Saturday, August 30, 2014

Homemade Oven Roasted Nut Butter

We love almond butter, we use to go through at least one Costco sized container a week... We'd put it in oatmeal, cookies, brownies, paleo "frosting" (Karl's specialty!), smoothies, or just eat it with a spoon as a quick source of post/pre workout protein. We still always have a container in the fridge, but it lasts us 2-3 weeks now. Actually I think the last one lasted us over a month. Shocking!

Costco is the best deal I've found for almond butter, you get a large 26 oz container for just over 7 bucks. At my local grocery store, you get a 7oz jar for $12+.
However, Costco recalled all MaraNatha Almond Butter and Peanut Butters. Nooo!!! We ruturned the ones we had then I decided I'd try to make my own. I made 3 different kinds: sun butter, cashew butter, and coconut almond butter. 

Homemade Nut Butter

any amount of raw nuts (I used the 16 oz bag at Trader Joe's)
your choice of oil (vegetable oil, coconut oil, sesame oil, ect.)
salt (optional) 

Directions

Heat oven to 300*
Spread nuts out on cake dish (pick a pan with edges)
Add oil to nuts, 1 teaspoon at a time; you want to use the least amount possible. Mix together, add more oil is necessary, ect. 
Once all your nuts at coated speed them evenly in the dish and toss them into the oven. 
Check on them and give them a good stir every 3-5 minutes to prevent burning. It should take about 10-12 minutes. 
If you are adding salt, now it the time to do it- immediatly after your nuts come out of the oven.
Toss them into your food processor and let it do it's thing. Scrape down the sides a few times. It'll roll together into a big clump after a few minutes, let it keep going. After a few more minutes it will get creamy.
**I found that with the sunflower seeds and the cashews I had to add a little bit of oil to the mixer after it had been mixing for a few minutes.

Variations:
I roasted my almonds with coconut oil and added a couple scoops of coconut flakes into the food processor with them. 
You could add maple syrup, cinnamon, vanilla...
Finished product: Coconut Almond Butter

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Quinoa Granola

Quinoa Granola

Ingredients

1 cup uncooked quinoa
2 1/2 cup uncooked oats
3/4 cup almonds (whole or sliced)
1/4 cup chopped pecans
1/2 cup sunflower seeds
1/4 cup hemp seeds (optional)
1/4 shredded unsweetened coconut
3/4 cup maple syrup
1 tsp vanilla
2 tsp cinnamon
2/3 cup dired fruit or berries (I like blueberries and cranberries best)

Directions

Preheat oven to 225.
Combine quinoa, oats, nuts, seeds, and coconut (is coconut considered a nut?)
Mix maple syrup and vanilla together then stir it into dry mixture until everything is evenly combined. 
Spread granola out on baking sheet into a thin layer.
Bake for 1 hour.
Let cool, remove from baking sheet and add dried fruit.

Banana Wheatgrass Soup

A couple weeks ago I ordered Banana Lemongrass Soup at a restaurant. It sounded weird, but I love bananas, I had no idea what lemongrass was, and I was feel adventurous. It turned out to be SO good. So good, in fact, that I wanted to recreate it at home. So I looked online and tried to find a recipe and surprisingly there were quite a few. I ended up using a couple different recipes to make mine. With my shopping list in hand, I was off to the grocery store. I went to 3 different stores and couldn't find lemongrass anywhere. I never ended up finding it, but Karl said wheatgrass was probably similar so I got that instead. I still have no idea what lemongrass looks like, I think it's more similar to a leek? Anyway, using the wheatgrass turned out great! It was sweet, but savory and spicy. So good!

Banana Wheatgrass Soup

Ingredients

1/4 cup olive oil
1 cup sliced bananas (the riper the better)
1 cup yellow onion- chopped
1 cup leak- chopped
1 cup chopped celery
3/4 cup carrot- chopped
2 garlic cloves- smashed
1 tbsp wheatgrass
1-2 tbsp hot chili paste, depending on how spicy you want it (I use about 1.5 tbsp)
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp cumin
1/2 cup orange juice
3 1/2 cup vegetable stock
1 can unsweetened coconut milk (14 oz)
Salt and Pepper

Directions

In large saucepan- heat olive oil over medium/high heat. 
Add bananas, saute for 4 minutes- until they start to brown. Flip.
Add onion, leek, celery, carrots, garlic, wheatgrass, chili paste, and lemon juice. Saute 10 minutes.
Add cumin, reduce heat to medium, saute 2 more minutes.
Add orange juice, reduce heat to low, simmer for 2 minutes.
Add vegetable stock, simmer for 10 minutes. 
Puree in batches until all soup is smooth. Sir in coconut milk and salt and pepper to taste. 
Enjoy!





Pork with Pineapple-Mango Salsa

This is a perfect summer dinner- easy to put together and the salsa is so refreshing!
This recipe was adapted from Family Circle magazine

Pork with Pineapple-Mango Salsa

Ingredients

Salsa

2 cups cubed pineapple
2 cups cubed mango (1 large)
1/4 cup chopped onion
2 green onion, thinly sliced
1/4 cup cilantro leaves- chopped
2 jalapeno peppers- seeded and chopped
1/4 tsp salt

Pork

1 pork shoulder (about 3 lbs)
1 tbsp olive oil
4 tsp paprika
2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
2 large sweet potatoes (optional)

Directions

To make the salsa: combine all ingredients in a large bowl, cover and chill until serving.
For the pork: Preheat oven to 450. Place pork shoulder in baking dish. Cover pork shoulder with olive oil then rub the rest of the seasonings on all sides. 
I chopped up 2 sweet potatoes and baked them with the pork.
Bake for about 1hr and 15 minutes.
Serve pork and sweet potatoes with salsa on the top. Enjoy!

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Bacon Wrapped Sweet Potato Turkey Burgers

Paleo Challenege: Day 12


Karl and I are still trying to figure things out for this challenge. I always make our meal plans for the week, and I use to plan 3 or 4 meals which would get us through the week with having leftovers for lunch and dinner some nights. But apparently that isn't working with this challenge. Last week we had to go to the grocery store 3 times to restock our fridge. I went grocery shopping Sunday and by Wednesday we were out of food.. aka meat and sweet potatoes. Then by Friday, we needed to go back again.

So I've learned that I can't count on leftovers for dinner anymore. I've also learned that I need to start planning our breakfasts as well as our dinners (lunches are always leftovers- THAT I can count on!). Since we aren't just eating oatmeal for breakfast every morning anymore, I am having to do more prepping.  Like shredding 6 pounds of sweet potatoes for hash. And making 2 pounds of chicken breakfast patties.

I'm still trying to find the perfect balance of foods to make my intestines happy too. Too many veggies make it mad, too much grease, too much fruit. Hopefully I'll find a good balance soon.

Here's some of the things on the menu for this week:

Breakfast

Spaghetti Squash Hash
Sweet Potato Hash with Chicken Sausage
Butternut Squash Pancakes (I'm really excited for these!!!)

Dinner

Balsamic Garlic Chicken
Almond Pizza Crust with Salmon
Spaghetti Squash with Meatballs and White (Cauliflower) Sauce
Tuna and Avocado Salad

For lunch today Karl was making a pineapple bacon wrapped burger. Since I'm trying to limit my fruit intake, I opted to switch out the pineapple with roasted sweet potato slices.... and it was AWESOME!

Bacon Wrapped Sweet Potato Turkey Burgers

Makes 2 burgers

Ingredients

1/2 lb ground turkey
4 slices of bacon
1/2 large sweet potato (roasted)
whatever spices you want to season the turkey with ( I didn't use any, but next time I think I'll add in some rosemary)

Directions

Make 2 Xs with the bacon.
Form the ground turkey into 2 patties and place them in the center of each X.
Slice up the sweet potato and cover the top of the turkey.
Wrap the bacon ends over the sweet potato. If you need to, use a toothpick to hold them in place.
I used my George Foreman to cook them. To cook the bacon evenly, I flipped the burgers after about 7 minutes. 

I topped mine with avocado. 

Friday, March 15, 2013

One Minute Snickerdoodle Cookie- Paleo

Sometimes you just need one cookie...

Snickerdoodle Cookie Recipe

Ingredients

2 tbsp almond butter
2 tbsp egg (or just the egg white from one egg)
1/2 - 1 tsp honey or maple syrup
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/8 - 1/4 tsp cinnamon

Directions

Combine all in a microwave safe mug or bowl.
Zap in the microwave for 1 minute.
And just like that- you have a cookie!

I like to top mine with raspberries or blueberries.


Saturday, March 9, 2013

Sweet Potato Gnocchi with Scallop Tomato Sauce- Paleo

Paleo Challenge: Day 4

CrossFit Open: 13.1-


Proceed through the sequence below completing as many reps as possible in 17 minutes of:
40 Burpees

75/45 pound Snatch, 30 reps
30 Burpees
135/75 pound Snatch, 30 reps
20 Burpees
165/100 pound Snatch, 30 reps
10 Burpees
210/120 pound Snatch, as many reps as possible

I only made it through 40 burpees, 30 snatches, and 30 burpees, so 100 reps. But I figured that would happen. My PR for snatches is 65 lbs... so 30 reps of 75 lbs was clearly not going to happen.
I actually get to do this workout twice. Since it was the first workout for the Paleo Challenge, we will do it again at the end of the 5 weeks to see how much progress we've made. So hopefully I'll be able to hit one or two reps at 75 lbs in 5 weeks!

I'm already over eating all this meat. Meat, meat, meat. I really didn't have to change the way I eat too much for this challenge, the only thing I eat on a regular basis that isn't allowed is steel cut oats. So I'm not expecting to see any dramatic changes or anything. Hopefully a little extra muscle though!

I was craving something different, something new, something not chicken and vegetables. For some reason gnocchi popped into my head. I did a lot of searching online for ideas for a paleo gnocchi. I was trying to find one that used almond meal because I already had some. After looking at at least 7 different recipes I FINALLY found one that used almond meal! I found it on Bam Bam Paleo.

Sweet Potato Gnocchi with Scallop Tomato Sauce

Makes about 4 servings.

Recipe

Ingredients:

2 large sweet potatoes (I left the skin on and it turned out fine)
4 cups almond meal + extra for sprinkling 
2 eggs
1 tsp salt
1 tsp nutmeg

Sauce:

1 cup small scallops
1 can crushed tomatoes
1 onion- diced
3 cloves of garlic- minced
olive oil

Recipe:

Gnocchi

Cut potatoes into cubes or coins, boil in a large pot until you can easily stick a fork into it, about 10 minutes or so. Drain and set them aside to cool.

Once they are cool enough to handle, throw them into your food processor or blender with the eggs, salt, and nutmeg. Blend until smooth. I had to do a couple different batches because my blender wasn't big enough. 

I transfered the sweet potato mixture into the big bowl of my kitchenaid mixer. Start adding the almond meal slowly until you have a weird, kind of sticky, dough-like mixture. You may need more than 4 cups of almond meal or less. You want it to stick together, but be careful not to add too much almond meal, or else it could be too dry.

Set oven to 400 degrees.

Sprinkle almond meal onto your countertop and place a quarter of the gnocchi dough on top. Roll the dough out into a thick sausage shape (you may have to sprinkle more almond meal on top) and cut it into bite size pieces. Repeat with the rest of the dough.

Boil a large pot of water and then turn it down slightly- you still want it to be boiling, but not going crazy. If the water is too rough it will just break the gnocchi pieces.

Drop the gnocchi pieces into the water and cook for about 3 minutes or so, I probably did about 10-15 pieces at a time- it will depend on the size of your pot.

Use a slotted spoon to remove the gnocchi, and place them on a greased baking sheet. Pop them into the oven for 5-10 minutes to crisp them up a bit.

Sauce

In a large pan, saute your onions with a splash of olive oil. When they are tender and translucent, add the garlic. A minute or so later add the tomatoes and scallops. Let the whole pan simmer for 15 minutes, until it thickens up a bit.
I really had to work for this meal- it took a long time to prep, it definitely wasn't the easiest thing to make, and in the end you don't even get THAT much food! But it really did hit the spot. It was a nice change, plus it was DELICIOUS! The nutmeg and the scallops definitely made this meal great.