Mother’s Mouth-Watering Gluten-Free Oregano Buns (Stuffed)

I walked down to the kitchen yesterday and was a bit too late- my mom prepared a gluten-free loaf of oregano bread.  It was sitting in the plate for 30 minutes to rise, so I had time to get her exact recipe and write it down.

I walked down and found this loaf waiting to rise.

I walked down and found this loaf waiting to rise.

Oregano, known as za’tar, is a very healthy herb. It’s full of Vitamin K, iron, fiber, and even calcium. It’s usually eaten dipped with Olive Oil and bread, and this bun recipe put a twist on the traditional. Thanks mom.  :))

This week for my health advice column in the newspaper, someone asked whether 35 calorie toast was a good idea. I emphasized on the misconception of calories in this country, and how people are so desperately trying to eat “low-fat,” sugar-free,” and “low-calorie” foods- parallel to the obesity epidemic we see.

Food is meant to give us energy, and calories are energy. If we are trying to replace these calories with scientific lab made chemicals in order to make them low-calorie, fat-free, and sugar-free, while retaining their flavor, texture, and not to mention shelf-life, then we have a problem. Not only are these chemicals and preservatives unnatural, some are very hazardous to our health. Bread is meant to be made of a few ingredients, water, flour, yeast, salt, and sometimes milk. The addition of 30 preservatives and unpronounceable chemicals is unnecessary. Obviously, corporations are not looking to feed us well, not if it means a tighter wallet for them. Don’t be fooled by a bag of bread advertising itself to you.

At the end of the day, there’s nothing like the smell of fresh baked bread in the house. So these buns could be made with gluten-free all purpose flour, or organic unbleached flour. If you plan to use whole wheat flour instead, be wary that it may change the texture of the dough.

The seed toppings, chia, flax, sesame, and black seed all have numerous health benefits I can write a book about. I believe every kitchen should have those on hand- including yours. If you don’t already use these superfoods, I included links below. 

 

Ingredients:

Dough:

1 cup warm water

3 teaspoons dry active yeast

1 pinch organic coconut palm sugar 

4 cups organic unbleached flour or gluten-free all purpose flour

1 egg (organic/pasture-raised preferred) 

 1 egg yolk (organic/pasture-raised preferred) 

1 teaspoon Himalayan Pink Salt (feel free to use any salt you’re used to)

1 cup whole Oregano leaves (za’tar) soaked and drained

 

Filling:

1 cup organic goat cheese

1 cup organic feta cheese

1/3 cup fresh or dried parsley

1 tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil

 

Toppings:

2 organic/pasture-raised eggs, beaten

¼ cup Organic whole Sesame Seeds

1/8 cup organic whole black seeds (habit al barakah- Sunnah Food!)

1/8 cup Organic whole Flax Seeds

 1 tablespoon organic raw chia seeds

 

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Prepare two flat cookie sheets.
  2. Place the warm water in a cup with yeast and sugar. Allow to sit for several minutes.
  3. Place all dough ingredients (including the water/yeast mixture) in your food processor and pulse until dough-like texture forms. It shouldn’t take too long.
  4. Place tough in a glass Pyrex and cover with wax paper for about 20-30 minutes, or until it rises well.
  5. Meanwhile, beat the eggs (toppings) in a separate bowl.
  6. In another bowl, mix all the seeds (toppings) and set aside.   

    Beat eggs in one bowl. Mix all the topping seeds in another.

    Beat eggs in one bowl. Mix all the topping seeds in another.

  7. In a large bowl, mix all the cheese filling ingredients well.  

    Organic Cheese Filling.

    Organic Cheese Filling.

  8. When the dough rises, take a small round in your palm and flatten just a bit. Fill with a scoop of the cheese filling and close with your fingers pressing together the edges well.  
  9. Dip the top of the bun with the egg topping, followed immediately by the seeds topping. Place on the baking dish. 

    Stuff with cheese filling, dip in egg, dip in seeds.

    Stuff with cheese filling, dip in egg, dip in seeds.

  10. Follow step 8 and 9 for all the buns until you run out of dough.
  11. Bake in the oven for 10-12 minutes or until golden brown. Don’t mind if the cheese pops out from one side or the other- it’s what makes them look great. ;)     

    Close up after baked.

    Bake for  10-12 mins or until golden brown. Close up after baked.

  12. Serve warm with a cup of hot tea. 
    Seed Full Buns

    Seed Full Buns

    Serve with tea.

    Serve with tea.

Did Someone Say Kale Chips?

This country lives on potato chips. Not only are they deep fried in hydrogenated oils, they are coated in sodium, unfriendly chemicals, and tons of preservatives. Basically we begin with a potato, and end with a potato stripped of its nutrients. Now potatoes are not bad for you at all, but it’s the way it’s cooked and prepared nowadays that makes it bad for you. Potatoes are high in potassium, Vitamin C, Vitamin B6, and plays role in cell building. 

Either way, why not boost the typical crunchy salty snack and create an astonishing scrumptious chip? Yes, I mean it, kale chips.

Kale is a super green. It’s full of Vitamin K, Vitamin A, manganese, fiber, yes Vitamin C, and over a dozen other nutrients. What’s not to like about this chip? I top it with nutritious spices and organic coconut oil, one of the best oils to cook with.

This recipe is so quick you could make it faster than running out to the supermarket at midnight when you’re craving a crunchy and salty snack. =)

This recipe is gluten, dairy, soy, wheat, egg,, and chemical free. What’s not to like about this chip?

Ingredients:

A bunch of fresh organic kale (fresh from the Farmer’s Market is best :))

1/3- 1/2 cup Organic Extra Virgin Coconut Oil (you can use EVOO)

1 teaspoon Himalayan Pink Salt or Celtic Sea Salt

To your desired amounts: dill, ground mustard, black pepper, paprika, rosemary

Cayenne pepper (optional and yummy)

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Wash the Kale well after removing the stems. Allow them to dry.

    IMAG6774

    Washed and dried fresh kale.

  3. In a separate bowl melt the Organic Coconut Oil. If you’re using different oil that’s liquid at room temperature, simply measure the required amount and place it in a bowl.

    Bowl of oil and spices.

    Bowl of oil and spices.

  4. Add the salt and spices to the bowl and mix well.
  5. Toss the kale with the oil mixture well and place on a flat baking sheet.

    Kale tossed in oil and ready to bake.

    Kale tossed in oil and ready to bake.

  6. Bake in the oven for 8-9 minutes until toasted from the edges and darker in color. 

    Baked kale.

    Baked kale.

  7. Serve with fresh pita, hummus, kale hummus, or eat them all by themselves. ;)

    Serve with fresh pita, hummus, kale hummus, or eat them all by themselves. 😉

    Allow to cool, remove from the baking sheet, and enjoy. =) 

Mini Anise Date Bites

 

So I took my mother’s popular anise date bars and turned them into mini tart-lets, with no gluten, added sugar, eggs, or dairy. So this is a perfect recipe with people who have intolerance or allergies.

My FAVORITE part about this recipe- you simply toss everything in the food processor- just like my famous black bean brownies. Speaking of brownies, next post up: mini brownie tart-lets with a unique specialty topping.

For now, back to the date bites. 

Almost every ingredient has wonderful benefits, yes, including the pink salt. It’s the only salt I use, close to nature, full of nutrients, and wonderful in taste.

 

Yansoon (anise) Cookie Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups Almond Flour
1/4 cup Organic RAW honey
1/4 cup Organic Virgin Coconut Oil
1/4 tsp Baking Soda
Dash of Himalayan Pink Salt or Unrefined Sea Salt
2 tablespoons Organic flax seed (ground or whole)
1 tablespoon Anise Seed
1 tablespoon ground anise (I grind the seeds fresh)

Date Sauce Ingredients:

1 pack fresh dates ground (pureed without pits)
Cup  fresh squeezed orange juice (or coconut milk/almond milk) 

Walnuts to top

 

Directions:

Pre-heat oven to 350 F.  Grease your mini muffin tin with coconut oil.

Place all yansoon cookie ingredients in the food processor until dough like.

Place all yansoon cookie ingredients in the food processor until dough like.

Place cookie dough evenly into each muffin tin in a cup formation, keeping the center a bit open.

Place cookie dough evenly into each muffin tin in a cup formation, keeping the center a bit open.

BAKE for 6-7 minutes

On your stove-top in a small sauce pan melt together your date filling ingredients.

On your stove-top in a small sauce pan melt together your date filling ingredients.

Remove cookies and fill with the date sauce. Top with a half raw walnut. Back for additional 2 minutes.

Remove cookies and fill with the date sauce. Top with a half raw walnut. Back for additional 2 minutes.

:)

Allow to cool and serve. 🙂

Yum.

Yum.

 

Noor’s Crust-less Clean Pumpkin Treat

I just love pumpkin, in everything. I make pumpkin cookies, cakes, breads, pies, and well this sort of treat that falls between a fudgy brownie and a pie, without a crust. Pumpkin is very high in Vitamin A, beta-carotene, and fiber. It’s very easy and best of all requires no flour, refined sugar, evaporated milk, or even a crust!  

Ingredients:
16 oz 100% Organic Pure Pumpkin or this Organic Pumpkin Puree I like to use too

2 Organic/pasture-raised eggs

1 medium banana

½ cup raw walnuts, ground* and some chunks

½ cup raw almonds ground or almond meal*

1 tablespoon ground organic cinnamon

1 teaspoon baking powder (I only buy aluminum free)

1 teaspoon baking soda

*Use a food processor or a small coffee grinder to grind the nuts. If you dislike the feeling of chunky walnuts in your usual brownies or desserts, grind them completely as you would with the almonds. 

Directions:

STEP 1 
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Grease a spring form or 9inch pan.Ground raw walnuts and almonds using your food processor or grinder.

Image

Raw walnuts and almonds

Image

Place in the grinder, and make almonds fine as powder. Feel free to completely grind your walnuts as well (I kept big walnut chunks for a crunch).

Image

Just like that…

STEP 2

Mix all the (dry) last five ingredients (ground nuts and spices) in a large mixing bowl.

Image

Mix ground walnuts, ground almonds, cinnamon, baking powder, and baking soda in a large bowl.

STEP 3
Stir in pumpkin and eggs.

Image

1 ingredient: 100% Organic Pumpkin Puree 😉

Image

Add pumpkin and 2 eggs.

STEP 4
Mash the banana in a separate bowl, add and mix.

Image

Mash the banana with a fork.

STEP 5
Place in the baking pan for 25 minutes.
Allow to cool and serve. 

Image

I used a spring-form pan, you can use any kind.

Image

Baked…

This is what I like about spring-form pans.

This is what I like about spring-form pans.

Image

Slice and eat.

Image

Enjoy with a cup of tea! 🙂

Easiest Luscious Garlic

The benefits of garlic are vast, and the more I research and learn about them, the more I eat them! I now put fresh garlic in almost every dish I make, soups, salads, dressings, and main dishes. The best way to eat garlic is fresh of course, much better than ground or granulated. So this recipe is from my mom, and we enjoy altering it every now and then. The spices you can throw on these are unlimited! You want them spicy then throw on some red pepper, and if you prefer simplicity then salt and pepper do the job. I enjoy adding cayenne pepper, Layan doesn’t eat from it anyway. 😉

*A special fresh garlic salad and dressing coming soon! 😉

Ingredients:

8-10 fresh garlic heads

Extra virgin olive oil (amount as desired, usually a teaspoon per garlic head is sufficient)

Himalayan Pink Salt/Celtic Sea Salt

Black Pepper

Rosemary ground (I grind this fresh)

Red Pepper, ground mustard seed, crushed pepper* optional

Directions:
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Cut the top of the garlic straight with a knife allowing the cloves to peek through. Top with extra virgin olive oil followed by the seasonings (Putting the spices first will cause them to not stick).

Place a wax paper on top of a piece of foil and wrap well, making sure the wax paper won’t stick out. Close it tightly at the top. Do each garlic individually wrapped using the same method. Bake for about 20-25 minutes. Enjoy!

Props to my bro again for letting me use his amazing DSLR mashaAllah :-)

Props to my bro again for letting me use his amazing DSLR mashaAllah 🙂

Examine the wax topped with foil, wrapped tightly at the top.

Examine the wax topped with foil, wrapped tightly at the top.

:)

🙂

Noor’s “I can’t Believe it’s Blackberry Pie” and “Awesome Apple Pie”

Well what do you know, it’s pie season. While many people enjoy every bite of flaky crusted warm pies, others enjoy crumbles and cookies. The holiday season is about baking, but it doesn’t mean you are limited to making your pies and treats unhealthy. One of my siblings loves apple pie, and the store-bought one scares me, mostly because it has over 20 ingredients, half of which none of us can pronounce. I decided to make my own altering one of my old recipes.  I threw in two pie recipes, two birds in one stone. Enjoy! 

Ingredients:

Whole wheat pastry pie crust:

2 cups 100% stone ground whole wheat pastry flour

3/4 cup grass-fed butter or Organic Virgin Coconut Oil

1 teaspoon Himalayan Pink Salt or Unrefined Real Salt

5-8 tablespoons ice water

Noor’s awesome fresh blackberries filling:

2 packs fresh blackberries (about 2 cups)

2-4 tablespoons raw Coconut Palm Sugar

1 tablespoon 100% stone ground whole wheat pastry flour

Noor’s awesome organic apple pie filling:

3 honey-crisp organic apples (I did NOT peel ;-))

1 tablespoon fresh squeezed lemon juice

1 tablespoon ground cinnamon

¼ cup Coconut Palm Sugar

Noor’s awesome crumble topping

1 cup 100% whole wheat pastry flour

½ cup Coconut Palm Sugar

¼-1/2 cup Organic Virgin Coconut Oil

1 tablespoon ground cinnamon (ONLY for the apple pie.)

 

Directions:

STEP 1

Whole wheat pastry pie crust:
Mix the pastry flour and salt in a large bowl. Add the butter/coconut oil, scoop it into about 16 smaller pieces and use your hands to crumble. Leave coarse crumbs but not too large.
Add one tablespoon of water at a time and knead.
Shape into a disc and cover with wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Mix flour and salt. Toss in "butter spread" in small pieces.

Mix flour and salt. Toss in “oil spread” in small pieces.

Add water one tablespoon at a time and knead.

Add water one tablespoon at a time and knead.

Separate into two.

Separate into two.

Shape into disc and  cover with wrap well.

Shape into disc and cover with wrap well.

STEP 2 

Noor’s awesome crumble topping:
Mix the flour and sugar in a bowl. Divide EVENLY into two separate bowls.
Add cinnamon to one bowl and mix well.
Add in the butter/oil in small pieces and use hands to crumble into coarse crumbs (use a kneading method as well).
Set aside until you fill your pie crust with the filling.

Crumble in buttery spread.

Crumble in buttery spread.

STEP 3

Noor’s awesome PIES:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. When ready to make the pie you can either roll it out (with a rolling pin) or simply stick it in the 9 inch pie crust and use your palms to press and spread. Make an edge, the higher the better.
Place the fillings (apple or blackberry) in the pie shell, careful not to go over the edges.
Top each with the crumble topping. Bake for 35-40 minutes or until topping is browned.
Allow to cool or serve warm. Enjoy this as a treat! 
 

Slice fresh apples

Slices of fresh organic apples

Add lemon, Truvia, and cinnamon.

Add lemon, palm sugar, and cinnamon.

Blackberry

Blackberries

Roll or pat.

Roll or pat.

2 pies

2 pie crusts

Filling topped with crumble, pre-baked.

Filling topped with crumble, pre-baked.

Done!

Done!

Close up

Close up

Organic, pure, delicious.

Organic, pure, delicious.

Told you….pie and junk don’t always belong in the same sentence. 😉

Removing the Bad Rep of a Cookie

Almost everyone loves cookies, and I was one of those people, until I’ve learned what’s put in those things. While pre-packaged cookies are full of multi-syllabic ingredients I can’t pronounce, and have an ingredient list bigger than the actual cookies, homemade cookies can be bad too. Eating a cookie others make means most likely bleached flour, nasty oils, and a ton of refined sugar. These are reasons why cookies have a bad reputation. 

Well for someone who once loved cookies, and still does (only when I make them, and see what goes in them), I came up with what I call not so bad rep cookie bars. Since I was careful about buying gluten free oats, my entire recipe is gluten free. Oats are usually gluten free but contaminated in factories, so watch your labels if you are tolerant. 

 These are high in protein (thanks to the Quinoa), very low natural sugar (raisins), and taste great! The coconut oil is a “good for you oil”, so you could enjoy your cookie and not have to worry about what you just put in your body.  

Ingredients:
2  Organic/pasture-raised eggs

½ cup Organic Virgin Coconut Oil

¾ cup Organic coconut palm sugar or organic raw honey

1 ½ cups Organic Quinoa flour (grind whole raw quinoa  like I did, or buy it ready)

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 cup un-sulphured raisins (or dried blueberries/cranberries)

1 cup raw walnuts (or any nut, chopped or whole)

¾ cup old fashion oats, gluten-free if necessary

Directions:

STEP 1

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Beat the eggs and melted coconut oil. Mix well with the palm sugar/honey. Add the dry ingredients and mix with a spatula.

Image

Add dry ingredients.

STEP 2

 Fold in the raisins, walnuts, and oats if you like. Use a spatula or your palms to fold the dough. The dough will be nice and thick.

Image

Add walnuts and raisins (you can alternate)

                                                                   

                                       

STEP 3

Place in a baking dish and bake for about 35-40 minutes or until browned on the edges.

Image

Bake 35-40 mins.

STEP 4

Cut and serve as desired.

Clean and delicious.

Clean and delicious. Serve on a platter.

Gone Vegetables Salmon

It’s hard to get omega-3 fatty acids from food, but enjoying wild caught Alaskan salmon is a great way to boost protein and fatty-acids. Fish is a quick and easy protein to cook, and very nutritious (when not farm raised!). Even little Layan won’t mind finding this on her dinner plate. 

 This is a 3-step dinner recipe, it really can’t get easier than this! I don’t think it’ll take you more than 30 minutes maximum. 🙂

Ingredients:
1 or 2 Wild Caught Alaskan Salmon fillets (pre-marinated)

3 large carrots

1 broccoli head

4 zucchinis

5-6 mushrooms

Fresh garlic cloves

2 tablespoons Organic Virgin Coconut Oil (or any oil you prefer)

 

Directions:

STEP 1

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees and bake the salmon covered for about 15 minutes. Remove the skin and place in a glass, oven-safe Pyrex. 

Remove the skin of the salmon and place in a glass Pyrex.

Remove the skin of the salmon and place in a glass Pyrex.

STEP 2

Wash and cut your vegetables in medium/large chunks. Place in a large skillet with the 2 tablespoons of oil. Cook on medium/high heat, but don’t overcook.

Chunky fresh vegetables in skillet with 2 tbsp coconut oil

Chunky fresh vegetables in skillet with 2 tbsp coconut oil

STEP 3

Top the salmon with the fresh vegetables uncovered for about 5-7 minutes. Remove and serve with a side of grain (Quinoa, rice, pasta, barley, etc).

Top salmon with the vegetables. Bake 5-7 mins.

Top salmon with the vegetables. Bake 5-7 mins.

Enjoy!

Enjoy! Serve with steamed rice, quinoa, or clean ingredient pasta.

Rowing Your Boat Towards Good Health: Noor’s Zucchini Vegetable Stuffed Boats

I recall loving the zucchini boats my mother made as a child, they were stuffed with diced onions, ground beef, and amazing spices. They would be baked to perfection.

I wanted to make something different, quick with time. At the same moment of this craving, I debated making my famous smashed sweet potatoes but didn’t think they’d match. Instead, I used carrots to make some delicious mash!

This is a very quick and easy recipe, and vegetarian friendly. It’s a great way to hide veggies from the little ones and have them enjoy eating “boats”.

 Minus the extreme amount of garlic I threw in, Layan liked these. If you’re feeding the kids, minimize the garlic. 🙂

Ingredients:

4 zucchinis (or more if desired)

1 medium round tomato, organic preferred

4 mushrooms

5 cloves fresh garlic, peeled

2 large carrots, organic preferred

Spices (onion powder, Himalayan Pink Salt or real unrefined sea salt, turmeric, rosemary)

***you can stuff any veggie you like (artichoke, bell peppers, etc)

Raw pine nuts for garnish and fresh herbs (parsley, cilantro, etc)

Directions:

STEP 1

Preheat the oven to 350. Wash and slice the carrots and place in a very small pot with about a cup of water. Cover and allow to cook on medium high.

Image

2 Carrots washed well.

Image

Chopped and added to the pot with 1 cup of water.

STEP 2

Wash the zucchini, mushrooms, and tomato and “unstuff” them. Place their stuffing in the pot with the carrots. Place the vegetables in an oven safe tray.

Image

Veggies

Image

Empty out the tomato. Remove the mushroom stems and inside of zucchini.

Image

Don’t throw out the stuffing though! Toss them in with the carrots! =)

STEP 3

Pound the fresh garlic and add it to the pot. Add your spices here as well and mix slightly. If more water is needed add it now. Turn off the heat.

Image

Fresh garlic cloves

Image

Pounded

STEP 4

Use a hand blender (food processor, or regular blender) to puree the vegetable stuffing.

Image

Puree

Image

Puree the veggie stuffing…

Image

…until smooth.
*I got carried away at this point it was soo good I ate it alone (like mashed potatoes) =)

STEP 5

Fill the vegetable boats with the stuffing and bake for about 15-20 minutes.

Fill the boats up.

Fill the boats up.

STEP 6

Garnish with fresh chopped parsley and sliced almonds or pine nuts.

 Serve with a side of cooked Quinoa, rice, etc.

Garnish with pine nuts and fresh herbs;serve.

Garnish with pine nuts and fresh herbs;serve.

Side view.

Side view.

Click to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email. My healthy recipes and food investigation will be sent straight to your email, in case you get off track. :)

Disclaimer

©2014 Noor Salem- All rights reserved. This information on this blog, blackbeanbrownies.wordpress.com is provided for educational and informational purposes only, and not meant to diagnose, treat, or cure any disease, or any other physical or mental ailment of the human body. ALWAYS seek consultation from your physician or health care provider for any medical related questions, or before initiating any diet or health program, trying a new food product, dietary change, supplement, or exercise. All content and images on blackbeanbrownies.wordpress.com may not be reproduced or distributed unless permitted in writing. Noor Salem and blackbeanbrownies.wordpress.com disclaim liability for any misinterpretation or misuse of any information provided here or from any injury, sickness, or damage from the use of any recommended products. This information is not provided to replace seeking a licensed physician or health care provider.