glazed lemon loaf cake from the chinese medicine cookbook

glazed lemon loaf cake
egg shells
loaf cake-3.jpg
lemons, coconut flour and basil

Whenever I make any sort of dessert, somehow, I find myself instinctively gravitating towards chocolate. I’m attracted to it like moths are to flame and realized just recently how many chocolate desserts I’ve made for the blog. But not today! Today is all about lemons! And that’s a good thing because lemon just so happen to be an ingredient I’m never without. And that’s not an exaggeration. I will pack lemons for overnight trips, in case I don’t have easy access to a market. And yes, my clothes and travel bag may have a hint of lemon and that’s quite pleasant, but I digress.

So, where was I? Right, I wanted to introduce today’s recipe, glazed lemon loaf cake, which immediately caught my eye when browsing through my friend Stacey Isaac’s newly released cookbook: The Chinese Medicine Cookbook: Nourishing Recipes to Heal and Thrive.

Since I grew up eating loaf cakes for breakfast quite often, I thought this was a wonderful recipe to explore, which instantly took me back to my childhood. Only this lemon cake uses gut healthy ingredients and is bursting with lemon flavor and you get just the right amount of sweetness.

So aside from being sounding delicious, what drew me to Stacey’s cookbook is that all of the recipes are meant to heal and nourish the body through food by focusing on traditional Chinese Medicine principles. The entire book is filled with wisdom. You can learn about the basic concepts of Chinese Food Therapy, what foods are best to eat at what time of year.

And I only thought it appropriate that I make a recipe which focuses its flavors on Fall, since we’ll soon be entering the season. And while this glazed lemon loaf cake is a healthy indulgence, it also uses a fair amount of lemon, which in Chinese Medicine is said to help with improved digestion, hydration, soothing dry skin, relieving coughs as well as constipation.

This cake also happens to be paleo, gluten free and dairy free and of course this works out for us! Sweetened with nothing but honey, this cake is nutrient dense, flavorful and I can’t wait to share this recipe with you all! I hope you enjoy this cookbook as much as I did! You can order the cookbook right here and get a dose of Chinese Medicine insight.

glazed lemon loaf cake
c

Print Friendly and PDF

glazed lemon loaf cake from the chinese medicine cookbook

  • prep time: 10 minutes

  • cooking time: 45 minutes

  • makes: 1 loaf

Ingredients:

For cake:

  • 6 large eggs

  • ¼ cup coconut oil, melted and cooled plus extra for coating pan

  • zest and juice from 2 lemons

  • 3/4 cup almond or cashew milk

  • ⅓ cup raw honey, melted and cooled slightly

  • ⅔ cup coconut flour

  • 1 1/4 tsp baking soda

  • ¼ tsp sea salt

For glaze:

  • 2 Tbs coconut oil

  • 2 Tbs raw honey

  • 2 Tbs almond milk

  • zest and juice from 1 lemon

  • ½ tsp pure vanilla extract


Equipment:

  • large mixing bowl

  • loaf pan


Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350°F.

Grease a loaf pan with the coconut oil.

Put all of the cake ingredients into the bowl of a mixer and mix until well combined.

Pour into the loaf pan.

Place on the middle rack of the oven and bake until a knife inserted into the center comes out clean and the top is golden brown. About 45-50 minutes.

Remove the cake from oven and let the pan cool on a rack.

When the pan is cool, remove the cake and let it cool completely on the rack, out of the pan.

For the glaze: add all of the glaze ingredients into a small pot and simmer over low heat until it's all melted together. Turn off heat and let cool slightly

When the cake is completely cool, pour the glaze over the top of the cake. Enjoy!


If you want to make over your breakfast or dessert, try this delicious, lemony glazed lemon loaf cake from @staceyisaacs. It’s paleo, vegetarian, gluten free and dairy free. #glutenfree #dairyfree #paleocake #paleoloafcake #lemonloafcake #vegetarian #paleodessert #dessert




deviled eggs with avocado

deviled eggs on tray with greens and avocado
deviled eggs with avocado and greens
deviled eggs with avocado and greens
egg shells

It was an ordinary early Sunday evening on a mid-summer day, sunny and mild; my family busy taking in the season’s richness in the back yard. I sliced a few radishes and sprinkled them with coarse salt, enjoying a moment of solitude while watching the crystals bounce off the luminescent slices. I decided to sit on the counter with my little plate of salted radishes, sipping a glass of Semillion. Something I don’t ordinarily do, because I’m a creature of habit and my habit is mostly rushing. But not on that particular day. That day lent itself to slowness, to pleasure; a time to enjoy life’s simplicity. As I sat there feeling quite French, yet looking ordinarily beach bumm-y in my grey T-shirt and cut off jean shorts, legs dangling off the counter, I thought about how much I appreciate and admire simple ingredients.

I often think about the one ingredient I simply couldn’t live without. One that permeates into my every day; that is fundamental and indispensable. And after pondering that for a bit, I decided it would undeniably be eggs. Give me eggs and a few other basics and I would be set. I find the humble little egg to be versatile, nutritious and in my book, a perfect food.

It’s no exaggeration, my refrigerator is equipped with at least 1-2 dozen eggs on most days because anything less, would send me into minor despair. I also believe I’m secretly looking for excuses to use them, be in it pancakes, fried with sliced avocado or topped on any dish for dinner, in omelettes, baked in pretty much anything, soft boiled for lunch with salad or in deviled eggs - which just so happens to be one of my favorite appetizers.

I make them for nearly every gathering because they’re easy to eat, nutrient dense and just plain delicious.

Deviled eggs are all about the condiments

You may think that mayo is mayo but the truth is it’s not. Using the best possible mayo will create the best possible deviled eggs. I often feel the need to reiterate what a difference quality ingredients make, particularly when only using a few to create a dish.

Now, I get it, you may not be in the mood to make your own, but I assure you, it’s absurdly easy to and only requires a handful of ingredients. You can check out my speedy recipe here. But if that doesn’t convince you, buying a good quality mayo will work too.

And as far as mustard, don’t worry, I don’t make my own and do leave that one to the experts, but I do wholeheartedly believe that a good Dijon mustard can make just as much of a difference in your deviled eggs as mayo. Find a good brand that’s not overly salty and has balanced flavors.

Easy to peel eggs every time

It’s been my experience that making simple dishes requires a good, consistent method that works every single time. And when it comes to hard boiled eggs, my magic number is 13. Thirteen minutes of boiling will ensure the eggs are perfectly cooked and easy to peel. But the most important part is boiling the water prior to adding the eggs. And you’re guaranteed to find satisfaction in peeling.

The timing of deviled eggs

Another important piece when it comes to deviled eggs is making sure you work quickly once the eggs are peeled to ensure the yolks are still warm and easily blend into the mayo mixture. This way you will avoid clumping and the deviled eggs will have an overall smooth texture without using a food processor or blender.

If you’re not serving them right away, no problem, you can refrigerate the egg white halves and deviled eggs mixture overnight in a piping bag or plastic bag and just let it come to room temperature the next day, cut off a tiny corner and you’ve got a piping bag.

When you’re ready to assemble the deviled eggs, squeeze in as much mixture as you’d like and top with chopped avocado and a little freshly chopped dill. Enjoy!

deviled eggs with avocado and greens
deviled eggs with avocado and greens
deviled eggs with avocado and greens
deviled eggs with avocado and greens

Print Friendly and PDF

paleo deviled eggs 

  • Prep time: 5-10 minutes

  • Cooking time 13 minutes

  • Serves 12 deviled eggs

Ingredients

  • 6 pastured eggs

  • 1/4 cup mayo - you can make your own or try use this brand

  • 1 tsp good Dijon or yellow mustard, depending on how tangy you like it

  • 1/2 tsp Apple cider vinegar - I use Bragg

  • 1 tsp fresh dill chopped plus more for garnish

  • 1 tbsp finely chopped dill pickle

  • 1/8 tsp curry powder

  • pinch of pepper

  • pinch of smoked or regular paprika

  • 1/2 avocado diced into small pieces

  • optional - pinch of salt

Equipment

  • medium sauce pan

  • spatula

  • mixing bowl

  • zip lock bag (if you have a piping bag, use that instead)

  • scissors

Directions: 

Add 4 cups water to medium sauce pan. Bring it to a boil and reduce heat. Carefully using either a spoon or small strainer, place the eggs in one at a time and turn heat back up. Boil eggs for 13 minutes.

Remove eggs from heat and immediately run under cold water for 1 minute. If you have ice available, add some as well. Discard water and peel eggs. This process should ensure your eggs are easy to peel.

*Note - very fresh farm eggs will be more difficult to peel.

Meanwhile add rest of ingredients to a bowl besides avocado and egg yolks and combine. Peel eggs and cut each lengthwise in half. Scoop out the egg yolks and add them to bowl with the rest of ingredients and mix well breaking up any lumps. If you want a smoother texture, you can use a food processor.

Next add mixture to either piping bag or use a plastic bag and cut a small bit off the corner, depending on how thick you want your swirl. Add as much as you’d like to each egg white and top with chopped avocado and fresh dill for garnish. 

Store in an air-tight container in the refrigerator.

Deviled eggs are a staple appetizer for any gathering at my house. They’re easy to make, are nutritious and a crowdpleaser. They’re paleo, whole 30 and vegetarian too. #deviledeggs, #appetizers #whole30appetizers #paleoappetizers #calmeats #vegetarian #glutenfree #dairyfree #paleolifestyle #paleofood #eggs #eggrecipes

gut friendly lemon garlic hummus

c
greens and hummus
gut friendly lemon garlic hummus
hummus and tomato

Hummus - oh hummus. I’ve had a turbulent relationship with hummus over the years. I love it, but it most definitely does not love me back. Or if it does, that love lasts but only a few short hours before feeling its wrath.

Like all legumes, chickpeas tend to be a source of struggle for those suffering with food sensitivity and gut issues. But I find myself time and again coming back to them, especially to chickpeas in an attempt to make them gut friendly and easy on digestion.

Considering the proximity of Romania to Turkey and Greece (which are renowned for hummus) I never had it growing up. Romanians borrowed and made versions of nearly every other food, but that one seems to have slipped through, either due to lack of resources or otherwise.

Regardless, the first time I tried hummus was one of those mini divine experiences. I had no idea what it actually was, I just remember thinking, there was life BH (before hummus) and PH (post hummus). And no, it was never about the stuff you dip into it, as I freely use my fingers to do the work (you know you do it too).

However, once the post eating bliss wore off, came the pain, discomfort and agony. And if you’re reading this blog, chances are I don’t have to go into the detail of what hummus does to you - you’re all too familiar with the symptoms. But what if I told you there is a way to make chickpeas and hummus easier on digestion? So much so that you will experience no negative symptoms. I set out to test my theory of giving chickpeas and hummus a makeover.

What makes chickpeas difficult to digest?

Chickpeas and most legumes contain phytic acid and certain sugars that are difficult for the body to break down, causing the unwanted side effects. They also contain lectins, which inhibit proper absorption of key nutrients. I found two factors that can make all the difference and those are soaking and peeling.

Peeling and soaking chickpeas

Yes, it takes a bit more time, but I’ve come to view peeling chickpeas as a rather ritualistic act, meditative even. It forces me to slow down and be present in the moment. And in our mad rushing world, a little slowing down is good, even essential for the soul.

So what I’ve done is taken uncooked chickpeas, soaked them for 12 hours, popped them in my Instant pot (or you can do it on the stove top), cooked them until soft, tossed them in a bowl of cold water and peeled them.

Silky smooth lemon garlic hummus

Not only does peeling them make them significantly easier on digestion but it creates a smooth, velvety hummus that tastes far better than anything store bought.

I like using only the basics - soaked and peeled chickpeas, tahini, lemon juice, cumin, good extra virgin olive oil, garlic, salt and water. Everything gets tossed into a food processor and the end result is a creamy, mouthwatering hummus. if you’re anything like me, you’re going to be eating quite a bit of it right out of the food processor so get some veggies or a big spoon ready and dig in.

hummus and tomatoes
hand and tomatoes
hummus, vegetables and greens
hummus and vegetables
Print Friendly and PDF

gut friendly lemon garlic hummus

  • soaking time: 12 hours

  • prep time: 5 minutes

  • cooking time: 14 minutes in the Instant pot or 1.5 hours on the stove top

  • makes: 4 cups hummus

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb uncooked chickpeas (we will be using 3 cups cooked)

  • 5 tbsp runny tahini

  • juice of 1 lemon

  • 1 tsp cumin plus extra

  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil plus extra

  • 3 tbsp lukewarm water

  • 3/4 tsp salt

  • 1 small clove garlic

  • 1 tsp dried oregano


Equipment:

  • large soup pot

  • food processor

  • instant pot (optional)

  • large bowl


Directions:

In a large soup pot, add dry chickpeas and cover with 8 cups water (chickpeas will expand while soaking) and let soak for 12 hours or overnight.

Once soaked, discard water and rinse chickpeas. Add chickpeas back to soup pot along with 8 cups of water and bring to a boil. then reduce to a simmer for 1.5 hours

If using the Instant pot, add chickpeas along with 6 cups water. Set the timer to 14 minutes on manual. Once finished turn off Instant Pot and let it naturally depressurize.

Very carefully remove the chickpeas from either stove top or IP, give them a rinse and add them to a large bowl of cold water. Toss the chickpeas around with your hands to start loosening some of the skins.

*If you’re suffering with food sensitivity, I highly recommend peeling enough chickpeas for 3 cups. If not, you can skip the peeling part.

Next, add 3 cups peeled (or unpeeled) chickpeas, garlic, salt, lemon juice, tahini and cumin to food processor and turn it on. Add water and 1/4 cup olive oil slowly while the food processor is running. This will give the hummus and extra creamy consistency.

When finished, transfer hummus to a shallow bowl and drizzle with as much olive oil as you’d like, sprinkle with oregano a little extra cumin and a sprinkle of salt.

If you love hummus but struggle with food sensitivity, don’t worry, this hummus is made with soaked and peeled chickpeas and it’s much easier on digestion than your traditional version. #humms #vegan #gutfriendly #easydugestion #easydigestion #calmeats #chickpeas #guthealthy #vegetarian #glutenfree #dairyfree #hommos #garlichummus #lemonhummus

grilled vegetables with balsamic and basil

grilled vegetables with balsamic and basil
grilled vegetables with balsamic and basil
grilled vegetables with balsamic and basil
grilled vegetables with balsamic and basil

Red onion - an unassuming vegetable hiding a gentle sweetness and flavor behind its many layers. It took me a while to fully come around to this lovely vegetable. I used to catch glimpses of it at the market, modestly nestled next to the sweet and yellow variety but hardly ever did I think to cook with it. I guess it seemed a bit intimidating so I stuck with the familiar kind. 

But truth be told, red onion is now one of my favorite vegetables. Aside from its alluring color, red onion has a sweet, mild flavor that enhances many a dish. 

Las weekend my mother visited. And as is typically the case, she comes baring little gifts of one kind or another. While I insist that I need nothing and she doesn't have to, this time though she nailed it when she walked in with a massive pot of basil. There are few things that bring me as much joy as fresh herbs. But along with the basil she also brought an array of vegetables that were now strewn about my counter so my job was to figure out what to do with the mishmash. 

Days past and I still hadn't figured out what to do with all the vegetables on hand. Roasting of course was always an option but I wanted something else. Then I remembered the red onion sitting in the fridge from a previous recipe I'd made and it all came together. I would keep things very simple and grill the vegetables, toss them with olive oil, salt and pepper and finish them with balsamic vinegar and fresh basil. 

Best vegetables for grilling

For me, red bell pepper, zucchini and red onion are a must. I love green beans so they were a natural fit for this dish, but you could always add summer squash or eggplant as well.

You can play around with this recipe as you see fit and swap out the vegetables to suit your liking but the red onion is a must! It changes the entire flavor profile of the vegetables. It brings out the best in them in an almost inexplicable way. You'll see...

Best way to grill vegetables

Well you have a few options. You could toss them directly on the grill, add them to the grill pan that came with your grill (if that was the case) or use a cast iron skillet directly on the grill. Either options is going to give you flavorful grilled vegetables. And if you don’t have a grill at all, you can always use a grill pan and make them on the stove top.

grilled vegetables with balsamic and basil
grilled vegetables with balsamic and basil
grilled vegetables with balsamic and basil
grilled vegetables with balsamic and basil
grilled vegetables with balsamic and basil

Print Friendly and PDF

grilled vegetables with balsamic and basil

  • prep time: 5 minutes

  • grilling time: 20 minutes

  • makes: 4 servings

Ingredients: 

  • 1 red onion, sliced

  • 1 zucchini, sliced

  • handful of green beans, trimmed

  • 2 red bell peppers, roughly chopped

  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

  • 1 tsp salt

  • 1/4 tsp ground pepper

  • 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar

  • 1 tbsp fresh basil chopped

Equipment

  • large mixing bowl

  • tongs

  • grill

  • grill safe plate

  • cling wrap

Directions:

Preheat grill on medium low.

In large bowl combine all ingredients aside from vinegar and basil and mix well. 

Add all vegetables to grill safe cast iron plate (most grills come with one) and grill for 10 minutes on low (stirring occsaionally) until soft but still retaining a bite. 

Place grilled vegetables back in bowl, add balsamic vinegar and basil and stir until vegetables are coated. Cover with wrap and let sit for 5 minutes. Serve right away. 


If you're looking for the prefect side for pretty much any dish, check out this simple 10 minute grilled vegetables recipe. Red onion, bell peppers, zucchini and green beans come together with extra virgin olive oil, salt, pepper, balsamic vinegar and fresh basil. This recipe is vegan, paleo and whole 30. #calmeats, #grilling, #grilledvegetables, #vegetables, #sidedishes, #vegan, #vegansides, #whole30
If you're looking for the prefect side for pretty much any dish, check out this simple 10 minute grilled vegetables recipe. Red onion, bell peppers, zucchini and green beans come together with extra virgin olive oil, salt, pepper, balsamic vinegar and fresh basil. This recipe is vegan, paleo and whole 30. #calmeats, #grilling, #grilledvegetables, #vegetables, #sidedishes, #vegan, #vegansides, #whole30

no churn vegan chocolate pistachio ice cream with caramel

spoons
peonies and spoons
no churn vegan chocolate pistachio ice cream with caramel
no churn vegan chocolate pistachio ice cream with caramel
no churn vegan chocolate pistachio ice cream with caramel
no churn vegan chocolate pistachio ice cream with caramel

Green and jumpy, its gifted legs pausing once in a while to make song. The sky, of the clearest blue with an occasional cloud passing by. I laid in the tall grass, watching it sway back and forth as the green visitor disappeared from sight with one long hop.

Time moved slower then, summer’s creatures buzzing about. July has always held a certain sweetness. I rolled over studying my body’s imprint in the grass. Blade after blade slowly making its way back to the preferred upright position, undulating this way and that, always at the mercy of wind. Everything moved in slow motion, including me.

Lethargically, I trekked through the field back to my white, used Schwinn, stomach rumbling. Pebbles crunched under my feet as I reached the path, wiping a bead of sweat off my forehead. I wasn’t quite sure of the time, but the sun told me it was sometime late afternoon. I roamed freely in the summer, coming and going as I pleased. As long as I was home for meals, my parents were fine with me exploring as I wished. I am still grateful for that.

Pedaling through rolling, green farmland, I made my way to the center of the village, straight to one of the only two pubs/restaurants. It was a special place, because it was the only one that carried ice cream. And not just any ice cream, but pistachio, which was a favorite for years. It was love at first bite and also happened to be my introduction to the crunchy, buttery nut. Even though it would be a long while before I would have an actual stand alone pistachio.

As the years passed, time sped up exponentially, tastes broadened and changed. And when talking sweets, I now gravitate towards my ultimate favorite - chocolate. So in my adult years, with my adult freedoms, I take the liberty to experiment with flavors from childhood and adulthood and have them meet somewhere in the middle. So this vegan chocolate ice cream with pistachios and salted caramel was born.

How do you make vegan chocolate pistachio ice cream?

A good vegan chocolate ice cream, doesn’t require a lot of ingredients but the ones you use should be of the best possible quality.

In my book, the base for a vegan chocolate ice cream is quality creamy full fat coconut milk and good cacao or cocoa powder. To go along with those; honey, almond butter, a little ground cardamom, vanilla and ground pistachios.

You can certainly skip the caramel sauce, I think it is an absolute must, to complete this ice cream.

Tips for making smooth and creamy no churn vegan chocolate ice cream

Freeze and refrigerate everything!

While making this recipe several times, I’ve done a little trouble shooting to avoid one of the most common issues with home made no churn ice cream - icy taste. The issue is simple; the warm ingredients placed in the freezer take longer to freeze than in conventional ice cream makers and the water in coconut milk (or any milk), will create crystallization and leave a rather unpleasant mouth feel.

But if you keep your blender cup, blade and loaf pan in the freezer and the coconut milk and almond butter in the fridge for a few hours, you’re going to end up with a smooth ice cream with little to no crystallization.

For the caramel sauce

You only need condensed coconut milk, vanilla extract, coconut sugar and a pinch of sea salt to make a smooth and creamy caramel sauce. This can be made in advance and stored in the fridge for 2-3 weeks (should it actually make it that long).

no churn vegan chocolate pistachio ice cream with caramel
no churn vegan chocolate pistachio ice cream with caramel
no churn vegan chocolate pistachio ice cream with caramel
no churn vegan chocolate pistachio ice cream with caramel

Print Friendly and PDF
  • prep time: 10 minutes

  • freezing time: 6 hours

  • makes: 12 servings

Ingredients:

Equipment:

Directions:

For chocolate ice cream:

In food processor or blender, grind up pistachios in advance. Set aside.

Prior to starting, ensure that you freeze your blade, blender cup and loaf pan and refrigerate the 1/2 cup almond butter and coconut milk for at least 2 hours.

Combine 2 cans chilled coconut milk, 1 tsp vanilla extract, cacao, cardamom, honey and almond butter and blend until smooth.

Tranfter mixture to loaf pan, sprinkle with ground pistachios and cover with plastic wrap. Ensure the wrap makes contact with the ice cream mixture and wrap pan again tightly ensuring that little to no air can get in.

Quickly transfer to freezer and freeze for 6 hours.

For caramel sauce:

Meanwhile combine condensed coconut milk, 1 tsp vanilla extract along with coconut sugar in small sauce pan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 25 minutes on low, stirring regularly until you get a creamy caramel sauce. Finish with a sprinkle of sea salt.

When caramel has finished, transfer to glass container and store in the refrigerator for 2-3 weeks.

To assemble ice cream. Once it’s finished freezing, remove from freezer and let sit for 30-45 minutes (it’s worth the wait).

Scoop vegan chocolate ice cream into bowl and finish with caramel sauce and sprinkle with additional chopped pistachios.

This no churn no churn vegan chocolate pistachio ice cream with salted caramel sauce, will have your tastebuds jumping for joy! Coconut milk, cacao, honey, almond butter, cardamom, vanilla and pistachios, create a silky, crunchy, sweet and salty combination. #veganicecream #dficecream #dairyfreeicecream #df #vegandessert #paleoicecream #nochurnveganicecream #nochurnpaleoicecream #vegan #paleo #dairyfree