Pumpkin Banana Bread (Gluten Free, Dairy Free, Paleo)

Finally we can say that fall has arrived in New England. This year the weather has been highly unusual with us seeing really high temperatures even in September. I bet that confused the trees and they forgot that their leaves needed to change color ūüôā I had been quite disappointed until now since the lovely and spectacular foliage that we usually are so blessed to witness, was not to be seen.

But that was until last week and now this week suddenly we started seeing colors everywhere. All of a sudden, driving the kids around town for their activities seems so pleasurable! I will occasionally also stop the car and take pictures, which results in the kids letting out sighs and protests ūüôā But I don’t care – I have got to get those pics!

After fall photography, fall baking was next on my list. My neighbor gave us a giant pumpkin that they grew in their backyard! It was so huge that I had to ask my husband’s help to cut into 4 pieces which then I roasted in the oven to get the puree. I also reserved the seeds as I normally do and toasted them too. Read my post on how to roast a pumpkin and on how to toast the seeds here.

I usually bake a pumpkin bread which is always loved by the kids. ¬†This year I wanted to try and make a healthier version and so I searched for paleo versions of pumpkin bread. I found a recipe that looked good from ‘DoyouevenPaleo’ – Paleo Pumpkin Banana bread. I liked that since I had a very ripe banana that I wanted to use ūüôā But that recipe had almond flour and since I did not have that, I wanted to try making it using coconut flour. So I modified the recipe and tried it using coconut flour also adding some coconut oil to ensure the cake came out moist and not dry. ¬†I added some walnuts for crunch factor since my husband loves nuts. But you can easily omit that and make this a nut free cake. Since I am writing this post, you can see that my experiment was a success! The kids and my husband said it was delicious. Since it has eggs, I did not try it – I am wary of reintroducing eggs. Perhaps next year! Anyways, glad the recipe turned out good. So now I can make this regularly for the kids since I have about 6 packs of pumpkin puree in the freezer!

Pumpkin Banana Bread (Gluten Free, Dairy Free, Paleo)
Author: 
Recipe type: Breakfast, Dessert, Snack
Cuisine: American, Fusion, Paleo
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 10-12
 
A scrumptious and healthy version of Pumpkin bread that is grain free, dairy free and refined sugar free, made using coconut flour
Ingredients
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 2 ripe bananas, mashed
  • 4 large eggs
  • ¼ cup maple syrup
  • 1½ cup coconut flour
  • ½ cup tapioca flour
  • 2 tbsp melted coconut oil
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 tsp pumpkin spice
  • ½ tsp allspice
  • ½ cup walnuts (optional)
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350¬įF.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, add the pumpkin puree, mashed banana, eggs, maple syrup, and mix until smooth using an electric mixer (or you can use a stand mixer). Add the coconut flour, tapioca flour, coconut oil, baking soda, salt, and spices. Mix using mixer to blend well together. Add the walnuts and mix gently.
  3. Line a 9" x 5" loaf pan with parchment paper and pour in the batter. Bake for 45-55 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
Notes
You can omit the walnuts and keep this cake totally nut free.

 

Korean Style Sweet Potato Noodles with chicken and vegetables || (Paleo, AIP)

It is amazing how many new foods you come across when you are on a restricted diet.!  Starting on a grain free diet 10 months ago, I was a little apprehensive on how long I would be able to stick to it. But believe me, I have come across so many new grain free options that staying on the diet is not only possible but is also exciting and compelling!

I had come across ‘Korean sweet potato noodles’ a couple years ago at a potluck at work. It was absolutely delicious and I had learnt from the Korean co-worker who had made them that these were made from dried sweet potato noodles and that they were gluten free and grain free. At that time, even though I wasn’t looking for a grain free option, this dish had come across as incredibly novel and tasty and I had made a note to visit the Korean grocers sometime soon so I could pick these noodles.! She told me this dish was called as ‘Jap Chae’

Unfortunately I never got a chance to go to the Korean grocery store and I forgot all about these noodles. Until I went to a local Korean ‘Pick and Mix’ restaurant. ¬†I love their Bibimbap with vegetables and chicken or beef. My entire family loves this place now and we get take outs from here regularly ūüôā

A few months ago, a fellow Paleo blogger posted a sweet potato noodle dish on instagram. I asked her where she got her noodles from and imagine my happiness when she told me she got it from ‘Amazon’ ūüôā How incredibly wonderful I thought and this time I did not waste any time ordering a pack for myself!

I now regularly make these noodles adding a ton of vegetables along with chicken or shrimp or beef. ¬†These noodles have so much flavor that the whole dish turns out be incredibly flavorful even without much spices or condiments. I only use a little bit of chilli peppers, fresh ginger and garlic and coconut aminos (soy sauce). ¬†Yum O! ¬†Thank Goodness for sweet potato noodles – staying grain free is not only easy but also delicious ūüôā

Sharing this noodle dish at the AIP Recipe Roundtable this week hosted by Phoenix Helix. 

Vital Proteins Home

Korean Style Sweet Potato Noodles with chicken and vegetables || (Paleo, AIP)

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Yield: 2-3

Korean Style Sweet Potato Noodles with chicken and vegetables || (Paleo, AIP)

An incredibly delicious, sweet and spicy dish made with grain free sweet potato noodles, lots of sautéed vegetables and shredded chicken

Ingredients

    For cooking chicken:
  • 2 -3 pieces of chicken thighs (about 3/4 lbs)
  • 6-8 whole black peppercorns, crushed (For AIP omit)
  • 1 inch by 1 inch of fresh ginger, chopped fine
  • 2 cloves of garlic, chopped fine
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1 cup water
    For sauteeing:
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil
  • 2 cups cauliflower florets (or mix of cauliflower and broccoli)
  • 1 cup zucchini cubes
  • 1 cup spinach leaves
  • 2 large cloves of garlic chopped fine
  • 1 tsp red chilli flakes or cayenne pepper powder(omit for AIP)
  • 2 tbsp coconut aminos

Instructions

  1. In a large cooking pot , fill upto about 3/4 th with water and bring to a boil. Add the noodles into the pot and heat for about 5 minutes until the noodles our soft. Drain the noodles using a colander and wash it further with cold water and strain again. Keep these noodles aside.
  2. In a medium size cooking pot, add the chicken pieces along with the ginger, garlic, black pepper and sea salt. Add the water and cook for about 15 mins on medium heat until the chicken is well cooked. Let cool and then shred the chicken into small pieces. Strain the chicken stock and reserve.
  3. In a large wok style pan, add the coconut oil. When hot add the vegetables and the garlic. Stir fry for about 1 minute. Then add the red chili flakes (or powder) and coconut aminos (or soy/tamari) and cover and cook for about 3-4 mins until the veggies are all cooked.
  4. Now add the chicken pieces and the noodles to the wok and also add the reserved chicken stock. Stir to mix everything well. Check for seasoning and add salt or pepper as needed. Serve warm or cold!

Notes

You can use any combination of vegetables - some examples, broccoli,mushroom, cabbage etc Since coconut aminos is sweet, I don't feel the need to add additional sweetener but you could a bit of honey too if you like a sweeter sauce

https://indusinternationalkitchen.com/2017/09/korean-style-sweet-potato-noodles-chicken-vegetables-paleo-gluten-free.html

 

Crispy Chicken Bites (Paleo, Gluten Free)

Indo Chinese cuisine is pretty popular in India with the craze first starting sometime in the early 90s I believe. I was in college those days and we would sneak out from college to have lunch at one of these make shift stalls outside our campus to have delicious lip smacking ‘chicken manchurian’ soup and chill chicken curry. ¬†The origins of this fusion cuisine is a bit ambiguous I think because the¬†last time I tried to research about ‘manchurian curry’,¬†¬†I only ended up finding out that Manchurian is a historic region in NE china and there is no curry chicken or otherwise by that name from that region. So I decided to end my research. Anyways, I am so glad that this fusion cuisine came into being combining¬†the best of flavors¬†from both the sub-continents even though the ‘how’ of it is not clear.¬† Hey, let’s enjoy the food right?

I cooked these crispy chicken bites similar to the chili chicken recipe where corn starch is used as the starch/binder. Only thing I did was replaced corn starch with tapioca starch and replaced soy sauce with coconut aminos to make it paleo. As I have mentioned before, even though I am following the stricter autoimmune version of paleo which restricts even chili peppers, I have been having small quantities of red chili powder and other spices occasionally. But you could easily skip the red chili and these chicken bites would still be delicious I can guarantee.! I also pan fried (shallow fry) these using coconut oil and they still came out very crispy!

Crispy Chicken Bites (paleo)
Author: 
Recipe type: Appetizer, Main course
Cuisine: IndoChinese, Fusion
 
Chicken pieces marinated with the flavors of ginger, garlic and cayenne pepper and coated with tapioca starch and fried to get crispy nuggets
Ingredients
  • 1 lb chicken pieces, boneless thigh pieces, cut into bite size pieces
  • 2 tbsp tapioca flour
  • ¾ tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp kashmiri red chilli powder
  • 3 tbsp water
  • 1 tbsp fresh ginger and garlic paste (made by crushing equal quantities of fresh ginger and garlic without any water in a mortar pestle or a food processor)
  • 2 tsp coconut aminos or soy sauce (use coconut aminos for paleo)
  • About 3-4 tbsp coconut oil for shallow frying
Instructions
  1. In a large bowl, add the chicken pieces and blot dry using paper towels.
  2. In a small bowl, mix all the rest of the ingredients and stir using a spoon to form a thick paste.
  3. Add this paste to the bowl with the chicken pieces. Mix using your hands to coat the chicken pieces completely.
  4. Add about 1 tbsp oil at a time in a small frying pan and shallow fry the chicken pieces in batches until they are cooked well and crispy on both sides. Drain on paper towels.
Notes
For AIP version, skip the red chili powder

 

Apple Beet Cucumber Multigrain Paratha (ABC Paratha) with homemade apple chutney

 

He He … ABC Paratha, isn’t that a fun name? Its an interesting story how this particular paratha was conceived in my kitchen. So you see, of late I have been juicing regularly using¬†a variety of vegetables and fruits. ¬†I would always feel upset about throwing away all the pulp since there is so much fiber (and also nutrients) left in the pulp after you juice. ¬†At least my Breville¬†juicer does not really compact my veggies and fruits and so I know there is still a lot of good stuff left in that pulp. What I would do is freeze the pulp and then put it in smoothies and soups.

Then one fine day while I was making methi parathas for my kiddos, a light bulb went on and I said to myself – Hey, next time I an use some of that juice pulp! ¬†And so as it happened , the next time I used Apples, beets, cucumber and celery for making my juice. I faithfully gathered the pulp and saved it for making parathas the following day. ¬†The next day as the kids came home from school, there were these warm, pink parathas ready for them. ¬†They both devoured the parathas. ¬†They loved it! I did not tell them what was in them nor did they bother to ask! ¬†So after that day I kept making such parathas frequently and this combination with the apple, beets and the cucumber was the one they loved the best. One day I had added grapefruit too and that gave a bitter taste which they complained about. So Ok no grapefruit business. let’s stick to the ABC and let’s call it the ABC paratha.

So now this paratha has become a regular in our house along with the methi thepla. Over the past few weeks I experimented further with these parathas adding ragi flour (finger millet flour) and flaxseed meal to replace part of the whole wheat flour. The kids continued to love it. Isn’t that the best thing? When you make them such healthy, wholesome food and they enjoy it?

Btw, I make this paratha now by using freshly grated apples, beets and cucumber even on the days I am not juicing:) And I serve these parathas with my homemade apple and date chutney, which is also a cinch to make and my daughter and my favorite chutney since it is sweet, tangy and spicy. My daughter loves the combination Рof this paratha with the apple chutney.  I think they perfectly complement each other.

Apple Beet Cucumber Multigrain Parantha
Author: 
Recipe type: Breakfast, snack,lunch
Cuisine: Indian
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 3-4
 
Sweet and Savory paratha (Indian flatbread) made of whole wheat and millet flour and stuffed with grated apples, beets and cucumber
Ingredients
  • ½ cup grated apple (about ½ of a medium peeled apple)
  • ¼ cup grated red beets(after peeling the skin)
  • ¼ cup grated cucumber (skin peeled)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ½ tsp red chilli powder(cayenne pepper)
  • ¼ tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • ½ tsp ajwain seeds (carom seeds)
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1½ cups whole wheat flour
  • ¼ cup Ragi flour (finger millet flour)
  • 1 tbsp flax seed meal
  • about ¾ cup water to knead the dough
  • extra ghee or olive oil for cooking paranthas
Instructions
  1. In a large mixing bowl, add the grated beets, apple and cucumber. then add the salt and all the spices and the oil.
  2. Next add the whole wheat flour, the rage flour and the flexed meal and the oil and start mixing together. Add water slowly until you get a smooth dough. (Add additional bit of flour or water as needed)
  3. Divide the dough into small golf ball size balls - about 20 balls.
  4. Heat a frying pan on medium heat.
  5. Take each dough ball and roll using chapati rolling pin into a round chapati shape (about 5-6 inches diameter) - use flour as needed to prevent dough from sticking to the rolling surface.
  6. Place the chapati onto the heated pan and cook for 1 minute. Flip and apply oil or ghee to the chapati and let cook for about 30 seconds and then again flip to the other side. Apply oil/ghee to this side too and again flip to let cook for another 30-40 seconds or until both sides are cooked and have brown spots on top. Transfer to a container to keep warm. Continue making the rest of the parathas the same way.

 

For the recipe of Apple and Date Chutney, Click here

Btw Happy Holi to all those who celebrate! I started writing this post and realized it was Holi. In maharashtra we make stuffed lentil parathas called Puran Poli for Holi. These Pink parathas I made I thought could also be very apt for Holi ¬†don’t you think so? ūüôā

Linking today’s recipe to Plant Based Potluck Party ¬†and to¬†Saucy Saturday this week.

‘So good for you’ smoothies!

Juice or smoothie? If you have wondered about that, let me quickly assure you that both of these are super beneficial for you. And you can use both to improve the health of your family!

When you juice (using a juicer that has filters) you are removing the insoluble fiber ‚Äď the pulp. Although fiber is good for you, it slows down the absorption of nutrients and some nutrients stay in the fiber. When you juice, you are extracting up to 70% of the nutrition right into your glass1, and without the insoluble fiber your body absorbs 100% of these nutrients.¬†Juicing has its advantages in that you get the nutrients out of the vegetables/fruits in their most absorbable state and so body can get the maximum¬†benefits without it having to do any additional work.

Smoothies on the other hand are what you get when you blend whole fruits and vegetables together to form thick pulpy mixture. You can also add other nutritious ingredients to it РYou can toss in a healthy fat, in the form of avocado, coconut oil, chia seeds, or almond butter. And you can blend in plenty of other superfood ingredients for an even broader spectrum of nutrients, like fresh grated ginger, matcha or cacao powder, fresh mint, and cinnamon.

Depending upon what your immediate health goals are, both of these can be beneficial. Juicing is incredibly beneficial for folks who are nutrition deficient and or immunocompromised as in autoimmune conditions. ¬†Some children and even adults who don’t like to eat vegetables with their meals can really benefit from juicing since this way they get all the vitamins and nutrients easily. However, juicing can fail to keep you fully satiated since it does not have the fiber to fill you up. That’s where smoothies come in – smoothies can provide great taste and nutrition along with keeping your tummy full ūüôā

We have been doing smoothies in our house a lot – I make it for the kids as a snack when they come from school. And my breakfast has been strictly only smoothies now for the past few months ever since I am on a Paleo diet. ¬†And I love the fact that I can some up with so many variations of it! ¬†I don’t even bother with recipes – its just about throwing different things together and most of the times they do come out great no matter what you put in them.

Many of my friends and family members have asked me what kind of smoothies I make. So¬†in this post today I just wanted to give you some ideas …only to get you started and then all you need is your imagination and a refrigerator full of fresh and frozen fruits and vegetables!

  1. Go Bananas!:  I love adding bananas in my breakfast smoothies because they are sweet, they are creamy and they give the smoothie a lot of body, meaning they fill me up! Using bananas as a main ingredient, you can create many different smoothie variations using various fruits like apples, plums, strawberries, mangoes, papayas, cantaloupe etc.
  2. Use Avocados: I love avocados for almost the same reasons as bananas – they are creamy, and filling. Plus since they don’t have a strong flavor¬†of their own, so they can blend well with a lot of different fruits and veggies.
  3. Fresh mint/herbs/citrus:  Mint or citrus adds a nice fresh twist to your usual smoothie so use it sometimes to change up the flavor profile of your smoothie. A tinge of Fresh ginger or cinnamon are also great ways to spice up your smoothie giving it a whole new flavor level!
  4. Veggies and Greens: Smoothies are a great way to feed vegetables and nutritious greens to your kids (or to yourself!)- Some good vegetables to add in smoothies are celery, cucumber, carrots, beets and all kinds of greens. Blending Kale or spinach with bananas for example packs in a lot of iron in one glass! And is a great way to increase your iron intake.
  5. Add nutritional boosters: Adding chia seeds, flax seeds, matcha powder, almond butter, coconut oil etc to your smoothie can give it added nutritional and flavor boost!
  6. Healthy Fillers: To make the smoothies more filling, you can add nut milks or coconut milk to the smoothie for a creamy and fully satisfying drink!

As I said before I don’t follow any recipes but just the above rules. Following are 3 recipes that I recently made that I made sure to note the recipes for! ¬†These are incredibly delicious and satisfying!

3 Refreshing Smoothies

  • Servings: Serves 2
  • Time: about 15 mins
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Print

Mint Avocado Cantaloupe:

  • 1 ripe Avocado(peeled)
  • 1 Banana (peeled)
  • 2 cups cantaloupe, chopped
  • 1 orange (skin and seeds removed)
  • 2 fresh mint leaves
  • 1/2 cup water

Green Smoothie

  • 1 Green apple (peeled and sliced)
  • 1 cup fresh spinach leaves
  • 1 Banana (peeled)
  • 1 ripe Avocado (peeled)
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 small fresh parsley leaves
  • 1 tsp chia seeds
  • 1/2 cup water

Very Berry 

  • 1 cup frozen blueberries
  • 1 cup frozen cherries
  • 1 Banana (peeled)
  • 2 kiwis (peeled and sliced)
  • 1/2 cup water

Method: For each of the above smoothies, add all the ingredients to a blender or a food processor and blend completely until smooth! This recipe makes 2 tall glasses!