Monday, March 4, 2013

My OCCD Problem and Recipe Sharing

Frozen Chocolate Chippers
don't last long in our house.
Some readers of my blog may already know I tried the Paleo Diet a couple years ago (if ya'll are still reading my blog, cuz honestly I hear crickets around here these days - but they're cute little chirpy crickets so I'll write with their background noise any day and just pretend people read whatever the fuck I write about.)

So yeah... I tried the Paleo Diet a couple years back and for the most part it kinda stuck. I suspect that like most diets (I don't have any other diet to compare it to) it was a bit of a struggle in the beginning but it allowed me to try a new way of eating and adopt some new habits and behaviors. I say that I stuck with it "for the most part" because I wouldn't consider myself strict Paleo. I never gave up alcohol, I enjoy a smudge of butter on my paleo pancakes, and chocolate is still my nemesis. You might also catch me on a rare occasion eating a bagel and egg sandwich or a steaming bowl of chili and I often throw in the proverbial Paleo towel before long races for the sole purpose of loading my body up on fuel. But for 80-90% of the time I generally avoid bread, pasta, cereals, grains, cheese, corn, beans and even milk. I was such a milk whore before trying Paleo and I've stunned myself that I've managed to drop the habit. Instead of drinking 3-4 glasses a day I have a small pour in my coffee most mornings.

Over the last couple years I've been scouring the web for some killer paleo recipes. I don't know why it was so hard to find gluten-free substitute recipes in the beginning, but after getting a good grasp of the paleo cooking "basics" I was able to start experimenting on my own. My cooking and baking quickly turned into a bit of an obsession (I briefly wrote abut it here). I refer to it as my OCCD (Obsessive Compulsive Cooking Disorder). Better that than crack, right?

The one thing I've discovered about most paleo and gluten free recipes is how simplistic they are. Paleo and gluten-free recipes have few ingredients, but its the WAY those ingredients are used that makes the difference. For instance, the difference between a heavy bready pancake and a lighter, crispy waffle is in how you use the eggs. The pancakes call for two beaten eggs and the waffle uses egg white whipped with a frenzy. 

Paleo or not, here's my advice if you wanna make cookies like grandma used to. Chuck that electric mixer out the window, ladies. Our great frontier ancestors never used a mixer, milked their own cows and carried 50 fucking pounds of hay daily. Those women were core and probably in better shape than some of us AND their cookies were devine. Why? No other cookie compares to a cookie whose batter was mixed with an old fashioned wooden spoon or whisk. The texture of the cookies is WAY better, but you have to pick the recipe carefully. In my cooking observations I've found that recipes like the Real Deal Chocolate Chippers below utilize honey (or some other viscous ingredient) that aids in creaming those first ingredients by hand the best. I'm not a fan of a truckload of sugar in my cookies so I've experimented with reducing the amount of honey and found that as long as there's just enough to help emulsify and combine the other ingredients you're good. During my pre-paleo days I would have added vegetable oil to do this, but I find honey works just as well (applesauce...not so much) AND you get a great upper body workout. Get a big ass bowl, place it in your lap and do 10 reps (stirs) with each hand. Feel the burn. Boom. That's your arm WOD for the day. Then get busy baking.

Here's a small collection of my favorite recipes:

Paleo Lasagna - This recipe is a bit time consuming and has parmasan cheese in it which can be left out, but it is WAY better than the old boring frozen lasagna we used to have from time to time. I'm considering using less parmasan in the bechamel topping and substituting with almond flour.

The best Eggs Benedict and Waffle Recipe by far - I will often make the waffles and freeze them, then pop them in the toaster and eat them with berries or eggs and veggies for breakfast. You can also experiment with the waffles adding your own savory mixes if you like.

Paleo Tacos - One of the first recipes I tried and even the kids loved it. They loved it so much they prefer to eat tacos with hearts of romaine now. How's that for success?

Bacon Wrapped Dates - only one of the best appetizers I've ever tried and another kid favorite! A little time consuming, though. Leave out the almonds to save time.

Puerto Rican Beef - Another easy recipe that can be used countless of ways for leftovers. In paleo burritos (check out this paleo Tortilla recipe) or a breakfast omelette with some fresh avacado. YUM! I like to serve it on top of cooked butternut squash that has just a smidge of coconut sugar and (if you wanna get real naughty) add some butter mixed in.

The Perfect Paleo Biscuit - I've been eating Paleo long enough that I crave something... well... biscuity every now and then. The saddest thing about this recipe is it doesn't quite yield enough biscuits. I prefer to bake them in muffin tins, freeze them, and then eat them for breakfast or lunch with grilled onions, bacon, avacado and a little salsa.

Sauteed Cauliflower - I've never been a huge fan of cauliflower, but after it kept showing up in my CSA box I had to find some way to eat it. I was SUPER delighted with this recipe and I feel a kindred spirit with the bloggers. I subscribed to those mother fuckers quicker than a video porn addict with free unlimited high speed web access.

Real Deal Chocolate Chip Recipe - Ok. I will admit to using raw sugar instead of coconut sugar and butter instead of coconut oil, but this recipe has been the closest I've been able to find to my pre-paleo cookie craving. I used to have a staple recipe I would bake and freeze on a regular basis to put in the kids' lunches and have for dessert. Lately I've experimented with doubling this recipe and reducing the amount of sugar.

Gingerbread - I love gingerbread, but I like it only mildly sweet and I found this recipe is perfect for the holidays and my tastebuds.

Here's a few of my own recipes:

Dinosaur Kale with Creamy Avacado Dressing
Cut a nicely ripened avacado in half and scoop the fresh avacado meat into a bowl with your lettuce. Drizzle with a little fresh lemon juice, cracked pepper and sea salt. Mash the avacado into the lettuce driving and smearing it in. Then toss in onions, peppers, pepitas and roasted coconut. I like to make this salad using Lacinato Kale (or dinosaur Kale) and will sometimes add hard-boiled egg, chicken, or sausage to it.

Homemade Dijon Marinade and Dressing
Forgive me, I don't measure so you may have to adjust the measurements to your taste:
• 2-3 TBLS Olive Oil
• Half a lemon freshly squeezed
• 1 TSP Dijon mustard
• Sea Salt and Pepper to taste
• 1 TSP cumin
• 1 TBLS Coconut sugar

Whisk ingredients together and adjust for taste. I usually use this with chicken and raw veggies like beets, carrots, onions and mushrooms, but I have used it as a marinade for baked Salmon as well. My kids love it. It also makes a great dressing for broccoli salad.

Paleo Pumpkin Protein Pancakes
• 2 eggs
• 1/2 CUP almond butter
• 1/2 CUP applesauce
• 1 scoop SFH Pure Whey Protein   
• 1/4 CUP Canned or fresh pumpkin pureĆ©
1 TSP cinnamon
• 1 TSP pumpkin pie spice 

Mix well and cook on medium high like regular pancakes. 

So there you go... Hope you find something new to add to your cooking repertoire regardless of whether you're gluten-free or not. Enjoy!! 
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5 comments:

  1. you can make cauliflower ceviche if you like. boil the cauliflower until it's tender and drain. let cool then cut and add onions, tomatoes, cilantro, and jalapenos to your liking. mix in some clam juice and tomato juice with some fresh lime juice. let chill and serve.

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    1. OMG! I LOVE ceviche!! That's a clever way of using the cauliflower. I would probably add the fish as well though. I used cauliflower in lieu of rice with our brazillian chicken recipe the other night and it was super good. Thanks for sharing, man!

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  2. Don't worry, we're still reading. I am a PK however, so your blogs usually stun me into silence...

    I will refrain from going into a rant about diets, but do want to make sure that you are getting enough calcium in your diet now that you've kicked the "milk habit". Our paleo ancestors were too busy fighting off saber tooth cats, mastodons, and dinosaurs (for the benefit of your Creationist readers) to worry about osteoporosis.

    I'll be rather cross with you if you go and get a stress fracture!

    Peace.

    Dave

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    1. Thanks for reading Dave, even though I may stun you into silence sometimes. ;-) Funny, the whole calcium thing was my original reason why I insisted on NOT giving up the milk. But then I learned that almond milk has twice the calcium as regular milk and as long as I was eating lots of greens that have a high calcium content (like the Dinosaur Kale) above AND I was lifting heavy on a regular basis my argument for not giving up the milk fell flat on its face. I also will supplement with calcium tablets from time to time if I notice I haven't been eating enough veggies high in calcium - but that almost never happens. I would much rather get my nutrients from my diet than from a pill.

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    2. Alright, it sounds like you've thought this through. Just make sure the brand of almond milk you use is fortified with vitamin D (most commercial brands) and an easily absorbed form of calcium. The California sunshine and all that weight bearing exercise is good for the bones too, so you're likely covered.

      By the way, the members of my family are all well over 6 ft tall (men and women), we play tackling sports without pads (rugby, Aussie rules football, soccer), and have never broken a bone (well, one nose... long story). And we drink milk like it's going out of style. Just sayin'... :)

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