Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Chocolate Dipped Dried Pears

Talk about a party favor!!
I was inspired to create these gorgeous treats from a Delicious Living Magazine photo I glanced at while shopping at a local health food store. I grabbed my favorite bag of semi-sweet chips, stopped by Guido's for the most succulent dried pears on earth, and went to work. These were the hit of the party, and the whole process took less than an hour to make with very little clean-up.

Chocolate Dipped Dried Pears
1 bag of ~20 dried pears from Guido's (sliced in half vertically)
1 bag Enjoy Life semi-sweet chocolate chips (gluten, dairy and soy-free)
~1/2 cup hazelnuts, pistachios or almonds, chopped

Hand chop and lightly salt nuts. Preheat skillet over medium-high heat. Roast in a dry pan, stirring constantly, until fragrant but not burned, about 1-2 minutes. Set aside in a small bowl.

Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper. Lay out halved pears on parchment.

Using the lowest burner setting or a double boiler, melt the chocolate and stir until silky-smooth.

One at a time, dip a halved pear halfway into the melted chocolate. Shake off excess chocolate and place onto parchment paper. Sprinkle lightly with nuts. Repeat until all pears have been dipped. 

Once finished, mix the leftover nuts (and shredded coconut if you wish) into the remaining chocolate to make "chocolate stacks" or find other dried items to dip. Dried strawberries, apricots, or pineapple would be fabulous!
Or just lick the pan. . .

Let dry and harden in a cool place, remove from parchment and arrange artfully on your favorite platter.

Enjoy beautifully.

Recipe concept and photo from Delicious Living Magazine

Monday, November 3, 2014

Tender Stewed Beef Heart

Have a heart. . .
they're delicious!

My family has had the good fortune of living near quality Colorado ranchers who specialize in raising natural, grass-fed beef. It's delicious and economical to purchase a half beef and split it between several families. When our beef order is ready, the families gather in our garage to split the bounty. . .but no one seems to want to take home the beef liver or heart! I usually have plenty of heart and organ meats to experiment with.

This recipe is the culmination of several stew attempts. It's lovely. The mustard's tang and the sweetness of the wine and honey of this recipe compliments the strength of the beef heart flavor. Try something new and different today. . .have a heart.

Tender Stewed Beef Heart
1/2 of a beef heart (about 2 pounds)
1/4 c. oil of choice (non-GMO canola, coconut)
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 T honey
2 c beef broth
1 c. white wine
2 T coarse grain mustard
1 t. salt
1/2 t. freshly ground pepper

Remove the connective tissue in the beef hearts and slice against the grain into 1/8” thin slices, about 2” long. In a preheated skillet over medium-high heat, quickly sear the beef heart strips on both sides. Remove from skillet and place in covered pot.

Sauté the shopped onion in oil over medium heat until translucent. Add minced garlic and cook over medium low heat for one minute. Add to pot with remaining ingredients.

Cover, simmer, and savor the aroma for at least three hours.
Enjoy this stew by itself in a bowl or thicken the gravy a bit (with 2 t. of arrowroot dissolved in water) to serve over rice, mashed cauliflower or mashed potatoes.

Enjoy with a salad and your favorite gluten-free bread or Paleo Pancakes.


Beef heart is available at better butchers, and may require a special order.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Paleo Ranch Dressing Mix

Sometimes you just need familiar comfort foods of the past.
But without the MSG, thank you.
Ranch dressing was a favorite flavor of mine, and I'm thrilled to be enjoying it again!

Add as much or as little of this Paleo Ranch Dressing Mix as you'd like. It's wonderful to have on hand for easy dips, dressings or marinates.

Paleo Ranch Dressing Dry Mix
4 T dried Parsley
1 t. dried dill weed
1 t. onion powder
1 t. dried onion flakes
3/4 t. salt
1/2 t. garlic powder
1/4 t. freshly ground pepper
1/2 t. sugar

Combine all ingredients into a sealed container and shake to combine. Make multiples of this recipe for easy salad dressings, dips, or dry rubs.

Paleo Ranch Dressing Dip
4 t. Paleo Ranch Dressing Dry Mix

Combine both ingredients and let mellow at least an hour in the refrigerator before serving. Stir before serving.

Paleo Ranch Dressing
1 T Paleo Ranch Dressing Dry Mix
1/2 c. almond milk or coconut milk
1 T apple cider vinegar

Combine all ingredients into a jar, shake well, and pour liberally over a crunchy salad! Add more salt or cider vinegar if you wish to taste more tang or salt.

Paleo Ranch Marinade
2 T Paleo Ranch Dressing Dry Mix
2 T olive oil or non-GMO Canola Oil

Combine all ingredients and let meld for 30 minutes. Slather onto chicken breasts or fish for a delicious grilled main dish.


Monday, October 6, 2014

Rosaleen's Stacked Green Chile Chicken Enchiladas

Want a little comfort food?
This is the ticket.
Stacked Chicken Enchiladas has it all -- creamy, cheesy, spicy, savory home-spun goodness. My friend, Rosaleen, made this dish for a pack of hungry hunters and their boys, and my kids have been asking for this meal on a regular basis ever since. Enjoy!

Rosaleen's Stacked Chicken Enchiladas
1 cooked chicken (or 4 chicken breasts) about 4 cups cubed
1 c. onion, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
2 -12oz boxes of Pacific Natural Foods Organic Cream of Chicken Condensed Soup
1/2 c. to 1 c. green chile, diced
12 oz sour cream
1 - 14oz can black olives, sliced
1/2 t. salt
1/2 t. poultry seasoning
1 t. oregano
4 c. cheddar cheese
16 corn tortillas

Cook chicken and cube the meat into desired size. Set aside in large bowl.

Sauté onions in oil over medium heat until translucent. Add garlic and sauté for 1 minute. Add to bowl of chicken.

Combine all other ingredients in bowl except cheese and corn tortillas. Mix well.

Over medium-high heat, cook each tortilla on both sides in oil until slightly brown and firm but still tender. This will help the corn tortillas from getting too soggy.

Arrange one layer of whole, halved and quartered tortillas in one 9" x 13" pan for a hungry crowd (12 tortillas), or two 8" x 8" pans (16 tortillas) if you'd like to freeze half for an easy dinner later. Don't worry about making the geometry perfect. This will taste just as delicious with gaps in the corn tortilla layer. See the drawings below for a layout idea.*

Spoon half of the chicken mixture over the tortilla layer in a 9" x 13" pan, or 1/4 of the mixture in each of two 8" x 8" pans. Layer half the cheese on top of chicken mixture. Repeat with one more tortilla layer, the remaining half of the chicken mixture, and the last half of the cheese.

Bake uncovered at 350 degrees for an hour.
Let sit 10 minutes (if you can wait that long), then serve.


*You could lay out the corn tortillas in the pan(s) like this:

Monday, September 1, 2014

Gado Gado

A friend's recent online post brought back memories of a savored Indonesian dish from my college days. Because I have an allergy to peanut butter, Gado Gado's main ingredient, I limited myself to one heavenly bite of this dish from a friend's dinner plate long ago. I rebuilt this recipe using almond butter, and tried to replicate the tangy, sweet, creamy, savory flavor of the dish I loved.

Gado Gado translates as "mix mix" in Indonesian, so this sauce is traditionally served with a mixed array of steamed vegetables and sliced boiled egg. Use your imagination (or whatever is in your fridge) to create a dinner to remember!

   • Gado Gado served over spaghetti squash, broccoli and ground elk
   • Gado Gado served over rice, with bean sprouts, boiled egg and green onion
   • Gado Gado served over noodles with chicken, cabbage, green beans, carrots and cauliflower
   • Gado Gado served over potatoes and vegetables, garnished with cool cucumbers and green onions

Gado Gado

2 T. olive oil
1 c. finely chopped onions
3 T fresh ginger, finely minced
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 bay leaves
1/2 c. water
1 - 14oz can of coconut milk
1 T lemon juice
1/2 t. red pepper
2 T soy sauce or coconut aminos
1/4 c white wine vinegar
1 t. agave syrup
1/2 t. salt
1/4 t. pepper
1 c almond butter

Slice the fresh ginger across the grain thinly, then mince finely.
Saute onion, ginger and garlic in olive oil until the onion is translucent.
Breathe deeply to inhale the savory aroma!

Add bay, coconut milk, water, lemon juice, soy sauce, vinegar, agave, salt and pepper. Simmer for 20 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in almond butter. A whisk works well for this stage. Add a bit more water if the sauce is too thick for your liking.

Serve over steamed vegetables, rice, noodles or meat.


Monday, August 4, 2014

Bacon Vinaigrette Dressing

This salad dressing is delicious on ANYTHING!
I first fell in love with this concoction on a "Leftover Easter Salad" with spinach, asparagus, ham, hard-boiled egg, and sliced radishes.

A quick salad with apples, walnuts and thinly sliced red onion tossed with Bacon Vinaigrette Dressing made me realize how diverse this savory dressing is. Experiment with your own salad and send me your favorite.

Bacon Vinaigrette Dressing
4 slices of bacon, diced
1 T dijon mustard
1 T stone ground mustard
2 T honey
1/2 clove chopped garlic
1/2 t. salt
1/2 t. pepper
1/4 c. apple cider vinegar
1/2 c. olive oil
~2 T reserved bacon drippings

Cook diced bacon until crisp. Set aside bacon on a paper towel to cool. Reserve bacon drippings.

Combine all other ingredients into a jar and shake well.
Douse your salad of choice liberally with this nectar and sprinkle crisp bacon atop salad.


Monday, July 7, 2014

Huge Gluten-Free Chocolate Chip Cookie "Pizza"

This isn't exactly an original recipe, but I found this treat so easy and impressive, I had to share. If you have gluten-free kids, you've probably felt the tug at your heart strings when they wish aloud that they could have just ONE BITE of a specific glutenous treat.

I have a hard time walking by the GIANT cookie bakeries in the malls without pining for one myself! This was one of the fastest birthday cakes to prepare to date, and one of the most fun to eat. This would make a really fun potluck dessert, too!

Huge Gluten-Free Chocolate Chip Cookie "Pizza"

1 package Pamela's Chocolate Chunk Cookie Mix
Icing of choice
Decorative candles, candies or sprinkles

Prepare the cookie mix according to package instructions.
Cut parchment paper to line the bottom of a ~16" round pizza pan.
Spread the cookie dough evenly to cover the parchment paper, leaving the dough an inch or so away from the edge of the pan. The cookie will expand a bit while baking.

 (This will be gooey! Oil or butter your fingers to make it a little easier.)

Bake at 350 degrees for abut 23 minutes.

Let cool, and carefully remove the parchment paper from the cookie. "Glue" the cookie to the pan with a few small dabs of icing. Decorate to your heart's content and place plenty of candles!

To serve, slice into wedges with a long, sharp knife.

Happy Birthday!

Monday, June 2, 2014

Paleo Banana Cinnamon Brownies

Yes, you CAN have your cake and eat it, too!
Or, in this case, brownies.
Lots of them.

The lack of processed sugar, gluten, dairy or grains in this recipe, allows you to enjoy more of these delicious brownies than you feel you should. Your chocolate craving will be absolutely satisfied without an ounce of remorse!

My kids loved these! Although they prefer the sugar-laden "regular" gluten-free brownies from a mix, once I pointed out that they could eat two of these BEFORE dinner, they agreed that this recipe was a keeper.

Paleo Banana Cinnamon Brownies
3 very ripe bananas
6 eggs
1/2 bag of Enjoy Life chocolate chips (about 5 oz), melted
2 tbsp maple syrup
1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
1/4 cup coconut flour
3/4 cup almond flour
pinch of salt
2 tbsp cocoa powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 bag Enjoy Life chocolate chips
1/2 cup chopped pecans (optional)

Preheat oven to 350º.  Grease a 9x11 inch pan with coconut oil.  In a large food processor, pulse bananas until well pureed.  Add eggs and pulse until well combined.  Add melted chocolate, maple syrup, and oil.  Pulse until well combined.

Combine flours, salt, cocoa powder and baking soda in a separate bowl. Add to food processor and pulse until just mixed.  Briefly pulse in the remaining chocolate chips and nuts.

You can also use a mixer or combine ingredients by hand -- the food processor is super easy and quick.

Pour batter into oiled pan and bake for 30 minutes.  A toothpick inserted into the center will come out almost clean or slightly crumby.

Enjoy with gusto!

A huge shootout goes to for the source of the fabulous original recipe. I modified the recipe slightly for my taste. Thank you!

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Guacamole Turkey Bacon Salad

Happy Superbowl Sunday!
No matter which team you're rooting for, we can all agree that we all love Superbowl snacks. This salad can be served as a dip with tortilla chips or thinly sliced jicama, piled atop greens or simply eaten alone.

It tastes like junk food, but it may just be the most nutritious treat you eat all Sunday.
Have a delicious game day!

Guacamole Turkey Bacon Salad
1 to 1-1/2 lbs cooked, cooled and diced turkey or chicken (3-4 cups)
1 ripe avocado
1 tomato, petit diced
1/4 c. red onion, minced
1 small clove garlic, minced
small handful of cilantro (~2T minced)
juice of 1 lime
1/2 t. salt
1/4 t. pepper

5 slices of bacon, sliced thinly then cooked until crisp

Combine all ingredients until creamy, then top with bacon crumbles.
Gobble up with tortilla chips or thinly sliced jicama.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Coconut Milk Pumpkin Pie

This dairy-free version of classic pumpkin pie is delicious!
Your guests won't be able to tell it's make with coconut milk. I promise.
A slightly nutty, caramelized taste is the only difference from the original. . .I actually prefer it!
Enjoy the taste of Thanksgiving anytime.

Coconut Milk Pumpkin Pie
1 15oz can pumpkin puree
1 ~14oz can coconut milk
1/2 t salt
1/3 c. brown sugar
1/3 c. coconut sugar (or cane sugar)
2 t. pumpkin pie spice
3 eggs

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and whisk well or mix with a hand mixer until well combined. Place ingredients into a Tender Gluten-Free Vinegar Pastry Crust or prepared pie shell of choice.

Bake at 425 degrees for 15 minutes, then reduce heat to 300 degrees for 55 minutes.
Let sit for 15 minutes to firm before serving


This is also divine simply poured into individual ramekins and baked without a crust. Bake these at 350 for 45 minutes.