The Can-Do Candida Diet
Can-Do Candida © Isabelle Burden 2013 All rights reserved

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Saturday, July 18, 2015

Sour Cherry Shortcake for the Candida Diet: Смачного!

You never know where you will be when inspiration strikes, and that’s how I felt – struck – standing beside the faded wooden table at a farm stand in upstate New York, looking at the shiny red clusters of sour cherries. 

Immediately I was reminded of a summer spent in Kiev, Ukraine, and out of all the delicious dishes I tasted there, one recipe came to mind. 

I traveled to the Ukraine to meet a good friend of mine.  We had been in contact for over a year, but before that moment had never spoken face to face – I lived in America, he lived in the Ukraine. 

In the time I spent there, he opened up his life to me, showing me the intricate differences and similarities of a world so foreign, so fascinating, so enchanting: a world I had hitherto known only through his words and photos.

On my third day there, I was invited back to his home where his mother had cooked us a stunningly delicious and intimidatingly large meal of Ukrainian classics: borscht and pan-fried potatoes, dark bread and sliced meats, chicken cutlets and mugs of steaming tea despite heat in the mid-eighties. 

We gathered around a small kitchen table decorated with a brightly patterned tablecloth: my friend, myself, his mother, and my father who, tattooed and over six foot, couldn’t get his knees under the table and had to eat his lunch sitting sidesaddle.  There, the East Coast met Eastern Europe, and the deal was sealed with multiple slices of what was the most perfectly delicious cake we had ever eaten: Anna’s sour cherry shortcake.

This recipe is not technically Candida Diet (owing in most part to the large amount of dairy) but it is a grain-free and sugar-free adaptation of a traditional Ukrainian cake, and owing to the overlap in online blogging communities I figured this delicious recipe was worth sharing.

The mellow nuttiness of the almond flour offsets the bold and bright flavor of the cherries, while the sweetness and velvety creaminess of the icing integrates and smooths the tartness of the fruit, making for a taste that is refreshing and summery, sweet but not overly so. 

I kept my recipe as close to the original flavors as possible, and preferred to emphasize the fruit’s natural tartness, so feel free to sweeten the icing to your own taste. 

I recommend letting the finished cake sit in the fridge for an hour before serving.  This will help the flavors develop and will make the cake easier to cut and portion onto plates. 

This recipe makes a full-sized, double-layer cake.  I baked it on the occasion of relatives coming into town and it yielded about twelve servings, with slices about 1-inch wide.  Store any leftovers in the refrigerator up to five days. 

Bottom layer, with filling and topping, before the top layer is added

For the filling:

2 qt. fresh sour or tart cherries, pitted and halved

For the cake:

4 ½ cups almond flour
1 cup coconut flour
½ tsp. salt
½ tsp. baking soda
2 tbsp. Truevia brand stevia
1 stick salted butter, softened
2 eggs
2 egg yolks
½ tsp. pure vanilla extract
½ tsp. apple cider vinegar
1 tsp. liquid stevia (I used Nustevia brand)
4 tbsp. sour cream or nonfat plain unsweetened Greek yogurt

For the icing:

5 oz. plain nonfat Greek yogurt
16 oz. sour cream
4 ½ tsp. Truevia brand stevia (or to taste)

In a medium sized saucepan, cook the pitted and halved cherries over low heat until their natural juice reduces.  The cherries should retain most of their color and shape.  Depending on the size of your saucepan and the character of your cherries, the time this takes may vary.  Err on the side of cooking it for less time rather than more, keeping in mind they will continue to cook in the oven.

Remove the cherries from the heat and set aside.  At this point, you can sweeten the cherry mixture if desired, but traditionally they are left with a hint of their natural tartness.   

In a large mixing bowl, combine the Greek yogurt and the sour cream.  You can use a higher ratio of yogurt to sour cream if you wish, as yogurt contains natural probiotics that aid the immune system and help fight inflammation from candida and other sources, but be aware this will affect the flavor of the icing. 

Set aside 4 tablespoons of this mixture for the cake dough.  Sweeten the remaining mixture with Truevia.  Stir to integrate the Truevia, then cover the icing and store it in the refrigerator to keep it cool while you work on the dough.  

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. 

In a large mixing bowl, combine the almond and coconut flours with salt, baking soda, and Truevia.  Stir to combine the dry ingredients. 

Add the wet ingredients to this mixture: the softened butter, two eggs, two egg yolks, vanilla, cider vinegar, liquid stevia, and sour cream mixture.  Cream ingredients together with a fork or spatula until they are evenly combined and integrated into a thick dough. 

Grease two 9 ½ inch pie pans well – bottoms and sides. 

Place about half of the dough into each pie pan.  Flatten and spread the dough with your hands until it evenly covers the bottom and sides. 

In each pan, use your fingers to shape a pit in the dough – the pit should be about an inch deep, and a wall of dough about 1 to ½-inches thick should be left at the sides of the pie pan (see reference photo left).

This pit forms the reservoir for the cherry filling, which bakes with the dough.  Make sure the dough at the sides is of even thickness all around to avoid any unequal baking. 

Once the dough has been shaped, add your cherries into one of the pie pans.  Perforate the bottom of the unfilled dough with a fork. 

Place the two prepared pie pans into the oven and bake for 20 minutes. 

After 20 minutes, remove the pans from the oven and allow them to cool to room temperature. 

Once they have cooled, spoon a little less than half of the icing mixture over the baked cherries.  If there are any remaining cherries that did not fit into the dough before baking, you can pile them on top here (as shown above). 

Carefully remove the unfilled cake from its pan and place this on top of the filled cake, forming a double-layered cake with the filling sandwiched in between. 

Dollop the remaining icing mixture on top and smooth it evenly to the edges of the cake with a spatula, allowing it to spill over the sides.  Garnish or decorate the cake as desired, then set it in the refrigerator to cool.  

As they say at mealtime in the Ukraine - Смачного (Smachnoho)!

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Candida Diet "Sugar" Cookies: Happiness is a Warm Cookie

This recipe is a must for anyone who likes their cookies crunchy.  Crispy at the edges and soft at the center, these bite-size treats hit the spot between sweet and salty, and are a hit even among my non-candida dieter friends.  

I love sugar cookies, the buttery sweetness, the slight crunch when you bite into them: simple, sugary goodness.  This recipe arose from one such craving and man did it satisfy.  And while I cannot condone eating raw egg, I can tell you that if you are the type who likes to live dangerously, this dough tastes just as amazing before baking as it does after. 

Another plus for this recipe, as if it needed any, is that in my experimentation with it thus far I have found it is very versatile.  For example, I added butter for flavor but you can also make these dairy-free (see instructions in ingredients section).  You can turn these into mouthwatering peanut butter cookies (see below), or add sugar-free chips as pictured here (I used Lily’s Dark Chocolate Premium Baking Chips, which are sweetened with stevia).  

Sugar cookie base with stevia-sweetened, no-sugar Lily's Dark Chocolate Premium Baking Chips

Store your finished cookies, if you have leftovers that is, in a sealed plastic container in the fridge.  They’ll stay fresh up to a week, and keep their crunch surprisingly well despite refrigeration. 

As I mentioned above, if you’re a fan of peanut butter you might want to try this slight modification: replace the tablespoon of unsalted almond butter with one and a half tablespoons of no sugar added peanut butter (see Candida Alert below for more information). 

Candida Alert:  As delicious as peanut butter is, those who choose to add it to their cookies should be aware that in general, peanuts are not on the anti-candida approved foods list.  This is because they can harbor invisible colonies of mold and toxins that can be counterproductive to your fight against candida.   
If you feel like treating yourself, by all means do, but be sure to buy only “sugar free” or “no sugar added” peanut butter.  Read the ingredients list carefully, as many companies that boast “all natural” peanut butter sill add cane sugar, which will feed candida.        


** To make these dairy-free, replace ½ tablespoon butter with ½ tablespoon coconut oil (for a recipe total of 2 tablespoons)

¾ cup almond flour
3 tbsp chestnut flour
1 tbsp coconut flour
½ tsp salt
tsp baking soda
1 ½ tbsp coconut oil
½ tbsp unsalted butter (or coconut oil if dairy-free)
1 tbsp unsalted, unsweetened almond butter
1 egg
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 ¼ tsp liquid stevia (I used NuStevia brand)
½ tsp fresh squeezed lemon juice

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. 

In a large bowl, add together the almond, chestnut, and coconut flours with the salt and baking soda.  Stir to combine. 

Make sure the butter and coconut oil (or just coconut oil) are soft.  Add the butter, coconut oil, and almond butter to the dry mixture. 

Using a spatula, cream the fats into the dry ingredients until a soft of paste forms.  Don’t worry if it looks a little crumbly, just try and make the crumbles as evenly sized as possible – you want the fats evenly distributed.  This process is similar to creaming the butter and sugar in a standard cookie recipe, but might also be familiar for anyone who had made pie crust from scratch. 

To this crumbled mixture, add the egg, vanilla extract, liquid stevia, and lemon juice.  Stir to combine into a sticky, pasty dough. 

Grease or line a baking sheet with parchment paper. 

Using your hands, roll the dough into balls about an inch across.  Place these onto the baking sheet, and press them gently down and outwards to spread them into cookie shapes. 

The thinner you make them, the crispier they will get (and the shorter they will need to cook for, so adjust the time according to your tastes). 
My cookies are about an inch to an inch and a half across, and about one quarter of an inch thick at the center (I was not very precise). 

The cookies shouldn’t be touching on the baking sheet, but they can be close together as they won’t spread much during baking.

Bake at 375 degrees for 12-15 minutes, depending on thickness of cookie. 

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Candida Diet Bread: Starting Again from Scratch

I want to say a thank you for all of those who have continued to visit this blog during my absence. 

Sometimes you lose something in your life and you think: That’s it. 
This is really it, this time.  Things simply cannot go on. 

With this great space in your life – constantly reminding you of its presence each time the wind blows though it and chills your bones, the tender parts of you that are now exposed, try as you might to conceal them again – it sometimes feels that you have even lost who you were before this happened. 

When these things happen, there is darkness.  There is darkness that may, at times, seem interminable. 
But the bright side of darkness is that there is a way out. 

Sometimes it just takes time, and faith that the storm can be weathered. 
And when you’re ready, there will come a day when you rise and get yourself out of bed, and head to the kitchen. 
And there in the kitchen, there are cabinets.  There are the tall cabinets above the counter that, as a child in your parents’ house, you had to climb a precariously balanced chair to reach, to reach those cabinets in which your mother hid the Oreos in order to parcel them out only after you’d finished your peas. 
Now, you can reach these cabinets. 
Now, you can open them and survey comfortably, all that is available to you. 
You have options: options for being productive, for creating something new out of scrap leftover from planned recipes that failed or succeeded while they lasted. 
You can feed yourself.  You can take care of yourself, now.  There is hope in that.  There is hope in assembling ingredients in a bowl, in taking the scattered elements of your thoughts and your ideas and in making them into something complete again. 

This recipe is simple, but it has become a staple in my kitchen. 
This is an improvement on an earlier toasting bread recipe I posted over a year ago.  Since then, I have learned a great deal, and not just about baking.  The medley of flours and the addition of the quinoa flakes means that this bread has less of the moist, eggy-ness that makes it, well, less convincing as bread. 
It feels more savory, and satisfies as such. 

Try it hot out of the oven with butter, or toast it up for a tuna melt.  This recipe is so easy you can commit it to memory.  And, if you’re like me, you will find yourself baking on a bi-weekly basis (as a bonus, it makes your apartment smell amazing). 


1 cup Almond flour
1 cup Flax seed meal
1 tbsp. Whole chia seeds
¼ cup Quinoa Flakes (I used Ancient Grains brand)
3 tbsp. Garbanzo flour
1 tsp. Salt
¼ tsp. Baking soda
¼ tsp. Cream tartar
1 cup Egg whites
½ cup Almond milk, original unsweetened
1 tsp. Olive oil

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

In a large bowl, combine all dry ingredients (almond flour, flax seed meal, chia seeds, quinoa flakes, garbanzo flour, salt, baking soda, and cream of tartar). 
Stir to combine. 

Once the ingredients are evenly mixed, add the wet ingredients to the bowl (egg whites, almond milk, and olive oil).  Stir to thoroughly combine. 

Line a 9-inch loaf pan with parchment paper to prevent sticking.
Pour the bread batter into the pan and give it a gentle shake to evenly distribute it and smooth the surface.

Bake the bread at 375 degrees for 45-50 minutes, or until the top of the loaf is toasted golden brown.

Once baked, remove the bread from the oven and allow it to cool for at least half an hour before removing it from the pan and slicing. 

Keep the bread in an airtight container and store it in the fridge for up to two weeks, or slice and freeze it in airtight plastic bags to defrost perfect portions as you need them.


Saturday, March 22, 2014

Candida Diet Chocolate Chip Cookies: A Chip off the Old Block

The chocolate chip cookie is one of those foods whose appearance is just as iconic as its flavor.  Just a glance or a whiff in the air calls to mind images of idealistic childhood (the one you had, or perhaps, the one you wished for): little cartoon girls and boys standing on stools attempting to sneak one of these iconic morsels out of a ceramic jar before dinner without their mother noticing.  Maybe there’s a golden retriever waiting for crumbs to fall, maybe mother is wearing an apron and vacuuming the living room in heels...or maybe not.  

Even growing up as I did in a family of artists, unorthodox as we were in so many of our habits and traditions, I remember visiting my Nana and stirring a bowl of sweet, buttery cookie dough.     

It’s food like this that you miss on a candida diet.  More than the taste of any one particular cookie or cake or candy, you miss the memories that are nestled therein.  You miss the feelings that those foods bring back to you.  You miss the sense that a cookie could mean so much more than calories: it could mean comfort. 

I am posting this recipe from Berlin, a city that is thousands of miles away from the one in which I grew up, and now I am struggling to pull words together in my native language just as a few hours ago I struggled to find them in another.  I am looking back on my American childhood with a perspective that is, here in Germany, utterly foreign.  Like a child I have to learn again how to communicate with others, and to make sure that I have what I need to take care of myself, not only physically but mentally. 

It is not easy to feel this difference, and it is not comfortable to be so aware of the distance while feeling so powerless to bridge it.    

What I am learning here, however, is to take steps forward; to look and to listen and then to place the sole of my foot before my fear.  I am exploring a parallel world while finding a respect and a love for the culture that shaped me, as well as an understanding of what for me constitutes “home”.

With all that in mind, here is my recipe for a nostalgic classic, from my kitchen to yours:  


1 ¾ cups almond flour
¼ cup coconut flour
1 tbsp flax seed meal
½ tsp salt
tsp baking soda
¼ tsp cream of tartar
2 eggs
2 ½ tsp liquid stevia
2 ½ tsp vanilla extract
6 tbsp salted butter, melted and browned
2 tbsp half and half
cup chopped stevia chocolate chunks (I used Coco Polo 70%)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. 

In a large bowl, add the almond flour, coconut flour, flax seed meal, salt, baking soda, and tartar.  Stir to combine.

In a medium sized bowl, beat together two eggs.  To the beaten eggs, add liquid stevia, vanilla, and half and half.  Stir to integrate. 

To this mixture of liquids, add the browned butter.  You can make this by melting butter in a saucepan on the stovetop, slowly.  Watch it carefully and keep the heat low, allowing the butter to brown slightly without burning.  It should turn a light amber color: about 6 minutes give or take. 

Add the liquid ingredients into the dry mixture, and stir until the dough becomes sticky and thick.  Add the chocolate chunks and stir with a folding motion until they are evenly distributed throughout. 

On a greased baking sheet, shape your cookies.  Each cookie should be about two teaspoons worth of dough.  If you like gooey cookies, make them thicker (mine are about ¼ - ½ an inch thick at their middle point). 

Place in the oven for 15 minutes, turning the baking sheet halfway through to ensure that they bake evenly.  Makes 10-12 cookies.  

These cookies are best straight out of the oven, but if there are leftovers, you can store them in an airtight container for up to five days.

Serving suggestion: share these cookies with someone you love.  
Here’s to old memories, new adventures, and happy baking!