Deconstructed Spaghetti Squash Carbonara… Paleo Style!

This recipe is WAY too awesome not to share! I’m making this asap!

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My goal was to make this as easy as possible without sacrificing flavor or adding things that are no-no’s (sorry, no parmesan to be found here). The only real deconstructed element is the poached egg in place of scrambled–it works, people!

I’m a fan of runny eggs, but the whole raw-scrambled egg sauce that allegedly cooks from the heat of the pasta has me kinda squeamish… no offense. Poaching gives me control over the doneness of the egg, so I know those whites are cooked and the yolk is at the ideal creamy texture and temperature.

Spoiler Alert: To send this over the moon, I fry thinly sliced garlic in reserved bacon fat and then toss in the spaghetti squash. Incredible depth of flavor through this step! Be careful though–garlic burns easily. So keep your spaghetti squash close and your tongs closer.

I hope you enjoy this one!

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Easy Spinach Frittata

I had such a craving for a hot spinach dip.  Upon survey of my food stores, I didn’t have the ingredients to make that happen but I did have enough to throw together a fantastic spinach frittata.  This dish is easy, super yummy and would be excellent alongside of some good dinner sausage or even with sausage directly in the frittata itself.  The Kerrygold Dubliner cheese gives this a really nice pop of deep flavor and the shallots are a nice little hint of onion flavor without being too obnoxious.  I do realize that dairy products are not technically paleo but we eat cheese and drink milk from pastured livestock.  Kerrygold products are made from grass-fed cattle in Ireland so if you can tolerate dairy I so go for it! If you are in a hurry you could certainly use a frozen variety of spinach, I just happened to have fresh on hand.  This keeps well in the fridge and is actually very delicious cold.   Let me know if you make this and if you added anything.  Enjoy! ~Carmen

(This post is linked to Tasty TuesdayNo-Rules Weekend, the Weekend Whatever at Creative Christian Mama and Party Wave Wednesday at Holistic Squid)

Spinach, Egg & Cheese Frittat a

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Ingredients:

2 handful fresh spinach

3 to 5 pastured eggs

3 oz. Kerrygold Dubliner cheese

1 tbsp. pastured butter

1 tbsp. raw cream (soured is perfect!)

1 garlic clove

½ shallot

¼ tsp. sea salt

Pepper (to taste)

3 tbsp. cooking oil of choice (I used sunflower oil)

Prep:

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Heat 3 tbsp. cooking oil in a frying pan.  Finely chop your garlic and shallot then add to the pan.  Sautee for a few minutes until the shallots are translucent.  Next, add your spinach.  Stirring frequently, cook the spinach until just wilted then remove from heat.

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In a food processor, chop your Dubliner cheese then add the spinach, onion and garlic mixture and pulse briefly.  Next add your raw cream, pastured eggs, salt, and pepper.  Pulse until the eggs are incorporated.

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Pour into a glass baking dish – a pie plate works great.  Cook at 400 degrees for 15 minutes or until a light crust forms on the bottom of the dish and the top is slightly crisp and bubbly.

Flax Meal Banana Bread (High Fiber, Gluten Free)

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Today I made lovely banana bread with no additional sugars.  I had several very brown bananas sitting on my counter and since I hate throwing out food, I decided to make bread.  My original plan was to make this Coconut Flour Banana Bread but I found that I didn’t have enough coconut flour.  I didn’t want to use rice flour as I wasn’t sure the texture would come out right and I’m avoiding rice.  We had plenty of flax meal and I thought that would make a great substitute.  The added fiber is very filling and it adds a nice flavor to the bread.  If you want more banana flavor, I would recommend adding a bit of extra coconut flour and flax to make up for the extra moisture.  This bread is very moist so it is imperative to check on it after 50 minutes and check every 5 to 10 depending on doneness.  In my Breadman, this recipe took exactly 1 hour and 10 minutes to cook and an additional hour just resting in the pan in the bread machine.  It is phenomenal with grass fed butter and I can definitely see some French toast as well as raisin muffins in the future!  One could certainly add some sweetener, coconut sugar or medjool dates would be a great addition but quite honestly this is very flavorful all alone. As always, if you enjoy my posts, please stop by my Facebook pageand show some like love!

Flax Meal Banana Bread (High Fiber, Gluten Free)

½ cup ground flax meal

½ cup coconut flour

3 VERY ripe bananas

4 large or 5 small pastured eggs

5 tbsp. grass-fed butter – melted

1/4 tsp. sea salt

1 ½ tsp. cinnamon

1/2 tsp. baking soda

1 tbsp. vanilla

Prep:

Grease a bread pan with coconut oil, then line with unbleached parchment paper.  You don’t absolutely need parchment paper but it makes for easy clean-up and loaf removal.  Preheat your oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit. –OR- grease your bread maker pan.

Put everything into a food processor and blend until smooth.  This batter should be the consistency of a thick cake mix.  If you don’t have a food processor, a mixer and a bowl will do just fine, just be sure to incorporate your coconut flour, flax and baking soda before mixing into the wet ingredients.

Bake for 1 hour 10 minutes.  Your oven may be hotter or cooler so the time can vary.  The bread is done when a toothpick comes out clean, but be sure not to overcook.  The best thing to do is remove the pan from the oven and let the bread cool in-pan to be sure that the center is cooked.  Same thing with the bread maker just shut it off and leave the loaf in the pan until cool.

Let me know what you guys think and if you make any modifications that work!  ~Carmen

(This post is linked to the following blog carnivals: Wheat Free Wednesday, Party Wave Wednesday, Real Food Wednesday)

Roasted Bell Pepper & Garlic Sauce

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This sauce recipe really delivers on flavor and is lower in net carbs than a roasted tomato sauce (by my calculations it has approximately 1/3 of the net carbs per cup) and it is much healthier than any canned variety by far.  The possibilities for this sauce is truly endless, it would be great over chicken or with meatballs.  I am also playing around with an idea for a creamy sauce as well as a chunkier sauce to use more like a salsa for dipping almond crackers.  Let me know if you try this recipe and what you think.  I really hope you enjoy this flavorful sauce! If you enjoy the blog, please show some love on my Facebook page! This post is linked to Weekend WhateverParty Wave Wednesday, Wellness Wednesday, Real Food Wednesday , Wheat-Free Wednesday 

Ingredients:

6 bell peppers (I used a variety of orange, red and yellow)

1 head of garlic – smashed sautéed

3 shallots – roughly sliced and sautéed

1 tbsp. of Italian seasonings

Cooking oil – I used Sunflower oil

Sea salt to taste (I used 1 tsp)

Prep:

Pre-heat oven to 450 degrees.

Clean and slice your red peppers into large pieces and lay them out on a cooking sheet then drizzle with cooking oil.  Salt generously and roast in the oven for approximately 20 minutes.

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Peel the garlic and shallots.  Roughly chop the shallots and smash the garlic cloves, sauté until cooked.  The shallots should be lightly translucent.

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Once everything is cooked, drain off any excess oil.  Move all of your ingredients to a food processor and process on high for several minutes, the time will vary depending on your processor.  Taste and adjust salt and seasonings as needed.

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Cool and pour into mason jars.  This should keep in your refrigerator for up to a week.

The New Breed of Supermom

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Look out soccer moms, there is new competition in town!  Who’s the latest supermom on the scene? It’s All Natural Crunchy Wonder Mom!  This mom does it all, she’s a power house of do-it-yourself and can make an award winning birthday cake with a whole coconut and a honeycomb, while breast feeding and knocking out a Cross Fit WOD. With her eyes closed.

Okay, that was a bit over dramatic but I think I’ve made my point.  I was chatting with a friend on the phone the other day and she was remarking how daunting the task of detoxing her family’s life was.  She felt like no matter what she did, there was always more to do.  I’ve been there, done that and then I got over it.  I admit, I still get discouraged when I read about a new “danger” that exists in our polluted world.  In the effort to become healthier and live a more whole life I have researched, eliminated chemicals and processed foods, ditched my microwave and have taken precautions to use non-toxic everything (when available).  I think I’ve done pretty well; I have some friends who have done pretty well too.  There is definitely a big movement for more healthful living, and social media has reached millions of people to recruit them to the ways of au natural living.  But with this empowered knowledge, the Pinterest recipes: Paleo, GAPS, Primal, WAPF, and WTF (okay, WTF isn’t really a diet…), comes the obsessive compulsion to do things better.  Here is a conversation that I overheard between two mamas enjoying a juice from the local co-op.

Mama #1: So, I made Marcus some cupcakes.  They were beautiful and made from nut flour and coconut sugar.  I used that XYZ organic almond flour.  They tasted fantastic too.

Mama #2: Oh really?  We don’t use pre-made flours of any type.  I made Riley a unicorn cake.  Mmhmmm.  Made my own flour out of raw almonds.  We don’t buy pre-packaged, pre-made organic stuff even if it’s BPA free and non-GMO.  And I don’t use coconut sugar; I just harvested raw honey from my bees and made the frosting then tinted it with beets and spinach from my garden.

Mama #1: Oh wow, I didn’t think of using the pre-packaged flour. And shoot, I just used the natural food coloring that I bought here at the co-op.  But I don’t know how I would have time to do all that and work and homeschool and make it to Cross Fit and blog and…

Mama #2: It’s really about priority.  If you really care you will make it happen.  I just did a 40 day water detox and I swear I only had to sleep 3 hours a night; it makes you so much more productive.

Okay, so this wasn’t the exact conversation but it’s a pretty good representation.  Today’s healthy living has been taken to all new heights and is creating an all new level of pressure on moms to do it all or feel lazy.

I just want to throw this out there; no one and I mean no one can do it all.  We live in a world where there is dirty electricity everywhere, there is air pollution and even our rain water needs to be filtered.  Do what you can, when you can and how you can.  Every little bit helps.  Does it take more effort? Yes, it does.  Is someone going to be crunchier than you? Probably.  But if your kids aren’t tearing open a box of High-Fructose Corn Syrup Puffs for breakfast every morning and sucking down microwaved plastic containers of mac n cheese every night then you are doing a good job.  Make your changes in baby steps.  Pick one thing and eliminate it.  After you don’t notice that difference anymore, pick another and another.  I set myself a goal of a year to detox my home as much as I practically can.  I also made a goal of eating only local, organic, sustainably farmed foods as much as I practically can.  This feels like great accomplishment, and any accomplishments that you make in the right direction is a great start.  Comparison can be a dangerous thing, remember why you are making the choices that you are making.  Don’t do it because Mildred next store is trying to win the award of Ultra Crunchy Super Mom of the Year.  Do it because you want a change and don’t be discouraged.  And relax (in a bath of Epsom salts, if you have them :-)). ~Carmen

This post is included in A Joyful Mother‘s Weekend Whatever blog carnival and Party Wave Wednesday on HolisticSquid.com.  If you enjoy my posts, please consider showing some like love on my Facebook page and feel free to post a link to your blog if you have one!

Delicious French Toast – Grain Free!

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This morning has pretty much been heaven.  My little guy and I slept in; I made a big batch of perfect pancakes, bacon and paleo cocoa; this is what mornings are all about in my world!  It’s still chilly outside in the mornings and I long for comfort food.  I found my mind wandering to my mom’s French toast.  Back in the day it was simple: white bread, eggs, some cinnamon and sugar fried up in a pan.  Super yum, but doesn’t fit in with the way we eat today.  Since I don’t have bread in the house I was going to resign myself (oh so difficult) to the pancakes but then I spotted my coconut banana bread that I made a few days ago.  LIGHTBULB!  Needless to say, I just downed a hefty portion of coconut banana bread French toast!  The method is simple, just click here and make some yummy bread, make two if you actually want left-overs.  (I actually am testing a piece of the bread in the freezer to see how it thaws; I’ll let you all know how that works out.  Baking in bulk is such a handy time saver but doesn’t always work with grain alternatives.)  Next:

Ingredients (for 3 pieces):

Coconut Banana Bread – thinly sliced

1 pastured egg

¼ tsp. organic cinnamon

Coconut oil or ghee – for frying

Grade B Maple syrup – if you are so inclined

Prep:

Whisk eggs and cinnamon together.  Quickly dip the bread into the egg mixture and drop it into your hot oil or ghee.  Fry a minute on each side – I like mine crispy.  Serve immediately.

It’s that simple folks! I hope you enjoy!

Coconut Flour Banana Bread (Grain, Dairy & Nut Free)

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Today I had the pleasure of trying out a recipe for banana bread by Gutsy.  I absolutely love banana bread slathered with Kerrygold butter.  YUM!  I made a few modifications to the recipe, adding a few more bananas and substituting organic maple syrup for the honey.  I also omitted the stevia as the maple general makes baked goods extra sweet but that’s just my humble opinion.  I do realize maple syrup my not be technically paleo but as I have said before I’m not a purist and I do what works for my family and my budget.  Raw honey is expensive and when you bake as much as I do you quickly learn where you can save and splurge.  I will not sacrifice my raw dairy, pastured meats, pastured eggs and Kerrygold butter! Anyway, I am rambling, on with the recipe!

Coconut Flour Banana Bread (gluten free, nut free, grain free)

1 cup coconut flour

4 VERY ripe bananas

4 pastured eggs

6 tbsp. grass-fed butter – melted

5 tbsp. Organic Maple Syrup

1/4 tsp. sea salt

1 ½ tsp. cinnamon

1/2 tsp. baking soda

1 tbsp. vanilla

Prep:

Grease a bread pan with coconut oil, then line with unbleached parchment paper.  You don’t absolutely need parchment paper but it makes for easy clean-up and loaf removal.  Preheat your oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit.

Blend your bananas and wet ingredients.  In a separate bowl add dry ingredients then sift into the wet mixture.  Sifting makes the bread nice and fluffy!  Add the mixture to your bread pan and slide it in your pre-heated oven.

Bake for 1 – 1 ½ hours.  IMPORTANT NOTE: Oven temps vary in a major way!  The original recipe called for an hour and 15 minutes, mine was barely ready in 1 ½ hours so start checking your loaf at 1 hour and gauge it from there.  I have not tried this in a bread maker however; I have had loads of success with my Breadman so feel free to give it a try.

This is honestly the best recipe for banana bread that I have ever tasted, including traditional flour varieties.  It’s dense yet delicate and holds up to a generous amount of butter.  It is easy to make, doesn’t require a ton of special ingredients or equipment and the instructions are very simple.  I am going to test it out with my apple-apricot spread tomorrow (recipe soon).  Let me know if you make this bread and how it turns out for you! ~Carmen