Harvest Casserole (AIP Friendly)

Harvest Casserole

I love the warm colors, and flavors, of fall. I’m always excited when I start to see a variety of winter squashes and crisp apples appear in the stores. Winter squashes are a great, safe starch- they are affordable, and there are an amazing array of tastes, textures, and colors available.

My Harvest Casserole has been a favorite in our family for years, and somehow I have never blogged about it! This is a great meal to make ahead, and just pop in the oven before dinner, so it is great for a busy family. It is also a wonderful meal to share with others, when a friend has a new baby or an illness in the house. It freezes well, too. It is a comforting mixture of butternut squash, crisp apples, raisin, and ground beef, a bit savory and a bit sweet- and just perfect for a chilly evening. Harvest Casserole is also a great food for a baby who is just starting to experience combined tastes and textures. It was my son’s favorite food when he was 10 months old. (Of course, now he won’t touch it because it is all mushed together- more for me!) I love eating the leftovers for breakfast, too.

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Sweet Plantain Bread with Cinnamon and Raisins

Sweet Plantain Bread with Cinnamon and Raisins

We love our plantains, whether green or ripe, and we have eaten them in pretty much every way possible. A while ago I had some ripe plantains growing ever riper and sweeter by the moment, so I thought it would be time to experiment, and we are so glad we did! I have gotten rave reviews from everyone I have shared a taste of this simple, sweet quick bread with. Even Jonathan, who as much as he loves plantains has consistently balked at any plantain baked goods gobbled it up. I love that there is no added sweetener- it is only the sweet, ripe plantains and the raisins that make this delicious, moist quick bread a sweet treat. Someone who tasted it exclaimed “It tastes like Christmas!” and for me it is a reminder of some of my favorite quick breads from my childhood.

Sweet Plantain Bread with Cinnamon and Raisins- loaf

This recipe calls for plantain flour, which I make myself by dehydrating plantains and then grinding them to a very fine flour in the blender. But you can purchase it here (although it is pretty pricey!) You could also try experimenting with some other Paleo-friendly flours, like coconut.

For a delicious variation that is just right for a birthday celebration, try substituting chocolate chips for the raisins. A definite crowd pleaser!

Sweet Plantain cake with Chocolate chips

 

Sweet Plantain Bread with Cinnamon and Raisins
Serves 12
A simple, slightly sweet quick bread that is sure to please even the pickiest eater.
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Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
25 min
Total Time
45 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
25 min
Total Time
45 min
Ingredients
  1. 3 extra large ripe plantains (yellow, with some black spots) - approx. 16-20 oz.
  2. 1/2 C plantain flour
  3. 3 Tbsp oil of choice (i.e. coconut, olive, lard)
  4. 1 Tbsp vanilla
  5. 1 tsp baking soda
  6. 1 heaping tsp cinnamon
  7. 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  8. scant 1/2 tsp sea salt
  9. 1/2 C raisins, opt. (more or less to taste)
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350. Prepare a loaf pan by lightly greasing bottom and sides with oil.
  2. Peel the plantains and cut into chunks. Puree in a blender or food processor until smooth.
  3. Add oil and vanilla, blending until well combined. Add remaining ingredients, except for raisins, and blend until well combined. Gently stir in raisins.
  4. Pour into prepared baking pan and smooth out the top.
  5. Bake in preheated oven for 25-30 min until top is firm and toothpick inserted into center comes out clean.
  6. Immediately turn out onto a cooling rack, and allow to cool 10 minutes before slicing and enjoying.
Notes
  1. For a delicious variation, try adding chocolate chips instead of raisins! Sooo good.
  2. I have toyed around with the idea of making little tea sandwiches, perhaps with a cashew cheese filling.
Created To Be Paleo http://CreatedToBePaleo.com/

Chebe Bread Hack

Chebe hack

I’m not sure that most people in the mainstream Paleo community would even consider

Chebe Bread Hack (Gluten-free, grain-free, dairy-free, egg-free)
Serves 8
A great flat bread option to enjoy with soup or a delicious curry. Or try it as a pizza crust or wrapped around a yummy hot dog for pigs in a blanket.
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
12 min
Total Time
22 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
12 min
Total Time
22 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 box Chebe All-Purpose Mix
  2. 1/3 C carrot puree
  3. 2 Tbsp oil (I usually use olive oil)
  4. 2 Tbsp chia seed meal
  5. Water (approx 1/3-1/2 C)
  6. Additional oil to bush on top
  7. Opt: salt, garlic powder, Italian seasoning, or any other spices you would like to spread on top
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 400. Prepare 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. Add the Chebe mix to a mixing bowl. (Be careful, it is a very fine powder and will go everywhere!) Then add the carrot puree, oil, and water. Mix until well-combined. It will look a bit crumbly.
  3. While the mixer is running, slowly add water until dough begins to form into a ball. (If you've ever made regular bread you will know exactly what I mean.) It usually takes just over 1/3 C water for me to get the right consistency.
  4. Knead dough (with the mixer or by hand) until you have a smooth, elastic dough.
  5. Divide the dough into equal sized balls. I usually do 6-8 when making flat bread, or 4 when making pizza crust.
  6. Roll the dough balls out between two pieces of parchment paper, until about 1/8 inch thick. (You don't want to make it too thick or the resulting bread will be gummy.)
  7. Transfer to prepared baking sheet. Prick each flatbread several times with a fork. Lightly brush top with oil. If desired, you can season it to taste with salt, garlic powder, Italian seasoning, etc.
  8. Bake for 12-15 minutes until done. (It may puff up.) The bread will make a hollow sound when tapped. Enjoy immediately!
Notes
  1. For pizza: Prepare as above, then top with desired pizza toppings. (i.e. tomato sauce or pesto, pepperoni, veggies, etc.) Bake 12-15 minutes until done.
  2. For pigs on a blanket: Wrap the rolled out flatbreads around a hot dog. Lightly prick the bread with a fork, brush with oil and bake 12-15 minutes until done.
  3. For bread sticks, roll a small piece of dough between your hands until desired thickness is reached. Bake 13-15 min.
Created To Be Paleo http://CreatedToBePaleo.com/

 

 

Cooking with Kids: Pumpkin Pie

A few days before Halloween this year, we were over at my Mom’s house to celebrate a birthday in the family. She gave each of the grand kids a sugar pie pumpkin and a tray of paints and told them to go to town decorating them, which they did with great gusto. She also told them we would be able to wash the paint off and be able to use them to make pumpkin pies.

Aurora painting pumpkinJonathan's painty hands

Well, the day before Thanksgiving, Jonathan decided that we had to use his pumpkin to make pumpkin pie. So he spent a joyful half hour at the sink washing all of the paint off so we could make a Thanksgiving pumpkin pie. I baked the pumpkin that evening, and early Thanksgiving morning the two of us got to work in the kitchen.

He helped me scoop the pumpkin flesh out of the shell to puree it in the food processor.

Scooping out the cooked pumpkin

 Then we got to work making our crust. He helped me measure and mix it, and then press it into the pie pan. We used this recipe for the Gingerbread Crust from PaleOMG. We pretty much followed the recipe, substituting coconut oil for the grass-fed butter. I would suggest lowering the oven temperature and watching the crust very carefully for doneness, since our crust was burned in a few places.

Then onto the filling, using our homemade pumpkin puree. We chose this Raw, No Bake Triple-Chocolate Pumpkin Pie Filling from Living Healthy With Chocolate, because it has chocolate, and I can get Jonathan to try just about anything that has chocolate in it! (I had serious doubts he would actually eat a regular, pumpkiny pie, and I really wanted him to eat and enjoy the food he had made.) It paired beautifully with the Gingerbread Crust, and set up nicely after a few hours in the fridge. (We also made a couple crust-less ones in ramekins, since his Nina tries to not eat too many nuts.) The only thing I would change here is to maybe add some mini-chocolate chips to the filling, but it was otherwise perfect and amazing!

The chef

A sweet kiss

urora's kiss was even sweeter!

 Everyone in the family enjoyed Jonathan’s addition to our Thanksgiving feast! And most importantly, my super-picky eater loved it!

Yum!I had a delightful time in the kitchen working with my precious son. Usually I am so rushed trying to get meals on the table that it is hard to take the time having “help” in the kitchen requires. But I am so glad I did it that day! It is certainly a joyful memory I will always carry with me. I think I’m going to have to make my little chef an apron of his own. (I have a love of aprons- I got two new ones for Christmas!)

Fun in the kitchen with Honey

 

Carrot Spice Plantain Muffins

Carrot Spice Muffins

One of our staples for a quick and easy breakfast has been my Apple-Cinnamon Almond Flour Muffins or Double-Chocolate Almond Flour Muffins. It is so nice to be able to grab a muffin from the freezer to satisfy an empty tummy on a busy morning. But with Aurora’s allergies to both tree nuts and coconut oil, I have been trying to come up with an easy breakfast alternative that would be safe and nourishing for her to eat as well.

As you know, I have been experimenting a lot with plantains (see here and here), which Aurora seems to do very well with. So I thought I would try my hand at coming up with a muffin recipe made from plantains that she, and the whole family, could enjoy without fear of an adverse reaction. I have been working on this recipe for quite a while- I believe that I went through at least a dozen versions before I came up with what I feel is a perfect balance. (It’s a good thing plantains are so inexpensive!)

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Chocolate Chip Cookies- Made from Plantains!

Chocolate Chip Cookies (from plantains) 

I haven’t had chocolate chip cookies in a really, really long time. And usually, I’m pretty OK with that. But sometimes a girl just longs for the delicious sweetness, comfort and fond memories a fresh-from-the-oven, warm and gooey chocolate chip cookie can evoke. I was very happy to find a recipe for chocolate chip cookies made from plantains on a favorite blog, Purely Twins, last week. Unfortunately, it used coconut flour, coconut sugar, and coconut oil, all of which Aurora is allergic to. So of course, I did a little tinkering and I am so pleased with the results.

Gooey Chocolate Chip CookieMy husband was pretty amazed when he walked in the kitchen to see what the delicious smell was. He thought they smelled, tasted, and looked like the real thing. (The texture isn’t the same- these have a pretty soft cake-like texture- but we can’t have everything, can we?) Aurora really enjoyed them, too. I know she was very happy to be able to take a cookie with her in her snack bag to church. And now that I have a good cookie alternative for her, maybe I can keep her from snagging her brother’s cookies, since she is allergic to the nuts and coconut I use when baking for Jonathan.

Enjoy my version of these delicious Chocolate Chip Cookies.

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Blueberry-Banana Plantain Pancakes

Blueberry Banana PancakesBefore Aurora was born, Pumpkin Almond Flour Pancakes (recipe coming soon!) were a regular breakfast offering in our family. Since Aurora is allergic to tree nuts I don’t do as much with almond flour as I used to, so I have had to be a little more creative in coming up with a pancake recipe that everyone can eat.

Plantains have become a staple in our house. Green plantains are nice, safe starches- they are even FODMAP friendly! And plantains are so incredibly versatile. From green plantains you can make a savory side, like tostones or plantain chips, a delicious not-too-sweet breakfast or treat, or even crunchy crackers. Ripe plantains are a nice treat in the form of maduros. Although our plantains rarely last long enough to ever become ripe. And they are so inexpensive- they only cost $0.20 each at the grocery store, so it takes less than $2 to whip up a batch of these pancakes.

Aurora loves her pancakes!I recently found a great blog, called Purely Twins, and they have a major love affair with plantains. Their blog has already inspired a number of Plantain creations that I look forward to sharing with you soon. I originally found their recipe for Banana Bread Plantain Pancakes, and I present it now to you, with just a minimum of tinkering. They are quick and easy to throw together for a family breakfast. My husband says they smell like French Toast and taste absolutely delicious, and Aurora is obviously a huge fan. The only downside is that they are best fresh and lose a lot of their charm when reheated.

 

 

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Apple-Cinnamon Almond Flour Muffins

Apple-Cinnamon Almond Flour MuffinsAlmond flour has been a staple in our household for quite some time, although it doesn’t get used as much these days due to Aurora’s tree nut allergy and foraging habit. Add in our egg allergies, and it has been tricky to come up with a delicious muffin recipe that will both hold together and stay moist and delicious. This Apple-Cinnamon Muffin strikes the right balance between being a sweet treat and a safe and easy breakfast food. I hope you will enjoy them as much as Jonathan does!

(Note: Jonathan likes his “plain” so we leave out the apples for him, but they are so delicious with the apples in that I often make two batches- one without apples for Jonathan, and one with for the grown-ups.)

Apple-Cinnamon Almond Flour Muffins
Serves 12
A delicious breakfast treat with just the right amount of sweetness.
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Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
25 min
Total Time
40 min
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
25 min
Total Time
40 min
Ingredients
  1. 2 cups blanched almond flour
  2. 1/2 tsp sea salt
  3. 1/2 tsp baking soda
  4. 1/4 C arrowroot powder
  5. 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  6. 1/4 C coconut oil (or oil of choice)
  7. 1/4 C raw honey
  8. 1 ripe banana
  9. 1 Tbsp vanilla extract
  10. 1/2 tsp baking powder mixed in 2 Tbsp water (helps replace the egg)
  11. 2 medium apples, peeled, cored and diced into 1/4 inch cubes
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 325. Line 12 muffin cups with paper liners.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the almond flour, salt, baking soda, arrowroot and cinnamon. In a medium bowl, blend together the coconut oil, honey, and vanilla. Add the ripe banana and baking powder/water mixture and mix until smooth.
  3. Add the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix until combined thoroughly. Fold in the apple pieces. Spoon the batter into the prepared muffin cups.
  4. Bake for 25-30 minutes, until the muffin tops are golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Allow to cool in pan for 30 minutes before serving.
Notes
  1. These freeze really well! Make up a double batch and freeze half, then thaw for a few seconds in the microwave for a quick breakfast.
  2. Try different fruits, like diced pears, peaches, or blueberries.
Created To Be Paleo http://CreatedToBePaleo.com/

Double-Chocolate Almond Flour Muffins

Double Chocolate Almond Flour MuffinsI love chocolate! (Who doesn’t, really?) The richer and darker the better as far as I, and the rest of my family are concerned. And these Double-Chocolate Almond Flour Muffins certainly fit the bill! I love to eat them when they are warm, with the chocolate chips just a little bit melty and gooey.

This is a simple variation on my Apple-Cinnamon Muffin recipe and has been used for everything from breakfast treats to birthday cupcakes to potluck offerings. And it is one of those recipes that people can hardly believe is Paleo, much less egg-free and (mostly) refined sugar free.

Double-Chocolate Almond Flour Muffins
Serves 12
A sweet, rich and decadent chocolate treat.
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Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
25 min
Total Time
40 min
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
25 min
Total Time
40 min
Ingredients
  1. 2 cups blanched almond flour
  2. 1/2 tsp sea salt
  3. 1/2 tsp baking soda
  4. 1/4 C arrowroot powder
  5. 1/4 C cocoa powder
  6. 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  7. 1/4 C coconut oil (or oil of choice)
  8. 1/4 C raw honey
  9. 1 ripe banana
  10. 1 Tbsp vanilla extract
  11. 1/2 tsp baking powder mixed in 2 Tbsp water (helps replace the egg)
  12. 1/2 C chocolate chips (more or less as preferred)
  13. 2-3 Tbsp water (if needed)
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 325. Line 12 muffin cups with paper liners.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the almond flour, salt, baking soda, arrowroot and cinnamon. In a medium bowl, blend together the coconut oil, honey, and vanilla. Add the ripe banana and baking powder/water mixture and mix until smooth.
  3. Add the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix until combined thoroughly. If necessary, add 2-3 Tbsp water to make a smooth batter. Fold in the chocolate chips. Spoon the batter into the prepared muffin cups.
  4. Bake for 25-30 minutes, until the muffin tops are firm and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Allow to cool in pan for 30 minutes before serving.
Notes
  1. These freeze well, and make a lovely presentation for a birthday or tea party.
Adapted from Apple-Cinnamon Almond Flour Muffins
Created To Be Paleo http://CreatedToBePaleo.com/
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