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Paleo Bacon Wrapped Sweet Mini Peppers Recipe

I picked up some of these cute little mini sweet peppers this week and turned them into some yummy bacony goodness!

mini sweet peppers
These are great to make ahead and pop in the freezer for a quick way to make any meal special. They also make awesome party hors d’oeuvres.
I usually just add them to sauce and serve on zucchini pasta but they make a great side for eggs for breakfast and are versatile by switching up the meats and spices used for the stuffing.
This batch is Italian but I have also made them Thai by using ground chicken and adding basil and sweet chili sauce and serve with cauliflower rice or use traditional sausage with a bit of cinnamon or nutmeg and serve with spaghetti squash.
You are only limited by your imagination!

bacon wrapped mini peppers

Italian Bacon Wrapped Stuffed Mini Peppers

1 pkg sweet mini peppers
1 lb ground beef or pork
1 egg
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp fennel seeds
1 tsp basil
1 tsp black pepper
1 tsp crushed chili flakes, optional (if you like it spicy)
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp milk or water
1 lb bacon
Shredded cheese, optional

1. Prepare the peppers. With a paring knife, carefully cut around the stem and remove. Make a slit along one side of the pepper.
2 Make filling. In a bow, combine all remaining ingredients except bacon and cheese (if using). Mix really well to break the meat down and mix spices through.
3. Stuff. Carefully open the slit and put a teaspoon or so filling inside each pepper.
4. Wrap. Wrap each pepper in a slice of bacon and place in a 9×13″ baking pan.

Bake in oven until bacon is cooked and crispy, approx. 30-40 minutes. Sprinkle a bit of cheese over the top in the last 5 minutes of cooking to melt.

Paleo Frozen Treats

Yummy Paleo Treats

Even cavemen had a sweet tooth when they had the chance to get their hands on ripe fruit or honey. These simple frozen treats are good for you but satisfy that sweet craving, especially in the summer when you want a nice frozen treat.

Cut up banana slices and then spread nut butter between two slices. You can use any nut butter you like.

Put them in the freezer for 1 hour to get them nice and cold.

Dip them in melted dark chocolate and place on a baking sheet lined with parchment or waxed paper. Pop them back in the freezer for another 2-3 hours! Once they are fully frozen you can transfer them to zip bags or storage container and keep frozen. Enjoy!!

Who knew you could have such delicious goodies on the Paleo diet?

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My Typical Daily Paleo Menu

People often ask me what I typically eat every day on the Paleo diet so I thought I would share my Paleo menu for today to give you an idea. My goal is always 9 cups of fruits & veggies a day. When I say this most people say… “I could never do that!”. It really is not as hard as it sounds and you don’t feel like you are eating like a rabbit either!

Now that is not to say I don’t miss the mark some days, but it is a goal I try to attain as often as possible. Some days I may only get 6 cups in, but that is still way more than the average person.

The reason I try to eat this way is for my health and disease prevention. You just feel so much better when you load up on veggies and get all those delicious vitamins and nutrients into your body! Plus, it is tasty too!

So here is my Paleo menu for today:

Breakfast:

egg fried tomatoes recipe

Egg Fried Tomatoes. (1 – 1 1/2 cup tomatoes per serving)

Bowl of fresh berries (1 cup) If I don’t eat them all in one sitting then I snack on them throughout the morning.

Lunch:

green salad

BIG green salad, usually with some fruit and nuts added for variety and I most often use flavored olive oils and either lemon juice or flavored balsamic vinegar as the dressing. Yummy! Sometimes I will add in leftover meat or fish if I have it in the fridge. A heaped dinner plate of salad is about 3 cups.

Dinner:

Paleo dinner

Today it is mashed Japanese sweet potatoes/parsnips (1 cup), steamed eggplant/red peppers(1/2 cup) and 3 cups spinach that has been steamed (you can see how much it reduces in volume when steamed but still retains the nutrients of the 3 cups) and diced ham.

So today I actually exceeded my goal by half a cup, eating 9 1/2 cups of veggies and fruit and if I am hungry in the evening I will snack on some berries & nuts if I want sweets or make some zucchini chips if I want something salty. It really is not hard to consume larger volumes of veg if you set your mind to it. You can also see that I had a variety of foods that were both satisfying and delicious!

 

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Egg Fried Tomatoes – Chinese Comfort Food

egg fried tomatoes recipeI just discovered this recipe and I am really soooooo happy! This is my new favorite way to enjoy eggs. The Chinese consider this as a comfort food and it is the #1 seller in school cafeterias. They serve it over rice but, being Paleo, I just serve it as is in a big bowl and chow down! The taste is so fresh and delicious.

It is also a very simple dish to make. So easy that it is usually the first dish Chinese children learn to cook. So it makes a great quick Paleo breakfast, lunch or dinner with just 2 ingredients that you likely already have on hand!

Egg Fried Tomatoes Recipe

(serves 2)

Ingredients:

4 Eggs

2 Tomatoes (3 if they are small)

salt to taste

1 tsp palm sugar (optional but really enhances the flavor)

1/2 tsp crushed chili flakes (optional if you want to add a little kick)

Directions:

I have included the video directions here. I subbed the white sugar for palm sugar to make it Paleo friendly.

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Harissa Salmon with Spinach Papaya Salad

harissa salmon and papaya spinach saladI cannot even begin to tell you how happy my taste buds are right now. I just ate this for lunch and I have to say I was really sorry when it was all gone because I could have kept on eating happily till I burst, it was just that yummy!

The natural sweetness of the papaya and citrus salad dressing mingled with the spiciness of the Harissa is a match made in heaven! This is definitely a meal that will be on my plate several times per week from now on. So very healthy yet so delicious you don’t feel like you are eating smart. It almost feels like you are cheating. lol And even better, it is a super quick meal to throw together. It takes about 5 minutes start to finish…how good is that? There is no reason to eat fast food junk when this quality of meal is only 5 minutes away!

And let’s talk about how good it is for you too. I think everyone knows how good salmon is for you so I won’t go into that. Harissa, spinach, papaya and papaya seeds contain some pretty powerful detoxifying properties and are high in antioxidants as well. So this meal will not only make your mouth happy, your body will thank you too.

Harissa Salmon Recipe

Ingredients:

  • Salmon fillets, frozen or fresh
  • Harissa paste, 1-2 tbsp per fillet

Directions:

Place frozen salmon fillet on a microwave safe dish and top with a tbsp of Harissa. Nuke for 5-6 minutes on high. That’s it!

Papaya Spinach Salad Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 c diced papaya
  • handful of baby spinach leaves
  • 1 green onion, diced
  • 1 tbsp papaya seeds
  • juice from one small orange
  • 1 tsp organic apple cider vinegar with mother
  • 1 tbsp Harissa oil (optional)
  • 1/4 c olive oil

Directions:

Pile the baby spinach, diced papaya and onions on your plate. Combine all other ingredients into a blender, magic bullet or vitamix and blend until seeds are chopped up. Pour a generous amount over your salad and store the rest of the dressing in the fridge for another day.

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Homemade Harissa – A Must Have Spice Blend

harissa

Homemade Harissa

I have just recently discovered Harissa and I have to say I am loving it! Harissa is a spice paste native to Tunisia but adopted in Moroccan foods and all northern African cooking. It is very easy to make yourself and can be adapted to your taste depending on your tolerance to spicy foods. I personally love it hot!

Harissa is used as a condiment as well as a flavoring agent for cooking. It is particularly good on fish, eggs, veggies, chicken…oh who am I kidding…I put that shit on everything! lol

If you search for Harissa recipes you will find a wide variety of ingredients. Every family has their own secret recipe. The common ingredients are chilies, garlic, cumin, caraway seeds, coriander seeds and olive oil. My recipe also adds ginger root, apple cider vinegar, lime and roasted red peppers. The acids of the lime and vinegar extend the shelf life so it lasts for months in the fridge as well as adding a bit more kick to the flavors. The ginger root and vinegar also adds extra health properties to the mix which is always a good thing.

You can adjust the taste by changing up the types of chilies used and whether you leave the seeds in or not. Most of the heat of chilies is found in the seeds so by omitting them you end up with a very mild sauce. Like it hot? Well then keep the seeds or use hotter peppers such as Habanero. I am including a chili Scoville heat chart below to help you select the best peppers for your taste. Besides the degree of heat they bring to the mix, they also have different flavors so I tend to use a mixture if I have them on hand, if not, then I use what is available.

I also like to add more olive oil to the top than necessary because I love infused oils and can use the flavored oil in salad dressings and for cooking. So that is an added bonus of making your own Harissa. I recently visited a gourmet olive oil store and they charge $10/200ml bottle of Harissa oil. So it is a major savings when you can get it for pennies as a bonus.

So here you go…go mild or go wild…either way you have to give Harissa a try because it is an amazing flavor that you will use all the time!

Harissa Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 1/4-1/2 c Roasted red peppers
  • 6 cloves garlic
  • 1 tsp caraway seeds
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground coriander seeds
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1-2 c dried chilies of your choice
  • 1-2 tbsp fresh ginger root
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 1 tbsp organic apple cider with mother
  • 1 cup good quality olive oil (divided, see directions)
  • hot water for soaking chilies

Directions:

Remove stems from dried chilies and place in a bowl or large jar and cover with hot water. Allow them to soak at least 2 hours till they are soft. I usually just put them in a large jar, cover and allow to soak overnight.

Drain chilies and remove seeds (or not if you want it hot). Place in a blender. Add 1/2 c of the olive oil and all other ingredients. Blend until it becomes a smooth puree. Stop and scrape sides a couple of times. Add more oil if necessary to make blending easier.

Pour into a jar. Gently pour a layer of olive oil over the top. This layer of oil will help preserve the paste and, as mentioned above, will give you that deliciously flavor infused oil.

chili chart

 

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Paleo Italian Skillet Dinner

paleo skillet dinnerSkillet dinners and one dish meals are always a favorite at my house. They are fast, easy and full of flavor and cleanup is a breeze. another benefit is that these types of dishes usually taste even better the next day so they make great make-ahead meals and leftovers make a tasty lunch.

This Italian skillet dinner is one of my favorites and is great with Paleo bread sticks or cheese crisps.

Paleo Italian Skillet Dinner Recipe

Ingredients:

1/2 lb ground pork

1/2 lb sausage meat (if you can’t buy the meat then just squeeze the meat out of links)

2 tsp fennel seeds

1-2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes (I like it spicy so I use 2-3 tsp)

1 tsp oregano

2-3 cloves garlic, minced

1/2 tsp rosemary

1 small onion, diced

2-3 cups veggies (broccoli, carrots, zucchini, celery, spinach all work well)

1 c diced tomatoes (canned) or 1 c cherry tomatoes

Pepper to taste (salt not needed because the sausage is salty enough)

Directions:

In a heavy skillet, combine the meat, garlic, onion and spices and cook until well browned. Add the veggies and reduce heat to simmer and cover. If you used cherry tomatoes you may need to add 1/2 cup liquid to get the stewing process going. Cook 10-15 minutes until veggies are tender and flavors well combined.

Serve it up and enjoy!

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Paleo Nachos

low carb nachosI guess these are considered more Primal than Paleo because they are dairy, but they are low carb and seriously tasty! These satisfy your craving for salt and crispy snacks without guilt. The key is to really let the cheese get crispy. If you don’t cook them long enough they are just kind of rubbery and chewy….still tasty but not as satisfying.

Also, if you do not let them sit on paper towels for a bit they do tend to be a bit greasy. So once they harden up, just put them on a paper towel for a few minutes.

These low carb snacks can be eaten on their own or you can top with a bit of yummy guacamole and salsa. There are a million variations you can make to this recipe to come up with all different flavors. I will give you some suggestions below the recipe.

Paleo Nachos Recipe

Ingredients:

1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

2 slices crispy bacon, crumbed

finely diced jalapeno, a lot or a little or none at all. It is up to your taste.

1/2 tsp chili powder

1/2 tsp onion powder

1/2 tsp garlic powder

Directions:

Put all ingredients into a bowl and toss to coat the cheese in spices. Heat a non-stick skillet on the stove top at medium temperature. It must be non-stick or you may run into some trouble getting them out of the pan. Place little haystacks of the cheese mixture in the pan. You will likely only be able to do 3-4 at a time. Don’t overcrowd them and don’t make them too big or they may brown too much on the edges and not enough in the center.

Once the cheese is all bubbly and the edges begin to turn golden, carefully begin lifting the edges with a spatula. Keep lifting until the entire crisp moves freely in the pan. Continue cooking until the entire thing is dry-looking or golden. Carefully remove from the pan and place on a dish to cool and harden. Cook the rest of the batch in the same way. Place cooled nachos on a paper towel to blot the grease.

Top with guacamole, sour cream and salsa or just dig in as they are! Makes about 8-10 crisps.

Variations: Use Monteray Jack cheese instead of cheddar; try Swiss cheese with finely diced ham and dill; Asiago or Parmesan, basil and garlic; colby with caraway and celery seeds. I could go on and on….just try whatever you like or whatever you have on hand and chances are pretty good it will be yummy! They are even good with just cheese and nothing else added.

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Paleo Almond Butter Muffins

Paleo Almond Butter Muffins

Paleo Almond Butter Muffins

These Paleo Almond Butter Muffins are great for breakfasts or snacks on-the-go. Have one with your morning coffee or tea and your body will be fueled for hours. Pack them in your lunch for a quick guilt-free snack if you find you are lagging in energy during the day. They freeze well so feel free to double the batch.

I get my almond butter at my local Bulk Barn where I can grind my own right on the spot. If you want to make your own from scratch, here is a link to instructions on making almond butter.

Paleo Almond Butter Muffins

Ingredients:

1 c almond butter

4 eggs

3 tbsp honey

1 tsp vanilla

1/4 tsp sea salt

1/2 tsp baking powder

1 tbsp cinnamon

1/4 c walnut or pecan pieces

6 dates (optional)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 325F

Blend all ingredients except walnut pieces and dates together in a bowl with a hand mixer until smooth. Stir in nut pieces. Spoon into muffin tins lined with muffin papers. Poke a date into the center of each muffin. Bake for 15- 18 minutes.

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Paleo Waffles Recipe

Paleo Waffles Recipe

Paleo Waffles With Fruit Topping

If you are like me, Paleo breakfasts can sometimes be a challenge. Trying to come up with quick and easy breakfasts on the fly during a busy workday can be difficult. This Paleo Waffles recipe has been a life-saver for me. Not only do i get to enjoy them on a lazy Sunday morning, but I also make up double batch of them that I can put in the freezer. Then on my work days, I can just pop the frozen waffles in the toaster like Eggos and have a hearty, healthy breakfast on the plate in under 2 minutes.

Seriously! You have to try these. They are so delicious and loaded with protein/coconut oil goodness. You can also use them as the bread in a sandwich. Or your favorite chicken & waffles dinner. Just because you have chosen to go Paelo doesn’t mean you have to give up the things you love, you just need to adapt them to your new lifestyle.

Paleo Waffles Recipe

(makes 6-8 waffles)

Ingredients:

1 1/2 c almond flour

1/2 c flax meal

2 tbsp coconut oil, melted

1 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp sea salt

2 eggs, beaten

1/4 c buttermilk or coconut milk

Directions:

Turn on your waffle maker so it is pre-heating while you mix the batter.

Place all dry ingredients in a bowl. Combine wet ingredients and add to the dry. Stir with a spoon until well blended. (don’t use an electric mixer) If the batter is too thick add a little more milk. Place approx. 1/4 c of batter for each square waffle (depending on the size of your waffle maker) Close the lid and allow to cook until the steam stops coming out of the waffle maker or until the indicator light comes on (if your waffle maker has this feature). It only takes about 2 minutes to cook.

I like to use a fruit syrup as my topping instead of maple syrup because it is less sweet and full of antioxidants.

Paleo Waffle Fruit Toppings Recipes:

Mixed Berry Syrup

1 pint blueberries

1 pint raspberries

juice of one large orange (approx. 1/2 c)

3-4 dates, chopped

Place all ingredients in a saucepan. Bring to a boil then reduce heat, cover and simmer stirring occasionally. The dates act as a natural sweetener and will thicken the syrup slightly. If you like a sweeter syrup, just add a few more dates. If you like it less sweet, reduce or omit the dates.

Apple Cinnamon Syrup

1-2 apples, peeled, cored and diced

1 cup unsweetened apple juice or cider

1 tsp cinnamon

dash of nutmeg and cloves (optional)

Place all ingredients in a saucepan. Bring to a boil then reduce heat, cover and simmer stirring occasionally. The dates act as a natural sweetener and will thicken the syrup slightly. If you like a sweeter syrup, just add a few more dates. If you like it less sweet, reduce or omit the dates. The results will be a thin, sweet applesauce type of topping.

Cool sauces completely and store in the fridge in a jar or air-tight container.

Tip: Allow waffles to completely cool before placing them in zip bags for freezing to prevent them from creating steam in the bag and sticking together.

 

 

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