Recipes

Gluten-Free Focaccia Bread

Last week, I gave you a list of gut-healing foods to try, including a new favorite of mine: Gluten-Free Focaccia Bread. To me, it’s the best thing since, well, sliced bread!

Some of you may know that I follow the Ketogenic Diet, so I’m always on the lookout for low-carb, low-sugar recipes. Made with ground flaxseeds or flax meal, this bread ticks all the right boxes. Not to mention, the herbs and spices make it taste just like traditional focaccia bread, but without all the refined ingredients.

Of course, versions of this recipe have been around for a while, but I give it my own Gut Girl spin by incorporating dried onion flakes. I also add a dash of probiotic seasoning for extra flavor—and a dose of belly-boosting bacteria.

The great thing about flax bread is that you can use it anywhere you would use regular bread. So you can say, goodbye to those carb cravings! My favorite way to enjoy this recipe is by making a simple sandwich with avocado and cultured veggies. I also like to slather it with organic almond or peanut butter.

Once you’ve mastered it, you can really get creative. Make up a batch (or two) for picnics, road trips and back-to-school lunches.

Focaccia Bread

Dry Ingredients
2 cups ground flaxseeds or flax meal
1 Tbsp. Flavor Plus Probiotic Italian Seasoning
1 Tbsp. dried onion flakes
1 Tbsp. garlic powder
1 Tbsp. baking powder
1 Tbsp. baking soda
1 tsp. sea salt

Wet Ingredients
5 large eggs
½ cup water
¼ cup olive or coconut oil

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350° F. Line a loaf pan with parchment paper or line muffin tins to make buns.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the dry ingredients.
  3. In a blender, combine the wet ingredients and blend until it yields a foamy texture.
  4. Add the wet mixture to the dry mixture and gently mix.
  5. Let the batter sit for a few minutes to thicken up.
  6. Pour the batter into the loaf pan or muffin tins.
  7. Bake for 20 minutes or until golden.
  8. Remove from oven and put the bread or buns onto a cooling rack.

Ready for a bite? Try this recipe and let me know what you think. Plus, be sure to snap a picture of your finished Focaccia Bread and tag me on Instagram so I can see (you can see my batch there, too!). 

Essential Sauerkraut Recipe

When I talk to most people about fermentation, they often associate it with sauerkraut. That’s because sauerkraut is the “gateway” ferment for those first entering the probiotic world. Of course, there are countless recipes, but if you’re just getting started, my Essential Sauerkraut recipe is the ultimate beginner go-to. For those with more experience, this is a basic recipe that’s always good to have on hand.

Yes, you can buy sauerkraut at the grocery store, but it’s healthier, cheaper and more fun to make at home. And all you really need are 2 ingredients: cabbage and salt. Once you become more confident in your fermenting skills, you can add in a variety of veggies and aromatics. Some of my favourites are onions, carrots, garlic and ginger. You can even make your kraut seasonal by incorporating sliced radish in spring and summer and shredded root vegetables in fall and winter.

If you haven’t had the best experiences with cabbage, like maybe you’ve only ever had it boiled (ack!), rest assured sauerkraut is way more appetizing. In fact, naturally-forming lactobacillus transforms ordinary cabbage into a salty and tart condiment that packs a nutritional punch. What are those nutritional benefits, you ask?

Sauerkraut:
•    Helps boost your immune system
•    Aids in digestion
•    Repairs the gut
•    Decreases inflammation
•    Fights illnesses and allergies

Plus, cabbage is low in fat, yet high in fibre, antioxidants, vitamins, minerals… I could really go on all day, but let’s get to the recipe!

Essential Sauerkraut 

Ingredients
1 head of cabbage
Sea salt

Equipment
Wide-mouth jar or fermentation crock

Directions

  1. Chop or grate the cabbage, keeping the pieces relatively even in size.
  2. Transfer to a large bowl and sprinkle with sea salt. I recommend about 3 Tbsp. of salt per 5 lbs. of cabbage, but taste as you go. If the cabbage tastes like a potato chip, and you can’t stop at just one, then you have added the perfect amount.
  3. Using your hands, massage the salt into the cabbage, which will create liquid (aka brine). This can take about 15-20 min.
  4. Place the cabbage into a sterilized glass jar or fermentation crock. Add in all of the brine. 
  5. Using your fist or tamper, push all the cabbage below the liquid, getting all the air bubbles out. 
  6. If the brine does not rise above the cabbage, you can add a little salt water (1 tsp. salt in 1 cup filtered water). However, I’d prefer to wait 24 hours to see if more natural brine is produced. 
  7. Seal the jar or follow manufacture's instructions for using your crock. Leave the jar or crock in a cool, dry place and check the kraut every day or two. Don’t be afraid to give it a taste. You can enjoy in 3 days or, for a stronger product, 2-3 weeks. 
  8. When it has the right amount of tang for you, put it into your fridge and enjoy.

I encourage everyone dealing with any type of gut discomfort to give this recipe a try. If you’re interested in learning more about digestive health and living a more beautiful, vibrant life, sign up for a FREE phone session today! 

Watermelon Salad with Dairy-Free Feta

It should come as no surprise that I think salads are one of the best summer meal options. They’re simple to make, so you can quickly assemble one for lunch or easily put together a large amount for a pool party.  

My Watermelon Salad with Fermented Macadamia-Nut Feta is everything a salad should be—satisfying, healthy, and so good you’ll be eating it for the rest of the season. Watermelon is a great way to stay hydrated when it’s hot out (it contains 92% water!), and the fermented cheese fills your gut with friendly bacteria.

For an extra health benefit, I like to sprinkle my salad with fresh herbs. Cilantro or mint (or a bit of both) are excellent options, as they aid in digestion and help cleanse the body. I love how such little additions can ramp up the health and flavour profile of any meal.

Now, I know how challenging it can be to get in the kitchen when your schedule is crowded with everything from camp drop-offs to summer vacations. But here are some shortcuts: prepare the cheese in advance and buy the watermelon pre-cut. Then, it takes no time at all to pull together. If you’re on the go, pack it up for a picnic, road trip or potluck.

Watermelon Salad w/ Fermented Macadamia-Nut Feta

Ingredients
Fermented Macadamia-Nut Feta, prepared in advance (see recipe here)
2 ½ limes, juiced
½ cup coconut oil or extra virgin olive oil
1 green onion, finely chopped  
1 tsp. salt
Freshly ground pepper
1 seedless watermelon
1 cucumber
Chopped cilantro or mint

Directions

  1. To make the dressing, whisk the lime juice, oil, onion, salt and pepper. Let sit for one hour.
  2. Cut the watermelon and cucumber into 1-inch chunks.
  3.  Add the dressing and fresh herbs just before serving. Toss well.
  4.  Add the Feta and gently mix to incorporate into the salad. Serve immediately.

I hope you enjoy this dairy-free, gut-friendly recipe as much as I do! Are there any other recipes or comfort foods you’d like me to make healthier? Let me know via email or in the comments below. Making the switch is easier than you’d think, and I’m here to help you on your delicious journey. 

Fermented Macadamia-Nut Feta

You probably already know the health benefits of nuts—they’re full of protein and unsaturated fats. But what you might not know is that each kind of nut has unique health benefits. Another little-known fact? They can be made into delicious dairy-free cheeses!

I love using macadamia nuts when making fermented cheese, because they contain vitamin A, iron, protein (two grams per serving!), thiamine, riboflavin and niacin. They also contain small amounts of selenium (an antioxidant), calcium, phosphorus, potassium and magnesium.

What all of this means is that macadamia nuts support digestion, bone health, and protect skin and hair. So you can probably guess that I love finding excuses to use these in my dishes. If you’re still not loving macadamia nuts, almonds are another great option for this recipe.

New to using nuts? One tip: nuts are best soaked or partially sprouted because they contain enzyme inhibitors that can strain the digestive tract when consumed in excess. Soaking your nuts makes them easier to digest and their nutrients more readily available. Salt also activates enzymes that neutralize enzyme inhibitors.

Now, on to the recipe…

Fermented Macadamia-Nut Feta

Yield: 2 cups nut cheese

Ingredients
2 cups raw macadamia nuts
1 cup coconut kefir, or 1 cup water with 2 capsules of probiotic powder
1 Tbsp. finely chopped green onion
1-2 tsp. nutritional yeast flakes or miso
1 tsp. lemon juice
1 tsp. minced garlic
¼-⅛ tsp. salt, plus more for soaking the nuts

Equipment
Jar for soaking the nuts
Nut cheese bag (Pro Quality Nut Milk Bag or Iqzeens Nut Milk Bag) or a paint strainer bag from you local hardware store. Alternatively, try this cheesecloth.

Directions

  1. Soak nuts overnight in salt water, then dry in a warm oven or dehydrator.
  2. Blend nuts and coconut kefir in a high-speed blender and continue to mix until smooth. Add more of your liquid if necessary to form a smooth, creamy texture. 
  3. Pour into a nut bag or cheesecloth-lined strainer. Allow to strain for 18-48 hours.
  4. After the fermentation process, remove the cheese from the nut bag or cheesecloth. Combine with the green onion, nutritional yeast, lemon, garlic, and salt.
  5. Refrigerate the cheese until ready to use. Season further or sweeten your cheese as desired before serving.

Gut Girl Notes

  • Be sure to store your cheese in an airtight container in the refrigerator; nut cheese will last for up to two weeks.
  • When straining, you can place the nut bag over a bowl or a colander with a weight on top. This will apply pressure and push out the excess liquid over the process time. The longer it sits the more tart your nut cheese will be, so feel free to give it a little taste along the way. I like to let it sit for a couple of days.  

Next week I’ll be sharing my Watermelon & Fermented Goat Cheese Summer Salad, so be sure to check back for a fun way to use your new cheese-making skills. And you can always let me know what you think in the comments below, or snap a picture and tag us! I’d love to see what you create.