Almond Flour Crackers

IMG_2160These crackers are paleo friendly and gluten free. One batch makes about 50-60 crackers so you will be able to enjoy these for a while (unless you live with my kid, who is a little cracker thief). Another bonus–they are easy to store! Add the crackers and a paper towel into a ziplock bag or bowl with a lid, and leave on the counter. You definitely don’t want to store these in the fridge or they will become chewy. I love to spread butter and jelly on top, but I’ve also been known to use them with dips and lunch meat. I hope you love them!

 Ingredients:

2 cups almond flour
1 cup tapioca flour
1 tsp sea salt
1 tsp honey
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/3 cup oil (I prefer avocado, olive, and sunflower seed oils the best for this recipe)
2 eggs

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Using your food processor, add the almond flour, tapioca flour, sea salt, and baking soda. Pulse together for 15 seconds. Add in the remaining ingredients and blend together for another 20-30 seconds.

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Next, lay down a piece of parchment paper onto the counter that is the same size as your cookie sheet. Form the dough into 2 balls and place one of these on the parchment paper. Put another piece of the same sized parchment paper on top of the dough. Using your hands gently flatten the dough down. With your rolling pin, roll the dough out to 1/8 inch thickness (rolling over the top piece of parchment paper so that the dough won’t stick to the rolling pin).

When I do this step I try to keep a rectangular shape by trimming the sides of the dough and filling in the gaps with the trimmings. Keep rolling until the consistency is even throughout the rectangle.IMG_2133Remove the top piece of parchment paper and cut the cracker shapes using a pizza cutter. A knife works too but it will take more time and your crackers won’t come out as even.IMG_2141

I like to cut squares that are about 2” X 2”. Slide the crackers with the parchment paper onto your cookie sheet and bake for 8 minutes. Repeat this process with the second ball of cracker dough.IMG_2144Let cool for 10 minutes and enjoy! Make sure they are 100 percent cool before storing them.

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Vanilla Pudding Cake

IMG_2567This recipe started out as a horse of a different color. I was working on a banana cream pie and made a vanilla pudding base that wouldn’t set right. I realized half way through that I used the wrong amount of gelatin.

But it tasted too amazing to just throw it out!  Instead, I added a blend of flours to the “vanilla pudding” that I have found to be a great base for cakes and muffins: almond flour, tapioca flour, and coconut flour (the trifecta). I love it when a unfortunate mistake turns into something delicious! Enjoy!

Ingredients:

Dry:
2 tbsp coconut flour
2 cups almond flour
1/3 cup tapioca flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp sea salt

Wet:
1 can of full fat coconut milk
1/2 cup honey
1 tbsp vanilla
6 egg yolks
1 & 1/2 tsp gelatin

In a 2 quart sauce pan, heat the honey and coconut milk over medium heat while whisking.  In a separate bowl whisk the egg yolks.  Add into the sauce pan the vanilla and egg yolks while stirring.  Bring to a low boil and remove from the heat.  Slowly whisk in the gelatin.  IMG_2439

Once fully incorporated, pour the mixture into a bowl and let cool in the refrigerator for 2 hours to set, stirring occasionally.  It will become thicker but not firm.  .  IMG_2446Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Using a medium sized bowl, mix the dry ingredients together until well incorporated. Add the dry ingredients into the wet.

Using 2 round 8 inch cake pans, grease with either coconut oil or shortening, and lightly sprinkle with about a tablespoon of almond flour. You also can cut 2 circles of parchment paper and line the bottom of the cake pans to help the cakes fall away from the pan easier.

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Bake the cakes for 35-40 minutes. Run a knife around the perimeter of the cake pans to loosen the sides. Tip upside down over a clean counter surface and give light taps on the bottom until the cakes fall away. IMG_2574

Drizzle with a lemon glaze (recipe here) and fresh berries. Simply to die for.

Crockpot Paprika Stew

Stew.

Enough said.

This recipe was inspired by every bowl of hearty stew I have ever eaten. Ever. I used white sweet potatoes, carrots, and kale for my veggies–the different tastes and textures compliment each other well. If you like your stew with a traditional red meat, substitute it with the chicken and let me know how it comes out. Enjoy!IMG_2089

Ingredients:
1 1/2 to 2 lbs chicken
4 cups white sweet potatoes
2 cups carrots
6 stalks kale

Broth Base:
2 cups chicken stock
1 can whole fat coconut milk
1/4 cup melted butter
1 tbsp cumin
3 tbsp paprika
1 tsp sea salt
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp dried onion (flakes or powder)
1/4 tsp black pepper

Start preparing the stew by chopping up the vegetables and chicken into bite sized pieces (about 1-2 inch cubes). Place them into your crock pot.

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In a separate bowl, whisk together the chicken stock, coconut milk, and melted butter. Once mixed together add in the seasonings (cumin, paprika, sea salt, garlic, onion, and black pepper).

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Pour over the top of the meat and veggies. Cook on high for 4-6 hours.

Makes 4-6 servings

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A Day In Our Life

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When giving health talks on the Paleo Lifestyle, I frequently get asked to speak about a sample day of eating in our house. What do I feed my daughter vs. myself and my husband? How do I prepare my meals and what tips and hints can I give to help cut down on time in the kitchen? Here is a sample day in our life that I hope answers those questions.

Breakfast

Breakfast in our house is crazy like most houses. Whether it is just you or a house full of kids the end goal is the same— get out the door on-time and looking presentable. Breakfast is definitely an important meal so while it shouldn’t take long to prepare it should be nutritious with lots of protein, healthy fats, and minimal amounts of sugar (so you don’t crash and burn 30 minutes later).

On a weekday I make 1 of 2 staple meals: My Perfect Protein Pancakes (click here for the recipe) or eggs with bacon. These take me a minimal amount of time to make and they are kid and adult friendly. To help myself out I will often make a big batch of pancakes at the beginning of the week and freeze them with a piece of parchment paper or wax paper in-between each pancake. To reheat them I just pop them frozen into the oven (325 degrees) and heat for 5 minutes. They taste just as good reheated.

To help cut down on my bacon cooking time I line a cookie sheet with parchment paper and put a layer of bacon down. I bake it in the oven at 425 degrees for 12-15 minutes. That way I don’t have to worry about turning it or even have to think about it until the buzzer goes off. While the food is cooking I will give our daughter a piece of fruit to tide her over so she doesn’t die of starvation while she waits.

Lunch

Lunch is a hodgepodge of leftovers, sandwiches, and easy options. Usually we eat a meat, a vegetable, and some sort of baked good I have made at the beginning of the week. I try to make a loaf of bread or a batch of all purpose biscuits (click here for the recipe) so that we can make sandwiches or toast throughout the week. When you are sending your kids off to school it’s easiest to make a sandwich and include some carrots or another easy veggie option, as well as a fruit (like an apple), and if you have made a treat, that always helps them survive the day (click here for my chocolate chip cookie recipe).

A typical lunch looks like thisIMG_1968

Dinner

An easy dinner favorite for us would be healthy chicken nuggets (click here to get the recipe). These are baked so other than flipping them once you don’t have to worry about them while they are cooking. I usually pair these with steamed broccoli and sweet potato fries (click here for the recipe). If I don’t feel like slicing and preparing the fries I add a second veggie like stove top kale (click here for the recipe) or a simple green salad. I try to always double my dinner recipe so we will have leftovers for the next few meals. It just makes my life easier and doesn’t create too much extra work while I am cooking.

Snacks

Snacks are usually fruit, a handful of nuts/seeds or a baked good that I made earlier in the week. I try to do most of my baking on the weekends so that during the week it gives us the option to “grab and go” if we are working on a tight schedule. I like to make my breakfast/anytime cookies (click here for the recipe) because they are just sweet enough to help with a craving but are also healthy enough to substitute for a meal.  Also we love freeze dried fruit that we buy from Amazon.  You can find one of the flavors we like buy clicking here.

I hope this helps you with planning your daily routine. Leave a comment and let me know!

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Paleo Lifestyle Do’s and Don’ts (Including Food List)

Paleo-Pyramid

The purpose of the Paleo Lifestyle is to eat in accordance with the design of the human body. This means plenty of fresh organic produce, lean grass-fed meat, nuts and seeds, but no grain and no dairy. How do we know this is how humans were designed to eat? We look at our ancestors and our DNA. When humans first inhabited the Earth there was no such thing as packaged food. Our ancestors lived off the land, hunted and gathered, and were healthy. Ancient humans died of different causes than we do now. Research shows that our ancestors did not die of heart diseases or cancers but of natural causes/traumas.
These diseases are symptoms of the modern era—the goal of following the Paleo diet is to free ourselves, our families, our children from this unnecessary fate. It is my opinion that we are at a breaking point right now. We are poisoning ourselves with what we now call “food”. The primary diet Americans consume is made up of GMO ridden dairy, grains, and high carbohydrate foods/snacks. This encourages weight gain and systemic inflammation that leads to achy joints, general pain, stiffness, and headaches. It is so completely different than what our ancestors foraged for in the Paleolithic era that our bodies don’t have the ability to function properly and disease is created.  Choosing to change your lifestyle/diet to Paleo will ultimately help you boost your metabolism and feel better and it also gives you something else.  It gives you power over your health.  It puts you back in the driver’s seat.

 So now you’re asking “what can I eat?”  Here you go: 

Grass-fed meats

Seafood
Fruits
Vegetables (including most root vegetables)
Eggs
Grass-fed butter
Nuts (except peanuts, which are actually in the legume family)
Seeds
Coffee and most teas (Oh boy. Remember to ALWAYS buy your tea organic. The level of pesticides you consume in one cup of tea is disgusting. Click here to find the tea I like to drink.)

Healthy oils such as olive, walnut, hazelnut macadamia, avocado, coconut (remember take into account the smoke point when you cook with these oils. Even the healthiest oils can cause harm once they are heated past their stable temperatures.)

And now you want to know what can’t you eat?  Here is the list:

Grains of every kind (this includes rice and corn)
Legumes/lentils- including peanuts, green peas, and chick peas
Beans (minus string beans)
Dairy (minus grass-fed butter)
Refined sugars
Potatoes (sweet potatoes are a mixed bag for many. I say eat them but some say don’t. It really isn’t because of whether or not they are considered paleo- they are. It is because they are higher in carbs and so for weight loss they may not be the best option.)
Processed foods
Refined vegetable oils like soy, grapeseed, corn, safflower (always avoid canola oil! It wasn’t even created for human consumption; it was first created for heavy machinery. GROSS! And don’t even get me started on margarine.)
Junk Food
Candy/Sweets
GMO’s (genetically modified organisms). These were definitely not around in our early days and if they were I am pretty sure we wouldn’t be here today. Forget surviving the ice age. It is all about surviving the GMO Monsanto rain. I don’t know if I can say this enough: Buy everything you can afford to ORGANIC or at least GMO free. And to clarify: All organic is GMO free but not all GMO free products are organic.

The Gray Areas

Alcohol. This is a tough one. Wine is considered Paleo as it is fermented grapes. And for that same reason, hard apple ciders and pear ciders can be Paleo. Again. You want to buy ORGANIC or even better, make it yourself. The pesticide levels in wine and alcohol can be very high depending on the brand your purchase. And for the most part hard alcohol and beer is a no go as they are made from grains.

Coffee. Just because it is considered Paleo doesn’t mean it is always the healthy choice. Be smart about your coffee consumption. Yes it is delicious and yes it is a treat sent from the Gods to help keep us awake during the day buttttttttttt if you overdo it you can quickly ruin your adrenal glands and make your life miserable. Weight gain, chronic fatigue, sleep disturbances at night, and depression. So try to limit your intake to 1 to 2 cups per day at most. Also, this is another one your want to buy organic and fair trade.

Potatoes. I mentioned earlier in this post that sweet potatoes are frowned upon by some because they have a higher carb count. The reason I feel along with many others that sweet potatoes are actually good for you.  They are high in important vitamins (like A, B6, C, and E) and rich in minerals (like calcium and potassium).  They are also Paleo friendly are because they are complex carbs which means your body utilizes them for energy and doesn’t store them all away for fat. They are a root vegetable that has been around as long as carrots, parsnips, and turnips. They also taste great and can help bulk up many dishes.
Regular potatoes are unfortunately a no go. They have 2 properties in them that attack our gut and soft tissue- Lectins and Saponins. In our Paleolithic era, human’s digestive tracts ran clean and pure without the disturbance of the modern day diet (no prepackaged, microwaved, sugar ridden food in there). When they would eat something that caused disruption to their gut they could tell immediately and knew that food choice was “poisonous”. They would avoid eating it again. Potatoes fall in that category. They disrupt our gut lining, bind to our soft tissues, and cause massive strain on our pancreas do to the incredibly high levels of sugar in their properties (which causes weight gain and a many other digestive problems). Avoid these as much as possible.

A complete list of every fruit and vegetable that are considered paleo can be found here, at The Ultimate Paleo Guide. 

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