Savoring Today LLC Sharing recipes and tips for nourishing meals to inspire healthy connection around the table. Mon, 02 May 2016 18:48:55 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Southwest Cauliflower Rice Pilaf with Toasted Pepitas Tue, 26 Apr 2016 17:30:22 +0000

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Southwest Cauliflower Pilaf with Toasted Pepitas Recipe

Our local Whole Foods invited me to do a live cooking demo of my Skillet Steak Fajitas affording me the opportunity to promote my cookbook, Serve and Savor, at a group event on the topic of casual entertaining. It was a fun, intimate gathering to debut this Southwest Cauliflower Pilaf with Toasted Pepitas recipe.

Rarely can I leave well enough alone and this recipe is a prime example. Mainly because basic Mexican or Spanish rice has never held my interest after a bite or two. Especially when there’s guacamole on the table, which is a must, or authentic refried beans, the rice becomes filler. An afterthought.

Those days are over.

I mishmash-ed a handful of recipes, tossed in lime zest and toasted pepitas, and I had a rice side dish that could hold its own … with more vegetables and a lot less carbs. Ancho chile, cumin, coriander, and oregano is accented with lime and fresh cilantro to bring this dish to life. We enjoyed the warming spices and toasty pepitas with Missouri-Style BBQ Ribs, Skillet Beef Fajitas, and Roasted Chicken (recipe in cookbook)—it’s a tasty complement to roasted or grilled meats.

Let’s talk about cauliflower rice.

Cauliflower has become the darling of vegetables for its subtle taste and versatility as a substitute for starches and grains. I’ve even used it to replace most of the cream in Alfredo with great results. Swapping starches for vegetables in rice dishes like this is an easy way to incorporate more vegetables in your diet … and get kids to eat more too. Use a food processor or a large-hole cheese grater to “rice” the cauliflower, keeping in mind it will shrink by about 25% once cooked, so you don’t want tiny pieces. The pieces won’t be perfectly consistent as some will be slightly smaller or larger, but that’s okay and isn’t noticeable in the finished dish. In my opinion, grated cauliflower resembles the texture of rice so long as it is cooked quickly and remains slightly underdone.

So why add brown rice at all?

Cauliflower rice is best when served fresh—it suffers when reheated, becoming soft or mushy—and it’s hard to gauge if we’ll eat it all in one sitting. Since I routinely plan to have leftovers for lunches or freeze for later, I find adding a small amount of cooked rice helps maintain a consistent, satisfying texture. We use a similar ratio to the one in this recipe when preparing rice for Chicken Broccoli Casserole, Red Beans & Rice, or Chicken Curry. Even after being frozen in the casserole, the cauliflower-rice combo tastes great. Of course, you can substitute the brown rice with quinoa, farro (not gluten-free), buckwheat, or any favorite cooked whole grain.

A healthy side dish easily turns into a quick main dish.

Proofing this recipe for the Whole Foods event, I ended up with a ton of leftovers for just the two of us. I quickly discovered how easy it was to lay a few slices of grilled chicken or steak over a bowl of this Southwest Cauliflower Rice Pilaf, turning it into a complete, satisfying main dish. One bowl, fast and delicious. It could just as easily become soup by adding broth—so many healthy possibilities from one recipe.

Cauliflower subs for the majority of rice in this low-carb, healthy pilaf recipe with flavors of the Southwest.

Southwest Cauliflower Rice Pilaf with Toasted Pepitas
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Recipe type: Side Dish
Serves / Yields: 8
  • 15 ounces diced canned tomatoes
  • 1 lime, zested and juiced
  • ⅓ cup chicken stock
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • ½ cup long-grain brown rice
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 cup diced red onion
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon coriander
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • ¼ teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 (14 ounce) can black beans, cooked with salt and drained
  • 4 cups grated cauliflower (1 small head)
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • ½ teaspoon ancho chile powder
  • 1½ cups corn
  • ⅓ cup raw pepitas, toasted
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro
  1. Strain the juices from the tomatoes into a 1-cup measuring cup, pressing on the tomatoes to release as much as possible without smashing the tomatoes (this will produce about ⅓ cup). Add the juice of the lime and then fill the remaining amount with water to make 1 cup of liquid to cook the rice. Add this to the rice in a 2-quart saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer for about 40 minutes (or according to rice package directions). Meanwhile, simmer beans in their liquid with ½ teaspoon salt for 5 minutes, then drain beans.
  2. In a large skillet over medium heat, add the oil and cook the onion until softened and beginning to lightly brown at the edges. Add garlic, coriander, cumin, and oregano; stir until fragrant. Add the stock, tomato paste, tomatoes, and ¼ teaspoon salt, stirring to loosen any bits and spices from the pan. Simmer 2 minutes to allow liquid to evaporate. When the rice is done, stir the tomato mixture into the rice, cover, and set aside.
  3. In the same skillet, heat enough oil to coat the bottom of the pan over medium-high heat. Add the cauliflower to the skillet and season with ancho chile powder, salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until almost soft, about 3 minutes. It's okay if it browns in spots, but important that it doesn't overcook in order to retain a firmer texture. Add corn and beans to the skillet with the cauliflower to warm through, about 1 minute. Transfer to a large mixing bowl and toss with lime zest, rice mixture, and cilantro.
  4. Toast the pepitas over med-high heat in a dry skillet until browned and popping, about 2 minutes (this can be done in advance). Stir into rice just before serving.
Notes & Suggestions
Roasted and salted pepitas (pumpkin seeds) can be substituted for the raw pepitas, just reduce the amount of salt in the recipe by ¼ teaspoon and skip the step of toasting in the skillet.

A delicious and healthy low-carb, gluten-free cauliflower rice pilaf recipe. Serve as a side dish or add grilled chicken or steak for a simple and satisfying meal.

More Cauliflower Recipes to Savor:

Cauliflower Alfredo Sauce
Garlic Roasted Cauliflower
Roasted Cauliflower & Garlic Soup
Basil, Tomato & Goat Cheese Pizza
Broccoli-Cauliflower Gratin
Roasted Vegetable Medley with Rosemary & Thyme

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Easy, Fresh Berry Crumble with Orange Cream Thu, 07 Apr 2016 22:20:21 +0000

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A simple gluten-free dessert with fresh mixed berries the whole family will love.
This easy Fresh Berry Crumble recipe has been on my mind for a while now. It all started last year when creating the Caramel Apple Crumble for my cookbook and then again last week while trying my hand at chocolate souffle. I’ve forever been a fan of fruit crumbles and crisps. It was the first dessert I made by myself when I was eight or nine, which demonstrates how easy they really are to make. In fact, it is a wonderful way to introduce kids to cooking.

Somewhere in the midst of my souffle adventure came inspiration for the Orange Cream, or creme anglaise (English cream), to accent this mixed berry crumble. The cream was so good with the souffle, we poured it over our waffles the next morning instead of syrup. And in our oatmeal a couple days later. Obviously, I was so smitten I had to share it with you.

Fresh summer berries need little coaxing to be dessert worthy, so we keep the sweetener to a minimum, and the crumb topping gluten-free. Here we use a mix of fresh blueberries and strawberries, but any combination of fruit or berries would be delicious. I haven’t tried the recipe with frozen fruit, but my recommendation would be to add a little more cornstarch to help thicken any extra juices.

The only thing we love more than the aroma of an Easy Fresh Berry Crumble in the oven is a bowl of it sitting in front of us with Orange Cream. The creamy citrus nuance is an exquisite finish, taking this simple dessert over the top.

Easy Fresh Berry Crumble Recipe with Orange Cream is a fabulous way to enjoy summer berries.

5.0 from 2 reviews
Easy Fresh Berry Crumble with Orange Cream
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Recipe type: Dessert, Fruit
Serves / Yields: 6
For the Orange Cream:
  • 1 cup half and half
  • 2 teaspoons orange zest -- 1 small orange
  • 2 egg yolks
  • ¼ cup honey
  • 1½ teaspoons Grand Marnier
For the berry filling:
  • 2 cups sliced fresh strawberries
  • 2 cups fresh blueberries
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch -- or sweet rice flour
  • 2 tablespoons coconut palm sugar
  • ¼ heaping teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons butter -- divided
For the Crumb Topping:
  • ½ cup almond flour
  • ⅓ heaping cup rolled oats (gluten-free)
  • ¼ cup coconut palm sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • ⅓ cup butter -- softened, not melted
  1. Heat oven to 375°F.
For the Orange Cream:
  1. Zest the orange directly into the half and half in a saucepan and heat over medium-low, stirring occasionally, until bubbles begin to break the surface, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat. In a mixing bowl, whisk together egg yolks and honey until combined. Whisk in ½ cup of the heated mixture to warm the egg yolks, then whisk the egg mixture into the remaining orange sauce in the pan. Return to medium-low heat and continue to stir until sauce thickens and coats the back of a spoon, about 5 minutes. Pour the sauce into a bowl set inside a larger bowl with ice to help chill the sauce quickly. Stir occasionally until cooled, about 10 minutes. Refrigerate until ready to serve. Just before serving, stir in Grand Marnier. Note: The orange cream can be made up to a week in advance.
For the berry filling:
  1. Prepare 8x8 baking dish with 1 tablespoon butter. Arrange the berries in an even layer in the dish and sprinkle evenly with cornstarch, palm sugar, cardamom, and vanilla extract. (It doesn't matter if the berries are layered or mixed with the dry ingredients in a bowl--layering just saves washing an extra dish). Dot with remaining butter.
For the Crumb Topping:
  1. Mix the almond flour, oats, palm sugar, and cinnamon in a bowl until well combined. Press the softened butter into the dry ingredients, mixing with your finger tips until combined and crumbly.
  2. Sprinkle topping over the layered ingredients and bake for 30 minutes, until bubbly and browned. Serve with Orange Cream.
Notes & Suggestions
Cointreau or Tuaca can be substituted for Grand Marnier.
Leftover Orange Cream can be refrigerated for up to 1 week or frozen. Serve as a substitute for syrup on waffles or pancakes.

Guests will be wowed by this easy fresh berry crumble recipe served with orange cream.Easy Fresh Berry Crumble with Orange Cream recipe bring the best out of summer berries. You choose the mix of berries, just don't skip the orange cream that gives it that Wow!
More Fresh Fruit desserts …

Cream Cheese Fruit Tart with Almond Crust
Grilled Peach & Vanilla Bean Crisp
Cheesecake Strawberries with Chocolate Accents
Fresh Cherry Turnovers

Follow Judy Purcell ☼ Savoring Today’s board Fruit Tarts on Pinterest.

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Smoked Turkey and Bean Soup Recipe Fri, 01 Apr 2016 19:05:13 +0000

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Bean soup recipe with smoked turkey, including stove top, slow cooker, and pressure cooker methods.

Updated with Pressure Cooker Instructions! See recipe notes for more details.

Smoky bean soup and sweet cornbread go together like movies and popcorn—I cannot imagine one without the other. A big pot of bean soup with smoked turkey or ham is one of my favorite post-holiday meals because if its simplicity and delicious use of leftovers. This recipe uses smoked turkey, but a leftover ham bone or ham hocks can be substituted.

If you don’t have a smoker to make your own smoked turkey at home, Diestel Smoked Turkey Drums & Thighs make it easy to get the sweet, smoky flavor bean soup demands. We prefer Diestel brand because of their sustainable farming methods and natural, hardwood smoking process. The flavor is pleasantly smoky and lightly seasoned, giving me more control over the amount of salt. Each thigh or drumstick is individually wrapped so it’s easy to customize the amount or combination you want. In this case, two smoked turkey thighs provide plenty of meat for 5 quarts of hearty soup.

Still want to smoke your own turkey? Take a look at Charbroil’s instructions for electric smokers or Traeger’s instructions on their wood smoker.

Beans are a great source of fiber, protein, vitamins, and minerals—one meal that can help you keep those New Year’s resolutions to take better care of yourself. Navy, Great Northern, Cannellini, pinto, black-eyed peas, or the 15 bean concoction sold in stores are all good choices for this recipe, so feel free to use whatever type you like best. Our favorite is Cannellini, which are like a white kidney bean with a soft, creamy texture.

I’ve prepared this soup in a slow cooker or in my stockpot for years, but lately I’ve been using my pressure cooker to make soups faster (see notes in recipe). The beans cook beautifully in the pressure cooker, however, the meat doesn’t quite get to the fall-off-the-bone stage in such a short time, but the flavor is the same. You can use canned beans if you’re in a pinch for time, but we prefer the taste and texture of dried beans along with a cup of lentils to naturally thicken the soup as they break down (no need to soak these). Note: Yellow or red lentils are best so the color brightens the soup; brown or green lentils can make the soup look dingy.

And whatever you do, don’t forget the whole grain cornbread. I start with one piece in my bowl to soak up the broth and crown another one with butter and honey (this also stands in for dessert).

Smoked Turkey and Bean Soup Recipe with whole grain corn bread is real comfort food. Make bean soup with smoke turkey instead of ham in the pressure cooker, slow cooker, or stove top.

5.0 from 4 reviews
Smoked Turkey & Bean Soup
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Recipe type: Soup, Turkey, Beans
Serves / Yields: About 5 quarts
  • 2 cups dry beans (soaked)
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 large onion -- chopped
  • 2-3 stalks celery -- chopped
  • 2-3 large carrots -- chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic -- minced
  • 4-5 quarts of Basic Chicken Stock, or chicken broth
  • 2 Diestel Smoked Turkey Thighs or Drumsticks
  • 1 cup lentils (unsoaked)
  • 1 whole bay leaf
  • 2 cubes of homemade beef bouillon or ½ cup concentrated beef stock (optional)
  • 2 teaspoons Paul Prudhomme's Meat Magic
  • 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • Sea salt and pepper -- to taste
  1. Dissolve 1 teaspoon baking soda in 4 quarts water in a large pot. Add beans and soak at room temperature for at least 8 hours. Drain and rinse well.
  2. Chop onion, carrot, celery, and garlic. Heat oil in large soup pot or pressure cooker over medium heat and cook onion, carrot, and celery caramelized. Add garlic and cook until fragrant. (If using a slow cooker, transfer softened vegetables to the cooker at this point and continue with remaining instructions.)
  3. Add soaked and rinsed beans, lentils, turkey thighs or drumsticks, and bay leaf to the pot; cover with broth or stock. Be sure to add enough liquid to cover with 2-3 inches above ingredients to allow beans to absorb liquid. Add water, as needed. *See Note for pressure cooker method.
  4. Bring to a boil then reduce heat and simmer for 2-3 hours on the stove or 4-6 hours in a crockpot set on low. Add spices and bouillon the last hour or so, adjust until desired flavor is reached. Salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Before serving, remove bones and large pieces of turkey from the pot; allow to cool slightly on a platter. Once cool enough to handle, separate meat from the bones and any unappealing connective tissue. Return meat to the pot and discard bones.
  6. Serve with cornbread and honey-butter.
Notes & Suggestions
Pressure CookerMethod: Once the onion, celery, carrot and garlic are softened, add all the ingredients to the pot, including spices. Bring soup to pressure based on manufacturer's instructions. Reduce heat enough to keep at pressure for 15 minutes. Beans should be soft and ready for salt and pepper, to taste.
Before serving, remove bones and large pieces of turkey from the pot; allow to cool slightly on a platter. Once cool enough to handle, separate meat from the bones and any unappealing connective tissue. Return meat to the pot and discard bones.

Optional additions or substitutions: turnips, rutabagas, parsnips, kale, red bell pepper, or hot green chilies

Easy Smoked Turkey Bean Soup served with hearty corn breadSmoked Turkey Bean Soup: simple to make on the stove or in a crockpot

Shared on the following Blog Hops:
The Nourishing Gourmet
Real Food Whole Health Fresh Bites Friday
Mom Trends Friday Food
EKat’s Kitchen Friday Potluck
Easy Natural Food Sunday Night Soup NightReal Food Wednesdays

More bean recipes to stir your appetite:

Tuscan White Bean Soup with Broccoli Rabe 
Red Beans & Rice
Beans, Bacon & Chipotle
Black Bean Confetti Salsa
Sausage & Split Pea Stew
Hearty Beef & Bean Chili

This post contains affiliate links. Thank you for supporting what I do here at Savoring Today. For more information, please see our Disclosure Policy.

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Sprouted Whole Grain Cornbread Fri, 01 Apr 2016 18:55:27 +0000

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Sprouted whole grain flour cornbread. Pure corn flavor and healthy sprouted wheat flour.
This recipe was long overdue for an update. New photos and recipe ingredients include sprouted whole grain sources to easily prepare a more nutritious cornbread.

Many of my recipes I consider tried and true, but I am always open for ideas to improve technique, flavor, or nutritional value. Considering regional differences, add-ins, and baking preferences (some folks swear by cast iron), there are strong opinions about this traditional quick bread. Do you consider cornbread a must beside chili or bean soup? Is it the base for your holiday stuffing? Or do you slather it with butter and honey for dessert like I do? For us, Smoked Turkey & Bean Soup wouldn’t be complete without it. No matter the nuance of musts, I think you’ll appreciate this healthier whole grain version for your family.

Most cornbread recipes call for equal amounts of cornmeal and all-purpose flour. Since we choose to eat sprouted whole grains whenever possible, white flour is not a consideration. And to compensate for the stronger flavor of whole wheat, I adjust the ratio to include more corn flour than wheat flour so there isn’t a pronounced wheat-y taste. By changing the corn-to-wheat flour ratio, this hearty, moist cornbread has a delicious sweetcorn flavor.

Sprouted wheat flour is interchangeable with regular whole wheat in this recipe if that’s what you have. If there is any distinguishable difference in the taste of sprouted wheat it would be a less bitter, more mild wheat flavor. Even thought the sprouted corn flour we use in this recipe may be a little harder to find in stores, I still recommend it. It is available on line or you can use (non-GMO) corn meal as a substitute. Due to shipping costs, it is always less expensive to buy flour at a local health food store so when I do purchase on line, I order larger quantities to save on the unit cost of shipping.

Whether you use sprouted flour, add-ins, cast iron—it’s up to you—just be sure you have butter and honey close-by. 

Read more about the benefits of sprouted grain on my Sprouted Wheat French Bread post and check out even more recipes using sprouted wheat flour below. You can even make your own sprouted grain flour at home.

Cornbread recipe with sprouted grain flours and wholesome ingredients.

Sprouted Whole Grain Cornbread
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Recipe type: Baking, Breads, Quick Breads
Serves / Yields: 9 pieces
  • 1¼ cups sprouted whole-grain corn flour, or cornmeal
  • ¾ cup sprouted whole wheat flour, or regular white whole wheat flour
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • ¼ cup honey
  • 2 whole eggs -- beaten
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • ¼ cup butter -- melted, plus more for greasing the pan
  1. Heat oven to 375°F. Mix flours with baking powder and salt until well combined. Add beaten eggs, buttermilk, melted butter, and honey to dry ingredients and mix until flour is moistened and incorporated.
  2. Pour into a greased 9x9 pan and bake for 30 minutes, until top is golden brown and bread pulls away from the side of the dish. Allow to rest in the pan after baking for 5 minutes before slicing. Serve warm.


Zucchini-Ginger Bread: Sprouted Wheat, More Zucchini, Bits of Ginger
Apple Walnut Bread
Parmesan Sprouted Wheat Bagels
Pioneer Woman’s Sloppy Joes & Caramelized Onion Sprouted Wheat Buns Recipe
Sprouted Wheat Burger Buns
Sprouted Wheat French Bread
“Sprouted” Wheat Banana Spice Bread [Soaked Method]
Sprouted Light Rye Sandwich Buns
Soaked-Wheat Dinner Rolls
BBQ Chicken Pizza: Five Pies in Five Days

Shared on the following Blog Hops:

Real Food Whole Health Fresh Bites Friday

This post contains affiliate links. Thank you for supporting what I do here at Savoring Today. For more information, please see our Disclosure Policy.

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Skillet Beef Fajitas Fri, 25 Mar 2016 03:30:38 +0000

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Seasoned beef, peppers and mushrooms in warm tortillas.Skillet Beef Fajitas is easy enough for weeknights and festively simple to prepare for casual gatherings too. Beef seasoned with flavors of lime, cumin, and smoke fills warm tortillas with mushrooms and peppers for a delicious one-skillet supper. We’ve served these fajitas countless times for parties and the spiced fragrance is always the first to welcome friends and family the moment they arrive.

You’ll love how versatile this dish is too. The meat and vegetables can be prepped up to three days in advance to save even more time on a busy weekday. Want to boost the vegetables? Increase the mushrooms and colorful peppers as a sub for some of the beef, or toss in a cup of cherry tomatoes. You can even use Bibb or romaine lettuce leaves as an alternative to flour tortillas—think beef fajita lettuce wraps.

Sizzling beef in a hot pan appeals to my sense of accomplishment, as though it’s offering applause for the effort. That’s when I scoop up some guacamole in a chip and bask in the satisfaction of ending the day with a great meal.

Easy enough for weeknights and festively simple to prepare for casual gatherings too.

5.0 from 2 reviews
Skillet Beef Fajitas
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Recipe type: Beef, Main Dish
Serves / Yields: 6
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil, or olive oil
  • 1 small yellow onion, sliced, pole to pole
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 pound tri-tip, skirt steak, or flap steak, cut across the grain into ½ in x 2 in strips
  • 8 ounces mushrooms, cleaned and quartered
  • 1 orange bell pepper (or a mix of yellow, orange, green), seeded & sliced
  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons Fajita Seasoning Mix
  • 12 (6-inch) Corn or flour tortillas
  1. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender and beginning to brown at the edges, about 10 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add the steak to the skillet and cook until browned, but still rare, about 5 minutes.
  2. Stir-in the mushrooms and cook for 3 minutes, or until mushroom wilt and release moisture. Add the bell pepper and sprinkle the lime over everything. Allow to simmer uncovered for 2-3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Peppers should be only tender, not soft. Sprinkle evenly with 1 tablespoon of Fajita Mix Seasoning and a couple tablespoons of water; stir well to coat with the seasoning and cook another minute. Taste and add more seasoning, as desired. If pan seems too dry add a little more water.
  3. Warm flour tortillas in the microwave for 1-2 minutes in a tortilla warmer to soften or in a dry skillet over medium-high heat for 30 seconds each side. Warm corn tortillas in a dry skillet over medium-high heat for 30 seconds on each side to soften. Fill the warmed tortillas and garnish with sour cream, guacamole, and salsa.
Notes & Suggestions
The beef can be prepped and frozen in advance. The remaining ingredients can be prepped up to three days in advance. Stir in 1 cup of cherry tomatoes with the peppers for a pop of color.

5.0 from 2 reviews
Prep time
Total time
Recipe type: Condiment, Appetizer, Garnish
Serves / Yields: 6-12
  • ⅓ yellow onions, chopped fine
  • ¼ Serrano pepper, chopped fine
  • ¼ green pepper, chopped fine
  • ½ yellow chili pepper, mild, chopped fine
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped fine
  • 5 Roma tomatoes, coarsely chopped
  • ½ bunch cilantro leaves, coarsely chopped
  • 2 teaspoons lime juice
  • ½ teaspoon salt, to taste
  1. Place onion, peppers, and garlic in a food processor and pulse to chop fine. Cut stems off of cilantro just below leaves. Add tomatoes and cilantro to processor and pulse to chop slowly so that tomatoes do not become too small.
  2. Remove from processor and squeeze fresh lime over mixture, stir well. Add salt and stir well. Serve with tortilla or pita chips.
Notes & Suggestions
For spicier flavor use whole Serrano pepper. For milder flavor use more tomatoes or less peppers.

Posted on the following Blog Hops:
The Nourishing Gourmet Penny Wise Platter Thursday
Real Food Fiesta Blog Carnival

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Fajita Seasoning Mix with Mesquite Smoke Thu, 24 Mar 2016 19:08:51 +0000

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 Fajita Seasoning

This is my go-to seasoning for fajitas, tacos, burritos, refried beans and dips.

I purchased fajita and taco seasoning mix for years until I made it a habit of reading labels. Making my own, there was no longer any reason to deal with undesirable ingredients like Monosodium Glutamate, Partially Hydrogenated Soybean Oil, Silicon Dioxide (anticaking agent), Caramel Color, or Ethoxyquin (preservative).

Not only can you avoid these unnecessary additives, this simple Fajita Seasoning recipe makes it easy to create a custom blend to suit your taste—spice it up or tone down the kick for kids.

One ingredient that sets this recipe apart is the mesquite smoke powder, available at specialty spice shops or online at The Spice House. A small jar lasts a long time and adds a unique smoke flavor to this mix, as well as sauces and marinades too. Alternatively, you can use a splash of liquid smoke to the wet ingredients of a recipe as a substitute, but I like having it mixed in and ready to go. We often double the recipe and store it in a small mason jar so it’s handy when I need it.

Depending on the level of heat in the chili or chile powders, this recipe is medium in spiciness. For more mild spice, omit the cayenne and only use mild chile powder, such as Ancho.

What’s the difference between chili powder and chile powder?

Chili powder often includes a blend of paprika, cumin, garlic powder or salt. Chile powder is ground dried fruit of a single chile. Chile powder comes in many varieties, including Ancho, Chipotle, Anaheim, Guajillo, Pasilla, Aleppo, and more. There are numerous combinations you can try for a unique Fajita Seasoning all your own.

Find our Skillet Beef Fajita Recipe here.

5.0 from 1 reviews
Fajita / Taco Seasoning Mix
Prep time
Total time
Recipe type: Seasoning, Spices
Serves / Yields: 3 Tablespoons
  1. Mix all ingredients in a small bowl or shake in a small jar until well combined. Store in an air tight container. Use 1 to 2 tablespoons per 1 pound of meat, to taste.
Notes & Suggestions
If powdered mesquite smoke flavor is omitted from the dry ingredients, substitute 2 teaspoons liquid smoke by adding to the wet ingredients of a recipe. Single chile powders can sub for the chili powder i.e. a combination of Ancho and Chipotle chile powders.

This post contains affiliate links. Thank you for supporting what I do here at Savoring Today. For more information, please see our Disclosure Policy.

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25 Healthy Breakfast Ideas for an Inspired Menu Plan Tue, 15 Mar 2016 15:59:10 +0000

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25 inspiring breakfast recipes for a healthy start! Including Paleo, Gluten-Free, Grain-Free, Dairy-Free, and Low-Carb.

This roundup of 25 healthy breakfast ideas put real creative spark back in our mornings. Unlike lunch and dinner, I have worn a rut in our breakfast routine and it’s become a little boring even though it has always been an important start to our day.

Growing up, my mom made a full breakfast—eggs, bacon, toast or potatoes—every morning, and if we ate cereal it was the cooked variety like oatmeal or cream of wheat. The only cold cereal I recall having was leftover rice mixed with sugar, cinnamon, and milk. I am grateful for the example she set for us, though my kids had their share of boxed cereals before I realize what a compromise it really was.

But there is no compromise in these recipe ideas—here’s to creating an inspired menu plan.

Eggs & Things:

This dairy-free Paleo Quiche with Chorizo and Spinach by Alyssa at Everyday Maven is also gluten-free with a tender almond meal crust.

More than 25 healthy breakfast ideas -- this one is from Everyday Maven

Sweet potatoes and mild chiles balance each other well in this Roasted Poblano, Sausage and Sweet Potato Hash by Plaid & Paleo. You have to love the ease of a one-skillet meal.

A hearty low-carb skillet breakfast that is easy to prepare.

Smoked Salmon & Veggie Frittata by Allergy-Free Alaska is hearty enough for lunch or dinner too. There’s no crust to fool with, so it is naturally gluten-free.

Easy smoked salmon frittata wakes up breakfast menu options

Get your spiralized vegetables early in the day with Brunch Zoodles with Lemon Almond Pesto by Food By Mars. A creamy egg yolk creates all the sauce you’ll need.

Get your vegetables early in the day with spiralized zucchini and creamy centered eggs.

Vegetarian Breakfast Egg Muffins by A Cedar Spoon are delicious and easy to make ahead for busy mornings.

Vegetarian Egg Muffins are great on-the-go breakfast puffs.

Sandi at Fearless Dining uses just 4 ingredients to make these Butternut Squash Egg Cups. Using a vegetable peeler, she tames the squash to create a healthy crust.

Create a crust for egg cups with butternut squash.

Baked Eggs in Portobello Mushroom Caps by Confessions of an Overworked Mom nicely round-out the breakfast menu but could also stand in for dinner on meatless Monday.

Eggs and vegetables cradled in mushrooms are easy and delicious.

Filling a tortilla with this Goat Cheese & Pesto Veggie Scramble by The Creative Bite reminds me of all the time I can save making this ahead so there’s easy breakfast for days. And there’s goat cheese. 😉

Skillet scramble for filling burritos makes breakfast fast and on-the-go.

Salade Frisée aux Lardons by Kitchen Riffs proves you can have salad for breakfast—croutons count as toast, right?!

Yes, you can eat salad for breakfast. Deliciously.

Ang Sarap created this Pizzalette for a pizza-omelette combo with so many possibilities.

An open face omelette, eaten like a pizza!

Huevos Rancheros is a special breakfast treat here at Savoring Today and always satisfies.

Familiar Mexican flavors of green chile, refried beans and corn tortilla layered under a soft cooked egg.

Oats & Such:

These Oatmeal Breakfast Bars by Food Faith Fitness might look like dessert, but they are packed with protein and low in sugar.

High protein, low sugar makes these oatmeal-peanut bars a worthy choice for grab-n-go breakfast.

Baked Oatmeal Cups with Almond Butter and Bananas by Celebrating Sweets is an easy way to take oatmeal with you as you run out the door or have afternoon snacks for the kids.

An easy way to take oatmeal with you!

No cooking! Just stir the next morning, garnish and enjoy these Coconut Mango Overnight Oats by The Busy Baker.

No cooking! Just stir, garnish, and eat!

Leftover quinoa from dinner? Overnight Blueberry Quinoa Bowl by Food by Mars is a delicious way to use up any leftovers and it’s the truly good for you cold cereal (though you could serve it warm too).

Use leftover quinoa for a wholesome breakfast.

This Quinoa Breakfast Bowl by Tasting Page is the savory side of morning quinoa.

A great way to use leftover quinoa for breakfast.

Fried Grits Peaches & Pecans by MJ’s Kitchen is one of the more unique breakfast ideas I have found. The grits can be made in advance; the fruit and nuts customized with any favorite.

Light and fresh tasting grits and fruit.

Breads & Beyond:

A little butter spread over this Paleo Fruit and Nut Bread by The View from Great Island would make it complete.

Low-carb, rich in protein breakfast bread.

Peach, Whipped Feta and Avocado Toast by Back to Her Roots is fresh and simple, savory morning toast with just a hint of sweet.

Fresh and simple, savory-sweet morning toast.

Blueberry Breakfast Cake by The Big Man’s World is gluten-free and dairy-free, but also offers a grain-free version in the recipe. It’s always good to keep your options open.

This recipe offers grain-free and gluten-free versions.

Sprouted Wheat Zucchini-Ginger Bread here at Savoring Today is maxed out with zucchini and bits of ginger zing.

Sprouted wheat quick bread with ginger zing and maxed out with zucchini goodness.

This Blueberry Carrot Cake Muffins [Grain-Free] recipe here at Savoring Today has become a new favorite. We enjoy them with or without the Cream Cheese Frosting, though the frosting certainly feels like a bonus when it happens.

Grain-free and gluten-free breakfast muffins made with wholesome ingredients for a healthy breakfast.

Yogurt & Smoothies:

Strawberry Banana Oatmeal Breakfast Smoothie by Know Your Produce is a refreshing way to sip rather than skip breakfast when time gets tight.

Strawberries and bananas go together like peas and carrots, but taste better in the morning.

Beautiful Breakfast Tart (Gluten-Free) by The View from Great Island is indeed, beautiful. What a lovely way to serve yogurt and fruit for breakfast or brunch.

A beautiful way to serve yogurt and fruit for breakfast or brunch.

Have you ever misjudged the solid to liquid ratio and realized your smoothie was too thick for a straw? Then it’s time to surrender it to a bowl and top it with extra goodies like this Green Smoothie bowl by The Lemon Bowl.

Brimming with nutrition for a great start to the day.

Fruit on the Bottom Yogurt by Culinary Ginger is a simple recipe for saving money on expensive yogurt cups.

Save money on expensive yogurt cups and make your own with this simple recipe.

Need more breakfast inspiration?

Follow Judy Purcell @ Savoring Today’s board Breakfast & Brunch on Pinterest.

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Blueberry-Carrot Cake Muffins [Grain & Gluten-Free] Wed, 02 Mar 2016 03:39:19 +0000

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Grain-free and gluten-free breakfast muffins made with wholesome ingredients for a healthy breakfast.

This Blueberry-Carrot Cake Muffin recipe was inspired by my dear friend’s birthday and her love of muffins. As much as I wanted to spoil her on her special day, I knew she was working diligently on healthier food choices and didn’t want her birthday to wreck any progress. Isn’t that the way it goes? We start a new plan to hone our eating habits and WHAM! Right in the middle of it is a birthday or holiday arriving at our weakest moment. Ah, but she could have her cake, er muffin, and eat it too … all without a smidgen of guilt!

I just love it when healthy meets delicious, especially when it means discovering a new healthy breakfast option. Usually, a muffin for breakfast means simple carbs, a.k.a. blood sugar spike, which is not the ideal way to start the day. But we’re talking about carrots, walnuts, blueberries, healthy fats, and fiber-rich coconut flour with ample protein from eggs and almond flour too. This is good for you, get your day going in the right direction, kind of getting spoiled.

Want in on a money-saving secret when it comes to buying specialty flours like almond or coconut flour? Before you buy an entire bag of special flour for a single recipe, check the bulk bins at your local health food store first. That way you can purchase only the amount you need until you’re ready to commit to using an entire bag. This goes for nuts, dried fruit, seeds, etc.

A healthy breakfast muffin with carrots, blueberries, walnuts, healthy fats, coconut and almond flour.

So how did blueberries get mixed up with carrot cake?

Simple. I was out of raisins and had a pouch of dried blueberries at the ready. What’s not to love about blueberries and cream cheese frosting? Well, that was my rationale for making the sub and it quickly became a new breakfast favorite. You can use fresh blueberries instead of dried, it just depends on your preference of texture—dried blueberries will borrow some of the moisture from the batter, fresh berries will add moisture. It’s not a drastic difference either way, but if you have a definite preference for moist muffins, go with fresh.

These little beauties are made without grain flour so they’re naturally gluten-free and delicious with or without the frosting for a healthy grab-n-go breakfast. (Of course, some of us eat carrot cake for the cream cheese frosting!) Loaded with wholesome ingredients you can feel good about, I think you’ll love making Blueberry-Carrot Cake Muffins a regular part of breakfast and brunches too.

Make muffins ahead and freeze ~ create your own convenience food.

Once the muffins have cooled completely, place in a resealable bag and freeze for up to 3 months. Grab one on your way out the door or pop it in your lunch—it makes a great healthy snack too. If the Cream Cheese Frosting is the only way you’re willing to negotiate eating carrots for breakfast, you can make that ahead too and keep it in the fridge until you’re ready. I store it in the baggie used to apply it. Either massage the bag with your fingers to warm it up slightly or allow to come to room temperature for easier application.

Cream Cheese Frosted Blueberry-Carrot Cake Muffins are a healthy, grain-free breakfast item you will love.Healthy breakfast muffins made with almond and coconut flour; wholesome and easy to grab-n-go

This recipe is inspired by Halle Cottis’ Gluten Free and Grain Free Carrot Cake Cupcake Recipe

5.0 from 2 reviews
Blueberry-Carrot Cake Muffins [Grain-Free]
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Recipe type: Breakfast, Brunch,
Serves / Yields: 12
  • 6 tablespoons coconut flour
  • 6 tablespoons almond flour
  • ½ cup coconut palm sugar
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1¾ cups grated carrots -- 7 ounces (about 3 med carrots)
  • ⅓ cup chopped walnuts
  • 5 large eggs
  • ¼ cup butter or coconut oil -- melted
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • ½ cup dried blueberries -- or fresh
For the frosting:
  • 5 ounces cream cheese -- softened
  • ¼ cup butter -- softened
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 3 tablespoons honey or maple syrup -- or powdered sugar
  1. Preheat oven to 350º F. Prepare a muffin tin with a thin coating of butter or muffin cups. Mix the flours, sugar, salt, baking soda, and spices together in a large mixing bowl until well blended. Stir in the carrots and walnuts, then mix in the eggs, butter, and vanilla until all the flour is incorporated. Fold in the blueberries and fill the muffin cups ⅔ full.
  2. Bake for 25-28 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove from pan and cool on a wire rack.
For the frosting:
  1. In the bowl of a mixer, beat the cream cheese, butter, vanilla, and honey on high for 2-3 minutes, or until smooth. Once the muffins are completely cooled, spread or pipe the frosting on the muffins as desired. To easily pipe the frosting, transfer it into a zipper-type bag and snip a bottom corner off the bag, about ¼-inch up from the corner. Pipe frosting by squeezing the frosting out of the hole onto the muffin. Apply frosting when the muffins are completely cooled. Store at room temperature. If the room is warm and the frosting isn't holding its shape, refrigerate.
Notes & Suggestions
Make Ahead: Once muffins have cooled completely, place in a resealable bag and freeze for up to 3 months. Once thawed, top with Cream Cheese Frosting just before serving. Cream Cheese Frosting can be made ahead and stored in the fridge for up to 1 week. Allow to come to room temperature for easier application.

A healthy grain-free breakfast muffin made without grain flour; naturally gluten-free. Follow Judy Purcell @ Savoring Today’s board Breakfast & Brunch on Pinterest.

This post contains affiliate links. Thank you for supporting what I do here at Savoring Today. For more information, please see our Disclosure Policy.

]]> 14
Kung Pao Chicken: With Gluten-Free and Make-Ahead Instructions Wed, 17 Feb 2016 20:52:20 +0000

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Gluten-free delicious make-ahead meal that's easy to customize.Kung Pao Chicken is a standard on any (American) Chinese menu, and while we enjoy the occasional take-out as much as anyone, it’s always healthier when we control the ingredients. Another great reason to make Kung Pao at home is the freedom to adjust the spice to your own preference. I would classify this recipe in the medium-heat category, so if you like mouth-numbing, spicy heat, just add more of the chiles.

Over the years, my good friend and cooking buddy Pati and I refined this dish together. We exchange dried red chilies or chili paste for chipotle peppers en adobo to bring the heat and complexity of flavor. Chipotle in adobo adds a unique smoky spice for a slight fusion twist we think you’ll love. Our low-carb version includes a vegetable stir-fry with fresh ginger for an easy, complete meal in minutes.

Want it even faster? Make-ahead cooking instructions are included with the recipe. Double or triple the recipe to freeze so next time you want take-out, you can just take-it-out of the freezer! A quick vegetable stir-fry and dinner is ready in a flash.

To make this dish gluten-free, look for the following:
Soy Sauce brands that are Gluten-Free        
Rachael Ray’s Stock-In-A-Box 

GF & Non-GMO Cornstarch
Chipotle Peppers in Adobo Sauce

Easy Kung Pao Chicken at home, better than take out

Kung Pao Chicken
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Recipe type: Main Dish, Chicken, Gluten-Free
Cuisine: Asian Fusion
Serves / Yields: 4
  • 4 boneless and skinless chicken breasts -- cut into small ½ inch pieces
  • 2 tablespoons peanut or coconut oil
  • 1 bunch green onions -- white bulbs chopped; green tops chopped separately into ¼-inch pieces, saved for garnish
  • ½ cup roasted peanuts
  • 2 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoon dry sherry
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • ⅓ cup chicken stock
  • 4 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon dry sherry
  • 2 teaspoon white wine vinegar or rice vinegar
  • 2 teaspoon sesame oil
  • ⅓ cup honey
  • 2 tablespoons chilies in adobo sauce -- removed from sauce, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons garlic -- minced
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
STIR-FRY VEGETABLES: (Optional - as shown in photo)
  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 1 cup celery -- coarsely chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper -- coarsely chopped
  • 1 cup napa cabbage or bok choy -- sliced thin
  • 2 teaspoons fresh ginger -- grated or minced
  • salt & pepper
  • **Substitute any favorite vegetable in this stir-fry.
For the Kung Pao:
  1. In a medium bowl, toss the chicken with marinade; set aside.
  2. In a saucepan, combine the sauce ingredients (start with 1 tablespoon of chipotle peppers), except the cornstarch, and mix well over med-low heat. Bring to a low simmer and allow flavors to meld, about 8-10 minutes. Taste and adjust any of the ingredients (add more of the chipotle peppers), to taste. Dissolve cornstarch in a bit of water or chicken broth and add to the sauce. Cook over med heat until sauce thickens, then remove from heat.
  3. Heat oil in a large skillet or wok; add the white part of the onions to the pan and cook, stirring, until softened. Add the chicken with its marinade and cook, stirring, until almost done, 2-3 minutes. Add the sauce and stir to allow the sauce to coat the chicken. Stir in the peanuts and chopped scallions. Serve over stir-fry vegetables (directions below).
For the Stir-Fry:
  1. Heat oil in a large skillet or wok, add ginger and cook until fragrant. Add prepared vegetables, and cook until crisp-tender. Salt and pepper to taste and reserve in warm oven until ready to serve.
  1. In a medium bowl, toss the chicken with marinade; set aside. In a saucepan, combine the sauce ingredients (excluding the cornstarch) and mix well over med-low heat to meld flavors. Adjust to taste and set aside to cool.
  2. Heat oil and add the white part of the green onions to the pan and cook, stirring, until softened. Add the chicken with its marinade and cook, stirring, until almost done, 2-3 minutes. In order to keep the chicken tender, not tough, be sure to not over cook it in this step. Add the sauce and set aside to cool.
  3. Once cooled completely, pour into a freezer bag, remove as much air as possible, and freeze flat. If frozen flat, it takes less time to defrost. Reserve the peanuts and scallions for you are ready to serve the meal.
  4. Note: The cornstarch is omitted from the sauce when originally prepared because it will lose its thickening properties in the freezer. Instead, it is added during the finishing steps.
  5. Make the stir-fry vegetables fresh when you defrost the chicken and sauce.
  1. Defrost chicken and sauce mixture. Heat the chicken and sauce in a large skillet over medium heat. Dissolve 2 teaspoons cornstarch in 2 tablespoons of water and add to the chicken and sauce; continue to cook until warmed through and sauce thickens 3-4 minutes. Stir in the peanuts and scallion tops. Serve over fresh stir-fry vegetables (directions above).
Nutrition Information
Serving size: Serves 4-5

Shared on the following Blog Hops:
The Healthy Home Economist Monday Mania
SS & GF Slightly Indulgent Tuesday
Real Food Whole Health Traditional Tuesdays
Hearth & Soul Blog Hop
The Nourishing Gourmet Pennywise Platter Thursday
Real Food Whole Health Fresh Bites Friday
EKat’s Kitchen Friday Potluck
Mom Trends Friday Food

Make-ahead for easy "take-out" anytime.

This post contains affiliate links. Thank you for supporting what I do here at Savoring Today. For more information, please see our Disclosure Policy.


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Buttermilk Pancakes [Gluten-Free] Tue, 09 Feb 2016 22:00:06 +0000

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Easy make-ahead breakfast with sprouted GF flours.

Our daughter decided to avoid gluten and sugar for a month to support a friend doing the same. Within the first week, she noticed she didn’t feel fatigued as she had, yet dreading the idea this may be a new way of life for her. Flipping through an issue of Fine Cooking, Gluten-Free Buttermilk Pancakes caught my attention and since I wanted to support her desire to live healthier, I was set to try them.

Folks, they are delicious. Really.

Pancakes are my husband’s favorite breakfast food. “It’s cake, in a pan,” He says. Add blueberries and I could use it as leverage to ask for just about anything. 😉 But you know me, it needs to be healthier cake in a pan. Well, the Fine Cooking recipe served as a great start and with a few adjustments to the flours, oil and sugar we found a new standard for Buttermilk Pancakes. 

What did my pancake man say?

Once he got past the “Mmm” was, “Those are the best pancakes I’ve had in a long time, maybe ever.”  When our daughter’s friend tried them, she asked, “How is this possible?” Evidently, other bread-type gluten-free products she had eaten for the past two weeks were like bricks.

I was happy to find sprouted brown rice flour and sprouted oat flour at Whole Foods to raise the nutritional value—the results were fluffy, crave-worthy pancakes the whole family enjoys and I feel good about serving. Yes, these are whole grain and almond flour pancakes that will rock your breakfast world. Know what else? You can make them ahead and pop them in the freezer for later too! I think you’ll be impressed with how nicely they reheat in the microwave or toaster (even with blueberries) to satisfy your pancake mood on a whim.

For more make-ahead meals or breakfast ideas, follow my Make-ahead Meals Board or Breakfast & Brunch Board on Pinterest where we add new ideas almost daily.

Did you know this recipe is also in my Serve and Savor cookbook? I share updated recipes from the blog in the book as well new recipes you won’t find here, like Sprouted Whole Wheat Waffles with Mixed Berries—another great make-ahead breakfast. Get a signed print copy when you order from my cookbooks page. 🙂

Gluten Free Sprouted Grain Buttermilk Pancakes are as delicious as they are good for you.

5.0 from 3 reviews
Buttermilk Pancakes [Gluten-Free]
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Recipe type: Breakfast, Brunch
Serves / Yields: Serves 4
  1. In a large bowl, whisk the brown rice flour, almond meal, oat flour, cornstarch, baking powder, and salt. In a medium bowl, whisk the buttermilk, eggs, butter, honey, and vanilla. Stir the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients until combined.
  2. Coat a griddle or skillet with coconut oil and heat over medium heat until hot. Working in batches, ladle ¼ cup of the batter per pancake onto the griddle or skillet, leaving a few inches of space between each to allow for spreading. Cook until golden-brown on the bottom, 1 to 2 minutes (if adding blueberries, drop several on top of the pancake before turning). Flip and cook the pancakes until the other side is golden-brown, 1 to 2 minutes more.
  3. Serve immediately, or transfer to a cooling rack set over a large baking sheet and keep warm in the oven. Apply more coconut oil between each batch as needed. Serve the pancakes with butter and pure maple syrup.
Notes & Suggestions
Regular brown rice flour or oat flour can be substituted for the sprouted flours.

Note: If the sprouted flour is not available at your local health food store, it is available online. Regular brown rice flour, oat flour, and almond flour is available at most King Soopers (Kroger) stores. 

Have you figured out the secret to the perfect first pancake? … have you ever noticed how the first two pancakes always seem to be “testers” that don’t quite turn out the rest of them? No matter the batter, it never fails to be that way for me.

Stack of Gluten-Free Buttermilk Pancakes made with sprouted flour and almond meal. Food you can feel good about.Shared on the following Blog Hops:
Real Food Whole Health Traditional Tuesdays
Healthy Home Economist Monday Mania
SS&GF Slightly Indulgent Tuesday
Hearth & Soul Blog Hop
Mom Trends Friday Food

This post may contain affiliate links. For more information, please see our Disclosure Policy.

]]> 33
How to Make an Amazing Crab Leg Dinner at Home Mon, 08 Feb 2016 15:00:00 +0000

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Tips for buying, cooking, and cracking king or snow crab

Photo © Bhofack2 |

I think most of us would consider crab legs a splurge, the kind of thing you order when celebrating a special occasion or a bonus check. Special because the rich, succulent meat is unmatched and the expense is considerable for a single meal.

What if you could make it at home for half the cost?

Menu prices vary, but you can expect to pay somewhere between $35-$55 for a crab legs dinner at a restaurant, depending on the type of crab and weight offered.

If you have a Costco or Sam’s Club membership, it’s worth checking there for a reasonably sized package. Often on the weekends, Costco will have crab legs defrosted and available individually at their seafood kiosk rather than in larger quantities. Kroger and Whole Foods are also accommodating in this way which makes it easy to buy just what you need and is far better on a budget. I’ve seen prices at any of these stores range between $16-24 per pound, depending on the type of crab and seasonal sales. If you only need a pound or so for a special dinner for two, it will be less out of pocket to buy only what you need from a store like Whole Foods, even though the price per pound might be slightly higher.

How much will you need? The yield for crab legs is about 50% meat, so if you purchase 16-24 ounces for two people, you will end up with between 8-12 ounces of crab meat split between you (roughly 4-6 ounces per person). For us, that is always enough because the meat is so rich and we prepare two side dishes or save room for dessert.

The bottom line is you can enjoy a fabulous dinner for two at home for about $60, including wine.

Do you know how easy it is? I mean, ridiculously easy. In the oven for less than 15 minutes, easy. Barely enough time to sip a little wine, easy. No kidding. I wouldn’t even call it cooking since they’re already cooked, and you’re simply reheating (recipe below). Yes, they’re all pre-cooked unless you’re buying live crabs from the tank. As long as your side dish is quick too, dinner is on the table in under 20 minutes because garlic butter just doesn’t take that long to melt and release its heavenly bouquet.

Okay, so you’re celebrating, but is it date food? This is a serious question if your stomach is a butterfly cage. Date food is the kind of noshing that keeps you in the safe zone and doesn’t inspire finger licking, bib-wearing or face stuffing as to avoid embarrassment.

By this definition, you might rule out crab legs because it really is a hands-on, roll up your sleeves, get physical with your food kind of meal. But there’s another way to look at it; food can give you insight into people, at least, that’s the way it worked for me.

At the time my husband and I were dating, we lived in Las Vegas during the era of all-you-can-eat hotel buffets (almost 30 years ago). I didn’t realize until many years later what an impression I’d made during dinner one night at one of these crab leg buffets. Looking back, it’s surprising I didn’t scare him off as I polished off those buckets of crab legs (they brought them to the table in tin pails). He says he was in awe of how much I relished eating them; it delighted him that I could enjoy it that much. But isn’t that what you want—someone who is delighted by your happiness?

Like I said, food can give you insight into people, so, in my opinion, it’s absolutely date food.

Suitable side dishes? As you might have guessed, eating crab legs is a contact sport so you’re going to use your hands and eat with your fingers. You can just feel stress melting away, right?! Artichokes, asparagus, Brussels sprouts, and roasted fingerling potatoes are all suitable for fork-less dinning; they’ll even taste good dipped in the garlic butter. However, if you don’t mind picking up a fork with icky fingers, consider one of these beautiful side dishes:

Roasted Beets with Blackberry-Ginger Balsamic & Feta
Winter Citrus Salad with Honey Dressing
Spinach-Strawberry Salad

And the ultimate finish? A hot, moist towel for your hands … and dessert.

We love Double Chocolate Truffles and Cheesecake Strawberries that are crazy good, simple to make, and maintain the eat-with-your-hands theme. Want to bring even more WOW? Check out this Valentine’s Day Desserts post to impress from start to finish.

Here’s the How-To:

Buying Crab Legs

The yield for crab legs is about 50% meat, so if you purchase 16-24 ounces for two people you will end up with between 8-12 ounces of crab meat split between you (roughly 4-6 ounces serving size per person).

Snow Crab (shown in the second photo) has a smooth shell that is relatively easy to handle or even cut with scissors before serving. It is harvested during the winter from January through March. The meat is sweet and silky, delicately hidden but easy to capture.

King Crab (shown in the first photo) is quite a specimen with its spiny, hard shells, and considerably longer legs. It is harvested from the North Pacific and the Bering Sea from November through February, and during brief periods in July and September. The meat is sweet and substantial due to the size of the legs—once you get to it, you’ll have prized, man-pleasing bites of crab.

We’re talking about frozen or previously frozen crab here—it’s already cooked—and the most readily available.

If you are lucky enough to live in a location where live crabs are coming off the boat and your fish monger is cooking them fresh for you, kudos! For the rest of us, they ALL arrive frozen at the store and the ones you see in the case at the seafood counter have simply been defrosted. Unless I am preparing the crab legs the same day, I buy them frozen. You want them to taste as fresh as possible, so it’s best that they aren’t lounging in the fridge long after being defrosted.

Look for crab legs bright in color and relatively free of clumps of ice crystals or freezer burn. In the photo below you can see the ice looks more like a glaze, which is ideal. Crab meat is delicate and won’t taste fresh if the crab has been in the freezer too long or allowed to defrost and refreeze (which means you don’t want to refreeze yours either).

buying crab legs without clumps of ice crystals

Photo by © Kan1234 |

Cooking / Reheating Crab Legs

You can grill, boil, or steam crab legs but there is nothing easier than the oven method described below, and it’s the best way to keep them warm for a few minutes longer without drying them out if you’re waiting for a side dish.

Oven Method: Allow crab legs to defrost in the refrigerator overnight and briefly rinse with cold water. Score or cut King Crab shells before heating with crab & seafood shears or a good pair of kitchen shears. Snow Crab shells are softer and easier to break and eat at the table.

5.0 from 3 reviews
Crab Legs & Garlic Butter for Two
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Recipe type: Main Course
Cuisine: Seafood
Serves / Yields: 2
  • 16-24 ounces crab legs
  • water or beer
  • ⅓ cup butter
  • ½ teaspoon crushed garlic
  • ½ lemon, cut into wedges
  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Arrange crab legs in a single layer on a large rimmed baking sheet.
  2. Pour about a cup of water or beer into the bottom of the pan and cover tightly with aluminum foil.
  3. Bake in the center of the oven for 8-10 minutes—you will begin to smell them when done.
  4. Remove from oven, carefully fold back a corner of the foil to vent. Serve on the pan with the crab partially covered to keep it warm longer, or remove the foil completely and transfer to a large platter or bowl. Squeeze lemon wedges over crab when served. Dip crab into butter and swoon.
For the garlic butter:
  1. Place butter and crushed garlic in a small oven-safe dish and slide into the oven with the crab legs on a separate rack (above or below doesn't matter). The butter should be melted when the crab is ready. Divide into smaller, individual ramekins or share the same dish for dipping.

🙂 I carry no guilt over the copious amount of butter the briny, sweet crab meat soaks up like a sponge.

Tips for Cracking Crab Legs

Depending on the type of crab, getting through the shell barrier can land somewhere between frustrating and painful. Scoring or cutting King Crab shells before reheating with crab & seafood shears or a good pair of kitchen shears will make cracking them at the table a breeze.

Provide two extra cloth napkins (one for each hand) or small towels for each person when serving King Crab. Even if you score the shells, a napkin helps protect hands.

It’s okay if you don’t have crab cracking tools, a nut cracker works too (it’s what we use).

To free the meat in whole segments, start at the smallest joint and work your way up the leg, as such:

  1. Grab the leg on each side of the joint and bend backward to separate; as you pull the segments apart, there is a thin tendon that should stay attached to the joint as you pull it out of the larger section.
  2. Holding the single segment between both hands, use your thumbs to apply pressure as you bend it just enough to break one side (you don’t want to rip it in half); turn the leg segment over and repeat on the other side for a clean break without breaking the meat.
  3. Pull the shell apart to expose the meat and then gently pull the meat out of the shell.
  4. Crack the claws with a crab tool or nut cracker by squeezing the shell with the tool until the shell can be pried open with your fingers.

That’s it! Easy to make and fantastic to eat.

And in case there’s leftovers …

Crab-Stuffed Mushrooms
Jalapeno & Gouda Crab Dip
Crab Salad with Pear and Hazelnuts
Eggs Benedict with Crab & Asparagus
Crab Stuffed Whitefish

How to buy, cook, and crack crab for a fabulous dinner for two at home.

Photo by © Aas2009 |

This post contains affiliate links. Thank you for supporting what I do here at Savoring Today. For more information, please see our Disclosure Policy.

]]> 5
Sweetheart Dinner: Romantic Dinner for Two at Home Tue, 02 Feb 2016 22:17:22 +0000

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Celebrating Valentine’s Day with a romantic dinner for two at home is a fun tradition we started years ago. No hype, no hoopla, just us enjoying a day filled with soothing music, delicious food, and sweet moments. The added bonus is when we discover amazing recipes that become fast favorites. Here’s a photo journal of one of the celebrations we shared.

champagne is a refreshing start to any romantic dinner

A little champagne to while preparing dessert ~ just to start the afternoon off right.

Add some kick to your cocktail sauce for inspired shrimp cocktail appetizer
Shrimp with Thai Chili Cocktail Sauce

Appetizer for romantic dinner for two
Bacon-Wrapped Dates with Herbed Goat Cheese

Savory shrimp appetizer for two
Prosciutto-Wrapped Shrimp and Goat Cheese Appetizer

Appetizers for a romantic dinner for two

Main dish for Sweetheart Dinner with Veal
Grilled Veal Chops with Herb Cheese & Mushroom-Tomato Bordelaise

Easy dessert for gifts or romantic dinner
Double Chocolate Truffles with Coconut Flakes

Simple and healthy dessert
Double Chocolate Truffles with Cocoa

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