Sunday, October 23, 2011

Coconut & Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars

Is quinoa really not a grain? Is it a seed with too many grain-like properties? Or is it just fine to eat? There's something to research. In the meantime, these are very tasty . . . though I was surprised by just! how! high! they are in calories and carbs. These dense and chewy oatmeal-cookie-like bars are definitely only an occasional treat.

Coconut & Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars
Adapted from The Spunky Coconut's Grain-Free Baked Goods
Makes one 8x8 pan

1/2 cup almond butter
1/4 cup applesauce
1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 tablespoons flax seed meal
5 drops liquid stevia

3/4 cup quinoa flakes
1/3 cup coconut sugar
1/4 cup shredded coconut
2 tablespoons potato starch
1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum
1/4 teaspoon salt
1-3 teaspoons water (if needed)
1/3 cup dairy-free dark chocolate chips
1/4 cup roasted, salted almonds (optional)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease an 8x8 pan or a glass pie pan.

In a large mixing bowl, combine almond butter through stevia. Mix well. Then add in the quinoa flakes, coconut sugar, shredded coconut, potato starch, xanthan gum, and salt, and stir well. The mixture should be stiff, but if it seems unspreadably dry, add a teaspoon of water and mix again. Repeat, if needed, until the mixture is moist enough to spread in clumps. Gently stir in the chocolate chips and (if using) the almonds.

Spread and press the mixture into the greased pan. Bake for 17 minutes; then let it cool at least 10 minutes before trying to slice. (Bars will be firmest if allowed to cool entirely.)

Approximate nutritional information for 1/6 of the pan (sans optional almonds): 427 cal, 28 g fat, 41 g carbs, 4 g fiber, 6 g protein

Turkey and Pumpkin Chili

A few days ago, when it was unseasonably chilly out, I had the craving for an easy and filling autumnal meal. I decided to use some of the pastured ground turkey from US Wellness to make a turkey and pumpkin chili. Pretty easy and definitely delicious!

The pumpkin gives a very subtle sweet note and rich texture to the chili without adding a lot of carbs. Next time, I think I'll use ground beef rather than ground turkey, though; I like the way beef browns (and thus deepens the chili's flavor) better than turkey does. As it's written, this is a mild chili, so throw in some jalapenos or additional cayenne if you want to kick the heat up.

Turkey & Pumpkin Chili

Paleo, Grain-Free, Bean-Free
Serves 6.

2 tablespoons cumin
1 tablespoon smoked paprika (not hot)
1 teaspoon smoked salt (use regular salt if you don't have smoked salt)
1/2 teaspoon chipotle pepper
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
3 tablespoons ghee (divided into 2 tablespoons and 1 tablespoon)
2 pounds ground turkey
2 poblano peppers, chopped
1 onion, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 large (28-oz.) can organic diced tomatoes
1 (14-oz.) can organic tomato sauce
1 (14-oz.) can pumpkin puree (or 14 ounces of roasted and pureed pumpkin, but *not* pumpkin pie mix)

Garnishes: avocado, fresh cilantro

Put the spices in a small ramekin or mug to make a spice mix.

Heat a large cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat. When the pan is hot, add two tablespoons of ghee. Add the turkey without crowding the pan (cook it in batches, if necessary). Sprinkle about half of the spice mix over the turkey. Cook the turkey until the water that extrudes from it evaporates, and then let it cook a bit more. You want to brown the turkey, not just 'gray' it, and while turkey won't brown as much as beef, it will somewhat darken if you let it. When the turkey is cooked, remove the pan from heat, and set it aside.

In a large pot, heat the remaining tablespoon of ghee over medium heat. When the ghee has melted, add the chopped poblano peppers, onion, and bell pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the peppers have softened and the onion has started to brown, 5-7 minutes. Add the remaining seasoning mix and the minced garlic, and stir well. Cook for one minute. Add the diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, pumpkin puree, and ground turkey. Stir until the mixture is thoroughly combined. Bring the chili up to a boil; then cover it, and turn it down to a simmer. Let the chili simmer for at least one hour, stirring occasionally. Taste to check seasonings, and alter as needed.

Serve with garnishes, if desired. Enjoy! (The leftovers are even better the next day.)

Approximate nutritional info (sans garnishes) for 1/6th of recipe: 454 cal, 23 g fat, 26 g carbs, 8 g fiber, 34 g protein.