Pecan Pie Cookies

ImageWhile looking for a yummy paleo dessert idea for my husband’s birthday, I stumbled on this recipe for Pecan Pie Cookies from Allergy Free Alaska.  I finally made them this morning, and they were amazing!  I have never been a big fan of pecan pie, always thinking it was way too sugary sweet.  These cookies, though, are not sickeningly sweet at all!  They taste like shortbread filled with pecan pie filling, and they are the perfect amount of sweet.  I think I am really starting to prefer paleo baking over regular baking.  Treats aren’t overly sweet, and they don’t leave you feeling icky after eating a whole plate of them.  Win win!!

My batter ended up making 13 cookies, and they were huge when they came out of the oven.  These will double in size after baking, unlike many other Paleo recipes.  I used a heaping tablespoon of batter per cookie, so I would recommend making them smaller – maybe use a teaspoon to portion!

Here is the link to the recipe: http://www.allergyfreealaska.com/2012/12/06/guilt-free-pecan-pie-cookies/

 

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Getting Started: Grocery Shopping Guide

This is a guide to grocery shopping when you are trying to start eating paleo.

Step 1: Meal Plan.  Look up paleo recipes online and look at the lists of what foods you can and can’t eat.  Figure out what you will be eating for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks for a week.  Your meal plan can be as detailed or as simple as you want.  Remember to account for everyone in your household who will be eating the food.

Step 2: Create a grocery list based on your meal plan for the week. Account for how many servings will be needed for each meal to get an idea of how much you will need to buy.

Grocery List Categories: [fresh] vegetables, [fresh] fruit, [fresh] meat / seafood, frozen meat/seafood, frozen vegetables & fruit, eggs/almond milk, sausage/bacon, baking/spices, condiments, canned goods

Separating your list into categories will make it easier to find items and figure out if the store does not have certain things.

Avoid processed foods.  If you need to buy something that comes in a package, always read the ingredients list before buying.  You will basically be shopping around the edge of the grocery store and bypassing the middle.  You will need to go down the baking aisle for spices, natural oils, nuts, vanilla, cocoa, and other baking items.

Vinegar is usually in the condiments aisle alongside salad dressing.  Honey is usually next to the peanut butter and jelly.  Pure maple syrup can be in the baking aisle alongside agave nectar or by the other syrup, usually by peanut butter and jelly.  Almond butter will also be next to peanut butter, but I have yet to find a paleo version and simply make my own.  Almond milk is with silk in a case next to regular cow’s milk.

Coconut milk comes in a can and is in the ethnic/asian food aisle.  A higher fat content means it is “full fat” and will naturally separate into coconut water and coconut cream.  A lower fat content is not full fat, and will more likely stay homogenized.  If you buy the full fat coconut milk and need it to be mixed together, simply shake the can vigorously right before opening.

I also buy canned tomato products like tomato puree and tomato paste for making tomato based soups and sauces.  If you need to buy canned goods, make sure to always check the ingredients list.  There should only be a few ingredients listed, and you should be able to identify them all as natural foods.  If you can’t, find a different brand.

Give yourself time to adjust into eating paleo.  It will take a while to figure out which stores carry the different items you will be eating regularly.  A natural food store or a grocery store that offers a bulk option may be the best place to go to buy nuts.

Try not to buy more than a week’s worth of vegetables.  Don’t go overboard, or you will end up throwing away fresh vegetables at the end of the week when they go bad.

Chocolate Almond Butter Fruit Dip

Ingredients:

  • 3 Tbsp Almond butter
  • 1 Tbsp cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp honey

Place almond butter in a microwave safe bowl and warm for 30 seconds or until almond butter melts.  Stir in cocoa powder and honey, and enjoy with fresh sliced apples or other fruit.

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Note: as the dip cools it will firm back up and be difficult to dip softer fruits like bananas and strawberries.  Microwaving for another 30 seconds or so should soften it back up!

Coffee Mocha Smoothie

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  • 2 frozen bananas
  • 1 cup (8oz) chilled coffee
  • 1 Tbsp cocoa powder
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened almond milk, vanilla or original
  • ice as needed

Blend all ingredients together and enjoy!

Tip: pour a cup of fresh coffee in a measuring cup and stick it in the freezer about an hour before you will want to make your smoothie.  If it is still warm, add ice cubes.

 

 

Simple Homemade Chicken Soup

This recipe is adapted from the Chicken Stock recipe in the cookbook, How To Cook Everything by Mark Bittman.  When my husband and I are sick, we eat mostly chicken soup and clementines for lunch/dinner and smoothies for breakfast.

Chicken Stock

Total Time: 5 hours or more, largely unattended

The longer your stock cooks, the better and more nutritious it will be.  I aim to cook the stock for at least 3 hours, and that’s before turning the stock into soup.  You can make your stock ahead of time, and it is very nice to keep some on hand in the freezer.  If you are freezing it, Put in in the fridge for the first day.  After the stock has fully cooled, scrape the fat off of the top and then freeze.  If you do not freeze your stock, boil it every 3 days.  This will keep it from spoiling.

Ingredients

  • 3 to 4 pounds raw chicken parts and bones.  I use breasts with ribs and/or thighs, bone-in.  You could also use a whole chicken, but it is more work to clean the carcass.
  • 1 roughly chopped onion, peel and all
  • 3 roughly chopped carrots
  • 2 stalks roughly chopped celery
  • pinch dried thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 6-8 sprigs fresh parsley
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 4+ quarts water
  1. Put meat, vegetables and seasonings in a stockpot.  Fill with water and cover.
  2. Cook on medium for at least 2 hours.  I generally cook for at least 3.
  3. Turn off the heat and let cool
  4. Strain.  Put a large pot or bowl in the sink and rest a strainer on top.  (The kind used for pasta is fine.)  Carefully pour the contents of your stockpot through the strainer.
  5. If you are making soup now, pour the stock back into your stock pot.  If not, set it aside to cool, and then pour it into containers for storage.
  6. Toss out the vegetables and bones, saving your chicken.

Chicken Soup

Any vegetables can be used in this soup.  We are not big on carrots, celery or onions in our soup so we use greens, but you can use any vegetables you have on hand.  Next time I make this, I’m planning to try watercress.

Ingredients

  • Prepared stock
  • cooked chicken, de-boned and shredded
  • 1 head bok choy
  • 1/2 head green cabbage
  • 1 cup spinach
  • 1 Tbls poultry seasoning
  • 1 heaping Tbls herbed poultry seasoning
  • 1 Tbls black pepper
  • 2 heaping Tbls dried parsley
  • 1 tsp savory
  • 1 tsp thyme
  • salt to taste
  1. Pour strained stock back into stockpot.
  2. De-bone chicken and shred, add to pot.
  3. Chop vegetables and add to pot
  4. Turn heat to medium and add seasonings, adding more if desired.
  5. Cook for at least 30 minutes
  6. Eat within 5 days or freeze

Berries & Cream Smoothie

This makes one smoothie.  I made it in a single serve blender, but you can of course use any blender you have.

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cup frozen mixed berries. 
  • 2 Tbl coconut cream
  • 1/2 – 1 cup almond milk
  1. Add your frozen berries to your blender.  If using a single serve blender, fill up the blender cup to about half an inch below the “max fill” line if yours has one.
  2. Pour in enough almond milk to almost cover the berries.
  3. Open a can of full-fat coconut milk.  Do not shake the can.  The milk should be seperated with coconut water on the bottom and coconut cream on the top.  I like to scrape all of the cream off the top and store it in a container mixed with a tsp of vanilla extract and cinnamon.  You can use plain cream straight from the can or the flavored cream that I keep on hand.  NOTE: This is the same cream I use for crepes, and you can use it as a substitute for cream cheese and whipped cream.
  4. Blend, adding more almond milk if needed to obtain desired consistency
  5. Enjoy!