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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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.

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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      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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      Banana Bread Bars (Paleo, AIP, LowFODMAP, 21DSD)

      Often times its hard to stay on a “diet” when you don’t get to have things that you have grown accustomed to having on a daily basis. Although I believe that Paleo is a lifestyle and should be treated that way, I know a lot of people that use it more as a diet and thats okay, to each his own!

      As I have been on my super-strict AIP and Low FODMAP diet (I will call it a diet because I hope to be able to re-incorporate many paleo foods that are currently restricted once my gut has healed) I have missed having a treat now and again. So I set out on a mission to create something that I was able to eat that was egg-free, nut-free, sugar-free and etc. So I did some searching around and found this recipe for AIP banana bread on the “He won’t know its Paleo” blog and my problems were solved! I followed the recipe but left out the honey because I can’t have it, and in my opinion the banana is sweet enough!

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      I also made the recipe using tapioca flour instead of arrowroot and it comes out pretty similar. I did recently read that tapioca can sometimes be mistaken for gluten in the gut, so if you are doing strict AIP like I am the arrowroot is likely a better option. Also if the dough seems to be too dry then you can add in a TB or two of unsweetened applesauce (if you aren’t worried about FODMAPs) or water. The dough will generally be on the thicker side but it should’t be stiff as a board 🙂

      Once I make a batch of these delicious non-sweet treats I usually cut them into squares and individually wrap them and throw them in the freezer. That way when I am on the run I can easily grab one as a snack or defrost one for a treat after dinner. I hope you enjoy them as much as I do! Check out http://hewontknowitspaleo.com/category/blog-news/ for more great AIP recipes!