Brownie in a Mug

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Sometimes, you just have to have chocolate, it has to be warm and vanilla ice cream is a must! Good quality cocoa powder is so important, and I used my stash of Valhrona 🙂 Yes, it is worth the $1 + an ounce price! This brownie is rich, moist, and more cakey than fudgy and hits all the right buttons. I’m kind of mad at myself for making this! 😉 Thanks for reading, enjoy!

Brownie in a Mug – adapted from Simply Recipes

  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 3 – 4 Tbsp sugar
  • 2 Tbsp cocoa
  • Pinch of salt
  • Tiny pinch of cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 to 2 drops vanilla extract
  • ice cream

Directions –

Place flour, sugar, cocoa, salt, and cinnamon in a microwave safe ceramic mug. Stir with a fork or spoon to mix well and break up any clumps.

Add the butter, water, and vanilla to the cup and stir until the mixture is smooth and there are no lumps.

Place in microwave and heat on high until the mixture is cooked through, about a 1 minute and 20 seconds. If you don’t know the power level on your microwave, start with 60 seconds and increase until the brownie is done. It should still be moist when cooked through, not dry.

Let cool for a minute and serve with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

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Paleo Pancit

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After making this, I learned – one: I love fish sauce, and two: more cabbage, please! I was worried about using both but this recipe just looked and sounded so good. I’m glad I didn’t let apprehension get the best of me, because this was so perfect! It was savory, sour and had just enough saltiness; and textures in each bite of this pancit, (which I had never tried or heard of before), that I am on the look out for more Asian recipes that might hit all those notes again. Thanks for reading, enjoy!

Chicken Pancit – adapted from Everyday Paleo

  • 1.5 lbs chicken breasts, cut into small bite size pieces
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 6 green onions, sliced thin
  • 2 cloves minced garlic
  • 2 carrots, sliced thin
  • 1 small bell pepper, sliced thin
  • 6 – 8 cups shredded green cabbage
  • ¼ cup coconut aminos or Tamari wheat free soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup chicken broth
  • 1 – 2 tablespoons fish sauce
  • Black pepper to taste
  • Lemon wedges

Directions –

In a large wok or skillet heat the coconut oil over medium to medium high heat.  When the wok or pan is nice and hot, add the chicken, green onions and garlic and saute for about 6-7 minutes or until the meat is done all the way through but still tender. Remove the meat from the pan and set aside.  Add the bell pepper and carrots to the wok or pan and cook for 3 minutes. Add in the cabbage and cook about 4 more minutes. Add the chicken back to the veggies and pour in the coconut aminos or soy sauce, chicken broth, and fish sauce. Season with lots of black pepper.  Stir well and cook for another minute or two.  Serve in bowls with a lemon wedge.

Weeknight Roast Chicken

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I love roast chicken! This was the most simply seasoned chicken I have ever made and also the quickest to roast. The pan sauce came together so easily while the finished bird was resting. I loved every bit of this meal and I would gladly make it weekly if my family let me 😉 Instead of typing up all the recipe here, I’m posting a link to where I found it at Nom Nom Paleo (I love that name). Over there you’ll get to see step-by-step photos and extra tips and tricks. Thanks for reading, enjoy!

**Weeknight Roast Chicken Recipe**

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Apple Spice Bread

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Yum! This was my first attempt at grain-free, gluten-free, refined sugar-free baking… that’s a lot of “free”! 😉 I am so used to baking with flour that I was slightly apprehensive about how this recipe might turn out. I was relieved when this baked up beautifully light and soft. The kids and I, (well, mostly I), ate a whole loaf today. Instead of making one large loaf, I made three minis, cooled them completely, then wrapped them and stored them in the refrigerator. I know I’ll make this again and I’ll have fun trying out new coconut flour recipes soon. My next experiment will be testing this same recipe, but swapping the apple sauce for pumpkin puree. Thanks for reading, enjoy!

1Ingredients, minus the vanilla extract.

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These popped out of the pan nicely after cooling for 15 minutes. I love my USA Pans! 🙂

Applesauce Spice Bread – adapted from Au Naturale Nutrition

  • 6 eggs
  • 3 Tbsp coconut oil, butter, or ghee (melted)
  • 1/2 cup raw honey or maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened, natural applesauce
  • 1 Tbsp vanilla extract
  • 1 Tbsp molasses
  • 3/4 cup coconut flour
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 Tbsp pumpkin pie spice

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350. In a large bowl, combine dry ingredients. In a medium bowl, combine wet ingredients. Pour wet ingredients into dry and blend until evenly combined. Grease pan(s).  Pour batter into 3 mini loaf pans or 1 large glass loaf pan. Bake for 35-40 minutes in mini pans.  Bake 65-70 minutes for 1 large loaf. Allow to cool completely.  Store in fridge.

Paleo Spaghetti and Meat Sauce

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While sometimes I miss grains, I don’t miss the “bubble-gut” from eating them. Spaghetti squash can be a good replacement for pasta, especially if you cook it right. I have tried the “bake cut-side down”, (not my favorite – it becomes soft and mushy); and then bake “cut-side up” – my preferred method. I like a little bite to my finished “noodles”. Also, I recommend microwaving the whole squash for a few minutes before splitting in two. It softens the squash just enough to get my knife in without threat of losing fingers! Thanks for reading, enjoy!

Meat Sauce – adapted from Food.com

  • 1 pound Italian sausage
  • 3 -4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 4 -6 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon dried basil
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (optional or adjust to taste)
  • 1 (6 ounce) can tomato paste (can use two cans for a thicker richer sauce if desired)
  • 1 (28 ounce) can whole Roma tomatoes, undrained
  • 8 ounces sliced mushrooms
  • 1 carrot, shredded
  • 1/2 – 1  cup water (according to your desired consistency)
  • salt and pepper to taste

In a heavy bottomed stock pot or dutch oven, heat oil over medium high heat. Add sausage to the pot and break up Add onion, garlic, dried herbs and pepper flakes saute for 3-4 minutes. Add mushrooms and shredded carrots to the pot, cook for a few minutes. Add tomato paste and cook for 2-3 minutes more. Add canned tomatoes and water and simmer uncovered for 1 1/2 – 2 hours stirring occasionally. Season with salt, pepper and sugar. You can add more water if you prefer a thinner sauce.

Oven-Baked Sweet Potato Fries and Ketchup

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Yum! The “fries” were sweet and a little spicy, soft but not mushy. I really liked dipping in homemade mayo over the ketchup, but over all I would say this was a successful experiment. Thanks for reading, enjoy!

Oven-Baked Spiced Sweet Potato Fries – adapted from The Iron You

  • 3 medium sweet potatoes (about 4 to 5 oz each)
  • 1 tablespoon arrowroot powder
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil (or melted coconut oil)
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • ½ teaspoon chili powder
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin
  • pinch of cayenne pepper
  • ½ teaspoon fine grain sea salt


Directions –

Preheat oven to 425°F (220°C) and place a rack in the middle.
Wash the sweet potatoes but don’t peel them, Cut each lengthwise in half. Cut again lengthwise into quarters, then once more into eighths and then once more in the same way, so you are left in the end with sixteen long wedges. Finally, cut each wedge in half crosswise.
Place the sliced sweet potatoes in a large Ziploc bag (or other freezer bag) and sprinkle with arrowroot powder. Close the bag and shake until the sweet potatoes are fully covered.
In a small bowl combine paprika, chili powder, garlic powder, cumin, cayenne pepper and salt.
Place the sweet potatoes onto a baking sheet that has been line with parchment paper and brushed lightly with some of the olive oil (or coconut oil). Spread sweet potatoes evenly leaving enough space between them for the air to circulate. Drizzle with the remaining olive oil (or coconut oil).
Sprinkle with some of the spice mixture.
Bake in the oven for 20 to 25 minutes, until golden brown. Turning the sweet potatoes once with the help of a spatula (be careful not to burn yourself though). For crispier fries turn on the broiler the last 3 to 4 minutes.

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Paleo Ketchup – adapted from The Iron You

  • 6 oz  tomato paste
  • 3 TBSP maple syrup
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 3/4 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
  • 1 garlic clove
  • ½ small onion

Directions –

In a medium saucepan over medium heat combine tomato paste, honey, water, apple cider vinegar, salt, garlic and onion. Whisk until very smooth and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and let gently simmer for 20 minutes, stirring every so often. The sauce will thicken and the flavors will bind.
Remove from the heat, cover with a lid and let cool at room temperature. (*I used my stick blender to puree the ketchup*)
Once cool, transfer to an airtight container and keep in the fridge.

 

Bacon Apple Smothered Pork Chops

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I’m really enjoying the paleo way of cooking! I have been going strong for two months now, and have maintained (without regular exercise), my 15 pound weight loss – all without counting calories or fat. One of the greatest benefits of the change is that I haven’t had a migraine or headaches! Also, food just tastes better and I’m never hungry:)

I rarely cook pork, let alone chops, but I really wanted to try out this recipe from Nom Nom Paleo. If I had cauliflower at the time, I would have made mock mashed potatoes. That would have gone perfectly with the chops because this dish makes a good amount of gravy. I was really pleased with the flavor, but next time I’ll probably add more apples to it.

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I used three huge pork chops for this that were each about one inch thick!

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It smelled amazing! Thanks for reading, enjoy!

Bacon Apple Smothered Pork Chops – adapted from Nom Nom Paleo

  • 6 slices bacon
  • 2 TBSP arrowroot powder
  • 1 1/2 cups bone broth or chicken stock
  • 2 pounds of bone-in pork chops
  • kosher salt
  • black pepper
  • 1 TBSP ghee
  • 1 large yellow onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 apple, peeled, cored and thinly sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 fresh thyme sprigs

Directions – 

Fry the bacon in a small saucepan over medium-low heat. Once the bacon is crisp, scoop it out and place it on a paper towel-lined dish.

In the same saucepan, add the arrowroot powder into the drippings to form a smooth roux. Keep whisking until browned, then pour the broth in and stir until incorporated. Increase the heat to med-high, and bring the sauce to a boil. Cook until thickened, then cover the pan and set it aside.

Season the chops on both sides with salt and pepper. Heat ghee in a large skillet over medium-high heat. When the pan is hot, add the chops and cook on each side for a minute or until golden brown. Transfer chops to a plate. Toss the apples and onions in the same skillet, season with salt and cook, stirring constantly. Continue cooking until the apples and onions brown on the edges. Add the garlic and saute until fragrant, then add the chops back into the skillet. Pour the reserved sauce over the chops and add the thyme sprigs. Bring the sauce to a boil, then reduce heat to low and cover. Simmer for 30 minutes or until the pork is fork tender.

Plate the chops, and top them with gravy and reserved bacon bits.

 

 

Carrot Cake for My Gram

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My kids and I recently came back from our trip to California. While I was there, I used an entire 5 pound bag of flour…yeah, I went a little overboard spoiling my parents and my Grandma during those two short weeks 😉 I was glad to, and honored to cook with my 85 year old grandmother – the one who inspired me to cook in the first place. While it was a lot of time and effort to make so much for them, I was flattered to hear that my Gram actually learned from me!! and my Dad said my cinnamon rolls reminded him of his mother’s 🙂

Because Gram’s birthday happened the week after we flew in, I told her I would bake her a birthday cake. She couldn’t eat chocolate (huge bummer), but she loved carrot cake. Problem for this baker was that I have never made one, let alone eaten a piece in over 10 years!! Thankfully, a quick search at Pinterest led me to find this recipe that sounded tasty – kind of flimsy evidence to go on, but I went with it. I didn’t try any of it because of my Whole 30 craziness, but the family really enjoyed it and said it wasn’t too sweet and the frosting was perfect. That sounds like a win to me! Thanks for reading, enjoy!

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Carrot Cake – adapted from Sprinkle Some Sugar

  • 1/2 cup coconut oil
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 1/4 cup light brown sugar (or dark)
  • 5 eggs + 1 yolk
  • 1 tbs cinnamon
  • 3/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp cloves
  • 3 1/4 cup flour
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 cups finely grated carrots (about 7-8 carrots)

Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 2 8 oz package cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 6 cups confectioner’s sugar
  • a pinch of salt

Directions –

For the Cake
Preheat oven to 350°. Line the bottom of two 9″ round baking pans with parchment paper and lightly grease and flour sides. Be sure to get every inch! Set aside.
Whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, clover all together and set aside.
In the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the oil, brown sugar and granulated sugar together. Add in the eggs one at a time, egg yolk and vanilla and mix until smooth.
Pour in flour mixture and mix until just combined making sure everything is well mixed. Fold in the grated carrots by hand with a rubber spatula or spoon. Batter will be thick, this is okay. If you are adding pecans or raisins, do so now.
Distribute the batter evenly into both pans. Place in preheated oven and bake for 30-40 minutes. Start checking cake at 25 and check every 2 minutes after that. Once a toothpick comes out clean, cakes are done. Let them cool on wire rack or counter for 20 minutes. Flip pans over and cakes should pop right out onto wire rack or parchment or wax paper lined counter. Let them cool completely. While they are cooling, mix up the frosting.
For the Cream Cheese Frosting
Cream together the cream cheese and butter until fluffy and light in color. Add in the vanilla and mix until smooth. Add in the powdered sugar 1 cup at a time on low until combined. Whip frosting for another minute or so until smooth and creamy.
Once cakes are completely cooled, cut the domed tops off so they are completely flat and even. Place one cake on the bottom of a cake stand, facing up. Spread some frosting on top until completely covered. Add second cake, bottom up, and frost the rest of the cake. I found it much easier to do one thin layer of frosting, set it in the fridge and as it firmed up a bit, add another thick layer – the frosting looks much more even this way. This cake is even more moist and flavorful the second day once the flavors have all settled in with each other.
Store cake covered in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.

Paleo Taco Salad

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Quick Post: This taco meat was okay the first day, but even better as the week went on 🙂 I made a few modifications to the recipe, but I added the link to the original as always 🙂 Thanks for reading, enjoy!

Paleo Taco Salad – adapted from Stupid Easy Paleo

  • 1 Tablespoon coconut oil
  • 1 pound ground beef (*I used bison)
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1.5 Tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 Tablespoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • tomato paste (*optional, I used a whole 6 ounce can*)
  • 1/2 cup of bone broth, or water

Directions –

In a small bowl mix together the chili powder, cumin, garlic powder, paprika, cayenne pepper, salt and pepper. Set aside.

Melt the coconut oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Once the coconut oil has melted, add the onion and sauté until soft. Add the garlic and sauté until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the meat and cook until no longer pink. Add the taco seasoning to the meat and mix well. (*I used all but about a tablespoon of the mixture*) Add the tomato paste and bone broth to the pan and continue cooking until it reaches your desired consistency. Taste for seasoning and adjust if needed. Serve immediately over chopped Romaine lettuce, and top with lots of veggies.

 

 

Paleo Beef Stir Fry

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I made this for the whole family, but served theirs with rice, and for a Paleo friendly side, use cauliflower “rice”. Thanks for reading, enjoy!

Beef and Broccoli Stir Fry – adapted from Deliciously Organic

For the Steak Marinade:

  • 1 1/2 pounds sirloin, sliced thin against-the-grain
  • 1 tablespoon fermented tamari sauce or coconut aminos
  • 1 tablespoon dry sherry

For the Ginger and Garlic Mixture:

  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon minced ginger
  • 1 teaspoon coconut oil

For the Garlic Sauce:

  • 3 tablespoons dry sherry
  • 3 tablespoons chicken broth (homemade preferred)
  • 3 tablespoons fermented tamari sauce or coconut aminos
  • 1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon arrowroot flour
  • 1 teaspoon honey

For the Vegetables:

  • 3 -4 cups steamed veggies – I used carrots, green beans and broccoli

Directions –

Toss together the sirloin, tamari and sherry in a small bowl. Let sirloin marinate for 20 minutes at room temperature. Whisk the garlic, ginger, and 1 teaspoon of the coconut oil in a small bowl. Whisk together sherry, chicken broth, tamari, sesame oil, garlic, arrowroot and honey in another small bowl.

Heat a large 12-inch skillet over medium heat for 2 minutes. Add 2 tablespoons of coconut oil to pan and swirl to coat. Place sirloin in one single layer in skillet and don’t stir (meat should sizzle – if it doesn’t the pan isn’t hot enough). Cook sirloin for about 1-2 minutes until bottom side is brown. Turn, using tongs, and cook until brown on the bottom, about 1-2 minutes. Transfer sirloin to a clean bowl.

Add remaining 1 tablespoon of coconut oil to now empty skillet and heat until just shimmering. Add broccoli, green beans, and carrots. Stir continuously for about 1 minute. Make a well in the center of the vegetables and add the ginger-and-garlic mixture. Stir ginger and garlic mixture in the middle of the pan for about 45 seconds and then combine with the rest of the vegetables. Add sirloin slices (and any accumulated juices) and garlic sauce to pan. Toss until sauce begins to thicken and ingredients are well coated. Sprinkle with sesame seeds if using. Serve immediately.