Coco Date Balls

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I developed this recipe so that my friend who is also on AIP and I could have a treat for Valentines Day. Both of us have been able to add chocolate back into our diet (yea!). Usually the chocolate I eat is not sweet. I eat 95% dark chocolate. These Date Balls were definitely much sweeter than anything that I eat on a regular basis, which is why they were such a treat for Valentines Day. I would recommend a serving size of one.

INGREDIENTS:

12 ounces pitted dates

boiling water

2 TB coco powder

1/2 cup shredded coconut, maybe more

METHOD:

Pour dates into a bowl. Boil enough water to submerge dates. Pour boiling water over the dates and let them sit 10 minutes to soften.

Strain dates and let them sit in colander 10 minutes to dry. Making sure to shake out all the excess water.

Place dried softened dates in a food processor and process until smooth. Add coco powder and cinnamon and process until combined.

Place parchment or wax paper on all baking tray. Pour shredded coconut on a plate beside the baking tray. Roll the date mixture into a ball with your fingers and then roll the ball in the shredded coconut continue until done with the batch. The date mixture will be sticky and the shredded coconut will smooth it out. After rolling in the coconut and making the ball smooth, place it on the baking tray to set. Transfer from tray to covered container. Keep date balls in the fridge for a week or freeze them to keep longer.

Coco Date Covered Cherry Variation:

Add 6 Pitted Cherries to list of ingredients. Take your cherries and roll the date mixture around the cherries. Then roll the cherry stuffed date ball in the coconut to smooth out. Place on tray to set.

Pumpkin and Cranberry Stew in the Crock Pot

img_7745I had some stew meat and couldn’t find any recipes that looked good to me, so I made this one up. I have tried it with different meat and pumpkins. You can use any kind of pumpkin in this recipe, but a sugar or pie pumpkin is going to be the perfect size. If you get a larger pumpkin, then double the rest of the recipe, except for the vinegar. This recipe is easy! I recently wrote a blog post on how to peel and cut a pumpkin that I’ll link you to by clicking on the words “peel and cut” in the ingredients list. I like to get everything ready the night before and let it sit in the fridge over night. That way my husband can just start the crock pot when he gets up in the morning.

 

INGREDIENTS:

1 pounds stew meat ( beef, venison or lamb- it’s fun to mix two types of meat)

1 pumpkin, peel and cubed

1 cup of cranberries, fresh or frozen

4 cups bone broth

1 TB fresh sage, minced

2 tsp salt

1/4 tsp pepper

1/4 cup apple cider vinegar

4 cups of baby spinach

METHOD:

Add all ingredients to the Crock Pot except for the spinach.

Cook on low for 7-9 hours.

Turn off heat, add spinach, stir and taste to see if its seasoned the way you like it. Add more salt and pepper if desired.

 

 

 

 

 

 

How to Peel and Cut A Pumpkin

I love cooking with pumpkin. At first I was intimidated by the idea of cutting one. Like most things, it’s actually easier than you think. Having a nice sharpe knife is a plus when doing this.

METHOD:

Hold the pumpkin by the stem and slice down the sides to remove most of the outter skin. You don’t have to get it all. The rest you can cut off later.img_7735img_7736

Next, turn the pumpkin on its side and slice off the top.

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Scoop out the seeds. I always roast these for my family.

Start cutting the sides of the pumpkin in wedges, pull each section off and cut in cubes, fries or whatever shape that you’re looking for.

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Slice off any remaining skin or fibrous strands.

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Paleo Chocolate Chip Cookies (totes AIP options) Egg free, dairy free, grain free, nut free, low sugar, soy free

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When you begin AIP, you diet is very strict, but many people can start to reintroduce different foods after the first month. I have been able to reintroduce chocolate, wine, small amounts of sugar and vanilla. Most of those reintroductions made this recipe possible. You can omit the chocolate and vanilla if you need, but the small amount of date sugar and honey are what differentiates cookies and biscuits. If you want a cookie taste, then at least leave in the sweeteners. It’s very subtle. I developed this recipe so I could have cookies for the holidays. I wrote this for a small batch, but this can easily be doubled or quadrupled. It’s hard to find chocolate chips that don’t have soy, so check labels. I used Enjoy Life’s mini chocolate chips, which worked well. I like the small bites of chocolate. Less is more. This recipe uses gelatin in place of eggs as binder, so it’s almost like pressing these cookies into a mold, which holds the shape. I take a wonderful supplement of Grassfed Collagen Peptides, but when I cook, I typically use a less expensive beef gelatin. It make sure the greatest egg replacer.

Small batch 9-12 cookies

1/2 cup coconut flour

1/4 cup arrowroot flour

1/4 cup tapioca flour

1 TB date sugar

pinch of salt

1/2 tsp baking soda

8 TB coconut oil, melted

2 TB beef gelatin and 6 TB water

1 TB honey

1 tsp vanilla, optional

1/4 cup chocolate chips

METHOD:

Preheat the oven to 350. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Prepare gelatin by taking 6 TB water and warming it in a small saucepan. Once it’s nice and warm, but not boiling, remove from heat and whisk in gelatin. Once that is smooth, whisk in honey. Place pan aside while gelatin blooms and mixture cools.

Combine dry ingredients. Add coconut oil and vanilla and mix in. The mixture will be runny like a thin pancake batter. Add gelatin mixture and stir well. The dough will become thicker and crumbly.img_7722

Add chocolate chips and stir in well.

To transfer to the baking sheet, you will need something with which to mold your cookies. I used my rounded 2 Tablespoon and it was perfect. You could also try a 1/4 cup measuring cup and only fill it 3/4 of the way.  Take your 2 Tablespoon spoon and pack it with your dough to mold it in there and then turn it out on the prepared baking sheet.img_7723img_7724

Cook for 8 minutes and then take out the cookies and slightly flatten them with the rounded edge of your spoon.img_7725img_7726

Cook another 4 minutes or until browned on the top.

Thai Coconut Soup with Shrimp and Mussels

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Serves 4

Not Red Curry Paste:

INGREDIENTs:

1/8 cup garlic, peeled and quartered

1/4 cup shallots, peeled and quartered

1/4 tsp salt

1/4 tsp pepper

1/2 TB fresh ginger, peeled and quartered

METHOD:

Process in a small food processor until smooth.

Thai Coconut Soup With Shrimp and Mussels

INGREDIENTS:

2 pound shrimp

3 pounds of live muscles

2 TB coconut oil

4 cloves of garlic, minced

4 stalks of lemongrass

2 thumb size piece of ginger, peeeled and minced

1 bunch of cilantro, trimmed and chopped

Juice of 1 lime

4 kafir lime leaves, rolled like a cigar, slice and cut in half

2 green onions, sliced,  white parts separated from green parts

4 TB Not Red Curry Paste (recipe above)

2 cans Coconut milk

METHOD:

Set out a large stock pot

Peel the shrimp and set them aside, keeping cool.

Clean muscles by brushing them under running water with a toothpaste or seafood brush. Pull off beards. Put Mussels aside, keeping cool. If you find any Mussels that are open, tap them on the side of the sink. If they don’t close throw them away. Any dead Mussels can make your whole soup taste bad.

Prepare lemongrass by peel away outer layers until you reach the white part. Mince the white part about a quarter of the way up the stalk. Toss the rest of the stalk in the stock pot.

Add minced coconut oil, lemongrass, garlic, lime leaf, white parts of green onion and ginger to a small saucepan and set to medium heat. Sauté 1-2 minutes until fragrant. Add “not red” curry paste and cook another minute of two. Add all these herbs to the stockpot.

Add coconut milk to the stockpot and 2 cups of water and turn the pot on medium heat. Do not let the broth boil. Stir in 1/2 of your lime juice and 1/2 of your cilantro. Taste the broth, adding salt and pepper to taste.

Add shrimp and Mussels and cook about 5 minutes covered until Shrimp are opaque and Mussels have opened.

Remove lemongrass stalks. Add remaining lime juice, cilantro and green parts of your green onion. Taste Soup and adjust seasoning.

I like to serve this in shallow bowls and then spoon the rest in to a large bowl to put on the table.img_7718

 

 

 

Sent from my IPad

Fried Ripe Plantains

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Makes 12-20 plantain rounds

INGREDIENTS:

1 large ripe plantain, turning black and soft.

2-3 TB coconut oil

1/2 tsp kosher salt  or grey Celtic sea salt

METHOD:

To peel the plantain, slice off the ends and then slice down the inner rim of the plantain and peel open from there.

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Slice the plantain in 1/2 inch rounds. Take each slice and slightly flatten using a pie server.

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Use the pie server to scrap the plantain off the cutting board and place it in a large frying pan. Continue until all the plantains are in the pan.

Add two TB of coconut oil to the pan and turn the heat to medium.

Fry the plantains about 15 minutes, flipping after 5 minutes and then as needed until browned on both sides. Add the other TB of oil if the pan gets dry.

If you are cooking in batches, you can transfer them to a paper towel lined plate, otherwise just serve from the pan.img_7714

DIY Less is More Toothpaste (great for Sjogren’s or anyone else who needs a clean toothpaste)

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Many people who suffer from Sjogren’s Syndrome have debilitating dry mouth. I am one of those people! You begin to question and rethink anything that goes in your mouth. Even natural toothpaste has questionable ingredients. I’m a big fan of less is more! The ingredients for this toothpaste are few and they are all things people with Sjogren’s probably already love. Coconut oil is everyone’s friend these days. Probably more so for those of with Sjogren’s who crave moisture! Many people with Sjogren’s have low sodium bicarbonate because of the amount of water we drink. Baking soda is sodium bicarbonate, so you may already be sprinkling this in your water from time to time (if not, please try it!). I use mint, because we have grown accustomed to having a minty  mouth. The amount of mint that I use is subtle. If you like more of a mint punch, please experiment with more.

INGREDIENTS:

2 TB Coconut Oil, melted

1 sprig of mint

1 & 1/2 TB Baking Soda

 

METHOD:

Put coconut oil in small glass Tupperware. Muddle your mint, trying to keep it together as much as possible. Mix the mint into your coconut oil and allow to sit overnight. The next day, pull the mint out of the coconut oil (this step is optional). Mix in baking soda and enjoy. I keep the glass Tupperware on my bathroom counter.