I swear it’s a problem with my oven

I swear it’s a problem with my oven

It’s never my fault. Swear. It must be my cookware. My spatulas. My appliances. The lighting in the kitchen. As terrible a cook as I am, I really do love trying to bake things. Brittany Angell’s gluten-free lemon poppyseed bread from her book Every Last Crumb was the latest endeavor. And it was AMAZING – after I sliced off the burnt bottom and sides. I followed instructions exactly. It was one of those easy recipes where, as long as you bother to measure, the only other thing you have to do is stir everything together. Nothing fancy. No “rising” or “folding.” Just combining. Even for me, combining is usually pretty foolproof. For Pete’s sake, combining is just stirring. What the heck could go wrong. Yet I still managed to burn 5 of 6 sides of the thing. I’m telling you. It’s got to be my oven. The center was absolutely perfect, though, and I’m not too proud to scoop out the good parts with a spoon and pretend the rest didn’t happen. I’m not too proud to have my dinner guests do the same thing, either. (It’s either that or takeout, since I forgot to thaw the...
Grain free pumpkin spice muffins

Grain free pumpkin spice muffins

In the holiday dictionary, these refined sugar free, grain free pumpkin spice muffins with maplebutter frosting appear under “FREAKING WORTH IT.” ‘Tis the season for sweets and treats that won’t break the nutritional bank, after all. I’ve talked about Paleo-friendly/Real Food “treats” at length many times – including with the amazing Juli of PaleOMG in a podcast interview. I’m one o’ those folks who used to get offended by the mere suggestion that a “treat” made of (gasp!) almond “flour” or coconut “flour” or anyoftheflours could possibly fit into a healthy, Paleo or Real Food lifestyle. I was wrong. I’ve been doing this nutrition thing a long time, and I was wrong. Because Eyes on your own plate. Caveman would if he could. Eyes on your own plate. Whatever your reason for choosing any food, whether spinach or grass fed beef or protein bars made from crickets or pumpkin spice muffins with maplebutter frosting, it’s YOUR business. Right or wrong, positive mindset or negative, your experience is your business. Generally, when a food is made from high-quality ingredients, yet carries negative connotations, it’s actually not the FOOD that’s the problem. It’s the approach, the mindset, the attitude, or the individual digestive landscape that’s the...
The over-sensitive smoke alarm

The over-sensitive smoke alarm

There aren’t many household safety devices that can add insult to injury quite like a smoke detector. While I don’t burn things as often as I used to, I must have trained the thing to go berserk right as the “preheat oven” light clicks off. I’m telling you, there was not even a hint of smoke (by that I mean, there were no smoke plumes a-la Belle’s father’s “invention” in Beauty and the Beast). I used to hide the smoke alarms under pillows, in drawers, behind couches, and anywhere the air from the kitchen couldn’t get anywhere near ‘em. Once I smashed a detector that wouldn’t shut up with a meat mallet. But I’m an adult now (or, at least, I can no longer pretend I’m not an adult) and that doesn’t fly any more. It’s either learn the behaviors that will preclude a shrieking smoke alarm (ie learn to cook), or deal with it gracefully when it happens. At the very least, I need to remember that our smoke detector is linked to our alarm system. This means that when it goes off, I need to key in a code immediately or risk a brigade of very cute...
Easy grain-free biscuits

Easy grain-free biscuits

These biscuits are goooood, y’all. They’re the kind of biscuits that are not too moist, but not too dry…yet they’re juuuust dry enough that they don’t only stand up to your toppings; they soak up your butter, honey and jam to create a buttery, honey-ficated, jam-ified piece of heaven. (Top them with Bacon Jam to create astronomical enjoyment.) This is the kind of biscuit that you enjoy; it’s not a shove-as-many-as-you-can-in-your-face kinda biscuit. My biggest pet peeve with standard bread in general is that it doesn’t satisfy. Quite the opposite – it turns you into a needy bread-hoovering machine, causing you to take up way too much stomach space with empty carbs. Not these biscuits – these are filled with healthy fats and fiber, and you WILL be happy with just one! (Okay, maybe two.) And the recipe is easier than tying velcro shoes. We like to order almond flour from Nuts.com or Honeyville; while Bob’s Red Mill will work, it will create much coarser biscuits that don’t hold together quite as well. Easy grain-free biscuits Print Easy grain-free biscuits Print Ingredients 2 Tbs coconut flour1.5 cups almond flour1/2 tsp salt1/2 tsp baking soda2 Tbs butter or coconut oil, softened2 medium eggs2 Tbs maple syrup or honey...
Easy homemade almond milk (with a cashew milk variation)

Easy homemade almond milk (with a cashew milk variation)

All right. I know this is probably the easiest, most obvious recipe ever. But guess what? I’m a bad cook. Things aren’t always obvious. I share them nonetheless. Okay, on to the healthier homemade almond milk AND how to blanch almonds. Here are a few facts: Almond milk from the store is full of gunk. Almond milk is so friggin’ easy to make, there’s no reason NOT to make it at home. Blanched almonds are really FUN to make, so again: no reason NOT to do it. While we usually get raw, full-fat milk from grass-fed cows (yep, we do raw dairy), we’ve been too busy fighting ticks and raising goats to make it to our farmer lately. And yesterday, I needed some white liquid to put in my coffee. That’s just how I like it. So I made my own almond milk. I know there are LOTS of recipes for this all over the internet, but scout’s honor: I figured this out myself. Maybe I’m even doin’ it wrong – who knows. (Let me know in the comments.) I use this nut milk bag (tee-hee). SO much easier than cheesecloth. I chose NOT to soak the almonds, because...
Word to the Bad Cook

Word to the Bad Cook

Seasoning something “to taste” means you should add small amounts of your preferred seasoning gradually, being sure TO TASTE as you go along because just because you like spicy food “A LOT” doesn’t mean “A LOT” will not ruin an entire pot of chili and severely harm your taste buds.” So. Add a little of what you THINK you like. Wait. Taste. Add a smidge more, if desired. Taste. Repeat until you’re satisfied. With “heat” ingredients like cayenne, recipe instructions on the Wild Wild internet often say “to taste.” This is because one person’s idea of “heat” may be another person’s idea of “the fiery pits of Hades” or “heading dead into the fire swamp.” On a related note, the heat-giving components of spices are fat-soluble. This means that while ice will temporarily cool the burning, you’ll need a fat-containing liquid to help sweep away the heat for good. Otherwise, the burning will just come right back. Try swishing with full-fat milk or coconut milk. And never, never touch your eyes. I’ll recover. I hope....

“Low-carb, low-fat, and low-calorie diets aren’t all they’re cracked up to be. It’s the nutrient value and the quality of our food that matter most.”
– Eat The Yolks

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Greek Chicken Skillet

Greek Chicken Skillet

Husband and I went to Greece on our honeymoon. The beginning of our obsession, and the reason the Best Greek Skillet Ever exists. (Our gift to the world.) Now, of course, this isn’t AUTHENTIC Greek food. (I have to say that in case my Greek friends Tony or Mr. Panos are reading.) But it’s EASY. And so, so, SO delicious. And when I say EASY, I mean easy like Sunday morning (whatever that means). This is basically a yummy, delicious, FAST meal, a high proportion of which you simply dump out of a series of cans. (“Dump out of cans” sounded much more elegant in my head.) But srrsly. What’s easier than dumping food out of cans? I always keep a few cans of olives, capers, and artichokes around lest I get flustered and plan poorly and don’t have any ideas for dinner. Beyond that, all you need are a few basics to make the dish sing. If you do dairy, add some goat’s milk feta cheese. It really ties the dish together. Note: no added salt in this dish – the canned capers and olives add plenty of it! Also note: canned stuff isn’t always perfect. Some canned...
Kansas City style homemade BBQ sauce

Kansas City style homemade BBQ sauce

What’s required in Kansas City BBQ is a good, tangy, molasses-y sauce. This homemade BBQ sauce uses a secret ingredient – and none of the junk. I’ve been trying to create a decent homemade KCBBQ sauce forEVER. Everything you can buy – and, for that matter, everything on order in the KCBBQ joints – is chock-full of gunk like HFCS and soybean oil and other industrial garbage. (I’m lookin’ at you, Cowtown.) It was only when my homemade Worcestershire sauce experiments failed miserably that I stumbled upon something pretty darn decent. This is tangy to the max, with a kick at the end; it’s not your standard BBQ sauce – but it’s my style. Seriously. This is SO tangy. And it’s tangy thanks to the “secret ingredient” that you also find in Worcestershire: tamarind (sometimes spelled “tamrind). Tamarind concentrate isn’t easy to find (it’s mostly found in ethnic markets), but it IS online. I use this brand, from Amazon. It’s one of the most interesting, fun things in my kitchen. I don’t use it much, but that’s OK, because it lasts forever. I LOVE opening the fridge and just looking at it. Having it around makes me feel special...