How goes your January clean eating challenge? So far, so good around these parts. As opposed to last year, when I did my first one, I am actually enjoying it. I feel far less stressed about the process –it’s more of a reminder to myself, since I’ve basically got the “rules” down from a year of being paleo. It also helps that it’s a less restrictive challenge this time around. While I appreciated jumping into the deep end as a paleo newbie, the 21-day primal feels more compatible with my day-to-day life.
Which brings me to sweet potatoes (bear with me, it will make sense in a moment).
I have always loved sweets, even pre-paleo, though I tended to reserve them for holiday eating. But it turns out they are full of vitamins A and B-6, among other things. With those kind of benefits, I am happy to eat them year-round.
We steam, mash, bake turn them into fries, pie, breads, even muffins. But at the moment, I’m focusing on quicker dishes, so my daily diet has been more about “how fast can I get food into my face and get back to my work?” than the patient cooking sweet potatoes require.
In order to make that happen, I’ve turned to the microwave. Ours has a “potato” setting, though I usually find that I need to set the machine for two potatoes instead of one (or three instead of two, etc). Still, it helps me get this vitamin-filled deliciousness onto my plate in a hurry. Topping them with coconut oil, pecans and coconut flakes adds healthy fats and makes even a fast snack feel luxurious.
- 2 large sweet potatoes
- 1/4 cup coconut oil or ghee
- 1/2 - 3/4 cup applesauce
- 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 cup chopped pecans
- 1/4 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
- Wash potatoes and dry them; poke them with a fork several times.
- Microwave potatoes on high for 12 minutes, or until tender enough to pierce easily with a fork.
- Remove from microwave; slice potatoes in half and place into serving bowls.
- Split potatoes vertically; slip a dollop of coconut oil or ghee into the potato and mix it into the flesh thoroughly.
- To serve, top each half of potato with apple sauce, cinnamon and coconut flakes, and chopped pecans.
The end of the year is nearly upon us. I really want to stop and reflect on the changes in my life this year — but today is not that day. Instead, this week begins the blizzard of work that is preparing for the bar exam.
Bar prep is obviously all-consuming, but this blog is my happy space, and I want to keep it that way. Therefore there will be minimal mentions of it here. Just know that every moment not spent here or with the family is devoted to that monster. While I will definitely keep posting, I suspect I will tend toward the quick and dirty rather than the elaborate.
Which leads me to today’s recipe. These pancakes are adapted from a recipe Chris Kresser shared on his blog (which he in turn adapted from one by Stephen Guyanet). Of all the paleo pancake recipes I have tried to date, I think this one is my favorite. Even though it takes three days to make, it is totally worth it for the sourdough flavor. (Besides which, there’s hardly any work for the first two days).
The sour tang of the batter balances out sweeter toppings beautifully. I plan to serve these for Christmas morning, with a side of Figgy Pudding, and homemade sausages. I am looking forward to this breakfast even more than the holiday itself.
Buckwheat Coconut Pancakes (adaptation)
- 1 cup raw buckwheat groats
- 2 cups water, plus more
- 3 eggs
- 1/2 cup milk of choice
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
- 1/4 cup coconut flour
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
- pinch of salt
- Day 1: Place buckwheat groats in a small bowl; pour water over them to cover. Cover the bowl with a lid and let ferment overnight.
- Day2: Strain and rinse the buckwheat. (It will be sticky like oatmeal; this is expected.) In a high-speed blender, combine 1/2 cup of water with the rinsed buckwheat. Blend for about 15 seconds or until smooth. Rinse the bowl you used for the first fermentation, and return the mixture to the bowl. Allow to ferment overnight a second time.
- Day 3: Coat griddle or skillet with coconut oil; allow it to warm up over medium-high heat while you finish mixing the batter.
- In a medium bowl, beat the eggs. Combine eggs with buckwheat mixture, milk, and vanilla; stir thoroughly. Add the coconut flour, baking soda, nutmeg, and salt, stirring again until batter is well-mixed.
- Using a small ladle or 1/4 cup measure, pour batter onto hot griddle. Fry each cake until bubbles form and burst around edges, approximately 2-3 minutes. Flip and cook for another 1-2 minutes on the second side.
My husband has been out of town for several days, which has made me responsible for all of the children, all of the time. He is a pretty good wrangler of kiddos when he is here, and I am missing his help. More than once, I’ve delayed breakfast because I didn’t have time to make myself something and get the kids out of the door on time.
This is where smoothies come in. While they might not be the ideal breakfast, for me, they come pretty close. Some days, when I wake up, I just cannot even stand the idea of chewing. Does that happen to other people? It seems weird when I say it out loud. This was especially true when I was pregnant and dealing with morning sickness — some days, the idea of eating made me gag.
Instead of forcing something down, I’d make a smoothie. Something simple, quick and delicious is exactly what I needed, and made it easier to get through the rest of my day. Adding greens, which I’ve recently begun to do, makes them even better.
Because it’s nearly Thanksgiving, fresh cranberries are readily available. My husband and oldest boy both snack on them like candy, but the ladies of the house are not convinced that these tart little treasures are worth eating. Because cranberries are so good for you — helpful in fighting infections as well as post-meal blood sugar spikes — it is worthwhile to get some into your diet on days other than Thanksgiving.
Cranberry Coconut Smoothie
- 1/2 cup milk of your choice (I like coconut milk)
- 1 tablespoon coconut oil
- 1/4 cup protein powder (I prefer NOW Foods Eggwhite Protein, 1.2 Pound)
- 1/2 banana, preferably frozen
- 1/3 cup fresh or frozen cranberries (optional: divide and reserve for garnish)
- 1/2 cup loosely packed spinach (optional: divide and reserve for garnish)
- 1 tablespoon honey
- Unsweetened shredded coconut for garnish (optional)
- Combine milk, coconut oil and protein powder in a high-speed blender. Blend on high for 10-15 seconds, or until combined.
- Add banana, berries, spinach and honey; blend again for 15-30 seconds, or until mixture is completely blended and smooth. If desired, garnish with a sprinkle of unsweetened, shredded coconut, a few berries, and a spinach leaf.