Paleo Chocolate Coconut Creme

Chocolate Coconut Creme

A piece of fruit is a great option for a sweet Paleo snack, but sometimes a cup of berries just isn’t going to cut it. Add a bowl of chocolate into the mix and we’re moving in the right direction. This Paleo take on classic chocolate fondue hits the spot and satisfies those annoying sweet cravings. It’s foundation is coconut milk, so it’s dairy-free and sweetened with honey. Kids love it and they can choose a variety of dippers – strawberries, bananas, or even Paleo chocolate chip cookies (a revelation stumbled upon by my husband).

If you want to make a batch for a party, you can reserve half of the cooked creme and omit the cocoa powder for a strictly vanilla coconut version. A duo of dips always seems more complicated, but it’s really just a matter of leaving out an ingredient!

Yield: 16 oz.
Ingredients
2 cans coconut milk (14 oz. each)
1/2 c. honey
1 oz. cocoa powder
2 T. vanilla

Method
1. Combine coconut milk and honey in a medium sized heavy-bottom saucepan.
2. Bring to a full boil, then reduce heat to low.
3. Stirring occasionally, cook 40-60 minutes, or until it has reduced by nearly half and is the consistency of thick cream.
4. Whisk in cocoa and vanilla, stirring to combine.
5. Taste and add honey if it isn’t to your desired sweetness.

Chocolate Bacon

This post really needs no introduction. Chocolate is delicious and in the right composition, has some great health benefits (so says the Cleveland Clinic). Bacon is, well, yummy. I’ve tried my hand at curing my own bacon and it’s surprisingly easy – there will be a post about that at a later date. If you aren’t up to the task, that’s not a problem. There are quite a few great options out there and some are better than others. Mark Sisson has a great post about the Paleo bacon discussion, so check it out for a quick guide to making the best choice.

Now, on to the main attraction…

ChocolateBacon
Ingredients
1 lb. bacon
9 oz. dark chocolate (at least 70%)

Method
1. Preheat the oven to 400ºF. Line a sheet pan with parchment or a metal rack.
2. Lay the bacon out in a single layer on the prepared sheet pan. Depending on the thickness of your bacon, you may need more than one pan.
3. Cook the bacon for about 20 minutes, or until it is cooked through and crispy. You don’t want floppy bacon here!
4. Remove from the oven and drain on paper towels (if you didn’t use a metal rack). Allow to cool completely.
5. Break up your chocolate (or chop it up) and put it in a tall, microwave-safe dish. The taller, the better, as you’ll get better coverage when you dip the bacon. I like to use a tall coffee mug.
6. Microwave on high in 30 second intervals, stirring in between interval. Don’t let it heat for too long or the chocolate will burn.
7. Lay out some parchment or wax paper on a sheet pan for your final product.
8. Dip each piece of bacon in the chocolate – as far down the length of the bacon as you’d like. I usually go about halfway, so there’s a little bacon handle to hold on to!
9. Shake any excess chocolate off the bacon and back into your chocolate reservoir. Lay the bacon on the prepared sheet pan to dry. Complete all strips of bacon.
10. You should have some chocolate leftover. You can pour it out onto a sheet of parchment to cool and harden. Then break it up for some bacon-flavored chocolate for your Paleo Movie Mix!
11. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.

 

Paleo Snacking

Well, it’s officially that time of year. Everyone is making a resolution to trim down, get to the gym, and shed those holiday pounds. It happens every January and it seems that by the end of February, everyone has given up. It’s a vicious cycle that we’ve all been a part of at one time or another. The first month of the year is so invigorating; we feel like we have a unique opportunity to start fresh, try something new, and really succeed. Unfortunately, we generally fall short when our busy schedules, lack of self-control, and general laziness takes over.

What makes you fall off the wagon? There are so many opportunities for us to “cheat” every day. When the 2 o’clock cravings start kicking in, it’s pretty easy to stroll through the break room, grab a handful of mini chocolate chip cookies, and pretend it never happened.

The best way to combat this situation? Have an arsenal of snacks at your disposal that are filling, nutrient dense, and taste fantastic. If you have a healthier option available, you are more likely to make a better choice. Over the next few days, I’ll be posting loads of fantastic snack ideas that are simple, delicious, and most importantly, are great alternatives to the processed junk we often end up consuming. But before we get to the recipes, I’ve come up with a list of basic snack choices that require no preparation. Stock your pantry with these staples and you’ll be well on your way to a healthier 2015!

Paleo Snacks

Here’s a link to the Paleo Snacks list as a .PDF. It’s great to print out and put front and center on your refrigerator – that way you’ll have a go-to when you want something quick.

Paleo Movie Mix

Movie Mix
One of the most recognizable smells for me is the glorious waft of movie popcorn. I’m convinced I can smell if from a mile away and after walking past a movie theater, the scent remains with me for days. Living a Paleo lifestyle doesn’t allow for the indulgence of popcorn, so enjoying a movie in the theater has never quite been the same. There are never any snacks at the concession stand that we could even trick ourselves into “being okay just this one time”. Everything is loaded with processed sugar, preservatives, and additives.

So how to you combat the snack attack that inevitably happens every time you go to the theater? Bring along your own Movie Mix! This recipe can really be altered to suit your personal preferences – omit any item, or add in something that you love. It’s a great balance between sweet and salty, and gives you a satisfying crunch without the stomach cramps and weight gain that your pseudo-butter coated popcorn offers.

Ingredients

Ingredients

1 cup Cashews
1 cup Almonds
1 cup Macadamia nuts
1 cup Pecans
2 t. avocado oil
1/2 t. salt
2 cups Flaked coconut
1 cup Pepitas
1 cup Dried cranberries
1/2 cup Goji berries
6 oz. Dark chocolate chunks

Method

1. Preheat the oven to 375ºF. Line two sheet pans with parchment.
2. Combine all of the nuts with the oil and salt. Toss to coat.
3. Spread the nuts out evenly on one of your prepared sheet pans. Roast for 14 minutes, or until evenly toasted and you can smell their aroma.
4. Spread your flaked coconut evenly on the second sheet pan and roast for 6 minutes, or just until the edges start to brown. You may need to stir them around a bit halfway through roasting.
5. Allow nuts and coconut to cool completely.
6. Combine all of the ingredients and store in an airtight container.

 

Notes:
1. I buy dried cranberries that are sweetened with apple juice instead of cane sugar. They are a nice addition to the mix without being cloyingly sweet.
2. You can use any chocolate you like, but I love to break up my favorite Theo dark chocolate bar instead of using the chocolate chunks you find in the baking section of your grocery store.

Movie Mix

Paleo Fudgy Brownies

IMG_0912 (2)

It seems that the only thing I’ve been craving lately is chocolate. I’ll take it any way I can get it – in coffee, in a cookie, even in savory sauces. This weekend I couldn’t get my mind off the delicious brownies that were sold in my old café. They were gooey, rich and had just the right crunch on the top. These are the caveman version with walnuts, chunks of bittersweet chocolate, and an intense chocolate punch worthy of the Paleo Fudgy Brownie name.

Ingredients

11 oz. maple syrup
2.25 oz. cocoa
8 oz. sunflower butter
1 T. vanilla
3/4 t. baking powder
3/4 t. salt
1 large egg, whisked
4 oz. walnuts
4 oz. bittersweet chocolate chunks

Method

1. Preheat oven to 325°F and coat an 8″ square pan with avocado oil (any oil will do).
2. Warm up the maple syrup in a saucepot on high heat, just until it bubbles.
3. Reduce the heat to low and add the cocoa in 3 batches, whisking it in completely before adding the next portion.
4. Whisk in the sunflower butter, combining until homogenous.
5. Turn off the heat, then add the vanilla, baking powder, salt, and egg. Whisk until combined.
6. Fold in the walnuts and chocolate chunks.
7. Pour unto prepared pan and spread evenly.
8. Bake 35-45 minutes, or until the top is set and it is somewhat firm to the touch. Don’t overbake it if you like fudgy brownies!
9. Let cool and for the best results, cut with a disposable knife (or a knife coated with oil, so the crumbs won’t stick).