Archives for posts with tag: Snack

Work table, courtesy of Craigslist.

Last week we aquired a big wooden work table through an ad on craigslist. While at the owner’s house to pick up the table, I noticed a wall of trees full of banana bunches! As a kid, my dad grew all kinds of tropical plants and I loved eating the tiny sweet bananas that would pop out every once in a while.  Upon questioning, the homeowner informed me that these bananas are a bit more like plantains, you have to cook them in order to eat them. He gave us a big bunch and I promptly fried them up into chips.

If you have never done this, then you should give it a try. Many times, store-bought plantain chips are cooked in a seed oil (sunflower, safflower, etc.) and are laden with omega 6 fatty acids. By frying them yourself, you can ensure a quality fat is used (and they are more yummy, in my opinion).

Here are the steps.

1. cut the peel off the plantain

 

2. It may help to slice down the middle of the peel and go from there.

3. slice plantain into thin-ish slices of equal width.

 

4. Heat up some coconut oil or palm oil in a skillet. Enough to make a pool that will cover the slices once they are placed into the skillet.

5. Once the oil is sizzling hot, leave the burner on a medium-low heat. Drop in the slices and watch them fry!

6. You must keep an eye on them or they will burn! Flip them when you see the bottom starting to turn golden. With a spatula, spoon, etc. remove the done chips from the skillet and let them drain like you would bacon.

7. Stick them in a bowl and season anyway you like! Some ideas: sea salt, cayenne, paprika or coconut sugar and cinnamon.

These are a delicious and healthy, good for sharing and satisfying the “chip” craving.  This method also works for sweet potato, taro, and cassava slices.

Caution: hot oil is dangerous and can cause severe burns. Be careful when placing the slices in the hot oil. Don’t just drop them in, slide them into the oil. Beware while turning and removing the slices as well.

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I recently heard that there is a “cute food” movement brewing right now. Cute food? Well, see picture below.

Aren't they cute?!

So, I decided to put my cute food skills to task and create some animal related tiny foods for us all to OOOOoo and AAAhhh over.

They are bacon and egg cups. While they may not look like animals, they are definitely made out of animals. They are also yummy and a great thing to make in advance if you prefer to run out the door in the morning rather than leisurely chop and sauté omelets and paleo pancakes all morning long.

Nothing much to them, just some bacon and then some egg.

SOAP BOX ALERT:

Okay kids, when purchasing bacon you need to be really sure that it is natural and free from nitrates and nitrites. This is not a difficult thing to determine. Most of the time the package will say NO PRESERVATIVES or ALL NATURAL. But the best way to be sure is to look at the ingredients. SIDE NOTE: While you’re at it, if you are buying any prepackaged food, make sure you read the ingredients. Things (and by “things” I mean “crap that you shouldn’t be eating”) have a way of making their way into any and all packaged food. If the bacon has said preservatives in it, then you must pass on the purchase. Here’s why…

Sodium Nitrate, Potassium Nitrate and Sodium Nitrate all share some common evils:

1. many people have undiscovered sensitivities to these chemicals, symptoms include; migraines, dizziness, nausea, abdominal pain, and difficulty breathing

2. It’s toxic and 1g-2g of sodium nitrate is lethal. It also inhibits your body’s ability to transport oxygen to your bodily tissues.

3. It converts to nitrosamines in the body, which are mutagens that promote cancer growth.

4. Really?! you need 4 reasons. What about 1-3 is not convincing enough?

Seriously guys, this stuff is bad news. So much so that the USDA tried to ban its use in the 1970’s, but (unsurprisingly) this ban met a great amount of opposition by the US meat industry .

Try to find a good local source of uncured natural bacon and pork. Organic… good. preservative-free… good. Trader Joe’s carries some great preservative-free bacon at a great price. Applegate Farms does the same for lots of meat products like bacon, sausages, deli meats (check those labels!)

Final product... unfortunate plates, i know.

Bacon and Egg Cups

bacon, either strips or ends and pieces from Trader Joe’s. enough to cover the bottom and sides of a muffin tin.

eggs, one for each cup

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees

2. Place bacon in muffin tin so that is creates a “holder” for the egg.

making the cup

3. Crack an egg into each cup.

4 Bake for 8-15 mins depending on how thick your bacon is and how runny/well-done you want your egg. 

Variations include:

  • using Canadian bacon rounds instead of bacon
  • putting some sweet potato on the bottom
  • chopping up the bacon and whipping the eggs so that they are more like crustless-quiche.

Though uncommon, sometimes I am asked to cover a shift at trader joe’s working Demo . Many people know it as the sample place, snack corner… or, if you’re a free-loading pig, it’s lunch.  Either way, I’m never totally stoked about these shifts. Something about the general public, free food, and a predetermined, unhealthy TJ’s concoction just doesn’t suit my particular sensibilities.

Fortunately, my bosses usually cut me some slack and let me experiment in the kitchen as long as I continue to dole out nasty small plates to the customers.

I decided that not only would be wise to introduce my coworkers to a late night snack in the realm of Paleo, but also include some unfamiliar ingredients. While many may think that Trader Joe’s is a healthy establishment full of hippie lettuce munchers and knowledgable vitamin pushers, I regret to inform you that you are sorely mistaken. As a whole (keep in mind, I’ve worked at not one, not two, but FOUR different stores.) most crew members are satisfied on a diet of cigarettes, beer, and frozen pizza.

With that in mind I give you:

Stuffed Dates

Goat Cheese-Stuffed Dates with Lemon Curd

1 case Trader Joe’s Medjool Dates (pitted)

4 oz. plain goat cheese

2 Tbsp. lemon curd

sesame seeds for garnish

1. Slice one side of the date lengthwise to take out the pit and create a space for the goat cheese.

Little Date boats waiting to be filled with goodness.

2. In a bowl, mash together goat cheese and lemon curd and scoop into a pastry bag, or a ziploc.

3. Trim off tip of the bag and squeezing from the top, fill each date with a little bit (…or a lot) of goat cheese.

4. Garnish with some sesame seeds (black, white, or toasted will do fine)

Pistachio Version

Goat Cheese-Stuffed Dates with Pistachios

4 oz. plain goat cheese

1/4 c. roasted and salted pistachios (chopped)

2 Tbsp. honey

1 tsp. vanilla extract

1. Same process as the first batch, just different ingredients.

2. In a bowl, mash together cheese, most of the chopped pistachios (reserve about a tablespoon of pistachio pieces/dust), vanilla, and honey.

The Pistachio Filling

3. Fill the dates and garnish with the reserved pistachios.

As promised, here is another delicious version of Halva. Feel the freedom to toss in a multitude of different flavors, nuts, etc. It’s foolproof in the sense that you don’t need to heat it correctly to crystallize the sugar. Another feature is that, unlike traditional halva, it’s not super sweet. That’s a bonus in my paleo book altough some may argue the opposite. I personally would like to know that only 1 Tbsp. of honey went into the whole batch rather than 2 c. in a regular batch of halva. Not only is there less honey, but making this recipe raw also means you can use RAW honey.

Raw Honey

Like coconut, raw honey is an anti-viral, anti-bacterial, anti-fungal substance. It’s a good energy source that will help replenish liver glycogen stores, post workout. It’s also traditionally been used as an immunity booster, cough suppresant and can be used to treat wounds due to it’s anti-bacterial and healing properties.

Keep in mind, although raw honey is a Paleo-friendly sweet, it should not be used in excess (think like a caveman… would they have daily access to bottles of honey? I think not). You should also consider your needs and goals. People who want to lean out (gain muscle, decrease fat, lose weight) and decrease insulin resistance should limit all sweeteners… fruit, honey, maple syrup, coconut nectar, dates… you get the idea.

That being said, here’s the goods… another delicious culinary adventure in my brand new Kitchen Aid food processor!

Raw Chocolate Halva

1 c. tahini

1 c. coconut shreds (unsweetened)

1/2 c. raw sliced almonds or 1/4 c. almond meal

1/4 c.  cacao (more to taste)

2 Tbsp. maca powder

1 Tbsp. raw honey

1Tbsp. spirulina

1 tsp. vanilla extract

1/2 tsp. sea salt (to taste)

1/2 tsp. cinnamon

1/4 tsp. coffee grounds

1. Throw it all in a food processor and press GO.

2. When it’s all mashed up into a moist meal, taste test and add additional ingredients as necessary.

3. If it’s too dry, add more tahini. Too wet, add some coconut or almond meal.

4. Press into a coconut oiled pan and refrigerate until firm. Cut into squares.

I’m HUNGRY! What do I eat? No chips, no bean dip, no sandwiches, no quesadillas, no hummus! Does this sound familiar?

 When starting out a paleo lifestyle, sometimes it seems as though there are very few options in the way of clean, fast, easy snack foods. I mean, who has time to steam a fish and stir fry some perfectly julienned vegetables on your 15 min work break? I mean, really? For those who feel no desire or inclination to imtermittently fast between luxurious time slots of kitchen cooking (riiiight.) you will need some quick and easy Paleo snack suggestions. Keep in mind, some of these snacks can and should be prepared ahead of time (during those kitchen times) and packaged accordingly.

Here are some wonderful suggestions. Some are Nikki originals, other’s not so much, but take note and be filled.

  • Hard Boiled Eggs – Everyone has a method.
  • Guacamole and Salsa with vegetable dippers i.e. cucumber slices, endive spoons, carrot slices, jicama, etc.
  • Turkey, Beef, Bison, Salmon Jerky (see recipe below)
  • Oysters canned in Olive oil with hot sauce and lemon juice
  • Nut butter on fruit
  • Avocado, halve it, spice it, eat it. Alternatives: spoon some canned shrimp in avo and a squeeze some lime, sprinkle some salt. and enjoy.
  • Make your own trail mix, my favorite is cashews, macadamia nuts, goji berries, coconut flakes, cacao nibs. Just mix in a huge bag and portion (think 1/4 -1/2 c.) in baggies or other containers of choice.
  • Blanched broccoli, cauliflower, asparagus holds up well in the fridge and can be dipped or seasoned
  • Make your own olive tapenade
  • Lunch meat wraps (please consider the quality of the lunch meat). Roll with some lettuce, avocado, mustard, tomato, sauerkraut, etc.
  • Sweet Potato Fudge (see last post)
  • Bacon (Did i mention that Trader Joe’s just got in Beef Bacon?)

As you can see, the possibilities are somewhat endless. Enjoy your snack time everyone!

Turkey Jerky

1 organic turkey breast
1/2 c. Gluten – Free Tamari (available at New Leaf/Whole Foods, Staff of Life)
1/4 c. grapeseed or sesame oil
1 Tbsp. crushed garlic
1 Tbsp red pepper flakes
1-2 Tbsp. sesame seeds
  1. Trim off all fat, skin, and ligaments from the turkey and slice into 1/8 inch slices against the grain.
  2. Place turkey in a plastic bag and add the remaining ingredients. Seal the bag and massage the meat with the marinade. Refrigerate overnight.
  3. Lay turkey slices on the dehydrator sheets and turn on the dehydrator to 135-140 degrees. Should take 7-10 hours.

Note: Partially freeze turkey breast for easy and even slicing.
Option for tamari-free marinade: use pineapple juice, chili oil, ginger and garlic.