Yes to Yummy

Tag Archive: winter

Paleo Gingerbread Men

December 14, 2013 1 Comment Print this page

089

Aren’t these guys adorable?! I wish I could date a gingerbread cookie…because then, the guy in question would always smell like cinnamon and molasses, and if he got too annoying, I could decapitate him. Sigh…foodie problems.

One day last month, I was procrastinating on my homework stumbling around the internet, and something hit me: was there a really good-looking, good-tasting paleo gingerbread men recipe out there? I found a couple, and while the recipes themselves seemed intriguing, I didn’t think that the cookies looked very attractive.  (I am a teenage girl, after all: if you look like a toad, I’m not going out with you. Same thing with food.) I then had my mission for the weekend, and set out to Bed Bath and Beyond to buy a proper cookie cutter.

Are these gingerbread men exactly like the sugary, buttery original? No, they’re not. Remember what I said about paleo foods: a lion can never be a tiger, even if he shaves off his mane and paints black stripes on himself. But if you’re looking to satisfy your gingerbread craving without jumping off of the real food wagon, these guys are a great option. I highly recommend taking the time to make royal icing to decorate the cookies: when it comes to food (as is the case with many things), appearances are everything! Sure, you can use raisins or chocolate chips instead, but the contrast of the white against the golden brown is a really nice touch.

So, without further ado, let’s get started.

032

In the bowl of a stand mixer, whip 1/2 cup of palm shortening with 1/4 cup of coconut sugar OR maple crystals on high until light and fluffy, about 3 to 4 minutes. Palm shortening loves to stick to the sides of the bowl, so make sure you routinely scrape down the sides so it’ll actually increase in volume.

To the bowl, add in two large eggs at room temperature, 2 tablespoons of full-fat coconut milk, and 1/3 cup of unsulfured molasses. Turn the speed down to medium and continue mixing until homogeneous, about 3 minutes more.

In a separate bowl, stir together 3 cups of blanched almond flour, 2 heaping tablespoons of coconut flour, 1 tablespoon of ginger, 1 teaspoon of cinnamon, 1 teaspoon of allspice, 1/2 teaspoon each of nutmeg and clove, 1 teaspoon of baking soda, and a pinch of salt. Make sure you break up any clumps with your hands!

With the mixer still on medium, gradually incorporate the dry ingredients into the wet, pouring in 1/2 cup of dry ingredients at a time. Stop the mixer when the dough is homogeneous, about 2 minutes later. The dough should be sticky to the touch but be able to hold together into a solid ball; it shouldn’t stick like glue to your hands. If it feels too wet, add in some arrowroot powder; if it feels too dry, add in more coconut milk.

043

Divide the dough into two balls and wrap tightly in plastic wrap. Place in the fridge to firm up for at least 2 hours, but the longer it’s in there, the better!

When you’re ready to bake the cookies, preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line two large baking sheets with parchment paper.

Take out one of your balls of dough and generously dust a rolling pin and a flat work space with arrowroot powder. Pour some arrowroot powder into a small shallow bowl, too: this will be to ensure that your cookie cutter doesn’t stick to the dough and leaves a clean cut.

Unwrap the dough and roll it out until it’s about 1/2-inch thick. DO NOT flip the dough over. It will fall apart and you will have to start all over again. Just keep rolling, because that’s how you roll.

065

Dip a man cookie cutter in the arrowroot powder bowl and place it firmly on one of the corners of the dough. Gently rotate it back and forth to loosen, then pull it away from the rest of the dough. Slide a small knife directly under the cut-out to lift it off the counter and CAREFULLY place it on one of the prepared baking sheets. If your first gingerbread man loses an arm or breaks his neck, no need to fear: just set him aside and add him to your pile of dough scraps.

Repeat until no space on the dough remains. Squish your dough scraps back into a ball, re-dip the rolling pin in arrowroot powder, and roll out the dough again. Cut out more men, then do it all over again! If your dough isn’t holding together, put it back in the fridge for fifteen minutes to cool off a bit.

Take out your other ball of dough and follow the same procedure as you did with the previous ball. You should wind up with 24 cookies in total, a perfect two dozen! I love when life works out like that.

055

Bake in the oven until golden brown around the edges but NOT super firm, about 8 to 10 minutes. Rotate the sheet every few minutes so all of the cookies get even coverage. Bake them for less time than you think they’ll need: I made the mistake of over-baking them with my first batch, and they got a little too crunchy.

Let the cookies cool for at least a half an hour before you frost them with royal icing. This recipe is super simple!

071

In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat one large egg white on high until stiff but not rock-solid peaks form, about 3 to 4 minutes, then pour in 2/3 cup of confectioner’s sugar and continue whipping until light and glossy, about 3 minutes longer.

I know what you’re thinking: 2/3 CUPS OF SUGAR?! I know it’s a lot, but remember, less than a teaspoon of royal frosting is going on each cookie. It’s really not that much. Most confectioner’s sugar is made with cornstarch, so I went to Whole Foods and found an organic version made with tapioca flour instead. Yes, it’s not the healthiest choice, but in my opinion, it’s worth it for these cookies. Baking is based on chemistry, and sometimes, chemistry needs sugar to reach the desired result.

Scoop the icing into a pastry bag or a large plastic bag with a thin tip attached. Applying gentle pressure, add eyes, a nose, a mouth, buttons, and arm-and-leg squiggles to your cookies, then let them dry for at least half an hour before eating. (The icing will harden–that’s a good thing!)

099

Happy holidays, everyone.

096

What is your favorite holiday dessert? Leave me a comment here or on Facebook and let me know!


Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Paleo Gingerbread Men

December 14, 2013 Print this page

These guys are absolutely adorable–and they’re gluten, grain, and dairy-free, too! Grab your ugly Christmas sweater and make a batch, like, NOW.

Ingredients

Prep Time 2 hr 15 min
Cooking Time 10 min
Total Time 2 hr 30 min
Yield 2 dozen cookies

FOR THE COOKIES:

1/2 cup of palm shortening

1/4 cup of coconut sugar OR maple crystals

2 large eggs, at room temperature

2 tablespoons of full-fat coconut milk

1/3 cup of unsulfured molasses OR yacon syrup

3 cups of blanched almond flour

2 heaping tablespoons of coconut flour

1 tablespoon of ginger

1 teaspoon of cinnamon

1 teaspoon of allspice

1/2 teaspoon of nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon of clove

1 teaspoon of baking soda

A pinch of salt

Arrowroot powder, for dusting

FOR THE ROYAL ICING:

1 large egg white

2/3 cup of confectioner’s sugar

Directions

FOR THE COOKIES:

In the bowl of a stand mixer, whip the palm shortening with the coconut sugar on high until light and fluffy, about 3 to 4 minutes. Make sure you routinely scrape down the sides so it’ll actually increase in volume.

To the bowl, add in the eggs, coconut milk, and molasses. Turn the speed down to medium and continue mixing until homogeneous, about 3 minutes more.

In a separate bowl, stir together the almond flour, coconut flour, ginger, cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, clove,  baking soda, and salt. Make sure you break up any clumps with your hands!

With the mixer still on medium, gradually incorporate the dry ingredients into the wet, pouring in 1/2 cup of dry ingredients at a time. Stop the mixer when the dough is homogeneous, about 2 minutes later. The dough should be sticky to the touch but be able to hold together into a solid ball; it shouldn’t stick like glue to your hands. If it feels too wet, add in some arrowroot powder; if it feels too dry, add in more coconut milk.

Divide the dough into two balls and wrap tightly in plastic wrap. Place in the fridge to firm up for at least 2 hours, but the longer it’s in there, the better!

When you’re ready to bake the cookies, preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line two large baking sheets with parchment paper.

Take out one of your balls of dough and generously dust a rolling pin and a flat work space with arrowroot powder. Pour some arrowroot powder into a small shallow bowl, too.

Unwrap the dough and roll it out until it’s about 1/2-inch thick. DO NOT flip the dough over. It will fall apart and you will have to start all over again.

Dip a man cookie cutter in the arrowroot powder bowl and place it firmly on one of the corners of the dough. Gently rotate it back and forth to loosen, then pull it away from the rest of the dough. Slide a small knife directly under the cut-out to lift it off the counter and CAREFULLY place it on one of the prepared baking sheets.

Repeat until no space on the dough remains. Squish your dough scraps back into a ball, re-dip the rolling pin in arrowroot powder, and roll out the dough again. Cut out more men, then do it all over again! If your dough isn’t holding together, put it back in the fridge for fifteen minutes to cool off a bit.

Take out your other ball of dough and follow the same procedure as you did with the previous ball.

Bake in the oven until golden brown around the edges but NOT super firm, about 8 to 10 minutes. Rotate the sheet every few minutes so all of the cookies get even coverage. Bake them for less time than you think they’ll need.

FOR THE ICING:

In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the egg white on high until stiff but not rock-solid peaks form, about 3 to 4 minutes, then pour in the confectioner’s sugar and continue whipping until light and glossy, about 3 minutes longer.

Scoop the icing into a pastry bag or a large plastic bag with a thin tip attached. Applying gentle pressure, add eyes, a nose, a mouth, buttons, and arm-and-leg squiggles to your cookies, then let them dry for at least half an hour before eating.


Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

The Best Chicken Soup Ever

October 26, 2013 4 Comments Print this page

045

The weather’s getting colder. The sky’s getting darker earlier with each passing day. There’s a certain nip in the air that just makes it feel like fall…

…or winter, in my humble opinion.

Me Cold

For some reason, last year was the first year I really felt winter’s chill. I’ve always been a warm-blooded girl, but my freshman year, I walked around high school from November to March in my puffy orange jacket , a hat, and sometimes gloves because I was so. COLD. Last Tuesday was the first day I had to wear my jacket in class, and it was a sad, sad day. Goodbye warm weather…well, at least until I head south in a couple months.

While I don’t particularly like the cold, I do love cold-weather food. Soups, stews, braises, roasts? Sign me up! I love hanging out in my kitchen, the warmest room in the house, and breathing in the aroma of pot roast or coq au vin. I love all of the root vegetables–beets, sweet potatoes, squashes, parsnips, celery root–and the spices–cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, allspice–and use them as much as I can in my cooking. To me, they’re like best friends that you don’t see all summer: they embrace you with a warm hug and just make you feel safe and comfortable. Mmm. That’s my kind of food: so soothing and gently flavorful, you can taste the love.

I’m here today with my first of many comfort food recipes: the BEST chicken soup I have ever made. It’s one of my favorite dishes EVER, and I would be happy to eat chicken soup every single day if you asked. And, since it’s a soup, I’m filled up with warm fullness from my first to my last sip (or bite). I like eating (or is it drinking?) soup with a small spoon so the wonderful feeling will last as long as possible. You too can enjoy this delicious awesomeness–it’s easy, doesn’t have too many ingredients, and won’t take you forever to make!

Want a print-out version of this recipe? Click here!

The first thing you’re going to need is a 3-4 pound whole chicken, cut up into 8 pieces. Want to know how to do it? Watch my video–the first one I’ve ever filmed for Yes to Yummy! I’ll warn you: I’m wearing my pink polar bear PJ bottoms and look at the camera a little funny, but it’s me in my purest, rawest (no pun intended) form. Plus, the background song is the Chicken Dance…and who doesn’t love the Chicken Dance?!

Cluck.

If you’re lazy or don’t have the time, use either a combination of chicken legs and breasts or all chicken legs. I wouldn’t recommend using all white meat: it dries out and is too chewy to pair nicely with the soup.

008

Once your chicken is cut up (or out of its package), toss it in 1/2 cup of arrowroot powder, 1 teaspoon of salt, and 1/2 teaspoon of black pepper. Make sure each and every piece of chicken is well-coated!

In a  dutch oven or just a big pot, melt 2 tablespoons of butter (or ghee) with 1 tablespoon of olive oil over medium-high heat. Once the butter is completely melted, add in half of the chicken pieces (I put in 1 drumstick, 1 thigh, 1 breast half, and 1 wing) and let cook until completely browned on that side, about 5 minutes. Once darkened and crispy, flip it over to the other side and brown for another 5 minutes. Transfer the pieces to a plate and do the same with the other half of the chicken pieces.

019

Your chicken will look marvelous, but don’t do anything to it yet! It’s still not completely cooked through.

013

To the remaining fat, add 1 large onion, chopped, 3 medium carrots, chopped, and 3 celery stalks, chopped. Saute with a pinch of salt until softened, about 5 to 7 minutes. Sprinkle in 1/2 teaspoon each of turmeric and poultry seasoning, then add in 1 cup of apple cider and 6 cups of chicken broth.

A word about chicken broth: I do not recommend that you use store-bought. Honestly, there isn’t much chicken in there: it’s mostly salt and powdered vegetables, which don’t really contribute much flavor, do they? Making your own is easy: just boil the backbone of a chicken or a chicken carcass with some odd vegetables (onion peels, carrot bottoms, old celery stalks) for a few hours and strain.

030

Bring the liquid and veggies to a boil, then turn the heat down to medium-low and add the chicken back into the pot. Cover it with a lid and cook for another 25 minutes.

When the 25 minutes have elapsed, remove the chicken from the pot and shred it up into little pieces. Discard the bones, or use them to make chicken broth for next time.

Add the chicken back to the pot and stir to combine. If you want a decadent, slightly creamy base, add in 1/2 cup of heavy cream. Stir just to combine, then let cook over low heat for at least another 10 minutes or until ready to serve.

I got my heavy cream in a glass bottle from grass-fed cows, so it has the health benefits that regular store-bought heavy cream doesn’t have. While this heavy cream is absolutely amazing, dairy isn’t for everyone (and neither is its high price tag for the good stuff!), so you can leave it out and still have a tasty soup.

Spoon this liquid of the gods into big bowls and sip down. Watch as your worries melt away into taste-bud explosive ecstasy…

039

Now THIS is what Yes to Yummy is all about.

What’s your favorite fall or winter soup? Leave me a comment HERE (yay!) or on Facebook and let me know!


Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

The Best Chicken Soup Ever

October 26, 2013 Print this page

This is the best chicken soup I have ever made…heck, eaten, too. It’s like hugging a million fluffy bunny rabbits at once.

Ingredients

Prep Time 15 min
Cooking Time 1 hr
Total Time 1 hr 15 min
Yield 6 to 8 servings

1 3-4 pound whole chicken, cut into 8 pieces,  (or a combination of 3-4 pounds of legs and breasts or just legs) (learn how to cut it up here)

1/2 cup of arrowroot powder

1 teaspoon of salt plus a pinch for sauteeing

1/2 teaspoon of black pepper

2 tablespoons of butter (can be substituted with ghee)

1 tablespoon of olive oil

1 large onion, chopped

3 medium carrots, chopped

3 celery stalks, chopped

1/2 teaspoon of turmeric

1/2 teaspoon of poultry seasoning

1 cup of apple cider

6 cups of chicken broth (preferably homemade)

1/2 cup of heavy cream (optional)

Directions

Toss the chicken in the arrowroot powder, salt, and black pepper. Make sure each and every piece of chicken is well-coated!

In a  dutch oven or just a big pot, melt the butter with the olive oil over medium-high heat. Once the butter is completely melted, add in half of the chicken pieces and let cook until completely browned on that side, about 5 minutes. Once darkened and crispy, flip it over to the other side and brown for another 5 minutes. Transfer the pieces to a plate and do the same with the other half of the chicken pieces.

To the remaining fat, add the onion, carrots, and celery. Saute with a pinch of salt until softened, about 5 to 7 minutes. Sprinkle the  turmeric and poultry seasoning, then add in the apple cider and chicken broth.

Bring the liquid and veggies to a boil, then turn the heat down to medium-low and add the chicken back into the pot. Cover it with a lid and cook for another 25 minutes.

When the 25 minutes have elapsed, remove the chicken from the pot and shred it up into little pieces. Discard the bones, or use them to make chicken broth for next time.

Add the chicken back to the pot and stir to combine. Pour in the heavy cream if you’re using it, stir just to combine, then let cook over low heat for at least another 10 minutes or until ready to serve.

Spoon this liquid of the gods into big bowls and sip down.


Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,