February 2015 - Buttered Side Up

A Healthy Cake For Helen's 2nd Birthday (Coconut Flour, Paleo Friendly, Gluten Free)


Coconut Flour Cake
Coconut Flour Cake
Helen's 2nd Birthday

OUR LITTLE GIRLIE IS TWO!

The last couple of years have definitely been the most challenging of my life (so far). I have learned so much, about myself, about how hard it is to be and mom and wife at the same time, about how frustrating and lovable kids can be.

I knew months ago that I wanted to make a cake for Helen's second birthday. She's never had cake before. I also knew that I wanted to make a healthy cake because I wanted to feel good about letting her eat lots of it.

A WORD ABOUT THE INGREDIENTS:

First let give you the reasons for the ingredients I chose. I don't intend to feed Helen a gluten-free diet. She has eaten (organic) white flour on occasion and I haven't noticed any adverse effects. However, I don't like the idea of her eating gobs of white flour.

This might seem strange to some, but I also don't want her eating whole wheat flour. In fact, I would much rather she ate organic white than whole wheat flour. You see, whole wheat flour can be very difficult to digest unless it is properly prepared. And I didn't feel like sprouting or soaking her cake (so much work!).

Some people like to use nut flours in place of grain flours, but, as I mentioned in a previous post, nuts can also be difficult to digest if they aren't properly prepared. I didn't feel like soaking, dehydrating, and grinding nuts.

Then I discovered The Urban Poser's recipe for coconut flour cake. I had some coconut flour on hand, so I thought it would be a great recipe to try. I was quite pleased with how it turned out!

DETAILS ABOUT THE CAKE:

I followed the recipe for the cake pretty closely, cutting out just a smidgen of the honey. I also used butter in place of coconut oil. I doubled the recipe and baked the cake in two 6-inch cake pans and a loaf pan.

For the filling, I made a quick strawberry jam by boiling and mashing a bag of frozen strawberries with a little honey, lemon juice and gelatin.

For the frosting I made stabilized whipped cream. I sweetened it with sucanat and stabilized it with grass-fed gelatin.

I also made a half batch of my Homemade Vanilla Ice Cream, but I subbed vanilla extract for the beans and cut out a bit of the sweetener (I used sucanat).

If you prefer a paleo-friendly cake, you can follow The Urban Poser's recipe.




She's Two




Coconut and Chicken Curry Soup



Curry Coconut and Lime Chicken Soup - Buttered Side Up

Growing up, my mom would occasionally make something delicious for supper: Chicken Curry. It was a pretty rare occurrence. And it's funny how much we enjoyed it. It was just the sort of thing at which my sisters and I would usually turn up our noses. But we knew that it was awesome.


Curry Coconut and Lime Chicken Soup - Buttered Side Up

Fast forward to my teen years, and I discovered the wonderful world of curries. We sampled Thai curry and completely fell in love. 

We really went through a curry craze. Our mom became quite sick of it. But somehow I kept my love. If a dish is described as having curry, my interest increases.

Curry Coconut and Lime Chicken Soup - Buttered Side Up

The combination of flavors in this soup really hits a home run for me. It's so fresh, bright, and full of life. The coconut milk lends a hint of sweetness. The jalapenos give a barely noticeable kick of heat.

By the by, this recipe was one of the most popular that I ever published on Cooking for Seven. It kind of irks me that the photo in that post was one of my least favorite to accompany one of my recipes. I guess the true character of this curry soup shone through the shoddy photography.




Coconut and Chicken Curry Soup

A fresh and flavorful curry soup.
adapted from Good Life Eats | Printable Page
Serves approximately 6

Ingredients:

olive oil,
3 cups chopped cooked chicken,
1/2 of a large onion, chopped fine,
1-2 tablespoon grated fresh ginger,
1 1/2 cups chicken broth,
1 can (14 ounces) unsweetened coconut milk, full fat,
2 teaspoon curry powder,
1 jalapeño, seeded, minced,
2 tablespoons lime juice,
1 small red bell pepper, sliced thin,
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro, plus extra for garnish,
1/2 cup unsweetened chipped coconut, toasted (optional),
2 cups freshly cooked rice (optional).

Instructions:

1) Heat the olive oil in a medium sized soup pot over medium heat. Add the chicken to the oil, season lightly with salt and pepper. Sauté until cooked through and golden. Remove chicken and set aside. Sauté the onion, adding more oil if necessary, until tender.

2) Return the chicken to the pot with the onions. Add the ginger; cook for 1 minute. Add chicken broth, coconut milk, curry powder and jalapeno. Bring to a simmer over medium heat. Add bell pepper and cilantro and simmer an additional 3 minutes. Stir in lime juice. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

3) Optional: Spoon rice into 4 bowls. Top with a ladle or two of soup. Garnish with additional cilantro and a sprinkling of shredded coconut. Serve.


Bacon, Feta and Fig Pizza



Figgy Piggy Pizza

Figgy Piggy Pizza | Buttered Side Up
Figgy Piggy Pizza | Buttered Side Up
Figgy Piggy Pizza | Buttered Side Up
Figgy Piggy Pizza | Buttered Side Up

You guys, this pizza was so much fun to make. All of toppings pair so well. The sweet figs balance out the savory bacon and feta. It feels so fancy but it's pretty simple to make.

Reuben thought that the flavors were really good, but it was a tad dry (he was thinking it would be a regular pizza, not an appetizer). I think a drizzle of olive oil or a balsamic reduction would be lovely.

You can get my step-by-step photo instructions and the recipe over on the Tasty Kitchen Blog HERE.

WHAT WAS THE LAST PIZZA YOU ATE?

How to Make Chicken Broth in a Crockpot/Slow Cooker




Homemade chicken broth can be so easy when you use a crockpot/slow cooker!

How to Make Chicken Broth in the Crock Pot - Buttered Side Up
One of my scariest kitchen mishaps actually involved homemade bone broth.

I had a pot bubbling away on the stove. Suddenly, we had to leave the house for an hour or so. You guessed it: I left the stove on by mistake. While we were headed back home, I remembered that I had left the broth simmering. I wondered if we would return to a house of cinders.



How to Make Chicken Broth in the Crock Pot - Buttered Side Up

"Well, at least the house didn't burn down," I said as we pulled in the driveway. But when we opened the front door, we were met with an acrid smoke. The broth had boiled completely away, leaving a charred chicken carcass. I felt so stupid. Our house stank for days. My poor pot still bears the marks.

Needless to say, I was a bit paranoid about making broth after that incident. 



How to Make Chicken Broth in the Crock Pot - Buttered Side Up

Then, I saw Mommypotamus making broth in her crockpot. Brilliant, I thought! I tried it for myself, and I fell in love. 

You see, broth is super easy to make, but it takes a LONG time to cook. It can be difficult to find a good block of time to simmer it to perfection. With the slow cooker, I can throw everything together in the evening, set it to low and simmer it all through the night and the next day.



How to Make Chicken Broth in the Crock Pot - Buttered Side Up


Here are a few tips and tricks for making your own broth:

* Make sure you buy organic veggies that are on the "Dirty Dozen" list. Onions are on the "Clean 15," so I buy those conventional or local.

* You can use a whole, uncooked chicken as well as the carcass of a roasted chicken. The meat will fall off the bones.

* Don't boil your broth too hard - it can result in broth that doesn't gel.

* If you get enough fat in your broth, you can actually store it in the refrigerator for up to 6 months, as demonstrated by Diana of My Humble Kitchen.

* You can always add extra gelatin to your broth if you so wish. I use this brand.

* Don't be afraid to use whatever vegetables you have on hand in your broth. Some ideas: mushrooms, garlic, potatoes, various herbs, and even kombu, AKA kelp (idea from Joy the Baker).

* If your chicken comes with the giblet and liver, throw those into the pot as well!

* Don't salt your broth too heavily before it's done simmering. Taste and adjust AFTER it has reduced.


How to Make Chicken Broth in the Crock Pot - Buttered Side Up

I would love to talk more about bone broth, but this post is long enough as it is. Maybe I'll have to do a follow-up post about the benefits of bone broth, how to store, and ideas for how to use it.

What was your biggest kitchen disaster? 





How to Make Chicken Broth in a Crockpot/Slow Cooker 
recipe adapted from Weston A. Price and Mommypotamus | makes about 6-8 cups of broth
Printable Page

Ingredients:
  • 1 chicken carcass
  • cold water
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 3-4 carrots, chopped
  • 3 celery stalks, chopped
  • 1/4 cup vinegar or lemon juice
  • a bunch of parsley, optional (for added minerals)

Directions:
Place the chicken carcass in your slow cooker and add enough cold water to cover. Add the onions, carrots, celery and vinegar and stir. Let sit for 30 minutes.

Add the salt and turn the crockpot to LOW. Simmer the broth for at least 6 and up to 48 hours. 10 minutes before the cooking time is up, add a bunch of parsley. Taste and adjust salt if necessary.

Allow the broth to cool until warm. Strain into storage containers. Refrigerate or freeze.





How to Make Chicken Broth in the Crock Pot - Buttered Side Up


Note: some links are affiliate. All opinions are my own.

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