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.
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.
With three little boys in our family, fish is not always a dinner favorite. So I am always looking for other ways to get fish into our weekly food rotation. I remember my mom making traditional salmon patties when I was little and with a little modification we came up with a gluten-free (and paleo version) that my whole family loves.
I started adding zucchini, first to stretch the salmon further for our budget, but also discovered that it adds nice texture, depth of flavor and helps bind them. During the month of March, our local Earth Fare has been having fish Fridays, where they offer a different fish deal at the end of each week. I couldn’t wait for the salmon week to come up because we were craving these!
my beautiful fresh salmon & zucchini from Earth Fare (yay! for Fish Fridays)
I prefer to use fresh salmon when I can get it on sale, but these also work well with canned or frozen salmon. I bake my salmon for about 7 minutes, so that it is partially cooked and easier to shred and mash up.
These salmon patties are a quick and easy to make and I served them with cumin coleslaw, baked sweet potato rounds and a lemon-mustard-mayo-dill sauce.
place fresh salmon on a baking sheet and bake for about 7 minutes at 375 degrees until, partially cooked through.
using a fork, shred the salmon and place in a large bowl.
finely grate your zucchini and place in a colander and press out some of the water.
add grated zucchini, grated onion, egg and almond flour and a pinch of salt & pepper into the bowl with the salmon and mix together.
heat up a skillet with coconut oil on medium-high (oil should coat the bottom of the skillet)
form patties with the mixture and place in the skillet to brown (approx. 10 mins)
optional: If you feel like your batter is too wet (depends on how well you squeezed out the zucchini). adding a few Tbps. of tapioca starch will help in the binding and also give you a little extra crisp on the outside of the patties. *(tapioca starch is a commonly debated paleo ingredient)
The lemon-mayo-mustard-dill sauce on top of the salmon patties is a quick concoction. It contains a spoonful of mayo & dijon mustard, juice of half a lemon, ½ tsp. of dried dill and a pinch of sea salt (a tsp. of honey is optional if you want to have a sweeter sauce).
Disclaimer: I received a small gift card to blog about a recipe using ingredients that I bought from Earth Fare.
I have taken a huge blogging hiatus, but even if I haven’t been sharing recipes, it doesn’t mean I have stopped creating them and now I have a bunch of items to share!
Here is the main reason I have taken such a long break…meet Callen. Our 3rd boy was born in the middle of the summer. Because I suffered post-partum anxiety after the birth of our first two sons, I decided this time around to clear extra stuff off my plate so that I could spend some extra time, just bonding and enjoying life with three little boys. Here is Callen a few weeks ago on his 6 month birthday.
One thing that has definitely changed with the addition of another child and schedules that are becoming more full, is that I am trying to find ways to simplify dinner, but still keep them packed full of nutrients. A while back, we had dinner with our old neighbors and they introduced us to one of their quick go-to meals. At first they almost apologized for the simpleness, but we absolutely loved it. It’s nothing ground-breaking, but it’s quick, it’s full of good fat and is another way to get my kids to eat cabbage.
Basically, we lightly cook shredded cabbage (with 1-2 TBSP of coconut oil, salt & pepper) on medium heat for about 10 minutes (we like ours to still be a little crunchy). And then we top it with a grilled grass-fed burger and 2 eggs. half of us eat the eggs over easy and the others prefer eggs over hard. Since we were introduced to this, we have literally had it at least once a week. For me it’s a no-brainer when I am in a hurry because we have a stock of frozen grass-fed burgers in the freezer, always have eggs on hand and almost always have cabbage in our fridge. For people that don’t love red meat, I bet a sausage patty or salmon patty would be an awesome substitute. Bonus, is that it is a relatively cheap meal that we can feed and fill up growing boys on for less than $10.