Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Kid-Friendly Snacks: Paleo Grammies & Jam

kid friendly gluten free graham crackers and honey-sweetened strawberry jam
Getting kids to eat healthy snacks can be a challenge, especially if they want something sweet. 

When you hear, “Mom, I’m hungry,” these gluten-free graham crackers with honey-sweetened jam would be perfect. 

You could turn it into a cooking adventure and make them with your children. Even the pickiest eaters will ask for seconds, especially if they have been Master Chef Junior! 

For the Graham Crackers:


2 1/4 cups almond flour

1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon fine seal salt
1 large egg
2 tablespoons virgin coconut oil, melted
2 tablespoons honey, or maple syrup


Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.

1. In a food processor (or with a whisk), mix together the almond flour, baking powder, cinnamon and salt in a large bowl.

2. Add the egg, coconut oil, and honey and process until it forms a ball.

3. Transfer dough to a bowl, cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

4. Place the chilled dough between two sheets of parchment paper, and roll out to a little less than 1/4” thickness. Cut the bars  into 2 1/2” squares with a knife. Re-roll any excess dough and cut into squares until it’s all used up. 

5. Place the cut bars on a baking sheet covered with another another sheet of parchment paper. Bake for 10 -12 minutes and check. Bake until bottoms are lightly browned, maybe 3-5 minutes more.

6. Let sheet cool on a rack for 10 minutes; transfer the bars to a rack and cool thoroughly.

Makes about 16 crackers. Store in an airtight container in the fridge.

For the Strawberry Jam


1 pound organic strawberries

Zest of 1 lemon
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice (or more to taste)
1/4 cup honey
1 tablespoon chia seeds (optional)


1. Wash the strawberries and remove the stem. Cut strawberries in quarters and put in medium sauce pan.

2. Add the lemon juice and cook for 15 minutes over medium-high heat. Stir frequently. Remove any foam on the surface with a spoon.

3. Add the honey and chia seeds, if using, and reduce the heat to medium low. Cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

4. Cool the jam at room temperature and then put in fridge for about an hour. The jam will thicken naturally as it cools.

Makes 1 cup of jam. Store covered in fridge for about a week, or freeze.

Graham cracker recipe adapted from the Power Hungry website.
Jam recipe adapted from the Paleo Newbie website.

#paleo #glutenfree #dairyfree #kidsnacks #healthyeating

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

My Paleo Marin Bar

Balance Bar. Clif Bar. Luna Bar. There are almost as many energy bars on the shelves as chocolate ones - sometimes pricey, sometimes with questionable ingredients such as in the best-selling Quest Bar.

But if you have a just a few minutes and a food processor, these delicious no-bake bars can be a fresher tasting, healthier and more economical choice for your family.


1 cup raw whole almonds

1 cup Medjool dates, pits removed
1 cup dried cherries, or other dried fruit
1/4 cup chia seeds
1/2 teaspoon Himalayan salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 tablespoon lemon zest (optional)

Chocolate Topping:

2 oz. 70% Valhrona chocolate 
1 oz. 60% Ghiradella chocolate
1 tablespoon grass-fed butter


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Toast almonds on baking sheet for 4 minutes. Stir nuts to mix around on sheet. Bake about 4 minutes more and check. Almonds are done when slightly browned (but are easily burned so be diligent in checking them).

2. When almonds have cooled, put in food processor and chop until small chunks remain, about 20 seconds.

3. Add dates, dried fruit, chia seeds, salt, and vanilla and process until well mixed, about 20 seconds. Taste. Add lemon zest, if desired, and process for another 10 seconds.

4. Cut parchment paper to fit in the bottom and sides of a bread pan. Wet the paper under faucet and shake off excess water. Squeeze into ball, and then easily fit the paper in pan. Press nut mixture into bottom of pan and put in freezer for about 10 minutes, or until firm enough to cut.

5. For the Topping: Put 2 inches of water in a saucepan, and place a wider metal bowl on top to make a double boiler. When the water boils, melt the chocolate and butter in the metal bowl, stirring constantly until it is smooth. Remove from heat and beat with a wooden spoon until the mixture turns a glossy sheen.

6. Remove parchment paper and bars from pan and put on plate. Cut into preferred shape. Drip chocolate on each piece, or put in a squeeze bottle and decorate tops. Place in covered container and return to fridge for an hour, then serve.

Store covered in refrigerator for a few days, or freeze to “grab and go” at a later time.

Makes 12 squares.

#paleo #glutenfree #dairyfree #almonds #treats #energybars #healthyeating #chocolate

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Matcha Tea Cookies

At the heart of the Japanese tea service is the notion of mindfulness - “one time, one meeting.” These unique cookies can make any occasion special, and are full of antioxidant-rich matcha, the stone ground green tea powder used in the tea service. Adapted from a recipe in the February issue of Food & Wine Magazine, you could say these delicious cookies are like having your cake and drinking it, too!


2 cups gluten-free flour, preferably Cup4Cup
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom

3/4 cup cane sugar
2/3 cup grapeseed oil
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
2 large eggs, room temperature
2 tablespoons + 1 teaspoon matcha tea powder

1/4 cup confectioner's sugar


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

1. In a medium bowl, mix the flour, baking powder, salt and cardamom with a whisk.

2. In another bowl, mix the sugar, oil, and extracts with a whisk. Add the eggs (one at a time) and whisk vigorously to fluff up the volume.

3. In a small bowl, add 2 tablespoons of matcha tea to 2 tablespoons of water. Mix together to form a loose paste. Stir gently into the wet ingredients.

4. Fold the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients until just mixed through.

5. Place parchment paper on bottom of two baking sheets. With an ice cream scoop, form about 2 tablespoons of cookie dough into 1” diameter cookies. Place 2 inches apart on the sheet. Dip your hands in a small bowl of water if dough becomes too sticky.

6. Put baking sheets in fridge for at least 20 minutes to firm up cookies.

7. Bake until the cookies have a slightly-browned bottom. Check at 10 minutes; could take several minutes more (one of my sheets was done at 12 minutes; the other at 15). Insert a toothpick to make sure baked through. Cool on baking sheet for 10 minutes, then finish cooling individual cookies on a rack.

8. Mix the confectioner’s sugar and teaspoon of matcha in a small bowl. Sprinkle over the cookies with a sieve. Serve.

Makes about 2 dozen cookies.

#matcha #cookies #dessert #glutenfree #dairyfree #nutfree #antioxidents #Japanese #asian #foodandwine

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

A Tale of Two Chickens

The chef in a Sur la Table video* was so enthusiastic about this method for cooking chicken breasts - even for novice cooks - that I decided to give it a try. He called it a “date night dish.” Also great for a dinner party, it can be cooked halfway through and finished later - or even the next day.

With few ingredients and quick prep and cooking times, it has become one of my favorites. However, during my first attempt, one of the breasts came out succulent and delicious - true restaurant quality - and the other was well seasoned, but dry and stringy.

So what happened in this tale of two chicken breasts? Follow along to find out.


2 organic chicken breasts, boneless, skin on
Sea salt, or kosher
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 sprigs fresh (or dried) herbs: oregano, thyme, and/or sage
2 tablespoons grass-fed butter


Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.  Let chicken come to room temperature for about 20 minutes.

1. Heat a cast iron frying pan (preferably) until it is very hot - about  5 minutes on top of the stove, or place in oven while it is preheating (be sure to use pot holder at all times).

2. When the pan is very hot, pour in olive oil and allow to heat up just until the oil starts to smoke. Add a pinch of salt to the skin side of the breasts. Place them in the pan skin side down with tongs, laying them away from you so the grease doesn’t splatter you. Cook at medium high heat until a white line forms around the bottom of the breasts and comes up about 20% of the thickness of the breast, about 2-3 minutes.

3. Salt the skinless side of the breasts. Take the fresh herbs and smash with your fist to release flavor. Flip the breasts over (away from you), add the herbs and butter, and allow to sear for another 2-3 minutes. As the butter melts and turns brownish, take a big spoon and baste the breasts with the liquid continuously.

Note: Can now be covered and put in refrigerator to bake at a later time - just preheat oven and let everything come to room temperature for about 20 minutes when ready to bake.

4. When ready to finish cooking, put the pan in the preheated oven. For a small sized breast, bake about 8 minutes. For a larger breast, 10 -12 minutes. The key is to use an instant read thermometer on EACH breast individually to see when the temperature reaches 158 -160 degrees. To check the temperature, pick the chicken out of the skillet with tongs, and put the thermometer in the fattest part of the breast.

That was my mistake. I checked the bigger breast after 8 minutes, but not the smaller one, and put them both back in for 2 more minutes.

5. Remove each breast when it reaches the correct temperature, and sprinkle with finishing salt. Rest the chicken for half as long as it was in the oven. When you cut the breasts, tilt the knife slightly to the right and slice each breast opposite the grain into 1/4 inch thick pieces. (To find the grain, gently push the breast apart with your thumbs from underneath and look for the lines.) Serve and enjoy.

*This cooking method came from a free online video from Sur la Table narrated by Chef Joel Gamoran in a cooking class called “Cooking Mistakes: What Can Go Wrong & How to Make it Right." And yes, he gave a “fix” for overcooked chicken breasts - but the flavor was so good, it was gone before our piece could get back to to the pan to rehydrate with butter or stock.

#paleo #chicken #organic #entree #glutenfree #healthyeating #grassfed #surlatable

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Upside-Down Cake w/ Candied Pecans

This cake is an evolution of my grandmother’s berry cobbler, one of my favorite childhood desserts. But instead of picking the blackberries for hours in the hot East Coast sun, these berries were purchased at the local Farmers' Market, and this cake is gluten and dairy-free. It’s delicious, though, and perfect for creating new summertime memories on this Fourth of July weekend.


For the candied pecans:

3/4 cup pecans

1 tablespoon unsalted butter (use ghee or butter substitute if sensitive to butter)
2 teaspoons Muscovado sugar, or other brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon

For the cake topping:

3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 cup Muscovado sugar, or other brown sugar
2-3 cups stone fruit and/or berries (I used blackberries and peaches)

For the cake:

12 tablespoons unsalted butter (1 1/2 sticks), room temperature (use ghee or butter substitute if sensitive to butter)
3/4 cup pure cane sugar 
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla

2 cups gluten-free flour, preferable Cup4Cup
1 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt


For the candied pecans:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. 

1. Place pecans on a baking sheet.
2. Melt butter in saucepan. Pour over pecans and mix. 
3. Sprinkle sugar and cinnamon over nuts; bake for 10 minutes. Remove and set aside. 

Leave oven on for cake.

For the cake topping:

1. Melt the butter in a pan; mix in the sugar until dissolved. Pour into 9” pie glass pie shell, or other 9” pan. Sprinkle the candied pecans evenly over the pie pan.

For the cake:

1. In a stand mixer with the beater attachment, cream the butter. Add the sugar and beat until thickens. Add one egg at a time, mixing well. Add the vanilla and mix briefly.

2. Add the dry ingredients and mix just until the flour is incorporated in the cake batter - about 1 minute.

3. If using stone fruit, cut 1/4 inch slices and place in pattern over the butter/nut mixture. Add the berries to fill the space. The fruit will shrink, so add as much as possible.

4. Scrape the cake batter with a rubber spatula and drop over fruit. Spread it out with the spatula. The batter will be thick, but should cover the entire pie pan.

5. Put in 350 degree F oven for 30-40 minutes. The top of the cake will be slightly browned and a toothpick or fork should come out clean.

6. When the cake is done, rest the pie pan on a rack for about 1 minute. Then put a serving plate over the pie pan and, using hot pads, turn the cake over. This needs to be done as soon as possible so all the fruit comes out.

7. Let the cake cool; serve warm. The cake is better the next day, so can be made a day ahead and kept covered in fridge, or frozen after 3-4 days.

Serve plain or with Coconut Whipped Cream (see "Himalayan Mousse,” 9/14/14)

#upsidedowncake #cake #berry #dessert #glutenfree #dairyfree #4thofjuly #pecans

Adapted from "The Kitchn’s" recipe here.