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April 2014

sausage and egg muffin cups with sweet potato crust {grain free breakfast muffins}

sausage muffin cups apr 2014_2TITLE     so breakfast equals happiness around here.  although i occasionally (ok, often!) crave something sweet for breakfast, my body (and my people) is so much more functional when i have a good protein-loaded option.  i’ve made muffin cups before, and this spin is a great option that also has the carb element with shredded sweet potatoes.  the original recipe calls for Johnsonville Original Breakfast Sausages, but I actually prefer their All Natural Fresh Italian ground sausage.  It takes a little more time, but it has a “cleaner” recipe.  If you prefer the convenience, though, go with the original!

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these are quick to make (here’s a tip: pre-cook several packages of ground sausage and freeze them in zippered plastic bags with all the air removed, or in glass storage containers.  then you have it ready to go for a fast morning recipe any time.)  they’re also easy to freeze (i recommend individually wrapping in wax paper inside your storage container), and they keep for several days in the fridge, as well.

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i made a huge batch of these a couple weeks ago, and the kids have had a great option for quick breakfasts before track meets and school-year-end-celebrations.

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here’s my version of the recipe for you, inspired by allrecipes.

sausage and egg muffin cups with sweet potato crust {grain free breakfast muffins}


  • 1 package Johnsonville Mild Italian All Natural Ground Sausage, cooked
  • 1 large sweet potato, peeled and shredded
  • 4 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper
  • 6 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 2 cups shredded Mexican blend cheese
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped red bell pepper
  • chopped fresh chives or green onion


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degreesF.
  2. Pour 1 tablespoon butter into a skillet over medium-high heat.
  3. Quickly brown sweet potato.
  4. Stir in butter, salt, and pepper.
  5. Divide sweet potato evenly into 12 muffin cups (I HIGHLY recommend using foil disposable cups).
  6. Bake sweet potato mixture for 12 minutes or until lightly browned.
  7. Remove from oven, divide cooked, crumbled sausage evenly into muffin cups.
  8. In a bowl, combine eggs, cheese, and bell pepper.
  9. Spoon mixture evenly into muffin cups.
  10. Sprinkle with chives or onion.
  11. Bake at 400 degrees for 13-15 minutes.
  12. To serve, sprinkle with additional chives or green onion.

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get the original recipe here at allrecipes.

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special thanks to Johnsonville, for providing the sausage used in this recipe.  all opinions are my own.

Maple Mustard Chicken {Paleo Roasted Chicken Recipe}

it’s a typical friday night – we’re hungry and just want food. now. and i’m leaning toward calling in for pizza and suffering the after-effects but a few moments’ thought in advance, i’m making paleo roasted chicken, and a bit later, i’m a much happier girl (with a happy lil’ family, as well).  yum.

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there’s nothing quite like roast chicken to make a fairly simple-to-prepare recipe taste like a lot of work.  the flavors in this one are at once sweet and tangy, and by using chicken quarters instead of a whole chicken, it’s even faster.  add that it’s made with no processed sugars, and it’s a win.

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this is one that will go in the “keepers” collection.  i promise.

Simple Sweet and Savory Chicken


  • 6 chicken breasts or leg-and-breasts (we prefer skin-on, and bone-in)
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 inch piece fresh ginger, grated
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked sea salt
  • 6 tablespoons salted butter
  • cracked black pepper, to taste


  1. Preheat oven to 400.
  2. Lightly spray a 9x13 glass baking dish with coconut oil and place chicken in the dish.
  3. Stir together maple syrup, garlic, smoked sea salt, and ginger.
  4. Spread garlic mixture over chicken and lightly salt and pepper.
  5. Top each piece of chicken with a pat of butter and sprinkle with fresh cracked black pepper.
  6. Bake, uncovered, for 30-40 minutes or until chicken is browned and cooked through.

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super fast.  super easy.  super delicious.  try it?  let me know whatcha think.

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kale and butternut squash gratin {creamy kale casserole}

the autumn chill (and even before i had the “chill,” living in Florida) always makes me crave something creamy and crunchy and full of warming flavors.  this buttery kale and butternut squash casserole (“gratin” sounds so much prettier though, no?) is somehow old-fashioned and newfangled all at once.  with kale’s newfound popularity (have you seen the nutritional benefits of the stuff?), it’s a great way to introduce it to the unitiated in a vehicle that’s familiar.


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update: while this original recipe for a kale recipe was made with traditional breadcrumbs, i’ve found some beautiful and simple grain-free (gluten-free) breadcrumb recipes here and here.  as our family’s (and mine, in particular) diet is changing, i’ve created a new version without gluten.  it’s been tested and heartily approved (and I was fortunate to be a guest cook when featured this recipe on The Better Show!).  i’ve shared the gluten free version below.  let me know how yours turns out, too!


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husband declared it the one way to truly enjoy kale.  i called it worthy of breakfast and dessert.  regardless, this dish should be on your table.  pronto.


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this dish would be perfect served alongside an autumn feast, and even a new classic for a gluten-free, grain-free Thanksgiving side dish recipe.


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this dish was created for mccormick gourmet’s go 4 gourmet challenge.  what a fun way to get an inspirational boost to try something new!


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here’s a printable recipe for you to try yourself.

kale and butternut squash gratin {kale casserole}


  • 5 tablespoons butter
  • 3 tablespoons arrowroot flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon fresh cracked black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon marjoram
  • 2 cups almond milk
  • 2 cups ricotta cheese
  • 1 small butternut squash, peeled and cut into bite-sized cubes
  • 1/2 large bag (12 oz) fresh kale
  • 1 onion, peeled, quartered, and sliced
  • For Topping:
  • 1/2 cup almond meal
  • 1/2 cup nutritional yeast (may substitute flaxmeal)
  • 5 tablespoons butter
  • 3 tablespoons shredded parmesan
  • 1/2 teaspoon marjoram
  • 1/4 teaspoon thyme
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Melt 5 tablespoons butter in a medium saucepan, and continue to cook just until it bubbles and begins to lightly brown.
  3. Stir in arrowroot flour, then add salt, pepper, marjoram, and nutmeg.
  4. Whisk in almond milk and cook just until it begins to bubble.
  5. Stir in ricotta cheese and remove from heat.
  6. Lightly spray an 11x13 glass baking dish with olive or coconut oil.
  7. Spread approximately 1/3 of white sauce into dish.
  8. Layer butternut, kale, and onion, topping with another 1/3 of sauce.
  9. Repeat layers, ending with remaining sauce.
  10. Cover tightly with foil and bake for 30 minutes.
  11. Meanwhile, combine almond meal, nutritional yeast, butter, marjoram, thyme, sea salt, and parmesan with a pastry cutter or fork.
  12. Remove foil from baking dish, top with crumble mixture, and bake an additional 10-15 minutes, or until dish is bubbling and top is browned.


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are you a lover of kale?  do you have a favorite kale recipe?  please leave a comment and share!

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