Blueberries and Cream Paleo Popsicles {Three Ingredients}

When you live in a region of the country that is poorly prepared for century mark temperatures, folks do everything they can to keep cool.  Kiddie pools, sprinklers, poorly equipped window AC units, movie theaters, cold foggy days on the coast, and lazy days spent on the banks of a lazy mountain river are just a few ways we choose to beat the heat here in the Pacific Northwest.

But few things bring immediate relief like a good old fashioned popsicle.

The other morning after breakfast, I pulled out my final popsicle to photograph it.  I had  previously devoured the rest during naptimes earlier in the week. Because I’m an adult and like to enjoy a treat without sharing.  But on this particular day, I made the monumental mistake in trying to get the picture while my son was awake.

As we started to swelter in the 100 degree weather in our south-facing second story home as our straining AC unit worked hard to keep up, I removed the final popsicle from the freezer. I stopped for a moment and let the frozen air fall over my face and shoulders, reveling that something could still be cold in this heat. I pulled out my camera and began searching for the right light to capture the cold, creamy, fruity essence of this frozen treat.

Enter E.

He wasn’t having it.

He didn’t care that mom needed to use the popsicle for work.

He didn’t care that it was the last one.

He didn’t care that I needed to take a really beautiful picture to share with you.

He. Didn’t. Care.

There was no stopping my tiny monster.  I turned on Jimmy Fallon.  I tried to distract him with his favorite snack. I pulled out the Tegu blocks, crayons, and even tried to give him my old phone to distract him. Nothing worked.

So, I went with it.

My first attempt to take a picture.
My first attempt to take a picture.
Pop2
I tried to dodge him. He would not relent. “Me? This? Mama?”
Okay.  You.  This. Mama gives up.
Okay. You. This. Mama gives up.
Pop4
Contemplating before annihilating.
The first taste.
The first taste.
No way will I be able to get that back from my toddler's death-like grip.
No way will I be able to get that back from my toddler’s death-like grip. This face is telling me not to even think about taking a bite.
Might as well keep him contained if he's really going to eat my post.
Might as well keep him contained if he’s really going to eat my post.

Here’s the recipe, even though the I don’t have Pinterest-worthy pictures to show for the effort.  I hope you enjoy these as much as we did!

Ingredients:

  • 1 can full fat coconut milk
  • 1/2 cup pureed blueberries
  • 1/4 cup whole blueberries
  • 1 Tbsp raw honey

Directions:

  1. Mix coconut milk, honey, and puree.
  2. Pour mixture into popsicle molds.
  3. Drop a few whole blueberries into the molds, and then insert popsicle stick.
  4. Freeze until solid (2-3 hours), and enjoy!

You won’t be sad you ate this.  I promise.  And with very little sugar, these are ideal for low-sugar, refreshing summer treats.

Make your summer pop!
Carrie

Salted Sunbutter Cups with Raw Chocolate {Paleo}

Sunbutter Cups Bite
Joy comes in a new, creamy, salty, sweet form.

Friends.  I’ve done the unthinkable.

I’ve given up refined Sugar for the summer.

No Salt & Straw.

No Petunia’s.

No sweet treats from Cascadia Bakery.

Because I have a problem.  Sugar means too much to me.  I can’t resist it right now.  I need to give it up for a while until I can use it responsibly.

Which might be never.  But I’m giving it until September, just to be sure. Because I don’t want the diabeetus.

One of my favorite treats is chocolate and peanut butter, but because of FPIES, we can’t keep peanuts in the house.  I love sunflower seed butter (aka sunbutter) as a substitute for peanut butter.  It’s safe for peanut and tree nut allergy peeps, and gives a comparable, creamy taste.  I don’t miss it peanut butter at all.  In fact, you can pretty much always find me with a spoonful of sunbutter in my hand when I get too busy and forget to feed myself.

I’m also pretty committed to using raw cacao nibs when possible.  Raw cacao is full of antioxidants, magnesium, potassium, fiber, and can help fight heart disease and lift your mood naturally.  With a little bit of coconut oil for good measure, these treats aren’t just freaking delicious, they’re also super healthy for you.

Sign me up.  Twice.

I shared these with some of my best friends who are also trying to leave that jerk, Sugar, behind.  The consensus? We can no longer live without them.

Sunbutter Mini Cups

Ingredients for Chocolate Layer:

  • 1/2 cup ground cacao nibs (I use my nutribullet, but a coffee grinder would work, too.)
  • 1/3 cup coconut oil, melted
  • 1-2 Tbsp raw honey, or erythritol
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Ingredients for Sunbutter Fudge Filling:

  • 3/4 cup sunbutter
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil
  • 2 Tbsp raw honey or erythritol
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Directions for Chocolate Layer:

  1. Whisk together all the ingredients until fully incorporated.
  2. Pour into lined cupcake or mini-cupcake molds, filling about 1/3 of the way.
  3. Pop in freezer for 15 minutes until solid.

Directions for Sunbutter Fudge:

  1. Whisk all ingredients together.
  2. Pour mixture on top of frozen chocolate.
  3. Freeze or refrigerate until firm.
  4. Remove from refrigerator or freezer for 3 minutes, add flake salt on top, and devour.

These stay good forever in the freezer, and several weeks in a sealed container in the refrigerator.  But good luck.  The sunbutter cups haven’t survived 24 hours in my house.  Maybe ever.

Open your heart and let the sunbutter in,

Carrie

Star Anise Shortbread {Paleo}

Sometimes, you do crazy things to get a job.

Several years ago, I was feeling slightly disillusioned with the non-profit sector (which I had worked in for over a decade at that point) and really wanted to try something new.  I had mad administrative skills but I wanted to be in an environment where my skills were appreciated without the pressure of saving the world.  Okay, maybe that’s a TAD melodramatic.  But just a tad.

When an opportunity came for me to work for my favorite doctor, I jumped at the chance.  It was the single best professional decision I’ve ever made.  In this job, my confidence was restored, my skill set broadened, and my body healed right along with my heart.  It was the best kind of job.

When we decided to leave our city and have a new adventure in the Pacific North West, I was heart broken to leave my favorite job and my favorite doctor.  I had a glowing recommendation to carry with me along with my new skill set and healthy body.

After working in a job I wasn’t thrilled about for a few months, I began looking for other positions.  My friend and also my former boss connected me with a doctor who was looking for administrative help.  I was determined to woo him.

I went to his office.  I dropped off my resume with a batch of paleo shortbread cookies.

Three weeks later, I had a new job.  Coincidence?  I think not.

While I would love to think that I earned that job all on my own, I’m pretty sure these nifty little shortbread cookies had something to do with it.  Yep, I said NIFTY.  Because shortbread is classic and can handle words like “nifty” and “neato” and “groovy”.

I can’t guarantee your future employers will love these as much as I do. However, I can guarantee that, unless they have a nut or egg allergy, they will adore these treats.  And you probably will, too.

(If you are looking to cut back on sugar, you can substitute erythritol 1:1 in this recipe.)

shortbread

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups blanched almond flour
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil (or butter)
  • 1 cup coconut sugar or erythritol
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp anise extract or 1 tsp finely ground star anise
  • 1/4 tsp almond extract, or 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • pinch of sea salt

Directions:

  1. Combine flour, erythritol, and baking powder (and ground star anise if you use it)
  2. Combine egg, coconut oil, extracts, and stevia
  3. Add flour mixture to egg mixture and form into a log shape
  4. Wrap dough tightly in plastic wrap or foil and refrigerate for at least five hours (I chilled mine overnight and it was great)
  5. Once chilled, slice dough and place on a parchment paper-lined cookie sheet.  Sprinkle a TEENY bit of sea salt over the top.
  6. Bake at 325 degrees for 12-17 minutes, until just slightly browned around the edges.
  7. Allow to rest for a few minutes on the baking sheet. Transfer to a cooling rack and allow to cool completely before serving.

Have you ever done anything unorthodox to get a job?  What was it?  I want to know!

Your Favorite Paleo Cookie Monster,
Carrie

 

Cauliflower Fried Rice {Grain Free}

CauliflowerRiceCornerI’m always looking for ways to get more vegetables.

You guys.  IT IS HARD.

While I don’t hate grains, (in fact, I adore them), I know my body doesn’t do well with a carbohydrate-heavy diet and I tend to feel uncomfortably full and bloated after eating them.  I also truly believe in a veggie-based diet, especially because I struggle with PCOS and endometriosis.  I have to keep my babymaker in good shape, and the best and first line of health for me is nutrition.  It’s part of an overall commitment to health and hormone balance.

When I can replace grains with veggies, I do. When I can replace grains and not miss them even a little bit, I absolutely do.

I’ve perused Pinterest and have seen the fried rice recipes with cauliflower.  I usually dismissed them because it’s typically so much prep work to get cauliflower to taste like something awesome. But with the fried cauliflower “rice”, it was a total breeze.

Are you ready for my secret weapon?

grater

Yep, a cheese grater.

I’ve tried a food processor, blender, knife tricks, and dicing or mashing after steaming.  The cheese grater, though, was so easy to use (albeit messy).  I just plunked the grater in a deep bowl,  trimmed and quartered the head of cauliflower, then grated away.

Easy.

The final result? A flavorful, slightly spicy dish that is wonderful as a standalone and completely filling and satisfying.  I didn’t miss the rice even a little.

CauliflowerRiceFull

Ingredients:

  • 1 large head cauliflower, trimmed and grated
  • 1 12 oz bag of frozen mixed veggies (I prefer the California Blend)
  • 1 12 oz bag of frozen cut green beans
  • 12 oz of cooked protein of your choice (optional, but leftover meat works great!)
  • 1 head of garlic, minced or crushed
  • 1 small onion, minced
  • 2 Tbsp fresh ginger, grated or minced
  • Bragg’s Amino Acids, Tamrari, or organic soy sauce (I prefer Bragg’s)
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 Tbsp Avocado oil, ghee, or another high smoking point oil
  • 1 tsp red pepper flakes (optional)
  • Salt and Pepper

Directions:

  1. In a large skillet, add frozen veggies and a tablespoon (or more) of Bragg’s.  If you want some extra spice, add red pepper flakes. Cook on medium high, stirring every five minutes until they are steaming hot.
  2. While vegetables are cooking, sauté onion in a large skillet or wok in 2 tablespoons of oil until translucent.  Add garlic and ginger and cook until soft and slightly golden.
  3. Add grated cauliflower to the garlic, onion, and ginger.  Add remaining oil, two tablespoons of Bragg’s, and mix thoroughly. Allow cauliflower to cook until tender.
  4. Once cauliflower is tender, push it to the sides, creating a hole in the middle of the pan.  A three inch circle of the pan should be exposed.  Crack eggs into the exposed circle, scrambling with a fork or spatula continuously.  The egg will cook into the cauliflower, and that’s okay.
  5. Once your eggs are scrambled, add protein and veggies (minus any liquid), to the cauliflower and mix thoroughly.  Add salt and pepper to taste and serve immediately.

I’m eating this today for lunch as leftovers.  It tastes so good without heating, but reheats like a dream in a skillet on the stove top.

This veggie thing.  It’s not THAT hard.
Carrie

 

Strawberry Shortcake {Paleo and Vegan}

Remember Strawberry Shortcake? She was one of my childhood favorites, along with Shera, My Little Ponies, GI Joe, Star Wars, and Care Bears.  There was something so enticing about the faint chemical strawberry scent of her hair, her massive bobbleheadedness, and magical world where everything smelled and tasted delicious.  My friend had a Strawberry Shortcake bedspread and sheets and I was so envious.  I wanted to dream of Berry Bitty City and play with Strawberry and all of her friends, and I was pretty sure I could only do that if I was lulled to sleep under all those magical sheets and blankets.

vintage-strawberry-shortcake-cute-31000

I didn’t realize for a long time (really, way too long) that Strawberry Shortcake was a real thing.  I don’t even remember having actual strawberries until we moved to Texas when I was in elementary school.  And I definitely don’t remember eating strawberry shortcake until I was in second grade at the school Field Day.

That shortcake was…not amazing.  It was made with the store bought spongy, yellow mini-cakes baked into little flat-top basins to hold the strawberries and whipped cream.  The strawberries were glazed and tasted like my Strawberry Shortcake doll smelled. A spoonful of Cool Whip completed the dish and it was…not my favorite thing I’d ever had.  I really wanted it to be.

Eventually, I outgrew my love of Strawberry Shortcake and her friends and mostly avoided the dessert for many years after that.  It wasn’t until college that I tried it again at a swanky resturant at the urging of my best friend.

Holy moly.

It was one of the most mind-blowingly delicious things I had ever tasted.  The shortcake was more like a biscuit, and everything was fresh and texturally spot on.

I’m not exaggerating when I say I’ve spent ten years trying to recreate that shortcake.

This is the closest I’ve come.  I didn’t realize until I eliminated gluten from my diet that the shortcake I had tried so hard to replicate most likely was made using almond flour.  Once I unlocked that piece, the rest was a breeze.

Strawberry Shortcake

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups sliced strawberries
  • 2 cups blanched almond flour (I use Bob’s Red Mill)
  • 2 eggs*
  • 3/4 cup butter, cold and cubed, or melted coconut or avocado oil
  • 1 scant cup cassava flour (wheat flour can be substituted)
  • 2 Tbsp raw honey, or other sweetener
  • 2 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg

Directions:

  1. Combine the almond flour, cassava flour, baking soda, salt, and nutmeg in a medium mixing bowl.
  2. Add butter to the flour mixture and cut into flour until the butter is in tiny pieces.
  3. In a small bowl, combine eggs, vanilla extract, apple cider vinegar, and honey.  Whisk until fully incorporated.
  4. Add egg mixture to flour mixture and stir until barely combined.
  5. Spoon mixture onto a parchment paper-lined baking sheet, or bake in lined muffin tins.
  6. Bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes.
  7. Pile with strawberries and whipped topping of your choice.

*If you want to make this egg-free, go for it!  To replace two eggs, I used 2 Tbsp ground flax seeds, 3 Tbsp water, 1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar.

Now that I know what strawberry shortcake can be, I’ll never go back.  I still miss my Strawberry Shortcake doll, though, and secretly wish for a daughter so I can justify buying all the Strawberry Swag.

Strawberrylicious,
Carrie