Thursday, May 26, 2011

Paleo Breakfast Pizza

I know I've mentioned my interest in following a paleo/primal lifestyle on this blog before. It's still an idea that frequently visits my mind. And occasionally I'll pick up and peruse my copy of The Primal Blueprint, which resides in the magazine pile in our bathroom. Mostly I've been too busy to try and change things up lately.

The other day, however, I stumbled across this great blog, and it renewed my interest in paleo/primal eating. The following evening, as I was driving home from a long day at work, doing a mental inventory of edible food in my fridge/pantry, I remembered I had all the ingredients to whip up this quick and easy breakfast pizza. I may have driven a little bit faster in my desire to give this recipe a try.

My version turned out really well! I overcooked my "crust" a bit, I think, but it was still delicious. I would also suggest adding bacon or ham, to give the pizza another dimension of flavor. I think this meal was a bit confusing to my taste buds, as I couldn't decide if it was more "breakfast-y" or more "pizza-ish." In my opinion, bacon would have married the two nicely, as it is a flavor that compliments both dishes.

This is definitely going to be a repeat recipe in my book.

Paleo Breakfast Pizza
Adapted from this recipe

8 eggs, whisked
1/2 tsp (ish) garlic powder
1/2 tsp onion powder
1 tbsp dried basil
A few shakes salt and pepper
1-2 tbsp olive oil
1/2 c marinara/pizza sauce
1/2 lb Italian ground sausage (I used basil chicken sausage)
add BACON here. Lots and lots of bacon!
2 medium tomatoes, sliced
1 c sliced black olives
2+ tbsp nutritional yeast or nooch-eez
Other toppings of your choice

Heat olive oil over medium high heat in a large skillet (my pan is cheap and sucks, so I coated it with pan spray, and added a little less oil).

Combine eggs and seasonings, mixing well. Pour mixture into skillet, cover, and turn heat down to medium. Cook for about 3 minutes. Eggs will be firm on the bottom. Do not stir!

After 3 minutes, remove the lid, and transfer the skillet to the oven. Turn on the broiler, and let broil for about 3 minutes, until the top firms up.

Remove from the oven, and spread the pizza sauce over the surface. Pile on the rest of the toppings, and sprinkle on the nooch.

Return pan to the oven, and broil for an additional 5 minutes.

Slice and serve immediately.

Note: Be sure and use an oven-safe skillet. I don't think mine was. The handle swelled a bit, and it started to smell a little funny in the kitchen.

Also, I don't know how many servings this makes, but I managed to eat half of it in one sitting. Oops ;)

I've shared this recipe over at Simply Sugar & Gluten Free, The Gluten Free Homemaker, and The WHOLE Gang. Check out some great carnivals, filled with amazing recipes!

Nooch-eez (Parmesan cheese sub)


Or as Gena calls it, Hemp-esan (but I couldn't remember what she termed it, when I was explaining it to a friend, so I came up with the name Nooch-eez). Whatever the name you call it, this high-protein, dairy free recipe totally rocks!

It's one of the easiest "recipes" I've ever made, and it's been one of the top 3 staples in my kitchen of late. I smother bread with it (pre-toasting) to enjoy with eggs for breakfast, I sprinkle it on my salads, soups and even pizza. I'm even considering shaking up my traditional kale chip recipe by adding some of this goodness before baking.

How do I make this, you ask? Well, I'll tell you...brace yourself. It's so simple!

Measure into your blender/food processor/coffee grinder (maybe?) equal amounts of nutritional yeast and shelled hemp seeds. I usually do 2-3 Tbsp at a time. I also like to add a splash of garlic powder and a pinch of salt. Then just blend away!

And there you have it.

To enjoy it on toast, simply spritz or drizzle your bread with some olive oil, then apply liberal pinches of the nooch-eez. Toast to desired crispiness in a toaster oven. It will sizzle and brown, but it is still very loose atop the bread, so handle with care.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Fudge Babies/Brownie Bites

These are amazing! Hard to believe that something that tastes so good is so full of healthful ingredients! But they are.

So you shouldn't feel guilty.

Even after you consume half a batch.

In half an hour.

Especially when you were going to take these to work to share.

You can always make another batch.

Better make it a double...

I came across this recipe on Elana's site, and knew I had to try it. Dates + nuts + chocolate = win in my book! I tried her recipe, but subbed half the walnuts for cashews. I loved them! But I thought I'd made them wrong. They were so crumbly. So I ended up adding a tbsp of almond butter. Still delish! I ended up eating most of the batch with a spoon.

Then I made Katie's recipe, from where these delectable bites originate. Even with a higher date to nut ratio, they were still crumbly. I thought it was supposed to resemble fudge, something thick, pasty. I even added extra dates. Didn't make a difference.

Then I figured, this is probably how the recipe is supposed to be. These ones held together better when I played with the mixture. So, when you make them, yes, this is supposed to be crumbly, you didn't do anything wrong!

I am not a huge walnut fan. Don't love the flavor much. But I try and eat them, because they're pretty healthy. I've found a nice trick for eating them plain - if you soak them in water for half an hour or so, some of the bitter taste leaves them.

I was pleased to discover in this recipe that the walnuts did not overpower the taste. Honestly, I could hardly taste them!

I forced my husband to try a bite, even after making the mistake of telling him what was in it first (dates!). He said it tasted a lot like a brownie. I concur!

Fudge Babies/Brownie Bites
adapted from recipe @ Chocolate Covered Kate

1/2 c walnuts
1/2 c cashews
1 1/3 c dates - I used a mix of Medjool and regular ol' dates
1 tsp vanilla extract
4 tbsp cacao/cocoa powder (my favorite blend has been 2 tbsp cacao, and 2 tbsp dark cocoa)
dash of salt

Blend all ingredients in a food processor until finely chopped.
The mixture will look like a good potting soil - crumbly and dirtish. Pinch a bit between your fingers, to make sure it's sticky enough to hold. If not, you can add more dates, or some nut butter.
Mine ended up having lighter bits in it (from the cashews I think), where Katie and Elana's bites look darker. No complaints here :)
Pour the mixture into a bowl. With your hands (or if you're weird like me, with ziploc-covered hands), form the mix into bite-sized balls.
Try not to consume all at once. Unless you're really hungry.

I'm looking forward to taking these along with me as yummy traveling/hiking snacks.

Check out Katie's Fudge Babies FAQ's and tips. I can't wait to try more variations!

Wednesday, May 04, 2011

What have you been eating lately?

I don't know if anyone really even cares...but I'm gonna share anyway :)

I know a lot of people go through phases of eating patterns. Some of it has to do with the seasons (soups in winter, salads in summer), some has to do with what's available at the store/in the garden. Some of it has to do with what's easy, fast, and/or good.

Even though I haven't been posting a lot of recipes, obviously I have been eating over the past few months. So I thought I'd share a bit of what's been entertaining my dinner plate lately.

I've been trying to eat a lot more fresh foods, ie, veggies. I've been planning a lot more meals around what leafy goodness will be highlighting the meal. It's been a challenge at times, but a lot of fun too. Makes my husband laugh when I come home and make a plateful of kale chips...but have no other ideas of what I'm going to eat for dinner.

Green smoothies have been more prevalent in my daily routine. I'm a big breakfast person, and need lots of fuel to get through the mornings, especially after hitting up the therapy. Most days I'll eat eggs and muffins, or toast w/ hazelnut butter awesomeness.

New love affair.

And yes, I have been known to sneak spoonfuls of this stuff. You might be surprised at the number of spoons lounging around my house right now. Unless you'd tried this butter. Then you'd understand.

After eating breakfast, I'll cram some berries/banana/orange/apple/avocado, almond milk, spinach and chia seeds into my Vita-Mix, liquefy, and pour it all into my favorite starbucks cup, just in time to dash out the door.

On the weekends, I've also indulged in smoothie experiments, such as the chocolate-almond smoothie (easy on the banana, add a handful or two of spinach). I have even got the hubs to drink a couple dreaded green smoothies (added some peanut butter to his). I'm trying to see just how much green stuff I can cram into a smoothie without making it taste like a salad :)

I've been experimenting lately with this great new sugar substitute: Stevia! Look at this fantastic haul that I won from Iris over at The Daily Dietribe!

I'm totally digging the vanilla liquid stevia! It's amazing in chia seed pudding! Which is something else I've been eating a lot of lately. Chia seeds. I love 'em! In smoothies, in puddings, added to hot cereal. More to come on chia seeds...

This chocolate chia pudding recipe has been a staple for me lately. It's soooo good! I was recently given some cacao powder, which I'm enjoying, and have been adding it to this pudding in place of cocoa.

Mayan superfood! Yay!

I also love making the chia seed pudding cacao-free, and adding extra vanilla. Topped with some buckwheaties and berries - trust me, it's the perfect afternoon delight!

Also been eating my favorite staples: avocados, kale (new favorite: kale salad - shred up some kale, drizzle with EVOO, sprinkle w/ S&P, then "massage" everything into the kale for a couple minutes), my favorite GF bread, quinoa, and sweet potatoes.

So, that's about it. I'd love to hear what everyone else is eating!

Update on me (blah blah) & awesome nut butter cups

Again, apologies, as I've been terrible at keeping up the blog these days.

I've been stuck in a rut the last few months. The other day, I asked my husband if 2011 was almost over? I know...we've just barely entered the fifth month, but my attitude lately has been to put my head down, and hopefully just get through another day. It's been a dramatic year thus far, with crazy stuff happening at work, with pain that won't go away, with awkward social obligations (ie, why is everyone freaking getting married right now? Don't they know how much I detest weddings?!?! All the awful reminders of how even the best marriages can start with one of the worst days of your life...). Ahem, enough ranting ;)

I'm a habitual person. I have routines, and I like them. Get dressed, take pills, make breakfast, make lunch, go to work, be productive and happy, come home, make dinner, unwind, sleep. This whole chronic pain and physical therapy thing has thrown a seriously annoying wrench in my routine. I'm getting up earlier, getting to work later, therefore having to stay later, which then means later dinners, and less veg time. Not to mention my usual spring routine of procrastinating...ahem, I mean...getting back into shape for hiking season. Um, yeah, haven't set foot in the gym since January.

I'm also a person who enjoys her creature comforts. My comforts lately have been reading (so many great books, so little time!) and sweets. I don't normally eat a lot of sugar, as it bothers me in more ways than one. Plus my husband has insisted on removing as much sugar from our diets as possible after reading this article (skittles and voltage being the two exceptions). Anyway, so I've been feeling sorry for myself more than usual lately, and have indulged in numerous attempts to drown my sorrows in something rich and chocolaty. Which is especially not smart for someone who has stopped working out over the last 6 months.

This treat, however indulgent it might be, didn't make me feel as bad as a bowl of ice cream or a snickers bar...I was able to justify enjoying it, thanks to the use of dark chocolate and super 'licious almond butter. Plus, my tummy is happier with this than the cheap milk-chocolate store bought variety.

It really isn't as much work as it may seem. Mostly you just have to find something to do until it's ready to eat, otherwise you'll eat half melted candy, which will still be amazing, but I think this treat is best served straight from the freezer!

The original recipe comes from Kelly over at @ The Spunky Coconut. I wanted to post this in time for those of you looking for Easter candy options, but that didn't exactly pan out. Hey, maybe you can make Mom a treat this weekend. Or, just forget the margaritas tomorrow, and celebrate with chocolate instead! Better yet, have margaritas AND chocolate! Ole!

So, to make this divine dessert, you start with the fudge recipe here, and once that's made, you simply fill a dozen cups that have been lined with melted-then-slightly-frozen chocolate. Kelly got all fancy and made frosting for the top, but I just drizzled some additional melted chocolate on mine. The taste testers (the hubs, and the crew at work) loved them! My husband claimed they tasted just as good as "the real ones," which he insisted was an incredible compliment. I personally thought they were even better!

I'm not posting the recipes, since I am feeling rather lazy this evening. Plus, Kelly does a better job explaining the process of creating these masterpieces. I did, however, make a couple of changes to the fudge, which I will mention:

Her recipe calls for coconut oil. Since that stuff kills my stomach, I subbed it out. Instead I used about 50% Spectrum palm shortening and 50% canola oil. Actually, I made two batches, and this was the variation I liked best. I tried using all canola oil, which one of Kelly's readers suggested, and the fudge was just too melty. It may not have mattered in the chocolate cups, but for just plain eating out of the freezer, it was too messy.

I also used what nut butters I had on hand. Once I made the fudge with 1/2 c each creamy peanut butter and almond butter, and the second time, I used 1 full cup almond butter and 1/2 c peanut. This was to make up for the consistency issue I knew the canola oil would present. I couldn't tell a difference as far as flavor, but I really liked the mix of the two butters. You can probably use whatever you have/like/can tolerate. No doubt it will be scrumptious!

One last change. I used less agave than her recipe called for. Just over 1/3 c. It was still super sugary and delicious.

These really are amazing! So hard to just eat one. Seriously! I ate three within the first hour of making them. The rest barely survived overnight until I was able to share them with my coworkers. Even then, it was a near thing (thought about just eating them all at my desk...but I'd promised an amazing Easter treat for the office party).

So make them. You won't be sorry!

P.S. Want to see the most gorgeous sister-in-law ever? I thought so! Head over here to check out shots of my cute little sissy's senior photo shoot.