Friday, November 21, 2014

No Joke Dark Chocolate Cake

Category: Baked Goods
Difficulty Rating: Hard but not really Hard--just takes a long time
Semi-Healthy (GF and doesn't have real sugar in it)

This cake is insanely good. I made it for a special occasion last year and it blew everyone away. And no one knew it was GF and SF. SF means that it uses alternative sugars--like maple syrup. My trainer Jennifer Hardwick gave the recipe to's from "". Yep it's a lot of work--but it's worth it!


1 C almond flour
1/2 C arrowroot powder
1/4 C coconut flour
1 t baking soda
1/2 t salt
1/2 C cocoa powder
1 C maple syrup
1/4 C coconut oil (plus more for greasing pans)
4 eggs
2 t vanilla

Chocolate Whipped Cream:

3/4 C heavy cream (or equivalent in coconut cream from the top of an unshaken can of coconut milk
1/4 C chocolate chips
1 t vanilla

Ganache Glaze:

4 T butter or coconut oil
4 oz. unsweetened chocolate
1/4 C chocolate chips
2-4 T honey (I use 4)

Directions for Cake:

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and grease and line 2 small spring form pans (6" or 8")
Sift dry ingredients into a medium sized bowl. In a small bowl--whisk the eggs and add the melted coconut oil maple syrup and vanilla. Stir to combine and add to the dry ingredients. Beat until well combined by hand and pour into the prepared pans. Bake rfor 25-30 minutes--depending on the size of your pans. If using larger ones check after 20 minutes.

For Chocolate Whipped Cream:

Melt the chocolate chips in a double boiler over simmering water. Beat your cream until it's stiff. If using coconut cream--it may not get as still but that's ok. Add the melted chocolate and give it another quick whip and scrape down the sides of the bowl so it's mixed well.

For Ganache Glaze:

Melt the butter unsweetened chocolate and the chocolate chips in a double boiler over simmering water (use the dame bowl you melted the chocolate in for the whipped cream?). Once it's melted...stir in the honey and turn off the heat. Here's where the patience and attentiveness comes in: Remove the bowl from the heat and allow it to come to room temperature stirring every 5 minutes or so. You want the ganache to thicken but not get so hard that you have to spread it on the cake. You want to be able to pour it. It will probably take about 1/2 hour to get to the right consistency--a good time to do all of the dishes you just made dirty.

Pull it all together: I made a small 4-layer cake out of this recipe--but could have easily kept it simple and made it 2 layers instead. If you are going for 4 layers--cut each layer in half and arrange the bottom layer on a plate with parchment paper tucked in around the edged to keep the frosting from getting all over the plate. Plop 1/3 of the cream in the center and spread out to the edges. Repeat until you are out of layers.Stick cake in refrigerator for a while so it can harden a bit. Then spread ganache all over the cake--but if it isn't enough for the sides that's OK . Just drizzle some down the sides. Mangia!

Gluten-Free Chocolate Brownies

Category: Baked Goods
Difficulty Rating: Easy
Not healthy except that they're GF

Omigoodness! The first time I posted these I forgot to put in the cornstarch measurement! It's there now! These brownies are my family's favorite--bar none. Including those that are not gluten-free! So chewy and good! They are by David Lebovitz in his cookbook "Ready for Dessert".


6 T butter (salted or unsalted)
8 oz. bittersweet or semisweet chocolate--chopped
3/4 C sugar
2 lg. eggs at room temperature
1 T unsweetened cocoa (natural or Dutch chocolate)
3T cornstarch
Optional: 1 C nuts (toasted and coarsly chopped)
1/8 t salt  (if using unsalted butter)


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line the inside of an 8-inch square pan with foil so that it goes up the sides to the rim. Lightly grease the foil with butter or non-stick cooking spray. Melt the butter and chocolate (and salt if using it). Stir constantly until smooth. Remove from heat and stir in the sugar then the eggs (one at a time). Sift together the cocoa powder and cornstarch in a small bowl then stir them into the chocolate mixture. Beat the batter vigorously for at least one minute until the batter is not longer grainy and nearly smooth. It will pull away from the sides of the pan a bit. Add the nuts--if using. Scrape batter into prepared pan. Bake for 30 minutes or until the brownies feel just set in the center. Do not overbake. They should be fudge-y. Remove from oven and let cool completely before removing from the pan and slicing. Brownies can be stored at room temperature for at least 4 days and can be frozen for up to a month. Common Sense Tip: If the finished brownies are crumbly...that means you didn't beat the batter long enough in step four. You can then use the crumbles to fold into vanilla ice cream for a fun dessert.

Apple Crumb Pie

Category: Baked Goods
Difficulty Rating: Medium-Hard
Healthy for Pie--GF and with Palm sugar

This pie was unveiled in 2013 on Mother's Day at a restaurant. Everyone in my family liked it. The fact that it's GF and not made with regular sugar is virtually undetectable. The filling recipe for this pie is from "Joy of Cooking". The Gluten-Free crust (which is really good) is from the bag of "Pamela's Artisan Flour Blend". And the streusel topping for the top of the pie is from my recipe box and I don't know where I originally found it. I think it's a Martha Stuart recipe. Oh well--it's great!


One pie crust in a 9-inch pie pan. See "Gluten-Free Pie Crust" recipe on another page.
6 cups peeled and thinly sliced apples
2/3 C Palm sugar
1/8 t salt
1-1 1/2 T cornstarch
1/4 t cinnamon
1/8 t nutmeg
1 T lemon juice (only if apples other than Pippen or Granny Smith)
OR 1 t vanilla


Place apples in a large bowl. Toss them with lemon juice if they are not green (tart) apples. If they are red apples or are sweet-- use vanilla instead. Sift dry ingredients on top of the apples and toss gently with a large spoon until well coated. Place them in layers in the pie shell. Crimp edges of pie shell and cover with strips of foil so as not to burn them. Pile on streusel crumb topping evenly over the top of the apples and bake for 10 minutes at 450 degrees. Then lower heat to 425 degrees and bake until done--35 to 45 minutes until bubbly and done. Use a fork to fish out an apple and test it. It should be limp. The streusel should be brown. If the streusel burns in some places--simply remove the burned crumbs with a fork before serving.

Streusel Crumb Topping:

1/2 C Palm sugar
1/2 C sifted GF flour
1/2 t cinnamon 
1/3 C. chilled butter


Mix first 3 ingredients together and cut in chilled butter. Mix thoroughly with a fork. 

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Chewy Oatmeal Breakfast Cookies

Category: Baked Goods
Difficulty Rating: Easy
Healthy-- for a cookie...full of protein and fiber!

These are a great alternative to those expensive breakfast bars you find at the store. Yes they have a LOT of sugar. But at least it's the kind of low-glycemic level sugar that is slowly absorbed by the body. And since there are a lot of nuts in this along with eggs--they balance the sugar out. So no one eating the cookies will experience a huge sugar high and low! Especially if they are eaten with milk...

Note: These cookies are utterly addictive. They are very chewy--and they keep well. East some and freeze some.


2 C Palm sugar
2 eggs
1/2 C butter and 1/2 C solid coconut oil
1 t salt
1 t baking soda
1 t real vanilla
1/2 C almond meal
1 C good GF flour (Pamela's or King Arthur's)
3 C oatmeal (preferably gluten-free but Quaker is fine)
Any two additions : 1 C raisins or cran-raisins and/or 1 C chopped almonds or walnuts and/or 1/2 C sugar-free coconut

Note: Do not chop the almonds in a food processor--it pulverizes them! Use a mallet and a paper bag if you have to.


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Beat sugar eggs solid coconut oil butter together at high speed. When well blended beat in 1 t salt and 1 baking soda with a slow mixer then add: 1 t vanilla. Then slowly add flour and oats. Mix in any additions and scoop onto a cookie sheeet with an 1 3/4-inch ice-cream scoop or with a tablespoon. Make blobs the size of golf balls. Bake for 10-14 minutes until light brown. Cool and devour with a glass of  ice -cold milk --for breakfast or anytime.

Mashed Cauliflower-- The Healthy Mashed Potato Substitute

This is something that is so easy I can make it on weeknights with no problem. It is a great substitute for mashed potatoes--which have a higher glycemic level. Better gives you that great "I am eating coooomfort foood " feeling. Go for it--it's good.

Category: Vegetables
Difficulty Rating: Very Easy
Healthy--except for some butter


1 head of cauliflower--chopped up in chumks
1/4 C butter
salt and pepper
1 large pinch garlic salt (if you want it to taste like mashed potatoes)
nutmeg (optional--only if you don't want it to taste like mashed potatoes)


Steam the cauliflower in a covered bowl in the microwave with some water or the old-fashioned way. If you don't know how to do this--look on Google under "How to Steam Cauliflower". After it's thoroughly cooked--it should be really soft and a bit watery; put it in a colander to drain water. Then
mash it in a bowl or a baking pan with a potato masher or a fork. Once it's mashed--mix in butter and salt and pepper to taste. Serve warm!

"Marry Me" Roast Beef Tenderloin

Category: Beef
Difficulty Rating: Easy if you don't make the gravy. A bit harder if you do.
Healthyish--it IS beef! It does have fat...

Actress Jennifer Grey makes this glorious beef recipe whenever she wants to impress a man she is dating. Eventually she realized that she had to be careful about whom she cooked it for. It seems they would invariably ask her to marry them after dinner. So use appropriate caution if you are single. Adapted from "The Pollan Family Table" cookbook. Yield: 6 servings


2 1/2 lbs beef tenderloin
2 extra-large beef bouillon cubes
2 garlic cloves
1 1/2 t Dijon mustard
1 T tomato paste
1/8 t freshly ground pepper (or whatever you have)
2 t Worcestershire sauce
1 T unsalted butter
3/4 C red wine
1 C beef or chicken broth
1 T cornstarch mixed with 2 T water


Poke the meat with a sharp paring knife all over to make small holes. Set aside. In a small mixing bowl--combine bouillon cubes and the next five ingredients. Pour in 1/4 C boiling water to dissolve the bouillon. Crush the bouillon cubes with a spoon. Keep crushing and stirring until you've made a thick paste. Rub paste all over the meat--rotating it to coat all sides well. Cover meat loosely with foil and marinate for a minimum of 30 minutes or up to 1 hour in the refrigerator. Meanwhile; set a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 425 degrees.

Pour about 1/2 inch of water in the bottom of a roasting pan. Remove beef in pan and the pan in the oven.  Cover with foil and roast 15 minutes. Remove foil and rotate the pan. Continue cooking and check after 10 minutes. Add 1/4 C water if there is little or no water left. Roast for and additional 15 minutes for medium-rare or until thermometer registers 130 degrees F. Roast for an additional 20 minutes for medium or until the thermometer registers 140 degrees. Allow roast to rest at least 10 minutes covered with foil on a cutting board while you make the gravy. Slice and serve with gravy on the side.

Gravy: Place the roasting pan with all of the drippings on a burner over medium heat. Scrape up the brown bits with a spoon and throw out. Add the butter and stir. Whisk in the wine...sherry and broth. Add the cornstarch-water mixture and whisk until thickened (like..gravy?) another 2-3 minutes.

Warm Asparagus with Balsamic Tomatoes and Chevre

Category: Vegetables
Difficulty Rating: Medium-Easy
Very Healthy

This yummy vegetable dish is also very pleasing to the eye! Pretty enough for company--easy enough to make last minute--healthy enough to serve to everyone. Go to a Farmer's Market or a store that features organics in your area and get really fresh asparagus and sweet grape tomatoes. Somehow the sweet offsets the savory Chevre cheese...creating a succulent vegetable delight. Pair with something hot off the grill and you have dinner! Common Sense Tip: If you don't have grape tomatoes--try using sun-dried tomatoes (drain off the oil they're packed in). They need no pre-roasting! Featured in our favorite recipe source: "Cooking Light" magazine. Yield:  Serves 5-8 depending on portion size.


1 lb. asparagus (trim of the woody ends)
3 t olive oil
1 1/2 C halved grape tomatoes
1/2 t minced fresh garlic
2 T balsamic vinegar
1/4 t salt
3 T crumbled goat cheese
1/2 t black pepper


Heat oven to 375 degree. Rub or spray a foil-covered cookie sheet with 1 t olive oil and roast halved grape tomatoes until they are wizened like old men. If you are in a hurry--skip this step and use the tomatoes un-roasted. Cook asparagus in boiling water 2 minutes or until crisp-tender. Drain. Heat remaining 2 t oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add tomatoes and garlic; cook 5 minutes. Stir in vinegar; cook three minutes. Stir in salt. Arrange asparagus on platter; top with tomato mixture. Sprinkle with cheese and pepper.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Carmelized Brussels Sprouts and Bacon

Category: Vegetables
Difficulty Rating: Very Easy
Very Healthy

This is all the rage in 2014. For those of us who like Brussels Sprouts anyway it's heaven to make this version that CARMELIZES them. Wolfgang Puck puts a little brown sugar in the saute pan to help carmelize the sprouts without burning them. I prefer them without sugar. And I actually LIKE them a bit burned. But then...I am a little weird...


4 lbs. Brussels sprouts--washed and trimmed and sliced in half
4 slices uncured Bacon--diced
Juice of 1 lemon
1 t sea salt (or any salt is fine)
1/4 t black pepper
3 T olive oil
Optional: 2 T Palm sugar or brown sugar


Instead of baking sprouts--fry bacon pieces ahead of time in a large (12") sautee pan or  a 4 qt. soup pot until almost crisp. Meanwhile toss Brussels sprouts in a large bowl with lemon salt pepper and oil.  After it's done--set bacon aside on a paper towel to drain. Wipe out pan or pot with a paper towel to remove any small bacon pieces that will burn.  Then dump the lemon and oil covered sprouts into the pan and saute until browned on at least one side. You will most likely have to do this in two batches unless your pans are VERY large.  Try to have only one layer of sprouts on the bottom of the pan instead of stacking them on top of each other. Optional: throw in  Palm sugar at this point if you want them a little sweet. After browning (they should be al dente--still a bit crunchy)--return all sprouts to the same pan and toss in bacon. Serve warm!

Pepper Steak with Port Mushroom Sauce

Category: Beef
Difficulty Rating: Easy
Healthy for Steak

This is what you have when you can find some really great mushrooms. Pepper steak has been around forever. I first had it when I was dating in the 1400's. I was dating Christopher Columbus and he made it for me before he got married. It's so easy to make it's ridiculous. So is this wonderful wine mushroom sauce that goes with it. Serve with Mashed Cauliflower and a green salad. Virtually fat-free this is only 241 calories per steak. From "The Best of Cooking Light" cookbook. Yield: 4 servings


4 4-oz beef tenderloin steaks
1 T black peppercorns (crushed)
1/2 t kosher salt
1 1/2 sliced Shitake (or other variety) mushroom caps
1 T flour or GF blended flour (like Pamela's)
1/3 C port or other sweet red wine
1/4 C minced shallots (use onion in a pinch)
1 T balsamic vinegar
1 C beef broth
2 t Worcestershire sauce
1 t tomato paste
1/8 t dried rosemary
1/2 t Dijon mustard

Prepare the Port Mushroom Sauce: Combine mushroom and flour in a bowl--toss. Combine wine shallots and vinegar in a medium skillet. Bring to a boil cook until thick (about 3 minutes). Reduce hear to medium. Add broth Worcestershir  tomato paste and 1 minute. Add muchroom mixture and cook 3 min. --stirring constantly. Stir in mustard. .
Set aside while you prepare the steaks.

Sprinkle steaks with peppercorns and salt. Heat a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add steaks...cook for 3 minutes on each side or until desired degree of doneness. Serve each steak with rt 1/4 C  Port Mushroom Sauce.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Pamela's Gluten-Free Pie Crust

Category: Baked Goods
Difficulty: Medium-Easy (with a food processor!)

This tastes like real pie-crust because there is real shortening in it. I wouldn't do any substitutions.


8 T shortening--well chilled
8 T unsalted butter--well chilled
1/3 C iced water
2 1/2 C Pamela's Artisan Flour Blend
1 t salt
1 t sugar (optional--can use Palm sugar)

If you plan on a pre-baked pie shell--preheat oven to 425 degrees. Cut cold butter and shortening into 1/2 cubes. In separate bowl combine flour sugar and salt. Using a stand mixer with paddle or a pastry blender or fingers cut into fine crumbs. If you have a food processor--process ingredients with blade until fine crumbs form. Add ice water and mix until dough forms a ball. Use up to 1 T additional water if needed. Roll out dough between 2 pieces of parchment or plastic wrap and fix in greased pie pan. For pre-baked shell: bake for 15 minutes at 425 degrees then turn down oven to 375 degrees and continue baking for 10 to 15 minutes until brown. If filling...bake according to individual recipe.

Rustic Winter Vegetable Tarts

Category: Vegetables
Difficulty Rating: High

Root vegetables! They are one of the best things to include in a Thanksgiving Dinner. And when you roast them with a little bacon and balsamic vinegar you have a perfectly complimentary combination. Deep. Satisfying. YUM.These were very popular in the late l980's when we all wore shoulder pads and big foofy hair. I had a perm. I looked like a poodle.  If you are a gluten-free person--like moi--you might try using the recipe for pie crust on the Pamela's Artisan Flour Blend bag. I have included it in this cookbook--it's fabulous. People eating non-dairy will prefer a coconut-oil-based pie crust which I will include on another recipe page.


7 1/2 Cs winter vegetables (such as winter squash sweet potatoes red onion parsnips carrots turnips and rutabegas) peeled and seeded as necessary and cut in bite-size chunks
4 slices thick-sliced bacon cut in 1-inch pieces
3 T olive oil
2 T chopped fresh thyme leaves (I used dried)
1 2-crust recipe pie crust or refrigerated pie crust (GF or whatever you like)
1 C crumbled Feta cheese (4 oz.)
1 T balsamic vinegar
4 cloves minced garlic
Fresh rosemary sprigs


In a large bowl toss vegetables with bacon oil thyme and 1/4 t each salt and pepper. Spread in a large baking sheet and put into cold oven. Turn heat up to 425 degrees. Roast vegies 35 minutes stirring every 10 minutes until tender.

Meanwhile roll out piecrust dough to two twelve inch squares. Cut each square into 4 equal squares. Place on parchment-lined baking sheets. Remove vegetables from oven. Stir in 3/4 C of cheese vinegar and garlic. Set aside. Leave oven on. Adjust racks to lower center and upper positions. Divide vegie mixture among dough squares and fold edges up in free forms around vegies to make tarts. Sprinkle with remaining cheese. Bake 20 minutes until tarts are golden brown--rotating baking sheets on racks. After 10 minutes drizzle with remaining olive oil and garnish with rosemary.

Chicken Sausage Skillet with Apples and Cranberries

Category: Chicken
Difficulty Rating: Medium-Easy

This is a fantastic recipe I found online in the Paleo recipe section. Paleo diet people eat nothing that is refined or that has sugar in it. Or most dairy products. Or most grains. Or potatoes. And everything is supposed to be organic. I eat the same way except I allow dairy in my diet. No milk--but I do like butter and cheese in small quantities. This way of eating basically eliminates almost all allergens and chemicals from my food. Ha! You would think life lived this way would be really BLAH--but this recipe is good evidence that it is very tasty indeed! Common Sense Tip: Don't have apple cider vinegar? Rice wine vinegar will do. Yield: 4 servings (at least 2 sausages each)


2 T olive oil
8 fully cooked organic apple-chicken sausages (choose a no-sugar brand if possible)
1 medium onion (thinly sliced)
2 medium red or partially red apples (quartered and sliced)
4 C shredded cabbage
1 C fresh cranberries
1 1/2 T apple cider vinegar
1 1/2 T honey plus 1/2 t more if it isn't sweet enough for you
1 t minced fresh thyme ( I used dried)
1/2 t salt
1/4 t black pepper
1 T chopped fresh flat leaf parsley


Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add sausage and cook until browned on at least 2 sides. Transfer sausages to a plate and set aside. Wipe out skillet with paper towel to collect all burned particles. Stir in rest of the ingredients except parsley. Cover the skillet and cook until the vegetables are tender (but not mushy) and the liquid is evaporated...about 8-10 minutoes. Taste and add additional honey or salt and pepper as needed. Serve with sausage and parsley on top of warm vegies.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Chicken with Chorizo Confetti

Category: Main Course
Difficulty: Easy
Pretty Darn Healthy except Chorizo has fat

4 (6-0z) skinless boneless chicken breast halves
1/2 t salt--divided
1/4 t pepper
1/4 C Pork Chorizo--casings removed
1/4 C chopped onion
2 T diced carrot
1/4 diced yellow bell pepper
1/4 C diced red bell pepper
2 T green bell pepper
1/4 C unsalted chicken stock
1 T chopped fresh cilantro

Sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper and grill or bake until done. While chicken cooks heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add chorizo--cook one minute. Stir to crumble/ Add remaining 1/4 t salt...onion and carrot. Cook 2 minutes--stirring occasionally. Add bell peppers; cook 1 minute or until crisp-tender. Add stock--cook until liquied almost evaporates--scraping pan to lossen browned bits. Spoon chorizo mixture over chicken; top with cilantro.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Lemon-Garlic Sauteed Greens

Category:Side Dishes
Difficulty: Easy

This is so good and so easy and so healthy you will make it at least once a week! Common Sense Tip: Keep a small chunk of real Parmesan cheese on hand at all times. You will use it! If it starts getting old you can always grate it and put it in your freezer for times of desperation! Lemons are also good to have on hand. If they start getting old--juice them and freeze the juice in ice trays. The original recipe is from "Cooking Light: Super Fast Sides and Salads"--but I changed it from Swiss chard to kale. Spinach works too.  If takes a lot of greens to feed a family of 4-6, but it's just Common Sense to halve this recipe if there are 2-3 of you.


1 T olive oil
1 T smashed and minced garlic
12 C chopped kale (or swiss chard or spinach)
2 T water
1 1/2 t fresh lemon juice
1/8 ground pepper
4 t shaved fresh Parmesan cheese


Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add garlic; saute 2 minutes or until garlic just begins to brown. Add greens and 2 T water to pan; cook 3 minutes or until greens go limp. Stir in lemon juice and pepper. Sprinkle with cheese and serve warm!

Rainy Day Pot Roast with Marinara

Category: Main Dish
Very Easy
Healthy but it IS beef y'all--plan for high fat content

This is a recipe my mom made that you can make with or without a  slow-cooker. It is a very comforting meal. Perfect for those long winter days when you come in from the cold all red-cheeked and exhausted!


1 3-lb. loin beef pot roast (don't get a fatty one!)
2 T olive oil
1 16 oz. bottle good marinara sauce (homemade or whatever brand is your favorite--but thicker is better)
1 medium-sized onion--sliced
2/3 C red wine (Cabernet,Pinot Noir,Burgundy...or Chianti?)
1/2 C water (only if you don't use a slow-cooker)
1 C carrots (sliced into 1" thick slices) or a bag of peeled "baby" carrots
6 or 7 small boiling potatoes (russets?) well-scrubbed or larger potatoes (peeled and quartered)
Note: If you use a sugar-free spaghetti sauce you may want to add 2 T coconut palm sugar to it to cut the acidity a bit. Or...not,depending on your taste.

Directions For The Oven:

Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Sear both sides of beef loin with olive oil in a skillet on medium heat  Place beef in a large greased baking dish (9X13 is fine). Slice onion over it,throw in carrots and pour spaghetti sauce over all. Splash on wine and 1/2 C water over the top. Bake uncovered for an hour and a half,or until beef shreds easily when poked with a fork. Serve in bowls or ramikens with crusty bread and a salad on the side. Mmmmmm....

Directions For The Slow Cooker:

Sear both sides of beef loin in a skillet with olive oil on medium heat. Sautee sliced onion in same skillet until limp.  Place beef and onions  in slow cooker. Throw in sliced carrots and patooties. Pour spaghetti sauce and wine (with NO water) over all. Cook in slow cooker all day or as many hours as you can on HIGH heat until beefs shreds easily when poked with a fork.

Friday, November 7, 2014

Orange You Glad We Have Yams?

Category: Vegetables
Difficulty Rating: Easy to Medium
Sorta Healthy except for the high sugar content offset by the high fiber content

"Knock-Knock!" "Who's there?" "Orange" "Orange who?" "Orange you glad we have yams for dinner?"  Sorry folks, for being so corny (or yammy?), but I just couldn't resist. It's Fall and we are rapidly closing in on Thanksgiving. The sun is golden on the russet and green leaves flickering on trees outside of my house. Acorns from the Oaks pelt the ground all hours of the day and into the night. In fact,I keep getting up to answer the door--but it's just an acorn knocking! I am making plans for a bunch of new recipes--but we always have two or three dishes every year. This is one of them. I have altered the original (Betty Crocker?) recipe to use Palm Sugar or Maple Syrup instead of regular sugars to lower the glycemic level (my whole family has gone gluten-free and sugar-free). But you can make it the olde-fashioned way if you wish. Serves 8


6 med. sweet potatoes or yams , or 3 huge ones ( I like the red kind best)
1 C orange juice (fresh-sqoozed is best)
grated rind of one orange
1 T cornstarch or arrowroot
3 T butter
2/3 C Palm Sugar or brown sugar or Maple Syrup (for Paleo diet Peeps)
pinch of salt

Cook potatoes or yams in jackets until half-done--about 15 minutes. Remove and let cool. Combine remaining ingredients in saucepan and cook, stirring, until thickened. Skin potatoes and slice in half-inch wide pieces either crosswise of lengthwise--depending on the potatoe's size. Lay slices in a 2 qt. baking dish that has been buttered. Pour sauce over all, cover with foil and bake at 350 degrees 45 to 60 minutes. These can sit in the oven to keep warm or be refrigerated after cooling to heat up the next day.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Almond- Raspberry Swirl Cheesecake

Saturday  May 10th  2014

Category: Dessert
Difficulty Rating: Medium
Not Too Bad For You For a Dessert (GF and LF)

It's the day before Mother's Day in May 2014.  My mom is the best mom in the world. OK your mom can be too. We can share. I have such fond memories of her singing to me softly as she fed me a bottle and rocked me in the rocking chair. Moonlight came through the window next to us and made everything silver as she sang "Bye baby bunting...". Milk-dazed and happy--I was safe and completely loved in her arms. Is there anything like a good mom?  This light and creamy cheesecake is one way to celebrate her. It's gluten-free and low-fat but still tastes extremely bad for you! Make it for your mom and see her face light up! Recipe adapted from a recipe in the May 2014 edition of SELF magazine. (342 calories per serving with 10 grams protein) Note: It still works to make this with hi-fat cream cheese and sour cream.


Raspberry Sauce:
1 pint raspberries
1 T granulated sugar or 1 1/2 T coconut palm sugar

Almond Crust:
vegetable cooking spray
1 3/4 C  ground almonds (I use Trader Joe's) or 2 C slivered almonds ground very fine
1/4 packed light-brown sugar or 1/4 coconut palm sugar plus 1 T
2 T butter (melted)

20 oz. lowfat cream cheese
3/4 C granulated sugar
3/4 C lowfat sour cream
1 t vanilla
1 t almond extract
4 large eggs


Heat oven to 325 degrees. Lightly coat an 8" springform pan with cooking spray (you can also use a 9" pie pan). Line the bottom of the springform with a round of parchment paper and wrap the outside with foil wide enough to cover the whole pan including the sides. If you use a regular pie pan you can skip the steps in the last sentence. Don't even think about using two pieces of foil to do this--the idea is to make the pan waterproof! In a small pan simmer raspberries...sugar and water over medium heat; cook until sauce thickens for 10 minutes. Set aside.

In a food processor pulse almonds until finely ground if you didn't get already ground almonds.Combine this thoroughly in a bowl or the food processor with brown sugar...butter and a pinch of salt. Transfer to the prepared pan and press firmly to the bottom to form an even crust. Add cream cheese...granulated sugar...sour cream.. and vanilla to the food processor or mixing bowl and mix until smooooooth. Add eggs one at a time...blending after each addition. Pour filling into crust. Spoon raspberry sauce on top in blobs then swirl it into pretty designs with the tip of a knife--wiping it clean ocassionally. Take care not to over-mix the sauce in--then you will just have pink cheesecake.
Unless you want pink cheesecake?

Place springform pan in a 9X13" baking pan. Add warm water to come up one inch the side of springform pan. Bake until cheesecake center jiggles slightly--50 to 60 minutes. Let stand at room temperatur until cool enough to touch. Remove sprinform pan from water and cover cake with foil. Refrigerate at least 4 hours or overnight. Run a table knife between edge of cheesecake and springform pan before gently removing side of pan.