Mexican AND Paleo

I don’t know about the rest of you, but I love Mexican food. LOVE it.  Unfortunately, there are a few essential ingredients that are not very Paleo *sigh*.  I’ve resigned myself to relegating Nacho’s to the ‘very rare treat’ box, you just can’t have Nacho’s without corn chips. They wouldn’t be Nachos. However, I did have a craving for enchilada’s recently and it occurred to me that perhaps I could find a Paleo tortilla. And I did!

Paleo Tortilla

You can find the super simple recipe here.

These tortilla’s can be sweet or savoury – you can have wraps or crepe’s, essentially.  I did NOT make a crepe example, so I can only vouch for their suitability as a savoury wrap/tortilla.

They use a little coconut flour and more arrowroot flour which holds them together nicely (I hate recipes for pancakes that result in crumbly, impossible to flip messes).  They taste appropriately bland which to me is important if you are trying to make a tortilla. There’s no overwhelming egg flavour, no overly nutty flavour, nothing.  It means that whatever you put in them is what you really taste…. #winning!

They are easy to mix up and cook very well – they don’t really brown up too much but I’m ok with that.  When cooked, they are nice and flexible so wrapping them around other ingredients is absolutely doable.  They cook a little slower than a traditional crepe so that adds a bit of extra time to meal prep but nothing too major.

One thing I will say is that the quantities given in the recipe only yielded me 3 x 6″ tortilla’s and one smaller one.  I ended up making a double batch.  But maybe mine ended up a little thick? I think I’ll try to thin out the batter a little more next time.  So that’s the one negative I can report for this.

These were great filled with chicken & enchilada sauce, topped with more sauce and cheese (not strictly paleo, I know – you could do without) and baked in the oven for 15 minutes. The tortilla’s still held together and were a perfect substitute!

Yay for the return of (some) Mexican!

Bon Appetit!

x S

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My favourite caveman (sorry husband)

Here is my next recipe recommendation, though I’m cheating a little cause I didn’t just discover this.  But I did find it and have made it and wanted to review it.

You can find the recipe here, on the Civilised Caveman website.  Its the baby of George, my favourite caveman, even if he is sporting a horrible beard right now (beards are NOT sexy, fellas… not EVER).   George has so many amazing recipes and his food photography certainly does get the saliva glands going.  Whenever I am looking for a ‘paleo version’ of anything, I head for George’s site first.  He’s pretty rock-solid in terms of providing easy, tasty, realistic Paleo recipes. Speaking of…

This recipe is such a ‘go to’ in our household.  I loved Banana Cake pre-Paleo and so when I found myself with a few very ripe banana’s I went looking for a Paleo version.

I’ve tried a couple of different ones, I’ll be honest there is another one that’s almost as good, but this one is definitely my favourite.  Its a perfect snack food and can become a dessert also, if you’re so inclined (which we frequently are.)

BananaBread2 Paleo Banana Bread

 

So making this bread is super, super simple.  Its essentially two steps – blend your ‘wet’ ingredients, add your dry ingredients.  Even I can manage two steps!  Then bake.

The bread that you end up with is moist, flavoursome and sturdy.  The loaf is compact (about 23 x 7 x 5 cm’s) but that helps me with portion control!  The other brilliant thing about it is that with a simple addition (cocoa) you can have chocolate banana bread.  Another variation we often do is that instead of the loaf tin, I spoon the batter into a muffin tray and it gives me 12 perfectly sized, yummy muffins.  Perfect for snacks, lunches or dessert.

OK, so they aren’t the giant, puffy topped muffins you’ll get at McCafe… BUT they are guilt free.  Even when we go one step further and add Paleo chocolate ganache. Mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm…!

So do yourself a favour, head over to George’s website and and check out this recipe and his many, many other brilliant recipes.

Hope everyone is having a wonderful day out there – thanks for reading!

 

x S

Mmmm a Paleo Bread?

So, I’ve realised that I can’t really chronicle my journey from non-Paleo to Paleo on this blog anymore because in my mind, I’m there. I am Paleo and I have no plans to go back.

That said – I still have loads to learn and the biggest thing is still new foods.  The biggest threat to my new, healthier diet is the foods I used to eat. Like bread and pasta and cereal.  Those foods that made eating easy.

That said, there are soooo many Paleo alternatives out there for me to try. So, I figure I can try foods and keep blogging AND help out others all in one go!

I am NOT a gourmet cook.  I am not even a very good cook.  I’m an average cook. I know more than boiling water but I don’t have any more than a totally average skill level.  So I figure, I’ll find recipes on the net, cook them and then review the experience on here for y’all!  Obviously, full credit to the recipe creator (I’ll ensure I post links, I won’t be posting the actual recipes on here), but also not going to pull my punches. If I think its good I’ll say. If I think its something only Matt Moran could successfully produce I’ll definitely say.  This way I can start to build up a store of reliable recipes. And maybe you guys can benefit from my experiences!

So – my first recipe: Paleo Herb Bread by multiply delicious.

Image

Recipe is here:

http://www.multiplydelicious.com/thefood/2012/03/paleo-herb-bread/

Ok so I wanted a savoury bread that I could use to go with meals, or make a sandwich with, just like in the non-paleo days.  I’ve tried many, many recipes and they have come out waaaay too sweet, waaay too flat or rock hard and dry.  I got a positive feeling from this recipe because it was herb bread – rosemary – one of my favourite herbs! So I thought I’d give it a go today.

On the negative side – the amount of mixture that the recipe makes resulted in a ‘loaf’ that is about 25cm long, 10cm wide and 6-7cm high.  So I’d want to double the mixture to get a real “loaf size” loaf.  Unfortunately that would equate to 10 eggs. Yowsers.

However, on the plus side:

Taste is good! The herbs are nice and light (I used a little less than recommended) but still have a positive impact.  Taste is neutral enough that it can be eaten just with (grassfed) butter, or with honey, or with more ingredients (eg: a salad sandwich).

Texture is solid enough. Its still more crumbly than gluten laden bread but it is definitely solid enough that it holds together.

Time – only took me one dish (food processor) and about 10 mins to get the batter together. Perfect!  Then straight into the loaf tin and into the oven, so less than 20 mins from go > woah.  With practice I could knock that down to 10-15 minutes.  I really like that in a recipe. Like, REALLY, really like it.

Simple – the recipe had more than 5 ingredients BUT there were literally 2 steps. Dry ingredients in, wet ingredients in. That’s it. I love it.

All in all I’m a big fan of this recipe. Its still Paleo bread but its the best savoury version I’ve found so far. And you can leave the herbs out, or use different herbs to change it up. Next I’ll try garlic bread I think. Yum!

Overall – I think 8/10 (and that’s a good score, from me).

Thx for reading 🙂

S.

A day [or 3] in the stomach of a Paleon…

So I thought I’d post something useful today.  A friend asked me recently, “But what do you eat?” and I could understand her curiosity. Sure, all those paleo recipes out there are fabulous, but a lot of them are not really simple or use ingredients you will always have on hand.  And its hard to put a day together, menu wise, if you have to look up recipe’s for everything.

So, I thought I’d record for 3 days everything I ate, and put it up here, and let you all be the judge of the practicality, possibility and general do-ability of being Paleo.  Keep in mind that I was at work these three days, working 12hr shifts, so I needed foods I could take to work in a cooler bag and cook in a microwave. For all meals except dinner.

Day 1:

AM – Cup of tea, black with no sugar; 1 banana; 1 boiled egg.

Midday – left over roast chicken with salad.

PM – 1 pear; nuts; 1 boiled egg

Dinner – Marinated kangaroo fillet with cauliflower mash and balsamic tomatoes.

Day 2:

AM – Sweet potato [microwave baked] with tuna; 1 boiled egg; cup of tea, black with no sugar.

Midday – left over BBQ chicken with cauliflower mash

PM – Chicken schnitzel with cauliflower, broccoli, prawns & garlic sauce **note that this meal contained non-paleo items [schnitzel & garlic sauce] but we were out for dinner. 80/20 right?

Day 3:

AM – no food, intermittent fasting

Midday – Sweet potato [microwave baked] with tuna.

PM – 1 banana; 1 boiled egg; nuts

Dinner – paleo chicken schnitzel, broccoli, eggplant ‘chips’

So, as you can see, eating Paleo is possible, but it is different. I’ve had to rethink what items are suitable for what times – breakfast no longer has to be cereals, toast, etc., but can be anything I want including last nights’ left overs. Today, I had left over roast beef for breakfast and it was actually amazing.

Its also tough on the snack side, but when you find yourself turning to fruits and nuts as snacks by habit, you’ll be amazed at how happy you’ll feel toward yourself for making healthier choices.  I am not a fruit fan, but I know its important for a balanced diet and now I eat more fruit than I ever have. Go me.

And now – go you! Have a think, tell me what your typical Paleo day is, if you’re already Paleo, or what it is if you aren’t – and I can try to give you a Paleo version 🙂

Thanks for reading – sharing – liking – following –

x S

Fried Eggs on Sweet Potato “Toast”

So, I love eggs on toast. I miss it!  But it was just something consigned to the “Pre-Paleo” days.. until my cousin, Louise, introduced me to this version.  Sure, I was skeptical at first but it totally works! Its now one of my favourite Paleo breakfasts.  This is how I do it, and these quantities are for one person.  Its pretty basic but I wanted to put it up anyways.

 

So, your ingredients:

IMG_0627

2 eggs + 1 small sweet potato (this was NOT a small sweet potato – it was medium – and it was too much for one person)
Your method:

Peel & slice the sweet potato into thick (1cm) slices. You can go for round slices or lengthways, depending on the size and shape of your sweet potato. I did both, to demonstrate:

IMG_0631

 

Place slices in dry frypan / sandwich press or under grille.  I use a sandwich press because, provided your slicing is neat, you can cook both sides at once and it cuts down the cooking time. Fry until cooked through, 5-10 mins, turning as necessary.

IMG_0632

 

Cook in batches if required, put cooked pieces on a plate and into the oven/microwave to keep warm. When you are done, or are on your last batch, fry up two eggs:

IMG_0634      IMG_0635

Again – the sandwich press allows me to do both top and bottom simultaneously – saves time 🙂

 

Then its just a matter of putting your slices of “toast” on the plate, topping with your eggs, and voila!  Yum yum yum.

IMG_0638
Again, I know this is simple… but it had never occurred to me, so maybe there are those out there its never occurred to either. Anyway – hope you enjoy, let me know if you try it and what you think, or any variations or improvements that you make!

 

Thanks for reading – til next time,

 

x S

 

Some staple substitutions…

So, jumping on the Paleo wagon removed a whole lot of food from my fridge and pantry that I would consider staples.  Rice, being a huge one. Pasta – my all time favourite food. And things you don’t think of so often – like tomato sauce (not paste) or breadcrumbs or flour.

But there are things you can use as substitutes, some better than others, and I thought I’d just run through a couple of the ones I’ve latched onto. Basic, yes, and there are loads of alternate recipes if you Google it, but here are a couple that work for me and mine.  I’ll add more as I go along 🙂

[One basic direct substitution we love is dukkah for breadcrumbs. EG on Chicken Schnitzel.  Just brush oil on your fillet then sprinkle it with dukkah and fry. Yum!]

Substitute Cauliflower for …. Rice:

I used to eat rice a lot. I mean, we bought it in 5kg bags because we went through so much. One of our favourite meals: steak, egg and rice. Yummmm.  But, now not an option and I’m ok with that – its not like I can really miss the flavour, right?  But I do miss having that bland, liquid soaking texture in certain meals, like Thai Green Curry. So, our solution?

Cauliflower Rice.

I’ve read lots of variations of this, and loads of recipes call for it, but it actually took me a while to find a “How to make Cauliflower Rice” recipe. I tinkered because I wasn’t happy with some outcomes, and this is what I’ve come up with to create a reasonably fluffy rice that will actually soak up sauce:

[This makes enough for 2-3 people. Prep time is about 10 minutes and cook time about 10 minutes]

  • 1 head cauliflower, chopped into large florets
  • Oil [I prefer to use olive – but your choice]
  • Spices to suit – I just use garlic powder generally
  • Equipment: board & knife, food processor, bowl, large frypan.

Ensure the cauliflower is dry. Moisture is your enemy here! Buzz the florets in a food processor until grainy, removing the grounds regularly as you go to ensure you don’t get any that is over processed.  Place in a bowl and set aside until you 10 minutes from chow time…I imagine cold cauliflower rice would be fairly unappealing!

When its time – heat your oil in a large frypan.  Add your chosen spices to your rice and stir well; if you are using fresh garlic, I’d add it to your oil now so it heats with the oil.  Add the ‘rice’ in manageable amounts [I have a really big pan so it all goes in at once] and stir fry your ‘rice’ until it is heated through and a little soft. This should take no more than ten minutes – taste it to know.

Serve with your favourite meal J  You’ll find some recipes call for you to cook the cauliflower florets first, but I find the frying from raw is what allows this rice to soak up sauces like actual rice would. If its cooked first, its soaked in moisture already and can tend to be gluggy. Boo to that!

 

 

Substitute Zucchini for…Pasta:

Again, something I heard SO much about but it’s as if the recipe owners just assume you know how to produce this wondrous thing. So important fact #1 – this will NOT taste like pasta does. Sorry. Important fact #2 – if you over cook it you might as well toss it. It will NOT go well with the food you’d planned to put it with. Important fact #3 – when I say medium zucchini I am referring to one that is approx. 25cm long and has a girth of 4-5 cm.

 

Zucchini Pasta

[Prep time depends on how many people but should be no more than 10mins. Cook time is 30 seconds. For real.]

  • 1 medium zucchini per person [adult]
  • Equipment: Julienne [spaghetti] or flat vegetable peeler [fettucine] or a ‘spiralizer’ [loads of shapes], microwave safe dish large enough for your ‘pasta’ [or cook it in batches], microwave.

Peel the skin from your zucchini & discard. Using the peeler, peel the zucchini length ways to make your ‘pasta’. Try to rotate the zucchini per slice so you arrive at the seeds on all sides at once. It’s not imperative – it’s just easier. Once you get to the seeds, stop. Give the core to the worm farm.  Place your pasta into your microwave dish and add about 2cm of very hot or boiling water. Put in microwave on high for 30 seconds. Drain the water out immediately and cover to keep warm if not serving straight away.

Draining the water out immediately afterwards and only cooking for 30 seconds ensures your pasta will have an ‘al dente’ texture and not be mush. Which has happened to me before and it was terrible. Ugh.

 

Anyways so that’s it for now, just a couple of simple ones – let me know if you’ve got any simple substitution recipes to share – I’d love to read them 🙂

As always – thanks for reading and take care out there x

Converting my favourite meal to Paleo

So – I have ALWAYS been a huge eater of pasta, potatoes and rice.  They are my favourite three foods, I kid you not. Ask my husband. I would eat them for breakfast, lunch and dinner, if I could, if he would [hub is NOT so partial to these three items].

Give me gnocchi – combining two of my favourite things – ahhhh I’m in LOVE.  Carbonara – lasagne – spaghetti bolognese; yum!  Potato – baked, scalloped, chipped, boiled, roasted or mashed… YUM.  And rice – well, I love risotto and then after that rice just is a great accompaniment to so many meals… chilli con carne, lima bean soup, curry, steak and eggs, tuna…. yuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuum.

Now, of course in my new Paleo world, guess which of the three I’m still allowed to have?? NONE. Yes, that’s right, NOT ONE OF THEM.  This would honestly have to be the single reason I may not continue with the Paleo lifestyle after our three month trial 😦

And my favourite meal of all time just happens to be chicken schnitzel with salad and mashed potato.  Which I cannot have anymore – not the schnitzel, not the mashed potato.  And I mean, come on!! I want to be healthy but I still want to LIVE!!

*sigh*

So I thought to myself, “Take up the challenge, Paleo-ise this meal”.  And this is what I came up with:

My replacement for chicken schnitzel with mash potato

My replacement for chicken schnitzel with mashed potato

This would be:

Chicken breast – sliced in half to create a thinner ‘steak’, but you could just bash it a la schnitzel – spray with olive oil, coat with dukkah of your choice [avail in Coles or at gourment stores for those of you lucky enough to live near anything!], bake in the oven at 180 deg for 20-25 mins til cooked through.

Cauliflower mash – steam 1 whole head of cauliflower [break it up into florets, first]. Then in a food processor or with a stick blender, blend the cauliflower with 1 clove crushed garlic [or to taste].  Do it too long and you end up with puree – so keep an eye on it.  You can also add spices of your choice to it if you wish 🙂

Roasted Sweet Potato – roughly chop rosemary, peel and chop sweet potato. Toss in olive oil & rosemary, put in a baking dish and sprinkle with salt.  Bake at 180 deg for approx 40 mins. [I do these first, then prep the chicken and chuck it in the oven for the last 20-25 mins of the potatoes].

Voila! 

Ok, so its not exactly my dream meal, but it IS pretty close, and you can always fry the chicken rather than bake, just maybe use almond meal & egg to bind the dukkah more firmly to the chicken if you do that.   Dukkah is a GREAT alternative to breadcrumbs if you can get a good one.

So – challenge raised? You bet.

Met? I tried!

Bested? Hmmm maybe 90% – but I’ll take that!

Ek so, ek so,

Paleo Girl.