Grain-Free Paleo Banana Cinnamon Muffins

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It’s a cold snowy morning here in Upstate NY. The kiddos and I were sitting by the fire in our feet pajamas, and I was craving something comforting and warm from the oven. I had some ripe bananas and decided to create a banana muffin. These make a great breakfast or snack. The kids loved them! These contain no grains or refined sweeteners!

 

Recipe:

Oven to 350 degrees

Wet Ingredients (combine in a mixing bowl):

(2) large or (3) small very ripe bananas mashed

(3) eggs

(1) tsp vanilla

(3) TBS maple syrup or raw honey melted (add a little more if bananas are not very ripe)

1/4 cup of melted ghee or coconut oil

 

Dry Ingredients (whisk together):

1/2 cup of coconut flour

1 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

 

1. Pour dry ingredients into the wet ingredients and mix well.

 

Optional Fold-ins: 1/4 cup chopped walnuts, 1/4 cup Enjoy Life brand chocolate chips (gluten, dairy, and soy free)

 

2. Scoop mixture into greased muffin pan (greased with ghee or coconut oil). Alternatively you can line the pan with paper muffin liners.

 

3. Bake for 18-20 minutes at 350 degrees

 

Cool and enjoy!

 

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Gluten and Dairy Free Pumpkin Mousse

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Fall is all about pumpkins! Here is my quick and easy pumpkin mousse recipe 🙂

Enjoy!

 

Ingredients:

1 can of Native Forest brand Coconut Milk, refrigerated overnight

1/3 cup of Organic Pumpkin Puree

3 TBS Grade B Maple Syrup

1 tsp vanilla

1 tsp pumpkin pie spice or cinnamon  +a little extra to sprinkle on top if so desired

 

Directions:

**Be sure to refrigerate the coconut milk over night**

1. Remove the thick cream layer from the top and place in a mixing bowl with vanilla. Whip with beaters on high speed until cream consistency.

2. Slowly drizzle in the maple syrup and continue to whip.

3. Fold in the pumpkin puree and pumpkin pie spice.

4. Scoop mixture into (4) small serving dishes, or (2) large.

5. Sprinkle with a little cinnamon or pumpkin spice on top.

 

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Enjoy!

 

 

 

Banana Cinnamon Pecan Parfaits

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The other day I was in a store that was selling these gorgeous banana cream pies. I thought…hmmm….how can I create the taste of bananas and cream without gluten or dairy. These parfaits came to mind! They are easy to make with whipped coconut cream. I love how pecans and cinnamon taste together. These were a real hit with the kids, and I felt good about them having this summertime treat!

 

I found these cool glass mugs at Target and they make great parfait dishes!

 

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Ingredients for 4 parfaits (use half for 2):

 

  • 2 cans of coconut milk refrigerated over night. As someone with many failed attempts at whipped coconut…see if you can find this brand:

 

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I like Native Forest because it has a lot of cream in it and the cream gets very firm. Other brands I have tried are more watery, and won’t whip up nice.

 

  • 4 TBS Grade B maple syrup
  • 4 bananas sliced
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 TBS cinnamon
  • 4 TBS chopped pecans

 

My little pecan chopper focusing:

 

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1. Scoop out the top fat layer of coconut cream from each can, and place it in a large mixing bowl. Do NOT include the liquid at the bottom. Just use the fat layer.

 

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2. Add the maple syrup and vanilla to the cream and whip it up good 🙂

 

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3. Layer the coconut cream and bananas in the parfait dishes. Top with cinnamon and pecans, and enjoy!

 

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About Me:

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My name is Kathryn…I am a mommy of two beautiful little people, a nutritional therapy practitioner, a lover of music, and I am passionate about using my body and staying strong. I am an avid reader/researcher about the science of nutrition, and how food affects the chemistry of our body. I also love to read about and explore spirituality. I try not to follow mainstream ideology, and I always look for more than one answer to things. I believe that it is important to take risks, and push your boundaries. We are capable of so much more than we believe. I feel it is important to reconnect with our ancestors-to get back to what makes us human, and what makes us really feel content and happy. We get so far removed from our roots at times that we seek short-term pleasure in foods and activities that give us a temporary high, yet leaves us feeling empty. Please join me on my quest to reconnect with life and each other at a deep and meaningful level. Take risks…find bliss!

 

What can a Nutritional Therapist do for you?

 

The payoff of hiring a Nutritional Therapist is that you will have the tools necessary to heal your digestion, balance your blood sugar and hormones, increase your energy, increase your self awareness, decrease inflammation, feel younger, stabilize your moods, and the list goes on and on!

Check out my Nutritional Therapy Services.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Crispy Italian Paleo Cauliflower Poppers!

paleo fried cauliflower poppers

Growing up my mom would make us fried cauliflower. She would dip it in egg, and Italian breadcrumbs…and then fry it. It was dreamy and delicious. I wanted to create a grain-free version of this with some yummy dipping sauces! These came out amazing! The kiddos devoured them as an after school snack. There are many ways they can be changed up.

I was just thinking these would be great coated in buffalo sauce, minus the Italian seasonings!  Play around with different variations. I will give you the recipe I did, but feel free to change it up to your preferences! At the end of this I will list variations.

It all starts with a big ole head of cauliflower!

cauliflower - take a bite

head of cauliflower

I chopped it up into 1-2 inch pieces:

chopped cauliflower

Then I used a pot with a steamer basket and cover. I steamed the cauliflower over med high heat until tender (approx 8-10 min)

steam the chopped cauliflower

I set the cauliflower aside to cool, and made the batter.

Ingredients for Italian fried:

2 eggs

sea salt and pepper to taste

1 TBS onion powder

1 TBS garlic powder

1 TBS dried parsley

1 TBS dried basil

1/2 cup of tapioca starch

1/2 cup of Tropical Traditions red virgin palm oil or unrefined coconut oil for frying

Directions:

Whisk the 2 eggs with some sea salt and pepper:

2 eggs, sea salt and pepper

Mix the seasoning in with the tapioca starch:

seasoning in tapioca starch

Warm the oil for frying over med-high in a frying pan (notice palm oil is red, hence giving the cauliflower a red hue):

oil for frying

Next dip the pieces of cauliflower in the egg, and then dredge them in the tapioca mix:

dip and dredge them

dip like this

dredge like this

Finally, fry the cauliflower in the oil flipping to brown on all sides:

fry that cauliflower

Finished cauliflower:

fried cauliflower fresh out of the frierfried cauliflower served

Dipping sauces:

This Paleo Ranch dressing that I created over the summer:

paleo ranch dressing

I also used marinara sauce:

marinara sauce

Happy Snacking!!!

mmm tasty

paleo fried cauliflower

Variations:

Instead of Italian, you could make Indian inspired fried cauliflower with turmeric and curry. You can also make “buffalo” style with red pepper and dip in buffalo sauce before serving! There are plenty of ways to play around with seasonings to put in the the tapioca!

 

 

try different dipping saucestry different variations

A Sweet Find!

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What is in that ripped open bag of goodness you ask?  ^^^

When sticking to the paleo/primal lifestyle, it is important to avoid as many processed foods as possible in order to feel our best! It is also important to cut down on sugary treats and desserts. One of the biggest mistakes people can make when converting to this lifestyle is to buy all these “gluten free” processed treats and desserts. They are usually loaded with sugar and keeps people on that blood sugar roller coaster.

However, every so often it is nice to have a little something sweet, that isn’t going to take away from the nutrient dense variety of foods we are eating, and isn’t going to leave us feeling drained. I see nothing wrong with this. I found these Trader Joe’s 3 Ingredient mints and wanted to share them with you. There is literally only 3 ingredients in them! However, they taste exactly like a peppermint patty or junior mints…it’s that melt in your mouth chocolate/minty taste sure to satiate that sweet urge. I store them in the freezer and at times when that need for sweetness comes along, one of these suckers does the trick!

These mints do have 17grams of sugar per 3 mints. However, the sugar comes from pure honey which is a more natural source of sugar. I limit my sugar intake, and try to stick with eating 1 (and that really does do the trick for me). I also pop one in my son’s lunchbox as an after lunch minty treat. He really enjoys them, and it is something I feel okay about giving him.

So what are the 3 ingredients?

Honey, Chocolate Liquor, and Oil of Peppermint

I like that there is no soy lecithin, no other crazy ingredients. These can probably even be recreated at home with cacao and raw honey (maybe my next endeavor?).

 

Here is what these shiny little nuggets look like on the outside:

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Here is what they look like on the inside:

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and they come in this adorable shimmery green wrap 🙂

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Where can I find these?

These are Trader Joe’s brand and can be found at Trader Joe’s. I did check on amazon and wasn’t able to find them on there. So for those of you who do not live near a Trader Joe’s, ask a friend that does to ship you some!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Grain-Free Blueberry Lemon Pie with Whipped Coconut Cream

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I LOVE blueberry pie! I love it with a hint of lemon and not overly sweet. I used the same crust recipe I created back in April for the strawberry rhubarb pie. I used berries that the kids and I picked last week and froze. The kids and I had half the pie eaten within an hour. It holds together best if you are patient and let it set. Otherwise you might be eating pie soup!

 

 

Here is what my kitchen looked like in the midst of pie making:

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*Note the small purple play doh rolling pin.I somehow miss-placed and lost my full sized rolling pin…so I had to improvise!

 

Here is the recipe! Enjoy!

 

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:

4 cups of frozen blueberries

3 TBS coconut oil

1/2-3/4 cup of raw honey (I used 3/4 as these were tart blueberries)

zest from one lemon finely diced (about 2 TBS)

3 TBS tapioca starch

1 TBS cinnamon

 

Directions:

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)

crust #1crust#1_2

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 cookie cutter to make shapes to go on top of the pie (I find this easier and more aesthetically pleasing than trying to do a full covered top)

 

6 Make the filling:

put the blueberries in a big pan with the honey, coconut oil, cinnamon, and lemon zest. Turn heat to med/low and cook stirring frequently until blue juice begins to form at the bottom of the pan, and blueberries start to break down some.

 

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 7.  Turn off the heat and pour the blueberry mixture into a bowl. Remove about 1/4 cup of the juice and put it in a small bowl. Whisk the tapioca starch into that “blueberry juice”

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8. Pour the tapioca mixture in with the blueberry mixture and stir well. Pour this mixture into the pie crust, and cover with cut out shapes.

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9. Put the pie in the oven and bake for approx 45 minutes to one hour. *tent with foil for the last 15 minutes to prevent over-browning of the outer crust.

10. Let the pie be!!! It needs to set. If you cut it too soon you will have blueberry pie soup! You can set it faster in the refrigerator.

 

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

*I put my whipped coconut cream in the freezer for a bit so it would be sort of “ice creamy” to have on top of the pie.

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.