Apple Pie Tarts (Paleo, Egg-Free)

This past weekend I had an Olympic Weightlifting competition up in Concord, NH. It was a pretty small meet and I’m lucky enough to train with most of the people that were there so it was even more fun to compete with a bunch of friends! Some of the highlights of the trip were getting to see my roommate, Chelsea, and good friend Ryan partake in their first ever Oly meet. They freaking killed it and I couldn’t be more proud of them! Flashback to when I had my first meet and I couldn’t feel my legs and hit only 1/6 lifts, HA! Another highlight was crushing some non-paleo (but still gluten-free) pizza afterwards. I think its a rule that after you almost kill yourself trying to cut weight you’re allowed to consume whatever you want that isn’t going to kill you further 🙂 After this meet my coach and I decided it was time to move up a weight class anyways… sooo ALL the baked goods are coming your way!


Oh… and I wore a poop singlet for shits and giggles 😂😂!

Apple picking is one of my favorite things to do this time of year. But then of course there is the task of trying to eat all of those apples before they go bad! So here is a pretty easy and delicious apple pie tart recipe that I hope you all enjoy!

Ingredients:

Crust

  • 2 1/2 cups almond flour
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 5 TB coconut oil, melted
  • 3 TB maple syrup
  • 2 TB almond milk
  • 1 1/2 TB vanilla extract

Filling

  • 2 TB grass-fed butter
  • 3 apples, peeled, cored and cubed
  • 1 TB apple cider
  • 1 TB honey
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon

Instructions:

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  • In a large mixing bowl combine all crust ingredients and mix until fully incorporated
  • Grease a mini-cupcake pan (or if you want to get fancy use these tart tins) with coconut oil
  • Take 1-2 TB sized scoops of the crust mixture and press them into the tins to create a pocket for the filling, try to keep the thickness of the dough the same on the bottom and the sides
  • Once the dough is set, heat the butter for the filling in a large pan over medium heat
  • After the butter has melted add the apples and apple cider, cook down for 8-10 minutes or until the apples are soft
  • Remove the pan from the heat and add the honey, lemon, vanilla and cinnamon. Stir to combine
  • Add 1-2 TB scoops of the filling to each tart crust
  • Bake for 10-12 minutes or until the crust is golden brown (I accidentally over cooked mine.. oops!)
  • Make sure to let the tarts cool for about 3-5 minutes before removing them from the pan, using a toothpick to loosen the edges and wedge them out is very helpful!

You can enjoy these as bite sized snacks or make them into a decadent desert by adding this simple whipped cream:

Add all ingredients in a large mixing bowl and whip using a hand (or stand) mixer.

Enjoy!!

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Monkey Fuel Bars

Hey everyone! Long time no post, and a long explanation will be heading your way soon, but for now I wanted to pick up right where I left off with a recipe using one of my favorite substitute ingredients: Fuel For Fire.

If you haven’t heard of FFF before, you’re welcome! It’s simply a delicious packet of fruit and protein. I regularly use these packets as pre/inta/post-workout snacks but have come to find out that they are a great baking substitute as well! If you don’t believe me, here’s your chance to try it yourself 🙂

Ingredients:

  • 1 overripe banana
  • 1 Fuel For Fire Banana Cocoa
  • 1/2 cup almond butter
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
  • 1 cup almond meal
  • 3 TB coconut flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1-2oz dark chocolate, melted (topping)


    Instructions:

    • Preheat oven to 350 degrees
    • Add banana, fuel for fire, almond butter, eggs and coconut oil in a large bowl and mash/mix until fully incorporated
    • In a separate bowl mix almond flour, coconut flour, baking soda and sea salt
    • Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients and mix until no chunks remain
    • Pour batter into greased (use coconut oil) 8×8 baking dish (I made a 1/2 recipe and used this amazing baking pan to make the mine)

    • Bake for 17-18 mins, let cool for a few minutes before transferring to a cooling rack
    • Once cool, melt chocolate in a microwave safe bowl or double boiler

    • Drizzle chocolate over each square (I use wilton decorating bags to help with this) and pop them in the fridge for about 10 minutes until the chocolate has cooled and solidified again

      Then enjoy!! These make a great “real food” pre or post workout snack containing a pretty balanced amount of protein, fat and carbohydrates! I’ve used FFF for a substitute for bananas, apple sauce, mashed potato, pumpkin puree, mostly anything that is used as a binder. The bananas add a bit more texture but the results are equally delicious either way. I made this recipe without bananas because… I didn’t have any! It pays to think outside the box sometimes, especially when you regularly stock up on things like Fuel For Fire! Check them out!

      Pumpkin Bacon & Chive Biscuits (Paleo, Nut-Free)

      You might be wondering where I have been the last 9 months… and to answer that in one word, I have been BUSY! There have been a boatload of changes: bought a house, had to buy a new car, started a new full time job while still maintaining two other part time jobs. It’s been a little hectic to say the least. But I am happy to be back and although I haven’t had the time to make many new recipes myself, I wanted to share some that I have enjoyed making and munching on while I’ve been MIA.

      These biscuits are brought to you by The Urban Poser whose blog I peruse quite often to find tasty recipes! So without further ado:

      Pumpkin Bacon & Chive Biscuits (Nut, Dairy and Gluten-Free)

      Ingredients:

      • 3-4 Strips of Bacon, cooked until crispy
      • 1/2 Cup melted fat (Bacon grease works great here!)
      • 1/2 Cup + 2 TB coconut flour
      • 3/4 tsp baking soda
      • 1/4 tsp sea salt
      • 1 TB apple cider vinegar
      • 1/2 Cup  pumpkin puree
      • 3 large eggs
      • 1/2 Cup finely chopped fresh chives (substitute: green onions)

      Instructions:

      -Preheat oven to 350 degrees

      -In a large bowl combine the coconut flour, baking soda and salt

      -In a separate bowl whisk together the cooking fat, vinegar, eggs and pumpkin puree until combined.

      -Mix the wet ingredients in with the dry ingredients then add finely chopped bacon and chives

      -Using a 1/4 cup measure, gently pack and drop the biscuits onto a parchment lined baking sheet

      -Bake for 18-20 minutes or until the edges start to crisp

      -Allow biscuits to cool for about 5 minutes and then enjoy!

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      Strawberry Rhubarb Jam (Paleo)

      Well I have some exciting news to share with you all today! I am now officially the nutrition coach for the North East Grid League Springfield Musketeers! If you aren’t familiar with the Grid League, it’s basically crossfit taken to the next level. Teams are drafted and combined to showcase some of the best athletes and their respective strengths. Similar to football in many ways, it gives athletes to really capitalize on what they are good at in a competitive setting. It’s fast paced and uber fun to watch! If you don’t believe me check it out for yourself!

        
      More info to come on that topic, but for now, if you are in the Weatern Mass area come down to Crossfit Swarm on Saturday, June 13th and come chat with me and try some of my delicious treats! I will have a booth at their 80’s themed competition. Should be a great day! 

      In other news this will be the third week of my local farm share delivery from Forty Acres Farm in Granby, MA. I have thoroughly enjoyed experimenting with some new veggies and cuts of meat! I highly reccomend investing in a local farm share. There is no better way to support local farms and receive the freshest meat and produce possible! Not to mention you can trust that you are getting a high quality product. I suggest visiting the farm and getting to know the farmer. Patrick Benson is the owner and farmer at Forty Acres Farm and be only does he do everything pretty much himself but he is super knowledgable, kind, welcoming, and hardworking. He gave me the tour of of farm even before seeds were really sprouting but was able to express his passion for organic, sustainable farming practices as well as pasture raised meats. His animals are also halal raised and humanely slaughtered. He takes great pride in his products, as he should, they have been outstanding! 

      The first week we got a bunch of rhubarb, which I have surprisingly never used before! I  was eager to make various rhubarb treats but unfortunately most of them needed some tweaking to be at my standards. This jam, however, came out great! I’m thinking it will be perfect to use as a filling or spread on cupcakes, cakes, muffins or maybe even some paleo bread if you have some lying atound! 😜

      ingredients:

      • 1.5 cups local rhubarb, cut into 1 inch pieces
      • 1.5 cups organic strawberries, hulled and cut in half
      • 1/3 cup local raw honey 
      • Juice of 1 lemon

      Instructions:

      -Combine all ingredients over medium heat in a large, thick bottomed pot

        

        
      -Simmer for 15-25 minutes, stirring occasionally and mashing fruit with fork until the jam starts to thicken to desired consistency

        
      -Let cool for 5 minutes and enjoy! 

        
      Jam can be kept in the refrigerator for about 2 weeks. It can also be frozen in an airtight container.

      Blueberry Gummies (Paleo, AIP, LowFODMAP, 21DSD)

      I apologize for being so behind in my blog posts lately! I have had to put more time into reducing my stress levels again lately as they tend to creep up when I over-commit myself to things. Once again I like to think that I can “do it all” and I sure can, but it comes with a cost which is usually a decline in my health. Anyways, I won’t bore you with details from my fitness updates today but overall things are going well. I have a slight stability problem in my right knee/ankle that is causing some inflammation in my knee but I am actively working on figuring that out, I will likely head back to my friends at ProEX Physical Therapy to strengthen that issue. In the mean time my lifting is going quite well and I have been making progress everyday! No complaints there.

      In the Primal Treats and Eats realm I have been baking away for Mother’s Day! I had some mini-cake specials going on so that people could treat themselves as well as the mothers in their lives! I unfortunately will not be seeing my mother or my family this weekend because I will be working on Mother’s Day, but I did of course bake my mom something special and will celebrate with her the following weekend.

        
      Mini cakes! 

      Another positive note is that the weather in New England has been amazing!! I think we deserve it after that harsh winter… I got to enjoy it a little yesterday while hiking. 😊

        
      Views from the top of the Notch in Amherst.

      Now for the gummies!

      This is a great recipe that is super easy to make. After listening to the Glowing Skin Summit I got a swift reminder of the importance of gelatin, collagen, antioxidants, vitamin C, and many other nutrients that support skin health. Skin is the largest organ in the body and it has internal and external components. Skin serves to protect the body from external elements: it lets things that we need in such as sunlight to create vitamin D, and keeps out the toxins. Although in modern times the world we live in is a very toxic one. Our skin is exposed to chemicals and toxins throughout the day in our skincare products, shampoos, soaps, perfume, deodorants, detergents, and even in the air and water supply. It’s more important than ever to take a loot at your products and the ingredients in them and try your best to detoxify your life from these harmful agents. This may surprise you but all of these products can be made pretty simply! More info on that to come as I learn for myself how to create my own household cleaning products and find the best chemical and toxin free skincare products. For now I can share that Dr. Bronner makes a great multipurpose soap. Himalayan sea salt soap is all you need to clean and exfoliate the skin. And last but not least Dragonfly Traditions has amazing natural skin care products! 

      Ok, now I’ll really get to the recipe:

      Ingredients:

      • 1 cup organic berries (I used blueberries)
      • 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
      • 4 TB Great Lakes Beef gelatin
      • 1-2 TB coconut water (optional)
      • 1-2 TB local raw honey (optional)

      Instructions:

      -Add blueberries, lemon juice, coconut water and honey to a saucepan over medium heat

        
      -Cook, stirring occasionally, until blueberries have deflated and let the mixture is mostly liquid

        
      -Let cool for 1-2 minutes then add berry mixture to a blender with gelatin and blend unit smooth

      -Pour gelatin mixture into candy molds or into a glass pan

        
      -Pop in the fridge for an hour to solidify

      -Cut into preferred shape and size and enjoy one or a few daily!

        

      Dee Dee’s infamous Pumpkin Bread (Paleo)

      Switching over to the paleo lifestyle from the Standard American Diet can be overwhelming and challenging in many ways. It starts with replacing the classic boxed breakfast (cereal, oatmeal, etc), then removing the bread from your sandwich for lunch, and no pasta for dinner! It all seems ludicrous when you first approach it. After slowly switching over to real foods, the shock goes away and you realize that life DOES go on without processed foods, you suddenly stop craving them and actually start to find all that junk pretty unappetizing. There are, however, some things that you find you just can’t seem to stop missing. For me, one of those things was my grandmother, Dee Dee’s pumpkin bread. We would have it every year for thanksgiving and she would even make us each our own loaf to be cherished and consumed for as long as it would last.

      My family has been hugely supportive of my lifestyle choices and have even taken the time to learn more about getting healthy through eating real foods. Each year they seem to switch out more junk for more real foods, primarily eat gluten free, and welcome my eating habits with open arms. Although thanksgiving is still a ways away- I cannot wait to bring my paleo form of Dee Dee’s pumpkin bread to the table and see how it holds up to “the real thing”. I have a feeling everyone will be pleasantly surprised by how amazing it came out!

      Without further ado, here’s the recipe.

      Ingredients:

      • 2 2/3 cups palm sugar
      • 2 cups pumpkin
      • 1 2/3 cups coconut flour
      • 1 2/3 cups tapioca flour
      • 4 eggs
      • 2/3 cups shortening
      • 2/3 cups water
      • 2 1/8 tsp. baking soda
      • 1/4 tsp. cream of tartar
      • 1 1/2 tsp. sea salt
      • 1 tsp. cinnamon
      • 1/2 tsp. cloves
      • 1/3 cup chopped walnuts
      • 1/3 cup chopped pecans
      • 2/3 cup raisins, soaked for 10min in warm water
      • Coconut oil, for greasing

      Instructions:

      -Preheat oven to 350 degrees

      -In a large mixing bowl cream together the shortening and coconut sugar

      -Add the eggs, pumpkin and water to the mixture and whisk to combine

      -Sift the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients and mix well

      -Stir in the nuts and raisins

      -Grease a large loaf pan with coconut oil and add the bread mixture to the pan

      -Bake for 1 hour or until the bread passes the toothpick test

      -This bread is great heated up and slathered with some grassfed ghee, YUM!

      Enjoy!

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      Crispy Pork Belly (Paleo, AIP, LowFODMAP, 21DSD)

      If you have never tried pork belly, my friend and boss, Alex will tell you it’s “bacon’s older, wiser and more handsome brother”. It’s every bacon lover’s dream come true: bigger, yummier, juicier bacon! It’s the perfect topping for burgers and salads or in benedict’s for breakfast (as you will notice if you ever stop into Jake’s.. Pork belly is all over the menu!)

      Pork belly isn’t one of those things that you can easily find at the supermarket but if you stop into your local butcher they will more often then not have some, or tell you when it will be available. This recipe has been a long time coming for me. I absolutely love pork belly and when I found out I could get some at Sutter Meats I was thrilled! I’m not going to lie I tried to make it a few different ways, taking some ideas from recipes I had seen online and pointers from the butcher on how to cook it, but I just never go the results that I wanted. At Jake’s we have perfectly cooked crispy pork belly and although it took me 3 tries, I finally got the same results! (Thank you Alex for your cooking tips!)

      I will say where I went wrong was by thinking I could cook the pork belly in a short period of time (aka have it ready by the time my burgers were done cooking) and thats just not possible! This recipe requires a lot of prep and a lot of cooking time but its SO worth it. Give it a shot!

      The steps:

      1. Make Pork Broth
      2. Cure Pork Belly
      3. Braise Pork Belly
      4. Sear Pork Belly

      Total time needed is approximately 3 days. You can make the pork broth in the crockpot (24 hrs) while you are curing the pork belly (3 days) and on the last day allow about 6 hours to cook, cool and sear the pork belly.

      Ingredients:

      • 1/2 lb. pork belly with skin
      • 1 tsp. sea salt
      • 1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
      • 1/4 tsp. coriander
      • 1/8 tsp. cinnamon
      • 1/8 tsp. cloves
      • 1/4 tsp. ground fennel (optional, omit for AIP)
      • 2 cups pork broth (use the same recipe as my bone broth but swap the marrow bones for pork bones)

      Instructions:

      -First and foremost, make sure you have pork broth and a few days to make the pork belly before you need it!

      -Score the skin side of the pork belly with a sharp knife, be careful because although the skin is though, the layer of fat below it cuts very easily!

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      -Combine sea salt, black pepper, coriander, cinnamon, cloves and fennel in a small bowl

      -Rub herb mixture into the pork on all sides

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      -Let the pork cure in the refrigerator for 3 days on a wire rack

      -On day 3, rinse the pork belly, cut into desired sized chunks and place it in a stock pot (one that has a lid)

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      -Cover pork belly with pork broth and place it in a 250 degree oven, covered, for 4-5 hours

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      -Remove from oven and let cool in the refrigerator

      -Once chilled, remove the pork belly from the braising liquid and cut the skin off of each piece

      -Sear the skin and pork belly in a skillet over medium heat until the skin is crispy and most of the fat has rendered off of the pork belly

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      -Save the fat to cook with!

      Notes: The pieces of skin will get nice and crispy! These are called “cracklings” and I like to use them as crunchy snacks, croutons on salads, or chop them finely to use as a garnish for plates that can use a kick of flavor and a little crunch! I think they got their name because they are probably as addicting as crack… seriously, you will see!

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      Pork Belly Slices

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      Bonus cracklin’s and bacon fat 🙂

      Bacon wrapped Japanese Sweet Potato (Paleo, AIP, LowFODMAP, 21DSD)

      On Sunday-Funday I didn’t mention these amazing fries that we made because I figured that they deserved a post of their own! I would definitely recommend making these as an appetizer if your having company over, as they are sure to please a crowd! How can you go wrong with anything wrapped in bacon, really. Without further ado:

      Ingredients:

      • 2 Japanese (or other variety) sweet potatoes, cut into 1/2 inch thick fries
      • 1 pack of sugar-free bacon, cut into 4inch strips
      • 1-2 TB. coconut oil, melted
      • 1 TB. fresh cilantro, finely chopped
      • 1/4 tsp. turmeric
      • 1/4 tsp. cinnamon
      • 1/4 tsp. sea salt

      Instructions:

      -Preheat oven to 425 degrees

      -Toss cut sweet potatoes in melted coconut oil, turmeric, cinnamon, salt and cilantro

      -Wrap each fry with a strip of bacon

      -Place wrapped sweet potatoes on a tin-foil lined, rimmed baking sheet

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      -Bake for 10-15 minutes depending on how hot your oven runs

      -Flip each fry and bake for another 10-15 minutes until the bacon is crispy and the potatoes are soft

      -Serve with homemade sugar-free ketchup or just eat as is 🙂

      Enjoy!

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      Salmon Cakes (Paleo, AIP, LowFODMAP, 21DSD)

      Happy hump day! Wednesday’s and Saturdays’s are usually my days off, but the next two weeks I am helping out my parents who are going away, and also picking up extra shifts at the restaurant because one of the girls there is also away, so my days “off” are now, well, gone. Therefore my routine is kind of out the window until further notice. This is when I tend to over-do myself because even though I am working more hours, I still plan on continuing to do all of my other daily activities- cooking, cleaning, working out, baking, personal training, etc. My mom always asks how I do everything and she usually isn’t happy with the answer that I just don’t stop moving. BUT! In the midst of the hustle I have thoughtfully scheduled myself a massage and an extra visit to the chiropractor this week. Hopefully that will help balance out the madness. I should also mention that my comcast modem/box/thing that makes the world go ’round, has decided this would be a good time to stop working… so if my posts are lacking this week then you can conclude that I haven’t had time to get a new box yet. Though it is on the top of my priority list seeing as its hard to multitask when your at starbucks and everything you need to work on is at home, Grrr.

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      And by multi-tasking I meant cuddling with my kitten while cooking and blogging 😉

      On another note: Have I mentioned I have been on a seafood kick lately? I love salmon and am usually perfectly happy having it baked with a little lemon, dill, salt and pepper, but recently I have been trying to get more creative with it! I’ve personally never made or really had salmon cakes, or crab cakes for that matter. I’ve always been skeptical about whats in them. So, here is my first ever salmon cake recipe! I think it came out pretty darn good! I plan on experimenting more to see what other flavors I can pack into these bite-sized omega-3-packed cakes. Obviously being on the autoimmune protocol and low-fodmap diet limit my options at the moment, but that won’t be a forever thing.

      Ingredients:

      • 1/2 lb. cooked salmon (preferably wild caught alaskan salmon)
      • 1/2 cup zucchini, diced
      • 1/4 cup scallions(the green part), diced
      • 1 medium parsnip, peeled and diced
      • 1 TB. dill
      • 1/2 tsp. lemon juice
      • 1/2 tsp. sea salt
      • 1 TB. coconut oil

      Instructions:

      -Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

      -Bring small pot of water to boil on the stove and add diced parsnip. Simmer for about 15 minutes or until the parsnip is soft then drain the water from the pot.

      -In a food processor add the diced zucchini, salmon, scallions, parsnip, dill, lemon and salt. Process until no large chunks remain and the mixture starts to come together.

      -Line a baking sheet with parchment paper

      -Pack mixture into a 1/4-1/3 inch measuring cup then transfer to the baking sheet to create several cakes. You can use your hands to help shape them if you have trouble getting them out of the measuring cups.

      -Brush the top of the salmon cakes with coconut oil and pop them in the oven for 15 minutes.

      -After 15min, flip the cakes over carefully and brush the other side with coconut oil. Bake for 5 more minutes.

      -Let cool for about 2 minutes and then serve!

      These are great cold, too. Enjoy!

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