“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

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!

Hasselback White Sweet Potatoes (Paleo)

As an athlete it’s important to fuel your body appropriately in order to maximize your performance and recovery. Having an active job along with a dog that requires a long hike or run daily and somewhere between 1-2.5 hours of training each day, the amount of carbohydrates my body needs is sometimes overwhelming. Being on the go so often my sources of carbs are often the quick and easy varieties such as rice and gluten-free oatmeal, but when I have the opportunity to be in the kitchen for a period of time, my all-time favorite source of carbs are white or japanese sweet potatoes (Japanese have red skin and domestic have golden skin). These tend to get crispier than yams and orange sweet potatoes as they are higher in carbohydrates but still contain a vast amount of micro nutrients. This cooking variation is not only delicious but a sure way to raise some eye-brows and get some “fancy” remarks from your friends and family- as a bonus, it’s also super simple! You can also do this with any potato, but if you’ve never tried white sweet potatoes… you definitely should!

Ingredients:

  • 3 large white sweet potatoes
  • 1 TB melted ghee
  • dash sea salt

Instructions:

-Preheat oven to 400 degrees

-Line baking sheet with foil (or parchment paper)

-Thoroughly wash sweet potatoes and with a sharp knife start making vertical cuts from end to end leaving about 1/4 inch from the bottom of the potato all the way across


-Place potatoes on baking sheet and brush with melted ghee then sprinkle with sea salt


-Bake for about 60 minutes or until the potatoes are soft

-Remove from oven and top them with something tasty! Some options are crumbled bacon (you can add this before cooking, simply cook bacon most of the way in a pan, chop finely and sprinkle over potatoes), grass-fed cheese (if you can handle dairy, this can also be added when there is about 5 minutes of cooking time remaining), or something a little more complex like garlic and herb butter (2 TB ghee or grass-fed butter, 1 clove minced garlic, 1 tsp fresh chopped rosemary, 1 tsp fresh thyme and 2 tsp fresh scallions.. add to a small bowl and stir together!)

Enjoy! 


Photo by Billy Wilbanks. DSMP marketing. Instagram @wbanks85

 

 

 

 

Berry Cricket Recovery Bars (Paleo)

In my travels this year I ended up in Michigan with the intent to compete in the American Open weightlifting series. Unfortunately I was unable to compete due to an injury but since I had already booked my trip I grabbed one of my best friends and we went out there to see what Michigan had to offer! What we found was: a lot of wineries, breweries, tons of huge crystal clear lakes, and cherries! Most days were pretty rainy so we found ourselves on a variety of wine trails and discovered that a lot of the vineyards were previously cherry fields, which adds a unique note to their locally made wines. We also found that every town had a bakery filled with cherry baked goods… obviously most/almost none were gluten free so I was eager to make some tasty cherry treats when I got back home. I stumbled across this recipe in Steph Gaudreau’s Performance Paleo Cookbook and thought I would give it a try! I have also been reading more about cricket flour lately and its known for its high protein, nutrient and amino acid profile, therefore making this a great recovery workout snack.

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup cashews, chopped
  • 1/4 cup cashew flour
  • 1/2 cup cricket flour
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 6 medjool dates, pitted
  • 1/2 cup dried blueberries
  • 3/4 cup dried cherries
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp coconut oil

Instructions:

-Line an 8x8inch baking pan with parchment paper

-Place cashews, cashew flour, cricket flour and sea salt in a food processor. Pulse until coarsely mixed, set aside

-Add dates, dried berries and vanilla extract to food processor and process until one large sticky clump forms

-Add date mixture to flour mixture and using coconut oil mix with hands until well combined, this takes a good amount of time and elbow grease!

-Freeze for 30 minutes then remove and place on cutting board and slice into 8 bars, these can easily be stored in the fridge or freezer for about 12 days. Enjoy!


Photos by Billy Wilbanks. DSMP marketing. Instagram @wbanks85.

Hidden Liver Bacon Meatballs (Paleo, AIP, LowFODMAP, 21DSD)

I hope everyone had a great Easter! I spent my day working at Jake’s and baking most of the evening. I did, of course, miss seeing my family and my boyfriend’s family but I plan to see them all another time soon! This past Saturday I had a great Primal Treats and Eats tasting at my home gym, Crossfit Iron Will. It was the last day of the Lurong Paleo Challenge and I was super impressed by everyones improvements and overall results. I love the paleo challenges because it motivates people to try paleo and stick to it for a certain amount of time. Obviously not everyone is successful in staying on track, but at the very least it helps people develop the skills to live a healthier lifestyle. I wish everyone would take these skills and continue on with the paleo diet and lifestyle after the challenges, but if they don’t then I hope they were successful enough during the challenge to see and feel the difference in their body when it is properly nourished. (Here’s where I will remind everyone that gluten remains in your system for about 14 days… if you can’t go 2 weeks without consuming gluten then you will never know how great your body can feel without it!)

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Here’s a shot of my setup at CFIW! I love being able to provide people with paleo treats! I do, however, know that treats are treats, and they aren’t meant to be binge eaten just like conventional processed crap. I take pride in making sure all of my treats have only the highest quality, organic, locally sourced (when possible) and nutrient dense ingredients. These are intended to be consumed as treats! They are perfect for special occasions, for a quick boost of energy, and as a reward for a long week of hard work. I bake them because I find that there aren’t many (if at all) good options for paleo treats, and they have become part of a modern lifestyle. I also happen to really enjoy creating beautiful, delicious and nutrient dense treats, and the same goes for meals. Paleo can be fun, interesting, exciting, and challenging if you commit yourself to it. It can also be pretty darn easy! It is what you make of it, and I hope that more people start to realize that you only have things to gain when you switch to a paleo lifestyle.


Today I wanted to share this awesome recipe that I created to work on incorporating more organ meats into my daily life. Organ meats are some of the most nutrient dense foods out there, and it’s a shame that people get so irked by them! I love liver pate but I wanted to make a recipe that incorporated liver and could appeal to a larger group of people, including kids! I think these tasty bacon-wrapped meatballs might be the key, try it out and let me know what you think!

Ingredients:

  • 2 lbs. grassfed ground beef
  • 3-4 chicken livers, diced into 1/4 inch chunks
  • 1 package of sugar-free bacon (if your having a hard time finding this try US Wellness meats or Pete’s Paleo)
  •  2. TB arrowroot
  • 1 TB. dried rosemary, finely ground
  • 1 TB. dried thyme
  • 1 TB. dried parsley
  • 1/2 tsp. himalayan sea salt
  • dash of freshly ground black pepper

Instructions:

-Preheat oven to 350 degrees

-In a large mixing bowl combine all ingredients except for bacon and mix until well incorporated

-Form meat mixture into 1 1/2 inch balls and wrap a half a slice of bacon around each

-Place meatballs in a large rimmed baking dish, with the ends of the bacon slices tucked under the meatballs

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-Bake for 15 minutes, then flip and bake for 5 more minutes

-Remove from oven to flip back over so the bacon is on top and turn oven to broil

-Return meatballs to oven for 3-5 minutes until bacon is crispy (make sure to leave the oven cracked open when broiling or else the meatballs will be overcooked

-Let cook for a few minutes and then enjoy!

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Notes: I like chicken livers because they have a more mild taste than beef liver. I have not tried beef liver in this recipe yet but once I do I will update this post with the results! Also, make sure you are using high quality chicken livers, just like the rest of the meat from the animal, organs of poorly fed and maintained animals should be avoided! Look for locally sourced, organic, pasture raised chickens without hormones or antibiotics. If you live in western mass check out Sutter Meats or River Valley Market if you can’t get to a local farm. If you have a meat grinder feel free to use that to grind up the liver. If not, a sharp knife will work just fine. Also- If you are not avoiding FODMAP’s try adding some sautéed onions and grated garlic to the meatballs! Yum!

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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Healing Bone Broth Latte (Paleo, AIP, LowFODMAP, 21DSD)

This week I feel like I’ve been running around like a chicken with my head cut off. Thankfully I wrote myself a handy list of all the things I need to accomplish and exactly when they need to be done by, or else I would be a mess! Today was another one of my days off- it sure seems like I have a lot of those seeing as I usually write a blog post when I get a day off! And by day off I mean: I baked most of the day. For those of you that haven’t read my background information, I started a paleo baked goods business (Primal Treats and Eats) and although it’s more of a hobby than a business it tends to occupy much of my spare time, and I’m okay with that! Between all the hustle and bustle today I got to get some workout therapy at CFIW. I did a fun WOD today that was 10 RTF of 3 squat cleans at 100# and 9 ring dips. I planned on going heavier with the squat cleans but had to remind myself that slowly getting back into lifting is a much smarter approach if I want to stay healthy and keep my shoulder happy. I often find that whenever I get myself into a situation where I feel overwhelmed or unsure of things, out of the blue I will stumble upon something that reinstates my purpose and keeps me on track.

Although I am not where I think I could be in terms of my overall fitness and strength, I have learned a lot about myself and my body this past year. I got this gem of a photo sent to me today by my lovely friend Maura who has been snapping awesome pictures of everyone throughout the opens workouts and inspiring us with her spirit and endless support. After sending it she said “You are motivation!” and I couldn’t have been more flattered. On top of that the quote really resonates with me as I have been fighting an uphill battle with trying to reverse my autoimmune diseases. There were quite a few times where I had to remind myself that staying on track with the hundreds of dietary restrictions and saying no to eating foods made by anyone but myself was the only option.

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After my baking marathon today I got to clear my head with a crisp, windy hike up Mount Tom with my friend Josh. Its amazing what some fresh air can do for you! I am looking forward to spring when I can include some sort of outdoor activity into my daily routine again.

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If your wondering how the heck you can make bone broth into a deliciously creamy and healthy latte, keep reading. 🙂

Most of you know that I drink bone broth every day, up to 3 times a day. It’s a staple in my life and I don’t enjoy living without it! I have made many variations of broth, some with root veggies, some with onions, others just garlic, there is much room to experiment and find what you personally like the best. I have to say that the recipe that I posted is pretty plain, and my personal favorite because you can “dress it up” and make some fantastic cocktails out of it.

Who would have ever thought to use the word cocktail when it comes to bone broth… but seriously, try the recipe below and you will see what I’m talking about!

Ingredients:

Instructions:

-Heat bone broth in a small pot on the stove

-Place coconut oil and coconut milk in a large coffee mug

-Add bone broth to the coffee mug and allow the coconut oil to melt

-Then add baking soda, cinnamon and ginger and blend using a frother (or blender)

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-Enjoy your “bulletproof” broth latte!

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*Why baking soda,? check out this article!

PBLT Burgers (Paleo, AIP, LowFODMAP, 21DSD)

This week is panning out to be a long one! It’s only tuesday and I’m feeling a little run-down already, luckily I have the day off tomorrow and hope to get some relaxing in between baking, errands, vet visits and the gym. I’ve started to work my way slowly back into lifting and doing some controlled WOD’s on a more regular basis and it seems to be going well! My back is completely healed now and my shoulder hasn’t been getting the shooting-intense pain that it was before, just resting annoying dull pain… I know that doesn’t sound good either but it’s what I’ve been dealing with on and off for over a year now. Between chiropractic, electric stim, low level laser therapy, massage and now also acupuncture, its GOT to get better! Please??

Anyways, I made this recipe about a week ago while I was i the midst of perfecting my pork belly recipe. At Jake’s we have a “Spicy PBLT” with pork belly, lettuce and tomato. Seeing as nightshades are a group of foods that I likely will ever be able to reincorporate into my diet, I thought I would come up with my own version of a “PBLT”. So, the Pork Belly, Lettuce and Turkey Burger was born! This has got to be the best turkey burger I have ever had… I hope you enjoy it as well!

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb. ground turkey
  • 1/2 lb. pork belly
  • 1 cup spinach
  • 1/2 cup scallions, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup jicama, peeled and shredded
  • 1 tsp. rosemary
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1/4 tsp. sea salt

Instructions:

-Follow my recipe below for crispy pork belly, after braising the pork belly and letting it cool in the fridge, cut into desired sized pieces, cut off the skin and pan sear the pork belly until the fat has rendered off. This should take about 15 minutes so plan accordingly!

-Preheat oven to 350 degrees

-In a large bowl combine the ground turkey, scallions, jicama, rosemary, turmeric and sea salt. Mix with hands to incorporate and then separate into three 1/3lb. patties.

-In a cast iron skillet over medium-high heat sear the turkey patties for 5 minutes per side.

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-Place the skillet with burgers into the oven and bake for 5-10 minutes until no pink remains in the center

-Remove from oven and garnish with a large slab of pork belly, and some sautéed spinach. If your feeling up for it add a sweet potato bun or wrap in a large leaf of lettuce.

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Enjoy!

Notes: These burgers can also be cooked on the grill… mine just didn’t happen to be accessible at the time!