Mashed Sweet Potatoes

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One of the dishes that I agreed to make for Thanksgiving Dinner at work was sweet potatoes.  Personally, I feel like T-Day dinner is salt salt salt salt salt.  I wanted to find a recipe that had a hint of sweet.  Sweet sweet potatoes it is.

Mashed Sweet Potatoes

Ingredients
4-6 large sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1″ chunks
1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk (or coconut milk)
1 heaping tablespoon coconut oil
1/4 cup pure maple syrup
Salt and pepper to taste
(Scale this recipe for the amount of people being served, I figured 1 sweet potato per person)

Instructions
1. Peel and cut sweet potatoes, and place in a large soup pot filled with water.
2. Bring water to boil, and boil sweet potatoes until soft, about 20 minutes.
3. Drain sweet potatoes and place in a large bowl, or kitchen aid mixer.
4. With kitchen aid mixer, or hand mixer, mash sweet potatoes on low to keep from getting lumpy and “glue-like”.
5. Continue to mash while adding coconut oil, almond milk, and maple syrup.
6. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and serve.

Simple.  Crazy simple.  A few changes.  I used heavy whip instead of almond milk.  Also, my hand mixer recently took a crap and the station that I was at did not have a hand mixer.  Blender it is.  May I recommend a hand mixer or Kitchenaid mixer…works a little slicker.  Lastly, I opted not to sprinkle with s&p.

These sweet potatoes are darn tasty.  The clan at the station loved them as well.  Perfectly and subtly sweet.  A great way to enjoy a guilt-free sweet potato dish.

Happy Eating!

Recipe HERE.

 

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Thanksgiving Turkey Chili

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I worked a 12 hour shift Thanksgiving Day AND I had family coming into town Thanksgiving night.  I wanted to come up with a delicious Thanksgiving dinner, but there was no way I could throw together the traditional turkey, stuffing, sweet potatoes, green bean casserole, pie, cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes that I grew up having….all by 8 pm.  After quite a bit of thought, I decided to do kind of a fun, Paleo slow cooker twist on Thanksgiving dinner.

About a month ago, I posted a Chicken Chili recipe.  I thought perhaps turkey might be a good substitute for the chicken.  I roasted my very first turkey 2 days before T-Day.  The turkey actually turned out amazingly well.  The carving….well, it was more like butchering.  No matter.  Turkey is still delicious whether perfectly carved or in bit size ripped off hunks.

I followed the recipe fairly strictly…with a few adjustments.  I substituted turkey for chicken.  I don’t know exact weight, but it was a couple few pounds.  In my opinion, it doesn’t really matter.  Secondly, I saved the juices from the roasting pan.  Instead of making gravy with the juices, I used the turkey drippings in place of the chicken stock.  Third, I threw a handful of cranberries into the slow cooker for a little color, tartness, and holiday flare.

I let the chili cook for a solid 12 hours.  A bit long for my liking, but that’s ok.  It truly was the perfect meal for Thanksgiving Day after a 12 hour shift.  Everyone LOVED it. To keep with the Thanksgiving dinner theme, I served it with sweet potato chips, Maple Paleo Cornbread, and a delicious cranberry prosecco.  Grain-free, dairy-free Pumpkin Pie for dessert.

This is a perfect way to use up those Thanksgiving leftovers.  A hearty chili on these cool autumn….almost winter…days.  Definitely a crowd pleaser.

I hope that you had a very merry Thanksgiving, full of blessings and delicious food.

Happy Eating!

Slow Cooker Cranberry Sauce

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I’m a sucker for cranberry sauce.  A Thanksgiving staple that can easily be forgotten.  I guess I grew up having the canned cranberry sauce…didn’t know any better.  This year I decided to try something a little different.  The ingredient list just screamed FLAVOR!  I was all about it.  Here is what you need to know:

Ingredients
One 14 ounce bag of cranberries
One medium Bartlett pear, cored and diced smaller than the cranberries
Juice and zest of one medium orange
One tablespoon of freshly grated ginger
1/4 cup raw honey
1/4 cup coconut sap crystals/coconut sugar

Instructions
1. Wash your cranberries (turns out, cranberries are pretty dirty). Strain excess water off before dumping into your slow cooker.
2. Add your pear, orange juice, orange zest, and ginger. Stir.
3. Add your honey and coconut crystals. Try your best to stir evenly. If clumps form, set them towards the top.
4. Leave your lid slightly cracked to allow excess moisture to cook off, which will provide a thicker sauce.
5. Cook on high for 3 hours or low for 5 hours. If doubling the recipe, cook on high for 4 hours or low for 6 hours.

The only thing that I changed was the ginger…accidentally.  I read tsp vs Tbsp so I did not buy enough ginger.  Otherwise, the recipe was followed to a T.  I have so much to say about this recipe, but to keep this post short, let me summarize my thoughts with bullet points.

1. This cranberry sauce made my house smell A-MAY-ZING.  After throwing this together in the slow cooker, my husband and I left for a bit to run some errands. When we got back, my house smelled like Christmas.  It was an olfactory delight. Way better than a candle. 
2. This is THE best cranberry sauce that I have ever had. The cranberry.  The orange.  The pear.  The ginger. Wow.  Just…wow.  It’s a perfect punch of flavor.  Everything goes together really well.  Great layering. 
3.  I visited with Jason, the guy behind PaleoPot , a little about this recipe.  We talked about the pears.  Pears aren’t typically found in your traditional cranberry sauce.  The purpose for pears is twofold.  A. The pears add sweetness.  Sure, honey and coconut crystals add sugar, but really, nothing beats that natural sugar that you get from fruit.  B. Pears have pectin.  Pectin is a thickener.  Nature’s thickening agent.  Boom!
4.  Next time, I would double the receipe. I can’t get enough.  This recipe made about 2 cups, give or take.  Not nearly enough for those of us who pile on the cranberry sauce.
5. Only a handful of ingredients.  The only prep “work” really is with the orange and the ginger.  With a sharp microplane, it takes no time at all.  Quick and simple.

In short, this recipe is a huge win.  This WILL be made again (and again and again and again).  Thanks, Jason from PaleoPot, for making our turkey better, for making our house smell like cranberry spice, and for a more colorful Thanksgiving table this year. 

Happy Thanksgiving!

Recipe HERE.

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Turkey & Cranberry Meatballs

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Melissa, of The Clothes Make the Girl, posted this recipe not too long ago.  With Thanksgiving quickly…very quickly…approaching, I have been on the lookout for fun T-day dishes that could add a little health AND creativity to the meal. Turkey & cranberries have a delicious compatibility.  Heck yeah, I’m going to make this recipe. I purchased Melissa’s cookbook Well Fed quite awhile ago.  So many awesome creations.  I just knew this one would be just as tasty as the rest of her recipes.

Ingredients
2 tablespoons warm water
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 pound ground turkey
1 tablespoon orange juice
2 cloves garlic, minced (about 2 teaspoons)
1/4 cup dried cranberries (unsweetened), coarsely chopped (check labels to make sure the cranberries are truly unsweetened)
1/2 tablespoon rubbed sage
1/2 tablespoon orange zest
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

Instructions
1. Preheat the oven to 400F. Cover a large, rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
2. In a small bowl, mix baking soda and cream of tartar in water. Set aside.
3. In a large bowl, mix turkey, orange juice, garlic, cranberries, sage, orange zest, salt, and pepper. Mix well to combine.
4. Add the baking soda mixture to the bowl, and mix again. NOTE: For a smoother, more tender texture, use a food processor or a standing mixer – fitted with the paddle attachment – to blend the ingredients. For more a traditional texture, mix the meat by hand.
5. Mixture will be super gooey. Place meat in the fridge to chill for 20-30 minutes.
6. After 20-30, roll about 1 tablespoon of meat into a 1-inch ball. (Melissa likes to use a 1-tablespoon scoop to speed up the process.)
7. Slide the baking sheet into the oven and bake meatballs for 20-25 minutes, until browned and sizzling.
(This recipe yielded 16 meatballs approx golf ball size)

Melissa recommends serving with your favorite sides — or recreating a Thanksgiving leftovers sandwich by wrapping a meatball in a butter lettuce leaf with homemade mayo, salt, pepper, and a few fresh parsley leaves.

First of all, do not be intimidated by the ingredients or the amount of steps.  Most of the ingredients I actually already had in my cupboards at home.  The instructions are pretty easy and straight forward. Simple, really.

The house smelled fantastic while the meatballs were cooking. I could hardly wait to try them.  I dug right in once they came out of the oven.  I suppose one could put gravy on them or Paleo mayo, but really, they’re delicious on their own. The flavor is fairly complex.  There’s a lot for your taste buds to figure out.  I love the crispy turkey flavor combined with the citrus of the orange and the tartness of the cranberries.  I had to sample at least 4 or 5 to really get the flavor down….  (Note: The only thing that I left out was the sage. I’m fairly allergic to sage, turns out.  I haven’t had it in quite a while, so I’m not sure how much it would change the flavor.)

These meatballs are definitely a fun twist on the turkey & cranberry combo.  Perfect as a snack or a meal.

Happy Eating!

Recipe HERE.

Paleo Pumpkin Pie

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Thanksgiving is one of my favorites.  Everyone gathered together, a table full of food, a heart of thankfulness.  Speaking of food….since deciding to eat clean, it has become a bit more difficult to partake in holiday meals.  Many traditional favorites are full of ingredients that I choose not to eat.  Lately, I have been keeping my eyes open for great Thanksgiving recipes. Cleaner options. So.many.recipes. Elana’s Pantry recently posted this pumpkin pie recipe.  Now, just so you know, I definitely prefer pie over cake and I’m somewhat of an aficionado. I do make a mean pumpkin pie…with my grandma’s secret pie crust recipe.  BUT, since my family pumpkin pie recipe isn’t so much Paleo, I thought I’d try my hand at this one.  Elana’s Pantry is good about posting fantastic recipes.  I was optimistic.

Ingredients

1 (15 oz ) can pumpkin puree (or 1.5 Cu homemade pumpkin puree)
3 eggs
1/2 Cu coconut milk (full fat)
1/3 cu honey
2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg

Crust
2 Cu blanched almond flour
1/4 tsp sea salt
2 Tbsp coconut oil
1 egg

Makes 1 pie crust
Recipe HERE

Instructions
Prepare the crust first
1. Place flour and salt in food processor and pulse briefly
2. Add coconut oil and egg.  Pulse until mixture forms a ball.
3. Press dough firmly into a 9-inch pie dish, set aside.
4. In a food processor, combine pumpkin puree and eggs.
5. Pour filling into Paleo Pie Crust
6. Bake at 350° for 45 minutes
7. Allow to cool completely then refrigerate for approx 2 hours to set up

Makes 1 pie

Topping
Heavy whipping cream
vanilla
cinnamon

I don’t have exact measurements.  I just pour and sprinkle and whip the crap out of it by hand.  Truly made with love.

Ever the skeptic, I was pleasantly surprised at how this pie turned out.  Really, it turned out perfectly.  Towards the end of baking, the crust was getting dangerously golden so I placed some tinfoil on top for the last 10 minutes or so.  Other than that, the recipe was relatively simple.  There are a handful of ingredients, but basically you just mix them together.  Nothing fancy.  I would make this pie again…and often.  It truly tastes like pumpkin pie.  The whipped topping really makes this pumpkin pie the perfect ending to your traditional Thanksgiving dinner.  Best part is, it’s guilt-free.  Grain-free, dairy-free, and the only sugar is the honey.

Try it out this Thanksgiving.  See if your dinner guests notice a difference.  I’d bet they won’t.  This would also be the perfect item to take along to that dinner party you’ve been invited to.  This way, you know EXACTLY what went into the pie and can enjoy a care-free dessert.  pairs well with coffee.

I hope you enjoy this pie as much as I do!

Happy Eating!

Recipe HERE.

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