Wednesday, March 25, 2015

"Inspiralized" by Ali Maffucci

For the past few years, our family has been eating more healthfully, which includes minimizing wheat and other glutinous foods from our diet.  So when I had the opportunity to review "Inspiralized" by Ali Maffucci, I was a little more than intrigued.

First of all, the book includes beautiful pictures of almost every recipe, which I find incredibly helpful.  If you are already eating "clean", most of the ingredients you should easily find in your kitchen already.  This book is not gluten-free, dairy-free, vegan, or pigeon-holed in any other way.  There are all types of different recipes, all packed with beautiful vegetables.  There is even a small section including a few dessert recipes. 

I have had a spiralizer in my wishlist for several months, but now do feel inspired to make that purchase.  If you already have one and don't know what to do with it, I would recommend this book.

On a quirky note, all through the book the author mentions her boyfriend, Lu.  In the Introduction, though, Ali mentions Lu and that he was her boyfriend at the time.  Ali, what happened to Lu? ;)
Disclosure of Material Connection: I was provided a free copy of this book by Blogging for Books in exchange for my honest opinion.  

Monday, February 2, 2015

Healthy Golden Flax Breakfast Cookies

Working with my honey and homeschooling our gems doesn't leave much time for anything else. 

This recipe, though, I just had to share.  It is based on one shared by Martha at A Family Feast.  It is really a great base recipe, with so many fabulous ways to customize it! Martha has a lot of other fabulous recipes, too.  Everything I have tried so far has been a hit!

The original recipe for these breakfast cookies  calls for 3/4 C coconut sugar in addition to the 3/4 C agave, which I choose not to use.  We found these cookies to be pleasantly sweet with only 1/4 C sucanat (that's what I had on hand) added to Grade B maple syrup, but really could have done without it all.  I guess it just depends on how sensitive to "sweet" you are.

Healthy Golden Flax Breakfast Cookies
Makes 48 cookies ~ based on this recipe from
  • 3/4 C almond butter or other nut butter*
  • 3/4 C grade B maple syrup or honey
  • 1/4 C coconut sugar or sucanat (omit if using honey)
  • 1/3 C milk (cow's, buttermilk, coconut, or other)
  • 1 egg from a pastured hen
  • 2 t vanilla extract
  • 1/2 C golden flax seed, ground in coffee/spice grinder
  • 3 C rolled oats
  • 1-1/2 C sprouted whole wheat pastry (soft) flour
  • 1 t baking soda
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 1 C currants, raisins, golden raisins
  1. Heat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. To make nut butter, process 1-1/2 C nuts in food processor or high-speed blender until smooth, scraping sides of bowl occasionally.  (I normally add a few teaspoons of high quality olive oil to help with the smoothness.)  This will yield the 3/4 C nut butter you need.
  3. In the food processor bowl with the nut butter, add syrup, coconut sugar, milk, egg, and vanilla.  Process until combined and creamy looking, about 30-60 seconds.
  4. In a separate bowl, combine ground flax, rolled oats, flour, baking soda and salt.
  5. Add wet mixture to dry, mixing with a Danish dough hook or heavy wooden spoon just until a thick cookie dough batter forms, similar in texture to oatmeal cookie dough.
  6. Stir in currants/raisins by hand.
  7. Scoop one ounce balls, 12 per pan, onto Silpat or parchment lined sheet pans and bake for 10 minutes.
  8. Cool on pans for about 5 minutes to set then transfer to cooling racks.
  9. May freeze if they last that long!

Monday, October 27, 2014

Menu Monday, October 27;_ylt=AwrTcX2iVUpUxPMArd2JzbkF;_ylu=X3oDMTIzMGltb2o5BHNlYwNzcgRzbGsDaW1nBG9pZANkNDA4MmQxN2VkMzcyOGM1ODIxMTg1ODMzYjIyOWJlZARncG9zAzIwBGl0A2Jpbmc-? anyone else creeped out by Halloween decorations?  Okay, but there is the candy!  I admit it.  I'm a sucker for a Snickers bar or any high-end chocolate.  Milk chocolate, please.  And make it a double.

We haven't observed Halloween since the kids were really little.  When they were older, we did attend our church's "harvest festivals".  But now that our gems aren't so little anymore, we like to stay home, get a pizza (yes, not homemade), and watch a movie.  Nothing creepy here.

How about you?

“Mystery Bake” (I made up an extra “something” and froze it but didn’t label and I can’t tell what it is…yet!); sautéed carrot/kale/mushroom medley; fresh bread*
Spaghetti; fresh bread*; Caesar salad
Dinner out
Pizza, Caesar salad
Vegetable beef soup; fresh bread*; green salad
Herb & garlic roasted chicken; mashed potatoes with gravy; green beans with toasted almonds
*Recipe coming... Really!  I promise!

Friday, October 24, 2014

Pear-Blackberry Tart

Last Friday, I wanted to make something special for our Friday Night Dinner.  I had just gotten a bunch of pears so I did a little searching on the net.  I found this amazing-looking pear-blackberry tart.  It is not a dessert that you can just "whip up" at a moments notice, but it sure was lovely, served nicely, and was delicious!

Below are my adaptations, but the instructions are the same as Russell's at Chasing Delicious.

Pear Blackberry Tart  ~ Chasing Delicious
Sugar Crust Ingredients

  • 1 1/3 cup sprouted soft flour
  • 5 T turbinado or sucanat
  • 1/8 t baking soda
  • 5 T chilled butter
  • 2 T palm shortening
  • 1 egg beaten with 1 t water
  • 1/2 t vanilla extract
  • Special Equipment:  Tart pan with a removable bottom
 Crust Instructions

  1. Using a food processor blend the flour, sugar, butter, vegetable shortening, and mixing powder until the fat(butter and shortening) create pea sized chunks.
  2. Blend in the egg mixture and vanilla. Pulse the food processor until a dough ball forms (there will still be some stragglers).
  3. Form the dough with all the straggling bits into a ball and wrap in wax paper. Refrigerate for 30 minutes to several hours.
  4. Preheat the oven to 375F. Once it is chilled, press the dough evenly into the tart pan. You want an even layer along the bottom and up the sides.  Roll a rolling pin across the top of the tart pan to get a nice clean edge on the top of your crust.
  5. You will need to make sure the pastry does not fluff up or collapse in baking so line the dough with foil. Then place dried beans, pastry weights, marbles, stones, or rice on the foil.
  6. Place the tart pan on a baking sheet.  Bake in the preheated oven for 6-8 minutes, or until the dough is set. Remove the foil lining and rice (careful not to get any rice on the dough) and bake for another 10-12 minutes until it is golden. When it is done you will also notice the shell has shrunken slightly and pulled away from the tart pan.  (I used a 10" tart pan.  If using a larger size, you will want to decrease your baking time by about 2-4 minutes total.)
  7. Allow crust to cool for 2 minutes.  Remove crust from the pan by placing the bottom on a large jar or something tall with a flat surface–this will allow the side of the pan to fall down. Carefully slide the tart onto a cooling rack.

Now you get to start making the custard!

Custard Ingredients

  • 1 egg
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 3/4 C sucanat
  • 1/3 C sprouted soft flour
  • 1 C boiling milk
  • 3 T butter
  • 2 t vanilla extract
  • 1/4 t almond extract

Custard Instructions
  1. If you have a stand mixer I suggest using it, otherwise prepare to do loads of mixing: Beat the egg and egg yolk slowly adding the sucanat until it is pale yellow. Beat in the flour.
  2. While you are mixing the egg, sugar and flour you should bring your milk to a boil. Very slowly, with a few large drops at a time, or a very thin stream add the boiling milk to the mixer. You must do it slowly or you will risk scrambling the eggs.
  3. Pour the mixture into a saucepan and heat over medium. Stir slowly with a whisk until the mixture begins to come together. Now whisk like you’ve never whisked before until the mixture is thick like a paste.
  4. Lower the heat to medium-low and beat with a silicone or wooden spoon for 2 to 3 minutes (this cooks the flour).  Make sure the custard does not burn or stick to the bottom of the pan.
  5. Remove from the heat and add the remaining ingredients (butter, vanilla extract & almond extract).
  6. Lay plastic wrap directly on top of the custard so that no "skin" forms on top.  Refrigerate.
 Tart Ingredients
  • 5 or 6 ripe, firm pears
  • 1/4 C amaretto or brandy (add ¼ t almond extract if using brandy)
  • 1 1/2 C water
  • 2 T freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • ¾ C sucanat
  • 1 t cinnamon
  • 1/4 C blackberry jam
  • 6 oz blackberries
Tart Instructions
  1. Peel, core, and halve the pears. Place them in a bowl with water and a little lemon juice to stop them from browning.
  2. Bring the amaretto (or brandy), water, lemon juice, sugar and cinnamon to a boil. 
  3. Drain the pears.  If using almond extract, add that now.  Add the pears to the boiling syrup. Lower the temperature to low (to have the pears just below a simmer) for 8 to 10 minutes. Make sure not to overcook the pears as they need to retain their shape for the tart.
  4. Remove the pan from the heat and let the pears cool in the syrup for 20 minutes. Drain the pears on a rack.
  5. Rapidly boil down the syrup until it is very thick.
  6. In another sauce pan add the blackberry jam and 1/4 cup the reduced amaretto syrup. Bring to a boil then simmer for a couple minutes until it is all well mixed.
  7. Paint the inside of the sugar crust with the jam and syrup mix/glaze.
  8. Spread the custard over the glaze.
  9. Cut the pears crosswise. Keep the cut pear together and lay on the custard fanning it out once you have it in the tart. Use my picture as a guide. Save one of the pears for the center (cut it so it forms half a sphere). Add the blackberries in the bare spots and around the center pear.
  10. Spoon the amaretto syrup/glaze over the top of the tart covering all the fruit.
  11. Serve as soon as possible to avoid crust getting soggy.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Menu Monday, October 20

Have a wonderful week! 
Ham & cheddar omelets; fried potatoes; green salad
Cider-glazed pork chops; acorn squash; brown rice; sautéed green beans w/ toasted almonds
Salisbury steak; red potatoes; sautéed vegetables
No-Noodle Sausage & Sour Cream Bake; sautéed carrot/kale/mushroom medley; fresh bread*
Fish & chips; coleslaw; blueberry sorbet* w/ vanilla wafers*
Clam chowder; fresh bread*; green salad
*Recipe coming

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Free Shipping this Weekend at Tropical Traditions weekend, you can receive FREE SHIPPING from Tropical Traditions on any size order of $15 or more.  That's a great deal when purchasing heavy items like coconut oil or the palm shortening I love for pie crust or any other time I'd use shortening.

Speaking of palm shortening, it's on sale now, too!  A whopping 40% off on a gallon through Sunday. 

So if you need anything from the nice folks at Tropical Traditions, be sure to take advantage of the free shipping!

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Pumpkin-Apple-Oatmeal Muffins

This morning, my amazing daughter made these fabulous muffins.  You just have to try them!

For the recipe, just head on over to Dolly's Pix.  Enjoy!