Chocolate Hazelnut Cream Pie

Chocolate Hazelnut Cream Pie 05

 

I’m not typically a pie person.  I mean, I love a good pie if it’s made well and the ingredients are fresh but I’m much more likely to bake a cake.  That’s why I haven’t experimented much with GF and paleo pie crusts.  We all have our thing right?  Until very recentIy I didn’t even own a fancy pie dish!  It was actually when I was trying to come up with this recipe that I realized I needed a pie dish.  I have the standard pyrex pie dish that comes in those pyrex tupperware sets, but I wanted something pretty that would photograph well.  I’m such a sucker for cute serving dishes anyway so it didn’t take me long to convince myself that I “needed” to go pick out a pie dish!

We were having the family over a few days after my pie dish purchase and I figured why not try out the new recipe on my relatives.  My sister is on a paleo diet and it seems like the whole family is trying to eat healthy these days so I’m always experimenting with paleo desserts when we get together so that there is something for everyone.  Plus that gives me a house full of judges who can let me know if its a “woohoo” or a “try again”.  We all love chocolate, the flavor of hazelnuts, and how stinkin’ amazing they taste when you pair them up.  Chocolate and hazelnuts are like the dynamic duo, you just can’t go wrong.  So I attempted this chocolate hazelnut cream pie to serve when everyone was over, but the crust didn’t taste quite right.  It had a sort of burnt flavor that came on a little strong.  Most of the pie was eaten up anyhow, and the only people who really noticed the flavor being a little off were my sister and I which was enough for me.  The filling however was heavenly so we ended up just spooning the rest of it right out of the dish.  Yup just her and I later that night, with wine I believe.  I have been meaning to give the recipe another go and I think I nailed it this time!

Hazelnuts have an amazing flavor but they are potent so you have to be careful not to over do it.  I had originally included hazelnuts in the crust and I think that’s what gave it such a harsh flavor.  I left them out of the crust this time and it lightened up the flavor making for a slightly crunchy crust that’s not too sweet.  Perfect!  You don’t know how hard it was not to just dig into this thing once it was done!  After I photographed it and cut into it though, I totally licked that spatula clean!  My 10 year old and 5 year old really liked it too.  They finished up the mixture for the filling from the vitamix after the pie dish was filled.  Couldn’t keep their little fingers out of there!  Considering it’s made of completely wholesome ingredients and no processed sugars, I was not about to stop them!

 

Chocolate Hazelnut Cream Pie 02

 

 

Chocolate Hazelnut Cream Pie 03

 

Ingredients

For the Crust

1 cup almond meal

3/4 cup shredded unsweetened coconut

4 Tbs honey

1/4 cup coconut oil

1/2 tsp baking soda

 

For the Cream Filling

1 14oz can coconut cream

7 dates, soaked in warm water for 10 minutes

1/4 cup hazelnuts

1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

 

Chocolate Hazelnut Cream Pie 04

 

Method

Grease a 9 inch pie dish or baking pan and preheat your oven to 350*F.  Starting with the first ingredient for the pie crust, place all the ingredients in a food processor.  Process until completely combined.  It should feel like a grainy dough.  Press the dough for the crust into the greased dish until it’s evenly spread out.  Place the crust in the oven for 10 minutes or until slightly browned.

Once you have removed your pie crust from the oven, let it cool for about 20 minutes.  Somewhere in that 20 minutes you can blend up the ingredients for the cream filling.  Starting with the coconut cream, add all of the ingredient for the cream filling to your blender.  Blend together until well combined and you can no longer see pieces of the dates or hazelnuts.

Now you’re ready to pour the mixture for the filling into the pie crust.  After you do that refrigerate it for at least an hour so the cream can set.  Once that’s done, grab a spoon and dig in!

 

 

 

 

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Masala Omelette

 

Masala Omelette 01

 

 

 

Masala Omelette 03

 

Every so often my husband will ask for a “masala omelette” for breakfast on a Saturday or Sunday morning.  I would usually ask him what goes in the omelette because I used to make them so rarely, and often wouldn’t have any of the Thai chilis that are needed to make it.  I never really made one for myself just one for him by request.  This has completely changed since our family trip to India last month!

At the beginning of April the hubby, myself, the kiddos, and my sister-in-law and father-in-law went on a two week trip to India.  Yup, we did the crazy long flight to Abu Dhabi and then on to Mumbai.  It’s such a long flight, but was totally worth it!  We did a bunch of shopping in Mumbai,  and a lot of eating.  My husband and his family have friends and relatives there, so we did some visiting as well.  Then we were off to Delhi to visit his aunts and go sight seeing.  Even though it was pretty warm outside, we made it to the incredible Taj Mahal!  That place is absolutely breathtaking!  My husband and I didn’t visit the Taj the last time we went to India because our older daughter was with us and she was barely two.  It was in the middle of summer and I couldn’t bring myself to drag her there in the heat, but I didn’t want to miss out on seeing it this time.  The girls are old enough now to where they actually appreciated the beauty and history of it all.  We sort of left out all the tragic parts of the story.  I left that for next time, haha!

The girls got to ride in a carriage pulled by a camel which they were really excited about!  They had a bit of a rough time with the jet lag and getting used to the sights and smells, but in the end they really enjoyed themselves.  It opened their eyes to a whole new world where things are very different and they tried a lot of new food.  I was really happy about that!

The first week of our trip, while we were in Mumbai, we stayed in a hotel.  I won’t be staying there again because the manager was not the nicest guy in the world, but the food was just amazing.  They served a buffet breakfast every morning that was not your run of the mill continental breakfast!  You would not find any jimmy dean sausages or microwaved pancakes there.  Nope, everything was made fresh every morning and tasted delicious!  There were all kinds of goodies! Most of which I couldn’t eat due to the gluten issue, but I didn’t mind because they would whip you up an omelette on request.  What kind of omelette you ask?  Yup you guessed it, none other than a masala omelette! So of course I had one every morning we were there.  I got totally hooked!  I’ve made quite a few since we got back.  They are so simple but full of flavor.  My husband couldn’t be more happy that I always have all of the ingredients on hand for his favorite brekkie now!  I don’t even wait for the weekend though!  I probably had three last week.

 

Masala Omelette 05

 

Masala Omelette 06

 

*Makes one omelettes

Ingredients

1/2 tsp oil of choice

2 eggs

1/2 of a 1/4 tsp baking soda

a dash of salt and pepper

2 Tbs cup finely chopped tomatoes

2 Tbs cup finely chopped onions

1 Tbs chopped cilantro

1/2 Thai chili, chopped

 

Method

Add the oil to a medium sized non-stick pan and heat on medium heat.  Make sure the oil coats the entire pan.  Add your chopped tomatoes, cilantro, Thai chili and onions to the pan.  While that cooks for a couple minutes, crack your eggs into a bowl.  Whip the eggs just until the yokes are broken then add the salt, pepper, and baking soda.  Whip the eggs again, but this time put a little elbow grease into it.  You want those eggs to get a little fluffy, so whip ’em good!

Once that’s done, mix up your ingredients that are cooking in the pan and spread them out so they’re not all bunched into one section of the pan.  Pour half of your egg mixture on top and cook on medium/low heat for 4 to 6 minutes or until the top of the omelette is cooked and not runny.  Fold the omelette, and serve.  If you’re planning on making more, just double or triple the ingredients.  It’s really easy to make more than one, even if it’s just for yourself.  I won’t tell!

 

India 2016

 

India 2016-1

 

 

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AB&J Protein Smoothie

AB&J Smoothie 02

AB&J Smoothie 02

 

 

First of all I want to apologize for going MIA on you.  It’s been over a month since my last post!  I’m still new to this blogging thing and getting used to organizing my time, and well life happens.  Oh and there has been a whole lotta LIFE happening in my world!  Between family and our recent India trip which you’ll hear all about soon, it’s been all kinds of cray-cray! I’ts a horrible excuse I know but I’m working on it and trying to get better at posting regularly regardless of what is going on in the rest of the universe.

Now without further ado, I bring you the best smoothie ever!  This is my all time favorite go-to smoothie.  If you are a Nekter junkie like I am then you are familiar with the PB bowl.  The PB Bowl is an acai bowl that literally tastes like PB&J in a bowl accept I always sub out the PB for almond butter so I have dubbed it the AB&J bowl.  At Nekter they include frozen bananas in the mix and top it with amazing stuff like strawberries and granola.  I love the bowl so much that I set out to concoct my own smoothie version!

I rarely eat bananas.  I don’t know why, but I tend to overlook them so I left them out.  Frozen cherries just taste really good in smoothies so I threw those in for the “jam” effect and a little frozen pineapple to sweeten things up.  You can add vanilla or a flavorless protein of your choice and you have yourself a fabulous protein smoothie!  It’s so stinkin’ good!  I make bowls with it too and top them with shredded coconut, cocao nibs, berries, and all that yummy stuff.  The protein powder and almond butter make it a pretty filling smoothie, perfect when you’re on the go.

I usually whip one up after a workout or to take along to soccer practice because this mama needs her protein if I’m going to keep going and going and going and basically never stop!  Especially if you work out on a regular basis replenishing your protein is a must and this smoothie makes for a healthy snack that you can feel good about.  Lately I’ve been using the Vega Sport vanilla protein powder.  I’m not vegan and my body is okay with whey protein but I don’t like all of the artificial sweeteners and unnecessary additives that a lot of companies put in their protein powder.  Vega is an entirely vegan, all natural brand, and their sport line is great for muscle recovery.  I sometimes use an unflavored whey protein, however if you’re trying to keep it vegan or paleo hemp protein is a great add in too.  Whatever protein you go with or if you choose to leave it out entirely, you’re going to loooooove this smoothie!

 

AB&J Smoothie 01

 

 

AB&J Smoothie 03

 

 

Ingredients

3/4 cup almond milk

1/2 cup frozen cherries (about 9 cherries)

1/2 cup frozen pineapple chunks

3 Tbs almond meal

2 Tbs almond butter

1 cup vanilla or unflavored protein powder

 

Method

Starting with the almond milk, put all the ingredients, in the order they are listed, in a blender.  Blend together until all the fruit and everything else it completely blended.  Place in a cup or just scoop it out of the blender if you can’t wait! :)  I really do take a spoon to my vitamix after I’ve poured most of it into a cup.  There’s all that yumminess still left in there that you can’t totally get out and I don’t want to waste it!

Have a great week everyone!

 

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Peruvian Style Pesto

Peruvian Style Pesto

 

I have mentioned in a couple of posts that I come from a multicultural family which makes things pretty amazing where food is concerned.  My dad is from Peru but because he left at such a young age, we weren’t taught a whole lot about the culture.  He has always been proud of his heritage and there are a few traditions that he carried on.  One of them being the food! There were a hand full of Peruvian dishes that my dad would make at home and we all loved it when he did.

One of those dishes is Tallarin Verde; spaghetti tossed in a basil based sauce.  In our house it was always called green spaghetti. I never even knew it was called Tallarin Verde until I started going to Peruvian restaurants! This dish is usually served with a big old steak on top.  So good!  My dad stopped cooking years ago and then my mom would make it from time to time.  We even switched the noodles to gluten free once we could find ones that tasted good and then my sister went paleo and I went semi paleo and my mom gave up!  The sauce is basically a pesto so it does call for cheese.  My dad would use like a quarter pound of feta cheese in his sauce!

My dad was so funny when he would cook too.  The whole kitchen had to be left to him.  He didn’t want anyone is his way and then there was the mess afterwards!  Once my mom was out and my dad was making green spaghetti for dinner.  He was mixing up the sauce in the blender and had left the lid off!  There was green sauce all over the kitchen and the ceiling! Thinking about it cracks me up.  I think of it almost every time I use my blender which makes me triple check that I put the lid on!

Obviously there are a lot of memories around green spaghetti, but the flavor is all in the sauce.  Since I try to stay away from cheese and don’t eat much pasta nowadays I decided to paloe-ify my dad’s Peruvian style pesto.  I’ve seen many recipes that include pine nuts like a traditional pesto but he never used any of that.  I did need to add a bit of nuttiness to replace the flavor of the cheese though.  I tried a few different combinations and they were all good, but I think this one tastes the most like my dad’s sauce.  It is super simple to whip up in a blender or food processor and you can use it on just about anything!  I love it on veggies, spaghetti squash, sandwiches, and meat too.

 

Peruvian Style Pesto 02

 

Peruvian Style Pesto 01

 

Ingredients

1/2 tsp vegetable oil

3 cloves garlic, chopped

1/3 cup olive oil

3 cups fresh basil

1 heaping cup baby spinach

1/4 cup undalted cashews

1/4 cup walnuts

1 tsp sea salt

1/4 tsp black pepper

 

Method

Pour vegetable oil into a pan and heat the pan on medium heat.  Add the chopped garlic to the pan and cook on medium/low heat until the garlic turns golden.  Remove from heat.

Add the garlic and the rest of the ingredients to a food processor or blender.  I use my vitamix.  Blend until it becomes a thick creamy sauce.  Enjoy it on some avocado toast or meat and veggies.  The sauce freezes well too so you can always freeze it for later.  I had mine on spaghetti squash this time and loved it!  I hope my dad’s Peruvian style pesto brings you guys as many sweet memories as it has brought me!

 

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Carrot Cake Breakfast Cookies

Carrot Cake Breakfast Cookies 02

 

A year ago I would have breakfast around noon and eat like 2 meals a day thinking I was doing myself a favor.  I could not have been more wrong!  There is no way I could do that now.  I wake up starving and some days I even need a light snack before bed.  The problem with breakfast though is finding the time to make it and eat it before you have to run out the door.  I usually go with some form of eggs because I love them and they’re quick and packed with protein.  I can’t believe I’m saying this but sometimes I need a break from eggs.

To relieve my breakfast boredom I will have almond meal some days or chia seed pudding and fruit.  Then there are the days where I have to take my brekkie to go.  What am I supposed to do then?  I have actually eaten scrambled eggs in the car while driving.  It was not my finest moment. I usually end up spilling stuff all over myself plus I don’t think eating and driving are the safest option.  When you have to rush like that it takes all the joy out of the meal.  You don’t even taste anything, it’s just to fill up so you’re not passing out later.  I don’t know about you but this girl likes to enjoy her food!

I was looking into some make ahead breakfast recipes and I found a Breakfast Cookie recipe from Against All Grain.  I had all of the main ingredients at home so my five year old and I whipped up a batch.  I made a couple minor changes, but the base of the recipe stayed the same.  They were fantastic!  The recipe called for cinnamon and I love cinnamon so I thought it needed more.  I replaced the currants with cranberries because I didn’t have any currants on hand.  These cookies freeze really well but this first batch did not even make it to the freezer.  They went so fast!  My daughters love them and I gobbled them up so obviously I needed to make another batch and another.  I kept switching up the ingredients to keep things exciting and this last batch resulted in carrot cake breakfast cookies!  Lightly sweetened soft cookies with the yummy flavor of carrot cake and the light crunch of chopped pecans.  I really do love cinnamon though so there is quite a bit in there.  If you’re not a huge cinnamon fan, add 1/2 Tbs instead.

 

Carrot Cake Breakfast Cookie 01s

 

 

**Inspired by the Breakfast Cookies recipe from Against All Grain

Ingredients

1/4 cup coconut flour

1/2 cup almond butter

5 pitted dried dates, soaked in warm water for 15 minutes

1/3 cups shredded coconut

1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce

2 medium eggs (or 2 flax eggs)

1 tablespoon cinnamon

1 tsp vanilla

1/4 tsp salt

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 cup grated carrots

2 tbs chopped pecans

 

Method

Preheat oven to 350* F. If you are planning to use flax eggs prepare them about 10 minutes beforehand so they have a chance to set.

In a food processor, combine the coconut flour, almond butter, and dates. Process until well combined.  Next add the shredded coconut, applesauce, cinnamon, vanilla, salt, and baking soda.  Mix until a pretty wet batter forms.  This takes about 30 seconds.  Add in the last few ingredients and stir just enough to mix everything together so that you still have some crunchy bits of pecan in there.

Scoop spoonfuls of the dough onto a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.  You can use a large spoon or a ice cream scoop for this or go old school like I did and use two small spoons.  They pretty much stay the same shape after they are baked so make sure they look how you want them too before they go in the oven.  If you want to flatten them you can do so with a wet spatula.  I like mine kind of lumpy and muffin top looking so I just scoop them into the pan and put them in the oven as is.

Bake for 12 to 15 minutes or until the bottoms have browned a bit.

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Shredded BBQ Chicken

 

Shredded BBQ Chicken

 

When I  moved to Orange County after college, my aunt lived around the corner from me.   I wasn’t married yet and I was working full time, so she was sweet enough to have me over for dinner every Thursday.  It was the first time I had ever lived away from home so it was really comforting to have her there and to have dinner with her and her family every week.  After some time I realized that she made everything from stew to pasta in the crockpot!  I had never used a crockpot and other than keeping things heated for parties, my mom never used hers either so I was amazed.

She taught me a few tricks of the trade like how the liquid doesn’t evaporate like it would on the stove and things like that.  When I got married my crockpot was a must on the wedding registry!  It is the best thing ever!  Back then I would let stuff cook all night or get it ready in the morning before I left for work.  Now, I can prep dinner in the morning and come home to a cooked meal after an evening of running the kids to soccer, or gymnastics, or whatever it is we’re doing.  Last night we had shredded bbg chicken sandwiches.  Well, most of us did.  I had my chicken on a bed of smashed cauliflower with a coleslaw style lettuce salad on top.  Yummy!  I have been meaning to get this recipe on the site because it is just too awesome not to!  It is one of the simplest recipes plus your crockpot does the cooking while you’re out and about taking care of business.

I started making this after eating something similar at my friend’s place.  She had chicken simmering in the crockpot for hours while we had coffee and the kids played.  She served it with tasty sides like bread rolls, baked beans, and coleslaw.  Most of the kids and the adults made sandwiches and customized it to their own taste.  I had mine like a salad and everyone was happy.  When I make it at home I usually put it on top of some coleslaw in a very light mayonnaise and vinegar dressing.  BBQ chicken is really good with coleslaw for some reason!  They taste great together.

I never actually asked her for the recipe, but I make my crockpot chicken tacos all the time so I figured these would need around the same cooking time and amount of liquid.  I have used paleo bbq sauce and the all natural bbq sauce from Trader Joe’s.  The flavor was great with either one, so use whatever makes you happy.  Every family has their own taste, so what works for one may not suit the other’s preferences.  We don’t really eat baked beans and the hubs and I try not to eat bread at dinner time so I make sandwiches for the kids with the shredded bbq chicken, coleslaw, and some cheese.  That way us adults get a filling paleo style meal that we totally enjoy!  It’s a win/win and everyone is happy.

 

Shredded BBQ Chicken 01

 

Shredded BBQ Chicken 02

 

*Makes 4 servings

Ingredients

2 chicken breasts

2 cloves garlic

1 onion, sliced

1/2 cup BBQ Sauce

1/2 cup water

1 tsp sea salt

1/4 tsp ground pepper

 

Method

Plug in your crockpot and set it to a low setting.  My crockpot isn’t fancy so there is a High setting and a Low setting.  I set it to low for this recipe.  Mix the BBQ sauce, water, salt and pepper in a bowl.  Put the rest of the ingredients in the crockpot, then pour the BBQ Sauce mixture on top.  Place the lid on your crockpot and allow everything to cook for at least 5 hours.

You can leave it on longer if you need to or if you want to cook it in less time just turn the dial on the crockpot to high and cook for 3 hours.  That will work too!  When the time comes, take a wooden spoon or a cooking utensil that won’t scratch up your crockpot and shred up the ingredients in the pot.  This shouldn’t take long since everything will be falling apart by this point.  Make shredded BBQ chicken sandwiches or serve it with sides, whatever works at your house!

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Crustless Leek Quiche

crustless leek quiche 03

 

We had so much amazing food over the holidays!  So much!  Most of my usual no-no’s went right out the window so I was eating everything my little heart desired except for the gluten of course.  Gluten is the only thing that I absolutely cannot have.  We ate apple pie, pumpkin cheesecake, chocolate bark, cookies, my friend’s amazing paella and my sister made this wonderfully rich leek quiche on a gluten free crust, and the list goes on.  I think I ate the quiche leftovers for breakfast, or possibly a midnight snack.  It was so yummy but it was also full of heavy cream and goat cheese and butter and all those lovely things that I don’t eat on a regular basis anymore.

I’m usually okay, but this year my insides were just not havin’ it!  My stomach was like, “where’s my kale and my protein shake?” So when I got a craving for that fabulous leek quiche a couple weeks after we’d had it, I knew the heavy cream was definitely not happening and I left the crust and the cheese out too.  I pretty much altered the recipe entirely and made it my own.  Funny how that happens!  It’s so yummy though, and it’s the best accompanied by a piping hot bowl of your favorite soup.  That’s usually how I have it.  I have made it a few times now and sometimes I’ll sprinkle a little goat cheese on top before I put it in the oven but it really doesn’t need anything else as long as you’ve got the bacon in there!  Oh yes, because there is definitely bacon in there and there are green onions and flavorful leeks.  I always use turkey bacon whenever bacon is called into action in a recipe, but if you use the OG stuff then go for it!

It was strange for me to feel all bloated and uncomfortable even though I had been eating gluten free.  I guess that’s what happens when you eat clean and mostly paleo and then you devour everything in front of you for a couple of weeks.  It’s not pretty!  I guess I deserved it, I mean I sort of went on a cheese binge and lets not forget about all the sweet stuff.  But alas, I had to go back to my clean eating ways and quite honestly I’m okay with it.  I feel better and my stomach is happy with me again and that’s always a good thing!

 

crustless leek quiche 01

 

crustless leek quiche 02

 

 

crustless leek quiche

 

 

Ingredients

1 tsp vegetable oil

1 1/2 trimmed leeks, chopped

3 green onions, chopped

3 cloves garlic

4 slices turkey bacon

4 eggs

1 cup almond milk

1/4 tsp sea salt

ground black pepper

 

Method

Add oil to a pan and heat on medium heat.  Once the oil has heated up add the leeks, green onions, garlic, and turkey bacon to the pan.  You can always use regular bacon if you prefer.  Saute the ingredients on medium/low heat for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

While the leek mixture is cooking, crack open 4 eggs into a bowl.  Beat the eggs and add the almond milk and salt to the bowl and mix well.  Once the leeks are done cooking, remove them from heat and heat your oven to 350*F.  Allow the leek mixture to cool for a few minutes while the oven is heating up.  Then add it to a greased baking dish and pour the egg mix on top.  Sprinkle with some black pepper and throw it in the oven for 20 to 25 minutes.  Serve as you please!

This also makes a great base recipe that you can add other ingredients to.  You can use the same egg mixture but maybe make a spinach and mushroom quiche or an asparagus quiche.  You can follow this recipe but switch out the veggies or even the protein you use.  I’d love to hear how you change it up in your kitchen!

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Savory Paleo Stuffing

Savory Paleo Stuffing

 

Savory Paleo Stuffing 01

My sister and I started helping my mom in the kitchen as soon as we could, especially around the holidays.  My mom would assign us tasks like chopping or mixing.  I would always help with the stuffing.  I was probably about 12 years old when we experimented with a new kind of stuffing for Thanksgiving. We put apples in it, pineapple, walnuts, celery, fresh orange juice, and tons of onions and garlic.  It was a hit!  I’m not exactly sure how it happened but after a while we started developing our own areas of expertise.  Even though we were all a part of coming up with the new recipe, ever since then the stuffing somehow became my thing.  My sister would handle the dessert, my mom would take care of the main dishes, and the stuffing was mine.

Now that we’re older my sister, sister in-law and I take care of everything.  We try and give my mom break but she still insists on bringing a couple of things.  Funny how hard it is for us moms to step back and relax!  It all worked out though and we had an amazing spread.  There was quiche, a roast, heirloom carrots, turkey, cauliflower mash, cranberry sauce, and my mom’s ridiculous Persian rice.  Everything was delicious as always, but since I’ve been eating low carb for a while I felt so heavy afterwards.  Just bloated and not happy!

So when Christmas came around and we decided to get together at my parents’ place we kept it really simple.  My mom asked me to bring stuffing of course so I thought I’d try my hand at a paleo stuffing.  I modeled it after my usual stuffing with a few modifications according to the ingredients I had on hand.  I started with garlic of course then added in the nuts and apples and pineapple.  Then it was about getting the consistency and the flavor right.  I usually just purchase a gluten free stuffing mix from the store and they come seasoned, but this time I had to figure out the seasoning myself so I decided on rosemary and thyme.

I was really pleased with the way the paleo stuffing came out!  The family loved it too.  It was great because you could have a nice helping of it and none of us felt gross the day after.  My sister who is on a paleo diet took some to go and my mom was nibbling on it all afternoon.  This stuffing is great for the holidays but I will definitely be making it alongside a roast or roasted chicken on just a regular evening.  The leftovers kept really well and you get a nice crunch with all the yummy nuts in there.

 

Savory Paleo Stuffing

 

Savory Paleo Stuffing 02

Ingredients

1 tsp vegetable oil

4 cloves garlic

1 onion, chopped

1 1/2 cups chopped walnuts

1 cup chopped pecans

2 apples, chopped

1 cup pineapple chunks (fresh or canned)

1/2 cup dried cranberries

1 tsp fresh rosemary

1 tsp dried thyme

1 cup almond meal

1/4 cup orange juice

juice of half a lemon

1/4 to 1/2 cup water

salt and pepper to taste

 

Method

Pour the vegetable oil into a pot and heat it on medium heat.  I like to make stuffing in a dutch oven because you can always put it in the oven to reheat before serving, but a regular stainless steel pot works just fine.

Once the oil heats up a bit add the garlic and onions in.  Let those brown just a little then add the nuts and the apples, but not the almond meal just yet.  Give the ingredients in the pot a stir and cover it with the lid.  Bring the heat down to a low setting and let the nuts and apples cook for about 10 minutes.

After the 10 minutes, the nuts should have lost a little of their crunch and the apples will have cooked.  Now add in your pineapple chunks, dried cranberries, rosemary, thyme, and almond meal.  When you stir you’ll notice that it’s pretty thick.  Now we add the orange juice and lemon juice.  Lightly stir again and add water starting with 1/4 cup until you reach the desired constancy.  Too much water will make it all mushy.

Put the lid back on, keeping the heat on low and let it all sit for about 10 min.  Grab a spoon and dig in!  Make sure you save some for everyone else of course, or not! 😉

 

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Butternut Squash & Lentil Soup

Butternut Squash and Lentil Soup

Butternut Squash and Lentil Soup

 

I must have mentioned about a zillion times that I love soup but I’ll say it again, I love soup! It is the most comforting meal for me.  Creamy soups are my favorite, but anything warm and full of flavor works too.  Plus it’s fall, so that means festive herbs and spices and lots of different types of squash.  I think my very first recipe on this site was a butternut squash recipe.  When it’s in season I include it in my meals at least a couple times a week.  I pick up the pre-cut bags of butternut squash from Trader Joe’s and keep them in the fridge.

In my kitchen butternut squash gets pureed, chopped, steamed, roasted, and just plain cooked a lot.  Most of the time I like to steam it and add olive oil and a little Parmesan cheese or I’ll pour a pasta sauce over it with chicken on the side.  Butternut squash is filling which is nice, however doesn’t make you feel like you’re having a heavy meal.  The only thing is that I’m the only one in the house that will eat butternut squash any which way.  My girls and my husband prefer it oven roasted with lots of garlic.  Not that I can blame them!

Last week the hubby was traveling which meant I didn’t have to worry about making something he would want to eat.  I know that sounds horrible, but I’m sure some of you can empathize!  Anyhow, I wanted soup so I made soup.  There needed to be some protein in there and it was veggie Monday, so that’s where the lentils came in.  The soup still looked a little bare with just the butternut squash and lentils so in went the spinach.  After the garlic and herbs and spices were added in, it was delicious!  All of the fabulous flavors of fall!

 

Butternut Squash and Lentil Soup 01

 

*Makes about 4 servings

Ingredients

1 cup water

1 15oz bag butternut squash, cut into pieces

1/4 cup lentils

2 cups chopped spinach

1 tsp thyme

1 tsp oregano

1/2 cup almond milk

salt and pepper to taste

 

Method

The bags of cut butternut squash are great, but the pieces are pretty big so sometimes I cut them into smaller pieces. For this soup I cut each chunk into 2 or 3 pieces because I wanted them to be small enough to get picked up in a spoon.  It cooks a lot quicker this way too!

After you’ve cut the butternut squash and rinsed your lentils add 1 cup water, butternut squash, lentils, spinach, thyme, and oregano to a medium sized pot and bring to a boil on high heat.  Once it starts to boil, turn the stove down to medium/low heat and let the ingredients simmer until the squash and lentils are cooked.  This takes about 20 minutes.

Stir in the almond milk salt and pepper.  Leave the lid off the pot and let it simmer another 5 minutes to let it soak up the almond milk.  Scoop into a nice big soup bowl and eat away!

 

 

 

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Yellow Squash & Carrot Soup

Yellow Squash and Carrot Soup

In most of the country the leaves on the trees are turning the wonderfully warm colors of orange, golden yellow, red, and brown.  The mornings are brisk and fireplaces are being lit in the evening.  Here in southern California however, it’s still 90 degrees!  We wake up sweating in the morning and go to bed with the AC on.  I’m not complaining but I would not mind some soup and sweater weather.  Soup is my favorite!  As soon as the weather cools down I’ll be making soup a few times a week.  That’s the main reason I wanted a vitamix.

Fall is my favorite season!  The leaves falling from the trees, the cooler weather, all the comfort food!  It’s the best!  It’s beautiful on the east coast, but fall has it’s charm in California too.  There’s Thanksgiving and all the cinnamon and nutmeg, an array of pumpkins and squash, and I get to bust out all my sweaters and long sleeves.  It’s really mostly about the food!  Isn’t everything??

I am obviously ready for fall, and I didn’t want to wait for the weather to catch up so soup started making an appearance in my kitchen when it was literally 100 degrees outside.  It started with some butternut squash and apple soup and then some coconut curry soup.  This last time though I had some yellow squash in the fridge and added some carrots in the pot just because it sounded good.  I make yellow squash soup a lot in the fall and winter but not usually with carrots.  Carrots are just so pretty and orange and they add a lovely sweet flavor to things.

Everything said and done, the yellow squash and carrot soup was delicious!  Creamy with lovely flavor and just a touch of sweetness.  I had the left overs with some sauteed mushrooms and chicken sausage that you’ll see in some of the pictures.  Bacon and sausage are always a welcome topping to a sweet and savory soup!

 

Yellow Squash and Carrot Soup 03

 

Yello Squash and carrot soup 04

 

Ingredients

1 cup water

2 organic yellow squash, cut into slices

1 cup organic baby carrots, sliced in half

1 onion, cut into four pieces

1/2 tsp cumin seeds

1/2 cup almond milk

salt and pepper to taste

 

Method

Pour 1 cup water, the yellow squash, baby carrots, and onion pieces into a medium sized pot.  Place the lid on top and bring it to a boil on medium/high heat.  Once the water starts to boil, turn the temperature down to low heat and let it lightly boil for 20 minutes.

Remove the pot from heat and let it cool to about room temperature.  Once it has cooled, pour the cooked vegetables into a blender.  Keep the pot you used to cook the veggies handy though.  Add the cumin and almond milk and blend until it’s nice and creamy.  Add salt and pepper to taste and return the soup to the pot you used earlier to reheat it for serving.  Heat on medium heat until it starts to boil then turn off the heat.  It’s ready to be served when you are!

Whether it’s crazy hot outside where you are or crisp and cool, I hope you enjoy this cozy squash and carrot soup!

 

Yellow Squash and Carrot Soup 02

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