8 Sweet Christmas Recipes – Paleo, SCD, GAPS

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As Christmas slowly but surely peeks its head around the corner, most of us struggle with sticky little hands tugging on our shirts for ‘just one more sweet’. But for some reason, after indulging the urge, you feel Blah! Why? It is because the food we put into our body plays a pivotal part in the way we feel.

Both anecdotal and academic research has found an undeniable link between the brain and the gut. Containing over 100 million neurons, the gut is often referred to as ‘the second brain’. In fact, it has been found that in most instances the gut even informs the brain, and not the other way around. Ever had butterflies in your stomach? This is the second brain informing our state of mind as part of our psychological stress response.

So it is not so strange at all to get the post Christmas/New Years blues. What’s more is the sheer strength of the gut/mood correlation. Our moods can be affected by the world and people around us, past events and future stresses. But many often forget just how much our second brain’s health can affect our first brain’s health. Did you know that one form of treatment for depression is by stimulating the Vagus (a primary visceral nerve that carries information from the gut to the brain).

If I am ever feeling low, stressed or anxious, the first thing I do is take a good hard look at the things I have been putting into my body. I have almost always found a massive change in my mood when I am looking after the other, perhaps not so obvious aspects.

Shoo away the festive food related stress! There is no need to descend into a debaucherous dalliance with sugary, starchy foods! Feed your juicy brain(s) with the healthy healing foods that will set every kink and wrinkle straight.

Here are 8 amazing recipes that I promise will have you feeling better after the binge!

And of course they are all grain-free, sugar-free, starch-free and dairy-free.

 

Recipes

Pumpkin and Coconut Pie

Christmas Pudding with Almond milk custard

Ginger Christmas Biscuits

Elaine’s Vanilla and Lemon Lollipops

Candied Walnuts

Sesame Snaps

Pecan Caramel Toffees

Almond Milk Eggnog

 

Pumpkin and Coconut Pie

Serves 6-8

Pie Crust

200 g (2 cups) almond meal

1 tsp baking soda

100 g (⅓ cup) honey

1 egg

1 Tbs ground cinnamon

1 Tbs ground ginger

1 Tbs ground cloves

 

Preheat the oven to 150°C/300°F

Lightly oil a 27.5 cm/11 inch round pie dish

Combine the almond flour with the baking soda.

In another bowl, mix the honey, egg and spices together. Then combine with the almond flour and knead into firm dough.

Refrigerate covered for at least 2 hours.

Take out the dough and roll out between two sheets of waxed baking paper until about 2 mm thick.

Invert the baking paper over the pie dish and press the dough into the dish.

Bake in preheated oven for 15 minutes.

Turn off oven after the 15 minutes and let the oven cool down to about 50°C/120°F.

Close the oven door and let the pie crust sit in the oven for at least an hour or until it is firm to the touch.

Take it out of the oven and let it cool down.

Pie Filling

500 g Pumpkin (peeled and seeded)

1 egg plus 1 extra yolk

50 g (2 oz) honey

½ tsp ground cinnamon

¼ tsp freshly grated nutmeg

¼ tsp ground allspice

¼ tsp ground cloves

¼ tsp ground ginger

½ cup coconut cream

 

Bake the pumpkin in a covered dish in the oven 30 minutes, or until the pumpkin is soft. Mash the pumpkin in a food processor. Add the spices and mix.

Place the coconut cream into a small pot and warm on medium.  Add the egg, egg yolk and honey and stir until well blended. Do not boil. Remove from heat and combine with the pumpkin.

Glaze the pie thinly with honey and then pour the filling into the pie casing and bake for 45 minutes, until the top feels firm to the touch.

Note: To avoid the edges of the pie-crust darkening too much cover the edges with aluminum foil, which you can remove when the pie is done.

Remove from the oven and refrigerate until serving time.

 

Christmas Pudding

Serves 8 – 10

200 g (1 cup) dried dates

200 g (1 cup) dried figs

200 g (1 cup) dried prunes

120 ml (½ cup) boiling water

100 g (1 cup) pecans

100 g (1 cup) blanched almonds

250 ml (1 cup) grape juice

60 ml (¼ cup) fresh orange juice

120 ml (½ cup) bourbon

2 egg yolks

200 g (1 cup) sultanas

1 Tbs grated orange rind

200 g (2 cups) almond flour

½ tsp ground cinnamon

¼ tsp ground cloves

¼ tsp ground nutmeg

 

Place the dried dates, figs, prunes, hot water, pecans, almonds, grape juice, orange juice, bourbon and egg yolk into a food processor and process the mixture until chopped and well combined.

Remove from the processor into a large bowl and add the sultanas, orange rind, almond flour, and spices.

Mix well and then pour the dough into a 1 – 1 ½ liter/2 ½ pint pudding dish.

Cover the dish well with baking paper and foil.

Place into a large pot with water so the level reaches ²⁄³ of the way up the pudding dish.

Cover and steam for 6 hours.

Add more water as required, to maintain level.

Remove from the heat and let cool for 10 minutes.

Then remove pudding and either serve immediately with custard. Can be frozen for up to six weeks.

Pudding can be reheated the next day in the oven or microwave.

 

Almond Milk Custard

Serves 6

500 ml (2 cups) almond milk

5 eggs – whisked

100 g (¹⁄³ cup) honey

1 tsp vanilla essence

 

Preheat the oven to 150˚C/300˚F

To make the almond milk, combine 150 g (1 ½ cups) almond meal with 750 ml (3 cups) of water in a food processor and process for 3 minutes.

Line a sieve with four layers of kitchen cloth and pour in the almond mixture.

Let drain, squeezing out as much milk as possible.

Combine the almond milk, eggs and vanilla essence in a medium size pot and heat, whisking constantly. Do not boil.

Simmer stirring until custard thickens., then remove from heat and pour into the ramekins.

Remove from the oven and place the custards into the refrigerator for at least 3 hours before serving.

At serving time, mix the custard with a fork to loosen it and pour over Christmas Pudding.

 

Ginger Christmas Biscuits

Makes about 40

500 g (5 cups) almond flour

1 tsp baking soda

300 g (1 cup) honey

1 egg

2 Tbs ground cinnamon

2 Tbs ground ginger

2 Tbs ground cloves

 

Preheat the oven to 150°C/300°F

Line a baking tray with baking paper

Combine the almond flour with the baking soda.

In another bowl, mix the honey, egg, and spices together.

Then combine with the almond flour and knead into firm dough.

Refrigerate covered for at least 2 hours.

Take out the dough and roll out until about 2 mm thick.

Take a shaped biscuit cutter and dip in cold water and cut out as many shapes as possible.

Gather the left over dough and refrigerate until ready to use for the second batch.

Place all the biscuits onto the lined baking tray and bake for 15 minutes. Turn off oven and open the door until it has cooled down to about 50°C/120°F.

Then close the oven door and let biscuit crisp up for at least 1 hour or until they are crunchy.

Let biscuits cool completely before storing in an airtight jar.

To decorate, simmer ⅓ cup of honey for 8 minutes on medium. Glaze biscuits with the honey and sprinkle with desiccated coconut.

Ginger Bear Biscuits

 

Elaine’s Vanilla and Lemon Lollipops

120 ml (½ cup) water

450 g (1 ½ cups) honey

1 tsp vinegar

1 tsp lemon zest

1 tsp vanilla essence

 

Heat the honey with the vinegar and lemon zest in a large pot.

Simmer gently for 10 – 12 minutes, or until honey hardens when dropped onto a cold surface.

Take from the heat and stir in the vanilla essence.

Place the lollipop sticks onto baking paper and drop 1 ½ teaspoons of honey onto the top of the stick.

Let cool and refrigerate, later covering them with cellophane.  Keep refrigerated.

 

Candied Walnuts

450 g (1 ½ cups) honey

½ tsp ginger

1 Tbs grated orange rind

1 Tbs fresh lemon juice

400 g shelled walnuts

 

Heat the honey with the orange rind and the lemon juice in a large pot.

Simmer gently for 10 – 12 minutes, or until honey hardens when dropped onto a cold surface.

Stir in the walnuts and stir for a few minutes more.

Then line a tray with baking paper and pour walnut mixture onto the paper, spreading evenly.

Let cool, then separate into small pieces. Keep refrigerated.

 

Sesame Snaps

400 g (1 ⅓ cup) honey

3 cups hulled white sesame seeds

1 tsp grated lemon rind

 

Heat the honey with the lemon zest in a large pot.

Simmer gently for 10 minutes, add the sesame seeds and keep simmering until the seeds start to slightly brown slightly.

Remove from heat and pour onto a tray lined with baking paper.

Spread the mixture evenly, about ¼ inch high. To do this place another piece of baking paper on top and then roll evenly with a rolling pin.

Then refrigerate and after 2 – 3 hours peel off the top layer of the baking paper and cut sesame snaps into small pieces. Keep refrigerated.

 

Pecan Caramel Toffees

Makes about 40

300 g (1 cup) honey

240 g (1 cup) nut butter*

80 g (¾ cup) pecans – chopped

*use cashew butter, peanut butter or macadamia butter. Any nut butter is fine, as long as it does not contain any additives like sugar.

Place the honey into a medium sized pot and bring to boil.

The honey will froth up, turn down the heat and keep simmering for about 8 minutes.

Turn off the heat, add the nut butter and chopped pecans.

Remove the pot from the stove and let cool for about 10 minutes.

Place 1 tsp of the toffee into candy cups and refrigerate. Eat at room temperature.

Pecan Caramel Toffees

 

Almond Milk Eggnog

1 ltr (4 cups) almond milk

6 eggs

1 tsp cinnamon

½ tsp nutmeg

2 tsp vanilla essence

½ cup brandy (optional)

Mix all ingredients together in a mixer until frothy. Refrige

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Posted in Desserts, Flog, Recipes.

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