Category Archives: Vegetables

Pigs in blankets, paleo style

(Actually, since the “blankets” are made out of pigs, maybe I should call these “pigs in pigskins”? But then it would sound like a football reference. Whatever, they’re yummy.)

1 package bacon
1 package baby carrots, probably won’t use them all

On shish-kebabs:
Lightly steam the carrots ahead of time so the skewers will go through. Cut the strips of bacon in about 3 in sections. Wrap each piece of bacon around a carrot and skewer them. Grill until the bacon is done to your liking.

These go great with pineapple chunks in between. I think beef kidney would also be wonderful, but haven’t had the opportunity to try it.

On a griddle:
I don’t use skewers or toothpicks this way, so I can turn them on all sides. Start with a cold griddle so you don’t burn your fingers while arranging the piggies. Cut the strips of bacon in about 3 in sections and wrap each piece of bacon around a carrot. Lay them on the griddle with the overlap facing down, so the two layers will stick together while cooking. When all the little piggies are on the griddle, turn it on medium-low. (or higher if you don’t mind splatters) Begin turning the carrots after the two layers stick together. If they stick to the griddle a bit, roll them toward the loose end so they don’t unroll. Fry on all sides until the bacon is done to your liking. Afterward, fry some liver in the bacon grease.


Grain-Free Spaghetti

I’ve heard people say spaghetti squash is a good substitute for spaghetti, and I think they must be smoking something. It’s delicious with olive oil & garlic, but it’s not fooling anybody.

I’ve discovered a much better approximation of pasta’s texture: Finely julienne rutabagas, and steam them for 20-30 min depending on how soft you like them. Serve the “spaghetti” with meatballs & tomato sauce, other vegetables, under grilled chicken, etc. I like to simmer in broth and maybe spices, then drizzle with olive oil. You could thicken the broth with tapioca/arrowroot to make a sauce. It won’t wrap around your fork, but other than that it’s a pretty good imitation.

Alternative: This works with turnips or probably most root vegetables. Also try frying the “spaghetti” in lard or coconut oil for a different flavor. I think you could also make lasagna noodles, but I have no idea whether you’d cook them first, or how you’d adapt the lasagna recipe.

“Don’t Tell Them It’s A Vegetable” Snack Bars

6 oz raisins (1 cup)
3 oz coconut (little less than 1 cup shredded)
2 1/2 tsp cinnamon
2 1/2 tsp vanilla
1/8 tsp salt
1 cup baked mashed sweet potatoes
(or any sweet squash, or pumpkin plus a little honey)

Shred coconut flakes in food processor and pour in another container. Process raisins, cinnamon, vanilla, and salt until raisins are chopped tiny and want to stick together in a big clump. Add sweet potatoes and coconut and process until thoroughly mixed.

Form balls, or press into an 8×8 pan. Refrigerate 3 hours until firm. Cut into bars and freeze half or they’ll be gone in no time.

Everything-free pumpkin pie

It’s TORTUROUS to have Thanksgiving dinner and be unable to eat the pumpkin pie. Here’s my solution for 2013. (And then I became sensitive to coconut. Sigh.)

1 pie crust free of your problem ingredients
(optional, the crust isn’t the important part anyway)
1 can pumpkin puree
1 can full fat coconut milk
1/2 cup maple syrup or honey (optional, see below)
1 Tb vanilla extract
2 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/8 tsp cloves
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup water
3 envelopes powdered gelatin

Heat water in a saucepan and sprinkle gelatin over the surface. Whisk until gelatin is dissolved. Add remaining ingredients and heat, whisking until smooth. Pour into 10in pie crust, dessert dishes, or fancy molds and refrigerate for 3-4 hours.

Alternatives: if you can’t have any sweetener, use 3/4 – 1 cup raisins, finely chopped in a food processor. Or replace part/all of the pumpkin with sweet potato. Or if you’re accustomed to not eating anything sweet, this will taste great with just the spices.

If you can’t eat coconut, replace the coconut milk with another 1/2 cup pumpkin & 1/4 cup solid fat such as butter or palm shortening. Increase the cinnamon & vanilla to 4 tsp each. I’d be generous with the nutmeg too.

This recipe is a combination of two others. Each has a different crust that would work for some people — The first is a traditional crust with gluten-free flour, and the second is made of dates!

Whipped Topping — modified from this recipe

1 can full fat coconut milk
1/4 cup maple syrup or honey, or to taste (optional)
2 tsp vanilla extract
pinch salt

Pour off coconut water for another use — it could replace part of the water in the pie. Beat coconut cream with a hand mixer, add remaining ingredients, and continue whipping until fluffy.

There are a great variety of crust options depending on which ingredients you need to avoid. Ideally I’d make this pie with the coconut crust. Barring that, I think next time I’ll try a hash-brown crust made of rutabaga instead of potatoes, and cinnamon or ginger.

Thankful for Sweet Potatoes Casserole

Originally, this was my attempt to recreate part of a frozen dinner. I found several similar recipes online that gave me a general idea of how to make it work. With my improvements over the past few years, it’s much better than the original!

2 lb sweet potatoes, or a little less
4-6 oz cranberries
3 Tb coconut oil or butter
3 Tb cinnamon
4 Tb vanilla
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup brown sugar (optional for people who are used to sugar in everything)

Turn oven to 350 and bake sweet potatoes for 20-30 minutes so they’re easier to cut. Peel and cut in about 1/2-3/4 in cubes. Cut cranberries in half crossways (easiest when they’re frozen) and rinse under fast-running water to clean out the seeds.

Melt oil and stir in flavorings and water. Mix everything together in a 2-qt casserole dish. (If the sweet potatoes don’t all fit in the pan, freeze the rest to use in Superfood Soup.) Cover and bake at 350 for 30-40 min or until sweet potatoes are soft.

Use winter squash instead of sweet potatoes.
Add 1-2 diced apples. (use a bigger pan)
Add 1/2 cup shredded coconut and an extra 1/2 cup water.

Faster option: Cut and freeze a bunch of sweet potatoes ahead of time. Either thaw before making the casserole, or baking time will be longer.

Superfood soup

Superfood Soup
(a.k.a. Poor Folks Soup — a cheap way to avoid doctor bills)

3-4 cups bone broth
1 huge sweet potato that only costs $1/lb
(or 3 lbs normal sweet potatoes))
1 lb pork or beef heart (optional)
Pastured lard or palm shortening
1/2 tsp salt
1-2 tsp turmeric
1-2 Tb fresh minced ginger
1-2 Tb fresh minced garlic
1/4 cup raw apple cider vinegar

Option 1
1/2 pkg or more of chopped frozen spinach (5 oz)

Option 2
1 1/2 cup coconut flakes

Bake sweet potato at 350° for 60-90 min. Brown heart in oil. Peel sweet potato with a fork and cut in chunks. (It doesn’t matter if the chunks are big, you can cut them up with a spoon after awhile.) Add remaining ingredients to pot, and some water depending on preference. Simmer 2 hours, until heart is tender and sweet potatoes are mushy. Cut or mash them with a spoon.

For option 1, stir in spinach about 10 minutes before serving.

For option 2, stir in coconut flakes 15-20 minutes before serving. Add water as needed, depending how thick you want the soup to be.

Stir in apple cider vinegar just before serving.

Alternative method: You could peel the raw sweet potato and cut it up, but raw sweet potatoes are really hard to cut.

Healthy Ranch Dressing

Healthy Ranch Dressing
(Use as much dressing as you want on your salad — it’s good for you!)

2 cups plain whole milk yogurt (Brown Cow gives the best consistency)
2 tsp lemon juice
1 tsp minced garlic
1 tsp minced onion
1/2 tsp mustard powder or 1 Tb prepared mustard (I like dijon) 
1/2 tsp dill
1 Tb chives
1 tsp dried parsley
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp salt

Stir everything together and refrigerate overnight so the flavors mix. (Don’t use a blender or food processor, because it makes the yogurt too runny.)Use as a salad dressing, veggie dip, or sandwich spread.

For a dairy-free version, substitute hummus as a base. Or if you can’t eat legumes either, try cooked cauliflower or other vegetable pureed with olive oil. It may be necessary to adjust the amount of base to get a similar flavor strength.

Spice list inspired by several recipes for conventional ranch dressing.