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.

Paleo Raspberry Lemonade Gummies

Paleo Gummies
The benefits of gelatin are preached throughout the Paleo community. It boasts some fantastic health properties and is a great source of protein. It’s also the ingredient responsible for setting Jell-O, giving marshmallows their iconic texture, and the ever-popular gummy bear. Of course, none of these are standard in the Paleo lifestyle. The good news is that you can make most of these treats Paleo-friendly.

Gelatin
A great way to get some extra protein in your diet and reap the benefits of the amino acids found in gelatin is with these delicious little gummies. They taste just like a pop of raspberry lemonade and are a handy treat to have around when the sugar-cravings start to hit. These aren’t overly sweet and rely heavily on the natural sugars found in the fruit you use. Honey is included in the list of ingredients, but it can be adjusted based on the sweetness of your berries.

Nearly any fruit can be substituted for the raspberries, just be sure to keep the liquid volume the same in order for the gelatin to properly set. Frozen berries are a good option as they are picked at the peak of ripeness, flash frozen, and are generally less expensive than fresh produce. Just be sure to choose the product that doesn’t have any added sugar.

To make fun shapes, you can use any silicone mold. I love these tiny little heart molds from Amazon. They are the unique ones pictured here and are the perfect size to showcase these gummies. Alternatively, you can pour the mixture into a sheet pan lined with plastic wrap and cut out squares or other shapes.

Yield: 60 gummies (1/2 ounce each)
Ingredients
10 oz. package frozen raspberries
15 oz. lemon juice
1/2 c. powdered gelatin
1/2 c. honey

Method
1. Line your silicone molds on a sheet pan that will fit in your refrigerator. Or, just make sure there is room in your fridge to place them individually.
2. Combine the raspberries and lemon juice in a blender. Blend until the mixture is completely smooth.
3. Reserve 1 cup of the liquid in a large bowl. Sprinkle the gelatin evenly over the liquid in the bowl and allow it to bloom for 5 minutes.
4. While the gelatin is softening, pour the remaining liquid mixture into a medium-sized saucepan. Add the honey.
5. Heat on medium-high until the honey has dissolved and the liquid is simmering.
6. Remove from heat, add the gelatin liquid mixture and whisk thoroughly. Be sure to dissolve all of the gelatin.
7. Strain the mixture through a fine sieve to remove all of the seeds and any gelatin that has clumped together.
8. Portion evenly into your desired molds.
9. Refrigerate at least 2 hours to allow to set completely.
10. Store in an airtight container and enjoy!

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.

 

Candied Pecans

Raw Pecans
After over a year of adopting a Paleo lifestyle, I still struggle with sugar cravings. Granted, I don’t indulge myself like I used to – cookies, snacks and candies don’t have a place on my pantry shelves any more. Sometimes though, you just need a little something to curb the craving and it will pass.

These little pecan gems do just the trick. They are crunchy, slightly sweet, and full of warm spicy flavor. They remind me of pecan pie – without all of the guilt. You can adjust the seasonings to your liking, but keep in mind, after they bake, the spices will mellow. Keep a container of these in your desk drawer so when the 2 o’clock craving hits, you have something handy that you won’t regret later.

Spices
Yield: 4 cups

Ingredients
4 cups pecan halves
3 ea. egg whites
1/2 cup honey, slightly warmed
1 T. cinnamon
2 t. ground ginger
1 t. ground cloves
1 t. salt

Method
1. Preheat oven to 325ºF. Line a large sheet pan with parchment paper.
2. Set aside pecans in a large bowl.
3. Whisk together the whites and honey in a small bowl, just to combine.
4. Add all of the spices and salt, whisking again to combine.
5. Pour the egg white mixture over the pecans and toss to coat completely.
6. Spread the pecans out evenly on the parchment-lined sheet pan.
7. Roast in the oven for 30-40 minutes, checking often to ensure they don’t burn. They will still be slightly tacky to the touch, but will have a fully roasted color.
8. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely. Once cooled, they will no longer be tacky to the touch. Store in an airtight container.

Candied Pecans

Guacamole + Salsa

Guacamole + Salsa

To kick off the snack series, I thought I’d begin with quite possibly the best Paleo duo imaginable. There’s something about the creaminess of guacamole, spice of salsa, and satisfying crunch of fresh veggies that ties it all together.

Both recipes are fairly basic, but what is important to keep in mind that the final product is entirely in your hands. The salinity, heat level, and overall flavor can be altered to your unique preferences. Additionally, depending on the quality of your avocados and tomatoes, you may need more or less of each accompanying ingredient. Taste as you go, adjust your seasonings, and taste again. If you add too much salt, balance it out with another squeeze of citrus, and vice versa. Don’t be afraid to try adding additional ingredients – make it your own!

A few interesting facts:

1. If your avocados aren’t ripe enough, throw them in a brown paper bag with a banana. The banana will produce ethylene, which triggers ripening. Within about 24 hours, your avocados will be perfect!

2. Roma tomatoes are the best tomatoes to use for salsa because they have a lower concentration of seeds and liquid than most other tomato varietals. Of course, if it is the peak of summer and you have some gorgeous heirlooms, by all means, use them!

3. My mom grows a whole host of vegetables in her garden, including jalapeños. She rarely uses all of them during the season, so she throws them in a blender, purees them, and then freezes them in ice cube trays. When she needs some, she just cuts off what she needs and it is defrosted in no time. It provides all the great flavor of a fresh jalapeño without a lot of hassle. For this recipe, I would use about a tablespoon (or half of an ice cube-sized portion) for each batch of guacamole or salsa.

I pair these with Paleo crackers as well as fresh cut veggies – bell peppers, carrots, celery, and romaine spears. For the ultimate indulgence, cook some crispy bacon and use as a vehicle for the guacamole. I’m pretty sure I’ll include a post for that in this snack series!

Raw Guacamole

Guacamole
Yield: approximately 3 cups

Ingredients
4 large ripe avocados
2 small roma tomatoes, ripe, small diced
1 small onion, small diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/8 cup chopped cilantro
1 small jalapeño, ribs & seeds removed, minced
1/2 lime, juiced
Salt & Pepper

Method
1. Cut the avocados, remove the seed, and scrape the flesh into a large bowl. Discard the skin and keep two of the seeds.
2. Mash the avocado until it is creamy with a few chunks remaining.
3. Add the tomatoes, onion, garlic and cilantro. Stir to combine.
4. Taste at this stage and then add the jalapeño, lime juice, salt and pepper to taste.
5. Continue adjusting the seasonings until you find the right balance of salt, citrus, and heat.
6. Store in an airtight container with the reserved avocado seeds (coupled with the lime juice, it will prevent browning).

Raw Salsa

Salsa
Yield: approximately 3 cups

Ingredients
8 small roma tomatoes, ripe, medium diced
1 small onion, small diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/8 cup chopped cilantro
1 small jalapeño, ribs & seeds removed, minced
1/2 lime, juiced
Salt & Pepper

Method
1. Combine the tomatoes, onion, garlic and cilantro. Stir to combine.
2. Taste at this stage and then add the jalapeño, lime juice, salt and pepper to taste.
3. Continue adjusting the seasonings until you find the right balance of salt, citrus, and heat.
4. Store in an airtight container.

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