My New Dessert Addiction

I love desserts! All desserts. But the high sugar and flour in some classic desserts makes them a rare indulgence. Here is a dessert you can feel good about eating often. Blueberries have been shown to have health benefits such as decreasing the risks of insulin resistance, metabolic syndrome and heart disease. See the below link to the University of Michigan study for some additional reading on their benefits.

Homemade Whipped Cream
I find homemade whipped cream to be so much creamier and fresh tasting then the store bought varieties. I think you'll find it's  worth the effort to make it yourself.

Heavy Cream, maybe 1/2 to 3/4 of a cup
A few drops of vanilla extract
Your favorite sweetener. I used Truvia stevia packets.
A mixer

Add your ingredients to a mixing bowl and beat until peaks form. Check for taste and adjust the flavoring as needed. Cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, or other flavored extracts can substitute for the vanilla extract. Spoon gently over fresh berries.

Health Benefits of Blueberries

Blueberries make their mark on cardiovascular and diabetes risks, U-M animal study finds University of Michigan Health System

LA Times Article- A Reversal on Carbs

This is an interesting article showing that mainstream science is starting to recognize the harm of excessive carbs in our standard diet.

"... a growing number of top nutritional scientists blame excessive carbohydrates — not fat — for America's ills. They say cutting carbohydrates is the key to reversing obesity, heart disease, Type 2 diabetes and hypertension."

Vegetable Tian in my new Le Creuset Au Gratin Dish

I received this beautiful Le Creuset Cast Iron Au Gratin Dish as a gift and couldn't wait to try it out!
This recipe is a great way to get an assortment of fresh vegetables into your diet and it tastes delicious! The original recipe came from one of Ina Garten's excellent books. But I change it up a bit depending on what vegetables and cheese I have available. Eggplant, green tomatoes and different squash have found their way into this dish, so throw in whatever your family likes.

2 large red tomatoes, sliced
2 large green tomatoes, sliced
2 potatoes, sliced
1 large yellow onion, sliced
1 large or 2 small zuchinni squash, sliced
Fresh garlic to taste
Olive oil
Kosher salt
Fresh ground black pepper
4 oz grated cheese of your choice- French comte cheese or sharp cheddar cheese are my favorites.
A casserole dish or baking pan.
A skillet to cook onions

Preheat your oven to 375 and brush your casserole dish with a bit of olive oil. In a skillet, heat about 2 tbsp of olive oil and lightly cook the onions and garlic until the onions become translucent. Spoon the onions and garlic into the bottom of your casserole dish. Layer the thinly sliced vegetables alternating the colors until you fill the dish. Sprinkle with salt, pepper and thyme. Drizzle a bit of olive oil over the top and bake covered with aluminum foil for 40 minutes or until the potatoes are tender. Remove from the oven and sprinkle the grated cheese over the vegetables. Bake uncovered for an additional 30 minutes.

On it's way to the oven.

Before adding the cheese.

Kitchen Essentials

I am used to "roughing it" in the kitchen. I remember my college days cooking on a hot plate hoping the RA didn't catch us. LOL!  My first apartment wasn't much better equipped. But now that I've cooked for a while, I've learned a few things are essentials. Why make the job of cooking more difficult when quality tools will help you succeed.

If I had to start my kitchen all over again, here are the bare essentials I would purchase first.
  • A large 8 to 12 quart 18/10 stainless-steel clad stockpot. I am not a brand snob, just make sure it's heavy and well made. The stainless has to be clad around aluminum or copper for good heat conduction. (There are actually steel only pots being sold but I wouldn't recommend them.) This workhorse of a pot will cook stews, soups and steam seafood or dumplings. It will also boil pasta or potatoes for a crowd.
  • 2 and 3 quart stainless steel clad saucepans. These are for makings sauces, gravy, cooking rice or vegetables.
  • A 5 to 7 quart enameled cast iron dutch oven. Think about pot roast or braised short ribs slow cooking on the stove. Le Creuset and Staub are both French brands which make excellent ovens. Choose your color carefully because you will probably have this piece of cookware the rest of your life. 
  • A large non-stick skillet. Eggs are just so much harder to cook when the pan is not non-stick. Low heat and plastic/silicone utensils will help keep the coating on the pan and out of your food. Calphalon makes a great 12 inch round griddle pan, but there are many great brands. Since you have to replace non-stick when the coating begins to flake, I wouldn't spend too much on it.
  • A large stainless steel clad or cast iron skillet. This will be useful for searing and browning food. Lodge makes a range of nice cast iron skillets at very affordable prices.
  • Silicone potholders and utensils. This material is wonderful. The thinnest potholder is enough to protect your hands from a hot pot. I prefer the spatulas to have silicone or plastic handles so I can throw the whole thing in the dishwasher.
  • An 6 or 8 inch chef's knife. The brand is your preference, but I'd look for forged German steel. Avoid the lower models of the high end manufacturers as they tend to be disappointing.
  • A paring knife and a bread knife. 
  • Set of mixing bowls and an easy to clean whisk.
  • A bakeware set from Anchor Hocking. Made in the USA and great quality.

Crustless Pumpkin Pecan Pie

Our Thanksgiving Menu
Roasted Turkey with Sage Gravy
Wild Rice/Almond stuffing
Mashed Cauliflower
Steamed Green Beans
Crustless Pumpkin Pecan Pie
Getting everything together

Before it went in the oven
1 15 oz can pumpkin
1/2 cup agave syrup
2 eggs
1 can evaporated milk
1 cup pecans, roughly chopped
Cinnamon, Nutmeg, Allspice to taste. (I like a lot of spice flavor so I used a tablespoon of Cinnamon, a teaspoon of nutmeg and a half teaspoon of Allspice.)
Pinch of salt

Mix all ingredients together except the pecans. Pour mixture into a lightly buttered/oiled pie pan and sprinkle pecans on top. Bake at 350 for 35-40 minutes until the pie is set and starts to pull away from the side of the pan slightly. Serve with homemade whipped cream if desired or delicious all by itself!
I don't have an after picture. As it was cooling, someone snuck into the kitchen and stole a piece!  

What is Primal Eating?

Primal is a simple way of eating. No complex points, exchanges or food diarys. (Been there, done that, right?)  Just consider if a caveman would think this is food? If the answer is no, don't eat it! I enjoy:
  • All meats, seafood and chicken, cooked however I want.
  • All veggies with some limits on starchy tubers and beans
  • All fruits with some limits on very sugary ones like melons.  
  • Cheese and low carb dairy products
  • Healthy fats like coconut, olive and nut oils and tons of spices.

I avoid flour, grains, sugars, and processed food.

If you'd like more information, there is an excellent blog called Mark's Daily Apple which has a ton of details about eating Primal.