Fruit Leather!

Hello all!  After an incredibly busy holiday I have finally been able to play with some of my new kitchen gadgets that gifted by my amazing family.  One of my favorite new toys is my Nesco Snackmaster Pro Food Dehydrator.  This thing is so easy to use and a lot of fun!  I’ve made a few different tasty treats with it and I will be publishing all of them in the coming weeks.  But first, here is one that brings back memories of my childhood and is great for kids!

Fruit Leather!

Ingredients

  • 2 large overripe pears
  • 1 large apple
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 (or 2) Tbsp honey
  • coconut oil

Instructions

  1. Remove seeds and stems from pears and apple.
  2. Cut into pieces and place in high-speed blender.
  3. Add cinnamon and honey.
  4. Blend until completely smooth.
  5. If your coconut oil is solid, use a clean plastic bag to spread along the inside of the drying tray. If liquid, pour in a small amount and evenly spread with the bag.
  6. Pour blended fruit into the drying tray until about 3/8" thick.
  7. Dry at 135 degrees. Check after 4 hours. If still wet, continue drying for up to 8 hours. Mine took about 6.
  8. Enjoy!
http://coasttocoastpaleo.com/2014/01/fruit-leather/

Spritz (not really Paleo, I know!)

Alright! Recipe #2 in this last minute Christmas countdown. I never grew up with Christmas spritz cookies, but my husband did. My in laws are here this year and even my MIL approves. Hurrah!

You’ll need a cookie press (or as my son calls it, a cookie gun!) for this recipe. I highly recommend this one. It has served me well for years now.

Spritz (not totally paleo, I know!)

Spritz (not totally paleo, I know!)

Ingredients

  • 3 cups almond flour
  • ½ cup arrowroot flour
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 1 egg plus 1 additional egg yolk, at room temperature
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • ½ cup coconut sugar (If you prefer a sweeter cookie, increase to ⅔ cup)
  • 1 tsp almond extract
  • ½ cup butter (1 stick) softened

Instructions

  1. Using stand mixer with whisk attachment, eggs with coconut sugar until it appears dissolved nicely and a little fluffy (about 3 minutes on 4). Gently whisk in butter. Add almond & vanilla extract.
  2. While things are mixing, in another bowl blend together flours, baking soda and salt.
  3. Once the wet ingredients are creamy and delicious smelling, slowly mix in the flour mixture. Dough should be thick, but have a fluffy/springiness to it. Use your handy dandy cookie gun to make awesome shapes!
  4. Bake at 375 degrees for 7-9 mins.
http://coasttocoastpaleo.com/2013/12/spritz-not-really-paleo-i-know/

Love Grace Juice Cleanse Review

juice

Hey readers!  So, two weeks ago, my husband and I took a trip down to Austin, TX.  Great place, great people, amazing food.  A little too amazing…..  After cheating with queso and chips a little too much the entire weekend, we had to do something to get rid of this heavy, gross feeling.  Ugh.

So, I heard about the Love Grace Juice Cleanse.  Raw, organic, cold-pressed and made right in NYC!  I never tried a juice cleanse before, but I just had to give it a shot!  To my surprise, my husband signed up with me.  My husband who cringes at the sight of my green smoothies and would rather order a pizza than eat an avocado….

We signed up for the 3 day cleanse.  Enough to maybe lose 5 lbs, but not too much that we would have to padlock the fridge.  To my delight, this shipped SUPER fast and we had our cleanse within a few days.  We organized the juices so that we knew exactly which one to drink when (and we could have chosen to drink them in any order we wished).

Day 1:

The day started off with a refreshing coconut water based drink with lots of greens.  I loved this drink and I would have one every morning if I could!  My husband, not so much.  But, he got by and was able to finish his by the time we had to drink the next one!  The ginger bomb was exactly what it’s name stated.  Whoa!  What a drink.  It certainly woke you up!  This was my husband’s favorite drink.

Around mid-day we both started to really feel hungry, but we made sure to drink lots of water and that would get us through to the next drink.  The Super Cider was delicious and the Green Smoothie helped keep our hunger at bay for a bit longer.  I do have to say, the last two drinks of the night were a bit tough if you are not used to “green” drinks.  After struggling through my ballet class, we were both pretty light-headed, very hungry and grumpy so we called it an early night and crossed our fingers we would feel better in the morning.

Day 2:

We both woke up surprisingly not hungry, grumpy, or lightheaded!  This day was much easier to get through, and even tap class seemed much easier for me.  We had some different juices and smoothies to try and that kept things interesting.  I enjoyed the Longevity Tonic (never heard of shilajit before).  The Probiotic smoothie was great!  The end of the night was still a bit tough but much better than the night before.

Day 3:

Feeling great!  This day was the best by far, but we were certainly missing food at this point.  The Chocolate Superfood Smoothie was the highlight of my day.  We weighed in and I lost a total of 4.6 lbs and hubby lost 6.6 lbs.  Not bad for three days!

All in all, I’m VERY happy that we tried this cleanse.  I know it’s not permanent weight loss, but it felt good to feel healthier after eating so bad during vacation.  I would highly recommend this cleanse to anyone looking to jump start their diet or just looking to feel refreshed.

This even inspired me to research some juicers so look for some yummy juice recipes coming soon to the blog!

Paleo Laddu

Two recipes in one day?! WHAT!? Well, I was chatting with my friend today about this delicious treat she had just gotten due to Diwali… so of course, I had to try making my own version. I love it so much that I needed to share it for those who want a little paleo Diwali goodie.

HAPPY DIWALI! 🙂

Paleo Laddu

Paleo Laddu

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cup almond flour
  • 1/2 cup almond butter
  • 1/8 cup honey
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp lemon zest
  • Splash of lemon juice
  • 4-6 pitted dates (depending on size, about 1/4 cup)
  • 1/2 to 1 tsp ground cardamom (depending on preference)
  • To roll in -
  • Pistacho flour
  • Shredded coconut

Instructions

  1. Put ingredients in food processor and run it until it starts to become tacky & you can roll it into balls.
  2. Roll it into balls, about an inch big.
  3. Roll the balls, pressing gently, in a little pistachio flour & shredded coconut.
  4. Chill if necessary or eat immediately.
http://coasttocoastpaleo.com/2013/11/paleo-laddu/

Brown butter & orange honey madeleines

We’re Francophiles in this household. My son goes to a French preschool and my husband & I are in the process of learning the language. (J’ai etudie le francais pour 6 ans, mais j’ai oublie beaucoup…including how to use accents on WordPress!) We hope to go summer in France in a few years once the kids are older.

My husband and I also just adore French food. If you looked at our cookbook shelf, you could tell. Our cookbooks are either locally oriented, Paleo, or French. What can I say? We like what we like. I hope you’ll like this one too! I have made a TON of modifications to my madeleine recipe that I’ll be sharing over time on this blog. I adore these cookies. They’re amazing with coffee or tea (not really paleo, I know, but we’re already established I’m paleo-ish. I love coffee too much to give it up!).

For those of you who don’t do dairy, use lard. It is awesome and works well. Just skip all the directions for infusing and go with lemon zest for a more traditional tasting madeleine.

Brown Butter & Orange Honey Madeleines

Brown Butter & Orange Honey Madeleines

Ingredients

  • 2 eggs at room temperature
  • ⅛ cup honey (I recommend a local honey for the best flavor!)
  • 1 cup almond flour
  • ¼ tsp cream of tartar
  • 1 TB orange zest or the fresh zest of one large orange
  • Infused Brown Butter Ingredients
  • ⅛ cup butter (You can use coconut oil, but do not brown, obviously!)
  • 1 vanilla bean - the caviar scraped from inside
  • 3-5 green cardamom pods, crushed
  • Makes 8 large madelines

Instructions

  1. Grease your madeline pan or cookie sheet (these can just be flat cookies!) if you’re using metal. If you’re using a silicone pan, I highly recommend the de Buyer Elastomoule. Only lightly grease this pan if it’s your first time using it.
  2. Melt butter and bring to a simmer over low to medium heat. Cook until the butter turns the color of a nut and smells nutty.
  3. Add the crushed cardamom pods & vanilla bean caviar just as the butter starts to brown.
  4. Turn off the heat once the butter is nutty and transfer to a clean bowl to let it cool down to room temperature.
  5. While that is going on, toss your two room temperature eggs in your stand mixer. (If you don’t have a stand mixer, you’ll just have to take this one step at a time! I recommend asking for one for Christmas. ;o)) Beat them on high until they turn pale and fluffy (about 5 minutes).
  6. While that’s beating, prep your dry ingredients in a separate bowl - almond flour, cream of tartar and orange zest. Mix them all up thoroughly. Use a fork to press out any lumps in almond flour ahead of time.
  7. Strain your butter to remove crushed cardamom pods. You’ll be using it in the next step!
  8. Alright, back to the eggs. After they’ve turned pale and fluffy, add in the honey and beat on medium for another 1-2 minutes.
  9. Then, slowly pour in the infused brown butter while mixer is still going. Be sure to get it all in there - those dark bits and the vanilla bean taste so yummy! Spatula power!
  10. Mix your wet ingredients gently into your prepared dry ingredients. Try not to over mix!
  11. Spoon or pipe your batter into the molds so they are about ¾ full. I always end up overfilling mine, but it still works out okay. You may have a little leftover, but it’s delicious so feel free to eat it. ;o)
  12. Place the pan in the refrigerator. Start preheating your oven to 375 degrees. Set a timer for 20 minutes.
  13. Times up? Alright, well now put them in the oven 10-15 minutes (depending on what type of pan you are using. If you decided to make mini madeleines, your baking time will be shorter). Take them out when the edges start to turn a nice deep golden brown.
  14. Let the cool for a few minutes, then pop them out onto a plate and let them cool the rest of the way.
http://coasttocoastpaleo.com/2013/09/brown-butter-orange-honey-madeleines/

Creamy Peas, please!

I love creme fraiche. Like, lovelovelove. I even make my own so that I can make sure it’s organic & grass fed. It’s as easy as adding 4 tablespoons of buttermilk to a pint of heavy cream and letting it sit on the counter overnight in a glass covered container.

I put it in desserts or slap some on top of eggs, but what I REALLY love to use it with are peas. Peas + creme fraiche = heaven, especially when you toss in some parmesan cheese. (There is a saying in our house “A little parm won’t do any harm!”) This is my go to savory snack and sometimes, my lunch when my kids are being squirmy and I don’t have a lot of time. I hope you’ll enjoy it as much as I do!

Creamy Peas

Creamy Peas

Ingredients

  • 1 bag frozen peas
  • 4 tablespoons creme fraiche
  • 2 tablespoons parmesan cheese
  • 2 teaspoons thyme
  • Onion powder, to taste preference
  • Salt & Pepper, to taste preference

Instructions

  1. 1. Heat up peas by your preferred method, with thyme. I usually just microwave with thyme in bowl.
  2. 2. Drain water.
  3. 3. Stir in creme fraiche, salt, pepper, onion powder, and parmesan.
  4. 4. Enjoy your healthy-ish snack or serve in a pretty bowl as a flavorful side green side dish!
http://coasttocoastpaleo.com/2013/08/creamy-peas-please/

Recommitting to Paleo & my better health

On the 4th of July, I got a very special phone call from Lindsay’s husband, tattling on her for eating non-paleo. This got me thinking. How well have I been doing lately?

For a woman who has been with the same man since she was 17 years old (which, let’s just say, was awhile ago), I kinda suck at commitment. I pick up hobbies (or what I should probably call them, obsessions) almost as quickly as I drop them. So, it shouldn’t be a surprise that I’ve been gradually falling off the healthy eating bandwagon. For a long time, I was truly cane sugar free besides the occasional piece of chocolate (fair trade & organic Theo chocolate!). We were also super strict about our grain free-dom. No rice, corn or soy passed through our doors. However, with a rough pregnancy and the stress of moving to a new state/selling our home/etc with a newborn, I’ve fallen off the bandwagon.

So, let me stand up and say honestly… Hello, my name is Michelle and I’m a sugaraholic.

Sugar and carbs are an addiction. When I’m on them, they’re one of the things I think about most often. I’ll eat an entire bowl of organic ice cream and think… well, why not one more? Yesterday, I was so desperate for sugar that I took some the paleo-ish caramel sauce (dairy, but coconut sugar & maple syrup sweetened) I had made and smothered cashews, almonds and a ton of chocolate chips in it since we didn’t have ice cream in the house. It was both gross & delicious at the same time.

I’ve got a problem and I need to fix it. I’ve gone from following Mark Sisson’s 80/20 principle to being an absolute addict. The idea of the 80/20 principle is that you eat paleo/primal 80% of the time, but 20% of the time, you make practical choices based on availability, etc. So, when we were moving, obviously we couldn’t always be paleo, but as soon as we moved into our new place & had a working stove again, back to primal eating 80% right? That’s my problem. I never went back. I’m not making practical choices. I’m eating so…much…junk. It has to stop. It is wreaking havoc on my body. I haven’t felt well emotionally or physically in quite some time.

So, I’m here, publically admitting to this and making a commitment not just to myself, but to all of you. I’m back on the bandwagon. I am no longer going to say to myself “Well you still eat healthier than the average American!”, because well, that’s just not good enough. I am going to make wise choices, eat locally and organically, exercise, do yoga, and avoid cane sugar & grains once again.

To celebrate, let me share a non-sweet treat recipe today (no photo, sorry!).

Coconut Curry Kale Chips

Ingredients

  • 1-1.5 bunches kale, chopped (curlier varieties work best, but any will work in a pinch.)
  • 4 TBs coconut oil, melted (I recommend something very fragrant, like Dr. Bronner's Whole Kernel.)
  • 2-3 TBs curry powder
  • 2 TBs coconut (finely shredded or macaroon)
  • Dash of salt

Instructions

  1. Rinse and thoroughly dry your kale (use a salad spinner or shake well).
  2. Coat your chopped kale in melted coconut oil in a large bowl.
  3. Add spices, salt and coconut. Stir around until evenly coated.
  4. Spread in a thin layer on food dehydrator and follow your device's directions. It usually takes between 4-6 hours.
  5. Prefer to cook them in the oven? Well, then be sure to have your oven heated to 300 degrees. Grease your baking sheets with coconut oil and spread the leaves on them in a thin layer. Bake for 18-22 minutes, flipping the kale over halfway through.
http://coasttocoastpaleo.com/2013/07/committing-to-paleo-my-better-health/

Quick & Easy Tea & Vanilla Infused Crumble

Well, phew, I’m back. I have a kitchen once again. Moving is never easy, but we have survived and it feels SO good to get back into the kitchen. This was the first thing I made in the new kitchen. Simple, pretty, and oh so delicious!

Quick & Easy Crumble

Quick & Easy Crumble

Ingredients

    Base:
  • Fruit (fresh is best. If you use frozen, you will need to use less tea!). Chop it up!
  • 3/4c Black tea - I used Numi's Vanilla Decaf for an extra vanilla boost.
  • Vanilla bean pod (post scraping)
  • Topping:
  • 3/4c almond flour
  • 1/4c coconut oil
  • 1 vanilla bean's caviar
  • 1-2TB maple or coconut sugar
  • Dash of salt

Instructions

  1. Do the topping first. Mix together ingredients and set aside.
  2. Use whatever fruit you have got! Today, I used two apples (diced), about 1/2c rhubarb and 2 cups strawberries. Yay farmers markets!
  3. Drizzle some coconut oil in the bottom of a casserole dish of the appropriate size.
  4. Put in your fruit.
  5. Pour in the tea, put in the vanilla pods, and sprinkle the topping over the fruit.
  6. Cover with tin foil and bake for 25 minutes covered. Then, uncover and bake for another 10-15 minutes until the top starts to golden. Remove vanilla bean pods before serving, of course.
  7. Serve with whipped cream and enjoy it while it's warm. Yum!
http://coasttocoastpaleo.com/2013/06/quick-easy-crumble/

Clean the fridge quiche

quiche

Quiche is one of those dishes that wows guests, but is quite easy to make. My version uses a crust from one of my favorite food blogger’s cookbooks, The Almond Flour Cookbook, by Elana Amsterdam of ElanasPantry.com. She has a paleo cookbook coming out next month which I’ve totally pre-ordered.

I call this “clean the fridge” quiche because it’s something I make frequently on Fridays, which is the end of our “food” week. This is the day that I try to use up all the produce leftover so that I have room in my crisper drawers for my farmers market run on Saturday mornings. You can do this too! Quiche seriously is so flexible and absolutely delicious. So, take my ingredient list as a suggestion and make your own variation. Be sure to share your combinations with me so I can try ’em too. 🙂

Clean the fridge quiche

Ingredients

    For the crust
  • 1 1/2 cups blanched almond flour (Honeyville Grain brand recommended, only avail online)
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp thyme
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 TB water
  • For the filling
  • 1-2 leafs of kale, chopped up into bite size pieces
  • 1-2 slices of organic ham
  • 1 small carrot, chopped
  • 1/3 cup shredded manchego cheese
  • 1-2 TBs of dijon mustard (be sure to watch out for sugar! Not necessary for yummy dijon.)
  • 3 eggs
  • 6 TBs of creme fraiche or heavy whipping cream

Instructions

    Make the crust!
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Mix dry ingredients.
  3. Add wet ingredients and mix 'em up.
  4. Press into a tarte pan. Bake for 10 minutes until just turning golden, but still mostly light colored.
  5. Filling time. 🙂
  6. Preheat over to 425 degrees.
  7. Saute kale and carrots with a little oil of your choice.
  8. Shred cheese and put on the crust. Top with sauteed veggies and chopped ham.
  9. Whisk together mustard, eggs, and creme fraiche in a small bowl. Pour into crust.
  10. Bake at 425 for 25-30 minutes. Let cool for a couple minutes & serve!
http://coasttocoastpaleo.com/2013/05/clean-the-fridge-quiche/

No Bake Paleo Chocolate Tarte

So today I have for you a recipe that I modified from zestbakery.com… a no bake paleo chocolate tarte! This is one my absolute favorites, so much so that right after the baby was born – I was making these up a storm! I couldn’t get enough. I think you’ll feel the same way.

The key to this recipe is having space in your refrigerator to let this bad boy cool and let the coconut oil do its thing. So step one, make enough space in your fridge for your tarte or pie pan. I recommend using one with a removable bottom so you can pop it out. Got that all wrapped up? Alright, well let’s get straight to the recipe!

No Bake Paleo Chocolate Tarte

No Bake Paleo Chocolate Tarte

Ingredients

    For the crust
  • 1 1/2 cups almond flour (I recommend Honeyville Grains.)
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
  • 1 tablespoon pure maple syrup
  • Pinch sea salt
  • For the filling
  • 1 4oz bar baking chocolate (I recommend Sunspire. It's Fair Trade & Organic!)
  • 3 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 6 tablespoons maple syrup (warmed)
  • Pinch sea salt
  • 1/4 cup raw cacao nibs

Instructions

    For the crust
  1. Mix together almond flour, salt, and oil.
  2. After mixed, then add in maple syrup so that it doesn't solidify the coconut oil.
  3. Press crust into tarte pan and put in the freezer. While the crust solidifies in the freezer, it's time to get your filling prepped!
  4. For the filling
  5. In a small sauce pan, gently melt together the coconut oil and bar of baking chocolate.
  6. While that is melting, gently microwave your maple syrup in a glass bowl for just a few seconds to warm it so it doesn't solidify things.
  7. Mix together melted chocolate/oil with the maple syrup, add salt.
  8. Finishing it off
  9. Pour filling into pie crust.
  10. Sprinkle cacao nibs in.
  11. Return to fridge and let cool for at least 1 hour or until center has hardened. Pull out 5-10 minutes before eating to soften slightly for easier cutting.
http://coasttocoastpaleo.com/2013/04/no-bake-chocolate-tarte/

Warning, this recipe may cause a chocolate addiction. Be sure to start keeping coconut oil & maple syrup in your house at all times in order to make this recipe on a whim. 😉 I hope you enjoy!