The Essense of Fall: Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls

pumpkin cinnamon roll
My sister was married this weekend and life was sorta turned upside down for a few days.

It seems I also managed to setback my progress a few steps. I was so careful to watch the food I ate all weekend. I do not drink often or much – but it seems I was a bit too liberal with my wine… While I had a blast at the time, I’ve sure been paying for it since Sunday! Chalk it up to another lesson learned: no more wine.

pumpkin dough

My husband calls it the silly season, but I see it as the approaching season of temptation and longing. Especially for those of use that can’t eat…well, most anything (grains, refined sugars, lactose…). There have been several sites featuring some pretty amazing baked goods lately and it got me thinking.

pumpkin dough rolled

I’ve been tossing around a couple ideas over the last few weeks for apples, pumpkin and cookies. I had started this recipe the weekend before but couldn’t quite get it to completion. There are a few things I might still change; but, definitely worthy of a posting!

pumpkin dough filling

Here is my first fall recipe featuring pumpkin! The pumpkin flavor is subtle and it does a good job of keeping the breading moist. The sweet cheese layer melds a little with the pumpkin breading – so the spiral isn’t as distinctive as ‘normal’ cinnamon rolls.

pumpkin dough stuffed

These rolls were inspired by the talented Deb at Smitten Kitchen.

PUMPKIN CINNAMON ROLLS
dough:
3/4C pumpkin puree
2C almond flour
1/3C coconut flour
3 eggs
4TBSP butter, room temperature
1tsp salt
1tsp cinnamon
1/8tsp ginger
1/2tsp nutmeg
3TBSP honey
1/2tsp baking soda

filling:
7oz farmer cheese (I used Friendship brand – only 0.5% lactose)
1TBSP cinnamon
1/3C honey

Combine all dough ingredients in a bowl and mix until smooth. Wrap dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30mins to 1hour.

While the dough chills, set out the farmers cheese to come to room temperature. Preheat oven to 325degrees.

Roll out dough into large rectangle between 2 sheets of plastic wrap. (NOTE: I’ve tried to roll dough between parchment paper, not good. Plastic wrap peels off much easier!) I rolled mine on the bottom of an upside down sheet pan to make it easier to move. Once rolled out, refrigerate the dough for another 30minutes.

Remove the top layer of plastic wrap. Spread the cheese/honey mixture over the pumpkin dough – carefully, it is a soft dough. Using the bottom layer of plastic wrap, start to roll the dough into a tight log, peeling off the plastic as you go.

Refrigerate again if needed. Cut log into 2inch slices and carefully place cut-side up. Space them equally in 8inch round pan. Should hold roughly 7 rolls per pan.

pumpkin dough baking

Bake at 325degrees for 40-50minutes. Remove from oven and set aside for at least 10-15minutes to cool. Serve warm – top with butter and a drizzle of honey!

pumpkin cinnamon roll

These certainly are not be the prettiest cinnamon rolls I’ve ever seen, but they are the essence of fall and quite delicious. They set well when given proper time to cool – and even reheat well the next day! You may experiment with increasing the almond flour if you desire a stiffer dough.

Delicious SCD Pulled Pork

Growing up in the south has made me appreciate all different types of BBQ. We don’t eat pork very often – but we love bacon and pulled pork BBQ.

Now, you need to understand that there are pretty major regional differences in barbecue. If you were to take a drive down I95 from North Carolina to Georgia/Florida – you could have 3 completely different culinary experiences. The bases range from tomato to mustard to vinegar.  (this link explains them a little further).

While in college, we used to tailgate at a friend’s house. They were originally from NC and my first introduction to vinegar based barbecue. The boys used a special pre-mixed gallon jug of seasoning. I’ve looked for it for years to no avail.

About a year ago, I found this wonderful recipe on Martha Stewart’s website for pulled pork sandwiches. Its delicious.

We had some company over this weekend and the menu included this pork and (previously posted) garlic and onion mashed cauliflower. I didn’t manage to get any photos (I just couldn’t bring myself to bust out the camera and make everyone wait).

I did adapted a few ingredients to make it SCD legal. It’s easy to change the recipe for quantity as needed. I typically use a 4-5pound butt (1/2-1pound per person) and vary the spiciness for the crowd I’m feeding. Also, I prefer to slow cook it all day or overnight. It keeps for great leftovers too!

Southern Pulled-Pork Sandwiches
image from Martha Stewart

Everyone ate their pork on rolls with Sweet Baby Rays Sauce. Its so good and tender – I ate mine right out of the pan.

PULLED PORK
adapted from Martha Stewart

1/8C honey
1/2-1 tsp cayenne pepper
1-2 tsp Coarse salt to taste
Ground pepper to taste
4-5 pounds boneless pork shoulder (Boston butt), cut into pieces
1 1/2C apple cider vinegar
4 garlic cloves, minced/crushed
Water to cover

8 soft sandwich rolls, split (optional)
Store-bought barbecue sauce, for serving (optional)

Preheat oven to 225 degrees.
Heat cider and honey in 5-quart Dutch oven on medium until just combined.
Add pork, garlic and spices.
Add water to cover meat.
Cook until tender and separates easily when pulled with a fork, 6 to 7 hours.
Transfer pork to a work surface, reserving pan juices.
With two forks, shred meat.
Transfer to a large bowl, and toss with pan juices to moisten
(you may not need all the juices).
-Here is where it helps to check the flavors and add more honey or salt/pepper as desired.
Pile pork on rolls, and top with barbecue sauce, if desired.

The most interesting and unusual prosthetic project to date – Hemicorporectomy

This is a bit of a departure from the SCD posts I normally write –
In my bio/about page, I admit to being a prosthetic resident. I’m not big on talking about the really personal happenings, but today I’m making an exception.

For the past month or two, I’ve been working on a really unusual project. I’m sure if I worked in prosthetics for the next 20years, I would never see this again.

One of our patients is amputated below the waist; the technical term is hemicorporectomy. The patient was a heavy equipment operator and accidentally hit an underground wire while digging. All of the limbs were damaged and the patient now has use of the left arm (only 4 fingers). The patient uses a myoelectric prosthetic arm on the right side and sits in a ‘bucket’ with cosmetic legs.

My project has been to fabricate a new bucket and design/construct a new frame for support. The bucket materials were all ready decided from previous experience (Allard – 3Dlite). However, I had freedom to design a completely new frame (the old frame was plastic). I immediately thought of the old-school orthotic back braces (knight/taylor/williams styles)
(copied from members.frys.com/~orthofun/pages/Spinal/spinal.html)

These braces were fabricated from aluminum bar stock and wrapped with leather. This was way before all the different plastics became available.

We didn’t want something that was too cumbersome for the family to deal with and it had to be airy/breathable. I fabricated this frame from 2″x1/8″ aluminum bar stock. All metal was bent by hand and copper rivets secure the different pieces. The metal was covered by leather to (hide all my notes) protect the bucket and patient’s clothing. All the edges were covered in foam to protect the patient’s skin.

Anyways. Here are a couple photos of the progression of the device. More can be found in my Flicker account (link in sidebar).
Plaster mold with trimlinesMold with anterior trimlines finishedAddition of circumferential pelvic supportAhh! Balanced!Bucket in frame with legsClothed! Its amazing how realistic it looks!

It was such a relief to see it balanced and sitting on the bench! The patient is very pleased with the stability, as it is imperative for safety during mobility in the electric wheelchair.

The patient used the bucket for a week or so. I picked it up from them yesterday to make a couple adjustments. Today was spent shaping and covering the new cosmetic legs. They attach via pin lock to the frame. Hopefully they will be as pleased with the new system as I am! We will deliver this again tomorrow…

This has definitely been an exercise in patience and creativity – and VERY rewarding! I guess you could say it falls under nourishing for the soul

Brussels Sprouts CAN Taste Good! Who knew?!

I’ve now eaten more Brussels sprouts in the past month, than the rest of my life! I do not expect many people to actually try this. But just know that they can be good. I’m excited to say that I like Brussels sprouts. It may be that my tastes are changing or maybe I just found more evidence supporting the fact that bacon can make anything taste good!

I am an avid Cooks Illustrated and America’s Test Kitchen reader/watcher. A couple weeks ago, just before I started the SCD, my husband surprised me with The New Best Recipe cookbook. It’s huge, over 1000 pages and recipes!

Initially, I got a bit depressed thinking how I should really send it back, because there won’t be anything in there I can cook for a while. But, I was wrong. They cover extensive chapters on different meats, veggies, fruit and regular baking stuff (if you can).

So, we decided to start by experimenting with some vegetables we would usually avoid. [Eventually I’m gonna make that gardening thing happen and I want to grow what we like and know how to cook it too!] When I got home the next weekend, the husband had bought some Brussels sprouts! Talk about stepping up to a challenge…

Cooks Illustrated gives 3 recipe options in the book. The first option is to braise sprouts in water and season with salt/pepper and butter. Sounded a bit boring. The second option started the same by braising in water, but you also made an apple cider reduction and topped with chopped bacon! The final option they deemed the biggest success, but it involves heavy cream. Since cream is on the illegal list, we scratched off option 3.

I cooked them the next night following option 2 and the overall flavor was a bit lacking. The apple cider reduction was good, but it didn’t penetrate the entire sprout. Bacon is always good, so no problems there! We made some notes and deemed them a moderate success.

I decided to give them another shot tonight and had much better results. Instead of braising them in water, I went ahead and braised them in the cider. Essentially, killing 2 birds – cooking sprouts and reducing liquid in 1 pan!  The flavor was much more balanced and I could taste the sweetness all the way in the center of the sprouts. The bacon compliments the dish without taking over the flavors and adds good texture.

One thing I love about Cooks Illustrated is that they are really good at trying to debunk food myths and explaining the details (i.e. why/when to use a specific cut of meat). For sprouts, they found that it is not really necessary to slice an “X” in the stem end. It doesn’t speed up the cooking time – it actually just wastes it! Also, if you have a choice for small or large sprouts – choose small, they are more tender and have better flavor.

BRUSSELS SPROUTS
(from Cooks Illustrated – The New Best Recipe 2012)

1-1.5 lbs Brussels sprouts (trim stem ends and remove damaged leaves)
1.5C apple cider
1/2 lb bacon
salt/pepper to taste
need wide bottom pan/skillet with lid

Cook bacon in pan until brown and crispy. Set aside on paper towel to drain. Remove all but 1TBSP of left over bacon grease.
bsproutscooking
Carefully add apple cider to pan and scrape up bacon bits. Bring cider to boil for 1min. Add Brussels sprouts; cover and reduce heat to simmer for 8-10mins until tender – stir often. Meanwhile, rough chop crispy bacon for garnish. Remove from heat when sprouts are fork tender to center. Serve warm with sauce and bacon garnish.
bsproutsdone

“Mock”-sgiving: SCD Pecan Pie!!

“Anything worth doing, is worth doing right.”
-Hunter S. Thompson

Still trying to get ready for Thanksgiving.

I’ve been mulling over some thoughts on an SCD pecan pie for a couple weeks now. I found a couple recipes via Google search, but had some personal issues with the amount of honey they require (some up to 1  1/2C!). With my hypoglycemic issues, its important not to cause BIG spikes in my blood sugar. Second, honey can be a bit intense and over powering. It is pecan pie after all.

The husband and I like LARA bars. They are made entirely of fruit and nuts and the only prepackaged food I’ve found that fits into the SCD (lemon is my favorite!). The primary ingredient in most of the bars is dates. That got me thinking…

Could we incorporate dates into the filling and reduce the honey?

As it turns out – Yes, we can! It’s not the simplest recipe, but it’s definitely worth it in the end.

I got the recipe for the pie crust from my new cookbook, Grain-Free Gourmet. It works well – reminiscent of a graham cracker crust. I think next time I’d make some small changes, but I’ll write about that when/if I actually do it.

First things first: Soaking nuts. It is really important to prepare foods to increase your ability to digest them. By soaking raw nuts, you remove a majority of the tannins and decrease the phytates and inhibiting enzymes that can cause digestive distress. Plus, it makes them taste so much better.

They will stay good for 2-3 days after soaking. If you plan to prepare a large quantity, I’d recommend that you also dry them after soaking.

SOAKED NUTS
Nourishing Traditions (Fallon) – link in Resources

1C nuts (in this case Pecans)
2C filtered water
1/2tsp sea salt (see post on sea salt here.)

Combine ingredients in jar, shake well and leave on counter overnight. Drain and rinse well. Refrigerate for 2-3 days or dehydrate at 105degrees for 10-12 hours.

PIE CRUST
Grain-Free Gourmet (Bager & Lass, 2010)

Makes 1 9″ pie crust
1 1/2C almond flour
3TBSP butter (cold, cut in pieces)
2TBSP honey [I only used 1TBSP]
1/8tsp baking soda
1/4tsp salt

Preheat oven to 300degrees. Combine all ingredients. Using pastry cutter or food processor, cut in butter or pulse until it begins to form a ball. Place dough ball between 2 pieces of plastic wrap/parchment and roll out to 11″ round. Place on sheet pan and refrigerate for minimum of 15mins. Remove from fridge and peel off one side of plastic wrap. Working quickly, invert pastry round into pie plate and peel off remaining plastic. Patch any holes. Dock crust with a fork. Bake for 10 to 15mins until it just starts to brown. Set aside.

pie crust doughpie crust rolledpie crust panpie crust dockedpie crust bakeddates and honeydates and eggsdates and pecanspie crust filled

PECAN PIE 

1C pitted dates (heaping)
1 1/4C filtered water
1/2C honey
3TBSP butter
3 eggs – lightly beaten
1/2tsp vanilla
1tsp salt
2C soaked pecans (roughly chopped)

Combine dates and water in saucepan and soak for 1hour.
Turn heat on medium and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 20mins with lid on. (optional: remove some of the floating skins, not necessary, they just bothered me). Pour into blender (be careful, it is hot after all) and puree until smooth. Return to sauce pan and add honey. Bring mixture back to a simmer – stirring constantly – for 5 mins. Remove from heat, add butter and stir to combine. Set aside until mixture is cool to the touch and has thickened. Add eggs, vanilla and salt to date/honey mixture – stir to combine then add in pecans. Pour into prepared pie crust. Bake at 300degrees for 40 to 50mins. When you shake the pie pan the mixture should barely shake/jiggle in the center. Remove from oven and cool.

and the finished pie! ta-daa!

pecan pie plated

The husband, who is not usually a huge fan of pecan pie, loves it! Give it a try. Please let me know what you think!!!

new cookbooks… so excited!

I got home late last night. [I had to drive over 3 hours and deliver a new running prosthesis to a patient leaving today to run the 10mile Army Run in D.C. this weekend! He ran around his apartment complex tennis courts so we could optimize his alignment. He’s going to do great!]

Waiting for me on the table were 2 new cookbooks, SCD of course! I’ve got the day off (due to late night patient care!) and will be going to the grocery store and cooking up a storm this weekend!

So excited! Will keep you posted!

 

Black Beans with a Kick!

A couple weeks ago, the husband and I went out for a quick anniversary dinner. We decided to be frugal and use a gift card we’d been meaning to use for Chili’s restaurant. I had gone online a few days prior to see what sort of gluten/grain/refined sugar-free stuff they might have. It can be very challenging finding foods that meet all the limitations. I was pleasantly surprised to find an extensive PDF of allergy information. You can find it here.bbingredients

I got a grilled steak and shrimp combo with a side of broccoli and black beans. I had not had black beans in a really long time and thought they’d be a nice change. Boy was I right. I’ve been thinking about those black beans for 2 weeks now. This week I finally got around to making them.

Following the directions for cooking black beans in Nourishing Traditions, I mixed my dry beans to soak.
bbmixedupbb12hrsoak
The photo on the left is immediately after mixing; photo on the right is after 12 hours of soaking.

According to Nourishing Traditions (pages 495-496), legumes must be prepared carefully to “neutralize phytic acid and enzyme inhibitors” and make them easier to digest.

To prepare black beans: Combine 1 Cup dry beans, 2 Cups filtered water and 1 TBSP lemon juice (or whey). Allow beans to soak 12-24hours. Drain and rinse beans. Add beans to 2Qt pan and cover with 6 Cups water. Bring to boil and skim off foam. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 4-8 hours. Add water as necessary.
Note: Be gentle when stirring beans, they will break down easily.

BLACK BEANS

Prepared black beans
2tsp Chili powder
1/2tsp cumin
1/2tsp garlic powder
1tsp honey
1 fresh jalapeno, diced
1TBSP fresh garlic
salt/pepper to taste
1TBSP butter

Toppings: fresh diced tomatoes, red onions and cilantro

When the black beans are finished cooking and start getting a little thick, add the spices, jalapeno, garlic and butter. [You can leave out the jalapeno completely if you don’t like too much spice, or grade the intensity by leaving out some of the seeds.] Cook for another 30mins, adding water as needed for consistency.

Top as desired and serve warm.

bbfinished

yum! These are a bit of work, but so worth it! Enjoy!