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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