Monday, January 30, 2012

RECIPE: Pumpkin Pie Clafoutis

One of my favorite things in the whole world is a really good pumpkin pie. Since I have only recently learned what a clafoutis is, I decided to try to combine the two goodnesses and see how it would turn out. I am SOOO glad I tried it ... I absolutely LOVE this recipe and will be using it again and again!
Pumpkin Pie Clafoutis
1/2 cup coconut oil (or 1/2 cup butter or ghee)
1 3/4 cups pumpkin puree
1/2 cup honey
4 eggs
1/2 cup coconut milk
1/2 cup almond flour
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
(You may prefer less spices, but I prefer experiencing their flavors mixed with the pumpkin!)
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Melt butter, ghee, or coconut oil (whichever you use) in a small pot over low heat or in the microwave.
3. Blend together all ingredients. I use an immersion blender to make sure everything is well blended. Taste for sweetness and add more honey, if you feel it needs it.
 4. Pour into a well greased 8"X8" baking dish and bake for roughly 45 minutes - until center is set. 
 5. Allow clafoutis to cool before placing it in the refrigerator. It's tasty warm, but it is AMAZING cold!
 Pumpkin Pie Clafoutis is fantastic as part of breakfast or as dessert. I made this on Friday and it's almost gone! 

Friday, January 27, 2012

RECIPE: Steamed Artichokes

I had never had a fresh artichoke until I moved to Northern California. Since the Artichoke Capital of the World in just a couple of hours away, I thought it was high time to give them a chance. So, I bought two. I looked at them, intimidated to the max. I had NO idea what to do with them, so I did some research. I ended up boiling them for what seemed like an eternity and they were very good. One night I wanted to have artichokes with dinner, but everything else was going to be ready in 30 minutes, so waiting for the water to boil, then boil them for 45 minutes or so just wasn't an option. I found directions on how to microwave them in 20 minutes. THAT would fit the timeframe for dinner, so I gave that a try. They aren't very pretty after cooking them this way, but they sure do taste great AND it saves a LOT of time!
2 large artichokes
1 lime
(See? super easy!!)
1. Cut the ends of the leaves off. then trim the top section off as shown in the photos below.
2. Trim the top section off as shown in the photos below.
 3. Cut the stem to approximately 1".
 4. Spread leaves and wash thoroughly.

 5. Place in microwaveable dish (with a lid) and put approximately 1" water in the dish along with a sliced lime.
 6. Cook in microwave for 20 minutes, then remove. Be careful when removing them from the dish as they will be watery and VERY hot!
I generally serve them with paleo mayonnaise for dipping, or sometimes herb mayo - Pesto and paleo mayo makes for a flavorful, yummy dip! (We use that on most vegetables including broccoli, asparagus, and even on salads!)

Artichokes are an excellent source of potassium, magnesium, vitamin C, dietary fiber and protein?
A medium sized steamed artichoke is only about 60 calories! The following information is from a recent news letter from Ocean Mist:

Potassium is a mineral that’s vital to maintaining normal heart rhythm, fluid balance, and muscle and nerve function. One medium Artichoke provides more than 400 milligrams of potassium, about as much as a small banana. There is strong evidence that a diet rich in potassium is linked to reduced risk of stroke. Potassium also blunts the effects of salt on blood pressure.
Magnesium is used in building bones, manufacturing proteins, releasing energy from muscle storage and regulating our body temperature. Many adults – especially women – aren’t getting enough of this mineral and Artichokes are a good source.
Vitamin C
Artichokes are an excellent source of vitamin C, a water-soluble vitamin that functions as a potent antioxidant. Vitamin C is vital for a healthy immune system and is important in forming collagen, a protein that gives structure to our bones, cartilage, muscle and blood vessels. Vitamin C also aids in the absorption of iron.
Dietary Fiber
Artichokes are fiber rich! Found only in plant foods, fiber helps maintain a healthy digestive system, lowers blood cholesterol, reduces the risk of heart disease and may prevent certain types of cancer. Fiber also works to keep blood-sugar levels stable, which is especially important for people with diabetes. It can also help us feel full, aiding in weight control.
With no fat, cholesterol or trans fat, Artichokes are a healthful source of protein. One medium Artichoke provides four grams of protein!

For more nutritional information about Artichokes, visit Ocean Mist

RECIPE: Guacamole

Fajita chicken, Mexican rice, hot and spicy roasted sweet potatoes ... Sounds like guacamole would fit right in! Good thing I had a few avocados and tomatoes to spare!

2 avocados
1 tomato
1 1/2 teaspoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon minced onion
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
1/4 teaspoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
sea salt to taste
1. Peel and mash avocado in a bowl.

2. Wash and dice tomato, removing excess water.
3. Add lemon juice, mayonnaise, tomato, onion, chili powder, pepper and salt.
4. It's best made at least 30 minutes in advance so the flavors blend.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

RECIPE: Paleo Mexican Cauliflower "Rice"

What's a Mexican dinner without rice? Well, I never was a big rice fan, but Conrad likes it, so I decided to look for alternate ideas of how to fill the "rice void" in a Mexican meal. I have seen several posts about people using cauliflower as a rice substitute in a lot of dishes. Even though neither of us care much for cauliflower I thought it was worth a try. After all, I bought one today to the tune of $1.29 ... Gotta love living in California! I decided to try different seasonings and spices to "mask" the taste. It didn't need much!
1/2 head cauliflower
1 tomato
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon cumin
sea salt
ground black pepper
1. Wash and cut cauliflower into flowerettes and microwave for 4 minutes.
2. Peel a tomato and remove seeds and water. Pulse in a food processor.
3. Pulse cauliflower in food processor until it's the consistency of rice.
4. Heat a pan over medium heat for one minute, then add olive oil.
5. Add cauliflower and saute for several minutes making sure it's soft.
6. Add salt, pepper, garlic powder, cumin and tomato.
7. Stir and simmer for another minute to make sure tomatoes are warm.
8. Serve with chicken, guacamole, and whatever your favorite Mexican dishes are.

Trust me - It does not taste like cauliflower - It tastes like Mexican rice!

RECIPE: Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Pecans

I love sweet potatoes and I am very glad that the Paleo Lifestyle allows for the occasional consumption of such a wonderful, tasty vegetable. I found a recipe earlier today that contained sugar, so I decided to give it a more Paleo flair. I was serving this dish with a meal based on a Mexican theme, so I decided to spice it up some. When making this dish you can change the "heat index" by adjusting the final ingredient. (By the way, I often cook for two, so feel free to adjust the quantities accordingly.)
1 large sweet potato
1 tablespoon olive oil
coarse salt
1 tablespoon coconut oil (or butter)
1 tablespoon agave
1/4 cup chopped pecans
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
2. Wash and peel sweet potato.
3. Cut into sections approximately 1/2 inch thick, then cut in half.
4. Coat each piece with olive oil, then sprinkle with sea salt.

5. Roast potato sections for approximately 25 minute, stirring occasionally.
6. Melt coconut oil or butter, then add agave, cinnamon, nuts and cayenne pepper, and stir well. 
7. Pour over sweet potatoes and enjoy!

RECIPE: Chocolate Chip Smoothie

For years I have jokingly said the four food groups were "round things, flat things, onions, and chocolate. I realize it's not quite that simple ... or silly ... but chocolate is a popular component in weekly meal planning. It blows my mind how people differ in how they view "dessert." I believe rich, decadent desserts are treats. Rarities. Indulgences. Not an expected end to every meal. A fruit dish, or a crumble with nuts and fruits, or even a smoothie make excellent, healthy "desserts", as well. 
This morning I had a craving for chocolate. Out of the blue, I might add. So, I decided this might be a good time to try a chocolate smoothie. What I came up with was absolutely wonderful!! In a weird way it brought back memories of one of my favorite episodes of "I Love Lucy" ... See? I told you! Weird! If you've ever seen the episode where Lucy and her best friend, Ethyl, work in the factory where they are to take frozen bananas, dip them in chocolate and then roll them in nuts, you'll know why that memory popped into my mind! Here's my recipe ... Try it and see if you have a similar experience.
1 cup unsweetened almond milk (vanilla, but chocolate would be great!!)
1 banana
1 tablespoon almond butter
1 tablespoon cocoa powder
1 tablespoon carob chips
6 - 8 ice cubes
1. Put ingredients in blender and blend until smooth and creamy.
2. Pour into your favorite insulated cup and enjoy!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012


There is NOTHING Paleo about this birthday cake!!! I made it for Conrad's son's 16th birthday. He's a "carboholic" and a "chocoholic" ... I'm working on him ... He's often an official taster for my recipes!

I'm not really going to post a recipe because you can use whatever flavors of cake  and icing you want. The Kit Kats and M&Ms cover it all up anyway! Here's a photo progression of how I made and decorated the cake.
The new birthday cake platter ...
 Layer #1 of oooey-goooey chocolate cake ...
 What I'll use to decorate the cake ...
 Layer #1 is iced.
 Layer #2 is miraculously in place ... Don't ask! lol
 Cake is iced.
 Kit Kats are in place. (This is a 9" cake and it took 5 1/2 large [double] sized bars to go all the way around.)
 Tied the ribbon to hold it all together.
 I was even able to find this small "Happy Birthday" ribbon, so I glued it on.
 M&Ms are in place ...
 "Happy Birthday" is in place ...
 The 1 and 6 are in place ...
 Pokeys, Pokeys everywhere!

 Yeah, he looks pretty darned happy!
 He could NOT stop thanking me for this cake!
 I used two layers of triple chocolate lava cake, so you can see why I say it's oooey-goooey!
 All in all, I think he had a very good birthday!
PS - I did eat a small piece of this cake and to be honest I felt like CRAP afterwards! Eating good, Paleo recipes for the entire month of January! I'll be working on a suitable PALEO substitute for a chocolate cake before I have to bake another one!