Tag Archives: DF

Ghee… Huh, wait, what?



Ghee [gee] – noun – a kind of liquid butter, used especially in the cooking of India, utilizing butter made from the milk of cows then clarified by boiling.

Ghee, funny name, oh believe me I know.  It’s pronounced with a “g” like gorgeous and that’s exactly what it is.  I originally learned about ghee while following a lightweight backpacking online group.  It’s utilized by backpackers because it is shelf-stable (no refrigeration needed) and so much more flavorful than oil for cooking.  All I knew at this point was that it was Indian butter.

My friend’s son is autistic and was put on “the diet” (gluten, casein, soy & corn free  – with great results I might add).  We were busy looking for new and creative recipes for the family so he wasn’t singled out when I once again saw ghee references. I started looking at you tube videos and recipes online.  Now I’m a very confident cook and always ready to try new things but this was different, Tyler could have ghee but not butter so if I made a mistake I could cause problems for him.  I finally worked up the nerve to make a batch with the help of my former boss, a wonderful woman and dear friend from India who walked me through the process better than a you tube video ever could (thanks again Paulomi!).  Once made, we passed it around and tasted it in absolute awe.  It’s like butter, but so so much better.  Unlike anything we’d ever tasted before.


How do you make ghee?

Truly, you boil the butter.  That’s it. Then you strain it.  (Seems too simple, I don’t get it..)

First you start by putting butter in a good solid bottomed pan.  My daughter gave me an enamel coated Lodge cast iron Dutch oven for Christmas several years ago which is now known as my ghee pot.

Next, the butter.  Well, here’s where it doesn’t matter too much because you’re removing the dairy, as well as the salt.  I am in an area where I can pick up Amish butter at a great price.  If you’re looking for grass-fed only, look for Kerry Gold.  To my knowledge it’s the only grass-fed that’s commercially available.  However, I have stocked up on butter at the grocery when it went on sale and made ghee with it and not noticed a difference in the end result.

When the butter starts to melt it will go from its normal pale yellowish white to a bright yellow and creamy.  Once it comes to a simmer/gentle boil, leave it.  Come back every once in a while (20 minutes or so) and stir it.  I use a plastic pancake turner with a straight edge because it allows me to scrape the bottom to keep the solids from sticking.  I have a wooden paddle but I noticed that it tends to absorb the salt as well as the oils.  You’ll find some people will refer to ghee as clarified butter but that is incorrect.  Clarified butter (or drawn butter) is made at this first stage when the butter first separates but is still that bright yellow.  (Think of what they serve at Red Lobster with your crab legs). As it continues to boil it will become more and more clear and more of an amber color and all the butter.  The batch I have in the picture was boiled for approximately 2 hours.

Time to strain.  I have wire strainer that I set over the bowl from my Kitchen-Aid mixer (in the picture).  I then took my cheesecloth and folded it in quarters and put it in the strainer.  I poured the finished ghee through the cheesecloth to strain out the carbonized dairy solids.  Once it all strained, I then picked up the cheesecloth by the corners (making a pouch) and kept twisting it tight to squeeze out any ghee that was left.  Believe me when I say this step is worth it.  Between the solids and the cheesecloth you should be able to squeeze out several ounces.  As you can see by the picture, there are a lot of dairy solids that come out.  This also contains the casein which is an allergen for some folks, as well as one of the offending items for autistic kids.

Here’s what’s removed from the butter when you turn it into ghee. The dairy is completely carbonized. I strained it through cheesecloth then squeezed out the excess.ghee 2I started with 6 pounds of butter (on sale $2 a pound). The finished result netted me 1 quart jar and 7 eight ounce jars. This lasted us for about 12 weeks.  Put the lids on and put it in the cabinet.  Treat it as you would any other oil.  Just so you’re aware, if your home is cool this may start to solidify and that’s okay, you haven’t done anything wrong making it.

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Okay, I made it.  Now what do I do with it?

The question now is what can’t you do with it?  It can be used in any recipe for oil or butter.  Here’s the best part IMO.  Ever get a pan too hot when you’re going to cook something with butter and it burns?  Not with ghee.  All the parts that would burn, you’ve already removed.  You can pan fry your eggs or fish, brush it on bread for a grilled cheese or as toast, drizzle it on broccoli or popcorn… you name it!.  My favorite is to sauté garlic in ghee for a few minutes.  It’ll taste like you roasted it in the oven for an hour!  Put that in some mashed potatoes or cauliflower and you will think you’re in heaven.

There’s benefits too?

Ghee has long been used in Ayurvedic medicine and diet.  It’s believed to lubricate joints, help with mental function (not unlike newly discovered properties of coconut oil), stimulate digestion and even aid in the absorption of herbs and spices from dishes for medicinal benefit.

Try it out and tell me what you think.  I guarantee you’re going to keep it in the house all the time and convert your friends.  Be sure to share this with them too!




Banana Cinnamon Bun Muffins (Paleo/GF/DF)

Perfect for a breakfast, brunch or a snack anytime!



  • 1/2 cup coconut flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/3 cup coconut milk (canned coconut milk)
  • 1/2 cup ripe banana, mashed (about 1 banana)

Cinnamon Topping:

  • 1 tablespoons cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons ripe banana, mashed
  • 2 tablespoon coconut oil, melted
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup



  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line 12-cup muffin pan with paper liners.
  • Whisk dry ingredients together.  Set aside.
  • In a small bowl add mashed banana, eggs, and coconut milk and mix with a hand mixer until well blended.  Add wet ingredients into dry ingredients and with a hand mixer until well combined.
  • Add batter until prepared muffin cups.  Filling to about 3/4 filled.
  • In a small bowl, combine cinnamon, mashed banana, melted coconut oil, and maple syrup (if using).  Drizzle mixture over top of muffins and using a toothpick swirl the topping into the muffin batter.  Reserve some of the cinnamon topping.
  • Bake muffins for 20 – 25 minutes or until toothpick inserted into center comes out clean.  In the last 5 minutes of baking add more cinnamon toping to the tops of the muffins.
  • Allow muffins to cool in pan 5 – 10 minutes then transfer to wire rack.

I think I’m going to have to split mine in half and give them a good smear of homemade almond butter.  Enjoy!


Blueberry Dreams

We’re looking at what we want to plant in our garden and I’m thinking blueberries!

Of course this means I’m doing the suggesting, Bestie is doing the planting and the growing and then I make wonderful things with them when they’re ripe.  (It’s all about the teamwork.)  But really, who doesn’t love them?
“Clusters of delectable fruit make Duke easy to pick. It’s the earliest blueberry to ripen, yet the blossoms not susceptible to frost damage. An attractive shrub is a good candidate for edible landscaping. Blueberry plants require pollination from at least one other blueberry variety; plant several varieties for improved fruit set and long harvest. “

Did you know…

  • Blueberries have more antioxidants than any other fresh fruit or veggie.
  • Blueberries have been shown to slow vision loss and can lower your risk of age-related macular degeneration by up to 36%
  • Not only are they low in calories but they can break down belly fat and reduce the risk of metabolic syndrome (risk factors that increase chances of developing diabetes and heart disease).
  • They’re high in manganese which is important for bone development
  • They’re high in fiber
  • Blueberries can reduce and even reverse age-related memory loss
  • The phenolic compounds can inhibit colon cancer and reduce ovarian cancer risks
  • Blueberries have a low-glycemic index and can help type 2 diabetics manage and reduce blood sugar
  • Blueberries, like cranberries, contain compounds that prevent bacteria from adhering to bladder walls, preventing urinary tract infections
  • Oh and they taste amazing!

There’s so many ways to love blueberries… pancakes, muffins, waffles… and a few others that I’m going to list here that I think you’ll enjoy.

When I was little, my mom would get blueberries and toss them with raw honey and let them sit overnight.  The honey would breakdown into a syrup.  She’d put them into a bowl by themselves or over a slice of pound cake and top them with a spoonful of sour cream.  It was her favorite dessert!

Blueberry Chai Ice Cream (Dairy Free)

  • 1 (14oz) can coconut milk
  • 1 cup fresh blueberries
  • 2 chai tea bags, tea removed from tea bag (discard bag)
  • 3 tablespoons honey
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • pinch of salt
  1. Place all ingredients in a saucepan and place under medium heat. Let cook down and flavors mix for about 10 minutes under some of your blueberries have exploded and you have a deep purple color.
  2. Remove from heat and let cool for 30 minutes.
  3. Place mixture in a food processor or blender and puree until blueberries are broken down.
  4. Pour mixture into ice cream maker
  5. Scoop, eat & enjoy!

A few years ago I discovered my new favorite… a crisp iceberg salad with grilled chicken, hard boiled eggs, blueberries and ranch dressing.  I’d top it then with french fried onions.  Yum!

Monte Cristo Sandwiches

This is one of my absolute favorites.  I was introduced to these when I was about 7 months pregnant and it was locked into mine and my daughter’s DNA after that.  These are easy and amazingly delicious, perfect for breakfast, lunch, brunch, whatever!

Monte Cristo


  • The bread is simply French Toast.  Use your favorite bread, eggs, milk & vanilla.
  • Swiss Cheese
  • Sliced ham (I prefer a Virginia ham or Black Forest, use what you like!)
  • Powdered/Confectioners Sugar (optional)
  • Blueberry compote
  • Sour cream


  • Dip the bread in the egg mixture, and fry.
  • When you flip the bread over in the pan, add a slice of swiss and the ham on to one slice of the French toast.
  • When they are properly browned, add a second slice of French toast on top of the first slice to complete the sandwich.
  • Cut in half and dust with powdered sugar if desired.
  • Serve with warmed blueberry compote* and sour cream.

Compote is another name for pie filling.  You can buy canned, but fresh is so much tastier and so easy to make.

Blueberry Compote & Pie Filling


In a saucepan combine:

  • 1-1/2 cups of blueberries (fresh or frozen)
  • 1/3 c water
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp lemon juice (optional)

Simmer over medium heat about 10 minutes till berries burst.  Then add:

  • 1 cup blueberries (fresh or frozen)

Simmer an additional 7-8 minutes until compote coats the back  of a spoon.

Can be made up to 3 days in advance, serve warm.  Cover and refrigerate to store or portion in ice cube trays and freeze. Serve with Monte Cristo sandwiches, cheese filled crepes, ice cream, pancakes, waffles, yogurt & granola, you name it!

Other blueberry tips:

  • Freeze blueberries and put them in your glass of white wine to keep it chilled!
  • When making muffins, toss blueberries in a little flour to keep them from sinking in the batter while they bake.
  • When using frozen blueberries in a baking recipe, do not let them thaw or the juice will “bleed” into your batter.

I’ll follow up with more blueberry recipes later (I’m thinking cheesecake and those crepes in particular), but this should be enough to get your creative “juices” flowing.



Best Deviled Eggs Ever!

I love hard boiled eggs.  I love them in egg salad, deviled eggs, on tossed salads, sliced on sandwiches, you name it.   I HATE peeling them.

I’m an accomplished cook, but it always seemed to be hit or miss on hard boiled eggs as to whether I could peel them without destroying them… especially when I want them to look pretty for deviled eggs.  (Have I mentioned that Murphy is my patron Saint?)

Then I saw this video and I’m sitting here with my jaw open… WIDE!   Check it out! 

All I can say is THANK YOU TIM FERRISS!!

I’ve been wanting to share my favorite deviled egg recipe for the longest but didn’t want to put anyone else through the frustration of peeling the eggs.  Now I can!

Avocado Deviled Eggs and bacon


  • 2 ripe avocados
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 1 dozen eggs, hard boiled, cooled and peeled
  • 1 garlic clove, finely minced or crushed
  • 1 tbsp mayonnaise or olive oil
  • 1/4 tsp dry mustard (optional)
  • 8 pieces of crisp, crumbled, delicious bacon – optional (just kidding, bacon is never optional)
  • Paprika for garnish


  • Cut the avocados in half, remove the pits and mash with lemon juice immediately.
  • Cut the eggs in half, put the yolks in the bowl with the avocados and the whites on a serving platter.
  • Add the mayo, garlic, and dry mustard to the avocado mixture and blend till smooth.
  • Add 6 of the 8 strips of crumbled bacon to the avocado and fold in.
  • Scoop mixture or pipe evenly into egg white halves.
  • Garnish with remaining crumbled bacon and sprinkle lightly with paprika.
  • Eat yours first, because once they’re on the table you might not get anymore. 

Just a couple of thoughts…

I like using a kitchen scoop like this to fill the eggs.  To me it’s easier than transferring the mixture into a piping bag and then having the additional clean up.  

If you’re making these ahead of time or need to travel with them, put the egg whites in a container with some water.  It will keep them from getting rubbery.  When you’re ready to assemble them, place them on a paper towel to remove the excess water before filling them.

If you don’t have a piping bag, are traveling before serving or are just making this ahead of time, put the mixture into a ziploc bag.  Make sure you squeeze out the excess air to keep it from browning.  When you’re ready to assemble, just cut the tip off the bottom corner of the bag and use it as a piping bag.  

Green Eggs & Ham
Don’t have a copy? You can get it here.

If you have little ones, this is a great recipe to make while reading Dr Seuss’ Green Eggs & Ham!   I always loved doing stuff with my daughter that went with what we were learning or reading at the time.

Pumpkin – Mom’s Secret Weapon!

Pumpkin!  We wait all year for it then devour it by the pound.  For some reason though we tend to forget about it in our list of fruits & veggies.  I guess it’s because we don’t cover it in cheese sauce or garlic butter and we don’t put it over ice cream.  Technically it’s a fruit although most regard it as a vegetable.  Anything with seeds or pits are fruit.


A 1-cup serving of pumpkin puree supplies 3.4 grams of iron, a mineral that helps keep you from getting sick by supporting a strong immune system. This is about 43 percent of the 8 milligrams men need each day, and about 20 percent of the 18 milligrams women need. The same serving of pumpkin puree contains 1,906 micrograms of vitamin A, which boosts your immune system, as well as keeps your eyes, bones and teeth healthy. You need between 700 and 900 micrograms of vitamin A each day, and pumpkin is an excellent source. You also get about 15 percent of your daily vitamin E needs from a serving of pumpkin puree. Vitamin E keeps your immune system working properly and also protects your cells from damage that can lead to certain types of disease, such as cancer.

Disease Prevention

The compounds that give pumpkins their bright orange color can protect you from developing lung cancer, according to Michael T. Murray, author of “The Condensed Encyclopedia of Healing Foods.” The same compounds help prevent heart disease. A 2010 article published in “Nutrition Research Reviews” notes that pumpkin reduces inflammation. Inflammation can lead to many chronic health conditions, including cancer and heart disease, as well as Type 2 diabetes and arthritis.  Read more

So working on the premise of being a sneaky Mama and getting those fruits and veggies in their family’s diet, pumpkin is an easy solution.  Sure pumpkin pie is awesome, but why limit yourself?

Canned pumpkin is available year round, but if you can get them fresh they are really easy to prepare.

From there it can be canned or frozen in bags.  Freezing is my preference because I can take out what I need.  I even freeze some in ice cube trays for making…..


Maggie’s Favorite Pumpkin Latte

(For the grown ups!)


  • 2 cups milk (Cow, Soy or Almond – whatever your preference)
  • 1 cup very strong coffee (a French press works great)
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla or 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 4 tsps sugar (or to taste – I like half white sugar and half brown sugar)
  • 2 heaping spoonfuls of pumpkin
  • 1/2 tsp of pumpkin pie spice *or*
    • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
    • 1-2 dashes of ground nutmeg  (Fresh is stronger than store ground)
    • dash of ground cloves
    • dash of ground allspice
    • dash of ground ginger


Pour all of the ingredients into a pot and heat over medium-high heat until the coffee is steaming hot, whisking with a wire whisk until the ingredients are incorporated and a little frothy. Pour into mugs and top with fresh whipped cream & cinnamon & nutmeg or pumpkin pie spice. (I prefer Mountain Rose for fresh spices and herbs.)

Personally I’m thinking about the possibility of drying some cooked pumpkin then putting it in the food processor to make pumpkin powder (just like garlic or onion powder – yes, that’s how you make those if you haven’t already).   My thinking is that I can just add it to a cup of coffee when I want to without thawing.  When I get around to it, I’ll let you know how it works out.

I looked at the label one day on a container of pumpkin spice non-dairy creamer.  Now THAT was a frightening ingredient list!  Use pumpkins that are marked down after Halloween or Thanksgiving and be chemical free!  If you have one of those U-Pick-It farms nearby, you can get a better deal and it makes for a great day out for the family!


Maggie’s Favorite Pumpkin Waffles


  • 2 c baking mix or complete pancake mix + additional 2 tsp of baking powder *or*
    • 2 c all-purpose flour
    • 4 tsp baking powder
    • 3/4 tsp baking soda
  • 3 tsp pumpkin pie spice *or*
    • 1-1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
    • 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
    • 1/4 tsp ground ginger
    • 1/8 tsp ground cloves
    • 1/8 tsp ground allspice
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 1/3 cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree, fresh or canned
  • 2/3 – 1 c milk or water
  • 4 tablespoons butter, (melted & cooled) or coconut oil


Preheat waffle iron.  Mix together dry ingredients together and whisk to ensure that there are no clumps.  In a separate bowl, mix together all remaining ingredients except water and beat with whisk then slowly incorporate into dry mixture.  Once blended, start adding the water a little at a time until the batter reaches the consistency of a milkshake.   Spray the inside of your iron with non-stick spray (I use a pressurized sprayer like this with grapeseed oil in it) or use a basting brush to lightly coat with oil, butter or coconut oil.  Cooking time will vary depending on the iron and whether it is a regular iron or a Belgian waffle iron.

Note:  Because of the pumpkin in the batter, these waffles are much moister than regular waffles which will make them denser and a little more cake-like.  The cooking time will be longer than waffles you usually cook.

For an added treat, check out this recipe for my Rum-Cinnamon Syrup!  It’s amazing!

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Maggie’s Favorite Paleo! Pumpkin Waffles

These are dairy free, gluten/grain free, soy free and OH SO delicious!


  • 1/2 c pumpkin puree
  • 3/4 c almond flour
  • 1/4 c canned coconut milk
  • 1/2 c unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 2 tbsp pure maple syrup
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 2 tsp coconut oil + more for the iron
  • 1/8 tsp baking soda
  • 1/8 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tbsp vanilla (not a typo)
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/8 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/8 tsp allspice
  • 1/4 finely ground kosher or sea salt.

Preheat your waffle iron.  In one bowl, whisk together coconut milk, eggs, syrup, vanilla and coconut oil.  Add pumpkin, blend well.  In another bowl, mix together spices, almond flour and shredded coconut then incorporate into wet mixture.  Ladle into heated iron that has been brushed with coconut oil.  Start checking after a few minutes, again, the cook time will vary depending on the iron.

For both of these waffles, consider putting together a batch of cinnamon butter as an added treat!

Be sure to check out the Pumpkin Gingerbread Trifle too!

Enjoy “forcing” your family to eat their 5-a-day!


Banana Bread French Toast

This recipe is two-in-one, first you make the banana bread, then  you use it to make the French toast.  Remember my motto of work smart, not hard… it takes the same amount of effort to make a double batch, then freeze one for later!



For the bread

  • 3 medium bananas (you want them brown and spotty)
  • 1.5 cups roasted unsalted cashews
  • 1 cup almond meal/flour
  • 2 tablespoons walnut oil
  • 2 eggs, whisked
  • 1 tablespoon raw honey
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • pinch of salt


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For the french toast

  • 2 eggs
  • ⅓ cup canned coconut milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1-2 tablespoons coconut oil


  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Pull out your handy dandy food processor. It will make life soooo much easier. Add your cashews to the food processor to grind down.
  3. Once your get a fine cashew meal, add your walnut oil while your food processor is still on until you get a cashew butter.
  4. Then peel your bananas, roughly break them up, and add to your food processor with your cashews. Turn your food processor on and let combine for a minute or so until you have a soupy paste.
  5. Now in a large bowl, whisk your eggs, then add your cashew/banana mixture along with almond meal/flour, baking soda and powder, honey, vanilla extract, cinnamon, and salt. Mix to combine until you get a batter.
  6. Grease a bread pan with some coconut oil. I used a loaf pan that was 9.3×5.2 inches (weird numbers) and it worked well. You could use smaller for taller loaf of bread, just may cook differently.
  7. Pour batter into your greased loaf pan. Place in oven and bake for 25-30 minutes or until bread is cooked through and the top of your loaf has a bit of a “crisp” to it.
  8. Let bread cool for about 10 minutes.
  9. When banana bread is cooled, whisk together your french toast ingredients (minus the coconut oil) in a shallow bowl.
  10. Heat up a skillet or griddle and add your coconut oil to it.
  11. Cut your bread into ½-1 inch slices, dip them in your egg mixture on both sides, then place on griddle to cook for 2-3 minutes per side.
  12. Top french toast off with slice bananas, maple syrup or honey, and a touch of cinnamon.
  13. Pure brilliance. Consume. Try to go slow. It is epic.



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Cinnamon Sweet Potato Ice Cream with Toasted Walnuts

cinnamon sweet potato ice cream
  • 1 medium sweet potato or yam, baked until soft (stop worrying about size, it won’t make that big of a difference)*
  • 1 (14 oz) canned coconut milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2-3 tablespoons cinnamon (the more the better. duh.)
  • sprinkle of nutmeg
  • pinch of salt
  • ⅓ cup walnuts, roughly chopped
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil
  • ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • more cinnamon
  • one more pinch of salt

Mountain Rose Herbs. A Herbs, Health & Harmony Com

  1. First, bake your sweet potato. So poke a crap ton of holes in it using a fork.
  2. Preheat oven to 400 degrees and place your sweet potato on a baking sweet.
  3. Bake for 35-45 minutes or until your sweet potato is soft to the touch. The longer you bake it and the gushy-er it gets, the sweet it will be.
  4. Let sweet potato cool and remove the skin.
  5. Place sweet potato in a food processor along with your coconut milk and puree until smooth.
  6. Then add your vanilla extract, cinnamon, nutmeg, and pinch of salt and puree one more time.
  7. Place in fridge to cool for 30min.-1 hour depending how warm your sweet potato was.
  8. Add cooled mixture to your ice cream maker and follow the directions.
  9. While your ice cream churns, pull out a small saucepan, place under medium heat and add your 2 tablespoons of coconut oil along with ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract.
  10. Then add your walnuts and mix around to help the coconut oil coat on all sides.
  11. Let your walnuts begin to roast. After a minute or so, they will become fragrant and then add your cinnamon and a bit of salt. Keep flipping around your walnuts so they do not burn and they can coat in the cinnamon.
  12. Add more cinnamon if you want. I did.
  13. Once your ice cream is done, top with walnuts. I also topped mine with a bit of sunbutter.

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