13 February 2019

Cashew Butter Cookies | SCD + Paleo


Cashew butter may be by far one of my favorite foods. It makes the perfect snack for a mid-afternoon pickup, especially when it is paired with apples. I love to add a spoonful to my morning smoothie and when it comes to baking, it is a great ingredient to have on hand. And if you don't have a jar of cashew butter it is the easiest to make! Just toss your raw cashews into a food processor or blender and let it go until it is thick and creamy.

Health Benefits of Cashews
+ Cashew nuts have a lower fat content and a higher protein and carbohydrate content than most other nuts. The fat that they do contain is mostly derived from oleic acid, a monounsaturated oil with known benefits in protecting against heart disease and cancer.
+ They are a good source of protein, magnesium, potassium, iron, and zinc.
+ Cashews contain a class of compounds called phytosterols, compounds similar in structure to cholesterol that can reduce the absorption sites for dietary cholesterol in the gut and thus inhibit the body’s absorption of LDL.
+ The copper in cashews helps to manufacture various enzymes involved in hemoglobin and collagen formation. Collagen is the main structural protein found in hair and skin that gives it elasticity.

I was experimenting with cashew butter and wanted to bake a cookie that was similar to a peanut butter cookie because unfortunately my son is not crazy about peanut butter. The first batch I made was gone in under an hour and all the kids, including my husband, said this recipe was a keeper. For the second batch I decided to add a cacao drizzle on half of the cookies and it was the perfect combination with the cashew butter and rich honey flavor. Please note, cacao is not SCD compliant, but we have been able to tolerate it well. For more info on cacao you can read THIS post.

Cashew Butter Cookies
SCD, Paleo, Refined Sugar-Free, Gluten-Free
yield: about one dozen cookies

1 1/2 cups almond flour
1/4 ts salt
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/3 cup cashew butter
1/2 cup honey
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla
chopped nuts or almond slivers (optional)

1. Heat oven to 375 degrees and line two baking trays with parchment paper.
2. In a medium bowl whisk together the flour, salt and baking soda.
3. In the bowl of an electric mixer beat the cashew butter, honey, egg and vanilla for about 2 minutes until smooth and creamy.
4. Reduce the speed and add the flour mixture until combined.
5. Using a tablespoon, drop the dough, 2 inches apart, onto prepared baking trays. Sprinkle with chopped nuts or almond slivers if desired. Bake until lightly brown, about 8-10 minutes.
6. Cool and enjoy.

08 February 2019

Health Benefits of Raw Honey | SCD + Paleo Caramel Sauce

"Find something you're passionate about and keep tremendously interested in it."
Julia Child

It's no secret we are tremendously interested and passionate about living a lifestyle of clean eating. Not only do we choose this path of life to treat our son's Crohn's disease, but it is a way of living that I believe adds value to our health and enriches our lives. The food industry is constantly changing and transitioning as new trends pop up and we are all aware of the "fad" diets that have made their mark in the media and then trickled down into our daily routines.

The one thing I want to stress is that clean eating is not a fad diet, in fact, I do not look at it as a diet at all. Clean eating is a lifestyle of simply eating healthy foods; foods free from preservatives, added sugars and processed carbohydrates.

I often get asked why honey is a allowed on the Specific Carbohydrate Diet. According the Elaine Gottschall, author of Breaking the Viscous Cycle, "Honey is legal because, as the book states, it contains only single sugars (monosaccharides) which do not need microvilli enzymes in order for the two sugars of which it is composed to be absorbed into your bloodstream. The two sugars are already in the absorbable form. However, sucrose and lactose, etc. need action of the microvilli enzymes and in people with IBD and other illnesses, research shows that these enzymes are not active."

Studies have linked processed sugar to inflammation and disease, leaving honey as a great alternative sweetener. While honey is still sugar, it is healthier than refined sugar and, like all things, should be consumed moderation.

Benefits of Raw Honey Include:
1. High in antioxidants. Antioxidants help to protect your body from cell damage due to free radicals, honey may even help prevent cellular damage and loss within the brain.
2. Research has shown that raw honey can kill unwanted bacteria and fungus.
3. Helps aid in digestion. Honey is also a potent prebiotic, meaning it nourishes the good bacteria that live in the intestines, which are crucial not only for digestion but overall health.
4. Fights the common cold and allergy season. Honey’s anti-inflammatory effects and ability to soothe coughs has led to the belief it can also reduce seasonal allergy symptoms.
5. It's good for your skin. Applying raw honey on the face can treat various skin problems including acne, thanks to the antibacterial properties. Because it is rich in antioxidants and phytonutrients, you can reduce the appearance of premature wrinkles and fine lines by using topically on a regular basis.
6. Boosts energy levels. Honey has a lower glycemic index than sugar. Consequently, the body absorbs honey slower than sugary foods, which in turn creates longer lasting energy.

This easy-to-make Caramel Sauce can be used as a flavoring in puddings and custards, as a topping for ice cream, pies and cakes, or simply to dip with apple and pear slices.

SCD, Paleo, Gluten-Free, Vegan
yield: about 1 cup

1 can full fat coconut milk (FIND it here)
2/3 cup honey (best to buy local)
pinch of Himalayan pink salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1. In a medium sauce pan, combine all ingredients and bring to a gentle simmer over medium heat. Turn the heat down to a low-medium heat and continue to simmer until reduced by about half, stirring occasionally. The caramel should start to turn into a rich amber color. This usually takes about 30-45 minutes.
2.Remove from heat and transfer to a glass bowl. Let the caramel cool to room temperature, then stir and serve as intended.

*DO NOT walk away while making this caramel. While you do not need to constantly stir it, you will need to occasionally stir the sauce to prevent burning.

**Donuts provided by Liberated Specialty Foods