Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Primal Chocolate Macadamia Bark

   So this is going to be a quick and dirty (man i've always wanted to say that, but never had the courage). This is a complete rip off from here is the link to the recipe I guess I was thinking that I may get some viewers from my Facebook (friends and family) that may not frequent his site, so may have missed this recipe.I think I will link a bunch back to some of his blogs today, so that it gives readers a chance to see what he is saying (he's much better at this than me). And I made it last night, so I thought i'd take a picture. So here we go.

  • Dark Chocolate (the darker the better). MDA's post on chocolate here & here.
  • Macadamia nuts (here's a post on Omega 6 and nuts)
  • Sea Salt (Does salt increase blood pressure?)
So if you haven't already just decided to head over to MDA and use his recipe, I'll give you a few quick instructions.

  • Take the dark chocolate and break it up, heat it up in a bowl in the microwave in increments. I heated up about 1/4 at a time for about 45 seconds then stirred, then added more. I added the last 1/4 to the bowl and let the other chocolate melt it.
  • Break or cut the nuts into smaller pieces. A knife was surprisingly effective for this.
  • Coat a small dish with parchment paper.
  • Mix the nuts and chocolate together and pour into the small dish.
  • Sprinkle with sea salt.
  • Put into the refrigerator for 10 min (MDA says 10; however, mine took much longer than that, and I actually put it in the freezer for about 5 minutes at the end because it felt too soft still, so test this one out). 
So there you have it, a quick recipe that is simple, does not have a lot of added sugar, and feels like something you'd pay a lot of money for. 

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Easy Paleo/Primal Apple Chips

 Here's a quick and easy snack recipe that will satisfy your cravings and also provide you with a huge boost in energy (as long as you don't eat too many (sugar crash)). It is interesting that caveman probably did not consume an apple a day, but of course they did not have doctors either so they didn't need to worry about keeping them away.They did probably eat fruit whenever they found it, so it would definitely be in season, and it wouldn't have been shipped half way across the country. Anyway, fruit does contain sugars and so they will affect your body in the same way, so don't eat too many. 

  • Apples
  • Cinnamon 

  • Preheat oven to 200 degrees
  • Cut out core of the apple (if you have a decorer (sp?) awesome, if not, I just tried my best to get as close to the core as possible when cutting.
  • Take the pieces and use the mandolin to slice them really thin.
  • Place apple slices on a cookie sheet that has been lined with parchment paper. 
  • Sprinkle cinnamon on the slices.
  • Bake for 1 hour.
  • Take the slices out, flip over, re-cinnamon and place back in the oven for 1 more hour.
  • After the hour is up take them out and enjoy!
These are definitely much cheaper than buying a bag of apple chips at the store. They also do not contain any harmful ingredients that those other chips will normally have (weird oils, additives, and extra sugar). 

Friday, December 9, 2011

Primal Fettucinne Alfredo

  So here is another recipe that does not make the paleo list. I am hoping to be doing some more traditional paleo meals next week. My wife is quite a fan of dairy, but it's not the best on my system. A lot of times I acquiesce to her demands for the white stuff, and that is why every recipe so far has had dairy. I like Mark's Daily Apple post on dairy. So check it out if you are interested. That being said, I think I'd like to cut it out for the most part, so you can hope to start seeing less dairy recipes and ones that really fit into a complete primal/paleo diet. 

Also a quick note, for some reason Blogger is not allowing me to edit text placement and has made everything Center alignment, which is driving me crazy as I type, but I'm tired of messing with it (If it ends up not being center aligned assume I fixed it, and forget this last sentence). But I digress.....

  • 5 small zucchini (smaller are better because they usually have less seeds and make better "noodles" for this recipe you want 16oz of "noodles" and it took me 5 of these zucchini for this)
  • 1/2 cup of melted butter
  • 1/2 cup of grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup of half & half
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. pepper
  • First of all this dish is soooooo simple, so do not be intimidated by the fancy italian name. My mother-in-law told us that it was super easy, but I thought she was just being modest. It truly is a very quick meal (I know this isn't a direction, but more of a bit of encouragement).
  • So the most intense part is cutting the zucchini, and I think it is fun. I use a mandolin to slice it very thin, which gives you stacks of zucchini like the one to the right here.If you do not have a mandolin this will probably be much more difficult, so get one, they aren't expensive and they are crucial for making primal noodles. I know people use a julienne peeler, but I don't have one yet, and also I think that would make the noodles (I'm going to refer to the zucchini as "noodles" from now on) to small and not like fettucinne. 
  • Once noodles are sliced put them in stacks and cut them down the middle with a knife (when making other types of "pasta" I will often cut them two or three times, but I wanted these to be nice and wide so once did the trick, if they are larger zucchini then you may cut twice). 
  • Next put the sliced noodles in a wok or heated pan with some butter. I'd put all of the noodles in at one time and stir occasionally to make sure that they all get cooked equally.
  • Once the noodles are cooking add in all the other ingredients into a pan and heat at medium heat. 
  • Getting the noodles to the right cooking point is important so I would test a few of them. You want them to be cooked, but you also don't want them to be so soft that they start to fall apart, so a few taste tests along the way can help.
  • Once the noodles are cooked add them to the pan of sauce and toss lightly. Then plate. Then devour. Feel free to add more salt, pepper, and parmesan if you'd like. 

Surprisingly, it does not cost very much to make such an elegantly named dish. I want to break down the costs for this one as well, so we can see how cheap it is to eat primal. This dish served Alison and I. We ate it with a side salad. I am guessing if you had another side, that it could have fed 3 to 4 people. So assuming you have the butter, salt, and pepper. 
Cost of Meal (price of item= price of how much used)
  • Zucchini: 1.99lb= 1.99
  • Parmesan Cheese: 2.99 for can= 50 cents
  • Half & Half= 85 cents= about 40 cents (of course I think heavy whipping cream would make this better, so go for that even though it might be more expensive. Also this half & half was a manager's special, so we were cheap, cheap here).

This brings our grand total to (drum roll) $2.89 for all the Fettucinne Alfredo or $1.45 per plate. Now I know that being primal is about getting the freshest and best ingredients, and we obviously did not get those and use them here. What we did do is avoid grains, got some good fat, and some good fiber. If you want recipes that are very expensive to make, then I probably am not going to be able to help you out. I am poor college student, but I do want to eat better. Some day you may see recipes that have lamb kebabs, and spices that I can't even think of right now, but for now these recipes are going to be cheap, but hopefully somewhat better than McDonald's. 

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Primal Spaghetti Bake

Here is an interesting recipe I came up with. No I don't actually believe I'm the first person to make a spaghetti squash bake. In fact, there are many recipes for bakes on the Internet. I think that my bake has a pretty interesting twist.It sort of reminds you of lasagna, and I think adding ricotta cheese, would make it be even more lasagna like, so feel free to expirment.

Boring aside:
I am in the counseling profession, so I read about mental illness and nutrition, and things like that. If you want to read about this topic from someone that knows much more than I do, and who is also a very fun blogger to read, check out Dr. Emily Deans blog Evolutionary Psychiatry . Some days when I feel like I'm smart i'll go over and check that page out, and then not feel so smart. 
 So if you have gone paleo or primal or even archevore and have not found spaghetti squash yet, you need to! This stuff is amazing, and it pretty much substitutes for the pasta of the same name. I also have found a really easy way of preparing it that takes no time at all. 


  • Spaghetti Squash (pick the size depending on how much you want, but a little goes a long way with this squash)
  • 1 16oz can of diced tomatoes (or if it's in season and you can get some some diced fresh tomatoes)
  • 1 cup of sour cream
  • As much cheese as your body can handle (we used cheddar)
  • 1 medium sized yellow onion
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • A handful of mushrooms
  • A bunch of spinach
  • Basil
  • Oregano
  • If you feel like it you can use some meat (we have used chicken once, but really want to try to use some ground beef and have not gotten around to it). 

  • Prepare the spaghetti squash. You want to take the squash and slice it down the middle horizontally (I think this is right, you want to make two long halves and not two thick halves). You then want to scrape out all of the seeds and stringy stuff (stringy stuff is a technical term). It basically is like cleaning out a small pumpkin. Once you empty it take a microwavable dish (we use a pie dish) put both halves in the dish facing up, put about 1 cup of water in the pan, and cover with plastic wrap. Put this in the microwave for 10 to 15 minutes, depending on your power. We put ours in for 12 minutes. Once this is done, take it out of the microwave and let it cool. 
  • While squash is in microwave, if you are preparing meat, start to brown the meat, once browned drain out excess liquid, add in tomatoes, mushrooms, onions, and minced garlic. Allow this to cook on medium to medium high heat, adding as much basil and oregano as you'd like. This can cook for 10 minutes or so, making sure the heat is high enough to burn off most of the liquid. If there is still a lot of liquid in the pan, drain some of this out. 
  • Take one half of the spaghetti squash and fork it out into a bowl. I did mean fork, the best way to get the spaghetti squash to be like spaghetti is to take a fork to the inside of it and lightly push down on it. It's kind of hard to explain but you'll see it's not really that difficult. So once this is in a bowl, add the sour cream and mix well. This is going to be your first layer. Take a large baking pan and put this mixture down, being sure to spread it out evenly. 
  • Next spread out the spinach on top of this layer creating a layer of spinach as much or as little as you'd like. 
  • Next take the other half of the spaghetti squash, fork it into a bowl, and add the sauce and meat mixture. Put this in as your next layer.
  • Now sprinkle as much cheese as you'd like for your last layer. 
  • You can now instantly bake this for 40 min at 375, or you can allow the mixture to sit in the refrigerator for an hour or more before baking. For some reason the flavors seemed to mix better once they were able to sit. 
This recipe allowed for a large casserole type meal that Alison and I ate for dinner two nights and Alison ate once for lunch. It probably could have been stretched further if we prepared side dishes, but we thought this pretty much covered all of our needs. Assuming that you spread this dish out, and that you use all of the extra ingredients (sour cream, spinach, onions, garlic) for other dishes, this can easily be made for around 10 dollars. So if we divide 10 dollars by 5 (how many meals it actually made). This is a 2 dollar meal! Primal and cheap? It is possible!

Easy Primal Apple Cinnamon Muffins

  As my wife and I try to find our place cooking like our ancestors, it may be important to talk for a  minute about what this means. There have been hundreds of blog posts on the topic of evolutionary biology and nutrition and what this means for us, so I won't even attempt to try to summarize all of that work, after all, this is a blog about recipes right???? Instead i'll give a few interesting links that give a glimpse into the stuff that I'm reading on a daily basis, and that is helping shape my mind. And don't worry it will be short and sweet, much like those delicious looking muffins on your left. So here it is: Humans ate one way for a very long time, and then recently changed. This has been bad.

 For me this is the site, that started it all. Mark Sisson, posts a blog nearly every day and millions of people visit this website to learn about nutrition and health. Mark is the author of The Primal Blueprint, and it is from his lifestyle that I get the name "Primal" (of course he did not make this name up, but when you are distinguishing between ancestral diets "primal" refers to this one)

 I think i'll hold off on other blogs and books for now, because I'm afraid I'm starting to get boring, but maybe i'll throw something in each post about another blog that would be good to visit. Okay so here we go.

I should also note, that I pretty much just made up this recipe on the spot, with what we had in the fridge and pantry because Alison was hungry and wanted something "non-primal" like. So that usually means some type of baked good.

  • 1 Apple (I think that you can choose whichever kind you like best)
  • Cinnamon (if you haven't noticed yet, some ingredients I use           without measurement, cinnamon is one of those ingredients)
  • 1 tbsp of butter
  • 1 cup of coconut flour
  • 1 cup of half & half
  • 1/3 cup of full fat sour cream
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tsp of vanilla extract
  • 2 tsp of baking powder
  • Honey (this is going to depend on how sweet you want it, I try to avoid making things too sweet so probably used about 2 to 3 tbsp)
  • Preheat oven to 350
  • Chop up apples into small cubes (if you're good, but if you're like me probably just chopping into any shape will work)
  • Put apples, some cinnamon, and butter into a skillet and cook on medium heat, you only need to cook these until you have the other ingredients mixed together
  • In a larger bowl, mix together all other ingredients (it's important to mix the coconut flour with the liquids slowly so that it does not lump, so make sure you whisk vigorously (yes, vigorously)). I also put in more cinnamon at this time, but didn't measure.
  • Once all ingredients are mixed, pour the apple mixture into the bowl and mix together well (The purpose of cooking the apples first is to heighten some of those flavors together and create softer apples to bite into, i'm sure you could probably do it without cooking them, but this is what I wanted to do).
  • Put the ingredients in muffin pans, sprinkle on some more cinnamon, and bake for 30 to 35 minutes (the reason for this discrepancy is that we did just make these for the first time, and last night they were good after 30 minutes, but this morning I wondered if they may have been a little more like muffins if I had left them in a few more minutes. This might have also made them fall apart though and taste really dry since coconut flour has the tendency to do that, so on the safe side go with 32. haha)
So i'm hoping you'll try this recipe out, tweak it; however, you like. I think the more I get into baking this way, it becomes interesting that things start to come together. I would have never guessed to put some of this stuff in, but from other recipes, have just learned a few things that work. I am in no ways a chef, but I like taking pictures and I like cooking. Try it out and let me know what you think!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

A Primal/Paleo Pizza

My wife and I started following a paleo/primal type diet last summer. We have been off and on since then, and have had quite a bit of success. We have recently committed to actually being committed to primal (she wants to wait until after Christmas). One thing we have loved about the switch is all of the cooking. I have started posting a lot of my food photos on instagram, and am now getting the comments of "recipe please." I decided it would be nice to be able to link to a blog with the recipe. I also rarely follow the recipes I find online or in a book because I rarely have all of the items they suggest, so these are usually variations. Plus I would like to throw my hat into the primal/paleo blogger ring. 

So I was on the Atkin's diet with a lot of success during my junior/senior year of high school. My friends and I all loved pizza. We would get a serious meat pizza from Donato's and dig in. Once I switched to Atkin's I stopped eating the crust. For some reason people hated seeing me take the toppings off. It was almost as if they felt bad for the crust, and would become violently angry if the crust was thrown away or wasted. Now that I've gone primal, we've made pizza using eggplants for the bottom, and like it okay, but it doesn't remind me of pizza in the days when grains were okay, it does feel like the Atkin's diet pizza of toppings only though. 

My wife's obsession with Pintrest (let's not even get started on how primal it is to spend hours on an iPad looking at pictures) led us to this recipe for a primal/paleo coconut crust:

Here is her recipe if you don't want to click on the above link, but I would also check out her page for more recipes (I haven't yet, but this is so good that I probably will soon). 

"Coconut Flour Pizza Crust 

3 eggs
1 Cup of Coconut Milk
1/2 Cup Coconut Flour
1/2 tsp Baking Powder
1 tsp Garlic Salt
1 tsp Italian Seasoning

Pre-Heat Oven to 375
Line a 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper and brush one with olive oil. This is a MUST! You can't make this without the parchment paper or you will have a stuck-on mess!
Beat the eggs and coconut milk until well mixed. Slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet until well combined. Pour Batter onto oil-prepped parchment paper and smooth into a round pizza shape. 
Bake for 20 minutes.
Remove from oven and place your second parchment lined cookie sheet on top of the pizza dough. Flip dough onto the new cookie sheet, remove the old parchment and place dough back into the oven for 10 minutes."
So my amendments to the recipe. Last night we tried the recipe again, but only had 2 eggs, so I used the 2 eggs, and it turned out just as good, so unless you are wanting an extra bit of protein you can do two eggs. I also like to melt butter and garlic salt together and then brush it on the crust after flipping the pizza. We also put it back in the oven for five minutes after flipping, and then remove and put on our toppings. We also only have one round cookie sheet, so we carefully flip using the parchment paper. It adds for a bit more excitement in the kitchen. 
I don't want to tell you specifics on toppings, because you can really put anything you want. We did one with pepperoni, mushroom, onion, banana peppers, and spinach, and then a Haiwain style, plus bacon and banana peppers. 
I know some people are hesitant to use tomato paste, but I like it for pizza sauce. I spread it around on the crust and then sprinkle oregano and basil all around it and voila! pizza sauce. I'm sure any sauce you like would work. So I hope this helps, please feel free to ask any questions and check back again as I hope to really start updating more. Enjoy!