Recipes

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Recipes Are Just The Starting Point

The best thing about recipes is that they can be changed – a lot!  Some of the recipes I use started out as someone else’s and I tweaked them to make them a bit healthier.  Some of the recipes I post are mine and I hope you use them as a starting point and tweak them to include ingredients that you like.

If you try anything that works really well and want to share, please do!  You can post your substitutions or variations in the comments section below each recipe.  I happen to think that learning from each other is one of the best parts about cooking, and if we all help and encourage each other down this path towards better health, it makes it an awful lot more fun!

Amazing Bone Broth

 

I can’t believe I haven’t posted information on bone broth before now.  Ok, it is a gazillion degrees outside and it might seem like an odd time to talk about broth, but it’s really not.  Bone broth is one of the best ways to get nutrients into our bodies, and we should all be looking for ways to get more nutrients in!  It can be enjoyed as is, or as the base of all kinds of soups, stews, etc.  In the picture above, I just threw in some celery, carrots, and leeks (they were in the crisper and needed to get used, but an onion works just as well), then added some rotisserie chicken and fresh herbs.  It is yummy, and even on hot days like we’ve had lately, it’s light and soothing. Besides that, it makes the house smell great when it’s cooking!   Click here for a great article on how to make it and its benefits.

Another Great Gluten-Free Resource

I ran into a GF site that was new to me (there are so many now, it’s great!) and she has a wonderfully easy to read, yet comprehensive page about gluten sensitivities, what to know, what options are available for flour substitutions, etc.  Everyone has their own way of explaining all of it, but I thought she had done a great job at making all the information easy to digest (ok, sorry…. bad pun!) and is a really good resource.  The site name is www.gimmeglutenfree.com.  She has great recipes as well, so take a look here for the resource page.  I’ll put her site on my list of blogs as well.

Gluten-Free, Grain-Free, Dairy-Free, Sugar-Free…. and Delicious Pumpkin Pie!

Recipe coming soon – I had to take a picture before it all disappeared!

BLT Salad

 

A perfect meal for this hot weather, and a joyous re-uniting of flavors for those of us who are not eating grains.  I have to admit, that a great BLT is something I do miss, so luckily my sister (Dr. Cary) came up with this easy solution to solve the cravings.

Fry up several slices of bacon (nitrate/nitrite free please!  Trader Joe’s has a great one).  While they are frying, put together your favorite salad ingredients – cool crunchy lettuce, tomato (of course) then add red onion or scallion, cucumber, even avocado is great.

After the bacon is cooked and crispy, let drain on paper towels, pour out leftover bacon grease from pan but don’t wipe out all the yummy parts on the bottom of the pan-that’s where all the flavor is.  Add about two tablespoons (or more if you like a lot of dressing) of mayonnaise, either homemade or straight from the jar and let it warm up and get all creamy. You will probably have to add some water to dilute it, so start with just a bit and add in as you need to thin it out.  As you stir it around, it will pick up all the bits of flavor left at the bottom of the pan.  This only takes a few moments, so just add your crunchy bacon to the top of your salad, pour on the warm dressing and toss.  It’s a BLT in a bowl!!!  Full of flavor and makes a great summertime dinner.

For those of you who really need that bit of bread, use your favorite gluten-free (or regular if you are still eating that) bread, chop it up in big chunks, and toast in a saute pan with some olive oil and salt until crisp and crunchy. This makes the best croutons and would be fabulous mixed in with your BLT salad.

Paleo Foodie

I found another great blog to check out: http://paleofoodie.blogspot.com/.  She has loads of recipes, mostly paleo type with lots of nuts, coconut, veggies, etc.  I’ve already found a few I have to try!

Carrot Cake Cooler

One of my friends usually requests a carrot cake as her birthday treat, but this year, she decided to forego the carrot cake as she wanted to begin the year with an eye towards better health.  So, instead of a high fat, high sugar (and yes, yummy) carrot cake, we had Carrot Cake Coolers to celebrate.  Usually I think about these for a warm weather treat, but they are actually great anytime.  Besides, after all that holiday eating, I’m sure your liver would be happy with the extra love from the carrot juice!

This recipe is adapted  from the Carrot Cake Cooler recipe in The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Eating Clean by Diane A. Welland, M.S., R.D.

Ingredients:

  • 6 tbls. fresh carrot juice
  • 3 tbls. reduced fat (lite) coconut milk
  • 3 tbls. unsweetened pineapple juice
  • 4 tbls. rice milk
  • Cinnamon and nutmeg

Combine the juices and milks, stir, and serve over ice with a dash of cinnamon and nutmeg on top.

Christmas Cookies – Part of the Solution

After spending my life making tons of Christmas cookies full of fat, sugar, frosting, and sprinkles (of course!), this year, I decided to be more a part of the solution than the problem.  As much as I enjoyed making pretty cookies and sharing them with friends, I hated hearing about how everyone was sick after Christmas.  I know how sugar crashes your immune system (among causing countless other problems), and here I was, giving my loved ones little bundles of immunity-busting sugar.

This year, I decided to go against the grain, so to speak, and make treats that are gluten-free, refined sugar free, mostly grain free,  low in carbs, high in protein,and  high in fiber.  For you Paleo/Primal eaters out there, these are pretty close!

I used recipes from some well-known sources and tweaked appropriately.  Below is the list  – I encourage everyone to think about creating some new, healthier traditions and maybe try some of these recipes.  For those of you who have tasted some of the ones I made, let me know what you think. (Really!)

Molasses” Spice Cookies, by Elana Amsterdam – www.elanaspantry.com.  I substituted molasses for the yacon syrup since I couldn’t find it locally.  I’ll have to order some online and try them again, but these came out great using the molasses, and they ended up tasting like a gingersnap but they were soft and chewy like a molasses cookie.

Nikki’s Healthy Cookie Recipe from www.101cookbooks.com.  These have become favorites!

I used Elana Amsterdam’s recipe for Hamantaschen for the triangle-shaped cookies, and also used the same dough recipe for the  traditional Thumprint cookies, filling them with cranberry-blueberry fruit spread.

Pecan Shortbread from Elana Amsterdam’s book: The GlutenFree Almond Flour Cookbook which is highly recommended!

Dina’s Delightful Cookies from www.elanaspantry.com.  (I added 1/2 tsp. cinnamon and substituted date paste for the agave nectar – date paste is just dates and water put through the food processor till smooth…. ratio is 1 cup dates to 1/2 cup water).  I made one batch with raisins, then a second batch with apple juice-sweetened cranberries, some orange zest, and a dash of cinnamon.

Dark Chocolate Bark – dark chocolate with cashews, pistachios, raisins and apple juice-sweetened cranberries.

Pumpkin Coconut Milk Ice Cream with Pecans, Coconut and Chocolate Flecks

Remember, back in the day, when the leaves would begin to fall and the breezes started turning cool, what would we all start thinking about? Pumpkin. Pecans. Pies straight from the warm oven, the house smelling of cinnamon.  Was there any better way to welcome the change of seasons?  Around our house, my friend, Phil, and I always turned to our favorite recipe, Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Mini Muffins, to start off the holiday baking.  I think I started the tradition, then he carried it on, both of us making countless little pumpkiny treasures with just that little bit of chocolate to surprise the eager recipient at our respective offices and Halloween parties.

From then on, it was all about the pies – pumpkin and pecan, of course.  “Yes, of course, I’d love a small piece of both please.  After all, it’s the holidays!”  Before we even got to dive into the Christmas cookies, we’d all be feeling awful, already putting on our holiday “puffiness” and stressed to the max from all those carbs and sugar.

Well, times have changed.  When you know better, you do better.  The leaves are falling and the breezes are just beginning to cool, so it’s time to create new traditions. Don’t be tempted to fall back into old habits that may sabotage your Primal progress.  Instead, reinvent your traditions, use your favorite ingredients, and transform them to something unexpected.

As a twist on my favorite dairy-free ice cream recipe, I decided to add pumpkin to help usher in the fall season as quickly as possible.  I included pecans and coconut because when toasted, they take on such richness and added dimension, and they provide a great contrasting crunch to the creaminess of the coconut milk and pumpkin.  For flavoring, I used vanilla paste along with a bit of vanilla extract.  I like using vanilla paste for the smooth flavor it brings, and besides, it’s just really cool stuff!  I love seeing all those tiny little specs of vanilla bean in the ice cream – it makes it all a bit more special. (Using just vanilla extract works fine, too).  As for adding some flecks of chocolate, well it’s chocolate.  ‘Nuff said!

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup chopped pecans, toasted
  • 1/4 cup pulverized unsweetened coconut, toasted
  • 1 cup loosely packed dates (approximately 21 dates – add more if you like things on the sweeter side)
  • 1 tsp. vanilla paste + 1/2 tsp vanilla extract (or use 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract)
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 3/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 – 3/4 tsp. ground ginger (to taste)
  • 1/2 tsp. freshly ground nutmeg
  • Pinch of sea salt
  • 1 14 oz. can of unsweetened coconut milk (I used full fat, but lite works too)
  • 1/4 – 1/2 cup small chunks of dark chocolate, melted and put in plastic bag for “flicking”

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350°.  Line an 8×8 baking pan with foil, place chopped pecans in pan and toast in oven for approximately five minutes.  Keep an eye on them, and as soon as you get a whiff of toasty nuts it’s time for them to come out.  Put nuts into a bowl and set aside to cool.

Pulverize coconut using a mini chopper and put into same baking pan and toast.   Do not step away from the oven!  Seriously, it takes only a few minutes to toast coconut so no bathroom breaks.  Peek in after 2 minutes, shake the pan a bit to mix it up, and put back another minute or two until brown.  Add to bowl of nuts and set aside.

Put dates into a food processor and pulse a few times to rough chop.  Then turn on your food processor and let it go for several minutes until the dates get totally smushed,  scraping a few times along the way.  You want the dates as pureed as possible.

Add vanilla paste/extract and puree a moment longer.  Then add pumpkin, spices and pinch of salt, and pulse a few times until combined.  Slowly add coconut milk, puree until smooth.

Pour into a bowl and chill in refrigerator, or put into an ice bath to hurry up the process.  When cold, pour into your ice cream maker and start processing according to manufacturer’s instructions.

Now comes the fun part!  To add chocolate flecks, melt chocolate double boiler style (I use a small bowl over a saucepan of warm water) and pour into a plastic bag.  A few minutes before the ice cream is done, snip a small hole in the corner of the plastic bag and as the ice cream swirls around, slowly “flick” the chocolate into the mixture. The warm chocolate going up against the ice cream instantly freezes, making little flecks….. really!  Have fun with it and don’t worry about getting a little chocolate on your countertop, it’s just part of the creative process!

When you are happy with the amount of chocolate flecks you have “flicked” (ok, I couldn’t resist!), toss in pecans and coconut and let them swirl together for a few minutes.  By this time, your ice cream should be done.  Spoon into containers and freeze.

This ice cream will freeze to a very hard state, so be sure to take it out and set in refrigerator for about 20 minutes or so before serving. This ice cream is yummy anytime, but makes a great healthy (and Primal!) dessert for your holiday meals.

Variations:

Pumpkin Ice Cream is great plain, or with just the chocolate flecks.  You can also substitute walnuts, and try a bit of maple flavoring in place of the vanilla.

Pumpkin Snack Cake

This recipe is adapted from a Pumpkin Brownie recipe by Shelley of www.thisprimallife.com.  Anyone interested in a primal lifestyle should definitely check out her site.  This is a pretty generic recipe, similar to the nut butter muffins I make which are great for all of us with multiple allergies.  Shelley suggests getting creative with substitutions, and I look forward to trying lots of combinations.  The pieces shown above were made with the following recipe, but don’t stay in the box with this one.  Try different nut butters, spices, sweeteners, add-ins, etc. and if you come up with something you love, please share!

  • 1 cup almond butter
  • 3/4 cup mashed pumpkin, fresh or canned
  • 1 egg
  • 1/3 cup date paste*
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1-1 1/2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1/2 cup currants

Mix all ingredients and pour into a greased 8×8″ pan.  Bake at 350° for approximately 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.  9 large servings.

* Date Paste:  Easy to make by putting about 1 cup of dates, 1/2 cup of water, pinch of salt and squeeze of lemon juice into a food processor.  Puree till smooth.  If you feel like it’s too sticky, add water slowly until you get the consistency you desire.