Monthly Archives: December 2015

A New Spin on Date Pinwheels

My beloved Grandma Gennevive is famous at church and among friends and family for her date pinwheels.   Still, today, if you go to her house – it’s a sure bet she has a roll of these in the freezer ready to slice and bake.  One never knows when another could use a plate of date pinwheels to help with grief, as a congratulations or a thank you.   As a child, I never got very excited about them – they paled in comparison to other Christmas delights higher on the sugar spectrum!

Once I discovered the amazing caramel depth of Medjool dates – I tasted her date pinwheels with a new set of taste buds. Suddenly as an adult they seemed over sugary. I wondered if I could come up with a way to make them showcase the amazing natural sweetness of the medjools and the rich nuttiness of pecans. and honor the special memories of this cookie in my family.

After a few tries – I think I came up with a strong competitor for the “showier” Christmas treats – even better they are free of refined sweeteners and gluten!

I have included these in our semi annual cookie swaps.  It is a fun afternoon – joining with lovely friends who share the same clean eating philosophy.  We all leave with a huge variety of healthy holiday treats!  The past two years we’ve skipped – but hopefully the tradition will return in future years!  Life is busy and we all do our very best.  For now – I’ll settle on the warm memories of cookie swaps past.

These are a little putsy, after all they are a Christmas cookie – so plan enough time to chill the dough and the filling.  I prefer to make them over a couple of days so it doesn’t seem like such an undertaking.

INGREDIENTS:

Cookie Dough

Parchment Paper

4 cups tef flour

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp salt

1 tsp cinnamon

3/4 cup date or coconut sugar

1/4 cup honey

3 eggs

6 Tblspns butter at room temperature (you can substitute all coconut oil – however, the cookies will be on the oily side and not as soft)

1/2 cup coconut oil at room temperature

1 tsp vanilla

 

Filling

1 1/2 cups pitted medjool dates

1 cup water

1/2 tsp. cinnamon

1 1/2 cups toasted pecans – very finely chopped or pulsed to a fine texture in a food processor

 

DOUGH METHOD:

Combine first 4 ingredients in a medium bowl, set aside.  IN the bowl of a standing mixer beat the butter and the coconut oil until thoroughly mixed and as fluffy as it seemed like it will get.  Add date or coconut sugar and honey.  Mix to combine.  Add vanilla and eggs (do eggs 1 at a time, mixing thoroughly after each one).

Gradually mix in dry ingredients.

Mixed dough will seem wet - once it chills it is very easy to work with.

Mixed dough will seem wet – once it chills it is very easy to work with.

Wrap dough in plastic wrap or seal in an air tight container, then refrigerate for at least 2 hours up up to 2 days.

 

FILLING METHOD:

In a small sauce pan, combine dates, water and cinnamon.  Cook over medium-high heat.

Luscious medjool dates and spicy cinnamon simmer in a bit of water, which allows the dates to break up. it also evaporates off and prevents burning.

Luscious medjool dates and spicy cinnamon simmer in a bit of water, which allows the dates to break up. it also evaporates off and prevents burning.

Using a potato masher, break up the dates as they cook.  Continue to mash and mix until it is fairly smooth, thick and shiny.

Medjool dates and cinnamon have been cooked and mashed to a smooth, thick consistency.

Medjool dates and cinnamon have been cooked and mashed to a smooth, thick consistency.

Cool mixture slightly before stirring in pecans.  You can also store this covered and refrigerated for a couple of days before stirring in pecans and assembling the cookies.

When you are ready to assemble the cookies – tear off two large pieces of parchments paper.  You will need to roll out 1/3 or the dough between the two layers.  You can’t tape the parchment to the counter to keep it from sliding, because tape doesn’t stick to it.  Instead, I make the pieces long enough so I can tuck an end or a corner between my hip and the edge of the counter.

Roll the dough into a rectangle, approximately 10″ X 6″ and 1/3″ thick.

You will not end up with a perfect rectangle - so simple trim and patch until you have it - the dough is that easy to work with - AND it won't get tough, because tef has no gluten!

You will not end up with a perfect rectangle – so simple trim and patch until you have it – the dough is that easy to work with – AND it won’t get tough, because tef has no gluten!

Now – you can spread your filling – evenly, 1/4″ thick.

Spread filling 1/4" thick

Spread filling 1/4″ thick

The next part – takes a bit of patience – but you have come this far!  Use the edge of the parchment near you to lift up the edge closest to you and begin to roll the center – gently and tightly.

First role the center in Photo credit: Dan

First role the center in
Photo credit: Dan

Lift outer edge of parchment to push the roll away from you. Photo credit: Dan

Lift outer edge of parchment to push the roll away from you.
Photo credit: Dan

Then, pull the parchment off the top of the log, grasp the outer edges further way from you and repeat the rolling. Photo credit: Dan

Then, pull the parchment off the top of the log, grasp the outer edges further way from you and repeat the rolling.
Photo credit: Dan

Wrap the log in the parchment - then refrigerate for 2 hours or overnight.

Wrap the log in the parchment – then refrigerate for 2 hours or overnight.

When you are ready to bake, line your baking sheets with parchment paper.  Preheat over to 350 degrees.  Slice chilled cookies with a sharp knife, into 1/3″ thick rounds.  I like to gently reshape them into a circle – they tend to flattened a bit when you cut them.

Sliced chilled log into 1/3" thick slices.

Sliced chilled log into 1/3″ thick slices.

If the flat bottoms bother you, like they do me - just gently reshape with your fingers when you place them on the baking sheet(:

If the flat bottoms bother you, like they do me – just gently reshape with your fingers when you place them on the baking sheet(:

Place the cookies 1-2″ inches apart on baking sheet.  Bake for 12 minutes – rotate sheets at 6 minutes.  Cool for 5 minutes on the baking sheet before transferring to a cooking rack.

Get ready for amazing aroma when you open the oven!

Get ready for amazing aroma when you open the oven!

When you store these, place sheets of parchment between layers.  They freeze very well – and make a great addition to a cookie bake!

Enjoy and have a BRIGHT, MERRY, DELIGHTFUL Christmas!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Golden Roasted Veggie Niblets

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One of the staples of Goldie get-togethers are roasted veggies.  Breakfast, lunch, or dinner… they are always such a tasty treat!  This recipe makes a great snacky-snack that you can nibble on at a party, and they are not going to get ignored like the party platter of veggies with ranch dip.  These little buggars are so addicting! The nutritional yeast gives a cheesy flavor and when browned, a delectable little crunch.  Load up on the nutritional yeast!  If you want to pre-make these for a party, they are good served luke-warm too, so don’t worry about serving them hot.

Of course, they also are great served as a side dish.

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Coat veggies generously with seasonings!

Ingredients:

1 head cauliflower
1 head broccoli
1/4 cup Olive oil
Salt or garlic salt
Nutritional Yeast
Tandoori
Turmeric

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 F.
  2. Cut Cauliflower and broccoli into small trees
  3. Put veggies in bowl that has a tight lid
  4. Coat veggies with olive oil, salt, nutritional yeast, turmeric, and tandoori in bowl and cover (enough seasonings to coat veggies generously)

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    Make sure the veggies are coated evenly after shaking.

  5. Shake bowl to coat veggies evenly
  6. Add more seasoning if necessary and re-shake
  7. Line pan with parchment paper
  8. Pour contents of bowl on parchment paper and spread veggies evenly
  9. Bake until veggies become browned and soft (about 30 minutes)
  10. Add more salt if desired

Experiment with adding more veggies… brussel spouts, asparagus, and onions would be a great addition!

Chicken Mojacca

Some might call this chicken soup; however, my mom’s side of the family (the Sandstedt’s) has always called it Chicken Mojicca.  I like that name so that’s what I call it too.

"White Grandma", the founding Sandstedt mojaca maker pictured with my brother who is yet another family mojaca maker.

“White Grandma”: the founding Sandstedt mojacca maker pictured with my brother who is yet another family mojacca maker.

I have fond and comforting memories of eating this soup throughout my entire life.  My mom would make this dish for different reasons: if someone was getting a cold- chicken mojacca; if it was cold outside-chicken mojacca; if my grandma was coming over- chicken mojacca. While each and every Sandstedt family member puts their own special twist on how the soup is prepared there is one thing that should not be changed: Chicken Mojacca should be accompanied by fresh bread topped with butter and onions (green garden onions preferably but any onion will do).

This soup, like most, tastes better the day after making it which gives you a great reason to make it the night before you plan on eating it.

This recipe serves 6-8

Ingredients:

Half a chicken (fresh off the farm is best)

6-8 cups water

organic chicken bullion to taste (Organic Better Than Bullion is my favorite)

5 large carrots (diced to bite size)

1 medium onion (diced to your liking)

4 stalks celery (diced to bite size)

3 large organic potatoes (any type will do)

2 cups quinoa elbow noodles (or egg noodles)- optional

Method:

Place the chicken (including skin) into a large stock pot and fill with 6-8 cups water.  Boil on medium heat for approximately 2 hours (until chicken is cooked through).  This step can also easily be done in a crock pot. If using the crock pot method you should let the chicken cook all day on low (8-10 hours)- note: I have been using this method most of the time, it is so easy! When the chicken is cooked through pull it out and place it in a large bowl and pop it in to the refrigerator to cool.  Toss all other ingredients (excluding bullion) into the pot (or crock pot) and continue to cook for 20-30 minutes until the veggies are tender (may need to cook a bit longer in a crock pot).  After 15 minutes or so the chicken should be cool enough to start pulling the meat off.  go ahead and feed the cooked skin to your doggies:)  Cut the meat into bite size pieces and toss back into the pot.  Add bullion to your liking and continue cooking on low for another 30 minutes or so.  Toss quinoa noodles in for the last 15 minutes (if using).  If you are planning on eating this the next day let the soup cool and then place the entire stock pot in the refrigerator and reheat when you are ready to enjoy.

Don’t forget to buy some fresh bread! Top it with butter and thinly sliced onions please!

A family full of mojaca makers! <3

A family full of mojacca makers! <3

Note: When buying organic-farm raised chickens it is economical (financially and time-wise) to buy them whole.  What I like about buying them whole is that I get two different meals from one bird! Save one half for BBQing and use the other for soup!  The half that I make soup with includes the back bone and neck.  These pieces help flavor the broth.

 

Paleo Breakfast Casserole

casseroleThis recipes comes from Cavegirl Cuisine.

This breakfast casserole is awesome for a large group get together, especially in the fall and winter! I hate having to cook in the morning when I have company! I just want to sip my tea and chat with everyone and smell breakfast cooking. So I prepare the casserole all the way up to the baking part. I combine the ingredients, then cover it with foil and freeze it. I like using the throw away aluminum casserole dishes so there is no clean up either! The day before I plan to bake the casserole I take it out of the freezer and thaw it in my refrigerator. The next morning I pop it in the oven to cook!

Feel free to replace the bacon with sausage for the meat portion of the dish. I used venison sausage and it was tasty!