AIP Breakfast Bars- low FODMAP, low carb with SIBO SCD, vegan and nut options

These AIP breakfast bars are Paleo, low FODMAP, low carb and can be adapted to be SIBO SCD and vegan compliant. They are similar to a Kellogs Nutrigrain bar except without the grains and refined sugar.

If you didnt want raisins/ sultanas and blueberries you can add other fillings in place of them them such as fresh cherries (not low FODMAP) or strawberries, figs, seeds, dried pineapple and banana or even chocolate chunks if you can tolerate cacao. I have made them with sundried banana and chocolate chunks before and they were just as delicious.

Variations

For a vegan option you can use agar-agar (1 tbsp will be enough) in place of the gelatine or guar gum (1 tbsp). Follow the same steps as you would the gelatine – whisking it with water before adding into the mixture.

Nut Option

If you tolerate nuts then you can use nut flours and or seed flour / butters. You can swap for the exact same amounts. If you use sunflower seeds, omit the baking soda otherwise the mixture will turn green! (Its not harmful, its just an alkali reaction between the soda and the sunflower seeds). I mostly make my bars using almond flour and hazelnut butter as I have successfully reintroduced these into my diet.

SIBO SCD

For SIBO SCD you will need to omit the bicarbonate of soda (baking soda) as its classed as “illegal” (in other words it’s on the “no” list!). It won’t made a huge difference to the bars as they don’t rise much during cooking.

Low Carb

If you wanted to reduce the carb count even further you can omit the honey entirely or you can use powdered erythritol or stevia instead. I would use the 30g of erythritol (based on my experience of using erythritol) but if you have a sweet tooth you may want to add a little bit extra.

Although I have called them breakfast bars they can be eaten as a snack or even a dessert. I like to heat mine up (in the microwave for 15 seconds) and serve with paleo ice cream. My favourite dairy free ice cream recipe is by Kelly from The Spunky Coconut. Its called Swiss Almond Dairy Free Ice Cream, but it can be made without the nuts/ nut milk. To make it, I use all coconut milk. Paired with a hot breakfast bar it makes quite a treat!!!

AIP Breakfast Bars

Servings 15 bars

Nutritional Information (per bar)

Total Carbs 10.6g
Fiber 2.4g
Net carbs 8.2g
Protein 2.8g
Fat 6.6g
Calories 104 Kcals

Print Recipe
AIP Breakfast Bars
These AIP breakfast bars are so versatile, you can make them with a range of fresh and dried fruit. Try swapping the raisins and sultanas for dried pineapple and banana for a tasty tropical twist!
Course Breakfast, Sweets
Cuisine English
Prep Time 10
Cook Time 26
Servings
Ingredients
Course Breakfast, Sweets
Cuisine English
Prep Time 10
Cook Time 26
Servings
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 160'c and line a baking tray with greaseproof paper. Use a little coconut oil to grease the paper as it helps the mixture from sticking to the paper once it cools!.
  2. In a bowl combine the tigernut flour, desiccated coconut, vanilla, salt, baking soda, saltanas, raisins, lemon juice, honey, coconut milk and nut butter. Stir thoroughly until everything has incorporated.
  3. Chop the dates into small pieces and add to the mixture, then stir once more to combine.
  4. In a jug add the gelatine (agar-agar or guar gum) then add the hot water, cold water and whisk immediately until its becomes white and frothy.
  5. Pour the gelatine mixture into the bowl with the tigernut flour mix and give everything one final stir, making sure everything has combined.
  6. Scoop the mixture into the baking dish and using your fingers or a spatula, press the mix into the tray.
  7. Take the blueberries and press one by one into the top of the mixture, dotting them about. Try not to press them into the edges of the mixture as they can go soggy making a mess when cutting the bars up.
  8. Place into the oven and allow to cook for 26 minutes or until the top has turned a golden brown in colour.
  9. Remove from the oven and turn out onto a cooling rack and remove the greaseproof paper carefully - leave to cool for 20 minutes.
  10. Once cooled cut into bars or squares and allow to cool fully before placing in a container in the fridge. Use greaseproof paper or foil to separate layers so the bars don't stick to one another.
  11. Serving Suggestion : Eat whilst warm (or reheat in the microwave for 15 seconds) and serve with Paleo Ice Cream!
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Paleo Prawn Paella – Low Carb and Whole 30

chicken and seafood paella (12)

I’ve never actually tried real paella – the rice kind, let alone made my own. Whattt??? I know, it should be a crime or something. However after trying ‘fake’ paella e.g the cauliflower rice kind, I really don’t know how I went without. Although there’s no rice, I honestly don’t think you will be disappointed with this version. Its full of flavour and can be just as fancy pants as the original. My husband has tried the ‘real’ stuff and said that he actually prefers the cauliflower rice kind, because (in his words) “its lighter and you aren’t left feeling bloated and full up after a few bites, like you are with the rice kind”.

This recipe is based on Madeleine Shaw’s Seafood Cauliflower Paella from her book ‘Ready Steady Glow’. As with many of the recipes I come across, I had to tweak it in order to make it lower in carbs. The more times it has been cooked, the more I have played about with flavour.

Whole 30 Compliant
I have made this dish with a variety of seafood (fresh squid, mussels), with fancy pants Tiger prawns (with their heads still on), with chicken and king prawns, with chorizo and without. All have worked really well but I am giving you the recipe for the chicken and prawn version. In order to make it Whole 30 compliant you will need to either leave out the chorizo (which wont impact on taste – i’ll explain in a bit), or make sure that you use chorizo that is whole 30 compliant. If you leave out the chorizo I would suggest adding in extra seasoning – which is what I do. It’s entirely up to you what you add but if you want an example I would say add in some sweet paprika, extra garlic, chipotle flakes, chilli flakes and just a pinch of cumin.

Servings wise you’ll get 5 decent portions out of it (based on the measurements below). I haven’t yet tried freeing a portion, simply because I don’t like the way cauliflower rice freezes. It ends up being quite watery and you have to allow it to drain, then cook longer. If you were to freeze it, I would suggest baking it in the oven to reheat, as the longer cooking period should help cook out some of the moisture.

Macros
Total carbs 12.6g
Fiber 3.7g
Net carbs 8.9g
Protein 33.6g
Fat 14.3g
Kcals 311

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Paleo Paella Low Carb and Whole 30
This cauliflower paella is so full of flavour you wont be feeling like you are missing out! It can be made with a variety of fish or seafood and with or without chorizo.
Course Main Dish
Cuisine Spanish
Prep Time 15
Cook Time 40
Servings
Ingredients
Course Main Dish
Cuisine Spanish
Prep Time 15
Cook Time 40
Servings
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. In a blender blitz the cauliflower until it resembles rice like grains. Place aside until needed .
  2. In a small saucepan heat the chicken stock with the saffron on low for about 5 minutes to allow the flavours to release.
  3. Dice the onion and chop the garlic. If using chorizo either cut into slices or dice into small chunks (whichever you prefer).
  4. In a paella pan (or a large frying pan) heat half of the coconut oil then add in the onion, garlic and chorizo. Cook for about 5 minutes or until the onions have softened.
  5. Pour the chicken stock /saffron mix into the onions, add in the cauliflower rice, the chilli, paprika, lime juice and cook for about 10 minutes on low to allow the flavours to infuse and the liquid reduce. (If you are leaving out the chorizo, add in the extra seasoning here).
  6. Add in the tinned tomatoes, the cherry tomatoes and the red bell (or sweet) pepper and season with the salt.
  7. Continue to cook on low, stirring often so that it doesn't stick.
  8. Dice the chicken breast. Heat the rest of the coconut oil in a pan and seal the meat (5 minutes). When the meat is browned, add it (and any juice) into the paella mixture.
  9. Cook the paella mixture until the liquids reduced (10 minutes). Just before serving add in the prawns (or seafood) and parsley and cook for a further 8 minutes (or until all the fish has cooked through). Ensure you stir the mixture so that you cook the prawns / seafood throughout.
  10. When the fish is cooked, serve immediately. You can sprinkle some fresh parsley or lime juice on the top if you wish.

Low Carb Paleo Sandwich Bread

BLT paleo (1)

Ok, so I have to start by giving credit where it’s due for this recipe because it’s actually adapted from Martina’s ‘French Bun’ recipe on the Keto Diet App. The app is available for both iOS and Android and I highly recommend it. It allows you to add in what foods you eat daily, in order to keep track of your macros; what’s more it includes 80 recipes. There are additional recipe bundles that you can purchase within the app if you want them. I purchased all bundles and it’s been one of the best decisions I made as its great for inspiration, meal planning and keeping food exciting.

Although I’ve been paleo for well over 2 and a half years (and low carb for most of that), bread has never been something I’ve missed. I have tried paleo and low carb breads but they just leave me feeling heavy, sick and I physically find it all to stodgy and difficult to swallow. So when I first made Martina’s recipe I was excited because the buns were light, fluffy and not at all stodgy. I began making them and having them with a few warmed berries, before trying them with bacon. Although they were a hit, for some reason I just forgot about them and that was that – until recently!

For those of you who are regulars to my blog, you’ll know that Mr Noodlechips isn’t 100% paleo, but recently he decided to stop eating bread as he found it was making him cough a lot. As he’s a lover of bacon sandwiches I decided it would be worth making the bun recipe but tweaking it to be more savoury and ‘bread’ shaped. The first batch turned out perfect (I just omitted the sweetener and added extra salt), but since then I have made a few more batches, adding some seasoning to help make them more savoury.

bagels and buns (7)
I have included photos of both buns and ‘bread’ for this recipe because they are both great but the sandwich bread is my absolute favourite. I have also added in links to the cookware that I used so that you can see what kind of tray/ moulds you will need.

For buns I used Lakeland ‘Doughnut moulds’ mainly because I wanted bun shapes big enough for a filling and because I also wanted to make bagels too. The buns are a great size but they may be a little small for burgers (but you could easily make your burgers smaller to fit, if you’re making them yourself). The sandwich bread is really easy to make, all you need is a baking tray, dish or silicon mould that would give you 4 equal pieces (ideally squares) when cut. The tricky part is slicing it through the middle so that each square becomes a top and a bottom. The trick is to use a really long knife, hold your less dominant hand on the top and use your dominate hand to cut through (horizontally) so that you end up with a ‘top’ piece and a ‘bottom’ piece.

Lake Lands Doughnut making ‘kit’ consists of 8 silicon moulds. Four of the moulds are round and bun shaped and the others are shaped for making doughnuts or bagels with the middle piece missing (creating the hole). There is a metal cutter included in the pack for using with dough. I purchased this kit for £7.99* (Plus £3.49 p&p).

The silicon baking tray was £7.42* from Amazon and measures 22.5 x 21cm/9″ x 8″. It’s currently out of stock from the seller that I purchased it from, but there are other companies who do have stock available – just search ‘silicon baking tray’. It is really useful as it can also be used to make things like protein bars, bounty bar bites, brownies or even pizza bases.

doughnut kit

IMG_5477

For more paleo and ketogenic recipes head over to Martina’s blog where you will find a whole range of sweet and savoury dishes to choose from; you can also check out my review of Martina’s ‘The Ketodiet Cookbook’. I also highly recommend the keto diet app available on both Apple and android which I will be writing a review for within the next few weeks.

Macros
Based on the ingredients listed below (whole flaxeeds for topping) and making 4 servings (4 buns or 4 sandwiches) the macros are as follows :-

Total Carbs 5.6g
Fiber 3.9
Net Carbs 1.9g
Protein 9.5g
Fat 9.6g
Kcals 149

*Prices are correct June 2016

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Low Carb Paleo Sandwich Bread
Light and fluffy low carb sandwich bread. It can be made into buns if you prefer, add some seeds for a crunchier texture or for a Mediterranean taste try adding in some mixed hers and finely chopped sun dried tomatoes!
Course Side
Prep Time 10
Cook Time 25
Servings
Ingredients
Course Side
Prep Time 10
Cook Time 25
Servings
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Pre-heat the oven to 175'C (347' F). If using a baking tray, line with grease proof paper. (if using a silicon baking tray or doughnut molds you don't need to worry about this).
  2. In a bowl, measure out the coconut flour, ground flaxseed, the spices, the bicarbonate of soda and cream of tartar. Stir to combine.
  3. In a separate bowl place the egg whites and add a pinch of salt. Using an electric whisk whip the egg whites until they form stiff peaks (they will look a little like thick whipped cream).
  4. When the egg whites are thick and fluffy, add in the egg yolks , ideally at the edge of the bowl so you don't deflate the egg whites. Using a spatula fold the mixture to combine.
  5. Add the dry mixture (ground flaxseed/ spices etc) and continue to fold until the mixture has completely combined. Be careful not to deflate the egg whites.
  6. Spoon the mixture into a baking tray or silicone mold for flat sandwich bread. Use the spatula or the back of a spoon to smooth it out. For buns spoon about 2 heaped tablespoons into doughnut or bun molds.
  7. Sprinkle the whole flaxseeds or sesame seeds over the top of the buns/ sandwich bread. Place in the oven and cook for 20-25 minutes (the sandwich bread takes slightly less time to cook).
  8. Once cooked remove from the oven and turn them out from their molds / baking tray on to a wire rack to cool.
  9. Buns : Once cooled slice through the middle horizontally to make each bun a top and bottom.
  10. Sandwich bread : Cut the bread into 4 equal squares. Then take each piece and place on a flat surface. Hold your hand flat on the top and using a knife, carefully cut horizontally through the bread so that you are left with a top piece and a bottom piece. Repeat for all slices (you will have 8 slices in total - 4 tops and 4 bottoms).
  11. To store keep in an air tight container somewhere dry. They will last up to 4 days.
Recipe Notes

If you wanted to add a bit of texture to the bread slices or buns you could add some seeds into the batter when you are combining all the ingredients together.

For a more Mediterranean flavour you could add 1 tsp of mixed dried herbs and some dried finely chopped sun dried tomatoes.

You can also double the recipe and cook it in a loaf tin, it takes approximately 30-35 minutes to cook but the slices are not very big as it doesn't rise during baking.

Chocolate Orange Brownie Bars

Chocolate Orange Brownie Bars (5)

I am so excited to be able to share this recipe with you because it took me some tweaking and dedication to get them to what they are, which is delicious and moreish – like a Terry’s chocolate orange in a brownie! Its low carb (yay), ketogenic (yay) and its paleo too (triple yay!). If you didn’t want the filling and topping you could always just make the base and have a low carb brownie. The brownie texture is soft, light and a little spongy. Add some chocolate chips or nuts into the batter for some texture and you will have one awesome brownie – you’re welcome 😉

Macros

I wasn’t able to find the nutrient content for my orange extract (which was natural extract in alcohol) so the macros may be a tad out, but it’ll only be by a microscopic amount.

Making 16 servings/ bars

Total Carbs 9.3g
Fiber 4g
Net Carbs 5.3g
Protein 7g
Fat 29g
Kcals 308

Please Note: For the photographs I used a few squares of 85% dark chocolate melted and drizzled over the top. I haven’t included this in the macros because it’s just for show and doesn’t actually add anything to the overall taste. If you wanted to add this into your recipe, just remember to adjust the macros!

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Chocolate Orange Brownie Bars
A soft chocolate brownie base with a creamy orange filling and smooth chocolate topping, perfect as a treat with a cup of tea of coffee.
Course Sweets
Prep Time 15
Cook Time 25 min
Passive Time 1 hour
Servings
Bars
Ingredients
Brownie Base
Creamy Orange Filling
Smooth Chocolate Topping
Course Sweets
Prep Time 15
Cook Time 25 min
Passive Time 1 hour
Servings
Bars
Ingredients
Brownie Base
Creamy Orange Filling
Smooth Chocolate Topping
Instructions
Making the Brownie Base
  1. Preheat the oven to 150' (300'F) and line an oven proof dish with grease proof paper (or use a large silicon baking tray).
  2. Chop the dark chocolate bar into very small pieces and add to a saucepan. Add in the coconut oil and on a very (very) low heat, gently warm until it starts to melt. Turn off the heat and keep stirring until all of the chocolate has melted.
  3. In a bowl combine the almond flour, cacao powder, erythritol, bicarbonate of soda (baking soda) and cream of tartar and stir to combine.
  4. Pour the melted chocolate into the almond flour mix and stir to combine. Add in the eggs, vanilla, liquid stevia and whisk until combined.
  5. If the mixture starts to thicken up, add the 1/4 cup of water and stir thoroughly. You can leave it out but the mixture usually thickens up as the dry ingredients absorb the liquid.
  6. Place in the oven for 25 minutes. As soon as its done remove and transfer to a cooling rack. As soon as it has cooled a little, place in the freezer for about 15 - 20 minutes.
Making the Filling
  1. First you will need to melt the creamed coconut. The easiest way to do this is either place the unopened bag into a saucepan of boiled water and allow to simmer on very low until the coconut has melted / becomes liquid. Turn off the heat once it has melted and carefully using tongs, remove the bag from the pan and place on the side to cool for a few minutes.
  2. Place the rest of the filling ingredients into a blender bowl (don't attach it to to blender yet!). Using an oven glove to handle, cut the corner of the creamed coconut bag and measure the creamed coconut into the blender bowl/ attachment with the rest of the ingredients.
  3. Blitz the coconut/ filling mixture until its all combined and creamy. Depending on your blender (I used a thermomix), you may need to scrape down the sides a few times and blitz for a little longer.
  4. Once smooth and paste like, its ready to spread on to the brownie base. Ensure the base is cool before spooning the filling mixture on top as a hot base will make it melt and may make the base soggy (yuck!).
  5. Using a spoon or spatula, spread the mixture onto the base of the brownie, getting as close to the edges as possible.
  6. When completed, place the brownie back into the freezer for about 15 minutes to allow the filling to harden.
Making the Topping
  1. Chop the dark chocolate in to very small pieces and add to a bowl with the coconut oil.
  2. In a pan, gently heat the coconut milk until it starts to bubble. Take off the heat and pour over the chocolate and coconut oil and stir to combine.
  3. Using a spoon or spatula spread the mixture carefully over the orange topping. Tip; Place a large table spoon of mixture near each corner of the base and then spoon the rest into the middle and gently spread the mixture outwards. Try to get as close to the edges as possible.
  4. Once completed, place the brownie back into the freezer for about 20 minutes to harden. After 20 minutes take out of the freezer and cut into bars then return to chill for a further 10-15 minutes. (Its easier to cut while its still partly soft).
  5. Once the chocolate has set on the top, its ready to enjoy. To store, transfer to a air tight container and keep in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
Recipe Notes

If you wanted to play about with the flavours you could always make the filling mint by using mint extract and fresh mint leaves. Personally I don't like the taste of fresh mint leaves in sweet dishes so I would use mint extract and a few leaves of spinach just to give a bit of green colour (about 3-4 leaves).

Or you could leave out the orange all together have them as chocolate coconut brownie bars. If you wanted to enhance the flavour you could use natural coconut extract.

Other flavours to try would be raspberry (swap the orange juice for a handful of fresh berries and natural extract), vanilla (leave out the orange and use 1 tbsp of vanilla), or chocolate (leave out the orange and add 2 TBSP of cacao powder and a few extra drops of stevia).

Bounty Bar Bites

Hello – can you believe that we are in spring already!! Whhaattt???? Where did that time go?!!! … I’ve been fairly quiet for quite some time now because sadly my health has been pretty bad. I rely heavily on my husband to help me, so being able to try a recipe and then write about it requires his help every step of the way, but I have just been too tired to do anything – even with assistance! Heyho, it’s the nature of the illness, I am just glad that I had a ‘good’ weekend and was able to make something yummy.

I know that if you search the internet for homemade Bounty bars or ‘Paradise bars’ you will find hundreds of recipes, so what makes mine so great? – because I made them!! haha, ok that’s pretty lame and I don’t have a reason but I thought I would share it anyway because they are just so easy to make and they are paleo.

If you take a look at my Facebook or Instagram page you will see that I made a little video with the recipe on – its slightly different from the one listed below as I made another batch and tweaked it slightly which made them taste even better – whoop!

The hardest decision you’ll need to make when making these is how you want them to look. You can roll them into balls, squash the mixture into mini silicon muffin cups, shape them into bars (like the originals) or squash the whole mixture into a baking tin and cut into bar shapes once they have cooled – it’s really up to you!

I also have to add that they are really versatile so you can add in extra ingredients if you wanted to. My husband really likes any treats with nuts in so after making a batch of bounty bar coconut bites we made a second batch but instead of using coconut we used toasted flaked almonds, chopped pecan nuts and a few raisins. The rest of the ingredients stayed the same (creamed coconut, sweetener, coconut milk and chocolate coating) and they were delicious.

Also for those of you who are low carb or follow a ketogenic diet here are the macros per bite:
Total Carbs 4.3g
Fiber 2.4g
Net Carbs 1.9g
Protein 2g
Fat 9.3g
Energy (Calories) 105g

Paleo and Ketogenic Bounty Bars
Paleo and Ketogenic Bounty Bars

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Bounty Bar Bites
If you love Bounty Bars (A.k.a Paradise Bars) then you will love these. They are rich and coco-nutty with a dark chocolate coating. If you wanted to tweak them and use milk chocolate (either a dairy free version or using dairy) you can! The only down side is they are so moreish that you'll find yourself scoffing them as soon as they are set!
Course Sweets
Prep Time 20 min
Cook Time 10 min
Passive Time 1 hour
Servings
Bites
Ingredients
Course Sweets
Prep Time 20 min
Cook Time 10 min
Passive Time 1 hour
Servings
Bites
Ingredients
Instructions
Making the Coconut Balls
  1. In a saucepan add some water and place in the unopened bag of creamed coconut and turn on the heat. As the water boils it will melt the creamed coconut in the bag; keep an eye on it to make sure the bag doesn't burst (once the water is bubbling you can turn the heat down to low). After 5 - 10 minutes the coconut should be melted. Using some tongs take the bag out of the pan and turn of the heat.
  2. Place a bowl over some scales. Cut open the edge of the creamed coconut bag and slowly pour into the bowl and weigh out 80 grams of creamed coconut. (Place the bag aside in a cup or mug so that as it cools it doesn't dribble everywhere on to the surfaces).
  3. In the bowl with the creamed coconut add in the desiccated coconut, sweetener, vanilla, coconut milk, stevia and stir with a wooden spoon until fully combined.
  4. If you want to make the bites into balls or make small bars you will need to place a baking tray on the side next to the bowl and line with some baking paper or some foil (with the dull side facing up). If you are using silicon muffin cups you will just need a tray to place them on. If you are making one large block that you want to cut into bars then you will need a tray (a bread tin would work) or a baking dish. Line it with grease proof paper or foil.
  5. Either with clean hands or wearing rubber gloves, scoop out approximately 1 tbsp of mixture and roll into a ball then place onto the baking sheet. For bar shapes (like the originals) use 2 tbsp of mixture and roll into log shapes. If using silicon muffin cups, press 1 tbsp of mixture into the bottom of a mold and place on to a tray. If you are making on big block that you want to cut into bars you just need to press all of the mixture into the (lined) dish you are using. You can have the bars as thick or thin as you like, just remember if you are using a small tin/ dish the bars will be thicker and might take a longer time to chill.
  6. When all of the mixture has been used place the baking tray/ dish into the freezer for 15 minutes.
Coating with Chocolate
  1. You will need to make a bain marie to melt the chocolate. To do this you need a bowl that will fit over a saucepan. Fill the saucepan halfway with water and then place the bowl on top. The bowl shouldn't touch the water. Turn the heat on and as the water boils, the steam will heat the bowl (be careful not to touch as it will be hot). Break the chocolate up and add into the bowl and allow 5 minutes or so for the chocolate to fully melt. Once the chocolate has melted you can turn off the heat.
  2. Take the coconut balls (or bars etc) out of the freezer and place on a clear / hard surface. Carefully pick up the tray/ dish and holding firmly each side, (not too hard) bash the tray/ dish down onto the surface. This will help to free the coconut from the tray as it can sometimes stick! If you used the baking dish method you will need to place your block of coconut on to a chopping board and cut it up into bar shapes before moving on to the next step.
  3. Take the bowl of melted chocolate and place it on a heat proof mat or a towel. Next to it place the tray/ dish of coconut bites. Using two tooth picks or some tongs, carefully dip the coconut bites into the chocolate and move it about to make sure it gets evenly coated. Allow the excess chocolate to drip off before transferring to the baking sheet. Continue doing this until all the coconut bites are coated.
  4. Place the coated bites back into the freezer to harden for 15 minutes. Once they have hardened you can transfer them to a container and keep in the fridge for 3-4 days. If they have stuck to the baking sheet/ tray etc then repeat step 2 (bashing gently to release the bites) They will keep at room temperature if the weather is not too warm. In summer it would be best to keep in the fridge.
  5. Eat on their own or with a lovely cuppa tea or coffee! Enjoy!

Chef Pete Evans Cookbook Review

Chef Pete Evans

If you’re anything like me, you’ll be a hoarder of all things books. You name it and I have it – an iPad with book function, check! A kindle, check, paperback, hardback, cookery, fiction and self-help books – check, check and check! So when I changed to a Stone Age diet (October 2013) it gave me more than an excuse I needed to purchase some new cook books – yay!

As there are so many books to choose from in the Primal / Stone age / paleo cook world, I thought it would be super helpful if I gave a short review on each book, giving a breakdown of the best bits and the not so best bits. That way it can (hopefully) help you into deciding which cook book is the one you should try/ go out and buy.

First up is the popular Chef Pete Evans and here in the UK it’s known as Family food (see image). It’s known as a slightly different name in the AUS and has a different front cover.

Family food – 130 delicious paleo recipes for every day By Pete Evans
With a whopping 295 pages (a vast majority being meals and savoury dishes) this book is broken down into the following sections; breakfast, baby and toddler foods, kids lunches, mains, sides, snack, sweets and Christmas (it also has a few drinks listed to!). It’s easy to navigate and if you didn’t know it was paleo, you probably wouldn’t be able to tell as the recipes are traditional recipes and family favourites. Since purchasing the book I have already tried a number of the recipes and already have two tabbed as my favourites. These are the Jamaican Jerk chicken and Butter chicken. I found that I was able to do both in the slow cooker and both froze really well – a HUGE bonus for anyone paleo and wanting a quick meal (just defrost overnight and reheat either in a microwave, or for those who are against the beeping box – an oven will do!).

I personally like food to be full of flavour and spices – not necessarily ‘spicy hot’ but more flavourful, I love to taste the undertones of the spices like turmeric, paprika, coriander and so on and I loved that this book had a number of recipes that fulfilled that. These recipes include lamb korma, satay chicken skewers, fish stir fry with ginger and chilli, quick prawn Laska and Mexican chicken meatballs with tomatillo sauce.

For those of you who prefer your food without a kick of spice or chilli, then you may like the mussels with tomato and basil, lamb shank pie (one that I CANNOT wait to try) or an age tradition ‘My meatloaf’. There is literally something for everyone – fish, poultry, red meat or vegetarian – many of the recipes can be tweaked to use whatever you have in the fridge.

What I thought was particularly clever is the kids lunches section because not only did it include some obvious favourites like chicken nuggets, spaghetti and meatballs and mini pizzas (ham and pineapple minis pizzas), but it had some simple alternatives such as pad Thai and lamb koftas with kale and tahini dip. I was also really impressed with the baby and toddler section as it has a number of recipes (sweet and savoury) that are packed full of goodness without the added sugar. They include tropical fruit, liver and sweet potato and beef, vegetable and turmeric spiced fish – pretty awesome if you ask me!

The snack selection includes banana bread, strawberry bliss balls, ‘Nics seed crackers’, a variety of dips (beetroot, smoke trout, kale and tahini and cashew cheese dip to name a few), parsnip chips and beef jerky so there is something for those who like a savoury pick me up as well as those with a sweet tooth. The sweets section also has a good selection with cheese cake, ice cream, muffins cup cakes and cookies. But the greatest bit is that it has a ‘how to’ make a paleo birthday cake covering everything from the ‘sponge’ to the filling and even the coconut icing and decoration – a huge plus in my opinion!

The Christmas section is an added bonus especially if you are fairly new to paleo and are dreading the upcoming season. It can be a scary thing if you are catering for non-paleo people as you don’t want to create too much work for yourself but you also don’t want others to miss out. But worry not – because there are recipes to please all. The glazed Christmas ham and the roast turkey with herb marinate will be suitable for paleo and non-paleo, full of flavour but with no added nasties! (No one will know that there’s no Oxo cubes used in it!). There is a king prawn recipe for the traditional Christmas starter and mince pies, trifle or raw Christmas puddings for after (yay!)
There is a small glossary section at the back of the book giving a little bit information on common paleo ingredients, which can be useful when you are first starting out as it helps you understand the different ingredients.

Although I have tried a few of the recipes, there are still that I am waiting to try, which is always a good sign that you are enjoying a recipe book. I have had a good look through the book and scrutinized many of the recipes, to get an idea of how much work would go into recreating them and whether it is something that’s going to be a difficult task. Overall most recipes are fairly straight forward and no tricky bits, however I did find that one or two of them refer to other recipes (such as crackers with dips e.g. you have to make the dip as well as the crackers) but this is the case with only a few recipes. As a result I would suggest (as I would with ANY cook book) always have a read through the method/ ingredients list first so that you don’t get half way through making something only to find you need to have previously made one of the components!

If I were to give this book a star rating I would say it deserves a hefty 5 out of 5. It’s physically attractive with clear photos to entice you, the instructions are simple and easy to follow and overall it has a really great selection. There are plenty of ‘crowd pleaser’ recipes, more than enough simple and quick ideas and enough ‘dazzle’ or show off recipes if you were looking to impress. Most of the recipes are easy enough to make in everyday life without needing to get any extra specialty ingredient items. Now obviously you will need common paleo ingredients (like almond flour and coconut cream for cakes) but for someone who’s been paleo for some time, there was nothing ‘out of the ordinary’ that I needed to complete the recipes. I doubt you could pick this book up and not find a handful of recipes that you can’t wait to try – this book is my new ‘go to’ and can easily be used day-to-day.

You can purchase Family Food from Amazon for £15.90 (June 2016)

Other Cookbook Reviews

For more cookbook reviews take a look at the following posts….

The Ketodiet Cookbook – Martina SlajerovaEveryday Paleo Thai Cuisine – Sarah Fragoso
Clean eating with a dirty mind – Vanessa Barajas

**The review above is my own personal opinion and I purchased the book myself**

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10 Experiences of Long Term Paleo

 

More and more people are turning to a paleo or ‘Stone Age diet’ to battle health issues, weight problems, general well-being and food intolerance. There is no ‘one size fits all’ as everyone’s issues and needs will be different but there are basic principles and you can find guides across the internet that will outline what they are. Most people who start eating this way tend to stick to it and see it more as a long-term (even ‘for life’) Way of Living or Way of Eating (WOL / WOE). Below are 10 experiences that you’ll likely encounter when converting to paleo. You’ll find that many of these points also apply to a wide range of life style choices, whether its food or health related.

1. You will start off with food envy, but once you’ve settled into it, you’ll become a food snob!

Yep. True story. Initially It can take a while to adjust to cooking things from scratch, finding natural ways to season and flavour your food and switching from grains to alternative flours etc. During this time you’ll probably wish for junk food, ‘normal’ food and anything non paleofied! You’ll get bored with having plain foods without gravy, sauce or dressings. But don’t despair it will soon pass and when it does you’ll be enjoying really flavoursome food. You will become so accustomed to enjoying real natural flavours that you’ll find new family favourites – that you actually really enjoy!

This is because you’ll find other ways to season, flavour and accompany foods. You’ll find ways to use vegetables in ways you never thought possible (e.g. cauliflower to make pizza bases or ‘rice’) and chances are you won’t have any bland dinners because you’ll discover so many other ways of cooking food you’ll wonder how you ever ate pre – paleo!

That’s when the food snob sets in because you’ll notice when you go out to friends houses or to non Paleo restaurants for food, how much people rely on packets and pre made sauces to add some flavour, and having to order food without these things usually leaves you with boring plain meat and bland veg. (Think of a Carvery, with all that thick gravy, cranberry and apple sauce made up mostly from sugar, the Yorkshire puddings and mustards with added ‘stuff’. Without all that you just have plain meat and plain – usually over cooked veg. You’ll be sitting there thinking, I could so make this way better and full of flavour!!)

2. It’s a lot of work and you’ll need to interrogate the ingredients list!

Sadly when you go paleo it’s difficult because chances are, no matter how much reading or how clued up you are on the subject, it’s a shock to realise how much rubbish is added to food! It’s only when you read into the ingredients list that you’ll see just how sneaky companies are – all those hard to pronounce words, coded E numbers – they are different names for additives and preservatives that can really play havoc with your health. A great tip is to print a list of some of the common ‘suspects’ (all the preservatives and additives) and keep the list in your bag. That way when you shop you can refer to the list and make better (more informed) choices.

Check out this post by Paleo Leap which explains what the additives are and if they need avoiding.

As you know by now, that means you’ll have to prep and make everything from scratch and work out how to make real gravy, sauces and naturally good tasting food. It may seem daunting to begin with but as you get used to cooking this way, you’ll get quicker and be able to work out paleo versions or alternatives to replace your old favourites.

3. Your taste buds WILL change

Once you have got used to the changes and have settled in (and paleo has become ‘normal’ for you), you will notice that foods will start to taste different (better) than before. For instance, you will be able to taste the natural sweetness in fruits, you’ll be able to recognise seasoning on foods (especially when eating out – which is good for detecting things you can’t have!). You’ll also appreciate the flavours of good food prepared without processed ingredients. In addition to this you’ll get confident with cooking and probably start to try new foods you’ve never had before, such as sweet potatoes, plantain, unusual cuts of meat and gravy made with home-made stock.

However, be warned that you’ll never be able to 100% replicate all non paleo foods. Bloggers will often promote recipes ‘as good as… insert non paleo item’ but its difficult to make a lemon cake or pizza without using grains so the Paleo version will be a little different. That doesn’t mean that you wont ever enjoy foods or they are not really tasty, but it does mean that non paleo people may not like your baked goods as the their taste buds will be different.

4. You’ll become more comfortable around food

This is one of my favourite changes about Paleo which I discovered for myself during the festive season but probably didn’t really appreciate until my second Christmas of being paleo. While everyone was stuffing their faces, piling their plates up high and over indulging, I was happily eating just the amount I needed (I was also ketogenic so measuring the amounts of food), satisfying my hunger and when I really fancied a little treat I had some squares of dark chocolate. I went home not feeling stuffed or over indulged or sluggish but content and feeling better for it. I didn’t feel resentful or depressed to be missing out, if anything feeling quite smug at myself because I was able to eat consciously like I had wanted to do over the years during Christmas, but didn’t have the will power.

I believe that this is because being paleo in some ways, allows you to say no to people. Before I would get offered food or extra dinner and I would feel obliged to say yes, partly because I didn’t want to offend or because it was habit. Now that I have an ‘excuse’ it’s easy for me to say no. I don’t get hungry or envious watching people around me eat, it doesn’t even register, unless I am actually hungry, then all I do is eat, whether it’s something I take along with me or something that I can order which is suitable for me, when out.

5. People will spend hours asking you ‘can you eat…?’ And when you reply, they’ll usually feed back ‘Oh No! I could never give up my beloved (insert non paleo item)….

This is a great time to learn self-control and patience. I suggest you do because other wise you’ll probably end up with a rap sheet the length of the Nile, most likely from ABH where you’ve punched people in the face! Yep. I kid you not, people will drive you crazy (you could always say that you are channelling your inner cave man/ woman ha!)

Many people go paleo to help manage a health condition but other reasons for doing it are a) for weight loss or b) just wanting to live a healthier life. I fit into the ‘managing a health condition’ box but I really feel for those in groups a and b because those who mention the words ‘diet’ or ‘be healthier’ tend to get lots of flack (friends tempting you, saying you are being too strict, etc. you know what I’m talking about!) ..

Now for those with a health condition – you would think that friends and family would be more considerate and supportive to this change, but sadly this isn’t always the case. They may see it as a fad. YES even when those SAME people have seen you at death’s door, dying inside because the doctors have nothing to help you – they STILL question you. Even when your health is improving and the Paleo life is working for you (yep even when they are telling you how good you look!!) they still criticise it… So be prepared to bite your tongue.

Now don’t get me wrong, I am blessed that I have a family around me who are very supportive and really go out their way to help me, and there are other people out there whose family are supportive too. I just want to make you aware that you may find some people don’t accept the change as easily. I have read many horror stories from people who have had some terrible experiences when dealing with un-supportive friends and family. For an idea of what you might get, here’s an example of something I experienced.

A while back when I had been paleo for some times I went to a party and I was looking really well. Because the party was being catered for I had to take my own food. The person in question had commented on how well I looked and sounded, but after a few ‘can you eat’ questions they declared that there was no way they would give up their beloved wine and would ‘just take the symptoms’. Now I can’t have any kind of alcohol due to something called fermenting gut (my body kinda produces its own – of sorts). The symptoms I suffer are pretty damn serious, so much so that a number of times I have almost seriously hurt myself, risked burning the house down or flooding the place. And that’s just ONE symptom that I suffer, on top of that I’m juggling about 10 others. Now I know the person didn’t mean to disregard my symptoms but the truth is, had I declared that I had cancer or a tumour, I’m sure these symptoms I’m dealing with wouldn’t be scoffed at. But sad to say – some people just don’t think before engaging mouth. So, if you think people will react badly to your change or lack sympathy and support it’s good to maybe think up a pre prepared speech for situations to avoid this kind of conversion – to help you feel confident and strong enough to fight off any criticism. Something like ‘I’m following a food plan just for ‘a bit’ to help make me feel better’ (because for some reason people feel more happy to accept if you’re doing this ‘short term’), or, ‘I’ve got a sensitive stomach at the moment so I’m having to be careful what I eat – I wouldn’t want to have to go home early due to sickness!’ You don’t have to be defensive, and sometimes it’s easier to say the comment with humour (eg ‘ there’s no way I’m going to eat anything I don’t want to – I’m not wasting good money puking up on my new dress bought for said occasion’) that way you can dismiss any debate and move the subject on to something else.

6. Natural and organic foods will annoy you!

Oh yes, as you become the master at reading packets and ingredients lists’ you’ll start to suffer with a type of rage! (Usually in shops or supermarkets and you’ll find people will avoid eye contact!). You see many companies have cottoned on the public’s want for ‘healthier’ options, so label their goods ‘organic’ or ‘all natural ingredients’ but that doesn’t necessarily mean they are actually HEALTHY. Nope they can still have added sugars or other ingredients added in that are not that great for you. The best way to tell if something is healthy, good for you or unprocessed is by looking at the ingredients and sell by date. Foods that are natural and not heavily processed will have ingredients that you recognise and can buy yourself eg the raw ingredients, coconut, almond, flaxseed etc. so that you could replicate the item yourself. They usually have a short use by or sell by date because natural foods don’t really last that long (as they don’t have any chemicals or preservatives ‘keeping’ it ‘fresh’). Any items you can’t pronounce, don’t know where they originate from (because they are made In a lab), or are added ‘added vitamins and minerals’ (which are unnecessary if something is natural) – then reject them, don’t touch that stuff with a barge pole!

Now I know that processed technically means that something is pre prepared, ready-made or put together for you, but Paleo friendly foods don’t count, simple because they are 1. Processed or made in a way that doesn’t ruin or remove the natural vitamins and minerals, 2. Don’t contain any unnecessary additives. 3. Only have ingredients that are natural. These days you will be able to spot these as they are usually labelled as Paleo, primal or modern caveman, (or listed as diary, grain, soy, gluten and sugar-free) if not a good look over the ingredients will tell you.

7. You’ll become a dab hand at substitutes…

Cooking with nut flours, nuts milks, coconut oil and other Paleo ingredients can be really scary to begin with and you’ll be super cross when recipes don’t turn out how you want or expect. It will seem like everything is super expensive to begin with and that will make you even more upset, especially when recipes go wrong and you have to throw them out, so take the following advice… When starting Paleo, spend some time planning the recipes you want to try, starting with simpler dishes and remember to allow enough time for ‘fudge factor’ so if it goes wrong you have time to work round it, start again or correct it. Don’t try to re-create everything straight away like breads, cakes, crackers etc because firstly their textures will be different from normal breads etc. You may find that you can do without your usual toast and rather enjoy having scrambled eggs with Paleo pancakes. So take time to settle and start by experimenting small, building up your confidence until you can move onto bigger projects.

If you can, read up as much as possible about the individual ingredients and you’ll find out about their qualities. For example, dairy free palm shortening (organic and ethically soured is a MUST) can be a great substitute as it still has a buttery type of texture; Coconut flour acts like a sponge and when cooking with it, you’ll notice that the ‘flour’ to liquid ratio is ‘little flour : lots of liquid’! After some trial and error you will begin to get the hang of things, working out the types of textures different (grain free) flours give or the kind of tastes and flavours different nut milks give etc.

The longer you eat this way, the more of a dab hand you’ll get and in addition to this, you will work out what flavours you like and what flours etc work better for you based on the textures they give.

8. You’ll widen your horizons

One thing you’ll notice when going paleo is that the local supermarkets don’t always have the ingredients you want (especially in the UK) so you end up having to buy stuff from other places, shops that you never visited or needed to use (and most likely – online!). When you start shopping in these places, chances are they will have other paleo friendly ingredients and before you know it you’ll be trying all kinds of foods that you never knew existed! Such as coconut butter (creamy and tastes great in desserts), nut flours (a great alternative flour), psyllium husk (used to bind foods together), flaxseed (make great crackers) and gelatin powder (get for thickening sauces)! The more you get used to these ‘unusual’ ingredients, the more they will become your staples and as your confidence grows, you’ll start looking to find other Paleo friendly substitutes to broaden your cooking and taste (eg go from normal nut flours to tapioca flour or using plantain instead – yep, Plantain tastes great in brownies instead of flour! #WhoKnew).

Another big horizon you’ll discover is meat. Although the paleo diet is based on how our ancestors ate, we are not trying to become cavemen and eat exactly as they did!However the idea of ‘waste not, want not’ is the same and that means eating what is known as ‘nose to tail’. Basically if it’s on an animal – you can eat it, so organs, left over cheap cuts, the bones for making broth – yep, the lot! It can take some getting used to and some cuts are an acquired taste but eating this way can be a great way to get iron in your body, its more cost-effective and you can discover some new meal ideas.

9. You’ll learn a lot about nutrition!

When going paleo you’ll probably ask a lot of ‘why’ questions. Why can’t you eat certain foods, why are certain foods that are ‘grown’ (e.g grains) not considered paleo etc, etc…. And that’s when you’ll learn a lot about nutrition, because all of these questions can be explained when you start looking at the nutritional value of things and what impact they have on the body. If you are going paleo to manage a health condition it’s really important to understand these reasons as they will help you to get a better understanding on what causes your body pain, inflammation, immunological response and so on.

For example legumes, pulses and beans are not considered paleo (although some people later reintroduce them once health has improved). The reason for removal is because they contain lectins and phytates which harms the gut lining and causes inflammation in the body. Taking them out the diet helps the gut to repair and inflammation settles down. Nightshades (such as tomatoes potatoes, peppers and certain spices) are another group of foods that can cause inflammation, however they ARE considered Paleo but for some people known as AIP’ers (Auto Immune Protocol or Auto Immune Paleo – a much stricter version of paleo and for those with auto immune illnesses) will remove these from their diet as these foods can cause problems for those who are more sensitive . As you learn about the yes – no foods, and work out what foods cause you pain, you’ll learn about other food choices that have the equivalent nutrient content. For example many people will tell you that removing dairy from your diet is ‘dangerous’ and will want to know where you will get your calcium from. It wont take long for you to realise that you can get calcium from plenty of other sources – to name one (which is actually better for you for many other reasons) is kale! The longer you are paleo, the more you’ll find out works for you. everyone’s ‘paleo’ diet will be slightly different to someone else’s, because our bodies are all different and what we can or can’t tolerate is based on individual response.

10. You will learn to listen to your body

Once you get used to the paleo diet you will become more in tune with your body. You’ll notice what foods trigger a bad response, such as headaches, stomach pain, rashes or skin flare ups. You will also work out what ratio of fat, protein and carbs works for you – there is no right or wrong, it’s all based on how you feel. If you feel good then its likely working for you. I know that many people live and eat non paleo and feel good and that’s great – but if you are suffering with any kind of health condition, you really should dig a little deeper and look at what you are putting into your body. You may not need to go full paleo (and if that works for you – then go for it) but there’s no point taking supplements or medications and continuing to eat how you are eating as you will be putting your body under unnecessary stress. You could find that by cutting out certain foods such as sugar, grains or dairy, could clear up that skin condition youve suffered from for life, or get rid of those horrid migraines you get that lead you to take a sick day or miss out on an event. If food is the answer you wont need sick days or medication and you can take better control of your life!

So, there you have it – pretty emotional huh?? If you are paleo or have embarked on a different kind of life change or diet and recognise any of these stages I would love to hear your thoughts. I would appreciate any tips of ways for helping deal with the negatives that crop up!

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