Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Strawberry Rhubarb Crumbles (AIP, Paleo, Vegan)

Strawberry Rhubarb Crumbles (AIP, Paleo, Vegan)

When I spotted fresh rhubarb in the produce section on my grocery trip last week, my mouth started watering. Rhubarb remains one of my all-time favorite flavors. Two years ago, I posted a recipe for a gluten free strawberry rhubarb crumble, but the food I eat is more than a little different these days. I thought it would be nice to re-visit that recipe & adjust the ingredients make it AIP, paleo, and even vegan! This crumble makes a great spring time dessert & would be a fantastic addition to an Easter menu. 

Strawberry Rhubarb Crumbles (AIP, Paleo, Vegan)

Strawberry Rhubarb Crumbles (AIP, Paleo, Vegan)

One of the joys (and sometimes struggles) of making AIP recipes is experimenting with new-to-me ingredients. This recipe was my first time baking with tiger nuts--I used tiger nut flour --which became the basis of the crumble topping, replacing the almond flour I used two years ago. At first glance, tiger nuts may not seem to be AIP, since nuts are officially out on the elimination process of the protocol, but tiger nuts are actually tubers/starchy vegetables, not nuts. Tiger nuts can be purchased both in their whole stage and ground as flour. I have to say I’m more of a fan of the flour & I foresee many future experiments with it! The flavor, once baked is slightly sweet & toasty-nutty, and I could have sworn I tasted a little vanilla, even though this recipe doesn’t contain a drop! (If you want to read more about tiger nuts, check out this post.)

Strawberry Rhubarb Crumbles (AIP, Paleo, Vegan)

Strawberry Rhubarb Crumbles (AIP, Paleo, Vegan)

While this crumble could be made for a crowd by baking the entire recipe in one large baking dish, I once again went the route of making individual crumbles. Regular dessert & treat consumption should not be a normal, every-day occurrence. A treat should be just that, a treat! Even though I have not consumed “regular” sugar in almost a year, I still have trouble with willpower around sweets. By making the crumbles individual, I resist the temptation to make my portion “just a little bigger” or eat “just a little more.” I very specifically used 4 oz freezer safe mason jars so that I can freeze the leftovers, thus once again removing further overeating temptation.

Strawberry Rhubarb Crumbles (AIP, Paleo, Vegan)

Strawberry Rhubarb Crumbles (AIP, Paleo, Vegan)

Also, how handy that the jars come with lids, making this an easily transportable dessert!  Add a spoon & they’re good for go. As we travel for the upcoming Easter holiday, I’ll be surrounded by non-AIP food, which still can be a bit tempting at times. But I’ll be prepared by freezing one or two of these crisps & bringing them along in a cooler. I’ll have my own tasty dessert without any detrimental side effects :)

Strawberry Rhubarb Crumbles (AIP, Paleo, Vegan)

Strawberry Rhubarb Crumbles (AIP, Paleo, Vegan)

Strawberry Rhubarb Crumble (AIP, Paleo & Vegan) 
Yields 4 - 6 servings, depending on jars 

For the crumble topping
2 T  Arrowroot 
Pinch Sea Salt
1 T Grade B Maple Syrup
2 T Coconut Oil, melted 

For the filling
1.5 c hulled & sliced strawberries
1.5 c sliced Rhubarb
2 T Maple Sugar (note: can sub more maple syrup, but filling will be more liquid-y)
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F. 
  2. FOR THE TOPPING: Mix together all ingredients with a fork until well combined & crumbly. Reserve in the refrigerator until ready to assemble.
  3. FOR THE FILLING: combine the sliced strawberries & rhubarb. Drizzle the maple syrup over the fruit. Add the arrowroot starch. Mix to combine. 
  4. ASSEMBLE: Sprinkle 1 1/2 tsp of topping into the bottom of a small ramekin or mason jar. Add a heaping 1/2 cup to 2/3 cup portion of the strawberry-rhubarb filling. Press down the fruit slightly to compress. Spoon two tablespoons of topping over the fruit. 
  5. Place the crumbles onto a rimmed pan. Pour water into the pan, making a water bath to protect the containers during the baking process. 
  6. Bake for 45 minutes, or until the topping is golden & the fruit is bubbly. 
  7. Cool slightly before serving. Refrigerate or freeze any leftovers. 
  • To make the recipe coconut-free, substitute another fat of choice for the coconut oil
  • If you really like crumble topping, plan to double the topping recipe--it's addictively delicious! 
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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. 

UPDATE: the giveaway is now CLOSED! Thanks to all who entered :)

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
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)
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. 

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)

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 sage 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.