Sunday, 19 March 2017

Sugar-free Catalina Salad Dressing

We live in the country now and that means sometimes running out of stuff and not having a lot of options near buy. I was making taco salad and realized I was totally out of Caralina Dressing. I wasn't about to go to the corner store and pay $5 for a small bottle so I did some googling. I wasn't happy with what I found (recipes full of sugar) so I decided to take notes and make something I was happy with (and I dare to say it's almost healthy for you too!)

Here's my take on Kraft's Catalina Dressing (and after this I'm not going back - this is my new fav)

Sugar-free Catalina Dressing 

3/4 cup honey 
2 teaspoons sea salt 
1 1/2 teaspoons paprika 
1⁄2 teaspoon chili powder
1⁄2 teaspoon celery seed
1⁄2 teaspoon dry mustard
1 teaspoon onion flakes 
1⁄2 cup apple cider vinegar
1/3 cup ketchup (or tomato paste) 
1 cup Olive Oil 

Mix it all together in a jar or bottle and you can start using it right away. I like to leave mine sitting on the counter for 2-3 hours first, to really have the flavours come out. Store in the fridge. With the vinegar in it it can store in the fridge for up to 2 months (but I tend to use it up well before then!) 

I use this on taco salad, on chicken, with rice, in pulled pork or, as a dip for other veggies. It's got a really nice smoky taste. 


Sunday, 12 March 2017

Homemade Ginger Beer (no added yeast)

I make kombucha often and I wanted to give another fermented drink a go. I found this recipe and have tried it twice now. It's a bit too open and loose for me so I wanted to write down my exact take on it to give you all a little more guidance in your journey.

First you'll have to do up a Ginger Bug (like kombucha you need a starter).

(A photo of my ginger bug)

Once you have that ready you're ready to start making Ginger Beer.

Homemade Ginger Beer (no added yeast)

What you'll need:

  • 4 1/4 L of water 
  • Ginger, grated (I use 1.5-2 very large rhizomes)
  • 2 cups Sugar
  • 2 cups Ginger Bug starter(chunks strained out).  
    • Put aside 1 T of liquid or more reserved to continue feeding for future batches.
  • The juice of 1 large lemon (3 tablespoons lemon juice will also work)


  1. Get out a very large pot, and pour in the water (I use a 12L one) 
  2. Add your grated ginger to the pot (I grate this up in my Vita Mix - Dry container)
  3. Bring to a boil
  4. Reduce to a simmer and cover.  Let simmer for 15-20 minutes
  5. Remove from heat
  6. Let it cool until it’s a comfortable temperature for straining out the ginger (I find this to be around 4 hours)
  7. Once you’ve strained your ginger, add your sugar and stir until dissolved
  8. Once the mixture is cool enough (room temp) add your starter liquid
  9. Squeeze in your lemon juice 
  10. Mix it
  11. Put it in a large container (I use a glass jar) and cover with cloth that will keep bugs out (Cheese cloth or a coffee filter works great).
  12. Stir it once a day
  13. Watch for bubbles.  Once you see those (1-5 days) it’s time to bottle your brew for full carbonation.
  14. Pour it into your prepared bottles and seal them (I use snap top glass bottles). Only fill to just below the neck of the bottle. 
  15. Keep the bottles at room temperature until they get hard (I find this is 1-3 days - with glass you just should un-snap them and see if it's carbonated) 

Important Tips:
- USE ORGANIC GINGER! I've tried it both ways but I can't stress enough the difference. With standard ginger you don't have that natural yeast on the peel that you want (also why you can get away with not adding brewers yeast to this recipe) and you might also end up with this chemically taste in your finished ginger beer (due do what they spray on the ginger). With organic ginger it's amazing the difference in flavour, carbonation, and gut reaction (my gut is so much happier with the organic ginger beer). 
- Check the bottles every day - You don't want to over carbonate (remember - the longer it carbonates the more sugar it eats)
- Leave them to chill for at least 6 hours and then take a taste.  
- Be prepared for massive pressure when you open your bottle!  They’ll still ferment in the fridge, and you should periodically check them to see if they’re too pressurized.
- Opening the bottle to release pressure and making sure they aren’t too full are good ways to prevent the big burst  (I simply snap them open, let out some of the build up glass and re-snap them).  

Adapted from here.

Tuesday, 7 March 2017

Gluten Free, Sugar Free Sweet Potato Brownie


  • 2 cups sweet potato puree
  • 2 cups peanut or almond butter OR allergy-friendly sub
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup + 2 tbsp GF flour (I use this blend)
  • 1/2 cup mini chocolate chips + more for the top, optional
  • 1 1/2 cups coconut sugar 
  • 3 scoops hemp protein powder
  • 1/2 cup + 2 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 2 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt


Preheat oven to 325 F.

Line an 9-inch pan with parchment paper or grease well.

Throw all the ingredients together in a Kitchen Aid (minus the chocolate chips) and mix until smooth.

Fold the chocolate chips in.

Spread evenly throughout pan.

Bake on the center oven rack 20-40 minutes. It will look a little underdone, but it firms up as it cools. (If you're having trouble with it cooking in the centre put tin foil over it and cook as long as you need)

Adapted from here
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