Banana Chocolate Pie

I planned a special weekend for Mike a while back, with a 3 course meal by candlelight and all that jazz. Finding something to make for dinner was pretty simple. That was the first time I made Pesto Baked Chicken and Twice Baked Sweet Potatoes, which ended up being a huge hit. But, my husband has a major sweet tooth. Me – not so much. Sometimes it can be hard finding paleo-friendly dessert recipes that he still enjoys as much as what he grew up on. Luckily, I found one: banana chocolate pie. The crust is made with dates and almonds (yum!), and the pie filling is just a whole lot of banana and chocolate heaven. You could probably go without the almonds on top if you don’t like them, but we do, so I put as many as I could fit. Plus, this pie is frozen, so it stays good for quite a while after you’ve made it! That is of course, if you actually have any leftovers to freeze.

Banana Chocolate Pie

Ingredients
Crust
1 1/2 c almond meal
5 medjool dates, chopped
3 T coconut oil
dash of salt

Filling
5 small, ripe bananas, cut into pieces
5 medjool dates, chopped
1 c coconut milk
1/3 c unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted
1 T vanilla extract
1/2 c sliced almonds
2 oz dark chocolate, shaved with a vegetable peeler (optional)

Directions
1) Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9-inch pie plate with melted coconut oil, ghee or cooking spray.
2) Combine almond flour and dates in a food processor until well combined. Add the oil and process until mixture looks doughy.
3) Form crust evenly around pie pan, then bake for 12-15 minutes. Let cool completely.
4) Combine bananas, dates, coconut milk, cocoa powder and vanilla in a food processor until smooth. Pour the mixture into the cooled pie crust and spread out evenly.
5) Top with almonds and chocolate shavings, then cover with plastic wrap and freeze for at least 4 hours.
6) Remove from the freezer about 30 minutes before serving, the slice and eat away!

Berry Vanilla Chia Pudding

Before I went paleo, I was always a really big yogurt fan. I used to make my own greek yogurt and eat some every day. To my surprise, I don’t find myself craving it too often now that I’m not “allowed” to eat it. I found this recipe from Stupid Easy Paleo quite a while back, and even though it’s called pudding, it satisfied the craving I would normally get for yogurt. The chia seeds, along with being SUPER healthy for you, really do create a thick, creamy, pudding or yogurt kind of consistency. If you’ve never used chia seeds before and try this recipe, I think you’ll find the process quite interesting. If you haven’t tried chia seeds, you probably should. They’re packed with protein, fiber, antioxidants, calcium and omega-3s! This is really easy to make, and tastes great with breakfast, a snack or even dessert! You can make this as a parfait, top it with nuts, switch up the berries, drizzle honey on top, or replace some of the coconut milk with fruit juice. The sky is the limit!

Berry Vanilla Chia Pudding

Ingredients
1 can coconut milk
6 T chia seeds
1 scoop vanilla protein powder
1/2 t vanilla extract
1 c fresh blueberries
1 c fresh raspberries

Directions
1) Mix the coconut milk, chia seeds, vanilla protein, and vanilla in medium sized bowl with a whisk until the chia seeds are no longer lumpy.
2) Refrigerate and stir occasionally until the pudding has thickened, about 1 hour. If mixture is too thin after 1 hour, add more chia seeds.
3) In small mugs or serving cups, layer a few spoonfuls of chia pudding at the bottom, then a layer of fresh berries, followed by more chia pudding, and so on. Eat immediately or keep in the fridge until serving.

Bibimbap

A couple of months ago, Mike and I made a trip out to Ann Arbor with some friends. We met at this really cool place called the Jolly Pumpkin for lunch. If you’re ever in Ann Arbor and haven’t tried this place out, do it. Don’t forget to order a side of truffle fries. Mmmm! So good! Anyway, after eating, we spent some time in the farmer’s market and got some tea, then our friends had to head out. Mike and I were looking around for a place to grab something to go that we could bring home and eat for dinner, and we found a hole-in-the-wall Korean joint that had some good reviews. We ordered what looked good, then went home. I ordered what’s called bibimbap. It sounds weird, I know. But OH MY GOODNESS is it tasty. It comes with simply prepared vegetables, some flavorful beef and an egg in the middle, all served over some sticky rice. After eating this, I was craving it for weeks. So finally, I made some of my own. It definitely takes a good bit of prep work, but it is SO worth it. This recipe serves 6-8.

Beef bulgogi
Ingredients

1 lb steak, thinly sliced
1/2 c liquid aminos (or soy sauce)
2 green onions, thinly sliced
3 T rice vinegar
2 T minced garlic
1 T grated ginger
2 T sesame seeds
1 T honey
1 T warm water

Directions
1) In a small bowl, whisk together honey and water until well combined. Add the honey mixture to a ziploc bag, along with all other ingredients except for the steak and stir well.
2) Add the steak. Keep in the fridge for at least 1 hour (up to overnight). Shake the bag a few times during the marinating process to keep the meat well coated.
3) If you can, grill the bulgogi. Otherwise, place all of the beef on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Arrange your oven so that the baking rack is 4-6 inches from the top. Broil the beef for about 5 minutes, then flip the pieces and broil for another 5 minutes, or until the beef is cooked through.

 

Cauliflower rice
Ingredients

1 lg head cauliflower
2 T coconut oil

Directions
1) Using a knife, remove and discard the cauliflower core, then break the cauliflower up into florets.
2)
In batches, place the florets in a food processor, and pulse until chopped into small pieces (think jumbo grains of rice).
3)
Heat the oil in a large pan over medium-high heat. Cook the cauliflower for about 5-10 minutes until it’s tender and slightly golden.

 

Cucumber
Ingredients

1 large cucumber
1 t salt
2 t rice vinegar
2 t sesame oil
1 t red pepper flakes

Directions
1) Place the cucumber in a colander with the salt, and let stand for 20 minutes. Then rinse and gently squeeze the cucumbers dry.
2) Transfer the cucumbers to a small container and add the rest of the ingredients. Mix well and put in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.

 

Mushrooms
Ingredients

1 lb mushrooms, sliced
1 T coconut oil
salt & pepper

Directions
1) Heat oil in a large pan over medium-high heat. Fry the mushrooms until tender, about 20 minutes.
2) Drain any liquid from the pan, then toss the mushrooms with salt and pepper.

 

Carrots
Ingredients

4 carrots, julienned
1 T rice vinegar
1 T sesame oil

Directions
1) Heat the oil in a large pan over medium-high heat, and fry the carrots until slightly tender, about 5 minutes.

 

Spinach
Ingredients

4 bunches spinach, rinsed and stems trimmed off
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 T liquid aminos (or soy sauce)
1 T sesame seeds
1 T sesame oil

Directions
1) Boil water in a large pot. Add the spinach to the boiling water and cook just until wilted, about 3 minutes.
2) Drain the spinach into a colander and let cool. Once cooled, gently squeeze the liquid out of the spinach.
3) Heat sesame oil in a large pan over medium-high heat. Add garlic and cook 2 minutes.
4) Add the spinach, liquid aminos, and sesame seeds and cook for about 5 minutes.

 

Other Ingredients
1 egg, fried sunny side up (per serving)
kimchi (optional)
hot sauce, like gochujang (optional)

 

Bibimbap Assembly
1)
Spread some cauliflower rice along the bottom of each bowl.
2)
Place the fried egg on top of the rice, with the yolk at the center of the bowl.
3)
Arrange beef bulgogi, veggies and kimchi around the fried egg. Serve with hot sauce on the side.

Twice Baked Sweet Potatoes

These potatoes make a unique and flavorful side dish to any meal, and, just like every thing I love and share on this blog, they’re easy to make! Easy and tasty is my favorite kind of recipe. Always! There are some walnuts and fresh kale in these potatoes for a little extra texture and nutritional punch, and the spices and goat cheese really pack flavor into what would otherwise be a plain old baked sweet potato. Oh, and did I mention there’s some bacon, too? Yeah, there’s bacon. These potatoes pair well with anything, but if you’re stumped, try making them alongside some Pesto Baked Chicken!

Twice Baked Sweet Potatoes
serves 4

Ingredients
2 sweet potatoes, halved length-wise
1 T ghee
1 T maple syrup
2 strips cooked bacon, chopped
1 c finely chopped kale
¼ c finely chopped walnuts
3 T herbed goat cheese
¼ t smoked paprika
¼ t cayenne pepper
salt & pepper

Directions
1) Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
2) Place halved sweet potatoes cut side up on a baking sheet, tent with foil, and bake for 45 minutes.
3) When the potatoes are fork tender, let them cool while you gather and chop the ingredients.
4) Using a spoon, gently scoop out the cooked sweet potato leaving the skin intact. Add the scooped out sweet potato to a large mixing bowl. Add in the rest of the flesh of the potatoes, butter, maple syrup, salt, pepper, paprika, and cayenne. Mix together while slightly mashing with the spoon.
5) Stir in most of the cooked bacon, kale, walnuts, and goat cheese while leaving a little bit of each behind for a topping. Scoop a few spoonfuls of the sweet potato mixture back into each of the potato skins. Place the filled sweet potatoes back in the oven for ten more minutes.
6) Place sweet potatoes on a plate and top with remaining kale, bacon, goat cheese crumbles, and walnuts and then serve. Potatoes last three days wrapped in foil in the refrigerator. Reheat in the oven.

Pesto Baked Chicken

I made this recipe as a surprise dinner for my husband a little while back, and I think we were both surprised at how delicious it was. I was equally impressed at how simple it was to make! My husband had never had much goat cheese in a recipe before, so I was slightly nervous he might not like this baked chicken dish. There is a good bit of it on top, but combined with the tangy tomato and the basil pesto, the flavor was far from overpowering (for those with picky eaters). It created a perfect medley of mouthwatering flavor in my mouth, and all I wanted was to eat more. This dish is great to serve for company, especially because for some reason goat cheese sounds fancy, and so does pesto for that matter (even though they’re really both not). It looks appetizing, too, and as I said, so easy to make.

Pesto Baked Chicken
serves 4

Ingredients
4 chicken breasts
1 c pesto
2 medium tomatoes, sliced
4 oz herbed goat cheese

Directions
1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2) Place your chicken into a baking dish. Scoop 1/4 cup of pesto on each piece and spread evenly over the whole chicken breast.
3) Bake for 30 minutes.
4) Take the chicken out and layer slices of tomato and goat cheese on top of the chicken and bake for 10 more minutes. You may have to cut up the goat cheese into chunks – I smashed mine into a slightly spreadable consistency and scooped it on top.
5) Turn the oven to broil and put the pan on the top shelf for 3-5 minutes until the goat cheese starts to brown.

Pumpkin Pie Bites

I know pumpkin is generally considered a fall thing, but to be honest I like pumpkin all year ’round. Whether it be savory, roasted whole with some delicious herbs or with that good, old pumpkin pie spice. I originally tried this recipe in the fall, but never got around to sharing it. It’s extremely easy to make, and makes a wonderful, bite size snack to ease a sugary craving. Plus, it’s a flavor you wouldn’t normally get from a snack this time of year! After I tried the Carrot Cake Balls earlier last year, I was pretty excited to give these a try. The pumpkin pie bites turned out just as wonderful. They taste even better with a little dollop of coconut whipped cream – just like the real thing! It got me excited to make more “dessert bite” recipes, like lemon cake or pecan pie (coming soon!). I hope you enjoy them!

Pumpkin Pie Bites
Makes about 20

Ingredients
1/3 cup honey
1/3 cup almond butter
1/3 cup coconut oil
1/4 cup pumpkin puree
1/2 tsp cinnamon*
1/4 tsp nutmeg*
1/4 tsp ginger*
1/4 tsp cloves*
1/4 tsp allspice*
1/2 tsp vanilla
2 cups shredded unsweetened coconut

*Or 1 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice

Directions
1) Mix everything except coconut in a large microwave safe bowl.
2) Stir until well combined and nuke for 20 seconds. You can skip this step if you don’t like using the microwave, but it melds the flavors of the sauce.
3) In the same bowl, add in shredded coconut and mix well.
4) Scoop 1 tablespoon mounds onto a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper or silicon mat.
5) Refrigerate for 2 hours to set.
6) Move to airtight container and store in fridge for up to a week.

Curried Chicken Saute & Spicy Roasted Chickpeas

This dish is another one of those super quick, super easy, trying to make a decent meal when I’m running around like a chicken with its head cut off kind of dinners. Getting back into the swing of things after such a huge break for the holidays has taken a little longer than I anticipated. Meals like this are awesome because they are full of flavor, cheap to make, simple on ingredients and, of course, really tasty. Mike has really grown to love curry the past year or two, and even though he isn’t crazy about peppers, he really loved this dish. The chickpeas are a great side to dip into the gooey, delicious coconut curry pepper mix, but they also make a great snack all on their own! And they are even easier than making kale chips (which, if you didn’t know, is pretty stinkin easy), which is a win-win-win!!

Curried Chicken Saute

Ingredients
2 t curry powder, divided
4 chx brsts
1 T coconut oil
1 bag frozen pepper & onion mix
3/4 c coconut milk
1/2 t smoked paprika
1/2 t powdered ginger
4 lime wedges

Directions
1) Heat the oil in a medium pan. Combine 1 tsp of the curry and some salt & pepper and rub on both sides of the chicken breasts, then cook chicken until done.
2) Remove chicken and add bag of onions & peppers, along with the remaining curry and other spices. Saute for about 5 minutes.
3) Add coconut milk and bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer 5 minutes.
4) Juice lime over chicken and serve with spicy roasted chickpeas.

 

Spicy Roasted Chickpeas

Ingredients
1 can chickpeas
1 T olive oil
1/4 t garlic powder
1/4 t cumin
1/4 t ginger
1/4 t smoked paprika
1/2 t chili powder
1/2 t curry powder
salt & pepper

Directions
1) Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Combine all spices into a small bowl, mix and set aside. Drain and rinse chickpeas and roll them dry on a paper towel.
3) Add chickpeas to a large mixing bowl and toss in olive oil. Once well-coated, add the spice mix and toss again until chickpeas are all covered in the spice mix.
2) Pour chickpeas onto a baking sheet and bake 25-30 minutes, or until chickpeas are to your desired crispness.

Mexican Chilaquiles

IT’S BEEN A WHILE!!!

As I imagine it is for everyone, the Christmas season was very busy for me, so I decided to take a break. Thanksgiving and Christmas were better this year than ever, but I have to admit, Mike & I reallllly let our eating habits slip. We offered to bring paleo dishes to Thanksgiving to at least tone things down a bit, but apparently everyone was already making all the dishes anyone needed. At Christmas, we did make a small handful of sides and desserts, but there were so many cookies and candies and Christmas banquets that it didn’t really matter. And of course, we celebrated our one year anniversary on New Year’s Eve in Pittsburgh by eating at our favorite food joints – all week. Needless to say, I’m ready to get back in the swing of things and not feel tired and sluggish anymore.

My last recipe was for super easy and super tasty Microwave Sweet Potato Chips. I was so excited when I discovered I could make those, since they can be a tad pricey when you buy them in stores. The reason I even played around with making my own sweet potato chips was to make this recipe. It may not look like much, but it is ohhh, so delicious. I made this for breakfast one morning and served it with a side of Mexican Hot Chocolate. But you could really eat it any meal. Or every meal. My only advice is to be careful when working with the frying pan after it comes out of the oven. I need to invest is one of those handle cover oven mits, because after I took my chilaquiles out of the oven, I forgot the handle was also 375 degrees when I went to cut the servings from the pan. Ouch. So just remember that the handle is hot and you’ll be all set!

 

Mexican Chilaquiles

Ingredients
1 onion, chopped
1 T ghee (or butter)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 c chicken broth
2 T adobo sauce
1 small can diced green chiles
2 c sweet potato chips (recipe here)
4 eggs
salt & pepper
salsa
green onion (optional)
lime wedge

Directions
1) Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
2) In an oven safe pan, saute the onion in ghee for about 4 minutes.
3) Add the garlic and saute another minute.
4) Pour in the broth, chiles and chipotle peppers in adobo sauce and stir well. Bring to boil, then reduce heat to a simmer.
5) Slowly add sweet potato chips, adding more as they absorb the broth.
6) Once all the chips are moist, crack 4 eggs over the top then transfer to the oven to bake for 12-14 min.
7) Remove from the oven, let cool for a few minutes, then juice a lime wedge over the whole thing. Serve with refried beans, salsa, and green onion or lettuce! Enjoy!

Microwave Sweet Potato Chips

I have an addiction to potato chips. I could literally sit down and eat an entire family size bag in one sitting. Disgusting, right? I couldn’t agree more. Something about the crispy, crunchy, saltiness just keeps me coming back for more. Since switching to paleo this year, I haven’t been able to eat potato chips (probably for the best, really). I can’t deny that there has been a little hole in my life where potato chips used to be. I don’t miss bread that much. I don’t ever miss pasta. But I miss potato chips. Luckily, a lot of stores now carry sweet potato chips! Not so luckily, they are often overpriced (in my opinion) for how much you get. So, I set off to make my own sweet potato chips. I tried one batch in the oven, but my oven is pretty old and a little fickle, so I opted for the microwave! Super easy, but can be time consuming, depending on how much you want to make and how big your microwave plate is. Worth it, either way, for me.

Microwave Sweet Potato Chips

Ingredients
1 large sweet potato
1 t olive oil (or flavored oil of your choice)
salt & pepper (or other seasonings of your choice)

Directions
1)
Peel your potato if desired. Using a mandolin, slice your potato very thinly (I set my mandolin to about 1/8 of an inch. You can cut these with knife just as well, just make sure you take your time and slice them thin!)
2)
Toss the potato slices in a bowl with olive oil and make sure everything is evenly coated. Use your hands if you need to.
3) Add your desired spices and seasonings, and toss again.
4) Cut a piece of parchment paper the size and shape of your microwave dish. Place one layer of slices around the paper on your microwave dish until the plate is full. Microwave on HIGH for 3 1/2 to 4 minutes. Keep an eye on them after about 3 minutes so you can pull out any chips starting to brown before they burn.
5) Best served immediately. (they might get a little soft if you try to keep them, but they still taste pretty dang good!)

Other Seasoning Suggestions:

  • chili powder, salt, cumin & garlic powder
  • cayenne, salt and pepper
  • garlic, oregano & lemon zest
  • basil, garlic powder, paprika, curry powder, onion powder
  • chipotle pepper powder, smoke paprika, salt
  • cinnamon & salt
  • pumpkin spice

The options are endless!

Waffle Reuben Sandwich

I know that there are a lot of paleo bread recipes out there, but to be honest, I just don’t miss bread that much. I do, however, miss the feeling of eating a sandwich. That might not make much sense, but it does to me. Anyway, I finally got around to trying a sandwich recipe, and mostly because the bread is made of waffles! No baking required here. As long as you oil your waffle maker well enough, there’s almost no clean up from it either. These waffles came out so clean and perfect and fluffy – and they really do taste like rye bread. It’s a win, win, win. If you like Reubens, you’ll love these too.

Reuben Waffle Sandwiches
(adapted from Brittany Angell)

Ingredients
1.5 c almond flour
1 c tapioca starch
4 t baking powder
1/2 t salt
2 eggs
1/2 c olive oil
1 c coconut milk
1 t lemon juice
2 T caraway seed
1/2 lb corned beef. thinly sliced
1/2 lb pastrami, thinly sliced
sauerkraut (as much or as little as you like!)
russian dressing (recipe here)

Directions
1) Mix together the almond flour, tapioca starch, baking powder, salt, eggs, oil, milk, lemon juice and caraway seeds until you have a smooth batter.
2) Create waffles using a waffle maker, pouring about 1/2 cup of batter for each waffle. Be sure to lightly grease the waffle maker using olive oil, coconut oil, or ghee.
3) Assemble sandwiches with dressing on each waffle, pastrami, corned beef, then sauerkraut. Eat and enjoy!