Friday, November 30, 2012

30 days of NaBloPoMo + roadtrip foods

So I've made it. This post makes my 30th of the 30 days in November  Thanks for following along with me. Starting next month I think I'll cut the frequency to 3-4 days a week, most likely MWF and a weekend day here and there. Expect more great paleo recipes, more pictures of my dog, and likely some sweet photos of my in the makings work bench (for building things).

So I'm in Cape May, NJ visiting family this weekend so I wanted to talk a little about paleo snack food. Knowing I was going to be doing a 7.5ish hour drive I planned ahead, I would say eating paleo on the go at fast food joints really doesn't gel since included in my paleo plan is the desire to eat unprocessed as often as possible. So here's my kit of what I packed. (way more food than I needed, but it's nice to be prepared)


In my kit:
carrots, apples, nut + raisin/cranberry trailmix, very small oranges, pears, an avocado, the apple cider donuts I made, and the chocolate covered cookie dough bites I made (I was really bringing home to share them with family, but if they didn't all make it that would be okay). Before I hit the road I had a hearty steak and eggs breakfast with an avocado and set off on my journey. I hit one rest stop midway in PA and got an Americano and a water, and other than that this was more than enough food (it's also for my weekend here to keep my staples going. and the oranges are just awesome). 

I ended up spending the night in Philly and ate at a lovely gastro pub called Stateside with a friend 

Basically to stay paleo on the road, plan ahead, pack food that is okay for you. Or sit down and eat a real meal, since it's not hard to eat paleo at a real restaurant with real food- fast food is not real food in my mind, sorry guys. 

Anyway, thanks for following me along for this past month, if you like what you see I asure you there will be more next month. Hopefully a redesign, maybe a move to wordpress, who knows, but I like to dream big. In closing Pepper would like you to know that she helps with the blogging process. 



Thursday, November 29, 2012

Paleo Apple Cider Donuts


I'm a big donut fan. Even on this diet I have cheated probably 3 times in the past 6 months to have a donut. But after I eat one I feel all the lethargy and downsides associated with cheating with sugar + gluten so I've realized it is not worth it and haven't had one in probably 3 months now. That doesn't mean the craving goes away, as I've said I'm a totally human person and as such some times I just want a donut. The good news is I've never been a fan of "fast food" donuts, I want something fresh made, by a person, and awesome. These donuts I think are a great adaptation if you really need a donut and care about keeping paleo. The recipe is based on the recipe at Paleo Spirit. I just changed the preparation and cooking. 

I have a tiny kitchen and no dishwasher so I tend to rewrite every recipe to accomodate my desire to use one bowl when possible. So instead of putting the dry ingredients aside, I tend to start with the wet ingredients on top of that. It should be noted that when you prep like this it becomes a time game. The second your baking soda/powder 'lifting ingredients' become wet, they 'activate' so the time between them getting wet and you getting your batter into the oven should be small, otherwise you won't get the rise you were expecting. So that being said here is this awesome recipe. I enjoyed it a lot.
Ingredients:
1/2 cup coconut flour
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/8 teaspoon sea salt
2 eggs (room temperature)
2 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons coconut oil (liquid)
1/2 cup warm apple cider

Steps:
Preheat oven to 400F.
Prepare donut pan- I used a bit of coconut oil and spread it within the cavities with a paper towel.
Microwave apple cider.


In stand mixer mix together, eggs, oil (I microwaved mine to make it liquid) and honey (depending on how raw yours is you might want to microwave it to make it more liquid) until well combined.




















Add coconut flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt and mix. 


















Add the warm apple cider to the bowl and mix until fully incorporated into the dough. This will cause mixture to hiss- the baking soda is reacting with the apple cider.
















Scoop the donut batter into the prepared donut pan. I used my fingers to smooth the tops, you could use a knife too.
Place in oven for 8-10 minutes. If you're really fancy you could probably try to flip them halfway so both sides have the 'smooth donut pan' finish but I'm not that fancy.









 Personally I think they taste awesome on their own. (but hey I haven't eaten a proper pastry in 3 months) If you want some pizzaz you could then melt some butter or coconut oil and then dip them into a mixture of equal parts coconut palm sugar and cinnamon. Or you could melt some chocolate and dip them in that. Or you could spread honey across the top. These taste delicious and are seriously versatile. You can expect more variants of donuts in the future.
Makes about 6 donuts in a regular size donut pan. You could definitely use a mini donut pan too or one of those fancy donut makers, but who really needs an appliance whose sole purpose is making donuts? not me.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Chocolate Covered Cookie Dough Bites




With the holidays approaching I wanted to try some fun giftable paleo foods. So you can expect some chocolates, cookies, and maybe even candies trial runs. I know the thought of a paleo chocolatier seems a bit ridiculous. But considering this is my preferred manner of eating, I think sharing it is important, regardless of whether a caveman could make it or not. This recipe is gluten free, vegan, sugar free, 

I am trying out this recipe from the Unrefined Kitchen but I halved the quantity for a trial run.


Ingredients:
center-
1/2 cup almond butter
2 Tbsp honey
1/3 cup shredded, unsweetened coconut
1/4 tsp. salt
1 tsp. vanilla
(optional) 1/3 cup dark chocolate chips
coating-
dark chocolate chips for melting (about a 1/2 cup)
1/2 tsp. coconut oil





Steps:
In a bowl combine almond butter, honey, coconut, salt (I forgot to add this), vanilla, + chocolate bits, mix until


















Put bowl in fridge until dough is easier to roll into balls. I did not wait very long as my ingredients were pretty firm already.



Roll dough into 1/2″ – 1″ balls. Place on wax paper lined plate or cookie sheet then place plate in freezer.









Melt chips and coconut oil in a double-boiler or like me a poor man's double boiler over low heat.
















Dip frozen (in my case partially frozen) balls in chocolate and place again on wax paper lined plate. Return plate to fridge to firm up. You could also place them in the freezer but I wanted them to be chewable, frozen might be good but my teeth are sensitive.










Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Holiday Card Craze

So today I went shopping instead of cooking anything (haha) so I have no new food to blog about. So instead I'd like to offer you something awesome and simple if you'd like one.

I love the holidays, I guess I always have, but as I get older I think I actually enjoy them more and more. So for this holiday I'd like to share the love and send you a card. True story.

It's simple you fill out the form, and I will send you a card. For truth! Thanks to @BrassyLibrarian I stole this idea from her so she gets all the credit- ok?

Monday, November 26, 2012

Easy Cranberry Sauce

Tonight we have a guest cooker! I'm still blogging about it, but my roommate Katie has made us some lovely sugar-free cranberry sauce using honey because we decided we did not get enough cranberry sauce yet this season.

Ingredients:
2 bags of cranberries
2 oranges (we used nectarines)
1/2 cup honey
beans from 1 vanilla bean (daring!)

Steps:






Zest the oranges/remove some peel. Juice the oranges and chop some the insides into tiny bits (wait to add the peel/zest).




Put the juice and the honey in a deep saucepan. Heat until honey has dissolved some.


















Next add cranberries (rinse first) to the saucepan. Add zest and bring entire pot to a boil until cranberries burst.



















You don't have to wait til they all burst, just some. Wait until it cools to eat.















Obviously after it sits in the fridge overnight it will be even sweeter and more delicious, but you could also just eat it all right then and there.


Thanks to Katie for making it! It's hard to get motivated to cook every day, so it's lovely to have such a kind roommate.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Turkey Broth + Turkey Soup simple tutorial

Because I just recently made a turkey, I happen to have a turkey carcass lying around. Awesome right? What can you do with a turkey carcass? well I suppose you could do plenty of weird things (weird art? weird hoodoo?), but the most obvious seems to be, make a metric TON of turkey stock / broth-or as close as possible.


Ingredients:
1 turkey carcass
a few celery stalks
sage
thyme
a chopped onion?
bay leaf
time
Enough water to cover the bones or extra to make even more broth

Steps:
I was endeavoring to make as much turkey broth as possible so I used my largest pot, which is the pot that I use for boiling jars for jar sealing. It's huge. 20+ qt.

My turkey carcass-  mine was from a 20lb turkey and had some turkey stuck to it still, and a threw in some skin too. crazy I know. I also tried to hack the bones in half. I really need a meat cleaver but don't own one so I tried my best with the knives I own.

I then added everything to the pot and filled the pot full of water and brought it up to a boil. Once it was at a boil I reduced the heat so the whole pot simmered and let it do so for 4+ hours.

I then put the whole pot outside overnight to cool. In the morning I skimmed what little fat was floating at the top. Then I strained the entire pot through a sieve (strainer) lined with cheesecloth and removed everything.  I set aside the bones for use later.

At this point I had maybe 10 -12 qt of stock. I put some into quart sized jars and then put those in the freezer. I used glass jars. If you haven't frozen things in glass jars before feel free to read this article for safe practices.

Then with about 2 qts of stock I made a turkey vegetable soup. I made it up on the fly and I do believe you could put whatever you want into this soup.

Ingredients I used in mine:
2 quarts turkey stock
1/2 onion
3 stalks of celery
1 cup spinach
1 cup baby carrots
4 large button mushrooms
1 head of broccoli
1 cup turkey
a few bones from the original carcass
thyme
sage
parsley

I cut all the vegetables to a bite size and added to a big pot with the stock, bones, and spices. I brought this to a boil, and then let it down to a simmer for an hour or so. Pull bones out and voila!, soup.


Saturday, November 24, 2012

Decadent Chocolate Sweet Potato Pie


After all the decadence that is Thanksgiving I thought I'd follow it up with something healthy and light. But instead I made this decadent masterpiece. I know, I'm funny right?

Based on a recipe at things my belly likes.


Chocolate Sweet Potato Pie (serves 6-8)
Crust:
3/4 cup coconut flour
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tbsp honey
2 large eggs
1/2 cup butter, melted (clearly not really paleo but be 






Melt the butter, let cool a bit, then beat in eggs and honey. 

















Add to coconut flour and cinnamon in a mixing bowl and mix. 













Once it is dough like push into the bottom of a coconut oil coated pie pan.

















Filling:
1 large sweet potato 
80g dark chocolate 
1/2 cup, plus 3 tbsps, almond milk
1/4 cup honey
2 large eggs
1/4 cup butter







Peel and dice the potato and boil it until tender.



























Using a double boiler, (or a poor man's double boiler ie. a smaller pot in a larger pot with water in the larger) melt the chocolate, honey and butter together. Set aside to cool a bit.




Blend the potato in a blender or food processor with 3 tbsps of almond milk.



















Whisk the eggs and almond milk into the cooled chocolate and gradually pour the result into the sweet potato mash, stirring so it forms a semi-runny batter.


















Pour batter into the pie dish and bake at 375 for 30ish minutes.  Until center has 'set up' and you can put a fork in and remove it clean.













Let cool then put in the fridge for at least an hour before serving.

The original pie asked for heavy cream, clearly the butter is a cheat but I don't have cream on hand so, almond milk- which resulted in a longer cook time.










Friday, November 23, 2012

Breadless herb bread stuffing!

For Thanksgiving I knew that not having stuffing was going to be a really difficult task for me to handle. As such I knew there was only one solution. Come up with a bread-like stuffing that would knock the socks off of bread eaters everywhere. So step one I needed to make bread! and in a completely unlike myself move I also bought a pack of gluten free bread cubes from Whole Foods.

I think made 2 loaves of the bread below. I found the basis for this recipe at burlesque baker

Herb bread ingredients:
2 1/4 C almond meal
6 Tbsp coconut flour
3/4 tsp garlic powder
3/4 tsp onion powder
3/4 tsp basil
3/8 tsp rosemary
3/8 tsp salt
6 eggs
3/8 cup olive oil and coconut oil (1/8 cup + 1 Tbsp each one)
3 clove of garlic (optional)
1 1/4 tsp baking soda
3 tbsp apple cider vinegar
Steps:
Preheat oven to 350 F. Use Coconut oil to coat the sides of a loaf pan.
Combine all dry ingredients in a medium bowl. Add the wet ingredients, and with an immersion blender or standing blender, blend mix together until combined and somewhat smooth. Form a ball with the dough, and mold the dough into the loaf pan. I cooked for about 40 minutes, until the center was cooked. I then let these cool and then chopped them into cubes.

For the stuffing I tripled this recipe for stuffing on Paleo Effect

2 loaves bread + storebought breadcubes 
coconut oil
6 Celery Stalks
6 button mushrooms
1 White Onion
3 Garlic clove
36 oz Chicken Stock
3 Egg
¼ cup Parsley
1 Tbsp Thyme
2 sprig Rosemary
1 Tbsp Sage
½ Tbsp Sea Salt
½ Tbsp Pepper






Chop vegetables. In a skillet on medium high heat add coconut oil, then add chopped vegetables and cook until tender.




















Put bread cubes, vegetables, and remaining ingredients in large bowl and mix until combined. I put mine into 2 loaf pan and cooked it at 350 for 25 minutes covered in foil, then 15 minutes uncovered.











In the future I might add more chicken stock to make it a bit moister, but overall I'd say it was a great success. I have a lot leftover so I'd better like it, I'll be eating it for days to come.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Turkey Day!

Happy Thanksgiving everybody. 



I made a turkey for the first time in a very long time. and it worked out quite well. I didn't baste, I didn't bother it at all, I started the turkey at 425 for 30 minute to brown the outside then I covered the breasts with foil and turned the oven down to 350 for a couple hours until I spoke to my mother and she told me it should be at 325, so I decreased it further. All told the bird went in at 9am and was out at 1:15. I used an in oven in bird digital thermometer with silicone so you can keep track of the temperature all along. Wait til it hits 165F internal and bam. It was very easy that way.

Additionally I have the aforementioned pie invention.

A gluten free stuffing that I will blog about later

All told it was a hugely fun and successful cooking day. I hope yours was too.






Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Invent a pie. Or die trying.

So tomorrow is Thanksgiving and I am making a turkey! so knowing my tiny oven would be tied up until mealtime today was pre-cooking day. I have made some paleo bread to make into stuffing, and I invented a pie. Okay, maybe invent is a strong word but I had an idea that was based on another recipe and my change seems big enough to shake the foundation and take pie A to a whole new level of pie-dom, so I'm calling it an invention. Deal with it.

Introducing the world premiere of paleo pumpkin crystallized gingersnap pie *fanfare*




Ingredients: Gingersnap crust
3 oz crystallized ginger
2 Tbsp fresh grated ginger
1 Tbsp molasses
1 cup almond butter
1 egg
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp nutmeg
Preheat oven to 350ºF. 





Steps: 

Grease the inside of a pie pan. 
Finely chop the crystallized ginger, add to your food processor. Grate your other ginger and add the rest of the ingredients and thoroughly mix.
Remove ball of dough from food processor, and push into pie pan, pushing up the sides to create the crust. If you have pie weights, add them, if not, just put it in the oven (I don't have pie weights)

Bake for about 12 minutes until edges start to brown (do not overcook).


Put aside to cool and start your filling. Or you could put aside and do filling later.



Ingredients: Pie filling
2/3 cups raw walnut halves
1/3 cup raw or roasted unsalted cashews
3 eggs + 1 egg yolk
2 oz crystallized ginger
¼ cup honey
¼ cup maple syrup
2 cups pumpkin puree (see Long neck pumpkins are for winners)
1 cup water
1 tsp ginger
1 tsp allspice
1 tsp nutmeg
½ tsp cloves
½ tsp cardamom
¼ tsp salt

Steps:

Preheat oven to 350F
Clean food processor from crust.
Place cashews and walnuts in your food processor and mix until finely ground. 
Add eggs, honey and maple syrup and blend for 2-3 minutes until completely smooth
Add the rest of the ingredients (except ginger) and blend until combined.

Pour into cooled pie shell (cool enough to touch).  Spread the top out evenly with a spatula. Dice ginger and place around top of pie you could put it just at the edge if you wanted, but I opted for an all over approach.












If there is extra pie filling you could fill ramkins and cook those along side as 'testers' I did. And I can happily tell you this pie is divine even though the main pie remains untouched.









Bake for 40 minutes. Test center with a fork- should come out clean. Allow pie to cool completely before serving.





The result is hearty, meaty even. This recipe is dairy free, soy free, gluten free and tastes like heaven. Highly highly recommended. Very happy with the results.