Chocolate Pumpkin Muffins

Felt weird hitting the new post button!

I took time off from blogging because I was seriously sleep deprived during my third trimester. Since then I had a beautiful baby boy, Kaeden Alexander and switched to decaf coffee. I think giving up caffeine was almost as bad as giving birth without an epidural (Kaeden decided he wanted to arrive 30 minutes after they broke my water so no time for pain relief…little s$&t head, I tell you)! He sure is a cutie though. At least I think so.

Kaeden

Enough of my potty mouth! In my last three weeks of maternity leave I vowed to do something more stimulating than another Netflix series (I think I plowed through at least ten). So, I decided to actually add some new grub.

First things first, DESSERT or sweet breakfast. Priorities people!

To move away from the pumpkin protein dip I have been eating weekly, I made these muffins. I only had sweet potatoes in the house, but you can use pumpkin, sweet potato and butternut squash interchangeably.

Chocolate Pumpkin Muffins
Serves 12
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Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
25 min
Total Time
35 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
25 min
Total Time
35 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 C Pumpkin (or 1 C cooked Sweet Potato)
  2. 3 Eggs
  3. 1/4 C Hazelnut Butter
  4. 3 tbsp Grassfed Butter
  5. 1 tbsp Vanilla
  6. 1/4 C Coconut Palm Sugar
  7. 1/4 C Maple Syrup
  8. 1 1/3 C Almond Flour
  9. 2 tbsp Coconut Flour
  10. 1/2 tsp Salt
  11. 1 tsp Baking Soda
  12. 1 tsp Baking Powder
  13. 1 C Dark Chocolate Chips
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Mix together butter, hazelnut butter, sugar, maple syrup and pumpkin for a minute on medium speed. Mix in eggs, vanilla and salt for another minute. Add dry ingredients and chocolate and mix for another minute.
  3. Pour batter a muffin tin (3/4 up to the top).
  4. Bake for 25-28 minutes.
  5. Test with a fork. If the fork comes out clean (no batter sticks to it) than the muffins are done.
  6. Allow to cool for 10 minutes before eating.
http://barerootkitchen.com/
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Cherry Coconut Flax Cereal

Yesterday was sort of a pooh, pooh day. Okay it was good for the most part, but I got a little down thinking about how our family doesn’t eat normal. When I say normal I mean I cannot just grab a jar of pasta sauce and noodles and whip together spaghetti for dinner.

A, because tomatoes flare up Luke’s arthritis and B, because he can’t have any grains on his diet right now (not even rice because he had a slight flare up of inflammation after eating it). Nor after working 10 hours a day can I call Dominos to deliver a pizza. Again because it has pasta sauce and grains.

It is extremely difficult to coordinate meals around my husbands’ diet because I can’t use eggs, corn, rice, quinoa, oats, buckwheat, amaranth, wheat (Mason and I are gluten free so that doesn’t really matter), tomatoes, potatoes, eggplant, dairy, soy, peppers (bell, jalapenos, cayenne pepper, chili powder), cumin/seed based spices, etc. It is by far one of the biggest challenges I have faced and lately I have been short on ideas!

So, I actually drummed up an idea for dinner….FINALLY! It is going to be stuffed artichoke and spinach chicken breasts wrapped in bacon with an egg-free/grain free flat bread. Stay tuned for this yummy goodness and sorry about my ranting. All I want to do is make food for my husband to feel better and it is a challenge that exhausts me many days, so I wanted to garner up some support :)

All right, now I predominantly eat Paleo (e.g. no grains). However, when training for a marathon I have found that I need grains to fuel this high endurance activity. I know, I know you could run marathons on a Paleo diet, but it doesn’t get me to my maximum performance. Trust me I have tried Paleo approved high carb goodies before runs and they do not work as well as a bowl of oatmeal or gluten-free cereal!

The hard part is finding a good gluten-free cereal that is loaded with protein, dried fruit and solid mix of grains. I seriously stared at the grocery aisle for 15 minutes trying to find the perfect multi-grain one. Finally I gave up! I bought almond butter, maple syrup, cinnamon, dried cherries, dried raisins, oats, coconut, nuts, seeds, Enjoy Life Crunchy Flax cereal, and Nature’s Path Mesa Sunrise Flakes and made my own amazing protein packed multi-grain cereal. It came out as a cross between granola and cereal, but it is oh so delicious.

Cherry Coconut Flax Cereal
Serves 16
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Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
30 min
Total Time
45 min
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
30 min
Total Time
45 min
Ingredients
  1. 2 C Unsweetened Coconut
  2. 2 C Oats, Gluten Free Certified
  3. 1 C Dried Cherries, unsweetened
  4. 1/2 C Raisins, unsweetened
  5. 2 tsp Cinnamon
  6. 2 C Mixed Nuts, chopped
  7. 3/4 C Sunflower Seeds
  8. 1/2 C Maple Syrup
  9. 1 tsp Vanilla
  10. 2 tbsp Coconut Oil
  11. 2/3 C Almond Butter
  12. 1 box Enjoy Life Flax Crunch Cereal
  13. 1 box Nature's Path Mesa Sunrise Cereal
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Melt together almond butter, coconut oil, maple syrup, cinnamon and vanilla in a small microwave safe bowl. Microwave for 60 seconds.
  3. Add oats, nuts, seeds, coconut and dried fruit (cereal will be added after roasting the oats and nuts in the oven) to a large mixing bowl. Pour the melted almond butter mixture over the oat/nut/dried fruit mixture and stir until even coated.
  4. Evenly space the almond butter and oat/dried fruit mixture onto a large cookie sheet.
  5. Roast in the oven for 30 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes.
  6. Remove from the oven and allow it to cool completely before stirring in the cereal.
Notes
  1. Store in an airtight container in the pantry for 3-4 weeks or in the freezer for up to 3 months. Enjoy with your favorite non-dairy milk or yogurt.
http://barerootkitchen.com/
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Frozen Strawberry Parfait

Another breakfast item, whoop, whoop! I love smoothies, but sometimes I want them to be thicker and have some crunch to them! To get this effect yesterday, I made a smoothie, but added less liquid to make it thicker and layered it between a nut mixture to give it some crunch. I was also able to sneak some spinach into the smoothie layer too. I know kids are suckers for not wanting to eat greens, but I bet you they would eat this and not even know there was spinach in there (well unless they see you make it). 

I must admit that even though I am loading this recipe under breakfast, I actually made this for lunch because I wanted a strawberry spinach salad, but wasn’t in the mood for physically eating spinach. I go through streaks where I am salad fanatic and then don’t want to be near greens for months. What to do? Well, put greens in something so I don’t even know I am eating them. Yep, yep, just call me a BIG KID. 

At any rate this totally hit the spot! Enjoy! 

Frozen Strawberry Parfait
Serves 2
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Prep Time
15 min
Total Time
15 min
Prep Time
15 min
Total Time
15 min
Ingredients
Frozen Strawberry Layer
  1. 1 C Frozen Strawberries
  2. 1 C Spinach
  3. 1 C Ice
  4. 1 C Strawberry Greek Yogurt
  5. 1 tbsp Agave Nectar
  6. 3/4 C Pomegranate Juice
  7. 1/2 C Water
Almond Coconut Granola
  1. 1/4 C Almonds
  2. 1/4 C Coconut Flakes, unsweetened
  3. 1 tsp Coconut Palm Sugar
  4. 1 tsp Maple Syrup
  5. 1 C Fresh Strawberries, sliced
Directions
Frozen Strawberry Parfait
  1. Place smoothie ingredients into a high powered blender. Blend on low to get the ingredients to start mixing together and turn to high. May need to stop periodically and mix everything together by hand a few times (or use the plastic mallet that comes with your blender to push the ingredients towards the blade while mixing). Stop when the ice, spinach and frozen strawberries are blended together.
Almond Coconut Parfait
  1. Pulse together almonds, coconut and sweeteners in a small food processor. Chop together until the almonds and coconut are into smaller pieces.
  2. Add 1/2 of the frozen strawberry layer to a glass, top with fresh strawberries and a tablespoon of the granola mixture. Repeat this and add more granola/strawberries to the top.
  3. Serve immediately.
http://barerootkitchen.com/
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Pumpkin Spice Granola

With Thanksgiving coming right around the corner I have been craving pumpkin pie! However, I have never really been fond of the crust. I usually would eat the filling and leave the crust sitting miserably on my plate. However, I love granola. I could eat it for every meal! So, this recipe goes out to all of you pie crust haters!

I served this granola with my sweet potato pudding recipe! YUMMY! Eat your heart out!

On a side note, I have to let you know that I pulled this granola out of the oven right before I went to pick Mason up from daycare. I also had his dinner all set to go. As soon as he saw this granola it was all she wrote with his dinner. Good news is he loved it! He had two bowls with some yogurt.  

Pumpkin Spice Granola
Serves 8
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Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
30 min
Total Time
40 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
30 min
Total Time
40 min
Ingredients
  1. 3 C Coconut Flakes, unsweetened
  2. 1 C Carob Chips
  3. 4 tbsp Sunbutter
  4. 1/4 C Honey
  5. 2 tbsp Coconut Palm Sugar
  6. 1 C Banana Chips
  7. 1/4 C Pumpkin Puree
  8. 2 tsp Cinnamon
  9. 1/2 tsp Nutmeg
  10. 1/2 tsp Salt
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
  2. Place ingredients into a food processor and pulse 10-15 times until every thing is combined into small clumps.
  3. Pour granola evenly onto a cookie sheet.
  4. Bake for 20-25 minutes stirring half way through.
  5. Allow to cool on the cookie sheet for 20-30 minutes before serving.
http://barerootkitchen.com/
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Pumpkin Cranberry Bars

This week has been an all out emotional roller coaster for me! I am one of those people who just doesn’t have an off switch. I am a little energizer bunny who goes non-stop until I either collapse with exhaustion or I start to become the biggest grump on the planet.

Knowing that my ambition has been detrimental lately, I am trying to focus on Wellness (e.g. take freaking breaks)! I mean let’s be realistic, it is not healthy to work 55-60 hours per week, average 6 hours of sleep per night, work on my blog 15-20 hours, train for a marathon, and devote the remaining time to my husband/son. Don’t get me wrong spending time with family, writing on my blog and running are relaxing activities, but working that many hours……..UGH NO!

Being a manager has pushed me into this rut and it is starting to wear me down both physically and mentally. Recognizing that I have changed in a BAD way, I want to do something NOW! So, I am reducing my hours to 40-45 per week even if SHIT doesn’t GET DONE. Easier said than done when you work from home, but it just has to be done for my personal sanity! Wish me luck. 

Now, because I am cutting my hours back, I had a little free time to make some pumpkin cranberry bars. These are perfect snack for little munchkins (aka. toddlers) or to devour before a workout.

Hope you enjoy!  

Pumpkin Cranberry Bars
Serves 16
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Prep Time
15 min
Total Time
15 min
Prep Time
15 min
Total Time
15 min
Ingredients
  1. 3 C Cashews, raw
  2. 1 C Dried Cranberries
  3. 1/3 C Coconut Palm Sugar
  4. 6 Medjool Dates
  5. 1/4 C Lucuma Powder
  6. 1 tsp Sea Salt
  7. 2 tsp Cinnamon
  8. 1 tsp All Spice
  9. 2 C Brown Rice Cereal
  10. 1/4 C Pumpkin Puree
  11. 1/2 C Pecans, chopped
Instructions
  1. Add cashews to a food processor and blend until a fine powder forms. Will take about 1-2 minutes.
  2. Toss in the cinnamon, all spice, coconut palm sugar, lucuma powder, 2 cups of the rice cereal, pumpkin puree and dates into the food processor. Pulse together until a chunky batter forms.
  3. Remove from the food processor, transfer to a medium sized mixing bowl and stir in the cranberries and chopped pecans.
  4. Press into an 8 x 8 pan with wax or parchment paper.
  5. Refrigerate for 1 hour and then cut into squares.
http://barerootkitchen.com/
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Pumpkin Coconut Curry

Fall is my all-time favorite season! I love everything about it. Nothing is better than watching leaves turn shades of crimson red, harvest orange and rustic yellow. I love these color combinations so much that my office and dining room are modeled after a fall color pallet.

Another added benefit of fall is it is fun to come up with recipes using pumpkin, apples, butternut squash, sweet potatoes and other fall harvested fruits and vegetables. Having some pumpkin lying around I decided to try my hand at a fall inspired curry.

Most of the ingredients used in this recipe are Autoimmune Protocol (AIP) friendly (except for the cumin). Seed based spices are allowed during week one of the reintroduction phase of the autoimmune protocol diet. So, if you can tolerate cumin seeds then this would be considered AIP friendly.  

Pumpkin Coconut Curry
Serves 2
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Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
30 min
Total Time
35 min
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
30 min
Total Time
35 min
Ingredients
Pumpkin Coconut Curry
  1. 1 tbsp Coconut Oil
  2. 1/2 C Pumpkin Puree
  3. 1 can Coconut Milk
  4. 1 Onion, chopped
  5. 2 Sweet Potatoes, chopped
  6. 3 Carrots, chopped
  7. 1 tbsp Garlic, finely chopped
  8. 3 tsp Garam Masala
  9. 1 1/2 tsp Salt
  10. 1 tsp Pepper
  11. 1 Lemon, juice
Cauliflower Rice
  1. 1 Head Cauliflower
  2. 1 tbsp Coconut Oil
  3. Salt
  4. 1 Lime, juice
  5. Pepper
Directions
Pumpkin Coconut Curry
  1. Add coconut oil, garlic, sweet potatoes, carrots and onions to a large frying pan. Cook over medium heat for 10-15 minutes until sweet potatoes are tender.
  2. Stir in the coconut milk, shrimp, lemon juice, spices and pumpkin. Reduce the heat to simmer and cook for an additional 10 minutes. Season with additional salt and pepper to taste.
Cauliflower Rice
  1. Remove the florets from the head of cauliflower. Shred into small rice sized pieces with a food processor.
  2. Heat up coconut oil over medium heat. Add in the shredded cauliflower and lime juice. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  3. Serve the shrimp coconut curry over the cauliflower rice.
http://barerootkitchen.com/
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Peanut Coconut Bars

I just hired my first employee this week. Boy am I excited to get another research analyst on my team to work on the backlog that has been building up!

Aside from my new hire, I have been craving Reese’s because it is getting close to Halloween. After researching the harmful ingredients (see my coconut peanut butter cup recipe for more detail) in Reese’s I have been trying to make my own healthier alternatives.

My little guy loves breakfast bars with chocolate on them. In fact, this morning he woke up saying, “Mommy, I hungry. Beckfast baas peez.” Code for Mason lingo that means, “Can I have some breakfast bars please.” So, I whipped up these babies for him! Win, win because I totally wanted them too! 

Have to toot, toot my own horn, but Mason loved them and I thought they were pretty darn good too.   

I know chocolate bars are probably not the best way to start out little Mase-Man’s day, but I used dark chocolate and I think these bars are much better than giving him PopTarts, sugary cereals or donuts. So, no judging peeps :) 

Peanut Coconut Bars
Serves 16
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Prep Time
15 min
Total Time
15 min
Prep Time
15 min
Total Time
15 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 C Creamy Peanut Butter
  2. 2 C 70% Cacao Chocolate Chips
  3. 1 C Unsweetened Coconut, shredded or flakes
  4. 3 tbsp Butter or Ghee, melted
  5. 1/2 C Sunflower Seeds
  6. 2 tbsp Flax Seeds or Meal
  7. 1 tsp Sea Salt
  8. 1 tsp Vanilla
  9. 2 C Gluten Free Cereal Flakes
  10. 6 Medjool Dates, pits removed
  11. 2 tbsp Lucuma Powder
  12. 1/4 C Maple Syrup or Honey
Instructions
  1. Place all of the ingredients into a food processor except for the chocolate chips. Mix until all of the coconut, cereal flakes and dates have been broken down into tiny pieces. You may need to stop and stir the ingredients a few times during the process.
  2. Press down the peanut butter mixture evenly into a 8X8 cake pan.
  3. Pour chocolate chips into a microwave safe bowl and melt on high for 30 seconds at a time. Stir after each 30 second increment. Repeat this process up to three times or until chocolate is completely melted. Do not over do it or heat up the chocolate all at once or you will have a chunky mess. Trust me I know from experience.
  4. Spread the chocolate over the peanut butter mixture and cool in the refrigerator for one hour before serving.
Notes
  1. Store in the refrigerator for up to a week or in the freezer for up to three months.
http://barerootkitchen.com/
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No’mato Spaghetti Sauce

Many autoimmune sufferers eliminate nightshades (e.g. tomatoes, white potatoes, peppers, eggplant, etc.) from their diet because it has been found to reduce symptoms of inflammation. Without tomatoes as a base for spaghetti sauce many recipes use beets. If you are like me, you can detect the flavor of beets within a 10 mile radius. In fact, I don’t really like them at all unless they are fried chips! Other than chips, I have tried disguising them in smoothies and sauces, but geez whiz I can still detect those nappy things!

So, while my husband has following the autoimmune diet I decided to dabble in the ‘No’mato Sauce world by creating my own version with cherries as the base. It is WAY BETTER FOLKS! Well, unless you like beets of course :) 

No'mato Spaghetti Sauce
Serves 6
Looking for a recipe for spaghetti sauce that does not use nightshades or beets? This sauce is autoimmune friendly and very delicious!
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Prep Time
30 min
Cook Time
30 min
Total Time
1 hr
Prep Time
30 min
Cook Time
30 min
Total Time
1 hr
Ingredients
  1. 6 C Tart Cherries, frozen
  2. 3 Purple Carrots, peeled and chopped
  3. 3 Orange Carrots, peeled and chopped
  4. 1 Yellow Onion, chopped
  5. 3 Stalks Celery, chopped
  6. 2 tbsp Fresh Garlic, chopped
  7. 1 tbsp Fresh Basil, chopped
  8. 1 tbsp Fresh Thyme, stems removed
  9. 1 tbsp Fresh Parsley, chopped
  10. 1 tbsp Fresh Oregano, chopped
  11. 2 tbsp Coconut Oil
  12. 1 tbsp Olive Oil
  13. 1 tsp Pepper
  14. 1 tsp Salt
  15. 1 tsp Turmeric
  16. 1 tsp Onion Powder
  17. 1 tsp Garlic Salt
  18. 1 tsp Celery Salt
  19. 1 Lemon, juice
  20. 1/2 C Water
  21. 1/2 C Cranberry Juice
Instructions
  1. Saute carrots, celery, onion and garlic in a dutch oven or large soup pan with coconut oil until onions are translucent. Will take approximately 8-10 minutes.
  2. Once veggies are tender, add in the remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil and then reduce the heat to low. Simmer on low for 30 minutes.
  3. Pour ingredients into a blender (or use an emulsion blender) and mix until a smooth sauce forms. Add an additional 1/2 cup of water if the sauce is to thick.
Notes
  1. Serve this on top pizza or with zucchini noodles for a delicious meal.
http://barerootkitchen.com/
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Homemade Coconut Milk

I am feeling a bit lazy this morning! I really should write up an extensive post warning you against purchasing any commercial prepared non-dairy milks because of the harmful additives, but I am just to going to post a few links and you can read at your discretion. Also, I would be a hypocrite because I purchase them for Mason due to his issues in digesting pasteurized dairy milk. However, I must say I only buy hemp milk and almond milk without carrageenan listed as an ingredients. I am recently finding that is just not good enough because of the harmful food additives used to improve texture and prolong shelf life, so I decided to make my own coconut milk this week. Before I get to the recipe, here is some detail on the ingredients:

1) Carrageenan –

http://www.onegreenplanet.org/natural-health/why-carrageenan-is-no-good/

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1242073/pdf/ehp0109-000983.pdf

Detail: Evidence to support why the FDA should reconsider the advisability of carrageenan use as a food additive are:

  • Carrageenan is a known co-carcinogen in animal models of carcinogenesis
  • In animal models, carrageenan has been associated with development of intestinal ulcerations that resemble ulcerative colitis
  • Carrageenan exposure to gastric acid in the human stomach can lead to the depolymerization

2) “Natural Flavors” – http://www.healthy-holistic-living.com/additives-in-non-dairy-milk.html

As a results of all of this, it is my goal to start making more homemade non-dairy milks and to also try raw, unpasteurized dairy milk. I know the claims by the FDA, warning consumers against raw dairy because pasteurization kills unwanted bacteria, but and there is a big but since pasteurization also kills essential vitamins. Numerous surveys/case studies have found individuals with lactose intolerance cannot tolerate pasteurized milk, but are perfectly fine with raw, grass fed dairy milk. This post by Chris Kesser, “Raw Milk Reality: Benefits of Raw Milk,” is an excellent read if you want to know more about why people should consume raw dairy over pasteurized dairy products. If you are like me and like the science methods behind the madness, you will get excited to know that Stanford University is doing a study on the “Effects of Raw Milk vs. Pasteurized Milk on Lactose Maldigestion and Symptoms of Lactose Intolerance Among Lactose Intolerant Adults.” This study is still pending, but I cannot wait to see the results! I will pass along when it is ready. 

Okay, I said I wasn’t going to write up an in-depth post, but I did it anyway. Bonus for everyone! Now on to the creamy coconut milk. 

Homemade Coconut Milk
Serves 6
A three-ingredient, easy to make homemade non-dairy milk without the food additives of carrageenan, guar gum, Vitamin A Palmitate and Vitamin D2.
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Prep Time
5 min
Prep Time
5 min
Ingredients
  1. 3 C Shredded Coconut, unsweetened
  2. 6 C Water
  3. 1-2 tbsp Maple Syrup
  4. 1/2 tsp Salt
Instructions
  1. Add ingredients to high powdered blender and process for approximately 1 minute.
  2. Pour milk through a nut bag to remove the pulp (this will leave behind the creamy texture).
  3. Another option if you do not have a nut bag is to strain through a flour sack. Just pour the milk into the flour sack twist it together at the top and then squeeze the milk into a bowl.
Notes
  1. Store in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
  2. The fat will separate, but can easily be fixed by shaking up the milk prior to serving.
http://barerootkitchen.com/
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Kale Berry Mint Salad

After going on vacation I got off my salad for lunch wagon and boy have I been feeling pretty lethargic. Instead of salads I was eating grain based foods, such as gluten free grilled cheese, butternut squash risotto or a gluten free almond butter sandwich. All are healthy and totally yummy, but I just have so much more energy when I incorporate as many fruits and vegetables into my diet as humanly possible. So, in efforts to add salads back in I came up with this new salad. Now, don’t get me wrong I have standbys (one of my favorites being my Southwest Chicken Salad), but this salad is so deliciously different from anything I have ever tasted. The mint adds freshness and creates a burst of flavor that many salads are lacking. This salad is not autoimmune friendly, but could easily be nut free by omitting the cashews. I have them in there because I love having a little crunch in my salads. 

Kale Berry Mint Salad
Serves 2
Mint gives this salad a distinct, but delicious flavor. The crunch from the cashews and kale also add great balance to this salad. Give this a try for a light lunch or as a side dish for some grilled fish or chicken.
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Prep Time
10 min
Total Time
10 min
Prep Time
10 min
Total Time
10 min
Ingredients
Kale Berry Salad
  1. 3 C Purple Kale
  2. 1 C Chicken, cooked and cubed
  3. 1 C Strawberries, chopped
  4. 1 Cucumber, peeled and chopped
  5. 1/2 C Cashews, chopped
  6. 1/4 C Fresh Mint, finely chopped
  7. 1/2 C Unsweetened Coconut Flakes
Balsamic Citrus Dressing
  1. 3 tbsp Balsamic Vinegar
  2. 2 tbsp Apple Cider Vinegar
  3. 1/4 C Olive Oil
  4. 1/4 C Orange Juice
  5. 1 tbsp Honey
  6. 1/4 tsp Salt
Directions
Kale Berry Salad
  1. Chop all ingredients and add to a medium sized bowl.
Citrus Balsamic Dressing
  1. Add salad dressing ingredients to a quart sized mason jar. Cover with lid and shake until combined.
  2. Toss dressing and salad ingredients together. Serve immediately.
http://barerootkitchen.com/
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Ginger Ahi Tuna Salad

In my quest to make a new salad, I decided to venture into uncharted territory and tackle some Ahi Tuna. It is one of my favorite things to order off the menu at restaurants, but I have always been intimidated with making it at home. Not sure why because all you have to do is marinate it and sear it on both sides for a couple of minutes. Anyway, so I finally got over my reservations and made this delicious salad!

Ginger Ahi Tuna Salad
Serves 2
The ginger balsamic marinade makes this seared Ahi Tuna salad delicious. Also, for a hint of sweetness this salad either add some fresh red pears or apples.
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Prep Time
30 min
Cook Time
10 min
Total Time
40 min
Prep Time
30 min
Cook Time
10 min
Total Time
40 min
Ingredients
Ginger Balsamic Dressing
  1. 1/2 C Olive Oil
  2. 1/4 C Balsamic Vinegar
  3. 1 tsp Fresh Ginger, crushed
  4. 1 tsp Fresh Garlic
  5. 1 tsp Fresh Horseradish, crushed
  6. 3 tbsp Honey
  7. 1/2 tsp Salt
  8. 1/4 tsp Pepper
  9. 2 Lemons, juice
Ahi Tuna Steak
  1. 2 6-8 oz Ahi Tuna Steaks
  2. 1 tbsp Coconut Oil
  3. Salt and Pepper
Salad
  1. 3 C Mixed Salad Greens
  2. 1 Red Pear, finely sliced
  3. 2 Green Onions, diced
  4. 1 C Green Beans, roughly chopped
  5. 1 C Shredded Carrots
Directions
Ginger Balsamic Dressing
  1. Mix dressing ingredients together. Reserve 1/2 C of dressing for marinading the fish.
Ahi Tuna Steaks
  1. Marinade the tuna in dressing for 30 minutes.
  2. Heat coconut oil over medium high heat. Add tuna to pan and sear on both sides for 3-4 minutes. Cook longer if you want your tuna less rare.
Salad
  1. Assemble salad greens and other salad ingredients into a medium sized bowl. Top with the cooked Ahi Tuna and additional dressing.
http://barerootkitchen.com/
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Date Crumble Squares

Growing up, one of my favorite desserts was date bars because they remind me of Fig Newtons. I even went through a period where I was making them repeatedly in high school. Then I went on a ten year hiatus until I bought a gluten free date bar at the co-op near our house. It was total heaven in my mouth, so I thought why not try to attempt a grain free and nut free version at home. I must admit that I borrowed the crust (with minor modifications) from the “Pear-Caramel Pie” recipe in the Autoimmune Paleo Cookbook by Mickey Trescott. However, I made the date filling from scratch. Overall, these bars taste exactly like the ones I buy from the co-op, but I am pretty sure my version has a lower sugar content because the number one ingredient on their packaging is organic cane sugar. 

Date Crumble Squares
If you love fig newtons, you should know that these date squares taste similar and make for a scrumptious desserts. These little babies are also allergy friendly with being dairy free, nut free and grain free. Plus, they have a lower sugar content through the use of dates and raisins as the primary sweetener.
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Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
30 min
Total Time
40 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
30 min
Total Time
40 min
Ingredients
Crust/Crumble
  1. 1 C Coconut Flour
  2. 1 C Arrowroot Powder
  3. 3 tbsp Maple Syrup
  4. 1/4 C Coconut Oil, melted
  5. 1/2 C Water
  6. 1/2 tsp Salt
  7. 1/3 C Coconut Palm Sugar (used for crumble)
Date Filling
  1. 2 tbsp Coconut Flour
  2. 2 C Dates, pitted
  3. 1 C Raisins
  4. 4 tbsp Sunflower Butter
  5. 3 tbsp Tahini Butter
  6. 1/4 C Maple Syrup
  7. 1 tsp Salt
  8. 1/3 C Water
Directions
Crust
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Mix together ingredients (except for coconut palm sugar) for crust until crumbly dough forms. Reserve 1 1/2 cups for the crumble.
  3. Press the remaining dough into an 8x8 metal pan.
Date Filling
  1. Place ingredients into a blender. Mix on high until a smooth filling is formed.
  2. Spread this filling on top of the unbaked crust.
Crumble
  1. Add the coconut palm sugar to the remaining dough and sprinkle on top of the date filling.
  2. Bake for 30 minutes.
  3. Allow to cool completely before servings.
http://barerootkitchen.com/

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Quinoa Coconut Cookies

My dad came into town yesterday & he wanted some cookies. I know he loves both coconut & chocolate chips, so I wanted to see if I could pass a gluten free cookie on him. He tried one and said they were really good. I still haven’t told them they were a healthier gluten free cookie or that would spoil it for him. Guess it will just be my little secret until he sees this recipe! Which he will honestly never look at! 

These cookies are soft & chewy! I absolutely love them even for breakfast! Although, I like anything sweet for any meal of the day :)

Quinoa Coconut Cookies
Serves 24
These chewy coconut and chocolate chip cookies use quinoa flakes in place of oatmeal. They are delicious with a cup of coffee or a glass of milk!
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Prep Time
16 min
Cook Time
30 min
Total Time
45 min
Prep Time
16 min
Cook Time
30 min
Total Time
45 min
Ingredients
  1. 2 C Quinoa Flakes
  2. 2 1/2 C Brown Rice Flour (finely ground)
  3. 1 C Butter, room temperature
  4. 1 C Almond Butter
  5. 1 C Agave Nectar
  6. 1 tbsp Vanilla
  7. 1/2 C Brown Sugar
  8. 1 tsp Salt
  9. 2 tsp Baking Soda
  10. 1 C Coconut
  11. ​1 C Mini Chocolate Chips
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Using a hand mixer, mix together butter, almond butter, and brown sugar until smooth.
  3. Add in agave nectar & vanilla & mix until combined.
  4. Stir in remaining ingredients with a wooden spoon.
  5. Drop by spoonfuls onto baking sheets & cook 10-12 minutes.
  6. Cool a couple of minutes and transfer to parchment paper.
http://barerootkitchen.com/

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Cacao Coconut Parfait

Lately, I have been craving chocolate and coconut. No, I am not pregnant, so don’t start any rumors. I just go through streaks where I want the same things over and over until I get sick of them. Plus, it is Girl Scout Cookie season and I cannot indulge in my childhood favorite cookie….Samaos, so this satisfied my urge since I can no longer eat the real deal!

​This is a high protein snack, plus it has the added benefits of raw cacao. If you are unfamiliar with raw cacao here are some health tid bits:

  • ​Nutritious – Great source for magnesium, iron, chromium, vanadium, copper, zinc, phosphorus.
  • ​Alchemical: Cacao dilates the intestines and cardiovascular system allowing more nutrients to be absorbed.
  • ​Neutralizes Free Radicals: Contains high levels of antioxidants, which protect the body from a buildup of free radicals (toxic substance exposure), which may damage healthy body tissue giving rise to cancer and cardiovascular disease.
  • ​Improves Digestions: High fiber content supports digestion and stimulates body’s production of digestive enzymes.

​Sounds delicious and nutritious, right? So, why not indulge!

Cacao Coconut Parfait
Serves 2
A Girl Scout Cookie favorite morphed into a nutritious parfait. Enjoy!
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Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
5 min
Total Time
20 min
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
5 min
Total Time
20 min
Ingredients
Coconut Date Layer
  1. 1/2 C Shredded Coconut, unsweetened
  2. 2 tbsp Almond Butter
  3. 1/8 tsp Vanilla
  4. 5 Medjool Dates, pitted
  5. 1 tbsp Maple Syrup
  6. 2 tbsp Dark Chocolate Chips (topping)
  7. 2 tbsp Shredded Coconut (topping)
Cacao Pudding
  1. 3 Tbsp Cacao Powder, unsweetened
  2. 1 C Greek Yogurt, plain
  3. 1/8 tsp Vanilla
  4. 3 tbsp Maple Syrup
  5. 1 tbsp Coconut Flour
Directions
Coconut Date Layer
  1. Put everything except for chocolate chips and coconut into food processor. Pulse until everything is slightly mixed but still chunky.
Cacao Pudding
  1. Mix ingredients together in a small bowl with a hand mixer.
  2. Layer coconut date mixture and cacao pudding into a parfait.
  3. Top with chocolate chips and some additional coconut for extra crunch!
Notes
  1. Substitute coconut milk cream in place of Greek yogurt (cream from can of coconut milk that is refrigerated overnight) for dairy free or strict Paleo diets.
http://barerootkitchen.com/

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Coconut Cashew Parfait

Coconut and cashews … YUM! I love them both! Not to mention my favorite breakfast & lunch meals are parfaits. So, be prepared to see a lot of them as my blog progresses. I could really eat them for every meal.

At any rate, I have to say this was an absolutely delicious way to start the day! When my spoon hit the bottom of the cup, I was very disappointed!

Coconut Cashew Parfait
Serves 2
Coconut and cashews with blended frozen fruit layers make this a delightful breakfast parfait.
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Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
5 min
Total Time
15 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
5 min
Total Time
15 min
Ingredients
Coconut Cashew Granola
  1. 1/2 C Shredded Coconut, unsweetened
  2. 1/2 C Cashews, raw
  3. 4-5 Medjool Dates
  4. 1/2 tsp Almond Extract
Peach Smoothie
  1. 1 C Peaches, frozen
  2. 1 C Pineapple, frozen
  3. 1 Banana, frozen
  4. 1/2 C Greek Yogurt (substitute with 1/4 C non-dairy milk if strict Paleo or for cleaning eating challenge)
  5. 1/2 C Water
  6. 1 tbsp Honey
Directions
Coconut Cashew Granola
  1. Pulse all ingredients in food processor until dates, coconut and cashews are finely chopped.
Peach Smoothie
  1. Blend all ingredients until mixed thoroughly. If mixture is too thick add an additional tablespoon of water at a time. You want to keep the mixture as thick as possible for making the parfait, so only add additional liquid if necessary to get the blender to mix everything together.
  2. Layer granola and smoothie into parfait layers.
  3. ENJOY!
Notes
  1. To add more crunch, you can also toss in some coconut between layers and even on top.
http://barerootkitchen.com/

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Blueberry Crunch Parfait

I tried a bite of leftover ribs and it was not hitting the spot for lunch. In my quest of something else I whipped together this parfait. This healthy dessert consists of a blueberry spinach smoothie layer and a peanut butter crunch layer.

This was the perfect post work out lunch, but would also be great for breakfast! My husband had this too and said it was very good!

Blueberry Crunch Parfait
Serves 3
This healthy dessert has a blueberry spinach smoothie layer and a peanut butter granola crunch layer. It also works great for a yummy breakfast or lunch!
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Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
15 min
Total Time
30 min
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
15 min
Total Time
30 min
Ingredients
Blueberry Spinach Smoothie Layer
  1. 1 C Spinach
  2. 1 C Green Leaf Lettuce
  3. 1 C Almond Milk
  4. 3 C Blueberries, frozen
  5. 1 tbsp Honey
  6. 1 C Greek Yogurt, plain
Peanut Butter Crunch Layer
  1. 1/3 C Almonds
  2. 2 tbsp Peanut Butter
  3. 2 tbsp Sunflower Seeds
  4. 1/2 C Mangoes, dried
  5. 1/4 C Raisins
  6. 5-6 Medjool Dates, pits removed
  7. 1/2 C Unsweetened Shredded Coconut
Directions
Peanut Butter Crunch Layer
  1. Add ingredients to food processor and pulse 8-10 times until the ingredients are mixed together. Will form a crumbly mixture (make sure mango, raisins and almonds are broken down into small pieces).
Blueberry Spinach Smoothie Layer
  1. Place spinach, lettuce, Greek Yogurt and almond milk into blender. Mix until a smooth juice forms (e.g. break down the greens into very small pieces).
  2. Add in the blueberries and honey until smooth. Will take 1-2 minutes depending on blender.
  3. Layer the peanut butter crunch and blueberry spinach smoothie into a parfait.
http://barerootkitchen.com/

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Strawberry Broccoli Salad

In looking for salad ideas, I came across this strawberry broccoli salad on http://thediva-dish.com/. I really liked the base salad combo of broccoli, strawberry, coconut and cashews, but wanted to use my recipe for a poppy seed dressing. If you haven’t checked out Ari’s site, DO IT. She has some great vegan & vegetarian recipes. All of her recipes that I have tried to date have been five stars!

Strawberry Broccoli Salad
Serves 4
Strawberries, broccoli and coconut make the perfect combination for a salad. I give major kuddos to Diva Dish for coming up with yummy idea!
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Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
10 min
Total Time
20 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
10 min
Total Time
20 min
Ingredients
Salad
  1. 2 C Broccoli Florets, chopped into small florets
  2. 2 C Strawberries, thinly sliced
  3. 1/2 C Unsweetened Shredded Coconut
  4. 1/2 C Cashews, rough chopped
Poppy Seed Dressing
  1. 1/2 C Greek Yogurt
  2. 1 tsp Poppy Seeds
  3. 1/4 C Olive Oil
  4. 1/8 C Rice Wine Vinegar
  5. 1/2 tsp Salt
  6. 1/4 tsp Pepper
  7. 1 tbsp Maple Syrup
  8. 1 tbsp Hemp Seeds
  9. 1 Lemon Juice
Directions
Salad
  1. Add chopped/sliced salad ingredients to a large bowl. Set aside.
Poppy Seed Dressing
  1. Add all dressing ingredients to a small bowl. Whisk until completed combined.
  2. Toss everything together & enjoy.
Notes
  1. I made this salad with macadamia nuts in place of cashews and liked it better. However, I am sure you could experiment with other nuts such as almonds, pistachios or even walnuts.
Adapted from The Diva Dish
Adapted from The Diva Dish
http://barerootkitchen.com/

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Currant Almond Bars

Day three of my wisdom teeth extraction and even though I cannot eat solid foods, I still wanted to make a breakfast bar for my husband and little guy. These could also be used as a healthy snack too!

​I typically buy a dried fruit crispy bar from our local health food store. However they are $3.95 a piece, so I thought why not try to save some money and make them myself. After looking at the ingredients on their package and substituting several items and this what I came up with! Don’t tell them that I think my bars are better!

Currant Almond Bars
Serves 10
A blend of sesame seeds, almonds, currants and nut butter make this a perfect pre-workout snack! This can also work as an on-the-go breakfast bar!
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Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
15 min
Total Time
25 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
15 min
Total Time
25 min
Ingredients
  1. 3 C Brown Rice Crispies
  2. 1 C Unsweetened, Shredded Coconut
  3. 1 C Silvered Almonds, raw
  4. 1 C Currants, dried
  5. 1/4 C Sesame Seeds
  6. 1/2 C Sunflower Seeds
  7. 1 tsp Vanilla
  8. 1 C Sunbutter
  9. 1 C Brown Rice Syrup
Instructions
  1. In a medium sauce, mix sunbutter, vanilla and maple syrup over medium heat until a creamy mixture has formed. Will take roughly 5 minutes & is ready when a light boil occurs.
  2. Remove from heat and stir remaining ingredients into the saucepan.
  3. Line a 13x9 pan with parchment paper to make bars easier to remove.
  4. Pour mixture into pan. Press down tightly with additional parchment paper.
  5. Cool in refrigerator for 1 hour before serving.
http://barerootkitchen.com/

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Thai Curry Shrimp Soup

It is 2:12 AM and I have been up since 12:23. Work is crazy and I have been getting between 5-6 hours of sleep per night. I know that is not healthy. I have had troubles with sleep for longer than I can remember! So, instead of getting frustrated about the lack of ZZZZ’s I put in a couple hours of work. Let’s talk about work for a minute. We had some substantial layoffs a couple of months ago. I am grateful to still have a job, but being short staffed and getting promoted to manager has left me stressed. So, much so that I can’t sleep, nor can I stay caught up with customer deliverables. Okay, enough of my ranting, but I know we have all been there at some point in our lives. 

So, back to what this blog is really about….FOOD! Yesterday, I made this soup and it was 100% tasty! With hints of coconut and lemon this makes for the perfect lunch or light dinner! I served this with a side salad, but any sort of gluten free bread would work great for soaking up some of the broth.  For strict Paleo dieters, substitute the Greek Yogurt with non-dairy milk.

Thai Curry Shrimp Soup
Serves 4
This creamy curry shrimp soup with hints of lemon and coconut is delicious. Serve with fresh gluten free bread to soak up some of the broth!
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Prep Time
1 hr 15 min
Cook Time
30 min
Total Time
1 hr 45 min
Prep Time
1 hr 15 min
Cook Time
30 min
Total Time
1 hr 45 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 lb. Shrimp, uncooked
  2. 1 C Greek Yogurt
  3. 2 C Coconut Milk
  4. 2 Lemons, juice
  5. 1/2 C Olive Oil
  6. 2 tsp Cumin Seeds
  7. 2 tsp Coriander, ground
  8. 1 tsp Red Pepper Flakes
  9. 1 tbsp Garlic, crushed
  10. 1 tsp Salt
  11. 1 tsp Pepper
  12. 4 Zucchinis, peeled
  13. 1 Bell Pepper, rough chopped
  14. 1 Red Onion, rough chopped
Instructions
  1. Mix together Greek Yogurt, lemon juice, coconut milk, spices, garlic and olive oil in a medium bowl. Add shrimp, bell pepper, red onion and marinate in refrigerator for an hour.
  2. Pour shrimp and marinade into a large sauce pan. Bring to light boil and then simmer over low heat for 15 minutes (or until shrimp and vegetables are cooked).
  3. Make zucchini noodles with vegetable spiraler.
  4. Turn off soup and add zucchini noodles.
Notes
  1. Make sure to add zucchini noodles after soup is done or they will turn into mush. Adding them at the end will keep them al dente.
http://barerootkitchen.com/

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Coconut Macaroon Bars

Girl Scout Cookies! Who doesn’t love them? My favorite growing up was Samoas. However, being gluten free I have been missing these babies. Instead of making cookies I decided to make bars and changed a bunch of ingredients to make them much healthier!

I quality tested these on my sister’s dad (who loves coconut), my mom and my little man. They all approved!

Coconut Macaroon Bars
Serves 12
Paleo friendly version of my all time favorite Girl Scout cookie...Samoas, but in a bar form.
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Prep Time
20 min
Cook Time
20 min
Total Time
40 min
Prep Time
20 min
Cook Time
20 min
Total Time
40 min
Ingredients
Coconut Crust
  1. 1/2 C Coconut Flour
  2. 2 C Almond Flour
  3. 1/2 C Almond Butter
  4. 1/4 C Spectrum Vegetable Shortening
  5. 1/2 C Maple Syrup
  6. 2 tbsp Flax Meal
  7. 6 tbsp Water
  8. 1/2 tsp Salt
  9. 1 tbsp Vanilla
Coconut Macaroon Layer
  1. 10 Medjool dates (chopped & pits removed)
  2. 3/4 C Almond Butter
  3. 2 C Shredded Coconut, unsweetened
  4. 1/4 C Maple Syrup
  5. 1 tsp Vanilla
Chocolate Topping
  1. 1 Bag, Chocolate Chips
Directions
Coconut Crust
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Mix together ingredients until smooth.
  3. Press into a 9X9 pan. Bake for 15-20 minutes.
  4. Cool completely.
Coconut Macaroon Layer
  1. Pulse in food processor until ingredients are combined. Want to make sure you still have some small chunks of coconut.
  2. Evenly add coconut macaroon layer to the crust by pressing down softly.
Chocolate Topping
  1. Put chips in a bowl & microwave in 30 second increments. Stirring between each one. Will take roughly 2 minutes for chocolate to be melted. Do not over cook or your chocolate will turn gritty.
  2. Sprinkle the chocolate over the coconut macaroon layer.
  3. Refrigerate 1-2 hours before serving.
Notes
  1. For chocolate chips, I prefer to use Enjoy Life mini chips. They melt perfectly and are allergy friendly (nut free and dairy free).
http://barerootkitchen.com/

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