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Red Deer Foodie

…getting busy in the kitchen!

Category Archives: paleo

This entry was originally posted on Running with Rhyno – a great blog to check out if you’re interested in connecting with some other runners!!

nutbars
Over the years I’ve learnt a few things; like chocolate is the best thing ever, and if you add hashtag #paleo to any picture on Instagram you will immediately get a ton of “likes”.

Here at mi casa, we have been observing what I like to call a “modified paleo” diet for a few years now – even before Instagram made it cool! I remember google searching for paleo recipes and only a couple sites would come up. These days, I notice that the lines separating paleo and simple clean eating are very blurred indeed. No offence, but I seriously doubt cavemen ever ate hamburgers – with or without a bun made from romaine lettuce or kale leaves!!

Anyways, I often create some strict paleo recipes (like the one below) but we also enjoy dairy and the occasional grains at home – modern day cave-people please don’t judge!


No-Bake Nutbars

Ingredients:
1 cup chopped pecans
1 cup almonds
1 cup shredded coconut
1/2 cup cocoa powder
2 tbsp chia seeds
1/2 melted coconut oil
1/4 cup crunchy peanut butter
1/2 cup dates, chopped and pitted + 2-3 tbsp water

Method:
Prepare 9×13 baking pan by lining it with parchment paper.
In a small sauce pan, heat the dates (chopped and pitted already) with 2 tbsp water over medium high heat. You may see the need to put another tbsp of water in there if it looks like it’s drying out. Basically, this process is breaking down the dates into a jammy like texture and takes less than 5 minutes – seriously – so pay attention to it! The dates are acting as the sweetener in this recipe – if you don’t have on hand, sub out for agave nectar or honey – but maybe start with ¼ cup rather than a ½ and then build up.

Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine the nuts, shredded coconut, cocoa powder and chia seeds. In a microwave safe container, slowly melt the coconut oil & the peanut butter. Now that everything is melted/mixed combine them all in that big bowl. Press into the pan you got ready in the beginning, cover with saran and chuck into the fridge for about an hour.

Cut into 24 pieces and wrap each piece individually in plastic wrap, then chuck into the freezer. These make great pre-workout snacks! (I plugged this recipe into a calorie counter and they come out to about 137 cals and 2.5g protein per piece). These kinds of recipes are fun to play around with; you can add other nuts, seeds or dried fruit and play around with the sweetener if you like!!

If you want to check out what kind of things I’m #hashtagging on Instagram, check me out: @shannonyac.

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A few months ago, I picked up one of the best paleo resources ever, Practical Paleo by Diane Sanfilippo –  such a great book for those considering paleo or needing to eliminate junky stuff from their diets.  So many of my friends are switching their diets lately due to celiac disease, leaky guts or just the desire to be healthier.  I try really hard to cook mostly paleo, though my addiction to carbs and cheese sometimes effs things up for me!  Last week I whipped up a couple of batches of cookies that I adapted from one of the recipes in the Practical Paleo book – they whip in no time and are the perfect present for anyone you know who is trying to get bad stuff out of their diet!  I wanted to spice them up, so used some McCormick Cocoa Chili Spice Blend – the results were amazing, though don’t forget to pre-warn people that they are spicy (forgot and gave to boss!)  I also made a using of Seedy Quinoa Stacks using puffed quinoa that Erin brought me back from Peru (check out this link for a similar product).

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Paleo Chocolate Chili Haystacks (makes 12)

Ingredients:

2 eggs

2 tbsp butter, melted and cooled

3 tbsp maple syrup

1/4 tsp vanilla paste (available at Big Bend Market in Red Deer) IMG_0578

1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut

2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder

1/2 cup sliced almonds

2 tsp cocoa chili blend

1/4 tsp salt

1/8 tsp baking soda

Method:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.  In a medium mixing bowl, whisk eggs and add rest of ingredients (MAKE SURE that butter is cooled otherwise you’ll have some egg chunks!!)  Once combined, let the batter rest in the bowl for about 5 minutes to kind of “firm up” then divide equally into 12 plops on the cookie sheet.   I baked for exactly 20 minutes and they came out perfect!

If you want to try making some seedy cookies for the little tweet tweets out there, method is the same, but here are the ingredients:

2 eggs

2 tbsp butter, melted and cooled

3 tbsp maple syrup

1/4 tsp vanilla paste (available at Big Bend Market in Red Deer)

1 cup puffed quinoa IMG_0579

1/4 cup pepitas

1/4 cup sunflower seeds

2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder

1/4 tsp salt

1/8 tsp baking soda

 

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Anyone who knows me has heard the stories of how my family has teetered on the edge between regular diet and paleo diet – there have been some highs (losing weight, feeling great) and lows (Hot Toddy’s sugar-deficient rage attacks against helpless frozen fruit), but for the most part, we are pretty happy with our “modified” paleo diet!  I think we are more defined as “clean eaters” but I still troll the paleo blogs for inspiration and recently spied a ton of recipes titled: Paleo Crack Bars.  Just google it and you will find many variations of these chocolatey deliciously sweet and nutty bites!

For this batch, I used organic, fair trade ingredients that I bought from Ten Thousand Villages, now located in downtown Red Deer.  I threw in a 1/2 cup of chopped dried Golden Berries, which I actually thought were the same as goose berries, because they are little orange berries growing in a paper BUT I googled them and they are not really related. The Golden Berry has many delightful properties such as being high in protein and super high immunity boosting vitamins!

Anyways, the base is easy, melted honey and coconut oil, bound together with ground almonds and coconut and you can get creative with whatever fruits and nuts your family is down with!  Or none at all, if that’s your thing!!

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Paleo Fruit & Nut Bars

Ingredients:

1/2 cup honey IMG_0449

1/2 cup coconut oil

1/2 cup cocoa powder

1/2 cup ground almonds

2 cups unsweetened shredded coconut

1/2 cup sliced almonds

1/2 cup chopped golden berries

Method:

Line a 9×12 baking dish with baking paper.  In a glass bowl, melt the honey and coconut oil in the microwave.  Set aside.

In another bowl, combine the rest of the ingredients.  Pour the liquid into the dry ingredients and stir to combine.

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Press the mixture into the prepared baking dish.  Cover with plastic wrap and shove in the fridge for a while to harden.

I cut my bars into about 24 little squares  because they are pretty sweet!  I like to wrap them individually so they are ready to go when I’m on my way out the door – they keep in the fridge for a couple weeks.

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I’m still getting used to cooking with coconut flour and let me tell you, it’s a bit tricky.  This morning I thought why not bust out some pancakes with it and did some searching on the interweb.  The reviews on pancakes using coconut flour are definitely mixed, but I managed to find a pretty good recipe at Nourishing Days.  The only thing I changed was to add a teaspoon of baking powder because I thought pancakes can always be fluffier!!

The texture is definitely a lot different than normal pancakes and they also take longer to cook too, but the good news story here is that the boys loved them!  This recipe is really good for the gluten-free peeps, as well as people that are on paleo (like my hubby).  I served the pancakes up with a quick mango puree that I made in the food processor  – so delish!!

Coconut Flour Pancakes with Mango Puree:

Pancake Ingredients:

4 eggs, room temperature

1 cup skim milk

2 tsp vanilla extract

1 tbsp liquid honey

1/2 cup coconut flour

1 tsp each baking soda and baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

butter for the griddle

Mango Puree Ingredients:

1 mango, peeled and sliced

4 tbsp freshly squeezed orange juice

2 tbsp sugar or agave nectar

Method:

Make the puree first; add all of the ingredients into the food processor and give it a good spin for about a minute or two, until you get the consistency you like.  If you like runnier, then add more orange juice!

For the pancakes, get yourself a large glass bowl.  With a hand mixer, beat the eggs until frothy – about 2 minutes.  Then add in the milk and vanilla.

Next, stir in the dry ingredients and you’re ready to rock the griddle, which by now has been pre-heated to medium and buttered generously!  Spoon out some batter (you’ll notice the consistency is more mealy than regular liquidy ones… like those powdered mashed potatoes!!)  You might also be inclined to flatten them out a bit with the back of your spoon.  Now – muster all your patience and let them go for about 3-4 minutes.

When they’re good and settled, you can flip.  These go a bit darker than a regular pancake so don’t freak out – you didn’t burn them… unless of course, you really did burn them, and in that case they’re probably black.  Anyways, flip away and the second side doesn’t seem to take as long.  The batch made about a dozen pancakes.

Serve with your favourite pancake toppings and watch everyone be so happy!

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I whipped this little dish up tonight because avocados and mangoes seem to be rather prolific at the grocery store lately – must be the season in some other country!  We’re also trying to get back into a semi-paleo lifestyle, and this is just the perfect dish!!!

Tropical Shrimp Cocktail
Ingredients:
1/2 lb cooked shrimp, shells & tails removed
1 mango, finely diced
1 avocado, finely diced
1/2 cup English cucumber, chopped
1/4 cup red onion, finely diced
1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
1 tbsp olive oil
dash (or more) of hot sauce
avocado oil for drizzling before serving

options for serving: serve as a thick and chunky shrimp “salsa” with some tortilla chips, on a bed of mixed greens for a dinner salad, or inside a buttery croissant for a shrimp salad sandwich -all delicious!!

Method:
Do all your chopping and combine all ingredients in a large glass bowl.  Serve right away and refrigerate any unused portions.

Love nights when I don’t have to turn on the stove!! xo

Today was a great day spend fishing with Todd, Erin and Boy Shannon out at Blackstone Creek.  Good times were had by all, even if none of us caught a damn thing!  I caught some rocks and bashed my bobber thing but it’s no big deal!  Perfect weather and perfect company!!

When we got home I decided I wasn’t really in the mood to cook anything complicated for dinner, so I grilled some spicy paleo shrimp, whipped up a Mango Guacamole (kind of a variation of my Mango Salsa) and served with multigrain tortilla chips.

Mango Guacamole
Ingredients:
1 large ripe mango, peeled and diced
1 ripe avocado, diced
1/4 cup red onion, finely diced
1/2 green pepper, diced
1 red pepper, diced
1/2 jalapeno pepper, seeded and finely chopped – more if you want something spicy
1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
juice of large lime
salt to taste

Method:
Combine all ingredients in a glass bowl.  Serve with tortilla chips and shrimp, chicken, whatevs!  Great as an appetizer at a Mexican party (you know we love those here in the Deer!)

In case you were wondering what a group of Red Deer Foodies would eat on a fishing trip; we made Angus Beef Smokies on whole wheat paninis, served with Erin’s quinoa salad.  Very delicious!!

Welcome to Westerner Days, Red Deerians!  That means a plethora of unhealthy food such as donut burgers, deep-fried mars bars, corn-dogs, cotton candy and anything else you can think of that is loaded with fat, sugar and chemicals!  Since I partook in a greasy pancake breakfast this morning, I was feeling like I needed to lighten things up for dinner. 

Enough char to last a lifetime!

I took one of my favourite Paleo Lifestyle Recipes for Spicy Scallop Salad and switched it up for a spicy shrimp salad.  Check out the original, and then try my hybrid version of the recipe!  (btw, the original is amazing and gets top marks around this house!)

Shannon’s Spicy Shrimp Salad
…for 2
Ingredients
1tsp cayenne pepper (less if you have low tolerance for heat)
1tsp freshly ground black pepper
1tsp sea salt
1lb large shrimp, fresh or thawed
3tbsp lemon juice
1tbsp Hellman’s Real Mayonnaise
1tsp Dijon mustard (did I mention that the PC brand is the best?)
pinch of cayenne pepper
2 cloves of garlic
1/3 cup hemp seed oil*
1tsp agave syrup
2 big handfuls of organic baby spinach/arugula blend (available at costco)
1/2 ripe mango, cubed
1/2 avacado, sliced
1/2 red pepper, sliced
1 shallot sliced thinly
salt & pepper to taste
2 tsp coconut oil

*if you don’t have hemp seed oil, use avacado oil or olive oil.

Prep:

  1. Make the salads first, wash the spinach/arugula, slice the mango, avacado, red pepper & shallot.  Distribute onto 2 plates (as artfully as possible hahahah)
  2. In a glass bowl, combine ingredients for the vinagrette by whisking together ingredients: lemon juice, mayonnaise, pinch of cayenne, Dijon, garlic, hemp seed oil, salt & pepper.  Set aside.
  3. Pat the shrimp dry with a paper towel.  Combine the cayenne, salt and pepper and toss with the shrimps.
  4. In a wide frying pan, or saute pan, heat coconut oil over medium-high heat, until the oil melts and is starting to get tiny bubbles.
  5. Add shrimp and get your sear on!  About 2 mins per side – don’t overcook or you’ll be banished from the Gordon Ramsay fantasy camp! 
  6. Sizzle…. watch the colours change – don’t overcook!
  7. Top your beautiful salad with shrimp and drizzle with the dressing – serve immediately – DELICIOUS!!!

Do try the recipes from the Paleo Lifestyle website – they’re awesome, but use them like I do, as a springboard for new healthy delicious meals than your family will LOVE!!!

Heaven on a plate!

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