Oatmeal Cookie Dough “Larabars”

Ok, this one may be a little cliche.  We’ve long since passed the point where people figured out how to make their own Larabars…got it.

oatmeal cookie larabars

But (according to my husband, at least) these are the best he’s had, homemade or no.  As a guy who, working construction, subsists on a diet of trail mix, larabars, and Justin’s nut butter packs…I think I’ll take that as a compliment.

make your own larabars

Oatmeal Cookie Dough “Larabars”
Prep time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 8
 
Ingredients
  • 1 c dates, firmly packed
  • ¾ c raw cashews
  • ⅓ c raw pecans
  • ¼ c raisins
  • 1 T coconut oil, melted
  • 3 T ground flax
  • 1 t vanilla
  • 1 t apple pie spice
Instructions
  1. Give the raisins a rough chop, either by hand or with a few pulses of the food processor. Trust me. It gets the raisin-y flavor to the whole bar.
  2. Place the cashews and pecans in a food processor. Pulse until you have a meal the consistency of sand.
  3. Add the remaining ingredients except the raisins and pulse until it forms a smooth ball. Add a teaspoon or two of water if it doesn’t come together after a few minutes.
  4. Add the raisins and pulse a few times until they’re evenly distributed.
  5. Using your hands, press into a parchment lined dish or baking pan.
  6. Refrigerate for about an hour, then remove. Cut into bars and enjoy!

home made oatmeal cookie larabars

Fudgey “Peanut Butter” Brownies (Paleo and Vegan)

Soooo if you could just stop whatever it is you’re doing right this minute and get your oven ready for a little Valentine’s love, that’d be great.

paleo brownies

I had a snow day yesterday (and another one today, in fact) thanks to Snowmageddon.  Seriously, I grew up just an hour west of here and we have *never* had a winter like this.  I mean, sure, every couple of years we’d get a big snowstorm…but it was A snowstorm…not A BAZILLION snow storms.  We’d get single digit temperatures…but not single digit temperatures for days on end.  Whatever.  Anyway.  Snow day.

I had a few comments on my avocado brownies expressing some…concern…that they didn’t come out as good as they should have.  I’ve been blogging long enough to realize that this is just going to happen from time to time, and I do take a genuine interest in failed attempts at my recipes, or just things people don’t like about them that I can address with stuff I make down the road.  As far as the brownies are concerned, some folks didn’t like the texture (which many others claim to love, so not sure what to do there), thought they weren’t sweet enough (to which I say just add more honey or use pre-sweetened baking chocolate), or…and I guess this was just one but it stuck with me…that the taste of eggs came through a little too much.  So, that was a noodle scratcher.  Thankfully I had a whole day to waste…and it only took a couple of tries to get a brownie that is not only egg-free, but that is probably the most dense, fudgey, rich chocolaty thing I’ve ever made.  Score.

As far as substitutions go, I use sunflower seed butter when I want that “peanutty” flavor, but any kind of nut butter will do.  For a more neutral flavor, I love cashew butter…it’s great for a smooth, almost yellow cake-like taste.  For a nut and seed free option, coconut manna is great–I’ve used it in past brownie recipes and it provides a subtle coconut flavor that gives a little extra sweetness without any more sugar.  Also, if you don’t have/don’t want to use avocados, one ripe banana will do the job.

Fudgey “Peanut Butter” Brownies (Paleo and Vegan)
Author: 
 
Ingredients
  • ½ c sunflower seed butter (or any nut butter, or coconut manna)
  • 1 large avocado (or sub one banana)
  • ½ c unsweetened cocoa powder
  • ½ t baking soda
  • 1 t vanilla
  • ½ c maple syrup
  • handful of chocolate chips
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Puree the avocado first in a food processor. Make sure ALL lumps are gone.
  3. Add the remaining ingredients except for chocolate chips to the food processor and pulse until smooth.
  4. Stir the chocolate chips into the batter–it will be thick.
  5. Spoon batter into a greased 8×8 baking dish.
  6. Bake for 20-22 minutes. Because of the chocolate chips, it may still be a little gooey in the middle.
  7. Cool completely before serving.

 

 

Zesty Sauteed Collard Greens w/ Garlic and Sundried Tomatoes

Collards are the new kale.  What can I say?

collard greens tgipaleo.com

For those of you who may be skeptical, I admit collards don’t have the best reputation.  I mean, generally they come out straight up *boiled*…goopy, bland, and just plain nasty.  These are not like that.  Sauteeing them with all this simple goodness not only lets the flavor permeate and keep the texture right where it should be, but actually keeps too many of the oh-so-lovely nutrients in these deep green leaves from leaching out and getting thrown away.  Whoever thought it was ok to boil leafy greens…ew.  Just ew.

Zesty Sauteed Collard Greens w/ Garlic and Sundried Tomatoes
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4-6
 
Ingredients
  • 6 cups collard greens, chopped
  • ⅓ c sun dried tomatoes, dried or in oil
  • ⅓ c olive oil, divided
  • 4 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 T apple cider vinegar
  • salt and pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. If you are using dried sundried tomatoes, soak in hot water for 10 mins or so to plump them up.
  2. Heat 2-3 tablespoons of the oil over medium high heat in a large pot or heavy pan with a lid.
  3. Sautee the garlic until nicely browned and fragrant.
  4. Add the collards, stirring to coat in the oil. Reduce heat to medium low and cover. Allow the greens to simmer for 5 minutes or so, until wilted.
  5. Add the remaining oil, sundried tomatoes, vinegar, and seasoning. Toss to coat. Cover and simmer 5 minutes more. Serve.

 

Breakfast Cookies

Ah, mornings.  How quickly you lose your appeal once I have to start getting up for school again.

I really shouldn’t complain.  My husband is up around 4:45 every morning for work since his commute is hellacious (welcome to the mid-atlantic…), and it was he who inspired me to make these little guys.

paleo breakfast cookies |tgipaleo.com

You see, my darling husband is kind of a manorexic child.  And I’m kind of an overbearing, secretly 80 year old housewife.  He’s one of these people who just…won’t eat if he feels like it’s easier to stay in bed an extra 5 minutes than to eat something.  And it drive me bonkers…mostly because he’ll bitch for days about how tired he feels and wonder if he’s sick.  No, dear, you’re just starving to death.  I imagine mothers of teenagers feel the same.

If a cookie is too much work to grab first thing in the morning, then I suppose you’re beyond help…

Breakfast Cookies
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 12
 
Ingredients
  • 1 c coconut flour
  • 4 eggs
  • ¼ c almond meal
  • 2 mashed bananas
  • ¼ c coconut
  • ½ c coconut oil
  • ½ t baking soda
  • 1 t vanilla
  • 1 t cinnamon
  • ¼ t nutmeg
  • ¼ t salt
  • ¼ c raisins
  • ¼ c pepitas
Instructions
  1. Mix together the coconut flour, eggs, baking soda, bananas, coconut, almond meal, coconut oil, vanilla, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg.
  2. Stir in the raisins and pepitas.
  3. Form little balls of cookies dough and press down onto a prepared cookie sheet so you have flat rounds of your desired size.
  4. Bake at 350 degrees for 12-15 mins, until the cookies are slightly browned.

 

Pad Thai

My winter break was almost seven weeks long.  Seriously.  I have never…in my LIFE…had this much time off to do absolutely nothing.  Maybe it would be OK if I was like all of my classmates and took a trip somewhere?  Or if I was capable of sleeping 14 hours a day?  Except no.

The house is cleaner than it’s been or will be for decades.  I’ve put in a bazillion hours of MCAT prep.  I volunteered at the hospital.  The pups have gotten more walking in the last 6 weeks than they had all last year.  Ate a few too many of those chocolate covered acai berries (the ones from Costco…dangerous).  Too much…*way* too much…has been spent at Target.  I don’t know what else to do, you guys.

Class starts next week and it’s the home stretch…4 more months of pre-med and then…well, I’ll let you know.  Maybe.  Lots of *life plans* in the works and I’m honestly not necessarily sure how it’s going to pan out.  Not gonna jinx it.  Nope nope.  I can tell you, though, that we will be…moving…again.  Since I left college I have moved through 3 different states, 1 year-long deployment to Iraq, 5 different homes.  Six if you count my CHU in Iraq but I really don’t think that counts.  I wouldn’t wish that on anyone unless you have some weird desire to live in a big tin box and sleep on a plastic mattress that smells like mothballs.  Blech.

Paleo Pad Thai

Enough of that…how about I make you dinner?  Following my weird BBQ fetish, I’ve been doing a lot of Asian cooking lately.  And by that I mean I’ve been putting fish sauce and coconut aminos in *everything.*  I recommend it.

This dish can be made meatless or with chicken, shrimp, beef, pork…or all of the above.  We like options, don’t we?

Pad Thai
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 2-4
 
Ingredients
  • 1 spaghetti squash
  • ⅓ c apple cider vinegar
  • ⅓ c coconut aminos or tamari
  • 1½ T hot chili paste
  • ¼ c fish sauce (omit if you want this to be vegan)
  • 3 T palm sugar
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 T coconut oil
  • 1 c snow peas
  • 3 green onions (scallions), sliced
  • ½ c fresh cilantro, chopped
  • Slivered almonds and lime wedges to garnish
Instructions
  1. Put the spaghetti squash in the oven at 400 degrees for 45 mins. When finished, cut in half lengthwise and scoop out the seeds.
  2. Using a fork, remove the squash strands into a bowl and set aside.
  3. While the squash is cooking, whisk together the vinegar, coconut aminos, chili paste, fish sauce, and palm sugar in a small dish. Set aside.
  4. In a high rimmed pan or pot, heat the coconut oil over medium high heat.
  5. Add the garlic, sauteing until lightly browned, then add the onions.
  6. When the onions are translucent, reduce the heat to medium and add the spaghetti squash and snow peas. Toss to coat in the oil and garlic.
  7. Add the sauce, stirring to coat. Cover and simmer for 10 minutes.
  8. When you are ready to serve, add the scallions and cilantro, mixing well.
  9. Serve garnished with slivered almonds and lime wedges.

 

Peanut Butter and Jelly Muffins

…without peanut butter.  Obviously.  Fair warning: I think these are great when made with sunflower seed butter, but they’ll be green.  No joke.  Chemistry wins again.  So I just used chunky almond butter.

IMG_2847

I used my Roasted Strawberry Jam in these but any Paleo-friendly (or not…I won’t tell) jelly or jam is fine!

5.0 from 3 reviews

Peanut Butter and Jelly Muffins
Author: 
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 12
 
Ingredients
  • ½ c coconut flour
  • 6 eggs
  • ½ c applesauce
  • ½ c almond butter (or any nut butter…or coconut butter for nut free)
  • 1 t baking soda
  • 1 t vanilla
  • pinch salt
  • About ½ c or so of jelly or jam
Instructions
  1. Combine all your dry ingredients.
  2. Beat the eggs with the cashew butter and vanilla. Stir in the applesauce.
  3. Add the dry ingredients to the wet and stir to combine.
  4. Spoon into your lined cupcake tins to about ½ full.
  5. use a spoon to make a little well in the batter and place a teaspoon or two of jelly inside. Top with a little more batter, ensuring that no jelly peeks out.
  6. Bake at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes, until the muffins are lightly browned on top.
  7. Makes 1 dozen muffins.

 

No-Bake Goat Cheese Cheesecake Cups

You need to understand something…I have a sociopathic love for goat cheese.  And for cheesecake.  So 1 + 1 = delicious creamy richness beyond belief.

IMG_2799

Thank you, How Sweet Eats, for inspiring me once again.  Forgive my lack of cute little Mason jars.  I’m still working on that one.

No-Bake Goat Cheese Cheesecake Cups
Prep time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4
 
Ingredients
  • 8 oz chevre, softened to room temperature
  • 8 oz cream cheese, softened to room temperature
  • ⅔ c sweetened condensed milk
  • ¼ c heavy whipping cream
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • ¼ t almond extract
  • 1 cup fresh raspberries
Instructions
  1. To make the compote, place the raspberries in a microwave-safe dish and nuke for 1 minute, then mash them up with a big spoon or fork. Chill in the fridge till it’s needed.
  2. In a stand mixer or in a large bowl, cream the cream cheese and goat cheese together and slowly add the condensed milk until well combined and no lumps remain.
  3. Stir in the whipping cream, lemon zest, and almond extract.
  4. Again using an electric mixer, beat till well combined.
  5. Spoon the cheesecake into 4 cups, glasses, or ramekins and chill for about 3 hours, or until firm.
  6. Top with raspberry compote.

 

Easy Butternut Squash Risotto

Risotto is seriously intimidating to make.  I mean, c’mon…how many competitors on Chopped get destrominated because they try and fail…miserably…to make risotto.  But I love it enough that I took the plunge and gave it a shot.

So, listen, I’m here to tell you it isn’t that bad…this was such a nice winter meal that was definitely do-able…on a weeknight, no less.  Just takes a little extra TLC.  It’s one of those dished that requires your full attention whilst cooking–so I’d recommend you have everything ready to go before you start–veggies chopped, broth hot, wine glass filled…

IMG_2796

Oh, and for all the radicals out there, yes, I am fully aware that this recipe has dairy and–*gasp*!–rice.  Maybe those aren’t part of your Paleo, but they’re sure as hell part of mine.  I eat rice.  And cheese (sometimes).  Deal with it.

For everyone else…enjoy!  There is also a couple of substitutions to make if you want to keep this bad boy dairy free.

Easy Butternut Squash Risotto
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4
 
Ingredients
  • 1½ c arborio rice
  • 5 c chicken stock
  • ¼ c butter**, divided in half
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 portobello mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 c diced butternut squash
  • 1 t sage
  • 1 t thyme
  • 1 c shredded Parmesan cheese**
Instructions
  1. To make the squash easier to work with, place the cubes into the food processor and pulse 3 or 4 times to get them nice and fine.
  2. Heat the stock in a saucepan to a light simmer. Have a ladle handy.
  3. On a burner next to the saucepan of stock, heat a heavy skillet over medium high heat. Add half the butter.
  4. Sautee the onion, squash, garlic, mushrooms, squash, sage, and thyme for about 5 or 6 minutes, or until the onions are transluscent.
  5. Add the other half of the butter and the rice.
  6. Stir the rice and the veggies to coat for a couple of minutes and add enough stock to just cover it.
  7. Continue to stir and as the rice absorbs the liquid, add another ladle-full of stock.
  8. Repeat this process for about 20 minutes, or until all of the liquid is absorbed and the rice is tender.
  9. Stir in the Parmesan.
  10. Serve as a side or as the main event.

**To keep this recipe dairy free, simply omit the cheese and use coconut oil in place of butter.  Add a little coconut milk to create a creamy texture.

An Oldie but Goodie…Because it’s December and I LoveLoveLove Eggnog…

**This is a re-post from last winter…I probably made a dozen batches of these as gifts and, well…for myself.  I made a few tweaks since it went up last year and it’s already making an appearance for this holiday season so I’m sharing again!**

eggnog cupcake

As I was a-stalking the interwebz last year I found this recipe.  Couldn’t not do it.  Just couldn’t.  I love eggnog.  I love chocolate.  I LOVE that it’s required on pain of death to keep my house full of baked goods during the whole month of December.

IMG_1908

So, um…eggnog isn’t Paleo!  Oh, wait…I HIGHLY recommend this Paleo eggnog recipe from Health-Bent.  (I like maple syrup instead of sugar for this one).  It’s totally bonkers, you guys.  Even if you’re too lazy to bake it into anything, just do it because eggnog is awesome.  I also found some great organic nog at Safeway that’s Primal-friendly (it’s got heavy cream in it), so all hope isn’t lost if you don’t feel like making your own, either.  If you’re like a certain husband of mine (*cough*) who doesn’t like eggnog for some godawful reason…just…just get out.  Now.

Eggnog Chocolate Chip Cupcakes
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 12
 
Ingredients
  • ½ c Coconut Flour
  • 5 Eggs
  • 2 Egg Whites
  • ½ c Cashew Butter (or coconut oil for nut free)
  • ½ t Salt
  • ½ t Baking Soda
  • ½ t Gluten Free Baking Powder
  • ⅓ c Maple Syrup
  • ¾ c Egg Nog
  • ¼ t Vanilla
  • ½ t Nutmeg
  • 1 c Chocolate Chips
  • **Vanilla Frosting**
  • 1 c Palm Shortening *or* coconut oil
  • 2 T Heavy Whipping Cream *or* Canned Coconut Milk
  • 1 t Vanilla
  • 2 T Maple Syrup
Instructions
  1. Whisk together the dry ingredients.
  2. Beat the eggs, whites, egg nog, butter, vanilla, and maple syrup. By ½ cup-fulls, add the dry mixture and whisk until smooth. Fold in the chocolate chips.
  3. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Fill lined muffin tins ½ full with batter. Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until a toothpick.
  4. If you want to do a loaf instead, bake in a loaf pan, same temp, for 50-55 mins.
  5. For the frosting, beat all the ingredients till light and fluffy!

 

Japanese Sweet Potato Pie

You can also call it “Satsumaimo Pie” if you want to sound cultured or something.

photo 1

So I had my appendix out on Monday and that kinda ruined my week off.  There’s only so much time you can spend on the couch high on Percocet and creeping through the bowels of Netflix before you start getting a little stir crazy.  Then you try to get up and remember why that was not a good idea.  I seriously look like I got gutted like a trout.  Moving on.

I was and still am, however, determined to make it to Thanksgiving tonight since it’s the first year I’ve lives where my family does in…a long time.  My aunt asked me to bring a dessert, so yesterday I made this pie.  Nothing crazy but I thought the Japanese sweet potatoes (aka Birthday Cake potatoes) would be a fun twist on my favorite pie ever and something a little more creative than plain old pumpkin pie).

After I was done, I slept for 4 1/2 hours.  Clearly still feeling amazing.  Then I ate some pie.  Felt better.  Went back to sleep.  It was a good day.

photo 2

*If you can’t find Japanese sweet potatoes, regular orange ones are fine.

*For 100% dairy free, full-fat coconut milk can sub for the cream.

*I like this crust recipe, but some other options are this and this.

Japanese Sweet Potato Pie
Author: 
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 8
 
Ingredients
  • 2 medium sweet potatoes, bakedor boiled until soft, skins removed
  • ¾ c maple syrup
  • ¾ c heavy whipping cream
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 t vanilla
  • 1 t pumpkin pie spice
  • ½ t salt
  • 2 T dark rum
Instructions
  1. Mash up the sweet potatoes in a large mixing bowl.
  2. Add the remaining ingredients, one at a time, beating with an electric mixer in between additions ensuring mixture is smooth.
  3. When all ingredients are added, beat the whole thing on medium for 2 minutes.
  4. Pour into an unbaked pie shell (see recipe options above).
  5. Bake at 400 degrees for 45 minutes.
  6. Cool completely. Top with whipped cream.