SPSlices4

I have been asked a lot about sweet potatoes….are they on the yes or no list?  There has been much debate out there on if they are considered paleo.  In my paleo lifestyle, I include them regularly.  I love them!  So to answer the question above…my answer is yes and I will go into why a little bit more below.  I also thought with the upcoming release of my newest cookbook, Powerful Paleo Superfoods, it would be a good time to dig more into the “whys and benefits” of sweet potatoes to give you a glimpse into how the new book will read.  The food includes 50 paleo foods that I consider the superheros of foods for your paleo lifestyle.  Each food is broken down and discussed in depth and also includes recipes to help you incorporate them in your diet.  The book launches May 1st and between now and then I will give you glimpses into the book little by little so stay tuned.

Now, here is more on sweet potatoes and why I think they are essential in an active paleo lifestyle.

Sweet Potatoes are a wonderful naturally sweet root vegetable and are some of the most nutritious vegetables around.  Paleo proponents have long debated whether sweet potatoes and other starchy root vegetables are Paleo or not. At issue is their high carbohydrate content. Our modern diets are typically quite high in carbohydrates, especially refined flours and sugars, and that’s gotten us into a lot of trouble, health-wise. So many people, understandably, want to limit their carbohydrate intake to help improve conditions like diabetes and other blood sugar disorders, cardiovascular disease, and systemic inflammation.

But there is plenty of evidence that root vegetables were dietary staples for some hunter-gatherer groups, and as long as you’re active—like those hunter-gatherers were—you should be fine including sweet potatoes and other starchy vegetables as part of a Paleo lifestyle. The reason is that starch acts differently in your body than the simple sugars like fructose found in fruits and honey. Your digestive system breaks down starch into glucose, which all of your cells use for energy (and which makes sweet potatoes good fuel for high-powered workouts). Fructose, on the other hand, appears to change the way your brain responds to hunger cues, possibly leading to overeating. Sweet potatoes have the added benefit of being high in fiber (one medium sweet potato contains nearly 4 grams), which gives you a steady and sustained flow of energy instead of a sudden rush.

Carbohydrates aren’t the only thing sweet potatoes have to offer. Sweet potatoes also boast high levels of vitamin A, potassium, and vitamin B6, and smaller amounts of vitamins C and E.

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Spiced Sweet Potato Slices

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 25 minutes

Total Time: 30 minutes

Serving Size: 1-2 servings

Ingredients

  • 2 small sweet potatoes (or 1 medium), peeled and cut into 1/4-inch slices
  • 1/2 tablespoon spice mix, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil, melted
  • For Spice Mix:
  • 1 ½ tablespoons ground allspice
  • 3 tablespoons minced fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 ½ teaspoons sweet paprika
  • 1/8 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 tablespoon ground cloves
  • 1/8 tablespoon ground nutmeg

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
  2. In small bowl add sweet potato slices, 1/4 tablespoon spice mix, and 1/4 teaspoon sea salt and toss to combine. Add melted coconut oil and toss again until sweet potato slices are well coated.
  3. Place slices on a baking sheet evenly spaced apart. Bake for 20-25 minutes stopping half way to flip the sweet potato slices.
  4. Remove sweet potato slices when golden. Sprinkle the tops of the sweet potato slices with the remaining spice mix and sea salt and toss to coat.
  5. Cool slightly and serve.

Notes

You will have left over spice mix which can be stored in an airtight container and used for later use. It is great used on fish or chicken as a rub.

http://www.multiplydelicious.com/thefood/2014/03/spiced-sweet-potato-slices/

Shopping for Sweet Potatoes

Depending on the variety, the skin and flesh of this root vegetable may be almost white, cream, yellow, orange, or deep purple, although white/cream and yellow-orange flesh are the most common.  There is often much confusion between sweet potatoes and yams; the moist-fleshed orange-colored root vegetable that is often called a “yam” is actually a sweet potato. Sweet potatoes can be found in your local markets year-round; however, they are in season and abundant in November and December.

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Nut_FreeCookies3

A few weeks ago I posted a picture in my Instagram feed mentioning I was testing out a recipe.  Well, it was tested and it didn’t work.  I hate that when it happens but it happens more than you think.  This recipe however took more tries than normal, but I think it’s finally right….again, I think.  Of course even though it took 5 batches to get these right we still ate the other 4 “bad” batches so I guess those weren’t too horrible either.  I’ve been wanting to create a nut-free cookie for awhile now.  There has been much debate lately on the use of nut flours or the over use of them in the Paleo world.

Here are a few great reads on the matter:

5 Reasons to Avoid Almond Flour – by

Why We Avoid Almond Flour – by Health Bent

The Pros and Cons of Almond Flour – by The Paleo Mom

Here is my take on nuts/nut-flour, specifically almonds:

Paleolithic hunters and gatherers consumed nuts and seeds—including almonds—as a regular part of their diets, and almonds continue to be a popular Paleo snack today. They are a superfood, after all, and it’s hard to beat their convenience. But don’t go overboard. For one thing, almonds are a concentrated source of calories. But even more importantly, they contain far more inflammation-promoting omega-6 fatty acids than the beneficial omega-3s that the Paleo diet emphasizes. In the context of a diet rich in wild-caught fish and grass-fed meat, which provide high amounts of omega-3s, most people can safely enjoy small quantities of almonds and all of the nutrients they provide. However, if inflammation is a significant problem for you (for instance, if you have an autoimmune condition), you may want to limit your intake. For me personally, I know I can’t overdue the consumption of nuts.  They just don’t sit well.  Don’t get me wrong I love almond butter and a good Paleo granola BUT I also know that I have to keep it to a minimum.  Which is why this recipe was developed and why I am trying to rely heavily on coconut flour these days when I bake.

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I have also been trying to test around with tapioca starch/flour but haven’t mastered it yet.  Stay tune to future recipes hopefully that will explore the use of tapioca flour a little more.

Coconut flour is the flour of choice in these cookies and while I usually use coconut flour in paleo muffins and cupcakes I have rarely used it in cookies which is why I think it took a little longer to get this recipe just right.  You may want to play around some more on your end too.  I do want to warn you that they aren’t like almond flour paleo cookies BUT they are a delicious alternative if you are looking to reduce your nut intake.

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Nut-Free Dark Chocolate Chunk Cookies

Yield: 16-18 cookies

Ingredients

  • 1/3 cup coconut flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil or ghee, melted
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup or honey
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup dark chocolate, chopped (80% cacao and higher)

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together coconut flour, baking soda, seat salt, and cinnamon.
  3. Add coconut oil (or ghee), maple syrup, eggs, and vanilla to the bowl and using a hand mixer mix until everything is incorporated. Stir in dark chocolate chunks. If batter is too wet add about 1/2 tablespoon coconut flour into the batter.
  4. Scoop batter using a 1-inch cookie scoop placing onto the prepared cookie sheet. Make sure the cookies are about 1-inch apart because the cookies will spread slightly. Bake for 15-18 minutes or until golden.
  5. Allow cookies to cool until trying to remove from the cookie sheet.
  6. Store cookies in an airtight container. I highly recommend serving these slightly warm.
http://www.multiplydelicious.com/thefood/2014/03/nut-free-dark-chocolate-chunk-cookies/

 

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nomnomPaleo1

 

I was so lucky to receive a copy of the much anticipated cookbook from Michelle Tam from Nom Nom Paleo.  Her new book Nom Nom Paleo: Food for Humans is a must-read for anyone Paleo or not. The recipes are easy-to-follow and don’t require hard-to-find ingredients.  Best of all she finds a way to include humor on every page just like she does in her blog.  To this day, her blog is a daily must have read not only for a look inside her meals but her humor and honesty with food and as a mom.  And let’s not forget Henry!  His blog, Fit Bomb, saved me when my hands were ripping all the time on the pull-up bar during Crossfit.  If you need some advise on how to keep your hands from ripping here is a great blog post on crossfit hand care.

One of my kids favorite parts of the book are the funny comics about her family.  Besides the recipes of course, my favorite happens to be the beautiful photography.  I’m a visual kind of girl and I love a cookbook with photo’s and lots of them.  This book has them too!

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As Michelle and Henry mention on the cover, there are over 100 recipes and they are each broken into well organized chapters making it easy to find what you are looking for.  Here are just a few of the chapters you’ll find inside.  Each of them providing in-depth information making you get in your kitchen seem not as scary too.

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There are so many recipes that are on my families list to try.  Actually it’s been hard to pick just one to feature here so instead I’m just going to give you a sneak into some of the yummy photo’s inside.  And again, to show how cute this cookbook is!  I love it!!

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Now how do you find it, right?  There are a couple ways but the best is to hope over to Michelle’s blog where she has a page all about Nom Nom Paleo: Food for Humans.  There you will find all the details on where to buy and everything in between.  What are you waiting for?  Trust me you need this cookbook in your kitchen!  It’s super fabulous!  GO NOW!!

A huge thanks to Michelle for sending me a copy of her beautiful cookbook.  I’m in love with it and I know it will be one of my go to cookbooks for many years to come!

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beefstew3

 

I have had this stew in the Q since our last snow storm a few weeks back.  Of course I got lazy and didn’t get around to posting it.  Also, the weather heated up here in Charlotte to the 60′s and 70′s and it just didn’t feel right to post it.  Now it’s back to being cold here and so I feel like it’s the perfect time to get it out there for all of you to enjoy before winter is officially behind us.  I don’t know about you but I’m ready for winter to go away and for spring to arrive!  I’m in need of some warm weather.  I have been seeing the daffodils blooming around town so I like to think that is a sign that it will be here soon.  Fingers crossed!

Talked to the publisher today and it looks like the new book will be out May 1st!  Yay!! So excited for this upcoming book.  If you want to get your hands on it early it is up on Amazon right now for pre-sale.  Head to Powerful Paleo Superfoods to take a look and pre-order there so you can be one of the first to receive.  Inside this new book are 50 powerful paleo superfoods and all the reasons why you should be including them in your lifestyle.  Each superfood has a recipe included so there is no excuse for you not to give it a try!  Stay tuned for more fun news with the new book launch.  I’m so excited to share this book with you!  It took a lot of sweat and even tears to create.  Writing a cookbook is one thing, writing a nutritional based cookbook is another.  A lot went into it but I couldn’t be happier with the outcome.  A huge thanks to Julia and the Fair Winds Press team!

I’m hoping to get a cookbook review up next week of the super awesome Nom Nom Paleo new cookbook.  Have you seen it?!  OMG!  It’s awesome and can’t wait to share with you all.  Did I mention I love her and her adorable family!?  They are so cute!  I have been reading Michelle’s blog since I first started Paleo.  I’ve also been reading her husbands blog, Fit Bomb, from the beginning too.  It was actually his blog that helped me in my reoccuring issues with torn hands after multiple pull-ups.  So needless to say they are awesome in more ways than one!  Stay tune….next week….cookbook review!

Now for the recipe….

beefstew

 

Slow Cooker Beef Stew

Serving Size: 6 servings

A hearty beef stew with bacon and vegetables makes this dish perfect for those last days of winter.

Ingredients

  • 2 lbs. boneless beef chuck
  • 4 thick slices sugar-free bacon, chopped
  • sea salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 3 carrots, cut into 1/4-inch pieces
  • 3 stalks celery, cut into 1/4-inch pieces
  • 1 medium sweet potato, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 4 cups beef stock or broth
  • 2 Tbs. tomato paste
  • 1 Tbs. balsamic vinegar
  • 1 Tbs. chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley, plus more for garnish
  • 1 tsp. minced fresh thyme
  • 1 tsp. minced fresh rosemary
  • 1 bay leaf

Instructions

  1. Cook the bacon: In a large fry pan over medium heat, cook the bacon, stirring occasionally, until crisp, 5 to 7 minutes. Transfer the bacon to paper towels to drain. Pour off the drippings into a small heatproof bowl, leaving about 1 Tbs. drippings in the pan. Set the pan, reserved drippings and bacon aside.
  2. Brown the beef: In a sealable plastic bag, add the beef chunks, 1 tsp sea salt, and 1/2 tsp black pepper and shake to coat. Return the fry pan to medium-high heat. When the drippings are hot, add half of the beef chunks and cook, turning once, until well browned, about 5 minutes on each side. Transfer the beef to the slow cooker. Repeat with the remaining beef chunks, adding the reserved drippings if needed. Scatter the onions, carrots, celery, sweet potato, and garlic on top.
  3. Cook the stew: Add broth, tomato paste, and balsamic vinegar to the vegetables and beef and stir to combine. Place bay leaf on top and cover and cook on the high-heat setting for 4 to 5 hours or the low-heat setting for 8 to 9 hours. The beef should be very tender. Stir in the reserved bacon, parsley, thyme and the rosemary. Cook, uncovered, on the high-heat setting for 10 minutes more to thicken the sauce slightly. Season with salt and pepper and serve.
http://www.multiplydelicious.com/thefood/2014/02/slow-cooker-beef-stew/
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valentines2014

 

Happy Valentine’s Day everyone!  If you are still looking for some last minute treats for the one that makes your heart go pitter-patter here are just a few from the blog and from around the Paleo blogging world.  It’s a day of love so a little paleo treat will make everyone smile a little bigger and I bet they will know you think they are special.

May your day be filled with lots of love….and yummy Paleo treats! XOXO

First up….Dark Chocolate Raspberry Tarts

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These little tarts were inspired by the Hail Merry Tarts.  Which if you’ve never had them they are pretty fabulous but why buy them when you can make them?

Next up are these yummy Chocolate Coconut Doughnuts which are a favorite treat in my house.  My kids love these!

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And you can decided if you want to dark chocolate coat them or not but either way it’s a nice treat for the one(s) you love.

Next up….these fudgy like bars require no baking and they are delicious!  I haven’t made them in awhile and seeing this recipe has me a little inspired to make some ASAP.  Fudgy Cranberry Paleo Brownie Bars

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And then we have these little cups of yumminess that are sweetened with banana and dates and believe it or not also have avocado in them.  Chocolate Paleo Pudding with Coconut Whipped Cream

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And here are a few more Valentine inspired recipes from some of my very favorite bloggers.

Chewy Paleoleos – by Spunky Coconut

Strawberry Raspberry Milkshake Fudge Hearts – by PaleOMG

Valentine’s Cutout Cookies – by Taylor Made it Paleo

Top 10 Valentine Treat Recipes by Civilized Caveman

Thin Mint Cookies by Stir it Up

And here is a wonderful Valentine’s Round-Up by the fabulous Paleo Parents loaded with lots of delicious treats.

Happy Valentine’s Day to my wonderful readers!  May your day be filled with hugs, kisses, and lots of love!!

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