Detox Salad Bowl with Lemony Dill Sunflower Seed Dressing

DSC_0359

I’ve lost my mojo and I just feel lost. I even feel lost in the kitchen. Of all places, that was a place I felt I could always turn to and whip something up full of desire and love and enjoyment. But not lately.

I went three weeks without going to the grocery store. THREE WEEKS. We were down to just a dozen eggs and frozen green beans…. worst omelette ever!

I couldn’t bring myself to go to the store. Even if I had gone, I would have just stared blankly at the isles and probably came home with another dozen eggs. It was the weirdest feeling to open my refrigerator and not have anything fresh in it…and then to not want to immediately drive my sorry little butt to the store or market and stock up on something…ANYTHING!

Roasted Parsnip, Cauliflower, and Fennel Soup / Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

And then a friend asked me a magical question….She asked me to cook with her. Zing. Cook. With. Someone. That was it! I needed a cooking partner! Someone to inspire me!

Her idea was to pick a delicious recipe in one of our old food magazines and to cook it with her in her AMAAAAZING kitchen. So I slowly started reopening and rereading my old dust-collecting magazines. And then slowly but surely, I started getting ideas. I felt my cooking desire was like the Grinch’s heart slooooowly expanding and growing. It just kept growing and growing and growing until I found myself at the farmers market on Saturday buying fennel, golden beets, radishes, arugula, kale….frothing at the mouth at all the herbs!  it was like a veggie frenzy!

DSC_0371

Who knows how all of these vegetables will fit together but I’m feeling mighty salady and detoxy right now. It was great to finally NOT eat eggs for every meal. I whipped up a quick Detox Salad Bowl of fresh spring vegetables and devoured it. Now I’m dreaming and dreaming of the new salads that I can create with my rag tag bunch of vegetables. Maybe I can get out of this funk one recipe at a time.

DSC_0373

Detox Salad Bowl with Lemon-Dill Sunflower Seed Dressing (Gluten Free, Dairy Free, Paleo Friendly)

  • Servings: 2-4
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Print

Ingredients

  • 4 cups of greens (spring greens, spinach, kale, arugula, chard, etc)
  • 2 medium carrots, shredded
  • 1 cucumber, sliced thin
  • 1/4 head of red cabbage, sliced thin
  • 1/2 fennel bulb, sliced thin
  • 1 avocado
  • Lemony Dill Sunflower Seed Dressing (recipe below)
    • 1/2 cup sunflower seeds
    • 1/2 cup warm water
    • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
    • juice and zest of 1/2 lemon
    • 1 tablespoon fresh chopped dill

Instructions

  1. Place all ingredients except avocado into a single large bowl or into separate serving bowls. Slice avocado and distribute evenly among bowls.
  2. In a separate small bowl, combine sunflower seeds and warm water for 10 minutes. Pour soaked sunflower seeds, soaking water, cider vinegar, lemon juice, and dill in the bowl of a food processor or high speed blender. Blend well for about 3 minutes. Makes about 1 cup.
  3. Pour Lemon-Dill Sunflower Seed dressing over salad and enjoy. Place leftover dressing in the refrigerator.

Advertisements

Chocolate and Peanut Butter Macaroons (Grain Free)

Chocolate and Peanut Butter Macaroons / Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

Sorry for the long delay in between posts. Recently life has been tough at times but life also has been very good. When I am going through a roller coaster of emotions and dead lines and choices and what not, I consume chocolate and peanut butter. Doctors orders.

But when life is good…I also eat chocolate and peanut butter.

Chocolate and Peanut Butter Macaroons / Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

Chocolate and Peanut Butter Macaroons / Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

The combination sends warm fuzzies through my body. It’s a choco-pb hug for my soul. I get my best soul hugs from those crack-like addictive Reese’s PB eggs that spring forth from every corner around this time of year. I can stay away from Reese’s (nearly) the rest of the year, but throw them in an egg shape! Holy frijoles, I can’t stop. My eyes pop out of my head all googley and I froth at the mouth and I protect them like a squirrel, hiding my Reese’s eggs in weird and unassuming places.

These cookies are the wonderful love child of two of my favorite cookies: No bake cookies + macaroons. Whoa. Whoa.

Let this happen.

Make them egg shaped. They are better for you than those other choco-pb eggs and just as addictive.

Chocolate and Peanut Butter Macaroons / Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

It will make you love life even when there are a few major down moments.

Chocolate and Peanut Butter Macaroons (Grain Free and Diary Free)

Adapted from Against All Grain

Makes 2 dozen cookies

Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 cups unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 tablespoons natural creamy unsweetened peanut butter*
  • 1 egg white
  • salt

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 325F. Place a piece of parchment paper onto a rimmed baking sheet. Set the baking sheet aside.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the coconut, honey, cacao powder, peanut butter, and a pinch of salt.
  3. Place egg white and another pinch of salt in a medium bowl. Using a whisk or electric beaters, beat the egg white for about 2 minutes until soft peaks form. Combine meringue with other ingredients in the large bowl.
  4. Using a melon baller, scoop out cookies and place them onto the parchment paper. Bake for 30 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool for at least 1 hour on a wire cooling wrack.

*Note – To make these Paleo friendly, use either almond butter or sunflower seed butter in place of the peanut butter. 

Dijon and Cider Braised Pork Chops with Dill and Roasted Cabbage

Cider Braised Pork Chops with Dill and Roasted Cabbage

When I was younger, I never really ate pork chops. I’m not sure why, but it just wasn’t a staple at our house.  And similarly, they aren’t a staple in my home. But put them on a menu and that will most definitely be the first thing that I order.

My husband grew up on smothered pork chops and other down home cooking, so whenever we get pork chops from our meat CSA (community supported agriculture) program, he is elated.  So I’ve been working on my pork chop cooking repertoire. My favorite pork chop recipe thus far is based on a Horseradish and Cider Glazed Pork Chop recipe from Deb Perelman’s Smitten Kitchen Cookbook. It’s easy. It’s classic. It’s super yummy. I made a few tweaks to her recipe, where she calls for horseradish I subbed for Dijon mustard. A good Dijon tends to have a horseradish elemental flavor, so I figured this would be an adequate sub.   And what goes better with pork than cabbage? Not much…except Beer. 

I love beautiful purple cabbage, and I love it even more ROASTED. It’s so easy to drizzle cabbage with a tie bit of olive oil and then throw it in the oven to roast away while you cook the pork chops on the stove top. We scarfed this meal down in no time. It’s pretty and easy and special enough for company.  Plus you won’t be spending all of your time in the kitchen. I also whole heartedly recommend the dill…fresh dill! It’s the finishing touch and boy howdy does it deliver.

Cider Braised Pork Chops with Dill and Roasted Cabbage

Dijon and Cider Braised Pork Chops with Dill and Roasted Cabbage

Serves 4

Adapted from Smitten Kitchen Cookbook

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup cider vinegar
  • 1/2 cup of hard apple cider
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 4 bone in pork chops (1/2-inch thick), trimmed of fat, patted dry and liberally salted and peppered
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon fresh dill
  • Roasted cabbage (recipe below)

Instructions

  1. In a small bowl, combine the cider vinegar, hard cider, Dijon mustard, and the salt. Set aside.
  2. Heat olive oil over medium-high heat in 12-inch skillet (cast iron works wonders), until oil just begins to smoke. Place pork chops into skillet and allow them to brown well on one side (about 3 minutes). Turn the pork chops and cook an additional minute on the other side. Transfer the browned pork chops to a plate and drain the skillet of any excess fat.
  3. Pour the apple cider glaze mixture into the skillet and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Cook until the mixture begins to thicken (about 2 to 4 minutes). Your spatula should leave a trail across the bottom of the pan when scraped through the glaze.
  4. Return the browned pork chops to the skillet with the thickened glaze. Turn the pork chops to coat both sides with the glaze. Continue to cook them over medium heat until the centers of the pork chops are cooked through (a temperature of 140 F). This should take about 5 minutes. Adjust seasonings in the glaze.
  5. Transfer pork chops to plates with roasted cabbage. Pour additional sauce on top of both the pork chops and the cabbage. Sprinkle with fresh dill.

Roasted Cabbage

Ingredients

  • 1/2 head of purple or green cabbage (i prefer the color of the purple cabbage)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil (plus more for coating the roasting pan)
  • 1 tablespoon cider vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 F.
  2. Slice cabbage into 1/4-inch slices and place into a large mixing bowl. Drizzle with oil, vinegar, and salt. Combine well and place onto an oiled roasting pan.
  3. Cook for 30 minutes, stirring halfway through.
  4. Remove from oven and place equal portions on plates.

Chili Verde Pork Stew (Paleo, Gluten Free, Dairy Free)

Chile Verde Pork Stew - Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

So let’s say you over did it during the holidays. And if you DIDN’T over do it on the holidays…your will power astounds me…go eat some chocolate caramel doo dads and quite making the rest of us feel guilty. Gaaaaaaaah.

Whether you want to eat healthier, or spend more time with your family, or just take care of yourself and your family, this stew answers all of those resolutions. I’m serious!

Chile Verde Pork Stew - Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

I currently have a massive crush on this Green Chili Verde Pork Stew. It’s dangerous. Dangerous to the point that I find myself preaching about this stew to my friends, my family, my husband, my dog, and then to people who don’t care like my eye doctor (she really should care) or my massage therapist (really, it’s THAT good) or even the kid that just stopped by my house to see if I wanted to have my driveway shoveled of the crap ton of snow that is lingering, but then I become the creepy old lady that says “oh honey it’s so cold out there, maybe you just need this green soup”. Someone help me! Poor kid.

So it’s green (green things are healthy, right) and easy (more time to do other things like stalk pinterest). The pics may not look like much, but I’m telling you that this little stew packs a memorable and heart warming goodness that you will not want to pass up. Tomatillos and hatch chiles gives this stew a tangy and slightly spicy flavor that gets better with every bite.  I used canned chiles and a jar of tomatillo salsa verde. But if you wanted to be even more adventurous, you could use both fresh roasted hatch chiles and fresh roasted tomatillos *cough* (overachiever) *cough*.

Chile Verde Pork Stew - Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

I had a 3 pound pork roast from a local farmer that I needed to use. I’m sure you could also use a pork shoulder or boston butt instead. I prepared this in my dutch oven, but I am quite positive that it would also work in the slow cooker. Either way, the slow cooked pork roast is so fork tender and delicious that it will make you want to inhale the whole pot. But wait…and share it with others. Spread the love. I served this amazing stew for Christmas Eve for weary family as they arrived at our house after a long days drive.  It’s the type of meal that can bubble away for hours until you want to serve it. It can also be made ahead of time and reheated when you want to serve it.

Chile Verde Pork Stew - Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

Chili Verde Pork Stew

Serves 8 to 10

Adapted from Simply Recipes

Ingredients

  • 3 lb pork roast (or pork shoulder or boston butt), trimmed of excess fat and cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 onions, diced
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 4 4 oz cans of mild green hatch chiles
  • 1 16 oz jar of mild salsa verde (tomatillo salsa)
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 2 tablespoons ground coriander
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 bunch of cilantro leaves, cleaned and chopped (reserve about ¼ cup for topping the stew)
  • 4 cups of chicken stock

Instructions

  1. Season the pork with salt and pepper.
  2. Heat a large dutch oven over medium high heat. Brown the pork chunks by placing small batches of the pork into the heated dutch oven. Allow to brown on all sides. Lift the pork out of the pan with a slotted spoon and set aside. Drain all but 1 tablespoon of fat from dutch oven. Add onion to dutch oven and cook over medium heat until onions become translucent and browned, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook an additional 1 to 2 minutes.
  3. Add pork and remaining ingredients to pot. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to a slight simmer. Cook for 2 to 3 hours, or until the pork is fork tender. Remove bay leaves.  Add additional salt and pepper to taste. Serve with reserved chopped cilantro.

Notes – I haven’t tried it yet, but I’m quite positive that this also could be prepared in a slow cooker.  Brown the pork before placing it into the crockpot. Add all other ingredients on top of the browned pork. Cook on low for at least 8 hours.

Grain Free Cranberry Banana Bread Muffins

Cranberry Banana Muffins (Grain Free, Nut Free, Paleo Friendly) - Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

Christmas is approaching quickly and I am hosting! Pray for me. I’ve already caught a dishtowel on fire and burned my butcher block.  I will soon have a house filled with kids, love, hugs, ham, chocolate, pie, fudge, nuts, cheeselogs, stockings, egg nog, and so much more. Mmmmmm.

I’m trying to bake a few things ahead of time to prepare for the coming family. I whipped up this batch of muffins this week and have placed them in the freezer ready to be pulled out and rewarmed at a moments notice. Gotta love short cuts.

Cranberry Banana Muffins (Grain Free, Nut Free, Paleo Friendly) - Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

AAAAnd, you gotta love bursts of cranberries in these muffins. Well, everyone except my husband…dat’s weeeahd. But’s he’s weird anyways people. I mean, who puts their shoes in the freezer? Anyone? ya…him.

And who’s favorite christmas movie is Die Hard? Him! Well…and likely most dudes.

Ok ok ok…I love Die Hard too, but what about Jingle All the Way? Most people’s fave holiday movies are Home Alone and Christmas Story. But Sinbad and Arnold give the fabulous gift of I-haven’t-bought-anything-for-anyone-yet-so-I-will-buy-a-not-so-meaningful-but-expensive-Christmas-gift-on-Christmas-Eve-style Christmas spirit. Check it out. And don’t you dare go buy Christmas gifts ON Christmas Eve! Learn a lesson from Arnold, people. Or else you will end up driving around town, being robbed by washed up Santa’s, threatening a radio show host, and trying to steal presents from under other people’s trees. But then you end up dressed like a superhero at the end, so I guess it’s all worth it. But I digress….

Cranberry Banana Muffins (Grain Free, Nut Free, Paleo Friendly) - Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

If you haven’t gotten gifts at this point in the game, don’t do it. It’s a fart in the wind, friends. Make these muffins instead. Put them in a pretty box, tie some kitchen twine around them, and write a thoughtful note. When you present these to others, they’ll eat them and say “wow, that was so thoughtful and so delicious” in the voice of Ma Brady.

Now, isn’t this so much better than fighting the crowds and buying a crappy import mug with two year old hot cocoa mix and crouton-like marshmallows?

Cranberry Banana Muffins (Grain Free, Nut Free, Paleo Friendly) - Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

Back to these awesome muffins that you are making for “the ones that you love”, remember?!?

These muffins come together just using the food processor! It’s easy! No need to dirty multiple bowls. I adapted a recipe from Danielle Walker’s Against All Grains cookbook (best grain-free cookbook around, folks), swapping out the almond flour for tapioca flour for a nut free muffin version. I also added fresh cranberries for a fleck of holiday red and a punch of perfect tartness.

Oh Oh OH…AAAAND, even thought these muffins contain NO oil, they are uber moist. So there…you just made tasty AND healthy holiday treats for people and didn’t have to punch someone in the face at the store on Christmas Eve. You are a good person. Pat yourself on the back and enjoy a muffin. Because, of course you made a double batch so that you could keep some for yourself. We aren’t heathens around here. Sheesh.

I hope you have a happy Christmas and a merry New Year.  Muah!

Paris 2013

Paleo Cranberry Banana Bread Muffins

Adapted from Against All Grains

Ingredients

  • 2 ripe bananas
  • 4 eggs
  • 3 Tablespoons honey
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup sifted coconut flour
  • 1/4 cup tapioca flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup non-dairy milk (such as coconut milk or almond milk)
  • 1/2 teaspoon cider vinegar
  • 1 cup fresh cranberries

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 325 F. Line a 12-cup muffin tin with muffin liners and set aside.
  2. Add the cider vinegar to the coconut milk and set aside for at least 5 minutes.
  3. In a food processor or blender, add bananas, eggs, honey and vanilla extract. Process for 1 to 2 minutes until eggs are frothy. Add coconut flour, tapioca flour, baking soda, and salt to the bowl of the food processor with the frothy egg mixture. Blend/process until well combined.  Add the vinegar/coconut milk mixture to the batter and process for an additional 30 seconds until well mixed.
  4. Add the washed fresh cranberries and whole walnuts. Pulse the mixture a few times (do not over process or the cranberries will be too chopped) to distribute the cranberries and walnuts throughout the batter.
  5. Spoon 1/4 cup of muffin batter into prepared muffin liners. This recipe makes 12 muffins.
  6. Place the muffin tin in the preheated oven. Bake the muffins at 325 F for 30 to 35 minutes or until the top of the muffins are light golden brown.
  7. Remove from oven and allow to cool for 5 minutes. Remove muffins from muffin tin and allow to cool further on a wire rack. If freezing, allow to cool completely before placing in a ziplock freeze bag or container. Microwave or reheat in oven to thaw. Serve warm or at room temperature. Store leftovers in refrigerator and/or freezer.

Grain Free Pumpkin Apple Coffee Cake

Pumpkin and Apple Coffee Cake - Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

It’s fall and we all know what that means. It is comfy time.

It is sweater time!

It is jeans time!

It is WOOL SOCKS time!!!!!

It is pumpkin time!

But first, before I roll into pumpkin flavored everything….I have to tell you about my big accomplishment. This weekend I went on a fall cleaning and organizing mission. This is monumental, people. I peeled everything out of all of our closets and was ready for a massive PURGE. Usually when I do a “purge” I just sit around staring at old memorabilia and becoming even more attached to the T-shirts that I bought 15 years ago but haven’t worn in 10 years. But seriously, folks…how can you get rid of a shirt that says “Not everything is flat in Kansas“!!?!?! I know! Precious. My point exactly.

Man, you guys just get me.

So this weekend’s purge was different. I properly purged. (No, don’t worry I didn’t get rid of that awesome T-shirt.) But I DID manage to organize everything in our closets (a.k.a shove-crap-wherever-it-would-fit space) and get rid of:

  • Other not-so-cool shirts,
  • Expired medicine (goodbye Benedryl from 1990),
  • Stained things (note to self – QUIT buying white things…ketchup loves it too much),
  • Single socks that have permanently lost their partner (let’s have a moment of silence for all of the poor sock widows), and
  • A metric boat load of half-marathon race packets with sample bottles of weird things, etc.

As I stuffed and crammed these unwanted and unnecessary items into either goodwill sacks or the trash, I wondered why have I held on to this crap for so long? Holding onto stuff is an interesting thing. I put a big importance on odd things, but seriously not EVERYTHING has to be a gem, does it? At this rate I will need to get a separate storage unit just to store my “awe remember when…” items.

But now I feel fabulous and comfy. I’m wearing my comfy old T-shirt and a pair of wool socks that I lost. My closet is clean, stacked, organized, and comfy. Everything is just…comfy.

Comfy like the fall weather blowing around the leaves outside.

Comfy like old love letters from my husband that I found in a shoe box at the back of my closet.

Comfy like my favorite broken-in sweatshirt that I found crammed underneath a suitcase (okay, so I didn’t purge EVERYTHING…baby steps, people).

Comfy like nearly anything pumpkin flavored!

Pumpkin and Apple Coffee Cake - Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

We all get bitten by the pumpkin bug every year! I have held off for quite a bit, but now it is on like a pumpkin thong. Hrmmm….wait. Bad idea. A pumpkin thong would NOT be comfy. Scratch that…

Just make this pumpkin apple coffee cake instead. I promise that the scent of it will make you swoon. You will want to wrap up with a comfy blanket, have a warm cup of coffee, and grab a big square of this warm coffee cake.

This coffee cake recipe is adapted from my Pumpkin and Apple Almond Flour Muffins and the Peach Streusel Topped Coffee Cake recipe featured in the fabulous Against All Grain Cookbook. It is moist and light with warm spices to fill your belly.  I whipped this up for a football brunch watch party last weekend. My house smelled SO good while it baked and for days afterwards.  I definitely think I will make this again for the holidays (or tomorrow).

Pumpkin and Apple Coffee Cake - Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

Note – To make this recipe, I used Honeyville blanched almond flour. I prefer this brand because it makes baked goods lighter and flufflier than almond meal. I have not tried this recipe with other brands or with almond meal. If you try it with another brand or almond meal, please let me know how it turned out. This coffee cake takes nearly an hour to bake. If you need something that cooks in less time, try my delicious Pumpkin and Apple Almond Flour muffin recipe.

Pumpkin and Apple Coffee Cake - Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

Pumpkin Apple Coffee Cake (Grain Free, Gluten Free, Dairy Free, Paleo-Friendly)

Coffee Cake Ingredients

  • 2 cups blanched almond flour (I use Honeyville)
  • 2 Tablespoons coconut flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 Tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves or allspice
  • 3 eggs (room temperature)
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup (or honey)
  • 3/4 cup canned pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie mix)
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 2 Tablespoon coconut oil (or grass-fed butter), melted
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 medium apples (dice one and thinly slice the other)
  • Streusel topping (recipe below)

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 325 F. Grease a 9X9 inch square pan or 9-inch round springform cake pan with coconut oil. Set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine dry ingredients (flours, salt, baking soda, and spices) with a whisk. Set aside.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer or food processor, mix the eggs and the maple syrup on medium speed until eggs become frothy (about 2 minutes). Add remaining wet ingredients (pumpkin, applesauce, oil, vanilla). Mix until all ingredients are combined. Stir dry ingredients into wet ingredients. Stir in diced apples (about 1 cup). Spread mixture into the prepared pan. Place thin apple sliced on top. Sprinkle streusel topping evenly over the top.
  4. Place pan on middle rack of the preheated oven. Cook at 325 F for 55 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean.  Remove from oven and allow to cool for 5 to 10 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature. Store leftovers in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

Streusel Topping (adapted from Against All Grain Cookbook)

  • 1/3 cup pecans or walnuts
  • 1 Tablespoon coconut oil
  • 1 Tablespoon maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt

Instructions

  1. Combine all of the streusel ingredients into the bowl of a small food processor. Pulse a few times until the nuts are chopped finely and the streusel comes together.
  2. Sprinkle ingredients onto the coffee cake or store in a sealed container in the refrigerator for 1 day.

Rosemary Almond Flour Tart Crust

I’m on a mission to take life slower. Sometimes things move so quickly that I get caught up in trying to get everything done perfectly and on time and I miss the important things that are going on around me. I forget to breathe. I forget the basics. I focus on the wrong things.

This weekend I decided to slow down, to be present, to breathe.

DSC_0219

DSC_0221

Hang my clothes out on the line.

Read a book.

Spend meaningful time with dear friends.

Eat butter pecan ice cream and remember my father.

Remember the basics.

Hold my husband’s hand.

Eat simply. And simply eat.

DSC_0222

DSC_0226

Bake something wholesome…. like a savory tart, which is where this basic tart crust came into my life this weekend. Everyone should have a basic pie crust and tart crust recipe up their sleeves. And bonus for the gluten and grain free gang, almond flour makes a wonderful flaky and light crust.

DSC_0205

This basic tart crust is based on a fabulous recipe from the Gluten-Free Almond Flour Cookbook by Elana Amsterdam. (Which is a great book for those who are breaking into the world of almond flour baking.) This basic tart crust recipes is easily adaptable to go to the savory side or the sweet side. Currently my fave way to serve this tart crust is by adding fresh herbs from the garden and filling it with eggs and heirloom tomatoes. Simple. Done. And leftovers will be breakfast for the upcoming week! Man, I’m liking this simple life.

For other savory fillings, you could use this crust for a quiche crust or as an open pot pie crust! However, if going sweet, eliminate the black pepper and rosemary and add a tablespoon of honey. This would be simply great filled with lemon curd. Mmmm.

DSC_0232

Rosemary Almond Flour Tart Crust (Adapted from Gluten-Free Almond Flour Cookbook)

Makes 1 9-inch tart crust

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups almond flour (I use Honeyville)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons fresh chopped rosemary
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper (optional)
  • 1/3 cup coconut oil (or butter), softened
  • 1 to 2 Tablespoons cold water

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Lightly butter or oil a 9-inch tart pan and set aside.
  2. Place the dry ingredients into a medium bowl and combine with a wire whisk.   Add softened coconut oil and mix with a spoon until combined. Add in the ice water, starting with just 1 tablespoon. Combine with your hands until the mixture begins to hold together. If the dough is not holding together, add a second tablespoon of cold water. Press into a ball. If making ahead, you can cover the ball of dough in plastic wrap at this stage and place in the fridge for a few hours until you are ready to bake it.
  3. Place the dough ball into the prepared tart pan. Starting from the center of the dough, press into the tart pan evenly working your way out to the sides. Press the dough up the sides evenly. Pierce the bottom of the crust with a fork a few times.
  4. If making a tart crust that will be cooked after it is filled, then you will want to partially bake the crust. However, if you are filling the tart with something that will not bake after it is filled, then you will need to fully bake this crust.  Place the tart crust in a preheated 350 F oven and either partially bake for 15 minutes or fully bake for 30 minutes or until the tart is lightly golden brown.
  5. Remove from oven and allow to cool on a wire rack for 5 to 10 minutes before filling.

Paleo Zucchini Brownies

I like surprises. Do you like surprises? Good. I have one for you.  Be ready to have your mind space blown.

Zucchini brownies.

DSC_0235

We are gettin’ craaaaazy today. Adding veggies to brownies. Ya, you heard me. I know stuffing a brownie with healthy zucchini might not be your idea of a great surprise, but I promise this brownie won’t disappoint you.

These are cakey-style brownies. So for you fudgey-style brownie lovers (like me) these are not those, buuuuut they are incredibly delicious. Plus, they are stuffed with wholesome nutritious zucchini, almond butter, maple syrup, and raw cacao powder! Ya, these are likely the healthiest brownies out there. They are really close to zucchini bread but with a double chocolate edge that comes from the cacao powder and diced dark chocolate bites. Mmmmmm. Can I get an AMEN?!?

DSC_0226

DSC_0239

If you don’t have almond butter, any nut butter would work. For the nonPaleo peeps and those not allergic to peanuts, these would be delish with peanut butter swapped in for the almond butter. But if your nut butter is not all natural (or has salt and added sweetener), be sure to eliminate the salt and reduce the sweetener in the below recipe to account for it.

Don’t worry. I won’t tell anyone that you ate these for breakfast.

DSC_0238

Paleo Zucchini Brownies (adapted from Fast Paleo)

Ingredients

  • 1 cup creamy unsalted and unsweetened almond butter (or any nut butter)
  • 1 egg
  • 1/3 cup honey or maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 Tablespoons cacao or cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded zucchini
  • 1/4 cup chopped dark chocolate or chocolate chips

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease an 8 X 8 baking dish and set aside.
  2. Shred 1 to 2 zucchini with either a grater or a shredder attachment on a food processor. Set aside.
  3. In a medium bowl, combine almond butter, egg, maple syrup, and vanilla. Mix well. Stir in baking soda, salt, and cacao powder. After well mixed, stir in shredded zucchini and chopped dark chocolate.
  4. Pour into prepared 8X8 baking dish. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes in preheated 350 F oven. The brownies are done with the center is set. Remove from oven and allow to cool for 5 to 10 minutes.

Almond Butter Banana Muffins

I am a bit of a hoarder.  I’m definitely a food hoarder, but also a hoarder of things. My husband thinks it is junk.  Which it isn’t! But seriously, I keep things in boxes that I have never looked at for the past four years that we have lived here.  I find myself holding on to things because… “don’t you dare get rid of it because I am saving that chair just in case some day I want to paint it red and have a tea party”. Yes…that really came out of my mouth.

DSC_0001

He recently decided to have a garage sale…or an “Alissa’s Things Sale” as I refer to it. He doesn’t hold on to anything. When we got married, he moved into my house with a single box. I had a U-Haul trailer that could have fit a plane. So needless to say, purging is a hard thing for me. I remember every gift someone gave to me. I can’t seem to part with it even if that person totally does not remember giving it to me. They probably just picked it up randomly and thought “crap, it’s her birthday…uhm…ya, here’s a chicken tea pot…she eats chicken…she drinks tea…CHICKEN TEA POT!”.  And here I am 15 years later with the ugliest tea pot and refusing to get rid of it. Until one day I wake up and the love of my life is selling all of my precious belongings (crap) and other people are walking away with my chicken tea pot!  *sob*

DSC_0003

DSC_0015

It was a similar feeling for me when I made the switch a year ago to give up gluten. Making the switch to being gluten free can be tough sometimes. It’s hard to not feel like an outsider when everyone is laughing and enjoying cake and big plates of lasagna. Family gatherings and cookouts and office parties offer a plethora of pasta salads and cupcakes and brownies and bread and crackers.  I would end up being the person in the corner snacking on carrots and a bag of nuts that I had stashed away in my purse like a squirrel.  BECAUSE I AM A HOARDER.

One day I decided to PURGE! I threw away everything that contained wheat or even traces of wheat.  It felt awesome.  I began researching and arming myself with easy recipes to bring to gatherings. So now I always offer to bring something that I know that I can eat and that will blow the socks off of others that have no idea how great gluten free food can be.

DSC_0010

This recipe uses nut butter in place of flour! No flour, no oil, no butter.  Basically it is just almond butter and bananas and honey and eggs. Those purged cabinets probably have these simple ingredients in them.  These muffins are rediculously good and rediculously easy!  I have made them with almond butter and also with peanut butter. Both are fabulous.  You can also add cocoa powder to the batter for chocolate cupcakes!

Almond Butter Banana Muffins

Ingredients

  • 1 cup almond butter* (see note below)
  • 2 ripe bananas, mashed (about 1 cup)
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons cocoa powder (optional)

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Prepare a 12 cup muffin tin with muffin liners. Set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine the banana, eggs, and almond butter until well mixed. Add the remaining ingredients except the cocoa powder. With half of the batter, fill 6 muffin liners 3/4 full. I use a 1/4 cup to measure for each. With the remaining muffin batter, add the cocoa powder. Fill the remaining 6 muffin cups to 3/4 full with the chocolate batter.
  3. Bake for 15 minutes at 350F. Muffins will be firm a slightly golden, but fluffy. Allow to cool for 10 minutes then remove from the muffin pan to a wire rack.

*Notes

  1. I have also made these with peanut butter and they were great. I assume other nut butters would work too. If you have a nut allergy, sunbutter (sunflower seed butter) would be a good substitute.
  2. I recommend all natural and unsweetened nut butters. However, if you aren’t using all natural nut butters (that is, if they have added sweeteners) then lower the overall amount of added honey in the recipe.
  3. These are also delicious as cupcakes!

Beef Curry with Sweet Potatoes and Cauliflower

There are several people who have had a huge hand in transforming the way I cook and approach food. Michael Pollan has definitely had a hefty part in it.  That is why I was so excited to finally hear him speak this weekend about his new book, Cooked.  He is one of the leading voices of the local food movement, eating “real” food, and getting back into the kitchen and cooking with your family. I love it.

DSC_0032

Before we left Oklahoma and moved to Kansas City, I thought I ate rather healthy. But I was still consuming a lot of processed food.  I think a lot of people think this way, even when they still eat a lot of processed foods because the box saaaaays it’s healthy. Right? and why would a box or advertising lie to me? right? bonjour? But despite cooking “healthy”, I was getting sicker and sicker every day, literally.  Everything I ate seemed to put my stomach into knots or stabbing pain or worse. I began an elimination diet. I came up with a new theory every day. At first I thought it was fatty meat…no meat! Then it was beans.. no beans! then it was dairy…. so I became vegan…. and by the end, I seriously was eating only oatmeal and sweet potatoes for months….MONTHS. 

DSC_0027

And then I read Michael Pollan’s In Defense of Food. At the same time, my cousin Sarah gave me an amazing book by Barbara Kingsolver, Animal Vegetable Miracle. Reading these books were like discovering a deodorant that finally works, or finding the perfect pair of jeans, or realizing that you left ten bucks in your coat pocket last winter!  If you are looking for a summer read, I recommend these books. Life…changed.

I immediately eliminated all processed foods. I was on a hunt for local sources of meat and produce.  Everything changed…for the better. My health improved. My relationship with food was so much better. I discovered vegetables I had never heard of…what the crap is celeriac???? I grew a garden (helloooo rhubarb), learned to can, make pickles, and preserve food anyway possible. I basically got in touch with my inner grandma. I love it.  My inner grandma loves it. My tummy loves it.

DSC_0015Sweet_potatoes

Fresh produce doesn’t always require a lot of spices because their natural flavor is enough. However, during this odd time between winter and spring, fresh produce includes greens, or peas, or tubers, or something that was canned from last year’s garden.  Don’t be afraid by the long list of ingredients in this curry recipe. I promise this meal comes together rather quickly and yields an amazingly fresh and flavorful meal.  Serve with rice or, for a grain free option, make ‘riced’ cauliflower (recipe below).

DSC_0022

Beef Curry with Sweet Potatoes and Cauliflower (adapted from Food & Wine, January 2012)

Serves 4 to 6

Ingredients

  • 1 Tablespoon coconut oil
  • 1 lb grass-fed sirloin steak, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 large or 2 medium onions, about 1 cup diced
  • 3 medium cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons madras curry powder
  • 2 teaspoons turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 14 0z can diced tomatoes with juice
  • 1 14 oz can unsweetened coconut milk (light okay)
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1 cup water or broth
  • 1 medium sweet potato, 1-inch dice
  • 1 head of cauliflower, chopped into 1/2-inch pieces*
  • 1 1/2 cup frozen peas
  • cilantro (optional)

Instructions

  1. Heat coconut oil in dutch oven over medium-high heat.  Add diced sirloin steak and brown the pieces on all sides, about 5 minutes. 
  2. Add onion, curry powder, turmeric, ginger, and salt and stir frequently until onion is softened (about 5 minutes). Add garlic and stir constantly and cook for an additional minute.
  3. Add canned tomatoes, coconut milk, apple cider vinegar, water, diced sweet potatoes, and half of the diced cauliflower. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to moderate heat and continue cooking covered until potato and cauliflower are tender (about 15 minutes).
  4. Turn heat to low. Mash some of the potatoes with the back of a spoon.
  5. Stir in frozen peas. Turn heat off and place lid on dutch oven, allowing peas to cook through for a few minutes. Add additional salt, pepper, and cayenne to taste.
  6. Serve in bowls with chopped cilantro and riced cauliflower (or regular rice). Directions for riced cauliflower are provided below.

*Riced Cauliflower – Place the other half of the diced cauliflower into the bowl of the food processor. Pulse for a few seconds at a time until you get rice-sized pieces. Do not over process or it will become puree cauliflower.  Place in a microwaved-safe dish with a lid slightly ajar and microwave for 3 minutes. Stir.