The blog has been a little quiet lately. I have enjoyed my summer vacation and unplugged for a bit. Let me bring you up to speed on what I have been up to and also share with you a Black Cherry Pie recipe (since a lot of my time in Michigan has been spent in the Northern area, I found this recipe fitting).
We packed up the dogs and headed over the Mighty Mac (my first time crossing it) and rented a very cute little cottage near Escanaba in northern Michigan. If you are looking for a simple, this place is it. We enjoyed swinging on the hammock, hikes, nightly bonfires and endless games of rumikube. One huge feature we enjoyed here is the ability to leave all items at ‘home’ and walk into a ‘home’ and start our vacation. That means no linens to take/wash, endless kitchen utensils and no cell phone service/internet. It felt rustic without the phone service, yet the cottage was just what we needed after wrapping up another school year. If you are interested in visiting the Upper Pennisula and crossing the Mighty Mac, I highly recommend renting the little cabin we visited. If you do, please tell James and Jules hello for us!
We then headed a little south to the Traverse City area to enjoy time with friends and family. Needless to say, time was consumed with water sports, the Blue Angels, hikes, conversations, TRX classes and relaxation. I need to give the instructors Liz and Stacy a shout out at Total Results Training…their classes are kick butt! When you think you are going to die…they start jumping around and talking louder allowing you to push deeper and accomplish the goal. Best part of my vacation is staying on track while enjoying endless fun!
Then we headed home for a week, celebrated the baptism of our God Daughter and packed the car up to head to the East Coast. We visited the Cape Cod area. Staying in a cute quiet B&B (fresh served cooked bacon daily) called SeaBreeze. From there we traveled up to Boston and boarded a cruise ship to sail to Bermuda. Bermuda has been on our bucket list, although we have crossed it off the list…we will be back soon! I’ll post about my food sailing experience in another post! All and all, we’ve had an amazing summer vacation which is slowly coming to an end. However, Black Cherry Pie will always have a special spot in my heart and remind me of summer and our trips to Northern Michigan! I hope you enjoy our favorite summer treat!
Place cherries and water in a large pot over medium heat. Cherries will begin to cook down after 10-15 minutes. As the cherries cook down, some will split and become soft and others will keep their shape. Once cherries are very soft, remove from heat.
Add remaining ingredients and mix together, creating the cherry pie filling.
Allow mixture to cool for about 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Pour cherry pie filling into the pie crust.
Bake the pie for 25-30 minutes, until pie crust edges are light brown.
Ever stare at something and think, “I want to mix you with your best friend?”. This is how my Uber Chocolate Almond Goody Bars got created. I was staring at my Uber Chocolate Ungranola bag thinking how much I wanted to create a chocolate nutty taste…my oh my…I nailed this thought! It’s super easy to make. Only small problem to this recipe is…you need to keep the bars refrigerated because they will get very soft if left out at room temperature, just as your coconut oil does.
I just want to say one thing Buba’s UnGranola (any flavor). I love how it’s easy to snack on, pour milk over to get the cereal taste & texture, use as a fruit crumb topping or to create yummy treats with (aka: these bars). They also create an amazing Snack Mix which we refer to as “Paleo Crack” in our house because it’s VERY addicting. I love supporting local business, especially when they create Paleo products which are full of all natural flavor and nutrients!
Christmas time makes we want Paleo sugar cookies. I’m not sure if this is because it brings back childhood memories or because I love cookies. My recipe for Paleo sugar cookies is for all my Paleo friends. Now, what you put on top of the cookies is your preference. You could decorate cookies with my Maple Frosting to make it 100% Paleo, but with cashews it does not hold color very well. We pick our battles and decided for to make frosting with organic powder sugar. The reason for organic powder sugar is it is made with tapioca flour versus corn starch. Yes, the powder sugar is sugar and I do not need the Paleo Police reminding me. I feel each person has a version of Paleo in their lifestyle. I never said I’m 100%, I’m a 90-10. That 10 comes into play when something special happens (ex. Christmas or a date night with friends). What I always do is eliminate all gluten because that will cause some nasty water weight, foggy mind and sore joints. To each their own and I’m sure you are comfortable with the decisions you make!
Lets talk flour for one minute. This recipe is made with two primary ones, almond and cassava flour. Cassava flour is a 1:1 for white flour. However, with a high price tag a little will go a long ways. Cassava flour can not be substituted with another flour. It’s a unique flour and creates the ‘normal’ dough consistency. This said, we buy from Otto’s and took advantage of their Black Friday sale to stock up!
When rolling the dough out onto the counter top, do not be shy with your flour. The flour is what stops the dough from sticking to the counter and will help with an easy lift with the cookie cutters. As the dough chills, it will become sticky. Try to work fast. If it becomes too sticky, place it back in the fridge to harden for a few minutes.
These strawberry bagels are off da chain! If you have followed along, awhile back I posted a recipe for bagels from the cookbook Without Grain by Hailey Barisa Ryczek. If you are new and the strawberry bagel recipe caught your eye, WELCOME!! I’ve taken Hailey’s recipe and added a simple ingredient to get amazing fruit flavored bagels. This simple ingredient is freeze-dried fruit. I have done it with strawberries, blueberries and raspberries. Each one has been a success (never done the fruit flavors together, always individualized).
These strawberry bagels are amazing alone, topped with butter or cream cheese. My husband and I have found they even make great breakfast sandwiches too! The fruit flavor adds a bit of sweetness to the bagel.
One silly thing, and yes I’ve done it too many times. I often get rushed and open up the bag of freeze-dried fruit, throw it in the blender, turn the switch on and then remember it has a ‘fresh’ packet in it. Needless to say, that powder quickly finds it way to the trash can. Make sure you remember to remove the packet prior to creating powder. And if you don’t, know you are not alone…been there, done that!
It is squash season here in Michigan. At the farmers market you can get a full bag of squashes for $10. Needless to say, this is a great deal and leads to lots of creativity! With squash growing out my ears now, I decided I would create butternut squash muffins. For those who are unaware, butternut squash is great for moisture when cooking. It is comparable to oil, pumpkin or apple sauce. If you are like me right now, squash is also cheap and will help save a few pennies if you bake a lot.
When I got the cookbook, Without Grain by Hayley Barisa Ryczek (who blogs over at Health Starts in the Kitchen) I was participating in the 21 day sugar detox. I browsed the cookbook, but knew I would have to wait to start cooking from it. Well, my mother always said, “Good things come to those who wait”. Needless to say, she hit the nail on the head…this cookbook is OFF DA CHAIN! Now, I’ve tried to make several bagel recipes, but they lack the texture I desire. I want the dough texture I miss and yet the taste of chewiness too! Hayley’s recipe for bagels on page 50 is the best I have ever found! I say this because I forget I’m not eating a grain free, gluten free, wheat free bagel. This bagel is legit and will have you jumping for joy because it will taste just as you recall bagels do! Oh..did I mention Hayley is AWESOME and letting me share her recipe with you? Now if this recipe doesn’t make you run and buy her cookbook for more awesome ones, I’m not sure what will!
A little secret I’m going to let you in. See the bottom left corner bagel? It my was first attempt at creating the shape. I did not use enough tapioca flour on my hands to create the shape. I was too nervous I would ruin the bagel with too much, do not be nervous like me! I found the flour stuck when needed to and the rest dusted off my hands onto the mat. Another trick, I used a slotted spoon and did one bagel at a time. I rested the slotted spoon under the bagel until it started to float and then lifted the spotted spoon up and out came the bagel, which slid right onto my baking mat. The baking was easy and I followed all her directions, step by step.
Let me talk for a second about Hayley’s cookbook, Without Grain. I have made three recipes from her cookbook, first was the bagels (they got me hooked). Then I followed with her classic meatloaf (it got two thumbs up from the husband). However, her Indian Butter Chicken also received two thumbs up from my husband! Needless to say, her cookbook is easy to follow and develops amazing recipes!