Cue the Boys II Men song, End of the Road. The big event is here and after all the recipe testing, menu planning and grocery shopping it all comes to fruition in the big feast and soon all we’ll have remaining are full bellies, happy memories and hopefully lots of leftovers.
This week has been ALL about getting you prepped for the days after. With minimal cooking and making great use of the leftovers, I want you to just keep the holiday comfort food party going and of course, I never ever want you to throw away any food! This Turkey Pot Pie Soup with Grain-free Drop Biscuits is about as good as it gets when we are talking about comfort food and leftovers. This is the ultimate and without any grains or dairy, you can feel good after indulging!
It’s here, it’s here! Cherry season is upon us. One of the tastiest times of the year, if you ask me. Naturally, to know me is to know that one of my favorite ways to pair them is with chocolate. Because chocolate seems to be my answer to all of life’s questions, even the ones not being asked.
I love chocolate so much that I have been known to keep a bar of 85 – 90% dark chocolate in the freezer or fridge at all times. A small square of that goodness after a delicious dinner, that’s really all I need in life. Except maybe these tartlets, these are pretty amazing, too! By the way, that 30+ days I did on the Autoimmune Protocol, skipping chocolate completely throughout the entire process was harder than anything else. I did it, but I wasn’t happy about it.
These pretty, naturally grain-free and vegan chocolate cherry mini tarts, have a delicious nut-based crust, filled with a rich and smooth, cherry-flecked ganache and topped with homemade coconut whipped cream.
Tasty Yummies Travels // I am finding myself, once again, bitten by the wanderlust bug and therefore I have been hitting the road, traveling more and more. There is so much to explore in this vast and beautiful world, but this can also be completely daunting to those of us venturing out with a list of dietary challenges. As I hit the road I plan to share my travels and adventures along the way with you. It is important to me to share both the ease and at times, the struggles of traveling while maintaining the balance of the lives we cultivate and flourish with at home. For the first in this ongoing series I am taking you along with me to the beautiful Islands of Loreto, in the Baja California Sur, Mexico.
Growing up on the east coast, Mexican culture wasn’t exactly part of my upbringing. Enjoying the foods and all of the incredible bold flavors was something I reserved for trips to Texas or California. Since moving to Southern California I have had the pleasure of visiting Mexico on several occasions this past year and each trip is an exciting, beautiful and of course, delicious adventure.
My visit to the Islands of Loreto this past week meant I was fully submerged into all the Baja California Sur has to offer. Truth be told, these Islands off the coast and this particular region of the BCS was an area I previously didn’t even know existed as a travel destination. It’s off the beaten path, likely overlooked by most travelers in favor of it’s popular neighbor to the south, Cabo San Lucas. But, what Cabo is to college-aged Spring-Breakers, Loreto is to calm, relaxation-seeking, wellness warriors, like myself.
My stay the Villa del Palmar Resort at the Islands of Loreto was a phenomenal one I will never forget. A week of wellness where delicious, fresh, beautifully prepared food was abundant, each plate served was a work of art more beautiful than the last. We ventured out on morning hikes into the hills over-looking the serene Sea of Cortez, the many islands and the incredible, vast untouched land surrounding the resort. We started and ended our days with yoga on the beach while the sound of the soft, calm waves found their way onto shore. By boat, with the salty sea breeze and the hot sun, kissing my skin, we explored the islands and witnesses some of the many native birds. We got an even closer look at the marine-life by snorkeling amongst the coral in the crystal blue clear water off one of the islands. Our lush time at the gorgeous Sabilla Spa took pampering to a whole new level with accommodations unlike anything I have ever seen, the hydrotherapy room alone is worth the visit. We also took a guided group trip into town, complete with a visit to the Misión de Nuestra Señora de Loreto Conchó. I loved exploring and experiencing the rich culture and history of the area and of course let’s be real, the local foods. This was the most wonderful way to feel deeply connected to the roots of this magical place I was so fortunate to visit.
In case you haven’t heard, it has been unbelievably hot here in Southern California, as of late! I know, I know, for those of you already dealing with overnight frosts and possibly even snow, I know you don’t want to hear about it. But, with temperatures near (and over) 100º for what seems like nearly two weeks – I am pretty much over it.
The worst part is that I have absolutely zero desire to eat or cook in this heat. Nothing is appetizing to me and in turn, when I am not properly nourishing my body with the healthy nutrients and other good things that it needs, I am left feeling tired and totally lacking in energy – it’s a vicious cycle.
Since a couple of scoops of freezing cold ice cream, as good as it sounds, isn’t an appropriate meal nor does it contain a bit of anything healthy, I decided to come up with a green smoothie, on the fly, that would satisfy those cravings but actually provide some sustenance.
Your farmer brings you a bunch of Asian pears and apples, I mean really, what else is there to do with them then soak them in some booze? OK, yeh, I know, predictable – another blog post that I start out talking about my CSA. Snore! But, to be honest, every single week that box of goodies that shows up on my doorstep, delivered by my farmer himself, and it inspires me and my cooking in so many ways. Every Wednesday, I feel like I am on a game show, where a mystery box shows up and I have to get creative with whatever I am given.
Sure I could have just eaten the apples and pears straight up, but where is the fun in that? Plus, I have to assume if I am getting apples and pears in my weekly box, other folks are too, and they might want some fun ideas on how to prepare them. It doesn’t get much more fun than these Red Wine Poached Apples and Pears with Cinnamon Whipped Coconut Cream.
A friend of ours, John, works in the “wine biz” up in LA. What he exactly does, I am not 100% totally sure, but what I am sure of is that he gave me a huge case of some really nice wines the last time I saw him – so he is A-OK in my book. These days I don’t do a ton of drinking, if we have guests or it’s a special occasion, maybe, but generally I drink very little at home. But, cooking with wine, that’s far more my speed.
Instead of calling this one a recipe, I feel like I should call it a “requirement.” You NEED to grill some peaches, as soon as possible. I feel like this should be mandatory for everyone in the summer months.
It all started with this salad and I haven’t been able to stop since. This particular simple and sweet dish that I am sharing today would be the perfect way to end any summer meal, and it would be especially great at pretty much any summer BBQ. It also makes the perfect snack when you are craving something a little sweet.
I serve mine with a dollop of homemade whipped coconut cream. But, if you eat dairy, you could also just serve it with regular whipped cream, your favorite yogurt, ice cream or even, some mascarpone, crème fraîche or burrata.
This tutorial series has been a really fun way for me to share with you guys some of my favorite DIYs and How-to’s. But, I have also really enjoyed the challenge of exploring and conquering things I have long been dreaming of. Last post it was the yogurt and this time it’s this cream cheese.
Since I have almost entirely cut dairy out of my life, cream cheese is one of those things I just haven’t been able to find a good substitute for. Most of the store bought alternatives are loaded with soy, preservatives, thickeners and other weird stuff. Not my scene at all. Once or twice a year I like to treat myself with some of the amazing gluten-free and vegan bagels from Rising Hearts Bakery in LA and I am so happy to now have an amazing homemade dairy-free cream cheese to enjoy with them.
Here it is, the first of, I am sure, many, many pumpkin recipes for the season. If you haven’t noticed in years past, or if I haven’t made it clear enough, I am an absolute autumn junkie! I love just everything about it. Well everything except the part about summer being over. Living on the East Coast the fall is by far the most beautiful season of them all, the colors are incredible, the air has a crisp, cool breeze that feels like a dream, I get excited to pull out the fall boots, scarfs and other various layers and I plan lots of fun autumn activities for us. Fall is definitely the reminder that we are all getting ready to hunker down and get all cozy for the long winter ahead and somehow no one around here really minds, in fact in some ways it is welcomed with open arms and even celebrated. We haven’t even sold our house yet but I am sure of the fact that I am going to miss Autumn almost as much as my family, once we officially make the move to California.
For me, nothing celebrates all of the lovely things about Autumn better than a spiced pumpkin treat, so when Danielle of Against All Grain contacted me to share a recipe with her readers, and she gave me the list of dates, I had to choose today, September 22, the Autumnal Equinox. The perfect day to celebrate all things pumpkin!
I am sure most of you are, but if you aren’t familiar with Danielle’s incredible blog, Against All Grain, you MUST get yourself acquainted. Against All Grain celebrates and shares wonderful recipes that are entirely grain-free (and therefore consequently gluten-free), free of refined sugars, and low to minimal dairy. Danielle’s site is great for those that follow the Paleo, Primal, SCD, GAPS, and Gluten-Free lifestyles. Danielle wrote to ask me to share a post with her readers while she is off working on her Against All Grain cookbook that will be on shelves in Fall 2013 and I am so excited for her, I definitely plan to have that book in my collection!
These pumpkin pie tarts are quite simple to make (although it may seem like a lot of steps when you read the recipe) and they will knock the socks off any pumpkin lover. The crust is entirely grain-free made with almond flour and it has a hint of spices that make the house smell so lovely when they are baking. The pie filling is creamy and rich but without any dairy, which is amazingly unbelievable. Of course, I had to top these treats off with a little whipped coconut cream to round out the flavors perfectly.
This post was originally shared on Against All Grain. If you are looking for my quick and easy recipe for making your own pumpkin puree at home see my post here.
[print_this]Grain-free Mini Pumpkin Pie Tarts (Gluten-free, Vegan + Refined Sugar-free)
(Makes 12 mini-tarts)
- 2 cups almond flour
- 2 tablespoons maple syrup*
- 1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- dash of ground nutmeg
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup raw cashews, soaked for at least 4 hours, preferably overnight
- 1/4 cup maple syrup*
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 cup fresh pumpkin puree (see my post on how to make your own, canned will also do)
- 2 tablespoons coconut oil, melted
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
- a pinch of ground cloves
- a dash of sea salt
Whipped Coconut Cream:
- 1 can organic full fat coconut milk, refrigerated overnight
- 2 teaspoons maple syrup (use more or less or none at all, or whatever your favorite sweetener is)*
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
*Maple can be substituted 1:1 for honey if you follow SCD
Preheat oven to 350ºF. Line 12 cups in a muffin tin with paper liners (you could also use greased mini tart pans).
In a large bowl, add all of the crust ingredients and mix very well. Really get your hands in there to get it all together and work it into a nice dough.
Add the crust mixture to the muffin cups and press down firmly into the cup using your knuckles, going up the sides a tad bit.
Bake for 15-20 minutes until golden brown.
Allow to cool in the pan for about 10 minutes, then place the pan in the refrigerator until you are ready to assemble the tarts and serve. (Many times I make the tart shells the night before and keep them in the fridge until I am ready to serve)
Drain the cashews and add them to your food processor and give them a whirl by themselves for a bit, to break them up and start turning them into a paste of sorts.
Once the cashews are broken up add in the maple syrup, vanilla and coconut oil, process that a bit more until it is a smooth and creamy paste.
Add in the remaining ingredients and process until smooth and creamy.
Whipped Coconut Cream:
Make sure that your can of coconut milk is well chilled. I recommend leaving it in the fridge overnight. Open the can of coconut milk carefully, keeping it level. There will be a firm, waxy layer of coconut cream that solidified on top. Carefully scoop this off into a chilled glass bowl. Keep the leftover coconut water, it is great for smoothies.
Using a mixer, whip the coconut cream for 3 to 5 minutes until it becomes light and fluffy, with soft peaks. Mix in your maple syrup and vanilla, if you are using. Place the whipped coconut cream back into the fridge until you are ready to use. This may be more than what you need for all 12 tarts, depending on how much you put on top, but that’s ok, it keeps for several days, covered in the fridge.
ASSEMBLING THE TARTS:
Remove the paper liner off of the tart shells. Top each of the tart shells with a spoonful of the pumpkin filling and a dollop of whipped coconut cream, sprinkle with a little ground cinnamon. Serve immediately.