Winter Spice Bonbons 

It’s time for Christmas cookies! My sweet husband has requested 7 kinds of Christmas cookies (apparently lots of cookies were a tradition in his family). We’ll see how far I get! 😊

This first installment is based on the Lara bar. Many copycat Lara bars have been posted across the internet; this one is based on the seasonal flavors (like gingerbread cookie) I had found last year at Whole Foods. They were so good! And now I can make them to enjoy any time of year!

I hope you enjoy them too!

Winter Spice Bonbons

3 cups whole pitted dates
2 cups pecans
1 cup cashews
2 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
2 1/2 teaspoons ginger
1 teaspoon allspice
1/2 teaspoon cloves

Grind all ingredients in food processor* until smooth and sticky (you may still have some nut pieces). Form into balls or press flat between parchment paper and cut into into bars. Store in refrigerator.

*Note: this does not work well in a blender!

Navy Bean Soup

A simple yet delicious soup for the autumn days!

1 pound dried navy beans
1 onion, diced
3 carrots, sliced
2 stalks celery, sliced
5 cloves garlic, minced
2 quarts chicken broth
2 tablespoons dried Herbes de Provence
2 bay leaves
1/4 teaspoon salt (omit if chicken broth is salty)
1/4 teaspoon pepper
4 large beef kiolbassa sausages (precooked), sliced

Rinse beans and soak 24 hours. Drain and rinse, then pour into crockpot.

Sauté onion, carrots, and celery in olive or coconut oil. When vegetables are tender, add garlic and sauté 2 minutes more. Pour vegetables into crockpot, then add herbs, bay leaves, pepper, and chicken broth. Cook on high 8-10 hours. Add the sausage slices in the last hour. When beans are tender, serve and enjoy.

IMG_1340

Nut Flour Muffins

The trees have turned beautifully golden, red, and all the delightful shades in between. The air is crisp with the approaching of winter, and frost appears on the grass at dawn. Fall is here—and it’s time for “comfort food.”

Everyone seems to have their own favorite comfort food. Mine is muffins. When I was a child, nothing said home to me like walking into our tiny apartment after a long ramble in the crisp fall air and being greeted with the warm, delicious fragrance of my mother’s freshly baked muffins. The aroma of those muffins and the memory of my mother’s loving welcome became all wrapped up together. And I suppose that is what makes comfort food…so comforting.
Fortunately, you can still have muffins, even if you’re going grain free! I found this recipe on a Specific Carbohydrate Diet site, which I can no longer find. I’ve added my own variations, and the option for making them with freshly ground cashew flour. Feel free to come up with your own variations. And share them with me! 😊

Basic Muffin Recipe

2 1/2 C blanched almond flour, or 2 3/4 cups raw cashews
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 C homemade yogurt, butter, or coconut oil
1/2 C honey
3 eggs

If using almond flour, combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix. If using cashews, place cashews in a food processor and grind into flour. Add other ingredients and blend until mixed.

Spoon batter into lined muffin pan (stoneware bakes the best). Bake at 350° for 16-22 minutes being careful not to burn. Muffins are done when golden brown and springy in the middle.

~Variations~

Blueberry Muffins

Add:
1 cup frozen blueberries, thawed
1 teaspoon vanilla

Lemon Raspberry Muffins

Add:
2 tsp grated lemon rind, plus juice from 1/2 lemon
1/2 cup frozen raspberries

Cinnamon Coffee Cake Muffins

Use only 1/4 cup honey, and use the remaining 1/4 cup honey to make topping/filling (alternate batter-filling-batter-topping):

1/4 cup honey
2 T butter, melted
2 T cinnamon
1/4 cup chopped walnuts or pecans

IMG_0175

Making Nut Flour

Since I do a lot of baking with cashew or walnut flour that I grind myself, I thought it might be helpful to post a tutorial on making your own nut flour, for those who may not have done it before. So here it is:

Place nuts in Cuisinart food processor. Process until crumbly. When crumbs start to turn into a paste at the bottom of the bowl, scrape sides and check consistency. Repeat until nut crumbs roll like play dough between your fingers. just past this stage, the nuts will start to become butter instead of flour, so keep an eye on it! That said…if you want nut butter, just run the processor a lot longer until nuts are completely smooth (note that some nuts may require additional oil to become entirely spreadable butter).

This does work in a Vitamix too, though getting uniform consistency is a little trickier.

And that’s all!

IMG_0888

Double Chocolate Royal Walnut Cookies

These may be the most delicious cookies I’ve ever had! That’s why they’re called royal…that, and the fact that if you buy organic walnuts straight from the farmer, they’re going to be that much more healthy, delicious, and—expensive! 😉 But I think it’s worth it for this treat.

I must also mention, since this recipe contains whole eggs, that I can now eat egg whites! Which is great, because baking is quite difficult without them:

IMG_1017

Yeah. Those were supposed to be pancakes.

So I’ve found a local source for free-range, soy-free eggs, and that seems to make a difference in how I feel when I eat them. Not entirely sure if it’s because they’re soy-free, but I’m grateful to have found some that work!

IMG_0983

Know your chickens! 😊

 
Enough comments now. Here’s the recipe!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Double Chocolate Royal Walnut Cookies

4 cups walnuts (makes 3 cups ground walnut flour)
1/4 cup butter or coconut oil, melted
1/2 cup honey
2 eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract, gluten free if desired
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
2 tablespoons + 2 teaspoons cocoa powder
1/4 cup Enjoy Life mini chocolate chips (omit for SCD)

Preheat oven to 325°.
Place walnuts in Cuisinart food processor. Process until crumbly. When crumbs start to turn into a paste at the bottom of the bowl, scrape sides and check consistency. Crumbs should roll like play dough between your fingers. You may need to run it once more after scraping the sides of the container.

When walnut flour is ready, add in oil or butter, honey, egg, vanilla, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt and process till smooth. Add chocolate chips; pulse to combine.

Scoop dough onto baking stone lined with parchment paper. Bake for about 16-18 minutes at 325°, being careful not to burn. Cookies will puff up and crackle on the top when done, but still be soft and not very browned. Makes 24 delicious cookies.

IMG_0144

Date-Sweetened Baked Beans

I love baked beans. My husband says that’s a Midwest thing…though technically I’ve never lived in the Midwest! But my parents did, so I guess my taste for sweet beans just might come from my somewhat Midwestern heritage.

Now, some of you may be wondering what baked beans are doing on a Paleo blog. Perhaps beans are more Primal than Paleo…but here’s a good explanation for why beans are a healthy food (as long as your particular digestion can tolerate them):

Are Legumes Paleo? by Chris Kresser

I don’t necessarily believe low carb is the purpose of this diet (or exactly healthy), and as beans are legal on the SCD when soaked 24 hours, I’ve decided to include them here. Why not? They’re nutritious and delicious! 🙂

Date-Sweetened Baked Beans

2 cups dried navy beans
3-4 cups chicken stock
1 cup dates
hot water
1 onion, diced
5 cloves garlic
1/4 tsp allspice
1/4 tsp nutmeg
Salt and pepper

The morning before you wish to serve the beans, rinse them and put them to soak in a bowl with 4 cups of water. Soak 24 hours, then drain and rinse.

Sauté onions with olive oil and a dash of salt in a stockpot till translucent. Meanwhile, place dates in a jar with the peeled garlic cloves. Pour in hot water till dates are almost covered, then blend with an immersion blender (could also use a regular blender).

When onions are translucent, add nutmeg and allspice. Sauté a few minutes more, then pour in the date/garlic purée, soaked beans, and 4 cups chicken broth. Season with salt and pepper (about 1/2 teaspoon each). Cook on low 6-8 hours, checking now and then to be sure liquid has not boiled off (the beans should not be soupy, but too little liquid will allow them to burn to the bottom of the pan). Beans are done when tender.

Note: If you’re in a hurry, you don’t necessarily have to sauté the onions and spices; you can just throw them in the pot. The sautéing may just give the dish a little extra flavor.


My Favorite “Cheesecake”

If you’re going grain-free, dairy-free, and egg-free, really great desserts are hard to come by. But this one is definitely awesome. And it’s a fun one for getting people to guess the ingredients! No one has guessed them so far.

This amazing recipe is brought to you (for the most part) by the Urban Poser. For the cheesecake filling recipe, click here:

Belly-Friendly Cashew “Cheesecake” Bites

I made some revisions to the crust, so I’ll write my version below. And since I like to make an actual round cheesecake instead of chocolate-dipped bites—and my pie pan is shallow—I make a half recipe of the filling but a full recipe of the crust. If you have a deeper pie pan, you may wish to make a full recipe. It’s delicious enough to want more of it! 🙂

I also find it helpful to have a timeline for when to start making the cheesecake, since, though it’s quick and easy as far as active prep time, it does have to ferment about 12 hours.

Timeline for Cheesecake:

3 or 4pm the day before: Put cashews to soak
7:30pm: Bake crust. When crust is cool, cover and let sit overnight.*
8pm: Rinse cashews and blend with coconut milk and probiotic powder. Set to ferment.
8 or 9am: Take cashew cheese out of oven or off dehydrator, mix filling, and pour into crust. Chill finished cheesecake in refrigerator.

*You can also just make the crust in the morning and let it cool while mixing the filling.

Crust Recipe:

1 1/4 cup cashew flour*
1/8 teaspoon baking soda
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
2 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon softened coconut oil
2 teaspoons vanilla

Mix all ingredients in a bowl, then press into pie pan greased with coconut oil. Bake at 325° for 11 minutes, until golden.

*I grind the cashew flour in my Cuisinart food processor or Vitamix. The flour is done just before it turns into butter; the crumbs should stick together like play dough when rolled between your fingers.

Note: the crust recipe also makes great cookies! Just roll the dough into balls and press lightly onto greased or parchment-lined pan. Bake as above—325° for about 11 minutes.

Cheesecake