Creamy Mashed Cauliflower

This recipe is so simple and so satisfying.  Oh, and good for you too!  I recently read an article published by John Douillard on his site lifespa.com titled “Eat Fat, Beat Sugar Cravings”.   Everyone, I mean everyone, right up until a few decades ago, knew that sugar and carbohydrates tend to make you gain weight and that healthy fats are essential.  When I was growing up there were all these new ‘diet foods’: low fat or no fat was the supposedly ‘healthy’ way to go.  Because fats make you fat, right?  I can’t believe I bought that crap!

Fat makes you feel full and satiated.  It protects your organs, it’s necessary for proper brain function.  It’s an important part of digestion.  When you eat sugar or carbohydrates you may find yourself continually wanting to have more, never quite full in the long run.  And have I mentioned that there is no such thing as an essential sugar?  There’s no essential carbohydrate either.  We need fats and proteins to function but humans can live without the sugar.

Give it a try, eat a high fiber, high fat food and see how it compares to a low fat, high carbohydrate food.  For example, try making low fat mashed potatoes as well as the following recipe for Creamy Mashed Cauliflower.  Have a serving of mashed potatoes for an afternoon snack one day.  Write down how you feel when you finish eating, and how full you feel an hour later.  The next day do the same thing with the mashed cauliflower.  I bet you’ll be surprised how the same serving of food can be so much more filling!  And how you won’t be craving cookies half an hour later.

Ingredients:

  • 1 head of cauliflower
  • 3/4 cup of creme fraiche (the BEST!) or any of the following: heavy cream, coconut cream, full fat yogurt
  •  salt and pepper
  • optional: herbs, spices, grated cheese

Method:

Remove leaves, core and chop a head of cauliflower into large chunks

Steam the chopped cauliflower until tender.  About 10-13 minutes.

Blend the steamed cauliflower in a Cuisinart or using a wand blender along with 3/4 cup, give or take, of the creme fraiche plus salt and pepper to taste.

You can eat it now or add some paprika or other herbs and spices.

Save it for later by storing the whipped cauliflower in an over safe dish.  When you are ready to eat, sprinkle the top with some grated cheese and pop it in the oven to reheat.  Great as a pot luck dish or make ahead side dish.

Definitely eat this with meatloaf!

Very Vanilla Cake with Chocolate Frosting

My friend Bobbie found this recipe on the world wide web, if it’s yours, please send me a link so I can give credit!

Happy Birthday!

Happy Birthday!

Bobbie and I made this as a birthday cake for her boyfriend and I made it again for my Dad’s birthday last month.  This recipe is for a moist, springy, not too sweet cake and it was a big hit with everyone.  No one seemed to notice it was mostly sugar and carbohydrate free, perfect if your dad has diabetes and you want to make him a birthday cake he can healthfully enjoy!  Yes there is some apple sauce in the cake, and, no apples are not on the Candida diet but they also do not contribute a lot of sugars to the over all cake. The apple sauce adds a lot of moisture and contributes to the texture of the cake. I would recommend having a slice and sharing (or freezing) the rest.  The chocolate frosting is just melted chocolate with heavy cream aka ganache.  I have been trying out stevia sweetened chocolate with erythritol (sugar alcohols fermented from non gmo corn) and so far Coco Polo is the winner in the dark chocolate category.  It’s nice to know when I get a chocolate craving I can satisfy it without creating more sugar cravings.

Ingredients for One 9 in Round Cake:

  • 1 cup coconut flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 8 large eggs
  • 2/3 cup coconut oil (or butter)
  • 4 tablespoons coconut milk or other milk
  • 2 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup apple sauce
  • Stevia to taste

Method

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.  Grease and then line the bottom of a 9 inch round pan with parchment paper.  I used a spring form pan.

Sift the coconut flour into a bowl and then combine with the rest of the dry ingredients.

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In a separate bowl, beat the eggs until frothy.  Add the room temperature (soft or liquid) coconut oil, beat well, then add the rest of the wet ingredients.

Add the dry ingredients and mix well to combine.  Add the stevia, a dropperful at a time until the batter tastes sweet to your liking.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake until a toothpick or knife inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean- about 30 minutes.

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Cool completely before frosting.

Chocolate Ganache

If you are looking for a more in depth how to, try this!

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Ingredients:

1/2 cup of heavy cream

4 oz of dark chocolate

a pinch of salt

Method:

Coarsely chop the chocolate and place in a bowl.

Warm the cream just barely to a boil over medium high heat.

Pour the heated cream over the chocolate and salt.  Let sit for 10 minutes, do not stir!

After 10 minutes, stir with a whisk to emulsify.  Be sure to scrape the bowl with a spatula to incorporate everything.

Spread slightly cooled ganache on a cooled cake and then refrigerate til serving.

OR

Let the ganache cool for an hour, stirring several times in between to keep it smooth.  Then beat on high with a mixer til it’s fluffy.  Frost with a knife or use in a pastry bag.

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Served with whipped cream, of course!

Served with whipped cream, of course!

Creamy Leek and Mushroom Soup

Yesterday, on my way home at the end of my run, I saw the first few snowflakes of the season start to fall.  It seemed like the right time to make some hearty soup using the leeks my dad gave me a few days ago.  We didn’t grow any leeks this year so this was a nice treat.  My dad has leeks down to a science, he gets the edible parts of white or light green to grow very tall and so I ended up with a lot of leeks to cook with!

I based this soup on the leek soup I posted a few years ago.  I started with a few carrots, a handful of dried mushrooms, all the leeks, Reishi mushroom powder and dried Astragalus root, about a stick of butter, 1/2 cup of heavy cream, salt and pepper.  Here’s how I put it all together into a creamy, filling soup:

I got out our enamel pot, the Reishi mushroom powder, the heavy cream and some bonito flakes. I later decided bonito flakes were a bad idea. I also made my self some aloe ginger lemon juice, it’s important to re-hydrate after a long, cold run! I boiled water to soak my dried mushrooms in, you can see I used a bowl to weight them down in the measuring cup.

All the leeks trimmed and ready to chop, my mushrooms ready to mince along with the mushroom broth and a few carrots.

I started with the heat on medium low and added most of a stick of butter and all the sliced leeks, I’d say about 6-7 cups total. I salted the leeks and stirred to incorporate the butter.

The leeks took about 20 minutes to reduce down and soften.  Just keep the heat relatively low and stir occasionally so the fat doesn’t start to brown or burn.  Taste and make sure you have enough salt.

While the leeks cooked down I chopped the mushrooms and carrots and got out a piece of dried Astragalus to add to the broth. Just remember to remove the root before you puree the soup!

Add the carrots and mushrooms and saute for a few minutes more before adding the mushroom soaking water and any other stock you need.

At this point you can eat this sautéed veggie combination, with some black pepper and salt to taste as a compliment to some baked fish. Or you can add more broth, the heavy cream and puree it. I took some of the veggie saute out and then made soup with the rest!

I used a wand blender to puree the soup, you can also use a blender, just be sure to vent the top.   The soup ends up being a sort of beige color, it’s not very photogenic, especially given the unflattering overhead light in my kitchen.  What it lacks in looks it makes up for in flavor! I ended up with about two quart sized Ball jars full of soup, which are quickly disappearing.

5 Star Dessert

Chocolate Avocado Pudding with Cocao Nibs

One of my clients recently went to Thanksgiving dinner hosted by a chef whose day job is at a 5 star restaurant in San Francisco, lucky her!  She was worried, of course, that there would be only a few things that she would be able to eat since she is on the Candida diet.  And rightly so, it’s usually difficult to get someone who doesn’t have any idea what Candida is to understand this diet.  I recently had the pleasure of eating a meal at Eat in Greenpoint, Brooklyn.  They usually serve a small, set menu based around what’s local and fresh, my kind of place!  And the set menu on Saturday night was not looking very Amy-friendly.  The chef, surprisingly, wanted to accommodate my diet and asked me, what can I eat?  We went through a list of the usual suspects and he seemed to understand.  What came out of his kitchen was absolutely delightful, lots of greens, some smoked fish, a little cheese, more fresh green herbs in an olive oil and apple cider vinegar dressing.  I was impressed.  And so thankful that he was willing to be flexible and to listen.

I went to a restaurant with my mom yesterday for a little post holiday shopping meal.  Mom was familiar with the menu and quickly pointed out the things I could eat and probably get on the side.  And she was right!  It’s funny how something so seemingly insignificant as the minutia of what I can and can not eat means so much to me when someone else gets it, especially family.  Eating the same food, together at the same time, is so important and that’s why it’s so easy to feel lonely and left out when your diet seems drastic, mysterious and limited to those around us.  With all the holiday parties and family get togethers coming up it’s important to speak up and participate.  Bring food to share so that your friends and family can understand that your diet is full of delicious food.  Plenty of recipes to choose from here!  Ask ahead about the proposed menu and make sure that there will be plenty for you to eat that doesn’t compromise your health.  Is it really worth it to just eat what happens to be available (and end up starving) or have your health suffer for days because you ate something to be polite that you really shouldn’t eat?  Eating together is one way that we social creatures bond, so speak up and share your food, you might be pleasantly surprised.

Avocados: creamy, rich, healthy and versatile.

Back to the Thanksgiving dinner, my client had a great time because she chose to get in touch with the chef and, politely ask about his Thanksgiving menu.  The chef was very nice and had a chat with her about what she can eat.  He made plenty of friendly foods and he even made dessert!  Here’s the recipe for the rich chocolate pudding that he made.  My client loved it and, a few days later, replicated the recipe easily at home.  So we’ll call this one ‘Five Star Dessert’.  The recipe can easily be doubled.
Ingredients:
2 Tablespoons cocoa powder
Stevia, to taste
A bit of heavy cream or coconut cream, to desired consistency, about 1/4 to 1/2 cup
1 ripe avocado
Optional: vanilla extract, just a dash and cocao nibs, sprinkled on top!
Procedure:
Put everything (except the stevia) and about 1/4 cup of the coconut or dairy cream into a blender and blend.  Adjust the consistency by adding more cream and/or more cocoa powder.  Add stevia, a little at a time until it’s sweet to your liking.  Top with cocao nibs and/or shredded coconut.  Share, eat and enjoy!

No Bake Chocolate Cake

Photo from 101 Cookbooks

Another amazing recipe from 101 Cookbooks: a chocolate cake that is Candida diet friendly (after minimal adjustments) and doesn’t require that you turn your oven on, which is great since we are in the middle of a heat wave.  I really don’t feel much like eating but somehow the heat has not affected my appetite for dessert.  And this is definitely dessert, sugar-free and low carb it is but as you can see from the list of ingredients this cake is super rich, a little bit goes a long way.

Ingredients:

butter, to grease pan
8 ounces  70% dark chocolate, well chopped
8 ounces  heavy cream (you can try substituting coconut milk for a vegan version)
1/2 teaspoon allspice (optional)
2 teaspoons finely ground espresso (optional)
1/4 teaspoon fine grain salt
cocoa powder, to serve

The sweetness in this recipe comes from the dark chocolate you use.  Choose a dark chocolate that has the least amount of sugar added or mix a dark chocolate bar with some unsweetened chocolate and add some stevia to make up the difference.

Procedure:

Lightly butter a 6-inch springform pan or equivalent – 101 Cookbooks recommends little loaf pans which are less common, but many small pans will work here. Line with parchment paper (very important if you ever want to get this cake out of the pan!) and set aside.

Barely melt the chocolate in a double boiler over gentle heat.

In a separate medium pan heat the cream over gentle heat. Stir in the allspice and the espresso, if using. When the cream is very warm / hot to the touch, remove from heat and stir in the salt.

Pour the chocolate into the cream, and very slowly and steadily stir until everything comes together smoothly. Make sure the components aren’t at all separate. Pour into the prepared pan, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until chilled throughout, a few hours, or overnight.

When ready to serve, remove from the pan, let set at room temperature for ten minutes or so, dust with a bit of cocoa powder, and slice. Alternately, you can slice and serve from the pan.

Serves 12.

Prep time: 10 min