Super Simple Protein Oats!

OK, I know it’s not exactly Paleo (who am I kidding? It’s totally not Paleo), but I’ve been obsessed with oatmeal lately. I was just buying the single-serve packets to quench my cravings, but I looked over the ingredients and was shocked to find how much JUNK was in them. Even the organic brands had a lot of sugar added, and it seemed the only way to avoid the unnecessary simple carbs and “natural flavorings” (seriously, what is that crap??) was to make it on my own.

On Monday, I decided to prep my breakfasts for the week, and I wanted to make it as simple as possible. I took four mason jars and filled them with oatmeal, vanilla protein powder, stevia, cinnamon, and cashew milk. I had no idea how it would taste, but decided to make five of them and hope for the best.

HOLY DELICIOUSNESS, BATMAN!!!

These things are amazing. Instead of eating them cold (as overnight oats), I’ve nuked them for about three minutes and they turn into this warm, almost oatmeal-cookie esque bread pudding that’s to die for.

For roughly 320 calories, I’m getting a solid 35g of protein and 5g of pure fiber goodness. And, most importantly, only 1g of sugar (33g total carbs, but I’m not doing a restrictive diet here)!

In case you want to recreate this vanilla cinnamon orgastic breakfast, here’s what I’m using:

  • 1/2 cup organic, steel-cut oats
  • 1 scoop of Isopure Vanilla 0g carb protein powder (pricey, but worth it)
  • 1 cup Silk Unsweetened Cashew Milk
  • 1 tsp cinnamon powder
  • 1/3 cup Stevia powder (more or less to taste)
  • Between 1/2 cup to 2/3 cup water, added a few drops at a time while microwaving

Mix-in Ideas:

  • 1/4 cup organic raisins (roughly 100 calories)
  • 1/4 cup chopped pecans or walnuts (roughly 200 calories)
  • 1/4 cup pumpkin puree (roughly 40 calories)
  • 1 tbsp chocolate chips (roughly 80 calories)

You can realistically get away with microwaving this about 90 seconds if you just want it to be warm and thick, but I discovered that cooking it longer makes it puff up noticeably (imagine a cake rising) and give the illusion of substantially more food. If you do microwave past 90 seconds, consider adding a few tbsp of water every 30 seconds or so and stirring. I cook mine roughly three minutes and it turns into a MASSIVE bowl of doughy/cakey oats, which is my FAVORITE. If you prefer porridge-style oats, definitely cut the time to less than two minutes.

Oatmeal

 

FYI: I know this is a terrible picture, but it smelled so good and I was so raring to eat it, I honestly didn’t care about getting a good picture. It smelled like the oatmeal cookies your grandmother used to make.

And the added plus? This keeps me full for HOURS! I ate this around 10am yesterday in the office and didn’t touch my lunch until after 3pm. As someone who normally grazes all day (and eats religiously every 2 hours, hungry or not), that’s saying something about the staying power of this simple dish.

So, these oats prove it: there really is no excuse for not eating a healthy breakfast every day. I literally prepped five of these in under five minutes Monday morning, and they take less than four minutes to heat/cook. It would’ve taken me 2-3x the amount of time to stop somewhere and grab a breakfast sandwich, and they’re substantially more filling than my usual protein-bar-out-the-door routine.

What’s your excuse?

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

Hemp Seeds: My New Crush!!

Hemp seeds. Holy crap. How have I never had these before?

I found a bag of raw, shelled hemp seeds on clearance at Whole Foods and, for just $3.99 for the bag, I decided to give it a try.

BEST. DECISION. EVER.

They’re nutty, buttery, and earthy. Sort of like a cross between a sunflower seed and an almond. I’m hooked.

IMG_9407My favorite way to eat them? With a drizzle over raw almond butter and sliced banana!

Much nom. Many delcious.

Bon appetit, my friends!

~ Tori

Candida Diet Approved (and PALEO) Italian Bread!

A very close friend of mine has been dealing with some health issues and her doctor, both trained in holistic/natural and traditional medicine, has suggested she follow a Candida-diet in the short term until they are able to fully identify the cause of her illness.

After learning more about the Candida Diet, I realized that it’s really not that far off from the Paleo diet. Where hers has a few more restrictions when it comes to sugar (she cannot have any fruit whatsoever, and has to avoid most starches), she’s allowed a few grains that are normally prohibited from the Paleo diet. Other than those few differences, though, we’re basically following the same basic guide: lean meats, healthy fats, and lots of green vegetables.

She told me she had baked some bread and, knowing I pay $8.99 per loaf for my coconut bread from Julian’s Bakery, she suggested I try out her recipe, which is both inexpensive and easy to make:

Ingredients (in her original recipe):

  • 1/2 cup coconut flour
  • 1/2 cup almond flour (can also substitute millet or buckwheat)
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk (creamy part on the top works best)
  • 5 eggs
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tsp Stevia powder

Directions:

Blend dry ingredients separate from wet ingredients, then combine.
Pour into greased loaf pan, bake at 350 for about 30 mins.
Top of the loaf should be firm, and a light golden color.
Let cool.

Since I was craving bread sticks and Italian food, I decided to modify her recipe a bit with additional seasonings and try to cut the calories down a tiny it, since her recipe was over 140 calories per slice. While I try not to focus on calories, 140+ for a small slice seemed a bit steep.

Here’s the modified version I made, which came out WONDERFUL:

Ingredients (a la Victoria):

  • 1/2 cup coconut flour
  • 1/2 cup almond flour
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cashew milk (a huge calorie savings)
  • 3 whole eggs, 3 egg whites (another 200+ calories saved)
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tsp Stevia powder
  • 1 tbsp dried basil leaves
  • 1 tbsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tbsp dried rosemary
  • 1/2 tbsp oregano
  • 1/2 tbsp thyme

I baked it according to her instructions, and the texture was PERFECT. It’s like a thick, earthy, mountain bread. The seasoning gave it the perfect savory flavor, and I could imagine myself toasting the slices to use as croutons after a few days.

IMG_9040The picture isn’t fancy — I was tired and baking this at 11pm at night.

I contemplated making a sweet version of this bread, using unsweetened organic applesauce in place of the oil and blending in raisins, cinnamon, and crushed pecans to make a dessert-style bread. Perhaps that will be tonight’s experiment!

In the meantime, I’m so in love with this Italian bread, I had a slice with my breakfast:

IMG_9042Look at all that grain-free goodness! NOM NOM NOM.

Bon appetit, my friends!

~ Tori

Paleo Sangria!

OK, this is a quick and easy recipe for a refreshing, summer beverage for those of you on the Paleo diet but still craving a little alcoholic sustenance!

Paleo Sangria!

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 cups organic red wine (personally, I love Malbec, as it’s not sweet, but not overly dry)
  • 2 cups sparkling water
  • 1/2 lime, juiced
  • 1/2 orange, juiced and zested
  • 1/2 cup blueberries, frozen
  • 1/2 cup sliced strawberries, frozen
  • 1.5 oz 100% agave tequila
  • 2 sprigs of mint (optional)

DIRECTIONS:

In two large (16 oz) mason jars, divide your wine evenly. Add your lime juice, orange juice (hold zest until the end), and berries. Stir well, and then split the tequila between both (it gives it an extra punch)! Add the sparkling water (don’t stir – it’ll go flat!) and then top with the mint sprigs and orange zest. Enjoy!

I ate the mint sprig before the picture. I can't help it: mint is my FAVORITE!

I ate the mint sprig before the picture. I can’t help it: mint is my FAVORITE!

It’s not too sweet, but perfectly refreshing with the fruit and fresh juice! I make this year round, but it’s perfect for the summer, since the added sparkling water prevents it from overly dehydrating you in the heat. You can substitute white wine if you’re not a red fan, but you’ll get more benefits from the antioxidants in red. Plus, it’s prettier! 🙂

Bon appetit, my friends!

~ Tori

Delicious Paleo Chicken Crockpot Recipe

In a hurry to get to the gym last night, I tossed a bunch of random ingredients into the crockpot and prayed for a miracle. My husband had class (we’re both in grad school), and I wanted something filling, healthy, and effortless, but really didn’t have time to prep anything, so I gathered the following ingredients and crossed my fingers:

Ingredients:

  • 2 lbs trimmed, boneless chicken breasts
  • 1 jar (16 oz) Newman’s Own Organic Garlic Salsa
  • 1 jar (16 oz) water (use the salsa jar!)
  • 1 bunch (approx 1 oz) of fresh basil
  • 8 tbsp chili powder
  • 6 tbsp dried onion flakes
  • 4 stalks of chives, chopped
  • 1 bag mixed chopped peppers (Publix and Trader Joe’s both have great mixed bags)
  • 1 bag (12 oz) frozen broccoli florets
  • 1 bag raw carrot slices

I literally tossed all of these ingredients into my crockpot (which I sprayed with Coconut Oil non-stick spray from Trader Joe’s first) and stirred well to cover, set the heat to HIGH, and then took off.

I was at the gym a little more than 2.5 hours, stopped at Target on the way home, and eventually returned to the house three hours later to find the house smelled like MEXICAN HEAVEN!

Seriously, it smelled SO good. I was so excited by how it smelled, I didn’t even take a picture. I stirred the contents (holy cow, it looked good) and the chicken completely fell apart. It looked like pulled chicken, only spicy and fragrant like a good set of fajitas.

With perfect timing, my husband arrived from school right as I steamed a spaghetti squash (in the microwave, it takes roughly 7 minutes to steam a halved squash with salt and pepper) and diced up a fresh, ripe avocado.

I served the pulled Mexican chicken over the spaghetti squash (right out of the squash-skin, since it makes an organic, biodegradable bowl!) and topped it off with the avocado and a little more salsa.

Since my husband doesn’t follow a paleo diet, he also added some low-fat sour cream (which some Paleo dieters agree dairy is fine in moderation) and his favorite hot sauce, and we both inhaled our dishes like the ravenous cavemen (and cavewomen!) we are.

The prep time on this dish was honestly less than 5-8 minutes, and you could easily swap out pork, steak, or fish instead of the chicken with equally delicious results. The crockpot is always my go-to on busy days, so if you don’t have one at home …what are you waiting for?!

On that note… I can’t wait for my leftovers today for lunch. 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