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Sunday, February 21, 2016

Paleo Pancakes for Valentines Day

This year for Valentines Day I wanted to do something very special for Matthew. My sweet husband is always asking me if he can have breakfast in bed. I am constantly telling him "No" and to "Get his butt out of bed and eat at the table like a normal person". However, for certain special occasions I see fit for granting his greatest wish of being served breakfast in bed. Valentines day seemed like the perfect opportunity.



I got up early on Valentines Day to prepare the lovely breakfast I was going to make for my husband and serve him in bed just as he wished. I was making Paleo Pancakes, fruit salad and coffee. I have made Paleo Pancakes in the past and I was not in love with the amount of banana. I found a recipe where you can make the dry mix which can serve as a pancake base or a muffin base. Then you add the wet ingredients when you are ready to make a batch of muffins or pancakes. These pancakes turned out so well it was like eating normal pancakes again.

I prepared a lovely breakfast try to bring up to serve my husband in bed and as I am about to walk up the stairs he comes down. I had to smile because I believe he came down to please me and I was going to bring him breakfast in bed to please him. There is a lot of mutual respect I think i this relationship. He very much appreciated the gesture and enjoyed his breakfast immensely.

I hope you all enjoy!


Paleo Pancake and Muffin Mix

Ingredients:

3 1/4 cups coconut flour
3 1/4 cups arrow root or tapioca flour 
2 1/4 cups almond or cashew flour
2 tablespoons baking soda

Mix all of the ingredients together and store in sealed storage container.

Pancake Batter:

5 large eggs
1 2/3 cups Pancake Mix
1 cup unsweetened almond milk or coconut milk
2 tablespoons melted ghee or coconut oil, plus more for greasing the pan
2 tablespoons raw honey

For Serving:
Warm pure maple syrup

1. Place the batter ingredients in blender until smooth.

2. Heat a skillet or griddle over low to medium heat. These pancakes need to cook over lower heat than traditional pancakes, so make sure not to let the burner get to hot. Grease the pan with coconut oil, then pour four small pancakes, each about 3 inches in diameter. Quickly spread each pancake with the back of a spoon so that they are about 4 inches wide. Cook until browned on the first side, about 90 seconds, then flip and cook until nicely browned on the other side. 

3. Repeat with remaining batter, greasing the pan again before making each batch. 

4. Serve the pancakes with the warm maple syrup. 


Sunday, February 7, 2016

Paleo Banana and Blueberry Muffins

This recipe was given to me by a friend. The original recipe had 1/4 cup chocolate chips instead of blueberries. I wanted to try it with blueberries because I love blueberries!! I made both and they are both wonderful. In the picture is featuring both kinds of muffins.


Matthew says, "These muffins are delicious baby!" 
Thank you Matthew for that insightful comment. 

Fresh blueberries are better then frozen in this recipe because the frozen blueberries come out a little wet in this recipe. The flavors are really good, these were very easy to make and I will defiantly make them again and maybe even try different fruits like cranberries.  

Banana Blueberry Muffins

Ingredients:


  • 1 cup almond flour
  • 1/4 cup coconut flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2/ tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 2 Tbsp coconut oil melted
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 2 ripe mashed bananas 
  • 1/2 cup blueberries

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 
Mix dry ingredients well in large bowl.
Mix the eggs and beat the rest of the wet ingredients. 
Combine the wet and dry ingredients and mix well. 
Fold in blueberries with rubber spatula. 
Pour into cupcake tins and bake for 20 minutes. 

Yield 12 muffins

Why Making Paleo Cheese was a Mistake

After this weekend I truly believe it is a complete myth to think cheese can be made from nuts or vegetables. My husband and I decided it would be fun to try and make "Paleo Cheese". I found a few recipes online that had some great reviews and people seemed to like a lot! These posts made exclamations such as, "Amazing substitute!", "Just like eating the real thing", and "This is my new favorite snack". I was willing to try.

Matthew and I went to Whole Foods to pick up a few ingredients we would need for these special "cheeses". A few of these ingredients were sesame tahini, and nutritional yeast flakes. We were curious to get started. The cheese was easy enough to prepare and even smelled decent. However, after we let the cheese sit over night we decided to try it the following afternoon. I have never tasted anything so terrible in my entire life. Matthew and I hated the gummy texture and the overwhelming amount of spices in the "cheddar cheese".

I wish I had a picture to show the looks on our faces after we tried this major disaster, but I do not. I am glad we tried to make cheese because it made us realize why we don't eat fake cheese. This post is serving more as a warning then anything else. If you want to try these recipes be my guest let me know if you have success while doing it. My opinion is, if you are on the Paleo Diet and you are craving cheese you have two options. One, suck it up and don't eat it, or two, you can just not be on the paleo diet if you need cheese that bad and for heavens sake eat the real stuff!


"Zucchini Cheese"

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups zucchini, peeled and cut up into small cubes
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 TBSP coconut oil, melted
  • 4 TBSP gelatin (I use the brand Great Lakes / red)
  • 2 TSP lemon juice
  • 2/3 TSP of salt or more to taste
  • 2 TBSP nutritional yeast (optional)
  • 1/2 cup fresh parsley, chopped

Instructions:

  1. Steam the zucchini for 5 minutes, until tender.
  2. Drain the zucchini.
  3. In a Vitamix or high speed blender, blend the zucchini with water, coconut oil, lemon juice, and salt for 30 seconds or until smooth.
  4. Add the gelatin and the nutritional yeast. Blend for another 15 seconds.
  5. Pour the mixture in a bowl, add the parsley and mix well with a spoon.
  6. Pour the preparation in a foil loaf pan and refrigerate until set (at least 4 hours) 



"Cheddar Cheese"

Ingredients:
  • 1 ½ c water
  • 2 Tbs Unflavored Gelatin*
  • ½ c Raw Cashews
  • ¼ c Nutritional Yeast Flakes
  • 3 Tbs Fresh Lemon Juice
  • 2 Tbs Sesame Tahini
  • 3 tsp smoked paprika
  • 3 tsp onion powder
  • 1 ½ tsp sea salt
  • ½ tsp garlic powder
  • ¼ tsp cayenne
  • ¼ tsp dry mustard
Instructions:
  1. Using palm or coconut oil, generously grease a 1-quart glass or ceramic bowl or casserole dish, set aside.
  2. In small sauce pan, bring gelatin and water to boil for 1 minute. Quickly move this and all other ingredients to blender and allow to blend at highest setting until mix is completely smooth.
  3. Pour sauce into prepared bowl, refrigerate uncovered for 3 hours. Cover and chill overnight. Store in refrigerator for up to 10 days.
  4. Slice, shred, cube, serve.
  5. Makes approximately 2 cups.


Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Paleo Brownie Bites

I love these!!! So far I have not been a fan of using dates. They are very sticky and gummy feeling. I just don't like them. However, I am determined to make an easy dessert that doesn't taste like it's a healthy treat. Mission accomplished! I sent my test subjects out to work with my husband and received the thumbs up from everyone. Most importantly, I give this recipe my own thumbs up. This is important because I am extremely critical of my own baking and cooking in general. I typically will not let anyone try anything I cook unless it receives my stamp of approval. I have had to be more lenient on this because my husband likes pretty much anything I cook and wants to share with his friends. So now I use his friends as test dummies, sorry guys. 

Let me know how you like them!




  1. Paleo Brownie Bites

  1. Ingredients
  1. 1 1/2 cups walnuts
  1. Pinch of salt
  1. 1 cup pitted dates
  1. 1 tsp vanilla
  1. 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

    Instructions
  1. 1. Add walnuts and salt to a blender or food processor, I recommend the food processor if you have one. Mix until the walnuts are finely ground. 
  1. 2. Add the dates, vanilla, and cocoa powder to the blender. Mix well until everything is combined. With the blender still running, add a couple drops of water at a time to make the mixture stick together. 
  1. 3. Using a spatula, transfer the mixture into a bowl. Using your hands, form small round balls, rolling in your palm. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a week


Sunday, January 31, 2016

Paleo No-Bake Cookies

I was asked by our friend, Dustin, to make no-bake Paleo cookies. He bought some from a lady at a farmers market made that were grain free, dairy free and completely Paleo. The ingredients used in these cookies were listed on the bottom of the container. I tried a few of them and figured I could make them pretty decently. I really needed a food processor to get the cookies to be the same consistency as the ones form the farmers market. Sadly, I do not have a food processor which would make my life so much easier on so many different levels (hint hint husband).

On the weekend of our anniversary, my husband surprised me with a trip to Granville Ohio. We stayed at the Buxton Inn and spent the entire weekend exploring the area and enjoying one an others company. One of the things we really wanted to do was to go to the farmers market and buy some of these Paleo cookies. I spent quite some time talking with the lady selling the baked goods. She had quite the story to tell about her journey with the Paleo diet and how much weight she lost. It was a very inspiring story. Apparently she travels a lot going to various conferences where she speaks to people about the dieting journey she went through before becoming completely Paleo and how it has changed her life. Needless to say we bought several items from her including her no bake cookies.

I studied and ate a few of these cookies to get an idea about consistency and ingredient amounts.My husband was more then happy to assist me in making these cookies. Since I do not have a food processor I asked my husband to sharpen my knives to make it easier to chop the dates and nuts. based on the taste test from the farmers market cookies I was able to guess the quantities for the mix. This was my first attempt and next time I make them I will be tweaking the recipe again, and hopefully I will have a food processor.

All in all I think they came out very well. So, here's to you Dustin I hope you enjoy!



No Bake Paleo Cookies

2  Cups Dates
1  Cup Unsweetened  Coconut
1/2  cup Raw Cashews
1/2  cup Raw Walnuts
2  Tbs Pure Maple Syrup
1/2 tsp Sea Salt
1  Tbs Organic Unsweetened Coco Powder

Start by chopping all of the ingredients as thin as you can or throw all of the ingredients into a food processor. Once all ingredients are combined use a large tablespoon to scoop the mixture into your hands and pack together and roll into balls. Place on cookie sheet and allow to settle.

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Decadent Paleo Chocolate Cake

I know it has been several weeks since my last post, I apologize. A lot has happened in the past three weeks. I started a new job, was extremely sick and my husband stole me away for an anniversary trip. Needless to say this post is past due. 

Right before I became ill, Matthew and I hosted some friends over to our house for a Paleo dinner. We were also celebrating the retirement of one of our good friends. 




We have also just purchased a beautiful table for our morning room and I was dying to break it in, since Matthew and I treat the table as a work of art and don't use it on a regular basis. 




For this particular get together I decided to make a Paleo Chocolate cake. I made one before which reminded me more of a brownie then a chocolate cake. I want this one to have more of that moist cake texture and a sweeter chocolate flavor. 



I had a few difficulties with the cake. I could not find the right size spring form pan. Instead, I found small little spring board pans to make little individual cakes. They came out beautifully and everyone seemed to enjoy them. My favorite part was the middle layer of chocolate gnash, it took a little time to make but it was very delicious and I think it really put the cake on a whole other level. Next time I think I will double that part of the cake so there is more ganache in the middle layer. 





The whole evening was wonderful. It was full of great conversation, good food, and fabulous company. After dinner we settled in the living room for espresso drinks and games. We played a game I got for Christmas called "Heads Up". It was a very fun filled evening. 


Decadent Paleo Chocolate Layer Cake


Cake:
  • 3 cups blanched almond flour
  • ¼ cup coconut flour
  • ¾ cup raw cacao powder
  • ½ cup raw coconut palm sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup coconut oil, melted
  • 1 cup coconut milk, full fat
  • 3 large eggs, room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons raw honey
Middle Layer Chocolate Ganache*:
  • 1 can (13.5 ounces) full fat coconut milk
  • 2 tablespoons raw honey
  • 4 tablespoons raw cacao powder
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
Chocolate Frosting:
  • 6 tablespoons coconut milk, full fat
Instructions
Cake:

  1. preheat oven at 350°F
  1. grease the bottom and sides of a 7-inch spring form pan with coconut oil and line the bottom with parchment paper
  1. in a large bowl mix together the almond flour, coconut flour, raw cacao powder, raw coconut palm sugar, baking soda and salt
  1. in a separate bowl whisk together the coconut oil, coconut milk, eggs, vanilla and honey
  1. using a rubber spatula, gently mix dry ingredients into wet ingredients to form a batter. Do not over mix.
  1. pour batter into prepared pan and bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, approximately 45-50 minutes. If you feel you need to cook it longer, cover cake with aluminum foil to prevent burning the top and lower the heat to 325°F. Cook until toothpick comes out clean.
  1. let cake cool completely then cut horizontally in the middle
  1. spread the chocolate ganache over the bottom half of the cake and refrigerate for 30 minutes
  1. top with other half of cake, then spread the chocolate frosting over the top and sides of the cake
  1. sprinkle top with shaved dark chocolate if desired
Middle Layer Chocolate Ganache:
  1. in a medium saucepan, bring the coconut milk and honey to a light boil
  1. simmer on low heat for two hours, stirring occasionally. Do not cover the pan. You will know you cooked it long enough when the coconut milk is reduced to half and has a thicker consistency and darker color, similar to sweetened condensed milk.
  1. mix in the raw cacao powder and vanilla extract and stir until all is combined and smooth
  1. let it cool and refrigerate until cake is ready
Chocolate Frosting:
  1. melt the chocolate chips in a bowl over simmering water (double boiler)
  1. mix coconut milk with melted chocolate until all is combined and smooth
  1. let cool for 5 minutes before icing the cake
*The middle layer chocolate ganache takes a long time to make. Please plan ahead and have this ready before you bake the cake.
If you make this cake with almond flour by Bob's Red Mill your cake may turn out oily, dense and it may sink in the middle. Be sure to use finely ground almond flour with the skin removed to get a light and fluffy consistency out of your cake. I suggest blanched almond flour by Honeyville. I am not affiliated with them. Their almond flour just works the best for baking.
Recipe serves about 10 people.






Thursday, January 7, 2016

Paleo Breakfast Eggs

Before Matthew and I were on the Paleo diet I was getting up every morning to cook for him. I would usually switch it up every few days. One day would be oatmeal with fresh fruit or dried cranberries. Another day would be fried eggs with bacon or sausage and toast with strawberry jam. On special occasions I would make French Toast or pancakes. As you can see, most of our meals came with bread or wheat of some sort. When we decided to take the Paleo leap all of my regular breakfast ideas went out the window.

The first idea I came up with was a breakfast casserole. I made a huge tray of it and Matthew and I liked it for a few days but it got very old very quickly. I think we were both so used to fresh eggs every morning that the re-heated egg casserole was just not working for us. I decided after the casserole experiment to just make omelets everyday. Since we can't have cheese, these omelets consisted of meat and veggies only. These omelets made me very angry because without the cheese to hold the meat and veggies inside the omelet they all would just fall out and the whole thing just tasted dry! Then my wonderful husband admits to me that he really doesn't like omelets in general. Omelets are now off the menu and so are scrambled eggs, unless I'm in a hurry.

Needless to say I was getting very frustrated with my morning breakfast making routine. I finally came up with a super delicious breakfast Matthew and I both enjoy. I call it "Eggs ala Catherine".

I prep EVERYTHING!

Step 1: Dice one red bell pepper and place in storage container
Step 2: Dice one green bell pepper and place in storage container
Step 3: Dice one large red onion and place in storage container
Step 4: Cook breakfast meet of your choice and place in storage container



That's all of the prep work needed and it lasts about a week which is pretty perfect.

The only other ingredients needed are cherry tomatoes and eggs.

Here is how you make these perfectly easy Eggs Ala Catherine

Step 1: Heat small frying pan over low heat sprinkle in a little olive oil just to cover the bottom of the pan

Step 2: Once the pan is heated throw in onion, and peppers and let sautee.



Step 3: Add the meat and stir in to re-heat. At this point I usually throw in a pinch of sea salt and fresh ground black pepper.

Step 4: Dice the grape tomatoes and throw them in the pan.



Step 5: Almost immediately after crack two eggs over the meat and veggie mixture and cover.



Let the eggs cook slowly. I keep an eye on them and remove them from the pan once the eggs are cooked about over medium.

This is the end result!