Sunday, January 19, 2014

Vanilla Blueberry Macaroons

I have not made these in awhile and I have to say I have missed them. I was making them every week and packing them for my lunch at work. They sure are a treat. I found these wonderful treats on Urban Poser Blog. They were Vanilla Strawberry Coconut Macaroons and they are quite yummy. I have made those cookies just as the recipe was written. I have played with the recipe and made a few changes of my own for this batch. I have made the strawberry macaroons just like the recipe and they were awesome. I did not have strawberries so I tried blueberries and they are yummy too.

There are only seven ingredients for these: 

Vanilla Blueberry Macaroons:
3/4 cup cashew meal
1 1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
1/3 cup honey
1/4 cup coconut oil (liquid)
2 teaspoons vanilla
Pinch sea salt
1/4 to 1/2 cup freeze dried blueberries (the fruit has to be freeze dried there is no substitution)

Pre heat the oven to 190 degrees F. These will be dehydrated so the heat is pretty low.

Prepare a baking sheet with parchment paper.

chop up the blueberries. I left some of them whole.

Combine all the ingredients and mix well.

Use a rounded measuring table spoon and scoop up enough dough to fill the spoon. Press it into the spoon, and be sure that the bottom is level.

Place the cookies on the parchment and place in the oven for about 50 minutes. They should not be brown when they are done. They should just be hardened a bit on the outside and still moist on the inside.

Cool about 10 minutes and store in an airtight container.

You can use any freeze dried fruit you like. I have used strawberries and they are really good. Another suggestion is raspberries which I have not yet tried.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Sweet Potato

Most of of think of sweet potatoes as a concoction made for a Thanksgiving feast that is swimming in marshmallow, sugar and who knows what else. Actually the sweet potato is quite a healthy food. It is the Paleo substitute for the potato...................and so much more! It is a good source of dietary fiber, high in antioxidants rich in Vitamin E and beta-carotene. They also have a low glycemic index which is characterized by slow absorption, and a modest rise in blood sugar (glucose). They are good source of Potassium which is important in maintaining electrolyte balance in the body.

I bought two large bags of  organic sweet potatoes over the holidays and have been eating them baked, mashed and oven roasted. These are all yummy. Today though, I was looking at Melissa Jouluan's website: theclothesmakethegirl and found a recipe that was intriguing. You can find her recipe for Sweet Potato Soup With Bacon:

I have been reading Melissa's Paleo cookbook: Well Fed Paleo Recipes For People Who Love To Eat. I got it for Christmas and have already tried a couple of her recipes and they were quite yummy. Since I had all the ingredients for the Sweet Potato soup except for the Ras el Hanout (a spice mix on her website and in her book) I forged ahead. I did have all the spices on hand to follow her recipe for the Ras el Hanout and made that up. As you can see from the photo it is quite a complex array of spices. I am going to have to say that the soup would not be the same without this ingredient so I highly suggest if you try her recipe you make up a batch of this. Her book has quite a few other uses for it so it is well worth the time to mix up some.
 The finished soup is indeed yummy. The rest of the family is not Paleo and they had pizza. I had the bowl of soup and it was awesome! I did not have yellow or white onions so I used red onions. I also did not have chives so I used green onions for a garnish. Not only was the soup very good, it was also filling as that is all I had and I felt quite satisfied. The flavor is quite complex with the amazing mixture of spices. I have enough soup to freeze for lunches to take to work.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

The start of my Enchanting Journey. How I became Paleo.

My story is actually one of a lifetime of up and down with weight. Even as a child I was always called normal for weight...........another way of saying I was not chunky. As a child I could eat a mountain of food and was just normal, not really overweight but on the verge. That changed as I got older and into my 20's. I could not really eat anything and remain at an ok weight any more. Thus began the battle of up and down 20 pounds. When I was down I looked thin. When I was up I was chunky. Well fast forward to my 40's. After baby number one I got back down to thin, but three years later I could not go below that top weight of the up 20 pounds. Well add another few years and it kept creeping up at about 2-5 pounds a year. One day I looked at myself and could no longer say I was chunky, nope I was fat! Something had to change but how.

I tried the Ketogenic diet and the weight started comming off. That was October of 2012. Wow it was actually working at the rate of one to three pounds every week. When I got to the six weeks mark I started getting muscle cramps and decided that my body needed different nutrition. With the ketogenic diet you put your body into a constant state of ketosis and eat the majority of your caloric intake from fats, next proteins and very little from carbohydrates. I was also beginning to walk regularly about five miles a day.

I had heard about the Paleo diet and began doing research. I decided to jump ship on the Ketogenic diet and hop aboard the Paleo plan. Wow all of a sudden I could eat all sorts of good foods. I was careful with the nuts and fats in the beginning. I also was careful of kinds of meats I ate and avoided egg yolks. This was mid December. By the end of December I was below my goal weight and was still loosing. I felt amazing and strong. My cholesterol which had been borderline high most of my adult life dropped to just at the top of the normal range (40 points). January and I dropped more weight. By March of 2013 I reached my lowest weight since college when I was in my late teens early 20's. Now almost a year later I have maintained that weight and have become even more fit. Last Summer I did a Rim to Rim hike of the Grand Canyon in one day..............26 miles. I took a day off and hiked back across................26 miles. That is not only mileage but also an elevation loss of and gain from rim to river and back up...............and that is me in the photo top right during the hike back across comming out of the Devils Corkscrew on the South side..............I was passing everyone on the trail and felt like I could go forever! The picture on the left is me about 3 years ago 40 pounds heavier than the photo on the right!

The Paleo Lifestyle has really changed my life. I feel at least 20 years younger and have more energy than I ever thought I would again. To me food has become a way to nourish my body. My tastebuds no longer crave sugar and I have found that wheat causes all sorts of problems.

There are tons of sites on the web that talk about why the Paleo eating plan is how we should eat. Since we went from being hunters and gatherers and have grown crops our diets have changed. Our bodies are not made to eat wheat and other grains, refined sugars, not to mention the artificial colors, flavors and preservatives that many people eat as the mainstay of their diets. The essence of the Paleo plan is simple. Concentrate on what you CAN eat not on the forbidden list. What you can eat is: fruits, vegetables, meat, nuts, and healthy fats. What you do not eat is: grains, potatoes, peanuts, soy, refined sugars, and dairy...............before agriculture people did not have cows following them around to be milked. a disclaimer: what I have written are only my opinions and I am only sharing my own experience.