Monthly Archives: July 2011

Coconut Almond Cookies

This is my first attempt at making paleo baked goods. I have been craving cookies. I wasn’t about to go and buy anything new to make these either. So, I guess you could call them lazy craving cookies. I think they came out pretty good. They are moist and not dense like I had worried they would be. They are not very sweet which is okay by me. The ones I made with raisins were obviously sweeter. After checking out a few sites for paleo cookie recipes I realize I’ll need to double the honey to get the desired sweetness. This is the recipe I made today without any changes. If you want a sweeter cookie increase the honey to 1/3 cup up to 1/2 cup.

Coconut Almond Cookies

2 1/3 cups shredded coconut (divided)

1 cup whole almonds

1/3 cup almond butter (I made my own with honey and coconut oil)

3 eggs

1/3 cup honey

1 1/2 tbsp butter

1 tsp vanilla

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

Pecans and raisins optional I used about 1/2 cup of each

Process 2 cups of shredded coconut and all of the almonds until a fine meal is produced. You could go the easier route and buy coconut flour and almond flour, but like I said I was lazy and didn’t feel like buying anything. This way is also a little cheaper. Add your meal to a mixing bowl. Add the remaining ingredients and mix until incorporated. I actually removed half of the batter and placed it back in my food processor to make it finer. I’m so impatient when blending things that often it’s still too chunky. Aside from making it finer I don’t think this step did anything. If you are more patient than me I doubt you’ll need to do this.

I scooped out the dough with a large tablespoon onto a greased cookie tray. I rolled one cookie out and it was pretty and prefect and round but I didn’t really like it looking that way. I preferred the haphazard look to the plopped cookies. After I plopped down as many cookies as would fit I pushed a pecan in the middle. I baked these at 350 for 12 minutes rotating halfway through. (My oven is old and heats unevenly. If your oven was made in this decade it might not be necessary to rotate. ) Half of the batter was made without raisins for T the other half had a handful thrown in and mixed in.

In the time it has taken me to take pictures and type this up I’ve eaten 3. I think T (who said they weren’t sweet enough) has had an equal number. These are good. They’ve satisfied my cravings for a cookie and now I’ll have to find a way to ration myself to only one cookie a day instead of half a dozen.



Breakfast

Leftover baked chicken thigh pan fried with scrambled egg and broccoli. Topped with avocado and tomato. Such a great way to start the day.


Thai Stuffed Peppers part two

Friday I made the sausage to stuff these peppers with. Go check that post out first.

I said it on Facebook, but it bears repeating. I have had a lot of fun experimenting and coming up with all the flavors in this meal. I really think it has come together nicely. I used the sausage I made on Friday to fill the peppers. I also created a green sauce to put on top. I was trying to recreate the flavors you get when you have a green plate with your Pho. Pho is Vietnamese noodle soup (I know I’m mixing up my nationalities in this meal but trust me it works). All this is served over some saffron cauliflower rice. I told ya’ll on Friday that this would be an epic meal. This is not a meal that you can throw together quickly, sorry. It is a meal that is worth the effort for a nice dinner party like this one.

Thai Stuffed Peppers

6 bell peppers sliced lengthwise (one of mine was rotten so I only used 5)

Thai sausage

Cut the peppers and remove all the white ribs and seeds.

I kept the stems because I thought it looked pretty. Fill peppers with meat.

I overfilled them to compensate for shrinkage that is bound to occur during cooking.

Bake covered in a deep dish at 400 for 45 minutes. Uncover and cook for another 15 minutes. Make sure internal temperature is 170 before serving.

Green Sauce

1 cup coconut milk

1/4 cup cilantro

2 jalapenos (more if you want it spicier)

1/2 cucumber

2 tbsp yellow onion

1 tbsp fresh basil

1 tsp fresh ginger

1/2 tsp kosher salt

Blend all ingredients until smooth. I made a HUGE mess making this sauce.


Originally I thought I’d go with a Raita which is an Indian sauce that uses yogurt and fresh ingredients. (Thailand, Vietnam, and now India? Where are you taking this meal girl?) When I was done it was just too runny because coconut milk doesn’t have the heft that yogurt does. So I decided to blend it instead. It was a good call because the flavors really came together as a whole instead of being tasted separately. This can be refrigerated overnight with your sausage or made and served immediately. Spoon this over your baked peppers when they are done.

I served the peppers over saffron “rice”.  Most of you paleo kids out there already know how to make cauliflower rice. For those who are new to the lifestyle you can mimic the textures of rice with cauliflower. Just pass it through a food processor with a grating attachment, or use a cheese grater and do it by hand.

Cook on the stove top with some water or chicken stock until tender. Use as you would rice. I think the flavor is better than regular rice and don’t miss that grain one bit. T is more of a rice lover and says it’s a fair substitute.  For the saffron rice I heated up 1 cup of chicken stock with a pinch of saffron. Once I saw steam I turned off the heat. This is to let the saffron “bloom”. You can see here it is already starting to impart it’s amazing color and taste to the stock.

I let this sit for a few hours but if you are pressed for time give it at least 10 minutes.

Then cook your cauliflower in the beautiful stock. I think the flavor of cauliflower overtook the flavor of the saffron. So really, aside from a beautiful color, it is not a necessary step.  I wish it was as amazing as saffron rice, but cauliflower is just too much flavor for one little herb.

Plate and enjoy! I hope you find a good day with great company to enjoy this meal like we did.


Thai Sausage Part One of Stuffed Peppers

I’m going to blog this recipe in two parts. Mostly because there are a lot of ingredients and I don’t want to scare anyone away. Really most of these spices and ingredients are things that I have in my fridge on a regular basis and/or last a long time. Do not let the number of ingredients scare you away. This is on its way to becoming an epic meal.

I have a meat grinder for my Kitchenaide mixer. I love it. I’ve used it often and truly appreciate the results. The most important step that I’ve learned is you have to have frozen meat. The fat in defrosted meat ends up getting stuck in the grinder and it makes it nearly impossible to grind. I like to also freeze the metal parts of my grinder to help keep everything cool. The other thing I’ve learned is you want meat with some fat in it. If you grind something that has little to no fat it ends up tasting dry. You can add fat if you get a lean cut. I’ve added bacon fat with lots of success. Keep these tips in mind if you plan to grind your own meat. If you do not plan on grinding it find a sausage or ground meat with no added flavors or salt.

Thai Sausage

~2lbs of pork cubed and frozen

2 guallio chilies (leftover from the asado from last week)

1 red jalapeno (I kept the heat down on these but if you like spice, definitely double the chilies and jalapeno peppers)

2″ of ginger

1/2 yellow onion

5 cloves of garlic

1 orange bell pepper (red is fine too)

1tbsp lemongrass (I couldn’t find any fresh lemongrass so i used the kind in a squeeze tube)

1 tsp salt (if you’re not using kosher reduce this)

1 tsp oyster sauce

1/2 tsp cumin

1/2 tsp black pepper

1/4 tsp of each of these coriander, cardamom, cinnamon

1/8 tsp of ground cloves

2 zucchini shredded

Grind pork cubes in you meat grinder on the large setting.

Place ground meat back in freezer while preparing the spice mixture.

In a large food processor combine all ingredients from chilies to cloves.

Blend until smooth. Take meat from freezer and mix up spice and meat in a large bowl.

Grind the meat again the same setting. This helps to make sure the spice is evenly mixed in with the meat.

After the second grind, mix meat and zucchini by hand in the same large bowl (no one likes to dishes). Do not over work the meat. Just makes sure the zucchini is evenly distributed in the meat.

Now this next step is very important when making sausage. Make a test patty!

Eat said patty to make sure it is well seasoned. I made ground meat one time and it was so bland and boring that I ended up feeding it to the dogs. It really was that boring. Now I always make a test patty to make sure the meat tastes good.

I think this recipe gave the pork a lot of good Thai flavors. Stuffed peppers, we are go for launch!

I will cover the rest of the meat in plastic wrap and refrigerate it over night. Stay tuned for part two where we stuff them and bake them.


Frozen Fruity Pops

I love to eat frozen treats in the summer time. This is a paleo version of a tasty treat. If you let the fruit get extra ripe there is no need to add a sweetener to this. I have played around with different fruits but I really like this combination right now. These are a super tasty treat for summer time and I don’t feel guilty eating them because it is totally paleo friendly.

Frozen Fruity Pops

1/2 of a peach

1/2 of a mango

3 large strawberries

1/8 cup coconut milk

Remove stems and pits from the fruit. Place all items in a food processor or blender. Blend until smooth.

Freeze in a tray like mine or use small paper cup with a wooden craft stick. I found my tray for around $3 at Walmart, but you can find them everywhere right now. This recipe fits perfectly in my little 6 pop tray. If yours is bigger, or you are making more, then of course you will need to increase the recipe.


Tangy Pork Chops

We are running low on staple foods right now so we are getting to that sad time in our fridge where inspiration and imagination take over. I came up with this marinade after putting together what was available. Excuse the sad looking limes, like I said it was the end of our groceries. This marinade is tangy and fresh tasting. I used it on some pork chops I cut from a pork loin. This would also taste good on chicken or shrimp.

Tangy Pork Chops

juice of two limes

4 garlic cloves

1.5″ of peeled ginger

1 tbsp rice wine vinegar

1 tsp sesame oil

meat of choice

In a food processor blend all the ingredients till smooth. Put meat in a zip top bag and add marinade.

Zip tightly and marinate in your fridge for up to 3 hours. Because of the acidity of this marinade I wouldn’t let it sit over night. What happens is it starts “cooking” the meat like in ceviche and you might end up with tough meat.

Grill meat and serve with a salad for a tangy, refreshing, summer time meal.


Egg Pie

We’ve been eating a lot of these for breakfast lately. It is a great way to use up leftovers. In a cast iron skillet heat up the meat and veggies. Beat about 8 eggs. Pour eggs on top of meat and veggies and place entire skillet into an oven at 400. It takes about 20 minutes to cook all the way through. When eggs have set slice like a pie and serve it up.  This one has leftovers from this meal with a little sliced sausage thrown in. We also make one with carrots, bell peppers, chorizo, and sausage that is super tasty. Any combination of meat and veggies would be good in this. Egg pie is an easy way clean out a fridge, and makes breakfast for a whole family. Once they are cooked the slices are great for a breakfast on the go or an easy lunch.



Asado de Bodas

I love the food magazine Saveur. It has great writing and recipes. They did an article recently on traveling to Mexico and some food from the Zacatecas area. I used this recipe and modified it to be paleo. After having made it there are definitely things I will do differently next time. It was a little too sweet for the both of us and not spicy enough. The changes I made during cooking are below in the recipe. The ones I will do next time are in parentheses.

Asado de Bodas

8 dried New Mexico chiles (I couldn’t find chilies labeled New Mexico so I found dried chiles that look like the ones you can buy in New Mexico)

3 Guajilo chiles (These I found easily with other Mexican chilies and ingredients at HEB)

2 red jalapenos with seeds

1 cup of almonds

1/2 cup of raisins (I will omit this next time it was too sweet)

1/2 tsp ground cumin

1/4 tsp ground cinnamon

6 cloves of garlic

2 whole cloves

2 oz Mexican chocolate (I used Abuelita’s but I will try to find the one they recommend next time this one is very sweet)

3/4 yellow onion

5 cups of boiling water (I will use less next time I had to cook it with the lid off to cook it down a bunch. I think 3 cups would be plenty.)

1 tbsp coconut oil

1 tbsp bacon fat

salt and pepper

~2 lbs pork cut into chunks (I buy a huge loin from Sam’s club for about $20 and cut it into thirds extremely cost effective)

Heat chiles in a 12″ skillet over high heat cook, turning until lightly toasted, about 5 minutes transfer to a blender. (This step is important! I thought you could process all this in a food processor. Let’s just say food processor is not good for liquids.)

Return skillet to high heat and lightly toast almonds.

Transfer nuts to a blender. In the blender add everything but the fats and meat. Let this sit in the blender for a bit to soften up. In the same skillet add your fats. I liked the added taste of bacon so I used both. If you don’t like the taste, don’t use it. (But seriously, who doesn’t like the taste of bacon?) Brown the meat making sure to stir occasionally to get all sides.

By the time you’ve browned your meat, your sauce should be ready to be blended. Blend sauce until smooth.

(I did not do this and had to remove the meat to blend it some more before serving.) Pour sauce over meat and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium low and cook for an hour.

This meal had great flavor and made very tasty gravy that I ended up putting on top of my roasted broccoli. I served this over sliced red cabbage and it was a great paring of flavor. You could also make cauliflower rice as a tasty veggie to top.


Roast Chicken

I love a good roasted chicken. It is such a comfort meal for me. If you do it this way it is also a complete meal with vegetables and meat. Whole chickens are usually quite cheap and provide enough meat for a few meals you can also make stock from the carcass if you are so inclined. This meal takes longer because it is a whole chicken. If you were to cut the chicken in half or use chicken parts it will reduce the cooking time.

Roast Chicken

1 whole chicken defrosted and rinsed

1 tbsp Italian seasoning

1 tsp garlic powder

1 tsp kosher salt (use less if using regular salt)

1/2 tsp onion powder

1/2 tsp black pepper

2 carrots

1 sweet potato

1 bell pepper

1/2 onion

Mix Italian seasoning through black pepper in a small bowl. Sprinkle evenly all over chicken reserving a little for the vegetables. Chop all vegetables and potato in large chunks. Carefully stuff some pepper slices beneath the skin of the chicken. This helps impart flavor while cooking and retains moisture. Place remaining pepper slices along with onion inside the cavity of the chicken. Coat the bottom of a large oven safe dish with olive oil. Put in carrots and sweet potatoes, with remaining seasoning and toss a few times to evenly coat. Push vegetables out of the middle and place in your chicken.

Cook chicken and vegetables uncovered at 350 for about 1.5 to 2 hours. Check internal temperature before serving. Chicken should register 180 at the thigh. If liquid is still pink then your chicken is not done. Let chicken rest for a few minutes after cooking so that the juices go back into the meat before cutting.

I served this with bok choy. It is a dark green, leafy, vegetable with a thick, white, stalk that resembles celery.

It is related to cabbage and popular in Asian cooking. I highly recommend you try it. To cook you will need to wash the vegetable thoroughly. Trim off the leaves and cut like you would greens. The stalk is delicious so do not throw it away. Slice the white stalk in large chunks. Sauté the stalks first as they take longer to cook. I used a little olive oil and some Cajun seasoning for them. Sauté those on medium high heat until they become soft, about 5 minutes. Add leaves and cook until wilted, about 2 minutes. The stalks become soft and buttery when you cook them. It is a really tasty vegetable.

This meal was a perfect comfort meal with enough leftovers for at least a lunch or two.


Yum Yum Bars #472

Stephen won the contest! Thank you to all who entered I had fun with it, and I hope you did too. Stephen this is one of the things you won.

I’ve made these bars a bunch now. Each time I just throw stuff together until it looks and tastes good. Each time I tweak this that or the other thing. I’m not sure which version I’m on now, but I did write everything down this time. The best part of this recipe is that you can really use the ingredients you wish to use. It’s a pretty easy recipe. I’ve tried some new things with this version like putting in dark chocolate baking powder and using eggs.

Yum Yum Bars

5 cups of shredded coconut

3 cups of walnuts

4 cups of pecans

4 cups of almonds

5tbsp dark chocolate powder

1tsp cinnamon

1/2 cup coconut oil

1 cup of honey

1 tsp vanilla

3 eggs

1 cup of raisins

1 cup of chopped dried apricots

In a food processor blend until fine 3 cups of shredded coconut, 3 cups of walnuts, 3 cups of almonds, and 3 cups of pecans. It will look like beach sand at this point. Pour your blended mixture in a large mixing bowl. Rough chop the remaining nuts. I don’t like walnuts as much so I left them out of the rough chop. If you like them, add them. A rough chop leaves larger chunks of nuts in the bars. I usually use my food processor for this step by pulsing the nuts a few times. You can also chop them by hand if you prefer. Add rough chopped nuts and reaming shredded coconut to the mixing bowl. Add chocolate, cinnamon, eggs and fruit to bowl. Mix well until all ingredients are evenly distributed. In a small pan heat oil, honey, and vanilla until oil is melted. Pour oil mixture into large mixing bowl. Mix thoroughly.

On a well oiled baking tray press the mixture down. I used bacon fat to oil the pan for the added yum factor. Press the mixture firmly down. Let me stress this PRESS THE MIXTURE DOWN FIRMLY! This will help keep the bars from crumbling too much. I was trying to avoid too much crumbling with the addition of eggs. These bars came out better but I think next time I will try to use some nut flour to make them even more cohesive. Bake in the oven at 300 for 20 minutes.

Let the bars cool and then cut them with a pizza cutter. I had a had time not eating these. We save the crumbles and put coconut milk on them for a little dessert.

For the Crossfitters these were the bars we brought to the potluck, and this is the recipe for the jerky. We also had a batch there that was un-marinated. Obviously if you marinate your beef in soy sauce it will not be totally paleo. We prefer the marinated flavor but both kinds are good.