Buckwheat Crepes (as Gluten Free Sandwich Wraps)

Natalia Gill

Hello! My name is Natalia and I live in the “City in a Forest” (Atlanta, GA) with my husband and two children. I’ve been drawn to nutrition and natural healing since I was a young child, growing up in a Russian and Dutch home. I fondly remember my dad theatrically convincing me to love head cheese (with horseradish and lemon!) and learning to make herbal tinctures from my mom.

During my teens and early twenties, I strayed to more faddish health trends, but the color returned to my cheeks only when I came back to a time-honored way of eating. There is no greater joy than passing the gift of nourishment to my family and although we haven’t yet made full circle to the head cheese, the roots have been planted. ;) A former health columnist and project engineer, I now teach Pilates & yoga and offer practical inspiration to others as they carve a path of good health... AnAppetiteForJoy.com

Buckwheat Crepes as Sandwich Wraps

Delicate and gourmet, satisfying and rustic, buckwheat crepes can play a versatile role in any real food kitchen. Top them with a heap of blueberries, a drizzle of maple syrup for breakfast, and with some coconut whipped cream, if you want to make it extra special. Stuff them with chicken and mushrooms for dinner. Wrap your favorite sandwich toppings in a crepe for an easy & substantial lunch!

This recipe is a gluten free version of my mom’s beloved crepes. They can easily be made dairy free as well! Staple ingredients (buckwheat flour, milk, eggs) are combined in a blender, making for easy mixing and clean up. An overnight soak results in a crepe with a light flavor and texture that is more easily digested. (Read about the benefits of soaking grains here).

Although I have been making crepes for years, we have just started enjoying them as sandwich wraps. This is one of the simple ways my family is reducing the gluten in our diets.

Crepe sandwiches make a great light dinner or a lunch that is easy and appealing enough for children to make themselves. Here, I wrapped one around some Parmesan cheese, roasted red pepper and arugula. Ham and cheese is also a favorite!

Buckwheat Crepes as Gluten Free Sandwich Wraps

“THE WEEK OF CREPES”

Coincidentally, this recipe comes to you in perfect timing as we approach “the week of crepes”. For the Russian Orthodox, Cheesefare (“Maslinitsa”) begins this Monday, February 24. 

Cheesefare, which lasts a week, is a last hoorah before Orthodox lent begins. During this time, meat is not allowed, but fish, dairy and eggs are still permitted, so Russians eat loads of crepes before they have to give them up for 40 days. Giving up crepes (“blinchiki”) for any length of time is a big deal to a Russian!

LENTEN FAST GUIDELINES

The Lenten fast (see the 2014 dates here) is more or less vegan. Here are the parameters:

  • Meat is not allowed, with the exception of shellfish, which is included because it was not traditionally considered a luxury food.
  • There are a couple of specified dates that fish is allowed. But for the most part, it is not permitted.
  •  Some people omit all oils during this time while others interpret the “no oil rule” to refer specifically to olive oil.
  • Olive oil and wine are permitted on certain days, signified by a picture of a cluster of grapes on the calendar.

There is a measure of grace thrown into the rules. If someone has a medical condition that makes it a challenge to participate, they are not expected to. If someone who is fasting goes to eat at someone’s house where off-limits foods are served, they may eat them. Being a grateful guest trumps sticking to the rules.

MY EXPERIENCE WITH THE LENTEN FAST

My father is Orthodox and I participated in the fast with him once, about ten years ago. At the time I was eating a highly processed diet and it was a wonderful cleanse for me, both spiritually and physically. My mind was clear, I required less sleep and I felt very light and energized overall. Not to say that it wasn’t a challenge, but I did reap a lot of benefits.

I’ve considered participating in it again, but now that my diet is much more nourishing than it was ten years ago, I’m concerned that I won’t experience the same energy boost that I did before. As a mother of young children I need all the energy I can get!

It’s hard to imagine six weeks without broth and eggs in my diet. I’m so used to fueling myself with these traditionally nourishing foods. On the other hand, I remind myself that fasting is a very traditional practice and perhaps our bodies were designed to work best in a feast/famine, celebration/fasting routine.

I will continue to ponder and pray, but for now I don’t know if I will commit to this year’s Lenten fast. But one thing I do know for certain is that I will gladly partake in crepes next week!

Do you make fasting part of your routine? Why or why not? I’m interested to hear your thoughts on this!

Related Gluten-Free Recipes on The Nourishing Gourmet:

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Buckwheat Crepes
 
Author:
Serves: 4

 
Buckwheat crepes are a versatile gluten free food and work great as an every day sandwich wrap. The batter for these is made right in the blender for easy clean up. This recipe makes about 13 7-inch crepes
Ingredients
  • 2 cups non-dairy milk (I used canned 9% fat coconut milk)
  • 2 tablespoons milk kefir (or water kefir, kombucha, lemon juice)
  • 2 tablespoons ghee or coconut oil
  • 1.25 cups buckwheat flour (if grinding your own, use hulled groats)
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 teaspoon honey (optional)
  • 6 eggs
  • a little ghee or coconut oil to prepare the pan for the first pancake
Instructions
  1. Blend together the milk, 2 tablespoons ghee, flour, kefir, salt and honey in a blender (put in the wet ingredients first). Leave on the counter to soak for 12-24 hours (overnight).
  2. When they are done soaking, add the eggs to the batter and blend again to combine.
  3. Heat a 7-inch cast iron skillet over medium heat. I sometimes bump it up to high heat to speed up the process, then reduce it back to medium when I start cooking the crepes. You want the skillet nice and hot.
  4. Add a small amount (1 teaspoon or so) of ghee or coconut oil to the pan to prepare it for your first pancake. Ladle ⅓ cup of the batter (a scant ladle full) into the skillet and swirl it around confidently until it covers the bottom of the pan and starts to set. Allow it to cook for about a minute, maybe less. Keep an eye on it.
  5. Once it seems done (you’ll quickly get the hang of it) use a spatula to loosen it off the pan a bit and (again, with confidence) flip it over. Let it cook for 15-30 seconds, until golden. Repeat until your batter is done. Swirl the batter in the blender from time to time to keep the flour from settling.
  6. You will likely not need any more ghee or coconut oil for the remaining pancakes since there is some in the batter. From time to time the heat might need to be adjusted as the pan will get increasingly hot throughout the cooking.
Notes
I have found that a 7-inch cast iron skillet works best. Even an inch larger can make them a challenge to flip.

I once made the mistake of grinding up chia seeds into the batter and it got very smoky! So I definitely don’t recommend incorporating ground chia or flax.

 

Individual Ricotta and Spinach Omelets in a Muffin Tin (Grain-free)

April Swiger

Hi, I’m April Swiger, wife to my best friend, and worship-pastor, Adam. We are hopeful adoptive parents waiting to bring home children from foster care. We live in Connecticut, less than an hour from where I grew up. As a native New Englander, I was brought up on delicious meals by my mother who values the art of cooking. Her guidance instilled in me foundational skills, and confidence in the kitchen from a very young age.

After graduating from James Madison University I spent six years in campus ministry, including a year in East Asia. As a result, my cooking has been greatly influenced by Chinese, Korean, Thai, and Vietnamese cuisine. You can bet that I fully indulged in many traditional, and unique, Asian dishes that year!/div>

I enjoy experimenting in the kitchen with simple, nourishing recipes, while strategically keeping to our tight ministry budget. On any given day you’ll find my crockpot bubbling with rich bone broth, mason jars full of coconut oil in the cabinet, and beans or grains soaking on the radiator. When I’m not caring for my husband and our home, you can find me reading, writing, blogging at Redemptive Homemaking, making my own beauty products, and researching new skills like gardening and lacto-fermentation. Whether it’s marriage, homemaking, or serving in our local church, I am first and foremost a follower of King Jesus, and my aim is to glorify Him with all that I do. 

Omelet in a muffin tin

By April Swiger, Contributing Writer.

Fluffy eggs and ricotta, with a hint of garlic, and nutrient-packed spinach. These individual ricotta and spinach omelets in a muffin tin are simple to prepare, easy on the budget, and deliciously nourishing. Eggs are “a powerhouse of nutrition” and one of the most frugal ways to get important vitamins and minerals into our diets on a budget. Depending on your choice of ingredients, this meal could be made for under $10, filling the bellies of your entire family!

I love the simplicity of this meal. It’s quick and easy to prepare, but it doesn’t have to look that way. There is something beautiful about the humble egg, and when prepared with a few other complementary ingredients, it can make any occasion feel special. In fact, when my husband and I got married we had a brunch reception with a full omelet bar! It was a unique, and very memorable detail from our day.

These individual omelets would be great for a bridal or baby shower, placed on a fancy plate, or a quick weeknight dinner for a busy family. After baking, the omelets freeze really well, providing an easy make-ahead meal for any occasion. Allow them to thaw overnight in the refrigerator, and they can be reheated in minutes.

Living on one pastor’s income, I’m always eager to find creative ways to save money, and still fill up on the most nutrient dense food we can afford. It’s my goal to steward our money well, while still preparing simple and nutritious meals that will keep my family healthy and energized. These individual omelets are so versatile, and can easily bring you out of that mundane egg slump that I have personally found myself in far too often. Let your taste buds, and family preferences be your guide. The combinations are truly endless!

Notes from Kimi: What type of eggs should you buy? There are more and more options in the stores and at the farmers markets. Here’s a quick guide to buying eggs. As part of our 21 steps to a nourishing diet series, we recommend that you buy the best eggs that you can afford! Eggs are a wonderful source of nutrition, and that’s most true from chickens raised the way nature meant them to be – with plenty of greens, bugs, and lots of space. (The following guide is adapted from Eggs: A Powerhouse of Nutrition

Shopping Guide for Eggs

  • Organic eggs are from chickens who have been feed organic feed, but that doesn’t mean they are free range chickens. They can be just as confined as other chickens, but are given better feed.
  • Vegetarian eggs means that the chickens were feed no animal products, but it also means that they weren’t eating any grubs and insects and are also not free-range eggs.
  • Cage free eggs indicates that the chickens have better living quarters and aren’t jammed into small cages, but they are usually cage free and running around in a warehouse. Once again, not necessarily a huge advantage nutritionally for their eggs.
  • Even eggs labeled “free range” aren’t necessarily benefiting from abundant feeding on insects and other natural food, because they are free “ranging” in a outside yard that no longer contains anything of value for them to eat (they live off of feed instead).
  • Omega-3 eggs are given feed (including flax seeds) that increase the omega 3′s in the eggs. When organic, these may be a good choice – though that’s still up to debate.
  • The best source would be getting eggs from a local farmer who allows them to truly “free range” or “pastures” his chickens. These chickens will often be moved around in a portable wire cage that allows them to eat bugs (which, believe it not, is what makes these eggs so nutritionally superior). I have found that my eggs from one such egg farmer are so different than even the expensive eggs in the store. The yolk is much more orange in color, instead of a pale yellow. They even cook differently (they won’t dry out as quickly). You can try to find such farmers by visiting farmer’s markets, looking out for signs while driving through the countryside, check out Craig’s List, Local Harvest, or word of mouth. Make sure you ask your farmer questions as to how they are raised, however. Or you can raise them yourself!
  • To see a visual example of the difference between commercial eggs and a true free range egg, look at this picture here! 

Easy Egg Recipes to enjoy with your pastured, free-range eggs:

Muffin Tin/Pan Recommendations:

Since we like muffins, and things made in muffin tins (like mini meatloaves and individual omelets), a few recommendations for muffin tins (Amazon is an affiliate to this blog). I try to avoid aluminum pans, so I personally own stainless steel muffin tins, and have really enjoyed using them. I am also so pleased to see that they have mini stainless steel muffin tins now too! I’ve also heard great things about clay muffin pans – which some feel is even safer than stainless steel. It’s more of a speciality item, so a little harder to track down, but well worth it. I have long admired Polish Pottery (which beautiful and  also lead and cadmium free). If you really wanted to have a beautiful kitchen item, you can check out some lovely ones like this one. I recommend them with an envious sigh.

Ricotta and Spinach Omelets in a Muffin Tin (grain-free)
 
Author:
Recipe type: Breakfast, Brunch, or a Main Dish
Serves: 9-12 individual omelets depending on your egg size

 
These individual omelets are simple to make, incredibly frugal, and deliciously nourishing. They freeze well too, and are great for busy moms on the run!
Ingredients
  • 9 Eggs
  • ¾ Cup ricotta cheese
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 Garlic cloves, minced
  • 2-3 Handfuls of spinach
  • Butter or oil to grease your pan and muffin tin
  • Parmesan to sprinkle on top
  • *Optional: mushrooms, peppers and onions, bacon, sausage, etc (basically anything you would put in your favorite omelet)
Instructions
  1. Preheat your oven to 325 F, and grease your muffin tin with your choice of butter or oil.
  2. While the oven is heating up, mix in a large bowl the eggs, ricotta, and salt and pepper, until completely blended.
  3. In a pan on your stovetop, heat your choice of fat on medium, and sauté the garlic for about a minute. Make sure it doesn’t brown. Add your spinach a handful at a time, and toss it until all the spinach has wilted. Add the wilted spinach to your egg and ricotta mixture.
  4. Spoon your egg mixture evenly into the muffin tins, and sprinkle with parmesan if desired. Fill them about ½-3/4 the way full. They will puff up in the oven!
  5. Bake the omelets for 15-20 minutes, or until the eggs have set in the middle.
Notes
These freeze really well! Store them in an airtight container, and thaw in the refrigerator overnight before reheating.

 

Whole Wheat Chocolate Chip Pancakes (Soaked)

Anna Harris

Anna lives Buffalo, NY surrounded by a cityscape of both blight and hope. She receives inspiration from the next-door urban farm and loves nothing more than to spend a lazy summer Saturday perusing the lush stalls of a farmers market with her two lively children and husband. Cream and butter are two of her most adored ingredients.

She is devoted to sustainable food sourcing and to encouraging others to find the links between simple, beautiful food and thriving health. Some of her major influences include Alice Waters, Sally Fallon, and the More-With-Less cookbooks. She enjoys challenging herself with serving large gatherings, living with intentional restraint, and engaging her children in the creative world of food.

Above all, she values relationships and finds joy in bringing people together around the table.

You can find her blogging at eastsidepicurean.com 

January Vertical

by Anna Harris, Contributing Writer

Meet a toddler’s breakfast nirvana and a mama’s healthy breakfast solution, fluffy buttermilk-soaked pastry wheat pancakes studded with winning bits of chocolate, flavored and enriched with classic pancakes additions of vanilla, egg, and butter. (To read more about the soaking method used in this recipe, read here.)

I realize that chocolate chip pancakes are not anything close to sophisticated cuisine.  To some of us they might not even sound remotely desirable. My three-year-old son, however, would beg to differ, as these are his weekly breakfast staples. It’s likely that as mamas (and some of us have grandiose visions of what the family meal table should look like-Eggs Florentine over homemade sourdough English muffins, Spelt Crepes filled with creme fraiche and local berries, Coconut Granola with home cultured yogurt-that sort of thing) we have the highest hopes for diverging our children’s palates and to nourish every cell of their tiny, developing bodies. I know that for myself, this is indeed a fierce longing.

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Additionally, I was raised in a food-centric, large,  and ravenous family where the notion was held that a cleaned plate was akin to godliness and wasting or throwing food away was practically a crime. So you can imagine my befuddlement when our second-born not  only showed little interest in food but was very (to add insult)…picky! I tried training, coaxing, allowing my toddler to get hungry, nothing much seemed to interest him in my whole-raw-milk-honey-drizzled-yogurt, or eggs,  perfectly raised yeast and sourdough breads, or even the soothing simplicity of warm oatmeal. I confess I even tempted him with store-bought cereal, the brightly packaged, fruity “kids” yogurt, and organic pop-tarts with no success at incurring a voracious manly appetite.

My whole being was perplexed and distressed because my tiny man truly is small as well, Elliot has spindly, long limbs left unpadded by even a hint of baby chub. It was as if he always had something more exciting to do, as if it were such a chore to sit down and eat. I believe the turning point was with these pancakes, being both sweet and easy to chew, something he could quickly recognize. He began to consistently eat breakfast with very rare conflict. For months at a time I fed him pancakes, with both a sigh of relief that he was being fed with the sustaining combination of whole grains and fats but also with a sigh of acceptance at his quirk of being absolutely ok with hardly any variety, something my own soul regularly craves.

It might grate on my butter-devoted nerves when Elliot balks at the sight of a golden pat melting across his single pancake, but oh! it brings me joy and relief to see him fed for the morning and his plate forked clean.  I also smile knowing that I can at least fry those pancakes in coconut oil or butter until the edges are so crisp they crackle at the bite and that he loves when we pour a trickle of real maple syrup atop. While those wonderful foods together (I am referencing my experience as a Trim Healthy Mama ) may not be the friendliest to my mama waistline, they are absolutely sublime for fueling my whippet-thin toddlers.

Practically speaking, I don’t whip up a batch of these fresh every day, becoming a veritable short-order Betty Crocker for my young ones fickle appetites, I typically will make a batch every week though, wrapping extras and storing in the fridge to pull out for the following mornings. We have a very loose rotation of simple and generally frugal breakfasts. Here are some of them.

Inexpensive & Healthy Breakfast Options

  • Overnight soaked oatmeal with toppings of butter, maple syrup, honey, raw milk, cinnamon, raisins, or walnuts.
  • I often will make of Trim Healthy pancake batter made of oats, cottage cheese, and egg whites for myself that sits in a half-gallon jar on a make-as-I-please basis.
  • Egg-based breakfasts, scrambled or fried, with or without homemade toast. (With eggs, as much as I adore them, my children just always think they taste better from our plates, which I guess is ok with me, as long as they are eating them.) Here is one of my especially nutrient dense scrambled egg recipes. 
  • Smoothies can be popular with the children when it’s warm, I can put loads of homemade yogurt, honey, and whatever frozen fruit we have, inside.
  • Super-simple favorites: A banana and peanut butter for Elliot, in particular.
  • Toast and pan-fried ham or bacon.
  • Leftovers, Eden and I are versatile and will happily eat leftover pasta (Eden) or leftover brown rice and quinoa (myself) along with leftover cooked vegetables and protein source. French toast using up odds and ends of bread fall into the yummy leftover category.
  • Just recently, my children also have been converted to enjoying vanilla-infused yogurt and toast. Perhaps this is due to the frequency yogurt is served in our house, they just can’t get away from it!

Since that critical point of my son’s toddler breakfast issues, we have come along way and he will eat what the rest of the family eats, even if it means us lending a hand in the momentous task of bringing the offending spoon to his weary mouth.

Soaked Chocolate Chip Pancakes
 
Author:
Recipe type: Breakfast/Brunch
Cuisine: American
Serves: 4

 
Kid-friendly and simple, chocolate chip pancakes that both offer traditionally-prepared grains and fluffy texture, fried generously in coconut oil for diner-crisp edges and deep nourishment.
Ingredients
  • 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour, sifted
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1-2 eggs
  • 2 tbs. butter, melted
  • 2 tbs. coconut sugar/sucanat
  • 2 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • ½ tsp. baking soda
  • ¼ tsp. fine sea salt
  • ⅓-1/2 cup chocolate chips (I used Enjoy Life brand with only 3 ingredients, also dairy-free)
  • Coconut oil, butter, ghee, peanut/sunflower oil for frying
Instructions
  1. Measure sifted flour into a bowl, mix gently with buttermilk, allow to sit overnight.
  2. Whisk together vanilla, egg, coconut sugar, melted butter, add salt, baking soda, and baking powder, pour into flour mixture. Add chocolate chips and stir gently to combine.
  3. It’s helpful to let the batter rest for 10 minutes before frying. Use a ¼ cup measure to pour out onto a heated, well oiled skillet or frying pan. Cook on medium heat until bubbles begin to form around the edges, flip and cook on the other side until cooked through and browned.

I will also note, that while our family seems to digest dairy with ease, this recipe is so simple to make dairy-free by substituting coconut oil and milk or almond milk and sunflower oil for the butter and buttermilk. Just be sure to include an acid medium along with your alternative milk (lemon juice, apple cider vinegar) or you could always use half yogurt and half water for nice results. Spelt, barley, or kamut flour can be substituted for the more domesticated pastry wheat as well.

Other Nourishing Gourmet Pancake Recipes: 

Twisted Candied Bacon (made with unrefined sweeteners)

KimiHarris

I love beautiful and simple food that is nourishing to the body and the soul. I wrote Fresh: Nourishing Salads for All Seasons and Ladled: Nourishing Soups for All Seasons as another outlet of sharing this love of mine. I also love sharing practical tips on how to make a real food diet work on a real life budget. Find me online elsewhere by clicking on the icons below!

Candied Bacon, with coconut sugar

Coconut sugar caramelizes with melting bacon grease as bacon slowly cooks in the oven to form a candied shell.  It’s bacon with a “wow” factor! It would make a lovely side dish for a Christmas brunch that is extra special.

I recently tried this method out, and I thought it would be a really fun recipe to share as the last post for our 12 days of Christmas series. By the way, check out the following giveaways still running as part of the series: Win Steeped (a nourishing tea book) and Nourishing Christmas Cookie for a Healthy Holiday, Fair Trade Box with coffee, tea, chocolate, and more, and Grain-free Meal plans and ebooks! 

I hope you’ve enjoyed the recipes and giveaways!

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