Sweet Potato Pound Cake [Gluten-free]

sweet potato pound cake

The first version of this recipe I tried was in the form of a pumpkin pound cake (rather than sweet potato). It was part of a group potluck, and I loved it so much I took the leftovers home to Loren to share it with him. I’ve since made my own version using my homemade roasted sweet potato puree, and it was every bit as delicious as the original pumpkin one. Both versions are absolutely fabulous, so interchange the ingredients as you wish. I brought what was left of our sweet potato loaf home to Texas a few weeks back, and my mom loved it so much she asked me to make another one before I left. She even made sure to copy down the recipe before the trip was over (and she’s not generally a baker).

What makes this recipe shine is that it’s so SIMPLE. With only a handful of whole-food ingredients, none of which requires any special baking chemistry, it’s almost impossible to get this one wrong. And the final product is nothing short of decadent.

 

Delicious AND Nutritious

Not only would you never know that this pound cake is gluten-free, you’d never know that it’s actively good for you, filled with nutrient-dense ingredients that will nourish your body and make your taste buds sing. I’ll just give you a quick nutrition rundown so you can feel awesome about eating this pound cake for breakfast, a snack, or even dessert — add a dollop of coconut whipped cream to this creation and you have yourself a guilt-free, paleo dessert.

  1. It uses only whole food ingredients
  2. It is entirely gluten-, grain-, and dairy-free
  3. It uses only healthy fats from coconut oil, pastured eggs, and almonds – CLICK HERE for your free 15 oz jar of coconut oil
  4. It’s rich in beta carotene and other healthy phytonutrients (this is true whether you use sweet potatoes or pumpkin)
  5. It’s high in fiber and low in glycemic load (even lower GL with pumpkin but true for both)
  6. It includes warming spices, including cinnamon (which helps regulate blood sugar) and ginger (which aids in digestion)
  7. It uses a small amount of natural, unrefined maple syrup (1/4 cup for 8-10 servings), a natural sweetener rich in minerals and minimally processed

sweet potato pound cake

I have to give credit to my friend and colleague, holistic Chef Christine Cully for sharing her amazing recipe with me and allowing me to post it on CWB for you all to enjoy. Lucky for me (and for you as you’ll soon find out once you try this), Christine’s generous attitude is to share the wealth of her great recipes and get people eating better — just get the information out there, no credit requested! Well I’m giving her credit anyway. So here it is, my amazing sweet potato pound cake, adapted from a recipe by Chef Christine Cully. 

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Sweet Potato Pound Cake
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Ingredients
  1. 3/4 cup roasted sweet potato puree (recipe linked at the top of the post)
  2. 1/4 cup maple syrup
  3. 1/4 cup coconut oil
  4. 4 eggs
  5. 1 cup almond flour
  6. 1/4 cup coconut flour
  7. 1/4 tsp sea salt
  8. 1/2 tsp baking soda
  9. 1 tsp cinnamon
  10. 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 325
  2. Melt coconut oil
  3. Combine wet ingredients in a large mixing bowl
  4. Combine dry ingredients in a small mixing bowl
  5. Add dry ingredients to wet, and mix until smooth
  6. Bake in a greased loaf pan for 35-40 minutes
Notes
  1. Let sit for about 10 minutes before removing from loaf pan or cutting to serve.
  2. This recipe works great for muffins as well, and yields about 10 muffins
Adapted from Holistic Chef Christine Cully
Adapted from Holistic Chef Christine Cully
Cultivated Wellbeing http://cultivatedwellbeing.com/

Easy One-pan Meal: Low-carb Green Bean Casserole

My mom is famous for her Italian green bean casserole. Not to be confused with anything involving cream of mushroom soup or fried onions, she layers canned green beans, Italian breadcrumbs, Parmesan cheese, Lawry’s seasoned salt, and olive oil, in a pan, puts it in the oven, and that’s it. Simple, delicious, full of flavor and childhood nostalgia. 

healthy green bean casserole low carb one-pan mealFresh Green Beans

As a general rule, I try to minimize canned foods and maximize fresh veggies, and since we’ve been super lucky this season with our green bean yield in the garden, I decided to create my own one-pan meal inspired by my mom’s famous recipe. 

If you’re like me, you want dinner to be easy prep and easy clean-up. Since my food-making workshop is a 1950’s kitchen with zero upgrades (no dishwasher, no disposal), I like to dirty as few dishes as possible with one-pot or one-pan meals. 

This recipe works great for a low-carb lifestyle full of flavor and joy without the hassle of exact measurements and tons of dishes.

I like to call my no-measure style of cooking “intuitive cooking” because it involves trusting your instincts and going with what looks and feels right. That being said, I know that intuitive cooking isn’t for everyone, so I will give some estimates so you can get the hang of it. 

healthy green bean casserole low carb one pot meal

Ingredients for this recipe are super simple (serves 4):

  • Fresh green beans (enough to line a large plan without really stacking them on top of each other)
  • About 1 lb of your favorite ground meat (beef, turkey, chicken, pork, loose sausage)
  • Extra virgin olive oil (to avoid a greasy dish, use very sparingly if you choose loose sausage, which tends to have a higher fat content)
  • Your favorite hard cheese (Parmesan, Romano, and asiago all work great), shredded or grated
  • sliced almonds
  • garlic powder
  • onion powder
  • Lawry’s Seasoned Salt (affiliate link)
  • Water and a pinch of salt

Healthy Low-Carb Green Bean Casserole one pot meal

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350F
  2. Rinse and snip the ends of the beans
  3. Place a layer of beans in a baking pan and add 1 inch of water and a pinch of salt
  4. Braise in the oven for 10 minutes
  5. While the beans are in the oven, warm a skillet and add your ground meat, browning completely
  6. Drain off any liquid in your skillet and set cooked meat aside
  7. Once the beans have been in for 10 minutes, remove from the oven and drain remaining water from the pan
  8. Layer the remaining ingredients on top of the braised beans in the following order:
    1. ground meat 
    2. garlic powder (light sprinkle over the entire surface of the dish)
    3. onion powder (light sprinkle over the entire surface of the dish)
    4. shredded almonds
    5. shredded cheese
    6. Lawrys seasoned salt
  9. Bake at 350F for 12 to 15 minutes until the cheese turns a golden brown

 greenbean casserole

Best Stuffed Squash Blossom Recipe Ever

vegan gluten-free squash blossom recipe grain free

This year we decided to plant pumpkins in our newly created front yard edible landscape, and as a result, we’ve had a boon of squash blossoms to eat (on the left in the picture above). In years past, I’ve seen tiny baskets of squash blossoms in booths at the farmers’ market and been curious as to how people eat them. Every time I’d ask a farmer, the answer would be, “stuff ’em with cheese, bread ’em, fry ’em.”

MMMM, healthy! (sounded like gas and pain to me)

As a result, we never bothered buying them, but once we found ourselves with a front yard full of squash blossoms, I decided to experiment. The first batch I picked ended up getting chopped up and thrown into scrambled eggs, because I never found the time to do anything with them before they started to shrivel. Little did I know, squash blossom petals are like little magical yellow silky spider webs — much stronger and stickier than you’d imagine, which means they are great for stuffing, even if they shrivel a little bit. The eggs were good, but I wouldn’t say the blossoms added much to them besides color.

vegan gluten-free squash blossom recipe grain free

I was prepared for the next round I picked, which I used for this recipe, and which will undoubtedly redefine what you think of a gluten-free, grain-free, vegan ANYTHING, much less a version of something that’s typically stuffed with cheese, battered, and fried.

Seriously.

I’m talking about stuffing squash blossoms with vegan cheese and coating them with grain-free batter. This is a vegan, gluten-free squash blossom recipe that will have you pinching yourself in disbelief. One bite of these little nuggets of joy and you’ll be singing the praises of vegans and “glutards” (a new term I just learned that completely cracks me up and apparently describes me) everywhere! Maybe you won’t be singing their praises, but you might be singing mine for sharing this with you. This recipe is not only gluten-free, it’s grain-free, lending itself to an even greater audience of restricted eaters.

 

While I’m not the most humble of people among us, I don’t generally endorse the singing of my own praises, but with Loren as my witness, these things are THE BOMB, and you won’t regret making a special trip to the grocery store for garbanzo bean flour to make them. That’s a promise.

A word on which squash blossoms to eat

vegan gluten-free squash blossom recipe grain-free

example using a zucchini plant

There are two kinds of blossoms you’ll find in your garden if you’re growing squash of any kind. Some of the blooms are male and some are female. The male ones just look like a regular flower with a regular stem. Those are the ones you want to pick for a recipe like this one. The female ones have a little mini-fruit at the base of the blossom. Check out this article for more photographic examples and some great info on squash gardening. The take-home message is that you shouldn’t pick the female flowers because you will likely be preventing the fruit from forming. The bees move the pollen from the males to the females, and that “insemination” gets the fruit going. If you take the flower off before that happens, the fruit won’t mature. 

Squash Blossoms(1)

Gluten-free Vegan Squash Blossom Heaven

Ingredients:
  • 20 male squash blossoms
  • 1/4 cup garbanzo bean flour

    vegan gluten-free squash blossom recipe grain free

    basil herbalea super globe in my garden

  • 1 cup water (you want the mixture to be pasty — thinner than hummus, thicker than soup)
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt to go in the batter + a little extra to sprinkle right after they come out of the oil
  • Cashew cheese (I left out the cilantro this time. Linked recipe makes more than is needed for 20 squash blossoms)
  • Fresh basil (any kind will work — typically smaller leaves are sweeter. I used basil herbalea super globe from the garden.)
  • Sunflower, sesame, or coconut oil for frying (you want about half an inch of oil in your fry pan)
 Directions:
  1. Make the cashew cheese following the instructions this recipe leaving out the cilantro
  2. Carefully open each squash blossom to stuff the cashew cheese and small basil leaf into the blossom and twist it shut (the petals just stick together like magic yellow mesh)
  3. In a wide shallow bowl, mix the garbanzo flour and salt and slowly incorporate about a cup of water, until you get the desired consistency — not too thick, not too runny
  4. Heat your skillet before adding the oil, then add 1/2 an inch and heat to 330F
  5. Dip the blossoms into the batter, covering completely, and then place into the oil
  6. Cook each side until golden brown
  7. Salt immediately
  8. Drain on some paper towels and allow them to cool before devouring

vegan gluten-free squash blossom recipe grain free

 

 

Spring Sugar Snap Pea Salad |Cultivated Wellbeing

I’ve had a very busy week running around 4 work sites and propagating health and wellness information to the masses of employees at my day-job. It’s wellness fair season, which means I’m halfway through two weeks of back-to-back events.

Cra-zy.

This time of year might be the most exciting but it’s also the most stressful, which means that eating well and sleeping as much as possible are the objectives to meet for my life outside of work. (I successfully slept 10 hours a night all three nights of this long weekend, by the way. I’d call that a SUCCESS!) I will not be getting sick or wearing myself thin. Not while I’m telling everyone else how to be healthy all day. This week’s recipe is one of sheer joy for me to share with you, and it hits the spot where “eating well” is concerned — especially if your definition of “eating well” involves a delicious requirement just as much as a healthy requirement. Both are equally important. sugar snap pea recipe

I’ve recently started listening to an NPR show called Splendid Table, which alluded to a variation upon what I’m about to share, and (like always), I encourage you to be creatively inspired to make this recipe your own. I’ll give you some suggestions at the end to spark your imagination. I served this dish at a backyard BBQ last weekend, and even guests who weren’t all that into sugar snap peas went back for seconds and thirds. We had zero leftovers, much to my disappointment. (I LOVE leftovers!) It really is mind-blowingly good.

Sugar Snap Pea Salad

Ingredients:

  • 2 lbs snap peas
  • 2 lbs red grapes
  • 1 large red shallot sliced
  • 1/4 medium sweet yellow onion, coarsely chopped
  • 4 to 6 chopped green onions
  • 6 to 10 sprigs of fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1/3-1/5 lb pecorino romano, coarsely grated
  • 1/3 cup slivered almonds
  • Dressing: 1/3 cup EVO and 1 tbs raw apple cider vinegar mixed well
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Snap off the tough ends of the sugar snaps where necessary. I just use scissors and do a few at a time. It saves time and prevents accidental pea mutilation.
  2. Rinse the peas and grapes and drain very thoroughly. I let them sit in a colander for a few minutes and then toss a few paper towels into it to soak up the extra.
  3. In a large bowl with room to toss, add all ingredients (dressing last) and toss

This dish is absolutely fabulous, because it marries the natural sweetness of the peas and grapes with the salty umami of the pecorino romano. And the fresh herbs give a boost of not only flavor complexity but trace minerals and antioxidants too! Healthy and delicious — it’s heaven in your mouth! Seriously. sugar snap pea recipe

Sugar Snap Pea Recipe Variations

A few variations I can’t wait to try that might help get your juices flowing in your own kitchen:

  • swapping peaches, nectarines, or a berry combo for the grapes (UPDATE! Just did this with white nectarines for another BBQ this weekend and the whole salad was gone before the last guest arrived!)
  • swapping out other potent hard cheeses for the romano like parmesan or asiago
  • trying a Mexican cheese, lime, and a TON of cilantro with the peas only, or maybe even with peas and mandarin oranges
  • adding garlic to the onion mix or swapping it for the shallots
  • trading chopped pecans for the slivered almonds

The possibilities are endless here! I encourage you to choose your own adventure with this sugar snap pea recipe — and then share your results with me below! I’d love to hear about it!

Grain-Free Crab Cakes with Spicy Olive Dipping Sauce

dungenesscrab

It’s Dungeness crab season! Since moving to California, nearly every Thanksgiving has included Dungeness crab alongside the turkey and casseroles. We’ve also hosted at least one crab feast nearly every year as well — sometimes 2 or 3. The season lasts through the winter, and this year, we tripled the celebration — 2 birthdays and a crab feast, all on the same day. Yum!

Growing up in Texas and then moving to Maryland, I’m very well-versed in blue crab. I can pick them and dunk them into butter (or ghee) all day long, never tiring, never getting full. It’s heaven. 🙂 But since moving to California, I’ve discovered the blue crab’s boss — DUNGENESS CRAB! Nearly every bit as delicious, with 5 times the meat in chambers 5 times the size, these monsters are far more bang for your buck. You can eat every single leg (not so on the blue crab unless they’re exceptionally big), and even the joints have little morsels of goodness. Perfect for a party if someone is new to crab picking, and perfect for the hungry!

Due to an awesome deal we got through our friends at Cassis Catering, we went a little overboard on our crab order, and ended up with 2 extra enormous crabs. This is where these beautiful crab cakes come in!grainfreecrabcake1

Crab Cake Ingredients:

  • cooked meat from 2 whole Dungeness crabs (We boiled ours with onion, garlic, Old Bay, bay leaves, lots of salt (more than you might think), cracked red pepper, and lemon juice. We also had corn, carrots, and potatoes boiling in with them for the party)
  • 2 whole eggs
  • 2 to 3 green onions, chopped into thin slices
  • 1 to 1.5 tbs dijon mustard
  • 1 tbs coconut flour
  • 1 tbs ground flaxseed
  • 1 tsp Old Bay
  • 1/4 tsp celery seed
  • 1/2 tsp lemon pepper
  • (optional) red pepper flake to taste
  • sea salt to taste

Directions: Add all ingredients in medium mixing bowl and incorporate with fork, taking care not to completely shred the crab (I prefer large chunks of crab meat instead of shredding it into mush. In my mind, you aren’t searching for the crab amid tons of breading in a good crab cake. The crab is front and center.)

grainfreecrabcake

Spicy Olive Dipping Sauce:

  • 4 tbs mayo (I was too lazy to make my own, but would recommend it if you’re going strict paleo)
  • 1 tsp white wine vinegar
  • 1/4 tsp wasabi powder or paste
  • 2 tsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp EVOO
  • 2 tbs chopped green olives
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • pinch of garlic powder

Directions: Whisk all ingredients except olives until well incorporated and smooth, then stir in olives.

Enjoy!

grainfreecrabcake2

 

Spaghetti Squash Bacon Quiche

spaghetti squash recipe

This is Dexter! She is the most cuddly friend on the planet. Chances are you’ll see a lot of her in this blog. Any excuse I can find to include her, I surely will.

Every Tuesday this fall, my husband goes to a continuing education class and gets home too late to hit the gym. Our usual daily routine is to meet at the climbing gym after work and come straight home to make/eat dinner, but this semester, Tuesdays are different. He usually takes this ridiculously needy yet adorable creature with him to work every day. So now, on Tuesdays, I come straight home to let her out and take her to run around. As a result of this schedule change, Tuesdays have become my running and baking days. This Tuesday, I decided, was pie crust day. I made two crusts, one with bacon fat and one with palm shortening.  This post will feature the one made with bacon fat, but don’t worry, the other will be a quick follow-up.

Simple Baking

You’d be surprised how it easy it is to make a delicious gluten- and grain-free pie crust. I have been an on-again, off-again baker for a couple of years, and only recently have I done it on any consistent basis, so the thought of making a pie crust always feels like a big hassle. Well this one takes 2 minutes.

spaghetti squash recipe

Savory Paleo Pie Crust

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups almond flour 
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tbs rendered bacon fat (cold, right from the fridge)
  • pinch of REAL salt or sea salt

Directions:

  1. Mix almond flour and salt first in a food processor, then add egg and bacon fat
  2. Process until it forms a dough
  3. Place the ball of dough in the center of an ungreased 9 inch pie dish and push the dough out into a crust with your fingers. Don’t worry if you tear the dough, just push it back together. Use a little extra almond flour if you need it to stick better

For the filling

spaghetti squash

after roasting it sliced in half long-ways and face down in butter or ghee, you can easily take a fork and scrape out the insides. one giant spaghetti squash is enough to last in our house for over a week.

It’s officially fall, and that means squash time. If you haven’t already seen it on my facebook feed, check out this Greatist article about all the different fall squashes and the fun ways to prepare them. This list could keep me busy for months! Today’s recipe features spaghetti squash. I love spaghetti squash because it’s so versatile. I’ve used it in place of potatoes for hash browns in the morning, (obviously) as a pasta replacement with a tomato sauce or pesto sauce, I’ve made them into little latke-type patties, and the other night for dinner, I used them as a base for a veggie and shrimp stir fry. The options are endless, so if you don’t have a big family to feed, you can just roast the whole thing and then use it for different recipes throughout the week. (I’ve also tried freezing it for later, and it’s perfectly fine to do that too.)

 

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups roasted spaghetti squash (I roast mine by melting a couple of tablespoons of ghee on a cookie sheet and placing the squash halves face-down. I roast for about 40 minutes at 350)
  • 4 pasture eggs
  • 2 big fistsful raw baby spinach
  • 1 tbs olive tapenade (You can use other flavor if you don’t have this. Fresh parsley, oregano, sage, season salt, and lemon pepper would all be great.)
  • 3 tbs-1/4 cup unsweetened almond milk — eyeball this, you might need a little more or a little less

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375°F
  2. In a large mixing bowl, beat eggs and add in the spaghetti squash and spinach until everything is coated and equally mixed
  3. Start adding in the almond milk, continuing to whisk until you achieve the right texture (not too liquidy, not too sticky).
  4. Fry 4 pieces thick cut bacon, just underdone — they’re going in the oven to cook the rest of the way, cut in half
  5. Pour filling into raw pie crust and place the bacon halves like spokes on top of the filling
  6. Cover exposed crust with foil or this pie shield (affiliate link)
  7. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes, depending on your oven — it should be firm in the center when it’s done
spaghetti squash recipe

you can cut the bacon smaller and arrange it however you want. I just thought this was pretty!

 

 

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