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You are what you eat. Eat what you've evolved to eat.

Archive for the ‘desserts’ Category

Nut-Free Strawberry Banana Bread

Tuesday, August 7th, 2012

I’m always trying to mix up Preschooler’s weekday breakfasts. We don’t have time to make her bacon and eggs in the morning, and her day care is nut-free, so that limits our options greatly. Our general cop-out is yogurt, but that can tend to have a lot of sugar in it, so I prefer to make her something homemade. Lately I’ve been making this recipe, and it’s almost indistinguishable from real bread. Last night Husband and I ate the heel slices with a bit of Rawtella, and it made an awesome dessert. For those of you who are coconut-phobic, you absolutely can’t taste it in here–it just tastes like banana bread.

Preheat your oven to 350. Set out two mixing bowls, one small and one large. In the large bowl, mash two or three very ripe bananas with 1/3 cup of melted ghee or coconut oil (or butter, if you’re not dairy-averse). Whisk in six beaten eggs, two tablespoons of honey, and a teaspoon of vanilla.

In the small bowl, add a half-cup of sifted coconut flour, a teaspoon each of baking soda and baking powder, a half-teaspoon of salt, and a tablespoon of cinnamon. Mix it with a fork, then dump the whole bowl into the wet ingredients. Whisk them together, then put the bowl aside. Slice up 6-8 strawberries into small bite-size chunks. Whisk the batter again to make sure you’ve gotten all the lumps out, then fold in the strawberries. Bake in a well-greased loaf pan at 350 degrees for 45 minutes.

The cool thing about this recipe is its versatility. You can leave the strawberries out, or replace them with a different berry. You can add nuts or chocolate chips if you want it to be more of a dessert than a breakfast. You’ll end up with a moist bread with a nice soft texture and a golden brown crust. I apologize for not having pictures for this one. Hopefully I can take a picture of it soon and add it later.

Coconut-Free Chocolate Pudding

Wednesday, June 6th, 2012

A friend of mine came to my office the other day to talk about the recipes I’d been posting on Facebook. “They seem good, but I’m allergic to nuts and coconut. Do you have to use coconut?” I mentioned that most of my uses of coconut oil could be replaced by olive oil or bacon grease or grassfed butter or ghee with no major changes in flavor. But my go-to chocolate pudding that I’d just posted simply couldn’t be done without coconut milk. I mentioned that I’d made chocolate pudding with avocado that was pretty good. She looked appropriately horrified–and to be honest, so was I the first time I saw this one. But it’s good, honest. The kiddo has her face in a bowl of it right now. Husband says he likes it better than the coconut milk version, although I think he’s a little crazy. Plus, it’s full of great nutrients, and no added sugar! And it’s dead simple–if you can operate a blender, stick blender, or food processor, you can make this.

To make enough for two grownups and one Preschooler, simply blend one ripe banana, one ripe avocado, a teaspoon of vanilla, and three to four tablespoons of cocoa powder. Scrape down the sides as necessary to fully blend it. If your banana is ripe enough, you need nothing else. If it’s not sweet enough, add a teaspoon of honey.

This recipe can be doubled, tripled, whatever. You’re limited only by the size of your blender. It’ll keep in the fridge for 2-3 days. Sure, your avocado will brown, but it’s chocolate pudding, so you won’t really notice.

Mexican Hot Chocolate Pudding

Monday, June 4th, 2012

No picture for this, as most pictures of brown things in a bowl look gross. But this is one of my favorite easy go-to paleo desserts. The kid loves it–I have pictures of her looking like she has a goatee from licking her bowl.

It’s really simple to make. In a small saucepan over low heat, combine a can of coconut milk and a cup of dark chocolate pieces. Whisk constantly until the chocolate is fully melted. Add a tablespoon of vanilla, a teaspoon of cinnamon, and several shakes of cayenne to taste. You can skip the cayenne if you want, but it really brings out the flavors without adding a notable amount of burn–Preschooler eats it and doesn’t even notice.

Pour it into small bowls or ramekins, put them in the fridge for at least two hours, and enjoy a yummy dessert that won’t make you feel gross afterwards.

Peach-blueberry cobbler

Monday, May 28th, 2012

We went to a family pool party yesterday. Great time, but full of SAD desserts–cupcakes and cookies and things I would dearly love to eat, but can’t. So I made a dessert that my family could eat, but others wouldn’t even know it was paleo.

Start by cutting six small ripe peaches into eighths. Put them in a small lidded Pyrex baking dish along with a cup of blueberries. Stir in a tablespoon each of lemon juice and vanilla, and three tablespoons of tapioca flour.

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In a small bowl, mix a cup and a half of almond flour with a teaspoon of cinnamon and a quarter cup each of melted butter (or coconut oil or ghee) and honey.

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Crumble the topping onto the peach mixture. Pat it down with damp hands if you wish.

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Bake, covered, at 350 degrees for 45 minutes. Remove the cover and bake for five more minutes to brown the topping some more, if you wish.

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Apple Raspberry Treats

Monday, May 28th, 2012

Preschooler’s day care is nut-free, which means that breakfasts are limited to yogurt with honey and fruit, or stuff I can make ahead with coconut flour. Lately I’ve been making her fruit muffins with coconut flour, and today’s was an experiment that seems to have worked.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Start with your wet ingredients in a large bowl. Beat four eggs with a cup of applesauce and a half-cup of raspberry all-fruit spread–make sure to check your ingredients! In a smaller bowl, mix together a half-cup of coconut flour and a half-teaspoon each of baking soda and salt. If you want, you can also add a teaspoon of cinnamon, but I had cinnamon applesauce so I didn’t. Add your dry ingredients to the wet and whisk, then let it sit while you thoroughly grease twelve muffin tins (I prefer the silicone kind for paleo baking). When the tins are greased, whisk the batter again to break up the rest of the lumps. Pour it into your greased tins and bake for 12-15 minutes.

They didn’t rise as much as I like, but they’re soft and smell yummy, and Preschooler enjoyed licking the spoon!

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Scallops with Shiitake Sauce (and Chocolate Avocado Pudding)

Wednesday, May 23rd, 2012

Today was a gorgeous day–one of those foggy late spring mornings that clears to a lovely, warm, sunny afternoon. I got a text from my husband that we absolutely needed to eat dinner outside on the back patio. Thankfully, I’d planned to make something that would go well outside and in. I am working my way through a freezer full of seafood to make room for a side of beef in July, so scallops it was. And I had some shiitake mushrooms from our organic produce delivery service, Green Bean Delivery. Some googling around and I had a plan.

First off, even the best scallops are likely going to be treated with a saline solution that makes them really difficult to sear. It also gives them an off taste. So unless you’re lucky enough to get dry scallops fresh off the boat, you’re going to want to brine them. For two pounds of scallops, soak them in a mixture of a quart of water, two tablespoons of salt, and a quarter-cup of lemon juice for 30 minutes. After that, put them on a plate between paper towels (I use 10) with a weight on top for another 30 minutes.

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While they’re soaking and draining, get your veggies prepped. I served these over zucchini noodles. Using a mandoline slicer or julienne peeler, cut zucchini into thin strips. Once you start to see the seeds, stop. This bowl is the end result of five medium zucchini.

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Prep your shiitake mushrooms. You’ll want to cut off the stems if yours came with them, as they’re pretty woody. You’ll want to end up with about this much, which will yield about two cups when sliced.

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Finely mince a shallot until you have about two tablespoons of them. Set them aside with the mushrooms. You’ll also want 3/4 cups of sparkling white wine (I used vinho verde, because it’s what I had on hand), a tablespoon of Dijon mustard, a pinch of dried tarragon, two pinches of kosher salt, and 1/3 cup of sour cream.

Now you’re ready to cook. In a large Dutch oven, heat up a tablespoon of coconut oil over medium heat. In a heavy-bottomed skillet, heat a couple of tablespoons of olive oil over medium-high heat until it shimmers. Put your zucchini strips in the coconut oil, and your scallops, which will likely require 2 batches, in the skillet. The zucchini will just need to stir until it takes on the texture of cooked pasta, at which point you can salt it to taste and add a bit of Parmesan or garlic if you want. The scallops should sear for about 2-3 minutes per side, until golden brown.

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When the scallops are done, put them on a plate. Add the shiitakes and shallots and sauté them for three minutes or so, until the mushrooms release their liquid and it evaporates.

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Add the wine, Dijon, tarragon, and salt. Scrape up all the browned bits in the bottom of the pan. Let it boil a bit, then turn the heat all the way down to low and whisk in the sour cream. Serve scallops with the sauce over the zucchini noodles and enjoy a nice spring evening.

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For dessert (and I apologize for getting no pictures of this), I had an avocado to use up, so I decided to finally experiment with chocolate avocado pudding. It really couldn’t be easier. For two adults and a preschooler, you’ll want to blend together one ripe avocado with two tablespoons of cocoa powder, 1/4 cup nut butter (I used almond), 1/3 cup honey or agave nectar, 1/2 cup water, and a pinch of kosher salt. Once it’s blended, put it in your ramekins or bowls and stick it in the fridge until it’s ready to eat.

Grain-Free Game of Thrones Feast

Monday, April 18th, 2011

Husband and I are huge fans of the A Song of Ice and Fire series by George R. R. Martin. I read the first book when I was 18, and Husband read it before we were married, on my suggestion, and got even more into the series than I did. And then, lo and behold, they go and make it into an HBO series. Ever have a wish granted? For (getting to be well) over a decade, I’ve been picturing how this series would go if they brought it to the screen, and last night, it happened.

Two weeks ago, I came up with the crazy idea of finding foods mentioned in the books and making a feast for Premiere Night. And I did it. Six hours of cooking, and here’s what you get:

feast

Clockwise from top: Goat cheese served with baked apples, Rack of lamb crusted in garlic and herbs, A roasted onion, dripping with gravy, and Mashed yellow turnips swimming in butter. All titles of the food come directly from the books.

Not pictured are fearsomely strong cider, flagons of mead, and a grain-free version of the book’s ubiquitous lemon cakes. For those, I added about a tablespoon more lemon juice than it called for, and the zest of the lemon I’d squeezed. I’d say stay closer to 3 tablespoons of honey than 5–they’re pretty sticky-sweet with 5. I also made a fried bell pepper salad from my friend at Paleo Middle Eastern, but I forgot and left it in the fridge and we didn’t remember it until we started putting away leftovers. I added a few spicy peppers and some hot sauce to the mix so it would approximate Fiery Dornish Peppers.

Some notes about the recipes: Rutabagas (yellow turnips) may have been the best thing on the plate. A bit high in carbs, but it’s a root vegetable and not a nightshade and it makes a really good mash–the texture is velvety smooth and not at all watery, and the flavor is mostly a good approximation of a slightly sweet potato–like potato blended with caramelized onions. I’ve already decided that this recipe is making the Thanksgiving rotation. The lamb is excellent and not at all difficult to make. We grilled them instead of roasting them so as to free up the oven for the onions and apples. The apples were the weakest link (in part due to the fact that I don’t like fruit), but if you’re an apple person, I’d imagine they’re quite good. The onions? Well, keep in mind this is a Cooking Light recipe. I modified it a bit–used about two tablespoons of olive oil at first instead of whatever ridiculous CW amount they asked for. I also used my homemade bone broth rather than prepackaged beef stock. I should have used a cup rather than 2/3–toward the end it was a scorched syrup on the bottom of the pan, very difficult to baste with. It took lots of time and elbow grease to get that pan clean–perhaps more liquid might have helped. But oh, were they good. Like eating French onion soup on a plate. And if you’re dairy-free, the cheese is entirely unnecessary for its goodness. Pretty sure the rutabagas would have been fine with coconut oil instead of butter, too, if you need them to be.

So that’s what I did yesterday. All told, it took six hours of kitchen time. I was sore until this morning, but I managed to stay awake for the premiere!

Oh, and yesterday I also took measurements. These are my 4th, so it’s been 3 months since I started taking them. In those three months, I’m down almost 20 pounds, and 3 inches each on my waist and hips. 2 inches on the chest. This stuff works.

Birthday Cake!

Wednesday, April 6th, 2011

Here’s the recipe I used, from Food Lover’s Primal Palate. I made some alterations, mainly due to what I had on hand. I subbed melted homemade butter for the melted coconut oil in the cake, and honey for the maple syrup. Did you know that maple syrup can go bad? I didn’t, until I saw mold floating on ours the last time I tried to use it. I didn’t buy more because I don’t consider it to be Primal–I’d rather use honey or agave nectar as a sweetener. The honey worked fine, and I’m sure agave nectar would have as well. I used dark chocolate chips instead of semi-sweet, too.

In the frosting, I added three pinches of Kosher salt, because all that chocolate and nuts just seemed too rich. I’m pretty glad I did–it really brought out the flavors in both. I used three tablespoons of coconut oil instead of four tablespoons of palm shortening in the ganache, and it hasn’t set yet after four and a half hours–it’s still pretty runny. Delicious, though! I think I’m a better Primal baker than I ever was a SAD baker. This one caused Husband to utter expletives after his first bite, and here’s why.
birthday cake

A happy accident

Friday, March 25th, 2011

Just in case you think that everything I cook turns out awesome, I should let you know that I occasionally have some epic failures. Tonight was one of those nights–Husband put some cube steaks out to thaw, and I decided I’d try to make some Primal country fried steak. The steak itself turned out okay, I guess, but enough of the almond breading fell off that I couldn’t make the gravy in the pan without it being all chunky and gross. I’ll use the steak for steak and eggs this weekend–we went out and got some Thai food instead, and we just ate it without rice.

I ended up with a leftover can of coconut milk that I didn’t use for the gravy, and no immediate use for it. And I had just had a Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day, so I decided I wanted one of the Paleo Brownies I made last weekend. And then I noticed the open can of coconut milk, which had an abundance of the really thick creamy part and not much of the actual liquid. So I took the more solid part of the coconut milk off the top, and had spoonfuls of it with bites of brownie.

It tasted JUST like a Hostess Snowball. Had I sprinkled it with a little bit of dried coconut, I’d have even gotten the mouthfeel right. All it was missing was the marshmallow, and really, whose favorite part of a Snowball is the marshmallow? Honestly, this dessert made me feel as if I had at least somewhat redeemed the bad day–not the eating of it, but the successful creation of it.

Paleo Brownies

Sunday, March 20th, 2011

Husband asked me to make a treat for him–he’s been having bad chocolate cravings. I went with a recipe that’s on just about every Crossfit blog in the entire country, for Paleo Brownies. I will post this with the caveat that while every ingredient in these is, indeed, Paleo-friendly, they are a bit carb heavy (about 15 per brownie if you cut the pan into 24), so indulge in moderation. If moderation isn’t your strong suit, especially with something that tastes exactly like brownies, then you probably shouldn’t make them at all.

You’ll need to start with a 16-ounce jar of salted almond butter. If it’s not salted, add two teaspoons of salt at the end instead of a half-teaspoon. The first step is to blend it with an electric mixer until it’s smooth–almond butter typically has a layer of oil on top of it and gets thicker as you get toward the bottom. Here’s how you fix that. A couple of hours before you plan on making these, turn the jar of almond butter upside down. It will be much more smooth when you go to use it, and you won’t need a mixer at all–I stirred mine with a rubber scraper.
almond butter

At this point, add two beaten eggs, and mix until smooth. Then add a cup of agave nectar or raw honey and a tablespoon of vanilla. When that’s smooth, stir in a half-cup of cocoa powder, a teaspoon of baking soda, and a half-teaspoon of salt (or two teaspoons if you couldn’t find salted almond butter). Pour it into a greased 13×9″ pan, and marvel at how much it looks like real brownie batter.
Brownie batter
Put it in a preheated 325 degree oven for 30-40 minutes. I have found that 32 minutes is about perfect. They look just like real brownies, and taste even better than they look!
finished brownies