Paleo Pop Tarts! (Paleo, AIP, Nut-Free)

Of the many random topics we discuss at Crossfit Iron Will… the other day the debate of “Toaster Strudel versus Pop Tart” came up. I had to search back into my pre-gluten-intolerance days to add in my two cents. Who are we kidding though, Pop Tarts were one of my favorites, and I remember them like it was yesterday! Perhaps, because I made my own paleo version of Pop Tarts… 🙂

I will fore-warn you that these aren’t the easiest to make, (make sure you are’t in a time-crunch for best results) but they are definitely worth it if you’ve been craving a pop-tart.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup cassava flour (plus 1/4 cup for prepping)
  • 1/2 tsp. natural baking soda
  •  1/2 tsp. himalayan sea salt
  • 1/3 cup coconut oil (solid)
  • 1 egg (plus 2 egg whites)
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 2 TB. local honey
  • 1/3 cup strawberry rhubarb jam (or your choice of fruit preserves)

Instructions:

-Preheat oven to 375 degrees

-In a large mixing bowl combine cassava flour, baking soda and sea salt

-Add solid coconut oil to flour mixture and use your hands to work the coconut oil into the flour, the result will be small crumbles



-In another mixing bowl whisk together one whole egg, honey and water.

-Add the egg mixture into the flour and stir until no chunks remain and a sticky dough forms


-This is where the fun begins! The messier the better… on a clean surface (you can use parchment paper if you’d like but personally I have better luck straight on the counter top) throw down a bunch of cassava flour, and carefully roll out your dough into 1/4 inch thick layer

-Using a pizza cutter, cut rectangles in your dough and carefully transfer the bottom layer of rectangles to a parchment lined baking sheet


-Whisk egg whites in small dish and coat the bottom layers with egg white froth


-Then add your jam to the bottom layer of your pop tarts (you can decide how big or small to make them, in this case I made each about 2 x 1 inches which yielded 9 pop tarts)


-For the tops, make sure each rectangle is slightly larger than the bottom so the edges completely cover the jam and the bottom layer, coat the inside again with egg white before placing over the bottom layer

-Carefully pinch together the top layer to the bottom layer and finish each pop tart with 2-3 slits in the top to allow them to breathe in the oven

-Bake for 15-20minutes or until golden brown


-Let cool (or dont!) and add your favorite topping.. in my case I always enjoyed pop tarts with melted grass-fed butter on top…. YUMMM!!!


Don’t forget to share with your friends- you’ll forever be their hero! 🙂

White Velvet Hash (Paleo, AIP)

Hey everyone! I apologize for neglecting my blog lately I have just been consistently wrapped up in too many things! It’s definitely gotten to me as my adrenals are telling me they can’t keep up. Between long hours of work, cooking, baking, personal training, lifting, WODs, and now physical therapy, there just isn’t enough time in the day! Lucky for my readers and for myself I have decided to (and been forced to) make some changes in order to restore my health once again and to get back to doing the things that make me happy (like THIS!).

For those of you that know me, I continue to struggle with spinal issues. It’s a work in progress and at this point it just one thing after another, but I hope that eventually my troubles will be much farther and fewer between. Most currently I have been dealing with a pinched nerve in my lumbar spine that was causing muscle weakness in my right leg and subsequent knee pain because my right leg was failing to get into the proper position. Since I went back to Physical Therapy (shout out to ProEX in Springfield for being amazing!) I have seen a HUGE improvement in my right leg. In fact I ended up getting a PR on my snatch a few days into PT. On the downside, the pain has since centralized itself to my lumbar spine which is far more uncomfortable than my knee! It’s a process that needs to happen though, and since i have had back pain I have been advised to cease all activity that compresses the spine…. It doesn’t take long to realize that cuts out mostly everything besides a few specific exercises. Luckily I should be able to get back to lifting in about 2 weeks or once the pain is gone. Until then I’m all about them core exercises! And my compex, which has super helpful in muscle recovery and also has strength settings so I don’t feel like I am doing NOTHING for the next 2 weeks!

  
On the plus side, my relatively nonexistent workout load gives me some much needed time to let my creative wheels turn again in the kitchen! (I’m sure my boyfriend will be happy about this because I’ve been cooking the most basic and uninteresting things lately! lol… sorry Mickey!) Some of you might have seen my recipe for Red Velvet Hash, which was AH-mazing! Well, this one has similar ingredients but a whole different flavor profile, a MUST try!


Ingredients:

  • 1 large white sweet potato (Japanese or Hannah), shaved
  • 2 medium golden beets, peeled and shaved
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 2-4 TB. coconut oil
  • 2 TB. fresh chives, diced
  • 1 TB. tarragon
  • 1 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp. onion powder
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1.8 tsp. pepper

Instructions:

-In a large skillet melt 2 TB. coconut oil over medium-high heat

-Add diced onion to the skillet and cook until translucent, about 3-5 minutes

-Add shaved beets and potato to the skillet and cook for 5 minutes, stirring once or twice

-Add the rest of the ingredients (including the rest of the coconut oil if you need it) to the skillet and stir to combine

  
-Cover and cook for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until beets and potatoes are soft

  
-Add in some cooked meats if desired, top with some eggs or use as a delicious side dish! You could also turn the skillet to high and really crisp up the hash if you prefer it crispy! Lots of possibilities with this one!

  
Enjoy!

Toasted Coconut Plantain Pancakes (Paleo, AIP)

I have to say that pretty much the entire time (we’re talking several months) that I was following the strict Autoimmune diet, I was dying for pancakes. It’s funny because even before I started the AI protocol I would only make paleo pancakes every once in a blue moon. I think it was mostly because of the fact that I attempted to make a few different versions of egg-free AIP pancakes and they all failed miserably. Of course now that I am allowed to incorporate more foods back into my diet, I find that I still stick to eating mostly AIP, with the exception of natural sweeteners or a bite of dark chocolate once in a while. Eating AIP just simply makes me feel better.

I am still experimenting with eggs to see if I can (ever) actually reincorporate them into my diet. The more I read and hear through other people’s experiences the more I find that eggs tend to be a common irritant. So for now, I have finally made one AIP pancake recipe that works! I plan on using some other flours and starches to work on some more recipes as well. These are definitely tasty but not “pancake-texture”, so if that’s what your looking for you might want to try someone else’s recipe, for now.


Ingredients:

  • 2 ripe (black) plantains
  • 1/4 cup shredded coconut (plus a little more for topping!)
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. allspice
  • 2 TB coconut oil
  • 1-2 TB full-fat coconut cream
  • Dash of vanilla extract

Instructions:

-In a 300 degree oven, toast the shredded coconut on a baking pan for 4-5 minutes, flipping regularly so the coconut doesn’t burn. Toast until golden brown.

-Preheat a large skillet to medium-high head and add 1 TB. coconut oil to the skillet.

-In a large mixing bowl, mash the plantain with the toasted coconut, cinnamon and allspice until no large chunks remain (there will likely still be some small ones).

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-Once the skillet is hot add 1/4 cup of the plantain mixture to the pan, using the bottom of a spoon to mold the mixture into a thin circle (about 1/4 inch thick)

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-Cook for 2-3 minutes per side then move to another plate to cool for 2 minutes.

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-While the pancakes are cooling whip up the coconut cream with the vanilla and toss onto pancakes. Garnish with some more toasted coconut and enjoy!

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Notes: You can find coconut cream in canned full-fat coconut milk. The cream usually separates from the water. Another option is to buy this brand of coconut “milk” which is essentially just the cream.

Chicory Coffee (Paleo, AIP, LowFODMAP, 21DSD)

This week I have been in Eastern Mass working for my parents and tending to the house, cat, dog and horse while my parents are away. I have to say even though I have been busy as usual, it’s a different kind of busy. Taking care of animals and working in retail feels like a vacation compared to my life back home! Although I have changed a lot in the past 8 months to improve my lifestyle and reduce stress, I know that I still need to tweak some things that are impeding on my progress. In fact, my doctor sent me a scientific paper titled “Overtraining, Exercise and Adrenal Insufficiency” last week, that didn’t sit well with me. I wouldn’t say he was wrong, I know a lot about overtraining- but for me, the issue isn’t with exercise specifically, it’s simply doing too much, all the time, never stopping. I do prioritize my sleep and use acupuncture not only to keep my shoulder happy but also to relax. I guess practicing relaxation once a week for around an hour isn’t enough?! We’ll call this the first step: realizing that there is a problem that needs addressing.

On the other hand, since I have been able to relax and my stress levels are pretty low at the moment- I have been feeling great. I haven’t had crazy food cravings, have been able to start losing the stress weight that I tend to hold onto when I am in overdrive for too long, my body has been recovering quickly from workouts and lifting, and the pain in my shoulder has been pretty sparse. Oh yah, and I also got my period again after being two weeks late. Sorry for the TMI but it just goes to show you how much you can really screw up your body processes when you don’t relax. Those who say “i’ll sleep when I’m dead”: with that mindset it will be sooner than you think, trust me.

So, while I figure out the next steps that need to happen in order for me to keep my body balanced and happy, I do have a lot to look forward to the next few weeks. I am going to start up a new lifting program next week which I am thrilled about. Endurance comes pretty naturally to me but strength does not, so I plan on focusing on getting stronger the next few months in order to improve my overall athletic ability. Not to mention I love lifting. I may still be relatively new to Olympic lifting but I absolutely love the technicality of it, the room for constant improvement, the confidence that it builds, the list goes on. I also have been fortunate enough to have been able to learn a lot from Nikita who is an amazing coach and one day I hope to make him proud when I am a super strong lifter.  😉

While reading this post you might think I am contradicting myself by saying I need more relaxing in my life and then throw in that I am starting a lifting program, but the truth of the matter is that I know what is causing the stress in life, and it’s not working out. While I am aware that lifting adds physical stress to the body, it also clears my mind, gives me something to look forward to, and releases endorphins that allow me to feel fulfilled. The kind of stress that causes adrenal fatigue (for me) comes from work and from over-committing myself to things. AKA I suck at saying no. I tend to pride myself on being able to get a zillion things done in a day and help everyone that I come across. While I do enjoy being able to do everything, clearly my body does not. I have some work to do in sorting out what can stay and what needs to go in my life, but the end result will be worth it.


In other news: since I am still not allowed to have coffee (It’s not on the Autoimmune Paleo protocol), I have found this surprisingly similar alternative. I love coffee, not for the caffeine but for the taste. I also am surrounded by coffee when I am at work at Jake’s and find it to be torturous at times. While I haven’t had a problem swapping coffee out for tea or bone broth, I miss the savory robust coffee taste!

I’m not sure why this took me so long to stumble across, mostly because I had no idea it existed until I heard about it on a podcast, but Chicory Coffee is a thing, and it’s quite delicious! I made some for the first time today after realizing that River Valley Market carries ground chicory root. So far I have also found that you definitely don’t need as much chicory grinds to make a great cup of coffee, its pretty strong! It also really DOES taste like coffee, I would say its more on the acidic side so I recommend adding some coconut oil, full-fat coconut milk, maybe even some ghee and spices. I personally prefer coconut oil, coconut milk and some cinnamon.

So, If you can have coffee, why should you switch to chicory? Personally I think that the world relies a little too much on coffee and caffeinated beverages. If you are the type that needs a coffee in the morning or mid-day just to make it through the day, then you have something deeper going on that needs addressing. Your energy plummets due to lack of proper nutrition, being on the Standard American Diet blood sugar roller-coaster, or simply not getting enough rejuvenating deep sleep. Chicory is naturally caffeine free also has a number of health benefits including liver and digestive support.

How do you make it? Simple, the same way as you make coffee! Throw some chicory grinds into a filter, add water to your coffee machine, and let the magic happen! Remember, it’s potent so go I would suggest using half the amount you would normally use to make regular coffee. I use 1 TB. for 4 cups of coffee. I prefer it to not be that strong but you can tweak this to your desired taste.

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Then, add in whatever you would like, here are some suggestions:

  • 2 tsp. coconut oil
  • 1 TB. full-fat coconut milk
  • 2 tsp. ghee
  • 1/4 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. ginger
  • 1/4 tsp. baking soda (Why baking soda? Check out this post)
  • 1/4 tsp. cacao powder

Whatever combo you choose, blend it up after or use a handy frother and voilia! Delicious craft “coffee” that is AIP friendly!

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Red Velvet Hash (Paleo, AIP, 21DSD)

So the other day I was in the process of prepping dinner (while also about to bake some cookies) when my stove decided to “die”. For once in my life I stayed calm, tried to assess the problem and quickly came up with a backup plan for how I was going to continue to cook without a stovetop or oven. Luckily most of the snow had melted around our grill a few days before this mishap, and, what more caveman-like way to cook dinner than on the open flame of a grill! (well, of course a hand-started fire would be more caveman-like, but thats besides the point!) So, I got to work cooking this amazing hash on the grill and I have to say it was a lot nicer to get some fresh-air while cooking for once! Obviously this can be made in skillet on the stove, but if you would like to be a little more adventurous, try it on the grill!

Ingredients:

  • 2 large sweet potatoes
  • 2 large red beets
  • 1/2 large yellow onion
  • 6-8 slices bacon
  • 2 TB. dill
  • 1 TB. tarragon
  • 1 tsp. sea salt
  • 1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • 1-2 TB. coconut oil (if needed)

Instructions:

-Shred sweet potatoes and beets into a large mixing bowl using a mandolin with a grating attachment or a large box grater

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-Chop the onion into thin slices and add it to the shredded beets and sweets

-Then toss in the dill, tarragon, salt and pepper and mix until thoroughly combined

-Heat grill to medium-high (mine was about 400 degrees)

-Place bacon in strips into a cast iron skillet and throw it on the heated grill for about 5 mintutes, then flip the bacon. Cook until the bacon is starting to crisp

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-Remove the bacon from the skillet and cut it into 1/4 inch pieces

-Add the hash to the bacon fat and cook, stirring occasionally for about 10 minutes until the potatoes are soft

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-Add the bacon bits back into the hash, toss and serve!

-Enjoy hash as a side dish or with some over easy eggs (if you are not doing AIP)!

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Egg-less Break-fast. (Paleo, AIP, LowFODMAP, 21DSD)

Breakfast is one of the meals thats like clockwork to me. I have just about the same thing every morning which takes all the planning and stress out of my morning routine. I make small tweaks to my breakfast when certain foods aren’t available but I generally keep it as: some sort of meat cooked with a leafy green or other vegetable, 1/2 an avocado and a soothing warm beverage. This breakfast works well and enjoy it so much that I actually looked forward to breakfast before I go to bed. (Or maybe I just love to eat?)

One of the hardest parts about starting the Autoimmune protocol was changing my breakfast… NO eggs, and NO coffee! I’ve had eggs and coffee for breakfast for the last 6+ years of my life! It was the epitome of breakfast to me and I had a REALLY hard time trying to wrap my brain around not consuming two of my favorite things anymore. Lucky for me I knew the day would come when I had to follow strict AIP and therefore had mentally been preparing and brainstorming ways to survive when the change occurred. I started slowly switching over to decaf coffee to avoid the caffeine-headache-withdrawals, while also trying to have bone broth with breakfast instead of coffee from time to time. This process got more difficult when I started working at a breakfast restaurant and am surrounded by eggs and coffee all day… but anyone who has been battling with severe autoimmune disease will tell you that there is nothing more motivating than the thought of one day being out of pain.

I also, fortunately, love all food, so having something different for breakfast wasn’t the worst thing in the world but I knew I would miss the convenience of eggs.

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😦

So my new AIP and low-FODMAP breakfast now consists of:

  • 1/4 lb. of ground beef, turkey or pork
  • 1-2 cups of kale or spinach
  • 1/2 cup avocado*
  • 2 TB. coconut oil or tallow
  • 1/2 tsp. turmeric
  • 1/4 tsp. himalayan sea salt
  • 1 cup bone broth

* avocado is listed as a moderate FODMAP food, but for those of us that need larger quantities of fat (are very active), avocados that are NOT very ripe contain less FODMAPs!

I usually start by throwing my bone broth in a pot and bringing that to a boil. Once boiling I remove it from the heat and put it in my mug with 1 TB. of coconut oil. Once the oil has melted I blend and forth it with my handily frother and set it aside to cool.

In a large skillet I melt the other TB of coconut oil or tallow(from the broth) over medium heat. Then I add in the greens, pre-cooked meat, turmeric and salt. Sauté until the greens have wilted and the meat is warm, then transfer to a bowl or plate. Top with avocado and enjoy with the bulletproof bone broth

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