Maple Pecan Protein Pancakes

Most protein pancakes are little too dense and un-pancake-like for my taste. My secret? Add in a little baking powder to lighten up the mixture. Event better? Throw in a few pecans and some maple syrup to make them even more decadent. The hubs tried these and deemed them delicious BEFORE finding out that they were in fact protein pancakes and not a traditional recipe.

If your goal is a healthy breakfast, maybe don't drown them in maple syrup the way I have in the pictures above. Otherwise, have at it and enjoy!

Maple Pecan Protein Pancakes

1 banana

1 scoop protein powder

1 egg

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/8 cup roasted, salted pecans, chopped

1 tablespoon maple syrup, more as desired

Mash the banana until a paste is formed. Add the protein powder and egg to the banana and mash and stir until really well combined. Mix in the rest of the ingredients.

Heat a nonstick pan over low heat, then spray with coconut oil cooking spray. Pour about 1/4 cup of batter into the pan for each pancake. Cook low and slow until brown, flip and cook briefly on the other side until firm. Serve with additional maple syrup and pecans as desired.

Easy Holiday Party Appetizers

 Photography by  Alice Hu  /  @_alicehu

Photography by Alice Hu / @_alicehu

 Photography by  Alice Hu  /  @_alicehu

Photography by Alice Hu / @_alicehu

Thanksgiving is upon us and as soon as the turkey leftovers vanish, a seemingly endless line of holiday parties stretches out in front of us, but I'm not complaining!! 

This is my favorite time of year and since it's our first Christmas in our new house, I'm bursting with excitement. Decorations are staged and ready to go up and I'm planning our first holiday open house. Hold me back Santa. There's about to be an explosion of holiday cheer up in here.

I recently put together a spread of super-simple-apps for Evite's Housewarming Party Ideas. These are apps that any stressed out host can manage - perfect for a holiday party. 

In addition to laying out assorted nuts and olives and topping off a wheel of Brie with pepper jelly and crackers, throw together these two recipes and it will look like you spent much more time in the kitchen than you did.

Pears with Prosciutto and Blue Cheese

2 Pears

1 Package sliced prosciutto

1 8 to 12-oz wedge of super creamy blue cheese

1 cup of arugula

Honey to taste

Slice the pears in half and core the centers. Slice each half into wedges lengthwise and lay out on your cutting board. Cut the blue cheese into little rectangles and lay one piece of blue cheese on each pear wedge.

Pick the prettiest arugula leaves and lay one or two on top of the blue cheese. Slice the prosciutto pieces in half lengthwise and wrap one piece around each pear and cheese stack.

Line the pear wedges up on a serving platter and drizzle with honey to taste.

 

Goat Cheese Stuffed Peppadew Peppers

1 Jar of Peppadew Peppers

1 Log of Goat Cheese

3 - 4 Sprigs of Mint

Walnut oil to taste

Drain the Peppadew Peppers. Roll 1 to 2 tablespoons of goat cheese into a little ball and stuff it inside one of the peppers. Repeat with remaining peppers.

To chiffonade the mint - remove the leaves of mint from the stems, stack three or four together at a time and roll them up like a cigar. Slice the rolls thinly into chiffonade. Repeat with remaining leaves.

Line up the peppers on a serving platter, drizzle with walnut oil and sprinkle with the mint.

 

Totally Manageable Friendsgiving Menu

It's hard to believe that we're already into November and Thanksgiving is just a few short weeks away! I am hosting our first Thanksgiving in our new home this year and the pressure is on. Of course I want it to be perfect and there are a hundred and one things I want to make, but I am the only one putting any pressure on myself. Eventually I will calm down and just have fun with the whole thing.

If the idea of prepping and executing an involved Thanksgiving menu gets you stressed out, you need to check out the menu I developed for Evite's Friendsgiving this year. Totally manageable recipes and the whole thing can be prepped and cooked in a couple of hours if you're short on time.

Find the whole menu on Evite's site here and in their magazine here. They also prepared this helpful graphic so you can pace the afternoon just right and get dinner on the table in time!


Cauliflower Rice Salad

When your husband goes on the ketogenic (high fat/low carb) diet, you have to come up with carb-friendly recipes and fast.

My husband first went low carb last fall and it worked wonders for him. We're talking 20 pounds in six weeks wonders. I then tried it for two weeks and all I got was dehydrated and lethargic. Go figure. I'm not knocking the diet at all, but I have heard that it works better for men than for women. For now, I'll stick with my veggie and fruit-packed, healthy fat, lean protein way of eating. Tell me one specific food group is off limits and it's all I will want every minute of every day.

Now, back to the husband's diet. The problem with having two people on different diets in one house is that I end up feeling like a short order cook. Almond milk cappuccino for me; bulletproof coffee for him. Protein pancakes for me; Eggs with cheese and bacon for him. Salad for me...you get the idea.

One area where we can agree these days is cauliflower. It's a great replacement for carb-like ingredients (think potatoes and rice) and I can make basically the same dish for both of us and then just add a pile of cheese and butter from grass-fed cows on top of his portion. 

We're both eating a lot of this salad right now. If he's strictly counting carbs, I'll leave out the dried fruit, but otherwise, it's one dish that works well for both of us. 

Cauliflower "Rice" Salad

1/2 head of cauliflower  

1 tsp honey

1 tbsp lemon juice

1/2 tsp kosher salt, plus more to taste

1/4 cup of almonds

1/4 cup golden raisins

1/2 bunch of cilantro, leaves only, roughly chopped

1 tbsp almond oil

Sprinkling of smoked paprika 

Break the cauliflower into florets and place in a food processor. Pulse until roughly chopped into rice-size pieces. If you're doubling this recipe only process 1/2 a cauliflower at a time as overcrowding the food processor will keep some of the florets from getting processed.

Transfer the cauliflower to a bowl and stir in the honey, lemon juice and salt. Place the almonds in the food processor and pulse until roughly chopped. Add to the cauliflower mixture along with the raisins and cilantro. 

Divide between two bowls and drizzle with almond oil. Finish with a sprinkling of paprika and more salt.

 

Coconut Milk Ice Cream Sandwiches

While I could never expect anyone to take pity on us for our Southern California weather, I will say that June is not the best month in our typically sunny locale. Memorial day has passed and while the official start of summer is still almost three weeks away, we're ready for a bright hot, sunny season. Unfortunately, June gloom gets in the way.

Each year about this time, we wake to find the sky grey and gloomy. Not exactly cold, not exactly warm, the weather seems confused on which way to go. If we're lucky, the cloud cover burns off before the end of the day so we can get a few hours of sun.

It may not FEEL like summer yet, but I am certainly not going to let that stop me from acting like it has begun.

These ice cream sandwiches are the perfect, non-dairy addition to a backyard BBQ. The only sweeteners used are a small amount of maple syrup and dates. If dates are unfriendly to your tummy, leave them out and compensate with more maple syrup to sweeten to your taste.

I think the addition of gelatin improves the texture of this ice cream, not to mention all the health benefits (great for joints and inflammation) of using gelatin from grass-fed cows (I use this one), but feel free to leave it out and let me know how your sandwiches turn out. The only change you would need to make to the recipe would be to place both cans of coconut milk in the blender to combine with the dates. No need to heat any of it on the stove if you're not using gelatin.

Not familiar with coconut wraps? They're a new(ish) product from Sunfood Superfoods that I've been using in everything frm sandwich wraps to desserts. They contain nothing but coconut (coconut meat, water and oil) and are very low in carbs (a great replacement for a tortilla or pita in a sandwich). I have not seen them in stores yet, but you can find them here or on Amazon.

 

Coconut Milk Ice Cream Sandwiches

Makes 9

2 cans of full fat coconut milk

12 dates, pits removed

1/4 cup maple syrup plus 1 tbsp, divided

1/2 tbsp vanilla bean paste

Pinch of salt

1 tbsp gelatin

6 oz blueberries

2 Sunfood coconut wraps

Place one can of coconut milk in a high speed blender, add dates, 1/4 cup maple syrup, vanilla bean paste and salt and process until smooth.

Reserve 1/4 cup of milk from the second can of coconut milk. Add the rest to a small pan and heat over medium heat. Sprinkle the gelatin over the reserved 1/4 cup of milk and allow it to bloom. Once the milk in the pan is hot (but not boiling), add the reserved milk and gelatin to the pan and stir with a whisk until dissolved.

Add the milk and gelatin mixture to the blender with the other milk mixture and process until combined. Transfer the mixture to an ice cream maker and process according to manufacturer instructions.

Meanwhile, wipe out the pan used to heat the coconut milk and add the blueberries and the remaining tablespoon of maple syrup. Cook over medium heat until the blueberries begin to soften. Transfer the mixture to a food processor and process until smooth.

Place one coconut wrap with the parchment paper still attached, parchment paper side down, in a square pan just large enough to fit the wrapper. If you have a square pan with a removable bottom such as a tart pan, use it here. If not, you may want to line the pan with Saran Wrap before putting the coconut wrapper in. It will make it easier to remove the sandwiches when you're ready to cut them into individual portions.

Once the ice cream is finished, scoop it out on top of the coconut wrap and spread it out evenly. Pour the blueberry mixture on top and use a knife to gently marble the syrup through the ice cream.

Place the second coconut wrapper on top, parchment side up, and place the pan in the freezer for at least an hour or until the ice cream is firmly frozen.

Remove the ice cream block from the pan and cut it into nine even squares. I like to leave the parchment paper attached right until I eat these for ease of handling.

image.jpg

Perfect Roast Chicken

image.jpg

Roast chicken is an ultimate comfort food, but also easy to prepare and affordable. It sometimes gets a bad rap for being bland or dried out. A perfectly roast chicken could never be described this way so if that's how you feel - you're doing it wrong.

I roast a chicken almost every Sunday night to use throughout week. Over time, I've come up with a rather fail proof method. My secret? Don't truss your chicken.

Ignore those fancy recipes and chefs who tell you to tie the chicken up for even cooking. It's just not true. It makes for a beautiful presentation, but when you tie the legs in close to the body, all you are doing is restricting airflow around the legs - the dark meat that takes longer to cook - which then increases the gap in cooking time between the light and dark meat. When you truss, you back yourself into a corner. You're always going to have either undercooked legs or overcooked breasts.

Let yourself be lazy for once, place the chicken on the roasting tray and let it be. 

image.jpg

The other tip I can offer which is more common in practice, is to start at a high temperature to help crisp the skin. After 20 minutes, I drop the temperature 100 degrees to finish cooking. 

When I'm roasting chicken just to have protein on hand for recipes throughout the week, I let the chicken rest until it's cool enough to handle and then I remove the skin. I place the pieces of skin back on the roasting tray, sprinkle them liberally with salt and return to the oven for 15 - 20 minutes until golden brown. 

Present most men with a plate of salty, crunchy chicken skin and they'll love you forever.

Not into skin? Not to worry. This recipe is delicious even without that last, optional step. 

Perfect Roast Chicken

1 4-pound chicken

1 tbsp ghee from pasture-raised cows

Kosher salt to taste

Preheat oven to 450

Rinse the chicken and pat dry. Let it come to room temperature.  

Place the chicken on a parchment-lined roasting tray breast-side up. Spread the ghee all over the skin. Sprinkle liberally with salt (use more than you think you should). 

Place in the oven and roast for 20 minutes. after 20 minutes, rotate the chicken and drop the temperature to 350. Continue roasting for 25 additional minutes.

Remove from the oven and let the chicken rest for 10 minutes before serving. If you're breaking down the chicken and saving the meat for later in the week, let it rest until cool enough to handle.

Optional: Once the chicken has cooled slightly, remove the skin. Place the pieces of skin back on the roasting tray, sprinkle liberally with salt and return to the oven for an additional 15 - 20 minutes.