Chocolate Truffle Cake

Had a lovely time with homeschooling mothers this evening. And of course, when moms get together, someone has to bring something chocolaty. I found this recipe over 10 years ago, when my  mom got me a Better Homes & Garden cookbook.  Given, all the recipes have to be revamped to be truly healthy. However, a basic cookbook has been helpful for me to see how recipes are constructed; from there I can re-construct them.

Chocolate Truffle Cake

This is the doubled version – fits a 9×13 inch casserole dish

4 cups moist cookie crumbs (if they’re too dry, add melted butter to connect to form a crust)

12 oz dark chocolate – either chips or bars

3/4 cup coconut oil

3/4 cup cocoa

1/3 – 1/2 cup honey

8 drops Vanilla Stevia

2 cups of cream – can use coconut cream or real cream

12 eggs

1 1/4 cup sucanat, or palm sugar

2/3 cup coconut flour

Method

In a double boiler, melt coconut oil, honey, chocolate, cream, and stevia. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Meanwhile, in the mixer add each egg individually. Then add in the sugar, flour, and cocoa. While that’s mixing up, press the cookie crumbs into the pan until even and connected. Temper the egg mixture before adding the melted chocolate mixture to the egg mix. When fully incorporated, pour chocolaty goodness into the cookie crumb lined pan. Bake for 40-45 minutes. The center should not wiggle when you pull it out, but it will look “wet”. Let it cool for about 4 hours. It tastes better as it cools off and the flavors meld. Enjoy topped with fresh fruit or whipped cream and a nice cup of hot tea. Be careful, just a sliver goes a LONG way.

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Pasta Carbonara Revamped Nourishing Style

I must say I love pasta. Occasionally, I will make noodles from scratch. But having brown rice pasta noodles from Trader Joe’s is such a great quick fix. Switching up traditional recipes to make them nourishing is usually not too difficult. What makes pasta delicious? Richness. Real cream, real butter, real meat. Love it.

Pasta Carbonara

Serves 9 pasta lovers

2 packages of Trader Joe’s organic penne brown rice pasta

1 package of uncured beef bacon

4 egg yolks

2 cups of soured cream

1/2 cup of real butter

1/2 onion

3 garlic cloves

handful of fresh basil

2-3 cups fresh milk or buttermilk

Real salt and pepper to taste

Parmesan cheese for topping (make sure it doesn’t have anti-caking filler, blech)

Method

Bring to boil filtered water. In the meanwhile, cook up some uncured beef bacon and cut it up into small pieces. In the bacon grease, add a half chopped onion and butter. Cook until soft.

Cook the pasta according to directions. Drain. Put pasta back into the pot and add the bacon, onion butter sauce, then the sour cream, the handful of basil, chopped. Stir well. Mix the egg yolks into 1 cup of milk, whisk, and add into pasta. Mix gently. Continue adding milk until the sauce is rich and creamy. Serve immediately, topped with Parmesan cheese. Add a fresh salad and some kombucha and you’ve got an amazing dinner ahead of you. Enjoy!

For other great, nourishing recipes, check out the Monday Mania over at The Healthy Home Economist.

Random Beef Stew

The other night was pizza night, from which I had about a cup of extra sauce. As I was thinking of what I’d make for dinner tonight (where’s that meal plan when I need it?!), I remembered the black beans I had made extra of and were in the freezer. I had just bought some soup bones from a local farmer and thought a nice stew would be in order. This fall weather makes me crave soup. Or as the movie we watched last night, My Father’s Glory, put it so nice – it’s one of man’s greatest inventions!

What’s so great about soup? Well, you can add just about anything you have on hand, throw in some fresh herbs from the garden, and let it simmer all day, filling the house with such a delightful aroma so that all look forward to the evening meal. If you make it from scratch using soup bones, the nutritional value is equal to that of gold. Not to mention it’s a great way to make a little bit of meat stretch a long way. Coincidentally, you can also be frugal by using up any left over odds and ends of veggies, beans, or potatoes. Often times I will find I don’t have enough potatoes to make a complete side for the whole family, but I have just enough to add some weight to a soup or stew. Without further ado…

Random Beef Stew

Ingredients

2 -3 quarts filtered water

1-2 beef soup bones

1 Tablespoon apple cider vinegar, this will help pull the nutrients out of the bones

1 cup veggie pizza sauce, or any tomato sauce

4-5 garlic cloves, minced

1/2 large onion

3-4 medium organic potatoes

2 large carrots, preferably organic since they’re a root veggie

3-4  cups soaked, cooked beans –

1-4 teaspoons real salt (check to taste)

Optional: few dashes of fermented, organic soy sauce and/or hot sauce

Throw in whatever fresh herbs you have on hand – I used basil, rosemary, thyme, sage and oregano. If you like it spicy, add a few dashes of red pepper (with the baby and little ones, I leave it out and just put the peppers on the table for everyone else). You can also throw in any other root vegetables you might have on hand, from the garden or your CSA. Soup is a great disguise for random, not-so-popular vegetables.

Bring the above to a boil, turn down to a simmer and leave for several hours.  About 30-45 minutes before you’re ready to serve it, you can add any softer veggies – like leafy ones. I added a half a head of napa cabbage because that’s what we had from our CSA. You can also pull out the bones at this time, scrape off any remaining meat, put the meat back in the soup, and discard the bones (our dogs love them).

Add a fresh salad, some apple ginger water kefir, perhaps even a cheese plate of raw cheeses from a local farmer (or yourself), and you’re in for a gourmet treat.

Almond Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

We have a slight cookie fetish here. I find they are great snack, travel easily, and with just a couple cups of sucanat and palm sugar, they’re not overly sweet. I guess they’d more qualify for “energy bars” then a cookie treat. I ran out of blanched almonds for almond flour, so I thought I would try using almond butter instead. The end result is a nice, chewy cookie, that doesn’t fall apart much like other ones I have made (using g/f and sprouted flours can be so tricky!).

Almond Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

Yields 2 big bagfuls of snacks that last about 3 days around here

Ingredients

1 cup butter, organic, pastured

1 cup almond butter, salted

2 cups sucanat

1 cup palm sugar

2 tsp baking soda, aluminum free

4 eggs, pastured

1/3 cup coconut flour

1 cup brown rice flour

2 – 3 cups sprouted flour

1 1/2 cups dark chocolate chips

Method

Mix butters and sugars. While the mixer is running on low, add soda, eggs and flours – add enough flour to create a good cookie consistency in the batter. Spoon out onto a stainless steel cookie sheet, bake in a preheated 375 degree oven for about 10-12 minutes. Enjoy with a big glass of fresh milk or hot tea.

Nature Study

I am a big fan of making the children play outdoors. The more I read about children and nature (Last Child in the Woods), the more I want them outside exploring! We utilize a Charlotte Mason approach to our home education experience, of which nature study is a big part. It never ceases to amaze me how when the children have the worst attitudes, argue about everything and are completely contrary, but then I send them outside for a while – their attitudes and demeanor are wholly changed by the time they come back in. God knew what He was doing when He designed such calming beauty for us to enjoy.

Yesterday was a good example. The boys had been inside playing with their Legos for a couple of hours, when I realized what a beautiful day it was outside that just begged to be thoroughly appreciated. After putting up quite a fight, the boys finally trudged outside. Since it had been such a battle, I decided to go out with them and perhaps fan a flame on their natural curiosity. Baby in the Ergo and toddler in hand, I led the way to the woods near our farmhouse. I walked into the edge of the woods where there before us lay several huge fallen trees, crossing one another. Oh here was an adventure! The boys immediately set to work building themselves forts, and brainstorming ideas for a game. The little ones played in a ditch of dirt with sticks, happy as clams. I sat back and took all in. It was a brisk, sunny autumn day. The leaves just turning, the forest floor cracking as we walked, excited voices bouncing about; it was such a wonderful scene.

Even though they do complain about the transition to going outside, saying, “There’s nothing to do out there,” or “It’s too cold,” or “We ALWAYS have to go outside;” it is truly worth it. I hope to smooth the transition, but if it never smooths out, the reward of happy, peaceful children who are excited about their adventures outside and eventually thankful to be out there is worth it all.

Veggie Pizza Sauce

It’s pizza night! I had been experimenting with putting all different kinds of vegetables into our pizza sauce. Though, after several months of doing so, I think the children missed the basic pizza sauce. Tonight I tried to make a minimal veggie sauce. I picked some tomatoes, peppers, and basil from the garden and prepared them for the sauce.

I use the Blendtec to make the sauce; each ingredient listed I just throw in there and then puree it on the Sauce/Dips setting.

Veggie Pizza Sauce

Ingredients
 
(this is enough sauce for about 2 large pizzas)
 
5-7 small/medium sized roma tomatoes
1/2 onion
3-5 garlic, minced
3 tablespoons olive oil
1-2 teaspoons real salt
2 tablespoons molasses or honey
3/4 bell pepper
3-4 handfuls of fresh basil
 
Blend well. Pour into a saucepan, and let simmer for about 20 minutes or longer for reduction. Add 1 4oz jar of organic tomato paste. Stir well. Add pepper or salt to taste.
 
Pour onto fresh homemade pizza crusts, top with good cheeses, – we like cheddar, asiago, colby and a homemade farmer’s cheese. .Add your favorite toppings, bake for about 10-15 minutes. Enjoy with a green salad.

Blackberry Muffins

Upon rising before most of my children this morning, I thought I would make something different. We usually just have something light for a quick breakfast in the mornings, with a bigger meal to follow after major subjects are out of the way. Today, though, I’ve been missing muffins. scones, breakfast cakes, and all those more time consuming breakfast endeavors. Normal recipes for these items are usually a poor way to start the day, as they are loaded with white flour, sugar and bad oils. But revamped from nourishing ingredients, they can be a power protein breakfast, with good fats to start the day.

Today I decided to use a muffin recipe, but double it and pour it all into a casserole dish, so as to be more time effective.

I used this recipe as my main model, with a few tweaks to suit our home. I am not a fan of either agave nectar, nor grapeseed oil, for reasons of too high fructose and chemicals in processing (respectfully). So, I swapped out the agave for sucanat. Normally, I would use raw honey, but since the baby is still under 2, I went with sucanat. Instead of grapeseed oil, I used coconut oil. Coconut oil is just amazing! I basically only use either grassfed butter, or coconut oil for all our baking and cooking.  Since using sucanat would make the batter dry, I also used 1 cup of cream.

Blackberry Muffins

Ingredients

12 pastured eggs

1 tsp baking soda, aluminum free

1/2 tsp real salt

1 cup coconut flour

1 cup coconut oil, melted

1 cup sucanat

5-8 drops vanilla Stevia

1 1/2 cups frozen or fresh blackberry (or any berry of your choosing)

Method:

Add eggs to mixer one at a time. Add salt, soda, and coconut flour, slowly. Meanwhile, melt oil with the sugar. Add oil/sugar to batter along with cream and stevia. Fold in the berries. Pour mixture and spread evenly in a 13 x 9 greased pan. Bake in a 350 degree oven for about 30-35 minutes. Enjoy with a some herbal tea, or big glass of fresh milk.