Monday, November 30, 2009

Make a Date with Delicious

Dates.  To me, they conjure up images of Arabian royalty dining upon these delicacies in their opulent palaces.  I also hear the Aladdin merchant yelling, "Sugar dates and figs!  Sugar dates and pistachios!"  Yes, I watched that movie way too many times in my youth.  The dates on the table in Raiders of the Lost Ark piqued my interest, although it saddened me when poisoned dates were responsible for the death of the cute little monkey spy...  Anyway, dates have always been foreign to me, not something to which I was exposed as a child outside of television and movies.

Bottom line: I was missing out!

Dried dates are candy, plain and simple.  They are an excellent substitute for sugar and retain its caramelization and candy-sweet properties.  However, we can assume that with that sugary taste comes a nasty blood sugar spike.  Or does it?  The glycemic index value of dates is 103, higher than glucose set at 100.  But that number has puzzled researchers due to dates having a high fiber content, which would lower their GI.  Their glycemic load, which takes into account grams of carbohydrate minus water weight, was very high, too, at over 40, which makes sense given they are dried.  But what does this mean?  Well, to calculate these values, 50g of this carbohydrate were tested, which is actually about the quantity used in my recipe.  Of course if you eat all 12 yourself in one sitting, your blood sugar will be higher than a kite!  Duh!  Another study tested other varieties of dates and found them to be low glycemic, so there is definitely some dispute going on.  There is even some contention about whether or not the glycemic index is more important than dietary fiber quantity in food or if it is relevant to real life eating situations since the values were obtained 2 hours after eating the food and on a fasted stomach.  Bottom line: it seems that dried fruit in moderation is fine and can be reaped for its nutritional benefits.

Medjool Dates used in my recipe are Moroccan in origin and were almost wiped out there due to a disease in the 1920s.  Luckily, a portion of the healthy plants were transferred to the US and have been successfully cultivated here.  Dates are perhaps the first cultivated tree crop dating back more than 5000 years.  They have been a royal delicacy for much of their history.  Dates are also nutritious.  They have a good percentage of dietary fiber and have three times the potassium of bananas!  Potassium is integral for maintaining blood pressure, healthy kidneys, and cellular functions.  It is lost through perspiration and regained through your diet.  They also have a variety of B-complex vitamins and are a good source of magnesium (used for bone development and metabolism).

Pecans, our second major ingredient, are native to the Americas.  Pee cans or puh-cahns?  As Emeril would say, pee cans are for truckers.  They are chocked full of antioxidants--more than any other nut!  One antioxidant in pecans, Vitamin E, is responsible for reducing the oxidation of blood lipids and, thus, helping to prevent coronary heart disease.   Their antioxidants may also protect against cancer and Alzheimer's disease.  More details can be found here and here.  They are also rich in monounsaturated fatty acids, which are heart healthy fat.  They also have loads of vitamins and minerals.

So, here is a delicious, tasty, EASY treat to blast your taste buds.  I was inspired by this recipe from Girl Gone Primal--love her site!  Such brilliance to try something so simple!  I made hers with the apricot and walnuts and wasn't overly impressed with the taste (even with roasted walnuts)--perhaps it was the different varieties of apricots or nuts across the continents or just my own weird taste buds.  I knew the idea had potential and I know that so many people like hers, so I am just weird, but I tinkered with it to find the perfect combination of flavors at least for myself.  I think I found it!

Pecan Fudge Truffles
Fudge, plain and simple and sugar-free (aside from those delicious-as-candy dates).  
Makes: 12 bite-sized balls

Cooking Time: 30 minutes of preparation, tops, even accounting for cooling before assembly PLUS as long as your heart desires for freezing to get an ideal consistency.  I like mine really frozen (a few hours), but they are certainly edible and just as tasty sooner.

Zone Blockage: You can be my guest to figure this one out.  Exactly what size/variety is the "2 dates per block"?  Can you even find pecans on the list?  I would rather just enjoy them as a paleo-style treat!

1/2c pecans
1t vanilla extract
6-8 small Medjool dates or 4 jumbo/large, pitted and torn in half (2-3 ounces)
unsweetened shredded coconut (1/2c at least)
unsweetened cocoa powder (1/4c at least)

This is pretty darn simple.  Toast your shredded coconut in a naked skilled over medium heat.  It'll take a few minutes to get going, but once you start to see browning, stir often and keep an eye on it until you reach desired GB&D level (Golden Brown and Delicious, courtesy Alton Brown's Good Eats).  Meanwhile, set your pecans on a sheet pan in a 350 degree oven (I suggest toasting more than you need for inevitable future batches).  Keep an eye on these as well since they love to burn and are already golden brown in color at the start.  Even mild burning leaves this dessert with that burned nut flavor, so err on the side of caution!  Let your toasted coconut and pecans cool before beginning the assembly process.  Place the cocoa and toasted coconut in separate regular-sized or shallow bowls.

Assembly: (this is almost so easy, it is laughable) get out your food processor.  Dump in the pecans, vanilla, and halved dates.  Pulse to chop up the dates then let 'er whirl until the mixture begins to clump.  This only takes a minute or so.  Make sure your nuts are ground into tiny bits, and then remove the clumpy mixture from the processor onto a parchment paper-lined sheet pan.  Create little teaspoon-sized balls with your hands (roll in your palm) then plop 4 or so into your bowl of cocoa powder.  Here is the magic method: instead of gunking up your sticky hands, swirl the bowl so that the balls roll around and coat themselves!  Brilliant!  Of course I figured this one out after many, many batches of club-hands.  Then, remove the balls into the coconut bowl and repeat the process.  You may want to get your hands involved to press on some coconut if it isn't sticking well.  Remove from the coconut bowl and place on the sheet pan.  Repeat the process with the remaining balls and leave room between them on the sheet pan.  Whack 'em in the freezer until you cannot stand waiting any longer.  Enjoy feasting upon their awesome fudgy deliciousness!

How can such a simple process create such amazing chocolately, coconuty fudge?!?  And the best part: NO SUGAR (besides the dates, of course).  How awesome is that?  Are these worthy of your unenlightened brethren who might think your diet is insane?  I think so!


Date Candy on Foodista

Friday, November 20, 2009

Get Your Kids Off the Crack

A healthy start to your day.

Yes, that is what sugar is to our bodies.  It's addictive as crack and packed with a slew of health detriments worthy of being called a drug.  So today I am going to help any parents out there by providing some useful information and case stories to help you get your kids to eat healthy (and you yourself if you haven't taken the plunge!).  By healthy I mean: meats and veggies, nuts and seeds, some fruit, little starch, and NO sugar, NO grains, NO legumes, and NO dairy.  Difficult mission?  Not really as difficult as you may think.  Cue Scrooged voice over: "Your life might just depend on it."

Why bother?

Here are just a few reasons to change your children's diet:

1.  Their health.  Equipping your kids with the most healthy digestive system you can will help them fight off bugs that kids so frequently catch.  You are also setting up their bodies to resist disease and such prevalent problems plaguing our children as obesity and even cancer.  Check out all those healthy veggies I have been describing.  Antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals are necessary NOT optional.  Kids need protein, fat, and carbohydrate at every meal to help balance their hormones and avoid highs and lows in blood sugar.  Changing your child's diet can also help existing conditions such as asthma, MS, autism, and diabetes.  Check out Robb Wolf's site like this post for more on diabetes and read up on Loren Cordain's research on his website for more details and case studies.  If you knew you had a possible remedy for these conditions or could protect against them, wouldn't you give it a try?  

2.  Their body image.  You are setting your kids down the right path when you care about what they eat.  You are showing them how important good food choices are and how they are an important part of a healthy lifestyle.  Eating healthy will inevitably lead to a healthy-looking body.  No, they won't be paper thin models and no, they won't be obese.  Neither is okay or healthy.  You are showing them that food is fuel to help maintain bodily systems, build muscle, and allow for growth.  Along with exercise (like CrossFit!), your kids will develop healthy, toned bodies that are useful for reaching their fitness goals.  The perks of looking good in a bathing suit for your teen are just that: perks.  The real goals should be getting one more pullup, climbing the rope faster, finishing a workout faster with heavier weight and better technique, and achieving that difficult skill for the first time.  A healthy body comes from exercise and nutrition.  You can't have one without the other.

Check out this Dove commercial showing a model's transformation and how our perception of beauty is distorted.  Every young girl (and boy) should watch this.

Here is the take from a reporter on the photoshop extravaganza in our media: Part 1 and Part 2.

3.  Their well-being and mental clarity.  Giving the kids the tools to balance their diet with healthy protein, fat, and carbohydrates is like teaching them math or reading.  With these tools they can soar.  Their mental clarity will be pronounced.  No more highs and lows as their blood sugar roller coasters from the last sugar-laden meal.  Many teachers have reported remarkably better concentration at school from children following these dietary guidelines.  Here is evidence of improved test scores, better discipline, and improved health from a principal who banned sugar.  Balancing the nutrients and fueling the body with what it needs also protects against rapid mood swings and depression.  I am not saying that your teenagers will be angels, but if you can help them gain more control over their mental state, wouldn't it be worth it?  Eating healthy just makes you feel good.  Give it a try!

4.  Their values.  By cleaning up your children's diet, you are showing how much you care about your children and value their health.  By changing your diet to eliminate most processed foods, you are changing their value systems to respect local, organic sources for their food and to care about the process foods undergo to get to the table.  You are making them think about where their food comes from and to better connect with it.  Each trip together to a farmer's market and allowing your child a free-for-all to find fruit and veggies of his/her choice can be like a trip to the toy store or candy store.  Cook and prepare your meals together as a family activity.  Let these new experiences help define for your child what is healthy and fun.  Help your children respect the environment and their foods by making the right choices yourself.  Lead by example.

5.  Their future.   You have the means to send your kids down the right path right now.  The decisions you make now will echo throughout their lives.  If you give a kid childhood obesity, he will battle it throughout his adult life.  The same goes for the other side of the coin.  If you give your kids a healthy childhood, they will grow strong and be buffered against the not-so-wise decisions they may make later in life.  Imagine if you had a healthy diet and CrossFit when you were growing up.  What kind of a beast would you be today?  Check out CrossFit Kids HQ for examples of said beasts growing up with the benefit of CrossFit and healthy nutrition.  They are the role models we want for our kids.

If you could raise your kids so that they have the tools to lead a long, healthy life, wouldn't you make the effort?  Right now, by throwing away that leftover Halloween candy and purging the house of all high fructose corn syrup-laden foods, grains, and sugar you can make a difference.  It isn't that hard when it comes right down to it.  Some discomfort, yes, but time will win this war.  If you can hold up your resolve, soon the kids will stop asking for that candy bar or trip to McDonald's.  Instead, allow them to pick their meals and treats from healthy choices at the store or restaurant.  You will be surprised not by the limitations, but by the opportunities and bounty of real food that is out there.  Let your children's lapses into their old life and diet come from outside your control and soon your kids will realize that the sugar/grain hangover they feel after a sleepover binge isn't really worth it or at least definitely not something they want to do everyday.

Most importantly, you are their parent.  You can do this.  The rewards speak for themselves.

How Can I Get Started?

Here are some amazing resources to help you make this change as easy as possible.

1.  If you are just going to read one source for curiosity's sake, this is it.  This blog post at Organic and Thrifty is about how a mom got her kids to follow a gluten-free diet.  While gluten-free is a step in the right direction, it is best to give up ALL grains and sugars and even dairy since it is just concentrated grains (unless you switch to raw 100% grass-fed milk).  Sometimes it takes a celiac child to force this issue, but imagine what you can do if you make this change voluntarily and don't wait for such a problem to force your hand!  I love her thorough article detailing her personal experience and how to make it happen in your own life.  Please read this!

2.  Another great read is a father's experience and recommendations for how you can do the same at CrossFit California City.  He is straightforward, and the advice he gives is effective.

3.  Here is CrossFit Norcal's answer to how to get kids to eat paleo.  Simple and straightforward.

4.  The CrossFit Journal has a free article called "Getting off the crack" by Nicole Carroll.  This is an adult's perspective of embarking upon the zone diet.

5.  More brevity needed?  Here is CrossFit Kids nutritional advice:
Sane nutrition for kids in 150 words

Our goal with kids isn't to get them on the zone, but to get them to think and make good choices about what they eat. Our goal is to teach them very basic concepts, sugar is bad, protein is good and you need to eat some in every meal. Nuts and seeds are good fats. Eat them, don't avoid them. Pasta, white bread, and white rice are not that good for you, stuff that's red, yellow, green and found in the fruit and vegetable aisle is good for you. Eat a lot of it.

Look at your plate, make a fist, eat that much meat every meal; turn your hand over and fill it with nuts and seeds, eat that much good fat, fill the rest of your plate with stuff you found in the fruit and vegetable aisle. Fill your plate this way at every meal, don't eat more.

6.  Still have some arguments against the big change?  Here are six reasons NOT to eat paleo and why they DON'T hold up.  Let this be your ammunition when others question your "insanity."

7.  Robb Wolf chimes in with Kids, Paleo and Nutrient Density with a scientific approach to show that paleo is good for kids, and NO they will not miss anything vital to their nutrition--in fact, they will be far healthier!  

The First Step: Breakfast

Many people say the most important and effective first step is changing breakfast.  Throw away those high glycemic, sugary breakfast cereals and exchange them for real food.

My go-to breakfast is eggs (farmer's market or omega-enriched) and sausage (Aidell's varieties that are sugar, grain, and soy free) with either some bread or an apple (microwave it for a minute or two for a great warm apple breakfast suitable for this chilly weather!).  I also sometimes change it up and have leftover chicken or turkey sauteed with apple and cinnamon for a quick skillet breakfast.  I also used to go crazy with the omelets and veggies, which is probably preferable to the fruit.  For example, simply toss in some spinach, mushrooms, and summer squash for a hearty meal with your eggs.  Leftovers are also an option (mmmmnn  reheated spaghetti with meat sauce), as are Egg Cupcakes 2.0 courtesy of CrossFit Norcal for a more portable breakfast.  Breakfast is also the easiest meal to eat out in restaurants with omelets abounding any breakfast menu.  Just exchange the toast for a fruit cup.

For more on healthy meal ideas, check out my post Lunch Time for some simple lunch and snack ideas.  I have already posted some tasty dinner ideas and will post more in the future!

Are You Inspired to Make the Change? 

Let me know what else you need to help you get started and I will try to help in any way that I can! If you have already taken the plunge, let us know how you accomplished it!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Chips are back on the menu!

Yes, I have been a bit too into putting the old reliables back into my diet in a paleo way.  In one day I made three paleo pumpkin pies and muffins and don't even like pumpkin pie!  I tried to make a pecan fig tart over and over without success and have some good bar cookies and freezer bars (they don't stay together at room temperature) for our munching, but nothing really shines yet as THE recipe to submit to the world.  Still working, tinkering...  Since I have a husband trying to stay on the zone and am trying to preserve my own sanity, my baking is going to be more limited in the future.  Baking within paleo and fruit sugar source restrictions is difficult to say the least.  There have been many delicious failures...

Today, I would like to promote veggies.  Plain and simple.  I have made two awesomely delicious veggie chips that I have to share.

Being a skeptic with any recipe that says it can replicate chips (yes, I have tried baked apple chips and they DID NOT warrant the name of chips; they were more like chewy apple jerky), you can imagine how thrilled I was to find I can make crispy chips out of my own oven!  Using nutritious non-tuber veggies!  Without frying!  And I can make them easily all by myself!  How awesome is that?!  Now you can too!

Kale Creations

I already spouted about how nutritious kale is in Kale Salad.  For example, it is labeled as a superfood for being so nutritious, so check it out.  One caveat: cooking veggies leads to some nutrient loss, so keep that in mind.  On the other hand, heat breaks cell walls making many nutrients more bioavailable to us during digestion.  So the take away message: eat your veggies both raw and cooked!

Kale Chippies (yes, you have to say it in your squeaky, high-pitched GIR voice)
Basically, I tried this recipe I found at Girl Gone Primal and just converted the oven temperature to Fahrenheit and added my go-to spice: garlic powder!  Never underestimate the power of garlic to take something good to the next level of deliciousness!

Cooking Time: Start to finish, less than a half an hour!

1 bunch of kale per diner (I used dinosaur kale because it has such great texture--like dinosaur skin!)
olive oil
black pepper
garlic powder
any other spices your heart desires

Preheat your oven to 355.  Meanwhile, wash the crap out of your kale (unfortunately, farmers market kale is often teaming with life, so wash thoroughly!).  Tear the kale leaves off the thick part of the stalk in big chunks.  There is some shrinkage in the oven, so don't make them too small or they'll shrivel up and burn.  Discard the thick stalks (I have to find a recipe using them, I feel bad throwing them away!).  Dry your kale in a salad spinner or with paper towels.  Dinosaur kale is pretty awesome in that it repels water, so there isn't much water to wick away after washing.  Now, put your kale on a sheet pan or pans (preferably lined with Silpat, parchment, or foil) so that they aren't overly crowded (ideally one layer).  I was living on the edge and neglected to line my sheet pan or use two pans for two bunches of kale--such a rebel!--but since the other recipes mention these preventative measures, I should too even though mine was successful and without excessive cleanup.  Next, drizzle on the olive oil (don't glug, but try to get enough on there to coat once you toss it--remember fat is GOOD) and then sprinkle on the salt, pepper, garlic powder, and any other spices you desire.  Toss the leaves around with your hands to coat everybody equally.  Now, whack 'er in the oven for 10 minutes and check.  Remove to a plate any browned ones or firm ones that are chips.  Yes, they are actually chips!  Leave in any floppy, moist ones for another 5 minutes in the oven.  Repeat until all of your kale has magically transformed into CHIPS!

Crunch away on one of the most awesome and nutritious chips out there!

Eggplant?  Seriously?

Alton Brown from the epicly nerdlicious Food Network show Good Eats helped inspire this eggplant application.  His brilliant pressing strategy lets the eggplant soak in taste rather than become a mushy mess.  Eggplant is delicious and nutritious, so don't shy away from this purple peculiarity.

Eggplant is a nightshade (NOTE: I will discuss at more length in a future post), which means it isn't the best if you are avoiding inflammation and is not quite tasty if you are a cat indulging upon human dinner left out on the counter momentarily unattended (yes, she threw up--but no, it didn't deter her from another counter scavenger hunt later that night, damn cat).  Nutrition wise, eggplant has a good amount of fiber, potassium, manganese, and B vitamins.  It is filled with antioxidants that provide a protective role in our bodies from damaging oxidative reactions.  One such phytonutrient antioxidant in eggplant protects the lipids in our brain cell membranes.  Another one in high quantity is chlorogenic acid which has been found to have anti-cancer, antiviral, anti-microbial, and anti-LDL cholesterol functions.  Bottom line: surprise, surprise, veggies are good for you!

Here is a great method of preparation which serves as a stepping stone to other inventive culinary creations!

Eggplant Chippies
Eggplant takes a little more preparation than kale, but there is a delicious reward for your diligence.  

Time Required: at least 2 hours of pressing, then it is fast and done in 15 minutes.  You can also prepare the eggplant ahead of time and use them for dinner that night--especially if you can give those babies a flip and change their towels half way through the day.  

one regular-sized eggplant per diner
olive oil

Slice the eggplant into half inch thick...slices (I hate repeating myself) and lay one layer on sheet pans lined with pet hair-free tea towels or doubled paper towels.  Sprinkle with salt (don't coat).  Then, top with a tea towel or another doubled paper towel sheet.  Place another sheet pan on top and weigh it down using whatever you have handy that is heavy (i.e. cast iron pans, cans, your cat).  Let them press for 1 hour.  Afterwards, come back and replace the now damp towels, flip the eggplant, sprinkle with salt, and replace the heavies for more pressing.  Repeat as many times as desired/you have the patience for.  Once ready to cook, rinse the eggplant to get off the salt (don't worry, there is still some inside, but not too much, hence the "don't coat" warning above--believe me, I have been there).  Dry with paper towels/pet hair-free tea towels and lay in one layer on the bare sheet pan (use two pans if you can't fit them all).  Don't line the sheet pan this time because we are headed for the broiler and lining can't take the heat, baby.  Drizzle olive oil on your eggplant and you're going to have to be a little liberal since those suckers are sponges.  Turn your broiler on to Low and place the sheet pan on the highest rack.  Prop the door open at its broiler location (why is that again? perhaps for morons like me who like to close the door and forgetaboutit to the point of burnage?).  Check in five minutes for browning, and if you have it, flip.  If not, wait til you do.  Once both sides are browned, you are done!  Salt or spice to taste.

Serving Suggestions:

Neapolitan with Meat Sauce: One incredibly tasty way to serve these is as little Neapolitans with Basic Meat Sauce.  Just assemble your little Leaning Tower and create a tasty moat surrounding with the excess (mine was not suitable for pictures--even the sauce in my pic looks more bloody than tomatoey, unfortunately).   NOTE: this serving style will lose the crispiness of the eggplant, but their roasted sweetness really hits the meat sauce out of the park!

Dunkin' Style: You can avoid the mushiness of the first application if you serve the chips on the side of the meat sauce and use them to dip, as my husband did during our feast.  Yes, my husband is brilliant, but mine was more architecturally pleasing ;)

Neapolitan with Roasted Portobellos, Roasted Red Peppers, Pesto, Fresh Basil, and Fresh Mozzarella (sorry, I am off the cheese for awhile, so no pics of this one): When I used to indulge more on cheese, I replicated a layered deli item from Whole Foods.  After paying over $10 for this tasty dish, I decided to make it myself instead.  Just broil the eggplant using my recipe, broil portobellos the same way (no need to salt and press them first, just follow the broiling method after drizzling in olive oil and sprinkling with salt), then create a tasty stack of layered mushroom slathered in pesto, topped with roasted red pepper (roast yourself or buy in the jar, but check to make sure it is paleo--no citric acid, soy, wheat, or grain products allowed!), topped with fresh basil, topped with eggplant, and finally topped with fresh mozzarella cheese.  Broil or microwave the Neapolitan to melt the cheese before serving/gorging upon.  Um, yum!

Other suggestions:
The sky is the limit.  You have a great base for many flavors and applications.  For instance, try them as Eggplant Parmesan if you eat cheese or want to indulge.  I bet they would be damn tasty sprinkled with parmesan before broiling!  You can also just snack on them as chips.  I know I have, and I didn't feel once ounce of guilt!

Kale Chips on FoodistaKale Chips
Easy and Addictive Eggplant "Chips" on FoodistaEasy and Addictive Eggplant "Chips"

Friday, November 6, 2009

Given Up Bread--Think Again!

No, you have not entered the Twilight Zone.  Bread can be had paleo-style with such simplicity and omg results that perhaps we are in another dimension!  I call this dimension Dangerously Delicious Delectables!

What's the danger?  Well, gluttony for one.  It is hard not to over-indulge with something so hard-wired into our brains as bread (dude--it was an essential part of my every meal growing up in New Jersey suburbia).  When I first made a loaf, I totally sat down and ate half of it.  No kidding.  I was just crazy with glee that bread could be had while not breaking the tenets of no sugar, no grains, and no dairy.

Here is my inspiration: Elana's Pantry's Gluten Free Sandwich Bread.  Her recipe creates a great bread, but to me, I wanted more flavor and rise since mine came out more biscotti-shaped than loaf-like.  I don't have a mini loaf pan or her mail-order almond meal, so perhaps that led to a good, but not great loaf.

I wanted to create a bread the masses could enjoy (paleo and non-paleo alike) with store bought almond flour/meal (I use Trader Joe's since it is the cheapest and that stuff can get quite pricey!) and a flavor profile I have been dying for.  Onion Bread.  Oh yeah, it is just like, nay, BETTER than that onion bagel you probably haven't had in years or that soft onion bread that makes a to-die-for sandwich bread.  And ready in 45 minutes with minimal prep and cleanup--doesn't get much better than this!  Sink your canines into:

(shown toasted and crunchy!)

Paleolicious Onion Bread
Dare you to try this and not close your eyes and revel in its soft, moist onion-breadiness!
Cooking Time: about 45 minutes start to finish!

The Dry
2 c almond flour/meal (I used Trader Joe's)
1 c arrowroot powder (you can find this at New Leaf and perhaps Whole Foods in the bulk bins)
1/2 t salt
1 t baking soda
2 t cream of tartar
1 T dried onion
1/4 t (or 10 fine grinds) of black pepper

The Wet
4 eggs (room temperature or place in lukewarm water while you prepare so they come to room temp)
1/2 c extra virgin olive oil
1/2 c or 4 stalks of scallions/green onions, chopped thinly

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.  Grab your loaf pan and cut two pieces of parchment paper to line the pan: one should span the narrow sides and extend past the lip and the second should do the same on the wide sides.  Why?  No mess!  No worry about stickage!  You can just pull the tabs to remove the loaf when finished without playing pop out the loaf onto the floor as you shake it or jimmy it out of there.  Definitely a time and effort saver!  I just cut two pieces of parchment to accomplish this, but here is another way that creates a pattern out of the parchment.  I will have to try this next time!

Ready for the action?  It is so easy it is embarrassing.  Add the dry ingredients to a large bowl (Note: to avoid the use of a sifter with the cream of tartar that likes to clump, just break it up between your fingers as you add it).  Mix well.  Add the wet ingredients to a second bowl.  Mix well and get some air into those eggs by whisking with a whisk or fork to create some bubbles.  Hey, since we can't use baking powder (contains corn) and don't want to bother with whipping egg whites, we'll take all the leavening we can get!  Now for the hard part.  Just kidding!  Dump the wet into the dry and mix to incorporate.  Now scoop into your loaf pan being careful to keep your parchment liners in place, and whack it in the oven for 30-40 minutes.  I turned my oven up to 355 upon adding the loaf so that it would kick on.  Check at 30 minutes (or 25 if your oven errs on the hot side).  You are looking for a hard top crust and a skewer that comes out mostly if not completely clean.  There should be NO wiggle to the loaf.  Once done, remove from the loaf pan and set on a wire rack to cool for a good hour or so.  Slice and enjoy once you can wait no longer!  Store in the refrigerator wrapped in paper towels and placed in a plastic bag.  It'll last a week (or more?) if you can ;)

Endless Serving Suggestions:

Yeah, go ahead and have that sandwich you have been dying for.  Now you don't have to feel guilty!

Oh, imagine it dipped in Basic Meat Sauce (perhaps with the addition of some veggies to make the sauce a meal)!

Or, if you are indulging on dairy, slather it in raw, grass fed butter!

How I have been indulging lately:

Yes, those are farmer's market eggs and Aidell's chicken apple sausage (processed yes, but still fits the requirements and is really good) atop toasted slices of Paleolicious Onion Bread.  Oh yeah!

Bon Appétit Magazine Blog Envy Bake-Off

I did it.  I entered one of my paleo-style creations into a contest!  I submitted my Pumpkin Chai Spiced Muffins since they are holiday-themed and freakin' delicious.  Hope this generates more buzz about paleo!  

Please vote for me following the Cast Your Vote link on this page:
Bon Appétit Magazine Blog Envy Bake-Off.

Readers will vote for the tastiest-looking treats in each dessert category—cakes, cookies, pies, and more. The Bon Appétit Test Kitchen will bake the top scoring dessert in each category and select an overall winner. The winner will receive a trip for two to New York City and dinner with Bon Appétit Editor-in-Chief Barbara Fairchild and Restaurant Editor Andrew Knowlton. 
Voting begins Sunday, November 1st. Entries are rolling. The contest will end Sunday, December 13th.  

I apologize in advance that I didn't realize they would make everyone register to vote.  Registration is free, though, and hopefully won't cost you your soul :)  I appreciate your support!

Have you tried my muffins?  If so, please leave some comments.  I am interested in your success at recreating my recipes and if they satisfy the cravings from your former grain-fed life.  And remember, 'with great power comes great responsibility' so now that you have the power to create paleo recreations of your favorite treats, try not to over-indulge on them!