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In the spirit of the holidays, here is another quick little holiday treat recipe that comes together in no time. Loaded with coconut, these macaroons are full of paleo goodness.

For and added twist if you’re feeling adventurous, once the macaroons have cooled, dip the top of each one into some melted 85% organic dark chocolate for a truly decadent treat.

Enjoy and all the best to you and your loved ones this holiday season.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 1 cup coconut ribbons (or 1 more cup shredded coconut if you can’t find ribbons)
  • 6 egg whites
  • 1/4 tsp celtic salt
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon (optional)

Directions

  • Preheat oven to 325 degrees
  • In large bowl beat egg whites until stiff peaks form
  • Add salt, vanilla and maple syrup and stir until just combined
  • Stir in coconut
  • Drop by rounded tablespoonfuls on parchment line baking sheet
  • The mixture may fall apart slightly so using your finger tips, press the mixture back together into tight little mounds, creating a slight peak at the top if you can
  • Bake in preheated 325 oven for 15 minutes or until lightly browned
  • Remove and cool on wire rack

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I love the holidays and growing up my family used to host a neighbourhood party where my mum would spend a solid month in the kitchen baking enough food to feed an army.  I was her little sous chef always happy to measure, stir, mix and of course tastes these delectable treats.   I think it was days spent in the kitchen with my mum where my love for cooking developed.  

More recently having switched to paleo eating and also challenged by my food allergies, many of my childhood favorite treats are no longer ones I can eat.   However with some simple substitutions and a little experimenting in the kitchen, I’ve been able to put together some paleo friendly holiday treat recipes and these cookies I have to admit are one of my favorites.  They cook up crispy on the outside with a soft chewy center and with the addition of some organic crystalized ginger they are full of flavour and 100% friend approved.  The hardest part will be stopping yourself from eating just one!! 

Ingredients

  • 3 cups of almond flour (I used Bob’s Red Mill)
  • 1/2 tsp gluten & corn free baking powder (you can find this at Whole Foods)
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup
  • 2 inch piece fresh ginger root, peeled and finely minced (I used my zester)
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp allspice
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • ~ 2 tbsp organic crystalized ginger finely chopped (optional) – try to find some made with raw sugar

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 325 degrees
  • In small bowl, mix dry ingredients together (almond flour, baking powder and baking soda)
  • In large bowl, beat together egg, oil, maple syrup and vanilla until well combined
  • Add ginger, cinnamon and allspice and beat until combined
  • Stir dry ingredients into wet ingredients until combined
  • Stir in crystalized ginger if using and mix well. 
  • Drop by rounded teaspoonfuls onto parchment line baking sheet and press each cookie to flatten.  They will not spread during baking so you’ll need to form them into your desired cookie shape before baking
  • Bake in preheated 325 oven for 12-15 minutes until edges begin to brown slightly
  • Remove from oven and cool on a wire rack

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This year in B.C. we had the largest sockeye salmon run in nearly 100 years which meant that the fresh stuff was being sold everywhere.  I think I even saw someone selling whole fish right out of the trunk of their car!! 

While the salmon run has long since passed, there is still an abundance of frozen sockeye available at most local markets.  As the fish was pretty much frozen right off the boat, the previously frozen variety is just as tasty as the fresh stuff was.   

Cooking this recipe for a few friends, I opted to cook a larger piece of salmon fillet and then portion it off after cooking.  As salmon can be quite rich tasting, to lighten it up, I dressed the fillet with fresh dill and lemon before baking it in the oven.  Rounding out this awesome paleo dish was a generous portion of cauliflower rice and kale.  

For the Salmon

  • Ingredients
  • 1 – 1.5 lbs sockeye salmon fillet (any kind of salmon will work)
  • Fresh dill to taste
  • 1 lemon, cut in half
  • pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375
  2. Wash and dry salmon fillet and place skin side down on parchment lined baking sheet.  Season with pepper
  3. Wash and dry fresh dill, remove tougher parts of dill stem and generously place dill on top of salmon (I love dill so was pretty generous here) 
  4. Squeeze juice from one half of the lemon over the salmon
  5. Slice remaining half lemon into thin slices and lay these over the salmon
  6. Bake in preheated 375 oven for 12-15 minutes until fish is cooked through

For the Cauliflower Rice

Ingredients

  • 1 head cauliflower, green leaves removed, washed and cut into small pieces
  • 1/4 cup each finely chopped celery, carrot and onion
  • 1 bunch of kale, washed and torn into small pieces
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1/2 cup chicken stock (or more as required)
  • pepper to taste

Directions

  1. In large skillet, heat coconut oil over medium-high heat
  2. Add celery, carrot and onion and saute for a few minutes until translucent
  3. While veggies are cooking, in food processor add cauliflower in batches and process until it is a rice like consistency
  4. Add “riced” cauliflower to veggies in fry pan and stir to combine
  5. Add chicken stock, season with pepper and cover with lid
  6. Simmer over medium-low heat stirring occasionally until tender ~ 20 minutes, adding more chicken stock if pan starts to become too dry
  7. Once cauliflower is tender, add kale and cover until kale is wilted and tender, stirring occasionally
  8. Serve Salmon over a heaping spoonful of cauliflower rice – Enjoy!!

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I love a good Sunday brunch and growing up brunch was always a stack of steaming pancakes, buttered and drenched in pure maple syrup served with a side of crispy bacon.  Up until I was in my teens, pancakes in our house were delivered courtesy of Aunt Jemima, a prepackaged mix consisting mainly of bleached flour, sugar and preservatives (yikes!).   Later, my mum traded in Aunt Jemima for her own recipe and what she still believes to be a much “healthier” version made using whole wheat flour.  While both were equally delicious, they are both full of refined grains and sugar, making them far from paleo friendly.   

Since moving to a paleo/primal lifestyle, I’ve been experimenting with pancake recipes and think I have finally come up with a recipe that makes super light and fluffy pancakes that I believe are far tastier than the traditional paleo pancakes that use almond meal or coconut flour as their base.  The trick I found to making these ones light and fluffy is to beat the egg whites into soft peaks before adding the remainder of the ingredients.   These pancakes are fluffy, delicious and taste just like pumpkin pie.  Feel free to serve them up with some fresh berries and bacon because bacon makes everything better!!!

Ingredients:

  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup egg whites
  • 1/4 cup organic pumpkin puree (make sure you use puree not pumpkin pie filling)
  • 1 tbsp raw almond butter
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1/8 tsp vanilla seeds (optional)
  • 1 tsp pure maple syrup (optional)
  • 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • cinnamon to taste (optional)
  • 1 tsp coconut oil

Directions

  1. Separate egg.  Place yolk in one bowl and egg white in another.
  2. To the bowl with the egg white, add the additional 1/4 cup of egg whites.   Beat egg whites with electric mixer on high-speed until soft peaks occur ~ 2-3 minutes (you can also use a whisk, but this will take much longer!)
  3. To the bowl with the yolk, add the remaining ingredients (pumpkin puree, vanilla, vanilla seed (if using), almond butter and spices).  Blend with mixer until combined.
  4. Add the pumpkin mixture to the egg whites and beat on slowest speed with mixer until just combined.  Don’t over-mix as you don’t want to lose the air out of the egg whites. 
  5. Heat a large skillet or griddle over medium heat.  Melt coconut oil and remove excess with paper towel.
  6. Pour about 1/4 cup of the batter into the pan to make one pancake, repeat to make 2 or 3 more depending on the size of your skillet. 
  7. Cook pancakes for about 2 or 3 minutes until golden brown on bottom.  Flip with spatula and continue cooking on other side until cooked through and bottom is golden brown ~ 2 to 3 minutes
  8. Remove to plate and serve immediately.  
  9. Feel free to serve the pancakes with any of your favorite fruits and of course bacon! 

***For a twist on this recipe try replacing the 1/4 cup pumpkin puree and pumpkin pie spice with 1/4 cup mashed very ripe banana and cinnamon.   Equally delicious!

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Recently, Crossfit Vancouver organized a Grass-Fed Bison delivery from Maluma  and I was quick to jump all over this.  My “starter box” of varying cuts of meat weighing in at a whopping 45lbs arrived straight from the farm.  I’m not going to lie, 45lbs of meat is a little bigger than I imagined it would be!   Thankfully all of it fit nicely into my freezer and since arriving I’ve been experimenting in the kitchen just a little bit!   Bison meat is awesome and one of my new favourites.  It’s so full of flavor and it’s health benefits are far superior to traditional red meats. 

For this recipe I’ve used braising steaks which are traditionally a tougher cut of meat so are best if marinated overnight.  In addition, it’s important to not over-cook your Bison.  You will find that the meat will cook much faster than your traditional store-bought meat and like any grass-fed meat it’s better served medium-rare.  

Ingredients:

  • 2-3lbs Braising Bison Steaks (any kind of steak will work)
  • 1 cup beef stock
  • 1 tbsp dried rosemary
  • pepper to taste
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1/2 lb sliced mushrooms
  • 1 1/2 tbsp dry sherry wine (optional)

Directions:  

  1. In large ziploc bag combine 1/2 cup of the beef stock, rosemary and pepper.  Add the Bison steaks, seal the bag and place in refrigerator to marinade over night or up to 24 hours.   
  2. Heat coconut oil in large cast iron skillet over medium-high heat.   Remove Bison steaks from marinade and discard marinade. 
  3. Add Bison to skillet and sear both sides of Bison (~ 2 min/side).  Remove Bison and set aside
  4. Add remaining 1/2 cup beef stock to pan and de-glaze pan (basically scrape the skillet to free up any stuck bits and mix these into stock). 
  5. Add mushrooms to pan, cover and cook until mushrooms are tender ~ 10 minutes.
  6. Add Sherry and bring to simmer, this will evaporate any alcohol from the Sherry.   Simmer for 2-3 minutes.
  7. Add Bison to mushroom mixture and heat until Bison is medium rare.  This will depend on the thickness of your steak  – for 1″ thickness this was about 5 minutes. 
  8. Remove Bison and mushrooms from pan and simmer sauce until thickened slightly.    Pour over Bison and enjoy.
  9. I served my Bison with a mixture of sautéed swiss chard, mushrooms and onion.

This recipe may seem a like it has a lot of steps, but it was dead easy and ready in about 20 minutes (minus the marinade time of course)!

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With the days getting shorter and the temperatures falling, I find myself craving warm hearty meals once again.  Being the kid of a British mum, Shepherd’s Pie was a fairly regular weeknight winter meal at our dinner table.   It was one of our favorite dishes and seldom were there any leftovers.  We would even fight over who got the crispy potato pieces left on the sides of the empty dish!

This recipe is my take on this classic favorite where I’ve switch out many of the traditional ingredients to create a much healthier paleo friendly meal that will definitely have you coming back for seconds.  Enjoy!

Ingredients:

  • 1.5 lbs lean ground beef or ground bison
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 carrot, finely chopped
  • 1 stalk celery, finely chopped
  • 1/2 small onion, finely chopped
  • 1/2 red pepper, finely chopped
  • 1/2 lb cremini mushrooms, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup beef stock, or more if required
  • 1 bunch of black kale (or any kind of kale), washed, thick part of stems removed and torn into bite size pieces
  • 1/2 tsp each red pepper flakes, thyme and fennel seed
  • 1 tsp each dried rosemary and parsley
  • 1 bay leaf
  • salt & pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees
  2. In large saucepan over medium high heat, heat coconut oil
  3. Add carrot, celery, onion and red pepper and saute for a couple of minutes until soften slightly
  4. Add mushrooms and saute until being to sweat ~ 5 minutes
  5. Add ground meat and cook until browned ~ 7-10 minutes, stirring frequently
  6. Add spices and beef stock, cover and simmer over low heat for ~ 20 minutes
  7. Add kale, stir to combine and cover and continue cooking until kale is tender
  8. Using a slotted spoon so not to transfer any remaining fluid, transfer meat mixture to oven proof casserole dish
  9. Top with Mashed Cauliflower (see recipe below), spreading evenly to all sides to completely cover the meat mixture .  Then, using a fork, lightly drag it across the cauliflower mixture to create lines (this will help with browning)
  10. Bake in 350 degree oven for 25 minutes until heated through
  11. Turn broiler on for last 5 minutes of cooking time (or more if required) to create a lightly browned top 
  12. Remove from oven and cool for 5 minutes before serving

Mashed Cauliflower

Ingredients:

  • 1 head cauliflower, cut into small florets
  • 2 tbsp coconut milk
  • salt & pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Steam cauliflower until very tender
  2. Transfer to food processor and puree until mashed consistency
  3. Add coconut milk and season with salt & pepper and puree until combined

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One of the best things about living right next to the Ocean is the abundance of fresh fish and seafood.  So fresh in fact, that you can even buy it right off the boat!  Fish is perfect for the paleo diet as it is high in protein and an amazing source of Omega 3’s.  It is also full of flavour, requiring little seasoning making it one of the easiest things to cook.  Being that it is summer, I’ve been cooking all my meals on the BBQ and this Halibut recipe is no exception.  By cooking the fish in a foil package on the grill, the Halibut cooks up tender and moist and when paired with the fresh tomato and avocado salsa, it is the perfect meal for a hot summer’s day.

For the Fish – 1 serving

  • 1 piece of halibut
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1/2 fresh lime
  • salt & pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Pre-Heat BBQ to medium-low. 
  2. Tear off a piece of aluminum foil about 16 inches long.   Lay foil on work surface shiny side up and drizzle olive oil in centre of foil.
  3. Lay fish on top of olive oil, squeeze lime juice over fish and season with salt and pepper. 
  4. Fold up the edges of the foil to make a package. 
  5. Place on BBQ, close lid and cook over medium-low heat until fish is tender ~ 8 minutes.
  6. Carefully remove fish from foil package and plate with a good spoonful of the salsa (see recipe below).

For Salsa – Serves 2-4

  • 1 avocado
  • ~ 12 cherry tomatoes, chopped into quarters
  • 1/4 finely chopped red onion
  • juice of one line
  • handful of cilantro, chopped
  • salt to taste (optional)

Directions:

  1. In bowl, combine tomatoes, avocado, red onion and cilantro. 
  2. Drizzle with lime juice, season with salt (if using) and toss gently to combine.
  3. Serve with Fish.  Enjoy!

Note:  Don’t have a BBQ, no problem.  Place fish on a parchment paper line baking sheet and cook the fish in a pre-heated 375 degree oven for about 8-10 minutes (depending on thickness).

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