Marinara

We love Italian food.   If I thought that we could get away with eating it 4 time a week, we probably would.  I used to buy marinara.  One jar for $2 didn’t seem like a bad buy.  But….when you use a jar and a half when making Chicken Parmesan (our favorite meal next to Pizza) you start to wonder if there if making it yourself is better in the long run.   Once I started making it at home, we haven’t gone back to using the store bought kind.   It doesn’t take as long as you might think.   If you have an hour, you can make this super simple marinara.

This recipe was found when Virginia is for Hunter Gathers did a guest post on Nom Nom Paleo.

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 ¼ cups white onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 2 (28-ounce) cans diced tomatoes in water (I recommend draining the water or else the sauce is super watery)
  • ⅛ teaspoon celery seed (original recipe called for celery salt, but I don’t have that and have always used the celery seed)
  • ½ teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 dried bay leaf
  • 1 teaspoon coconut aminos (can be found at Whole Foods or Central Market)
  • ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 2 pinches freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons fresh basil cut in chiffonade, divided (If you don’t have fresh basil, dried basil works too.  When I use dried basil I tend to add a bit more)

 

Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a skillet (I use a deep sided skillet so I only have to use one pan for this) over medium-low heat.  Add in your onions.  I like to caramelize the onions a bit to add some sweetness to the sauce.  If you find that the onions are starting to burn instead of caramelize, add a bit more olive oil.  If you don’t want to caramelize the onions, cook them until they are translucent.

Cooking the onions

Cooking the onions

 

While the onions are cooking, you can prepare the garlic.  The easy was to do it is if you have a garlic press.  I don’t have one, so I cut it by hand.   When you add in the garlic, cook it for about 3 more minutes.

Add in the garlic

Add in the garlic

 

Once the garlic has cooked with the onions, you can add the rest of the ingredients.  (If using fresh basil, put half of it in at this point) If you don’t have a deep sided skillet, you can use a large sauce pot.

Ingredients in the deep sided skillet

Ingredients in the deep sided skillet

Bring the mixture to a simmer.IMG_2391

Simmer uncovered for 45 minutes to an hour stirring occasionally.  If the sauce starts sticking to the bottom of the pan, turn down the heat.  Remove the bay leaf and add the rest of the fresh basil if using.

The sauce could now be used if you like a chunky sauce.  I don’t.  So I put it in the blender.

Ready to be blended

Ready to be blended

Almost there!

Almost there!

 

Blend it until you get the desired consistency.  I like my sauce really smooth.  So I will blend it a bit more.

Once you have the consistency you like, you can eat it or store it!

 

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This sauce is so tasty!  I have had several people tell me that they can’t believe that it is homemade.  I am so grateful that I found this recipe.  It has become a staple in our house.   Hopefully it will become one in yours too!

Almond Flour Banana Bread

Something that I greatly miss eating since starting Paleo has been banana bread.   This was one of my favorite things to eat as a kid, and I even entered it in the county fair in elementary school.  My mother would have to make mini loaves because I could literally eat a whole loaf in one sitting!  I have tried several Paleo recipes before, but they either didn’t turn out right, or didn’t live up to what I remembered growing up with…….until today!

I found this recipe on Pinterest (credited to http://www.thewac.com) and thought I would give it a try.  It has 8 ingredients, 9 if you include pecans!  (And why would you not include Pecans?  Banana bread is so plain without them!)

Recipe:

  • 3 overly ripe bananas
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 4 Tbsp Honey (recipe called for 1-2, but I had a feeling that it wasn’t enough, so I added more)
  • 1/4c melted coconut oil
  • 2c almond flour
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2c chopped pecans

 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Take the bananas, eggs, vanilla, honey, and coconut oil and put them in a food processor.  Pulse for about 45 seconds to 1 minute.

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Next, add the almond flour, salt, and baking powder.  Pulse until well combined.

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This is where you can add the pecans.  I stirred in the chopped pecans.

Pour into a well greased bread pan.

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Bake for 50-55 minutes!   Toothpick should come out clean when it is stuck in the middle of the bread.  Let it cool, slice, and enjoy!

Nothing beats fresh warm banana bread!

Nothing beats fresh warm banana bread!

I knew that this was going to be tasty before it even came out of the oven!  The first bite was exactly how I remembered it tasting growing up.

The hard part with fresh out of the oven banana bread, is not eating all of it!  Thank goodness I have learned self restraint!  Or else this would have been gone!  🙂

Honey Bread

This has been a busy weekend!  It was a beautiful sunny Texas day yesterday.   Trip and I worked on moving my furniture from my apartment to the house.   On the way home, I had a blow out on the middle of the road and had to go get a new tire an hour before the store closed.  Leaving Paul and his brother to finish unloading the U-Haul by themselves.   Granted….they could honestly it would have been done much faster than when Trip and I loaded it up.  Still felt bad.

After the perfect weather day yesterday, it was not fun waking up to SLEET today.  The weather needs to stop having these mood swings!  With it being so cold, I had to make chili!  To go along with the chili, I made “Paleo Cornbread“.  Trip hates it when I call it that, even though that’s what the recipe calls it.  So, he calls it “Honey Bread”.   This tastes nothing like cornbread.  It is like a dinner cake/bread, but I have eaten leftovers for breakfast….and snack.  It’s THAT good.

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup almond butter
  • 2 tablespoons Coconut oil
  • 3 eggs, beaten
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2-3 tablespoons honey
  • 1 cup almond flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt

Melt almond butter with coconut oil in the microwave, then stir in vanilla extract, eggs, honey and Stevia. Mix dry ingredients (almond flour, baking powder and salt) in a separate bowl. Combine wet and dry ingredients together. Stir well.  Pour into an 8×8 greased (or lined with parchment paper) baking dish or pan.

Before baking

Before baking

Bake at 325 degrees for 20 to 25 minutes.

After baking

After baking

It smells so good!  There is one good thing about this ridiculously cold weather….comfort food!  Hurry up and finish cooking chili before we devour this honey bread!

 

 

UPDATE!!!

I made this using a muffin pan instead of the baking pan.  Cooks for 25-27 minutes and they are good to go!

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Paleo Pecan Waffles

My mother and I would always have a special dinner when my stepfather would go away on business.  It was waffles and bacon for dinner!   My mom was great at making waffles.  She spoiled me and would put chocolate chips in them.  Yum!

When I was in high school, I could eat whatever I wanted and never gain a pound.  That was because back then I was playing two sports and was running who knows how many miles a day.  But now I have a full time job, and sometimes getting to the gym a couple times a week is hard because of other commitments that I have.   I still want to enjoy one of my favorite high school meals but not have the guilt of eating something that is probably not that good for me.

Over the past year, I have been experimenting with several different waffle recipes trying to find a healthier and tasty recipe that would satisfy my waffle cravings.  I finally found it!

This past Christmas I got the cookbook Against All Grain by Danielle Walker.  Normally I shy away from recipes that contain coconut flour because I do not like the texture it has when it is cooked.   I am so glad that I tried this recipe anyway!  It is fantastic and I think you will enjoy it too!

Pecan Paleo Waffles

  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2c coconut milk (almond milk works great too, I have used both of them and waffles still come out great!)
  • 3 tablespoons honey
  • 3 tablespoons melted coconut oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1c raw cashews
  • 3 tablespoons coconut flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2c chopped pecans

Place all the ingredients except the pecans in a food processor and blend for about 1 minute.  The author recommends using a high speed blender, but I have not had a problem with using my food processor.  The batter may look slightly grainy but it does not have an impact on the taste or texture of the cooked waffle.  After your batter is made, stir in your pecans and pour batter onto your heated waffle iron.   Cook for about 1 minute or until golden brown.

When compared to waffles made with regular flour, these are a little more difficult to get out of the waffle iron.  They don’t stick to the iron, but they have a soft fluffy texture instead of the expected crispy waffle.  I have just turned the waffle iron upside down to get it off instead of stabbing it with a fork and lifting it off.

If you don’t like pecans or have a nut allergy, you can put whatever you want on the waffles!  Chocolate chips, fresh fruit, or even sprinkles!  These waffles go great with whatever addition you want.  Even the plain waffles are tasty!

These healthy and tasty waffles are sure to became a family favorite!  I can’t wait until my mom comes to visit us so I can make her breakfast like she did for me growing up!

Paleo Pecan Waffles