Happy Holiday season to all of you! By mid-december, everyone around here (at least in our neck of woods here in Connecticut ) seem to get into the holiday mood! Folks are taking days off from work just so that they can finish up their christmas shopping or just so they can hang out at home and take it easy. I feel so happy that I don’t need to take days off from work like other folks – you see I have been ‘off-work’ since when i quit my job earlier this year 🙂 . And what a wonderful and relaxing 11 months it has been! To tell you the truth, I have been in a ‘holiday’ mood through out the past year 🙂 I am loving every minute of it as well as am thankful to God for being able to enjoy this luxury.
Now ever since having gone paleo, warm oatmeal had gone out of my life too! I missed it a lot! Especially now in this cold, cold new england winter weather, I really started craving for something warm that I could slurp lazily in the mornings. And thus in desperation I created this recipe which I honestly didn’t need to try very hard.! Since I used to make tapioca coconut pudding regularly, this recipe was only a slight extension of that one where I decided to add tiger nut flour additionally. I was so glad I did. Addition of tiger nut flour tastes the texture of the pudding considerably. Before where it used to be a huge lumpy mass, now we have a coarse, gritty and more ‘porridge like’ texture! Plus the tiger nut flavor imparts it a delicious nutty flavor!
You may have the question ‘What is a tigernut?’. Well, it isn’t a nut, as the name implies. It is a small root vegetable that grows in Northern Africa and the Mediterranean. Tigernut flour is naturally gluten free and Paleo. And it offers those allergic to nuts an option for adding protein when baking and cooking. High in fiber, iron, potassium, protein, magnesium, zinc and vitamins E and C, tiger nuts were the primary food of our ancient ancestors who lived in East Africa between 2.4 million and 1.4 million years ago, according to a 2014 Oxford University study. One ounce of these crunchy root vegetables contains 40 percent of the recommended daily fiber intake1.
Wash the pre-soaked tapioca pearls thoroughly in water and drain the water. Repeat this 2-3 times until the water runs clear.
Add the washed tapioca pearls to a small cooking pot. Add the coconut milk and the water and the sea salt. Heat on medium heat until the mixture starts to boil. Then turn heat to low and cover and cook for 2-3 mins.
Open the pot and stir once.
Now add the tiger nut flour to the mixture and stir continuously on low heat until a porridge like consistency is obtained (about 1-2 mins)
Turn heat off and serve porridge warm topping with fresh or frozen berries/fruits and / shredded coconut.
After soaking the tapioca pearls should measure to almost 1 cup since they bloom/swell on soaking.
For toppings, you can use fresh or frozen berries or any other fruits!
I sometimes wonder if I could indeed have completed one year on Paleo/AIP if I had not come across cassava flour! Although I have embraced many different types of foods and cuisines in the last twenty years since moving to the United States, one thing that I can still not have enough of is ‘curry’! Yes I need my curry, ma’m and I need something to dunk into that curry you know? Rice and curry or Rotis and curry! Gosh that first couple months on AIp was tough when I just ate a lot of steamed / boiled yuca. Was finally so glad to come across Cassava flour via Instagram. And even more thrilled when I realized I could make tortillas aka rotis aka parathas with them!
Yes, once I got a handle on that, there has been no looking back! Cassava rotis, Cassava parathas stuffed with veggies, cassava tortillas for any kind of tacos. Agreed that it is some amount of work to make these but since I was so used to making the Indian whole wheat rotis on a regular basis for my family that making a few cassava ones additionally didn’t amount to too much work. Besides, I make the dough for a batch of 8-10 tortillas/rotis. And then cook them on an ‘as needed’ basis. The dough stays in the fridge for 3-4 days without any issues.
And lately I noticed a couple AIP flatbread recipes by some AIP bloggers. One of them was for Flatbread Pizza by The Unskilled Cavewoman. Ever since coming across this recipe, I was thinking of trying a version for myself. Last week I had some left over dough that I had made for making cassava rotis/tortillas. Now this is a dough I make every week. Here’s my video for making the cassava rotis/tortillas.
I make it slightly differently than the recipe by ‘The Unskilled Woman‘. One of these days I will try her recipe too. But anyways, since I had the dough left, I had an intense desire to try making a flatbread with it. I decided to first just add some red onions and olives to it since they are my favorite toppings for pizza. I just spread the dough flat on a baking tray and added the toppings. The flatbread came out awesome. I just had it with some herbed extra virgin olive oil.
And then I made it again for the second time this week!. As I started making it, I thought of adding a few cranberries too! And then while it was baking in the oven, I decided to whip up a sauce to spread on top. I was thinking something ‘pesto like’. But then I saw the avocado and decided it would be ‘creamy avocado and basil’. Then I thought of throwing in spinach too since I always try to incorporate as many vegetables as possible into every meal!
The flatbread came out so delicious – loved biting into the cranberries and olives. And don’t forget the red onions. They are the star! You cannot skip them! And the pesto cum sauce complemented it perfectly.! I cleaned up everything in like 5 mins! I did not even want to waste time taking too many pics 🙂
Take a large mixing bowl and add the cassava flour, the salt and oil to it. Then add half of the hot water and stir using a spatula to wet the flour. Then add all the rest of the water and the extra olive oil. Knead using your hands to form a smooth dough.
Line a baking tray with Al foil and brush liberally with the olive oil. Place the dough on this tray and flatten it using your fingers to form a rectangle / flatbread like shape. Pierce lightly with a fork.
Place the toppings on top and again press to get them inside the dough.
Place tray in the oven and bake at 425 F for about 10-12 mins until the bottom is crispy. Take out and brush again with olive oil on top and bake again for another 3-4 mins.
For the sauce:
Add all sauce ingredients to food processor or blender and blend till smooth and creamy. Check for salt and add more if needed.
For the herbed dipping oil:
Mix all ingredients together in a small bowl.
I use Anthony's Goods Cassava flour. If you use a different brand, then the dough consistency and consequently the consistency of the flatbread may come out different.
OK so this is going to be a long post. If you would just like the recipe, scroll to the bottom!
Thanksgiving is one festival which I really look forward to! I think I like it even better than Christmas. Of course the food is one big attraction. However, more important than that is the fact that it forces you to look back, reflect and urges you to be thankful. As they say ‘There is always something to be thankful for’ and what a true statement that is!
For me personally this past year has given me many things to be thankful about. Last November, my RA was at its worst since my diagnosis in 2015. I had tried medications first only to give them up a few months later because of terrible side effects. Then I tried naturopathy, ayurveda and homeopathy. But nothing helped and last November I found myself in front of a new rheumatologist. Reviewing my blood test reports and by examining my joints, he suggested that I go on Rituxan infusions. Rituxan is a very potent chemo drug that is also used to treat RA but can cause serious, even potentially fatal, side effects. Being a pharmacist, I knew about this and so asked the doctor if he could prescribe something else instead and suggested a combination of meds instead. He reluctantly agreed but did not paint an encouraging picture for me.
I did not want to accept the doctor’s prognosis of my disease and decided to think positive. I kept searching the internet for stories of individuals who had turned their RA and other autoimmune diseases around by diet and lifestyle change. I found myself a new naturopath who introduced me to the AIP diet. I started on both- the meds as well as the diet in December of last year. And I prayed. A lot. I wrote down a list of all the things/tasks that I was not able to do then. And then on top of the list I wrote : I will get back to doing these things again…I know I will. The top 3 items on the list were :
Snuggle playfully with my kids in bed
Climb up and down the stairs freely without pain or fatigue
Wear a jacket easily without my shoulders hurting
I prayed with a faith that I never had before. Reading the Bible regularly with a friend helped me to get into that frame of mind. I did not allow for negative and depressive thoughts to linger on my mind. I kept telling myself that I refuse to accept this pain and disability and will do whatever it takes to get better. Doing the AIP diet was one of the ‘whatever it takes’! It was tough to be on AIP. I was already gluten free , dairy free and legume free by then. But on AIP I had to give up my beloved rice too! And that was tough. The first month was very, very hard. But I persisted. The desire to get better was so overpowering that I was willing to do anything. Yes, whatever it takes.
My naturopath also asked me to exercise which was again tough to begin with. My knees and shoulders were so painful and sore that even just climbing onto the elliptical was tough. But I did it in baby steps. The first few days I went to the gym and just sat on the stationary bike and eyed the elliptical building up my mental stamina. And finally one day I had the courage to try it. Slowly with each passing day I got better and I did more and more.
If you have been reading my posts this past year, you would have seen how these changes along with my decision to quit my job early on this year helped me to get better. Last month my blood reports were all in the normal range. Of course I am still on meds but my rheumatologist is also surprised at my recovery. So there is something to be said about holistic healing. I am able to do more than half of the things on my wish list now. And I am hopeful that very soon I will be able to do all of them.
So you see, I have so much to be thankful for. I thank the Lord for making me change my perspective – to go from being depressed and full of self-pity to feeling overwhelmingly positive. I am thankful for having the support of my wonderful family – my loving husband, children, sisters and dad. Also my close friends who made me retain my sanity in those difficult times. Most importantly, I am so thankful that I no longer have to balk away when my daughter comes running up to me to give me a tight hug! God, I am so, so thankful.
OK so now for these pumpkin donut holes that are completely grain free and dairy free. So I make these regular pumpkin munchkins for my munchkins and thought why don’t I try making these with coconut flour? Was fairly easy to make the dough. But then as soon as I put them in hot oil to deep fry, guess what? Oh no!.. they totally disintegrated! Yes completely! I almost gave up on having any pumpkin munchkins for myself but decided to bake these using my mini muffin / cake pop pans.
Boy, was I glad I did that! These babies amazingly resisted breaking apart when inside those tiny moulds and came out perfect. They are still quite soft to handle but hey, they are absolutely delicious!
So this recipe is another thing to be thankful for this year! And what better than to share with all of you guys!
Psalm 107“Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever!”
Hey its Thanksgiving, people!. Cranberries need to be on the menu! Honestly speaking, cranberry sauce has never been my thing. I think all that sugar that goes in it is what puts me off. Because I really love cranberries – I really do! And like to use them in a lot of my curries! I make cranberry rasam often. And for the past two years, I became even more close to cranberries since I have been avoiding tomatoes. I find cranberries to be a perfect substitute for tomatoes in my indian curries and stews. In fact it is a perfect substitute for tamarind also which is another pantry item that I have stopped using now. So cranberries have been my ‘go to’ and pretty reliable friend 🙂
Now this cranberry and cherry sauce has been on my mind for the longest of times. I have been wanting to make a sugar free cranberry sauce and once when I was making a smoothie with cherries, this thought came to mind. I thought of combining it with cherries to balance the tartness with the sweetness of the cherries. And that did seem like a wonderful idea considering both cranberries and cherries are so high on nutrients. The nutrients in cranberries have been linked to a lower risk of urinary tract infections, prevention of certain types of cancer, improved immune function, and decreased blood pressure 1. And cherries are not far behind with their anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and cancer prevention properties2.
So my idea of combining cranberries and cherries seems like a perfect marriage made in heaven right? Well, my inclinations were certainly right. The combined flavor is a perfect balance of tart and sweet and the Indian in me couldn’t resist adding cayenne pepper and garlic for an additional kick:) I started by roasting the berries and the garlic and throwing them in a blender to make a smooth sauce. Then just a little bit simmering with some cayenne and fresh herbs – cilantro and curry. And a final tempering of mustard seeds in coconut oil! Yum!
It tastes fabulous as is and I can only imagine how good it would taste with roast chicken or turkey! I cannot wait to bring it to our Thanksgiving dinner! This will be a great dip for crackers and plenty of other savory stuff!.
Cranberry and Cherry Sauce || Cranberry and Cherry Chutney (Paleo, Vegan, AIP)
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes
A smooth, sweet and tangy sauce made with cranberries and cherries and infused with cayenne and fresh herbs like cilantro and curry leaves!
1 1/2 cups cranberries (fresh or frozen)
1 cup cherries (fresh or frozen)
2 large cloves of garlic with skin on
About 3/4 cup water
About 3/4 tsp sea salt or per taste
1/4 to 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper or kashmiri chilli powder (per heat level desired; omit for AIP)
1/4 cup fresh cilantro leaves chopped
4-5 fresh curry leaves
For the tempering (omit for AIP):
2 tsp coconut oil
1/2 tsp mustard seeds
1/2 tsp fenugreek seeds
Preheat oven to 400 deg F (200 deg C).
Line a baking tray with parchment paper and place the cranberries, cherries and the whole garlic cloves with skin on it. Bake at 400 deg F (200 C) for about 13-15 mins until the berries are roasted - dark skin on top. Peel the skin of the garlic away.
In a food processor or blender, blend the cranberries, cherries and the garlic cloves with some amount of water to form a thick smooth paste. Then add the rest of the water and blend again. Pour this blend into a cooking pot.
Place pot on low heat and add the salt, cayenne (if adding) and stir well. Let simmer for 5 mins on low.
Then add the fresh cilantro and curry leaves and let simmer for another couple mins and turn heat off.
For the tempering, in a small pan, add the coconut oil. When hot, add the mustard seeds. When they splutter add the fenugreek seeds. Continue heating on low until the fenugreek seeds all turn brown and turn heat off. Pour this oil garnish on top of the cranberry cherry sauce.
I can’t believe I am going to be completing one year on Paleo in another two weeks! When I first started on Paleo and that too with AIP in December of last year, I was very apprehensive about how long I could last without eating rice. Rice had been a staple for me – at least one meal a day for all my life! Considering my initial trepidation, I guess I did great! I was on strict AIP for only 4 weeks and after that I slowly started reintroducing spices. The ‘Indian’ in me was learning to live without rice but she definitely needed her spice! With my vast repertoire of Indian curries that use spices in varying proportions, with each blend having its own distinctive flavor, how could I stay away?
I however use very less quantity of spices than what a traditional indian curry might call for. But I definitely needed them! And as long as I could go back to my curries, albeit less spiced versions of them, I was good. And then began a quest for making some kind of bread with which I could sop up all the delicious curries! Cassava flour to the rescue and I started making cassava rotis/parathas/tortillas and was one happy mama!
Now only one thing remained. I needed something substantial for breakfast since I do not like to eat meat for breakfast. I don’t know why …perhaps just because I never did that before. And since eggs and oats were out too, I was left with very slim options. So even large bowls of smoothies couldn’t satisfy my appetite for breakfast. And that’s when I started making lots of other sides to go with the smoothies – plantains – boiled and pan fried, boiled sweet potato, mashed sweet potato, yucca mash etc etc. And then I rediscovered tapioca pearls and started making tapioca pearl pudding, tapioca sweet potato savory hash etc etc. If you check my instagram page, you can see all my creations there!
And finally last month I came up with this sweet potato and tapioca pearls pancake. In India, there is a similar recipe for a savory pancake where potatoes are used instead of sweet potatoes. So I decided to swap the potato with the sweet potato and tried different variations of the recipe to come up with something that was absolutely perfect for me. Crispy on the outside and soft on the inside. A slight drizzle of maple syrup or honey is all you need to make your breakfast perfect!
This pancake recipe is unlike other regular pancakes where you have a flowing batter. Here you get a dough and then you need to pat the dough carefully between plastic or parchment sheets to make a pancake shape. I have attached step wise pics so you can see the consistency of the dough as well as the detailed steps. Believe me, its not too hard once you get the hang of it. I make it literally every other day! This recipe below makes 5-6 pancakes which is like 2 servings.
Hope you try this and let me know how you like it!