Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Feeding Dinner Guests {who aren't paleo}

In my circle of friends, we often invite each other over for a simple dinner of pasta. It's simple to throw together, fairly cheap to make for a crowd and nearly everyone has at least one recipe they excel at making. It was always possible to please everyone with this formula... until I went paleo.

We have our fair share of picky eaters in the group, but it was usually just a question of leaving out this spice or not using that particular ingredient. And if someone forgot, it wasn't the end of the world. Easy.

With me though, it's a different story. I have horrible reactions to many, many ingredients. I know what to look for, but most people don't realize that gluten, lactose and corn are hidden in everything. Everyone tries their best, but often I just bring my own meal as cross contamination happens more often than not and my evenings are spent agonizing in my bed.

That's when I eat over at someone's house... but what about when people eat over at my place?

I recently invited some of my girl friends over while our men were off hiking and tasting whiskies in the wilderness of Scotland. As I planned the food, I immediately thought of pasta. I would just use Zoodles! I decided though to make something that wasn't a SWYPO meal. I would make something yummy and already paleo.

I would make a salad.


I decided on a simple green salad topped with shredded chicken and black olives, dressed with an Italian vinaigrette. The flavors of this simple salad married perfectly. The only thing I would have done differently would be to add sun dried tomatoes. They would have taken the taste to a whole other level!

Before the meal though, I needed snack food. Here in Belgium, it's customary to offer copious amounts of finger food before the meal. I'm usually never hungry by the time dinner comes around, but tradition is tradition, so I went with it.


I chose to make a simple veggie platter composed of cucumbers, carrots and Belgian endive with my delicious Real Deal Paleo Ranch for dipping. I then sliced up some mild chorizo, some dry cured ham and even some Italian cheese {just because I'm super nice like that}.

The finger foods were a hit {the pretty presentation changes everything in my opinion - and yes, those are Christmas napkins, cause I'm classy like that} and the salad was light enough so that even after all the veggies no one went home stuffed beyond belief!


I "should" have offered a dessert as well, but it completely skipped my mind. Luckily, the girls didn't mind :P

I could have made up simple chocolate mousses though, or even banana "ice cream" with or without a warm berry crumble. Dessert doesn't have to be complex and full of sugar to be delicious and pleasing to many crowds :)

So the next time you're having non-paleo eaters over for dinner, go the simple yet flavorful route. Less stress means more fun had with your friends - which is the point of any get together in the first place! :)

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Snicker Doodles {AIP, Paleo}


My all time favorite cookie is the snicker doodle. I'm a huge fan of cinnamon and put it on nearly everything I eat, so these cinnamon laden cookies are just perfect for me.

I tried quite a few paleo versions of snicker doodles, but every time I was disappointed. They weren't snicker doodles, at least, not as I remembered them. I decided to try my hand at making some, and what I ended with was three different cookies - one of which tastes like the snicker doodles of my memories!

And the best part about these recipes is that they are all single servings. That's right. Each recipe makes two cookies. That's just the right portion for me, but if you're feeding more (or have a bigger sweet tooth than I) simply scale up the recipe as you see fit.

Bonus idea - use one of the recipes below as a topper for baked fruit and you'll have the most delicious AIP crumble or crisp ever! Simply chop up your fruit, place in a baking dish and crumble a cookie dough from below over the top. Bake at 180°C (350°F) for 15-20 minutes, or until the fruit is cooked and bubbly.

Paleo Single Serving Snicker Doodles

These cookies are crispy on the outside and slightly chewy on the inside - delicious with or without the sugar coating!

Ingredients:
  • 1 tbsp coconut flour
  • 1 tbsp tapioca flour
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1/2 tbsp honey
  • 1/2 tbsp granulated sugar of choice
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • Optional: 1/2 tbsp granulated sugar + 1/8 tsp cinnamon
Method:
  1. Preheat oven to 180°C (350°F).
  2. Mix together all the ingredients using your fingers. 
  3. Separate the dough into two parts and roll into balls. 
  4. If using the sugar coating, mix together the optional sugar and cinnamon, then roll the balls in the mix to cover.
  5. Place balls on a nonstick baking surface and flatten using the bottom of a drinking glass (dip in the sugar mixture to prevent it from sticking).
  6. Bake for 12-14 minutes. Allow to cool before handling.


Paleo Single Serving Shortbread Snicker Doodles


These cookies taste like snicker doodles, but with a slight shortbread texture on the inside. The outside crisps up nicely, with or without the sugar coating.

Ingredients:
  • 1 1/2 tbsp coconut flour
  • 2 tbsp tapioca flour
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • Optional: 1/2 tbsp granulated sugar + 1/8 tsp cinnamon
Method:
  1. Preheat oven to 180°C (350°F).
  2. Mix together all the ingredients using your fingers. 
  3. Separate the dough into two parts and roll into balls. 
  4. If using the sugar coating, mix together the optional sugar and cinnamon, then roll the balls in the mix to cover.
  5. Place balls on a nonstick baking surface and flatten using the bottom of a drinking glass (dip in the sugar mixture to prevent it from sticking).
  6. Bake for 12-14 minutes. Allow to cool before handling.


Paleo Single Serving Lace Snicker Doodles

These cookies are what would happen if snicker doodles and lace cookies had a baby. They are fairly delicate, but their crunch is addicting!

Ingredients:
  • 1 tbsp coconut flour
  • 1 tbsp tapioca flour
  • 1 1/2 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 tbsp granulated sugar of choice
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • Optional: 1/2 tbsp granulated sugar + 1/8 tsp cinnamon
Method:
  1. Preheat oven to 180°C (350°F).
  2. Mix together all the ingredients using your fingers. 
  3. Separate the dough into two parts and roll into balls. 
  4. If using the sugar coating, mix together the optional sugar and cinnamon, then roll the balls in the mix to cover.
  5. Place balls on a nonstick baking surface and flatten using the bottom of a drinking glass (dip in the sugar mixture to prevent it from sticking).
  6. Bake for 12-14 minutes. Allow to cook before handling.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Lamb Stew {AIP, Whole30, Paleo}

There's no long, fancy story behind this recipe...

This recipe was born simply because I found lamb stew meat on sale. I looked up a few recipes, but I didn't have the necessary ingredients for any I'd the few AIP compliant recipes I found... so I decided to wing it.

And I hit the nail on the head! It was even hubster approved! I served it on chopped Savoy cabbage for a bit of green, but I ate the leftovers by themselves like a true stew. Anyway you choose to eat it, you're sure to enjoy it.

Lamb Stew

Ingredients:
  • 500 grams lamb stew meat
  • Fat of choice
  • 4 carrots, chopped
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk
  • 1/2 cup bone broth
  • 1/2 tbsp dried rosemary
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Salt to taste
Method:
  1. Brown the lamb over medium heat in the fat. I used my pressure cooker, but any thick bottomed pot will work.
  2. Set the meat aside and add the onions, garlic and carrots to the fat, adding more if needed. Cook until the onions soften and brown slightly.
  3. Add the meat, liquids and spices and bring to a simmer. If using a pressure cooker, cover and pressurize, cooking for 45-60 minutes. If using a pot, simmer for 2-3 hours or until tender.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Tuna & Peaches Salad {AIP, Whole30, Paleo}


I already have a recipe for tuna and peaches here on the blog... it's a Belgian favorite, so it was one of the first recipes I posted.

Since then, I've dappled with AIP a bit, and I've discovered I feel great on this diet {I hate that word}. And while I don't follow it strictly, I do eat mostly AIP now. This means I limit my consumption of mayo.

At first I was sad - no mayo means no tuna and peaches. But then I remembered my dear friend avocado. Of course! Avocado would help me.

And boy did it ever! Tuna and peaches have become my traditional Saturday post-WOD lunch. The hubster still down his in mayo, but I now revel in the deliciousness of avocado!

Tuna & Peaches Salad

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups mixed greens
  • 1 can of tuna, drained
  • 1/2 an avocado
  • 1 peach or two canned peach halves
  • 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • Salt and pepper to taste
Method:
  1. Mix together the tuna, vinegar and avocado, seasoning to taste.
  2. Place the greens on a plate, top with the peach halves, then the tuna mix.
  3. Enjoy immediately. {If making ahead of time, pack the peaches and tuna separately from the greens.}

Belgian Classics - Mustard Patties {Whole30, Paleo}

I'm starting up AIP full-force this Monday. I've actually been sticking to the AIP guidelines for the last week, but I haven't yet informed my mother-in-law about the restrictions, so I'm saving my official start date for the day after tomorrow. Therefore, I'm sharing this recipe from awhile back now, since it's not AIP compliant.

Okay. I don't really know if this is an actual Belgian classic, but it is at least a family favorite over here in Wallonia. This was actually my first introduction to my beloved Bister L'Imériale Mustard. This is one of my mother-in-laws' go-to weeknight dinners, as it requires very hands-on work.

You can substitute any mustard you'd like for this recipe, though I would suggest choosing one that has a bit more complexity than a simple yellow mustard. If you really enjoy your meat paired with a sweet note, a quality honey mustard would accentuate the flavor of the grilled onions quite nicely.



This dish is sweet and simple and goes perfectly with a simple side or greens or, to stay with the Belgian theme, throw together a quick Belgian Endive salad.

And if you are hesitating or thinking you may have sliced too many onions - don't. They reduce greatly and no matter how many I end up slicing, I never seem to have enough on my plate!

Enjoy!


Belgian Mustard Patties

Ingredients:
  • 250 grams ground pork
  • 250 grams ground beef
  • 1/2 tbsp garlic powder
  • Sea salt and black pepper
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/3 cup mustard
  • 5 large onions
  • Fat of choice for frying
Method:
  1. Slice the onions and cook over medium-low heat in FOC until translucent and slightly browned.
  2. Meanwhile, mix together the pork, beef, garlic, olive oil and about 1 tbsp of the mustard. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  3. Form 6 patties from the meat and cook over medium-high heat until just before desired wellness. 
  4. Spread both sides of the patties with the remaining mustard and allow to cook for about 30 seconds per side.
  5. Serve the patties hot and topped with the grilled onions.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Pumpkin Spice Smoothie {AIP, Paleo}

So Mika from Slightly Lost Girl recently shared her recipe for Pumpkin Spice Na'tte... and once I finally got around to reading it, I fell in love with the flavor! It tastes just like autumn should taste - like pumpkins and warm spices!

But.

I'm not a huge fan of hot drinks. I love a steamy cup of tea, and hot black or bulletproof coffee really hits the spot, but once too many flavors coffee into play, I just prefer my drink to be cold and frappe. Yes, even in autumn.

I still craved the flavors of Mika's Na'tte though, so I decided to combine them into a smoothie, crossing my fingers that it would turn out alright and not tasting like banana...

It worked wonderfully. And you know what else? It makes a delicious pudding as well!

Now I used the same spices as Mika, except for the mace - simply because I can't find it here in Belgium. If you are lucky enough to live in a country with mace, add in a dash - your taste buds are sure to thank you!

Pumpkin Spice Smoothie
Inspired by Mika's Pumpkin Spice Na'tte

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 banana
  • 5 ice cubes
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup (optional)
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/8 tsp ground turmeric
Method:
  1. If making a smoothie: Blend everything until smooth together using an immersion blender or a high power blender.
  2. If making pudding: Blend everything except the milk and ice together until smooth using an immersion blender or a high power blender.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Kombuchapple Mocktail {AIP, Paleo}


A couple weeks ago, Carolyn, the Community Manager at Lover.ly, contacted me with a fun idea. You see, their job at Lover.ly is to make wedding planning fun - and for the moment they are focusing on cocktails {and mocktails} to help brides who'd like to add a bit of flair to their reception

Carolyn asked a few of us bloggers how we'd craft a signature drink for a fall wedding or how we'd recreate one of our favorites. Our drink could be a twist on a classic or our own concoction - and we could share the recipe on our blog! {Yay for y'all!}

Now, I don't drink alcohol for medicinal reasons, so I knew I'd have to create a mocktail. I thought back to my favorite mixed drinks from my drinking days, all while keeping the idea of fall in mind. I immediately thought of my in-laws' orchard, picking apples every fall, and pressing them into enough juice to last us the year! This surplus of juice inevitably led the hubster to creating a very simple mixed drink, consisting of Calvados, an apple-based alcohol, and apple juice over ice. Simple, as I said, but also very tasty! Everyone who tried it liked it and it's the drink we served every time we have company over for dinner.

I decided to create my own, alcohol free version using kombucha. The only kombucha I can find Belgium has three flavors - and the Classic flavor has a very alcoholy taste to it, making it perfect for this mocktail. Feel free to use whatever kombucha you prefer, but stick to a classic or apple flavor in order to remain true to the original drinks' taste.

This mocktail is paleo, and is also AIP friendly. Being alcohol-free, kids can get in on this fun drink as well! If you drink alcohol, feel free to replace the kombucha with Calvados or any other apple-based alcohol such as hard cider. You could even offer both options to your dinner guests {or wedding invites}. If you are planning a wedding, don't forget to check out Lover.ly - their site is packed with amazing ideas!

Kombuchapple Mocktail

Ingredients:
  • Ice cubes
  • Classic or apple flavored kombucha
  • Apple juice
Method:
  1. Fill a long drink glass about half-full with ice cubes {about 3 cubes}.
  2. Cover the ice cubes with kombucha, then fill the glass the rest of the way with apple juice.
  3. Serve with a fancy straw and enjoy!