The Sunday Recipe: Vanilla and Peach Coconut Custard

Vanilla and Peach Coconut Custard

This is a simple custard with just a few ingredients that comes together quickly and is gentle on the stomach.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup of full fat canned coconut milk
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoons tapioca flour
  • 1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 peach slices, frozen or canned, for each ramekin, diced

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Place the four ramekins in a square baking dish, metal or glass work.
  3. Put one layer of chopped peaches in the bottom of the dishes.
  4. Heat 2 cups of water for a water bath.
  5. Place the rest of the ingredients in a blender or bowl and mix thoroughly. (I used a bullet blender.)
  6. Pour batter slowly over fruit.
  7. Pour hot water into pan around ramekins. (Be careful, the pan can now become quite hot.)
  8. Bake for 40 minutes.
  9. Remove from oven and remove ramekins from pan to a towel using tongs.
  10. Allow to cool then refrigerate for several hours.
  11. Enjoy!

The Friday Poem: Electrical Conversion

Totally Coconut Cake

Totally Coconut Cake

When I was growing up my mother would buy a fresh coconut, use the coconut water in a white cake mix, frost with an Italian meringue frosting, called White Mountain Frosting by Betty Crocker, then grate the fresh coconut onto the cake. The Italian meringue frosting would hold the fresh grated coconut quite well.

Mom decorated the cakes in a number of ways over the years. I remember her cutting up layers and putting them together so it looked like a rabbit one year. But one of my favorites was when she put jelly beans on the fresh coconut and the color bled into the coconut just a little. It was very pretty and festive for Easter.

Today, it’s so much easier to get coconut products and I like to stay as gluten free as possible for myself. I also like to sweeten with maple syrup instead of regular sugar so this cake was perfect for us. With just the three of us for Easter this year, one layer was perfect too.

I wasn’t able to get fresh coconut this year, but I know from past cupcakes I’ve made that using coconut oil, coconut flour, and coconut milk will pack plenty of coconut flavor in.

I’m not big on sugar based candies like jelly beans, but who could resist the beautiful, bright color they bring to the mostly white background of the cake. Perfect for Spring!

This year I used the recipe from Savory Lotus at  https://www.savorylotus.com/simple-coconut-flour-cake/ because it was fairly similar to a cupcake recipe I’ve used before that we loved. I was a little disappointed that the cake turned out so flat, maybe three-quarters of an inch thick, and that’s with beating the egg whites then folding them in AND using a slightly smaller pan than called for. I sure hope it tastes good.

I picked a frosting from a different cake recipe at Well Plated to use – https://www.wellplated.com/coconut-flour-cake/ Mostly because it used coconut milk in the frosting and I thought that would give it an extra flavor boost.

Maybe I’ll stick to my favorite coconut flour cupcakes from Treasured Tips next time, though I do use maple syrup instead of honey in them. You can find that recipe at https://www.treasuredtips.com/vanilla-paleo-cupcakes-recipe/

I’ll update with how the cake tasted after we eat it. 🙂

ETA: Husband liked it but I will definitely stick to the cupcake recipe in the future. C’est la vie.

The Friday Poem: Level Up

The Sunday Recipe: Savory Brown Rice

The ultra-simple ways to make healthy food taste delicious – isn’t that what we’re all looking for? This one goes down easy with my family. If you want to stay vegetarian with this recipe, simply use vegetable broth instead of chicken broth.

The Sunday Recipe: Savory Brown Rice

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  • 1 medium onion
  • 1 medium carrot
  • 1 stalk of celery
  • 4 teaspoons low sodium chicken bouillon powder plus 2 cups water OR  2 cups low sodium chicken broth
  • ¼ teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 cup of brown rice

Directions

  1. Prepare a medium-large pot with non-stick cooking spray or just the olive oil and heat over medium low heat.
  2. Dice the onion, carrot, and celery. (I use a plunger chopper with multiple blades to make this part go very quickly.)
  3. Sauté veggies in pot for a few minutes until softened.
  4. While they are cooking, in a fine mesh strainer rinse your rice until the water runs clear, leave to drain. (Because our water is not drinkable, I pour the rice into a small bowl, cover with water, stir until water is cloudy and drain off then repeat two more times.)
  5. Add the bouillon and water or chicken broth with the brown rice to the pot, and salt if using.
  6. Bring to a boil then stir and reduce heat to lowest setting.
  7. Cover and allow to cook for 50 minutes.
  8. After 50 minutes, remove from heat and allow to rest, covered, for 10 more minutes.
  9. Stir the rice and serve.  

The Friday Poem

The Sunday Recipe: Non-Traditional Irish Soda Bread Muffins

This is definitely not what you would call a “traditional” Irish soda bread.

I started out with a muffin recipe from A Spicy Perspective, which can be found here – ttps://www.aspicyperspective.com/irish-soda-bread-muffins/ – if you want a recipe that uses regular flour.

Then I started making my substitutions to create something gluten free and a little more friendly for me. Here’s what I came up with. It’s similar, in some ways, but also different. However, my husband and I agreed that it was delicious – buttery, sweet, and tender. (I actually think he liked it better than regular Irish soda bread.)

If you give it a try, let me know how you like it.

Paleo Irish Soda Bread Muffins

Ingredients

  • ½ cup unsalted butter, gently melted
  • 1 egg plus 1 egg white
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 cup almond flour
  • ½ cup tapioca flour
  • ¾ teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 ¼ teaspoons baking powder
  • ¾ teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 cup coconut flour, sifted to break up clumps
  • 1 cup raisins, plumped in hot water and drained (I used golden raisins.)

Directions

  1. Plump your raisins in hot water for 20 minutes then drain.
  2. Preheat the oven to 350.
  3. Prep 18 muffin wells with cooking spray or paper liners. (I have a 12 cup and two 6 cup tins so I used one large and one small.)
  4. Cut up the butter and warm it gently in the microwave, stirring to melt every minute or so. Set aside.
  5. Whisk the egg with the maple syrup.
  6. Add in the buttermilk.
  7. Add the almond flour, tapioca flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.
  8. Stir in the melted butter.
  9. Add the coconut flour and raisins last, folding to combine quickly but gently. (Coconut flour has a tendency to stiffen dough quickly.)
  10. You will have a fluffy dough. Spoon gently into the prepared tins. (This won’t puff a lot when baking so you don’t want to deflate the air you have in there.)
  11. Bake for 20 minutes.
  12. Allow to cool at least 10 minutes before serving.
  13. Enjoy!

The Friday Poem: Little Rituals

The Sunday Recipe: Cottage Pie

Cottage Pie

I don’t remember having this dish when I was growing up but my daughter saw it online and wanted to give it a try. We’ve made it half a dozen times since then and customized it to fit our tastes, cobbling together a couple recipes into something we really enjoy. It is the ultimate comfort food.

This version is not vegetarian but I could easily see making it vegetarian by using mushroom gravy and either tofu or seitan in place of the meat.

One thing that makes a huge difference, I have found, is the quality of the Worcestershire sauce. We were using the standard grocery store sauce, and it was good, but then I ran out and grabbed a bottle of organic at our local farm store. It was amazing – the flavor was so much more complex and rich.

The other thing that makes a big difference to me is how finely minced the ground beef is, the trick is to keep the meat moving with a wood spoon or spatula as it browns. This produces a finer mince than you would get if you just turn it a few times during this step. It allows the sauce to fully incorporate and makes it so much better.

We have tried adding no peas, a cup of frozen peas, or a whole package before putting it in the pan and putting the mashed potatoes on top. Personally, I prefer to either leave the peas out or put a cup in and just serve the rest on the side. I think it dilutes the flavor of the casserole just a bit.

We’ve also added a cup of shredded sharp cheddar cheese to the mashed potatoes, but it really isn’t necessary, this is so rich and flavorful on its own. 

One of the hardest bits to me is getting the consistency right of the beef and gravy so that the mashed potatoes don’t sink in, and also spooning the potatoes on evenly so they don’t sink in. Last time I used a cookie scoop to drop them on and that worked pretty well.

This time I was impatient and didn’t simmer the gravy for five minutes, so it was a bit soupy. It was still delicious. This serves our family of three for two meals.

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon corn starch
  • 2 tablespoons cold water
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 large carrots or two handfuls of baby carrots, chopped
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1 1/2 pound of ground beef
  • 2 cups beef broth
  • 2 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tablespoon ketchup
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper
  • 2 1/2 pounds potatoes
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • Salt/pepper to taste
  • 1 cup frozen green peas (optional)

Directions

  1. Chop vegetables.
  2. Peel potatoes and cut into half-inch pieces. Rinse, if needed, then place in a pot and cover with water.
  3. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to simmer for 20 minutes.
  4. While the potatoes boil, preheat the oven to 400 degrees and cook the meat filling, directions as follows.
  5. Mix together the starch with a couple tablespoons of cold water, set aside.
  6. Heat a large pan over medium heat.
  7. Add olive oil and chopped carrots and onions, and minced garlic if using.
  8. Saute a few minutes.
  9. Add the ground beef and keep it moving until it is thoroughly browned and broken up into a fine mince.
  10. Add the ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, and garlic powder if using.
  11. Salt and pepper as desired.
  12. Stir in the broth and bring it to a gentle bubble. Let it go for 5 minutes to reduce.
  13. Stir in the starch slurry.
  14. Allow to cook for a minute then remove from heat.
  15. Stir in a cup of frozen peas if using.
  16. When the potatoes have simmered for 20 minutes, drain and mash with butter, milk, as well as salt and pepper to taste.
  17. Pour the meat and vegetable filling into a prepared 9 by 13 casserole dish.
  18. Dip the mashed potatoes over onto the filling.
  19. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes.
  20. Allow to cool for 10 to 15 minutes before serving. (This comes out piping hot!)
  21. Serve with additional vegetable, peas are particularly good with it.

The Friday Poem: Circling ‘Round

Here’s a little poem I wrote last month in response to a prompt on circles.

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