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!”
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Rush Offer!: I made this soup in my new Instant Pot. Instant Pot Duo Plus 6 Qt is now available at amazon for $74.95 for a limited time!
Fall always brings a sense of contentment in me. The vibrant colors makes you want to go for leisurely walks trying to soak in all that beauty. The change in weather makes me want to snuggle in blankets all day long and plan for the imminent holiday season. This year has been a particularly relaxing year for me after I decided to quit my job early in January. I took this hard decision with careful thought and reasoning and my desire to get my RA under control was the influencing factor in this decision. Stress is a trigger and an aggravator for most autoimmune diseases and I am fairly convinced that the stressful work environment that I was in for the last few years was one of the factors responsible for the sudden onset of my RA two years ago.
So it was time to take care of myself after being 100% focused on only the needs of the children and the family for the past 18 years. And let me tell you – this was long, long overdue. A lot of times, we, especially women become such ‘busy’ beings that we don’t even realize that we have become machines, working like clock work. I didn’t realize when I made the decision to quit that it would have such a profound impact on my health and well being. I quit because I felt I could not do both the things – do the job as well as take care of myself. Now I feel…. ‘liberated’. I am so thankful to God for being able to take this break. I can indeed vouch for the fact that lifestyle changes can have a profound impact on your disease and well being. I am not sure when and if I will ever get back to my previous professional life. But for now its all about taking a step back and rejoicing in all the positive things that has happened this year. I am just lazing around, enjoying the beauty and doing what I enjoy the most – cooking all day! For the past two weeks, its about warm and comforting soups and this pumpkin coconut soup is one such comforting bowl of deliciousness that makes you relax, unwind and be thankful.
Last week I roasted two large pumpkins and froze them in ziplock bags. That is what I used for this soup. To see how to roast a pumpkin, check this post of mine from before. I made this soup in the Instant Pot. I find it convenient to use the Instant Pot for soups since you can put it on and do your stuff without having to wait around. Plus it keeps the soup warm until you are ready to eat! Instant Pot Duo Plus 6 Qt is available at amazon for $74.95 for a limited time!
A delicious and comforting soup made from roasted pumpkin and coconut milk mildly spiced with Indian spices like turmeric and cumin
1 tbsp coconut oil
1 medium size onion, chopped fine
2 celery stalks, chopped fine
1 tbsp garlic, chopped
1 tbsp fresh ginger, chopped
4-5 fresh curry leaves
2 serrano chillies, chopped fine (optional, skip for AIP)
1 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp sea salt
½ cup fresh or frozen cranberries
2 cups pumpkin puree (homemade or canned)
2 cups water
1 cup coconut milk (organic canned or fresh home made)
1 tsp cumin powder (skip for AIP)
¼ cup fresh cilantro leaves, chopped
Instant Pot method:
Put Instant Pot on saute mode. Add the coconut oil and then add the onions and celery. Stir on high for 1 minute. Then add the garlic and ginger and curry leaves and chillies (if adding) stir on low for 1 minute.
Next add turmeric, salt and cranberries. Stir for 30 secs. And add the pumpkin puree and water. Close the lid on the Instant Pot and set valve to sealing. Set pressure cook time to 10 mins. Release steam carefully, open the lid and add the coconut milk. Add cumin (if adding) and again pressure cook for 5 more mins. let pressure release naturally.
Using an immersion blender, puree the soup (or use a blender/food processor to blend)
Add fresh cilantro leaves and serve warm.
Regular Pot Method:
Follow the same exact steps as above increasing initial cooking time to 20 mins.
Conventional Pressure Cooker:
Follow the same exact steps as Instant Pot.
Cranberries provide a nice flavor and tartness to this soup. I use them as a substitute for tomatoes so do not skip them. For making homemade coconut milk, check my recipe post 'How to make homemade coconut milk, coconut flour and coconut yoghurt'
Ever since I went grain free about 9 months ago, tapioca has been my savior! Tapioca has a variety of different names in case you are confused – tapioca, yucca, cassava! Yes they are all the same root vegetable. The end product also comes in a variety of forms – fresh yucca roots, frozen yucca pieces, tapioca pearls (sabudana in hindi, also called a s sago), cassava flour, tapioca starch or tapioca flour.
And I use each of these different forms to create a multitude of dishes which enables me to not only stick to my grain free diet but also enjoy it! Tapioca pearls are a product made from fresh tapioca/yucca. In India this ingredient called as sabudana is primarily used during religious fasting periods. Sabudana Khichdi is one such popular dish.
Nowadays I have started using sabudana to make sabudaana kheer or pudding where I use coconut milk and coconut. This recipe is a variation of the tapioca pearl pudding recipe where I incorporated fruits to make it a ‘parfait’. So yum. This has become one of my regular items for breakfast now but this could easily be your dessert too!
A delicious and light parfait made with alternate layers of tapioca coconut pudding and fresh papaya and pomegranate.
½ cup tapioca pearls(sabudana or sago), soaked in water overnight (or at least for 4 hours)
½ cup coconut milk
½ cup water
1 tbsp grated coconut (fresh or frozen)
1 tbsp maple syrup or honey
¼ tsp sea salt
½ cup fresh papaya pieces, chopped
2 tbsp pomegranate arils
Drain the tapioca pearls using a strainer. Wash thoroughly in running water while in strainer. Place the tapioca pearls in a medium cooking pot and add all the rest of the ingredients except the fruits.
Cook on medium heat for about 7-8 mins stirring continuously until all the pearls turn translucent. Turn heat off. Let cool for a few mins.
In a tall serving glass, layer this tapioca pudding with the fruits and serve!
You can use any combination of fruits for this recipe
It has been blueberry season these past few weeks and we have been enjoying it to the fullest! With two farms within a couple miles from our home, we are so fortunate to get the freshest of the freshest every season! This year I made two trips to each of the farms. The kids being older now…they aren’t as excited about picking as they used to be some years ago. However, I still dragged them with me saying ‘mom cannot carry heavy stuff alone, remember?’. And that is the truth too. Although my RA has been under control now for the past few months with medications and my new diet, I still avoid carrying even moderately heavy stuff lest it stirs up a flare! And the kids know this. So that’s how I got them to go with me 🙂
We picked like about 4 quarts or 6 lbs each time and finished up all of it in a couple weeks! I had got more thinking I will freeze some but the blueberries were so delicious that between just gobbling them up and adding to my morning smoothies they were all gone. And so I was planning for a 3rd visit when my friend Monika happened to mention that she was planning to go that weekend with her kiddos. Rest you can guess …yeah I asked (em..ordered) her to get me another 4 quarts:)
OK so this time, I had to make the blueberry crostata for my children that I make every year and which they had been asking for. So I made that for my son on his birthday and then since I was craving for a pie myself, I made this Paleo version of blueberry pie for myself based on the Blackberry pie recipe by Autoimmune wellness. Since I was making this only for myself, I decided to make two mini pies using my cute tartlet pans. You might remember that I had made another blueberry dessert recently using these pans – Paleo Blueberry tartlets . Yeah what can I say? I am indeed crazy about blueberries 🙂
The pies turned out perfect. Since I was doing a small batch, I had to add a little more coconut flour than what the original recipe stated. A lot of times in baking, the same proportions of ingredients do not hold when you do a smaller batch. In any case, the crust with the coconut flour was so yummy – almost shortbread like crumbly but very scrumptious! Thank you to Autoimmune Wellness site for this wonderful Paleo crust recipe. I think next time I might make a large batch for the whole family! Healthy and delicious you can’t beat that right?
A healthy and delicious blueberry pie with an absolutely tasty, grain free coconut flour crust!
For the crust:
⅓ rd cup plus 2 tbsp coconut flour
⅓ rd cup arrowroot flour
pinch sea salt
¼ cup coconut oil (semi solid)
About 1 tsp ice cold water
For the filling:
1 cup blueberries (fresh or frozen)
¼ cup water
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp maple syrup
1 tsp tapioca flour mixed in 2 tbsp water
Pre-heat oven to 325 deg F.
In a medium size mixing bowl, add all the crust ingredients except the water. Mix using your hands and add the water and form a dough. (You may need to add a little more coconut flour if you feel the dough is too sticky). The dough should be smooth. Divide the dough into two equal parts.
Line two mini pie pans with parchment paper. Place the dough in each of the pans and press using your hands to cover the base and sides of the pan. Prick using a fork. Bake at 325 deg F for about 10 mins until the crust looks golden brown from top.
While the crust is baking, in a small pot add all the filling ingredients except the tapioca flour. cook for about 5 mins on medium heat. Then slowly add the tapioca flour slurry and stir continuously until you get a thickened filling.
Pour this filling onto the pie pans and bake the pies again at 350 deg F for 5 more mins. Let cool for 10 mins before serving!