As many of you know I don’t post recipes often because quite frankly there are so many blogs, websites and Pinterest sites that provide every recipe you can imagine or want. However, sometimes I even surprise myself and come up with a must share recipe. Quick back ground, last week a friend introduced me to Barney Butter which is this delightful almond butter made with cocoa and coconut oil, which you can find in your local stores or on line and perhaps that is the easiest way to enjoy this delightful creation of “Nutella” for adults. There is no hazelnut but just having a cocoa flavor, clean nut, spread for apples, vegetables, seed crackers or whatever you would normally put almond butter on. After trying this little tub of yummy goodness, and it is little, I had my husband try it and he looked at me so seriously with those confident eyes and said “this is good but you can make it better.” My husband truly has the most faith in me and knows that if it can be bought in a store then I can make it at home, better, cleaner, and less expensive so the gallant has been thrown, the challenge was on, and I was ready.
This weekend I think I came up with the perfect concoction of almond, coconut, cocoa and shared it with husband who said now that is truly a “Nutella for adults” shot, score, win in a matter of moments. So if you are so inclined and want to try this recipe, here it is and since I’m not a baker, chef, or food blogger this is my version without bells and whistles but my husband did think that having a picture or 2 were imperative so here it is and feel free to share with anyone you think would like it, or makes their own food. I think making your own food anytime you can is the best bang for your buck but we all don’t have a lot of time, patients or will to make food at home. I learn by making mistakes and I make a lot of mistakes in the kitchen so if your first batch doesn’t turn out like you thought, keep trying.
3 cups raw almonds
¼ cup coconut oil
2 Tbsp. cocoa powder
1 quick dash of maple syrup
- Preheat oven to 300
- On cookie sheet put the almonds
- Cover in coconut oil and add salt
- Roast the almonds to your liking, I want mine still moist so they cream well and take them out of the oven once I start to really smell them. Est time is about 30 minutes
- Cool briefly and add almonds to a food processor, or heavy duty blender if you wish
- Grind almonds and continually scrap the sides and be patient this is a long process
- Once the almonds start to cream add the cocoa powder and just a quick dash of maple syrup. This sweetness is to cut the bitterness of cocoa powder
- If you want it thinner or creamier you can slowly add in more liquid coconut oil. I had warmed a little bit and had it ready if I needed it but did not use it.
- Remove and add to your favorite Mason jar or container and eat anytime.
As I go into the new year and after several weeks of working out with a trainer and attending Insanity classes I am feeling very strong. This strength is helping with so many things such as better sleep, finally losing some of the menopausal weight, weird cravings going by the wayside and just generally feeling like life is back to normal. When I’m at home or at the gym by myself I lift medium weight, when I’m with my trainer I get to lift heavier weight since I know he is there to spot me when needed. This bonus of heavy weight lifting really allows me to see my progress and the changes I’m making to my body.
This bonus of feeling stronger is even helping with a new and improved Bikram practice. I can really feel my balance has improved and allows me to go deeper into the standing postures. My heart rate stays at a stable rate and doesn’t cause me any extra hard breathing or panic moments. The cardio increase is from my 3 days of Insanity work which is very cardiovascular based but since we are doing a lot of pushups and squats it is also increasing strength. I think I have found a good routine now and since I journal my daily activities and have my trainer look at my journal weekly he is able to look and make sure I’m getting a good mixture of cardio work, strength training on my own and strength training with him as well as a nice balance of Bikram to round it out.
I will even throw in some rest days or active rest days when my body is fatigued because I know I am working hard the rest of the time. I knew I was working hard before but having someone to be accountable to and have someone council me on my routine has helped to take a Sunday off and just go to the Bikram. It might mean I log 3k steps just by doing life things and although my daily goal is 10-13k steps I’m ok with these rest days as I know my body needs them.
I also noticed that once I started to take a few rest days here and there the weight did start to drop off. I also make a wonderful smoothie every day that is so filling I drink ½ first thing in the morning and wait about 3 hours and have the other ½. I’ll put the recipe below. This smoothie recipe really tastes incredible and gives me lots of energy to get through even some of my toughest days.
Handful of spinach – or any green of your choice
1 baseball size beet – leave peel on
½ sweet pot – leave peel on
Thumb nail size chunk ginger – leave peel on
1 cup frozen strawberries
1 scoop clean protein powder of your choice
Blend and enjoy.
I have been experiment with different chia seed recipes and who knew these little seeds were so diverse. I even have people in my office trying chia seed recipes so not only are we swapping recipes but we get to taste everyone’s creations. Some that I have tried is a banana/chia pudding in which I took ½ banana with 1.5 cups almond/coconut milk, 1 Tbsp. maple syrup in blender until smooth. Added milk mixture with 1/3 cup chia seeds in a jar, shake well and refrigerate for an hour. I used the other ½ of my banana as a garnish during serving.
I tasted one that was chia seeds in coconut water and the difference is that this one had a bronze color when mine all turn gray so the color is much more appealing. Today I tried a chocolate chia seed pudding; this may actually be my favorite. I’m going to make for Easter because I think my nephew will really enjoy it as well. This was 3 cups of almond milk, ½ cup chia seeds, 3 Tbsp. cocoa powder, 1 Tbsp. maple syrup, and mix in a bowl and refrigerate until desire consistency. Some garnishes are dark chocolate shavings, whipped cream or even berries. This one used white chia seeds which I hadn’t seen before and only ever buy the black ones. The consistency was so good on this pudding and the chocolate flavor was quite nice. This one didn’t have any garnishes but was still quite good.
I have read that chia seeds are in smoothies but I haven’t tried it yet. I have smoothie almost every day but not sure how the little seeds would taste. I do add ground flax seed to my smoothies but I can’t even taste that. I may try grinding my chia seeds to make the same type of powder consistency as the flax and see how that tastes. I have also been adding the chia seeds to my salads, sauces and in other types of food.
It is fun to come up with new recipes and try and new foods. I also love it when I come up with something that my little nephew also likes. We haven’t ruined his taste buds yet with crazy foods so he can still enjoy the “sweet taste” of foods even if we haven’t added sweeteners. I was listening to a podcast that said that raw almonds are actually sweet. I must admit I don’t taste sweet in them yet but maybe someday I will. I have badly ruined my own taste buds over the year which is why I won’t do it my little nephew as he has plenty of time to do that himself as he gets older!
This is a quick blog post since I wanted to share this recipe with all of you. I’m sure every time you turn around you are hearing about the benefits of chia seeds, including the fact that they are high in omega 3’s, help with inflammation and joint pain and can help lower your blood pressure. Why wouldn’t everyone be eating them? They are seeds and by themselves not all that fancy, but you can mix them into anything and hardly even know they are there. I found a recipe that brings out the tastiness of these little morsels called Chia Pudding. It has the same consistency of tapioca pudding and a very light flavor.
¼ cup chia seeds
1.5 cups almond milk
1 tsp. honey or maple syrup
Dash of cinnamon
Mix all ingredients into a glass jar with lid on shake hard and refrigerate until next day. Serve cold. One jar was 3 servings for us and it was delightful.
In yesterday’s post I mentioned that I took caveman crunch to the game to snack on and wanted to leave it as a separate post to explain it. In the Paleo diet we eat nuts, seeds and use honey or maple syrup as sweeteners. A while back my husband said to me that he did not want to eat eggs and bacon for breakfast every day and what could we do instead. I did what I do best and started researching. I found a way to make cereal at home that he could eat but what we learned is that depending on how we make it, it can be a cereal with milk or a snack like granola and either way it is fabulous. We started with this recipe and use this website a lot but we have tweaked it to our liking over the last several weeks and I think we came up with our favorite version. This is now a weekly staple in our house-hold and it makes it easy to grab and go.
Original recipe is http://civilizedcavemancooking.com/grain-free-goodies/caveman-crunch/
This is how we have tweaked it and this is our favorite combination now.
½ cup sunflower seeds
½ cup pumpkin seeds
¼ sesame seeds
1 cup almond meal
2 cups sliced almonds
1 cup chopped walnuts
½ cup walnut oil or butter is our favorites but coconut is a mean 3rd choice
¼ cup hemp protein powder
¼ flax seed meal
½ cup raw honey
1 tsp. vanilla
Mix all the wet ingredients in small bowl and add the flax seed to sit for a moment. In a separate bowl add all the dry ingredients. Mix the wet with the dry and coat thoroughly. On a cookie add foil shiny side up and place the mixture on the cookie sheet. Place in an oven at 325 and cook for 20-25 minutes. Stir once or twice to make sure it is not burning or sticking to the foil. You can grease the foil first if you prefer.
Once it is golden brown take out of oven and let cool completely. Put in airtight container and enjoy as you want. We find that we have some nice big chunks for snacking and use the loose parts for cereal. We will also add raisins to the cereal or berries and I like almond milk with this cereal instead of coconut milk. You will also notice there is no cocoa or cinnamon in our mixture. Both are good but we found that no spice is the best for us. This recipe makes a lot but it lasts a long time too. Hope you enjoy it as much as we do.
We went to our neighborhood apple orchard a couple of weeks ago and stocked up on a huge bag of apples. Fresh, organic apples are great treats and from what I can tell don’t spike my blood sugar so I have been enjoying one a day as a treat. Sure they are sweet and sometimes tart but apples are so good on a daily basis. Now that we are towards the end of the bag and they have a few little bruises my husband was mentioning that a nice apple dessert would be good for the weekend. We have baked apples with cinnamon and pecans all the time but that was not what he had in mind.
Apple pie, apple strudel, apple crisp or anything else with apple and yummy is what was more what he was requesting. I haven’t experimented with any crusts yet, so the idea of a pie was a little intimidating. We settled for apple crisp and it was a good choice. We still wanted it to fit into our Paleo lifestyle so I started looking for recipes and since I just bought Practical Paleo she has tons of recipes so I started there. I took her recipes for Blueberry crumble and just used the crumble part and then found an apple crisp recipe on the web and tweaked it for my liking. What we came up with was pure gold. So much so I caught my husband eating it for breakfast this morning.
6 apples cut into bit size pieces (I left the skin on since that is where all the goodness is)
1 dash of maple syrup (just to wet the apples)
1 tsp. cinnamon (put more if you like this is a great ingredient on anything)
½ tsp. cardamom (this was an idea from the web recipe and a good one)
Mix in a bowl and pour into a pie plate or 9×9 pan
1.5 cups almond meal
1/2 cup chopped nuts (any of your choice)
3 Tbsp. maple syrup
1 cup shred coconut
¼ cup melted butter or coconut oil
¼ tsp. cinnamon
Pinch of salt
Mix together and put over the apples. Sprinkle additional nuts on top
Preheat oven to 375 and bake 30-40 minutes until top is brown. The apples won’t be bubbly but should be tender.
As far as the pie crust goes, considering the holidays are only a couple weeks away I need to get started on figuring out the best recipe. I have found a few that use almond meal and will give it go. Once I perfect the crust the inside can be whatever we choose. Coming up with Paleo friendly holiday desserts seems easier than I originally thought and the key will just be keeping it to ourselves that they are gluten-free, dairy free and sugar free, but not sweetened free. We will use maple syrup and raw honey to sweeten our treats.
This is an incredible recipe for this time of year. It was easy and although I made the dessert tasting one I’m going to make the savory side dish one next. This is one of my dishes that I’m taking to Thanksgiving this year and I know it will be a hit. Everyone will think I slaved over it and no one would even ask if it is a Paleo friendly or not. The year I was gluten-free for Thanksgiving it was a big deal but this year I’m hoping to just bring the things that Matthew and I will eat and bring up Paleo, gluten-free, dairy free or anything else we might be free from this year.
The foods we are making and trying will be a success and whenever anything tastes great no one asks what isn’t in it just what is the recipe. I won’t give my family this link I would certainly write out the recipe for anyone who might want it. Pumpkin, warmth, sweet tasting and yummy has autumn and Thanksgiving written all over it. This is a perfect individual side or dessert to take anywhere. They are the perfect size with just a cup of yumminess in each ramekin. I’m very pleased with these delightful treats.