Sunday, October 13, 2013

Pumpkin Crepes

Oh boy.  I really did it this time.  You are either going to love me or hate me for this recipe.  You'll love me because these crepes are sinfully delicious.  You're going to hate me, or at the very least, harbor some resentment towards me because these are so delicious that once you try them you won't want to live without them ever again.  You're going to have to stop clothing your kids to hire a crepe maker so you can have these crepes at your every beckon call.  In all seriousness, these pumpkin crepes are so good you will want to add them to your breakfast rotation asap.  One taste and my kids declared they were the "best breakfast EVER", and all you mom's can attest to the fact that kids are the ultimate taste testers.  Approval from them, and you know it's good!

Before going Paleo, I enjoyed eating crepes but hardly ever made them.  Since adopting our Paleo lifestyle though, I find myself searching for new, flavorful dishes to make for breakfast.  When I decided to perfect a crepe recipe, I chose to make a pumpkin variation because, well, they sounded delicious, and frankly, it's the time of year for pumpkin dishes.  Pumpkin is all the rage this time of year, showing up in all kinds of scrumptious recipes all over the web.  And for good reason.  It's nutritious, in season, and usually made even more delectable when paired with those famous pumpkin pie spices, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and allspice. 

When I was developing this recipe, I originally was thinking of using coconut flour.  It is my go-to flour for baked goods and lots of breakfast items like pancakes and waffles.  Instead, I opted for tapioca flour in lieu of coconut for a number of reasons.  The biggest being, I strive to get as many starchy, high density carbohydrates into my boys as possible.  Although they get a bad rap, carbs are essential to our bodies.  Sure, if you live a completely sedentary life, (I'm talking sloth-like) you could get by with a minimal amount of carbohydrates, but if you're active, you require a lot more.  Carbs are even more essential for two groups of people: kids and athletes.  Since my family doesn't eat grains, beans, or legumes, we must find other sources of starches in our diets.  I make sure I serve my boys a high density carb at every meal.  We are big fans of tubers, squashes, and the like, but tapioca flour is another way to provide their growing brains and bodies the carbs they desperately need.  For me, these are perfect for refueling after a workout.

The great thing about tapioca flour is it can be used in all sorts of delicious ways, from brownies to pizza, and these delightful little crepes.  Adding pumpkin, banana, and the warm spices of fall to these crepes makes them delicious on their own, but I wanted to create something special.  When I do make crepes, we usually eat them slathered with butter and a drizzle of maple syrup, and while this combination is super tasty, I knew it could be better.  I started playing around with the syrup and butter and the creation that ensued was downright heavenly.  You must try these crepes with my maple butter sauce.  It's rich, thick, and caramel-ly.  And seriously irresistible.  The addition of this sinful sauce takes these crepes to a whole new level.  I finally had to bury them in the back of the fridge to keep myself from devouring the entire batch.

This next confession will probably have the Paleo police knocking down my door but I was about to up the flavor ante even more by adding... wait for it, a divine pumpkin cream cheese filling to my crepes.  Gasp!  Did she just mention dairy?  Yes, I am aware dairy is one of those questionable, often taboo, gray areas in the Paleo community.  Some say you're Primal if you have dairy, blah, blah, blah.  I don't have time to keep track of the labels, or concern myself with Paleo perfectionism.  My family consumes raw dairy products because they are insanely nutritious and taste great!  The cream cheese I used is raw, as I always have a ton left over from extracting whey, but store-bought cream cheese works beautifully here too.  I, myself don't eat much dairy, but my boys and husband love their raw milk, kefir, and cheeses, and I believe they're better off for it.  If you don't or can't eat dairy, no need to fret, you can simply eat your crepes drizzled with the maple butter sauce and call it a day.  Believe me, they are perfect this way.

If you do however, like to indulge in the dark side of Paleo, and drink from the teet of the bovine, then adding this pumpkin cream cheese to these crepes makes them abso-freaking-lutely delicious.   This pumpkin pie cream cheese would also be heavenly adorning the top or squashed in the middle of pumpkin cupcakes, pumpkin bread, apple slices, heck, it would even make the bumper of your car taste good. 

Now that I've undoubtedly subjected myself to the unavoidable onslaught of criticism regarding my reckless choice of utilizing dairy, let it be known I did it all in the name of flavor.  I'll gladly take on the haters and the critics as long as I can leave a smile on your face.  And there's no denying it, you will have a smile on your face as soon as you stuff it full of these.  Pumpkin banana crepes filled with pumpkin pie cream cheese and slathered in maple butter sauce...  stuff away my friends, stuff away.

This recipe makes quite a few crepes.  I like to make them all up at once, and keep the leftovers in the fridge.  This way, you can just pull a few out, and voila, breakfast or snack is ready!  If you don't feel like making all the crepes at once, you can put the batter in the fridge for up to two days and make the rest at your leisure.

Pumpkin- Banana Crepes with Pumpkin Cream Cheese


For the crepes:

3 eggs, room temperature
1 ripe banana
3/4 c full fat coconut milk
1/3 c canned pumpkin puree
1 c tapioca flour
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp ginger
1/4 tsp salt

For the pumpkin cream cheese:

8 oz softened cream cheese, preferably raw
1/2 c canned pumpkin puree
3 T coconut sugar or maple syrup
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice*
1/2 tsp vanilla

You can get the recipe for my maple butter sauce here.

*If you don't have pumpkin pie spice on hand, you can simply make your own, which is what I do.  I use it quite often, so I make up a big batch and just store it along with my other spices.  Here's the pumpkin pie spice recipe I always use:

Pumpkin Pie Spice:

4 Tbs cinnamon
4 tsp nutmeg
4 tsp ginger
2 1/2 tsp allspice
1/2 tsp cloves

Mix spices together and store in old spice jar or small mason jar.


Place all cream cheese ingredients in the bowl of a stand mixer (a hand held mixer works fine too!) and process until well combined and smooth.  Place in refrigerator until ready to use. 

Mash banana in a small bowl until very smooth.  Add mashed banana, along with the rest of the crepe ingredients in a large bowl.  Mix well using a stand or hand held mixer, or throw everything in the blender until well combined.  You should end up with a "soupy" looking batter.

Heat a small non-stick pan over low heat.*

Add a small amount of butter to the pan and sop up any extra with a paper towel. 

Pour about 1/4 c batter to the pan, then lift and swirl the pan so the batter forms a thin, even layer.  Don't worry if your first crepe doesn't turn out perfect, they get better as you go, I promise :)

Cook crepe until bottom is golden, then flip and cook until both sides are lightly browned. 

Take care when flipping, because crepes are thin, they are also fragile!

Remove crepe to a plate lined with wax paper and continue to make crepes until batter is gone, buttering and swirling pan with each new crepe.

Once all the crepes have been made, it's time to assemble these puppies.

Spoon a dollop of pumpkin cream cheese in the middle of a crepe, spread into a thin layer and then roll crepe up like a burrito.  Top with maple butter sauce and dig in! 

*Ordinarily, I am a huge advocate against  the use of non-stick pans, due to the nasty chemical coating they contain.  However, crepes require a non-stick surface and therefore this is one of the only times I recommend using one.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Vanilla Ice Cream with Maple Butter Sauce

I have been on a major sweet kick lately.  Not that this is out of the norm, my sweet tooth is freakishly fierce, but lately is has been kicked into overdrive.  Maybe it's the change of seasons, my body intuitively craving comforting, satiating foods.  Or maybe I just really dig sweet stuff.  Most likely, it's the latter. Whatever the reason, I've been creating scrumptious, sweet treats with vicious fervor all month long.

Not that anyone really cares about the reason I'm making them, because, well, sweet stuff is good.  That's why it's called a treat.  My boys inherited my love of all things sweet, which is another reason I am constantly on the hunt for yummy treats that actually possess nutritional value.  I don't believe in denying my kids, nor would I want to.  My oldest son is constantly telling me about the "special treats" his friends get in their lunchboxes.  Granted, it is a wonderful thing he's not inhaling Nestle Crunch bars and fruit snacks loaded with high fructose corn syrup and a huge heaping of red dye #40, but he's five, and at this age, sweet treats feel special.  So while I don't advocate filling his lunchbox with processed foods loaded with sugar, I do want to reward him with something at the end of his day and there's no better way to do that than with ice cream. 

My boys are not the only ones who get excited about creamy, dreamy frozen delights.  It's no secret that I absolutely love ice cream and the fact that this one is full of nourishing fats, raw honey, and sweet vanilla, just makes there that much more to love.  Living a Paleo lifestyle doesn't mean having to give up your beloved ice cream, but it does mean you will have to make it yourself.  I personally love making ice cream because the ingredients are completely at my mercy.  Feel like chocolate?  How about mint chip, or cookie dough?  The variations are endless, and like with anything made from scratch, you decide exactly what goes into it, and what doesn't.  This dairy-free, dare I say nutrient dense, vanilla ice cream won't leave you with that heavy feeling in the pit of your stomach or the least bit of guilt.  I adore treats made with wholesome ingredients, it means I can indulge without insult or injury.


This creamy vanilla ice cream is brought to a whole other level with the addition of my heavenly maple butter sauce.  Oh ya people, you heard that right.  Maple.  Butter.  Sauce.  It's slightly reminiscent of butter toffee. And a tad bit caramel-ly.  And just downright delicious.  This sauce would also be divine poured over pound cake, drizzled on waffles, and I'm guessing it would be simply sinful paired with a few slices of bacon. One bite of this cool, velvety ice cream swimming in warm, smooth maple butter sauce and all will be right with the world. 

This really is a treat you can feel good about indulging in.  It feels naughty, but it's oh so nice.  Nothing but healthy fats, antioxidant-rich natural sugars, pastured eggs, and grass-fed butter.  Nothing on that list to feel the least bit bad about.  So have an extra scoop, and let the kids lick the bowl, you'll be nourishing your body all while tantalizing your taste buds. 

I derive a ton of pleasure and satisfaction from being able to serve my family nutrient dense foods in the form of delicious treats.  That's what's so amazing about eating real food, you don't have to restrict or deny yourself the foods and flavors you love.  Eating real food means you can indulge without sabotaging your health.  Now that's what I call being able to have your cake and eat it too.

Vanilla Ice Cream with Maple Butter Sauce
For the ice cream:
1 can full fat coconut milk
2 egg yolks, from pastured eggs 
3 Tbs raw honey
1 1/2 Tbs vanilla or the seeds from 2 vanilla beans
For the maple butter sauce:
1/3 c Grade B maple syrup
6 Tbs butter
2 Tbs coconut sugar
1/4 c full fat coconut milk
chopped walnuts or pecans, candied or plain (optional)
Whisk egg yolks in a small bowl and set aside.
Heat coconut milk, honey, and vanilla in a small saucepan over med-low heat.  Do not let it come to a boil.
Stir to combine and remove from heat. 
Pour a small ladle full of the hot coconut milk mixture into the eggs yolks while whisking continuously to temper the eggs. Add another ladle full and then pour egg mixture into coconut milk and whisk to combine. 
Pour into a glass or ceramic bowl and place in refrigerator until fully cooled.  (You can also place a layer of saran wrap directly on top of the ice cream mixture to prevent a "skin" from forming.) 
Once the mixture is completely cool, pour into your ice cream maker and process according to manufacturer's instructions.
In my ice cream machine, this takes about 20 minutes.
Once finished, remove ice cream from machine and scoop into a freezer safe container and place in freezer to set completely.  You will want to take out your ice cream at least 10 minutes before serving to let it soften up a bit.
While your ice cream is churning, it's time to make the maple butter sauce.
Place syrup, butter, and coconut sugar in a small saucepan over med-low heat.
Whisk continuously for 3 minutes, until the mixture bubbles and thickens, taking care not to let the mixture burn.
Continue to whisk, add the coconut milk and allow to cook for another 1-2 minutes.
Remove from heat and allow to sit at room temperature or place in refrigerator until you are ready to use it.  It will thicken significantly as it cools, which I love.  It is however, equally delicious served piping hot straight out of the pan.

 Once your ice cream is ready, scoop yourself a big 'ol bowl, ladle on some delicious sauce, and adorn with some candied walnuts or pecans if desired.