Paleo Samoa Bars

Make the Crust:
1/3 cup coconut flour
1/2 cup unsweetened small grate coconut
1/4 cup ground up pork rinds (measured after grindning)
1 egg
3/8 c. coconut oil
1 Tbsp erythritol or maple syrup

Obliterate all of your crust ingredients in a high powered blender or food processor. Line a 10×15 with parchment and dump out sand-like crust batter. Push down to an even-ish 1/3 inch (It may not fill the entire pan, think free form, almost filling it) and bake in a preheated oven for approximately 10-12 minutes. (at 350). After it bakes let it cool slightly and then refrigerate /freeze the crust to make it easier to add the filling. Do NOT remove it from the pan, until it is chilled it will be crumbly…

Make the Topping – This is where the magic happens!
13 medjool dates, pits removed
3 Tbsp hot water
3 Tbsp coconut oil
1/2 Tbsp raw caco
1/2 cup flaked coconut

Add dates, water and coconut oil to a high speed blender or food processor. (I use a Vitamix.) Blend until pasty and relatively smooth. Add cacao and coconut and blend for another few seconds until everything is combined. (Taste test and be transported to the world of Girl Scouts peddling gluten and junk laden cookies, seriously).

Once your crust is chilled, simply spread the filling evenly on the crust. Be gentle and use your hands to pre-smash some of the filling before you lay it on, the crust may still flake slightly.

Return to the fridge and make chocolate sauce.

Chocolate Sauce
1/3 c. coconut oil
3 Tbsp maple syrup
1/3 c. Raw cacao powder (or dark cocoa)
1 tbsp carob powder – optional or add an addl tbsp cacao, omit if using cocoa.
1 t. vanilla extract (I like to make my own)
pinch of sea salt

Melt coconut oil and syrup gently over med-low heat. Add cacao and carob and whisk to combine. Once it looks like chocolate, add the vanilla and salt and stir again. Drizzle over topping on bars and return them to fridge. (Store in the fridge or freezer).

Cashew Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

3/8 cup palm oil shortening (or 1/4 c+1tsp coconut oil)
3/4 cup cashew butter (ideally soaked for 4 hours before blending)
1 egg
2 tbsp maple syrup
1/4 cup coconut sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
3 Tbsp coconut flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 cup enjoy life chunks
1/4 cup enjoy life mini chips

Blend all the wet ingredients until creamed. Add coconut flour and baking soda. Mix until well combined. Blend in the chips. Scoop by rounded tablespoon onto baking sheet.

Bake at 350 for 9-11 minutes.

Chocolate {chicken} Truffles (lowcarb, keto, sugar-free)

photo: chicken chocolate truffles
photo: chicken chocolate truffles

Truffles with erythritol coating

Sooo, let me give you some background because this sounds crazy, I know. Chicken breasts and mozzarella make a mackdaddy chicken parm casserole, but chocolate truffles, seriously?!?! I know. Please don’t stop reading now. These are really good, and the brain child of chicken pizza crust, which I was eating cold, and noticed that the crust had the texture of a great brownie. I mulled it over for a few weeks, trying to convince myself that it wouldn’t work, but I HAD to try it. I did…and it worked. Like for real, I made truffles out of chicken. Yes. Mind blown.

That said, if you have less adventurous diners in your house, don’t tell them, even after they try them. There’s just something that seems very wrong about chicken chocolate truffles to some people. My husband is in that camp…and I made the mistake of thinking he would be openminded. Wah wah. Oh well, more for me!

6 oz chicken breast (1 small), baked with no seasoning, at 425 for 25 minutes
2.5 ounces mozzarella
1 egg yolk
3 Tbsp dark cocoa
3 Tbsp raw cacao
1/3 cup erythritol
½ tsp English toffee stevia
2 Tbsp butter or coconut oil

LC Chicken Chocolate Truffles

Look at those bite marks…smooth and chewy!

Bake chicken breast at 425 for 25 minutes. While chicken is cooking, cube the mozzarella and get everything else ready. Once the chicken is cooked thru, carefully cube it so that you can drop it in your high powered blender, while still hot.

Drop in chicken pieces, into running blender, one at a time, until thoroughly pureed. Add the cheese, one piece at a time to the chicken. It should make a pasty like dough. Add remaining ingredients and blend well, using the tamper to ensure everything is well mixed. Taste dough. Add additional sweetener if desired.

Allow to cool slightly until it’s not quite as sticky and will hold a shape. Roll into 1 inch balls and refrigerate until set. Before serving, roll in erythritol or shredded coconut if desired.

Double Chocolate {Beet} Cake

chocolate beet and zuchinni cake from {Cook Well. Eat Better. Live Happily.}
Chocolate beet cake, low carb, sugar free, gluten-free and grain-free

Chocolate-y Beet and Zuchinni Cake…the best way to get your veggies!

Ok, so I dislike beets. We didn’t eat them growing up and I just never developed a taste for them. I think it has something to do with the fact that the only time I ever saw them was at our favorite Italian restaurant, where they put them on the salad, thereby turning my beautiful salad this gross shade of purple. It was always devastating when I forgot to have them hold the beets. Anywho, I’m now 30, and I get beets. A Lot. Every. Freakin. Year. In my CSA box. I hate to waste, so I have been seeking a way to use them up. I have tried juicing them, I have made cold salads, that actually weren’t bad, but still had that mild “dirt” taste that I feel beets impart, and lastly I have SUCCESSFULLY baked with them. I feel double good about this, because although they are a bit higher carb than my usual ingredients, there are tons of nutrients in them and I don’t have to waste them this way. Plus, this cake is freakin delicious!

On to the recipe. This is a wonderfully moist cake, dense, but not heavy, loaded with chocolately goodness. Although the batter looks slightly pink-ish before baking, after baking, it just looks dark chocolate. No one will guess that you loaded it up with almost 2 cups of roasted beets!!!

Chocolate Beet and Zuchinni Cake {low-carb, gluten & grain free, nut-free, dairy-free*}

1 2/3 cups roasted beets
(peeled and roasted in 3 tbsp. coconut oil, until tender – I usually do
this the day before.)
1/3 cup raw zuchinni puree (1/2 of a large one)
5 large or 6 small eggs (ours are ungraded, but they were small-ish)
1/2 cup butter or coconut oil
1/2 cup Erythritol Sweetener
4 droppers full (1/2 tsp)
English Toffee Liquid Stevia
1 tsp
Better Stevia
3 Tbsp vanilla
pinch salt
2 tsp aluminum free baking powder
1/2 cup
Coconut Flour*
2/3 cup
Raw Cacao Powder
1/2 cup sugar free, or dark chocolate chips (optional)

Puree beets, along with coconut oil that you used to roast them in. (This step can be pre-done by about a couple days, if you like.) Puree zuchinni, raw.

Using a high powered blender** add you butter or coconut oil to the veggies. Blend well, until thoroughly combined. Add the eggs, sweeteners, vanilla, salt and baking powder. Mix well. Add the coconut flour and blend until there are no lumps. {If you are using a hand mixer, sift it…seriously!}. Add the cacao powder.

Pour batter into parchment lined pans. (I used 1 large bread pan and 2 small loaf pans for gifts). Sprinkle chocolate chips on top and push a few down, if you are using them. {Will increase your carb count…obviously.} Bake at 325 for 30-45 minutes or until top feels set and toothpick comes out clean. Allow to cool for 5-10 minutes before you try to remove them from the pan.

*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 triple 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 1/2 of a cup and then sift it. If it’s more powdery in the bag, use 1/2+2 tbsp cup and then sift it.

**IF you don’t have a high powered blender, melt your butter and use a hand or stand mixer.

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Chicken Enchilada Casserole Pie

Chicken Enchilada Casserole Pie

Chicken Enchilada Casserole Pie

Chicken Enchilada Casserole Pie {low carb, gluten-free, nut-free, keto}

2 cups cooked chicken, pulled/chopped into bite size pieces
2 cups spaghetti squash, cooked, dethreaded and chopped into ½ inch pieces
2 cups shredded cheddar
½ recipe Easy Peasy Enchilada Sauce (recipe below)
½ cup salsa
½ cup sour cream
l/2 tsp kosher salt
½ tsp black pepper

Make enchilada sauce (Or use 1 cup of canned enchilada sauce). While thickening, chop or shred your chicken (I like to make this as a “leftover special” after I’ve made grilled or roasted chicken and spaghetti squash as stand alone meals, cut your spaghetti squash and shred your cheese.

Mix everything except 1 cup of cheese in a deep dish pie plate or 8×8 pan. Top with cheese and bake for 20-30 minutes.

Serve with additional salsa, cheese and sour cream, if desired.

Unsightly Beans

Unsightly Beans w/ Radishes
Unsightly Beans w/ Radishes

Unsightly Beans w/ Radishes

Have you ever had roasted green beans? Like really roasted, slightly crispy and a little chewy all at the same time? Perfectly seasoned to perfection and served as the perfect accompaniment to just about anything…NO?!?!?! You don’t know what you’re missing! While these beans may be slightly “unsightly” (haha), and sometimes even downright ugly, they are delicious. On the random occasion that I make green beans any other way, I can visibly see my husband’s disappointment in my choice…regardless, this is a very simple recipe, although it does take awhile to get to the right level of unsightly!

(Today, I added about a pound of radishes, halved, and they are just as good. Not better, but just as good. So if you’re looking for variety, that’s a good place to start!)

2 lbs green beans, whole or French cut (can be frozen)
1 lb of fresh radishes, halved (optional)
1 Tbsp coarse Kosher salt
1 tsp black pepper
2 tsp onion powder
1 tsp garlic powder (or 3 cloves of fresh garlic, crushed)
1/4 cup olive oil, lard or butter

Spread green beans out in a casserole dish – I love my Pampered Chef 9×13, but glass works too. Throw the radishes on top, if you are using them. Sprinkle all the spices so they are evenly distributed. Melt your fat of choice and pour it over the beans.

Roast at 400 for approximately 1.5 – 2 hours. Frozen will take more time, especially if there’s a lot of water or ice on them when you start. If they aren’t getting browned and a little crisp on top around the 1.5 hour mark, stir them up and crank the oven to 425 for about 30-45 minutes. Just watch them at the end. There is a fine line between crunchy and chewy perfection and charred green beans. (I’ve crossed that line a couple times…take my word for it. Set a timer and check every 15 minutes or so!)

Enjoy the fruits of your oven’s labor…

Chocolate Zuchinni Mini Donuts (coconut flour)

Chocolate-Coconut Zuchinni Donuts

Chocolate-Coconut Zuchinni Donuts {low-carb, gluten-free, grain-free, paleo}

Chocolate Zuchinni Mini Donuts (coconut flour)

½ cup coconut flour (sifted)
½ cup raw cacao powder {or cocoa powder}
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
½ cup erythritol
3 droppers English Toffee Stevia
1 tsp plain stevia {Better Stevia isn’t bitter}
½ cup coconut oil {or butter}, melted
1 cup pureed zuchinni {or 1.5 cups shredded}
4 large eggs

3 raw chicken livers (I don’t recommend this without a high powered blender)
1 egg shell, boiled-dried-powdered, ½ tsp
½ cup chocolate chips

Mix all the liquid ingredients. (I use my vitamix, but you could use a hand blender or stand mixer…you just want it well-mixed.)

*If you are using the livers and/or the egg shell, add it now and let it blend for at least a minute. Nothing ruins a good chocolate donut like a fat bite of chicken liver or egg shell. As long as you mix them well, you can’t taste either and it’s a great addition of the nutrients from the offal and/or the calcium from the egg shell!*

Add the erythritol, then add the baking soda and baking powder, followed by the cocoa powder. Mix well before adding the sifted coconut flour (the sifting just ensure you don’t get ball of coconut flour in your baked goods. Not tasty friends, not tasty at all.)

Mix everything well. If you are using the chocolate chips, add them now.

I use my handy little mini donut maker (kind of like a waffle maker, but for mini donuts). But, if you didn’t have a mini donut maker and have no plans to acquire one, you can still make these treats as muffins or even in an oven donut pan.  In the mini donut maker, I can make 6 donuts at a time, and it takes about 2.5 to 3 minutes per batch. In the oven for muffins, I bake them at 325 for about 30 minutes. I’ve made both…and they are equally delicious.

For a finisher, I LOVE toasted coconut and always have some available. I simply melt coconut oil, dip the cooled donut or muffins in the oil and then in a little bowl of coconut. Not necessary, but definitely takes them up a notch…

Braised Goat Shanks

So, many of you may not understand why my recipes have been a little less sweet and a little more savory…it’s not because my cooking style has changed, its simply because I’m trying to actually record a lot of the savory stuff that I just throw together. We also joined a phenomenal CSA here in central Vermont…and part of our CSA is goat (meat and milk)! Not one to throw away an opportunity to try new things, I dove right in. I’ll admit, I was a bit intimidated about cooking goat, because they don’t exactly keep it stocked at the commissary, where I’ve been shopping for the last 7 years! That said, I have had 2 great goat successes (to which I always feel like I should shout “great goat”) and I’m excited to keep trying my hand at different cooking methods and flavors.

This recipe is a rift off a beef short rib recipe (from Anne Burrell – Food Network Chef) that I have used successfully in the past, and I honestly didn’t change too much. However, I think the pepper compliments the meat and Italian flavors nicely, better than the celery from the previous recipe. I also like the spice mixture and the addition of the pork fat.

Verdict: My husband and I both really enjoyed this. It looked and tasted much more gourmet then my PJs and dinner on the couch warranted. Since I made 6, we had leftovers, which reheated nicely. I’ll definitely be making these again! (Served with unsightly beans and mashed cauliflower)

Braised Goat Shanks

Braised Goat Shanks

Braised Goat Shanks

1 lb carrots, cut into small pieces (½ inch by ½ inch)
1 green pepper, diced into ½ inch pieces
1 large or 2 small sweet onions, diced
4 lbs goat shanks (I used 6)
8 oz tomato paste
2 cups dry, (drinkable) red wine
1 Tbsp salt + pre-seasoning for shanks
½ Tbsp black pepper + pre-seasoning for shanks
¼ cup lard or bacon grease
1 Tbsp dried oregano
½ Tbsp dried rosemary
½ Tbsp dried thyme

Season the goat shanks with salt and pepper and allow them to “marinade” for 2-4 hours, or overnight. Preheat a large, oven safe dutch oven on the stove and add the fat. Once the pan is hot, brown the outsides of your shanks for 10 minutes on each side. (Do it in batches, if necessary). While your shanks are browning, chop your veggies. Once browned, remove shanks from the pan…they are not cooked through…

Add all of your veggies to the same pot that you browned your shanks in. Add the spices, salt and pepper and stir every so often so that the veggies begin to soften. Add the tomato paste and stir to combine. You want it to start browning a bit on the bottom before you add the wine. Once it’s all kind of paste-y add the wine.

Nestle your shanks down in the wine and veggie mixture. You may need to spoon some of the veggies onto the shanks. Cover and braise at 350 for 3-3.5 hours. Serve each person a shank with the saucy veggies on top.

Crockpot Turkey Legs with Braised Cabbage

Crockpot Turkey Legs with Braised Cabbage

Crockpot Turkey Legs with Braised Cabbage

Y’all…this recipe is so easy, it will literally take me longer to type it up for you then it did to make it! Hooray! It was also really good.

2-4 Turkey Legs (you could totally use chicken thighs or drums with success, I think.)
Rib Rub – approximately 1/3-1/2 cup
1/2 large head of cabbage, or a whole small one.
8-10 Roma Tomatoes (mine were frozen from Green Mountain Girls Farm)
4 Tbsp lard, butter or bacon fat

Clean and chunk up the cabbage into wedges, my small head made 7 chunks. Place cabbage in the bottom of the slow cooker. Smear about 1/2 Tbsp of {lard, butter or bacon fat} into the cut side of the cabbage, so that as it melts its gets all down in the nooks and crannies. Put your tomatoes on top of the cabbage and then sprinkle 3 Tbsp of Rib Rub over the veggies.

Pull the skin back from your turkey legs, but leave it attached. Rub approximately 1 Tbsp on each leg, then fold the skin back up and rub any remaining rub on the outside of the skin.

Lay turkey legs on top of the veggies and let the slow cooker do it’s thing on high for 5 hours, or low for 8-10.

Two turkey legs made 3 good sized portions, or would probably feed a family of 4 if you supplemented the cabbage and turkey with an additional veggie or a small side salad. Yum!

*We didn’t bother with broil these for a few minutes and opted to just remove the skin and bake it at a later time, but if you wanted crispy skin you could totally do that in about 8 minutes, just make sure to rotate it as it broils…
*After pulling out the remaining cabbage, tomatoes and meat with a slotted spoon, I put my bones back in, along with some other bones from the freezer and filled up the crockpot with water and a couple tablespoons of apple cider vinegar to make some of the best soup stock we’ve ever had. Just let it stay in the crockpot on a slow simmer (this is high for me) for 24-36 hours, strain and use anywhere you would use boxed or bottled stock. It freezes nicely in freezer bags, just measure the amount that you usually use and then freeze flat to save space. Easy peasy.

Cha Cha Cha Chia Chocolate Chip Cookies

I did it. In the holy grail hunt for a nut-free, grain free & gluten free chocolate chip cookie, I have succeeded. “How did you get that Tollhouse buttery flavor? These are really, really good.” (That’s a direct quote from my husband). I must agree…and I owe it all to my Chia Pet, Fred. Well, not really, I haven’t had a chia pet in like 20 years. Sad that I’m old enough to have done something worth blogging about 20 years ago. Not really. I like being 30 🙂

Anywho – back to my chia. I read somewhere recently that some people have used chia flour (ground up chia seeds) in baking, with great success. Most of the recipes I found were for a chia blend with rice flour, which I only use to make my 3 year old’s gluten free playdoh, due to the blood sugar bomb that it is, so I set about ready to try it out in an old blend formula that I used to use with great success for almond flour. It was a sad day when I realized that I couldn’t eat almonds without stomach upset and major inflammation, really because coconut flour cookies suck. I mean, I’ve made some edible ones, but coconut flour just doesn’t lend itself to that kinda crisp outside, chewy-soft inside that I remember. I’ve had some luck with the addition of pork rinds and protein powder, but nothing like my old almond/coconut blend recipe that was a pretty phenomenal knockoff, if I do say so myself. Regardless, I digress…I made cookies today with a combo of ground up chia seeds (chia flour), coconut flour and pork rinds that were perfect. I ate 7 of them, just to be sure…

Chia Chocolate Chip Cookies [low carb, gluten free, grain free, sugar free, keto]

Chia Chocolate Chip Cookies

Without further ado…

Low Carb Chia Chocolate Chip Cookies (makes 24-30 cookies)
1 cup butter (2 sticks, melted)
1/4 cup Birch Xylitol
1/2 tsp Now Foods Stevia Glycerite
1/2 tsp English Toffee Liquid Stevia
2 eggs
1/2 Tbsp vanilla extract

1/2 cup chia seeds – ground into flour
(should double in size, so 1 cup chia flour)
1/2 cup pork rind flour – measure after being ground finely and finger sifted to remove lumps.
1/4 cup coconut flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp coarse kosher salt
1/2 – 1 cup chocolate chips (I used Ghiradelli bittersweet, which ups the carb count a bit, but you could use sugar free for a completely guilt-free treat…)
1 cup pecans or walnuts (if they don’t make you blow up…I’m jealous!)

Blend the butter and sweeteners with a hand mixer. Add eggs and mix to a thoroughly combined, pale yellow. Add vanilla. In a separate bowl combine the chia flour, pork rind flour and coconut flour. Mix or whisk well. Add in the baking soda and salt. Add the dry to the wet and blend until combined. Add the chocolate chips and nuts, should you so choose.

Drop on a parchment lined cookie sheet by the tablespoon and flatten slightly. They don’t really spread, so flattening before baking is kind of important for them to turn out as cookies instead of muffin balls.

Bake at 350 for 9-11 minutes, or until set in the middle. Cool for a minute or so before removing them to a cooling rack. Try not to burn your mouth on the molten chocolate, that you know you can’t wait for.

Enjoy! (And let me know what you think, if you try them!)

Cha Cha Cha Chia!!!