Sunday, December 18, 2016

Spiced Apple Cider Sangria

Drinks are necessary during the holidays. And I'm not talking about just ones with alcohol. Of course, a little adult beverage makes the holidays more fun. Holiday drinks are always full of warm spices that'll make you feel all soft and toasty on the inside. So why not combine the two? I mixed [cooled] hot spiced apple cider with some red wine to make an easy to drink, but super flavorful cocktail for any holiday party! I made my spiced apple cider in the slow cooker. If you're worried your slow cooker pot smells like last week's pot roast and don't want beef flavored apple cider, I've got a tip for you. Quick Tip to cleaning and removing smells from your slow cooker: Add about 1/4 cup baking soda to the pot. Add just enough water to make a paste (a few tablespoons or so). Then take a soapy sponge and rub the baking soda paste into every crevice of the pot. Let it sit overnight. Rinse the next day. Voila! No more weird pot roast smell. Now, get to brewing that cider!

Spiced Apple Cider Sangria

What you'll need:

  • 4-5 medium to large apples (I used a variety of Fuji, Red Delicious, Green, and Ambrosia, but use any or one combination)
  • 1 medium orange
  • 2 cinnamon sticks + 1-2 additional for sangria
  • 1/2 whole nutmeg 
  • 2/3 cup maple syrup + more to taste
  • a pinch of whole cloves
  • one star anise (optional)
  • water
  • extra apple and orange slices
  • 1 bottle (750mL) red wine (I used a cheap cabernet from Trader Joe's aka "Two Buck Chuck")
  • 1/3 cup orange liquor
What to do:
  1. Quarter the apples and remove the stems and seeds. Add to the slow cooker pot. Quarter the orange, add to the pot. Add 2 cinnamon sticks, nutmeg, maple syrup, cloves, and star anise (if using). Cover the fruit with just enough water to cover. 
  2. Cook on low for 8 hours. After about 7 hours, mash the fruit with a potato masher. Taste. Add more maple syrup if preferred. Let it cook for another hour on low. Strain. Save the pulp for another use, like apple butter!
  3. Store in an airtight jar in the fridge for up to 5 days, serve warm for just the cider. 
  4. In a large pitcher, combine the red wine, 2 cups of cider, 1/3 cup orange liquor, apple and orange slices, and cinnamon stick. Stir and cover over night to cool in the fridge. 
  5. Add a splash of seltzer water before serving. 

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Pumpkin Nut Panna Cotta Tart

This Pumpkin Panna Cotta is a lightened up treat that won't leave you feeling heavy after those multiple rounds of turkey and all the fixings. Panna Cotta is essentially an Italian style jello and is super simple to whip up. You blend, you heat, you stir, and BOOM, you're done. The crust is a magical blend of toasted hazelnuts, flaxseed and maple sugar. Don't like hazelnuts? Try pecans or walnuts! Short on time and don't feel like having to throw another dish in the oven to bake? Skip the crust all together and just make the panna cotta served in ramekins or cute single serving glass jars. It's totally up to you how you want to serve this because it will be delicious anyway. I was feeling a little bit naughty and drizzled a little RumChata and coconut caramel sauce (I used Juli's of PaleOMG recipe from her newest book, Juli Bauer's Paleo Cookbook) on top. 

 Pumpkin Nut Panna Cotta Tart

What you'll need:
  • 1 cup hazelnuts (or pecans, or walnuts), toasted and skins removed
  • 2 tbsp flax seed meal
  • 1/4 cup + 1 tbsp Otto's cassava flour
  • 2 tbsp maple sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 5 tbsp grassfed butter, cold
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 1/2 cup almond milk
  • 1/2 cup canned full-fat coconut milk
  • 1/4 cup maple sugar
  • 2 tsp gelatin
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/4 fresh grated nutmeg
  • pinch of cardamon
  • pinch of salt

What to do:
  1. To make the crust: Preheat oven to 350F. If using hazelnuts, bake for 8-10 minutes at 350F. Cool slightly, then remove skins by rubbing the hazelnuts together with a tea towel. It is okay if not all the skins come off. If using pecans or another nut, there's no need to toast before hand just add them to the food processor. 
  2. Add the hazelnuts to the food processor along with the next 4 ingredients. Pulse until it resembles a course meal. Add the cold butter 1-2 tbsp at a time. Pulse until it starts to come together. Press evenly into a tart pan. Bake at 350F for 18-20 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool.
  3. In a sauce pan, add 1/2 cup almond milk. Evenly sprinkle 2 tsp of gelatin over the almond milk, let it bloom. Blend the remaining 1 cup of almond milk, coconut milk, pumpkin puree, maple sugar, and spices until smooth. 
  4. Heat the gelatin mixture over medium low heat and whisk until the gelatin dissolves. Strain the pumpkin mixture into the gelatin mixture. Whisk to combine. Heat until the mixture starts to steam. Pour into the tart shell (or individual ramekins/jars). Allow the tart to set in the fridge. 
  5. Serve chilled with a drizzle of RumChata or Coconut Caramel, if preferred!

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Deconstructed Papas Rellenas (Cuban Beef and Potato Stuffing)

I love a good meat and potato dish. This Cuban Beef and Potato stuffing is a play on the traditional papas rellenas or meat stuffed potato ball. If you live in the Los Angeles area, you probably are familiar with Porto's Bakery (and if you haven't, you must!). Porto's is a Cuban bakery that makes the tastiest Cuban pastries and cakes. They also have these deep fried mashed potato balls stuffed with a ground beef mixture. And let me tell you, you haven't lived until you've tried one of these!

While I love the holidays and all the traditional foods that are associated with it, sometimes, I believe you need a little spice in your life (and no, pumpkin spice does not count). Enter, this non-traditional stuffing. A deconstructed papas rellenas. A good Cuban dish requires a sofrito, think of it as the Cuban equivalent to a mirepoix (the aromatic base of any good soup or stew; carrots, onions, celery), except sofrito consists of onions, bell peppers, and garlic. You'll want to sweat and caramelize the onions first, then add the peppers and garlic last. Trust me, this extra little step will make this dish pop!

Deconstructed Papas Rellenas (Cuban Beef and Potato Stuffing)

What you'll need:

  • 2-3 small to medium white sweet potato (or any potato can be subbed), cubed
  • olive/avocado oil, salt and pepper to season the potatoes
  • 1 medium onion, finely diced
  • 5-6 sweet mini peppers (or one medium bell pepper), finely diced
  • 3-4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • pinch of cayenne (optional)
  • 1/4 cup tomato sauce
  • 1.5 tbsp apple cider vinegar or fresh lime juice
  • 1 bay leaf
  • (start with 1/2 tsp) salt and pepper, to taste
  • fresh chopped cilantro
  • 2-3 tbsp golden raisins (optional)

What to do:

  1. Preheat your oven to 425F. Toss the cubed potatoes with 1-2 tbsp oil, massaging the oil into the potatoes thoroughly. Season with salt and pepper. Lay the potatoes in one (1) even layer on a silicone lined baking sheet. Bake for 30 minutes at 425F, tossing once about half way through. 
  2. While the potatoes are roasting, heat a large skillet over medium high heat with 1-2 tbsp oil. Add the onions. Sweat the onions until they start to caramelize and are fragrant, about 5-6 minutes. Add the peppers, then the garlic. Stir. Cook for another 1-2 minutes.  
  3. Add the ground beef. Break up the chunks. *Note: I add a little ground beef at a time, breaking up the chunks, as to not overcrowd the pan which could lead to steaming of the mixture and not sauteing*
  4. Season the mixture with paprika, cumin, cayenne (if using), and salt and pepper. Stir to combine. Once most of the meat has browned, add the apple cider vinegar/lime juice. Then the tomato sauce. Bring to a simmer and add the bay leaf. 
  5. Simmer the mixture on medium low for about 15-20 minutes. 
  6. Once potatoes have finished roasting, remove from oven and set aside. Season the ground beef mixture with more salt/pepper, to taste. Stir in golden raisins (if preferred, but highly recommended). Add the potatoes and garnish with chopped cilantro. 

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Dark Chocolate Cupcakes

Fact: I'm not actually a chocolate fan. I mean, I like it, on occasion, but it's rare that I'll crave it. If I'm going to indulge it's going to be a piece of good quality dark chocolate, at least 85%. Anyway, let's just say I had way to many bars of chocolate (that would've taken me forever to finish), so the next best thing would be, cupcakes! These use dark chocolate, cocoa powder, and strong brewed coffee for an insanely intense chocolate flavor. Don't get me started on this frosting, it's two ingredients, TWO! Roasted sweet potato puree and dark chocolate. I know, what in the world? Trust me. It is good and as good for you as you can get when it comes to indulgent desserts. The cupcake recipe is adapted from an old recipe I found a long time ago (which unfortunately, I can't remember where I found it), but I've tweaked it so that it's gluten-free and paleo friendly. The recipe for the frosting is from Genevieve Ko's Better Baking. Do yourself a favor and use this to frost anything that would require a healthy (pun intended) dollop of chocolate frosting. :)

Dark Chocolate Cupcakes
What you'll need:
  • 1/2 cup hot brewed coffee
  • 1 oz good quality dark chocolate (85%)
  • 2/3 cup maple sugar
  • 3/4 cup Otto's Cassava Flour
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2/3 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup Avocado Mayo (I used Chosen Foods)
  • 1/2 cup shaken canned coconut milk
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1.5 cups roasted sweet potato
  • 10 oz dark chocolate (or semi-sweet)
What to do:

  1. Preheat oven to 300°F. Chop chocolate and in a bowl combine with hot coffee. Let mixture stand, stirring occasionally, until chocolate is melted; Mix until smooth. Set aside. In another small bowl, combine the canned coconut milk and lemon juice, stir and set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, sift together the sugar, Otto's Cassava Flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. In the bowl of a stand mixer, or another clean bowl, beat the mayo, with the lemon/coconut milk mixture, vanilla, and chocolate/coffee mixture until combined. Add the dried ingredients and beat until combined and no lumps remain. 
  3. Divide batter evenly in a paper lined muffin tin. Bake at 300F for 20-22 minutes. Cool slightly before removing onto cooling rack. Make the frosting by pureeing the roasted sweet potato in a food processor until completely smooth. Heat the puree in a sauce pan over medium heat. Add the chocolate and stir into the sweet potato puree until melted and combined. 
  4. Spread frosting over cupcakes. Serve immediately or store them in an airtight container for later, just bring them to room temp before serving.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Pumpkin Spice Protein Pancakes

Pumpkin Pie Spice is best enjoyed when the weather starts to cool and the leaves start to fall. The warm spices are like a friendly hug and really, that's what I think we all should start our day with. Don't have someone to hug you in the morning? Don't worry, these pancakes will be all you need. They're soft, fluffy, and full of good-for-you ingredients. 

What you'll need:
  • 1/4 cup pumpkin puree
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup
  • scant 1/4 cup milk (dairy or non-dairy) (about 3.5 tbsp)
  • 1 tbsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 2 tbsp coconut flour
  • 3 tbsp almond flour
  • 3 tbsp hydrolyzed collagen*
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
What to do:
  1. In a bowl, whisk together the pumpkin puree, eggs, vanilla, milk and maple syrup. In another bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients. Combine the dry ingredients with the wet, whisking just until no lumps remain. 
  2. Heat a skillet with a little fat of choice (I like to use coconut oil or ghee) over medium heat. Cook pancakes using an ice cream scoop or 1/4 cup, about 1-2 minutes each side. 
*Hydrolyzed collagen is not the stuff you make jello with. Be sure to get the ones that will dissolve in water completely; both Great Lakes and Vital Proteins are two brands I've used. :)

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Mini Chocolate Pudding Cookie Pie

Chocolate pudding Snak-Paks were a staple in my home growing up. Mom packed one in my lunch box almost every day. I had quite the sweet tooth back then, but now that I'm older, sweets just aren't something I want. But give me a bowl of chips and guac and I'll be at that all day. Anyway, just because I don't have the same sweet tooth doesn't mean I don't occasionally crave a little sugar. Pudding is surprisingly easy to make and paired with my Small Batch Chocolate Cookies, they're magical. 

Mini Chocolate Pudding Cookie Pie 

What you'll need

  •  chocolate cookie dough
  • 1 cup almond milk
  • 2 tbsp cocoa powder (or use 4 tbsp and omit the FlavorGod)
  • 2 tbsp FlavorGod Chocolate Donut 
  • 2 tbsp maple sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp gelatin (I used Great Lakes Red can)

  • What to do:
    1. Preheat oven to 350F. Make the chocolate chip cookie pie crust. Make sure the dough is chilled as it will be easier to handle. Divide the batter evenly (using my small batch recipe, I was able to fill three) into a silicone muffin tin. Use your fingers to press down and up the sides slightly. Bake at 350F for 12-15 minutes. Remove from oven and use a greased shot glass to make a well in the center of each cookie. Cool and set aside. 
    2. To make the pudding, combine the almond milk, cocoa powder, maple sugar, and vanilla in a small sauce pan. Heat over medium low. Whisk until combined. Then evenly sprinkle the gelatin over the top. Allow the gelatin to bloom and then whisk until combined. Heat the mixture until it starts to steam. Remove from heat and allow to cool in a container. Cover and let it set in the fridge overnight. 
    3. The following day, whisk the pudding. Then add to the cookie crust. Serve with more cookie crumbles and whipped coconut cream. 

    Monday, August 8, 2016

    Asian Braised Oxtail/Short Ribs


    Braises and stews are staples in my kitchen. They're easy to prep and I let my slow cooker do the rest. Occasionally I like to use my fancy pants dutch oven too. When it comes to using meaty bones, I like to brown the meat (either in a cast iron or broil in the oven) first. Those brown bits at the bottom of your pan are like gold. Here, I seasoned the meat with a little Chinese 5 spice and then pan seared them before adding the rest of the ingredients. If you've never tried Chinese 5 spice, it's an aromatic blend of star anise, cinnamon, cloves, sichuan peppercorns, and fennel. Some variants have ginger and cardamon. But it adds such amazingly complex flavors, it's definitely worth a try. In this recipe, I opted to use Oxtails and Short ribs, but you can go ahead and use any meaty bone.

    Asian Braised Oxtail/Short ribs

    What you'll need:
    • 2-3 lbs beef oxtail, ribs, or short ribs
    • 5 tbsp gluten free tamari or coconut aminos
    • 2 tbsp mirin
    • 1/2 tsp paprika
    • 1-2 tbsp chinese five spice + 1/2 tsp for sauce
    • 1.5 tsp FlavorGod Garlic Lovers (or use garlic powder)
    • 1/4 tsp white pepper
    • 1/4 tsp dried mustard
    • salt and pepper, to taste
    • 2 cups beef/chicken stock (I used homemade)
    • 1 tbsp honey
    • 6-8 oz dried shiitake mushrooms (fresh would be okay too)
    • 2-3 minced garlic cloves
    • 1 one inch piece of peeled ginger
    What to do:
    1. Preheat oven to 300F. Pat the beef dry. Season all sides with 1-2 tbsp chinese 5 spice, a couple large pinches of salt and fresh cracked black pepper. In a cast iron pot, heat 2 tbsp of fat of choice over medium high heat. Working in batches as to not overcrowd the pot, sear the beef on each side (about 1-2 minutes each side). Remove and set aside. 
    2. Add the ginger and garlic, scraping the bottom for the browned bits. Add the tarmari/coconut aminos, mirin, honey, paprika, 1/2 tsp chinese 5 spice, garlic powder, white pepper, and dried mushrooms to the pot. Stir. Place the beef back into the pot. Add the stock and the dried mushrooms
    3. Bring the mixture to a boil. Cover with an oven proof lid and place in the oven to bake for 2.5-3 hours. After 3 hours, remove from the oven and place the pot on the stove. Remove the cover and bring the stew to a simmer over medium heat. Allow the sauce to thicken for 25-30 minutes over medium heat. 
    4. Serve with chopped green onions (optional) over rice or cauliflower rice (for low carb/paleo) and your favorite sauteed veggie (I served mine with bok choy). 

    Monday, August 1, 2016

    Cherry Clafoutis

    In the summer, I crave cherries. I freaking love cherries. But I hate those pits! I finally got myself a cherry/olive pitter and wow, why didn't I get one sooner?! It's probably my favorite kitchen accessory, second to my waffle maker (duh!). When summer rolls around, it's cherries all day, every day. Anyway, clafoutis, sounds funny, right? This classic French dessert combines juicy cherries and a rich, but light textured custard. All it takes is a blender, about 40 minutes of bake time, and BAM you've got a funny named but delicious treat, even perfect for breakfast! You can even substitute the cherries for another fruit, like peaches or berries.

    Cherry Clafoutis
    What you'll need:

    • 1 cup coconut or almond milk
    • 1/3 cup maple syrup + 2 tsp honey
    • 3 whole eggs
    • 2 tsp vanilla
    • 1/2 cup almond flour
    • 1.5 tsp tapioca flour
    • 2 tbsp melted grassfed butter
    • pinch of salt
    • 2-3 cups pitted cherries or other fruit
    What to do:
    1. Preheat the oven to 350F. Grease a cast iron skillet or baking dish with soften butter or non-stick spray (I used Chosen Foods coconut oil spray, no propellants or fillers just pure coconut oil!). 
    2. Add all the ingredients, except the fruit to a blender or food processor. Blend until smooth. Pour about 1/4 of the batter into the greased skillet/dish and bake at 350F for 7-10 minutes. This helps to keep your fruit from all sinking to the bottom. 
    3. Remove from the oven and top with the fruit, arranging in a pattern, if preferred. Pour over the remaining batter. Return the skillet/dish back to the oven and bake at 350F for an additional 35-40 minutes until the top is set and golden brown. 
    4. Remove from oven and cool slightly, sprinkle with powdered sugar if preferred. Serve warm. 

    Tuesday, July 26, 2016

    Small Batch Chocolate Chip Cookies

    Sometimes, you just want a chocolate chip cookie. But you don't want to go to the store to buy those pre-portioned ones just to make 1 or 2 cookies when you've got all the ingredients at home. But how difficult would it be to pull out a dozen plus fresh baked cookies from the oven and not eat them all in one sitting?! This recipe only makes two cookies, perfect for an after dinner treat when you just want a little sweetness. I've played around with this recipe and depending on whether or not you chill the dough will give you two different textures. Baking the cookies right away will give you crispy edges and a soft center. Chilling the dough for at least 5 minutes, will give you a soft baked cookie all the way through. The choice is yours, now lets get baking!

     Small Batch Chocolate Chip Cookies

    What you'll need:

    • 2 tbsp grassfed butter (like Kerrygold), soften at room temperature
    • 2 tbsp maple sugar
    • 1/4 tsp vanilla
    • 1 egg yolk
    • 2 tbsp tapioca
    • 4 tbsp almond flour
    • 1/4 tsp baking soda
    • pinch of salt
    • 3 tbsp chocolate chips or chopped dark chocolate
    What to do:
    1. Preheat the oven to 350F. In a bowl, beat the soften butter and maple sugar together until combined. Add the vanilla and egg yolk and beat until just combined. 
    2. Add the tapioca, almond flour, baking soda and salt. Beat until just combined, it's okay if there are small streaks. Fold in the chocolate chips. 
    3. Chill dough for at least 5 minutes for soft baked cookies. Divide the batter using an ice cream scoop onto a parchment paper or silicone lined baking sheet, about 3 inches apart. 
    4. Bake the cookies at 350F for 8-10 minutes. Cool slightly before enjoying!


    Wednesday, July 20, 2016

    Ratatouille Lasagna

    Traditionally, Ratatouille is a stewed vegetable side dish usually composed of tomatoes, onions, garlic, zucchini, eggplant and bell peppers. Here I've combined all those flavors into lasagna! Eggplant makes great "lasagna" noodles for those that like to keep it glutenfree or low carb. And with a little char, they're delicious. I like to make my own marinara sauce, which I've included the recipe for below, but feel free to use your favorite recipe or store bought sauce.

    Ratatouille Lasagna
    What you'll need:

    For the marinara sauce*
    • 1 large onion, diced small
    • 6 cloves of garlic, minced
    • 5-6 sweet mini peppers, diced small
    • 32 oz tomato sauce
    • scant 1 cup water
    • 1 TBSP Herbes de Provence (or Italian seasoning if you can't find this)
    • 1 TBSP red chili flakes (use less for mild, or remove completely for non-spicy)
    • 1 TBSP garlic powder
    • 1 TBSP onion powder
    • 2 tsp dried basil
    • 1 tsp dried thyme
    • 1 tsp oregano/marjoram
    • 2-3 bay leaves
    • 2-3 TBSP coconut/maple sugar, adjust to taste (or omit all together for no sugar added)
    • 1/2 TBSP grassfed unsalted butter
    • fresh cracked black pepper and sea salt, to taste
    For the lasagna
    • 2 large eggplant, sliced ~ 1/8 inch thick length wise 
    • 3-4 medium zucchini, sliced length wise
    • 2 medium onions, sliced
    • 3 medium bell peppers
    • marinara sauce
    • 2 lbs ground beef
    • 1 cup diced onions
    • 2-3 cloves of garlic, minced
    • salt and pepper
    • cheese (optional)
    What to do:
    1. Make the marinara sauce. Heat a pot over medium heat and add about 1 TBSP of olive oil. Saute onions and mini peppers until fragrant. Add the garlic, chili flakes, and Herbes de Provence. Saute until fragrant. 
    2. Add tomato sauce and stir. Then add water and the remaining spices (garlic powder to the bay leaves). Stir to combine. Then stir in the coconut sugar. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. 
    3. Bring the sauce to a simmer and reduce the heat to low. Cover the pot with it's lid and simmer for at least 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Before removing from the heat, give it a little taste to see if it needs more seasoning or sugar, to your preference. 
    4. Remove from heat. Cool slightly before taking an immersion blender and blending the sauce together. Alternatively, the sauce could be cooled and poured in a blender/food processor and blended until smooth. Set aside to cool. 
    5. Prepare the eggplant, zucchini, onions and bell peppers for the lasagna. Using a mandolin, carefully slice the eggplant and zucchini evenly and thinly (about 1/4 in. thick). Place sliced veggies on a baking pan and season both sides with a sprinkle of salt and pepper and drizzle with olive oil. 
    6. Pre-heat the grill. Once the grill is up to temperature, grill the eggplant and zucchini slices on both sides. Remove grilled veggies and set aside for assembly.
    7. In a pan, heat a little olive oil over medium heat. Add sliced onions and peppers. Cook until fragrant and onions are translucent. Remove from pan and set aside for assembly.
    8. Make the meat sauce. In another pan, heat about 1 TBSP of olive oil over medium heat. Add onions and cook until fragrant. Add garlic and stir. Then add the ground beef, breaking up any large chunks. Season the meat with salt and pepper, to taste. Once most of the beef has been cooked, working a 1/2 cup at a time, add the marinara sauce. Stir to combine the beef and sauce. Keep adding the sauce to your preference. Allow the mixture to come to a simmer for about 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and get ready to assemble. 
    9. Pre-heat the oven to 350F. In a 9x13 baking dish, coat the bottom of the dish with about 2-3 TBSP of the marinara sauce (not the beef/marinara mixture). Layer the grilled eggplant on the bottom of the dish, followed by the zucchini, meat sauce, and onions+peppers.
    10. Repeat the layering until there are no more, or the dish is full. Try to make the last layer the grilled eggplant. Spread another 2-3 TBSP of marinara sauce over the eggplant. Sprinkle with freshly grated parmeasean cheese, if preferred. Bake at 350F for 20-25 minutes or until cheese and filling are nice and bubbly.
    11. Cool slightly before slicing. 

    Friday, July 1, 2016

    Dairy-Free Cherry Almond Fudge Ice Cream

    Dairy free ice cream is tricky. Because you're using non-fatty milks (unless you're using all coconut milk, but coconut milk can be overpowering in taste), it tends to ice over pretty quick. It also doesn't have that creamy mouth feel of traditional dairy ice creams. But there are tricks to achieving that creamy dreamy taste. 

    1. Up the fat since fat doesn't freeze. Use egg yolks to make a custard base. If you're using almond or other nut milk, try doing a 70/30 nut milk and coconut milk ratio. 
    2. Add gelatin. According to the master of ice cream, David Lebovitz, using 1 tsp gelatin per 1L/quart can help soften your ice cream. 
    3. Use honey or maple sugar. Sugars like these will lower the freezing point of your ice cream, and ultimately make your ice cream smoother and less-icy.  

    Here, I played around with the "science" of ice cream making for you! While, this recipe still might have a little more fine tuning before I can say this is the most creamiest dreamiest dairy free ice cream, it's still pretty dang good. 

    Diary Free Cherry Almond Fudge Ice Cream

    What you'll need:
    - 3-4 cups cherries, halved and pitted
    - 2.5 tbsp balsamic vinegar
    - 2 tbsp water
    - 1 tsp vanilla
    - 6 egg yolks
    - 2 cups + 3/4 cup almond milk
    - 1 cup full fat coconut milk
    - 2-3 tbsp honey
    - 1 tsp gelatin (the one that makes jello, like this one)
    - 1 tsp vanilla
    - 1 cup toasted almonds, chopped
    - 2-3 tbsp Nikki's Dark Chocolate Fudge Coconut Butter

    What to do:

    1. In a sauce pan, combine the cherries, balsamic vinegar, and water. Cook over medium heat until cherries are soft and syrupy, stirring occasionally. About 8-10 minutes. Divide in half.  
    2. Had half the cherry compote to a blender along with the egg yolks, 2 cups almond milk, coconut milk, vanilla, and honey. Blend until smooth. Strain the mixture into a large sauce pan. Sprinkle the gelatin over the mixture and allow to bloom for a few minutes. 
    3. Heat the custard mixture over medium heat and cook for 10-12 minutes until custard thickens. Be sure to be stirring continuously. 
    4. Prepare a large bowl with ice water. Place another clean bowl into the ice water bowl. Add the remaining 3/4 cup almond milk. Strain the mixture into the clean bowl placed in the ice water bath. Stir and cover with plastic wrap. Push the plastic wrap on to the surface of the custard to prevent a skin from forming. 
    5. Chill overnight in the fridge. 
    6. Add the chilled custard to the ice cream maker and prepare ice cream per manufacturer's instructions. Fold in toasted almonds and Nikki's Dark Chocolate Fudge. 
    7. Serve immediately or store in an airtight container. Before serving, allow the ice cream to soften at room temperature for a few minutes for easier "scoopability"

    Monday, June 13, 2016

    Salted Almond Coconut Chocolate Candy Bites

    I recently had the pleasure of finally meeting the face behind one of my favorite brands, Nikki of Nikki's Coconut Butter, at Paleo F(x) in Austin. She's one awesome boss lady and one of the sweetest people I've ever had the pleasure meeting! It certainly was a happy coincidence that I was just vacationing in Austin with my BFF and decided to stop by the expo at Paleo F(x). So glad we did! 

    Since changing my diet one that's Paleo/gluten free, I've found ways to satisfy my sweet tooth with Nikki's coconut butter. All the flavors are soy, dairy, egg, and gluten free. The newest flavor, Cashew Cookie Butter, is also sugar free, for those that are watching their sugar intake. It's also one of my personal favorites, next to the Mint Chocolate Chip (yum!). Being creative in the kitchen is a great outlet for me, when I'm stressing, I like to have fun in the kitchen whipping up something fun and delicious. So, when I'm in the mood for something a little sweet (I'm normally a salty, chips and dip, kinda girl), I like incorporating a little Nikki's coconut butter. It's got all the sweetness I need and the recipes I'm going to share with you include little to no added sugars (except for those already found in the coconut butter or fruits, YAY!). Coconut Butter has so many potential uses and I'm going to try to create all the recipes I can to show you just how versatile it can be!

    Now for the Salted Almond Coconut Chocolate Candy Bites. Think of these as a more "grown-up" version of Almond Joy Candies. The extra step of salting and roasting the almonds really take these to the next level. 

    Salted Almond Coconut Chocolate Candy Bites

    What you'll need:

  • 1/2 cup raw almonds
  • 1 tbsp kosher salt + 1 cup boiling water
  • 2 cups shredded, unsweetened coconut
  • 1/4 cup Nikki's Vanilla Cake Batter, melted
  • 3 tbsp coconut cream (from canned coconut milk)
  • 1-2 tbsp honey, warmed 
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 4 oz good quality dark chocolate + 1/4 cup Nikki's Dark Chocolate Fudge Coconut Butter

  • What to do:
    1. Preheat oven to 300F. In a bowl, add the raw almonds and 1 tbsp kosher salt, add the boiling water and allow the almonds to brine for at least 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, drain the almonds and pat dry. Bake at 300F for 20 minutes. 
    2. Remove and allow almonds to cool slightly. In a food processor, combine the almonds, shredded coconut, Vanilla Cake Batter, coconut cream, honey, vanilla, and kosher salt. Pulse until mixture starts to form a ball/or comes together but not enough to turn into a smooth puree. 
    3. Using a small cookie scoop, or your hands, form the coconut mixture into uniform shapes. Set aside and melt together the dark chocolate and Nikkis Dark Chocolate Fudge. Dip each coconut ball into the chocolate. Allow to harden in the fridge before consuming. Store in the fridge or freezer in an airtight container. 

    Wednesday, June 8, 2016

    Japanese Style Crispy Chicken Wings (Teba No Karaage)

    I love a good crispy chicken wing. Crunchy skin, tender meat and usually greasy was my preference...back in the debaucherous days of college. Now, you could say, I've grown up (a little) and my tastes have gotten a little more sophisticated. Enter, these Japanese Style Crispy Chicken Wings. These are lightly coated in potato starch to give the outside the crispiest crunch without being too over powering. I also fried these in olive oil, making these "better" for you. HAHAHA.   

    Japanese Style Crispy Chicken Wings 

    What you'll need:
    • 2 lbs chicken wings/mini drum sticks
    • 2 tbsp gluten free Tamari/coconut aminos
    • 1 tbsp mirin/rice wine
    • 1 tsp FlavorGod Garlic Seasoning (or garlic powder)
    • 1 inch piece of ginger, minced
    • 2 garlic cloves, minced
    • 2 tsp sesame oil
    • Potato starch
    • FlavorGod Garlic Herb Salt (or salt/fresh cracked pepper)
    • Olive oil, for frying
    • Japanese chili powder (optional)

    What to do:
    1. Prepare the marinade by combining the Tamari/coconut aminos, mirin, garlic powder, minced garlic and ginger, and sesame oil. Pour over chicken wings (placed in bowl) and toss to coat. Cover with plastic wrap and allow the chicken to marinate for at least 4 hours in the fridge.
    2. Heat 2" olive oil in a small saucepan over medium until a deep-fry thermometer reads 320°. Alternatively, if you’ve got a mini fryer, fill olive oil to the fill line. In a large bowl, combine 1 cup of potato starch and 1 tsp Garlic Herb Salt/ salt + pepper.
    3. Remove the chicken from the marinade and toss wings in potato starch mixture, shaking off excess; working in batches, fry wings until crisp, about 5-8 minutes. Transfer wings to paper towels to drain. Serve with lemon wedges and Japanese chili powder (optional).

    Monday, June 6, 2016

    Hong Shao Rou (Shanghai Style Red Braised Pork Belly)

    Hong Shao Rou or "Red Braised" Pork Belly is one of my favorite ways to prepare and enjoy pork belly.  A little salty and a little sweet, but Oh So Delicious. The pork belly gets browned and crispy first, then braised in a mixture of salty sweet goodness. This is one of those comfort food type meals growing up so I wanted to put my spin on it by making it gluten free and "paleo" friendly (if you can tolerate rice), but also keeping it true in flavor and texture. :) 

    Hong Shao Rou

    What you'll need:
    • 1.5-2lb pork belly, cut into ~ 1 inch pieces
    • 2-3 garlic cloves, smashed and peeled
    • 1 inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled
    • 5 tbsp coconut aminos/gluten free Tamari
    • 1.5 tbsp rice vinegar
    • 1 tbsp mirin/rice wine/dry sherry
    • 1/4 tsp paprika
    • 1 tsp FlavorGod Garlic Seasoning (or use 1 tsp garlic powder)
    • 1 tsp white pepper
    • 1 tsp ground ginger
    • 3 tbsp raw honey
    • 1 tbsp maple sugar/1 piece rock sugar (optional)
    • 1/2 cup water
    • 2 tbsp cooking fat
    What to do:
    1. In a bowl, combine the coconut aminos/Tamari, rice vinegar, mirin/rice wine, paprika, garlic, white pepper, and ground ginger. Whisk to combine and set aside.
    2. In a large pot, add 2-3 cups water, smashed garlic cloves and fresh peeled ginger. Bring to a boil over medium high heat. Once boiling, add the pork belly cubes. Bring the water back to a boil and allow the pork to simmer for 5 minutes. Drain the pork belly and remove the garlic and ginger pieces. Pat the pork dry. 
    3. Using a heavy bottomed wok or cast iron pot, add 2 tbsp cooking fat over medium high heat. Working in batches, fry each side of the pork belly until browned and crispy. Remove and drain on paper towels. Repeat for remaining pork belly. 
    4. Turn the heat down to medium, working with the same wok/cast iron pot, carefully add the raw honey and maple sugar (if using). The mixture will bubble rapidly. Then, carefully add the water. Stir in the coconut aminos/Tamari mixture. Place the pork belly back into the pot, stir to coat and cover. Allow the pork to simmer for 25-30 minutes. Stirring occasionally. 
    5. Remove cover and allow the sauce to thicken for 5-8 minutes. Serve with fresh chopped chives and sesame seeds over riced cauliflower or white rice. 

    Tuesday, May 17, 2016

    Patacon Pisao (Plantain Sandwich)

    So, I stumbled upon this deliciousness while browsing the interwebz. You know how you click on one link, only to find yourself randomly clicking on something else, then you're on some website that's completely unrelated to what you were originally look at? Yea, that happens to me a lot. But anyway, that's how I found out about Patacon Pisao. Patacons are basically the Venezuelan equivalent of giant tostones, used as tostadas or sandwich "buns." Freaking. Genius. There's a restaurant in New York that's tooted as having the most authentic Patacon Pisao, which consists of "shredded beef, special sauce, ketchup, lettuce, tomato, fried cheese, on a double fried plantain bun." I've never actually had one before...but I did a quick internet search and sort of put my spin on it (aka, used whatever I had in my fridge/pantry). I think the flavors would be pretty close, so any of my friends who've had a Patacon Pisao, please let me know if this one is close! 

    Patacon Pisao

    What you'll need
    • green plantains
    • salt
    • 2 tbsp oil
    • 1.5 lb rump roast
    • 1/2 large onion (softball size), diced
    • 1 medium green bell pepper, diced
    • 3 garlic cloves, minced
    • 1.5 tsp gluten free Worcestershire 
    • 2 tbsp tomato paste
    • 1 tbsp ketchup
    • 1 tbsp FlavorGod Chipotle (or 1 tbsp chili powder + 1 tsp smoked paprika)
    • 1/2 cup beef broth (I used homemade)
    • 1/4 tsp cumin
    • 1 bay leaf
    For the avocado cream sauce
    • 2 medium avocados
    • juice of 1/2 lime and 1/2 lemon
    • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro, roughly chopped
    • 1/2 cup onion, roughly chopped
    • 1 jalapeno, seeds removed, roughly chopped
    • 1 tsp FlavorGod Garlic Lovers (or 1/2 tsp garlic powder)
    What to do:
    1. Make the avocado cream sauce by adding all the ingredients to a blender or food processor. Puree until smooth. Set aside. The cream sauce can be made a day in advance.
    2. To make the shredded beef, liberally season the rump roast with salt. Heat 2 tbsp oil over medium high heat in a heavy bottom pot. Sear each side of the roast for 2-3 minutes over medium high heat. Remove and place in the pot of a slow cooker. 
    3. To the heavy bottom pot, add the onions and bell peppers. Saute for 3 minutes, then add the garlic. Be sure to scrape the bottom for all the brown bits! Saute for another 2 minutes. Add the Worcestershire, tomato paste, ketchup, chipotle (or chili powder/paprika), and cumin. Cook for an another minute before adding the beef broth. Bring the mixture to a simmer and allow to simmer for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. 
    4. Add the sauce mixture to the slow cooker, cover the roast and add the bay leaf. Cook on low for 8 hours. Shred meat and mix with sauce. Set aside to make the fried plantain buns.
    5. Cut the ends off of green plantain and remove peel. Cut plantain down the middle, lengthwise. Then cut in half, horizontally. Fry each side of plantain for 2-3 minutes or until slightly browned. Remove from oil and flatten two halves until about 1/4 inch thick. Fry flattened plantains again for another minute on each side. Remove from oil and season with salt. 
    6. Assemble the sandwiches with shredded beef, avocado cream sauce, lettuce, and tomato. I omitted the cheese, but if you like, a little fried cheese would be delicious!

    Tuesday, March 29, 2016

    Butter Chicken

    Piping hot Butter Chicken is like a hug on a plate. I feel the same way about Chicken Tikka Masala. Both dishes require a marinade of chicken in fragrant spices and tangy yogurt and then simmered in a bath of flavorful tomatoes. But Butter Chicken, in my opinion would definitely be classified as a more "luxurious" hug...can hugs be considered luxurious?  There is butter in this dish, but not enough to call Paula Deen over for dinner. I eliminated the yogurt and replaced it with full-fat coconut milk and some apple cider vinegar (lemon juice would work too), for an almost dairy-free dish. You can't call it "Butter Chicken" if there's no butter in it, right?!

    What to do:

    Butter Chicken Marinade
    • ½ cup full fat canned coconut milk
    • ½ tsp apple cider vinegar or fresh lemon juice
    • 1.5 lbs boneless chicken thigh, cut into 1 inch cubes
    • 2 tbsp tomato paste
    • 1 tsp garam masala
    • 2 tsp paprika
    • ½ tsp cayenne
    • 1 tsp cumin
    • 1 tbsp fresh ginger root, finely minced
    • 3-4 gloves garlic, finely minced
    • 1 tsp FlavorGod Garlic Herb Salt (use sea salt if you don't have this)
    • 2 tsp harissa spicy sauce (Moroccan red pepper sauce); optional

    • ½ cup, mix of red and yellow onion, halved then sliced
    • 1/3 tsp garam masala
    • 2/3 tsp FlavorGod Garlic Lovers (replace with garlic powder)
    • 1 cup canned fire roasted tomatoes, diced
    • scant 1 tsp honey (adjust to taste)
    • 2 tbsp full fat canned coconut milk
    • 2-3 tbsp unsalted butter
    • 1-3 tbsp cilantro, chopped for garnish
    What to do: 
    1. In a small bowl, combine the coconut milk with apple cider vinegar/lemon juice. Stir and set aside. In a large bowl, combine the remaining marinade ingredients and mix until the chicken is evenly coated. Stir in the coconut milk mixture. Cover with plastic wrap and marinate overnight.
    2. Preheat oven to 350F. In an oven proof pot, heat 1-2 tbsp of butter over medium high heat. Saute the onions until soft and fragrant (about 2-3 minutes). Add the FlavorGod/garlic powder and garam masala. Stir to combine. Add the canned tomatoes and let cook for additional 2-3 minutes.
    3. Add the chicken, with all its marinade to the onion/tomato mixture along with the honey, coconut milk, and remaining tablespoon of butter. Bring the mixture to a soft simmer for 5 minutes. Cover with foil/parchment paper or oven safe lid and bake at 350F for 25 minutes. Remove the lid and continue baking for an additional 8-10 minutes.
    4. Serve with fresh chopped cilantro and a side of rice/cauliflower rice.   
    Note: This dish can also be made in a slow cooker. Prepare all the way to Step 3, bringing the mixture to a soft simmer for 5 minutes. Pour the butter chicken into the pot of a slow cooker and cook on low for 2-3 hours. 

    Wednesday, March 16, 2016

    Matcha Pot de Creme

    How vibrant are these colors?! The green comes from matcha green tea powder, something I'm currently obsessed with. Lately, I'll have a matcha green tea latte every morning over a cup of coffee. So much yum! Anyway, these little matcha pot de cremes are simple to make and are a perfect Springtime dessert. I served them with a triple berry compote and some crushed glutenfree shortbread cookies.

    Matcha Pot de Cremes

    What you'll need:

    • 2 large egg yolks
    • 1 tbsp Matcha green tea powder
    • 1 tsp vanilla
    • 3/4 cup full fat canned coconut milk 
    • 1/4 cup water
    • 2 tbsp raw honey
    • 1 tsp gelatin
    • 1 cup fresh/frozen berries (for compote)
    • 1 tsp lemon juice (for compote)
    • gluten free shortbread cookies (I used this recipe), finely crushed (optional)

    What to do:

    1. In a medium heat proof bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, matcha green tea powder, and vanilla until combined. Set aside. In a sauce pan, heat the coconut milk, water, and honey over medium heat until the honey is melted and the coconut milk just starts to steam. 
    2. Remove the milk mixture from the heat. Separate 4 tbsp of the warm milk mixture into a shallow bowl, add 1 tsp of gelatin and let it bloom while you temper the eggs. Slowly temper the egg yolk mixture by adding a little bit of milk at a time while continuously whisking. Once all the milk mixture has been added to the yolks, return the custard back to the pan, then add the bloomed gelatin and heat over medium low heat. 
    3. Use a wooden spoon to agitate the mixture (I like to make figure 8s) until the mixture thickens enough to coat the back of the spoon. Turn heat off and strain the mixture through a fine mesh sieve. Evenly divide the custard mixture into mini glass jars or ramekins. Let it cool slightly before allowing it to set in the fridge.
    4. To make the compote, heat the berries and lemon juice over medium heat until fruit is soft and syrupy. Allow to cool before serving. To assemble, top the pot de cremes with the compote and crushed cookies, if using. 

    Monday, February 22, 2016

    Dairy-Free Creamy Cajun Alfredo Pasta Bake

    Every once in awhile, I find myself falling back into the warm comfort of pasta. I don't eat pasta often, but when I do, I find myself just eating the real thing. Spaghetti squash is great and everything, but nothing beats the chewy soft texture of pasta. Thank goodness for brown rice pasta! This sauce is made dairy free by using cauliflower. It's as easy as a quick saute and then a puree. It's great to hide those veggies for the little kidos who might be a little picky. 

    Dairy Free Creamy Cajun Alfredo Pasta Bake

    What you'll need:

    • 1lb brown rice pasta
    • 1/2 lb andouille sausage, sliced
    • 1 lb large raw shrimp, peeled and deveined
    • 1/2 cup white onion, chopped
    • 1 small shallot, minced
    • 3-4 garlic cloves, minced
    • juice of 1/2 lemon
    • 2 tsp dried parsley
    • 1 tbsp Cajun Seasoning (I used FlavorGod Cajun seasoning)
    • fresh cracked black pepper

    For the sauce

    • 5-6 garlic cloves, minced
    • 1 cauliflower head, roughly chopped
    • 1 tbsp garlic powder
    • 1.5 cups chicken stock (homemade preferred)
    • 3 roasted red peppers, roughly chopped
    • 1 small shallot, minced
    • 3 tbsp Cajun seasoning (I used FlavorGod Cajun seasoning)
    • 2 tbsp tomato paste
    • juice of 1/2 lemon
    • salt and black pepper to taste

    What to do:

    1. Prepare the cauliflower for the sauce by removing the green stems and roughly chopping into manageable chunks. Process in a food processor until the size of a grain of rice, one head of cauliflower should yield about 4 cups. Heat a large sauce pan over medium heat with one tablespoon of oil. Saute 1/2 the amount of minced garlic until fragrant. Add the riced cauliflower to the pan and cook for 4-5 minutes. Season with garlic powder. Add 1.5 cups of chicken stock and bring to a boil. Once boiled, turn heat down to medium low, cover and simmer for 20 minutes. After 20 minutes, pour into a high powdered blender and puree until smooth. Set aside. 
    2. In a separate pan, saute the minced shallot and remaining garlic until fragrant. Add 1 tablespoon of Cajun seasoning to the shallot/garlic mixture, stir to coat. Add the roasted red pepper to a blender, along with the sauteed shallot/garlic mixture, tomato paste, and remaining 2 tablespoons of Cajun seasoning. Puree until smooth. 
    3. Combine the cauliflower puree and roasted red pepper puree into a sauce pan. Bring to a boil and allow to simmer for 15 minutes. Sauce can be made a day in advance, makes about 4 cups. 
    4. Preheat oven to 375F. Prepare pasta, boil for 5-7 minutes and drain. Set aside. Saute the onion, garlic, and shallot in a pan until fragrant. Add the sausage, and cook for 3 minutes. Add the shrimp, juice from 1/2 lemon, Cajun seasoning, dried parsley, and pepper. Stir and cook until most of the shrimp has turned pink.
    5. In a 9x13 inch baking dish, layer the bottom of the dish with about 1/4 cup of the cauliflower/red pepper sauce. Toss the pasta and the shrimp/sausage mixture. Add 1 cup of sauce and toss to coat. Bake at 375F for 30 minutes. Then broil for 5 minutes.  

    Tuesday, February 16, 2016

    Cajun Eggs Benedict with Crawfish Aioli

    So truthfully, this cajun eggs benedict dish is a little involved. But that shouldn't deter you from attempting to make them for someone special...or yourself! It's so worth it. I had actually made the cajun sauce for another recipe and had leftovers. I also had leftover crawfish from the night before from a crawfish boil (I wish backyard crawfish boils were more of a thing in Southern California), which I added to the sauce and turned into an aioli. The sauce makes about 4 cups, it's A LOT, more than enough for this dish (unless you'll be catering Sunday Brunch and plan on making eggs benedict for like 20 people...). I say, make the sauce, use it in a casserole or something, or freeze it in ziplock bags; 1 cup measured out into ziplock bags, air removed, and laid flat.

    Okay, on to the recipe. I suck at poaching eggs, I've tried every method out there, but all I would get would be ugly wispy whites that just stuck to the bottom of my pan. Anyway, I came across a video on Serious Eats that details the use of a mesh strainer. It worked! Catch that link and the recipe below.

    Cajun Eggs Benedict with Crawfish Aioli

    What you'll need:
    • 1 cup sweet potatoes, roasted and mashed
    • 2 tsp Cajun Seasoning (I used this one)
    • 1 tsp dried minced onion
    • pinch of salt and pepper
    • 2 cups baby spinach
    • 1/4 lb andouille sausage, thinly sliced
    • 1 lb crawfish, boiled and peeled, save shells
    • 2 poached eggs (directions for full proof poached eggs here)
    • crawfish aoli (recipe below)

    For the sauce
    • 5-6 garlic cloves, minced
    • 1 cauliflower head, roughly chopped
    • 2 tbsp garlic powder
    • 1 tbsp onion powder
    • 1 tsp parsley
    • 1 tsp chives
    • 1.5 cups chicken stock (homemade preferred)
    • 3 roasted red peppers, roughly chopped
    • 1 small shallot, minced
    • 3 tbsp Cajun seasoning
    • 2 tbsp tomato paste
    • salt and black pepper, to taste
    • juice from 1/2 lemon

    For the aioli
    • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
    • 1/2 cup sauce
    • 1 tbsp melted butter/ghee
    • juice from 1/2 lemon
    • peeled cawfish

    What to do: 
    1. Prepare the cauliflower for the sauce by removing the green stems and roughly chopping into manageable chunks. Process in a food processor until the size of a grain of rice, one head of cauliflower should yield about 4 cups. Heat a large sauce pan over medium heat with one tablespoon of oil. Saute 1/2 the amount of minced garlic until fragrant. Add the riced cauliflower to the pan and cook for 4-5 minutes. Season with garlic powder, onion powder, parsley and chives. Add 1.5 cups of chicken stock and bring to a boil. Once boiled, turn heat down to medium low, cover and simmer for 20 minutes. After 20 minutes, pour into a high powdered blender/food processor and puree until smooth. Set aside. 
    2. In a separate pan, saute the minced shallot and remaining garlic until fragrant. Add 1 tablespoon of Cajun seasoning to the shallot/garlic mixture, stir to coat. Add the roasted red pepper to a blender, along with the sauteed shallot/garlic mixture, tomato paste, and remaining 2 tablespoons of Cajun seasoning. Puree until smooth. 
    3. Combine the cauliflower puree and roasted red pepper puree into a sauce pan. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Add juice of 1/2 lemon. Bring to a boil and allow to simmer for 15 minutes. Sauce can be made in advance, makes about 4 cups. Allow to cool completely before freezing. 
    4. Note: This step is completely optional, but it'll definitely impart more "crawfish" flavor into the sauce.  Add the peeled crawfish shells, ~ 1 cup of the cauliflower/roasted red pepper sauce, and about 1/4 cup water to a sauce pan. Bring to a simmer and add juice of 1/2 lemon. Allow to simmer for about 15 - 20 minutes on low heat. Strain through a mesh strainer to collect the sauce and remove any shell pieces. This sauce will be used to make the aioli. Set aside. 
    5. Make the sweet potato waffles, by mixing, 1 cup of mashed sweet potato with the Cajun seasoning, dried onion and salt/pepper. Scoop 1/2 cup into waffle iron and make waffles per manufacturer instructions. Repeat with remaining 1/2 cup of mashed sweet potato. 
    6. Poach eggs, set aside in a bath of cool water until ready to plate. Meanwhile, saute spinach and sausage until sausage has browned and spinach has wilted. Set aside. 
    7. To make aoli, whisk together 1/4 cup mayonnaise, 1/2 cup cajun sauce (with or without the infused crawfish), juice of 1/2 lemon. Slowly add in melted butter/ghee while whisking constantly. Once combined fold in crawfish meat. 
    8. To assemble, top each waffle with spinach/sausage mixture, poached eggs (rewarm by removing from cool bath and into soft simmering water for 15-20 seconds), and crawfish aoli. 

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