23 June 2013

Paleo Brownies

I'm not even sure what to call these other than "FABULOUS"!!! These are entirely sugar-free and Paleo-friendly! So yummy!

1/3 cup coconut oil (solid)
2/3 cup honey
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 vanilla bean, scraped
1 egg
3 mashed bananas
2 heaping tablespoons cacao powder (more or less to taste)
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tsp baking powder (more or less optional...will be a bit denser without it)
2 tbsp arrowroot powder (optional…use a bit more coconut flour if you omit this)
1 cup chopped almonds
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1 cup coconut flour (more or less…didn't measure)

Preheat oven to 350*. Grease a muffin tin with coconut oil.

Beat the coconut oil, honey, vanilla, applesauce and egg until well blended. In another bowl, mash the bananas, and mix in the cinnamon, nutmeg, salt, baking powder, arrowroot powder and cacao powder. Add to the coconut oil mixture. Add coconut flour 1/4 cup at a time until batter reaches desired consistency (think thick cake batter). Stir in almonds and cranberries.

Fill muffin tin half way with batter. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted half way between the edge and the center comes out dry. They will be heavy for their size, but so unbelievably good!

16 June 2013

Pineapple Grilling Sauce

I've been big on grilling sauce made from fresh fruit the last few months. I threw this one together today in about 5 minutes total, plus 2 hrs in the crock pot.

2 quart bags full of frozen pineapple--probably 2-3 pineapples worth
1 cup honey
1-2 tbsp five spice powder
1/2 tsp fresh grated nutmeg
1/2 inch fresh grated ginger
pinch of kosher salt
15-20 grinds of fresh black pepper
1 vanilla bean (split & scraped....and put the whole thing in the pot)

Cook on high for about 2-3 hours, and then transfer it to the blender and puree. This made exactly 3 pints for me. :)

Tonight I slathered it on grilled pork chops, and served it with grilled zucchini/red onion/yellow bell peppers, orange honeydew melon and a green salad. Absolutely, positively wonderful!

11 June 2013

Pina Colada Granita

I should preface this post by saying that this "recipe" is really probably not worth blogging. We all know how to make a granita, right? The hardest part is waiting for it to freeze so you can eat it. haha!! That said...here we go! :)

What you will need:
1 fresh pineapple--peeled, cored, and cut into chunks
1 can coconut milk
1/2 cup of plain greek yogurt (optional, helps with creaminess)
1/2 cup of rum (I used Sailor Jerry's)
1 tbsp vanilla extract (or about half the guts of 1 vanilla bean)
coconut sugar to taste (more or less depending on how ripe your pineapple is--taste as you go!)
a pinch of kosher salt

Mix it all up in your blender and pour into a glass baking dish. Cover with plastic wrap (push it down on to the surface of the liquid to prevent a "skin" from forming), and freeze until solid (likely overnight).

When you are ready to serve it, remove from freezer and scrape the surface with a metal spoon to achieve the "shaved ice" look and texture. Serve in a pretty martini glass and garnish with a sprig of mint....or be like me and just throw it in a cereal bowl and hand it to your husband. ;)

03 June 2013

Cherry Teriyaki Sauce

This is easily the *BEST* thing I have ever eaten--out of my kitchen or otherwise. So unbelievably yummy!! And it is completely Paleo-friendly!

6 fresh dates, pitted
1/2 pound fresh or frozen & thawed bing cherries, pitted
1/3 cup of HOT HOT water
3-4 cloves of fresh minced garlic
1" fresh minced ginger
3/4 cup coconut aminos (you can use soy sauce if you don't care about the paleo aspect)
1/2 tsp salt (omit the salt if you use soy sauce)
2 tbsp coconut sugar
2 tbsp lemon or lime juice

Blend the dates, cherries and hot water until smooth. Pour into a pot along with all of the other ingredients and simmer. As is, this would make an awesome marinade for meat. Tonight, however, I quadrupled it and threw this into my crock pot on high with frozen chicken breasts. I cocked the lid in the last hour or two so the sauce could reduce once the chicken was cooked through, and I garnished it with green onions when I served it. :)

(adapted from strictlypaleoish.com's Paleo Teriyaki Sauce recipe)

12 May 2013

Zucchini & Summer Squash Skewers

Stupid simple BBQ side dish. :) I took these up to my mom's BBQ today and they were a big hit. Simply yellow summer squash and zucchini, cut into thick slices. I squeezed a lemon over them all, and then drizzled some olive oil and then hit them with salt, fresh black pepper, onion powder and garlic powder. You could also add some onion, asparagus, etc. The sky's the limit! :)

Throw them on the grill over hot coals for about 5 mins per side and enjoy! :)

07 May 2013

Pineapple/Mango Salsa

Blogging this is kind of an afterthought, so bear with me. I had a couple mangos and a very ripe pineapple that needed to be used, so I thought I would throw together a pineapple/mango salsa. I basically followed my rule about pico de gallo--equal parts cilantro, onion and tomato with a bit of jalapeno--but without tomato, of course. I made approximately 12 cups of this salsa and served it over grilled pork chops and salads last night (OMG YUMMMM!!!). Everyone around me has been going to town munching on it and putting it on top of things all day today. I can confirm that it is awesome with multigrain tortilla chips (BAD husband for bringing those into the house!!), celery sticks, and green bell pepper slices. :)

What you need:
1 medium sized pineapple
2-3 very ripe mangos
2 red onions
1 bunch of cilantro
2-4+ jalapeno peppers

No brainer, really. Basically, just dice everything uber tiny and mix it all together. I used 2 jalapenos, and it barely had any heat...so I've been adding another jalapeno to just about every 8 ounce jar as I serve it and it is perfectly hot for my tastes. :)

20 April 2013


I am always saying that perspective makes the world go 'round. Because it does. What I find horrible, you might not. What you find fan-freakin'-tastic, there's a good possibility that I'd find just ho-hum. Perspective is equally important in the kitchen.

So why am I writing about this? Because perspective makes the world go 'round. ;) Especially in the kitchen. What you see as a total failure today may shock you and turn out to be absolutely amazing in a few days or weeks when you have a lightbulb moment.

For example--last weekend, I bought a flat of strawberries to make jam, and since we are trying to cut out as much refined sugar as possible, I attempted to make a version using coconut sugar. It tasted great--coconut sugar has a caramel-y flavor to it, and it tasted like strawberry caramel....not exactly what I had in mind when I was dreaming about strawberry jam, but still pretty good. Problem is, even with twice the pectin, it did not set up like regular jam--apparently pectin prefers refined white sugar. *sigh* It set somewhat, but not like jam. And I was left with 8 or 9 jars of total fail, in my mind. I gave about half of it away and figured I'd use the rest in smoothies and on frozen yogurt and the like....and really just kind of stared at it for a few days.

Yesterday, I decided I'd make grilled chicken for dinner, and when I went to pull out BBQ sauce (refined sugar! -UGH- I need to toss that...), I had a lightbulb moment. I pulled out a jar of this jam, and used it like I would have used BBQ sauce and basted my grilled chicken with it. And...I gotta say...OMG. Best. Freaking. Chicken. EVER. Seriously awesome.

So, my strawberry creation totally failed when I looked at it as the jam I set out to create....but it totally *ROCKS* as a grilling sauce.

So why am I telling you this? To more or less drive home the point I'm always making--stay open minded in the kitchen. Just because something doesn't work out like you planned, doesn't mean it's a total failure. :) Perspective...it's your friend. :)

07 February 2013

Reading List

I know, I'm a total slacker when it comes to blogging these days. I promise, I am still feeding my family, I'm just not in a bloggy place these days, I guess.

So...I thought I'd provide alternate reading material and link y'all to a bunch of the blogs that I read on a regular basis. Check them out...they are awesome.

One of the best blogs out there following the life of a family touched by Autism--and written from the Dad's perspective, which is totally refreshing!

Awesome craft blog with tons of ideas, and almost everything they make is super cheap and feature things you probably have laying around the house or can acquire for almost nothing.

This is an amazing blog written by a young lady who was diagnosed on the spectrum herself. What an amazing point of view she brings to the blogosphere!

Not your typical "mommy blog"….ok, so maybe it is, but the author manages to stay wickedly entertaining and keep me interested, so that totally gets my vote. :)

Seriously? With a name like "Rants From Mommyland," is there any question why I love this blog? The authors here go to great lengths to "keep it real" and find the humor in daily life with their kids. And they have a self-deprecating tone and know how to laugh at themselves when they pull a total mommy-fail moment…which makes me feel more normal. ;) haha!

What can I say about this blog? I've followed her from almost the beginning, and just really love her blog. She jumped into blogging as she went through a divorce and more or less blogged her feelings throughout the process. I admire her strength and courage and her blog always brings a smile to my face as she shines through the trials she faces as her new life emerges from the ashes of her marriage.

I've linked to this blog here and there all over my blog. I love her. Seriously. I met her on an online forum for military wives way back when I first married my husband 10-11 years ago (WOW!!!) and we've been online friends ever since. I love her blog and she is an awesome cook! I find myself making her recipes a couple times a month, and revisiting them over and over again. She makes wonderful spice blends all sorts of other yummy stuff. Oh and did I mention she has giveaways regularly? Yeah, she does. Go check it out. :)

I have never packed a "successful" bento…my kids are super fussy eaters, and I normally just pack leftovers for my hubby when I pack his lunch and grab a salad for myself if I'm out of the house at lunchtime….but oh how much I love to swoon over cutesy bento lunches! :)

Written by a male obstetrician who tends to take a natural attitude toward the birth process. He's snarky, he's funny, he's realistic and he offers a great perspective--one that is not often heard/seen--on the all things birth-related.

I've followed this blog forever, so a list of blogs I read would not be complete without it. Military family with 5 kids and all the excitement that goes with it. haha! Just a charming blog. :)

Executive turned New Mexico rancher….single woman doing what she wants to do and taking care of things herself. I love her. Most of her blog is about her animals, but she has quirky and down to earth insights and I just love her strength and confidence even when taking on new tasks. :)

Yeah….I read his blog. He's kind of my guilty pleasure, actually. I laugh, I get irritated at stupid people with him, and I just overall love his attitude, honestly. His Facebook page rocks, too. :)

"Peanuts" being an old nickname for the volunteer crowd in the help forums at Craigslist--aka "The peanut gallery." This blog features the weirdest, coolest, dumbest, and most interesting posts that they come across on craigslist (warning, sometimes they are offensive).

I just have no words for this blog, honestly. It's written by a mom who, after adopting a very tiny malnourished and neglected child from a country in Eastern Europe (Bulgaria, I think), has made it her mission to help as many of the children from the same orphanage/institution that her daughter came from. Her family is currently in the process of adopting a son from the same orphanage.

Yeah, I just love Tanis the Redneck Mommy. What can I say? She's quirky and unique and not afraid to be herself. She's been through a lot in her life and she continues to inspire and entertain her audience. :)

(warning: language) I love this….She takes ideas from Pinterest and does them in her own uniquely "real" way and shows us all how they come out….usually hilariously awful.

Same thing…not quite as entertaining IMO, though. :)

Written by a competitive BBQ'er (BBQ'er? Yeah, I made up that word…y'all know what I mean). Awesome recipes, awesome advice. Just all around awesome.

Bakerella, creator of cake balls and cake pops…need I say more? <3<3<3<3