Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Super Simple Slow Cooker Stock

This is one of my favorite recipes because 1) I love having stock on had as I use it in nearly everything I cook, 2) it's so easy to make, 3) it's so healthy, and 4) it uses all of the chicken parts leaving nothing to waste. How's that frugal mama?!

I can't believe I used to toss the chicken and turkey bones and scrap from my roastings, thinking they were just garbage. What a mistake! Turns out there are so many nutrients in those bones! I learned this from reading Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon. What an amazing resource. She states that chicken stock "heals the nerves, improves digestion, reduces allergies, relaxes and gives strength." The very best remedy for a cold or flu, proven time and time again by traditions and cultures from all over the world.

Not only is it so healthy, it can be used to add so much flavor to your cooking. I always use stock as the liquid for cooking any grains, such as rice or quinoa, in stir fry's, in soup (of course), in chili, and in any sautéed veggies or meats. It's uber-versatile and uber-delicious (and when you make it yourself using your roasting scraps, it's uber-cheap.)

Note: the vinegar is super important in this recipe as it helps to unlock the vital minerals in the bones...

Super Simple Slow Cooker Stock

Bones and scrap from one 3-4 lb. cooked chicken
12 cups purified water
2 tablespoons vinegar
3 carrots
3 celery stalks
1 whole onion (with peel on)

Place bones and scrap from chicken in a slow cooker. Add water. Wash and chop carrot and celery into large chunks and add to slow cooker. Quarter the onion and add.

Turn the slow cooker on at its lowest setting (preferably 10 hours or more). When the time is up, let it continue to sit in cooker for an additional 10-12 hours on "warm" setting (if no "warm" setting, just cook on low one more time through). Total slow cooking time is approximately 24 hours.

Strain and discard solids and store stock in a glass container. Will keep for up to 5 days in the fridge or up to 6 months in the freezer.

Monday, December 27, 2010

(Sugar-less) Sugar Cookies

We all need a good sugar cookie recipe, and gluten freer's/sugar freer's no less. It's funny now that I think about it... this isn't really a sugar cookie at all since there is no sugar in it. But the taste is out of this world good (and just like it's inspired sugar-laden twin). The key here is in the lemon juice. Just the tad bit that is used makes all the difference in the world. It gives this cookie it's punch.

I decided to leave these plain (so boring, I know) because I just enjoy a simple cookie now and then. But I did intend to frost them for Christmas, so feel free to experiment with a colored frosting to match the occasion, whatever it may be (birthdays, Easter, sports themed, etc.).

Either way, frosted or not, I know you'll enjoy this delightful sugarless, sugar cookie.

(Sugar-less) Sugar Cookies

1/2 cup coconut oil
1 oz. cream cheese
2/3 cup Xylosweet (Xylitol)
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 cup gluten free baking mix (I used Arrowhead Mills)
1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Melt coconut oil in saucepan or microwave. Add cream cheese and Xylosweet and cream together with a handheld mixer until light and fluffy (a few minutes). Add egg, vanilla, and lemon juice and mix again.

Add baking mix and xanthan gum and mix again until all ingredients are fully incorporated.

Make dough into approximately 1 inch balls with your hands (wet your hands first) and place on a parchment lined cookie sheet about two inches apart. Flatten the balls with your wet palm.

Bake for 8-10 minutes until the edges become slightly browned. Remove from oven and cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes.

Enjoy plain or frost for a festive occasion (Christmas, birthdays, Easter, etc.).

Makes approximately 16-18 cookies.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Pumpkin Pie

I've always been a pumpkin pie lover. Anything pumpkin, actually. This time of year, I put it into everything: muffins, waffles, smoothies, rice dishes, cupcakes you name it. I do prefer to make my own pumpkin puree, by first slicing the pumpkin in half, scooping out the seeds, and roasting it in a 375 degree oven for 1-1 1/2 hours. I then scoop out the cooked flesh and puree it in my Vitamix or food processor. But when the pumpkin craving calls and I don't have an actual baking pumpkin, I use canned pumpkin out of convenience.

I created this recipe because A) I wanted a gluten free crust for my pumpkin pie and B) I wanted to make it without the traditional evaporated milk. (I'm not much of a cow's milk fan unless it is raw, real, and straight from the cow!) This version utilizes coconut milk, which contributes to this pies incredibly rich flavor. (Please note, though, that although the flavor is rich, the pie itself is not so rich that you can only eat one piece and you're stuffed. It's actually incredibly light on the tummy.)

My crust is a variation of Elana's simple pie crust from her book Gluten Free Almond Flour Cookbook. I really love her cookbook and would recommend it for sure to anyone who is gluten free, but also to anyone looking to up the protein and fiber value of their everyday foods (almond flour is great for that and super tasty too).

This recipe comes just in time for you to make it for your Christmas gathering with family and friends.

Pumpkin Pie


1 cup almond flour
3 tablespoons ground flaxseeds
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
pinch salt
3 tablespoons grapeseed oil
1-2 tablespoons water

1 can pumpkin puree (or 2 cups fresh)
1 can coconut milk
2 eggs
2 tablespoons agave
1/2 cup coconut palm sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ginger
1/4 teaspoon cloves and nutmeg, each

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

For the crust, combine almond flour through salt in a bowl and stir. Add grapeseed oil and water, one tablespoon at a time. Stir until it forms a dough. Take dough and press into a 9 inch pie plate, spreading the mixture evenly in the bottom and sides of the pie plate. Bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes.

Turn the oven up to 425 degrees.

For the filling, combine all ingredients into a large bowl and whisk until completely smooth. Pour into crust (the filling will come over the top of the crust, and this is fine).

Bake at 425 degrees for 15 minutes. Then turn the oven temp down to 350 and continue baking for an additional 45-50 minutes, until the top is set. Remove from oven and let cool on a wire rack for at least an hour. The top will sink a tad when cooling, but will also become more firm.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Pumpkin Waffles

Christmas came early to my house. My husband and I haven't bought each other Christmas gifts in years, and this year he decided he wanted to do gifts again. Since he doesn't have time to go shopping to a physical store, he's been virtual shopping. And my present came in the mail last week. He can't keep a secret very well, so he decided let me open it up the night it came. And what was inside? (You probably guessed it by the recipe!) A real Belgium waffle maker! Yippee!!!

Now I know what some of you are thinking... he got you an appliance? What could this possibly say about the state of your marriage? But seriously, this was actually one of the best gifts he could have gotten me. It's been on my birthday wish list for years; I say it's about time he got it for me!

I couldn't wait to try it. The next morning my son and I headed to the kitchen to create a gluten free waffle recipe for breakfast. And here it is. We'll be making these again for Christmas morning.

Pumpkin Waffles

3/4 cup sorghum flour
1/4 cup coconut flour
1/4 cup arrowroot powder
2 tablespoons Xylitol (Xylosweet)
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg and ginger, each
pinch salt
2 eggs
1/2 cup pumpkin puree
1 cup whole milk or coconut milk
1/4 cup water
1 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat waffle maker.

Mix dry ingredients (sorghum flour through ginger) in a medium size bowl and stir to combine. In a separate bowl, add eggs through vanilla and whisk until smooth. Add wet ingredients to dry and stir again until mixture is mostly smooth (it's ok if it's a tad lumpy).

Add 1/2 cup of waffle mix at a time to waffle maker and cook according to waffle maker's instructions.

Top with pure maple syrup and freshly whipped cream.

Yields 5-6 Belgium waffles.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Parsnip Mashed Potatoes

My last trip to the grocery store, I forced myself to step outside of my vegetable comfort zone and put at least two vegetables in my cart that were in season, local, and ones that I don't normally buy. Parsnips made the cut. A fun vegetable and very useful no doubt, just not one that calls to me on a "crave" level yet.

Back home inside my crisper drawer they sat for two days as I pondered how I was going to prepare them. I pulled them out on roast chicken night, deciding they would pair perfectly in a mash medley with some creamy, gold yukon potatoes sitting on my counter. This meal is for hubby, I told myself, I know I'm going to win some brownie points tonight with this meat and potato classic... (not that I need to win brownie points. I'm so lucky to have a husband who happens to love my healthy, adventurous cooking).

I love how the parsnips add a subtle hint of sweetness to this dish that makes it absolutely divine. And pack the mash with a nutritious punch, full of potassium, iron, calcium, fiber, vitamins B, Vitamin K, vitamin C, and manganese, and zinc!

Parsnip Mashed Potatoes

5-6 yukon gold potatoes
3 parsnips
1/4 cup milk or cream
2 tablespoons butter
salt, pepper

Wash and cut potatoes into large chunks and place in a medium size saucepan. Peel and chop parsnips into large chunks and add to potato pan. Cover with water. Heat to a rapid boil, then reduce heat to a low rolling boil and cook uncovered for 15 minutes, or until vegetables are tender. Turn off the heat and drain the water.

To the potato/parsnip pan, add milk or cream, and butter. Mash with a potato masher until you reach desired mash consistency. Add more milk if you like your mash thinner. Salt and pepper to taste.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Cranberry Apple Crisp

We're officially snowed in today. My baby woke up at 5:30 a.m., so I've been up with him and we've been baking all morning. (The snow and cold really make me want to have that blessed oven on.) We made scones for breakfast, then a quiche and this crisp for brunch (yes, I had breakfast and brunch today. And in an hour or so, I'm fixing to have lunch. Now that sounds like a lot of food!).

This crisp is just what you think a warm winter dessert should taste of... tart apples and cranberries combined with a hint of sweet agave and the crunch and buttery flavor walnuts. I will note too that it does taste best when combined with a rich and creamy vanilla ice cream.

(Heck, who wouldn't love ice cream for brunch?)

Cranberry Apple Crisp

2 medium apples
2 cups fresh cranberries
2 tablespoons agave
1 tablespoon lemon juice

1/2 cup gluten free rolled oats
1/2 almond flour
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
2 tablespoons Xylosweet
1 tablespoon vanilla
1 tablespoon cinnamon
pinch salt
1/3 cup coconut oil

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Core apples and slice thinly. Combine sliced apples, cranberries, agave, and lemon juice in an 11 x 7 inch baking dish and stir to coat.

In a separate bowl, add oats through salt. Stir. Melt coconut oil and pour over oat mixture. Stir again.  Pour oat topping over cranberry apple mixture.

Cover and bake for 30 minutes. Remove cover and continue baking an additional 20-25 minutes until top is crispy.

Serve warm with vanilla ice cream.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Gluten Free Pizza Crust Version 2.0

It's Friday night everybody, time to get the pizza on! I've been experimenting with gluten free pizza crusts for about a year, and this is by far my favorite. It has even gotten rave reviews from both my three year old and husband (who had no idea it was gluten free). It may seem like it is a little tricky, with a semi-long list of ingredients and steps involved, but don't be afraid. It really isn't difficult and any time spent making it will be well worth it.

A great thing to do is to double the recipe, and when you get to the step of rolling out the dough, split it in half. Use one half for your pizza that day and freeze the other half in a plastic bag (make sure to suck all the air out of the bag before you freeze; I do this with a straw). When you want another pizza, simply remove the frozen crust and let de-thaw on a plate on your counter for a few hours (or in your refrigerator for a day or so). This way you can have fabulous gluten free pizza at home in no time!

Gluten Free Pizza Crust Version 2.0

1/3 cup millet flour
1/3 cup sweet brown rice flour
1/3 cup brown rice flour
1/4 cup arrowroot powder
1/4 cup tapioca flour
1 1/4 teaspoons xanthan gum
1 teaspoon Italian seasonings
pinch salt

1/4 cup warm water
1/2 teaspoon yeast
1 egg
1 tablespoon plain yogurt or soft cheese
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon agave

Preheat oven to 425 degrees and place pizza stone in oven.

Combine all dry ingredients in a mixing bowl. In a separate bowl, add water and yeast. Stir and let stand for a few minutes until the yeast gets bubbly. Then add the rest of the wet ingredients to the water/yeast mixture. Stir to combine. Next add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and stir until a dough starts to form. Use your hands to knead the dough a few times. Grease the bowl with olive oil and add the dough back in, coating entirely with the oil. Rest a towel over the dough in the bowl and let stand 30-45 minutes.

Remove the pizza stone from the oven and sprinkle with GF flour. On a silicone mat or parchment paper, place the dough ball. Lightly flour a rolling pin with GF flour. Roll the dough out to a 14-16 inch circle. Invert the rolled out dough onto the pizza stone and gently remove the silicone mat or parchment paper. Poke several holes in the crust with a fork to prevent the crust from bubbling up.

Bake crust for 10-12 minutes until golden brown.

Top pizza with pizza sauce, toppings and cheese of choice, and bake for an additional 15 minutes.

Slice and serve.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Chocolate Almond Crispies

Oh my gosh. I have found a new addiction. It is these crispies. Wow!

I've had a bag of brown rice crispies sitting in my pantry for quite some time. I bought them a while back as finger food for my baby, but he's so out of them now (at the ripe age of 1), so I needed to find a different use for them. And have I ever!

I can't even tell you how addicting these have been. I mean, I really am not going to tell you how many I have had the last two days, because, well, quite frankly, hubby reads my blog posts and I'm just plain embarrassed!

So try this for yourself. It's the easiest recipe in the world and takes a whopping 7 minutes to make (not to mention the ingredient list is very short). And it will really taste like a sweet treat, but I can tell you, my friends, that it is totally okay to binge a bit! (Maybe I just needed to hear myself say that, for reassurance, I guess...!).

And let me know your thoughts by leaving a comment below, like, did it have the same effect on you? I'm dying to know!

Chocolate Almond Crispies

1/2 cup almond butter
1/2 cup brown rice syrup
1/4 cup dark chocolate chips
3 cups brown rice cereal

Melt almond butter and brown rice syrup in a small saucepan over med-low heat. Stir in dark chocolate chips and continue stirring until completely melted (about 3-4 minutes). Remove saucepan from heat and stir in brown rice cereal until all cereal is coated.

Pour into an 8x8 inch baking pan coated with coconut oil. Press mixture into pan with hands so it is evenly distributed. Let rest 20-30 minutes before cutting into desired size of bars.

This recipe is a part of Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays...

Monday, December 6, 2010

Red Beans & Quinoa

I know it has just started, but it sure feels the heart of winter here these days. Cold temps and buckets of snow. Not that I am complaining... I am such an active girl, the snow and cold don't stop me from getting outside. Yesterday I went skiing while the boys (and hubby) napped. It was fabulous! But when I'm inside and hungry, I want warm and hearty foods. I've been craving beans, beans, beans lately. I developed this recipe to satisfy my need for a hearty dish with beans. It's also vegan, gluten free and dairy free, and although it is hearty, it isn't heavy... so no need for a nap after this meal. In fact, it will provide you with tons of energy that will make you want to get outside and be active, despite the temps.

Usually you see red beans paired with rice, and this is what I made for my three year old, since he still hasn't quite developed his taste buds for quinoa yet. But I actually love it with quinoa, which technically isn't even a grain, but rather a seed. It's high protein, fiber, iron, magnesium, and contains balanced essential amino acids, making it a complete source of protein. Nutritious, yes, and it is also so easy and quick to cook!

Red Beans & Quinoa

1/2 cup quinoa
2 cups chicken broth, divided
1 teaspoon coconut oil
2 cloves garlic
1/2 medium red onion
2 cups red beans, cooked (I used a combo of red and adzuki)
2 teaspoons cumin
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon tumeric

To cook quinoa, heat 1 1/2 cups chicken broth in small saucepan to boil. Add quinoa and stir. Lower heat to simmer, cover, and cook for 15-20 minutes until liquid is absorbed.

Meanwhile, heat coconut oil in a large saucepan over medium-low heat. Chop garlic and onion and add to pan when oil has melted. Stir fry for 3-5 minutes until onions are translucent. Add beans, 1/2 cup chicken broth, and spices. Salt to taste. Cook over low heat for 10 minutes.

Spoon quinoa into bowl and top with red beans.

Serves 3-4

Friday, December 3, 2010

Buckwheat Granola

I am a snacker at heart. I eat snacks pretty much all day long (my grandpa calls them, "snackies"). I've always been this way, and come to find out, it's good for helping with my hypoglycemia. My nutritionalist advises that I eat protein with every meal or snack. So I am always looking for a good, high protein, delicious snack to keep on hand at home, in car or purse or diaper bag, etc. This recipe is great for all of the above. It keeps well stored in a sealed container and travels well too.

While we were in Oklahoma a few weeks ago, my husband and I stopped at one of their health food stores so I could pick up some snackies to keep on hand. I discovered this amazing buckwheat granola made by Kaia Foods and it was to die for. (But it was mucho dinero!) When I got home, I remembered I had some buckwheat groats just hanging out in my pantry, ready and waiting to me to use them in a granola of my own.

One of the great elements about this recipe is that it is dehydrated so it doesn't lose any nutrients in the process (let's just hope our bodies can absorb as many of those nutrients as possible). Now I wouldn't have a dehydrator if not for my brief episode of being a raw vegan, so if you didn't go through one of those crazy phases yourself where you bought a dehydrator, and rather just stick to your good ole', trusty oven for means of cooking, then by all means, still make this (I offer an alternative for the dehydrator below). Your mouth will be super happy you did.

Buckwheat Granola

1 cup buckwheat groats
1 cup each almonds, walnuts, and pecans
1/2 cup pumpkin seeds
1 cup dried cherries or raisins (or a combo of both)
1/2 cup agave or brown rice syrup
2 tablespoons water
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 tablespoons cinnamon
pinch salt

Soak buckwheat groats in a bowl covered with water overnight or for 8-12 hours. Drain buckwheat and add to a medium size bowl. Chop almonds, walnuts, and pecan into bite size pieces. Add to bowl along with remaining ingredients. Stir a few times to make sure all pieces are evenly coated with liquids and seasonings.

Pour onto Teflex lined dehydrator sheets and dehydrate at 110 degrees for 8-10 hours. Break apart and store in a sealed container.

If using an oven, heat to lowest heat setting. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper. Pour granola onto sheets and bake in the oven until granola is dry and set (could be up to 8 hours).

If you want to use the express method, bake in an oven heated to 250 degrees for 1-2 hours.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Mushroom Egg Bake

I'm back from spending Thanksgiving week with my in-laws in Oklahoma. We had a wonderful time; the boys couldn't get enough of Grandma and Papa (and the toys- oh- the toys!). It's always such a timely getaway for us: just as winter and snow start to appear in Minnesota, we escape to the warm and sunshine of the south.

We ate a lot of great food while we were there too. I had the pleasure of cooking during some of my stay (not near as much cooking as I would have liked though). One morning I whipped up this egg dish, my go-to, no fail, easy peasy recipe that satisfies even the toddler palate. Whatever is left (if any) can be saved for a quick protein snack later in the day.

Let's park just for a minute and talk about eggs. During the warmer months, I am fortunate enough to buy my eggs from a coworker whose sister raises chickens. I know that these chickens are happy, free roaming birds just by the bright yellow yokes of the eggs they lay. And holy cow, are they ever good! Since the chickens are not laying eggs in the quantity they do in the summer months, I have been forced to buy my eggs from the grocery store, which are not nearly as tasty (and have pitifully pale yokes). But nonetheless, they are still eggs which are powerhouses of nutrition: full of protein, folate, iron, zinc (and more) and a great way to keep your blood sugar levels stabilized in the morning (or anytime; sometimes we eat this egg dish for dinner). I do highly recommend though that if you are not raising chickens yourself (or get them from a coworker or neighbor who does), you should buy high-quality, free range, organic eggs if possible. Not only does it matter in taste (which it really does), but it matters greatly in nutritional content (remember my blog post about Food, Inc.? If you haven't seen it already, do!)

Mushroom Egg Bake

6 eggs
2 tablespoons water, milk, or cream
6 button mushrooms
1/2 onion
2 cloves garlic
1 teaspoon italian seasonings
salt, pepper

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease a pie pan with butter or coconut oil.

Whisk eggs and milk in a bowl. Chop mushrooms and dice onions and garlic cloves. Add veggies to bowl with eggs. Add in seasonings and stir to combine.

Pour into prepared pie pan and bake for 30-35 minutes until eggs are set (should be firm to the touch). Let cool for 5-10 minutes before slicing into wedges.

Serves 4-6 people.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Black Bean Cupcakes

Black bean cupcakes. Yes, it is true. These cupcakes are made out of black beans, can you believe it? Well, my guess is you probably won't believe it till you try it, then you'll be so surprised in the most delightful way. Kinda like watching Gwyneth Paltrow sing at the Country Music Awards.

Speaking of, do I have any country music fans out there? I mean, I'm just curious, was it not so... odd... seeing Gwyneth on stage, guitar in hand, belting out a twang with Vince Gill? As much as I love her, it just seems like she didn't belong there, at least on stage performing. (Don't get me wrong, she did sound great.) It seems like the county music industry will let anyone in who wants to try their musical hand at a two step these days. (Ok seriously, who let Kid Rock drown us with his scratchy vocal chords that night?!) Do you know what I'm saying? Gone are the days of real country singers, who actually wear a cowboy hat and not a baseball cap! (Another one of my country music pet peeves.) Gimme some George, Dolly, Johnny, these are the real country stars. Ya'll hearin' this?

Enough about my country music woes, what you really want to know is how to make these scrumptious, high fiber cupcakes with the hidden ingredient that will know your socks off...

Black Bean Cupcakes

1 1/2 cups cooked black beans
3 eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla
3/4 cup Xylosweet
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
pinch salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a blender, puree black beans, eggs, and vanilla until completely smooth (a minute or two). In a medium bowl, mix Xylosweet, cocoa, baking soda, and salt. Add in black bean puree. Stir with a whisk until all ingredients are completely combined.

Pour into muffin tins coated with coconut oil (or paper or silicone liners), filling about 3/4 of the way up. Bake for 15 minutes, until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.

Frost with your favorite frosting (try cream cheese frosting!).

Makes 11-12 cupcakes.

This recipe is a part of Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays...

Monday, November 15, 2010

Cream Cheese Frosting

As promised in my last post, my cream cheese frosting recipe. So addicting, you'll be using it to frost all your cupcakes and cakes from now on. True to its name, it's creamy, slightly sweet, and just the right amount of tang to give your taste buds a whirl. I made a carrot cake for my mom's birthday last week and used this as my frosting of choice (such a classic combination). But it would also be fabulous for pumpkin cupcakes, a spread for gluten free bread, or even chocolate cake (pictured here are my black bean chocolate cupcakes. Yes, you read that right, cupcakes made from black beans! That recipe will probably show up as my next post so stay tuned...)

Cream Cheese Frosting

8 oz. of cream cheese
1/2 stick of butter
1 tablespoon vanilla
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup powdered Xylosweet (process granulated Xylosweet in a Vitamix dry blade blender or other high powered blender for about one minute to make it powdered)
1/4 cup almond or other milk

Use room temperature cream cheese and butter, or if taken from the refrigerator, warm them up in a microwave for 30 seconds.

Using an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese and butter together for 1-2 minutes until fluffy and creamy. Add vanilla and cinnamon and mix to incorporate. Then slowly add powdered Xylosweet about 1/4 cup at a time, mixing with each addition. Add milk and mix to thin the frosting to a spreadable consistency (use more or less milk depending on thickness preference).

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Pumpkin Cupcakes

I've been on a baking craze lately, just baking baking baking my heart out. It's definitely spurred on by the season: cooler temps, early nights, the need for warmth from my oven. Can you believe we got a bucketload of snow yesterday in Minnesota? I don't know why I'm surprised, it is Minnesota after all, the same state that has been known to have blizzards on Halloween. The snow is pretty, but I'm just not ready for it yet (mentally ready that is). Because the earlier we get snow, the longer our (already long) winters seem to be...

But enough about snow and disappointment, on to some fabulous cupcakes that will lift your spirits and put you right into that thankful Thanksgiving mode... pumpkin cupcakes! These are so fabulous not only because they taste so yummy, but also because they are chock full of healthy ingredients: coconut oil, pumpkin puree, cinnamon, almond and coconut flours... And like all of my baking recipes, these babies are sugar free, gluten free, high protein, high fiber and low carb. In other words, they are the kind of cupcakes you could eat for breakfast- guilt free. Hey that's a great idea, these would be a fun way to celebrate your Thanksgiving morning!

Pumpkin Cupcakes

Wet ingredients:
1/3 cup coconut oil
4 eggs
1/3 cup agave
1/2 cup pumpkin (or butternut squash) puree
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon molasses

Dry ingredients:
1/4 cup coconut flour
1 cup almond flour
2 tablespoons arrowroot powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon each ginger, nutmeg, and cloves (or 3/4 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Melt coconut oil in a small saucepan over low heat. Whisk eggs in a bowl. Add coconut oil, agave, pumpkin puree, vanilla, and molasses. Continue whisking until combined.

In a separate bowl, mix all dry ingredients together. Add dry ingredients to wet and stir until fully incorporated.

Pour batter into lined muffin tins, filling about 3/4 of the way. Bake for approximately 20 minutes. Frost with cream cheese frosting (recipe to follow).

Makes 12 cupcakes.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Banana Bread

I am on bananas overload at my house. I had a few this morning that were on the verge of too much ripe-ness for my liking, and they were screaming banana bread... so I dug out an old recipe that was written on a sticky note from April of this year and figured if it was good enough that I kept it, it must go up on the blog...

I followed my original recipe verbatim (which that in itself is a near miracle, I usually always change something about a recipe the second time I make it), to see if the results matched that of my first attempt, of which I wrote a note on the bottom of my recipe, "The best banana bread ever! Rivals even the best wheat flour banana bread out there!" (Have I mentioned that I have a tendency to be a bit dramatic?)

And the results at attempt #2? Well, I wouldn't change a thing and my note, right on! I might add to it though, that my recipe is gluten free, refined sugar free, low glycemic, low carb, high protein, high fiber, and high delicious-ness!!! A must-bake for your upcoming holiday gathering. (And trust me, no one will ever know it's so darn healthy!)

Banana Bread

1/2 cup coconut oil
5 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 cup almond milk or other milk
2 ripe bananas
1/2 cup coconut flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 cup Xylosweet
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 cup chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease an 8 x 4 inch loaf pan with coconut oil.

Melt coconut oil in a small saucepan over low heat. Once melted, add to a medium size bowl. Add eggs, vanilla, almond milk, and bananas. Beat with an electric mixer for about a minute.

In a separate bowl, mix coconut flour through cinnamon. Stir to incorporate.

Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients and mix again with electric mixer until fully combined. Add chopped walnuts and stir one final time.

Pour batter into loaf pan and bake for 50-60 minutes until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Let rest on a wire rack for 30-60 minutes to cool.

Slice and serve.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Almond Crusted Chicken Breasts

Hubby missed the boat tonight. He decided to have a "man date" and go to the hockey game with his friend verses stay come home and have this mighty fine dinner with his fam. I guess I can't entirely blame him; do you know how much it costs to go to a NHL game these days? (A lot!) And he got a free ticket with a really good seat... see why I can't blame him?

Nonetheless, the boys and I decided to make a scrumptious dinner with meat, even if Daddy wasn't around (usually my meals without hubby are vegetarian for some reason). I had some chicken breasts dethawed in the fridge and I thought I'd try my hand at a pan fry.

Now this is big news- the "fry" thing. You have to know my history to fully understand why. I'll give you a synopsis. Back before I was married, I didn't know how to cook anything, but say a box of Kraft Mac 'n Cheese (and is that really cooking anyway?). When I started dating my then boyfriend (now husband), he really wanted me to learn to make his grandma's fried chicken. Now, I love a challenge, but come on, fried chicken? Why on earth would a bachelorette need to know how to fry a chicken? I was enamored at the challenge, and I attempted to take it head on... He wants fried chicken? Well, I'll give him fried chicken! I said determinately to myself.

So I bought a whole cut up chicken the next time I went to the grocery store, came home, and put it in my fridge, right next to the carton of milk, pack of bagels, and six pack of Diet Coke (I can't believe I'm admitting that I went through a disgusting Diet Coke phase). And all week long when I would reach into my fridge to grab one of those aforementioned bachelorette foodie staples, I would see the chicken, staring at me, taunting me, freaking me out... "I can't fry a chicken!" I cried hysterically after a week went by and that chicken didn't move from the shelf in my fridge. The thought of frying it up in my tiny kitchen, with lots of grease splattering all over the place, and loads of yucky fat sticking to it's flesh had me completely paralyzed... perplexed, and just plain old grossed out. So I threw the chicken out.

It took me months to get over that. But one day, I gussied up enough mental fortitude to buy yet another chicken. This time I thought, I'll just oven fry it... maybe my boyfriend won't know the difference...  So that's what I did. And it turned out... sort of... and my boyfriend, well, he knew, but bless his heart, he told me it was great anyway.

Suffice to say, I just don't fry things because it grosses me out. But tonight I took that fear head on once again, and, in a much healthier way, fried up these chicken wonders that will have your fingers lick'n good.

Almond Crusted Chicken Breasts

1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts
3-4 tablespoons coconut oil
1 egg
3/4 cup almond flour
1 tablespoon garlic granuals
1 tablespoon paprika
salt, pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Rinse chicken, pat dry, and slice chicken breasts in half width wise, so as to butterfly the breasts (you want the chicken thin so it crisps up better).

Heat the coconut oil in a large skillet or sauce pan over medium-low heat.

Get out two bowls big enough to hold one piece of chicken at a time. In one bowl, crack the egg and whisk with a fork. In the other bowl, combine almond flour through salt and pepper and stir together.

Dip the chicken in the egg, then lay in the flour mixture to coat. Flip and coat the other side in flour. Place chicken piece in the skillet and repeat with remaining chicken pieces.

Brown chicken in skillet for about 3-4 minutes per side. Transfer to baking sheet and finish baking chicken in the oven for about 15 minutes until cooked through.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Thai Coconut Chicken Soup

I really do have an addiction. But thank the Lord, it's an addiction to this Thai Coconut Chicken Soup, and not coffee, alcohol, ice cream, or even chocolate. About once a week religiously, I get a hankering for this soup (or any curry dish really), and I just have to have it. Luckily, my husband is kin to my thai taste buds as well, as he has yet to complain about the recurrence of this dish on my weekly menu repertoire.

And it's kid friendly too. My three year old calls it the "soup with white stuff". He's always a bit hesitant to take that first bite, claiming that he "doesn't like soup", but once he does taste it, he gets this giddy look, squishes his cheeks into a squinty smile, and almost looks devious as he tells me, "Mommy, this is delicious!" (Well, of course it is, kiddo... would your mama make anything that isn't? I think to myself as I relish in the glorious fact that he is eating a meal instead of merely playing with his food...)

Don't let the long list of ingredients get you down. It really whips up in a flash, perfect for a weeknight dinner. We serve this soup alone, with no sides or breads or rice. (Trust me, you won't need anything else.) The coconut milk is full fat and will keep you satiated until morning, especially if you have seconds (or thirds) of this amazingly addictive soup (as do I!).

Thai Coconut Chicken Soup

1 tablespoon coconut oil
1 yellow onion
5 cloves garlic
2 stalks celery
2 carrots
1 tablespoon grated ginger
2 cups chicken broth
1 cup water
1 can coconut milk
2 cups shredded, cooked chicken
2 tablespoons Bragg's Liquid Aminos (or GF soy sauce)
2 teaspoons fish sauce
1 tablespoon red thai curry paste
1 tablespoon agave
cilantro sprigs

Heat coconut oil in large soup pot over medium-low heat. Chop onion and mince garlic. Add to pan and cook for 3-5 minutes. Meanwhile, chop celery and carrot into bite-sized pieces and add to pan, along with ginger. Continue cooking another 3-5 minutes.

Add remaining ingredients, stirring the pot with each addition. Bring to a boil and immediately turn heat down to a simmer, and continue simmering soup for 10-15 minutes.

Stir soup just before serving and ladle into soup bowls. Top with cilantro.

Serves 2-4

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Squash, Black Bean, and Kale Soup

The wind was whipping today. And the temps? Well, definitely not October's best. But I got to be home with my boys today, so the weather was a no matter since those two little charmers are all the sunshine I need. We built a massive fort in the living room (under which my three year old got to nap, how fun is that?!), baked cookies, and popped popcorn over the stove (or "boom-corn", as my three year old calls it). And, let's not forgot the soup.

I am just a soup lover at heart. I honestly think I could eat a bowl of homemade soup every day and never tire of it. I've even started eating my leftover soup for breakfast! Soup, when made at home using whole, fresh, organic ingredients, is just so nourishing. I say that to myself when I'm eating it, Kelly, you are nourishing your body! And soup is also one of the easiest things to make, once you get the hang of it. You can literally throw any random vegetables from your produce drawer into a pot with some chicken broth, let it simmer for a bit on the stove, and call it good (a great way to use up produce that is starting to go bad, but isn't bad just yet...).

Today I was craving a hearty black bean soup that wasn't chili. I already had the squash pureed in my fridge and thought the two would pair well together. I was right. I used an ambercup squash in this recipe, which to note, is a tad on the sweeter side of winter squashes. A butternut would also work great in its place, but if you use any other kind of winter squash that isn't as sweet as those varieties, I recommend adding a tablespoon or so of the sweetner of choice (think agave, maple syrup, or molasses). You can also control the thickness of this soup by adding less or more water/broth. If you like a really thick soup, omit 1-2 cups of the liquid; if you like a more brothly-based soup, add 1-2 cups more.

Experiment with it. Play with it. Whatever you do, eat this soup and be nourished.

Squash, Black Bean, and Kale Soup

1 tablespoon coconut oil
1 yellow onion
5 cloves garlic
2 celery stalks
2 carrots
3 cups chicken broth
3 cups water
1 1/2 cups cooked, pureed ambercup squash (you could use butternut or  1- 15 oz. canned pumpkin instead)
2 cups cooked black beans (or 1- 15 oz. can, drained and rinsed)
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon coriander
1 teaspoon curry powder
pinch salt
3-4 kale leaves

Heat coconut oil in soup pot or dutch oven over medium-low heat. Chop onion and mince garlic. Add to soup pot and stir to coat. Cook for 3-5 minutes. Meanwhile, chop celery and carrots into bite-size pieces. Add to soup pot and cook along with onions and garlic for another 5 minutes. Add broth and water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and add squash, beans, and spices (through pepper). Stir to combine. Continue simmering for about 10-15 minutes. Tear kale leaves into bite-size pieces and add to pot during the last 2 minutes of cooking (you want them to stay bright green; if they cook longer than 2 or so minutes, they will get brownish looking and soggy...).

Ladle into soup bowls and enjoy.

Serves 4-6.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Apple Bread

I think my family may be getting sick of my apple creations these days, but I however, am not. Not in the slightest. I am loving them, craving them, dreaming about them, those gorgeous sweet red fruits from heaven. I picked up a whole peck at the farmer's market last weekend for $8, a steal, I should have bought two pecks, I tell myself... I am about half way through that peck now, and dreading its end. Thank goodness I have access to such amazing organic food at my local co-op year round.

This gluten free, sugar free, quick bread recipe came together rather quickly this a.m. as I was preparing brunch for my grandma. Everyone loved the bread (my three year old ate almost half the loaf in one sitting). My grandma is such a funny lady, very basic when it comes to food. She and prepared, packaged food go hand in hand. To her, a good meal is never complete without a bag of Frito Lays potato chips, a carton of sour cream, and a package of french onion soup mix (for those of you who are wondering how that all works together, you mix the soup mix into the sour cream and it is a dip for the chips...).

When my grandma comes to my house for meals, she never knows what to expect; after all, I have hardly anything packaged in my house, and never do I entertain with it! But she is always complementary. "Kelly, you are such an interesting cook," is usually what I hear, vs. "Kelly, your food is just so tasty and healthy." See the difference? I just laugh.

So my grandma doesn't get my cooking, has never heard of quinoa or kale or roasted sweet potatoes (no joke!), but that is not the point. The point is that she is in her late 80's, has survived her husband by over a year and a half, is still going strong, and I got to spend the afternoon with her. My dad says spending time with family is like spending time with Him, so how could I pass it up?

You need not have any special occasion to make this fabulous bread. The fact that you make it will be occasion enough!

Apple Bread

Dry ingredients:
1 1/2 cup almond flour
2 tablespoons coconut flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
pinch salt
1/8 teaspoon stevia powder (optional)
1 teaspoon cinnamon

Wet ingredients:
1/4 cup coconut oil
2 eggs
1/3 cup agave
1 tablespoon vanilla
2 medium apples, grated (about 1 cup)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 7x3 or small loaf pan with coconut oil.

Mix dry ingredients in bowl. Melt coconut oil in pan over low heat if not already liquified. Add melted coconut oil to another bowl, add eggs and whisk until combined. Add agave and vanilla and whisk again. Add in dry ingredients and stir. Finally, add in grated apple and give it one final stir to ensure all ingredients are combined.

Pour into prepared loaf pan and bake for 50-60 minutes until a toothpick inserted to the center comes out clean. Let cool on wire rack for about one hour before slicing.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Roasted Radishes

I am just too frugal of a gal to let good food go to waste (on the other hand I have no problem letting food that isn't real food, say fast food or anything packaged or anything with High Fructose Corn Syrup or MSG in it go to waste, just for the record). So when we needed to clean out our produce drawer to make room for some late fall Farmer's Market goodies to go in, I had some radishes that were calling to me.

Now, I'm not really a radish lover myself. My husband is actually the one who bought them, claiming that he loves them raw, but funny, he only ate a couple out of the bunch?... which left me (frugal wife) to use them in something... If it was summer, I would just chop them up and add them, raw and all, to a salad or coleslaw. But it isn't summer. And I'm just not into eating raw vegetables when it isn't summer (can you even believe I once ate only raw roods for a whopping six months! Whew... glad I'm out of that phase!).

So, what's a frugal, can't-throw-good-food-away person to do with these radishes, I ask myself...

The answer comes in mere moments... roast them, ding bat! Of course, why had I not thought of that sooner? I guess because I've never made roasted radishes before, nor had I ever eaten roasted radishes. I knew nothing of what they would taste like roasted. So I had to try it!

The result? Yes, just like you guessed: sweet (literally sweet, not as in, "S-w-e-e-t, they are like, so good!" sweet). The bitterness is still there, but only a fraction of what it is raw, and the sweetness factor... bursts in your mouth. Those yummy, sweet, radish juices start flowing when the heat is on and I am forever humbled by this amazing vegetable.

Roasted Radishes

1 bunch red radishes
1 medium sized daikon radish
1 tablespoon coconut oil

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Wash radishes and cut into bit size pieces. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and spread radishes out on sheet in a single layer. Drizzles coconut oil over the radishes, sprinkle with salt, and toss to coat.

Roast radishes for 25-30 minutes, stirring half way through.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Gluten Free Pizza with Greens and Sausage

It feels good to post a recipe again! I've been taking a hiatus from blogging as of late, and just enjoying my time with my boys and the beautiful October weather we have been having here in Minneapolis. For anyone who lives in Minnesota, most agree that October is the favorite month out of the whole year. It's just blissfully beautiful with every turn of the leaves. The air is dry, the sun (usually) shines, the temps are crisp but not cold, and the apples and pumpkins abound. (Oops, sorry honey, I forgot to mention football!!! Silly me! What would the world be like without the amazing Oklahoma Sooners to route for on Saturday afternoons!)

I noted a while ago that I would be posting my gluten free pizza crust version, and it's just taken this long to get it perfected. I use a combination of GF flours: millet, quinoa, and sweet brown rice. I like the depth of flavor I get from a crust using this combo, but feel free to swap other GF flours of choice here, say a long-grain brown rice, white rice, sorghum, etc. I'm not so positive a nut flour would give the same result, but that is my next experimentation, so stay tuned.

I also need to add that this crust can be a bit crumbly. The xanthan gum sure helps to hold it together, but if that stuff creeps you out, like it does Kim of Affairs of Living (check out her hilarious post about her pumpkin seed teff bread here), then feel free to leave it out. I make it both ways. If you leave it out, just be warned that you will have to be a bit more careful when it comes to rolling the crust out.

And this pizza recipe wouldn't be complete with some greens. I have to talk about it, because it is such a central part of this pizza (I mean just look at the gorgeous color it adds for heaven's sake). I am a lover of all dark leafy greens and eat it just about every day. And I am thrilled to learn that I am kindred to Alicia Silverstone in this regard. I just checked out her book The Kind Diet from the library last week and learned that she eats greens at nearly every meal... oh, that's my aspiration, Alicia! Now there is a lot that I don't agree with in Alicia's food philosophy (I am, for the record, not a vegan by any stretch of the imagination, nor do I ever aspire to be one), however, she makes some really good points that we do agree on, the most important: eat lots of veggies.

So with this pizza recipe, you can have your pizza and eat (your veggies) too.

Gluten Free Pizza with Greens and Sausage

1/3 cup millet flour
1/3 cup quinoa flour
1/3 cup sweet brown rice flour
1/2 teaspoon yeast
1/3 cup warm water
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
pinch salt
1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum (optional)

3 tablespoons pesto
2 tablspoons extra virgin olive oil
3 bunches collards or other greens
1/2 yellow onion
1-2 precooked chicken sausages (I use Amy's), any flavor
1/3 cup crumbled feta

For the crust:

If you are starting with whole grains as opposed to the flours, use 1/4- 1/3 cups of each grain and process into a flour using a flour mill or Vitamix dry blade (if using Vitamix like I did, let the grains process for about 1 minute to ensure the right consistency).

Put warm water in a small bowl. Add the yeast and allow to set for about 5 minutes (the yeast will get foamy when ready to use).

Add flours to a mixing bowl. Add yeast/water mixture and remaining ingredients. Stir to combine and form into a ball (add more water as necessary if dough is too crumbly). Drizzle olive oil at the bottom of the mixing bowl and add dough ball, swirling the dough ball around in the oil to coat.

Let the dough rest about 45 minutes.

Meanwhile, preheat oven to 425 and, if using a pizza stone, place it in the oven at this time. Chop or chiffande collards or greens into tiny strips. Chop onion and slice sausages into bite size pieces.

Back to the crust... after dough has rested, lightly flour a silicone mat (or parchment paper) and rolling pin with gluten free flour. Place dough in the middle of the mat. Roll dough out to a 10 inch circle (or if you prefer, a similar size rectangle).

Pull the pizza stone out of the oven and lightly sprinkle gluten free flour on top to prevent the crust from sticking to it. (If using a baking sheet, also sprinkle with flour for same purpose). Take the dough and carefully flip it over onto the pizza stone or baking sheet. Peel off the silicone mat or parchment paper. Take a fork and poke a few holes in the crust to let the air escape and prevent it from bubbling.

The crust is done... whew!!! (It's really easy once you get the hang of it, trust me!)

Add the pesto and olive oil to the crust and spread evenly across top of crust. Add collards, onion, sausage and top with feta.

Bake for 17 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool for 5-10 minutes before slicing with pizza cutter.

Enjoy with your favorite movie and snuggle partner (thanks, hubby, for sharing the pizza-movie-night  tradition with me!)

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

All American Chili

What could be more American than a big pot of homemade chili, college football, and fresh baked apple pie? This was my family's event just a week ago. It's our tradition, actually, to spend a fall Saturday morning at the apple orchard, then spend the afternoon making chili, watching OU football, and baking an apple pie with our apples from the orchard. The day was perfect (crisp and sunny weather, the chili turned out just right, OU won their football game, and the apple pie... to die for! I will be posting that recipe very soon). Over our seven years of marriage, apple orchard day has become one of our favorite traditions.

Now I've been making chili for years, but I never really follow any one recipe, and always change up a thing or two from my last batch, so it always turns out slightly different. My husband jokes that if he really likes a particular batch of chili, he'd better really enjoy it because I may never make it that same way again! Well, I disciplined myself to take copious notes while making this batch, in the event that it turned out really good, I could then post the recipe and have documented exactly what I did to get it to turn out so good. And this batch is definitely post-worthy (all of my taste-testers agreed!).

So if you don't have a chili/football/apple orchard/apple pie tradition, maybe this will be your year to start? Either way, this chili is bound to be a great backdrop to a perfect fall day.

All American Chili

1 tablespoon coconut oil
1 onion
3 cloves garlic
1 1/2 lbs grass fed ground beef
2 tablespoons cumin
2 tablespoons chile powder
1 tablespoon paprika
1 tablespoon oregano
1 teaspoon cinnamon
salt, pepper
2 1/2 cups chicken or beef broth
2 1/2 cups water
1 16 oz. can diced tomatoes
3 tablespoons tomato paste
1 tablespoon molasses (optional)
1 cup each (3 cups cooked total): white, garbanzo, and red beans
hot sauce (optional)

Heat coconut oil in large stockpot over medium heat. Chop onion and garlic and add to pan. Cook 3-5 minutes until translucent. Add ground beef and brown, breaking up the meat with a spatula. Next add seasonings (cumin through salt and pepper) and stir to combine with meat mixture. Cook for an additional 1-2 minutes.

Add remaining ingredients (broth through beans) and stir until completely incorporated. Bring to a boil, then simmer over medium-low heat for 15-20 minutes. Ladle into bowls and top with hot sauce if you choose (I purposely made this recipe very low on the spicy heat scale as I have three year old to feed, but hubby and I love our spice, so we just add it on the top).

Makes one big heck-of-a-pot of chili! Uff dah!

Friday, September 24, 2010

Sunflower Cookies

I had this random thought today: what would it taste like if I made cookies out of sunflower seeds? Well, I decided to find out. I had just bought a bunch of sunflower seeds in bulk from my local coop, and being as they are brimming with nutrients and a wonderful (under-rated in my opinion) mild nutty taste, I thought it would behoove me to incorporate them into a delicious, high protein, low carb, no refined sugar cookie snack.

And let's just be honest, how can a name like "sunflower cookies" just not make you smile? It sure made my taste testers smile... and eat... a lot of these... in one sitting. In fact, they were such a hit, they only lasted two days at my house (one of my best friends, Sarah, a gypsy cowgirl, was in town and got to enjoy them. She's trying to get off of sugar, so I told her to indulge herself silly in these as there is no refined sugar in them at all. And I think she liked 'em... she finished them off for us! I'll make her another batch when she's in town next.)

So share the sun... share the flowers... share the sunflower cookies and smile!

Sunflower Cookies

1 cup raw sunflower seeds, ground into a flour using a flour mill or Vitamix dry blade (makes 1 1/4 cups ground sunflower seed flour)
1/4 cup ground flaxseed
1/4 cup almond flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
pinch salt
1/4 cup coconut oil
1/4 cup agave nectar
1/2 tablespoon vanilla
1/4 cup raisins
2 tablespoons shredded coconut (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line large baking sheet with parchment paper (you might need two baking sheets if one is not extra large).

Combine sunflower seed flour through salt in a medium bowl. In a small saucepan over low heat, stir coconut oil, agave, and vanilla until melted. Add coconut oil mixture to flour bowl and stir. Add raisins and shredded coconut and give one final stir to combine.

Spoon out onto baking sheet in 1 inch balls. Press each ball down with the back of a spoon or your hand to flatten slightly (these will be pretty greasy).

Bake for 10 minutes until golden brown. Cool 15 minutes on the baking sheet over a wire rack.

Makes 16-18 cookies.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Warm Cabbage and Kale Salad

I came up with this recipe based off a recipe from one of my favorite food bloggers- Heidi of Her version uses red cabbage (and her pictures are so much prettier than mine, I must say), but I only had green cabbage, so a suitable swap was made. I've really been in the mood for cooked cabbage lately, but instead of roasting it (which is my hands-down favorite way to eat this amazing cruciferous, cancer-fighting veggie), I decided to stove top it and throw in some yummy goodies along the way (kale, raisins, goat cheese- delish!).

The thing I love about this recipe is that you can make so many substitutions and/or additions, customizing it perfectly to your own palate. (Think feta for the goat cheese, craisins or figs for the raisins, broccoli for the kale, etc.) I'm all about recipes that I can alter in some way, adding a bit of Kelly-flare to the mix, truly making it my own.

Let me know if you change this recipe up, how it turns out and what you did! (Or alternatively, if you make it just the way I did, also let me know what you thought of it!) And most of all, enjoy your four servings of veggies in this one amazing dish.

Warm Cabbage and Kale Salad

2 tablespoons coconut oil
1/2 red onion
1 clove garlic
1/2 head green cabbage
3 kale leaves
salt, pepper
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup raisins
2 oz. goat cheese
1 tablespoon fresh chopped rosemary

Heat coconut oil in a large saucepan over medium heat.

Chop onion and garlic and add to hot pan. Cook 3-5 minutes until onions are translucent, stirring frequently.

Chop cabbage and kale into bit size pieces and add to pan. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Continue cooking another 3-5 minutes until cabbage is slightly wilted and kale is bright green.

Stir in remaining ingredients. Add lid to the pan and cook an additional 2-3 minutes until goat cheese is melted and raisins are plump. Give one final stir to the pan to evenly distribute the goat cheese.

Enjoy warm out of the pan or cold out of the fridge for the next day's lunch.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Simply Granola

When I want a mildly sweet and satisfying treat, this is my go-to recipe of choice. I mean, who doesn't love granola? It serves such a multitude of purposes: as breakfast with some organic yogurt and fruit, as a mid-day snack with some almond milk, as an on-the-go treat when you're running errands, or as a simple dessert topping over ice cream. I eat it just plain, with my hands, quite frequently. Addicting, I might say.

This recipe I also love because it is just so simple. I keep all of these ingredients in my pantry, so I always have them on hand to whip up a batch of granola anytime. You can get added digestion health benefits out of this too by soaking the oats overnight in water (about 2 cups) with a little apple cider vinegar or lemon juice (about 1 tablespooon) and then dehydrating for 10-12 hours at 115 degrees (I have a dehydrator from my raw food days, but since it is not that common of a kitchen appliance, you can also use your oven set at the lowest temperature for about the same amount of time.)

Either way, you simply must try this. So do, and let me know your thoughts! (I forgot to mention that it makes a stellar food gift. Put the granola into a glass jar with a tight fitting lid, add some ribbon to the top, and voila! Homemade, healthy granola gift! I did this last Christmas and got rave reviews.)

Simply Granola

3 cups gluten free oats
1 cup sliced almonds
1/4 cup sunflower seeds
1/4 cup pumpkin seeds
1/3 cup Xylosweet
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon vanilla
pinch salt
1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
1/4 cup agave
3/4 cup raisins (optional)

Preheat oven to 325. Line a 10x15 baking sheet with parchment paper.

Mix oat through salt in a medium bowl. In a small bowl, mix coconut oil and agave. Pour over dry ingredients. Stir all ingredients to combine.

Pour granola onto baking sheet and spread out to a single layer. Bake for 30-35 minutes, stirring every 10-15 minutes. Remove from oven when it turns a nice, golden brown. Let cool on a wire rack for about 20-30 minutes. Add raisins and store in an airtight container.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

When you want a cookie, you just want a cookie. Right? My son was on a cookie kick today; he started asking at the breakfast table if we could make chocolate chip cookies today. I told him after nap time we could, after all it is Friday and it is a bit gloomy. Cookies will give us a reason to celebrate the weekend while being stuck inside our house (it's amazing how you can justify any craving this way... my personal favorite, "Let's bake a cake because today is somebody's birthday?!")

So we baked our cookies after nap time (which wasn't really nap time at all, it was more like, "Mommy, I just played in my room," time. Huh. Little stinker.) And I must say, they did seem to brighten our moods, and crazy enough, just as we finished eating our cookies, the sun came out! Hallelujah!

May these gluten free cookie goodies bring a little sunshine into your day too.

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

5 tablespoons melted butter or coconut oil
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon molasses
3/4 cup gluten free oat or sorghum flour
3/4 cup gluten free rolled oats
2 tablespoons coconut flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
pinch salt
2/3 cup Xylosweet or agave
1/4 cup dark chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper.

Whisk oil, egg, vanilla, and molasses in a medium bowl. In another bowl, mix oat or sorghum flour, oats, coconut flour, baking soda, cinnamon, salt, and sweetener until combined. Fold dry ingredients into wet and stir again to incorporate. Fold in chocolate chips.

Using your hands, form into small balls and place on cookie sheet. Press down each ball with the palm of your hand to make them into semi-flat rounds.

Bake for 12 minutes. Let cool an additional 5-10 minutes on a wire rack.

Makes 16-18 cookies.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Squash Fries

Mmm Mmm, I'm loving it. "You want fries with 'dat?" I ask my family. Not McDonald's fries, of course, but my own version of the famous American fried vegetable stick: oven roasted squash fries. These are so delectable: savory, sweet, and bursting with flavor in every bite. And they are refreshingly easy to make, as easy and quick as pulling up to the drive through, so you'll have no excuses for going to that fast food joint on your way home from work.

We picked up our first batch of local winter squash over the weekend at our farmer's market. I've been secretly applauding the end of summer and welcoming the cool fall temps just so I could make this recipe. Everyone in my family loves it so much, we rarely have leftovers. As the Chief Chef in the Buffington household with a passion for feeding my family nutrient dense, whole food, I take it as a compliment when the plates are licked clean before they get to the sink.

Did I mention how easy this recipe is? And how fast it will go at your dinner table? Slightly addicting if you ask me (I mean, just look at that gorgeous color! Chock full of vitamins A and C and minerals iron and riboflavin). That said, you'd better double or triple the recipe so you can take this to work for lunch during the week. You'll thank me you did!

Squash Fries

1 medium butternut squash
2 tablespoons coconut oil, melted
salt, pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Peel butternut squash with vegetable peeler. Cut the top and bottom stems off. Cut the squash in half width wise. Then cut each half into half (you'll now have four sections). Scoop out the seeds and discard. Cut each section into 1/2 inch sticks, or desired size of fry (tip: the smaller the fry, the faster it will crisp up, so don't get them too small or they'll likely get charred in the oven).

Place in a medium sized bowl, drizzle with coconut oil, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Toss squash fries in bowl to make sure each piece is coated (if you want to skip the step of tossing in a bowl, you can just go straight to putting the fries on the baking sheet and drizzling the coconut oil, salt, and pepper from there).

Place squash fries on a parchment paper lined 10x12 baking sheet in a single layer. Roast for 20 minutes. Remove from oven and flip fries over. Place back in oven and roast an additional 15-20 minutes until slightly crisp on the outside. Allow to cool 10 minutes on pan to crisp up a bit more.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Kale Chips

I am so thrilled about this recipe. It's not new to me, not new to the blogsphere, but it is new to someone in my house... hubby. He has insisted for years that he does not like kale (not in a box, not with a fox, not in a car, not in a tree, he insisted that he does not like it, you see! Can you tell I have a three year old who loves to read Green Eggs and Ham?). But just because he said he doesn't like it never stopped me from making it for myself. I eat it nearly daily, and in a variety of ways: steamed, lightly sauteed, roasted, grilled, marinated raw, in pestos, etc. and each time I make it, I always offer hubby some. "Um, no thanks, Kel," he promptly says with that roll-the-eyes-sort of look that really says, "Seriously, you didn't think I changed my mind all of a sudden and started liking kale, now, did you?" Hmpf... someday I'm going to get you to try it, and like it... I would think to myself.

Well today (trumpets please), it happened! It finally happened! He tried kale and said that he liked it! (Well, actually he said that it was, "not that bad," which in Minnesota lingo means that he secretly loves it and can't wait for me to make it again.) And so friends, I simply must share this delightful (and let's not forget incredibly nutrient packed) kale recipe with you, and you simply must try it for yourself and your family.

I recently read on one of Elana's posts (of, one of my favorite food bloggers), that Parents magazine featured her kale chip recipe in their Back to School issue as an idea for something to pack in a child's lunch. And I thought, why yes, of course! Let's give those old potato chips a run for their money! This particularly caught my attention as my three year old is starting preschool this week and I will be packing his lunch two days a week. I've been brainstorming for a few weeks now of ideas for his school lunch. I'm so curious as to what other real-food-loving-mommies pack in their children's school lunch? Let me know by leaving a comment below. I will be compiling my ideas (with the help from your comments) into a post very soon, so stay tuned.

Kale Chips

5-6 kale leaves
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
salt, pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Wash kale and chop into 2x2 inch squares (or desired size of chip) and place in a large bowl. Add olive oil, salt, and pepper to the bowl and message the leaves of kale with oil until fully coated. Place kale on a single layer on pan. Bake for 8-10 minutes, until bright green and crispy. Enjoy fresh out of the oven!

Friday, September 10, 2010

Apple Cinnamon Muffins

Today I was in the mood for a muffin. I don't get in these moods all that often, and since the summer temps have finally cooled down enough to turn my oven on, I thought I would create a mildly sweet yet hearty muffin using up some remaining local and organic apples I had sitting on my table. I didn't make them for breakfast, but rather as a mid-morning snack for me and my three year old.

A few months ago my doctor ran some tests on me and discovered that I am hypoglycemic, so I literally have to eat every two to three hours (I've always been a food grazer, eating very small meals and snacks throughout the day, but to have to eat every two to three hours is still quite new to me). And to be honest, I've been in such a rut with my "snacks" that I needed something really wow-ing to get me out of that funk. These muffins did it- wow!

Don't let the gluten free-ness of this muffin recipe give you a moment's hesitation. You'd never know you're missing the gulten. As with all gluten free baking recipes, it can be a bit tricky to find a combination of flours that create a muffin that holds together very well (I was a bit concerned that they would turn out to be crumbly and fall apart with one bite- not so!). And I prefer to use as few starch flours as possible when baking, so as to keep the glycemic load from skyrocketing, and keep the high fibrous flour content high, hence the almond flour and flax. I think the combo presented here is perfect.

A note about the sweetness factor of these muffins: they are mildy (not overly) sweet. Here's why: since I stopped eating sugar a few years back, I just don't crave it anymore (and when I do eat something sweet, it is always a natural, low glycemic sweetner, think: agave, Xylosweet, stevia). So to me, the mild sweetness factor of these muffins is perfect. If you, however, like your sweets really sweet, then you might want to up the ante on the Xylosweet or agave from 1/3 cup to 1/2 cup. Either way, it's a fantastic recipe, and will serve as a base for other muffin variations to come.

Apple Cinnamon Muffins

Dry Ingredients

1 cup sorghum flour
1/2 cup almond flour
1/2 cup ground flaxseed
1/4 cup tapioca flour
1/3 cup Xlyosweet
1/8 teaspoon stevia (optional)
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt

Wet Ingredients

2 eggs
1/2 cup milk, cream, or almond milk
1/2 cup coconut oil, melted
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 grated apples (about 1 1/2 cups)

Preheat oven to 350. Line 12 muffin tins with either paper or silicone liners.

Mix dry ingredients in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk eggs and add milk, oil, and vanilla and mix well. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients bowl and combine. Stir in the grated apples. Spoon muffin mixture into muffin tins, filling about 3/4 of the way to the top.

Bake for 25 minutes. Let cool in pan set on a wire rack for about 30 minutes. Of course, if you can't wait that long, fresh out of the oven will work just fine!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Apple Crisp

Now that it's September, I decided to indulge my oven craving and bake something. I haven't been able to do this in about three months, since before the summer began. It was a relatively cool weekend (compared to the 90 plus temps we had had the week before) and I just wanted to make something that would warm my core. I had a bowl full of organic apples on my table (my first apples of the season!) that were calling to me to be baked in an apple crisp (I mean, really, they were saying, "Kelly, roast me!"), so I did just that.

I used gluten free oats that had been soaked for 24 hours in water and a little lemon juice and then dehydrated for 10 hours as my topping base (they had been sitting in my pantry in an airtight container for a month or so). If you do not want to spend the time soaking and dehydrating your oats, then unsoaked oats will also work just fine in this recipe, you just won't get the added digestion benefits that you get from the soaking process (see Sally Fallon's Nourishing Traditions for more on this topic). If you are gluten intolerant, allergic, or sensitive, please make sure that you get certified gluten free oats, as oats are one of those grains that can get easily contaminated with gluten (as they are often processed in plants that also process gluten).

My family was in town over the weekend visiting, so they got to taste test this one. My sister in law, my  husband, and I all really liked it, but my brother in law, well, he's a hard one to convince (I call it "healthy," he calls it... "cardboard." But I give him kudos anyway because he ate it and when he finished, he said that it was, "not that bad." I think he just needs some time to come around.). Well, I'm gonna post it anyway because with three against one, I figure my odds for a successful blog post about it are stacked in my favor.

I think the best part about this recipe is that it makes your whole house smell deliciously, cinnamonny (there I go making up words again) fragrant. And who doesn't like a cinnamonny-smelling house?

Gluten Free Apple Crisp

5 medium apples, peeled and sliced
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 tablespoons Xylosweet or agave
1 teaspoon cinnamon

Crumble Topping

3 cups soaked and dried old fashioned oats (or 2 cups oats if not soaked and dried)
1/4 cup almond flour
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon vanilla
1 tablespoon Xylosweet or agave
3 tablespoons coconut oil

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Combine first four ingredients in a bowl and toss to coat. Pour into an 8x8 inch baking dish. Add the crumble topping to a bowl and toss to coat using a spatula or wooden spoon, until it resembles course crumbs (feel free to use your hands too to get the oats broken up and absorb some of the oil). Spread the crumble topping over the apple mixture in the pan.

Bake for 40-45 minutes. Best enjoyed fresh out of the oven. If you do dairy, it would be awesome topped with fresh (real) whipped cream.
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Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Grapefruit Cilantro Smoothie

I'm sharing this addictive smoothie recipe for our Two for Tuesdays Blog Hop Carnival with my real food blogging gals. It is one of my favorite smoothie recipes of all time and the flavors are so unexpected (I think that's what I love about it). The contrasting brightness of grapefruit and cilantro just seem to "pop" in your mouth, like a firecracker. My inspiration was gleaned from one of Sarma Melngalis' blog posts a year or so back. I was really into her cookbook Raw Food Real World when I was going through my raw vegan episode, and although I am not a raw vegan anymore (thank the Lord, I don't know who's happier, me or my husband), I do appreciate the creativity of this foodie genre.

This recipe just makes me happy as I am a cilantro lover at heart; it is often my splurge at my local co-op (I've tried for five years to grow cilantro in my garden and have yet to be successful at getting it to grow past two weeks, so I've decided to leave the growing of it to my neighbors who farm for a living).

And cilantro is one of the most powerfully healing of all herbs... check out its astounding stats (as quoted from The Global Healing Center):

  • Powerful anti-inflammatory capacities that may help symptoms of arthritis
  • Protective agents against bacterial infection from Salmonella in food products
  • Acts to increase HDL cholesterol (the good kind), and reduces LDL cholesterol (the bad kind)
  • Relief for stomach gas, prevention of flatulence and an overall digestive aid
  • Wards off urinary tract infections
  • Helps reduce feelings of nausea
  • Eases hormonal mood swings associated with menstruation
  • Has been shown to reduce menstrual cramping.
  • Adds fiber to the digestive tract
  • A source of iron, magnesium, and is helpful in fighting anemia
  • Gives relief for diarrhea, especially if caused by microbial or fungal infections
  • Helps promote healthy liver function.
  • Reduces minor swelling
  • Strong general anti-oxidant properties
  • Disinfects and helps detoxify the body (emphasis mine)
  • Stimulates the endocrine glands
  • Helps with insulin secretion and lowers blood sugar
  • Acts as a natural anti-septic and anti-fungal agent for skin disorders like fungal infections and eczema
  • Contains immune-boosting properties
  • Acts as an expectorant
  • Helps ease conjunctivitis, as well as eye-aging, macular degeneration, and other stressors on the eyes

This recipe is also great for these last few sizzling summer days, when you want something satisfying, yet light, to get you through a lazy afternoon of soaking up the sun. I admit, I am a tad excited for the cool, crispness of fall to arrive (and those crunchy, sweet, just picked apples from the orchard), but I am trying my darndess not to rush... because, as my fellow Minnesotans out there know, once summer ends, winter is not far behind! So let's not think about winter just yet (even though my son told me this morning that "tomorrow" it is going to snow and he is going to go sledding down the big hill!), but rather let's enjoy every moment of this heat... and the juicy flavors that it brings to our palates.

Grapefruit Cilantro Smoothie

3/4 cup cilantro (I use the stems and all)
1 grapefruit, peeled
1/2 banana
1/4 cup almond milk
1/2 cup water
1 tablespoon coconut oil
1/4 teaspoon stevia powder (optional)
1 teaspoon cinnamon
pinch salt

Add all ingredients into a Vitamix or blender in the order listed. Blend until completely smooth. Enjoy immediately (trust me, it won't last more than three minutes in your glass). 

!Viva el verano!