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. =) 

Chockfull of Ingredients in Your Chocolate Ice Cream

Children scream for ice cream, and adults simply reach for it without sound. As a child I loved ice cream, until I realized what I was being fed. Turning over the container merely scares me, especially with the paragraph comprised of ingredients I can’t pronounce. So what’s in ice cream that’s a hazard to our health? Simply, too many things for me to cover, but I’ll give you a taste of it.

Carrageenan is found in almost every ice cream or frozen yogurt brand out there. It’s used as a thickening agent to make your treat nice and thick, but can also cause harmful effects on your body including cancer.  Is it worth it? Not when you can make an alternative, which I will share below.

Many frozen treats have coloring, including red 40, blue lake 1, yellow lake 5. As I’ve stated numerously, this sounds like I’m in an art classroom, not in the kitchen eating dessert. Food colorings are proven to be harmful by the FDA and have proven to cause ADHD in children.  According to labelwatch.com the CSPI, Center for Science in the Public Interest, recommends avoiding all artificial food coloring.

Watch out for the famous high fructose corn syrup, I don’t even want to get into this. I don’t believe that all sugar is created equally, and if you believe so, well read on. In no way, shape, or form do I consider that Organic Raw Honey or even dates can be on the same scale as high fructose corn syrup. While honey and dates are natural, and have plenty of health benefits, high fructose corn syrup comes from GMO ingredients. What’s to compare?

So as a treat I’ve transformed my regular frozen banana ice cream into “chocolate” banana ice cream using carob powder instead of cocoa powder for a few added health benefits. The texture is merely the same as the store bought chocolate ice cream, but the after-feeling is incomparable. This is dairy free, gluten free, soy free, additive free, added-sugar free, and most importantly guilt free. Oh and don’t forget, this has only 3 ingredients, while the majority of store-bought ice cream has a minimum of  15.

Top with organic berries, raw walnuts, carob chips, etc.

Top with organic berries, raw walnuts, carob chips, etc.

Ingredients:

4-5 frozen bananas peeled and pre-sliced *

½ cup milk (I used unsweetened almond milk, the fat adds to the creaminess)

1/3-1/2 cup carob powder (you can use this amazing raw cocoa powder)

Directions: (can’t get easier than this!)

STEP 1:

Place your frozen bananas, carob powder and almond milk in the food processor and pulse until creamy.

You may need to stop and scrap the sides a few times with a spatula (please, unplug the machine while doing so, you don’t want to accidently turn it on).

Unsweetened almond milk, frozen bananas, and carob powder.

Unsweetened almond milk, frozen bananas, and carob powder.

Place frozen bananas,  milk, and carob powder in food processor. 

Place frozen bananas, milk, and carob powder in food processor.

Yes, it's nice and creamy.

Yes, it’s nice and creamy.

Thick and creamy texture.

Thick and creamy texture.

STEP 2:

Serve in desired bowls. Top with fresh berries, mango, or other fruit, and if you’re a nut-a-holic like me, pile on raw walnuts, pistachios, or cashews. Toppings are unlimited, there are no rules. 😉

:) Yummy taste, and no damage to your health.

🙂 Yummy taste, and no damage to your health.

*The best way to have your frozen bananas is this: every time you have over-ripe bananas in your fruit plate peel them, slice them, and place them single layered in a tuber ware. Freeze them and whenever you’re in the mood for ice cream take them out and use them for such recipe.

Now, that’s ice cream to scream for. 😉

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.

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Raw walnuts and almonds

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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).

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Just like that…

STEP 2

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

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

STEP 3
Stir in pumpkin and eggs.

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1 ingredient: 100% Organic Pumpkin Puree 😉

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Add pumpkin and 2 eggs.

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

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Mash the banana with a fork.

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

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

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Baked…

This is what I like about spring-form pans.

This is what I like about spring-form pans.

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Slice and eat.

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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.

:)

🙂

Quick & Easy Steamed Beets

I was not planning to put the beets recipe up now but since I was asked to I will. Beets are a very healthy vegetable which unfortunately many people don’t eat. You may have tried them canned or fresh, either way they are packed with over a dozen nutrients (the canning process does kill a good amount of phytonutrients though).  The red betalain pigment scares many away, but hey, that’s where all the benefit is! So this recipe is fairly easy, the hardest part is peeling the beets without looking like you just walked out of an art classroom. Other than that, it’s a quick and trouble-free method.

Ingredients:
5-6 medium fresh beets

3 fresh lemons squeezed

2 tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil

1/2 teaspoon Himalayan Pink Salt (this is real salt you should use, full of numerous nutrients!)

1 teaspoon onion powder

1 teaspoon garlic powder

Fresh mint leaves

Iceberg lettuce (for décor, and eating 😉 )

Directions:

STEP 1

Wash and peel the beets and dice them into cubes. Place them in your steamer and if you don’t have one then in a small pot filled with VERY little water (that  you shouldn’t toss out afterwards, since a good majority your vitamins will be in the water). Cover and allow steaming for about 15 minutes.

STEP 2

Mix the lemon juice, extra virgin olive oil, and seasonings together in a small mixing bowl.

STEP 3

Lay out the lettuce on the serving platter. Top with the beets, and then drizzle the dressing. Garnish with fresh lemon and mint leaves.

Awesome top view. I absolutely love fresh mint leaves.

Awesome top view. I absolutely love fresh mint leaves.

Noor's quinoa, beets, and lemon-full barley.

Noor’s quinoa, beets, and lemon-full barley.

Noor’s Gone Vegetable Quinoa

For those who love the taste of Mexican, this is a healthier version of the good flavor, without the greasy meat and fatty cheese on top.

Quinoa is  a very healthy grain and an excellent replacement for rice. You can use it in main meals, snacks or desserts.

I had friends try many of my quinoa recipes and this was one of their favorite (excluding Layan). You can play around with this recipe by adding or omitting things you like. I’ve made it without the tomato base before and it was great.

Ingredients:

1 cup Organic Quinoa rinsed

2 cans black beans, soaked and rinsed

2 cups frozen organic and non-GMO corn

2 cups organic spinach chopped, frozen or fresh

2 large fresh tomatoes chopped

1-2 fresh jalapenos, optional

1 6 oz can Organic tomato paste

Seasoning of your choice: : Himalayan Pink Salt, Black Pepper, White Pepper, Curry, Rosemary, Garlic, Onion, Cayenne, etc

Water for cooking (approximately 4-5 cups)

 

Directions:

STEP 1

In a large skillet (with lid) place corn, spinach, and washed black beans with 2 cups water. Simmer on medium heat.

STEP 2

Add tomatoes, tomato paste, seasoning, and rinsed Quinoa. Add jalapeno here if adding. Mix well. Add enough water (2 inches above). Cover and allow to cook 15 minutes, stirring occasionally if necessary. Once Quinoa is tender cooked it will be transparent in color.

STEP 3

Fluff and serve warm. Suggested serving, fresh mint leaves and a scoop of certified organic sour cream!

Before garnish

Before garnish

Quinoa on the left. Barley spinach (recipe to come later) on the right.

Quinoa on the left. Barley spinach (recipe to come later) on the right.

Noor's quinoa, beets, and lemon-full barley.

Noor’s quinoa, beets, and lemon-full barley.

Secrets Behind Noor’s 1-2-3 Black Bean Brownies

Zoom in on the good stuff. No bean in sight.

Zoom in on the good stuff. No bean in sight. 😛 Dairy, gluten, soy, refined sugar, and preservative junk free. 

Noor's famous sunnah-full black bean brownies.

Noor’s famous sunnah-full black bean brownies. Topped with raw almond butter swirl.

Okay putting up a picture of delicious looking brownies does not justify the cravings. “How can these be guilt free?” one asks. Forget gluten free, these are JUNK free. 

My recipe answers the question. Forget the hydrogenated oils, bleached flour, and worst of all, pounds of refined sugar found in usual brownies. Forget the list of unpronounceable ingredients in boxed brownies. Throw in black beans for a hidden kick of protein, fiber, and a fudgy texture. Your kids will never know, and neither will your husband. 😉

Personally my favorite part about these brownies is this: all you do is toss the ingredients in your food processor all at once, and pulse away! No messy bowls, no sticky whisks, no hand blender, none of that!

I secretly add in whole black seeds and cold-pressed black seed oil. Black seed has been mentioned in the sunnah of the prophet (pbuh) and is suddenly showing up in research now. The benefits of black seed for many health conditions and diseases is breathtaking. Shhh don’t tell the kids.

Now, I don’t want to keep you holding any longer, let’s get to the bottom of these.

Black Bean Brownie Ingredients:

 

Nutty Swirl Ingredients:

  • 5 tbsp Organic Almond Butter (you can use any nut butter or nut butter powder)
  • 1 Tbsp Organic Raw Honey or Organic Coconut Palm Sugar (sugar replacement)
  • Pinch of Celtic Sea Salt/Himalayan Pink Salt
  • Dash of Vanilla Extract (make sure it’s pure and alcohol free)

STEP 1:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place ALL “Black Bean Brownie Ingredients” in your food processor. Pulse well. Pour into desired pan (13 by 9 works perfectly well for me. The thicker you want your brownies, the smaller the pan)

STEP 2:

In a small bowl place the “ Nut Butter Swirl Ingredients” and mix well. Spoon on top of brownie batter and create a swirl with a knife. I personally prefer walnut or pecan butter.

STEP 3:

Place in oven for approximately 25-30 minutes. The deeper the pan the more time they’ll need.

Okay here you have it, my secret way of indulgence without sabotaging my health. Enjoy now, you have some baking to do.

Noor's Black Bean Brownies :)

Noor’s Black Bean Brownies dark raw cocoa version w/ cashew butter swirl 🙂

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©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.