Have Your Carrot Bread and Eat it Too! by L

Whole Wheat Carrot Bread

Whole Wheat Carrot Bread

I have a sweet tooth. I love cakes, cookies and ice cream. I love pies, chocolate and muffins. I love pancakes, waffles and …I think you get the picture. I don’t love getting on the scale and watching the pounds/kilos increase. Fortunately, I have two active and energetic toddlers to help me burn those unwanted calories, and a bunch of healthier recipes to help maintain my appetite for sweets.

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This recipe comes from one of my mommy friends. If you follow the blog, you may know that I have been trying to create some variety into our breakfast rotation. Little P has long been protesting against the warm and nutritious bowl of oatmeal served first thing in the morning. “No,” she says with authority, as her head and little index finger sway from side to side. I get it. The oatmeal has become boring and tiresome. I quite enjoy my piping hot bowl of porridge in the mornings, but I completely understand. Not everyone can eat this mush, day after day.

Mommy friend, L to the rescue! By chance, we happened to see each other at one of Prague’s many beer gardens ( lucky us!) Like most moms, she came prepared. Inside her “mom” bag were canisters of food, ready to nourish her little ones as soon as their hunger signals appeared. One of these containers housed some bread that snapped up my daughters’ attention. L kindly shared some slices with us. After scarfing down their pieces, they quickly returned for more. Clearly, I had to get this recipe.

L’s version was made with zucchini. This moist whole wheat bread can be eaten for breakfast or as a snack during any part of the day.  It hits the spot when I am craving cake, but doesn’t leave me feeling guilty after every bite.

Whole Wheat Zucchini or Carrot Bread

1 1/2 cups zucchini or carrots, grated.

1/2 cup oil

1/2 cup honey or brown sugar

2 eggs, beaten

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon

1/2 cup raisins (optional)

1/2 cup nuts (optional)

1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

Beat together oil and honey, then add eggs, vanilla and zucchini or carrots.

Sift dry ingredients and add to the vegetable mixture.

Add nuts and raisins last, if using.

Bake in a greased loaf pan at 180/350 for 45-60 minutes.

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Freedom Bites by Allison (GF, DF, and Refined SF)

I shared this new concoction with good friend Michelle who is a guest blogger on the Prague Basket at times and asked if she would like “a gluten-free, dairy-free, refined sugar-free lemon almond cookie) and she said, “Oh, I’d love a freedom bite!” Free from  grains, white sugar and dairy products that is……I laughed out loud and said, “I love the name ‘freedom bites’, that just might have to stick!” So you too can whip up these delicious freedom bites with just about 10 minutes to combine the ingredients together.

I made my own almond flour my placing almonds in my coffee grinder that I only use for nuts and seeds until processed. There still ends up being little chunks of almonds which resembles more of an almond meal of sorts unlike a finely processed almond flour. Try it however you’d like it! I purchased my coconut oil at DM here in Prague but you can also pick it up at Country Life as well. They freeze well and you can pop them out of the freezer when you’re ready for a lemony sweet treat! Enjoy!
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Freedom Bites

recipe from The Vedge
Yield: 13
Ingredients:
  • 2 cups almond meal/flour
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • ⅛ tsp salt
  • ¼ cup coconut oil
  • 2 Tbsp maple syrup
  • 1.5 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 Tbsp organic lemon zest (about 1 lemon)
Method:
  1. Preheat oven to 175°C / 350°F.
  2. Combine almond meal, baking soda and salt in a food processor, and process until fine.
  3. Add coconut oil, maple syrup, lemon juice and lemon zest, and process until a dough ball forms.
  4. Scoop out about 1-2 Tbsp of dough, roll into a ball and place on baking tray.
  5. Gently press down.
  6. Bake for 6-8 minutes (mine took about 7 minutes), until just golden brown (after you remove them from the oven they will continue get darker).
  7. Let cool for 15-30 minutes (or they will fall apart).
  8. Yield: 13

Molasses Goodness by Nikki

Black Strap Molasses

Black Strap Molasses

Ginger Molasses cookies are my favorite. They are chewy cookies that have a slightly spicy taste from the mixture of ground ginger, cloves, cinnamon and molasses. Many people think of Christmas when they eat these cookies- ginger cookies are a holiday favorite in my family home! I love them year round. I visited a friend over the weekend and as a gift for hosting, I made fresh cookies! Of course I made the all-American favorite- chocolate chip cookies, but I decided also to make my favorite cookie to share. Both were a hit… but let’s face it, often, ginger molasses cookies have a hard time living up to the good ol’ chocolate chip cookie! But this recipe is so good…

… and it makes a double batch. I threw half of the dough in the freezer to use later. These cookies are also easy to bake and store in your freezer for later use. Just take them out 30 minutes before serving and they will thaw to room temperature- and the chewy goodness will be enjoyed by all!

Ginger Molasses cookies

Ginger Molasses Cookies

ingredients: 2 cups sugar, 1/2 cup molasses, 1 1/2 cups butter (melted and cooled), 2 eggs, 4 1/2 cups flour, 4 teaspoons baking soda, 2 teaspoons cinnamon, 2 teaspoons ginger, 1/2 teaspoon cloves, 1/2 teaspoon salt

Directions:

First, cream together butter and sugar in a mixer until mostly smooth. Add eggs and mix well. Add molasses and mix again until well combined.

Next, sift with a wire whisk: flour, spices, baking soda and salt.

Slowly add flour mixture to the wet ingredients to begin forming the dough.

Chill dough for 20-30 minutes before using.

Line a cookie sheet with baking paper!

Roll into ping pong size balls and bake for 8-10 minutes.

Cool and store in an air tight container for freshness or freeze them and thaw when ready to use…

ENJOY!

Tortilla de esparragos/ Spanish Asparagus Omelette by L

Chrest season!

Chrest season!

I can’t believe how much my local farmers market has grown since last year! Normally, I would have to wait every other week to be able to take home the wonderful goods, but now the Andel market in Prague 5, is open every Friday and I look forward to it. This week a new stand appeared– asparagus season has hit and is in full force. Everywhere I look, bunches of asparagus spears are beckoning me to take them home.

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Andel Farmers’ Market, Praha 5

Even though it was my turn to post, I actually had no idea what I was going to cook or write about. Thank goodness for some farmers market inspiration. As soon as I saw the stand that is pictured above, I had tortilla de esparragos on my mind.

Best spot in town to buy eggs (and butter.)I'm a sucker for their packaging.

Best shop in town for fresh eggs and butter.  I’m a sucker for their packaging.

This meant I needed to round up some eggs, which wasn’t going to be a problem. Just a few stalls down was my favorite stand that not only sells fresh eggs, but also fresh butter, home-made jams, musli and honey.

Tortilla de esparragos

Tortilla de esparragos

If you have ever traveled to Spain, you will know that the word tortilla does not refer to a thin flat piece of bread meant to hold some hearty mexican-seasoned fillings. The best way to describe a tortilla is to compare it to an omelette and Spain’s most famous one is Tortilla de patata. A thick omelette made from a combination of potatoes, onions and eggs. However, that’s not the only tortilla out there. When it comes to tortillas, I have been spoiled by my husband and my father-in-law. They can both whip up some delicious varieties that can include zucchini, tuna, and artichokes (my ultimate favorite).

Always accompanied by a few slices of great bread!

Always accompanied by a few slices of great bread!

The star of this tortilla is asparagus. It is a dish that is quick and easy to make. If you’re looking to get into the asparagus action, give this one a try. It’s a no fail recipe!

Tortilla de esparragos (Spanish asparagus omelette)

1 bunch of asparagus, clean, peeled and diagonally chopped into small pieces

1 small onion, chopped

3-4 tablespoons of very good olive oil

salt

4 eggs

Warm up a non-stick frying pan.

Add two to three tablespoons of olive oil.

When hot, add the onions and let cook for 7-10 minutes.

Then add the pieces of asparagus and cook until tender, stirring occasionally to prevent burning. (about 20-25 minutes)

Add a few pinches of salt.

Meanwhile, in a large bowl, beat the eggs.

When the asparagus is cooked, add them to the eggs.

Stir and combine well.

If your pan looks dry, add another tablespoon of oil.

Add the mixture of vegetables and eggs to the pan.

On medium to low heat, let the egg cook through.

Run a fork around the edge of the pan to loosen the edges of the omelette.

When the edges appear cooked and the top of the omelette is slightly runny, take a plate that is big enough to cover the pan and place it on top.

Pick up the pan and use the other hand to hold the plate on top in place.

Standing over your kitchen sink, invert the pan and let the omelette fall onto the plate you have kept tightly over the pan.

Slide the omelette back into the frying pan and let it cook for another few minutes.

When done, place omelette on a platter and wait a few minutes to serve.

Be sure to accompany it with slices of great tasting bread.

Green Goddess Smoothie by Allison

Oh dark leafy greens, how I love to overlook you while I am planning out my meals. Let’s be honest. I’m not a huge fan of eating salad day in and day out. I don’t know about you but my salad kicks tend to come and go in waves. I try to be creative when I concoct a salad for lunch or dinner but sometimes I just want something else! So here’s a fabulous way to get those dark leafy greens in your body along with all of those vitamins and minerals all in a smoothie! This smoothie tastes amazing and can be varied to your preferences too! It is easy. It is healthy. It is delicious. Try it!

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I purchased my spinach from the Karlin farmer’s market, 2 bunches makes 2 huge smoothies.

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I always rinse the spinach twice in cold water and spin it in my salad spinner to get it as dry as possible.
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Just use an ordinary blender. I once thought that one could only make spinach smoothies if they had a top of the line Vitamix blender, but a regular blender will work too!

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The trick is to blend it for 3-5 minutes to get everything as smooth as possible. IMG_0489

Green Goddess Smoothie

Ingredients:

Spinach (2 small bunches)

apple of any variety (1 small of 1/2 large)

the juice from 1/2 large lemon

strawberries (1 cup)

1 1/2 cup water

stevia drops

Directions:

Add all of the ingredients to a blender and blend for 3-5 minutes while giving the blender motor a rest after every minute or so (depending on your blender). Place in refillable bottles and refrigerate. Drink and enjoy as a great snack or as part of a meal! Can use 1/2 a banana instead of strawberries or can use an orange instead of strawberries but it will be thicker in consistency. Try using pear and celery as a unique combination too! Troubleshooting note: If the blender is having a hard time breaking the ingredients down, add more water and that should help! Enjoy!

Fancy Tomato Toast! By Nikki

early tomatoes

early tomatoes

I found these baby heirloom tomatoes at the Karlin farmer’s market a few weeks ago. It was very surprising to see these colorful gems so early in the season. I thought I would give them a try and boy, am I glad that I did!

Spring dinner... and vino!

Spring dinner… and vino!

I started my indoor herb garden again, and my basil is producing beautifully! It complimented these tomatoes well, both in color and taste. I recently saw a recipe for Tomato-Ricotta Toast. When I was younger, my family used to eat tomato toast for a quick, healthy snack. Plop two slices of bread in the toaster, slice a tomato and when the toast was ready slap on some mayo (I prefer butter!), top with the tomato slices, a little salt and pepper and enjoy! Easy and yummy! Now that I am getting older, (yes, we are in the 30’s here…) I thought I would make my tomato toast a little bit fancy. Adding a bit of ricotta cheese instead of butter or mayo and topping the tomatoes with fresh basil leaves, left my taste buds feeling very delighted… and it is a quick, easy dinner for a busy weekday evening!

Spring dinner

Fancy Tomato Toast- with Basil and Ricotta Cheese!

Fancy Tomato Toast

ingredients: 5-6 small, plum size tomatoes (any color will do!), 4-6 fresh basil leaves, 1/2 cup ricotta cheese mixed with 1/8 tsp garlic salt, 1/8 tsp paprika, fresh bread

Toast your choice of bread. Slice the tomatoes in half. Spread the ricotta on the toast slices. Top with the tomatoes and basil leaves… salt and pepper to taste.

These Zucchini Muffins are Jussssst Right! by L

The Chosen One

The Chosen One

On Fridays, at the Andel Farmers’ Market, there’s a stand I find a bit daunting because I haven’t mastered the Czech language. The vendor sells different kinds of bio flour, as well as a wide selection of bio dairy products. When I say “different kinds,” we’re talking about 7 varieties, from spelt to rye to whole wheat. However, it’s not just plain ol’ “Whole Wheat.” There are three to choose from and yes, I bought them all: “Hruba,” “Polohruba” and “Jemne Mleta.” I’d like to be able to ask a thousand questions about the range of available flours. Unfortunately, actually I should say embarrassingly, (after 8 years of living here) I can’t speak Czech well and so I am limited to the language translator app on my iPhone. My trusty translator tells me that “Hruba” is the coarsest of the three, “Polohruba” is medium coarse and “Jemne Mleta,” is finely ground.

One of these days I’m really going to have to get the skinny on all these flours. Many of the recipes I use call for whole wheat flour, but never do they specify how coarse the grain should be. Here in Prague, I have yet to find an all-purpose whole wheat flour. The unfortunate result has been a number of baking disasters and wasted hours in the kitchen. I kind of feel like Goldilocks, trying to find out which flour is “just right.” If anyone in the Prague area is an expert in flours, please feel free to rescue me!

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Ours come in Mommy size and Toddler size

I’ve been on the hunt for a healthy zucchini muffin that I could share with my two tots. One that uses whole wheat, a natural sweetener and of course it had to be both delicious and moist inside. I took a gamble and tried this new recipe using the whole wheat polohruba flour. Luckily, my muffins turned out “jusssst right!” My girls and I have been enjoying these for breakfast and snacks on the go. It’s perfect!

Just Right Zucchini Muffins (adapted from Weelicious)

1 cup all-purpose flour (for our Prague readers: I used hladka white flour)

1 cup whole wheat flour (for our Prague readers: I used polohruba whole wheat)

1 teaspoon cinnamon

pinch of nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 eggs, whisked

1 teaspoon vanilla

1/3 cup vegetable or any other neutral oil

2/3 cup honey

1 1/2 cups zucchini, shredded (about 2 small zucchini)

(If you aren’t worried about nuts or added sweeteners, feel free to add a 1/4 cup of chopped walnuts or almonds or chocolate chips.)

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These didn’t last long in the muffin jar!

Preheat oven to 180/350 degrees.

Grease or line your muffin tins.

Place the first 7 ingredients in a large bowl and whisk to combine.

Mix the rest of the ingredients in a separate bowl.

Pour the wet ingredients into the flour mixture.

Stir until mixture is well combined.

Pour the batter into large or small muffins cups. (I made 24 mini’s and 5 in large silicone baking cups)

Bake 15-17 minutes for small muffins and 20-25 minutes for large ones.

Cool for 10 minutes and then serve.

Gluten-Free Roasted Cabbage with Thai Dressing by Allison

I’ve been craving Thai food for some reason……… maybe I should have paid more attention in the Thai cooking classes I took in Chang Mai, Thailand seven years ago! It was difficult to go back home and experiment with the new recipes as home at that time was Shanghai, China. At that time there wasn’t fresh lemongrass and galangal and kaffir lime leaves to be found on the shelves of any shop, although I’m sure there is now. I had dinner at Noi in Mala Strana here in Prague on Saturday night and the management was aware of gluten-free food preparation! Three cheers for Noi! Once you get a taste for the unique combination of: sweet, sour, salty, and last but not least spicy guess what? You crave it again. But luckily you don’t need traditional Thai ingredients to achieve a thai flavor for this side dish. Try it!IMG_0443

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So I roasted this cabbage in my oven (I so wish I had a deck and a BBQ but I don’t) and the charred bits of cabbage are very actually very tasty! IMG_0461

I whipped up the sauce in a few minutes while the cabbage was roasting. Super easy!
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Gluten-Free Cabbage Salad with Thai Dressing

slightly adapted from The Kitchn

Ingredients

Juice of 3 limes (about 1/4 cup)
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1-1 1/2 teaspoon fish sauce (check to make sure this ingredient is gluten-free)
2-3 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
1/3 cup cilantro leaves
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cayenne
10-15 drops of liquid Stevia (the plant-based sweetener)
1 head green cabbage
canola oil

If you have a charcoal or gas grill, fire it up! Cut the cabbage into 8 evenly sliced wedges while keeping the stalk in place. Brush the cabbage with a little bit of canola oil. Place on the grill for 5-7 minutes or until edges are blackened, flip, and repeat until desired tenderness is achieved.

If you only have an oven (like me) then turn on the broiler and crank the heat to pre-heat the oven. Cut the cabbage into 8 evenly sliced wedges while keeping the stalk in place. Brush the cabbage with a little bit of canola oil and place on a large roasting pan. Roast for 8-9 minutes on each side until the desired tenderness is achieved.

While the cabbage is grilling or roasting, place first 8 ingredients in a food processor or blender and blend ingredients. Drizzle dressing over the top of the cabbage wedges and serve immediately! Enjoy!