So…Yeah.

I just wanted to post to let you know that I didn’t fall off the face of the planet. I have several things planned for posting, but I can’t seem to get back on my feet.

I’ve been having some health issues, so I’ve taken some time to address those but, while I feel better than I did around the holidays, I’m still not 100%. So it might be a little while yet before I can get up and running again.

I did make an art for a contest, which seems like a feat of strength to me right now, haha. Click here if you’re interested in seeing that.

Otherwise, I’ll try and get back on track in the next month. I’ve got some reviews planned, and some more recipes!

“Hunter’s Pie”

Well, last week we got a stomach virus. So that was fun.

20161215_194725Anyway, Hubby got a deer this year, so we’ve been spending time processing and eating it. The roasts have been amazing, but I’ve been hesitant to make anything with the ground meat. I had this weird idea that ground venison wouldn’t taste so great so I kept putting it off.

I did a little experiment to see if shepherd’s pie would translate well with ground venison. I made a few adjustments to the recipe and it turned out pretty delicious so I’m sharing it with you guys! I’m really glad it turned out well because we have a lot of ground venison, so it’s nice to know that this is one option that’s palatable. Hamling even had two helpings!

Hunter's Pie

  • Servings: 8-10
  • Time: 1 hour
  • Difficulty: medium
  • Print
5-6 medium potatoes, cubed
3-4 Tbs butter (or other oil)
1/4 cup almond milk
1/4 cup broth
1 cup frozen corn
salt and pepper to taste

1 lb ground venison
4 slices of bacon
1 Tbs butter (or other oil)
1/2 medium onion, diced
4 carrots, diced
4 cloves of garlic, minced
2 tsp rosemary
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp marjoram
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
1/2 cup broth

  1. Fry bacon in a 3 qt oven-friendly dutch oven until crispy.
  2. While the bacon is frying, start boiling the potatoes. Boil them for 20 minutes.
  3. Remove the bacon and place on a plate. Melt the butter in the bacon grease and add the diced veggies. Cook until the onions are translucent, about 10 minutes. Add the venison, spices and garlic and cook until the meat is fully brown.
  4. If using fresh green veggies, add them with the broth. Bring to a simmer, cover, and turn to low.
  5. Preheat oven to 420°F
  6. Simmer the meat and veggies for as long as it takes to preheat the oven.
  7. At this point the potatoes should be done. Drain the potatoes, return to the pan and add the remaining ingredients. Mash until smooth.
  8. Crumble the bacon and set aside.
  9. When the oven is preheated add frozen corn and bacon to the filling and spread the mashed potatoes over top. Place in the oven and bake for 20 minutes, or until the potatoes start to get golden. Let sit for 15 minutes and then serve.

Super Awesome Secret #3!

I’m sorry I missed the last two Fridays. We all got sick, and then I took some time for Thanksgiving. Usually I try to have a scheduled post up for holidays, but I was busy taking care of sick children and we also had a trip to Grand Junction scheduled, so I decided to not overwhelm myself.

Anyway, on to the secret!

Today’s secret is: use broth. Preferably bone broth.

Any crock pot recipe, soup recipe, savory gluten free bread recipe that calls for water as the liquid can be improved by using broth instead.

On a similar note, using milk for sweet breads (like cinnamon raisin bread) is also awesome.

Using broth instead of water adds flavor and richness to any dish, and it can help gluten free stuff with structure issues (like pizza crust). Not only that, if you cook your rice in broth instead of water you sneak some extra nutrients and flavor into your meal.

If you’re dairy free, using broth instead of milk in mashed potatoes is pretty awesome as well.

Pro tip: when making Alfredo sauce (dairy free or not) try using half broth and half cream instead of regular half and half. So if your recipe calls for 1 cup of half and half use 1/2 cup of broth and 1/2 cup of cream. If you’re making shrimp Alfredo use seafood broth for an even richer flavor!

Gluten Free Brownies.

I try to cut the sugar in half for everything sweet I bake. Not because I’m making a concerted effort to be healthy, but because I can’t handle (what seems like) the excessive amounts of sugar that things like cookies and cakes call for.

I went on an intense candida diet for a while where I cut all sugar, including fruit, for two weeks. After that I reintroduced fruit, but kept refined sugars out. Ever since then I have a much lower tolerance for sweet things which leads to awkward situations where I get served cornbread as an appetizer and it feels like I’m eating dessert before my dinner. I honestly wanted to save that cornbread and just have it after my meal with a bit of butter and honey, haha.

Anyway, I automatically cut the sugar in any given dessert recipe in half (excepting yeasted things because the yeast needs the sugar to actually work), which can create interesting results. In cookies it manifests as less spread, so you have to smoosh the dough before baking unless you enjoy oddly cake-like cookies. In brownies it manifests as a less fudge-y texture. So, if you’re a fan of cake brownies, no adjustments are needed.

I wanted to make brownies that were somewhere in between, so I tried various adjustments and I think I came up with something that is pretty awesome. I haven’t tried using liquid sweetener (like maple syrup) yet, but I’ll get back to you.20161112_112119

Gluten Free Fudge-y Brownines

  • Servings: 16 brownies
  • Time: 1 hour 35 minutes
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print
4 ounces (3/4 cup plus 2 Tbs) flour blend
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp xanthan gum
7 ounces semisweet chocolate chips
4 Tbs butter
2 ounces cocoa butter
3 Tbs cocoa powder
4 1/2 ounces (1/2 plus 1/8 cup) sucanat
1 large egg
2 egg yolks
2 tsp vanilla

  1. Melt the butter, cocoa butter, chocolate chips and sucanat in a large pan over low heat. Stir in cocoa powder, remove from heat and stir in vanilla.
  2. While everything is melting line an 8 inch square cake pan with foil. You can oil this if you like, but it works without oil as well.
  3. Whisk dry ingredients together.
  4. Whisk the egg and egg yolks into the chocolate mixture and pour into the dry ingredients. Stir with a spatula until everything is combined. Cover with plastic wrap and let sit for 30 minutes.
  5. Move the oven rack to the middle position and preheat oven to 350°F.
  6. Bake for 45-55 minutes, rotating pan halfway.
  7. Let brownies cool completely in the pan on a wire rack before serving.

Notes

  • The cocoa butter is completely optional. If you’d rather not use it, just use 8 Tbs butter.
  • You can substitute coconut oil for the butter for a dairy-free brownie.
  • The longer you bake these, the more like cake they will be when they cool.
  • Save the egg whites! Stick them in a jar in your fridge and they’ll keep for an amazingly long amount of time. You can use them to make coconut macaroons, or angel food cake, or any number of things.

P.s. Every time I went to type brownies I would write brownines…I have no idea why.

Crock Pot Chicken Curry.

My crock pot is my best friend. If I know I’m going to have a busy evening I can start dinner that morning and not have to worry about cooking during what I affectionately refer to as “the witching hour.” Around the time I’m getting ready to start dinner, Hamlette is usually getting tired and a little cranky. I often end up backpacking her in the mei tai just so I can get food ready for a family dinner when Hubby gets home from work. If he’s not working, usually he can hold her while I cook, but if he’s home we eat at an earlier time.

20161028_141433Ah, the joys of shift work!

Anyway, crock pots. I can’t recommend them enough. There are loads of crock pot freezer meals that you can make ahead of time and then just dump the bag of goodies into the crock pot that morning for a lovely, no hassle, dinner. This isn’t one of those, but it’s still really easy.

As an added bonus: zucchini is super delicious in curry, so if you grow zucchini, or have a neighbor who is always trying to give you zucchini, this is a good way to use it up!

Chicken Curry

  • Servings: 8-10
  • Time: 30 minutes active
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print
1 pound chicken
1 1/2 cups chicken broth
1 zucchini, diced
4-6 cloves garlic
1/2 onion, chopped
2 Tbs dried basil
1 1/2 Tbs yellow curry powder
2 tsp salt
1 tsp fresh ginger, peeled and finely chopped
1 tsp chili powder
1 can full fat coconut milk
Fresh basil, chopped

  1. Combine everything but the coconut milk and the basil. Cover and cook on high for 3-4 hours or low for 6-8, until chicken is cooked through.
  2. 1 hour before serving add the coconut milk and shred the chicken.
  3. Serve over rice.

 

‘Tis the Season!

Autumn has begun and so has the pumpkin-ocalypse! Everything is slowly being consumed with pumpkin spice flavor, sometimes with amazing results and sometimes with head-scratching disgust.

So I thought I’d jump on the bandwagon! Heh.

20161023_132956I wanted to share a recipe with you guys for gluten free pumpkin breakfast muffins. They are really tasty! I found a recipe in a magazine for pumpkin cakes using regular flours and converted it to gluten free. These are perfect if you know you’re going to have a busy morning: you can make them the night before and take them with you to have breakfast on the go.

Don’t worry, t looks like it has a lot of ingredients, but that’s mostly because I broke up the pumpkin pie spice into separate measurements (because I don’t have the spice mix).

Pumpkin Muffins

  • Servings: 12
  • Time: 1 hour
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print
1 cup flour blend
1 cup gluten free oat flour
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon allspice
1/2 tsp salt
2 eggs
1/2 cup sucanat
1 cup almond milk
3/4 cup pumpkin puree
1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
2 tsp vanilla

  1. Preheat the oven to 325°F.
  2. Mix all the dry ingredients. Mix the wet ingredients in a separate bowl or measuring cup.
  3. Combine the dry and wet ingredients until smooth.
  4. Grease a muffin tin (or line with cupcake wrappers) and portion batter evenly between the cups. A cookie scoop works well for this.
  5. Bake for 30-35 minutes, rotating muffin tin halfway, until a toothpick comes out clean.
  6. Allow to cool in the muffin tin for 10 minutes on a wire rack before removing to cool completely.
  7. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days.

Dairy Free Skillet Cornbread.

20161016_182003I apologize for the quality of this picture: I was in a hurry when I was taking it. So, while I took three separate pictures, none of them turned out very well.

Anyway, it’s getting to be a bit colder here, which is excellent chili weather. The best thing to eat with chili is cornbread (of course) so I make a lot of it. The trouble is that most recipes call for sour cream and milk, so I decided to try using some alternative ingredients.

This is the (super delicious) result. The recipe is a little bit of work, but it’s totally worth it.

Skillet Cornbread

  • Servings: 12
  • Time: 45 minutes
  • Difficulty: intermediate
  • Print
11 1/4 ounces cornmeal (2 1/4 cups)
1 1/2 cups plain coconut milk yogurt
1/2 cup almond milk
1/4 cup avocado oil
1/4 cup coconut oil
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon teaspoon salt
2 large eggs

  1. Adjust oven racks to lower-middle and middle positions and heat oven to 450°F. Place a 10 inch skillet (preferably cast-iron) on the middle rack and heat for 10 minutes.
  2. Spread cornmeal on a rimmed baking sheet and toast on the bottom rack until fragrant and lightly browned, about 5 minutes.
  3. Transfer toasted cornmeal to a large bowl and whisk in yogurt and milk. Set aside.
  4. When skillet is hot, add the avocado oil and heat for another 5 minutes.
  5. Using potholders, remove the skillet from the oven and add the coconut oil to the hot avocado oil, swirling gently to incorporate. Pour hot oil mixture into the cornmeal mixture and whisk until combined (resist the urge to scrape the extra oil out with a spatula). Whisk in baking powder, baking soda and salt. The batter will immediately start to rise. This is normal.
  6. Whisk in the eggs then pour the batter into the hot skillet and place on the middle rack with a clean cookie sheet underneath to catch any drips that may occur.
  7. Bake for 12-15 minutes, or until the top begins to brown and crack and the sides are golden brown, rotating skillet halfway.
  8. Allow the bread to cool for 5 minutes in the skillet before flipping it out onto a cooling rack.
  9. Cool for 10 minutes and then serve.

Notes

  • This works best with yogurt that’s past it’s date, which basically means it is more sour than fresh yogurt. I usually keep an eye on the dairy discount section of the stores I frequent and make this whenever I pick up a tub of coconut milk yogurt that’s about to “go bad.”

Super Awesome Secret #2!

Instant Oatmeal is expensive. Luckily it’s also amazingly easy to make at home from regular oats. You can use quick cooking oats if you’d like, but I just use regular rolled oats, sometimes extra thick rolled oats. Basically I use whatever I have on hand.

Put the amount of oats you want to make into a blender or food processor and pulse until your oats look like the instant oats you get in the store. It takes my Ninja 10 pulses to get the right texture.oatsI don’t make these often because I prefer to ferment my oats before I make oatmeal for better nutrient availability, but this is great for those times you just need a quick snack.

You can portion them out into bags and add sucanat, salt, dried fruit, whatever you fancy. Bonus savings if you have a food dehydrator and can dehydrate your own strawberries or apples. You could even sprinkle cinnamon on the apples before you dehydrate them to make an apple cinnamon oatmeal.

Sweet Potato Pudding.

Well, here we are again. It’s Saturday. Oops.

Last night our little chicken died, we’re not sure what was wrong with her. She has always looked a little sickly, but I thought she had been looking better recently until she spent all day in the coop yesterday. Hubby opened the coop this morning and took care of her body. It’s a little sad, but life goes on.

On that note, today I’m sharing a recipe for a vegan pudding.

20161006_125006I love sweet potatoes and recently I’ve been buying them in bags (rather than loose) because Hamlette is really liking solid foods – she has 6 teeth already! I follow a paleo page on Facebook and they shared a recipe for sweet potato chocolate pudding I’d been wanting to try, but I couldn’t find it so I picked the first one I googled. I made that recipe but I didn’t like the texture at all so I tried mixing in some coconut milk. The coconut milk did the trick: the grainy mousse turned into a nice, smooth pudding.

Sweet Potato Chocolate Pudding

  • Servings: 4
  • Time: 1 hour passive 10 minutes active
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print
2-3 medium sweet potatoes
1/4 cup cocoa powder
2 Tbs coconut oil
1 Tbs sweetener of choice
1 tsp vanilla
1/4-3/4 cup full fat coconut milk

  1. Bake the sweet potatoes for an hour at 350°F. Cool and peel the sweet potatoes.
  2. Blend everything but the coconut milk until smooth. At this point it will look a lot like a mousse.
  3. Scrape the chocolate mixture into a bowl and stir in the coconut milk until you reach a good consistency.
  4. Serve.

Notes

  • If making ahead, bring the pudding back to room temperature before eating: it firms up in the fridge and becomes less pudding-y
  • You could use melted cocoa butter instead of coconut oil for a richer flavor.