Archive for January, 2012

January 30, 2012

Paleo Pumpkin Pecan Muffins

I’m really getting the hang of this paleo baking thing! I should stop posting my recipes and open a paleo bakery! Seriously. I’m that awesome. I especially enjoy making banana-based paleo breads and muffins! So far I’ve made  banana breadbanana berry muffins, and now these PUMPKIN PECAN MUFFINS!

You might recall from the last muffin post that Holly made me a batch of pumpkin muffins as well. I ended up doubling the recipe and then making several changes to create  a denser, heartier muffin with pecans throughout and more pumpkin spice flavor. The original muffins were sweeter, lighter, and had sliced almonds on top. Here is the original list of ingredients plus all the changes I made so that you can follow either recipe.

Paleo Pumpkin Muffins

Ingredients:
1 cup 1 15oz can pure pumpkin puree
1 2 large [over]ripe bananas
1/4 1/2 cup pure almond butter
1/3 1/4 cup raw honey
1 Tbsp pure coconut oil, melted
4 large eggs
zest of 1 lime
1 3/4 2 cups almond flour
[1 cup coconut flour]
1/4 1 tsp freshly ground nutmeg
1/4 1/2 tsp ground allspice
1/8 1/2 tsp ground ginger
1 1/2 3 tsp ground cinnamon
1 1/2 tsp aluminum-free baking powder
1 1/2
 3 tsp baking soda
1/4
 1/2 tsp fine sea salt
Sliced almonds, pumpkin seeds, or unsweetened shaved coconut, for topping.
[1 1/2 cup pecans, coarsely chopped]

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line cupcake pans.
2. In a medium bowl, mash the bananas and then mix in the pumpkin puree, raw honey, and eggs. In a large bowl, combine the almond and coconut flours, spices, baking soda, and sea salt. Stir the wet mix into the dry mix.
3. Fold in the pecans.
4. Fill the cupcake pans using an ice cream scoop
5. Bake for 30 minutes. Makes 20 muffins.

These were super delicious and turned out exactly the way I like my muffins! I like my muffins to be dense yet soft and slightly moist… Something I can eat on the go for breakfast or as a snack and be full. I also like my muffins to have only a hint of sweetness without losing the flavor of the star ingredients. Less added sugar of any kind is more paleo, too. I find that I can stop at one muffin because mine aren’t too sweet. Good luck stopping me from eating a whole batch of anything that’s sweet enough to register as dessert in my mouth!

After making the banana berry and pumpkin muffins, I think I can be the queen of paleo muffins. I’m planning on making the following in the future inspired by my favorite muffins, scones, cupcakes, and ice creams from my non-paleo days!
– Cranberry Orange
– Lemon Poppyseed
– Chai Cardamom
– Strawberry Almond
– Honey Lavender
– Green Tea
– Pineapple Coconut
– Chocolate Hazelnut
– Date Nut
– Cinnamon Raisin
Sooo many possibilities!!! I’m thinking one batch of muffins per week, that should keep me busy! I also see breads, cakes, and more cookies in my future.

Maybe I AM serious about this paleo bakery thing… I’ll take online orders, let me know! 😀

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January 29, 2012

Lox Salad – Better with romaine!

I’ve posted before about my favorite way to eat lox/smoked salmon:

Lox, cucumber, avocado, red onion, and capers!

I’ve always wanted more crunch without adding another flavor and I finally had some romaine lettuce on hand to make it into a real salad. Even better than the original! Lots of crunch without a real flavor and more filling. This is my new favorite salad. As always, I don’t use a dressing.

January 25, 2012

Five Crustless Mini-Quiches

From the top, clockwise:
– bacon, mushrooms, onions
– sun-dried tomato, dried basil, roasted garlic and red pepper
– butternut squash, onions
– shrimp, onions, green onions
– broccoli, zucchini, onion

I only made one of each to see what flavor combo I would like best. They were all pretty good! I especially enjoyed the bacon one and the shrimp one. The butternut squash one was great, but the whole time I was wishing for some chevre goat cheese with it to cut the sweetness of the squash. I’m definitely going to make an almond flour crust next time. Might as well make a scramble or omelette if it’s not going to have a crust! However, mini-quiches are awesome for on-the-go breakfasts. So much better than an egg mcmuffin!

To make the five quiches in cupcake pans (use cupcake foil, not paper), I simply beat 3 eggs with a little splash of water for fluffiness. I poured the eggs into each cup a quarter of the way, added the other ingredients, then poured in more egg until full. I pre-cooked every ingredient except the zucchini and broccoli.

 

 

I have definitely not been paleo this week! 30 day challenge epic fail starting with Utah and now this week. I went to a friend’s work dinner party on Sunday and was surprised to see that most of the food was paleo. Bacon wrapped shrimp, bacon wrapped date, prosciutto wrapped veggies, steak, veggies… But I was also convinced to try the empanadas (I love empanadas! Can I make paleo empanadas?) and that was the beginning of the end. Wait, no… it was the 4 glasses of white wine. I’m such a light-weight now that I was definitely inebriated by the 3rd glass. By the 4th glass, it was time for dessert – two Cold Stone Creamery ice cream cakes. That whole part is a blur to me… a strawberry and chocolate blur where I DEVOURED FOUR LARGE PIECES! Someone must have cut me off, because I am pretty sure I could have eaten more. Of course, this was after the biggest steak I could find and several plates of appetizers! The funny part? At their meeting yesterday, everyone wanted to know how I can eat so much and look the way I do. Here’s my answer: I’m probably adapted to overeating my whole life, low body fat/lots of muscle mass to burn more calories, and my Asian genes. Or I could just be a freak with a bottomless pit for a stomach. It’s probably the latter.

In other news, I have a 5 mile trail race on Saturday! It’s going to be cold and muddy! I’m also really out of shape… I haven’t run since it was at least 60 degrees outside (several months ago). It’s only 5 miles and as long as I’m not last, I think I’ll be happy with my first race ever! I’ve never run a race before because I thought they were always on the road. I refuse to run a lot on pavement, I think it’s horrible for your knees and such. Can’t believe I never looked into trail races before with how much I love trail running! I’m excited! I’ll probably struggle… I actually hope I have a hard time running a measly five miles so that I can finally feel motivated to focus on my fitness again.

January 23, 2012

Paleo Banana Bread Experiment #1

I used to bake a lot of bread. Banana bread, date nut bread, apple bread… Bread baking stopped when I started eating paleo, because I didn’t think paleo bread would be nearly as good! Well after making some great banana berry muffins, I was inspired to make banana bread! I’m having a lot of fun with paleo baking.

I didn’t use a recipe, I made my own based on what I remember about making banana bread. My first attempt was a huge success! The taste and texture are EXACTLY the same as regular banana bread made with wheat flour. It was even better the next day! Dense and not too sweet, just the way I like it!

The dough needs to be packed down into the pan because it’s really dense unlike regular banana bread batter. I think I’ll add an extra banana and cut out the coconut palm sugar for my next experiment. My mom thought it was perfect as is! She’s not paleo, but she has finally jumped on the gluten-free bandwagon.

I only made enough for one mini-loaf! It’s dangerous for me to make a regular sized loaf since I’m prone to eating the whole thing in one sitting.

Ingredients:
1 Mashed overripe banana
1 Tbsp walnut oil (plus a little extra to grease the pan)
1 egg
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
1 Tbsp coconut palm sugar
1/4 cup coconut flour
1/2 cup almond flour
1/8 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 cup walnuts, chopped

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Combine wet ingredients, then add dry ingredients, then fold in the nuts last.
3. Pack into a greased bread pan and bake for ~30 minutes or until it’s golden brown and cracked at the top.

January 23, 2012

Roasted Rack of Lamb with Dijon Mustard

I think eating meat off the bone tastes the best, so of course I loooove lamb rib chops! So tender and flavorful. I don’t like to buy a whole rack of lamb very often, because you can literally see how small the lamb must have been when all the ribs are together like that. I get a split personality when it comes to eating it – vegan and carnivore. Vegan me: “Poor baby animal! So sad!” Carnivore me: “MEAT LOLLIPOP!!! NOMS!” Guess which side wins?? 😀

I like lamb from Australia, New Zealand, or Iceland where the sheep are pretty much exclusively grass-fed. I’ve never seen domestic grass-fed lamb. See there I go feeling bad about eating lamb again, it’s so not local!

Anyway, I’m always looking for new ways to make lamb chops. I usually prefer lamb with a balsamic reduction, but I found a recipe using dijon mustard and decided to try it out, minus the bread crumbs. I personally did not care for the mustard with my lamb. It overpowers the natural flavor of lamb rather than complementing it.

I was also super impatient and pulled the meat from the oven earlier than I should have so I ended up with rare rather than medium-rare. I generally like my red meats on the rare side of medium-rare so it wasn’t that big of a deal.

I only eat brussels sprouts if roasted with a bit of olive oil, sea salt, and black pepper. It is delicious with a soft slightly nutty taste when cooked this way. Not to mention seriously addicting! I can eat a huge bag of brussels sprouts in one sitting.

Ingredients:
1 Frenched rack of lamb
Sea salt and pepper
Olive oil
1 Tbsp Dijon mustard
3 sprigs of fresh thyme
1 sprig of fresh rosemary
2 tsp minced garlic

1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Salt and pepper the rack of lamb.
2. Heat olive oil in a stainless steel frying pan then sear the rack on both sides until brown. Remove from pan. (I use a stainless steel pan so that I don’t need to use a frying pan plus a separate roasting pan.)
3. Remove the leaves from the sprigs and crush. In a small bowl, mix mustard, herbs, and garlic. Spread mixture evenly all over the meat.
4. Put the meat back in the pan and pop it in the oven for 12+ minutes until it cooks to your preference.

I love rosemary, thyme, and garlic with lamb. I think I’ll remake this without the mustard next time, going back to the balsamic reduction!

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January 22, 2012

Paleo Banana Berry Muffins

I’ve actually been meaning to post about these muffins for several months now! Holly, my tunnel coach’s wife, is an incredible baker and she was so sweet (seriously… she’s not even paleo!) to bake me TWO kinds of PALEO MUFFINS on one of my trips to Utah. On this last trip she made paleo brownies for me! I don’t go to Utah for tunnel time, I go for the baked goods… haha! They were all delicious, I think I almost cried eating them they were so good! I actually ate all dozen or so muffins in one day! And I have the recipes to share with all of you! I would absolutely love to spend a day baking with Holly, hope it happens soon!! Check out her food blog, Phemomenon!

Holly used frozen huckleberries and raw honey. Huckleberries are by far my favorite kind of berry, but all I had on hand were fresh blueberries which worked just as well. I would love to bake these with a whole medley of different kinds of berries. I also didn’t have raw honey, but figured I didn’t need to add any extra sugar because I had super overripe bananas. Instead, I made a cinnamon-nutmeg-coconut palm sugar topping to sprinkle on the tops of my muffins for a little extra sugar and spice. Note: That’s why the tops are brown, I didn’t burn my muffins! My muffins weren’t as moist as the ones I had from Holly, maybe because I omitted the honey or because I used fresh instead of frozen berries? But it doesn’t really matter because they were fantastic!

Paleo Banana Berry Muffins
Ingredients:
1 1/3 cup almond flour
1/3 cup coconut flour
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/8 tsp sea salt
1 Tbsp coconut oil
2 large eggs
2 large overripe bananas
2/3 cup berries of your choice, fresh or frozen
2 Tbsp raw honey (optional)

Cinnamon sugar topping (optional):
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4tsp nutmeg
1 Tbsp coconut palm sugar

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. In a large bowl, mash the bananas, add oil and eggs (and honey if you wish).
3. Combine the dry ingredients, then mix into the bowl.
4. Gently fold in the berries. (My batter was more dough than batter.)
5. Fill cupcake/muffin pan lined with cupcake paper. (They don’t rise much, I use an ice cream scoop to fill the cupcake pans.) Sprinkle the tops with cinnamon sugar.
6. Bake for 30-35minutes.

Enjoy! 🙂

In case you were wondering, the other muffins from Holly were pumpkin! I’ll have to make those soon, too!

January 21, 2012

Pan-seared Scallops

I rarely buy and cook my own scallops for some reason, even though I frequently order them at restaurants. I made some really easy pan-seared scallops with a side of steamed broccoli yesterday. So easy and so yummy, I’m definitely buying scallops every time I see fresh wild sea scallops at the store.

Pan-seared Scallops
Ingredients:
– Fresh parsley, finely chopped
– Paprika
– Italian seasonings mix
– Minced garlic
– Lemon juice
– Sea salt
– Fresh, wild sea scallops
– Olive oil

1. Combine the first 6 ingredients in a ziploc bag in proportions depending on the number of scallops and your own preference. (I put like a heaping tsp of garlic, 1 Tbsp of parsley, 1/4tsp paprika, 1/2 tsp italian seasoning, dash of salt, and the juice of one lemon wedge for 6 medium scallops).
2. Add the scallops and shake it up in the ziploc so that everything is evenly covered.
3. Heat olive oil in a frying pan. Add scallops and sear on each side. Make sure they don’t overcook!

January 20, 2012

Lamb meatballs in marinara sauce

Since getting back from Utah on Tuesday morning, I’ve been stuck at home due to all the snow. If it snows more than an inch or two, the greater Seattle area literally shuts down. We even come up with cute names for the phenomenon: snowpocalypse, snowmageddon, etc.

Good thing I stocked up on food the way home from the airport! Today I made my favorite lamb meatballs with some marinara sauce for an extra comfort factor with the cold weather outside.

Lamb Meatballs
Original recipe on foodnetwork.com

Ingredients:
1lb ground lamb
1/4 cup finely chopped scallions
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp coriander
1 tsp allspice
1 tsp sea salt
3 Tbsp almond flour (or 1 Tbsp coconut flour)
1 egg

1. Mix everything with your hands and let all the flavors marinate in the fridge for at least half an hour.
2. Roll into meatballs and cook in a frying pan until all sides are browned.

Marinara Sauce
Don’t remember where I found this recipe since I’ve been making it this way for years.

Ingredients:
2 14.5oz cans stewed tomatoes (check the ingredients or make your own)
1 6oz can tomato paste
2 tsp minced garlic
1/4 cup chopped parsley
Liberal sprinkling of italian seasonings
Salt and pepper to taste
1/2 onion, chopped
1 cup mushrooms, chopped
1 Tbsp olive oil

1. In a large frying pan or a medium sauce pan, cook the onions and mushrooms in olive oil until the onions are transluscent.
2. Meanwhile, add the 6 other ingredients to a blender and briefly blend before pouring into the pan with the onions and mushrooms.
3. Simmer until sauce is nice and hot.

January 19, 2012

Chocolate coconut cookies

I make Coconut cookies more than any other treat because they’re easy to make and yummy! I decided to try adding some cocoa powder to make them chocolate coconut cookies and they were pretty good! Much better than the chocolate cookies I made before with disappointing results.

Chocolate Coconut Cookies

Ingredients:
1 egg
1/4 cup coconut oil
1/3 cup coconut palm sugar
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 cup coconut flour
1/4 cup almond flour
1/4 tsp baking soda
2 Tbsp cocoa powder
2/3 cup unsweetened shredded coconut

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Combine wet ingredients, add dry ingredients, mix into dough. Roll dough into smaller than walnut sized balls, press down half way.  Makes about 12 cookies. I always line my cookie sheets with foil or parchment paper for easy clean up.
3. Bake for ~10 minutes! Make sure they cool before you attempt to remove them from the pan because they fall apart when warm.

January 12, 2012

Cioppino

I’m out of food again, which means I rely on the massive stockpile of seafood in the three freezers at my house. I did a quick ingredients search on allrecipes.com and decided to make cioppino!

Cioppino is one of those classic seafood dishes that I never wanted to try because of all the clams and mussels. Even just the smell of classic cioppino is nauseating to me. I pretty much hate all bivalve mollusks! Clams, mussels, oysters… I’ll eat them, but I’ve never like them. The smell, taste, texture, look, and everything about them isn’t appetizing to me. Except I do love scallops, especially big diver’s scallops.

So my cioppino doesn’t really look like cioppino without all the clam and mussel shells sticking out. I personally think it looks, smells, and tastes a hundred times better without them. I used cod, shrimp, squid, and crabmeat. I would have loved to add scallops, but didn’t have any on hand. Super good! I loved it and had two bowls. I usually don’t like seafood stews!

I used this recipe, reducing the amount and using a few different ingredients. It was otherwise the same so I’ll just list the ingredients I used instead of the whole recipe. I don’t think the water was necessary.

– 1/4 cup clarified butter
– 1/2 onion, chopped
– 1 heaping tsp minced garlic
– 1/2 cup fresh parsley, chopped
– 1 14.5oz can stewed tomatoes (don’t forget to check ingredients)
– 1 cup chicken broth
– 1 bay leaf
– 1 tsp dried basil
– 1/4 tsp dried thyme
– 1/4 tsp oregano
– 1/4 cup water
– 1/3 cup white wine (dry, not sweet)
– 1 cod fillet (I think mine was like 8oz?)
– 12oz large shrimp, peeled and deveined
– 1/3 cup chopped squid/calamari
– 1/2 cup crabmeat (might have been more)