Paleo Fudge Babies!

check out this great recipe for a little treat. (Just because there is no added sugar doesn’t mean you should eat 30 fudge babies in one sitting!)


Ingredients:
1 1/3 cup Dates
1 cup Walnuts
4 Tbs Cocoa Powder
1 tsp Vanilla

Dump into a food processor, hit the big button that say ON. Process the food…roll with fingers into little “balls” also known as Fudge Babies…chill and serve.




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Almond Butter on the Cheap

Peanut butter and jelly sandwich. If you’ve ever been 5 years old, (and I bet you have) you’ve probably had a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. As benign as you may have thought it, the classic PB&J could possibly symbolize everything that is wrong with Conventional Wisdom.
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what CW says the reality
bread “grains are the base of the food pyramid, therefore they are good. Whole grains are even better!” Grains are gut irritants and cause an insulin response promoting fat storage, no matter how “whole” they are.
jelly “made from all natural fruit. Fruit is good for you. Therefore jelly is good for you.” One word: sugar.
peanut butter “Smooth or chunky, it’s a great source of protein and vitamins.” Peanuts are not actually nuts, they are legumes. Legumes are gut irritants and can literally cause small perforations where bad stuff can leak into your system, aka leaky gut.
If you would like more in-depth posts on any of the above topics, post it in comments
So while you can pretty much rule out bread and jelly, there ARE great substitutes for peanut butter, namely, nut butters. Almond butter, walnut butter, pecan butter, macadamia nut butter…the list goes on. Loaded with good fats, they are not ideal for someone looking to lean out, but a great portable way to get some fat in. But if you’ve ever looked in the store, nut butters can either be too expensive, or not even available! So what is a CrossFitter/Paleo/Primal eater to do??
Make your own!
I buy 3 pounds of unsalted almonds at Costco for about $10. Compare this to $10 for a small jar of almond butter and you have me sold. Almond butter goes great with lots of things, but I like to cut up an apple and dip it in the almond butter. Below is the very easy way to make your own almond butter, almond meal, and almond flour. (great substitutes for flour, bread crumbs, etc. I’ll throw up some recipes containing these later)
Step 1: Buy unsalted almonds.Anywhere between 1-3 pounds is good, keeping in mind that the volume of almond butter is significantly less than the volume of the nuts. (because of packing density <–nerd alert)
Step 2: Roast almonds at 450 degrees for about 5 minutes (don’t burn them! this step is actually optional but I like the roasted taste better than unroasted)
Step 3: Throw them in a food processor or even a blender.
Step 4: Start up the blender/processor and LET IT RUN. You will find that the almonds get crunched quickly, but it turns into a powder (almond flour). Then it will get a little thicker (almond meal) but you will be disappointed that it doesn’t look anything like almond butter.
Step 5: Wait. 
Step 6: Wait some more. 
Step 7: At this point you may have to stop it and scrape the sides to get the almond meal down back to the blades. That’s ok, you can keep doing this. But keep it going. What will happen after about 7-10 minutes is magical. The oils in the almonds will come out and play and all of a sudden you will have this ball of almond rolling around picking up pieces of almond meal along the way like a snowball (almond snowman anyone?). This is a good thing. 
Step 8: This ball will eventually break up and then you’ll start to see the almond butter form. Like I said it really is magical, but if you want to speed up the process just a touch, you can add 1Tbs. of olive oil. Not necessary, but it will get that almond ball going a bit sooner. 
Step 9: Keep it going until you get the consistency you want: chunky, smooth, etc. It won’t be as smooth as smooth peanut butter, but it also won’t cause holes to form in your gut lining. Think about THAT for a second. 
Step 10: Spoon into containers and keep in refrigerator. Enjoy!

this batch was roasted vs. the previous picture which was unroasted almonds.
*Updated Note: I just found that Costco in King of Prussia sells 26oz. jars of almond butter for about $7 $5.99. This is a GREAT price for around here (at Genuardi’s it would be more like $12-15 for that size) so although I’ve enjoyed the fruits of my own labor, I will probably go with this option from now on. Did I just betray my own post??

Don’t Mess with Breakfast

this post was inspired by Meighan, who was wondering today what the heck to eat for breakfast
 

K-Ditty may or may not have this T-shirt.

What are the first things that come to mind when you hear “breakfast”? If it is cereal, pancakes, or waffles, you are not alone. This is how we grew up and this is what we know for breakfast. We’re always told that breakfast is the most important meal of the day (those who IF – intermittent fasting – may have a different viewpoint), but if we are learning about Paleo/Primal/Zone, how are we supposed to implement these ideas into our breakfast? We’re told we can’t eat grains or sugar, so what are we supposed to do with that pancake mix, boxes of cereal, and frozen waffles?

throw them out.
Unless it is a closed box that you can give away to a soup kitchen, throw it out. Don’t say “we’ll keep this until we finish it” because you’re going to just keep feeding that craving for sugar and grains. Just throw it out. You’ll forget about it in no time. If you’re looking to lean out (lose fat) you especially need to get sugars and grains out of your sight.

So now you’re saying “I have nothing to eat for breakfast!” An important step is to flip the idea of breakfast upside down. Have you ever thought about having lunch or dinner for breakfast? In other words, what’s stopping you from having a salad, or lox, or a nice steak for breakfast? Take that chili and have a bowl for breakfast. Who cares?! It will take some getting used to, but you’re going to be much better off having a protein/fat/carbohydrate in paleo/primal/zone form than the traditional breakfast that might fill you up at first, but have your stomach growling for more by 10am.  Below are links to great sites for breakfast ideas and tips, and at the end, 2 favorite recipes. 

YOUR NEW BEST FRIENDS
Not from pastured chickens or omega-3 enriched, but we use enough eggs in recipes and meals to warrant 90 eggs from Costco! 

IDEAS:

Eggs – scrambled, over easy/hard, deviled, omelet, frittata, hard/soft boiled, quiche…eggs are your best friend when it comes to breakfast. Rich in protein and fat, eggs will get you through the day. Still worried about the egg myths of fat and cholesterol? This study shows that people who ate eggs vs. bagel for breakfast lost 16% bodyfat!
Meat – get that steak from last night and have steak and eggs. Or just steak. yum. Bacon, Ham, pork, chicken, turkey, sausauge, lox/salmon….it’s all good!
Smoothie – this one is tricky. On one hand it’s super convenient and tasty, on the other hand it’s an easy way to gain weight from the facts that most smoothies are made with fruit (and fructose in fruit causes fat storage) and as liquid, will be absorbed quicker into your system.  If you’re going to make one, make sure it has plenty of protein powder and stick with berries instead of fruit like bananas. 
Salad – whether it’s fruit salad or a regular one, throwing together a salad is pretty easy and tasty. Get out that arugula and spinach and throw a cut up boiled egg and some bacon bits on top. 
Substitutes – Many of us just can’t get completely away from the shape/form/look of breakfast, so what can we do to substitute relatively good stuff for terrible stuff? Coconut flour is an awesome substitute for regular flour (not a 1:1 ratio, so look up specific recipes) and almond flour or almond meal is a great substitute for flour or bread. For instance, instead of breaded chicken, I’ll grind up some almonds and roll the chicken in egg and then the almond meal to make fake breaded chicken. At the bottom is a recipe for Coconut Pancakes, from our very own Coach Evan!

BREAKFAST, LUNCH, OR DINNER? WHO CARES?!
 
Over easy eggs on arugula and baby spinach with half an avocado and 1 cherry tomato (a la Aimee)
LINKS

If you think about it, there are a ton of combinations you can make just with eggs and meat. In case you’re out of breakfast ideas though, here are some links to recipes and pictures:

Crossfit Journal #21 – super important for Zone basics and has recipe ideas (just remember that Zone includes unfavorable carbohydrates, so some recipes may include things like tortillas) 
MDA – Breakfast pictures 
Zen to Fitness – 5 breakfast ideas 
Personally, I want to try THIS recipe 
if you’re looking to GAIN mass, here’s a 1000 calorie omelet! from CrossFit Football 

COACH EVAN’S COCONUT PANCAKE RECIPE
Coconut pancake with blueberries and 86% chocolate…thanks Evan!
Ingredients:
4 eggs
1/4 cup coconut flour 
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
1 pinch nutmeg
1 pinch cinnamon
1 tablespoon honey (or agave – you can also cut this amount in half)
1/4 cup coconut milk (full fat) (Tai Kitchen is the best – Oh yea, shake the shit out of the can b4 you open it)
1/4 cup of dried unsweetened coconut flakes

Method:
Mix these ingredients and let them sit for five minutes. Oil or grease up your pan (preferably with coconut oil!) and heat over medium heat. Pour about a 1/4 cup of batter for each pancake, allowing each side to brown before flipping it. We like to put blueberries in after we pour, then high percentage chocolate (80-90%) chips on top once they are done. (so they get nice and melty). For syrup, we use agave nectar.  

MARK’S DAILY APPLE  – Omelet Muffins
Egg muffins with sausage, peppers, and onions. 

Ingredients: (original recipe makes 6, but listed below is for a full 12 muffins)
12 eggs
1/2-1 cup cooked meat, cut or crumbled into small pieces. (bacon, sausage, ham, etc)
1/2 cup diced vegetables (peppers, onions, etc)
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground pepper
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup water 

Method:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. You can grease muffin tin but I HIGHLY recommend using cupcake liners…this will cut down on cleaning dramatically and it’s easy to peel off once you eat them).In a bowl, beat the eggs. Add meat, vegetables, salt, ground pepper, and any other ingredients and stir to combine. Spoon into liners, about 1/8″ away from the top. (They will rise during baking, but once you take them out, they will shrink back down to the liner size) 
Bake for 20-25 minutes until a knife inserted into the center of an muffin/omelet comes out almost clean. The omelets will continue to cook for a minute or two after removed from the oven. Remove the omelets from the muffin cups and serve, or cool completely and store for another day. (original recipe said 18-20 but I found this wasn’t enough time, probably because I doubled the recipe) As someone who is up at 5:30am, these are great to pack in foil, keep in the fridge and take one or two to work to heat up.

TRY AND TELL ME YOU’RE NOT HUNGRY RIGHT NOW
Coconut pancake with chocolate chips and walnuts, bacon, over easy eggs 

Do you have any ideas for breakfast? Post to comments!