I have to admit, I don’t think I have ever had Nutella! It is full of ingredients that I wouldn’t want in my body. I have definitely had Justin’s Nut Butter Hazelnut Spread, but it’s certainly not cheap…especially when you can finish off a jar in a couple days!!! So, I created my own version of it and used Swerve to keep the amount of sugar down.
Recipe: Chocolate Hazelnut Butter
- 2 cups hazelnuts
- 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips or chunks
- 1/2 cup granulated sweetener, powdered* (I used confectioner’s Swerve for low sugar option)
- 2 squares 100% cacao bar or unsweetened chocolate
- 1 tbsp coconut oil (I used expellor press from Tropical Traditions so it didn’t have coconut tones)
- 1/2 tsp vanilla
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
- Place the hazelnuts on a cookie sheet in a single layer
- Roast the nuts at 350 for 15 minutes
- While nuts are roasting, using a double broiler, melt the chocolate chips, squares and oil
- When nuts are done, place them between paper towels or dish towels and rub to remove skins. This takes a little bit of work, but they do not need to be perfectly clean!
- Place the nuts, melted chocolate, sweetener, vanilla and sea salt in a food processor or blender and process until smooth
- Place the nut butter in an airtight container. Store in the frig for a harder spread or at room temperature for a runnier spread
*Run sweetener of choice thru a blender or coffee grinder to powder it. If you skip this step it will make the butter gritty. I think a liquid sweetener would work fine here, but add a different flavor profile and I would start with less than 1/2 a cup.
You can use any nut or combination of nuts, but I would roast the nuts to give it more flavor.
I stored this in the frig and ate it with a spoon…and it didn’t last very long!!!
Last weekend I had the opportunity to meet Ann from The Paleo Network. She and her husband are triathletes that have gone grain and dairy free and are reaping the benefits! They were featured on our local news a few weeks back to tell their story. We had a great time chatting about food, of course we did, we both love to be in the kitchen!
Today I am sharing a recipe with you for her Cashew Alfredo Sauce that she happened to mention to me. I decided I had to make this since it sounded so good!!! It is such a versatile sauce and could be used in so many ways! I was craving mushrooms today so I sauteed mushrooms and grass-fed ground beef together and drizzled…ok drenched it with the sauce! Yum!!! Ann uses it in a number of ways that she shares with you today!
The only thing I did differently was that I sauteed the garlic in coconut oil (or you could use butter) and then added it to the oil to add to the cashew sauce. I don’t like to use olive oil with high heat is the reason for this.
Hello to all of you! A big thank you to Kate for giving me the opportunity to write this post. A little background on the recipe I’m sharing with you today. I grew up in the Midwest eating creamy casseroles and decadent comfort foods. My favorite Italian dish (and maybe my favorite dish all together) while growing up was Fettuccine Alfredo. Since going Paleo, I no longer eat dairy or grains. What does this Midwest girl do? I learned you could make creamy sauces out of cashews. I knew nutritional yeast added a “cheesy” flavor. Traditional alfredo sauce typically has garlic in it. So I threw ingredients together into my Vitamix blender and tested it out on some spaghetti squash and zucchini “noodles”. Perfection! Since then, I’ve used it as part of my Paleo Lasagna and on Paleo Pizza (drizzled on top of the meat and veggies). I’ve also mixed it into cauliflower rice, roasted Brussels sprouts and shredded chicken. It also tastes great in omelettes (serves as a glue to hold it together) or atop egg muffins.
Recipe: Cashew “Alfredo” Sauce
- 2 cups raw cashews, soaked in water for at least 6 hours
- 8 garlic cloves, minced
- ¼ cup olive oil
- ½ cup nutritional yeast
- 2 t. sea salt
- Drain and rinse your raw cashews.
- Add the cashews to your blender (I use my Vitamix ) and enough cold water to cover the cashews. Blend until creamy and smooth.
- Saute minced garlic in the olive oil in a small frying pan over medium heat for 1-2 minutes, or until slightly golden.
- Add oil and garlic to the cashew sauce along with the sea salt and nutritional yeast. Blend again until incorporated and smooth.
- Add additional water, if necessary.
You could probably add a little fresh basil (either to the blender or as a garnish). Roasted red peppers (pureed into the sauce) could also be a nice touch.
Let us know what you drizzle or pour this Alfredo sauce over!!!
It seems that the entire country is experiencing record heat. It’s been so hot here in Colorado that I have been craving salads and smoothies for my meals. Oh and of course I’ve been treating myself to plenty of homemade ice cream. My favorite is to make Dairy Free Mint Chip Ice Cream since it’s so easy and fast.
I love just a traditional Balsamic Vinaigrette dressing, but I wanted to experiment a little. Roasted strawberries sounded delicious, so I decided to try them in a dressing. The good news is, it turned out great, the bad news is you have to turn on your oven. It’s worth it! The roasting makes the strawberries ooze their delicious sweet syrup. I almost wanted to whip up some pancakes and serve the berries over that and just forget the dressing! I’m thinking roasted fruit and ice cream are the next thing on my list to make!!
Recipe: Roasted Strawberry Vinaigrette
- 1 cup fresh organic strawberries, sliced
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
- 1/4 cup water
- 1 garlic clove
- 1 heaping tbsp fresh basil
- 1/4-1/2 tsp sea salt
- Place the strawberries on a parchment lined cookie sheet that has sides
- Roast at 400 for 20 minutes
- Pour the berries and the syrup into a blender along with the remaining ingredients and blend until smooth
This is the perfect dressing to serve at your July 4th celebration! I enjoyed this on a spinach salad with some fresh strawberry slices, avocado and walnuts.
If you like beets…yum is all I can say!!! I think beets are very polarizing, you either love them or hate them. I personally love them! I got the inspiration to make this recipe from a restaurant in Denver, Root Down. For those of you that live here, it’s a must for dinner and brunch! It is a laid back atmosphere with very unique dishes designed to appeal to just about anyone. From the meat eater to the vegan, you can find something fantastic on their menu. They cater to food allergies and offer many different variations to most items. They try to use almost all local food companies for their menu items and create their menu to reflect the season. I Highly recommend it!
They have a beet arugula salad that I love to get for brunch. Along with the beets, arugula, toasted hazelnuts, it includes a beet-sunflower seed pesto dolloped next to the salad. I mix it right in to the salad as a dressing along side the basil vinaigrette and the balsamic reduction that is drizzled around the plate. I don’t think I had ever really read the description of the salad until this past weekend when I ordered it. Beet-sunflower seed pesto…that’s all I needed to read to realize I could recreate something similar. I decided to take the entire salad, excluding the nuts and arugula, and make a pesto from the remaining items. Here is what I came up with and I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!!
Recipe: Raw Beet Pesto
- 2 large beets, peeled and chopped (about 5 cups)
- 4 garlic cloves
- 3/4 – 1 cup fresh basil leaves
- 3/4 cup raw sunflower seeds
- 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
- 1 tbsp olive oil (or more if you prefer)
- 1 tsp sea salt
- Place the chopped beets into a food processor and blend until pureed
- Add in the remaining ingredients and blend until well combined
If you can tolerate cheese, you could certainly add some cheese chunks to this as well.
This could be enjoyed in so many different ways. You could use it as a sauce over pasta, meats or spaghetti squash like traditional pesto. It can also be served as a dip or spread for vegetables, crackers or chips. I would even use it as a salad dressing!!! I have two more recipes in the making that will incorporate this raw nut-free pesto deliciousness!!!
This is a nutrient-dense dip filled with the many benefits of spinach and the heart healthy fats of avocado. If you are an avocado fan, this is a must to make. It’s almost like a guacamole but the spinach adds a bit of a different element and not to mention so many more nutrients. I made this with some mexican spices, but feel free to add whatever sounds good to you!!
This dip can be enjoyed with fresh vegetables, spread on Grain Free “Wheat” Crackers, used in place of mayo in an egg or chicken salad or spread on salmon sashimi! I can easily just eat this straight out of the bowl with a spoon! If you are trying to get more greens into yours or your families bodies, this is an easy way to sneak spinach in!
Recipe: Spinach and Avocado Dip
- 1 ripe avocado
- 4 large handfuls of spinach
- 1 tsp lemon or lime juice
- 1 garlic clove
- 1/4 tsp cumin
- 1/4 tsp sea salt
- dash of cayenne pepper
- Add all of the ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth
Kale is another powerhouse green that you could use in place of or in addition to the spinach. I have not tried this so I am not sure if kale is more obvious in taste.
I am so excited about this recipe! This would have been the perfect Cinco de Mayo recipe, but I am a few days late. I was attempting crackers and loved the result, but realized they tasted like corn chips so I had to make another batch that looked like chips (bummer, I have to eat another batch).
I was once a tortilla chipaholic, it was bad! I think when going gluten free, that was the only thing I could have that was cracker like so I turned to that bag quite often. I have chosen to no longer eat corn as of a year ago, so to create a replacement that is grain free…gets me excited!
There are many reasons why I have chosen to give up corn, most importantly because it’s a grain. Sorry folks, it is not a vegetable, it is a grain. A grain that is one of the number one GMO foods out there. It can cause intestinal distress much like gluten and cause silent inflammation just like gluten. That’s all I need to hear to quite eating something. Now if only someone would tell me dark chocolate does the same thing!!! I need an intervention…but it’s so darn good!
I have been into plantains for a while now and am waiting on the arrival of plantain flour!!! What the heck is a plantain, a big banana? Plantains tends to be firmer and lower in sugar than bananas. Bananas are almost always eaten raw, while plantains tend to be cooked either when green or unripe (starchy) or overripe (sweet). They are a good source of potassium, fiber and starchy carbohydrates (perfect for endurance athletes).
Plantains are a staple in tropical regions of the world, much the same way as potatoes are here. They have a pretty neutral flavor, the unripe fruit is typically cooked by steaming, boiling or frying. I buy or make plantain chips myself that are just sliced plantains that have been roasted or baked. They satisfy the crunch, but this recipe is even better and partners up well with guacamole or fresh salsa!
Recipe: Plantain Tortilla Chips
- 3 unripe (green) plantains, peeled*
- 2 tbsp refined coconut oil
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
- coarse sea salt to sprinkle
- Peel and slice the plantains into about 1/4 inch slices and lay flat on a cookie sheet for about an hour (this can be skipped if plantains don’t seem very moist, wet on the fresh slice side)
- Add the plantains and oil to a food processor and combine until smooth
- Once all the lumps are gone, add the sea salt and quickly combine
- Place the mixture on a sheet of parchment paper the size of your cookie sheet
- If the dough is dry enough, place another piece of parchment over the top and with a rolling pin, roll out to about 1/8 inch thick rectangle. If the dough seems too wet, spread out evenly with a spatula (I have had dry and I have had wet plantains, not sure what contributes to that)
- Using a sharp knife or pizza cutter, cut into the shape and size of chip you prefer
- Sprinkle coarse sea salt or regular sea salt over the top of the dough and slide the paper onto a cookie sheet
- Bake at 400 for 25-30 minutes until golden brown. You may need to remove some chips as you go that brown faster than the others. Make sure to cook them long enough or they will be chewy instead of crunchy
- Remove cookie sheet and let chips cool
- You may need to re-cut the chips or you can break them along the cut lines
- Store in an airtight container, glass is my favorite
*The easiest way to peel a plantain is to first cut off the ends. Then with a knife, slice along the pronounced ridges (about 3 of them). Don’t worry if you cut into the plantain, it won’t matter. Peel one section at a time, it should come off pretty easily.
Unripe (green) plantains can be hard to find. I prefer the green for their no sugar content and they have less moisture in them. I have had the best luck going to Sprouts or Sunflower Market and asking if they have any unripe green plantains in the back, they usually do. Asian markets carry them as well and they are always green there since they go through so many of them. Whole Foods sells them but they tend to be very yellow and brown, it can be hit or miss there.
As I have mentioned before, I have a
slight, ok major addiction to Justin’s Nut Butters. I have realized that I can not buy a jar of it until I am sure I can eat it in moderation. It seriously tastes like frosting, have you tried the Vanilla Almond Butter flavor yet? I keep hoping he will come out with a cashew butter, but he hasn’t. Cashews tend to be a sweeter nut and I think they would be a great addition to his line, especially a chocolate cashew butter…yum!!!
Instead of waiting on him, I created my own!! I tried to make it a bit less addictive but it’s still pretty darn good. It’s a perfect addition to sliced apples or spread on top of the Grain Free “Wheat” Crackers, Grain Free Honey “Wheat” Crackers or just by the spoonful!
Recipe: Maple Vanilla Cashew Butter
- 2 cups roasted unsalted cashews*
- 3 tbsp refined coconut oil, melted
- 3 tbsp maple syrup
- 1/4 tsp vanilla bean powder or 1-2 vanilla bean pods (substitute vanilla extract to taste)
- 1/2 tsp celtic sea salt
- 1 tbsp coconut palm sugar, powdered*
- Place the nuts in a food processor or Vitamix blender and blend until smooth and creamy
- Add in all the remaining ingredients and blend until combined
- Store in a glass jar in the refrigerator. It will harden a bit so remove a few minutes before serving if you want it softened
*I buy raw cashews and roast them on a dry cookie sheet in the oven at 450 for about 5 minutes. You can certainly buy them roasted.
*Run the coconut sugar through the Vitamix or coffee grinder before hand to powder it. I may work to skip this step but the cashew butter may be a bit gritty. I actually like that!
For a lower sugar option, you can use Nature’s Hollow Xylitol Maple Syrup and Lakanto in place of the coconut palm sugar.
Feel free to try this with any nut or a combination of nuts!
This is for all you sushi lovers…or for those that want t give it a try!! I am a huge fan of sashimi, salmon being my favorite. Sashimi is thinly sliced, raw seafood. Many different kinds of fresh fish and seafood are served raw in Japanese Cuisine. It can be served plain or wrapped up in a sushi roll. I prefer it plain topped with a slice of avocado and wasabi or drizzles with Avocado Vinaigrette.
I had the hardest time years ago trying to force myself to try sushi, let alone sashimi! It is now a favorite and staple in my diet every week. I would only eat this at a quality sushi/Japanese restaurant or from Whole Foods. You can find sushi grade salmon and tuna sashimi in the seafood section of most Whole Foods. If it is fresh, it does not taste fishy at all!!! I actually think cooked salmon tastes more fishy than raw. Be sure to buy it the day you plan to eat it or close to the day.
If you like to use wasabi with your sushi, you can buy it powdered. It is typically found in the asian section and all you have to do is add a bit of water to the powder. This recipe doesn’t call for it, but it is something I enjoy along side my avocado and sashimi.
If you haven’t tried sashimi, now is the time!!! So easy to digest and full of good fats! This salad has so much flavor you probably won’t even know it’s raw fish!!!
Recipe: Spicy Tuna Sashimi Salad
- 8 ounces sushi grade tuna, chopped
- 1 large avocado, chopped
- 3 tbsp macadamia nuts, chopped
- 4 green onions, chopped whites and greens
- 1 1/2-2 tsp hot pepper oil
- 1 tsp avocado oil (could use lite olive oil or coconut oil or omit)
- 2-3 tsp Coconut Aminos
- Sesame seeds
- Roast the nuts in a dry skillet over high heat until slightly brown, let cool
- Combine the tuna, avocado and onions in a bowl
- Combine the oils and Coconut Aminos in a bowl, pour over the tuna mixture and stir
- Top with a sprinkle of sesame seeds and the nuts
Enjoy this with homemade Taro Chips, on cucumber slices, on Grain Free Wheat Crackers or simply plain!
Visit Allergy Free Wednesday for additional allergy free recipes!
Deviled eggs may be something you traditionally serve at your Easter brunch. How about switching it up a bit with Avocado Deviled Eggs. Who doesn’t like avocado!
Eggs are a great source of protein and many other nutrients. These are really an any time of the year great snack! They are super easy and fulfilling with the heart healthy fat the avocado provides. You can doctor up the egg yolk and avocado mixture any way you’d like.
Recipe: Avocado Deviled Eggs
- 8 eggs, hard boiled and peeled
- 1 large ripe avocado
- 2-4 tbsp hot sauce
- dash of sea salt
- splash of lime juice
- Slice the eggs lengthwise and remove the yolks
- Rinse the whites to get any leftover yolk out, pat dry
- Combine the yolks, avocado, hot sauce, salt and lime juice in a food processor
- Pulse until almost smooth
- Spoon the mixture into each egg white half
The amount of hot sauce will vary depending on how hot the sauce is. I used 4 tbsp of The Green from Horsetooth Hot Sauce. (local company sold at Whole Foods and Vitamin Cottage or from their website) It is pretty spicy but I love it. It’s a mix of green habaneros, serranos, tomatillos, garlic and onion.
I am determined to get hard boiled eggs to come out perfect! If you could see the eggs in the back of my picture, you’d say my egg skills need work!!! Every cookbook seems to think they have the answer. Our altitude makes a bit of a difference but I am going to figure it out! If anyone knows the trick, please let me know!!!
A few summers ago at the Vail Farmer’s Market, I came across a booth for Alpine Avocado Vinaigrette. It is a local company and a fantastic dressing, dip and marinade. It has finally made its way into Whole Foods here in Colorado. You can find it in the salad dressing section or you can order it online. As much as I love to support local businesses, I have created my own avocado vinaigrette.
I have to admit, I have never used Alpine Avocado Vinaigrette or my own as a salad dressing. I am sure it would be awesome on a salad, especially one topped with salmon sashimi or seared ahi. I use it all the time to drizzle over my sashimi, it’s the best with wasabi! It would be great in chicken salad, egg salad or any wrap. I already have a recipe planned to incorporate it into and will be trying it as a marinade soon!
Recipe: Avocado Vinaigrette
- 1/3 cup avocado
- 1/2 cup olive or avocado oil
- 2/3 cup water
- 2-3 tbsp rice vinegar
- 1 bunch green onions, whites
- 1/2 tsp fresh garlic
- 1/4 – 1/2 tsp sea salt
- Place all of the ingredients in a Vitamix or in a blender and blend until smooth.
Let us know what you drizzle, dip or marinate with this dressing!!