Roasted Sweet Potatoes

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Roasted Sweet Potatoes

The sweet potato is an amazing food.  I’ve developed a new appreciation for it over the past year. (I hear they can even be made into doughnuts!) Anyway, here is my recipe for oven roasted sweet potatoes:

 

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Dice potatoes as shown

Sweet potatoes are much stouter than their russet potato cousins.  I’ve found that cutting the sweet potato across the midsection instead of lengthwise makes for a much easier time of it.

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Spices give this dish a full, savory flavor

I don’t measure my spices when I’m cooking.  I usually make 4-5 sweet potatoes at a time.  Add about 1/2 – 1 teaspoon salt for 4 potatoes.  More salt can be added after cooking according to taste.  My favorite spice mix is Mrs. Dash’s Southwest Extra Spicy (about 1 teaspoon) with 1/2 teaspoon of cumin.

However, nightshades (including cumin and peppers) have been eliminated (and I have to reluctantly admit that it has helped), so I use 1 teaspoon ginger, instead.  Ginger gives a nice, savory flavor to the potatoes.

Add 1-2 Tablespoons grapeseed oil to the potatoes and spices and mix until everything is fairly evenly coated.

 

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This is 4-5 sweet potatoes

Bake in a preheated oven at 400 degress F for 40 minutes.  I’ve found two good-sized sweet potatoes fill a glass 9×13.  If the potato cubes are more than about 2 deep in the dish, you will need to increase the cooking time.

Enjoy!

No-mato Spaghetti Sauce

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Summer vacation means extra time to try cooking new dishes.  This week’s experiment was no-mato sauce for spaghetti squash spaghetti.  I love spaghetti, but tomatoes are not on the friend list.  Just for good measure, I wanted to leave out garlic and onions, because they’re a little suspect at the moment.  I can’t say much for how the squash itself turned out — I think I need more practice on that one — but the sauce is very tasty.  Of course, this is coming from someone who hasn’t had spaghetti in 10 months. ;)

Just a word of caution, this recipe contains a beet.  Beets stain everything — including hands and face (don’t ask).  So, wear all black and don’t stir too vigorously.

Ingredients:

1 medium-size beet, peeled and diced

11 small-medium carrots, peeled and sliced (a little over 2 cups)

2 teaspoons ground oregano

2 teaspoons ground basil

1-2 cups water

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Water should cover most of the vegetables.

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Because of the staining power of beets, this color spoon is recommended.

 

Add the above in ingredients and simmer covered for 45-50 min in a small pan.  Let cool.  During the cooling process, most of the water will be absorbed by the vegetables.  Add in 1 cup diced roasted sweet potatoes.  (*Note: I almost always have roasted sweet potatoes on hand.  I cook them with ginger, salt, and grapeseed oil.  I thought it would taste good to add to the sauce — and it did — but it’s not necessary to add them.  Just put in less seasoning in the next step if you choose to omit the sweet potato.  I’ve also seen recommendations for adding canned pumpkin puree.) Blend in a food processor. I have a small processor, so I had to blend in two batches.  For each batch, I added 2 Tablespoons water.

Pour blended sauce in a bowl and stir in the following:

3/4-1 cup water (broth might also taste good here, but the water has worked great)

3 teaspoons ground basil

1 teaspoon honey

1 teaspoon salt

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Add honey and basil

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Stir together — and it’s done!

 

And that’s it! You should have about 3 cups of sauce.  It will be thick, so it can be used for pizza or baked pasta dishes as well.

More or less seasoning can be added according to taste.  If a more oregano taste is desired, you could add some more here as well.  The dominant spice in this recipe is basil.

Let the sauce sit overnight to let all the flavors blend together. (If you tasted it at this point, you probably noticed a dominant carrot flavor.)

Tip: Add cooked ground beef before heating to serve.

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Ready to eat with spaghetti squash

 

 

 

Curry-less Curry Sauce

The basic sauce

The basic sauce

This recipe was an attempt to make an AIP-friendly sauce for hot pot. So far, I’ve used this sauce to cook bok choy, nappa cabbage, shrimp, lamb, and sweet potatoes.  All of these have tasted wonderful.  This sauce is as close to curry as I’ve been able to get for a while.

See, I love spicy food.  And curry.  Especially spicy curry.  However, about 6 months ago, due to circumstances beyond my control, I found that I could not eat spicy food (or a lot of other foods, for that matter). Long story short, I’ve come a long way in adding food back into my diet, but I’m still on a hybrid anti-inflammatory/autoimmune/whatever-doesn’t-hurt-my-stomach-and-give-me-heartburn diet.

I had been eating sweet potatoes with some spice because I didn’t want to give up my cumin.  Or red pepper flakes.  Or curry.  Seriously.  However, thanks to the company and prompting of sweet friends in my life (and the prompting of my stomach), I gave up the spices — mostly nightshades not allowed on AIP (autoimmune protocol diet).  Curry is not allowed.  However, I have found that ginger, tumeric, and garlic make quiet the trio. So, here it is…

Curry-less Curry Sauce

Ingredients:

3 1/2  cups Chicken broth (I used homemade that I had in the freezer.  The taste was not strong at all, and it contained no soy, dairy, gluten, or msg)

2 Tablespoons fresh grated ginger root

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

4 cloves garlic (I used 2 teaspoons minced garlic)

2 teaspoons tumeric

1 teaspoon dehydrated onion

1 Tablespoon tapioca flour (to thicken the sauce)

Salt to taste.

5-6 chopped green onions

1/3-1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro

Combine all ingredients except cilantro and green onions in a medium pot.  Non-stick is the easiest to clean afterward… and the sweet potatoes might not burn. :)

Heat on medium and stir until the tapioca flour is dissolved.  When the sauce starts to simmer add the meat and vegetables along with the cilantro and green onions.  These picture, I just used some sweet potatoes cut into wedges and then again into thirds as they cooked.  Lamb was still my favorite meat.  This is also a great sauce for nappa cabbage and bok choy.

Simmer/low boil until the meat and vegetables are cooked.  I would recommend adding the potatoes first.  The potatoes took about 15 minutes to cook.  After about 5 minutes, I added the meat.  The cabbage only needs about 5 minutes to cook, so I might add it slightly before the potatoes are done.

*Notes:

– The sauce gets thicker the longer it simmers.

– This sauce is enough to cook about 2 1/2 large sweet potatoes.

– Do not cook carrots in this.  The sweetness of the carrots did not mingle well with the flavors.

– I imagine cauliflower would taste good with this sauce.  We’re not on speaking terms, presently, though, so I don’t know for sure.

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Add the cilantro and potatoes. I ran out of green onions for this batch… and I missed them.

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“Curried” sweet potatoes. Comfort food, right here.

 

 

Saturday Morning Pancakes

Blueberry Pancake Happiness

Blueberry Pancake Happiness

Pancakes are one of my favorite foods.  When I was little, my parents made pancakes for us every weekend: round pancakes, bear pancakes, turtle pancakes, initial-letter pancakes.  And they were delicious!

These days, gluten, soy, sugar, and dairy aren’t my friends, but  I really don’t like the idea of giving up my pancakes just yet.  So, after some trial and error, I’m happy to present “The Free” pancakes.

Ingredients:

3 cups brown rice flour

3 tsp. baking powder

1 1/2 tsp. baking soda

3/4 tsp. salt

1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon

1 Tablespoon milled flax seed

3 Tablespoons honey

1 Tablespoon Grapeseed oil

1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce

1 tsp. vanilla

3 eggs (can be omitted for egg-free pancakes, they just won’t be as thick)

2 1/2 cups unsweetened almond milk (can also use rice milk (nut-free option) or coconut milk)

Add the dry ingredients first, then stir in the rest.  Some extra milk may need to be added.  The batter will need to be thicker than normal pancake batter, so make sure it isn’t too runny. Pre-heat your griddle — medium-high at first, then you may need to turn the heat down so they don’t burn. Make sure to use a non-stick skillet with a lid so that a.) the pancakes will actually flip and b.) they rise well.  I usually cover the pancakes while they are side 1 and let them cook most of the way with the lid on.  The bubbles that surface should pop and leave little holes when the pancake is ready to flip. Because of the ingredients in these pancakes, the cooking time will be longer than white-flour or buttermilk pancakes.

Some notes:

  • There is not a lot of oil in these pancakes. Make them in a non-stick skillet, otherwise the results will be disastrous.
  • I like to sprinkle any combination of chopped bananas, walnuts, pecans, strawberries, apples, blueberries (whole), and crumbled bacon (seriously) to the top of the pancakes as soon as I put them in the skillet.  Chocolate chips and peanut butter chips are also fun. I don’t like them in my pancakes, but I hear other people do.
  • If you don’t have milled flax seed, just add another tablespoon of oil.
  • For a corn-free option, omit the baking powder and use 3 teaspoons of baking soda. They won’t rise as much.
  • This morning, my brilliant friends put a combination of strawberries, blueberries, blackberries and raspberries in the microwave for several minutes to make berry syrup.  Don’t add sugar.  It is amazing.
Dangers of not using a non-stick skillet.  And this was one of the better ones.

Dangers of not using a non-stick skillet. And this was one of the better ones.

Blueberry pancake in progress.

Blueberry pancake in progress.

Using a lid helps bake the pancakes so that they rise.  So good.

Using a lid helps bake the pancakes so that they rise. So good.

Chocolate Chocolate-Chip Cookies: Dairy, Gluten, & Soy free

A sweet friend texted me on New Year’s Eve to let me know she had found gluten, dairy, and soy free chocolate chips on sale and bought me some.  I had to do some last minute grocery shopping the next day, so I stopped by the clearance shelf to see if there were more.  Each bag was $1.89.  I didn’t care what they tasted like. I threw caution to the wind and bought four bags.  I tasted them as soon as I got home.  Y’all, these taste better than the “real” deal.  Seriously.

So. Good.

So. Good.

Since it was a new year, I decided to tinker around with an old recipe to come up with a new cookie recipe.  It still needs some tweaking, which I plan on doing the next time I make these (see notes at the bottom).

You’ll need:

2 Tbsp. Grapeseed Oil

2 c. Unsweetened Applesauce

1 scant tsp. Vanilla

2 eggs

2 c. Almond Flour

1 c. Quinoa Flour (this is rather bitter)

4-5 Tbsp. Unsweetened Cocoa Powder

2 tsp. Baking Soda

1 tsp. Salt (maybe a pinch more)

1 bag Dairy/Gluten/Soy free chocolate chips

Directions: MIx eggs, applesauce, oil, and vanilla with a wooden spoon.  Add the flours, salt, unsweetened cocoa powder and baking soda, stirring with spoon until moist.  Stir in the chocolate chips.

Spoon onto greased cookie sheet. These puff up like cake cookies, but do not spread out, so it is OK if they are close together on the sheet.  Bake at 350 for 8-12 minutes, depending on size. Mine needed 12 minutes. Let cool about 5 minutes before removing from pan.

These are wonderfully chocolatey and tummy-friendly cookies. :)

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The end result

NOTES:

1.) These taste similar to German chocolate cake cookies.

2.) Omit the chocolate chips for a sugar-free option.

3.) The almond flour gives a sort of “gritty” texture with the bigger pieces of almonds.  I personally like the almond flavor with chocolate.  However, when I omitted the chocolate chips, I did not like the flavor or texture as much.  With the chocolate chips, it is completely fine.

4.) Nut-free option: replace almond flour with oat flour.

5.) I wasn’t too much of a fan of the quinoa flour taste in a cookie, so next time, I plan to replace it with either oat or brown rice flour.

 

 

Summer Cooking: Strawberry Bread

With the coming of summer, strawberries are very plentiful. I enjoy strawberries a lot – if I could live off them, I would. This recipe is probably one of the least healthy a person could use, but it makes for a delicious, summery quick bread. Really, it’s so good and a crowd-pleaser.  Enjoy!

Oatmeal Strawberry Bread

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