Scones!

Scones.  Yum.  My friend, Marta, and I LOVE Panera scones, especially the ones with that powdered sugar glaze.  They are all sorts of delicious.  Unfortunately they are not at all paleo.  Consequently, I was forced to make paleo scones for work today.

I tried this recipe for Apple Cinnamon Scones.  My workmates thought it turned out tasty, and I agree in general.  I think I overbaked them, however.  Since they are made with almond flour, they are dark to start with, so it’s very difficult to tell when they are “golden brown.”  Usually when I make paleo desserts I end up under baking them, so I erred the other way and cooked these too long.  BUT they turned out good enough that I’ve eaten 4 of them since last night.  Granted, they are pretty small if you make 16 slices, but still. 🙂  I would definitely make these again, but next time I might add some raisins. I would also like to experiment with making homemade whipped cream.  I think that would be fabulous on top of these scones.

But, as with all paleo desserts, I can’t make them often. I end up eating too much of them.  And today was a day for overeating – lots of scones, Himalayan dark chocolate salted almonds, and Reese’s Pumpkins.  Oh boy.

Serendipitous Recipe Failure – Take 2

I wrote this post last night (or at least a version of this post), but the internet, WordPress, or my laptop decided to mess with me, and the post disappeared into the ether.  It did not put me in an amicable state for sleeping.  I’m trying to not let things get to me as much (“Let It Go, Heather,” is my internal mantra), but I have to say, that annoyed the hell out of me. It’s so much easier to be serene when you don’t have PMS.

ANYWAY, I had two recipe reviews that I wanted to share with you.

I wanted to try my hand at these Homemade Fruit Snacks.  Who doesn’t need a little grass-fed gelatin in their diet??  I knew I was off to a rough start when I hit Step 6, and had no paste form.  It was pure liquid, not paste at all. I dumped the liquid, assuming I had mis-measured and started anew, only to achieve the same results.  I went ahead and added the remaining ingredients and put the batch in the fridge over night, hoping for some refrigerator magic to happen.

I was sorely disappointed.  It was all still just pure liquid.  No gellin’ whatsoever going on.  Instead of tossing all these expensive ingredients (grass-fed gelatin, frozen berries, raw honey), I poured the contents of the dish into two 12 oz Ball jars and put them in the fridge.  Last night when I got home from yoga, I had a delicious sorbet waiting for me!  I scooched a home-made coozie on the jar so my digits wouldn’t freeze and went at it with a fork, slicing off chunks of sweet berry mixture.  It is pretty damn tasty, and Tim agrees.  I want to get some of these cute, small Ball jars.  I think they would be perfect for little desserts like this and also for freezing pesto.  I have a HUGE basil plant that I need to strip for pesto.

The other recipe I made was this Cauliflower Rice recipe.  I’ve written about this recipe before. It’s super delicious and easy as is, but this time I got a little experimental.  I added some onions, green onion, garlic, and tomatoes.  I cooked the batch in our Nesco, so that I wouldn’t have to turn on the oven (it’s super hot here in Iowa right now).  I had to stir it frequently so that the rice on the edges wouldn’t burn.  It turned out super tasty!!  It tasted like Spanish rice. I love cauliflower. It’s so versatile.  Those cruciferous veggies are the bomb.

And that’s my update. I have a few new recipes on the agenda to try this week, so I’ll have another update soon.

Salmon Burgers and ICE CREAM!!

I’ve tried two new recipes of note this week.

Berry Pancake – This is a recipe from Primal Blueprint Quick & Easy Meals.  It has intrigued me ever since I bought the cookbook 2 years ago, but I just now took the plunge and made it for breakfast on Sunday.  Basically you  heat up berries with copious amounts of butter.  Then you whip up some egg whites and fold in the whisked egg yolks.  You pour this eggy batter on top of the hot berries and bake the whole mess.  When it’s done, you flip the pan upside down, with a plate over it (no small feat when you are cooking with a 40 ton cast iron pan), and voila!  Berry Pancake!  I have to say, this is not my favorite recipe.  I think I should have used only non-seedy berries.  The egg crust/souffle turned out really tasty however.  I think I’m going to try this recipe again, but make it more savory instead of sweet – saute some broccoli with garlic and add the egg crust to that.

Asian Salmon Burger with Homemade Pickled Ginger – If you like salmon and/or ginger AT ALL, make this recipe post haste.  It is deeeelicious.  I could easily eat all 6 of these burgers by myself; they are THAT tasty.  I did have to make a few substitutions/alterations, however.  First of all, I ran out of honey, so I used maple syrup in the pickled ginger.  I also only had about 1/2 a cup of rice vinegar, so I topped off the cup with white wine vinegar.  Also, fresh salmon is prohibitively expensive (and last time we bought fresh salmon at HyVee it smelled reallly fishy), so we used the frozen keta fillets from Target (on sale for $9.99 right now).  I ran short on shitake mushrooms, so I rounded out the dozen with some baby bellas.  Oh, and lastly, I have no coconut aminos (I can’t find them anywhere in the QC!), so I used tamari instead.

We paired the burgers with a green salad and some leftover homemade mayo I made for chipotle coleslaw a few days ago.  Wow – everything turned out super good.  We LOVED the pickled ginger.  I can’t believe it’s that easy to make.

So after that super healthy, nutrient-dense, primal meal, we are going out for…….

ICE CREAM!!!

I can’t help it.  My hormones are demanding some creamy, sweet Whiteys, and I’m powerless to deny them.

It is done.

The 21-Day Challenge officially ended yesterday.  As I mentioned in a previous post, I rocked the challenge up until the point I didn’t.  🙂  However, as far as I am concerned, the challenge got me to where I wanted to go, namely, I’m back down to a weight where my clothes fit me comfortably, and my faith in the value of eating clean, whole, non-dairy, non-gluten foods has been restored.  Tracking my intake for 3 weeks helped me realize how easy it is to eat too many carbs if you allow yourself to go off-plan even just once/day.  To keep myself feeling good, I’m going to have to restrict the splurges to once or twice a week instead of once or twice a day.  Tracking my intake has also made me more aware of eating for nutrition instead of convenience or tastiness.  Overall, I consider the challenge a win!  I think my coworkers would consider it a win too.  They have both lost several pounds and are jazzed that they can eat without being bloated after every single meal.

I listened to Chris Kresser’s podcast recently, and he mentioned that he is working on a 14-day reset plan.  I’m anxious to check that out.  I think next time I’m ready for a clean-up, I will do that one.  Fourteen days of perfection sounds quite a bit easier than 21!  Plus I think it’s good to mix things up a bit to keep your body surprised.

My coworker had a celebratory supper last night, to commemorate the end of the challenge.  She made 2 different kinds of brisket, stuffed mushrooms, and a  cucumber, onion, and tomato salad.  Her boyfriend made some rum punch that knocked me out after 2 small glasses.  My contribution to the party (besides my hilarious wit and insightful observations) were these two dishes:

Sweet Potato Breakfast Cookies – These are SUPER tasty.  However.  Well, they turned out bright green for some reason.  Yeah.  Maybe it’s the sweet potatoes??  For the mix-ins I used 1 cup of shredded coconut, 1/2 cup of walnuts and 1/2 cup raisins.  I didn’t have any pumpkin pie spice, so I mixed 1.5 t of cinnamon, .5 t of nutmeg, .25 t of cloves, and .5 t of ginger.  They definitely LOOK a little weird, but they taste really good.  Oh!  And I didn’t have any almond butter, so I used sunbutter.  You want to be careful to not overeat these, however.  I put the recipe in PaleoTrack, and one cookie (I got 18 out of my batch) is 194 calories, with 12 grams of carbs.

Creamy Cucumber Dill Salad – This recipe was very simple, and it turned out very light and tasty.  Tim suggested adding tomatoes, which I think is a great idea.

During the challenge I have been avoiding regular coffee.  There are a  few reasons for this.  Tim has stopped drinking coffee because the caffeine freaks him out, so I was the only one drinking coffee in the morning.  The coffee accouterments take up A LOT of room on the counter, which seems ridiculous for one person who drinks coffee.  Also, I’m more sensitive to caffeine than I used to be, and I wasn’t sure how the caffeine was affecting my adrenals.  So, I decided to take a break from it. I found out that while I love green tea, I really miss coffee.  When we stayed with our relatives over Christmas, they had this Aeropress, which they LOVE.  It’s very compact, easy-to-use, and it makes excellent coffee.  So I ordered one from Amazon and picked up a bag of decaf beans from our favorite coffee place, Red Band.

I have to say, I LOVE this little thing.  Tim and I have been drinking all sort of decaf and half-caf coffee all weekend.  Today I made a decaf and mixed it with about 1/4 cup of hot coconut milk to make a paleo latte.  It was incredibly delicious.

And….that’s about all my news.  I have to go blow-dry my hair while it’s the perfect level of crispiness (fellow curly-haired folk will understand what I mean).  Adios!

Gross Looking Food that is Great for You (aka Indian Delhi Saag)

That title just kind of gave away my whole post.

I figured I should try some new recipes this week since for the past 2 weeks I’ve just been recycling tried and true favorites (these were the recipes I used to the build the 21-Day Challenge meal plans for my friends).

As I mentioned in an earlier post, I started using PaleoTrack to track my food during the challenge.  The creator of the site wrote a post about some common diet deficiencies he’s identified using the data logged by his users.  He goes on the list foods you can/should eat to remedy the deficiencies.  My personal experience mirrors what he is seeing on a macro level.  My vitamin levels are usually great, but I really struggle to get the RDA of minerals.  This has been a very eye-opening experience for me.  You just assume that if you eat a lot of whole foods, fruits, veggies, meat, etc., you will be getting pretty much everything you need.  Nooooope.  You have to be methodical.  So I made on the recipes he suggested, Indian Delhi Saag.

I have to say, it turned out looking absolutely disgusting.  For proof look at my Instagram feed to the right.  But!  BUT!  It tasted really good!  Tim was very trepidatious about it.  He thought it smelled like a tobacco shop.  Granted, he is not a huge cumin fan, and this has 2 tsp of cumin seed and 1 tsp of ground cumin.  It’s very cuminy. It also has a lot of turmeric.  My white stove is now plastered with streaks of neon yellow.  I will be keeping this recipe in the roster fo sho.  Although, I’m going to make Tim smell my breath tomorrow morning and see if I smell super funky from all the spices.  This thing has a sh!t-ton of spices.  I’m now plumb out of coriander and turmeric.

So now we’re all loaded up on vitamins and minerals – thank you Marc of PaleoTrack!

I do not know what you *should* pair with Indian Delhi Saag, so I complicated my evening by trying another brand new recipe – this one for Poached Salmon with Green Herb Sauce.  We accidentally bought skinless frozen salmon at Target, and when Tim grilled it, it was very dry.  I though poaching it might yield better results.  It was very meh, however.  I’m not linking to the recipe because I found it in some magazine.  You’re not missing anything, believe me.  The salmon still came out dry.  I kind of doused it with the Saag, and that livened it up.

My coworker who is doing the 21-Day Challenge with me is having a primal party at her house on Saturday.  I’m still finalizing what I’m going to make – maybe a cucumber salad, kale chips, and sweet potato muffins. If you have any bonkers good paleo recipes, let me know!

21 Day Challenge Update with Recipe Reviews

So, hmm, The Challenge. I’m embarrassed to admit that I was derailed by a rough day at work earlier last week.  It was the kind of day that could only be fixed by happy hour drinks with the hubby.  Unfortunately, that drink pretty much broke the seal.  I didn’t fall completely off the strict primal wagon, but I may have had Cheetos and Idaho nachos and maybe another drink or two.  *Sigh*  But, today is a new day, and I’m a newly resolved Heather. I only have 5 days left, and I know I can do that.

Looking on the bright side, eating junk after eating very clean for 10 days helped me identify a few things.  1.  Alcohol, even just 1 or 2 drinks, often gives me a headache and makes me sleepy and  2.  White potatoes, while delicious, puff me up something fierce.  I was down 3 lbs, but now I’m back up 3 lbs.  Damn you, white potatoes!!! 3.  I have a problem with self-control. I can’t give in even a little or I’m a goner.

Over the past week I’ve tried a few new recipes.

Zucchini Fritters:  I subbed nutritional yeast for the parmesan.  These were tasty (even heated up the next day in the broiler), but I don’t think they were good enough for the amount of work.

Spicy Nacho Kale Chips:  We’ve been eating kale chips almost every other night, and this recipe is partially why.  These are super good, yet so easy.

Cauliflower Rice:  This is another recipe that is super good, yet super easy. Unlike this cauliflower recipe: Spicy Ginger-Lime Cauliflower Rice.  This recipe involves a lot of chopping, a lot of sauteeing in stages, and lots and lots of dirty dishes. You should see my kitchen right now.  I made it with Asian Pork Meatballs, and it was a perfect pairing.  The flavor is unusual and good, but not worth the effort, in my opinion.

And now you’re up-to-date on my food week.  As far as exercise goes, I did a sprint workout on Saturday, with 6 all-out 15 second sprints.  On Sunday I did 30 minutes of yoga, and then Tim and I tried stand-up paddle boarding for the first time.  We were on the river for an hour.  It looks so easy, but my quads are SO sore today!!

And that’s it for now!  Hope you are having a great day!