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Quick and Easy Valentine’s Day Treats

There is something so traditional about having something sweet given for Valentine’s Day and how special to have something homemade to share. What is great about both of these recipes is that they can be made within 15 to 30 minutes and the prep work is extremely simple. If you eat Whole30 or paleo then you probably have all the ingredients listed below already in your pantry.

The first recipe, Thumbprint Cookies, is from Elana’s Pantry. Putting these ingredients together took less than 5 minutes and they bake within 8 to 10 minutes. We used strawberry jam, but you can use any jam you have on hand.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups blanched almond flour
  • ¼ teaspoon celtic sea salt
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • 3 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • ¼ cup jam

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. In a food processor combine almond flour, salt and baking soda
  3. Pulse in coconut oil and honey until dough forms
  4. Scoop batter 1 tablespoon at a time onto a parchment paper lined baking sheet
  5. Press your thumb into the center of each cookie to make an indentation
  6. Place ½ teaspoon of jam in the center of each cookie
  7. Bake at 350° for 8-10 minutes until golden brown
  8. Let cool on the baking sheets and serve

The second recipe is from Inspired Edible’s Miniature Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups. I have modified it using almond butter and cookie butter a few times. You can use whatever “butter” you prefer as I am sure all options will be delicious. You can also serve these in red mini cupcake liners or cute Valentine’s Day ones to celebrate this weekend. And if you want to really bring them to another level, try adding orange extract and top with a sliver of an orange peel.  (Note: These can melt in your hand and if they do; don’t worry because they are totally worth it.)

Ingredients

  • 200 grams 75% cocoa chocolate (two large bars)
  • 1/4 cup (or so) of almond butter
  • 1/4 cup chopped almonds

Directions

  1. Melt chocolate using a double broiler on low heat.
  2. Meanwhile, place 12 miniature muffin cup liners into muffin cups.
  3. Once chocolate has melted, pour first layer of chocolate, about one tsp, into each cup.
  4. Allow chocolate to solidify in fridge for approximately 10 minutes.
  5. Remove muffin tray from fridge and place about 1 tsp of almond butter in a ball-like shape over each layer of chocolate such that it does not cover the full surface of the chocolate. This will allow the second layer of chocolate to fill in along the sides of the cup for closure.
  6. Pour the second layer of chocolate over almond butter using about 1 + 1/2 tsp of chocolate.
  7. Top each cup with a few chopped pieces of almonds as desired.
  8. Return cups to fridge or freezer to solidify before enjoying.
  9. If you have any left store either in the freezer or fridge. I prefer the freezer.
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Molten Lava Cake & Yes it is Paleo!

A few weeks ago we had some friends over and when we host friends, especially if it is for the first time, we like to have a full meal…appetizer, main course and dessert. For dessert, I wanted to try a new recipe that included chocolate. So, I searched my recipes and googled a few more. During my google search, I landed on Clean Eating with a Dirty Mind’s blog, which is where I was met with a amazing picture of a paleo molten lava cake. I was sold. I had to try this as I saw the chocolate pouring out of the center of the cake. Now, I do not usually try a new recipe with first time guests, but I warned them that they were my guinea pigs and I knew I could make cookies if all else failed. But thankfully, these cakes were perfect. My husband’s review was exactly this, “This is the best dessert that you have ever made. It was better than a non-paleo dessert.”

The recipe was pretty simple to make. The only part that takes a while is giving the cakes time to set in the refrigerator. Outside of that, I followed the recipe per the blog and they came out wonderful.

Note: I did not make the caramel sauce and instead served it with NadaMoo’s vanilla ice cream (if you haven’t tried this ice cream, you need to get it today.)

Ingredients:
5 tablespoons plus more for greasing ramekins of grass-fed butter (ghee or coconut oil)
1 cup Enjoy Life Mini Chocolate Chips (soy free, dairy free)
2 cage-free egg yolks
2 cage-free eggs
3 tablespoons coconut palm sugar
1 heaping tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tablespoons blanched almond flour
pinch of pink himalayan salt (Note: I used regular sea salt)
1/4 teaspoon of vanilla

Directions:

Pre-heat oven to 425. Grease ramekins well with butter. Using a double boiler melt the butter and chocolate together in a medium sized bowl. In a large bowl whisk together the egg yolks, eggs, and coconut palm sugar until frothy. Then stir in the melted chocolate mixture into the egg and sugar mixture and whisk until combined. Set aside. In a small bowl combine cocoa powder, almond flour, and salt. Then sift into the chocolate mixture and whisk until combined. Now stir the vanilla in. Pour the mixture evenly into the ramekins, you can use 5 oz ramekins to make 4 servings or use 8 oz ones to make 2 servings. Tap lightly on the counter to remove air bubbles. Refrigerate them for 30 minutes. Place the ramekins in the casserole dish and carefully pour hot water (can be tap or boiled) into the casserole dish until it goes half way up the side of the ramekins. Bake for 15-18 minutes. You will know they are done when the middle doesn’t look quite cooked all the way through but the edges do. Remove ramekins from the casserole dish and let them cool for about 10 minutes. Slide a butter knife around the edge of the ramekin to pull the cake away from the sides, then turn it upside down over a plate and tap the bottom firmly until the cake slides out.

(The above instructions and directions from Clean Eating with a Dirty Mind)


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Butternut Squash for Breakfast

For years I have only eaten butternut squash for lunch or dinner; having this for breakfast had not been an option in my mind. That is until recently! I was watching Food Network, which is usually my go to place when I have time to veg in front of TV, and there it was being served for breakfast. The chef was making a butternut squash egg scramble that people loved. I wanted to eat what she was making right then, but instead I waited to make a version of it for breakfast the next morning.

My version consist of roasted cinnamon butternut squash with a fried egg over easy and bacon. The sweet from the squash, savory from the egg and salty from the bacon makes the perfect combination.

Sorry the bacon did not last long enough to make the pic.

Sorry the bacon did not last long enough to make the pic.

 

Roasted Butternut Squash

Ingredients

2 cups of butternut squash cubed

1 tablespoon of cinnamon

1 tablespoon of coconut oil melted

1/2 to 1 teaspoon of sea salt

1/2 to 1 tablespoon of honey (add depending on sweet preference; to be drizzled on top)

Directions

Preheat the oven to 425 F. Toss the butternut squash in the melted coconut oil, sea salt and cinnamon. Place in the oven for 15 minutes and then check the squash. The squash should be fork tender. If not fork tender, then place back in the oven for 5-10 minutes. When done, drizzle with honey and toss. Serve warm.

So there you go….butternut squash for breakfast. There are many more options for having butternut squash for breakfast. Butternut squash can be aded to your breakfast burritos, frittata, or egg scrambles.  Have you tried butternut squash for breakfast?

 

 


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Yummy Bites

Well it has been a while my friends. Life got the most of me with moving into our home, the summer schedule and friends and family visiting, which was all definitely a plus and worth getting off the blog schedule. Now we are back…back to our schedule. school, bedtimes, and BLOGGING. For my first Foodie Friday post after the break, I want to highlight a food that is a quick and easy snack full of nutrition and energy. I chose this snack because this is one of the foods that my amazing friend, Leah Conti, introduced to our family. This week was Leah’s birthday so why not highlight one of the foods she made that our family loves. There is not a time I make these and a few other goodies that I don’t think of her. For those of you that do not know, she lived with our family for two years and during that time our bond grew deep….especially a deep bond with food. She and her husband, Patrick, now live in South Africa as missionaries. Oh how I miss her!!! So when I am missing her…making some of our favorites is a must.

Ingredients

1/2 cup of chopped and pitted dates

1/2 to 1 cup of raw nuts (we used mixed nuts)

1 to 2 tablespoons of honey

Pinch of salt

1 teaspoon of vanilla extract (or your favorite extract or oil)

Directions

Pour dates and nuts into a food processor and chop until well combined. Then add salt, honey and extract or oil and chop again until the mixture begins to clump together. (If you use essentials oils such as lemon or orange, I would only use one drop as it goes along way. This is also a great way to add another healthy element to these bites.) Finally remove the mixture by taking spoonfuls and rolling them into balls and placing them onto a dish that can be placed into the refrigerator. Refrigerate for at least 15 minutes and then they are ready!

If you are wondering why I have allowed you to choose the amount of nuts, honey and extract/oil to use because it is really to your liking. If you prefer something more sweet then use more honey. If you prefer something more aromatic then choose different extracts/oils. You get the idea. Whatever way you make them, I think you will like them. There are so many ways and combinations to try. You can use oats, chocolate chips, coconut flakes, raisins, flaxseed,  chai seeds, dried fruit and so much more. They are great for breakfast or a mid-afternoon snack. The only problem with these is that because they are such yummy bites that you will want to eat them all, but remember to control your portions and save some bites for another day. Just keep them in the refrigerator and they will last for about 3 days.

What are your favorite combinations when making these? Do you have any recipes that remind you of someone?

Cheers for Leah's birthday and all the yummy bites she has made!!!

Cheers for Leah’s birthday and all the yummy bites she has made!!!

 


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Memorial Day Treat

This weekend is Memorial Day, a time we take to remember and honor the men and women who died while serving in the United States Armed Forces. During this weekend, many people will gather with family and friends to celebrate Memorial Day and when we gather together there is almost always an element of food. Whether it is a crawfish boil or BBQ, this dessert will be a treat for everyone. With fresh strawberries and a whipped topping, these Strawberry Shortcake Cupcakes by Against All Grain are a winner in my book. We made these for Mother’s Day and the entire family loved them and I think you and your family and friends will love them, too.

Ingredients:

  • 2½ cups blanched almond flour
  • ¾ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon sea salt
  • ⅔ cup honey
  • ⅓ cup coconut oil, melted
  • 4 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • ½ teaspoon lemon zest
  • ½ cup finely chopped strawberries

Frosting

  • 2 egg whites, room temperature
  • ⅓ cup honey (Note: Using this amount of honey creates a pretty sweet frosting. If you prefer something less sweet, you can reduce the amount of honey used.)
  • ¼ teaspoon lemon juice or vinegar
  • 1½ tablespoons strawberry preserves (freshly pureed strawberries will work too)

Instructions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.
  2. Line a standard muffin tin with baking cups.
  3. Combine the honey, coconut oil, eggs, lemon juice, vanilla, and lemon zest in the jar of a blender. Puree on medium speed for 20 seconds or until frothy and smooth.
  4. Add the dry ingredients and blend on high for 30-45 seconds. The batter should be very smooth and contain no lumps. If needed, scrape down the sides with a spatula and blend again for a few seconds until all of the dry mixture is incorporated.
  5. Gently fold the chopped strawberries in by hand. Divide the batter evenly into the muffin tin, filling about ¾ of the way full.
  6. Bake for 16-18 minutes, until a toothpick can be inserted into the middle and comes out clean.
  7. Let the cupcakes cool completely on the counter before frosting.

Frosting

  1. Once the cupcakes have cooled, make your Italian meringue.
  2. Bring your honey to a boil in a saucepan over medium-high heat.
  3. Meanwhile, beat the egg whites and lemon juice until frothy and you can just begin to see trail marks from your beaters. When you lift out the beaters, you should see soft peaks.
  4. With the beaters or mixer running, slowly pour in the boiling honey in a steady stream. Continue beating for 6-8 minutes, until the meringue is cool to the touch.
  5. Gently fold in the strawberry preserves. Put the frosting into a piping bag for a pretty design, or spread onto cupcakes with a knife.

Tips

  1. For easier separation, separate the whites from the yolks when they are cold.
  2. Meringue will not stiffen if you use a dirty bowl (usually because of leftover oil) or let any of the yolk get in with the whites
  3. Over beating will cause the meringue to fall. Stop once you can lift the beaters out and see stiff peaks.
  4. The frosting needs to be piped immediately and is best served immediately as well. Once it’s on the cupcakes though, it will hold up in the refrigerator for 24 hours.

 

And here they are in their glory…..

 


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Paleo Pizza Crust Test

Most of us have seen the many pins on Pinterest and numerous blog posts about the “perfect” paleo pizza crust. Determining which to try can almost be overwhelming. Well last year, we tried a cauliflower crust and an almond crust, but they didn’t leave us desiring to make them again. The cauliflower crust had to be eaten with a fork as it easily fell apart and the almond crust was a little to dry and the almond flavor overpowered the pizza, however, it held together.

After leaving the paleo pizza world for a while, I reentered it this week on a search for a recipe that would pass the crust test of it’s ability to be hand held and tasty. And…drumroll please…one has been discovered! We gave Detoxinista’s “The Secret to Perfect Cauliflower Pizza Crust” a try and we were well pleased. The key is definitely reducing as much of the water from the cauliflower as possible and using parchment paper or a pizza stone for baking the crust. (We used parchment paper) The recipe does call for goat cheese, which is not a part of eating a strict paleo diet. If you prefer to omit the goat cheese, you could try the vegan option. I have not tried this option, but I am sure it is delightful.

Now on to the toppings…One side was for my husband, Jason, and the other side for me. Can you guess whose side is whose?

  • We bought a rotisserie chicken from the store as the main topping for both sides of the pizza.
  • Side One – tomato, goat cheese, bacon, roasted garlic
  • Side Tw0 – goat cheese, bacon, roasted garlic, jalapeño

Paleo Pizza

There are definitely more crust recipes to try, but I could honestly stop at this one. However, due to my foodie curiosity, I definitely plan to attempt Against All Grain’s pizza crust as I have never found a recipe of hers that I did not like. Have you found a paleo pizza crust that has passed the test? Or have you escaped the traditional pizza with out-of-the-box toppings like these from Paleo Grubs ? I would love for you to share!


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Foodie Friday – Pumpkin Pancakes!

Some people think of pumpkin only in the fall and winter, but pumpkin is in my life year around. It is an ingredient that can be added to so many recipes from chili to cupcakes, plus pumpkin has great nutritional value. One of my favorite pumpkin recipes is pumpkin pancakes. They are simple to make and everyone in the family loves them.

Pumpkin Pancakes. Simply Yummy.

Pumpkin Pancakes. Simply Yummy.

Ingredients (Adapted from Multiply Delicious)
½ cup pumpkin puree
2 eggs
1 tablespoon coconut oil, melted
1 tablespoon honey
2 tablespoons almond milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
½ cup almond flour
1 tablespoon coconut flour
1 ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon sea salt
¼ teaspoon baking powder
¼ cup pecans, chopped and light toasted (optional)

Instructions
1. Heat griddle or non-stick skillet over medium heat.
2. In a large bowl stir together pumpkin, eggs, coconut oil, honey, almond milk, and vanilla until blended.
3. Add almond flour, coconut flour, cinnamon, salt and baking powder to other ingredients and mix again until everything is incorporated.
4. Once pan or griddle is hot, pour batter into small to medium size pancakes. (If necessary, use additional coconut oil in a skillet to prevent from sticking)
5. Do not flip to quickly or they will break apart. Carefully, using a spatula, flip the pancake over to cook on other side.
6. Serve hot with some honey.

I hope you and your family enjoy these as much as we do. Let me know if you love them too.