Savory Sweet Potato Casserole

I was never one for the sugar-laden sweet potato casserole and truly, never understood it. That as a side dish and then pie for dessert? Made no sense to me, but traditions, I suppose. Even as a kid, I was never interested in that super sweet casserole, but honestly, it was probably more the sweet potato part that turned me off because I liked marshmallows, and brown sugar was okay in my book then too.

On the flip side, a savory sweet potato casserole is something I can totally get behind, and this one fits the bill. It has a nice mix of flavor and bite, plus some “cheesiness” from the nutritional yeast. If you’re not sure about the nutritional yeast, start with half the amount, taste, and add more if desired. Alternatively, you could use good-quality Parmesan cheese as a replacement, if tolerated and desired.

Meanwhile, I wish all of you a happy Thanksgiving tomorrow! If any of you make this recipe to go with your holiday meal, please let me know how you like it!

Cheers and enjoy!

Ingredients:

  • 2 medium-large sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
  • 2 Tbsp + 1 Tbsp grass-fed butter or ghee, plus extra for greasing dish
  • 1/2 yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup chanterelle mushrooms, roughly chopped
  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
  • 1 tsp granulated onion or onion powder
  • Pinch of cayenne pepper
  • Pinch of nutmeg
  • Sea salt and black pepper, to taste
  • 1 Tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 cup + 2 Tbsp vegetable, chicken, or turkey broth
  • 2 eggs, preferably pasture-raised
  • 1/2 cup raw walnuts, roughly chopped

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease an 8×8 casserole dish with a little butter and set aside.
  2. Add sweet potato chunks to a large pot and add enough water to cover. Then, add a couple pinches of sea salt to the water. Bring to a boil over medium heat and cook until sweet potatoes are fork tender, about 6-8 minutes. Drain and set aside.
  3. In a large pan over medium heat, melt 2 Tbsp of the butter. Once melted, add the onion and sauté 1-2 minutes. Then, add the chanterelles and garlic. Season with a little sea salt and black pepper. Continue to cook until mushrooms are softened. Remove from heat and set aside.
  4. Add the remaining 1 Tbsp butter to the pot with the cooked sweet potatoes and mash. Then, add the nutritional yeast, onion granules or powder, cayenne, nutmeg, Dijon, vegetable broth, sea salt, and black pepper. Stir well. Taste and adjust seasoning as desired. Lastly, add the eggs and stir into mixture.
  5. Pour sweet potato mixture into the greased dish. Sprinkle walnuts on top in an even layer. Bake in preheated oven for 30-35 minutes.
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Grain-Free “Rice” Stuffing

This grain-free “rice” stuffing is perfectly savory and tastes like Thanksgiving. It’s flavor and texture is impeccable, and I can’t even fathom how incredible it would taste with turkey. It’s been amazing with chicken, and I think it would also pair well with mild fish, pork tenderloin, and even eggs. If you ask me, it’s a must-have side dish for the holiday season!

Since this stuffing is not grain-based, it doesn’t leave you with that heavy belly, carb coma feeling. Instead, it’s veggie based, light, and leaves you feeling great. No stomach aches or fatigue!

Meanwhile, I went back on KATU Afternoon Live yesterday and made my crustless butternut squash pie. Catch the replay of my segment HERE.

Cheers and enjoy!

P.S. Can you believe it’s only one week until Thanksgiving? Where has this month gone?!

Ingredients:

  • 2 Tbsp grass-fed butter or ghee
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 stalks celery, finely chopped
  • 2 large carrots, peeled and finely chopped
  • 2 cups crimini mushrooms, finely chopped
  • 16 oz package cauliflower rice
  • 1 tsp poultry seasoning
  • 1 tsp dried sage
  • Sea salt and black pepper, to taste
  • 1/2 cup turkey or chicken broth, homemade or high-quality store-bought
  • 5.29 oz package roasted & peeled chestnuts, roughly chopped (I used this brand)
  • 1/2 cup fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1/2 cup pecans, roughly chopped

Directions:

  1. Melt butter in a large pan over medium heat. Once melted, add the onion, celery, and carrot, and sauté 6-7 minutes or until softened.
  2. Next, add the mushrooms, cauliflower rice, poultry seasoning, dried sage, sea salt and black pepper. Stir well and cook for 8-10 minutes over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally.
  3. Add the broth, chestnuts, and fresh parsley. Stir well, cover, and cook for another 12-15 minutes or until liquid is absorbed.
  4. Lastly, stir in the chopped pecans and serve.

Vanilla Cinnamon Espresso Hazelnut Butter

This recipe meets all the criteria (and more) of a great nut butter. It’s creamy, salty, nutty, and a little crunchy. It’s also subtly sweet with added elements of cinnamon, coffee, and vanilla. The coarsely ground coffee is what adds the slight grainy texture and crunch, and it’s magnificent. All in all, it’s a match made in heaven. I think it might be the best nut butter I’ve ever tasted — not even exaggerating. It’s out-of-this-world good! Enjoy it straight off the spoon or spread on apples, pears, bananas, or in my sunny cinnamon sammie recipe (instead of the sunflower seed butter). It’s also delicious drizzled into plain yogurt.

Also, note that I used decaf beans in this recipe, but you can use regular as well. I don’t like to consume caffeine after 12-ish p.m. and don’t tend to eat nut butter in the morning, so opted for decaf beans. Use whatever you like.

On another note, I’m off to NYC early this morning with my close friend, Heather. We have been looking forward to this trip for months and it’s finally here! We’ve got some fun things in the works, but are leaving plenty of room for trekking and exploring. We’re kicking off our trip this evening with, Sleep No More and I’m super excited…a little scared too! Be sure to follow me on Instagram if you want to see what I’m up to (and eating) in NYC!

Cheers!

Ingredients:

  • Heaping 2 cups raw hazelnuts
  • 1 Tbsp coarsely ground high-quality coffee beans (I used decaf beans from a local roaster)
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt (use 1/4 tsp if you want it less salty)
  • 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1-2 tsp coconut sugar, optional

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spread hazelnuts in a single layer on a baking sheet. Roast hazelnuts in preheated oven for 10-15 minutes or until fragrant and light golden brown. Give pan a shake halfway through roasting time.
  2. Once hazelnuts are cool enough to handle, remove some of the skins (doesn’t have to be perfect!). It’s up to you how much you want to remove, but less skin will result in a creamier consistency (the skins can also be bitter). You can also place the hazelnuts on a damp kitchen towel, fold it over, and rub the skins off inside the towel.
  3. Next, add hazelnuts (minus the skins) to the food processor. Blend for about 5-6 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl with a spatula as needed. Once creamy, add the remaining ingredients and blend until smooth. Taste and adjust flavors as you like.
  4. Store in a glass jar at room temperature and use within a week. Will last a week or so longer if you store it in the refrigerator.

Grain-Free Chunky Apple Pumpkin Bread

pumpkin apple bread 2With its harvest flavors and warm spices, this delectable bread screams fall. Not only that, but it also creates a cozy, irresistible aroma in the house. It’s not too sweet, and the texture is adorned with tender apple pieces and crunchy walnuts. It took me a couple attempts to get this bread right and while the first loaf tasted wonderful, it was way too moist and would not hold together. But, it was definitely still worth eating! After making some tweaks the second time around, it came out perfectly.

This bread tastes lovely on its own, but is also enjoyable with butter, ghee, or nut butter spread on top. However you slice it, you can’t go wrong!

Cheers and enjoy!

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup grass-fed butter, melted, plus a little extra for greasing loaf pan
  • 1 cup fresh or canned pumpkin puree
  • 3 eggs, preferably pasture-raised
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 2 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 3 Tbsp pure maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup coconut flour
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 3/4 cup raw walnuts, chopped
  • 1 cup baking apple, peeled, cored, and diced (I used a Mutsu)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease a loaf pan with small amount of melted butter. I used this loaf pan, which is a medium size.
  2. Mix all the dry ingredients together in a mixing bowl. In a separate large bowl, whisk together the wet ingredients. Then, add the dry ingredients to the wet, and stir until smooth. Lastly, fold in the apple and walnut pieces.
  3. Pour batter into the greased loaf pan and place in preheated oven. Bake for 50-60 minutes or until toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Let cool in pan for 10 minutes, and then carefully remove and place on a cooling rack. Let loaf cool completely before slicing.
  4. Store leftover bread in the refrigerator for up to five days.

Yields: 1 loaf

Pumpkin Caramel Chocolate Cups

Halloween is getting closer and I thought it best to honor the holiday with these perfectly sweet pumpkin caramel cups. And, I gotta say…these are straight up divine. The combination of sweet, salty, and pumpkin spice flavors with a delicate bite and soft center is just right. It’s ridiculous, really.

You will end up with a little extra date caramel, but luckily, there are many other ways to use it: spread onto dark chocolate squares, use as a dip for apples or pears, mix into yogurt, stir into nut butter, dollop on top of baked acorn squash or sweet potato, or simply eat with a spoon.

By the way, I went back on KATU Afternoon Live yesterday and made my pumpkin spice chocolate clusters. These are another winning combo and great for Halloween as well! Watch the replay of my segment HERE. Also, if you can believe it, this month marked my one-year anniversary of going on the show!

Cheers and enjoy!

Caramel ingredients:

  • 10-12 medjool dates, pitted and soaked for 5 minutes in boiling water
  • 3 Tbsp water
  • 4-5 Tbsp full-fat coconut milk (I used this brand)
  • 1/4 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1 Tbsp pure maple syrup
  • 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • Dash of sea salt

Chocolate ingredients:

  • 8 oz unsweetened baking chocolate
  • 5 Tbsp coconut sugar, or more if you want it sweeter
  • Dash of sea salt

Garnish:

  • Maldon sea salt, to garnish (find HERE)

pumpkin cups and date caramel

Directions:

  1. Add the softened dates to the food processor, along with the water, 4 Tbsp of the coconut milk, pumpkin puree, maple syrup, sea salt, pumpkin pie spice, and vanilla. Pulse to combine. If mixture still seems a bit too thick or chunky, add the remaining 1 Tbsp of coconut milk and blend again until smooth. Set aside.
  2. Melt chocolate in a double boiler over medium-low heat. Be careful not to get any moisture in the chocolate or it will seize! Once melted, stir in the coconut sugar and pinch of sea salt. Whisk until dissolved.
  3. Line a mini muffin pan with paper liners and add about 1 tsp of the melted chocolate to each liner. Then, add about 1 tsp of the date caramel to each and flatten out slightly (and gently) with back of spoon. Top each cup with another 1 tsp of melted chocolate. Garnish each cup with Maldon sea salt and place in fridge to set. If you want these to set faster, you can place in freezer.
  4. Store any leftover caramel in refrigerator and use within a week.

Yields: ~21 cups

Spiced Beef Stew with Cabbage, Butternut Squash & Sweet Potato

The weather has been chillier and damp the past few days, so this hearty, tasty, fall-spiced one-dish meal has been a sufficient belly warmer. Full of butternut squash, white sweet potato, red cabbage, ground beef, and flavorful spices, it’s a winning combination. Perfect for fall, in my opinion.

Also, this probably comes as no surprise, but the flavors are even more abundant the next day and the texture becomes a bit creamy too. The creaminess is a result of the squash breaking down more when reheated and stirred. The sweet potato holds together more since it’s starchier, but probably adds a dose of its own creaminess as well. Regardless, it’s legit.

Meanwhile, catch me next Wednesday, October 18 on KATU Afternoon Live! I’ll be making my pumpkin spice chocolate clusters that I shared last week. Stay tuned!

Cheers and enjoy!

Ingredients:

  • 2 lb grass-fed ground beef
  • 1-2 tsp grass-fed ghee, butter, or other fat of choice
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 medium red cabbage, chopped
  • 1 medium butternut squash, peeled and chopped into cubes
  • 1 medium sweet potato, peeled and chopped into cubes
  • Splash of chicken broth, homemade or high-quality store-bought
  • 1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 2.5 tsp ground turmeric
  • 1.5 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • Pinch of cayenne
  • 2 tsp sea salt, plus more to taste, if needed
  • Black pepper, to taste

Directions:

  1. Melt ghee or other fat of choice in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic, and sauté a couple minutes. Then, add the ground beef and cook until browned, about 5-7 minutes, breaking up the pieces with a spatula as needed.
  2. Next, add the cabbage and 1 tsp sea salt. Stir, cover, and cook over medium-low heat for 5-7 minutes.
  3. Add the butternut squash, sweet potato, broth, vinegar, turmeric, cumin, cinnamon, cayenne, remaining 1 tsp sea salt, and black pepper. Stir, cover, and cook for 10 minutes.
  4. Check sweet potatoes and squash with a fork and if need be, cover and cook for another 3-5 minutes. Taste and adjust sea salt, pepper, and spices as desired.

Yields: 6 servings

 

Pumpkin Spice Chocolate Clusters

Okay, it’s October and I’ve officially transitioned into pumpkin spice mode, but within reason. I figured I had to create some sort of sweet bite utilizing pumpkin spice since it’s kinda expected this time of year. And, really, I don’t mind being a taste-tester since I don’t make stuff like this very often. I especially love licking the spoon, but sometimes let my husband in on the experience too.

Meanwhile, these clusters are a lovely balance of nuttiness, crunch, spice, salt, and sweet. The pumpkin pie spice becomes more prominent overnight, making these even better the next day. These are super simple to make too, but I do warn you to be careful when melting the chocolate. Moisture, even one drop, will make your chocolate seize and though it is potentially fixable, it’s a pain in the butt and not fun. I speak from experience — this happened the first time I tested this recipe. I was able to fix the chocolate after a Google search, but it took a long time and a lot of fuss. I’ve had it happen another time a long time ago too, but had to totally pitch the chocolate. So sad. Don’t let it happen to you!

Cheers and enjoy!

P.S. Catch the replay of me making these on KATU Afternoon Live from October 18 HERE! This was also my one-year anniversary going on the show!

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup raw pecans, roughly chopped
  • 1 cup large flaked unsweetened coconut
  • 3/4 cup raw pumpkin seeds/pepitas
  • 6 oz unsweetened baking chocolate (I used this brand)
  • 3 Tbsp coconut sugar, or more if you want sweeter chocolate
  • 1.5 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • Pinch of sea salt
  • Maldon sea salt, to garnish (find HERE)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Place raw pecans, pumpkin seeds, and coconut on a large baking sheet. Mix together and toast in the preheated oven for 5 minutes. Give a stir and if needed, toast for another 1-2 minutes. Remove from oven and set aside.
  2. Melt chocolate in a double boiler over medium-low heat. Be careful not to get any moisture in the chocolate or it will seize! Once melted, stir in the coconut sugar, pinch of sea salt, and pumpkin spice. Whisk until dissolved.
  3. Remove chocolate from heat and stir the nut mixture into the chocolate. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper and drop chocolate clusters in 1-2 Tbsp portions. Finally, garnish with Maldon sea salt.
  4. Leave on counter to set or place in the fridge to speed things up a bit.

Yields: 18-20 clusters, give or take (depending on size)