Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Book Review and Grain Free Pumpkin Roll

We are full swing into pumpkin season. Pumpkin drinks (PSL), pumpkin doughnuts, pumpkin pie. You name it and someone will turn a recipe into a pumpkin treat.  For several weeks, I've had the privilege of reviewing the wonderful cookbook, Without Grain by Hayley Ryczek. In her book,  Hayley has done a great job of explaining what a grain free lifestyle looks like.  The how-to's, the why's, and awesome recipes--it is all in her new cook book. She includes 100 recipes that are grain free, gluten free, and wheat free. The information Hayley provides helps anyone understand this lifestyle better.
Some of my favorite recipes from Without Grain are the bagels, waffles, and crispy baked pork chops. My kids loved the pork chops! Everything I've made has been full of flavor and very satisfying. 
You can learn more about Hayley and find mouth watering recipes on her website, Health Starts in the Kitchen. And.....she's been so nice to allow me to share with you her recipe for Pumpkin Roll with Cream Cheese Filling! 
If you have ever looked at those plump, oozing with yummy filling pumpkin rolls in the store then you know they are probably filled with ingredients that you don't really want to eat. They also look a little intimidating to make.  But this pumpkin roll recipe has delicious ingredients--that you can pronounce-- like coconut sugar, almond flour, and maple syrup. And best of all, other than tasting amazing, is how easy it is to make. So I do hope you try this recipe and let me know when you do!

Pumpkin Roll with Cream Cheese Filling

For Cake:
1/4 cup blanched almond flour
1/4 cup tapioca starch
1/4 cup arrowroot starch
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
3 large eggs
1 cup coconut sugar
2/3 cup pumpkin puree
Optional: 1 cup chopped nuts, such as walnuts or pecans
Powdered sugar, for dusting

For Filling:
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup butter, softened
2 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons maple syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1. Preheat the oven to 375° or gas mark 5.  Line a 15x10 inch jelly-roll pan with lightly greased parchment paper.

2. To make the cake: In a medium bowl, combine the flour, starches, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, cloves, and salt and mix well.

3. In a large bowl with a handheld mixer or in the bowl of a stand mixer on medium speed, beat together the eggs and coconut sugar until thick.  Add the pumpkin puree and blend until combined.  Gradually add the dry ingredients and mix until smooth.

4. Pour the batter onto the prepared jelly-roll pan and sprinkle with the chopped nuts, if desired.  Bake for 10-15 minutes until the top of the cake springs back when touched.

5. While the cake is baking, spread out a clean kitchen towel and sprinkle with powdered sugar.  When the cake is done, remove it from the oven and gently flip the cake onto the powdered sugared towel, so the parchment paper is on top, and peel off the paper.

6. Staring at the short end, roll up the towel and cake together into a jelly roll.  Set seam-side down and allow to completely cool while rolled up, about 1 hour.

7. To make the filling: In a bowl with a handheld mixer or in the bowl of a stand mixer on medium speed, beat together the cream cheese and butter until fluffy, about 2 to 3 minutes.  Add the honey, maple syrup, and vanilla and beat until smooth.

8. When the cake is completely cool, gently unroll it and spread with the cream cheese filling to the edges.  Roll it back up (without the towel) and wrap in plastic wrap.  Chill in the fridge for at least 1 hour before cutting and serving.  Dust with powdered sugar, if desired.

NOTE:  Pumpkin rolls freeze well, wrapped tightly in plastic wrap, for up to 6 months.  (Freeze it in slices so you can take out just what you need.) Allow to thaw overnight in the fridge before serving.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Easy Italian Cucumber Salad

I just whipped up this salad for a picnic tomorrow. It was very quick and easy. There aren't many ingredients and most you probably have on hand.
It is the season for picnics and cookouts and easy recipes are always winners!

Easy Cucumber Salad

2-3 Cucumbers
3 Roma tomatoes
1/2 small red onion
Bottled Italian salad dressing
Fresh purple basil
Cracked black pepper
Mozzarella Cheese, fresh

Wash the veggies. Slice Cucumbers into thick rounds then quarter the rounds. Dice tomatoes. Combine those in a large bowl. Dice onion and add to bowl. Crack some black pepper over veggies.  Snip some fresh purple basil in there. As much as you like. Stir all that together then pour about half a bottle of Italian dressing over veggies and stir. You may want more dressing, but this amount looked like enough for me. Cover and chill for several hours before serving. Just before serving, stir in some fresh mozzarella cheese.

That's it! What are some of your favorite cookout sides?

Happy picnicking!

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Clean, Healthy Snacks

Well it's that time of year again. Summer is sneaking up on us. Yay!! It truly is my favorite time of year. I'm definitely a warm weather girl.
I'm going to share with you a few of my favorite snacks for those warm weather days of summer. (Really, these snacks are great all year round.)
These are easy, healthy snacks that are also clean and natural.

Frozen Grapes
These are such a refreshing treat on a hot day!  Just wash red or green seedless grapes, dry well, place in a plastic bag, and then place the bag flat in the freezer. Keep the bag flat so the grapes are in a single layer. Freeze for a few hours until they are solid. Keep in the freezer for a quick snack. 

Clementines/Mandarins and Nuts 
 These little orange babies are so good and sweet. Nature's candy! Pair these with almonds or pistachios and you've got a great snack.

Celery/Apple with Nut Butter 
Nothing fancy here, just raw celery or a sliced apple with a natural, no sugar added nut butter of your choice. I made almond butter in my Vitamix with just roasted almonds and a tiny bit of sea salt. If you need to sweeten it, mix in a little raw honey.

Frozen Yogurt Drops 

These are very easy to make with plain Greek yogurt and a little honey. Pipe drops, freeze, and enjoy.
 Start with about one cup, or one seven ounce container of nonfat or low fat plain Greek yogurt. Choose wisely and use plain as it doesn't have added sugar. Mix in one tablespoon of raw honey. Put that mixture into a piping bag or a plastic zipper bag with a corner snipped off. Pipe onto a lined cookie sheet. Just pipe small, bite size drops. Freeze until firm, a few hours. Transfer to a container and keep in the freezer. 

Have fun making your healthy snacks and share some of your ideas! 
Happy snacking!