Gluten/Sugar Free Pumpkin Bars

I love being in the kitchen.  Throughout the day I will often find myself on various websites looking up recipes that are preferably Paleo friendly.  One day I found myself thinking about baking.  I’ve been on the Paleo lifestyle for almost two months now and the one thing that I miss having is dessert.  Yes, there’s nature’s candy…

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Sometimes that’s just not going to cut it though.  I need warm tasty sugar goodness.  I want to grab all of the ingredients necessary for chocolate chip cookies and arrange them on my counter around the mixing bowl.  I want to measure them out into whatever serving sizes they’re supposed to be and pop them into the oven.  I want to take that batch of cookies out of the oven and eat one with a glass of ice cold milk.  But the recipe that I’ve been using for years is not Paleo friendly.  CURSES!!    I have a side business as a baker and so every now and again I will get an order for cupcakes, a custom cake for a birthday party, or even cake balls for a baby shower.  All of these things require flour and sugar.  Both are things that I choose not to have.  While I’m baking I think…  “I need this in my belly.  I hope that (insert name here) enjoys this cuz I’m behaving right now and can’t have one.”  So what to do?

Get my Google on!!  I have read a few recipes and experimented and came out with fantastic results.  One of them was a Gluten/Sugar Free Pumpkin Bar:

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The kitchen smelled like pumpkin pie and when it came out of the oven and finally into my belly it wasn’t too sweet, it was fluffy, and it satiated my warm dessert craving.  I would have a piece in the morning with breakfast or it was dessert for after lunch or dinner.  It’s Paleo friendly because it’s made with almond flour and I used raw honey as the sweetener.  SO GOOD!  Here’s the recipe:

Gluten/Sugar Free Pumpkin Bars

1 cup pumpkin puree (You can also use acorn, butternut or other squash)
1 cup raw honey
4 eggs
2 cups blanched almond flour (I got mine from Whole Foods in the bulk section)
1/2 teaspoon salthttp://www.assoc-amazon.com/e/ir?t=elanaspantryc-20&l=as2&o=1&a=B000EITYUU
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon cloves

*Note: If you don’t have the last three ingredients, you can always just use a teaspoon of Pumpkin Spice and add about a 1/2 teaspoon more if you want more of that spicy flavor.  Another note…  if you want to make a smaller batch, you can half the recipe and use an 8×8 pan.  It’ll come out the same.

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees

2.  Combine all of the wet ingredients together and mix until combined (about two minutes)

3.     Add dry ingredients and mix until combined.

4.     Pour batter into a greased 13 x 9 baking dish

5.     Bake for 30-35 minutes, check for doneness by sticking a toothpick in the center of the dish.  If it comes out clean then it’s done.  If it doesn’t (there’s still wet batter) bake for another 5 minutes and test again.

6.     Let it cool for 30-60 minutes.  Cut and serve to your friends, or hoarde the deliciousness all to yourself!!

Suggestion: If you’re going to serve it warm then I would put a dallop of whip cream either to the side or on top.  This is how my kids like it.  Otherwise, just eat it by itself.  The bars will last a week if you put them in an airtight container.

ENJOY!

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Meal Prepping…

I am a big fan of prepping lunch for the next day, or if I’m feeling especially productive…  for the week.  Breakfast prep is fairly simple.  Grab 4-6 eggs and boil them the night before.

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POW!  Breakfast is complete!!

My boyfriend and I can go through 30 eggs a week, though lately we’ve been going through 20 because the eggs that we got have a double yolk.  Oh and by the way…  if you’re in the San Jose area and you need eggs in bulk you should get them from Olivera Egg Ranch which is located at 3315 Sierra Rd.  Duck eggs, Quail Eggs, Chicken Eggs…different sizes and pack sizes for affordable prices.  Yes, you can even get organic.  Go check it out!

At the office if I am still hungry even after those eggs I will have a piece of fruit such as a banana, apple, or even an orange.

So why prep meals?  It’s WAY easier to just hop in the car, order a #1 and then drive back to the office right?  How much gas did you waste?  How about money?  Was that #1 nutritious?  Is it going to go straight to the hips?  When I cook a meal at home I know exactly what is going into the pan.  I make my food exactly how I want it, and I know that it’s good for me.

The meal prep for this week was Chicken Breast stuffed with Monterey Jack cheese and sliced Garlic then wrapped in Bacon.

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I might have to get the boyfriend to tell you all about using raw unpasteurized cheese as well as uncured bacon.  That might have to be a whole nother post.  We shall see..

The chicken breast was seasoned with salt and pepper prior to stuffing and wrapping.  Once wrapped, the chicken was placed on the BBQ grill seam and bacon end side down.  This is to ensure that the bacon will stay on the chicken and it will keep the chicken from unrolling when it cooks.  You will get a little cheese melting out of the ends which is fine.  Not too bad of a mess to clean up afterwards.  You can also pan fry it if you don’t want to mess with a grill.  No oil is necessary.  Just turn the heat to medium high and when the pan is hot just place the chicken in.  Why?  Because it’s going to cook in the bacon grease.

Oh and here’s the important part…  do not touch the chicken!!  Leave it there to cook!!  If you move it too soon the bacon will still be soft and BOOM…  chicken unrolls and mess mess mess.  Seriously…  leave it alone!!

Should take about 10 minutes on each side.  If you did it right they should look like this:

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Looks tasty right?

Once they are cooled down a bit they were placed in containers with a side of roasted beets and kohlrabi.

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Oooh!!  Note to self: make a post about kohlrabi.  And there you have it.  Lunch is served for the week.  Is a recipe really necessary?  I think I pretty much covered everything.  More to come!  ENJOY!

Curry Shrimp

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Last night, after a kick ass chesticle session at Gold’s Gym with my boyfriend and our fabulous friend Steven, it was time to figure out what to eat for dinner.  We normally eat some kind of land animal, which is fine and dandy, but I figured we should change it up and get our seafood on.  What did we come up with?

Curry Shrimp!

This Paleo friendly dish is super easy and not all that long to make.  I believe it took about 30-35 minutes.  What I would change the next time I make this dish is to reduce the sauce down a bit more and then clean the shrimp completely.  I’m Asian and I have no problem with leaving that vein in the back there, but by leaving it there it can taste a little gritty.

Here’s the recipe… Oh, please keep in mind that most of these measurements are guesstimates.  I normally just throw it in the pan as I’m cooking.  Baking is a whole nother story.  I measure things out properly when baking.

Ingredients:

2 pounds of wild caught shrimp (peeled and de-veined)

About a 1/4 cup of Coconut Oil

1 large yellow onion chopped

4-5 cloves of garlic minced

1-2 tablespoons of minced fresh ginger

1/4 cup of chopped fresh cilantro

1 – 15 oz can of diced tomatoes, drained (or if you have fresh tomatoes EVEN BETTER!  Use about a pound, seed it and dice it all up.)

1-2 tablespoons of Curry Powder (Depending on your taste.  You can also use Coriander)

1 1/4 tsp of salt

1/4 tsp of Ground Cumin and Ground Cinnamon

1/8 tsp of Cayenne and Turmeric

2 – 15 oz. cans of unsweetened coconut milk

1/2 cup of water

Lime (optional)

Directions:

Heat up the coconut oil in a pot or pan over medium high heat.  Once at the right temperature, put in the onions and sautee (stirring every so often) for about 5 minutes.  Add the garlic and ginger and cook for another 2 minutes, again…  stirring every so often.  Add your spices, except for the salt and stir/cook for 30 seconds.  Add water, coconut milk and salt.  Turn heat to high and bring it to a boil.  Once it’s boiling, turn heat down so that the sauce is at a nice simmer and let it reduce down for about 5-10 minutes.  Add shrimp and cook for 3-5 minutes.  Take your cookware off the heat, add the cilantro and stir it in.

DONE!!

Now if you want, you can serve this up in a bowl and squeeze a bit of lime in the dish, but that’s entirely up to you.  Since the boyfriend and I are on the Paleo Lifestyle we do not eat rice, but I imagine this would taste good with a side of some coconut milk rice, garlic rice, or even some sourdough which you could dip into the sauce.  ENJOY!

My Instagram Page

My Instagram Page

I didn’t know what I was getting into when I was first told about Instagram.  That was March of 2012.  My friends knew that I liked to take pictures and post them on Facebook, and so they told me about the wonderful world of Instagram with it’s easy to use iPhone app and multiple filters.  I figured…  eh why not?  If I don’t like it I could just delete it from my phone.  That didn’t happen…

I LOVE Instagram.  

The link posted is to my personal instagram page.  Follow me!!  Any time I try out a new recipe, I take pictures and post it.  If my kids (I have two) are being silly or looking particularly adorable, I take pictures and post it.  If life happens, I take pictures and post it.  

Enjoy!