Coconut Flour Breaded Shrimp

Coconut shrimp is sinfully delicious. I can just picture the golden brown coconut exterior that’s been fried to perfection and the crunching sound it makes as you bite into it. It was this craving that came to mind one day that made me want to adapt a gluten-free version of it. The recipe I came up with is so easy but so good at the same time. With minimal ingredients, it’s my go-to meal when I’m in the mood for a lazy dinner.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup coconut flour
  • 1/2 cup shredded, unsweetened coconut (optional, I’ve left this out before and it tasted just as great)
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 24 small shrimp; thawed, raw, tail-on, and deveined
  • 1/2 tablespoon pepper
  • Salt
  • Extra virgin olive oil or coconut oil for frying

Preparation:

Heat a nonstick pan over medium high heat and add enough oil to cover the bottom of the pan.

While you wait for the pan to get hot, mix the coconut flour, shredded coconut, pepper, and salt together in a bowl. In another bowl, beat the eggs.

Dip the shrimp in the eggs and then, press firmly in the dry coconut mixture, making sure to coat each shrimp completely.

Drop the shrimp into the hot pan and fry for about two minutes on each side or until golden brown. Let the shrimp cool on a plate lined with paper towels to drain the excess oil. You can enjoy the shrimp as is or drizzle with some honey for extra flavor.

Shrimp

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Paleo Cinnamon Cookies

Let’s talk snickerdoodles. They’re soft, they’re chewy, they’re sweet, they have cinnamon all over them, and like all other cookies, they taste great with a cold glass of milk to wash them down with. When you’re on a gluten-free or strictly Paleo diet, more often than not you crave a good cookie. When I came across this pin on Pinterest for Paleo Cinnamon Cookies and saw that the cookies not only looked easy to make but needed minimal ingredients (all of which I had in my pantry), I was thrilled. The only alteration I made was using almond flour, instead of almond meal. Using almond meal gave the cookies a more grainy, undesirable texture and taste for me.

SN2

SN1

I love that the recipe calls for coconut oil, instead of butter, as I found using coconut oil gave these cookies a richer and moister taste. Be prepared to make a few batches of these babies because I assure you, they will be gone fast.  Like most other Paleo treats I make, these don’t last very long in our home. I highly recommend doubling or even tripling the recipe to have extra batches on hand.

New Name, Site Redesign, & A Little About Me

Sunshine

Hi, everyone!

In case you were wondering (or hadn’t already noticed), I wanted to give you a heads up that I’ve changed the name and address of my blog!  It is no longer Sara’s Eats but rather, as you can see, it is now Sunshine & Sapphires. I initially started this blog as a creative outlet to share my clean eating recipes, however, as time passed, I decided that I wanted to expand my blog to cover a broader range of topics, instead of such a narrow one. What lead to this decision? Allow me to start from the beginning …

One of my passions in life has always been writing. Ever since I was in elementary school, I was known as the little girl who would sit on the edge of the Bark Box with a blank notebook and pen in hand, creating make-believe stories. The world was truly my canvas, and the sky was the limit as far as my imagination was concerned. I filled notebook after notebook up, and would spend my leisure writing letters to my favorite authors, as well as sending them my manuscripts (all, of which, at that tender age kindly got rejected, and understandably so.) I remember spending much of my childhood at the public library in my hometown, which was surrounded by a beautiful pond with cool, glistening water and a million ducks that would be waddling around. At the time, that library seemed enormous to me, and I felt like a grain of sand that occupies just one tiny fragment of a warm, sandy beach, and a must bigger picture.

As I grew older, my passion for writing stayed with me. In high school and through the duration of college, I majored in English, graduating from a university with my degree in English. However, as I became an adult and immersed myself into a world of work and responsibility, my passion, inevitably, seemed to take the back burner. But, I’m a firm believer that our hearts ultimately lead us back to whatever we are inherently passionate about and so, here I am, sharing my story with each of you.

I am a wife to my wonderful husband that I’ve known for nearly a decade, a mother to my beautiful baby boy who is my heart, a daughter to my loving and supportive parents, a friend to many, and last but definitely not least, I am a writer. My new blog will be about a variety of topics, instead of primarily food. Some days I will share recipes with you, other days I may share weight loss and fitness tips, or just musings about my every day life. Something cool I really want to do with my blog, once I receive enough responses to get that going, is to have a weekly, “Dear Sara” column, so to speak. I’ve toyed with this idea for years. It would be like a Dear Abby scenario, where my readers can e-mail me anything that is on their minds: relationship advice, dating questions, you name it! The e-mails will be featured on my website but it goes without saying that the identity of the readers writing in to me will be kept anonymous. If you would like to take part in my, “Dear Sara” column, you can send me an e-mail at sunshineandsapphires@gmail.com

I want to personally thank all of my followers for staying loyal and continuing to follow my blog, even though my updates have been so infrequent these past few years. I hope to change the frequency of my posts, especially now that I can really express my creativity on such a wider scale.

I look forward to providing you with fresh, exciting content for 2015!

Grilled Cuban Carne Asada

Happy New Year! As we advance into 2015, I know many of us have the goal to eat healthier and lose weight. The recipe I’m about to share with you today will help you on your weight loss journey and not impede your progress. I actually got it out of one of those Costco cookbooks they pass out for free in December during the holidays. I modified the recipe a bit (the original called for flank steak and I changed a few other ingredients here and there) and I have to say that the end result was amazing! Let’s get started.

Ingredients

Cuban Dry Rub:

  • 1 tablespoon cumin powder
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 1/2 tablespoon salt

Cilantro Chimichurri sauce:

  • 1/4 cup lemon juice or juice of one lemon
  • 1 bunch cilantro, rinsed
  • 1 dash crushed red pepper
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar (I used one that had Pomegranate flavoring)
  • 1 tablespoon water

Carne asada:

  • 1 pound carne asada
  • 1/2 white onion, sliced
  • 1/2 bunch cilantro sprigs
  • A few splashes of lemon juice or freshly squeezed lemon
  • Salt and pepper

Preparation:

Cuban dry rub: in a small bowl, stir together all the ingredients. Set aside.

Cilantro chimichurri sauce: place all ingredients in blender and puree until smooth. Set aside.

Carne asada: using the Cuban dry rub, rub the pieces of carne asada on both side. Place the carne asada in the refrigerator while prepping the onions. Brush the sliced onions with olive oil and season with salt and pepper to taste. Place the rubbed carne asada on the grill and cook to the desired internal temperature. I used a George Foreman grill and grilled mine until well done for 9 minutes.

Remove from grill and let rest, tented with foil. Add the sliced seasoned onions in the grill. When the onions are tender, place in a mixing bowl. Add a few splashes of lemon juice (or squeeze some fresh lemon on top) to the onions, season with salt and pepper, and add some sprigs of cilantro; toss gently and set aside.

To serve, arrange the carne asada on a platter, scatter the warm grilled onions on top, drizzle with the cilantro chimichurri sauce, and garnish with some cilantro sprigs. I served mine with green beans on the side that I sauteed in a dab of butter, garlic, and salt. Yum!

Enjoy!

carne asada 1 Carne Asada 2

Paleo/Gluten-Free Banana Bread with Dark Chocolate Chips

What’s the best thing to do with bananas that are getting overripe? Make banana bread! That’s why I absolutely love banana bread — it gives me a way to get rid of my bananas while also enjoying an amazing and easy to make treat! This is another one of Danielle Walker’s recipes (yes, I’m on a roll here!) and once again, it did not disappoint! Words can’t even describe how incredible this turned out: super moist and melt-in-your-mouth delicious. You can find the recipe here. In the past two days, I’ve made two batches because it’s just that good. One thing I should mention: I didn’t have any apple cider vinegar, so I left it out, and it was still amazing. So, if you don’t have any, I wouldn’t worry about it, as it didn’t ruin the recipe.

Enjoy!

bread Bread 2

Baked Sweet Potato Chips

When you go the gluten-free route, you will probably miss a lot of your favorite foods, but if you’re creative enough or know someone creative, you can relive all your favorite foods, again! This is another recipe out of Danielle Walker’s book that I tried, except I didn’t make her cilantro-serrano dipping sauce that the recipe called for because I was too lazy. Nevertheless, the baked sweet potato chips on their own are amazing, even without the sauce. Your house will be swirling with all sorts of delicious scents when you put these in the oven. Other things I did differently with this recipe: I left out the chili powder that the recipe called for, since I can’t stomach very spicy foods, and added crushed black pepper to it, instead. I sprinkled the chips with salt and pepper before putting them in the oven. I baked them on one baking sheet, instead of two, and broiled the last few minutes to make them crispy.

Ingredients:

  • 2 large sweet potatoes, scrubbed clean, with skins on
  • 2 tablespoons melted coconut oil or extra-virgin olive oil (I used coconut oil)
  • 1/4 teaspoon coarse sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon chili powder (I substituted this for freshly crushed black pepper)

Preparation:

Use a mandolin or a very sharp knife to cut the potatoes into even 1/8 inch thick slices. Place the potatoes in a bowl, cover with ice water, and soak for 20 minutes. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees fahrenheit. Rinse the chips and pat them dry. Toss them in the oil, then spread them in an even layer on 2 baking sheets lined with parchment paper. Bake for 20 minutes, flipping once. Sprinkle with salt and chili powder.

Enjoy this delicious and healthy treat!

Chips

Paleo/Gluten-Free Dark Chocolate Chip Zucchini Bread

Thank you, all, for your patience, as I know I’ve been on a hiatus. My pregnancy ended and I now have a beautiful baby boy to show for it. We’ve gotten into somewhat of a routine now, so I can finally squeeze in some time to post recipes on here more often. Also, since I am no longer pregnant, I  can finally stomach gluten-free foods, again, and have been back on a gluten-free diet. I’m not longer strictly on the Specific Carbohydrate Diet anymore but have now broadened my diet to include anything gluten-free. I feel the gluten-free route is just healthier and overall, makes me feel at my best.

A few weeks ago I came across Danielle Walker’s gem of a book, Against All Grain. I knew that if I wanted to truly dedicate my lifestyle to a gluten-free one, that I had to make it as easy as possible on myself, and that meant having a book I could visit for recipes, instead of having to tap into my own creative mind to invent my own or do random Google searches to find recipes. Let me tell you, her book is worth every penny! This week I’ve made half a dozen of her recipes and each one keeps impressing me.

We’ve had some zucchini in our fridge for weeks now and for fear of it not going bad, I decided to make zucchini bread. I opened Danielle’s book and sure enough, she had a recipe in there for zucchini bread. Let me tell you, it’s seriously the most delicious, moistest zucchini bread I have EVER tried. I was completely floored at how heavenly it turned out! Anyone eating it would never in a million years guess it was gluten-free! My mom made it, as well, but used unsweetened applesauce, instead of the banana the recipe called for, and it definitely did not turn out well (she found it was undercooked after she sliced it, so she put it back in the oven, only for the slices to come out slightly charred.) So, if you’re going to make this recipe, I would suggest not substituting anything.

I’ve linked her recipe above for you all. The recipe in her book differs slightly because the book recipe says to pour the batter into a single 8 1/2 by 4 1/2 inch loaf pan, which is what I did. If you’re going to use a single loaf pan, you’ll want to put it in the oven for 40 minutes. Also, I added 1/2 cup of dark chocolate chips to my batter, as well as sprinkled a generous amount on top. Danielle’s recipe didn’t call for chocolate chips but how can you go wrong with chocolate? For those on the SCD, just leave the chocolate chips out.

Seriously, go try this bread, and if you’ve dedicated your lifestyle to gluten-free, like me, I highly recommend you buy Danielle’s book. You won’t regret it.

Enjoy!

zuc 1 zuc 2 zuc 3