morning glory muffins

Next weekend, my husband and I will be celebrating our 1 year anniversary, which means I have been having flashbacks to our beautiful wedding and the Kauai honeymoon that followed. I will never forget the mornings when we woke up at 5:30 am, walked along the beach to watch the sunrise, and ended up at the most amazing coffee shop ever to enjoy cold brew coffee with REAL coconut cream and the most delicious gluten free morning glory muffins you could ever imagine. Heaven.. am I right? Take me back.

sunrise

how about that for a sunrise?

Well, in celebration of a year of wedded bliss to the most amazing man, I decided to make my own morning glory recipe that would bring back those wonderful memories and take us back to that little slice of heaven (until we can get back there for reals). I made some tweaks, of course, to make the recipe my own because there is no sense in trying to recreate something so perfect. I also made these more “paleo friendly”, as the Kauai treats had raw sugar and gluten-free flour (but were not grain-free). I used coconut flour, pastured eggs, maple syrup soaked organic carrots, cinnamon, and other delicious ingredients to bring you my version of Java Kai Kauai morning glory muffins (aka little cakes from heaven). With the added sweetness of the frosting these are a perfect treat anytime!

So I hope you make these and create your own memories enjoying each delicious bite. They are sweet enough to have as a cupcake, but clean enough to enjoy for breakfast, making them the best of both worlds. Let me know what you think!

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Morning Glory Muffins (GF, DF)

  • Servings: 12
  • Time: 30 min
  • Difficulty: easy
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WHAT YOU NEED:

  • 3-4 (depending on size) whole raw carrots
  • 1/3 cup grade B maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup coconut flour
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 cup coconut sugar
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 5 pastured eggs
  • 2 tsp pure vanilla
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil (melted)
  • 1/2 cup organic raw walnuts

for the optional frosting

  • 2 TB cup grass fed butter (I used Paleo Butter)
  • 2 TB coconut oil
  • 2 TB coconut butter (I used maple pancake Sweet Spreads)
  • 1 TB maple syrup
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla

WHAT TO DO:

  • peel your carrots and then grate them with a cheese grater
  • place grated carrot into a glass bowl or tupperware
  • pour maple syrup on top, mix it up, and leave it in the fridge for an hour or so
  • set oven to 325°F.
  • in a small bowl mix coconut flour, cinnamon, salt, coconut sugar, and baking soda
  • in a larger bowl, blend eggs, vanilla, and melted coconut oil
  • now add your dry ingredients to the wet and mix well
  • remove your carrots and fold these into your batter
  • now fold in your chopped walnuts (save some for garnish if you’d like)
  • place muffin papers in your muffin tin and pour batter evenly into each (I used a 1/4 cup for this)
  • bake for 18-20 minutes (start checking at 15)
  • you’ll know they’re done when toothpick comes out clean (don’t overcook!)
  • to make your frosting, put all ingredients in a blender and press go until blended
  • frosting will be liquid, so give it plenty of time to turn into frosting consistency (fridge will help)
  • when your muffins are done, let them cool all the way (I popped mine in the fridge to avoid a melty frosting mess)
  • frost them up and ENJOY!!

paleo vanilla ice cream (no ice cream maker needed)

Because I refuse to admit that summer is coming to a close just yet (even though I LOVE everything about Fall), I decided to finally take the leap and try making my own homemade ice cream. I do not have an ice cream maker, so I knew it was going to be a challenge, but that never stopped this girl. Challenge accepted….

It’s hard to go wrong with pure vanilla ice cream. It’s a classic that everyone loves and it’s the perfect base for all kinds of creative flavors. You can take this recipe, and mix in whatever you’d like; think crumbled candied walnuts (which I will be trying later today), salted caramel, your favorite paleo cookie recipe (or dough), or whatever else your heart desires. This ice cream is also a great base for your favorite toppings too; think Sweet Spreads (may I recommend the chocolate brownie?), almond butter, fudge. Ok my mouth is watering.

What I realized this weekend, is that it’s also the perfect ice cream for an ice cream sandwich, especially when beautifully squished between my Chocolate Chip Chewies.

Oh, and bonus points for the added secret ingredient! By adding grass fed collagen to this recipe, the ice cream won’t get ice crystals, keeping it super creamy without an ice cream maker. AND you get the added health benefits of collagen (see THIS post for more), so you can indulge in a treat and feel good about it.

So here you are, super simple, surprisingly easy classic vanilla ice cream.

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Paleo Vanilla Ice Cream (GF, NF, DF)

  • Servings: 4
  • Time: 7 hours
  • Difficulty: moderate
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WHAT YOU NEED:

  • 1 can of full fat coconut milk from the can
  • 3 TB pure maple syrup (honey will also work here)
  • 1 tsp pure, organic vanilla extract
  • a pinch of celtic sea salt
  • 1 TB filtered room temperature water
  • 1/2 TB grass-fed gelatin (the kind that gels)

WHAT YOU DO:

  • warm a sauce pan over medium heat
  • add in coconut milk, maple syrup, vanilla, and sea salt and stir continuously until combined and at a low boil
  • mix 1 TB of water with 1/2 TB of collagen until you have an even jelly consistency
  • drop the gelatin mixture into the saucepan and stir until all combined
  • once dissolved, pour mixture into a glass bowl and set in a larger bowl filled with ice water to cool (about 15 minutes)
  • once cooled, cover and place in the fridge for a couple of hours to cool entirely and to let the flavors meld nicely
  • after 2 hours, move to the freezer
  • after 2 hours, remove from freezer and mix with an electric hand mixer for 1-2 minutes until creamy and use a spatula to push ice cream down from the sides of the bowl
  • after 2 more hours, repeat this step with the hand mixer and then transfer to a glass tupperware or tightly covered bowl to continue freezing*
  • let freeze for at least 1 more hour and then ENJOY!!

*This is where you would fold in any additions you might want in your ice cream

icecream

See that? Not so difficult. If you make this, let me know what you think, and don’t forget to post a picture! I love to see my recipes recreated.

 

 

 

not your typical potato salad… keeping it pure

I will be the first to admit that I used to HATE potato salad (with a passion). This most likely stemmed from my detestation for all things mayonnaise. The texture, the color, the taste…. it all just grossed me out. Looking at a typical ingredient label now, I am STOKED that I hated the stuff. If you haven’t yet, take a look at a jar of Best Foods “Real” Mayo and see what you find. Or better yet, I will tell you (in this order): soybean oil (read THIS post for my thoughts on this), water, whole egg (I wouldn’t like to see the living conditions of those chickens), vinegar, salt, sugar (see HERE), calcium disodium EDTA (huh?), “natural flavors” (aka possible beaver butt juice or HFC).

Dodged that bullet.

Anyways, since diving head first into the world of real food, I have seen recipe after recipe with delicious looking meals made with actual “REAL” mayo, and I finally decided to give it another go. And guess what… this mayo hating chick actually loves the creamy, properly made condiment. Who would’ve thought? It was THIS recipe from Nom Nom Paleo that made me come around, and when I am in a pinch, I only buy Sir Kensington’s mayo, which is pretty delicious. Oh, and side note, their stone ground mustard is by far the best I have EVER had.

If you look at the ingredients for high quality mayo, this is what you get: high quality, healthy oil (olive oil, avocado oil, macadamia nut oil), egg yolks (loaded with nutrients), mustard and spices of your choice. Simple right?

So why all the crap in store-bought stuff? Well, crop oils (or crap oils, really) are a big business, which means there is money to be made and money to back the marketing to keep them on shelves; it’s also waaaay cheaper than the healthy oils and has a much longer shelf-life because of the ingredients in there that I cannot pronounce. I will not touch your average canola or soybean oil filled mayo, but when made right, this stuff can be the perfect finishing touch on a delicious recipe, simple tuna salad, bunless burger, or #hotdogasthebun (that’s a real thing). So I decided to take a chance with my new found love for mayo and whip something up for our family’s Labor Day BBQ.

So here you have it. And this was a REAL hit! Not your average potato salad…

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Pure Potato Salad (GF, NF, DF)

  • Servings: 8
  • Time: 3+ hours
  • Difficulty: moderate
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WHAT YOU NEED:

  • 2 1/2 lb red potatoes, large cur into wedges
  • 3 TB apple cider vinegar
  • 3/4 cup CLEAN mayonnaise (HERE is a great recipe, but I recommend Sir Kensington’s in a pinch)
  • 1 tsp mustard powder
  • 1-2 TB dried parsley
  • 2 TB chopped fresh tarragon
  • 1 TB minced garlic
  • 1/2 cup small dice red onion
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper

WHAT YOU DO:

  • put potatoes in a pot of water (so they are submerged) and bring water to boil
  • once boiling, reduce heat to a simmer and let them cook until a fork goes through easily (about 15 minutes)
  • drain the potatoes and put them in a bowl of water to cool
  • the skin should peel off really easily at this point, so strip those taters
  • put them in a bowl and toss them in your apple cider vinegar until coated, cover, and put in the fridge for at least 3 hours (overnight is great)
  • combine mayo, mustard, parsley, tarragon, garlic, and onions in a bowl
  • add the potatoes, mix it up gently (so as not to smash them) and season with salt and pepper to taste
  • let your salad chill in the refrigerator for at least an hour before it’s time to eat
  • enjoy!!! We had ours with beautiful grilled steaks, roasted romanesco, and farmers market green salad (yum!)

What are your Summer BBQ favorites? I am planning a summer recipe round up so DO SHARE in the comments below! 

so what’s the deal with soy?

Seriously, what is the deal with soy? I feel like just a few years ago soy was a super food, and today, there are countless articles warning against it. I’ve decided to break it down for you, provide some facts, and hopefully dispel the confusion about this food that can be made into anything from sauce to funky looking meat substitutes (Tofurky anyone??).

I have been doing some research and the best article I have found on the subject comes from one of my favorite bloggers, Liz Wolfe. She does an amazing job of backing her points with research, which is necessary when attempting to truly argue any point at all, especially in this world of internet access to pretty much any information (accurate or not). Through her blog post and my own continued research, I have started to get my ideas together on the subject of soy. Your decision on the matter, obviously, is up to you, but it never hurts to share ideas and get conversations started. So what did I find?

To sum it all up, I am pretty confident that soy serves no purpose in a healthy diet. It’s devoid of the nutrients that can be found in so many other foods, it’s an allergen to many, it’s proven to cause some serious health issues to babies, and if that isn’t enough, soy plays some serious defense, blocking some of the most important nutrients from doing their job in your body.

It seems pretty cut and dry, so why the controversy? First, let’s touch on the so-called studies performed on this stuff. Here are some quotes from the research findings for a few different studies on soy (courtesy of Liz Wolfe):

First up, from the Journal of Nutrition, Health Effects of Soy Protein and Isoflavones in Humans

“The most recent human results obtained since 1999 show some inconsistencies in the lipid-lowering functions of soy, especially the magnitude of the effects. Moreover, studies on the other potential health benefits of soy such as prevention of postmenopausal bone loss, certain types of cancers, and diabetes and relief of menopausal symptoms remain inconclusive. Meanwhile, the potential adverse effects of certain soy components observed in animal and human studies such as antithyroid actions, endocrine disruption, and carcinogenesis enhancement potential are not well understood but are increasingly becoming a concern for soy consumers, health professionals, and policy makers.”

Next up, from Soy: A Complete Source of Protein by Aaron J. Michelfelder, MD at Loyola University of Chicago Stritch School of Medicine:

“Although studies show an improvement in lipid levels, there have been no studies to prove that soy protein interventions improve cardiovascular outcomes. One study that included more than 16,000 women failed to show a reduction in cardiovascular risk with a diet high in phytoestrogens. Therefore, more data are needed before a definitive relationship between soy and cardiovascular outcomes can be established.”

And

“A randomized placebo-controlled trial of a dietary intervention of multibotanicals plus whole soy protein did not show the soy intervention to be better than placebo over one year in 165 women.”

Studies like these ones seem to only conclude (or not) that soy COULD be beneficial. To make things even more ambiguous, these studies are often performed on small omnivorous animals (not humans), are entirely unrealistic (ridiculous over-supplementation), or simply have inconclusive findings (like the ones above). I don’t know about you, but nothing I have read so far is clear enough to convince me to eat a “food” that might have some serious negative implications. Let’s talk about what those negatives might be.

According to The Westin A. Price Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to restoring nutrient-dense foods to the human diet through education, research and activism, there are many dangers to consuming soy in high amounts. Here are a few:

  • There are high levels of phytic acid in soy, which reduce absorption and use of calcium, magnesium, copper, iron, zinc and Vitamins B12 and D in the body. Phytic acid has also been shown to cause growth problems in children.
  • Trypsin inhibitors in soy interfere with protein digestion and may cause pancreatic disorders.
  • Soy phytoestrogens disrupt endocrine function and have the potential to cause infertility and to promote breast cancer in adult women. They may also cause hypothyroidism and thyroid cancer.
  • In processing soy to make protein, fragile proteins are denatured during high temperature processing which results in the formation of toxic lysinoalanine and highly carcinogenic nitrosamines.
  • Soy foods contain high levels of aluminum, which is toxic to the nervous system and the kidneys.

See THIS link for resources.

The reality is that there are HUNDREDS of nutrient dense foods to eat instead of soy, which is pretty much devoid of nutrients or any research to back up a single health claim. Pastured meats and eggs, bright nutrient-dense fruits and veggies, vitamin rich dairy from grass fed cows; each of these knocks soy out of the park when we compare bio-available nutrients.

If we think about the argument from an evolutionary mindset, beans like the soy bean have not been around for very long, and the anti nutrients found in these foods make for a situation where we are not only eating something that provides little to no nutrient density, but it can also hinder the nutrient absorption of any other foods we might be eating with it. And let’s be honest, can you think of a SINGLE soy-based item that tastes as good as its real food counterpart? I sure can’t (and I was a vegetarian for 7 years).

What about sushi!? Well that’s pretty easy, bring along some coconut aminos, ask for the sauce to be left off your roll (yes, I enjoy white rice on occasion), order delicious and fresh sashimi, and you are set for a delicious meal sans soy. Even vegetarians can find better substitutes for meat that are still whole, real foods (A sweet potato has more bio available amino acids than soy, for instance). If you have questions about how to replace your current soy-based foods, always feel free to leave a comment below, and I will respond with tips, advice, and links to help you out.

If that’s not enough, check out THIS recent lawsuit on soy!

So there is my opinion for you. I feel pretty passionate about this one, if you can’t tell. Probably because I am currently in year 3 of undoing some serious damage caused by replacing all meat in my diet with things like soy and other legumes, wheat, and sugar. There is a lot of damage to be reversed (but I will save that for another post). Until then, I’ll be eating nutrient dense foods with bioavailable vitamins, minerals, and amino acids, and I hope you will too!

In celebration of the fact that there are SO many delicious foods to eat instead of soy, I came up with this delicious Asian inspired cauli-rice recipe that will leave even your biggest soy sauce fan asking for more. Enjoy!

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Asian Inspired Cauli-Rice (GF, NF)

  • Servings: 4
  • Time: 30 min
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

WHAT YOU NEED:

  • 1 head of organic cauliflower chopped into large florets
  • 2 TB coconut oil or grass fed butter or ghee
  • 1-2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 scallions, chopped
  • 1-2 TB coconut aminos
  • sea salt and pepper to taste

WHAT YOU DO:

  • turn your food processor on (I used a Vitamix) and drop florets in one by one until the result looks like rice (you may need to do this in 2 batches so it doesn’t get stuck)
  • heat a wok or large skillet over medium/high heat and add 1 TB of cooking fat of your choice
  • add your minced garlic and white parts of the scallions and cook until you can smell them (mmmm)
  • add the cauli-rice and 1 pinch of salt to start
  • let this cook for a few minutes, stirring
  • stir in the remaining cooking fat, 1 TB coconut aminos, pepper, and another pinch of salt
  • let it cook until cauli-rice is tender, tasting throughout and adding more salt and/or aminos as needed
  • add the green parts of the scallions and stir
  • serve warm and enjoy!

We enjoyed this as a perfect side to some anytime any meat marinated beef kabobs and a summer salad. What are your thoughts on soy? Do you miss it? Do you eat it? Let me know what you think.

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