Grain free chicken nuggets

Today I thought I would have a go at making grain free chicken nuggets, they were a great success! I think children would love them too.

 

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Grain free chicken nuggets-

serves 2 people

2 Free range chicken breasts or boneless thighs

1 whisked egg

1/2 cup of ground almonds

1 tbsp ground flaxseeds

salt/pepper

( you could add additional spices or herbs )

method-

mix ground almonds and ground flaxseeds together

add salt and pepper,

in a separate bowl, whisk an egg

 

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cut chicken into small strips or cubes

dip the chicken in the egg

then roll in the dried ingredients

heat a frying pan and add coconut oil or duck fat

carefully add the coated chicken pieces

 

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fry both sides until cooked

cut one in half to check they are fully cooked

they should be golden in colour

 

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drain on kitchen roll

 

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Enjoy with a salad or homemade chips

delicious with homemade guacamole ( in a food processor put 2 halves of a de stoned ripe avocado + small bunch of fresh coriander and a drizzle of olive oil, blitz )

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they would be delicious in a >grain free wrap< too!

 

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Butternut squash baked chips

I am avoiding potatoes as I’m trying to follow the specific carbohydrate diet and was looking for an alternative to delicious regular homemade chips. Sweet potatoes work well but I wanted to try something new. Butternut squash slices are perfect. They cook in a hot oven in 25-30 mins and taste delicious.

 

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Butternut squash chips- 

Butternut squash slices  ( I found these in Waitrose ) or whole squash

Beef dripping / virgin cold pressed coconut oil ( I use lucybee )

dried or fresh rosemary

salt

method-

pre heat fan oven 200c

 

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slice the pre sliced squash into chip size pieces

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melt beef dripping or coconut oil in roasting tray for a few minutes

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carefully add the squash chips to the hot pan

sprinkle fresh or dried rosemary on the chips

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use a spatula to turn the chips over to coat them in fat

pop back in the oven

roast for 25 mins in a very hot oven

turn once during cooking time

 

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drain on kitchen roll sprinkle with coarse salt

serve and enjoy!

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Raspberry and vanilla panna cotta

Valentines Day is always a good excuse to make a special gluten free pudding. Yesterday I decided to make raspberry and vanilla panna cotta. I was thrilled with the result.

 

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Recipe-

makes 6 small desserts or 4 larger panna cotta

500ml double cream

3 gelatine sheets

1 vanilla pod

1 tbsp honey    (or 25g sugar)

raspberry sauce-

1 sheet gelatine

1 punnet raspberries

fresh raspberries to decorate

 

Method –

soak the 3 gelatine sheets in cold water until soft

 

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pour the double cream into a saucepan

split the vanilla pod and add seeds and pod to the cream

add the honey to the cream

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warm the cream gradually until it reaches a simmer

take it off the heat straight away

squeeze out the water from the softened gelatine sheets and add to warm cream

stir until they dissolve

pour into small glass ramekins

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pop in the fridge to set

put the washed raspberries into a small saucepan

gently heat until the raspberries have softened the aroma is delicious!

while the raspberries are in the saucepan

soften another gelatine sheet in cold water

pass the raspberries through a sieve to remove the seeds and leave a delicious sauce

 

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squeeze the water from the gelatine sheet then add the softened sheet to the warm raspberry sauce

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When the panna cotta has started to set in the fridge, pour the raspberry sauce on to the top of each ramekin

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chill for at least an hour

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serve with fresh raspberries

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A perfect light dessert with a sharp fruity topping.

Enjoy!

 

Gluten free and grain free Pancake day recipes

Pancake day is here again, I thought I would put together a selection of recipes all gluten free some grain free and dairy free too. They are all really simple to make

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Gluten free traditional pancakes –

250g gluten free plain flour

3 eggs

250ml milk or almond milk etc

up to 100ml of water

2 tbsp melted coconut oil or melted butter

extra coconut oil for frying

Method

sift the flour

make a well in the centre and add the eggs and a little milk

gradually blend in the flour

add remaining milk ,oil and water

leave to stand for 1/2 hr

fry in a little coconut oil

use a ladle to pour out , use the entire frying pan

once the pancake starts to release from the pan its time to flip !

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Banana pancakes –

enough for 2 or one hungry person

1 ripe banana

2 eggs

coconut oil to fry

method

put the banana and eggs into a bowl

use a hand blender to mix

put a little coconut oil in a frying pan

fry four small pancakes at a time using a tablespoon

these pancakes are quite delicate, turn over carefully

these are delicious served with some streaky bacon

or simply on their own

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American style grain free pancakes –

enough for 2

3 eggs

1/2 cup ground almond

3/4 cup of ripe sliced banana

1/4 cup of almond milk

1/8 cup coconut flour

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 tsp honey

1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda

pinch of salt

( coconut oil for frying )

For a treat add 1/4 cup of dark chocolate chips after blending batter together

method

put all the ingredients in a bowl and mix using a hand blender

leave to stand for 5 mins

spoon on to a hot frying pan using a tablespoon

the pancakes will rise slightly and bubbles will appear

gently turn over the pancakes and cook on the other side

serve with butter and a good quality maple syrup or raw honey

lovely with jam too.

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Grain free mini pancakes ( Blinis )

2 tbs coconut flour

1 tsp gluten free baking powder

3 large eggs

up to 50ml milk or ( almond milk )

( coconut oil for frying )

method

mix together the coconut oil and baking powder

add the 3 eggs

mix using hand whisk or electric hand blender

add up to 50ml milk ( coconut flour is very absorbent )

leave to stand for a few minutes the batter will thicken slightly

drop small spoonfuls of batter into a hot pan with a small amount of melted

coconut oil

they will cook quickly and puff up slightly.

cool and serve with smoked salmon and full fat cream cheese

perfect accompaniament to a glass of bubbly!

or delicious with extra thick cream and blueberries.

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Grain free traditional pancakes –

makes about 5 large pancakes

 

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3 free range eggs

1/2 cup  coconut milk

1/8 cup  coconut flour

1/2 cup almond flour

1 tbsp butter

a little butter or coconut oil for frying

Method –

put eggs and coconut milk in a bowl

 

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use a electric or hand whisk to mix together

add coconut flour and ground almonds

mix again with the electric whisk

remove all the lumps of flour

leave to stand for 10 mins

 

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melt a little butter or coconut oil in a frying pan

pour in the batter to fill most of the pan

don’t be tempted to turn the pancake quickly

as they take a minute to cook through

 

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then losen with a spatula

and turn over to continue cooking.

 

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serve with your favourite topping

I love honey and lemon or homemade Nutella style spread

(If the batter starts to thicken add a little more coconut milk)

 

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Have a flip tastic pancake day!

One year on, living with Crohns disease

A year ago I was preparing for my evening procedures at Ashtead hospital . Finally I had a Gastro specialist who had sent me for a endoscopy and a colonoscopy after over 30 years of various symptoms including bloating, weight loss, anaemia, joint pain, tiredness, brain fog, sickness, extreme stomach pain. Until now I had never been taken seriously by any doctor ( and I had seen plenty over the years ) About 6 years ago I started to suspect I had a wheat intolerance, after reading more it appeared I could have Coeliac disease I was extremely intolerant to gluten even the tiniest crumb which could set my symptoms off and I could continue to be unwell for days and weeks after a glutening episode. My Gastro specialist agreed that it sounded like I had classic Coeliac history and arranged for me to have the tests as a blood test could now not be used due to the lack of gluten in my diet for so long.

The preparation itself was not a nice experience but I was eager to finally get a diagnoses. All went well and I was home by late evening. I was told that Crohns disease was suspected but a follow up visit to Gatwick hospital was needed for an MRI scan. I used the weeks that followed to read everything I could on healing a leaky gut and inflamed bowels. I started by cutting all grains from my diet and removing cows milk. This wasn’t always possible but I made every effort to keep to this diet.

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I looked at FODMAP and Specific carbohydrate diet and saw from fellow bloggers how their health had improved by following these.

I have now been following as much as possible the Specific carbohydrate diet particularly focusing on no grains, no cows milk and very low sugar , no refined sugar. I am thrilled to say that I have had a dramatic improvement in my health especially the lack of bloating and my only problems have come if I have eaten out and been glutened. Even these symptoms are far less than they used to be. My stomach has never been so flat . The only area where there has been little or no improvement is with anaemia. I still suffer badly and have to take very strong iron tablets from time to time. I imagine this is because it takes many years for our bodies to heal after so many years of eating the wrong food causing a leaky gut. Due to my autoimmune diseases and leaky gut I am also intolerant to yeast, onion, garlic and more recently I haven’t been able to tolerate paprika.

I was finally sent for an MRI scan and this confirmed Crohns disease an autoimmune disease. I have had no final confirmation on whether I have Coeliac disease as my endoscopy didn’t show up any damage. After eating gluten free for many years now I was thrilled that I had no noticeable damage hopefully due to my new diet . But because of the violent symptoms I display after having gluten/ cross contamination with gluten, I won’t be adding it back to my diet anytime soon.

I have had to take this SCD in stages as its really tough. I am now trying to remove white potatoes and sweet potato from my diet, not easy ! Rice was also incredibly difficult to live without. I am not a huge fan of cauliflower which is the go to alternative. I’m just taking it a week at a time. I am so thankful for ground almonds  and coconut flour and for unsweetend almond milk. I have also stopped drinking any alcohol except the very odd special occasion. It all sounds like a very depressing way to live but when the only other option is medication, to me its a no brainer. I hate taking anything even paracetomol, Every time I visit my Gastro specialist he offers me medication. Which seems strange to me as I have no symptoms! He is definitely struggling to believe that my diet is helping me but I am determined to show him that for someone like me with low level symptoms of Crohns disease It is possible to control and possibly heal myself using healthy fresh food. Our home is completely gluten free and since we made this change I have not been ill eating at home. Even the Dog eats grain free, and she has never looked healthier!

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I have also found that eating high healthy fat ( coconut oil, avocado,  butter, cheese, etc ) and low carbohydrates keeps me feeling full for longer. Breakfast every day always consists of 2 free range eggs with either bacon , salmon or I make a veggie omelette using spinach etc. Grain free pancakes make a nice alternative too, or just nuts granola.

Lunch tends to be homemade soup, salads with cheese, ham, chicken etc or a grain free wrap with delicious fillings, and a piece of whole fruit.

Evening meal is good quality local meat or fish/seafood  with lots of different veggies and I tend to now use butternut squash instead of potato.

I have the odd cube of very dark gluten free chocolate or some cubes of cheese, fruit or nuts to snack on.

I tend to drink still or sparkling water and the occasional cup of tea with unsweetend almond milk or camomile tea.

If you are interested in helping your symptoms check out @anaussiewithcrohns and @deliciouslyella both have used a healthy diet to improve their health.

My hope is that one day in the future I may be able to reintroduce some foods back into my diet , I am being realistic and know after over 30 years of symptoms this probably won’t be any time soon.

My family have been my biggest supporters. Living gluten free at home and eating out only at places where Mum can eat safely is a big ask. I am very fortunate that my family are grown up as I can see how difficult this could be with young children. My faith has also kept me strong and knowing that I am not dealing with this disease alone is a great comfort to me.

 

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This is still very much a learning journey. Baking is now far more challenging, every time I successfully make a grain free alternative to a favourite bake I am thrilled. I hope to continue to share these recipes with you. More recipe books are appearing on the shelves of book shops with grain free, low sugar recipes and I will continue to seek out the best to share with you.

Fellow tweeter @gfcuppatea recently said to me ” nothing tastes as good as Good Health”  and this is so very true I’m going to try and remember this when I’m craving something yummy I know will affect my health adversely.

If you are travelling on the same autoimmune disease journey as me  I would love to hear from you. Have you improved your health by changing your diet?

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Review of natures health box online store

I have been using Natures health box for a long while now as my go to gluten free and health food online store. I have always been very happy with the service and quick delivery. Recently I was asked by them to review a few of the products that they stock. I was sent Sukrin bread mix, The Primal kitchen coconut and macadamia nut paleo bar, Lucy’s chocolate chip biscuits, Easy bean chickpea crisp bread and a Sukrin cake mix.

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Easy bean crispbread – are my very favourite type of cracker and are a staple in my pantry and in my holiday emergency food pack.

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Lovely simply with cheese or butter

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or topped with your favourite spread. I had lacto free cream cheese and smoked salmon.

Sukrin sunflower and pumpkin seed bread mix – wheat , gluten, sugar and yeast free

Easy to make and very delicious. The loaf is simple to make and bake and the bread is very tasty one of the best yeast and gluten free bread mixes I have tried. My only negative is that at £6.19  its not cheap! would recommend if you miss a homemade style wholegrain loaf . Here is my review for pictures and more information  Sukrin bread mix

Lucys chocolate chip A new product to me I was interested to try them. I was impressed with these biscuits they have a good crunch and are very sweet and taste like a a regular biscuit . Yet they are gluten free, milk free, egg free, tree nut free and peanut free and vegan  so good  for those with multiple allergies. They do contain cane sugar so if like me you avoid refined sugar they are not ones to chose.

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The Primal kitchen coconut and macadamia Paleo bar –  This bar has a subtle sweet flavour which comes from dates and the texture has tiny pieces of macadamia nut and coconut. These bars are not crumbly and are perfect emergency bars to keep in your bag.  Here is my review of all the bars The Primal Kitchen paleo bars  

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Sukrin cake mixthis mix is gluten free. I was interested to try this cake mix as it is one I haven’t tried before. You simply add water, eggs and water and pop in an 8 inch tin . There are ideas on the side of the box to add your own flavour. I chose to make the lemon cake by adding the juice and zest of one lemon.

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It certainly was easy to make and the result was good. The family liked the cake, but I wasn’t impressed with the flavour. This mix is made using sesame flour and corn flour.

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Not cheap at £7.39

 

My regular order from Natures health box  is_

Lucy Bee raw organic fair trade Coconut oil At £16.89 for 2 jars ( february offer ),

I cannot recommend this coconut oil enough I use a massive amount of this good healthy oil, I sometimes bake with it for dairy free, I fry with it , roast with it and use it as a moisturiser sometimes. fantastic stuff!

 

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BonPom original cacao powder ,

  Raw honey,  

 The Primal kitchen Paleo bars ,                

 UGG Foods mixes, 

 Easy bean crispbread ,

  Tiana coconut flour , 

Doves Farm Baking powder

 

You can follow Natures health box @natureshbox

Website is www.natureshealthbox.co.uk