Bacon-Wrapped Scallops

IMG_5901This is such an old recipe, and I’ve seen many versions of it. It’s quick and simple, and can be part of a nutrient-dense meal, or served as appetizers. Make sure you get good organic pastured bacon if you can (local farms, farmers’ markets, good butchers, etc).

Ingredients:

6 slices of bacon, cut in half
12 medium-sized scallops (or 6 large, cut in half)
approx. 5 T butter, melted
as much garlic as you want (a few cloves), minced or pressed
salt and pepper
12 toothpicks

Preheat oven to 350 F. Lay the bacon out on a flat baking pan and bake it for about 10 minutes each side. You want it to really start cooking, but still be pliable. Remove from oven and lay on a plate to cool to the point that you can touch it without burning your fingers.
Pour most of the leftover bacon fat out of the baking pan (strain and save it–it’s great for cooking everything, or making mayo out of (recipe soon).
Add the garlic, salt and pepper to your melted butter. (You can keep some of this aside to pour over at the end.)
Dip each scallop piece into the garlic butter. Thoroughly coat each one.
Then wrap each scallop with a piece of the bacon and secure it with a toothpick (make sure toothpick goes all the way through the whole scallop and bacon on each side, so it doesn’t fall apart in the baking).
Place each scallop onto the greased baking pan.
Bake until scallops are done and bacon is starting to crisp a little (approximately 20 minutes).
Remove from oven, arrange on plates and pour remaining garlic butter over all.
These are also delicious with a chipotle mayo, for which I will try to get a recipe up soon.

 

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

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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!

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.

A couple of breakfast recipes

Recipes Included on this page:
1. Hot Nutty Cereal
2. End-of-summer Veggie Scrambled Eggs

Some moms of diabetic kids have been asking me to get more breakfast ideas up on here, as breakfast really is the most difficult meal for people who are used to a standard american diet (aka SAD) to figure out recipes for. The one piece of advice I keep giving is:think outside the box. Americans are so used to eating these ridiculously high-carb/sugar breakfasts that have everyone, diabetic or not, falling asleep (after bouncing off the walls, in the case of some sugar-laden kids!) by mid-morning, as they have a sugar-spike and then crash. So many of these breakfast “foods” people are used to are highly processed stuff that comes in a box. Think cereals, muffins, toast, pop-tarts. Grains, grains, grains. I don’t care if they are organic, whole-grain, even sprouted grain, whatever:it’s ALL SUGAR when it hits your blood;all has the same effect. If you want your kids (or yourself, for that matter) to sustain level blood sugar, especially after breakfast, you want to feed them good fats and proteins. Fat is slow-burning energy that sustains, unlike carbohydrates that is fast-burning energy that spikes sugar (and insulin). Combining some good carbs (such as veggies and/or low-glycemic fruits) with good fats and protein will sustain energy for long periods. If a kid eats a good healthy breakfast, he or she should not need a snack until lunch (I notice it’s become standard practice for schools to give kids a snack around 9 or 10 in the morning, 2 or 3 hours after breakfast. These kids are eating sugary, high-carb breakfasts, then “starving” and eating more sugary high-carb snacks mid-morning. It’s crazy, but has become common practice in this country, unlike in many other places.

Anyway, here are a couple more breakfast ideas that have been big hits in our house:

I’ve seen many versions of this oatmeal (or cream-of-wheat) substitute. This is one I’ve put together after trial-and-error with many of them:

Hot Nutty Cereal

2 cups raw walnuts (soaked and dehydrated) (you could also use 1 cup almonds/1 cup walnuts)
1 small to medium apple, diced
2 T ghee and/or coconut oil
1 T cinnamon
1 to 2 tsp cardamom (optional)
3 cups home-made almond milk and/or whole-fat coconut milk (we use Thai brand organic, which you can now find in most supermarkets, definitely in co-ops)
1 T vanilla extract
stevia to taste

Process nuts in a food processor until pretty finely ground. Stir in the cinnamon, cardamom and stevia.
Meanwhile, saute the apple in the coconut butter/ghee, until soft.
Add the nut/spice/stevia mixture into the apples in the pan, and stir for a minute or so until coated with the  oil.
Reduce the heat and add almond/coconut milk and vanilla extract. Stir well, then reduce heat even more, to low.
Cook, uncovered, stirring as needed, until mixture thickens to your liking (usually about 15 minutes).
Serve warm. Sometimes we pour raw cream over it, just like we used to with oatmeal. Or add berries. It’s a very filling breakfast, with all the good nut fats and proteins. It’s good cold later, too (this recipe will serve 2, but you may have some leftover).
Keeps in the fridge for about 5 or 6 days.

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My daughter is not crazy about plain old scrambled eggs, but when we add things in, she loves them. This is just one of many ways we prepare them that makes her gobble them up, no problem:

End-of-summer Veggie Scrambled Eggs

For one serving:

2 eggs, beaten well
2 to 4 T of full-fat cream cheese (raw, cultured, if you can find it locally)
2 T red onion, diced
2 T fresh basil, minced
1 T fresh parsley, minced
2 T fresh kale or other garden greens), diced
5 or 6 ripe sungold tomatoes (or other cherry tomato), halved
ghee for sauteeing/frying
Half an avocado for “garnish”

Add cream cheese by the tsp to beaten eggs (so you have 6 or 7 dollops of the cheese in the eggs). Saute onions in the ghee, over medium-low heat, until softened, then add other veggies and herbs. Cook for another 5 minutes or so, stirring frequently, then pour in egg/cheese mixture. Make sure to stir constantly so they don’t burn or stick (we have a great black-steel pan that is dedicated to cooking eggs, nothing else, and we keep it well-seasoned so we don’t get sticking problems. I do NOT recommend using any of those awful “non-stick” pans that seem to still be on the market). Cook to your liking.
Serve warm with avocado slices on the side (and a dollop of cultured sour cream on top if you like).

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.

Delicious End-of-Summer-Veggies Appetizer

Patty-Pan Pesto Pile-up

This one’s so easy, I’ll write it in even though I only have 2 minutes. Gotta get out to the garden and harvest the last of the tomatoes, to make ketchup. We’re supposedly getting a frost tonight! Where did the summer go?

Recipe:

Patty pan squash, sliced into rounds about 1/4-inch thick each (or zucchini, if you want smaller rounds)
Pesto (preferably home-made
Sungold or Cherry tomatoes

Steam the slices of squash for just a couple of minutes. Remove from steamer to cool. Place on a plate. Put a big dollop of pesto on top of each slice.
Top with a whole cherry tomato.
A whole bunch of these (small, made with zucchini) together on a platter make for beautiful finger-food, or if you are using a big enough patty pan and enough pesto, it’s an individual serving (and very filling) appetizer.