Tag Archives: Paleo

Recipe: Grain-free fig & hazelnut granola

grain-free fig hazelnut granola
My favourite of all the breakfast options is always eggs. Boiled, fried, scrambled or poached; I don’t discriminate. My other half though, well, he likes eggs but his heart has always belonged to sweet breakfasts. Pre our own paleolithic era, a creamy bowl of oats topped with fruit & honey or a thick slice of banana bread smothered with ricotta would do him just nicely thank you very much.

Almost every week since we started living life grain & dairy-free, I put together a batch of granola so we’ve always got a speedy breakfast on hand that satisfies any yearnings for the days of old. The beauty of granola is that you can easily customise it to whatever is in the pantry & you’ve got plenty of wriggle room to substitute or supplement for your own cravings or food requirements.

Our Healthful Pantry order this month included organic hazelnuts & dried figs so I was inspired to put this combo together. Hazelnuts, honey & cacao almost had me tasting Nutella. Almost.

This isn’t an everyday food but it’s an indulgence I like to have once or twice a week on days where I haven’t trained before breakfast & won’t be eating another nut-based meal/snack throughout the day.

I store this in a sealed container in the fridge & it usually lasts us 5-6 serves, depending on how much ‘accidentally’ gets stuck to the spoon after stirring (& consequently ends up in my mouth).

Grain-free fig & hazelnut granola

  • 1 cup hazelnuts
  • 1 cup almonds
  • 1 cup coconut flakes
  • 8 dried figs
  • handful or 2 sunflower seeds
  • handful or 2 cacao nibs
  • shake of ground cinnamon
  • 1-2 tblsp raw honey
  • 1-2 tblsp coconut oil

Preheat your oven to 150°C (300°F) & line a large tray with baking paper (you don’t have to but you’ll thank yourself when you’re trying to wash the tray later tonight!)

Blitz the hazelnuts & almonds in a food processor for a few seconds, or until they’re roughly chopped (or chop them by hand if it’s early/late & you’re overly kind to your neighbours) & tip them onto your baking tray.

Thinly slice the figs & toss them, along with the coconut flakes, seeds, nibs & cinnamon, on to the tray mixing them in with the nuts.

Drizzle your coconut oil & honey (warm them if they’re a bit solidified) over the lot & mix it through a little to evenly distribute.

Bake at 150 degrees for 30 minutes stirring every 10 minutes or so, trying not to burn your tongue on the spoon when you inevitably succumb to the toasty aroma.

Once it’s looking all golden and delicious, remove from the oven & let it cool down for a bit before tipping it into a container for storage.

Fig & hazelnut granola - Grain-free & paleo

We love to eat our granola topped with sliced banana, a handful of blueberries & a hearty drizzle of coconut milk. Depending on your relationship with dairy, feel free to involve some full-fat plain yogurt or whatever you’d normally put with crunchy breakfast-y goodness.

Just between you & me though, it’s also quite delicious eaten plain, by the handful, straight from the fridge.

Week of eats: 16 Feb 2014

Every Sunday, I plan out & shop for the majority of our meals for the week ahead. Here’s the best-of last week.

To kick things off on this rainy Sunday evening, as promised here’s the Creamy Chicken & Tomato Pasta from Let’s Eat Paleo by The Merrymaker Sisters. I added in some zucchini & served it with sweet potato noodles & it was super tasty. Quick & easy to put together, this dish has already made the menu again for this week.

Creamy Chicken & Tomato Pasta

The recipe was for four people so we both enjoyed leftovers for lunch the next day. A few cherry tomatoes, a handful of baby spinach & a sprinkle of some leftover pomegranate seeds & it was the second best lunch I had all week.

Leftover Creamy Chicken & Salad

While I put together the Creamy Chicken & Tomato Pasta dish, I let a pot of Chocolate Chili simmer ready for a speedy heat & eat dinner the next night. A day in the fridge to sit and flavour-mingle is the key to getting the most deliciousness out of a dish like this I reckon! This recipe is available online but I totally recommend Well Fed 1, the cookbook this is also in. (And FYI, the leftovers of this one took out favourite lunch of the week)

Chocolate Chili

Breakfast seems to be the biggest gripe new-to-paleo people post about online: “How do I do breakfast without Pop-Tarts, Coco-Pops & Wonderbread?” Behold the whatever-is-in-the-fridge scramble: sliced up leftover tomato-y meatballs, a handful of kale & 2 eggs scrambled with a plop of coconut milk. I’d have that over some sugar-laden cereal any day!

Kale & Meatball Scramble

One of the best cookbooks of last year would have to be Jerusalem by Yotam Ottolenghi. We’ve made a lot of awesome dishes out of it & I was surprised we hadn’t given this particular recipe a spin yet. Braised Eggs with Lamb, Tahini & Sumac was an absolute ripper of a dish which Michael could not get enough of. Toasted pine nuts & pistachios tangled with spiced-up mince & roasted tomatoes, topped with eggs: Sold.

Braised eggs with lamb

Finally, although Valentine’s Day is a bit of a non-event in this household, I couldn’t resist making a chocolatey extravaganza for dessert on Friday night. This Coconut & Chocolate Tart was simple to put together & when topped with some figs & crushed macadamias, went down a charm with my Valentine. (Pro tip: drizzle coconut butter on top… Yeahhhh)

Coconut & Chocolate tart

Hope you’ve got some delicious things planned for dinner at your place this week!

Review: Let’s Eat Paleo by The Merrymaker Sisters

I’m a cookbook fiend but in an already tightly-stuffed apartment, there’s only so many books a girl can keep in stock.

Enter, the e-book. Now normally, I do like my cookbooks to be a touch splattered with the dinners of days gone by. But, for The Merrymaker Sisters and their cute new e-book, Let’s Eat Paleo, I’ll try & keep the mess to a minimum (garlic-scented iPhone anyone?)

Let's Eat Paleo

Let’s Eat Paleo provides an easy introduction for those new to paleo life & a refreshing approach to daily dino chow for those already in the know. And if you like your paleo treat eats, The Merrymaker Sisters oblige with a variety of sweets including tarts, smoothies, cakes & brownies.

Having made a few recipes from The Merrymaker back catalogue, I was excited to see which delights had made the cut for the 50 paleo recipes included in the PDF. While there’s plenty of new additions, my favourite recipe from the girls – the De-Snicker-licious Raw Cake – deservedly makes an appearance, as does the Spinach & Leek Meache which I keep meaning to whip out. It’s got Sunday night supper written all over it!

De-snicker-licious cake

The bottom half of this extravaganza I made last year is the De-Snicker-Licious Raw Cake – it lived up to its name!

Other recipes I can’t wait to crack out include Sweet Potato & Kale Pancakes, Raw Bircher Muesli, Mustard & Chive Scones, Lamb Korma in the Slow Cooker and Shepherd’s Pie in a Capsicum (why did I not think of this!?). I’ve also got the Creamy Chicken & Tomato Pasta plotted into the meal planner this week – stay tuned for my verdict & happy snaps later in the week.

In addition to the recipes, there’s an inspiring intro which focuses on the paleo lifestyle, not just the paleo diet. It’s obvious from the blog & Instagram feed The Merrymaker Sisters maintain that they’re active little vegemites who know there’s more to maintaining health & wellbeing than running endless kilometres on the treaddie! It’s so great to see this attitude being spread by young Aussie women.

If you want some fun foodspiration, a way to support young local talent or just a handy little e-cookbook, Let’s Eat Paleo is a splatter-proof investment.

Things I Love Thursday: 12 Sep

Here’s what’s been floating my boat this week 🙂

  • Researching all things Paleo! This meal planning template was a particularly useful find.
  • Pinterest funnies, especially this:

  •  Celebrating the birthday of my best friend since forever on the weekend. Friendship established 1992 & still going strong!
    Nina's birthday

    Here we are as chubby-faced primary schoolers 🙂

  • LOVE GRIT! Is it a tough workout? Here’s my post-GRIT face… Pooped!post grit
  • This Paleo Pizookie recipe with this banana ice cream recipe… Decadent but still a tick in the technical paleo book!

Paleo pizookie

  • And on banana ice cream: OMG!? I’d seen this article from The Kitchn before but just thought it was a bit of a beat up, or that I’d need some fancy-schmancy Thermomix-style blender. Ahhh no! It is pure magic! I shared the recipe with a workmate & he’s now using it as a bribery tool with his toddler. Bribery with just a frozen, blended banana – so simple! Just make it. You’ll see.

21 ways to get from paleo to delicious

The internet is rife with all manner of paleo resources – the good, the bad, the delicious and the downright ridiculously devilish (Clean Eating with a Dirty Mind, I’m looking at you).

Even though the guidelines of paleo eating may sound restrictive, there’s so much you can do beyond a slab of meat & a pile of steamed greens. I thought I’d put together this little slideshow of some of our paleo meals from the last few weeks to stoke the fires of creativity & point out some great paleo websites I’ve discovered along the way.

One more thing we crack on, I’ve read a lot around the traps about this way of eating being known for an over-reliance on meat. Long before starting to align our eating with paleo, we had enjoyed a tradition of a weekly “Meat Free Monday” dinner where vegetarian food was the no-excuses order of the evening. Interestingly given this criticism of paleo, we’ve continued this tradition without too much of a battle and I’ve included a few of these meals below.

The next chapter: Hello Paleo!

There’s change afoot in our household.

For the last 3 weeks, we’ve been eating to Paleo rules. That is:

  • Lots of vegetables & fruit
  • Plenty of meat & eggs & seafood too
  • A good dose of nuts & other healthy fats

Sounds good right?

Well, there’s only a slight catch. Excluded from paleo eating are:

  • Dairy
  • Legumes
  • Grains
  • Sugar (mostly refined – some occasional honey & real maple syrup are cool)

So, other than for a couple of celebrations where we indulged a little, we’ve binned the tinned chickpeas, left the dairy farmers in the lurch and kept the bag rice buried in the top of the pantry.

“But for what incredible benefit would you now avoid blue cheese??”, I hear you cry. Well, we’ve been really surprised at the benefits of eating this way and, to be honest, how easy it’s been to stick to.

For the last few years, I’ve had a gluten intolerance so that’s kinda helped us get used to the no grains bit a little but, don’t get me wrong, we did have brown rice, polenta and oats queued up, along with tins upon tins of cannelini & kidney beans, lentils & corn kernels.

Like I’m sure many young women do, I’ve always tried to stick to low-calorie options, squirming whenever more than a quarter of an avocado came my way & trying to think happy thoughts when chowing into fat-free tuna in springwater with cucumber on paper-thin 60-calorie wraps.

It feels positively wild putting 150 grams of chicken and half an avocado in a hearty salad at lunch time but you know what, it fills me up so much more than the traditional low calorie, low fat diets we are normally pushed towards for optimal health. I no longer snack between breakfast & lunch. I have a pre-gym snack before I leave work in the afternoon & a recovery mini-meal post-gym. And then it’s dinner time. We haven’t given up the two squares of quality dark chocolate after dinner but beyond that, we’re paleo all the way, baby!

We’ve lost a couple of kilos, actually feel hungry by meal times but never hangry (a major issue for me previously!) and, this is purely our experience, but we’re finding our tastebuds have been totally re-invigorated.

This is merely the beginning – we started out thinking we’d stick to it for a month & see how things went but now, after 3 weeks, I can’t think of eating any other way.

I’ll post more about our paleo adventures here. Don’t worry, it’s not all zucchini and beef: there’s some seriously indulgent things you can do with a bag of almonds, a handful of dates and an avocado.

You might have heard of caveman style eating? This is it. Forget all processed “food”; if it needs more than a quick steam or a sizzle in the pan to become edible, there’s a very good chance it ain’t paleo, sister. If you want to read more about the whole deal, hit up paleo gurus Robb WolfStupid Easy Paleo or Eat Drink Paleo for more information.