Chocolate Mint Bat Cookies Gluten-free

Mint Chocolate Bat Cookies
Mint Chocolate Bat Cookies

Happy almost Halloween!  Fall is flying by here and we have been busy trying to soak up the last nice autumn days.  We did a family horse-pack trip in Yellowstone park last weekend, unplugged and outside for 4 glorious days, such a treat to reset and reconnect with the family unit.

Once we came home we jumped right back into the busy life, planning my daughter’s 8th birthday bat bash.  My kids get two birthday celebrations, a “family one” and a “kid one”, every year I kick myself for starting that tradition.  I go a little overboard on celebrating birthdays, and I was pondering why the other day.  Then it hit me, I learned it from my mom, even though I was ten out of eleven kids she always went big for my birthday celebrations and made me feel super special on my birthday.  It’s ingrained in me to carry on the tradition I guess.  Plus birthdays are cause for big celebration in my book, every year we get on this glorious planet should be honored and marked by some joy making!  Anyway, we had a great bat bash.

I made these cookies to share with the parents that might happen to linger at the party.  Alas not a parent stayed so,  me being the only parent in attendance got to eat a couple of these babies, the rest are in the freezer waiting to be consumed by some Halloweenies.

I used Elana’s pantry recipe for “Girl Scout PaleoThin Mint Cookies” that you can find HERE and a bat cookie cutter. The only change I made was to cut the sweetener in half.  By the time they got a thick coating of dark chocolate, my bats were far from thin, but oh so delicious.  I used Trader Joe’s Pounder bar of 70% Chocolate to dip them in.   Check out her recipe if you want to relive the Girl Scout thin mint cookies in a little bit healthier fashion.


Mint Chocolate Bat Cookies (Adapted from Elana’s Pantry)

  • 1 cup Almond Flour
  • 1 teaspoon Coconut Flour
  • 2 tablespoons Cocoa Powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon  Sea Salt
  • ¼ teaspoon Baking Soda
  • 2 tablespoons Palm Shortening
  • 2 TBL Honey
  • 1 teaspoon Peppermint oil or Extract
  • 6 ounces or more Bittersweet Chocolate Chopped
  • ½ teaspoon Peppermint oil or Extract
  1. In a food processor, combine almond flour, coconut flour, cacao, baking soda, and salt
  2. Pulse in shortening, honey, and peppermint extract until dough forms
  3. Roll out dough between 2 pieces of parchment paper to ⅛ inch thick
  4. Freeze dough for 15 minutes
  5. Using a cookie cutter of your choice , cut out dough
  6. Transfer  to a parchment lined baking sheet
  7. Bake at 350° for 4 minutes
  8. Cool completely on the baking sheets, then freeze
  9. Melt chocolate and peppermint extract in a small saucepan over very low heat
  10. Dip each cookie in chocolate
  11. Place in freezer until set and serve
  12. Store Cookies in the Freezer

Deep Fried Brussel Sprouts

The Fryer
The Fryer
Deep Fried Brussel Sprouts
Deep Fried Brussel Sprouts

Even if you don’t like Brussel sprouts, I bet you will like them prepared this way.  I had my first taste of these babies last year when my husband and I went out to dinner.  They were delicious, however I felt bad when I found out they were fried in, of all things, soybean oil !!!   Seed oils are not good for you, period, so I decided I would make these at home and avoid any more restaurant surprises.

My first attempts didn’t work out to well, as I was trying to fry them in a pot on an electric stove.  For those of you that cook on electric, you know it is next to impossible to maintain a stable heat.  They turned out soggy or burnt.

I finally decided to buy myself a little deep fat fryer, thank goodness for Amazon Prime and the ability to impulse shop your heart out.  I am very pleased with the little fryer (pictured above) that I ended up with.  I wanted something that didn’t require too much oil, as I planned on using coconut oil and as you may or may not know it is a tad pricier than your run of the mill “bad for you” seed oils.  Coconut oil is a good choice as it has a high smoke point and has some very healthful qualities.   Also I don’t fry things that often, so I have no need of maintaining a huge vat of oil for extended periods.  This inexpensive fryer works great!

If you have a gas stove and decide to try making these  in a pot on it,  let me know how they turn out otherwise, I recommend a little deep fryer the one above you can get here.  Then make these tasty little treats….. even the kids will like them!!


Fried Brussel Sprouts

1 Pound Brussel Sprouts trimmed and washed cut in half and towel dried

Coconut oil

Salt to taste

  1. Fill your deep fryer according to manufacturer directions with coconut oil or use a small sauce pan and 1-2 cups of coconut oil.
  2. Heat the oil to *375 degrees
  3. Fry the Brussel Sprouts in little batches until the start turning brown around the edges and outside
  4. Lift the Brussel sprouts out of the oil and place in a paper towel lined bowl and sprinkle with salt.
  5. Let cool a moment and devour.  Repeat until they are all cooked.    Serves 1-4 People

Camping Breakfast Burritos

camping breakfast_edited-1

This is a photo from my Iphone (excuse the bad quality) from our last family excursion.  We did a horsepack trip into the mountains a couple of weekends ago to listen to the elk bugle and to hike a ridge.

After so many of these trips, I have streamlined my food prep to be mostly at home with easy cooking out in the field.  This is a picture of our breakfast burrito I thought I would share with you, so you have a hearty breakfast idea for your next camping trip.

Notice the horse in the background eating calmly?  Little did we know they would take off in the night and run all the way back to the truck, leaving us to abandon the tack and gear and hike the 6 miles out.   Yes we did catch up with the wild horses and retrieve our gear a day later and came home with a good tale to tell.  A great family adventure!!!

Camping Breakfast Burrito

1 Yellow Onion diced

1-2 Cloves of Garlic minced

2-3 Medium sized Potatoes diced

1 Pound Breakfast Sausage (I have used pork or chicken links, whatever you fancy)

  1. Heat a skillet up to medium on the stove top sauté the garlic and onions 2-3 minutes.
  2. Add in the potatoes and sauté until they are just starting to soften.
  3. Add in the sausage and cook until done.
  4. Let this all cool and package for the trip.

Out in the great wild all you have to do is dump some burrito mix into the pan and heat it up adding your desired amount of eggs.  Serve on a tortilla (or not) with some salsa.  Add some cheese if you tolerate it and Enjoy!

This makes about 8 servings.

Lime Butter Sauce

Lime ButterSauce
Lime Butter Sauce

I’m baaaaack!  Once again sorry for such a long pause in my posting.  I had a goal to post once a week and I seem to be falling a wee bit short of that goal of late.

Alas the kids are back in school, and this past weekend, I spent the whole weekend cleaning and getting caught up from a summer of guests and fun.  The cleanliness of my house did suffer a bit from the summer mayhem, but time spent with family and friends far outweighs a clean house in my book.

We are now hitting my favorite time of year here in Montana, Indian summer, things slow down a bit, my hoarding instincts kick into full power, and the nights are cooler and longer.

I have been eating lots of salmon and fish lately, and wanted to share with you this little gem I found to slather just about any type of fish or vegetable in to make it taste even more divine than it is.  This recipe is from over at Epicurious HERE.  I have only slightly tweaked the amount of salt in this Lime Butter recipe.  If you know me you know, I love Kerrygold butter, so if you can get your paws on the stuff I recommend it for this sauce.

Oh, it is so quick and easy to make too….BONUS!  Enjoy it on fish or vegetables and let me know what you think!


Lime Butter Sauce (adapted from Epicurious)

1/4 Cup Fresh Squeezed Lime Juice

1/2 Cup (1 Stick) Butter Melted (I use Kerrygold)

1 Clove Garlic

1/2 tsp. Salt

Pepper to taste

  1. Place all but the butter into a blender and blend for about a minute.
  2. Slowly drizzle the melted butter into the blender while on low to incorporate blend on medium speed for about 30 seconds.
  3. Drizzle on Salmon, Mahi Mahi, or Vegetables!
  4. Makes about 3/4 of a cup!  Store the extra in the fridge it will last for weeks.

Paleo Gluten-Free Chocolate Date Balls

Paleo Gluten-Free Date Chocolate Balls
Paleo Gluten-Free Date Chocolate Balls

A dear friend of mine stopped by to visit us this summer, and brought with her these addicting tasty treats.  I have made and eaten multiple batches since she has departed so, I felt it was my duty to share these with the rest of you.

I have found them to be the best hiking treats to throw in my pack or an after cross fit pick me up.  They are super easy and fast to make and they blow Lara bars out of the water.

Yet again I can not take credit for the invention of these and I found a recipe HERE at Chocolate-Covered Katie.  Check her out she has loads of scrumptious looking treats on her site.   The recipe my friend gave me was titled German Chocolate Fudge Balls, so I do believe there are many renditions of these online.

Of course I have altered the recipe to my own liking and you will too once you find what nuts you prefer and how much chocolate you want to add.  I like to keep them in the refrigerator as they get just the right firmness and the cool treat is preferred in the summer time heat.


Paleo Gluten-Free Chocolate Date Balls

8-9  Pitted Soft Medjool Dates

1 1/2 tsp Vanilla

2 Heaping TBL Shredded Unsweetened Coconut

2-3 TBL Pecans or Walnuts

1/2 tsp Sea Salt

1/2 Cup Bittersweet Chips or Dark chocolate Chunks

  1. Throw everything into a food processor and process until a big ball forms or it is all well incorporated.
  2. Roll into bite size balls then roll in some shredded coconut or cocoa powder.
  3. Store in a glass container in the fridge (the fridge is not mandatory).
  4. Makes about 12 Balls

Paleo Gluten-Free Waffles

Paleo Gluten-Free Plantain Waffles
Paleo Gluten-Free Plantain Waffles

Well it has been quite a while since I have posted, and I apologize for that my faithful readers (all 2 of you)!!

A crazy busy fun summer it has been so far at Hillbilly Haven and beyond.  Lots of company has come and gone, and we did a little family trip to the east to visit and swim, swim,  swim.   We butchered the meat birds and the freezer is full of poultry.   I have put up some dill pickles and pickled beets,  my food hoard is coming along nicely for the winter.  The pigs are growing daily enjoying their summer, I’m still coming to terms that they will be part of my food hoard come the winter.

Our one staple through it all has been these Paleo plantain waffles.  I so wish I could take credit for these babies, but alas I cannot.  The only thing I did was make them into waffles instead of pancakes and that idea came from Chris Kresser.  I found the plantain pancake recipe HERE at The Paleo mom website.  She has some awesome recipes with plantains and other foodstuffs, check her out.

They are fast to make and taste great and ALL of my family members like them which is quite a feat!!

Paleo Gluten-Free Waffles (recipe slightly adapted from The Paleo Mom)


  • 2 large Green Plantains (about 2 cups pureed)
  • 4 Eggs
  • 1 TBL Vanilla
  • 3 Tbsp Coconut Oil or Avocado Oil
  • 1/4 tsp Salt
  • ½ tsp Baking Soda
  1. Peel plantains (I find it easier to quarter them before I peel them) and place pieces in your blender (preferred) or food processor (okay) with the eggs.  Blend to form a smooth batter (if your blender has a smoothie function, that works well here).
  2. Add the rest of the ingredients to the blender or food processor and process on high for an additional minute (or 2-3 with a food processor to get a really good smooth batter).
  3. Heat your waffle iron and pour the batter in, cook according to your iron’s directions.
  4. Repeat until all batter is used.  Keep warm in the oven or eat as soon as they come out!  Enjoy!  Makes about 5 Belgian Waffles

Paleo Confetti Coleslaw

Confetti Coleslaw
Confetti Coleslaw

Coleslaw is one of the main staples here at Hillbilly Haven.  It’s a nice change from regular green salads, and personally I just love all the gorgeous colors mixed together.  I love eating color and wearing color and painting color and seeing color.  Bright, juicy, rich, happy, nutritious color!!!

That makes me think of how many creative people there are in the world. A couple of years ago,  I went from runner to podcast walker (one who listens to podcasts whilst walking).  The line up of my podcasts include; Radio Lab, This American Life and The Ted Hour.  Each time I walk and listen, I learn of yet another group of creative people in all realms of society, doing amazing stuff.  It really makes me feel so reassured and awed to know that these people exist and are adding so much to the world!

One of our go to meals is Fish sticks (mahi mahi or a similar white fish coated in egg and almond flour baked in the oven ) served with a side of coleslaw.  I also include my “special sauce”,  homemade mayo mixed with a bit of organic ketchup.  It’s a simple nutrient dense meal that is quick to prepare.

My recipe is just a guideline for building your coleslaw, feel free to add anything you think would taste good!!  Remember to eat from the rainbow!!

Confetti Coleslaw

1/4 Head of Red Cabbage, Cut thinly

1/3 Head of Green Cabbage, Cut thinly

3 Medium Carrots, Grated

1/2 Bunch of Parsley, Chopped

1-2 Organic Apples, Chopped

Salt and Pepper to taste

Optional Additions include: Grated Jicama, Pumpkin seeds, Sunflower Seeds, Currants, Shredded Beets, Grated Brussel Sprouts etc……

  • Place all the prepared Veggies into a large bowl.


1/2 Cup Olive Oil (good real olive oil)

1/4 Cup Organic Apple Cider Vinegar (use a brand like Braggs with the “mother” in it)

1 Heaping tsp. Stone ground or Dijon Mustard

1 tsp. Maple Syrup or Honey (use more if you like it a bit sweeter)

Salt and Pepper to taste

  • Mix all the dressing ingredients together and adjust for taste.  I like to use an immersion hand blender to get a creamy dressing,
  • Add the dressing to the coleslaw and mix well.  This coleslaw tastes better with time as the dressing marries with the veggies, so feel free to make it ahead of time. You may want to double the dressing if you add more veggies.


Homemade Hot Fudge


Homemade Hot Fudge
Homemade Hot Fudge

Happy Summer!  Summer came to Montana very abruptly this year,  we are hot and sunny! Hillbilly haven is in full swing with summer company and floats down the Yellowstone river.

Nothing spells summer more than a hot fudge sundae!!  I have adapted this recipe from an old Better Homes and Garden cookbook my mom gave me years ago.  This is a bit decadent, but worth the splurge!  Every year I send my nephew a jar or two for his birthday and he hoards it all to himself.  You may be tempted to skip the ice cream and eat it straight out of the jar.

Homemade Hot Fudge

1 1/2 Cups Bittersweet Chocolate Chips (I use Ghirardelli brand)

1/2 Cup Grass Fed Butter

3/4 Cup Coconut Sugar

10 Oz of Evaporated Goats Milk or Regular Evaporated Milk ( I like the Goats milk as it gives the hot fudge a tangy flavor)

  1. In a heavy saucepan add the butter, chocolate and sugar and stir with a whisk until all is melted
  2. Gradually stir in the evaporated milk and bring to a boil.
  3. Reduce the heat and boil over low heat for 8 minutes stirring the whole time.  It will thicken a bit.
  4. Serve warm or store in glass jars in the fridge.  It will keep for weeks. 

    Makes 3 1/2 Cups


Paleo Gluten-Free Almond Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

Paleo Gluten-Free Almond Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies
Paleo Gluten-Free Almond Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

This post is dedicated to my mom who passed away on May 27, 2015, after a long struggle with Alzheimer’s disease.

My mom was an incredible person.  She had eleven children (I’m number 10) and made each one of us feel special and loved.  She made us homemade lunches, birthday cakes, and daily home cooked meals.

She loved the outdoors, especially being in and near lakes.  In the summer, when we were wee ones, she would stick us in playpens outside, and as we got older, she would load a bunch of us into our big old family station wagon and head for a lake.  Daily she shooed us outside to play and run around with the neighborhood kids, of which there were many to choose from.

She had a contagious laugh, which my sisters and I inherited, and she laughed often.  She taught us not to care what others thought, but to be ourselves.  She never held a grudge and forgave easily.  She often extended her love and generosity to the neighborhood kids, and when anyone brought home someone for Christmas last-minute, there were always gifts for them.

My mom was more than just a mom, she was a gardener, nurse, chef, housekeeper, comedian, interior designer, party planner, antiques collector, baker, teacher, shopper extraordinaire, psychic ( she could always make me call her no matter how far away I lived), communicator,  and friend.

One of my best memories was stepping off the school bus and opening the door to find fresh-baked cookies (by the dozens) sitting on the counter to cool.  A sweet tooth’s dream come true.  In our house you ate treats whenever you could get your grubby paws on them, because with 10 siblings they didn’t last (hmm maybe that’s were my food hoarding tendencies come from).

I like to imagine my mom swimming happy and free up in the spirit world in a big beautiful lake watching over her legacy…… us kids!

This is a tried and true recipe I found HERE.  I have altered it only slightly from the original by cutting back on the sweetener and coconut.  They are fast and easy and quite satisfying.  I guarantee they will go fast, whether you have 10 siblings to compete with or not.

Almond Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies (adapted from

1 Cup Almond Butter

1 Egg

1 TBL Vanilla

2 TBL Honey (you can use more if you have a really sweet tooth)

1/2 Tsp Baking Soda

1/2 Tsp Salt

1/4 Tsp Baking Powder

1/2 Cup Shredded Unsweetened Coconut

1/2 Cup Chocolate Chips ( I prefer bittersweet or dark Chocolate chips)

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees
  2. In a mixing bowl, mix together almond butter, egg, vanilla, baking soda, salt,  and honey until well blended.  I like to do this by hand as I found the texture of the cookie gets cakey if you over mix the dough.
  3. Add in the coconut and chocolate chips and mix until they are incorporated
  4. Using a cookie scooper place cookies on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.  Using your flat palm, press the cookies down to flatten just a bit (no worries if you don’t have parchment paper)
  5. Bake for 6-8 minutes depending on your oven.  They are done when the edges get golden brown and the tops crack a bit.
  6. Let cool as they are fragile when hot and then enjoy!  Makes approximately 16 Cookies.

Gluten-Free Bacon Sprinkled Chocolate Birthday Cake or Eggs, Bacon, Cream and Chocolate Cake


Gluten-Free Bacon Sprinkled Chocolate Birthday Cake
Gluten-Free Bacon Sprinkled Chocolate Birthday Cake

Yesterday was my friend Pete’s 50th birthday celebration, and when I insisted on making him a cake.  He joked he would like a bacon flavored cake.  Well since I aim to please, this is what I came up with.  I am no stranger to dark chocolate or bacon for that matter, so this cake was not a stretch for me.  I toyed with the idea of adding bacon throughout, but feared not everyone would have the same fondness for a bacon and chocolate combo, so I decided a dusting on the top would suffice.

I used the Chocolate Birthday Cake recipe from Paleo Spirit and it is fabulous!  Made with coconut flour and in this case 18 eggs, (it was a 10 inch cake).  It has a great sponge cake consistency with a fine crumb, and just the right amount of rich chocolate taste.  Not to mention a lot of protein with all those organic eggs my own girls laid.   I torted the layers and filled them with my standard frosting of whipped cream and cream cheese.  Then I topped it off with some very fine dark chocolate ganache.  WARNING: if you are not a fan of chocolate don’t try this at home.

I was very pleased with the results, but alas I am a die-hard dark chocolate addict fan.  If you are like-minded,  give this cake a whirl for any special occasion with or without the bacon on top.  It will not disappoint, and for all its decadence and richness, it has relatively little sugar and no gluten, your flour eating friends will never guess it is gluten-free.


Gluten-Free Bacon Sprinkled Chocolate Birthday Cake

For the cakes: Follow the recipe  at Paleo Spirit

For the Filling between Layers:

  Cream Cheese Whipped Cream Frosting

2 Pints Organic Whipping Cream

1- 8 oz. Package Organic Cream Cheese, at room temp

2 tsp. Vanilla Extract

3-5 TBL. Real Maple Syrup or to taste (I prefer it on the less sweet side)

  1. In a large bowl whip the cream until there are firm peaks.
  2. In another bowl whip  the cream cheese until smooth ( it helps to let the cream cheese sit out hours before so it is room temp.)
  3. Add the vanilla and maple syrup to the cream cheese and blend in until fully incorporated.
  4. Add the cream cheese mixture to the whipped cream and mix again until all is fully incorporated and you have a firm creamy frosting.
  5. This will fill the layers of a torted 10 inch cake.  You can half the recipe for a 6 inch cake.  It will also frost the outside of a 9 inch cake if you opt out of a chocolate ganache frosting.
  6. This is a very easy frosting and the sweetness is of personal preference.

For the Frosting:

Chocolate Ganache

3 cups Organic whipping cream

24 Ounces Bittersweet chocolate ( I used Trader Joes 72% Chocolate)

  1. Heat the cream until just before a boil.
  2. Chop the chocolate up and add to a bowl.
  3. Add half the cream to the chocolate and let sit a minute before gently stirring, being careful not to let air get into the chocolate.
  4. Reheat the cream gently and add to the rest to the chocolate make sure all the chocolate is melted and the cream is fully mixed in.
  5. Let the ganache sit until it cools and reaches room temperature at this point you can use it to frost the outside of your cake. (If it seems to runny let it cool for a bit longer).  This will frost the outside of a 10 inch cake.  You can cut the recipe in half if you are making a smaller cake or to fill the layers of a cake too.
  6. Chop up some well cooked bacon and artistically sprinkle on top. (optional)