Honey Coconut Cake

Sugar and wheat flour don’t have to ruin your diet or enjoyment of deserts during the holidays. This recipe delivers cozy, yummy goodness made of  honey, eggs and coconut meal. It has all the goodness of cake with none of the guilt. I think of it as a paleo version of pound cake.

Serves: 8
Makes: One cake (if you want it to be two layers, double the recipe)
Takes: 1 hour

(Adapted from the cookbook Make It Paleo)

Ingredients

Cake:
• 3/8 cup fair trade coconut flour, sifted
• 1/2 tsp sea salt
• 1/2 tsp baking soda
• 1/2 cup fair trade coconut oil, melted
• 1/2 cup local honey
• 1/2 TBS vanilla extract
• 1 TBS fresh lemon juice
• 5 eggs, pastured
• 1/2 cup shredded coconut or 1 cup almond meal
Frosting:
• 1/2 cup fair trade organic palm shortening
• 3/8 cup fair trade coconut butter
• 1/8 cup local honey
• toasted coconut for garnish

Directions

Cake:
• Preheat oven to 325F and grease one 8in. round cake pan.
• In a bowl combine the sifted coconut flour, salt and baking soda.
• In a stand mixer or in a bowl with a hand mixer combine the eggs, vanilla, lemon juice, coconut oil and honey. Slowly add in the flour mixture until a smooth batter is formed (as you mix, the batter will thicken).
• Stir in shredded coconut or almond meal.
• Spoon the batter into a pre-oiled cake pan and bake for 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
• Remove from oven and place pan on a cooling wrack, allow to cool at least 30 minutes then invert and remove from pan.

coconut-honey-cake-1

Frosting:
Place all ingredients into a standing mixer with a paddle attachment and whip until smooth.

NOTES
• If you have never baked with coconut flour you must know that it is extremely absorbent and full of fiber, therefore it requires a lot of moisture. Do not be scared about using 5 eggs! In fact, my husband and I agree that it tastes very similar to a delightful reinterpretation of pound cake with coconut.
• For the frosting do not be turned off by the word “shortening” which has indeed gotten a bad reputation. Organic, unrefined palm oil comes from the palm fruit, full of healthy fats and is drastically different than the nasty and hydrogenated Crisco shortening.

Agave and Balasmic Glazed Buttercup Squash

So many squash, so little time. But buttercup are worth the venture. Rich, creamy, sweet and nutty, these have become my new autumn favorite. You won’t be disappointed.

Takes: 20 minutes
Serves: 4

Ingredients

1 buttercup squash, or other winter squash (about 1.5 lbs.)
2 T Agave Nectar (preferably amber variety)
2 T good quality balsamic vinegar
freshly ground black pepper and sea salt to taste

Directions

Cut top and bottom end from squash, then sit flat on cutting board and cut in half top to bottom. Use a sharp spoon to scrape out seeds, washing out the inside of the squash if needed. Cut squash into half-moon slices about 1 inch wide. (Any shape of slice will work, but they need to be close to the same thickness.

Preheat oven to 400F. Spray roasting pan with non-stick spray or olive oil. Lay squash in single layer on roasting pan. Mix together agave nectar and balsamic vinegar and brush on top layer of squash. (Some will run down, which will coat the bottom as the squash roasts.)

Roast squash 15 minutes, then turn each piece. Brush second side lightly with the agave-balsamic mixture. (It will look glazed already and you may be tempted not to brush it, but do it so the glaze can run down and coat the other side.) Roast 15 minutes more, or until squash pierces easily with a fork and is lightly browned.

Grind black pepper and sea salt over squash and serve hot.

This tasty recipe comes from Kalyn’s Kitchen.

Guaranteed Juicy Brined Heirloom Turkey

Heirloom turkey delivers flavor that is richer and fuller. The animals are typically raised under more natural conditions in pastures by farmers who love them and don’t inject growth hormones or steroids. You can taste the difference.

Because  heirloom turkeys do not have the corn-fed, genetically modified fat pad of conventionally farmed turkey, so the breast meat can dry out more easily during cooking. Follow my cooking tips, and your heirloom turkey will turn out juicy and delicious every time.

Preparation

  1. Defrost your turkey (if frozen) at least 48 hours in advance of your cooking start time. Do this by placing it in the refrigerator, never on the counter.
  2. Brine your bird in a large brining bag for 24 hours in advance on your cooking start time, being sure to rotate the bird. This tenderizes the meat and draws fluid in, making it less likely to dry out during roasting. You can add herbs and spices to your brine to give your turkey a distinctive flavor. My brine recipe is:
  • 1 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 cup honey, agave or coconut sugar
  • 1 cup tamari, Bragg’s liquid aminos or soy sauce (be careful to choose a mild tasting soy sauce) OR 1/2 cup of salt dissolved in an equal part warm water
  • Optional: herbs and spices, such as sage, thyme, paprika, majoram, bay leaf, organe zest and/or garlic
  • Combine the brine ingredients in a large pot and heat until combined. Cool and then add to brining bag containing the fresh turkey.

brine-for-roasted-turkey-and-chicken

brine-for-roasted-turkey-and-chicken

Cooking

  1. Pre-heat your oven to 475F
  2. Drain the brine and deep tissue massage the turkey with clarified butter (ghee) or olive oil. Be generous.
  3. DO NOT STUFF. Stuffing heirloom turkey requires longer cooking times and the meat will dry out. Cook your stuffing on the side. However, you can add apples, celery, carrots and any other fruit or veggie to the center of the bird, which will steam and add flavor and moisture.
  4. Set the bird in the roasting pan breast side up and place it the center of the oven. Set on the rack a separate thermometer to double check the oven temperature (most built-in oven thermometers are off anywhere from 10 to 50 degrees F).
  5. Cook the bird on 475F for 15 minutes. Use a timer.
  6. Then reduce the heat to 325F and cook an additional 20 minutes for each pound. Again, use a timer. Halfway through this second, longer cooking cycle brush the breast liberally with olive oil and more herbs.
  7. When the skin looks browned and crispy, cover the bird with aluminum foil for the remainder of the cooking cycle.
  8. When the cooking is finished, test the underside of the thigh by inserting deeply a meat thermometer. It should read a 155F.
  9. Remove the turkey in the roasting pan to a counter space for cooling. Cool for 30 minutes covered with tin foil (the meat will continue to cook t o 165F). Set a timer. Do not cut or slice. This time is when all the cooking juices go back into the meat. If you cut the bird right away, the meat will dry out as the juices spill into the pan.
  10. Carve, serve and enjoy!

Note: You may also cook your turkey in a cooking bag. This helps hold in the juices and cooks through steam. You can use a coking bag as extra insurance if you feel unskilled or unsure of any my steps.

Sweet Potato Holiday Salad

Zing up the flavors commonly served with sweet potatoes to include ginger, cranberries and parsley. This dish sings with flavor, is packed with nutrition and is something everyone can enjoy at a holiday–no matter their dietary restrictions.

Ingredients:

  • 3 sweet potatoes
  • 2 cups steamed broccoli
  • 2 celery ribs cut very small
  • 2 Tbsp. parsley chopped
  • 1/4 cup sunflower seed butter
  • 1 tsp. minced fresh ginger
  • 1/4 cup olive/flax oil
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp. coconut sugar
  • Sea Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup raw sunflower seeds
  • 1⁄4 cup dried cranberries

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Cut sweet potatoes in small 1/2 inch cubes
  3. Bake sweet potatoes for 35 minutes
  4. Transfer to large bowl and add broccoli, celery, and parsley.
  5. Set aside.
  6. Add cranberries.
  7. In a small mixing bowl, mix butter, ginger, oil, lemon juice, and sugar, salt and pepper to taste. Pour dressing over salad, and mix.

Grain-Free Eggplant Stuffing

Similar to baba ghanoush, but a firmer texture with all the flavors of the holidays. The eggplant create a base texture that cradles of the sweetness of the carrots and savoriness of the celery and herbs. Enjoy!

Ingredients:

  • 1 large or 2 small eggplant
  • 4-5 small carrots
  • 1 large onion
  • 4 stalks of celery
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 1/2 Tbsp. dried sage
  • 1/2 Tbsp. dried thyme
  • 1 1/2 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp. coconut oil
  • 1 orange
  • Salt & pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Turn oven to broil.
  2. Wash and chop eggplant and place in a large bowl.
  3. Add olive oil, salt & pepper and place on a baking sheet.
  4. Broil for 10-15 minutes until soft.
  5. Set aside.
  6. Turn oven down to 350°F.
  7. Next chop carrots, onion, celery and garlic, place in a large sauce pan on medium heat.
  8. Stir well until it starts to sizzle.
  9. Add vegetable broth and bring to a boil.
  10. Add seasoning and cook for 10- 20 minutes.
  11. Transfer contents to a baking dish, brush top with coconut oil and bake for 25 minutes.
  12. Before serving, juice orange over stuffing and serve hot.

Sweet Potato Macaroni

This time of year there is a lot of cooking to do. This dish fills in the gaps when you and the kids need something wholesome to eat, but don’t want to do more cooking because it reheats beautifully.
Takes: 20 minutes
Serves: 4

Ingredients:

  • 1 medium sweet potato
  • 1 box quinoa macaroni (any pasta will do)
  • 1 cup (+ a little more) of coconut milk
  • 1/4 red onion
  • 1/2 cup nutritional yeast flakes
  • 1 Tbsp. smoked paprika (regular works also)
  • 1/2 Tbsp. garlic powder
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Cayenne (optional)

Directions:

  1. In a large pot on high heat boil 4 cups of water.
  2. Place diced sweet potato in boiling water.
  3. Cook until you can pierce the potatoes with a fork (5-8 mins)
  4. Once sweet potatoes are finished cooking, remove potatoes (saving the water) and place them into a blender.
  5. Put macaroni into the reserved boiling water (you may have to add more water) and cook according to package directions.
  6. While macaroni cooks place nutritional yeast, milk, red onion, paprika, garlic, salt, pepper and cayenne into the blender with the sweet potatoes. Blend on high. Should turn into a thick sauce.
  7. Adjust seasonings to your liking.
  8. Drain macaroni and place back in empty pot.
  9. Pour the blender sauce over the macaroni and stir well.
  10. Turn stove onto low and heat for 5-10 minutes.

Serve and enjoy!

*Reheats Well.

Heart Happy Mediterranean Pasta Salad

The season for fresh garbanzo beans can be so short you don’t notice it at all. Most of us will resort to cans. But if you happen to catch this late summer/early autumn bean, your heart and taste buds will thank you.

Ingredients

  • 1 head of lettuce
  • 1 bunch of basil
  • 1 cup of red carrots
  • 2 steams of celery
  • 1⁄2 red onion
  • 1 cup of artichoke hearts
  • 1⁄2 cup Greek olives
  • 1 pound of steamed, fresh garbanzo beans (or 1 can rinsed and drained)
  • 1 package of gluten-free penne pasta (we use the ancient harvest quinoa pasta)
  • 1⁄2 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1⁄4 cup Dijon mustard
  • 2 Tbsp. sweet relish

Directions

  • Cook pasta according to package directions.
  • Rinse and set aside.
  • Next chop lettuce, basil, carrots, celery, red onion,artichoke hearts and olives and place them in a very large bowl.
  • Top with garbanzo beans and cooked pasta.
  • Next mix together the balsamic, Dijon and sweet relish.
  • Stir well.
  • Pour dressing over salad and mix everything together.

Harvest Moon Potato Salad

I’ve never understood why exactly, but arugula’s peppery flavor is balanced by the spicy tang of mustard — despite them being from the same plant family. This composed salad of mostly cooked vegetables shows off the best of early autumn’s bounty.

Serves: 8
Takes: 30 minutes, plus 1 hour to chill

Ingredients

1.5 pounds new potatoes
0.5 pounds green beans
3 cups chopped arugula leaves
3-4 sweet peppers (optional)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon stoneground mustard
salt, pepper and red wine vinegar to taste

Directions

Boil 1 1/2 lbs. of potatoes in salted water until fork tender. Drain and rinse, then allow to cool. The potatoes should be firm but not crunchy.

Meanwhile, heat the oven to 425. Trim 1/2 lb. of green beans and cut in halves.  Remove the cores and seeds from 3-4 sweet peppers and slice thinly lengthwise.  Toss the beans and the peppers with 2 T. olive oil, salt and pepper.  Roast in the oven on a cookie sheet until the beans begin to brown and the peppers are soft, about 10 minutes.

Cut the potatoes in large dice. Make a dressing with 1 T. each stoneground mustard and olive oil, then add red wine vinegar to taste.

Toss just enough dressing with the potatoes and roasted vegetables to coat them lightly, then add 3 C. arugula leaves and toss to combine. Best if refrigerated one hour before serving.

Triple Produce Smoothie

It’s so easy: chop, blend and drink. Any fresh greens work if you don’t have chard, including kale, spinach or arugula. You can also try different berries, such as raspberries or blackberries. Basically, any berry with tartness will pull this mix together.

Ingredients:

  • 2 leaves of chard
  • 1 large (or 2 small) orange, peel removed.
  • 1.5 cups of frozen strawberries
  • 1 cup of water

Directions:

  1. Place all ingredients into a high speed blender and blend until smooth.

Roasted Acorn Squash Thai Style

The inspiration for this salad comes Thai dish called Kra Tiem.  Savory white pepper and garlic offset the sweetness of the squash.  The amount of white pepper is not a typo; it is the “spice” in this recipe, which is spicy in a different way than recipes using chile peppers.  Cooked this way the skins of the squash are soft and edible.

Serves: 4

Takes: 20 minutes

Ingredients

1 acorn squash
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 teaspoon white pepper
salt to taste
1-2 cloves garlic
2-3 sweet peppers
garnish: roasted squash seeds, a drizzle of coconut milk and chopped lemongrass

Directions

Use a large knife or cleaver to carefully cut one acorn squash in half along its ridges.  Discard the stem and remove the seeds and pulp.

Slice the squash into wedges along the ridge lines.  Cut each slice in half again lengthwise; you want them about 1/2″ thick.  Toss the squash slices in a bowl with 2 T. olive oil and salt.

Arrange the squash on a baking sheet and roast in the oven.

Meanwhile, mince 1-2 cloves of garlic and thinly slice 2-3 sweet peppers to make 2 C. (removing the seeds and stems first).  Toss the garlic and peppers together with 1 teaspoon white pepper, ground medium.

When the squash slices are nicely browned on one side, flip each one.  Spoon the garlic/pepper/pepper mixture in between the slices in a shallow layer.

Continue to roast the squash until is browned on the second side, then stir all the vegetables together and roast for another 5-10 minutes.  The peppers and garlic should be fully cooked and starting to caramelize.’

Serve with chopped tomatoes, sliced cucumber and lime, cilantro sprigs and drizzle with Thai fish sauce or additional salt.