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!
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!”
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!
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 🙂 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 🙂 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 🙂 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!
A scrumptious and healthy version of Pumpkin bread that is grain free, dairy free and refined sugar free, made using coconut flour
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)
Preheat oven to 350°F.
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.
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.
You can omit the walnuts and keep this cake totally nut free.
I have made a lot of different type of patties. In India we also liked to call them cutlets. Vegetable cutlets, Chicken cutlets, Shrimp cutlets and Beef Cutlets. They all have almost a similar base – mashed potatoes, onions, garlic, some spices and then dipped in egg wash and coated with bread crumbs. Shallow fried to get a crispy crust and a soft inside. Ooh my mouth is watering!
Now that I am on a grain free and egg free diet, the above recipe wasn’t going to be of much use to me. But if you know me, you will know that I don’t give up that easily! A few months ago, I made Beef Cutlets that were grain free and egg free by using tapioca flour and shredded coconut. And since then I had been using this technique for a lot of other things – Crispy Calamari being another such recipe.
Tuna had been on my mind for the longest time. But somehow never got around to making Tuna cutlets until now. Last week I finally rectified that. And I am SO GLAD I decided to make these Tuna cutlets. OMG! These are I think the best patties/cutlets/cakes of all the different ones that I have made over the years. These are to die for! Seriously, I made a small batch of 6 cutlets and I ate almost 4 in one sitting!
Then I felt guilty and so made another batch the next day so I could share with the family and the kids absolutely loved it too! The crispy coating imparted by the shredded coconut and the soft interior with the shredded tuna mixed with just the right amount of spices, makes eating these cakes an incredibly delightful experience that every foodie needs to indulge in! Now I did add potatoes to this and so this is not Paleo. However, you could easily sub mashed yucca for potatoes in this same recipe. As for me, I LOVE potatoes and although I limit the quantity of starch I have, once a week I do like to cook something with potatoes in it. (actually it ends up being chicken and potato curry almost every week:) )
Tuna Masala Cakes with a coconut crust (Gluten Free, Whole30, Egg Free)
Author: Indira Shyju
Recipe type: Appetizer
Cuisine: Fusion, American, Indian
Scrumptious tuna and potato cakes mildly spiced with Indian spices with a crispy coconut coating
2 cans 4.5 oz each of shredded tuna (in water or olive oil - I prefer olive oil)
2 small or 1 medium size boiled potatoes (about 1 cup when mashed)
1 tbsp coconut oil
½ of a red onion, chopped fine
2 cloves of garlic, chopped fine
1 tsp freshly grated ginger
2-3 fresh curry leaves(optional)
½ tsp turmeric powder
¼ tsp kashmiri chilli powder (or a pinch of cayenne pepper)
1 tsp cumin powder
1 tsp garam masala
½ tsp sea salt or as needed
For the crust:
2 tbsp cassava flour(see Notes)
pinch sea salt
¼ cup plus 2 tbsp water
about 1 cup dry shredded coconut (I used Bob's Red Mill)
Coconut Oil for shallow frying
Drain the water or the oil from the can of tuna and add the tuna to a large mixing bowl. Peel the potatoes and mash them well. Add to the bowl with the tuna. Keep aside.
In a small pan, add the coconut oil and the onion. Saute for about 2 mins and then add the chopped garlic and the grated ginger and the curry leaves )if adding). Saute for another 1 min. Lower heat and add all the spices. Sir well for 30 secs and turn heat off.
Add this onion and spices mixture to the bowl with the tuna and potatoes. Sprinkle the sea salt on this mixture (before adding salt make sure tuna is not very salty and accordingly lower amount of salt if needed). Now using a masher or your hands mix everything well to incorporate the onion and spices with the potatoes and tuna. The mixture should resemble a dough like consistency at this point.
Shape into about 6-8 patties (depending upon size of patty). Keep patties aside.
In a small mixing bowl, add the cassava flour and water and mix to get a batter. Keep this aside.
In a plate, add the shredded coconut.
Heat a frying pan with a layer of coconut oil (just enough for shallow frying)
When the oil gets hot, turn heat to medium and then dip each patty into the cassava batter coating it fully with batter and then dip it in the plate with the shredded coconut to get he coconut coating. Place the patty on the pan. Repeat similarly for all the patties.
Cook each patty for about 2 mins on one side until golden brown. Flip and cook the other side. Drain on paper towels to remove excess oil. Serve warm!
For a Paleo version, substitute mashed yucca in place of potatoes. For AIP version, in addition to using mashed yucca, omit cayenne pepper, cumin and garam masala and replace with cinnamon powder. You can use tapioca flour instead of cassava flour in this recipe but you may need to add a bit more water to get a slurry.