Raw Mini Carrot Cakes (paleo, nut free gluten free, dairy free, AIP compliant)

Mini Raw (Nut Free) Paleo Carrot Cakes

Raw Mini Carrot Cakes (paleo, nut free gluten free, dairy free, AIP compliant)

Mmmm…I love love love love carrot cake. What I don’t love is the amount of time it takes to make them and the amount of nuts used in almost every single gluten free carrot cake recipe on the web. When I found a raw carrot cake recipe, I thought I could play around with it to omit the nuts, and make it AIP compliant. I did…and holy canoli, this one was a hit – with my gluten free people as well as my not-so-health-concerned friends!

Here’s my inspiration for this one…http://paleogrubs.com/gluten-free-carrot-cake-bites

AIP Compliant Raw Carrot CakesFor the cakes:
10 medjool dates, pitted
1 pound shredded carrots
1 cup roasted plantain chips (no canola oil….don’t forget)
3/4 cup coconut flakes
1 1/2 TBSP coconut oil
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp ginger
1/4 tsp cloves
1/4 tsp mace (or nutmeg if not AIP)

For the Cinnamon Frosting:
3/4 cup Red Palm Shortening
1/3 cup maple syrup
1/2 Tbsp coconut flour
1 tsp vanilla (optional, omit for AIP)
2 Tbsp arrowroot powder
1/2 tsp cinnamon
tiny pinch of sea salt
20 drops of English Toffee Liquid Stevia– optional (omit for AIP)

To make the cakes, blend everything except the carrots in the food processor until well combined. Add the carrots and pulse until everything is blended and chopped nicely. Spoon out into lined muffin tin. Make sure to press down so that they will hold together.

To make the frosting, dump everything in a bowl and use a hand mixer to blend well. Transfer to a piping bag, scratch that (who are we kidding here) a ziplock baggy, cut an edge with good scissors and pipe the frosting in circles to look pretty. You should have extra frosting, no judgement if you pipe it into your mouth…

Refrigerate for at least an hour to allow the cakes to set up, but overnight works too.

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Keto Pumpkin Pie and Flakey {Grain Free, Low Carb} Crust

Keto Pumpkin Pie

Keto Pumpkin PieThis is sooo good. And so easy. I was always an apple pie girl, most of my family was. Although we would make the obligatory pumpkin pie at the holidays, the apple was always the first to be eaten, meaning that we made 2 and they were still eaten more quickly than the pumpkin. Pumpkin was good, but seriously couldn’t hold a candle to warm apple pie and ice cream. This was true for all of my 30 years, until this recipe.  This combines the deliciousness of pumpkin, with the creaminess of cheesecake, without being cheese-cakey. Sooo good warm out of the oven with freshly whipped cream, soooo good reheated the next day, or even eaten cold with leftover cream. Yummmmm!

Why do we wait for the holidays for pie? I have decided that I won’t any longer, especially since this comes together in a snap, crust included (no rolling!). Speaking of crust…This. One. Is. IT! Look no further and never try to fool yourself into thinking that almonds, butter and splenda/stevia = a pie crust. It doesn’t people…I promise. Don’t question it, don’t try to substitute it, just make it. And smile. And remember back in the day when pie was so freakin’ good!

Crust:
1/2 c. coconut flour
1/4 c. unsweetened (small) grated coconut/flakes
1/4 c. ground up pork rinds (measured after grinding)
1 egg
6 Tbsp butter, melted
1 Tbsp erythritol

Mix all of your crust ingredients in a small bowl with your hands. It will be sandy. Line your pie plate with parchment (you can skip this if you are planning on serving warm, but once it is refrigerated, it becomes pretty challenging to get all the crust out). Dump your mixed crust ingredients into the pie plate and use your fingers and hands to pat it out and up the sides. I use a deep dish, Pampered Chef stone pie plate and it goes all the way up the sides, but not over the sides. It should be about 1/4 inch thick.

Put your crust in the fridge while you make the filling.

Pie Filling:
1 can pumpkin
8 oz melted Neufetchal {cream} cheese
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
2 eggs
2 egg yolks
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp cloves
1/4 tsp ginger
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup erythritol
1/2 tsp english toffee stevia

Combine all of your ingredients in a blender. (I use my Vitamix, which I LOVE), but as long as everything is melted, any standard blender should work. (I’m guessing a hand-mixer would probably be sufficient as well, but I can’t guarantee that. If you go that route, mix all the wet / melted ingredients first and then add the cold stuff and spices.)

Pour filling into your chilled crust and bake at 350 for 45-60 minutes or until set in the middle. Remove from oven and allow to cool for 30 minutes before serving. It doesn’t cut as nicely warm, but it’s super delicious! ENJOY!!

This crust is also phenomenal with apple pie, preferably with lower sugar, fermented apples. Thank you to Ginny over at Ginny’s Low Carb Kitchen for inspiring me to try that. My filling isn’t just right yet, but it’s coming. Just double it for a double crusted pie.

Keto pumpkin pie, low carb, gluten and grain free, whipped cream

The result of waiting until the 2nd day to photograph with fallen whipped cream…Still yummy though 🙂

 

Cocoa Chicken and Artichokes

Easy one dish chicken dinner, full of flavor and perfect for hectic school week nights.
Easy one dish chicken dinner, full of flavor and perfect for hectic school week nights.

Cocoa Chicken with Artichokes and Tomatoes…40 minutes to dinner on the table!

Sooo, I’m a big fan of marinating chicken breasts. I have some serious issues with dry, flavorless chicken and refuse to put that on my family’s table. Most of the time, my solution is a good marinade, however, sometimes I don’t have time or energy to marinate all the chicken breasts I buy on sale, and it ends up in it’s original packaging in my deep freezer. (Not often, but sometimes…) Then, sometimes, I forget to take out my meat far enough in advance to defrost and marinate it for dinner that night…like a few nights ago. I had chicken that was defrosted in my fridge, but it was plain.

What to do? Check Pinterest of course. I had pinned this Italian Chicken recipe awhile ago, and it looked pretty easy, but not exactly what I was going for, with all the cheese and such. Enter…Cocoa Chicken. Why I decided to add raw cacao to my chicken dish, I don’t know…but dang it was good. Really good, like my husband was clamoring for the leftovers good! (That’s the way I know a dish is really good). My 3 year old also really enjoyed the chicken (not so much the artichokes or tomatoes, but that’s ok) portion of this dish.

I’ll totally be making this again, as it was about 5 minutes of hands on time and only about 35 minutes in the oven!

2 lbs chicken breast, cut into 1-2 inch pieces
1 can of quartered artichokes (unseasoned)
1 pint cherry tomatos
1/2 large onion, sliced thin
1/2 cup dry white wine
3.5 Tbsp butter, cut into 7-8 pats
1 Tbsp Coconut Flour
1 Tbsp Raw Cacao Powder (or unsweetened cocoa)
Salt, pepper, oregano, garlic powder

In a 9×13 baking dish (I love my pampered chef stoneware) add the chicken – salt and pepper it liberally and mix with your hands. Top chicken with the artichokes, tomatoes and onions. Sprinkle all with salt and pepper, garlic powder and oregano. (Just sprinkle liberally.)
Pour wine over.
Sift cacao and coconut flour over everything and stir a bit to coat everything.
Space pats of butter on top of everything.

Roast at 375 for 30-35 minutes or until chicken is cooked thru.

Serve over rice, mashed potatoes, or mashed cauliflower, if desired.

Yellow Squash {Gluten Free} Sandwich Rolls

Gluten-free Squash Sandwich Rolls, grain free bread, nut free bread, paleo bread, low-carb bread

Gluten-free Squash Sandwich Rolls

I’m so excited to share this recipe, which in all actuality is VERY similar to my 3 minute bread recipe. I’m sure this would work equally well in the microwave, but I didn’t try it, so I can’t be sure. Personally, I like using the oven for 12 minutes, versus standing at the microwave for 30, but I think there’s definitely a place in my kitchen for both methods.

This bread is delicious. The squash lends a slight sweetness and flavor that puts my previous recipe to shame, while maintaining the wonderful (gluten-filled bread) texture of the other recipe.  Delicious plain, or slathered with butter. Makes a perfect gluten and grain free sandwich roll or hamburger bun. Yum.

Please try it and let me know what you think!

Yellow Squash Sandwich Rolls {Gluten-free, grain-free, dairy-free, nut-free, low carb}

1 cup (raw) yellow summer squash puree
3 large eggs
2 Tbsp Apple Cider Vinegar
1/3 cup Coconut Flour*
1/3 cup Psyllium Husk Powder
1/3 cup whole egg powder OR Unflavored Whey Protein
2 tsp aluminum-free baking powder
1/2 tsp kosher sea salt

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Mix all wet ingredients in a large bowl until thoroughly combined. Sift each dry ingredient, waiting until all are added to stir. Use a whisk or a hand mixer to blend well. (Work quickly, the batter will thicken substantially within a few minutes.) Allow batter to sit for a couple of minutes.

Line your baking sheet with Parchment Paper. Form dough into rolls and flatten slightly, approximately the size of my palm seems to work. Leave approximately 1 inch between rolls.

Bake for 12-15 minutes or until firm to the touch, err on the side of over-baking, as underbaked results in gummy middles. Gross.

Remove from oven and place on a cooling rack immediately. If you don’t have a cooling rack, turn the rolls over on the baking sheet, as if you don’t moisture will collect underneath them as they dry.  Once completely cooled, simply place in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2 weeks. These also freeze and defrost nicely.

There you have it. Bread that meets all of the following criteria:
*gluten free bread
*grain free bread
*low carb bread
*nut free bread
*dairy free bread

*A note on coconut flour – I purchase the 25 lb bag and portion it into large, gallon sized freezer bags. I use a lot of coconut flour. At one point, Amazon was out of the 25 lb bags, so I purchased smaller, 1 lb bags instead for about tripled the cost. I have used both, however the 25 lb bag creates a much denser product, that adds a good bit of volume after being sifted, whereas the smaller bags don’t. So, if your coconut flour seems packed densely, use 1/3 of a cup and then sift it. If it’s more powdery in the bag, use 1/2 cup and then sift it. The recipe is very forgiving, either way, but this is my conclusion after making about 20 batches of this bread.

Easy Fried Veggie Fritters (low carb, gluten-free, grain free, keto, nut-free)

Yum! Veggie Fritters with Squash and Radishes | Cook Well, Eat Better, Live Happily

Yum! Veggie Fritters with Squash and Radishes

Oh my. These are soooo good. And really, you only have the carbs of the veggies, which makes it a win in my book. I have a son with sensory issues, especially in regards to eating (plus cold and water) and he eats a VERY limited diet. Until I created this recipe, he had yet to come anywhere close to a vegetable, so this recipe holds a very special place in my heart.

These taste like a cross between tater tots (which used to be a fan favorite of my sister and I growing up) and breakfast hash browns. The difference being there is no potato in sight and these are essentially carb-free!

I’ve made them at least 10 times in the last couple weeks, and the recipe is VERY forgiving, and also very adjustable. Make sure that you strain the veggies well, I don’t think it would work otherwise, but other than that…grate everything and then mix it with your hands. Fry it in lard, bacon grease or any other high-heat oil and call it a day. Makes an easy side dish for dinner or a breakfast in and of itself. Enjoy!

Easy Veggie Fritters (gluten-free, nut-free, grain-free, keto, low-carb)

1 – 1 1/4 cups veggies*, grated and squeezed to remove juice (measured after straining)
2 eggs
2.5 oz pork rinds, ground into a sandy flour-type texture
4 oz cheese, grated
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
2 tsp dried chives

Begin by adding your cooking grease, approximately 1-2 Tbsp to your frying pan. If it’s not non-stick, use more. Heat your pan to med-high

Food process or vitamix the pork rinds and the cheese (Or smash the pork rinds in a bag with a rolling pin and grate your cheese). Add moisture ridden veggies*, eggs and spices.

Once oil is hot (sizzles upon addition of batter), make little patties, 2-3 inches in diameter, of your batter and gently lay them in the hot oil. Cook for 5-7 minutes on each side or until crispy and well-browned. Remove to a cooling rack and make additional batches as needed. I can usually do it in 2 batches, using my 12 inch frying pan.

*For the veggies, I have used all combinations. Our favorites have been squash and radish (pictured above), carrot & parsnip, and squash, zuchinni and onion. I simply use the grating method with my vitamix to mix them together. To get the appropriate amount, you need approximately 8 radishes 2-3 baby yellow squash, 1 medium zuchinni and 1/4 of a sweet onion, just to give you an idea. After they are grated together, I use a Paint Strainer Bagto squeeze the ever-living crap out of them. Your amount will reduce almost by half when you get rid of the moisture.

PPS I don’t get paid to keep this blog. I have added some affiliate links to Amazon to products that I personally buy and use from Amazon, in case you have difficulty sourcing some of the specialty ingredients that make living a low-carb, keto or gluten free lifestyle easier. I may receive a small percentage of compensation from Amazon, should you access these links in my ingredient lists and purchase the items I recommend. This costs you nothing, and typically I have found the cheapest options. If you like what you see here, please feel free to support me at no additional cost by shopping my links or in my Amazon Store (still being built). Thanks!

Cherry Pistachio Chicken Salad

Cherry Pistachio Chicken Salad

Cherry Pistachio Chicken Salad

So, back in the day when I could eat pecans, I used to make this chicken salad that was to die for. Seriously, it was so easy and everyone who tried it had to have the recipe and vowed to never make another kind again. It was that good. But then, I realized that pecans, walnuts and almonds don’t agree with me. Awful, I know. And so, I haven’t made said chicken salad in over a year. I have, however made this lovely avocado bacon chicken salad more recently, and it’s delicious, but just not the same.

Anywho, I seem to be able to tolerate pistachios, in small quantities, and they were on sale at the co-op earlier this week, so I got some. I had leftover grilled chicken that was staring at me every time I opened my fridge, along with a bowl of cherries that I got at the request of my 3 year old. The wheels started turning and I figured it was worth an attempt, with some updated flavors! I’m glad to say it worked. The fruit pairs so nicely with the grilled chicken and the pistachios. Plus, the balsamic vinegar just rounds everything out so nicely with a little tang and a little sweet.

3 cups cooked and diced chicken (mine was grilled)
1/3 cup cherries, pitted and diced
1/3 cup pistachios, shelled and chopped (pecans would work nicely too!)
1/3 cup bacon, cooked and chopped
1 cup green onions, chopped into 1/2 inch pieces
1 small red apple, peeled and diced
1/2 cup mayonnaise
2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
1/2 tsp salt*
1/2 tsp pepper
1 tsp dried parsley (or 1 Tbsp fresh)

In a large bowl, combine all of the chicken salad components, top with the mayo and vinegar. Stir well to combine. TASTE IT. *Depending on the seasoning of your leftover chicken, the saltiness of your pistachios and bacon, you may or may not need more salt. Use your judgment, you can always add more, but once you over-salt, you’re screwed!* Add the remaining spices.

Cover and chill for a few hours or overnight. Serve on a bed of lettuce, a 3 minute roll or simply eat out of a bowl!

Parmesan Ranch Kale Chips

Parmesan Ranch Kale Chips

Parmesan Ranch Kale Chips

So, I’ve made kale chips before, you know…olive oil, salt and pepper. I’ve even gotten crazy and added a little onion powder. That said, I kept seeing all these blog posts for cheesy (vegan) kale chips, that everyone claimed were out of this world. I wanted to try. However, I didn’t have any cashews, and they’re kind of high carb for me right now. Plus, I don’t really care whether or not the final result was vegan. Hence was born…3 ingredient Parmesan-Ranch Kale chips. Sooo good. Sooo easy. The hardest part was not eating both pans worth!

1 head of Lacinato Kale (the flatter kind…they crisp better, in my opinion without burning)
1/3cup ranch dressing – I used Ken’s Buttermilk ranch, because that’s what I had.
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper

Wash and spin (or dry on paper towels) your kale and de-stem it. Rip each leaf into a few pieces and place in a large, clean bowl. Dump ranch and parmesan on top of the leaves and use your hands to mix it well. You want ranch dressing on Every. Single. Leaf.

Once ranch-ed and cheese-ed, add the salt and pepper and mix again.

Using 2 large baking sheets (or 3), lined with parchment paper (don’t skip this step…they will STICK!), lay your kale leaves out as flat and as single-layered as possible.

Turn your oven on to 325 and place pans in the cold oven. Allow it to heat up with the chips inside. Check after approximately 15 minutes. You might need to pull some out, if they are crisp. Flip some over, you get the idea. Put anything that’s not crisp back in the oven and check every 5 minutes so that you don’t burn them, but they all end up nice and crispy.

Try not to eat the whole pan, or 3. If you have any left, save them in an airtight container in the fridge for a few days. If they get un-crispy, just stick them back in the oven for a few minutes.

(This would probably work with other kinds of kale, however, I have never had luck cooking curly kale into chips evenly.)

Easy Peasy (15 minute) Enchilada Sauce

Easy Peasy Enchilada Sauce {gluten-free, low-carb, sugar-free}

Easy Peasy Enchilada Sauce {gluten-free, low-carb, sugar-free}

OMG…this is so easy, and delicious! I modified this recipe to make it low carb and gluten free. I’m so glad I did. I have made this and used it in a couple different iterations, mostly enchilada bakes and casseroles and it works perfectly.

6 oz tomato paste
¼ cup olive oil
1 ½ cups water
¼ cup chili powder
½ tsp cumin
½ tsp onion powder
½ tsp garlic powder
½ tsp kosher salt

Mix the tomato paste and olive oil in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the water and stir to combine. Add all the spices. Bring to a simmer and cook for approximately 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until thickened slightly.

(Use ½ for enchilada casserole pie, save remainder in fridge for approximately 2 weeks, or in the freezer for up to 3 months.)

Smoked Gouda Cheese Sauce

Roasted Cauliflower with Smoked Gouda Cheese Sauce | Cook Well. Eat Better. Live Happily

Roasted Orange Cauliflower with Smoked Gouda Cheese Sauce

Oh holy night….make this and then put it on everything. Meat, veggies, bread (if you eat that). I considered eating it by the spoonful and then settled for scooping another spoonful onto my cauliflower and licking the spoon. I felt better about myself that way.

It’s kind of a cross between an alfredo and a macaroni and cheese sauce, nice and thick with awesome texture. Seriously, you will not be disappointed! (In the photo, it’s on some awesome roasted orange cauliflower…yes, it was orange when I bought it, it’s not bad lighting. Promise!)

1/2 cup butter
5 oz cream cheese
1 cup heavy cream
5-6 ounces of smoked gouda (not exact because I ate about 3 chunks while I was cooking)
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp parsley
1 tsp garlic powder

Melt the butter and cream cheese in the heavy cream over medium-low heat. Stir frequently, you’ll cry if it scorches! Add the shredded gouda and the spices, stirring until it’s all smooth and melty. Try not to eat the entire recipe.

3 Minute Protein Bread (low carb, sugar free, dairy free*, paleo)

Microwave Protein Bread...in the micro
Just “baked” in the microwave
Made in a 6 inch corningware…perfect for a kid’s (or grown-ups)
peanut butter and jelly
Miss bread and biscuits? Like real, chewy bread that doesn’t come out crumbly and doesn’t require tons of starches that will up your blood sugar faster than you can say tapioca? I know I did…until I devised this versatile recipe that started out being cooked in the oven, but has since been relegated to the microwave and/or waffle iron to ensure good rise and perfect, bready density…not hockey puck-ish texture disguised as bread!

Please try this and let me know what you think. It is far superior to ANY gluten free (especially low carb) bread that I have tried, and we have tried a lot!

Coming soon…modifications to make restaurant quality butter-garlic rolls & cinnamon buns!

Need ingredients? Check Amazon…it will suck buying them the first time, but you will make this stuff again and again and you won’t think twice when it’s time to re-order – cross my heart! Another note, I use subscribe and save for almost all of my baking ingredients that I order online. This saves me 20%…which is huge. You can sign up for subscribe and save and cancel before you get your second order, if you decide you don’t need anymore!

**If you use the links below and make a purchase, I will receive a small commission from Amazon through their affiliate program. It costs you nothing additional and I don’t EVER recommend products that I don’t purchase through Amazon myself…**
3 MINUTE BREAD!

1/3 c coconut flour
1/3 c NOW Foods Whey Protein Isolate Pure, 1.2 -Pounds OR NOW Foods Eggwhite Protein, 1.2 Pound (use egg white only for dairy free)
1/3 c Now Foods Psyllium Husk Powder, 24-Ounce

See…a real biscuit (note the biscuit balls that
are pre-made in the container, ready for the
fridge and fresh bread…in 3 MINUTES!

2 tsp baking powder (or 1 tsp baking soda + 1/2 tsp cream of tarter)1 tsp salt
1 cup minus 2 Tbsp water
2 Tbsp Apple Cider Vinegar
4 large-extra large eggs
Butter/Coconut oil for greasing cooking dish

Mix all of the wet ingredients in a large bowl w/ a hand mixer, or use a high powered blender. Add the salt and baking powder and mix well. Add the protein, then the psyllium husks and finally the coconut flour, mixing well after each addition.

Once you have a dough like substance, let it hang out and thicken up for 3-5 minutes. Melt about 1/3 Tbsp butter in your microwave safe dish (I use small corningware or my glass pyrex) and then swirl it around to coat the bottom and about 1/2 inch up the sides. Divide your dough into approximately 7 1/4 c. balls. You are going to cook one at a time…you can save some in the fridge to have hot, fresh rolls in 3 minutes!

When you are ready to make your bread, flatten your dough ball slightly into the prepared microwave container and then flip it over so their is butter/oil all over it. “Bake” it in your microwave, starting at about 1.5 minutes and adding 20 second increments until it is slightly firm in the middle. This make take a few attempts, but err on the side of under-done, as you can always re-nuke it. Once it’s overcooked, it gets rubbery and hard around the edges.  For 1/4 c. dough in a 1 cup pyrex, in my 1200 watt microwave, it takes 2 minutes and 20 seconds to perfect bready, biscuit goodness. 1/3 cup (when I make larger rolls) takes 3 minutes. It’s an art, this microwave baking…