healthy dessert, is it really possible?

Throughout my #whole30 process, I was careful not to try to replace unhealthy desserts with healthy ones, its one of the rules. But after doing #whole30 for nearly 8 months, I think it makes sense to have a few good go to’s that I can enjoy too! Here are my top three picks that are not only #whole30 & #paleo compliant, but also delicious, easy to make, AND beautiful. I feel fortunate that I have made all three more than once and I urge you to do the same. Two of three of these are NOT my recipes, so I take zero credit for the delicious factor. The last, is me experimenting, and its been working.
IMG_0673Okay – first the decadent chocolate cake. See the link to the recipe and I highly urge you to make it. Two things that will make this come out the best are 1) use a food processor. You do not need to clean it between crust/filling and 2) have a pan that had the removable sides. I didn’t get that, but I think that would take it to the next level. Mine is a 9″ one as seen here.

 

Here is my during christmas holding both desserts!

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Second is pumpkin pie, although right now isn’t the season, its a great win. It took
me two to three times to get this to not burn on the top, but now it’s definitely a dessert staple. To make this #whole30 compliant, I swapped equal parts of the honey for date paste. However, if you want it to be less sweet, like I did, I put in about 70% of the volume of date paste.
Was delicious nonetheless. Also, for the coconut whip cream, use date paste, but not required, AND do not put it on until you want to eat it, looks crappy if you put it on too soon.IMG_1328

Lastly, ice-cream!  I personally didn’t grow up being a major ice-cream person. I definitely like some here and there, but never had to have a tub of it in my freezer. However, I married into an ice-cream loving family and slowly became a little envious of ice-cream while on #whole30. So I got myself this kitchenaid attachment just a while ago, and made two different flavours. I can tell you that this is definitely a great investment, and I can already picture some future ice-cream flavours like pineapple-lime or raspberry-blackberry sorbet.

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The two flavours I made were as follows.

  • coconut milk (full fat), acai berry juice (no additives), diced dates, & walnuts <– this is fairly flavourful, and reminds me of a typical ice-cream from a store (above picture)
  • coconut milk (full fat), vanilla (from mexico), diced dates (for the sweeter), & walnuts. <– this is less sweet and nice summer flavors

Note on the dates: I use dates as a sweeter while on #whole30, but if you are #paleo, use honey, it will help the ice-cream stay less icey and easier to get a sense of favour.

Note on walnuts: you can use any nut you want, I like walnuts in ice-cream over others because almonds & peanuts for example are hard before going to ice-cream compared to walnuts. I also like the walnut taste and don’t eat walnuts otherwise.

 

Catcha what? I caught a chicken! Nope, just made a delicious Chicken Cacciatore

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Hahaha, I had to have a few people tell me how to pronounce that last word a few times, in fact, don’t ask me ever again. I got a braiser (I was totally pining for it for a while, and then it was on sale, thanks @WilliamSonoma) and I just went ahead and made the purchase. Long story short, my husband wasn’t thrilled. But I was (insert evil grin here)!

So I knew I wanted to try doing something with said braiser and I had an opportunity to cook for my sister-in-law and mother-in-law who were eating quite healthy as I was at the time (I still am I guess). So I decided to go through the Whole 30 recipe book (image below) IMG_1220.JPGand found a great looking recipe on page 334 – 335. Side bar, it has capers in it. I love capers. I eat capers everyday. Capers….. Okay, I’m back, so here is what I learned about braisers and this recipe.

Braiser – primarily used for “braising, browning and poaching” and man did it brown my skin-covered chicken breast. I guess in many ways it similar to the dutch oven, except that is round and low side walls. I found it easy to flip the chicken in it. I suspect I would have likely burnt my wrist (again).

The recipe – Firstly, it was stupid good, which means it was exceptional. Like so good, I wish I had more. I ate like a mad woman when I finally tasted it! I paired this with cauliflower rice (same book, page 366 – 367), which complimented the flavors well. The recipe was quite full, as you can see here in the picture.

Recipe difficulty (Agata scale) 9 out of 10

Recipe taste (Agata scale) 9.5 out of 10

 

 

Knives: a cut above

IMG_2865Short and sweet here. I never had trouble dropping money on le creuset pots and pans. But for some reason, a knife just seemed like unreal cost in proportion to the size, weight, and honestly the color.

I had quickly bought into the cast iron method of pots and pans for a couple reasons: my mom had them; they were pretty; and they were high-end. The only other cookware I have is circa 2001 Canadian Tire. They don’t even look red anymore.

But knives, I bought cheaper knives all the time. Costco has these funky colored ones (yes, colored) and I bought two sets. Whenever I was at a grocery store and found a knife in another color (yes color) I would get that too. In reality, I had spent a lot on low-end knives, I just had a hard time swallowing the pill when it came to the high-end kind.

I also didn’t know much about them. I googled, asked around, and ultimately, I wanted the good quality knives. I just still didn’t want to put the cash down it would require. So I put them on my Christmas list and prayed that my husband paid attention to my not-so-passive-aggressive comments on Facebook. With a small nudge, I got them for Christmas! (That picture is me holding 1 right beside the tree).

Now that I have been using them, I would definitely spend the money myself because cooking is INSANELY better with good knives. If you’re wondering, I got Wusthof ones, and been very happy. I will likely just add two more knives to my collection and be done.

To stockpot or not….

First of all, for FOREVER I didn’t know what a stockpot was. Actually, I just recently figured it out. Long story short, I really struggled with this for the last few months. I was always using my le creuset dutch oven as my stockpot. It wasn’t an issue until I needed to make 10lbs of potatoes, and there was no way in hell those suckers were going to fit in my dutch oven (which I love dearly).

My wonderful friend and I stumbled across a huge sale. I bought a couple of things, and she bought a beautiful le creuset palm stockpot. She got a hell of a deal. I regret not getting one then, and I have since purchased mine in flame (picture shown). 0006_stockpot_flame 2

I love the stock pot for many reasons:

  • Fits 10 lbs of potatoes
  • Faster at boiling liquids
  • Good for steaming stuff (I just put my strainer at the top and it’s perfect)
  • Never have overflow liquids
  • Lighter than my dutch oven

When I still use my dutch oven:

  • Making soup with a recipe makes 2 – 4 servings
  • Soups that have a long cook time and that I will be eating later, it keeps the heat longer

Ultimately, I think it’s a staple pot to have in your kitchen. What’s your stock pot of choice? What do you use your stock pot for that I can try?