Sunday, May 22, 2016

Salted Caramel Cookies with Bacon Bites

I know I am slow on getting back to a regular schedule...but what is regular, right? Right now K-man is installing my back splash in the kitchen and I am so excited because it looks so nice! Don't worry pictures will come.

I am on class number 8 for grad school...pretty excited about that. The last two classes get done simultaneously.  I don't know how that will pan out but thank god it's over the summer! I should be done in September!

We had a little scare with our fur baby Bikini- one night we noticed she was slobbering like a Saint Bernard and knew that wasn't normal. K-man thought the worst because he had a kitty from his past that was slobbering and found mouth cancer was the issue.  However, we took her into the vet and she looked all over her mouth that she could see (looking into a wriggling cats mouth is no easy chore) and found no, sores, redness, oozing....anything.  She had not been outside for supervised play lately nor had any new plants been added in the house.  We could only speculate that perhaps her bug hunting got the best of her somehow and she was on 24 hour watch. Before any other invasive methods were going to be used next. Luckily it dissipated that night and she was back to normal by the next night. Phew! So now, she is all updated, weighing in at 13.8 lbs and on a "less treats" plan.  LOL. Yeah, me too. Next week Scooter's turn for his yearly visit....K-man and I have wagers on HIS weight...I say under 10, Kirk disagrees.

Onto my product review.  You may remember in my last post when I blogged about Primal Bake shop and their products? Today, I am trying out the Salted Caramel and adding bacon. I am going to use two types of bacon and test which tastes best.  I have noticed that when cooked bacon get added to something baked it loses it crispiness and/or bacon flavor disappears.  I noticed this phenomena when I made a frittata.  So I am adding to half of my cookies, chopped Paleo bacon and the other half with Epic Bites Bacon (both are uncured with no nitrites).

1.  First, this cookie rocks! For me being a chocolate lover. I am really surprised when I like a cookie better than a chocolate one.  

2. The salt on top REALLY makes a difference. Do NOT leave it off.

3.  The real Paleo chopped bacon tasted better and remained crispy. You can also see it.  The Epic Bites didn't add any smoky goodness as the paleo bacon did.  I did a taste test with K-man and gave him half a cookie of each and asked him if he tasted any difference. He tasted the Paleo bacon difference.

4. I did not conduct myself in a true scientist way and leave some cookies without bacon but oh well, I will have to order more to try them again!

5. The batch made roughly 18 cookies all that is needed to make the cookies is one stick of butter and 1 egg. You need to brown the butter first and you can make it with ghee but I will try the next batch with ghee. Although ghee doesn't really brown, it's the milk solids that brown and ghee has all milk solids removed. Then, I haven't tried to brown ghee, perhaps that is my next assignment?

6. You do have to chill the dough before you bake it and the 350 degrees for 9 minutes didn't seem long enough.  I don't know if my dough was too cold but I had to cook them more than 9 minutes because they didn't seem cooked enough. These were slightly crispy edges and VERY chewy.  Loved them. Although, they were "harder" the next day yet still chewy, let me explain why I LIKED this....Paleo cookies made with almond flour are very difficult to get that crispy chewy affect to last. After 24 hours all almond cookies tend to be soft, losing their crispy edges. I enjoy how these are staying firm.

7. Would I make these again and suggest you buy them too? Heck yes and yes.  These mixes are great to have on hand in the cabinet for when you want a quick treat and don't want the hassle of dragging tons of ingredients out. Especially when you find out that you thought you had tapioca flour and it was coconut....grrrrrr.

8. The ingredient list on this cookie bag was pretty simple: almond flour, tapioca starch, coconut nectar sugar, baking soda and Himalayan pink salt.  I would love to make more types of cookies with simple list of ingredients like this! Simple is better.

9. Be glad this mix only makes 18 cookies. More would be bad.  I ate 3 on the first night.

10. Here is the video of the Civilized Caveman-George making these cookies. Hence, who introduced primal bake shop to me. Thanks George!


You want a cookie?

Friday, May 13, 2016

Still Whole30 with Paleo Parts

Seems so long ago when I was starting Whole30 and it was such a struggle....Really? Maybe the first few shopping trips and all that reading of labels....

Eating "Whole30 with Paleo Parts" so let me explain what THAT means. If you are STRICTLY Whole30, you are not allowed to do things like make pancakes (the Paleo egg and banana ones) or make pizza crust (out of cauliflower and cheese) and slicing potatoes and frying them in oil (fries or chips). Taking Whole30 compliant foods and putting them together to make processed foods we are addicted to or should be avoiding are NOT Whole30 compliant (this being your first initial undertaking of it). Keeping with eating Whole30 all day is not difficult or a struggle anymore. But my Paleo parts consist of....making Paleo Banana Bread and eating that for breakfast. Making my favorite Chebe/Cheenies Bread and adding NO cheese. (It worked and I can't wait to post about THAT soon!) Made some Paleo Cookies and ate a small sliver of Against All Grain Pesto Pizza.
No sugars at all, ate a few GMO, GF tortilla chips...Very doable....very happy. Here's a chocolate bar I made:

Coconut Chocolate Bar

1/4 cup coconut oil
1/4 cup ghee
1/2 cup cacao powder
1/4 cup honey
1/4 tsp. vanilla (I make my own)
pinch of sea salt
1/4 cup unsweetened organic shredded coconut.

Line pan with foil. Stir all of the above together, pour in lined pan and chill in fridge until set.  YUM!

Did some more research on I have been following the many FB live posts of Civilized Caveman and he talks a lot and eats only RAW dairy.  Now, "Paleo-purists" do not use dairy at all, other "Paleo-ists" do only raw dairy, and "dairy-don't-care  Paleos" all dairy (that is what I used to do). As I did my research many states allow for the sale of raw dairy and many states like mine (dang you Virginia) do not allow the sale of raw dairy or milk. I can get raw cheese but not raw milk, cream or butter in VA. Some states sell raw dairy for "pet consumption only" and the people drink it.

The theory is when milk is pasteurized for the fear of bacteria, it kills about 90% of the nutrients like iron, calcium, and vitamin C from the milk leaving it relatively as good source of water and over 80% people who suffer from lactose intolerance do not have the symptoms anymore when they switch. Lastly raw dairy, boosts the immune system and protects again allergies. I ate some raw cheese on my burger and none of my allergies were triggered.

Here are some good sites to read about raw dairy: 

Of course, the CDC doesn't but they don't want their butts in litigation if they said it was totally safe....there is a risk to everything...I could fall off my chair during this post and sue the furniture company who sold it to me....but somethings aren't worth it.

I am so very excited about my next products I am trying....
Again, Civilized Caveman George, made some cookies and spoke about this company Primal Bake Shop who makes a line of products called "Pread." Now, I am no newbie to baking Paleo products but sometimes you just don't want to bother making it from scratch, you want some convenience of less measuring, quicker but STILL WHOLESOME! and it's P-A-L-E-O!!!!!

When I went to buy the cookie mixes online, I VERY hesitantly purchased some pumpernickel bread. I ordered Paleo bread online from Julian's Bakery twice....hated it.  So dry. Used to make my was okay but it never rises very high for me. Got the pumpernickel because that was new...never seen it anywhere....risky Jenny....

Got my box today....Toasted a slice with my baked chicken and mixed green salad dinner and OMG...with some ghee on it....this is when you start singing a little song as you chew (inaudible) and wiggle in you chair as you eat it...nom, nom, nom...Winner!  So getting this again....Even K-man liked it. He was jealous that I had bread with dinner and he didn' your potstickers got your wheat in there Primal Bake Shop Sliced breads $13.00

Here is the ingredient list to the bread if you don't believe me....

From left to right: Chocolate chip, Chocolate Brownie and Salted Caramel.  I have made plenty Paleo CCC and this I am excited about.  Then, when I make the salted caramel....I am gonna add BACON.  Just you watch. This was the Cookie Monster Mix $34 Order it online, fast delivery. Quality product!!

Thanks George for enlightening me about Primal Bake Shop!

Thanks Dana if that pumpernickel is that good...can't wait for these cookies to make me fall off my chair!

Paleo it's Good!

Monday, May 2, 2016

Whole30 -My evaluation

Was doing Whole30 possibly the best thing that I have ever done for a diet, eating plan or lifestyle change? HELL yeah! Lets go through my punch list...

-It all started when I was a 7 y.o child with a diet plan my mom made on a blue sheet of paper that was on my Grandmother's refrigerator door as I spent a few weeks in summer with her. Before I started 3rd grade my parents purchased their first home so being at Me-mom's was a good way to keep my eating in check and out of my parents hair during the move. All I remember was eating the Weight Watchers chocolate ice cream for dessert that was allowed on her plan. A child only focuses on what is really important.

-Scarsdale diet the whole family was on over my 7th grade year....can see a tremendous difference in my 7th grade to 8th grade yearbook picture. I remember big bowls of fruit salad on Tuesdays. Ham and Spinach lunch stained my favorite tote bag and making tons and tons of Mike's Bread (whole wheat whole grain bread) every weekend.

-Low carb in high school....Atkins was the rage, but not a name I heard because I remember it being an another idea from my mom because she was ALWAYS concerned with my eating and weight. I remember eating a lot of almonds and some weird shakes in the blender.

-Optifast (liquid diet) during my Junior year in college. My biggest weight loss yet.  Over 100 lbs. No food whatsoever, only shakes.  How the hell did I do that? But I did.  I remember my senior year, watching Oprah drag that wagon across the stage full of FAT in her skinny jeans screaming "Enjoy it girl! It AIN'T gonna last!!!" As I was slowly gaining my own weight loss back....

-Protein Power (again Low carb), my dad, his wife and I were all doing this with EXERCISE and we all lost a ton of weight. You were allowed to deduct the fiber carbs from the total carbs. We were obsessed with eating these 'crackers' that we thought were low carb...They were like almost negative carbs? We ate tons of them.  WE bought them by the case.  It started to because a craze with other people, then the company found out and looked into it and realized they were wrong  and changed the labeling. Have no idea what it changed to but I think the only thing that saved us was that we were exercising.  So we stopped eating the crackers...and the plan faded off because you miss eating crunchy stuff.

-Weight watchers group at my school with 10-ish staff members. All about attributing points to foods.  points to exercise, weighing in on a scale that only our leader looked at and commented on. It was great support and had great recipe ideas and it's just died because the staff stopped enrolling and the WW leader only came for an established group of 10. She didn't drive and only took cabs to all her locations.  She was petite and dressed like a flight attendant.  Energy like one too!

-Bariatric Surgery- back in the days when insurances were paying for all of this. Tremendous amount of drs appts, dr visits, lots of support group work, lots of pictures of change, 2 other friends at work did this.  We were so extremely helpful to one another with tips as each one of us did this.  I was #2 of the 3 who did surgery.  I lost over 160 lbs. (a whole person) and last remember weighing 185. My goal was 150 and my surgeon told me to be realistic, I would never see that number again. LOL, he's right. 2 of us developed an incisional hernia from it that had to be repaired.

-Paleo- got very much into it. I believe it was my co-worker Ginny who was on it...started talking about it...I looked into and got hooked. My husband wasn't into it but I bought lots of cookbooks and really enjoyed it.  Made my own bread, rolls, crackers, cakes. I stopped doing it because it was a hassle to make different things for my husband because he was not into it at all.

-Nutri-system- two years ago, lost over 40 lbs.  Very processed foods, some good, some gross. A lot of money. Another coworker was doing this and we stuck to it for awhile.  Loved the online tracking stuff. Again, it was a pain because now I was making whole entire meals separate for my  bike-fit husband because I was eating some processed meal and whatever vegetable I cooked for him with his meal. I couldn't even eat the proteins I made for hubby, I ate the protein only in their packages.

Then the Master Degree work started and those 40 NS lbs were gained and the pains started and I was turning 50....

-Whole30- by now, with all my combined health and nutrition knowledge that I have gained over the years- I felt like I was the parent smoking telling their young "this is bad habit, so never do it!" Talking to my students about health and nutrition whilst being overweight, yes made me a hypocrite.
But this whole program and it's special devotion to SUGAR, really works.  I also was a Diet Coke fiend and didn't think about all the warning about even drinking diet drinks contributed to obesity and I wasn't losing weight. Putting no sugar in any form in my foods really help kills the cravings and the extra snacking.  When I feel around 4 pm for a snack to hold me over until dinner, veggies and nuts really work. I really don't want bad stuff. And NOW, my husband has turned a corner. He wants eat better.  He had a few health issues and has been eating what I am eating and on occasion add bread to make a sandwich or eats his own treats in his man cave....

My future plans:
Eating whole foods will continue, I guess I need to say wholelife not whole30 now.  I will still avoid grains and refined sugars and processed foods. If we go out and I cannot determine if the tortilla chips have flour or the salsa has sugar. I will tough it out. I am planning on doing Paleo here and there. Because I do miss making Paleo bread, muffins and treats but I will do this now and then. 

Paleo Banana Bread
from Civilized Caveman 

4 super ripe bananas(yes, even the black ones you have in the freezer)
4 eggs
1/2 c. melted fat (ghee, butter, coconut oil, your pref)
1/2 c. nut butter (I used cashew because it was all I had)

Blend in food processor

1/2 c. coconut flour (or almond or tapioca flour)
1 Tbsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. vanilla
Pinch sea salt

Blend again in food processor

Bake in silicone baking pan (swear it's the best thing to not have to grease!) Otherwise you will have to line with parchment paper.
Bake at 350 degrees for 60 minutes.
Great Stuff! K-man loved it....Thanks George!

I am still recovering from my new information about dairy in my life....Next time I see a bubbling pan of GF mac and cheese...I may have to pat myself down for allergy meds....otherwise, no thank you. 😭😥😭😥 😭😥 I may go through a period of mourning about this...