17 February 2014

Paleo Valentines Day recipes and the weekend that followed

Clint and I don't make a big deal about Valentines Day but we do use it as an opportunity to be a little romantic and do something special for each other. Not that we don't do that the rest of the year, but we find it a good chance to make a special effort. We definitely don't get sucked in to the commercialisation of it all by buying expensive gifts but we usually give each other a nice card and make a special meal to sit down together and enjoy.

This Valentines Day we kept that tradition going! I woke up to a beautiful big and funny (Clint's known for always giving funny cards to people!) card which totally made my day. He was working all day so I decided to make him a yummy dinner and dessert as my gift to him.

I already knew what I was going to make for dessert, but didn't have a clue what dinner would be. So I jumped on Facebook and scrolled down my newsfeed seeing, as usual, loads of paleo food pics and recipes, and found the inspiration I needed!

I decided to make Chicken Skewers with a Paleo Satay Sauce, Coconut Cauli Rice and Fried Asparagus for dinner. Followed by Raw Chocolate Brownie for dessert. Sound good? You betcha it was!

I used some recipes I found online but I modified them a little. Below are the links to the recipes and then underneath an explanation of how I changed them. Also some recipes I created myself!

Coconut Cauli Rice

2 cups organic cauliflower grated (I use a food processor instead of a grater - far less messy!)
1/2 tin Ayam pure milk (available from supermarkets)
1/4 cup bone broth
2 tsp coconut oil (buy here from our Primal Panty)

1. In a large fry pan heat coconut oil on medium-high heat
2. Add cauli, coconut milk and bone broth
3. Place lid on pan and turn heat to low-medium, stir sometimes, and cook until cauli is soft enough but not mushy
4. Place in a bowl and serve, easy!

I used to use a bamboo steamer to cook the cauli but it was very messy, time consuming and often overcooked it. So this time I tried using a very large and thick fry pan I have that comes with a lid, and it worked perfectly!

Satay Sauce

Recipe from The Paleo Cupboard here

My variations:
I used stevia instead of honey, I left out the lime juice and chili, and swapped fish sauce for wheat-free Tamari sauce. It was delicious!

Chicken Skewers

I simply used 4 free-range chicken thighs cut into pieces just large than a 50c piece, placed onto bamboo skewer sticks, then fried in coconut oil. Easy as that!

OH and because I have a crappy fry pan, chicken thigh meat always sticks and ends up hard and crunchy, which is actually yum (if not burnt!) so I scraped it off and added to the top of my skewers! Mmmmm crispy bits...!

Fried Asparagus

All you need to do is grab a bunch of fresh asparagus, chop the ends off at about 1-2cm (it's an old wive's tale to bend the asparagus and let it break at the 'right spot', you just need to chop the very end off with a knife. No unnecessary waste!) then fry in coconut oil in a hot pan or grill it. Remove from heat when the edges start browning. Then serve!

Raw Chocolate Brownie

I've made this before, when friends have come over for dinner, and it's been a huge hit. I wanted to make it again for this occasion because it's so easy and really yum but I did make a few small changes.

Recipe from Raw Food Recipes here

My variations:

I made the same base, using walnuts, cocoa powder and dates. However for the topping I used Ayam pure coconut cream. If you leave coconut cream in the fridge for a few hours, the cream settles on the top which you can then scoop out and it's really thick like actual whipped cream. I'd planned to use that mixed with cocoa, pure vanilla, stevia and also pure peppermint. 

(you can find good quality stevia and other natural food items in the catalogue of our Primal Pantry!)

However I didn't get enough time to set it sit in the fridge and it ended up still being a bit runny. I had to go out and grab a very ripe avocado to mix in (like in the recipe). 

So my topping was coconut cream, avo, pure peppermint and vanilla essence, stevia and pure cocoa powder. I didn't add cinnamon or salt. 

I placed my brownie in the freezer as usual, and come dessert time it was perfect! You need to let it sit to slightly thaw before cutting, otherwise it's too hard to cut when just out of the freezer,

So my variation was a peppermint choc brownie with coconut choc avocado cream on top!

Note: PLEASE don't use agave nectar! It's in a lot of raw food recipes but it is not healthy. It's high in fructose and very much an anti-nutrient and needs to be avoided. Use raw honey, pure maple syrup or stevia instead.

So that's what we ate on Valentines Day!

Over the weekend we made some other goodies that we want to share with you as well...

Sweet Potato Noodles, Carrot and Calamari

I saw mention on a paleo-related article a couple months ago of sweet potato noodles and thought I'd check the local Asian grocer for some and was lucky enough to find them at Asian Food 4 U in Maroochydore.

At first they looked a bit stale and as though they might go rubbery when cooked but I boiled them in water for about 5 minutes, strained and they were great! Just like rice noodles but of course much healthier :)

When you're using these noodles my tip is to add a tsp or two of coconut oil to them after they've been boiled and strained, so they don't stick together.

I threw them in a bowl with boiled squid tubes (boiling keeps them nice and tender), shaved fried carrot, fried ginger, wheat-free Tamari sauce and a spoonful of Dulce flakes. It was really yummy but next time I'll add shaved cabbage and some sesame seeds. I think that'll make it a perfect meal!

Creamy Choc Mint Banana Ice-blocks

Yesterday was a scorcher here on the Sunshine Coast, with the temp reaching 34! On hot days like that I love making yummy ice-blocks to eat while I sit in the kiddy pool outside with the sprinkler on! And I mean 'sit' cos it's that tiny I can't even lie down in it haha

This is my own creation and all I do to make them is...

Throw into a blender a large ripe banana (or two smaller ones), 1-2 tbsp cocoa powder, 1 tin Ayam pure coconut milk, choc mint leaves or just mint leaves, pure peppermint essence, 1/4 cup water then blend on high until mixture is smooth and creamy.

Then pour into ice-block moulds and set in the freezer. Super duper easy and totally way delicious!!

They certainly melt fast on hot days like we had yesterday!! These are great for Summer, and the kids will absolutely love them!

So that's the rundown on the paleo-friendly foods I made on Valentines Day and the following weekend. Oh how I love experimenting in the kitchen and making really awesome meals! 

If you make any of these I hope they're a hit with friends and family, and that you have a tonne of fun in the kitchen!


My 5 Grateful's:

1. Spending Valentines Day evening with Clint and having a lovely dinner together
2. The free firewood we scored yesterday
3. Sunny days
4. The workshop we have coming up in March with Kunara - so exciting!
5. My garden and the radishes I picked yesterday for dinner tonight!

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