Raw Banana Cheesecake

IMAG4297Last week we had a friend coming over. If you know me, then, my mind was racing on some kind of fun little treat I could make. Zach had dinner planned out, but I wanted a nice little sweet at the end.

What could I make?

Most of my baking supplies are in the commercial kitchen. It was a little tricky. Plus I was thinking of things I already had on hand.

A bundle of  bananas. Some nuts.

Cheesecake. I could make cheesecake real fast.

And I know dairy is a hot topic and gray area. I will say, that I personally do not have a problem with it. My husband on the other hand can not, it tears his stomach up, so I generally use alternatives. But I will personally do dairy in moderation sometimes. I love the Weston A. Price for information on raw butter and milk.

So sometimes I include dairy. However, I could probably remake this recipe in the future soaking cashews or macadamia nuts and boom, you have a dairy-free option as well. I truly would have loved to make it with goat cheese, but my husband is not a fan (although I’ve made cheesecakes with goat cheese before and my taste-testers did not know any better). The choice is yours and fitting to what you can personally tolerate and your level of moderation.

On this night, we splurged and I made this lovely, light little cheesecake for our dinner party.

And it was really easy to assemble.

And really delicious.

Raw Banana Cheesecake Continue reading “Raw Banana Cheesecake”

A Polifroni Dinner: Apple Chicken, Collard Greens & Sweet Potato/Parsnip Hash

IMAG4294.jpgI will confess, I love baking. It fuels my creativity. It’s my art. Food is one of the ways I express myself. And I enjoy thinking of new recipes and baking/making delicious new things.

However, this isn’t very representative of real life. I like to post options for treats and desserts (and to make them for the market), but it’s not something I eat or make at home very often. I typically will make bake goods for blogs and give them away or I make them for my husband.

Why?

Because the everyday foods I eat are not nearly as pretty as my baked goods. They are less awe-inspiring. A little less pizzazz. They seem so simple. They’re not as sexy. But they are delicious. They’re what I enjoy eating.

In real life I could eat cabbage everyday. It doesn’t smell good. It doesn’t necessarily look good either. But I love the taste.

I wanted to start this week off with something that my husband and I typically eat for dinner.

It has flavor. This dish had color. It has variety. And it is filling.

It’s not complicated. It’s super easy to make. And it doesn’t take long to make.

Polifroni Dinner Night

(this served 3 people, plus leftovers)

Apple Chicken

  • 1 lbs. chicken breast
  • 1 apple
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • sea salt and pepper

Collard Greens

  • 1/2 bunch collard greens
  • 1/4 red onion, diced
  • 1 tbsp bacon fat, ghee, or coconut oil

Sweet Potato & Parsnip Hash

  • 1 sweet potato
  • 1 parsnip
  • sea salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 tsp minced garlic
  • 1-2 tbsp bacon fat, ghee, or coconut oil

Let’s Make it Happen:

Peel the sweet potato and parsnip. Dice into cubes (I usually like to cube mine pretty small). Heat your fat in a skillet with the garlic on a medium heat. Add the sweet potato and parsnip. Season to taste. Allow them to cook, keep stirring them as prepare the other food. Cook them until they are tender (soft and a fork goes through the center, we put ours in a baking pan to keep warm while we made the other sides and so we could use the skillet).

Cut chicken into strips. Season with sea salt, pepper, and basil. Cook in a skillet on medium heat in another skillet. While it is cooking, dice the apples (we left the skin on). When it is almost done cooking (no longer pink in the center), drain it, and add the apples. Drizzle honey over the top. Turn to low, until the collard greens are done.

For the collard greens, remove the veins. Roll up the leaves. Thinly slice. Dice the onion. Saute the onion in a skillet with the fat until translucent. Add the collard greens. Salt. Cook until soft.

Serve it all up on a plate (props to my husband for plating this beautifully for me), eat and enjoy!

Pavlovas: Mango + Coconut & Caramel Banana

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Lesson yesterday: don’t make assumptions or let anticipation hold you back.

My lesson of course comes from food, it’s part of my self-expression.

I’ve told myself for a long time I don’t like meringue. And although I was excited to make these pavlovas today, it was not because I wanted to eat one but because I thought they were beautiful.

My anticipation was that I wasn’t going to like them. How often do we do this? Judge something/someone/an experience before we try it? I can think of countless instances in my life where I’ve done this, where I have held off on something because of my anticaption of how something was going to taste or feel or how a conversation may go. It is very often self inflicted and limiting.

Because these were delicious and my anticipating thoughts would have denied me of trying and enjoying this. Just as anticipating thoughts can hold us back from our dreams and potential. Or we deny ourselves friendships and connections because we are quick to judge or have a pre-conceived notion of how someone might be.

Sometimes we just have to stop anticipating and step fully into and embrace what is happening.

What made these so good?

I think the texture, I can’t even fully describe it, plus the flavor of the maple sugar, it all was just amazing.

IMAG4118Have fun. Play around. Try out different flavor profiles. Like:

Lemon Curd + Fresh Blueberries

Chocolate Ganache + Raspberries

Cherries + Toasted Almond Slivers

Caramel Apple

Lavender Blackberry

Get Creative!

Paleo Pavlovas

Pavlovas

  • 5 oz. egg whites (about 4 eggs)
  • 1 cup maple sugar
  • 1 tbsp tapioca flour
  • 1 tsp apple cider vinegar

Whipped Cream: 

  • 1 can coconut milk (refrigerated overnight)
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1 tsp vanilla

Topping: 

  • Mango Curd (click the link for recipe) +
  • Toasted Coconut Flakes (bake @ 350 for 5 to 10 minutes)
  • Honey Fried Bananas (cook in a skillet, drizzle with honey, brown) +
  • Paleo Caramel

IMAG4114Let’s Make it happen: 

Separate eggs while cold, then allow them to hang out until they reach room temperature.

Preheat oven to 300.

Beat the egg whites on high. Once peaks start to form, slowly add in the maple sugar, a little at a time. Keep beating until it is glossy and the meringue doesn’t feel gritty to the touch. Add the vanilla and tapioca flour. Mix briefly, just until incorporated.

Lay a piece of parchment down on a baking sheet. I used an angled spatula to make four different meringues. I smoothed each into a circle. Then put another layer on top and smooth it out, as well as building it up on the sides to make a well in the center (so the topping could fit in). I repeated this with all four.

Place in the oven and bake at 225 for an hour and a half. Turn the oven off. Leave the pavlovas in the oven to cool down.

While they were baking I made the whip. Simply remove the solids from the coconut milk and beat with vanilla and honey.

Make the mango curd. Toast some coconut.

Fry up the bananas. Make caramel.

Now you are ready to assemble!

Dollop whip cream into the center of each. On two of them, smear mango curd and sprinkle on some toasted coconut. On the remaining two, drizzle caramel, layer on bananas, drizzle a little more caramel.

Just like that you’re ready! Eat and enjoy! Have fun

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Continue reading “Pavlovas: Mango + Coconut & Caramel Banana”

Gluten-Free Grapefruit Tarts

IMAG4034.jpgGrowing up one of my favorite things to have for breakfast was grapefruit.

My mother would cut one in half. Sprinkle some sugar on each half. cut around the outside and each individual wedge, and microwave or broil each half. One half for Cliff. One for me. And the wedges just popped out.

I have seen several grapefruit tarts, which have been stunning and beautiful. It’s been on my Must Make list for probably about a year now.

Today I had some extra pie crust, plus I already already bought a grapefruit, so I determined that this would be the week I tried it. If I like it, maybe I can take it to the market as part of my POW (Pie of the Week).

Here is the good and the bad of how they turned out:

  • They grapefruit curd was absolutely delicious. Like most other curds (such as lemon and lime), I could sit and sneak little bites maybe all day.
  • Meringue on top? Why not! It’s citrus, just like lemon, why not use some meringue to dress it up
  • Color, this is my only negative. The color was not what I was wanting. This could be 1. Because I used honey and that added to the darker color 2. Many of the recipes I saw used red dye to add to the rubiness of their tarts, but I’m not about that artificial coloring life, so the natural had to do

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Gluten-Free Kale Wraps

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I know was a real big thing for a while. And I do believe eating a variety of greens is important. I think I tried making my first batch of kale chips some 8 + years ago.

Truth: I wasn’t sold.

I am a cabbage girl. I could eat it everyday. And cabbage chips are my favorite vegetable chip (click the link for the recipe). So kale could never hold a candle to my beloved cabbage (which I could/can eat everyday).

I tried sauteing the kale. Nope. Worse there, the chips at least had a nice crunch.

So kale blew-up with catchy kale shirts popping up and a plethora of jokes made their round. It gotten trendy and I was really over it then.

But the hype has died down. And I have had enough time. Enough time to give kale another chance.

My favorite quicky recipe are lettuce wraps. When I’m having a lazy day or I’ve done a ton of baking, I frankly don’t want to spend a bunch of time prepping food or cutting vegetables (although there are many days when I love this). So lettuce wraps are light, refreshing and easy to slap together.

I feel bad sometimes, however, for my dear husband who doesn’t really complain, but who does enjoy a tortilla wrap for lunch.

In the past I’ve made spinach wraps (again click the link for the recipe). They were really freaking good. So I resolved to switch things up this time around. Kale. Now was the time, that I was ready to give kale a third trial.

The verdict?

SOOOOOOO delicious! Make a batch, freeze some for future lazy days.

Explore filling it with different options. I did lettuce and bacon here (no BLT’s for me, I do not do raw tomatoes, it’s a texture thing).

However you could do: chicken salad (or egg or tuna). You could maybe make some spin on fajitas. Pulled pork. Kale inside kale with sweet potatoes and pork strips.

You have options when it comes to wraps. Loads of options that are customizable to your own taste. Continue reading “Gluten-Free Kale Wraps”

Crispy Rutabaga Cake

IMAG3924I loved potatoes growing up. My amazing momma was a meat and potato girl. Bake potatoes were my jam.

However, I’ve read so much about potatoes, it’s added a stigma about eating them. This has created a barrier about eating them, and although I see some Paleo sites including them, I just can’t pull the trigger yet.

However, in the last 15 years, since I’ve cut them, I have discovered and experimented with an array of other tubers. I have grown fond of sweet potatoes, which I claimed to hate as a child (I was a super picky eater and most of the time I claimed to hate something, when the truth was, I had never tried it). I really like parsnips (as does my husband, so we really dig a root hash with them). Turnips, I tried but they seemed bland compared to the others and I didn’t go beyond trying them. Plantains= love (read yesterday’s post on plantain chips). And rutabaga. I found I really enjoy rutabaga. I tried them first as fries. Yum. Delicious. I mashed them. They were good, but mashed cauliflower I think is still the best after 8 years of trying all tubers, I pick the cuneiform veggie. They are super good in a hash.

But then I saw a recipe for a crispy potato cake and boom I knew I wanted to try it with rutabaga. My husband has a mandolin slicer at work, so I was able to get a nicely stacked cake. This wasn’t very hard to make either, and it was full of flavor.

IMAG3922Crispy Rutabaga Cake Continue reading “Crispy Rutabaga Cake”

Gluten-Free Granola Yogurt Tarts

IMAG3899I have been waiting to make these!

Actually that is not completely 100. I have been waiting to make these to post! I made some last summer, with goat cheese fillings, but I never posted it.

I had some leftover granola bars from the market, so I thought…….hmm…..I could spare some of these to finally make some tarts. Because pies and tarts are kind of my things.

This is something that gets me excited, not just because it is beautiful and aesthetically pleasing, but it’s easy to make and customize.

I’ve got 6 mini tart pans, so I can make up a couple and freeze them until I am ready.

From there I have loads of options. Here I have used yogurt. Many can be anti-dairy, but I have been reading Chris Kressner and I’ve done a lot of research through the Weston A. Price organization, so I think if you can tolerate it, moderation isn’t bad. Plus fermented foods are great for your gut. Look at the source. I also like kefir, but if I was using kefir, I’d probably add some honey, it can have a strong flavor. Plus the last time I got some, I grabbed goat kefir and it for sure had a strong flavor and smell. So dress it up.

You could also use goat cheese. Use a dairy-free yogurt if it’s a concern.

Maybe blend the fruits into the yogurt to add some color, rather than just layering them on the top, as I have. I like textures, so I wanted the fruits cut rather than pureed to add some depth in texture. Besides eating and chewing makes the body do more work than simply swallowing food, and I think it’s more filling.

You can also customize this easily, by the fruits. Use the ones that you like. Make a tropical one with mango, pineapple, kiwi, and coconut flakes maybe. Or a caramel apple. Or a blackberry peach. Or a mixed berry. Last fall, I made a pumpkin one. Maybe you want to mix a tablespoon of almond butter in yours and layer banana slices on top, with some shaved dark chocolate.

Play around with options. Or keep it simple. I am just giving you a base.

IMAG3918Granola Yogurt Tarts Continue reading “Gluten-Free Granola Yogurt Tarts”