Paleo Muesli — Not Just for Breakfast Anymore!

Craving oatmeal, but you know your body won’t be happy if you indulge? Me, too! But I’ve found that this delicious “muesli” recipe fulfills the “need to feed” using no grains, thereby making my joints happy!

This recipe makes one very hearty-sized serving. Prep time: 6 minutes.

 Ingredients:

1 apple, chopped

1 Tbls. raisins or dried cranberries

1/4 C dried coconut

1/8 tsp. apple pie spice OR cinnamon

1/4 C water

1 tsp. coconut oil

1/4 C pecans or sliced almonds (or both!!) If you toast them in a dry frying pan first, they’re extra tasty!

A few fresh berries (optional)

1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

Coconut milk (optional)

The Process:

  1. Stir together the first six ingredients in a cereal bowl. Pop in the microwave for four minutes. Check the apples, if they’re cooked enough for your tastes, great! If not, cook a bit longer.
  2. Remove bowl from microwave. Stir in the vanilla extract.
  3. Add the nuts and berries.
  4. Top with a splash of coconut milk.
  5. Enjoy with a cup of your favorite coffee or tea!

 

Paleo Muesli has all the goodness of the traditional muesli, but without the grains. Delicious and nutritious, plus it's easy and quick to make. Eat it warm on cool mornings, or chow down late in the day for a great, quick supper!

Paleo Muesli has all the goodness of the traditional muesli, but without the grains. Delicious and nutritious, plus it’s easy and quick to make. Eat it warm on cool mornings, or chow down late in the day for a great, quick supper!

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Creamy Strawberry-Pear Dressing — Paleo, gluten-free, dairy-free bliss!

I loves me some salad! Mmm Hmm! And I’d like to eat me some everyday. But the thing that keeps me glued to the floor in front of the open door of my refrigerator is that I usually don’t have a paleo salad dressing at the ready.

I learned from doing the Whole 30 diet that my body rebels against soybean oil, sunflower oil, canola oil — basically any seed oils. My joints ache unmercifully when I have salad dressings or mayo containing these inflammation bombs, and sometimes it takes days and several doses of ibuprofen before the pain leaves. Nope. Not doing it unless I have to.

Making minuscule servings of homemade dressings from 2 tablespoons of oil and a teaspoon of vinegar doesn’t cut it anymore. I need to have olive oil-based dressings in large quantities (2- or 3-cup recipes to last through a week’s salads).

Two things happened this weekend that sent me to the test kitchen, figuratively speaking, for help: I needed salad dressing for  my lunches this week AND I was still swooning from a recent trip to Old World Olive Co. where I bonded with a handsome bottle of strawberry balsamic vinegar good enough for ice cream topping! The result of this cosmic collision of need and desire prompted this recipe that is lip-smackin’ good!!

If you don’t have strawberry balsamic, use whatever balsamic you have on hand and I’m betting it will be just as tasty. Or make a mad dash to the vinegar store and get what the recipe calls for — you won’t be sorry!!!

This Creamy Strawberry-Pear Salad Dressing is slightly sweet, flavored with a dash of cinnamon, and has just a hint of coconut flavor. This stuff adds pizzazz to any green salad or coleslaw! To bottle it, I use a former olive oil bottle that I keep on hand for just such occasions.

This Creamy Strawberry-Pear Salad Dressing is slightly sweet, flavored with a dash of cinnamon, and has just a hint of coconut. This stuff adds pizzazz to any green salad or coleslaw! I store it in a former olive oil bottle that I keep on hand for just such occasions.

Ingredients:

Makes just under 2 cups.

1 C olive oil (use light for a less musky flavor, or extra-virgin for a stronger note)
3 T strawberry balsamic vinegar
2 T pear balsamic vinegar
1 clove of garlic, pressed or finely minced (I used the minced garlic in a jar and put it through the garlic press to make it finer)
1/4 tsp Saigon or Vietnamese cinnamon (regular cinn. will work, too, but the Saigon is sweeter)
1/4 tsp cardamom
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 C olive oil mayo — click here for the recipe
3 T coconut milk (the thick stuff — I use Thai Kitchen brand)

Let’s Make It Together, Baby!

  1. Whisk everything together in a bowl large enough to hold about 3 cups of liquid. If you’re going to store this paleo salad dressing in a bottle, it works best to use a bowl with a pour spout. Otherwise, I heard somewhere that bottling it can get messy with the stuff running down the sides of the bowl and the sides of the bottle, and pooling on the countertop in a big oily puddle that no paper towel on earth can conquer. Not that I would know personally…
  2. Blend it until all the little mayo lumps are gone and the mixture is smooth.
  3. Pour it in a bottle, screw the top on it, shake, shake, shake your booty while you shake the bottle (it’s part of my diet and exercise plan).
  4. Use it right away or refrigerate the yumciousness for later. (See photo below for a delicious salad idea.)

Note: This will separate a bit in the fridge and it will get too thick to pour, so take it out of the fridge about 10 minutes before you want to use it. Then do the shaking bit again before you pour the dressing on your salad. That way you’ll burn a few calories during lunch.

Romaine, diced apple, almonds, dried coconut flakes -- and if THAT isn't good enough all by itself, I top it off with a good dose of Creamy Strawberry-Pear Dressing. This and a small can of tuna makes a filling, satisfying lunch with enough protein, carbs, and fiber to get me through any busy afternoon!

Romaine, diced apple, almonds, dried coconut flakes — and if THAT isn’t good enough all by itself, I top it off with a good dose of Creamy Strawberry-Pear Dressing. This salad and a small can of tuna makes a filling, satisfying lunch with enough protein, carbs, and fiber to get me through any busy afternoon!

Coconut Oil — Good or Bad?

I saw an episode of Dr. Oz last week and wanted to share with you what he and another doctor had to say about the benefits of coconut oil.

The first part of the video talks about something else, so fast forward to about 1 min. 54 sec. and watch the segment on MCTs. Those are found in coconut oil, and they’ll mention coconut oil specifically in the video. According to what they said on the episode, eating coconut oil regularly can help you burn about a pound of fat a month. And they explain how it works. Check it out here: Dr. Oz episode on coconut oil benefits

I use this brand of coconut oil, but you can use whatever you like.

I use this brand of coconut oil, but you can use whatever you like.

I use LouAna Coconut Oil. It comes in a huge jar and is hard until you heat it up — I have to carve it out with a spoon. I love it for sauteing chicken tenders, veggies, and cauliflower “cous cous.” I know some people eat a spoonful of it right out of the jar, but I can’t bring myself to do that. It’s a texture thing.  Other people add it to oatmeal and other hot cereals, but since I don’t eat grains anymore I’ll stick to using it for sauteing.

I encourage you to give it a try if you’re interested in moving from being a sugar burner to becoming a fat burner. Check out the book It Starts With Food for more information on how it all works.

Oh Gee, It’s Ghee!

Glorious golden ghee! Healthy, tasty, and, well, like buttah (except better).

Glorious golden ghee! Healthy, tasty, and, well, like buttah (except bettah).

Oh gee, ghee is expensive! The hub and I have gotten it in two different local stores and have paid $10.95 for a 10-oz. jar in both stores. As my mom says, “That’s too rich for MY blood!” But ghee (butter that’s had the milk proteins removed — pronounced with a hard “g”) is reported to be very beneficial for a healthy body. For more information on ghee’s nutritional benefits, read the article “Ghee, Better Than Butter” from Yoga Journal.

The hub and I love ghee on top of sweet potatoes, squash, and other veggies. And it’s great to cook with, giving a buttery flavor to eggs, sautéed veggies, and fish.

We don’t want to pass up the health benefits just because of the high price tag. But unless I want to find new white hairs sprouting from my luxurious mane every time I go grocery shopping, it’s clear I need a plan to get my healthy, lovely ghee on the cheap.

The solution? Make my own. The process is quick, very easy, and I can net about 10 fl. oz. from a pound of butter, the same amount as the $10.95 jar. I bought butter on sale last week  for $2 a pound. See what I’m sayin’?

Ingredients:

1 lb. butter — organic from grass-fed cows is best to avoid pesticides and other stuff you don’t want to eat

1 cheese bag — a cotton bag with a drawstring used to make cheese, or you can use several layers of cheese cloth, but fold it several times to make the weave dense enough to catch the dairy proteins. Make sure the square you end up with is large enough to fit inside the jar with some sticking out of the top (see instructions).

Making ghee bag and jar

1 glass jar large enough to hold the ghee  — you need a jar with a lid

1 medium saucepan and a large spoon

Process:

Total time to make: about 15 mins.

Yield: about 10 liquid ounces

  1. Put the butter in the saucepan and cook over low heat until the butter melts.

    I'm melting! I'm melting!

    I’m mel-l-l-ting! I’m mel-l-l-ting!

  2. The butter will form a layer of foam on the top. It may take several minutes to get to this point, so be patient.

    Wait until foam completely covers the melted butter.

    Wait until foam completely covers the melted butter.

  3. Using the large spoon, skim off as much of the foam as you can and discard. You can also use a slotted spoon if it’s easier, but I have never been able to get the foam from slipping through the slots back into the pan.

    In some circles,skimming a little off the top will get you in deep trouble.

    In some circles,skimming a little off the top will get you in deep trouble.

  4. Keep the pan on the heat until you can see the milk proteins settle on the bottom of the pan. The liquid should be clear enough to see through easily.

    The cloudy clumps in the bottom of the pan are the milk proteins you want to get rid of.

    The cloudy clumps in the bottom of the pan are the milk proteins you want to get rid of.

  5. In the meantime, place the cotton bag inside the jar.
    Make sure the bag corner is tucked way down into the jar.

    Make sure the bag corner is tucked way down into the jar.

    It should look something like this from the top.

    It should look something like this from the top.

  6. When the milk proteins have settled, pour the hot ghee into the cotton bag. You can put all of it in, including the milk protein clumps. However, I find that the milk proteins tend to “plug up” the bag and prevent the last bits of ghee from straining into the jar. So I pour in all of the ghee, and when I get to the clump of milk proteins I hold them back with a spoon as I pour slowly and try to get as much ghee into the bag as I can. Discard the milk proteins.

    Pour it in slowly, it's hot stuff!

    Pour it in slowly, it’s hot stuff!

  7. After all the ghee has strained into the jar, remove the bag from the jar. Allow the ghee to cool completely before putting on the lid.
    Let the ghee cool before you put the lid on the jar.

    Let the ghee cool before you put the lid on the jar.

    The ghee should look something like this when it has cooled.

    The ghee should look something like this when it has cooled.

  8. Rinse the bag (it will be greasy) in very hot running water until all the grease is gone. No need to use soap. Hang to dry.

Your ghee does not need to be refrigerated. It will stay soft at room temperature for a long time. Enjoy!!