Paleo Breakfast Bars

20160512_143600Here is the recipe that R’s friend gave her.

Paleo Breakfast Bars – source unknown

1 cup blanched almond flour
1/4 tsp sea salt
1/4 cup coconut oil
2 tbsp honey
1 tbsp water
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
1/2 cup raw pumpkin seeds
1/2 cup raw sunflower seeds
1/4 cup blanched slivered almonds
1/4 cup Thompson raisins

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. In a food processor, combine almond flour and salt
  3. Blend in coconut oil, honey, water and vanilla
  4. Pulse in coconut, seeds, almonds & raisins
  5. Press dough into an 8 x 8 baking dish (wet hands help)
  6. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 mins
  7. Cool bars in pan for 2 hours, then serve
  8. Refrigerate leftover bars

Recipes Roundup

As I mentioned in my past post I’m on another borrowing kick, checking out tons of gluten-free/paleo cookbooks at the library – I love that there are so many of them, both print and ebooks!

I loved the “Against all Grain” cookbook from Danielle Walker. I made the dark chocolate cake brownies and they were fantastic. I subbed butter for palm shortening and 70% choc for unsweetened (only because I didn’t have any unsweetened on hand). SOOOO good and definitely couldn’t tell they are grain-free. I also made the lemon vanilla bean macaroons and while I wasn’t bonkers about them, everyone who tried them absolutely loved them.

I revisited Elana Amsterdam’s almond flour cookbook and made the apricot tea squares – and those were a bit hit too. I also borrowed her new paleo cooking cookbook and thought her crepes recipe was pretty good. Elana’s primal chocolate chip cookies are back in high rotation at my house, too. I make them with butter instead of vegan shortening and they turn out great. Last time I was at Costco here in Winnipeg I noticed they are now selling blanched almond flour. Awesome! I usually make my own because it’s so much cheaper…luckily Costco has started selling blanched sliced almonds again for a very reasonable price, and those are easy to grind in the food processor.

I dusted off my Wheat Belly cookbook and found some old favourites – the creamed spinach recipe is so good, and I can’t believe you can use an entire carton of spinach in one go. I could probably eat the entire batch myself. I also got the new Wheat Belly 30-Minutes or Less cookbook from the library and made the coconut strawberry biscuits…. meh… probably wouldn’t make them again.

As for online recipes, I discovered this recipe for paleo KFC chicken tenders over the holidays and have made it several times since… yum!!

I made PaleoPot’s chili cilantro lime crock pot chicken for a potluck and thought it was delicious. Will definitely be making that one again. Also made the mashed cauli potatoes with garlic & dill… really good too.

I’ve also made Paleo Spirit’s pizza crust recipe several times and really love it… it may be my favourite grain-free pizza crust recipe so far. So easy to work with and sturdy enough for a nice topping-laden pizza!

And I just love these General Tso’s meatballs from I breathe, I’m Hungry. I also love her meatballs alla parmigiana.

DIY: Mayonnaise and Nut Crackers

In preparation for our trip to the lake this weekend, I wanted to try some new recipes – specifically, mayonnaise (the last little bit of our store-bought jar ran out earlier this week) and some nut crackers.

First, the bad news. The mayo was a breeze to make (I followed the instructions on MDA, but they look like they’re based on Shirley O. Corriher’s recipe in Cookwise – MDA forgot to omit the sugar from the recipe instructions! Sidenote: it must be frustrating to be a recipe author. The internet has made it so easy to separate authorship from recipes!). Anyway, it has a beautiful yellow colour and nice texture, but unfortunately it’s got a very distinctive bitter taste. At first I thought it just needed some sugar, so I stirred in a teaspoon of agave syrup, but it made no difference.

So then I turned to Google and it turns out this is a common problem when making mayo with olive oil. The best explanation I have found is that using a blender or food processor messes with the molecular structure of the EVOO and spreads nasty bitterness throughout. Boo urns. So — I’ll be trying to figure out a way to mask that bitterness and salvage this sad excuse for mayo, hopefully rendering it somewhat palatable!

Now, the good news. I made these primal nut crackers using mostly pecan meal and  some sesame seeds. For spices I used the recommended dill and then threw in a 1/2 teaspoon of onion power and about the same of granulated garlic, plus a bit of salt. Added the egg and EVOO, mixed the thing with a fork, and the dough came together quickly and easily. Then I rolled them out – they took up a whole half-sheet pan, and I probably could have rolled them out even more thinly, using two sheets. Then I scored them into one inch squares and baked them as recommended. Once they had cooled a bit, I broke them into the squares and they came apart easily and cleanly.

They turned out quite nicely! They’re not tasty salty enough that I’d be at risk of eating them like chips, but I think with some cheese (goat or brie, maybe?) and maybe some fruit on the side they”ll be delicious. I think this is a recipe I’ll experiment several times with to get the right blend of flavours. Another option is to sub some flax meal for part of the nut flour.

I really love that I know exactly what is in them – none of the non-food ingredients you find in storebought crackers. And they were way easier to make than I thought – hands-on time was maybe 5 mins?

I also want to try the sesame/almond crackers from Elana’s Pantry. They look awesome too – I love sesame!

Coconut Flour Pizza Crust

I’d tried my sister’s cauliflower pizza crust recipe and liked it, but wanted to explore some other options as well. When I came across The Healthy Home Economist’s recipe for coconut flour pizza crust I decided to give it a try… and am really glad I did!

Here is her recipe:

Coconut Flour Pizza Crust – The Healthy Home Economist

Makes approximately two 8″ thin crust pizzas

Ingredients

4 good quality eggs, preferably pastured from a local farm

1/4 cup coconut flour

1/4 cup plain yogurt

1 tsp organic onion powder

1 tsp organic oregano

1 tsp organic basil

1/3 cup shredded parmesan cheese

2 cloves organic garlic, minced

1/4 tsp sea salt

Instructions

Whip the eggs in a large bowl with the yogurt and sea salt.   Add the coconut flour and whip until very smooth with no lumps. This may take a few minutes to accomplish as it takes some time for the coconut fiber to absorb the liquid.

Blend in the onion powder, oregano, basil, garlic, and parmesan cheese.

Line a pizza pan with parchment paper. Gently pour about 1/2 the batter onto the paper lined pan. Use a spatula or other kitchen utensil to spread the batter into an 8-9″ circle that is quite thin (the thinner the better).

Bake at 400F for 10 minutes. Remove pan from oven, add homemade pizza sauce, cheese and other toppings as desired.    Place back in the oven on broil for about 8 minutes more.

Repeat this process with the remaining half of the coconut flour batter.

I was making a buffalo chicken recipe, and I didn’t want the classic Italian herbs in the crust to compete, but I also didn’t want the crust to be too coconutty. So instead of the basil, I used 1 teaspoon granulated garlic, and I also added a healthy few dashes of cayenne to the batter. Instead of regular pizza sauce I used up the last couple squirts of ranch dressing from the bottle in the fridge (non-Primal, but oh well.). I need to learn to make my own!

Then I opted to make one large crust on baking sheet. It filled about 4/5 of a half-sheet pan. I baked the crust about an hour ahead of time, then went and did a few things (planted my herb garden – fresh herbs next time!), then came back, topped it, and threw it in the oven on 500F for about 8 minutes, just as the recipe called for. The very thinnest edges did blacken but they just flaked right off and it was no big deal.

The results… great! No overpowering coconut taste, and the crust was sturdy enough that we could pick up and eat our pizza just like in the old days 😉

I’m thinking this batter could even be used to make something tortilla-ish… when baked, it seems sturdy but also flexible – maybe enough to make a pita-style wrap. Some experimenting is in order!