After the amazing pear & bacon bites from yesterday I eagerly looked in the fridge this morning for a pear. No pears. But I found a mango! Yay! There just has to be a mango-bacon-Paleo-something out there, right?
If you want to get fancy and chop up your mango, avocado & cooked bacon all nicely and then drizzle lime juice on it you can call it a salad (and even bring it to your next BBQ).
I had no lime juice and I didn't know if the children would like it (and oh, no we are not wasting mango! And bacon! And avi!) so I just made individual plates you could manufacture your own mini combo bites from as you pleased.
And, since you are reading this post you can tell: we all loved it!
Oh, heavenly goodness! These are a-ma-zing! Like "I can't even describe it, words escape me" good.
They are easy to make. The hardest part is waiting for your pear to be perfectly ripe. :)
Bacon, cooked and cut up.
Pear, cut into squares-ish shapes.
Cinnamon, sprinkled on top.
Eat! Nom! Nom! Nom!
"What can I eat?"
Sure, you need to snack, but the kids ask this. A lot. For those days when I don't feel like repeating myself I made flash cards. One item on each card (with a picture for my youngest who is still learning to read.) When they ask "What can I eat?" I go through the cards, pick the ones we have in stock that day, and hand them the stack. They can take all the time they want to pick and choose without involving me. It's empowering.
Here is a list of things we often have in the house for snacking. Some may seem like repeats but just combining different foods together makes a whole new snack experience so I will list those as well to spark your own snack creativity.
If you eat nuts & seeds:
Then again, if your kids are older and they can use the kitchen themselves, the sky is the limit! They can make their own pancakes or muffins, cook their own skillet meals...
...just turn them loose! :)
I made homemade gummies for the first time last night after I got my gelatin and silicone mold from Amazon.
The kids loved them. The adults loved them. And they give you a vehicle for the gelatin, which has all sorts of health benefits they say. Bonus! :)
The recipe I used calls for watermelon juice but friends have confirmed you can use any juice. I fresh-squeezed oranges for my first batch. I know someone who buys Odwalla Juice from Whole Foods and uses that.
Because the original recipe has links to everything you need (like the gelatin) plus really great photos, I'm just going to link to that for you:
Homemade Gummies by Meatified
I was just asked over email "what do you do for bread?" I thought I'd post my answer since I'm sure others are wondering, too.
The short answer is: nothing.
But the longer answer is: there is Paleo bread. However, before I tell you what it is, I must explain.
For years I ate no bread. (I write about how that is possible here.) Why no bread?
Paleo bread sucks compared to regular bread.
Sorry. :( It's true.
Do you know what gives bread that awesome chewy, stretchy, texture? Gluten. Do you know what gives modern Standard American Diet that gotta-have-it sweetness? Sugar.
Without the gluten from grains, or the sugar from sugar, you are left with "bread". Any food with quotes around it is not as good as the original. Trust me.
That being said, perhaps you have not had bread for years, and then you get some Chebe bread mixes either directly from them or from Amazon and you bake some "Focaccia" or some "breadsticks" well, then you might say, as we did, YUM!
It's all in your perspective.
Before going Paleo fruit would have given me frowny faces from the kids. Now, after our grass-fed steak, I can tell the kids dessert is fresh organic raspberries I've had cooling in the fridge and they will shout HORRAY! and climb over each other to get at them.
If you find a Paleo bread, do not expect bread. Expect "bread" and then you will be pleasantly surprised! You can also appreciate the lack of hangover. Paleo bread doesn't jack you up like standard bread.
Someday we will try Paleo Bread from Julian's Bakery either by ordering from their website or perhaps off the shelf at Whole Foods. This bread has been out for a while and I hear it's "really good!" ;)
You can also google Paleo Bread and find recipes you can make. Here is an example of 7 recipes.
Am I making you sad about bread? Don't be! It's a fun adventure once you remember it's "BREAD". Don't forget the quotes! ;)
Going Paleo should be easy, right? RIGHT? The instructions are pretty simple: eat real food. But when I went Paleo it was soooo hard.
First, I had no idea how to cook.
Second, I had no idea what real food really was.
This made my first year look like this: bacon, bacon, bacon & eggs, and bacon.
The second year of being Paleo I went in the opposite direction. With the basics of cooking down (thanks, Google!) it was time to recreate all sorts of things I missed like cake and ice cream. And tomato soup. And meatloaf. I bought Paleo cookbooks. I got a recipe app. I went hog wild. The food was great but I spent hours and hours and hours and hours and hours and hours in the kitchen. Sigh.
Then I had another baby in 2013 and things had to get simple again but instead of just bacon and eggs a new Paleo lifestyle was born.
I also call this "No Hangover Ice Cream".
Even before I went Paleo ice cream gave me a hangover - a kind of "Ug, why did I eat that?" dulled, not-so-good feeling. Now I can eat ice cream and there is no hangover. Yay!
"Sure Kids, Have As Much As You Want!"
Kids want ice cream at 9:00pm before bed? No problem! This ice cream has no processed sugar in it and so the kids don't freak out and start climbing the walls. Me, either. I let them eat it anytime because there are no negative consequences in my household with it.
Non-Paleo Friendly Because It's That Good
Homemade Paleo ice cream is crazy good and I don't just think that because I didn't eat ice cream for two years before this. Even my non-Paleo peeps adore it. Visiting kids love it. I am asked to bring it to family parties and make it for my lactose-intolerant friends. (They like having no hangover, too.)
I have made a lot of ice cream this summer. Through trial and error here is what I have learned:
My Size and Type of Ice Cream Machine
I have the 1.5 quart Cuisinart ice cream machine. It's just the right size for two cans of coconut milk which is what most Paleo ice cream recipies ask for. It makes a batch big enough for my family of four to eat as much as we want in one sitting with some left over, making it big enough for our soon-to-be family of five. I also appreciate the 1.5 quart size because homemade ice cream doesn't keep as long as store bought - you'll want to eat it within a few days or it will start to crystallize in the freezer. This will not be hard to do.
I do not have the top-of-the-line stainless steel machine, I have the next one down. It works great. People in the reviews complain it's loud. It is. But heck, you only run it for 20 minutes and it's making you Paleo ice cream for goodness sakes!!! I have no complaints. ;)
Read your ice cream machine manual. It tells you how to take care of the bowl, the necessity of turning it on before you pour and other important stuff like that.
You Have To Freeze The Ice Cream After You Make It
Right out of the machine the ice cream is really soft, softer than soft-serve and it melts too fast to eat it. You have to freeze homemade ice cream for a few hours to turn it into a real ice cream consistency. I use BPA-free 1.5 or 2 quart plastic containers and I have experimented with freezing it for 1-6 hours before I eat it. Usually I need 4 hours in the freezer to get it right but your freezer or ice cream may vary.
The Honey You Use Matters
I use raw, organic honey so it has pollen and good stuff in it. Regardless, the color and consistency of honey you use matters. I have found that dark honey has a stronger, more overpowering taste in the ice cream, especially in the vanilla ice cream. Light colored honey (which has a lighter taste) blends in better and my family greatly prefers it.
That being said, the dark honey I get is pourable, making it very easy to use. Just pour the ingredients into a bowl, mix it up with a whisk, and dump it into the ice cream machine. The thick, light honey I have to wrestle into the batch with a spoon and then I need to use an electric hand mixer or blender or the ice cream will have honey lumps in it. Although maybe you will like this. :) Whenever I get lazy and I just use the dark, pouring honey I regret it. The taste is worth it for me to get out the mixer. Experiment with the honey you use and see for yourself what taste you like best.
The Coconut Milk I Use
I get the organic Native Forest brand full-fat coconut milk. I like that it is in a BPA-free can. If you don't have a Whole Foods grocery store nearby you can buy cans on Amazon.
You can make hangover-free Paleo chocolate sauce for your ice cream! Make it with the radio below or use even more cocoa powder for a fudge-like consistency. Make the sauce thinner by using less cocoa so that it will harden into a chocolate shell on your ice cream. (My favorite!) YUM!
I put our stainless steel pot on "low", mix up as big a batch as we want and have at it. Here are the ingredients and the basic ratio:
Chocolate Sauce Recipe
1 TBSP coconut oil
1 TBSP honey
2 TBSP cocoa powder
Melted Honey "Caramel"
There are Paleo caramel recipes but I haven't tried them yet. For now we take the thick, raw, light colored honey and melt it in a stainless steel pot on "low". When you dribble it warm over the ice cream it hardens a bit into a caramel consistency. Even more yum!
And now, without further ado, here are the Paleo Ice Cream Recipies!
Paleo Vanilla Ice Cream
2 cans of Coconut Milk (refrigerated)
1/2 cup Honey
2 TBSP Vanilla Extract
Directions: Empty the two cans of coconut milk into a large mixing bowl, add in the honey and vanilla extract. Whisk the ingredients together until the honey is dissolved (if you use thick honey you may need a hand-mixer or blender as mentioned above in this post). Follow ice cream maker directions.
Paleo Chocolate Ice Cream
2 cans of Coconut Milk (refrigerated)
1/2 cup Honey
1/4 cup Cocoa Powder
2 tsp Vanilla Extract
Directions: Place your cold coconut milk, honey, vanilla and cocoa powder into a blender and mix well. (Yes, you need a blender! I tried whisking it by hand or using a hand-mixer but the cocoa would not blend properly.) Follow ice cream making directions.
Basic Fruit Paleo Ice Cream
(Use whatever fruit you want - strawberries, peaches, etc. The variations are endless.)
3 cups Fresh Fruit (chopped)
2 cans of Coconut Milk (refrigerated)
1/2 cup Honey (more or less to taste)
1 tsp Vanilla Extract
Directions: Put all the ingredients into your blender and process until pureed. Taste to make sure the sweetness is right, then follow your ice cream maker directions.
Note: This recipe makes a bit more than my 1.5 quart ice cream maker can take so I pour as much as I can into the ice cream machine and then I just drink the rest like a smoothie. ;)
.... And there you have it!
If you do an internet search for "Paleo Ice Cream Recipes" you will see there are a lot of options involving nuts and chocolate and more. I have even heard of people topping their vanilla ice cream with olive oil and salt. Someday I will look for a recipe that involves bacon, I just know it. ;)
There is packaged chocolate out there that Paleo people eat. A lot of Paleo recipes call for Enjoy Life chocolate chips. Dark chocolate bars exist like LuLu's Chocolate or Pascha. But I don't buy them.
They all contain some form of sugar.
Call it cane sugar or coconut sugar it's all sugar. (Yes, even coconut sugar which made one friend of mine all hopped up just like she was eating regular sugar.) Not to mention some say coconut sugar is unsustainable and I really, really like my coconut oil and coconut milk and I want to keep them. No coconut milk, no Paleo vanilla ice cream! (Link coming soon!)
I don't eat sugar, except for the listed ingredient that makes 0 grams in my bacon (what's in there, a pinch?) which I tested and does not make make me climb the ceiling or get addicted. Sugar really affects me. It probably affects everyone, seeing as how it buzzes the same center of your brain as um, cocaine, but since I haven't had any sugar (sans bacon) for almost two years I can really, really, really tell.
Like when went to The Counter for the first time and had a burger-in-a-bowl.
They also had certified gluten free sweet-potato or white-potato fries. I went crazy and got some ketchup. Regular ole Heinz with its high fructose corn syrup. I'm not intolerant to corn and although corn isn't Paleo I decided to splurge a little and dip, just a teeny bit, my fries into it.
It took me a while to figure out that I felt different.
Perhaps it was the overly bright look in my eyes, my bouncing legs or the fact that I sounded like one of Alvin's chipmunks talking a mile-a-minute in a higher than normal voice.
"I feel kinda drunk", I admitted to my friends, perhaps in apology for the barrage of talk they had to endure. Their hair was blown back like an 80's music video.
Yeesh. It was only ketchup. But like I said, it had been almost two years and my body could tell.
So I make my own chocolate when I want the cravings. A mixture of honey, coconut oil, and cocoa powder like in the Coco Munch recipe. I will make the munch, or else I will make the munch without the coconut flakes and dip strawberries and bananas into it, freezing them afterwards for 20 minutes and then eating them.
I will make Chocolate ice cream (link coming soon) or Chocolate Muffins (link coming soon). All of these things are made with honey and cocoa and they keep me from turning into a chipmunk.
Why am I telling you this?
I'm just sharing my story in case it helps someone else understand why the chocolate that lots of Paleo people eat might make them start dreaming of donuts, if it does. It might not. But it might. You know? And to share that there are alternatives to satisfying your chocolate desire that don't involve sugar like making it yourself.
Or.... upping your magnesium intake. I started taking magnesium supplements and I had zero desire for chocolate for years. I talk about that more in this post. I think I only make chocolate covered strawberries right now because I'm pregnant.
That's right, I blame the baby. ;)
P.S. Chocolate (cocoa) is one of the items that your body can think is gluten. If you are gluten intolerant or celiac you might not do well with it. Everyone in my family is fine with cocoa except my eldest daughter who has gluten-light symptoms after she eats it. That's why I make my pregnant-mama chocolate covered strawberries in the morning while she is still sleeping. Shhh.
P.P.S. It's OK, my daughter knows about the strawberries. I can't keep the secret very well when my face is covered in chocolate.
I woke up, all pregnant and dreaming of food. "I want a cinnamon muffin!" I wailed in my head and the search began.
OMgosh these are amazing. The best things we have baked since going Paleo 1.5 years ago. By far. It's like a snickerdoodle and a Cinnabon had a baby. I hope my baby likes them because I'm eating them. A lot.
Almond flour is the same thing as almond meal. When you cook with it (like putting it in a meatloaf) you can use whatever you want - any brand, blanched or unblanched, but if you want to bake with it.... that's a whole different story.
I like the easy Paleo stuff.