“The Real Deal” Hamburger Buns (Paleo)

Hey Everyone!

Thanks for hanging in there during these times when I am not able to post much. I have just reached my first “break” for the NTP course through the Nutritional Therapy Association! So far it has been absolutely INCREDIBLE! I have learned so much and met soooo many wonderful, likeminded people! I highly recommend looking into it if you also have a passion for helping yourself and others heal by using the power and intuition of the body and nutrient dense foods.

While I think I have finally found a happy balance of doing school work again with my daily life activities, I tend to always tip the scale towards doing “too much” and running myself into the ground (at a steady rate). Just when I think I am pretty efficient at doing A-Z tasks, I realize there is always room for improvement. So, lately I have tried being less lackadaisical when it comes to meal prep (thinking that basic, quick, daily meal prep and shopping was the best route) and really focused on having one or a maximum of two full meal prep days where I make most of my meals (and my clients meals) in one chunk of time. Not only does this get me to plan more creative meals but also gives me a chance to try out new fun recipes myself and takes the extra hour out of other days that I would normally stop what I am doing to shop-cook-etc.

For the past MONTH (or so) I have been working on making a paleo hamburger bun that actually resembles a typical hamburger bun. Mostly I’ve gotten a lot of things that taste good but don’t have the right consistency, until now! By total accident, I made this bun with two types of flours, and to my surprise they both came out wonderfully. The cassava flour version of this bun is slightly less-moist and has an awesome macro-ratio for those that are following specific macro-oriented eating plans, while the cashew flour version is a bit more spongey and higher in fat (which is certainly not a bad thing, you need those good fats!). Try them out and let me know which version is your favorite!

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 Cup Cassava Flour (or 1 cup Cashew Flour)
  • 3 TB Psyllium Husk Powder
  • 4 free-range, organic eggs
  • 1/2 Cup Unsweetened Applesauce
  • 1/3 tsp. Natural Baking Soda
  • 2/3 tsp. Cream of Tartar
  • 1/2 tsp. Sea Salt
  • 1 tsp. Toasted Sesame Seeds (optional)

Instructions:

-Preheat oven to 400 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

– In a food processor, combine all ingredients and blend until fully combined.

-Let the mixture sit for a minute to fully absorb the liquids, then with damp hands, form dough into 4 large balls (the dough will be wet and sticky but will hold a “hamburger bun” shape).

-Sprinkle the tops with sesame seeds if you’d like!

-Bake for 20-25 minutes until the tops start to turn golden brown.

-Let cool for 2-3 minutes and then cut in half and enjoy with your favorite burger!

Macros Counts:

Cassava Buns (1 bun)= 157 Calories, 4.9g Fat, 21g Carbohydrates, 6.8g Protein.

Cashew Buns (1 bun)= 265 Calories, 20.7g Fat, 12.7g Carbohydrates, 12g Protein

Sweet Potato Sloppy Joe Sliders (Paleo)

I’m not going to lie, the holidays are crazy, and so is my schedule right now! Instead of boring you with my weekly life-lessons and updates, we’ll just get right to the point. Here is a fun recipe that turns another childhood favorite into a more sophisticated, comforting meal. I hope you enjoy it as much as I (and a few taste testers) did!

Ingredients:

  • 2 medium sweet potatoes, cut into 1/4″ thick rounds
  • 1 TB. avocado oil
  • 1 TB. coconut oil
  • 1 lb. grassfed ground beef
  • ¼ tsp. sea salt
  • ¼ tsp ground black pepper
  • 2 medium yellow onions, diced
  • 1 celery stalk, finely diced
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 TB. tomato paste
  • 1 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1 tsp. chili powder
  • ½ tsp. paprika
  • 1 TB. raw honey
  • 2 tsp. apple cider vinegar
  • 3 TB. water
  • 1 cup spinach leaves (optional)

Instructions:
-Preheat oven to 400 degrees (F)

-In a large bowl toss the sweet potato rounds in avocado oil, salt and pepper

-Place seasoned sweet potato rounds on a large baking sheet lined with parchment paper and bake for about 30-35 minutes, flipping halfway

-While potatoes are baking, add the coconut oil to a large skillet over medium heat and cook the beef until only a little pink remains

-Add the onion, celery and garlic and continue cooking for 2-3 minutes

-Add tomato paste, cumin, chili powder and paprika to the meat mixture and stir for 1 minute

-Add the honey, apple cider vinegar, tomato sauce and water to the mixture, stir to combine and summer on low for 5-10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper

-Once the sweet potatoes are done cooking arrange them on a serving plate with toppings of your choice! I like to add spinach leaves for a fun color pop (they also hold on the meat quite well) or you could use larger lettuce leaves as a “boat” for the sliders

Mint Chocolate Macaroons (Paleo)

Well I’ve officially “moved” from the hills of western mass back to my home town near boston. My house is still on the market so my feet are still somewhat tied but on a weekly basis I’ve begun working my new jobs and living out east full time! It’s WONDERFUL to not have to drive back and forth across the state every other day and I believe most of the craziness has past but there is still so much that I need to organize and settle into. So far I am LOVING my new jobs as a coach at Crossfit Tri County and a waitress/bartender at an awesome super busy restaurant in Dedham. I’m on track to enroll in the Nutritional Therapy Practitioner course through the NTA starting in February which has been on my to-do-ASAP list for far too long, my new living situation and job flexibility will allow me to finally continue my education in the field I am most passionate about.

While all this news sounds so positive and “Merry”, if you asked me how I was doing just a few days ago I wouldn’t have been able to answer because I was overwhelmed with sad, negative, self-degrading emotions. The ups and downs of change and, in this case, huge life transitions can really mess with your brain and challenge your internal strength but ultimately there will always be good and bad days, happy and sad moments, comforting and fearful experiences. No matter what life throws your way its important to stay present and remember that you can only control you; how you react, how you behave, how you feel. Feeling emotions isn’t a bad thing, but letting them affect your life in a negative way is. If something is causing you pain and you can remove it from your life, you need to take charge and remove it. If some reoccuring thoughts are causing you to be unable to move forward, you need to confront them and forgive yourself so that you can move on. Life doesn’t always present you with rainbows and butterflies, or maybe it does but we just cant see them because we are too upset about the rain? Food for thought. 🙂

Now, enough of that, back to the reason why you’re here: here’s a super easy and festive recipe you can whip up to bring to your next holiday cookie swap or party. Enjoy!

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 1/2 cup cacao powder
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk
  • 1/2 tsp peppermint extract
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 egg white
  • dash of sea salt

Instructions:

-Preheat oven to 325 degrees (F)

-In a large mixing bowl combine all ingredients except egg white and salt

-In another bowl whisk egg white and salt with a hand mixer on high for 1-2 minutes until stiff peaks form

-Carefully fold egg white into the coconut mixture until well combined

-Scoop balls onto parchment lined backing sheet

-Bake for 30 minutes

-Remove from oven and let cool to room temperature

-(Optional) melt 1/2 cup dark chocolate in a small bowl and mix in 1/4 tsp peppermint extract (alcohol free). Dip the bottoms of each macaroon into chocolate and place back on parchment paper until chocolate has solidified

AB&J Bars (Paleo)

If you were to name some of your favorite snacks from when you were a kid (who knows, maybe you still eat the same?!) what would they be? I can imagine somewhere between mac & cheese and grandma’s homemade cookies, you thought of peanut butter and jelly. There’s just something about the combination of bread, creamy peanut butter and sweet and tangy jelly that is hard to resist. While the bread, peanuts and conventional jelly may not be paleo approved, here’s a great trade off that will surely satisfy all the PB&J cravings you’ve ever had. 🙂

Ingredients:

  • 2 bananas, overripe
  • 3/4 cup almond butter
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup coconut flour
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 3/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/3 tsp cream of tartar
  • pinch of sea salt
  • 1/3 cup homemade jam
  • 1 tsp coconut oil

Instructions:

-Preheat oven to 350 degrees (F).

-Grease a 9×9″ baking sheet with coconut oil. I use a pre-divided pan which takes the hassle of cutting these right out! You can also use a muffin pan instead.

-In a large mixing bowl combine bananas, almond butter, honey, eggs, and vanilla. Mash and mix thoroughly until no chunks remain.

-Add coconut flour, cinnamon, baking soda, cream of tartar and salt to the banana mixture and stir to combine until smooth.

-Add half of the batter to the greased pan (which ever type you decide to use).

-Then add then jam (make sure it’s laid out evenly and somewhat flat) over the banana mixture.

-Add remaining batter over the top to cover the jam completely.

-Bake for 25-30mins or until these start to become golden brown. Let cool for 5 minutes before taking a butter knife (or toothpick) to ensure the edges are not stuck and remove from the pan.

-Cut into 12 bars and enjoy! *Be careful, these are addicting!*

Macros! If you are counting or keeping track, the macronutrient profile for 1 bar is: Calories (210) Protein (6g) Fat(11g) Carbohydrates (23g)

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Lamb Stuffed Delicata Squash (Paleo)

You know how life goes, just when you think something is going to go down a certain way, things change. It’s the story of my life, and probably yours too. Amidst getting ready to celebrate thanksgiving with my family I received news that the offer on my house had fallen though, the same day that I had just accepted two new jobs in the area I had intended on moving to. Obviously all of the change, the new jobs, and etc. were based on the fact that my house was going to sell and that was seemingly going to be a quick process, so you can imagine the chaos that went through my mind after getting this news. Coincidentally when I got this phone call I was at my parents house, it’s always a blessing to have people around that love and support you no matter what when the sky feels like its suddenly falling on you. To my surprise, my dad, who can at times be quite negative (in a protective, only wanting the best for his daughter, kind of way), had the most positive reaction to the situation and said something I always say, “what’s meant to be will happen, something better will come”. Seeing my dad staying positive in this situation reminded me that everything I had been working towards in my “new” life: objectives, goals, and plans; was correct. Just because this one piece of the puzzle didn’t fit where I expected it to doesn’t mean that it won’t fit somewhere else- where it is supposed to be. The house is now back on the market, showings are often, another open house is planned, I start one of my new jobs tomorrow and I couldn’t be happier to start this new chapter in my life. Sometimes the things worth having in your life take the most work, but in the end the struggle makes the success that much sweeter. Just a little monday motivation to keep pursuing those goals 😉

Oh yah, and that recipe thing! Lamb isn’t something I’ve always loved but I’ve recently found that when it’s paired with the right ingredients it can be quite tasty and a nice change from my go-to proteins. I found this amazing locally sourced ground lamb and local produce from my favorite spot, River Valley Market. I highly recommend finding a trusted butcher or market that can tell you about your meats: where they come from, how they are treated, meet the farmer if you can! The most nutrient dense meats come from healthy, happy animals and supporting these sustainable and ethical farming practices is beneficial for the consumer, the producer and the environment alike. Happy cooking!

Ingredients:

  • 2 delicata squash, halved and de-seeded
  • 1 lb. ground lamb
  • 1 TB. coconut oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 1/2 orange, zested and juiced
  • 1/4 cup mint, finely chopped
  • 2 TB. fresh rosemary, finely chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup pomegranate seeds

Instructions:

-Preheat oven to 350 degrees (F)

-Place the halved squash face up on a baking sheet and bake for about 30 minutes or until it can be easily punctured by a fork

-While the squash is cooking, heat coconut oil in a large saucepan over medium heat

-Add onion to the saucepan and cook until translucent, 3-5 minutes, then add garlic and ground lamb, using a spatula to break up lamb into small chunks

-Cook lamb until mostly brown then add in orange zest, juice, rosemary, mint, salt and pepper, turn to summer and cook for 2-3 more minutes

-Remove from heat and set aside until squash is done cooking, then fill each halve of squash with the lamb mixture and return to the oven on broil for 2-3 minutes until the tops are slightly crisp

-Remove from oven, garnish with pomegranate seeds and serve!

Pecan Pie Tarts (Paleo, Vegan)

Fall… aka #PieSeason! This is the time where I feel terribly for anyone with a pecan allergy, because pecan pie is literally one of the most delicious desserts ever created (in my opinion). These tartlet variations aren’t the most cut and dry of recipes, but one batch makes quite a few and I love being able to grab one here and there versus the looming pie-left-must-eat feeling you get when you try to slowly work your way through a full sized pie. It’s also pretty much guaranteed that these will be scooped up quick at any holiday party as well because they are so *cute* and no one wants to be the first person to cut into a perfectly untouched pie. In the recipe I use fancy little tartlet pans but you can also use a cupcake (or mini-cupcake) pan as well. Enjoy!

Ingredients:

(Tart Shell)

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

(Filling)

  • 1/3 cup dates
  • 5 TB maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil
  • 1 TB almond milk
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/8 tsp sea salt
  • 1 cup pecans, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup pecans, halved lengthwise

Instructions:

-Preheat oven to 350 degrees

-In a small bowl combine almond flour, salt and baking soda

-In another small bowl mix together melted coconut oil, maple syrup, almond milk and vanilla.

-Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and mix until thoroughly combined and no clumps are left.

-Grease mini tartlet pans with coconut oil and add in one 1 inch diameter ball of dough to each, pressing them evenly into each crevasse of the mold

-Cut 2 inch squares of aluminum foil and then make one cut to the center of each square. Place a piece of foil into each tartlet pan pressing down gently.

-Fill each mold with a weighted object that wont cook in the oven- I use raw beans.

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-Bake for 12-14 minutes or until a light golden brown appears on the crust.

-Remove from oven, carefully remove the foil with beans and let the shells cool for about 5 minutes.

-Using a toothpick gently reach into the edge of the crust and pan and start to loosen the tartlet on 2-4 sides.

*Sometimes these pop out pretty quickly and sometimes they take some patience and TLC. I’ve found that there seems to be an optimal time to remove these from the pans but have no fear you will learn quickly when they are ready and when they are not.

-While the tartlet crusts are coking you can start the filling.

-Soak dates in hot water for 10 minutes

-In a sauce pan over low heat combine maple syrup, coconut oil, almond milk and vanilla. Remove from heat when melted.

-Add soaked dates,maple syrup mixture and salt to a food processor and process until smooth.

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-Move mixture back into cooled saucepan (or another bowl but I like to minimize my clean up time) and add in finely chopped pecans, stirring until well combined.

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-Add one spoonful of filling to each cooled tartlet then carefully place halved pecans in a star shape.

Enjoy these warm or store in the fridge (14 days) or freezer (up to 3 months)!

Pumpkin Freezer Fudge (Paleo, Vegan)

Fall is my all-time favorite season. Apple picking, pumpkin carving, watching the leaves change colors, brisk mornings and evenings, what’s there not to love! Well- in my opinion- the sugary, artificial “pumpkin spice” everything is a bit overkill. Pumpkin is a squash and therefore it’s not inherently the sweetest ingredient for baked goods but it is easily complimented by natural sweeteners to make some delicious, nutrient dense treats. Pumpkin pie is probably the most common- but this freezer fudge is definitely a new favorite of mine. The recipe is quick and easy and it’s sure to please a wide array of audiences. Try it for yourself and let me know what you think!

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups pumpkin puree
  • 2/3 cups coconut butter
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil, melted
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • pinch of sea salt
  • 3/4 cup toasted walnuts, chopped

Instructions:

-Line an 8×8 pan with parchment paper.

-Add all ingredients except the walnuts into a food processor and process until smooth.


-Pour the mixture into the prepared pan, use spatula to smooth.


-Sprinkle walnuts evenly over the mixture and freeze for an hour or until firm.


-Remove from freezer and let sit out for 5 minutes before cutting into squares.


-Enjoy!

I typically cut and then individually wrap each square and place them back into the freezer to grab whenever I need a treat! These are best eaten within 2 weeks if stored in the fridge or freezer.

 

 

 

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!