Monthly Archives: November 2015

Ming Gets Ready for Santa

Ming loves holidays! This year marks her fourth Christmas! On her first Christmas she was the gift that arrived under the tree, and the holidays without her would be like Christmas without cookies.

Ming gets ready

Although she is not a fan of dog sweaters like her little sister Lily (who loves them), she doesn’t mind a loose T-shirt.

I completely understand the power of comfortable cotton over a bulky, hot and possibly itchy sweater. She also has a double coat, as all fawn pugs do. So, when she does wear a extra coat of clothing, it is to go outdoors for a walk in brisk weather, or to please a human family member, who wants her to look “nice”. 🙂

Elf in Training

There is one blaring signal she wants it off. If you try out a new fashion accessory on her and she is displeased with it, she will promptly go to a corner and sit, refusing to budge, until the offending object is removed restoring her to her original good humor.

Nonetheless, she is a good spirit when it comes to Christmas. I am sure if she had the opportunity to be an Elf in Training she would embrace it with enthusiasm. There would be all those bright colorful toys, soft stuffed objects, and other gifts in the making to feast her eyes upon, and maybe chew, roll or lay on when Santa wasn’t looking.

But seriously, how can I tell Ming loves the holidays other than having more opportunities to bark at delivery people? She loves the excitement of the bustling home, kitchen smells, and extra company. It gives her more opportunities for scratches, hugs, tricks, conversation, and treats, and what self-respecting pug wouldn’t love that?

 

How to Make Chocolate Cherry Energy Balls Demonstration

It’s the day before Thanksgiving! I am busy in the kitchen all day, what about you?

Today I am sharing a video demonstration of my recipe for Chocolate Cherry Energy Balls that will bust your sugar cravings and add nourishment and energy to your day without adding those holiday pounds! Happy Thanksgiving!

Blessings to you and your family!

Festive Cranberry Sauce

Festive Crannberry Sauce

This is the Best Cranberry Sauce Ever!!! IMHO 🙂 Even if you don’t like cranberry sauce, you will like this one! It is that good!

It is bright, sweet, and tart, a gorgeous, gorgeous shade of berry, and the coconut sugar added at the final stage adds an earthy warmth like a cozy hug that can’t be described. After the sauce is poured warm into a serving bowl, it is sprinkled with toasted, coarsely chopped walnuts and chilled for the perfect accompaniment to your holiday table! It is definitely going on mine! Happy Holidays!

Festive Cranberry Sauce

Ingredients:

1 Pint of Fresh Cranberries

1/2 Cup Organic Apple Cider

1/2 Cup Fresh Squeezed Orange Juice

1/2 Cup of Honey

Zest of One Organic Orange

1/2 Cup Coconut Sugar

1/2 Cup Toasted Walnuts

Directions: In a medium saucepan, add washed, fresh cranberries, cider, orange juice, honey, and orange zest. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer, and simmer for 30 to 40 minutes until the berries pop and the juices have reduced by about half.

Meanwhile, preheat your oven to 350º degrees, and place the walnuts on a cookie sheet. After the oven has preheated, toast the walnuts for five minutes. Remove from the oven and cool, then coarsely chop them and set them aside for sprinkling on the top of the cranberry sauce when it is ready.

Place the warm, simmered cranberry sauce into a blender and add the coconut sugar. Blend until smooth and emulsified. Pour into a serving dish and sprinkle while warm with the toasted, coarsely chopped walnuts. This allows some of the walnuts to sink into the sauce so they are throughout and on the top. Chill at least four hours. This will keep in the refrigerator and can be made in advance!

Makes 2 Cups

Eat Your Nutrients!

Eat Your Nutrients!

Oven Roasted Fennel, Carrots and Red Onion

Roasted Vegetables

My favorite way to eat vegetables in the colder months is oven roasting! Roasting vegetables in the oven brings out the natural sugars in the vegetables, and it caramelizes them adding even more layers of flavor.

If you have been following me for awhile, you have heard over and over to eat your vegetables and eat your nutrients. 🙂  Oven roasting makes it an easy way to do so! Yes! Some of the health benefits of Fennel is it contains Phytonutrients, Vitamin C, Fiber, Folate and Potassium. Red Onion is a source of Sulfur and Quercetin (cancer protective). Carrots are high in Vitamin A, and also contain good amounts of Biotin and Vitamin K. By eating these three all together, you are getting a powerhouse of beneficial nutrients!

This recipe for Oven Roasted Fennel, Carrot and Red Onion is an outstanding choice to serve at your Thanksgiving table. It is colorful, rustic and so delicious! I hope you give it a try!

Oven Roasted Fennel, Carrots and Red Onion

Preheat your oven to 375º degrees.

Ingredients:

2 Fennel Bulbs

6 Medium Carrots

1 Large Red Onion

1/4 Cup Olive Oil

1 Teaspoon of Himalayan Pink Salt or Sea Salt

1 Teaspoon Black Pepper

Directions:

Wash and trim the fennel, and remove the stalks. Slice the fennel into 1/2 inch slices. Peel the carrots and slice. Peel the red onion and cut in half, then into 10 wedges total. In a medium bowl toss the prepared vegetables with the olive oil, salt and pepper. Spread on a parchment lined, rimmed baking sheet. Place in the preheated oven and roast for 30 to 40 minutes until the vegetables are tender and caramelized, tossing with a spatula after the first 20 minutes.

It is ready to Serve!

Enjoy your day!

Eat Your Nutrients!

Eat Your Nutrients!

Beef Paprikash on Spaghetti Squash Noodles with Sliced Avocado

If you are looking for a hearty meal to put on the table that you don’t have to slave over, is inexpensive, and lower carbohydrate, try a plate of Beef Paprikash! The Spaghetti Squash noodles are low carb. and hold all the juices, and the avocado goes well with the spicy beef sauce. It is delish!

This recipe uses a slow cooker, so it can be prepped the day before or in the morning, and then you can walk away until it is time to eat. I added some smoked paprika to the beef sauce to give it a smokey flavor that veers slightly away from the traditional recipe, and it is dairy free!  It is the perfect cool weather meal that will leave you satisfied and nourished without adding to your waistline.

Beef Paprikash on Spagehtti Squash Noodles with Avocado

Beef Paprikash on Spagehtti Squash Noodles with Avocado

 

Beef Paprikash on Spaghetti Squash Noodles with Sliced Avocado

Ingredients:

1 Two Pound Chuck Roast

2 Tablespoons of Tapioca Flour*

1 1/2 Teaspoon of Himalayan Pink Salt or Sea Salt

2 Teaspoons of Black Pepper

2 Tablespoons of Extra Virgin Olive Oil

———————————————–

1 Large Yellow Onion

2 Red Bell Peppers, Large Diced

4 Cloves of Minced Garlic (or 2 Tablespoons of Garlic Infused Olive Oil if you are eating Low FodMap)

1 Cup of Beef Broth

1/4 Cup Tomato Paste

1 Tablespoon of Paprika

1 Tablespoon of Smoked Paprika

1 1/2 Teaspoons of Caraway Seeds, crushed

1 Teaspoon of Dried Parsley

1 Teaspoon of Dried Dill

1 Teaspoon of Fish Sauce

1/2 Cup Full Fat Coconut Milk, added before serving

——————————————————–

1 Medium Spaghetti Squash

2 Ripe Avocados*

Beef Paprikash on Spaghetti Squash Noodles with Avocado

Beef Paprikash on Spaghetti Squash Noodles with Avocado

Directions: With paper towel, pat the chuck roast dry. Mix the Tapioca Flour, Salt and Pepper together with a whisk, and season the Chuck Roast. In a large heavy pan over medium high heat, add your olive oil, and brown the chuck roast for 5 minutes  and then flip it over and brown it on the other side for 5 more minutes.

Meanwhile, slice the onion and place it in the bottom of a large slow cooker. Whisk together the spices, tomato paste, broth, garlic, and fish sauce. When beef is browned, place it on top of the sliced onions in the crockpot. Pour the sauce over the top. Cook on low covered for 8 hours in the crockpot. Remove the Beef from the crockpot after 8 hours and shred it with two forks. Add it back to the sauce and stir in 1/2 cup coconut milk right before serving.

For the “noodles”, one hour before serving, preheat your oven to 375º degrees. Slice a medium sized spaghetti squash in half, and remove the seeds. Season the inside with salt and pepper. Place in a baking pan cut side down with 1/2 cup of water. Bake for one hour. Right before serving, remove from the oven, and cool for about ten minutes so it is easy to handle. (It should pierce easily with a knife.) Flip the squash over and run a fork along the inside of the squash, making noodles.

Slice two ripe avocados to serve with the dish.

Serve the saucy Beef Paprikash over the “noodles” and place the avocado on the side like the picture above.

Beef Paprikash on Spagehtti Squash Noodles

Beef Paprikash on Spaghetti Squash Noodles

 

*Omit if you are eating Low FodMap

 

Eat Your Nutrients!

Eat Your Nutrients!

 

 

 

 

Chocolate Cherry Energy Balls

Chocolate Cherry Energy Balls

Chocolate Cherry Energy Balls

 

These little Energy Balls are a great way to bust a craving, with benefits! The raw cacao busts an intense chocolate craving, which can actually be your body’s way of telling you it is deficient in magnesium. Raw Cacao is rich in it! The almond butter contains protein and healthy fat, walnuts contain brain boosting Omega 3’s, tart cherries are anti-inflammatory, the honey is a natural form of sweetness, and the sea salt gives our bodies trace minerals it needs. Just one of these a day can really help reduce cravings for sweets, or why not replace these with other sweets you might reach for that don’t contain clean, health promoting, ingredients? Here’s the easy recipe! They are delicious to serve at a holiday party as a truffle.

 

Chocolate Cherry Energy Balls

 

Ingredients:

1 Cup Almond Butter, no added sugar  (I Used Artisana Brand)

1/3 Cup Raw Cacao Powder

1/3 Cup Dried Tart Cherries with no Added Sugar

1/4 Cup Raw Honey

1/8 Teaspoon Almond Extract

1/8 Teaspoon Sea Salt

3/4 Cup Raw Walnuts, Coarsely Chopped

 

Directions: In a food processor, or vigorously with a fork in a bowl, whisk together all the ingredients except the chopped walnuts. Form the mixture into 34 balls, and roll in chopped walnuts. Refrigerate in a sealed container, or if you like them firmer you can freeze them.

Apple Butter in the Crockpot

I love apple season! The apples are crisp and abundant in the Fall, and I believe everyone loves the smell of apples and cinnamon when they walk into a home.

Apple Butter

Apple Butter in the Crockpot (No Sugar Added) in a Rose Chintz China Bowl

 

Do you love apple butter as much as I do? i didn’t grow up eating it. I learned about apple butter when I moved to a Southern state from Northern Michigan in my twenties. The town I moved to had an annual apple butter festival where they made it in large copper pots during the festival weekend, and the whole town smelled like delicious cooking apples!

The fact that this recipe is so full of flavor and natural sweetness from the apples themselves is very appealing from a nutrition standpoint.  Naturally fruit sweetened apple butter contains vitamin C, phytonutrients, and fiber, and also small amounts of potassium and calcium.

Some of the ways I use apple butter is for baking, with pork, topping sweet potatoes, in cookies, muffins, apple pie, as a spread, and in smoothies, and honestly I like it plain by the spoonful. It is especially beautiful in this Rose Chintz china bowl that has been passed down through the generations in our family. 🙂

Apple Butter (Crockpot No Added Sugar)

Apple Butter (Crockpot No Added Sugar)

 

This crockpot recipe means you can walk away and don’t need to stand over the pot stirring! It is thick and as good as the more labor intensive way, and your house will smell amazing!

 

Apple Butter in the Crockpot

In this recipe, I caramelized the apples on the stove top before adding them to the crockpot for a richer flavor, and to add layers and complexity to the apple butter, I included the zest of the lemon and a bit of salt.

Ingredients:

2 1/2 Pounds of Apples (I used 4 Granny Smith and 4 Fuji Apples)

1 Tablespoon of Coconut Oil (You could also substitute Grass Fed Butter or Ghee)

1 1/4 Cup Fresh Apple Cider (No additives or sugar added)

Zest and Juice of 1 Lemon

1 Teaspoon Cinnamon

!/4 Teaspoon of Himalayan Pink or Sea Salt

Directions:

Peel, core, and slice the apples. Melt the coconut oil in a large sautee pan over medium high heat. When the coconut oil is melted, add the apples. Cook the apples in the coconut oil for five minutes, stirring only occassionally until the apples are nicely browned.

Sliced Apples

Sliced Apples

 

Add the remaining ingredients to the apples, and bring the apples to a boil.

Sauteeing Apples

Sauteeing Apples

 

Then, place the apple mixture in the crockpot and cook on high for one hour with the lid slightly ajar. After one hour with the lid ajar, place the lid completely onto the crockpot, and cook an additional three hours until the apples are mostly disintegrated.

Apples Sauteed and in Crockpot

With an immersion blender or food processor (you could also use a blender). Blend the apple butter until smooth. Place in glass jars and seal.

Makes approximately 2 1/2 Cups.

Eat Your Nutrients!

Eat Your Nutrients!

 

 

 

 

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