So we have had an overabundance of broccoli at our house. My husband and I mixed up items on our grocery list and on the same day I bought a few heads of organic broccoli from Earthfare (they have had it on sale all month for $0.99) and he bought two huge bags of organic broccoli florets at Costco. Our family loves it and we eat it just steamed as a side for dinner a lot, but steamed broccoli at every meal was getting old. So I decided to recreate one of my favorite childhood foods that my mom always made for get-togethers. Vegetable pizza, you know they type made on packaged Crescent rolls. Well, seeing that our family is gluten-free and pretty low grains, I decided to try a grain free version. It turned out yummy…only thing I would change is to spread the dough thinner.
By the time I get to Friday mornings, I have pretty much run out of inspiration for breakfast. While I typically eat a protein smoothie, I am always looking for ideas to feed my growing boys, that are loaded with healthy fats and fiber, but eggs get boring quickly and my oldest doesn’t love protein smoothies.
I am fairly adamant that my kids eat a hearty breakfast (not sugar and carbs), like the typical SAD (Standard American Diet) of cereal, toast, bagels etc. So finding variations can be challenging. One of their current favorite breakfasts are my little protein bites.
They are loaded with gluten free oats, pumpkin seeds, coconut flakes, dried blueberries, flax seed, chia seeds, sliced almonds and coconut oil. While they look like little muffins, they are actually dense, almost crumbly little bites, that pair wonderfully with coffee. Because of the fiber and fat, they are incredibly filling and can easily keep you fueled until lunch.
A few benefits are that they are easy to make, freeze well and can travel well as snacks. I almost always have all the ingredients on hand…besides the dried blueberries, but I live super close to our local Earth Fare and they always have them in their bulk food section. You can also easily substitute ingredients: chopped up dried apricots or dates, sunflower seeds, pecans etc. Be creative with them!
One of my favorite childhood memories was making chocolate chip cookies with my mom. We used to make the traditional Toll House recipe off the back of a bag of Nestle chocolate chips. While things have changed dramatically in our house from those day (no flour, no white sugar and I use organic, fair trade dark chocolate chips) I still cherish those memories, and l love sharing that tradition with my three little boys.
I have both of Danielle Walker’s Paleo Cookbooks: Against All Grain & Against All Grain: Meals Made Simple and to this day, they are two of my favorite cookbooks that I own (I have a slight cookbook addiction). I originally started making her real-deal chocolate chip cookies, but over time, just adapted it to better suit our families taste and to simplify – in my world, less steps and less dishes are always better. If you have never checked out her cookbooks, you should. She has lots of fun recipes and they are great inspiration.
A few of the changes I made was that I use coconut oil instead of palm shortening (which I don’t typically have on hand). I cut out the honey (you can add it back in if you want sweeter cookies, but if you do, omit the extra tablespoon of coconut oil – it was only added to add in a little extra moisture). I have made them adding in an extra egg, and no honey or extra tablespoon of coconut oil, and that variation works well also. I like this version best with just the coconut sugar, because it is just lightly sweetened. I also just mix the cookies by hand, my food processor is dying, and I found that I didn’t need to pull out an extra appliance.
Another thing to note is that these cookies don’t have a great self life, so if you plan to keep them a few days, throw them in the fridge. They do freeze well though.
As summer came to close, so did our fabulous season of zucchini. I decided I needed to create one last baked item with our remaining supply. Chocolate is always a favorite in our house and a cake sounded just perfect. This is a pretty quick and easy recipe, the steps can look like a lot, but they are easy to follow. This cake is pretty similar to a traditional Texas sheet cake, but it is altered to work with a gluten-free flour blend. I prefer King Arthur’s Gluten-free flour blend (I buy mine from our local Earth Fare), but most gluten-free blends will work. What I love about the combination of zucchini in this recipe, is that it helps keeps the cake moist, which can be a common problem with gluten free baked goods. This recipe also freezes really well.
I get asked a lot how we handle the holidays being gluten-free. Let’s face it, most holiday memories include big fat crescent rolls, sugar cookies, casseroles, pies and many more gluten filled items.
My new motto: simplicity.
I simply do not try to recreate all those items…I find that all that does is stress me out, leaves me in carb and sugar shock and a lot of the items will never compare to their gluten- filled counter parts. So instead, my husband and I came up with a simple holiday menu that included items that we could prep the night before.
I thought I would share what our Christmas day menu looked like. It was fresh and not over-loaded with carbs, but yet included items like a paleo date-pecan cinnamon roll that my three boys absolutely loved. We ate a late breakfast and an early dinner, cutting our meals down to two instead of three. And I ran out Christmas Eve afternoon to our local Earth Fare to get any remaining fresh ingredient. We has ordered their holiday deal that featured a beautiful cut of fresh standing rib roast, so we had to run in already to pick that up.
Breakfast was fully prepped on Christmas Eve and included a breakfast casserole and paleo cinnamon rolls.
Potato-Egg Breakfast Casserole:
The breakfast casserole was made with shredded potatoes, instead of bread. I first boiled the potatoes, chilled them and ran them through my food processor with the shredder blade. I layered the potatoes on the bottom of a 13 x 9 pan and topped with 12 whisked eggs, 1 cup of almond milk, 2 cups of shredded cheese, bacon pieces and chopped green onions. All I had to do Christmas morning was pop it into the oven at 350 for about 45-50 minutes.
this is what my youngest son, thought of the cinnamon rolls!
Paleo Date-Pecan Cinnamon Rolls:
We also made these the night before and had them on a baking sheet in the fridge ready to pop into the oven.
Standing Rib Roast
Grilled Zucchini and Asparagus
Roasted potato wedges with Italian herbs
Sparkling cider just for fun
We have made it a tradition to buy a nice cut of meat; either steaks or prime rib and either grill veggies or roast them (depending on Indiana weather). It makes dinner, simple, yet full of flavor.
One of my favorite things about fall baking/cooking is fresh pumpkin. I roast quite a few pumpkins each year and use some right away for baking and then freeze the rest to use throughout the winter. Yesterday, I roasted 3 sugar pumpkins and have yummy mason jars full of pumpkin puree just begging to be used. Our local Earthfare had sugar pumpkins on sale + I got three from one of our local apple orchards/pumpkin patches (tuttles). So tonight I set out to create a pumpkin scone (which quickly turned into drop scones because the batter was way to soft). One of the things I was attempting, was to create a grain free scone that wasn’t full of cups and cups of almond flour. Recipes I have used in the past have used 3-4 cups of almond flour and I have been trying to balance my families consumption of nuts. I also wanted to include more pumpkin then most recipes called for. While, I really liked the extra pumpkin, it definitely made the batter only scoopable.
The batter is combination of eggs, coconut flour, almond flour, tapioca starch, pumpkin and spices. I used a combination of cinnamon, nutmeg and fresh ground ginger for my pumpkin spice flavor. Ginger is actually a spice that I tend to overlook. but I happened to have a big, fresh container sitting out on my counter. I had just stocked up on some bulk spices & herbs at Earthfare, the night before when I made my first batch of herbal cough syrup for my husband (I will share my experiences with those recipes later). I am glad I added the ginger because it gave a nice kick to the spice combination.
For the glaze on the pumpkin drop scones … I don’t really have a recipe to share. I honestly just started adding ingredients to a bowl and kept adjusting along the way. I used approximately 2 Tbsp of almond butter, 2 Tbsp of almond milk, 1 Tbsp of brown sugar, a little cinnamon and a little vanilla all mixed and just spooned on top while the pumpkin scones were warm.
This will definitely be a recipe that I will add into our fall rotation!