Category Archives: holiday recipes

Sparkling Cider Mocktail

The Man and I had a lovely drink at Paley’s Place a few nights ago called a “Cider Lane” that was non-alcoholic by design. I’m not drinking at the moment, due to alcohol napalming my blood vessels. And you know, there just aren’t enough mocktails in the world.

We’ll be bringing this to a NYE party this week where we will also be burning the man. Let me just say I cannot wait to bid adieu to 2014 by lighting something on fire in the street.

Here’s an approximation, our best guess, of the drink we had. We’ll call it a Cider Train instead of a Cider Lane since we actually don’t know what the recipe is for a Cider Lane. You could always add booze to this; I’m thinking vodka, gin, or rum would work well.

Cider Train

3.5 oz sparkling apple cider

.5 oz freshly squeezed lemon juice

.5 tsp orange blossom or rose water (pure eau, no sugar)

dash of ground nutmeg and allspice

thinly sliced apple wedges for garnish

Put all that in a tumbler over ice and stir. Garnish with a few apple wedges.

sparkling cider mocktail

Yummy and festive.

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Filed under Cocktails, holiday recipes, SCD

Mock Mashed Potatoes

The Man and I have been sketching out our Thanksgiving menu. We’ll be having only three second-family friends join us this year, mostly due to my current semi-invalidity. We’re doing an Indian theme, as in, “if Columbus had actually found India, what might Thanksgiving taste like?” To that end, we’ve been conducting some experiments with various potential dishes, such as this one:

Mock Mashed Potatoes, Indian-flavored

1 head of cauliflower

1/2 stick of butter (4 T)

1 tsp salt

1 tsp ground cumin

1 1/4 tsp ground coriander

1/2 tsp red pepper flakes

1/4 c coconut milk, yogurt, or some other liquid (my co-op is now selling these in mini 6-packs, which does not come in a can–nickel allergy–and says it has no preservatives; and of course you could make your own)

ground black pepper

  1. Chop up the cauliflower and steam it until very soft.
  2. When it’s cool enough to handle but still warm, put the cauliflower and all of the other ingredients into a food processor and pulse or blend until you get the consistency you like.

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Filed under holiday recipes, SCD, Thanksgiving

SCD Pumpkin Pie

Several years ago, my dad got into roasting his own pumpkins and convinced me that canned pumpkin was a poor imposter of the real stuff. Personally, I think it’s just a heck of a lot easier to peel open a can and go, but now that I’m SCD All The Time, I take the long road. It really does taste better than canned, I’ll give my dad that. It’s way more dense and the flavor is more complex.

Be warned that this is very rich. Hog that I so proudly am, even I can only handle a slice at a time. Plus, I serve it with whipped French cream. I made this for Halloween, but it would also work well for Thanksgiving, of course.

Crustless SCD Pumpkin Pie

2 c roasted and pureed pumpkin (to do this, peel, de-seed, and 1-inch-cube a pie pumpkin, roasting the pieces in the oven at 350F for an hour or two until very soft, then puree in your food processor)

1/2 c French cream (probably dripped SCD yogurt would also work)

1/2 c honey

3 eggs

1 T coconut flour

1 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp dried ground ginger

1/2 tsp ground nutmeg

1/4 tsp kosher salt

  1. Preheat oven to 350F.
  2. Butter a 9″ glass pie dish.
  3. Mix the wet ingredients together in a bowl.
  4. Sift the dry ingredients into another bowl.
  5. Mix the dry ingredients into the wets bowl using a whisk, and then pour it all into the baking dish.
  6. Bake for 55 minutes, watching near the end to make sure the sides aren’t browning too much. If so, cover them with foil.
  7. Serve with French cream whipped with a little honey.

Here it is just coming out of the oven:

And here it is served with whipped French cream:


Filed under dessert, gluten-free, halloween, holiday recipes, pumpkin, Recipes, SCD, Thanksgiving, Uncategorized

The Man’s Nutty Balls

Quelle horreur, I cannot believe how long it’s been since I last posted. Suffice to say my life has been truly insane with holidays, inter-state driving, family trips, friends trips, and drumroll please, a new job. I can hardly get my teeth brushed and keep my laundry clean under the current conditions.

We did a lot of cooking over the holidays, however, and I have several recipes I need to post. Here’s the first and it’s a two-fer!

This all started at a party where The Man ate some apparently awesome date nut balls that were not safe for me. He left the party determined that I should eat a close, SCD-legal facsimile of his own devising. I’ll post both recipes for those that can eat toxic substances without harm  (ahem, sugar).

Needless to say, there were many a joke about the name of these delicious treats at the various holiday potlucks where we shared them. The name is based on a game we played a lot over the holidays called My Chocolate Salty Balls. If you want to know how to play this game, it’s basically like “Soggy Wieners” using “My Chocolate Salty Balls” instead. Yes, these are the kinds of games my family plays at holidays.

The Man’s Nutty Balls (SCD)

1 lb chopped medjool dates

12 T butter, melted (1.5 sticks)

1 c honey

2 c dried coconut flakes (small shred)

4 c chopped walnuts

This makes a supreme boatload, plenty for a group of family or friends, and they store well in the fridge.

  1. Preheat the oven to 350F.
  2. Melt 6 tablespoons of butter and coat the chopped walnuts with it. Spread the walnuts on a baking sheet and toast in the oven until golden brown. Mmmmm.
  3. Allow the walnuts to cool and then mix all of the ingredients together in a large bowl.
  4. Scoop out a tablespoon or so of the mixture and roll it into a ball. Repeat this step until the mix is gone, separating layers of the balls with waxed paper.
  5. Store in the fridge until hard. Eat cold (for the crunch factor).

I wish I had a picture of these, but apparently, I was too busy stuffing my face and playing My Chocolate Salty Balls to take a photo.

Here is the original recipe we got from our pal, Amy S.

Mom’s Date Nuts Balls

1 lb chopped medjool dates

8 T butter

8 T margarine

2 c brown sugar

1 c dried coconut flakes

1 c chopped nuts

4 c Rice Krispies

Powdered sugar

  1. Blend butter, margarine, and brown sugar.
  2. Add the dates to the mix and cook for six minutes on the stove [I’m guessing over medium heat, but this was not specified].
  3. Add the coconut flakes, nuts, and Rice Krispies.
  4. Roll into balls and then roll in powdered sugar to coat.


Filed under dates, football food, gluten-free, Gluten-free vegan, holiday recipes, Recipes, SCD

Last-minute SCD Thanksgiving Recipes

Argh, wish I had posted this sooner, but I’ve been so busy with life and my nanowrimo project. In any case, here is a link to a fab collection of SCD Thanksgiving recipes posted by Mrs. Ed for those of you still undecided on your menus.

I still don’t know what I’m making for dessert, but it will involve a pumpkin-slaying. Happy Thanksgiving to all!


Filed under holiday recipes, Thanksgiving

Chicken Parts Pate

When I was a kid, I remember my family, or maybe it was just my parents, fighting over the turkey “parts” at Thanksgiving dinner. At the time, I thought eating turkey gizzard and heart was totally gross and likely some kind of country-hick hold-over from my parents’ rural childhoods, i.e., very suspect. Now as an adult, of course, I’m like, yum yum! My mom always put these “parts” in the stuffing, but all this liver-talk lately has made me rethink that. I took a look at Nourished Kitchen’s chicken liver pate and came up with this recipe based on the parts that came in the baggie stuffed inside a roaster chicken (except the neck, which I use in stock). I’ll be doing this with my Thanksgiving turkey as well. Mmmm.

Chicken Parts Pate


chicken parts (all the tidbits that come inside the baggie of a roaster chicken/turkey, except the neck)

1/4 c finely chopped onions

1 T pork fat


1 tsp dried thyme

1 tsp dried sage

2 T dry red wine

3 T butter

1 T yogurt, plus about 1 cup for the overnight soaking of the parts

optional: 1 tsp fruit jelly

Makes 1/2 cup of pate

  1. Rinse the chicken parts and then soak overnight in yogurt.
  2. Rinse the chicken parts and let drain.
  3. Meanwhile, back at the stove, saute onions with a pinch of salt over med-high heat in a tablespoon of pork fat and a tablespoon of butter until golden. (I have a lot of pork fat due to the pork belly, but I’m sure bacon fat would work just as well).
  4. Put the chicken parts and spices in with the onions, mix together, and heat until nearly all the moisture in the pan is gone.
  5. Pour in 2 T dry red wine and use your wooden spoon to rub off the yummy, stuck bits on the bottom of the skillet. Cook again until the skillet is nearly dry.
  6. When cool, place all this in your food processor with 2 T butter and 1 T yogurt. If you have a teaspoon of apricot-honey or quince-honey jelly, add that in as well. Adding sweetness balances out the rich flavor.
  7. Process until smooth. This will take a few times of using your spatula to wipe down the sides of the container and re-pulsing until smooth.

I have to say this doesn’t look like much (cat food comes to mind), but it tastes pretty darn good. I ate half of it at lunch with celery sticks and carrots. It would be awesome on cheddar crackers as well. It’s very rich, so that 1/2 cup goes a long way. I think I’ll make a turkey version of this for our Thanksgiving dinner, unless of course, The Man and I want to fight over the parts, in which case, they won’t make it to pate.

chicken parts pate in a ramekin


Filed under foie gras, holiday recipes, Pate, Recipes, SCD, Thanksgiving

Quince Jelly, two ways

Before I started back on SCD again, I made my usual round of quince jelly. One minor health crisis later, and now I’ve made quince jelly using honey instead of sugar, which is SCD-compliant. Here is the recipe, with instructions for both sugar and honey versions:

Quince Jelly

4 c quince juice (you’ll get this from 4 lbs of quince)

3 c of sugar or 2 lbs of honey

2 T lemon juice (only needed for the sugar version)

optional: spices such as star anise, vanilla, or ginger. I have found 5 star anises, 1 vanilla bean, or a 1″ piece of unpeeled ginger thinly sliced work well.

  1. Wash 4 lbs of quince to remove the fuzz.
  2. Cut them into one-inch pieces and toss into a big pot with some water in it to keep them from browning while you cut up all the quince. You don’t have to core or remove the seeds, unless you are saving the seeds to make quince tea (in which case, set the seeds aside to dry).
  3. After you’ve cut up all the quince and they’re in the pot, make sure the water is just covering them.
  4. Add any spices you’re using.
  5. Bring the quince-water up to a boil and then simmer it for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking.
  6. Remove the spices and mash the quince, then let simmer for another 5 minutes.
  7. When cool enough to handle, drain the cooked quince through a few layers of cheese cloth over a bowl to catch the juice. Let it drain for a couple of hours. (At this point, I often freeze the juice until I’m ready to make jelly from it.)
  8. Measure the amount of juice you have. As a general rule, you’ll use 3/4 c of sugar or honey to 1 cup of quince juice. You should have approximately 4 cups.
  9. In your preserving pot (it’s best to use a white enamel or copper-bottomed pot to prevent scorching), combine the quince juice, the sweetener, and if you’re using sugar, the lemon juice. Stir to dissolve everything and bring up to 222F, which is the gel point, stirring occasionally and removing foam (there will be a ton of it if you use honey). This will take a while, but will allow you witness one of the most beautiful colors in the natural world.
  10. In the meantime, sterilize your jars and lids. Do this by boiling the jars for 15 minutes and putting the lids in for the last five minutes of that. Then just keep them all warm until you’re ready to spoon in the jelly.
  11. When your jelly reaches 222F, use a clean ladle to pour into the sterilized jars, keeping 1/4″ head space. Put the lids on and screw on the bands (the bands don’t need to be sterilized).
  12. Technically speaking, you don’t need to further process this jelly as you would a jam, fruit butter, or preserves. However, if it makes you feel better, you can process the jars in a boiling water bath for 5 minutes.
  13. Store in a cool, dark place.
quince jelly

The two on the left are the quince-honey and are a little darker than the quince-sugar version on the right.


Filed under breakfast, canning, holiday recipes, quince, Recipes, SCD

The Man’s Truly Amazing Pulled Pork

It’s the third annual El Puerco de Julio here at the homestead, hosted by me, The Man, and DL. Been busy the past few days shopping and cooking. I have definitely concluded that my favorite part of holidays is the full-day cooking part, not really the party part. Not that I don’t like the party part, but I just really enjoy cooking by myself in the kitchen for long stretches with my tunes on, Pickle lying on his bed, and pots on the stove. Right now I’m waiting for the butter and cream cheese to come to room temp so I can frost the cake. Lucky you, some time to blog!

This year’s El Puerco menu is something like this:

  • Saucy smoked ribs (this is a team MJ-DL effort)
  • Pulled pork (recipe below, all The Man)
  • Grilled pineapple
  • Lychees
  • Cherries from DL’s tree
  • 3 different versions of skillet cornbread
  • Pickles

Drinks include:

  • Homemade limeade
  • Homemade jamaica
  • Peach iced tea
  • Limoncello (The Man made last week)
  • Limecello (The Man made this week)


  • Cantaloupe-basil granita (DL made)
  • Red, White, and Blue Velvet Cake (recipe posted a few weeks ago here, the blue part modified for coconut flavor)


  • The Man made a version of Washus out of some scrap wood he had. However, it’s so pretty I almost don’t want to play it. We’re calling it: Pickle Piehole!

Here are some pics for you to enjoy with us out there in cyberspace:

DL in front of the smoker

"I don't have ten tablespoons of ground cumin!"

DL manhandles the ribs in the smoker

Layering the ribs in the smoker.

cherries in a colander

Cherries from DL's tree - before I ate them all.

The Man shows off his pork

The Man shows off his pulled pork.

Pickle Piehole triangle and washers

Pickle Piehole!!!

The Man’s Pulled Pork

This recipe started out like this, but through trial and error, The Man has perfected as follows.


3 1/2 lbs picnic roast/Boston butt, we prefer bone-in


1/4 c cumin seeds, toasted

1/4 c packed brown sugar

1/2 c sweet or hot paprika

1/8 c ground chili arbol

1/8 c ground New Mexico chili

1 tsp fresh ground nutmeg

1/4 c kosher salt

1/4 c black peppercorns buzzed a few times in the spice grinder

  1. This makes enough rub for three roasts. So divide it into thirds and put the remainder in your cupboard for future roasts.
  2. If there are huge layers of fat on the roast, trim them off and save for cracklings.
  3. Use a third of the rub mix to thoroughly coat the roast. Place it in the fridge overnight.
  4. Take out the roast and put it into a dutch oven.
  5. Place foil flat across the dutch oven and then put the lid on to seal the container. Cook in a dutch oven at 275F for 4 hours.
  6. Take the roast out of the dutch oven and set aside.
  7. Pour the juices leftover in the dutch oven into a bowl and place that bowl in the freezer until the fat solidifies at the top. Scrap off the fat.
  8. Put the roast back into the dutch oven and pour the juices back over it. Shred the meet using two forks.
  9. To serve, pour over some of the sauce, but not all of it (it would be overwhelming) to taste. Then, serve the sauce on the side so folks can add more as they want.
  10. Many people serve this with buns of some sort for sandwiches. Personally, I don’t miss the bun part.


3/4 c white vinegar

1 T Flameboy hot sauce (or your choice)

1 T sugar

2 tsp red pepper flakes

Ground black pepper to taste

Combine all of that in a small bowl. For serving, it’s nice to put it in a plastic squeeze jar with a lid big enough to accommodate the red pepper flakes.

And in other news, oh yeah, I’m leaving for France on Tuesday. WOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!

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Filed under El Puerco de Julio, food, holiday recipes, pork roast, Recipes

Gluten-free Red Velvet Cake

Happy birthday to KT! Sneakily, her man-friend told me one of her favorite cakes is red velvet, so I set out on a mission to make it for her surprise party this past Saturday. The requirement for party attendance was to bring KT a homemade card. So I chose to make cake as my card.

I’ve always wanted to make a red velvet cake, but somehow never got around to it. Now they are all the rage so I feel very in. Here’s my gluten-free version.

I’ve been trying to make everything with Bob’s Red Mill all-purpose gluten-free flour because most people, myself included, don’t want to hassle with all the spendy flour combinations. Also, this cake is meant to be a bit on the dense side, so Bob’s works well for it.

Like most recipes, I think of this as a master recipe that can be modified for whatever you want to make. So think of this as a template for Dense, Moist Cake. Instead of making red velvet, you could eliminate just the cocoa and red food coloring, and instead mix in a cup of flaked coconut and make a coconut frosting, or mix in a couple tablespoons of lemon zest and use a lemon frosting, etc. You get the idea. For my own birthday, I think I might have to make a Blue Velvet Cake (“What are you doing in my closet, Jeffrey Beaumont?” Ah, such a screenplay.)

Gluten-free Red Velvet Cake

1 c vegetable oil (I used sunflower with good results, canola would also work fine, I’m sure)

1 1/2 c sugar

3 eggs, room temp, lightly beaten

1 tsp vanilla

1 3/4 c Bob’s Red Mill all-purpose GF flour

3/4 c tapioca flour/starch

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp xanthan gum

1/4 t salt

1 c buttermilk

1 little bottle of red food coloring, yes, the whole thing

1/4 c cocoa powder


1 cream cheese pack (8 oz)

1 stick of butter, room temp

1 tsp vanilla

3 c sifted powdered sugar (sift to minimize lumping, measured after sifting)

Mix all of those together to make the frosting.

And now, for your basic cake-making instructions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350F. Grease and flour a 9×13 sheet pan or two round cake pans. I made one sheet cake, but you might want a traditional layer cake.
  2. Mix your wets in a bowl (oil, sugar, eggs, vanilla).
  3. Mix your dries in a different bowl (flours, baking soda, xanthan gum, salt).
  4. Mix 1/4 c of buttermilk with the cocoa powder and the food coloring so that the cocoa powder is well mixed in, not lumpy. Set this aside.
  5. Now mix into your wets bowl the dries and the remaining 3/4 c of buttermilk, alternating each in three to four rounds of additions and starting with the dries. Does that make sense? Hope so! The point here is to mix things in a bit at a time, not just glomp it all in there and hope for the best.
  6. Now add the blood red buttermilk/cocoa goo-mix. Voila, mon ami. You have red velvet cake batter.
  7. Pour into your prepared pans and bake at 350F for 35-40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.

I do wish this were MORE RED, but those boxes of food coloring are like six bucks a pop and I used a whole little bottle of red. Ah, well. A beautiful thing is never perfect, as they say.

The Big K


Filed under birthdays, cakes, holiday recipes, Recipes

Our Gluten-free Easter Menu

I live for holidays. The older I get, the more enjoyable and important they become. Easter is one of the holidays The Man and I celebrate away from our families, so we have to make it extra fun. Naturally that means special food that I look forward to.

So here’s what I’m looking forward to on Sunday. You’ll note my intense Sour Tooth of late. I don’t know what’s up with my taste buds, but I can’t get enough SOUR these days.

  • Butter lettuce salad with grapefruit and avocado
  • Scalloped cauliflower with ham (using the scalloped potatoes recipe from my 1974 Joy of Cooking)
  • Otto’s bockwursts, grilled (makes my mouth water just thinking about it), with mustard and sauerkraut
  • Keylime panna cotta
  • Iced tea and/or pinot noir, depending on our moods

Also, Pickle LOVES Easter. My guess is that he likes hunting edible, colorful things (eggs) around the house with his pack. Here’s one of my favorite Pickle Easter photos. He bats the eggs around and tries to eat them.

Pickle trying to eat an easter egg

Too big! Must crunch with sharp incisors!

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Filed under holiday recipes, Pickle