Carrot Cake Muffins

Hello, spring! I know I might be a little late to the game on this one, but carrots are still in season, and there’s no time like the present to enjoy them.

I’m always a little hesitant to test a new baking recipe, because my husband is brutally honest about grain-free baked goods. I know that baking can be a sort of alchemy: you can measure and weigh everything perfectly, calibrate your oven, and time it exactly, but the final results can mystify you. As I learn new techniques with grain-free baking, I find that “practice, practice, practice” has been the most helpful for me. Paying careful attention to your ingredients, especially the quality, can influence the final results. For example, there is a huge difference between two types of honeys that I use: Big Island Bees Ohia Lehua Blossom Honey, and Big Island Bees Wilelaiki Honey. If you click on those links, you can immediately see that the viscosity, color, and opacity are completely different on each of those honeys. I can tell you that the flavor is completely different as well: the Ohia Lehua honey is lightly sweet, with a wonderful crystalline texture; while the Wilelaiki honey is more caramel in flavor, with a smooth, syrupy texture. Each honey will bake differently, and impart a different flavor to the final product, so think about what types of ingredients you may use and how they will complement the final product.

And so, for these carrot cake muffins, I knew a deeper, more robust honey would complement the flavor, so I used the Pumpkin honey from Old Blue Raw Honey. I highly recommend both Old Blue and Big Island Bees for their wonderful selection of varietal honeys!

And so, on to the recipe. These muffins are low in sugar, plus they include vegetables, so you can definitely feel good about eating them…the frosting, however, is up to you! Some would say that a cream cheese frosting is necessary, but if you are not consuming dairy, I think coconut cream works just as well. Feel free to add walnuts, raisins, or toasted pecans to the batter for some extra texture!

Carrot Cake Muffins

It’s seasonal, full of vegetables, and a great idea for breakfast or dessert! The frosting is made with coconut cream for those of you avoided dairy, but can easily be swapped with a dairy frosting for those of you who enjoy it! Just swap the coconut cream concentrate for cream cheese, and swap coconut milk for whole milk, and you should be good!

Yields: 1 dozen muffins

  • For the muffins:
  • 1 cup pitted dates
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded organic carrots
  • 3 eggs, room temperature
  • 1/2 cups raw honey
  • 2 cups blanched almond flour
  • 1 1/5 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • For the frosting:
  • 1/4 cup coconut cream concentrate
  • 4 tablespoons light colored raw honey
  • 1 tablespoon full-fat coconut milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
  • The tiniest sprinkle of sea salt and the tiniest splash of vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a muffin tin with 12 cupcake liners, or grease the tin with coconut oil, butter, or shortening.

Place the dates in a bowl and sprinkle about 1/2 cup of warm water over them. Soften in microwave on half power for about a minute.

Make sure the shredded carrots are dry, and if they are moist, pat them dry with paper towels and set aside.

Place the dates, eggs, and honey in a food processor and blend for 30 seconds. Add the almond flour, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt, and process again for 30 seconds.

Place the dried carrots in the processor and pulse 2 or 3 times to blend, or blend by hand if you want to keep the structural integrity of the carrots more intact.

Divide batter evenly among each muffin cup, making sure you do not fill more than 2/3 of each cup. Bake for 28-31 minutes.

While the muffins are baking, decide if you'd like frosting, and then decide yes. Place all of the frosting ingredients in a stand mixer and blend on low until combined, or use a hand mixer and a slip-proof bowl and blend on low until just combined. Add more coconut cream concentrate if it looks thin, and add more coconut milk if it seems thick, and feel free to add a little more honey to your taste. The frosting will solidify once stored in the refrigerator.

Cool in the pan for at least 20 minutes before adding any frosting.

  • Preparation time: 20 minutes
  • Cook time: 28 minutes
  • Total time: 48 minutes

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Ursa Miner Launch Party

Hello all! I’m excited to announce that I have hosted my first catering event: a board game launch party for the new game “Ursa Miner.” The event was a huge success and I’m so glad to be a part of it. I did not get photos of all of the courses, but thankfully Mike Batista, one of the game designers, snapped a couple of shots for me!

On the left: honey and red wine broccoli with butternut squash, coconut crusted chicken, and honey barbecue beef meatballs. On the right: honey vanilla cupcakes.

So the game’s setting involves bears seeking honey, so I used that as a creative launching point for the menu theme. I wanted to use a “signature ingredient,” like the TV show Iron Chef so I chose honey! For the appetizers, I made garlic salt kale chips and a raw vegetable platter with carrots, bell peppers, grape tomatoes and a coconut honey dill dip. For the main course, I had honey peach barbecue beef meatballs, coconut encrusted chicken tenderloins with honey mustard, and a red wine vinegar and honey-drenched broccoli and butternut squash hash. And for dessert: honey vanilla cupcakes, and cinnamon honey shortbread cookies. Almost every last morsel of food was gone at the end of the night!

The guests playing the game.

Here is a link to the game’s Kickstarter page for more information: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1875412263/ursa-miner-bears-mining-honey/posts/1882184?ref=backer_project_update

I’m currently writing up the recipes for everything I made that night, so stay tuned for those! I did a quick survey, and the kale chips and the barbecue meatballs were definitely the most mentioned dishes, however, the desserts disappeared the quickest! I think people definitely enjoyed themselves and had fun playing the board game. Check my Facebook page for more coverage and updates!

-Anne

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Singapore Crab Cakes

Well hello! What have we here? Crab cakes without Old Bay?!

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Yes! Let’s try something new and different. I had Penzey’s Singapore Seasoning on hand, and it’s recommended with seafood, so why not? It has a distinctly sweet, citric aroma, with curry-like undertones. It’s very strong too, so it’s perfect for an unexpected crab cake.

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Crab cakes are famously delicate, and since I made this before I discovered a great new way to bind crab cakes, I recommend baking these in the oven. Alternatively, I am going to post a different crab cake recipe later that uses pureed shrimp (yes, shrimp!) as a binder, and that works much better for frying in a skillet. You can also use some almond flour if the cakes don’t look sturdy enough, but I like to avoid almond flour in my main dishes, unless it’s a very small amount.

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Singapore Crab Cakes

You may have had Chesapeake Bay Crab Cakes, which are traditionally flavored with the spice blend known as Old Bay. Old Bay is a big deal here in Maryland, and since I ran out of it, I tried another spice blend I had on my shelf – Penzey’s Singapore Seasoning. It was recommended for seafood, so I gave it a try, and the results were surprisingly good!

Yields: Serves 4

  • 3 cans of wild-caught lump or claw crab meat
  • 1-2 tbsp of coconut flour
  • 6 tbsp of homemade mayonnaise
  • 1 tsp dijon mustard
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 3 tsp of Penzey's Singapore Seasoning

Preheat oven to 425. Place an oven rack close to the heating element first.

Open cans of crab meat, and carefully drain as much water as possible. This is key for a crab cake that sticks together. Place crab meat in bowl. If it's still really damp, trying soaking up extra moisture with paper towels.

Combine remaining ingredients in the bowl and gently incorporate with the crab meat. Form into palm-sized balls; you should yield about 5-8 cakes. If you have time, you can place these on a baking sheet in the refrigerator for 30 minutes to firm up, or just be extra careful at the frying stage. I have no patience, so you can skip this step if you want.

Set the oven to broil. Broil crab cakes until golden brown on top, which should be around 5 minutes. Then, reset the temperature back to 425 and continue cooking until the cakes reach an internal temperature of 160 degrees (about 10 minutes). Serve with sliced lemon wedges. I also made a quick side salad of organic mixed greens, grape tomatoes, cucumbers, and red onion with a homemade dressing.

  • Preparation time: 10-30 minutes
  • Cook time: 15 minutes
  • Total time: 25-45 minutes

Puppy Chow Ice Cream

Happy Fourth of July! Time to celebrate with ice cream!

There are times in my life when I have an epiphany. Often when I cook or bake, my epiphanies come when I mix up leftovers together. Sometimes they come when I’m just sitting at the pantry, staring into the abyss. I was at my computer, staring into the abyss at this particular epiphany, but I knew immediately that it would change my life.

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OK, maybe that is a bit hyperbolic. But if you have a background like mine, specifically the St. Louis Catholic all-girls high school background, then you know the importance of puppy chow. Puppy chow has many other names, like muddy buddies or monkey munch. It’s essentially a snack mix originally made of Chex cereal, coated in a chocolate peanut butter mixture, then tossed with powdered white sugar, often with other add-ins like candy or nuts. This is obviously not Paleo in the slightest, so my version of puppy chow has a different texture, plus the flavor of coconut, in addition to the chocolatey, nutty, sweet taste. I find it very delightful, and I’m sure you will too!

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This recipe needs time to cool and freeze, and it takes several steps, so this is not a quick dessert choice. I break it into 5 main steps: making the puppy chow, cooling it, making the ice cream base, cooling it, then churning them together. I think it makes the most sense to make the puppy chow first, refrigerate overnight, then make and freeze the ice cream the next day, while adding in the puppy chow. Just don’t add the puppy chow into the ice cream while it’s hot – it will definitely melt the ice cream, and make a slushy mess in the ice cream machine!

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Puppy Chow Ice Cream

This recipe has a few steps with waiting and cooling periods, but it is SO worth it. First, toast your coconut flakes, then mix up your melted chocolate/nut butter mixture, place the flakes and mixture in a plastic bag and shake it up! Then coat the flakes with maple or powdered coconut sugar. After it has cooled, mix in with a vanilla ice cream base, and you’ve got one of the best desserts of all time.

  • Paleo Puppy Chow:
  • 2 cups toasted coconut flakes (instructions to follow)
  • 1.75 oz dark chocolate, or approximately 1/8 cup Enjoy Life Chocolate Chips
  • 1/8 cup almond or other nut butter
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup maple or powdered coconut sugar
  • Vanilla Ice Cream:
  • 1 (13.5 oz) can full fat coconut milk
  • 1 1/2 cups almond or cashew milk
  • 1/2 cup pitted Medjool dates
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tbsp coconut sugar

First, toast the coconut flakes by spreading them out on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet and baking them at 300 degrees for about 5 minutes, or until they are a nice golden brown color. Let cool.

While the flakes are baking, gently melt the chocolate and butter in a microwave on low (on power level 4 or less), stopping to blend at 30 second intervals. Keep an eye on it to make sure it doesn't seize up. After about a minute, add in the nut butter and continue to gently melt together. Once it is a smooth liquid, add the vanilla extract last and stir together.

Take the cooled flakes and scoop them into a plastic bag. Pour the chocolate mixture into the bag and gently shake it until the flakes are fully coated. This is a delicate process, because you can easily smash the flakes into crumbs, but since they're going into ice cream, you can just aim for evenly sized pieces.

Next, pour in your powdered sweetener and gently shake until everything is coated. Unfortunately, since powdered maple and coconut sugars are translucent, the puppy chow will not have that characteristic bright white of powdered refined sugar, but I promise, it's just as delicious. Place the bag in the freezer for 20 minutes or refrigerator for an hour.

Next, place all ice cream ingredients in a high speed blender and blend until fully incorporated. Place ice cream base into a freezer-safe container and place in freezer for 30 minutes or into the refrigerator for at least 4 hours. Once chilled, place the ice cream base into your ice cream machine and follow instructions to make vanilla ice cream. Add the cooled puppy chow near the end of the freeze cycle, reserving several handfuls to sprinkle on top. Enjoy!

  • Preparation time: 30 minutes to 4 hours
  • Cook time: 5 minutes
  • Total time: around 1 hour 30 minutes

Mongolian Beef with Cauliflower Stir-Fry Rice

I’ve always had an interest in Mongolia. It seemed like a mysterious country, full of beautiful landscapes and nomads. Even better, they have barbecue, which is one of the greatest things on Earth.

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My husband loves beef, and since I like to have it as a rare treat in our house, I decided to give this a try. I like to eat beef sparingly because of the expense (grass-fed steak is not cheap!), the environmental impact, and…I’m going to be honest here….I’m not the biggest fan of the taste. I know, I know…what kind of Paleo eater doesn’t enjoy beef? Me, is the answer. I like the occasional beef dish, but I don’t make a habit out of it, and I think the world thanks me for it. If you have any questions about the environmental impact of cattle, here’s a good link.

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Anyway! Here is my recipe for Mongolian Beef with Cauliflower Stir-Fry Rice. I am working on this recipe so that the sauce gets more of that dark, rich color. I think the key may be adding more molasses, and subtracting some honey. I’ll keep you posted.

Mongolian Beef with Stir-Fry Cauliflower Rice

This is my personally developed version of Mongolian Beef. It may not have that characteristic dark brown sticky sauce that they have in Chinese restaurants, but it’s still good, I promise (and way healthier for you)!

Yields: Serves 2

  • Sauce:
  • 1/8 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 clove of minced garlic
  • 1/8 cup coconut aminos
  • 1/8 cup beef broth
  • 1 tbsp Chinese cooking wine
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1 tbsp blackstrap molasses
  • 1/8 tsp sea salt
  • 1/8 tsp cracked black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp crushed red pepper
  • Stir-Fry Cauliflower Rice:
  • 1 head of cauliflower, riced with a food processer
  • 1 tbsp of unrefined organic coconut oil
  • 2 cloves of minced garlic
  • 1/2 cup minced white onion
  • 1 large crown of broccoli, cut into small florets
  • 1/2 cup shredded carrots
  • 1 bell pepper, diced
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp cracked black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp ground ginger
  • a sprinkling of crushed red pepper
  • 1 lb. grass-fed beef strips (flank or sirloin steak are ideal)
  • 1 tbsp of unrefined organic coconut oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste

First, start the sauce. Pour all sauce ingredients into a saucepan over medium heat. Once all ingredients have been blended together and sauce is simmering, turn down the heat to medium-low and simmer while you prepare the rice and beef.

You can choose to either start the beef or rice next, but honestly, I would cook the beef first. In a wide skillet over medium-high heat, melt the coconut oil and stir in the beef. Season with salt and pepper. Cook, continually stirring, until no longer pink (approximately 8-10 minutes). Set aside.

Next, get a large stock pot for the cauliflower rice. I would just place it right on the same burner previously set at medium heat for the beef, and melt the next tablespoon of coconut oil. Once the stockpot is heated, add the garlic and onions and saute for 3 minutes. Then add the riced cauliflower, and cook for 7 minutes. Add in the remaining stir-fry vegetables and seasonings and cook until broccoli is bright green, approximately 6 more minutes.

Check on the sauce and see if it's the right thickness for you. If it's too thin, then you can make a thickener of 1/2 tablespoon of arrowroot starch mixed in with 1/4 cup of cold water to add to the sauce. Otherwise, you can wait for it to boil down and reduce.

Mix in the beef with the cauliflower rice, and top with the sauce (or mix it all together, which is what I always do). Enjoy!

  • Preparation time: 20 minutes
  • Cook time: 15-17 minutes
  • Total time: 37 minutes

Rosemary Butternut Squash Fries

Well hello! I thought it was summer, and here I am with a butternut squash recipe. It turns out, butternut squash is delicious any time, so let’s make some fries!

butternutfries2

I like my fries well done (almost burnt)…so I end up baking these for around 40 minutes. I recommend cutting them into half inch strips or thinner if you can, because they retain a more pleasant crunch when they are thinner. Cutting the bulb of a butternut squash is a challenge, I usually cut it into 3 pieces first, then cut thinner strips. Just be careful not to cut yourself! Also, it may be beneficial to mince the rosemary so it more evenly coats the butternut squash, but since rosemary is so fragrant, it usually carries over in flavor when you mix it in the bowl. Enjoy!

Rosemary Butternut Squash Fries

A surprising alternative to the traditional sweet potato fry, with the warm autumn notes of garlic and rosemary.

Yields: Serves 2-4

  • 1 butternut squash, peeled, de-seeded, and cut into half inch strips
  • 2 tablespoons of coconut or avocado oil
  • 2 teaspoons of garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 1-2 tablespoons of fresh rosemary

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Line two or more baking sheets with parchment paper.

Begin to peel, de-seed, and cut butternut squash. The more evenly-sized the strips, the more evenly they will cook. It's much easier to cut the neck of the squash than the bulb, so you may want to take your time cutting the bulb into strips.

Toss all of the fries into a large bowl and drizzle on the oil. Sprinkle the seasonings on top, then blend until the seasonings evenly coat the fries. Depending on how large your squash is, you may have to add a bit more garlic or salt.

Lay the fries in one layer on the parchment. The thicker fries should be on the outer bounds of the parchment, since they will cook faster, and the thinner ones should be in the middle, so that they won't burn as easily. After you've gotten as many fries as you can on both sheets, place them in the oven and set the time for 16 minutes. After 16 minutes, rotate pans, and bake another 16 minutes. Take a look and see if they are done to your liking (they may need another 5-10 minutes, depending on your oven).

Let cool and enjoy!

  • Preparation time: 20 minutes
  • Cook time: 32-40 minutes
  • Total time: 60 minutes

Honeycomb Ice Cream

It’s no secret that I love ice cream. And honey. Those two things together make magic.

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In my never-ending quest to make the perfect ice cream, I think I’ve come pretty close with honeycomb ice cream. It has the perfect ratio of sweetness to fat, with a smooth creamy texture punctuated by semi-frozen crystals of honeycomb. And, even better? It doesn’t freeze solid into a brick like most of my ice creams do in my freezer. Somehow it retains its creamy texture, and resists freezer burn.

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The only problem is that honeycomb is both expensive and hard to find. I usually buy it when I see it, and it’s usually around $16 a pound or so. I would say use it judiciously: either eat it whole, put a small amount in a high quality tea, or the best application (in my opinion) mix it into vanilla ice cream!

honeycomb_closeup

This recipe is wonderful on its own, but it pairs really well with a salted caramel sauce, fresh strawberries, or even a few dark chocolate chips. I was being very intuitive when I was making this ice cream so the measurements might be a bit off, but this is the best I can remember.

Honeycomb Ice Cream

In my opinion, this is the best application of honeycomb. It’s sweet, delicious, and the little frozen crystals of honey make the ice cream surprisingly pleasant.

  • 1 can organic full-fat coconut milk
  • 1.5 cups of homemade almond milk
  • ~0.5 lb of honeycomb in honey
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon of collagen hydrolysate dissolved in 0.25 cup of water (this acts as a stabilizer so that the ice cream keeps its texture)

First, dissolve collagen hydrolysate in water by mixing together with a spoon. Then, place all ingredients except the honeycomb in a blender.

Blend ingredients on high until fully blended. Pour as much of the liquid honey into the blender as you can, then blend on high.

Break the honeycomb into smaller chunks and either mix in by hand or with the blender on low. You do not want to fully break down the honeycomb, since it adds a wonderful texture to the ice cream. You can also save some honeycomb to mix into the ice cream later while it is churning in the ice cream maker. Once it's uniformly spread in the ice cream base, pour the ice cream into an airtight container.

Refrigerate for 4 hours or more, or you can freeze for 1 hour and then pour into your ice cream maker and follow the manufacturer's instructions.

Barbecue Turkey Legs

Barbecue is the best thing ever. Barbecue everything. I am always in the mood for barbecue. Maybe it’s because I’m Midwestern.

bbqleg

So after Thanksgiving, Whole Foods had huge cuts of turkey on sale for like $2.00 per pound. It was astonishing. Even my husband, who is not a big poultry eater, insisted on buying a couple of packages. We got a set of wings and a set of legs. I stuffed them in the freezer, forgot about them, and then rediscovered them recently!

bbqlegs_setup

I had some leftover apple butter barbecue sauce and knew they would be perfect with these leftover Thanksgiving turkeys. I prefer a crispy skin, so instead of basting them in the sauce, I created a barbecue dry rub and baked them in the oven. If I had access to an outdoor grill or smoker, I would have loved to cook them that way, but alas, that is not possible when you live on the fifth floor of an apartment building and you have no patio.

I’ll add a recipe for apple butter barbecue sauce later, but for now, enjoy these legs with any homemade barbecue sauce! You really can’t go wrong with barbecue. I served this with a simple salad I threw together of organic spring greens, sliced carrots, broccoli, grape tomatoes, and a homemade dressing of lemon juice, dijon mustard, olive oil, and balsamic vinegar. I think cucumbers would be delicious in this too. Side salads are the easiest thing to throw together when you spend so much time and energy on a big chunk of meat!

Barbecue Roast Turkey Legs

I used a barbecue dry rub called “Barbecue 3001” from Penzey’s Spices, and it was pretty perfect for these turkey legs, because it has cinnamon and vanilla powder in it (it’s like Thanksgiving in your mouth!). You can mix your own dry rub, or I might add one to this site later on.

  • 4 large turkey legs
  • 2 teaspoons of sea salt
  • 2-3 tablespoons of your favorite barbecue spice rub

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Dry turkey legs with paper towels, salt generously, and let stand for 15 minutes to reach room temperature.

Evenly sprinkle the barbecue rub all over the legs, making sure there is a fairly thick coating of the spice mixture. You might need more of the spice rub than 3 tablespoons, depending on the size of the legs.

Place the legs on a roasting rack set over a cookie sheet. You'll probably need 2 pans with 2 racks. I place aluminum foil underneath the rack so that cleaning the roasting pan is easier.

Roast uncovered for 1 1/2 to 2 hours, until the legs are golden brown and the internal temperature is 180 degrees when taken with a meat thermometer. If you like really crispy skin like I do, then broil on high for 3 minutes at the end for each rack.

Honey Cinnamon Graham Crackers

Hello!

Hope you are staying warm during this winter freeze. I know I’m getting sick of this weather. We already had a record-smashing blizzard that caused 2 power outages in my building, so I thought the worst was over. Then yesterday we get hit with a little snow and ice storm that gave us an additional 2 power outages (although these were shorter)! It’s pretty ridiculous that my building had so many power outages, considering we’re in the middle of the city and on 2 power grids! What is happening?! Well, anyway…

Whenever I make ice cream for my husband, it usually requires 6 to 8 egg yolks. Now…what to do with all of those leftover egg whites? I am not one to waste things, and egg whites are very versatile. So I actually like to make a little treat for myself – honey cinnamon graham crackers!

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The key to this recipe is to keep the oven temperature low and to watch them so they don’t burn. The crackers on the exterior of the pan will cook much faster, so I usually place the thicker crackers there because they take longer to cook. They’re still tasty when they’re burned, though, so don’t throw them away! They are quite crispy…just not quite as photo-worthy.

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Honey Cinnamon Graham Crackers

Yields: 2 dozen crackers (depending on size)

  • 4 egg whites, room temperature
  • 1 cup coconut flour, sifted
  • 1.5 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil, softened
  • 1/2 cup raw honey, softened
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

In one bowl, mix together dry ingredients (coconut flour, cinnamon, salt, baking soda). In a separate bowl, mix together softened honey and coconut oil until uniform. Add vanilla extract, mix until uniform. Add room temperature egg whites and mix until uniform. Once the batter looks thoroughly mixed, carefully sift in dry ingredients until a nice, smooth batter is formed.

Take out dough and roll into a ball on a sheet of parchment paper. Take another sheet of parchment paper and place on top of dough, and using a rolling pin, roll out dough until it is a little less than 0.25 in thick. Using a pizza cutter or other rotary cutter, cut crackers to your desired width. Also, use a toothpick to poke holes all over the dough.

Very carefully, using a thin spatula, transfer the cut crackers to your parchment paper. Roll up remaining dough and form into crackers until all of the dough is used. Since I am a perfectionist, I use the pizza cutter to force the leftover dough into nice rectangles, instead of raggedy-edged crackers.

Bake for a total of 18 minutes. After 9 minutes, switch racks so that they cook more evenly. Start watching them at 15 minutes to make sure they don't burn! Depending on how thick they are, they cook unevenly.

Let cool, then enjoy! Maybe with a cold glass of almond milk.

  • Preparation time: 20 minutes
  • Cook time: 18 minutes
  • Total time: 38 minutes

Sweet Potato Chips and Spicy Guacamole

I find that people tend to be passionate about sweet potatoes. Which makes sense, because they’re awesome. There are so many different varieties: Hannah, jewel, garnet, Jersey white, Okinawan, and my personal favorite, the purple sweet potato! I seriously eat purple sweet potatoes every single day with my breakfast hash. They’re the best, and when they’re in season, I buy them like I have foreseen an upcoming famine.

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Our CSA box this week featured what I believe is the world’s most enormous sweet potato. I couldn’t figure out the best way to prepare it, then I thought it would be funny to make the world’s biggest chips. I did not really consider how difficult it would be to cut very thin, very large, round chips while I rocked the potato back and forth with my sharp chef’s knife. Thankfully, I only ruined a few chips, and somehow I did not cut myself! The key with these chips is to cut as thinly as possible safely, whether that be hand cutting with a sharp knife, using a mandoline, or using a food processor (I have yet to master this…somehow it’s always uneven).

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I find that since my tiny, pathetic apartment oven cooks so unevenly, that it’s difficult to gauge the appropriate chip cooking time and temperature should be. I usually say around 400 degrees is a good temperature, but unless I constantly open the oven and shift around the chips, the outer ones always get burned. I mean totally blackened (and mostly crispy, which is good, I guess). I usually cook them for 20 minutes, take them out, flip them quickly, and put them back in on the other racks for 20 more minutes. Sometimes it takes longer, and sometimes they’re already burned. I think I’m going to start using my oven thermometer more so that I can finally find the right temperature!

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I have made guacamole countless times, and each time it’s just a little bit different. Sometimes I add habanero peppers, or ground scorpion pepper, or a lot of cilantro, or some lemon juice, or even some other greens or herbs. This batch had rehydrated habanero peppers, so it was quite spicy. Feel free to switch it up with jalapenos or other types of peppers depending on your heat tolerance!

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Crispy Sweet Potato Chips

These chips may take less time (or longer) depending on how accurate your oven temperature is. Mine is extremely inaccurate and cooks very unevenly, so it’s always a gamble when they’ll be ready. I keep an eye on them so they don’t get too burned!

Yields: Approximately 3 servings

  • 1 extra large (or 2 small to medium) sweet potatoes of choice
  • 2-3 tablespoons of coconut or avocado oil, melted
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon finely ground sea salt
  • Optional additions:
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Place parchment paper over two cookie sheets or baking pans.

Wash and scrub your sweet potatoes. Using a mandoline, a food processor, or your own hand and a very sharp knife, cut round chips as carefully and thinly as you can. I recommend wearing a cut-proof knife glove if you have one.

Optional: soak the cut chips in a bowl of ice water for 20 minutes. This apparently helps them crisp up, but if you don't have time, it's not absolutely necessary.

Put the chips in a bowl and toss with the melted oil and your choice of seasonings. Adjust seasonings if it looks like they aren't fully coating the chips.

Place the chips on the parchment-covered cookie sheets, and make sure they do not overlap! This prevents them from becoming crispy. After the sheets are filled (this may take more than one batch), put them in the oven and set a timer for 20 minutes.

Watch the chips to make sure they aren't cooking too quickly or unevenly. After 20 minutes, take them out and flip them carefully, then put them back in the oven again for 20-25 minutes. Watch them again to make sure they aren't browning too quickly, usually the ones on the outside of the pan cook much quicker.

They're ready when they nice, browned and crispy!

  • Preparation time: 30 minutes
  • Cook time: 45-60 minutes
  • Total time: 1 hour 30 minutes