Coconut Waffles with Fried Apple and Blueberry Topping

Sinless

I haven’t done a dessert/sweet breakfast for a while and I think it is about time.  I wanted to do something without nuts (coconut not included).  I have nothing against nuts of course but it is really easy to go over board with them.  Most desserts I make are nut based as are my muffins.  I made a chocolate almond muffin (not my recipe) a while back and just for curiosity sake I put the data into Nutrition Data.  I have to admit I was stunned with what I learned.  One small muffin was nearly 300 calories. Man, I hope that thing is wrong.   No, I don’t count calories nor do I even pay much attention to it but….holy crap that is a lot of calories for a SMALL muffin.  The other little detail about nuts that I try to be aware of is their omega 6 content.  It’s pretty easy to upset your Omega 6 : Omega 3 balance with nuts.  So anyway, last night I was craving something sweet – no doubt because I had had a smoothie earlier in the day.  (Anyone else like that?  If you have something sweet or higher in carbs than you are used to, then the cravings for other carby things kicks into overdrive?)  I went to my fridge and pulled out organic apples I had bought but turned out all mealy and soft (the kind that you have no choice but to cook them) and the remaining fresh organic blueberries (although I also made this with frozen and it worked out equally as good).  This is what I came up with.  I don’t really know what to call it other than a smashing success.  The kids loved it and literally licked their bowls clean.  Hubby gave it a thumbs up and helped himself to a second bowl.  We ate it right out of the bowl by itself but this morning the leftovers were used to top waffles.  Oh My!  It was incredible.  It’s a nice change from the usual bacon and eggs.  As an added bonus to it’s flavor is the fact that it is lower carb and has no refined sugars so I had one waffle with some of this sauce and didn’t feel hungry for hours and hours.  Had this been the sugary, gluten version I personally would have felt like crap right after and then felt hungry in less than 2 hours.  It also did not leave me craving carbs all day.  This topping would also be great on a minimally sweetened, dense, coconut pound cake.  I am not sure if this will qualify for GAPS legal because of the baking soda in the waffles and the iffy stevia but it is absolutely 100% paleo goodness.

Apple Blueberry Sauce

2 T coconut oil

3 apples, peeled, cored and sliced

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/4 tsp cloves

3/4 cup fresh or frozen blueberries

1/2 cup coconut milk

pinch of salt

liquid stevia to taste (I used about 1/2 a dropper full)

Juice of 1/2 lemon

unsweetened coconut flakes

Heat saute pan, add virgin coconut oil.  Add apples and salt.  Saute for 5- 10 minutes until they begin to soften.  Add cinnamon, cloves, blueberries, coconut milk.  Continue cooking until apples are soft and sauce has thickened a bit.  When apples are soft remove from heat and add stevia and fresh lemon juice.  Stir to combine.  Serve hot in a bowl alone or serve on waffles or pancakes. Top with coconut flakes for garnish.

This waffle recipe was originally from The Food Lovers Primal Palate.  I made it as they wrote it first then made some changes that suited our tastes.  Here is what worked for us.  For about half of the recipe I made these as pancakes the other half as waffles.  It makes about 8 small waffles if you are only making waffles.

Waffles/Pancakes

1/4 cup coconut flour

4 eggs

pinch of sea salt

1/4 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/4 tsp nutmeg

liquid stevia to taste (I used approx one dropper full)

1/4 cup melted virgin coconut oil

Combine all ingredients and mix well with electric mixer.  Tough hey?  I used a couple of tablespoons of the batter onto each of the four sections of my waffle maker so that the waffles were small.  They are done when the waffle is lightly brown and separates from the waffle maker easily.  (Or when the light comes on and the steam subsides.)  Top waffles/pancakes with Apple Blueberry sauce.

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Mayo!!

Paleo Mayo

I love mayo.  I like it on nearly everything.  It’s a great way to get more coconut oil in your diet.  Commercial mayos are out for me for several reasons.  I prefer to avoid canola oil (high in omega 6 and canola is grown with LOTS of pesticides), soybean oil (I’m allergic to soy and it would likely be GMO soy anyway), preservatives, and the use of commercial eggs.  So, I make my own.  I think it tastes better and because all of the ingredients are good for me, I can slather it on everything and not have any guilt over it.  It takes about 5 minutes to make.  I would want to use it up within the week due to the raw eggs in it.  If you want to make it last weeks or even months just add 2 T of whey to it at the end and then let it sit out on the counter at room temperature to culture for 7 hours and then refrigerate.  I combine 2 oils in this recipe.  I use expeller pressed coconut oil because of its neutral flavor or should I say lack of flavor and it’s long list of health benefits and extra virgin olive oil so that it keeps the mayo from hardening in the fridge.  This mayo is really thick and stays spreadable even when cold.  The key to making mayo is #1 to pour the oil in really, really slowly and #2 to use a stick blender/immersion blender.  I’ve tried it in my mini food processor and it’s hit or miss when it comes to the thickness.  With the immersion blender it turns out perfect every time.  Bring on the mayo!

Mayo

Juice of half a lemon, no pulp, about 2 T

1 whole egg room temperature*

2 egg yolks, room temperature*

1/2 t sea salt

3/4 cup melted expeller pressed coconut oil (this should be at or just above room temperature – not hot)

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

2 T whey (optional)

In a glass bowl add the lemon juice, salt and eggs.  Using the immersion blender mix until combined.  Then very slowly pour in the two combined oils while the immersion blender is running on high.  This should take several minutes to pour all the oil in.  When all the oil is added check seasoning and add more salt if needed.  If you will be culturing your mayo add whey now, mix well and leave out at room temperature for 7 hours before refrigerating.   If you are not culturing, refrigerate immediately and use within a week.

*Eggs should be as fresh as possible.  I personally would not use regular store bought eggs.  If you can get your hands on farm fresh eggs from chickens who are pastured and have a healthy diet that would be the best bet for safety.

Chicken Liver Pate

Chicken Liver Pate

Ok, I’ve been MIA forever and now I come back with this?! I suspect that I will lose several followers. Sorry. (Hi!! to all my new ones!)  I must tell you though that I have been firmly in the “I hate liver” camp my whole life. I understand completely if you just click on by. I get it. I do. I have been reading over and over in so many places that liver is one of the most nutrient dense foods available. (Here is some info on calves liver.) And it’s cheap. For those reasons alone I have been making an effort to try liver again. My first try was beef liver. I prepped it, soaked it, fried it with bacon and onions. Still, it was liver. It was bad. I took one bite and that was the end of it. I just couldn’t get it down. Hats off to those of you who can. The taste was almost tolerable but it was that texture. Ugh! I had given up when I read that some people who hate beef liver like chicken liver. So maybe it was worth trying. I made chicken liver pate. Most, if not all, of the recipes I came across had butter in it. Mine had to be dairy free. The first time I made it I was pleased. I actually liked it.  I’ve been a closet pate maker and consumer for the past 6 months. Now I am stepping out of the closet and sharing with you my recipe. I’ve tweaked and fine tuned it. And I must say, it is pretty damn amazing, despite the unappetizing picture! Really. It is. I promise. Please try it. You won’t be disappointed.

Chicken Liver Pate

2 T bacon fat
1 lb organic chicken livers, trimmed (yes, this part I hate)
1/2 large onion, chopped
3/4 tsp sea salt (I like salty things. If you don’t, scale this back a bit.)
black pepper to taste
1/4 tsp ground sage
 1/4 tsp ground thyme
1/8 tsp cinnamon
1 bay leaf
1/2 cup cream sherry 
1 very fresh organic egg (optional)

In a large saute pan heat bacon fat. (You do save your bacon fat don’t you?) Add chopped onion and saute for 2-3 minutes. Add the chicken livers, salt, pepper, sage, thyme, bay and cinnamon. Saute on medium heat for approximately 10 minutes until onions are well cooked. Add the cream sherry and increase heat to medium high. Simmer until nearly all liquid has reduced. Remove from heat and allow to cool for 10-15 minutes. Transfer to a food processor and process until pate is very smooth. If you like a softer more spreadable pate like I do add a very fresh egg and process again until well blended. If you have concerns about raw eggs or can’t get anything but a store egg just skip it.  Transfer to a bowl and refrigerate.  Serve cold with celery sticks or my Grain Free Rosemary Almond Flax Crackers.

This post was entered in Monday Mania over at The Healthy Home Economist 8/1/11.

My Morning 8 Ball – Squash “Pancakes”

Paleo Pancakes

Paleo Pancakes

Several weeks ago I signed up for my first CSA (community supported agriculture). A CSA is a wonderful thing. (If you are in the Phoenix area, this is the one I use.) I have been so impressed with everything about this. Once a week I pick up a large paper bag filled with 8 different things. It is mostly veggies and occasionally some fruit. Everything is organic, local and SUPER fresh. Another reason I am loving this is that I am receiving things that I normally wouldn’t buy or even think to try. One week there were dandelion greens in the bag. I had never tried them before and for that matter have never seen them for sale anywhere either. We tried them and liked them. It’s been fun for me to figure out what to do with the variety of foods I receive each week. Last week I received a squash I had never seen of, nor heard of, before. It’s called an eight ball squash. The first time I made them I stuffed them with a meat/veggie mix and covered them with a vegan “cheese” sauce. It was pretty good but not blog worthy. I got more of those squash this week. On a whim I came up with this. It was so incredibly good! My very picky four-year old said, “they don’t look very good but they are YUMMY!” I was honestly stunned. She ate 3 of them! They are simple, low carb and very satisfying. I fried these in lots of bacon fat which added a lot of flavor to a relatively bland veggie. You save your bacon fat, right? That stuff is like gold! Since most people probably don’t have eight ball squash lying around you could use yellow squash, grey mexican or zucchini too. They taste very similar. I served them with a Vietnamese style dipping sauce. These savory pancakes are low carb, GAPS legal, grain, soy, dairy, corn, and gluten free.

See mom, here is another grain free breakfast!

Eightball Squash Savory Pancakes

2 eight ball squash (navel orange size)

6 eggs

1 tsp celtic sea salt (to taste – I like salt so beware)

freshly ground black pepper

1 T coarsely chopped fresh basil

bacon fat or fat of choice

Vietnamese Style Dipping Sauce

1/4 cup preservative free fish sauce

juice of 1 lemon

2 T water

freshly ground black pepper

Slice squash in half and scoop out the seeds. Then with a veggie peeler, peel the skin off. Cut in large chunks and place in food processor. Pulse briefly to a coarse chop, then add eggs, salt, pepper and basil to bowl and process again until well combined. In a preheated cast iron pan add 2-3 T bacon fat. Then scoop egg /squash mixture out in 2-3 T heaps. Fry on med – med/low until eggs are set and the bottoms are browned. Carefully flip. They are quite tender so you really need a lot of fat in the pan so they don’t break apart due to sticking. Cook the second side until browned. Remove from pan to a plate lined with paper towel to soak up any extra drippings.

While you are frying the rest of the pancakes mix all ingredients for the sauce in a bowl.

Serve together while pancakes are still hot.

This recipe has been shared at Monday Mania 6/6/11 @ The Healthy Home Economist.

9 Layer Lasagna – Grain Free, Dairy Free, Soy Free, Gluten Free (Dare I say Paleo??)

9 Layer Lasagna (Grain and Dairy Free)I got this idea in my head to do a lasagna. It would have to be free of grain, gluten, dairy, soy, corn, citric acid, brewers yeast. No problem right? Actually, it wasn’t hard. Time consuming, absolutely. I won’t kid you there. Honestly, it took most of the day. In the end it was more worth it than anything else I can think of. It made a huge pan so there were leftovers for days. As I write this I am making it for a second time so that I can freeze it and then take it with us on vacation in a couple of days. We are going to San Diego. We rented a condo on the beach so that I will still be able to cook most of our meals. Eating out isn’t really an option so I need to make stuff ahead of time. Along with this lasagna I am making a no bean paleo chili, my Banana Pecan Muffins, NutBars, beef jerky, honeyed almonds, fruit leather, bread (for the kids), Almond Chocolate Chip Scones, Brownies, Almond Rosemary crackers, Chocolate Power Balls and chicken liver paté. We leave in 2 days. I have so much to do that I am feeling more than a little overwhelmed. So why am I sitting at the computer??? I have to get moving. Here is the recipe. I do hope you will give it a try. I bet you’ll love it!

If a vegan or vegetarian meal is what floats your boat I think that this would work great if you omitted the beef and eggs. I have not tried it so I can’t say for sure but would bet it would be great.

9 Layer Lasagna – GF, DF, SF, CF, Grain Free

Cashew Cream Layer (aka Ricotta Cheese Layer)

2 cups raw unsalted cashews – soak for approximately 6 hours or overnight

juice of half a lemon

1/2 tsp salt

3/4 cup water

4 eggs

In a large bowl add cashews and cover with water. Soak for 6-8 hours. Drain and rinse. Add cashews, lemon juice, salt and water to blender. If you have a Vitamix this will go really quickly. If you don’t have one a blender works just fine. Blend until smooth. This takes several minutes. Be patient. It really does get as smooth as sour cream. Add the eggs and blend to combine. Pour into a bowl, cover and refrigerate until you are ready to assemble.

Squash Layer

Grilling Eggplant

Grilling Eggplant

3 yellow squash

2 zucchini

1 eggplant

olive oil

sea salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste

Slice all vegetables to about 3/8 of an inch thick. Spread out on a baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Heat BBQ/grill to high. Grill veggies in batches until they are soft but not mushy. Let them get a bit browned before turning them. The grilled flavor is amazing in the lasagna. The purpose of grilling is to not only add a ton of flavor to somewhat bland veggies but also to let them release their water so that your lasagna does not end up looking like soup. When veggies are browned and cooked removed from grill and set aside.

Mushroom Layer

1 lb sliced button mushrooms or whatever type you have on hand

fat of choice (I used expeller pressed coconut oil)

Coconut aminos (tastes much like soy sauce without the soy) or salt and pepper to taste

Saute mushrooms on high heat in your fat of choice. When they are nearly done and browned a bit add the coconut aminos or S&P. Remove from heat and set aside.

Beef Layer

1 lb grass-fed ground beef

1 T fat of choice (FOC)

1 small onion

3 cloves of garlic

S&P to taste

Heat saute pan and FOC. Add ground beef. Meanwhile add onion and garlic to mini food processor and process until it is chopped up fine. You can do this by hand too if you don’t have or want to drag out the food processor. Add onion, garlic, S&P to beef. Continue to cook until beef is cooked through and onion and garlic are cooked and soft. Pour into a bowl and refrigerate until you are ready to assemble.

Marinara Sauce

1 T FOC

1 onion

1 large carrot

4 cloves of garlic

1 can of tomato paste

1 tsp Italian seasoning (Without fillers. Ingredients should be only dried herbs.) Or use fresh chopped herbs if you have them, such as basil, oregano, thyme, marjoram, rosemary.

S&P to taste

water

Heat FOC in medium sauté pan. Add onion, carrot and garlic to mini food processor and process to a fine chop (or chop finely by hand). Add veggies to pan. Add S&P and saute for 5-10 minutes until cooked. Do not brown. Add tomato paste and sauté for a minute. Add Italian seasoning and approximately 1 1/2 can (tomato paste can) of water to pan. Let simmer for approximately 20 minutes. Let cool for a bit then add the marinara sauce back into the food processor. Process until you have a pureéd sauce instead of a sauce of visible veggie bits. Check seasoning and adjust if needed. Set aside.

Spinach Layer

1 T FOC

1/2 – 3/4 lb fresh baby spinach

S&P

freshly grated nutmeg

Heat sauté pan and FOC. Add spinach, salt, pepper and several grates of freshly ground nutmeg. Cook spinach down and continue to cook until all liquid has reduced. Remove from heat and set aside.

The Assembly

This part is quick. Heat your oven to 350°.

1) In the bottom of a deep lasagna pan (I used a 12x8x3 inch pan) pour approximately 1/3 of the marinara sauce in the bottom and spread evenly to coat.

2) Using all of the squash, lay it flat to form an even layer.

3) Using all of the mushrooms create your next layer.

4) Combine approximately 1/3 of the cashew cream and the second 1/3 of marinara to create a pink sauce. (You have got to taste this. Think of the possibilities!) Pour this over the mushrooms as evenly as possible.

5) Using all of the eggplant create your next even, flat layer.

6) Evenly spread all of the beef on top of the eggplant.

7) Lay all of the spinach on top of the beef. Yes, you sort of have to lay it out piece by piece.

8) Pour remaining two thirds of cashew cream over the spinach.

9) Pour remaining third of marinara sauce over the cashew cream.

Cover lasagna pan with foil. Bake at 350° for approx 1 1/2 hours or until it is heated through. Remove from oven and set aside for 10-15 minutes to let it set. If you can restrain yourself long enough this part really pays off. If you don’t wait until it cools a bit it will not stand up in pretty layers. Slice and serve.

***Since writing this we have returned from our vacation. I made this lasagna and froze it. When we got to the condo I left it in the fridge to thaw. Two days later I baked it at 375° for about an hour and a half. It came out just as good this way as it did the first time.

This post was entered in the Monday Mania 5/23/11 over at The Healthy Home Economist.

This post was entered in Primal Cave #3 at Primal Toad

This post was entered in The Weekend Gourmet May 23 at Hartke is Online

This post was entered in Traditional Tuesdays Blog Hop May 24 at Real Food Whole Health

This post was entered in Grain-Free Tuesday 12 at HellaDelicious

This post was entered in Real Food Wednesday May 25 at Kelly the Kitchen Kop

This post was entered in Real Food Weekly May 26 at The Whole Gang

This post was entered in Fight Back Friday May 27 at Food Renegade

Banana Pecan Muffins

Banana Pecan MuffinsI had been wanting a Vitamix for what feels like years. I see it mentioned over and over on so many blogs. At first I thought it was just a pricey blender. Then I found this page showing 52 video demonstrations of everything it can do. After seeing all that I really wanted one. So I went to work trying to convince my husband that I needed yet another appliance. This was a tough sell since I have so many appliances. My Kitchenaid blender was working just fine and it was a rare event that I even pulled it out. The Vitamix is not cheap… as in >$600 however Costco carries them and does demos once a year or so and they sell them for $394 I think. The trick of course was finding out when Costco was carrying them and then waiting. Delayed gratification is so not my thing. Imagine my excitement when I find out that the Costco nearest to me had them for that entire week. It was the final day. I talked my hubby and kids into grocery shopping. I was so excited. We got there and Ron seemed receptive to me getting one. And then…. there was no demo to be found. I was crushed. It would be months until I might have an opportunity again. Then a couple of weeks later we were at Costco and low and behold the Mighty Vitamix was there. It was hard to contain my excitement. I stood there watching the demo and asking countless questions and of course sampling many different treats. I was so sold. Ron… not so much but he did however agree!! I love this thing! I use it several times a day – everyday. These muffins are made using it. I’ve made them a couple times now. They are fun to make and always disappear in a day or two. These muffins are grain, gluten, dairy, sugar, soy, corn, and brewers yeast free. They are low to moderate carb and are GAPS legal. They make a great snack or a quick on the go breakfast. They are just sweet enough, dense and moist. I hope you enjoy these as much as we do.

Banana Pecan Muffins

3 over ripe bananas

4 pitted dates

3 eggs

1/4 tsp sea salt

1/4 cup coconut oil

2 cups lightly packed almond flour

1 cup roughly chopped pecans

Add bananas, eggs, dates and salt to Vitamix. Blend until smooth and there are no date pieces visible. (The Vitamix is so impressive – the dates I used were very dry and hard and it was still able to puree it into invisible bits.) Next, add coconut oil and mix briefly. Add almond flour and mix until well blended. Pour/scoop muffin mix into a large bowl. Fold in chopped pecans.Line 12 regular sized muffin tins. Divide batter equally for 12 muffins. Using an ice cream scoop is easiest. Bake for approximately 50 minutes at 325. Store in airtight container in the fridge. I actually enjoy these best cold.

Almond Flax Crackers

Almond Flax CrackersI miss crackers. Sometimes you just need something crunchy and something to dip that is still grain free. I have made almond flour crackers before but I used my own homemade almond flour. They tasted great but they broke easily and were very tender, almost soft. I think that had something to do with the fat content in it. This time around they were perfect as I used store bought almond flour. They were super quick and easy to make and were crunchy, not soft or crumbly. I ate them with my homemade chicken liver pate and they were exactly what I was craving. Here is what I did.

Almond Flax Crackers

2 cups blanched almond flour (I used Honeyville Blanched Almond Flour)

1/4 cup ground flax meal

1-2 T finely chopped fresh rosemary

1 egg white

sea salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 325. Mix everything together with your hands. If the dough is a bit dry and won’t quite hold together you can add 1 tsp of water at a time until it just holds together. When everything is well mixed and the dough sticks together transfer it in a ball onto a piece of parchment paper. Press the dough down to flatten it a bit then cover with a second piece of parchment paper and roll the dough out until it is uniformly to the desired thickness. If the sides crack apart just push them back together a bit. Carefully transfer the rolled cracker onto a large cookie sheet. The flattened dough should take up most of the sheet. Score with pizza cutter into small squares. Sprinkle the tops of the crackers with a coarse sea salt. Bake for 20 minutes. Check for light browning the crackers. If they are not browning yet bake in 5 minute increments until they are. If they are not baked enough they turn out a bit soft. If they are too brown they don’t taste as good. When they are done leave them on the cookie sheet to cool completely. They firm up and become crispy once they are cool. When cool break them apart and store in an airtight container.