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Archive for the ‘Paleo lifestyle’ Category

The Best Homemade Ranch Dressing Ever, and it’s Paleo!

Monday, April 27th, 2015
paleoranchdressingIngredients
  1. 1/2 cup Paleo mayo (see below)
  2. 1/2 cup coconut milk
  3. 1/2 tsp onion powder
  4. 1 tsp garlic powder
  5. 1 tsp dill
  6. Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
Whisk all ingredients together to combine. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a week.
Mayo recipe
  1. 1 egg, room temperature
  2. 2 tbsp lemon juice or apple cider vinegar
  3. 1/2 tsp salt
  4. 1/2 tsp dry mustard
  5. 1 cup light olive oil*
  6. In a tall glass (if using an immersion blender) or a blender, place the egg and lemon juice. Let come to room temperature, about one hour. Add the salt and mustard. Blend ingredients. While blending, very slowly pour in the olive oil. Blend until it reaches desired consistency. Store in the refrigerator for up to a week.
  7. *It’s important to use a light olive oil, not full flavor, for mayonnaise. You could also use almond or walnut oil instead.

Paleo Baking Powder

Wednesday, February 25th, 2015

baking_powderLike cornstarch, baking powder is one of those small ingredients that’s easy to overlook. Most commercial versions contain cornstarch as the filler that keeps the base (sodium bicarbonate) and the acid (usually sodium aluminum phosphate) from reacting with each other while stored on your shelf. But it’s very easy to make your own thus avoiding the cornstarch and ingredients that have the word “aluminum” in them and give baking a metallic taste.

So this week’s recipe is simply how to make your own healthier, better tasting baking powder for immediate use or longer term storage as follows:

Ingredients

  • one part baking soda
  • two parts cream of tartar (a natural substance made in the fermentation process of grapes)
  • one part arrowroot – optional if you plan to make enough to store for future use

Directions

If you are only making enough for a one-time immediate use, just mix the appropriate amounts of baking soda and cream of tartar together to meet your need. Substitute evenly for any recipe that calls for baking powder.

If you wish to scale up and store about a half cup of BP for future use, then mix 1/4 cup cream of tartar with 2 tablespoons baking soda and 2 tablespoons arrowroot. The latter will extend the shelf life of your leavening for up to 3 months. After this amount of time, it would be wise to test the efficacy of the baking powder before using it by placing a half teaspoon in a small bowl and then pouring about a quarter cup of boiling water over the powder. If it bubbles happily, it is still good.

Don’t Overlook the Little Things

Thursday, February 19th, 2015

chocolate_puddingWhen going to the trouble of cooking Paleo or if you’re just trying to make sure that what you eat is as free from weird junk as possible, make sure you don’t overlook the little things.

One example is cornstarch. When a recipe calls for this as a thickener, arrowroot usually makes a great Paleo substitute. Cornstarch is a highly processed “food” that always involves prolonged chemical exposures and almost always is a GMO. Pure arrowroot powder, on the other hand, is milled pretty much the same today as it was ancestrally and is something that, unlike cornstarch, you could make pretty easily at home if you wished.

Arrowroot can be used as a Paleo alternative to cornstarch or flour in cooking as long as what you are using it in is non-dairy (can become slimy in milk) and will not be exposed to heat for a prolonged period of time as arrowroot loses it’s thickening power at extended high temperatures. When substituting for cornstarch, it’s an even exchange. When using arrowroot as an alternative to flour, use half as much arrowroot as flour.

A few other things to know about arrowroot: It will clump up when added directly to liquids so it is recommended that you mix it into a small quantity of your liquid before stirring it into the main pot, so to speak. And when purchasing arrowroot, be on the lookout for additives as some manufacturers combine it with potato starch.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups coconut milk or nut milk of choice
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/3 cup cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons arrowroot
  • 3 large egg yolks

Directions

Put 1 1/2 cups of the milk, the honey, vanilla extract, cocoa and salt into a saucepan set over medium-high heat. Bring to a simmer, then remove pan from heat.

Meanwhile, whisk the remaining 1/2 cup of the milk, arrowroot, and egg yolks together in a bowl. Gradually whisk the hot chocolate milk into the egg mixture.

Return to the saucepan and cook over medium-high heat stirring constantly until the pudding comes to a full boil. Reduce the heat to maintain a simmer, and continue stirring until thick, about a minute or two more.

Pour the pudding into approximately 6 small serving bowls; I like to use sake cups or shot glasses. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until set – 4 hours to overnight.

Fast Food Paleo

Wednesday, February 4th, 2015

aidellsIn a perfect Paleo world, you’d hunt it, skin it, gut it, maybe cook it, and then eat it. Ideally, the next best thing would be to work with ingredients that are as close to their natural state as possible. But if time, space or permit issues are limited for any of the above, there are occasions when thoughtful hunting in a grocery store will reward you with fast-food Paleo time savers.

As I rely on Aidells sausage for a quick post-workout protein blast, I did a little research to find out which of their flavors might be Paleo approved and stumbled on this informative site to help guide me to guilt-free convenience.

Here’s an idea for a 1-dish-1-pot single serving meal in under 10 minutes:

Ingredients

  • 1 Aidell Chicken Apple Sausage (or other Paleo-friendly sausage of choice) sliced into bite-sized rounds
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 zucchini, halved and sliced
  • 1/4 cup loosely chopped red onion
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions

Drizzle about a tablespoon of olive oil into a small frying pan set on medium-high heat. Add sausage and brown, about a minute or two.

Remove sausage from pan. Reduce heat to medium-low, and add more oil if necessary to cook garlic for about a minute.

Return heat to medium-high. Add zucchini and onion, and stir-fry until soft, about 3 to 5 minutes.

Return sausage to pan, and stir with rest of ingredients until everything is piping hot. S & p to taste, and serve.

Roger’s Butternut Squash Soup

Thursday, January 29th, 2015

butternut_soupThis is a recipe I’ll always be grateful to Roger for sharing with me as it brings such enthusiastic smiles to my family when set at the table. Not that it’s a big surprise – when the squash comes out of the shopping bag the excitement begins. “Are you going to make the soup tonight?!” Warm, creamy and comforting, the blissful combination of flavors and the serenely smooth texture make this dish beg for seconds, thirds, and even fourths. The only thing I can think of that could possibly make this recipe better is doubling it!

Ingredients

  • 1 medium to large butternut squash, peeled and cut into small cubes, about a half inch
  • 3 medium-sized garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 dense tablespoon of minced fresh thyme
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • salt and fresh pepper to taste
  • 2 small to medium sized leeks, halved and thinly sliced
  • 1/4 lb bacon
  • 3 cups chicken broth or stock
  • 1/2 cup milk of choice

Directions

Preheat oven to 450°.

In a large bowl, toss squash, garlic, and thyme together with oil to coat. Transfer to a 9 x 12 inch pyrex baking dish. Sprinkle generously with salt and fresh ground pepper, and bake for about 35 minutes, stirring occasionally, until squash is soft and just turning brown.

While the squash bakes, cook the bacon in a stovetop skillet until just crispy. Remove bacon and toss leeks into skillet cooking in bacon fat until the leeks are tender and translucent, about 5 minutes.

When squash is done, remove from oven and transfer into a large soup pot along with leeks and pan drippings.

Pour stock into pot to cover squash/leek mixture about a half inch over. Add more stock if needed for this.

Bring to a boil then turn down heat and let simmer, partially covered, for about 3o minutes.

Remove soup from heat and purée with immersion blender, or in batches in a regular blender, until smooth. Add milk and blend another minute or two until desired creamy consistency is reached.

Crumble or chop the cooked bacon and stir into the creamed soup.

Reheat if necessary and serve.

Paleo Pie Crust

Friday, November 21st, 2014

pie_crust1With Thanksgiving around the corner, it seemed like a good time to post a basic Paleo pie crust recipe. Pumpkin, blueberry, apple or left-over turkey pot pie are just a few ideas for filling this staple with whatever you wish for the holidays.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups almond flour
  • 3 tablespoons coconut flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon unflavored, grass-fed gelatin
  • 2 tablespoons sugar, preferably coconut or maple
  • 8 tablespoons cold unsalted butter cut into chunks (for pure Paleo, use 6 tablespoons ghee)

Directions

Place almond flour, coconut flour, salt, sugar and gelatin in food processor and pulse to combine.

Next add butter or ghee and pulse in 10 second bursts for a about a half minute, then process continuously until the mixture comes together to form a dough.

Transfer dough onto a sheet of plastic wrap and press into a flat, round 9-inch disk. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Remove plastic wrap from the dough and press onto bottom and up the sides of a greased 9″ pie dish. Crimp edges of crust. Refrigerator for an additional 20 minutes.

Preheat oven to 375 º and place oven rack in middle position.

Before placing crust into the oven to cook, cut out a round piece of parchment paper to fit on the bottom of the pie crust and cover with pie weights or beans. Bake for 12 minutes. Remove pie weights and parchment and bake for an additional 8-10 minutes until just turning golden brown.

Source: deliciouslyorganic.net

Balance Your Protein Intake With Gelatin

Thursday, September 11th, 2014

gelatin_snack_2Gelatin is a worthwhile consideration for balancing protein intake. Although it does not have the kind of amino acids needed for post-workout muscle recovery, it does have what is needed for connective tissue health.

In taking a Paleo view of nutrition, our modern protein consumption has become unbalanced favoring a limited diet of muscle meat and its amino acids over the aminos found in organs, cartilage, bone and sinew. We throw a lot of the animal away that would have been consumed by a hunter gatherer. That leaves us deficient in essential building blocks such as glycine, proline and collagen needed to support healthy joints, connective tissue, skin and bone.

Studies demonstrate gelatin’s ability to maintain strong ligament, tendon, and bone integrity providing clear benefits to weightlifters, body builders and other athletes whose joints and connective tissues are regularly subjected to stress. Gelatin builds the strength of our muscle’s supporting structures and reduces joint pain which in turn supports successful muscle-building.

Gelatin can be flavorlessly and texturelessly added to cooking or a protein shake in the form of non-congealing collagen hydrolysate as well as used in the traditional gelling form to make snacks such this week’s recipe below.* I purchase both forms of gelatin from Great Lakes as their gelatin products are antibiotic and hormone free.

Blueberry Peach Gelatin Squares

  • 1 cup fresh blueberries
  • 1 cup fresh peaches, peeled and diced (I almost threw out my mealy end-of-season peaches before realizing they were perfect for this recipe; any disappointing fruit would work for this!)
  • 1 cup coconut water
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon**
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 1/4 cup gelatin

Combine blueberries, peaches, coconut water, honey and cinnamon in a saucepan and place over medium-low heat. Let simmer stirring occasionally until fruit has liquified, about 10 minutes.

While fruit is simmering, add gelatin to coconut milk and let sit for 10 minutes. After sitting, add to fruit mixture and stir for a few minutes until gelatin has dissolved; do not allow to boil.

Pour mix into a square pyrex pan or mold of choice. Chill a few hours then dice as desired and enjoy!

*10 grams a day recommended

**The lovely thing about cinnamon and other sweet-friendly spices such as cardamom is that they enhance the perception of sweetness allowing one to minimize the use of sweeteners in a recipe.

Parkour Coach Andrey Is Tarzan

Wednesday, August 20th, 2014

Sometimes, we need to just play.  If you provide kids an interesting environment, they will play.  They will experiment with trees, rocks, water, sticks, dirt, bugs, etc.  We tend to move away from this child-like curiosity as we get older and we really shouldn’t.  Playing in natural environments is a great way to develop and keep strength.  Not everything has to be programmed out…sometimes the best thing to do is just get out there and create.

From Andrey:

After watching a Tarzan cartoon a while back, the idea of flowing through trees that grow close together sounded super fun and challenging.  And so, I scouted places in SF, figured out a line, practiced, discovered what poison oak is all about, found an amazing cameraman, and shot it.  Hope this video inspires you to go play on those trees like I did.  They are all over Golden Gate Park and Mountain Lake Park in SF, enjoy! “

Sweet Potato Salad

Thursday, August 14th, 2014

sweet_potato_saladI’m vacationing with family in Connecticut this week, so I’m going to make this short and sweet as in sweet potato with a recipe from my sister-in-law Kath who I gratefully credit with introducing me to Crossfit as well as to awesome food. If, like me, you have a relative who has inspired you to live a healthier happier lifestyle, send some love that angel’s way! And maybe have them over for some sweet potato salad :o).

Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 lbs sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 1 red onion, diced
  • 1/4 cup EVOO
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 1 jalapeño pepper, minced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup fresh lime juice
  • 1 red bell pepper, small dice
  • 1/2 cup fresh chopped cilantro
  • (optional non-Paleo addition: 15 oz can black beans)

Directions

Preheat oven to 350°.

Toss sweet potatoes and onion with olive oil, salt and pepper until well coated. Spread evenly on baking tray and bake for about a half hour, giving an occasional stir until edges are golden.

Meanwhile in a large bowl, mix bell pepper and cilantro together with jalapeño, garlic and lime juice.

When the potatoes and onion are done, remove from oven, add to bowl and toss well. Season with additional s&p as desired and serve warm, room temp or cold. It’s all good!

A Real Food Recipe

Thursday, July 31st, 2014

perfecthbeJaime’s great post and Colleen’s simply beautiful photograph* have inspired me to keep it as real as it gets this week with a recipe for hard boiled eggs. Healthy fast food doesn’t have to be an oxymoron. Cook up a bunch of these puppies for grab-and-go convenience all week.

Ingredients

  • Eggs. Up to as many as comfortably fit in the pot you use.
  • Salt.
  • Water.

Directions

Place eggs in a pot, then run cold tap water to cover eggs 1 inch over and add 1 teaspoon of salt. (Note: starting with cold water lets you heat the egg more slowly, which keeps the whites from getting rubbery, and adding salt prevents egg whites from spilling out of small cracks that can form in the cooking process.)

Bring to boil at medium heat. As soon as the water boils, turn off the heat but leave the pot on the stove and cover with good-fitting lid. Leave the eggs in the hot water for ten to fifteen minutes. It is important you do not start the timer until you turn off the heat. Too much time will make the eggs discolored and smelly, while too little time will cause them to be runny. 

After 10 or 15 minutes, plunge eggs into cold water to arrest the cooking process.

These will keep in the fridge at least a week. Grab one before you go to your workout at The Cave for quick post work-out protein. Pack them in school lunches peeled for no mess, unpeeled for more fun. Make a quick sauce of equal parts Paleo mayonnaise (great recipe in the current edition of The Cave cookbook available in the office) and your favorite mustard. When you run out of hard boiled eggs, make some more. No excuses for not having quick real food on hand, guys!

*When Colleen Donaldson isn’t working out at The Cave, one of her many talents is professional photography. She took the above picture for the next edition of Cooking in The Cave which should be available this holiday season and will include tons of fantastic real food recipes and awesome photographs!