Tag Archives: snacks

Paleo Chocolate & Cinnamon Mug Cake

I am still adjusting my schedule — a much more active little one presents some difficulties — but I needed to share with you all this delightful creation. I present: mug cake.Chocolate & Cinnamon Mug Cake | Paleo + Life

“Really, Cher?” I hear you saying. “Mug cake? That’s so 2013.”

Perhaps mug cake is a bit past its new and exciting stage. But you know what it also is? Delicious.
I adore mug cakes, and I am not ashamed. Especially since paleo mug cakes have fairly healthy ingredients. Eggs, bananas, a bit of spice for flavoring — these are staples I use just about daily.
(Speaking of spice: I have always wondered: just what the heck is in “spice cake” anyway? I need to investigate. I bet a spice-cake style mug cake would be amazing.)

This recipe is quick and easily adaptable to whatever spice you have on hand. Two things to note:

1) This works best with liquified oil. If using coconut oil, warm it before using so that it isn’t solid.

2)For best results, be sure to mash the heck out of the banana. If you don’t like banana or want to lower the carbs, a thicker applesauce (like my Apple Sassy Applesauce) is a fine substitute.

Paleo Chocolate & Cinnamon Mug Cake

Ingredients

  • 1/2 large banana
  • 1 egg
  • 2 heaping teaspoons cocoa
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon coconut flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 tablespoon raw honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil

Instructions

  1. Combine banana and egg in a large coffee mug; mix thoroughly. Add remaining ingredients, stirring after each addition. Microwave for 2-3 minutes, depending on the power of your device. Serve immediately.
http://www.paleopluslife.com/paleo-chocolate-cinnamon-mug-cake/

Potatoes and Pecans

Potatoes & Pecans | Paleo + Life

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).

Sweet Potatoes & Pecans | Paleo + Life

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.

Potatoes and Pecans

Ingredients

  • 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

Instructions

  1. Wash potatoes and dry them; poke them with a fork several times.
  2. Microwave potatoes on high for 12 minutes, or until tender enough to pierce easily with a fork.
  3. Remove from microwave; slice potatoes in half and place into serving bowls.
  4. Split potatoes vertically; slip a dollop of coconut oil or ghee into the potato and mix it into the flesh thoroughly.
  5. To serve, top each half of potato with apple sauce, cinnamon and coconut flakes, and chopped pecans.
http://www.paleopluslife.com/potatoes-and-pecans/

Paleo Coco Ginger Fudge

Coco Ginger Fudge | Paleo + Life

Happy holidays! Since this is our first paleo Christmas, I wanted to make a fun holiday treat.
In typical Cher fashion, this recipe took a detour, but I am quite happy that it turned out as it did.

What I meant to make was a date-based truffle — I’m sure you’ve seen them all over the interwebs. Since these are such a great paleo basic, I wanted to have one here for you.
However, I started working on this recipe while also making breakfast and packing lunch for the kids and husband. So while I only meant to soak the dates for about 10 minutes, they ended up soaking for about an hour.

fudge v bl

This made the dates extremely soft — and as bonus, the soaking water was a lovely sweetener for several cups of tea —  but also meant that they wouldn’t hold shape if I blended them for any length of time.

Of course, last month, while making nut butter,I managed to burn out the motor on my food processor. This meant I had to use Vera the Vitamix for the processing. Did I mention I was multi-tasking during this process? (Yes, I know better.)
Unsurprisingly, I ended up with a nut-butter like instead of the sticky mass I had aimed for –whoops.

fudge detail bl

Needing to improvise, I decided to make a paleo-style fudge. So I added melted coconut oil to the mix, gave it a good stir, and stuck it in the fridge. The result was a combination of creamy, chocolate, chewy coconut and slightly spicy ginger that just melts in the mouth. A happy accident if ever there were one.

This would be a great dessert after a Christmas dinner or for a holiday party. Make a big batch in a shallow tupperware-type container with a lid, and take it to a potluck. I bet it will be the first thing that disappears from the table.

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Ingredients

  • 1 cup pitted dates
  • Hot water
  • 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup cashew meal
  • 1 piece of ginger, 1/2" - 1" long, peeled
  • 1/4 cup shredded unsweetened coconut
  • 1/4 cup melted coconut oil

Instructions

  1. Place dates in a small bowl. Pour enough hot water over them to cover the dates completely. Soak for 30 to 60 minutes.
  2. When dates are thoroughly softened, drain water, reserving for another use. In a high speed blender, combine dates, cocoa powder, and cashew meal. Using a zester, grate ginger into the mixture. Blend for 30- 60 seconds, or until the date mixture has become a smooth paste.
  3. In a medium bowl, combine date mixture, shredded coconut, and coconut oil. Stir vigorously until well combined.
  4. Pour the mixture in a small, shallow container and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes, or until firm. Cut into small pieces and serve.
http://www.paleopluslife.com/paleo-coco-ginger-fudge/

Cranberry Coconut Smoothie

Cranberry Coconut Smoothie| Paleo + Life

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

Ingredients

  • 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)

Instructions

  1. Combine milk, coconut oil and protein powder in a high-speed blender. Blend on high for 10-15 seconds, or until combined.
  2. 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.
http://www.paleopluslife.com/cranberry-coconut-smoothie/

 

Book Report: Real-Life Paleo

Note to my readers: I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher. As always, all opinions are my own.

Matt McCarry and Stacy Toth are the dynamic duo behind Paleo Parents, and prolific authors of paleo cookbooks, including one on eating nose-to-tail (Beyond Bacon: Paleo Recipes that Respect the Whole Hog)* and one for kids (Eat Like a Dinosaur: Recipe & Guidebook for Gluten-free Kids)*. Their newest offering is Real Life Paleo: 175 Gluten-Free Recipes, Meal Ideas, and an Easy 3-Phased Approach to Lose Weight & Gain Health*, which suggests a slower, three-phased approach to taking on a paleo diet.

Quick Banana-Chocolate Souffle Cake from Real Life Paleo | Paleo + Life

Quick Banana-Chocolate Souffle Cake, p. 146

In brief: this book is a gold mine. While I am a “jump in with both feet” kind of person, not everyone can handle that approach, and it is so easy to get overwhelmed. Stacy and Matt’s very encouraging tone gently leads the reader by the hand, always explaining why certain foods are encouraged or discouraged, letting them get more comfortable with the idea of paleo eating while offering tasty, kid-friendly recipes. It is written in a very conversational, friendly tone: I had to wrestle it away from my oldest in order to read it for this review!

In Phase 1: Swap, you swap out the worst foods in the diet. This means going gluten-free, as well as taking out refined and processed foods, changing dairy products and meat (full fat, organic and grass-fed are king here), and eating more veggies. The book has a useful tear-out grocery shopping guide that you can use in the store to remind you of products to look for while shopping, and tips for going out to eat. (As the primary cook in our house, this may be my favorite part of the book.)

In Phase 2: Remove, you focus on removing other grains, dropping dairy, legumes, and processed oils. (In this phase, you ‘go paleo.’) Matt and Stacy share more shopping tips here, and share suggestions from their family’s transition, as well as lists of paleo kitchen staples and suggestions for family activities (some food related, some not).

If Phase 2 is Paleo 101, then Phase 3: Heal is the next course in the sequence. In this phase, organ meats, bone broth, fermented foods and more are added to the diet. These are considered paleo super foods, in that aren’t just good for you, but can actively help heal your digestive system. This phase also emphasizes lifestyle aspects of paleo, since they can be just as healing as the foods you’re eating.

Green Onion and Bacon Mac 'n' Cheese from Real Life Paleo | Paleo + Life

Green Onion and Bacon Mac ‘n’ Cheese, p. 238

There is much more to the book: suggested menus, meal plans, and spice blends, as well as close to 200 recipes. Speaking of those: all of the recipes are categorized by phase, and all are indexed to help those who need to avoid specific allergens. There are lots of recipes for staples like coconut milk, and many good ideas for less-sweet alternatives to both breakfasts and desserts. Thus far, my favorite new-to-me recipe is the Green Onion and Bacon Mac ‘n’ Cheese (one of many squash recipes) — the husband went for seconds and thirds, and the meat loving oldest boy was barely done with his dinner portion when he asked to have some for breakfast. That dish is definitely going in the permanent rotation, though it may be a while, as my must-try list is about a mile long. The book strikes a good balance between safe, simple flavors kids will like, and a few adventurous ones that stretch the palate a bit (both the homemade beef energy bars and the mussels are on my list).

The Real Life Paleo approach is a really sustainable way to get folks eating healthier, one meal at a time. I wish I had had this book when we started our paleo journey: I dare say my kids would have been far happier if we had gone paleo this way. Still, I’m glad to have it now. This book has earned a place on my bookshelf for everyday inspiration.

Healthiest Ice Cream Ever from Real-Life Paleo | Paleo + Life

Healthiest Ice Cream Ever, p. 384

Healthiest Ice Cream Ever

Ingredients

  • 1 medium butternut squash (about 1-1/2 pounds)
  • 1-1/2 kosher or sea salt
  • 1 (13-1/3 ounce) can full-fat coconut milk or 1-3/4 cups homemade
  • 2 large pastured egg yolks
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • Slightly Sweet & Salty Snack Mix, for garnish*

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F.
  2. Remove the ends of the squash, slice it in half lengthwise, and remove the seeds. Then peel and cube the squash. Spread out the squash cubes in a rimmed baking sheet and roast in the oven for 30 minutes or until easily pierced with a fork. Let cool completely.
  3. Place 2 packed cups of the cooked squash and the remaining ingredients in a food processor or high-speed blender and puree until smooth.
  4. Put the mixture in an ice cream maker and churn, following the manufacturer's directions, until stiffened, about 10 minutes.
  5. Freeze in an airtight container for at least 30 minutes before serving. If frozen for more than four hours, let rest at room temperature for about 20 minutes before serving. (Natural ice creams don't contain chemical softeners, so they set hard like ice and require time to soften.)
  6. Scoop into bowls and top with the Slightly Sweet & Salty Snack Mix.
http://www.paleopluslife.com/book-report-real-life-paleo/

Note: if you can’t find butternut squash, any winter squash will do. Most grocery stores sell prepackaged peeled and cubed butternut squash to make this recipe even easier, but we’ve heard that pumpkin is a fan favorite.

Don’t have an ice cream maker? Never fear. After cooking and cooling the squash, place it in the freezer to harden for a few hours. Then, once partially frozen, add the squash and remaining ingredients to a high-speed blender and puree — you’ll have instant soft-serve.


* = Affiliate link.

 

Paleo No-Grain Granola

Paleo Grain-Free Granola | Paleo + LifeWe were so lucky to have a rain-free day this weekend. A little rain doesn’t stop us, of course — we Oregonians are practically waterproof — but it was lovely to have a break from the drizzle.
Getting out and about in the autumn weather makes me wistful for the early days of our marriage. At the time, my husband and I lived in Minneapolis. As footloose newlyweds, we had rather more free time, and would occasionally pack some snacks and spend an afternoon just biking and exploring the Twin Cities.

While we aren’t quite so fancy free anymore, I still love snack food. At the beginning of my paleo journey, I had just gotten into making homemade granola, and I thought I had really hit my stride. While going paleo has had many more benefits than drawbacks, losing that crunchy, chewy treat was a disappointment.

Ironically, I know there are tons of paleo granola recipes out there — I own several cookbooks that include them — yet none of them felt quite right to me. I guess I just needed to figure this one out for myself. I was encouraged by a trip to the store for school snacks (the littlest girl takes lunch to school). While shopping, I found some grain free granola*. I tried one and thought it was really good, but I knew I wouldn’t want to spend that much every time. So into the kitchen I went.

Paleo Grain-Free Granola | Paleo + Life

This combination is delicious, and is definitely a money saver. Sprinkle some on yogurt, if you dig that kind of thing. Or have it with whatever milk you prefer. Homemade granola also has the advantage of making your house smell phenomenal. If you have kids, double the batch. Trust me on this.

Best of all is how adaptable granola is. Change the spice, or the types of nuts and seeds, or the fruit as you see fit. In this cool season, I’m loving this combination of cocoa with apples, raisins and allspice, but I’m envisioning cranberries, clove and dried orange, or golden raisins, cinnamon and candied ginger when it gets colder… whatever floats your boat. Or pedals your bike, as the case may be.

Paleo No-Grain Granola

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup raw walnut pieces
  • 1/2 cup raw cashew pieces
  • 1/2 cup raw sunflower seeds
  • 1 cup shredded unsweetened coconut
  • 1 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1 tablespoon cocoa powder
  • 3 tablespoons coconut sugar
  • 1/4 cup melted coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup dried apples, chopped (about 4 rings)
  • 1/4 cup raisins

Instructions

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Combine walnuts, cashews, sunflower seeds, coconut, allspice, cocoa powder and coconut sugar in a large bowl. Stir thoroughly to combine. Continue stirring, pouring in the melted coconut oil as you do so.
  3. Line a baking sheet with waxed paper or parchment paper; pour the granola onto the sheet. Bake for 5 minutes. Remove granola from the oven, stir thoroughly, and replace baking sheet in the oven. Bake for another 3-5 minutes (watch it closely; granola can get very toasted very quickly). Remove from oven.
  4. Pour the granola back into the bowl. While still warm, add the chopped dried apples and raisins; stir thoroughly. Allow granola to cool before serving.
http://www.paleopluslife.com/paleo-grain-granola/

* = Affiliate link.

Apple Sassy Applesauce

Apple Sassy (Applesauce) | Paleo + LifeFour days ago, miniature rivers of sweat ran down my back as I squinted into the Seattle sun. Smooshing crusty shrimp foccacia into my mouth with one hand and wrestling my nursing toddler with the other I watched my girl rolling across the grass, giddy with sun and silliness. I tried to take a deep breath, fixing this second in my mind, ordering myself to remember, to savor this last gasp of summer. It seemed impossible that it would end.

But this morning, the patter of rain roused me from the sloppy swirl of blankets covering my bed. The breeze coming in from our open window nipped at our skin and raised taut goosebumps on arms and legs. The littlest girl was grumpy, the tot would not leave my arms, and husband and teens were all bleary-eyed slugs. Fall, such as it is in the Northwest, seems to have come.

I wanted to make something warm and soothing. Something thick and rich that would help us all embrace the change of season, instead of resenting it for not being summer.
Applesauce, I thought. I should make applesauce.

Apple Sassy Applesauce | Paleo + Life

While we were up north, we paid a quick visit to my husband’s aunt and uncle, who treated us to a generous bagful of apples from their garden. Apples that fresh don’t really need anything except mashing, but a hint of ginger and a dash of cinnamon brightens and deepens the apples’ flavor. When my little taste tester tried this, the wee bit of heat from the ginger is the reason she declared this not applesauce, but Apple Sassy.

When I’m making applesauce for the little ones, I just add the spices and blend; it is super fast, and we all like the fresh flavor of raw apple. However, if you have the time, I recommend that you give your applesauce a turn in the slow cooker. Some of the water in the apples will cook off, which concentrates the flavor wonderfully, without going as far turning into apple butter.
Of course, you can do that, too: just let it cook longer until the volume reduces to about half and the texture has thickened even further. A good apple butter sticks to the spoon the same way nut butter does.

However you choose to make it, homemade applesauce is a real treat. Serve this over pork chops, roasted sweet potatoes, stir it into plain yogurt, make gelatin gummies with it … or just enjoy it by the spoonful. A batch of this will warm your spirit, whatever the weather.

Apple Sassy (Apple Sauce)

Ingredients

  • 16 small to medium apples
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/2" square piece of ginger, peeled

Instructions

  1. Wash, core and roughly chop apples. Place the cinnamon, ginger, and about one-third of the apples into a high-speed blender. Blend for 30-60 seconds, or until apples have been pulverized and only tiny flecks of apple peel can be seen. Pour mixture into large bowl and set aside.
  2. Blend remaining apples into a pulp. Add to the mixture in the bowl, stirring well. If not serving immediately, refrigerate until ready to eat.
  3. Optional: If you desire a thicker applesauce, pour the mixture into a slow cooker. Cook for 4 hours on HIGH.
http://www.paleopluslife.com/apple-sassy-applesauce/

Cinnamon Spice Nut Butter

Cinnamon Spice Nut Butter | Paleo + Life

When I was a kid, I loved cinnamon toast. Loved. And when I say loved, I mean that if there had been a choice between cinnamon toast and some of the relatives, well, let’s just say that my family might have been considerably smaller.
It was one of the first dishes I ever learned to make. We’d butter pieces of white bread, sprinkle tons of cinnamon and sugar on top, and stick it under the broiler. Impatiently, we ‘d check on it about every twenty seconds. This was practical as well: our toast would go from pale white to crusted black in the blink of an eye.
When it was finally done, we’d cram every last bite into our mouths, still piping hot, not caring even a little bit that it was just shy of burnt on the top and rare on the bottom. It was hot, sweet, cinnamon-flavored bliss.

As an adult who chooses to eat paleo, toast has not been on the menu. But I still adore the sweet, spicy flavor of toasted cinnamon. This spiced nut butter, with a subtle touch of heat from Aleppo pepper, is a more sophisticated way to get my cinnamon fix. Feel free to skip the pepper if making this for children or those with sensitive palates. Bananas, covered in this, and frozen, are a fabulous treat.

A general hint on nut butter: unless you are having an emergency (no, I don’t know what a nut butter emergency would be, but I’m sure it happens), buy raw nuts that you can soak and dehydrate yourself. Until I tried it, I was skeptical about the difference, but now I am a believer. Soaking and then dehydrating the nuts is like alchemy. Somehow, the flavors blossom in a stronger, more intense way: the difference is night and day.
The brilliant and thorough Beth of Tasty Yummies offers an absolutely excellent tutorial on the process. Follow it, then come back here and make this. I promise, it will be delightful.

Cinnamon Nut Butter

Ingredients

  • 1-1/2 pounds soaked and dehydrated nuts
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 2 tablespoons honey, maple syrup or other sweetener (optional; skip if you are doing a whole30)
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon Aleppo pepper (optional)
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt

Instructions

  1. Place soaked, dehydrated nuts in food processor. Process for 10-15 minutes, or until nut mixture becomes smooth and creamy. (The food processor and the nut butter may be quite warm; this is expected.)
  2. Add remaining ingredients and process 2-5 minutes, until thoroughly blended in. Pour the mixture into glass jars and refrigerate.
http://www.paleopluslife.com/cinnamon-nut-butter/

Cheesy Ranch Zucchini Chips

Zucchini Ranch Chips | Paleo + LifeWhile I generally love eating paleo, one of the things I miss from my pre-paleo days is potato chips. Crunchy, salty, cheesy potato chips. You know what I mean, right? Crunchy chips are a unique tactile experience. The slight resistance as you bite, then the shattering of the chip and the flavor exploding across your tongue…Mmm. There is very little like it.

But chips are not a habit I want to indulge in too often. Most brands are cooked in oils I’d rather not eat, and the ones that are cooked in a healthy oil tend to be expensive. What’s a cook to do? Spend a little time playing around in the kitchen, of course, which is how I devised these tangy zucchini chips.

Zucchini and yellow summer squash, which make delightful noodle substitutes when cut with the spiral slicer, also happen to be excellent chip substitutes as well. There is hardly any work involved here: slice, oil, season and dehydrate. Being patient while they dry is truly the hardest part.

The reward for your patience is delicious, intense, cheesy flavor. My oldest says they taste like alfredo sauce, while my husband likens the flavor to ranch dressing. I am not sure which of them is right; I just know I’ll be making a lot more of these, and soon.

Ranch Zucchini Chips

Ingredients

  • 1 large zucchini (roughly 9-10" long, big enough to fill a 5- tray dehydrator)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon Romano cheese powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon parsley
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt

Instructions

  1. Wash and stem zucchini. Using a mandoline or sharp knife, slice the fruit into thin rounds (about 1/4" thick is good). Place slices in a large bowl.
  2. Add olive oil to zucchini slices, massaging thoroughly to make sure all slices are equally coated.
  3. In a separate small bowl, combine cheese powder, garlic powder, onion powder, parsley and sea salt. Stir thoroughly. Sprinkle the cheese and spice mixture over the zucchini slices.
  4. Lay the slices on the trays of a dehydrator, making sure that they do not touch. Dehydrate at 115 degrees for 24 hours or until chips are crisp.
http://www.paleopluslife.com/cheesy-ranch-zucchini-chips/

 

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