Cooked bacon wrapped pears in rows on a rectangular metal serving tray.

Bacon Wrapped Pears

Appetizers which require only a few real-food ingredients, look attractive and get gobbled up quickly are in high demand this time of year. Whether you’re attending an autumn dinner party or hosting a New Year’s Eve gathering, add these Bacon Wrapped Pears to your short list of appetizers to consider. They’re an awesome addition to just about any planned menu or potluck!

Have you ever tasted roasted pears? Fresh pears are tasty, but roasting takes them to a whole new level of yumminess! Caramelized pear tastes sweeter and more refined than the fresh fruit. And contrasting in many ways, the bacon is the perfect compliment, making my Bacon Wrapped Pears a true treat. Sweet and salty, savory and cinnamon-y. Don’t pass up this recipe, seriously. You’ll be missing out!

While the prep work is easy, it’s a bit tedious. Coring and cutting the pears is a cinch. As is cutting the bacon pieces in half length-wise. However, wrapping the individual pieces of bacon around the pear slices and skewering with an appetizer pick is the part which requires a little more attention and patience. To speed things up, I recommend creating a mini assembly line by having all the ingredients prepared and kitchen gear ready before you begin the bacon-wrapping. And, if you can recruit an assistant, more hands make for lighter work, of course!Uncooked bacon wrapped pear slices laying on a wire rack on top of a baking sheet.

While you can wrap the bacon around the pear slices any way you like, I think creating an “X” or “criss-cross” pattern around each pear slice is the most attractive pattern. Although, simply winding the bacon around the pear would save you a few minutes of prep time, and will obviously taste the same.

You may like to skewer each pear slice with an appetizer pick to make it easier to eat – saving the food from being manhandled on the serving tray (yuck!) and saving guests from having sticky or greasy fingers. If you stick the pick through the bacon, it may help it stay in place, too. However, this is not necessarily needed depending on how the bacon is placed. And it is easier to slide the appetizer picks through the pear only, going around the bacon. Try it both ways and see which you prefer.

Appetizer picks are superior to toothpicks, in this instance, though toothpicks will do in a pinch. Choose appetizer picks with a squared-off or rectangular post, if possible. These will work better, preventing the cooked pear from sliding or spinning on a round post on the way to your mouth!Cooked bacon wrapped pears, fresh out of the oven, sitting on a rack on top of a baking sheet.

Serve these pears warm or at room temperature – but not cold! They’re best when eaten fresh, so I don’t recommend making these far in advance. If you bake them at home, then pop them in the oven for a few minutes to reheat when you get to your destination, this works well and won’t monopolize the host’s oven space. A considerate guest is one who gets invited back. And a guest who brings these Bacon Wrapped Pears gets a repeat invite, too 🙂

Bacon Wrapped Pears

Crisped bacon wrapped around slices of cinnamon spiced roasted pear. An ideal appetizer for Fall and Winter gatherings and special meals. 
Prep Time25 mins
Cook Time35 mins
Total Time1 hr
Course: Appetizer
Cuisine: American
Servings: 12 servings

Ingredients

  • 6 ripe pears, cored and cut into wedges
  • 12 oz bacon, strips cut length-wise
  • cinnamon

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Making a criss-cross pattern, wrap a bacon strip around each pear slice. Slide appetizer pick through the middle of each pear slice. 
  • Place bacon wrapped pear slices on a rack on a rimmed baking sheet (rack not necessary in order to make recipe). Sprinkle lightly with cinnamon. Bake for 35 minutes, or until pears are tender and bacon is cooked.
  • Remove from oven. Allow to rest for 5 minutes before plating or eating.

Notes

Best eaten immediately, or if covered for a short period of time and reheated in oven for a few minutes. 
Number of servings depends on number of people eating and how much other food is available. May serve more or less depending.

Rustic banana muffin on marble slab

Rustic Banana Muffins

Some banana muffins are so tender, delicate and fluffy that 10 minutes after you eat it, your tummy feels just as hungry as before you snacked. This isn’t that kind of banana muffin. This muffin is a rustic, sturdier kind of muffin. The kind that you can grab on your way out the door and eat one-handed without making 1000 crumbs. The kind which are low enough in sugar, they aren’t dessert in disguise. You can enjoy these banana muffins at breakfast, yet they’re sweet enough to enjoy as a lower sugar treat. My favorite way to eat these banana muffins is topped with a smear of nut or seed butter and a mug of chai tea.

These gluten-free Rustic Banana Muffins are made with cassava flour. Cassava flour is one of my favorite gluten-free flours, because it bakes very similarly to wheat flour. Often it can be substituted 1:1 for wheat in recipes. It’s a little bit heavier than wheat, contributing to the overall weightiness of your baked goods – and its ability to satisfy your appetite. Cassava flour is mild and relatively neutral in flavor. Interestingly, this flour isn’t a grain. It’s a dried, ground South American root vegetable, yuca. It’s not yet quite as mainstream as some other gluten-free options, but popularity of cassava flour is rising. It’s now available at Whole Foods and on Amazon, making it more accessible than ever before.

Have time to make muffins, but not looking to eat them right away? Freeze a batch to have on hand. Individual muffins can easily be added to a lunchbox for adults or kids. Or stash them all away for when overnight guests come; defrost the night before for a head start on making breakfast. A breakfast casserole and some fresh fruit would be low-maintenance, crowd-pleasing accompaniments.

3 rustic banana muffins in a row on a marble slab

Rustic Banana Muffins

Rustic, satisfying banana muffins made with cassava flour. Perfect for adding to a lunchbox for school or work, breakfast, or dessert. (gluten-free, dairy-free, soy-free, egg-free, nut-free, and nightshade-free)
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time55 mins
Total Time1 hr 5 mins
Course: Breakfast, Dessert, Snack
Cuisine: American
Servings: 9 muffins

Ingredients

  • 1-1/2 cup cassava flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 3 large bananas, mashed
  • 7.5 + 2 Tbsp water
  • 3 Tbsp ground flaxseed
  • 3 Tbsp maple syrup
  • 3 Tbsp honey
  • 3 Tbsp palm shortening, melted
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. In a small cup, prepare "flax egg" by adding ground flaxseed and 7.5 Tbsp water. Stir and allow to sit for several minutes, until water is absorbed and consistency changes to look more like a gel. 
  • In a mixing bowl, add cassava, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt. Whisk to combine. In a second mixing bowl, add mashed bananas, 2 Tbsp water, maple syrup, honey, melted palm shortening, vanilla extract, and "flax egg". Whisk vigorously until smooth.
  • Pour dry ingredients into the wet ingredients. Using a spatula, mix until combined. Spoon batter into muffin pan. 
  • Bake for 55 minutes. If checked with a toothpick, it should come out clean. Allow to cool before removing from pan.

Notes

Makes 8-9 standard size muffins depending on size of bananas used. 
Muffins are easy to remove from a silicone muffin pan. If using a metal pan, may benefit from using paper/parchment muffin liners.
May make in advance. Store leftovers covered in refrigerator for longest "shelf-life". Muffins freeze well.
While many muffin recipes also turn out similarly well if baked in a loaf pan instead of a muffin pan, I don't recommend making banana bread with this recipe. The bread remains a little doughy, especially towards the center and bottom of the loaf.

Maple Mandarin Vinaigrette

Have you ever made your own salad dressing before? For most people, the answer is likely “no”. It may seem unattainable, unnecessarily fancy, or complicated. After all there are shelves and shelves full of ready-to-eat salad dressings in every supermarket. Hopefully, this recipe will change your mind and introduce you to the wonderful world of homemade salad dressing.

If you’ve yet to make salad dressing, my Maple Mandarin Vinaigrette is a great one to try first! It is fresh, zesty, and has depth. The warm, homey maple syrup contrasts with the bright, acidic citrus. This stuff is seriously good. And I’ve never seen this flavor in the store before. Dress some salad with it. Pour it over some roasted vegetables. Marinade some chicken before grilling. Right now, my favorite way to eat this dressing is drizzled over my Harvest Salad (previous post and pictured below); the two are a perfect match! With a handful of ingredients you may already have in your kitchen, you can make this Maple Mandarin Vinaigrette in 3 minutes. That’s all – 3 minutes! And in as much time as it takes you to check the mail, you’ll have a fresh, original flavor of salad dressing which has all real-food ingredients!

Have you ever stopped to read the ingredients on the pre-made bottles of salad dressing? With very few exceptions, salad dressings have become a magnet for all sorts of cheap, processed ingredients not found in nature. Many dressings include several of these all in the same bottle – even brands promoting themselves as healthy and natural! From the very base of the dressing- the oil (ex: soy, canola, safflower) to “natural flavors,” which by the way are really essentially the same as artificial flavors, to “spices” (another umbrella term preventing transparency in our food supply), to emulsifiers, thickeners, preservatives and so forth. 

No, thank you! I don’t mind giving my dressing a quick shake before I pour. And I’ve got 6 ingredients, a jar, and 3 minutes to make this dressing. How about you?

Maple Mandarin Vinaigrette

Savory-sweet vinaigrette style salad dressing which comes together in minutes. (AIP option, paleo, gluten-free, dairy-free, soy-free, egg-free, nut-free, nightshade-free)
Prep Time3 mins
Total Time3 mins
Course: Salad
Cuisine: American
Servings: 8 servings

Ingredients

  • 1 cup olive oil
  • 3 mandarin oranges, juice of
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 3 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp salt

Instructions

  • Place all ingredients in a glass jar. Shake vigorously until completely mixed and has an even, consistent appearance.

Notes

May prepare in advance. Store in refrigerator. Lasts for at least 1 week.
Serving recommendation: dressing on my Harvest Salad.
AIP option: omit dijon mustard.

Harvest Salad

This salad truly tastes like a celebration of Fall in a bowl, and it comes together with only minutes of hands-on cooking time. In the midst of the busyness of the holidays, we all seem to have an abundance of “extras” on our to-do lists while treats persistently loom nearby. The temptation to over-indulge is sky high! As a result, the question of “what to eat?” sometimes feels more daunting than usual. Have no worries, friends, this salad will keep you nourished, satisfied, and back to the holiday festivities in a flash! And it’s seriously delish. 

Seasonal fruits are the true jewels of this Harvest Salad. Their flavors are sweet and tart and there’s something undeniable about their visual appeal. Crisp juicy apples are, for many people, the quintessential autumnal fruit. An abundance of varieties are readily available in stores now – take advantage and try something new! The satisfying chew and bursts of flavor from dried cranberries can’t be beat! Roasted brussels sprouts and red onion contribute savory saltiness and a bit of a bite. A mix of three kinds of salad greens, arugula, spinach, and butter lettuce, keeps the salad base interesting. The greens have a mix of crunchy and delicate textures. Mild flavor from the butter lettuce and a peppery spiciness from the arugula. Top that all off with some crunchy pumpkin seeds, and you’ve got yourself a real salad. No boring, wimpy salad here! 

Another convenience is that ingredients can effortlessly be swapped out depending on what’s on hand or your taste preferences. Swap pears for apples, cherries for cranberries, carrots for brussels sprouts, or almonds for pumpkin seeds. So many possibilities, surely there’s something for everyone!

I highly recommend topping this salad with my Maple Mandarin Vinaigrette (post coming soon). The sweet-savory flavor perfectly compliments this Harvest Salad and adds to the all-things-fall feel. Even if you’re in a time crunch, this dressing comes together in under 5 minutes and really “makes” this salad! Top with some shredded rotisserie chicken or goat cheese, if dairy is tolerated,  to quickly turn this salad into a stand-alone meal. Enjoy!

Harvest Salad

Crisp salad greens topped with roasted brussels sprouts, seasonal fruit, red onion and pumpkin seeds. Pairs beautifully with a savory-sweet dressing such as my Maple Mandarin Vinaigrette. (AIP option, paleo, gluten-free, dairy-free, soy-free, egg-free, nut-free, nightshade-free)
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time25 mins
Total Time35 mins
Course: Main Course, Salad, Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Servings: 4 servings

Ingredients

Harvest Salad

  • 1 big handful arugula
  • 1 big handful spinach
  • 2 big handfuls butter lettuce
  • 1/4 red onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 apples, cored and thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/4 cup pumpkin seeds
  • 1/2 pound brussels sprouts, halved or quartered depending on size
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • salt

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Spread brussel sprouts on a baking sheet. Coat brussels sprouts with olive oil, and shake pan to coat. Sprinkle with salt. Roast in oven for about 25 minutes, giving the pan a shake about every 10 minutes to move the sprouts around, until brussels sprouts are moderately browned and tender. Remove from oven. Allow to cool.
  • Assemble salad in a large bowl- adding greens, red onion, roasted brussels sprouts, apple slices, dried cranberries, and sprinkling with pumpkin seeds on top.
  • At time of serving, drizzle desired amount of dressing on top. 

Notes

Dressing recommendation: my Maple Mandarin Vinaigrette.
Best enjoyed the day prepared. May prepare in advance. If doing so, add dressing at time of serving to keep lettuce crisp.
Will last a day or two in the refrigerator.
AIP option - omit pumpkin seeds

Snowball Cookies

Snowball cookies are quite possibly the most underrated Christmas cookie. If you’ve not had the privilege of eating one before, they are tender, flaky, light little balls of shortbread which actually look like a miniature snowball! And they almost melt in your mouth the way a real snowball would, too. Elegant, yet simple and playful in appearance, a tray of snowball cookies would be welcomed at any holiday gathering!

Growing up, snowball cookies were some of my absolute favorites! It was tradition for my grandma to make them each year for Christmas, making this allergy-friendly recipe remake extra special. I hope you enjoy these as much as I have!

A few comments on the ingredients: Palm shortening is a replacement for butter in this recipe. Palm shortening is solid at room temperature, like butter, and has a very neutral flavor which makes it a good choice for this type of baking. The gelatin powder is included to help bind the cookie dough together. Often gluten-free baking flour mixes contain different gums (often xanthan gum), which have been linked with various health concerns. To avoid the inclusion of these processed and questionable ingredients, gelatin is used here to accomplish the same goal. An additional tip for ensuring the dough will stick together is to chop the walnuts very finely. Larger bits will make it more challenging for the dough to come together. I chopped mine with a chefs knife, but the food processor may do a nice job in a fraction of the time.

Happy holiday baking!

Snowball Cookies

Also known as Russian Teacakes and Mexican Wedding Cookies, these light, airy shortbread Christmas cookies actually look like little snowballs! (gluten-free, dairy-free, soy-free, egg-free, nightshade-free)
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time10 mins
Chill Time1 hr
Total Time1 hr 30 mins
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Servings: 24 cookies

Ingredients

  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 2/3 cup + 1 Tbsp white rice flour
  • 2/3 cup + 1 Tbsp brown rice flour
  • 2/3 cup tapioca flour
  • 2/3 cup walnuts, finely chopped
  • 1 cup palm shortening
  • 1-1/2 Tbsp water
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2-1/2 tsp gelatin
  • 1/4 tsp salt

Instructions

  • Reserving 1/2 cup powdered sugar on the side for later, mix all other ingredients together with clean hands and form dough into a ball. If dough is too crumbly still, add additional water in tiny increments - 1 tsp or so at a time until dough will stick together. Cover dough with plastic wrap. Refrigerate dough for at least 1 hour.
  • Remove from refrigerator. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Form cookie dough into 1" balls. Dough may be a little more crumbly than traditional snowball cookie dough; may require a little extra effort to shape. 
  • Form 24 cookies and place on a baking sheet. Bake in oven for 10 minutes; cookies should be "set" but NOT browned. Remove from oven. 
  • Allow cookies to cook for 3 minutes, then while the cookies are still warm, roll them in the remaining 1/2 cup powdered sugar to coat them. Rolling cookies while warm ensures the powdered sugar will stick to the outside. 
  • Consider a second roll in powdered sugar just before serving to freshen up the powdered sugar coating.

Notes

May be made in advance. Cookies freeze well.

Tex Mex Sweet Potato Beef Skillet

In the mood for a smoky, satisfying dinner which can be cooked in a single skillet? Try this Tex Mex Sweet Potato Beef Skillet. It’s chock full of vegetables – satisfying sweet potatoes, sauteed onions, wilted spinach, creamy avocado, and layers of flavor boosting ingredients, including lime juice, scallions, cilantro, oregano, and cumin! This skillet meal also has a variety of textures thanks to the mix of cooked and fresh produce. Grab a spoon and dig into this one dish meal tonight!

Tex Mex Sweet Potato Beef Skillet

Hearty skillet meal with smoky Southwest flavored ground beef and lots of veggies.  (AIP option, paleo option, gluten-free, dairy-free, soy-free, egg-free, nut-free, nightshade-free)
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time25 mins
Total Time40 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Servings: 4 servings

Ingredients

Cooked Vegetables

  • 2 large sweet potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper (omit for AIP)
  • 1/2 cup frozen corn (omit for paleo, AIP)
  • 1 large handfull spinach

Beef

  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1/2 medium onion, diced
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp cumin (omit for AIP)
  • 1 tsp oregano

Fresh Garnishes

  • 2 avocados, peeled and sliced
  • 1 lime, cut into wedges
  • 3 scallions, chopped
  • 1/2 cup cilantro, chopped

Instructions

  • In a large skillet on medium-high heat, add all ingredients under "Beef" ingredient heading above. Stir occasionally until fully cooked and browned. Remove from heat, pouring into a bowl and covering.
  • In skillet, add sweet potatoes, olive oil, 1/2 tsp each of salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until sweet potatoes are lightly browned and can be easily pierced with a fork.
  • Add ground beef back into pan along with corn and cook until heated. Remove from heat. Add spinach and gently incorporate while allowing spinach to wilt.
  • Garnish with sliced avocado, lime wedges, scallions, and cilantro.

Notes

Best served immediately.
If made in advance, store garnishes separately from rest of cooked sweet potato beef skillet to allow for reheating before adding fresh garnishes.

Paleo Pumpkin Pancakes

Since it’s the month of November, tis the season for sneaking pumpkin into as many meals as possible! And why not?! Pumpkin is packed with vitamin A, starchy like a sweet potato yet considerably lower in carbohydrates, creamy, and pairs well with warm spices like cinnamon. An ideal choice for this time of year, and underrated for the rest of the year!

Recreating baked goods and bread items without all the usual baking ingredients (wheat flour, cows milk, eggs, and butter) can present even the most experienced cook with a steep learning curve. However, just because your pantry and refrigerator no longer look the same, doesn’t mean you have to miss out on comfort foods such as pancakes! Paleo Pumpkin Pancakes to the rescue! These pancakes have more structure to them than the typical light, airy pancakes you may have grown up eating. And, thanks to more nutrient-dense ingredients, they will also keep you feeling more satisfied hours into your day than typical pancakes ever could!

Now, you may be wondering how to top your pancakes. A simple drizzle of pure maple syrup will always do the trick, but there’s another option as well which is even more amazing! If you can get your hands on some maple butter, I highly recommend you buy multiple jars of it. Yes, even if you’ve never tasted it! Maple butter is simply whipped maple syrup which has become solidified and creamy in color, surprisingly resembling butter much more than maple syrup! A dollop of maple butter melts beautifully on warm pancakes and looks gorgeous!

As with other pancakes, these paleo pumpkin pancakes taste great alongside some bacon or sausage. Any morning will feel like a weekend morning with these Paleo Pumpkin Pancakes! Enjoy!

Paleo Pumpkin Pancakes

Fluffy pumpkin pancakes perfect for breakfast on a cold morning (paleo, gluten-free, dairy-free, soy-free, egg-free, nut-free, nightshade-free)
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time15 mins
Total Time25 mins
Course: Breakfast
Cuisine: American
Servings: 6 servings

Ingredients

  • 1 can pureed pumpkin (15 oz can)
  • 2/3 cup sunflower seed butter
  • 1/3 cup molasses
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 cups green banana flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 2 pinches salt
  • 1 pinch ground cloves
  • maple syrup (or maple butter) for serving
  • coconut oil, if needed for frying pancakes

Instructions

  • Preheat griddle to 300 degrees Fahrenheit or heat frying pan to medium-low heat.
  • In a mixing bowl, whisk pumpkin, sunflower seed butter, molasses, and water until an even consistency is reached. In a separate mixing bowl, combine green banana flour, baking soda, salt, and ground cloves. Mix dry ingredients.
  • Pour dry ingredients into wet ingredient bowl, and using a spatula, mix just until combined. Lightly coat pan/griddle with coconut oil, if needed.
  • Pour a few spoonfuls of pancake batter onto hot griddle/pan to form each pancake. My griddle fit 8 pancakes.
  • When pancakes are cooked, remove from heat. Top with maple syrup or maple butter. Serve warm.

Notes

May make in advance and reheat before serving.
Could try subbing another nut butter or (for AIP elimination phase) tigernut butter; however this recipe was only tested with sunflower seed butter.
These pancakes do not bubble the way traditional pancakes do, signaling readiness to flip. Pancakes should appear firm and be browned on the bottom before ready to flip, around 5 minutes on my griddle. These pancakes are fairly resistant to over-cooking. Recommend checking them every minute or two while you observe how they cook with your particular set-up; if you're not sure if they're done, let them cook a little longer.

Herby Lamburgers with Cucumber Salsa and Kalamata Tapenade

These herby lamburgers were just what we needed for dinner! After eating turkey and ham leftovers from an early Friendsgiving party which we hosted this past weekend, our taste buds were ready for something different. After all the Thanksgiving dinners will have been eaten at the end of next week, you may be looking for some variety in the animal protein department, too! Lamb to the rescue!

Swapping ground lamb meat for ground beef can be a welcome, occasional departure from the typical beef burger. This Mediterranean twist on the hamburger is rich in deep, herby, meaty flavor. The cucumber salsa contrasts nicely by adding some crunchy texture, bright acidity from some lemon juice and little bursts of sweetness thanks to the pomegranate arils. And the dollop of kalamata olive tapenade on top of each burger brings a complimentary saltiness which takes the taste up a notch.

Serve these lamburgers with a side salad with Greek vinaigrette dressing to quickly make a colorful, satisfying meal. Because of my love of leftovers (seriously, why would you want to make a whole new meal EVERY time you eat?!), I used 2 pounds of ground lamb to make six 1/3 pound burgers. This guarantees us leftovers. However, the recipe is easily scaled up or down in 1 pound increments based on your individual needs.

Herby Lamburgers with Cucumber Salsa and Kalamata Tapenade

Satisfying Mediterranean lamb burgers sure to infuse some variety into your dinner routine (AIP, paleo, gluten-free, dairy-free, soy-free, egg-free, nut-free, seed-free, nightshade-free).
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time20 mins
Total Time40 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Mediterranean
Servings: 6 servings

Ingredients

Lamburgers

  • 2 pounds ground lamb
  • 1/2 large yellow onion, chopped finely
  • 1 tsp Himalayan pink salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1 Tbsp garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 2 Tbsp capers, minced
  • 1 lemon, zest of
  • 1 Tbsp fresh rosemary, chopped finely
  • 1-1/2 tsp fresh thyme, chopped finely

Cucumber Salsa and Kalamata Tapenade

  • 3 cups diced cucumber
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp garlic, minced
  • 2 tsp capers
  • 2 Tbsp red onion, minced
  • salt, to taste
  • 1/2 cup pomegranate arils
  • 6 Tbsp kalamata tapenade

Instructions

  • Mix all ingredients for lamburgers together in a bowl. Form burger patties (I made six 1/3 pound burgers). Pan fry on medium heat until done.
  • For cucumber salsa, mix all ingredients together except 1/2 the pomegranate and the kalamata tapenade. Spread cucumber salsa as the base on serving plate.
  • When lamburgers are done, remove from fry pan and place on top of cucumber salsa. Spoon a dollop of kalamata tapenade on each lamburger. Sprinkle with remaining pomegranate and serve.

Notes

If making in advance, store lamburgers separately from cucumber salsa and tapenade, so lamburgers can be heated up on their own before assembly and serving.

Brussel Sprouts with Bacon and Pomegranate

Quick – it’s cold outside, and you want a veggie side dish that is not a cold salad. What do you do?? Crank up the oven, throw some veggies on a baking sheet, and 30 minutes later, you’ve got happy taste buds and a warm tummy!

If you’re like me, sometimes you crave variety in the way your food is prepared. So even though my instinct is to make a salad or roast whatever vegetable I have in my kitchen, I am always looking for new ways to do the familiar (aka make dinner).

And so, last night we had this warm Brussel Sprouts with Bacon and Pomegranate side dish. My little guy happily ate it up – the pomegranate contributed to this, full disclosure, but the brussel sprouts were eaten right along with it! He’s got good taste in fruit, for sure. Luckily for him (and me!), I learned a easy way to separate all the juicy, delicious jewels – they’re actually called pomegranate arils (or seeds) – from the papery, cream colored membrane lining the inside of the entire fruit. Even better, it doesn’t look like a massacre occurred in my kitchen when I’m all done, nor have I ruined any clothing or white kitchen tile grout!

The way I prepare the pomegranate is unique to other fruit. First grab a medium sized bowl big enough to fit both of your hands plus the pomegranate in at the same time while being fully submerged in water. Also, take out a plastic cutting board with a ridge around the perimeter and kitchen knife. Choose plastic instead of wood if you don’t like your board getting stained! Fill up the bowl almost to the top with water warm enough to be a pleasant temperature – no need to have freezing cold hands while doing this! Cut the pomegranate in half; the cutting board ridge will catch any juice which decides to run. Place the pomegranate halves in the bowl, under water. Working on one half at a time, gently peel the pomegranate arils out of the membrane layers while being sure to keep the fruit submerged. The water will prevent juice spatters like a charm! The papery membrane floats to the top of the water, while the arils sink towards the bottom. As a result, skimming off the membrane pieces is a cinch, leaving all the goodness behind!

You could, of course, buy ready-to-eat pomegranate from the refrigerated produce section in your store. However, I find the often cloudy liquid in which the arils are sitting in unappetizing and makes me question their freshness. I’ll stick with prepping my own! When it’s this easy to eat pomegranate, you might find new ways to eat more, too!

Brussel Sprouts with Bacon and Pomegranate

Roasted brussel sprouts pair up with crispy, salty bacon and juicy, sweet pomegranate in this cold weather dish. (AIP, paleo, gluten-free, dairy-free, soy-free, egg-free, nut-free, nightshade-free)
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time30 mins
Total Time40 mins
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Servings: 4 servings

Ingredients

  • 1-1/2 pounds brussel sprouts, quartered
  • 12 ounces bacon, cut into 1" strips
  • 1/2 large red onion, chopped
  • salt, to taste
  • pepper, to taste
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp pomegranate molasses
  • 1/4 cup pomegranate arils

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • On a baking sheet, evenly spread brussel sprouts, bacon, and red onion. Drizzle with 1 Tbsp olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  • Place baking sheet in oven and cook for 20-25 minutes, stirring occasionally, until brussel sprouts are cooked through.
  • Increase oven temperature to 425 degrees. Cook about 5 more minutes, until brussel sprouts and bacon are browned and crispy. Remove from oven.
  • Mix 1 Tbsp olive oil with pomegranate molasses. Drizzle over brussel sprout mixture. Sprinkle fresh pomegranate on top. Serve warm.

Notes

Best served immediately. If preparing in advance, wait to add fresh pomegranate until after reheating brussel sprouts.

 


Double Corn Drop Biscuits

Oh yum, yum, yum. Theeeese biscuits.

When I started my nutrient-dense, healing diet (the Autoimmune Protocol, or AIP) which is structured around a food elimination phase and food reintroduction phase, giving up corn felt just plain sad. I, like many people, previously loved corn on the cob from our local farmer’s market; hot, homemade tortillas and chips with Mexican food – personal favorites; popcorn; and many variations of cornbread. Needless to say, corn was on the short list of things I was itching to try reintroducing when the time was right! I hoped so badly my body would tolerate it well!

To be clear, I know there are many more nutrient-dense foods out there. However, for me, trying to reintroduce corn was the right decision. My goal is, and will continue to be, to safely expand my diet to include as many foods as possible, especially ones which I truly enjoy. And the ones which are so very ubiquitous (ahem – corn)! To me it seemed like a no-brainer.

Thankfully, I have been able to successfully reintroduce corn – which is probably obvious since I’m posting a recipe using it. I’ve been enjoying recreating some revamped versions of old favorites. Here is one which I will share with you today. Corn is officially back on the menu!

DSC03643-EXPORT

If you’re fortunate enough to be looking for corn biscuits/bread/muffins actually made with corn (yes, I was also surprised to learn there are recipes for cornbread online which don’t have corn!), you may have noticed most recipes are simply gluten-free, but contain otherwise traditional ingredients. Don’t let this stop you in your tracks!

My double corn drop biscuit recipe utilizes apple cider vinegar and baking powder for leavening plus a flaxseed egg-replacer (btw, isn’t it absolutely amazing that this works???) to bind the ingredients while keeping the biscuits free of eggs. Adding lard (or coconut oil) and water instead of butter and milk allows us to ditch the dairy.

The resulting texture is fluffy, soft, and feels especially indulgent, as foods like this are a treat in our house. These biscuits would be perfect to make for Thanksgiving or another cold-weather celebration when comfort food is on the menu!

DSC03630-EXPORT

Double Corn Drop Biscuits

Rustic, satisfying corn biscuits. The perfect sidekick to a warm bowl of soup on a cold day.
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time20 mins
Total Time30 mins
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Keyword: biscuit, bread, corn, dairy-free, egg-free, gluten-free, nightshade-free, nut-free, soy-free
Servings: 15 biscuits

Ingredients

  • 1-1/4 cup masa harina
  • 1/4 cup brown rice flour
  • 1/4 cup white rice flour
  • 1/4 cup tapioca flour
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 4 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup ground flaxseed plus 5 Tbsp water
  • 1-1/2 cup water
  • 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp lard melted (could sub coconut oil or , if dairy tolerated, butter)
  • 1 cup frozen corn kernels

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • In a small cup or bowl, add 1/4 cup ground flaxseed and 5 Tbsp water. Stir to combine and allow to sit and visibly thicken for a few minutes.
  • While the flaxseed egg-replacer is thickening, in a mixing bowl, add masa harina, brown rice flour, white rice flour, tapioca flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Whisk to combine evenly.
  • After flaxseed egg-replacer is visibly thickened, add it to the dry ingredients. Using a large whisk, whisk until the mixture has an even-crumbly consistency.
  • Add 1-1/2 cup water, apple cider vinegar, and melted lard to the mixing bowl. Using a spatula, gently stir in the remaining wet ingredients, stopping as soon as incorporated.
  • Add frozen corn kernels to the batter. Mix just until incorporated, then stop.
  • Using a cookie dough scoop, spoon out level scoops full of biscuit batter onto a cookie sheet. The biscuits don’t spread much, allowing them to all bake on a single cookie sheet, if placed well.
  • Bake for 20 minutes. If checked with a toothpick, it should come out clean.
  • When biscuits are finished cooking, remove from oven. Transfer from baking sheet to cooling rack to allow the biscuit bottoms to crisp a little as they cool. Or eat immediately.

Notes

May be made ahead. Biscuits reheat well in toaster oven.