Tag Archives: gluten free

Slow Cooker Meatballs

App Attack!

For Christmas Eve, I made meatballs in the Crock-Pot, and thought it would be the perfect appetizer to serve at a New Year’s Eve party! Growing up, we always would eat tons of appetizers and finger foods on New Year’s Eve. It was so fun getting to stay up until midnight eating snacks, drinking sparkling cider, and waiting for the ball to drop! Our most common appetizer we would have on New Year’s Eve would be spicy cheese dip…made with a block of soft maybe-not-real cheese. Always a delicious crowd pleaser, but not the most healthy. And now that I know how my body reacts to copious amounts of dairy, I generally steer clear.

So I went a little healthier (and dairy free!) this year. These meatballs are tender, cooked in a flavorful tomato sauce, and so easy to make! Simply make the meat mixture, and toss it all in the slow cooker! I hope your 2019 is a wonderfully blessed year…and I hope you ring in the new year with these Slow Cooker Meatballs!

Slow Cooker Meatballs

Makes about 30-35 meatballs.

Ingredients:

For the meatballs:

  • 2 lbs of ground beef
  • 1/2 cup of almond flour 
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 5 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp of Italian seasoning
  • 1 tsp of dried basil
  • 2 tbsp of chopped fresh parsley
  • Optional toppings:
    • Parmesan
    • fresh basil

For the sauce:

  • 28 oz crushed tomatoes (no salt or sugar added)
  • 28 oz diced tomatoes (no salt or sugar added)
  • 15 oz tomato sauce (no salt or sugar added)
  • 10 oz tomato paste (no salt or sugar added)
  • 2 tbsp of balsamic vinegar
  • 8 oz of sliced mushrooms
  • 2 tsp of salt
  • 1 tsp of Italian seasoning
  • 1 tsp of dried basil

Directions:

  • Combine all sauce ingredients in a large slow cooker (lined with these for easy cleanup!)
  • Combine all meatball ingredients in a large mixing bowl
  • Using your hands, make sure all ingredients are well incorporated
  • Shape about 2 tbsp worth of meat mixture into balls
  • Place meatballs into sauce, making sure they’re covered by sauce
  • Cover and cook on high for 3 hours
  • Serve warm, with sauce and optional toppings
  • Keep leftovers covered in the fridge for a week

For other appetizers, check out my Spicy Garlic Salsa, which is delicious with plantain chips, or my Classic Garlic Hummus…do you think I like garlic? 😛

For a beautiful centerpiece for your New Year’s Day dinner, take a look at my Ghee, Garlic, and Herb Turkey with GravySheet Pan SalmonCelebration Steaks with Pan Sauce, or my Roasted Chicken with Carrots; all are simple and delicious!

And for sides or desserts, there are so many options, including my ABC Brussels SproutsRoasted PotatoesTwo Layer Paleo FudgeDark Chocolate Paleo Brownies, or Wholesome Chocolate Chunk Cookies to name a few!

Let me know what your New Year’s Eve/Day traditions are! Whatever you may be doing, I pray for blessings on your new year, with lots of healthy and good food. Celebrate the new year…and enjoy your pinch of crazy!

This post contains affiliate links; if you purchase using the links, it is of no cost to you, just a small pantry fund for me. Thank you for supporting A Pinch of Crazy!

Two Layer Paleo Fudge

This post contains affiliate links; if you purchase using the links, it is of no extra cost to you, just a small pantry fund for me. Thank you for supporting A Pinch of Crazy!

fudge2.jpg

Oh Fudge!

I made a big mistake this week. As I’ve written before, sugar greatly increases my anxiety and insomnia; however, for some reason, I thought it would be a good idea to eat some sugar-y, albeit tasty, treats literally right before bed. *eye roll* I woke up from a nightmare (which I never have) at 3 AM with a pounding heart, and couldn’t fall back asleep until 5 AM. Ugh! Why must my sugar monster haunt me so?! Especially at Christmas time…all the candies, cookies, sweet drinks, snacks, and fudge.

Growing up, fudge was always in ample supply at my house around the holidays; my sisters and I would always fight over who got to lick the spoon after my mom made it. To be honest, I will most likely enjoy some traditional fudge this season…but I will make sure it is not too close to bed time, and because I know how my body reacts to refined sugar, I will eat it sparingly. However, I won’t feel deprived because I’ll have my own vegan and refined sugar free fudge, too! This fudge is sweetened with maple syrup, which is high in antioxidants and nutrients, there is protein from the nut butter and dark chocolate, and plenty of healthy fats from the coconut milk and oil. I can eat a few pieces of this healthier fudge without feeling guilty… and it doesn’t hurt that it has a chewy and rich bottom layer topped with a melt-in-your-mouth chocolate layer. What can I say? I’m trying to stay healthy!

Two Layer Paleo Fudge

Makes one 8×8 pan.

Ingredients:

Bottom Layer:

Top Layer:

  • 4 oz dark baking chocolate (or you could combine baking chocolate with coco powder, but straight coco powder will make it lumpy…not that I speak from experience…)
  • 4 tbsp full fat coconut milk
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup
  • Optional: flaky sea salt for topping

Directions:

Bottom Layer:

  • Grease an 8×8 baking pan
  • Combine all bottom layer ingredients in a small mixing bowl
  • Stir together until well combined
  • Using a rubber spatula, spread almond butter layer out evenly in the pan

Top Layer:

  • Combine all ingredients in a microwave safe bowl
  • Heat for 30 seconds, stir
  • Heat an additional 15-30 seconds if needed and stir again
  • Once combined, the chocolate mixture should look like thick batter
  • Using a rubber spatula, spread the chocolate layer on top of the almond butter layer
  • Refrigerate for at least 2 hours
  • Top with flaky sea salt, if desired, before slicing
  • Store, covered, in fridge for a week

For more nut butter/chocolate combinations, check out my Peanut Butter and Chocolate Overnight OatsChocolate Banana “Nice” CreamWholesome Chocolate Chunk Cookies, and Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Cookie Bars. And for more Christmas-time recipes, I recently posted my Molasses Cookies, and Death by Hot Chocolate. It doesn’t get more Christmas-y than fudge, and this fudge is dangerously simple, but since it’s basically a chocolate coated vitamin, there’s nothing to worry about! 😉 I hope your home is full of family, love, and all the warmth that this season brings. Oh, and treats! Eat all the treats…and enjoy your pinch of crazy!

 

Death by Hot Chocolate

This post contains affiliate links; if you purchase using the links, it is of no extra cost to you, just a small pantry fund for me. Thank you for supporting A Pinch of Crazy!

hotchocolate.jpg

Hot, hot, hot! Hot Chocolate!

This is the song from the sweet movie The Polar Express; where Tom Hanks secretly voices nearly every character and the songs make you feel nostalgic and teary-eyed. I specifically remember the “Hot Chocolate” song because the coco the kids were given by the singing and dancing servers looked amazingly luxurious, like pure melted chocolate, and left them lounging with whipped cream mustaches in a chocolate stupor.

Tomorrow is December 1st, kicking off the Christmas season, and I want to end pretty much every day in a chocolate stupor, but I don’t want to end every day with sugar-induced anxiety and headaches. Thankfully, I have a refined sugar free and dairy free hot chocolate that will get you chocolate wasted in record time all while warming your belly, and putting a smile on your face this Christmas season.

hotchocolate1

Death by Hot Chocolate

Serves 4-6 depending on mug size.

Ingredients:

Directions:

  • Combine all ingredients, except coconut cream, in a medium pot
  • If making the whipped coconut cream, simply whip the cream (you could add in vanilla or peppermint oil if desired) until fluffy, and keep in fridge while you make the hot chocolate
  • Turn burner on medium low
  • Let simmer until steaming, and bubbles start to form on the outside, whisking constantly
  • Carefully pour into mugs, and top with whipped coconut cream if desired
  • Let cool a little bit so you don’t burn your tongue…it’s hard to be patient 😛
  • If there are leftovers, store covered in fridge, and reheat on the stove

If, like me, you have a major sweet tooth [monster], you probably need a cookie…or two…to go with your coco. These go splendidly with my Wholesome Chocolate Chunk Cookies; my husband dunked his right into the coco, and you could also try it with my Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Cookie Bars. I have a lot of fun holiday recipes that I’m excited to share with you all this coming month! Let me know what your favorite holiday drink is, and let me know on Instagram and/or Facebook (links found on the bottom of the page) if you make this Death by Hot Chocolate. Good luck with your Christmas shopping…and enjoy your pinch of crazy!

No Bake Pumpkin Pie

This post contains affiliate links. If you purchase using the links, it is of no extra cost to you; just a small pantry fund for me. Thank you for supporting A Pinch of Crazy! 

Tradition!

Thinking of the title for this first section, all I could think/sing was “Tradition” from Fiddler on the Roof…which then brought back a flood of old choreography from my college production and memories of my hot college boyfriend (now husband) playing Perchick. But that’s beside the point. The actual point is that at this time of year there are so many wonderful family traditions, and, unfortunately, some unhealthy food traditions.

One of the big Thanksgiving traditions is, of course, pumpkin pie, and it is honestly one of my favorites, but, wow, it is packed with sugar! I did a little research on a certain chain grocery store’s website and found that their bakery’s pumpkin pie contains 29 grams of sugar for a 4 ounce slice! Not only that, but the ingredients list was a cornucopia (see what I did there?) of artificial flavorings, science-y words I can’t pronounce, and, everyone’s favorite, high fructose corn syrup. Pumpkin pie may be tradition, but that tradition shouldn’t include mood swings and anxiety brought on by imbalanced blood sugar.

That doesn’t mean you can’t have your *pie* and eat it, too, because I have the solution! What I have is a vegan, no bake (can it get any easier?!), refined sugar free, and gluten free pumpkin pie. It is simple, sweet, spiced, and the main ingredient is *surprise* pumpkin, so it’s basically a vegetable side 😉 I hope you shake up the tradition of sugar crashes and bring this delicious pie to the Thanksgiving table!

pumpkinpie4

No Bake Pumpkin Pie

Makes one standard 9 inch pie.

Ingredients:

For the crust:

For the filling:

Directions:

For the crust:

  • Grease a 9 inch pie pan
  • Combine all ingredients in a food processor (psst…great Christmas gift 😉 ) or blender
  • Pulse until combined, mixture should be balled up and sticky
  • Press out in prepared pan, it will be thin
  • Place in freezer while you prepare the filling

For the filling:

  • Combine all ingredients in a medium mixing bowl
  • Beat together until smooth
  • Spread filling into chilled pie crust
  • Cover and let chill overnight
  • Slice and serve cold with whipped cream, if desired
    • I should mention here that I attempted whipped cream with coconut milk (probably would have been better with coconut cream), but it did not turn out, so it was more of a delicious drizzle!

For more pumpkin goodness, check out my Pumpkin Bread with Crumb ToppingPumpkin Pie Coffee Creamer, and Pumpkin Spice Cake!

If no bake desserts are your thing, I also have No Bake Chocolate Date Cake and Chocolate Banana “Nice” Cream!

And if you need some ideas for healthy side dishes this Thanksgiving, I’ve got you covered with Roasted PotatoesCreamy Whole30 Mashed Potatoes, and Crispy Brussels Sprouts! I wish I could have done a turkey recipe this year, but due to our move to Texas, I just didn’t have the time; however, you can use the same recipe from my Roasted Chicken with Carrots and simply adjust the time and temperature for your turkey (about 15 minutes per pound at 325 F).

Turn traditional pumpkin pie healthier, have a happy Thanksgiving…and enjoy your pinch of crazy!

 

Pumpkin Bread with Crumb Topping

This post contains a promo code and other affiliate links. If you purchase using the links, it is of no extra cost to you; just a small pantry fund for me! Thank you for supporting A Pinch of Crazy. 

pumpkinbread3

Happy Halloween!

It’s that time of year for candy and sugar crashes. I think we experienced our first set of sugar-induced temper tantrums yesterday brought on by all the treats Zemirah’s been having lately. We are still going trick-or-treating tonight, but will be limiting the amount of candy to one or two pieces, and keep the rest hidden away for potty time rewards…or for Mama and Daddy 😉

I am still working on finding my food freedom and living a balanced lifestyle, but you know what? A few pieces (not the whole bucket!) of the sugary, processed candy on Halloween is not going to kill you or your child! It’s a fun night for dressing up and eating candy, so let’s not spoil it with worrying. However, after tonight’s candy, you might need some help getting back on track, and I have just the thing: this delicious, refined sugar free pumpkin bread! It is also dairy free, can be made egg free using flax eggs (directions in this post), and gluten free! (I still have this promo code for 20% off a huge 3 pound bag of gluten free flour until Nov. 16th, good for all your gluten free baking.) This pumpkin bread is so flavorful and sweet that no one will be able to tell that it’s a healthier version, and you can snack away guilt free!

Pumpkin Bread with Crumb Topping

Makes one standard loaf.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups of gluten free flour
  • 1/2 cup of coconut sugar
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1.5 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp allspice
  • 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil, melted
  • 2 eggs (or flax eggs for vegan)
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • For crumb topping:
    • 1/4 cup softened coconut oil
    • 1/4 cup coconut sugar
    • 1/8 cup gluten free flour
    • 1 tsp cinnamon

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 350 F
  • Grease a standard size loaf pan
  • Combine dry ingredients for the loaf (flour through salt) in a bowl
  • Whisk together
  • Add wet ingredients for the loaf (pumpkin through vanilla)
  • Stir together until well combined
  • Spread into prepared pan
  • In a separate bowl, combine all ingredients for the crumb topping with a fork, the mixture should look like damp sand
  • Press the topping on top of the batter
  • Bake for 25-30 minutes until toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean
  • Store covered, at room temperature for 3 days, or in the fridge for a week

If you are looking for more pumpkin recipes, be sure to check out my Pumpkin Spice Cake and Pumpkin Pie Coffee Creamer; other non-pumpkin yet fall-y treats I have are Banana Bread with Granola CrumbleChocolate Chip Peanut Butter Cookie Bars, and Wholesome Chocolate Chunk Cookies! Plus my Apple Cinnamon Stovetop Scent to make your home smell like fall. I love this time of year *happy sigh*. I hope you have a fun Halloween night! Eat some candy, bake all the pumpkin bread…and enjoy your pinch of crazy!

Pumpkin Spice Cake

This post contains affiliate links; if you purchase using the links it is of no extra cost to you, I just get a small commission. So basically, you can help me fund my pantry so I can bring you more yummy treats! 

pumpkincake6.jpg

Happy October!

Anne Shirley famously said, “I’m so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers.” (L.M. Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables), and I have to agree. I love October! First of all, it’s my birthday month, but I love the changing of the leaves (not so much in Oceanside, CA…the palm leaves kind of die, but that’s about it), the cool breeze, the fact that it starts getting darker earlier, and, of course, all the pumpkin treats!!!

I have to admit, I’ve never tried a PSL from Starbucks because sweet coffee makes me feel like my teeth have a five o’clock shadow, but I will eat all of Starbucks’ pumpkin bread. It’s so spice-y and moist (ugh, yes, I said it), and I love the pumpkin seeds on top. But, according to the Starbucks website, each slice has 410 calories, 500 mg of sodium, and a whopping 39 g of sugar! (information found here) It is so easy to gobble up a piece of that bread, but not so easy to deal with the spiked blood sugar and the general yuckiness you feel after eating it.

At first I thought I would make a pumpkin loaf to celebrate October, but then I thought I would do a frosting, because everything is better with chocolate! Now my idea had morphed into a pumpkin cake, and then I remembered Starbucks’ crunchy pumpkin seeds on their loaves, and decided I would add some on top of my cake! So while I titled this recipe “Pumpkin Spice Cake” it should actually be called “Pumpkin Spice Cake with Cinnamon Maple Dark Chocolate Ganache and Candied Pumpkin Seeds”. That doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue, but you need to get the full mouth-watering affect.

My little family of three gobbled this cake up in one weekend (oops) because it is that good. But it is also free of refined sugars, dairy and eggs, and made with a hearty whole wheat flour so you don’t have to feel guilty about eating it! If you are gluten free, you could easily swap the whole wheat flour for your favorite gluten free blend. (I shared in my Banana Bread with Granola Crumble recipe that I love this GF flour). For me personally, if a treat has good, clean ingredients, I can happily enjoy it guilt-free…but I guess you should practice a little self-control and not eat it all in one sitting. Your family might want a taste, too 😉

I hope you start this spooky month off with this notsospooky, healthier cake!

Pumpkin Spice Cake

Makes one standard size bundt cake.

Ingredients:

For the cake:

  • 2.5 cups whole wheat flour (you can order my favorite brand here)
  • 3/4 cup coconut sugar
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 3 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 cup of pumpkin puree (not pie filling)
  • 1/3 cup coconut oil, melted
  • 1/2 cup almond milk
  • 2 “flax eggs” (directions below)
  • 2 tsp vanilla

For the ganache:

  • 4 oz of 100% chocolate
  • 3/4 cup of coconut milk
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • dash of nutmeg

For the candied pumpkin seeds:

  • 1/2 cup of raw, unsalted pumpkin seeds (AKA pepitas)
  • 1/3 cup of coconut sugar

Directions:

  • First, make your flax eggs
    • combine 2 tbsp of ground flax seeds (you can order some here) with 5 tbsp of cold water in a small bowl
    • once combined, place in refrigerator until needed.
  • Preheat oven to 350 F
  • Grease bundt pan and set aside
  • Combine dry ingredients (flour through salt) in a large bowl
  • By now, your flax eggs should be slightly gelatinous, remove from fridge
  • Create a well in your dry ingredients and add wet ingredients (pumpkin puree through vanilla)
  • Stir until well combined
  • Pour batter into bundt pan, bang it on the counter a few times to remove air bubbles and smooth it out
  • Bake for 20-30 minutes, until toothpick inserted comes out clean (it is okay if some cracks form on top)
  • Let cool in pan for about 10 minutes, then flip out onto a wire rack to let cool completely
  • While cooling, make your candied pumpkin seeds
    • toast the pumpkin seeds in a dry skillet over medium low heat for about 5 minutes, shaking the pan around occasionally
    • push the seeds aside and add the coconut sugar
    • once the sugar starts melting, stir to coat the seeds with the melted sugar
    • let sit for a minute or two, then remove from heat and let harden
  • Once cake is completely cooled, make your ganache (the ganache needs to be warm to drizzle and for the seeds to stick)
    • melt your chocolate, stirring often
    • while stirring, slowly pour in the coconut milk
    • stir until smooth
    • add maple syrup, cinnamon, and nutmeg
    • stir until smooth
  • Time to decorate!
    • drizzle warm ganache all over your cake
    • break up pumpkin seeds and sprinkle on the warm ganache
  • Let ganache cool before slicing
  • Store covered in the refrigerator for a week (not that it will last that long)

I know this isn’t as quick as some of my other recipes, but sometimes, you just need a frosted and decorated cake. The baking time is therapeutic, and once you eat it, it will be totally worth it! If you make it, I’d love to see pictures; you can tag me on Instagram (@mrsmollymills) or Facebook (Molly Mills). I hope your family loves it as much as mine did! Eat all the pumpkin treats…and enjoy your pinch of crazy!

pumpkincake10.jpg

 

Banana Bread with Granola Crumble

bananabread2.jpg

A Girl Can Dream

Picture this: it’s 2 o’clock in the afternoon, and the baby is napping. You clean the house top to bottom, put all the dishes and laundry away, balance the checkbook, then do a nice little 20 minute home workout. After all that, the baby is still napping so you go get a piping hot cup of coffee and a warm slice of fresh banana bread from the kitchen. You curl up with your cozy fleece blanket and enjoy your snack while listening to the melodious birds outside your window.  Paradise. *sigh*

This is what I WANTED to happen when I made my banana bread, but honestly, those afternoons almost never happen. What actually happened was: I left the kitchen a mess, went to sit down on the couch with my coffee and banana bread when I heard, “MAMAAAA!” from upstairs. I ended up drinking lukewarm coffee and sharing my banana bread with Zemirah while simultaneously folding laundry (then re-folding after Z dragged it off the couch). The banana bread was so good and the company so cute, that I couldn’t help but enjoy my afternoon even though it wasn’t picture perfect.

Whatever your idea of the perfect day is, one bite of this banana bread and you will be transported to your own personal paradise! It’s cozy, warm, and perfect for the cooling weather, to either enjoy yourself or share with your little ones. No need to worry about sugar content making them hyper, because it is both gluten free and refined sugar free!

I have discovered the wonders of coconut sugar and will not be looking back! If you are wondering where to get coconut sugar, you can get it right here on Amazon as a multi-pack or a single bag. This is the brand I use and I absolutely love it; it smells amazing and adds a nutty/caramel flavor to baked goods. Yum! This recipe was also my first time baking with a gluten free flour mix so I was a little worried, but it turned out great! I used this blend of rice flours and tapioca starch; it rose beautifully and the texture is wonderful. (These are both affiliate links, but truly the brands I used with this recipe and others, and will continue to in the future!) If you need coconut sugar and/or gluten free flour, use the links, you’ll have them at your door in two days, then you can bake guilt-free to your heart’s content.

Other than the coconut sugar and gluten free flour, everything else is standard banana bread ingredients that you probably already have in your kitchen! This is perfect for either breakfast or an afternoon snack, slathered with butter or ghee, and enjoyed with your favorite hot beverage. The laundry pile is optional.

Banana Bread with Granola Crumble

Makes one loaf or 15 muffins.

Ingredients:

For the bread:

  • 3 very ripe bananas
  • 2 beaten eggs
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil
  • 1/2 cup almond milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1.5 cups gluten free flour
  • 1/2 cup coconut sugar
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • Pinch of salt

For the granola crumble:

  • 1/2 cup of old fashioned oats
  • 1/2 cup of walnuts
  • 1/4 cup of coconut sugar
  • 1/4 cup of coconut oil
  • 1/2 tsp of cinnamon

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 350 F
  • Grease either a loaf pan or muffin tins and set aside
  • Mash bananas with a fork
  • Add in the rest of the wet ingredients
  • Stir until well combined
  • In a separate bowl, whisk together dry ingredients (for bread only, not the crumble)
  • Combine dry ingredients into wet ingredients
  • Stir until well combined
  • Pour batter into pan (3/4 of the way full for muffins)
  • Make granola crumble by combining all ingredients in a blender or food processor and pulsing until walnuts are chopped and it comes together loosely
  • Top batter with crumble, pressing down slightly
  • Bake 35-45 minutes for loaf (10-12 minutes for muffins), until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean
  • Cool completely before slicing
  • Store, covered, in refrigerator for a week

Whatever your personal paradise might be, I am almost certain it involves healthy baked goods 😉 Let this banana bread transport you there…and enjoy your pinch of crazy!

%d bloggers like this: