With E.J deployed for the next year, I’ve decided to try some recipes that might not exactly be his cup of tea… which inexplicably includes pineapple! I happen to love pineapple, and have had this recipe pinned in Pinterest for years now, but hadn’t actually tried it. Let me just say, wow! If you’re looking for a fairly quick weeknight meal, this is a good option. The prep is easy, and the flavors go great with the warmer temperatures we’re starting to see down here in the south.
Shout out to PaleoGrubs.com for this paleo gem! I’ll be adding this one to the Favorites page.
One of my absolutely favorite holiday traditions is baking Christmas cookies in the first few weeks after Thanksgiving. I have 3-4 cookies I always make, and then if I’m feeling adventurous, I’ll throw a new one in there, just to make it interesting. Unfortunately none of my traditional cookie recipes are Paleo, so last year I simply didn’t do much holiday baking to avoid temptation… but that was officially a crappy solution. It took away one of my favorite traditions, and that made me sad…
And I refuse to be sad during my favorite time of the year. So this year, I’m back to holiday baking, Paleo style!
Here are some of the goodies I made:
Banana Bread – This is E.J’s favorite holiday treat. I’ve always made mini-loaves to give away and one big one for E.J. to enjoy for breakfasts. This time, it was so good I did it twice. Both loaves were moist and delicious – every bit as good as the original
Almond Butter Bars – the original treat I was going for was my mom’s Peanut Butter Squares recipe, and these are a great substitute. This is officially the easiest Paleo dessert recipe ever, and is easily whipped up in 10 minutes or less.
Gingersnap Cookies – Ok, so have you ever bought one of those tins from World Market that they have at Christmas time? I absolutely adore those gingersnaps and wanted a paleo equivalent. I think these are as good, if not better than the originals. This recipe is absolutely perfect and gives you the perfect wafery crisp that you’re looking for.
Almond Biscotti – I used almond extract instead of the lemon and these turned out OK, but weren’t the best of the bunch. I think they needed more extract or sugar or both… they just seemed a little bland.
Cran-Orange Macaroons – I had some leftover cranberries from Thanksgiving and some of those mini-orange cuties, so voila! I think the time in the oven is a little long, as mine came out with fully toasted coconut instead of lightly toasted, but otherwise they taste really good.
Sand Tarts (Wedding Cookies) & Orange Spritz Cookies – these are two traditional family recipes that I have from my mom which I really wanted to recreate. The first time I tried it by subbing out ingredients and then adjusting for texture at the end. Oddly enough, they both turned out PERFECT the first time…. Which sucks, because now I have to figure out what I did so I can recreate them. In general I substituted palm shortening for vegetable shortening, maple sugar for granulated, and for a standard 2 cups of flour I used 1 1/2 cups of almond flour, 1/2 cup coconut flour and 2 tbsp arrowroot combined together. I’m still trying to prove this out, but it’s really close.
Have you experimented with any Paleo holiday treats? I’m always looking for new ones!!
As I’ve mentioned before, E.J. and I do a lot of entertaining. We have 3 major parties every year (New Years, Summer Birthdays, and Halloween) and many minor ones scattered in between (St. Patrick’s Day, July 4, Memorial Day, etc.) and then there are the big family holidays like Easter, Christmas, and Thanksgiving. All in all, we do a lot of big meals and big party spreads on a fairly regular basis, which is particularly challenging when it comes to a major shift in your diet like our transition to Paleo.
More and more of our close friends have made the transition, or are at least trying to eat more like E.J. and I do, so that takes the pressure off a bit, but in the end the goal is to make a tasty spread without a ton of leftovers we can’t eat.
Here is what the menu looked like for the Halloween party we had this past weekend
2 chafing dishes with dividers for a total of 4 hot meat options:
These last few items were special request from my mom on the understanding that any leftovers would be quickly handled so they wouldn’t tempt me or go to waste.
There were lots of compliments on the food options, and all in all, I think the party was a success. Special thanks to Elaine and Anita for their help getting ready Friday so I could get all of it done!
Ok, I’ll admit it. I’ve just never been a big fan of pot roast. I don’t know what it is about it, but while my mouth will water at the thought of a good meatloaf, or even pulled pork, I’ve never been a big fan of brisket or roasts.
After yesterday’s experience, I might have to become a new fan.
E.J. mentioned over the weekend that we haven’t had a roast yet during our paleo journey, and while I wasn’t exactly avoiding them, I wasn’t thrilled about trying one either. There are plenty of paleo roast recipes online and in my cookbooks, so honestly it was hard to even choose a direction to go for the first try (as in, I don’t know that I’ve ever made a pot roast before, period, because I didn’t like them when I tried them elsewhere).
We decided to go with a cross between the recipe in Against All Grain and E.J.s favorite Hungarian cookbook and let it cook all day in the Crock Pot… like 11 hours. The result was a super-tender, very flavorful roast and a lot of nice veggies from the broth to go with it. We served it with mashed cauliflower whipped with butter and coconut milk which paired very nicely.
We had prepped the meal the night before and were able to eat soon after I got home last night, so the prep and cleanup was super easy – perfect for a busy night or weekend where I don’t have time to be in the kitchen too long.
I think next time I want to try this Balsamic Pot Roast as I’m sure it would be really cook with a bit of a sweet kick.
It’s day 3 of our annual spring welcoming storm, and it looks like we have 2 more days of cloudy weather to go. That’s the bad news.
The good news is that it looks like we’re going to have a nice weekend again, so hopefully I’ll get to plant some herbs in my herb garden. I love having fresh herbs to cook with in the spring & summer. Typically basil and oregano grow like weeds here, but I also like having rosemary (if I can keep it from drying out and/or drowning to death), thyme, sage, & parsley.
I usually try to grow tomatoes and peppers too, but end up fighting the birds for the fruit, so I don’t know if I’ll plant them this year. Maybe I’ll just rely on our local farmer’s markets. There’s nothing better than a fresh vine ripe tomato. Mmmm.
One thing I get to enjoy year-round though is green onions. Did you know that when you buy green onions at the store, if you leave most of the white part with the roots, and cut just into the green, you can plant the root part and it will grow? I’ve done this now with several bunches of onions, and while not all of them will grow, about half will if I do it soon after I purchased them from the store. I now have a nice bunch of green onions that produce for me pretty much year round if we don’t get any severe freezes. Whenever I need a couple of tablespoons for cooking, I just head outside with the kitchen shears and cut off a few “leaves”. They taste so much brighter in your recipes when they’re fresh from the garden.
Anyway, there was a short break in the rain this morning where I was able to take Buddy for a 15 minute walk in the neighborhood. I really could just use a good run though. Today I’ll probably head to the mall again at lunch so I can at least stretch my legs and keep moving.