Saturday, May 26, 2012

Pecan Cinnamon Roll Cookies

MKG is a cinnamon roll lover.  I have been wanting to make some GFG approved cinnamon rolls for a long time, but never have.  Still haven't!  But these are close enough, and wayyyyyy less work.  They were inspired by this recipe from Real Sustenance.  They have a cookbook coming out with tons of 100% allergen free recipes, and I would love to get my hands on it.  But for now- these cookies are a great alternative to those ooey gooey sugar/corn syrup/gluten bombs from your favorite bakery.

Pecan Cinnamon Roll Cookies- Grain, Egg, and Sugar-Free
5 tbsp almond flour
2 tbsp coconut flour
1/4 cup chestnut flour
2 tbsp xylitol
2 tbsp erythritol
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp kosher salt
2 tsp vanilla
2 tsp cinnamon
3 tbsp milk
2 tbsp maple syrup or sugar-free maple syrup
2 tbsp oil (I used melted coconut)
1/2 cup chopped pecans

Combine your flours, baking powder, salt, and granular sugars and use a fork to stir well, taking care to get out any lumps.  If you'd prefer to use all almond flour, go ahead, but the texture will be different as chestnut flour is much finer, and coconut flour is much more absorbent.  Also, if xylitol and/or erythritol aren't your thing- use whatever granular sweetener you're comfortable with.  In a separate bowl, mix your oil, vanilla extract, maple syrup or SF maple syrup, and milk.  Stir wet into dry and then add your chopped pecans.  Form a dough and make sure pecans are well distributed.  This makes 4 huge huge huge cookies, like palm-sized.  Feel free to make 'em smaller if you like.  They will not spread though, so squish them out into your desired shape.  They are sort of reminiscent of those pecan sandies from when you were a kid.  I baked these for about 25 minutes at 325.  You'll notice in the pic that these are very dark brown.  At first, when I took them out of the oven, I was terrified they were burnt.  But they weren't, in fact they were still super soft in the middle, and remained that way even hours later.  I'm thinking it was the xylitol and erythritol that turned it such a dark brown, or the syrup.  I can't be sure.  But suffice it to say, these are really delish, and even better with a little frosting and cinnamon on top.  This is a decadent treat, not cakey or spongey or any other weird texture.  I think the ratio of chestnut:almond:coconut flour was spot on and will probably bake with them in that ratio often.  I just love it when experimentation yields a good result, or even a great result like these!  I'm truly shocked every time it happens.

Have a fabulous, wonderful, happy, healthy, and yummy holiday weekend.  XoXoGFG

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Now Every Day Can Be a PAYDAY!

Candy.  I used to looooooove candy.  Well, I still looooooove candy, but it does NOT looooooooove me back.  Nope.  Not at all.  I know all the cool bloggers out there say stuff like "oh ever since I gave up sugar/sweets/crack etc, I can't stand the taste of it anymore!  It's positively grotesque to me now!" and so on.  That's great for them.  I'm happy for them.  Yay.  But me?  I miss candy.  Bread, meh.  Pasta, barf.  Even cereal and granola, two staples of my diet in my previous life, I can easily do without.  But candy?  Now that, I miss.  

One of my faves was PayDay.  I had a lot of faves, I also loved Baby Ruth, snickers, anything with dark chocolate, and a bunch of other crap.  Speaking of crap- do you know what PGPR is?  Take a look at the ingredients in a "chocolate" bar next time you see one.  Chances are, you'll see PGPR on the list of ingredients, and for sure if it's a Hershey's product.  What is it you ask?  Oh just an ingenious lab-created replacement for real cocoa butter, as in, the main ingredient in CHOCOLATE.  Yes, you see, why actually use real cocoa butter and chocolate in your CHOCOLATE bar if you can use something cheaper, artificial, lab-created, and a pitiful approximation of the real thing.  So if you are eating a Hershey's chocolate bar- well, sorry, but you're really eating Polyglycerol polyricinoleate.  Want to know more?  Read this.

Oops, sorry for that crazy tangent.  I really just wanted to talk about candy, and how I used to devour it, and love it.  But you know what?  I can make candy.  With real ingredients.  Without sugar.  That tastes awesome.  That is stupid easy to make.  Nothing artificial or gross.  You can pronounce everything in it.  It won't send you into sugar shock either.  And it's better than any flippin' PayDay I ever had.  If I can give up candy, so can you.  Try this, and you'll see.  It's so much better!

Homemade PayDay that isn't full of sh*t
8-10 medjool dates, pitted
1/2 cup salted peanuts
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 tbsp pastured butter

Pulse your dates and peanuts until peanuts are teeny tiny specks.  Then, with the motor on, pour in your vanilla, and drop in some salt and your butter.  Pulse until just incorporated.  Spread mixture out onto wax paper and press flat with your hand.  Refrigerate for a few hours, then cut up as desired.  These are insanely good.  You know how sometimes you make a recipe, and you're almost disappointed by how good it is?  Because that means you are going to eat more of than you should?  That's how I feel about this.  So make it at your own risk.  But still, scarfing down a bunch of this stuff is a million times better than eating some artificial piece of junk made like a year ago in a factory halfway across the world.  #AmIRight?

Enjoy GFG's, XoXo

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Nom Nom Paleo's Korean Shortribs

Ever read Nom Nom Paleo?  Great blog.  Cool new iPad app too.  I recommend it!

Last weekend I bought some grass-fed short ribs at the farmers market.  Stupidly, I bought 1 measly pound, not realizing most of it would be bone.  Amateur move folks.  But, the few morsels we got were pretty damn tasty.  I made Nom Nom Paleo's sauce, with a few deviations, but cooked them differently as I did not want to drag out the slow cooker for a pitiful lb of meat.  For the full instructions on nom nom's ribs, click here.

Here's what I did:

Covered ribs with S&P and broiled about 7 minutes per side.  In a dutch oven, throw a bag of frozen asian veg in with some S&P, a few whole green onions, and some carrots.  Lay seared meat on top.  Reduce oven temp to 350.  Pour sauce over top, and cook for about 90 minutes.  I did not make the sauce exactly as in the link, so here's what I did in case you are lazy like me.

Delish Asian Shortrib Sauce
1 whole pear, cut up
1 cup water
1/2 cup gluten free soy sauce
1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
3 green onions
1 1/2 tsp minced garlic
1 tsp vietnamese garlic chili sauce
2 tbsp fish sauce
1 tsp kosher salt
1 inch of ginger, don't bother peeling, cut up into bitty chunks

Blend this whole thing on high until smooth, and pour over your meat and veggies.  Into the oven they go until nice and tender!

Try it!

Friday, May 18, 2012

Pastured Beef Liver, Prosciutto, and Onions

Liver seems to be one of the big food trends right now- well, at least in my little grain-free/paleo corner of the world.  Why?  Well, it's basically like eating a giant multivitamin.  "But it's high in CHOLESTEROL!!!!" my MIL says.  That is correct, it is.  Just like egg yolks, pastured butter, and many other foodstuffs that we now know to be good for you, heart-healthy, and chock-full of nutrients.  Hopefully by now most of us have realized that consuming dietary cholesterol is not what contributes to high blood cholesterol.  Trans-fats, copious amounts of sugar and a diet high in refined-carbs will do that.  So don't knock it til you try it!  And whatever you do, make sure you purchase 100% grass-fed, pastured beef liver for this recipe.  Do not use grain-fed, hormone-filled meat from a sick animal.  Don't like the taste/texture?  This recipe might do the trick for you, there are tons of tasty caramelized onions and crispy prosciutto bits.  If that still sounds yucky- then grind up some liver and mix it with ground meat for meatballs or meatloaf- you won't even know it's there.

Liver with Prosciutto and Caramelized Onions
1 lb pastured liver
6 slices of prosciutto
3/4 onion, sliced
kosher salt
your preferred fat of choice- i used some nitrate-free bacon fat!

Chop up your prosciutto and crisp it up in just a teensy bit of oil/fat in a large sauté pan.  Once it's nice and crispy, remove it and dump in your sliced onions.  Caramelize those suckers till they're nice and brown.  This will take forever.  Sorry.  Caramelizing onions takes crazy long.  But it's worth it.  Remove your onions, and your pan should be nice and hot.  If it's dry, use a bit more fat/oil.  Then place your liver in the pan.  Season the top with some salt and pepper.  You want your pan really hot so it sears the outside.  Flip it over after about three minutes, to sear the other side.  Your flame should be med-high.  After another three minutes, turn the heat down to medium, and let it cook for about 5-7 minutes so it cooks through.  Before serving, top with onions and prosciutto.

This isn't like, my favorite thing to eat in the world.  But it is very good.  And certainly not gross like so many purport.  Maybe it's because MKG and I grew up eating chopped liver, that we actually really like the taste of it.  I don't know.  I do think that's what I'll try next time around.  Some yummy chopped liver with sliced cucumbers and carrots.  S tried a few bites of it and wasn't so enthused, but that's ok.

Best part about this meal is that it costs like, a dollar per person or something.  Even though it's 100% grass-fed, buying liver is pretty cheap.  I mean, it's offal for christs sakes.  Peeps just aren't that into offal these days.  No worries, more for us.

Try it!  And enjoy that megadose of b-vitamins! XoXoGFG

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Chocolate Banana (Vegan/Dairy-Free, Sugar-Free) Ice Cream

In the days of your SAD diet, did you have a frosty from Wendy's?  Ew gross me neither, haha!  Just kidding.  I did, and they were the shit.  I miss garbage like that.  Luckily, with this recipe, you don't have to.  This stuff is crack.  Frozen.  Chocolate.  Crack.  It's crazy good.  And stupid easy.  Get to it!

Vegan/Dairy-Free, Sugar-Free Chocolate Banana Ice Cream
3 frozen overripe bananas
3 tbsp cocoa powder
1 can light coconut milk
2 packets of your preferred stevia sweetener (optional, and you may not need it depending on the ripeness of your bananas)

Process your frozen bananas until creamy in your food processor, then add coconut milk and cocoa powder. Pulse just until combined.  Now taste it and see if it needs additional sweetener- it may not.  If so, add in your stevia and pulse again.  Refrigerate for a few hours.  Then prepare according to your ice cream makers instructions.  Still don't have an ice cream maker?  WHY?  There is practically nothing healthy, tasty, and sugar free on the market, and certainly not a lot that is dairy free and/or paleo friendly.  Coconut Bliss Sugar Free is good, but super expensive, and full of gums (xantham, guar)

This ice cream will blow your mind.  Want to jazz it up?  Add chocolate chips at the last second, or add a few tbsp of peanut butter to the cuisi when pulsing.  Make some caramel sauce with rehydrated dates.  So good people.  You do not need to have any guilt whatsoever about giving this to your family.  Yes the bananas are full of fructose and starch, but I save my fruit for desserts and treats, so I feel ok about this.  Plus, it enables you to really cut back on the sweeteners.  No erythritol or xylitol needed in this recipe.  Don't like coconut milk?  You can't taste it- I promise.

Have fun with this recipe- and use it as a base for other ice cream flavors!  Minus the cocoa powder and with a little bit of vanilla extract- this would be a delish vanilla ice cream!


Monday, May 14, 2012

Spinach Muffins- Revisited

New and improved Spinach Muffin recipe- or Spinach Muffins 2.0.  These are just as easy, but a little tastier, and with some added nutrients from my good friend- flax seed meal.

Portable, can be eaten at room temp, stores easily in the fridge but also makes for a great on the go snack for adults/toddlers/baby hippos alike.

Spinach Muffins 2.0
1 10 oz bag frozen spinach
2 eggs
2 tbsp flax seed meal
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 cup shredded cheese, or a string cheese torn up if you're me

Throw everything in your cuisi and pulse until thoroughly combined.  Spoon into lined muffin tin and bake at 350 until the tops are browned and a toothpick comes out clean.  This makes 8 quite large spinach muffins.

Yum!  Enjoy :)

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Best Grain-Free, Sugar-Free Chocolate Chip Cookies Yet!

This is a great Mothers Day recipe because it's super simple and you can make it with the kids/grandkids.  Thanks so much to Paleo Parents for posting the jumping off point for this recipe.  Here is the original- so if you can do actual sugar, give it a try.  I found that making a few adjustments worked better for me, but try whichever version you like!  Don't want to mess with the "vegan sweetened condensed milk" and would rather use the regular stuff?  Be my guest.  I think at this point it's safe to say that grain-free and gluten-free are really becoming much more mainstream, whereas sugar-free, not so much.  But, at the very least, it does seem like people are using unrefined sugars more, turbinado, date/coconut sugar, palm sugar, honey, maple syrup, etc.  So, sugar-free or not, this is a dope, easy peasy recipe.  And even better the day after!

Best SF/GF Chocolate Chip Cookies (not kidding, these are amazing)
1 1/4 cup almond flour
1 1/4 cup shredded unsweetened coconut
1 can light coconut milk
1/4 cup preferred liquid sweetener (i used SF vanilla syrup, but use what you like- SF or regular maple syrup, honey, date paste, coconut nectar, etc)
1 tbsp vanilla extract
1/4-1/2 tsp kosher salt (i like my treats a little salty!)
1/3 cup sugar free chocolate chips (these don't bother us- they contain sugar alcohols that don't bother our tummies, but if sugar isn't a problem for you, or sugar alcohols disagree with you- use whatever you like best!)

Pour your light coconut milk into a pot and add your sweetener.  Simmer until it's reduced and thickened considerably, to a consistency that you could drizzle.  This takes awhile and it will reduce down a LOT.  That's ok!  In a bowl, mix your almond flour, salt, and shredded coconut.  Mix in your condensed coconut milk and and your vanilla.  Combine to form a dough, then add in your chocolate chips.  Don't have SF choc chips?  Use dried cherries, chopped walnuts, dried pineapple, raisins, apricots, whatever!  I formed mine into little 1 inch balls and then flattened with the palm of my hand.  I got 19 small cookies out of this batch.  These will not spread at all so flatten them out so they cook evenly.  I always bake on parchment, but would love a few silpats!  They do seem pretty crumbly, but don't worry, they'll hold together great after baking, and even better after a day or so.  Have fun with these, and happy happy happy Mothers Day to all the mommies out there, step-moms, moms to be, grandmas, wannabe moms, and the wonderful dads that make it all possible.  XoXoGFG 

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Clothes Make the Girl Inspired Tropical Chopped Salad

I am definitely not going to take credit for this recipe- however, I tweaked it quite a bit until it became a much different recipe, and I feel it's worth sharing with you as it is easy, filling, healthy, yummy, and a toddler-approved version.

The original recipe is here- which I highly suggest you try too!

Tropical Chopped Salad
1 red pepper, chopped
1 orange/yellow pepper, chopped
1/2 english cucumber, chopped
1 avo, chopped/diced/sliced
2 small mexican/honey mangos, sliced, or 1 regular mango
8 ounces cooked shrimp, chopped
juice of one lime
your fave lettuce
salt to taste
chili powder, to taste

Throw all your chopped stuff in a big bowl.  Add your lime juice, and a liberal sprinkle of salt and chili powder.  Toss well- the avocado and lime juice will make a sauce/dressing.  Let sit for at least 5-10 minutes, then adjust seasoning accordingly.  This salad is crazy good.  Makes 4 servings if a side, or 2-3 large servings as a main.  Mel's version calls for red onion and cumin, which I'm sure would be great, but no way would S eat it with onion.  Great summer salad!  

Monday, May 7, 2012

Grain-Free, Gluten-Free, Sugar-Free, Dairy-Free Pineapple Cupcakes with Banana Raspberry Frosting

Cute right?  These little pink babies were the result of my latest baking experiment- chestnut flour.  Have you ever baked with chestnut flour?  It's quite commonplace in Italy and is traditionally used in cakes and crepes.  While it is grain-free, and much lower in fat than almond flour, it is also quite a lot starchier, so be advised.  It also has a very distinct smell and taste.  Having tried it out in this recipe, I personally don't think I'd use it by itself, rather I'd combine it with other flours.  This recipe calls for 1/2 a cup of it, and you can definitely taste it.  It has an earthy, nutty flavor and smell, which I feel would be overpowering in a larger quantity, but that's just me!  I'm sure that you could easily substitute the chestnut flour for buckwheat flour without problems.

Have I said how much I love pineapple?  I love pineapple.  Dried, frozen, fresh, canned, dehydrated, vacuum fried, whatever.  I have been wanting to make a pineapple cupcake for awhile, and have had a couple failures along the way.  Thankfully, today's venture was a success.  Have a fresh pineapple on hand?  Use it!  It will only make this cupcake even better.

Grain-Free, Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free, Sugar-Free Pineapple Cupcakes with Raspberry Banana Frosting
(say that three times fast!)
1 cup almond flour (lately I've been using the TJ's and it's been fine)
1/2 cup chestnut flour
1/4 cup coconut flour
1 tsp cream of tartar
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 can of pineapple chunks, cut into slivers
3 beaten room temp eggs
1/4 cup oil (i am a big fan of walnut oil these days)
1/2 cup preferred liquid sweetener (i am using SF vanilla sweetener, but use what works for you)
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 cup preferred milk/non-dairy milk/nut milk
1/2 banana
2 tbsp warm coconut butter
2 tbsp just fruit raspberry preserves

In a large mixing bowl, combine first 6 ingredients whisk well to get any lumps out.  In a separate bowl mix your eggs, vanilla, oil, liquid sweetener, and non-dairy milk/nut milk well.  Pour wet into dry.  You want this to be a wet, spoonable batter.  If it's too thick, add a touch more nut milk.  Using your tbsp scoop, drop into lined muffin tin.  This made 9 cupcakes for me, which is the perfect amount.  Who needs a dozen cupcakes lying around?  Then, take 4-5 slivers of pineapple and drop them into each cupcake.  Push them down into the batter, then drop your pan on the countertop a few times to get out any air bubbles.  Drop a few more slivers on top for good measure.  Have dried pineapple on hand?  Even better!   Bake at 350 until the tops are golden brown.  For me this was 40 minutes but use your best judgement.

Lastly,  mash your 1/2 banana in a bowl then mix well with coconut butter and preserves.  No sugar/sweetener needed!

These have a surprisingly light texture to them, which is hard with almond flour baked goods.  The chestnut flour is very light and fine, which helps give this a cakier texture than if it were just almond flour.  While I do really like the taste of almond flour, it can be pretty coarse, making it better suited to cookie/scone recipes I think.  This is a treat you really do not need to feel guilty about.  Dairy not a problem?  Use milk in place of nut milk, and cream cheese in place of coconut butter.  Sub out dried cherries or strawberries for the pineapple, or add chopped walnuts.

I hope you enjoy this recipe!  Let me know how it goes!  XoXoGFG

Sunday, May 6, 2012

New Recipe (Finally) Mixed Veggie Muffins

So it's been awhile since I posted a new recipe- there kind of a lot of reasons for that, which I won't bore you with, but one of them being that it has been NINETY degrees much of this past week and while I love my oven more than words can say- that damn thing heats up my entire house.  And, to top it off, I am dead set against turning on the AC before June, so needless to say we are all sweltering and constantly moping around in sweaty, cranky, puddly messes.  I am evil, I know.  Evil and cheap.  Very cheap.

Anyways- on to the recipe.  Last night we were at First Friday's in the Crossroads- good times!  The First Friday of every month, but mainly May-Oct, all the art galleries downtown open up and serve wine, play live music, and it's generally a really f'ing good time!  Lately, there's been a food truck meet up too, which we decided to check out.  My man Bourdain would enjoy it.  And my little hippo also enjoyed it too (duh)  however, there were no veggies of course, and I found myself wishing I had brought along some kind of portable and delicious veggie for her that would be yummy and edible in 90 degree heat.  Thus, the mixed veggie muffin was born.

Mixed Veggie Muffin (Grain-Free, Gluten-Free)
1 bag of your preferred mixed frozen veggies (or in my case, 2 half eaten bags, plus a handful or two of frozen cauli)
2 eggs
1 cup chickpea flour/besan
1 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
11/2 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tbsp chia seeds

Thaw your veggies, then blend them until pretty smooth in a blender.  Don't skip this next step!  Drain them in sieve lined with a paper towel and get as much juice out as you can, or these muffins will never set up and be soggy/mushy.  Once you've gotten as much water out as you can, dump the veg back into the blender and add your eggs, chia, salt, pepper, and baking powder.  Blend a minute more until well incorporated, then add your chickpea flour.  Blend until combined.  You should have a nice spoonable batter.  Not so wet you can pour it out of the blender, but not dry either.  I used a large spoon to place drop into a lined muffin tin.  Baked at 350 for 35 minutes, until the tops were browned.  This made 10 veggie muffins for me, which will vary for you depending on how watery your veg, how big your eggs, etc.  These muffins will be a great portable veggie for S, and also a great snack for M in the mornings.  Gotta switch it up from egg muffins every now and then, you dig?

Hope you like them!  These would be even better with some cheese melted on top, or a little bit of pastured butter.  After all, there's no fat/oil in these, apart from yolks!  And there is no end to the variations you can create- asparagus/mushroom, zucchini/red pepper, broccoli/carrot, whatever!  Just be sure to get the excess water out and you'll be golden.