A Healthy Cake For Helen's 2nd Birthday (Coconut Flour, Paleo Friendly, Gluten Free)

/ Monday, February 23, 2015

1 comment

Coconut Flour Cake
Coconut Flour Cake
Helen's 2nd Birthday

OUR LITTLE GIRLIE IS TWO!

The last couple of years have definitely been the most challenging of my life (so far). I have learned so much, about myself, about how hard it is to be and mom and wife at the same time, about how frustrating and lovable kids can be.

I knew months ago that I wanted to make a cake for Helen's second birthday. She's never had cake before. I also knew that I wanted to make a healthy cake because I wanted to feel good about letting her eat lots of it.

A WORD ABOUT THE INGREDIENTS:

First let give you the reasons for the ingredients I chose. I don't intend to feed Helen a gluten-free diet. She has eaten (organic) white flour on occasion and I haven't noticed any adverse effects. However, I don't like the idea of her eating gobs of white flour.

This might seem strange to some, but I also don't want her eating whole wheat flour. In fact, I would much rather she ate organic white than whole wheat flour. You see, whole wheat flour can be very difficult to digest unless it is properly prepared. And I didn't feel like sprouting or soaking her cake (so much work!).

Some people like to use nut flours in place of grain flours, but, as I mentioned in a previous post, nuts can also be difficult to digest if they aren't properly prepared. I didn't feel like soaking, dehydrating, and grinding nuts.

Then I discovered The Urban Poser's recipe for coconut flour cake. I had some coconut flour on hand, so I thought it would be a great recipe to try. I was quite pleased with how it turned out!

DETAILS ABOUT THE CAKE:

I followed the recipe for the cake pretty closely, cutting out just a smidgen of the honey. I also used butter in place of coconut oil. I doubled the recipe and baked the cake in two 6-inch cake pans and a loaf pan.

For the filling, I made a quick strawberry jam by boiling and mashing a bag of frozen strawberries with a little honey, lemon juice and gelatin.

For the frosting I made stabilized whipped cream. I sweetened it with sucanat and stabilized it with grass-fed gelatin.

I also made a half batch of my Homemade Vanilla Ice Cream, but I subbed vanilla extract for the beans and cut out a bit of the sweetener (I used sucanat).

If you prefer a paleo-friendly cake, you can follow The Urban Poser's recipe.




She's Two




Coconut and Chicken Curry Soup

/ Wednesday, February 18, 2015

7 comments


Curry Coconut and Lime Chicken Soup - Buttered Side Up

Growing up, my mom would occasionally make something delicious for supper: Chicken Curry. It was a pretty rare occurrence. And it's funny how much we enjoyed it. It was just the sort of thing at which my sisters and I would usually turn up our noses. But we knew that it was awesome.


Curry Coconut and Lime Chicken Soup - Buttered Side Up

Fast forward to my teen years, and I discovered the wonderful world of curries. We sampled Thai curry and completely fell in love. 

We really went through a curry craze. Our mom became quite sick of it. But somehow I kept my love. If a dish is described as having curry, my interest increases.

Curry Coconut and Lime Chicken Soup - Buttered Side Up

The combination of flavors in this soup really hits a home run for me. It's so fresh, bright, and full of life. The coconut milk lends a hint of sweetness. The jalapenos give a barely noticeable kick of heat.

By the by, this recipe was one of the most popular that I ever published on Cooking for Seven. It kind of irks me that the photo in that post was one of my least favorite to accompany one of my recipes. I guess the true character of this curry soup shone through the shoddy photography.




Coconut and Chicken Curry Soup

A fresh and flavorful curry soup.
adapted from Good Life Eats | Printable Page
Serves approximately 6

Ingredients:

olive oil,
3 cups chopped cooked chicken,
1/2 of a large onion, chopped fine,
1-2 tablespoon grated fresh ginger,
1 1/2 cups chicken broth,
1 can (14 ounces) unsweetened coconut milk, full fat,
2 teaspoon curry powder,
1 jalapeño, seeded, minced,
2 tablespoons lime juice,
1 small red bell pepper, sliced thin,
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro, plus extra for garnish,
1/2 cup unsweetened chipped coconut, toasted (optional),
2 cups freshly cooked rice (optional).

Instructions:

1) Heat the olive oil in a medium sized soup pot over medium heat. Add the chicken to the oil, season lightly with salt and pepper. Sauté until cooked through and golden. Remove chicken and set aside. Sauté the onion, adding more oil if necessary, until tender.

2) Return the chicken to the pot with the onions. Add the ginger; cook for 1 minute. Add chicken broth, coconut milk, curry powder and jalapeno. Bring to a simmer over medium heat. Add bell pepper and cilantro and simmer an additional 3 minutes. Stir in lime juice. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

3) Optional: Spoon rice into 4 bowls. Top with a ladle or two of soup. Garnish with additional cilantro and a sprinkling of shredded coconut. Serve.


Bacon, Feta and Fig Pizza

/ Monday, February 9, 2015

2 comments
Figgy Piggy Pizza
Figgy Piggy Pizza | Buttered Side Up
Figgy Piggy Pizza | Buttered Side Up
Figgy Piggy Pizza | Buttered Side Up
Figgy Piggy Pizza | Buttered Side Up

You guys, this pizza was so much fun to make. All of toppings pair so well. The sweet figs balance out the savory bacon and feta. It feels so fancy but it's pretty simple to make.

Reuben thought that the flavors were really good, but it was a tad dry (he was thinking it would be a regular pizza, not an appetizer). I think a drizzle of olive oil or a balsamic reduction would be lovely.

You can get my step-by-step photo instructions and the recipe over on the Tasty Kitchen Blog HERE.

WHAT WAS THE LAST PIZZA YOU ATE?

How to Make Chicken Broth in a Crockpot/Slow Cooker

/ Monday, February 2, 2015

4 comments



Homemade chicken broth can be so easy when you use a crockpot/slow cooker!

How to Make Chicken Broth in the Crock Pot - Buttered Side Up
One of my scariest kitchen mishaps actually involved homemade bone broth.

I had a pot bubbling away on the stove. Suddenly, we had to leave the house for an hour or so. You guessed it: I left the stove on by mistake. While we were headed back home, I remembered that I had left the broth simmering. I wondered if we would return to a house of cinders.



How to Make Chicken Broth in the Crock Pot - Buttered Side Up

"Well, at least the house didn't burn down," I said as we pulled in the driveway. But when we opened the front door, we were met with an acrid smoke. The broth had boiled completely away, leaving a charred chicken carcass. I felt so stupid. Our house stank for days. My poor pot still bears the marks.

Needless to say, I was a bit paranoid about making broth after that incident. 



How to Make Chicken Broth in the Crock Pot - Buttered Side Up

Then, I saw Mommypotamus making broth in her crockpot. Brilliant, I thought! I tried it for myself, and I fell in love. 

You see, broth is super easy to make, but it takes a LONG time to cook. It can be difficult to find a good block of time to simmer it to perfection. With the slow cooker, I can throw everything together in the evening, set it to low and simmer it all through the night and the next day.



How to Make Chicken Broth in the Crock Pot - Buttered Side Up


Here are a few tips and tricks for making your own broth:

* Make sure you buy organic veggies that are on the "Dirty Dozen" list. Onions are on the "Clean 15," so I buy those conventional or local.

* You can use a whole, uncooked chicken as well as the carcass of a roasted chicken. The meat will fall off the bones.

* Don't boil your broth too hard - it can result in broth that doesn't gel.

* If you get enough fat in your broth, you can actually store it in the refrigerator for up to 6 months, as demonstrated by Diana of My Humble Kitchen.

* You can always add extra gelatin to your broth if you so wish. I use this brand.

* Don't be afraid to use whatever vegetables you have on hand in your broth. Some ideas: mushrooms, garlic, potatoes, various herbs, and even kombu, AKA kelp (idea from Joy the Baker).

* If your chicken comes with the giblet and liver, throw those into the pot as well!
* Don't salt your broth too heavily before it's done simmering. Taste and adjust AFTER it has reduced.


How to Make Chicken Broth in the Crock Pot - Buttered Side Up

I would love to talk more about bone broth, but this post is long enough as it is. Maybe I'll have to do a follow-up post about the benefits of bone broth, how to store, and ideas for how to use it.

What was your biggest kitchen disaster? 





How to Make Chicken Broth in a Crockpot/Slow Cooker 
recipe adapted from Weston A. Price and Mommypotamus | makes about 6-8 cups of broth
Printable Page

Ingredients:
  • 1 chicken carcass
  • cold water
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 3-4 carrots, chopped
  • 3 celery stalks, chopped
  • 1/4 cup vinegar or lemon juice
  • a bunch of parsley, optional (for added minerals)

Directions:
Place the chicken carcass in your slow cooker and add enough cold water to cover. Add the onions, carrots, celery and vinegar and stir. Let sit for 30 minutes.

Add the salt and turn the crockpot to LOW. Simmer the broth for at least 6 and up to 48 hours. 10 minutes before the cooking time is up, add a bunch of parsley. Taste and adjust salt if necessary.

Allow the broth to cool until warm. Strain into storage containers. Refrigerate or freeze.





How to Make Chicken Broth in the Crock Pot - Buttered Side Up


Note: some links are affiliate. All opinions are my own.

Hot Chocolate

/ Wednesday, January 28, 2015

5 comments



{This post was originally published on February 1, 2011 on Cooking for Seven. This is a mighty fine cup of chocolate, my friends.}


Homemade Hot Chocolate | Buttered Side Up

Yesterday, I had a completely new experience: homemade hot chocolate. Not the kind made with cocoa powder and sugar. No. The Kind made with REAL chocolate.
Oh my. It was like drinking chocolate pudding; it was so rich I couldn’t finish it in one sitting!


Homemade Hot Chocolate | Buttered Side Up

Notes: I used maple syrup for the added sweetener and bittersweet chocolate chips for the chocolate. I also added a bit of cream to the milk. Perhaps next time I will use only milk as it was so rich.


Homemade Hot Chocolate

A decadent, dessert quality drink.

Adapted from Elise Bauer | Printable Page

Serves 4

Ingredients:
For the Hot Chocolate:
3 1/2 cups whole milk,
1/2 cup heavy cream,
8 ounces chocolate, preferably dark,
3 tablespoons maple syrup or natural sweetener of choice,
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract.
1/8 teaspoon salt,
For the Maple Whipped Cream:
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream,
2 teaspoons pure maple syrup (more if you like a sweeter whipped cream),
1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Instructions:

For the Hot Chocolate:
1) Chop the chocolate very finely.
2) In a medium saucepan, bring the milk and cream to a low simmer over medium heat, whisking occasionally.
3) Add the chocolate, maple syrup, vanilla, and salt. Whisk vigorously until all of the chocolate has melted. Cook for an additional 4 minutes, whisking constantly.
4) Serve with maple whipped cream (recipe follows) if desired.

For the Maple Whipped Cream:
Place all ingredients in a large bowl and beat until stiff.



Homemade Hot Chocolate | Buttered Side Up

Philly Cheese Steak Pizza | With Fleischmann's Pizza Crust Yeast

/ Monday, January 26, 2015

11 comments



Philly Cheese Steak Pizza | Buttered Side UpPhilly Cheese Steak Pizza | Buttered Side UpPhilly Cheese Steak Pizza | Buttered Side UpPhilly Cheese Steak Pizza | Buttered Side UpPhilly Cheese Steak Pizza | Buttered Side Up

Pizza has long been a favorite thing for me to make at home. It's grand to be able to enjoy such a delicious treat without the guilt of eating highly processed ingredients. It's fun to come up with different flavor combinations.

But homemade pizza is a lot of work; and it can be quite time consuming.

Some of that time can be shaved off by not having to wait for your pizza crust to rise for an hour. With Fleischmann's Pizza Crust Yeast, all you need to do is mix up the dough and shape it. It's ready to bake right away. If you have a few ingredients prepped beforehand, homemade pizza can actually be a feasible weeknight meal!



HERE ARE A FEW TIPS FOR A SPEEDY PIZZA:

  • When you make the sauce for your pizza, make a double batch and refrigerate or freeze half for next time.
  • If you have a weekly prep day, wash and cut all the veggies for your pizza. Cook the meat. Shred the cheese.
  • Use a rapid-rise yeast for those days when you have NO time to wait for the dough to rise.



My one disappointment with this yeast was the number of ingredients. I know they need to add those items to facilitate the quick rise time, but I'm a bit sad to use ingredients that I can't pronounce. However, if it's a choice between takeout and homemade pizza, it's pretty obvious which one will be more healthy. So I don't really bad guilty about using this yeast.

This year, I'd like to try to have a monthly pizza night. Fleischmann's yeast will make it quite doable. And I'm sure Reuben will be thrilled to know that he's ensured homemade pizza at least once a month.

When I asked Reuben what pizza I should make for you guys, he suggested a Philly Cheese Steak Pizza. This man is a genius. And this pizza was delicious. One of the best I've ever made. It was excellent cold as well.


RECIPE NOTES:
I like my pizza crust a bit sweet, so I added some extra sugar to the dough. It helped to balance out all the savory flavors.
If you prefer a crispy crust, I suggest lowering the oven temperature to about 400 - 425 F and increasing the baking time.
This recipe may look long, but all that's required is sauteing the veggies, cooking the meat, making a cheese sauce, and mixing up the dough. Don't get overwhelmed! 
You can ask your butcher to slice your steak very thin if you can't find any already packaged up for you.



PHILLY CHEESE STEAK PIZZA RECIPE
Makes one large (12-13") pizza
Printable Page

Ingredients:

For the cheese sauce:
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons organic all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 1/4 cup shredded provolone cheese
  • 1 tablespoons Parmesan cheese
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • pinch of fresh ground black pepper

For the toppings:
  • 4 1/2 tablespoons butter, divided 
  • 1/2 sweet onion, finely chopped
  • 1/2 green bell pepper, sliced thin
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, sliced thin
  • 4 oz Portobello mushrooms, sliced thin
  • 8 oz. top sirloin steak, sliced thin
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 1/4 cups shredded provolone cheese

For the dough:
  • 1 3/4 - 2 1/4 cups organic all purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons pure cane sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2/3 cup very warm water (120 to 130 degrees F)
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

Directions:

For the toppings:
   In a large cast iron skillet set over medium-low heat, melt 1/2 tablespoon butter. Add the onion, season with salt and pepper and cook, stirring often, until soft and golden, about 20 minutes. Remove to a bowl and set aside.
   In the now-empty skillet, melt 2 tablespoons butter over medium-low heat. Add the peppers and mushrooms, season with salt and pepper, and cook until tender. Remove to a bowl and set aside.
   Turn the heat up to high. Add 2 more tablespoons of butter to the empty skillet. Once the butter is melted, add the slices of steak. Season with salt and pepper. Cook for only about 45-60 seconds per side. Remove to plate. Once the steak is cooled, cut it into small, bite-sized pieces.
For the cheese sauce:
   In a small saucepan over medium-low heat, melt the butter. Whisk in the flour; cook for 1-2 minutes or until bubbly and smooth. Slowly whisk in the milk and cook, stirring constantly, until thick and bubbly, about 2-4 minutes.
   Remove from heat and vigorously stir in the cheeses and salt & pepper. The sauce will be very thick. Taste and adjust seasonings if needed. Set aside.
For the dough:
   Preheat your oven to 450 degrees F. Once the oven is hot, place a pizza stone in the oven to preheat while you're making your pizza.
   In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, yeast, sugar and salt. Add the warm water and oil. Mix together until well combined, about a minute. Gradually add 1/2 cup flour until the dough forms a ball. Add more flour if needed.
   Dump the dough out onto a floured surface (dough will be somewhat sticky). Knead until the dough is smooth and elastic, about 4 minutes. Add additional flour as needed.
To assemble:
   Roll the dough out to a 12-13" circle on parchment paper. Spread the cheese sauce all over the dough. Top with the veggies and meat. Sprinkle the cheese on top.
   Transfer pizza to preheated stone and bake for about 10 minutes, or until the crust is nicely browned and the cheese is melted.

Cheese sauce recipe adapted from Bobby Flay and Betty Crocker. The toppings were inspired by Bobby Flay. Dough recipe adapted from Fleischmann's Yeast.






This post was sponsored by Fleischmann's Yeast. All opinions and words are my own.


Phone Friday:

/ Friday, January 23, 2015

No comments

Wooden spoons.
Reuben's sister, Amanda, gave me these lovely wooden spoons for Christmas. They are going to make excellent food props.


Hand embroidered tea towels.
Look at the lovey tea towels that Reuben's other sister, Bree, made for me. The embroidery is impeccable.


Dried figs.
Dried figs are nice. I'll tell you what I made with them in an upcoming post...


Fancy.
Helen likes to wear my pink-and-green Christmas socks. With pink heels, of course.


Winter Sunrise
Winter can be so bleak, but the sunrises are glorious.


Birthday!
Last Saturday was my birthday! I turned 25. I still feel like a kid. We ate mac and cheese with bacon for lunch and had ice cream for dessert. It was a good day.


Birthday Bowl
Reuben bought me this bowl for my birthday. I love it to pieces. He knows me well.


Cheerios
I get ridiculously excited about cheerios (these are actually Cascadian Farms' version of cheerios).


Snack
Emergency snack: a spoonful of peanut butter with (dark) chocolate chips poked in. A glass of cold milk is not optional.


Carbonara
Carbonara. It's a glorious thing. And so quick and easy. I've used Pioneer Woman's recipe before, but now I just wing it.


How are y'all surviving the winter? Any tips to keep from pining for spring?


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