No-Bake Carrot Cake Bites

Sometimes, you want cake, but don’t want to buy special ingredients to make it or have an entire cake in your house. Am I right? Well, you can have your cake and eat it too with these scrumptious no-bake carrot cake bites. Not only are these grain-free, but they’re also dairy-free and date-sweetened. They’re incredibly easy to make and won’t wreck your gut either. Plus, you can’t go wrong with carrot cake, especially this time of year. It’s reminiscent of both spring and Easter, and tastes magnificent too.

These bites are loaded with healthy fats from the walnuts and coconut, and are naturally sweet from both the dates and carrots. Not only that, but you get a dose of vitamins and antioxidants from the carrots too. The warm spices add the perfect amount of zest to these melt-in-your mouth morsels.

If you don’t have walnuts on hand or just want to mix it up, try pecans instead. Also, feel free to tweak the spice ratios to your preferred taste. Luckily, you can taste along the way with this recipe, so it’s easy to adjust the flavors to your liking.

Cheers and enjoy!

Ingredients:

  • About 2 large carrots, peeled and sliced (~1.5 cups grated)
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 1 cup raw walnuts, preferably sprouted (pecans would also work well)
  • 10 Medjool dates, pitted
  • 1/4 cup coconut butter, melted (I used this brand)
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1.5 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • Extra unsweetened shredded coconut for rolling, if desired

Directions:

  1. Place sliced carrots in food processor bowl. Process until finely grated.
  2. Next, add all the remaining ingredients, except for the extra unsweetened coconut (for rolling at the end). Process until ingredients are fully incorporated, scraping down the sides as needed. Mixture will be sticky when done.
  3. Shape into 1-2 Tbsp sized balls with hands (I did a generous tablespoon size for the amount I yielded). Roll into extra shredded coconut, if using. Place in the refrigerator to set for at least 20-30 minutes.
  4. Store any leftovers in the refrigerator.

Yields: ~25-30 bites

Advertisements

Chocolate Banana Walnut Bites

We had a snow day yesterday and it gave me the opportunity to experiment with the green banana flour I bought a few weeks ago. I’ve known about green banana flour for a while, but kept forgetting to order some. Then, I conveniently stumbled upon it at the grocery store. Score!

So far, I am pretty impressed with the flour. It worked well in this recipe and did not yield a strong or sweet banana flavor. It’s actually rather subtle. All in all, the bites turned out intensely chocolatey, subtly sweet, and slightly crunchy. In addition to the wonderful flavor, you get a dose of antioxidants, healthy fats, and resistant starch in these decadent bites. Perfect little treat.

Also, if you’re wondering, resistant starch actually, “resists digestion” and feeds the healthy bacteria in the gut. This can lead to improved blood fats, better insulin sensitivity, increased satiety, improved digestion, and more. Cold cooked white potatoes, fresh green bananas, and green plantains are other great sources. If you want to learn more about resistant starch, visit HERE.

Cheers and enjoy!

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup green banana flour (find HERE)
  • 1/4 cup cacao or cocoa powder
  • 3-4 Tbsp cacao nibs
  • Pinch of sea salt
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup raw walnuts, preferably sprouted
  • 4 large medjool dates, pitted

*Note: if you want these sweeter, you can add a little maple syrup, raw honey, or another 1-2 pitted medjool dates

Directions:

  1. Combine all the ingredients except the cacao nibs in the food processor. Process until mixture is well blended and clumps together.
  2. Add the cacao nibs and pulse a few times to incorporate.
  3. With hands, roll mixture into tablespoon-size balls and place in the refrigerator to set for 10-20 minutes.
  4. Store any leftovers in the refrigerator.

Yields: ~15 bites

 

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

Warm Brussels Sprout Salad with Sausage, Apple & Walnuts

brussels-sprouts-salad-2

This recipe was inspired by a Brussels sprout salad from Danielle Walker’s, Meals Made Simple cookbook. When I was home over the holidays, my mom and I were looking for a winter side dish recipe to take to my aunt’s for Christmas dinner. Upon looking through her copy of Danielle’s cookbook, we decided on the Brussels sprout salad recipe (had leeks, bacon and pomegranate seeds in it!). It ended up being a huge hit! Afterward, I knew I wanted to create my own variation and that it was a priority after getting back to Portland.

I went with the idea of this being a complete one-dish meal versus a side, but it could be served as a side, if desired. It’d be a great side for a holiday meal, actually! Surprisingly, this dish held up well the next day too, though I don’t recommend letting it sit in the fridge for too long. There are so many possibilities for a meal like this, so feel free to get creative and make it how you like it!

Cheers and enjoy!

brussels-sprouts-salad

Ingredients:

  • 1.5 lb Brussels sprouts, trimmed & shredded in a food processor or with a mandoline
  • 2 Tbsp grass-fed butter or ghee (or avocado oil if you don’t tolerate any dairy)
  • 1 leek, chopped (white part only)
  • 1 large clove garlic, minced
  • Sea salt and black pepper to taste
  • 1/3 cup chicken broth, preferably homemade
  • 1 pink lady apple, chopped
  • 1 12 oz package chicken apple sausage, sliced (I recommend Aidell’s or Applegate – both of which have 4 pre-cooked sausages in each package)
  • 1/4 cup chopped raw walnuts
  • Grated raw parmesan cheese for topping, if tolerated and desired

Directions:

  1. Melt butter in a large pan over medium heat. Then, add the leek, garlic, Brussels sprouts, sea salt and black pepper. Sauté about 5 minutes.
  2. Next mix in the chicken broth, apple and sausage. Add more sea salt and black pepper, if desired. Place lid on pan and let cook 5 minutes over medium-low heat.
  3. Remove from heat and stir in walnuts. Top individual serving with desired amount of Parmesan, if using. Serve warm.

Yields: 3-4 entree-size servings

Simple Supper Friday: Fall Saute with Sage Brown Butter Sauce

I absolutely love sage brown butter sauce, yet for some reason hadn’t made it in a really long time. Thankfully, it’s back in my memory now (and my taste buds remember too), and will probably make an appearance more often. If you’ve never had sage brown butter sauce, this is a great opportunity to try it, and let me tell you, you’re in for a real treat!

Ingredients:

  • 12 fresh sage leaves
  • 3 Tbsp grass-fed butter
  • Half a butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cubed
  • 1 green apple, cored and chopped
  • 2 cooked boneless skinless chicken breasts, chopped
  • 2 cups torn kale leaves
  • 1 Tbsp ghee
  • Sea salt and pepper to taste
  • Chopped walnuts for garnishing, optional

Directions:

  1. Heat ghee in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the butternut squash cubes and season to taste with sea salt and pepper. Sauté for about five minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the apple pieces and continue to cook for about five more minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, heat butter in a small skillet over medium-low heat.  Once melted, add the sage leaves and cook until the sage is crisp, about five minutes.  Watch closely, so the butter doesn’t burn!
  3. Once done, remove the crisp sage leaves and set aside.
  4. Add the chicken breast pieces and kale to the squash and apple mixture. Add a bit more sea salt and black pepper to taste.
  5. Once the chicken is warm and the kale softened, remove from heat and pour the brown butter sauce over top. Crumble the crispy sage leaves into the sauté and mix well.
  6. Serve with chopped walnuts on top, if using.

Raw Apple Pear Crisp

img_2065

Sometimes you want a treat, but don’t feel like taking the time to make something or don’t want a mess in the kitchen with a bunch of dishes to clean. Am I right? Luckily, this tasty, no-bake and fuss-free fall treat comes together in minutes and is quite satisfying. Additionally, all these ingredients are things I had on hand in my kitchen — no running to the store to pick up anything. Feel free to use any type of apple or pear that you like. I personally like the granny smith in this dish because it doesn’t add any additional sweetness, yet the tartness mellows out a bit. The Asian pear is nice because it has more of a crispness than other pears and is also a little less sweet. As for the crumb topping, it’s so good that I could probably eat spoonfuls of it all by itself. If you like, you can also add nutmeg, cloves or allspice to the mix. Cardamom would also be tasty, especially with the pear.

Ingredients:

  • 1 granny smith apple, cored and chopped
  • 1 Asian pear, cored and chopped
  • 2 Tbsp citrus juice (orange, lemon or lime)
  • 1/2 tsp raw honey, optional
  • 1/4 cup raw walnuts
  • 2 medjool dates, pitted
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
  • 1/4 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • Dash of sea salt

Directions:

  1. Toss the chopped apple and pear together in a large bowl with the citrus juice. Add in raw honey, if using. Scoop apples into a medium-sized bowl or dish and set aside.
  2. To your food processor, add the walnuts, coconut flakes, dates, spices and sea salt. Process until the mixture is crumbly and there are no large chunks. If desired, add more cinnamon and ginger.
  3. Scoop crumb mixture over top of apples and serve.

Weekend Wrap-up

I finished off the rest of my weekend yesterday with yoga, grocery shopping at Trader Joe’s, testing a new date/nut ball recipe (as a potential seller), and making and eating turkey legs.

First off, the new date ball recipe … AMAZING! Macadamia nuts, walnuts, dates, cinnamon, coconut oil, unsweetened coconut flakes, dried unsweetened cherries and thawed frozen blueberries. These little powerhouses serve as a fantastic pick-me-up, snack or sweet treat. Nature’s candy at its finest.

For the turkey legs, I followed Fast Paleo’s recipe for spice rubbed turkey legs, but cut the recipe in half since I was only making two legs. This recipe was extremely easy and turned out so flavorful, moist and crispy. I ended up baking the legs for a total of 1 hour and 15 minutes. Here’s the recipe, as I followed it:

Ingredients:

  • 2 bone-in, skin-on turkey legs (should be around 1 lb)
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp coriander
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp ground mustard
  • 1/8 tsp white pepper
  • Black pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Blend all the spices together. Gently lift the skin of the turkey legs and sprinkle a few pinches of spices underneath the skin.
  2. Place the legs in a gallon-sized bag and sprinkle in the remaining spices. Massage the spices into the legs. Allow the dry rub to sit on the turkey legs at least overnight or up to 48 hours before cooking. (*Note: I let mine sit for about 26 hours).
  3. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  4. Line a baking sheet with foil for easy clean-up. Remove the turkey legs from the bag and gently pat them with paper towel to wick away any beads of moisture, which will prevent the skin from browning.
  5. Place the turkey legs on the baking sheet. Bake 1 – 1.5 hours, or until the meat is opaque and the juices run clear, turning at least once. Be sure to lift the meat carefully, so the skin does not pull away.
  6. Rest 5 min before serving, then enjoy!
Jesse made a great and simple saute of onion, carrots and baby bok choy to go with the turkey legs. The veggies were sauteed in ghee with sea salt, fresh ground pepper and a little chicken broth to reduce the mixture down. Everything was delicious!