Chocolate Cake with ButterCream Frosting

Chocolate Cake with ButterCream Frosting

Chocolate Cake with ButterCream Frosting

Today is my husband’s birthday. My husband’s favorite thing ever? Chocolate. Enter left: The Best Chocolate Cake, ever. Thank you Pinterest for the idea and the blog Add a Pinch for the recipe.

Seriously. If you need a cake for a birthday for someone who loooooves chocolate, this is it. Rich, decadent, chocolatey heaven on a plate. The cake is moist, the icing is light. And with my hack of adding Starbuck’s Dark Roast Instant Coffee, in place of the espresso powder, it’s over the top robust.

My husband said it tasted like something he would order in a restaurant and I agree. However, in a restaurant, we would have split a piece. (Splitting a piece for me means a few bites and that’s it, I’m so glad I don’t eat like this on a regular basis.) But, here at home, I “almost” ate a whole piece and to be honest, that was way too much. I feel terrible right now and am crashing from the sugar buzz… Thank goodness my hubby is taking the rest of it to work tomorrow for his co-workers to enjoy. Hope you like it as much as we did. Note: Highly recommend cutting small pieces if you make this. Go back for seconds if you dare.

Ingredients: 

2 cups- flour

2 cups-  organic sugar

3/4 cup- unsweetened cocoa (I used Ghiaradelli Cocoa Powder)

2- teaspoons- baking powder

1 and 1/2 teaspoons – baking soda

1 – teaspoon salt

1 – teaspoon espresso powder (Note: I looked everywhere within my small town to find this with no luck. I googled a hack and found that I could substitute a dark roast instant coffee in place of it since espresso powder is hard to find. So, I went to our Starbuck’s and got an Instant Italian Dark Roast that worked perfectly.)

1 cup – milk ( I used coconut milk)

1/2 cup- vegetable oil

2- eggs

2 teaspoons- vanilla extract (I used the pure Madagascar stuff) – yum!

1 cup – boiling water

Directions: 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray your 2 – 9 inch round pans with cooking spray then flour lightly.

Add flour, sugar, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, espresso powder (or instant coffee) and salt to a large bowl. Mix with a spoon.

Add your wet ingredients: Oil, eggs, milk, vanilla and beat on medium till well blended. Add your boiling water and continue to beat until smooth.

Pour batter evenly between the two round pans. Bake for 30-35 minutes. Toothpick should come out clean. Remove from oven and allow to cool for at least 10 minutes or longer.

Frost with your Butter Cream Frosting. (See recipe below)

Butter Cream Frosting:

1 and 1/2 cup – butter (yeah… I can hear myself getting fatter… lol!)

1 cup – unsweetened cocoa

5 cups – confectioner’s sugar (Oy!)

1/2- cup milk ( I used coconut milk)

2 teaspoons – vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon – espresso powder (or instant coffee)

Directions:

Cream together butter and cocoa in a large bowl by hand

Then add sugar one cup at a time with 1 Tbsp. of milk and mix till smooth and beat with a hand mixer. Repeat with the next cup and the next cup and the next… till the milk and sugar are gone and mixed together well.

Add vanilla and espresso or instant coffee. Mix well.

If frosting is dry, add more milk a little at a time. If it’s too wet, add more sugar a tsp. at a time till it’s easy to work with.

Happy Birthday Honey! Tomorrow, we start juicing! LOL! :)

Birthday Boy!

Birthday Boy!

 

Enjoy your ketoacidosis!

Enjoy your ketoacidosis!

 

 

Almond Cream Curry Noodles

Almond Cream Curry Noodles

If you’re into yoga and are on Facebook, you probably follow Tara Stiles. She teaches yoga and has her own yoga studio in New York, has taught Deepak Chopra, has her own yoga clothing line with Reebok and yes, even has a food blog. There’s lots of women on FB that profess to be yogi’s, but this gal is the real deal. She’s been doing yoga before yoga was considered cool and walks her talk. She is yoga minus the ego.

Anyway, I found this recipe on her blog months ago and have wanted to make it ever since. Today, was the day and oh my, is it ever good! It reminds me of a dish we get at a local restaurant, Sweet Mango and the dish is called Crazy Noodles.

In that dish, they put chicken, broccoli, carrots, cauliflower and pepper strips. You can do that with this dish or have it this way. It’s simple to make and delivers a party to your taste buds. A bit creamy sweet from the coconut milk and a bit spicy. Spicy sweet. YUM! Thanks Tara!

Ingredients: 

8 ounce box- Rice Noodles, boiled 4-5 minutes. (Easy peasy and Gluten Free!)

1 cup- coconut milk

1 red or orange bell pepper, washed and cut up in pieces

2 heaping Tablespoons- Almond butter

1- clove garlic

1 – teaspoon curry powder

1 – teaspoon chili powder

1 – teaspoon red pepper flakes (or more to taste)

1/2 – Tablespoons Hot Sauce

Fresh Basil

Directions:

Boil your rice noodles according to package directions, about 4-5 minutes.

Combine all the rest of the ingredients, except basil, in a blender and blend until smooth

Combine sauce with noodles. (If noodles are not done yet, place this sauce in a small sauce pan and keep warm on the stovetop.) – I did not do this and our noodles cooled down quickly.

Add fresh basil on top and stir.

Note: I loved this a lot and my husband loved it even more. He had three small bowls and because he likes things hotter than I do, he added more hot sauce, red pepper flakes and curry. Otherwise, someone who doesn’t like hot will be just fine. It’s a creamy, yummy bowl of tasty deliciousness.

We hope you like this as much as we did. It will now be among our “go to” meals.

Slow Cooker Chicken & Gravy

Slow Cooker Chicken & Gravy

I’ve never made a full chicken in the crock pot before but I will say it’s my new favorite way to have chicken. This recipe from the cookbook Nom Nom Paleo: Food for Humans is seriously as moist as any rotisserie chicken you can buy from the store and is so incredibly tasty and satisfying, you’ll be licking your chops and having seconds… and thirds.

I served my slow cooker chicken with dukkah encrusted brussel sprouts and mashed potatoes. So… according to how strict you are at Paleo (we are not strict Paleo) you may or may not include those. Hey, a caveman could find and dig up a potato, right? Exactly. So, we’re having potatoes! :)

Anyway… on to the delicious chicken. Hope you like it as much as we did.

Ingredients:

2 – Tablespoons of Ghee

3- large Leeks, white parts only

6- cloves of garlic, minced

1 teaspoon – tomato paste

Kosher salt

Fresh ground pepper

1/2 Cup- chicken stock

1 – 4 pound whole chicken

1 tablespoon – poultry seasoning of seasoning of your choice (I didn’t have poultry seasoning so I used Tony Chachere’s Creole Seasoning.

1- teaspoon Paleo-friendly fish sauce (optional) I didn’t have this, so I left it out. Not a fan of anything fish-y.

Directions: 

Wash and cut up your leeks by cutting them lengthwise down the middle and washing off the dirt. Set aside.

Melt ghee in skillet over medium heat.

Add leeks and garlic and cook until fragrant.

Add the tomato paste and stir to incorporate. Season with salt and pepper and cook until lightly browned, about 8-10 minutes.

Add this mixture to your crockpot.

After rinsing your whole chicken inside and out and removing the innards (heart, gizzard and neck), set in a large bowl and pat dry. Sprinkle the inside and out with your seasoning. Place the chicken breast side down in the crockpot (add your fish sauce if you use it) and cover with the lid for 6 hours on low.

———

When the chicken is done cooking, remove it to a platter (be careful, mine was so soft it fell apart) and cover with tented tin foil to let it rest for 20 minutes.

Pour gravy from bottom of the crock pot in to a large measuring cup. With an immersion blender, puree the contents. This is your gravy. YUM!

Once the chicken has rested, either pull it apart or take platter to the table for everyone to dig in. Serve with gravy on the side.

Cleaning leeks

Cleaning Leeks

Cut up Leeks

Cut up Leeks

Chicken on top of Leeks

Chicken on top of Leeks

Chicken fell apart

So tender it fell apart!

Plated chicken

Plated chicken

Gravy

Gravy

Leftover Chicken

Leftover Chicken

Dukkah Encrusted Brussel Sprouts

Dukkah Encrusted Brussel Sprouts

Dukkah Encrusted Brussel Sprouts

I love brussel sprouts and usually fry them in a blend of three oils with sesame seeds, like I did here, but today I roasted them in the oven. They turned out really great and were much less oily too.

I added Dukkah seasoning, which was recommended in my Nom Nom Paleo: Food for Humans cookbook and I just happened to have some on hand. Yay!

I bought my Dukkah at Trader Joe’s and found it online here. It’s normally reserved for putting in olive oil and dipping bread into it, but it adds a nice nutty crunch to already crunchy brussel sprouts. Enjoy!

Ingredients:

Brussel sprouts, washed and cut in half

Olive Oil to coat

Dukkah seasoning (about 3 Tbsp.)

Directions: 

Wash and cut up sprouts. Mine were very large, like almost cabbage… LOL! and I had to cut mine in fours.

Drain well.

Put in a mixing bowl and drizzle with olive oil and toss well with your hands.

Sprinkle with Dukkah, and toss with hands until well coated. (Probably somewhere around 3 Tbsp.)

Bake in a baking dish at 400 degrees for 45 minutes.

Some of the leaves will brown and fall off, making brussel sprout chips. Yum! Hope you likey!

____________

If you don’t have store bought Dukkah on hand, make your own like this:

Ingredients:

1/3 cup- raw hazelnuts or almonds

1/4 cup- coriander seeds

2 Tbsp- cumin seeds

1/3 cup- sesame seeds

1/4 cup- shelled, roasted pistachio nuts

Directions:

Roast nuts at 350 for 10-15 minutes.

Toast coriander seeds in a skillet for 1 minute. Remove to a bowl. Toast sesame seeds for one minute and remove to that bowl. Toast cumin seeds for one minute and remove to that same bowl.

Add your roasted nuts to the bowl of seeds. Cool slightly and then grind in small batches in a clean coffee grinder.

Keep covered in the refrigerator.

Pour some of this ‘magic powder’ on to any vegetable or fish or chicken… really anything, before cooking. Slurp!

Big-O Bacon Burgers & Coconut Pineapple “Rice.”

Nom Nom Paleo: Food for Humans

Nom Nom Paleo: Food for Humans

It’s been awhile since I updated my food blog because to be honest, with the winter vortex we’ve been living under here in N.E. Ohio, I’ve been uninspired. Until now!

Enter right: my new recipe book Nom Nom Paleo: Food for Humans by Michelle Tam and her husband Henry Fong. After reading it, this was me. I’M IN LOVE! – This is by far the best cookbook I have (and I have a ton of cookbooks.)

It’s like a story book/cookbook, full to the hilt with awesome recipes that are simple yet flavorful, colorful cartoon drawings, photos of the author’s adorable children and of course the story of how Nom Nom came to be. If you love to eat Paleo like we do and get one cookbook this year, get this one.

The first thing I made was ghee. Then on to Big-O Bacon Burgers and Coconut Pineapple “Rice.” I’m not sure if she would have put those two dishes together in the same meal, but we loved it… like, loved-it-so-much-there-is -NOTHING-left- loved it. It was a party in my mouth.

Ingredients: (for Big-O Burgers)

1/2 pound- cremini mushrooms

6 pieces- fried bacon

1 pound- ground beef (grass-fed, no hormones, no antibiotics administered beef)

1 tsp. – kosher salt

Directions: 

Cut up bacon while cold with kitchen shears and add to a cold skillet. Fry on medium-low heat until crispy, about 25 minutes. Drain. (Save your bacon fat!)

While the bacon cooks, wash mushrooms and allow to drain on paper towels. Once dry, add to a food prcessor and pulse until they resemble crumbles.

Add ground beef, mushrooms and fried bacon together in a mixing bowl and mix well with your hands. Add your salt. Divide into 4 larger burgers or 6 smaller ones.

Melt the fat of your choice in a skillet (I used ghee, I also made from the Nom Nom Paleo cookbook.) Cook burgers to your liking. I like mine well done (no pink), my husband is a rare kinda guy (walk his beef through a warm kitchen.) *shiver!

If you’d like, you can wrap each burger patty in a lettuce leaf and serve with tomato slices or you can use roasted portobello mushrooms instead of buns. We just ate ours plain and they were fabulous just like that…

Bacon!

Bacon!

Schrooms!

Schrooms!

Meat Mixture

Meat Mixture

Meat mixed

Meat mixed

Frying!

Now on to the Coconut Pineapple “Rice”

Rice is in parenthesis because rice isn’t Paleo, but surprise! cauliflower is and is our “rice” in this recipe. It’s super easy, and takes on the flavor of anything you put with it. Way cool!

Ingredients: (for Coconut Pineapple Rice)

1- large head of cauliflower, washed, cut into smaller pieces that will fit in the food processor (Mine was so big it made two large containers of “rice.” I used one container for this recipe and have one for another day.)

2- Tbsp. coconut oil

1- small yellow onion, or onion flakes (I used flakes and it was delicious)

kosher salt

1/2 cup- coconut milk

1 cup- pineapple, cut into smaller bite sized pieces

2- scallions, thinly sliced

Fresh ground pepper, to your taste

Directions: 

After washing cauliflower, toss into food processor and pulse until it resembles the look of rice

In a large skillet, melt coconut oil over medium heat and saute’ onion until translucent.

Add your cauliflower rice to the skillet, add your coconut milk and stir to distribute. Season with salt and pepper.

Cover with lid for 10 minutes until “rice” absorbs the coconut milk and the texture is fluffy and tender.

Remove to a bowl, top with scallions and pineapple and serve. Yum! Hope you enjoy as much as we did!

Whole cauliflower

Whole cauliflower

Pulsed Cauliflower

Pulsed Cauliflower

Whole/Pulsed

Whole/Pulsed

Coconut "Rice"

Coconut “Rice”

Ta da! YUMMY!

Ta da! YUMMY!

Chickpea Pasta with Almonds and Parmesan

Chickpea Pasta with Almonds and Parmesan

Chickpea Pasta with Almonds and Parmesan

I used to make this a lot when my boys were living at home. I found the page today in my stash of recipes ripped from a Real Simple Magazine 2008.

It’s super simple, a unique spin off of regular spaghetti night and really tasty.

The chickpeas and almonds give the pasta the protein it needs and the red pepper flakes give it the perfect hotness. We like it, hope you do too.

Ingredients: 

1 Tablespoon Olive Oil

3 cloves garlic, minced

7 cups – low sodium vegetable broth (can use chicken broth too)

1/2 teaspoon – red pepper flakes

Salt to taste (about 3/4 teaspoon)

1 pound – angel hair or spaghetti (I used spaghetti so it took a few minutes more to cook)

1- 15.5 ounce can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed

Dried parsley – (a few shakes over top to make it pretty) Can use fresh too, chopped up.

1/4 cup – unsalted roasted almonds, sliced (or chopped from whole almonds)

1/2 cup – parmesan

Directions:

Heat the oil in a deep sided skillet

Stir in your garlic and heat through for one minute

Add your broth, red pepper, salt and bring to a boil

Add your pasta. (I break mine up to make shorter pieces, but you don’t have to.)

Stir occasionally to prevent sticking. You can put the skillet lid on if cooking spaghetti to ensure it’s not too al dente.

Cook for 6 minutes for angel hair. 8 minutes for spaghetti. (If there is broth still in the bottom of the pan when the timer goes off, don’t fret. This will absorb into the pasta.)

Divide among plates or bowls, top with the almonds and parmesan and enjoy!

Toffee Break Ups

Toffee Break Ups

Toffee Break Ups

This is a recipe my mother in law gave me. I had it at her home once and fell in love. She takes it to all her holiday get togethers (and she has many) and it’s always the hit of the party.

It’s super easy to make, with the hardest part being waiting for it to set  so you can break it apart. Hope you love it as much as we do.

Oh, and Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, Happy Hanukkah, Happy Kwanzaa, Feliz Navidah, Festivus for the Rest of Us, whatever you celebrate. Let there be peace on Earth. :)

Ingredients:

35-40 saltine crackers, use salted ones, (my baking sheet held an even 40)

1 cup brown sugar

1 and 1/2 sticks of butter

1 bag- semi sweet chocolate chips

A nut of your choice: Walnuts, peanuts, pecans, whatever, broken into smaller pieces, (I used walnuts)

Directions: 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Line your baking sheet with parchment paper.

Line sheet with enough saltines to fill the bottom, salt side-up.

Microwave brown sugar and butter together for 1 minute and stir, microwave for another 1 minute and stir again.

Pour this mixture over saltines.

Bake for 12 minutes.

While it’s pipping hot and bubbly, scatter your chocolate chips over the top and allow to melt. As they melt, spread them evenly over the top with a plastic mixing spatula.

Scatter your broken pieces of nuts over the top, then press them in a bit with the flat surface of your palm so you don’t lose a lot when breaking it apart.

Put in the refrigerator.

Allow to cool for about and hour. Make sure bottom of pan is cool to touch.

Lift up the corners of the parchment  to release around the edges and work your way in breaking it up in bite sized pieces. (If you’re impatient and encounter a soft center that is still gooey, place back in the frig and allow to set some more, you took it out too soon.)

Bonus: A tip my mother in law gave me, is to allow it to break into uneven, imperfect pieces with ragged edges and it looks more rustic and elegant that way.

Place on a large serving platter and enjoy. It’s seriously beyond delicious.

(Sorry, I didn’t get to take photos of each step, I was on the phone with my youngest son. He called me for my birthday today. :)