Saturday, December 20, 2014

Paleo Santa Hat Brownie Bites (AIP Friendly)

 Today’s Christmas themed brownie bites came out of inspiration from watching various cooking shows.  I love the festivity that these shows bring to all of the differing holidays, and they always get me excited to further my recipe experimentation in the kitchen.  Therefore, when I saw a segment on Rachel Ray for Santa Hat treats, I decided there was no reason I could not replicate the recipe for those not on the SAD (standard American diet).  As noted in the original recipe post, I have included an Autoimmune friendly version for my brownies, ensuring even those on the healing protocol can enjoy this festive treat.  Really, with three vegetables/fruit (plantain, sweet potato, & avocado), I have never seen such a nutrient dense brownie out there yet!  To view my  original, espresso fudge brownie recipe, you can do so by clicking here.  There, you can also find the recipe to make the Autoimmune-Paleo friendly version.  

All in all, these Santa hat brownie bites were a serious hit! I brought them to one of my integrative manual therapy sessions, and everyone was overjoyed at not only the cute presentation, but how delicious the actual treat was.  Not only were the brownies loved, but they could not get over how tasty the frosting was.  Therefore, I knew I must share them with the world, as they are truly a dessert everyone will love, both Paleo or not! I know you will enjoy them just as much as my friends and family did this blessed Christmas.   

Santa Hat Brownie Bites 
  • Make brownies as directed, allowing to completely cool before cutting into shapes.
  • While the brownies are cooling, prepare the frosting by pureeing all of the ingredients together in a food processor until smooth.
  • Transfer frosting to a piping bag, placing in the fridge to firm for 10-15 minutes. 
  • Wash and dry strawberries, cutting off the stems. 
  • Once cooled, cut brownies into small circles using a small cookie cutter or top of a glass.  *I used a plastic shot glass.

  • Pipe about a tbsp of frosting on top of each brownies bite.
  • Place a strawberry upside down to create santa's hat, and pipe a small dot of frosting on top of the hat to finish. 
  • Place on a serving platter and enjoy!

Romans 8:31 "What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?"

Paleo Espresso Fudge Brownies (AIP Variation)

As a lover of all things chocolate, I decided that I needed to make a super chocolatey dessert recipe for my blog.  Ever since I was young, my mother has been making brownies from scratch.  As one of the most simplest baked goods to create (along side chocolate chip cookies), boxed baking mixes were, and are, never to be found in my house.  Therefore, despite this allergen free version being far from a typical brownie, the execution and skill needed to succeed in making it, is still very low. 

Though cocoa and espresso powder are not Autoimmune Paleo friendly, I new that making a tasty alternative would be a great option for those on the protocol. Because of my deep love for chocolate, carob has never been my favorite.  Therefore, instead of seeing it as a substitute, I simply see carob as another ingredient on the “wheel of food.” That being said, these brownies, both AIP and not, have been voted as incredibly delicious.  Rich, fudgey, and smooth, with hints of coffee and dark chocolate, these brownies are similar to that of a flourless chocolate cake.  In reality, they practically are, just without all of the butter and eggs.  Instead, these brownies are filled with literal whole foods (i.e. plantain and sweet potato) delicious saturated fat (yes, lard is good for you), and unrefined maple syrup.  As previously mentioned, for the Autoimmune Paleo version, I substituted the carob for cocoa, and whole, ground chicory root for espresso powder.  Also, I halved the about of sugar, and added mashed avocado to compensate for the missing moisture content that the maple syrup adds to the finished product.  

Earlier this year, I came across a Kickstarter to back Anti-Grain flours.  As a business dedicated to crafting vibrant, “gut friendly” vegetable and fruit flours, the folks behind Anti-Grain aim to revitalize the foods we, Paleo-fiends, love.  One thing you may notice when viewing their flours are the bright colors that they retain.  This is due to the ingredients being U.S.A grow and drum-dried “at relatively low temperatures to retain as much nutrients as possible.” Though I chose to use their sweet potato flour, I do not see why Anti-Grain's apple and (or) butternut squash flour would not work just as well.  All have a slight reminiscence of their derivative ingredient, which ultimately is naturally sweet and flavorful, whether squash, apple, or sweet potato. That being said, if you did not have the opportunity to back Anti-Grain flours, and (or) are waiting until they officially begin taking orders, I successfully made the brownies using tiger nut flour as well.  Tapioca and regular sweet potato flour will most likely also work, while I have yet to test water chestnut flour or coconut flour.   As a side note, because of the extra moisture that coconut flour naturally soaks up, I would recommend starting with half the amount noted below in the ingredients list.  To find all of the ingredients used in the brownies, I have included links to all of them through the names themselves, as I do this in all of my posts  to ensure others can find them as easy as possible. *To make these into Christmas Themed, Santa Claus bites, click here. *

Espresso Fudge Brownies 
Print Recipe
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • In a food processor fitted with the "S" blade, puree one green plantain until smooth, transferring to a bowl and setting aside for later use.
  • Combine lard, sweet potato puree, green plantain puree, maple syrup, and vanilla extract, pureeing until smooth.
  • Add in sweet potato flour, grain free baking powder, espresso powder, sea salt, and cocoa powder, letting the food processor run until batter is fully mixed.
  • Line a an 8x8 inch pan with parchment paper that overlaps the sides.
  • Pour batter into prepared pan, sprinkle with chocolate chips, and place on a baking sheet, putting the sheet in preheated oven for 20 minutes.
  • Allow to cool fully until taking the brownies out of the pan.
  • For a Christmas themed treat, frost with my vanilla buttercream and top with a strawberry.
  • Otherwise, cut into desired squares, place on serving platter, and enjoy!
Recipe Notes
For an Autoimmune Paleo Brownie - substitute carob for cocoa, reduce maple syrup to 1/4 cup, add 1/4 cup ripe avocado, and replace ground coffee for ground chicory root.
If you do not have canned sweet potato puree, simply roast or steam whole sweet potato until fork tender, then puree in a food processor.
For homemade espresso powder, simply set your coffee grinder to the finest setting and grind any coffee you have on hand.

Numbers 6:25 "the Lord makes His face shine upon you, and be gracious to you."

Friday, December 19, 2014

Awareness to the Hidden Epidemic

Though Chronic Lyme is ignored by many conventional medical doctors, there are a few, outside of the "system," that are truly pioneering in the study of this debilitating illness.  The information that they learn about the effects of a single tick bite is rather astonishing.  Therefore, I decided to put together an article summarizing some of the most unknown, yet key facts about Lyme Disease, that can ultimately be useful to both the victim and observer.  Some of the information presented is from Dr. Leo Galland, an incredibly wise functional medicine doctor stationed in NYC, that has had a major role in "peeling back the many layers of the onion" that Chronic Lyme is in my body. 

The Deadly Flaws of Lyme Testing 
Think getting a blood test for acute and (or) suspected chronic Lyme is accurate? Thank again.  Those with an early stage infection only get detected 40% of the time, and only a third of individuals actually get a bullseye rash. If you are lucky, antibodies will show, however, out of the 25 spirochete strains identified, only one is tested.  Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (i.e the CDC) largely overstates how easy it is to diagnose Lyme, allowing doctors to whole heartedly advocate that their testing is completely reliable, when it is actually an incredibly flawed, "two-tiered" test.   According to Holly Ahern, associate professor of microbiology at the State University of New York, Adirondack, "doctors are missing easily half the cases of Lyme disease due to the testing being as reliable as a coin toss."  Much like myself, patients with late stage infections will almost always test negative for Lyme, whether due to the illness beating down one's immune system for so long prior, development of another tick-borne infection, or simply due to being on medications that inevitably stifle the immunity of one's body.  The notion that Lyme testing is repeatedly incorrect was proven when a study showed 7 out of 12 (i.e 60%) of intentionally infected monkeys tested negative to a chronic Lyme infection, due to the spirochetes themselves changing forms and thus escaping detection.   Despite Lyme testing being greatly flawed, the CDC does recognize that 300,000 infections occur ever year, and that is not even including those without an official diagnosis.  That being said, because Lyme testing must be approved by the FDA, most insurances and doctors do not venture away from these confirmed, and thus funded tests.  This is a serious problem, as non-FDA approved testing must be payed for out-of-pocket, an option typically not available for patients.  Therefore, while the testing itself may be incredibly flawed, doctors who are in "the system," are taken care of, while their patients, not so much. Single tests, such as an ALS culture or IGenex, do not market to other labs, and thus go through rigorous validation processes established by the CMS (Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services) and CLIA (Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments) that are required by federal law.  Yet while ALS and IGenex testing both comply to all of the federal rules and regulations created by the CLIA and CMS, the CDC continues to target the use of these tests, despite the fact that they have a increased sensitivity to detecting Lyme.  This means that unlike the recommended "two-tiered" testing that is incredibly high in false-negatives (meaning the test's sensitivity to Lyme is very low),  these tests have a higher rate of finding the infection. However, these tests are not readily available at one's primary care office, causing patients to almost always come back negative for Lyme, in which their doctors then opt for an alternative diagnosis, typically around the lines of "Chronic Fatigue Syndrome," "IBS," "depression," an "eating disorder," "Rheumatoid arthritis," "Lupus," and many other diseases deemed incurable.  In the end, finding Lyme is easily one of hardest diseases, despite how extensive a test may be, due to the illness itself suppressing the immune system of creating active antibodies that a given test is looking for.  Spirochetes that entire through the bloodstream also tend to hide safely in one's spinal fluid, lymph nodes, and (or) cerebral cortex that covers the brain, all while altering its own protein shape and (or) forming into undetectable cysts.  This ultimately tricks the body into stoping its attempt of fighting the infection, while also halting any antibody production needed to produce a "positive" test.   Overall, "The proper diagnosis of Lyme disease is based on clinical judgment, not laboratory tests. If you think Lyme may be making you sick, don't accept a negative test as proof that Lyme must not be your problem."

Lyme Poli"tics"

Lyme is one of the most politically driven infectious diseases to date.  This not only hinders patients from finding doctors who support them, but makes diagnosing and treatment practically unheard of the in the realm of conventional medicine.  Yet most do not understand why this is, and typically choose to ignore the entire subject until they too are infected with the life changing illness.  Despite those who claim otherwise, Lyme is thought to have originated as a bio-weapon for the U.S Military that was accidentally leaked from the Plum Island Animal Disease Center.  Though seen as a mere coincidence to some, this facility, which also has a "tick research lab," just so happens to be 10 miles from the place where Lyme was first documented to occur in 1975, at Old Lyme, CT.  Backing up even further into history after World War II, Plum Island hired a shady, Nazi-associated man that previously worked directly under Hitler, known as Erich Traub.  He escaped to the U.S. through the exfiltration of 2,000 Nazis out of Germany, where he previously had served as an industry director for top biological weapons, with an expertise of infecting ticks and mosquitoes with biological germs.  Known as "Operation Paperclip," this project was conducted and created by the JIOA (Joint Intelligence Objectives Agency) to "deny German scientific expertise and knowledge to the Soviet Union and the United Kingdom, as well as inhibiting post-war Germany from redeveloping its military research capabilities." Once these men were wiped of their past Nazism, the U.S government granted the scientists security clearances to work throughout the country.  Ultimately, the Paperclip project was America's way of changing the identity of German, post-Nazi scientists so that they could use them for their incredible knowledge.   Despite Homeland Security now claiming there to be nothing suspicious happening in the government research center where Eric was previously stationed, and that "not in our 50 years of operation has an animal pathogen escaped from the island," many (including myself), beg to differ. It is also important to note that John Loftus, a former Justice Department prosecutor, wrote in his book "The Belarus Secret," that in the 1950's, there was work being done on Plum Island where Nazi scientists were "experimenting on diseased ticks."  This time frame aligns perfectly to when Dr. Traub would have been stationed there, as well as the three USDA documents found from the vault of the National archives, labeled "Tick Research," and, "E. Traub."  Therefore, while governmental claims may range from there being "no such thing as Lyme Disease," to admitting there is, yet with "no cure," the near documented evidence, and thousands of those infected yearly, serve as definite proof otherwise.  It is also key to note that other proven diseases, such as the West Nile Virus, bird flu, swine flu, and food-and-mouth disease, have also escaped from Plum Island. That being said, you do not have to know the exact origination of a tsunami to know that it is real.  No, it just happens, and the devastating aftermath is inevitable and undeniable, much like that of Lyme Disease.  

The Great Imitator 

As Dr. Leo Galland says in his "10 Things You Need to Know About Lyme," much like syphilis, this GMO hybrid bacteria can give you a wide range of symptoms that involve many different organs, "including the skin, nervous system, joints, muscles, heart and eyes."  He says that in his practice, "Lyme serves as the trigger for half of his patients with chronic fatigue syndrome or fibromyalgia, most patients with painful neuropathies or autonomic nervous system disorders, 40% of people with dizziness and 30% of patients with arthritis or autoimmune disorders," and even those misdiagnosed with Chron's disease or MS.  It also changes one's personality, thinking, memory, and overall mood, leading doctor's to simply put patients on antidepressants.  In reality, Lyme creates serious neurological damage when gone untreated, as it wrecks havoc on both the central and peripheral nervous system.  This condition is termed "neuroborreliosis," a name after the Borrelia Burgdorferi spirochete itself. Symptoms include facial palsy and weakness, neck and head aches, double vision, sensory disturbances, dizziness and vertigo, excessive sensitivity to noise or light, shoulder droop, debilitating fatigue, GI motility disorders, urinary track problems, and even spinal cord paralyzation.  Lyme can also cause various psychiatric related symptoms of hallucinations, panic attacks, sleep disorders, ADD/ADHD, autism, and dementia, which of patients are typically labeled by conventional doctors as having a "somatoform disorder." How does this happen all through one small tick bite? As the spirochete, Borrelia Burgdoferi enters through the bloodstream into one's body, it creates inflammatory mediators in the CNS (central nervous system), as well as the death of glial cells and specific neurons, both leading to neurocognitive deficits.  The degree of destruction (encephalopathies) that can occur even after just a few months of an initial infection, is quite astounding.  Damage to the white matter (i.e myelin) material in the brain that surrounds various nerves (multifocal encephalitis), lesions, bleeding (subarachnoid hemorrhage), and overall destruction of nervous system neurons, producing incredibly life altering conditions. As mentioned before, spirochetes like to target and live in one's spinal fluid, which then creates an inflammatory condition similar to that of a spinal cord damage, where sensory alterations, autonomic dysfunction, and full body weakness occur (transverse myelitis). IL-1 (Interleukin-1 beta) IL-6 (Interleukin-6), TNF (tumor necrosis factor), and interferon gamma, are just a few of the various cytokine and chemokine immune mediators that are provoked by B. Burgdoferi, and thus cause one's body to attack its own CNS.   While there are many severe, neurological factors that cane be caused by Lyme Disease, it has been shown that long term exposure can also cause what is known as a "chronic autoimmune disease," regardless of if the infection is still present or not.  By expressing vast diversity of lipoproteins on its outer surface, the spirochete is able to avoid the immune system's attacks, and thus continue its destruction to the mitochondria of one's cells.  As previously mentioned, Borrelia spirochetes also have immunomodulatory-immunosuppressive features, causing the immune system to simply give up on fighting the infection.  Beyond the most severe complications that can stem from untreated Lyme, hormone deficits, dysbiosis, co-infections, and impaired detox mechanisms, are all more minor, yet incredibly detrimental side effects of being infected by a Borrelia spirochete. Ultimately, the conditions caused by Lyme that I have discussed are only the tip of a vast, unknown ice berg.  They are seemingly endless, unstoppable, typically invisible on the outside, and thus ignored, causing Lyme to be compared to the crisis of AIDS.

Get Smart - Your Dr. Isn't God 

Most people view Lyme like a seasonal cold or flu, that starts through a tick bite, turns into a bullseye rash, makes them feel bad for a couple weeks, after which they take a round of doxycycline, and then go on their merry way. However, this is one of the most faulty definitions yet to describe Lyme Disease.  Spirochetes don't like antibiotics, and in fact, are smart enough to avoid them through creating biofilms. They also know where it is in your body that they can hide safe (i.e between cells, lymph nodes, etc), sheltered from any medication or herb that may be looking to kill them. This causes various treatments to be ineffective, including the 30 days of doxy your primary care physician might prescribe.  Once a host is infected, most spirochetes go off and hide, with little disruption to the immune system.  Then, when their host is at a prime (usually weakened) state, they start working away at destroying any organ, nerve, or any other internal system they chose. This causes people to experience random, seemingly minor, and rotating symptoms such as joint pain, headaches, GI upset, fatigue (though this is quite light compared to later down the road), dizziness, colds, or depression. These symptoms will usually be ignored, especially if there was no previous rash, as doctors are too prideful to believe in such a disease, while patients too seemingly busy for slowing down and assessing their current health.  This is one of the most naive things an individual can do, as not only will things become vastly more complicated as time goes on, but getting into a doctor who believes you and knows how to help, is typically a minimum of six months.  This is where many victims fall short, don't take the initiative, don't advocate their health, and get swept under the rug of conventional medicine.  For the time being, they believe it's "all in their head," and thus succumb to feeling generally crappy.  However, as time goes on, they develop RA, MS, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Crohn's Disease, IBS, Lupus, and (or) Fibromyalgia, all things doctors have no problem diagnosing.  Yet little do people stop and actually think and learn their body, only to realize it is all due to untreated Lyme that is still hanging dormant in their body.  This is where you have to be smarter than your standard doctor. They may have not learned about Lyme in their old textbook, but the information is online, and available for anyone to read.  Despite a medical degree, doctors are not gods. Therefore, while some might deny Lyme, I believe no one knows the patient better than the individual themselves.  It is your body, and unlike most have come to believe, life is not supposed to be a struggle as you push through seemingly "normal," debilitating, daily symptoms.  These are not normal, you are not imagining them, and they are a big deal.  Sure you can go to the doctor's office to see what they say, but don't let them put your head in the sand and blind you from the reality of the situation. Ticks are small, but they are becoming a bigger issue by the week.  Take your life into your own hands, because in 3 years, or even 3 months, it might be too late.  It is time for Lyme patients to take a stand once and for all.

Beyond the Infection

It is important to note that fighting the initial infection of Lyme is a whole separate battle than healing from the effects that it causes.  Therefore, while one may see finding a Lyme literate doctor to be unnecessary at the moment, it can aid tremendously in actually getting one's life back, as these doctors understand that there is much more to a tick bite than "Lyme Disease." Once the infection is taken care of, then it is time for nerve, cell, and overall body healing.  However, getting to this stage and staying there, without a relapse into a co-infection, or "flare up" of spirochetes that had previously escaped detection, is very difficult.  Therefore, to address every aspect of untreated Lyme, a team of doctors, all with differing specialties and takes on the human body, is inevitably needed. For me, this includes a neurologist, integrative medicine doctor,  functional medicine doctors, an endocrinologist, immunologist, allergist, as well as various naturopaths, surgeons, and many other specialists that I cannot even start to name.  Yet with all of these doctors, one of the most important aspects of finding true healing is one's own intuition, research, and self-advocacy.  Lyme literate doctors may understand the disease from a scientific, research standpoint, however, you know your body better than anyone else.  If you are experiencing something, say something, as it might just help connect the various pieces of the puzzle that have been scattered into shambles.  B
elow I have included some resources for further information and reading.  

Pill Advised - Lyme Archive

Dr. Galland - The Hidden Epidemic

Lyme Quick Facts 

Celebrities with Lyme 

The PK Protocol 

1 Peter 5:6 "Humble yourselves, therefore, under God's mighty hand, and He may lift you up in due time."

21, 2012 October. "Dicey Path to Lyme Disease Diagnosis." In Case You Missed It: Dicey Path to Lyme Disease Diagnosis (n.d.): n. Mary Beth Pfeiffer, 21 Oct. 2012. Web. Dec.-Jan. 2014. <>.

Doyle, Patricia, PhD. "Plum Island, Lyme Disease And Operation Paperclip - A Deadly Triangle." Plum Island, Lyme Disease And Operation Paperclip - A Deadly Triangle. Patricia Doyle, n.d. Web. 17 Dec. 2014. <>.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Hidden Liver Mediterranean Turkey Burgers (AIP)

As mentioned previously in "The Not-so-New Superfood" post, eating animals nose to tail is not only the most sustainable way to live, but also the most cost effective when it comes to getting the most "bang for your buck."   One ounce of chicken liver is rich in vitamin B12, folate, iron, and is 75% of one's vitamin A requirements, proving to be the of most nutrient dense, cheap, and readily available super foods anyone can afford in their diet.  That being said, not everyone can tolerate eating straight up sauteed liver and onions, or if you are like myself, cannot hide the strong flavor with other ingredients that are incoherently high FODMAP.  Therefore, mixing it with ground meat, like these turkey burgers, is my favorite way to incorporate the extra organ meat into my daily meals, while it also can serve as the starting point to introducing organ meat in general.  

Turkey burgers are a great alternative to regular, red meat burgers.  Not because they are lower in fat, but rather they add a different taste and texture to what our taste buds perceive as a "burger." That being said, it is no secret that turkey meat is prone to getting dry.  Therefore, I decided to not only add flavor, but also moisture, by mixing in hidden liver.  By hidden I mean there is no "iron" liver taste detectable, but instead, a wonderful flavor that no one but yourself will know is the loathed organ meat that people think they hate.  In fact, this recipe was first created without the use of liver.  However, after I added liver to my own burger prior to grilling, my mother exclaimed she wanted liver in hers as well!  The result? Moist, tender, and juicy turkey burger.  Who ever heard of such a thing? Not only that, but adding the liver boosted the nutritional content by a ten fold.  

All in all, these burgers were a hit with everyone in my family, including both of my brothers, who never guessed that they were eating chicken liver.  Instead, the feedback I received was only positive, as everyone complimented on how tasty the overall burger was.  However, the real deciding factor behind sharing these burgers with you all, is the fact that my mother was excited to eat them.  She is not a big fan of olives or artichokes, thus making her skeptical at first, however, once I told her I could make them with liver mixed in, she was sold.  Sounds backwards right?  Well it worked, and she loved every bite, ensuring that these Spain and Southern Italian-infused burgers to pass even the pickiest of eaters at your lunch, dinner, or even breakfast table.  

Hidden Liver Mediterranean Turkey Burgers

Print Recipe
(Serves 5-6)
  • 1 lb ground turkey
  • 1/2 lb chicken liver
  • 1/4 cup parsley - chopped
  • 1/4 cup black olives - pitted 
  • 1/4 cup marinated artichoke hearts (jarred or canned in water) 
  • 1 small onion 
  • 1/2 lemon - juiced
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • In a food processor fitted with the "S" blade, puree liver into small bits, similar to that of the ground turkey. 
  • Transfer liver to a mixing bowl.
  • Chop parsley, black olives, and artichoke hearts and add to mixing bowl, along with the ground turkey and lemon juice.
  • Using a hand grater, grate the onion directly into the mixing bowl. *This allows no juices and flavor to be lost on the cutting board.
  • Mix all ingredients together, forming into 4-6 like size patties.
  • Heat grill on high, or indoor griddle of medium-low.
  • Once hot, grill burgers 6-7 minutes per side, until cooked through.
  • Serve with extra lemon wedges and enjoy!
Recipe Notes 
If you do not have a outdoor grill, pan frying the burgers on a large skillet or indoor griddle for the same time noted above, works great. 
You can also bake the burgers in a 350 degree oven for 20-30 minutes, until the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees. 

Micah 6:8 "He has shown you, o man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God?"

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Paleo Christmas Linzer Tart (AIP Friendly)

Nothing says Christmas like a vibrantly red Linzer tart, that has a flakey crust filled with homemade raspberry jam

 Despite the many versions of Linzer cookies, pies, and tarts in today's world, this confection was originally created in Linz, Austria, in the form of a torte, which means "cake" in German.  As one of the oldest known cakes in history, it is said that some of the earliest recipe printings date all the way back to 1696, while the exact inventor remains unknown.  The original recipe always uses ground almonds to create the famous, shortbread crust, while a stick of butter is also kneaded into the dough by hand. Fillings typically include whipped cream, jam, and (or) butter cream, and are can even be found all together in cakes with several, thin layers. How one decides to build a Linzer dessert is ultimately up to their creativity, however, all varieties will always refer back to the famous, Austrian pastry known worldwide.  

Today's recipe, which utilizes my homemade raspberry jam (previously posted here), is my "torte" version that I created into a "tart" (i.e a pastry without covered topping).   Despite traditional recipes including almonds into the shortbread crust, I chose to stick with the Autoimmune Paleo pie crust recipe that works wonderfully in my spiced pumpkin pie, as well as my rustic pear galette. Instead of a struggling with a lattice topping, I decided to be creative and cut different sized circles with various household items (a supplement shot glass, cookie cutter, and small medicine ramekin).  This artistic twist not only looks "cool," but also allows one to have fun and tap into their imaginative side of baking.  Of course, if you are short on time, simply sprinkling the tart with powdered sugar, or my trusty alternative, maple sugar, makes a tart just as pretty to look at, without taking away from the delicious taste.  Regardless of what you decide, my Linzer tart is sure to be a hit in your home this Christmas season.  

Raspberry Linzer Tart
Print Recipe
Crust Ingredients
Filling Ingredients
Topping Ingredients
  • Before anything else, puree 1 green plantain until smooth, transferring to a dish for later use.
  • Back in the food processor, pulse together sweet potato flour, pureed plantain, maple sugar, sea salt, cinnamon, and arrowroot flour until crumbly.
  • Pulse in cold lard 1-2 tbsp at a time, then the ice water, until a ball of dough has formed.
  • Scoop dough into plastic wrap, pressing down to about 1/2 inch thick disk, and refrigerating for 1 hour.
  • Back in the food processor, combine topping ingredients together, running until a sticky dough has formed.
  • Place topping dough in plastic wrap, pressing down to 1/2 inch thick disk, and refrigerating for 1 hour 
  • Once chilled, place crust dough on a piece of parchment paper dusted with arrowroot flour.
  • Dust rolling pin with more flour and roll the crust out until 1/4 inch thick, about 12 inches in diameter. *Or the size of your tart pan
  • Place a greased tart pan upside over dough, put your hand underneath the parchment paper, and flip over. 
  • Press crust into pan, poking holes into the bottom with a fork.
  • Place tart on a baking sheet and spread raspberry jam evenly over it.
  • Remove topping dough from the fridge, rolling out to 1/8th inch thick on a piece of parchment paper dusted with arrowroot flour. 
  • Cut into desired shapes, and place on top of the tart filling. *I used a variety of different sized circles

  • Place the tart back in the fridge to chill for half an hour. 
  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  • Once the crust is chilled, take it out of the fridge and place in a preheated oven to bake for 40-45 minutes, until sides and topping are golden brown.
  • Allow tart to cool, sprinkle with more maple sugar if desired, and enjoy!

Proverbs 2:6 "For the Lord gives wisdom; from His mouth comes knowledge and understanding."

Monday, December 15, 2014

Spatchcock Herb Roasted Chicken & Vegetables (Autoimmune Paleo)

There is no greater comfort food for me than roasted chicken.  Though for others it may be mac and cheese, pizza, or a big bowl of hearty soup, there is just something about a succulent roast chicken with crispy skin that gets me every time.  This may have something to do with the fact that my mother has been preparing roast chicken since I was young.  It was always the go-to meal before sending my brothers and I off to youth group on Wednesday nights, that always left us happy and satisfied.  Another "comfort food" of mine is roasted root vegetables.  With 10x the amount of flavor than regular, white potatoes, roasting a medley of squash, carrot, and onion, is the perfect compliment to a juicy chicken leg.  Out of all of the winter squashes, kabocha has to be one of my favorites (that and delicata).  Despite looking more like a green pumpkin than an edible vegetable, this Japanese squash has a sweet, nutty flavor slightly like sweet potato.  One reason that I love this squash is, much like delicata, you can keep the skin on while roasting.  This means, not only is prep time saved, but the hassle of peeling a seemingly impossible object the size of your head, is completely eliminated. Packed with extraordinary amounts of vitamin A, as well C, D, and iron, kabocha squash is also half the amount of carbs as butternut squash, perfect for those following a ketogenic approach to Paleo-Primal. 

While a spatchcocked chicken may not exactly look all that pretty, the fact that preparing the bird in such a way cuts the cooking time in half, is completely worth the odd appearance.  By stuffing the chicken's skin with lemon slices before cooking, the meat become infused with flavors and extra moisture.  Not only that, but by cooking the bird on a rack over the vegetables, savory drippings spread throughout the entire dish, making for a perfect sauce.  Of course, if your chicken is smaller and (or) bigger than 3-4 pounds, simply adjust the cooking time accordingly.  All in all, this dish was a big crowd pleasure, as I served it to a table full of extra friend and family members that were spending the night.  Please enjoy! 

Spatchcock Roast Chicken & Vegetables 
Print Recipe
(Serves 5-6)
  • 1, 3-4 lb roaster chicken
  • 2 lb kabocha squash (about 4 cups)
  • 2 medium sized onions (about 1 1/2 cups)
  • 1 cup carrots - cut into chunks
  • 1 medium sized lemon
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • 2 tbsp fresh thyme 
  • 2 tsp ground sage
  • 2 tbsp sea salt
  • 3 tbsp avocado oil + more for brushing
  • Using a sharp cutting knife, slice the squash in half on either side of the stem.
  • Cut the larger half in two, making three large chunks of squash.
  • With a spoon, remove seeds and inner flesh of the squash.
  • Cut each third in half, and then into smaller, like sized chunks, placing in a large roasting pan.
  • Next, peel and cut onion carrots into chunks, tossing in with the squash. 
  • Coat the vegetables with 3 tbsp of oil, sprinkle with 1 tbsp of sea salt, and set aside while preparing the chicken.
  • To save on clean up time, line your cutting board with plastic wrap and paper towels.
  • Rinse chicken under cool water, removing any innards, and patting dry with a paper towel.
  • Place your chicken on a prepared cutting board breast side down.
  • Using a sharp carving knife or pair of kitchen sheers, cut straight across against the backbone, starting on the thigh end.
  • Turn chicken around do the same, cutting along the back bone until full detached from the bird.
  • Remove the backbone completely and reserve for later stocks or bone broth. 
  • Flip the chicken over, pressing down to flatten.
  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  • Place spatchcocked chicken on a roasting rack that fits into or over your roasting pan.
  • Zest lemon and then cut it into 8 thin slices.
  • Stretching the skin away from the chicken, place 4 slices of lemon on each side of the chicken.
  • Brush a few tbsp of oil over chicken and sprinkle evening with 1 tsp sea salt.
  • In a small bowl, combine sage, chopped fresh thyme, remaining 2 tsp of salt, and zest of one lemon.
  • Rub the herb mixture evenly over the chicken. 
  • Place chicken in preheated oven and bake 1 hour, until the internal temperature reaches 165.
  • Cut into desired portions, serve with roasted vegetables, and enjoy!

Psalm 62:8 "Trust in Him at all times, O people; pour out your hearts to Him, for God is our refuge."