleo bread

Flourless bread (Paleo)

Banana blueberry bread (vegan, no refined sugar)

And now we come to where apple cider vinegar can be used in baked goods.  My favorite way of using it!  I’m not going to go into too much detail about these, sufficient to say that using apple cider vinegar with a combination of baking soda produces bubbles, for lighter, yummier baked stuff.  So check out these recipes for English muffins, Paleo bread with no flour at all, pumpkin bread stuffing and the sweeter bread with bananas and blueberries!

Cakes and cookies

 

Carrot pineapple cake (Paleo, no added sugar)

Pumpkin choc chip cookies (no refined sugar)

Carrot cake cookies (Paleo, no added sugar)

Need I say more?  When you can make such yummy things as these?  You don’t need a huge amount of apple cider vinegar in any of these recipes, but adding it definitely gives the texture extra lift and lightness – and these cakes and cookies are also made without any refined sugar, so you can feel even better about eating them!  Check out the recipes for the carrot pineapple cake, pumpkin chocolate chip cookies and carrot cake cookies.

My basic rule of thumb when using apple cider vinegar in baking is wherever the recipe calls for any vinegar – white or otherwise – you can easily substitute 1:1 with apple cider vinegar.  It hasn’t let me down yet!

How do you use apple cider vinegar?

There we go, my friends!  I’ve shared the many and varied ways that I go through apple cider vinegar on a regular basis.  I’d love to know whether you use it and how?  And whether any of these ideas have appealed to you!  Let me know in the comments below!

Until next time, enjoy cooking at home … with apple cider vinegar!

Sarah

Giving you ideas to include the benefits of apple cider vinegar in more than just a drink. #applecidervinegar

Indian chicken

This Indian chicken curry has all the great flavors of butter chicken, but completely gluten and dairy free, even Whole30 compliant!

This Indian chicken curry has all the great flavors of butter chicken, but completely gluten and dairy free! #indiancuisine #cookathome #glutenfree #dairyfree #paleo

Now my family, Henry in particular, is a big fan of butter chicken.  So much flavor with all the Indian spices, it’s what he always looks for when we go out to an Indian restaurant.  Even when we go to an Indian buffet, if there isn’t any butter chicken, Henry’s just not interested.

So when he asked me to make butter chicken at home for one of our meals, I had to go searching for an option that didn’t include any butter … and one that would taste good.  I happened upon this recipe from One Lovely Life and thought I’d give it a go.  The first time I made this, I followed the recipe and used a slow cooker, but then thought I’d play around with it a little bit.  And feedback from the kids was that it tasted really yummy, but it’s not butter chicken.

So I’m calling this recipe Indian chicken – so you can get the Indian flavors, but without the expectation of the specific butter chicken texture.  Now I love to chock this full of veggies.  And serve it over veggies – like my cauliflower rice.  But you can serve it with normal rice, other veggies, or even Naan bread (or another type of flatbread) if you desire.  And leftovers are amazing – the flavor just intensifies even more!

Give this Indian chicken curry a go – and let me know what you think in the comments!

Indian chicken

(Paleo, Whole30, gluten-free, dairy-free)

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 6

Ingredients

  • 1 lb chicken breast diced
  • 1 medium onion diced
  • 4 cloves garlic finely minced
  • 1 tsp fresh ginger finely minced
  • 1 tsp coriander
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp cardamom
  • 1 14 oz can full fat coconut milk
  • 1 6 oz can tomato paste
  • juice of 1 lime
  • 1 cup spinach coarsely chopped
  • cilantro leaves for garnish

Instructions

  1. Heat oil of choice in  a medium frying pan and brown the chicken pieces, possibly in two batches depending on the size of your frying pan.  Remove the chicken from pan and allow to rest on paper towel.

  2. In a medium frying pan, saute the onion in the oil until translucent and soft.  Add the garlic, ginger and spices.  Cook for 1 minute longer until the spices become fragrant.

  3. Add the coconut milk and tomato paste and stir until well combined.

  4. Add the chicken back to the frying pan and simmer until desired thickness is achieved.  Add in the spinach and squeeze the lime juice in just prior to serving.

  5. Garnish with cilantro leaves and serve with vegetables, or cauliflower rice

Recipe Notes

Adapted from https://www.onelovelylife.com/slow-cooker-butter-chicken/ 

This Indian chicken curry has all the great flavors of butter chicken, but completely gluten and dairy free! #indiancuisine #cookathome #glutenfree #dairyfree #paleo

This Indian chicken curry has all the great flavors of butter chicken, but completely gluten and dairy free! #indiancuisine #cookathome #glutenfree #dairyfree #paleo

Baked bagels

Bagels, baked in the oven, low-carb and dairy-free.  Totally awesome for any toppings you desire!

Bagels, baked in the oven, low-carb and dairy-free.  Totally awesome for any toppings you desire! #bagels #cookathome #paleo #glutenfree #dairyfree #keto

I’m gradually going through all the typical bread-y type things and converting them into things that my special snowflake stomach can deal with, such as bread, pizza crust and English muffins.  Well, now my friends, let me introduce you to some bagels.  Baked in the oven, rather than fried.  And with no added sugar at all, these low carb bagels are perfect for most special diets, including the ketogenic diet that I experimented with making cookies for recently!

The recipe for these bagels originally came from another site at My PCOS kitchen and it seemed like these were one of the only keto bagel recipes that didn’t include some sort of dairy ingredients, so I leaped at the opportunity to give them a go.  Following the recipe (mostly) came up with some really nice savory bagels, due to some onion and garlic powder I added in there.  And then I wanted to experiment a little more.  So I took out all the savory bits and just left them as is.  And also tried some with adding some cinnamon and raisins in there – also without any additional sugar – but I liked them too!

So this recipe is pretty forgiving in terms of ingredients.  Now, in terms of shaping – well, you can try to shape them by hand (which I did on the first go around), or you can use a donut-shaped pan (like I did for the photo).  The donut pan gives more, smaller bagels, while the free-form ones are as big as you want them to be.  Just a tip for the unwary – if you want to cut them in half, make sure you shape them taller, rather than wider.

But please feel free to give these baked bagels a go – I love them and hope you do too!

Baked bagels

(Paleo, keto, gluten-free, dairy-free, no added sugar)

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Servings 8

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cup blanched almond flour 205g
  • 1/4 cup coconut flour 30g
  • 2 tbsp psyllium husk powder
  • 1.5 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 3 egg whites
  • 2 eggs
  • 4 tbsp refined coconut oil
  • 3 tbsp unsweetened almond milk
  • 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 375F and prepare donut pan with cooking spray or baking sheet with parchment paper.

  2. Combine the wet ingredients in a small bowl with a whisk and set aside for a few moments.

  3. Combine the dry ingredients in a medium bowl with a whisk.

  4. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix until combined.  Add 5 tbs of boiling water to the thick batter and continue mixing until completely combined.

  5. Divide mixture into 8 equal balls and either roll out by hand into logs, joining the ends to make a circle, or fill into donut pan.

  6. Place the trays into the oven and bake for 23 minutes or until golden brown.  Allow to cool slightly prior to removing from pan.

  7. Bagels keep well in the fridge, or freezer for up to 7 days.

Recipe Notes

Adapted from https://www.mypcoskitchen.com/dairy-free-keto-bagels-2/

Bagels, baked in the oven, low-carb and dairy-free.  Totally awesome for any toppings you desire! #bagels #cookathome #paleo #glutenfree #dairyfree #keto

Bagels, baked in the oven, low-carb and dairy-free.  Totally awesome for any toppings you desire! #bagels #cookathome #paleo #glutenfree #dairyfree #keto

Strawberries and cream granola

Who doesn’t love strawberries and cream?  Check out this strawberries and cream granola and feel like you’re having dessert for breakfast!

Who doesn't love strawberries and cream?  Check out this strawberries and cream granola and feel like you're having dessert for breakfast! #granola #strawberriesandcream #cookathome #glutenfree #dairyfree

It’s been ages since I’ve created a new granola recipe, hasn’t it?  But do not fear, Grant and I have been enjoying many different types and varieties of granola, mainly because I just use up whatever ingredients I happen to have in the pantry at the time that we run out!

But this strawberries and cream granola recipe is something that I’m actually quite proud of.  Something that tastes like the classic dessert combination but healthy enough to have for breakfast. And how do I keep it ok for my special snowflake stomach?  Well, the cream is actually coconut butter.  I was originally against coconut butter – because when I ate it straight out of the jar, it stuck to the roof of my mouth and really didn’t have a good flavor.  But since then, I’ve used it in many recipes – like frosting on these pumpkin brownie bites, or as part of my matcha turmeric chocolate cups.  And then my brain thought – why don’t I try using it in granola.

Now, if you’ve been following along for a while, you’ll remember that I’m eating more of a grain-free diet these days, but I felt like having granola with oats this time around.  And I made it so that the granola was nice and crunchy, so Grant was happy!  You can either make your own strawberry jam, or buy some from the grocery store – my only recommendation is that you go for one that does not have high fructose corn syrup in it.

So what do you think?  Would you enjoy eating this for breakfast?  Let me know in the comments below!

Strawberries and cream granola

(Gluten-free, dairy-free, vegan, no refined sugar)

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Servings 12

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup coconut butter melted, 125 g
  • 1/2 cup strawberry jam 125 g
  • 1/2 cup cashews chopped, 60 g
  • 1/2 cup cranberries 60 g
  • 1 cup gluten-free oats 100 g

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 375F and line a baking tray with parchment paper.

  2. Combine all ingredients in a medium mixing bowl.

  3. Spread in an even thin layer on the parchment paper and bake for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

  4. Allow to cool before storing in a sealed container for up to 5 days at room temperature.

Who doesn't love strawberries and cream?  Check out this strawberries and cream granola and feel like you're having dessert for breakfast! #granola #strawberriesandcream #cookathome #glutenfree #dairyfree

Who doesn't love strawberries and cream?  Check out this strawberries and cream granola and feel like you're having dessert for breakfast! #granola #strawberriesandcream #cookathome #glutenfree #dairyfree

Tahini swirl tea cake

A nutty, seedy taste for this tahini swirl tea cake – the perfect accompaniment to any cuppa, hot or cold!

A nutty, seedy taste for this tahini swirl tea cake - the perfect accompaniment to any cuppa, hot or cold! #tahini #teacake #paleo #cookathome #glutenfree #dairyfree

Since I found out what tahini is (sesame seed butter) a few years ago, I have been incorporating it into so many things – like these cookies, this slice and these energy balls – as well as slathering it on my omelettatas with salsa and with the classic chicken shawarma for that added flavor!  So when I found this recipe for a swirled sesame tea cake in a magazine I was flicking through one day, I knew I had to try it, and adapt to all my dietary requirements.

And hence this recipe for a tahini swirl tea cake was born.  The original recipe actually used black sesame seeds ground up into a paste for the contrasting swirl, but I couldn’t go past the idea of having chocolate instead.  Now, it’s a little bit more complicated a recipe than what I usually post, but it’s worth it.  Trust me.  Grant mentioned that it may need some additional crunch in the bread, but I was going for a (mostly) nut-free option as well.  I haven’t tried this with any other gluten-free flour blend combinations, so let me know if you do.  Of course, if you don’t need the gluten and dairy-free options, feel free to use general all-purpose flour and whole-milk yogurt in the same proportions as I’ve got the gluten and dairy-free ingredients.

I particularly liked this by itself, but also tried it crumbled up in a yogurt bowl with some blueberries and some additional tahini on top.  Gee, that was a good combination.  Just excuse me while I go and make this again …!

Tahini swirl tea cake

(Paleo, gluten-free, dairy-free, no refined sugar)

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Servings 12

Ingredients

  • 1 cup almond flour
  • 1/4 cup coconut flour
  • 2 tbs tapioca flour
  • 1 3/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp ground cardamom
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 cup plain coconut yogurt
  • 1/2 cup tahini
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 cup avocado oil
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 2 tbs sesame seeds plus more for sprinkling
  • 1 cup coconut sugar plus more for sprinkling

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350F.  Prepare a 8x5" loaf pan with parchment paper and lightly coat with nonstick spray.  Sprinkle sides and bottom of pan with some sesame seeds and coconut sugar and shake around to coat.

  2. Whisk flours, baking powder, cardamom and baking soda in a medium bowl to combine.

  3. In a separate bowl, whisk yogurt and tahini until smooth.

  4. Using an electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat eggs, vanilla and 1 cup coconut sugar in a large bowl until eggs are pale and thick.  

  5. Reduce speed to medium and gradually stream in the avocado oil.

  6. Reduce speed further to low and add dry ingredients in 3 additions, alternating with yogurt mixture in 2 additions.  Beat after each addition until fully incorporated.

  7. Scrape half the batter into a bowl and set aside.  Add the 2tbs sesame seeds and cocoa powder to the other half and mix until well combined.  

  8. Alternating between batters, spoon large dollops into the prepared pan, then drag the tip of a knife through the batter to swirl.  Sprinkle with more sesame seeds and a little more coconut sugar.

  9. Bake for 30-40 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean.  Transfer to a wire rack and let cool in pan for about 10 minutes.  Then remove from the pan and place onto the rack to cool completely.

A nutty, seedy taste for this tahini swirl tea cake - the perfect accompaniment to any cuppa, hot or cold! #tahini #teacake #paleo #cookathome #glutenfree #dairyfree

Sunbutter chocolate chip cookies

These sunbutter chocolate chip cookies are nut-free, and vegan, but you’d never know it from the awesome texture and flavor!

These sunbutter chocolate chip cookies are nut-free, and vegan, but you'd never know it from the awesome texture and flavor! #sunbutter #cookies #glutenfree #dairyfree #vegan #norefinedsugar #paleo

Who else loves procrasti-baking?  Or is it just me?  You know, when you have some time on your hands, and you don’t quite know what to do with yourself?  Now personally, I head into the kitchen and wonder what I can make with whatever ingredients I have lying around in the pantry and fridge.  Usually with some sort of nut butter and chocolate combination.  Who’s with me?

We recently changed churches and are in the process of getting to know a whole new group of people.  Fortunately for me, there are a significant number of ladies that have expressed their preference for gluten and dairy-free foods, so I’m in my element of serving them with my love language – baking treats for them!  And I started thinking about what I could make for them.

Combining my wanting to make cookies for my new group of friends, and having a few hours to myself in the kitchen, helped these sunbutter chocolate chip cookies to be born.  I’d like to provide a link for you to see what this recipe was adapted from, but to be honest, it was just using my experience to see what needed to be added in terms of taste (because you know I’m the Cookie Dough Monster!), and texture.

But, everyone who had a taste of these cookies fell in love with them.  It’s just a unique texture and flavor, but so suitable for so many people with special dietary issues.  I hope you love these sunbutter chocolate chip cookies as much as we did!

Sunbutter chocolate chip cookies

(Paleo, gluten-free, dairy-free, vegan, no refined sugar)

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 12 minutes
Total Time 22 minutes
Servings 14

Ingredients

  • 1 cup sunflower seed butter
  • 1/2 cup coconut sugar
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 2 tbs coconut flour
  • 1/4 cup tapioca flour
  • 3 oz dairy-free chocolate chunks

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350F and prepare two baking pans with parchment paper.

  2. Combine the sunflower seed butter with the coconut sugar and applesauce until well mixed.

  3. Add in the baking soda and two types of flours and mix well.

  4. Fold in the chocolate chunks until well dispersed.

  5. Drop tablespoonfuls of dough onto the prepared baking pans, allowing 1" gap between balls.

  6. Bake for 12 minutes or until slightly brown.  Allow to cool on the tray before moving to a wire rack.

  7. Store for up to 5 days in a sealed container.

These sunbutter chocolate chip cookies are nut-free, and vegan, but you'd never know it from the awesome texture and flavor! #sunbutter #cookies #glutenfree #dairyfree #vegan #norefinedsugar #paleo

These sunbutter chocolate chip cookies are nut-free, and vegan, but you'd never know it from the awesome texture and flavor! #sunbutter #cookies #glutenfree #dairyfree #vegan #norefinedsugar #paleo

Matcha chocolate turmeric cups

These matcha chocolate turmeric cups (MCT cups) are a play on MCT oil, but give you a boost of superfoods in every bite!

These matcha chocolate turmeric cups (MCT cups) are a play on MCT oil, but give you a boost of superfoods in every bite! #mctoil #cookathome #glutenfree #dairyfree

Who has heard of the latest trend of MCT oil?  MCT’s are medium-chain triglycerides that are claimed to have numerous health benefits, such as helping to raise the metabolic function, making you feel more full, having more energy, thinking more clearly etc.  Coconut oil is a great source for these MCT’s but recently there has been an increase in use of concentrated MCT oil, especially in the ketogenic diet.  While I’m not on the ketogenic diet, I have experienced some assistance in my hormone levels and digestive functions when I include some of these oils in my diet.  Often I will have a teaspoon of MCT oil when I am having digestive issues (not to go into too much information) and find relief quite quickly afterwards.  A word of warning – don’t have too much MCT oil to begin with, or your stomach will hate you!

Anyway, lets get back to these yummy matcha chocolate turmeric cups.  Did you see what I did there with the name of the recipe (matcha chocolate turmeric = MCT)?  So I’ve called these MCT cups, but you can use either coconut oil or MCT oil in them – it’s your choice!

Now you’ve already discovered my fondness of matcha in this chocolate matcha slice, and in this matcha latte, so you shouldn’t be surprised that I continued to combine matcha with more baked goods … And you should also remember my love of Pranayums so really, this recipe shouldn’t surprise anyone.  Now, if you don’t have a stash of Pranayums on hand, just use turmeric, but I love the additional spices that the Pranayums shots give you as well!  I also have made this with some stock-standard honey, maple syrup and raw honey, and I gotta say that I much prefer the raw honey option, but all of these are great.

These cups went through a few different versions, with even my yoga instructor asked to taste test.  By the way, she was the one who suggested coconut in the turmeric layer and I totally loved it!

So really, these matcha chocolate turmeric cups are a superfood in a bite size.  So you should try them.  And let me know what you think!

Matcha chocolate turmeric cups

(Paleo, gluten-free, dairy-free,, vegan, no refined sugar)

Prep Time 10 minutes
Chilling time 30 minutes
Servings 6

Ingredients

For the chocolate layer

  • 3/4 cup raw cacao butter
  • 3 tbs cocoa powder or cacao powder
  • 2 tbs honey or maple syrup

For the turmeric layer

  • 4 tbs coconut butter
  • 1 tbs coconut oil or MCT oil
  • 1/4 tsp ground turmeric or 1 Pranayums spice shot
  • 3 tbs honey or maple syrup
  • 2 tbs unsweetened almond milk
  • 1 tbs shredded coconut

For the matcha layer

  • 1/4 cup coconut butter
  • 3 tbs honey or maple syrup
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tbs matcha powder

Instructions

For the chocolate layer

  1. Prepare a muffin tin with muffin liners - either silicone or paper.  If using paper liners, spray with a non-stick spray.

  2. Melt the cacao butter, either on the stove top or in the microwave, until liquid.

  3. Add the cocoa powder and the 2 tbs honey and stir until smooth.

  4. Pour chocolate mixture into the prepared muffin liners, approximately 2 tbs in each.  Chill in the freezer while making the next step.

For the turmeric layer

  1. Warm the coconut butter and coconut oil, either on the stove top or in the microwave, until smooth and creamy.

  2. Mix in the turmeric/Pranayums and honey until smooth.  Add in the coconut and combine well.

  3. Remove chocolate from the freezer and top each with approximately 2 tbs of the turmeric mixture until evenly distributed.  Chill in the freezer while making the next step.

For the matcha layer

  1. Warm the coconut butter to enable stirring.

  2. Add in the honey, vanilla and matcha and stir to combine well.

  3. Remove the chocolate/turmeric cups from the freezer and top each with approximately 2 tbs of the matcha layer.  Chill in the freezer for at least 30 minutes to set.

These matcha chocolate turmeric cups (MCT cups) are a play on MCT oil, but give you a boost of superfoods in every bite! #mctoil #cookathome #glutenfree #dairyfree

The 0 calorie sweeteners cookie test

Read about my experiments with 0 calorie sweeteners and cookies – and what I thought of the end results!

The contenders for the 0 calorie sweetener test

By now, you probably have heard of the ketogenic diet.  Where you focus on high fat, low carb foods to encourage your body to burn fat for energy, rather than carbohydrates.  Many people have found great benefits on this diet, with claims of curing cancer, improving cognitive abilities in people with autism, and lots of claims for weight loss.  You can read more about the keto diet here if you’re interested.

Now I’ve always been a little skeptical of this diet – I struggle with the concept of cutting out fruit due to the high carb content.  Now, I know that you can manage to have fruit on the keto diet, if you’re careful about when and at what time you have it, but I haven’t ever really wanted to look at this as a viable way of eating for me.  Until this year.  When I have gained a significant amount of weight due to weird hormone issues that I won’t go into!  But when both my doctor and a nutritionist friend recommend increasing the amount of fat that I eat, and lowering the amount of carbs, I started to listen.  Also, a few people at church have recently started the keto diet and I wanted to bake something for them.

So I started investigating natural 0 calorie sweeteners – and two of them were highlighted in almost every place I looked.  Stevia and erythritol came up trumps every time as a natural 0 calorie, low carb sweetener for keto baked goods.  And I went to my local grocery store and bought one of each – thinking that I would make the same recipe with each of them and see which one I liked the best.

Using my flourless peanut butter cookie recipe as a basis (i.e. 1 cup peanut butter, 1 egg, 1 cup sugar, 1 tsp baking soda), I set out to see which 0 calorie sweetener would taste the best.  Mind you, I used almond butter instead of peanut butter, because that’s what I had in the pantry at that time!  And I did look at the equivalent amounts of each of them to mimic the appropriate amount of ‘normal sugar’.

And here’s the results:

The contenders for the 0 calorie sweetener test

The Stevia cookies looked like cookies.  Pretty similar to what I’ve seen many times over in my kitchen.  The Swerve (erythritol) ones spread out a lot more and were quite crumbly.  But it all came down to the taste.

  • The Swerve cookies tasted ok.  Not great, but ok.
  • The Stevia cookies had this serious metallic taste.  I couldn’t even eat one bite of them.  And Grant was the same – he actually spat it out into the trash when he tried them.  And he’s tried some interesting combinations of mine previously, so that’s saying something!

And then I had some really bad stomach cramps that night as well.

So let me just say that I may experiment a little more with 0 calorie sweeteners to try to help out the ladies at church, but I’ll take it a little easy … for my stomach and taste buds to recover!

Have you had any experience with 0 calorie sweeteners?  Let me know which ones you’ve tried and liked in the comments below!

Until next time, enjoy cooking at home (with or without 0 calorie sweeteners!)

Sarah

Honey glaze marinade

This honey glaze marinade is so simple and so versatile on any meats – sure to be the star of any BBQ!

This honey glaze marinade is so simple and so versatile on any meats - sure to be the star of any BBQ! #honey #marinade #cookathome #glutenfree #dairyfree #paleo

I love this honey glaze marinade.  I’ve used it on pork.  I’ve used it on chicken.  I’ve used it on … sorry, I’ll stop before I start to sound too much like Dr Seuss!  But seriously, every time that I serve any type of meat with this marinade, it is hands down a winner.  A couple of times Grant and I have cooked the same meat, but one lot with this marinade, and and another lot with some sort of spice rub.  Now, I’m not sure that because the rub has been a bit heavy handed each time, but each time our dinner guests (and us) have always preferred this one.

It’s loosely based off a recipe from AllRecipes.com but made Paleo-friendly i.e. no refined sugar or soy sauce.  It’s also kind of an adaptation of my honey tamari sauce, which I also adapt to a more Whole30 compliant option sometimes.  See, this is where actually publishing recipes on a website is tough for me because I keep changing things!  Does anyone else have the same problems?

This honey glaze marinade is so simple – get your meat into a ziplock bag.  Combine all the ingredients together and pour into the bag.  Let sit in the refrigerator overnight (in a bowl just in case there’s a hole in the bag!) and then grill at your leisure.  Couldn’t be any easier, right?

Honey glaze marinade

(Paleo, gluten-free, dairy-free)

Prep Time 10 minutes
Chilling time 12 hours
Servings 8

Ingredients

  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 2 tbs coconut aminos
  • 1 tbs coconut sugar
  • 2 tbs avocado oil
  • 2 tbs balsamic vinegar

Instructions

  1. Combine all ingredients together in a small bowl.

  2. Add to meat of choice in a ziploc bag or container with a cover.  Chill overnight for best results prior to cooking.

Recipe Notes

This marinade is sufficient for 3-4 lb meat (pork tenderloin, chicken thighs, etc)

Adapted from Allrecipes.com

This honey glaze marinade is so simple and so versatile on any meats - sure to be the star of any BBQ! #honey #marinade #cookathome #glutenfree #dairyfree #paleo

Healthy chocolate dip

Ever wanted to dip fruit into chocolate – and be healthy?  Then this healthy chocolate dip (with a sneaky vegetable)  is for you!

Ever wanted to dip fruit into chocolate - and be healthy?  Then this healthy chocolate dip is for you! #healthy #chocolate #cookathome #glutenfree #dairyfree

Here’s another recipe that you may wonder what I was one when I dreamed it up.  But trust me, it works.  Totally.  With so many different options.

Think about it – Healthy.  Chocolate.  Dip.  With a vegetable in there too.  Oh, did I say that out loud?  Don’t let your kids know, that this rich, chocolate-y dip is actually healthy.  With no added sugar AT ALL.

It’s gluten free.  It’s dairy free.  It’s Paleo.  It’s vegan.  It could be nut free (if you use coconut milk instead of the almond milk).  It ticks all the boxes (for me, anyway!).

I’ve eaten this with apples.  I’ve eaten this with strawberries.  I’ve eaten this with kiwi fruit.  (I’m starting to sound like a Dr Seuss book here, aren’t I?).  And I’ve also used it as a spread on waffles, bread and English muffins.  It’s so versatile – but it is sweet, so I probably wouldn’t look at using it with any savory dishes.  But if you like the sweet and savory combo, give it a go and let me know what you think!

Or, if you’re more like me, just eat this by the spoonful!

Healthy chocolate dip

(Paleo, gluten-free, dairy-free, no added sugar)

Prep Time 10 minutes
Servings 8

Ingredients

  • 12 Medjool dates pitted
  • 1/2 cup tahini
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup almond milk
  • 100 g cauliflower cooked

Instructions

  1. Process all ingredients together in a high speed food processor until smooth.  You may need to add some more almond milk, depending on the texture you desire.

  2. Store in the refrigerator in a sealed container for up to 7 days (if it lasts that long!)

Ever wanted to dip fruit into chocolate - and be healthy?  Then this healthy chocolate dip is for you! #healthy #chocolate #cookathome #glutenfree #dairyfree

Kiwi pistachio smoothie

This kiwi pistachio smoothie is a unique combination of flavors, but so refreshing for those hot summer afternoons!

This kiwi pistachio smoothie is a unique combination of flavors, but so refreshing for those hot summer afternoons! #smoothie #cookathome #glutenfree #dairyfree #paleo

By now you may have realized that I don’t really have that many smoothie recipes on this website.  Except for this blueberry sweet potato smoothie and this apple cinnamon peanut butter smoothie, that’s about it!  For the sheer fact that I really don’t drink them.  But I do recognize that many of you love smoothies, so I am trying to give you another option to test out.

This month’s Recipe Swap I was paired with Sasmita at First Timer Cook blog.  She’s got a whole range of recipes there so I highly recommend that you go and check her out!  A lot of them look like they are Indian inspired, which I was really excited about, but wanted to give you all something that I could eat too (with my special snowflake stomach!).  I thought about remaking her gingerbread biscotti … and actually tried to make it.  But I think all of my Paleo substitutes made it into a serious baking fail.  It tasted good, but it would have required a number of tries to get it to where I could recommend it for you all to try.

And then I found this kiwi pistachio lassi, or a kiwi pistachio yogurt smoothie.  It’s so simple, and I’m guessing you can almost guess the ingredients in it.  Yep – kiwi fruit, pistachios, yogurt and a little bit of honey.  And a few ice cubes.  And that’s it.  I loved the unique flavor of this drink – and actually put some chia seeds in the second portion of it to have for breakfast the next morning (see, I’m really not a smoothie person, but I do love the concept of the ingredients!) and I think you will too!

Kiwi pistachio smoothie

(Paleo, gluten-free, dairy-free, vegan, no refined sugar)

Prep Time 10 minutes
Servings 2

Ingredients

  • 3 medium kiwi fruit peeled and roughly chopped
  • 2 cups dairy-free plain unsweetened yogurt
  • 2 tbs raw honey
  • 8-10 pistachios shelled
  • 2-3 ice cubes

Instructions

  1. Combine all ingredients except the ice cubes in a blender until a puree forms.

  2. Add the ice cubes and blend for about 30 seconds, or until desired consistency is achieved.

  3. Serve immediately with optional additional pistachios sprinkled on top

Recipe Notes

Adapted from First Timer Cook

This kiwi pistachio smoothie is a unique combination of flavors, but so refreshing for those hot summer afternoons! #smoothie #cookathome #glutenfree #dairyfree #paleo

This kiwi pistachio smoothie is a unique combination of flavors, but so refreshing for those hot summer afternoons! #smoothie #cookathome #glutenfree #dairyfree #paleo

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