Saturday, April 5, 2014

Paleo Butter Pecan Mug Cake




Today was a rainy day. It is spring time and the temperature is warm and the flowers are starting to bloom, so I really can't complain about the water falling from the sky on occasion. That being said stormy days always bring on cravings of comfort foods. In particular the feeling of holding a warm ceramic cup filled with something enriched in fragrant spices. Like hot chocolate, spiced coconut milk, or mug cake...

Ingredients:
1 Tbsp coconut flour
1 Tbsp almond flour
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 Tbsp honey
1 tsp melted butter*
1/2 tsp allspice
pinch of salt
2-3 Tbsp pecan pieces

Directions:

Mix together flours, egg, vanilla, honey, melted butter, allspice, and salt in a microwaveable mug.
Blend well.
Fold in nuts.
Microwave for 2 minutes.
Enjoy while warm.

*for dairy-free substitute coconut oil

Monday, March 31, 2014

Carrot Grapefruit Smoothie (scd, paleo)



As the weather gets warmer I always look forward to summertime smoothies. I felt ├╝ber lazy the other day and actually went to a smoothie shop and customized a somewhat Paleo-friendly version of a smoothie. It cost $8 and I could tell their juices were from concentrate, i.e. a box. Blah. I'll take a homemade version of any meal, anytime. Try this smoothie recipe if you are a fan of grapefruit. It's a little tangy but very refreshing.

Ingredients:

3/4 cup fresh grapefruit juice
1/2 apple
4 mini carrots*
1 large medjool date (pitted)
1 1/2 cups ice

Directions:

Throw all of the ingredients in a high speed blender, like Vitamix (putting the ice in last.)
Blend on high for about two minutes, or until completely smooth and four mounds form on top of the blender.
Enjoy.

*mini carrots are very small adult carrots (not the traditional "baby carrots" found in most grocery stores, 4 would be equivalent to about one large regular carrot)


Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Cabbage Noodles and Meat Sauce (scd, paleo)



At some point in your Paleo life you give up the dream that any vegetable will ever come close to actually substituting the taste of wheat-based pasta. Yes, the noodle texture is duplicated in zoodles and such, but to be quite honest, there is just no Paleo food that will every compete in the same game as pasta. At the same time, however, you may begin to realize that your relationship with food is not what you once idealized. Realizing that sometimes we crave- not flavors and textures, but ideas of food. For instance, having a pasta-type base of stringy food that fills up the majority of a plate topped with a red sauce infused with herbs, spices, and bits of tender meat will trick your brain more than first presumed. Perhaps these cabbage noodles on their own will not inspire any dishes in Italy any time soon, but they may bring some comfort back into your Paleo food palate. That being said, this dish is truly delicious in its own faux-noodle kind of way.

Ingredients:

1 medium head green cabbage
1 lb 92/8 (lean/fat) ground turkey
1 can diced tomatoes, drained
1 small yellow onion, diced
1 Tbsp coconut oil
1 Tbsp white vinegar
1 tsp pepper
1 Tbsp garlic powder
1 tsp thyme
salt, to taste

Directions:

Cut cabbage into quarters after removing outer leaves. Cut out core. Slice lengthwise into thin strips. Place cabbage into large pot and cover with water. Add vinegar to water in pot. Boil on high for about ten minutes, or until cabbage is tender-crisp but not mushy. Strain off water when appropriate consistency is reached.

Meanwhile, heat coconut oil in large frying pan or wok. Add diced onion and cook until translucent. Add turkey and spices and cook until no longer pink. Add drained tomatoes and simmer for about ten minutes.

Top cabbage "noodles" with turkey sauce. Add salt to taste. Enjoy.



Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Bacon Wrapped Avocado Egg Nests (paleo, scd)



If you ever want to bring something easy yet impressive to a pock luck or a brunch may I suggest these little Paleo nests. The potential for stuffings are unlimited here. Try adding your favorite chopped veggies in with the egg or pico de gallo. Or try wrapping in prosciutto instead of bacon, or use turkey bacon.

2 ripe avocados
2 medium eggs
1/2 pound bacon*
salt and pepper, to taste

Cut avocados in half. Remove pit. Peel.
Crack open eggs and split into two portions.
Put half of one egg into the middle of half of one avocado.
Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
Carefully wrap each avocado half with a strip of bacon.
Place sunny side up in a baking dish.
Bake at 350 degrees for twenty minutes.
Broil for five minutes, flip over and broil for another five minutes (or until bacon is crispy).

Enjoy.

*note: for those on scd: try finding low-sodium versions of your favorite bacon brand to get some that is cured sugar-free.


Saturday, March 1, 2014

Paleo Baked Stuffed Bananas (scd, paleo)



Evolved monkey food. It's delicious.


Ingredients:

3 medium bananas
a few Tablespoons almond butter
a few raisins
scant palm-full unsweetened coconut flakes

Directions:

Using a sharp knife make a cut lengthwise down the center of each banana. Cut through almost all of the banana without puncturing the bottom side of the peel.
Stuff some almond butter into the crevice created by said cut.
Push a few raisins down into the center of the banana as well. (if there are any left on the top they are likely to burn)
Sprinkle with a few coconut flakes.
Bake at 400 degrees for 15-20 minutes, until the coconut flakes are golden brown and the insides of the banana are mushy.

Enjoy.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Fluffy Almond Butter



You should always soak your nuts before eating them. (For more information as to why feel free to read this article.) Basically, in nature nuts are shelled and inside that shell is a small amount of moisture. So if we were all really cave-people, eating nuts straight off of the trees, the nuts would be, essentially, pre-soaked. Also, it allows vital nutrients to be more easily absorbed by our bodies.

This recipe for almond butter uses soaked nuts and a small amount of water. The taste is much more mild than "regular" almond butter which is made of nothing but dried almonds. Perfect for lighter snacks because the texture is fluffier and more airy.

Homemade almond butter is easy with a high performance blender like Vitamix. Really, homemade nut butters of any kind are, as is almond and coconut milk.

Ingredients:

16 ounces plain, raw almonds
1/4 cup water
1/2 tsp sea salt

Directions:

Completely cover nuts in water and soak overnight or at least 8 hours, covered with a light kitchen towel.
Drain and thoroughly rinse the nuts.
Put the nuts and 1/4 cup of water in a Vitamix and add salt.
Blend on high for about 5 minutes, pressing mixture into the blades with the tamper.

Yes, it will get very hot. It's supposed to and it is fine.
That's it. Now you have fluffy almond butter.
Refrigerate after blending.



Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Paleo Turkey Stir Fry (paleo, scd)




One of the advantages of living in a country full of lazy people is that some things are far easier for those of us who normally do not take shortcuts. For example, the steamed vegetables in a bag are becoming ever more popular but the idea of steaming vegetables in a plastic bag is very not-Paleo. However, just because food is packaged and marketed a specific way does not mean that it has to be used as the manufacture intended. I'm sure you've seen pre-packaged items in the store like vegetable stir fry mix. Read the ingredients to make sure there aren't any unnecessary additives, just plain, unadulterated veggies that happen to be pre-cut. Is everything I buy always organic? No. Do I wish it was? Yes. But we can't have everything in life. If you are looking for a quick and easy Paleo meal try this timesaver.

 
Ingredients:

1 package of stir fry veggie mix (12 ounces broccoli, cabbage, carrots, snow peas)
1 pound 99% lean ground turkey
1 Tbsp coconut oil
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp pepper
salt, to taste

Directions: 

Heat coconut oil in large frying pan over medium high heat.
Add ground turkey. 
Break into pieces with a spatula, stirring occasionally.
When turkey is about half way cooked through, add stir fry vegetables and spices.
Cover and reduce heat to medium.
Stir occasionally and continue to cook for about ten to fifteen minutes, until veggies are tender-crisp and turkey is cooked thoroughly.

Enjoy.



Sunday, February 16, 2014

Paleo Chocolate Avocado Pudding



Oh, Snack Packs- I remember how you delighted all the kids who found you at the bottom of their lunch pails. Due to the fact that the sugar and artificial ingredients in you, I believe, cause autoimmune disorders, I refuse to indulge in you anymore. Thankfully creative minds find a way, thus this incredibly easy and tasty Paleo pudding recipe came to fruition.
This is quite possibly one of the easiest to make Paleo desserts that exist.

Ingredients:

1 ripe avocado
2 Tbsp cacao powder
1 1/2 Tbsp honey
pinch of salt (approx. 1/16 tsp)

Combine all of the above ingredients together in a blender. Any blender will do the job, but there may be some avocado chunks left by a conventional blender. For smoothest results use a high power one like Vitamix.

Easily doubled/tripled based on how many ripe avocados you have.
(We all know that avocados have a ten minute time window between when they go from hard and inedible to way too smooshy.)




Enjoy.


Thursday, February 13, 2014

Paleo Dark Chocolate Dip


Is there anything that's not better when it's dipped in chocolate?

Think about it....

The correct answer is no.

Here's a Paleo friendly dark chocolate dip recipe that can be used to cover (*ahem*) a variety of things. For instance, today is close to a day in the US dedicated to love and all that romanticism and mushy stuff, so a lot of people are planning on roses and chocolate covered strawberries. This recipe makes enough dip for about 1.5 pints of strawberries. But feel free to use it for other things as well.


Ingredients:

1/2 cup coconut oil, softened but not completely liquid
1/4 cup raw cacao powder
2 Tbsp honey

Directions:

Combine above ingredients well.

Dip fruit of choice in chocolate and place on parchment paper. (note: put the parchment paper on a baking sheet of some sort before arranging the food on it, this is so you will easily be able to move it.)

Place in refrigerator for at least six hours or overnight, until dip hardens.

Coconut oil will melt in the heat...just a heads up.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

My Top 10 Reasons to Go Paleo




Sometimes, I get inspired to write. Sometimes, I just feel like spilling the contents of my mind for anyone willing to read. Sometimes, I actually blog.

Here we are; this is what I was thinking of today, as I have heard so many people in the past years tell me how much they "would love to go Paleo but..." and then ramble off some excuse that I know will be less than satisfactory to me so I usually stop paying attention at that point. Look, it's not easy for anyone but you just have to do it.

So here's a little list that I came up with that may kindle some inspiration for people who have yet to take the dive. You can leave you warranted and unwarranted comments in the space below. Thank you.

1. Everything is better.
I truly mean everything. Skin is softer, nails are stronger, hair is shiner, sex is better, mind is sharper, memory is keener, energy lasts longer, the sun shines brighter. Men look more like George Clooney and women get the body of Angelina Jolie; there is nothing that does not improve when you eat a healthy Paleo diet.

2. All the cool kids are doing it.
Sure, every diet starts off this way but when you look at the Google trends of Paleo searches, you can see how crazy everyone is going over it...for several years now. If this was just a fad diet interest would be dying off quickly, critics would be throwing "diet gone wrong" examples at the media, and Paleo gurus would be filing for bankruptcy. The opposite is happening.

3. Endorse real food.
"Eat organic food, or as your grandparents called it: food." I see that quote frequently on the pages I personally follow. Truth of the matter is our food system has gotten beyond completely out of whack. GMOs pervade in every category of the food industry and terrible, unsustainable agricultural practices are only being reinforced by the majority of society buying what is presented to them as cheap and popular "foods." Going Paleo encourages buying grass-fed and free-ranged meats and organic produce. Back to basics, back to the way things should be. Every scan at the grocery store is a vote for what you would like to see produced and made available. Vote wisely.

4. Heal yourself.
Everyone has ailments. Even those who think they are seemingly healthy still get sick, some to a greater degree than others. Paleo heals the gut/digestive system and therefore creates a happier overall balance throughout the body. Celiac's Disease, Ulcerative Colitis, Crohn's Disease, ADHD, Parkinson's Disease, Autism, Fibromyalgia, Depression, and Diabetes are just a few of the disorders that have been greatly improved or (gasp!) even cured just by going Paleo.

5. Be a part of something bigger.
As mentioned above, Paleo is a growing trend, and for good reason. This is your chance to be a part of a movement that is about so much more than eating bacon and eggs. The more you get involved in this lifestyle of eating real food and being influenced by others who think that we should be kind to the planet we live on and create a better future for the next generation of humans that are going to inhabit this earth, the bonding feeling is that of close friends and even family.

6. Diet without deprivation.
Is Paleo strictly for weight loss purposes? No. It's more about going back to human roots, eating whole, real foods, and living a lifestyle that promotes health and longevity. That being said, many people use templates within the Paleo guidelines that are very successful for weight loss. In doing so, there are no faux-meal weight reduction shakes or chemically compounded bars that taste like cardboard but promise to get those last three pounds off. Bacon is highly encouraged, everything in moderation. The food list may be short in comparison to the average grocery list but there is no lacking in taste or creative foods to indulge in, even when trying to shed a few pounds.

7. Love yourself.
Paleo people are selfish. There, I said it. Think about it.
Paleo improves health and personal well-being. Yes, it also promotes sustainable farming and all that good stuff, but the main motivating factor is usually that one wants to live a better life. That's selfish but not necessarily in a negative manner. We are all responsible for our own lives and the footprint that we impress on our world. Why not be a little selfish in this regard? No one wants to be around a sick, grumpy, and dying person. When we invest time into ourselves the product is that we are better, happier people. Don't let others convince you to not do Paleo for yourself, because they are usually just jealous that they themselves do not have the control to do so. Care enough about your own longevity to do it.

8. Never regret it.
Know how many people I have heard try out Paleo and wish they hadn't? None. Yep, get those stats from any other lifestyle change. I dare you.

9. Make food taste better.
I swear that when you stop eating high fructose corn syrup, aspartame, genetically-modified complex starches, and other chemical crap your taste buds start their own mariachi band in your mouth and sing a little song every time you eat real food. Once the cravings stop and the chemicals are washed from your body you start to enjoy food for the miracle it really is. You don't need a pound of ketchup to make that plate of veggies taste better, you can appreciate them for the bundle of vitamins and minerals that they are.

10. Be happy.
Perhaps you will view this as an over-generalization but Paleo people are happy. As mentioned, we don't have serious health problems like depression and others that cause such drops in mood. We learn to live life making the choice to better ourselves no matter what. Our outlook is not about what society publicizes as current or trending, we know what is going to be best long term and stick to that despite the sometimes negative feedback. Happiness is a decision. Paleo people have the motivation and means to make that decision and stick to it.