Thursday, January 30, 2014

Cup of Paleo Bread



Well, yes indeedy that is some good lookin' toasty bread, if I do say so myself.  It is completely Paleo, made from almond and coconut flour, and I keep coming up with ways to eat it.  And you make it in a cup in the microwave.  Srsly.

There could be some controversy that arises over this recipe, however, and I will attempt to defend some of it here:

 1) It is a treat. Hubs and I generally cringe a bit when someone is chatting to us about Paleo stuff and the first thing they ask is 'what kind of treats can you eat.' The eating of treats is what has most folks sick and inflamed. Temptation is out to get us, that is for sure. Although this bread is totally Paleo, it is pretty loaded with calories and they still do matter.  It is as my Super Hero, Robb Wolf, likes to say, "your mouth is not a vacuum cleaner."  On the plus side, it is very filling so usually one 'cup' is enough to share. Just don't eat it every single day. In fact, if you are still in your first month of making the switch to Paleo, you may want to save the recipe as a celebration thing. I am reading Chris Kresser's book, Your Personal Paleo Code, on my Kindle now and it reminded me about how important what he calls the 'reset' month is. You really owe it to yourself to be super strict for this month. You can do it, trust me please.

2) Some folks may not want to use their microwave ovens and I can't say that I disagree since I am kind of afraid of radiation, magnetrons, and stuff I just don't understand. But, I don't use it very often and in general, key in the time, hit the start button, and run. (In this case it's a minute and a half plus a few seconds for melting the coconut oil.)

3) This recipe uses palm shortening which is not sustainably harvested in many parts of the world. This has caused orangutans and other beautiful animals to perish through clear cutting and loss of habitat.  I did some research and the Spetrum brand says that it harvests its palm oils from small farms that do practice sustainability. I will just have to take them at their word.  Palm oils are really good fats and Mark Sisson's blog has a good post on it.  I have tried to use coconut oil in the bread recipe, but with the coconut flour...well it tastes a little too much like coconut for me.

All that aside, it is actually fun to make. It comes out looking like this: 

It isn't very pretty at that point, but you can toast it for about four minutes and make stuff like this:
Open faced BLT with avocado or...

    breakfast and some bacon, butter, and strawberries with  yummy fig balsamic*


    Not bad.  And see the bacon?  Hubs is away on a business trip, so I made up this fancy breakfast just for me this morning using the bacon cooker his sister gave him for Christmas.  It also goes in the microwave, one minute per slice.  (Guess I am living a bit dangerously today.)  But this cooker is a very cool gadget AND it goes in the dishwasher.  OMG I do so hate to wash dishes.  So it's a total keeper.  I did eat the entire loaf by myself with the bacon this morning at 7:00 and it is now almost 2:00 in the afternoon.  No hungries at all.

    I've also cut the bread into wedges and served it as strawberry shortcake or with soup like it is cornbread.  Saturday night we had  my new precious friend, Noha, over for a spur of the moment lamb dish.  I didn't have an appetizer planned, so I made a cup of bread for the three of us to share and used it as pretend bruschetta with just some good olive oil, fig balsamic*, and tomatoes.  Oh and yep, Noha has been eating Paleo for about three months now. I did share my treat theory with her and she agrees.  She's doing great and even had to get some size smaller pants.  YAY!  I am so super proud of my Paleo workout/shopping/cooking buddy.  She loved the bread.  She even liked the lamb, which Hubs and I took as a great compliment since she is from Egypt.  (Please Dear Noha, ignore the bacon pictures.)  And we're still gonna collaborate on a recipe for the tahini sauce that I mentioned here.

    Well, it's time for the recipe I've been babbling on about.

    Cup of Paleo Bread
    Some notes on this recipe:
  • You'll need a one or two cup glass measuring cup or something like the biggish ramekin in the first picture...I think it's a Corning Ware thing.
  • Use between 1/8 and 1/4 teaspoon of salt; 1/4 tastes a bit too salty to me and 1/8 isn't enough.

    1/3 cup almond flour
    1 tablespoon coconut flour
    1/2 teaspoon baking powder**
    1/8 -1/4 teaspoon sea salt

    2 tablespoons palm shortening
    1 egg
    1 tablespoon water, if needed


    Combine the dry ingredients in a small bowl.

  • Use your microwave to melt the palm shortening in the cup or ramekin; it takes only about 20-30 seconds in my microwave, but yours could be different. 

  • Carefully swish the melted oil all around the sides of the cup or ramekin to grease it.

  • Add the egg to the oil and mix with a fork.

  • Stir in the dry ingredients; it will usually need a tablespoon of water to loosen the batter a bit.

  • Place the mixture in the microwave; mine takes 1 minute 30 seconds, yours could be different, but no worries...add 15 seconds or so if needed.

  • Let you cup of bread cool for a bit; invert the cup or ramekin and give it a tap to release the bread.  Toast the entire loaf and cut into eight wedges to use as an appetizer or for soups.  Slice the entire round to half thickness and toast them if you want to use it as a sandwich.

  • Take good care and enjoy!   k.

    PS  *  I am in love with these specialty balsamic vinegars and olive oils from  little specialty stores that are popping up everywhere.  We visited recently discovered one near us.  Thank you, Mount Dora Olive Oil Company!  No berry is safe from my bottle of dark mission fig balsamic.  If you get a chance to stop in, please do and support a small business.

           **  Remember to get baking powder that is gluten and aluminum free.  This brand, Rumford, is what my mom and Grandmama used and it's still the right stuff.


Saturday, January 11, 2014

Lower Carb Sorta Pastelon Slow Cooker Thing


Imagine is completely OK to post two entries in one day.  I just wanted to share this with my Friend, Junior 'cos we were talking about it today at our January event, The Color Run, down at the Citrus Bowl in Orlando.  We had such a blast!  (Yep, a color blast.)

Here we are after the run...well we didn't actually run very much, because I don't think we CrossFitters like running. We did manage to get pretty colorful and have a fun time hanging out with each other outside of the gym. It is the greatest thing to be surrounded with like-minded people. Talk about keeping yourself grounded!  We work out super hard at our box and we love it; this is the most encouraging group of folks you could ever sweat with; heck we get really ugly and still love one another.  Even though not all of us eat Paleo, we are concerned with eating whole foods and understand the benefits of eating well in every aspect of our lives.  We all even hand lunch after the race today at our local Burger FI restarurant. They feature grass-fed beef and will even wrap it in lettuce for you, sans the bun! YUM. Paleo burgers all around!

I do not think, however, that the colors we were doused in were Paleo...but it all washed off pretty easily in the shower and I tried hard not to breathe any of it in.

Getting back to my pal, Junior.  He is such a great sport!  Prior to our Color Run adventure, we had a running tutu making party.  The girls did, that is.


The guys just headed upstairs here at the little towncasa and shared some beverages. But, Junior had no problem modeling my running, though. He looks quite dashing and gangster-ish, don't you think? 

 So for being such a swell model and great guy, I dedicate this recipe to you, Junior!  And thanks for always being there to help me at the gym.  You never miss an opportunity to recognize the successes I've had and the encouragement really helps keep me going.  I am so proud to call you Friend.  And not to leave out that precious wife of yours, Melissa.  It is special to see couples work out together and share so much love.  You both just really rock.


And now for the recipe and a little background.  I've been looking for more ways to use a slow cooker.  It's way more versatile that I ever imagined back in my vegetarian years when all I used it for was to cook dried beans!  This made kind of a casserole and we really liked it more than the pastelon that I made a few weeks ago.  I used sweet potatoes, which have a few less carbs than plantains.  (Next time, I am going to try it with butternut squash for an even lower carb option.)  Anyways, it turned out super delish and made a lot of food.  Junior and Melissa have two awesome boys, so I hope they will enjoy this dish and fill their bellies!
Lower Carb Sorta Pastelon Slow Cooker Thing
with sweet potatoes
1 sweet onion, chopped

4-6 cloves garlic, minced
2 pounds grass-fed ground beef
2 teaspoons turmeric
1 tablespoon cumin
salt and pepper to taste
1 cup red wine
1 six ounce can tomato paste
4 large sweet potatoes, peeled
8 eggs, beaten
Coconut oil for cooking onions and to grease your slow cooker.
Saute the chopped onion over medium/low heat in a couple tablespoons of coconut oil.  While the onion is cooking, prepare the peeled sweet potatoes by popping them in the microwave for about 4 minutes, just to soften them a little.  Slice them either into rounds or lengthwise, making sure they are about 1/4 to 1/2 inch don't have to be exact.

Return to your onions and add in the chopped garlic; when you smell it, it's ready  (quick quick!); add the ground beef and brown it, just until it loses that red, raw color.  Add in your spices and let them hang out together for about five minutes.

Stir in the wine and let it reduce a bit.  Add in the tomato paste and mix sort of melts into the sauce.

Grease the crock of your slow cooker and place a layer of the sweet potato slices on the bottom.  Add a layer of the meat sauce, and alternate for another layer each of sweet potatoes and meat sauce; make sure you end with a layer of sweet potatoes on top.  Add about a teaspoon of salt to the beaten eggs and pour them evenly over the mixture in your slow cooker.  Set the temperature to low and cook for 4 hours.  Let the dish cool for a while and slice into 8 portions.
Enjoy and take good care, k.

noGRAINola Recipe and Why I Don't Make New Year's Resolutions

Yes, I'll make a resolution
That I'll never make another one
Just enjoy this ride on my trip around the sun.
Just enjoy this ride ...
Until it's done- Jimmy Buffett
But that doesn't mean that I don't look forward to the New Year and Fresh Starts and whatever is next on the horizon.  I just don't automatically set myself up to fail by making promises on January 1st.  I wait until, um I dunno, later.  Like last year, on October 24th, I promised to write in my blog for 30 consecutive days.  That didn't happen, so I won't promise to write any number of times per week, month, year, or decade ever again.  I have a habit of taking on more than I can handle.  That and being plain stubborn are my two worst habits.  I also hate failure, but I am good at it. 
I am making an effort to take on smaller projects.  And I always learn from failing.  I have no idea what to do about being stubborn.
I do want to keep doing lots of the good stuff that Hubs and I started last year and the year before.  Like CrossFit and eating Paleo.  The rewards just keep adding up and it has just become a good habit.  (Oy, to think of all the bad habits I've I am stuck with actual good ones!)  We both keep getting leaner and that is just so awesome.  Here's an example...I have a nasty scar on my lower abdomen.  It's a five inch long (yes I measured it), really ugly thing from the hysterectomy that I had back in 1998.  There's always been pudge above and below it, I assumed because of lymphatic drainage or just 'cos it's a big wonkin' scar.  Well, the pudge is going away; lo and behold, I have pelvic bones that are actully poking out.  How freakin' cool is that?
(Probably TMI, I know. Sorry.) (More TMI, that's not actually the ugliest scar, it was just the one with the most fat around it; there are about six more bad ones from biopsies, skin cancer, etc. but what the heck.  I am here, alive and very, very well.)
Being well is really the name of the game and I really have to hand it to this Paleo stuff for getting me there.  So if I did make a resolution, er...well I won't.  But I will make a solemn vow to try and spread the word and help folks in any way I can.  How 'bout that?  I believe that will be an easy follow through because I am living what I believe.  We are lucky to belong to a circle of friends who are genuinely curious about better health.  We get lots of questions about the Paleo Lifestyle and it is fun and gratifying to be able to answer them or at least point to the direction on how to find out.
And I will never fake perfection.  (Just hope not to make so many mistakes.)
So, Happy New Year.  I think it's off to a great start!
And to start a morning's a fun recipe for a noGRAINola thing for breakfast.  I can't believe that we ever get tired of all the things you can do with eggs and bacon, but we had this the other moring and it was very filling.  I had been looking at some Paleo granola bags and thought I'd just try to figure it out from scratch...and it tasted really good.  (Hubs added an avocado on the side, though, just 'cos he loves 'em so much.)


Thoughts on this recipe...
I used raw almonds, pecans, and walnuts...then we decided that cashews might have been a better choice than the walnuts.
*I think one of my handfuls is about 1/3 cup...this recipe makes enough for 2 servings.
3 handfuls* of your favorite nuts
1 handful* unsweetened coconut flakes
6 dates
1 tablespoon coconut oil
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
pinch of salt
berries of your choice (optional)
1/4 cup full fat coconut milk (optional)
Use your toaster oven (if you have one) preheated to 350 degrees.
  • Mix the nuts and coconut flakes together on a parchment lined baking sheet; toast them together in the oven for about 5 or 6 minutes, watching carefully that nothing burns.
  • Pour the toasty mixture onto your cutting board and combine with the dates by chopping them altogether.
  • Scrape the dates and nuts into a mixing bowl and stir together with the coconut oil, cinnamon and salt.
  • Spoon into bowls, top with some berries,and drizzle on some coconut milk.

Enjoy and take good care, k.