Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Bacon Maple Salmon & "He Won't Know It's Paleo" review + Giveaway (AIP & Paleo)

Bacon Maple Salmon & "He Won't Know It's Paleo" review + Giveaway (AIP & Paleo)

Full disclosure: I did receive a free copy of this book in e-book format, but I liked it so much that I’ve already purchased a print copy for my mom to use in her AIP journey. This post may also contain affiliate links, meaning I will receive a small amount of compensation for any items purchased via those links. All opinions are my own & I wouldn’t recommend a book or product I didn’t personally use or love. 
I’ve also been given an extra copy of the e-book to give to one of my readers! 
Check the bottom of the post for additional details. 

The past week, I’ve felt a bit like Julie from Julie & Julia, the woman who cooked her way through Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking. Now, I didn’t cook my way through an entire cookbook, but I did spend nearly a week making most all of our meals from the newest AIP Cookbook He Won't Know It's Paleo by Bre’anna Emmitt. I don’t normally cook as much from cookbooks or recipes anymore. I often am developing my own recipes & just winging it & hopping for the best (note: this winging it technique really does *not* work for AIP baked goods.... Trust me, I’ve tried...). But it was very refreshing to have all the recipes done for me. 

I “know” Bre’anna through social media interactions & I’ve been excitedly awaiting this cookbook. It absolutely did not disappoint! The e-book itself is beautiful. As I sat down with my iPad and a notebook to mark which recipes I wanted to make & develop a meal plan/grocery list, I had a really hard time narrowing down what to recipes to make because everything looked so tasty! I appreciate how approachable all of the recipes are. They use a variety of ingredients that are both very tasty & good for you, but they aren’t too fussy or complex. And there’s enough diversity that a person isn’t constantly relying on the same proteins or veggies. One note, we did find the portion sizes/recipe yields on a few of the recipes to be a bit small, but that could also be because we tend to eat a pretty high volume of food these days.

As a whole, I definitely believe this book lives up to its name. All the recipes we tried could definitely be served to non-AIP/Paleo people and I don’t think they would feel deprived at all! We certainly weren’t.  Here’s what we ate: 

Mexican Night + "He Won't Know It's Paleo" review + Giveaway (AIP & Paleo)
Dinner 1
Nightshade free red salsa
Queso
Stacked Chicken Enchiladas Verdes 

I’ve been sorely missing salsa & Mexican foods. I really didn’t think I’d ever be able to eat salsa again (nightshades and I are really, really not friends...) While we enjoyed both the queso & the salsa, the salsa was the big star! I was almost immediately lamenting the fact that I didn’t have ingredients to make a second batch, since we, you know, ate almost the entire batch in one sitting (oops!).   We also liked the enchiladas with the salsa on top. I thought there was very little chance I would ever be able to eat anything remotely resembling Mexican food, so I’m greatly thankful to Bre’anna for developing these genius recipes.

Stuffed Mushrooms, Bacon Sauteed Asparagus, "He Won't Know It's Paleo" review + Giveaway (AIP & Paleo)

Stuffed Mushrooms, Bacon Sauteed Asparagus, "He Won't Know It's Paleo" review + Giveaway (AIP & Paleo)
Dinner 2
Stuffed Mushrooms
Bacon sautéed Asparagus
Peach braised short ribs/beef shanks

I was not prepared for how wonderful the mushrooms were! Delicious! They’d be a great item to take to a party. Asparagus is one of my favorite veggies & paring it with bacon is a terrific match. Loved the peach braising liquid too--such a nice break from the braises I’ve done with either wine or broth. Peach added a nice tang. I did have to make a couple substitutions in this recipe: I used beef shanks in place of the short ribs because I couldn’t find grass-fed short ribs. I also don’t have a working crock pot at the moment, so I used a Le Creuset dutch oven & baked the entire mixture at 300 for 4 hours, which may have been a bit much as they all fell a part. At least that meant they were very tender. Next time, I’ll bake them for a little less time. Also, the leftovers were fantastic! 

Chicken Salad w/ Egg-free Mayo, & "He Won't Know It's Paleo" review + Giveaway (AIP & Paleo)
Lunch 1
Chicken Salad using Egg-free Mayo

While the book does include a chicken salad recipe, I didn’t have all the necessary ingredients on hand. Instead, I made my own version, still inspired by Bre’anna’s recipe, using her egg-free mayo recipe, plus diced apple, celery, scallions, and apple juice sweetened craisins. Mayo is a hard condiment to replicate, especially when eggs are not allowed, but I think her egg-free recipe comes as close as one can get while still remaining fully AIP compliant. 

Scalloped Sweet Potatoes, Bacon & Cranberry Brussels Sprouts, "He Won't Know It's Paleo" review + Giveaway (AIP & Paleo)

Scalloped Sweet Potatoes, Bacon & Cranberry Brussels Sprouts, Maple Bacon Salmon,  "He Won't Know It's Paleo" review + Giveaway (AIP & Paleo)
Dinner 3
Scalloped Sweet Potatoes
Brussels Sprouts with Bacon & Cranberries
Maple Bacon Salmon

The salmon was fantastic! Technically, it comes from the “breakfast” category of the book, but we loved it for dinner too. I usually roast brussels & was a bit skeptical about sautéing them, but they turned out great too. I found apple juice sweetened cranberries at Whole Foods last fall & used them in the recipe. I tried using three different varieties of sweet potatoes in the scalloped sweet, but may just stick to white ones in the future. My husband saw the spread of all the food when I was photographing it and he was like “oh wow! Do we get to eat this for dinner tonight?” We also enjoyed eating the leftovers for future meals. 

Tropical Green Smoothie, Breakfast Sausage, Sweet Potato Hash Browns,"He Won't Know It's Paleo" review + Giveaway (AIP & Paleo)
Brunch 
Tropical Green Smoothie
Breakfast Sausage
Sweet Potato Hash Browns (we used Hannah variety white sweet potatoes) 

My husband and I prepared this brunch feast together on a Saturday morning. It was nice to mix it up from our normal routine of breakfast hash. Ironically, I’d never made sausage before, but it was so easy (and tasty) that I foresee making it often in the future. To ensure we got some veggies & fruit with our meat and carbs, we split some of the tropical green smoothie. It was a well balanced, satisfying, tasty brunch that fueled us through until much later in the day. 

Red Wine & Shallot Bison Burgers, "He Won't Know It's Paleo" review + Giveaway (AIP & Paleo)
Dinner 4
Red Wine & Shallot Bison Burgers

On Saturday nights, we’ve developed a tradition of cooking dinner together & renting a movie to watch as a sort of pseudo “date-night.” These bison burgers were perfect date-night food. Their hint of red wine flavor made them feel more special than a regular burger. I toped them with shallots that I fried in palm oil & a simple arugula salad. We ate dinner off our fine china, just for fun :) Husband indulged in a glass of red wine with his meal (hey, the bottle was already open from making the burgers), and I chose a glass of blood orange kombucha. 

Treats
While we loved all the meals from this book, we also really, really loved the treats! My will power around treats has vastly improved since going AIP last spring, but I do know that I shouldn’t make so many treats in such a short amount of time because I am very likely going to eat more of them than I ought to :) But that is also a testament to their deliciousness.

Blackberry Cobbler, "He Won't Know It's Paleo" review + Giveaway (AIP & Paleo)
Blackberry Cobbler

The cobbler was a great not-too-sweet dessert that still really satisfied.  I did use frozen berries, so it was perhaps a bit juicier, but still fantastic. I even ate some leftover cobbler for breakfast the following day.... Would love to use the cobbler topping with a variety of other in-season fruits too? Especially peaches.

Snickerdoodles, "He Won't Know It's Paleo" review + Giveaway (AIP & Paleo)
Snickerdoodles

I loooove snickerdoodles & all my self-control leaves around them (especially since they are bite sized). They were a little soft the first day, but were much more firm the following morning. Definitely a keeper recipe.  

Banana Bread, "He Won't Know It's Paleo" review + Giveaway (AIP & Paleo)
 Banana Bread Bars with Dairy-Free Butter: 

Loved the concept of baking in the 9x13 pan & cutting into “slices.” Genius! Also, this recipe does not rely on gelatin eggs, making it also a good vegan recipe too. The only draw back to the 9x13 pan is that there are not as many servings. Oh well, next time, I’ll make a double batch! I grew up eating banana bread spread with margarine, so I couldn’t resist spreading a little dairy-free butter on top of one slice, though honestly, I probably prefer the bread on it’s own.

Coconut Cream Pie, "He Won't Know It's Paleo" review + Giveaway (AIP & Paleo)
Coconut Cream Pie with Graham Pie Crust

This is probably my favorite AIP dessert recipe of anything that I’ve tried! It tasted so NORMAL--very similar to regular coconut cream pie. The filling was positively AMAZING!! I had some leftover that didn’t fit in my pie shell & I kept sneaking bites of it out of the refrigerator. I topped ours with my coconut whipped cream & a sprinkle of toasted coconut. I fully intend to make this pie again for our anniversary in May, where in remembrance of our coconut wedding cake, we always eat coconut desserts :) 


Bre’anna has graciously allowed me to share the Bacon Maple Salmon recipe & she’s also given me a copy of the e-book for one my readers. To enter the giveaway, simply like Sweet Treats on Facebook and my Instagram feed & leave a comment on this post. The winner will be announced on Monday, March 30th! May the odds be ever in your favor! 

Bacon Maple Salmon
re-published, with permission, from He Won't Know It's Paleo
Yield: 4 servings

4 salmon filets
2 Tbl Maple Syrup
2 Tbl Balsamic Vinegar
1/2 tsp Dried Rubbed Sage 
4 slices bacon, each torn into two pieces 
  1. The night before serving, place salmon filets, maple syrup, and balsamic vinegar in a sealed container in the refrigerator to marinate. Gently shake to mix liquid and coat salmon.  
  2. In the morning, preheat the oven to 425 F. Grease or line a baking sheet with parchment paper. 
  3. Arrange the salmon filets on a baking sheet. if not marinated, Mix the balsamic vinegar and maple syrup in a small dish. Brush or drizzle onto the salmon filets. 
  4. Lay two halves of bacon slices lengthwise on top of each fillet. Sprinkle all the filets evenly with the sage. 
  5. Place the baking sheet in the third of the oven closest to the heat sources and bake for 15 minutes until the center of the salmon is flaky and opaque. Serve hot. 

Notes from Laura:
  • Use wild-caught salmon whenever possible
  • Use Grade B, real maple syrup, NOT pancake syrup
  • I substituted fresh thyme because I didn’t have dried
  • Because I made the salmon for dinner instead of breakfast, I started the marinating the process mid-morning. 

Note: this post contains affiliate links. Thanks for supporting Sweet Treats.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Bacon & Prosciutto Wrapped Dates (AIP)

Bacon & Prosciutto Wrapped Dates (AIP)

Medjool dates are an absolute staple in our house. Not because I love them so much but because my husband is such a big fan. He’ll eat multiple dates most days & every grocery run I make includes a couple packages of dates from the produce department. While I do think dates can be quite tasty & a great more natural sweetener, I’m not the biggest fan of just eating one outright the way husband does. I’d rather put them in things or pair them with other ingredients. 

Bacon & Prosciutto Wrapped Dates (AIP)

Bacon & Prosciutto Wrapped Dates (AIP)

Because we don’t go out to eat much these days, I make a more special meal/dessert/appetizer every so often, which is how I started making these wrapped dates. We’ve enjoyed them on multiple occasions as an appetizer accompanied by a glass of kombucha tea (or maybe a glass of wine for him) and a rented movie. The perfect date night in. (Ha! So punny!)

Bacon & Prosciutto Wrapped Dates (AIP)

Bacon & Prosciutto Wrapped Dates (AIP)
Bacon on the left side of the dish/prosciutto on the right

But now we’re in a bit of a conundrum: Husband prefers the dates wrapped in bacon, then baked & I prefer prosciutto. Luckily, both are quite easy to make & it’s not difficult at all to wrap some dates with bacon for him and some with prosciutto for me.  Really, both options have their merits: the bacon gets a little more chewy & greasy, while the prosciutto gets a little more crispy & salty. Both options soften the date nicely & the sweet pairs deliciously with the savory. 

Bacon & Prosciutto Wrapped Dates (AIP)

Bacon & Prosciutto Wrapped Dates (AIP)

So, which do you prefer? Bacon or Prosciutto? And it won’t hurt my feelings one bit if you side with my husband and choose bacon ;)

Wrapped Dates
yields 8 pieces 

I’ve written this formula into an actual recipe format, but you just need to remember this concept: half a piece of bacon or prosciutto per date. And you can make as many as you want! Make just a couple for an individual snack or a whole tray for a larger group.  

8 Medjool Dates, pitted
4 slices of bacon or prosciutto (or 2 of each) NOTE: make sure they do not contain nightshades or other non-AIP ingredients!

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F. 
  2. Use a knife to carefully pit the dates, just cutting into one side to remove the pit. 
  3. Cut the bacon and/or prosciutto in half (see photo above) 
  4. Roll the bacon/prosciutto around the date & place into a small baking dish or a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Add toothpicks, if desired. 
  5. Bake in the preheated oven for 25 to 30 minutes, or until the bacon/prosciutto is golden & crispy. Cool a few minutes & serve immediately. 

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Plantain Chip Chicken (AIP & Paleo)

Plantain Chip Chicken (AIP & Paleo)

Plantain Chip Chicken (AIP & Paleo)

Plantain Chip Chicken (AIP & Paleo)

Plantain Chip Chicken (AIP & Paleo)

Plantain Chip Chicken (AIP & Paleo)

Plantain Chip Chicken (AIP & Paleo)

Plantain Chip Chicken (AIP & Paleo)

One day, as I was eating my way through a bag of plantain chips (one of my very favorite AIP snacks), I was inspired by all the crumbs that are inevitably found at the bottom of the bag. Why not crush lots of plantain chips & use them to coat chicken pieces?!? My husband grew up on shake-and-bake, so I knew he’d be on board with the idea, especially if I added a few tasty seasonings to the crushed chips. This recipe just might be in both our lists of favorite AIP main dish options.

Most fried chicken recipes involve dipping the chicken pieces first in either an egg or milk-based mixture and then dipping it in a breading mixture. But, since neither eggs nor dairy work with AIP, I took a gamble and instead just coated the chicken pieces lightly in avocado oil before gently pressing in the plantain chip crumbs. I also took the easier route & baked the chicken instead of messing with deep frying. By baking the chicken at a high temperature on top of a rack (on a baking sheet), the entire crust is able to stay nice and crispy. Not quite as crispy as deep fried chicken, but still oh so delicious & satisfying. Since I first concocted this recipe earlier in February, we’ve eaten it almost every week! And I don’t see it leaving our meal rotation anytime soon.

Plantain Chip Chicken (AIP & Paleo)

Plantain chip crusted chicken
Yields 2-4 servings, depending on appetite  

One 4 oz package Plantain Chips (make sure the ingredients are just plantains, palm oil, and salt) 
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp sea salt

1 Tbl Oil (I used avocado , but olive would also work)
between 1.25 and 1.5 lbs boneless skinless chicken thighs

  1. Preheat the oven to 450 F. Place a cooling rack in a rimmed baking sheet. 
  2. Pulverize the plantain chips, garlic, onion & salt in a food processor until the chips are crumbs. 
  3. Lightly coat the chicken pieces in the oil. Coat with the plantain crumb mixture & place onto the prepared rack.  Sprinkle any remaining crumbs over the chicken, or discard them. 
  4. Bake in the preheated oven for 25 to 30 minutes, or until a thermometer inserted into the biggest chicken piece reads 165 F. If they do not seem crispy enough for your preferences, place the pan under the broiler for 1 to 2 minutes right before serving.
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Saturday, February 14, 2015

Blood Orange Gummies with Kombucha (AIP)

Blood Orange Gummies with Kombucha (AIP)

Blood Orange Gummies with Kombucha (AIP)

Usually Valentine’s day is filled with indulgences like copious amounts sweets & decadent meals, but we’re going a different route this year. Husband had a sinus procedure yesterday, so we’re in recovery mode for the next several days, making sure he fully heals as quickly and as painlessly as possible.

Blood Orange Gummies with Kombucha (AIP)

Blood Orange Gummies with Kombucha (AIP)

We are hopeful that our paleo habits will help his healing process, but just to make sure, I’m incorporating extra nutrient dense foods into his diet.  I’ll still be cooking a special Valentine’s dinner of braised beef short ribs (this recipe is one of my favorites, just omit the tomato paste & black pepper to make it AIP), but we’ll also be eating more grassfed gelatin in things like these gummies and also in panna cotta, incorporating extra collagen into smoothies & into an upped intake of homemade broths, increasing protein portions, eating more offal (like chicken liver pâté) and seafood, & drinking extra kombucha for the probiotic properties.

Blood Orange Gummies with Kombucha (AIP)

Blood Orange Gummies with Kombucha (AIP)

These blood orange gummies with kombucha pack a lot of good nutrients into each piece. They’ve got both the protein/amino acids found in gelatin & the good probiotics (especially excellent for replenishing after antibiotic usage) found in Kombucha. They’re slightly sweet, but not overly sugary. By leaving in the pulp in with the juice, they’re slightly reminiscent of marmalade & a bit more fiber-rich than traditional juice gummies. Because it’s Valentine’s Day & I already had the perfect mold, I made these gummies heart shaped. But certainly any other shape could be made, or they could be cut into squares.


Blood Orange Gummies with Kombucha

1 c (220 g) Blood Orange Juice/Pulp--approximately 2.5 medium blood oranges
4 Tbl (28 g) Grass Fed gelatin (red can)
2 Tbl (42 g) Honey
1 c Blood Orange Kombucha (I like this brand best)

  1. Remove the kombucha from the fridge and allow it to come to room temperature. Peel the blood oranges & divide into sections. Place into a high speed blender and puree. Measure out 1 cup or 220 g. 
  2. Pour the juice/pulp into a small saucepan. Sprinkle the gelatin over the top. Whisk to combine & allow to bloom for 5 minutes. 
  3. Add the honey to the bloomed juice & heat over medium heat , whisking constantly, until the mixture just warms & liquifies.  Remove from the heat and allow to cool down to body temperature--about 10 minutes.
  4. Whisk in the kombucha & transfer the mixture to a vessel with a spout for easier pouring. Portion into small silicone molds (place onto a plate or pan before pouring in the liquid for easy transport). Any leftover liquid can be poured into a glass dish or into ramekins. 
  5. Refrigerate the molds/dish until firm, approximately 1-2 hrs. Gently, pop the gummies out of the silicone molds, or cut them into shapes. Store in the refrigerator.
Note: If you do not have access to blood orange kombucha, feel free to sub another flavor (ginger might be nice) or simply double the amount of blood orange juice. 

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Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Roasted Broccoli (AIP, Paleo & Vegan)

Roasted Broccoli (AIP & Paleo)

So, this roasted broccoli is one of those recipes that I hesitate in sharing because it is SO easy. Does it actually need a recipe?!?  But its also one of my favorite side dishes and I’d hate for someone to go through life not experiencing the wonderfully delicious & easy dish that this roasted broccoli is. 

Roasted Broccoli (AIP & Paleo)

Cooking things completely from scratch isn’t always easy. There’s often lots of chopping and prepping of ingredients, and then there’s also the cooking part, and of course, the cleaning up.  But this broccoli is different. It’s easy. No chopping. It requires only one pan & almost no hands on time. Did I mention also that it’s economical because it turns out better with the cheaper broccoli cuts, rather than the more expensive florets. I like to roast mine until it’s almost burned. And then husband and I fight over the crispy, caramelized, charred bits on the pan.

Roasted Broccoli (AIP & Paleo)
Before and after roasting; it will shrink quite a bit

One word of caution.... once you start eating roasted broccoli, it is very difficult to go back to eating any other form. Steamed broccoli has NOTHING on roasted ;)


Roasted Broccoli
makes 2 servings 

2 lbs of frozen broccoli cuts, organic preferred 
4 Tbl Avocado Oil, divided into 1 Tbl and 3 Tbls
           (or substitute another liquid fat of choice, such as olive, or melted lard/bacon grease/duck fat) 
1 tsp Sea Salt or Himalayan salt (we like things a little on the salty side, so use less if you aren’t a big salt fan). 
  1. Preheat the oven to 425 F (or 375 F on a convection oven). 
  2. Grease a rimmed baking sheet with 1 tablespoon of oil.
  3. Open the frozen broccoli cuts & spread onto  the baking sheet. Drizzle on the remaining 3 Tbl of oil & the salt. Toss to combine.
  4. Roast in the preheated oven for 25 minutes, then remove the pan from the oven, toss the broccoli to ensure it isn’t sticking and that it isn’t getting too dark. Return the pan to the oven to roast an additional 20 to 25 minutes. 
  5. Serve immediately.  

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Chicken, Bacon, Kale & Spaghetti Squash Hash (AIP)

Chicken, Bacon, Kale & Spaghetti Squash Hash (AIP)

“Laura, will you ever be able to eat normal food again?” was a question my Grandma Vein asked when I was back in North Dakota in January. Very good question, Grandma.

I know it is so hard for Grandma (and for other friends and family members) to understand my health challenges & the journey that has lead me to following the Autoimmune Protocol (AIP).

Chicken, Bacon, Kale & Spaghetti Squash Hash (AIP)

Chicken, Bacon, Kale & Spaghetti Squash Hash (AIP)

Yes, I will freely admit that even after months and months on AIP, including some successful reintroductions, I do occasionally mourn the food I cannot eat. But instead of dwelling on what I can’t eat, I find it better to concentrate on what I can eat. I can eat lots and lots of delicious foods! Rarely do I feel deprived after eating a good AIP meal at home or with family/friends. There is something empowering about eating tasty food that is also going to be beneficial to your health. Though, yes, there are times I wish I could eat “normal” foods, like pasta & pizza & cereal...... AIP isn’t meant to last forever, but given my particular AI diagnosis’s, there are certain foods my body may not ever tolerate.

Chicken, Bacon, Kale & Spaghetti Squash Hash (AIP)

Thankfully, there are a few other AIP bloggers who have concocted AIP pizzas & cereals (I’ve tried this stromboli recipe (yum!), but also have been eyeing this one, and this one, and this one). And I created this spaghetti squash hash, which really does remind me of pasta, but isn’t going give me horrible symptoms for days on end which would make me regret eating it.

Chicken, Bacon, Kale & Spaghetti Squash Hash (AIP)

Chicken, Bacon & Kale Spaghetti Squash Hash
yields 2-4 servings, depending on how hungry you are 

3 Strips of Bacon
1.15 lb Chicken Thighs
Sea Salt
2 Onions, sliced
5 c (100 g) Kale, ribs removed & chopped
3 c (325 g) Cooked Spaghetti Squash strands (see this post for spaghetti squash cooking instructions)

Smoked Sea Salt, for serving

  1. In a cast-iron skillet fry the bacon over medium high heat, flipping as necessary. When the bacon is golden, remove from the pan & reserve for garnish at the end. Leave the drippings in the pan. 
  2. Sprinkle the chicken thighs with salt & sauté them in the bacon drippings until they reach an internal temperature of 165 F. Transfer the cooked chicken thighs to a cutting board. 
  3. In the same pan, with the drippings from the bacon & chicken, caramelize the onions over low heat, stirring occasionally. This process may take more than 20 minutes. 
  4. Once the onions are golden brown, increase the heat to medium low and add the chopped kale & cook, stirring occasionally, until the kale wilts slightly. Meanwhile, chop up the cooked chicken thighs. Add the spaghetti squash to the skillet.  Toss to combine. 
  5. Add the chicken pieces & continue to cook until heated through. Portion onto plates Chop the cooked bacon & sprinkle, along with some smoked salt (or other pink or sea salt) and serve. 
  6. Store any leftovers in the refrigerator or freeze for longevity. 


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