Bacon Wrapped Dates (aka Paleo Candy)

Good luck trying to eat just one of these. As my sister said, "these are like paleo candy." I couldn't agree more. 

Want an easy dish to serve as an appetizer or party item (like Easter Brunch)? These will go pretty quickly...

Bacon Wrapped Dates:

20 Madjool dates (pit in)
1 package of bacon (antibiotic and nitrate free)



Method:

Cut the bacon strips in half for smaller slices. Wrap one slice of bacon around each date and place on an un-greased baking sheet. Be sure to set the seam side down so that they don't come apart. Cook at 350 degrees for about 25-35 minutes depending on the thickness of the bacon.




Yeah...


Enjoy ;)

-Sunshine Girl

Easter Brunch 2012

What was on the menu for Easter brunch you ask?

Well, all items below are gluten, soy, dairy and yeast free and most are paleo friendly (chocolate chip cookies and tapioca pudding are cheats or... paleoish). I didn't 'obtain' recipes for all or capture photos for everything but I'll do my best...

Gorgeous Sunny Colorado Day


Easter Brunch


Ham with a honey glaze (Compliments of mom)
Brunch Time ;)

Deviled Eggs (cutest deviled eggs ever!!! Compliments of my step-mom)


Bacon wrapped dates

Beet Salad (Compliments of my mom)

Cucumber and radish salad with a 'special' vinaigrette (Compliments of my sister)


                  

                         We had fun... ;)

Delicious fruit  (pineapple, watermelon, plums)
Chocolate chip cookies  (compliments of my sister)
We had quite the spread...

Coconut macaroons
Sister's hubby. A man's gotta have his beer ;)

Tapioca pudding
Paleo Carrot Cake 


How grateful I feel to have such amazing people in my life that not only support me in my way of eating, but have fun in doing so. My sister is also dairy & gluten free and my mother doesn't eat a lot of gluten either but has a nut allergy. Put us all in a room to make an Easter Brunch and instead of a hot mess (although we did create a lot of dishes), we take it as an enjoyable challenge and embrace all the things that we can eat. It was the best brunch spread that I have seen. And my body thanked me for it.

Thank you lovely family ;)

Grain-free Carrot Cake

Carrot cake is what came to mind when I was thinking of what to make for Easter. I remember that I had seen a recipe for a paleo version on Primal Palate. I stayed pretty close to their version with a few adjustments.

Not only was this my first carrot cake, it was my first paleo carrot cake AND my first double-decker cake. Indeed some lessons learned with this one.



Grain-free Carrot Cake:

5 large carrots, peeled and shredded
1 cup 100% pure maple syrup
10 eggs organic cage-free
1 tbls vanilla
3/4 coconut flour
Dash of ground nutmeg
Pinch of ground clove
1 tsp unsweetened cocoa
1 tsp baking soda
Dash of sea salt
12 pitted dates
1 tbls 100% pure maple syrup (separate from above)
1 tbls water
3/4 cup melted coconut oil

Method:

Talk about steps- wow this one has a bunch so bare with me.


Mix the pealed and shredded carrots with the maple syrup, cover and let marinate in the fridge for about an hour.

In a very large mixing bowl, beat the eggs until all the yolks are broken and then add in the vanilla, mix well. Add the carrot and maple mixture and blend thoroughly. In a small mixing bowl, combine the coconut flour, nutmeg, clove, cocoa, baking soda and salt; add in to the carrot and egg mixture. Mix thoroughly until you see a batter start to form.

For the dates:

Heat the dates and tablespoon of water in a small bowl in the microwave for 30 seconds. Chop and mash the dates until they are cut into pieces and then add in the tablespoon of maple syrup. Add that mixture to the batter. 

Once everything is thoroughly blended, add in the coconut oil and stir well.

Pour the batter into two small 9 inch pans either grease with coconut oil or use parchment paper. I suggest the parchment paper! I used coconut oil and subsequently broke both cakes trying to get them out of the pan (but managed to piece them bake together while eating some of the cake along the way
:)). 
Oops!

Bake at 325 degrees for about 45 minutes. Check the cakes at about 35 minutes, I had to take out one before the other because one had a tad bit more of the batter in it. Use the toothpick test :)

Allow to cool for a couple of hours before you take the cakes out.

Also, instead of the nutmeg, clove and cocoa you can use a tablespoon of cinnamon but due to my allergy I substituted. 

Paleo(ish) icing:

I used a different recipe for the icing/frosting because the others that I could find for carrot cake used cream cheese. I saw a paleo one here and adjusted from there. Although very good, this recipe needs some tweaking as I couldn't get it to fluff up like frosting which was my original intent.

1 cup coconut milk
1 cup honey
Dash of sea salt
1/2 cup melted coconut oil
1/4 cup plain coconut yogurt
1 tbls lemon zest
2 tbls arrowroot powder
1 tbls water
1 tbls vanilla

Method:

Bring the coconut milk, honey and salt to a boil. Simmer for about 7 minutes. In a small bowl mix the arrowroot powder, vanilla and water until it's a paste and at the the coconut milk, boil for a about 30 seconds. Pour into a Kitchen Aid blender or whisk very quickly. Add in the coconut oil, coconut yogurt and lemon. Whisk very well and refrigerate overnight or a few hours. 

Mine never did get thick but it is still sweet and yummy. I enjoyed the lemon flavor to offset the coconut.



Wow. Yeah. A lot of steps, but fun nonetheless.

Enjoy ;)

Traditional Deviled Eggs

I think I could eat twelve deviled eggs and not be full (though I think I'm better off not trying). For some reason these suckers have always been one of my favorites.

This is a downsized recipe- so use your judgement in increasing the ingredients if you use more eggs.

*Note, the boil time for eggs is the same regardless of amount of eggs.

Traditional Deviled Eggs:

2 eggs
2 tbls mayonaise (preferably olive oil based)
1 tsp  mustard  (organic)
Tiny dash of garlic sea salt
Tiny dash of celery salt
Dash of ground pepper
Dash of paprika plus another for the topping

Method to hard-boil eggs:


In a deep sauce pan, boil enough water to cover the eggs plus an additional two inches (estimate here do not put eggs in yet). Add in a bit of extra virgin olive oil- this not only helps in boiling the water, it helps in peeling the eggs. Once it comes to a roaring boil, slowly add in the eggs and turn down heat ever so slightly (i.e. if it's bowling at level 10, turn down to 8.5). Boil for 12 minutes. Place eggs in a strainer and cool. You'll want them completely cold before you peel. To expedite: Run cold water over the eggs, place in fridge and/or put ice cubes over them.

Once they are cooled down- gently crack and peel them. Cut in halves- length wise and pop out the yolk. Mash the yolk and mix in all of the ingredients. Place the mixture evenly in your four egg-halves. Top with paprika. Viola ;)



If you want to spice them up, you can always add ingredients to them such as green onion, pickles, peppers, celery etc.

Enjoy ;)

Maple Glazed Sweet Potatoes

And don't forget the bacon and onions :) BTW, there is a vegan variation below.

While none of these ingredients are naturally glutenous nor contain dairy, that part was already done for me and the rest was quite simple too. And simply delicious. 

Thursday 11.24.2011, Thanksgiving Day:

Maple Glazed Sweet Potatoes 

(This recipe was adapted from All Recipe)

  • 3 1/2 lbs sweet potatoes (peeled and chopped)
  • 1 tsp garlic salt
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 2 tbls olive oil
  • 1 onion (sliced)
  • 6 slices lean bacon
  • 3/4 cup maple syrup (100% maple)
  • 1/4 cup of water
  • Dash of thyme 

Preparation:

Place the sweet potatoes in a large casserole dish (11X7) and toss with the olive oil, garlic salt & pepper. Bake at 350 for about 20 minutes and then give the sweet potatoes a healthy stir, place foil on and bake for another 20 minutes. 

Crisp the bacon in a large skillet and break into pieces (dabbing with paper towel first) in a small bowl. Leave the grease in and caramelize the onions in it (don't worry, this is ok because it's Thanksgiving ;)). Add the onions to the bacon. In the same pan combine the maple syrup, water and thyme. Simmer for about 2-3 minutes. 



Once the sweet potatoes are done, combine the bacon and onions and then drizzle the maple concoction atop. 




Maple Glazed Sweet Potatoes Vegan Variation 


  • 3 1/2 lbs sweet potatoes (peeled and chopped)
  • 1 tsp garlic salt
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 2 tbls olive oil
  • 1 onion (sliced)
  • 3 tbls coconut oil
  • 3/4 cup maple syrup (100% maple)
  • 1/4 cup of water
  • Dash of thyme 

Preparation:

Place the sweet potatoes in a large casserole dish (11X7) and toss with the olive oil, garlic salt & pepper. Bake at 350 for about 20 minutes and then give the sweet potatoes a healthy stir, place foil on and bake for another 20 minutes. 

Caramelize the onions in the coconut oil. In the same pan combine the maple syrup, water and thyme. Simmer for about 2-3 minutes. 


Once the sweet potatoes are done,  pour the maple concoction atop. 



Enjoy ;)

Thanksgiving Cornbread Stuffing

How does cornbread stuffing sound?


Somehow, I don't seem to ever feel full when I eat cornbread... I can just keep eating it and eating it with all the honey I can take ;) Ok, let's not go overboard here but I do love cornbread. And it's quite simple to do gluten & dairy free.


Wednesday 11.23.2011, night before Thanksgiving


A Free Thanksgiving: Cornbread Stuffing


Cornbread:


1 cup gluten free all-purpose flour (Gluten Free Pantry)
3/4 cup gluten free cornmeal
1/2 tsp sea salt
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
3 tbl sugar (organic cane)
2 eggs
3/4 cup coconut milk (sugar free)
1/4 cup water
1/4 tsp vanilla
1/4 cup canola oil
1 tbl honey


Preparation:


Combine dry ingredients in a medium mixing bowl. In a large mixing bowl beat eggs well and add in the rest of the wet ingredients, then add in the dry. Mix well until it looks like a batter. Preheat the oven to 400 and coat a glass cake dish with coconut oil (about 2 tbl worth) and place on top of the oven (not inside) while it heats. Pour batter in and bake at 400 for about 15 minutes, turn the oven off while leaving the bread in for about another 5 minutes.


Since this was for stuffing the next day, I covered in foil and left out overnight to cool.


11.24.2011, Thanksgiving :)


Stuffing:


1 celery stalk (thinly chopped)
1/4 onion (diced)
1/2 tsp Salt
1/2 tsp Pepper
1/2 Apple (chopped)
1 clove garlic (diced)
1/4 cup Raisins 
1/2 cup chicken broth yeast free

1/4 cup of water 
Dash of sage

Cut the cornbread in small squares and place in a deep cassarole dish.


Drizzle olive oil (about a tablespoon) in a large skillet and heat on medium. Add Celery, onion, salt and pepper. Cook until onions and celery start to become soft (about 7 minutes, stir occasionally). Add in the apple, garlic and raisins. Cook until they too become soft (another 7 minutes, stir occasionally). Pour the broth over mixture and sprinkle in the sage, cook about another 5 minites, stirring frequently. Then place the stuffing mixture in the casserole dish and toss with the cornbread pieces pour the water over the mixture. 



Bake uncovered for about 30 minutes. 















This made for a very light stuffing. I also tasted a couple of the pieces of cornbread before it hit the mixture and it was quite delicious ;) 


Enjoy ;)

Double Chocolate & Coconut Haystacks

I'm a big fan of chocolate...big. And I've become accustomed to and prefer pure cocoa and dark chocolate. This recipe is pretty similar in ingredients and method to the No Bake's. This is the first time I've made this. With mine and my sister's dairy and gluten free diets and my Mom's allergy to nuts (so no nut butters or nut milks either), I had to get creative :)

Wednesday 11.23.2011, night before Thanksgiving: 

Double Chocolate & Coconut Haystacks

2 2/3 cups of unsweetened shredded coconut (1 bag) 
2 cups dairy/soy free chocolate chips (1 bag), most health food stores carry these
1/2 cup gluten free oats 
1 teaspoon vanilla
4 oz coconut oil 
1 cup coconut milk (sugar free) 
1/4 cup water
1 1/4 cups sugar (I use organic cane) 

Place chocolate chips, coconut, oats and vanilla in a large mixing bowl. Combine the coconut oil, coconut milk, water and sugar in a sauce pan; bring to a rolling boil. Boil for 1 minute. Immediately pour the hot mixture over the rest in the mixing bowl. Quickly stir thoroughly. Drop by large spoonfuls on wax paper - let sit for about an hour and then chill in the fridge overnight.















Yields about 20-25 haystacks (you an also cut into fours; which will yield about 80-100). 


Enjoy ;)

Thanksgiving Almond Loaf

A Thanksgiving without gluten or dairy? Why not?

I must note that I am not an advocate of living gluten and dairy free if you tolerate them well. That being said, I do believe that humans (all humans) have a difficult time digesting both so as with anything- moderation is key. And either one of these in excess is a sure bet to weight gain.

A word of caution when on a gluten free diet: Alternative flours still have carbohydrates (and carbs turn to sugar) so using moderation is best here too ;)

OK, on to the more interesting stuff:

Saturday 11.19.2011: Begin prep for Thanksgiving Day

Almond Loaf

1 1/2 cups blanched almond flour (found in the refrigerated section)
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
3/4 cup arrowroot flour (or equivalent with corn starch)
1/4 cup ground flaxseed meal
4 eggs
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
1 tsp agave nectar


In a medium mixing bowl, combine all dry ingredients and mix thoroughly. In a large mixing bowl, blend together all of the wet ingredients. Once blended, pour the dry ingredients into the wet and mix well. Pour into a greased loaf pan ( I would normally use coconut oil but this time I used a spray canola) bake at 350 for about 25-30 minutes.





















Since this was the Saturday prior to Thanksgiving, I let the loaf cool for about an hour and then wrapped (cellophane and foil) and stored in the freezer.

This recipe was referenced from Elana's Pantry. I especially love this bread because it is also free of yeast (which I also have a sensitivity to). And almond flour is the best flour I've encountered thus far in low carb count, as it is mostly protein and monounsaturated fat.

Enjoy ;)