Thursday, June 28, 2012

Grain-Free Carrot Spice Muffins

How about a delish, nut free, grain free muffin bursting with healthy carrots and vitamin A?  These make an awesome on the go snack or breakfast and can be dressed up further with raisins, walnuts, frosting, etc!  But on their own they are just an easy, healthy little snack, perfect for kids and adults.

Feel free to up the ante on the spices, I didn't want these to be too spicy for S but these could stand a little more kick if that's your thing.

Grain-Free Carrot Spice Muffins
1 cup coconut flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 tbsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground ginger
5 large carrots, grated (I used the cuisinart grater attachment, then to get some of the moisture out, microwaved for about 5 minutes, stirring at a few intervals)
8 eggs, room temp
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup oil
1/2 cup milk (I used whole, but use what you got)
1 cup liquid sweetener (I used my SF simple syrup!!)

In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, baking powder, spices, and salt, use a fork to combine well and get out any lumps.  In a separate bowl, mix your milk, eggs, oil, sweetener, and vanilla.  Add wet to dry and incorporate.  Add in your grated carrots.  Feel free to add in nuts or dried fruit at this point.  Spoon into your muffin pan and bake at 350 until the tops are golden brown.  This made 15 muffins, 3 of which were super-sized, so I bet it would make more like 16 regulars.

I made these for a road-trip we are taking for July 4th- can't wait!  Also, made a big batch of my paleo oatmeal cookies, and some egg muffins!  We are so excited to take a family vacay, it's been forever!

Please try these out!  Who could complain about this!

One thing I have found baking so often with coconut flour is that you really really need to bake these completely.  No leaving them a little soggy.  The texture improves lots if it is completely baked through and done done done.  Just my two cents anyhow.

Have a great day GFGs! Xoxox

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Cheesy (Nooch) Kale Chips

Do you see this crispy kale chip, with yummy noochy-y cheesy goodness in every little crinkle?  These are some damned good kale chips yo.  I bit the bullet and bought a big bag of nutritional yeast.  Why I waited this long is beyond me.  It's chock full of B-vitamins and packs a huge protein punch.  Dressed up a bit it's like a close relative of parmesan cheese.  There are billions of kale chip recipes out there with nooch, some complicated, some not.  Most of them call for a base of pulverized cashews, which I neither had on hand nor like using much.  They are quite starchy and fatty without the antioxidants and nutrients of many other nuts/seeds.  And they're expensive to boot.  I also wasn't a huge fan of the quantity most recipes called for- we're talking a cup or more!  Ick no thanks.  Knowing how easy it is to polish off an entire batch of kale chips, that is a ton of cashew to be eating.

So here is what I came up with, and it did not disappoint.  Tweak and experiment until you get the perfect sauce, it's hard to go wrong.

Cheesy Kale Chips
1 bunch kale chips, stems removed (I have found that curly works best)
1/4 cup sesame seeds
3 tbsp GF soy sauce
2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
6 tbsp nutritional yeast
4 green onions
1 cup grape tomatoes
1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
juice of one lemon

Process your sesame seeds with red pepper flakes, salt, and garlic powder until it resembles flour.  Add your nooch, tomatoes, green onions (i didn't chop either first), soy, lemon juice, and process until you have a non-chunky sauce.  Taste it and adjust accordingly with more seasonings/liquids.

Dump your torn up kale pieces in a bowl of your sauce and coat well.  Spread out in a thin layer on foiled/greased baking sheet and bake until crisp.  How you bake these depends on a couple things.  Do you have a dehydrator?  How low does your oven go?  Do you care if these are cooked or do you want them "raw"?  If you want to eat them quickly and don't care about raw-ness- throw them in at 325, and they'll be done in minutes.  Watch them though because burnt kale is freaking nast.  If you have more time and your oven does low-temp, try 200 for 90 minutes.  The absolute best way to do these is to dehydrate over night- alas, I have no dehydrator.

Have fun with kale peeps!  XoXoGFG

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Paleo "Oatmeal" Cookies

Hey GF peeps.  Remember oatmeal cookies?  Those chewy, amazing, spicy, raisin-filled circles of awesomeness?  I've made a paleo approximation before here, but these are fourteen-thousand times better.  And don't require a bunch of annoying ingredients either.  And they taste much better.  Score!  They are basically this recipe, adapted.  Super easy.  Only dirties one bowl.  You'll need to make your paleo condensed milk first- which I do by simmering a can of light coconut milk with 1/2 cup of your preferred liquid sweetener- honey, maple syrup, sugar free simple syrup, etc.  This is not hard people.  Simmer it while you're doing other stuff in the kitchen.

Paleo "Oatmeal" Cookies
1 cup almond flour
1 cup shredded unsweetened coconut
1 can light coconut milk+1/2 cup liquid sweetener- condensed on the stovetop until thick
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup walnuts, chopped
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp salt

Mix your flour, coconut, spices, and salt together, then dump in your condensed milk, it's ok if it's still hot/warm.  Then mix in your walnuts and raisins.  Using a tbsp scoop, place onto parchment lined baking sheet, flattening them with the palm of your hand.  These will not spread so get them nice and flat.  Bake at 350 until the edges are nice and dark and the tops are starting to brown.  They are crisp on the edges and chewy on the inside.  Just like the perfect oatmeal cookie should be.  These are truly a GFG slam dunk.  So easy to make, just a few ingredients, and totally paleo.  An indulgence to be sure, but a good one! 

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Grain-Free, Sugar-Free Lemon Poppyseed (actually Chia Seed) Muffins

By far, this is the best muffin I have ever, ever, ever made.  Hands down, no contest.  And I have been making a lot of muffins lately.

MKG loves lemony treats and desserts.  I just bought a big bag of lemons, and with their fresh scent- so summery!  I also had recently purchased lemon extract, envisioning something just like this.  These muffins came out a zillion times better than I had hoped.  The Chia seeds are the perfect substitute for poppyseeds.  They look very similar and have so many wonderful health benefits.  You do not taste them either- and I would know if you could.  Chia seeds to me have a very floral taste, and these muffins are all lemon.

Grain-Free, Sugar-Free Lemon Poppyseed (CHIA!!) Muffins
1/2 cup coconut flour
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 tsp baking powder
2 tbsp chia seed
zest of one lemon
4 eggs (preferably cage-free, room temp)
1/4 cup walnut oil
1/4 cup plain non-fat yogurt
1/2 cup sugar-free liquid sweetener *see below for note
2 teaspoons pure lemon extract

In a mixing bowl, combine your flour, salt, baking powder, and chia seed.  Use a fork or whisk to get out any lumps.  Zest your lemon over the mixing bowl and incorporate.  In a separate bowl, crack your room temp eggs (I always notice a big difference in my baked goods when I take the time to bring my eggs to room temp- or you can place them in lukewarm water for 10 minutes) and measure your liquid ingredients into a measuring cup.  Mix your wet ingredients together and then add wet to dry.  This will be a very wet mixture, but not so wet that it's a pourable batter.  Bake at 325 until the tops are verrry golden brown.  As I have said many times- my oven is ridonk in terms of cook times- this took 45 minutes!  But other bloggers regularly say their muffins cook in 15-20 minutes, so go figure.  Want to use poppyseeds? Go ahead! 2 tbsp will do.  Why did I use lemon extract you ask?  Well, I wanted these to be sweet, not acidic.  I felt using straight up lemon juice would just make these sour, instead of lemony.  So use the zest and save the juice for lemonade.  These little guys make a great breakfast for S- with 4 grams of fiber, 5 grams of protein, and only about 125 calories- they are a great on the snack or quick toddler breakfast.  I got 8 decent-sized muffins out of this- so feel free to double your recipe.  Even better- make a lemon poppyseed loaf!

*Regarding the sugar-free liquid sweetener- I decided to try a little experiment today.  While I use my vanilla SF sweetener sparingly- it still bothers me that it contains sucralose.  Ick.  So I thought- it can't be that difficult to make my own sugar-free simple syrup with my own preferred sweeteners.  I chose to use an equal mixture of three sweeteners- stevia in the raw, xylitol, and erythritol.  In a deep sided pot- I added 3 cups of filtered water and 1 cup of each sweetener.  Brought to a boil and then simmered for about 10-12 minutes.  This resulted in 2 1/2 cups of SF syrup.  I wanted something totally unflavored- no vanilla, maple, nada- just a sweet simple syrup.  I used 1/2 a cup in this recipe and now have 2 cups to use in future recipes.  Stored in an airtight jar in the fridge, I think this will keep for quite some time.  This will probably be my go to SF liquid sweetener from now on folks.  It has no weird aftertaste, no odd mouth-feel, cooling affects, nothing.  So I'd encourage you to try making your own and combining different sweeteners. 

I'm so glad I tried this recipe for Fathers Day- because I know these muffins will be a big hit with M- whose only muffin related complaint is that they are too small.  Much love to all the dads, dads-to-be, grand-dads, step-dads, wannabe dads out there.  Happy Fathers Day to all! XoXoGFG

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Massaged Kale Salad with Avocado, Mango, and Almonds

We have an overabundance of kale right now- four different varieties to be exact!  And while that's nothing to complain about, I was eager to try something other than sautéed kale, and kale chips.  I've had some stellar kale salads, but was weary of the whole "massaging" thing.  I mean, a salad is supposed to be easy- right?  Massaging?  That sounds like a chore.

But, with a huge plastic bag full of kale in the fridge, I thought- what the hell.

Some helpful tips- if your kale is homegrown- refrigerate for a day or so first.  It will crisp up nicely in the cold in case its gotten a bit wilty outside.  Make sure you de-stem them carefully.  Kale stems= yuck.  Use more kale than you think you need.  The massaging reduces it greatly.  Finally, use a good quality EVOO for the massaging, as that brings out a lot of flavor in the kale.

Massaged Kale Salad with Avo, Mango, and Almonds
big bag of kale- if you're buying kale bunches at the store, get at least 3 big ones
1 avocado, diced
1 mango, diced
3 tbsp good EVOO
juice of half lemon
kosher salt or sea salt, to taste
1/3 cup slivered almonds

In a large, deep bowl, pour your EVOO over your kale.  Work the kale with your fingers, like you're scrunching up the kale.  After a bit you'll see the color of the leaves have darkened and they've shrunk down by quite a bit.  This took me perhaps three minutes total.  Then add your diced avo and mango, almonds, and salt.  Squeeze half a lemon over and then toss well.  I did not find this needed additional EVOO, with the avocado and EVOO coating the leaves I thought it was perfect.

I would not recommend eating raw kale, un-massaged.  First of all- it gets much more palatable with some TLC.  And second of all, it reduces the amount of phytic acid, if i'm not mistaken.  someone speak up if so!

This salad is a great source of vital nutrients, healthy fats, antioxidants, and vitamin k.  Enjoy!!

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Shrimp and Tilapia with Lime

This is becoming an easy summer routine- grilled/broiled/baked protein of some kind on top of a salad.  Easy, yummy, light, and fast.

Shrimp and Tilapia with Lime
1/2 lb raw shrimp, shells off
2 tilapia fillets (roughly 6 oz each)
favorite lettuce
1 tomato, chopped
1/2 english cucumber, chopped
2 limes, juiced
kosher salt
3 tbsp EVOO, plus a bit more for coating the fish and shrimp
sprinkle of cayenne
sprinkle of black pepper

Throw you raw shrimp in a bowl and marinate in the juice of half a lime, and a dash of EVOO and salt.  On a foil lined baking sheet, place your fillets and coat with a little EVOO, then squeeze the other half lime over.  Sprinkle liberally with salt and cayenne.  My baking sheet had enough room for the fish and shrimp.  Spread your shrimp onto the baking sheet and bake everything together at 350.  Your shrimp will be done quickly, so check after 8 minutes or so, depending on how big they are.  Remove them and place onto a plate with a spatula.  At this point, set your oven to broil just to crisp the fish up.

While the fish finishes cooking, take your remaining lime and juice it in a bowl, then add your EVOO.  I like dressings tangy but if this is too acidic for you, add a bit more oil.  Sprinkle some salt and pepper and cayenne and whisk or mix with a fork.  Throw your lettuce and chopped tomato and cucumber into a bowl, and top with shrimp and fish.  The whole process start to finish is like, 25 minutes.  Super fast dinner for any night of the week.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Want a Meat Cupcake? Or How 'bout a Meat Muffin?

It was only a matter of time before these became a reality.  I'm surprised I didn't make them sooner.  Think of them either as big meatballs, or baby meatloaf.  Whichever you prefer.  But they are meaty, yummy, packed insanely full of nutrients, and portable!

We are trying to incorporate grassed beef-liver into our diets.  We had some last month, and while good, not something I'll be making again soon.  It was just too tough and liver-y.   But mixed with ground meat and baked with herbs?  Now there's a winner.  This made quite a lot.  MKG ate maybe 4 of them, S ate 1,  so a normal servings is probably 3.  I highly recommend you try making these as described, with 100% grassfed beef liver.  Just try it!  Even grassfed liver is cheap- like $2.99 for a pound!  Can't beat that.

I made these with ground turkey- 1) because that's what I had and 2) i thought these would be heavy enough with the liver, so though some light meat might be nice.  Use what you got.

Meat Cupcakes with Grassfed Beef Liver (makes approx. 16)
1 lb 100% grassfed beef liver
1 1/2-2 lbs ground turkey, however much is in your container
2 tsp minced garlic
1/2 red onion, chopped finely
2 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
1 tsp oregano
your fave marinara sauce for dipping

In your cuisinart, pulse your beef liver until it is well broken up, basically a liquid.  Sorry- this is not fun and way gross.  I really don't know what else to tell you.  But I would feel terrible not giving you a little warning.  Maybe you won't be grossed out like I was, hopefully not!  Pour the liver into a bowl with your ground meat and throw in your onion, garlic, salt and pepper, oregano, and basil.  Incorporate well with a fork but don't over mix.  Spoon into lined muffin tin and bake at 425 for 30 minutes or so.  There will be a considerable amount of liquid so don't worry when you see it bubbling at the top.  The tops should brown nicely.

Want meatballs instead?  Be my guest!  But you'll need to add something starchy because this is a very wet mixture.  Or just bake as a loaf instead.  That will just take longer.

With some yummy marinara, this is a really great recipe and easy to eat/snack on and grab and go.  We have quite a few left and I bet these would even freeze well!

Try them and let me know what you think!  Or perhaps, sub the liver for pastured chicken liver if that's more accessible.  But please, don't use livers from a grain-fed, sick animal.

Enjoy GFG's!  Xoxo
Edit:  These actually get better in the fridge the next day, or the day after.  I actually much preferred them two days later.  Just FYI!

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Garden Goodness

In late April we set out to create a simple raised garden.  We didn't have super high expectations, and honestly had no idea what we were doing.  But in about 8 weeks, we went from this...

 …to this!

Pretty cool huh?!  The kale was finally getting so crowded I had to harvest some.  I filled up an enormous shopping bag full of greens, and it barely looked like I had even picked anything!

Dinner on Sunday night consisted of probably the simplest, but most amazing and delicious salad I have ever had.  Mixed lettuces with homegrown basil, tomato, and some mozzarella.  I don't think I have ever eaten tastier, fresher, or better veg in my life.  I'm sure much of it is due to the pride factor, and this being our first harvest ever, we were sure feeling proud of ourselves.

Besides the awesome salad, we enjoyed some sautéed kale and fabulous baked chicken.  The chicken was pretty incredible- maybe my new favorite way to bake up a big batch of it.  Just marinate chicken thighs in raspberry balsamic vinegar with salt and pepper for 4-6 hours, then bake it at 475 until cooked through with some S&P, and rosemary.  Simple, easy, delicious, and pesticide/GMO/chemical free, totally organic.

Yay for Team GFG!  Now here's hoping our tomatoes spring to life one of these days.

Do you garden?  What have you been your successes thus far?  Any tips or suggestions?  How do you store all the veg you can't eat right away?


Friday, June 1, 2012

Grain-Free, Sugar-Free Blueberry Muffins

I am one of the few people that doesn't really like blueberries too much.  They are fine baked in things or dried, but raw? Eh, not so much.  I think it's their mealy texture that bugs me.  They are so squishy and mushy.  But, a good blueberry muffin?  Now that is hard to pass up.

I have been wanting to make a basic blueberry muffin for forever.  I was waiting around, until I found the perfect fresh blueberries to buy.  Which I never did.  And I've had a bag in my freezer for a long time, so what the hell- may as well try some out.  I also wanted to make them with 100% coconut flour, no mixtures of this and that- I wanted to prove to myself, after many many MANY coconut flour flops, that it could be done.

Well grain-free peeps, it CAN be done.  Behold, my coconut flour masterpiece!

Grain-Free, Sugar-Free Blueberry Muffins
1/2 cup coconut flour
2 tbsp flaxseed meal
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp cinnamon
4 eggs, preferably pastured, room temp
1/4 cup walnut oil (or melted coconut etc)
1/2 cup preferred liquid sweetener (I used an SF sweetener but surely maple syrup or honey would be great)
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 tbsp milk of choice, I had whole milk on hand so that's what I used
3/4 cup blueberries, preferably fresh (mine were frozen and I am sure that had I used fresh they'd been a million percent even more delish)

Preheat your oven to 350.  In a small bowl, add your flour, flaxseed, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon, and use a fork or whisk to get all the lumps out.  In a separate bowl, mix your eggs, milk, sweetener, oil, and vanilla together.  Add wet to dry and incorporate.  You want this to be a very wet mixture, not thin, but wet, so you might need an additional tbsp of milk.  Then add in your blueberries and mix.  I have a 2 tbsp coffee scoop that is perfect for muffins and cupcakes.  This made 8 large muffins, one of which I ate immediately, to test it of course.  Pretty yummy, even straight from the oven!  Usually coconut flour baked goods take awhile to set up.  This will make a fun and healthy breakfast for the munchkin and a good snack for M.  Just out of curiosity- I ran the numbers on these little guys- only 110 calories per muffin!  Not bad!  If you are the calorie counting type, which I could not give two sh*ts about.  I was curious though, about the macros.  Not bad either!  9 grams of carbs, 4 of which are fiber, and 5 grams of protein.  Awesome!

On an unrelated note- it seems the vast majority of traffic from google relates to treats/desserts/baked goods.  Duh this shouldn't be surprising at all- but it does kind of make me wonder, why exactly?  It could be any number of things.  People having recently given up grains/sugar and searching for comfort where they can, regular CW folks that are just trying to cut back on treats, paleo peeps that get tired of all the MEAT EGGS BACON MEAT EGGS BACON from the paleoverse… so does this mean I stop posting recipes other than ones like the above?  For now, no.  This blog really was created so I could deposit all my recipes in one place.  I can't tell you how many times I've searched my own blog for a recipe I wanted to make again.  And I know that I am constantly searching other people's blogs for inspiration for the latest head of cabbage, or bunch of kale, or organic pastured beef liver, or pound of ground chicken hanging out in the fridge.  So yeah maybe the cabbage recipes and chicken recipes are boring and dull and the cookie and ice cream recipes are more fun and get like a zillion more hits, but hey, there are still 7 dinners to make every week, give or take, and a GFG has to cook something right?