Paleo Pumpkin Pancakes

February 3, 2017

This is a recipe I’ve been meaning to post for a long time and have just never gotten around to it! It probably would be better suited to the fall when people go crazy for anything pumpkin, but I think pumpkin is perfectly suitable to eat year round (although, it gets harder to find!). Pancakes have long been an occasional weekend staple in the Rowland household, but a year or two ago, I decided to try my best to stop eating unnecessary carbs. Since there is literally nothing healthy about a traditional pancake, I stopped eating them. Since I generally stick to as much of a Paleo diet as possible, this is a great occasional weekend breakfast treat! (I usually drink green smoothies for breakfast every day, recipe here.)

Paleo Pumpkin Pancakes
makes 10-12 pancakes

Ingredients:
-1 (15oz) can pumpkin
-6 eggs
-2 tsp vanilla
-4 Tbsp pure maple syrup
-1 cup almond flour
-2 tsp pumpkin pie spice (or alternatively, 1 tsp nutmeg & 1 tsp allspice)
-2 tsp cinnamon
-1 tsp baking soda
-coconut oil, for cooking
-pure maple syrup, for serving
-optional extras for serving: Kerrygold butter, chopped pecans

Directions:
1. In mixing bowl, mix together pumpkin, eggs, vanilla, and maple syrup.
2. Add almond flour and combine.
3. Add spices and baking soda and stir to combine.
4. Melt coconut oil on an iron skillet or electric griddle.
5. Scoop out in 1/3 cupfuls onto griddle, spreading out slightly.
6. Cook on both sides until done (this will vary on temperature of your pan, I cook on a 350 degree griddle for a couple minutes per side).
7. Serve warm with butter, maple syrup, and pecans. A side of bacon and a cup of orange juice are also lovely additions!

Enjoy!

P.S. This does make a lot of pancakes! I’ve made many half batches before, but I hate that a half batch only uses 1/2 a can of pumpkin, and I never end up using the other half for anything. So I’ve started making full batches and then reheating leftovers for additional breakfasts. If you’d rather make a half batch (5-6 pancakes) here are those measurements: 1/2 can pumpkin, 3 eggs, 1 tsp vanilla, 2 Tbsp maple syrup, 1/2 cup almond flour, 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice (or 1/2 tsp nutmeg & 1/2 tsp allspice), 1 tsp cinnamon, 1/2 tsp baking soda.

P.P.S. The original recipe that I started this from doesn’t call for the almond flour and I’ve made these many times without it. They are still great that way, however, they are really delicate and hard to flip without completely falling apart.

Shredded Pork Carnitas

January 15, 2017

Shredded pork Carnitas (stuffed into arepas, on tacos, or in burrito bowls) is one of our favorite meals! So delicious and simple to make.

Shredded Pork Carnitas

Ingredients:
-~3 1/2 lb pork butt or shoulder roast
-2 Tbsp butter or olive oil
-1 onion, chopped
-5 cloves garlic, minced
-juice from 1 lime (or roughly 2 Tbsp)
-juice from 1 orange
-2 cups chicken broth
-2 tsp dried cumin
-1 tsp dried oregano
-salt and pepper, to taste
-serving ingredients, as desired (tortillas, arepas, lime wedges, avocado, sour cream/crema, cheese, cilantro, salsa, hot sauce, etc..)

Directions:
1. Melt butter or olive oil in dutch oven on the stove.
2. Salt and pepper pork on both sides and brown both sides in melted butter/oil.
3. Add onion and garlic to sides of roast, cooking slightly in remaining butter.
4. Add lime juice, orange juice, chicken broth, cumin, and oregano and stir until combined.
5. Put lid on dutch oven and place into oven. Cook at 350 degrees for ~3 1/2 hours.
6. 1 1/2 hours through cooking, flip roast. After another 1 1/2 hours (~3 hours total), roast should be tender enough to shred. At this point, I shred the meat up with a fork, removing any large bits of fat and the bone (if it has one). Stir shredded pork into juices, place back into oven, and cook for a remaining 30 minutes or so until tender and flavors are combined.
7. Enjoy on tacos, in burrito bowls, or stuffed into arepas!

Lately, arepas have been my newest food obsession! An everyday food in Columbia and Venezuela, arepas are a cross between a tortilla, cornbread, and a biscuit. They are naturally gluten-free, so I’m finding them to be the perfect quick and easy bread for sandwiches! We have a really great arepas restaurant in New Orleans (Maïs Arepas if you are in the area) and I found myself missing it while in Savannah. But out of limitation, comes innovation! I’m so happy I decided to try making my own arepas at home. So quick, easy, and delicious!

Arepas
makes four ~4 inch arepas

Ingredients:
– 1 cup Donarepa precooked white corn meal (There are several brands of this, I just buy Donarepa at my local grocery store. Goya and Harina PAN are others. Make sure you buy precooked white or yellow corn meal, as regular corn meal or masa harina are not the same.)
– 1/8 tsp salt (closer to 1/4 tsp if using regular butter)
– 1 Tbsp Kerrygold salted butter (I use this for its extra salty and delicious flavor, and that it is softer and incorporates easily into this recipe. If you use regular butter you will need to up the salt content slightly.)
-1 cup warm water
-coconut oil, for cooking
-toppings/fillings, as desired

Directions:
1. In medium sized bowl, mix arepa flour and salt together.
2. Using a pastry cutter, cut butter into flour mixture until incorporated — butter is in small granules.
3. Stir water into mixture until thoroughly combined and a soft dough forms.
4. Let dough sit for several minutes. (this helps form softer arepas, making sure the arepa flour has absorbed the liquid)
5. Knead dough slightly into a ball and separate into four quarters.
6. Shape each quarter of the dough into a ~4 inch thick flat circle.
7. Cook arepas on both sides in coconut oil on a flat griddle or iron skillet. Start at a lower temperature, helping the arepas cook through, then raising the temperature for the outside to crisp. You can also bake them in the oven. Arepas should be soft on the inside and slightly crisp out the outside.
8. Enjoy as is, with cheese and melted butter, cut open and stuffed with meat, cheese, etc, or however you’d like!

I love them stuffed with white cheddar, shredded pork carnitas, avocado, and crema!

Roasted Cauliflower

June 1, 2016

Roasted cauliflower is my latest vegetable obsession. I can’t get enough of it roasted with herbs, onions, and garlic. So delicious! I love that it is healthy, but also hearty. It is substantial enough to almost be a meal by itself!
cauliflower 2 color edit1

Roasted Cauliflower with Onions and Garlic
adapted from this recipe, makes 3-4 servings as a side dish

Ingredients:
-1 head cauliflower
-1 medium onion, sliced into 1/2 inch thick slices
-1-2 tsp thyme or Italian seasoning (I just throw in a little of both)
-6 garlic cloves, unpeeled
-3 Tbsp olive oil
-salt & pepper to taste
-fresh Parmesan cheese, optional

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 425°F and line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
2. Wash and remove leaves from cauliflower. Place cauliflower head on a cutting board and slice top-down into 1/3 inch slices. Break up cauliflower slices into florets and place into large bowl.
3. Add sliced onions, whole garlic cloves, herbs, olive oil, salt, and pepper to bowl with cauliflower. Mix well.
4. Spread cauliflower mixture into a single layer on prepared baking sheet.
5. Roast in 425 degree oven, tossing occasionally, until cauliflower is tender and browned at the edges, or about 30 minutes.
6. If desired, sprinkle freshly grated Parmesan cheese on top and return to oven for another 5 minutes to melt.

Enjoy!

Green Smoothies

May 30, 2016

Recently, I’ve been trying to eat more Paleo (basically eat more veggies and less carbs). That wasn’t difficult to incorporate into my lunch and dinner plans, but breakfast really stumped me. My usual breakfast was cereal (usually Honey Nut Cheerios) with almond milk or oatmeal. Both are a very carb/sugar rich way to start my day that I wasn’t super happy with. My diet is further limited that I can’t eat wheat, eggs, or much dairy (I’m gluten-intolerant and eggs and dairy also agitate my digestive system). I tried a few other Paleo breakfasts – including a potato/sweet potato/onion/bacon hash and pumpkin/banana pancakes. Both were great, but time consuming to make — so not sustainable for regular workday breakfasts.

At the perfect timing for my life, one of the blogs I read posted about incorporating green smoothies into her diet. I’d obviously heard of green smoothies before, but I don’t know why it hadn’t occurred to me before to try them for my breakfasts. My sister Kelsey makes a similar smoothie for her breakfast occasionally. But it started the wheels in motion and I’ve been green smoothie-ing for breakfast for a couple weeks now and LOVING it!

smoothie making 2 color edit1

smoothie color edit1

Part of the reason I hadn’t tried this sooner is that we didn’t have a blender (Drew broke ours trying to blend a spoon in it while making daiquiris for a party he threw a few years ago when I was out of town, lol!). I tried to blend my first smoothie in our food processor and that turned out terribly! I did a little research on small blenders perfect for smoothies and narrowed it down to these two: NutriBullet ($79.99) & Bella Rocket Blender ($24.99). The NutriBullet is a little more expensive and probably better for the long run, but since I wasn’t even sure I was going to like smoothies, I went with the cheaper, but still well-reviewed Bella Rocket Blender. So far, I’m perfectly happy with my choice! At just under $25, it has been working great (and I’ve been using it daily for the last few weeks). It is super easy to clean, comes with multiple cups, and even includes an extra grinding blade for grinding small seeds and such. I like that it is small enough to leave out for daily use and the design is simple and looks nice.

P.S. Feel free to use your regular blender if you have one! No need to buy a specific smoothie blender for this! I will say though, that the super easy to clean design of this is what has made me actually stick to it. If I had to take a blender apart every day to clean it, I wouldn’t do it (Drew washes the dishes in this house!).

There are a million ways that you can make green smoothies, but this is the recipe that I’ve found perfect for my daily use:

Banana Spinach Green Smoothie
makes one 16 oz smoothie

Ingredients: (feel free to modify as you wish!)
-1 1/4 cup fresh spinach
-1 cup unsweetened cashew or almond milk
-1 tsp honey
-2 tsp ground flax, chia, and hemp seeds
-1 Tbsp almond butter
-1/2 banana, frozen into small chunks
-2 strawberries

Other ingredient ideas:
-raspberries, blueberries, peaches, pineapple, pear, apples (fresh or frozen)
-coconut milk
-nuts or other nut butters
-cinnamon
-dates
-avocado
-vanilla
-cocoa powder
-oats
-coconut

Directions:
1. Place spinach, cashew/almond milk, honey, almond butter, and seeds (I usually pre-grind mine) into blender cup and blend until well blended. (I’ve read that mixing the spinach and liquid together first before adding other fruits helps to get a smoother blend and avoid small bits of spinach in your smoothie).
2. Add banana and other fruit or mix-ins as desired. Blend until well blended.
3. Enjoy!

Nutrition Facts:
258 Calories, 30g Carbs, 8g Protein, 13g Fat, 0mg Cholesterol, 190mg Sodium, 288mg Potassium, 5g Fiber, 11g Sugar

green smoothie1

I honestly can’t believe what a difference this has made so far in my routine. It is still quick and easy to make and drink (the small smoothie blender makes it so quick and easy!). It doesn’t take any longer than making and eating a bowl of cereal! But I feel SO MUCH BETTER! I’ve noticed that I have so much more energy lately and this is just such a refreshing way to start my day. I like feeling like I’m being better and healthier to my body. I’ve even started to crave and look forward to my morning smoothie — so much so that I’ve even had another for an afternoon snack some days! I’ve been drinking a bag of spinach a week!