Sesame-Garlic Kale-Sweet Potato Salad

IMG_5691The key to the delicious taste of this one is the dressing, which is actually very simple, and we use it on lots of other veggies (sauteed broccoli is a favorite). It’s a great way to get kids to eat lots of garlic and ginger when they’re sick, too.
You can also have the dressing with just kale, to keep it really low carb. For the most part, we avoid sweet potatoes, but I’ve found that the small amount of sweet potato per serving in this doesn’t spike my daughter’s sugar.

Dressing ingredients:

1 cup toasted sesame oil
1/4–1/3  cup olive oil (make sure it’s extra virgin, organic)
tons of garlic, minced
approximately a 2″ X 2″ piece of fresh ginger (or more to taste), grated
1/8 cup rice vinegar
2 or 3 T tamari (make sure it’s organic–you don’t want to get any GMO soy)
1 scoop KAL organic stevia (or 1 tsp raw honey if you’re not doing really low sugar/carb)

Shake all ingredients together well in a jar. This makes quite a bit of dressing, not just enough for this salad. It’s always good to have around, and keeps really well for a long time in the fridge (though ours usually gets used up within a few days).

Other ingredients:

1 medium-sized bunch of kale, chopped into bite-sized pieces
1 medium to large sweet potato, also chopped into small bite-sized pieces
Coconut oil or Olive oil

Preheat oven to just below 325 F if using olive oil;just below 350 F if using coconut oil.

Toss the sweet potato with olive oil, then roast in oven until pieces just start to brown. Remove pieces onto a plate and let cool. They will become a little chewy. Once cool, combine sweet potatoes and kale together in a large bowl. Add as much of the dressing as you want and toss until veggies are all coated. Julienned red bell peppers are also good in this salad, and add some great color.

 

flourless gluten-free sugar-free brownie-truffles

IMG_5665

My new favorite ingredient discovery is Creamed coconut (not to be confused with coconut cream). I found it at our local co-op, but if you can’t find it, I’m sure you can order it online.

Anyway, so, this is a very simple recipe, once you have your creamed coconut. I’ve seen a few versions out there, but all with sugar of one sort or another.

Ingredients:
1 package (7 ozs) unsweetened creamed coconut
3/4 cup unsweetened chocolate chips or pieces, or 6 ozs worth of chocolate bars (either homemade chocolate, unsweetened bars or 85% cocoa is what we use)
1 to 2 T raw cacao powder (or good quality, organic, non-alkaline cocoa powder)
2 tsp vanilla extract and/or 2 tsp almond extract or orange extract (orange oil also works wonders here!)
2 eggs, well-beaten
1/2 tsp baking soda
4 to 8 scoops of KAL organic stevia (optional) (we actually like this with or without stevia. The creamed coconut has a pretty sweet taste to it, but we also like very dark bitter barely-sweetened chocolate, so experiment according to your taste buds. If you’re someone transitioning from sugar, you may be surprised to find that after a few weeks you won’t need to add any extra sweetener). In the picture above, we made them without stevia, but sprinkled a tiny bit on top of each one, which tasted great!

Preheat oven to 350 F. Line a muffin pan with parchment-paper muffin cups.
Melt the chocolate bars/chips and creamed coconut together in a double boiler, whisking occasionally. Once this is all melted together, remove from burner and add the rest of the ingredients, continuing to stir. As soon as you add the eggs, the mixture will thicken a lot, so you may want to add them last.
Fill each muffin cup about 1/3 full. Bake for about 15 minutes.
Remove from oven and let cool in pan for about 1/2 an hour, then cool on a plate for another 15 minutes or so, then cool in the fridge until cold. These will be a little crumbly until you get them fully cooled down, at which point they become completely stuck together and kind of soft-hard like a cross between brownies and truffles! Enjoy!

Raw Sugar-Free Chocolates

These are SO good (again, if you like strong dark bitter REAL chocolate), and so good for you. Terrific holiday treats for the kiddies (and the kiddies in all of us!).

Cacao is full of heart-protective anti-oxidants similar to polyphenols found in red wine and green tea. It is full of many minerals too, and extremely high in magnesium, a mineral many diabetics in particular are often deficient in. The problem with commercial chocolates is that they are full of sugars or chemical sugar-substitutes. Any chocolate that contains under 70% cocoa shouldn’t even be called chocolate!

Anyway, here’s my basic recipe, with suggestions for variations afterwards.

Approximately 7 ozs raw cacao butter, melted slowly in a double-boiler
1/2 cup coconut oil, melted over a very low heat
2 cups raw cacao powder
1 T vanilla extract
1 T almond extract
Approximately 20 scoops of KAL organic stevia (or to taste, depending on how sweet you want it)
Chocolate molds and/or ice cube trays

Combine the melted oils in a large bowl or measuring pitcher. Add the extracts and stir well. Stir together the cacao powder and stevia powder, then pour these dry ingredients into the wet and whisk together until no lumps remain. Pour or spoon chocolate into molds and refrigerate. They should set in about an hour. These need to be kept in the fridge. They’re a little more melty at room temperature (approx. 70 degrees F) than commercial chocolates, as they don’t contain soy lecithin or any chemical emulsifiers. You can also try a higher percentage of cacao butter (or no coconut oil at all), and they won’t melt as easily. I’ve never done this, I guess just because I like them cold out of the fridge anyway.

Here are some of the additions we’ve done:
mixed dried berries
goji berries
golden berries
orange extract
mint extract
powdered dried mint leaves
powdered  dried basil leaves
turmeric, almond butter and black pepper
almond butter
peanut butter
crushed pecans
chopped almonds and walnuts

If you add some raw cream while you’re making them, they come out thicker, like truffles. Experiment!

Root Vegetable Latkes

A new (healthier, lower-carb, and still delicious) take on another old holiday favorite.
For approximately 8 latkes:

3 medium-sized rutabagas or turnips, grated
1 large carrot, grated (optional)
1 large burdock root, grated (optional)
4 eggs, beaten well
1/2 cup blanched almond flour
salt and pepper
ghee or lard or coconut oil (or olive oil, but be careful not to let the oil get to the smoking point)
sour cream for dipping or topping
parsley, minced, for garnish/topping

Once the root veggies are grated, wrap them in paper toweling (or a clean dish cloth), and squeeze out all extra liquid (turnips, especially, will need this). Then combine all ingredients and mix well.

Heat a large skillet (I use cast-iron) over medium heat. Add oil and let it heat up, then spoon batter into the hot oil in large spoonfuls. Cook about 4 minutes on each side, pressing flat once you turn them over, until golden-brown and a little crispy. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Serve with fresh sour cream (raw if possible) and a sprinkle of minced parsley.

Variations: #1) do these with zucchini; #2) add grated parmesan or manchego or cheddar cheese to batter.

Gluten-Free/Grain-Free Holiday Stuffing #1

A few people have been asking me for stuffing ideas(dressing for you Brits [one person asking was a british friend]!), so here’s one I just did this week that was great. I’ll get up a few more soon, as Thanksgiving approaches. Sorry these aren’t the greatest photos. I’ll try to get better ones next time.

Grain-Free, Gluten-Free Vegetable Holiday Stuffing #1

This will be enough to stuff a medium-sized turkey or chicken and have some left over to bake separately. Really the great thing about stuffing is the flavor the herbs give it. We didn’t miss the bread at all here.

2 or 3 medium-sized carrots, diced
2 large stalks celery, diced
1 large (or 2 medium) leeks, sliced thinly
1 medium to large onion, finely diced
1 T dried rosemary, ground up a bit
2 T dried sage, ground
1/4 cup fresh parsley, finely chopped
1/4 pound butter, melted
1/4 to 1/2 cup bone broth
1/4 to 1/2 cup blanched almond flour

Saute all the veggies until soft in a couple T of the butter, adding the herbs toward the end. Place veggies in a baking dish (I use pyrex or ceramic) with the rest of the butter, broth, and the almond flour. Stir a bit until well-mixed. Place in a 350F oven and bake for about 25 minutes, until slightly browned on top.
Alternately, you can take as much of the stuffing as will fill your turkey or chicken, then bake the rest as above. Serve with gravy. It’s delicious!

Here’s the roasted chicken we ate stuffed with the above dressing last week, which I rubbed with butter,  fresh garlic, paprika, thyme, sage, a little cumin, salt and pepper before I put it in the oven. Kept basting the whole time, every 20 minutes or so, and it came out great. A trick my stepmother taught me for doing large birds is to start baking it in the oven upside-down for a while. Then all the fat from the underside and the dark meat, etc., runs into the breast side which can sometimes dry out a bit. I tried it last Thanksgiving and it really worked. You just have to take it out about half-way through and flip it breast-side up and rub with more herbs, so you get the crispy skin on top without too much drying.

Obviously, gearing up for the holidays already! Who says every day can’t be Thanksgiving (my favorite holiday, since it’s all about food, friends and family–certainly not about stealing the country from our Native American ancestors for my family! That’s for another day when I feel like ranting)? I think I feel pretty thankful most of the time, especially with a diabetic kid.

Our Favorite Fall Breakfast (for this week)

Slow-Cooker Paleo Chili

2 lbs 100% organic grass-fed ground beef
2 14.5-oz cans organic petite diced tomatoes (we like ones with chipotle or adobo) (or 1 and 1/2 cups diced fresh tomatoes, in season)
1 large onion, diced
1 or 2 large carrots, diced
1 or 2 stalks celery diced
1 medium bell pepper, diced (optional)
4 or 5 cloves garlic, minced
2 T ground cumin
2 to 3 T chili powder (preferably chipotle again, if you can find it)
2 T ghee or organic lard from pastured pigs
salt and pepper to taste

Heat ghee in a skillet, and cook the meat in it for a few minutes. It doesn’t have to be thoroughly cooked. Transfer it to the slow-cooker. Saute onions, carrots, celery, peppers in the pan for a few minutes (adding more oil if you need to), then add the cumin and saute for a couple more minutes. Add these to the slow-cooker too. Throw in the garlic, tomatoes, and spices. Stir until mixed well. Set slow-cooker to low for about 7 hours. This is a great meal to come home to on a blustery fall day, and warmed up for breakfast and/or lunch, with a green salad is terrific.

If you’re in a rush in the morning, you can forego sauteeing the veggies–just throw them all in slow-cooker raw, with the meat, and they’ll still be well-cooked when you open it up 7 or 8 hours later!

Variation:If you are not eating a paleo diet, and want to use beans in your chili, we always used to use black beans, as they are a little lower in carbohydrate than some other beans. Just remember to prepare them in a traditional way, otherwise you won’t be absorbing any of the nutrients, and will give yourself stomach problems! Also remember that contrary to mainstream advice, beans are very high in carbohydrates, and will spike sugar and/or insulin, so use wisely and sparingly.

 

 

Simple Green Salad to go with Chili

Lots of fresh organic lettuce (which there is tons of this time of year)
Avocado, sliced or diced
Red onions, diced (optional)
Grated carrot
Any other veggies you like ( we often use dried powdered seaweed of some sort. Cilantro and/or parsley are great. Sauerkraut is another one;this is a good way to get your daily intake)
Toss all ingredients together. Serve with the chili.

If you want a good dressing, here’s a simple vinaigrette:

1/4 cup fresh lime or lemon juice
1/4 cup organic, extra-virgin cold-pressed olive oil
1/4 of a small red onion, minced
1 clove garlic, pressed or minced
1/4 to 1/2 tsp dijon mustard
1/4 cup organic sour cream, preferably raw (optional)
salt and pepper to taste

Place all ingredients in a jar and shake well until thoroughly combined.

Pumpkin Muffins and Cinnamon Orange Cardamom Swirl Pumpkin Pie (Grain/Gluten-free;Sugar-free)

Pumpkin Muffins
These are SO good! I “discovered” this recipe by accident once, when I had planned to make almond-butter-carrot muffins, at my daughter’s behest, and suddenly realized I had no carrots on hand, but did have a can of organic pumpkin puree (this time of year, when gourds abound, making your own pumpkin puree can be great too)…

Ingredients:
1/3 cup almond flour
1 cup almond butter
1 and 1/2 cups pumpkin puree
1/4 cup butter, melted over low heat
2 eggs
1 T maple syrup
1 T maple extract
Approximately 14 scoops of KAL organic stevia (or to taste)
1 heaping T cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg
1/2 to 1 tsp powdered cloves
1/2 tsp cardamom (optional)
1 tsp baking soda

Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease muffin pans (this makes about 10 to 12 medium-sized muffins)
Mix the pumpkin puree and almond butter together until well-combined, then beat in the eggs, syrup and butter. Combine the almond flour, stevia and spices. Add to the wet ingredients, mix until combined, then scoop into greased muffin pan. Bake for about 20 minutes, or until a fork stuck in the middle just barely comes out clean.
These keep well in the fridge for at least a week. They freeze well for months.

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Cinnamon Orange Cardamom Swirl Pumpkin Pie
I’ve never actually been a huge fan of pumpkin pie, but this one I love–I think it’s the combination of the slight hint of orange and cardamom combined that makes it so good. I came up with it when I was on a complete cardamom kick last year–just couldn’t get enough of it. It was winter, it’s a warming spice. What can I say…?

Preheat oven to 350 F.

Crust:
1 and 1/2 cups blanched almond flour
3/4 cup butter, melted
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 T vanilla extract

Combine all ingredients well and press into a pie pan. Bake for about 15 minutes, until just barely starting to brown. remove from oven and let cool completely.

Filling:
2 cups pumpkin puree
1/4 cup coconut oil, melted over low heat
1/4 cup butter, melted over low heat
3/4 coconut cream or full-fat coconut milk
2 eggs
1 T vanilla extract
Grated rind of one orange
12 to 14 scoops KAL organic stevia (or to taste)
1 T cinnamon
1 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp ground cardamom

Beat the eggs well, then add pumpkin, coconut oil, butter, stevia, vanilla extract and grated orange rind. Continue to beat (or whisk) until frothy and the stevia is pretty well-dissolved. Combine all the spices in a small separate bowl. Pour the pumpkin mixture into the cooled pie crust, then sprinkle the spices into it, stirring just enough to make swirly patterns. Bake for about 40 minutes, or until firm and a fork stuck into the middle comes out clean.