I’m Baaack!

Tuna Cakes with Garlic Aioli

Well it has been awhile since I last posted on BarefootPaleo and I apologize for that!  Sometimes Life can present unexpected hurdles to jump and that’s what I’ve been doing since the holidays…..Jumping!   Without getting into details, we have been dealing with our daughter and her family unexpectedly moving a loooong way away due to a job change :(  (temporary but difficult none the less) and also a brother who is dealing with a terminal illness and coming to the end of his journey.  Emotions have been running high (or should I say ‘low’) and routines have been interrupted with visits from family and packing, traveling to and fro and trying to get into a new rhythm.

Finally, today I have the house to myself and time to do what I love to do most:  play in the kitchen!  My husband calls this my ‘happy place’ and I have to agree!  I am the happiest when I am in my kitchen, playing with my food.  I love to try recipes from all of the different Paleo cooks who share their recipes through blogging, but I also LOVE to come up with my own dishes.  Today I decided to make Tuna Cakes and I think they came out great!

I hope you will try this recipe and let me know what you think.

Happy Eating!
Cheryl

Tuna Cakes:

(Makes 6)

2 cans tuna packed in olive oil- drained slightly  (you can use whichever tuna you prefer, but tuna in water will be harder to work with)

1 pastured organic egg

2 teaspoons whole grain Dijon mustard

1 heaping tablespoon finely chopped yellow onion

1 heaping tablespoon (of each) finely chopped yellow AND red pepper

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 tablespoon coconut oil (for pan)

Directions:

Mix the tuna and the egg with a fork until well mixed.  Add the remaining ingredients and mix well.  Heat a skillet over medium heat and add 1 tablespoon coconut oil-

Form patties by scooping out 1/4 cup of the mixture and forming loosely into a ball- place in skillet and with a spatula carefully smash into a patty about 1/2″ thick.   Cook, turning carefully after the underside is nice and browned, until heated through and both sides are deeply golden brown.

Carefully place on a plate and top with the garlic aoli.

Garlic Aioli:

1/4 cup Paleo mayonnaise

1 1/2- 2 tablespoons minced garlic (to your preference)

Mix well and add olive oil slowly until it is the desired consistency- you want it thicker than a salad dressing but thinner than mayonnaise.

Holly Jolly Christmas!

This is a difficult time of year for those of us who, for any reason, don’t eat refined sugar!!!  The goodies that I’m posting this month can help get us through the holidays feeling great, without compromising our health, and without feeling deprived.  Some of the recipes are from other blogs, and I am very careful about giving credit when that is the case!  Today’s Mandarin Chocolate Truffles recipe is from the wonderful blog www.againstallgrain.com.  Be sure to check it out- Danielle’s recipes have never failed to impress me!  The fudge is one of my own recipes- if you share either of these please give credit where due-thank you!

My husband and I went to a Holiday open house the other night and I was of course wondering if I would need to fix us some dinner when we got home!  I just never know when I go to a function whether or not there will be food that fits our lifestyle, and for someone like me who doesn’t often eat the things that are NOT on my approved list, these events can prove a daunting experience.  The last thing I would ever want to do is make a hostess feel badly by not eating any of the food offered!  Because my Paleo lifestyle is not only by choice, but by necessity, I seldom eat sugar, grains or un-known oils, knowing that if I do I will pay a price for several days afterward with stiff, sore joints and fatigue, not to mention the long term effects of increased inflammation.  SO imagine my delight when we went to the buffet table and discovered a Paleo eater’s smorgasboard!  Our hosts had provided the following deliciousness for their guests:   Sliced meats, deviled eggs, a vegetable tray, a citrus shrimp platter, smoked oysters, a cheese plate, and a few other non-Paleo things like rolls and sweet and sour meatballs and various cookies.  We were delighted and enjoyed ourselves and were so happy that we could praise our hosts for their wonderful food!  It is pretty rare that we go someplace where there is NOTHING we can eat, but it is oh, so wonderful, when we are able to choose from many different selections and not feel like we are sticking out in the crowd!  Something to think about for all of us when we are entertaining is to make sure there are selections for anyone with special dietary needs, including Paleo, celiac, vegetarian/vegan or diabetes.

These wonderful truffles from www.againstallgrain.com are a bit time consuming, but very much worth it!  And my fudge recipe has several variations, all of which are quick and easy-peasey!  Let me know if you try either of them!

Happy Eating!

Cheryl

Mandarin Chocolate Truffles

www.againstallgrain.com

Truffle filling:

3 tablespoons raw cacao butter, chopped

1/4 cup raw honey

2 tablespoons coconut oil

2 tablespoons coconut butter (Artisana makes a great one!)

3/4 cup raw cacao powder

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

3 tablespoons fresh clementine or mandarin juice, strained of pulp

1 teaspoon mandarin zest -plus additional for sprinkling on top if desired)

dash of sea salt

Fill a small sauce pan with a few inches of water, and bring it to a boil over high heat.

Place the cacao butter in a heat proof bowl, and place it directly over the boiling water, but not touching it.

Stir for 1-2 minutes until it has started to melt, but there are still some solid pieces.  Remove the bowl from the heat, then whisk in the coconut oil and honey.

Pour the mixture into the bowl of a food processor, then add the cacao powder, coconut butter, vanilla, juice, zest , and small dash of sea salt.

Turn on the food processor, and process for a minute or so until your mixture is smooth and thick.

Spoon the chocolate into a bowl, and refrigerate for 45 minutes.

After it has chilled, use a spoon to scoop out balls about the size of a tablespoon from the bowl.

Roll them between your palms to form smooth balls.  Place them on a parchment lined tray then place the tray in the refrigerator for 10-15 minutes.  Be carefull not to roll them too much or the heat from your hands will melt the chocolate.  Your hands will get messy!

Chocolate Shell:

1/2 cup raw cacao butter

1/4 cup raw cacao powder

2 tablespoons honey, liquified

While the balls chill again, make your chocolate coating by placing the cacao butter in a heatproof bowl set over a small pot of boiling water.

Again, whisk for 1-2 minutes until the cacao butter has started to melt but there are still a few small solid pieces.  Remove from heat, add the honey and cacao powder, then whisk vigorously to combine and make a smooth, thick syrup.  If it’s too thick, put the bowl back over the hot water for 30 seconds.

Remove half of the balls from the refrigerator, then working one by one, drop them in the coating and roll them around until fully covered.  Poke a toothpick into the top to pull them out of the bowl, and twist it around slightly to let the exceess chocolate drip off.

Use another toothpick to help release the truffle back onto the parchment lined tray, then sprinkle with the zest and let harden at room temperature.  Pull the other half of the balls out of the fridge and repeat the coating process above.

-The coating hardens best when the balls are cold when dipped

-Don’t place the truffles into the refrigerator right after you dip them or they will produce condensation on the outside.  Let them harden at room temperature first and then when completely cooled place in the fridge for storage in an airtight container for 2 weeks or in a cool dry place for 1 week.      ENJOY!

Cheryl’s Paleo Fudge

In a double boiler over simmering water, melt and stir until smooth:

1/2 cup coconut oil

1/2 cup powdered cocoa powder

1/2 cup maple syrup

1 teaspoon vanilla

pinch of sea salt

Remove from heat and add:

3 tablespoons almond butter (any nut butter will work)

Stir until well combined.

OPTIONAL:  1 cup of chopped nuts or your choice (almonds, cashews, hazelnuts, macadamia nuts)

1/2 cup chopped dried fruit (raisins, cherries, cranberries, apricots etc.  get the kind with no sugar!)

1/3 cup unsweetened shredded coconut

1/4-1/2 teaspoon ground espresso powder (this would need to be added to the bowl while over the simmering water)

Spread evenly in a parchment lined loaf pan; mixture should be about 1/3-1/2″ thick.  Place in refrigerator for about an hour to firm up.    Easiest to cut when you remove it with the parchment paper and cut it on the paper on a cutting board.  Use a sharp knife-pushing the knife down into the fudge rather than ‘sawing’ back and forth- and clean the knife between cuts.  The fudge melts quickly, so keep in the refrigerator until ready to serve.  Store refrigerated in a covered dish.   ENJOY!

Holiday Goodies!

holiday goodiesThe Holiday Season is in full swing!  When I first started eating Paleo I would panic when I knew I needed to bring a ‘goodie’ to a get together….I had NO idea how to make something delicious without using nasty ingredients like white sugar and flour.  Over the past year I have compiled many recipes that will fit the bill for any gathering you might attend, or party you may give; you will find two of them below this post.

I’m learning more all of the time about my body and what affects my RA.  This past week has been one that was filled to the max with stress, stress and more stress and my body reacted big time.  I unfortunately had also decided I was going to try to go without my daily anti-inflammatory medication, which turned out to be a very un-wise idea!  Eating Paleo has helped my symptoms improve GREATLY, sometimes to the point that I forget I have RA-and I’m still hopeful that one day I will be healed of this stinkin’ disease, but in the meantime, I am truly thankful for the control I now have with the fuel I put in my body AND modern medicine that provides needed medications when necessary.  My body reacts to stress by going into full RA mode- I woke up one morning with stiffness, sore aching joints and painful muscles.   After almost a year of very few symptoms this was not a happy morning!  However, armed with my new found understanding of this disease and how it affects my body, I was able to get a grip on my panic and take a deep breath and evaluate what was going on.  I realized the stress was probably the main culprit and there was not much I could do about that except to pray for peace wait for the situation to resolve (which was out of my hands)  and so I started taking my anti-inflammatory again and checked what I’d been eating to make sure I wasn’t aggravating the situation.  Within two days I felt much, much better and now that the stress inducer has been resolved (thank God) I feel great again!  I am SO thankful!  This time of year holds both stress and joy, and also many opportunities to eat things that are NOT good for us.   I am realistic and know that once in a while I WILL eat a bit of sugar and flour but I am very aware of making that choice.  Sometimes I decide it’s just not worth it, sometimes I decide it is and I go ahead.  If it’s only a little and once in a great while it doesn’t bother me much- but I am extremely careful about how often I allow those indulgences as I know what can happen if I get careless about how much and how often.

We will be attending and hosting several Holiday gatherings in the next few weeks as I’m sure you will be too, so I will be sharing several recipes with you for yummy treats that you can indulge in and share without regret.  Here are two that I hope you try and enjoy as much as my family does!

Paleo Coconut Cream Lemon Candies

1 cup Coconut Cream Concentrate

1/2  cup plus 2 tablespoons RAW Organic Honey

1 teaspoon finely grated Lemon Zest

Juice of 1 LARGE lemon

In a medium bowl mix all ingredients together with a spoon until well blended.  Let it sit for a few minutes as it will thicken up a bit as it stands and then use a small melon baller or small cookie scoop to make small balls no larger than 1″ - place on a silpat or piece of parchment paper on a cookie sheet and refrigerate for an hour before serving.  Store any left overs in a sealed container in the refrigerator.

Spiced Coffee

(4 servings)

1 cup water

1 Cinnamon Stick

10 Cardamom pods, cracked

12 Black Peppercorns

3/4 cup canned coconut milk (or 1/2 n 1/12 or cream if you eat dairy)

3 tablespoons Organic Honey

2 cups Strong Black Freshly Brewed Coffee (I prefer French Pressed!)

Combine the water, cinnamon stick, cardamom and pepperconrs in a small saucepan over medium heat.  When it comes to a good boil, lower heat to low and simmer for five minutes.  Strain spices and return to heat.  Add the honey and stir until dissolved.  Add your choice of milk and coffee and stir well, heating until it is nice and hot.  Serve and Enjoy!   To make it more festive, serve with a dollop of Whipped Coconut Cream* or real cream if you eat dairy.

*Whipped Coconut Cream

Refrigerate a can of full fat coconut milk for at least an hour before using.  Open the can and carefully scoop out the thick cream, leaving the ‘water’ for another recipe. (store it in the refrigerator in a small jar).  Put the ‘cream’ in a small bowl, add 2 tablespoons of Maple Syrup and a teaspoon of vanilla and beat with electric mixer until nice and thick.  NOTE:  it will not get quite as thick as whipped cream, but close!

Typical Paleo Dinner at Our House

Just a quick post to share a yummy, typical paleo dinner at our house! Recipe for mashed cauliflower follows!

For 4 servings of Mashed Cauliflower:

Separate 1 head of cauliflower into large florets and steam until very
very tender.  Remove to a bowl and mash a bit with a potato masher or
fork.  Add 3 tablespoons kerrygold butter (organic butter from grass fed
cows) and using an immersion blender, blend the cauliflower until it is smooth and creamy.
Add salt to taste.  YUM

Happy Eating!

Hello world!

Hello! My name is Cheryl, and I was compelled to start this blog after having a life altering
experience as a result of making a huge change in my diet by going PALEO. This
first installment will be long, as I want to impress upon everyone the HUGE
change that I have gone through and how I got to where I am now. After this
first blurb I will talk All Paleo, All the Time!! With recipes and info galore.
But for today, here is my story.

About seven years ago, after feeling LOUSY for at least 4 years, I was diagnosed with Rheumatoid
Arthritis at the age of 47. After the diagnosis there was a moment of relief to
finally be able to put a name to my suffering, and to finally know for sure
that I wasn’t crazy. That moment of relief, however, was very brief as I began
to learn what this diagnosis meant for me, my family, my future. It was NOT a
pretty picture. RA is inappropriatley named, since ‘arthritis’ is one of the SYMPTOMS
of the disease, not the cause or by far the only symptom of the disease. It
would take an entire page to list all of the symptoms that those of us who
suffer from RA might have to live with, but I will spare you and only talk
about what I was dealing with.

It started with my feet. When I got up in the morning and started to walk, it felt like I was
stepping on sharp stones, ouch. My entire body felt stiff, slow, sluggish and
achy. My leg muscles hurt, even to the touch. On any given day there would be
at least three or four joints that were especially painful- usually an elbow,
knee or wrist. Oh, and did I mention that I couldn’t make a fist; my fingers
wouldn’t bend more than half way down to my palms. And I woke up feeling
exhausted. My sleep was terrible, I would wake up from pain every time I turned
over. I learned to wear only very soft, stretchy t shirts or nighties made of
silky fabric that would allow me to turn in bed without ‘dragging’ against the
covers, and thick sweat socks to try to keep my toes warm to keep them from
aching all night. I learned to un-tuck the covers because even the pressure of
a sheet tucked in and pressing on my toes would hurt so badly. I was unable to
pull the covers up during the night because my hands and fingers hurt so much
that I couldn’t grip the blankets. It was pathetic and SCARY. Soon I was taking
pain and sleep medication to help me sleep, but it didn’t do much for me and I
still woke up feeling completely drained every morning. My future was NOT
looking rosy. The medication I took to treat the disease was a low dose
chemotherapy drug that had lovely side effects including nausea, sweats and
added exhaustion. I also took a strong anti-inflammatory and vicodin, ambien
(at night) and folic acid. I am a gal who does not and has never liked taking
medication, so this was not ok with me, but there was no alternative. Everytime
I took that chemo drug all I could think of was ‘what damage am I doing to
myself, on top of what the RA is doing to me?’ Put simply, RA destroys the
cushioning around your joints and eventually will destroy the bone, too, and
can also affect your eyes and internal organs.

After living like this for six years, I was feeling worse than ever and was desperate. I could not
foresee things getting any better and in fact assumed things could and probably
would get considerably worse. When I had my next Rheumatology appointment my
Dr. wanted to increase my meds some more, and something in me just said NO. I
went home and started thinking about the last time I felt good and remembered
that many years before I had gone on a low carb diet and felt great. (this was
before my diagnosis but after I had started feeling bad). I then started
reading up on inflammation and what causes it and what can improve it. The
thing that kept coming up was that there are foods that cause inflammation in
everyone, and I decided that I would eliminate them and see what happened. It
couldn’t hurt, it wouldn’t cost anything and what if it helped?? Even a little?
So I went cold turkey and started THE PALEO DIET. What is a Paleo Diet you ask?

NO grains

NO vegetable oils

NO sugar

NO potatoes

NO rice

NO legumes

NO dairy

Sounds daunting, but like I said, I was DESPERATE and willing to try pretty much anything that
wouldn’t kill me. So I began…

For three weeks I felt awful…like I was going through withdrawal (which I was). I felt like giving up,
but I refused. I just could not imagine living my life with the pain I was
having, so I continued on. Then one morning, after the third week, I woke up
and realized I had slept through the night. I was shocked. Then I realized that
I didn’t feel exhausted. Then I realized my hands were not aching and that I
could ALMOST make a fist- that I just simply FELT BETTER than I had in over ten
years! I got up, walked with very little pain in my feet and realized my entire
body felt very different. I didn’t feel stiff, sluggish or sore…in fact I felt
MARVELOUS. It was THAT dramatic! I couldn’t believe it! Maybe it was a fluke?
Maybe it was temporary? No- it wasn’t. As the days passed, I had energy! I
painted my bathroom when before I couldn’t even hold a paintbrush, I
re-finished two pieces of furniture, I played on the floor with my
grandchildren! It has been almost a year since that awesome morning and I am
still feeling like I’ve been re-born. All in all I’d say that my symptoms are
about 85-90% improved; it’s a miracle…really it is. Oh, and did I mention that
from that morning on I quit taking vicodin and ambien and I sleep like a baby.
I reduced my chemo drugs by 2/3 and am looking forward to stopping it entirely
in four months if things remain as good as they are now. My Dr. is in awe and
is quite impressed if I do say so myself. I asked him why this way of eating
isn’t the first line of defense for his patients and he said ” I’ve known a few
patients who have benefitted from a similar diet, but it doesn’t work for
everyone.” Well, either do the drugs!!!! The medical community is woefully,
inadequately trained in nutrition as treatment/prevention of diseases.
Sometimes we have to take things into our own hands and I thank the Lord that I
did!

I am not a physician and I can’t promise you that changing your diet is going to change your life like
it did mine; but like I said, what could it hurt to give it a try? And I really, really believe it WILL help.

Please come back often to see my Paleo recipes and tips! Together we can improve our health
one meal at a time! And just in case you think you have to give up eating yummy desserts, here is one recipe to prove that isn’t true.

Cheryl’s Paleo Brownies

1 cup almond butter

1 1/2 cups grated zucchini

1/3 cup raw organic honey

2 eggs from organic fed, free range chickens

4 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1 teaspoon baking SODA

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 cup dark, bittersweet chocolate chips (get the lowest sugar content chips you can find, 5
grams or less)-this ingredient is not techinically paleo, but close enough for an occasional treat

After grating the zucchini, squeeze it gently between paper towels to release some of the
moisture; no need to get crazy with this, just get out some of the moisture.

In a medium bowl, mix all ingredients in the order given. Pour into an 11 x 7 pan (for cakey brownies)
or a 13 x 9 pan (for fudgier brownies) that has been greased with coconut oil.

Bake in a preheated oven at 350 degrees for about 22 minutes-use the toothpick trick to check for
doneness but don’t overbake them! Basically when the edges just start to pull away from the sides of the pan and the center is nice and set they are done.  Cool completely before cutting.

PLEASE! If you share my recipe, give me
credit! And direct them to my blog! Thanks.