Tuesday, June 28, 2011

More Travel Snacking- Maple Granola Bars

I've been making more 'treats' the last couple days than I normally would. I would much rather be eating more Paleo treats during our vacation than forced to eat non-Paleo garbage, if you know what I mean. So here is a 'granola-bar' I came up with today that will be sure to hit the spot along my 14-hour car ride with 2 children, 3 and under (AHHHHH)!
These would be great after-school type snacks for the kids, or in school lunches. They turned out really yummy!

Maple Granola Bars
1 C Coconut Flakes
1 C Dried Cranberries
1 C Slivered Almonds
1/2 C Coconut Flour
1/2 C Almond Flour
1/2 C Melted Coconut Oil
1/4 C Arrowroot Flour
1/4 C Maple Syrup
3 eggs
1 tbsp Cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350.
Mix all ingredients together in a large bowl.
Place mixture into a 9X6 (or similar sized) baking dish greased with coconut oil. Bake for 20-30 minutes depending on the size of the pan (which will determine how thick the bars will be).

Monday, June 27, 2011

Deconstructed Stuffed Cabbage

This turned out really yummy, even Colton thought so!

Deconstructed Stuffed Cabbage
1 lb ground beef
2 tsp onion powder
1tsp garlic powder
1 tbsp Italian seasoning
1 tbsp parsley
½ tsp salt
1 head cabbage
4 tbsp butter
½ tsp salt
1 tbsp onion powder
½ C tomato sauces
Chop cabbage into bite size pieces. In large pan, cook in melted butter with salt and onion powder.
 Stir often as cabbage will brown on the bottom.
While cabbage is cooking, mix spices and ground beef in a bowl. In another pan, cook beef until no longer pink.
Add in tomato sauce and allow to cook for an additional couple minutes till warmed through.
 Once cabbage is cooked through and begins to brown, top with beef mixture.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Use-it-or-Lose-it Blueberry Muffins

This is a twist on muffins that I was force into today. I hate wasting food; We leave for vacation early Sunday morning, so I am in desperate race to use up everything in my fridge.  In that desperation I made these muffins, and wouldn't you know, I like them better than my regular Blueberry muffins. Go figure! I will be making these again, yumm!

For the fun of it, I will * the items I had to use up. If anyone has any other ideas on how to use up these items I would love to hear them!

Use it or Lose it Blueberry Muffins
1 C almond flour
½ C coconut flour
1/8 C arrow root flour
½ C fresh grapefruit juice*
3 tbsp honey
1/8 C flax seeds
3 eggs*
½ C Cream (you could use coconut milk)*
1 C blueberries*

Preheat oven to 350.
Juice Grapefruit. Mix all ingredients together in a large bowl. Spoon evenly into 12 prepared muffin tins. Bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes. Enjoy plain or with coconut oil spread.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Chili-Lime Spiced Almonds

These turned out really good. This is a good template for many more spice combinations. I think a rosemary-lemon would be really good as well. The possibilities are endless. Enjoy!
*I apologize for not having more pictures, but once you get started the process  goes very fast.

Chili-Lime Spiced Almond
2 C Almonds
4 tbsp Olive Oil
2 tsp chili powder
1 tsp Salt
1 tsp Cumin
½ tsp Garlic powder
1 tsp Onion Powder
2 tsp lime juice
In a large pan, toast almonds until they become fragrant.
 Remove almonds from pan and add in olive oil and spices. Stir to combine. Once oil is hot and begins to bubble slightly, add almonds back in and mix to coat. Add in lime juice, carefully as it may splatter a bit. Stir to combine. Enjoy

Friday, June 24, 2011

Beef Jerky

As I've mentioned before, I'm a planner. I like to have a game plan for most aspects of my life, and be able to keep to that game plan. I am tackling vacation with the same perspective. I know it is not going to be easy eating meals on the road and staying Paleo, so I have set forth to make it as easy as possible for myself.
One of the ways I am doing this is by preparing my own snacks ahead of time and bringing them with me. Today I have prepared and frozen 'granola bars', baked muffins, mixed trail mix, and made beef jerky. Preparing ahead is a great way to not only stay on track nutrition wise, but also to save a considerable amount of money. Here is the jerky I made today. I will say, it is not nearly as salty as the store bought jerkies, so if you want a saltier product you would need to add another tbsp or so of it to the liquid. I prefer to keep our sodium intake down, and I think it tastes great without it!
Beef Jerky
2.5lb beef
2 tbsp maple syrup
1 tbsp sea salt
1 tbsp coconut aminos
3 C Warm water (to dissolve salt and melt maple syrup)
1 tbsp cayenne pepper (adjust as your heat preference

In large bowl, mix together all ingredients except beef. Let mixture sit till cooled. While cooling, slice beef to about 1/8-1/4 inch thick slices.

Once liquid is cooled, submerge beef and allow to sit in the refrigerator at least an hour.
Preheat oven to 250. Using tongs, remove beef from liquid allowing excess liquid to drip off. Place onto baking sheets. You can usually get about 1 sheet full per lbs, so for this batch I had a little less than 2 and 1/2 sheets full. Place in oven for 1 hr.

After 1 hour, remove beef from oven and turn each piece over. Return to oven for additional 30-45 minutes, depending on the thickness.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Cost Cutting: 4 Meal Planning

Cost Cutting: 4 Meal Planning    

Part of the key for me on saving money while eating Paleo is having a meal plan. It is no secret to anyone who knows me that I am not a fan of surprises or spontaneity. I would love to have a more free-spirited, carefree side, but I just don’t. I like things a certain way, and when I go outside of that way I freak out slightly (though slightly might be an under-exaggeration in some people’s opinion ;))
This mentality is however a great asset in saving money. By having a game plan of what we are having for meals I am left without the 4:30 question of ‘what is for dinner’. I have it planned ahead, and I can prepare during the time I do have, like after dinner while my husband is getting the kids baths or during nap times.
For me, the old adage is completely correct: If you fail to plan, you plan to fail. Now I’m not saying that when I don’t plan we end up in the Burger King drive-thu ordering gluten laddered burgers and fake-fat fried potatoes. I just mean that I am not working within my optimum nutritional and financial planning parameters.  My life revolves around organization. I work best when I know what is going on.
One misconception about menu planning is that you are stuck with a meal, whether you feel like it or not.  This is not the case. I hear people say, ‘I never know what I will feel like eating’. That is fine. So maybe, instead of planning out the meal for each day, plan a list of 7-8 meals that you have the ingredients on hand for and pick and choose each night. Take 2 or 3 meat items out of the freezer that you will use over the next couple nights, that way you are planning ahead, but still have some movement.
I use a recipe box system, filed by meat categories. As you can see, it is absolutely nothing fancy. This allows me to look in my freezer, or my local ads, or the butcher’s deals and pick which category I want to eat out of. For instance, I may have a roaster chicken, 5 lb roast, package of ground meat and a package of sausage. I can look in my recipe box, pick out a recipe for the roaster chicken as well as a recipe for the leftover chicken from the roaster the next day.  The same for the roast. 
This allows me to make the most of the meat I am cooking and keeps me on track for cooking them. I can’t decided at 4:30 that I want to make the roaster chicken and have it done in time for my families schedule (think kids baths, early bedtimes, etc.) However, if after dinner tonight I can look at my menu plan and see that I am scheduled to make the roaster chicken tomorrow I can pull it out of the deep freezer and put it in the fridge.
Additionally, about once a month I sit down with 3 or 4 of my cookbooks and pick out 3-5 new recipes to try each month. I don't just use Paleo cookbooks, but the regular ones I have acquired throughout the years as well. This is great for idea sparking. I can see a recipe and think how to make it Paleo. It forces me to think outside the Paleo box and keep my menu fresh.
There is a difference in menu planning when it comes to Paleo living. For me, that generally is the side dish/vegetable planning. Because I rely heavily on what looks the best at the farmers market or store this week, I do not plan my side dishes verbatim. I do have a list on the sidebar of my calendar with the sides I could easily make from ingredients I almost always have on hand, but they are usually just idea sparkers.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Think outside the egg carton

I remember very distinctly, when I was first starting out on Paleo, being slightly stumped on breakfast. Yeah, I get the whole eggs n' bacon thing, and I love them. That being said, aside from my husband, I don't know many people who can eat the same thing every single day.

And then, I read something by Sarah Fragoso at Everyday Paleo about not categorizing our meals as breakfast, lunch and dinner, but instead as just 3 meals. While I don't think I will be eating chili or ribs for breakfast anytime soon, this has really resonated with me. What a great way to change things up, and save some money. Instead of always having (what can be very) expensive breakfast meats everyday, I can throw in an extra chicken breast, or larger roast, or whatever for dinner the night before and have it for breakfast in the morning.

This idea has grown into one of my favorite breakfast meals, and there really isn't much classically breakfast about it.  It may not be all that pretty, but is sure is delish!

Mexi-Anytime Combo
1/2 zucchini
1 cooked chicken breast
chili powder
sea salt
olive or coconut oil

Slice zucchini into disks and fry in oil over medium high heat.

Chop chicken breast and add once zucchini has browned.
Add in seasonings and serve with 1/2 an avocado dressed with sea salt and lemon juice.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Blueberry Banana Cake

A great friend of mine let me babysit her Kefir grains while she was on a getaway this past weekend. She is probobly my most like-minded friend when it comes to nutrition and food for her family, and it is awesome to have someone in my life who 'gets' me in this way.

For those of you who don't know about Kefir, you can find some great information HERE about it and it's advantages. I have been making Coconut Milk and Raw Cow milk Kafir this past weekend, which both make really yummy ice cream treat to have on hand ; ).  (She let me borrow her ice cream maker too... I told you she is a great friend!)

Anyway, I like to take any excuse I can to bake, so I decided to thank her in the best way I know how, CAKE! So this is something I came up with. Hope you (and she) enjoys! (Of course there will be a bit of the cake missing where I had to perform quality assurance. Luckily we are good enough friends she will be ok with this.)

Edited to add: I will use a whole cup of blueberries next time. This turned out good, but I would have liked a more blueberry layer on the bottom. Still very yummy though!

Blueberry Banana Cake
½ C frozen Blueberries (will use 1 C next time)
1 tbsp honey
¼ C coconut oil
¾ C Almond Flour
¾ C coconut flour
1 mashed banana
¼ tsp salt
2 tsp honey
½ C coconut milk kefir (or coconut milk if you don’t do kefir)
2 eggs

1 tsp vanilla
Preheat oven to 350. In 8 inch cake pan, put blueberries, honey and coconut oil. Place in preheating oven for 5 minutes till coconut oil melts and blueberries begin to give off juice.
While blueberries are in the oven, mix together cake ingredients. Spoon into cake pan and place in oven for 30-35 minutes.

Monday, June 20, 2011


This is not a traditional Bolognese, but it is my Paleo, slow cook take on one. This has become a family favorite, and I love it because it a great use-it-all-up dish. You can throw about anything in this dish and have it turn out great. There is no real measuring, really just throw it in, spice it up, set it and 8 hours later you have deliciousness!
 I am leaving on vacation at the end of the week, so I’m trying to use up everything in my fridge. In addition, my husband is staying here for a week by himself before he joins the kids and I on vacation. This dish is perfect! Uses up all the veggies, plus is great to freeze in individual containers for him to use during his week home alone.
We are having ours over Roasted Eggplant tonight, but it is also great on spaghetti squash, over grilled chicken breast, or really anything. Hope it is useful to you guys!

2 Small zucchini
4 Carrots (I started with 5, but only ended up with 4… how did that happen?)
1 large can crushed tomatoes (organic, mine had basil added, but nothing else)
2 stalks celery
Couple handfuls of spinach
Artichoke hearts in oil
Any other veggies you like (onion, garlic, sun dried tomatoes, etc)
20 oz ground turkey
Onion powder
Italian Seasonings


Grate or chop all veggies into small pieces.

Throw everything into the slow cooker.
Stir to combine.
Put on low for 6-8 hours, or on low for 4-5. Enjoy over roasted veggies, grilled meat, or spaghetti squash.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Sour Cream and Onion Chips

I made these mock Sour Cream and Onion Chips today, and about 5 minutes later they are completely gone. These turned out delicious! I will be making these again.
I have a barbecue coming up for my soccer team and I think I might bring these. Several of the team's members are Paleo, and those who aren't seem to think that paleo eating is boring and tasteless. I think these could be a game changer for some, both in their taste and simplicity of preparation. I'm thinking these are be a nice alternative to traditional potato chips.

Mock- Sour Cream and Onion Chips
1 Green Plantain
Coconut Oil (enough to cover the bottom of a high sided frying pan by about 1/8 inch)
1/2 tsp sea salt
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp parsley

Cut plantain to 1/8 inch thick chips. Heat coconut oil on medium high heat. Once oil is hot, add in plantain chips. Cook until brown on one side, about 2 minutes or so. Flip chips and fry on other side for an additional minute or 2.
Once brown on both sides, remove and place directly in bowl containing salt, onion powder and parsley. Don't try to get the excess oil off them. Not only is the oil great for you, it will help the seasonings adhere to the chips. Toss chips to distribute seasoning. Serve.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Paleo Tabouli

Side dishes can often be a challenge when eating Paleo. Everyone gets the meat and veggies, but when you want something a little different it is not always easy to come up with creative side dishes.  This is one I have been thinking about for a while, and it came out well. The key is to make sure you don’t overcook the cauliflower because it will turn to mush and not give you the bite and mouth feel of Tabouli. Hope you enjoy!
Paleo Tabouli
5 C Steamed cauliflower (still some bite to it, you don’t want it to mush)
1 C fresh parsley
1/8 C fresh mint (to taste)
4 fresh chives
1 clove crushed garlic
1/8 C extra virgin olive oil
1/8 C lemon juice
½ tsp salt
1 small tomatoes, diced
½ cucumber, diced
Dice all veggies. Chop fresh herbs. Combine lemon juice, olive oil, garlic and salt in a large bowl. Add in chopped all veggies and herbs. Toss to combine. Allow to sit in the fridge for several hours before serving.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Seafood Avocado 'Pasta' Salad

This salad turned out really great. This is a sort of variation on the Summer Pasta Salad I did a while ago. I thought it would be nice to have for upcoming Father's Day barbecues and the like. Enjoy!

Seafood Avocado ‘Pasta’ Salad
½ Spaghetti Squash- steamed
1 Avocado
1/2  grey squash (could sub zucchini squash if not available, the grey looked great at the farmer’s market this week)
1 lb cooked seafood (could use crab, shrimp, white fish, etc)
3 tbsp lemon juice
5 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp garlic powder

Mix all ingredients together. Let sit in the refrigerator for several hours prior to serving. Great as a side, main dish, or over a bed of fresh greens.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Beet Chips

I don't know about you, but every now and then I get a bit of a craving for that salty, crispy flavor combo. These totally fit the bill, and they were super simple to make. Yum! Added bonus, they were very inexpensive to make. I got 2 organically grown, local beets at my local farmer's market for $1, and that made 2 baking sheets full of these chips.

2 beets
Extra Virgin Olive Oil (just enough to toss)
1 tsp Sea Salt
1/2 tsp Garlic Powder

Preheat oven to 325. Peel beets and cut in half. Slice each half into 1/8 inch slices.
 If you have a mandolin this will be a much easier job to maintain consistency. I do not, so I did have to deal with some inconsistency in doneness. Toss sliced beets in olive oil, salt and garlic powder.
Place in single layer on baking sheets.
Bake for 30-45 minutes, depending on thickness of slices.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Chocolaty Sun Butter Cup Muffins

My husband loves peanut butter cup candies. He hasn’t had them in quite a long time, so I thought I would try to recreate the flavor profile, without the crap. This is my attempt, and it actually turned out pretty good!
Chocolaty Sun Butter Cup Muffins
3/4 C Almond Flour
3/4 C Coconut Flour
½ C Coco Powder
½ C Coconut oil
1/8 C Maple Syrup (or you could use raw honey or agave if you prefer)
3 eggs
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
½ C Coconut milk
12 tsp seed/nut butter (I used sunflower seed butter, but it would be good with almond, cashew, etc.)

Mix together all ingredients except nut butter.
Divide batter in half and divide one of the halves into the bottom of 12 greased muffin tins. Use the back of the spoon to make an indent into the bottom. Spoon about 1 tsp of nut butter into the indent made in each muffin tin. Using the other half of the muffin batter, cover the 12 muffins with muffin batter and gently squeeze edges together to seal in the nut butter.
Bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes. Let muffins cool in pan and enjoy.