Grain Free Thanksgiving

Happy belated Thanksgiving!

I decided to try something new this year.  I wanted to have a grain free and gluten free (GF) Thanksgiving.  Easier said than done!  I pulled recipes from my new favorite magazine, Fine Cooking.  So far I have loved all the recipes I have made from this goodie!  I will put links throughout so you can make them too.

Most of my modifications were to use GF alternatives and all organic ingredients throughout.  Here are some of the nummies I made and the recipes I used.

First, lets talk turkey.  Well turkey roulades.  I made two different ones because I just could not choose between them!

The first one is a turkey roulade with a gluten free (GF) cranberry, pecan stuffing.  The second is a roulade stuffed with fontina and sage, wrapped in bacon.  I think there was a tie up between which one was liked better.  They were both really exquisite, but the one wrapped in bacon was a big more moist.  I believe you were supposed to make up for it with gravy on the first one, but I am just not a big gravy lover.

Speaking of stuffing, this one was very good.  I made it with GF bread.  I didn’t know much about GF bread but squeezing them in the grocery store did not get me excited.  I think the one I settled on was a Canyon brand, but no matter the bread gets toasted anyhow! This was an apple, leek and sage stuffing – and there is a bit of prosciutto in there as well.  Moist and flavorful.
Lets talk cranberries.  I usually like the canned jelly stuff.  I know, yuck.  It is basically sugar, with cranberry flavor, most likely why I enjoy it!  I made Cranberry Sauce with Orange, Ginger and Thyme from scratch and boy are they worth it!! 
This was something I added to the menu at the last minute…mostly because I was curious and I wanted something in case the stuffing was a fail 🙂 Now I don’t think rice is grain free, but it is probably the easiest grain to digest, so we will let it slide. 
 Wild rice with roasted grapes, pecan and sage.  Wow – this was good.  People were hesitant but pleasantly surprised when they tried it.  When you roast the grapes you toss balsamic vinegar on them – it really gives it a pop.  I used a rice medley I got from Costco.
I bet you didn’t think carrots could be interesting?  Well these were.  Carrots with pistachio herb butter.  This was fun and flavorful.  So simple, I think I will make more herbed butters to use!
Simple roasted brussel sprouts with caramelized onions.  These should make your dinner table any weeknight.  Some at the table had never had brussel sprouts or had them but didn’t like them and they liked these.  Very delish.
This picture is totally unfair.  It should have fireworks coming out of it.  These are the best mashed potatoes I have ever had.  Seriously.  Locate these ingredients and make this.  Put this on your bucket list.  Just saying.  Mashed potato, parsnip and parmesan gratin.
After all that there is clearly room for dessert….after a few hours 🙂  Lets start with pumpkin pie.  This was a bit of a few recipes.  To make the crust I used Namaste flour from Costco.  I started with this pie crust recipe, but used butter instead of shortening and arrowroot powder instead of xanthan gum.  Speaking of ingredients – spend the extra money on good butter, you won’t be disappointed.  Unsalted butter made from grass fed cows.  I buy this brand.
Chocolate needs to be present too, yes?  Yes.  This cake was so cool to make!  It is a Chocolate Beet cake with pink sea salt.  Yep you read that right, beets.  You roast them, let them cool, peel ’em, puree them with almond milk and boom – it is the wet side of ingredients for this cake.  Very moist and dense, almost brownie like.  I made a substitution – I didn’t have any almond flour, so I used tapioca and coconut flour, plus the rice flour called for in the recipe.  There is no way you would know there are beets in this cake.
I hope you had a great Thanksgiving as well, here is to hosting fun, foodie parties more next year!!

Chicken under a Brick

Yes, you read that title correctly.

I enjoy cooking, learning new techniques, combining different flavors and hopefully pleasing the lovelies sitting at my table.  There is a local shop here that I adore going to that has a great array of all things kitchen, plus cooking classes.  Monthly, they send out a newsletter and it often inspires me.  This last newsletter talked about a book called “The Grilling Book“.  The pictures alone had me hooked.  Once I saw the recipe for Chicken under a Brick, I was off to the hardware store to get a brick!  I bought a square paver brick.  Boy did they think I was nuts for buying one 60 cent brick!

The hardest part about this recipe is you have to butterfly a whole chicken.  This involves removing the spine and breast bone.  Let me tell you, that was hard for me.  Not because it is terribly difficult to do. It is because I get rather squeamish about that sort of business.  I found out after, if you ask your butcher, they will most likely do this for you (ey yi yi, wish I would’ve knew that sooner!).

I will save you the details of how to do it.  You can either ask the butcher or google it – there are a bunch of videos that will give you all you need.

Once that is done, flatten it out on a clean surface and season.  Liberally put kosher salt and pepper to your taste, and some cayenne pepper.

Rub grape seed oil on it everywhere and now zest an entire lemon over it.  Last cut up about 3 Tbsp of fresh rosemary and put that on as well.  Season a bit more than you think.  This is not just a chicken breast, it is a large piece of meat and will need that flavor.  You can use your hands to rub in the seasons or a silicone brush:

Make sure you oil the grill grate before you start and then get it up to a medium-high heat.  While it is heating up, wrap your brick in foil so it is clean.

Place the chicken, skin side down on the grill and put the foil wrapped brick on top.  Cook until browned and crispy, at least 15 minutes.

Use tongs to set the brick aside, flip the chicken and place the brick back on top of it.  This keeps the meat in contact with the grill grates.  Cook for 10 minutes and repeat the flipping process until it is done.

How do you know if it is done?  Put a thermometer in the thickest part of the thigh to check for doneness (165 degrees).  It took about 55 minutes for my 4 pound chicken to be done.  I just set a timer for 10 minutes and would keep flipping it.  Once I got to 50 minutes, I started checking the temp.

Remember to let the meat rest while you get the rest of your dinner ready.  Don’t cut for a solid 10 minutes.

I also, grilled avocados.  Slice as normal, rub a bit of coconut oil, grill for 30-45 seconds.  NUMMY  My only regret is they didn’t get more grill marks, but that is just aesthetic.

This was a fun, adventurous meal for me.  Everyone really seemed to enjoy, which is the best part!!

Chicken Stir Fry

Dinner tonight was chicken stir fry served over quinoa and brown rice.  This isn’t a hard dish to make and you don’t need to use stir fry sauces filled with all sorts of things you can’t pronounce!

Stir Fry:
3 organic free range chicken breasts
1-2 tablespoons coconut oil
1/2 medium onion, sliced thin
1 head broccoli
2 heads baby bok choy, cut in 1 inch pieces
1 cup baby bella mushrooms
1 zucchini
1/2 tsp himalayan pink salt
2 tablespoons arrowroot powder
2 tablespoons avocado or sesame oil
2 tablespoons champagne vinegar
1 tablespoon honey

Most of your work is cutting.  Don’t worry about everything being perfect, just try to get consistent sizes so things cook evenly.


Put about a tablespoon of coconut oil in a pan and heat to medium high.  Add onions and cook for about 5 minutes or until translucent.  This may take more or less time depending on how thin you slice them.
Add the broccoli and cook for another 5 minutes.  Add chicken, peppers and carrots, sprinkle some pink salt in and cook for around 8 minutes.  I ended up having to use two pans at this point, but it works.
Now add mushrooms, zucchini and bok choy for 4 minutes.  Stir periodically during all of these steps.


Combine both pans if they are separate, pour in 1 cup of water and cover.  Cook for about 8 minutes.

While this is cooking whisk together 1/2 cup of water and 2 tablespoons arrowroot powder.  If you are not familiar with it, it works a lot like corn starch as a thickener.  Get out some vinegar, avocado or sesame oil and honey.


Once the liquid in the pan is thicker, add about 2 tablespoons of the oil and vinegar.  Add 1 tablespoon of honey.
Serve over just quinoa or as I did quinoa and brown rice.  A little organic soy sauce and you are good to go!

Grilled steak and veggies

Pretty simple meal tonight, but still delicious!  I bought my new favorite cut of steak, flat iron.  It is a really nice steak with good flavor, I guess that is why it is sometimes called the butchers cut. 🙂

First thing I did was put the steak in a 1 gallon ziplock.  Poured in some worcestershire sauce, garlic, salt and pepper.  I didn’t measure, sorry.  Leave it on the counter and promptly ignore.
Cut up some organic red & yellow peppers and baby bella mushrooms…toss with grape seed oil & kosher salt.  Place on a medium hot grill:
Put the steak on the grill and cook for about 6 minutes per side (depending on how hot your grill is – mine was cooler than I thought).  I don’t think it looks that appetizing raw, but I thought you may still want to see it.
Let the steak rest…lets talk about that for a bit.  Resting meat before cutting it is really important.  You would be surprised how much difference this will make in your final product.  Much more juicy. Keep in mind, the bigger the meat the longer the rest.  Chicken breast or steak, rest around 4 minutes is good.  A whole turkey, rest like 15.  
When you cut the steak, turn your knife at a 45 degree angle and cut against the grain.  This is not just for making a nice presentation, although it does do that!  It makes the it less tough.  You can do this on most cuts, even chicken.  I think the texture is better.
Veggies can cook anywhere from the 12 or so minutes you have the meat on to close to 20.  This variance depends on if you like any crunch left in them and how much char you like.  
Like I said, very simple meal but really good.  
How about you…what did you make for dinner?

Grilled Chicken Salad

This is a nice summer recipe for a grilled chicken salad.  

First, pound the chicken breasts flat.  I don’t know if pound flat is the right term, I just try and get the meat to be an even thickness.  It helps to cook it evenly.  Season with a chipotle pepper and garlic salt.
Heat your grill to medium.  I threw some peppers, onions, grape seed oil & kosher salt in a basket and put that on at right away.  Just shake the basket a bit each time you add or flip the meat.
When it is up to temp, place chicken on grill.  Grill for 4-5 minutes on each side.  After you take the chicken off the grill, let them rest for a couple minutes before you slice them.
While you wait, put some spinach greens & chopped tomato in a bowl.  Place your grilled chicken, roasted peppers & freshly made guac on your salad!  
Mmmm good!

I got MY peanut butter in MY chocolate

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Hello there, I have been off the radar lately!  No excuses.  Moving on, today I would like to share a nummy recipe for Peanut Butter Brownies.

It was the hubby’s birthday recently and the ingredients he wanted me to work with were PB & chocolate.  Well that was last years secret items too!  I didn’t want to make another layered cake with peanut butter frosting.  
One of his favorite cookies as a child were Nutter Butters.  I wondered if I could incorporate them in a dessert.

I was also itching to use my new Pampered Chef square muffin tin.  I bought it forever ago and have not used it.  Shame on me.  I don’t know if they even sell it anymore.  

First I made some brownie batter using two Ghiradelli Triple Chocolate Brownie Mixes.  It’s really a wonder there are other brownie mixes out there with a name like that one.  I filled the squares a little less than halfway with batter, topped with a cookie and then put more batter on top.

Ignore all the Pam over spray 🙂
I took the rest and made a giant version with my 8×8 pan, which I promptly took a picture of.  Oh wait, no completely spaced that last part.
Here is where it got tricky.  How long do you bake them?  I set the oven to 325, if you use an 8×8 pan it is about 40-50 minutes.  I started at 20 minutes and then checked every 5.  I ended up baking them for  35 minutes but I think that was about 5 minutes too long because they do continue to bake while in the hot pan.
When they are cooled, mix up some ganache.  I have never made this before so I opted for the microwave version which turned out ok.  I think next time I will make the stove method.  It would be nice to see if cooking over the stove would allow it to be thicker without waiting so long to cool.  That aside, it tastes amazing!
Mix chocolate and heavy cream 1:1 ratio.  You need to use a scale for this.

Put in the microwave for a minute, whisk and repeat until completely integrated.  If it is too runny when you are done, wait for it to cool – it will thicken.
Then you top those bad boys with chocolate deliciousness….mmm

After this I didn’t feel like they were quite done.  So I whipped up some peanut butter frosting and piped it over the top.  Just peanut butter, butter, milk and powdered sugar.  How pretty are they?

Just for an added touch of I dunno what, I popped little mini Reese’s Peanut butter cups on the top.
The jury definitely liked these bad boys.  The Nutter Butter in the center was a great surprise when you bit in.  

Chocolate love….

For Christmas I got a really neat book:

With my new pasta attachments I have been curious about making different types of pasta.  This book is a really neat read because she gives you a lot of information.  For instance, did you know chickens with white ear lobes lay white eggs and chickens with brown ear lobes lay brown eggs?  I didn’t even know chickens had ear lobes.  I will wait a moment while you google chicken ear lobes… … … weird right?
Anyway, I was going through the book looking at different pasta options and I stumbled on chocolate pasta.  Um, hold up, wait a minute, are you saying you can combine CHOCOLATE and PASTA?  I’m in!!!
Assemble your ingredients:
350g of flour
1 1/2 Tbsp cocoa
1 tsp cinnamon
4 large eggs
I added a couple of teaspoons of water because it is so dry here right now.  It looks absolutely beautiful after it is made…

Boil for 3-4 minutes, drain and top with either butter and powdered sugar or a little ice cream topping or maybe even some ice cream!!!

Here is an added bonus, you know how you have a dessert, say a brownie and you could have another and maybe even another.  Chocolate pasta is filling, how great is that?!?!  Try it out, you won’t be disappointed.

Chocolate Raspberry Dream Cake

We had yet another birthday at our house and this time the request was to use raspberries.  With the weather being so hot I had ice cream cake on the brain.  This inspired me to create the
Chocolate Raspberry Dream Cake.  Turns out, it was a big hit.  🙂

I started by making a box mix of brownies.  I choose a dark chocolate Ghirardelli mix.  You really can’t go wrong if that is your base, right?
Mix the brownies according to the box and pour into a sprayed springform pan (like you use for cheesecake).  I baked it for about 25 minutes.  You will need to watch it because it is a pretty thin layer.
 Let this cool.

While waiting I made a basic fudge recipe, for topping ice cream.  This is so easy, you should never buy the store made stuff.

Mix and boil until thick:

  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 Tbsp cocoa
  • 2 Tbsp corn starch

After you are done you can stir in 1 Tbsp butter and 1 tsp vanilla.  I skipped this and it was not lacking.

 Once the brownies are cooled, top with fresh raspberries….then fudge

Spread on softened raspberry sherbet and freeze for a couple hours.

Now spread on Cool Whip topping, more raspberries and some chocolate chips and freeze for another couple hours.  I would suggest cutting up the raspberries on top as they were a little difficult to eat whole and frozen.  Don’t worry, we struggled through it!

I think the best compliment I received was my son saying it was the best cake I have ever made!  Yay – seriously make it, you will NOT be sorry!

Grocery List:
Ghirardelli Dark Chocolate Brownie mix and what is listed on the box to make
Raspberry Sherbet (almost an entire container)
Fresh Raspberries ( I used about 2 of the small containers)
Cocoa Powder
Corn Starch
Chocolate Chips
Cool Whip

Quick Peanut Butter Treat

You may not want to make these as they could significantly increase the size of your midsection.

I found these little goodies on Pinterest and thought I would give them a whirl.  They are a good summer recipe because you do not need to turn on the oven!!

1 cup creamy peanut butter
2 TB softened butter
1/2 cup powdered sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar

I confess, I didn’t really measure all of these specifically.  I mean we are not baking here so it isn’t that big of a deal.  You are looking for a consistency to roll into balls.

Take about a teaspoon of peanut butter goodness and roll into a ball.  Sandwich this in between two pretzels.  Once you get them all done, pop them in the freezer for about 30 minutes. 

 At this step you are supposed to remove them from the freezer and dip in melted chocolate.  I had some colored chocolate handy so I thought I would use that.  I started dipping but then thought I would just spread the chocolate over one side of the treat.  I put sprinkles on half of them but this isn’t necessary.  After this, back to the freezer they go.

These are a bit dangerous to have in the house. They look innocent.  Be warned, they are not.  It is relatively impossible to eat only one.  I prefer them cold from the freezer, as did everyone else.

While I was making dinner and these treats, my INCREDIBLY talented daughters were making a Fathers Day dessert.  Simple stuff you know……a wave pool with all of us represented on chocolate donut inner tubes.  They did such a fabulous job!  I’m sure you can identify who all of us are.

Every girl deserves pretty shoes…that she can eat!

Recently it was my daughters birthday and we were trying to think of a fun dessert to make for her.  There are many things she loves but I would say shoes and cupcakes rate pretty high on her list.  With that said, I just had to make her some high heeled cupcakes!

I decided to make the batter with the koolaid recipe again because they were so nummy and fun.  I choose strawberry koolaid this time.  I preferred the grape but they both were good.

While these are baking you can assemble your shoe arches and heels.  We cut the arches from graham crackers and the heels were simply pretzel rods.  You could use pirouette cookies as well but they were pretty spendy and salty and sweet = mmmm.

*Note: cutting pretzels is not exactly easy.  However, don’t worry too much about exact measurements, your heels will probably be different heights becuase of the weight of the decorations.

  • Melt colored chocolates, I just put the chips in a mini crockpot and leave it plugged in.
  • Spread chocolate on arch/graham cracker and put on tray to cool – either on the counter or in the fridge.

Frost your cupcakes and decorate them in pairs or individually.  This is the fun part, don’t think too hard just be creative.

  • Decide which shoe you are going to work on and pipe matching frosting on the edge of the arch and put sprinkles on if you like.
  • Take a spoon and poke into the side of the cupcake to insert your arch.  After arch is inserted, dip the pretzel rod in melted chocolate and adhere to bottom of the arch.

***Make sure you are doing this where you are going to leave the shoes for a while.  It takes some time for the chocolate on the heel to set against the arch of the shoe. 

Now add more decorations and there you have it!

Aren’t they fun?  Girls just gotta have fun, right?