Author: baileysorensen

Video Podcast: How To Make Almond Meal

Making your own almond meal is easy as one, two, three! Grab your food processor, your almonds, and an airtight container for storage. Mason jars work great, but plastic containers and zip-locks can work too. You can purchase raw, blanch or un-blanched almonds at your local health food store. These are not salted or roasted. Blanched almonds are almonds that have been soaked and removed of their skin. This choice is merely out of preference, but I believe the skin holds nutrients, so I prefer un-blanched almonds.

Below you will find some of my favorite recipes using gluten free, grain free, high protein almond meal. This ingredient is heart healthy and delicious!

There is a considerable difference between almond meal and almond flour, so don’t get the two confused! They will yield a completely different product if you use almond meal for a recipe that calls for almond flour. Almond meal serves as a versatile coating for chicken, fish, casserole toppings, or granola-like toppings for fruit.

Almond flour is great for desserts, entrees, or desserts. Almond flour is not to be confused with almond meal, which contains whole, ground almonds that still have the skin on them. Almond meal, or almond flour that is not blanched, will not work for almond flour recipes.

Check out this article to discern the difference between almond meal and almond flour.

Almond meal is a perfect alternative:

  • high protein
  • low carb
  • gluten/grain free
  • heart healthy

Check out these almond flour and almond meal recipes!

Almond meal recipes:

Almond Paste

5 Ways to use Almond Meal

Almond flour recipes:

Almond Flour Pancakes

Primal Chocolate Chip Cookies

10 Great Almond Flour Recipes

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Primal Chocolate Chip Cookies

These Paleo certified chocolate chip cookies are nothing short of delicious and satisfying!

  • 2 cups almond flour
  • ¼ teaspoon sea salt
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ cup palm shortening
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • ½ cup chocolate chunks
  1. Combine almond flour, salt and baking soda in a food processor
  2. Pulse in shortening, honey and vanilla until dough forms
  3. Remove blade from processor and stir in chocolate chunks by hand
  4. Scoop dough one level tablespoon at a time onto a parchment lined baking sheet
  5. Press balls of dough down gently
  6. Bake at 350° for 6-8 minutes
  7. Cool for 15 minutes (do not handle prior or cookies will break)
  8. Serve

Makes 18 cookies

Note: If your dough is too dry, add 1-2 tablespoons more honey

Almond Flour Pancakes

Who doesn’t love pancakes for breakfast?

Start your morning off right with this recipe. The possibilities are endless: top with fresh fruit, your favorite nut or seed butter, or Grade B maple syrup.

Yields 18 pancakes

  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 ½ cups almond flour
  • ¼ teaspoon sea salt
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • coconut oil for cooking
  1. In a large bowl whisk together eggs, water, vanilla and honey
  2. Add almond flour, salt and baking soda and mix until thoroughly combined
  3. Heat coconut oil on skillet over medium low to medium heat
  4. Scoop 1 heaping tablespoon of batter at a time onto the skillet
  5. Pancakes will form little bubbles, when bubbles open, flip pancakes over and cook other side
  6. Remove from heat to a plate
  7. Repeat process with remaining batter, add more oil to skillet as needed

See Elana’s Pantry for her library of gluten free, dairy free recipes.

Coconut oil: 10 different ways to use

We are happy to offer information to add value to your life. There is so much information out there and we hope that we offer information that fits your interests. Check out our posts that are all about almonds, coconuts, and dark chocolate. You don’t want to miss out on some of the most beautiful things in life.

Coconut is the talk of all generations, male or female. With its ability to lower cholesterol, aid digestion, rev your metabolism, slow aging, and curb cravings, coconut is the cure-all that should become a staple item in your household.  This versatile product is not just for your diet, but your skin, hair, and other helpful tricks.

Here are ten things you can start doing with coconut oil today!

1. On Toast Instead of Butter – Simply use coconut oil instead of butter on your toast.

2. Makeup Remover – Healthier, stronger and longer eye lashes are just a bonus!

3. Homemade Deodorant – You only need a few ingredients in addition to coconut oil to make this simple deodorant recipe.

4.  Sunburn Care – A great moisturizer to use after you’ve gotten a bit too much sun.

5. Tanning Oil – Put in a spray bottle, spray on to keep skin moisturized.

6. Cheekbone Highlighter – Apply a small amount on cheekbones over makeup.

7. Defrizzer of Split Ends – Just put a tiny amount on your hands and run them through the frizzy areas.
8. Metabolism Booster – 2 tablespoons per day are proven to rev up your metabolism.
9. For Your Owie – Although you may not be ready to give up your Neosporin, coconut oil can even be used as a topical protector for wounds, shielding them with a thin chemical layer from outside contaminants. You can apply a small amount of coconut oil to small scrapes and cuts.
10. Breath Freshener: Coconut oil has anti fungal and antibacterial properties. Gargling for 20 minutes with a spoonful of oil (aka oil pulling) can help clear up germs in the mouth, leading to fresher breath, whiter teeth, and healthier gums.
Swanson talks of even more uses for Coconut in their article, 50 Ways to Use Coconut.
Look for more information on how to use coconut in baking, cooking, health, and beauty in our upcoming posts!

Healthy…Fat?

Healthy fats are crucial to maintaining optimal health. 

There are many questions that regard what is good for you and what is not. A common misconception is that fat will make you fat, when in fact it can do just the opposite. Research will support that eating the right amount of the right fats will enhance your health.  Healthy fats are crucial to any diet and will help you in reaching your health, fitness, and weight loss goals. The more you know about what is going into your body, the better you can discern what is good for your body from what is not. The difference in fat compounds—saturated, unsaturated, and trans—lies in their composition. Each fat is composed differently and can affect the body in different ways. Knowing which foods contain these fats and what they will do your health will add value to your dietary lifestyle and remind you that health isn’t just about weight loss. Several benefits will also be evident with maintaining the right balance.

Common Misconceptions about fat:

Myth: All fats are equal—and equally bad for you.

Fact: Trans fats and some saturated fats are bad for you because they raise your cholesterol and increase your risk for heart disease. But monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats are good for you, lowering cholesterol and reducing your risk of heart disease.

Myth: Eating a low-fat diet is the key to weight loss.

Fact: The obesity rates for Americans have doubled in the last 20 years, coinciding with the low-fat revolution. Cutting calories is the key to weight loss, and since fats are filling, they can help curb overeating.

Myth: Lowering the amount of fat you eat is what matters the most.

Fact: The mix of fats that you eat, rather than the total amount in your diet, is what matters most when it comes to your cholesterol and health. The key is to eat more good fats and less bad fats.

Myth: Fat-free means healthy.

Fact: A “fat-free” label doesn’t mean you can eat all you want without consequences to your waistline. Many fat-free foods are high in sugar, refined carbohydrates, and calories.

Read more about common misconceptions here.

Good Fat, Bad Fat : How To Chose

Fat is a fuel for the body, and the main form of fat is triglycerides. It is recommended that less than 30% of your calories in a day come from fat.

Polyunsaturated fat: This is an essential fat needed by the body for the building of hormones, and cell wall structures. It also helps lower blood cholesterol levels. Examples of this fat are oils like corn, soybean, sunflower, and safflower oil.

Monounsaturated fat: This type of fat is not essential to the body, but helps lower cholesterol. It is healthier for the body than saturated fat. Canola, olive, and peanut oil as well as avocado are examples of this type of fat.

Saturated fat: This type of fat is not essential to the body, and should be reduced as much as possible.Saturated fat is solid at room temperature, while unsaturated fats are liquids, or oils at room temperature. In small amounts, this will not be harmful or have an ill effect on health. It is recommended that 10% or less of your calories come from saturated fat.

Nutrition for Everyone talks about sources of saturated fats. But other saturated fats can be more difficult to see in your diet. In general, saturated fat can be found in the following foods:

  • High-fat cheeses
  • High-fat cuts of meat
  • Whole-fat milk and cream
  • Butter
  • Ice cream and ice cream products
  • Palm and coconut oils

Recent studies show the positive health benefits from coconut oil. Read more here. There are common misconceptions about coconut oil, but Web MD addressed the truth in their article Truth About Coconut. 

Trans Fat This fat is created during hydrogenation by making healthy, unsaturated oils solid into partially hydrogenated fats for use in food manufacturing and solid margarine. Food labels are required to list the amount of trans fat in one serving of the food. Research suggests that this fat like saturated fat increases the bad LDL cholesterol and reduces the HDL good cholesterol. This type of fat is solid at room temperature. Examples are found in processed foods like chips or crackers, solid margarine, processed and convenience foods.

Good Fat Found Here

  • Coconut oil not only helps your health, but can aid in maintaining your ideal weight. Read Dr. Oz’s article, The Surprising Benefits of Coconut Oil. Start using coconut milk, coconut oil, unsweetened coconut flakes, coconut flour, or coconut butter.
  • Raw Cocao  contains:
    • Magnesium, and other essential minerals such as calcium, sulfur, zinc, iron, copper, potassium, and manganese
    • Polyphenols, antioxidant rich flavonoids
    • Vitamins: B1, B2, B3, B5, B9, C, E
    • Essential heart-healthy fat: oleic acid a monounsaturated fat
    • Protein
    • Fiber

For more helpful information see my previous post, Dark Chocolate: It’s food, not candy. Start using Cocao powder as a spice or toping on fruit. Hershey will show you nutrition facts to assure you, its not a fad.

Almonds are a natural source of protein and naturally high in fiber, while being naturally low in sugars.  Plus, a 1 ounce serving has 13g of good unsaturated fats, just 1g of saturated fat, is naturally salt-free and is always cholesterol free. Almonds are the tree nut highest in when compared ounce for ounce.Plus, a 1 ounce serving has 13g of good unsaturated fats, just 1g of saturated fat, is naturally salt-free and is always cholesterol free.

Whole almonds are a naturally high source of :

    • Magnesium
    • Riboflavin
    • Protein
    • Fiber
    • Vitamin E

Visit California Almond Board for more information about almonds. Almond butter, almond milk, almond meal are all good variations to use to soak up their health benefits. Click on each for more information, recipes, and how to make your own at home.

Now that you have all the information and resources to base your decisions, don’t let the words fool you. Add these healthy fats into your diet and you will see the health benefits you have been promised.

 

Dark Chocolate: It’s food, not candy.

Forget what you have heard and listen to this. 

With a few guidelines and helpful information, you can rely on chocolate to provide health benefits for your heart, your blood sugar, and your mood.

Milk, fat, and sugar might be welcomed by your tastebuds, but not your health. Watch out for milk chocolate, for it contains more milk and sugar than chocolate. Chose dark chocolate that contains over 62% cacao, less than . This label means that 62% of its ingredients is cacao; the higher the better! Most trusted brands, like Ghirardelli Intense Dark , Lindt, Green & Blacks, or my personal favorite Eating Evolved. Visit the link and browse their wide range of all natural, dairy free, no sugar added delicious products.

Good for your heart.

Dark chocolate contains flavonoids, compounds that act as antioxidants. Flavonoids protect cells from harmful cell damage that can lead to heart disease. These molecules—called free radicals—that are produced when the body breaks down food or is exposed to sunlight or smoke. Flavonoids can also lower blood pressure and reduce cholesterol by up to 10 percent.

Can help level your blood sugar.

Dark chocolate helps keep your blood vessels healthy by keeping circulation unimpaired. The flavonoids in dark chocolate also help reduce insulin resistance by helping your cells to function normally and regain the ability to use your body’s insulin efficiently. Dark chocolate also has a low glycemic index, meaning it won’t cause huge spikes in blood sugar levels.

Eat chocolate and get happy.

Dark chocolate stimulates the production of endorphins, chemicals in the brain that bring on feelings of happiness. Phenylethylamine (PEA), the same chemical your brain creates when you feel like you’re falling in love, encourages your brain to release endorphins, so eating dark chocolate will make you feel happier. It also contains the chemical serotonin, which acts as an anti-depressant.

Don’t forget these benefits as well:

Along with antioxidants, dark chocolate contains a number of vitamins and minerals that can support your health. Dark chocolate contains some of the following vitamins and minerals in high concentrations:

  • Potassium
  • Copper
  • Magnesium
  • Iron

The copper and potassium in dark chocolate help prevent against stroke and cardiovascular ailments. The iron in chocolate protects against iron deficiency anemia, and the magnesium in chocolate helps prevent type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease.

 Add one serving of dark chocolate to your daily routine and you can be on your way to obtaining these health benefits!

Almond Joy : Not So Joyful

Hershey Almond Joy

Almond Joy Nutrition Information

Almond Joy Nutrition Information

INGREDIENTS:

CORN SYRUP; MILK CHOCOLATE ( SUGAR; COCOA BUTTER; CHOCOLATE; MILK; LACTOSE; MILK FAT; NONFAT MILK; SOY LECITHIN; PGPR, EMULSIFIER) ; COCONUT; SUGAR; ALMONDS (ROASTED IN COCOA BUTTER AND/OR SUNFLOWER OIL) ; CONTAINS 2% OR LESS OF: PARTIALLY HYDROGENATED VEGETABLE OIL (SOYBEAN AND PALM OIL); WHEY (MILK); COCOA; SALT; NATURAL AND ARTIFICIAL FLAVOR ; CHOCOLATE; SOY LECITHIN; HYDROLYZED MILK PROTEIN; SODIUM METABISULFITE, TO MAINTAIN FRESHNESS; SULFUR DIOXIDE, TO MAINTAIN FRESHNESS; CARAMEL COLOR

All of these bold ingredients should be a red flag warning that your body will not like decompressing and digesting through all of these processed ingredients. The reason manufacturing companies use products that require processing is to make distribution easier to create a better tasting, longer lasting, more durable product. Even if it is a candy bar, many of these ingredients have a purpose of preserving taste, form, and holding against packaging, shipping and distributing. Also, when involving chocolate, ingredients like soy lecithin, PGPR, emulsifier, more soy lecithin, and sodium metabisulfite, are used to create a smooth, non-plastic, chocolate that wont melt easily.

I will define the contents in bold. Most of these aren’t easily pronounced, let alone comprehended.

Corn syrup is a food syrup, which is made from the starch of corn and contains varying amounts of maltose and higher oligosaccharides, depending on the grade. Corn syrup is used in foods to soften texture, add volume, prevent crystallization of sugar, and enhance flavor

Sugar is the generalized name for sweet, short-chain, soluble carbohydrates

Milkfat (also known as butterfat)  is the fatty portion of milk

Soy lecithin group of yellow-brownish fatty substances occurring in animal and plant tissues composed of phosphoric acid, choline, fatty acids, glycerol, glycolipids, triglycerides, and phospholipid

PGPR emulsifier made in a three step process from glycerol and fatty acids, respectively. PGPR reduces the viscosity of chocolate and similar coatings and compounds. It works by decreasing the friction between the particles of cacao, sugar, milk,

Sodium Metabisulphite The substance is sometimes referred to as disodium. It is used as a disinfectant, antioxidant and preservative agent

Sulfur Dioxide a colorless pungent toxic gas formed by burning sulfur in air. It is used in foods to preserve them.

All of these ingredients may be disheartening now that you are aware of what they are. It may not move you to never eat a candy bar again, but it may make you think twice about what you are putting into your body. . Although almost–but not all– every Hershey product is labeled as Gluten Free, it doesn’t mean it is a healthy choice.

Always read labels and use your discernment when making your food choices! Your body will thank you.

7 Layer Bars

Right out of my favorite cookbook Against All Grain, these 7 layer bars are a hit!

All the labor has a satisfying payoff. Each layer requires separate preparation, but all parts come together to create one amazing treat!

PREP TIME: 60 mins  COOK TIME: 45 mins TOTAL TIME: 105 mins

Makes 1 dozen bars

Recipe:

Caramel Sauce:
1/2 cup honey
1-1/2 tablespoon palm shortening or ghee
1/2 cup coconut milk
1/2 teaspoon sea salt

Crust:
1∕3 cup plus 1 tablespoon coconut flour
1⁄4 cup almond flour
1⁄4 cup unsweetened applesauce
2 tablespoons coconut oil
1 tablespoon honey
1⁄2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1⁄2 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
1⁄4 teaspoon baking soda
1⁄4 teaspoon cinnamon
Pinch sea salt

Ganache:
3 ounces unsweetened chocolate
1 tablespoon coconut milk
3 tablespoons honey

Coconut Cream:
3 tablespoons coconut butter
6 tablespoons coconut milk
2 tablespoons honey

Toppings:
1⁄2 cup chopped walnuts
1⁄4 cup shredded, unsweetened coconut
1⁄4 cup dairy-free chocolate chips

Instructions:

  1. Make the caramel sauce. Bring the honey to a low boil in a deep saucepan over medium-high heat. Simmer on medium heat for 5 to 7 minutes, swirling the pan occasionally to ensure even browning and a dark amber color. Remove from heat and carefully whisk in the palm shortening, coconut milk, and salt. Return to heat and continue cooking for 15 minutes. Cool to room temperature. Do not under cook, carmel will be too runny.
  2. Make the crust. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Place the crust ingredients in a bowl and mix until a dough forms. Press the dough into an 8-by-8-inch ovenproof dish. Bake for 10 minutes. remove and cool on a wire rack for 15 minutes.
  3. Make the ganache. Melt the chocolate slowly over a double broiler or in a bowl set over a pot of simmering water. stir in the milk and honey. spread the chocolate mixture over the crust.
  4. Drizzle cooled caramel sauce over the chocolate layer. sprinkle chopped walnuts over the chocolate layer.
  5. Sprinkle chopped walnuts over the chocolate layer.
  6. Make the coconut cream. Place the coconut cream ingredients in a small bowl, whisk, and then drizzle over the walnuts.
  7. Sprinkle shredded coconut over the cream layer.
  8. Finish with a layer of chocolate chips.
  9. Place the bars in the oven and bake for 20 minutes. cool on a wire rack for 15 minutes, then refrigerate for 1 hour to set. cut into 12 even bars.

Add a little joy to your life!

We are all about the main ingredients found in Hershey’s Almond Joy candy bar: Almonds, Coconut, and Chocolate. As sweet and satisfying as this treat may be, its ingredients are far from their natural state.  Instead of highly processed ingredients that are pressed into a sweet treat, we are using  all natural, high quality, minimally processed ingredients. Anything that involves any form of almonds, coconut, and dark chocolate, we want to talk about it!

We want to share our joy about these ingredients with you!  By providing information about each of these ingredients, their uses, where to find them, and how to incorporate them into your daily diet routines, we hope that you will have a newfound joy too.

From authors that have their own dietary boundaries, we will be talking to you from three different perspectives. We hope that these perspectives will provide support, information, and encouragement to those that may have the same conditions. We all have our own unique stories to share!

Bailey’s recipes are tailored to fit those with gluten, dairy, grain, and soy allergies. Many know this by the term “Paleo”. To learn more about the Paleo diet you can visit Robb Wolf’s website.

Rae Ann  and Peyton will tell you a little more about their dietary journeys in their ‘about’ posts.

 If you are living with any food intolerances, allergies, or are just looking for a lifestyle change we can’t wait to share that journey with you. Away with the doubt of never enjoying anything sweet and satisfying! From dessert recipes to easy on-the-go combinations we hope to give you something to look forward to.

Say yes to almonds. Say yes to coconut. And definitely say yes to dark chocolate.