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Monday, September 28, 2009

Pumpkin Pie

This is another recipe sampled from Mark's Daily Apple in a post about primal pie fillings. It is rather high in carbs for an everyday food, but it is a delicious way to enjoy a traditional dessert for thanksgiving while staying allergen (ie grain and dairy) free.

1 Cup Almond Meal
1 whole egg
2 TB coconut oil
1/2 tsp salt

Soften the coconut butter until it is soft or slightly melted. Mix all the ingredients thoroughly. Line a pie plate with with parchment paper and plop the ball of dough in the center. Brush the dough with a little extra coconut oil (so it doesn't stick) and use your fingers to spread it into the crust. Bake at 400 for 15 mins.

1 Cup fresh or canned pumpkin
2 eggs
1/2 cup maple sugar flakes
1/2 cup coconut milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp powdered cloves
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/8 tsp ginger

Mix everything together and pour into the pre-baked pie crust. My pie plate was rather shallow, so this amount of filling turned out to be slightly too much and I didn't use all of it. Return to the oven and bake at 350 for 30-35 mins.

I found the organic maple flakes at sobeys. It's just dried maple syrup which makes it basically pure sugar. Whether this really qualifies as anything close to paleo, I can't decide...

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Primal Magic Cookie Bars

This recipe is actually MDA's Energy Bar Redux. Thank you Mark for the awesome inspiration! BUT... My mom used to make an amazing square with a graham short bread base, topped with chocolate chips, coconut, and a sweet & condensed milk glaze called Magic Cookie Bars. Before she went primal, started doing CrossFit, and lost 80 lbs, that is. She's hung up her bakers hat for good, so those recipes only exist in our memory now. However, this one reminds me of those treats so much I am re-christening it from an energy bar to a delicious dessert!

1/2 cup almonds
1/2 cup pecans
1/4 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
1/4 cup almond butter
(although cashew, hazelnut, walnut and even pumpkin butters will work well too!)
1/4 cup coconut oil (check your local health food store)
1/4 cup almond meal
1.5 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/2 tsp of raw honey (although, this is really kind of optional)
1/2 cup unsweetened whey protein powder (I used vanilla flavored)
1 large egg
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 cup dried cranberries (or blueberries or raisins, look for unsweetened if possible)
1 TB unsweetened coconut to sprinkle on top
2 TB dark chocolate chips also to sprinkle on top
On a cookie sheet, toast nuts and shredded coconut until golden brown. In order for them to cook evenly, you need to shake up the tray at least once during cooking.

Once toasted, pour mixture into a food processor and pulse until nuts are chopped and the mixture becomes coarsely ground.

In a mixing bowl, melt coconut oil and almond butter. Remove from microwave and stir until smooth. Add vanilla extract, honey and sea salt. Mix thoroughly.

Fold in nut mixture, almond meal and protein powder until mixed thoroughly.
Add whole egg and mix thoroughly.

Fold in blueberries/cranberries.

Press mixture into an 8 by 8 loaf pan. Sprinkle with the coconut and chocolate chips. Bake at 325 for 10-15 mins. The top will look sort of foamy, but once you remove it from the oven and allow it to cool it will look normal. Spread the chocolate chips with a spatula while still warm and melty.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Shredded Pork Tenderloin With Spaghetti Squash

2 Pork Tenderloins
1/4 Cup Hoisin Sauce
1 TB Tomato Sauce
1 TB Soya Sauce
1 tsp honey/sugar/brown sugar
1 tsp fresh ginger, peeled & grated
2 garlic cloves, crushed

1/4 Cup Soya Sauce
1/4 Cup Rice Vinegar
1 TB Sesame Oil
1 whole spaghetti squash
2 large carrots, peeled & grated
1 small bunch green onions, sliced
1/4 Cup fresh cilantro


1) Place the pork tenderloins and the next 6 ingredients in the slow cooker. Cook on high for 1 hour, then reduce heat to low for another 5 hours.
2) Remove the pork from the slow cooker and let stand for 10 minutes while you do the following steps.

3) Liberally stab your spaghetti squash all over to prevent it from exploding. Microwave on high for 12 minutes.

4) Meanwhile, to the liquid remaining in the slow cooker, stir in soya sauce, rice vinegar, and sesame oil. Cover and cook on high for 10 mins

5) Shred the tenderloins with two forks.

6) Return the shredded pork to the sauce in the slow cooker along with the shredded carrot and sliced green onion.

7) Cut the cooked spaghetti squash open lengthwise. Be careful! It will be hot hot hot. Scoop out the middle stringy gunk with the seeds and discard. Pull the "noodles" away from the sides with a fork and scoop out with a spoon.
8) Serve the shredded pork over the spaghetti squash noodles, garnish with fresh cilantro, and enjoy like the happy guy at the top!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Pizza Update

I've experimented numerous times with the almond meal crust for the Paleo Pizza to find the perfect technique for a cripsy crust that holds together and doesn't stick to the pan. The secret seems to be to spread the crust out on non-stick parchment paper! Just thought I'd share a handy tip...

Monday, September 14, 2009

Hoisin Sauce Recipe

I was in the "Oriental" aisle at Sobeys comparing ingredient lists on bottles of Hoisin Sauce (for an upcoming pork tenderloin recipe) only to find myself horrified by all of them. For example, The Golden Dragon Hoisin Sauce ingredients are: Water, Sugar, Soy Beans, Salt, Modified Corn Starch, Vinegar, Spices, Caramel Color, Wheat, Maltodextrin, Sodium Benzoate (a preservative). I thought, that can't possibly be the original, authentic recipe for this stuff. So I set off to find a recipe and make my own.

4 TB Organic Tamari soy sauce
2 TB black bean paste*
1 TB honey or molasses or brown sugar
2 tsp white vinegar
1/8 tsp garlic powder
2 tsp sesame oil
20 drops habanero hot sauce
1/8 tsp fresh ground black pepper
*you can use peanut butter as a substitute if you can't find black bean paste

Mix well until everything is fully incorporated.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Gigi Barbina Salad

(Photo stolen from

This recipe was sent to me by my mother-in-law, who saw it in the Oprah Magazine. I took the original and replaced canola oil with olive and eliminated the cheese to give it an easy primal makeover:

4 beets, 2- to 3-inches
1/2 small butternut squash, peeled, seeded, cut into 1" pieces
6 TB extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1/2 pound mixed mushrooms
(tough stems removed), halved or quartered
2 TB mayonnaise (The real stuff!)
2 TB sherry vinegar
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1 small shallot ,
coarsely chopped
1/2 pound mixed baby greens
1/3 cup chopped walnuts ,

Note: If using a mix of beets, you can prevent colors from bleeding by roasting them in separate foil pouches; then peel and reserve separately.

Preheat oven to 400°.

Wrap beets tightly in foil, and roast until tender, about 45 minutes. Remove from oven; let rest 10 minutes. Unwrap foil. Peel and cut beets into bite-size pieces; set aside.

Toss squash with 1 tablespoon olive oil and salt and pepper to taste; spread in a single layer on a foil-lined baking sheet. Roast, tossing halfway through, until tender and golden, about 30 minutes. Repeat process with mushrooms, roasting about 15 minutes. Set both aside to cool.

Meanwhile, make the vinaigrette: Put mayonnaise, vinegar, mustard, and shallot in a food processor. Pulse to combine. With the motor running, drizzle in rest of olive oil to make a puree; season to taste with salt and pepper.

Divide vegetables among four plates. Toss greens with vinaigrette, then arrange on top; sprinkle with nuts.

Recipe variations:
Replace squash with…
Spring: Roasted sugar snap peas, snow peas, or asparagus.
Summer: Blanched or roasted green beans.
Fall/winter: Sweet potatoes; also can scatter pomegranate seeds on top.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Inside Laura's Fridge

Kaiser the dog approves.

Laura (one of CrossFit BRIO's cavegirl athletes) prepares for the week of paleo food that lies ahead with a fridge full of ready-to-eat options. The elk jerky is marinating, the veggies are sliced, the eggs are waiting, and the fresh roasted chicken is ready! The non-primal food, she says, all belongs to her fiance!

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Garlic Mayo Veggie Dip

The veggie and dip tray is a staple of summer BBQs everywhere, but usually the delicious creamy delight in the center is either sour cream or cream cheese based. Here's a tasty recipe for a paleo approved version:

1 cup real Mayonnaise
3 Cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp Lemon juice
2 tsp White Vinegar
1 tsp Mustard seed
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp fresh Dill
1 tsp Chili powder
Sprinkles of Louisiana hot sauce (to taste)
Fresh group black pepper

Mix. Chill. Eat. Mmmmmm....

Friday, September 4, 2009

Soy Sauce

Okay, so you may have noticed several of my recipes involve soy sauce in the marinades and sauces. Technically, made from soy beans (a legume) and usually containing wheat (eek!) soy sauce is a no-no on a paleo plan.

1. Small amounts - first off, the amount of soy sauce that I use is generally 1 or maybe 2 TB, spread into a recipe yielding several servings. I try not to get to worked up about the teeny tiny amounts of the substances that make their way into my food. I would spend time stressing about whether every pieces of meat I ate was pastured/grass finished before I would hyperventilate about whether that 1 TB of soy sauce had trace amount of wheat in it.

2. Fermentation - Soy sauce is made from fermented soy beans and it is this process that neutralizes many of the bad stuff in soy beans. A couple thousand years ago in asia people figured out that if they fermented their beans and grains first, everybody seemed to get less sick from eating them.

3. Wheat Free Options - If you are seriously gluten intolerant, there are wheat free options such as this one from VH sauces.

4. Get the good stuff - Cheaper options are usually made from hydrolyzed soy protein instead of brewing and fermenting naturally. The resultant product is not the same dark color as real soy sauce and so this liquid is then colored with caramel coloring. Check the ingredient label and look for simple, pronounceable, non-chemical ingredients.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Cavegirl at Costco: What's in the Cart

Costco is mostly known for 12lb bags of doritos and giant boxes of more microwaveable burritos than any person should consume in a life time. But hidden between the tubs of jumbo M&M cookies and the frozen pizza aisle is this little oasis of paleo heaven: the meat section and the fresh produce section. From a foraging expedition this afternoon, here's a peek in my cart:
  • 2 bags of spinach
  • 3-pack of cucumbers
  • 1 bag of broccoli
  • tub of blueberries
  • head of cauliflower
  • 6-pac bag of red and yellow peppers
  • 3-pac bag of celery hearts
  • 5lb bag of sweet onions
  • 1kg of pecans
  • 1kg of almonds
  • Alder smoked bacon
  • Pack of fresh figs (not sure what I'm going to do with those yet...)
  • 2 eye round beef roasts
  • 4 pork tenderloins
  • 1 large tray boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 large tray bone-in, skin-on chicken breasts
  • 1 large tray chicken drumsticks
  • 2 racks pork back ribs