Cauliflower Fried Rice {Grain Free}

CauliflowerRiceCornerI’m always looking for ways to get more vegetables.

You guys.  IT IS HARD.

While I don’t hate grains, (in fact, I adore them), I know my body doesn’t do well with a carbohydrate-heavy diet and I tend to feel uncomfortably full and bloated after eating them.  I also truly believe in a veggie-based diet, especially because I struggle with PCOS and endometriosis.  I have to keep my babymaker in good shape, and the best and first line of health for me is nutrition.  It’s part of an overall commitment to health and hormone balance.

When I can replace grains with veggies, I do. When I can replace grains and not miss them even a little bit, I absolutely do.

I’ve perused Pinterest and have seen the fried rice recipes with cauliflower.  I usually dismissed them because it’s typically so much prep work to get cauliflower to taste like something awesome. But with the fried cauliflower “rice”, it was a total breeze.

Are you ready for my secret weapon?

grater

Yep, a cheese grater.

I’ve tried a food processor, blender, knife tricks, and dicing or mashing after steaming.  The cheese grater, though, was so easy to use (albeit messy).  I just plunked the grater in a deep bowl,  trimmed and quartered the head of cauliflower, then grated away.

Easy.

The final result? A flavorful, slightly spicy dish that is wonderful as a standalone and completely filling and satisfying.  I didn’t miss the rice even a little.

CauliflowerRiceFull

Ingredients:

  • 1 large head cauliflower, trimmed and grated
  • 1 12 oz bag of frozen mixed veggies (I prefer the California Blend)
  • 1 12 oz bag of frozen cut green beans
  • 12 oz of cooked protein of your choice (optional, but leftover meat works great!)
  • 1 head of garlic, minced or crushed
  • 1 small onion, minced
  • 2 Tbsp fresh ginger, grated or minced
  • Bragg’s Amino Acids, Tamrari, or organic soy sauce (I prefer Bragg’s)
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 Tbsp Avocado oil, ghee, or another high smoking point oil
  • 1 tsp red pepper flakes (optional)
  • Salt and Pepper

Directions:

  1. In a large skillet, add frozen veggies and a tablespoon (or more) of Bragg’s.  If you want some extra spice, add red pepper flakes. Cook on medium high, stirring every five minutes until they are steaming hot.
  2. While vegetables are cooking, sauté onion in a large skillet or wok in 2 tablespoons of oil until translucent.  Add garlic and ginger and cook until soft and slightly golden.
  3. Add grated cauliflower to the garlic, onion, and ginger.  Add remaining oil, two tablespoons of Bragg’s, and mix thoroughly. Allow cauliflower to cook until tender.
  4. Once cauliflower is tender, push it to the sides, creating a hole in the middle of the pan.  A three inch circle of the pan should be exposed.  Crack eggs into the exposed circle, scrambling with a fork or spatula continuously.  The egg will cook into the cauliflower, and that’s okay.
  5. Once your eggs are scrambled, add protein and veggies (minus any liquid), to the cauliflower and mix thoroughly.  Add salt and pepper to taste and serve immediately.

I’m eating this today for lunch as leftovers.  It tastes so good without heating, but reheats like a dream in a skillet on the stove top.

This veggie thing.  It’s not THAT hard.
Carrie

 

Strawberry Shortcake {Paleo and Vegan}

Remember Strawberry Shortcake? She was one of my childhood favorites, along with Shera, My Little Ponies, GI Joe, Star Wars, and Care Bears.  There was something so enticing about the faint chemical strawberry scent of her hair, her massive bobbleheadedness, and magical world where everything smelled and tasted delicious.  My friend had a Strawberry Shortcake bedspread and sheets and I was so envious.  I wanted to dream of Berry Bitty City and play with Strawberry and all of her friends, and I was pretty sure I could only do that if I was lulled to sleep under all those magical sheets and blankets.

vintage-strawberry-shortcake-cute-31000

I didn’t realize for a long time (really, way too long) that Strawberry Shortcake was a real thing.  I don’t even remember having actual strawberries until we moved to Texas when I was in elementary school.  And I definitely don’t remember eating strawberry shortcake until I was in second grade at the school Field Day.

That shortcake was…not amazing.  It was made with the store bought spongy, yellow mini-cakes baked into little flat-top basins to hold the strawberries and whipped cream.  The strawberries were glazed and tasted like my Strawberry Shortcake doll smelled. A spoonful of Cool Whip completed the dish and it was…not my favorite thing I’d ever had.  I really wanted it to be.

Eventually, I outgrew my love of Strawberry Shortcake and her friends and mostly avoided the dessert for many years after that.  It wasn’t until college that I tried it again at a swanky resturant at the urging of my best friend.

Holy moly.

It was one of the most mind-blowingly delicious things I had ever tasted.  The shortcake was more like a biscuit, and everything was fresh and texturally spot on.

I’m not exaggerating when I say I’ve spent ten years trying to recreate that shortcake.

This is the closest I’ve come.  I didn’t realize until I eliminated gluten from my diet that the shortcake I had tried so hard to replicate most likely was made using almond flour.  Once I unlocked that piece, the rest was a breeze.

Strawberry Shortcake

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups sliced strawberries
  • 2 cups blanched almond flour (I use Bob’s Red Mill)
  • 2 eggs*
  • 3/4 cup butter, cold and cubed, or melted coconut or avocado oil
  • 1 scant cup cassava flour (wheat flour can be substituted)
  • 2 Tbsp raw honey, or other sweetener
  • 2 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg

Directions:

  1. Combine the almond flour, cassava flour, baking soda, salt, and nutmeg in a medium mixing bowl.
  2. Add butter to the flour mixture and cut into flour until the butter is in tiny pieces.
  3. In a small bowl, combine eggs, vanilla extract, apple cider vinegar, and honey.  Whisk until fully incorporated.
  4. Add egg mixture to flour mixture and stir until barely combined.
  5. Spoon mixture onto a parchment paper-lined baking sheet, or bake in lined muffin tins.
  6. Bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes.
  7. Pile with strawberries and whipped topping of your choice.

*If you want to make this egg-free, go for it!  To replace two eggs, I used 2 Tbsp ground flax seeds, 3 Tbsp water, 1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar.

Now that I know what strawberry shortcake can be, I’ll never go back.  I still miss my Strawberry Shortcake doll, though, and secretly wish for a daughter so I can justify buying all the Strawberry Swag.

Strawberrylicious,
Carrie

 

 

 

Creamy Avocado Zoodles {Paleo Vegan Raw}

My friend, Feather, is hilarious.  She’s also kind of a genius.

We met when our babies were still safe little blueberries, growing fast in our bellies.  I offered Feather my drink tickets at my husband’s office Christmas party.  She declined, telling me she was pregnant.  Then I got (too) excited and exclaimed “Me, too!” and thus a friendship was born. And then our babies were born shortly after.

Our kids, E and Rosebud, were born exactly one week apart and Feather and I have been able to support and love each other on every part of this parenting journey.  We are often grateful that our babies conspired to bring us together, because everyone knows babies are magic and can totally do that.  E and Rosebud knew we would need each other.  They were right.  Because Magic.

One day, when our babies were about 6 months old, Feather texted me about a new product she had purchased called the “Vegetti”.  We giggled and turned into 14 year-olds immediately, and then spent an afternoon volleying inappropriate jokes back and forth between diaper changes and bottle feedings.  Because new moms need lots of distraction and laughter, even if it involves bathroom humor.  Maybe especially if it does.

Of course, I had to buy a Vegetti immediately. The Vegetti is a vegetable spiralizer and uses fresh vegetables, like carrots and zucchini, to make noodles.  I experimented and played with it, and came up with a really yummy dish (and several more jokes) that satisfied me for several hours. It also provided a big boost of healthy fat and nutrient dense veggies, which I desperately needed.  It was a fast, healthy lunch, and with a handful of cashews or some uncured ham, it was a complete meal for me.

AvocadoZoodles

*If you don’t have a spiralizer or don’t want to invest in one, you can use a carrot peeler and make wider noodles. It will work just as well, and create a slightly different texture.  You can also add some shredded parmesan to add depth and a hint of buttery flavor.

Ingredients:
  • 1 large zucchini, spiralized, shredded or peeled
  • 1 medium avocado
  • 8-10 cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
  • 3-4 leaves of fresh basil, chopped or ribboned
  • 1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • sea salt and pepper

Directions:

  1. Put noodles and basil in a medium mixing bowl.
  2. Mash avocado, adding salt and pepper and lemon juice.
  3. Add mashed avocado to the zucchini, and mix thoroughly.
  4. Add tomatoes and stir until they are coated in avocado and well incorporated.
  5. Serve immediately with fresh cracked pepper and a little extra basil on top.

Feather and I are still making jokes, supporting each other in the middle of our crazy times, and raising our babies together.  We even had a mommy getaway last year and Cannon Beach gave us this amazing moment because it somehow knew we needed it. Or maybe our babies knew we needed it and arranged it with their Baby Magic. Who knows?  But we definitely loved our wine and beach sunset. Kind of like you will love the zoodles.

CannonBeachFeatherandCarrie

Vegging and Vegetti-ing,
Carrie

 

Salted Dark Chocolate Chunk Cookies {Grain-Free}

So, call me crazy, but I don’t feel like chocolate chunk cookies really need much explanation.  Because chocolate.

These are some of my faves, though.  They are chewy, salty, sweet, and gluten-free.  How awesome is that?

I typically make these for my mom, who has a little condition called diabetes.

Mom
She’s a total cutie.

Since Mother’s Day is coming up, these are a perfect way to share the love with my mom and still respect her limitations. I want her to be around to see my kiddo graduate from high school in approximately 16 years, so I’m committed to supporting her in any way I can.  This includes making enjoyable food she can eat.  And as a mother, I would love to have someone make these for me (I’m looking at you , dear husband).

ChewyChocolateChipCookies

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup blanched almond meal
  • 1/2 cup coconut sugar, or erythritol for a low-glycemic option
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup melted coconut oil or butter
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 oz  85% cacao dark chocolate, chopped into chunks
  • 1 tsp kosher-style sea salt or fleur de sal
  • a tiny dash of nutmeg

Directions:

  1. In a medium mixing bowl, combine almond meal, coconut sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon, then stir.
  2. Add eggs, oil,  vinegar, and vanilla extract and mix thoroughly with almond meal mixture.
  3. Add chocolate chunks.
  4. On a parchment-lined baking sheet, spoon batter (which will be slightly runny) into half-dollar drops.  This will spread quite a bit during baking so be sure to leave plenty of space between cookies.
  5. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes.  Because of the almond meal, they will brown on the top slightly more than traditional cookies.  It’s okay.  :)
  6. Remove from oven and allow to cool completely.  They will have delicately crisp edges and soft centers before you store them, then they are all soft after that.

Consume within 3-4 days, otherwise they’ll get stale.  But good luck with lasting that long.  These are HIGHLY addictive!

Be sure to love your moms this week, and if this is a difficult holiday for you, be sure to take good care of yourself.

Yo Mama,
Carrie

Quinoa Fritters with Coconut Honey Butter

This post is made possible by the generous sponsorship of Bob’s Red Mill.

We are strictly gluten-free at our house because of my son’s FPIES, (which is a fancy acronym for Allergic to Practically Everything).  Luckily, E can handle quinoa like a champ. I’m always looking for food all of our friends and family can enjoy so our kid grows up eating the same food as everyone else at our table. Traditional breakfast foods are the most challenging dishes to make to please a crowd.

Enter my BFF, Quinoa.

Quinoa is one of those universal foods that, when prepared correctly, is unbelievably satisfying. These fritters (I would call them pancakes except these are much more flavorful and delightfully crispy) are total crowd pleasers.  Even though I plan food as much as possible around E’s dietary restrictions, I also love to challenge myself and find new ways to make really tasty food that doesn’t feel restrictive in any way.  The quinoa fritters totally fit that bill.

Quinoa Fritters

I also have a hard time getting enough fat into my toddler’s diet, so I look for unique ways to incorporate fats into my dishes.  This coconut honey butter is totally edible as a stand-alone, if that’s what you’re into.

CoconutHoneyButter

Ingredients for Fritters:

  • 1 cup Bob’s Red Mill organic quinoa flour
  • 1/2 cup milk (plant or animal)
  • 1/2 cup apple sauce
  • 2 Tbsp melted coconut oil or butter
  • 2 Tbsp raw honey or other equivalent sweetener (optional)
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract (optional)
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp cinnamon (optional)
  • tiny pinch of salt

Directions For Fritters:

  1. Whisk baking soda, cinnamon and quinoa flour together in a bowl.
  2. Add wet ingredients and combine thoroughly.
  3. Heat a tablespoon of coconut oil or butter in a skillet on medium heat.
  4. When skillet is hot, spoon batter into skillet and spread out with the back of the spoon into a thin round shape. Flip when the edges begin to cook and the center begins to bubble ever so slightly. It should only take a minute or two to finish cooking.
  5. Press the pancake with the spatula to see if it is finished cooking.  If it is mushy in the middle, it needs more time.  If it is firm, it’s ready to eat.

Ingredients for Coconut Honey Butter:

  • 1/2 cup virgin coconut oil
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter (I prefer Kerrygold)
  • 1-2 Tbsp raw honey

Directions for Coconut Honey Butter:

  1. Remove butter from refrigerator and bring to room temp. (Butter should be very soft.)
  2. In a small sauce pan, melt coconut oil but do not make it hot.  Heat it just enough to liquify it. Remove from heat.
  3. Whisk honey into coconut oil, and then whisk together with room temperature butter. (I prefer to use an electric hand mixer, but a hand mixer would work fine.)
  4. Spread over a saran wrapped plate or small cookie sheet, and freeze until firm, (or spread immediately).
  5. Cut into small squares and melt over piping hot fritters.

You can add anything you want into this batter.  I think pieces of cooked, thick cut bacon would be fabulous in this recipe.  Blueberries, and even zucchini or pieces of banana would be super tasty.  Or, better yet, add bananas and bacon and you’ll have a scrumptious breakfast feast.  But whatever you do, you can make it your own.

Quinoa’s Biggest Fan,
Carrie