Saturday, March 8, 2014
I baked a bunch of sweet potatoes to make pancakes for the kids this week, and found myself with one big one left over.
While I almost went to town on it today after my run, I thought I'd try to flex my creative muscles and come up with a recipe to use it.
I've been really trying to move away from relying on baking with almond flour, so I didn't want to revisit the sweet potato breakfast cake(s) I've shared in the past. I also wanted to work with the natural sweetness of the sweet potato and try to omit any added sweetener.
I'm proud to say this experiment worked! These bites have no added sweetener and rely on a little coconut flour to come together. They are still a bit softer than traditional muffins or bread, so you really need to allow them to cool before removing from the muffin cups. I'm going to store mine in the fridge and the next big batch I make I plan to wrap individually in the freezer.
I had a little fun topping these off with coconut and raw chopped pecan, and then I add a couple tbs. of unsweetened cocoa powder to the remaining batter to create chocolate ones. These are really satisfying and don't taste eggy in the slightest.
Nut-Free Sweet Potato Bites
1 large sweet potato, baked and mashed
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 tsp. salt
1-2 tbs. coconut flour (depending on the size of your potato; I used about 1 1/2)
Preheat oven to 350.
Combine all ingredients in a stand mixer and mix until smooth.
Grease mini muffin cups and fill 3/4 with sweet potato mixture. Garnish as desired with chopped nuts, coconut, cinnamon (or just leave plain). For a chocolate option, add 1-2 tbs. unsweetened cocoa batter to sweet potato mixture.
Put in oven and bake for 25 minutes or until starting to brown on the edges. Allow to cool completely before removing from muffin cups.
Friday, March 7, 2014
A lot of families enjoy pizza on Friday nights. Even before going paleo my favorite way to honor the tradition was with a homemade pie.
Over the years I've tried so many grain and gluten-free recipes I could honestly write a book. Everything from cauliflower to meatza: we've tried it all.
To date my favorite grain-free recipe has definitely been The Domestic Man's recipe, which has the most amazing crispy texture and taste. It also contains Parmesan cheese, though, and I really wanted to try a recipe that would be dairy-free.
I found Paleo Spirit's grain-free crust recently and was eager to try it. I haven't had much luck using coconut flour in pizza crusts to date, as I've found the natural sweetness of the coconut just didn't work well with most standard pizza toppings.
I purposefully made a non-traditional pie, with both sweet and savory aspects. I think this crust worked really well with the toppings, and everyone loved it.
A couple of observations. This is by far the easiest grain-free recipe I've made, and it rolled out like a dream. Both of those are huge plusses for me.
I did find the flavor a little distinctive, so I think the next time I will add some garlic powder and Italian seasoning to give the dough a more "authentic" flavor. The texture, though, couldn't be beat and I would definitely recommend this one!
Paleo Spirit's Grain & Dairy-Free Pizza Crust
adapted from Paleo Spirit
1 cup arrowroot starch, plus more for rolling out dough
1/3 cup plus 2 tbs. coconut flour (divided)
1 tsp. salt
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 cup warm water
1 large egg, lightly beaten
Preheat oven to 450.
Combine starch, 1/3 cup coconut flour and salt in a large bowl and mix well.
Pour in olive oil and warm water and stir.
Add beaten egg and mix until well-combined. Add remaining coconut flour until the dough comes together. It will be a soft dough that's quite sticky to the touch.
Place dough on a surface sprinkled with starch. Knead it until it becomes a smooth ball that no longer sticks to your hands.
Spread out a piece of parchment paper and lightly dust a rolling pin with a smidge more starch. Roll dough out on parchment until it is even and fairly thin.
Place the dough on the parchment onto a preheated pizza stone or baking sheet.
Bake for 12 minutes and then top and bake as desired. My crust was already starting to brown a little after the 12 minutes, so when I returned it to the oven with toppings I covered a couple of the edges with a bit of foil to keep them from burning.
Wednesday, March 5, 2014
I've made many variations on chicken nuggets and fingers, using everything from crushed plantain chips to shredded coconut for breading. A non-paleo friend asked me to come up with a nut-free recipe that would please her finicky kids. While this one does include dairy, I'm sharing it here because I was very pleased with the results.
The breading really stuck nicely to the chicken, and both of my kids enjoyed these a lot. You can customize the seasoning to suit your taste buds. We all really like garlic, so I wanted that to be the most prominent flavor.
I'm suggesting you divvy up the coating because there's nothing more annoying than having your dry ingredients get all clumpy and hard to work with once the egg and raw meat get in there. I always like to split the process in half so that my last few chicken tenders come out as evenly coated as my first.
Grain-Free Chicken Tenders
1 lb. chicken tenders
1/2 cup ground flax
1/3 cup grated Parmesan or Romano cheese
3 tbs. coconut flour
1 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. paprika
salt & pepper, to taste
2 tbs. melted coconut oil (or ghee)
Preheat oven to 400.
Whisk eggs in a shallow dish.
Combine ground flax, cheese, coconut flour and seasoning in a bowl. Pour half of the mixture into another shallow dish, and drizzle with half of melted coconut oil or ghee.
Dip chicken in egg, allowing excess to drip off. Dredge in flax mixture and place on a greased or Silpat-lined baking dish.
Once your flax mixture is running low or getting too goopy, pour in remaining half of the dry mixture and drizzle with the remaining tbs. of melted oil. Proceed to bread remaining chicken.
Bake chicken for 15-20 minutes, then flip over and cook for an additional 20 minutes or until golden brown.