Sunday, September 18, 2011

Banana Nut Muffins - Paleo Style!

Funny story: My husband said to me on Tuesday night, "Did you know that it was National Celiac Awareness Day today?" I responded that I was aware, and asked him if he knew that. He said he did now, and I asked how he found out. He said he read it on Failbook, which is a website dedicated to sharing people's failures (it's rather hilarious, but can be crude). His statement cracked me up for some reason. We rely on social media to keep up to date on our friends' birthdays, the news, pretty much everything!

Anyway, things are going pretty well these days. Extremely busy, but it is what it is. Luke's writing up a storm, trying to get applications and essays in to 7 business programs, as well as working full-time and juggling a full load at school. Work is keeping me on my feet as well. I feel like when I'm at home, I do nothing but cook and wash dishes thanks to our paleo lifestyle, but other than that, the diet is going great! Been working out more too, which has been fun! Plus, the sun is back, for the next few days at least, and that makes me happy :)

I wanted to share a recipe that has literally saved me since my husband joined me in this paleo venture. I don't seem to have a hard time finding things to eat...but I really enjoy vegetables. Unlike my husband, whose repertoire of favorable veggies is rather sparse. So, in attempts to keep him fed, and from getting burned out on salads, chicken with (fill in the veggie blank), and bunless burgers, I have tried to find filling, satisfying snacks for him to enjoy. 

This recipe is gold.

We both love banana bread, and I really appreciate that this form of said food can be enjoyed without all the non-paleo ingredients, such as sugar, wheat, etc. It's an easy recipe to make, makes a lot, and the muffins are delicious when warmed with a bit of melted butter on top. 

Paleo Banana Nut Muffins
Adapted from the recipe in "The Gluten Free Almond Flour Cookbook" by Elana Amsterdam

3 c blanched almond flour
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
2 tbsp olive oil
3 large eggs
4-5 very ripe bananas
1 c chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line 12-18 muffin cups with liners.

Put the bananas into a bowl. Using a hand mixer, mash up the bananas. Add the oil and eggs, and blend until the mixture is smooth. Add the flour, salt and soda. Mix well. Add the walnuts, and combine. 

Spoon the batter into the muffin cups. Bake for 35 minutes, or until the muffins are golden brown. Check with a toothpick if desired. Let muffins cool in the pan for about half an hour, then serve.

*Note: The original recipe says that this recipe makes a dozen muffins. I don't know if I just have a small muffin pan, but I've gotten 15-18 muffins every time I've made it. 

These muffins freeze well, and travel well. They are great warm, but are just as good at room temperature. 


Thursday, September 08, 2011

My New Favorite Chicken

Sorry I haven't posted a lot lately. Cooking paleo-style for two is much harder than I'd anticipated. I feel like I'm running the dishwasher every night, and I've made 3 trips to various grocery stores (2x to COSTCO!!) in the last 2 weeks. Sheesh! But, if nothing else, my husband has been well-fed.

I've been trying to come up with delicious and easy recipes that we both enjoy. It's been a challenge, but I'm persistent. Chicken is something that we often tire of, as we eat it frequently, and I usually make it one of two or three boring ways. Well, no more! The funny thing is, I was going to post a different chicken recipe that I found, and liked...but it has been sent to the back burner tonight. I've also got a couple more treat recipes to share soon.

I was a bit skeptical of this recipe at Everyday Paleo at first. Yes, easy and amazing are both words in the title. But I was still apprehensive. Could it really be that easy? Plus, as I've mentioned before, I have this squeamishly irrational fear of bones, skins and tendons in meat. Yes, it's cheaper to buy those cuts. But it's also grosssssss!

However, in the name of all things paleo, I was determined to try this recipe. With my beautiful, new 5 lb organic, free-range bird. I knew I had to do something great with it!

So worth it! And it really is that simple. 3 ingredients. 1 hour. Incredible results! I really did not stop talking about this chicken at dinner. I am pretty sure I ate a whole pound of meat tonight. It was amazing! I'm already planning my next trip to costco, where I can grab two birds at once for a better price! Seriously, this recipe is a must-try!

Easy and Amazing Roast Chicken
(adapted from this recipe at Everyday Paleo)

1 4-5 lb chicken
salt (I am gonna guess and say I used almost a tbsp)
1 tbsp butter, if desired

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Rinse and dry the chicken w/ paper towels. Place, breast down, in a roasting pan (I just used a 9x13 glass baking dish). Sprinkle with salt all over the outside and inside. Smear the butter around the surface of the bird as well. Bake for 1 hour (mine was just right after exactly 1 hour). Chicken is done when the outside is golden and crispy. I didn't even cut into mine to check it. I just pulled it out of the oven, and let it sit for 15 minutes, then carved. It was perfect! Very tender and juicy on the inside.

Also, the drippings were to-die-for! The flavor reminded me of KFC dinners from my childhood. I think it was the butter :) I kept taking a spoon to the baking dish, and drizzling more juice over my chicken. I was literally tempted to get out a

I am planning on saving the bones, and any leftover drippings, and making stock as soon as we've eaten all the meat off the bird. I bet the flavor is going to be delicious!

The oven did get a bit splattered, just for the record. I don't really mind, it was already dirty. But if you care about the inside of your oven, this may be something you want to be aware of prior to making this recipe.

Hope you will try this soon! Let me know how much you love it too!

Friday, September 02, 2011

Wellness Challenge complete! Vote for me!!

As you all know, I have been following the Paleo diet for a month and a half now. There have been plenty of ups and downs, but definitely more ups! A new development in my life is that last Saturday my husband came to me, and said he wanted to try eating Paleo for a month. He's trying to get in shape, and hopefully bulk up a bit. Being so tall and lean, he's struggled w/ this in the past, and thinks changing his diet may help his chances. So, I'm cooking Paleo for two now! Well, more like three, since he eats almost twice as much as me...

At my husband's request, we are also trying a more strict Paleo diet for his first 30 days, meaning organic, grass-fed meats and eggs (and veggies, when available). Whew! That's gonna be pricey! Although I found some killer deals at costco, so I'm a little more excited about this aspect!

We've also been eating a lot of fresh veggies out of our garden, which I think rocks!

Conveniently, around the same time as I started my Paleo journey, Katie over at Wellness Mama decided to issue a 30 day Wellness Challenge, chock full of advice, mini-challenges, and spectacular giveaways. I decided to follow along, and started my own Wellness Journal to track my progress, and keep me motivated through the first month of this diet.

The challenge was so great! I learned a lot of great things, from my own documentation, as well as from the others participating. It was a lot of fun too, to be involved in a community of people all striving for the same goals.

Even better, I was chosen as one of the finalists for the grand prize! You can head over here to read my full story, and if you feel so inclined, you can VOTE for me here!

We're headed camping tomorrow, but when I get back, I plan on doing some serious catching up on the blog. I have so many fantastic recipes to post! The one I'll be dreaming about tonight (and hopefully photographing before consuming tomorrow) is Primal Breakfast Burritos!!

Now I'm off to make some banana bread muffins.

Have a safe and enjoyable holiday weekend!