Pumpkin Sausage Kale Soup

Mom was looking for a recipe to finish up a can of pumpkin puree that she’d just taken a spoonful out of. We look for recipes to enhance not only our diet, but that of my younger sister who is on a very restrictive diet for medical reasons. While surfing around the internet, Mom found Denise Wright’s recipe (you can find the original here). She made a few changes, and we ended up with a great soup that would make a fantastic lunch but is also light enough for a late-night bowl of something before bedtime after working a long, late shift (Yes, I know. Oddly specific.). Here’s our version:

1 Tablespoon olive oil
1 lb. sweet Italian sausage, casings off. (we used a turkey sausage)
​15 oz. can of pure pumpkin puree (NOT pie filling)
1 red bell pepper, chopped
2 cups baby kale, chopped (or spinach)
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
2-3 cups coconut milk, for preferred consistency
pinch of cayenne
1 Tablespoon butter

1. In a soup pot, add olive oil and brown sausage, breaking it into bite-sized pieces.

2. Add peppers, sea salt and pepper and sauté for a few minutes.

3. Add pumpkin, coconut milk, and greens (kale or spinach) and continue cooking for 5 minutes.

4. Stir in butter and cayenne to taste.

5. Enjoy.

We found that the cayenne intensifies as the soup sits, so the nearly imperceptible amount when we first tasted it was much more intense when I came in late and nuked a bowl for dinner. It’s something to keep in mind when adding the cayenne. Also, Mom isn’t much for the Middle Eastern spices, but I love Middle Eastern food, and I think this recipe would be incredible with some cumin, turmeric and ginger.

Chocolate Cake

I celebrated my last birthday with Kat (friend and adopted sister), Mom, and my two aunts in California. There was talk about what kind of cake Kat and I might want for our birthday, and Paleo didn’t really cross my  mind. I will have an occasion non-Paleo treat, but, for the most part, I try to to keep to plan. There are times, though, when it’s just not practical, and impromptu trips to California for birthday pedicures is one of those times…usually. Before we left on the trip, I found this cake recipe, and Mom tweaked it a tad. The recipe is from a site called My Heart Beets, and you can find the original recipe here. This cake is a very decadent, heavy cake in the European style, and rich, but so very good.

Cake
1 cup almond flour
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1/4 cup sifted coconut powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup maple syrup
1/2 cup butter, melted
4 eggs, room temperature
1/2 cup dark chocolate chunks

Chocolate Frosting
5 ounces (1/2 packages of dark chocolate chunks)
4 tablespoons of butter
1 teaspoon maple syrup, to taste

Cake directions
1.. In a small bowl combine the dry ingredients (almond foul, cocoa, coconut flour, baking soda and salt)

2. Add the maple syrup, melted butter and mix well.

3. Add eggs and mix well

4. Stir in the chocolate chunks. Spoon into a 10″ pan greased with coconut oil

5. Bake at 350 for 35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

6. Remove the cake from the oven and place it on a wire rack to cool.

Chocolate frosting
1. Melt chocolate in the microwave.

2. Mix in butter and maple syrup. Mix until smooth

3. Allow frosting to cool slightly, then pour over cake.

4. Enjoy.

Paleo Banana Bread

Mom and I find a lot of good recipes, but  the ones we really love are those you could  serve to a non-Paleo person without warning them, and they wouldn’t know the difference between the Paleo and the non-Paleo.  It was really  incredible to find a banana bread that we could swap for grain-filled bread without being sad about it. To be frank, I didn’t think it was possible. I’ve had gluten-free banana bread before, vegan and therefore Paleo, and I’ve not liked it. The same goes for cookies and cakes. So, I’m always a little nervous when we try something from those categories.

Just like the chocolate cake and the chocolate chip cookies you’ll find among these recipes, this banana bread is fantastic. You’d never know anything was “alternative” in it. ​Mom found the recipe on a site called Paleo Running Mama, and you can find the original, un-tweaked recipe here.

4 small to medium overripe bananas, mashed well
4 large eggs at room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla
¼ cup coconut oil, melted and cooled to almost room temperature
1 ¾ cups almond flour
½ cup tapioca flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon fine grain sea salt
¼ cup chopped pecans
¼ cup mini chocolate chips

1. Whisk together dry ingredients and set aside

2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line a medium loaf pan with parchment

3. In a large bowl, mix together the eggs and mashed bananas. Add the vanilla and coconut oil and combine well.

4. Slowly stir in dry ingredients. Do not use an electric mixer. Mixing too well can cause the bread not to rise. Moisten until no flour is visible

5. Stir in pecans and chocolate chips

6. Transfer batter to parchment-lined loaf pan and bake for 60 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in them middle of the loaf comes out clean. Place pan on cooling rack and leave bread in pan until it is almost completely cooled. While bread is still warm to the touch, tip it out upside down onto the rack and remove the parchment. Slice when cooled.

7. Enjoy.

This bread will be very moist, particularly toward the middle. These slices are wonderful pan-fried and served hot with toppings. The bread can be stored at room temperatures for twenty-four hours, but should be refrigerated if it lasts any longer than that.

Blueberry Cobbler

I thought one of the best recipes we ever found was the Raspberry Peach Crumble, but Mom is less of a fan of crumbles than she is of cobblers, and we were hoping to find a recipe we would like. I stumbled upon one by the same gal who make the crumble, and the original recipe can be found here.

We didn’t have any fresh berries on hand, so we used frozen. I would encourage you to just use fresh berries unless you can figure out how much more arrowroot to add in to help set the extra juices produced by frozen berries. While ours didn’t quite set up the way we wanted it to, it was just delicious.

Biscuit
1 cup sifted almond flour
1/2 cup tapioca flour
2 Tablespoons coconut flour
2 teaspoons maple syrup
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
3 Tablespoons butter, cubed and cold
1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 egg

Filling
4 cups blueberries
4 cups huckleberries
1 Tablespoon lemon zest
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon found cinnamon
4 Tablespoons arrowroot
1/3 cup maple syrup
Pinch of salt

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees

2. Make biscuits:
a. In a bowl stir together dry ingredients. Add in cold cubed butter and, using a pastry cutter or your fingers, break up the butter into the flour mixture until it is in small pieces.
b. Add in applesauce and egg and mix to completely combine. Using your hands, roll dough in to balls and then pat them into a biscuit shape about 2 1/2 inches in diameter and set aside.

3. In a large bowl, mix together the blueberries and the huckleberries, the lemon zest, lemon juice, arrowroot and syrup until well combined and pour into a 9×13 inch pan.

4. Top berries with the biscuits.

5. Cover lightly with foil and bake 20 minutes. remove foil and bake for an addition 20 minutes. Serve warm.

​6. Enjoy.

Peach Raspberry Crumble

When I was growing up, we always ate dessert with our dinner. After I got married, the practice stopped for me. Now, though, that I’m living with my parents again, dessert is often back on the menu.

One of the oddities of this eating plan is that anything Paleo is “legal.” This isn’t a restrictive diet where desserts have to be limited to a small bite on your cheat day. I’m not suggesting that it’s okay to gorge on desserts, but a dish full of crumble (yes, more than one bite) any time you’d like some dessert is completely reasonable.

Someone posted this recipe on Facebook, and I watched the obnoxious little video long enough to realize it was Paleo. Naturally, mom was totally on the job. The site the recipe came from is called Lexie’s Clean Kitchen, and you can find the original here.

Filling:
4 peaches, sliced
6 oz. raspberries
1 Tablespoon honey or maple syrup
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 Tablespoon arrowroot or tapioca starch

Topping
1/3 cup ground pecans
3 Tablespoons almond flour
1 Teaspoon honey or maple syrup
½ teaspoon cinnamon
Pinch of sea salt

1. Combine filling ingredients and mix well

2. Grease casserole dish with melted coconut oil and pour in filling

3. Combine topping ingredients in a small bowl and mix with a fork until crumbly

4. Pour topping over the filling and bake in a 350 degree oven for 40 minutes. Serve warm.

5. Enjoy.

Paleo Apple Pumpkin Butter

I love pumpkin. No, I really love pumpkin. I am not one of those fall-weather pumpkin spice junkies who dress in brown and beige while running off to Starbucks at the drop of the first leaf and then forgets it exists when Peppermint Mochas hit the menu. And, no, I don’t think there should be pumpkin spice everything. Pumpkin is something I have no trouble eating year round, though I will admit that it tastes better in the fall.

So, imagine my joy when my friend from Maine, Barbara Coffin, posted that she was making pumpkin butter, and better yet, IT WAS PALEO!!!

The original recipe Barbara was using came from a publication called Young Living for Life and their unaltered recipe, which uses essential oils, can befound, unaltered, right here.

Anyone who knows me well knows I’m NOT into essential oils. I’m one of those people who point and laugh and make fun of those of you who are (No hard feelings. It’s just for my entertainment.). So, needless to say, I don’t exactly have oils laying around the house to use for yummy spreads. I didn’t call on Mom this time but adapted this recipe on my own. Here’s how I made it.

15 oz. (1 regular can) of pure pumpkin puree
15 oz. unsweetened applesauce (I literally just poured the applesauce into the empty pumpkin can and then poured it into the sauce pan.)
2/3 cup pure maple syrup
1 Tablespoon lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 Tablespoon pumpkin pie spice

1. Mix all ingredients in a medium sauce pan.

2. Bring simmer over medium heat and let simmer for 45-55 minutes, stirring occasionally. I lowered my heat to medium low (set the stovetop on 3 rather than 5) about 20 minutes in. It pops all over the place, so stand back when you’re not stirring.

3. When you can pull the spoon out of the mixture and nothing drips off, it’s done. Spoon into little jam jars and cool before putting the lids on. Keep refrigerated.

4. Enjoy.

I think this is my new favorite topping for my Paleo pancakes.