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!

Curried Mashed Plantains

One of the things I have loved about changing over to a paleo way of eating are all the new-to-me foods I am trying.  One of these foods is plantain.  My cousin Wendy, who is also a Whole30 success story, turned me on to this recipe when we had a lovely Whole30 compliant brunch.  She brought these curried mashed plantains and I just couldn’t get enough!

Plantains are similar to bananas, but not as sweet and much uglier.  The best ones to find look like big overripe bananas.  When I bought the ones for this recipe the cashier almost mistakenly rang them up as clearance bananas.  They are eaten fried, steamed, grilled, or baked.

 

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Ingredients:

3 ripe plantains

1 cup diced red onion

2 cloves garlic – minced

1T coconut oil -OR- bacon grease

1/2 cup coconut milk

1/2 t salt

1/2 t freshly ground black pepper

1 t curry powder

1t garam masala

Optional: 2 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled

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Directions:

1.  Boil 6 cups of water, add a sprinkle of salt to the water.

2.  Peel the plantains and chop into medium size pieces.  I find it easiest to peel by first slicing the skin down the middle.

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3.  Add the cut up plantains to the boiling water, allow to boil for 20 minutes or until soft.

4.  While the plantains are boiling heat the coconut oil or bacon grease in a skillet and add the onion and garlic.  Saute until the onion starts to caramelize.

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5.  Drain the plantains and put into a bowl.  Add the 1/2 cup of coconut milk and mash with a fork or potato masher.

6.  Add the cooked onion and garlic, salt, pepper, curry powder, and garam masala.  This would be the time to add the bacon if you choose to do so.   Stir to combine.

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Thai Chicken Stew with Roasted Root Veggies

We deal with some pretty brutal winter weather here in Michigan.  Becoming a runner has made winter fun again for me.  There is nothing like getting out on the trail when it is crisp and cold with the snow crunching under your running shoes.  The sense of accomplishment after conquering the distance in challenging conditions is always pretty awesome.  Whatever winter activity you like, having a bowl of this stew afterwards is sure to warm and satisfy you.

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2 sweet potatoes- peeled and cut into half inch pieces

1 medium rutabaga- peeled and cut into half inch pieces

4 large carrots-peeled and cut into half inch pieces

1 red onion- chopped into medium pieces

6 boneless skinless chicken thighs- cut into 1 inch pieces

3T coconut oil- divided, plus a little to grease pans

1t Salt

1t Pepper

1 can coconut milk

2T red Thai curry paste

1t fish sauce

32oz broth (chicken or veggie)

6-10 basil leaves-cut into thin slices

 

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

2. Put all your cut up veggies in a large bowl.  Drizzle with 1T coconut oil and mix to coat.

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3. Spread veggies in a single layer on baking sheets greased with coconut oil.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Roast in oven for 30 minutes, turning once to avoid burning.

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4.  While the veggies are roasting, heat  1T coconut oil in a large skillet.  Add chicken and saute until cooked through and no longer pink.

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5.  Push the chicken to the side of the skillet, add remaining 1T coconut oil to empty spot on skillet.  Add red curry paste to oil and saute until fragrant- about 30 seconds.

6.  Mix up the chicken and curry paste in the skillet and then add the can of coconut milk and fish sauce.  Simmer for about 5 minutes.

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6.  The veggies should be done now, pull them out of the oven.   Put them in a big stock pot along with the broth.

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7.  Add chicken mixture to veggies and broth.  Simmer for 10 minutes or so, until everything thickens up.   Serve sprinkled with fresh basil.

 

 


			

Creamy Saffron and Nutmeg Bananas

The other day I was in need of something sweet.  Usually I will just grab a piece of fruit (I usually limit myself to 2 or less pieces a day), but that night I needed something fancier.  That’s right, it needed to be fancy.  My daughter may be rubbing off on me.  She is the queen of glitter, tutus, and dancing.

Making desserts without adding any sugar can be tricky.  Trickier yet is making them taste like dessert.  I took a few of my favorite things, threw them together, and this is what happened.  Fancy schmancy bananas.  No sugar added, nothing fake.

Creamy Saffron and Nutmeg Bananas

(Serves 2)

2 bananas

1 cup coconut milk

pinch of Saffron threads

Nutmeg

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1.  Heat your coconut milk and saffron threads in a small saucepan over low to medium heat.  Do not allow to boil.

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Isn’t it gorgeous? I just love saffron.

2.  Slice your bananas into the pan, stir just long enough that the banana heats up a bit.  You do not want it to get mushy.

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3.  Spoon mixture into a bowl and sprinkle with nutmeg.  I used whole nutmeg and a teeny tiny grater.

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There you go!  Dessert that you do not have to feel guilty about.  My daughter loved it too.  Seriously couldn’t get enough.  She may have described it as the “best thing ever”.  And that means a lot coming from the queen of fancy fairy land.