Category:  Healthier Alternatives

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Easy Homemade Paleo Ketchup

In Dinners and Meals, Healthier Alternatives, Vegan On August 24, 2017 0 Comments

Traditionally, I have never been a fan of ketchup. However, this was probably biased by my dislike to processed foods. I must admit that having this healthy, Paleo, homemade ketchup around was a great companion to some barbeque dishes this summer. We did not only use it to accompany barbeque dishes but I also find it convenient to serve in a gluten free wrap with some leftover roast beef. Well, I guess, unlike me, ketchup users will already have their use for this ketchup.

Use healthy ingredients

The recipe is quite simple. I looked for genuine ingredients since I was not doing the tomato puree from scratch. I bought organic products and checked that there were no nasty ingredients in the ingredient list. The tomato puree contained just tomatoes and the rest of the ingredients are one ingredient items :)

 


 

Easy Homemade Paloe Ketchup
Yields 1
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Prep Time
5 min

Cook Time
30 min

Total Time
35 min

Prep Time
5 min

Cook Time
30 min

Total Time
35 min

Ingredients
  1. 500g tomato puree (preferably organic or made with 100% tomatoes)
  2. 1/4 cup honey
  3. 2 tablespoons Apple cider vinegar
  4. 1 tablespoon mustard
  5. 1 tablespoon onion powder
  6. 1 teaspoon salt
Instructions
  1. Place all the ingredients in a sauce pan, bring to a boil and then simmer for around 30 minutes.
  2. Store in an airtight container in refrigerator for up to one month. Always use a clean teaspoon to have your serving. Otherwise, the contents are likely to rot or grow mould.
Notes
  1. You may wish to try this delicious Paleo and gluten free wraps to accompany this recipe http://www.rodysheartycorner.com/garlic-naan-bread/
Rody's Hearty Corner http://www.rodysheartycorner.com/

Cauliflower Hummus

In Healthier Alternatives, Savory Bites, Vegan On August 30, 2016 0 Comments

Cauliflower is such an amazing vegetable when it comes to Paleo aka grain free recipes. You can create so many alternatives out of cauliflower and this hummus recipe is yet another use which I have recently discovered.
 

 
Chickpeas are great, don’t get me wrong. I like their taste and absolutely love the traditional hummus. But being a grain, even though gluten free, I still feel it’s nasty effect. It does make me less energetic and slightly bloated. So I feel like I’d rather take a pizza instead and when I want to stay light, I indulge in Paleo food. In fact this is why I love paleo, grain and refined sugar free food. It just makes me feel better!

cauliflower hummus (2) (Medium)

Apparently cauliflower hummus is not something new for Paleo diet, as I found many different variations of this recipe online. The good thing about it is that you can season it to your own taste. You can add other ingredients and remove the ones you don’t like. Feel free to experiment with the ingredients you put in. Some popular flavours are fresh garlic, cumin, coriander, turmeric, fresh herbs like basil and mint, tahini paste, yogurt, paprika and olives.

Since I previously mentioned that cauliflower is a saviour in many paleo recipes and alternatives, I thought of reminding you about these recipes (click on links for recipe):

Cauliflower pizza base

Cauliflower rice

Cauliflower couscous

Cauliflower buffalo wings

Cauliflower veggie patties

Cauliflower tortillas

Mac & Cheese inspired vegetable bake

Pineapple surprise

Rice free sushi

 

 

Cauliflower Hummus
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Ingredients
  1. 1 head cauliflower
  2. 1 whole head of garlic
  3. 1 tablespoon tahini paste (optional)
  4. fresh parsley or any other fresh herbs
  5. 2 tablespoons olive oil
  6. 1 teaspoon paprika powder
  7. salt and pepper
  8. water (optional)
Instructions
  1. Cut the top of the garlic head so that all garlic cloves are exposed. Place it inside some thin foil and bake in the oven for around 20 minutes. This will soften the garlic and create a nice flavour of roasted garlic. Otherwise feel free to use around three cloves of fresh garlic instead for a potent garlic flavour.
  2. In the meantime steam the cauliflower.
  3. When both garlic and cauliflower are ready blend all the ingredients in a food processor. You will need to squeeze the roasted garlic out of the skin. Add water depending on the consistency desired.
  4. Serve with raw vegetables or with homemade crackers (olive oil herb crackers or flax seed crackers).
Notes
  1. Don’t forget to experiment and add your own flavours to this dip. Other ideas of what you could add are: cumin, coriander, turmeric, fresh herbs like basil and mint, yogurt, paprika, olives
Rody's Hearty Corner http://www.rodysheartycorner.com/

 

Homemade chocolate chips

In Healthier Alternatives, Sweets and Treats, Vegan On May 31, 2016 0 Comments

I have made homemade chocolate using coconut oil and cacao powder countless times and I always wished I could use this healthier, less processed chocolate in my other baking recipes. Since this type of chocolate needs to set inside a refrigerator I always questioned if there was a way to set it into chip size, since ideally this chocolate sets it’s shape in a mould directly. You could eventually chop out a homemade chocolate bar, but that sometimes just doesn’t work out as good. Having a mould would create an even and uniform chip. Trying to search for a chocolate chip silicon mould was futile so I had set aside this idea until I came across a cool tip on forestandfauna.com. The idea was to use a silicon pot holder also known as a trivet, to shape the chocolate chips. I thought this was way too cool of an idea and decided to give it a go.

chocolate chips trivet square

Making chocolate chips using the silicon criss-cross hollows on the trivet made this an easy job. Just prepare your chocolate, place it in the mould and then freeze until ready to serve.

As for the ingredients, you might want to use cacao butter instead of coconut oil, if you are using the chocolate chips for baking. This is because cacao butter has a higher melting point thus making the chocolate harder when it sets. If you are using the chocolate chips raw, you can just use the normal combo of coconut oil, cacao powder and honey.

Try raw chocolate chips with these recipes (click on links to open recipes):

–          Topped on overnight oats

–          Mixed with grain free granola

–          Topped on these easy pancakes

–          Topped on chia seed pudding

Try using chocolate chips in these baking recipes (click on links to open recipes):

–          Real deal paleo cookies

–          Banana bread with chocolate chips 
 
chocolate chips square

 
 

Homemade Chocolate Chips
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Prep Time
10 min

Cook Time
5 min

Total Time
15 min

Prep Time
10 min

Cook Time
5 min

Total Time
15 min

Ingredients
  1. 3 tablespoons coconut oil or 3 tablespoons cacao butter (use butter if using chips for baking)
  2. 6 tablespoons cacao powder
  3. 2 tablespoons coconut sugar or maple syrup
  4. coarsely ground roasted almonds (optional)
Instructions
  1. Heat the coconut oil or cacao butter on top of a double boiler (banju marija) until just melted.
  2. Remove from heat and add cacao powder and coconut sugar and mix well. Stir well until you have a smooth consistency.
  3. Lay the silicon trivet on top of a chopping board or a flat plate. Spoon the melted chocolate over the trivet filling in the holes with chocolate.
  4. Transfer the plate inside a freezer for at least two hours. Keep the chips stored inside the trivet in the freezer, for optimum preservation. Otherwise you can remove the chips from the trivet once set and store them inside a zip lock bag or releasable container.
  5. Use as suggested above or to replace chocolate chips in any recipe. Enjoy!
Rody's Hearty Corner http://www.rodysheartycorner.com/

 

Easy Strawberry Jam

In Breakfast Basket, Healthier Alternatives, Sweets and Treats, Vegan On April 26, 2016 1 Comment

This is a very simple jam recipe, far different from the conventional style of making jam. I find it great since it is done without sugar or nasty preserves. It is also fairly easy and quick to make. It’s also the perfect time to make strawberry Jam here in Malta as it’s almost end of season for strawberries. Strawberries now are cheap and ripe, perfect for preserving. You could alternatively use this same recipe with other fruit like berries, peaches, oranges and so on.

strawberry jam (1) (Medium)

Using chia seeds to make jam is a very clever idea. I usually associate chia seeds with chia seed pudding recipes. It never crossed my mind that I could make jam out of this incredible, gelatin forming seed. Thus I would really like to give merit to the original inventor even though I don’t know who she / he is. There are so many recipes online that it’s hard to spot the original one, so thank you, whoever you are! Through this post I am now sharing the version which worked for me.

  

Below is a picture of the strawberries before cooking:

This is how the strawberries will look like when they are complete:

How to use chia jam

Here are some great ways in which you could use this jam and other ideas for using strawberries: 

–          Use this jam in a parfait like this one 

–          Use this jam spread on grain free nut bread. Bread recipe here

–          Use to top these 3 ingredient pancakes 

–          Make these fruit ice lollies 

–          Make flavored water with fresh fruit

–          Use strawberries / jam to top these healthy waffles 

–          Mix strawberries / jam with Greek yogurt and flax seeds. I have posted similar recipes on Instagram.

–          Use in sponge cake

 strawberry jam (2) (Medium)
 

Easy Strawberry Jam
Yields 1
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Prep Time
10 min

Cook Time
15 min

Total Time
25 min

Prep Time
10 min

Cook Time
15 min

Total Time
25 min

Ingredients
  1. 2 cups fresh strawberries (300g)
  2. 2 tablespoon chia seeds (20g)
  3. 2 teaspoons honey or maple syrup for vegan recipe
Instructions
  1. Chop the strawberries into small pieces.
  2. Place the strawberries in a small pan and cook on a low temperature until the strawberries begin to soften and break down. This should take around 10 to 15 minutes.
  3. When all the strawberries have softened (and the mix bubbled up for more than 5 minutes) turn off the heat and let cool for 5 minutes.
  4. Add the honey to your liking, stir, then add the chia seeds and stir again.
  5. Transfer the jam mixture into a clean mason jar. Keep stirring from time to time to allow the chai seeds to absorb the mixture uniformly until all the seeds have softened and jam has completely cooled down, before storing in the refrigerator.
Notes
  1. If preserving in a sterilised, unopened jar, the jam can keep up to 3 months. Whilst open it is best consumed within 2 to 3 weeks.
Rody's Hearty Corner http://www.rodysheartycorner.com/

 

 

Dehydrated Cranberries

In Healthier Alternatives On January 6, 2016 0 Comments

 It’s the perfect time to try making your own dehydrated cranberries if you own a dehydrator. Cranberries are in season making them cheaper than other times of the year. This recipe will only work if you have a dehydrator as using the oven will require a very long time which makes it expensive. I personally own a 4 tray Excalibur dehydrator. I have found it convenient although I find myself tempted to upgrade to a 9 tray one, to prepare a larger batches in order to maximise energy efficiency. Excalibur is the best brand that you will find around, and I would recommend it since I found it good and reliable. My favourite dehydrator recipes are dried pineapple, beef jerky, cracker bread and fruit roll-ups. I like to save dehydrated food in air tight container, or in vacuum bags for longer storage. I use a food sealer and store dehydrated food in a dry place.

dehydrated cranberries raw (Medium)

Do not expect homemade dried cranberries to turn out sweet, cranberries are sour. Also do not compare them to pre-conventional store bought dried cranberries as these often, if not always, contain some type of added sugar and oils. Regardless, these home dehydrated cranberries are great to use in recipes like these cranberry biscotti or in homemade granola. They are also great on their own or mixed with nuts for a healthy snack. 

Below is a picture of how the cranberries will look like after they have “popped” in hot water. 

dehydrated cranberries after popping (Medium)

Then you just need to press the cranberries with your fingers and layer them onto a dehydrator tray. 

cranberris on tray (Small)

After dehydrating, the cranberries will look like this:

dehydrated cranberries (Medium)

Dehydrated Cranberries
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Prep Time
45 min

Cook Time
15 hr

Prep Time
45 min

Cook Time
15 hr

Ingredients
  1. 500g fresh cranberries
Instructions
  1. Clean cranberries in a mixture of water and a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar. Then rinse under running water.
  2. Start by boiling up around 1 litre of water in a kettle or in a pan. When the water has boiled, remove from the heat and pour over the fresh cranberries. Don’t worry if they float. Use a plate as a weight on top so that all cranberries are immersed in water.
  3. Allow the cranberries to soak for around 5 minutes. The skins will pop and this will allow the cranberries to be flattened.
  4. Next layer the cranberries on to the dehydrator tray and gently press each cranberry so that it has “popped”. This will allow the cranberries to dry inside out, and also to dry out quicker. I had 3 trays and layered the last tray with sliced oranges.
  5. Dehydrate at 180 degrees Celsius for at least 15 hours.
Rody's Hearty Corner http://www.rodysheartycorner.com/

Garlic Naan Bread

In Bread is Fun, Healthier Alternatives On December 22, 2015 2 Comments

So I had been coming across tapioca flour in many paleo recipes around Pinterest. At first I would ignore any recipes using tapioca or arrowroot mostly because I didn’t know any facts and the origin of this flour. After exploring some of the possibilities that this flour provided, and especially after coming across this particular 3 ingredient paleo naan bread recipe, I got interested because none of the healthy flours that I use (coconut, almond, quinoa) would ever provide the same texture.

naan bread side (Medium)

Of course, I miss all bread products, conventional crackers, wraps, pita and naan and since this flour seemed to offer the possibility of making conventional looking bread, I made my best to source some good quality tapioca flour. Although I’m sure that you can find tapioca flour locally, maybe in speciality stores, I chose to buy mine online. This saved me lots of time searching for the quality I wanted (organic and free from additives). I loved this brand. The fact that tapioca falls under ‘paleo’ gives me sufficient motivation to try it out. Personally, both wheat and quinoa make me feel bloated so I’d rather try this grain free tapioca flour instead anyway.


 

paleo naan all (Medium)

Some facts

Tapioca flour is a starch, hence making the inside of a thick naan bread soft and gooey (yummy!). I did not know much about this plant but researching along the way I found out that this flour is made from the root of the cassava (a.k.a Yuka) plant. After cassava plants are harvested, their roots are treated to remove toxins found in the plant. The starch is then processed into flour. Tapioca is almost completely free of both protein and gluten (bonus :)). It’s mostly carbohydrates with low amounts of saturated fat, cholesterol and sodium. Tapioca is also used as a thickening agent and the fact that it has no particular taste makes it adaptable to many recipes.

naan bread white (Medium)

Keep on the lookout because I plan to make many interesting recipes using tapioca. Next on my list; pancakes, fruit filled pastry and pizza dough!

I also make these naan bread in the shape of a wrap sometimes. Check out this instragram video below.

Garlic Naan Bread
Yields 5
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Prep Time
5 min

Cook Time
5 min

Total Time
10 min

Prep Time
5 min

Cook Time
5 min

Total Time
10 min

Ingredients
  1. 1 large clove garlic minced (or 2 small)
  2. 1 teaspoon dried rosemary
  3. ½ cup organic tapioca flour
  4. ½ cup pure ground almonds
  5. ½ cup coconut milk (carton milk works fine)
  6. 1 teaspoon coconut oil
Instructions
  1. Combine the tapioca flour, ground almonds, minced garlic and rosemary. Mix well with an egg whisk to form a batter. It is best to mince the garlic with a garlic press.
  2. Add in the coconut milk (or any other milk of your choice) and whisk well. Make sure you leave no lumps.
  3. Heat a non-stick pan adding the coconut oil. When the oil has melted, use a kitchen paper towel to distribute all over the pan.
  4. Pour in all the batter for a wrap, or 1/4 cup batter each time for small naan, directly from the mixing bowl into the hot pan. You can use the back of a spoon to flatten out the batter. Allow a few minutes for the naan to cook from one side before flipping over. Keep on flipping the naan until the batter is cooks through and some browning takes place on each side. Some puffing up can occur with each naan.
  5. Repeat this process until all batter is used up. I had 5 small naan bread but you can make 2 large naans instead, with the same amount of batter.
Adapted from My Heart Beets
Adapted from My Heart Beets
Rody's Hearty Corner http://www.rodysheartycorner.com/

 You might want to buy:

1kg Arrowroot flour

100g Arrowroot powder

450g Arrowroot flour

500g Tapioca flour

Vegan Cashew Cheese

In Healthier Alternatives On December 16, 2015 2 Comments

This is a very easy alternative to making ‘cheese’ at home. This recipe is famous in vegan communities but it is really useful for anyone doing detox, cutting out dairy or as a simple recipe fix if cheese is not in the fridge.

I found it a great cheese replacement to use in savoury recipes as an alternative to ricotta, cream cheese or fresh cream. Check out this recipe for sweet potato noodles using vegan cashew cheese. Cashew cheese made this meal a real deal, so much that you would want to go vegan. You could use this cheese with any pasta of your choice, try it even with vegetarian lasagne!

cashews (Medium)

You could also add lemon, parsley, olives and sun dried tomatoes and blend this ‘cheese’ into a dip. It would be great with crackers or raw crudités. cashew chese (Medium)

Cashews create a a wonderful cream consistency making them great to replace any creamy topping. If you have never made sweet cashew cream before, check out these raw lemon cashew tartlets or these beetroot lemon coconut muffins which use cashews for the super sweet frosting.

Vegan Cashew Cheese
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Prep Time
2 hr

Total Time
5 min

Prep Time
2 hr

Total Time
5 min

Ingredients
  1. 1 cup raw cashews
  2. 1 large clove garlic
  3. 1/2 cup drinking water
  4. pinch of salt
Instructions
  1. Soak the cashews in water for at least two hours. Do not use the 1/2 cup drinking water for soaking.
  2. Rinse cashews well before using.
  3. Puree all ingredients in a food processor or with a hand blender until smooth.
  4. Use in recipes instead fresh cream or cream cheese.
Notes
  1. You can add 1 tablespoon lemon juice to the mixture if desired.
  2. Turn into a dip by adding 1/3 cup of calamata olives and 1/3 cup sundried tomatoes and puree.
Rody's Hearty Corner http://www.rodysheartycorner.com/

 

My Red Harissa Salsa

In Healthier Alternatives, Savory Bites, Vegan On December 1, 2014 2 Comments

I made this great red salsa to go with my zucchini spaghetti. However it turned out to be so great that I also used it with my aubergine base mini pizzas, bread and cheese platters. This will surely be my red sauce alternative in many dishes.

I got inspired to make this sauce after watching Siba Mtongana make her own harissa paste on her own Food Network TV show. When i started making up this sauce the intention was to make my own version of a harissa paste, but I thought that with the addition of sun dried tomatoes and olives this was turning out to be more like a Mediterranean salsa/ paste. 

I am still not sure whether I should call this pesto, harissa, salsa or red sauce but in either case I can assure you it is truly delicious. I highly recommend you to make this sauce. It can be easily stored it in the fridge until you need it and goes well with pizza, pasta and bread. For a milder version omit the fresh chili pepper leaving just the roasted one. If you do not tolerate spicy food at all omit the chili peppers completely. Enjoy it as a replacement to store bought tomato sauces and let me know what you think. 

 

Red Pesto closeup (Small)

 

My Red Harissa Salsa
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Prep Time
10 min

Total Time
10 min

Prep Time
10 min

Total Time
10 min

Ingredients
  1. 4 cloves garlic
  2. 7g fresh ginger
  3. 10 basil leaves
  4. 1 red bell pepper (roasted)
  5. 1 small chili pepper (roasted)
  6. 1 fresh chili pepper, deseeded
  7. 10 sundried tomato halves
  8. 8 calamata olives (purple olives), pitted
  9. 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  10. 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  11. 1/4 cup olive oil
Instructions
  1. Start by roasting the bell pepper and chili pepper for around 15 minutes.
  2. Once roasted peppers have cooled, remove skin and seeds.
  3. Place all ingredients in a food processor and blend until well combined and no large pieces can be seen.
  4. Store in a sterilized jar and keep in refrigerator for up to 3 weeks.
Notes
  1. Store in refrigerator for up to 3 weeks.
Rody's Hearty Corner http://www.rodysheartycorner.com/