Thursday, November 21, 2013

Perfect Paleo Meatball

What a busy couple of weeks it's been! I can't believe how fast October and November have flown by. Something about the dark freezing weather has got me craving Spaghetti and Meatballs, nothing like comfort food to warm the body up! Funny fact: I used to hate spaghetti with red sauce. I always asked my mom to put butter or alfredo on it when I was a kid. I don't know when that started to change but between high-school and college I started really enjoying a good home made Italian tomato sauce. So now with my healthy changes I switch to spaghetti squash instead of pasta and can still have my home made sauce and meatballs.

Meatballs have always been a tough one for me. I always tend to dry them out, or they don't taste fluffy enough. I read somewhere once that shredded carrots make it very juicy, so with that in mind I started coming up with a recipe that turned out to be the best meatballs I've ever made.

Recipe: Paleo Meatballs
1.5-2lb of ground beef (I got 85/15%)
1lb of ground italian sausage
1 carrot (shredded)
1 vidalia onion
Fresh Basil
1/2 c almond flour
2 eggs
3 cloves garlic

Directions:In the food processor, I put a quartered onion, shredded carrot, garlic and handful of basil and blend until it was almost soup like. In a large bowl I add both the ground beef and italian sausage and start to incorporate it. To that I add the pureed onion/carrot/basil mixture, 2 eggs, salt and pepper. Once fully incorporated I added the almond flour mixed it in. Then I formed a bunch of golf ball sized meatballs! I decided to brown them first in a pan lightly seasoned with olive oil and then bake them in a pan for 25 min at 400 degrees. I put a little water at the bottom of the pan. I've hear a little wine could also enhance the flavor but I didn't have any. I finished them off by letting them sit in the sauce for another 10 minutes.

Served it on top of roasted spaghetti squash and some home made italian tomato sauce.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Paleo Pumpkin Pie Parfait

The other night I went out to dinner to enjoy some sea food! As I always do when I get the menu, I go right to the dessert page on the back page to see what they have to offer. I don't know why I enjoy torturing myself! Anyway, I saw a picture of their limited time "Pumpkin pie in a Jar". It looked delicious! At that point my brain started racing as to how many different ways I could make it! I had an idea for a paleo version, and a primal version. The first thing I did was run to the grocery store to pick up my ingredients and went home to make this "Pumpkin Pie in a Jar".

Recipe: Paleo Pumpkin Pie Parfait
1 can pumpkin puree
3 can full fat coconut (2 in the fridge overnight)
Pumpkin Pie Spice (or cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger)
Maple Syrup
1 c Almond Flour

For the "Crust"
Put the almond flour in a pan to toast the almonds. Once they begin turning golden brown I added a tablespoon of maple syrup to sweeten it and give it a more sticky texture. Then I pressed it into the bottom of my serving bowl. I kept a little left over to sprinkle over the top.

For the Pumpkin Mousse
In a food processor, take can of pumpkin puree, 1/2 cup maple syrup, 1-2 tbsp of Pumpkin pie spice mixture (depending on your taste..I added extra cinnamon) and the fat from 1 can of the full fat coconut milk, and add 1/2 cup of the non-refrigerated can of full fat coconut milk, and a dash of salt. Blend until smooth and creamy. If you would like it to be thicker you could always add avocado to it, but I felt the texture was perfect the way it was.

For the "Whipped Cream"
Using a blender or just a whisk, take the fat from the other can of refrigerated full fat coconut milk and 1/4 cup maple syrup (add more if you desire it to be more sweet). I added a little pumpkin pie spice to this as well. Put in the refrigerator to chill until you're ready to assemble.

I chose to put the 'crust' at the bottom, pumpkin mousse in the middle and top it with whipped cream, then sprinkled some of the leftover crust and some cinnamon on the top. Though if you would like you could always do multiple layers!! It tasted great and was a wonderful dessert that was quick to prepare!

If you're more primal than paleo you could also replace the full fat coconut with GrassFed Heavy Cream. Either tastes great!

Paleo Pumpkin Pie Parfait


Wednesday, October 16, 2013

It's a Paleo Hanukkah

There's nothing like crisp fall air and apple picking to get you in the mood for holidays. Though Hanukkah isn't for another month and a half, I got a head start on putting together fun ideas for a Paleo Hanukkah feast! When I think of most holidays spent with my family, whether they were my fathers Jewish side or mothers Christian side, food is ALWAYS bringing us together. My favorite jewish dish is slow cooked brisket. I'm talking fall apart, who needs a knife, brisket. Since I had fresh apples why not make a nice home made apple sauce. To tie the meal together I felt the obvious choice would be some sweet and savory sweet potato latkes.

Recipe: Paleo Hanukkah Brisket 

4 lbs Beef Brisket (not corned) - should have a decent amount of fat at top 
2 Sweet Yellow Onions (thin Sliced)
5 cloves minced garlic
2 Tbsp Paleo Ketchup (tomato paste + red wine vinegar salt/pepper)
1 Tbsp Red Wine Vinegar
1 Tbsp. pure maple syrup
1/2 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. pepper

Place onions in bottom of slow cooker. Add the brisket (fat side up) on top of onions. Rub garlic on top of the brisket. Combine ketchup, vinegar, and maple syrup in small bowl and then rub into beef. Add enough water to coat the bottom of the cooker. Cover crockpot and cook on Low 8-10 hours. The meat literally falls apart and melts in your mouth ughhh! 

Paleo Brisket

Once its done I took the broth and used arrow root to make the gravy. The steps were taking a sauce pan add 2 Tbsp Grass-fed butter melted and then added arrow root -- enough to make a roux. Once it was golden brown i started adding the leftover broth from the crock pot until it was the consistency I wanted. I added some salt pepper and rosemary to finish it. 

Recipe: Paleo Sweet Potato Latkes
2 cups shredded sweet potato
1/2 onion minced
2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp cumin
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp cinnamon
2 tbsp coconut flour
2 eggs
Coconut oil and Grassfed butter
*Note:* If you're not prepping a kosher meal, you could totally use bacon fat..but in this case it would be sacrilegious :)
In a medium/large mixing bowl, combine all ingredients until slightly moist but able to hold together.
In a large frying pan over medium heat, heat coconut oil and butter. Depending on how large you would like your latkes (I made 6 with this recipe) scoop them and put it on the pan. I squished it down a bit to make sure that it formed the pancake. Let it brown before flipping about 5 minutes per side. If you have thicker latkes, make sure you cook them for longer otherwise you may end up with raw sweet potato in the middle. 

Recipe: Homemade Apple sauce

4 Apples
Dash salt
1 tbsp cinnamon
1 tbsp grassfed butter or coconut oil (optional)

After peeling and coring the apples, I chopped them up into 1.5 (ish) inch cubes. In a sauce pan I put some grassfed butter on low heat and added the chopped apples. After covering I left the apples (stirring occasionally) for the next 10-15 minutes. As the apples begin to get soft I raised the heat slightly and recovered them. After another 5 minutes the apples were just mushy and perfect. I added a pinch of salt and cinnamon and poured into a dish. It tasted like heaven! Nothing like home made applesauce!

Once everything was finished I couldn't wait to devour it. I decided to take the meal outside and enjoy it on the front porch. Whether it's great friends or family, theres not doubt that meals like these bring us all together!

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Paleo Crust..Primal Pizza

Prior to the paleo/primal lifestyle my Friday nights typically consisted of a nice large cheese pizza split with family and friends. In addition to the weekend night staple, it's been a family tradition that my dad continued with our family: When you receive your first pay check at a new buy the pizza! I always thought that tradition was fun and since I was 15 bought pizza for friends and/or family to celebrate my first pay check at a new job. This past Friday I was in that scenario.. However, instead of having a cheat night, I bought all the ingredients to make a perfect paleo/primal pizza. The crust made from a mix of almond flour and arrow root starch held my toppings perfectly! I have made the cauliflower crust in the past, and though it was good, the process took much longer and the outcome is iffy and totally dependent on how well you can remove the water from the steamed cauliflower. This paleo crust was really simple and easy and came out better than I had hoped!

Paleo Pizza Crust
Recipe: Paleo Pizza Crust
2 cups Almond Flour
1 cup arrowroot powder
1.5 tsp baking powder
1.5 tsp salt
1.5 tsp oregano
1.5 tsp rosemary
2 tbsp garlic powder
pepper to taste
3 eggs
1/2 cup almond milk

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Grease pan (round or square depending on shape you'd like or have) Combine all the try ingredients in a large mixing bowl and mix together -- make sure to break up all clumps (my almond flour always has a few clumps in it.) Add your eggs and almond milk to the dry mix and whisk together until fully blended. Just an FYI this will be the consistency of a thick batter. Pour this on to your greased pan and spread with spoon or spatula to get the shape you want. I used a cookie sheet and didn't quite get it to the edges so that I could have a slightly thicker crust.  Bake in the oven for around 10 minutes. Note that the thicker the crust the more time you'll need to bake so depending on your desired crust thickness will be your cooking time.

After your crust is done you can add your desired pizza toppings and put back in the oven for 10-15 min. I personally decided to go the primal route and add some mozzarella cheese to my pizza along with some home made marinara, onions, and pepperoni. If I thought ahead a little more I would've probably added some peppers and sausage to this! Yum!

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Homemade Almond Milk

When I started researching the paleo lifestyle one of the first things I wanted to try was almond milk. I remember the first day I created my paleo friendly grocery list and went to the store with my head held high and left with all sorts of paleo goodies including my almond milk. Unfortunately at that point in my paleo journey I didn't realize the importance on label reading. Had I done so, I would have realized that most, if not all, store bought almond milks contained chemicals, sugars, starches, and other various things to help shelf life. At that point I found Trader Joe's unsweetened almond milk which still had preservatives but it was the best I could find.

I read an article the other day that gave me the sudden urge to finally try making my own. I mean, why not? So back to the grocery store to grab my almonds! I decided to get creative and make a lightly sweeter version too, Maple Almond milk :)

Recipe: Almond Milk
1 cup almonds
2 cup water

(don't be too overwhelmed with ingredients :P )

Put your almonds and water together in a large cup. Leave it for 24 hours. Once 24 hours have passed, pour out the water and rinse the almonds. In your blender or food processor (or cup because I used an emersion blender) place the almonds and a new fresh 2 cups of water. Blend it until it reaches your desired consistency. With a cheese cloth (or a clean hand towel..) slowly pour the mixture into a clean glass and squeeze out all the liquid. I decided to add a tbsp of maple syrup just for a little sweetness! I couldn't believe how great it tasted! Much better than store bought. With a little planning I'll be making sure this stays in the refrigerator on a regular basis!

Home Made Almond Milk

Monday, October 7, 2013

Paleo Granola

Ever since I started Paleo/Primal I've found there are a few things I truly miss that are not friendly on the diet. One of those things is Granola. To be more specific, cereal. Having a quick bowl of cereal before work or even just having a little plastic bag of it to snack on throughout the day. What makes it worse is the last 2 places I've worked always has this maple smelling cereal that people love to eat when they get to work, and man does it smell good!! There are other days that I just want to get some full fat Greek yogurt (primal) and chopped fruit and sprinkle in some granola for an extra crunch.

I finally decided that it was time for me to create my own "Granola" to beat these cravings. I went to the grocery store and bought raw cashews, almonds, Pepita's, sunflowers, and natural raisins. I also remembered that I had leftover apples that I had picked from a trip upstate (can't get any more natural than that!)

Not even an hour later my house smelled of maple cinnamon goodness. Oh man my nose was happy! I have to say I'm quite pleased with how it turned out!

Paleo Granola
Recipe: Paleo Granola
1c raw cashews
1c raw almonds
1/2c pepitas
1/2c sunflower seeds
1/4c chia seeds
1/4c shredded coconut (unsweetened)
1/4c raisins
1/4c coconut oil
1/4c raw honey
1/4c pure grade a maple syrup
1tsp vanilla
1 small apple, peeled, cored, finely chopped
1 tbsp cinnamon
Dash of salt

Preheat oven to 275. In a food processor, combine the cashews and almonds and chop up the pieces to be smaller. In a large mixing bowl, melt the coconut oil and then add the remainder of the ingredients (minus the raisins . Once all ingredients are coated spread them on a baking sheet (I recommend lined with parchment paper.) I sprinkled a little more cinnamon on top (because I like cinnamon) before placing it in the oven for 30 min where I stirred the 'granola' every 10 minutes. If you're having trouble getting it to be a golden colored after 30 minutes you can turn on the broiler and let it get toasty that way too. Be careful not to burn it! Once it's done let it cool for about 20 minutes and then you can break it up for eating :)



Back to blogging

After a few months blogging hiatus I've decided to re-join the blog world! The past 6 months I've embarked on a primal/paleo journey and wanted to document it along the way! I have enjoyed cooking all kinds of food for the past 6 years! It's been exciting to take some of my favorite flavors that I once used in cooking in an unhealthy way and converting them to this new lifestyle.

I've known of the primal/paleo lifestyle for almost 2 years now, and it was not until 9 months ago that I truly began learning and understanding the science behind it and slowly slipping into it. Fast forwarding to now I've really embraced the lifestyle  (most of the time ;) ) and have enjoyed the benefits of feeling and being healthier!

I want to be able to share my ideas and recipes with others in hopes to encourage those who have toyed with the idea of the caveman life style to jump in! I always thought the paleo primal lifestyle would be expensive or timely, however I've found that not only have I saved money in the process but with some planning the time it takes is just the same!

So... welcome to my blog :)