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Saturday, March 30, 2013

What You Need To Know About Teff

Have you ever seen teff? One of the smallest grains in the world, teff is a gluten-free food that's been around for over 4,000 years. It's native to Ethiopia, and available in both light and dark varieties. 

Health benefits 

Teff is a good source of iron, calcium, protein, fiber, and B vitamins. It's gluten free, so Celiacs can rest easy with teff. It's also great food source for diabetics as it helps control blood sugar levels. 

Where to find it

Teff grain and flour can be found at your local health food store. Like other grains, it should be stored in a cool, dark place or in the refrigerator or freezer. 

If you've ever been to an Ethiopian restaurants, you may have seen a type of bread called enjera, which resembles a tortilla. That's typically made with teff.

How to cook teff

When cooking teff, add half a cup of teff grain to 2 cups of water with a pinch of salt. Bring to a boil and simmer in a covered pot for 15 to 20 minutes or until water is absorbed. 

Stir and let stand uncovered for 5 minutes.

I sometimes cook teff as a breakfast cereal, but its lovely nutty taste makes it great for baking cookies, muffins or pancakes.

Try these delicious teff peanut butter cookies
  • 1 ½ cup teff flour (375 ml)
  • ¼ cup maple syrup (50 ml)
  • ¼ cup apple butter (50 ml)
  • 1 egg
  • ½ cup safflower oil (125 ml)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup crunchy peanut butter, cashew butter or almond butter (250 ml)
  • ¼ tsp sea salt (1 ml)
Mix nut butter, oil, egg, apple butter, maple syrup and vanilla in a food processor. Do not overmix. Then add teff flour and salt. Roll into balls and place on a cookie sheet. Flatten with a wet fork.

Bake 350F for 10 to 15 minutes.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Bean Brownies to the Rescue!

I have a friend who can’t eat any type of grains and was looking for something she could have as a treat for her birthday. I had come across this recipe years ago and I thought if I tweeked it a bit it would be a perfect birthday brownie.
You be the judge!

1 can (540ml) adzuki or black beans ( I used black beans as they are easier to find in the store)
4 eggs
2/3 cup brown sugar or other sweetener
8 tbsp cocoa
½ -2/3 cup oil ( sometimes I make these brownies and they are really liquidy so I start with a lesser amount of oil first
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp baking soda

Rinse beans well and put all ingredients into your food processor and blend well. Pour into brownie pan and bake 375F for 30-35 minutes

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

How Going Dairy Free Saved My Life

For years I was constantly ill. I had digestive problems, was always constipated and felt tired most of the day.
A neighbour finally said to me why don’t you go for food allergy testing. I had never thought of that, nor had my doctor suggested it.
Well, what a surprise. I found out that I was allergic to dairy, wheat, yeast, eggs, corn, sugar, and soy. Years later, I also found out I was Celiac, which meant I had to avoid gluten in my diet as well.
What a learning curve it was. Most of the foods I ate on a daily basis were no longer an option. Morning cereal, toast and peanut butter, and sandwiches were gone. What the heck was I going to eat now?
First I did a little research online, then, I went to my local health food store, where they were so happy to help and give me suggestions as to what to eat. I wasn’t so sure I wanted to eat the foods they suggested, but I did buy a few, and with trial and error I was able to come up with tasty, alternatives to the foods I could no longer eat.
Dairy Free Options
I was amazed at all the dairy-free options that were available to me. Rice milk, flax milk, hemp milk, coconut milk, and almond milk were all products that I could use. It was simply a matter of trying them out and seeing which ones I liked. To my astonishment I liked all of them. Some worked better in baking and coconut milk became a favourite when I made smoothies for myself.
Eating Healthier
What started to happen was that I no longer ate food out of a box, can or package. I started to cook again and thoroughly enjoyed it. I made up a weekly menu plan for myself which helped me when I went grocery shopping and meant I wasn’t eating the same thing night after night. Fruits and vegetables became the bulk of my meals along with organic meats, nuts and seeds, and so I knew I was improving my health. I no longer felt bloated and ill most of the time and those very embarrassing, smelly toots were a thing of the past.
I soon learned that dairy was very acidic to the body and once I started to incorporate many more greens into my diet and help my body to be more alkaline, I noticed that my eczema started to improve as well. Keeping your body alkaline by eating more alkaline foods like kale, spinach, and avocadoes is a great way to ward off disease.
Dairy seemed to be the cause of many of my health issues and once I started to avoid it and change my diet it became clear that if I had stayed eating certain foods I might have become a very sick individual. Isn’t it amazing how you think some things are such a pain, but end up being a blessing?
Shirley Plant is the Author of Finally… Food I Can Eat, a dietary guide and cookbook for people with food allergies and dietary restrictions.
Through Delicious Alternatives she helps people come up with healthy, tasty menu plans that fit into their dietary needs.
twitter @sherrecipes
Facebook page Finally Food I Can Eat

Sunday, March 3, 2013

My Fav Bluebery Muffins

Tonight was a night that I just wanted to make something that was near and dear to my heart. Perhaps I wanted a full proof recipe.
The past few days I have had a few good new recipes and a few flops!

My gluten free blueberry muffins was one of my very first recipes that I came up with for my cookbook, and so here it is for all of you to try. Enjoy

Blueberry Banana Muffins

Free of dairy, yeast, eggs, corn, white sugar, soy, nuts and gluten

3/4 cup chickpea flour
1/2 cup brown rice flour
1/4 cup arrowroot flour
1/4 cup tapioca flour
1/4 cup potato starch
2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 cup maple syrup- more if you have a sweet tooth (you can use honey or agave)
1/2 cup safflower oil ( sometimes I use coconut oil )
4 bananas
1 cup blueberries

In a food processor whip bananas, oil, cinnamon and vanilla. Add in dry ingredients and blend well. If the batter is thick you may need to add some water. I find that if my bananas are very ripe I don't need to add water. If they are yellow and not that ripe I need to add some extra liquid.
By whipping the bananas in the food processor it gives them air and makes your muffins fluffy.
Add in blueberries.
Spoon into muffin tins
Bake 350F for 20-20 minutes