Apple Cinnamon Muffins (Paleo!)

It’s September!

 

‘Tis the season to no longer be ashamed of my basic love for all things PUMPKIN. And carbs. And SWEATERS. Apples! Crunchy leaves to step on when walking my dog! I have to stop here, I’m getting too overwhelmed.

 

This weekend is the annual Mushroom Festival here in little ol’ Kennett Square. Here, you can find all things mushroom-related: décor, food, games, everything. I’ve been a lifelong spectator of the festival, but I’m extra excited for this year! I didn’t go into too much detail the last time I mentioned it, but I will be competing in the annual Amateur Mushroom Cook-off. This year’s special ingredient is Scaramuzza’s pasta – I will be making sage, pancetta and mushroom gnocchi in a garlic cream sauce. Definitely not paleo, gluten free, dairy free, or anything remotely *healthy*,  but it’s really tasty and I’m excited to make it! My first step to being on the Food Network…. hahaha. But no, really. Someone reading this, help me make that happen.  

 

After taking a long weekend and having a lot more time to make some recipe ideas for you all, I’ve turned out a LOT of fall stuff. I’m going to make this quick so we can cut to the chase and get on to talking about food. This is a nice variation of something similar I’ve made before, but it’s SUPER easy to make and freeze to save for later. I wrap them individually in foil or wax paper, defrost it overnight and take one on my way to work. These are nice because they stay nice and moist – they pretty much never go stale… they are what my neighbor’s kids refer to as “wet muffins”. It’s innocent because a four-year-old says it, so I’ll stick with it.

 

Apple Cinnamon Muffins (Paleo!)

Prep time: 10 min

Cook time: 25 min

Makes 12 muffins

 

Ingredients

  • 2 ripe bananas, mashed
  • 1 fuji or gala apple, core removed – peeled and diced
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/8 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk (unflavored is also fine)
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 3 tbsp maple syrup
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground allspice
  • 2 cups almond flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/8 tsp ground sea salt

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease your muffin tin lightly with coconut oil.
  2. Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and whisk until smooth.
  3. Divide batter evenly among cups – the muffin cups should be about ¾ full so they don’t overflow and bake over the sides.
  4. Bake for about 25 minutes until starting to turn golden on top. Check if they are done by sticking a knife or toothpick into a middle muffin – if it’s clean, they’re finished. Let cool, and serve!

Optional: if you’re feeling extra indulgent, spread a little ghee over them.

Enjoy!

-S

Chimichurri Sauce (Paleo, Vegan, Gluten-Free, EVERYTHING)

I’m a little late on posting this. And, by a little, I mean a lot. I really wanted to post it last Wednesday, but time got away from me.

So! This most recent full moon (in Aquarius) was directly opposite of Venus, which calls love and relationships front and center and puts you directly in front of whatever you’ve been facing in the background. Because of how strong this position is, until the new moon, ensure that important decisions you make are done so with logic and understanding, and not just emotion. The open window for opportunity is also here, so if there’s something to shake up and change, now would be the time.

That’s one thing I like to think about when it’s a full moon. I look at new moons as though they’re a beginning to a new chapter, and full moons as sort of a “pulse check” to make sure your intentions are where they should be by shining literal and figurative light on everything around you.

So about those turkey burgers I posted last week. It seems a lot of people were as jazzed about them as I was, which is always awesome. I definitely need to share with you this sauce concoction I made while I was at the beach. It’s called Chimichurri sauce – most often found in South American food, I’ve seen it served with steak. Personally, I’d eat it on everything and anything. When I’ve had it before, it’s been a bit more heavy on the oil, so I lightened it up this time and while the texture/consistency is different, I HIGHLY recommend keeping this on hand pretty much all the time. Put it on your breakfast, put it on your burger, put it on your chicken, your tacos, your fish, anything you’re eating, this pretty much takes what you’re eating from a 2 to like an 11. Delicious. Make it your own, too – my version has some zip to it, but you can change yours up to add whatever other common herbs you have on hand too (oregano, mint, etc).

Chimichurri Sauce (Paleo, Vegan, Gluten-Free, EVERYTHING)

Prep time: 15 min

Cook time: n/a

 

Ingredients

  • 1 large bunch of cilantro, stems removed
  • 2 handfuls of fresh basil
  • 1 large bunch of fresh parsley, stems removed

(at this point, I should be honest, you don’t need specific ratios, just a medium sized mixing bowl filled with fresh herbs… just go heavy on the parsley)

  • Juice of 2 limes
  • 1/3 cup of olive oil, plus more if needed
  • 1 small garlic clove
  • 1/3 of a red or yellow onion
  • 1 1/2 tsp gochugaru chili flakes (I like Mother In Law’s Korean Chili Flakes)
  • Sea salt, to taste (I used ~1 tsp)

 

Directions

  1. In a food processor, add your herbs, garlic and onion. Start blending, slowly pouring in your olive oil until you achieve a thinner consistency.
  2. Once the herbs are finely blended, add your lime juice, salt and chili flakes. Continue to blend. The consistency should be thin, almost runny, but not watery.
  3. Do a quick taste test – this should be herby but not taste like a mouth full of grass… it should be tangy, salty and flavorful. Add more lime juice, chili flakes or salt if needed, and blend for another 10-15 seconds.
  4. Serve and enjoy! I keep mine in the fridge for up to 5 days after. It may slightly dull in color over time but it’s still tasty, don’t worry!

-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

Paleo Sausage Gravy Over Biscuits… and it’s DELICIOUS

Victories come in all shapes and sizes. Sometimes you get the job, sometimes you almost miss a step on a staircase but don’t and catch yourself. Sometimes, you thought you forgot your phone charger at home but find it in your workbag. And then… sometimes you make sausage gravy over biscuits and it’s gluten free, dairy free, and DOESN’T SUCK.

This is a great time to be alive. Honestly.  I can’t even explain the joy I get from making this, because now I can share it with people who’ve never enjoyed the salty tasty goodness of sausage gravy.  You can bet your bottom I’ll be making this again.

This weekend is my hometown’s big annual event, the Mushroom Festival. Thousands of people gather to see artisans, crafts, food, antique cars and demonstrations about how mushrooms are grown and distributed. It’s a really fun time, and the whole town shuts down so that everyone can enjoy it. If you’re in the Philadelphia area, you should definitely check it out – more into at www.mushroomfestival.org.

Since this is just one big post about me talking about what I DO like, I realized I haven’t complained about the heat yet. It’s still really hot, guys. Fortunately, it’ll be in the high 60’s this weekend, so… I suspect I may be wearing a flannel to the mushroom festival….. 🙂

Sausage Gravy and Biscuits (PALEO!)

Prep Time: 40 min

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Yields about 8-10 biscuits

Ingredients

For the biscuits:

  • 1 cup Almond Flour
  • 2/3 cup Tapioca Flour
  • 1/2 cup Coconut Flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • ½  tsp finely ground sea salt
  • 1/3 cup (5 Tbsp) of cold butter, cut into ½ inch cubes
  • 1/2 cup Coconut Milk, fully mixed/shaken
  • Juice from ½ a lemon
  • 2 Eggs

For the gravy:

  • 1 (14 ounce) can of coconut milk
  • 1 pound pork sausage
  • 1 heaping tbsp. tapioca or arrowroot powder
  • 1/2 tbsp finely chopped fresh parsley
  • sprinkle of garlic powder
  • 1 tbsp finely chopped fresh sage, plus more for garnish
  • sprinkle of paprika
  • sprinkle of chili powder, optional
  • salt and pepper, to taste

Directions

  1. First, preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or spray with your preferred oil/cooking spray.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together your coconut milk and lemon juice. Stir in your eggs and continue to whisk until well combined. Set aside.
  3. In a separate larger mixing bowl, combine the almond flour, tapioca flour, coconut flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a mixing bowl. Mix in your butter cubes with your hands, and press the mixture together until it starts to get a sandy, coarse meal-y texture. Continue this until butter is no longer in large chunks.
  4. Fold in your buttermilk/egg mixture into the flour mixture and gently stir until fully mixed. Allow it to sit so that the flours can absorb the moisture, about 5-7 minutes.
  5. With your hands, take a rough handful of the biscuit mix and place on the baking sheet. So  that it resembles a flakier biscuit shape, I pinch and poke the top with my hands so it isn’t a perfectly round shape. Continue to form biscuits, placing 1-2 inches apart.
  6. Bake for 13-15 minutes, until golden brown. Remove from heat and allow to cool.
  7. Meanwhile, while your biscuits are cooking, heat a large skillet over medium high heat and add your onion and sausage. Continue to saute until browned, breaking up large bits of sausage. Remove the sausage with a slotted spoon and set aside.
  8. Using the remaining fat in the pan, turn the heat down to medium low and add your arrowroot/tapioca flour and whisk to combine. Once it thickens, add your coconut milk (remember to shake the can well to ensure it’s mixed!) and  continue to whisk. Add your herbs and salt and pepper, to taste. Add your sausage back in and continue to stir occasionally, allowing the gravy to thicken.
  9. Pour over your biscuits…. Or just eat it out of the pan. Or smother it on your face. I love gravy, do what you want.

Enjoy!

-S

Fun Fall Recipes – Pumpkin Pancakes (Paleo!)

Well, Labor Day weekend has come and gone. It was a nice long 4 day weekend that managed to pass by in the blink of an eye. They always do. I got some last bit of sun, enjoyed some time outdoors, but also…. PUMPKIN!

Ok, yeah. So, we’re getting into things a bit quickly. I’m totally fine with that, I look at it as… making sure you’re completely prepared for all things Fall when it actually comes around. When will that be? Honestly, it’s about 90 degrees outside so I’m not entirely sure. You definitely have some treats coming up, though… you’ve been warned. If you don’t like pumpkin, I will teach you how to like pumpkin. We Libras can appreciate more than just a Pumpkin Spice Latte.

This little number is for all the breakfast lovers with a sweet tooth out there. While I don’t really eat a lot of sweets, I do love maple syrup. What better way to celebrate fall  with something that requires it? Cue: PANCAKES.

These bad boys are perfect. They’re subtle, fluffy, and absolutely delicious. They’re also pretty forgiving if you like to jazz them up a little bit. After making the first batch, I just mixed together more ingredients and made some little ones to freeze for breakfast throughout the month, and take out as needed. Portion control! Feel free to add whatever toppings you choose, too. Often times I’m not in the mood for so much sugar so I don’t want to drown them in syrup. Instead, I add a tbsp. of Justin’s Vanilla Almond butter while they’re still super-hot, and it gets all melty and delicious. To each their own! How do you guys like your pancakes?

Pumpkin Pancakes (Paleo!)

Prep time: 15 min

Cook time: ~20-25 min

Makes about 3-4 medium sized pancakes

Ingredients

  • ½ cup pureed pumpkin
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 ½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ½ cup almond flour (I use Bob’s Red Mill)
  • 2 tbsp coconut flour

Directions

  1. In a large mixing bowl, whisk your eggs together. Add your pumpkin, maple syrup, vanilla and cinnamon, and whisk together until smooth.
  2. In a separate bowl, add your almond flour, coconut flour and baking powder and whisk until thoroughly mixed. Over a fine strainer, slowly add your dry ingredients to the wet mixture and stir until smooth. The reasoning for this is to ensure any clumps of the dry ingredients are broken apart and mix well into the wet ingredients.
  3. Heat a large skillet to medium low/low heat, and  grease with your preferred fat (I use coconut oil). It’s very important to cook these slow and low, so the inside cooks before the outside burns. If it’s browning too fast, you will need to turn the heat down and be patient!
  4. Cook the first side until golden brown, about 3-4 minutes. Once solid enough to flip, turn over and cook for another 3-4 minutes  until golden brown.

Enjoy with your preferred toppings (mine is pictured with the almond butter and smidge of maple syrup!)

-S

Summer Peach Crisp (Vegan, with Paleo-friendly option!)

I think I should build an ark.

Is that the stereotypical response when someone mentions the fact that we will be getting 10 straight days of rain in the mid-Atlantic? Yes, it is. And yes, that is actually happening. I am glad I am a strong swimmer.

That aside, I had an amazing weekend! Friday I was able to cook some delicious things to share with y’all. I then got to hang out with my old neighbors, which was fun. It’s nice to find a group of people that you click with, even though you are all so different. A few friends were absent (and dearly missed!), but there’s always next month. Saturday I got to brush up on my Reiki with some additional training – that might be a topic for another time, but I have to say… energy work is amazing and highly recommended! One of those things that you didn’t know you needed until you have had some exposure to it. Saturday afternoon I got to enjoy dinner with some friends I haven’t spent time with in a while, and it was just a really nice weekend. I think the best part was when I inadvertently bought 6 lbs of peaches from a precious little Amish boy and spent the remainder of my free time trying to find ways to use it. Things I made, didn’t document (tasty as they were, some things were a little ugly/sloppy…) but ate  came out FABULOUS. Have any of you put peaches in your tomato sauce? No? You should consider it. Maybe I’ll post a little walk-through on Instagram for my Peach Bolognese sauce recipe. Yes, you read that correctly. and yes… tried, tested and approved by picky eaters.

Let’s get right to the point and talk about my Vegan Peach Crisp. While this particular version is not gluten-free, it’s just a glorious throw-together treat for when you buy 6 lbs of peaches from a little boy on the side of the road and need something to do with them. Or, I mean…. if you grocery shop too. It’s fun, it’s quick, and it keeps really well, which is just the best.

Summer Peach Crisp (Vegan, with Paleo-friendly option!)

Prep time: 20 min

Cook time: 40 min

Serves 5-7

Ingredients:

For  the filling

  • 5-6 peaches (any kind you like!) – peeled, pit removed and chopped
  • ¾ cup organic brown sugar
  • 1 tsp organic vanilla extract
  • 1 tbsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp allspice
  • 1 tsp fresh lemon juice
  • ¼ cup vegan butter alternative (or ghee), melted
  • Pinch of finely ground Himalayan sea salt

For the crumble topping

  • ¾ cup oats (or ground flax for paleo substitute
  • 3/4 cup whole wheat flour, or paleo-friendly baking flour (such as Bob’s Redmill mix, or almond flour)
  • ¾ cup organic brown sugar
  • 8 oz organic vegan butter (cold); or 1 stick cold organic butter, cut into ½ in cubes for non vegans. Note: if using paleo alternatives, add additional ghee because of the dryness of paleo alternatives. Start with using 1.5x the amount of ghee/butter)
  • 1 tbsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp allspice

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease a glass 9x13in baking dish and set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, toss peaches with all of the filling ingredients and mix to coat thoroughly.
  3. In a separate bowl, mix together all of the crumble ingredients except your butter. Once dry ingredients are mixed, add in the butter, a little at a time, pressing the crumble into the pieces of butter. You don’t need to be neat – if anything, really pressing the ingredients into the butter is better.  The butter should be reduced into mixture until you’re left with large/coarse crumbs.
  4. Spread the peach filling evenly within the baking dish, patting gently to make sure there are no gaps. Sprinkle the crumb mixture over the peaches, ensuring all of the peaches are covered.
  5. Bake for 35-40 minutes, until the top becomes golden and the peach mixture is bubbling. Allow to cool before serving.

Enjoy!

-S

Peppermint Patty Pudding Parfait (Paleo, Vegan)

Spirit animals.

Let’s just jump right into this, because I am too tired to come up with some fancy superfluous introduction. Have you ever given any thought to what a spirit animal is, or why it’s important?

I think because of subtle Native American influence throughout my life, I’ve paid more attention to it than the average person. Only until more recently did it start to make more frequent appearances, and I have to tell you — it’s more than just coming across a great meme on Instagram or talking about how Cardi B is your spirit animal because she’s a chatterbox who don’t curr about nothin’. A spirit animal is essentially Mother Nature’s driving force of what embodies you as a cultivated spiritual being, or what supports you as someone in need a spiritual fine-tuning.

Let’s use me an example. I’ve always known my spirit animal was a horse. I’ve loved them and ridden since I was very young, and I’ve always been a “horse girl”. What does a horse actually represent, though? Those of you who know me, I’m sure you know me quite well — I’m the most unintentionally transparent person alive. Apparently, so is a horse. So, the horse… the horse is known for pride, highly charged emotions, and a very driven instinct. Horses are powerful — not in that they are nature’s predators, but they are powerful in such a way where they know there’s strength in numbers and strength in endurance and perseverance. Horses, like any earthly being, are also not perfect. If given the option between fight or flight, a horse will choose flight 99% of the time. However — a horse is not defenseless. they are quick, and bold if need be.

The interesting thing about the representation of a spirit animal is that — no matter how domesticated, the instinct of an animal remains pure. Animals are born with imprints that can be subdued, but they cannot be stopped. A horse has the innate capability of horsey ways that stay with them for life. The same can be said for someone’s spirituality — you can live your life any way you choose and make any decision you want… but ultimately, one way or another, we are all drawn to the same thing, which is compassion, self-acceptance and growth. When situations come up where I know I need to take a step back, ground myself and really understand the situation, it truly does help to envision what qualities a wild horse possesses, what could apply to this situation and how I could channel that into my own perspective.

Not to get too “woo-woo” — you can interpret your spirit animal any way you choose. While mine is a horse, maybe I keep seeing a fox while out driving, walking or riding (a horse… lol..). Perhaps, for that time, I need to bring more fox-like energy into my life by way of my thoughts, my actions, or my reactions. I think we’re drawn to certain animals in certain times of our lives, and I don’t think it’s simply because nature is around us and it happens as coincidence. embrace your inner wild side!

Onto other fun things… like food! I’m not sure where you are in the world right now, but in the Mid-Atlantic US, it’s HOT. Like, stop-wearing-make-up hot. Like, could-I-really-fry-an-egg-on-the-sidewalk-today hot. Cool down with this fun delicious peppermint patty chia pudding parfait!

Peppermint Patty Pudding Parfait (Paleo, Vegan)

Prep time: 4 hours

Cook time:  n/a

Serves 4

Ingredients

For the chia pudding

  • 1 cup almond milk
  • 1 heaping tbsp smooth almond butter
  • 1 teaspoon peppermint extract, or 6-8 drops of food-grade peppermint essential oil (use sparingly)
  • 3 tbsp maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup chia seeds

For the parfait

  • 10 oz almond milk Greek yogurt, such as Kite Hill or Silk
  • 2 tbsp cacao nibs
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract

mint leaves, for garnish

Instructions

  1. In a blender or food processor, mix together almond milk, almond butter, peppermint, vanilla, maple syrup and cocoa powder, until smooth.
  2. Once mixed, add to an airtight container and stir in chia seeds thoroughly. Place in refrigerator overnight or for at least 2-3 hours.
  3. Once ready to serve, mix together your yogurt ingredients – the Greek yogurt, honey and vanilla.
  4. Here’s where you can get creative if you want – layer your pudding, and then your yogurt. Add your cacao nibs, and garnish with your mint leaves. Best served chilled – if you want to put it back in the fridge, feel free to do so for a few minutes!

Serve and enjoy 🙂

-S