Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Recipe: Susan's Breakfast Casserole

Susan is a newer member to the Paleo Lifestyle in the Real World Face Book Page but she's been a friend for a lot of years. She's a mean cook, and she described her newest creation on the boards, which I'm sharing with you (with her permission, of course):

"This morning I found myself without a plan for breakfast, so I decided it was time to make a Breakfast Casserole for the week.

 I sautéed up:
·         an onion
·         bell pepper
·         zucchini
·         shredded sweet potato 
·         ground turkey 
 With copious amounts of:
·         cumin 
·         chili powder 
·         oregano
·         salt and pepper
 Spread it in a casserole dish and topped it off with:
·         10 eggs
·         a small can of spicy tomato sauce.
Bake at 350 degrees F for about 35 minutes until cooked through.

This is key for me as I don't wake up early enough to make breakfast each day before work. So when it comes out of the oven, I'll go ahead and cut it into 8 squares and put each one in Tupperware, so I can just grab one out of the fridge each morning as I leave the house. It's ok cold, or I can heat it up in the microwave at work.

Picture from "What's Cooking America" website.

Thanks, Susan!

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Recipe: Joie's Autumn Fruit Compote

Joie doesn't post much, but that doesn't mean she's not out there working the clean eating. We speak daily, and I'm starting to just take some of her ideas and post them here (with her permission, of course), because she has some *Rawkin!* ideas for clean-eating chow.

 Take this one for example: 

 Joie's Autumn Fruit Compote
·         1 very ripe pear or apple, diced
·         Several very ripe strawberries, sliced
·         A couple of shakes of pumpkin pie spice.
·         Stir to blend.
·         Put in a baggie and let marinate several hours for afternoon snack.

*licks spoon*


Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Sara: Recipe - Baked Chicken Tenders

One of our previous staples that is now a "no no" food is chicken nuggets.  Of course, we still do Ian's now and then, but they're a far cry from paleo.

I decided to try my hand at baked chicken tenders, "breaded" with almond meal.

  • ~2lbs chicken breast (or tenders)
  • 4 egg whites
  • 2tbsp water
  • 1.5 c almond meal (or almond flour, if you prefer)
  • 2tsp Mrs. Dash (I used the Italian)
  • 1tsp pepper
Preheat oven to 350.

Lay your chicken out on a cutting board and cover with plastic wrap.  Beat with a mallet (or, as you see here, an 8lb dumbbell!) until chicken is approx 1/2" thick.  Cut chicken into strips (or nuggets!).

In one bowl, combine the egg whites and water to make an egg wash.
In another bowl, combine the remaining ingredients (add more seasoning, if you prefer!).

Dip each piece of chicken in the egg wash, then coat with the dry ingredients. As you go, place chicken strips/pieces on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.

Bake chicken strips for approximately 25-35 minutes, turning halfway through.
You'll know they're done when they're a gorgeous golden brown!

Gorgeous golden brown!! Light crunch on the outside, juicy chicken inside!

Served ours with collard greens, sweet potato fries and homemade "honey mustard" (literally honey and mustard whipped together!!)

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Sara: Recipe Review - Battle of the Breads!

I'm not going to lie - I miss bread.

I never ate it all that often, but I miss those times when I did eat it.
That piece of toast with my eggs in the morning, especially.
I've been craving an egg sandwich something fierce!!

The other night, I asked my sweet husband, Rick, if we could splurge on a loaf or two of Paleo Bread. He was all for it until I told him how much it was.  A loaf is $7.99 and then shipping is about $12 - has to be refrigerated! - so a loaf comes to almost $20!  I have no idea if any stores around here sell something similar, but the ingredients I've found in gluten free bread didn't sit well with me.

Gluten does bad things to me, though.  I've occasionally indulged in a slice of buttered toast at night, rationalizing that at least I don't feel the effects then, because I'm asleep before they set in!

But I know it's still doing damage.  Gluten causes leaky gut no matter what time of day you eat it.  And wheat wreaks havoc on your insulin levels as badly (if not worse) than straight up sugar.

I knew I had to find an alternative.

If you Google "paleo bread recipe" you will find many variations.  After reading a lot of reviews and thoughts on the different kinds/versions, I decided to pick the two most likely to turn out and give 'em a go.

I picked this one from Elana's Pantry and this one from Cooking Caveman. (Note that Cooking Caveman declares in the title of his that "The Paleo Bread Search is Officially Over!"  How could I resist??)

The biggest difference between these two is the form of main ingredient.  Elana calls for almond flour, Caveman uses almond butter.  I was intrigued!

When I made Elana's, I noticed she was using a much smaller pan than what I had on hand (I have a standard loaf pan and she was using 7.5"x3.5" Magic Line pan), so I decided to double the recipe.  Then I realized I didn't have enough almond flour to pull that off, so I just prepared 1.5x what she called for.

That's not pepper - it's flax! Yum!
The result was pretty tasty!  However, it was sweet - more like a dessert bread.  I think it would make an excellent base for banana or blueberry bread.  I loved the flavor.  The bread was not especially pretty, though.  And while fairly sturdy, it was not tough enough to stick in a toaster or anything like that.

This morning, however, I was desperate enough for a breakfast sandwich that I told myself the sweet was less sweet than a McGriddle (yeah, I used to be addicted to those nasty things), so it could make a passable breakfast sandwich.
Passable, but not perfect!
In the interest of science (and the quest for bread that my kids might be able to use for grilled cheese on occasion), I whipped up the Caveman's almond butter bread this evening.

I didn't want to double his recipe - I was tired and burnt out and I was honestly skeptical that this one would come out as well as advertised.  Almond butter?  Mixed with just eggs, lemon juice and baking soda?  Surely this would be a disaster. Caveman said this would rise, too, so I wasn't sure just how big this bad boy would get.

I will also say this: this recipe is infinitely easier to mix.  I just bust out my stick blender, gave it a few whirls...done!  (The other was supposed to be mixed in a food processor, kinda messy/lumpy/etc until it's blended.)

When I first poured it into the pan, I thought for sure I'd wind up with 1/2" tall bread.

How would this yellow liquid turn into "bread"??
Baked it for 30 minutes at 350 and it was perfectly done.

Oh, hey! It grew a little bit!
I'd say it close to doubled in size.  Doubling this recipe in a normal loaf pan would make the perfect loaf of bread.

How pretty is that??
Bottom line? Caveman's bread won, hands down.  While Elana's would make a lovely base for banana bread - and it is AMAZING with a little spread of preserves - Caveman's bread won for me in every other way.  It's easy to mix, it's sturdy (you could stick this in the toaster, easy), and it tastes closer to the real deal.  (Mine has a tiny bit of sweet flavor to it, but I noticed after the fact that the almond butter we've bought the last couple of times has a small amount of sugar, so that was likely the culprit!)

And, of course, it's pretty!  My kids might not balk at the idea of this being their new bread.  (Of course this requires all three of them to actually try this bread - only 2 of my 3 would touch the other one!)

I'm a happy girl.
Tomorrow morning, there will be eggs on toast.  Oh yes there will.

What foods do you miss?  Have you tried paleo versions? Were they any good?

Monday, October 22, 2012

Rachael Recipe: Vanilla Paleo/Primal Coffee Creamer

I have loved coffee, strong and sweet, for decades.  The sweeter, the better. I have been addicted to CoffeeMate French Vanilla Creamer for years.  Before that, I would take my coffee with half and half and a ton of sugar.  Bad me.

This past summer, when I started clean-eating, I was able to cut out everything in my diet that has corn syrup.  It was surprisingly easy to do so.  With one exception: my creamer. I tried going back to real cream or half and half in an attempt to be primal. Then I tried almond milk, and then coconut milk on separate occasions, with great disappointment. Neither did the trick by themselves. And don't get me started on using honey alone in coffee. UGH!

I really wanted to get past this last bit of evilness in my diet, and I scoped out recipes on the interwebz for coffee creamers that didn't use sugar or any sugar substitute, but was still sweet. I saw recipes using date paste (dates that have been run through a food processor to a paste-like consistency, natch), but the idea of that much work making a pitcher of creamer for a week made my lazy bones want to take a nap.  Besides, I am not that much of a date fan.

I've been using honey for a sweetener lately (not in my coffee, plain honey to sweeten my coffee just tasted gross) in general cooking, and over the months I realized that honey did not spike my blood sugar the way corn syrup, sugar, or sugar substitutes did.  Now, I cannot vouch that this is true for everyone, so if you are a diabetic, please check your glucose and monitor what honey does for you, personally.

Here's a recipe that I've come up with, that works for me. It's sweet, rich, and totally tames my urges for the unhealthy creamer I've been ingesting for years:

Paleo or Primal Vanilla Coffee Creamer
  • One can of full fat coconut milk (shake can well before opening to re-distribute the cream into the water)
  • Equal parta non-sweetened Almond Milk (I used the coconut can to measure)
  • Honey, to taste (I have used 2 tablespoons up to 1/4 cup - I generally eyeball it and taste as I go)
  • 2 teaspoons of Vanilla extract
  • For extra richness, a heaping tablespoon of Coconut Cream Concentrate (optional)
  •  1 heaping teaspoon of Cinnamon (optional) 
  1. Throw it all into a saucepan and heat on the lowest setting of your stove, whisking constantly, until everything is melted and incorporated. Don't let it scorch on the bottom. Whisk!
  2. Store in an airtight container and refrigerate until cool. 
  3. Shake or stir well before use.
  4. Drink and enjoy!

1. The coconut cream concentrate is not necessary for this recipe to taste good, it  just adds a little bit of extra richness. It can also give a little bit of a grainy mouth feel, due to the finely shredded coconut bits in it, so some people might not care for it in a coffee creamer. If you don't have it, don't worry about it.
2. This recipe lasts in the fridge for about 4-5 days. After that it gets a slightly different taste, and while not bad, fresher is better, so don't make more than you can consume in that time frame.

3. If you are feeling adventurous, swapping the Cinnamon for Unsweetened Cocoa would be an excellent idea, just make sure to heat and whisk, as cocoa doesn't like to incorporate very well. An immersion blender would work well, too.

4. When I first started this particular venture, I worried that the ingredients in this would separate after being left in the fridge. However, this did not happen, I was, frankly, shocked at this. Just a shake or a stir was enough to get it all back together.  However, a friend of mine had suggested to freeze the finished product in ice cube trays, and use the cubes in your coffee.  It's a brilliant idea, but one I haven't tried yet.

Addendum:  I would normally attempt to take pictures, even though they would be lousy. However, at the time of writing this, I was using an unusual ingredient that turned out to be a bonus.  See, DaMan and I make our almond milk at home, because we prefer to use it unsweetened for cooking. The last time it was made, someone (I won't name names) accidentally made almond milk using toasted almonds. The result is an unappetizing looking product that was perfectly fine for use in coffee creamer. In fact it gave is a great toasted almond flavor that I played up with by using almond extract and cinnamon. YUM!

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Sara: Recipe - Fuax Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

A few weeks ago, a friend shared a recipe for cookies with a sunflower seed base.  As soon as I can find that recipe, I'll try to come back and update this post!  The recipe was egg free, so it was an ideal AIP (auto-immune protocol) recipe, and the cookies came out pretty tasty...but they were a complete mess.  Honey was not enough to hold those bad boys together!

I loved the flavor, though, so I decided to use that recipe as a starting point for this cookie.
And these, I must say, came out freakin' delicious.

  • 1.5c sunflower seeds, roasted, unsalted
  • 1/4-1/2 c honey (depending on how sweet you want them!
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 c shredded coconut
  • 1/2 c raisins

Preheat oven to 350.

Pour sunflower seeds into a food processor (I used my mini-prep as this isn't a big job).
Pulse until the seeds become a flour-like consistency, but stop before you get sunflower seed butter!

Should look something like this! You don't want to see many - if any - whole seeds left

Add all ingredients together in a bowl and mix well

I know you're loving the glare off my stainless bowl!

Scoop out tablespoon sized balls of dough (I actually just used a heaping soup spoon) and place on parchment lined cookie sheet.  These cookies will not rise or grow at all, so don't worry about spacing other than not letting them touch. 

Bake for 10-12 minutes, depending on the size of your cookie.
When they're starting to turn golden brown, they're done!

Cool and eat!

Another beautiful sideways picture from yours truly

My kids (and husband!) chowed down on these things. Recipe only makes 10-12 cookies, so you may want to double it as they won't last long! 

Friday, October 19, 2012

Recipe: Primal Beef Stew in the Crockpot

I really, really need to learn to take more profesional pictures.Because this stew really deserves someone better than me snapping a phone pic of the stew in the crockpot.

No. Really.

This has to be the best stew I've ever made, and I've made plenty of beef strew before going paleo/primal.

 I ain't just whistling dixie here, y'all.

My hubby asked how I was going to make stew without potatoes. I said I just wasn't going to put any in, and he gave me the hairy eyeball.

Our blogging compatriot, Lola, asked me how I was going to thicken the sauce for the stew without using corn starch (normally I'd use potato starch anyway), and I said arrowroot powder. And got a thumbs up.

See?  These little things are easy to overcome.

So let's get on with the recipe, shall we?

Paleo/Primal Beef Stew

  • 1 lb beef, cut into chunks. Use your favorite cut, or what you have on hand.
  • 1-2 onions chopped
  • 1 cup chopped bell pepper (colors of the rainbow, peeps! Get those vitamins!)
  • 1 cup chopped carrots
  • 1 stalk chopped celery
  • 1-2 cloves garlic, minced 
  • 2-4 cups beef stock or low sodium beef broth
  • 1 cup red wine (I used Chiraz, because it was what I had on-hand) or 1/4 cup red wine or balsamic vinegar (don't go nuts with the vinegar unless you like things *really* tangy)
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup arrowroot powder
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder and/or onion powder
  • other seasonings to your taste: dried parsley, cayenne pepper, sea salt


  1. put the chunks of beef into a baggies and dump the arrowroot powder and the granulated garlic or onion powder  in there as well.  Shake to coat. (great job for the kids, make them shake the bag and then get them to say, "And I helped!" in their best southern accent) (sorry, I couldn't help myself) If 1/4 cup of the arrowroot powder doesn't coat the beef thoroughly, then go whole hog and put in another 1/4 cup.
  2. put a little bit of oil oil in a hot skillet and immediately throw in the onions and peppers. Cook until they start to soften and become fragrant. Take out of the skillet and put into the crockpot.
  3. add a little bit more oil into the pan and place the coated chunks of beef into it. Don't crowd them, do it in batches if you have to.  Brown each side of the beef, and place them into the crockpot with the onions and peppers.
  4. add the carrots and celery to the crockpot and cover with beef stock.
  5. add the spices of your choosing, put on the lid, and cook for 2 hours on low.
  6. after 2 hours, add the wine. Stir it well. Cover and cook for another 2 hours.
Viola!  Beef stew that's fit for a king. Or a caveman.

P.S. The only thing I could possibly add to this stew would be mushrooms. When I make this again, and oh yes, I will, I will add them when I add the wine, so they aren't cooked down to nothing.


Monday, October 15, 2012

Rachael: Meal Ideas: What Do You Do With Scrambled Eggs?

Crazy egg chairs that I had to share. From www.wilwheaton.tumbler.net
Is it the breakfast of Champions? Is it a quick way to get some protein in your gut first thing in the morning? Are you getting sick of eggs for breakfast?

I go through bouts of eggs / no eggs for breakfast. My go to when I do want eggs is scrambed with cut up chicken, chopped bell peppers, broccoli if I have it, and if I'm feeling primal instead of paleo, a pinch of Parmesan cheese.

I put out the question on our companion FB page: What do you put in your eggs?  I didn't get much of a response, but here is what I did get:

  • smoked ham, green peppers and sweet spanish onions
  • whatever's in my fridge. The best things are usually leftovers. 
  •  Almost anything, as long as it's topped with salsa/Shriracha!!
  •  I was in the mood for something sweet today so my one son made a very thin egg pancake and topped it with apple slices, a few chopped grapes and a bit of cinnamon. Then he folded it over like an egg crepe and finished cooking it. It was very good actually because without spices the egg was basically tasteless. 
  •  I'm pretty boring with my eggs, I think. Love spinach, sausage, onions, peppers, etc. Add a little feta, Romano or Parmesan cheese. 
Here's an article on Making Great Scrambled Eggs, from The Paleo Diet Lifestyle.  It's a basic tutorial on making the eggs themselves, and leaves you to your own imagination as to what to put in there.

So what do you think? Have you got a great way with eggs that you'd like to share?

For those of you that do not want to eat eggs every morning for breakfast (we all get tired of the same thing, trust me) here's 20 egg-less paleo breakfasts, a very thoughtful blog post from www.paleononpaleo.com.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Rachael's Recipe Review: TPM's Paleo Fudge


if you folow us on the the Face Book companion page, you know that I've been talking a lot about this recipe for Paleo Fudge.

I was (and still am) a wicked sugar addict and a chocoholic from waaaaaay back, and I was hoping to find a recipe that would allow me to have a bit of the evil monster, and yet, not break the glucose bank, so to speak.

My fellow blogger, Sara, had found this recipe for freezer fudge (from The Paleo Mom), and tried it out on herself and her family. It was a hit. She's made it several times in the last couple of months, and every time cuts back a little bit on the honey. No one seems to notice.  She also adds things like almond butter, coconut flakes, nuts, etc.

I decided to give it a try myself, but I made it plain, no add-ins of nuts, coconut flakes, etc.  I am usually not a fan of fudge in general, especially not with nuts in it. Call me a purist. And that's my mistake.

Because I have to say that I at first I was disappointed. It tasted like eating chocolate flavored butter.


The coconut oil was very rich, and with nothing to break it up, like the nuts I eschewed, it was really not very appetizing.

At first.

I kept the batch I made in the fridge.  I decided that I'd eventually melt it down and make something else out of it, but DaMan and I kept nibbling on it. Usually after dinner, when the sugar monster rears it's ugly head.

I found that in small pieces, it was tolerable.  And it did help me from craving the sugary stuff. I grew to appreciate the fact that a small piece would do me well for the night.

That same batch is still in my fridge. We still nibble off of it. And I still plan on melting it down and doing something else with it. I just haven't figured out what yet. But I'm happy with it, and grateful to The Paleo Mom for blogging about it.

Then my other compatriot who also is involved with this blog, Joie, tried it earlier this week. Joie isn't addicted to the sweets like Sara and I are. But I got this message from Joie after she made her batch:

Ok, holy crap. Did the Paleo Fudge/Chocolate thing. OMG.
Coconut oil, unsweetened cocoa, raw honey, a splash of vanilla, lots of unsweetened coconut, assorted chopped nuts and a little dried fruit.
This will take care of my dark chocolate fix!
Why didn't you force this down my gullet earlier?????

 So, I think that we can all safely say that the Paleo Freezer Fudge is a hit.

Picture from www.thepaleomom.com

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Recipe: Spicy Chicken Wings

DaMan loves hot wings. Unfortunately, he prefers the breaded kind, not the buffalo sauced kind. He loves a spicy breading on deep fried wings.

This is so not compatible with the Paleo/Primal lifestyle that we are trying to emulate, but I thought that I might try to work something out as a "Once in a While" treat, while still keeping it gluten-free, and trying to cut down on the badness that happens when you deep-fry foods.

What I came up with probably isn't for day to day clean eating. Most certainly not when you are doing a cleanse, or a 21/30 day challenge, but it does boast to not having any wheat flour, and it was pretty delicious.

I was having a hard time coming up with an egg wash and "breaded" coating that stayed on the chicken wing through the cooking process. I had a moment of genius inspiration and decided to try tahini as way to  thicken the egg wash in to a more batter-like consistency, and it worked pretty darn well! If you don't have or cannot obtain Tahini, you might try an unsweetened almond or other nut/seed butter, but it might be more difficult to incorporate into the egg wash without using a food processor.

In an attempt to keep calories down, I only pan-fried the wings for a short time, just enough to set the coating, and then finished cooking in the oven. I wanted the breading to be crunchy, yet have the same mouth-feel as a deep fried wing.

*Note, work in batches. Fry a few wings at a time, then put on a cooling rack with paper towels or aluminum foil underneath to catch the excess oil.  Then carefully move the wings to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper to finish in the oven. You might want to double line it.

So here you go. I hope you enjoy it as much as DaMan did:

Spicy Breaded Chicken Wings
(this recipe coated about 20 wings)

Wet Ingredients for the egg wash:

  •  3 eggs
  • Spicy Hot Sauce, a few dashes, to taste
  • 2-3 Tablespoons Tahini
  • 2-3 Tablespoons Almond or coconut milk (if needed to stretch the egg wash)

Dry Ingredients:

  • 1/3 cup coconut flour
  • 1/3 cup almond flour
  • 1/3 cup almond meal (dried leftover almond paste from making your own, if you keep it)

Egg Wash with Tahini (the secret ingredient!)
Spices, these are optional, but highly recommended for flavor and for beefing up the "breaded coating":
  • Garlic powder
  • Onion powder
  • Mrs Dash
  • Seasoned pepper
  • Paprika
  • Sea Salt
  • Chili powder
  • Cumin
  • Cayenne Pepper
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Put all the dry ingredients and your chosen spices into a gallon-sized ziplock baggie. 
  3. In a large bowl, whisk all the wet ingredients well.
  4. Heat a large skillet with your preferred oil. I ended up using veggie oil, because the coconut oil smoked too quickly. If you can make it work, great.
  5. Drag your chicken wings through the egg wash, then coat with the dry ingredients by shaking them in the baggie with the dry ingredients.
  6. Place in skillet and let brown for 2-3 minutes on each side. 
  7. Place chicken on cooling rack with paper towels underneath to catch excess oil. Let drain for a few minutes.
  8. Place drained chicken on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Place in the oven until the chicken reaches 165 degrees.
  9. Fry in batches, don't overcrowd the skillet.

  10. Let wings cool for a few minutes, then serve.

Here's a Primal Ranch Dressing Recipe that you might use a dipping sauce,it's from Mark's Daily Apple.

place quick fried wings to a cooling rack before transferring them to the oven for finishing.


Thursday, October 4, 2012

Lola: Review of MaraNatha Almond Butter

My review of MaraNatha No Stir  Raw Maple Almond Butter 

Purchased: Walmart 12 oz. jar for around $5.68

I was reluctant to try Almond Butter due to the price and lack of overall visual appeal.   Curiosity won out and I purchased.

Initial view/color of Almond Butter is not overly appealing compared to traditional peanut butter.  Look is reminiscent of dirty beach sand.  Smell was okay..nothing that made me salivate.  Texture is looser than traditional p.b. and somewhat grainy with a bit of oil on top  to mix through (similar to Smuckers All Natural).  

Taste:  WOW !!!!  Almond taste with a slight taste of sweet maple sugar to follow ! Reminds me of Bavarian Nuts that I have purchased at Disney World.  (almonds coated in cinnamon and sugar).  I could eat this with a spoon and feel like its dessert!

Overall Rating: 9 out of 10 Stars!  Will buy again.

Raw Almonds, Maple Sugar, Palm Oil, Sea Salt.

MaraNatha Almond Butter Page on Amazon! Click here to buy

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Recipe: Paleo/Primal Crockpot Chicken Chili

It's getting to be that time of year again. When the weather cools, I get to thinking about soups, stews, and chili.

Here's a super easy chili recipe that takes almost no time to prepare, and is yummy, and makes for great leftovers to take for lunches for a few days afterwards.

Paleo/Primal Crockpot Chicken Chili


  • 1lb of ground chicken, turkey, beef, or lamb
  • One large onion
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic crushed and chopped
  • Green, Red, Orange, or Yellow bell peppers chopped, to equal 1 cup
  • Large can of petite diced tomatoes
  • Large can of crushed tomatoes or 1 quart of homemade tomato puree
  • 1-2T of honey (to cut the acid in the tomatoes) 
  • Chicken stock (I usually freeze my stock in ice cube trays, and I used 3 cubes = 6 tablespoons)
  • 1 cup diced zucchini
  • Spices: Cumin, chili powder, onion powder, garlic powder, salt and pepper to taste

Here's the wicked hard instructions:

  • Through everything into the crockpot
  • Turn on low
  • Wait 8 hours.

See?  I know!!!

And it really is yummy.

I topped with a pinch of mozzarella cheese and some pickled banana peppers. That makes the dish more Primal than Paleo, but it was definitely YUM!