Friday, December 23, 2011

Taking the Sin Out of Holiday Sweets

Merrrrryyy Christmas!

Gearing up for the holidays down in Nashville! After a positively sinful batch of gluten-free vegan iced sugar cookies that I sadly failed to document (I ate them too fast), I took a few days off from the indulgences of the season. I returned in full swing today, when I made lumps of coal. I didn't invent the recipe, and it's GENIUS, so I can't print it, unfortunately, but I'm sure you guys can come up with something like it.

So before we eat all this truly snackro junk, we need to take a dose of Vitamin Real.

Just because there's no sugar/gluten/dairy/eggs in something, that doesn't make it healthy. I know I'm preaching to the choir here, but many people I served at Tealuxe seemed to think otherwise, and I want to keep it real with y'all. There are three kinds of foods that we need to be mindful of, especially during the weaker months of winter:

Health-Supportive, Neutral, and Detrimental Foods.

Health-Supportive foods are foods our body draws nutrition and strength from. Things like adzuki beans, deep leafy greens, and whole grains. These are foods that have centering energy that make us feel calm and well-supported.

Detrimental foods are foods that weaken our body and pull us too strongly in a direction. There are some foods that are obviously more weakening than others (Cheetos Xtra Hots, Red Bull, etc. are worse than organic, vegan, fruit-sweetened waffles), but it's important to be realistic with what our bodies can handle. For a person with an extremely yin affliction, like a severe candida overgrowth (yeast infection), that fruit-sweetened waffle can cause just as much pain and discomfort as the Cheetos cause a healthy person.

Neutral foods are "fillers," foods that aren't really bad for us, but can keep us from eating the good foods we need. I do this a lot. My big one is rice cakes with hummus. Bad for you? No! But if it replaces brown rice? Yes!

OK! So the dose of Vitamin Real has been swallowed.

On to the sweets!


Let's take a recipe from Queen Martha and clean it up a little, the Snackro way.

Cranberry Pistachio Biscotti
Cause don't nobody not like biscotti for Christmas
First, we identify the problems with the original recipe.
  • Right off the bat, I see gluten. Some of you may not have a problem with it, but I have celiac, and this would sink my battleship. Let's cut it out.
  • There's some serious butter going down. Let's cut that foolishness before we get some mayhem.
  • I see a whole lot of sugar. I'm going to hit it and quit it.
  • Because I'm taking out the wheat and butter, I'm taking out the cornmeal so it's not too dry. Baked goods with corn dry out in a hot minute, and without the moisture that the gluten protein locks in, leaving this corn in would be a bad idea. Just be sure to replace this amount with more of your chosen flour mix.
I'm replacing the wheat flour with a mixture of brown rice and chickpea flour. I'm doing a ratio of 3/4 brown rice to every 1/4 chickpea. I'm doing it because brown rice isn't "sticky" when it bakes, so you need something a little spongier, but chickpea is too sticky and spongy if used alone, so we're mixing.

The butter can either be replaced with Earth Butter, which is a little processed for my taste, or replaced with flax seed or safflower oil.

I'm replacing the sugar with 1/2 c. orange juice and 1/4 c. agave nectar. Agave is SO sweet, it's incredibly important to do it in moderation.

NOTE:: If you replace the sugar with liquids, IT IS DIRE that for every cup of liquids that substitute dry sugar, you combine ALL LIQUIDS OF THE DISH (oils, agave, juice, etc), mix, and remove 1/3 c. for every cup of liquid added. Otherwise, you get soup, not biscotti.

It's also important at this point to add 1 tsp. kuzu root dissolved in cold water so that your mixture sticks together.

Voila! Just keep in mind, with animal products, gluten, and sugar, it's pretty easy to replace 2 of the 3 categories, but the more categories you replace, the farther the texture and taste get from the original recipe. Also, there's a MUCH greater difference between replacing 2 and 3 categories than there is replacing 1 and 2 categories. Meaning, if you replace 1 category, you probably won't tell the difference. Two, you'll be able to tell the difference, but it's still pretty good. Three? It'll be a whole different dish, and it will pretty much always taste like "health food."

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