Paleo Pumpkin Bread

pumpkin breadSarah’s Rap: One of my family’s favorite baked goods is pumpkin bread. I’ve been making it since I was a twelve year old girl with an early love of baking. I was given my first cookbook, a classic Betty Crocker, and spent the next few years working my way through the recipes.  Out of all the things I made, the pumpkin bread recipe got the most use. We’ve tried various other recipes and box mixes over the years, but the classic Betty Crocker pumpkin bread recipe is still preferred by my family and always a hit with friends and co-workers.

Sadly I can’t eat this version any more, so over the last few years, I’ve tried many Paleo pumpkin bread recipes. I’ve never found one that tasted as good as our family favorite. So instead I set out to make my own based on that and I have to say that this year I finally nailed it. Continue reading

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“The Grain-Free Family Table” by Carrie Vitt

Sarah’s Rap: In a recent post, Tales From a Cookbook Junkie, I embarked on a journey to The Grain-Free Family Tabledive into my collection of Paleo cookbooks. Despite a major cookbook addiction, I often find myself making the same meals over and over again. My plan of action was to explore each of the gems which grace my cookbook shelf more in-depth in order to spice up my meal repertoire. The first one I started with was “The Grain-Free Family Table” by Carrie Vitt and it was a good choice. I’ve been eating well for the last two weeks! The recipes were ones that I could feel good about —  healthy and designed for people like me with many food restrictions. However anyone would love this book, not just those with illness.  The recipes are creative, yet simple and hearty.

The author suffered from severe hives and pain due to Hashimoto’s disease, an autoimmune disease of the thyroid. By changing to a grain-free and soy-free diet, free of processed foods, she healed her body and is now in remission from her disease without needing to take thyroid medication. She developed the recipes in this book so that she could eat satisfying meals that nourished her body and didn’t leave her feeling deprived. The book’s introduction is inspiring and full of information for those suffering from illness.

One quote from her I love and can personally attest to is, “Natural healing isn’t a quick fix. It’s a long process, but it’s worth it in the end.” Well, with the recipes in this book, natural healing is a lot easier, and tastier, process. Continue reading

Plans for a Paleo Thanksgiving

Sarah’s Rap: Time sure has been flying by! I can’t believe Thanksgiving is next week. It is one of my family’s favorite holidays. We will miss spending it with our extended family on the East coast this year, but are fortunate that several friends will come share a meal with us. I’m sure you know by now if you follow my blog that I eat a strict Paleo diet for health reasons. This means that my Thanksgiving meal will be full of delicious vegetable dishes, meats, nuts and fruits. Many of you may be thinking… a Thanksgiving without bread, macaroni and cheese and sugar?! How is that even possible? Well, it’s actually pretty easy considering the umpteen ways to prepare vegetables, all the cookbooks and websites offering Paleo recipes and the plethora of grain, dairy, sugar and gluten alternative ingredients at the grocery store. There are so many wonderful dishes you can make using wholesome ingredients without having to be in the kitchen for a week straight. Be thankful for your health by rewarding it this Thanksgiving with a delicious, and surprisingly simple, Paleo meal. I know I will!

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Roasted Delicata Squash with Bacon and Crispy Kale

IMG_5562Sarah’s Rap: I have discovered a heavenly pairing of two fall vegetables- kale and delicata squash, made even better by roasting with shallots until the squash and shallots are slightly caramelized and the kale is crispy, then finishing it off with a liberal sprinkling of bacon. This side-dish is gluten-free, dairy-free and Paleo, but full of flavor and very versatile.

It will make an excellent accompaniment to any meat or fish entree, or can serve as an entree all on it’s own. For my own dinner last night, I had it with chicken sausage and asparagus. Fresh from the oven, the kale was crispy and made the dish really stand out. Today, I ate leftovers for breakfast with a fried egg – the kale had softened, which actually was a better compliment to the egg, and the bacon flavor permeated the squash more as they’d apparently gotten to know each other better overnight. I hope you enjoy this as much as I did. Feel free to mix up the seasonings to your taste.

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Roasted Celeriac, Carrots and Zucchini

Sarah’s Rap: I LOVE roasted vegetables. I’m not exaggerating. When I was a kid I told my sister I loved lima beans, so she told me if I loved them so much I should marry them. I have a distinct memory of waltzing with the pan of lima beans while Melissa hummed the wedding march. Well, these days, I’d do the same with roasted veggies! When I am on vacation and I can’t find a restaurant that serves them, I have serious withdrawals and that’s the first thing I make when I return. I just went camping over the weekend and took some of the below recipe along with me in the cooler. I warmed them up on the camp stove until sizzling and enjoyed them on a bed of lettuce with a grilled bison burger. It was delicious! I don’t think I’ve met a roasted veggie that doesn’t pair well with whatever meat I happen to be having for dinner. Continue reading

Scrumptious Paleo Pancakes

Sarah’s Rap: As promised in my last post for Fluffy Gluten-Free Pancakes, here is a Paleo version for those like me that cannot eat any grains. I played with different flours and found that a combination of almond and cassava flours made the best texture and flavor. Just like their GF cousin, these are also very thick and fluffy.  As you can see, I like to pair one of these flapjacks with a pastured fried egg, nitrate-free bacon and veggies of some sort. Mmm mmm, and the best part – no need to wait for breakfast. This makes a delicious dinner as well!

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Fluffy Gluten-Free Pancakes

Sarah’s Rap: I have become accustomed to breakfasts that consist of eggs, meat and vegetables, or even sometimes leftover dinner, but I can’t resist the occasional weekend treat of pancakes. Also, I have two small pancake-monsters in my house who clamor for pancakes on a regular basis. On weekends I make a triple batch and freeze them, so the monsters can get their fill during the week. My kids are big breakfast eaters and we feel good sending them off to school full of a wholesome breakfast consisting of one of these protein-packed pancakes, bacon and/or pastured egg and berries. While I eat a Paleo version of these pancakes, my kids prefer this gluten-free, dairy-free version. Never fear… I’ll post the Paleo recipe this week too.

Why gluten-and-dairy-free, you ask? Well, my oldest son is allergic to dairy, my youngest is lactose intolerant and both do better without a lot of wheat and sugar in their diets (and really, don’t we all!?) My oldest son, for example, has shown drastic improvements in mood, focus and skin clarity by cutting way back on both. Continue reading

Paleo Strawberry Shortcake

Sarah’s Rap: My family and I have been very fortunate this summer berry season as my organic strawberry plants have born a boatload of sweet, fresh fruit. I filled 2 2’x4′ raised garden beds with strawberry plants two years ago and they barely gave up a pint each season those years. This spring they took off finally, filling out nicely and growing tall, full of white flowers that turned into berries as the summer heat came on. We’ve reaped an estimated six pounds of the juicy red berries this year, spread out over several weeks, and there are more to come! I’m in berry heaven!

I considered making strawberry jam but to be honest we’ve been eating them too fast to have much left each week for jam. But Strawberry Shortcake? That we can do! And even better…a Paleo version that is high in protein for a satisfying and healthy treat. Continue reading

Paleo Banana Muffins / Bread

Sarah’s Rap: Apparently I’m in a mood to bake this week (which is definitely not an unusual phenomenon), so thought I’d share another of my go-to recipes with you. I recently wrote a post about my Paleo Blueberry Muffins, which I have baked at least 4 times over the last two weeks, sharing it with friends and family. I even made a batch and baked it in a 13×9″ cake pan and it turned out fabulous! Another favorite in our household is my Paleo Banana Muffin and Bread recipe.

I was typing it up today to send to Melissa at her request, as I made it the other day for her while I’m here visiting. Yup, you heard me right! The Sister Rap sisters are reunited for the first time in almost a year. I’m so thankful to be visiting while she has her post-mastectomy reconstructive surgery and my mom is also having a surgery. Otherwise I’d be a country apart, fretting. Now that I’m here, I do what I always do when I want to take care of someone – I bake for them!  Continue reading