Maple-Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Toasted Hazelnuts

Maple-Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Toasted Hazelnuts

Thanksgiving is over, but my contribution was a hit.  For those of you who may not know, my sister is vegan, so most of the dishes were vegan friendly.  We still had a beautiful turkey, courtesy of my brother-in-law and his parents.

I brought the sprouts.  My sister suggested some wacky dish with quinoa and cranberries, but I found this recipe from Claire’s favorite vegan chef, Chef Chloe for maple-roasted Brussels sprouts with toasted hazelnuts.  I recommend cutting the sprouts into quarters instead of halves as this allows for a more consistent done-ness.  Also, it helps if you go through the work of toasting the hazelnuts that you actually put them in the dish.  Oops.

The recipe couldn’t be easier, and you can even partially cook it a day ahead of time, and all you need is:

    • 1 ½ pounds Brussels sprouts
    • ¼ cup olive oil
    • ¾ teaspoon sea salt
    • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
    • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
    • ½ cup coarsely chopped hazelnuts, toasted
  • The directions are in the recipe above, so cook and enjoy!

How to make your own mayonnaise in two minutes or less (and you will never go back to store bought)

My friend K tweeted this evening about how she’d spent $60, two hours and a whole mess of olive oil trying to make homemade mayonnaise, and had just ended up with a pint of broken mayo. I asked her if she had an immersion blender, and she told me that she did, but didn’t think that would work!  Well, I’m here to tell you different…

Once you make this mayonnaise, you won’t ever go back to store-bought.  The trick to making this 100% foolproof is using an immersion blender and thus eliminating “the pour” step, where my patience gives way and I would break the mayo.  The explanation for why all this works is hereNote: you need to have a narrow container that just clears the width of your immersion blender.  If your container is too wide, it will break; I’ve found peanut butter jars work perfectly, and then there’s not a whole lot of mess cleaning up as it’s in the permanent container!

I modify this recipe a bit, as I’ve found that there’s no point in separating an egg and then using water.  Also, bottle lemon juice has a more consistent acidity, so I just use that.  I substitute extra LIGHT olive oil (different from extra virgin olive oil!!) because it’s got a better fat profile.

Here’s my recipe:


  • 1 large egg
  • 1 cap full lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon dijon mustard ( I don’t measure this, just squirt some in)
  • 1 cup extra light olive oil
  • Kosher salt


  1. Place first 3 ingredients into an immersion blender cup. Pour oil in – you don’t have to be terribly careful. Let this sit for 15 seconds to allow all the oil to float to the top. Place head of immersion blender at bottom of cup and switch it on. As the mixture is emulsified, slowly tilt and lift the head of the blender until all oil is combinde. Season to taste with salt. Store in a sealed container in the refrigerator for up to two weeks, and listen to the angels sing.

We’ve found out – don’t substitute the mustard for anything fancy as it just won’t taste right.

You can even use this method for hollandaise sauce!

My inner child is a terrorist…

ransom note

… who is taking my health and sanity hostage and is demanding sugar in any form.  The cravings I’ve had today have included ice cream, pie, chocolate, and donuts.  It started this morning about 30 minutes after I woke up and hasn’t stopped since.  While I realize that the word terrorist is probably the most misused word of the century, I can’t come up with a better word to describe how I feel when that little girl inside me constantly brings up sugary food thoughts, and won’t stop until she’s satisfied.

It’s hard for me to parent that little girl, because I feel for her, too.  At times, I think that I deserve the sugary treat, too.  But she is incapable of playing the tape forward 5 or 30 minutes after the treat to how terrible I feel afterwards.  So, I’m supposed to parent this little girl inside me and all I can think is “We don’t negotiate with terrorists”.

I won the battle today, mostly because there isn’t anything much sugary in the house.  Also, my lack of desire to go outside outweighed any empathy for my hostage-taking inner child. I just wish I had better strategies for other times, like when I’m stressed or angry; these emotions also lend towards me giving in to her demands.

So, I did take a tip from the folks who are potato hacking, and realized that my inner child does see taters as comfort food.  So, I put my George Foreman grill to the BEST USE EVER, and made hashbrowns in it:

grilled hash browns

(not my picture, but deeelicious)

Along with some poached eggs, that kept me satisfied until 2:30 or so.  At which point, I baked up approximately a metric tonne of french fries (click the link for recipe and pictures!).  With some non-HFCS ketchup, that really hit the spot.  And since it was made with minimal extras, pretty darn healthy for a comfort food, which even my inner terrorist liked:

IMG 1312

again, not my image, but pretty close to what my plate looked like.

Some of my favorite Paleo recipes

This is going to be  a short and sweet one today as I am still feeling under the weather.

Since I’ve completed 2 Whole30s, many of my friends have asked me about some of recipes behind the delicious looking pictures I’ve posted. I keep saying I’ll post a list of my favorite ones, but haven’t gotten around to it.  Well, now sounds like a great time.

  • Chocolate Chili – Even your non-paleo friends will love this.  And, if you want, you can substitute a bottle of beer for the cup of water (if you’re not worried about gluten)
  • Chili Cilantro Lime Crock Pot Chicken: Deeeelicious.  It’s a little tricky as the marinade actually needs to go between the skin and the meat.  However, once you get a hang of that maneuver, this is a super tasty and easy crock pot meal.
  • Paleo pot sticker burger: Suggested by my friend Betsy, this burger really does taste like the inside of a pot sticker!
  • Comfort noodles: The eggs, olive oil and garlic transform into amazingness wrapped around zucchini noodles.  Makes for a super easy supper.
  • Shepherd’s Pie: This is utterly amazing with lamb, but quite good with beef. Drain the meat, though, after you brown it, or it gets a little soupy.
  • Paleo Pad Thai: Kind of a pain in the butt to make, but worth it.  You can also use zucchini noodles instead of spaghetti squash
  • Slow cooker roast chicken and gravy: Who wouldn’t love something that cooks itself?
  • One pot pork fried “rice”: I use chicken instead of the pork all the time, and easily double this.  It makes a TON.

Whole60, Day 21

Day 21: Monday, Sept 23

Man, my house smelled delicious when I woke up! If there’s an incentive to make your own stock, that’s definitely one of them.

Unfortunately, my day was back to back meetings from 7:30 am to about 2:30 pm.  Add onto that the fact that I didn’t get to sleep until late (my own fault), and this made for a very cranky Heather who pretty much hated people.  I told this to my friend Paul, who said, “That happens to you pretty often”.   Well, dang, the man does have a point, and is probably something I need to work on at some point in the near future.

Also, frustratingly, I dove somewhat head first into the cashews today as well.  I’m sure that this was because I was exhausted and old habits say “eat food to wake you up”.  Sigh.  At least it isn’t gluten or sugar, but still!  Something has got to change here, and I’m not quite sure how to tackle this.  Perhaps I need to make a commitment to do something else: write, walk, drink water. I think most importantly, I need to be conscious of the choices I’m making.

I have to turn my car in to get some dents fixed Tuesday morning, and will be without a car until Wednesday night, so I’m going to take the opportunity of being home in the evening to get my weekly cook up on.  On Sunday I’d planned my recipes for the week and also planned out the WCU:

Simple Roasted Tomato Soup
D.I.Y. Ghee | Award-Winning Paleo Recipes | Nom Nom Paleo
Two-Minute Mayonnaise | Serious Eats : Recipes
Sweet & Sour Split Roast Chicken – Recipe Distiller
Spinach Mushroom & cherry tomato fry up
PaleOMG  4 Ingredient Acorn Squash Candy

Weekly Cookup List:

    1. Melt butter for ghee
    2. Make mayo
    3. Slice 2 yellow onions
    4. Dice 2 yellow onions
    5. Nuke & slice acorn squash
    6. Fire up grill
    7. Roast tomatoes& onions and acorn squash [save handful of cherry tomatoes for fry up]
    8. Make sweet & sour sauce [p110 primal cravings]
    9. Brown ground beef
    10. Grill chicken [foreman grill?]
    11. Slice cherry tomatoes in half
    12. Shred collard greens

Whole60, Day 5

L-A-Z-Y.  That was my Saturday.  I acquired season 1 of Person of Interest (I can’t even remember why this intrigued me, I probably saw a promo for the new season, because I need a new TV show to watch like a HOLE in my HEAD… but I digress), and made a conscious decision to do Jack Shit all day.  Is this food related?  Work related?  Who knows, but it was just what I needed.

Food wise, I literally had Pad Thai for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.  I almost made dinner several spoons of sunflower butter, but decided  that, while it gets an A+ for laziness, it probably wasn’t the best choice.

It’s interesting for me to note that my second Whole30/60 is SO much different from my first.  I was stressed out unbelievably, trying to get shopping done and cleaning pantries and having 400 recipes to make.  My pantry is still Paleo, and I’m a lot more laid back and “Oh, I’ll figure something out” with this one.  I guess having been there, done that, really helps.

Since I was too lazy to take pictures of my Pad Thai, here’s an old one of my favorite Whole30 drinky-treat (which I did have today):

2013-05-07 17.24.11


  • 2 oz (or so) 100% Tart Cherry Juice
  • Splash lime juice (or juice from 1/2 lime)
  • Ice
  • Seltzer Water

Put first three ingredients in a fancy glass and top with seltzer.  Drink and feel special.

Rumchata Cupcakes! [grain-free, and mostly dairy-free]

Rumchata cupcakes!

Not the prettiest, but certainly tasty!

If you don’t know what Rumchata is, you should rectify that right away.  It is basically cinnamon toast cereal in an alcohol format. Yum. At brunch one Saturday, it came up that Rumchata Cupcakes would be a fantastic idea.   I decided that as soon as I was done with my Whole30, I would put my mind to this.

Now, I’m not really a create-your-own-recipe-from-scratch kind of girl.  But the scientist in me does love to take some recipes and “frankenstein” them together.  I’d found this delicious looking recipe, but unfortunately for me, it used white flour.  I’d decided that staying grain-free is a better thing for me, so I needed to find a cupcake recipe that used a nut-flour.

I decided on coconut flour, as I had heard that almond flour wasn’t terribly stable at high temperatures, and also that coconut flour is amazing in pastries, as it absorbs a lot of moisture and thus the cake stays delicious.   So Chef Google and I went off to find a coconut flour cake recipe, as that would have the liquid proportions already determined for me.  I found a decent one here, and used it as a template.

The icing was a little more difficult, and the first couple tries were not up to snuff.  Chef Google to the rescue again, and we found a base for coconut whipped cream/icing that actually works quite well, but the consistency is better when chilled.

Grain-Free Rumchata Cupcakes

Prep time: 10 minutes

Cook time: 30 minutes

Ingredients (Makes a dozen cupcakes): [this recipe can be easily halved,  just make sure to fill unused cupcake wells with water to prevent your pan from burning]

  • 1/2 cup plus 2 Tablespoons coconut flour
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1/2 cup cane sugar
  • 1/2 cup coconut cream
  • 1/2 cup Rumchata
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda


  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and line a dozen cupcake holders.
  2. Combine all of the ingredients together in a large bowl and mix until it forms an even batter.
  3. Scoop equal amounts of the batter into each cupcake well [a 1/4 cup measure works well]
  4. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until the tops are firm to the touch.
  5. Remove from the oven. Let the cupcakes cool completely before frosting them.

Frosting Recipe:

  • 1 can coconut cream
  • 2 tablespoons confectioners sugar [I didn’t put this in, but you might want to]
  • 1 tablespoon Rumchata
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

I, too, used the Trader Joe’s Coconut Cream, but if you use regular coconut milk, it must be the full-fat version; the lite will not work.


  1. Put your coconut cream in the fridge overnight to chill.
  2. 15 min before you are ready to make the icing, put mixing bowl, beaters and coconut cream in the freezer
  3. Open the can, and dump the solid portions of the coconut cream into the mixing bowl.  Save the watery portion for another recipe calling for coconut milk, or toss it.  (This is where the TJ coconut cream comes in handy – it’s very little water!)
  4. Add the other ingredients, and beat until stiff peaks form (about 5-8 min)
  5. Pipe onto cupcakes, or transfer to another container and put in the fridge to firm up a bit before piping

Keep frosted cupcakes in the fridge until you’re ready to eat them, as the icing consistency can get a little droopy at room temperature for long.