Friday, June 29, 2012

Paleo Pumpkin Pudding

This recipe saved us during our 30 Day Paleo Challenge when the sweet cravings hit.

From Health Bent, serves 6


14 ounce can 100% pumpkin puree
14 ounce can coconut milk
1/3 cup maple syrup
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 package gelatin powder
1/4 cup water, luke warm


In a small bowl, sprinkle the gelatin over the luke warm water and stir to combine, making sure there are no lumps. Set aside.
In a small sauce pot over low heat, whisk together the pumpkin, coconut milk, maple syrup, cinnamon and vanilla. Bring to a simmer and then immediately remove from the heat.
Whisk the gelatin into the pumpkin mixture.
Pour the pumpkin custard into ramekins or small bowls.
Press a small square of plastic wrap directly onto the surface of the custards. Refrigerate at least six hours prior to serving to allow the custard to set-up and get firm.
Serve sprinkled with cinnamon, cocoa powder or cocoa nibs.


Monday, June 25, 2012

Flour-based Buttercream Frosting

I have seen  recipes for flour-based frosting floating around the Internet... usually with a caption along the lines of "best frosting ever!"... but I was skeptical... flour in frosting???
Then I began to think about it... I always dislike traditional buttercream because by time you add the 4 to 5 cups of icing sugar required to make the frosting stiff enough to pipe, it is way too sweet for my taste. When I realized the flour stiffens with frosting with out adding excessive sugar, I decided to give it a shot.

The resulting icing is perfectly fluffy and creamy. Although you can detect a hint of flour, the frosting tastes delicious - not too buttery or sweet like traditional buttercream recipes. The big disadvantage is the amount of time required to cook the icing and then properly chill it. This is not the type of frosting you can whip together at the last minute.

I made this icing to go along with the Ultimate Vanilla Cupcakes - it was a match made in heaven! You can make a chocolate version by adding 1/4 cup of cocoa powder to the flour mixture and 4 ounces of cooled, melted chocolate when whipping the icing. Other flavours could be made by replacing the vanilla extract with any other extract or liqueur.

Adapted from Mel's Kitchen Cafe, makes four cups - enough for two dozen cupcakes or two 9" cake layers


1 1/2 cups sugar
1/4 cup flour
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups milk
2 vanilla beans
1 teaspoons of vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups butter, room temperature


In a medium bowl, combine the sugar, flour, cornstarch and salt. Slowly whisk in the milk until the mixture is smooth.

Place a fine-mesh strainer over a medium saucepan and pour the milk mixture through the strainer into the saucepan. Add the seeds from the vanilla pods. Cook the mixture over medium heat, whisking constantly, until the mixture boils and thickens, about 5 to 10 minutes.

Transfer the mixture to a bowl and allow to cool completely to room temperature.

Once the frosting is cooled, transfer to the bowl of a stand mixer and add the vanilla extract. Beat on low speed until combined. Add the butter, one tablespoon at a time, beating until all the butter has been incorporated. Increase the speed to medium-high and whip the frosting for five minutes.

If frosting with a spatula, the frosting can be applied directly or allowed to sit at room temperature to stiffen, about 1 hour. If piping, chill in the refridgerator for about 1 hour to stiffen further.


Thursday, June 21, 2012

Ultimate Vanilla Cupcake

The Cupcake Project refers to this as the ultimate vanilla cake recipe... I don't know if I would go that far but it is a darn good vanilla cake.

As promised, it is a "moist, light cake with an unmistakeably vanilla flavor". This is not a yellow cake but a true vanilla cake.

I think this will be my standby recipe whenever I am looking for a vanilla cake.

From Cupcake Project, makes 2 dozen.


1 cup sugar
1 vanilla bean
1 3/4 cups flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
2 large eggs, room temperature
1/3 cup sour cream
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
2/3 cup milk


Preheat the oven to 350 F. Prepare two cupcake pans with paper liners.

In a small bowl, combine the sugar and seeds from the vanilla bean. Set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, mix together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Add the vanilla sugar mixture and mix until well combined. Add the butter and mix on medium speed until the very fine crumb texture, about three minutes. Add the eggs, sour cream, oil and vanilla extract. Beat on medium speed until just combined. Slowly add the milk and mix on low speed until just combined. 

Fill prepared cupcake liners just over half full. Bake for 14 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean.

Remove from the cupcake pan and allow to cool completely before frosting.


Friday, June 15, 2012

Crustless Quiche

Like my Baked French Toast, this is another wonderfully easy breakfast for a crowd. I enjoy making it as a Sunday breakfast for David and I because it stretches into several weekday lunches as well!

Adapted from A Little Zaftig, serves six


2 teaspoons butter
8 slices bacon
1 small onion, diced
¼ pound Gruyere or Swiss cheese, grated
12 asparagus spears
8 eggs
1 ½  cups heavy cream or milk


Preheat the oven to 350 F. Grease a baking pan with the butter.

In a large skillet over medium heat, fry the bacon until it is crisp. Remove the bacon to a plate lined with paper towel. Remove the excess bacon fat from the pan. Add the onion to the pan and saute until soft.

Sprinkle half of the cheese into the bottom of the prepared baking pan. Scatter the bacon and onion on top. Trim the woody stalk end off the asparagus and arrange in the bottom of the pan. Sprinkle the remaining cheese over the asparagus.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, cream, salt and pepper. Gently pour the mixture into the pan.

Bake for 30 minutes or until the eggs are cooked through and the top is starting to turn golden.

Serve hot or cold with a salad.


Tuesday, June 12, 2012


Muhammara is a Mediterranean dip made of walnuts, roasted red peppers and pomegranate molasses. It is the perfect combination of savory and sweet. When ever I serve muhammara, it always gets rave reviews.

The best part? I was able to make it paleo friendly! It makes an excellent substitute for hummus and a great light lunch.

Pomegranate molasses can be found in any middle eastern grocery store. I found mine at Community Foods. I use roasted red peppers from a jar for convenience sake, which I find at Superstore, but you can also easily roast your own red peppers.

Adapted from Veggie Belly, makes 2 cups


1 cup walnuts
2 tablespoons pomegranate molasses
2 large roasted red peppers (approximately 1/2 of a 300 mL jar)
1 clove garlic
¼ cup olive oil
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon chili flakes
½ teaspoon salt


In a skillet on medium heat, toast the walnuts till they are slightly browned.

Put the toasted walnuts with all the other ingredients in a blender. Blend until smooth. If the mixture is too thick to blend, add a few tablespoons of additional olive oil.

Serve with vegetable slices or pita.


Thursday, June 7, 2012

Paleo Coconut Fudge

Food for backcountry activities - skiing and hiking - has been one of our big stumbling blocks with our paleo diet. When Dave headed out for a week of backcountry skiing at Icefall Lodge, I made a big batch of coconut fudge and it was a huge hit. Just the right amount of sweetness and a good hit of calories to provide the energy necessary for long days of skiing. This is not an everyday snack.

From Make it Paleo, makes 12 squares


1 cup coconut butter (or 3/4 cup coconut oil and 1/4 cup coconut flour)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup shredded coconut
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup cocoa powder
2 tablespoons maple syrup


Melt the coconut butter in a medium bowl in the microwave.

Add the remaining ingredients and mix until smooth. Transfer to a loaf pan lined with wax paper. Smooth flat with a spatula. Refrigerate over night, until firm.

Cut into squares and serve.


Food Truth

Source: via Victoria on Pinterest

Monday, June 4, 2012

Tomato Soup

Adapted from Everyday Occasions, serves four


3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons olive oil
28 ounce can crushed tomatoes
28 ounce can diced tomatoes
2 cups stock, chicken or vegetable
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/4 cup heavy cream
3 tablespoons fresh basil, chopped


In a saucepan over medium heat, saute garlic in olive oil for one minute until softened. Add the tomatoes, stock, salt, pepper and sugar. Cook at a simmer for 10 minutes.  Reduce the heat to low and add the cream and basil. Garnish with parmesan and balsamic vinegar.


Saturday, June 2, 2012

30 Day Paleo Challenge: Conclusion

We survived 30 days of eating according to the paleo diet.

30 days of no dairy, no grains, no legumes, no sugar, no potatoes.

We both did better than we thought we would - only cheating about four times each. Always in a situation where we were out of the house with friends or family. At home we managed to stick to the rules for the full 30 days.

I think the past 30 days were harder on Dave since he had more to give up as a self-proclaimed sugar addict. However, on the flip side, this also made him more passionate about the challenge and less likely to cheat. It was usually me who caved first.

We discovered that neither of us are really *that* committed to following a strict paleo diet, however we are both committed to following the paleo concept as part of a healthy life style. We will continue with a diet that primarily consists of lean protein and vegetables and avoids carbohydrates and processed foods but we will probably (definitely) have the occasional cupcake, cookie, sushi or cheeseburger.

Despite us thinking we had no real food sensitivities, we were both surprised how one cheat meal would make us feel so ill. I believe that milk is the culprit in my case - I have known since junior high that a large glass of milk will cause my stomach to be upset but was still shocked how violently my body reacted to a small amount of milk. Dave suspects his sensitivity is wheat which is surprising for someone who subsisted for years on white bread.

Both of us were seriously surprised how real and how horrible a "sugar hangover" can be after one small cheat.

Neither of us lost any appreciable amount of weight over the 30 days. Dave's weight has been slowly dropping over the past several months due to his CrossFit workouts and continued to do so. I managed to keep my weight constant through an extremely stressful period at work which usually would result in me gaining a couple pounds... so I guess that is an accomplishment. The bigger accomplishment was to survive the period without constantly binge eating due to the stress.

I wrote the majority of this post prior to us leaving for a week long vacation but never got around to posting it... that whole work stress thing again... We still ate relatively healthy but did allow ourselves the liberty of eating anything we wanted. On several occasions we would state how it was going to be nice to be back home so we could return to eating paleo... I guess we are more committed to paleo than either of us thought. Returning home, I found we naturally gravitate towards eating paleo in our own home. It is only when we are out of the house that we digress. I thinking with time this will change as we train ourselves to find paleo-friendly restaurant options and pack paleo-friendly foods with us when visiting. 

The scariest part is that right now I don't even have the smallest desire to bake cupcakes...

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