Brownies

Remember how I said awhile back that part of our whole food journey as a family has been to not eliminate treats completely, but to reinforce to our kiddos that treats are just that, treats? We don’t get them on a daily basis and we don’t eat them from packages much anymore, but that being said, I don’t feel one bit guilty about making a batch of delicious brownies from good, quality ingredients for my family. These brownies. I cannot quit making these brownies. In December, I even made them two days in a row. The first days batch got crumbled and put into our vanilla ice cream mixture and became Brownie Ice Cream… so of course I had to make them the next day to eat with our Brownie Ice Cream… right?!

These guys are super easy to make and they are wheat-free. If you have oatmeal on hand, just blend up 1/4 cup of oats to use or you can buy oat flour in the bulk section of your grocery store.

Delicious, friends. I am warning you. Now you are going to have a brownie problem. Oh, and this is another Sprouted Kitchen inspired recipe. She is awesome.

oat flour brownies

INGREDIENTS:
  • 5 tablespoons Kerrygold Butter – Unsalted
  • 9 ounces good quality dark chocolate, like Theo Chocolate Bar, chopped (I use 3 of these bars)
  • 1/4 organic natural cane sugar (Next time I am going to try to substitute 100% Pure Maple Syrup and see how that works.)
  • 2 eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon 100% pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup oat flour, or ground oats (be sure to select gluten-free oats if you need GF brownies)
  • Pinch of salt
  • Maldon Smoked Sea Salt, to sprinkle on top once cooked
  • Optional add-in: 1 cup of your choice of lightly toasted diced nuts, our favorite is pecans
METHOD:
1. Pre-heat oven to 350.
2. In a medium saucepan, melt the butter over low heat and stir in the chocolate. Stir constantly until mixture is melted and remove from heat.
3. Add in the vanilla and sugar and mix.
4. Whisk in one egg at a time.
5. Add the oat flour and salt and stir vigorously for one whole minute. This step is important to ensure everything is incorporated well.
6. If adding nuts, go ahead and add these next.
7. Pour brownie mixture into a  8 inch glass pan lined with greased parchment paper and bake for 25-30 minutes or until brownies appear set, but be careful not to over cook.
8. Let these guys cool completely before you cut them. Sprinkle with salt.  Enjoy!
*Use organic ingredients whenever possible
**Adapted from The Sprouted Kitchen.
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Homemade Mayonnaise (made with olive oil)

Mayo.  This is another one of those things I never considered making in my own kitchen until recently, but the result is fantastic and the process isn’t hard.  I have yet to find a truly “clean” store-bought mayo.  All the common brands contain terrible ingredients…. high fructose corn syrup, modified corn starch, sugar, soybean oil, and canola oil.  By the way, every single one of those ingredients I just listed come from genetically modified crops…. when you see those ingredients listed, put it back on the shelf and learn to make it yourself.  Seriously. That stuff freaks me out.  Ok, so homemade mayo is made with just 6 ingredients, all of them good.  Olive oil (good fat, non-GMO), eggs (organic and pastured is best…. amazing nutrients and protein, not to mention full of those beneficial Omega-3’s), vinegar, mustard, and some spices.  That’s it.  Now, while the texture is quite “mayonnaise-like” this doesn’t taste like an exact replica of that gross stuff I used to eat.  It is so much better.  You can spread this on sandwiches to be sure, and mix it into tuna or egg salad, but you can also do so much more.  One time, I folded in fresh basil, roasted peppers, and garlic to make more of an aoili that we dipped veggies in and spooned onto our fish.  Another time, I added some dried spices and a little bit of coconut milk, and got something that tasted freakishly like ranch dressing.  The possibilities are endless, really. This morning I added in chipotle seasoning, and smoke paprika and dipped homemade sweet potato fries in it.  See?  Endless.  I would love to hear what some of you lovely people create!!

Additionally, I know that some of you will freak about consuming raw eggs.  I would freak too if I didn’t trust my farmer… There is such peace of mind in knowing where your food comes from, what conditions the animals are raised in, the foods they consume, and the freshness of the product.  I get my eggs from this amazing woman named Eiko, with Skagit River Ranch.  The eggs are organic, pastured, and the freshest eggs ever.  I have to wait in line to get these eggs, and pay a pretty penny for them, but to our family it is worth it.  Personally, I would be fearful of eating raw eggs from almost any other source.  AND, if you are pregnant or nursing, don’t eat raw eggs.  But you already knew that.

This recipe fills up one mason jar to the brim, plus about 1/4 cup or so extra…. I’ve kept it with success for about a week in the refrigerator.  Haven’t tried to see if it lasts longer, mostly because we eat it too fast.

Also, see all those red specks in my mayo?  Got a little pour happy with the cayenne.  T’was a mistake I didn’t regret, although this batch did have some serious kick.

homemade mayonnaise with olive oil, paleo

INGREDIENTS:
  • 2 large organic, pasture-raised eggs
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon yellow mustard
  • 2 cups light olive oil (the “light” is important here, if you use extra virgin, the olive taste will be very over powering)
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
METHOD:
1.  In a liquid measuring glass, measure 2 cups of light olive oil.  Set aside.
2.  Combine eggs, vinegar, and mustard in food processor with the metal blade attachment.  A blender will work too if you don’t have food processor.
3.  Pulse food processor 5 times so the eggs mix with the other ingredients.
4.  Turn food processor on, and SLOWLY, and I mean SLOWLY pour olive oil into food processor while it is running.  SLOW guys.  Like painfully slow.  It takes at least 2 minutes, maybe longer to pour olive oil in slowly.  Slow.  Got it?
5.  You will begin to see the eggs and olive oil thickening, also called emulsifying, but keep going slow until olive oil is fully incorporated and desired thickness is achieved.
6.  Turn food processor off, add in salt and cayenne, and pulse again 5 times to combine.
7.  If you are going to add in various other spices and flavors, I recommend folding them into the mayo base with a spoon rather than adding them to food processor.  The mayonnaise looses its thickness unless you are careful with add-ins.

 

*Use organic ingredients whenever possible.
**Adapted from Everyday Paleo.

Blackberry Bars (grain / gluten / dairy free, paleo)

5 days in to our no grain challenge and we are going strong.  Happy to have dabbled in grain-free cooking and baking over the past year, or this would have been really hard. However, it has been fun and easy.  I’ve had ingredients stocked in my pantry (well, sad excuse for a pantry… more like shoved into my cupboard), and have been easily able to serve up 3 meals a day (plus a lunch to send with husband to work) and have literally avoided all grains.  Too early to report any changes, but so far we feel great.  These bars can be easily made Paleo if you sub the milk for coconut milk or almond milk.  On to the berry bars.

I froze a bunch or organic berries from the farmer’s market this summer.  And boy, am I glad I did.  Those blackberries were perfect in these bars.  Although, you could use another berry, fresh or frozen.  Or a combo of berries.  Easy, super yummy, and grain-free. Even if you eat grains, give this one a try.  Coconut flour is really healthy for you, and you might be surprised how you feel after a protein filled breakfast instead of a carb filled one. Give em a try!

grain free black berry bars

INGREDIENTS:
  • 1 cup Coconut Flour
  • 1/2 cup Shredded, Unsweetened Coconut
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/4 cup raw honey
  • 2 bananas, smashed
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tablespoons Coconut Oil, melted
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 cup blackberries (or other berry of your choice)
METHOD:
1.  Preheat oven to 350F.  Grease 8×8 baking pan with coconut oil, set aside.
2.  In a large bowl, or the bowl of your stand mixer, combine dry ingredients (coconut flour, shredded coconut, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda, salt).  Stir (or mix on low speed) to combine.
3.  Add in wet ingredients (honey, smashed bananas, coconut oil, eggs, vanilla, milk).  Stir (or mix on medium speed) until thoroughly combined.
4.  Fold in berries, and scoop into greased baking pan.  This batter is similar in texture to cookie dough, so it won’t pour.  And once you scoop or spoon it in, press down a bit with your spatula so that it is evenly distributed.
5.  Bake for 35-40 minutes, until crust is golden.  Wait until completely cool to cut.  Serve with pastured butter, honey, or jam.  Enjoy!
*Use organic ingredients whenever possible.
**Adapted from What Runs Lori.
Posts may contain affiliate links.  If you purchase products through an affiliate link, your cost will be the same but Flax + Honey will receive a small commission.  This helps in covering the costs to keep the site up and running.  We appreciate your support!!

Fried Brown Rice with Chicken, Bacon, + Veggies

Who doesn’t love fried rice?  I was craving the stuff, and texted my lovely friend, Sarah for some inspiration.  She suggested adding chicken into the rice, and it was so yummy.  I’d never done that before, always had chicken on the side, but I will definitely do it again. And the leftovers were soooo yummy the next day.

fried brown rice, with chicken, bacon, and veggies

INGREDIENTS:
  • 1 – 1 1/2 lb organic, dark chicken meat
  • 6 slices pastured bacon, diced
  • 2 cups whole grain brown rice
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 tablespoons minced garlic, about 4 cloves
  • 1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons coconut aminos (or 100% organic tamari sauce), divided
  • 6 green onions, sliced
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • 1/2 cup grated carrots
  • Crushed red pepper flakes, to taste
METHOD:
1.  Dice chicken into 1″ cubes.  Marinate chicken in 2 tablespoons garlic and 2 tablespoons coconut aminos for an hour or so.
2.  While chicken is marinating, cook your brown rice according to package instructions.  Mine was 2 cups rice, 4 cups water, simmering for 40 minutes or until cooked and all liquid was absorbed.
3.  Cook chicken in large skillet (I used my cast iron) over medium to high heat for 10 minutes, or until there is no pink in chicken.  Place chicken on a clean plate, and set aside.
4.  In the same skillet, add bacon and cook over medium to high heat for about 7 minutes, or until bacon is cooked and crispy.  Do not discard grease.
5.  Add cooked rice, chicken, and all veggies (green onion, peas, carrots), back into the same skillet with the bacon and bacon grease.  Stir to combine and continue stirring over medium heat until veggies are hot, and softened a bit.
6.  Stir in the rest of the coconut aminos, or tamari sauce… 1/4 cup.  Feel free to add more,  to taste.  Add crushed red pepper flakes, stir to combine.
7.  Using a wooden spoon, push aside rice mixture to create 3 “wells” or holes, exposing the skillet at the bottom.  Crack one egg into each hole and lightly scramble the eggs with a fork.  You want the eggs to scramble in their little holes until they are about 90% cooked, then stir them into the rest of the rice.  If you simply combine them without cooking them individually a bit, you’ll just end up with a sticky egg coating over everything, and not chunks of eggs throughout, which you want.
8.  That’s it.  DInner is ready, and you only used one pan.  Amazing.  This made PLENTY of fried rice for us for dinner, and two sizeable adult lunches later in the week.  We re-heated ours back in the skillet, over the stove top.

 

*Use organic ingredients whenever possible.

Hard-Boiled Eggs

I know, I know.  You can’t believe I’m actually posting about one of the easiest things to accomplish in the kitchen.  Just bear with me a minute, though.  This isn’t your ordinary hard-boiled egg.  It is perfect.  It is a firm white, that isn’t chewy and plastic-like.  It is a cooked yolk, that is still a bit soft and not so dry that you choke and gag reaching for the nearest glass of water. Also, somehow these eggs don’t stink.  You know how after you make hard-boiled eggs, you open the refrigerator and it is all you can smell?  These don’t do that.   And, maybe most important of all, the shell comes off so easily – like sometimes in one piece.  You guys.  I spent my whole life just boiling the crap out of eggs and calling it good.  Like there wasn’t any rhyme or reason to how long I left em in that water – and they came out tough, dry, and oftentimes with this odd grey coating on the yolk.  No more.  Now, I steam my eggs.  I spent months (literally) researching and experimenting with farm fresh eggs.  For some reason, no matter how I cooked them, the shell came off in a million tiny pieces.  Maybe even like a million and one.  And, they took most of the egg white along with them.  Frustration.  But now, I’ve got it down to a science.

Give this a try, especially if you buy super fresh eggs straight from the farmer and have a hard time peeling the shell.  So good.  I usually make 6-8 at a time, peel them all at once, and then keep in air tight container in the refrigerator.  I eat them after workouts, my kids eat them for snacks, and husband takes them to work in his lunch box.

INGREDIENTS:
  • 6-8 eggs (we eat organic, pasture raised eggs… see this article for more information)
METHOD:
1.  Get out your steamer, and fill with water (about 2 inches deep), put steam basket in, and cover with lid.  (I have one very similiar to this one, thanks again to my kitchen gadget fairy of an aunt, Michaela).
2.  Bring water to a boil over high temperature burner.
3.  As soon as water boils, turn temperature down to medium.
4.  Uncover, add eggs carefully so as not to burn yourself or crack shells, and put lid back on.
5.  Set timer for 14-16 minutes (14 for 6 eggs, 16 for 8 eggs).
6.  When timer goes off, turn off heat and remove lid.  Allow them to cool for about 20 minutes.
7.  Peel eggs under cool, running water.  I’ve never left the shell on them past this point, so if you try that, let us know how it works for you!
8.  Allow peeled eggs to cool a bit more, store in air-tighter container in refrigerator for up to one week.  If you put them in refrigerator while they are still warm, they will produce a lot of moisture in your container, which means they will be sitting in water.  So don’t do that.

 

*Use organic ingredients whenever possible.

Quiche, with Whole Wheat Crust

This is one of those rare dishes that I always have the ingredients for on-hand without actually planning for it. I love this recipe. I take zero credit for it, it’s Lisa Leake, from 100 Days of Real Food, again. Pie crust is one of the things I always bought rolled up in a package. But one of those things that I will not buy anymore. This pie crust is ridiculously easy to make. Its 4 ingredients, you dump them in your pie dish, mix with a fork and shape the dough into your dish. Done. The first time I made it, I just knew it wouldn’t taste good because of how easy it was – I was wrong. Now, it’s a go-to. And it freezes well*. Today I filled ours with farmers’ market bacon, sautéed spinach, and goat cheese.  After cooking the bacon, I poured out the majority of the grease and threw about 4 big handfuls of baby spinach in the same pan and sautéed it in the remaining bacon grease until wilted. I let that cool, crumbled the bacon tossed it and the spinach into the egg mixture and topped it off with a sprinkle of salt, pepper and parmesan. It was yummy.

INGREDIENTS:
(for the crust)
  • 1 1/2 cups whole-wheat flour (I like King Arthur’s organic white whole-wheat flour, but used Trader Joe’s whole wheat flour this time)
  • 1/2 cup melted butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons whole milk
INGREDIENTS:
(for the Quiche filling)
  • 1.5 cups whole milk
  • 4 eggs, beaten
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • Optional: parmesan cheese to sprinkle on top
  • Quiche ingredients of your choice!  Our favorite add-ins are: farmer’s market bacon, goat cheese, cheddar cheese, garlic, sautéed spinach, sautéed mushrooms, roasted red peppers, grated zucchini or squash.
METHOD:
1.  Preheat oven to 375.
2.  In a pie dish, mix the flour and salt, then pour in the milk and butter and stir everything together with a fork.
3.  Once your ingredients are mixed, I find it easiest to make a ball of dough and just flatten it with your hands to fit the pie dish, working it gently up the sides of the dish and crimping the edges with your finger or a fork. Definitely the easiest way I have ever made a pie crust!
4.  Whisk together the milk, eggs, salt, pepper and then pour into crust. Add your favorite additional ingredients to the dish and top with extra salt and pepper and parmesan cheese.
5.  Bake for 30 – 40 minutes, or until filling is set.
*This is a great dish to freeze! Sometimes I will make two at a time, bake them both with the intention of freezing one and saving it for a busy night or a weekend breakfast. Once you’ve baked it though, make sure you let it cool completely before putting it in the freezer. It should be thawed before re-heating. Just pull it out of the freezer the night before you want to eat it, let it thaw in the fridge overnight and bake at 375 for 30-40 mins, you might want to put foil around the crust edges though to be sure they don’t burn.

 

*Use organic ingredients whenever possible.
**Adapted from 100 Days of Real Food.