Friday, November 21, 2014

Paleo Crock Pot Pork Loin with Apple & Onion Gravy

This one won't win any beauty contests, and I'm not going to promise any revolutionary flavors. It's just a good, basic staple recipe to have in your repertoire for busy days.

What really makes this one is the apple and onion gravy. I chose to use an immersion blender to mix up my mixture until it was smooth; next time I might leave it a little chunky just for a textural element.

I did find the gravy as a little bland when first blended, so I added a hefty dose of garlic powder and ground black pepper. They complimented the natural sweetness of the apple perfectly.

We enjoyed this one alongside some simple green beans and coconut flour biscuits.

Paleo Crock Pot Pork Loin with Apple & Onion Gravy
adapted from The Kitchen Whisperer 

3 lb. pork loin
1 tbs. garlic powder
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
2 tsp. fresh chopped thyme
1 tbs. chili powder
1 tsp. cinnamon
5 minced garlic cloves
3 medium Granny Smith apples, peeled and cut into chunks
1 large onion, cut into chunks
1 cup organic chicken broth

Combine garlic powder, salt, pepper, thyme, chili powder and cinnamon in a small bowl. Rub all over sides of pork.

Place pork in crock pot. Top with minced garlic, apples and onion. Pour broth over the top.

Cover and cook on low for 8 hours.

Remove pork from crock pot and wrap in foil to rest.

Meanwhile, pour remaining apple and onion mixture into a saucepan. Heat over high heat until bubbling, then reduce and cook for about 10 minutes until it begins to thicken. If it's not thickening to your liking, stir in 1 tbs. of coconut flour.

If a smooth gravy is desired, use an immersion blender to combine the ingredients. Otherwise simply spoon the chunky gravy over the meat before serving.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Grain-Free Pecan Pie Bars

I love to experiment with grain-free baking, but when making treats for others I'm a little more wary about how the results will turn out. We had my mom over for her birthday this week, and I wanted to pay homage to one of her favorite holiday desserts: pecan pie.

I found this recipe thanks to POP Sugar, and it sounded promising (AND makes me want to check out Kelly Milton's Paleo Happy Hour cookbook for more of her recipes!).

Dates not only offer sweetness but viscosity to give the filling the texture usually provided by corn syrup. If you don't have almond flour you can grind your own almond meal in a food processor (you'll be breaking out the processor anyway for both the filling and crust).

These little babies are amazing. As in they were completely adored by two children and four adults, which I think sufficiently passes any taste test standards. They were also a breeze to make and cut very easily. I did store them in the fridge to help them keep their firm texture.

This recipe is most definitely going in my treat arsenal, and I might just have to break it out for one of two cookie exchanges in which I'll be participating this holiday.

Paleo Pecan Pie Bars
adapted from Kelly Milton

1 3/4 cups almond flour or meal
1 egg
1 tbs. coconut oil
1/2 tsp. arrowroot powder
1/4 tsp. salt

10 pitted dates
2 eggs
1/4 cup pure maple syrup or raw honey
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup chopped raw pecans

Preheat the oven to 350°F.

Combine the almond flour, egg, coconut oil, arrowroot powder, and salt in a food processor. Pulse until the dough forms a ball.

Line a 10x15-inch glass casserole dish with parchment paper, press the dough evenly the dish, and bake it for 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, make the filling by adding the dates, eggs, maple syrup, and vanilla extract to the food processor. Process on high until the filling is smooth.

Pour the filling mixture over the partially baked crust. Sprinkle the pecans evenly over the top, and bake the bars for another 25 to 30 minutes. Make sure the bars cool before cutting them.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Paleo Crock Pot Sausage, Sweet Potato & Spinach Soup

Please don't hate on me that this crock pot recipe requires a little pre-cooking. If you're going to do sausage in the crock pot it just won't taste the same if you don't brown it in a skillet first. The garlic and onion also benefit from a little sautéing before getting dumped in the pot.

Even with that step, this one is unbelievably quick and easy to make. You could use cubed butternut in lieu of the sweet potato and kale instead of spinach, if you prefer. I also added mushroom at the caveman's request. I didn't go too spicy but did add quite a few shakes of crushed red pepper flakes to my own bowl.

Paleo Crock Pot Sausage, Sweet Potato & Spinach Soup

1 tbs. coconut oil
1 medium onion, diced
4 minced garlic cloves
1 lb. Italian sausage, casings removed
6 cups organic chicken broth
10. oz baby bella mushrooms
3 cups peeled and cubed sweet potato
salt, pepper, garlic powder and crushed red pepper flakes, to taste
3 cups baby spinach

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion and garlic and cook for 5 minutes or until soft. Add sausage and cook until browned.

Meanwhile, add broth, mushrooms, sweet potato and seasoning to crock pot.

Drain excess grease from sausage and add sausage, garlic and onions to crock pot. Stir to combine and cover. Cook on low for 5 hours.

Add spinach to crock pot and cook for another 30 minutes to an hour. Taste for seasoning.