Spicy Ginger Pan-Seared Salmon

So…guess what I just did?  No, you’re not hallucinating (although maybe I am)…I’m doing a figure competition.  In an attempt to avoid losing any more readership than I already have after dropping this ball on the world, I started a new blog to document my experience–I’m still Paleo but I’m changing up the structure of my meals and my workouts quite a bit.  I’m already a week into it and frankly I’m impressed my marriage has survived this much of the madness…Go ahead, get your digs in now…

OK moving on.  Like 95% of the diet my first week of competition prep was salmon and sweet potatoes.  Or sweet potatoes and salmon.  God, 12 weeks of this is gonna get old.  Anyhow, in an attempt to make the whole thing less boring I’ve been throwing all kinds of seasonings together with all of the “safe sauces” I own–coconut aminos, fish sauce, lemon/lime juices, mustard, vinegar, you name it.  And go figure, a few of them have been nastified on par with raw sewage.  Fish sauce and mustard do NOT belong together, just sayin’.  BUT I did hit on this little gem of a combo last night and figured, what the hell, I haven’t been cooking much for the blog since the Vegan Series…let’s share a Paleo Bodybuilding Recipe that doesn’t taste like paper.

INGREDIENTS

6 oz Salmon

2 t Coconut Oil

2 t Coconut Aminos

2 t Fresh Grated Ginger

1/4 t Cayenne Pepper

1/4 t Paprika

Salt and Pepper to taste

INSTRUCTIONS

Pat the salmon dry with paper towels.  Brush each side with the coconut oil and sprinkle with the seasonings.

Sear over medium heat for about 3-4 minutes on each side.

If you’re trying to lean out, serve with steamed veggies.  If you’re a normal person, serve with something delicious.

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Cashew Cream Cheesecake

It’s Paleo!  It’s Vegan!  It’s Raw!  Pretty sure ANYONE could eat this cheesecake.  Peace through dessert, that’s what I always say!  Except if you have a nut allergy.  Crap.

This isn’t an original recipe by any means–When PaleOMG’s Caramel Cheesecake was born a couple months ago I was all over it like a fat kind on…Paleo cheesecake.  Since then, I’ve made it thrice more, each time screwing a little with the ingredients (and doubling the amount of filling to put over the crust to make a bigger cake and satiate the 400-pound woman who lives inside me) and using raw instead of roasted nuts after my nut crisis.

Best thing, though, while I was wringing my hands trying to come up with a good Paleo/Vegan dessert to finish off this series, it hit me that all I would have to do to make this recipe Vegan-friendly was replace the honey with maple syrup.  And, I mean, it gave me an excuse to make it again.  Darn.

When making this cake, the most important thing to keep in mind is that you 1) need to soak the raw nuts just the right amount of time so they are neither too dry nor too bitter/mushy ans 2) blend everything for the filling VERY well so that it is a smooth, cheesecake-like consistency.  The first time I made this with raw instead of roasted nuts I ended up with a grittier texture than I would have liked, so please-please-PLEASE make sure you’re running the food processor long enough.

INGREDIENTS

**Crust**

1 c Raw Almond Butter

1 c Unsweetened Shredded Coconut

2/3 c Raw Chopped Pecans

1 T Coconut Butter

1 T Maple Syrup

1/4 t Salt

**Filling**

3 c Raw Cashews, soaked and drained

1 c Coconut Oil, softened

1 c Maple Syrup

Juice of 1 Lemon

1/4 c Coconut Milk

2 t Vanilla

INSTRUCTIONS

To soak your cashews, put the raw nuts in a bowl and cover with cold water and a pinch of salt.  Then place the bowl in the refrigerator and allow to soak for 4-6 hours.  Don’t soak for more than 24 hours or they will become bitter.

Generously grease a springform pan with coconut oil and place in the freezer.

To make the crust, combine almond butter, coconut, pecans, coconut butter, salt, and syrup in a food processor.  Pulse at first to combine everything, then run the processor until you have a sticky but smooth-looking mass.  Scoop it out and press into the bottom of your springform pan and place back in the freezer.

For the filling, drain the cashews but don’t let them get too dry.  Place the cashews in the food processor and pulse until they are a fine consisitency.  Add the coconut oil, syrup, lemon juice, coconut milk, and vanilla.  Run the food processor for 3-5 minutes until you have a very smooth, creamy mixture.  Pour the filling over the crust (the crust doesn’t have to be completely frozen at this point).  Place the cheesecake back in the freezer for at least 3 hours, until firm.

Enjoy!  Then follow me on Twitter!

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Paleo AND Vegan Sandwich Bread

Can I just say something here?  Baked good that are both Paleo AND Vegan are f*cking hard to make.  I mean, holy crap…I can’t use eggs.  I can’t use wheat flour.  I can’t use xanthan gum.  I can’t use 90% of the gluten free flours out there…sooo, hey, Camilla, let’s make bread out of NOTHING!!

OK, it wasn’t out of nothing…I just had to get creative with…not a lot.

I’ll admit up front that if you’re fat phobic at all, you’ll likely not want to eat this bread.  But you knew from the start of this little Vegan Venture that I was not going to give up my most beloved macronutrient.  Luckily, the fat content of this bread makes it really filling and I’ll say it made a very nice little breakfast for a few days.  I also experimented with some open-faced sandwichmaking–might I recommend this spinach and chutney combo…

Made me feel all exotic and creative when I really just had a ton of chutney left over.  That’s economics, people.

Anyhoo, the texture of this bread is definitely more of a quick bread, so it’s not going to bend and fold like a lot of commercial options, but it does the job.  Not too bad for making bread out of nothing.  I could be a Vegan Jesus…

Wait..wait…I’d be amiss if I didn’t ask you to follow me on Twitter!  Please??

INGREDIENTS

1/2 c Coconut Flour

1 t Salt

1 t Baking Soda

1/2 c Flax Meal

1 c Palm Shortening

1 c + 2 T Applesauce (make sure it’s at room temp)

INSTRUCTIONS

Preheat your oven to 325 degrees.

Combine the palm shortening and applesauce.  Add the flax, salt, and baking soda.  One tablespoon at a time, add the coconut flour and beat until you have a stiff dough.

Press the dough into a greased loaf pan.  Bake for 55-60 minutes until a knife inserted comes out clean.  Cool COMPLETELY before cutting into slices.

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Vegan Roasted Garlic and Veggie Sweet Potato Pizza

Personally, the idea of a Vegan pizza was a little daunting.  During my Vegan phase–yes, I had a Vegan phase…and I don’t like to talk about it–I did a lot of pizza.  Granted, it was easier then because I was willing to eat wheat and bean flours that definitely make it easier to get a good crust.  A Paleo/Vegan pizza crust was, well, a f*cking nightmare.  It might be some grand universal balancing act–like if I’m not going to kill animals for one meal I’m going to end up massacring twice the weight in plant-based products–or I might just be too stubborn to throw in the towel and make my beloved MEATZA.

Either way, I managed to come up with something acceptable based on my cauliflower-based version.  I say acceptable because, as always, I was dying to throw a kilo of bacon on top.  Totally not bitter at all.

INGREDIENTS

**Crust**

1/2 Large Head of Cauliflower, grated

1/2 c Ground Flax

1/4 c Coconut Milk

1/4 c Arrowroot Powder

1 t Italian Seasoning

Salt and Pepper to taste

**Toppings**

1 Large Sweet Potato

1/2 Sweet Onion, chopped

4-5 Cloves Garlic, roughly chopped

1/2 Bell Pepper, sliced

1 c Fresh Spinach

1 c Sliced Mushrooms

1 c Marinara Sauce

1 T Olive Oil

INSTRUCTIONS

For the crust…

Grate the cauliflower with a food processor or cheese grater.  Place in a microwave-safe bowl and nuke for 5 minutes.

Add the flax, water, seasoning, and arrowroot powder.  Mix well until you have a soft, sticky dough.  Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes (while you’re prepping the toppings!).

Spread out on a greased baking pan.  Bake at 350 degrees for 35-40 minutes until golden brown.  Make sure it’s cooked all the way through!! (This was the challenge for me without the eggs…you want to make sure the crust is almost like a big cracker).  Remove from the oven and let rest for 5 minutes before adding toppings.

For the toppings…

Slice your sweet potato with a mandolin slicer or by hand–either way you want round discs.  Place the sweet potatoes and garlic in a bowl and combine with 1 T of the olive oil.  Spread out on a baking dish and roast at 400 degrees for 10 minutes.

Cover the crust with fresh spinach, then layer the sweet potatoes, then the onion and mushroom mixture.

Heat the oven to BROIL, and bake the pizza for 5-8 minutes longer.

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Cinnamon Tahini Muffins

One perk of my job:  I get paid to jump out of airplanes.  Well, I guess sometimes it’s a helicopter.  I’m sorry…even though there are plenty of videos out there set to AC/DC’s Thunderstruck or something that make this kind of thing look totally cool, I hate it.  Something about standing in an open doorway of a MOVING PLANE 2500 feet above the ground…and jumping out of it…WILLINGLY…that’s just unnatural.  I’m also a total wuss.

I made these muffins for the first time as a pre-jump snack.  We have to get up pretty damn early to get out there before the Colorado winds start up, and you know me–I’ve got a freshly packed meal everywhere I go.  I think I got enough flak for being the girl in the corner with my coffee and muffins without people knowing they were both Paleo AND Vegan muffins…but it was hard to notice since they were effing delicious.  Well, I guess I minded–I’m sensitive like that–but they were still totally delicious.

INGREDIENTS

1/2 c Coconut Flour

6 Flax Eggs

1/2 c Tahini

2 Mashed Bananas

1 T Cinnamon

2 t Vanilla

1/2 t Baking Soda

2 t Apple Cider Vinegar

1/3 c Coconut Milk

Optional:  2 T Maple Syrup

INSTRUCTIONS

Combine all ingredients with an electric mixer until well combined.  Spoon batter into prepared muffin tins.

Bake at 350 degrees for 20-30 minutes.

Makes 12 muffins.

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Spaghetti Squash with Zesty Avocado Cream Sauce

I learned a valuable lesson this summer–when you live alone, you can no longer justify buying produce at Sam’s or Costco.  I’m pretty sure you can’t justify it with two people, either, but feeding Ross is like feeding three people…so sack of onions?  Awesome!  Case-o-organic-spinach?  Perfect!  Pallet of grapefruits?  ZOMG!!

But when it’s just me all by my lonesome, shopping for bulk quantities has fed my compost pile more than me.  Which makes me feel exceedingly guilty.  I lay in bed at night weeping over the loss of half a box of tomatoes.  I wish I was kidding.  So, what this means is that I’ve been eating some pretty weird combinations of food in order to mitigate food waste.  Ask Ross, I’m awesome at food-saving.  Like my Overnight Apple Breakfast Cobbler?  Those apples were so grateful.

And this recipe…it’s been a challenge planning some Vegan meals that actually have enough substance to be a stand-alone meal, but thankfully I had a sack of avocados that I REALLY needed to use.  I could chow down on avocados all day–and they’ve got a ton of good fat to do all kinds of fun and wonderful things for your body.  And mixed up with some spaghetti squash?  I was a little skeptical at first but it was delicious…I’m absolutely going to make it again.  But I’d be lying if I said I won’t be tempted to throw some grilled chicken and bacon on top….wait, what?

INGREDIENTS

1 Large Spaghetti Squash, cooked

2 Large Avocados

1 Lime, Juiced

3 Garlic Cloves

1/4 c Fresh Cilantro

1/4 c Coconut Milk

INSTRUCTIONS

Place all ingredients in a food processor or powerful blender.  Pulse until well combined–decide for yourself how smooth you want it but like my guacamole, I prefered mine a little chunkier!

Scoop spaghetti squash (can be hot or cold) into a large serving dish.  Pour cream sauce over top and toss until well coated.

Follow me on Twitter!

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The TGIPaleo-Vegan Series!

Did I hit my head or something?? Entirely possible.

I’m not sure why it is that we Paleo folks and the Vegans seem to be at war with one another. Well, I’m sure it has something to do with diametrically opposed food philosophies…but still, I’m not sure where the general sense of disdain comes from. Personally, I have no issue with the Vegans. I mean, sure, I think their diet is a little off kilter–such low fat intake and reliance on foods that punch holes in our gut (i.e. grains and legumes) doesn’t really do it for me. What’s more, I happen to think the science behind the whole thing is a little fuzzy. And the China Study is not peer-reviewed. Just BTW. And can we get one goddamned thing straight? Paleo is not Adkins. Moving on…

So where did this little endeavor come from? Am I high or what??

My husband went to high school and is still good friends with a successful Vegan cookbook author. Needless to say, we tend to engage in a little ideological debate from time to time, and lately it’s gotten me thinking about the issues between the two lifestyles more and more. Veganism has been around since the 19th century but as Paleo has become more popular in recent years the tension has grown. While they are in so many ways polar opposites, what Paleo and Veganism DO have in common is the core belief that the typical American diet is f*cked up. We both advocate the consumption of whole foods (although I do have an issue with may Vegans’ reliance on artificial and processed products like tofu, fake cheese, egg replacers, and vegetable oils). We are both looking to find the healthiest diet possible in an attempt to mitigate and eliminate the diseases of modern civilization. But naturally, we both want to be right.

I’m not here to convert anyone. Quite the opposite, in fact. What I’ve done is created a peace offering to the Vegan community–a week full of recipes that are Paleo, Vegan, and have enough nutritional value from all macronutrient groups to make a good meal (I was really tempted to do a week full of salads and sweet potato fries, not gonna lie). I sleep like a baby at night with my Paleo Teddy Bear, and I’m sure many Vegans are the same…albeit with a big, cuddly head of lettuce or something. I understand that beyond all the science-y stuff, too, people choose not to consume animal products for a variety of reasons from allergies to religious beliefs to genuine ethical reservations. That’s fine.

Admittedly my ingredient list is limited…Paleo and Veganism have very little overlap but I honestly believe it can be done! Just as with all of my recipes, everything will be gluten-free, grain-free, soy-free, and legume-free. I won’t use white potatoes or rice. I won’t use any cane sugar, agave nectar, corn syrup, or artificial sweeteners like stevia or Splenda. I will not use guar gum, xanthan gum, or soy lecithin to include products or pantry items containing any of the aforementioned items or their derivatives. Obviously, I will not be using meat, eggs, dairy, honey, or any product derived from animals. But I sure as hell won’t be using Vegan Cheez. But there will be dessert at the end!!

Wish me luck, and get ready to OD on coconut and avocados!

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Sweet Potato Muffins

“Wait a minute, you dummy…you already have a recipe for Sweet Potato Muffins!”

That’s my impression of all of you, right now.  Because it’s true.  I’ve trodden (tread? treadded?) this road before.  But I also stopped eating roasted nuts and baking with nut products.  Remember?!

**OH!  OH!  I have a Twitter page now!**

Sorry…anyhoo…I’m traveling on business, so clearly I had to bake a bunch of stuff before I go.  Otherwise I wouldn’t be able to freak out all the TSA people like I normally do with my sack of muffins, protein bars, Paleo Kits, hard-boiled eggs, pre-made salads…yeah.  And then I’d never get to be the one who hides away in her hotel room during lunch breaks because all the conference people are providing are Subway party subs.  Whatever.  Pretty sure if I sh*t my pants in the middle of one of these talks I’d be even less unpopular.

These muffins are pretty straightforward.  I know, I’ve been slacking lately, but I was working on a little project for this coming week.  Yay!  Actually I might lose some readership over this one but this is just what happens when you live alone all summer.  But anyway, I know I put chocolate in the original batch but I left it out this time.  Trying to keep my summer six pack, no big deal.  OMG I wish that was even a little bit true.  Seriously, though, feel free to jazz these up.  Maybe some chocolate chips…maybe some raisins.  Maybe…just maybe…you get CAH-RAZY and throw some blueberries in there.  It’s an equal opportunity ball of baked delicious.

INGREDIENTS

1/2 c Coconut Flour

6 Eggs

2 t Vanilla

1 t Salt

1 t Baking Soda

2 t Cinnamon

1/2 c Ground Flax

2 Sweet Potatoes or Yams, baked and mashed (discard skins)

1 c Raisins or Chocolate Chips (optional)

INSTRUCTIONS

Whisk together all the dry ingredients.  Beat the eggs and add dry mix by spoonfuls until well blended.  Add the mashed sweet potatoes.

Spoon batter into lined muffin cups.  Bake at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes.

Enjoy!

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Pork Belly Made Easy

A rich, succulent cut of pork belly is like a nice little package of everything that makes life worth living.  Nowhere else can you get such buttery, fatty goodness without having to do anything at all.  Except, well, when you eff it up.  Which is easier to do than I’d like to admit.  Dry, leathery pork belly = No Bueno.  Like, No Bueno enough to effing WRECK your week.

What can I say?  I’m, like, really sensitive, OK??

I basically made it my civic responsibility to share a couple of fool-proof options for the cooking of my Porky Ambrosia.  There’s a lot of theories about the best or worst method, but as in all things in my life, I’m sticking to what has worked consistently for me.  And the best part is that I’m giving you OPTIONS…all you have to do is season your meat, pan sear it quickly, and braise using one of two methods:

1.  Crockpot

2.  Low and slow in the oven

…And yes, I’ve used both methods and I really can’t say which I prefer.  Both are reliable.  And delicious.  Just depends on what you have available.  I generally lean on my crockpot but the oven method was born after my poor little slow cooker was indisposed, and it did not disappoint–even though I was wondering all day if having the oven on for that long would burn my house down.  Don’t worry, it didn’t.

INGREDIENTS

2 lbs Pork Belly

2 t Sea Salt

2 t Black Pepper

2 t Chili Powder

2 T Olive Oil

1 T Fish Sauce or Coconut Aminos

1/4 c Apple Cider Vinegar

2-3 c Chopped Vegetables (Carrots, Brussels Sprouts, Sweet Potatoes, Turnips, Etc…)

INSTRUCTIONS

Heat the olive oil over medium-high heat.

Score the skin of the pork belly in alternating diagonals.  Mix the seasonings together and rub the spice mixture all over both sides of the pork belly.

Sear the meat on ALL sides in the oil for ONE MINUTE PER SIDE.  Yes, you even need to cook the thin sides–this is where tongs will come in handy.

Place the veggies in the bottom of a crock pot or lined baking dish.  Place the pork belly on top.  Pour the vinegar over the meat, then the fish sauce or coconut aminos.

If you’re using a crockpot, cook on HIGH for 4-5 hours.

If you’re using an oven, cover the baking dish with foil and bake at 170 degrees for 4-5 hours.

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Reuben Dog

This is what my loving husband gets for leaving me all alone.  Again.

It was pretty much fate that dictated that I make this sandwich.  First, Ross calls me a couple weeks ago and raves about this Reuben Hot Dog he saw at the cafeteria at work.  And I totally forgot about it.  BUT!!  Then a week ago I see Adam Gertler on The Best Thing I Ever Ate raving about his awesome Reuben Dog.  Then I promised Ross that I’d find a way to make him a Paleo Reuben Dog if he didn’t leave me (again) to go back to Boston.  Then he left.  Jerk.

Some wives whine.  Some wives cry.  THIS wife gets her revenge via Reuben Dog that she will NEVER, EVER share with her husband.  He’s jealous, and I like it that way.  Not sorry.  OK, well I whined and cried, too.  A lot.

I AM sorry about the quality of the photos.  I tried SO HARD to convey the foodgasmic deliciousness but (aside from my not having a very professional camera) there’s no good way to make a baked sweet potato covered in Reuben Dog Goodness look sexy.  Just PLEASE trust me!

INGREDIENTS

(Serves 1)

**Sandwich**

1 Sweet Potato

1 T Butter

**Fillings**

1 Large Bratwurst Sausage

1/2 c Sauerkraut, thoroughly drained

1 Thick Slice Bacon, cooked and crumbled

1/2 c Shredded Gruyere Cheese (optional)

** Thousand Island Dressing**

1/2 c Paleo Mayonnaise

1/4 c Paleo Ketchup

1 Large Dill Pickle, minced

INSTRUCTIONS

Bake your sweet potato in foil at 425 degrees for 1 hour, 15 minutes.

Over medium-high heat, cook your bratwurst until done.  You can also roast it in the oven with the sweet potato for the last 20-25 minutes.

Remove sweet potato from the oven and allow to sit for 10 minutes, then slice it open.  Spread the butter on the inside of the sweet potato.

Add the crumbled bacon.

Add the cheese (optional).

Add the bratwurst.

Add the sauerkraut.

Smother in Thousand Island.

Stuff your face.

Let your jerk of a husband with his jerk of a travelling job know what they’re missing.

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