Chicken Pot Pie

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I have had this recipe in my stack of “things to make” for awhile now. Today was the day to conquer it.

You make this recipe in a few different steps. Ingredients below.

Almond flour/meal (a lot of it)
Salt
Baking powder
Coconut oil
Water
Chicken breasts
Yellow onion
Frozen peas
Frozen carrots
Coconut milk (full fat)
Chicken stock
Extra virgin olive oil
Pepper
Egg

You start out by roasting the chicken with a little EVOO, salt, and pepper for about a half hour. In the meantime, you make the crust. Blend together the almond flour, baking powder, and salt in a food processor. Then add the coconut oil, then the water. I keep my almond flour in the freezer. If you do the same, I recommend letting your flour become room temperature first otherwise your coconut oil will solidify, making it tricky to get the crust right. Once the crust is made, form it into a ball, wrap it in plastic wrap, and put it in the fridge.

While the chicken is cooking and the crust chills, you begin working in the filling.  On a sidenote, this is about the time the chicken was done. Take those babies out and let them cool. Next, cook the onions in some EVOO. When they start turning brown, add the almond flour and reduce heat. Add the chicken stock, coconut milk, salt, and pepper.  After a quick stir, add the peas, carrots, and chicken. 

At this time, take the crust out of the fridge. I pretended it was a pie crust and placed the crust ball between 2 sheets of wax paper before rolling it out. My crust was pretty gooey, so I had to put it back into the fridge often while rolling it out and shaping it.  To shape it, I made outlines in the crust with the ramekins.

Next, spoon the filling into the ramekins. The recipe calls for 8 ramekins. I used 4 ramekins and put the rest of the filling into an 8×8 Pyrex pan. It worked out perfectly. Once the filling is dished up, place the crust circles on top of the ramekins. I placed the ramekins and 8×8 onto a baking sheet. This makes it easier to remove from the oven as well as catches the juices that overflow out of the baking dishes. Cook these babies for about an hour.

The pot pies come out LAVA hot, so let them sit for a bit before diving in. I was pleasantly surprised at how flaky the crust was. Delicious. These paleo pot pies taste like the real deal. They take a little time to make, but are most definitely worth it.  This one’s a keeper.

Another quick sidenote. Are peas Paleo? Technically, no.  They are a part of the legume family, along with green beans.  The reasoning behind it has to do with lectin and a high glycemic index which I will explain in more detail another day.  I agree with the author of the recipe in that it’s not chicken pot pie without the peas, so I decided to go for it. Part of my 10-15% modified Paleo.

Happy eating!

Recipe found HERE.

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Grains

Grain

Part of the Paleo guidelines say no to grains.  What does this include? Wheat, oats, barley, rye, millet, corn, rice, sorghum, teff, triticale, spelt, kamut, buckwheat, amaranth, quinoa. No breads, cereals, pasta, rice. Strict says no to even gluten-free.   I know what you’re thinking. “But how can this be? This goes against everything that I have ever been taught.”  Confusing, right?  Let me explain the way that I understand it.

We can consume two categories of grains, refined and whole grains. 

Refined grains have the bran and germ removed during the refining process.  With this, the fiber, vitamins, and minerals are also removed.  Sometimes, these grains are “fortified” with nutrients, but it doesn’t make up for what is removed.  These grains are often times turned into snacky things.  Since the parts of the grain that make you feel full have been taken out, it is very easy to over consume these foods.  Because of this, these grains tend to mess with your blood sugar and also promote cravings.

Whole grains are just that, whole.  They still have the bran and the germ, however you are still a lot better off obtaining your fiber, vitamins, and minerals from fruit/vegetables.  The folks at Whole9 did a comparison in their book , It Starts with Food, of a daily diet based on whole grains vs fruit and vegetables.  This chart can be found on pg 109 (I have also included a photo for reference).  Sodium, calories, and sugar are all elevated with the wheat; however it has significantly lower levels of potassium, Iron, Zinc, and many of the vitamins. 

The grain dilemma isn’t just an issue with nutritional value.  There are also some health problems that may arise from consuming the grains.  Some of the proteins in grains have been found to cause problems in the gut.  These proteins have tendency to create an increase in gut permeability (also called leaky gut).  What does this mean?  The proteins can be resistant to digestion, meaning they enter the gut intact then are able to cross over a typically impermeable gut barrier into the body.  These proteins contain partially digested food parts, bacteria, and viruses.  These out of place particles have been known to adversely affect digestion as well as the immune response.  Gluten is one of these proteins that has been known to cause many of these problems.  Gluten can be found in rye, wheat, and barley. 

I keep mentioning these inflammatory effects.  What does this include? This could refer to a number of things.  Allergies, arthritis, asthma, autoimmune diseases (celiac, Crohn’s, lupus, MS), chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia, ulcerative colitis, diverticulitis, psoriasis, eczema, rosacea, endometriosis.  These inflammatory effects have also been known to show up in the brain with depression, anxiety, and psychiatric disorders.  Basically, grain has the potential to affect any disease process that is associated with inflammation. 

These effects can vary from person to person.  Sometimes they don’t even affect a person at all.  This is where the 30 day challenge comes into play.  When you eat strict Paleo for 30 days, then slowly introduce grain back into your diet, you may find that you feel much better without the grain.  I guess my thinking is, why eat the grain if I has a huge potential to make you feel like garbage?  If you’re eating grains for the health benefits, consider switching to fruit and veggies.  If you refer back to the picture that is posted, you will notice that you’re actually better off nutritionally without the grains.

In my experience, I have found that my allergies are slightly better, I can breathe better, I am less fatigued, and my guts feel much better without the grains.  Personally, I don’t feel that it’s worth it to eat the grains.  But…as always, do the research.  Test this yourself.  Try eating strict Paleo for the 30 days then see how you feel after reintroducing grains back into your diet.  With the grain test, be mindful to how you look, how you feel, and your general quality of life. 

good day bad day

Dulce de Leche Cheesecake Bars

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I know that I make A LOT of Paleo desserts, but I’m also good at sharing with husband, friends, coworkers. Keep in mind that sweets should be consumed sparingly.

I thought this one looked delicious. Dulce de Leche is essentially “milk candy” which in its simplest way can be made by boiling a can of sweetened condensed milk, becoming caramel. The author of this one found a recipe for Paleo-free Dulce de Leche cheesecake bars on Smitten Kitten’s site and revamped the recipe to be Paleo.  Before I started eating clean, I LOVED Smitten Kitten’s site.  I was pleasantly surprised to find a Paleo version of one of her recipes.   

This recipe is for dulce de leche cheesecake bars. You make Paleo graham cracker crust, then Paleo caramel, then Paleo cheesecake, then chocolate ganache for the top.  This takes time.  Mixing, baking, cooling, mixing, pouring, cooling…..

 

 

IMAG2582Graham cracker crust:
almond flour
coconut flour
salt
baking soda
baking powder
cinnamon
honey
egg
vanilla

Dulce de Leche sauce:
coconut milk
honey
vanilla

 
Cheesecake:
cashews
coconut oil
honey
lemon juice
coconut milk
vanilla
salt

 
Chocolate Ganache:
dark chocolate
coconut milk

 

IMAG2588You mix the graham cracker ingredients, bake, then cool.  This is pretty delicious.  It smells wonderful.  While the graham cracker crust is cooling (or even while it is baking), mix the ingredients for the Dulce de Leche sauce in a pan.  Boil until it reduces to half and becomes golden and syrupy. Allow this to cool until it becomes thick and creamy.  Pour over the graham cracker crust then put back into the fridge/freezer.  Next, the cheesecake.  Apparantly, cashews are how vegans make cheesecake.  With this recipe, add everything into the food processor and mix until it becomes thick and creamy.  I was intrigued by how this would taste, and was pleasantly surprised at how delicious this was.  Once this is mixed, pour the cheesecake over your graham cracker/dulce de leche bars.  Back into the fridge/freezer it goes.  Finally, mix the last 2 ingredients.  Once the chocolate is melted, pour over the top of the bars. The hardest part is allowing the bars to cool for a few hours.  Trust me, this is important if you want it to come out in bar form.  On the flip side, the best part is licking the spoon for each layer. 

I really enjoyed the flavor layers of this dessert.  The graham cracker, the sweetness of the dulce de leche, the complexity of the cheesecake, the chocolate.  It’s fun.  I hope you enjoy this one.

Recipe HERE.

Boneless Short Rib Breakfast Tacos

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Ridiculously simple and just as delicious.

Ingredients

2# boneless, skinless Pork short ribs
2 Tablespoons real Maple syrup
2 tsp Garlic powder
Salt, to taste

Instructions
1. Plug in slow cooker
2. Cut ribs into thirds then add to slow cooker
3. Add syrup, garlic powder, and salt
4. Cook for 8-10 hours
5.  Devour

Recipe called for 2# pork short ribs. I used approx 2.5# pork back ribs (with bones).  Also, instead of garlic powder and salt, I just used garlic salt and called it good. The instructions said to throw everything into the crock pot, but I opted to sear the pork prior to crock potting. I cut the pork into 3 chunks. Next, I salted and peppered the ribs, then browned them in some olive oil. THEN, I threw them into the crock pot with the other ingredients. I let this chill all day. I was skeptical because you don’t add any juices to the crock pot, and was pleasantly surprised. The pork was perfectly done and the flavor was spot on. I had a few friends over, and the one who claims to not like pork asked for seconds.

To complete the meal, there is a recipe for coconut flour tortillas.

Coconut flour
Coconut milk
Eggs
Salt

Mix that business up and make it as you would a pancake.  The tortillas that I made were kind of like a crepe. Fairly flavorless. The recipe made about 6-8 tortillas.

I loaded each tortilla with pork, sliced tomato, green chilis, and crumbled bacon. I suppose to make these breakfastalicious, one could add eggs.

So good, so good.  I will be making this again, especially the pork.  Simple and delicious. The best combo.

Recipe HERE.

Blueberry Chocolate Chip Bread Pudding

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I was excited to find a paleo bread pudding. I found this one on paleomg.com.

With this recipe, you first need to make a coconut flour pound cake.

Coconut flour
Salt
Baking soda
Eggs
Coconut oil
Honey
Vanilla
Lemon juice

This pound cake is pretty tasty by itself. It pairs perfectly with a cup of coffee.

Anyway, once the pound cake is baked and cooled, you slice it into 1″ chunks. Then you pour the rest of the bread pudding over it.

Coconut milk (canned)
Eggs
Coconut oil
Maple syrup
Fresh blueberries
Dark chocolate chips
Cinnamon
Vanilla
Salt

Bake this for about 45 minutes. Then, as the recipe says, eat it up. They also suggest using ramekins for the bread pudding for more individualized servings. This is a delicious recipe with whatever bakeware you decide to use.

In my opinion, this is perfectly sweet, not too rich. The blueberries and the dark chocolate complement each other well. Perfect item for a springtime Sunday brunch. I decided to sit on the patio while enjoying some bread pudding, a cup of coffee, and writing about it all. 

Happy eating!

You can make this recipe by clicking HERE.

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Sweet Potato Chai Muffins

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These muffins are quite delicious. Subtly sweet.

Sweet potato
Banana
Eggs
Chai tea bags
Pecans
Flax seed meal
Coconut oil
Coconut nectar
Vanilla extract
Baking powder
Baking soda
Cinnamon
Pinch of salt
Coconut Crystals

I didn’t have any flax seed meal, so I just ground some flax seeds. Also, I used honey in place of coconut nectar. I assumed that coconut sugar is the same as coconut crystals.

I baked these for about 25 minutes and that seemed sufficient. I recommend using muffin tin liners as the muffins are somewhat gooey. This recipe made 12 muffins.

Recipe HERE.

Baconnaise

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I have been meaning to make some Bacon mayonnaise for awhile now. Mayonnaise is something that I miss. Hellman’s, specifically. Now, there are tons of recipes for Bacon mayo. This one was one of the first ones I saw so I decided to give it a whirl.

Ingredients
2/3 cup Bacon fat (from approx 1 pound of bacon)
4 egg yolks
Cider vinegar
Dijon mustard
Salt
Pepper

The recipe says if you don’t have enough bacon fat, use vegetable oil. Well, I say, cook more bacon. I have been saving bacon fat for awhile now for just this reason.

I got a little too eager with this recipe and added everything together in a bowl and blended it all together. Turns out, you’re not supposed to do that. You are to add the egg yolks, vinegar, and mustard together then very slowly add the bacon fat in a thin stream until It’s completely incorporated and the mixture is thick and creamy. Then add the salt and pepper.  My bacon mayo isn’t quite completely creamy. That’s ok. It doesn’t have to look pretty to taste good. The Dijon mustard and vinegar make it taste a lot like deviled eggs, which I happen to love.

I think I will use this on burgers, in tuna salad, on lettuce wraps, as a Veggie dip…. Really, the possibilities are endless.

Like I said, there are many many bacon mayo recipes. Do you have a favorite?

HERE is the recipe.

Here’s to bacon!