Archive for December, 2013

Almond Flour Pancakes

My husband and I love almond pancakes, especially since they are tasty, versatile and gluten-free. The original recipe was not vegan, but I included egg-less options in the recipe below to make some pancakes with either “chia eggs” or “flax eggs.” We have tried out a few different versions of gluten-free pancakes, including the buckwheat pancakes from Kelly E. Keough’s Sugar-Free Gluten-Free Baking and Desserts and the mixed gluten-free flour pancakes in Kelli and Peter Bronski’s Artisanal Gluten-Free Cooking.We like this one best, so much so that I’m sharing it with you!

A while ago, we completely ran out of almond meal, which meant no more pancakes or almond flour-based foods. When I bought almonds, I kept forgetting to set aside some for making flour and we just kept snacking on them instead. Oops. This meant no almond milk either. Our focus had changed I suppose; we were eating and drinking other things instead. I really missed making my almond pie crusts and almond pancakes though. Thankfully, a friend’s family has a bakery-cafe that is only about a 15 to 20 minute drive away. We hadn’t been down to visit in a while, but was on the way to another friend in a series of theatrical performances, which provided a great excuse to go. We had a nice lunch, good catch-up chat, delicious gluten-free cookies and bought a few pounds of almond flour, too. The performances were pretty good and the plots rather moving. All in all it was a great day!

I insisted that we make pancakes the following day. I could wait no longer. Since we hadn’t made them in a while, we had to make quite a few adjustments as we were going along, tweaking the batter consistency, pan temperature and cook times. It was quite a challenge between the two of us, but we figured it out with only a few getting burned. I had forgotten to write down my recipe alterations from the last time we cooked them. Oh well, so now I am writing them down here for you and for my own reference later. For curiosity’s sake, if you have your own food blog, how often do you go back and remake the food from your recipe entries? What have you remade?

My hubby likes his pancakes rather plain with blue agave and Earth Balance spread, but I top mine with coconut oil (which provides a satisfying crunch once it cools), fresh or frozen berries, warm compote (like apples, pears or quince), pie spices, bee pollen, and blueberry or raspberry blue agave or dark amber grade A or B maple syrup, depending on my mood. Vegan homemade chocolate and nut butter chips would be tasty on top, too. I am curious to find out what eating the pancakes with a bit of molasses, ginger and apples would taste like, since molasses contains a boat load of vitamins and minerals. Has anyone tried this?

How do you make your pancakes? What do you top them with? Do you like to make special shapes? Do you try to sneak in extra vitamins? If so, how?

Almond Pancakes
Adapted from Elana Amsterdam’s The Gluten-Free Almond Flour Cookbook. The batter from the original recipe was too thick, like cake batter, so I thinned it out to prevent burning.

Yields 15 Pancakes

2 Eggs
Or 2 Chia or Flax Seed Eggs (2 T Ground Seeds + 6 – 10 T Filtered Water)
1/4 C Blue Agave Nectar
1 T Vanilla Extract*
1/2 C Filtered Water or as needed
1 1/2 C Almond Flour
1/2 tsp Himalayan Sea Salt
1/2 tsp Baking Soda
1 T Arrowroot Powder
Grape Seed Oil

Optional Toppings
Coconut Oil or Earth Balance Spread
Agave Nectar, Maple Syrup, Honey or Fruit preserves
Fresh or Frozen Fruit
Hemp, Flax Seeds, Sunflower or Other Seeds
Crushed Walnuts, Pecans, Almonds, etc.
Ground Cinnamon, Carob, Cacao, Pie Spices
Bee Pollen
Gluten-Free Granola

In a food processor, beat the eggs. If you are making vegan pancakes with the ground chia or flax seed eggs, mix the seed meal with water in a small bowl and set aside for 15 to 20 minutes, adding more water if necessary to obtain an egg-like consistency.

In the processor, mix together the eggs, agave, extract and water on high for 1 minute. Mix in the flour, salt, baking soda and arrowroot until thoroughly combined.

In a large oiled pan over low or a little above low heat, spoon one tablespoon full of batter. Quickly spread out the batter with the edge or backside of the spoon to speed up the cooking time and ensure even cooking. Once bubbles form on the top of the batter through the bottom of the pancake, lift the edges off the pan with a spatula before flipping it over. If you just try to flip the cake over, it can squish together into a heap, depending on the thickness of pancake. Cook the other side thoroughly. Transfer the pancake to a plate and place in the oven (or microwave) to keep warm. Continue to cook the remaining batter into pancakes. Serve with desired toppings.

*You can substitute the extract with the scraped out seeds of 1 – 2 vanilla beans.

Note: If you like, you can add the nuts, seeds, fruit or spices to the batter rather than put them on top.

Autumn Buckwheat Pancakes

I had wanted to make buckwheat pancakes for a while now, since I had never eaten them before.  I usually eat buckwheat as cereal and have only otherwise eaten buckwheat in noodle form. I have heard that buckwheat pancakes are generally akin to rather dense, dry and heavy sponges-like griddlecakes, soaking up all traces of butter and syrup slathered onto them. Either you like them or you do not. Well, challenge accepted! I thought, “Why not give them a try? I bet I can make them taste great.” I was rather impressed with my little pancakes, as they came out thin, light and delicious.

The original recipe called for banana, which I would normally replace with apple sauce, but as I did not have either of these ingredients when I made the pancakes, I used pumpkin puree instead. Thankfully autumn is pumpkin season, so I can buy them at the farmers market. Although bananas are available all year long in grocery stores, they are not even remotely local and have more carbohydrates than I want, especially sugar. It really does not matter what kind of puree you use. If you want to make savory pancakes instead, you can add any myriad of vegetable purees.

Image Source:

Image Source: Chris and Jenni on Flickr

Sprouting Buckwheat
Surprisingly, buckwheat is not actually part of the wheat family, but is still considered a grain by some people due to its use as fine flour in making many baked goods. Soak the seeds (as in my previous nut preparation entry); the process is the same as with other seeds. I generally use Ani Phyo’s suggestion of soaking the seeds for about 6 hours from her book, but it is perfectly fine to soak them overnight. Rinse in a large fine mesh non-reactive (stainless steel, fabric or plastic) strainer. Rest the strainer over a bowl or container that is deep enough for the bottom of the strainer does not touch the container. Daily rinse the buckwheat groats. Mix them from the bottom to the top with a large spoon or clean hands in the strainer to provide even light and air distribution and prevent molding. Reset the strainer over the container. Repeat this process over the next two to three days or until the seeds sprout, and the “tails” grow between a 1/4 and an 1/2 inch in length. Dehydrate the seeds at 105 degrees Fahrenheit until they are crunchy. Store them in an airtight glass container, like a canning jar.

Pumpkin Buckwheat Pancakes
Adapted from Kelly E. Keough’s gluten-free baking cookbook.
This makes lots of pancakes, so cook them in a larger pan to speed up the over-all cooking time.

Yields 20 to 24 pancakes

3/4 C Rooibos Chai Tea, cooled*
1 T Flax Meal
1 C Sprouted Buckwheat Groats (see above)
1 C Egg Whites (from about 8 large eggs)
1/2 C Pumpkin Puree
1 T Blue Agave Nectar
2 tsp Ground Cinnamon
2 tsp Ground Ginger
Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Optional Toppings
Grade B Maple Syrup
Flavored Blue Agave Nectar
Spiced Creamed Honey
Coconut Oil
Apple Compote
Bee Pollen
Peanut Butter Chips
Chocolate Chips
Carob Chips

For better consistency, pre-soak the flax meal in the tea for about 15 minutes, occasionally stirring.

In a food processor or high speed blender, like my Vitamix dry grain mill, grind the buckwheat into a fine meal. Add in the tea-flax mixture, egg, pumpkin, agave and spices. Blend until the ingredients are evenly distributed.

Cooking Pancakes

In an oiled pan over low heat, pour in about 2 to 3 tsp (1 tablespoon) of batter for each pancake. Spread out the batter into thin round pools of about four to six inches in diameter. Cook for several minutes on the first side. Carefully flip the pancakes over with a spatula when you can easily loosen all of the edges from the pan without scrunching the cakes into heaped messes. Cook on the second side until the edges are golden brown. Adjust the stove temperature accordingly to avoid burning your cakes during cooking. Serve warm. Decorate with your desired toppings. Enjoy!

Pumpkin Pancakes with Cranberries

Note: I included rooibos chai to aid my digestion, but you can use black or green tea versions or any spiced teas, like Good Earth’s herbal tea.
When eating leftovers during breakfast the following day, I realized these would also taste rather scrumptious with chopped pecans or walnuts added to the batter or scattered on top.

Spiced Apple Compote

Photo credit: kthread on Flicker

Earlier this autumn, I visited the organic sustainable golden delicious apple orchard at my university alma mater with some friends. We went home with several pounds of golden beauties. Three large cloth shopping bags worth! As no one tends the trees, not even to trim them, many of the apples were already spotted, buggy or on the ground. We picked the best ones that we could find. I spent absolutely hours picking over and chopping the apples once I got them home.

Stir the spices into the apples.

Stir the spices into the apples.

I pretty much knew from the start how I wanted to prepare them, either in a pie or as spiced compote. Since my stomach is so fussy, I cannot eat raw apples anymore, only cooked ones. When the time came to cook the apples, I decided that I did not want to bother making a gluten-free pie crust, so I just made compote instead. I had so many apples that I had to dived them into four batches, altering the recipe as I went along. I have included my favorite version below.

After 4 hours on low heat, add in the vanilla extract.

After 4 hours on low heat, add in the vanilla extract.

Spiced Apple Compote
Adapted from Alyssa Brantley’s Crockpot Apple Pear Sauce.
This compote goes very well with hot cereal, in a pie or on top of ice cream, pancakes or waffles.

Yields 10 to 12 servings

4 – 6 lbs Apples, cored
1 tsp Citric Acid or Sour Salt
1 T Orange Juice
Filtered Water
2 tsp Ground Cinnamon
1 tsp Ground Ginger
1/2 tsp Ground Allspice
1/4 tsp Ground Nutmeg
2 T Blue Agave Nectar
1 tsp Vanilla Extract

As you chop the apples to roughly bite size, put them into a non-reactive (glass or plastic) container filled about half way up with water and the citric acid. Make sure the apples are mostly submerged, occasionally mixing and pushing the apples down into the water. Add more water as necessary.

Place the apples, spices, agave, and 1 cup of the apple soaking liquid into a slow cooker. Cover and cook for four hours on low. When the apples are tender and reduced, turn off the heat. Stir in the vanilla before serving. Serve hot or cold. Store in clean canning jars.

You can save the remaining apple infused water for making smoothies and other sweet recipes in place of filtered water.
In lieu of measuring all of the spices listed above, you can use an equivalent amount of apple or pumpkin pie spice mix, adjusting the flavor to your liking.

Black and Red Turkey Chili

My husband likes really meaty chili, whereas I like more beans and vegetables. This recipe was a compromise between the two differing preferences as well as an adaption of my previously posted chili recipe. It’s also getting colder at night as we move further into autumn, so this makes a rather comforting evening meal. There’s really nothing like a warm bowl of hearty chili to make you feel warm and cozy.

Black and Red Chili Beans

As my tummy has been extra sensitive lately, I made sure that this chili was as “Noel-friendly” and easy to digest as possible. I soaked the beans for a full day, changing out the water half way through. I added baking soda to cut down on the beans’ required cooking time. I skimmed the foam full of “impurities” (such as indigestible sugars and bitter compounds), which can cause bloating and affect the over-all flavor. I added a bunch of turmeric (I thought about adding asafoetida, as well, but didn’t want to stink up the house) and a strip of dried kombu seaweed (contains good bean-digesting enzymes). The spice mix I used contains cayenne pepper, but I added a little extra for more kick. I waited until the beans were tender to add in the salty and acidic ingredients. Just in case, I took a digestive pill, as well. If your stomach is not as touchy as mine is, you do not have to take all of these precautionary steps. All of them were definitely worth the hastle for me though. The chili turned out very tasty indeed. Besides, this chili is filled with protein, which is great, since my husband and I work out at our local gym.

Bean Sorting

Black and Red Chili Bean Turkey Chili
Adapted from my Turkey Black Bean Chili recipe.
Serve the chili with Paleo Carrot Coconut Muffins (made with cinnamon wildflower honey) and salad with fennel greens to further assist with digestion.

Yields about 30 servings

3 C Dried Red Chili Beans or Kidney Beans
3 C Dried Black Beans
3 to 3 1/2 qt Filtered Water
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1/2 C + 1 T Minced Garlic
1 1/2 C Chopped Yellow or White Onion
1 1/2 lbs 80% Lean Ground Turkey
3 qt Filtered Water
2 tsp Baking Soda
1 Large Piece Dried Kombu Seaweed
3 T Bean Roundup Spice Mix
3 T Dried Ground Turmeric
2 tsp Dried Ground Cayenne Pepper
1 16-oz Jar Balakain Farms Blended Organic Green Zebra Heirloom Tomatoes
1 C Mild or Medium Salsa Verde or Tomatillo Salsa
2 T Lime Juice
2 T Unfiltered Apple Cider Vinegar
8 T Chicken Better than Bouillon, dissolved in 1 qt Hot Filtered Water
Filtered Water

Optional Garnishes
Cilantro Springs
Scallions, sliced
Avocado, skinned, pitted, thinly sliced
Vegan Sour Cream or Vegan Plain Yogurt
Daiya Cheddar Style Shreds
Daiya Pepperjack Style Shreds

Sort your beans. Discard any beans that are discolored, under developed, malformed or broken, as well as, any rocks. Rinse the beans with water. Soak the beans for at least 8 to 12 hours or overnight in a large non-reactive bowl with 12 to 14 cups of water, changing out the water about half way through. Rinse with fresh water.

In a large oiled stock pot, saute the garlic and onions until they are tender and clear with a long-handled wooden spoon. Add in and brown the turkey. Stir in the water, baking soda, seaweed, beans and spices. Bring to a boil. With a long-handled ladle or wire mesh, remove any foam that forms on the surface for about 2 to 3 minutes or until the beans stop foaming; I like to keep a little bowl handy to put the foam into. Lower the heat to medium-low and cook covered for 1 hour or until the beans are tender, stirring occasionally. Mix in the tomatoes, salsa, lime, vinegar and diluted bouillon. Cover. Return chili to a boil. Stir. Reduce the heat to low. Cook covered for 1 hour, stirring often to prevent the beans and meat from sticking to the bottom of the pot. Add more water as necessary. Turn off the heat.

Serve and garnish as desired. Enjoy!