Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Paleo Brownie Bites

These paleo brownie bites may be one of my favorite things I've ever made. But if you aren't paleo don't let the title mislead you, these are something that EVERYone can enjoy. Seriously. They are vegan brownie bites also! And they are basically homemade Lara Bars, but waaayyyy better. This has to be one of my favorite recipes. I know I probably say that a lot, but seriously, I urge you to give these a try if you are looking for a healthier sweet treat. And let's be real, who isn't always looking for a healthier sweet treat?

It's got to be every woman's, blogger's, and most likely man's dream to be able to eat sweets and call them healthy. And here we have delicious paleo brownie bites that are void of flour, refined sugar, and butter and are still so freaking good! Yes, paleo chewy brownies that are also happen to be vegan chewy chocolaty brownies. It's for reals, guys. And did I mention they are super easy to make and are no bake! The best brownie bites you've ever had and they have no flour or refined sugar and you don't even have to bake them! Folks, it's a pretty magical situation we have going on here.

I used to buy Lara Bars as my sweet treat. Every day after lunch, I would have a chocolate chip Lara Bar. I always knew I could make them at home and probably save myself some money, but what I didn't know (until now) was that homemade Lara Bars are like a gazillion times better, especially when they are bite size chocolaty brownie batter balls rolled in coconut. My husband even ate these and he doesn't like chocolate or coconut. Although, he didn't know there was coconut involved.... not quite sure how he missed that...

Seriously, these are amazing. Amazing fudgy goodness. Whether you are paleo or not, vegan or not, these are insanely good and so easy to make! So you MUST make them. Do. It. Now. xoxo

Paleo Brownie Bites

adapted from Averie Cooks
makes 12 - one inch balls

2/3 cup raw walnut halves and pieces
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 heaping cup soft medjool dates, pitted (about 17 - 20 medium sized dates)
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 to 2 tablespoons coconut milk OR any liquid sweetener, like honey, agave, or maple syrup if you want your brownie bites to be sweeter. I used coconut milk and thought the brownie bites were perfectly sweet. 

2/3 cups shredded unsweetened coconut

Pulse coconut in food processor for 30 seconds to a minute to form coconut crumbs. Remove from food processor and set aside.

Place pitted dates in a bowl of warm water for a minute to soften them up.

Add unsweetened cocoa powder and walnuts to food processor, blend until walnuts become fine crumbs, but do not over process or you will get some kind of chocolate walnut butter. 

Drain dates and place in the food processor with the cocoa walnut crumbs. Add vanilla. Process until mixture starts to combine. It may not fully combine until liquid is added. Add coconut milk or liquid sweetener (if desired) half a tablespoon at a time. Pulse. You will know the consistency is right when the dough combines into a ball in the middle of the food processor. 

If dough is too runny add a tablespoon or more cocoa powder to bring it back to a dough like state. 

Transfer dough to a bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours. Cold dough is much easier to work with. I left my dough in the fridge over night. You could put it in the freezer if you need to speed the process up. 

Once dough is cold, put coconut crumbs from earlier into a shallow bowl. Scoop heaping tablespoons of dough and roll them between hands to form balls. Roll balls in coconut crumbs, pressing the crumbs gently into the ball. Continue until all dough is gone. You can moisten your hands with water if the dough begins to stick to your palms as you roll.

Keep chilled, they taste best that way. Bites will keep in fridge for quite some time, and freeze well also. 

They are soooo good!!

Love, Luck, and Happiness!

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Mushrooms in Cream and Ale Sauce: Recipe Revamp

This mushroom recipe is seriously one of my favorite recipes on the blog. It can turn a meal into something truly special, if you like mushrooms that is. I make these decadent cream and ale mushrooms almost every Christmas. We top my Dad's perfectly cooked prime rib with the mushrooms and I swear it is my favorite meal of the year.

This is a recipe that has been up on the blog for quite some time, but hasn't really gotten the love it deserves. I've been wanting to spruce up the pictures, but I don't get a lot of opportunities to cook mushroom recipes since I live with a mushroom hating monster. Well, he's not really that much of a monster, but he does hate mushrooms, which is a bummer. So when my mother in law mentioned that she was eager to try my mushrooms in cream and ale sauce I had two things to say: 1. Why in the world doesn't your son like mushrooms???!!!! 2. Yes, I would love to make that for you!!!! (Squeal of excitement).

These mushrooms are my favorite as a steak topper, but I wouldn't hesitate to pile them high on some creamy mashed potatoes, or parsnip pureé. They would also be a great way to fancy up some simple grilled chicken or pork chops. But honestly, I could eat them alone by themselves in all their creamy ale-y mushroom glory. 

Mushrooms in Cream and Ale Sauce

adapted from Vegetarian Food for Friends 
serves 6-8 as a side or as a topper

4 to 5 cups sliced mushrooms, use a variety -  I suggest any combination of cremini, baby bella, shiitake, or oyster 
2 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
4 cloves garlic - minced
1 teas paprika
1/2 cup dark beer (Newcastle works well)
3/4 cup heavy cream
squeeze of half a small lemon (probably about 1/2 tablespoon lemon juice)
1/4 teaspoon salt (more or less to taste)
freshly ground pepper to taste

Clean mushroom caps. I read once that mushrooms absorb liquid quickly so it is best to wipe the caps with a damp paper towel instead of running them under water. I try to do this, but sometimes when I'm lazy I put them in a colander and quickly run them under water or swirl them in a bowl of water and then put them on a towel to dry. Slice mushrooms. 

Heat butter and olive oil in a large pan over medium heat. 

Once butter is melted add sliced mushrooms and garlic and sauté until mushrooms start to brown and soften, about 5 minutes.

Sprinkle with paprika. Stir and cook for 1 more minute.

Add your 1/2 cup beer and 3/4 cup cream. Stir and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook, stirring often, until liquid reduce by half - about 15 minutes.

Finish with a squeeze of half a lemon and salt and pepper. (Seriously, don't forget the salt! I tasted my mushrooms before I added salt and the salt definitely made the dish.) Taste and season more as needed. Serve warm.  

Love, Luck, and Happiness! 

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

The Best Way to Cook Bacon

It's no secret by now that I love a good recipe using bacon. I mean, bacon has it's own category in my recipe index. And it may shock you to know that we eat bacon probably 3 to 5 days a week. I think our favorite part of going paleo was that bacon was no longer viewed as a naughty food and transitioned easily and happily into an everyday dining staple. Although, there are times when I do believe we are taking advantage of this whole bacon thing. I'm pretty sure we aren't meant to eat it every single day, paleo or not. But it's just SO darn good, we can't seem to help ourselves!*

Tip number 1 if you are planning on integrating bacon into your life more (as you should, duh) - get no nitrates / nitrites added bacon. There are still nitrates / nitrites in the bacon from celery juice that is added to the bacon - but at least it's coming from a natural vegetable product. There is a lot of hub bub back and forth about nitrates / nitrites and nitrates / nitrite "free" products. Like most things, there is an argument for both sides. I'll just say that I swear by Trader Joe's Uncured Apple Smoked Bacon, it's thick cut, and simply delicious.

Now on to the good stuff - perfectly cooked bacon. This method yields delicious crispy bacon with minimal clean up. Thank goodness!  No more wiping grease off your entire stove for like ever after cooking up some bacon. Or standing as far away from the stove as you can with your arm fully extended to avoid pops of grease as you try to flip your bacon. I also really like how the pieces come out flat. Bacon in a frying pan always curls and twists and just never ends up looking as pretty as I want it to. Maybe that's just me.

So, what is this miraculous way to cook bacon, you ask? I'll tell ya  - in the oven! This method also leaves more space on your stove and more of your hands (all two of them) free to make the other parts of breakfast. Once we started cooking bacon in the oven we never went back. I seriously can't imagine cooking it any other way. This is the only way we seem to get perfect evenly cooked bacon every time. Here's the thing though, you've got to learn your oven and your bacon. Cooking times can drastically vary depending on what type of oven you have and what kind of bacon you buy. My mother in law says it takes her 40 minutes for her bacon to cook in the oven. It takes me only 18. And if I ever switch up from my usual Trader Joe's bacon I almost always burn the stuff because the cut is thinner and it cooks faster. You've basically got a one to two minute window with this cooking method to get the perfect level of doneness. Surprisingly, Adam is the best at not messing this up. He's the bacon master in our house.

So that last paragraph may have made oven cooked bacon seem a little more daunting than it really it is. Go back and read the part where I said Adam is the bacon master. I assure you it's really quite easy, I just want you to know that it's a little bit of trial and error to figure out what works for you and your oven. But once you figure it out, I swear, you will swear by oven baked bacon.

Oven Baked Bacon Method

1 package bacon
1 or 2 baking sheets
parchment paper or foil

Preheat oven to 400.

Line your baking sheet(s) with parchment paper or foil. Place bacon in an even layer side by side on the baking sheet(s). 

Place the baking sheet(s) in the oven. I often stick the bacon in before the oven it is all the way heated up if I don't feel like waiting, it never seems to affect the time too much as long as the oven was some what heated up once I put the bacon in. The slow cooking of the bacon will help render the fat. 

This is the timing that works for me with thick cut bacon: I set the timer for 10 minutes after I stick the bacon in the oven. After 10 minutes, I remove the pan from the oven and carefully flip each piece of bacon. Then I place the bacon back in the oven for 7 to 8 more minutes. I've never had to go over 18 minutes both at my Long Beach house and at our new house. But while cooking bacon this way on vacation, my bacon took close to 30 minutes. So start watching your bacon after 15 minutes, but don't be surprised if you end up needed to cook it longer. 

*If you are concerned about our bacon consumption, it's not as bad as it seems. We often eat one slice in the morning with eggs. And we take bacon breaks and switch it up with some chicken apple sausage here and there. 

Now what to do with that delicious perfectly cooked bacon? (Well besides just eat it.) Here are two of my favorite recipes that call for already cooked bacon:

Love, Luck, and Happiness! 

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Buffalo Bacon Cheese Steak Fries

Buffalo Bacon Cheese Steak Fries. Or, as they are known to us, Beachwood BBQ's Smothered Steak Fries - the most perfect restaurant appetizer ever to be made. I dare you to tell me what isn't perfect about crispy steak fries smothered in buffalo sauce, bleu cheese, cheddar cheese and topped with bacon and green onions. Can't come up with anything can you?

Like I said, perfect. I mean honestly, fries are always better with bacon. Bacon fries - yum. And buffalo sauce. Buffalo fries - yum. And cheese. Cheese fries - yum. Bring it all together and what do you got? Buffalo bacon cheese fries!! And well, the green onions seem like they are only there for color, but trust me, they really do help with flavor. So what do you do when the world's best appetizer is located at your favorite restaurant that is now 80 miles away?

You make it at home of course. Because there is nothing better than the world's best restaurant appetizer, than the world's best restaurant appetizer made at home. Plus, did I mention it's Buffalo BACON Cheese Steak Fries. Um, hello. I obviously have a thing for cooking with bacon.

Buffalo Bacon Cheese Steak Fries

Makes 4 appetizer servings

16 oz package frozen steak fries
4 tablespoons, divided, Frank's Original Red Hot Sauce (or more if you want!)
1/3 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1/4 - 1/3 cup crumbled gorgonzola or bleu cheese
4 slices cooked thick cut nitrate free bacon, cut into pieces
3 green onions, sliced

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or foil. Spread fries in an even layer on baking sheet. 

Cook fries according to package instructions, except cook only until they start to crisp up but aren't overly crisp, keeping in mind you will be cooking them for another 3 to 5 minutes. 

Place cooked fries and bacon pieces in a bowl and toss with 3 tablespoons hot sauce. Spread fries and bacon back out on the parchment or foil covered baking sheets. Cover with both cheeses and sprinkle with green onions. Bake for 3 to 5 more minutes until cheese is melted.

**UPDATE - sticking them under the broiler for the last 3 minutes makes the cheese melty and the fries crispy!**

Place fries in a bowl and sprinkle the remaining 1 tablespoon (or more, if desired) hot sauce over the cooked cheesy bacon fries and serve. 

Love, Luck and Happiness! 

Monday, April 15, 2013

Braised Paprika Chicken

My legs are sore. So insanely sore. And surprisingly it's not because I started back up with CrossFit this week. It's because of yard work. Damn, yard work. Which is why I made Braised Paprika Chicken for our Sunday night dinner. Chicken thighs tucked in a delicious paprika sauce can cure almost anything. I swear. Especially if it is paleo paprika chicken. 

But before we get to the recipe, let's talk about that yard work. This weekend was our first weekend really making strides on this whole fixing up a house thing. We really needed a quick and cheap fix to some major ugly dirt everywhere issues in our yard. The grand plan is to do much more landscaping, but this will get us through the interim until we can bring out the big landscaping guns. Plus, it only cost us $23 and a day of labor. Please excuse the major picture overload, but we are feeling quite proud of ourselves. And if you stick it out, there is a great recipe for Braised Paprika Chicken in store for you. 

Here are the yard before pictures - lots of dirt, holes, dirt, and this ugly half dead bush / tree blocking a window.

{First Step - throw out the old screen door.}

{Damn Half Dead Tree Bush Thing}

{Solar Light Graveyard and Place Where Penny Runs Through the Mud / Dirt}

And after 9 bags of this stuff....

And a lot of digging, level-ing, and transporting of dirt from area to the next from yours truly...

 {Former Solar Light Graveyard and Place Where Penny Runs Through the Mud / Dirt (No Longer)}

In keeping with the theme of the weekend, which was red - red mulch, red under my fingernails, red in my clothes, red mulch in the house - I decided to make a red dinner. And, damn, it was good. 

So thanks for sticking through the home improvement pics - as promised - Braised Paprika Chicken!!
And by the way, it's pretty much paleo - omit the butter and greek yogurt to make it 100% paleo paprika chicken. And it is paleo eating at it's finest. :)

Braised Paprika Chicken
adapted from Eating Well
Serves 4
Time: 1 hour 15 minutes 

6 boneless, skinless chicken thighs - trimmed of excess fat
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1 tablespoon coconut oil
1 tablespoon butter (I use Kerrygold Irish butter) (or double the coconut oil if making it 100% paleo)
1 large yellow or brown onion, finely diced
1 red bell pepper, finely diced
2 tablespoons tomato paste 
1 1/2 tablespoons sweet paprika
dash of red pepper
dash of cayenne pepper
3/4 cup chicken broth
1/4 cup greek yogurt (optional)*
2 green onions, chopped or chives chopped

Trim chicken thighs of excess fat, season with 1/2 teaspoon salt and the freshly ground pepper. Dice onions and bell peppers. 

Preheat a large saucepan (that has a lid). Over medium heat  melt coconut oil and butter. Add onions and bell peppers to pan. Sprinkle with salt. Sauté, stirring frequently, until onions turn translucent - about 10 to 15 minutes. 

Stir in tomato paste, paprika, crushed red pepper, cayenne pepper. Stir until the mixture become fragrant, about 1 to 2 minutes. 

Push mixture to the side, nestle chicken thighs in open space, place some of the mixture on top of the chicken thighs. Brown chicken for 2 minutes. Add 3/4 cup chicken broth. Place lid on top of pan and cook for 30 to 40 minutes, or until chicken is cooked through and tender. 

Remove chicken thighs from pan and set aside, cover with foil to keep warm. Reduce sauce for 3 to 5 minutes, until it starts to thicken. Season with remaining salt, about 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt. Once sauce has begun to thicken,  remove from heat and whisk in 1/4 cup greek yogurt if desired. 

Place chicken thighs back in the sauce. Top with sliced green onion or chives. Serve on it's own with vegetables, or over rice or pasta. 

* I've made this both with using greek yogurt for a creamy sauce and without, and I would recommend both versions whole heartedly! If you have the yogurt and feel up to it, through it in! If not, don't even think twice about it. 

Love, Luck, and Happiness! 

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Wine and Thyme Mushrooms

Tapas style wine and thyme mushrooms on the blog, it's a special day. Oh, and it's my husband's birthday today. He turns 30!! OMG. We are getting old. To celebrate, I decided to post one of the foods he DETEST the most on the blog. Go figure. Wife of the year, right here.

At least I made these a few days ago so I'm not trying to stuff them down his throat on his birthday. Therefore, for real. Somebody give me a wife of the year award, because it took serious restraint not to shove these at him and say YOU. WILL. EAT. THEM. or there will be divorce. (The last part would be under my breath, of course.) Because I can NOT wrap my mind around the fact that he doesn't like mushrooms, especially these delicious buttery, wine and thyme mushrooms.

Even harder to come to terms with, is the fact that I married him knowing this fact! Don't worry, he's having similar issues lately with my dislike of BBQ chicken pizza and pepperoni, and I'm like you've known this since the day I met you! Oh, the important issues that arise once you are married. :)

If you are NORMAL (sorry Mom)(she doesn't like mushrooms either) then you should definitely give these mushrooms a try. They are perfect for tapas night or as a side to chicken or steak or toss them in pasta. Better yet! Get crazy and top my Coffee Rubbed Steak with these bad boys. That would seriously be my dream dinner. Served with some mashed sweet potatoes. Oh man, is it my birthday yet?

And if you aren't normal, by my definitions, then please don't hate me for this post and tune back in next week for recipes that don't include mushrooms! :)

Wine and Thyme Mushrooms
Makes 6 -8 side servings

1 pound mushrooms, such as cremini, white, or baby bellas. Halved lengthwise if large.
3 large garlic cloves, minced
1/4 brown onion, very finely chopped
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt (or more or less to taste)
1/4 cup dry white wine (like chardonnay) or 2 tablespoons lemon juice*
3 tablespoons butter cut into pieces
1 teaspoon thyme, leaves removed from stems

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Prepare garlic and onions. Mince garlic and finely dice the onion.

Toss the mushrooms with olive oil, garlic, and onions. Sprinkle with salt.

Place the mushrooms in either a cast iron skillet or glass baking dish. The cast iron skillet will yield browner garlic and onions. Top with pieces of butter.

Cook for 10 minutes if using the cast iron skillet. Cook for 15 minutes if using a glass baking dish. Remove from oven add wine and thyme. Cook for 2 more minutes if using the cast iron skillet and 5 more minutes if using a glass baking dish.

*If you don't feel like opening a bottle of wine just to use 1/4 cup, you can substitute 2 tablespoons lemon juice.

Love, Luck, and Happiness!

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Coffee Rubbed Steak

Steak. I love steak. I think I could eat steak everyday. I'm serious. Especially if it is grass-fed, which is what we try to buy most of the time. The best steak I've ever had in my life was at Mesa, Bobby Flay's restaurant in LasVegas. I was there with some of the cast and crew of The Great Food Truck Race Season 2 while we were filming the Las Vegas episode. The chef from the Hodge Podge truck, Chris Hodgson, wanted to go to  Mesa and despite being on a tight budget, I decided to join the group. I'm SO glad I did. I had eaten at Mesa once before, but I ordered chicken and only found it underwhelming for the price. I was unsure what to order this time around when Chris suggested that we let the chef pick for us. When the waiter placed coffee rubbed filet mignon in front of me my eyes lit up like a kid on Christmas who just discovered the motherload of presents. Ever since then I've wanted to recreate that rub but have been worried I would mess it up and tarnish my memory of that perfect steak. Also, a coffee rubbed steak recipe calls for well, coffee. Surprise, surprise. And I NEVER have coffee on hand... because we don't own a coffee maker and we don't drink coffee at home. In fact, we rarely ever drink coffee. Well, I rarely ever drink coffee. I think Adam secretly indulges often behind my back and then claims he's not a coffee drinker.

So, I put off making this life changing coffee rubbed steak because I didn't want to buy a whole package of ground espresso only to use a few tablespoons, then I remembered those coffee grinding machines at the grocery store and thought maybe I could get a small amount like, 1/4 a cup. So, after standing in front of one of those grind your coffee machines for all of about 20 minutes and having no idea how to make it work and where to find a bag to put the grounds in... was I suppose to bring my own?! I finally just gave up, and bought a whole package of espresso grounds.

Which means every recipe I make from here on out must include espresso grounds, until that pack is gone. So get ready for espresso and eggs, zucchini topped with espresso, and espresso crusted chicken! Haha, just kidding.

But in all seriousness, get ready for this coffee spice rub. It will knock your socks off and leave your taste buds wanting more. And in fact, it may have been better than the steak I had at Mesa. Take that, Bobby Flay. (And also, thanks for the recipe Bobby Flay.)

Coffee Rubbed Rib Eye
adapted from Bobby Flay's Recipe

2 - 4 steaks (I used grass-fed rib eye, but you could you use any quality cut of steak you like)
olive oil
kosher salt
freshly ground black pepper

For the rub:
2 tablespoons ancho chili powder
2 tablespoons finely ground espresso
1 tablespoon sweet paprika
1 tablespoon brown sugar (omit the sugar to make this paleo)
1/2 tablespoon dry mustard
1/2 tablespoon kosher salt
1/2 tablespoon freshly ground pepper
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon garlic powder 

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Place a cast iron skillet over high heat. Rub each side of steak with olive oil. Sprinkle steaks lightly with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper. 

Rub 1 1/2 to 2 tablespoons of coffee rub on each side of steak.

Place steak in the hot cast iron skillet, cook for 3 to 4 minutes, flip the steak over and cook 2 more minutes. Transfer skillet to the oven and cook to desired doneness. This depends on the thickness of the steak. Medium rare could be anywhere from 5 to 10 minutes. 

I like to press down on the steak with my finger, it should feel like the fleshly skin between your thumb and pointer finger for medium rare. 

Let steak rest for 5 minutes before slicing.

**Update - I highly recommend being heavy handed with the rub, I use 2 tablespoons on each side. Also when we grilled the steak instead of using the pan to oven method the flavor was much, much less pronounced. I highly recommend using the pan to oven method when using this rub. 

Store excess steak rub in a 4 oz mason jar for future use.

Love, Luck, and Happiness!

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Honey Ginger Roast Carrots and Bad Dog Parenting

Adam and I haven't even been married for a year yet, but being in our late twenties (Adam turns 30 next week!) people often ask us if we are going to have kids soon. I sometimes want to say yes and I sometimes want to cover my ears and hum to myself to deny that I am even old enough to raise another human being. 
Most days I feel that I don't have a handle on my every day life to even consider adding a real life mini person into the mix. I get overwhelmed easily. And then there are days, like yesterday, where I feel like I'm not even a good dog parent so maybe I should master that before I move on to a real human life. You see,  we took Penny for a walk in the trails yesterday. It was the best walk of her life! She was off leash, she tried to dig up a gopher (until I realized it could be a snake hole and made her stop) she chased squirrels, she smelled dirt and weeds - she was in heaven. Her tongue was hanging out like a cartoon and she looked incredibly happy... until she started shaking her head like crazy and I realized yeah, we shouldn't have let our dog run through a FIELD of FOXTAILS. If you don't know what foxtails are, like Adam didn't, they are small little weeds or weed seeds that get into dogs ears, eyes, nose, etc and can cause major damage. They are pointy and barbed like a fish hook, and they are small and hard to see once they've gotten into your dogs ear. Poor Pen. We had to take her to the emergency vet and they pulled 3 foxtails out, one of which had been in there for a while. She's one tough doggy. They had to sedate her to get them out and she was quite hilarious when she came out of sedation. She was walking sideways and when we put her in the car to take her home and I tried to move her over so I could sit down and she just collapsed on my lap. But she's all better now and we will no longer be letting her run wild through fields of  foxtails. (Um, duh.) 

You're probably wondering what any of this has to do with Honey Ginger Carrots? Well, none of this really has anything to do with carrots... except that some dogs like carrots, like my mom and dad's dog, but I wouldn't feed them Honey Ginger Carrots and Penny's not the biggest fan of carrots, unless the other dogs are eating carrots, but anyways, let's talk about these gorgeous Honey Ginger Carrots!

I made these for Easter and yes, it was my first time trying the recipe, even though I just discussed not doing that anymore. But the recipe came from Eat, Live, Run so I knew it had to be good. And it was quite the hit!

 One change I made to the recipe was roasting my carrots at a higher temperature, since I love the nice brown crust that root veggies get when roasted at a high temp. I picked up white, purple, and orange organic carrots from the farmer's market and I would highly recommend you do the same! You don't have to get different color carrots, but the smaller size of the organic carrots makes them easier to roast and more manageable as a side dish without having to chop the carrots up. Also they are organic, and that's always a good thing! I didn't peel mine, but spent a good amount of time scrubbing them to ensure that they were nice and clean. If I came across a bigger one I would split it in half vertically, from end to end.

I left a little bit of the green top on, because I liked the rustic look. I also made a VERY large batch! 6 pounds of carrots to feed about 20 people. They came out great. This is a perfect side dish for holidays because almost everyone likes carrots, especially when you add butter and honey! But it's also a great dish to throw together for any meal.

I wrote this recipe for 3 pounds of carrots, because that's a nice amount to feed a family and have some leftovers. But when I made it, I doubled the amount, so my photos show approximately 6 pounds of carrots. 

Honey Ginger Roast Carrots
lightly adapted from Eat, Live, Run
8 - 10 side servings (recipe halves easily)

3 pounds small organic carrots, scrubbed clean
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt (or less to taste)
1/2 cup honey (I use raw honey)
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger powder
2 tablespoons butter (I use Kerrygold Irish butter)
splash of white wine vinegar (about half a tablespoon)
sea salt to finish (if desired)
1/2 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves, chopped (optional)

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

Scrub carrots clean and trim tops as desired. Split any larger carrots in half (from end to end). The goal is to have carrots that are close in size so they roast evenly. Spread carrots in a single layer on a baking sheet lined with foil or parchment paper (for easy clean up). Use 2 baking sheets if necessary. 

Pour olive oil over carrots and roll them around to get them evenly coated. Sprinkle carrots with kosher salt. Roast for 20 to 35 minutes until carrots pierce with a fork. You can leave them with a slight crunch or wait till the fork really pierces the carrot with ease, it's up to you!

Toward the end of the carrots roasting, start the sauce. In a saucepan, heat the honey, butter, ginger powder, and white wine vinegar. Bring it to a boil, and then reduce and let simmer for 2 to 3 minutes. 

When carrots come out of the oven, pour the sauce over the carrots and toss to evenly coat. Finish with a touch of sea salt if desired. Sprinkle thyme leaves over carrots, if using. 

Love, Luck, and Happiness! 

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