Tuesday, July 31, 2012

How to Make Your Own Coconut Butter

I have seen several recipes with coconut butter as an ingredient lately. Ever since I saw the recipes I’ve wanted to buy coconut butter – but haven’t had the opportunity (visiting family, Birthday parties, softball tournaments- its summer, gotta get it in while you can- get off my back, will ya!?)  

Ok. Sorry I blew up.  

Anyhow, I was browsing through one of my favorite Paleo bloggers, Juli at www.paleomg.com and came across one of her earlier “recipes” on how to make your own coconut butter. HOW AMAZING IS THAT?? Saving money is awesome. I don’t care who you are.

Coconut comes in all different forms. Mark’s Daily Apple gives you the low down and breaks up the different types of coconut into a guide. Who knew there were so many different ways you can get coconut! It’s interesting. Or as interesting as reading about coconut can be. If you’d like, read this: http://www.marksdailyapple.com/the-wonderful-world-of-coconut-products/#axzz22EG1mJke.   

Like Juli said in her post …

"This is a super complicated recipe. Don't tell me I didn't warn you."

Of course, that's a joke. It's one of the easiest things you can make.

Not only do I, but I have friends who swear this
is one of the best buy's you can make!

1 package coconut flakes
A food processor


Pour coconut flakes into your food processor. Try finding flakes, if you can. Shredded coconut doesn't make the right consistency for coconut butter, I don't think. Just an FYI 

Let your food processor run for around 8-10 minutes. If it sounds like the blade is just spinning and not mixing anything, turn off your processor and scrape the sides of the coconut and keep processing

Once you have a smooth concoction, use a spatula to scoop out of the processor bowl

Bottle or put in an air tight container and store at room temperature

PS- Even your dog will love coconut flakes as a treat! http://www.cocotherapy.com/products_cocotherapy.htm

Check out Juli’s blog. I get a lot of recipes from her. She rocks my socks off. www.paleomg.com

Monday, July 30, 2012

Bacon Sweet Potato Poutine


Oh. Sorry. That was just me thinking about this meal. It took a little longer to make than I thought but once I continue to make it (and I will) it will get faster.

I'm sure after you read the ingredients (bacon grease, in particular) you are wondering how this could possibly be healthy, gravy made out of bacon bits and bacon grease?? Well, I really couldn't say it better myself so here you go... "Nutrition-wise, we know that bacon is not the villain that it’s made out to be. Dietary saturated fat and cholesterol are good for us, and not just in moderate amounts. The stigma against saturated fat and cholesterol has strong ties and even some people in the Paleo circles still fall in the trap of fearing fat and seeking lean meat as their main source of energy. It’s important to keep in mind that fat is a great source of fuel and that it’s excess protein consumption that should be feared more than excess fat consumption."- http://paleodietlifestyle.com/for-the-love-of-bacon/ 

What is poutine?? As I understand, the basic recipe is: french fries  that are covered with brown gravy, and topped with fresh cheese curds. For those in the Central Illinois area, I would say its a version of the horseshoe. Yeah. It's that good too. Give it a try let me know what you think!

PREP: 15 minutes              
Cook time: 25 minutes
Total: 40 minutes
Serves: 2 


1 sweet potato, cut lengthwise into preference sized french fries
6-8 strips of bacon, cut into 1 inches pieces
1 head of cauliflower, stem removed, cut into small florets
1/2 cup canned coconut milk
1 tablespoon almond butter
1 shallot, thinly sliced
pinch of dried thyme
pinch of black pepper
pinch of sea salt
1 tablespoon fat of choice
Coconut Oil (from a tub or spray) 


Preheat oven to 400 degrees 

Cut your sweet potato in half lengthwise, then slice the sweet potato into 1/2 inch strips then cut those in half 

Spray or toss your fries in your coconut oil (I put about a TBS of coconut oil in a microwave bowl and melted the oil for 25 seconds (or until it is all liquid-y) and tossed the sweet potatoes in it) Add or take out as necessary 

Place parchment paper on a cookie sheet and line sweet potatoes on it so they are not overlapping

Then remove your stem from your cauliflower and roughly chop cauliflower into small florets. Cheese curd size is good 

Place in a glass baking dish and drizzle a tablespoon or so of your fat of choice (I did coconut oil, it worked beautifully) 

Place cauliflower as well as sweet potatoes in the oven to cook for 20-25 minutes (your cauliflower may take longer) 

While the those items are in the oven, add your diced bacon into a skillet over medium heat

Use a wooden spoon to break up the bacon and help cook on all sides

Once bacon is done cooking, remove from heat and remove bacon with a slotted spoon and place on a paper towel 

Pour excess bacon fat into a jar (or whatever you have that will work) leaving 2 tablespoons behind in your skillet for the gravy 

Place skillet back over low heat, add your coconut milk and almond butter then some thyme and black pepper- Careful, your coconut milk may pop and get ya

Let the coconut milk come to a slight boil then use your spoon to mix together and begin to cook down

Once the mixture begins to thicken, add your bacon back to the gravy and remove from heat

Once your sweet potatoes and cauliflower are done cooking, place in a bowl or on a plate, top with gravy, and eat!


--All the Best

Friday, July 27, 2012

Mini Pizza Bites

These are a great appetizer or have them for dinner! Great for kids AND adults. Super easy and delicous! Oh yeah, a healthier option too! Zach liked them just as much without the sauce- I liked them with and without!

You can bake or grill them! We chose to bake them. Mostly because we don't really have a place to grill at our apartment. You have options! How great!

PREP: 10 minutes
Cook time: 20 - 25 minutes
Total: 30 - 35 minutes


12 button mushrooms, wiped of any dirt and stems removed
1/2lb italian sausage
1 egg white
1/4-1/2 cup pizza sauce or no sugar added marinara sauce 

DIRECTIONS (for baking)

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees F

Wipe down your mushrooms and remove stems. Then place them stem side up on a plate

Toss your Italian sausage in a bowl and add your egg white. Use your hands to combine it all together

Then make tablespoon size balls of the meat mixture and plop them into the cap of the mushrooms

Place in the oven and cook for about 20 - 25 minutes or until sausage is cooked through- NOTE: I put them all on cooling racks to help them stand better- I didn't put parchment or foil under but I absolutely recommend doing so

Also- I put the smaller caps toward the front of the pan and larger ones in the back since baking times were different for size

If you are grilling- Place on top rack of grill and cook for about 8-10 minutes or until sausage is cooked through

Grab a larger mini and cut to check whether its done. You will know your meat is cooked when there is no pink. OR if you're fancy, use a thermometer. Here's a handy temp chart for you to double check http://southernfood.about.com/library/info/blroast.htm 

Top each mushroom and sausage cap with either hot or cold pizza/marinara sauce

Stick a toothpick in it - blow on it, it will be damn hot - and devour it!


--All the best!

Recipe from: www.paleomg.com

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Chocolate Coffee Caramel Bars

Wow and holy crap are my describing words for this dessert. Try it and you will love it, I promise.

PREP: 15 minutes
Freeze time: 10 - 15 mins
Total: 25 – 30 minutes
Serves: 3 - 4 


For the crust
12 dried dates (or figs, if you prefer, stems removed)
1/2 cup almond butter
1/4 cup Unsweetended Shredded Coconut
2 tablespoons Raw Honey
3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
pinch of salt 

For the caramel
12-14 dates, pitted
5-6 tablespoons canned coconut milk
3 tablespoons water
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
pinch of salt

 For the topping
1 cup dark chocolate (I used dark chocolate chips), melted
1/4 cup canned coconut milk
2 teaspoons ground coffee
coarse sea salt, to top

Layer one: Crust
First make your crust. Add all of your crust ingredients into a food processor and mix until well combined
Add the crust mixture to a bread pan and push down until the mixture is flat
Add your dates and pulse until dates are broken down (less than a minute)

Add your coconut milk tablespoon by tablespoon, along with the water, to the dates while the food processor is still running
Add your vanilla extract and pinch of salt
Process until you get a caramel. May take 3-5 minutes, Tops

Pour caramel over your crust and spread evenly 
Adding the Caramel
Layer 2: Caramel

Now, melt your chocolate. You could do this in a double boiler or just the microwave. I chose the easier route

Melt the chocolate and coconut milk together in the microwave. Heat for 30 seconds then mix well and reheat when necessary
Once your chocolate is completely melted, add your ground coffee and mix well
Pour melted chocolate over your caramel and spread evenly
Add coarse sea salt on top of the chocolate
Put in the freezer so the chocolate hardens -at least 10 minutes
Adding the Chocolate!
Final Layer!


-All the Best

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Homemade Chocolate Chip Brownie Larabars

We were introduced to the LARABAR several months ago by a couple of friends. The very first one we ever got to try was the Banana Bread LARABAR. Holy cow- it was good. I decided I would venture out and find these so called healthy "energy" bars. I was disappointed to find they were almost $2.00 (US dollars)/bar. I don't know if you have ever seen a LARABAR- but they are small. The first few I bought were totally worth it- they are so damn good. After shelling out around $10 bucks for like 5 bars on several occasions, I decided I couldn't afford it. I looked at the label and realized just how easy it would be to make my own. 

I went out and bought a larger (i think 9 or 10 cup) food processor just for this reason. 

I gave a couple homemade bars to a couple (non-Paleo) co-workers to try and they loved them. They said they taste like Snickers and wanted more.

PREP: 20 minutes
Cool time: 10+ minutes
Total: 30 minutes

Makes about 30 1 1/2 inch x 2 inch squares

4 cups hole pitted dates
2 cups raw or toasted cashews
2 TBS almond butter
1 cup dark chocolate chips or chopped chocolate

Line a 9-inch x 13-inch straight sided pan with a piece of parchment paper so that the paper hangs over the long edges. Set aside

Fit a food processor with a metal blade and add the almonds to the processor and pulse until they are uniformly finely chopped (think fresh bread crumb texture.)

About to get pressed in the pan
Add the chocolate chips and pulse again until the chocolate chips are also finely chopped

Pour the chocolatey nuts into a large mixing bowl and set aside

Add half of the dates to the food processor and process until a paste forms and clumps together 

Open the food processor and add in 1 tablespoon of the nut butter and half of the chocolatey ground nuts

Replace the lid and process until evenly combined. Scrape into the prepared pan

Repeat with the remaining dates, chocolatey nuts and nut butter

Ready for the fridge!
When all of the ingredients have been processed, press the mixture as evenly over the bottom of the pan as possible (try wetting your hands before pressing to prevent the mixture from sticking to you)

Refrigerate for at least 2 hours before slicing- OR for a quick fix- put in the freezer for around 10 minutes or until firm.

Store in the refrigerator in a tightly covered container

Note: An unrefrigerated bar will be good for 48 hours, covered, at room temperature


-All the Best

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Coconut Chicken Nuggets with Paleo “BBQ” Sauce

Nom nom nom... I feel like a kid again!!

These nuggets are fabulous. If you aren't a big shredded coconut fan- don't worry. The shredded coconut in this recipe gives more texture rather than taste.

Zach and I didnt make the BBQ sauce but I didn't want to leave it out because it does sound delicious. *Total time does not include the BBQ Sauce.

What you will need:
Two medium sized [mixing] bowls
A sauté pan
A baking sheet
Parchment paper

PREP: 15-20 minutes
Cook time: 15-20 minutes
*Total: 30-40 minutes


1 pound ground chicken- Note: I couldn't find ground chicken so I grabbed a rotisserie chicken and put it in a food processor- the meat was a bit dry  after cooking since it was already cooked- I recommend finding actual ground chicken, if possible
1 egg yolk
1 teaspoon onion powder
¼ teaspoon garlic powder
¼ cup + ½ cup almond flour
½ cup unsweetened shredded coconut
½ cup coconut oil
Salt & Pepper 


Preheat oven to 375 degrees

In a bowl combine ¼ cup almond flour, ½ cup coconut and salt & pepper. Mix to combine

In a separate bowl, combine the ground chicken, ½ cup almond flour, onion powder, garlic powder, egg yolk and salt & pepper. Mix well until everything is incorporated

In a sauté pan, melt coconut oil on medium heat

Take about 2 tablespoons worth of the chicken mixture and roll into a ball and then coat with the coconut and almond mixture

Repeat with the remaining chicken

You should make about 15 to 18 chicken nugget/balls

In small batches place nuggets into heated coconut oil and cook on each side for about 3 to 4 minutes

Transfer balls to a parchment lined baking pan and place in oven for 4 to 5 minutes to allow the chicken to cook through

Repeat with the remaining chicken nuggets

Allow nuggets to cool and serve with Paleo “BBQ” Sauce, if you choose (recipe follows)

Yes, we ate all of our broccoli too!

Paleo “BBQ” Sauce


3/4 cup fresh orange juice
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
10 tablespoons tomato paste
4 tablespoons shallots, minced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon mustard powder
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 tablespoon coconut oil

Heat coconut oil in a sauté pan over medium heat. Place minced shallots and garlic in sauce pan until soft. Stir in remaining ingredients and simmer over low heat for 15-20 minutes.


-All the Best

Recipe from www.multiplydelicious.com

Spinach Tomato Shrimp with Cheese Grits

Wow. It’s been awhile. Let’s catch up. I can’t believe its mid July. Anyway! I have been reborn! In posting Paleo recipes again! How did that happen?! Why did that happen?! (You may (or may not) ask). Got a couple minutes? Let me answer your questions. I know you're anxiously waiting.

After a fun night of playing with my 1.5 year old nephew I woke up around 7:30 the next morning with intense pain in the left upper part of my body (shoulders, neck, arm). I was crying it hurt so damn bad. No, it wasn’t a heart attack- even though it felt like it could have been- even though I have no idea what that feels like. I went to ExpressCare. After seeing the doctor- I found out I had a pinched nerve in my neck. PAINFUL. I got some pain medicine and took it easy for a couple days. About a week after my nerve got pinched- I was in my car- on my way to lunch and had a bag of trail mix in my car (it’s a almond, berry & pistachio mix- nom nom nom). I was so hungry and didn’t want to wait 4 more minutes to get home and eat lunch… I tilted my head back to toss some mix in my mouth and POP! Seriously?? I didn’t snap my neck back- I didn’t force it back- I gently and slightly tilted my head back. Extreme pain- except now at the base of my neck. On to the Chiropractor I went.

The moral of my story is- KEEP YOURSELF HEALTHY. Eat healthy, exercise and STRETCH regularly. I was told by the doctor that people “my age” become more prone to this type of injury. Hell. I just turned 28! Zach and I do pretty well with eating right but I must admit- working out and stretching is something we need to work on. I don't want anyone to go through what I am now. So. Read up and eat up! Ha, that's stupidly catchy..

Now. To the recipe! You are probably like “Grits aren’t Paleo!” Technically, no. They are primal though. If you don't have a problem with corn (some do, some don't), it is still a nutritionally lame source of starch (see Marks Daily Apple- he’ll tell you corn is not a vegetable: http://www.marksdailyapple.com/corn-is-not-a-vegetable/#axzz20Pv11MXg 

However, if you love grits. Love is more important than being Paleo.  

If you are completely against grits- here is a link for cauliflower grits:

While we’re on the subject. Cheese is another nono- unless it is grass-fed. And even then it’s still frowned upon by some Paleo folks. I love cheese and don’t eat it as often as I want. Since we aren’t strict Paleo- we allow the occasional cheese intake. Looking for grass-fed (they will usually have “Grass-Fed” somewhere on the label) is the better option when you have that cheesy craving.   

We LOVED this meal. It was on the cheap, quick, easy, delicious and filling.

PREP: 10 -15 minutes
Cook time: 15 minutes
Total: 25 - 30 minutes


2 Tbsp Olive Oil
1 tsp garlic, minced
1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
1 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined
4 ounces baby fresh baby spinach
2 Tbsp fresh basil, chopped
1/4 tsp fresh ground pepper
1/4 tsp salt
1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice 

Cheese Grits
2 cups water
1/2 cup Quick Grits
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese – try for grass-fed!
salt and pepper to taste 


Heat olive oil over a medium-high heat in a large non-stick skillet

Add tomatoes and cook, stirring often until softened, about 2 to 3 minutes 

Add garlic and toss 

Add shrimp and cook until cooked through, about 4 to 5 minutes 

Add spinach, basil, salt and pepper and stir until spinach has cooked down

Remove from heat and add lemon juice

You can't tell me this picture doesnt look delicious!


In a saucepan, bring water to a boil

Slowly stir grits into water, reduce heat to medium-low; cover

Let cook 5 to 7 minutes or until thickened, stirring occasionally

Add cheese, salt, and pepper and stir until cheese is melted


- All the best

Oh! One more thing. I’ve recently stumbled upon a couple amazing websites: www.multiplydelicious.com and www.paleomg.com. Check them out- they are fantastic. Really. See for yourself. This shrimp recipe is from www.multiplydelicious.com.