Soft-Baked Ginger Molasses cookies (PALEO!)

It’s fall, definitely. I’ve rummaged through all my closets of clothes to find my favorite jackets and sweaters, and you bet your bottom I’m making sure my outfits are layered to the maximum. Gotta have my scarf… maybe a wrap… perhaps a poncho…. A vest? Definitely a cardigan somewhere in the mix…. A long cardigan… or maybe a short one… or possibly a really long cardigan…. The more choices I think about, the more I’m thinking maybe I have too many sweaters. Just kidding, it’s a fashion sin to say that.

So, I’ve been MIA – I’m not sure why, but I haven’t had the itch to make as much stuff. Plus, some of the really good stuff I’ve made… I didn’t get good pictures of it. Fall-themed dishes, obviously…. I didn’t even tell you guys I made a CHEESE PUMPKIN to bring to work! If you follow me on Instagram (shameless plug: follow me at @thedivinekitchen), you may have seen it. Definitely one of my guilty pleasure recipes, as it isn’t very high on the whole healthy-eating list. It’s an indulgence though, well worth it.

This past weekend, I decided I wanted cookies. Not just any cookie, but an autumn, holiday-inspired cookie. Who remembers the ginger snaps in the orange box? I did. With that…. it was settled. I needed ginger cookies.

Funny thing about those cookies was that you had to make sure you didn’t break your teeth out  when you ate them. They were like eating rocks… spicy, fall-scented rocks. It was sort of like an I-love-pain type of thing, snapping bricks in your mouth. I was always hesitant to eat them, especially after knocking my teeth out as a child (separate occasion, don’t worry). Wow, this post sure is a wild ride at this point. Anyway, I figured that with the amount of dollars that went into reconstructing my dental dilemma, I should probably stick to soft baked cookies. I knew of some recipes with tons of sugar and butter and regular flour, but I just wasn’t feeling it. For lack of humility, I really hit it off on the first try here. I can’t  don’t bake, and whatever I do bake, is usually burnt. Not THESE!

Ugh, guys, they’re the cutest little cookie, and I definitely ate about 12 of them. I hope you all enjoy them as much as I did.

Soft-Baked Ginger Molasses cookies (PALEO!)

Prep time: 15 min

Cook time: ~10 min

Makes 20-24 cookies

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup melted coconut oil, cooled
  • 2 eggs (let them sit out for a little while to remove the chill)
  • 1/2 cup coconut sugar
  • 1/4 cup molasses
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 2 cups almond flour
  • 1/3 cup coconut flour
  • 1 heaping tsp allspice
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 heaping tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp ground sea salt
  • Organic  cane sugar for rolling (trust me, you want this)

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, add your coconut oil, molasses, coconut sugar, eggs and vanilla extract. Your coconut oil should be liquid, but cooled – you don’t want the eggs to scramble by hot coconut oil!
  3. Next, add in your dry ingredients – almond flour, coconut flour, baking soda, spices and salt; mix together thoroughly to make a dough. To allow the flours to absorb, let sit for 5-6 minutes.
  4. Pour about a 1/2 cup of cane sugar in a shallow bowl. Use a cookie scoop to scoop up the dough so that they’re uniform (unless you’re just that good at eyeballing…), and then use your hands to roll it into a ball. Roll dough in organic cane sugar then place about 2-3 inches apart on your cookie sheet.
  5. Gently flatten the dough with a flat wide-bottomed glass until the cookies are about ~1 cm thick.
  6. Bake for 8-9  minutes. Allow to cool for about 5-10 minutes before removing from the cookie sheet….if they appear wet on the inside still, they will dry out and be okay!

Enjoy!

-S

Garlic Paprika Thyme Sweet Potato Fries (Paleo, Vegan!)

Boy, do I love me some carbs. It’s sort of a problem.

My jeans have gotten tighter, but such is life when Dogfish Head Punkin Ale AND French fries are involved. Even if this means I have to go out and actually get both of them. Yum? Yes. Since I typically start off complaining about the weather, I’d like to point out that it’s been feeling particularly Fall-ish recently… with the exception of the monsoon and grey skies today, I enjoy that the leaves have been falling. I even went out to the barn yesterday! I didn’t ride, it was raining, but it was nice, crisp and cool. Two thumbs up.

I’m also back into the swing of things with cooking on Sundays… I hope to make a few things that I can pass along on the blog, but I do get a bit… lax…. When it comes to healthy eating as the weather gets cooler. I’ve been exceptionally lucky to not have to worry a WHOLE lot about gaining weight with as much as I do, but as I said… my jeans, they is tight. I will be doing some cardio today, with the intention of eating Guinness Beef stew soon, and some Shepherd’s Pie, and… other potato-ey goodness without sacrificing my waistline.

The good news is, not all carbs are created equal. There are complex carbs, and carbs are fuel! Unless you’re into the Ketogenic diet (which I do enjoy a lower carb recipe every now and again), use your carbs to your advantage, and dress em up with some garlic and zest. Like these, below.

Garlic Paprika Thyme Sweet Potato Fries (Paleo, Vegan!)

Prep time: 15 min

Cook time: 35-40 min

Ingredients

  • Two large sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into thin, fry-shaped strips (sized to your preference, some people like wedges)
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced or pressed
  • ½ tbsp smoked paprika
  • ½ tbsp. fresh thyme, chopped
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Mix together your garlic, paprika, thyme, salt and pepper in a small bowl with your olive oil.
  2. To evenly coat, I like to put my fries into a bag, pour my oil mixture in, and shake… you can also coat sweet potato fries with a brush, or your hands if you enjoy a mess… heh.
  3. On a greased cookie sheet, place your fries in a single layer, evenly spaced, so they cook thoroughly. If you prefer super crispy fries, feel free to turn over with tongs once browned on one side. Once they start to crisp/firm up and brown, remove from heat and allow to cool a few minutes before serving. As they dry, they will  continue to crisp.

Enjoy!

-S

Jalapeño Popper Deviled Eggs (Paleo!)

So, I’m starting to think that Fall is never actually happening… it’s sweltering hot, we’ve got hurricanes around every corner, there’s bugs…. There’s a lot of issues with this and it’s just not working out. You know what’s fun though? The Flyers playing, whatever other football game is on, baseball…. While I really only care about the Flyers, you know what I love about sports parties? FOOD.

I’ve had to behave myself a really eat well these last few weeks, because once a game comes on…. Well, willpower goes out the window I can’t help but eat everything in sight. What I really am trying to say is that I haven’t behaved myself at all, and I’ve been eating like a dump truck. Better get crackin’ on the treadmill.

I don’t know about you guys, but while I love the coziness of sit-down Sunday dinners each week, I also love making snacks for game time so there’s more variety, and more choices to eat. A friend at work has brought me jalapeńo peppers, and I knew just what I wanted to make.

Deviled eggs!

The cool thing about them is a.) once you hard boil them, they’re pretty hard to screw up. Not to say I haven’t had a nasty deviled egg in my life, but if you mess them up, you can add different flavors little by little to fix them back up. A great way to jazz them up is to add bacon… because bacon is the best. With that, I had an idea… why not add jalapeńo?

I bring you… jalapeńo popper deviled eggs. I promise you, they’re worth a try.

Jalapeño Popper Deviled Eggs (Paleo!)

Prep time: 20 min

Cook time: 12 min

Ingredients

  • 12 eggs
  • 1/3 cup mayonnaise, plus more if needed
  • 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tbsp yellow mustard
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1/2 tsp paprika, plus more for garnish
  • 1 large jalapeńo(stems and seeds removed), minced
  • 1 heaping tbsp of chives, chopped
  • 3-4 pieces of cooked bacon, chopped

Directions

  1. In a large pot, place your eggs in room  temperature water that covers the eggs completely. Add a pinch of table salt, and a dash of vinegar. (rumor has it this makes the eggs easier to peel).
  2. Bring to a boil, and let boil for 90 seconds. Turn the heat off, and cover. Let sit for 12 minutes.
  3. Once 12 minutes has passed, place your eggs in a bowl of ice water to prevent overcooking. This also cuts down on cool-down time needed before you start to peel. Once the eggs are cooled, gently peel the shells off and discard.
  4. Cut eggs lengthwise in half. Remove yolks and place into medium-sized bowl. Set your white halves on a plate, face up,  to use later.
  5. Mash your yolks with fork. Add mayonnaise, mustard, vinegar and black pepper, mix well. Next, add your bacon, jalapeńo and chives. Add any additional salt to taste, continuing to gently mix.
  6. scoop the mix into a ziploc bag with the tip cut (big enough for bacon pieces to pass) or a spoon, fill each egg white half with the mixture to desired amount — be generous. Refrigerate, covered, to allow flavors to blend. Sprinkle with paprika just before serving, if desired.

Enjoy!

-S

Roasted Red Pepper and White Bean Dip (Gluten Free, Vegan!)

Just a quick update for you all! Tomorrow is my birthday, and I’ve been SUPER busy. I haven’t forgotten about you!

I wanted to give you guys a good recipe for any upcoming parties you have, especially for fall J I love to make my own potato and sweet potato chips, which go really well with this recipe (air fryers for the win, I love Amazon… find mine here). This dip is super quick, super easy, and the last time I made it, it was gone within 30 min. Note…. Double the recipe next time, heh.

Enjoy!

Roasted Red Pepper and White Bean Dip (Gluten-free, Vegan!)

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Prep time: 10 min

Cook time: n/a

Ingredients

  • 1 15 oz can of cannellini (white kidney) beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 handful of fresh flat leaf parsley
  • 1 large clove of garlic
  • ¾ cup of roasted red peppers (jarred, in olive oil, is what I used)
  • juice from ½ of a large lemon, plus more to taste
  • salt, to taste (I used ~1 tsp)
  • pepper, to taste
  • ½ tsp smoked paprika
  • ½ tsp chili powder
  • ~1/2 tsp crushed red pepper
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • optional: handful of crumbled feta (FYI – feta is not vegan… it’s cheese…)

Directions

  1. Combine all ingredients except the feta cheese in a food processor and blend until smooth – about 30-45 seconds. Adjust flavors to preference – you may like additional salt, or lemon.
  2. If using feta, upon serving, stir gently into the dip. I also like to sprinkle some on top for presentation, but note! Again, feta is not vegan.

Enjoy!

-S

Pomegranate Dijon Glazed Pork Tenderloin (Paleo!)

The weather is starting to cool down 🙂 🙂 Which means… I get to wear all my sweaters that I love so much! Sigh. I just get so excited.

I can’t remember if I ever mentioned my favorite show that a friend turned me onto… it’s called Humans. It’s a UK-broadcasted show available on  Amazon Prime… and I binge watched the first two seasons in about 2 weeks. (Binge watching TV for me is watching more than 20-30 minutes at a time… I really hate watching TV). It’s so good. Without spoiling the premise of the show, it’s a little Will Smith in I, Robot meets Modern Family… with less of the dumb humor. Definitely worth the watch.

To be honest… I don’t have much material to work with here. Nothing new  going on, just wanted to tell you guys I love Autumn, and that new show I found. Here’s some pork tenderloin, because I think we need to show the other white meat some love. Happy almost-Fall!

Pomegranate Dijon Glazed Pork Tenderloin (Paleo!)

Prep time: 30 min

Cook time: 20 min

Ingredients

  • 1 (1 to 1.5 lb) pork tenderloin
  • ½ cup pomegranate juice
  • ¼ cup fresh squeezed orange juice
  • ¼ cup Grey Poupon Dijon mustard (I am very particular about my djion…)
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1-2 tbsp olive oil
  • ½ cup of chicken broth
  • A pinch of chili pepper
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 heaping tsp of tapioca flour
  • Optional: pomegranate seeds, for garnish

Directions

  1. In a large bowl, whisk together your pomegranate juice, orange juice, Dijon, honey, garlic, apple cider vinegar, and chicken broth. Season with salt, pepper and chili powder to taste. Adjust flavors to preference, if needed.
  2. Next, trim any “silver” skin or unwanted fat from your pork. Place in a bag or bowl, and marinate for at least 2-4 hours in the fridge, or as long as overnight. When ready to cook, select the Sauté button to heat the Instant Pot. When “Hot” is displayed, add a tbsp of olive oil.
  3. Add the pork and sear on all sides, approximately 4 minutes per side. Once completely seared, press Cancel and remove pork from the Instant Pot. Set aside on a plate.
  4. Next, place the Instant Pot trivet into the pot, followed by your pork tenderloin. If it doesn’t fit lengthwise, you can cut it in half. Pour the marinade over the  pork, ensuring it’s thoroughly coated. It’s okay if it isn’t submerged.
  5. Place lid on Instant Pot and turn the valve so it’s sealed. Select the Manual setting, high pressure (this is the default setting), and set timer to 7 minutes for fresh pork (10 minutes for semi-frozen, or 13 minutes for frozen).
  6. Once the timer is done, turn the Instant Pot off and let pressure release naturally for 8-10 minutes. Open the lid and remove the trivet with the pork on it and let rest for 5-10 minutes while you make the glaze.

For the Glaze

  1. In a large skillet, add your remaining liquid from the instant pot, reserving about ¼ cup. Turn heat to medium. Using your reserved ¼ cup of broth, whisk your tapioca flour in until thoroughly mixed.
  2. Add your reserved tapioca flour/ broth mix into the pan, continuing to whisk. Be sure to turn the heat down if it thickens/bubbles too quickly, as you don’t want it to  burn. The mixture should slightly thicken after simmering for 2-3 minutes, or a bit longer with lower heat. If desired, add any salt and pepper,  to taste. At this point – I think I added a splash more pomegranate juice for some color. Once at desired thickness, remove from heat and set aside.
  3. Slice your tenderloin and serve with glaze as preferred. Garnish with pomegranate seeds and herbs if desired!

**Note: if you don’t have an Instant Pot, you can make this in the oven. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F, as well as heating a skillet over medium heat with a dash of olive oil. Sear Pork tenderloin in the skillet on all sides, 2-3 min per side – place in a baking dish once browned. Pour glaze over, and bake in the oven for 18-20 minutes, or until internal temperature reaches 145-150 degrees F. Set tenderloin on a dish to rest, and then follow the glaze recipe and serve as preferred.

Enjoy!

-S

Mediterranean Zucchini Pasta with Garlic, Sun-dried Tomato and Toasted Walnuts and Feta (Gluten Free, with Vegan option!)

Hello, foodies. Hope you’re all staying dry out there! I’ve been thinking of those of you down south, the news about the devastating flooding breaks my heart 😦 My grandfather lives in Greenville, SC and he said the rain has been unbelievable. Those of you in coastal towns –  you’re in my thoughts! I’ve been trying to find the best way to offer assistance in the wake of all the flooding – unfortunately, not much can be started until the water recedes. If you’re interested in helping out those in need, always do your homework before donating money (local is better!), and make sure you know some details about where you’re donating. Here are a few ways I’m considering:

Local Food Banks – Harvest Hope Food Bank, Food Bank of Central and Eastern North Carolina. It’s recommended to contact them to see where their greatest needs are before donating.

Google Donate – if you google “Hurricane Florence donate”, Google has a donation page set up. There are FAQ’s if you’d like to verify its validity, and they will match up to $1MM in donations. Often times, money is the best way to go so it can be used however needed.

Local Humane Societies – North Carolina (Greenville), and South Carolina (Myrtle Beach)

Frank’s Nation – Animal Rescue/Shelter- https://www.gofundme.com/frank039s-nation-vs-hurricane-flo

Verified by GoFundMe, this non-profit has launched a campaign to cover expenses of its volunteers who are searching for dogs in the affected areas. Save the pups left behind! 😦

Hopefully you all find some time or spare money to offer, if you’re able J many people won’t be able to return home until the water recedes, so anything we can do to help, we should!

Side note… I made some delicious stuff in the last few days. Some paleo and gluten free friendly, some “healthy”… and some are NAATTT. I made my family’s famous potato salad, which is filled with sugar, and mayo, and deliciousness… but I also made some light staples, appetizers and some good fall dishes. You’re in for a treat for the next few days, as this weather is going to be cruddy.

Until next time… here’s my delicious zoodles!

Mediterranean Zucchini Pasta with Garlic, Sun-dried Tomato and Toasted Walnuts and Feta (Gluten Free, with Vegan option!)

Prep time: 15 min

Cook time: 20 min

Serves 3-4

Ingredients

  • 1 jar of sundried tomatoes in oil, drained and thinly sliced (save the oil!)
  • 3-4  green zucchinis, spiralized (or two 1lb packages of pre-sliced zoodles)
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 2 large cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 3  cups of fresh spinach, loosely chopped
  • Handful of toasted walnuts, seasoned to preference (I like garlic powder, generous salt and pepper! Clink the link for my recipe) If vegan- use plain walnuts
  • Optional: 2/3 cup crumbled feta, plus more to taste (cheese is not paleo compliant, FYI)

Directions

  1. Using a spiralizer, cut your zoodles according to the tool’s instructions. Place on a paper towel to remove some of the moisture. Pro-Tip – I like to do this ahead of time to allow them to dry a bit, as zucchinis are made up of a lot of water. If using pre-cut – leave the package open for a few hours in the fridge prior to using.
  2. Once ready to cook, heat about 1-2 tbsp  oil in large pan over medium high heat. Add zucchini noodles and saute for 5-7 minutes, allowing some of the water to cook out. Add a pinch of salt and pepper, to taste. Once tender, remove from heat and set aside on a plate.
  3. Add another tbsp. of your reserved sundried tomato oil to the pan and turn the heat back down to medium – add your onion and saute for 3-4 minutes until translucent. Add your garlic and allow to brown (but not burn), for another 2-3 minutes.
  4. Once your onion and  garlic are cooked, add your sundried tomato and spinach to the pan, stirring. Next, add your wine and turn the heat to medium high in order to burn out the alcohol. Stir to combine, until spinach begins to wilt. Salt and pepper to taste, if needed.  Lastly, add your zoodles back to the pan, stirring to coat in the tomatoes and spinach.

Upon serving, garnish with walnuts and feta, if using.

Enjoy!

-S

Toasted/Candied Nuts

Picture from foodhomeandaway.com, image subject to copyright

Prep time: 5 min

Cook time: 15-20 min

This is the perfect staple to salads, pasta dishes, or even a snack/charcuterie tray. You can dress them up, make them spicy, the whole nine. Follow this simple “recipe” to make delicious, walnuts, pecans, or more! I always keep some on hand to throw into a recipe.

Ingredients:

  • 1.5 to 2 cups of your preferred nut (I often use roasted/unsalted pecans or walnuts)
  • Egg whites from 1-2 eggs, depending on how much nuts you have
  • Spices of your choice – for candied/sweeter ones, I’ll use maple syrup, coconut sugar, etc. For savory ones, I’ll use salt, garlic powder, dried herbs such as parsley, chives, thyme… whatever you want! Be very generous with seasoning

Directions

  1. Preheat your oven to 300 degrees F. Grease a large cookie sheet, or line with parchment paper.
  2. In a large bowl, add your egg whites and seasonings to a large bowl. Using a whisk or a mixer, briskly whip your egg whites until they are quite foamy. You don’t want merengue-style egg whites, and you definitely shouldn’t have any peaks…. Just enough elbow grease to get the eggs pretty foamy and opaque.
  3. Add your nuts into a large Ziploc bag or bowl, and pour in your egg whites. Stir/shake to coat thoroughly.
  4. Add your nuts in a single layer to your cookie sheet, and bake for 15-20 minutes, until starting to darken/crisp. Don’t be alarmed if they’re chewy when you first remove them from the oven… they will crisp up as they dry. Allow to cool.

Enjoy!

-S