Figgy pudding

Five years ago, I was living in New Orleans and got to attend the most incredible holiday event of my life (check it out). There was caroling, during which I got to thinking about what the heck figgy pudding even was. I went home determined to find out, and to make it. 

Turns out, figgy pudding is less figgy than chocolatey, is less pudding than cake (if you're from the U.S.), and is tasty enough that I now understand why carolers of olde decided to demand it in song form.    

And so, in all its grain free/fruit sweetened glory, here is my figgy pudding recipe, which is demanded by those with whom I celebrate Yule/the solstice/Saturnalia/whatever you call it, which is my December holiday of choice.     

Ingredients:

1 1/2 C dried pitted dates, chopped
1/2 C dried figs, chopped
3 1/2 C water
1 t baking soda
1 T baking powder
1/3 C plus 2 T coconut oil, softened
1/4 C honey
2 eggs
1 1/2 C coconut flour
1 C almond flour
3/4 of a 4oz unsweetened baking chocolate bar, grated, or chopped into slivers with a large knife

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350. In a small pot, combine the figs, dates, and water, bring to a boil, then remove from heat. Add the baking soda, and let cool for 5-10 minutes. Puree in a blender or food processor.

Meanwhile, whisk eggs, coconut oil, and honey together in a large mixing bowl. In a small bowl, mix the coconut flour and baking powder until well incorporated. Add the pureed figs/dates and the chocolate to the eggs and honey and mix, then add the flour in small batches, incorporating as you go.

 Add the batter into a well oiled, nonstick bundt pan and smooth it so that the top is even (so your pud will be the same height all the way around), and bake for 45 minutes. Let it cool for half an hour. Place a plate on top of the pan and flip quickly (you don't want it to separate on one side before the other). If you don't immediately feel the pudding fall to the plate, thwack the bundt pan with the blunt end of your butter knife until it does. Remove the pan. 

Serve with a satsuma or tangerine in the center hole, along with a sprig of holly. (I use fake beglittered holly from a craft store, personally.) 

 

Beef stew with dumplings

Yup. Beef stew with no flour, no blood sugar spiking potatoes, and all of the flavor and heartiness you want. I almost can't believe it myself. 

The dumpling recipe comes from ahealthylifeforme.com, but I replaced the coconut oil with a savory fat because those paleo folks don't seem to understand that coconut oil doesn't belong in anything but desserts and curries. 

Ingredients:

3T olive oil
1.5 lbs stew beef cut to bite-sized chunks
1 large onion, chopped into 1/2 inch pieces
8-10 large carrots, chopped into 1/2 inch pieces
2-3 kohlrabi, chopped into 1/2 inch pieces
3 bay leaves
2t salt
1 1/2t black pepper
1t dried thyme
1t garlic powder
2T arrowroot powder
3 quarts bone broth or water

For the dumplings:

2/3 cup almond flour
1/3 cup coconut flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup water with a 1/4 t of apple cider vinegar
2 tbsp butter, lard, bacon grease, or other savory fat that is solid at room temp, softened
5 egg whites

Directions:

Make your spice mix. In a large, heavy bottomed pot, heat olive oil over medium high heat and add onions and some salt. Cook, stirring frequently, until the onions begin to turn transparent. If the onions start sticking, add in about a tablespoon of water and stir rapidly to deglaze the pot. While you are doing this, coat the stew beef with the spice mix. When the onions are ready, add in the bay leaves and cook, stirring, for about 30 seconds. Make sure the mixture is very hot, then add the beef and stir to mix with the onions. Brown all sides of the beef--to do this, allow it to sit for 20-30 seconds, then stir and repeat. Once it's mostly all brown, add the bone broth or water, and the carrots and kholrabi. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat, and allow to simmer with a lid on for at least 1 1/2 hours but ideally longer--around 3 hours is ideal. Stir occasionally to avoid sticking. While it is cooking, prepare the dumplings. About 20 minutes before stirring, mix the arrowroot powder with cold water to dissolve, then mix it thoroughly into the stew, let boil for about 5 minutes, then remove from heat and let it sit for about 15 minutes. Serve over the dumplings. 

For the dumplings:

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Oil a baking sheet well. In a large bowl mix together the almond flour, coconut flour, baking powder, and salt. Stir in the water/vinegar mix and fat. In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form, use electric mixer (you can do this by hand with a whisk if you need to, it just takes a long time). Gently fold into the flour mixture until combined. Scoop into 6 large biscuits about 1/4 cup of dough each onto the baking sheet Bake for 15 minutes, or until golden. 

Veggie pad thai with spaghetti squash

A grain, sugar, and peanut free twist on classic pad thai--all of the flavor, none of the drawbacks. 

Ingredients:

1 large spaghetti squash
1/2 C sesame oil plus some for cooking the eggs
4 large shallots, sliced thin
1 bunch green onions, white and green parts, chopped
~1 lb shiitakes, finely chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 bag bean sprouts
4-6 eggs
2 C chopped soaked cashews
1/2 C cilantro, chopped

Sauce:
1/2 C soy sauce, Braggs, or coconut aminos
2 T sriracha
2 t tamarind paste
2 T honey

Directions:

The morning before you plan to make this, place cashews in water with a bit of salt and let them soak until dinner time. Drain, rinse, and use. 

Preheat oven to 400. Cut spaghetti squash in half, place cut-side down in a deep baking dish, fill with 1 inch of water, and bake for half an hour to 45 minutes, or until the skin has some give to it when you poke it. 

Meanwhile, whisk the eggs in a bowl, then scramble in sesame oil and set aside.

Mix the sauce ingredients in a bowl and whisk to incorporate. Set aside.

Remove the spaghetti squash from the oven and use a fork to gently scrape it from the sides so that it turns into long "noodles". Set aside still in the shell.

Heat sesame oil in a wok or deep cast iron (at least 6 inches deep). When the oil is hot but not smoking (it should sizzle if you flick water into it), add the shallots and cook, stirring, until soft, about 3 minutes. Add the shiitakes, green onions, bean sprouts, and garlic, and cook, stirring, until soft and fragrant, about a minute. Add the spaghetti squash and the sauce and stir to incorporate. Remove from heat, add eggs, cilantro, and cashews, stir, and serve.  
 

Cranberry sauce

Here are two recipes for cranberry sauce. The first is your standard simple recipe, the second is a fancier version. Both are delish!

Simple ingredients:

1 bag or 3 Cfresh cranberries
1 C cold water
1/2-3/4 C honey (depending on desired sweetness)

Directions:

Mix ingredients and boil until the berries pop. Let cool for at least 1 hour, or if making ahead of time, keep in the refrigerator and allow it to come up to room temperature before serving. 

Fancy ingredients: (adapted from this recipe)

1 bag or 3 C fresh cranberries
1/2 orange
1 tart apple
2 C water
3/4 C honey

Directions:

Juice the orange and set the juice aside. Scrape the insides from the orange rind and discard them, then cut the rind into small dice. Boil the rind and the water for 10 minutes. Drain and set aside. 

Peel, core and quarter the apple, then cut into 1/2-inch dice.  Combine apples, orange rind, orange juice, and cranberries in a pot, bring to a boil over high heat, reduce the heat to low and cover the pan partially. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until the sauce thickens, the apple is tender and the cranberries pop--10 to 15 minutes. 

Let cool for at least 1 hour, or if making ahead of time, keep in the refrigerator and allow it to come up to room temperature before serving. 

Soaking guide

Your guide to soaking nuts, grains, and legumes.

Nuts/seeds:

Soak raw nuts or seeds for at least 4 hours but up to overnight. Drain and rinse. You can either eat them right away or make a lot at one time and dehydrate them in a dehydrator or the oven at 300. In the oven, place them on parchment paper and stir occasionally until they are dry--this takes several hours. Things like flax, chia, and hemp hearts should not be dehydrated in the oven, as they contain volatile oils and need to be dehydrated at a very low temparature. 

Grains:

Soak whole grains overnight or up to 24 hours with a water change at 12 hours. Drain, rinse, and cook. They typically need 3/4 the amount of water that unsoaked grains would require to cook. 

Lentils/split peas:

Lentils absorb a lot of water very quickly, so make sure you give them several inches of extra water. Soak them for 12-24 hours, with a water change at 12 hours. Rinse, drain, and cook until soft. 

Beans:

Soak for at least 36 hours or up to 4 days, with water changes every 8-12 hours, increasing in frequency as time goes on. If you start seeing little sprout tails they are done, no matter how long they've been soaking. This will happen faster in warm weather. 

Pumpkin pie

I called on my aunt Diane, who is my family's resident pie-maker, for this recipe. She's perfected her grain-free, honey-sweetened pumpkin pie over the last several years, and now she's agreed to pass it on to you. 

Crust ingredients:

1 cup almond flour
1/2 cup arrowroot powder
1/4 cup ground pecans
1/4 tsp sea salt
5 tbsp cold butter, lard, organic palm shortening
1 large egg
1-2 tbsp cold water

Crust directions:

Mix flour, arrowroot powder, ground pecans, and salt in a large bowl. Cut in the butter or shortening, mixing with your fingers until it's a crumbly consistency. In a separate bowl, whisk the egg with one tablespoon water. Add to the dry ingredients and knead until it forms into a ball, adding the other tablespoon of water if needed. Wrap the dough ball in plastic wrap or parchment paper and place in the refrigerator for an hour. During this time, prepare the pumpkin filling. 

At the end of the hour, preheat oven to 350, remove the dough, and roll it out between two pieces of parchment paper, then use your fingers to push the dough into a 9-inch pie pan. Pre-bake in the oven for 15 minutes. 

Filling ingredients:

1 can of pumpkin filling (no added ingredients) 
1/2 cup of butter or cold-pressed coconut oil (cold-pressed tastes less coconut-y)
3/4 C honey
1/2 C heavy cream or coconut cream
2 eggs
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla extract
 

Filling directions:

Mix together pumpkin and butter or coconut oil and incorporate with a mixer. Add honey, milk, eggs, spices, and vanilla and beat on medium speed until smooth. After pre-baking your pie crust, add the filling and bake at 350 for 50-60 minutes, or until a knife or toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. 

Grain-free stuffing/dressing

This is the first entry in a series of Thanksgiving food posts. By the time we hit the holiday, I'll have you prepared to make most of the classic side dishes in a way that everyone can eat. 

Stuffing is my personal favorite Thanksgiving food. This captures the flavors of the dish in a satisfying way while also being nothing at all like the real thing because it's made with pumpkin. Also, I know there are probably many of you who think that fruit of some kind goes in here? That's gross, sorry. (Just kidding, you do you.)

 Ingredients:

3 cans of pumpkin
2 cups soaked and dried walnuts (recipe below)
1 large yellow onion, finely chopped
1/2 head celery, finely chopped
4 T butter, ghee, or olive oil
2 t dried sage and thyme (1 t if using powder)
1/2 t ground black pepper
Salt

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350. In a large pot, heat butter or oil, add onions, celery, black pepper, thyme, sage and some salt, and cook, stirring to prevent sticking, until both the celery and onions are very soft. Remove from heat and mix in the cans of pumpkin until well incorporated. Taste for salt and add more as desired. Spread this mixture evenly in a greased 8x11 baking dish and top with walnuts, drizzle with olive oil. Bake until the top is crusty--around an hour. 

For the walnuts:

Place the walnuts in a bowl or jar and cover with water. Allow them to soak for 4-6 hours, then drain and rinse. Spread them on a parchment-paper-lined baking dish and bake at 200 until thoroughly dried out, stirring every 10-15 minutes at first and more frequently toward the end. 

Roasted pumpkin and beets

Pumpkins are good for more than pies and jack-o'-lanterns. In fact, they are just as tasty and versatile as acorn or butternut squash! You can use this recipe with almost any winter squash, but in honor of almost-Halloween I'm choosing pumpkin. This is a tasty side dish for any meal. Hate beets? Don't use them!

Don't forget to save your pumpkin seeds to eat later! They are rich in zinc, magnesium, and omega-3s, and make a great snack!

Ingredients:

An eating-pumpkin--these are in the produce section of the grocery store. You can technically eat any pumpkin, but I don't reckon you want to make an entire carving pumpkin's worth of food. The big ones also aren't as tasty. 
3-6 beets, depending on size
3T of healthy fat--butter, olive oil, duck fat, walnut oil, etc... 
2t dried oregano
1/2t sage powder
1t dried thyme
1/2-1 t black pepper
Salt to taste

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400.

Cut pumpkin in half and scrape out seeds and stringy insides. Set aside for using the seeds later. Cut pumpkin into ~1 inch chunks (optional: peel the pumpkin first. If you keep the peel on, wash the pumpkin before you begin cutting.) Cut the beets into ~1/2 inch chunks (same peel or wash situation here), the beets need to be smaller than the squash for it to all finish at the same time! In a large bowl, mix the pumpkin, beets, fat, and spices until the veggies are coated. Transfer to a baking sheet in a single layer, using two sheets if necessary--if you overcrowd the sheets the veggies will take longer to cook and not get as crispy. Put sheets in the oven. Bake for around half an hour or until the veggies are tender and delicious, stirring halfway through. 
  

Oatmeal

I get a lot of requests for a gut-friendly oatmeal recipe, so here it is!

Ingredients:

Raw oats (rolled or steel cut)
Walnuts/almonds/hemp seeds
Orgainic whole milk or coconut milk
Frozen blueberries
Cinnamon
optional: a small amount of honey

Directions:

The night before, place enough raw oats for one meal, some walnuts, and/or almonds, and/or hemp seeds in a jar and cover with water to soak overnight. In the morning, drain the water and cook the oats and nuts in milk, with some frozen blueberries and cinnamon. If you are using rolled oats this should only take a few minutes and a small amount of milk. If you are using steel cut oats it will take about half the time/liquid it usually does.