Cacao Surprise Truffles

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I made these kinda last minute for Jesse and me to enjoy on Valentine’s Day and we ended up eating the whole batch that night. I figure, it’s a half an avocado each, so why not? Plus, these are perishable and best not to store in the fridge for too long. And, there’s also the part about these being incredibly delicious and decadent.

Anyway, since I wasn’t able to get any snapshots the day I made these, I had to make them again in order to do so (bummer, I know). Jesse and I weren’t too disappointed about it, to say the least.

Make sure you use a ripe avocado, otherwise they’ll taste kinda green. It doesn’t have to be overly ripe, but ripe enough and ready for eating.

Also, as some of you know, Jesse and I floated in a sensory deprivation tank yesterday evening. I will be recapping about this experience. Cheers!

Adapted from this recipe.

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup + 1 Tbsp cacao powder (or cocoa powder)
  • 1.5 Tbsp raw honey
  • Pinch of sea salt
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper, optional
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1 ripe medium avocado
  • Unsweetened shredded coconut and cacao powder for rolling, optional

(Note: cacao nibs, crushed nuts, goji berries, etc. would all be great options for rolling the truffles as well).

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Directions:

  1. In a small saucepan over medium-low heat, melt the coconut oil. Add the raw honey, cacao powder, cinnamon and cayenne. Once honey is dissolved and mixture is combined, remove from heat. Stir in the vanilla extract.
  2. Peel and pit the avocado, and add to a food processor or blender. Process until nearly smooth. Then, add the chocolate mixture and process again, until smooth. Scrape down the sides and re-blend as needed. Alternatively, you can mash the avocado by hand with a fork (get all the lumps out) and then stir in the chocolate.
  3. Scrape chocolate avocado mixture out and into a bowl (unless you made it by hand, then you can keep it in the same bowl) and place in the refrigerator to chill for about 25-30 minutes.
  4. Once chilled, scoop out tablespoon-sized balls and roll between your hands to form a truffle (note: this part is messy and sticky!). Place each truffle on a foil or parchment paper lined plate. Chill in the refrigerator about 5-7 minutes.
  5. Remove from fridge and smooth out any rough/fuzzy looking spots on the truffles with your fingers. Then, roll half in cacao powder and half in unsweetened coconut shreds, or other toppings of choice.
  6. Store in the refrigerator until ready to serve.

Yields: about 13 truffles

Simple Supper Friday: Italian Sausage “Fettuccine”

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Snow is coming down in Portland, or at least it was at the time I wrote this post on Thursday. I actually haven’t seen this much snow in the city since my first winter here, back in 2008. It’s beautiful, but I’m keeping my fingers crossed that it doesn’t impact my early morning flight to Kentucky today. I have some buffer room to get there, as my seminar doesn’t start until Saturday morning, but the less hiccups, the better. Really though, I kinda wish the snow would have held off until next week, but it is what it is. The same can be said about this head cold that I got too. Quite the combo to get right before a weekend of travel, but I guess it makes it that much more of an adventure (well, minus the being sick part).

Meanwhile, enjoy this simple, satisfying meal, which was inspired by the cauliflower recipe I shared last week. Cheers and happy weekend!

Ingredients:

  • ~1 lb bulk Italian chicken sausage
  • 1 Tbsp grass-fed butter, separated
  • 1 large or 2 small/medium zucchini, noodled with a spiralizer (straight blade attachment)
  • 3 Tbsp blanched almond flour
  • 1.5 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp dessicated garlic
  • Sea salt and black pepper to taste
  • Extra virgin olive oil for drizzling, optional

Directions:

  1. Melt 1/2 tbsp of grass-fed butter in a large pan over medium heat. Once melted, add the chicken sausage. Continue to cook, stirring occasionally and breaking up large chunks with a spatula.
  2. Once sausage is browned, after 5-7 minutes or so, transfer to a large serving bowl and set aside.
  3. To the same pan, add the noodled zucchini and heat briefly over medium-low heat. After a couple minutes, transfer to the bowl with the sausage.
  4. Combine the almond flour, oregano, dessicated garlic, sea salt and pepper in a small bowl. Melt the remaining butter in the same pan over medium-low heat and then add the almond flour mixture.
  5. Stir mixture, allowing it to soak up the butter and continue to cook a few minutes, until golden brown.
  6. Sprinkle on top of the sausage and zucchini. Serve warm and drizzle with extra virgin olive oil, if desired. Add more sea salt and pepper to taste, if needed. If you tolerate some dairy, you could also sprinkle on a bit of raw Parmesan cheese.

Yields: 2-3 servings

February Instagram Challenge

Happy Friday, everyone! Guess what? I’m doing another Instagram challenge with some fellow bloggers, and it starts tomorrow! Remember the January challenge I did earlier this month? I had a lot of fun and I know some of you followed along. If you didn’t, now is your chance to join me again. Be sure to follow me here. Anyway, here’s the full scoop:

Join our February Instagram Challenge! February 1-February 8, #mysweet2014, with hosts @grownandhealthy and @lilhomesteader

Starting tomorrow, February 1 2014, we’ll be hosting our second official mini Instagram challenge: a clever way to meet new people on Instagram and have fun in the process. Participation is easy: every day throughout the week you’ll post a picture on Instagram using the themes below. The first day do #1, the second #2, and so on. Be creative with it and don’t worry about posting the “right” or “wrong” things– it’s all just for fun! Just make sure that you tag #mysweet2014 and your cohosts: @grownandhealthy and @lilhomesteader so we can all see what you post!

HOW TO PARTICIPATE

  1. Follow @grownandhealthy and @lilhomesteader on Instagram
  2. Take a daily picture using the themes below, tagging #mysweet2014, @grownandhealthy and @lilhomesteader in each so we can find your posts easily!
  3. Check out the other posts under the #mysweet2014 thread each day to see what other great bloggers (and you great readers) are posting as well.

Join our February Instagram Challenge! February 1-February 8, #mysweet2014, with hosts @grownandhealthy and @lilhomesteader

The words, in case you want them without the graphic, are:

#MySweet2014

  1. #letskiss
  2. #hugme
  3. #hotstuff
  4. #loveyou
  5. #xoxo
  6. #allmine
  7. #cutiepie
  8. #truelove

Want to find out who else is participating in the challenge? Link up your Instagram account below, so we can follow each other more easily! Everyone is welcome to participate, the more the merrier. This is a blog hop, so any other bloggers are welcome to post this to their websites as well.

Important: The Instagram URL does not let you choose a profile pic from your feed, so be sure you have a picture you can upload! If you get a “Error: The requested URL returned error: 500″ that just means it can’t find a picture to use, it does NOT mean that your link is bad. Click on “Direct Image URL” if you have one or “Upload from Computer”.

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Click here to enter your link and view this Linky Tools list…

Baked Italian Cauliflower

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Whether you’re looking for a new vegetable side dish recipe or not, you’ve got to try this cauliflower! It is so flavorful and tastes absolutely wonderful with baked chicken. The almond flour and seasoning mixture acts as Italian “breadcrumbs,” and turns brown and slightly crispy in the oven, with the help of some glorious melted gold (aka grass-fed butter). It makes the house smell like an Italian feast and will literally make your mouth water. I think it would also taste delightful dipped in some Marinara sauce with Italian meatballs. Really, there are many possibilities.

Enjoy!

Inspired by this recipe.

Ingredients:

  • 1 large head cauliflower, cut into florets
  • ~1/4 cup chicken or beef bone broth, preferably homemade
  • 4-5 Tbsp grass-fed butter or ghee
  • Sea salt and black pepper to taste
  • 1/3 cup blanched almond flour
  • 1.5 Tbsp dried oregano
  • 1/2 Tbsp dried parsley
  • 1 Tbsp granulated garlic

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Place cauliflower florets in a 8×8 or 9×9 baking pan. Pour the broth on top.
  2. Melt the butter in a small bowl and add the sea salt and black pepper. In a separate bowl, mix together the almond flour, oregano, parsley and granulated garlic (or garlic powder).
  3. Sprinkle the almond flour mixture evenly over the cauliflower florets. Then, evenly drizzle the melted butter on top.
  4. Cover with a lid (if your pan has an oven-proof one that fits) or aluminum foil. Bake for 30 minutes and then remove cover/foil and bake for another 25-30 minutes more.

Yields: ~5 side servings

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Sunny Cinnamon Sammie

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Before I stopped eating grains and even before I stopped eating gluten, I was never much of a bread person. It’s not that I didn’t like it, but I preferred to fill up on other foods. I probably ate the most bread when I was growing up because I always had a sandwich in my lunchbox each day (usually PB & J). Then, in junior high and high school, it was pretty much always bread in the form of cheese pizza. Anyway, my point is, I do not miss bread.

However, this does not mean that I don’t enjoy something bread-like from time-to-time. Grain-free, bread-like things are definitely not a staple or necessity, but nice to have on occasion when desired. It’s great that grain-free options exist, so I can have a bacon and egg sandwich when I want it or something to dunk into my hot chicken soup. Other times, I just need a vehicle to spread some ooey, gooey sunflower seed butter on. I don’t always want to make a whole batch of something or have everything on hand to so though, which is why the idea of a single-serving muffin is perfect.

Adapted from this recipe and this recipe.

Ingredients:

  • 1 Tbsp coconut oil, grass-fed butter or ghee
  • 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • Pinch of sea salt
  • ~1/4 tsp baking soda (I used just under 1/4 tsp & do not recommend using a full 1/4 tsp)
  • 1 egg, preferably pasture-raised
  • 1 Tbsp coconut flour
  • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1-2 tsp water
  • Smear of grass-fed butter
  • Generous smear of unsweetened sunflower seed butter (I used this brand)

Directions:

  1. Melt the coconut oil in a small glass dish. Use a size that has a similar circumference to an English muffin. I use the 2-cup round size Pyrex dish from this set.
  2. Once oil is melted, add the sea salt, vinegar and baking soda. Whisk very well with a fork to make sure the baking soda dissolves and doesn’t stick to the bottom. If you don’t mix it well, the muffin may taste bitter!
  3. Then, add the egg and whisk again. Next, add the coconut flour, cinnamon and water (start w/ 1 tsp and add 1 more tsp if needed). Continue to whisk with a fork until everything is mixed well and there are no lumps (a few small lumps here and there is fine).
  4. Microwave for 90 seconds on high and then check to see if the center is still soft. If so, microwave for 30-45 seconds more. Once done, carefully remove from microwave to cool (dish will be hot!). Run a knife around the edge of the dish and then flip the bowl upside down to remove the muffin. Let cool a little longer if it’s still really hot.
  5. Once cool enough to handle, but still warm, slice in half with a sharp knife. Then, spread some grass-fed butter on each half, followed by a generous smear of sunflower seed butter. Eat open face or stacked like a sandwich.

Yields: 1 serving

Simple Supper Friday: Curried Squash and Cabbage Pork Stew

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Anyone else relieved that it’s Friday? Whew, I sure am. It’s been a tiring week with a little different change of pace. It was good though, but I’m ready for some downtime tomorrow and sleeping in (I was up around 5:30 a.m. every morning this week).

Anyway, It’s been a while since I’ve shared a curry recipe, so I figured it was about time again. Not only that, but I had a craving for it. This one is a stew, so it’s thicker and less creamy than some of the other regular curry recipes I’ve made, but it’s so, so delicious. It’s think it’s best eaten as is, but if you want to, you can eat it over spaghetti squash, zucchini noodles or cauliflower rice. Whatever floats your boat.

I had the hardest time photographing this dish because the neighbor’s cat, Meg would not leave me alone. She was up on the deck going crazy, and really wanted to get her paws on the stew. She also had a fire in her eyes and kept clawing the deck posts like a mad cat. I had to sneak back into the house fast, so she wouldn’t get through the door and wait for her to go away. Once I came in, she sat directly in front of the door, crying (see picture below). Our cat, Dutch actually saw her through the patio door and threw a fit, which ended up scaring her away. In the end, I was able to quickly get back outside and snap a few photos. Cats are so silly.

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Ingredients:

  • 1/2 Tbsp coconut oil
  • 1/2 large red onion, sliced into half moons
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 lb pork stew meat
  • 1/2 medium butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into cubes (about 2 cups)
  • 1/2 large head green cabbage, chopped
  • 1/2 cup full-fat coconut milk, plus a little more if needed or desired
  • 1 Tbsp Thai red curry paste
  • 1 tsp curry powder
  • 1 Tbsp coconut aminos
  • 1/4 cup chicken broth, preferably homemade
  • 1/4 tsp paprika
  • Pinch of cayenne pepper
  • Sea salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Melt coconut oil in a large pan over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic, and saute a few minutes, until onion is softened. Remove from heat and place in the bottom of your slow cooker. Then, add the butternut squash cubes.
  2. In the same pan you cooked the onion, add the stew meat and season to taste with sea salt and pepper. Brown on all sides over medium heat, about 6-7 minutes total. Then, remove from heat and add to the slow cooker.
  3. In a mixing bowl, whisk together the coconut milk, curry paste, curry powder, coconut aminos and paprika. Once smooth, add to the slow cooker and stir. Then, add the broth and stir again.
  4. Place the chopped cabbage on top and stir slightly. Don’t worry about getting all the cabbage mixed through though, as it will soften with cooking.
  5. Cook on low for 6-7 hours or high for 4-5. Serve with a garnish of fresh cilantro, if desired.

Yields: ~3 servings

Fluffy Lemon Cauliflower Rice

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I know I’ve been dragging my feet a bit with my recipes lately, but I finally have a good one for you! I don’t like sharing half ass recipes that I try to whip together just because I need a post and I’ve vowed not to do that. I’ve also learned that some of my best recipes come on their own accord — naturally and unforced. It’s in these situations when I tend to feel most creative and things come together. On the other hand, when I try too hard to think of a recipe to make and share, it just doesn’t happen (most of the time). I think that’s been part of my problem lately. That, and I’ve been resorting to really simple and basic meals lately, some of which I’ve already shared.

Anyway, this lemon cauliflower rice is incredibly refreshing and pairs nicely with chicken or mild fish. I didn’t have any fresh herbs on hand, but a garnish of fresh thyme, parsley or rosemary would be delicious with the lemony flavor of the rice. We ate our rice with sauteed kale and chicken breasts seasoned with sea salt and a generous amount of black pepper. It was divine!

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Ingredients:

  • 1 medium head of cauliflower, cut into florets
  • 2 Tbsp grass-fed butter
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt or to taste
  • 1 tsp fresh lemon zest
  • 2 tsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1.5 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil (make sure it’s pure!)

Directions:

  1. Place raw cauliflower florets in the food processor and pulse until riced. If need be, do this in two batches, depending on the size of your food processor.
  2. Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Once melted, add the riced cauliflower and stir. Next, add the sea salt and continue to cook for about 4-5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  3. Once cauliflower rice is heated through and maybe browned slightly, remove from heat and stir in the lemon zest, lemon juice and extra virgin olive oil. If need be, add more sea salt to taste.
  4. Serve warm with protein of choice (see recommendations above).

Yields: 4-5 side dish servings

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