Three Days

Three days of feeding my body.

Three days of being normal.

Three days of planning for – and deeply enjoying – my dessert without guilt.

Three days isn’t much, but it’s big in my world.

Did I mention the Chocolate Halo Top is just heavenly after a sixty minute adventure on the stairmaster? Because it’s lovely, lovely, lovely.

I woke up early today (potty break – too much water in the day) and, since I was strangely awake, I went for a run …and, sort of like Forrest Gump, I sort of kept going just because I felt like it. Almost 12 miles! Just a tiny bit short. I felt so tired, but it was a GOOD tired, and after a shower, I was motivated for work even more than normal.

Shockingly, even 16 hours later, I still feel well-rested and energized. I guess fueling your body right – not over or under feeding it – really does optimize it.

 

I feel strong. I will love myself again, and I’ll do it three days at a time. 🙂

Bon appetit, my friends.

~ Tori

Lemon Coconut Creme Paleo (and Candida-diet friendly) Cake!

As I mentioned before, a close friend of mine has been struggling under the confines of a very restrictive diet (Phase I of the Candida-diet) and the lack of variety has been very draining on her.

Her birthday was last week and I knew she was very upset that not only could she not indulge on her birthday with a drink, a birthday cake was totally out of the picture.

Or was it?

I decided I was NOT going to let her celebrate her 28th birthday without a sweet treat to make it special. Working with no grains, no sugars, and limited approved ingredients would make for a challenge, but I was ready to test my culinary prowess.

This is what I made my best friend:

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What you are looking at is:

Grain Free, Sugar Free, Dairy Free, and 100% Paleo-Approved.

And, most importantly, DELICIOUS.

How did I do it?

Well, if you recall, a few weeks ago I decided to experiment with a Candida-approved Italian bread recipe that turned out REALLY well.

Running with that variation, I decided to see if I could turn a savory bread into a sweet cake with some mild variations. After FOUR experiments (using different measures of coconut milk, eggs, and flour ratios), I came up with the following PERFECT cake mix:

PERFECT PALEO (SUGAR FREE!) LEMON CAKE:

3/4 cup unsweetened, pure coconut cream
1/2 cup coconut flour
1/2 cup almond flour
1/3 cup shredded, unsweetened coconut fiber
1/2 cup granulated Stevia
1 tsp gluten-free baking powder
1 tbsp alcohol-free pure vanilla extract
1/2 tsp sea salt
2 tbsp coconut oil
4 whole eggs
2 egg yolks
Zest of one lemon
Juice of one lemon, with pulp

The cake would be prepared like any other cake: dry ingredients are first in the bowl, and then you’ll fold in the wet ingredients.

Place dough (it’ll be thick, but pliable) in a 9″ round cake pan that you’ve greased ahead of time. I used organic coconut oil spray, but you can go with whatever oil you prefer.

Bake for 25 minutes at 350.

But what is a CAKE without icing?

Now, I knew I’d never recreate a perfect, fluffy icing …and if I did, I realized it would be very temperature-weak, since it would have to be comprised of coconut oil which melts at pretty much any temperature over 72 degrees. So, I decided to forgo a traditional icing and aim for a lemony, zesty glaze to drizzle on top. After dabbling, I landed on the perfect recipe cited below.

ZESTY PALEO (SUGAR FREE!) LEMON ICING GLAZE:

1/3 cup unsweetened, pure coconut cream
4 tbsp coconut oil
Zest of 1/2 lemon
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1/4 cup coconut flour
1 egg white
1/3 cup stevia
1 tbsp alcohol-free pure vanilla extract

The icing is best prepared in a sauce pan on the stove, stirring NONSTOP until it thickens. Pour over cake while still warm. You’ll have a ton with this recipe, so think of this like a Lemon Tres Leches cake!

And there you have it! My best friend got to enjoy a slice of REAL CAKE on her birthday, and I had a real win in the kitchen!

For those of you worried about calories, the entire cake was roughly 2,100 total (with the icing included), and that worked out to about 10-12 slices, depending on how heavy-handed you are with your servings. If anyone wants a full nutritional breakdown (I have it!), let me know!

So, what are you waiting for? Time to start baking!

Bon appetit, my friends!

~ Tori

High Protein, Low Carb Brownies

Alright, folks, I’m on day three of my low-carb, high intensity workout regimen and, amazingly, I haven’t caved and scarfed down my stockpile of Cadbury Creme eggs …yet.

I have, though, suffered from some pretty intense sweets cravings, which has led me on an internet search to find something sweet that won’t break the carb bank.

I found a few low carb recipes, but nothing really blew me over and most of them were RIDICULOUSLY high in fat and calories (basically pure-butter blocks!), so …I decided to improvise and make my own!

Tori’s High-Protein, Low-Carb (grain-free/gluten-free) Brownies!

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup of Splenda (it is low carb, after all)
  • 4 oz of unsweetened, pure dark chocolate (melted)
  • 1/4 cup of melted butter or ghee
  • 2 full scoops of your favorite low carb Chocolate protein powder
  • 1 cup of egg whites (or egg substitute)
  • 1/2 cup Walden Farms brand sugar free chocolate syrup (aka, nectar of the gods)
  • 1/2 cup Walden Farms brand sugar free caramel syrup (tastes like melted dulce de leche ice cream!)
  • 1 cup of fat free cream cheese, softened (but NOT melted!)
  • 1 dash chili powder
  • 1 dash sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • Trader Joe’s Coconut Oil Spray (a godsend!)

Directions:

I’m the first to admit that I’m not much of a baker, so I definitely am not one to “sieve” this, or “whisk,” that, and –by some miracle of the pastry heavens– this recipe came out perfectly by just combining ALL of the ingredients in one giant bowl and beating it into a creamy oblivion.

Hint: the harder and longer you whip, the fluffier the brownies will be.

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees, and spray your pan (use a brownie dish for THICK, moist brownies, or a COOKIE SHEET for thin, crispier brownies – my preference) well to ensure nothing sticks.

Pour in well-beaten batter and gently rock pan to get the better evenly spread out.

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Tiny little cream cheese lumps survived the beating, but they didn’t impact the flavor or texture at all!

If using a smaller pan, bake at 350 degrees for 18-22 MINUTES. For a cookie sheet or larger pan, bake at 350 for 14-16 minutes. I baked mine for about 18 minutes in a cookie sheet and thought they turned out a little well done, but still SUPER delicious.

And, seriously, don't these look perfect?! Hard to believe they're completely flourless.

And, seriously, don’t these look perfect?! Hard to believe they’re completely flourless.

I could barely wait for them to cool, and managed to cut this tray into TWENTY FOUR giant servings (think 2×2″ brownies!).

Calorie/Nutrient Content for one brownie (assuming 24 servings in total):

  • 81 Calories
  • 5.3g fat
  • 2.2g carbs
  • 4.6g protein

I’m going to keep playing with the recipe to see if I can boost up the protein a bit more (maybe Greek yogurt instead of cream cheese? more protein powder?) and reduce the fat a tiny bit, but only 2.2g carbs for a solid 5 bites of brownie is a win-win in my book!

On that note… bon appetit, my friends!

~ Tori

Simple, Paleo Chocolate Chip Cookies!

For those that don’t know, I am a writer for the nationally syndicated TV show, The Daily Buzz.

This is actually my personal recipe for paleo, grain-free chocolate chip cookies used on the show today!

Here’s the full recipe:

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup coconut flour (I love the organic coconut flour from Trader Joe’s)
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 2 ripe bananas, peeled and mashed
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 tbsp of vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cups of Enjoy Life chocolate chips
  • pinch of sea salt
  • OPTIONAL MIX-INS: coconut flakes, pecans, almonds, hazelnuts, walnuts, or dried cherries.

Directions:

  • Preheat over to 350 degrees.
  • Combine all wet ingredients (including mashed bananas) in large mixing bowl. Stir well while folding in all dry ingredients.
  • Mix in chocolate chips.
  • On a greased cookie sheet, spoon out tablespoon-sized balls of cookie dough approximately 2 inches apart. Gently press balls down, creating a 1″ thick cookie.
  • Cook for 20 minutes, or until browned. Allow to cool for 5-10 minutes, then dig in!

Bon appetit, my friends!

~ Tori

Healthy Baking

After a discouraging weigh-in this morning, I decided I needed to wage war against my constant, nagging, inescapable desire for sweets …by baking my own healthy alternative!

I use a Paleo Recipe app called FAST PALEO, which has an amazing collection of dairy and non-dairy Paleo recipes that are quick and easy to make. The best part? You can actually search for recipes based on what you have at home to work with for ingredients!

After an exhaustive 13 hour day between two jobs (mind you, that was with leaving the second job three hours early), I didn’t feel like stopping at the grocery store. I knew I had eggs, coconut flour, cocoa powder, and avocado at home – and I’ve heard avocado is GREAT in Paleo baking – so I tested my luck and did an ingredients search.

Voila: 23 different dessert recipes popped up, most using just those ingredients or one or two more. I settled for this one:

DARK FUDGEY PALEO BROWNIES

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I’m normally bad about adhering to recipes, but I stuck to this one pretty closely: only difference was that I had cocoa powder instead of baking chocolate.

I doubled the ingredients list because I wanted to make sure I had extras to freeze:

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I used two 12-count cupcake pans, which needed only 16-18 minutes to cook at 350 degrees.

Because I used cocoa powder and not baker’s chocolate, I’ll admit that my finished product was more cake-like than FUDGEY, but it was overall delicious and the perfect portion size. If I were to make this exact same recipe again, I would ADD A CUP OF UNSWEETENED APPLESAUCE (or mashed ripe banana) to make it a tiny bit sweeter and more moist.

Here’s my finished product:

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I plan to eat them slightly warmed with a little spoonful of coconut ice cream or some mashed raspberries. To the tune of 150 calories, they pack more then I wanted for a snack, but they’re so full of protein (eggs and sunbutter) plus healthy fats (coconut oil and avocado) that the pros outweigh the cons.

The app is totally free, so if you’re a Paleo dieter like me or just looking for some grain-free/gluten-free alternatives, I definitely suggest checking it out!

Bon appetit, my friends!!

– Tori

Paleo Pumpkin Muffins with Chocolate Icing

Last night, I decided to conduct an experiment in baking.

After a great workout at the gym, I was in the mood to indulge my pumpkin craving without blowing my diet. I started to look up Paleo recipes involving pumpkin and came across DOZENS that sounded amazing and easy to make.

The catch?

I didn’t have all of the ingredients.

Rather than trying to find a 24 hour Whole Foods (do those exist?) to stock up on Paleo staples, I decided to modify a recipe I found using what I had on hand. With this recipe as my inspiration, I came up with the following recipe:

Paleo Muffin Recipe

Ingredients –

  • 1 can (29 oz) pumpkin puree
  • 1 cup almond flour
  • 1 cup Truvia granules (technically, this isn’t Paleo, but I didn’t have any more raw honey in the house and wanted to shave off a few calories.)
  • 1/3 cup tapioca flour
  • 6 large eggs
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened shredded coconut flakes
  • 1/3 cup So Delicious French Vanilla Creamer
  • 1/4 cup ground flax seed
  • 4 tbsp coconut oil
  • 4 tbsp cinnamon
  • 2 tbsp nutmeg
  • 2 tbsp allspice
  • 2 tbsp baking powder

Cooking Instructions –

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • While the oven warms up, combine ALL ingredients in a large mixing bowl. I’m not good at the precision and artistry of baking, so I rarely “combine dry then wet ingredients” nor do I sift my flours. Somehow, it always comes out fine, even when I just mash it all together willy-nilly. Either I’ve just gotten lucky or all of those extra steps are a load of bullocky.
  • In a lined cupcake pan, spoon batter until each is about three-quarters full. I had enough batter to make exactly 24 cupcakes (regular size, not minis) without issue.
  • Bake for about 25-30 minutes or until desired doneness. I’m bad and prefer the center of my cupcakes a little gooey, so I pulled mine out at 22 minutes and they were perfect for my taste. If you like yours fully cooked, definitely err closer to 30 minutes.

After devouring a cupcake with my husband, we both agreed that they were delicious, but that they “tasted too healthy.” He was right – they were only about 80 calories each, which didn’t seem like much of a splurge.

Running on the adrenaline of one successful experiment, I decided to invent my own simple Paleo chocolate icing.

Paleo Chocolate Icing

Ingredients –

  • 6 tbsp Enjoy Life Chocolate Chips
  • 2 tbsp So Delicious French Vanilla Coconut Creamer
  • 1.5 tbsp unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 1/2 tbsp cinnamon

Cooking Instructions –

  • Combine all ingredients in a microwave safe bowl. Microwave for 10 seconds, then stir. Microwave another 10-15 seconds, then stir again. Microwave about 10 more seconds, then remove from the microwave and stir slowly until all chocolate chips have melted and the icing thickens.

This icing was DELICIOUS and so simple to make. I just threw it together and drizzled about 1 tbsp on each cupcake, adding just 25-30 calories each, and it added a richness that completely gave our sugar-cravings a one-two punch!

Not too shabby, if I do say so myself. YUM!

Not too shabby, if I do say so myself. YUM!

So, if you’re in a pinch and want to whip up a recipe that uses less hard-to-find Paleo ingredients, try out these cupcakes! Most avid primal dieters always have coconut milk and almond flour on hand, so as long as you’ve got those two, chances are you can whip together just about any baked treat you’re craving with a little experimentation!

Let me know if you try this recipe at home and how it comes out!

Bon appetit,

~ Tori

 

Paleo Dessert Option (and it’s portable!)

Since I do NOT want to talk about my eating habits this weekend [not good, people, not good], I thought I’d use this morning’s post to talk about a DELICIOUS new treat I discovered for those on Paleo diets like myself:

Happy Squeeze – Organic Superfoods – TREAT: Chocolate Pear.

Simple package, decadent contents.

Simple package, decadent contents.

These little 90 calorie treats are just short of spectacular. A blend of organic pear, organic white grape juice, organic vanilla extract, and organic cocoa, these pouches taste like sweet chocolate ice cream that has been blended by the gods themselves into a perfect, portable package – no refrigeration necessary! They taste great at any temperature, in fact, and they feature a resealable cap, which is a unique option for this type of snack option. Probably because this particular brand caters to a younger audience [I admit it: I’m eating baby food, people] that likely won’t finish an entire pouch in one sitting.

Oh, I don’t have that problem. I have to force myself to slow down and savor these little babies because they taste THAT GOOD.

I’ve gotten into the habit of freezing them and enjoying them as an alternative to coconut ice cream for when I need a sweet snack before bed. In addition, when they are frozen they serve a dual purpose if you pack lunch: an ice pack AND dessert! BAM! That’s a win:win in my book.

This “TREAT” [that’s it’s actual name!] is the perfect serving size, a petite 3.5 oz, which is just enough to satisfy a craving, even on a full stomach.

In researching them on Amazon.com, I discovered that they come in a variety of flavors [OMG, they have Caramel Apple!] and they average about $1-$1.75 per pouch.

Can I let you in on a little secret?

You have to promise not to tell anyone, OK?

……

…..

Alright… here’s the scoop:

I found these at Big Lots for just 50 cents per package.

I KNOW. Just 50 cents!

So, before you order these delectable delicacies online, check your local Big Lots to see if they have them in stock. The store near my house carries a surprising variety of organic and Paleo-friendly snack foods [organic beef jerky, even!], so I always stock up when I see a new item there that I can eat. For just 50 cents a package, I bought DOZENS of these TREATS for later consumption.

Yum, yum!

Bon appetit, my friends – and happy bargain hunting along the way!

~ Tori