Friday, September 13, 2013

The Grain Free Kitchen

Hi Followers, Fans and Visitors:

As many of you know, I changed my lifestyle back in January and have gone Paleo.  It has been a life changing journey like no other and if you haven't looked into it whether to loose weight and get healthy or for over all better health you should.  There is a ton of great research out there showing how adopting this way of living is the greatest gift you can give yourself or your family.

With that being said, a few recipes on this site are Paleo or can be Paleofied, but a lot are not.  I will be slowly migrating my favorite recipes over to the new website that are appropriate and delicious and can be enjoyed in the Paleo lifestyle.

I will no longer be adding new recipes to this blog.  Instead you can visit me at my new website for great new recipes and so remade favorites.

You can also find me on Facebook:

On Twitter:
@GrainFreekitch  (

On Pinterest:

If you are interested in learning more about the Paleo lifestyle, here are a list of great resources for beginners, research, recipes and more:

The Primal Blueprint by Mark Sisson
The Paleo Solution, The Original Human Diet by Robb Wolf

Websites for info and learning: (Mark Sisson's website and an awesome resource for all things) (another excellent resource for all things Paleo)

Watch this Documentary:  Links to all the places you can watch it free on demand... iTunes, AmazonPlay etc.

Robb Wolf on FB

Mark Sisson on FB

For recipes and menu ideas and meal planning:


Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Paleo Nut Butter Cookies

I am a cook, not a baker or pastry chef, but as my cooking has evolved, I have less and less fears regarding baking and testing a recipe.  Since switching my way of eating to Paleo 2 short months ago, all I have wanted to do is cook and get even more creative.  I looked everywhere for a nut butter cookie recipe to give me that replacement for a peanut butter cookie done the old fashioned way.  None of them made me happy.  Texture issues, didn't satisfy the craving... I don't know they just didn't work for me.  I have been dreaming about these and playing around with them and the ratio's for a while.  I like fluffy, soft but slightly crumbly cookies.  I wanted to taste the nut butter... I wanted them to be salty and sweet... I wanted them to hold up if I wanted to drizzle them in chocolate or dip them in chocolate.  Anyway... my idea is done and these are making me one happy girl!

Paleo Nut Butter Cookies

Ingredients (yields 1 doz medium size cookies)

1/2 cup of Nut Butter (your choice, I used Almond)
1 egg (room temperature)
2 tablespoons honey
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 tablespoons coconut flour
1/2 cup shredded unsweetened coconut
1/4 coconut oil (room temperature)
1 teaspoon baking soda

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. 

Mix nut butter, egg and honey in a bowl or mixer.  Blend well!  In another bowl, mix together, salt, baking soda, coconut flour and shredded coconut. 

Slowly incorporate your dry ingredients into your wet ingredients to form a dough. 

Once your dough is ready, form balls of dough about the size of a golf ball and the then press down with 2 fingers so you have a medallion shape. 

Bake cookies for about 10 to 12 minutes, they should have a slight bit of brown around the edges.  Let cool on tray for about 10 mins they transfer to cooling rack until completely cool.


Monday, March 4, 2013

Roasted Pork Tenderloin with Salsa Verde over Spinach and Arugula

Sometimes when you see a recipe you have to wonder, who in the world thought this would all go together.  This pork tenderloin has some zing... no doubt about it.  However, it is soft, moist, juicy and full of flavor.  Even my kids gobble it up!  I hardly had time to grab a picture before everyone was grabbing for their plates asking if they could eat.  We make this probably once a week.  In the summer time we skewer it and cook it on the grill... in winter, I pan sear and then throw it in the oven. 

I guess what makes this dinner a little funny is it has 3 different acidic tones.  For the marinade, it is white wine vinegar.  For the salsa verde it is lemon (juice and zest) and for the salad.. balsamic!  Yes, I do know what your thinking... pucker city.... but not really.  It is just perking things up.  Trust me you won't be disappointed.

Ingredients for the Pork
Feeds family of 4 -- if you want leftovers make 2 :)

1lb pork tenderloin
1/2 cup white wine vinegar
1/4 cup olive oil
2 to 3 tablespoons fresh chopped parsley
1 large clove of garlic minced (2 cloves if they are small)
1/2 shallot minced
1 to 2 tablespoons honey
salt to taste

Whisk all the ingredients, except pork, together in a large bowl. Start with one tablespoon of honey and add more if needed... add a pinch of salt and more if needed but don't over salt as you will salt your pork.
Cut pork into chunks. If doing indoor, cut into 4 big chunks, if cooking outside on the grill, cut into about a 2 bite size chunks. Put the pork in the bowl of marinade for 30 to 40 mins. Rotate pork in marinade a few times before cooking.

Pre-heat oven to 400 

Heat your pan with a little olive oil or pre-heat grill. Only heat to medium high heat as you want to sear your meat but don't want to burn your marinade. As you take your hunks o'pork out of the bowl, sprinkle with salt then place hunks of pork in heated skillet... and sear each side. If doing on grill, skewer your meat and grill on skewers. Use the remaining marinade in the bowl to baste over your meat as you turn it. Trust me this is a must do! So turn and baste.
Once all sides are seared, put skillet in oven for meat to finish cooking. About 20 mins. If using grill, rotate kebabs and baste until just under done... remove from grill and let rest about 15 mins before serving. Remove from oven and let rest about 15 mins before slicing and serving.

TIP:  Don't marinade your meat for more than 30 mins.  15 to 30 minutes is all it needs and your meat should be standing by to get the chill off for at least 30 mins prior to putting in the marinade.  If you marinade too long, your meat will start to cook in the vinegar and will loose the tenderness.  

Ingredients for the Salsa Verde
(You can make this up to a day in advance, the longer it sits the better it gets)

1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup thinly sliced fresh flat-leaf parsley
2 tablespoons salt-packed capers, rinsed and chopped
2 tablespoons thinly sliced fresh mint
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
2 teaspoons anchovy paste
1 clove garlic, minced
Grated zest and juice of 1 lemon
1/4 jalapeno, seeded and minced (about 1teaspoon)
1 shallot, minced
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Spoon this over your meat once plated before serving!  My kids don't like the salsa verde it's too spicy.  They do however, like if I reserve a little of the marinade before I put the meat in to spoon over their meat.

This is particularly awesome served over a bed of arugula and baby spinach that is lightly dressed with a little balsamic, olive oil and salt and pepper!

Serve whatever other veggie you want! Add some pomegranate to your salad for an extra kick!

Paleo/Primal Comfort Food - Meatballs & Cheese Sauce

I haven't posted much of anything recently because life just has been that busy.  Add to that our recent changes in the way we eat... it makes me want to go back through my blog and adjust and change as many recipes as possible to make them Paleo/Primal/Grain-Free.  We have been trying a lot of new recipes and learning new ways to eat and cook, but sometimes, you just crave the familiar.  Sometimes, you really want food to bring you that comfort feeling.  It's been a long winter here and no end in sight for the cold and snow.  The kids were begging for macaroni and cheese and I really wanted meatballs!  The old me would have cut up some stale bread and soaked it in milk for an hour, squeezed out the excess and put that in my meatballs to give them softness and moisture.  I know some people use bread crumbs, but dry bread crumbs just suck out all the moisture and leave you with a dry meatball.  This is the way my family and others have done it for years and people love my meatballs.  BUT since we no longer can use bread... it got me thinking.  Anyway, after a little playing around, I got the right mix and you wouldn't know there was not any milk soaked bread in my meatballs.  The old me would have also made the cheese sauce for their mac & cheese by starting with a rue. 

Everybody does these paleo/primal/grain-free changes differently, and I truly believe you have to find what works best for you and your family.  We were already a no processed foods family, so the transition was pretty uneventful.  Anyway... my kids wanted macaroni and cheese and I really wanted meatballs and this is what we came up with and everybody was happy even Dad!

Spaghetti Squash with Primal Cheese Sauce and Paleo or Primal Meatballs

Ingredients for the Meatballs
1lb of grass-fed ground beef
1 clove of garlic
1 shallot
1 large organic free-range egg
1 tsp fresh oregano or 1/2 tsp dried
1 tsp fresh basil or 1/2 tsp dried
1/4 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano (omit if you don't do dairy)
Pinch crushed red pepper
1 tsp sea-salt
1/2 TBS coconut flour

Ingredients for the "Pasta"
1 or 2 Spaghetti Squash depending on the size of your squash
Olive Oil
Can't get Spaghetti Squash?  Make Zucchini Ribbon Noodles :)

Ingredients for Cheese Sauce
1 cup organic heavy cream
8oz. organic mascarpone cheese or make your own (homemade mascarpone cheeese)
1 cup mix of grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, Romano & Asiago cheeses
1/2 tsp salt
pinch of freshly grated nutmeg

Method for Meatballs
In a medium mixing bowl, add beef.  Grate in the garlic and shallot.  If you don't want the garlic to be too strong use a small clove.  Then grate in the shallot.  Add your salt and crushed red pepper.  Dice your fresh herbs and add to bowl or measure your dried herbs and add to bowl.  Mix everything together.  Don't over mix, you don't want your meat to tighten up when cooking.  
Sprinkle the coconut flour over a now very wet mixture and incorporate gently.  On a medium low heat, warm your frying pan and add a touch of olive oil or coconut oil... then put your formed meatballs in the pan.  
Cook slowly and turn as each side browns.  Remove from heat and let rest in the warm skillet for about 10 to 15 mins before serving.

 Method for Spaghetti Squash

Preheat your oven to 350 F.  Cut the ends off your squash and then cut lengthwise down your squash so you have two boat like halves.  Scrape out the seeds and guts.  Drizzle lightly with olive oil and sprinkle liberally with salt.  Place in an oven safe roasting dish and bake for 20 to 30 mins until squash pulls away like noodles easily with a fork.  Once done, let cool for a few minutes until easy to handle.  Turn off oven.  Pull the noodles strands out of the squash and place in an oven safe bowl.  or back into your roasting pan.  Place squash back into the still warm but off oven to stay warm until everything else is ready.

Method for Cheese Sauce

In a medium/large cold saucepan or saucier, place your mascarpone cheese and then add your cream.  Turn burner on medium low heat.  Let mixture start to warm slow and gentle otherwise your mascarpone will break.  You can sub organic cream cheese but it will add that cream cheese tang to your sauce.  Using a whisk, continually whisk as it gently warms so that cream and mascarpone are well incorporated and no lumps.  Add your salt and nutmeg.  Then add your grated cheese mix.  Continue to stir/whisk gently until all cheese is incorporated.  Taste your sauce, add a little salt if necessary.  Turn down your heat and let it continue to cook together and the cream reduces slightly.  This whole process should take about 20 mins.  The sauce when done should coat your spoon. 

To assemble.  In a terrine or bowl, add your squash, then laddle over your sauce then add your meatballs and grate some fresh Parm-Reg over the top.  Delish!  Enjoy!

This would also work well with red sauce and meatballs over your squash if you don't do diary.


Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Scones Glorious Scones

Being married to an Englishman has it's perks.  I have learned a lot about traditions in England and around the UK in general.  I have become a fan of UK treats as the sugar content is never as high as our baked goods over here.  There are some fabulous bakeries all over England and when we visit, getting freshly baked warm scones and smothering them in a bit of clotted cream and jam with a cup of tea or coffee is one of my favorite things to do.  That being said, scones over here are not the same.  Scones on this side of the pond are sweeter, come in all kinds of flavors and really are nothing like the English Scone.  In England, scones come in two, that is right two, flavors... plain and raisin.  They are just simple dense pillows of perfection.  No sugar coating, no berries, icing, no chocolate, pumpkin, maple or blueberry.  Just plain or raisin.  They don't need anything else.

They are simple to make and should be served warm.  In the USA if you can't get clotted cream, which you can in a lot of places, you can use mascarpone cheese.  Or you can just put a smear of butter and jam or just jam.  Serve with a cup of hot tea or coffee and sit back as if you had just stepped into a wonderful bubble bath.

Here is the recipe and method.  Now enjoy!

Prep/Total Time: 30 min.
Yield: 10 Servings


2 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 cup sugar

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/4 cup cold butter, cubed

pinch of salt

1/2 cup milk

1 egg

Additional milk


In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, salt and baking powder. Cut in butter until mixture resembles fine crumbs. Beat milk and egg; add to dry ingredients, stirring lightly.

Turn onto a lightly floured surface; roll to 1-in. thickness. Cut with a 2-1/2-in. biscuit cutter. Bake at 425° for 10-15 minutes or until golden brown. Serve warm. Yield: 10 scones.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Changing Family Spaghetti Night One Table at a Time

You already know my family loves pasta and that I can get bored real fast with the same old thing.  If my husband and kids had it their way, we would have something with a red sauce at least 3 times a week.  Pizza, pasta... ugh. 

I adore meatballs with spaghetti, but my family, I must shamefully admit do not like them, not one bit.  Unless they are Michael Symon's Greek Lamb Meatballs... then they can eat a double batch intended for our guests before those guests make it to our gathering.  So yes, I need options!  

One of the things I wanted to learn how to do was make a proper Bolognese.  You know a sauce with meat incorporated beautifully into some lovely pasta.  I just never enjoyed those who cooked up some ground beef and dumped it in the sauce, this was not good eats.  So one day I was watching Anne Burrell make her bolognese: it looked so good!  Ground beef, pureed veggies, tomato paste and about 1/2 a bottle of red wine.  I made a batch, it was delicious and I highly recommend this recipe which can be found here. I made it on more than one occasion and the hubster and I loved it.  BUT it takes a LONG LONG time, a little bit of work and lots of love to come out great.  Granted, a good sauce is worth the time, effort and love and I would still be making if my kids loved it.  However, with so much red wine in the sauce my kids kept asking for their favorite super market brand... parenting fail!

However, with inspiration from Anne Burrell and a little more from watching the likes of Mario Batalli and Michael Symon... I have perfected the perfect, easy and not so intensive and most importantly family friendly bolognese!  It will satisfy a sophisticated grown up pallet and your kids will be licking their plates too.  So enjoy!

This is also an easy recipe to can or freeze, so go on, grab the biggest pot you can find and make a double batch!  You will have left overs from this one, but if you are like our family, you will find yourself warming up the leftovers and dipping into it with a little bread during football games or putting on a hot dog or dressing up a burger or adding a few more spices and turning it into a last minute chili.  It's as versatile as your imagination.

1 large onion or 2 small diced
2 large carrots, small dice or shredded (your choice, but I prefer small dice)
2 ribs celery, small dice
4 cloves garlic, medium dice
Extra-virgin olive oil, for the pan
Kosher salt
3 pounds ground chuck, brisket or round or combination (I use round most often, but they all work great.)
2 1lb cans of your favorite tomato puree
1 1lb can of diced tomato
3 bay leaves
1 bunch thyme, tied in a bundle

1 Tbs. fresh oregano chopped
3 Tbs. fresh Basil chiffonade
1 pound spaghetti or favorite long noodle like linguini or Fettuccine
1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano

In a large sauce pot over medium heat, coat pan with oil. Add the veggies one at a time starting with carrots, let them cook for a minute until they soften, then add celery.  Let that cook for a moment until celery is starting to soften and then add onion and continue to cook until onions are translucent and then add your garlic.  Once you have added the garlic, let the veggies cook until you start to see things browning... now burning... until all their good caramelized bits start sticking to the bottom of your pan.  Once that starts to happen, add your herbs and season liberally with salt.  Stir together for a moment and then start to add your meat. 
Let the meat brown and turn over and move around as needed.  Add another liberal sprinkling of salt.  This is the most consuming part of making this sauce but it really only takes about 20 minutes or so.  Once all your meat is browned and is starting to crumble, add your can of diced tomato.  
Stir for a moment to incorporate and let the tomatoes start to cook.  Then added your 2 cans of tomato puree.  Stir to fully incorporate into the meat and veggies and season with more salt (taste now but don't over salt as you are going to be reducing this sauce)
 Bring the sauce to a simmer, turn it down to low and walk away.  Let it slowly cook and simmer all day.  It should be reduced by just about half!  Taste at this time and season with more salt if needed.  Shut off sauce.

 I will put this sauce on at 10am most days and it makes the house smell awesome all day.  BUT you can put this on as little as 2 hours before dinner and get great results with flavor... you just have to simmer a little harder for the first hour (practically boil).  When the sauce is ready, it should be thick and meaty.  Not at all thin like a traditional spaghetti sauce.  It should seem like it is almost like lightly coated meat.  If it gets too thick you can add a little water but not much as you want this to coat your pasta not be poured over top.

When you are about 20 minutes from serving cook your pasta.  Cook it 1 minute less than the package calls for al-dente pasta and be sure to salt your water liberally.  Reserve about a cup of your pasta water.  Once drained put your pasta in the now empty pasta cooking pot and add a few big scoops of sauce to completely coat the pasta and a bit more... stir into pasta and cook for a few minutes together if it is too thick, add a bit of your pasta water.  Put your now prepared pasta on plates or terrines... sprinkle with your Parmigiano-Reggiano and if you want to get really fancy, add a sprig of fresh basil.  Now just sit back and enjoy!

Serve with a nice side salad and garlic toast! 

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Time for Recipes

Things have just been nuts the last few months.  I have taken loads of pictures, played with a thousand ideas and have just not had time to put them on my blog.  That being said, there are some exciting recipes getting ready to be posted, some of them just in time for the end of summer or early fall.  Fall is my favorite time for recipes, the hearty, warm, belly filling comfort of it all and the best of the seasons harvest just waiting to be enjoyed.

Here are some of the wonderful recipes you can look forward to:

Spaghetti Bolognese

Caprese Salad

Watermelon Salsa

Taco Salad

Cheesy Crispy Oven Roasted Zucchini and Tomato's

Roasted Brussels Sprouts (Love 'em - PROMISE)

and probably some more I have forgotten about!  So get ready... the feast is coming!