Green Tomato & Garlic Spread

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This recipe was born out of both experiment and necessity. I had almost a half-gallon of raw milk that had gone sour and wasn’t quite sure what to do with it. I decided to go ahead and utilize it for making whey as I was running very low. The cool thing about whey is the soured cream cheese that is produced as a byproduct. Since it is my general policy not to let anything go to waste I wanted to use the cream cheese in some way however, soured cream cheese from raw milk is, well, sour. Not generally appetizing alone, it does make a good base for a strong flavored spread. I had been experimenting with fermenting green tomatoes and fresh garlic, so I thought that the flavor would be strong enough to work with the cream cheese. This spread is pungent, flavorful and perfect on grain free crackers or gluten free crostini.
This recipe involves three parts – the method for making soured cream cheese, the method for making fermented green tomatoes and the actual spread itself. Generally I would put these into three different posts, and I may do that eventually but for the sake of getting the recipe out to you all I will just quickly go over how it’s done.

Fermented Green Tomatoes

What you need: green tomatoes, garlic cloves, salt and a jar

Method: for an 8oz jar, chop as many green tomatoes that will fit into the jar loosely packed. Smash and chip 3 fresh garlic cloves and add them to your jar. Add a ¼ tsp. of sea salt and mash the contents into the jar until there is liquid. Put a lid on the jar and let it sit on your countertop for 24 to 72 hours depending on the warmth of your kitchen. In these summer months, my ferments are ready in about 24 to 36 hours. Your jar should make a nice pop when you open it and the tomatoes will be softer but still have a crunch similar to pickles. They are now ready for your spread (or for eating straight out of the jar).

Soured Cream Cheese

What you need: Raw milk (soured or not), 2 jars, cheese cloth or nut milk bag

Method: Pour your milk into wide mouth jars and set them on your counter for 24 to 72 hours until they clabber. Clabbering occurs as the whey separates from the solids. You can tell when your milk is clabbered when it looks like yogurt is floating on the top. Line your clean jar with the cheese cloth or nut milk bag and pour the clabbered milk in. Hang the cloth over the jar to allow all of the whey to drip out, leaving you with cream cheese. The whey can be stored up to 6 months in the fridge and is perfect for fermenting veggies and making cultured sodas. Chill your cream cheese overnight so it’s nice and firm.

And now….the easy part!

Mix your soured cream cheese, ¼ tsp. sea salt, ½ tsp. cracked pepper, ½ cup of fermented green tomatoes and a smashed and chopped clove of fresh garlic until well incorporated. Put the mixture back into the fridge to chill. That’s it! This recipe is well worth the work, and received rave reviews from family members that still think my food is “weird”. Give it a try and let me know what you think, I’m sure there are many variations that would be super yummy! ~Carmen

(This post can be found on the following blog link-ups:  Party Wave Wednesday, Real Food Wednesday, Gluten Free Fridays, Aloha Friday, Food On Fridays, Weekend Whatever, Simple Lives Thursday, and No Rules Weekend)  You can also find me on Facebook!

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Home Made, Healthy, Tasty Au Jus “Concentrate”

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I loved French dip sandwiches when I was growing up.  We always had them when my mom would make a roast as leftovers the next day.  Once I was out of my own and I began to cook meals for myself, I used the au jus mix from the store, the kind in the little packets.  These days, more concerned about healthy eating and armed with better information, I appreciate the value of home-made foods.  At the beginning of 2013 I began to really commit to avoiding packaged foods and condiments.

Au jus is great thickened with arrowroot and used as a gravy, it’s also superb for French dip sandwiches or poured over white rice and it is super simple to make.  I have tried in the past to make my own au jus but I couldn’t get the desired liquid amounts from just one roast, and to add water at the beginning made it too diluted.  Here is the secret to great, rich, and flavorful au jus: roasted bone broth or “stock”.  It adds depth to the flavor and gives volume without a watered down taste.  Here are some simple directions to get perfect au jus from your roast every time.

What you need:

2 lb roast

½ cup Course sea salt

½ c. roasted bone broth (find my recipe here)

Black Pepper

2 tbsp ghee (find my recipe here)

4 – 6 tbsp Coconut Aminos

Slow Cooker

Prep:

In a large bowl, coat the roast in coconut aminos and let it sit for 20 minutes or so.  Remove your roast from the marinade and pour the remaining coconut aminos into your crock pot.  Next, coat your roast in sea salt and add a generous amount of black pepper.  Heat the ghee in a frying pan and sear the roast on all sides, this is important to make a moist and tender roast.  Now, add your roast to the crock pot along with the bone broth and cook on low heat for 6 hours.  Cook time will vary greatly depending on your slow cooker so be sure to make adjustments as needed.

Once your roast is done, transfer it to a plate for serving and pour the liquid from the crockpot through a strainer into a mason jar.  You now have flavorful au jus for those next day left overs or a perfect gravy base for potatoes and such. This will be very concentrated so at this point I would recommend a ratio of au jus concentrate to water at a 2:1 ratio.   Enjoy! ~Carmen

(This post can be seen on the following blog link-ups: Party Wave Wednesday, Real Food Wednesday , The Weekend Whatever) And you can also find me on Facebook!

Raspberry Lemonade Cupcakes (gluten free!)

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Several months ago I made some copycat Lemonades from a recipe that I found at Gluten Free on a Shoestring.  The cookies were made with True Lemon and they were absolute perfection; light and refreshing these cookies were a perfect treat for summer.  Recently I have been experimenting with rice flour and wanted to come up with a nice cupcake that had a bit of a flair but still something that my 4 year old would enjoy.  I came across my hubby’s True Lemon Raspberry Lemon crystals in the cupboard and instantly thought of the Lemonades that were such a hit.  It was the perfect light bulb moment and I finally had a great cupcake idea!

This was my first run but they turned out fantastic and so pretty with pastel gluten free sprinkles.  The cupcakes are not too strongly flavored so I made a glaze that packed more of a tangy punch to top them off.  I used natural food coloring to attain a pink color to go along with the raspberry theme but it isn’t necessary.  Please do let me know if you try this recipe, make any mods that work or have any suggested changes.  Enjoy!   ~Carmen

(This post is part of several blog carnivals including Party Wave Wednesday Real Food Wednesday, Weekend Whatever, Gluten Free Friday, T.G.I.F, Food On Fridays)  You can also find me on Facebook!

Raspberry Lemonade Cupcakes

Ingredients:

3 packets True Lemon Raspberry Lemonade Crystals

½ c powdered sugar

5 egg whites

1 ½ c. white rice flour

8 oz butter – softened

1 tsp aluminum free baking powder

Cupcake liners

Prep:  In a small bowl, beat egg whites until fluffy and set aside. In a second bowl, blend the dry ingredients.   In a medium sized bowl, cream butter and powdered sugar.  Next, mix in the egg whites then add the remaining dry ingredients.  The mixture will be slightly grainy. Do not over mix!

Add batter to cupcake liners to ¾ full.  Bake in a pre-heated 350 degree oven for 15-20 minutes (times vary depending on the oven).  Remove the cupcakes when they are sponge-y  to touch, they may look a bit undercooked however this is the perfect time to take them out of the oven and let them sit in the pan for 5 minutes as they will continue to cook as the pan cools.  Remove from the pan and set on wire racks to cool.   Once the cupcakes are cool, you can dip them in the glaze.

Raspberry Lemonade Glaze

Ingredients:

1 cup powdered sugar

3 tbsp. milk

1 packet True Lemon Raspberry Lemonade Crystals

3 drops of natural food coloring in pink (optional)

Gluten Free Sprinkles (optional)

Prep: In a small bowl, whisk milk, powdered sugar and coloring until smooth.  You want your glaze to be a bit firm.  You are now ready to dip your cupcakes.   Add sprinkles if you like.

Lemon Bars

Popular Paleo

You may have noticed that I don’t post many dessert recipes on Popular Paleo. That’s not because I have a problem with eating treats on Paleo, believe me, I don’t! I just don’t have the knack for them the way so many others do.  However, I have been searching high and low for a knock-my-socks off lemon bar and have yet to find one that I 100% believe in.  Not to say that this creamy-lemony-custardy-sweet-but-not-too-sweet dessert unicorn isn’t out there, I just haven’t met it yet. So I did what comes natural and tried to throw something together myself.  Normally when it comes to desserts this nets out in a lot of wasted ingredients, but not this time. I like what I made and hope you do too!

Lemon Bars | Popular Paleo

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Gluten Free Coconut Doughnuts with Minted Lime Glaze

I cannot wait to try this recipe for yummy donuts!

Gluten Free Gus

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Sweetly scented coconut flour, and coconut oil instead of butter, are part of a wonderful base for these baked doughnuts with fresh minted lime glaze. The most difficult decisions you’ll have to make the morning you bake is whether to drizzle the warm “tops” or “bottoms”, and when to whip up a second batch.

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Peppermint Patties (the real food way!)

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I found this recipe for home-made junior mints and was instantly inspired to create peppermint patties, a favorite of mine since childhood.  I remember buying the silver packages of York at the store and immediately eating one and putting another in the freezer for a chilly peppermint treat later.  Now, decades later, I no longer eat candy with GMO ingredients and unhealthy chemicals.  This recipe for peppermint patties uses real organic ingredients, it super easy and produces some pretty impressive results.  These treats even passed the picky hubby test and were a big hit at a 4th of July barbeque and made an excellent little hostess gift.

Ingredients:

¼ cup Coconut Butter

¼ cup Coconut Oil

2 Dark Chocolate Bars

1/3 cup Raw Honey

½ – ¾ tsp. Peppermint extract

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Prep:

Blend coconut butter, oil raw honey and peppermint extract in a food processor.  Be sure to get any lumps out.  Once the mixture is smooth, allow it to firm up in the fridge for 5 to 10 minutes.  While the mixture is cooling off, melt the chocolate bars on medium heat in a double boiler.  I don’t have a double boiler, but made one just fine using 2 different sizes of pots on my stove.

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Drop tbsp. sized scoops onto a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper and gently press them down to make the “patty”.

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Next, spoon the melted chocolate mixture onto the patties.  As the chocolate coats the paper, you can move them around to coat both sides.

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Once the patties are coated, pop them back in the freezer for ten minutes.  And you are done!  Store these in a container in your refrigerator, or freezer if you are like me and love them as a frozen treat.

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I cut out small squares of parchment paper to layer in between each patty, then wrapped them in cellophane and added some festive ribbon for a simple and homemade hostess gift.  Let me know if you come up with any good variations, I am considering doing some in white chocolate! ~Carmen

(This post is linked to Tasty Tuesday, Party Wave Wednesday Read Food Wednesday the Weekend Whatever at A Joyful Mother)