paleo granola

 walnuts, pecans, almonds, coconut flakes, cashews, pumpkin seeds
 walnuts, pecans, almonds, coconut flakes, cashews, pumpkin seeds
 walnuts, pecans, almonds, coconut flakes, cashews, pumpkin seeds
 walnuts, pecans, almonds, coconut flakes, cashews, pumpkin seeds

When I first changed the way I eat in March of last year, it was mostly gluten and dairy free. While I noticed a significant improvement, grains still bothered me, particularly oats. That was pretty bad news for someone who ate oatmeal every day of her life for about 15 years and indulged in granola on a regular basis.

And yes, I tried the certified gluten free kind but without success. So I finally had to break it off and kiss oats good bye for good. No more oatmeal, no more granola. I was pretty bummed about it but there was hope. Enter paleo granola. I know, how can it be?? But it's true, you can make granola without oats and have it be magnificent.

This granola requires mostly nuts and also coconut...which is a nut. Is it a nut? I think it's a fruit or a nut...no a seed...Who cares? It's freaking amazing! Anyway, back to nuts. If you don't like nuts, this recipe is probably not for you, but it you do, this is pretty much a nut-coconut orgy. 

If you eat a mostly paleo diet, nuts will quickly become a go to snack and something that you will always have in your house…bag, desk, car…you get the idea. So for this granola, I had to make minimal effort to round up what I needed. Walnuts, almonds, pumpkin seeds, cashews and pecans are tossed with coconut oil, honey, vanilla, cinnamon and coconut flakes. The combination is sensational. You can’t go wrong with this one.

It makes a fantastic snack, though one that may disappear rather quickly. I tried it with cashew milk for breakfast as well and it is spectacular. So whether you're in the mood for a snack or breakfast, this has you covered. I try and keep the sweetness subtle so if you like it a little sweeter, you can always add more honey. 

So let's get to this nutty deliciousness. 

 walnuts, pecans, almonds, coconut flakes, cashews, pumpkin seeds
 walnuts, pecans, almonds, coconut flakes, cashews, pumpkin seeds with jar
 walnuts, pecans, almonds, coconut flakes, cashews, pumpkin seeds

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paleo granola

  • prep time: 5 minutes

  • roasting time: 8-10 minutes

  • makes: 4-6 servings

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups unsweetened flaked coconut

  • 1/2 cup raw walnuts

  • 1/2 cup raw almonds

  • 1/2 cup raw cashews

  • 1/2 cup raw pecans

  • 1/4 cup raw pumpkin seeds

  • 2 tbsp coconut oil

  • 2 tbsp raw honey

  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon

  • 1 tsp vanilla

  • small pinch of salt

Equipment

  • medium sauce pan

  • baking sheet

  • parchment paper

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 

Over medium low heat, melt coconut oil or butter, honey, cinnamon, vanilla, salt in sauce pan and stir to combine. Next add the rest of ingredients and mix well. 

Line baking sheet with parchment paper and spread mixture in an even layer with spatula and bake for 8-10 minutes, tossing once halfway. 

When finished, let cool and enjoy. 


paleo collagen mini muffins 3 ways

 paleo collagen mini muffins 3 ways
 paleo collagen mini muffins 3 ways
 paleo collagen mini muffins 3 ways
 paleo collagen mini muffins 3 ways

Head heavy, body in slow motion. I stumbled down the steps much earlier than I would have liked. Irrelevant of when I go to bed I seem to wake at the same time on most mornings without an alarm. My body's got it figured out so I suppose I should be grateful. 

Looking out the window, I zoomed in on the dewey grass; each blade splendid, vibrant green and unique in its own way. I stared at it for a while, wanting to run my hands over it's smooth surface and feel drops of dew running down my arm. The massive headache pulsing through me, interrupted my thought, as did my growling stomach.

I like wine a lot! I usually have a glass daily and on occasion two but last night we had company and buzzing with an excited energy, I lost track. There was champagne, food, wine and more wine. I stayed up too late and there I was, on a dreary Sunday morning, nursing a hangover I hadn't experienced in some time. It was comical in some ways and brought me back to my college days. Days of waking up in the morning (or noon) after partying all night and eating cooked macaroni with shredded mozzarella, salt and olive oil for breakfast. My best friend's specialty. 

But times have changed. For the most part, I do believe in moderation but frankly, it felt good to give myself over to the evening and leave the calculated, responsible me behind for a while.

And as far as breakfast, I felt infinite gratitude for the paleo collagen mini muffins I'd made the day before (no macaroni for me). They came in at just the right time and saved me from having to think about making breakfast. And not only that, but they were seriously delicious. Even better than on the first day. 

For me, breakfast is essential. In whatever shape and form it comes, I have to eat it as soon as I wake up and it has to be something that compliments coffee. These mini muffins are packed with collagen, are grain free and you can use the toppings of your choice. I went with blueberries, walnuts and allergy friendly chocolate chips. 

These little guys make an ideal snack or breakfast and aside from one tbsp of maple syrup, are sweetened only by one banana. It's the perfect little bite for when you want something sweet, whether you've had too much wine or not. 

 paleo collagen mini muffins 3 ways
 paleo collagen mini muffins 3 ways
 paleo collagen mini muffins 3 ways
 paleo collagen mini muffins 3 ways

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paleo collagen mini muffins 3 ways

  • prep time: 5 minutes

  • cooking time: 18-20 minutes

  • yields: 24 mini muffins

Ingredients

Equipment

  • mini muffin tin

  • mini muffin liners

  • medium mixing bowl

  • large mixing bowl

  • large whisk

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees with middle rack inserted. 

In medium bowl combine, flours, salt, collagen, orange zest, baking soda. Combine and set aside. 

In large bowl, mash banana with fork, combine the rest of the wet ingredients aside from the optional ones and combine well. 

While whisking the wet ingredients, slowly add the dry ingredients, while continuously mixing. 

Line your muffin tins and fill each almost to the top. 

Bake for 18-20 minutes on the middle rack. 


 If you're looking to incorporate collagen into your diet and want a delicious way to do so, try these paleo and gluten free collagen mini muffins with chocolate chips, blueberries or walnuts. They make for a perfect breakfast or snack. #paleobreakfast, #paleosnacks, #paleo, #muffins, #glutenfreemuffins, #glutenfree, #calmeats, #breakfast, #paleobaking, #glutenfreebaking, #dairyfree

paleo cardamom carrot muffins

 paleo cardamom carrot muffins 
 paleo cardamom carrot muffins

I’m often astounded at how much there is to learn about cooking and how I’ve only just begun scratching the surface. So many ingredients to explore and numerous spices still yet to be tasted. Admittedly it’s a slow process. But cooking with new ingredients is an exploration. Not everything will turn out but it's in the process where the fun and frustration lie.

It took me some time to come around to cardamom. If you've not ventured in to the cardamom world yet, I highly recommend you do. Before I started getting fairly serious about cooking, I had no idea what it was about. It sounded intimidating and certainly not a spice I thought I'd be using in my cooking. 

 paleo cardamom carrot muffins 

Well I was wrong. Cardamom is a surprisingly versatile spice and works in sweet and savory dishes. Its smell and taste sets it apart in the spice world. My first attempt at playing around with cardamom was curry – an obvious one. I was shocked at just how distinct and flavorful the sauce was. It was one of those: “why didn’t I know about this sooner?” moments.

Since then I experimented with it a handful of times and was burning to use it in a new recipe. With a surplus of almond and coconut flours I decided maybe some baking would be in order. 

I rummaged through the cabinets and fridge in hopes that something would inspire me. While tearing things out and shoving them back in, I caught a glimpse of a carrot so I it dawned one me - cardamom carrot muffins. Everyone loves muffins, so why not? They're perfect as a breakfast food or snack. I figured carrots would keep the batter nice and moist and add some texture as well. Plus, vegetables in baked goods are always a good idea.

It worked beautifully with the cardamom and while I was at it, decided some raisins may work well too. So that's how cardamom carrot muffins were born and quickly became a favorite treat. 

Chances are, if you're following a gluten free/paleo lifestyle you likely have all these ingredients already on hand. Coconut and almond flour are absolute staples in my house and I always have them in my pantry

 paleo cardamom carrot muffins

paleo cardamom carrot muffins

  • Prep time: 5 minutes
  • Total cooking time: 25 minutes
  • Makes 12 muffins

Ingredients: 

  • 1 cup almond flour
  • 1/2 cup coconut flour
  • 5 tbsp melted coconut oil
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp cardamom
  • 4 organic eggs at room temperature
  • 1 cup organic shredded carrots (about 2 medium)
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened almond or cashew milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp organic raisins

Equipment: 

  • large mixing bowl
  • spatula
  • muffin tin
  • muffin tin lineres

Directions: 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 

Combine all ingredients in bowl and mix well. You can use a whisk but I found that just using a spatula and mixing everything well is enough. 

Line muffin tin with liners and pour in batter. Bake for 25 minutes.

Let cardamom carrot muffins cool completely before serving. They taste even better the next day!


5 ingredient paleo crepes

 crepes, strawberries and greens
 basil
 crepes and strawberres with cacao nibs

Growing up I ate a lot of crepes. Romanians borrowed them from the French along with numerous other dishes. Crepes always held special treat status in our house. Whenever my  mom would announce she was making them, I'd quickly abandon whatever activity I was involved in. Instead I'd park myself on a chair next to her, patiently waiting for the first soon to be botched crepe, so I could eat it.

After all, the first crepe normally gets thrown away. There's something mystical that has to happen between the batter and pan once the proper temperature is reached and a bona fide crepe is formed. For my mom and for me, it's always the second crepe. The first, while hardly worthy of the name, was always one for testing, ensuring the consistency was just right. What it lacked in form and looks, it made up for in taste. 

The crepes my mom would make were called "clatite", filled with jam and rolled into long tubes. While I could hardly wait to get my hands on them once freshly rolled, it was the next day that they came into their full flavor. 

I'm surprised it took me this long to experiment with the makeover version of crepes, considering they're one of my favorite foods but I think I've finally nailed them. These crepes are delicate, airy and almost sensual in some ways. 

 crepes strawberries, greens and cacao nibs

For these simple paleo crepes, you need eggs, coconut oil, almond flour, tapioca flour and cashew or almond milk. That's the basic recipe to keep them neutral. If you like your crepes on the sweet side, a teaspoon of vanilla will sweeten them and make a perfect base for your favorite sweet filling such as quick paleo chocolate spread

 strawberries, basil and greens
 folded crepes, strawberries

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5 ingredient paleo crepes

  • Prep time: 5 minutes

  • Cooking time 15-20 minutes

  • Makes 8-10 crepes

Ingredients

  • 3 eggs at room temperature

  • 4 tsp melted coconut oil + additional for cooking or you can use ghee

  • 1/2 cup fine almond flour

  • 2 tbsp tapioca flour

  • 4 tbsp unsweetened cashew or almond milk at room temperature

  • optional: pinch of salt (for savory)

  • optional: 1 tsp vanilla extract (for sweet)

Equipment

  • crepe pan, non stick or ceramic coated frying pan

  • large mixing bowl

  • whisk

Directions

In large bowl, combine all ingredients and whisk together well. 

Heat crepe pan and add a coat with 1/2 tsp coconut oil or ghee. Pour about 1/4 cup of batter and coat pan. Cook for 1-2 minutes per side and flip. Remove and repeat the process until all the batter is gone. 

Crepes can be stored in the refrigerator in an air tight container for up to a week.


 If your love crepes but follow a gluten free or paleo lifestyle, check out these 5 ingredient crepes that take just minutes to make and are perfect for sweet or savory dishes. #crepes, #paleocrepes, #glutenfreecrepes, #glutenfree, #dairyfree, #glutenfreerecipes, #calmeats, #vegetarian, #paleo, #glutenfreebreakfast, #breakfastcrepes

sweet potato toast 3 ways

 sweet potato toast with egg, one with almond butter and one with avocado
 sweet potato toast, almond butter, banans, almonds and cinnamon, sweet potato toast with egg, sweet potato toast with avocado and tomatoes
 sweet potato toast with egg and scallions 
 sweet potato toast wtih avocado and tomatoes

I struggle between the need to be extremely organized and simultaneously fight it since being too rigid and prepared can backfire on me. I find rigidity and strict rules to be suffocating. I mean for the most part I'm organized or so I view myself to be.

But being on top of things all the time is fairly exhausting. Keeping up with all that needs to be tended to, particularly with kids, seems to be a job in itself. I plan and strategize all day, every day. Am I alone? Please say no. But that's the reality if you want to eat consistently well. And while I'm on consistency, I'm thinking some meal plans will be in the works soon. But off topic...

Today we're talking about sweet potato toast. As I mentioned, while I'm pretty good at having most meals accounted for at the beginning of the week but there are weeks when I just can't and don't. I'm human. But I still have to eat and do so while keeping gut health in mind. 

Breakfast is sacrosanct for me and whatever it is I'm eating has to go with coffee. While I want variety in most meals, I tend to stick to some basics for breakfast. Most of the time it's these pancakes. I make a big batch, reheat them in the morning and slather them in almond butter, honey and cinnamon.

But today it was different. I found myself scrambling for something to eat, feverishly searching for some ideas. Then it dawned on me. Sweet potato toast with almond butter, banana slices, cinnamon and some sliced almonds! Perfect. But why stop there? I figured, while I was already cutting a sweet potato, I could use some extra slices and spruce them too. 

Sweet potato toast truly is a versatile, very speedy alternative to bread. The options are endless but for my quick breakfast, in addition to the almond butter piece, I simply made a scrambled egg with plenty of salt and fresh pepper, plopped it on the toast and topped it with fresh dil. The third piece of sweet potato toast got some mashed avocado and tomato slices. 

How could you not be happy with such a good breakfast? Or lunch? Or dinner?? 

 sweeet potato toast with eggs, bananas and tomatoes, dill as garnish on tray
 tomatoes and dill
 three pieces of sweet potato toast wtih toppings

sweet potato toast 3 ways

  • Prep time: 5 minutes
  • Cooking time 10 minutes
  • Serves 1-2

Ingredients:

  • 1 medium or large sweet potato, sliced
  • 1/2 banana, sliced
  • 1 tbsp almond butter
  • 1 tbsp sliced almonds
  • dash cinnamon
  • optional: honey (omit if whole30)
  • 1/2 avocado
  • 1/2 tomato, sliced
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • dash pepper
  • optional: sliced scallions
  • optional: fresh dill

Equipment: 

  • frying pan
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • microwave
  • toaster

Directions: 

Cut sweet potato into thin slices. Place them on a microwave safe plate and poke them with a fork several times on both sides. Microwave for 1.5 minutes per side. 

Carefully remove from plate and place in toaster. Toast twice on the highest setting until fully cooked and slightly crispy. 

Meanwhile prepare your toppings. In frying pan, heat oil, beat egg, add salt and pepper and scramble it for 1-2 minutes until fully cooked. 

To assemble, spread almond butter on one of the pieces of sweet potato toast, add bananas, cinnamon, almond slices if you wish and a drizzle of honey. 

To the next slice, add scrambled egg to sweet potato toast and top with scallions and dill. 

Mash avocado with a fork right on the remaining piece of sweet potato toast and add tomatoes, additional salt and pepper if you wish and fresh dill. Enjoy!