Grain Free Sweet Potato Pie Goodness

I have been grain free since April 2014. With Thanksgiving quickly approaching, I suddenly realized that I must find pie. So I set out to create a grain free pie that was worth sharing on Thanksgiving. I know there are tons of awesome recipes on the internet already; however, sometimes I enjoy creating my own recipe. Here is what I came up with:

Grain Free Sweet Potato Pie

Crust Ingredients

  • 1 cup Almond Meal or Flour
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tbsp coconut flour
  • 1 tsp arrowroot starch
  • 1 tbsp lard*
  • 1 tbsp real maple syrup grade B
  • 4 tbsp ice cold water
  • large pinch of sea salt

Pie Ingredients

  • 2 medium sweet potatoes (approximately 2 1/4 cups) baked and peeled
  • 1/8 cup maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup coconut milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tbsp coconut flour
  • 1 tbsp pumpkin spice
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla
  • large pinch of salt

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Instructions 

  1. First make the crust. In a large mixing bowl mix together the almond meal or flour, coconut flour, arrowroot starch and salt, then add the egg, lard, ice water and maple syrup. You can roll with a rolling pin, but this has never worked out for me with grain free crust, so I just scooped it into my glass pie pan and use a spoon to smooth it as evenly as possible. Make sure you put it up the sides also, and use your fingers to pinch the top. Let it sit in the refrigerator for one hour.  If the sides keep falling, add a little more coconut flour.10711019_10154885667615089_367251562230110373_n
  2. Next, mix together all of the pie ingredients in a food processor. (Yes I tasted it! lol)1505288_10204840432627248_723312374104629049_n  10407245_10204840436387342_6517968877076640411_n
  3. Add the filling to the crust and smooth the filling, after the crust had chilled. before pie
  4. Bake for 30-40 mins or until the crust is brown & a toothpick comes out clean. 10353047_10204840437907380_6960240185752649987_n
  5. Enjoy!                                                                        10406650_10204840444987557_3996751603230733503_n

 

*Please Note: The lard should come from a high quality source. If you are in or around the Columbia, MO area then I recommend either Sullivan Farms out of Fayette or Crocker Farms out of Centralia. Both can be found at the farmers market on most Saturdays. They are hit and miss this time of year though.

 

Mini Chef Cooking Classes

Back in June of 2014, I started Back 2 Basics Cooking. One of the services that I offer is cooking classes for children between the ages of 18 months and 12 years old (13 years and up attend the adult classes). For this mini chef class, we made the Flourless Zucchini Brownies from Lindsey over at Delighted Momma and we had children from 4-8 years old. I know that some people in the Paleo community are not fans of Paleo Desserts, but I think this is one of the amazing examples of a great use for them! Anytime you can get children to cook with (and eat) more whole foods is a win in my book. Even if that food happens to be a brownie.

We had such a blast! One of the little girl’s actually said, “This is the BEST time I’ve ever had in my life!” And while I suspect that to a 7 year old, a lot of things are probably “the best”, this completely melted my heart and reaffirmed my decision to start my business in the first place. Since we had so much fun, I thought I would briefly go over the class for anyone who might be wondering what a mini chef cooking class at Back 2 Basics Cooking looks like.

Set-Up & Zucchini Prep

After we all put on our nametags and aprons, we washed our hands. I explained how I had already preheated the oven. Then each mini chef got their own zucchini. They then washed, peeled and cut their zucchini into large chunks. And don’t worry, they used a knife I purchased from Pampered Chef that will cut, but will not cut them. The kids all did such a great job and really enjoyed this task!

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Zucchini Shredding

After this we all took turns pushing the button on the food processor (because we, of course, ALL had to push it!) and then scraping the zucchini into the bowl. The kids were very excited to see how we were going to make a brownie out of zucchini. They did not think this was possible.

brownie 5         brownie 6        brownie 7

Remaining Ingredients

We then took turns again, adding in the remaining ingredients. We talked about how we were doubling the recipe, and took the time to figure out what the doubles of each ingredient were.

Fresh Farm Eggs

Fresh Farm Eggs

Pure Vanilla Extract

Pure Vanilla Extract

Ground Cinnamon

Ground Cinnamon

Almond Butter

Almond Butter

brownie 11

Raw Honey

Enjoy Life Dark Chocolate Chips

Enjoy Life Dark Chocolate Chips

Baking Soda

Baking Soda

Mixing

And then we stirred, stirred, stirred it all up!

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Greasing the Pan

And while some where mixing, others were taking turns greasing the pan with extra virgin coconut oil:

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Pouring

Then came the pouring:

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Fun Activities While Waiting for Brownies to Bake

While the brownies were in the oven, each mini chef got to decorate their very own cookbook. We talked about how this was their own very special cookbook, and that if they did not like a recipe then they did not have to leave it in their book. They each gave their cookbook a personal touch with some stickers and a few markers.

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The kids were each proud of their personally designed cookbooks!

The kids were each proud of their personally designed cookbooks!

We also played simon says, red light-green light and talked about our favorite foods! Then these amazing kids all lined up at the sink and worked together, as a team, to wash all of the dishes (except the sharp food processor blade off course). All I did was get them set up and then they did the rest!

Teamwork

dishes

The teamwork that these children displayed was nothing short of impressive and better than many adults I have seen!

Are they done yet?!?

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Before we opened the oven, we talked about how hot it was and how careful we all needed to be so no one would get burned.

After much suspense, the brownies were finally finished!

done done2

Since we doubled the batch, we should have stirred once about 10 minutes into baking and the middle wouldn’t have been lighter than the outside. Lesson learned. However, the taste wasn’t affected in the least. These kids make some super yummy brownies!  The two “eye” holes are from me making sure the brownies were done with the knife and the “mouth” baked into the brownies itself. Some of the kids thought the brownies looked like a face and found a lot of humor in this!

We did not get any pictures of eating the brownies, because everyone was busy filling their tummies! All of the children and parents said the brownies were very tasty.

What Did The Parents Think?

So, by now you can probably tell that the children had lots of fun and enjoyed themselves. But you may be wondering what the parents (grandparents,etc) thoughts were. Let’s take a quick look:

“We did our first kid’s class today and it was GREAT. Ashley was engaging, friendly, and knowledgable. The recipe was delicious, and the kids had fun! We’re looking forward to next month’s class!” -Rebecca Johanning QA/Control Technician

“It was lots of fun and very well organized. Fun for kids.” -Leanne Lake, Administrative Associate

I love how hands on it is. The entertainment during the cook time was great. I love the personalized cookbooks. This is a hands on event, full of family value. It is a great way to spend some one on one time with your child, and you get a healthy tasty treat at the end!” -Jenifer Smith, Mother of 3

Other Mini Chef Classes

I hope that this post has helped answer any questions you might have about the mini chef classes. If not, please do not hesitate to ask me! Also, some classes won’t require such a long baking time so the extra activities will be less.

Please Note:At the time of this class, I have all the mini chef’s (ages 18 months to 12 years) in one class; however, as enrollment continues to pick up, I will be added an junior chef classes. At that point the mini chef classes will be for children ages 18 months to 6 years and the junior chef classes will be for children 7 years to 12 years old. If your child is 13 or above they will attend the adult classes (unless they wish to come to a junior chef class).

leanne

Conclusion

Getting your child (or grandchild/niece/nephew) excited about eating whole foods is only one of the many benefits of the mini chef cooking classes at Back 2 Basics Cooking. In this class alone, in addition to the actual cooking, the children worked on teamwork, sharing, fractions, fine motor skills, and patience! So if you want your child to learn a skill that will last a lifetime, along with practice of many other skills, sign up for a mini chef class today! Seating is very limited.

BIG THANK YOU to Jenifer Smith for taking all of these awesome pictures while her daughter was attending this class.

What I Have Learned After The 1st Week Of Hosting a Whole30 Challenge

On October 1, 2014, me and 25 other people started out on a Whole30 challenge, which my business Back 2 Basics Cooking is hosting. Even though I have been eating (95%) Paleo since April of this year, this will be the first Whole30 program that I personally have completed, as well as the first time I have hosted a challenge. I put a lot of effort and time into organizing this event, and was worried that no one would sign up or that no one would complete the challenge.

Sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, coconut flakes, and rasiasns.

Sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, coconut flakes, and raisins.

While it has given my business some positive exposure, I did not organize this challenge to raise profits. Therefore, it would have been quite the bummer if no one signed up, or if everyone only participated half heartedly. Not only have many of the participants continued to participate, many of them are taking extra time out of their day to help support each other!

Chicken sautéed with some spinach and coconut oil and tomatoes with roasted brussel sprouts-all covered with fresh lemon juice~Submitted by Jessica

Chicken sautéed with some spinach and coconut oil and tomatoes with roasted brussel sprouts-all covered with fresh lemon juice~Submitted by Jessica

On top of that, I have been learning a lot myself from hosting the challenge. I am already figuring out ways to make the next challenge more helpful. Considering that about a week before the challenge I was very down and ready to throw in the towel, this is very exciting to me! A few people have dropped out of the challenge, but I am still very happy that they even attempted it. I hope that the time they participated helped open their eyes to how food affects them, which will help them to make more whole food choices in the future. There are even people who have asked to follow the group, so that they can learn more!

Apples, almond butter, and kombucha~Submitted by Jen

Apples, almond butter, and kombucha~Submitted by Jen

Since we have officially made it through the one week mark, I thought I would take a moment to write a quick post about some of the things participating and hosting this challenge has taught me:

Hamburger mixed with carrots, zucchini, and onions ~Submitted by Ambra

Hamburger mixed with carrots, zucchini, and onions ~Submitted by Ambra

1. Support is CRUCIAL for some when it comes to change. I am one of those someones. If I had not put together this challenge I know I would have given up on this already, even though I am 100% aware of how much it will help my health. But it would be kind of messed up of me to give up now though, since I am encouraging everyone else to continue. haha

Batch cooking some roast, potatoes, carrots, and onions~Submitted by Jessica

Batch cooking some roast, potatoes, carrots, and onions~Submitted by Jessica

2.I thought that since  I have been grain, soy, dairy (with the exception of grass-fed butter), and food-dye free since April, that I would not have much to learn from participating in the program….silly me! Sugar is a hard habit to kick, and just because you are eating honey instead of table sugar it still doesn’t mean you aren’t still addicted to sugar.

Tuna, celery, and raisins over spinach ~Submitted by Jen

Tuna, celery, and raisins over spinach ~Submitted by Jen

3. I need to have my own kitchen by the time I have the next challenge, so that I can have the support meetings there. Then I could give small demonstrations also. I also want to have a meeting either the day before or the first day of the next challenge. My sister was in from Canada and I had to take her to the airport in KC on Oct 1, so that just wasn’t an option this time.

Baked sweet potato chips with cinnamon and ginger~Submitted by Jerale

Baked sweet potato chips with cinnamon and ginger~Submitted by Jerale

4.Having a support group on Facebook, has really helped some of us out. For example, I was not aware that we couldn’t have any extracts on this program (even though I am the “leader”), but because of the facebook group I was able to find out before we were too far in. Others have thought they needed to be low carb, but I was able to explain that isn’t necessary. You CAN be low carb, but you do not have to be. Simply eat the RIGHT carbs. It has also helped out with people asking me the same questions. This way I can just refer them to the post instead of saying the same thing over and over.

Baked pears, coconut milk, and walnuts ~Submitted by Cassandra

Baked pears, coconut milk, and walnuts ~Submitted by Cassandra

5.Being able to share recipes and meal ideas is also great! I would have never thought to put apples, tuna, and cucumbers together on my own. Someone else shared the idea so I gave it a shot and wow!  I was already aware of what a wide range of meals and snacks would be available, I talked about it in this post. But I believe sharing ideas with each other has helped to speed up everyone’s learning curve. As you can see by all of the food pictures that I took from our Facebook group, we haven’t had a shortage of meal ideas. 🙂

Tuna mixed with cucumbers, onions, apples, olive oil, and avocado.

Tuna mixed with cucumbers, onions, apples, olive oil, and avocado.

6.Food can be very addictive and we should not downplay that. In my opinion, it is like a drug for many of us and should be treated as such. (Only drugs don’t line the shelves of every gas station and grocery store around!)

Chicken topped with mango and tomato with a side of roasted potatoes ~Submitted by Jessa

Chicken topped with mango and tomato with a side of roasted potatoes ~Submitted by Jessa

7.People are noticing how much better they are feeling, how they are staying full longer, and how amazing whole foods taste when you clean up your body much faster than I had anticipated. This is awesome to me!

Hamburger with greeen beans, onions, and green peppers with roasted broccoli and sweet potato fries~Submitted by Kara

Hamburger with green beans, onions, and green peppers with roasted broccoli and sweet potato fries~Submitted by Kara

For all of my Whole 30ers who are reading this: Please take a moment and comment below. Give a short explanation of how the first week has went for you. what you have learned and why you are continuing with the challenge. It is ok to add the good and the bad. I am hoping to help motivate others to start eating more whole foods and your feedback will help tons!

Ground turkey, marinara sauce & spaghetti squash ~Submitted by Jessica

Ground turkey, marinara sauce & spaghetti squash ~Submitted by Jessica

(If you are not part of our challenge, but have completed a Whole30 Program before, please feel free to comment as well.)

Frozen Grapes

Frozen Grapes

5 Items That Are Helpful to Have Around During a Whole30 Challenge

Since my business, Back 2 Basics Cooking, will be hosting a Whole30 challenge here in Columbia, Missouri, I thought it would be appropriate to write something related to the Whole30. So here are 5 items that I believe are helpful to have around in your kitchen during a Whole30 challenge.

1)Extra Virgin Coconut Oil

-Extra Virgin Coconut Oil has been more than just a staple in our home. Not only do we use it for our hair, skin, and teeth, but we also use a lot of it for cooking. It is a great choice for a cooking fat because unlike olive oil it does ok with high heat. It also adds a nice sweetness to your dish. If you are on a low budget you should either buy your coconut oil in bulk or use animals fats for cooking (that you render yourself), which are much cheaper.

2)Fire Roasted Tomatoes

-I always try to keep a few cans of organic fire roasted diced tomatoes in our cabinets. The deep, rich flavor is all I need to turn an okay meal into an extraordinary meal! Yum.

3)Avocados

-Yes, avocados are a high fat food; but, as this blog post by Hemi Weingarten states, “fear not the fat in avocados”. You can use them as a replacement for mayo, salad dressing, dip, or just as added flavor to things like your scrambled eggs.

4)Sweet Potatoes

-I never use to mess with sweet potatoes unless it was a holiday; however, switching to a Paleo diet has changed that. Now, I always try to keep some for around as a good source of carbs. Sweet Potatoes are a great addition to your diet, especially if you are a high energy athlete or are nursing or pregnant. You can make fries, chips, and baked potatoes with some ghee (clarified butter) and cinnamon just for starters. Stick some sweet potato chunks, cinnamon and ghee in a crockpot before work to have a super yummy side dish ready when you get home. (Which brings me to my next helpful item…)

5)Crockpot

-Where would I be without my crockpot? Probably hungry. Having a day job, running a business, and raising a two year old who does not go to daycare and is still in (cloth) diapers, does not leave a lot of extra time for cooking every meal from scratch and washing all of those dishes.

If I did not have two crockpots, I wouldn’t have the time to write this blog. Sometimes I only use it once a week, other times I use it for several days in a row. If you do not have at least one I suggest you invest in one. It is helpful to have a small one and a large one so you have the option to cook meals or just side dishes. Trying to cook a family potion size of a side dish in a large crockpot takes a lot longer.

There are plenty of other items that can be helpful during the upcoming Whole30, so I will be doing at least one more post similar to this one in the future. Until then, I hope this post helps you to prepare for October’s upcoming challenge! If you want to learn more about the challenge, please check out my webpage:

http://back2basicscooking.net/TheWhole30.html

Happy Cooking!

Have you completed a Whole30 program before? What item would you add to this list?