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Rawfood Vegan Maple Pecan Pie Bars from Crudessence,Perfect for Valentine's!

                         

Morning beautiful people, it's time for the dessert recipe that I tried from the wonderful Crudessence cookbook, which I reviewed a long time ago. Did I ever mention how much I freaking love pecan pie? Poppa Bear says like but nuh uh, this is a sexy pecan love affair. 

Don't worry PB, you are still #1 in MB's heart, pass that slice of pecan pie would yah? Pleeeeeease.

Above is the book which I used to test out two different recipes, one wasa raw vegan lasagna and of course the second were the bars. Both came out tasting really good and totes deelish!

Here is the link to the recipe for that lovely raw vegan lasagna:
http://thekinkycoconut.blogspot.ca/2015/09/crudessence-raw-vegan-lasagna-recipe.html

So, I made these maple pecan pie bars a little while back and I adjusted the recipe which did not use raw cashews but only raw Brazil nuts. 

As that would have made this dessert way too expensive, I chose to use half raw cashews and found that it was good because it lightened up the richness considerably. I also turned the pie into bars and left out the 1/4 tsp ground cardamom that was supposed to go in the crust as I had a bad reaction to cardamom a little while ago.
This item used to be on the Crudessence menu at their resto years ago and at health food stores, but sadly, it went the way of the dino. 

I was so so sad when I found out the terrible news, nothing has ever replaced it. I was a bit dismayed every time I went to purchase it, they had to reminded me that it was no more. Waaaaah...
I really enjoyed eating it as I am such a pecan pie fan. 

At the time I was a serious raw vegan foodie, so it was a joy to have a treat which was an amaze bombs stand in for the cooked, and let's face it, rather unhealthy version. 
I was over the moon when I found it in the dessert section of the Crudessence cookbook, which is really the best part of any cookbook, in my humble opinion.
Ladies and gents, I give you, the pecan goodness that must be devoured with wild abandon and a good cup of tea. Enjoy!

CRUDESSENCE RAWFOOD VEGAN MAPLE PECAN PIE BARS

Ingredients:
1 Coconut Pecan Crust Recipe, pressed into an 8" pie plate or a square brownie pan(recipe follows down below)
1 C Brazil nuts soaked
1 C Cashew nuts soaked
3/4 C Date paste (recipe link follows down below)
1 tsp Vanilla extract
1/3 C Melted coconut oil
3 Tbsp Maple syrup
*1/4 C Filtered water (add only if needed when blending if too thick)
12 Pecan halves (to decorate the top)

Method:
-In a blender blend nuts, water, vanilla, maple,water and date paste until smooth.
-Add coconut oil, blend for 5 seconds.
-Pour into prepared pie crust, place pecans on top evenly.
-Chill for 4 hours or overnight.
-Slice into pie slices or bars depending on type of pan you use, I used a square pan and sliced them all in advance then froze them to eat later as I wanted.
-Serve with a dollop of maple syrup. 

Date Paste:
http://bienconfitglutenfree.blogspot.ca/2016/06/date-paste-rawfood.html

COCONUT PECAN CRUST
Ingredients: 
1 1/2 C Pecans
3/4 C Unsweetened shredded coconut 
3 Dates soaked no pits
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp fresh scraped nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground clove
1/8 tsp pink sea salt

Method: 
-Grind nuts in blender with pecans for 60 seconds, add coconut and blend until they are a medium ground flour consistency, it's okay if it's not completely smooth. I like a small bit of mini chunkage. Try not to over grind.See the pics below for consistency, visual help.
-In a bowl add spices to those ingredients and mix well, you may add 1 tbsp coconut oil if mixture is too dry but I never had this problem,.
-Press into a pie plate or a square brownie pan evenly, I chill it for 30 minutes before pouring the crust in. Also, if you want it to be easier to take out the bars I lay down parchment paper or plastic wrap, which I allow to hang way over the edges to ease pan removal for cutting.
This made 16 bars and everybody was really diggin' on em'. Some people added way more maple syrup at serving time, this is a personal preference and health thing.
They froze beautifully, I recommend a month maximum and wrap them well as nuts pick up flavours of other foods in fridge and freezer.
I hope you try this recipe out, you will not be sad you did because they are amazing! Go for it and let me know all about your kitchen adventures, I love to hear from you.









Before serving a slice, I always drizzle some maple syrup over it. Trust me, it is happiness.

Enjoy these with your special someone, believe me, I have served this to fellow rawfood, vegan friends, and meat mouths; they have always been a huge hit!

Take care, be well, love freely!

Amazing Gluten-free Cinnamon Rolls for Special Occasions! Perfect for Valentine's.

                             
         

Happy February one & all!

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Today is a recipe post from another blogger, for gluten-free cinnamon rolls, that we truly enjoyed over the holidays this year; and I really wanted to share it with you.
Although we had it for Christmas morning brunch, cinnamon rolls are perfect for all kinds of special occasions, particularly Valentine's!
What says love like a soft, ooey, gooey, warm, cinnamon laced, frosted pastry?
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  Rachel from Recreating Happiness gluten free, has created a gem!
She claims it is a cinnabon copycat recipe, as I live in Qu├ębec, Canada, I will have to take her word for it. I have never come across a Cinnabon here, however, I have tasted Saint Cinnamon cinnamon rolls way back in the day, and I can tell you, this recipe sparked up some old high school nostalgia, of me and my girl Marcia drooling at the baker window, watching pats of butter, and glorious puffs of cinnamon, nestling brown sugar laden dough. And that smell-whoa la!
                             

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We always caved in and bought one to have with tea, when money allowed; and although I can no longer indulge is such gluten filled delights fom them, they have never been forgotten.
                             
The link to the original post is here but the recipe does follow below:
http://recreatinghappiness.com/breakfast-recipes/gluten-free-cinnabon-copycat-cinnamon-roll-recipe-updated-and-now-easier-to-make/

There's also a video tutorial for them, which I highly recommend you watch. These babies are a bit tricky as the dough is rather sticky (Ha! That rhymes.), we watched the video twice before attempting this recipe.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pk3g0Pj7ZaQ

I must say we were sceptical when we made this, there have been way too many Pinterest fails that leave a gluten-free baker super pissed. Anyone who has to throw away a Pinterest gluten-free fail,is NOT a happy camper.
Gluten-free ingredient's are much more expensive than gluten filled baking products, you get less of them for triple the price, and they are notoriously more difficult to source-how about that run to 5 different stores, my gf peeps?
                          Sharing is caring!Not Only Are They Free Of Gluten, But Are About The Gluten-Free Lifestyle, Too… Internet memes are plastered all over the comment sections to any engaging posts. Sometimes the memes found in the comments can be more fulfilling then the actual article/post. This can be seen when people comment, “I just came here …
Time is also precious and the feeling of utter sadness and dejection just makes it all the less appealing to try to roam in gluten-free, unchartered, Pinterest territory.
Luckily pour moi, mom decided to tackle it (Thanks MOM!), as a Christmas present.
I think she got fed-up of my whining and melancholy over the lack of true cinnamon bun goodness, but hey, I will take it! It was nice because I was able to take pics and document the whole process, with way less stress and mess. Yipee!!
                                   Heheh. I'm thinking Hansel and Gretal had never tried gingerbread that sat out for a while. I'd walk right by that house without looking back...gluten free or not!

                                  I kid you not, these were freaking boomtastical!!!!!
                                       
They do have dairy in them, I have yet to try a vegan version but I feel that one could make a successful go of it with Earth Balance buttery, soy-free spread. I may try this at some point, will get back to you on this, if I do.
So, here is the cinnamon bun recipe in all its' glory, with picture breakdown of all the steps down below. I tell you, this was such a win, we have made it a few more times.So go forth into cinnamon bun heaven with true zeal! I promise you, cinnamon bun dreams can come true!

Make sure to watch the video, have all your ingredient's/equipment on hand and already measured out before you begin, and make the frosting while these babies bake.

GLUTEN FREE CINNABON COPYCAT CINNAMON ROLL RECIPE, UPDATED AND NOW EASIER TO MAKE!
 

Rolls (these can be prepared the night before)
Author: 
Yields/Serves: 8
INGREDIENTS
DOUGH:
  • ⅔ cup milk
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 packet (7 g) yeast
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • ½ cup (83 g) potato starch
  • ½ cup (80 g) brown rice flour
  • ¼ cup (29 g) finely ground almond flour
  • ¼ cup (34 g) tapioca starch plus more for flouring your surface
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1½ teaspoon xanthan gum
  • 2½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 large egg
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla
  • good quality plastic wrap for rolling out (and up!) the dough
FILLING:
  • ⅓ cup butter, softened
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons cinnamon
FROSTING:
  • 3 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 2 tablespoons cream cheese, softened
  • ¾ cup powdered sugar
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla
  • dash of salt
INSTRUCTIONS
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and lightly flour a pie plate.
DOUGH:
  1. Combine yeast and sugar in large mixing bowl.
  2. Microwave milk and 1 tablespoon butter to approximately 110-115 degrees. Whisk into yeast mixture and set aside to proof.
  3. Meanwhile in small bowl whisk together potato starch, brown rice flour, tapioca starch, almond flour, baking soda, xanthan gum, baking powder, and ½ teaspoon salt.
  4. Once yeast is proofed add in egg, oil, and ½ teaspoon vanilla. Mix for a moment and then slowly add in the flour mixture. Turn the mixer up to medium-high and beat for 1½ minutes - beating long enough is essential, GF flours are "thirsty," the dough will thicken & lose it's stickiness as you beat it.
  5. Roll out the dough: (please watch the video!) this is a sticky dough that you'll want to roll out to approximately a 13" x 10" rectangle. What I have found works best is covering my work surface with a good quality plastic wrap and then a light layer of tapioca starch. I place my dough in the center and cover with a bit more tapioca starch and another sheet (or two) of plastic wrap. Roll out to the needed size and then carefully peel off the top layer of plastic wrap.
  6. Using a knife or spatula gently spread the ⅓ cup softened butter over the dough evenly leaving ½" space around the edges.
FILLING:
  1. In a small bowl combine brown sugar & cinnamon. Sprinkle evenly over dough.
  2. To roll your dough: start on one of the shorter sides and gently begin rolling your dough into a log form. Use the plastic wrap to help you "lift and roll" the dough as you go along. Try to make it a nice tight roll, however do not try to unroll it and re-do it. You'll end up with a sticky mess.
  3. Sprinkle lightly with tapioca starch again. Dip a sharp knife into tapioca starch then cut the rolls into 8 pieces.
  4. Place the rolls, cut side down, in the prepared pie plate*. Cover with plastic wrap and a towel, place in a warm spot, and let them rise for 15 minutes.
  5. Bake 22-27 minutes until tops are golden brown.
ICING:
  1. Meanwhile, in mixing bowl, beat 3 tablespoons softened butter, cream cheese, and powdered sugar until smooth. Beat in vanilla and a dash of salt.
  2. Drizzle over the tops of cinnamon rolls as soon as they come out of the oven.
NOTES
*Night before preparation: Once the rolls are in the pie plate, cover with plastic wrap and place in the fridge. In the morning set them out for at least 25 minutes before baking.
  







I will have to cop to being very impatient and deciding not to let these rise in my Excalibur dehydrator, which has worked wonderfully well for breads I have made in the past. The kitchen was a bit chilly, as such, we did not get the same rise as Rachel did in her original recipe. They still baked beautifully and tasted wonderful!                     




 I tried one with frosting and one without, I am definitely a frosting woman. Sorry waistline.


This is an amazing dough for a gluten-free product. I have eaten my fair share of gf cinnamon buns from local health food stores & gf bakeries, and I must say they are not right. Always a pasty, or more bread-like, dry dough, that just vexes your taste buds. This recipe has that right texture, good dough to sweetness balance, perfect cinnamon to frosting ratio, very buttery rich, and they are just as good reheated. Let me know down below if you tried making these and don't forget to share them with your special someone!

Take care, be well, love freely...Chef Kiki

What you Should Know About Going Gluten-free and Grain-free

(Please note that this is a blog re-post that I have carried over from my original blog, back in 2013. The information is very important and still pertinent for those of you going gluten-free)

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  Today is groceries day, we ran around to about 4 different stores but something is always missing. It seems buckwheat is considered "exotic" as a food staple in my neck of the woods. Ugh! It's alright though because I will be making a stop in the next few days to grab my missing ingredients at the health food store. So, I have been in an allergy cycle for the last week that has been making me feel physically miserable even though I have been in a positive frame of mind. I had finally calmed my reactions to the final day or two of bloat and itchies and was in a great mood about it. 
Then I went to my Vietnamese joint I adore because I can actually eat gluten-free there, well, maybe not so good for me after all as I reacted to the rice noodles which is the same dish I have been having for a long time but the last few times I have been reacting to it and nothing has changed in the recipe. I am on friendly terms with the staff & Chef so it's easy to ask. Now it seems that I will be making more changes to my already complicated eating regimen. I am reacting to all manner of grains, gluten free grains!!! I had gluten-free rice crackers and my body flipped out, same with my quinoa bread and various other foods. Not cool. It seems this may be an autoimmune response which may be linked to my thyroid. More tests yippee!!!!!! NOT! 
Actually, it deserves a good giggle. It's become de rigueur to have complications somewhere along the line for most gluten-free eaters. I read a whole bunch of info on a great blog at:
Betterbydrbrookewordpress.com

This is what she had to say and I think it's going to help save my life and bring balance back to my days.
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Why You're not Losing Weight on a GF Diet.

You Could Be Reacting To The Gluten Free Grains You’re Now Eating
A sensitivity to gluten increases the chances that you’re also sensitive to many of the foods you’ll turn to on a gluten free lifestyle including sorghum, millet, tapioca, amaranth, quinoa, rice, hemp, corn, and potato. These foods do not contain gluten but may still be a problem for you, this is called “gluten cross reactivity”. And if you’ve got a gluten issue, I’ve got some really bad news: coffee and chocolate are among the most common cross reactors. Tragic, I know.

Consider a grain free diet and utilize non-grain based starches such as sweet potato, pumpkin, squash, and legumes (note: autoimmune patents are also at high risk for reacting to the lectins in legumes, sorry! Best for you folks to leave them out as well.) Cyrex Labs offers a gluten cross reactivity panel if you’ve committed to gluten free and wondering which grains, etc might be good alternatives for you. Visit www.cyrexlabs.com and look at Array 4.

You May Have Increased Intestinal Permeability (AKA Leaky Gut)
This means larger proteins are getting through a leaky intestinal barrier causing inflammation and winding up you immune system. A “leaky gut” is due to inflammation in the gut that has caused a bit of swelling in the cells of your intestines, damaging the junctions between the cells allowing larger proteins to get through. Normally only small things pass through such as a single amino acid or a molecule of glucose. When these larger proteins end up in our blood stream where our immune system sees them and attacks, causing inflammation, bloating, puffiness and trouble shedding fat.

This creates inflammation in and of itself, which makes it hard to lose weight, but it also increase the chance that you’re have any of those cross re-activities I just mentioned.

We can get a leaky gut from years of a bad diet, eating foods that we are sensitive to, taking antibiotics or doing anything that disrupts the delicate balance of probiotics in our gut, various medications, having hypothyroidism or being under high stress.

Gluteomorphins May Be At Play
You may be reacting to gluteomorphins, a byproduct of our own digestion of gluten which act in the brain on opiod receptors causing a “high”. When we take that away, you obviously feel worse for a period of time as you go through a withdrawal period. Crazy huh? Our food is literally medicine!

When people have this reaction, they not only feel pretty lousy when they first come off gluten but their cravings for it sky rocket. If they manage to stick to their gluten free guns, they will usually end up eating a lot of other carbs to satisfy the cravings causing weight loss to stall….or worse, causing a weight gain.
Hidden Exposure
Despite your best efforts – you may still be eating gluten. Here’s a lengthy list of at least some of the more common places you’ll see it:

Gluten Containing Grains:
Wheat
Barley
Spelt
Kamut
Rye
Triticale
Most processed cereal
Oats (unless specifically labeled gluten free and note: oats are common cross reactors as well)
Couscous
Bulgar wheat

Short List of Commonly Used Gluten Derivatives:

Alcohol made from grains: beer, whisky, vodka (unless purely potato), Scotch, most liquors and cheaper wines.
Artificial coloring additives
Chewing Gum
Battered Foods (i.e. fish sticks, fried appetizers, occasionally sweet potato or regular fries) and foods fried in same oil as battered foods (French fries).
Biscotti, pastries and any baked good made from flour, not specified as gluten free
Bran
Many juices and fruit drinks
Sauces in general, horseradish sauce and most pre-made salad dressings (unless gluten free)
Canned meat containing preservatives, canned vegetables (unless in water only)
Items containing hydrolyzed vegetable protein (often made with wheat)
Caramel (other than from US and Canada)
Imitation seafood (usually made with a starch, common in sushi)
Instant hot drinks (coffee, tea, hot chocolate, etc)
Ketchup and most condiments (anything made with modified food starch has corn and/or wheat)
Rice syrup (may contain barley malt)
Soups (most commercially made canned or frozen soup)
Spices including white pepper, curry powder, bouillon cubes or powder
Soy sauce (except Tamari wheat free soy sauce) and most Chinese sauces
Malt
Veined cheeses (may be made from molds that may be of bread origin)
Mustards (unless specifically gluten free, read label for modified food starch)
Margarines
Sausages
Flavor enhancers including MSG (monosodium glutamate), glutamic acid, monopotassium glutamate, ammonium glutamate

Note: gluten free grains include rice, millet, quinoa, buckwheat, amaranth and teff.

And one final thing: gluten may simply not be as inflammatory for you as it is your friend who had the skies part and the heavens sing when they cut it out. In this case, there may be another reason why your weight loss has plateaued and some gluten containing foods on occasion will probably not make or break your health.

So, if going gluten free was less dramatic than you’d hoped, consider these things and take another pass accounting for the reasons above.


Thank you Dr. Brooke, so I am now going to clean & cleaner eating and praying for positive results. I will be incorporating digestive enzymes, good probiotics, Aloe Vera whole leaf juice, liquid iron, and protein that is allergen friendly. My beloved who is also a weight trainer specializing in sports nutrition recommends Iso Pure. I will get back to you on all of this. 
In the meantime, I am happy to post a snapshot of my fridge which I feel very blessed about being filled with a powerhouse of healthy foods. Thank you God for making such things available to those of us in need, I know how lucky we are.
Here is what a clean eating fridge looks like:



Making Our Way Through January & What's Up...

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Helloodles Lovelies!

As January continues to bombard us with its freezing cold weather, that leads to mild ups & bitter downs, then loads of snow, which makes way for rain that freezes over, I have become the blanket burrito woman!
                                       
We are hitting that time of year when day dreams are warm and tropical, filled with sandy beaches and colourful drinks with umbrellas.
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There's also that lack of sun and warmth sadness going around...

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I am still on medical sick leave from work, injury healing process is slow but steady. I long to be able to workout. jump around on my bed, and be back at work.
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My doctor keeps reminding me, patience, patience, patience. As this has never been my strong suit, antsiness and a bit or boredom melancholy visits from time to time.
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Still, I am finally having some good days, for which I am truly grateful to God and my PB. Both have been my rocks.
Poppa Bear has been very supportive, giving, and lovingly patient. It seems pain with sleep deprivation, thanks to pain, can make one have a rather short fuse, extremely irritable, and not always pleasant to be around. Hmmm, go figure.
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It seems I am to have one good day then 3-4 rough one's, followed by  2-3 take it real slow gurl days. Acupuncture, massage, and chiropractic adjustments are great but get really expensive. $60-90 a pop, which I am supposed to be having each every week-yikes! Don't get me started on physio.
                                 Image result for injuries are expensive meme
For now, I am being gentle with myself, doing what I can, and waiting for the CNESST bureaucrats to figure their ish out.
Frustrations aside, I have been able to cook or bake, here and there. Definitely no where near what I could do before, however, I am elated that I can do a bit vs nothing. I am working on doing a few blog posts for February, that will be lovely, gluten-free, share it with your love, moments & recipes.
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As my shoulder, neck, and back have a tough time with more than short spurts of typing, please bear with the fewer posts and spaces between them. Today is a good day, I am taking advantage of it but at less than an hour in, I can already feel the warning pinches and twinges. so, this is going to stop here. Do keep checking back, there are yummy nom's, recipes, beat the winter blah's, and other fun things coming.

Take care, be well, love freely...Chef Kiki