Banana Blueberry Egg “Muffins”

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It’s been a long time since I’ve posted a recipe, partially from being busy, and partially from not really eating strictly paleo. But I’m back to clean eating and found a moment to experiment with a recipe and post it.

I sort of combined 2 different recipe ideas to make these. I started using the idea of making eggs in muffin tins just a few weeks ago. I personally prefer egg whites with sausage and peppers, but that’s me! This has been a wonderful time saver for me because we all know I do not like waking up in the morning! This way, I make a bunch of egg “muffins” on the weekend and save them in a container in the refrigerator so I can have one each morning. I also found a recipe for paleo “granola” using banana and eggs (combined with some other yummy ingredients) which I made and loved. Then it occurred to me: my bananas are about to go bad if I don’t eat or use them. What if I made this delicious “granola” and baked it in muffin tins to make banana egg muffins? Here is what I did and I am quite pleased with it. Feel free to tweak it to your liking!

Ingredients:

  • 3 bananas
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 tbsp flax seed
  • 6 tbsp water
  • 2 tbsp vanilla
  • a dash of cinnamon
  • 4 tbsp almond meal (or any chopped nuts you like)
  • about 1/2 frozen or fresh blueberries

Directions

Combine flax with water in a small bowl and set aside for about 20 minutes.

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Preheat oven to 350° and spray muffin pans with nonstick spray. Mash bananas in a large mixing bowl. Add eggs, vanilla, cinnamon, almond meal, and soaked flax. Mix with an electric mixer on high until batter is fluffy.

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Pour batter into muffin pan, almost to the top. Add blueberries to each cup. Bake for 30 minutes.

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When cooled, remove muffins by running a knife along the outside of the muffin and popping them out. Refrigerate leftover muffins in an air tight container.

*Disclaimer* These are not “Paleo Muffins” or a paleo form of a normal muffin. These are neat way to enjoy the delicious combination of eggs, bananas, and blueberries together as a breakfast option. The consistency is “egg-like” and spongy. They will be brown on the top, but light colored underneath. The top picture will show you that even though the tops start to rise and crack, they eventually go down to being flat. Please do not make these and expect it to be like a blueberry banana muffin you might get from a coffee shop. Thank you! 🙂

The Tastiest Crackers

Seeds. Red pepper. Roasted garlic. A hint of salt. The tastiest combination.

Do you ever find yourself with a dip, sauce, or salsa, but nothing to eat it with? Well here’s your solution: Paleo roasted garlic and pepper crackers. These crispy creations are full of healthy ingredients and taste delicious. The recipe is as follows:

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 c. chia seeds
  • 1/4 c. flax seeds
  • 1/4 c. sunflower seeds
  • 1/4 c. pepitas (shelled pumpkin seeds)
  • 1/2 c. water
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • about 8 cloves of roasted garlic (or to taste)
  • 2 fresh cayenne peppers (can be replaced with 1 tbsp crushed red pepper)

Directions

Preheat oven to 325°. Combine seeds in a medium sized bowl. Add water and let sit for 2 minutes. Use a food processor to blend the roasted garlic and peppers until smooth (there will probably be a few small chunks of pepper). Add the garlic/pepper paste and salt to the seed mixture until well blended. Prepare a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Spread the seed mixture evenly onto the baking sheet and bake for 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and cut with a knife or a pizza cutter ( I enjoy cutting a a diagonal to give a rhombus shape). Flip each cracker over and bake again for 30 minutes. Let the crackers cool and store in an airtight container. Enjoy with any kinds of dips or spreads you please!

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Clams Casino with Almond Flour

Last weekend, I ordered some clams in the shell, grilled them, and enjoyed them with lemon and hot sauce. SOOO GOOD! Partnered with a salad, it was the perfect summer meal. Anyway, I was left with a whole bunch of clam shells and thought it would be fun to try to make Paleo Clams Casino (or baked clams, as my dad always called them). I had to figure out a recipe for Paleo bread crumbs and found this one: http://www.mmmmpaleo.com/2013/11/italian-seasoned-bread-crumbs-aka.html

I found this recipe to be the perfect consistency and taste for the baked clams. I doubled it, but I would advise to triple it because I nearly ran out!

Paleo Clams Casino Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 3 cans of clams (1 minced, 2 chopped)
  • about 2 1/2 c. Paleo Bread Crumbs (almond flour, garlic powder, onion powder, sea salt, black pepper, oregano, parsley)
  • 1/4 c. cashew butter
  • 24-28 clean clam shells
  • 3 strips of bacon

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350°. Prepare the Paleo bread crumbs. Pour the minced and chopped clams with the juice into a large bowl. Add in 2 cups of the bread crumbs and mix with the clams until it has a nice thick consistency (You may need to add up to a cup more of bread crumbs to get the desired thickness). Add the cashew butter and mix well. Prepare a large baking sheet with foil and set clam shells on the sheet. Fill clam shells with clam/”bread crumb” mixture. Cut bits of bacon into about 1 inch long strips and place them over top of the mixture in each clam shell. Bake for 20 minutes, then switch to broil. Keep an eye on the clams until the bacon browns and gets nice and crispy. When bacon has reached your desired crispiness, remove the sheet from the oven and let cool! These tasty treats make for great appetizers, especially during the holidays!

 

Paleo Preps: Roasted Garlic

If there is one crucial thing about eating Paleo, it’s that it involves food preparation, and a lot of it. In order to keep the tight schedule that I do (during the school year at least), I need to have things ready when it’s time to eat. This requires some proactive thought and action. It’s actually not too difficult, as long as you keep in mind the meals you want to cook and make sure to have all those ingredients.

My FAVORITE item to prepare ahead of time (and keeps really well in the fridge) is roasted garlic. YUM!

It is so easy to do! I use my terracotta garlic roaster, but you could use a cast iron pan, a dutch oven, or even some aluminum foil (though the foil definitely does not work as well).

Preheat the oven to 350°. Peel cloves of garlic (I generally use about 1 1/2 bulbs. Put cloves into the roaster and pour on about a teaspoon of olive oil. After covering the garlic with the lid, I like to shake it up a little to make sure each clove is coated with oil. Bake for about 30 minutes, checking occasionally to make sure none of the cloves are burning. I usually cook until the cloves around the edge of the roaster are just slightly golden brown. Remove from the oven and cool. Feel free to use the roasted garlic right away or save it for the future! I have a designated container for roasted garlic that I keep in my fridge and make sure it is never empty. On any given day that I have about an hour of time to myself, I just pop some garlic into the oven and keep my supply stocked. It’s great because you don’t have to do very much and it makes your house smell great!

Stay on the lookout for some of my recipes that use roasted garlic. Prepare this delicious ingredient ahead of time and you will be half-way to preparing yourself a delicious Paleo meal!

An Herbaceous “green” drink

ImageOk, so I realize that it’s not exactly the color green, but I call it a green drink because of all the green ingredients I put in it!

I was at Tropical Smoothie Cafe the other day, and one of the smoothies they offered was Strawberry Basil Lemonade. I thought “Genius! Basil in my smoothie sounds amazing!” So, I started experimenting at home. I was already adding mint and lime to my green drinks to give it a mojito-esque flavor, but today when I went into my garden I picked up basil AND rosemary, along with the mint. Of course I stocked the blender with a ton of spinach and added a splash of lime juice. I also poured in some of the coconut water leftover from the recipe I posted yesterday (Peter’s Pie). Lastly, I added some frozen blueberries, giving it that beautiful purple color. It was SO GOOD! No added sugar or sweetener needed. Just delicious and refreshing, a great way to start my day!

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Peter’s Pie

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I call this Peter’s Pie because I made it for his birthday and he has requested I make it for him again. I think he enjoyed it! It’s super easy to make, as long as you have all the ingredients.

For the pie crust, I used the recipe from http://www.elanaspantry.com/paleo-pie-crust/

But here it is anyway!

Paleo Pie Crustprint

  • 2 cups blanched almond flour
  • ¼ teaspoon celtic sea salt
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 1 egg
  1. Place flour and salt in food processor and pulse briefly
  2. Add coconut oil and egg and pulse until mixture forms a ball
  3. Press dough into a 9-inch pie dish
  4. Bake at 350° for 8-12 minutes

Coconut Cream Filling:

  • 2 cans of unsweetened organic coconut milk (it’s very important to use this kind because you need the solid cream on top of the milk, not the liquid. Do not get the light kind.)
  • 1 1/2 tsp. of pure maple syrup (or more, if you like things a little sweeter)

Remove the cream from the top of the coconut milk and put it into a bowl. Be sure not to get the liquid because it turns the cream all runny and gross. It happened to me. Not pretty. Add the maple syrup and whip for only about 20 seconds. If you whip it too long it starts to resemble ricotta cheese. Not exactly the look I was going for. Here is the consistency you want.

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Beautiful! Pour the cream into the cooled pie crust and let it cool in the fridge or stick it in the freezer for a frozen treat. You may want to serve it with berries on the side or top it with berries like this:

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Now, wouldn’t that just be perfect for the 4th of July?

 

Garlic Kale Chips: My Favorite World Cup Snack

If you’re like me, then your life is revolved around the World Cup right now. I mean, we’ve had to rearrange our schedules to watch particular matches. Keep in mind, my boyfriend is the big soccer fan, but I’m enjoying the hype myself.

So, if you’re like me, you want something to snack on when watching the World Cup. This can be problematic when eating Paleo. My pantry and the grocery stores don’t seem to provide something easy, delicious, and healthy to chomp on during the near 2 hours of sitting on the couch, watching men kick around a ball.

Well, I looked in my fridge and thought “Kale chips!” That would work. But being me, they can’t be just normal kale chips. They have to be garlicky and spicy and super tasty.

So here’s a recipe for garlic kale chips.

Preheat oven to 350°. Prepare a large cookie sheet with aluminum foil. Using organic kale (you really don’t want to be eating pesticides), rip off the leaves into medium-sized pieces. Then, (here’s the fun part) use about 2-4 cloves of fresh garlic and slice, press, or chop into small pieces. I have this amazing garlic slicer from Pampered Chef that I use to put over the kale because it makes these delicious garlic chips when roasted in the oven. Sprinkle the garlic all over the kale on the sheet. Slather with olive oil (I probably use 1/8-1/4 cup of oil). Sprinkle on sea salt and freshly ground pepper. Next, I either put crushed red pepper flakes or hot sauce on the kale (Texas Pete has no sugar in it). Here I chopped up fresh Habanero peppers and sprinkled cayenne pepper onto the leaves.

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Once the oven is preheated, bake the kale for about 25-30 minutes, depending on how crispy you like them. You are going want to check on the kale occasionally, flipping and moving them around as needed.

When they are nice and crispy, take them out and let them cool! Share with friends or keep them for yourself 🙂

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Perfect Paleo Pesto

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I have always loved pesto. I would make a whole bunch of it and freeze it in ice cube trays for an easy go-to dinner during the winter time. So delicious. And easy! Unfortunately, pasta with pesto is not an option for me anymore, but I am finding many uses for this delectable sauce.

  1. Use it as a salad dressing over spinach and kale.
  2. Marinate and sauté with well… anything! (I used chopped clams and bell peppers the other day)
  3. Put it over fish or chicken for grilling or baking.
  4. I haven’t tried this yet, but I hear it’s great over spaghetti squash!
  5. Use it as a dip for vegetables or chia/flax seed “crackers” (I’m hoping to make those soon)

Here is my super simple recipe for pesto. All you need is a blender. (disclaimer: I don’t usually measure out anything when I make it– I just go by taste. So I’m going to try to be as accurate as possible)

Ingredients:

  • approx. 1 1/2 c. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 2-3 c. fresh basil
  • 4 cloves of fresh garlic
  • approx. 1/2 c. chopped walnuts
  • 1 avocado
  • 1 tbsp sea salt
  • 2 tbsp crushed red pepper (to taste, of course — I like it very spicy!)
  • 1 tbsp Italian Seasoning

Directions:

Combine all the ingredients into a blender and blend on high until smooth. If ingredients are not blending, slowly add more olive oil until it starts mixing well. Taste it along the way, seeing if it needs more salt, garlic, walnuts, or seasoning.

You can store the pesto in an airtight container in the fridge or in ice cube trays in the freezer. The ice cube trays make great portion sizes! I will be making a ton of it this summer from the basil in my garden.

I hope you enjoy this recipe! Let me know if you make it 🙂

As Paleo as possible

So, I have determined that this summer is going to be the summer of healthy living! My plan is to do some form of exercise every day and stick to the Paleo diet. Some may think of the Paleo diet (fruits, vegetables, meats, nuts, and seeds — with some exceptions) as a quick weight-loss fad, however, my reasons for choosing to eat this way stem from more than just getting skinny (though I certainly wouldn’t mind if that were to happen). The idea started a while ago. Earlier this year, my boyfriend Peter and I were doing some research on the affects sugar has on the body. I had been struggling with intense debilitating fatigue (which was later diagnosed with chronic fatigue syndrome) and was desperate to find a natural way to increase my energy. We were also dealing with some intense stomach issues and the nurse practitioner I see suggested I try eating Paleo. Peter and I found a bunch of Paleo-like/low-carb/sugar eliminating diets and melded them together to one that fit our lifestyle. Our idea was to do this for 40 days during Lent and potentially continue afterwards, depending on how it went. This meant no dairy and no alcohol, though I cheated a little with the alcohol (duh, I love wine). We did 10 days of no grains and then added “good” grains (quinoa, brown rice, millet, etc.) back into our diet. The interesting thing was that after we added in the grains, our stomach issues came back! We were reluctantly convinced that in order to get rid of our stomach issues, we had to eliminate grains entirely. Not fun.

When Easter came along (the end of our 40 day “fast” and also Peter’s birthday), we indulged in every sugary, grain-filled, alcoholic substance that was put in front of us. Yum! I mean, cookies are my favorite. Of course, we felt like crap afterwards. The cycle continued afterwards. I tried to eat strictly Paleo and would make an excuse to eat some kind of “treat”. Constantly. Then I would feel sick and sluggish. Was that beer I picked up or that fresh homemade cookie from the teacher’s lounge worth me writhing in pain with stomach cramps and gurgles? Yes. Yes, it was (I love cookies!). Or so I told myself each time. True self-sabotaging at its core. Doing something for momentary pleasure and having to deal with the negative consequences. I don’t want to live like that anymore. I want to be proactive. Live intentionally and enjoy my life to the fullest. I want to enrich my mind and body with good food, exercise, and quality literature, film, and music. That is why I have committed this summer to healthy living.

I hope you can join me on this journey! I will be posting lots of recipes I have discovered and created while embarking on this Paleo adventure. I love flavor and spice. Garlic and crushed red pepper are my staples.

Will I be perfect? No, I will not. That is why I entitled this post “As Paleo as possible”, to give myself permission to not be perfect. It’s ok. I’m not a machine. I’m just a person who wants to live a healthy and abundant life. Image