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2-minute grain-free biscuit/muffin (Paleo, Keto, Whole30 friendly)

Paleo, Keto, grain-free, gluten-free English muffin

If you’re committed to living a gluten-free, grain-free, Paleo, low-carb, or ketogenic lifestyle, one of the hardest things to live without is bread — right?! You’re gonna love this: this Paleo/Keto biscuit recipe fits all those requirements AND it involves one bowl, a minute or so of whisking with a fork, and less than two minutes in the microwave. So easy! You can also use it to make avocado toast or strawberry shortcake!

It looks like an English muffin, but the texture is really more like a biscuit. It’s so quick and simple, and helps round out so many meals, it’s earned a permanent spot in my recipe file. Just know that it doesn’t have a lot of flavor on its own — definitely a supporting player. So you’re probably going to want to enhance it with other flavorings — notes on that follow the recipe.

Note/Update 8/16/18: I’ve improved this recipe since the original post. The instructions below now contain what I think is a much more fool-proof version.

Paleo biscuit / English muffin recipe

3 Tablespoons fine blanched almond flour

1 Tablespoon coconut flour

1/4 teaspoon baking powder

1/8 teaspoon kosher salt

1 egg

1 teaspoon avocado oil or melted coconut oil

 

In a cereal or soup bowl, stir together the dry ingredients, then push them to one side of the bowl.

Place the egg and oil in the empty spot and whisk with a fork till well blended. Then stir the wet and dry together till it’s all the same consistency. It will be about as thick as wet mashed potatoes, or thick cornbread batter.

Grease a 7 oz ramekin. UPDATE: You can still cook it in a ramekin, but I’ve found that a tall coffee mug with parallel sides works nicely, too, and you get a little taller result with a flatter bottom. (I love this chemical-free, soy-free avocado oil spray from  Chosen Foods.) Put all the batter in the ramekin or mug, even out the top, and microwave for one and a half minutes.

dish + spray for Paleo Keto English muffin

The ramekin may be hot! If using a coffee mug, just grab the handle. After removing it from the microwave, turn the muffin out and let it sit till cool enough to handle. If the top is lumpy, just slice that bit off, for even toasting. Slice horizontally into halves or thirds, and let some of the steam escape before toasting. Toasting can be done in a toaster or oven, but toasting is essential to get a nice golden crust, for both visual appeal and texture.

Ways to use it (and enhance the flavor):

Paleo, Keto, gluten-free English muffin with chia seed jam

  • Spread with one or more of your favorite toppings — butter, ghee, cinnamon, nut butter,  sugar-free jam. (I like this chia seed jam from The Kitchn.) Of course, avocado toast is also the bomb!

Paleo keto avocado toast

  • For garlic toast, toast it lightly first, then spread with butter and garlic salt, and broil till you like the color. Watch it closely!
  • Serve it toasted but untopped, along with some good olive oil to dip it in. Better yet, enhance the olive oil with balsamic vinegar, roasted garlic, or your favorite seasoning blend. We like it with zaatar.
  • Also a great accompaniment for soup or any dish that wants its sauce sopped up with bread!
  • You can try it as a sandwich bread: I find it too dense for this, but you may disagree.  🙂
  • I’ve also used it as the shortbread-biscuit component in my family’s version of strawberry shortcake. (Don’t expect pound cake: this is truly strawberry shortbread.) Toast in the toaster, then crumble into a small bowl. Top with macerated strawberries, drizzle with some cream, half-and-half, or coconut milk. You can also top it with whipped cream if you like. Or instead of the crumble, stack it up…

keto strawberry shortcake

Enjoy!

Note: Inspired by this recipe from Running to the Kitchen, but I’ve tweaked the recipe to make it a one-bowl deal, and to make the muffin a bit less soggy. See her original for a cinnamon-raisin version (not so keto-friendly).

Sriracha cream sauce or dip

Sriracha cream sauce recipe

A couple weeks ago, we had a delicious dinner at Lemongrass: Taste of Vietnam in Old Town. We ordered a couple appetizers, one of which was “Crabocado” – a perfect avocado stuffed with lump crab and drizzled with a Sriracha cream sauce. All four of us — two of us spice wimps, two not — devoured it! Later, my husband’s side dish of green beans came drizzled with what looked to be the same sauce. This man is not a fan of green beans: he sort of likes them when I add carmelized onions and plenty of bacon. But drizzled with that sauce? He ate ’em all up!

So I’ve been trying to recreate that sauce. I doubt my ingredients are the same, but I think I got close in flavor.

What can you do with this stuff?

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Bahn Mi sandwich & pickled carrots recipe

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Bahn Mi is a Vietnamese sandwich with French influence. Traditionally served on a baguette, spread with mayo and sometimes pate (those are the French parts), then topped with pork or other meats (I love to use leftover pork tenderloin), cucumber, jalapeno, cilantro, and pickled carrots and/or radish. It may be hard to imagine that all these varying flavors would come together in a harmonious whole, but trust me — they do!

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Chai Tea for Two (latte, if you like)

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I  remember the first time I tasted chai, in a friend’s kitchen. The creamy texture and slightly spiced flavor took me by surprise. “Oh wow!” I said. “This is like drinking pumpkin pie!”
image: livesimply.me
Since that first taste, I’ve loved chai, but I don’t drink it often because if you make it with a purchased mix or buy it in a coffee shop, it’s usually loaded with sugar. However, inspired by this recipe for Chai Tea Latte from Live Simply (and modified to reduce the syrup), I’ve been making this the past couple days, and it’s the perfect cold-weather pick-me-up when you want something richer than plain tea. (The original recipe makes enough for four servings, so you can enjoy one right away and then keep the extra on hand in the fridge. Smart! I love make-aheads!)
It uses maple syrup for the sweetener, but you can substitute the sugar or sweetener of your choice. I also replaced the half-and-half with culinary coconut milk; the canned kind; not the thinner stuff that comes in quart cartons. But you can use half-and-half, or another dairy substitute that you like. I’ve also streamlined the process a bit because, well, I’m impatient! I use a ready-made spice mix. And I use the microwave, and just let it steep for two or three minutes. But if you’re patient and have the time, you can let it steep the full five minutes at each step.
Chai mixture:
1 cup water
1-1/2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice or apple pie spice*
1 tea bag or about 1.5 teasp. loose tea — any unflavored black tea will do
1 TB pure maple syrup
1 or 2 grinds of freshly ground black pepper (optional)
Latte additions:
1/2 cup milk of your choice     
    (recommended: something rich and somewhat fatty, like coconut milk or half-and-half.)
maple syrup to taste
Put the water and spice mix in a glass measuring cup or other microwave-safe container and heat until it steams. Take it out, and let sit for at least two and up to five minutes. Cut open the tea bag and pour the contents into the hot water. Add a couple grinds of black pepper if you like. Return it to the microwave and heat again till steaming. Let it steep for three to five minutes.
While it’s steeping, prepare the milk. Heat it slightly in the microwave. Do NOT let it boil. 
Frothing the milk is optional — but it’s the thing that takes this drink from chai to chai latte. There are various ways to froth the milk. You can do this with a stick blender, or by hand, using this method, or just by holding a wire whisk and rolling it quickly between your palms like this: 
(The baby orangutan is optional.)
At this time, you can also preheat your two serving cups, to help the chai stay hotter. Fill them with the hottest water that will come out of your tap, and let that sit till you’re ready to serve.
Once the tea is done steeping, dump the hot water out of your serving cups. Pour the tea mixture through a fine sieve into another container. Rinse the sieve, then pour through it again as you’re decanting the tea into each serving cup. Top with even portions of the milk, and taste to see if you want more sweetness; sweeten to taste.
Then snuggle into a cozy chair and drink that pumpkin pie!

*If you don’t have pumpkin pie or apple pie spice mix, you may use:
1 whole clove (optional)
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
pinch ground nutmeg (optional)
pinch ground allspice (optional)

Spinach salad with strawberries

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Spinach salad with strawberries is my second-favorite salad of all time, a close second to quinoa and spinach salad — and no surprise there, since they contain many of the same ingredients.

I think a big part of what keeps this one at the top of my list over other green salads is that I only buy strawberries when they’re in season. (My test for whether they’re good and ripe? If there’s a box of them at table height and I can smell them when standing over them, they’re good!) And since here in Kansas, good strawberries are only available April through June, this salad is a rare treat.

(SO jealous of my niece who lives in California, and can get amazing ripened-in-the-field strawberries year-round!)

It’s good with or without chicken, and all ingredients can be adjusted to your taste.

Spinach salad with strawberries

Recipe: Spinach salad with strawberries

For each individual salad:
2.5 oz. baby spinach (or thereabouts)
sliced fresh strawberries, to your taste (maybe 1/2 a cup?)
1 – 3 T. feta cheese, seasoned or plain (leave out for Whole30)
red onion, sliced thin; amount to taste
1.4 c. pecan halves (or to taste)
half of a seasoned, cooked chicken breast (about 3 oz.) – optional
balsamic vinaigrette or onion poppyseed dressing, to taste

(or the Whole30 compliant dressing of your choice)

Combine all ingredients; toss; enjoy!
—————-
Nutrition info, according to myfitnesspal.com:
Calories: 444
Carbs: 17
Fat: 32
Protein: 24
Sodium:  780
Sugar: 9

Emergency blueberry crumble for one

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Blueberries in the freezer, snow outside on the ground, and a hankerin’ for something warm and sweet. What to make, that’s slightly healthy but also bona fide comfort food?!

Blueberry crumble, of course! (Blueberries are a super food. Old fashioned oatmeal’s not bad either.)

Based on this recipe for Microwave Blueberry Crumble (four servings), here’s a version that goes together super fast and easy (less than five minutes!), can be made sugar-reduced, and is scaled to make just one serving. And if you use gluten-free oatmeal and cornstarch, it could also be gluten-free!

I’m including instructions for topping it with a bit of vanilla-flavored cream, but you could, of course, top it with ice cream instead. Depending on the severity of your emergency and the contents of your freezer.

Emergency blueberry crumble for one

1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries
2 t. sugar (or one Splenda packet)
3/4 t. cornstarch
2 T. old fashioned oats
2 T. packed brown sugar (or 1 T. brown sugar Splenda blend)
1 T. chopped pecans
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon and/or a wee pinch of nutmeg
1 T. cold butter (no exceptions)
3 T. heavy cream
splash of vanilla extract

Place the blueberries in a 4- to 5-” microwave-safe dish (I used the cover of an extra-wide butter dish). Sprinkle the sugar and cornstarch on top. Cover and microwave on high for 30 seconds; stir and heat on high another 30 seconds. Repeat until the blueberries are softened and the sauce is slightly thickened.

In a small bowl, stir together the oats, brown sugar, pecans and cinnamon. Cut in the butter into the oat mixture using a fork, until the mixture resembles very coarse crumbs. You want there to still be some globs of butter, though; not completely smoothed out.

Sprinkle the oat mixture over the blueberry mixture. Cover and microwave on high for 30 seconds; stir and heat on high another 30 seconds.

Pour a splash of vanilla extract into the cream; stir till combined. Drizzle over the blueberries. Grab a spoon and enjoy!

Salted-caramel glazed oatmeal cookies

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I love it when a recipe goes wrong, then turns into something oh so right!

One of my favorite cookies is sunflower seed oatmeal cookies. (Gibbers’, too.) I made a batch today to take to a neighborhood get-together tonight, but I played with the proportions a bit too much, and they came out kinda bland. So I thought a caramel icing might balance that out.
And it did! But I couldn’t just leave it at that. Since “salted caramel whatever” is everywhere these days, I thought I’d give them just a light sprinkling of kosher salt.
Perfect! The cakey/crispy texture of the cookie contrasts nicely with the gooey caramel, and they do balance each other out. That icing would also rock drizzled over banana cake, muffins, or banana-nut bread!
I can’t give you the cookie part of my recipe, because I swapped Splenda for some of the sugar, just added the dry ingredient mix till it looked right, and same on the oatmeal. But the base recipe I was working from is the standard one on every carton of Quaker Oatmeal: Vanishing Oatmeal Raisin Cookies. I leave out the cinnamon and swap sunflower seeds for raisins.
On to the icing…
I started with a recipe on AllRecipes.com, but changed it substantially. Here’s what I ended up with:

Caramel icing

covers three dozen cookies
 2 T. butter
 1/4 c. cream
 1/2 c. packed brown sugar
1/2 c. powdered sugar (or less)
1/2 t. vanilla
Kosher or sea salt to taste (optional)
Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Then stir in the cream and brown sugar. Boil vigorously for 1 minute.
Remove from heat, and beat in half of the powdered sugar. Cool slightly, and beat in the vanilla and the remaining powdered sugar. Taste it as you add a bit at a time; you may not need all of it. 
It sets up pretty quickly, so have your cookies all ready before you make the icing. If it gets too thick, add more cream and/or return it to low heat for a moment.
Drizzle over the cookies. Sprinkle lightly w/ kosher or sea salt, if desired.