Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Coconut Lime Pie

Oh this summer has flown by; partly because the summer didn’t really pack a punch in the weather department until recently and partly because it’s been full of weekends away from home.  There were many weddings, birthdays, baby showers, etc. to go to this summer. I don’t regret any of it, but I definitely feel like I haven’t had my usual camp on yet this season. I’m hoping to fix that this weekend though.

One of the many events that took some time away from camping was a surprise 60th/retirement party I planned for my Mom that I held a few weekends ago. I actually started planning it almost a year ago and was going to do it on my Mom’s birthday but she was diagnosed with colon cancer and was undergoing surgery 2 months prior. Not knowing if she would need chemotherapy or radiation treatments (both of which I know are incredibly draining) I didn’t want to plan her party in the middle of her potential treatment … so I put it off until the summer. Then I knew she would be fully able to enjoy the surprise and be very surprised because it wasn’t near her retirement or birthday!  Luckily surgery was all my Mom required for treatment and she didn’t have to go through the torment of chemo or radiation. Surgery is difficult in itself, never mind additional treatment. I feel for anyone who is going though this or has a friend or family member going through cancer. It’s not easy. Luckily my Mom’s was caught quickly and she was able to just go through the minimum of treatment. I am very happy that she is recovered and so far still in the clear. She is the strongest woman I know.

For that reason and the fact that she always made sure that we had the best birthdays, including my Dad’s special 50th birthday party, I wanted  to make sure that she got at least one party in her honour. Do to the time of year it was held, not as many people as I had hoped could make it, but there was still a decent turn out and no one spoiled the surprise … although I must say, I almost spilled the beans the day before and so did my boyfriend. Worst liers ever! I’m very grateful to all those who were able to attend and make her day special.

At my Mom’s party, which was hosted at a provincial group campsite because they come with ready-made shelter and tables and chairs, I decorated it in blues and greens. I won’t lie, there was a sale on at shoppers :) So to match the table clothes and cutlery I brought vases from home and filled them with lemons and limes. There were four vases filled mostly with limes, so at the end of the party I had to figure out what to do with them. I didn’t want them to go to waste, so I ended up making my very first lime pie … and of course gave it a gluten free Tiffany twist.

My recipe is based of off several, as usual.  Elana’s Pantry is the source of the crust base and the Joy of Baking the filling and finally Living Without’s Whipped Coconut topping for, well, the topping. I thought that the coconut might balance out the tartness of the limes and it was a big hit at the office. For some reason I can never get the coconut to actually whip up like the pictures (so what you see in the photo is cool whip on my second pie) and always ends up just as coconut sauce. Tasty but not exactly picture perfect. Anyone have any tips for that?

Coconut Lime Pie

1 cup Almond Flour
½ cup Chestnut Flour
½ cup Unsweetened Coconut Flakes
¼ teaspoon Baking Soda
4 cup Grapeseed Oil
2 tablespoons Agave
pinch of salt

3 Egg Yolks (room temp)
1 can of Sweetened Condensed Milk
½ cup Lime Juice (3-4 regular limes)
Rind of one Lime


Preheat an oven to 350 degrees F. Start by mixing your almond, chestnut, coconut, salt and baking soda in a large bowl. In a small bowl, whisk together the agave and oil. Stir into the dry mixture and place in a pie or tart pan. Use a spatula to form crust. Bake for 30 minutes. Take out of the oven and allow to cool completely.

While the crust is cooling, juice your limes into a measuring cup. In a large mixer beat the egg yolks until pale and fluffy. Next add lime juice and rind and mix well. Then add the can of condensed milk and mix on high until mixture is light and fluffy. Pour filling into piecrust and bake for another 15 minutes until the filling is set (doesn’t jiggle anymore).  Remove from oven and cool again. Then top with desired topping. Yum.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Tamari Almonds

Soaking nuts is a new thing too me, but it seems to make sense. Nuts contain many enzyme inhibitors that can strain your digestive system. These enzymes are designed to protect the nut while it is forming until it has enough sun and water to sprout. These enzymes are difficult for our bodies to process so in order to neutralize the enzymes and make the nutrients more bio-available we soak the nuts in salt water and then dehydrate them at low temperatures.  All nuts require different soaking times do to their natural makeup. Some nuts may require longer soaking times then others and the other way around. You don’t want your nuts going mushy on you. To look into soaking times, check out this website: http://www.raw-food-living.com/soaking-nuts.html

I’ve been snacking on Tamari Almonds made by Prana lately and they are very tasty. I decided to try making them myself . They turned out quite well and are very easy to make. They are a handy protein filled snack to have on hand, if you aren’t allergic to nuts that is.

Tamari Almonds

2 cups Whole Raw Almonds
4 cups Water (filtered)
1 tablespoon Salt
¼ - ½ cup Wheat Free Tamari

Mix nuts with salt and water (preferably filtered) in a bowl and leave at room temperature for 8 hours (overnight is easiest). Drain, rinse several times and then place in ¼ - ½ cup of wheat free tamari (enough to get an even coating) and soak for another 8 hours (while you at work for instance). Afterwards, spread almonds on a dehydrator tray and dehydrate at 105 degrees F for 12-24 hours, until you’ve reached your desired crunchy level. 

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Raw Banana Cream Tart

Summer time is a time full of fresh fruits and vegetables in abundance. It’s also a time cooking in your already sweltering kitchen isn’t a fun idea. It’s during these hot muggy days that I find my interest in the raw food movement picks up. It quickly dissipates again when the cold weather returns, but I think the raw food movement is a good one. I may never completely switch, but it certainly is a good and healthy thing to incorporate into your diet. It’s also, naturally, almost entirely gluten free. So if you are leading a gluten free life, researching raw food will expand your dietary options. There are lots of ‘breads’ and ‘wraps’ that you can make strictly out of vegetables and seeds and nuts that are softer and more flexible and more flavourful than our traditional gluten free options. They also seem to last longer than most other options. I need to work on obtaining a square dehydrator to pull that off first, but in the meantime there are many desserts that are naturally gluten free too!

Raw desserts are much healthier treats than the traditional kind because any sugar in the dessert is natural and unrefined. The rest is just fruit and nuts. Nuts have a bad rap for being high in fats, but if you are eating healthy fats you will notice that you loose weight not gain weight. It’s when you eat healthy fats and unhealthy fats that you aren’t going to receive any benefits.  So for a tasty banana treat full of nutrients, try these banana tarts.

Raw Banana Cream Tart

1 cup Brazil Nuts
1 cup Hazelnuts
½ cup Carob Powder
5 Dates
½ cup Honey

1 Cup Cashews
2 1/2 Banana’s
1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
1 tablespoon Psyllium Husk powder

1/2 Banana
Carob Powder

In a food processor place brazil nuts and hazelnuts and pulse until still slightly chunky. Add carob powder, dates and honey and pulse until well combined. If the crust isn’t sticking slowly add water and pulse until mixture forms a ball. Press crust mixture into tart shells approximately ¼ thick. Set aside.

In a blender add cashews, bananas, vanilla and psyllium husk powder and blend until smooth. Spoon filling into tart shells.

To decorate the tart shells, slice remaining banana and place on tarts, then sprinkle with carob powder. Refrigerate for one hour or overnight and serve.