Sunday, April 29, 2012

Thumbprint Cookies

I was up before the rest of the crew this morning and felt like baking. I put some Bacon and Egg Cups in the oven and got to work on some scones. When I had the batter ready to put on the cookie sheet I felt like doing something a little special with them. So I got out the strawberry jam (yeah, it's not paleo, but the only ingredients are strawberries, sugar and pectin; so it's not so bad in small doses.), placed about a table spoon of dough on the sheet, flattened it a little with my thumb (e.g. thumbprint cookies), and put a small dollop of jam in the middle. At this size, I got 15 on each cookie sheet, and the batch made 30 cookies. I baked them at 350 for about 25 minutes until they were golden brown and had firmed up a little.

Well, the last time I made scones, the boy wouldn't touch them even when I said he could put jam and whipped cream on top. Today, after putting a little jam on them before cooking and calling them a cookie, he couldn't get enough of them! And he didn't ask for whipped cream at all. :)

Paleo/Primal Thumbprint Cookies
1/2 C coconut flour
3 C Almond flour
1/2 C melted coconut oil
1/2 t salt
1 t baking soda
2 t cinnamon
1 T vanilla
4 eggs - brought to room temperature
1/4 C honey
1 C coconut milk - room temperature and mixed well
Jam, fruit or other thumbprint topping of choice

Mix coconut flour with melted coconut oil. Let this sit for about 5 minutes so the coconut flour can soak up the oil. Mix all other ingredients into coconut oil/flour mixture making sure that all ingredients are room temperature or your mixture will be very stiff and hard to mix.

Preheat oven to 350F and line a cookie sheet with silpat or parchment paper. Drop tablespoons of dough onto the cookie sheet, flatten a little with your thumb and drop a dollop of jam into the dent on top. Bake for about 25 minutes or until cookies are a little firm and golden. cool completely before removing from pan.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Great Wolf Lodge - Paleo Style

This past week was the kids' spring break, and if that's not exciting enough, Hubby is starting a new job next week! To celebrate all of that and have an early summer vacation we decided to spend a night at Great Wolf Lodge. If you've never heard of this place, it's an indoor water park and cabin-style hotel resort for families. They've even got this really cool adventure game you play with a magic wand that has you running all over the hotel in search of clues to complete your quest. Needless to say, we had a great time!

So, how does one go on a 2 day excursion to Great Wolf Lodge while still eating "real food" and following a paleo exercise regime? Here's how!

1. Play the adventure game: This game had us doing more stair climbing than I've done since I climbed the 1,100+ steps of the Columbia Tower!

2. Play in the water park: More stair climbing! You know those really tall water slides? Well, you've got to get to the top of them somehow. The Wave tank had us jumping waves and fighting currents to stay standing. And playing on all of these fun rides and activities had us all laughing and having a great time.

3. Bring your own food and/or order the right food: Each room has a refrigerator and microwave, so it's easy to bring your own "real food" to eat while you're away. We brought some boiled eggs, trail mix and fresh fruit. And if you choose to buy food there, all of the restaurants had great options for us Paleo folk. For breakfast, we had the breakfast bar that contained a large omelet station as well as a selection of breakfast meats, veggies and fruits. Of course they had a huge carb station as well, but that was easy to avoid. For Lunch I had a lettuce wrapped burger with sweet potato fries! I'm pretty sure that the beef wasn't grass-fed and the fries were probably fried in vegetable oil, but it was way better than eating a bagel!

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Starting Up the Veggie Garden

Well, it's that time again! Time to get out in the garden and get to work making it habitable for my little veggie starts. Last winter I planted some spinach and broccoli seeds in the greenhouse. The didn't do much then other than sprout, but I've been watching them all winter, knowing that once it got a little warmer they'd start growing again. I also rescued some chard that was growing in the garden before the chickens were let into it to eat all of my weeds. These warm spring days we've had lately are making it a little hot in there on these cool weather starts. So last week, I put the pots containing my overwintered spinach, broccoli and chard into the garden to cool off a bit. I went out the next morning only to see that a @$#$%^ Rooster had eaten every single one of my broccoli starts. We almost had Broccoli stuffed rooster for dinner that night. But luckily on our yearly trip to the Tulip Festival we stopped by Sno Goose Produce for an ice cream cone as big as your head. While there, I picked up a few more broccoli starts to repopulate the garden. If that dang rooster makes a buffet out of my garden again, he's going on holiday!

Yesterday was a gorgeous day here in the pacific northwest! So we all headed out to do a little more prep work in the garden. Hubby brought out some boards to shore up the downhill side of each of my planting beds making them look like fancy terraces. The Girl and the Boy both took some tools to the planting beds to dig up some weeds and I put some of my starts into the ground. So far I've gotten spinach, lettuce, chard and broccoli planted. The rhubarb is growing quite nicely and my strawberries are starting to put out new leaves. I can't really see any asparagus coming up yet, but I'm still hopefully that will come up again this year.

I've got more sprouts in the greenhouse that I'll try to get into the garden in the next few weeks: turnips, cauliflower, beets, cabbage, onions, kale, carrots, pole beans, zucchini, cucumber, and pumpkin. I'm not sure if I'll get tomato starts this year or if I'll pass...I'll probably get some just for the challenge. :)

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Bacon and Egg Cups

I saw this picture somewhere on Pinterest a while back and decided to give it a try for Easter Breakfast. The result was very tasty, pretty and extremely easy to make!

Bacon and Egg Cups
1 slice of bacon and 1 egg for each cup you wish to make
Regular Sized Muffin Tin
Optional Extras (chives, cheese, sun-dried tomatoes, herbs, etc.)

Cut each strip of bacon in half and form an X in the bottom of your muffin tin. Crack an egg into the cup on top of the bacon X. You can add other flavors here as well such as chives, cheese (if you eat dairy), sun-dried tomatoes or herbs. Bake at 350 degrees for about 35 minutes or until the eggs are cooked to your desired doneness and bacon is crispy on the top. Give it a try and let me know what flavor combinations you create!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Baseball, Tree Forts, Spring Flowers and Easter Hats

Photos from the past week or so.

 The Boy in the Tree Fort we made from downed branches.

 Everyone should wear a big floppy hat on Easter.

Chocolate Bunnies!

Happy Boy after his first baseball game.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Eat Like a Dinosaur - Chicken Nugget Review

I've been spending a lot of time with Eat Like a Dinosaur: Recipe and Guidebook for Gluten-free Kids (ELaD) by the Paleo Parents lately. It's filled with kid-friendly paleo/primal recipes that are easy to make. The Boy is notoriously picky and sometimes won't eat any of the food he helps me to make. I think seeing the ingredients sometimes specifically makes him not want to try the food...but we give it a try anyway. He and The Girl have both been very interested in ELaD and have spent some time themselves thumbing through the book dog-earing the pages that have food they'd like to try. That in and of itself has made this one of my favorite cookbooks right off the bat.

ELaD is a treasure trove of meat dishes, side dishes, dips, snacks and treats that are filled with healthy ingredients. Yesterday The Boy and I decided to make their chicken nugget recipe. I thawed and cut up the chicken while he mixed up the "breading". He then coated the chicken and I put it on the cookie sheet. He had a great time getting messy!

The chicken turned out crunchy on the outside and moist on the inside, just as a chicken nugget should be. But unlike the store-bought chicken nuggets, these contained ingredients that we could actually pronounce! And when you bit into a nugget it was really chicken rather than some strangly textured homogenious chicken-like substance. These are chicken nuggest that I'd be happy for my kids to eat every day!

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Our Easter Eggs

Our hens are starting to lay eggs again! Yay! It feels like forever since we had eggs in the fridge, but soon enough we'll be almost drowning in them. We have a few hens that are starting to lay their first tiny eggs and a few hens that are fairly old (in hen years) and are laying duck-sized eggs. We also have hens that lay brown eggs, white eggs and green-blue colored eggs. So our egg baskets look like Easter baskets all year! I did save a dozen white eggs this year that we may color, but with the variety of colored eggs we have naturally there's really no need to dye any.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Paleo/Primal Chocolate Pancakes

I woke up this morning planning to make chocolate muffins for breakfast, but changed my mind on the way down the stairs. I decided to make Chocolate pancakes instead. Everyone in my house loves pancakes, whereas muffins are hit or miss. So I went with the consistent winner and cooked up a batch of chocolate pancakes. I used my usual Coconut flour pancake recipe but made a couple of minor changes to pack them full of chocolatey goodness. I think the added cocoa powder gave them a richer flavor that didn't really need syrup (but I added some anyway :) ). I still like the regular recipe, but this chocolate one will give me a second option if the morning calls for just a little more chocolate. :)

Chocolate Coconut Flour Pancakes
4 Eggs
1 14oz can coconut milk
2 t cinnamon
3 T unsweetened cocoa powder
1 t baking soda
1 t salt
1 T vanilla
2 ripe banana
1/2 C Coconut flour
Combine all ingredients in a blender starting from the top of the list down, mixing until well blended. Add water by the Tablespoon if needed to blend completely. Heat a griddle to 300F. Pour batter from blender onto griddle forming 4 inch pancakes (pancakes much bigger than that will be hard to flip). Add any mix-ins such as shredded coconut, dark chocolate chips, chopped nuts at this time. Once bubbles form in the batter then break and the edges look dry, flip pancakes. Serve warm with pure maple syrup and fruit or the toppings of your choice!

Clean plate!

And another clean plate!

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Everyday Cookie

I just received my copy of Eat Like a Dinosaur: Recipe & Guidebook for Gluten-free Kids (ELaD) by the Paleo Parents. It is a wonderful treasure trove of kid friendly Paleo recipes that I intend to fully review very soon. But this afternoon I was instructed by the boy to make some chocolate chip cookies while he was at baseball practice. While I have several good paleo chocolate chip cookie recipes and the ones in Eat Like a Dinosaur also look very promising I was inspired by the "Anytime Cookie" recipe in the book. The idea of an Anytime cookie, which is a cookie that contains only healthy food that is good to eat anytime, is an awesome idea. I've gone in that same direction before when making muffins for the kids that were packed full of veggies, fruits and nuts. If I can make a "Treat" that the kids love to eat, but contains protein, vitamins and such without added sugar, then I wouldn't mind if they had a couple for breakfast, or had one in their school lunch bag or had one for an after school snack.

The ELaD Anytime Cookie recipe looked good, but I was running low on Almond flour and had some carrots that were begging to be put into a cookie. So I went in another direction. The result is a cakey cookie that is moist and sweet without added sugar; all sweetness comes from fruit and chocolate chips. The Boy loved them as did the girl...and the Hubby; so I imagine I'll be making these Everyday Cookies a lot...although hopefully not Everyday.

Everyday Cookie
4 Carrots
1 ripe banana
5-6 prunes
1/2 C almond butter
1/2 C walnuts
2 Eggs
2 t cinnamon
1 t salt
1 t baking soda
1 T Vanilla
1/2 C coconut flour
1/2 C dark chocolate chips

In a food processor, puree carrots, banana, prunes, and walnuts. Add all other ingredients except chocolate chips and process until well incorporated. Mix chips in by hand then drop dough by large spoonfuls onto a cookie sheet with a silpat or parchment paper lining. Bake for 15 minutes at 350 degrees. Cool completely before handling. Makes about 2 dozen.

Olives are Awesome!

I discovered something this morning, that I have been missing all of my Paleo lifetime...maybe my whole lifetime! For breakfast, I made my usual three fried eggs with baby kale sautéed in coconut oil, then looked over at the bottle of olives we purchased at Costco yesterday. Hmmm, would olives taste good with eggs and greens? I wasn't sure. But I'm pretty culinarily adventurous; so I thought I'd give it a try. Oh my! It was exactly the thing breakfast has been missing all along! The salty/sour of the olives fit with the fattiness of the eggs and the sautéed kale perfectly! This will become my go-to breakfast from here on out! Give it a try.


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