Thursday, February 20, 2014

21 DSD Ice Cream!

A couple of posts ago, I mentioned that I was going to do another round of the 21 Day Sugar Detox in January. Well, I did it (I think this is my fourth time) and had some very nice success. I find that I never really want sweets throughout the 21 days and never make the "not-sweet treats." I tend to want fats and usually end up eating an avocado a day.

Towards the end of my detox, I started thinking about adding any treats back into my diet. My biggest downfall is ice cream. It doesn't matter what time of year it is, either. I just want it. I felt as though this time I was not going to cave in to that sugar-laden, dairy treat. I started searching through official Pinterest page, and found that there are some nice looking recipes made with ingredients like carrots or butternut squash. One of the popsicles subbed a green tipped banana for sweetener. This gave me the idea of making a banana sweetened, coconut milk ice cream base that would work with the detox. There was only one problem. I didn't have an ice cream maker.

Flash forward another week...

I stated in my last post that I moved back with my Dad. He has an elliptical machine, some dumbbells, and a weight bench, in his basement that I've been using to supplement my workouts on days that I can't make it to the gym. On one of these times, I was doing some weighted lunges across the room and happened to look up at one of the shelves along the wall. Low and behold... I spotted an ice cream maker. (Queue heavenly music) I was so excited to see it that I dropped the 20 lb dumbbells that I was carrying and started jumping up and down. (Yes, I'm that much of dork for becoming giddy at the thought of using a new kitchen gadget...) I realized that I could finally create my 21 Day Sugar Detox approved ice cream. After a little finessing, I was able to come up with something that I think you'll like.

21 DSD Chunky Monkey Ice Cream




Ingredients:
  • 4 green tipped bananas, cut into pieces
  • 2 cans full fat coconut milk
  • 4 egg yolks, slightly beaten
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • a pinch of salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4-1/2 cup chopped walnuts, toasted
  • 1/4 cup smooth almond butter
  • a tbsp or so unsweetened cocoa powder
Method:
  • Heat the coconut milk, bananas, salt, and cinnamon stick in a medium pot over medium heat. Let the mix come up to a simmer. 
  • Add a few tablespoons of the heated coconut milk to the eggs slowly, stirring constantly. 
  • Turn the heat down to medium-low. Pour the tempered egg yolks into the pot and let everything cook for 3-5 minutes, or until it becomes thick and coats the back of a spoon. Be sure not to let the mix come up to a simmer or it will cause the eggs to cook too much and curdle.
  • Add 1/4-1/2 tsp ground cinnamon (depending on your tastes) and the vanilla extract.
  • Pour everything into a blender and puree until smooth. You may need to do this in two batches.
  • Pour the custard base into a bowl, cover, and let chill overnight.
  • Take your ice cream maker bowl out of the freezer.
  • Add the chopped walnuts to the custard base.
  • Pour in the base into the ice cream maker and use per your brand's directions.
  • Mix the unsweetened cocoa powder and almond butter.
  • Once the ice cream is most of the way done, add in the chocolate almond butter to create swirls.
  • Once done, cover, and chill until the custard is firm (3-5 hours). Let it sit out 10-20 minutes prior to serving to soften it up.
  • Top with your favorite toppings and enjoy!
This is DIVINE! The ice cream is smooth and... creamy. It has a wonderful banana flavor that's offset with the toasty walnuts. Throw on some toasted coconut and hazelnuts and you've got yourself a winner! I totally call this a success.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Greek Inspiration

Hello all! I know it's been a while since I've posted, but a lot has happened. I've had some major changes: Justin and I have broken up. We are no longer a couple after over seven years. While it feels weird not to be together with someone, I know it will feel more normal with time. I've also moved back home to sort out my situation and get back to my usual self. Anyways, enough of the depressing stuff and onto the good...

A week or two ago I was talking with a friend's dad about making homemade chicken soup. He asked me if I'd ever had lemon chicken soup. I told him I'd put some lemon in my soup before, to which he stopped me and said that it wasn't the same. He proceeded to say that the soup had a squeeze of lemon and raw eggs added at the end. I immediately though of something similar to egg drop soup, but was corrected and told that the eggs were tempered and added to the soup for a creamy texture and not laced through like ribbons (if that makes any sense). 

During the following week, I kept thinking that I wanted to come up with some sort of recipe for the blog and kept coming back to how great it would be to make this chicken soup. I did my usual scouring of the interwebs to find the best recipes for Avgolemono (Greek lemon chicken) Soup and finally came up with the basis for my own version:

Paleo Avgolemono Soup




Ingredients:
  • 1 whole chicken
  • 1 cup chicken broth + 9-10 cups homemade broth (see below)
  • 2 large onions, 1 cut in half and the other chopped
  • 8 cloves garlic, 4 smashed and 4 minced
  • 3 large carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 4-5 stalks celery, chopped
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tbsp peppercorns
  • 1 tbsp fish sauce (I use Red Boat)
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • oregano
  • ground cinnamon
  • garlic powder
  • onion powder
  • paprika
  • 1/2 cauliflower, "riced"
  • 5 eggs, separated
  • 5 lemons
  • salt
  • pepper
  • lard
Method:
  • Roast the chicken:
    • Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.
    • Melt a little lard and rub it all over the chicken.
    • Season the inside and outside liberally with a mixture of salt, pepper, onion/garlic powders, oregano, paprika, and cinnamon (use amounts that suit your tastes). 
    • Cut one of the lemons into quarters. Spritz a little on the outside of the chicken and then stick all the the quarters inside. 
    • Put the chicken in a roasting pan and pour in 1 cup of broth (I find this helps to keep the chicken moist during the cooking process). Place the pan in the oven and cook for 10-15 minutes.
    • Turn down the heat to 350 degrees and continue to roast for 20 minutes per pound. I had a 4.4 lb chicken, which took 1 1/2 hours at the lower temp.
    • Remove the chicken from the over, cover loosely with foil, and let it rest for at least 10 minutes.
    • At this point you can carve the chicken, shred up all the meat, put it into a container and set it aside. SAVE THE BONES!!!
  • Make the broth:
    • Take the saved bones from the roasted chicken and throw them into a slow cooker. Add the chicken feet, halved onion (skin on), 4 smashed cloves garlic, apple cider vinegar, fish sauce, bay leaves, a tbsp oregano, peppercorns, a little bit of salt, and the cinnamon stick. Set the temp to low and let cook for 24 hours. (Yes, 24...)
    • Strain the broth, discard the remnants/bones, and set aside.
  • Make the soup:
    • Heat a large soup pot over medium-high heat. Add a tbsp or so of lard.
    • Throw in the chopped onion, carrots and celery. Saute for a few minutes, until they start to soften. Add the minced garlic and saute for another minute.
    • Pour in 9-10 cups of broth and bring to a boil. Add in 1-1 1/2 tbsp oregano, salt/pepper, the riced cauliflower, and about half of the shredded chicken (use more or less depending on what you feel like). Bring to a boil again, reduce the heat, and let simmer until the veggies are tender and the chicken heated through.
    • While the soup is simmering, whisk or beat the egg whites until they form medium peaks. Add the yolks and the juice from the remaining 4 lemons. Be sure not to over beat.
    • When the soup is near ready, pour about two cups of the hot broth into the beaten eggs in a slow steady stream. (We want to temper the eggs, not cook them)
    • Pour the egg mix into the soup and stir to combine. 
    • Taste. Make any adjustments to seasonings. Serve in large bowls and enjoy! 
Sorry for the long set of directions and amount of prep/cook time for this recipe. Trust me. It's totally worth it! The soup is rich and creamy, with a pleasant lemon-y flavor. This is the perfect soup for a cold, wintery day!

Thursday, December 19, 2013

21 Day Sugar Detox Cookbook!

I'm finally writing another post after taking an extremely long break. I've been so busy lately with Thanksgiving, getting ready for Christmas, physical therapy, other doctor's visits, and dealing cards, that I haven't had time to blog at all. The holidays always end up being somewhat stressful for me.

Speaking of the holidays, this is the time when many of us throw caution to the wind and splurge on all the treats and goodies we can get our hands on. I've done it and am currently doing it (I blame stress...). I love my pumpkin pie, dark chocolate, egg nog with a little bourbon, and my favorite peppermint-swirl ice cream. Needless to say, I'm going to need some serious detoxing come January to get myself back on track. The way I figure, I'm going to join the largest group ever doing the 21 Day Sugar Detox on January 6th and reconquer my cravings.

I posted a rave review a while back of the 21 Day Sugar Detox book.  Well... I now have the honor of reviewing the 21 Day Sugar Detox Cookbook.


This is yet another beautifully crafted book by Diane Sanfilippo! She includes her quiz to determine the appropriate level to start the detox on and meal plans to suit each (along with the various modifications). This is followed by over 100 mouthwatering detox recipes. There's everything from Lemon Ginger Chicken to Pumpkin Spice Donuts to Sweetener Free Ketchup. after taking a look, I knew I just had to make a couple of the recipes from this fantastic cookbook! I made the Chicken Strips (pg. 78) and the No-Honey Mustard Sauce (pg. 202).


I did make one slight change to the chicken strips recipe by using chicken thighs instead of chicken breasts. (I can't help it! I'm a dark meat kinda girl...) The batter crisped up nicely in the oven and added a nice flavor to the meat. The  no-honey mustard turned out phenomenally! I could sit there eating it with a spoon. There's a little sweetness, without it being cloying, and the dijon gives it a tang. I've had such a craving for chicken fingers and a really good dipping sauce and haven't been able to have any since going Paleo. These two recipes are the perfect fix for that!

All in all, the 21 Day Sugar Detox Cookbook is a must for anyone wanting to try out some new recipes that ditch the sugar! It would also make a great Christmas gift!