Paleo Chocolate Sauce

Brownie delights are one of my favorite desserts. I can get them locally at Governor’s restaurant, but it will have far more sugar than any one person should ever have at one sitting. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve allowed myself one a year from there, because these desserts are amazing. But for home, I wanted a version that contained less sweetener.

This chocolate sauce is the one I use for my homemade brownie desserts, and it is delicious. I use honey rather than refined sugar, and am actually working a little at a time to see how far I can cut back on the amount of honey I can use before it gets to a point where the sauce is no longer sweet enough.

This chocolate sauce is great for many desserts, and for dipping fruit into.

Ingredients

1 cup coconut milk, canned, refrigerated. Mix the cream into the liquid before measuring.

1/3 cup cocoa powder

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 cup of raw, unfiltered wildflower honey

  1. Pour the milk and honey into a saucepan and stir to combine.
  2. Add the cocoa powder while warming, and stir often until warmed.
  3. Remove from heat and stir in the cinnamon.
  4. Pour into small canning jars cool.
  5. Cover and store in the refrigerator.

I’m not sure exactly how long this sauce will last, because I use it over the course of the week.

Tips

  • Even though it costs more, I use organic ingredients for this sauce. Since I don’t make it often, it’s not like I’m paying all out doors to make it frequently.
  • The taste of the organic ingredients is far superior to other options. If you’ve never had organic cinnamon, I do suggest you try it. Delicious!
  • Store coupons can help to bring the cost down some, as can gift cards.
  • I have a variety of small canning jars, lids, and rings that I reuse over and over again. If you’re not processing the foods, you can reuse the lids as often as you like.
  • I can sometimes save money by buying the coconut milk in bulk through Amazon.

Serving Suggestions

  • Serve over brownies.
  • Dip fruits such as grapes, strawberries, apple slices, and banana chunks into the sauce.
  • Serve over Paleo ice cream.

Enjoy your desserts!

Shannon

 

 

Mantle Decorations

Decorating the mantle at Yule is a big thing. It is at Christmas as well. Food and greenery can be used for this. I like to use reusable items as much as possible for sabbat and holiday decorating, but I also enjoy the scent of fruits, and spices like cinnamon. It’s possible to combine fake and real items when decorating, and the combination will make a beautiful mantle area. Try using fake greenery and fresh (dried) food items.

The Garland

Garland in the length you need (can be real or fake, but greenery is the proper choice) (Tipping is illegal in some areas.)

Hot glue gun

Glue sticks

String of holiday lights, white or colored

Cinnamon sticks tied into bunches

Red berries

1 or 2 lemons

1 or 2 limes

1 or 2 oranges

1 or 2 apples

Sharp knife

Thread or thin string

Sewing needle

  1. Before putting together the garland, you will have to dry the fruits. The drying process may take a few days. Begin by slicing the fruits. String these with a needle and string of choice, and hang from the ceiling or along a wall to dry. Spread them out so that the fruits are not touching each other. I would string them from their centers. Be careful not to let the string cut through the slices of fruit.
  2. Wrap the lights around the greenery, positioning the garland along the back of the mantle so the plug is near an outlet. Putting the garland in place now lets you see where you want to glue the fruit and other items to the garland.
  3. Glue the fruit, in bunches of 1 slice of each type, here and there along the garland, without getting glue on the lights or cord. Do not pile the fruit slices, but overlap them some in groups.
  4. Glue cinnamon sticks to the garland.
  5. Glue red berries to the garland.

Candles

Greenery, thinner than that used for the garland, to use as a wreath to go around the bottom of the candle sticks

Glue gun

Glue sticks

Red berries

Candle stick holders

Taper candles

  1. Place the candle sticks to the center of the mantle.
  2. Make a wreath that will wrap around the bottom of the candle stick, using the greenery and berries.
  3. Place taper candles in the candle sticks.

Fruit Baskets or Bowls

2 matching baskets with handles that will fit on the space available on the mantle

An assortment of fresh citrus fruits

Fabric wide enough to hang out over the sides of the baskets some, to use as a liner

Thin greenery strips

Red berries

Glue gun

Glue sticks

Cinnamon sticks

  1. Glue the greenery strips around the handle of each basket.
  2. Glue berries here and there along the greenery.
  3. Glue cinnamon sticks where the handles meet the baskets.
  4. Place the fabric liners in the baskets, so that the edges hang out over the baskets.
  5. Put the fruits in the baskets, and place one basket at either end of the mantle.

Potpourri

2 decorative plates or bowls, small to medium in size depending on how much space you have between the candles and the fruit baskets on the mantle.

Cinnamon sticks, broken into pieces

Whole cloves

Whole allspice

Dried lemon peel

Dried lime peel

Dried orange peel

  1. Place the bowls on the mantle, centered between the fruit baskets and the candle sticks on either side.
  2. Place the potpourri ingredients in the bowls.

How do you decorate your mantle using food items? Let us know in the comments for this post.

Shannon

Chocolate-Banana Pudding with Berries, and a Smoothie

I admit it. I love chocolate. I don’t know too many women who don’t. However, I’m trying to eat healthier foods. Traditional chocolate desserts are a no-no, and I comply with that most of the time. When I really want chocolate and am at home, chocolate pudding is a dessert I enjoy. Because there is only one of me, I don’t eat the whole thing, but I do take half and make a smoothie for the next day. Both recipes are below.

Just let me say that I had never had an avocado, so I had no idea what this might taste like starting out. I was pleasantly surprised when I made the pudding and the smoothie. I still have never had just an avocado, but I do know I like it mixed in with other foods.

Avocado is not necessarily cheap, mind you, which means I don’t make this often. One costs me about .98. I can get more kiwi or bananas for the price, which is what I often do with a portion of my fruit money. But for only a once in a while treat, this is perfect.

Chocolate-Banana Pudding with Berries

Ingredients

1 chocolate-banana pudding recipe (I use this Paleo one from Paleotable.com)

2 large strawberries, the green cut off

a few blueberries

  1. Make the banana pudding recipe according to the directions on Paleotable.com.
  2. Mix with a blender and taste. If it’s not chocolatey enough for you, and another tablespoon of the cocoa powder.
  3. Chill for an hour or so, then split half the pudding between two small cups or bowls.
  4. Top with diced strawberries, and a few blueberries.
  5. Refrigerate the other half, covered.

Chocolate-Banana-berry Smoothie

Ingredients

1/2 of the chocolate-banana pudding recipe above

1/3 cup full-fat coconut milk that has been refrigerated over night

a few strawberries, greens cut off

a handful of blueberries

  1. Place everything into a blender.
  2. Cover and blend until combined.

Tips

  • Buy coconut milk on sale, preferably with a coupon, to save a little money.
  • Try adding strawberries or other berries to the smoothie.
  • Top the pudding with apple slices for dipping.

Serving Suggestions

  • Serve the pudding over a Paleo brownie, or with fruit slices for dipping.
  • Serve the smoothie for breakfast, with eggs on a bed of spinach.

Have a great day!

Shannon

Pancakes with Apple-Maple Syrup

During my healthy eating journey, I’m trying to refrain from saying ‘I’m on a diet’. What I’m really doing is creating a lifestyle change. One that will not only help me to lose weight and be healthier, but will allow me to keep the weight off and stay healthier. Diets don’t do that. Lifestyle changes do. A healthy lifestyle will help me to live life to its fullest.

That’s not to say that sometimes I wont want a treat. For instance, I love pancakes and syrup. I don’t eat them often, but I wanted to find a healthier way to enjoy this breakfast just the same. I use a Paleo pancake recipe, and maple syrup and not the sugary syrups. I also do most of my cooking in coconut oil these days.

Pancakes with Apple-Maple Syrup

Apple-Almond Pancake Recipes

Apple-Maple Syrup

Cinnamon

Ground cloves

  1. Make the pancakes according to the recipe directions.
  2. Make the syrup according to the recipe directions.
  3. Place two pancakes on a plate.
  4. Top with warm syrup.
  5. Sprinkle cinnamon and ground cloves over the top.
  6. Enjoy!

Notes

  • Try different pancake and syrup recipes for variety.

Serving Suggestions

  • Serve the pancakes and syrup with a smoothie or citrus water.

Shannon

 

Apple & Sausage Oatmeal Bowl

I’ve recently been posting breakfast recipes, Smoothie Bowls and Sausage & Banana Oatmeal Bowl, and I wanted to add another recipe in the same category. This one is just a different play on the last oatmeal bowl, to show how you can switch things up just a bit for something quite different.

Ingredients

1 cup of prepared oatmeal (not instant)

a drizzling of maple syrup

cinnamon

nutmeg

cooked sausage

diced apple

  1. Warm the oatmeal if it is not hot.
  2. Put oatmeal into a bowl, adding a drizzle of maple syrup.
  3. Mix it all up.
  4. Top with cooked sausage and the diced apple.
  5. Sprinkle the cinnamon and nutmeg over the top of the oatmeal bowl.

Tips

  • Make a big batch of oatmeal and store it in the fridge. It is easy to warm in an oven or on the stove top.
  • You can mix the maple syrup into the oatmeal before putting it into the refrigerator, so that step is already done. A quicker oatmeal bowl when you want one.

Serving Suggestion

  • Serve this oatmeal bowl with a cup of cashew milk, or a cup of hot chai tea.

Share your oatmeal bowl recipes in the comments, or email me at shannonlbuck@gmail.com.

Shannon

Apple-Pear Sauce

Homemade apple-pear sauce is easy to make in a pot on your stove top. It makes a good snack, and can even be divided into individual servings and brought to work or school to go with a lunch. This combination of fruits smells amazing while cooking.

Ingredients

apple(s)

pear(s)

water

  1. Wash, peel, and core the apple(s) and pear(s).

  2. Chop the apple(s) and Pear(s). The smaller the pieces, the less cook time needed.

  3. Place the apple and pear pieces into a saucepan and cover with water. Only use enough water to barely cover the fruit, adding more if needed before the fruit is cooked down.

  4. Cook over medium heat, stirring often, until there are small pieces of apple and pear left but there is also plenty of sauce.

  5. Allow to cool or eat warm.

Tips

  • Use cinnamon to add additional flavor to the sauce.

  • This can be cooked down so there are no chunks.

  • Save money by using fruit that is almost gone by and sold for less at the store. Cut out any bruised parts.

Serving Suggestions

  • Serve hot over Paleo banana ice cream.

  • Make a syrup for pancakes or waffles by adding 2 or 3 tablespoons of maple syrup to the sauce.

You may also enjoy my  Chunky Applesauce.

Shannon

Cinnamon-Coconut Fruit Salad

I love fruit 🙂 Once in a while I make a salad consisting mainly of some type of this delicacy. The other night I created this one. It’s sweet, but the seeds help to add another important flavor. I hope you enjoy this one as much as I did.

Three servings were made from the one salad, though one of the servings could have been split to make another. I had one serving as a snack, one as a side for the next days lunch, and the other for a side to that day’s dinner.

Cinnamon-Coconut Fruit Salad

Makes 3-4 servings.

Ingredients

1 apple, cored, and chopped into bite size pieces

1 orange, peeled, sectioned, and chopped into bite size pieces

1 (20 ounce) can pineapple chunks, 2 tablespoon of juice reserved (Use the rest in a smoothie.)

1/4 cup unsweetened shredded coconut

2 teaspoons sunflower seeds

cinnamon

  1. Combine the fruit in a medium size mixing bowl.
  2. Add the pineapple juice, unsweetened shredded coconut, and sunflower seeds and mix well.
  3. Divide the fruit salad between 3 or 4 bowls, and sprinkle each serving with cinnamon.

Tips

  • Nature’s Place makes an exceptional organic cinnamon. (No, they are not paying me to say this.)
  • Purchase store brand products when possible to save money.

Serving suggestions

  • Serve this alongside a salad of spinach, coleslaw mix, and sliced hard boiled eggs.

Enjoy!

Shannon

Apple-Almond Pancakes

I’m living a Paleo lifestyle now, for the most part, which means no grains for me 😦 I needed to mix things up a bit, so I bought some almond flour.

An expensive treat, let me tell you! Thank goodness not much is needed at a time. Once in a while I can make pancakes or another such treat, and it wont break the bank. Mind you, I don’t have pancakes for breakfast every day. But once in a while it will be nice to have a couple.

I don’t drink cows milk, but enjoy having almond milk on hand. Only the unsweetened variety, which is actually pretty sweet in my opinion. Any type of apple will work well in this recipe. A good size jar of coconut oil may seem expensive, but really isn’t. I bought my jar 30 ounce jar toward the end of March, and am not even half done with it more than two months later. I paid $6.99 plus tax.

Because I’m trying to eat healthy, I am not consuming syrup. I needed a substitute for this condiment, and decided on unsweetened applesauce and cinnamon. The combination was very tasty.

Apple-Almond Pancakes

Serves 2, 2 pancakes each

Can be refrigerated for a second breakfast tomorrow.

Ingredients

2 eggs

1/4 cup unsweetened almond milk

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 cup almond flour

1 apple, peeled, cored, and diced

1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce

cinnamon

coconut oil for cooking

  1. Crack the eggs into a medium size mixing bowl. Whisk the eggs together.
  2. Add the unsweetened almond milk and whisk again.
  3. Whisk the almond flour and baking soda into the egg mixture, then add the diced apples and mix well.
  4. Allow to sit a few minutes while warming a skillet over medium-high heat. Melt a little coconut in the pan.
  5. Pour some of the batter into the hot skillet, and cook until the edges are cooked. Flip and cook a minute longer.
  6. Top each serving with 1/8 cup of unsweetened applesauce, and sprinkle with cinnamon.

Tips

Serving suggestions

  1. Serve with a side of greens and a hard-boiled egg.
  2. Serve with sausage and vegetables.

Enjoy!

Shannon

Chunky Applesauce

Homemade applesauce is easy to make in a pot on the stove top. Use apples from the store, or those you pick yourself. This is a great autumn recipe, but can be made throughout the year. It will also make a great addition to an autumn or winter feast. I usually just use however many apples I have on hand.

Ingredients

apple(s)

water

  1. Wash, peel and core the apple(s).

  2. Chop the apple.

  3. Place the apple pieces into a saucepan and cover with water. Only use enough water to barely cover the apples, but add more if needed before the apples are cooked down.

  4. Cook over medium heat, stirring often, until there are small pieces of apple left but there is also plenty of sauce.

  5. Allow to cool or eat warm.

Tips

  • Use cinnamon to add additional flavor to the sauce. I add mine just

  • If the apples are tart, sugar may also be added.

Serving Suggestions

  • Serve hot over Paleo banana ice cream.

Shannon

Hot Mulled Cider

I love hot mulled cider during the autumn holidays and sabbats: Mabon, Halloween/Samhain and Thanksgiving. It is also a good addition to any Yule or Christmas celebration. Particularly when it’s cold outside. Zowie loves the cider as well.

This is a classic hot beverage throughout New England, and I live in Maine :). There are variations on this wonderful drink, and most are as good. The aroma is amazing.

This is not a very frugal recipe, unless you are lucky enough to have your own apple orchard and cider press. While I’d like to have both one day, I have not realized the all-important homesteading goal as of yet. Therefore, I have had to find ways to lessen the cost of making mulled cider. (See the Tips below.)

(Update January 2017: My intent is to Paleofy this recipe by cutting out the brown sugar. Honey or maple syrup would be the go-to choices, but I recently learned that molasses would be okay to use. Needless to say, I have some experimenting to do. I’ll update you with the details when I have them.)

Ingredients:

1 gallon apple cider

1/3 cop brown sugar

about 15 cloves, whole

about 10 allspice berries, whole

5 sticks of cinnamon

cheesecloth and twine

  1. Put the cloves, allspice, and cinnamon at the center of a square of cheesecloth. Bring the sides of the cloth up and tie closed with twine.
  2. Place this into a slow cooker along with the sugar. Pour the cider over these items and cover.
  3. Heat on high for about half-an-hour, then turn the temperature to low.

Tips

  • Purchase store brand cider.
  • Purchase spices when on sale, and place in the freezer until needed.

Serving Suggestions

  • Serve in a mug with a cinnamon stick.
  • Serve over ice, if desired. This is particularly good during Mabon, when it may still be quite warm outside.

Shannon