Blogger’s Potluck: Appetizer, Main Dish and Dessert!

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Welcome to my first “Blogger’s Potluck!” Today you’re going to find a delicious appetizer from Whole Family Strong, a delightful main dish from Picket Fence Paleo, and a delectable dessert from yours truly! 

First up is the appetizer! 

First of all, let me tell you about Jacque over at Whole Family Strong. Jacque is a homeschooling mom of 4, mom of a sweet son with Type 1 Diabetes, a supportive wife, and a strong Christian gal with a commitment to feeding her family healthy, yummy foods! If you haven’t checked out her page yet, do it now! 

Here’s Jacque’s adorable family:

Jacque came up with this amazing Cajun Crab Bites appetizer (click the photo to get to the recipe!):

 Cajun Crab Bites

Don’t they look mouth-watering?? I can’t wait to try them!

Laci over at Picket Fence Paleo is a mom of 2 and is recovering from multiple food intolerances. She is such an inspiration and a great example of figuring out what works for her family. She posts great recipes and resources for those interested in a Paleo/Primal lifestyle! Make sure you head over to her page! Here’s her cute family:

And here is Laci’s Crock Pot Cashew Chicken (click the photo to get to the recipe!):

crock pot cashew chicken

And now, I hope you have some room for dessert!  

pumpkin pie mini tarts

Here’s the recipe for my Pumpkin Pie Mini Tarts! They are soooo good, all of my kids were begging for seconds!

Pumpkin Pie Mini Tarts
Yields 12
Pumpkin tarts with a sweet, caramelized topping!
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Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
30 min
Total Time
45 min
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
30 min
Total Time
45 min
Pumpkin mixture
  1. 1 (15 oz) can pureed pumpkin (nothing added)
  2. 1/4 cup honey or pure maple syrup
  3. 1/4 cup full-fat, full-fat, unsweetened coconut milk
  4. 1 egg
  5. 1 tsp cinnamon
  6. 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
  7. dash salt
Crust
  1. 2 cups almond flour
  2. 1/4 cup tapioca flour or arrowroot
  3. 1/4 tsp salt
  4. 1/4 tsp baking soda
  5. 1/4 cup honey or pure maple syrup
  6. 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  7. 1/2 cup coconut oil, melted
Caramelized topping (optional)
  1. 1/2 cup butter (room temp)
  2. 1/2 cup coconut sugar
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees and line a muffin tin with liners. In a medium bowl, mix together all the pumpkin mixture ingredients. Set aside. In a large bowl, combine all the crust ingredients. Press about 2 TBSP of crust dough into the muffin cups and spoon the pumpkin mixture on top, filling the muffin cup almost to the top.
  2. If you want to do the caramelized topping, mix the 1/2 cup butter and 1/2 cup coconut sugar together in a bowl and then drop small pieces on the top of the pumpkin mixture in each muffin cup.
  3. Bake in oven for about 30 minutes, or until pumpkin is set. Remove and cool a bit, then place in refrigerator and chill for at least an hour. Take off muffin liner and serve!
Notes
  1. These are meant to be served and stored chilled. **Do not remove the muffin liner until the tart is completely chilled**
Life Made Full http://www.lifemadefull.com/
So, friends, that wraps up our potluck! Thank you for stopping by and I hope you enjoyed today’s recipes! If you like this idea and want me to do it again, with even more “food stops” (beverages? salads?), comment here and let me know!

BBQ’d Brussels Sprouts

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I don’t know why I didn’t think of this before! They are so good!

Recipe: BBQ’d Brussels Sprouts

BBQ'd Brussels Sprouts

1 to 2 lbs Brussels sprouts

olive oil

garlic salt

Heat your grill and cut the ends off Brussels sprouts, then slice in half lengthwise. Toss in olive oil and garlic salt, and then pour into a grill basket. Grill for 10-15 minutes, until tender, but not overdone. Eat promptly. Yum!

Mocha Coconut Ice Cream

mocha coconut ice cream

mocha coconut ice cream

This ice cream is chocolatey, delicious and has a hint of coffee that just makes it over the top! If you don’t want coffee in your ice cream, simply eliminate that ingredient, and you’re left with yummy chocolate!

Recipe: Mocha Coconut Ice Cream

2 cans unsweetened, full-fat coconut milk

1 small avocado (this gives it an even creamier texture–trust me, you don’t taste it at all!)

1/3 cup pure maple syrup

2 TBSP pure vanilla

1/2 cup strong brewed coffee

4 TBSP cocoa

dash salt

Combine all ingredients in a blender until completely blended. Pour into an ice cream maker and follow manufacturer’s directions–mine took about and hour and a half.

10 Reasons to Give Up Grains

Against the grain: 10 reasons to give up grains

why you should go grain-free (source: Nourished Kitchen)

1. if you can get it from grain, you can get it elsewhere.

The big heroes of most grains’ nutrient profile are dietary fiber and B vitamins.   Take heed, every grain is different and different grains offer different nutrient profiles.   Yet, one thing remains constant: if you can find the nutrient in grain, you can find the nutrient in better quantities in other foods. For example, 100 grams of whole wheat flour contains 44 mcg of folate; however, a 100-gram portion of lamb liver will give you 400 mcg of folate and a 100-gram portion of yardlong beans will give you a whopping 658 mcg per 100-gram portion.   Similarly with the B Vitamins niacin and thiamin, while a 100-gram whole wheat flour contains 30% of the RDA for niacin and 32% of the RDA for thiamin, you can find these nutrients in higher quantities in other foods – namely flaxseeds and sesame seeds.   Whole grains are often touted as health foods for their fiber content, but you can find dietary fiber in better quantities in other, more nutrient-dense foods.   For example: 100 grams of cooked brown rice offers up 1.8 grams of dietary fiber; by contrast, a 100-gram serving of cooked collard greens offers 2.8 grams; 100 grams of raw fireweed contains a whopping 11 grams of dietary fiber and even green peas contain about 5 grams of fiber per serving.

2. grains aren’t good for your gut.

Intestinal health is critical to your overall health.   If you’re gut isn’t healthy, you can’t absorb nutrients from the foods you eat.   If you can’t absorb nutrients from the foods you eat, your body is malnourished and is more prone to disease.   Grains are associated with a condition called leaky gut syndrome.   Tiny particles of grains, when ingested, can slip through the intestinal walls causing an immune response.   With your immune system excessively taxed by constantly attacking these out-of-place particles of grain, it cannot effectively fight against true threats like pathogens.

3. you’re probably gluten-intolerant.

If you’re white, there’s a good chance that you’re gluten-intolerant to some degree.   Current research estimates that about 1% of the population suffers from celiac disease, an auto-immune condition related to the ingestion of gluten-containing grains like wheat and barley; however, some researchers on celiac disease and gluten intolerance estimate that 30% to 40% of people of European descent are gluten-intolerant to some degree.   That’s a lot of people who are regularly consuming a food that makes them sick. (And, yes, I’m one of them.)

4. grains cause inflammation.

Due to a high starch content, grains are inflammatory foods.   The more refined the grain, the more inflammatory it is.   For example, unbleached white flour is more inflammatory than whole grain flour; however, whole grains are still moderately inflammatory foods and certainly more inflammatory than other foods like fresh vegetables and wholesome fats.   Chronic inflammation is linked to a myriad of degenerative, modern diseases including arthritis, allergies, asthma, cardiovascular disease, bone loss, emotional imbalance and even cancer.   Unbleached white flour earns an inflammation factor of -421 or strongly inflammatory onNutritionData.com while whole wheat flour earns an inflammation factor of -247 or moderately inflammatory.   Similarly, whole cooked millet earns an inflammation factor of -150 and cooked brown rice earns an inflammation factor of -143 – also moderately inflammatory.

5. grains are fairly new on the scene.

While still a traditional food, grains are, nonetheless, the new kids on the block.   Prior to the advent of agriculture, humans relied on hunting and gathering for their foods.   They foraged for wild greens, berries, fruits and other plants.   They hunted wild animals.   They fished for wild fish.   They didn’t plant a garden, or grow any amber waves of grain or, for that matter, drink dairy from domesticated animals since there simply wasn’t any domesticated animals.   Humans survived like this from the development of the appearance of the first homo sapiens sapiens about 47,000 years ago to the advent of agriculture some 10 – 12,000 years ago. So, for the better part of human existence grains did not comprise any notable portion of the human diet. In essence, what has become the bulk of our modern diet was missing from the diet of our prehistoric ancestors.

6. grains aren’t good for your joints.

Due to their inflammatory nature, grains – even   whole grains – are linked to joint pain and arthritis.     Grain’s amino acid composition mirrors that of the soft tissue in your joints.   Because both synovial tissue and grains are chemically similar, your body has difficulty differentiating between the two.   So, when your immune cells get all hot and bothered by inflammation caused by grain and begin to attack it as a foreign invader, they also begin to attack the soft tissue in your joint – leading to pain, autoimmune diseases like rheumatoid arthritis and, of course, more inflammation.

7. poorly prepared grains prevent mineral absorption.

When improperly prepared as they most often are, grains can inhibit vitamin and mineral absorption.   Grains contain substances like phytic acid which binds up minerals and prevents proper absorption.   Essentially, though your diet might be rich in iron, calcium and other vital nutrients if you eat improperly prepared grain, you’re not fully absorbing nutrients from the foods you eat.   However, please note that souring, sprouting and soaking grains neutralizes phytates and renders the nutrients in grain more absorbable.

8. grains are bad for your teeth.

Due to those high levels of phytates in grain, grain is linked to dental decay.   With high levels of mineral-blocking phytic acid coupled with low mineral absorption rates and plenty of starches for bacteria to feed on, grain contributes to dental decay.  Anthropological records of our pre-agricultural ancestors indicates very little to no tooth decay; however, that changed after the dawn of agriculture.   Indeed, some anthropologists use the presence of tooth decay is an indicator of an agricultural society.

9. grains aren’t good for your skin either.

Grains have a very high carbohydrate content, and while the carbohydrates in grain are complex they are still broken down into sugars nonetheless. These sugars instruct your body to produce more insulin and insulin-like growth factor (IFG-1).   Elevated insulin levels lead to a cascading hormonal response and these hormones activate the sebum-producing glands in your skin – encouraging them to produce more oil.   IFG-1 is also linked with the increased production of keratinocytes which also contribute to acne.

10. eating grain makes you crave grain.

You know how the smell of bread creates a longing in you   – a yearning for a slice, slathered with butter and maybe jam.   Or consider a plate of cookies set in front of you – so delicious – and you can’t just have one?   Foods rich in carbohydrates give you quick energy, but that energy wears off just as quickly as it came. Since grains break down into sugar, they create a rise in insulin levels when those levels fall you crave more grains and, thus, the vicious cycle continues.
Of course, if you’re not quite ready to give up grains in their entirety, take care to make sure you eat the best quality grains prepared for optimal nourishment.   Choose organic grains and make sure you eat them sprouted, soaked or soured. Or go on a grain-free trial with me for the month of May!
 
Thanks to the Nourished Kitchen for this great post! Source: http://nourishedkitchen.com/against-the-grain-10-reasons-to-give-up-grains/