Perfect Paleo Pumpkin Pie

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Ingredients for the crust:

2 cups of almond meal

1/3 cup of coconut flour

3/4 cup of coconut oil

6-8 TBS water

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp vanilla

1 tsp sea salt

Directions for the crust:

Set oven to 400 degrees.

I did not melt the coconut oil. I put all the ingredients in a bowl and mashed it all together with a whisk or large fork (a pastry blender would probably work better, I just didn’t have one on hand).

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Roll out dough on a surface dusted with almond flour-or between parchment paper that is dusted with almond flour, and place it in the bottom of the pie pan. This dough is not easy to work with and breaks easily. Try not to get frustrated. I had to do some patching and pressing. It doesn’t have to look perfect. There will be extra dough as this recipe is originally for the type of pie with a top and bottom crust.

Having the extra helped make it easier to work with.  🙂

Bake the crust for 10 at 400 degrees.  Remove from oven, and turn oven up to 425 degrees.

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Ingredients for the filling:

1 (15 ounce) can of organic pumpkin puree

1 (13.5) oz can of Native Forest Organic coconut milk

2 large eggs

1/2 cup of Grade B Maple Syrup

3 TBS coconut flour

1 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp ginger

1/4 tsp cloves

 

Directions:

MIX:  cinnamon, salt, ginger and cloves in small bowl.

BEAT: eggs in large bowl. Stir in pumpkin, maple syrup, and spices. Fold in the coconut milk.

POUR into pie shell.

BAKE in preheated 425° F oven for 15 minutes. Reduce temperature to 350° F; bake for an hour or until knife inserted near center comes out clean (mine took a little over an hour). You may need to gently cover the edges with foil if they start to brown too fast.

***Cool on wire rack for 2-3 hours. This step is necessary for it to firm up!

Serve immediately or refrigerate.

Top with whipped coconut cream!

 

Whipped Coconut Cream:

Refrigerate 2 cans of Native Forest coconut milk (not the reduced fat kind). Open the can and take the cream off of the top and place it in a bowl.

 

 

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*you can save the watery part for other recipes-you could even use it in place of water in dough for the pie!

 

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Whip with beaters until whipped cream consistency with 3 TBS Grade B maple syrup and 1 tsp of vanilla.

 

 Enjoy!

 

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Soft Cinnamon Banana Cookies (grain-free)

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These cookies were like eating warm soft banana bread! These were warm and satisfying on this cool rainy day. I used a recipe I had developed a few years back with wheat flour and oatmeal, and converted it to a grain-free recipe. Jonah helped me make them so it was a fun project for both of us!

Oven: 350 degrees

Ingredients:

1 cup of almond meal

1/2 cup of coconut flour

1/2 tsp of baking powder

1/4 tsp of baking soda

1 tsp of cinnamon

1 tsp vanilla

1/2 cup of coconut oil or butter melted

1/4 cup of raw honey melted (use a little less if your bananas are very ripe)

2 eggs

3 very ripe bananas

cookie sheet

parchment paper

In a mixing bowl whisk together all of the dry ingredients.

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Mash the bananas!

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Melt the coconut oil and raw honey together and pour it over the bananas with the eggs and vanilla, mix well.

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Pour wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix well. Then, using a cookie scooper or melon baller, scoop the cookies onto a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.

Flatten them…

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Bake for approx 12 minutes. They will be soft and not very brown (maybe slightly on the bottom)

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Enjoy! (my helper…who is turning 4 this week)

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Strawberry Rhubarb Pie with Whipped Coconut Cream: 2 Variations

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Strawberry rhubarb pie has always been a favorite of mine. When I saw that my neighbor’s rhubarb was ready (and she offered me some), I wanted to take on a grain and refined sugar free variations of this pie!

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I decided to make two different kinds (one that is dairy free, and one that has butter in it).

The first pie is dairy free, and the crust was made with almond meal, coconut flour, and unrefined coconut oil. This pie has unrefined coconut oil in the filling.

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The second pie has no coconut in it. It was made with an almond meal and grass-fed butter crust, and has grass-fed butter in the filling.

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okay so these pies are not beautiful… When working with alternative flours I find it difficult to make “pretty” pies. However, they were a hit with the family and the neighbors…I could not tell a difference.

 

I wanted to create these on my own so I did not follow any particular recipe. I did however look in  the “Good Housekeeping” cookbook for a basic pie recipes to give me an idea of measurements. I sweetened both pies with raw honey! They were topped with whipped coconut cream, and very delicious!

 

Pie #1: Grain-free, dairy-free, refined sugar free Strawberry Rhubarb Pie

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Ingredients for the crust:

2 cups of almond meal

1/3 cup of coconut flour

3/4 cup of coconut oil

6-8 TBS water

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp vanilla

1 tsp sea salt

Ingredients for the filling:

3 cups of cut-up organic strawberries

1 cup of chopped rhubarb

3 TBS coconut oil

4 TBS raw honey

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp vanilla

3 TBS tapioca flour

zest of one lemon

juice of 1/2 a lemon

Directions for pie #1

1. Set oven to 375 degrees

2. make crust-I did not melt the coconut oil. I put all the ingredients in a bowl and mashed it all together with a whisk or large fork (a pastry blender would probably work better, I just didn’t have one on hand)

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3. make dough into 2 separate balls

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4. roll out dough from one of the balls on a surface dusted with almond flour-or between parchment paper that is dusted with almond flour, and place it in the bottom of the pie pan. This dough is not easy to work with and breaks easily. Try not to get frustrated. I had to do some patching and pressing. It doesn’t have to look perfect.

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5, Roll out the second ball of dough and cut it with a pizza cutter into strips-set aside

 

6. Make the filling- chop up 3 cups of strawberries and 1 cup of rhubarb

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7. put the filling in the pie crust, and zest the lemon over it

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8. in a small pan over low heat melt the coconut oil with the raw honey, lemon juice, vanilla and cinnamon, pour the mixture over the berries and zest

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9. sprinkle the tapioca flour over this mixture

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10. arrange the strips of dough over the top-and bake for approx 45 minutes (tent foil over the top during the last 15 minutes to prevent outer crust from burning…

voila!!! Pie number one is complete…

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I let it set for about 20 minutes so it could thicken and the juices could settle. During this time I whipped up some coconut cream!

Coconut Whipped Cream:

refrigerate 1 can of coconut milk (not the reduced fat kind). Open the can and take the cream off of the top and place it in a bowl. *you can save the watery part for other recipes-you could even use it in place of water in dough for the pies!  Add 1 TBS raw honey, 1/2 tsp vanilla and whip with beaters on high until stiff

whipped coconut cream

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ENJOY!!!

Pie #2: Grain-free, refined sugar free Strawberry Rhubarb Pie (with grass-fed butter crust and filling)

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Ingredients for the crust:

3 cups of almond meal

1/2 cup of butter

6 TBS water

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp vanilla

1 tsp salt

Ingredients for the filling:

3 cups of cut-up organic strawberries

1 cup of chopped rhubarb

3 TBS butter (kerry gold grass-fed)

4 TBS raw honey

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp vanilla

3 TBS tapioca flour

zest of one lemon

juice of 1/2 a lemon

Directions:

1. Set oven to 375 degress

2. make crust-I did not melt the butter oil. I put all the ingredients in a bowl and mashed it all together with a whisk or large fork (a pastry blender would probably work better, I just didn’t have one on hand)

3. make dough into 2 separate balls

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4. roll out dough from one of the balls on a surface dusted with almond flour-or between parchment paper that is dusted with almond flour, and place it in the bottom of the pie pan. This dough is not easy to work with and breaks easily. Try not to get frustrated. I had to do some patching and pressing. It doesn’t have to look perfect.

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5. you can either roll out the second ball of dough and cut into strips to make a weave on top, or roll it out to cover the entire top (which is what I did with this pie)

6. Make the filling- chop up 3 cups of strawberries and 1 cup of rhubarb

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7. This time I mixed the tapioca in with the strawberries and rhubarb, and then dumped the mixture into the pie crust, and zested the lemon right on top

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8. Melt the raw honey with the cinnamon, lemon juice, and vanilla. Pour this mixture over the berry/rhubarb mixture

9. Cut the butter into chunks and dot it all over the berry/rhubarb mixture

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10. Put the top pie shell on top and crimp the edges with your fingers or a fork-make a few slits in the top

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11. bake for approx 45 minutes, covering all around the edges of the pie with foil during the last 15 minutes so the edges do not get burned. Do not cover the whole pie as you want the top to crisp up

Pie #2!

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*let the pie “settle” for 20 minutes or so

Follow the directions for coconut cream to top!

Enjoy!

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Grains are not a food group!

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There is a misconception out there that by eating “primal” or “paleo” you are on this diet that cuts out a “major food group”. First of all, primal eating is lifestyle…it is not a fad diet. Grains are not a food group! Eating primal does not mean eating “low carb.” It is not the same thing as Atkins. In fact, our bodies do need carbohydrates. We just don’t need the excessive amount we consume when we eat processed foods and grains. We need way less than we are accustomed too, and the amount we need varies based on our level of physical activity. So what exactly does primal/paleo/ancestral eating mean? It simply means eating real food. We are so far removed from what real food is in our culture that some of us have no idea where to start. Real food does not come in a box/package or have a label on it. It has not been chemically processed or altered.

Before eating this way I was eating what I *thought was a healthy diet.  Almost everyday I ate almond butter and honey sandwiches on 100% sprouted grain bread, pasta, beans, legumes…I avoided most animal products. I also did not feel good. I was having gallbladder attacks. I was anxious. My hair was falling out. I was diagnosed with autoimmune diseases. After a year of slowly converting to primal eating, my autoimmune “markers” are now very low, and I feel amazing!  My health has improved dramatically and I will never go back. I’ve discussed my autoimmune thyroid (which is related to grain and soy consumption) and plan to talk more on autoimmunity in subsequent posts. I’m feeling really good these days 🙂

Why do I avoid grains? On top of experiencing all I said above, I was having issues with unstable blood sugar. I was consuming most of my calories from “whole wheat” bread, and I thought I was eating healthy. However, I was having a ton of health issues that were snowballing and I was not in a good place. Something was wrong. When I cut gluten out I started to feel much better, but still dealt with blood sugar spikes and plummets, as well as hormonal issues. Now that I avoid grains, my blood sugar is stable and I feel at my best. It feels great to actually wake up every morning feeling healthy and strong. I no longer have brain fog. I feel happy. My hormones are balanced.

This link and this link were helpful in understanding some of the blood sugar/gluten issues:

“The paleo diet is not Atkins, nor is it zero-carb. The best research I can find shows that modern hunter-gatherers get perhaps 1/3 of their calories from carbohydrate, and Paleolithic hunter-gatherers somewhat less. This means vegetables, including root starches like sweet potatoes: grains were not a meaningful part of the human diet until agriculture, of which the earliest evidence is only 12,000 years ago. (This is a tautology: agriculture defines the transition from Paleolithic to Neolithic.)”

My hope is that people will do their own research and keep an open mind. I am a mom of 2 young boys, and want to feed them real food. I deal with a ton of negativity and questioning from people, but I plow on because I know I am doing what is best for us. One thing I don’t do is “preach to the choir”. I don’t judge other people for their food choices, I don’t try to change what my family or friends eat.  If someone asks me or questions me I do my best to explain my choice without being pushy. Here is an article I found helpful when dealing with family/friends who question your choices. What I have learned through the years is to limit your arguing…keep answers short and sweet, change the subject.

It makes such a difference in your life when your body just feels right. I network with many different paleo/primal people and belong to several different groups where we all learn from each other. I learn new things everyday. I’m sure some of it will change, but the basics remain the same. I am passionate about sharing my knowledge, and I really have no other motives.

So what exactly do I eat?

I eat pastured meats. Pastured simply means that the animal is out eating its natural diet. So cows eat grass. Chickens eat bugs. Not only is the animal happier, but the health benefit of pastured meats are huge. The animal is not couped or caged all the time and fed genetically modified feed (soybeans, corn, wheat to name a few).  I buy from the local Farmer’s Market. Some farmers will give discounts, and there are cheaper cuts available that are just as nutrient rich as fancy cuts, some even more so. I take my kids to visit the farms and get to know the farmers. Organ meats are very inexpensive and are extremely nutrient dense. Farmers sell all different cuts of meat-heart, liver, tongue, soup bones, you name it! You can also purchase a ¼ cow, ½ cow or a whole cow if you have a deep freezer. Sometimes friends will “split a cow”. It is cost effective and the meat can get you through several months. I also eat applegate farms deli meats, and occasionally buy meats at Trader Joe’s.

This is helpful

I eat grass-fed dairy (I am a sucker for kerrygold cheese). Dairy can be an issue for many people. The protein casein is large in molecular structure and can be hard on the gut. I react to dairy. I make the choice to occasionally eat it and pay the price.

I eat wild caught fish and seafood. I was never a fish person in the past. I actually just started eating and enjoying sardines (I am amazed at how much I enjoy the taste of real food after cleansing my body of processed foods). My kids like salmon so I try to make it for them at least once a week.

I eat pastured eggs- chickens are not vegetarians. They are omnivores-they love bugs! Pastured eggs are not the same as “cage free” or “vegetarian fed” eggs. I had a hard time finding them, and now purchase them at the farmer’s market as well.

This is helpful in understanding eggs!

I eat a ton of vegetables/fruit daily (mostly vegetables): avocados, garlic, herbs, apples, berries, carrots, greens of all sorts, bananas, parsnips, turnips, kale, beets, brussel sprouts, broccoli, spinach, salad greens, cauliflower, oranges…it changes based on the season. I stick with “the dirty dozen” when it comes to buying organic.

I don’t fear fat at all. You shouldn’t either.

I cook with coconut oil, ghee (OMGhee is my favorite) grass-fed butter (kerrygold is a good brand), tallow, and lard.  I use olive oil for cold uses. I do not limit my fat intake. This chart is helpful in explaining which fats to use and which to avoid.

I bake with coconut flour, coconut oil, tapioca starch, arrowroot flour, and almond meal.

I also snack on nuts, seeds, dark chocolate, healthy meat sticks (not slim jims), seaweed, sardines,  lara bars, veggies

There are a bunch of fabulous blogs/FB pages that I follow. Some are educational and others share tons of awesome recipes!

Here are some of my personal favorites:

www.nomnompaleo.com

www.balancedbites.com

www.everydaypaleo.com

www.facebook.com/justeatrealfood

www.marksdailyapple.com

http://chriskresser.com/

www.robbwolf.com

www.primaltoad.com

www.paleononpaleo.com

www.againstallgrains.com

*Some of the staples I load my pantry with for baking are coconut milk, coconut flour, tapioca starch, arrowroot, coconut oil, almond meal, enjoy life (GF/DF) chocolate chips, bourbon vanilla, frozen blueberries (I go blueberry picking during the summer and freeze pounds of them).

As I’ve said in the past I am not 100% and I am far from perfect. If you try to be, you will drive yourself batty and won’t enjoy your life. We live in a culture that is very much attached to grains, and that makes this lifestyle difficult without support. It’s not impossible…just difficult. It is important to reach out for support and take baby steps. I have good days and bad days. There are days when I stare at the fridge and think “what the heck am I going to make today?” I always figure it out and I am learning how to think outside the box! Scrambled eggs mixed with ground beef and seasonings tossed over salad greens makes an excellent meal. I found that by “liking” primal/paleo FB pages your newsfeed gets filled with awesome recipes to try, tips, and helpful information.

I started out by just cutting out gluten. That to me is a huge step. Then when I noticed the amazing positive changes I slowly converted to eating less and less processed foods. I still get the occasional gluten free sugary treat. I always feel lousy afterward, but once in awhile I do it anyway. I also like to have a gluten free beer in the summertime, and enjoy drinking wine with my friends. My weakness is dark chocolate-I try to find the darkest and lowest in sugar available.

I hope this helps, feel free to ask away if you have questions and I will try to point you in the right direction!

 

 

 

* Please note: This is a personal blog. I am not a Doctor or a Dietician. All data and information provided on this site is for informational/educational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitution for professional medical advice.