Friday, February 28, 2014

It's not chicken... and it's not steak... {chicken fried steak}

Sometimes we call things what they are, and sometimes we call them what they aren't. The latter is the case of my chicken fried steak, but are we really going to start picking apart food names? The important thing is whether or not the dish is worth eating - and this one, my friends, most definitely is.

I used to work in a diner-style fast-food restuarant, and one of the most popular breakfast plates involved huge slabs of chicken fried steak slathered in sausage peppery gravy. I haven't yet mastered the sausage gravy, and I prefer this meal at dinner time, but it still reminds me of my time spent as a waitress which, strange as it may seem to some of you, I rather enjoyed.

I usually buy thinish slices of pork for this recipe, but you can use any cut of any meat you like. (Just be sure to pound the meat thin with a meat tenderizer if it's on the thick side.)

So even though my steak is actually pork, and the batter is gluten free, this remains a tasty comfort food that the hubster and I love. It's simple to make and oh-so-yummy topped with homemade ketchup or a simple gravy and served with a side of mashed fauxtatoes.

Plus, the leftovers reheat nicely, making for some super tasty lunches that are sure to make colleagues jealous!

Chicken Fried Steak

  • Thin slices of meat (beef, pork, chicken...)
  • 1 heaping tbsp of tapioca flour per slice
  • 1 egg for every 5-6 slices of meat
  • Sea salt and black pepper
  • Fat of choice for frying
  1. Whisk the egg well in a shallow dish.
  2. In another dish, mix the flour with generous amounts of salt and pepper.
  3. Coat each slice in flour, dip in the egg, then cover again with flour. Place on a plate to sit.
  4. Once all the slices have been coated and are resting, melt your FOC in a frying pan on medium heat.
  5. When the pan is hot and the slices have finished resting (the flour will turn yellow from the egg, with very little white spots left), gently add the slices to the frying pan.
  6. Brown well before flipping (you'll know it's time to flip if the batter doesn't stick to the pan). Flip and brown on the second side (once again, the batter will no longer stick when it's browned enough).
  7. Remove from heat and serve hot, topped with your sauce of choice.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

I failed and failed again... {mashed fauxtatoes}

I tried so hard to make mashed "fauxtatoes", but no matter how long I processed my cauliflower, I always ended up with rice. I just couldn't make it work.

Then one day, I got the amazing idea to try my immersion blender, to see if that would make a difference. Lo and behold - I had mashed fauxtatoes!

The texture is just perfect - exactly what creamy mashed potatoes are like! Now, the flavor is distinctly cauliflower, but it does make for a nice presentation and it accepts sauces and gravies very well. It's also a fun and different way to eat cauliflower.

The hubster doesn't like this preparation, but he's not a fan of cauliflower. I usually make him a side of mashed potatoes when I make this for myself.

Also, I use my pressure cooker to steam the veggie - about 10 minutes is all it takes for the whole head of cauliflower to be fork tender! 

This technique also works with broccoli and would be fun to serve to children as a way to get them to eat their veggies - who wouldn't love eating great mashed taters? :)

Mashed Fauxtatoes

  • 1 small head of cauliflower
  • 1 tbsp of ghee
  • Sea salt and black pepper to taste
  1. Clean and cook the cauliflower until tender, using your method of choice.
  2. Blend until smooth, using an immersion blender.
  3. Stir in ghee and season with salt and pepper.
  4. Serve hot.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Clean Eating at the In-Laws' {Tuna Borlonais}

My in-laws have been wonderful with me and my dietary needs. They special-made meals catered to my picky delicate palate when I first arrived in Belgium (luckily, there are very few foods I don't like now) and since I've gone gluten and dairy free, they've done their best to create meals I can enjoy as well when they know I'll be eating with them.

I usually only eat dinner at their house nowadays, since the hubster and I have moved out and gotten a place of our own in the big city, but every so often I find myself there around lunch time. Everyone else in the house just grabs the box of sandwich fixin's from the fridge and defrosts a couple slices of bread, but I can no longer do that. I have to prepare something special for me.

I've therefore created an easy, throw-together type tuna salad that I eat nearly every lunch time spent at their house. They almost always have the ingredients needed to make it, and if not, I improvise a bit with what I find in their fridge and pantry.

It may not be that pretty to look at, but it's always simple, always fast and always delicious - just the way food should be!

Tuna Borlonais

  • 1 can of tuna, drained
  • 2 tbsp of yellow mustard
  • 1 tbsp of olive oil
  • 1 tbsp of white wine vinegar
  • 1 carrot, sliced
  • 5-10 green olives, sliced
  • 2 anchovy fillets, diced
  • Sea salt and black pepper to taste
  • *optional add-ins: artichoke hearts, cucumber, bell peppers, hard boiled egg, tomato...
  1. Mix together all the ingredients and season to taste.
  2. Eat immediately (this is great in lettuce wraps or just as-is). Leftovers may be kept in the fridge.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Cabbage is gross {+ a coleslaw recipe}

I used to hate cabbage, or at least I thought I did. Then I moved to Belgium and tried my very first, real, dönör kebab.

Turns out, I really like cabbage - I just don't like it when it tastes sweet.

While living in America, the only way I had ever tried cabbage was in coleslaw. And every time I tried coleslaw, it was always sickly sweet.

But now that I like cabbage (and receive it regularly in my weekly veggie basket), I needed to find a couple ways to prepare it.

And thus, my simple coleslaw was born. It's not sweet in the least, but just a tad tangy. It's super crunchy and therefore satisfying to eat, and keeps well in the fridge, making it perfect for prepping early in the week.

I usually just make it using only white cabbage, but it's also delicious with julienne carrots or sliced red cabbage mixed in. Sometimes, for an added kick, I add a bit of sriracha sauce.

Creamy Coleslaw

  • 1/2 a small white cabbage, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 heaping cup of homemade mayo
  • 2 tbsp of apple cider vinegar
  • 1 shallot, thinly sliced
  • Sea salt and black pepper to taste
  1. In a small bowl, mix together the mayo, vinegar, salt and pepper.
  2. Place the cabbage and shallot in a large bowl. Pour the mayo mixture over the top and toss to combine. Adjust the seasoning if needed.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Fudgy Flourless Brownies {Paleo}

Fudgy Flourless Brownies Paleo

So I was at my in-laws house and I got a hankering for something sweet. They don't have a pantry stocked with my usual allergen-friendly ingredients, but I knew there had to be a bit of coconut oil and cacao powder leftover from my birthday cake.

I started looking for these items, and after a lot of rummaging, finally found them. I pulled a few other "safe" ingredients out and set them on the counter... I was missing one essential ingredient though: flour.

Thankfully, I'm the type of person who doesn't stop once I have an idea in mind. I have to keep going until I arrive at whatever it is I was so determined to get.

Luckily, I'm pretty good in the kitchen and have a pretty good idea about how different ingredients will react with each other. I started weighing and mixing things together, until the consistency pleased me. Then I baked it.

All my mixing resulted in a super fudgy brownie. Sweet success was mine! Truly flourless brownies that were delightfully fudgy and decadently rich! My brother-in-law even thought they were from a box mix (which is the biggest compliment anyone could give my brownies)!

Fudgy Flourless Brownies Paleo

I find these brownies sweet - perhaps even too sweet - but I made them with my in-laws in mind, knowing they would want to eat some as well (and they aren't dark chocolate fans). I would personally prefer these with less sugar, so don't hesitate to reduce the amount. Start with 100 grams of sweetener, then add more to taste (taste the batter and add any additional sugar before adding the eggs).

I used regular brown sugar, but I'm sure these would work just fine with any form of sweetener as well, such as coconut sugar, organic cane sugar or even honey. (Read this great article about why you shouldn't worry too much about the type of sugar you use - just worry about limiting all forms of sugar.)

Also, these are delicious hot from the oven - but even better completely cooled! They really build in intensity the more they sit out. I'm sure they're be amazing the next day, but brownies never last long enough in my house!

Fudgy Flourless Brownies slice paleo
Fudgy Flourless Brownies

  • 100 grams coconut oil
  • 110 grams cacao
  • 100-300 grams sweetener of choice
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  1. Melt the coconut oil over a double boiler. Stir in the cacao and the sweetener to taste (100 grams for a dark chocolate taste, more for a sweeter brownie). Add the vanilla.
  2. Remove from heat and stir in the eggs, one by one, until the batter is smooth.
  3. Pour into a greased glass baking dish, spreading evenly.
  4. Bake 35 minutes at 180°C (350°F). Serve hot or cooled.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

You know you're from Idaho when... {Fry sauce}

I spent the last couple years of my teenage life working at Jim's Burger Den. The food was delicious - and I ate far too much of it! Everyone else seemed to love it as well, and we had many regular customers that would come in on a weekly or even daily basis to order from us.

One thing I'll always remember about working there though was how easily would could tell a local from an out-of-stater. 

Each time a customer ordered fries, we would ask if they wanted fry sauce. Usually the answer was yes, though sometimes the person would prefer to have ketchup, mayo or horseradish sauce instead. Every so often though, we'd be met with a blank stare. "What's fry sauce?" they would ask.

Apparently, this was not a nation-wide condiment.

We would proceed to explain that fry sauce was delicious, but the recipe was secret as each burger joint has its own special house blend. We could tell them the main ingredients for the sauce were ketchup and mayo, but the rest had to be kept hush-hush.

Sometimes the out-of-staters would agree to taste our special house-blend, but often they were just weirded out and asked to just have ketchup.

It's been a very long time since I've had that delicious Jim's Burger Den house-blend, but I decided to try and paleo-fy my own version and I've finally settled on a recipe I really like.

Meg's Fry Sauce
save this

  • 1 1/2 tbsp homemade mayo
  • 1 1/2 tbsp yellow mustard
  • 1 1/2 tbsp full-fat coconut milk, shaken
  • 1 tbsp tomato concentrate
  • 1 tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp honey
  • Sea salt and black pepper to taste
  1. Mix everything together until smooth.
  2. Serve with baked pumpkin crescents, fries, jojos, on burgers...

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

They think my lunches are weird {Tuna Zoodle Casserole}

My colleagues have, for the most part, stopped peering into my lunch box each day, eager to see what "strange" thing I'm eating for lunch that day. You see, here in southern Belgium, everyone packs their lunch in a "boite à tartines" which translates literally to "slices of bread box". Lunch here is always bread based. That may mean something like ham sandwiches or hunks of baguette to dip in soup and or to be eaten with pieces of cheese. They just really love bread here.

You can always tell who is on a diet here, because they are eating a salad. But besides bread-based meals and salads, nothing else exists. (And those who eat salads are always complaining about how they wish they didn't have to be on a diet.)

Something else about lunches around here: they are always cold. Unless you drinking a mug of soup, your lunch is cold. 

Here's the thing about my lunches: they never have bread and they are usually hot. (And every time I get caught eating a salad, someone tells me I shouldn't be on a diet because I'm skinny already... Um, how about, salads are tasty?)

And I have a new favorite lunch to make ahead and pop in the fridge for the week. This recipe makes enough for two servings (for me), that I'll eat with a raw veggie on the side and maybe a piece of fruit as dessert. If I'm prepping for the whole week, I just triple the recipe. Easy. Peasy.

This is another comfort food I have recreated in order to enjoy it again! Also, it's a great conversation starter ("Why are your noodles green?!") and tastes delicious cold or hot (I don't always have access to a microwave). Plus, you can stir in any extra you'd like - think, mushrooms, fresh onions...

Tuna Zoodle Casserole

  • 2 baby zucchini
  • 1 can on tuna
  • 1/2 cup canned coconut milk
  • 1 tbsp dried onions
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 egg
  • 2-3 tbsp slivered almonds
  • Sea salt and black pepper to taste
  1. Using a veggie spiralizer (or a vegetable peeler) cut the zucchini into noodles.
  2. In an oven-safe baking dish, mix together the zoodles, the drained tuna, the coconut milk, onions, garlic, salt and pepper.
  3. In a bowl, whisk egg well. Pour over the zoodle mixture and stir to combine until you no longer see the egg.
  4. Top with the slivered almonds and bake 45-60 minutes at 200°C (400°F), or until the top is slightly browned and firm to the touch.

Monday, February 17, 2014

He hates bananas {but loves banana cream pie}

Okay, I might be exaggerating when I say he hates bananas, but the hubster will never be caught eating just a banana by itself. His favorite part of a fruit salad is the banana though, but only after macerating in the fruity juice for a few hours.

He's more of a pineapple and kiwi kind of guy. Oh, and apples, but not if he has to bite into them whole (I must first slice them up for him, or "prepare" them in some way).

One day though, our friend Daisy made a banana cream pie. Hubster had one bite of her delicious pie and was hooked. This was officially his favorite dessert.

I got the recipe from Daisy and I made the pie many, many times after that. This was also the dessert I brought when we were invited somewhere and everyone loved it. Banana cream pries are pretty uncommon here in Belgium, and it made me kind of famous.

Then, BAM. I find out I can't digest dairy or gluten. This pie just so happened to have an amazing crust made of speculoos and the cream part was a true pastry cream... 

I still made the pie once or twice for him, but I felt left out. I really liked this pie, too! So I went looking for a paleo recipe... I settled on trying Elana Amsterdam's recipe.

I found it delicious, but I had to agree with my husband - it wasn't the banana cream pie we both loved so much. The problem was the cream - it was a banana cream, and not a pastry cream.

I had pretty much given up on the recipe, until one day I decided to attack it again. And I won. It's delicious! The taste is so close to the original, too. The hubster likes it as well.

And I don't feel left out anymore =)

Walnut Speculoos Crust

  • 200 grams walnuts
  • 1 tbsp ghee
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1 tbsp speculoos spices*
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • Dash of sea salt
  1. In a food processor, blend together all the ingredients until the walnuts become a fine meal and everything begins to stick together.
  2. Press the mixture into the bottom of a pie pan.
  3. Bake 5-10 minutes at 180°C (350°F) until set and lightly browned. Remove and let cool.
*If you don't live in a country that has speculoos spices, you can substitute any spice mix you like, such as apple pie spice or allspice, or even just use plain cinnamon.

Almost Daisy's Banana Cream Pie

  • 2 cups coconut milk
  • 1 1/2 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 6 egg yolks
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup tapioca flour
  • 1/2 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 2 bananas
  • 1 walnut speculoos pie crust
  1. Mix together the milk and the vanilla, heat over medium heat until barely simmering.
  2. Whisk together the yolks, honey and flour until smooth.
  3. Slowly add a few spoons of the hot milk to the yolks, whisking well to combine.
  4. Slowly pour the yolk mixture into the milk mixture, whisking to combine. Continue heating until the cream boils, whisking all the while.
  5. When thickened, remove from heat and whisk in the remaining vanilla extract. Allow to cool slightly.
  6. Slice the bananas and line the bottom of the pie crust with them.
  7. Pour the cream over the top. Allow to cool, then refrigerate before serving. This pie tastes best the next day.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Brussels Sprouts come from Brussels {bacon makes them delicious!}

If you follow this blog any, or if you follow me on Instagram, you know that I love bacon. Actually, I say I love a lot of things, and I do, but I really, really love bacon.

I also really like Brussels Sprouts. I always thought I didn't, but, to be honest, I had never tried them. (The hubster did this to me once with guacamole. He SWORE up and down that he hated the stuff - then one day he actually tasted it and discovered he loved it. Go figure.). I had heard all sorts of horror stories concerning these little green guys, and, quite frankly, I was a bit scared to try them.

One day though, our friendly Greek neighbor (who we no longer live next to) brought over a huge dish of them for us (we miss his meals that were always prepared with such love for us!). I smiled politely, thanked him warmly, took the Pyrex baking dish from his hands, and gently closed the door.

Then I panicked.

What the heck was I gonna do with 2 pounds of cooked Brussels Sprouts?!

I waited until my husband got home before making a decision. I did well to wait, because his idea was a very good and logical one. Eat them.

I prepared the rest of our evening meal, then heated up a tiny little portion of the baby cabbages "to try".

I think I finished off the dish that very evening.

Turns out, I love Brussels Sprouts! As for the hubster, he only likes them, so I had to find a way to make them lovable.

Bacon. I would add bacon.

And thus was born this tasty and simple recipe. I of course had to stick with the Belgian theme and add a bit of my favorite mustard, Bister L'impériale, but you can substitute your favorite mustard if you aren't lucky enough to have access to this particularly tasty brand.

Bacon Brussels Sprouts

  • 1 lb (500 g) Brussels Sprouts, quartered
  • 4 1/2 oz (125 g) bacon, chopped
  • 1 tbsp FOC, melted
  • 1 tbsp Bister L'impériale Mustard
  • Sea salt and black pepper to taste
  1. Mix together the fat and the mustard in an oven-safe dish. 
  2. Add the Brussels Sprouts and the bacon, stir to coat.
  3. Season with salt and pepper.
  4. Bake at 200°C (400°F) for 30-45 minutes, or until tender. (Stir every 15 minutes if you don't want browned bits.)
  5. Serve immediately. Reheats wonderfully.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Jack Be Little {coconutty pumpkin bake}

We often get fun little veggies in our weekly veggie basket. And with these little guys, we often get information sheets full of facts, history and a recipe suggestion. It's always fun to learn new things about the food I eat, and often times the recipes are delicious.

Sometimes though, they're a death wish.

This was the case of the Jack Be Little pumpkins. Their suggested recipe involved using the mini squashes as cute little fondue pots, with artisan-style bread hunks for dipping.

Now, I have nothing against people who eat bread and cheese, but personally, things are not that pretty when I eat bread and cheese. 

And somehow I just didn't think any paleo "cheezes" would truly live up to fondue-fame and I have yet to find a truly decent paleo bread. I would have to think of something else.

I ended up grabbing a can of coconut milk, adding a bit of spices, and baking away. The result was pretty dang tasty - and the presentation was adorable! 

This is a great recipe to whip up when you have guests over. It's quick and easy to prepare, but looks so elegant.

Plus, it's fun to eat your bowl!

Coconutty Pumpkin Bake

  • 2 Jack Be Little pumpkins
  • 1 cup canned coconut milk (maybe more, depending on the size of your pumpkins)
  • 2 tbsp bone broth
  • 1/4 tsp Asian 5 spices mix
  • Sea salt and black pepper to taste

  1. Open the top of the pumpkins "jack-o-lantern style" and empty out the insides.
  2. Place the tops back on the pumpkins and bake at 200°C (400°F) for about 20-25 minutes.
  3. Whisk together the coconut milk, bone broth, spices, salt and pepper. Pour into the pumpkins. Place the tops on and return to the oven until the pumpkins are fully cooked (10-20 minutes longer, depending on the size of your pumpkins).
  4. Remove from the oven carefully. Serve hot, using a spoon to scrape the flesh from the sides of the pumpkin to eat with the coconut "soup" inside.

Friday, February 14, 2014

I love chocolate {and I make my own}

Homemade Paleo Chocolate

I've always been a huge fan of chocolate. My favorite was always dark chocolate, but all sorts were appreciated.

Once I started eating clean, I was appalled by the ingredients in most of my favorite chocolate bars. I got over my chocolate addiction, and stopped reading chocolate bars. I couldn't say goodbye to sweet treat itself though.

Sadly, here in Belgium at least, almost all chocolates have milk in them - even dark chocolate! And those that are milk-free are rather expensive...

I looked around the internet for a way to make my own chocolate, but every recipe required cocoa butter. I couldn't find any in my local stores and I rarely order of the internet. I wanted a way to make chocolate without cocoa butter.

Finally I found this recipe from Primally Inspired that used coconut oil. Yes! It was easy to make and tasted great! But, it was a bit pricey...

Recently though, I came across a recipe for chocolate using butter (I can't for the life of me remember where I saw it!). Butter is much cheaper than coconut oil! I quickly set to work subbing ghee in my usual recipe.

Steps to making Homemade Paleo Chocolate

The results were delicious. This is now my go to recipe. And the great part is the recipe below makes just about an ounce of chocolate (a bit more). It's therefore very easy to make exactly what you need.

For example, if you're making my brownies, simply multiply this recipe by 6 and you're good to go.

This makes a rather dark chocolate, more of a bittersweet chocolate. Using 20 grams of honey for every 10 grams of cacao will give you a semisweet chocolate, and 30 grams for every 10 of cacao will be a sweet chocolate. Adjust the amount of honey to suit your tastes and needs.

Homemade Paleo ChocolateHomemade Ghee Chocolate

  • 10 grams of ghee 
  • 10-30 grams of honey
  • 10 grams of cacao powder
  • 1 gram of vanilla extract
  • A dash of sea salt
  1. Melt the ghee and the honey together. {Be careful not to overheat the mixture or the ghee will separate from the rest!}
  2. Stir in the cacao powder and the vanilla until smooth.
  3. Pour into candy molds, use in a recipe, spread on parchment paper, pipe in a line and break into "chocolate chips" when cooled...

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Sometimes I Eat White Rice {and it's super yummy in salads}

I'm going to start this post off by saying two things: if you don't eat rice, feel free to substitute riced cauliflower; or, feel free to not eat this salad.

Whatever you choose to do, don't hate me because I eat rice. It falls into the gray area of the paleo food guidelines. I find it super yummy and enjoy eating it from time to time. If you don't or can't, I support your decision. Please accept mine (or move along).

Whew. Now that that's out of the way, we can get to the little story and the recipe!

The story isn't very long, and the recipe isn't complicated. I'm not sure who "invented" this salad, all I know is my husband showed me how to make it years ago and we've been making it ever since. If rice in on the dinner menu, we'll often make extra so we can whip up a couple of these salads for our lunches the next day. Often, we'll realize we have nothing planned for lunch and we'll throw a pot of rice on to cook.

The ingredients are simple yet we've never played around with them. I'm sure the possibilities are endless, but we've never felt the need to change things up. Why change a good thing, right?

So, here it is. My non-paleo delicious and filling lunch salad, compliments of the hubster.

Tuna & Rice Salad

  • 1 can of tuna, drained
  • 1 cup of cooked white rice
  • 1 large tomato, diced
  • 1-2 tbsp of homemade mayo
  • 2-3 tbsp of white wine vinegar
  • Sea salt and black pepper to taste
  • 1-2 cups of shredded lettuce
  1. Layer all the ingredients in a food-safe container, in the order listed. Keeps well in fridge for a few days.
  2. Before eating, shake well to mix everything together.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

The Great Outdoors {+ a fish fry}

I love nature. My favorite way to recharge my batteries is to go for a long walk outside, preferably with the hubster and the family dog. Hiking is not only an excellent sport, it is also a great way to discover new places.

I also like doing other things outside besides walking. One of those things is fishing. But since I only go fishing with my dad, it's not something I do very often.

This summer, when we visited my family, we went on a couple family fishing trips. We packed lunches and beers, bought worms and chicken livers, paid for our fishing permits and set off. We only ever caught crappy, but they still make for a yummy fish fry so we were more than happy with what we had.

And lucky for us, even though his tool of choice is the BBQ, Daddy fries a mean fish, and in complete simplicity.

His technique, while simple, is full of flavor and the resulting crunchy crust perfectly compliments the flaky fish.

I almost always cook my fish this way now, and love serving it with a crisp and cold veggie salad or coleslaw. Add a side of ranch for dipping and the meal is just perfect.

And each time I prepare my fillets this way, I'm reminded of our fishing trips followed by Daddy scaling, gutting and frying fish for the whole family.

Daddy's Fish Fry

  • White fish fillets of choice
  • Tapioca flour (about 2 tbsp per fillet)
  • Sea salt and black pepper to taste
  • Fat of choice for frying
  1. Season the tapioca flour generously with salt and pepper.
  2. Rinse the fish fillets gently with clear water, then dredge in the flour, coating each side well.
  3. Add FOC to a frying pan, enough to have about a 1/4 inch layer of liquid, and melt over medium/medium-high heat.
  4. When the fat is hot, add the floured fillets carefully. Cook for 1-3 minutes, depending on the thickness of the fillet, until cooked about halfway through.
  5. Flip the fillet and cook until heated through.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Magic Mug Cupcakes {Chocolate Cashew}

I love chocolate and I love nuts. What happens if you put the two of those together? Well, I double love it.

One of my all-time favorite chocolate and nut combos is chocolate and cashews. I just can't seem to get enough of it! I used to be a die-hard peanut fan, but cashews have truly taken over first place in my heart! (And yes, I know peanuts aren't nuts.)

For my Christmas plates last year, I made chocolate and cashew pralines. Maybe if I'm feeling really motivated one day I'll make them again and post the recipes. For now though, you'll just have to settle for this quick and easy recipe - chocolate cake topped with a cashew cream sauce. I love throwing a couple whole cashews on top as well, for a bit of an added crunch.

Don't like cashews? No problem - just substitute your favorite nut. This would be especially divine with hazelnut butter (think Nutella).

And one last note - you're either going to love me or hate me for this one. It's a microwave cake. Oh yeah, I did just go there. Chocolately goodness in mere minutes.

You could probably divide the batter between two muffin tins and bake them if you don't have a microwave, but if you do have one, just pop this sucker into your favorite microwave-safe mug and get to devouring! 

Chocolate Cashew Mug CupCakes

  • 1/2 tbsp cacao powder
  • 1 1/2 tbsp tapioca flour
  • 2 tbsp almond flour
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 2 tbsp almond milk
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • Dash of salt
  • 2 tbsp chocolate chips
  • 2 tbsp cashew butter
  • 1/2 tbsp almond milk
  1. In a mug, mix together all the ingredients except the chocolate chips, cashew butter and almond milk, using a fork to whisk until smooth.
  2. Stir in the chocolate chips.
  3. Microwaved uncovered on high for 2 minutes (time may vary depending on microwaves, start with 1 minute 50 seconds and add more time by 10 second intervals until the top of the cake is dry).
  4. Mix together the cashew butter and the almond milk.
  5. Turn out onto a plate, cut in half, top with the cashew cream and enjoy!

Monday, February 10, 2014

It's cold & flu season {+ a tea recipe}

Is just starting to get cold here in Belgium, so I figured I'd share my favorite home remedy with you all (besides the obvious bone broth, that is).

Not only is this soothing infusion delicious, it's also packed full of good-for-you ingredients that well knock any case of the sniffles out of the park!

First up is chamomile. Use fresh dried flowers if you can find them, but the ready-made tea bags work fine as well. This plant is reputed to help a large number of ailments, one of which is to sooth and calm - in other words, help you sleep! Sleep is very important when you are feeling under the weather as it gives your body time to heal.

Then we add lemon juice. Lemons are rich in vitamin C which helps boost the immune system. Lemons also help digestion, which can be a plus, depending on what sickness you're suffering from. I also find the hot vapors of this fruit clear stuffed sinuses pretty well.

Honey and cinnamon round this drink out, giving it both sweetness and a bit of a spicy kick. Honey helps to coat and sooth a sore throat and has anti-bacterial properties. Cinnamon is said to reduce inflammation and also to have anti-bacterial properties.

If you mix all these ingredients together, not only do you end up with a cocktail of goodness, but a tasty one at that! Sometimes I'll whip one of these up even when I'm not feeling ill, just because it's so tasty!

Get Well Feel Good Tea
save this

  • 1 cup of steeped chamomile infusion
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 1 tbsp of honey
  • 1/2 tbsp of cinnamon powder


  1. In a large mug, mix together the hot infusion and the lemon juice.
  2. Add the honey and cinnamon, stirring until the honey is melted.
  3. Drink by little sips. Breathing in the steam coming off the mug will also help clear sinuses.
  4. Repeat 3 times per day until all symptoms are gone, usually within a day or two.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

We like to eat healthy {pizza crust recipe}

Before eating clean, my husband and I always tried to eat fairly "healthy". We ate plenty of fruits and veggies, made most meals from scratch and avoided too many sweets and treats.

We did have one junk food habit though. Once a month, we'd use one of the Pizza Hut coupons we received in our mailbox and buy two medium or large sized pizzas with all the fixings. We'd whip up a batch of Hidden Valley Ranch Dressing for dipping, find a good movie on TV, and settle down on the couch to polish off those pizza pies.

We really looked forward to that once-monthly dinner date, as it was the only time we ate greasy take-out and the only time we ate in the couch in front of the TV. It was a special time for us, if you can believe that :p

After realizing how poorly I handle gluten and dairy, ad after deciding to eat clean, that once-monthly dinner date vanished from our habits. And, except for a gluten-and-dairy-free pizza eating at Pi while visiting my folks this summer, I haven't had pizza in over a year.

It's messy - but you can pick it up!
I decided to change that and got to work analyzing recipes, comparing ingredients and finally deciding on a game plan.

I whipped up some homemade Ranch Dressing, mixed together to crust ingredients, set to work on some homemade marinara sauce and hoped for the best.

And the result was delicious! It was all I had longed for and more! The best part? Not having a terribly stomach ache after dinner.

Pizza on the couch in front of a good movie and just the two of us is definitely going back on our schedule, just this time things will be a bit healthier and less stomach-achey. Win!

(PS - Completely food un-related but very important: continue to "date" your spouse, no matter how many years you've been married. Even silly little things like eating pizza on the couch are important to keep doing because it's something special just between the two of you. Let your spouse know you love him or her and your marriage will be a much happier one!)

Pizza on the Couch Crust makes 1 12-inch crust

  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/4 cup ghee
  • 3/4 cup tapioca flour
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup coconut flour
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  1. Bring water and ghee to to a boil. Remove from heat.
  2. Stir in tapioca flour and allow to cool slightly.
  3. Stir in the egg, coconut flour and salt. Mix until well combined.
  4. Line an oven-safe baking tray with parchment paper and form your pizza crust by flattening out the dough with your finger. If you prefer a chewier crust, leave it thicker. Make the crust thin for a crunchier crust.
  5. Bake at 180°C (350°F) for 25 minutes, or until lightly browned.
  6. Take out of oven. Discard the parchment paper and flip the pizza crust. Bake for 5-10 more minutes to dry out the bottom.
  7. Take out of oven and top with your favorite pizza toppings. Bake again until everything is cooked to your preference.