Saturday, October 20, 2012

Paleo Chocolate Cherry Cookies

I made these cookies for my great grandmothers birthday party a while back. She turned 94! That seems like a pretty amazing feat these days. Since it was a birthday party, that means cake and ice cream, among other tasty temptaions. Several of my family members eat low carb if not primal so I decided to test these cookies on them as a cake alternative. They are chewy and chocolaty and just sweet enough without being overwhelming.

(Pictures coming soon)

Paleo Chocolate Cherry Cookies

12 Medjool dates
1 ½ c almond flour
3 tbsp cocoa powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tbsp cinnamon
¼ tsp sea salt
2 tbsp applesauce
2 tbsp coconut oil, melted
2 t vanilla extract
1/2 t almond extract
¾ c dried bing cherries, chopped

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line baking sheets with parchment paper. Soak dates in a bowl of hot water for 5-10 minutes or until soft.
In a medium bowl combine the almond flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and sea salt.
Drain dates and place in the bowl of a food processor with the applesauce, coconut oil, and extracts. Process until it forms a paste. Add dry ingredients and process until well-blended. Move the mixture back to the bowl you had the dry ingredients in and stir in cherries.
Use a cookie scoop or oiled hands to roll tablespoonfuls of the dough into a ball and place on the baking sheet. Flatten with the palm of your hand.
Bake 10 minutes then cool on a wire rack.

Adapted from this recipe

Monday, September 17, 2012

Everything but the kitchen sink

This recipe is great for those nights when you need to clean out the fridge or you have some odds and ends veggies that are about to turn and no idea what to do with them. I had some veggies I needed to get rid of some things, so into the pan with some ground beef they went.
This is also slightly reminiscent of the beef stew over rice that we used to have when I was a kid. Not reminiscent in taste but in the idea and the memory of it.

  • 2 lbs ground beef
  • 2-3 medium carrots, diced
  • 1 bunch of celery, diced
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 8 oz of mushrooms, diced
  • 2 tbsp coconut aminos or worchestershire
  • 1-2 tbsp coconut oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Cauliflower rice (instructions at the bottom)
  • Pats of butter (optional)

Start by heating your pan over medium heat, once heated through melt coconut oil. I recommend using the whole 2 tbsp since the mushroom will suck a lot of the oil up. They will shrink down as they cook releasing tasty juices but its best to have extra oil in the pan so nothing sticks. When the oil is melted add all of the veggies to the pan, except the garlic, and salt and pepper to your liking. When the onions get to the near translucent phase (a little white in the middle still) add in the garlic. Once the onions are translucent add in the beef and coconut aminos and cook until the beef is no longer pink.

I serve this over cauliflower rice with a couple of pats of Kerrygold butter (the butter goes on the rice then the beef mixture goes over that).

Cauliflower Rice
Take one head of cauliflower and grate with either a box grater or a food processor with a grater attachment. I have a microwave steamer so I add the rice to that and cook for about 3 or 4 minutes. That is cauliflower rice. Seriously, its that easy. Now I'm not going to lie to you and say its just like regular rice, but it is a good substitute and now you don't need to serve a veggie on the side.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Individual Peach Cobblers

I'm not really a fan of peaches; however it is amazing what you can learn to appreciate when doing a Whole 30. I originally intended to just roast these peaches and let them stand on their own but then I was reminded of a peach cobbler that I made last month and inspiration hit. These have no sweetener and since you are roasting the peaches they don't have to be particularly ripe. For those of you, like me, who have terrible luck picking good peach, this is helpful.

Also I realize that these peaches are probably pushing the Whole 30 boundaries pretty hard, so keep your goals in mind when considering this recipe.

Individual Peach Cobblers

3 peaches, halved and pitted
2 cups almond flour
2 tsp vanilla
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/3 cup melted butter

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and line an 8x8 Pyrex with foil. Add the vanilla to the melted butter and stir to combine. Mix in the remaining ingredients and stir until everything comes together and gets crumbly.
Put your peach halves into the pan cut side up. fill the peaches with the almond flour mixture and press it down so it stays on the peach. Cover the pan with foil and place in the oven.
Bake for 20 minutes covered and then remove the foil and bake for an additional 15 minutes. Let cool for about 5 minutes so you don't melt the roof of your mouth, then enjoy.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Whole 30 Cinnamon Sweet Potatoes

Don't you just love vacations? All the relaxing by the pool, good food, no gym or email or meeting. Yes, vacations are lovely, until you have to come home from them.

We just returned from Disney World. It was silly, hot, exhausting fun. We ate corn-dogs, ice cream and bread among other non-primal things. It was fun to let loose for a week. I also knew that Monday would probably be pretty rough since we decided to start a Whole 30 to restart our primal systems and we would be heading back to Crossfit after being gone for a week and a half.

Well Monday did not disappoint, let me tell you. After a seriously disappointing gym session (disappointment in my performance not the workout) and some carb flu symptoms, I really wanted something sweet. I realize that the point of a Whole 30 is to minimize carbs, which is why I kept my individual serving small. Just a few bites and then the rest went into the fridge for later.

Whole 30 Cinnamon Sweet Potatoes

-2 sweet potatoes, cubed (I used garnet yams but use any sweet potato you have available)
-2 to 3 tbsp melted coconut oil
-1 tbsp cinnamon

Preheat your oven to 350 and line a baking sheet with foil. Put the sweet potatoes on the baking sheet and drizzle with coconut oil. Toss the potatoes with your hands to coat them with the oil. Sprinkle the oiled potatoes with cinnamon and toss again. Bake for 40 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool slightly, then enjoy.

These could probably be baked at 400 degrees for less time but I put them in before I started dinner so that they would be ready at the same time everything else was.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Almond Chocolate Chip Microwave Mini Cakes

You know those days when you you want to eat an entire batch of cupcakes but you still have the willpower to know that would be a bad idea. Well this is recipe is for you, its a bigger than a cupcake and can even make 2 if you want to share. There are a lot of different flavor combos that would could try but my favorite is the Almond Chocolate Chip Mini Cake.


Almond Chocolate Chip Microwave Mini Cakes

2/3 cup almond flour
1 egg
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp almond extract
1 tsp maple syrup
1 tbsp coconut oil, melted
1-2 tbsp water
1/4 cup mini chocolate chips

Add everything but the chocolate chips to a bowl and stir to combine, then fold in the chocolate chips. Grease 1-2 ramekins, depending on how generous you are feeling, with coconut oil and add your batter. Cook in the microwave for 1 minute and 30 seconds.Test for doneness (its a word I swear) with a toothpick.

You can either eat it directly from the ramekin or turn it out on a plate, but be careful, the ramekin will be hot.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Birthday Cupcakes With Cream Cheese Frosting

So it was my birthday this week so I decided I would make cupcakes. In my department you always get your favorite cake for your birthday, but I wanted to be able to actually eat my birthday cake  and since no one around here makes almond or coconut flour cakes commercially, I decided to make my own. Luckily I enjoy cooking and baking of that would have been a sad birthday story (not sure why but people seem to be shocked that I made my own birthday cupcakes).

I actually came up with this recipe for my parent's 30th anniversary party a couple of weeks ago, pretty much on accident. The carrot cake cupcakes I made for the party didn't make enough and I really didn't feel like shredding anymore carrots so I needed something that was basically just throwing stuff in a bowl and mixing together. It worked out surprisingly well and I got rave reviews on them at the party.

Please forgive the lack of picture of a cupcake with frosting on it. I didn't frost them until right before we were going to eat them and I forgot to take pictures. I know its one of the big rules of food blogging, use actual measurements and take tons of pictures. I'm still learning :-)

Chocolate Birthday Cupcakes

Makes 12 cupcakes

  • 2 1/2 cups almond flour
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/3 cocoa powder
  • 3/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1/2 coconut oil, melted
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp almond extract
  • 1 tsp baking soda

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Whisk all of the wet ingredients together until combined. Next add in the remaining ingredients and stir until the lumps are gone. Next line a cupcake pan with liners (I highly recommend these, they do not stick to the cupcakes like conventional cupcake liners. I get mine at Whole Foods). Evenly distribute the batter and bake for 20 minutes. Oven temperatures may vary so check for doneness (yes I know this is made up word) with a toothpick. Let cool completely on a wire rack before frosting.

Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 1 8 oz. block of cream cheese, softened to room temperature
  • 1/2 pint of heavy cream
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup
  • 1 1/4 tsp vanilla extract (I usually let a little extra go over the side of the spoon, not an exact measurement)
Place the bowl you plan on using in the freezer for about 10 minutes. If using a hand mixer I  recommend a glass or metal bowl since plastic won't retain the cold very well. Once your bowl is nice and cold whip your cream and vanilla together until you get stiff peaks (almost over whipping is best, you want to get right to the point before you are making butter). Next place the whipped cream in another bowl while you whip the cream cheese and maple syrup. Once the cream cheese and syrup are combined and no longer lumpy add in the whipped cream. Stop at least once to scrape down the sides.
When whipped to your liking store in the fridge until ready to use. Can be made up to a day in advance. I like to keep it in a zip-lock baggie, then I will cut one of the corners off and pipe the frosting directly onto the cupcakes. Its cleaner than spreading it on and makes them look nice.

*Note: I would recommend not frosting the cupcakes until you are ready to eat them. If you frost in the morning but then don't eat them until the evening things might get soggy.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Crock Pot Salsa Chicken Salad

I love chicken tacos, but since I don't eat traditional tortillas anymore and the primal wrap recipes out there look like more work than they are worth, I've decided to put the taco into a bowl. This is by far one of the easiest meals to throw together and the leftovers make a great lunch option. 

Crock Pot Salsa Chicken Salad

  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 onion, halved & sliced
  • 1 cup of frozen Trader Joe's bell peppers
  • 16 oz jar of salsa (be sure to check the ingredients)
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1 can of diced tomatoes with green chilies
  • Garnish: shredded cheese, sour cream and/or avocado
In a bowl, mix salsa and seasonings, stir to combine. Put the onions and peppers in the bottom of the Crock Pot and then place chicken breasts on top. Cover the chicken with the salsa and tomatoes. Cook on low for at least 8 hours, mine ran for over 10 hours and it turned out fine. Shred the chicken with 2 forks and stir everything together.

Serve over lettuce and garnish to your hearts content. 

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Mozzarella Stuffed Meatballs

I got the inspiration for this the other day at Crossfit (I know a weird place to be thinking about food) and I couldn't get the idea out of my head. These meatballs are really tasty and they come together really quickly, great for a busy week night and can even be made ahead of time.

Mozzarella Stuffed Meatballs

Makes 16 meatballs
Cook time: 20 minutes

  • 2 ½ lbs ground beef
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tbsp Italian seasoning
  • 1 tsp each: sea salt, pepper, onion powder & garlic powder*
  • ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
  • ½ ball of mozzarella, cut into 16 cubes
  • Jarred or homemade marinara sauce (if using jarred be sure to check for funky ingredients)
  • Parmesan cheese for garnish

Start by preheating your oven to 400 degrees and lining a large jellyroll pan with foil. In a large bowl add the beef, eggs and seasoning. Now here is the fun part, get in there with your hands and mash everything together until its evenly combined.

Now take some of the meat mixture and make a small patty like a hamburger. I didn't measure this part, just eyeballed it but it was just enough meat to fill my palm. Place a cube of cheese in the middle.
Push the edges of the patty together to form a ball making sure it is sealed to prevent any melty cheese accidents when cooking.
Place meatballs onto prepared baking sheet and space evenly.
Put in preheated oven and bake for 20 minutes. In the last 5 minutes of baking start heating your marinara sauce, to be spooned over the meatballs.

When the meatballs are done, remove them from the oven and let cool for about 5 minutes. Don't worry if you had some cheese explosions during cooking, they will still taste great.
Serve topped with marinara sauce and grated Parmesan cheese (which I didn't have when I made this, but have since rectified the situation, lesson learned)

*The spice container in the first picture at the top of the page labeled "SPOG" is filled with equal parts Himalayan Sea Salt, Pepper, Onion powder & Garlic powder. It is my go to seasoning for practically anything that isn't dessert. I highly recommend this setup, its a time saver for sure.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Apple Pie Bars

Nothing says America like apple pie right? Well since going primal, pie hasn't exactly been on my food radar. There are recipes out there for primal pie crusts made with almond flour, but I haven't taken the time to explore those options. In my defense dough was never my strong point.

Anyway, these apple pie bars are would be great to bring along to a barbecue this Memorial Day weekend. Its always a good idea to bring some primal friendly snacks and treats if you have to bring a dish to a party. That way you know that there will be something there for you to eat. 

As with all treats these should be for every once in a while not everyday so it's probably a good idea to make these to share if you don't trust yourself with them in the house. And now without further ado, Apple Pie Bars!

Apple Pie Bars

Makes 36 squares
  • 12 medjool dates
  • 1 cup dried apple rings
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil, melted
  • 1/2 cup almonds
  • 1 cup pecans
  • 1 ½   tbsp cinnamon (1tbsp if you don't love cinnamon quite as much as I do)
Add dates and apples to a food processor. Turn it on and stream in coconut oil. You will have to stop and break up the date mixture a couple of times to make sure everything is mixed together. Once the dates and apples are a paste like consistency add the nuts and cinnamon and blend until everything starts to stick together. 
Date and apple mixture

A quick note, I have heard that food processors are overheating when people try this recipe so be sure to keep an eye on your machine. I like to wait to measure out the nuts and cinnamon until the dates and apples are all mixed together, that way I don't have to try to remember to keep checking the food processor.

Once the the mixture is the desired consistency, line an 8x8 pyrex baking pan with parchment paper and add the mixture. With clean hands press until some what flat and compressed, being sure to press the corners down, otherwise they will fall apart when you try to take them out of the pan. Place in the fridge for at least 30 minutes (you could probably cut some time by putting them in the freezer, but I have not tried this). 

Once hardened cut to desired size, I like to make them smaller (6 cuts x 6 cuts)with the illusion that they will last longer but you could also do 4x4 or 5x5 cuts for bigger bars. Store in fridge until ready to eat.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Pork Chops in Mushroom Cream Sauce

The cast of players
Oh mushroom cream sauce, how I love thee. A good mushroom cream sauce is one of those things that can take any boring meat and make it amazing, dinner guest worthy even. I couldn't pass up the sale on pork the other day so that is what we will be working with today, but this would go equally well with chicken. One perk about this recipe is it is really easy to throw together so you can even pull it off on a week night.

Pork Chops in Mushroom Cream Sauce

Makes 4-6 servings

  • 6 pork chops
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 16 oz mushrooms, sliced 
  • 1-2 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1/2 cup white wine or chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup of cream
  • 2-3 tsp fresh or dried chives
  • salt and pepper to taste
I find it easiest to do all the prep work before turning on the stove, so start by seasoning your pork chops with some salt and pepper (throw on some garlic and onion powder if you are feeling fancy) and chop and slice all the veggies putting the onions and mushrooms in one bowl and the garlic in a separate bowl.

Next heat your oil in the pan over medium to medium-high heat. Add the chops and brown on both sides. If you don't have a pan big enough to fit all 6 chops at once cook in batches. Once the pork is browned on both sides remove from the pan and set aside on  a plate tented with foil.

You may need to add a bit more fat to the pan at this point, then go ahead and throw in the onions and mushrooms. Cook for 3-4 minutes and then add the garlic and continue cooking until onions are nearly translucent. 

Add the wine and scrape all the tasty, cooked on brown bits from the bottom of the pan. Let the wine simmer for 2-3 minutes to reduce slightly and to cook off the alcohol. Reduce the heat to low and add the cream, chives and salt and pepper, stirring to warm through. Add the pork chops back to the pan, don't forget to add the juices from the plate. Cover for a couple of more minutes to get everything back up to the same temperature.
I like to serve this in my, now incorrectly named, "pasta" bowls so that none of the tasty sauce can get away. Enjoy.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

The Beginning

Ok the first blog post ever, this is a little intimidating. First a bit about me, I like cooking, crossfit and creating things and love my family and the great outdoors. I am a nerdy accountant who plays with spreadsheets and talks about primal/paleo food to anyone who will listen. I started this blog as an outlet to hopefully help others see how easy primal eating can be and to stop driving my friends and family nuts with all my food and primal science talk. I’m not a doctor, nutritionist or scientist, just very interested in this particular way of life.

I will dedicate a future post to what the primal/paleo lifestyle is all about, why it is so great and why the food pyramid is trying to kill you (in a totally non-conspiracy theorist kind of way of course), but for now I will keep this short and sweet. Maybe short and savory would make more sense in this case. In honor of my first post I thought I would pull out all the stops and give you a recipe that will definitely impress not only in looks but also in taste. Oh and the best part, the BACON!!!

Yes my friends today we will be working with bacon because, really, can you ever go wrong with bacon? There was that one weird bacon chocolate bar but I feel it’s one flaw was not enough bacon, so I guess that doesn’t really count. Even the bacon cake was pretty good, but more on that later.

On that note I give you the Cheeseburger Bacon Roll. I have adapted this recipe from Vanessa over at Healthy Living How To.

Cheeseburger Bacon Roll
Makes 4-6 servings

12 slices of bacon (about 1lb)
2 lbs ground beef
6 oz. shredded or sliced cheddar cheese
½ tbsp salt (I prefer Himalayan sea salt)
½ tbsp black pepper
½ tbsp garlic powder
½ tbsp onion powder
½-1 tsp cayanne (optional)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Create a bacon weave by lining up half of the bacon horizontally, then fold back every other peice halfway and lay down one piece of the remaining bacon. Replace horizontal pieces and repeat alternating the horizontal pieces that get folded back until you have something that looks like this:

Disregard the random spare bacon on the left

Next in large bowl combine ground beef and seasoning and mix with your hands (use a spoon if you want but it won’t be nearly as fun). Form the beef mixture into a large square-ish patty. Place the cheese on the patty and roll it up like a jelly roll. Be sure that the beef is sealing in all the cheese on the seams and the ends otherwise it will all ooze out during cooking.Place the roll diagonally on one corner of the bacon weave and roll it all up.

Line a jelly roll pan with foil and put a baking rack in the pan. Put tasty bacon-beef roll on the baking rack and bake for 50-60 minutes or until internal temp is 165. Remove from oven and let cool for 10 minutes. Serve with your usual burger fixings like lettuce, tomato and onion. You won’t even miss the bun I promise.

A note on serving raw onions, if you soak the onion slices for about 10 minutes in a bowl of cold water before serving, it will take out the harsh taste just be sure to dry them off when ready to eat.