Today Peggy from the Curry Girls Kitchen is back to talk about spring cleaning ( think body & kitchen ), plus she’s sharing TWO recipes today. In this post you can expect & quick & easy salad you can take on the go & a healthier but delicious lemon square recipe. Plus Peggy is sharing all her tips for gluten-free baking.
Fun fact: I can remember running around Peggy’s kitchen when I was little while she made fresh raspberry & strawberry jam. The kitchen was always filled with so much love- she was always cooking. Now it’s really fun because their site has all different kinds of recipes- gluten free, dairy free… you get it. Lots of options. They do lots of events & workshops too, so be sure to check it out.
Anyways, I’m excited to have Peggy back to feature 2 more recipes from her new cookbook, Damn Good Gluten Free.
With that, let’s welcome Peggy back.
Gluten Free Lemon Squares & Spring Cleaning For Your Body & Mind With Peggy Curry
Hi again! Pegs here, from Curry Girls Kitchen.
Spring is in the air! The weather is lovely. The vegetation is gorgeous. The air is crisp. But my favorite thing about Spring, & all its green glory, is that it is a time of change. As the landscape transitions, you too are invited to stop, reflect, & make any change you desire within your own personal environment.
( Friends in the Southern hemisphere, I encourage you to take advantage of your autumnal transition as well. )
I’m a foodie, so y’all know I’m going to approach my seasonal rejuvenation from a foodie angle. This means starting fresh with a whole body reset. Consider it a “spring cleaning” of the body & mind. Periodic, short-term resets are awesome for getting in touch with your body, learning it’s signals when things are “off” & clearing out any random crap that’s holding you back from your health goals.
The trick is to do this consciously & safely, so that you fuel your body right.
If you’re simply starving yourself on a juice fast & calling it a “cleanse,” you’re defeating the purpose. This is meant to provide your body with optimum nutrition that’s easy-to-digest & release, yup elimination is critical here too… so that our bodies can perform at its most efficient level. For a fully-structured program that takes all the guesswork out of successfully planning & executing a whole body reset, click here. This link will take you to our 7-day Reset e-book. It is adaptable to all seasons, & I personally love doing it once every few months or so. For an even more customized, hands-on approach, Meg & I also offer 1-on-1 coaching. Click here to book a discovery call with us.
Regardless of your wellness goals, if you want to support any healthy lifestyle, I HIGHLY recommend organizing your kitchen.
Yep, this is where the more “traditional” spring cleaning comes in. I want you to head to your pantries ( dry & frozen ) & actually analyze all of the food you have on hand. What needs to get used or eaten? What has expired already? Which foods are poor quality? What might become a potential obstacle to your health goals?
Use these questions to guide you & declutter what doesn’t serve you. ( Pro tip: check out your local food bank’s requirements to donate any unwanted items. ) This might feel like a lot to do, but it’s a game changer. Now that you have an idea of what you actually have, you can replenish your kitchen with well-thought-out additions that help you live your most vibrant, healthy, JUICY life. Kick those low-quality foods to the curb; because you deserve a high-quality kitchen!
If you’re like, “Wait Peggy, WTF do you mean about ‘low-quality’ & ‘high-quality’ foods?” Don’t worry, I got you. Curry Girls made a kitchen organization video course called “The KIND Method.” It goes into all the nitty gritty of creating a high-quality kitchen with high-quality foods. CLICK HERE for more details.
The Quality Spectrum looks a little like this:
- Highly processed, highly heated (fried), high in sugar, low quality oils, & artificial ingredients
- Minimally processed, bottled, canned or frozen & 2-day leftovers
- Organic whole fruits & veggies, pulses, grass-fed beef & chicken, wild fish, whole grains & beneficial fats
I also have a whole chapter dedicated to “The KIND Method” in my debut cookbook, Damn Good Gluten Free. In addition to kitchen organization tips, it’s got over 140 de-lish recipes! Everything is 100% gluten free, but, of course that’s not all. Every recipe features customizations for dairy free, vegetarian, vegan/plant-based, &/or paleo diets. Basically, it’s the ideal cookbook for any household catering to various autoimmune issues & dietary preferences. Plus, it’s a great tool to have on hand when you’re hosting or bringing a dish to a potluck.
In honor of Spring, & all things green, I want to share easy recipe from Damn Good Gluten Free. It’s a salad that perfectly captures the luscious, herbaceous feeling of spring. Plus, it travels well! You can bring it to all of your favorite springtime activities. Take it to a picnic, a hike, a bike ride, a beach day, a family BBQ… the possibilities are endless!
Peggy’s Portable Salad:
+ Grab a nice, wide-mouth mason jar.
+ Pre-load your dressing ON THE BOTTOM ( or package separately – cute containers here ).
+ Layer in your remaining ingredients. Close the lid, & take on the day!
+ Once you’re ready to eat, add your dressing ( if stored in a separate container ), & shake, shake, shake! Lunch is served!
Now, let’s talk dessert.
Truth be told, I love a great dessert. I know. Shocking. Though most would consider me a wee bit of a health nut, I must admit… I love a great sweet treat! But the thing is, sugar does not love me back. Highly processed sugar absolutely wrecks my body. It’s inflammatory, terrible for my skin, & it disrupts the healing process of my health concerns. Basically, mass consumption of processed sugar is a no-go for me.
So how do I contend with this unrequited love? I still eat the dessert, of course. I just don’t hit the decadent stuff all the time. Whenever I DO decide to go for it, I have 1 major rule:
It has to be damn delicious.
Otherwise why bother with the trouble right? I know some damn delicious gluten free bakeries in my community & I also love to bake. So I never feel deprived.
I have an absolutely “worth it” dessert recipe for you, but before we get there, I want to share a few of the tips & tricks I learned throughout my baking evolution. You see, an interesting thing happened to me when I was diagnosed gluten intolerant. I basically had to toss all my baking knowledge out the window & relearn how to bake gluten free from the ground up.
Suddenly, I found myself rediscovering the chemistry of baking. By deconstructing my favorite bakes into their component parts, & piecing them back together in a gluten free way, I also gave myself the opportunity to add my own Peggy twist to them. Not only were my treats now gluten free, but I also found a way to make them more nutritionally beneficial, too!
What? A dessert with nutritional value? Fuck yea!
Here are my top hacks to add benefit to your desserts:
♡ Add flaxseeds
These tiny superfood seeds are filled with high amounts of EFAs ( essential fatty acids ). They help our brain, skin, mood stability & so much more!
PRO TIP: for more bang for your buck, be sure to buy them whole & grind them fresh.
I do not recommend buying pre-ground flax meals. They are dead. What do I mean by dead? I mean the seeds have gone rancid sitting on the shelf. You see, once a flaxseed has been cracked & ground it starts to oxidize & before you know, it’s gone rancid & there is nothing left of its amazing beneficial properties. Instead, you’re left with free radical, oxidized shit. I love so many grocery store conveniences, but not when it comes to flaxseeds.
♡ Use coconut flour
Coconut flour is a gluten free staple for a reason. Back when I was diagnosed in the early 2000s ( AKA the gluten-free dark ages ), this simple ingredient was a necessary mix-in to keep the gluten free all purpose flours from tasting like ass. Nowadays there are way better flour options on the market, but I still like to replace a small fraction of a recipe’s desired flour with coconut flour. First of all, the taste is amazing, especially in desserts. But most importantly, it adds beneficial fiber to your bake, which helps to keep you regular.
♡ Sub out the white sugar
It’s no secret that white sugar is not good for us. We know this. So how do I minimize the sugar, but keep the sweetness of my desserts? I simply split or sub the white sugar with coconut sugar or—my recent fave—golden monkfruit. I love that stuff. It has a low glycemic level, so it does not spike blood sugar the way regular white sugar does. Bye-bye sugar crash.
See? Just by implementing a few simple additions, we can make our treats a little better for us without sacrificing on taste. It’s all about being kind to our bodies. Now let’s implement these tricks with a recipe! In my last post, I talked about Lauryn’s mom, Wendi. She was one of my dearest besties. She was also a self-professed lemon lover. So, in her honor, I’m sharing the recipe to my famous, luscious lemon bars. These were actually one of the first treats I mastered without gluten. Let me tell you, they taste just as delicious as the gluten full ones.
With a dessert this yummy & iconic, you know I had to include it in my debut cookbook. Not gluten free? Don’t worry you don’t have to be to enjoy this book. In fact, it caters to a whole host of dietary preferences. As I said above, each recipe features customizations for dairy free, vegetarian, vegan/plant-based, and/or paleo diets. So you rock the recipes your way.
And now, on to the yumminess!
Peggy’s Lemon Squares:
*makes about 12 bars
♡ 1 cup gluten free baking flour
♡ 1⁄2 cup unsalted butter or dairy-free butter, chilled
♡ 2 tbsp organic cane sugar
♡ 5 tbsp gluten free baking flour 1 cup organic cane sugar
♡ 1⁄2 tsp baking powder
♡ 2 eggs
♡ 3 tbsp lemon juice
♡ 1⁄2 – 1 tsp lemon extract ( adds a stronger lemony flavor )
+ Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
+ In a bowl, mix together all of the crust ingredients using a pastry blender.
+ Press crust mixture into a 9” x 9” baking pan. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until light brown. Set aside.
+ While the crust is in the oven, prepare the filling. Start by combining the flour, sugar, & baking powder in a medium bowl.
+ Add the eggs, lemon juice & lemon extract in with the flour mixture. Using a whisk or hand mixer, blend thoroughly.
+ Once the crust is out of the oven, carefully & slowly pour the filling mixture into the pan with the crust. Make sure to keep the pour low & close to the crust to avoid cracking it.
+ Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes until the lemon filling is set.
+ Test its doneness by jiggling the pan. If it appears solid, you’re good to go. You may want to check further by inserting a knife or toothpick into the center of the pan. If it doesn’t come out clean, put it back in the oven for another 2 minutes. Do not overbake!
+ Remember it will continue to cook as it cools.
+ Let the tart fully cool. Then cut. Dust the tops with powdered sugar. Yum!
There you have it. Peggy’s recipes are so good, & she makes the best bone broth I’ve ever had. Be sure to check out Peggy’s other posts on parenting ( here & here ), 10 strange health hacks, & her most recent post featuring my mom’s broccoli soup recipe.
Be sure to stalk Damn Good Gluten Free too & check out your local bookstores for it.
+ learn how to make healthy, spirulina popcorn here.
++ stock up with these all-natural candies I love.