Sunday, November 6, 2011

Time For Some Baking!!

     Yesterday was such a cold, windy day that I did not feel like leaving the house (so I didn't. LOL)   So what is better than to do a little baking goodies on a cold day, Nothing!  Since I had not done any baking since we switched to the Paleo Lifestyle I figured it was time for me to finally get my butt up and give it a try and my kids were so happy I did, because I tried not one recipe but two. I knew for sure one of the things I was going to bake was a Raspberry Coconut Muffin my husband had seen on, so since he was going to the box for day 5 of his whole month of November Hero WOD's I figured I would have him stop by the commissary to pick up what I needed. While he was gone I was looking at a few recipes and I decided to make some Pumpkin muffins but I couldn't find a recipe that was just what I was looking for so I ended up being a little creative :-) This is what I ended up with and they were sooooooooo Yummy!!!

    The first ones I baked were the Raspberry Coconut Muffins, and I have to be very honest I did not think they were going to turn out very good. I gathered all the ingredients together and did every thing the recipe said to do, but the batter was very, very dry and crumbly. I thought there is no way in hell this is going to turn out to be anything edible, I even added another 1/4 cup coconut oil. I still wasn't happy with the results but I decided to go ahead and cook it anyways (didn't want to throw all that money away. LOL) I had to cook them a few minutes longer than the recipe called for, but I think that was because of the extra oil I added. They did not really rise at all, thank goodness I filled the muffin tin full. Low and be hold after they were done and cooled I tried one, I was so pleasently suprised that I could not believe it. They were  so moist and tasty!

                                                  Raspberry Coconut Muffins

6        eggs
1/2     cup honey
250g  melted coconut oil  (which converts to 8.75 ounces)
1 C.   coconut flour
1 C.   shredded coconut
2 C.   raspberries
1 tsp  baking soda
1 tsp  salt

 Pre heat oven to 180 degrees celcius in a fan forced oven and place patty pans in muffin tray.
 Place all wet ingredients (apart from raspberries) in a bowl and mix together with a mixer.
 Stir in dry ingredients and add raspberries last. ( I recommend folding them into the batter)
 Cook for 20-25 minutes
 let cool and then serve.
This batch made 16 muffins

While those were in the oven I went ahead and whipped up my Pumpkin Muffins and this is what I came up with......

Pumpkin Pecan Coco Muffins

1/2 cup     melted butter
6               eggs beaten
1 tsp         pure vanilla extract
1/2 C.       pumpkin puree
1/4 C.       honey
1/2 C.       coconut flour    
1/2 tsp      baking powder
1  3/4 tsp   cinnamon (i love cinnamon, so you can use less if you like)
1/4 tsp       cloves
1/4 tsp       nutmeg
1/4 C.        chopped pecans
1/4 C.        Enjoy Life mini chocolate chips
and just a pinch of salt pinch

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F.

Grease a standard muffin tray or use paper liners
Combine wet ingredients in a large mixing bowl together until well beaten: butter, eggs, vanilla, pumpkin and honey/maple syrup.
Mix dry ingredients together then slowly add into the wet ingredients, whisking as you do so that you don’t have lumps in the batter. After every thing is mixed throughly fold in the pecans and chips till mixed threw out.
Divide the batter evenly into the muffin tins
 bake for approximately 15-18 minutes or until slightly golden brown on top and a toothpick comes out clean.

Makes 12 muffins

I hope you enjoy these as much as my family did :-)

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Fall Butternut Casserole

     Nothing better in a cool fall evening then something warm, filling and comforting, so I decided to throw together a Butternut casserole. This was the first time I served this to the family and I have to say it was a hugh hit. They have requested to have it again already! LOL

Fall Butternut Casserole

1        Lg Butternut squash cut into pieces
1       Small onion (diced)
1       Pkg Smoked Chrdonnay Chicken Sausage (cut into small disks)
2       tbsp Fresh Sage (finely diced)
1/2    C.  Pure Maple Syrup
4       Tbsp Butter
Salt & Pepper

Mix first four ingredients together and put in casserole dish.
Mix maple syrup and melted butter and pour over casserole.
Toss gently and bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes.

It is such a simple dish and the flavors blend togehter so wonderfully, I don't normally use sweets but I made an exception this time and I am really glad I did. I have already made plans for the next time I cook it,  I think next time I am going to use a pork sausage and sprinkle it with bacon. Everything always taste better with bacon on it, Yum Yum!!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Helpful Tips and Tricks

     Since I didn't cook anything special tonight for dinner because it is left over night I thought I would give a couple tips and tricks that maybe you have and maybe you have not heard of to help make life a little easier on you and on your pocket book. I don't know about you but I like it when I can save myself a little money, because as far as I am concerned every little bit helps (and adds up).

     First on the list is a little trick to help measure sticky ingredients. It seems that when ever a recipe calls for a sticky ingredient such as honey more of it gets left behind in the measuring cup then actually gets in the bowl. Before I transitioned over to the Paleo side I use to use spray veg oil in the measuring cup but now that I do the best I can to avoid veg oil of any kind. I found that if you fill the measuring cup with the hottest possible tap water and let it sit for a minute the dump it out right before your going to measure your sticky stuff and suprisingly it will slide right out.

     I don't know about you but I hate it when I have a recipe that calls for on Tbs. or two of tomato paste then you are left with the rest of the can and don't know what to do with it so it usually ends up in the trash. Tha really pisses me off but since I don't use it that often I never know what to do with it till I learned this little trick. Take a cookie sheet lined with wax paper (or something similar) and measure out a Tbs at a time when you have used all the paste stick your in the freezer until frozen solid the place in a zip lock bag or other container. These will store in the freezer for up to three months. So the next time your making some of that chili, soups, or stews you will be all set.

     If you like me and grow your own herbs or just happened to buy to much, but don't want it to go to waste here is one of my favorite ways to save them. First chop up your  herbs and mix them in to some softened butter ( I prefer Kerry Gold), after you have them throughly mixed together use parchment paper to roll into a log. After you have the desired shape and lenght you want wrap it in plastic wrap and place it in the freezer, it will last up to three months with no problem. The fat in the butter will preserve the herbs' fresh flavors. You can cut off a slice or two and enjoy on a juicy steak, fish, burgers or even soup.
Don't be afaird to try to mix some of your herbs' togther for a different taste and effect.
Suggested herbs' to use:
Rosemary, chives, thyme, flat leaf parsley, oregano, dill, chevril, garlic chives

Oh and if you want to make it look a little fancy after you have it in the plastic wrap you can do like I do sometimes and roll it over a thin bamboo mat to give it that professional look before you freeze it.

     If you have some tips or tricks that you would like to share I would love to hear them and I am sure others would as well, so I will be looking forward to hearing from you :-)

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Breakfast on a Cold Fall Day

     I guess fall is really here, since it has dropped from 85 degrees to 47 in just one day. I woke up this morning and it was cold, windy and rainy. One of those days were you just want to keep your butt in bed under the nice warm covers and snuggle, but instead of doing that I played the good mommy and wife this morning and made everyone a warm and tasty breakfast.
     After I finally dragged my butt out of bed I put the coffee on and got started on making breakfast. The first thing on the agenda was peeling the sweet potato's and grating them for sweet potato hash, then on to the organic uncured bacon it was. Thank goodness I already put the coffe on because I was in need of a cup. LOL  After taking a few sips of my coffee it was back to cooking, I had a couple of plantains that were ripe and almost too ripe so I decided to slice them up and fry them in some Kerry Gold butter for a little sweet treat with breakfast. I only had 2 small red peppers left from my garden this year so I decided to add those to the hash for an added little touch of Love. :-)

     So after making a tasty and yummy breakfast for everyone, my tummy was full and satisfied I climbed back on the bed and got under the covers (just one of those day, LOL) and watched my hubby play Gears of War 3.

     Now I just have to figure out what I have in the freezer so hopefully I don't have to go out in this cold, wet weather to get stuff for dinner. What do you like to have on days like this? Me personally I like things like soup, chili or stews something that warms you through and through.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Caramel Apples

     I have to appoligize for my absense, life has a way of happening to us all. It is by far no excuse but it is the truth and I will do the best I can to not let it happen again. So as my way of saying I am sorry here is a wonderful fall recipe that kids of all ages will love!

     This time of year one of the things I love is the cooler weather, the leaves changing colors and the fact that apple farms line nearby country roads and all manner of apple products are sold - apple pies, dumplings, fritter, ciders, doughnuts, sauces, cookies, and of course...caramel apples. It was just the reminder I needed. For years I've wanted to do a new caramel apple recipe. I thought I might be able to do a version using apples, honey, cream, and salt. That's it. No white sugar, no corn syrup, and no melting of Kraft caramel squares none of the things that we try to avoid on a daily basis.

     I  wanted to avoid a few of the caramel apple pitfalls that have tripped me up in the past. For example, I needed the caramel to stay on the apple. Lots of people, myself included, have had trouble with caramel not setting on their apples. I decided to use the technique I use to make my favorite caramels - the honey-sweetened caramel gives the apples a beautiful, opaque, golden coat and tastes rich, chewy, and decadent.

     A few things you should know before you start. You need a candy thermometer. I have one from Whole Foods Market that cost me about $4 - works fine. But I'm going to admit,  a thermometer is important because the key to this caramel recipe is achieving a good set, you want your caramel to be able to hold a shape once it cools. To make this happen you need to heat the ingredients to a very specific temperature. I know it all sounds precise and fussy, and to a certain extent it is, but really all you're doing here is putting a very short list of ingredients together in a pot, and bringing the temperature up, up, up into what is considered "hard ball" territory 255F - 260F degrees. If you don't heat the caramel enough, it will likely run off the apple, but alternately if you go too hot the caramel will be difficult to bite into, and will have more of a tendency to peel off the apple

Caramel Apple Recipe

Please be careful when making caramel apples, you will be working with dangerously hot, sticky, ingredients - I always put on an apron and make sure I have a closed-toed pair of shoes on when making candy. Be extra, extra careful if you have kids around. On the ingredient front, I typically go for a mild clover honey when making caramels.
6 - 8 small apples, unwaxed, cold
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 cup honey
          Chopped pecans if you like those on yours, I do :)
Special equipment: candy thermometer, and lollipop sticks
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Push a lollipop or popsicle stick deep into each apple - in through the stem.
Fill a large bowl 1/2 full with ice water and set aside.

In a medium, thick-bottomed saucepan heat the cream and salt until tiny bubbles start forming where the milk touches the pan - just before a simmer. Stir in the honey. Bring the mixture to a boil. Now reduce the heat to an active simmer and cook, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, for about 15-20 minutes minutes or until the mixture reaches about 255-260F degrees. To stop the caramel from cooking, very, very carefully set the bottom of the saucepan in the bowl of cold water you prepared earlier - taking special care not to get any of the water in the caramel mixture. Stir until caramel begins to thicken up - you want the caramel to be thin enough that it will easily coat your apples, but not so thin that it will run right off. If the caramel thickens too much simply put the pot back over the burner for 10 seconds or so to heat it up a bit.

I tilt my sauce pan so all the caramel forms a pool on one side, and use my other hand to dunk and twirl each apple until it is thoroughly coated with caramel. Place each apple on the parchment lined baking sheets and allow the caramel to cool and set.

Makes 6 - 8 caramel apples.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Hempy's London Broil......

     Oh my goodness can we say, Fat and Sassy...... well I can definately say I am sassy. LOL After the breakfast I had this morning I was so full I skipped lunch and went straight to dinner. With the dinner I had it is understandable why I didn't even worry about having lunch today.

     Dinner was so simple yet so tasty that you could not help but clean your plate. Tonight was Hempy's London Broil (in case your wondering why Hemphy's is because my last name is Hemphill, LMBO), Yellow and Green summer squash with a little sharp cheddar cheese (sorry I was having a Primal moment. LOL) and a little salald with some Honey Basalmic dressing.

                                                             Hemphy's London Broil

3-4lbs       London Broil
4Tbs        Oragano
4Tbs        Thyme
1Tbs        Sea Salt
3Tbs        Fresh Cracked Pepper
4Tbs        Garlic Powder
1              Shallot diced small
3Tbs        Cilantro chopped

Mix all ingredients together to make a dry rub, throughly rub all sides with rub.
Sear all sides with beef tallow, then put on top of London Broil the diced shallots and the cilantro (use as much as is needed to cover top), put in broiler for about 20 min for Med Rare
a little longer if you like yours done more.
Slice thinly against the grain, and enjoy!

Paleo Pumkin Pancakes

     I so love fall, the weather starts to get a little cooler and I can pull out my favorite sweaters and sweater dress, wear my knee high boots and lets not forget if your lucky enough to live some where you actually can see the seasons changing then you get to see the beautiful leaves changing to the golds, reds and yellow colors that are so awe inspirering. For me it is just as majestic as the rainbow.

     When fall comes it makes me think about all the yummy food that goes along with it so in honor of fall I made my first attempt of Paleo Pumpkin Pancakes, it was my first try at any sort of Paleo pancakes at all so I was a little apprehensive about the whole thing but I wanted a little break from eggs. Don't get me wrong I love me some eggs but I was just in the mood for something else, so off I went search for the perfect recipe. I ended up using a recipe I got from Paleo on Main Street.
I have to be honest when I put the first one on to cook I was a little nervous because it seemed to be cooking to fast and when i tried to turn it over it crumbled to pieces. Damn, I thought oh well I just wasted all the things I used to make them, then I thought for a moment and decided to lower my heat a bit and try it again. Low and behold a lower head and patients and I ended up with some pretty looking pancakes that tasted quite suprising really good.
     So, thanks to Paleo on Main Street my family once again is able to add pancakes to our breakfast menu!
The only thing I changed in the recipe is I doubled everything since I have a large family.
Don't mind my photography, the picture did not do it justice.

                                                         Pumpkin Pancakes

1/2 C Canned Pumpkin
2 Eggs
1 Tbsp Honey
1/4 C Coconut Oil- Melted
1/4 C Coconut Milk
1/4 C Coconut Flour
1 tsp Cinnamon
1 tsp Baking Powder

Preheat griddle or pan to 350.
In separate bowls, mix wet and dry ingredients together
Throughly mix your wet ingredients and then slowly mix into dry.
Spoon mixture onto griddle and cook 2-4 minutes per side.
When finished enjoy with pure maple syrup, honey, butter or even some coconut oil and for an extra touch you can add some chopped pecans.
 Enjoy, I know we did!

Friday, October 7, 2011

Sweet Potato Hash

     I got up early this morning to get everything ready to put in the crockpot for dinner tonight, but more on that yummy subject later. Right now I am going to talk about breakfast, since I am off work for almost a week I decided to be nice and cook my hubby a good breakfast this morning.

                                            Sweet Potato Hash and Poached Eggs

Sweet Potato Hash

 2 Cups   Sweet Potato's (grated or as I prefer juliened)
1/2          Onion diced 
1/2          Bell Pepper diced
3             Bacon (cooked and chopped coursely) or you could use sausage if you like
Sea Salt and Fresh Ground Pepper to taste

Remove some of the bacon grease from your skillet, leaving enough to cook you potato's in. Add sweet potatoes to skillet and cook until almost completely tender, then add  your onions and bell peppers and cook until tender and onions are translucent. Add your bacon and salt and pepper to taste.
Enjoy for breakfast with eggs or you can even have it as a side dish for dinner, either way it is delicious!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Curry Chicken and more....

     Today was a long day and we didn't get to have dinner till later than usual, but thankfully the day is over and it is time to rest a little bit. I was a good girl this evening I not only prepared enough dinner for tonight to be able to have left overs for lunch for the hubby and I while the kids are in school tomorrow, but I also got my sweet potatoes ready for some sweet potatoe hash in the morning (Yum).

    On the menu for this evening, I made some acorn squash, baked Curry Cauliflower and Coconut Curry Chicken. My Picture may not have turned out as well as I wanted it too but, Oh My GOSH it tasted soooo good.

I have to give props to Everyday Paleo for the Roasted Curry Cauliflower recipe:

Roasted Curry Cauliflower

1 head of cauliflower, stems removed
3 Tbl coconut oil
1 Tbl curry powder
1 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp tumeric
sea salt to taste (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  In a medium sized mixing bowl, toss the florets with the oil until well coated.  Sprinkle all of the spices over the cauliflower florets and stir again to evenly coat.  Spread cauliflower in a glass baking dish and bake 40-45 minutes, stirring half way through the cooking time

                                                         Coconut Curry Chicken

Ingredients (serves 4):
- 4 chicken thighs & legs (still in tact), skin on
-  1 cauliflower (to make the rice)
- 1 Tbsp coconut oil
- 1 Onion – finely chopped
- 5 garlic cloves – smashed and roughly chopped
- 1 red chili pepper – seeds removed, chopped (I used a Scotch Bonnet pepper)
- 1 can coconut milk
- 2 Tbsp curry powder

  1.  In a large skillet, heat coconut oil to a med-high heat
  2. Put chicken pieces into the skillet and cook until each side golden-browned (about 3 min per side)
  3. Remove chicken and set aside.
  4. Add onion, garlic and chili – saute for about 3 min or until soft
  5. Add the coconut milk and curry powder – mix together thoroughly
  6. Add back the chicken and simmer at medium heat covered for about 15-20 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through.  You can use a meat thermometer to check and it should be about 155 before you stop cooking it (it will continue to cook up to 160 which is the perfect internal temp).  The coconut milk that the chicken is simmering in should cover about 1/2 of the chicken – if yours’ doesn’t you can add more coconut milk or some chicken stock.
  7. For the cauliflower rice, either use your food processor to chop the cauliflower to a rice consistency or use a cheese grater.  If you have a microwave you can cook it in the microwave for 3 minutes and it’ll be good to go.  Otherwise you can steam it for a few minutes.  I
  8. Serve the chicken on a bed of cauliflower rice.  

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Spaghetti With Chili, Paleo Style.

     Don't you hate it when you have left over chili and you don't have enough for the whole family( I know I do), but you have too much to throw away. Well that was the problem I had tonight, so I had to look around and see what I had on hand and low and behold I had some of my Ol' faithful

Yep, you guessed it Spaghetti squash, just like pasta only better. When all else goes bad everything goes well with pasta, Paleo style. So this is what dinner looked like tonight and the kids loved it because the chili was a little spicy and the spaghetti squash cooled it off a bit for them.

I wonder what is going to be on the menu for tomorrow?

Getting Started

Some of you may be asking what is the Paleo Lifestyle, I don't like using the word diet because for me it does not apply to this because I am not eating this way to lose weight (althought it is a nice perk, LOL). For those of you who are already familiar with Paleo please bare with me while i make it a little simplier to understand. When you eat Paleo you are eating the way your body was intended eat and process food that will benifit use to the best of it's abilities.  So here is a simple list with the things that you should try to avoid and the one's you should eat.

Avoid the following:

· Grains- including bread, pasta, noodles
· Beans- including string beans, kidney beans, lentils, peanuts, snow-peas and peas
· Potatoes
· Dairy products
· All Refined Sugar
· Salt

Eat the following:

· Meat, chicken and fish
· Eggs
· Fruit
· Vegetables
· Nuts, eg. walnuts, brazil nuts, macadamia, almond. Do not eat peanuts (a bean)
· Berries- strawberries, blueberries, raspberries etc.
· Root vegetables- carrots, turnips, parsnips, rutabagas, Swedes
· Organ meats- liver and kidneys

Now that you have read the list and had a minute for it to sink you in, you might be saying: What the heck am I suppose to eat since all the good things have been taken off of the list of things to eat. Well let me tell you you will be surprised at the quality and taste of the foods that have just opened up to you. I will do the best i can to share as many wonderful recipes with you and if you don't always find what you are looking for there are always so many wonderful places to find them as I will later be sharing with you all.
Remember you are only limited by your imagination!! I am so looking forward to this wonderful journey with you all.