Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Almond Butter Banana Blueberry Muffins.

My mother introduced me to the idea of making muffins with almond butter after she had made some yummy muffins from one of our favorite bloggers, Megan, The Detoxinista. My sister in law is currently on a special diet and she was able to have these muffins; and she loved them! Both ladies spoke so highly of them that I knew I wanted to try making them myself. So the night before our family Christmas Eve celebration, I whipped some of these up, while making a few of my own changes ;)

I really like this recipe because it's so flavorful and so easy! It takes about 5 minutes to whip up, and about 20-25 minutes to bake, so within the hour you can have warm, cooled, ready to eat muffins for your friends and family! I highly suggest you wait for these muffins to cool. When they first come out of the oven the bottoms will feel a little "soggy" but they firm up as they cool. The texture of these muffins is fabulous!

Almond Butter Banana Blueberry Muffins.
     makes one dozen muffins
     inspired by this recipe

    1 cup  almond butter (mine was raw, but you can also use roasted, store-bought, or made at home)
    1/2 cup  mashed ripe banana (mine took 1 whole banana)
    1/4 cup (or even 2 Tbsp)  maple syrup (or runny honey)
    2  happy eggs
    1/2 tsp  baking soda
    1/4 tsp  unrefined sea salt
    1 Tbsp  cinnamon
    1 cup  frozen blueberries

To make your muffins:
  1)  Preheat your oven to 350 degrees, convection; line a muffin tin with paper liners.
  2)  In a large bowl, combine almond butter, banana, maple syrup, and eggs. Mix well. Add soda, salt, cinnamon, and mix again. Lastly, fold in the frozen blueberries. Do not overmix.
  3)  Using a 1/4 cup measuring scoop, transfer batter to muffin tin. Bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes, depending on your oven, and remove muffins when tops are slightly springy to the touch. Cool for 10 minutes in the pan, then transfer to a wire rack to cool more. Store in the fridge to keep for longer, or outside the fridge if eaten in 2-3 days.

These will freeze well also, and are a great "make ahead" option. They are also very portable, and will no doubt please a crowd. Kids and adults alike loved these muffins when I brought them to our Christmas Eve gathering. You can feel good about giving these muffins to your loved ones, as they are low in sugar, and high in fat and protein, which makes for a great snack, or side dish to eggs for breakfast.

Enjoy! I know I will be making these way more often from now on.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Christmas Yummies for 2013.

Christmas is right around the corner, so I thought I would gather my thoughts and let you know what I am going to make / or would like to make / will never get to but wish I would this season. There's so many good recipes out there, it's honestly so hard to chose these days!

Photo credit - GI365

  1. Ginger peach smoothie
  2. Peanut butter smoothie
  3. Grain-free Granola
  4. Grain-free Waffles
  5. Grain-free Sweet Potato French Toast
  6. Roasted veggies
  7. Fried eggs
  8. Breakfast bowls 

  1. Homemade Egg-Nog
  2. Almond Milk
Photo credit - Paleoaholic

  1. Oven roasted carrots
  2. Classic Pot Roast
  3. Roasted butternut squash and apples
  4. Cauliflower Garlic Mashed "Potatoes" 
  5. Parmesan Garlic Mashed Potatoes 

  1. Thea's Spiced Nuts
  2. Cranberry Orange Muffins
  3. Sweet Potato Steaks
  4. Guacamole and veggies
  5. Cranberry Sauce with oranges

  1. Gluten-free Gingerbread men
  2. Peanut Butter cookies
  3. Grain-free Lemon Biscuit cookies
  4. Grain-free Sugar cookies

  1. Triple Vanilla Ice Cream
  2. Grain-free Buche De Noel
  3. Grain-free Carrot Cake
  4. Paleo Peanut Butter Cups
  5. Grain-free Ginger Bread
  6. Santa-Hat Brownies

I hope these recipes will be helpful for you and your special day with friends and family!

Merry Christmas :)

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Grain-free Granola 2.0.

About a year ago I made some delicious grain-free cinnamon raisin granola for the first time. It was seriously delicious. So recently I went to go make some, and the search bar in my blog wasn't working... anyone else having this problem?!  So I ended up wingining it, trying to remember just what I did, and it came out great!  Even better than the first version if I do say so myself.

This grain-free granola is crunchy, toasty, and packed full of flavor!  Everyone in your family will love it, and they will all have a hard time believing that yeah, there are no oats in here!  You could even make a batch of this granola, put it in cute little jars, and give it away as Christmas gifts!  But everyone just might hound you for the recipe ;)  No worries, feel free to share!

PS - If cinnamon and raisins aren't your thing, try another spice combo, like cranberries and cardamom, or nutmeg and dried blueberries, or apricots and cloves! Feel free to switch it up to your liking.

These were filled to the tippy tippy top, BUT I ate some ;)

Grain-free Granola 2.0.
    makes 2 gallon sized mason jars full (even with extensive recipe sampling ;)
    * these ratios are generalized, really just throw all your favorite nuts combination in a large bowl; for instance, I didn't use cashews or peanuts, but feel free to use these if you wish

1/2 cup each:
    sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, whole macadamia nuts*, whole pecans, whole walnuts
1 cup each:
    pumpkin seeds, whole pecans, sliced almonds, raisins
1 cup each:
    ground macadamia nuts*, ground pistachios, ground walnuts
1-2 cups  organic coconut "chips" (largely flaked coconut)
1 cup  organic shredded coconut (small little shreds of coconut, not traditional sized flakes)
2  large eggs
1 - 2 Tbsp  cinnamon
1/3-1/2 cup  brown rice syrup
~1/4 cup  runny honey

To make your yummy granola:
  1.  Preheat oven to 375 degrees; mine was non-convection.
  2.  Combine nuts, coconuts, cinnamon, brown rice syrup, and honey.  Mix together. Add in both eggs and stir well with a wooden spoon.
  4.  On two parchment paper lined baking sheets, spread the mixture evenly between two pans.
  5.  Bake at 375 for 10-15 minutes. Watch it, uneven ovens may burn.  Stir well.  Bake another 10 minutes or so.  Stir.  Depending on your oven, you may need another a longer or shorter time. For me, it varies a little on every batch.
  6.  When done, remove from oven and let cool on pans. The granola will crisp up considerably as it cools and even more after you put it in jars and taste it the next day.

*My macadamia nuts were roasted and salted, so I did not add salt to the recipe. If you don't have any pre-salted nuts in your mixture and they are all raw, I suggest adding a teaspoon or two of salt, to your taste.

I cannot be held responsible for any granola-lovers who ingest too much granola during the making of this recipe. WARNING - This granola is dangerously good. Serve it straight out of the jar as a snack, with some cold raw milk or coconut milk in the morning like "cereal" or even on top of your favorite greek yogurt or ice cream. Or even a fruit parfait!  Use as you would any "regular" granola, but be aware that this granola is substantially more calorie dense, so you can eat way less and still feel just as satisfied ;)

Yum! Enjoy :)

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Grain-free "Recovery" Banana Bread.

One of my lovely family members just recently had surgery and an overnight hospital stay [everything is going well, thanks :)], and so I thought I would share this recipe, as it has been great for her recovery.

Let me explain...

My loved one recently had to have surgery. Post-operation she was having trouble swallowing because she felt so sore. She only wanted cold, soft things, and was also barely able to eat due to the nausea caused by pain meds. Turns out that I had just made some grain-free banana bread that week, in an endeavor to start recipe development for my own grain-free banana bread recipe that I would love just as much my grain-free pumpkin bread recipe. Well, the recipe was not perfect, and was very soft and moist (ie, the texture isn't quite there yet, and therefore not bloggable), but it was still had great flavor and tasted delicious, so I had kept it and was planning on nibbling on it throughout the week.

This "recipe" failure ended up being a blessing, as it's smooth and soft texture was very easy to swollow for my patient, but also gave her the feeling that she was "eating something solid." Win win!

For this recipe I used a smaller loaf pan, not the standard size. It was a medium sized Pyrex glass loaf pan which probably measures 4" x 8" and is tall, not wide, like standard loaf pans. It's very easy to whip up, and is a great idea to bring to the hospital to help your loved one recover! It sets up best in the fridge. So after the bread cools, turn it out, and place it in the fridge.

Grain-free "Recovery" Banana Bread.
    makes one loaf pan, size above

    2  very ripe bananas (or 3 small)
    1 cup  almond flour 
    1/3 cup  coconut flour
    2  medium/large eggs
    1/4 cup runny honey
    1/3 cup  coconut oil - mine was not melted
    3/4 cup  coconut milk - mine is always unsweetened
    1 Tbsp raw apple cider vinegar
    1 tsp  baking soda
    1-2 tsp  cinnamon or more if desired
    1.5 tsp vanilla

To make your recovery bread:
  1)  Preheat oven to 375 degrees; mine is non-convection.
  2)  Put ingredients in order listed into Vitamix or blender. Blend. Pour into coconut oil greased loaf pan (mine is a glass loaf pan).
  3)  Bake for over 1 hour. LET COOL. Store in fridge. Bread will be moist but will firm up in the fridge.
  4)  Eat with a spoon, or slice it thick. Spread with your favorite nut or coconut butter, for even more nutrition!

Enjoy this bread! I hope it will help your recovering family members, as it did mine, whether they are sick at home or are recovering from major surgery! In fact, we ate up this banana bread so fast because it was so tasty, and I am baking another one right now!

xoxo :)

P.S. I am home for Christmas break. This in the medical school world are going very well. I am tired, but loving my classes and assignments. Stay tuned for some delicious recipes that I can hopefully share with you during the time I am home. As always, thanks for continue to read my blog even though things are slow now-a-days!

Monday, November 18, 2013

Thanksgiving Ideas 2013.

Hello, everyone! I just want to say that, yes, I am alive. Medical school does not leave me much time for anything, including the necessities like vacuuming, much less writing a blog post!

With the holidays around the corner (Thanksgiving! Christmas!), I wanted to share some links with you of some yummy things I've been eyeing. This Thanksgiving I'll be spending with my friend S and her hubby and family and friends. She's relatively new to GF and paleo-ish, so it's going to be a fun time in the kitchen making delicious food.

Thanksgiving Ideas 2013 --> just click the links below!

Start your day of food prepping and cooking with this bright and light smoothie, just be sure to add some protein so you don't crash later!

Every Thanksgiving table needs...  Cranberry sauce, roasted veggies of all kinds, cauliflower garlic mashed potatoes, squash fries, some form of sweet potatoes, corn bread, corn bread, (yes two kinds is perfectly acceptable!), brussel sprouts, and green bean casserole, if that's your thing. And what about a broccoli-bacon salad? Or a light and easy spinach salad?

The main event... Want to switch it up this year? How about smoked turkey?

Who loves muffins? My mom's favorite snack and side for nearly any fall/winter holiday is these grain-free pumpkin muffins. If pumpkin muffins aren't your thing, or you want something to more easily please many different taste buds (young and old)... try these crowd-pleasing grain-free cranberry orange muffins, chocolate chips are optional!

This is my favorite pumpkin bread... Pst, it's unsweetened! ;)

Is there anyone who wants egg-nog before Christmas?

Dessert options are many...

My inner New-Englander loves any kind of grain-free apple crisp; this version has a crunchy delicious topping!

And of course there's vanilla ice cream, because apple crisp and paleo pumpkin pie always must be served with ice cream.

Cake, because it just may be someones birthday on or around Thanksgiving.

And for those of you who always need some chocolate, how about some brownies ;)

Lastly... After the main event... make some delicious grain-free waffle sandwiches using all your leftover turkey and cranberry sauce!

I hope you all have a warm and safe Thanksgiving holiday! Enjoy the time with loved ones, and don't forget to crunch some leaves if you have them :)

Saturday, September 14, 2013

"Reverse" Nourishing Protein Bars 1.0.

Cocoa butter is one of those ingredients that I've been wanting to flirt with for a while, yet the "high" price tag has always bothered me. Recently, however, some of my blogger friends have been using cocoa butter in their recipes, effectively making me jealous (well, more so curious!), so I jumped in and got some myself.

Cocoa butter is the fat that is extracted from the cocoa bean; and that's why it is white/yellowish in color, and not brown. Good quality cocoa butter should be at least $15/lb, and if it's less than that, you're either getting scammed or you just happened on a good deal. Look for a brand that has good reviews, is raw and organic, and can be used to make both food items and lotions. If you're using your cocoa butter for food applications, like here, you do not want to buy a non-food grade cocoa butter, so be sure to read the description on the product before you buy. I am a fan of Tisano brand organic cocoa butter, which you can find the link to on my ingredients page.

Cocoa butter comes in chunks or wafers (look for the kind made of chunks) and is easily meltable. For best results, store in the fridge before you're ready to work with it. And don't be afraid to try a chunk on it's own. I think it texture is like a bit like really smooth fatty coconut, but instead of coconut flavor, a hint of chocolate flavor instead! That being said, it's super versatile, and you can use it in chocolate sauces, puddings, and in things like these delicious protein bars :) I actually had a little bit left after making my protein bars, so I mashed some ripe bananas into it, added some cocoa powder, a little coconut sugar, ground chia, salt, and vanilla, and Viola! Chocolate pudding!

"Reverse" Nourishing Protein Bars 1.2.
    a spin off my original protein bars
    1 cup  whole raw walnuts
    1 cup  whole raw pumpkin seeds
    1/4 cup  ground chia seed
    1/2 cup  organic whole cranberries - mine were from Trader Joes
    1/2 cup  organic unsweetened coconut chips
    1/2 cup  organic sunbutter - mine was homemade :)
    1/2 tsp  unrefined sea salt
    1/2 cup  organic coconut oil, melted
    1-2 Tbsp  organic local wildflower honey
    2-3 tsp  vanilla
    ~  1 cup  organic raw cocoa butter, melted - source
    ~  1 cup  coconut cream concentrate - source
    ~  1/4-1/3 cup  organic coconut oil
    1 dropper  vanilla creme liquid stevia (optional)
    1 Tbsp  vanilla
* Please note the ingredients with an "about" sign in front of them are just estimates of amounts. I really just added some cocoa butter, ccc, and coconut oil to a double boiler and melted it together, adding the stevia (for sweetness) and vanilla (for flavor) at the end. I wanted a lot chocolate coating on my protein bars, but feel free to use less if desired.

To make your protein bars:
  1.  Place walnuts, pumpkin seeds, ground chia, cranberries, coconut, sunbutter and salt in a food processor. Pulse to combine.
  2.  In a small sauce pan, melt coconut oil using LOW heat. Remove from heat and add vanilla and maple syrup.
  3.  Add melted oil mixture to the food processor and pulse/grind ingredients until it forms a coarse paste.
  4.  Scoop out the mixture and press down hard into an square bar pan.
  5.  Melt coconut and cocoa butter in a double boiler, add stevia and vanilla last when finally melted. Pour the white mixture on top of the already pressed down bars, it should be liquid. Place into the fridge until chocolate has hardened. To serve, take bars out of fridge for at least 2 minutes. Work a knife around the edges gently, or insert a large knife on side and gently pop out the bar  and place pieces of plastic wrap or small baggies. Freeze for later or munch right away :)

You can even cut them into smaller or easier to bite shapes, like in the second photo. Enjoy this easy + nutritious option on the go!

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Banana Macadamia Muffins.

For the past two weeks I've been on a muffin craze, which has me seriously thinking why I don't make muffins more often. Perhaps the one thing between me and muffin-land is the belief that muffins take longer from start to finish. Well, after making 4 different batches of muffins in the past 2 weeks, I can definitely say, I am so totally wrong! Muffins are easy. Easy easy easy. Which means... More muffins! More muffins! Yay!

You will certainly feel my enthusiasm once you taste these muffins. I orginally found the recipe on Tropical Traditions coconut recipe website (which is great for inspiration), but have never made a recipe from there before. I never make a recipe from someone I don't know, or a blogger I don't respect. I've done it before, and they don't work out. Anyways! So these muffins looked so great, and after looking at the ingredient list I figured they couldn't go wrong, so I whipped up these muffins. I am so glad I did! They are moist, with just the right texture and not overloaded on any one ingredient. My favorite thing is that you can make these in one bowl quite easily, then pop them into the oven and you've got some delicious muffins to share!

I made some minor changes to the recipe, like subbing coconut water vinegar for lemon juice, since it's what I had on hand, and I didn't toast the coconut before adding it to the batter, since that would just be another step. I've also found that the recipe makes 14 muffins, so you'll need more than one muffin tin. Head over to for the original recipe!

Banana Macadamia Muffins.
    makes 14 muffins

    2/3 cup  macadamia nuts of choice, chopped
    2/3 cup  unsweetened coconut flakes
    1 cup  blanched almond flour
    ¼ cup  organic coconut flour - source
    3  ripe bananas, peeled and mashed
    2  eggs, room temperature
    1/3 cup  raw creamy honey
    1/3 cup  organic coconut oil, melted and cooled
    ¾ tsp  baking soda
    ½ tsp  unrefined sea salt
    1 tsp  coconut water vinegar or apple cider vinegar or lemon juice
    1 tsp  vanilla extract

To make your muffins:
  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees convection. Take out 2 muffin tins and place muffin liners inside.
  2. In a large bowl, add nuts, coconut, flours, baking soda, salt; mix to combine.
  3. To the same bowl, add eggs, bananas, honey, coconut oil, vinegar, vanilla; mix again to combine.
  4. Drop by tablespoons into the muffin tins. Fill 14 muffins full. *This will make 14 full sized muffins as long as there is no batter eaten in the process.
  5. Bake for about 30-35 minutes, rotating the pans at 20 minutes for best results. Let cool in pan for 5-10 minutes. Then move muffins to a cooling rack, which helps to firm up their bottoms. Enjoy!

These muffins can be frozen or refridgerated! I recommend storing them in the fridge, versus the countertop before eating. Be sure to share these with your family and friends, they're quite tasty!

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Banana Bread Muffins.

Banana bread is one of my favorite things in this whole wide world. After being inspired by some banana macadamia nut muffins I made, I knew that I could make some banana bread muffins that were absolutely delicious! So that's what I did. They're also grain-free and gluten-free (and wicked tasty)!

These little muffins taste just like banana bread, but are more portable! They're also super easy to whip up too, which will be great for when I start classes again.

Banana Bread Muffins.
    makes 14 muffins

    2/3 cup  walnuts, chopped
    2/3 cup  unsweetened coconut flakes
    1 cup + 2 Tbsp  blanched almond flour
    ¼ cup  organic coconut flour - source
    3  ripe bananas, peeled and mashed
    2  eggs, room temperature
    1/4 cup  raw creamy honey
    1/3 cup  organic coconut oil, melted and cooled
    ¾ tsp  baking soda
    ½ tsp  unrefined sea salt
    1 tsp  coconut water vinegar or apple cider vinegar or lemon juice
    1½ tsp  vanilla extract
    1½ tsp  cinnamon
    ½ tsp  freshly ground nutmeg
    toppings - optional

To make your banana bread muffins:
  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees convection. Take out 2 muffin tins and place muffin liners inside.
  2. In a large bowl, add nuts, coconut, flours, baking soda, salt; mix to combine.
  3. To the same bowl, add eggs, bananas, honey, coconut oil, vinegar, vanilla; mix again to combine.
  4. Drop by tablespoons into the muffin tins. Fill 14 muffins full. *This will make 14 full sized muffins as long as there is no batter eaten in the process.
  5. Bake for about 30-35 minutes, rotating the pans at 20 minutes for best results. Let cool in pan for 5-10 minutes. Then move muffins to a cooling rack, which helps to firm up their bottoms. Enjoy!

I am such a fan of banana bread, I know I will be making these often! And they are sure to please a crowd, so try bringing them to parties and sharing with friends and family!!

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Grain-free Blueberry Muffins 1.0.

I have loved all things blueberry for as long as I can remember. In fact, maybe I should ask my mom, as I am sure there was some point when I didn't like blueberries... but if there was a day, I don't want to remember!

August in New England means blueberries. Usually I get a bunch from some bushes we have on the land, but this year, either someone was picking them, or they just didn't have a good year, since I couldn't find nearly any! Lucky for us there are groceries stores that sell frozen blueberries and other farms to buy them from at the local farmers market!

These muffins were muffin #2 on my recent muffin kick. I am really excited about the flavor and 85% of the texture, but they seem to be a little on the crumbly side. I am going to work on this, and then edit the recipe, but I couldn't wait to share! They are just too delicious. The flavor is perfectly balanced.

Grain-free Blueberry Muffins 1.0.
    makes 18 muffins

    3/4 cup  organic coconut flour – sifted
    1/2 cup  blanched almond flour – sifted
    1/2 cup  raw honey
    1/2 cup  organic coconut oil, softened
    1/2 tsp  unrefined sea salt
    1/2 tsp  baking soda
    2  real eggs
    1 - 1½  cup  raw whole milk
    juice of half a lemon
    zest of one lemon
    1 cup  ground walnuts
    2 cup  frozen or fresh (large) blueberries
    sugar crystals for sprinkling - optional

To make your blueberry muffins:
  1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees convection. Line muffin tins with paper liners.
  2.  In a large bowl, whisk coconut oil until glossy, white and homogenous. Add raw honey and whisk until combined. Add room temperature eggs, lemon juice, lemon zest.
  3.  Add coconut flour, almond flour, soda, salt and walnuts to wet ingredients, sifting the flours into the bowl. Combine with a spatula.
  4.  Add milk, and combine again. Gently fold in blueberries.
  5.  With a tablespoon, add batter to muffin tins until 3/4 full. Bake for 30-35 minutes, until golden brown on top. Let cool for a few minutes, then move muffins to a wire rack to cool.

If you don't anticipate eating these within a week (stored in the refridgerator) then freeze them! They'll keep for about 6 months, that is, if you don't eat them sooner ;)


Monday, July 29, 2013

Reflections On Cooking.

This blog has been a great outlet for me over the years, and has served to be a source of fun, mainly as an outlet to share what I've learned through my own food adventures. I have shared what has worked for me as I've gone gluten-free, soy-free, and grain-free. What keeps me going is my love of the both the gluten-free and healthy blogging community, because I know that if there were not blogs from awesome home cooks when I went gluten-free years ago, I would have felt so lost. Every so often I get a comment from a reader about how much they loved the recipe, and this is what keeps me going. Even though I am very busy, I don't think I ever want to stop having a blog. It's a place to come to share my cooking excitement. While I may not post as frequently as I used to when I was in college, keep my page bookmarked, because you'll never know when something new and tasty will show up.

Another thing that I love about food blogging is the chance to share what I've made with friends and family. I can refer them to my blog after they try a dish of mine, instead of writing them a recipe card. Then if they wish to, they are able share it with their friends, too. I am a big fan of education of all kinds, and I love that (for somethings anyways) the internet is a catalyst for sharing information about food, cooking recipes and techniques.

One thing that always gets me about having a recipe blog though, is the "need" to post something new. Years ago when I wasn't as busy as I am now, this wasn't as hard. Seems like I always had something cooked up, photos taken and ready to share. Now that I am in medical school, I have virtually no time to create a new recipe, get all the measurements right, take pictures I'm actually proud of, and share it with you all. While I am still doing a fair amount of cooking new creations in my own kitchen, I am cooking as I go, and honestly, to keep track of every single spice and ingredient is tiresome. I have never had the patience for that, and that is one reason why there aren't as many savory lunch and dinner recipes here, because after you read an ingredient list with over five spices, who is really going to benefit from reading about my dish? As the number of ingredients and complication surrounding the recipe making increases, the possibility of people making and enjoying my recipe decreases.

The way I cook in my kitchen is half planned, half spontaneous. I like to make a plan in my head of what I want to make for dinner, which is usually a protein and two vegetables, and then go from there. For instance, that week I may discover that I am out of grass-fed ground beef, so I'll defrost some chicken, fish, or steaks instead. Then, when I go to the farmers market or local grocery store, I may find that the lettuce or vegetable I was planning on buying doesn't look very good that week, isn't available, or is either not on sale or overpriced, so I have to buy another kind of veggie to enjoy. I like to call this style of cooking "rolling with it." There is still a budget and a plan, but there is room to play. Why would I choose to buy the more expensive pink lady apples to eat that week, when the fuji apples look just as good and are on sale? That's how I roll.

As I've been cooking for several years now, I do realize that there are some things that I do in the kitchen that people would benefit from hearing about. That's why I've shared some things that I do rather frequently, like making nut mix for my mom (when I'm visiting home), making ice cream in the summer, roasting off some squash fries, whipping up a batch of protein bars for easy eating on the go, and putting together a fun breakfast bowl when I have the time.

Sometimes I feel insecure about my blogging platform since I don't share many of my dinner and lunch meals. I cook as I go, layering on the flavors, and that's hard for me to capture in an adequate enough way that I feel proud to present it in a post.

I would love to do a vegetables series, where I showcase my favorite (basic) ways to cook my favorite vegetables, so you may see this in the future one day. This would be less complex and something easy for me to share with you all. But for now, I am enjoying making whatever I want in the kitchen, and bringing you all to a recipe when I both have time, and delicious results.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Triple Vanilla Ice Cream.

Vanilla ice cream is definitely one of  my favorite flavor of ice cream. I like to try sample at every ice cream shop I visit, to see if I have found the vanilla ice cream. So far my search has found some pretty good vanillas, and some pretty mediocre vanilla ice creams. By far, the standard of my comparison has been the storebought super premium ice cream, Double Rainbow. Since trying this ice cream, no other vanilla I've tried has stacked up to it's incredibly creamy, smooth, bright and comforting vanilla flavor.

So when I whipped up this ice cream last weekend, I thought that it would come out very well, but I didn't know how well. Even before pouring this ice cream into the ice cream maker to freeze, I knew this batch was special. It tastes like a dream, scoops like a dream, and melts like a dream (unlike some homemade ice creams which just seem to melt right away, or to never melt at all). I have to admit, it certainly rivals the amazing taste of Double rainbow, which is a feat in and of itself. I will definitely be making more vanilla ice cream exactly like this. Below is a photo from my brother's birthday celebration.

Since the vanilla sugar and cream are simmered together (in order to dissolve the sugar), the final product as a slight caramel taste! No doubt if you simmered the cream and sugar longer, you could easy make a dulche de leche version.

Triple Vanilla Ice Cream.
    makes two quarts

    6 oz  vanilla sugar - source or make your own
    4 cups (1 quart)  raw cow's milk cream
    1  vanilla bean
    1 Tbsp  vanilla extract
    1 Tbsp  coconut flour - source
    5  egg yolks
    1/2 tsp  unrefined sea salt

To make your ice cream:
  1. In a small sauce pan, combine sugar and 1 cup cream. Turn on high heat, bring almost to a boil, when first bubbles appear at sides reduce heat to simmer, and simmer, stirring frequently, for about 5-10 minutes. Mixture will thicken, coat the back of a spoon, and be caramel-like when ready. Remove from heat and allow to cool (this may take a while).
  2. In a separate bowl, combine coconut flour, salt, vanilla bean flecks, and egg yolks. Mix until yellow and thick. Add vanilla extract. Whisk in remaining 3 cups cream. Slowly add the cooled vanilla sugar mixture, whisking constantly.
  3. Add to your ice cream maker, and freeze according to manufacturers instructions. Mine churned for about 25 minutes. This ice cream comes out perfectly straight from the ice cream maker. Freeze overnight before scooping for hard ice cream. No need to remove ice cream from freezer for 10 minutes before serving. It's scoopable as is!
  4. This ice cream is so delicious, serve with your favorite brownies, chocolate sauce, nuts or whipped cream. Or you can serve along mint cake, like I did here! Enjoy :)

Want some cake with your ice cream? Try my grain-free chocolate cake! It's super easy, just make sure to follow instructions and to both grease and flour the pan.

Other ice creams I've made:
- Original vanilla ice cream - my first attempt, these basic proportions are what I use as a "template" for making all my other ice cream recipes
- French vanilla ice cream
- Chocolate ice cream
- Chocolate peanut butter ice cream

Have a lovely summer day!

Friday, July 12, 2013

Grain-free Sweet Potato French Toast.

Growing up I have a lot of fond memories of my mom's cooking.  On the weekends, she would make a special breakfast for us, and my brother and I would get to choose between either pancakes, french toast, or waffles.  French toast was my brother's particular favorite.  It always came out the same, (tasty), and it was the faster of the three options for my mother to prepare, which always meant breakfast would be sooner!

To be honest I haven't had regular french toast in a long time. Last summer I spontaneously took some left over sweet potato, combined it with some eggs and warm spices, and this recipe was born! I didn't write it down, however, and this last year of medical school has stopped virtually all my recipe development time. Since I am free this summer, I have more time, and so one morning last week I spent time in the kitchen whipping this up! It feels good to be cooking again :)

If you're paleo, primal, grain-free or just wish to avoid unecessary carbs, this recipe is for you. It doesn't actually contain any bread, just some delicious orange sweet potatoes. The eggs and warm spices combine to make the french-toast taste. The texture isn't like bread, but it's moist and melts in your mouth!! Yum!

Grain-free Sweet Potato French Toast.
    makes one 9x13 pan

    1 Tbsp  cinnamon
    1/2 tsp  fresh ground nutmeg
    3 dashes  ground cloves
    1/4 tsp  black pepper
    1/2 tsp  unrefined sea salt
    2 tsp  vanilla extract
    2 Tbsp  raw honey - source
    2 Tbsp  organic coconut oil, melted - source
    1/2 cup  organic raw milk
    6  happy pastured eggs

    3 large sweet potatoes, washed and peeled

    Toppings: (optional, choose your favorites!)
      sunflower seeds
      coconut chips
      maple-cinnamon sugar - source

To make your french toast:
  1.  Wash and peel your sweet potatoes. Cut lengthwise in half, then cut each half into half moon shapes about a half inch thick. Arrange on a cookie sheet and roast at 425 degrees until just fork tender.
  2. In a large bowl, combine all spices, honey, oil, milk and eggs. Be sure coconut oil is not hot. Whisk until well combined and there are no lumps of spices or egg.
  3. Grease a 9x13 glass casserole dish with about 1 tablespoon of butter.
  4. Arrange pre-baked sweet potatoes on the bottom of the dish. Pour egg and spice mixture on top. Sprinkle with toppings of choice! I used pecans, sunflower seeds, coconut chips and a maple sugar-cinnamon mixture. Other good choices would be whole walnuts, shredded coconut, ground pecans, and raisins.
  5. Bake at 400 degrees convection, covered in foil, for a total of 45 minutes. At 30 minutes check to see how it's doing. For the last 5 minutes, remove foil. Let cool to set before serving warm with plain yogurt, thick greek yogurt or maple syrup. This will freeze very well and is also great for the next few days straight from the fridge. Enjoy!

This recipe would be a great brunch option, since you can easily make the sweet potatoes and egg mixture the day before and store it in the fridge. Then in the morning before guests arrive, grease the baking dish, add the sweet potatoes, pour in the egg mixture, add the toppings, and in an hour you'll have some delicious paleo french toast baked, cooled, and ready to be devoured! I'd serve it topped with your favorite greek yogurt and fresh blueberries or strawberries, with sizzling bacon on the side, and warm green tea in your mug!

I'd eat this up within a week after you make it, but then again I don't think that will be a problem :)