Sunday, September 30, 2012

Primal Pumpkin Chili

Our family LOVES this chili recipe.  I found it by accident from this great site.  Then I tweaked it to fit our needs removing the spices so my daughter could eat it without any issues. 

When the weather finally becomes cooler and you start seeing the pumpkins out at the farmers markets and shopping stores, I get so excited.  I love the autumn season.  Seeing pumpkins everywhere.  The leaves change colors.  I simply love it. 

This recipe has a hint of a pumpkin taste but it is definitely not overpowering.  I think it adds just the right flavor. 

This recipe is great because you throw it all in the slow cooker and leave it be for 6-8 hours.  It cooks itself and is magically delicious when you take a bite.  I am sure you'll love it if you give it a try!

Primal Pumpkin Chili
(Serves 6 to 8)

Adapted from What I Gather

1 lb of ground beef (or ground turkey)
2 links of all natural sausage - I used apple-chicken sausage by Aidells
1 onion, diced
2 bell peppers
1 cup of carrots, shredded or pureed (optional - but a great way to sneak another veggie in!)
3 cloves (or 1.5 tsp) of minced garlic
1 can, 14.5 oz, of diced all-natural diced tomatoes
1 small can of tomato sauce (8 oz)  (Or use your own sauce)
1 can, 15 oz, pumpkin puree
1 cup of chicken broth or stock
1 TBSP of ground cinnamon
1 tsp of chili powder
1 tsp onion powder
salt and pepper to taste

Set your slow cooker to the low setting.  Place all the ingredients in the slow cooker in the order listed above.  Mix well.  Cook on low for 6 to 8 hours.  Taste and see if it needs any additional salt, pepper or seasonings.  Mine was perfect as is.  We like to serve ours over an egg quiche or with a nitrite-free hot dog. 

Good stuff!

Zucchini Carbonara

I was surprised at how easy and tasty this side dish was when we first made it.  I have to thank Mark Sisson for this recipe.  It comes from his cookbook, "The Primal Blueprint Quick and Easy Meals."  We purchased his books in June of 2012 and we just love them and all his recipes.  Thanks Mark for turning us onto your primal ways.

Primal Zucchini Carbonara
Adapted  from Mark Sisson's Primal Blueprint Quick and Easy Meals Cookbook

(Serves 3)

About 1 TBSP of olive oil for greasing pan
3 to 4 large zucchini, cut into large strands - like lasagna size noodles
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup of coconut milk (or use heavy cream)
4 - 5 slices of bacon, cooked and diced
salt and pepper to taste

This is one you can do some of the prep work ahead of time, just like I did in the picture above if you have time before work in the morning. 

Slice each zucchini into long strips like lasagna style noodles.  Set aside.

Cook your bacon in a skillet or microwave it.  Let it cool then dice it up.  Set aside.

Whisk together your eggs and coconut milk (or cream) with salt and pepper seasonings.  Set aside.

Sautee the zucchini in a skillet with the olive oil.  This should take five to seven minutes.  Add in the cooked bacon and the whisked eggs.  Stir continuously until the zucchini noodles are well covered with the bacon bits and the 'scrambled' eggs.  Mark Sisson says not to scramble the eggs but my husband and I like them that way.  This is very easy and very tasty.

A great and unique side dish to add to your regular family meals.  Enjoy!

Primal Banana Cake

It was my husband's birthday recently so I made him some treats that he didn't have to feel guilty about.  None of us did.  This was the favorite one by all of us that I created - Banana Cakes.  I put them in decorate mini pans but this would work fine in a bread pan or a 8 x 8 square (brownie size) pan as well.

This is so moist and it just melts into your mouth.  I hope you enjoy it as much as my family did!

Primal Banana Bread Cake

(Makes 1 loaf or about 8 mini loaves)

1/2 cup of coconut sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp almond extract
1/4 cup of olive oil + 1/2 tsp more for greasing pan
1/2 cup of applesauce
3 bananas, ripened and mashed
2 cups of almond flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1.5 tsp ground cinnamon
a dash of salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease your loaf pan or mini loaves pan with about 1/2 tsp of olive oil.  (I used two cute flower silicone pans since it was a special occasion).

In a large bowl, beat and mix the coconut sugar with eggs on medium high for about five minutes.  Add in the vanilla and almond extract.  Beat for one minute.  Then add in the applesauce and olive oil.  Mash your three ripe bananas and throw those in the bowl as well.  Mix for two to three minutes. 

In a separate smaller bowl, mix the dry ingredients - almond flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon and salt.  Stir well.  Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients.  Mix until well incorporated.  Gently pour or scoop into the greased baking pan. 

Bake for 45 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.  A full loaf may take longer than the mini loaves so you may need to do an hour. 

Sooo delicious!!!

Friday, September 7, 2012

Make Your Own Pasta (Tomato) Sauce

I am shocked by all the junk that is placed into pasta sauces or tomato sauces located on the grocery aisle shelves.  They are often expensive too.  Tomato sauce is cheap.  Although you can find a kind without sugar, corn syrup or other harmful chemicals in it, the sauce is usually too thin or too thick for my taste.  It's so easy to make your own and blend it to your desired consistency.  Add in the spices and flavors you like best.  So that's what I'm doing from now on.  It only takes a few minutes and a few tools to make it happen!

Primal Pasta Sauce / Tomato Sauce

Serves an entire spaghetti squash, about 6 servings

2 cans of no-salt added diced tomatoes (get the kind with tomatoes only and no additives or preservatives)
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp oregano, dried
1/2 tsp dried basil
pinch of salt and pepper

Place all ingredients in a food processor.  Like this:

Then, wait for it....

Cover it and grind it up.  Blend, mix or whatever setting you like on your processor until you have it to your desired thickness.  I like mine a little chunky and not too watery.

Taste it and see if the seasonings are just right for you.  You can always add a bit more.  I like a lot of onion and garlic in mine!  If you've got fresh herbs, great!  Use those.  Typically though I only keep a few fresh herbs on hand and use the dried stuff that is all natural. 

Then use like you would a normal pasta sauce - over spaghetti squash.  On your homemade pizzas.  Etc.

Family tested and approved.  Easy to do.  You're welcome.

Primal Tortillas (or wraps or soft tacos)

When we first started our Primal/Paleo venture, I quickly looked for bread substitutes.  I tried several different ones.  We even bought a loaf of "Paleo bread" online.  Most of them were awful.  Really awful.  I had given up on a bread replacement.  We were getting used to just wrapping our meats in large leaves of lettuce. 

It was not until I saw this recipe for a Paleo Enchilada Pie that then led me to this recipe for the tortillas to make with it that I finally found a winner, a real substitute for bread.   Now I make these two or three times a month.  They don't take very long.  We use them as wraps and soft tacos.  I modified the recipe a little bit and that is what is below.  But thank you to Mrs. Paleo for posting the original recipe

Primal Tortillas (Wraps, Soft Tacos)
Makes 7 to 8

- 1 cup of tapioca flour (I found mine at a local farmers co-op/whole foods store.  You could also use arrowroot flour which is gluten-free but not primal/paleo)
- 4 Tbsp coconut flour (found in the organic section of your flour aisle.  We use Bob's Red Mill brand)
- 1/4 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp cream of tartar
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp of Italian seasoning (or combo of oregano, basil, garlic and onion spices)
- 3 Tbsp butter, softened not melted (all natural, from grassfed cows.  We like the Kerrygold brand)
- 8 Tbsp boiling water

Grease parchment paper and skillet with a little bit of olive oil.  I don't use exact measurements.  I pour a little onto the pan and paper then spread it out with a small paint brush.  That is works best for when I use olive oil.  (The can spray stuff is loaded with crap.  Stop using that!)  Turn the skillet on low heat until you're ready to cook.

Mix the dry ingredients (first six listed above) together in a large bowl.  Add in the softened natural butter.  Break up with a fork into smaller pieces and stir.  The batter will clump and form into tiny circles.  Heat up your water and once it's boiling, pour it into the bowl with the batter.  Form large balls of dough, about 2 inches.  I make 7 to 8 balls and spread them out on the greased parchment paper. 

Then flatten out the dough balls into a round shaped tortilla.  I use the palm of my hands and keep pressing until it's a thin and nicely round size.  Like this:

Pull the finished dough from the parchment paper carefully and place in the greased skillet.  Turn the heat up to medium and cook about 4 minutes on each side or lightly brown.  I use a flexible turner to flip them over.  This one is perfect for flipping over these along with pancakes and other things I make.

Let them cool before you try to handle them or stuff them with taco meat, chicken or deli slices.  Wait about fifteen minutes to be safe. 

Then stuff away and enjoy!  My four year old likes these with ham and cheese.  My husband and I stuff them with all sorts of meats and veggies.