Friday, October 19, 2012

Primal Berry Pie

American Pie.  No, not the movie.  Although I do like those slapstick comedy films. 

I'm talking about the taste of yummy pie without the carbs and sugar.  Could it be possible?  Could it still taste good?

Well I'm pleased to tell you that YES IT CAN!  My husband has already requested I make this several times.  And he's a picky dessert eater too.  My four year old also enjoyed it and didn't know it was sugar and dairy-free!  :-)

Primal Berry Pie
(Serves 8)

Pie crust
Crust Recipe is from Paleo Parents' Eat Like a Dinosaur Cookbook
Buy their book, it's awesome!

Berry Pie filling:

4 cups of mixed berries (I use a combo of strawberries, blueberries and cherries) - fresh or frozen is fine
1/2 cup of coconut sugar
1/2 cup of arrowroot flour OR tapioca flour
2 Tbsp of lemon or lime juice
1 tsp vanilla extract

Combine berries, coconut sugar, arrowroot (or tapioca) flour and lemon (or lime) juice together in a bowl.  Make sure it's well blended.  Spoon out into the cooled, baked pie crust.   Bake in the oven at 375 degrees for 40 to 45 minutes.  Remove from oven and let it cool completely. 

Most of the time, I prepare the pie crust and filling the day before and refrigerate overnight.  If you don't have time for that, then just refrigerate it for about two hours. 

Pie topping:

1 can of coconut milk, all natural, no sweetener added
1 tsp almond extract

Once the pie filling and crust is completely cooled, you can prepare your topping.  To prepare the whipped topping, open up a can of coconut milk.  Scoop out the thick "fat" from the can and place into a bowl.  Leave the liquid watery part at the bottom.  Put your almond extract on top of the coconut milk. Using a hand mixer, whip your coconut milk on medium for about 3 to 4 minutes.  It should look like your typical whipped topping.  Spread over the cooled pie.  Serve immediately or refrigerate until your guests are ready for it. 

They will not miss the added sugar and preservatives in this delicious pie.  I've received nothing but praise and further requests to make this when I share it with friends.  Enjoy!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Skillet Asparagus

Confession: I never used to eat asparagus.  In fact, I only really started eating it in the last three months.  Crazy, I know, right?  I suppose I just never had it cooked properly for me.  Now my husband and I both know how to prepare and serve it so that it's truly amazing.  Here's the simple way we make it:

Skillet Asparagus
(Serves 4)

1/2 bunch of asparagus
2 or 3 cloves of garlic, minced
3/4 cup of cherry tomatoes
1.5 Tbsp butter, softened (all natural from grass fed cows, I like the Irish Kerrygold brand)
1 Tbsp olive oil + a little more for greasing pan
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp balsamic vinegar

Lightly grease the skillet pan with olive oil and place on low to medium heat.  Meanwhile, cut the ends off your asparagus - about 1/4 to 1/3 inch.   The best technique I've used is to start at the ends and work your way up....when the knife cuts through easily with no effort, that's where you need to trim. 

Place the cut asparagus in a medium size mixing bowl.  Add in your minced garlic, cherry tomatoes, softened butter, olive oil and sea salt.  Coat the asparagus well with all the seasonings. 

Put mixture in the skillet.  Spread out your asparagus and cook for about five minutes.  Then gently flip over or move around cooking for another two minutes.  Don't overcook.  You don't want your veggie too soft or wilted. 

Remove from heat.  Add in the 1/2 tsp of balsamic vinegar and mix around. 

Serve warm.  Good stuff!

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Banana Cinnamon Pancakes

I typically make pancakes twice a month for my family.  It's usually a weekend morning treat but sometimes we'll have them for dinner too.  My husband makes the eggs and omelets in our household;  I do the pancakes.  It's just how we roll. 

When we first started the Paleo/Primal diet, I wasn't sure we'd be able to have traditional pancakes again.  I missed them though and my almost five year old daughter loves them.  So I knew I had to find a replacement recipe.  I experimented with a half-dozen of recipes out there.  It took some trial and error and tweaking until I found one that worked best for us.  This is my current favorite one:

Banana Cinnamon Pancakes
(Makes 6 medium size pancakes)

olive oil for greasing skillet or frying pan
1/3 measuring cup for scooping out batter
very thin spatula or flexible turner (like this one) for flipping pancakes
5 eggs
3 ripe bananas
1/2 cup of coconut flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 tsp ground cinnamon

Grease your skillet (or use a griddle if you have one) with a bit of olive oil and turn on the heat to low while you make the batter.  

In a small bowl, mash your bananas with a fork until they are a liquid mush.  Set aside.  In a large bowl, beat your eggs.  Then add in the bananas, coconut flour, baking soda, vanilla extract and ground cinnamon.  Mix well.  Your batter may seem thick.  You can add a bit of water, like 1 tsp, to it if you like. 

Turn the heat up on your skillet to medium or medium low when you're about ready to cook the pancakes.  Grab your 1/3 cup measuring utensil to begin forming your breakfast. 

From my experience, the 1/3 cup is the perfect size for a pancake.  Use this to scoop out batter from the mixing bowl.  Place it in the skillet.  My pancake batter is almost like a cookie dough batter; therefore it doesn't "pour out."  You must scoop it out then use your spatula to flatten it out into a round pancake. 

Cook on each side for about 2 minutes.  This batter doesn't form bubbles like your traditional flour pancakes do.  So just watch until it puffs up and begins to lightly brown on the edges.  Then flip carefully and cook for another minute. 

Mine look like this:

Set the pancake aside and follow the same directions to cook the rest of the batter.  About half way through, I have to turn down the heat on my skillet so I don't burn them.  I made exactly six medium size pancakes with this batter.

Serve warm with all natural maple syrup or top with your favorite berries.  Delicious and good for you! 

Trust me, your kids will never miss the difference.  With these, they won't know that the pancakes aren't made with traditional flour!   Enjoy.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Paleo Granola Bars

I used to make granola bars all the time in our pre-primal/Paleo days.  I didn't think I'd be able to eat them again since I always used oats and peanut butter in them.  How can you make granola without those two ingredients? 

Well I searched high and low, dabbled with a few recipes and finally came up with this one.  Because I live in such a humid climate, these tend to fall apart easily.  So sometimes I eat them as a stand alone but I mostly prefer them as a topping to my husband's homemade yogurt. They are really good though!

Paleo Granola Bars
(Makes 16 - 24 bars, depending on how you cut them)

1 tsp olive oil
1 Tbsp ground golden flax seed
1 Tbsp water
2 cups of shredded coconut
2 cups of sliced almonds
1/3 cup of sunflower seeds
1/3 cup of other nut of your choice (cashews, pecans - anything but peanuts!)
1/3 cup of coconut oil
1/2 cup of almond butter (or other nut butter like sun butter or cashew butter)
1/4 cup of honey
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp almond extract
1/2 cup of almond flour, blanched
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup of Enjoy life chocolate chips (these are gluten free, dairy free, soy free and surprisingly tasty!)
1/2 cup of raisins

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease a 9x13 inch cake pan with the olive oil.  Pat down any excess with a paper towel. 

In a small bowl, mix the ground golden flax seed with the water.  Let it sit for about five minutes until it thickens. 

In a separate large bowl, place your shredded coconut, sliced almonds, nuts and seeds.  Set aside.

In yet another separate bowl, combine your coconut oil, almond butter, honey, vanilla and almond extracts.  Spoon in your flax seed-water mixture, almond flour and baking soda.  Combine and stir well. 

Place your wet ingredients into your dry ingredients.  Stir or mix with hands. 

Lastly add in your chocolate chips and raisins (or whatever dried fruit you wish to use).  Spoon out your granola mixture into the greased 9x13 pan.  Pat it down firmly with your hands covering the entire pan and sticking it together so it will bake correctly.

Bake in the oven for 25 minutes or until lightly brown on edges.  Let them cool before placing it in the fridge or attempting to cut. 

****In fact, I highly recommend putting them in the fridge overnight before you even slice them.  Cut into bars, whatever size you like.  I usually get about 24 bars with mine. 

I like to wrap my individual bars in the Press and Seal and freeze them for later use.  Like this:

Good stuff.  Enjoy this grain-free recipe and know that you're not putting any filler or fluff into your body!  :-)

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Broccoli Chips

I wasn't sure what I should call this recipe.  It has many names out there on the web - roasted broccoli florets, baked broccoli bites, etc. etc.  After thinking of broc-corn (like popcorn but with broccoli), I finally settled on just broccoli chips.  Because for me, eating these reminds me of eating half a bag of potato chips in one sitting, like I've done as a teenager.

My husband and daughter weren't too particularly fond of this recipe but I really liked it.  In fact I cooked an entire head of broccoli and ate it all for my lunch, along with one hot dog.  Oh yeah, I'm not kidding!

Try it and see if you think it's like eating a bowl full of chips, broccoli chips....

Broccoli Chips
(Serves 2-3 or just me by myself! :-)

1 head of fresh broccoli, chopped with the stems cut off
2 Tbsp of olive oil + 1/4 tsp more for greasing your pan
1.5 tsp garlic powder (or use 1-2 fresh garlic pieces, minced)
1 tsp onion powder
3/4 tsp sea salt

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Grease your pan with the 1/4 tsp of olive oil

Place all ingredients in a large bowl and mix around.  Make sure the chopped broccoli is coated with the olive oil and seasonings.  Lay out in single pieces on the greased pan.  Bake for 35 minutes.  Broccoli will be dark in color and perhaps very brown on its tiny stems. 

Let them cool for just a minute before popping one into your mouth.  Oh man, that's good stuff!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Primal Jambalaya Stew (in the Slow Cooker)

I LOVE using my slow cooker.  I'm trying to challenge myself to use it once a week.  On busy days with my two girls, I feel so relaxed just tossing in a bunch of food and letting it sit for 6-8 hours.  Then magically it's done and ready to eat.  I didn't have to stir it, pay attention to it or best of all, worry about it. 

After going Paleo/Primal in May, I abandoned  many of the recipes from my Louisiana Cajun heritage.  Most of them contain gluten.  However, I've found a few new ways to still enjoy my favorite flavors.  This is a new version of Jambalaya that my family now likes - a jambalaya stew from the slow cooker.  I call it a stew because it's not dry with just rice and it's not as liquid-y as a soup.  It's somewhere perfect in between.  I serve it over cauliflower rice to keep it in line with our primal diet. 

Primal Jambalaya Stew in the Slow Cooker
Serves 6 to 8

1 cup of chicken broth or chicken stock, all natural and no MSG (whatever you have on hand)
1 onion, chopped
3 bell peppers, any color will do (I like to use red, yellow and orange to make it pretty :-)
3 to 4 cups of chopped, cooked chicken (I love using leftover grilled chicken from our outdoor grill)
5 links (1 - 12 oz package) of Andouille Cajun Sausage (or use other sausage of your choice) - chopped
1 - 28 oz can of diced tomatoes, with juice
1 Tbsp of minced garlic (or use about 3 garlic cloves)
2 tsp of dried bay leaves
1 Tbsp of Cajun seasoning or you can make your own (Use more if you like but I don't make mine too spicy since I have kids to feed!)
1 Tbsp of Italian seasoning
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder

Place all the ingredients in your slow cooker.  If possible, put them in the order of the list above, starting with the broth and onion and then finishing with the seasonings.  Cook on low heat for 6 to 8 hours.  Or cook on high for 4 to 6 hours.  Or do a combination of both high and low heat, whatever your schedule allows.

Taste and see if any additional seasonings are needed.  Serve over my easy Primal Rice.  You've got a great meal here.  Even my picky daughter, almost five years old, ate this all. 


Monday, October 8, 2012

Easiest Ever Primal Rice

On the primal diet, we don't typically eat rice except for a special occasion or cheat outing (A girl needs her sushi from time to time after all).  However, we discovered from various recipe sites out there that you can turn cauliflower into "rice" and use it in the same manner.  Because sometimes you want to eat a stew over "rice" or have your own stir-fry. 

My husband and I tried various different cauliflower rice recipes but finally I just figured out my own, extremely easy way to make it.  Depending on what you're eating, your kids won't even notice the difference or taste change.  It should just blend in with your soups, stews and more.  This one is primal approved and won't be carb heavy.  Your hips and stomach will thank you for it, trust me!

Easiest Ever Primal Rice

(Makes about 3 cups)

Here is what you'll need:
1 bag of frozen cauliflower (1 pound or 16 oz bag)
1 food processor
a microwave
a pretty serving dish

Directions, step by step with photos for your easy enjoyment: 

Take out your frozen bag of cauliflower.  If you have the time, let it defrost on your counter for 30 minutes to one hour.  If you're in a pinch, just run it under hot water in your sink for a few minutes to soften it a bit.

Pour entire contents into your food processor and blend.  DO NOT add any extra water.  You want it to resemble rice, not a liquid puree.  By keeping the cauliflower mostly frozen, you won't over-puree it.

Pulse in your food process for about two minutes or until your desired "rice" consistency. 

Then scoop out your "rice" and place it in a pretty, microwavable-safe serving dish.  Microwave on high for five to seven minutes.  Take it out and serve with your main meal. 

And hey, if you want "brown rice," then just place the cauliflower rice in a greased skillet with olive oil.  Saute until your rice becomes "brown," like this:


Sunday, October 7, 2012

No-Oat-meal Raisin Almond Cookies

OH.MY.GOSH. These were amazing cookies.  Even the Cookie Monster would be going crazy over these.  And they don't contain any gluten or any sugar.  Soo tasty!  My husband found this recipe online and this is the tweaked version we made with it. 

No-Oat-meal Raisin Almond Cookies

(Makes 12 to 18 cookies, depending on how big you make them)

1/4 cup of coconut flour
3/4 cup of almond flour
3/4 tsp of salt
2 tsp of ground cinnamon
1 tsp of baking soda
1/3 cup of almond butter (or use sun butter, cashew butter or any other butter of your choice; if using peanut butter, it won't be primal/paleo)
1 egg, cage free and all natural
3 Tbsp of butter, all natural from grass fed cows
1/2 cup of honey
2 tsp of vanilla extract
1/2 tsp of almond extract
3/4 cup of raisins

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Very lightly grease parchment paper and place on cookie baking pan.  Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, combine your coconut flour, almond flour, salt, ground cinnamon and baking soda.  Blend well. 

In a separate smaller bowl, combine your almond butter, egg, vanilla and almond extracts, butter and honey.  Blend well. 

Add the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix all together really well.  Now pour your raisins into the mixture and gently incorporate them into the mix. 

Drop by either teaspoon or tablespoon onto the lightly greased parchment paper - whatever size cookie you prefer.  These will bake at 350 degrees for 10 to 12 minutes, until just lightly browned around the edges. 

Serve warm. None of us could only eat one! See you if can but I doubt it....  :-)

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Berry Clafouti for Breakfast

Isn't the word "Clafouti" fun to say?  Cluh-fuu-tee!  Sounds like a music band from Europe perhaps? These little clafouti recipes pop up around the Primal and Paleo sites.  I can't recall where I found the first, original one but here's the one I now make for my family about twice a month.  My four year old daughter loves it. 

This dish has an egg-y taste since there is no flour in it.  Therefore, it's more like a berry quiche than a pancake or French toast consistency.  I just wanted to make sure you know that before you make it and bite into it.  Still, it's sweet without being too powerful and a nice change from our scrambled eggs we eat so often.

Berry Clafouti for Breakfast
(Serves 4)

olive oil for greasing pan
2 Tbsp melted butter, all natural from grass fed cows
6 eggs
1 can of coconut milk
1 tsp of vanilla extract
1/2 tsp of almond extract
2 tsp of ground cinnamon
dash of salt
2 cups of mixed berries, your choice (I love including blueberries, strawberries and blackberries) - can be fresh or frozen

Grease a pie pan with olive oil.  Preheat oven to 400 degrees. 

Melt your butter in the microwave in a small bowl.  Be sure to cover it!  Set aside.  Beat the eggs in a large bowl.  Add in the melted butter, coconut milk, vanilla and almond extracts, ground cinnamon and dash of salt.  Mix all together with a whisk or electric mixer.  Pour into the greased pie pan.  Drop your berries down in the mixture, carefully spreading them around so you cover as much as pie plate as possible. 

Bake for 45 minutes or until your clafouti pulls away from sides of pan.  The dish will rise then sink a bit. Mmm, it's like the consistency of a fruity bread pudding but without the bread! 

Serve warm with pure maple syrup.  We like ours with a side of bacon or sausage and fresh fruit.

I say this is a breakfast dish but you can enjoy it anytime of the day.  We have had it for dinner and mid-day snack too.  Good stuff!

Monday, October 1, 2012

Sausage and Acorn Squash Stuffing (Great for a Primal Thanksgiving!)

I made this recently when I wanted to use some acorn squash I purchased at the local farmers market.  It would work well with butternut squash too.  This reminded me of stuffing you eat on Thanksgiving but without the bread and carbs slowing you down!  I plan to make this for our first ever Primal Thanksgiving Holiday this year. 

Acorn Squash and Sausage Stuffing (Perfect as Primal Thanksgiving side dish!)
Serves 6 to 8

olive oil for greasing your 2 qt size pan and skillet
1 good size acorn squash (or use butternut squash)
6 links (1 pound) of chicken apple sausage, ground up into very small pieces, such as Aidells brand - or any other nitrite-free all natural kind
1 small onion, diced
1 apple, peeled, cored and diced
1 egg, beaten well
1 tsp of ground sage
1/2 cup of almond flour
salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Place your acorn squash in a pan and bake for 45 minutes to one hour.  Let it cool before handling it.  Once no longer hot, cut length wise and scoop out seeds.  Then spoon out the squash and place in a large mixing bowl.   

Make sure your oven is still at 400 degrees.  Grease your 2 QT size baking dish with olive oil.  Set aside

Grease a skillet pan lightly with olive oil.  Cook your onion and brown your sausage.  Remove from heat once browned. 

In the large mixing bowl with the acorn squash, add the cooked sausage, onions, chopped apples, beaten egg, ground sage, almond flour and a dash of salt and pepper.  Combine and mix all ingredients well.  Spoon into the greased 2 QT pan and bake at 400 degrees for 30 to 35 minutes.   Serve hot or warm.

AMAZING!  Better than any stuffing I've had before. 

Our Favorite Hash - Sausage, Sweet Potato and Spinach

I love a good hash - a mixture of foods combined together to create a unique flavor.  The same goes for casseroles.  When you can put everything all in one dish and you don't have to think about sides or salads to go with it, that's a win-win in my book.  Here is our new family favorite.  It includes sausage, spinach and sweet potatoes.  The original recipe came from here.  We just tweaked it a little bit.  Yum-E!

The photo doesn't do this dish justice.  In fact my photo makes it look gross but I promise you that it's really good!

Sausage, Sweet Potato and Spinach Hash
Adapted from Multiply Delicious
(Serves 6)

4 links (12 oz) of chicken-apple sausage, sliced into small pieces - I use the chicken apple brand by Aidells
2 small to medium sized sweet potatoes, peeled and sliced
1 apple (I like Fuji or Braeburn), peeled, cored and diced
1 bag (16 oz) of frozen spinach or use 3 cups of fresh spinach
1 small onion, diced (or 1 tsp of onion powder)
3/4 to 1 tsp of ground cinnamon
salt and pepper to taste
olive oil for greasing skillet

In a large skillet, place about 1/2 tsp of olive oil.  Grease the pan well and put heat to medium.  Place your diced onion, diced sweet potatoes and diced apples.  Cook them until soft and lightly browned, about 7-8 minutes. 

Then toss in your sausage and spinach.  Add a bit more olive oil if you need it.  Sprinkle in the ground cinnamon.  You could omit this but I find this spice is what gives this dish its amazing flavor.  Cook until sausage and spinach look ready to eat, about fifteen minutes if using frozen spinach.  Finally add any salt and pepper to your liking. 

You could omit the sausage and make this entirely vegetarian or more like a side dish if you wish.  We like it with our meat though.

My four year old even likes this one.  We make this recipe about twice a month since we all like it and it's very easy to throw together on a busy weeknight.