Autumn

Cranberry Cherry Cheesecake

cranberry
Here’s a lovely holiday dessert that you can serve in slices or individual ramekins.

This three-layer dessert has a date-nut crust, a ricotta cheesecake and a beautiful topping of red cranberries and cherries—all sweetened with low-glycemic date paste.

I think it would look even prettier with pomegranate arils sprinkled on top like sparkling rubies, but I didn’t think of that until after I took the photo.

Very delicious.

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Spiced Pickled Beets With Red Grapes and Pomegranate

Spiced Pickled Beets With Red Grapes and Pomegranate
 

The spiced pickled beets in this beautiful salad are made by fermentation, not vinegar. This way they are filled with natural probiotics that aid digestion.

It’s very easy. You just put all the ingredients in the jar and let it sit for three days and that’s it.

I’m going to give you a recipe for Spiced Pickled Beets. Then serve them in a bowl with sliced-in-half red grapes and pomegranate seeds on top. So good in so many ways.

I’m eating these almost every day for a mid-afternoon snack. I think a jar of these Spiced Pickled Beets would make a great holiday gift

 

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Thanksgiving Dinner

Thanksgiving day

 

I know it’s still two weeks until Thanksgiving, but really, aren’t you already thinking about what you are going to make? I am.

I’ve gathered up all my Thanksgiving recipes here for you. Take a look.

AMAZING ALMOND FLAXSEED QUICK BREAD – A great substitute for corn bread if you don’t eat corn.

BUTTERMILK CORNBREAD, CORNBREAD STUFFING, AND STUFFING SOUFFLE – This is the real thing, made gluten-free from 100% cornmeal.

THANKSGIVING GREEN BEAN CASSEROLE – This is that famous casserole, but made better from scratch.

BAKED SWEET POTATOES AND YAMS – No need for marshmallows on the yams.

THREE GLUTEN-FREE GRAVIES – Here are three different and all delicious ways to thicken your turkey gravy without wheat flour or cornstarch.

CARAMEL APPLE BREAD PUDDING – Here’s a wonderful change from pumpkin pie.

PUMPKIN PIE FOR EVERYONE – There’s no crust on this pie and no sugar, but it tastes sweet and everyone at your table should be able to eat it.

TWICE BAKED PUMPKIN – This is twist on twice-baked potatoes, where you roast the pumpkin, scoop it out, and bake it again with additions.

MY ROSS FAMILY MASHED POTATO SALAD – This is my favorite family recipe—mashed potatoes with potato salad ingredients added. Delicious!
 

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My Ross Family Mashed Potato Salad

mashed-potato-salad

 

Since Thanksgiving is coming up, I thought I would share with you my favorite Thanksgiving recipe.

This is my #1 favorite childhood family recipe. It’s mashed potatoes with ingredients you would add to potato salad: hard-boiled eggs, raw onions, fresh parsley, and vinegar. So it eats like mashed potatoes, but tastes like potato salad. I just looked this up online for the first time and I see there are other recipes for mashed potato salad that use mayonnaise and mustard and pickles, but my recipe is simpler. And it’s authentic to my family.

We only ate mashed potato salad twice a year: at Thanksgiving and Christmas. So as I share this with you, it is with fond memories and with love from my holiday table to yours.

I have made this so many times. This actually is my personal version. The version that was handed down to me was made with white onions and white vinegar, served at my great-aunt Ollie’s house in Saratoga, California. She lived in a beautiful house in a forest that she and her husband had built. It was all glass around the exterior so you could see the trees and deer, and had a big round fireplace in the middle with a big copper hood. And these potatoes were always on the table.

After my great-aunt died, holiday dinners were at my father’s house, but we still had mashed potato salad. His new wife wanted to use green onions and she and I would argue about how much vinegar to use. I, of course, thought it should be MY way because the potatoes were from MY family.

And even though i only make mashed potato salad twice a year, it connects me to my roots.

 

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Easy Plant-Based Fat-Free Mushroom Gravy

mushroom-gravy

 
Most gravies are made using meat or poultry stock and rely on the classic flour-and-fat method to thicken.

But lately I’ve been adding more plants to my diet and wanted to have the option of a plant-based gravy that still had the full flavor of a meal-based gravy.

So I played around with mushrooms last night and came up with something wonderful.

The combination of mushrooms, tamari and coconut aminos is delicious and the arrowroot thickens this gravy nicely without any fat at all.

It’s one of my new favorites.

 

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Lasagna Al Fresco

lasagna-al-fresco

I am a big fan of lasagna, but usually don’t eat grains, so am always happy to come up with a way to eat something that takes like lasagna but doesn’t have the noodles. And this one is a winner.

Larry was visiting from California to take care of me during my second eye surgery and we were considering what to make from the various foods we had collected when we went grocery shopping.

We started by cooking the whole box of organic baby spinach with onions, then topped it with a layer of ricotta cheese and a layer of pasta sauce and a layer of provolone and finished it off with sliced mushrooms. We baked it in the oven and it satisfied every craving for Italian/pizza/lasagna.

But it was even better the second night when we paired it with a huge salad with garlic dressing (that’s the “al fresco” part—fresco being Italian for dining outdoors. I am using the word loosely to mean “fresh” as in “from the fresh air outdoors.”)

Anyway we agreed that the lasagna paired perfectly with the green salad and can’t wait to make it again.

And if you love lasagna, try my Skillet Lasagna as well.

 

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Cinnamon Pecan Muffins

Cinnamon Pecan Muffins  

Today I did my first baking of the season with autumn flavors.

This muffin—made with the perfect mix of almond and coconut flour and sweetened with date paste—has a very cake-like texture that is very much like a wheat muffin. Topped with more date paste mixed with cinnamon and sprinkled with chopped pecans that toast a bit while baking, it’s just a bite of autumn in your mouth. So good I had to eat two.

This recipe makes 12 muffins, so i was wondering what to do with the rest. I would love to eat all of them, but not all in one day.

So I’m going to freeze them and take a few out next week when Larry comes from California to visit and help get the house ready for his move here to live with me. He loves apples, so I’m going to make apple crisp by crumbling these muffins on top and adding more pecans and a sprinkle of date sugar. I’ll serve it nice and warm from the oven and he will love it.

If you like bread pudding, it would be great made with these muffins as well. If you don’t eat the all first.

 

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Basic Grass-Fed Beef Stew with 6 International Variations

Beef Stew

Beef Stew + Sour Cream = Stroganoff

Now that it’s autumn (and since the Autumn Equinox was yesterday, today is the first day when nights are longer than days), I thought it was time to have a warm and cozy recipe.

But this is more than a recipe. It’s a way to cook low and slow on the weekend, and then warm up the same stew every night during the week and have the same food taste different every night. Well, actually, I’m not eating it every night. I put some of it in the freezer in my favorite food storage containers. But whenever I do choose to eat it, I have my choice of different flavors.

Deep NutritionAccording to one of my favorite food books Deep Nutrition: Why Your Genes Need Traditional Food, cooking meat low and slow is the way to go. It takes time for nutrition to be released from meat, and for me, there’s nothing more delicious than a good cut of beef cooked until it flakes apart with lots of gravy.

And another important point about eating beef is it must be grass-fed beef. Nowadays most natural food stores sell grass-fed beef, but you can also order it online.

butcherboxRecently I found a great source of delicious grass-fed beef (and organic chicken and heritage-breed pork) online. This is truly the most delicious and best quality meat I’ve ever eaten (I love every bite!), and it costs only about $6 per serving. ButcherBox offers subscriptions for a box of meat to be delivered to your door every month (or two or three). Their meat comes from small family farms where cows graze on a unique blend of ButcherBox grasses. The flavor is phenomenal. ButcherBox grass-fed beef simply tastes better and costs less than grass fed beef sold at natural food stores. I’m going to continue to order from them. [Full disclosure: that’s not ButcherBox beed in the photo. I ate it all up and then realized I hadn’t taken the photo! So I made it again with grass-fed beef from the natural food store, which was delicious but not amazing.]

“Beef stew” exists in one form or another in every cuisine around the world. Here are some ways to vary the flavor of my basic recipe, but you may find more. If you do, please leave a comment so I can taste it too.

American Beef Stew – add cooked carrots, onions, potatoes, and peas.

Russian Stroganoff– add a dollop of grass-fed organic sour cream on top and a sprinkle of paprika and fresh chopped parsley. Mix it together in the bowl.

West African Peanut Stew – OK I have to say after I made this variation, I didn’t even want to try the others, I just wanted to eat this every night. To my 3-ounce portion I added 2 tablespoon of chunky organic peanut butter, 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger, and a sprinkle of crushed red pepper flakes. Traditionally this stew includes sweet potatoes and greens, so you could add those too if you want.

Indian Curry – The exotic flavors of Indian food is an art to master, but adding a few key spices can turn your beef stew into s fragrant delight. The most basic Indian spices are curry powder, garam masala, ginger,  cumin,  and turmeric, or look for an Indian spice blend.

Italian Ragu – A famous Italian sauce is “ragu,” which is beef and other meats cooked for hours in tomato sauce, until they all break apart. So to my beef stew, the quick version would be to add your favorite organic pasta sauce (in a glass jar), plus extra garlic, basil, or other favorite Italian seasonings. Top with parmesan, ricotta, or mozzarella cheese. Serve over gluten-free pasta or vegetables of your choice.

Hungarian Goulash – As I was working on this recipe this week, I received an email from Saveur magazine for “best beef stew,” which turned out to be goulash, so I had to include it on this list. Just add a lot of sweet paprika to my beef stew recipe and a dollop of sour cream on top.

If you want to thicken the stock that forms during cooking, here are three ways to make gluten-free gravy. The arrowroot option is quick and easy. The others are more delicious.

This recipe combines mushrooms with the beef to give more food without more meat, and to add the richness of the mushroom flavor to the broth.

 

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Simple Shaker Lemon Pie

shaker-lemon-pie

I used to have a lemon tree in my backyard that would be sagging with the most delicious lemons every year about this time, so I was always looking for recipes for my lemons.

One year II found an interesting old Shaker recipe for a pie that has a custard filling using the whole lemon–peel and all. I remembered eating this pie years ago at the Shaker Village of Pleasant Hill in Kentucky (see it on their menu). We stayed overnight at the Inn and had dinner in the restaurant. Ibought some measuring spoons made by hand from wood. This place is worth a visit.

The original pie is made by putting the filling between a bottom and top pastry crust. But I like eating the filling plain, with whipped cream. You could also spoon it over cake or ice cream.

It’s just a wonderful celebration of lemon!

The original called for white sugar, of course, but I made it with agave. You could substitute powdered unrefined cane sugar, maple syrup, or honey and the results should be the same. You can also add more sweetener if you want. I’ve used one quarter the amount of sweetener of the original recipe here.

If it looks like ingredients are missing, they’re not. This really is the recipe. And it makes a beautiful lemon custard.

Remember, Shakers are all about simplicity.

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