Thursday, February 27, 2014

Grain-Free Coco-Nutty Pumpkin Bread

Recently I had a head cold that I, thankfully, got over quickly. I was craving pumpkin bread, so I used my apple cinnamon coconut flour muffin recipe as a template recipe. This is just as good as the wheat-based version, in my opinion! The consistency is creamy despite being made from coconut flour, which is full of fiber and can be a bit drying in recipes. Customize this pumpkin bread with whatever nuts or spices you like. You could most likely substitute the stevia for up to 4 tbsp liquid sweetener, like honey or maple syrup, which is what I used in the apple muffins. Coconut flour is so fibrous that it's pretty forgiving as to how much liquid you add.

Grain-Free Coco-Nutty Pumpkin Bread
Printable Recipe

6 tbsp virgin coconut oil, melted but not hot (plus more, for greasing)
1 cup pure pumpkin puree
6 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
4 packets stevia, or other sweetener of choice
1/2 cup sifted coconut flour
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp aluminum-free baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup chopped nuts (I used pecans)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
2. In a medium bowl and using a spoon or fork, blend the coconut oil with the pumpkin. Blend in each egg one at a time, along with the vanilla extract. The coconut oil may curdle, but that's ok. Finally, dissolve the stevia, or other sweetener of choice, into the wet ingredients.
3. Fold in the coconut flour, cinnamon, baking powder, and salt. It may clump a bit, but just use a wire whisk to whip the mixture about 10 times, or until the batter smooths out.
4. Fold in the nuts.
5. Lightly grease a loaf pan (4.5"x8.5" or 1.5 qt) with coconut oil. Line across with wide side with a piece of parchment so the bread will release from the pan easily. You can also put another piece the other direction depending on if your pan tends to stick to food, but I have not found it to be necessary with my glass pan. Spoon in the batter and smooth over with the back of the spoon.
6. Bake for 60 minutes or until a pick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  • Servings per recipe: 12
  • Per serving:
  • Calories: 157.1
  • Fat: 13.4 g
  • Saturated fat: 7 g
  • Cholesterol: 93 mg
  • Sodium: 181.8 mg
  • Carbohydrate: 5.9 g
  • Fiber: 3.4 g
  • Sugars: 1 g
  • Protein: 4.6 g

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Sun Cups - First Impressions Review

Recently I received a package from the Sun Cups company that had a sample of their products. I have not been able to use them in a recipe yet because I haven't had the occasion to make a dessert, but in the meantime I thought I would write a review of my impressions about the packaging and ingredients.

They sent me milk chocolate sunflower cups, caramel cups, dark chocolate sunflower cups, and mint cups. First, I think the packaging is adorable. I like their use of color and each one has a cute descriptor, like "terrifically tingly" for the mint flavor. I like how they are gluten free, peanut free, corn free, soy free, and nut free, so if you are going to have a treat and have some allergies, these would be a great option.On the back, it says that the cacao comes from Rainforest Alliance Certified farms. Therefore, the cacao is sustainably sourced and supports farmers. Finally, the ingredients list is relatively short, which is something I try to look for when purchasing a packaged product. I especially like that the chocolate is soy lecithin free, which is difficult to find. These do contain dairy, so if you have a dairy allergy then you will have to beware of that.

I'm really grateful to the Sun Cups company for sending me these to try. I have a few ideas for dessert recipes, but I will need to have people over to be my taste test panel!

Monday, February 10, 2014

Caramelized Onion and Sausage Egg Casserole

I made a big egg casserole with some sausages I got at my first trip to our new Costco (that place is awesome!). They're nitrite-free chicken apple sausages and I paired them with caramelized onions. I seasoned the eggs with sage, because sage and breakfast go together in my opinion. It's a delicious combination---sweet from the onions and apples and salty from the sausage. I wish I would have taken a picture of a slice of this so you could see the bits of caramelized onion and sausage, but it was so delicious I forgot!

Caramelized Onion and Sausage Frittata
Printable Recipe

2 tbsp butter or ghee, plus more for greasing the pan
2 medium onions, thinly sliced
1 lb sausage (I used Aidell's chicken apple sausage), chopped (can use any sausage of you liking)
12 large eggs, beaten
1/2 tsp dried ground sage
salt and pepper, to taste

1. Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the onions and cook, stirring occasionally, for up to 45 min to caramelize them. Lower the heat and add a little water as needed to keep them from sticking. Remove to the side to cool.
2. Add the sausage to the saucepan the onions were cooked in and brown over medium heat.
3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter and 11"x13" pan.
4. Add the onions, sausage, sage, and salt and pepper to taste to the beaten eggs. Pour into the prepared pan. Bake 35-40 min or until the center is set and the top and edge are golden brown. Rest 5 min before cutting and serving.
  • Servings per recipe: 6
  • Per serving:
  • Calories: 331.7
  • Fat: 19.4 g
  • Saturated fat: 7.3 g
  • Cholesterol: 432.4 mg
  • Sodium: 544.1 mg
  • Carbohydrate: 13.8 g
  • Fiber: 1 g
  • Sugars: 7.9 g
  • Protein: 24.9 g

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Sausage, Pepper, and Onion Frittata with Cheddar Cheese

This sausage, pepper, and onion frittata is one of my most favorite breakfasts I have been preparing lately.  It's really filling so I feel satisfied until lunch.

Sausage, Pepper, and Onion Frittata with Cheddar Cheese
Printable Recipe

1 lb breakfast sausage (I used pork, but you can use whatever you like)
1 cup diced mixed color bell peppers
1/2 cup diced onion
8 eggs
1 tbsp heavy cream (optional)
4 oz sharp cheddar cheese (raw milk, if possible, also optional for Whole 30 or strict Paleo)
salt and pepper, to taste

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
2. In a medium oven-proof skillet over medium-high heat, crumble in the sausage and add the onions and peppers. Cook the sausage until cooked through and the onions and peppers are softened and lightly browned. Also be sure to cook off any excess water in the pan.
3. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, beat the eggs with the cream and some salt and pepper, to taste. Fold in the cheese. Drop the heat of the skillet to medium. Pour the egg mixture over the sausage in the pan. Gently fold to combine. Cook the eggs without stirring for about 5 min or until the edges become solid. Put the pan in the oven and cook for 15 min or until the center is cooked through. Rest for 5 min before sliding out of the pan onto another plate to cut (or just cut it while it's still in the pan).
**optional prep method if you do not have an oven proof skillet: Preheat the oven as in step 1. Cook the sausage and peppers as in step 2. Place in a greased 8x8"-9x9" pan. Prepare the eggs as in step 3, but pour them over the sausage mixture in the pan. Place the pan in the oven and bake 30-35 min or until set in the middle. Rest 5 min before cutting and serving.

  • Servings per recipe: 8
  • Per serving:
  • Calories: 287
  • Fat: 21.7 g
  • Saturated fat: 11.4 g
  • Cholesterol: 246.5 mg
  • Sodium: 661.4 mg
  • Carbohydrate: 3 g
  • Fiber: 0.4 g
  • Sugars: 1.2 g
  • Protein: 18.2 g

Saturday, February 8, 2014

What I've been cooking lately

As much as I like developing new recipes, I do like trying new recipes that other people have come up with! I've been using a lot of sources for my food prep. Here are some of the things I've been cooking lately:

For breakfast I've made Stupid Easy Paleo's Hearty Spinach Beef Frittata. It is delicious and keeps me full for a long time. I typically put sausage or bacon into my frittatas, but good ol' ground beef tastes great too! I cut the frittata into pieces and put them in separate containers to reheat during the week.

I tried the recipe for Cheeseburger Soup from the Wheat Belly Cookbook in order to use up some chicken broth that I made. It was really good! It reminded me of potato soup (I guess this would be a mock potato soup) but with hamburger instead of pieces of ham or bacon. I think I could get this to taste pretty close to my mom's potato soup if I added celery and some ham instead of hamburger. This was a tricky one to photograph, but below is my mug of soup. I also had spinach salad on the side (not pictured). I like to have soup in mugs and then eat from them while I slump on the couch watching TV. I'm not really sure if it photographed too nicely, but here is a picture in case you are curious:

I also made some bodacious turkey burgers that I topped with avocado, homemade mayo, raw fermented pickle, bacon, and some other things and wrapped with lettuce. Not really a recipe but really good!

One of my all-time favorite Paleo recipes is Smoky Lime Marinade from the Primal Palate. I like to use it to marinate pork chops. I served some garlicky sauteed mushrooms on the side. I actually prepared a quadruple batch and froze smaller portions for use later in the semester when things get hectic. 

So that's what I've had on my menu lately! I hope you get some ideas of things to try.

Friday, February 7, 2014

Spice-Rubbed Roasted Turkey Breast

While I was home for winter break I made Spice-Rubbed Roasted Turkey Legs for my family and they really loved them. I got to thinking how I could use the spice rubs in other recipes. When I got back to Texas I bought a turkey breast because I thought it would highlight the spices perfectly. I prefer dark meat poultry because white meat can be so bland, but the spice rub would add a lot of flavor. Plus it would act as a dry brine and help keep the white meat moist.

I tried it. I loved it.

The meat was so much more juicy because of the rub, and definitely not boring. It tasted a little like the Cajun turkey from the deli. All I did was take the rub recipe then multiply the amount to make by the weight of the turkey. Therefore, the spice proportions are based on 2 lbs of meat, so you're going to have to do a little math.

Then I went on to use the bones plus some veggies and the bones from a chicken to make some broth that was super tasty but strangely orange due to all the spices.

Spice-Rubbed Roasted Turkey Breast
Printable Recipe

1 bone-in turkey breast
For every 2 lbs of turkey breast, you will need:

1 tsp paprika
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp ground mustard
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/8 tsp white pepper

For example, my turkey breast was 6.5 lbs, so I used:
2 1/2 tsp paprika
2 1/2 tsp cumin
2 1/2 tsp chili powder
2 1/2 tsp coriander
1 3/4 tsp kosher salt
1 3/4 tsp ground mustard
3/4 tsp black pepper
scant 1/2 tsp white pepper

1 onion, cut into big pieces

Your measurements may be a little off because of the weights of the turkey, so I just aimed to get close to the amount of the base recipe of the spices.

1. Blend the spices.
2. Line a baking tray with foil for easy cleanup. Then, take 3 sheets of plastic wrap and line them up on top of the tray, pressing the edges together to make one big sheet of plastic.
3. Remove the turkey breast from the bag and gently pat it with paper towels to wick away any beads of moisture, which will prevent the skin from browning.

4. Place the turkey on the plastic. Cover all surfaces and under the skin generously with the rub. Place the turkey on the tray in the refrigerator overnight or up to 48 hours before cooking.
5. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
6. Remove the plastic from the meat. Blot with paper towel to remove any beads of moisture. Place pieces of onion inside the cavity.
7. Bake 22-25 min per pound, or until the thickest part of the meat registers 165 degrees F. Rest 10 min before serving.
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