Thursday, March 29, 2012

Kale Chips Two Ways

I have been eating tons and tons of kale lately, and not even on purpose.  I was in AZ last week visiting the MIL and they have some really great restaurants in the Scottsdale/Phoenix/Sedona area.  Kale was a staple of my GFG Arizona diet, so upon coming home without even thinking I grabbed a bag of kale at TJ's.

One restaurant I had the opportunity to try was ChocolaTree in Sedona.  It's vegan/local/organic and very very crunchy.  As in, dirty hippies with vibrams and dreads talking about foraging for wild silk thistle or some such nonsense.  The meal was pretty good but what I really enjoyed were the cheezy kale chips I bought to snack on.  So I thought, how hard can that be?

Next time you have a big bag of Kale, try it two ways!

Sea Salt and Vinegar Kale Chips
1 bag of washed/shredded kale
2 T sea salt
3 T vinegar

Preheat your oven to 325.  Mix your kale, salt, oil, and vinegar together and coat evenly.  Bake for about 15 minutes CHECKING OFTEN because y'all, burnt kale tastes like butthole.  These have that great tangy flavor of those awesome vinegar potato chips I used to love, the Cape Cod ones.  Yummmmm.

Parmesan Kale Chips
1 bag kale
2 T sea salt
1/4 cup shredded parm

Pretty much the same directions- but make sure your cheese doesn't burn in the oven.

We had a blast in Arizona.  I was thrilled to go to Sedona.  It is a magical, beautiful, breath-taking place.  The town I wasn't crazy for, a bit too touristy for my liking, but you can absolutely not beat the scenery.  I'll post some pics soon after I've played around a bit more on instagram.

Have you been to Sedona?  What were your favorite sights?  Can't wait to go back and explore it again!


Monday, March 19, 2012

Grain-Free, Sugar-Free Chocolate Cupcakes with Chocolate Glaze (Yup this is Gluten-Free!)

This recipe is so not GFG-approved tasting, I feel guilty posting it.  It tastes like a chocolate cupcake you'd get a fancy shmancy cupcake shop.  I sh*t you not.  Seriously.  Healthy?  Eh, maybe not so much.  But it won't spike your blood sugar and it's not nauseatingly sweet like store-bought cupcakes tend to be.  It's awesome.  But first....sorry I have been MIA this past week.  I've been lucky enough to be on spring break so I am having the time of my life spending oodles of QT with S.  She and I have had a wonderful week full of playdates, exploration, visits to the park, and time together at home.  It hasn't hurt that the weather has been in the 80's everyday this week either.  I can't believe how fast time flies.  I can't believe how much I love her, and how much I cherish every single second with her.  Every day she is sweeter than the day before.

So since we're on the subject of sweet, I've had this recipe in mind for at least three weeks now, but needed the right excuse to try it.  We are having friends over for dinner tonight so I figured this was as good a time as any.  I am super excited to tell you this is an intensely chocolatey, delicious, easy, and crowd-pleasing treat.

Grain-Free, Sugar-Free Chocolate Cupcakes with Chocolate Frosting (makes 9 cupcakes)

3/4 cup almond flour
1/4 cup cocoa powder
2 tbsp coconut flour (make sure there are no lumps!)
1 tbsp ground coffee (decaf is fine)
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
3 room temp eggs, beaten
2 tbsp oil (grapeseed, coconut etc)
1/4 cup preferred liquid sweetener (I used SF vanilla syrup)
1/2 cup sugar free chocolate chips (either from the store, or homemade using this recipe)
1 tbsp milk or nutmilk

Preheat your oven to 325 and line a muffin tin with cupcake liners.  In a mixing bowl combine first seven ingredients and incorporate well, making sure there are no lumps.  In a separate bowl, mix your beaten eggs, oil, and sweetener together.  If you are using a non-flavored sweetener, such as agave, plain SF syrup, date syrup etc, throw in a half tsp of vanilla.  Pour wet into dry and mix for just a moment.  In another bowl, melt your chocolate chips with 1 tbsp milk (in the microwave is easiest, put it in for 10 seconds and then remove and stir.) and let melted chocolate cool for a minute, then add to batter.  Stir so everything is incorporated, then using a tbsp measure, put 2 tbsp of batter into each cupcake liner.  Drop the tin down on the counter top a few times to get out any air bubbles.  Bake for 20 minutes or until a knife comes out just barely clean.

Chocolate Frosting/Glaze
easy peezy folks.  Melt 1/4 cup of chocolate chips with 2 tbsp of butter and a splash of milk. 

This absolutely does not have a heavy or dense consistency like many almond flour baked goods can have.  I attribute that to the quarter cup of cocoa powder, and the 1/2 tsp or baking soda and powder that really lighten this thing up. 

I don't think I would change a thing about this recipe next time around, except that I would probably underbake it just by a minute. 

To go with this dessert I'm serving slow-cooker ribs (this dope-ass recipe), broccoli slaw, and salad.  Think my guests will miss the carbs? 
 This week we are off to sunny Scottsdale to see the MIL.  Looking forward to lots of sunshine and dry dry heat, yummmmmm I love the desert.  XoXoGFG

Monday, March 12, 2012

Chia Protein Pancakes

Please excuse the weirdly shaped pancakes pictured- I was too lazy to get a bigger tupperware so just squeezed them into this one.  Luckily, S does not care what shape her pancakes are in, or how I store leftovers.  I made a big batch of these today so she'd have pancakes for the next few days.  If it were up to her, I think S would eat pancakes for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

These are of course also suitable for the adult pancake eater.  M did not have any of this particular batch, as he was playing basketball at the J and getting into "verbal altercations" with his little brother.  His words, not mine!

Make these!
Chia Protein Pancakes
1 scoop vanilla protein powder
1/4 cup coconut flour
3 eggs, beaten
1/4 cup water, or (nut)milk
1 tsp baking powder
10-15 drops vanilla creme stevia (optional)
1 1/2 tbsp chia seeds

Mix your protein powder, baking powder, chia, and coconut flour together.  Stir well to get out any clumps.  Pour your beaten eggs into your bowl and stir.  Add half of your water/liquid and stir.  Add the rest slowly as needed.  Then add your stevia (which you totally don't need, S eats this plain or I wouldn't use it) and give it a last stir.  Cook as you would any pancakes.  This made 12 small-medium pancakes which should last us awhile!

This is a great way to get some omega's into your diet from the Chia seeds.  Also a nice dose of protein in the morning when you probably don't feel like eating much.  Speaking of protein, I'm really stoked about the Local Pig.  This is a brand new charcuterie/butcher that is soooooooo my thing.  Everything is grassfed and pastured, free-range, hormone/antibiotic free.  Hello people!  This is maj.  They cure, smoke, and butcher everything 100% in house.  They use the entire animal and are getting as much of locally sourced as they can.  If that is not something to get super excited about I don't know what is!  I chatted with the owner for awhile and was so impressed by their dedication and commitment to the slow-food anti-corporate GMO processed crap establishment.  It was late afternoon and they were already out of a ton of stuff but we'll be back.  I was lucky enough to get the last dozen pastured organic eggs though, which I can't wait to try.  I suspect I won't be going back to caged chicken eggs fed a steady diet of grains, antibiotics, recycled chicken parts, and hormones any time soon.  Chickens are meant to eat grass and bugs, not corn and chemicals. 

Ok sorry for the rant.  Please try out this awesome new joint in the East Bottoms.  It makes for a fun little excursion, and maybe you can even hit up Vietnam Cafe afterwards like we did!

Now goo eat some pancakes! XoXoGFG

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Date Caramels, No Added Sugar

These Date Caramels are super yummy.  What- did you think I would go the rest of my life without caramel?  Sad!  No thanks.  These are an amazing approximation.  And a great jumping off recipe for many others- you could make this into a frosting, syrup, use it as the base for a cookie, or cut them up really small and sprinkle them over whatever you like.  Dipped in melted unsweetened chocolate they become gourmet dark chocolate candies!  Yum!

No Sugar Date Caramels
1/2 cup raw unsalted cashews
1 cup loosely packed pitted dates
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 tbsp unsalted organic/grassfed butter

In your cuisi, pulse cashews until finely ground.  Add your dates and turn on your processor, and add your vanilla in through the spout as it whirs.  Once the dates are completely broken up, add your butter and pulse until it's well dispersed and the whole mixture is glossy.  You'll spread the mixture out on wax paper and press together into a circle, with about a 1/4 inch thickness.  Let this cool in the fridge for a few hours, then cut into squares, bars, or form into balls!  Want some delicious sea salt caramels?  Sprinkle some sea salt over them and press lightly to make sure the salt sticks.

How fun are easy, no-bake recipes like these?  I love them.  You could opt to leave out the butter, they would be more like cashew cookie lara bars basically.  I think using RAW unsalted cashews in this recipe is absolutely necessary.  Any other nut and the flavor would be totally different.  Though still delish of course.  But try this with almonds or walnuts and it's another story entirely.

What's your favorite way to use dates?  Any recipes to share?  XoxoGFG

Friday, March 9, 2012

Broccoli Bites

Have you ever bought a bag of frozen broccoli and been disappointed to find that most of the bag is actually chopped up stalks and not florets?  No?  Just me?  Ok.  Well, if it does ever happen to you- don't throw 'em out.  I was tempted to, because Princess S wouldn't dare eat them, but then I remembered we were fresh out of spinach muffins.  So how about some broccoli bites?  Toddler approved folks.  Totally portable, totally yummy, with some protein to boot.  These make a great snack or mini-breakfast too!  And thank goodness for that because there's snack time at our playgroup, and if I don't have something yummy for S to eat while her little friends are munching on sugar and gluten filled granola junk she will LOSE her MIND people.

Broccoli Bites
1 bag, or most of a bag of broccoli
2 eggs, beaten
1/4 cup shredded cheese
kosher salt

Defrost your broccoli and preheat your oven to 350.  Throw all your ingredients together and then portion into muffin cups.  I love my silicone muffin cups.  Bake 30 minutes or so.  This made 8 broccoli bites.  I know only 6 are pictured, that's because S and M each ate one before I could snap a pic.  That's ok with me!

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Seafood Hash

This is kind of an oops recipe.  It started out as something else, and somewhere between ideation and plate it became something else.  That's ok- it tasted as I intended.  Probably better I don't have a pic for ya this time though, it wasn't much to look at!

Have you ever tried the broccoli slaw from TJ's?  It's just a bag of pre-shredded broccoli.  I bought it instead of my requisite bag of lettuce, and there was actually a really really good recipe on the back of the bag.  Basically- some mayo, a chopped apple, raisins, and walnuts.  Normally I wouldn't make something with both a chopped apple and raisins in it but I knew S and M would enjoy it.

Back to the "hash." I get sick of chicken, like really really sick of it.  And we eat red meat about once a week, maybe two.  When on a grain-free, paleo/primal type diet, it's so stinkin' important to make sure you are getting plenty of variety into your meals and into your diet.  Otherwise, you risk not only getting too little key nutrients, but also, total diet-approved food burnout.  Blech!  You think- not another piece of chicken breast or broiled fish!?!?!

Enter seafood hash.  Next time you're at the store, get a couple cans of crab meat and one of those little cans of baby shrimp.  They are a cheap and plentiful source of protein that you probably don't think of too often.  Keep a few in your pantry along with the tuna.

I planned on making crab cakes.  Even formed them into patties and stuck them in the fridge for a few hours- alas- without using some sort of 'crumb they were too wet and didn't hold up in the pan.

Seafood Hash
2 cans crabmeat, drained well
1 can baby shrimp, drained well
3 bell peppers, chopped finely
2 green onions, chopped
1 egg, beaten
3 tbsp mayo
2 tsp dijon
juice of half lemon
1 tsp minced garlic
salt and pepper

Mix everything well in a bowl and refrigerate for a few hours.  Saute the mixture in a large pan with some EVOO, until browned.  This is definitely toddler approved.  Make a little remoulade sauce if you like to go with it, or add a pinch of paprika and cayenne to the pan if you aren't worried about a little spice.

I've seen low-carb recipes that call for quinoa, or almond flour, or coconut flakes, but I just didn't want to bother with them- and this was really good, so hindsight being 20/20 I still don't think I would have added anything.  Hope you enjoy!

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Modern Wheat- Super Fattening, Super Addictive, and Super Inflammatory

Today's post is not about a recipe or something I made.  I stumbled upon this article from Huffpo this morning, and it resonated with me today particularly because in the last few days- I've had quite a few people questioning our "diet" or nutritional plan and it's so hard to give them an answer that will satisfy them.  Common wisdom and the Standard American Diet is just so ingrained (no pun intended) and so widely accepted that it just sounds totally bonkers to believe anything otherwise- and the thought of sounding like some crazed lunatic harping on and on about something that people think is nuts doesn't appeal to me!

So I am so glad to have found this article that as neatly as possible sums up the problems I personally believe to be true.  Are they 100% true? I don't know.  Does everyone need to live by the rules I do?  Of course not.  Here is an excerpt:

How Wheat -- and Gluten -- Trigger Weight Gain, Prediabetes, Diabetes and More
This new modern wheat may look like wheat, but it is different in three important ways that all drive obesity, diabetes, heart disease, cancer, dementia and more.
  1. It contains a Super Starch -- amylopectin A that is super fattening.
  2. It contains a form of Super Gluten that is super-inflammatory.
  3. It contains forms of a Super Drug that is super-addictive and makes you crave and eat more.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Zucchini Crust Pizza

It is so awesome to eat pizza.  So. Freaking. Awesome.  
It's also awesome to eat zucchini.
It's awesome when my husband and baby hippo eat zucchini, and other green veg, not only without hesitation, but excitedly!
It's awesome when you can make a formerly shitty food good for you.
It's awesome when you don't miss grainy, starchy, carby crap.
It's awesome to eat pizza.
The end.

Zucchini Crust Awesome Pizza 
(serves 2 adults and 1 baby hippo)

-4 zuch's, pulsed in the cuisi until it's very finely chopped
-1 tsp minced garlic
-2 eggs, beaten
-1 tsp oregano
-1 tsp kosher salt
-bag of mozzarella 
-half can of your preferred pizza sauce
-toppings of choice (pictured- a fried egg with pizza sauce over it, and roasted red peppers)

Preheat your oven to 425.  Drain your zuch for at least 20 minutes and get as much water out as possible.  Then microwave it for 10 minutes, stirring halfway through.  Let it cool for a few minutes, then mix in two beaten eggs, garlic, oregano, and salt.  On greased baking sheet (I did use parchment paper this time and did not have a problem) spread crust mixture out evenly using the back of your spoon.  Each individual pizza was about three teaspoons and I got 6 total.  You might get more or less depending on how big your zucchini, how much water, etc.  I made mine pretty thin because I didn't want them to be soggy or underdone.  Bake until the edges are brown, even verging on a little burnt.  Bake time will differ but mine took about 30 min (my oven is weird though!)

Remove from oven and spread your sauce and cheese on top, and whatever other toppings you want.  Your toppings will need to be fully cooked first because when you stick it back in the oven, you are just melting the cheese.  That takes all of three minutes and you're dunzo!

Cauli pizza is great too- but some people aren't so into cauli.  Plus- we tend to eat it a lot and it's nice to switch things up.  However, zucchini has a lot more water and is nowhere near as starchy- so cauliflower will yield a slightly firmer, thicker crust.  Whatever.  This pizza is awesome.