Deconstructed “Pasta Carbonara” (Paleo and Gluten-Free)

Hand Crafted

Everything is better with an egg on top, right?! I sure as hell think so, and it was that thought that inspired this super simple paleo meal: Deconstructed “Pasta” Carbonara. It tastes so decadent, and looks like something you might find in a restaurant, but is easy enough to make on a weeknight.

This paleo dinner recipe came about from a craving for carbonara combined with feeling too lazy to make something complicated. As I was thinking about all that goes into a traditional pasta carbonara, which is an egg-based sauce, I had an epiphany: poached eggs make everything better. So instead of taking the time to slowly cook the carbonara sauce as the traditional meal requires, I made this deconstructed version instead!

In this dish, pancetta, garlic, onion and fresh herbs come together with grass-fed butter, spaghetti squash and a poached egg to make a seriously delicious meal that is simple enough to make in about 20 minutes, and pretty enough to feed to guests.

Here’s how to make this in your kitchen (makes 2 servings):

  • 3 tbsp grass-fed butter
  • 1/2 a sweet onion, sliced thinly
  • 2 gloves garlic, minced
  • 3 oz diced pancetta
  • 3 cups spaghetti squash, prepared (click here for instructions)
  • 1 tbsp wine (whatever you have in the house, or leave out)
  • 1 tbsp fresh basil, chopped
  • 1/2 tbsp parsley, chopped
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vinegar (white or apple cider)
  1. Place 1/2 tbsp of the grass-fed butter into a large sauté pan over medium-high heat. Once the butter has melted, add the onion to the pan and cook, stirring frequently, until it has browned and softened, about 5 minutes.
  2. Add the garlic to the pan and cook, stirring frequently, until the garlic is fragrant, about 1 minute.
  3. Add the pancetta to the pan and continue to cook the mixture until the pancetta has browned and is slightly crispy, about 3 minutes.
  4. Add the rest of the butter and the wine to the pan. Cook, stirring constantly, until the butter has melted and browns just slightly, about 2 minutes.
  5. Add the spaghetti squash to the pan and mix thoroughly with the meat, garlic, onion and butter sauce. Stir in the fresh herbs, salt and pepper (to taste) and reduce the stove heat to low (this is just to keep the squash warm while you are poaching the eggs).
  6. To poach the eggs, add about 2 inches of water to a small pot and bring to a boil. Once the water is boiling, turn the heat down to medium and wait until the water is still bubbling, but only slightly.
  7. Add the 1 tsp vinegar to the water, then crack two eggs into the water. The eggs should not need to be touched at this point, but if the whites looks like they are really spreading out, you can use a slotted spoon to swirl the water around each egg, bringing the whites back around the yolk.
  8. Cook the eggs for about 2 minutes, until the whites are firm but the yolk is still runny.
  9. To serve, place the spaghetti squash and sauce mixture into a bowl or plate and add a poached egg on top. Split open the egg so the yolk runs into the spaghetti squash.
  10. Eat and enjoy!

Deconstructed Carbonara 3I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as me and the hubby did! It was the perfect easy meal for a date night at home! Tons of flavor with really simple ingredients: my favorite kind of paleo meal.

Paleo Party Foods: Bacon-Wrapped Dates with Chorizo (Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free and Nut-Free)

Bacon-wrapped dates with chorizo, a paleo appetizerThere was once a time in my life when I was afraid of parties. I know, crazy. But they had become daunting for me. I was newly paleo, and saw parties as places filled with temptation at every corner, and very few paleo-friendly appetizers. Most parties had veggies and guacamole, or something similar, but there was no telling if there would ever be anything else for me to fill my plate with.

This situation would leave me (in my mind) with two options: starve, or eat non-paleo foods. At first, I chose the second option. But the longer I ate a paleo diet, the more this option would leave me feeling crappy the next day. Finally, I realized, I needed to approach parties differently, because I sure as hell wasn’t going to sit at home alone eating sauerkraut the rest of my life.

Instead, I started bringing at least one dish (but often more) to every party I went to. Even if the host says they don’t need anything, no one is going to turn down free food for their guests. And when you make paleo party food, every one wants it. Because let’s face it, one of the best things about eating paleo is that the food is delicious!

Are you heading to a party this weekend? Try out my latest recipe, which I brought to a party last weekend, for bacon-wrapped dates stuffed with chorizo. It’s a super simple appetizer that one party guest described as “meat candy.” It’s an appropriate name! Try them out for yourself and let me know how you like them!

Here’s how to make these in your kitchen (makes 60 stuffed dates):

  • 2 links pre-cooked chorizo (about 8 oz
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 eight-ounce bags of dried pitted dates (no sugar added), or about 60 dates
  • 10 strips bacon
  1. Pre-heat your oven to 375 degrees.

  2. While the oven is pre-heating, chop the chorizo as small as possible, until it is crumbly. Add the olive oil and the chorizo to a medium sauté pan over medium-high heat. Cook for about 5 minutes until the chorizo begins to brown and get slightly crispy.

  3. Prep the dates by cutting them the long way through one side, so they open like a hollow book. Be careful not to slice them through both sides or your filling with fall out! While the pitted dates should not need any other prep, be sure to check and make sure no pits snuck into the dates (I found 3 in mine!).

  4. Prep the bacon by cutting each strip into six thin pieces, by slicing the strips into thirds, and then slicing each third lengthwise into two thin strips.

  5. To put the appetizer together, simply stuff each date with a small amount of the chorizo (about 1 tsp fits easily, but I did not measure). I recommend using your hands to stuff the dates, closing the dates around the chorizo.

  6. Wrap each stuffed date with one of the thin strips of bacon, wrapping the bacon around the date 1.5 times.

  7. To bake, place each bacon-wrapped date on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Place the date so that the spot where the bacon strip overlaps is facing down on the baking pan. This will help ensure the stuffed dates stay together.

  8. Bake at 375 degrees for about 20 minutes, until the bacon is browned and crispy. Let cool for about 10 minutes before serving.

Bacon Wrapped Dates 2

These are great served hot, cold or room temperature, which makes them fantastic as party food. If you’re bringing them to a party and want to serve them hot, they can be reheated in a 350-degree oven for about 10 minutes, or you can do the prep work and bake them when you get to the party!

If you try these and like them, please let me know! Share your pictures with me on Facebook & Instagram, too!

Is Ice Cream Off Limits on a Paleo Diet? Book Review & Paleo Ice Cream Recipe

icecreambook_cover_flatWhen I first went paleo, I still ate dairy. And I’ll be honest, the thought of never eating ice cream again played a big role in that decision. After more than a year of following a paleo lifestyle, however, I gave up dairy almost completely, and have seen great results, especially in my skin.

But let’s face it,  a life without ice cream is no life at all. I know lots of people who are interested in starting a paleo diet but can’t picture the summer months without a cold, creamy treat. Well guess what, folks?! Now you don’t have to, thanks to the new e-book, We Can All Scream for Ice Cream! 

Jennifer Robbins (author of the newly-released Down South Paleo and the blog Predominately Paleo) and Vivian Chen (a registered holistic nutritionist and author of The Real Food Guide) came together to create this incredible e-book stuffed full with 24 recipes for ice cream, popsicles, sundae toppings and more delicious summer treats (Sea Salt Caramel Bon Bons anyone?!).

The best part? Every recipe in the book is Auto Immune Protocol compliant, free of the top 8 allergens (including dairy, gluten, nuts, eggs and soy) and super simple to make! Many of the recipes require only 5 ingredients or less, and you don’t even need an ice cream maker for any of these treats!

minticecream_coneThis is a truly life-changing book for anyone following an AIP or standard paleo lifestyle, or for anyone simply interested in making their treats a little healthier. From ice cream sandwiches, banana splits and waffle cones to caramel sauce, raspberry lime sorbet and mint chip ice cream, this e-book is packed full of ice-cold flavor.

Get your copy of We Can All Scream for Ice Cream today!

In the meantime, check out a sneak peek recipe from the book below. Try it in your own kitchen and then just try resisting the full e-book, I dare you!

 

Mint Chip Ice Cream

Ingredients

  • ½ cup coconut oil, melted
  • 1 tablespoon carob powder
  • 1 can (13.5 fl oz/398 ml)
  • full fat coconut milk
  • ½ teaspoon real peppermint
  • extract
  • ¼ cup fresh mint leaves
  • tbsp pure maple syrup
  • Handful fresh baby spinach

Directions

  1. Pre-freeze your ice cream maker’s insulated container. Or if you do not have an ice cream maker, place a baking dish in the freezer. Make your ‘chips’ by combining the coconut oil and carob powder in a shallow dish, and place it in the freezer for about 20 minutes, or until completely frozen.
  2. In a blender or food processor, combine your coconut milk, peppermint extract, mint leaves, and maple syrup. If you want
    a greener looking ice cream, add in the fresh baby spinach. Blend until the leaves are well combined and your mixture is
    smooth.
  3. Remove your frozen carob mixture from the freezer, and break up the thin, frozen layer into chips with your hands or a fork.
    Add chips to ice cream mixture. If using an ice cream maker: pour mixture into ice cream maker and follow the directions for your machine. Serve when ready.

— or —

  1. If not using an ice cream maker: pour mixture into a baking dish, and place it in the freezer. Freeze for 45 minutes.
  2. Remove the mixture from the freezer and stir it well with a rubber spatula, making sure to break up any hard, frozen sections. You can also use an immersion blender, in your baking dish to do this. Place the mixture back in the freezer.
  3. Every 30–45 minutes, check the ice cream mixture and mix or churn it, until the ice cream is of the desired consistency. This should take about 2 to 3 hours.
  4. Freeze longer for a harder ice cream, or allow to thaw slightly before serving for a softer texture.

Eager to explore the rest of the e-book? Click here and get your own copy!

Be sure to share your own creations using the recipes in the book! You can connect with me on Facebook, Twitter & Instagram to share your photos and results 🙂


This blog post contains affiliate links, which means if you buy a product I link to, I get a percentage of the profits. This comes at no extra cost to you, and means I can buy more food, which means I can make more recipes. And let’s face it, that’s good for all of us!

Guest Post: How Paleo Gave Me So Much More Energy

Copy of NutritionA few weeks ago, I chatted on the phone for a while with Louise Hendon from www.PaleoMagazine.com.  We compared notes on what we love about the Paleo diet, and in this guest post, Louise shares one of the biggest benefits she got from going Paleo.

Here’s Louise…


 

How Paleo Gave Me So Much More Energy

Getting Old at 20

I’m not exaggerating at all when I say that about halfway through college, I started feeling like I was getting old.

First of all, I started gaining weight.  Not much, but a little bit here and there. More to the point, though, I kept getting tired and sleepy, I kept forgetting things, and I didn’t feel young any more.

Looking back, it’s not all that surprising.  While I’d eaten pretty healthily as a kid, my favorite foods in college were chicken pot pie, cheese on toast (I’m British, and that’s what we call it…), cheap ramen, cheap wine, and digestive biscuits (the British version of cookies).

Not exactly a diet that screams out youth and vigor, huh?

So I Was Feeling Less Than Ideal…But What Possessed Me to Go Paleo???

Going Paleo was a huge decision for me.  Seriously.

When I said that my favorite foods were ramen, toast, and biscuits, what I really meant was that those foods were a very significant portion of my meals.  So going Paleo was a big deal.

And that’s why it took me a while.  I didn’t actually go Paleo until several years later, when I was in law school.  At that time, I’d started gaining even more weight, which was really starting to bother me.

I’d dieted a few times by then, but I HATED counting calories and restricting how much I ate.  And I wasn’t very keen on spending a lot of time in the gym.

So, with some reluctance, I decided to try a Paleo diet.  Which, it turns out, was a very good thing…

Benefits Beyond Weight Loss

Eating a Paleo diet to lose weight worked for me.  I very quickly lost much of the weight I’d gained over the prior few years, and I started easily keeping it off.

And I know that’s what a lot of people are looking for.

But for me, the “side-effects” of going Paleo were much greater, and I didn’t expect any of them.

In college, I remember waking up most mornings and feeling very smart and very clear. I could recall equations (I was a physics major), I could easily solve problem sets, and everything seemed pretty easy.

But that was just my morning…

Shortly after I woke up, I would have buttered toast and tea with milk for breakfast.  And then, my brain would just shut down.  By 10.30am, I would be crawling back into bed, wondering what on earth had just happened, and the rest of the day would be no better.

And law school had been much the same experience.

But after switching over to a Paleo diet, everything changed for me.  Like magic, I wasn’t falling asleep in the middle of the day anymore.  I felt full of energy all day long.  And my mind was clear even in the afternoon!

I can’t fully convey in words the beauty of feeling full of energy and excitement all day.  However, it is by far the benefit of a Paleo diet that I am most grateful for every day.

Can You Get the Same Energy, Weight Loss, and More?

Everybody has a slightly unique experience, but my experience is certainly not unique.  Many other people have experienced a surge in energy and mental clarity after staring a Paleo diet.

If you want to gain more energy, then here are 3 things to consider, even after you go Paleo:

  1. Make sure you don’t eat carbs for breakfast. Foods like sweet potatoes, fruits, and honey are definitely considered Paleo, but if you eat them for breakfast, they will often make you feel tired quickly.
  1. Get your adrenals and thyroid checked out. This could be especially important if you feel chronically tired.
  1. Sleep more. This seems like an obvious one, but yet it’s often the hardest to implement.  I have had to make sleep my #1 priority for 6 months in order to correct my bad sleeping habits.

3 Things To Consider For More Energy

Ready to Start a Paleo Diet?  Here’s What to Do…

If you’re new to the whole Paleo concept but want to try it out to see if it can also help you lose weight, gain more energy, and generally make your life better, then follow these 4 steps:

  1. Read http://thepaleovangelist.com/2015/07/20/how-to-start-eating-paleo-a-guide-to-the-paleo-diet/ on starting Paleo.
  1. Try some delicious Paleo recipes – like these.
  1. Pick up some Paleo snacks (like these) to keep with you in case you’re out or have to miss breakfast or lunch one day.
  1. Forgive yourself and enjoy the ride. It’s ok if you eat a burger one day or have a slice at pizza during a work lunch.  Recognize that you were hungry and chose to eat that, but that you’re choosing to eat a Paleo diet again the next day.

And if you want more tips, then definitely download our free book, “15 Common Paleo Pitfalls”.


Follow Louise Hendon and PaleoMagazine.com on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and on Instagram at @ancestralchef.

 

Paleo Dessert Recipe: Summer Peach Shortcake with Cinnamon-Ginger Brown Butter (Grain-Free, Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free)

IMG_0758You can probably tell from looking around this blog that I’m much more interested in cooking than baking. It’s not that I don’t like dessert (I’m not a monster!), it’s just that I find baking much more challenging, and often find that paleo-friendly desserts just don’t live up to their traditional counterparts.

That all changed this weekend, though. I’m telling you- this is the best dessert I’ve ever made! And maybe even the best paleo dessert I’ve eaten yet (I know, I know…that’s crazy…maybe…): Summer Peach Shortcake with Cinnamon-Ginger Brown Butter Sauce. Ripe summer peaches come together with browned butter, cinnamon, ginger and coconut whipped cream to form a lightly sweetened dish perfect for a hot summer night.

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The best part? It’s so simple to make!

The recipe below is for 2 servings, but this is easy enough to just make for one if you’re really craving a dessert one night and simple enough to make for a crowd!

Here’s how you can make this in your kitchen (makes 2 servings):

  • 2 coconut cupcakes, sliced in half to create a top and bottom
  • 2 tbsp grass-fed butter (I like Kerrygold brand)
  • 1 ripe peach, sliced into pieces about 1/4 inch thick
  • 1 tsp ginger paste (or grated fresh ginger)
  • 2 tsp honey
  • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • Optional, coconut whipped cream (for garnish)

1. In a small sauté pan over medium heat, melt the grass-fed butter. Cook the butter, stirring frequently, until it begins to brown in the pan, about 2-3 minutes. If the butter is not browning you can turn the heat up to medium-high, but be careful to not let the butter burn.

2. After the butter begins to brown, add the sliced peaches to the pan. Cook the peaches, stirring occasionally until they begin to soften, about 3 minutes.

3. While the peaches are cooking, mix together the ginger, cinnamon, honey and vanilla in a small bowl. Once the peaches begin to soften, add the spice and honey mixture to the sauté pan and stir until the peaches are evenly coated. Cook another 1-2 minutes, stirring frequently.

4. Top the bottom of each of the coconut cupcakes with half the peach and sauce mixture. If you’re using it, add some coconut whipped cream on top and then add the top half of the cupcake, creating a tower of peach shortcake deliciousness.

5. EAT AND ENJOY! (I dare you to eat this in more than 2 minutes…seriously, if you can do it, I want to meet you.)

Peach Shortcake 3

Peach Shortcake 7

The hubby literally licked his plate when I made this last night, so I hope you enjoy it! Be sure to let me know how the recipe worked out in the comment section below (your feedback will only make me better!)

Have shortcake ideas of your own? Let me know! I’d love some inspiration for other versions of this dessert!

 

Paleo Dessert Recipe: Coconut Cupcakes (Grain-Free, Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free, Refined Sugar-Free)

IMG_0758Looking for a simple cupcake that can be used as the base for all kinds of desserts? Look no further! These paleo-friendly cupcakes are super simple to make and would be great on their own as a simple cake, topped with coconut cream or homemade buttercream frosting, or as the base for a summer shortcake recipe (try my Summer Peach Shortcake recipe here!).

While paleo treats aren’t something I’d recommend eating all the time, everyone needs some sweets sometimes. And if you’re going to indulge, you might as well do it smartly! Trust me, as someone who used to “treat’ myself with gluten and dairy I can assure you that treats are better when they don’t come with yucky consequences (read: stomach aches and zits).

So the next time you’re craving something sweet or heading to a party or BBQ, whip up a batch of these and make them your own!

Here’s what you need to make these in your kitchen (makes 10 cupcakes):

  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup coconut flour
  • 1/8 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda

1. Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees. In a small bowl, whisk together the eggs, coconut milk, honey and vanilla.

2. Add the coconut flour, sea salt and baking soda to the liquid ingredients. Allow to sit for about 5 minutes (this will let the batter thicken as the coconut flour absorbs the liquid).

3. While the batter is thickening, grease a cupcake pan with coconut oil, butter or ghee. After the five minutes are up, use a spoon to scoop batter into the cupcake pan, making 10 cupcakes that are filled about 2/3rds of the way with batter.

4. Bake the cupcakes for 18 minutes. Check to make sure they are done by inserting a toothpick into the center of a cupcake. If the toothpick comes out clean, they are ready for eating!

What will YOU top your cupcakes with? Share your best ideas in the comment section!