Monday, November 26, 2012

Pumpkin Pie Dessert Smoothie

I call this recipe a dessert smoothie because that's exactly what it tastes like to me... dessert. Though not overly sweet, it has that hit-just-the-right-spot quality that makes it seem more luscious than just your average snack.

I make it thinner like a smoothie rather than thicker like a pudding because I prefer it to be drinkable. However, it you would rather eat it with a spoon, simply omit the water in this recipe and serve it in mugs with dollops of freshly whipped cream and sprinkles of cinnamon on top. (Maybe, just maybe, this will become your new favorite Thanksgiving dessert! Say goodbye to sugar-laden, calorie-laden, grain-laden pies for this light, refreshing take on the good ole' pumpkin pie!)

Pumpkin Pie Dessert Smoothie

1 1/2 cups whole milk yogurt
1 cup pureed pumpkin or other winter squash
1 cup water
2 tablespoons almond butter
2 teaspoons honey
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon cinnamon
pinch of nutmeg, cloves, and ginger

Place all ingredients in a Vitamix and blend until creamy consistency.

Pour into glasses and drink as is for a refreshing smoothie. Or for a thicker dessert option, omit the water from the recipe and pour into small mugs, then top with whipped cream and cinnamon.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Slow Cooker Chicken Meatballs and Curried Veggies

Busy mom, busy young kids, busy days mean I need quick, easy, nutritious meal plans in my back pocket, oh, just about... everyday. I've been making versions of this recipe for weeks now. I sure hope my kids don't tire of it as I plan on making it at least once a week through the cold months when we all want a hearty, warm dinner for those busy nights.

This recipe calls for several kinds of veggies, because I like variety, but use what you have on hand: think butternut squash, parsnips, broccoli, kale, or cabbage... use grass fed ground beef in place of the chicken... use cumin or cinnamon in place of the curry... you get the idea. Experiment!

Whatever the combo you choose, I think you'll fall in love with the ease of preparation and the deliciousness of the meal, busy or not!

Slow Cooker Chicken Meatballs and Curried Veggies

1 lb. ground chicken
salt, pepper

1 yellow onion
4 cloves garlic
2 inch stip of fresh ginger, peeled
4 carrots
6 small potatoes
2 cups cauliflower florets
2 stalks celery
1/2 cup dried fruit of choice (figs, dates, prunes, or raisins)

2 cups chicken stock
1 tablespoon curry powder

Cilantro and/or parsley

Place chicken in a bowl and add a generous amount of salt and pepper. Gently mix in the salt and pepper while forming the chicken into 1 inch size meatballs with your hands. Evenly distribute meatballs in the bottom of a 6 quart slow cooker.

Coarsely chop all vegetables and dried fruit and, in the order listed, place atop of the meatballs, spreading around the slow cooker so they are evenly distributed.

Whisk curry powder into chicken stock in a small bowl and pour over the meatballs and veggies.

Put the lid on the slow cooker and cook on high for 3- 3 1/2 hours, until chicken is cooked through and veggies are tender.

Serve with cilantro/parsley as a garnish.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Honey Mini Muffins (grain and sugar free)

My kids have been begging me for mini muffins lately. So this past weekend, I went out and bought a mini muffin pan, knowing full well that it would get lots of use. Bright and early Monday morning, we set out to make our first batch in our new muffin pan.

Since I've been sticking to mostly GAPS friendly ingredients lately, I decided to make these with honey. I also know that honey is the sweetener of choice for my kiddos (they ask for it at least once a day), so I knew they'd go bonkers for "honey" muffins. (They've also been reading a lot of Berenstain Bears books lately; maybe that has something to do with the honey fettish?)

These turned out so good, I knew I had to blog about them. To prove just how good these muffins are, I'll tell you that I've already made them a couple of times this week (they go that fast!). And I know they'll be requested yet again by the time the weekend rolls around.

I don't mind my kids noshing on these yummy muffins one bit; not only are they delicious, but they are also nutritious. Try them for breakfast, as a simple snack, or as a side with some soup or chili.

Honey Mini Muffins

Dry ingredients:
1/2 cup coconut flour
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt

Wet ingredients:
6 eggs
1/2 cup coconut oil, melted
1/3 cup honey
1 teaspoon vanilla
10 drops liquid stevia

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 24 cup mini muffin tray with paper liners.

In a bowl, mix together all dry ingredients. In a separate bowl, whisk all liquid ingredients. Add wet ingredients to dry and stir until completely incorporated (batter will become thicker upon standing).

Pour batter into prepared mini muffin try, filling about 3/4 of the way to the top.

Bake in preheated oven for 18-20 minutes, until tops are golden and toothpick inserted comes out clean.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Chocolate Chip (or Raisin) Cookies- Grain Free/GAPS Option

We've been in GAPS mode for a few weeks now, after having completed the GAPS intro diet for 7 days. I'm loving this diet! It's completely free of grains and sugar, with the exception of honey, and the food on the diet is just so nourishing. My skin is loving it too. I don't think my face has ever been so soft as it was after the intro diet.

We began it as a way to jumpstart the renewing of our bodies through nutrition, to clean out our guts, and to hopefully just feel better overall. I can say that both my husband and I do feel better, lighter. For a few years now, I've been in and out of a grain-free phase and I seem to keep coming back to it time and time again. Using my body as my guide, it tells me that I do better on a meat-and-veggies-diet more than anything else, so for now, that is what I am going with.

The GAPS community is growing too. Any google search will prove that. I think more and more people are realizing the connection of nutrition and health and it is exciting to read about the amazing results people are having when they truly commit to healing their bodies through nutrition!

While the bulk of the GAPS program is bone broth-based meals, including meat and veggies, there are GAPS "legal" ways of getting to enjoy the occasional treat, such as these cookies. They are so good, it's hard to believe they are so good for you. My husband actual words were "so phenomenal" (a high praise for a no-holds-barred critic of my cooking!). So whether you are following a GAPS, grain free, paleo, primal, etc. diet or lifestyle or just want a tasty, healthy, high protein treat, these cookies are for you!

Chocolate Chip (or Raisin) Cookies- Grain Free/GAPS Option

Dry Ingredients:
1 1/2 cups blanched almond flour
2 tablespoons coconut flour
2 tablespoons shredded coconut
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
pinch salt

Wet Ingredients:
1/3 cup coconut oil
1/4 cup honey
1 teaspoon vanilla
10 drops liquid stevia

1/4 cup mini chocolate chips or raisins for GAPS option

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line one extra large or two small cookie sheets with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, mix together all dry ingredients. In a separate, smaller bowl, melt coconut oil and add honey. Stir. Add vanilla and stevia and stir again. Add wet ingredients to dry and stir until just combined. Add in chocolate chips (or raisins for GAPS option) and stir until fully incorporated.

Using you hands, shape dough into small rounds about an inch in diameter, place on prepared cookie sheets and flatten slightly with your palm. Repeat with remaining dough. You should have approximately 14 cookies.

Bake in preheated oven for 10-12 minutes. Cool on a wire rack for about 10 minutes before eating.