Pumpkin Granola

Yeah yeah yeah…another fall recipe. I know, but it really is my favorite time of year.
In our house cereal is a big . So here’s our recipe for a great fall inspired Paleo-friendly pumpkin granola. Sprinkle it on berries, top it with whipped coconut milk, or add some almond milk and eat it like you would cereal. Or just eat it plain while chilling on the couch. Whatever you do, you will love it!

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PUMPKIN GRANOLA

3 cups raw nuts (I use whatever I have–usually a combo of macadamias, pecans, almonds, pistachios, and cashews)
1 cup coconut flakes
1/2 cup raw sunflower seeds
3/4 cup raisins
5 dates, chopped
1/3 cup pumpkin purée (canned is fine)
1/3cup real maple syrup
1Tbsp coconut oil
2 1/2 Tbsp pumpkin pie spice, divided
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp cinnamon

In a large bowl, combine your nuts, coconut, sunflower seeds, raisins, dates.
In another bowl whisk together the pumpkin, maple syrup, and coconut oil.
Pour wet mix into nuts, add spices (only add half the total pumpkin pie spice).
Mix until everything is combined.
Pour out onto a well greased parchment lined cookie sheet.
Bake at 275 for 45 mins to an hour, stirring every 15 mins.
When done sprinkle remaining pumpkin pie spice on top of granola while it cools.
Keep in an airtight container in the pantry.

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Paleo 101: The Basics

Recently I created a little sheet to give people when they ask about Paleo. I think with all the information out there, it can be very overwhelming at first. Realizing I never put this basic information here on my blog, I am adding it now.

PALEO INFORMATION

The Basics:

-Paleo is not a diet. It is a lifestyle. The goal is to reduce inflammation in the body and achieve a healthy hormonal balance. Losing weight is a side effect of eating this way, not the goal.

-Foods to eat-
Meats, seafood, vegetables, fruits, nuts, healthy fats and oils. Fermented foods.

Meats/seafood-grass fed beef, pastured poultry/pork/lamb, etc. Wild caught seafood.

Vegetables-pay attention to the dirty dozen (12 most contaminated fruits/vegs)-choose organic if poss. Use sweet potato/squash/zucchini in place of pasta or white potato.

Fruits-Same as vegetables. Limit starchy/high sugar like bananas, mangoes, etc to once a day if you are active.

Nuts-Garnish/snack. Not main course. Try not to overdo them. A handful a day is fine. Preferable nuts (with l owed omega-6 content-ie. less inflammatory) are macadamias, cashews, hazelnuts. Almonds ok in moderation.

Oils-Use coconut oil, clarified butter (preferably grass fed), olive oil. Avocados, coconut, olives are great fat sources.

Fermented foods-kombucha (a fermented tea), sauerkraut, kimchee, coconut or almond based kefir or yogurt.

-Foods to avoid– ALL grains (this includes corn, wheat, oats, rye, barley, rice, etc..NO GLUTEN), refined seed oils (canola, soy, sunflower,vegetable, grape seed), white potato, legumes (including peanuts and soy), artificial color/flavor, dairy (some paleos eat raw or grass fed organic dairy-this depends on how your body handles it). Refined sugars (maple syrup, local raw honey, date sugar ok).
Alcohol (at the very least you should avoid beer and the sugary mixed drinks).

Resources:

-Basics Books:
Practical Paleo by Dianne SanFilippo. This book is a great resource for starting out. She breaks it down in a very easy to understand way.
Theres 30 day plans, lists, and helpful charts and cut outs you can use as reminders so you don’t have to lug the book to the store. Its also colorful and full of great photos.

It Starts With Food by Dallas and Melissa Hartwig. Creators of a 30 day squeaky clean paleo plan called “Whole 30”. This book is a little more technical but a great read once you have a handle on the basics, or you are interested in doing a 30 day super clean Paleo diet.

The Primal Blueprint by Mark Sisson. He has his own paleo-like program called “Primal”. Allows for a little more than Paleo does. Great way to start. His website is full of info thats easy to understand and supported by research.

-Cookbooks: These are books that provide easy to follow recipes, some background info/tips, and beautiful food photography.
Against All Grain by Danielle Walker.
Make It Paleo by Haley Mason and Bill Staley.
Everyday Paleo by Sarah Fragoso.
Well Fed by Melissa Jouliwan.
Eat Like a Dinosaur by Stacy Toth and Matthew McCarry.

-Websites: There are TONS of Paleo bloggers out there. Most of the very popular ones have written cookbooks to go along with their blog.

http://www.balancedbites.com
http://www.whole9life.com
http://www.primal-palate.com
http://www.everydaypaleo.com
http://www.theclothesmakethegirl.com
http://www.paleoparents.com
http://www.againstallgrain.com

Grain Free Apple Cider Donuts

Apple cider donuts are a fall classic. My kids go nuts for them. Recently we went apple picking, and because my oldest can not have gluten, I made a gluten free version as a substitute. It was a fantastic recipe, and the donuts were spot on. Problem is they are not grain free. So I decided to waste some ingredients (yes, sometimes its painful but part of the process) and figure out a better recipe that the kids will love without the grains and excess sugar.
I came up with a coconut flour based recipe that yields a moist, tender donut. I have learned that with coconut flour baking, half the battle is keeping the moisture (coconut flour absorbs a lot of moisture). So this recipe may seem excessive in the egg department, but I believe it’s necessary. No one likes to choke on a dry donut 😉
The recipe has no added sugar in the actual donut, so for those cutting sugars doing 21 dsd or other detox, I believe these would be a great “sometimes treat” with a dollop of coconut whipped cream. For the kids, I rolled in cinnamon/date sugar while they were still warm (otherwise it won’t stick).
Use a mini donut pan, or even a small whoopie pie pan (yes, with that coconut whipped cream you can do a delicious clean apple cider whoopie pie!). For tge record, I think a regular size donut would fall apart because of the hole. But if you try it, let me know how it turns out.

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Grain Free Apple Cider Donuts
1/2 cup plus 2 T coconut flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
4 eggs
1/3 cup applesauce
1/2 cup apple cider
1 T vanilla extract
1 T melted coconut oil
**3 T honey or maple syrup (totally optional. Omit for 21 dsd. I didn’t add in the newest batch and we loved them without it).

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Grease mini donut pan (or whoopie pie pan) with coconut oil, butter, or ghee.
Combine dry ingredients and mix.
Combine wet ingredients in another bowl and whisk until uniform.
Pour wet into dry ingredients and mix.
Add to donut wells and smooth with wet fingers.
Bake about 12 minutes, or until toothpick comes out clean.
Cool in pan a few minutes and roll in cinnamon/date sugar (optional–just mix about a half cup date sugar and 1-2 tsp cinnamon).
***If you go the whoopie pie route, use coconut whipped cream that’s been refrigerated a day or so. This way it’s stiff, not drippy.

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“Cheesy” Chicken Meatballs

Fall is a very busy time for us. Having three super active boys makes it tough to have time for cooking. And on some days, when we have sports or other activities, dinner needs to be made at warp speed. Prepping ahead is a huge help for me. I try to shop on Sundays and prep Sunday or Monday so that putting together lunches and dinners are easier. I usually draw up a plan for the week, then shop and prep.
Tonight was one of those crazy nights. We got home from sports and they were immediately whining and in the refrigerator trying to gobble down everything in sight. Luckily, I had prepped Paleo Parmesan, nut cheese, raw veggies, fruits, and had ground chicken on hand. So in a matter of 20-25 mins dinner was ready and they devoured it. These meatballs were a huge hit. The texture is nice and smooth (big for the 3 year old who freaks when there’s anything “bumpy” or “crunchy”). The flavor is amazing–almost like a lasagne meatball. I suggest doubling the recipe since these will be gone in a flash!
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“Cheesy” Chicken Meatballs

1 lb ground chicken
2 Tbsp marinara sauce (I love Raos)
1/3 cup basic cashew nut cheese, ricotta style
1/4 cup Paleo Parmesan
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp dried basil
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp garlic powder

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Combine all ingredients in bowl and mix with hands until well incorporated.
With wet hands, form in golf ball sized meatballs on parchment lined baking sheet.
Bake 17-20 mins or until internal temp reaches 165 degrees.
Serve over zucchini noodles, cauliflower rice, or spagetti squash.
Makes 12 meatballs.

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Paleo 101: The Salad

I’ve got a few new readers that I know are new to Paleo. So every now and again I plan to do Paleo 101 posts, just for them. There’s so much info out there and when you start out, it can be super overwhelming. Eating this way doesn’t have to be fussy, complicated, or look like it should be in a food magazine. It should work for you and the work it takes should suit your lifestyle. In order to do that, sometimes you have to cut the fussiness and just EAT REAL FOOD. So from here on out, look forward to easy to make meals and quick tips on making it work. 🙂
THE SALAD
One of the easiest Paleo meals to prepare is the salad. You start with a big bowl of greens. Then add some veggies, protein, and top with home made dressing. I know a lot of people get bored of salads when they go Paleo, but I’m here to tell you that it doesn’t have to be this way. There are endless combos that will turn boring into delicious. You just need some inspiration and a little imagination.
Salads are a great way to liven up leftovers. Grilled meats, fish, roasted veggies, fruit, and even chili find themselves perched atop leafy greens in my kitchen. After all, you worked so hard to nail that perfect chicken recipe. It deserves to be enjoyed a second time in a new and exciting way.
The Basic breakdown of how I “build” my salads:

1. Leafy Greens- kale, spinach, spring mix, romaine, arugula, red leaf, butter. There are so many out there.

2. Veggies–there’s the usual: cucumber, onion, carrot, peppers. I also love mixing it up with blanched asparagus, beets, grilled zucchini, roasted broccoli, snap peas, heirloom tomatoes. There are dozens of vegetable varieties that work great in salads.

3. Protein–grilled meats, chicken/tuna salad, leftover slow cooked chicken thighs, roasted chicken, chili, brisket, hard boiled eggs.

4. Fruit–berries, apples, pears, cherries, grapefruit, oranges, mango are some of my favorites.

5. Healthy Fats–toasted coconut chips, almonds, pecans, hazelnuts, toasted pine nuts, avocado.

6. Dressing–simple oil and vinegar with a few herbs, creamy dressings with homemade mayo or avocado as the base.

I plan to blog more of my creative salads to offer some inspiration. Here’s a recent one that really hit the spot on a warm, sunny day.

Strawberry Almond Salad With Creamy Balsamic

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*measurements are approximate

The salad:
2 cups spring mix
1/2 c diced cucumber
1/4 c diced red bell pepper
1/4 c shredded carrot
Handful grape tomatoes
3-4 oz grilled chicken (leftover) diced to 3/4 inch cubes
Handful of quartered strawberries
Handful whole roasted almonds

Put all ingredients in bowl in order listed
Top with dressing and enjoy!

Creamy Balsamic Dressing
3 Tbsp homemade mayo
1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley

Whisk together and voila! Creamy Paleo dressing with zero dairy, zero gluten and tons of nutrients 🙂

Slow Cooked Apple Sauce

Fall is here! The leaves are turning, the air is crisp, and the apples are ready to be picked. Fall really calls for comfort foods. Apple pie, hot cocoa, soups, and stews are all perfect fall food.
This past weekend we picked two giant bags of beautiful, fresh apples. Because my husband and I are doing Whole 30 this month, a pie was out of the question. So I made slow cooked applesauce. I kept it chunky and added a dollop of coconut milk whipped cream and we had a clean apple pie. It was delicious. For the kids, I mashed more and made it smoother. They loved it. My 5 year old is having a bowl for breakfast right now 🙂

Slow Cooker Apple Sauce

8-10 apples (filled my slow cooker 3/4 full)
2 tsp lemon juice
1/4 tsp kosher salt
1-3 tsp ground cinnamon (adjust to your taste–I personally love cinnamon)
1/2 tsp nutmeg

Put all ingredients in slow cooker and cook on low for about 6 hours.
Mash with potato masher to desired texture.
Top with chopped roasted nuts or coconut milk whipped cream

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Broccoli Parmesan Zucchini Noodles

Growing up I had a lot of favorite foods. My parents owned a restaurant, and my Mom is an incredible cook. One thing I always loved was pasta with butter, broccoli and a dumpload of parmesan. Even when I was pregnant, I had her make it for me (yes, when you are pregnant your Mom should still cook for you regardless of age). Today after I got done with my daily report to her, I thought about what she used to make and this popped into my head…Let the craving begin. Im doing Whole 30 this month, so I decided to create this dish and make it totally Paleo. It came out incredible. I am betting my sister is going to be really happy I posted this!

Broccoli Parmesan Zucchini Noodles

Makes 1-2 servings (or 1 serving if you just got back from the gym and are STARVING)

1 zucchini, spiral sliced (if you dont have a spiral slicer, you need one. Or you can use spagetti squash)
1 cup broccoli flowerets, cut bite size
3-4 Tbsp “Paleo Parm” (recipe below)
1 tsp minced garlic
2 large or extra large eggs
2 Tbsp ghee/coconut oil
2 Tbsp coconut milk (canned)
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper

Steam your broccoli however you like (I use the steamer basket in a pot with an inch of water-about 5 mins, covered).
Heat ghee/coconut oil in large skillet over medium heat.
Meanwhile, whisk the eggs, coconut milk and salt/pepper.
Add eggs mix to the pan and scramble away.
When the eggs are almost done, add the zucchini and the garlic and continue to sautee until zucchini is tender (about 5-6 mins).
Add broccoli.
Add parmesan to pan and toss the whole thing to coat.

“Paleo Parm”
Makes a jar of parm to use as you wish–sprinkle on veggies, coconut chips, meats, fish…
1 cup raw cashews
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
1 tsp salt

Combine ingredients in food processor and run until parmesan cheese texture. Store in a jar in the refrigerator.

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Quick Paleo Nutty Apple Bowl with Coconut Whipped Cream

It’s been chilly here in the Northeast. Morning walks to the bus stop require my fuzzy slippers and hoodie. Fall is my favorite season. Its the season of apple picking, pumpkins, boots and scarves. Here’s a great quick fall treat that’s whole 30 friendly and makes great use of the billion apples your kids picked!

Quick Nutty Apple Bowl with coconut whipped cream

Makes 1 bowl.
1 firm fleshed apple, peeled and diced
2 Tbsp macadamia nuts
1/2 Tbsp coconut oil
1/4 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp cinnamon

For coconut whipped cream
1 can chilled coconut milk (refrigerate can 24 hours)
1/2 tsp real vanilla extract

Heat skillet on medium high and melt coconut oil.
Add apples and nuts and sauté 2 minutes.
Add spices and continue to sauté until apples are tender (another 2 minutes).

Scoop coconut cream from top of can (the cream will separate from milk in the refrigerator–this is why it must be refrigerated) and place in mixing bowl.
Add vanilla.
Using a stand mixer or hand beaters, whip at high speed until light and fluffy.

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