Twice Baked Sweet Potato Casserole Sweet Potatoes

Twice Baked Sweet Potatoes

We had a pretty unconventional Thanksgiving this fall, which isn't all that odd for us. My local family was out traveling, so we hung out at home and worked on the sort of projects you work on when you move to a new place: we hung blinds, we helped our roommate move in to his bed room, we organized the garage, did some painting, and Oliver even crawled around in the attic for a day sealing up any cracks.

With these distractions in front of us, roasting a turkey went straight to the back burner. It wasn't until about noon that Oliver asked if maybe we should roast a chicken. I called up the store an somehow, miraculously, they were still open. So I took a break from my painting supplies and grabbed a shopping bag. 

Twice Baked Sweet Potatoes

A few hours later we had a garlic-herb chicken in the oven, veggies on a sheet pan, and sweet potatoes ready for their cinnamon-pecan fate. The house filled with the smell of cranberry sauce, because I just couldn't skip it. When we all finally sat down to eat and play board games, it was a well deserved feast. The chicken was my favorite, until I tried these sweet potatoes.

Twice Baked Sweet Potatoes
Twice Baked Sweet Potatoes

After being baked, I scooped out the flesh and mashed it with butter and milk. Then I filled the skins back up and topped each potato with a cinnamon-pecan crumble and baked them all until the tops were crispy. 

I know Thanksgiving has come and gone, but maybe some of you are looking for a sweet potato dish for your holiday dinner later this year... or maybe you just feel like a sweet potato. Either way, this one has your back. 

Twice Baked Sweet Potatoes

Twice Baked Sweet Potato Casserole Sweet Potatoes

Primal, Gluten-Free, Grain-Free    |       |    Print This Recipe

Sweet potato casserole is reinvented into a potato-sized portion with these twice baked sweet potatoes!

Serves: 7   |    Total Time:



Ingredients:

  • 5 medium sweet potatoes, similarly sized, washed
  • 1/4 cup of coconut oil OR butter, divided and melted
  • 2 tablespoons milk of choice (dairy, almond, coconut, etc)
  • 3 tablespoons coconut sugar or brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup pecan pieces
  • 1/4 cup almond flour or a 1-for-1 gluten-free flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • Dash sea salt

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Using a knife, cut a single shallow slit through the skin of each sweet potato, from one tip to the other. Place sweet potatoes slit-side up on a pan, and bake for 45 to 1 hour, until tender. Remove from oven and allow to cool for about 30 minutes.
  2. Now, make a deeper cut in the same place where the slit was made in order to open the potato up. Use a spoon to scoop the fresh out of the sweet potato and into a medium sized mixing bowl. Leave about 1/8 of an inch of flesh on the inside of the skins, as this will help give them structure and prevent tearing.
  3. Once all of the sweet potato flesh is in your mixing bowl, add 2 tablespoons of melted coconut oil/butter and 2 tablespoons of milk. Mash until the potatoes are creamy (I leave a few chunks, just mash to your tastes). Use a spoon to scoop the mixture back into the potato skins, filling the crevices.
  4. In a small bowl, make the topping: Mix the remains 2 tablespoons butter with the pecans, sugar, cinnamon and your choice of flour. Add a dash of salt and stir until ingredients are incorporated. Mixture may be slightly crumbly. Spoon mixture over the open part of each sweet potato.
  5. Return potatoes to oven and bake for 20 more minutes, just until the topping is beginning to crisp. Allow to cool for 10 minutes before serving.

Chocolate Vanilla Pinwheel Cookies (Gluten-free and Paleo)

Chocolate Vanilla Pinwheel Cookies (Gluten-free and Paleo)

My dad taught me to make pinwheel cookies when I was young. We'd make checkerboard cookies too, the same contrast between vanilla and chocolate shortbread dough, but shaped into squares with a checkerboard pattern. 

I revamped this recipe to use almond flour, and the result was soft, chewy and delicious. The chocolate dough is my favorite of the two (go figure), but swirled together the chocolate and vanilla make a perfect pair. They say opposites attract or something, I guess it's true! 

Chocolate Vanilla Pinwheel Cookies (Gluten-free and Paleo)

Having made pinwheel cookies dozens of times, I thought this might be a good opportunity to test my skills at making a how-to video of how to roll up the cookies and make a swirl. Well. I think I need to work on my videography skills: I wasn't even 20 seconds in to recording when I realized I had no idea where the rolling pin was, or where I had decided to store it in the new kitchen. I left the camera rolling for a good 5 minutes while I rushed from cupboard to cupboard trying to find it. 

The errors didn't end there and let's just jump to the end of the story because there's no video to share. Cleary I'm going to need to take on a class on videography before I try to make any recipes videos! 😂

Chocolate Vanilla Pinwheel Cookies (Gluten-free and Paleo)
Chocolate Vanilla Pinwheel Cookies (Gluten-free and Paleo)

Chocolate Vanilla Pinwheel Cookies (Gluten-free and Paleo)

Paleo, Primal, Gluten-Free, Grain-Free    |       |    Print This Recipe

Chocolate dough and vanilla dough are layered and then rolled into a log before being sliced into rounds to create a pretty chocolate vanilla pinwheel.

Yields: 12   |    Total Time:



Ingredients:

  • 2 cups almond flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil or butter, melted
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • Scant 1/4 cup cocoa

Directions:

  1. First, make the vanilla dough: Whisk together HALF each of the almond flour, salt, and baking soda. Then, pour in HALF each of the melted butter, melted honey, and vanilla. Use your hands or a spatula to stir until a sticky, even dough is formed. Roll into a ball and wrap in plastic wrap. Place in fridge.
  2. Second, make the chocolate dough: Whisk together the remaining almond flour, salt, and baking soda. Add in the cocoa, whisking in. Then, pour in the remaining melted butter, melted honey, and vanilla. Again, use a spatula or your hands to work into a sticky dough. Roll into a ball and wrap in saran wrap.
  3. Allow both dough balls to chill in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.
  4. Preheat oven to 325°. Prepare your work station: Place 1 sheet of parchment paper on the counter (18 inches long should be sufficient), and then cut two additional pieces of the same size.
  5. Unwrap the vanilla dough from the saran wrap and place on the first piece of parchment on the counter. Place the second piece of parchment over top, and begin to roll out the dough to a 1/8 of an inch thick. The parchment keeps the dough from sticking while you roll it out.
  6. Once the dough is in an even, thin layer, peel back the top layer of parchment. Leaving the dough on the bottom piece, move it aside (carefully). Place the third piece of parchment in front of you place the chocolate dough ball on it. Place the free piece of parchment over top and roll the dough out just the same. Once rolled, peel back the top layer.
  7. Now, move carefully: lift one of the rolled out pieces of dough (still attached to the parchment) and place it dough-side down against the other flavor of dough. You should now have a parchment dough sandwich: parchment, chocolate dough, vanilla dough, parchment. Peel off the top piece of parchment.
  8. Working from one edge of the dough, begin rolling both layers together into a log. I like to lift the parchment with the dough as a roll it (then pulling it back so as not to roll it into the cookie) in order to keep the dough from crumbing or cracking. Make the log tight, shopping it as you roll by gently squeezing it. Once the entire log is rolled up, us a piece of thread (or floss) to cut off the first inch of the log by holding on to the two ends, left and right and pulling the floss down through the log (the ends of the log of dough is usually uneven and does not have a great swirl— you can still bake and eat it, it just won’t be as pretty). Use the floss again to slice each cookie, about 1/4 of an inch thick. Place each sliced cookie round on a baking sheet.
  9. Bake for 9 minutes, until just golden. Allow to cool for at least 5 minutes.

Late Fall Salad

Late Fall Salad

I spent the last week experimenting a bit with what I ate. Driven by curiosity, I spent a week eating all of the traditional breads and grains. Months ago, I had wanted to see how my body reacted to eating wheat bread because, having chosen a more "paleo" diet out of lifestyle choice rather than because of any allergic reaction, I didn't really know what my body would do with it. 

So, I made fresh focaccia and smothered it with avocado, just to see what would happen. A headache ensued, and I figured the two were related. Still, results didn't seem conclusive, since a few weeks later when I tried again, seeking some sort of pattern in reaction, I got no headache at all. Which of course begged the question: was it the bread that caused the headache in the first place? 

I had to know. This last week I wrote down everything I ate, adding in some bread here and there. To be honest, I'm in such a habit of not eating grains that I had to make a real effort to buy bread rolls. I wrote down exactly how I felt afterwards, and tried to just generally listen to my body.

Have any of you done this before? A week-long experiment to see how you feel? It was harder than I thought it would be: Hard to change the way I eat, for one, but also hard to feel sure of yourself as you write anything down. I found myself doubting what I was feeling and what I wasn't. 

Late Fall Salad

Honestly the swirls of doubt muddied my conclusions. My journal would go like this: 

  • 1 piece of bakery bread toasted with goat cheese, steamed asparagus. Reaction: sharp headache. But I also think I drank too much coffee. 
  • 8 crackers, Cauliflower Parsnip Soup, Grass-Fed Sausage. Reaction: none. I did only eat 5 crackers though. 
  • Ciabatta roll with goat cheese, tomatoes with basil, balsamic reduction. An apple and a square of chocolate. Reaction: Pounding headache and brain fog. Am I just stressed?
  • And on. Every bullet clouded with a line of doubt. 
Late Fall Salad

How is anyone supposed to draw any conclusions when they are filled with this much conflicting information! So instead I am going to focus on what I know: 

  1. Eating a couple of crackers here and there (or, ehem, crust on pumpkin pie) will likely not make me feel horrible
  2. Eating a full piece of bread for breakfast might give me a headache, shorten my patience, and just generally cause inflammation. But since I'm not positive, I should continue listening to my body and feeling out what works and what doesn't. 
  3. My body knows best. I should listen to my body and try not to doubt it. I should also be open to what it's telling me, and maybe do something about all of that stress I noted, because that can't be good. 
  4. Sometimes you just need a big old bowl of veggies. And when that's what you need, you should make this salad. 
Late Fall Salad

Late Fall Salad

Primal, Gluten-Free, Grain-Free    |       |    Print This Recipe

So many of fall’s favorite flavors in one bowl!

Serves: 6   |    Total Time:



Ingredients:

  • 1 bunch dinosaur kale
  • 10 ounces arugula
  • Perils of 1 pomegranate
  • 1/4 pound brussels sprouts
  • 1/4 cup pepitas
  • 4 ounces soft goat cheese
  • 2 cups cubed butternut squash
  • 1 tablespoon avocado oil
  • Salt & Pepper
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Balsamic vinaigrette

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Toss the cubed butternut squash in the avocado oil and spread out on a cookie sheet in a single layer. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until squash is tender through and crispy on the edges. Remove from oven, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and set aside to cool.
  2. Remove stems from the kale and chop into bite-sized pieces. Place in the bottom of your salad bowl, and drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Using your hands, rug the oil into the kale to begin to soften the leaves.
  3. Add the arugula to the bowl and toss with the kale. Top mix of greens with crumbles of goat cheese, pomegranate perils, pepitas, and cooked butternut squash.
  4. Slice brussels sprouts into think slices, as if to shred them. Add to the salad.
  5. When ready to eat, drizzle salad with your favorite balsamic vinaigrette and toss.