Paleo Granola Bars with Dates and Berries

Sometimes I feel guilty about posting recipes like this. It’s so customizable that sometimes I wonder if it’s even worth calling a recipe. It’s more like a suggestion of how to start, and then you can pretty much add whatever you want. Allergic to almonds? Substitute with cashews. Don’t like coconut? Leave it out. Have dried cherries on hand instead of mixed berries? Perfectly fine. Amounts, too – only have a cup of nuts on hand? Do it.

Pulse the nuts in the food processor until they are smaller than whole pieces. Basically whatever size sounds good to you.
Add the remaining ingredients (except the chocolate chips) and process in food processor until well combined. Remove from food processor and work in chocolate chips.
Put a sheet of wax paper on a cookie sheet. Dump the “granola” mixture on the wax paper and flatten.
Clean method: put a second piece of wax paper on top of the mixture and roll out with a rolling pin.
Hands-on method: wash your hands, then work the mixture flat with your hands. Spread out until 1/2 to 3/4 inch thick. Or maybe you want them a bit thicker. It’s really a matter of taste.
Keeps bars refrigerated.

Quick Summer Pickles

These pickles are basically instant – just boil the vinegar mixture, douse the cucumbers, and cool it off in the fridge. Super easy and super delicious.

Add the vinegar, honey, water, sea salt and mustard to a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil.
While waiting for the pot to boil, slice the cucumbers and pack tightly into two quart jars (if using dill or garlic, put in jar prior to packing in the cucumbers).
When the honey has dissolved in the boiling mixture, pour over the cucumbers until the jars are full.
Refrigerate until cool.

Chocolate, Maple & Vanilla Fluffy Fruit Dips

I’m always trying to think of ways to make food more healthy, but still get our girls to want to eat it. I came up with this idea a few days ago when I found some nice strawberries at the store on sale. No refined sugars are used to make these and you would never know it. These dips would be great to serve at a party. You could also cut the recipe in half or just make one flavor as each individual recipe makes about 2 3/4 cups of dip.

For the whipped cream:
Whip all ingredients together until stiff peaks form.
For the dips:
In a mixing bowl, mix together all of the ingredients (except for the whipped cream) on low speed until well blended, about 1 minute. Then mix high speed until smooth and creamy, about 3 minutes.
Fold in whipped cream by hand using a spatula.
Store in an airtight container in the fridge.
Serve with cut up apples, bananas, strawberries, blueberries, oranges, kiwi, etc.

Liver and Onions

Liver and Onions – Recipe for Wahls Paleo Diet

In a large heavy cast iron or stainless steel skillet over medium heat melt 2 tablespoons coconut oil with 1 tablespoon clarified butter. When the skillet is very hot add the onions and a ¼ teaspoon sea salt. Sauté until the water starts to come out of the onions and they get limp and glassy about 5 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium and continue cooking another 10-15 minutes until they are lightly browned. Put them a side on a plate and return the skillet to the stove.
Over high heat add the remaining tablespoon of coconut oil. Meanwhile salt and pepper the liver generously. When the fats are starting to shimmer add the liver to the pan. Don’t over crowd the liver. You don’t want the slices to touch in the pan. If needed do multiple batches. Cook the liver for 60-90 seconds. You want to get a dark brown sear around the edge. Flip and cook for a slightly shorter time until the other side is browned as well. The hot fast cooking keeps the liver from getting grey and pasty. Take the liver out of the pan and set it aside.
Return the onions with the parsley to the pan and reduce the heat to low. Add last 2 tablespoons of clarified butter. Then add the lemon juice and use a wooden spatula to deglaze the pan. Most of the liquid from the juice will cook off quickly. Place the liver and onions on a plate together and serve immediately.

Soaked Chickpea Falafel

A Meatless Monday recipe idea! I make them, and a lot of them, because they are a quick and handy dinner idea. They freeze well, and my husband will pack them in his cooler to take to work. Serve them with freshly made pita bread.

Soak chickpeas over night in water and lemon juice.
Drain and place in a food processor.
Add all herbs, spices, and salt.
Blend until it forms a paste.
Transfer to a large bowl, add baking soda.
Knead to throughly to combine.
Cover and rest for one hour.

Heat a cast iron pan and melt coconut oil to 325 degrees.
Shape into 1 oz balls, flaten slightly.
Slowly lower falafel into oil and fry unil golden in color.
Remove and drain.
Serve with fresh pita bread.

Sugar Free Apple Sauce

It turns out apple sauce is really easy to make. So easy I debated not writing a post about it. Then I thought it’s simple and that’s why ya’ll should know about it.

Wash, core and peel apples
Gently boil apples in a half inch to inch of water in a large heavy bottomed pot on the stove. Stir occasionally to prevent sticking until fork tender. Fork tender is when you can stick a fork in and the chunk doesn’t break.
Puree in the pot with an immersion blender or if you must, batch through a food mill or blender.
Heat to a boil. This part was messy; lots of big plops shooting hot apple sauce all over the kitchen. Have someone watch the baby in another room. And keep a lid on the pot when your not stirring or ladling
Can or Freeze
Can – Fill sanitized jars with the hot apple sauce leaving 1/2 inch of head space. Clean the rims and put on the lids. Immediately process in a boiling water-canner for 20 minutes for pints, half pints or quarts.
Freeze – Let cool, fill freezer containers cover and pop in the freezer.

Caramel for Apples

My favorite treat and activity to do with the kids during apple season. I make the caramel and the kids dip the apples. It is a great way to let them play in the kitchen. Let the caramel cool slightly before dipping apples.

Clean and wash apples. Place a skewer into each apple, trim skewers to desired length.
Make caramel.
In a large pot place rapadura and place over medium high heat.
Melt sugar until granuals are dissolved and rich dark brown color.
(Note:Rapadura is already dark in color so I cook it until all granuals dissolved)
Remove from heat, add cream and vanilla.
(Note: This will splatter, be careful)
Place pot back on stove and cook until caramel reaches 240 degrees with a candy thermometer.
Continue to stir.
Add butter and salt, stir until butter is melted.
Let the carmel cool slightly, 15-20 min, then coat apples. Place on parchement paper to finish cooling.

Creamy Basil Dressing & Dip

Super simple and easy to make, this dressing is cool, tangy and refreshing. Great on salads and thick enough for a vegetable dip.

In a food processor or a blender (you can also use a stick blender), combine the avocado, coconut milk, lemon juice, garlic and salt. Puree until smooth. Slowly drizzle in the olive oil while the processor is running until the mixture gets thick. Add in the basil and pulse until it’s broken up but not completely pureed. Store in the refrigerator and use within a few days.

Peanut Butter, Coconut, Chocolate Chip, Oat Bars

These bars are a great to have on hand for snacks or breakfast on the go. With ingredients like oats, bananas and peanut butter you (and your kids) will feel satisfied and fueled for whatever you have on your agenda.
This recipe does not list any added sweetener. If your kids (or you) prefer a sweeter bar you can add one tablespoon of pure maple syrup or honey. Very ripe bananas tend to be super sweet so we find these to be just right for our tastes.

Preheat oven to 350 F.
Grease a 8×8 baking dish.
Combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix well.
Spread in prepared dish.
Make as even as possible.
Smooth the top.
Bake for 20-25 minutes or until edges just start to brown and middle is set but looks wet/undercooked. Allow to cool completely before cutting into bars.

Easy Cucumber Tomato Salad

This is a wonderful seasonal salad. Give it a try if you have an abundance in your garden!

Wash your produce and if the cucumber has tough skin peel about 1/3 of it off. Then slice the cucumber and tomato into 1/2 inch thick slices.
Arrange the slices neatly on a plate. I had a few ‘Sun Cherry’ tomatoes as well that I threw in the middle. (You could skip this step if you aren’t worried about pretty.)
In a small bowl whisk together the olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Drizzle over the tomatoes and cucumbers. Add a little salt and pepper to your taste and your done!

Grilled Salsa Verde

This salsa verde gets a little roasted flavor from grilled tomatillos. I get lots of compliments on it!

Put all the tomatillos on a skewer for easy grilling. Turn your grill up high and grill until just charred. Turn them over as needed. Broiler alternative: slice each tomatillo in half and put on a cookie sheet, skin side up. Broil until just charred.
Let the tomatillos cool slightly, then pulse in a food processor.
Add in the onion, serrano, cilantro, lime and S&P. Pulse to desired consistency
Let sit (in fridge) for at least 24 hours before serving to let the flavors marry and marinate.

Homemade Fruit Roll-Ups

These are fabulous snacks for on the go and something wonderful to slip into school lunches. They have been tested on eight picky eaters who love Trader Joe’s fruit leathers and they said they liked these better!
Many flavors can be made. Our favorites are blueberry, strawberry, and raspberry. We like berries. And all you use are, well, the berries! In the fall we look forward to apple roll ups. So here’s how it works. I’ve found that filling the blender with fruit will make enough purée for three sheets on the ol’ Excalibur. Depending on how many trays your dehydrator has, make as many batches that you need to fill that thing up. If you can purée a fruit, you can leather it. Here’s what we’re making today:

Peel bananas. Remove peach pits & cut out any bruises.
Purée all ingredients in a blender. You’ll get the best results in a high speed blender like a Vita-Mix. You might need to use the agitator to push fruit down to the blades.
Cover 3 dehydrator trays with wax paper. Pour 1/3 purée over each tray. Spread it as evenly as possible over the paper so it will dry evenly.
Remember that the leathers will shrink to less than half their current sizes, so spread them to about 1/3 inch thickness, but no need to get too perfectionistic.
Dehydrate at 105º for about 6-8 hours, depending on the thickness of the leather. Check on them periodically. If they are dried for too long, they will become chips. Not long enough will leave them with soggy spots and unsafe to store at room temperature. Once they are ready, they’ll be firm enough to peel off but not at all brittle.
Roll the sheets up, one at a time, in a tight spiral.
Cut them evenly into fourths. This will make a sizable roll up.
Now roll individual leathers in plastic wrap. Store in the pantry. If they are fully dehydrated with no soggy spots, they should be good at room temperature for six months to a year.