A Tribute…

As printed in “The Source” April 2013

There is a lot to be said for family. You can be away for a very long time and when you return it is like you were never gone. You can discover that heredity is pretty amazing, finding out the family members that you were not raised with have the same favorite foods, and some of the same pet peeves. I concluded my last trip home to Alabama with burying my biological father. Wendell Siniard was a self- made man, leaving school in the 3rd grade, never really learning to read or write. He was a successful electrician for many years and also owned/ran a restaurant on occasion. The last restaurant that he was associated with was the B&B Crossroads in rural Madison County, Alabama. He inherited the place from a friend and it was frequented by people from all walks of life. Computer technicians, Cotton Gin employees, field workers, farmers, retirees, and so much more all enjoyed the home cooking of the B&B.

You could always find grits, greens, fried catfish (locally caught), biscuits, cornbread, gravy, and if you were lucky you could pick the day when there was slow cooked pulled pork. Fall apart, smoky, sweet and delicious are all faint descriptions of the food made daily.

The food however was second to the familiar feeling you had walking in the door. Someone would greet you with ‘dear’ or ‘darlin’ and you would know you were in the right place.

At the services I could not tell you how many people spoke to me specifically about how they were
treated at the restaurant, even though he had not been involved with it in several years. It was nice to
hear that so many people were touched by this great man.

I would like to share with you his cornbread recipe.

Wendell’s Cornbread

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Add ¼ bacon grease to cast iron skillet (preferably well-seasoned, maybe 30 years old?) place in oven to preheat as well (skillet and oil must be hot enough to sizzle when batter is poured in)

Mix together the following ingredients:

1 cup corn meal

1 cup flour

2 eggs

Enough butter milk to make a loose batter

Carefully remove the hot skillet from the oven and pour batter into hot pan… BE CAREFUL!

Bake for approximately 20 minutes until golden brown and delicious.

The bread should easily slide out of the pan or flip with a plate. Enjoy this with gravy, beans, chili, etc…
and the next morning when it is a little hard, pour milk over it and enjoy another southern favorite.

Please take the time to enjoy the family (biological or chosen) while you have the chance.



Posted in Family | Leave a comment

New year! New banana bread…

Almond meal?

What the heck is that? It is ground almonds. Simple as that… almond flour is ground blanched almonds, and almond meal is just ground almonds. Not just chopped nuts… but ground into a consistency somewhere between cornmeal and wheat flour.

Why? As I have mentioned I am trying to remove grain from my diet as much as possible and almond
meal allows me to hold on to a few favorite foods.

Breaded pork chops –
      I bread my marinated boneless pork loin chops in almond meal and then either fry or bake

Pie crust –
      Instead of using a traditional pie crust or a graham cracker crust, mix 2 cups almond meal
with 3 tbls melted butter and 2 tbls sugar. Press the mixture into a sturdy pie pan and prebake for 10 minutes. I added a pumpkin pie batter to the crust and baked into a delicious grain free pumpkin pie.

Banana bread – this was delicious. I made a quick bread with almond meal in place of flour and the
results were so amazing. The family loved it and it was devoured fairly quickly.


Well almond meal is very calorie dense, it carries a load of fat, protein, and fiber that is greater than
regular wheat flour…but it is very low carbohydrate.

¼ cup almond meal
160 calories
14 grams of fat (1 gram saturated)
6 grams of carbohydrates (only 3 are sugar)
3 gram of fiber
5 grams of protein.

¼ cup all-purpose white flour
114 calories
.25 grams fat
24 grams of carbohydrates (0 sugars)
.6 grams of fiber
3 grams of protein

Although almond flour has a higher total fat content, the fat is made up of fatty acids that were shown to reduce cholesterol levels in a 2002 study conducted by Canadian researchers.
(source: http://www.livestrong.com/article/90491-nutrition-information-almond-flour/)

So which one is better? That is up to you, but for me having a lighter carbohydrate load is excellent for my diabetes.

Here is a quick and easy banana bread that I made this weekend. My only warning is to watch the bread closely; mine was very done on the edges (almost burnt) after about 50 minutes.

Almond Flour Banana Bread from The Wannabe Chef

Prep time: 15 minutes Cook time: 55 minutes

Ingredients (Makes 1 loaf):

1 1/2 cups almond meal or almond flour
4 eggs
1/4 cup oil (I used butter)
3/4 cup light or dark brown sugar
3 medium bananas, mashed(about 3/4 cup banana puree)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg (was out of nutmeg, substituted cinnamon)
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup walnuts(optional) ( I added some delicious local walnuts)
1/2 cup chocolate chips(optional) (maybe next time)


Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

In a large bowl, mix together the almond flour, eggs, oil, sugar, mashed bananas, vanilla,
cinnamon, nutmeg, baking powder, and salt until there are no clumps.

Fold the walnuts, chocolate chips, or any other mix-ins you might want into the batter.

Lightly grease a 5 x 10 or similar sized loaf pan and pour in the batter.

Bake for 55 minutes or until a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean. (watch carefully)

Remove from the oven and let cool completely before slicing.

The bread was delicious and I cannot wait to try again.

Try your hand at something different in 2013… and let me know what do think of this recipe on
www.facebook.com/cookingwithtrace or on my website at www.cookingwithtrace.com

Happy new year!

Posted in almond meal, caveman, economical recipes, Experiment, fruit, Healthy, local, wannabechef.com | Leave a comment

Holidays in the kitchen…

Thanksgiving is over and I am assuming that everyone has recovered from their food coma… No? Well get ready, because now we have to contend with holiday parties, cookie exchanges, and still more holiday dinners.
Man, do we love to eat… I love the excitement of trying something new, as well as the feeling I get when I introduce a new food to a friend.

I, however, do not love the way I tend to overextend my belt, during this season… I mean that in the best possible way, but temptation is everywhere.
Fudge, cookies, cider, hot chocolate, turkey, ham, potatoes, rolls, and the hits just keep coming. 
How do you maintain a healthy relationship with food during this crazy time?
Relax! Do not associate food with love, friendship, respect, etc. Food is still fuel. Go out, have fun, get together to see each other and make sure we appreciate our friends and family, but it does not have to include bad food.
Have a treat, indulge your sweet tooth, but be aware of what you are putting into your gas tank (for some of us that is a little too accurate).
OMG… You over did it during the holidays???? How could you? Off with your head!
But seriously folks… What would happen? You put on a pound or two? I am sure it will be fine. Enjoy your holidays, don’t fret too much and make choices going forward that you can accept.
Here are a couple holiday indulgences that are quick and easy:

3-2-1 Cake (This recipe is perfect for the office)
3 eggs
2 cups sour cream
1 cake mix

Mix all together and pour into an oiled/floured microwaveable bundt pan.
Microwave on a turn table for 15 minutes and remove from the microwave.
Cover the pan with a sturdy plate and let it rest for 5-10 minutes.
Turn the cake and plate over and the cake should come right out.
Garnish with whipped cream, fruit, chocolate syrup, etc. Enjoy

Primal friendly Grok rocks! (courtesy of Mark’s Daily Apple)
60% cacao Ghirardelli chocolate chips (this are very rich, dark chocolate)
Dried plums, (prunes) cut in half
Melt chocolate in a microwave safe bowl in 30 second intervals (stirring every time) until melted.
Dip plums in the chocolate and place on parchment to cool.
These sound a little weird, but they are amazing. They are a decadent candy with two ingredients.
Now go celebrate! See you next year, unless the Mayans were right…

Happy holidays!
Posted in caveman, Family, fun, holiday, holidays, marks daily apple, paleo, primal, tasty, treat | Leave a comment

Grain free banana chocolate crepes…

An experiment gone great!
I read about these pancakes on Pinterest, you take a banana and mash it with two eggs, then cook like silver dollar pancakes. They were tasty, but I thought what else could I do with this process and crepes were the answer!
Crepes ( /ˈkrp/) are a thin eggy pancake that can have either a savory or sweet filling, and they are delicious. I think that the process is a little daunting because they are very delicate and if you are used to a heartier product then it can be frustrating to attempt these at home. You can purchase a crepe panor a crepe griddle, but if you have a good nonstick pan you can make them at home. 
Typically the batter has eggs, flour, butter, and milk, but since I am trying to eliminate grain from my diet this recipe is right up my alley!
I visited D.C. last spring and right outside the metro station was a little market with different vendors including a crepe stand. They are so nonchalant about preparing the crepe from pouring and spreading the batter to flipping and filling with whatever your heart desires. It looks easy, but once you taste the light and delicious but so very fragile dish, you will want more!
Crepes are popping up a little more often now, from our local farmer’s market in Grand Junction to the Halloween festival at Palisade High School (fundraiser for the French club), and people are going nuts over them.
Filling the crepe has no limits:
  • Ham and Swiss with either a Dijon mayonnaise or a thin raspberry jam
  • Nutella with strawberries and bananas
  • Thin sliced turkey and cranberry sauce
And the list goes on and on.
Photo courtesy of my Iphone 4s
Grain free banana chocolate crepes
1 banana
2 eggs
Pinch of salt
Butter for the pan
Filling: 60% cacao Ghirardelli dark chocolate chips
Mash the banana and then mix in the eggs until you have a consistent batter.
Heat a heavy bottomed nonstick skillet (8 inch) over very low heat. You want the butter to melt but not brown. Once the butter is completely melted, pour in enough better to coat the bottom in a thin layer. Let the crepe cook slowly until the top starts to become solid, then carefully flip. At this point you can slide out on to a plate and start your next crepe (this recipe should make 2-3). 
While the next crepe is cooking sprinkle about 10-15 chocolate chips on the cooked crepe and roll gently. Repeat with the rest of the crepes. Enjoy!
Let me know if you try this and what worked for you! 
Maintenant, allez faire cuire quelque chose!
Posted in caveman, crepe. egg. chocolate, Experiment, gourmet, paleo, primal, treat | Leave a comment


Hello November! Fall is in full swing and winter is just hanging back waiting for the right time to strike. So what does all that hyperbole mean??? It is soup weather! Don’t argue with me or “No Soup For You!”. 
Soup weather is really anytime because you can have hearty soups, chilled soups, vegetable soups, and fruit soups, ahh the list goes on. I prefer it being a little chilly before I break out the soup pot. So now is the perfect time.
I have mentioned before that soup is not difficult; it is basically a protein, some vegetables, liquid, and flavor. For a stew you slow cook for a long time so that the flavors develop, for a chili you can add any number of ingredients (I have a sweet potato chili on the stove as I am writing this article), or a soup can be leftovers brought together for delicious thriftiness. 
We occasionally go to The Olive Garden for an inexpensive lunch or dinner, and we order the all you can eat soup. With a family of four we can fill everyone up and give a generous tip for around $25.00. Whether it is the youngest always picking chicken gnocchi, or the oldest always picking a combination of gnocchi and Zuppa Toscana, we always walk away having a great time and a satisfied appetite. There are plenty of copy cat recipes out in the World Wide Web, so you can find out how to make the same soups at home, and then you can make them your way!
So I have taken the basic Zuppa Toscana recipe and added a couple of tweaks to stretch the meal, and satisfy the never ending hunger of my teenager. 
Photo courtesy of my Iphone 4s
1 lb mild Italian sausage 
2 large russet baking potatoes, sliced in half, and then in 1/4 inch slices
1 large onion, chopped
1/4 cup bacon bit (optional)
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 cups kale or 2 cups swiss chard, chopped
2 (8 ounce) cans chicken broth
1 quart water
1 cup heavy whipping cream


1. Chop or slice uncooked sausage into small pieces.
2. Brown sausage in your soup pot, then remove.
3. Add chicken broth and water to pot and stir.
4. Place onions, potatoes, and garlic in pot.
5. Cook on medium heat until potatoes are done.
6. Add sausage and bacon.
7. Salt and pepper to taste.

8. Simmer for another 10 minutes.
9. Turn to low heat.
10. Add kale and cream.
11. Heat through and serve.

Taken from: http://restaurant.food.com/recipe/olive-garden-copycat-zuppa-toscana-38298?

So what did I change?
I added sweet potatoes with the russet potatoes, great color, flavor, and nutrients. I substituted baby spinach (tear in the bowls and then add the soup), added a bag of frozen California blend, and lastly I did not add heavy cream. Instead I used the broth to melt 4 ounces of cream cheese and added it to the soup.
The best part about soup is using what you have on hand. To utilize the leftovers and the accidents such as overcooked meat, extra potatoes, a sudden gift from the hunter or gardener next door, etc.
I think you can throw it together without having to add any ingredients that you pronounce no processed food, no chemicals, just real food.
So go forth and cook some soup!
Posted in caveman, economical recipes, Healthy, holiday, holidays, olive garden, soup, vegetables, veggies | Leave a comment

Hey it is Wednesday, the kids are hungry, feed them maybe? (thank you Carly Rae Jepsen)

I am tired… Between my youngest turning 9, a freshman in marching band, teaching elementary kids to cook, oh and that pesky 40 hours a week that I have to spend making money… I am plum tuckered out! 
What about you? Are you so busy that drive through, or frozen dinners are looking better and better? I do occasionally take the family out for dinner just because it would be too much work to go home, find something to cook, blah blah blah… but I usually have some quick and easy dinner ideas up my sleeve.
This week I made a Boston butt (that is a pork shoulder roast). I took the time on Sunday to put it in the oven on about 275 degrees (after a quick dry rub) and then I went about my business until the internal thermometer started ringing. It was done and chopped about 9 pm, but I was able to divide it out into lunch portions for my wife and I and then we also had a great meal last night by re-purposing the delicious swine. I basically tossed the chopped pieces with a spice rub and put it in the oven (400 degrees) for about 20 minutes, cooked some frozen vegetables and dinner was done. 
By the way did you know that you can play the card game WAR at the dinner table and count it as math homework? I lost every single hand…
My point is that if you take a few minutes to think about your week, and decide what you can do, then you can prepare ahead of time and save yourself some time!
You could cook a turkey while the game is one and then use it all week in different recipes, from soup to potpies, or the ever popular turkey sandwich.
Brisket, pork roast, pot roasts, chicken, turkey, and ham are all examples of meal planners. You can make a low investment on one afternoon, and then have some go to ideas for the busy times.
Quick prep Boston Butt:
7-9 pound pork shoulder (Boston Butt)
Tin foil
For the spice rub mix together:
½ cup brown sugar, ¼ cup kosher salt,  ¼ cup paprika, 2 tablespoons granulated garlic,
1 teaspoon ground cumin, 1 teaspoon ground black pepper, 1 teaspoon cinnamon (or make your own version)
Preheat oven to 225 degrees
Rub spice mixture all over roast until it is covered completely. Place roast on rack in a foil covered pan. Place in oven for 9-10 hours (I sometimes cook them over night). The internal temperature should be between 180 and 200 degrees. At 180 the roast is done, tender, juicy and delicious, at 200 degrees the roast will shred in to pulled pork. Your choice!
Connect with my on Facebook www.facebook.com/cookingwithtraceor on my website at www.cookingwithtrace.com
Go cook something! Trace
Posted in caveman, economical recipes, Family, paleo, pork, primal, roast, tasty, thanksgiving | 1 Comment

I am eating like a caveman…

I know that some of you that have had the pleasure of sharing a table are not surprised by this revelation… but I am talking about the food, not the way I look when I eat it!

Primal, paleo, caveman… (insert Tim “The toolman” Taylor grunts here) is a change from the way most of our country eats. 
Food that “Grok the caveman”* would not eat: Flour, oats, refined sugar, pasta, processed food, high starch vegetables, beans (including peanuts), etc…
Food that “Grok the caveman”* would eat: Meat (grass fed beef, pork, chicken, fish), low starch vegetables, mushrooms, tree nuts, unsweetened coconut, butter, etc.
Fruit is allowed in moderation as well, making this a fairly low carb plan. Which is good for me as a diabetic (type II)… but traditional dietary guidelines would say that I need grains, and I need to cut out/limit beef, coconut, butter, etc. 
For every study that you can find that shows that high fat diets are bad for you, we can find a study that shows that high carbohydrate diets are just as bad… I think it comes down to you.. yes you! Take some time, determine what foods agree with you, what foods make you feel bad, adjust and keep moving forward. I would have never thought that wheat was giving me any trouble, but when I stopped eating it, I stopped taking ibuprofen every day for my aching joints… 
Is it easy? Ummmm kinda-ish? It is easy at times, at home, I have a reasonable portion of beef, or pork, and a side dish of cauliflower (mashed, or roasted, or steamed… ), but when I try to eat at a restaurant it becomes more difficult.. I have to order foods that are not easy to hide ingredients in (order 2 eggs over medium and you get two eggs, order and omelet and you could wind up with pancake batter to make them fluffier).  
Snacking is interesting, because I love peanut butter, and that is technically roasted bean paste… but there are alternatives such as almond butter, eggplant dip, etc.
The screams I hear are: No cereal? No pasta? No convenience foods? My response… quit your bellyachin’! Give it a try, do some research and maybe you will find a better way to fuel your body… 
Check out a couple of these sites for inspiration:
www.marksdailyapple.com*(creator of Grok the caveman)
Let me know if you are trying something.. and I will be posting some ideas and recipes soon on www.cookingwithtrace.com
Now go forage something.. Trace
Posted in caveman, marks daily apple, paleo, primal | 2 Comments