Maple Pecan and Salted Honey Pistachio Pralines

Have you noticed that whenever you eat refined sugar, you just want more. and more. and more…and more!

Yes it really is out to get us in the end. pistachiomaplepralines3

I think everyone should kick the habit of refined sugars. Especially the “heavy users”. It will do your body more good than you know!  Sugars wreak havoc on all of the systems of your body, and avoid High Fructose Corn Syrup(HFCS) and artificial sweeteners like the plague!!!!!!!!

There are so many other wonderful substitutes for that sweet white demon they call sugar…so don’t fret, giving up sugar does not mean you have to give up everything sweet!  I believe that in moderation; honey, maple syrup, molasses, coconut palm, coconut nectar, and stevia are a wonderful addition to a healthy diet!

No one on the earth loves sweets more than my husband, and its almost valentines day, and I made him a few different pralines in celebration of his recent life-long sugar boycott. He says he will never eat sugar again, but he will eat my treats every once in a while…and when he tasted them he exclaimed, “THIS IS THE BEST CHOCOLATE I’VE EVER HAD!”

pistachiomaplepralines5Maple Pecan Praline Filling:

1 1/4 cup pecans, divided

1 TBS coconut nectar

1 TBS maple syrup

a few pinches sea salt or fler de sel salt

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

1 TBS coconut butter or regular pastured butter

Place 1 cup of pecans in your food processor, and process until they are finely ground. Add coconut nectar, maple syrup,

salt, vanilla and butter, process until combined, and the mixture turns sticky and balls up in the machine. Add 1/4 cup chopped pecans, pulse a few times.

Form the mixture into 1/2 inch balls and transfer to the freezer.

pistachiomaplepralines1

Salted Honey Pistachio Praline Filling:

1 cup roasted salted pistachios, shelled

1 TBS honey

4 fresh dates, pitted

Process the pistachios in your food processor until finely ground. Add dates and honey. Process. Mixture should form into a ball. Add more honey or 1 TBS water if needed.

Place filling on parchment paper, and form into a square. about 1 inch in thickness. Cut into 12 equal pieces. transfer to freezer.

Chocolate Coconut Ganache:

1/2 cup coconut oil, melted in a dehydrator or in a sunny kitchen window.

1/2 cup high quality maple syrup

1/4 cup raw cocoa powder

1/4 cup carob powder, this can be replaced with cocoa powder, but it adds a nice caramel note to the chocolate.

1/2 t fler de sel

1 tsp vanilla extract

add everything in a warmed bowl and stir until incorporated.

Assembly:

Dip the praline filling in the chocolate, and place on a sheet of parchment.

Garnish with chopped nuts, cocoa powder, coconut, or sea salt.

Place in the freezer to set.

Serve to your sweetie(or treat yourself) to a nice hot cup of coffee or tea. Take a load off and enjoy your Valentines Day!!!

Rosemary Garlic Lamb Burgers on Greek Salsa

lamb burgers with greek salsa3

Ever since I made my Lamb Rogan Josh I have wanted to get more meat from my favorite lamb supplier, Montana Highland Lamb. This is absolutely the best lamb I have tasted, we are so grateful to have such a great resource here in Montana!  A few weeks ago at the Farmer’s Market, I got more, and I plan try something new this week…maybe some shanks or chops, a rack, or all of it…uh oh…this could be dangerous.

I love Greek food, and so when I grabbed some goat feta from Amaltheia Organic Dairy, a local supplier of delicious goat cheeses here in Bozeman, I decided to make lamb burgers, greek salsa and tzatziki. This meal turned out to be fast, easy, and very tasty. The burgers were phenomenal! My husband said they tasted like a gyros, but better.

Next time I make these, I am going to make an extra batch to throw in the freezer for emergency meals, so in a pinch, I can just pull them out and throw them on the grill for a super fast feast!

Rosemary Garlic Lamb Burgers:

1 1/2 lb pasture raised ground lamb

1 small onion, chopped finely

2 cloves of garlic, pressed

1 egg

1 TBS dried or fresh rosemary, chopped

2 TBS dijon mustard

1 TBS fresh basil, chopped finely

a few leaves fresh mint, finely chopped

1 tsp sea salt

fresh ground black pepper

Mix everything together with your hands in a medium sized bowl, shape into 6 patties, and place in a covered container in the fridge until ready to grill.

Place the burgers on your grill over high heat. Cook about 3 to 4 minutes  per side, turning once. Do not press down on the burgers with the spatula during  cooking, this squeezes out the juices, and dries out  the burger.

Check doneness by peeking inside a patty with a fork, or if you have an instant-read food thermometer, you can insert it into the center of the  patty, and cook until the inside temperature reaches 170 degrees F.

Greek Salsa:

1/2 large english cucumber, diced

10 cherry tomatoes, quartered

4 ounces goat feta, diced

1/2 small red onion, chopped finely

1 TBS fresh chopped basil

1 TBS fresh chopped mint

Mix everything in a medium sized bowl and serve with the burgers.

*For an extra decadent meal, serve these burgers with a dollop of my

Garlic and Sweet Basil Tzatziki.

Garlic and Sweet Basil Tzatziki

Tzatziki has always been one of my favorite sauces…tart, crisp and creamy. My mother-in-law serves this with her famous Greek Quiche, which I will get around to posting some day! She taught me how to make this sauce about 8 years ago in Sweden, when she was teaching me how to cook. This was before I could speak Swedish, so we really couldn’t communicate verbally, and I remember how much fun it was to try to read her gestures and guess what she was saying. I think we spent most of the time laughing that night!!!

I still make this very regularly, especially during the summer when we are grilling almost every day. It is very fast and easy to make and is the perfect condiment to any grilled meats and is also a great dip for veggies.

Garlic and Sweet Basil Tzatziki

1 cup greek yogurt

1/2 cucumber, shredded and pressed in a fine mesh sieve to drain off access liquid

1 clove garlic

1/2 t garlic powder

2 TBS lemon juice

1 TBS fresh basil, finely chopped

1 tsp salt

fresh ground pepper

Add the yogurt to a small bowl. Press the cucumber in a fine mesh sieve with a spoon to drain off access liquid. Add garlic, powder, lemon juice, chopped basil, salt and ground black pepper. Mix and serve.

Meyer Lemon and Tangelo Chicken Bake with Herbes de Provence

tangelochicken31 pasture raised chicken, about 3 1/2 to 4 pounds, quartered

zest and juice of 1 meyer lemon+  1 meyer lemon sliced and reserved

zest and juice of 1 tangelo, + 1 tangelo sliced and reserved

4 tsp honey, divided

3 cloves garlic, minced

1/2 cup apple cider vinegar

Fresh ground black pepper

1 1/2 teaspoon salt, divided

2 tablespoons butter

2 pounds small red potatoes, cut in large chunks or quartered

2 parsnips, peeled and sliced

3 small red onions quartered

1 leek sliced

1 1/2 teaspoons herbes de provence, divided

2 Tbs Balsamic Vinegar+2 tsp honey

Heat oven to 375°.

Quarter the chicken; place in a shallow dish or a large food storage bag. Combine meyer lemon juice, tangelo juice zest,2 tsp honey, garlic, 1/2 teaspoon sea salt, and apple cider vinegar.

Pour over the chicken and turn to coat. Cover or seal and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight

To prepare potatoes, parsnips, onions, and leeks; place in a bowl and toss with 1/2 teaspoon sea salt, 1/2 teaspoon herbes de provence, and 2 TBS melted butter

Take the chicken out of the marinade and arrange in a roasting pan.  Arrange the potatoes and onion around the chicken pieces. Sprinkle everything with the remaining 1 tsp herbes de provence, and the remaining 1/2 tsp sea salt and a few cranks fresh ground black pepper. Spread the meyer lemon and tangelo slices over the chicken and potatoes.

Roast for about 1 1/2 hours, turning chicken after 1 hour.

When chicken is thoroughly cooked, the breasts should register 165 degrees F on your meat thermometer and the juices will run clear when pierced with a fork.

Mix balsamic vinegar and 2 teaspoons of honey and pour over the chicken and potatoes just before serving.

Serves 4

Enjoy!

Salmon Caesar Salad Wraps

Salmon Basil Caesar Salad:salmon salad wraps4

2 wild caught salmon fillets, cooked

4 Tbs Caesar Dressing

2 TBS red onion, minced

2 free-range eggs, hardboiled and shelled

1 Tbs capers

finely chopped basil (optional)

Optional Toppings:

avocado

sprouts

roasted red bell pepper

shredded carrots

shredded beets

sunflower seeds

Assembly:

Lay the collard leaf out flat, break off the stem. Fill with the salmon salad and your favorite veggies. Wrap like a burrito, and eat!

*Or wrap in a piece of parchment paper, pack in a cooler with some fruit, and a handful of nuts to take to work!

salmon salad wraps2

Enjoy!!!

Creamy Shrimp and Andouille Étouffée

I have been planning on making a shrimp dish for the past few weeks, and decided on this little gem of a recipe the other day.  I love Cajun food, but my husband doesn’t like anything too spicy.

shrimpetouffee3I always make meals that the whole family can eat and enjoy. I want the baby to grow up with a wide range of foods and tastes. She really is good at trying new things. Ever since she was 7 months old, she ate whatever we ate. This is why I don’t like to cook with much heat,  this can always be added to your own dish separately. Feel free to add more Cajun seasoning or a good hot sauce if you want more KICK!

I thought it turned out perfectly! Creamy with a bit of spice…but not too much for my husband or the baby to handle. In fact, I think Ariana enjoyed it even more than I did, and that’s saying a lot! She kept asking for more, except of the sausage which was too hot for her…she ended up having 3 servings!

We served it on steamed cauliflower “rice” and had an arugula, shredded beet and goat cheese salad on the side…it was simply divine!

shrimpetouffee2Creamy Shrimp and Andouille Étouffée:

1 TBS butter, ghee or coconut oil

1 medium yellow onion, chopped

2 large cloves of garlic, minced

1 stalk of celery, chopped

1/2 green bell pepper, diced

1/2 red bell pepper, diced

1/2 cup green onions, chopped and divided*

1/2 cup parsley leaves, chopped and divided*

2 links of andouille sausage, diced

1/2 cup dry white wine

1(14oz) can diced tomatoes

1(14oz) can coconut milk

1 tsp cajun seasoning

1 tsp paprika

1/2 tsp thyme

1-2 tsp sea salt

1/2 lb raw shrimp

1 1/2 TBS arrowroot dissolved in 2 TBS water.

Directions:

Heat the oil or butter in a medium sized pot or dutch oven. Turn the heat to medium high, and when your oil heats up, add your onions. Once they turn translucent, you can add the garlic, bell peppers, celery, 1/4 c green onions, and sausage.

Turn your stove down to medium and cook your veggies for about 5 minutes. Add your wine and simmer for another few minutes until almost evaporated. Add the tomatoes and their juices, 1/4 c parsley, coconut milk, spices, and sea salt to taste.

Bring to a boil and let simmer for 7 minutes.

Add raw shrimp, and arrowroot dissolved in water. The stew should thicken, and the shrimp will be cooked in 3 minutes. Be careful not to overcook the shrimp.

Turn off the heat and serve with steamed cauliflower “rice”!

*Use the reserved green onions and parsley to garnish your Étouffée

Beef Mole’ Fajitas with Refried “Beans”

beefmoletaco3

If you haven’t noticed…I have a love affair with collards. These big green leaves are the perfect vehicle for tacos, burgers, and wraps. Crunchy, yet still soft enough to bend without breaking. I learned many creative ways to use veggies when … Continue reading