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Posts Tagged ‘Paleo’

After discovering the Oatmeal Replacement, which consists mainly of applesauce, I decided that it was time for me to try to make my own applesauce.  As you probably know, there are a wealth of options at the grocery store…strawberry applesauce, cinnamon applesauce, apple butter…the list goes on.  I was able (after a lot of label reading) to find a version from Mott’s with no sugar added, but I went through it so quickly that I found myself without any on hand and I was curious if homemade would be better.   Since I always have apples and pears on hand, I decided to give it a whirl.  To say it was delicious would be the understatement of the year.  Every bite got better and better.

I should also say that before starting Paleo, one of my favorite desserts to make was this pear syrup over vanilla ice cream.  I would just slice up a pear and cook it on the stove with a little brown sugar and cinnamon and in no time I would have a tasty topping.  This gave me the idea of trying to add a few pears to the applesauce mix.

I surfed around for a good sugar-free recipe and I stumbled across this one on Paleoparents.com.  I like it because they give you suggestions for what types of apples to use.  Unfortunately, all I had on hand were a couple of Honeycrisps and some Bosc pears, but I figured they would have to work in a pinch.

Guys, this is a hard one to mess up and you may never go back to the store bought stuff!  Now, if anybody knows if I could jar this and store it so I always have my own on hand – let me know…that is not yet my area of expertise!

This made about 3 cups – maybe a tad more.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Here’s what I used:

  • 2 large Honeycrisp Apples, peeled, cored and cut into large chunks
  • 1 Bosc Pear, peeled, cored, and cut into large chunks
  • 1 tbsp cinnamon, approximately – I really just sprinkled it on
  • 1 tsp nutmeg, approximately
  • A 9×13 inch glass baking dish
  • tinfoil
Toss the apple and pear chunks with the cinnamon and nutmeg and put in the glass baking dish.  Cover the dish with foil and cook for one hour or until soft.  Mash with a fork – you can do it as chunky or smooth as you would like it, but the whole mashing process took me about 30 seconds because the apples/pears were so soft.

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This is the baked version - there is one picture of the fried version at the bottom!

It is a beautiful Friday (what Friday isn’t beautiful??) –  70 degrees F and sunny.  I have all the windows open and a cool breeze is blowing through.  It’s hard to see the glass half empty today, so I am using the postivity to propel me through a few Paleo recipes.

If you have been reading my blog, you know that I have been back and forth lately on whether I will be able to sustain the Paleo diet.  I love the way it makes me feel but oh man, I miss bread and sugar sometimes (I would love to have a lunch every now and then that is a sandwich and then follow it up with a cupcake!).  But alas, I am going to charge ahead and keep trying to stay on this path as it is very nice to not have to take blood pressure medicine anymore.

On that note, I made two separate meals today that I think will help me get through.  First, fish sticks!  I based my recipe on an Elana’s pantry recipe, because in my mind she is the Queen of Gluten Free cooking, which translates to Paleo most of the time.

I should start by pointing out that these are not your standard fish sticks.  This version didn’t come out crispy like I had hoped, but they still really hit the spot for me.  I liked them so much I made them two days in a row.

This served one as I was just making them for lunch, so you can up the recipe as needed.

Fish Sticks

  • 4 oz white fish (I use flounder, but you could use cod, tilapia, or a number of other fish!)
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup almond flour
  • 1/4 cup coconut flour
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • salt and pepper
  • If baking, 1 tbsp melted butter
  • If frying, 1/4 cup grapeseed oil (you could use half and half grapeseed/olive oil)
You can bake or fry these – if baking, preheat the oven to 450 F.  I did both methods and probably prefer baking for the ease, but the frying made them slightly crispier.  Also, line a baking sheet with tinfoil and spray with Pam.
  • If not baking, heat about 1/4 cup grapeseed oil in a pan over medium heat.  Be patient so you don’t burn the oil.
Start by whisking an egg in one bowl and stirring all the dry ingredients together on a large flat plate (you could use a bowl, but I found the plate to work nicely).  Slice the fish into strips (about an inch thick, maybe a little less).  Dip the fish into the egg to coat and then roll in the flour mixture until well coated.
If baking, place on the foil lined baking sheet, brush with a little melted butter and cook at 450 for about 15-20 minutes, flipping once to brown both sides.
If frying, once the oil is heated, place the fish sticks in the pan, leaving plenty of room to flip – don’t overcrowd, do a couple batches if necessary.  Fry on each side for about 2 minutes (I did all 4 sides).  Remove from oil and place on paper towel lined plate to absorb extra oil.

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If you asked me back before Paleo what foods I thought I would miss, oatmeal would not have been one of them.  I liked oatmeal and I ate it pretty often, but it was never really that exciting.  Now that I have been attempting Paleo for about 6 months, I miss other breakfasts besides eggs, which of course includes oatmeal.  I sometimes just crave something warm and slightly sweet that isn’t an egg.

When I stumbled across this recipe for ‘Almost Oatmeal’ on the Paleo Plan website, I was doubtful that it could be good but excited at the possibility.  Wow, I was overwhelmed – it was delicious and so easy!  I modified just a little based on what I had on hand.  Given I was still a little hungry after I would probably have this in the morning with an egg or some kind of protein on the side just to bulk it up a bit and make it to lunch.

Serves 1

  • 4 oz (1/2 cup) unsweetened applesauce (I used Mott’s)
  • 2 tbsp unsweetened almond butter
  • 2 tbsp unsweetened almond milk
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp nutmeg
  • fresh blueberries, raspberries, and a few hazelnuts for toppings
  • Combine applesauce, almond butter, almond milk, and spices in a microwaveable bowl.  Microwave for about 30 seconds, just until warm (of course you could have this cold if you prefer).  Top with blueberries, raspberries, and hazelnuts.

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I know I have said this about a million times now, but I miss pasta.  I have been struggling lately to stay the course of gluten free Paleo eating, so every day I have been trying to com up with new recipes that will help me get through it.  One of the things that definitely includes pasta that I have missed the most is spaghetti surprisingly.  It’s hard when you don’t have pasta to find something to put the sauce over besides plain old meat.

For some, this might not be that big of a challenge, they will just throw some sauce over a slab of meat, but I like to have lots of vegetables to balance out my meat so I don’t think about what I am eating so much.  Pasta has usually held the place of that distraction but now I am turning to my dear old friend veggie to take that spot.  I have been wanting to try using zucchini or squash as a substitute lately, so today I finally gave it a shot.

Now, let me first state that you cannot expect it to taste like pasta, let’s be clear about that.  That being said, the texture and bulk it adds to a meal was much more satisfying and tasty than I expected.  I watched a how-to video on Summer Tomato and she showed exactly how to get these beautiful “noodles”.  I used a vegetable peeler just like she did.

 

 

Serves: 1

1 yellow squash (or zucchini)

Olive Oil and Butter for sautéing

Aidell’s Andouille Sausage (or any other nitrate free meat product)

Your favorite Spaghetti Sauce (I used Chef Ricardo’s Mucho Macho – read your ingredients label carefully to ensure no sugar and other sketchy ingredients)

Start by cooking your meat (I grilled my sausage for 10 minutes on high, rotating every couple minutes) and slicing it up.  I then heated up the tomato sauce in the microwave.

To prep the “noodles”, I used a vegetable peeler and just shaved long thin slices off the squash.  Every time I shaved a slice off, I turned the squash a quarter turn.  When I got down to the seeds I stopped to the noodles wouldn’t get soggy.  I did choose to use the outside peel slices as well.

Next, heat a pan over medium high with a little olive oil and butter.  Once heated, toss in the squash and cook for no more than 2 minutes (I did about a minute and a half).  You don’t want the noodles to get soggy.

I tossed the sausage, sauce, and “noodles” together and topped with a little parmesan.  It was fantastic!

 

 

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Every morning during the week I follow a similar routine.  I wake up, take a shower, and proceed to either make a quick breakfast or if I’m working from home I can get a little fancier.  What used to be the fun part of this sometimes mundane start was deciding what to eat.  Should I do an eggo – with powdered sugar or syrup?  How about a veggie sausage patty with an over easy egg on an english muffin?  No?  Maybe some oatmeal with bananas and cinnamon.

Well, since being on Paleo these days, most of the things I just listed are off limits…I still splurge with them on weekends, but during the workweek, they are a no-no.  So I have to find new ways to shake it up.  You can’t just have an egg with cheese on it every morning for breakfast, right?  You’ve probably seen my flour-less muffin recipe but I just found a new kind of muffin to keep things interesting.


Clearly, these are not your traditional muffins (like any of mine really are?).  I’ll admit, I stumbled across this little gem of a recipe on My Retro Kitchen.  These muffins are just egg, meat, veggies, and some cottage cheese…if you please.  Give them a shot, you may just like them as much as me!

 

Makes 12 muffins

11-12 Eggs (I only ended up needing 11, but the original recipe calls for 12)

1/2 lb turkey sausage (or I used 4 pre-cooked turkey sausage patties for speed)

3 green onions, chopped (I used greens only, but you can use both if you want)

1/2 cup cottage cheese

4 oz can diced green chiles

1/2 cup broccoli, steamed and chopped

 

Preheat oven to 375.

Grease 12 muffin tins.  Layer into each muffin tin a little broccoli, green onions, sausage, cottage cheese, and green chiles.  The muffin tins should be pretty full.

In a bowl with a spout (I used a large measuring cup), beat the eggs with a whisk and sprinkle in a little salt and pepper to taste.  Pour the egg mixture over top of the veggies, sausage, and cheese (if using).

Pop them in the oven and let them cook for about 25 minutes (they will puff up a little and just start to get a little golden on top).  I threw a little cheddar on top, but it was totally unnecessary.  Now I just throw them in the microwave in the morning and voila – breakfast for a week!

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I know, I know, it’s been a long time since I have posted anything.  I’ve been busy traveling and having company and a lot has happened that has kept me away from cooking for a while (or at least finding time to write about any interesting recipes).  But fear not, I have been sticking mostly to my Paleo diet and feeling great.  There has been a good deal of cheating on the weekend, but I try to minimize it as much as possible by finding ways to tweak recipes to make them fit my diet better.

Weekend before last, we went over to a CrossFit reopening event where everyone brought something that was as close to Paleo as possible.  One of the recipes that came along were these delicious lemon bars with a crust that was somehow slightly crumbly and slightly chewy, a perfect combination with the lemon curd topping.  Of course I had to try this myself.

Crust before going in the oven

Crust after coming out of the oven

After looking through a variety of recipes, I landed on a couple different ones that I combined and altered a bit to make my own.  For the crust, I followed this lemon bar recipe and for the filling I most closely followed this recipe (props to her for the creative and hilarious name of the website).  Clearly, if you look at the recipe for the filling, I decided to add a little dairy into my Paleo dessert.  I am lucky enough that dairy doesn’t affect me to strongly, so while I still use it in moderation, I do occasionally pop it into recipes – typically via cheese.

The flavor of the filling of this was great and the hint of almond from the almond extra was perfect.  I think you could cut the crust recipe in half and have a much thinner crust based on preference.

**As a side note, I found (by accident) that if you bake the crust, let it cool, then pour in the filling, you can put in the fridge and bake it off at a later time if necessary.  Just be sure to let the baking dish come back to room temp after taking out of the fridge before putting it into a hot oven if using a fragile dish like the one I used.  I also think a little cinnamon in the crust would be fantastic, but haven’t tried it yet so didn’t want to post it.
Crust:
2 cups nuts (I used 1 cup almonds, 1/2 cup macadamia nuts, 1/4 cup walnuts, 1/4 cup pecans)
2 eggs
1/4 cup grapeseed oil (I’ve also heard that coconut oil works well)
1/4 cup honey
1 tsp salt
Filling:
8 oz (1 package) reduced fat cream cheese, softened
1/3 c honey
3 tbsp lemon juice
Zest of 2 lemons
1 teaspoon almond extract
2 large eggs
1/2 pint blueberries (fresh or frozen is fine)
For the crust:
Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.  Process nuts in food processor until ground, but not too finely, I like a few bigger chunks.  Combine nuts, eggs, honey, oil, salt and pour into a greased round pie dish (I used a 12 inch diameter deep dish pie dish).  Bake for 15-18 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.  Set aside to cool.
For the filling:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Using a hand mixer, blend all ingredients until smooth and creamy.  Pour on top of crust and sprinkle the blueberries over top.  Bake for 25 -35 minutes or until top is just starting to get golden around the edges.

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My friend pointed out last night that it had been a long time since I posted – shout out to the LionWhisperers – which is true.  It’s been a long busy few months (work and personal) and I just haven’t found the time or motivation to post.  If you must know as well, I’ve done some damage to myself (arm injury, slamming my face into a wall) which has made me a little lazier than normal.  I think, too, I cook a lot differently these days than I used to cook so my “recipes” just don’t really seem like anything worthy of sharing.  Most nights of the week I throw a piece of cod or flounder basted in olive oil, salt, and pepper on the grill with some asparagus and cherry tomatoes on the side, which let’s admit isn’t really ground breaking cooking.

I should also admit that I don’t think writing and photography are my strong points, so I’m not 100% happy with how my blogging turns out most times (I can also be a bit overly critical of myself).  I really enjoy blogging, but not sure that my readers always get where my mind wanders due to my writing/thinking style (if I can call it a style?).

For example, as I am sitting here typing I can’t decide where to take this particular post next.  Do I talk about lunch?  Which is the one meal that is always (still) a challenge on the Paleo diet…but as I think that, I think I may need to do a lunch specific blog one of these days to get all my ideas in one place and to see if I can solicit some new ones as well.

Do I talk to you all (if there are any you’s reading) about cleaning all the carbs out of my pantry??  About the fact that I cheat every weekend on my diet??

So then I try to refocus my mind again, back to the subject at hand, my lack of exciting cooking and blogging.  So, while I say that I don’t cook like I used to I have been doing a few interesting experimentation’s with different forms of carb substitutes.

I know I’ve mentioned one of my favorite sites these days, Elana’s Pantry, quite a few times.  The recipe today is a modification, once again, from her site.  When you can’t have carbs, you really need to find some substitutions for things like bread, muffins,  and potatoes.  Elana has a lot of great ideas and most are easily modifiable.

I decided to try out a recipe for muffins made with coconut flour earlier this week but Elana  made Blueberry and Cream Cupcakes and I made mine into Banana Walnut Muffins.  I also cut back a bit on the agave and oil a bit – but I can tell you from experience that her recipe is amazing as written and I may go back up on the oil and agave next time.   Either way, the muffins were tasty and satisfied my need for carbs.  I had at least two a day and here is how I made them…

Banana Walnut Muffins

Makes 12 muffins.

½ cup coconut flour, sifted

¼ teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon baking soda

3 eggs

2 ripe bananas, mashed

1/5 cup agave nectar

1/5 cup grapeseed oil

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

1/4 cup chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Line or grease muffin cups.  Combine flour, salt, and baking soda in bowl.  In a separate bowl, combine the eggs, bananas, agave, oil, and vanilla extract with a hand mixer.  Mix dry ingredients into wet ingredients with hand mixer and mix until smooth.  Fold in walnuts.
Using an ice cream scoop, scoop and one scoop of batter into each muffin cup.  Bake for 20-25 minutes or until knife comes out clean.

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