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Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Paleo Brownie Bites

As my labmate reminded me today, I'll be proposing my dissertation topic this semester. I don't know if this is typical in all departments, but at least in ours, it's standard fare to provide some sort of tasty snack for your committee to enjoy while they listen to your (cough) incredibly fascinating defense presentation. Usually, I bring cookies, but especially because I'm examining the paleo diet as one of my key variables in my dissertation project, I felt like that would be a little...inappropriate now. But, I can't disappoint them with a veggie platter. (My advisor hearts cookies, big time.)

You see my dilemma.

So, I decided that it had to be possible to create a paleo sweet treat that was still delectable to nonpaleo eaters. Thus, I'm going to be testing this latest creation on some nonpaleo friends. It is my own opinion, however, that these are the most delicious "replacement" item I've made since going paleo.

Paleo Brownie Bites
(Makes 12)

-2 2.5 oz bags chopped macadamia nuts (from the baking section of the store--they were the only unsalted ones I could find)

-1/4 c unsweetened cocoa powder

-1/4 c coconut flour

-1/2 c dextrose (EDIT: although they taste sweet to me, you may need to use more if you're feeding them to anyone who isn't paleo--some preliminary data suggests that they don't taste remarkably sweet otherwise)

-2 eggs

Preheat oven to 350 F. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.

Grind macadamia nuts in a food processor until they form a paste. Scrape into a large bowl, and add cocoa powder, coconut flour, and dextrose. Blend thoroughly--it should have a fine-ish texture, but still a little bit clumpy. Add eggs and mix well, until you have a very thick cookie dough. Shape into 1 1/2" balls, and place on cookie sheet.

Bake 10 minutes (they should still be very soft). Let rest for a few minutes on the cookie sheet, then move to a wire rack to cool.

The outside should be just a little crumbly, and the inside should be super moist. Not the kind of thing you want to eat every day, but delicious.


Monday, February 21, 2011

Bacon Explosion

The famous bacon explosion was the big event this weekend. We did a pretty good job, I think.

Since we don't have a smoker, we just cooked it in the oven at 350 F, for about an hour and a half, until the internal temperature read 165 F on the meat thermometer. I won't repost the entire recipe, as the link above gives pretty detailed instructions. However, here are a couple of tips...

-It's important to make the bacon weave as tight as possible, and it's really a 2 person job to make it right. Lay the horizontal pieces down on the pan very thickly, so that they overlap slightly. Then crosshatch the bacon by having one person lift up the horizontal strips, while the other person lays down the vertical strips, as closely to the previous vertical strip as humanly/baconly possibly. You want absolutely, positively no gaps in the bacon weave. At all.

-We added some chopped serrano peppers to the chopped, cooked bacon that we put in the middle of the roll. And there was a mutual feeling that if we ever do this again (ha, "if"), we'll add some more peppers, and more other veggies, like onions, sweet peppers, etc. Ooo, maybe even some chopped apple....

-The sausage to bacon ratio was a little bit high, in our estimation. In future, I think we'll use 1 or 1.5 lbs of sausage rather than 2, and make the relative bacon content really worthy of the name "Bacon Explosion."

-Finally, of course, we didn't use a commercial BBQ sauce, we used Son of Grok's recipe.

It was every bit as bacony and delicious as you'd imagine. It's not the kind of thing I'd want to make every weekend, lest the magic fade. But maybe we'll start a Birthday Bacon Explosion tradition instead of birthday cake...?


Friday, February 18, 2011

Breakfast: Leftover pulled pork

Yay, it's a big, sloppy, pork-laden smiley face! Using leftovers from this glorious dinner adventure, I made a quick omelet this morning with 2 eggs (which I whisked with a dash of ground cloves), stuffed with as much pulled pork as the pan could stand, and I drizzled it all with leftover paleo BBQ sauce. Nothing fancy, nothing better.


Shrimp Stew

Awesome dinner last night, courtesy of my mom's recipe. (Apologies for the photo quality--we were in a hurry to eat it, as it smelled amazing, and tasted even better.) I made a few additions and subtractions to her original, as we didn't have yellow squash or crawfish tails, and I've been on a coconut kick lately.

Shrimp Stew:

-1 tbsp olive oil

-1 sweet potato, diced into 1/2" chunks

-1/2 onion

-2 tsp (or 4 cloves) diced garlic

-1 serrano pepper

-2 sweet peppers (I used green and orange)

-3 fresh campari tomatoes, diced

-1/2 - 1 tsp curry powder

-1/2 - 1 tsp chili powder

-1/2 tsp black pepper

-1 lb bag frozen, cooked, cleaned shrimp, thawed and tails removed

-1 can (15 oz) chicken broth

-1/2 can (8 oz) coconut milk

Heat oil in medium pot over medium heat. When oil is shimmering, add sweet potatoes and saute until they begin to soften, about 6-8 minutes. Add onions, and cook, stirring frequently, until they are translucent, about 2-3 minutes. Add serrano and sweet peppers, cook for about 2 minutes. Add tomatoes, cook for another 2 minutes. Add shrimp and seasonings, and mix well. Then add in broth and coconut milk, cover, and let simmer on low/medium-low heat until the flavors diffuse, about 15 minutes.

We loved the richness and thickness of the stew--extremely tasty, and very satisfying. If Oklahoma ever decides to carry crawfish tails in their super markets, we'll be adding those into the mix.


Thursday, February 17, 2011

Paleo Spinach Balls

My mom made these spinach balls at Thanksgiving several years ago that were *amazing,* I couldn't get enough of them. Unfortunately, they weren't something I could take with me into paleo land.

Until now...

Paleo Spinach Balls:

-2 10 oz packages of frozen, chopped spinach, drained and patted dry.

-1 small onion, finely chopped

-1 cup nut flower/meal (I used 1/2 almond and 1/2 sunflower seed)

-1 tsp each....


-1/2 tsp sea salt

-1/2 tsp garlic salt

-1/4 tsp black pepper

-4 eggs

-3/4 c melted coconut oil (or another oil of your choice--melted butter, if you're feeling frisky, would probably be the ideal)

Mix spinach, onions, and dry ingredients together. Then add melted coconut oil and eggs, mix until well blended. The result should be a moist but cohesive ball of "dough." Roll 1 1/2" balls (about the size of walnuts), and place on ungreased, non-stick cookie sheet. Place in fridge for 2 hours. Preheat oven to 350 F, and bake for about 20 minutes.

Makes about 32-34 balls.

Awesome as appetizers or party food.


Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Paleo Cappuccino!

Just stumbled on this combo this morning, after making for dessert last night. Awesome! Not only is it amazingly filling, but it tastes every bit as creamy and delicious as Starbucks, just way less sweet--which I really prefer, actually (however, if you have some dextrose on hand, feel free to add a teaspoon or two).

Paleo Cappuccino:

3/4 c hot coffee

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/4 c coconut milk (or more, if you'd like--it gets really rich really quick, though, so beware)

Pour hot coffee into the cup first, add vanilla and cinnamon and mix well. Then add coconut milk. Sprinkle with extra cinnamon on top. Excellent start to the morning.

I'm interested to try doing this with chai tea instead of coffee...


Paleo BBQ Pulled Pork & Green Beans

This was dinner last night. Awesome. This combination of elements is tasty enough to brighten the darkest of days.

Crock Pot BBQ Pulled Pork:

-1 pork shoulder butt roast

-2 sliced onions, separated

-5 or 6 whole cloves

-Salt and pepper to taste

-2 c water

-1 onion, chopped

-16 oz BBQ sauce (I used this *amazing* recipe:, but added a bit of cayenne)

-Extra BBQ for dipping (the recipe above makes 16 oz--I made a double batch, and was glad I did)

Slice the onions, and put 1 in the bottom of the crock pot. Stud the roast with cloves, and season with salt and pepper. Add to crock pot, and top with second sliced onion. Pour enough water over the top to fill the crop pot about 2/3 full (1 - 2 cups, depending on the size of your crock pot). Cook on low for 8-10 hours. Remove roast from crockpot to large bowl, discard cloves and onions, but retain the pork reserve (you'll need it for the green beans) in a large bowl. Let roast sit until it is cool enough to handle, then shred with a fork (or fingers) until the entire roast is pulled. Return meat to crock pot, add chopped onions and BBQ sauce, mix well, and let simmer on high for 1-3 hours, until onions are soft.

Green Beans:

-1 to 1 1/2 lbs fresh green beans, trimmed and cut into 1" pieces.

-2 strips bacon

-1/2 onion, chopped

-Big dash of red pepper flakes

-1/2 tsp diced garlic (or 1 clove, diced)

-1 tsp salt

-Pork reserve

Fry bacon until crispy in a medium pot. Add onions & red pepper flakes, and saute until translucent (3-4 min). Add green beans, garlic, and salt, and mix well. Add in pork reserve until beans are completely covered. Then simmer, covered, over medium/medium-low heat for 20-30 minutes (depending on how well you like them cooked).

And I don't need to tell you to "enjoy."


Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Asparagus Eggs, Sunny Side Up

I experimented with something new this morning, and was relieved to find that it was delicious. There's just something about asparagus that loves lemon and eggs.

Asparagus Eggs:

-1 tbsp olive oil

-Handful of asparagus (I think I had about 10-15 stalks), chopped into 1" pieces

-Juice of 1/2 lemon

-1/8 tsp mustard powder

-Dash of red pepper flakes

-2-3 eggs

-Salt to taste

Heat olive oil in pan over medium heat. Snap tough ends off the asparagus, then chop into 1" pieces. When pan is hot, add asparagus, and saute for about 2 min. Add seasonings and lemon juice, and continue to saute, 1-2 min. Evenly distribute asparagus in the pan, then carefully crack eggs into pan, without breaking the yolks. Sprinkle with salt, if desired. Cook until whites have set--yolks should still be nice and runny--then carefully remove eggs and asparagus to a plate.

Can't go wrong with this combo.


Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Spicy Bacon and Sweet Potato Frittata

This is one of my favorite breakfasts. It seamlessly brings together all my favorite flavors--sweet, salty and spicy--and is supremely satisfying.

Spicy Bacon and Sweet Potato Frittata

(Makes 1 frittata)

-1/2 c (heaping) diced sweet potato (keep them small--1/2" or so--to keep the cooking time down)

-2 strips lean bacon, chopped

-2 eggs

-1 generous tbsp coconut milk

-2 tsp coconut oil

-1 to 2 tsp cinnamon

-A healthy dash of cayenne pepper

-Sea salt to taste

Whisk together eggs and coconut milk in a bowl, and set aside. Heat oil in a large, non-stick pan over medium heat. Add sweet potato and cook until it begins to soften, stirring frequently, about 5 minutes. Add seasonings. Push potatoes to one side of the pan, add bacon, and cook until it begins to brown, 2-3 minutes. Stir potatoes and bacon together and continue to cook until bacon is crispy and potatoes are soft, about 5 minutes. Make sure potatoes and bacon are equally distributed in the pan, then carefully pour egg/coconut milk mixture around the circumference of the pan. Tilt the pan in a circular motion to distribute the eggs evenly. Cook until eggs are set, about 3-5 minutes. Carefully slide frittata out of the pan and onto a plate, and enjoy.


Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Paleo Pizza

There are a ton of pizza crust recipes floating around, but most of the ones I've tried tasted dry, or didn't support the toppings well. This one is the best I've tried so far--it tastes great, it's not dry, and it's extremely sturdy for supporting whatever you want to put on top of it. The crust recipe is a slightly modified version of this:

Paleo Pizza Crust

-4 eggs

-2 c almond flour/meal

-2 tsp olive oil

-1/2 tsp...

...garlic powder

...onion powder



Preheat oven to 350 F. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Beat the eggs, then add remaining ingredients and mix until smooth (the consistency should be like batter, not dough). Pour the mixture onto the parchment paper-lined pan, and spread with spatula as thin as possible. Bake 15 minutes by itself. Then add sauce and toppings, and bake at 450 F, for another 10 minutes or so, until the toppings are sizzling (or until the cheese is melty, if you're having a lax paleo night).

A note on the sauce: For some reason, this crust requires a lot more sauce than wheat crusts. I don't know if there's some absorption going on or what, but I use about twice as much sauce here than I used to on homemade wheat crust.

Here's the sauce recipe I use. It's spicy, flavorful, and it's all I use for red sauce anymore:

Pizza Sauce

-2 cans (15oz) crushed tomatoes (tomato puree works too, but I like the chunkiness of the crushed)

-1 tsp (or 2 cloves) diced garlic

-1 tsp salt

-3/4 tsp onion powder

-1/4 tsp...





...cayenne pepper* pepper flakes*

*Use 1/8 tsp of cayenne and red pepper flakes if you aren't a fan of too much spice.

Add everything to a pot, mix, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover, and let simmer for 30 minutes to let the flavors infuse, stirring occasionally.

The crust recipe works really well as breadsticks, too. After you've baked them, brush with olive oil and sprinkle with spices (e.g., oregano, basil, garlic powder/salt), and even some parmesan cheese, if you're feeling indulgent, and bake for another 10 minutes or so at 450 F.


Monday, February 7, 2011

(Practically) Paleo Pumpkin Cupcakes

Here's one that I adapted from one of my favorite seasonal cake breads: pumpkin bread. Unfortunately, it won't work if you do it as a loaf, but it comes out perfect as cupcakes.

(Practically) Paleo Pumpkin Cupcakes:

-3/4 c powdered dextrose/glucose

-1/2 c oil (I used almond & macadamia)

-8 eggs

-15 oz can of pumpkin (not pumpkin pie mix)

-2/3 c water

-3/4 c coconut flour

-3/4 c plantain flour

-1 tsp baking soda

-1 tsp salt

-1/2 tsp...

...baking powder





-chopped nuts (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 F, and line 2 muffin pans with cupcake papers. Cream together dextrose and oil. Add eggs, & pumpkin, mix well. Separately, mix together dry ingredients. Add dry ingredients and water alternately to the egg mixture, stirring continuously, and mix until well blended. Pour batter into papers and bake until a toothpick, inserted into the center of a cupcake, comes out clean, about 20-24 minutes. Let cool on a rack, and enjoy.


Sunday, February 6, 2011

Paleo "Corn" Tortillas

Despite the hundreds of paleo blogs out there, and the thousands of paleo recipes, there are still no satisfactory paleo tortilla recipes available.

Try to search for "paleo tortillas." No really--try it now. I got one hit (one!), and although it didn't taste bad, it certainly wasn't a tortilla--it was a cracker.

So, 6 hours of experimentation later, I bring you my paleo blog recipe debut:

Paleo "Corn" Tortillas:

-4 eggs

-1/4 c oil

-1/4 c water

-1/2 c quinoa flour

-1/2 c flaxseed meal

-1/2 tsp salt (or to taste)

Preheat an ungreased (if greased, it will be difficult to spread the batter thin enough), non-stick skillet to medium-low/medium heat, or a griddle to 350 F. Whisk all ingredients together--batter should be thin, somewhere between pancake and crepe batter. If it isn't, gradually add in more oil and water, 1 tbsp at a time, until the consistency is right. Pour about 1/4 cup of batter onto the skillet/griddle, and spread as thin as possible with spatula. Cook until the top darkens and loses shine, about 1-2 minutes. Flip, and cook an additional 1-2 minutes. Don't overcook, or tortilla will lose its elasticity. If it folds easily into a taco shape without cracking, it's right.

Makes 6-8 6" tortillas.

Works well for enchiladas, burritos, fajitas, etc.

And they taste just like my mama's corn tortillas. Enjoy!

Note: I wouldn't recommend trying to make a huge batch and enjoying them throughout the week--they won't keep for more than a day, or two at max.

(I know quinoa is controversial in the paleo-sphere. I tried using almond flour and sunflower seed meal, but neither had the right texture. Coconut flour had the proper consistency, but the taste was all wrong. If you know of another flour that's the same consistency--ultra, ultra fine--and without a distinctive taste, please share.)