Paleo Fast Food + US Wellness Meats Featured Chef + Giveaway (YAY!)

November 30, 2017
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Before I get to my chit chatting, I'm going to guess you saw "Giveaway" in the title and might want to cut straight to the chase. Here's the deal. I'm December's US Wellness Meats Featured Chef and we're running a contest together until December 10th (Woohoo!). Sign up to win ALL OF THIS STUFF from US Wellness Meats at the link below. 

HEALTHY HAPPY HOLIDAY FEATURED CHEF PRIZE PACK


In May of this year I decided to send an email to one of my favorite companies to tell them how much I love their products. I had just put in an order with them and was thinking how much easier they had made my life by making grass-fed meat and bones (for my broth!) so much more accessible (Why do I care about grass-fed? I explain here). Much to my surprise, they emailed me back thanking me, and also with a special request:

Would I be their featured chef for December?

Umm, YES! I thought. Is that a rhetorical question? At the time I was still only 5 months pregnant and had no idea how life would be for me come December. 

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When their marketing representative emailed me in November with a reminder — it was time for me to write my post — I may have had a heart attack. With a 6-week old baby who would not nap for more than 15 minutes, and me going on little to no sleep, how could I possibly find the time to write a post and create recipes for them? For the first time in my life, I truly understood what my readers mean when they tell me that they DO NOT HAVE TIME TO MAKE PALEO FOOD. 

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Before Charley arrived, I had only myself to take care of. I had no idea how much time I spent in the kitchen tinkering with recipes and making complicated meals until I didn't have it anymore.

I am now the proud parent to a beautiful, rambunctious, curious, curly-haired, smushy-faced 2-month old. I’m going to state the obvious here, but I am madly in love with her and I can’t imagine life without her in it now. As expected, my whole world has been turned upside-down and priorities look very different than they did just a few months ago.

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Every waking moment is spent feeding her, changing her diapers, changing her (poopy, spit-uppy) clothes, tickling her, smiling with her, shhhh-ing her, rocking her, bouncing her, and loving on my Charley girl.

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Come breakfast or lunch time, I’m waiting for just the right moment to throw something on a pan or in a bowl, and shove it down my (very hungry) throat. I’m not saying that I’m resorting to McDonald’s drive-thru runs or Lean Cuisines (no judgement if you do). I still put eating whole, unprocessed food very high on my list of priorities — not to mention that I’m breastfeeding which means what I eat, Charley eats. But what I needed was to simplify.

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I pulled it together and got US Wellness Meats their recipes, using some of my favorites from past posts. In fact, their beef liverwurst was the perfect thing to work with because it literally takes no cooking at all, but gives me the nutrients of three different organ meats and it's DELICIOUS.

You can see the post here (eek, my head looks HUGE as the header). But this little exercise also made me think about the kind of cook I need to be at this time in my life. I can no longer be the spend-hours-in-the-kitchen type of cook. But that doesn't mean I have to stop cooking all together. 

So I started taking all the last-minute recipe searching, marinade-ing, spice mixing, and time-intensive meals out of the equation. I finally realized that this is a time for fast food. Or at least, faster food. All I ask is that my meals are Paleo-ish, comforting, and satisfying. But they should all take 15 minutes or less to cook. I searched the interwebs looking for such a guide, but could not find one. So I created my own.

I give you…

My Paleo-Friendly Fast Food Cheat Sheet

PROTEINS:

Pork Chop or Loin
Cook Time: 5-8 minutes per side on the stove top (depending on how well done you like it)
Method:

  1. Season with Salt
  2. Turn pan to medium-high heat and let sizzle on side 1 for about 5 minutes
  3. Turn over and put temperature reader in pork until it reads 145 (medium rare) to 160 (well done).
  4. Let rest for 3 minutes before serving.

Optional: Before cooking, add Dijon mustard and sprinkle seasonings of choice (thyme, oregano, cumin, paprika, etc.) on top of sauce.

 

Ground Meats (Beef/Lamb/Chicken/Turkey/Pork/Bison)

Cook Time: 5-10 minutes depending on meat

  1. Heat pan on high until sizzling, and plop meat in pan (I usually avoid adding fat because it creates so much on its own)
  2. Add in seasonings (cumin, cayenne, chipotle powder, etc.) + salt, chop up into small chunks with spatula, turning over frequently; turn pan down to medium heat
  3. Cook until you no longer see pink; season to taste.

 

Fish

Cook Time: About 10 minutes (rule of thumb is to cook about 10 minutes per inch of fish, turning it halfway through cooking; internal temperature of 145 degrees

Method:

  1. Season your fish with salt and pepper (other seasonings welcome, such as dill, tarragon, cumin, parsley, basil, etc.)
  2. Heat your skillet over high heat, add fat of choice
  3. Lower heat before you plop fish on and let sizzle for 2-5 minutes per side (see rule of thumb above).

 

Yolky Eggs

Cook Time: 5-8 minutes

Method: 

  1. Heat pan till sizzling and add fat of coice
  2. Crack egg over pan and let sizzle for approximately 3 minutes
  3. Sprinkle salt and cover pan with lid. TURN OFF burner and let sit for 2 minutes (I like my egg yolk runny, but let it sit longer if you want a more solid egg yolk)

 

Bone Broth

Cook Time: 2 minutes (re-heating)

Method: 

  1. Re-heat homemade (see my recipe here) or store-bought broth on stove or in microwave
  2. Add leftover meat, chop up vegetables, wilt in spinach…or just drink it straight with a sprinkling of salt and seasonings of your choice

 

Liverwurst Sausage

Cook Time: 0 minutes

Method:

  1. Slice into thin circles and use it to top salads, eggs or crackers. No need to cook.

*Note: I recognize that this one is not easily available at most stores so I highly recommend ordering it from US Wellness Meats. All of their meat is grass-fed and finally gives us a way to get this incredibly nutrient-dense food into our diets easily and quickly. This Liverwurst is a mixture of grass-fed beef, liver, heart, and kidney. DAMN. That is a whole lotta healthy.

 

Sardines

Cook Time: 0 minutes

Method:

  1. Throw canned sardines with extra virgin olive oil (ideally, wild caught) on a big bowl of lettuce – I like this brand.
  2. Add chopped veggies (if you have time)
  3. Toss with lemon juice and sprinkle salt.

 

Smoked Salmon

Cook Time: 0 minutes

Method:

  1. Take it out of the package and toss it on a big plate of greens 
  2. Toss with lemon juice and sprinkle salt.

 

VEGETABLES
Asparagus

Cook Time: 4-5 minutes

Method:

  1. Drizzle with avocado oil/ghee/coconut oil/olive oil
  2. Sprinkle with salt
  3. Put in oven at 425 for a quick flash of heat — just enough to get it hot and crunchy

 

Bed of Greens

Cook Time: 0 minutes

Method:

  1. Literally lay your protein over a bed or a big bowl of greens.
  2. Drizzle olive oil and lemon juice.
  3. Sprinkle salt. Done.

 

Broccolini (unlike broccoli, it's ready to cook – no chopping required) 

Cook Time: 5-10 minutes

Method:

  1. Heat up large pan on medium-high heat, once it’s sizzling add fat of choice
  2. Toss in broccolini with plenty of room for them to breath
  3. Sprinkle with salt
  4. Stir fry on high heat until desired doneness (less time = more crunchy).

 

Baby Bok Choy

Cook Time: 2-3 minutes

Method:

  1. Slice baby bok choy into strips,
  2. Sauté on pan at medium-high heat
  3. Sprinkle with salt

 

Much Love,

HealthyStaceySignature

Date Recipes for an Easy(er) Labor

September 12, 2017
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If you’ll remember quite a few posts back, I quit my full-time job to pursue my dream of becoming a health & wellness entrepreneur. Today, my work no longer fits into a neat little box. One that I clock in, and clock out of, and that has one title. Instead, it’s messy, volatile, and all over the place. And I love it.

At the moment, I work for five different “jobs,” or rather, clients. One such client is called the Institute for Functional Medicine. It is my responsibility to read dozens of clinical studies on a particular topic, and summarize them into one succinct article.

I’ll admit, it’s one of the toughest jobs I’ve ever had. It requires quite a lot of brain power, but I wouldn’t trade it for the world. Why? Because it makes me smarter. It forces me to read scientific studies, understand the language, and make decisions based on concrete information rather than internet regurgitation.

Recently, I came across a study that was of particular interest to me because of my current condition (pregnant).

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It was called “The effect of late pregnancy consumption of date fruit on labour and delivery.”

Researchers at Jordan University of Science and Technology followed 114 pregnant women over the course of a year. During that time, they gave 69 women six dates per day for four weeks prior to their estimated delivery date. The 45 women in the control group consumed none. The results were nothing short of awesome, in my opinion. Here’s the gist:

  • The “date women” had significantly higher cervical dilation upon their labor day compared with the “non-date women.” 3.52 cm vs. 2.02 cm.
  • 96% of the “date women” experienced spontaneous labor, compared to 79% of “non-date women.”
  • 28% of “date women” needed hormones to progress labor (prostin/oxytocin), compared to 47% in “non-date women.”
  • The “date women” were in the first stage of labor for a mean of 510 minutes, vs. 906 minutes for the “non-date women.”

In conclusion, eating dates in the last 4 weeks before labor significantly reduced the need for induction or intervention in labor and produced a more favorable delivery outcome. 

Hell yes.

As someone who is planning on having a natural labor, I need all the help I can get for a “favorable” outcome. So I followed suit. At 36 weeks, I started diligently eating my 6 dates a day. And I must admit, it’s not as easy as it sounds. Six dates a day is a lot! Especially for a girl who normally watches her sugar intake. But guess what? I’m a chef. Why just eat dates when you can eat dates baked in, topped on, and rolled into other delicious ingredients? I called for reinforcements.

I just happen to have a friend who is a fellow personal chef and also in her third trimester of her first pregnancy – SMALL WORLD, right? So wonderful Whitney of a Shared Plate and I made a Date “Date.” (See what we did there?).

It involved a lot of taste testing, a little swearing when I accidentally dumped a tablespoon of nutmeg into the pumpkin batter (that stuff is STRONG), and four swollen ankles by the end of the day. But we were both very happy with the results. And hopefully our babies will agree come labor day.

Before I hand over the goods, I just want to say that I’m not naïve enough to think that dates alone are going to make labor easy or painless. The study I cited here tested a smaller sample size, and was also conducted in Jordan — a large exporter of the date fruit. I have found plenty of anecdotal evidence from other women who've found labor improvement through date eating, but there really is no guarantee, right? Sometimes, though, I think we all need something to feel like we have a bit of control over a very out-of-control condition. Heaven knows, this is the last time for a long time that we can feel we have control over anything.

Though pregnancy has been a wonderful experience for me, these last few weeks have been a true test of patience and letting go — knowing that I must have faith that it will all work out. I plan to write back again once Charley girl is born with knowledge and wisdom. But right now, I have absolutely no idea what I’m doing. So with that, I raise a date to you. Here's to being totally clueless, scared out of our minds, but also more excited than we ever have been to experience love like we never knew we could. Cheers!

Much Love,

HealthyStaceySignature


Labor Day Date Recipes

Per the study cited above, you should start your date obsession at 36 weeks of pregnancy, or rather 4 weeks before expected delivery date. Six dates a day? With these recipes? No problem.

Zucchini Date Bread

Why use raisins when you can use dates? Why use sugar when you can use dates? Any possible ingredient that could be subsituted with dates, we did. The result was a soft, hearty zucchini bread with a subtle sweetness. If you're feeling really indulgent, slather it with almond butter. Or heck. Just butter. Remember, fat is good for you and the baby.

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Recipe courtesy of Katie at the Healthy Seasonal Recipes blog, with tweaks from Whitney and Stacey.

Ingredients

  • ¾ cup boiling water
  • 1 cup pitted and quartered Medjool dates
  • 2 cups gluten-free flour
  • 1 cup sprouted spelt flour
  • 1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice or cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 3 large pasture-raised eggs
  • ½ cup coconut oil
  • 3 tablespoons honey
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 pound zucchini, shredded (about 3 ½ cups)
  • ¾ cup rolled oats
  • Additional cup dates, chopped

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Coat 2 1.5-quart loaf pans with coconut oil.
  2. Pour boiling water over the dates and let sit until softened, about 15 minutes.
  3. While you’re waiting, stir together gluten-free flour, spelt flour, spices, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a medium bowl.
  4. Transfer dates and their soaking liquid to a food processor and process until smooth.
  5. Add eggs, oil, honey and vanilla and process until smooth.
  6. Pour date mixture into a large bowl. Stir in zucchini. Add the flour mixture and stir until just combined. Add the oats and extra chopped dates and stir until just combined. Divide the batter between the two prepared pans.
  7. Bake until golden brown, puffed and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with moist crumbs attached, 55 minutes to 1 hour.
  8. Allow loaves to cool in their pans at least 15 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack to cool.

 

Pumpkin Crisp Date Bars | Gluten-Free, Vegan

I couldn't possibly make baked goods in September without satisfying my pumpkin obsession. And oh boy, did this do it. The filling is made by blending dates and pumpkin puree together, along with all the necessary fall spices. If you wanted to make this paleo, then I would recommend using a combination of ground nuts and shredded coconut to replace the oats. OR, you could just make the filling and eat it by the spoonful. No shame in that, my preggo friends.

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Recipe courtesy of Sarah McMinn from My Darling Vegan

Ingredients

(Pumpkin Date Filling)

  • 1 cup packed medjool dates, pitted
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • ¼ cup maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ⅛ teaspoon ground cloves
  • zest of 1 large orange, about 2 teaspoons

(Oat Crumble)

  • 2½ cups gluten-free rolled oats
  • 1 cup almond meal
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup maple syrup
  • ½ cup coconut oil

Directions

  1. Soak the pitted dates for 30 minutes.
  2. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Coat an 8×8 baking sheet with coconut oil and set aside.
  3. For the oat crumble combine oats, almond meal, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt. Stir together. In a smaller bowl whisk combine coconut oil and maple syrup. Add the coconut oil/syrup mixture to the oats and stir to combine.
  4. Once your dates are done soaking, drain and place in a food processor along with the remaining pumpkin filling ingredients. Blend until smooth. Set aside.
  5. Pour half of the oat crumble on the bottom of the prepared baking sheet and press down. top with the pumpkin filling, smoothing even with a spatula. Finish by sprinkling the remaining oat crumble evenly over the top. Press down lightly.
  6. Bake for 30-35 minutes until crumb is golden brown. Remove from oven and let cool completely before slicing into 16 even pieces.

 

Raw Chocolate Date Brownies | Paleo, Gluten-Free, Vegan, Raw

Of all the date recipes made, this one might take the cake. I've never experienced something so decadently brownie-like, without actually being a brownie. It blows my mind that these are essentially made up of just 3 ingredients: dates, walnuts, and cacao. Bonus points for giving me the small kick of caffiene (from the cacao) I need every day without resorting to coffee. Whitney had the fantastic idea that on the next go-round of these (and there WILL BE another go-round), we should add hazelnuts to the mix. Done and done.

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Recipe courtesy of Katie from Chocolate Covered Katie, with tweaks from Whitney and Stacey

Ingredients

  • 2½ cups loosely packed pitted dates
  • 1 1/2 cups walnuts
  • 6 tbsp cacao or cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 2 tsp water
  • 1/4 + 1/8 tsp salt

Directions

  1. Combine the dates, walnuts, 6 tbsp cocoa, 1 1/2 tsp vanilla, water, and salt in a food processor. Process until completely smooth, scraping down as needed – It may seem dry at first, but don’t add any extra water. 
  2. Lightly grease an 8-inch square baking pan, or line the pan with parchment or wax paper.
  3. Transfer dough to pan and press very firmly until dough is evenly distributed in the pan.
  4. Refrigerate brownies for at least 2 hours, to set. Leftovers can stay covered at room temperature for a day, or up to 2 weeks in the fridge, or 1-2 months in the freezer.

 

Kitchen Sink Date Energy Balls & Bars | Paleo, Gluten-Free, Vegan, Raw

I personally love recipes that have very lax guidelines. So I created this gem for you so you can easily make your own date ball or bar. Think of it as a "choose your own adventure" recipe. No matter what nuts or seeds you choose, you'll get the added benefit of combining a protein (nuts/seeds) and a fat (coconut oil) with your dates. This will keep your blood sugar from spiking as you gobble them down.

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Original recipe from Healthy Stacey, intended to be customized to your tastes (and/or lack of having the exact ingredients on hand becasue…life)

Ingredients

  • 1 cup of nuts (i.e. almonds, walnuts, brazil nuts, macadamia nuts, pistachios)
  • 1 cup of seeds (i.e. pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, etc)
  • 1 cup of shredded unsweetened coconut
  • 2 cups of Medjool dates, pitted
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon of your favorite spices mixed together (e.g. cinnamon, turmeric, cayenne, etc)
  • Optional: superfood toppings to roll the balls in such as cacao nibs, goji berries, or more shredded coconut

Directions

  1. Process the nuts, seeds and coconut in the food processor
  2. Add in the dates, coconut oil, salt and seasonings, then pulverize again
  3. Roll mixture into balls or flatten into a pan
  4. Freeze for an hour
  5. Cut into squares if flattened into a pan
  6. Eat one, and put the rest in the fridge for daily snacks until your labor day!

 

Healthy Body

Healthy Stacey is having a baby + Spicy & Sweet Brittle Recipe

May 4, 2017
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A lot has happened since my last post in December (embarrassing, I know). I’ve been writing up a storm for a few publications including The List, Mashed, and more, I’m really coming into my own as a personal chef, and oh yeah, I’M HAVING A BABY!

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Yup. It’s official. All my efforts in fertility food have paid off. Well, that mixed with a few months of frustration, a few weeks of letting go and having fun (read: more wine, less paranoia), and finally, a big old positive on the pee stick. Baby Hutson is arriving in September and my husband and I could not be more excited.

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In the meantime, however, months have gone by of me learning tons of new recipes, techniques, and information that I’ve been dying to share with you. Just haven’t made the time to do it. 

Because I couldn’t settle on one topic to talk about, I thought I’d give you a sampling of my new-found knowledge (i.e. a brain dump) so that we can get this train moving again. You ready? Here goes.

The Book I’m Reading:

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Deep Nutrition: Why your genes need traditional food, 2nd Edition. I read the first years ago and it opened my mind up to the world of Epigenetics (meaning, what you eat and how you live can alter your DNA — and your future children’s DNA — for the better). Dr. Shanahan has now updated the book with more information on vegetable oils, brain health, body symmetry, and diet, and I cannot get enough. This book is really hard to summarize in a nice, neat paragraph. So maybe it’s better served having its own post. But if I can convince you to do one thing differently this month to better your health, it would be to read this book. No, I’m not getting paid to say that. I just really want more people to know more about it because it’s THAT good.

The Foods I’m Eating:

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At the moment, I love all things cold, crunchy, and/or sweet. That includes (but is not limited to): Cado ice cream (yes, it’s avocado ice cream), frozen grapes, jicama, my homemade spicy brittle crunch (recipe below), and plantain bread with almond butter and cinnamon. I’ve also been really diligent about drinking bone broth as much as I can for all of the benefits it brings to me and Baby H. I’ve increased my carb intake, not only because it’s important for hormone balance, but because my body is begging for it. I’ve done that in the form of sweet potatoes, plantain bread and chips, sprouted quinoa, and the occasional piece of sourdough bread with a heaping spoonful of almond butter. Besides that, it’s really just me eating more of what I already know and love. Loads of veggies, lots of meat and fish (grass-fed, free-range, and wild-caught as much as I can), hormone-balancing meatballs (read: LIVER!), and tons of nuts and seeds (more cashews and almonds than one human should consume in a day). Which segways perfectly into my next update…

The Project I’m Working On:

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Pregnancy has caused me some serious insomnia over the last two months. At first, I was frustrated. And then, I decided to use it to my advantage. So, I did what I always do to relax me. I wrote. And what came out of my writing was the beginnings of a cookbook. A paleo-ish pregnancy cookbook to be exact. Full of information about the benefits of a full-fat, meat-on-the-bone, organ meat-full, and gluten-free diet during pregnancy (with room for mess-ups and why-nots). I have no intention of taking this to a “real publisher." Instead, I am writing it because I love cooking, I love writing, and I wanted one place to put all my “craving recipes.” I’ll keep you updated on how that goes. Who knows. Maybe I'll print them out and make them available to you fine people. But no pressure, either way, cool? Cool.

The Cookware I'm Using…And Why:

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I’ve made the switch to cast iron pans. It wasn’t easy. I’ve had them sitting in my cupboards for years, only pulling them out every once in a while, for special occasions. But after reading about the dangers of the chemical coating that could be coming off in my food while using a non-stick pan, I decided to lug the heavy stuff out for good. Non-stick pans are great, right? No stick, no mess, no scrubbing with a brush to clean up caked-on ground beef. Problem is, the non-stick pans apparently can’t stand the heat. When heated to high temperatures, they can emit polymer fumes that have been shown to kill pet birds (what??) and cause people to develop flu-like symptoms. Cast iron, on the other hand, is a much better alternative. Not only is it free-from chemicals or toxic fumes, it actually serves as a good source of…wait for it…iron. Genius, right? Who’d a thunk. Oh. As far as lifting them goes – my advice is don’t. Just leave them where they are and clean them off with a paper towel, then wipe them down with a little oil to keep them well-seasoned. Wouldn’t want you breaking an arm while scraping off turmeric scrambled eggs.

Alright folks. That's all she wrote for now. But don't worry, I'll be back. And it won't take nearly as long next time, K? Promise. 

Much Love,

HealthyStaceySignature

 

Spicy & Sweet Brittle Recipe (AKA My #1 Pregnancy Craving)

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This recipe, first written by a food blogger, Amanda Skrip, was shared with me by health & wellness chef, Alia Dalal, as we were cooking it for a client of ours. I took one bite and knew I had to have it for myself. Since then, I’ve made some additional tweaks, and the result is this masterpiece. It has been, hands down, my biggest craving. Pregnant or not, the ingredients (nori for protein, minerals, and more vitamin C than an orange; molasses for strong bones and healthy blood; pumpkin seeds for immune support, omega-3, and hormone balance) are highly nutritious. But somehow, put them all together, and they are to-die-for. I’m talking, dream-about-it-all-day-till-I-get-home-and-stuff-my-face-with-it delicious. You catch my drift?  

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup sesame seeds
  • 3/4 cup sunflower seeds, sprouted
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin seeds, sprouted
  • 2 sheets nori (the seaweed paper your sushi is wrapped in)
  • 1/3 cup pure maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon molasses
  • 2 tablespoon coconut oil
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne
  • ¼ teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon

Tip: If you love ginger, grate a ginger root over your sticky mixture (or half your mixture if you don't want it ALL gingery) for an extra spicy – and anti-inflammatory – kick.

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 325. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Mix all of your seeds in one bowl together.
  3. Put your two sheets of nori on top of each other. Now, using scissors cut them into small, thin 2-inch strips, and add them to the seed mixture (Tip: If you have herb-cutting scissors, they make this job SO much easier).
  4. Mix together maple syrup, molasses, cayenne, cinnamon, and sea salt in a bowl.
  5. Pour sticky, spicy mixture over seeds and stir to coat them.
  6. Now, pour mixture onto parchment-covered baking sheet, and use a spatula to spread it into an even layer.
  7. Put pan in oven for 18 minutes at first. Check to see if it’s burning at all. If not, leave in for another 3-5 minutes. At this point, the mixture needs to dry to form together so DON’T MESS WITH IT TOO MUCH.
  8. Let it cool for 30 minutes until it’s hardened.
  9. Break apart into big chunks and take a bit of the most delicious bark you’ve ever tasted.

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Playing Hooky with Gingerbread Cookies and Jord Watches

December 13, 2016
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“But Mommy! I don’t want to go to school today. I want to stay home and bake cookies with you!”

This was my favorite thing to say to my mom when I was young. It’s a Daffy Duck line from Space Jam (Everybody get up it’s time to jam now – ah, so good). Anyways, it always seemed the perfect thing to say on a cold, blustery day, when all I wanted to do was cuddle up with mom – a Christmas movie in the background, hot cocoa on the stove, and me on a step stool with electric mixer in hand, beating up the batter for a batch of Mom’s extra fudgy brownies.

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Well, it may have taken 25 years, but last week, Mom and I did it. Actually played hooky. We shut the door on the bitterly cold weather, set work aside, put the fire on full blast, and baked cookies.

She brought soup. I bought molasses and maple syrup. We played “All I Want for Christmas” and talked tea parties and teddy bear’s picnics. And, together, we whipped up one slightly soft, slightly crispy, extra gingery batch of gingerbread cookies. Paleo, yes. But you would never know the difference.

It was lovely. And rare. At a time of the year when everything moves at break neck speed, time slowed. I know because I could see it right on my wrist. PaleoGingerbreadCookieIngredientsandJordWatch

There's something really luxurious about wearing an old-fashioned, wind-up, tick-tocking watch. This beauty was made by an artist-run, sustainably-driven company called Jord. Even my mom agreed that she'd never seen such a unique watch. Might have something to do with the fact that they're all made from natural woods like Koa, Bamboo, Maple, Walnut, and Sandalwood.

Point is, for whatever reason, this super cool watch company decided that my wrist was fit for one of their best-sellers, the Frankie.

When it arrived in the mail, I was totally in awe. Zebrawood band and a champagne face. Oooohh. Ahhhhh.

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Luxury. The whole afternoon was full of it. Not in the champagne and high heels kind of way. But in the slow-moving, tea-sipping, eyes-closing as we bit into another gingerbread cookie kind of way.

Oh. And these cookies. I could write a love poem about them. I'll be the first to admit that Paleo cookies do not typically hold up to their all-purpose-flour counterparts. But these cookies are different. I swear. Soft, with just enough bite. Sweet, but not too sweet. And a little nutty.

The key is, I let somebody else do all of the recipe-testing. Time is luxury, right?

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My recipe creator and tester was Megan from the blog Detoxinista. So no, I cannot take credit for these gems. But I have no problem giving it all to her and sending you her way if you want to make a paleo cookie taste good. 

It's important that you don't skip the frosting. Delicious, yes, but also very important because it is FUN. Apparently, running coconut sugar through your Vitamix causes it to go up in smoke in one big sugar cloud. Is it weird that I wanted to stick my tongue out so I could catch a puff of it?

PowderedCoconutSugarPaleo

So please. I beg of you. Consider not just making them, but really taking an afternoon, a morning, whatever you can get so that you can enjoy the process and make your own sugar clouds. The cookies, the hookie, the time with your fam, the whole she-bang. It’s incredibly therapeutic at this time of the year.

Okay, okay. I can see the eye rolls from here coming from the busy moms who know I have no idea what stress is like until I have a house full of screaming kids to take care of while "luxuriously" lounging with my mom by the fire.

Hi guys. I give you full permission to put a KICK ME sign on my back next time you see me. But I do have something that might make you hate me less. I have a little gift for you all. Follow the link below and you’ll get $25 towards a Jord watch for your mom, dad, girlfriend, or little old you. Because we all deserve a little luxury, don’t you think?

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Thank you to Jord Wood Watches for sponsoring this post. You are lovely.

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PALEO GINGERBREAD COOKIE RECIPE

Cookie Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups almond meal
  • 1/4 cup arrowroot or tapioca starch
  • 2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 Tablespoons melted coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup pure maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon blackstrap molasses
  • Extra arrowroot or tapioca starch, for rolling & cutting
  • 1 batch of Coconut Sugar Icing, for decorating

Coconut Sugar Frosting Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon Nutiva red palm oil shortening
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil (not liquified)
  • 1/4 cup “powdered” coconut sugar
  • 2 tablespoons arrowroot or tapioca starch
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla or almond extract

Cookie Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
  3. Pour almond meal, tapioca starch, ginger, cinnamon, salt and baking soda in a bowl and stir to combine.
  4. In a seperate bowl, combine coconut oil, maple syrup, and molasses.
  5. Pour sticky mixture into the dry ingredient bowl and mix together until a dough is formed. It should be a bit sticky – make sure there is no powder left in the mixture.
  6. Place the dough in the freezer for at least 30 minutes to help it get more firm.
  7. If you want to keep it simple and just roll them into balls or stick them into a cutout cookie sheet (no shame in the lazy way if you ask me), then skipi to step 12.
  8. Put down a large piece of parchment paper and sprinkle it with tapioca starch.
  9. Split the dough into thirds to work in small batches (I always start with one batch before I put them all in because I may want to change their thickness/timing if the first batch didn't work out like I wanted)
  10. Use a rolling pin (or if you're like me and you don't have a rolling pin, use a large bottle of Extra Virgin Olive Oil, ha)
  11. Dip your cookie cutters in a little starch, then press them into your dough.
  12. If you don't have a cookie cutter or choose not to use one, roll your dough into 1-inch balls and flatten them on the parchment-covered cookie sheet. Sprinkle them with a bit of coconut sugar for good measure.
  13. Stick in the oven for 8-10 minutes. Any longer than that for my oven made them a little too crispy for my tastes. They weren't exactly burnt, but they were just crossing the line.

Frosting Directions:

  1. Toss coconut sugar in your high speed blender until it's finely ground. It will literally puff up in a cloud and have a texture similar to powdered sugar.
  2. Then, combine all of the ingredients in a bowl and use a rubber spatula to mix it and press it all together. Add a bit of water to smooth it out (just a little at a time).
  3. To decorate, scoop the frosting mixture into a platic bag and then cut the tip of the bottom of one side of the bag. If you're smart and prepared, you'll have a decorating tip. I, am neither of those things so I had to settle with a very unsteady stream of frosting pouring out onto my cookies. Thus, the very messy final product. But, hey, they still tasted amazing so I'm not mad about it.

paleoGingerbreadCookiesGreenAnthropologiePlate

 

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