bacon apple nut brussies

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We are less than a week away from Thanksgiving! This holiday is my favorite. Yes, it’s amazing because of the delicious food, football, and family. But it’s more than that; I also love Thanksgiving because every November, we get to start the holiday season off with a day dedicated to celebrating and acknowledging all of life’s wonders – family, friends, love, adventures, you name it. The best part about all of it is that Thanksgiving is the one holiday that hasn’t been fully corporatized and taken over by every damn commercial, billboard advertisement, corporate marketing scheme and the like.

Don’t get me wrong, I really LOVE the holidays when the focus is where it should be, but I do not love some of the nonsense that comes with it otherwise.

People knocking each other down to get to the biggest TV on black friday. Every big company you can think of trying to capitalize on a holiday that can all too quickly lose all meaning. People basically going broke to buy gifts, when what most people really want (at least deep down, if they won’t admit it) is genuine time with the ones they love, along with a little rest and rejuvenation for a new year. If you want to see my blood boil, get me in a Walmart around Christmas (never going to happen).

It’s always a goal of mine to give gifts of “experiences” (ie: a dinner out with my brother and his awesome new girlfriend, wine tasting with my parents, a day of snowboarding with my little sister). By gifting experiences, there is way more to be gained than just getting more stuff; rather, there are memories to be made and forced hanging out when life seems too busy to make plans. Cool right?

The reality is, though, that we can’t get everyone in our lives experiences, so sometimes gifts are in order.  Maybe this year, we will all think twice before heading into Walmart or taking on the nightmare that is the mall, where products and clothes are made and sourced often at the expense of inhumane practices, poor wages, terrible conditions, and methods that are far from sustainable. Instead, check out this gift guide from the Fair Trade Federation! There’s some awesome, original gifts for anyone in your life. Or maybe do a little baking or prepare a simple healthy meal for the special people in your life.

It’s hard to find a better way to show you care than by nourishing the ones you love!

Speaking of nourishing the ones you love, I cannot wait to prepare this dish at Thanksgiving. It’s nutrient dense, delicious, and so flavorful. My favorite part is when a slice of apple bursts in your mouth, like a little explosion of bacon grease goodness. Trust me. Your family will love these, and if you have any brussels sprout haters in your house, they will be converted!

So, here you go, Bacon Apple Nut Brussies. Happy Almost Thanksgiving!

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Bacon Apple Nut Brussies (GF, DF)

  • Servings: 8
  • Time: 30 min
  • Difficulty: easy
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WHAT YOU NEED:

  • 6 cups of brussels sprouts, cleaned and halved
  • 2 organic firm apples, chopped (I like the skin on)
  • 1 cup of pecans
  • 1/2 lb pastured bacon (fattier the better)
  • salt and pepper to taste

WHAT YOU DO:

  • preheat oven to 375
  • dice bacon into chunks and throw on a pan or wok set to medium heat
  • once the bacon is cooked enough to have plenty of grease in the pan, add your brussels, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and cook until lightly browned and well coated
  • add your apples and pecans and toss until everything is evenly coated with bacon grease
  • add more salt and a bit of pepper to taste
  • line two baking sheets with tin foil and spread out your brussie mixture evenly
  • it is very important that this is really spread out because if it’s piled up in a casserole dish, it will steam and be mushy (no mushy brussies)
  • bake for 10 minutes, check in, and stir
  • bake another 5 minutes, or until you have your desired texture
  • set to broil for 60 seconds, keeping a close eye, until you have delicious crispiness
  • ENJOY!

Countdown to Thanksgiving…. 6 days. Can’t wait. Expect a recipe roundup coming soon. Lots of love and thanks to you all. Happy holidays from the Bruners!

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autumn arugula salad

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It seems like all summer long, I crave salads; it turns into a salad a day kind of season. Farmer’s market is loaded with all kinds of veggies that are fresh, delicious, and just asking to be tossed in a bog bowl, dressed up nicely, and enjoyed in the sun. But what happens when the temperatures drop, the strawberries, beets, and cucumbers are no longer in season, and nothing sounds better than a hearty warm foods? I find myself going weeks without a salad, but we can all use a little raw green veg in our lives. With Thanksgiving fast approaching, and all kinds of hearty recipes on the menu, I knew I needed to come up with something fresh, delicious, and fitting for Fall. So, I set out to create a salad that could hold its own against the delicious fresh summer salads, while still staying true to the season and all the flavors that make this time of year great.

If you know me at all, you know how obsessed I am with buying local, organic, and seasonal all year round. Though it’s easy to simply go to the store and buy whatever produce you want shipped over from Mexico, this is not necessarily good for your health, the planet, or the local farmers who depend on you to keep their sustainable practices going.  Not to mention, the flavors won’t compare.

It should come as no surprise that I looked no further than our local farmers market for inspiration for this autumn arugula salad

And inspiration came easy. Fresh wild arugula. Beautiful squash. Bright pomegranates. Local organic walnuts. Sheep’s milk cheese. And local fresh pressed olive oil. The mix of the sweet and salty flavors that merge in this salad are delicious, and the warm roasted squash adds the perfect bit of warmth, wilting the arugula just enough and pulling together the flavors of fall.

We enjoyed it this week with a beautiful grass fed filet, a glass of organic pinot, and rain drops hitting the roof above. And we can’t wait to enjoy it again next week with our Thanksgiving dinner. Simple and delicious. Salads aren’t just for summer anymore.

Introducing, my Autumn Arugula Salad brought to you by our local farmers market…

Autumn Arugula Salad (GF)

  • Servings: 6-8
  • Time: 40
  • Difficulty: easy
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WHAT YOU NEED:

For candied walnuts

  • 1 cup organic raw walnuts
  • 1/4 cup + 1 TB pure maple syrup
  • 2 pinches sea salt

For squash

  • 1 whole organic squash of your choice (I like delicata, acorn, butternut, or kabocha)
  • 2 TB grass fed butter
  • 1 TB maple syrup
  • sea salt and pepper to taste

For salad

  • 16 oz wild arugula
  • 3/4 cup organic pomegranate seeds*
  • 2 oz crumbled goat or sheep’s milk cheese
  • 1/4 cup pure extra virgin olive oil (the more local the better)
  • 2 TB pomegranate balsamic vinegar

*I used the seeds from half of a pomegranate (if you pull the seeds out in a bowl of water, the seeds sink and the pith floats to the top, making life easier)

more ingredient notes can be found HERE

WHAT YOU DO:

Walnuts first:

  • heat a small pan to medium-high
  • add your walnuts and maple syrup, plus one pinch of salt
  • stir while maple syrup begins to bubble (don’t stop stirring)
  • syrup will slowly start to dissolve and soak into the walnuts
  • once there is no more liquid in the pan and your walnuts are evenly coated, add one more pinch of salt
  • dump walnuts onto a plate covered with parchment paper and let them cool entirely
  • make sure to snack on 1 or 2 once they are cool (so good)

Squash second:

  • preheat oven to 400
  • peel and cube your squash
  • in the same pan as your walnuts add butter, 1 TB maple syrup, salt and pepper and stir until squash is coated
  • cover a baking pan with foil, spread squash evenly, and put into oven
  • roast until soft and slightly brown (about 20 min but keep an eye on these)

Put it all together:

  • while your squash cooks, make your dressing by whisking olive oil and vinegar
  • put arugula in a big salad bowl and add pomegranate seeds
  • once squash is done at it next (it’s great warm because it wilts the arugula a bit)
  • next crumble and add your walnuts
  • crumble your cheese and add it on top
  • drizzle dressing and toss
  • ENJOY with your Thanksgiving meal, a delicious steak, or wild caught fish (and maybe a good glass of wine like we did)

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Note: try  not to eat all of these candied walnuts before you serve your salad. They are that good. Make some extra just for the snacking. Enjoy!

grain free salt butter biscuits

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Fact: my husband loves biscuits. Corn biscuits. Biscuits and gravy. Buttermilk biscuits. Cheddar biscuits. Breakfast biscuit sandwiches. You name the biscuit, he loves it. With temperatures dropping, and soups, stews, and lots of chili on the menu at least 4 days a week, he’s been asking me for biscuits pretty much daily. I love him, so I made him biscuits. Lucky for you (and me), I kept them clean, simple, and super easy. And even luckier for all parties, they turned out so good. I’m talking perfectly crisp crust with a moist, fluffy inside that melts in your mouth. Melt some butter and add a bit of honey, and you’ve got yourself a dream biscuit.

With the pressure of pleasing a biscuit loving dude, whose mom is a master baker, and the challenge of keeping it grain free and relatively clean, I knew what I was taking on. My friends, I think I might have nailed it.

Since I first made these last week, we have had them at least twice a week with big bowls of chili. The perfect meal on a chili (well, I live in California, so not too chili) Fall or Winter night. They will also be the perfect replacement for the rolls my family usually includes in Thanksgiving dinner. If the entire Thanksgiving meal has been turned over to me, that is going to include the rolls, damnit. There will be no gluten at this meal, nothing processed, and nothing artificial. My rules. Isn’t that fun?

Taste for yourself and let me know. Introducing, my fluffy salt butter biscuits, the perfect accompaniment to your comfort food favorites…

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Salt Butter Biscuits (GF)

  • Servings: 6
  • Time: 30 min
  • Difficulty: easy
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WHAT YOU NEED:

  • 1 cup almond flour
  • 2 TB coconut flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 2 TB cold grass-fed butter or ghee (I used Paleo Butter)
  • 1 large pastured egg
  • 1/4 cup coconut cream*

*coconut milk WILL NOT work. Use the cream off the top of a cold can of full fat coconut milk or buy pure coconut cream (both found in the ethnic section of your grocery store or online)

optional toppings: a bit of grass fed butter and raw organic local honey

ingredient notes can be found HERE

WHAT YOU DO:

  • preheat oven to 350 degrees
  • mix almond flour, coconut flour, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl
  • now, break your butter into bits and work into the flour until you have a crumbly flour mixture
  • in a separate bowl combine egg and coconut cream
  • pour wet ingredients into dry and combine until you have a sticky, wet dough
  • stick dough into the fridge for 20 minutes to make it easier to work with
  • now roll it into 6 balls and flatten them out (about 1 inch tall) on a cookie sheet
  • sprinkle a bit of sea salt on top of each
  • bake for 20 minutes, until lightly browned and slightly cracked (a toothpick comes out clean)
  • ENJOY! Eat fresh out of the oven with some butter and a bit of honey (I HIGHLY recommend these alongside my beef and bacon chunky pumpkin chili)

If you like these, please share with the ones you love! Leave a comment below letting me know what you paired these delicious biscuits with. Enjoy!

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anti-can cranberry sauce

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When I was a kid, I always looked forward to the sweet and tart flavor of cranberry sauce at Thanksgiving dinner. In my littlest years, before I could even reach the counter, we would always go to my great aunt’s house. While the turkey tended to be a bit dry, the cranberry sauce always seemed to be the saving grace. It not only added sweet to the salty of the meal, but it also provided moisture to overcooked, under-brined, or just plain dry turkey meat. Though I loved cranberry sauce, not all sauces were created equal. Even as a kid, I knew that cranberry sauce should actually have cranberries in it, and I was grossed out by the jello-like cylinder that would sometimes get plopped on a plate in an attempt to save a step in the kitchen. Not ok. Fortunately, my great aunt (though perhaps lacking in her turkey skills) could make a mean cranberry sauce, and she is the inspiration for this recipe.

The good news is that the hubs and I have mastered a perfectly cooked, juicy, flavorful turkey that can stand alone without any coverup. The better news? This cranberry sauce is like icing on a paleo cake. It takes minutes to prepare. It can be made a full week in advance. And your family will be pumped at a bowl of freshly made, organically grown, nutrient dense cranberry sauce to top off a perfect Thanksgiving meal. I am challenging you to make this year’s meal from scratch and to join the anti-can movement. No matter what you’re making (from pumpkin pie and cranberry sauce to gravy or green beans), fresh ingredients will truly make a memorable meal and leave everyone around that table with so much to be thankful for.

So I introduce to you the anti-can cranberry sauce, featuring Uber Fresh C++

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Anti-Can Cranberry Sauce (GF, DF, NF)

  • Servings: 10
  • Time: 4 hours and 10 min
  • Difficulty: easy
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WHAT YOU NEED:

  • 1/4 cup filtered water
  • 1 1/2 tsp unflavored grass fed gelatin
  • 12 oz of fresh organic cranberries
  • 1/2 cup Uber Fresh C++ (or organic fresh orange juice)
  • 1/2 cup raw organic honey (note: you should not be able to see through honey)
  • 1 tsp orange zest (from an organic orange so you don’t zest in any pesticides)
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

More ingredient details can be found HERE

WHAT YOU DO:

  • stir the gelatin into the water and set aside to gel
  • mix the remaining ingredients together in a saucepan over medium-high heat
  • bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium, and simmer until the berries begin to break open (about 20 minutes)
  • plop in the solidified gelatin and whisk until dissolved
  • remove from heat and transfer to a glass tupperware to cool all the way
  • cover and refrigerate for 4 hours
  • stir it up, move to a nice serving bowl, and ENJOY!

*you can make this a week in advance to save some steps on Thanksgiving!