Roasted Butternut Squash and Spinach Lasagna

Who needs dairy when you can have this?

It’s fall and time for comfort food…what better way to indulge than with a Butternut Squash and Spinach Lasagna.  I struggle with calling this dish “lasagna” since that dish traditionally defined as a baked dish containing layers of boiled lasagna noodles, and usually cheese, a seasoned sauce of tomatoes, and meat or vegetables…Well, we have a seasoned sauce of tomatoes and loads of meat and vegetables so I guess we are half-way there!  This recipe is pretty simple to throw together and can certainly be modified to include dairy by adding layers of ricotta and mozzarella (I’ve made it this way too and it is certainly delicious!).  Adapted from this recipe on Health-Bent.

Ingredients

  • 1 lb ground meat (beef, pork, turkey, or bison)
  • 2 Tbsp. Italian seasoning
  • 1/2 red onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 c red pepper, chopped
  • 4 oz mushrooms, chopped
  • 1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 24 oz jar tomato sauce
  • couple leaves of fresh basil
  • 5 ounces baby spinach
  • 1 small butternut squash

Directions

Preheat oven to 400ºF.  Cut the top and ends of the squash off and peel it. Split it into 1/4′s. What I mean by that is, right where the squash starts to turn bulbous, cut it in 1/2, width-wise. Split those two halves in half, lengthwise. This will make it much easier to cut into planks. Scrape out the seeds. Slice the squash into planks.  Roast the squash on a parchment lined baking sheet until tender, about 25 minutes.

While the squash is roasting, in a saute pan heat the oil and saute the onions, peppers, mushrooms and garlic.  Add the ground meat and Italian seasoning and continue to saute until the meat is browned.  Remove from heat and set aside.

Using a 9×9 oven safe baking dish, put down enough sauce to lightly cover the bottom of the dish. (This keeps the squash from sticking to the pan.) Next add a layer of squash planks and top with a layer of baby spinach, then spoon on the sausage mixture, followed by the sauce. Repeat until all your ingredients are used up (I usually get three layers)…trying to reserve enough sauce to cover the top of the lasagna, sprinkle the fresh basil over the top layer of sauce.

Cover the dish tightly with foil and bake for 45 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for an additional 15 minutes.  Look for a bubbly pan with a crispy, browned top. Right out of the oven, the lasagna may by liquidy, let it set for a good half hour before cutting into it, as it will solidify.  Serves 6 generously.

This recipe is shared at:

Gluten-Free Monday, Tempt My Tummy Tuesdays, Slightly Indulgent Tuesday, Tasty Tuesday, Fat Tuesday, Whole Foods Wednesday, Allergy Free Wednesday, Gluten-Free Wednesdays , Gluten Free Fridays, Fight Back Friday, Fill Those Jars Fridays

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Shredded Flank Steak ~ Ropa Vieja ~ Coconut Flour Tortillas

Ropa Vieja on Coconut Flour Tortillas

Pressure Cooker Shredded Flank Steak

2 pounds flank steak

sea salt

1 large onion, quartered

4 garlic cloves, minced

1 cup chicken broth

Sprinkle flank steak with sea salt.  Place flank steak, quartered onion, garlic and broth in the bottom of a pressure cooker.  Bring liquid to a boil over medium high heat.  Place lid on pressure cooker and cook on high pressure for 20 minutes.  You may need to lower the burner to maintain proper pressure setting.

***Note:  I use a Kuhn Rikon 5 QT Pressure Cooker…If you have a different model cook according to manufacturer’s instructions included with your cooker.***

Remove from heat, release pressure.  Carefully remove lid.  Remove the flank steak to a cutting board and allow it to cool slightly.  Once cool enough to handle, shred the beef with two forks, coarsely chop and set aside.

For Ropa Vieja:

1 large onion, chopped

1 large green bell pepper, chopped

2 tsp. butter or oil of choice

4 garlic cloves, minced

15 ounces chopped tomatoes, undrained (I use Pomi)

2 Tbsp. fresh lime juice

2 tsp. hot sauce

1 tsp. sea salt

1/2 tsp. ground cumin

1/2 tsp. black pepper

In a large skillet, saute chopped onion and bell pepper in butter (or oil) over medium-high heat until tender.  Add minced garlic and saute 2 minutes.  Stir in salt, tomatoes, lime juice, hot sauce, cumin and black pepper.  Cook, stirring occasionally until most of the liquid has evaporated.  Add shredded flank steak to tomato mixture and stir until well combined.  Serve warm on coconut flour tortillas with a dollop of guacamole.

Shredded Flank Steak over sautéed onions and jalapenos with fresh tomatoes and cilantro

For Sautéed Onions and Jalapenos:

2 large onions, roughly chopped

2 jalapenos, seeded and chopped

1 Tbsp. butter or oil

salt and pepper to taste

2 Roma tomatoes, chopped

Fresh cilantro, chopped

In a large skillet, heat butter or oil over medium high heat, saute onions and jalapenos until soft.  Plate onions and jalapenos in a shallow soup bowl, top with shredded flank steak, chopped tomatoes and cilantro.  Serve warm.

Coconut Flour Tortillas

If you haven’t invested in the new Paleo Comfort Foods cookbook yet you are truly missing out…EVERY recipe I have tried has been completely amazing, including this recipe for Coconut Flour Tortillas.

Coconut Flour Tortillas:

1/4 cup coconut flour

8 large egg whites (about 1 cup)

1/4 tsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp. chile powder (optional)

1/2 cup water

butter or coconut oil for frying

Whisk all the ingredients in a large bowl until smooth.  Preheat an 8″ nonstick skillet over medium heat.  Place about 1 tsp. butter or oil in the pan and swirl to coat evenly.  Ladle 2-3 Tbsp. of batter in the pan, tip the pan from side to side to get a thin layer of batter across the entire surface.  Once the first side is golden brown, use a very thin spatula to flip over to the opposite side again cooking until golden brown.  Remove the tortilla to a wire rack and repeat the entire process beginning with the oil or butter.  This recipe makes about 8 tortillas.  I like mine a bit thicker than a regular tortilla but you can add more water to make the batter thinner which will yield a thinner tortilla.

This recipe is shared at:

Fight Back Friday, Slightly Indulgent Tuesday, Fat Tuesday, Tasty Tuesday, Gluten-Free Wednesdays

Pecan & Sage Crusted Pork Cutlets

Pecan & Sage Crusted Pork Cutlet with Brussels Sprouts Slaw

Pecan & Sage Crusted Pork Cutlets

1 pound pork tenderloin, trimmed and cut into 4 pieces

1/2 cup coconut flour

1/4 tsp. sea salt

1/2 tsp. black pepper

1 egg, whisked

2 tsp. Dijon mustard

1 tsp. water

1 cup pecan meal (or 3/4 cup pecan halves ground in food processor)

2 tsp. dried sage

2 Tbsp. coconut oil or lard for frying (or whatever fat you prefer)

  • In a shallow bowl or plate, combine flour, salt and black pepper.  In a separate shallow bowl, whisk together egg, mustard and water.  In a third shallow dish, combine pecan meal and sage.  Set aside.
  • On a flat work surface place a sheet of plastic wrap, center one piece of pork on the plastic wrap and cover with another sheet of plastic wrap.  With the flat end of a meat mallet, pound the pork to 1/4 – 1/2 inch thickness, beginning in the center working outward.  Repeat with remaining pork pieces.  Discard plastic wrap.
  • Dredge all sides of pork through the coconut flour mixture, shaking off any excess.  Dredge all sides of the pork through the egg mixture, shaking off any excess.  Dredge all sides of pork through pecan mixture, gently pressing the pecans onto pork.  Transfer each dredged cutlet to a large plate or dish.
  • In a large skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat.  Add pork cutlets to the skillet and cook, turning only once, about 2-3 minutes per side.  Remove to paper towel lined plate.
  • Serve immediately or cover with foil and set aside while you prepare your side dishes.

A few tips:

  • Don’t crowd the pan, use a large enough skillet to cook the cutlets in an even layer or cook in batches adding more oil as necessary.
  • Make sure the pan and oil are hot before adding the pork otherwise the outer surface won’t crisp up but rather soak up the oil.
  • When pounding the pork into cutlets, use gentle taps with a heavy mallet, heavy pounding may tear the meat.
  • If you don’t have a meat mallet another heavy object will work such as a rolling-pin or heavy skillet.

This recipe was adapted from the Panko & Sage-Crusted Pork Cutlets recipe featured in the March 2012 issue of Clean Eating Magazine.

This recipe is shared at: Fight Back Friday

Pork cutlets pounded out to 1/4"

Dredging bowls from Williams Sonoma, love these!

Dredged cutlets ready for frying.

Fried and ready to plate...

Spicy Bacon & Beef Cottage Pie

There have been a ton of Shepherd’s Pie and Cottage Pie recipes making an appearance in the Paleo blogosphere lately.  They all look so tasty and like a wonderful, warm comforting food…today it was snowing in Colorado so I thought it would be the perfect day to try to make one.  Elana’s Pantry posted this recipe for Paleo Shepherd’s Pie recently using cauliflower mash for the topping and a few months back Jan’s Sushi Bar posted this Sweet and Spicy Cottage Pie using mashed vanilla sweet potatoes on top.  Melissa Joulwan’s Well Fed Cookbook has a fabulous recipe with many variations for Shepherd’s Pie using the traditional ground lamb as well as recipe on her blog for Cottage-Flower Pie.  My version pulls things from all three recipes and I will have to say it was FABULOUS!  This was the first Cottage Pie I have ever made and it sure will not be my last!  I was pleased with the photos of the Cottage Pie before it went in the oven and with the ones of it dished out in my bowl…the one of the final product after it was baked is not the best simply because I think I used too small of a casserole dish so the filling bubbled up over the sides of the cauliflower mash (and made a huge mess in the oven!)…now in my defense, I’ve never made this dish before so this could very well be a normal occurrence!  I am calling this “Spicy” simply because it is just that, SPICY…I like it that way but if you prefer a milder flavor I would omit half of the black pepper and all of the red pepper flakes.

Spicy Bacon & Beef Cottage Pie

Spicy Bacon & Beef Cottage Pie (Serves 4)

1/2 pound nitrate/nitrite free bacon, coarsely chopped

1/2 pound ground organic grass-fed beef

2 Tbsp. butter or coconut oil

1/2 large onion, diced

1 garlic clove, minced

1 cup diced carrots

1/2 cup diced celery

2 cups chopped kale, stems removed

1 1/2 cups tomato sauce

1/2 tsp. sea salt

1/2 tsp. black pepper

1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes

1/4 tsp. paprika

1 recipe Mashed Cauliflower

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  In a large skillet heat butter or oil over medium-high heat, saute onion until soft.  Add chopped bacon to the pan and saute until cooked, add carrots, celery and garlic and saute in the bacon fat until soft.  Add the ground beef to the pan with the bacon and vegetables and saute until browned.  Season the meat and vegetable mixture with the salt, pepper, red pepper flakes and paprika.  Stir in the tomato sauce, reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for 15 – 20 minutes to allow the mixture to thicken.  Add the chopped kale and cook until the greens are wilted.  Transfer the meat and vegetable mixture to a casserole dish (the one I used was a 1.7L Pyrex…I’d go a bit bigger!).  Carefully spread the cauliflower mash (recipe follows) evenly over the top of the meat mixture.  Using the tines of a fork, lightly create some texture on top – the peaks and valleys make nice brown spots in the oven.  Bake for 20 – 30 minutes until the top begins to brown (I would have browned mine more but it was splattering all over the oven!).  Remove from oven and allow to rest for 5 – 10 minutes before serving.

Mashed Cauliflower

1 large head cauliflower, trimmed, chopped and steamed until very soft

1 garlic clove, minced

1 Tbsp. butter or coconut oil

2 Tbsp. heavy cream or coconut milk

salt and pepper, to taste

Place ingredients in a food processor and puree until smooth.

This recipe is shared at:

Fight Back Friday, Make Ahead Monday, Slightly Indulgent Tuesday, Tasty Tuesday, Fat Tuesday, Gluten-Free Wednesdays

Meat and Vegetable Mixture

Topped with Cauliflower Mash

The not-so-pretty finished product

Looks aren't everything...it tasted GREAT!

Green Chile Chicken Fajita Frittata

A Frittata by definition is an egg based dish similar to an omelette or Quiche, enriched with additional ingredients such as meats, cheeses, vegetables and pastas.  It may also be flavored with herbs.  Unlike an omelette, which is traditionally made to order for one, a frittata can be made in a larger pan, sliced and served family style.  Frittatas are extremely versatile, they are classically made for breakfast or brunch but are also great for a light supper.  I like my frittatas hot, however they are great at room temperature or even cold out of the refrigerator.  The possibilities are endless for ingredients and flavors…

Green Chile Chicken Frittata with Avocado Slices

Green Chile Chicken Fajita Frittata (serves 2 generously)

4 eggs

1 Tablespoon water

1/4 teaspoon chili powder

1/8 teaspoon salt

pinch of black pepper

1 – 4 oz can green chiles

1/2 cup chopped onion

1/2 cup chopped red pepper

4 medium mushrooms, diced

1 teaspoon minced garlic

4 ounces cooked chicken (breast, thigh or rotisserie)

Butter, coconut oil or lard

Sliced avocado, salsa and chopped cilantro for garnish

Preheat broiler.  Whisk eggs, water, chili powder, salt, pepper and green chiles in a medium bowl until frothy and set aside.  In a 10″ oven safe skillet melt fat over medium heat, add onions, peppers, mushrooms and garlic, cook until vegetables are soft.  Add chicken and stir to combine with vegetables.  Lower heat to medium-low.  Pour egg mixture evenly over chicken and vegetables.  Cook the frittata slowly until the eggs are set almost all the way through.  Shake the pan occasionally during cooking to ensure the frittata isn’t sticking to the bottom.  Place the pan under the broiler for 3 – 5 minutes to set the top of the frittata completely.  Remove from oven and let rest for 10 minutes before removing from the pan.  Slice and serve warm or at room temperature.  Garnish with avocado, salsa and chopped cilantro.

This recipe is shared at:

Fight Back Friday, Allergy Friendly Lunchbox Love, Make Ahead Monday, Tasty Tuesday, Slightly Indulgent Tuesday, Fat Tuesday, Gluten-Free Wednesdays

Cinnamon Swirl Raisin Bread

Cinnamon Swirly Goodness

When I was growing up my parents were somewhat “hippy-ish” which meant there were a lot of bran muffins and carob in our fridge.  My elementary school best friend (Regina) had parents that were from the country (East Texas) which meant biscuits, gravy and Wonder Bread cinnamon toast!  I’m thankful for my hippy parents because they taught me the importance of living healthy and eating clean…although we have come a long way from those bran muffin days into grain-free lifestyles!  I am equally thankful for all those wonderful memories of eating country meals at my friend’s house.  Regina’s mom sang in the choir at the First Baptist Church and Sunday mornings were usually pretty busy so it was always the morning for a quick breakfast of oven-toast.  Cheese or Cinnamon-Sugar were our choices.  I usually had one of each, the cheese toast was a slice of white bread with a square of American cheese toasted under the broiler until it was bubbly and crispy on top…the cinnamon-sugar was the same white bread buttered and sprinkled with a mixture of cinnamon and white sugar also broiled until toasty.  Both were pleasantly crispy on the top while the bottom was still that white bread soft doughy texture since they didn’t get flipped in the oven…it kind of makes my throat close up with the thought of it now but I do remember it tasting and smelling so yummy.  There is just something so comforting about the smell of cinnamon swirling through the house…especially when it’s coming from the oven!   Now, I don’t eat sweets all that often anymore but for some reason I had a hankering for cinnamon toast…I had a freshly baked loaf of Elana’s Pantry Paleo Bread in the freezer that I could have easily doctored up to make cinnamon toast but I was in the mood to experiment so I decided to try to make some Cinnamon Swirl Raisin Bread.  Well, it was a success, the bread has a nice texture warm out of the oven and in my opinion, even better toasted under the broiler and topped with a pat of pastured butter!  I started with a base of Elana’s Pantry Paleo Bread with a few modifications and then added the swirl of cinnamon, coconut nectar and raisins.  As you can see from the photo the raisins kind of sank to the bottom of the loaf in places, next time I will toss them in a bit of coconut flour before mixing them in so they don’t sink.

Cinnamon Swirl Raisin Bread

(yields 12-16 slices)

Base Bread Dough:

1 cup blanched almond flour

1/2 cup pecan meal

2 Tablespoons coconut flour

1/4 cup flax meal

1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda

5 eggs, room temperature

1/4 cup coconut oil, melted

1 Tablespoon apple cider vinegar

Cinnamon Swirl:

1/4 cup honey, maple syrup or coconut nectar

1/2 cup raisins, lightly coated in coconut flour

1 Tablespoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon coconut oil, melted

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Grease a small loaf pan (I use a Magic Line 7.5 x 3.5 Loaf Pan) with coconut oil and set aside.  Place almond flour, pecan meal, coconut flour, flax meal and baking soda in the bowl of a food processor and pulse to combine.  Add eggs, coconut oil and apple cider vinegar and pulse until well combined scraping down sides once or twice.  In a large bowl mix together sweetener, cinnamon and 1 teaspoon of coconut oil until smooth, add raisins.  Gently fold in bread dough until just combined but also still a little swirled together.  Scoop mixture into prepared loaf pan and smooth the top with the back of spoon.  Place in middle of oven and bake for 30 minutes.  At the 30 minute mark check the loaf…sometimes this bread has a tendency to rise and separate on one side…if this happens I use a hot pad to press the top down evenly so it is flat.  Bake for 10 – 15 additional minutes.  Remove from the oven, run a butter knife around the edges of the loaf pan then cool in the pan for 10 minutes.  Remove from pan and finish cooling on a wire rack.  Slice and serve or wrap in parchment paper and store in an air tight container or gallon size zip top bag.

This recipe is shared at:

Fight Back Friday

Make Ahead Monday

Slightly Indulgent Tuesday, Fat Tuesday, Tasty Tuesday

Gluten Free Wednesday, Allergy-Free Wednesdays

Salmon Cakes with Cabbage and Avocado Slaw

This paleo friendly dish is so easy to throw together for a quick, healthy and satisfying meal, it literally took me about 20 minutes start to finish.  Now, with that said I will admit I did take a few shortcuts…I used canned salmon and pre-shredded cabbage mix so if you are cooking fresh salmon and shredding your own cabbage it will take a bit longer…but will still be well worth it!

Let’s start with the slaw…

So easy, so good!

Cabbage and Avocado Slaw (serves 2)

2 cups shredded cabbage or slaw mix

1 avocado, diced

1/4 cup diced pickled jalapeno (I like La Preferida Organic Jalapeno Nacho Slices)

2-3 Tbsp. jalapeno pickling liquid from the jalapeno jar

handful of fresh cilantro, chopped

celtic sea salt to taste

Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl and mix to coat with pickling liquid.  Set aside.

Now, the Salmon Cakes…

Salmon Cakes with Cabbage and Avocado Slaw

Salmon Cakes (serves 2)

2 – 6 oz cans Wild Caught Boneless Skinless Salmon, drained well

2 eggs, slightly beaten

4 green onions, chopped

pinch of celtic sea salt

1/4 tsp garlic powder

1/4 tsp fresh ground pepper

1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes

1/4 tsp chili powder

handful of cilantro, chopped

1/4 cup coconut oil, avocado oil or lard (for frying)

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.  Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and mix well.  Form the mixture into patties and drop carefully into the hot oil.  Fry on each side about 5 minutes until golden brown.  Transfer from pan to a plate lined with a paper towel to remove some of the oil.  Serve warm.

Tips:

If your mixture feels too wet add a couple of tablespoons of coconut or almond flour.

Once your patties are in the pan do not mess with them until it is time to flip them…they might fall apart if you do!

Bonus Recipe:

If you eat dairy try serving with a side of Chili Lime Cream Sauce…

1/4 cup sour cream

1/8 tsp garlic powder

1/4 tsp chili powder

2 tsp. lime juice

Combine all ingredients in a small bowl, refrigerate until ready to serve.

This recipe is shared at:

Fight Back Friday, Make Ahead Monday, Slightly Indulgent Tuesday, Fat Tuesday & Tasty Tuesday, Gluten-Free Wednesdays

Warm Pear & Pecan Flaugnarde

Flaugnarde is a flan-like baked French dessert with fruit arranged in a buttered dish and covered with a thick flan-like batter.  Similar to a clafoutis which is made with black cherries, a flaugnarde is made with apples, peaches, pears, plums, prunes or other fruits. Resembling a large pancake, the dish can be served either warm or cold.

Pear & Pecan Flaugnarde

Most people think of this dish as a dessert but it can easily be enjoyed for breakfast as well!  This recipe uses heavy cream and butter but if you prefer a dairy-free dish substitute 3/4 cup full fat canned coconut milk for the cream and butter and use coconut oil to grease the dish.  I have made it both ways and they are equally delicious.  You will notice there is an option to add sweetener, I try to use the ripest, sweetest seasonal fruit available so I generally don’t need the added stevia or honey.  Please note…since completing the Whole 30 program I find that I don’t like anything too sweet anymore so be sure to adjust according to your family’s taste.  This is lovely topped with fresh whipped cream or drizzled with coconut butter when enjoying it for dessert or with a nice side of bacon or sausage at breakfast!

Pear & Pecan Flaugnarde (serves 8)

Ingredients:

butter for greasing baking dish

4 eggs

1/2 cup heavy cream

4 tablespoons butter, melted

1/4 cup pecan halves, finely ground

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 teaspoon cinnamon, divided

1/4 teaspoon stevia or 1/4 cup coconut sugar or honey (optional, I don’t use any sweetener)

1/4 teaspoon celtic sea salt

3 medium ripe pears, peeled, cored and sliced thin

2 tablespoons chopped pecans

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.  Generously grease a 9 inch pie or tart dish, ceramic works best, set aside.  Peel, core and slice pears.  Arrange pears in the greased dish and sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon.  In a blender or food processor combine eggs, cream, butter, ground pecans, vanilla, remaining cinnamon, sweetener (if using) and sea salt.  Blend or process until smooth, batter will be thin.  Pour batter evenly over the arranged pears, sprinkle with chopped pecans.  Bake for 40-50 minutes until golden brown, puffed and set in the middle.  Cool for at least 30 minutes before serving.

Arranged pears in greased tart dish

This recipe is shared at:

Fight Back Friday, Make Ahead Monday, Slightly Indulgent Tuesday, Fat Tuesday, Gluten-Free Wednesday

Whole 30, Egg Foo Young and a MUST HAVE Paleo Cookbook!

Yep, January 2, 2012 marks the start of my second Whole 30 Program!

I finished my first Whole 30 Program on November 2, 2011 and am happy to report that I’ve pretty much stayed on program with the exception of a few Paleo friendly desserts on Christmas and New Year’s and a little bit of heavy cream in my coffee on occasion.  I had originally started the Whole 30 to see if eliminating dairy from my diet would help with some of my digestive issues that were still present despite my gluten, grain, legume and refined-sugar free lifestyle.  At the 30 day mark and the end of the program I still was not convinced that dairy was the problem so I stayed on program for an additional 30 days…after that I only added back a tablespoon or two of heavy cream on occasion and truthfully I haven’t noticed any change either way.

So, why another Whole 30?

The most important reason…I feel great.  But, I do believe there is always room for improvement.  My first time around all I focused on was just the elimination of dairy, stevia and dark chocolate as there wasn’t much more that I was eating that wasn’t on the approved list.  I still ate quite a bit of fruit and probably too many nuts, acceptable but most likely not always the most beneficial.  This time around I plan on fine tuning and being more mindful of the choices I make…not just eating something because it’s “approved”.  As always…I’ll keep you posted!

Now, the important stuff…

Here is what I had for dinner tonight:

Egg Foo Young from Melissa Joulwan's Well Fed Cookbook

If you’ve been in the Paleo world for any amount of time you’ve probably heard of Melissa “Melicious” Joulwan and have most likely visited her blog The Clothes Make the Girl.  She now has a cookbook, Well Fed: Paleo Recipes For People Who Love To Eat.  This cookbook is a must-have for anyone following the Paleo diet and an awesome resource for EVERYONE on the Whole 30 Program as all the recipes (except one) have been Whole 30 approved by Melissa and Dallas Hartwig!  Well Fed features over 100 original recipes with tons of variations listed with each…this cookbook could keep you busy all year with all of the options!  So, head over to Mel’s blog and take a look around (if you haven’t already), the site is full of resources and fun, informative posts and oh my…the recipes you’ll find there are just a teaser for what you’ll find in the cookbook!  As a bonus you can download a 30 page sample of Well Fed on this page.  Enjoy!

Pumpkin Cake or Pumpkin Pie? Yes, Please!

 Merry Christmas and Happy National Pumpkin Pie Day!

Everyone who knows me well generally understands that when I say “I made dessert” what I really mean is “I have made something yummy with chocolate”.  Now, my dad, who shares my chocolate addiction love, would never object but my mother and husband are a different story…they constantly request desserts without *gasp* chocolate. Although I think you can never go wrong with a decadent chocolate dessert I have been branching out a bit in order to satisfy the non-chocoholics in the family.

Thankfully, the last several years I have developed a taste for all things pumpkin (I know, I feel so grown-up!).  Last month I posted a recipe for my favorite go-to muffin, Pumpkin Pecan Pie Muffins, and promised a posting for my favorite Thanksgiving dessert (Pumpkin Pecan Pie) once I was able to rework the recipe to better fit into the paleo/primal lifestyle.  My first attempt failed miserably…I had just come off of my Whole 30 and the pie was so sweet I couldn’t even eat it!!!  I was determined to get it right for our Christmas dessert but in the meantime I came across another recipe in the December issue of Paleo Magazine that I knew I had to fit into our Christmas menu…Pumpkin Cakes with Pecan Praline Sauce.  So, Pumpkin Cakes for Christmas Eve and Pumpkin Pie for Christmas Day…it just doesn’t get much better than that…well, unless you add chocolate!

Although this recipe is over-due I’m really happy with the outcome.  It is sweet enough to be considered a treat but not so sweet it makes your teeth hurt.  The recipe can be made as a simple Pumpkin Pie or amped up into a Pumpkin Pecan Pie by adding the pecan topping…you really can’t go wrong either way.

Pumpkin Pecan Pie

Pumpkin Pecan Pie

Crust:

1 1/4 cup blanched almond flour

1/4 cup pecan meal (or omit and add an additional 1/4 cup almond flour)

1/4 tsp. sea salt

1/4 tsp. baking soda

1 1/2 Tbsp. ground ginger

1 Tbsp. cinnamon

1/4 tsp. ground cloves

1/4 cup coconut oil or butter, melted

2 Tbsp. maple syrup, honey or coconut palm sugar (optional)

1 tsp. vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  In a large bowl combine the almond flour, pecan meal, salt, baking soda and spices.  In a separate bowl whisk together the coconut oil (or butter), maple syrup (or other sweetener, if using) and vanilla.  Mix the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients until thoroughly combined.  Press the dough into a 9″ pie pan.  Bake for 15 minutes or until golden brown, remove from the oven and cool on a wire rack before filling.

Filling:

1 3/4 cups pumpkin puree (fresh or canned)

2 eggs

2/3 cup maple syrup (or 1/2 cup honey)

1/2 cup coconut milk

1 Tbsp. vanilla extract

1 1/2 Tbsp. pumpkin pie spice

Place all the ingredients in a blender or food processor and process until smooth.  Add the filling evenly into the slightly cooled crust and return to the 350 degrees F oven and bake for 45-60 minutes, or until the filling is set.  A knife inserted into the middle should come out clean.  Remove from oven to a cooling rack.  If you are just making the Pumpkin Pie, cool for 30 minutes before serving or cover and refrigerate.  For Pumpkin Pecan Pie, proceed to Topping directions…

Topping:

3 Tbsp. honey or maple syrup

1 Tbsp. butter or coconut oil

3/4 cup pecan halves

Preheat broiler.  Combine honey or maple syrup and butter in a small saucepan and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until it reaches a low boil. Remove from heat and stir in pecans to coat.  Arrange coated pecans on top of pie and drizzle remaining topping over the pecans.  Place under the broiler until bubbly and golden brown, watching carefully, about 2 minutes.  Remove from oven to a cooling rack.  Cool for 30 minutes before serving or cover and refrigerate.

Serve both the Pumpkin or Pumpkin Pecan pies topped with freshly made whipped cream.  If you refrigerated the pies bring them to room temperature before serving (or not…some people like their Pumpkin Pie cold!)…about 4 hours on the counter-top.

Pie…it’s a beautiful thing.

 Now…what about those Pumpkin Cakes?

The recipe in Paleo Magazine for Pumpkin Cakes with Pecan Praline caught my eye immediately…I knew this was definitely making the Christmas menu this year!  It was delightfully light and ridiculously easy to make.  I decided to add a nice small scoop of Maple-Vanilla Ice Cream (dairy-free) to the top of the cake before drizzling the Pecan Praline topping over the whole thing…oh my, it did not disappoint!  Here is a picture of our Christmas Eve dessert, check out Paleo Magazine online to download the latest issue, it’s chocked full of great recipes including this one for Pumpkin Cakes.

Pumpkin Cake with Maple-Vanilla Ice Cream and Pecan Praline Sauce

This recipe is shared at:

Slightly Indulgent Tuesday, Fat Tuesday, Tasty Tuesday, Gluten-Free Wednesdays, Hearth and Soul Hop, All Gluten Free Desserts

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