This is a guest post from Victoria, my wonderful Paleo Pen Pal from March! She made cookies!!
So glad to be able to guest post on Beth’s blog! I was so happy to have received her gift. Fresh pecans from SC! I’ve never tasted anything like it. On top of that she gave me two containers of Tony C’s which have been added to my daily routine. Love that stuff.
As winter ends here in Maryland, I’m so happy to finally be rid of the girl scout cookies that have snuck into my office (not by me of course) one thing I miss however, are samoa’s – I searched far and wide for a Paleo version and I think this one may be a real winner! It looks a little involved but trust me, it isn’t!
Paleo Samoa Cookies
When my March Paleo Pen Pal Victoria sent me some yummy coconut vinegar, I was thrilled. An earlier pen pal had sent me coconut aminos and I quickly became a big fan, so I was very excited to get to try this other coconut product. I love it. I have already used it several times to make the world’s easiest marinade from the Coconut Secret website (equal parts coconut aminos and coconut vinegar and a little olive oil).
Tonight, I was doing a veggie roast of the oldest veggies in the bin (today was farmer’s market day and I needed to make room for the new stuff!) and decided to see if the coconut vinegar would be the perfect acid for the sweet veggies in my bin . . . and it was.
Roasted Beets, Fennel, and Garlic
- 1 large fennel bulb
- 4 large beets, peeled
- 8-12 cloves garlic, peeled
- 3 tbsp coconut oil
- 3 tbsp coconut vinegar
- salt to taste
Preheat oven to 385 degrees F. Cut fennel and beets into fairly uniform sized pieces. Place in roasting dish with coconut oil and coconut vinegar. Place in over for 5 minutes, until oil is melted. After oil is melted, stir to coat vegetables. Cook 60 minutes or until vegetables start to caramelize. Season to taste with salt.
As with many, going Paleo changed my life. Perhaps the biggest change was that it has ended my lifelong battle with insomnia. I remember battling insomnia as far back as elementary school. Over my lifetime, I’ve tried pharmaceutical and natural sleep aids and for most of my life, had take some sort nearly nightly.
So, I obviously knew I had serious sleep issues. I just had no clue they were diet related. Further, I didn’t realize how serious my sleep issues actually were until I started sleeping well, all night, every night. I have so much more energy now and I suspect that a large part of that is simply due to the fact that I am finally getting adequate sleep.
I’ve done some fine-tuning (with various n=1 experiments) over the last few months. I started having sleep issues again while doing the 21 Day Sugar Detox in January. Not like before, but enough to get my attention. I read The Paleo Mom’s 21 Day Sugar Detox intro where she referenced that she was adding a grapefruit a day because for her, low carb can stimulate cortisol production and impair her sleep. Hmmm . . . so maybe too few carbs and my sleep suffers (explaining why my insomnia never disappeared when I was doing low carb) . . . easy and yummy solution, add another fruit. So, I did and I started having wonderful sleep again.
Several weeks after the detox, I started having some minor sleep issues again. I was still eating my two fruits a day plus a starchy veg, so my carb intake hadn’t changed. But I was (and still am) majorly stressed because of personal reasons, so when I was up early one morning, I googled, looking for info on reducing cortisol levels. And found a reference to citrus, particularly grapefruit. Hmmm . . . isn’t that what The Paleo Mom added each day? I normally eat citrus fairly regularly (I love grapefruit) but had been out and had not restocked. So, I started eating a grapefruit as a night time snack, and my sleep problems resolved again, even with the high levels of stress.
It still seems so . . . bizarre. Can a grapefruit each night really make a major difference in the quality of sleep I experience? How can that be? But it does. Sometimes it really is just that simple.
I first discovered mojo sauce at a Cuban restaurant in West Palm several weeks ago . . . and fell in love. They served it as a dipping sauce with plantain chips. Since then, I’ve made it and used it as salad dressing, a dipping sauce, to make dehydrated kale chips and as a quick meal-maker condiment – yummy garlic and olive oil goodness, with just a little acid, all in one. I left my garlic chunky but you can also continue blending until yours is in smaller pieces, if you’d prefer.
This is one recipe that Sam’s makes less expensive and easier. Both the olive oil and the garlic came from Sam’s: the cold pressed extra virgin olive oil in the big 3L jug (under $12) and the pre-peeled garlic in a bag ($6 for 3 pounds).
Cuban Mojo Sauce
- 20 cloves garlic, peeled
- 1 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tbsp lime juice
- 2 tbsp fresh cuban oregano leaves or cilantro
- 1 tsp salt (or to taste)
Blend all ingredients in the small bowl of a food processor or in a blender. Store in a sealed container in the refrigerator.
Aren’t they pretty? One of the first things I made in my nifty new dehydrator were these kale chips. They were so good . . . and so pretty . . . I had to make them again, just so I could get the timing and measurements down for y’all.
I have a spare bottle for my smoothie maker that I use for savory stuff like this but a Magic Bullet would work, too. Or a regular blender. Just don’t try it in your food processor, even if it has the small bowl, because it won’t work. Trust me on this. I forgot between time 1 making these and time 2 and have extra stuff to clean to show for it.
Recipe: Dehydrator Kale Chips
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1 tbsp lime juice
- 6-8 cloves garlic
- 1tsp dried cilantro
- 1/2 tsp salt (or to taste)
- Wash kale, remove large stems and tear into large bite sized pieces. Place in a large bowl.
- Peel garlic and blend with lime juice, olive oil, cilantro, and salt in a small blender until garlic is chopped.
- Pour liquid over kale chips and use your hands to toss and coat. Make sure each chip is well coated with oil.
- Place kale chips on dehydrator trays. Dry for 2-3 hours at 135 degrees. Kale will crisp up some upon cooling so it’s OK if not all pieces are totally crispu.
Preparation time: 10 minute(s)
Cooking time: 2 hour(s)
Diet tags: Gluten free
Number of servings (yield): 4
My Paleo Penpal Beth sent me Pecans & Tony Chachere’s Spice N’ Herb Seasoning. I Love Spicy so I was excited to create something yummy. I don’t really like pecans (it’s the texture) but I do know that they are great sources of protein, antioxidants and omega 3, so what to do, what to do…Then it came to me, why not sub them for almond flour in a recipe?! What a great way to add them. Here is what I came up with…Hope you enjoy them as much as I did.
Spaghetti Squash Fritters
2 C Spaghetti Squash (cooked)
1/3 C Diced Onion
2 t Spice N’ Herbs
1/4 t Ground Pepper
1/4 t Sea Salt
1/3 C Pecan Flour (I measured out a 1/3 C and wizzed it up in my food processor)
Coconut Oil for frying
In a bowl whisk egg, herbs, salt and pepper and onions. Then add Nut Flour and Squash and combine until Squash is coated.
Melt Coconut Oil in pan on medium/medium high heat and drop mixture into pan (about 2 heaping T each). The egg may run, so just keep round with a spatula. Cook on each side until golden brown ( I cooked mine about 8 minutes on each side twice).
This recipe made 5 fritters.
When my goodie box arrived from my February Paleo Pen Pal Lissa, it contained THREE yummies I’d never had before! How fun!
I ate the Sea Snax immediately. They were insanely good.
And decided while I was eating them to use the coconut aminos and kelp noodles to make pad thai. Now, I’d never made regular pad thai before – much less a paleo version. So, I went on the hunter for a good recipe that I could adapt to use the kelp noodles. And I found Sunshine Sauce. It is, in my opinion, the perfect paleo “peanut” sauce, using another new thing for me, sunbutter. This stuff is so good I could just eat it by the spoonful. I made it exactly as stated – did I mention this recipe is perfect.
My Pad Thai recipe which follows uses Sunshine Sauce and is adapted from the pad thai recipe at The Clothes Make the Girl (the website run by Melissa of Well-Fed fame).
One note: Make sure to squeeze out the kelp noodles after you’ve drained and rinsed them. If you don’t, they can make the pad thai a little watery. I fluffed mine up a good bit, but didn’t squeeze them enough. Here is what they look like – and raw, they are crunchy.
Paleo Pad Thai
- 1 tbsp coconut aminos
- 1 tbsp lime juice
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
- 1 pound grassfed beef
- 2 large carrots, shredded
- 1 large onion, sliced
- 1 bag kelp noodles
- 2 eggs
- 2 tsp coconut aminos
- 2 tbsp coconut oil
- Sunshine Sauce
- Mix together marinade ingredients. Add beef and marinate 2-24 hours.
- Make Sunshine Sauce
- Drain and rinse kelp noodles. Squeeze out excess moisture.
- Melt 1 tbsp coconut oil in a wok or other large non-stick pan. Scramble two eggs with two tsp of coconut aminos. Pour into melted oil. Cook about 3 minutes on each side on medium heat. (I used a plate to flip mine, sliding the egg out of the pan and onto the plate and then flip it back in the pan on the other side.) Slide the egg out of the pan and cut into cubes.
- Melt 1 tbsp coconut oil in the wok or other large non-stick pan again. Sautee onions and start to brown. Slice beef into thin strips and add to onions. Cook until nearly done and then add shredded carrots, kelp noodles, and Sunshine sauce. Use tongs to incorporate noodles with other ingredients. Simmer 5 minutes to let flavors blend.
- Garnish with chopped spring onion.
My goal since going Paleo last year has been simple: to eat as healthy as possible as often as possible. And, honestly, the dietary changes haven’t been that hard. I’ve been a serial dieter since before kindergarten. Making some pretty simple and basic dietary changes – eliminating highly processed foods and grains (except for my once a month pizza) – brought with it an almost instant cure for my lifelong battle with insomnia , so there isn’t anything anyone could do or say that would get me to return to the government recommended food pyramid. I’ve made other food related modifications since then: giving up artificial sweeteners (my Mom was giving me Tab before kindergarten), limiting my caffeine intake, switching to grassfed/pastured proteins, choosing organic/pesticide free local produce as often as possible, and avoiding GMOs. But, for me, being Paleo has been all about the food.
I am committed to making other changes . . . some much harder for me than simply passing up the bread basket. Mark Sisson’s Primal Blueprint was one of the first Paleo resources I discovered and I’ve found myself referring to it pretty frequently again. Because I want more. I feel amazing. Seriously, amazing. Better than I can ever remember feeling in my entire life. But what if I can feel EVEN BETTER?
So, I am working on incorporating the other 9 elements in the Primal Blueprint, not just the one that is easiest for me. :) I actually do pretty well on many of them – long beach walks with the puppy cover several. But one thing I don’t do is lift heavy things. I thought about ordering some kettle bells. And then it occurred to me that we HAVE heavy things right there on the beach – huge logs of driftwood – and I’ve been walking right on by them. So today, I stopped, picked one up, and dragged it. Twice. Once on the way out, once on the way back. Think Jean ValJean during the opening scene of the movie Les Miserables. Only I’m not that skinny and there was no music in the background. This log was too heavy for me to pick up and carry, but next time there may be a smaller log. And maybe after 100 times, this one won’t be too heavy. :)
Paleo true confession: organic soybean oil has been one of the non-paleo things I would regularly consume via commercially prepared salad dressings. I wasn’t happy about this but my Paleo journey has been one taken step by step and this is a step I’d not yet taken. My one prior experiment with making my own mayonnaise was a total fail and that had a lot to do with why *this* step kept on getting pushed to the back of the pack.
But tonight . . . success! I made mayonnaise using the super simple and super yummy recipe from Simone at Zenbelly. I used my trusty red Kitchen Aid immersion blender and even used the little container that came with it. When it was done, since I’ve lost the top to said container, I transferred the mayo to a glass jar and put it in the refrigerator. Right after taste testing it on top of a roasted salmon and mixed greens salad. :)
I made the mayo exactly as written here Zenbelly Homemade Mayonnaise using apple cider vinegar and farm fresh eggs from Hunter Cattle.
I just checked the Beetnik Foods Facebook page and see that there are still folks waiting for their Living Social Paleo deal. Folks more patient than I am.
Here is how I resolved the issue:
1) I originally ordered two vouchers, redeemed one. Living Social canceled the second and issued me a refund when I didn’t receive my order in a timely manner. It was past their 7 day cancellation period but it was not a problem.
2) When I still hadn’t received my order after 3 weeks, despite being told by Beetnik foods THREE TIMES that it had shipped, I contacted Living Social about receiving a refund for my used voucher. While they weren’t willing to refund it, I was giving a credit in deal bucks (which I am only using on local offers!).
3) When I contacted Beetnik Foods to cancel my order and request a refund of my shipping charges, they informed me that my shipping charges had already been refunded a week earlier. Turns out they actually had. (They claim that they refunded shipping to all customers whose orders were delayed and that they sent an email informing of that fact. Like the food, I never got that email, either.)