How Paleo are You?

Caveman Photo

Irony is just hilarious sometimes. I got this in a snapchat yesterday from a friend of mine. It brings up my all-time favorite debate on paleo and how it is “supposed” to be based off what cavemen used to eat; however, with modern-day access to pretty much any food (and genetically modified food if you want to get really technical) the term “paleo” gets thrown around a lot. Then you get mixed results when you google paleo recipes that could range from plain chicken with veggies and coconut oil to the really creative people who make Paleo Rocky Road Cupcakes–yea that’s a thing, I would not joke around about that. So who is right? The answer isn’t a cut and dry right or wrong. Technically, if you want to be strict paleo, guess what? You are going to be hunting, gathering and growing all of your food. Who has time for that?! Sure, in the perfect world, who wouldn’t want that, but at the same time, we shouldn’t make it the soul purpose of our lives to be harping so much on every single piece of food we put in our mouth..because that’s not healthy either. Live your life!!

So I’m saying all the paleo cookies, ice cream and other delicious treats are OK, right? Not exactly. Paleo treats should be taken for exactly what they are, treats. The amount of treats you get a year/month/week, depends on your goals as an individual, it is different for everyone. If you just started your paleo journey and your goal is to lose weight, don’t tempt yourself by making those paleo chocolate chip cookies. If you are going to a get together and you want to prove to your friends paleo isn’t just eating steak all day long and to shut them up about how you eat weird (not from experience or anything), make those rocky road cupcakes and let them eat their words! Or, if you have adopted paleo as a lifestyle, don’t deprive yourself of the good things in life every once in a while. You should never feel deprived when you are trying to eat better. If you feel deprived you will never stick with the diet. There are always going to be those strict paleo people who will never say a cupcake is paleo, but it comes down to your own beliefs and what is right for you. I created this blog to show there can be a balance. I will post meal ideas for everyday life and then sweet treats for those special occasions. That’s why I have different tab options under recipes, if you don’t want the treats, don’t look at them!

I’ll get off my soap box now. But if you have any questions about paleo, ingredients or anything about nutrition, comment or email me at curlsandkale@gmail.com! I’d be happy to chat 🙂

SO the other reason for this comic that was actually perfect timing, is that if you aren’t one of those people who hunts, gathers and grows all of their food, sometimes paleo recipes have weird ingredients. When I first started my paleo journey a good two years ago, I had never used almond flour, coconut cream or even remotely knew what a spiralizer did. Luckily for all of you, I have made this easy on you. I learned how to create an Amazon A-Store and now it is permanently added to my blog under the “Shop” tab. Amazon is awesome–I have a Prime membership so anything I order I get free 2-day shipping. My A-store has all the kitchen gadgets, books and grocery products that you may need for your paleo lifestyle. It’s a perfect one stop shop! Anytime I have a weird ingredient in my recipes like coconut cream concentrate, I’ll link it to the store where you can get it or at least see what the product looks like! Plus I give recommendations on specific products–like this almond flour is cheaper than others and it is SO much better when you are baking compared to other almond flours. You’re welcome people. So check it out here!

xo, Curls&Kale

Fruit & Nut Bark

bark3

We can all agree that sometimes, things don’t turn out how you expected; and on a few of those occasions, it is a surprisingly better outcome. This recipe is one of those rare occasions. I was in Trader Joe’s last week grabbing some lunch and as usual I walked in STARVING. I have been loving their pre-made salads lately because they are quick, mostly paleo and you cannot beat the $3.99 price. However, the salad wasn’t quick enough for my stomach that was screaming at me for food. I went down the aisle with all of the “healthy meal replacement bars” (seriously a granola bar will never be a meal replacement for this girl). Every single bar had some kind of grain in it…really?! How hard is it to make a paleo grab and go bar (harder than I thought)? I settled for a KIND dark chocolate cherry cashew bar, thinking it had all that other good stuff in it that outweighed the crisp rice and peanut ingredients. I also had another motive behind buying the KIND bar, to recreate it with only paleo ingredients; so it was really for research that I had to try the original bar, right? So in the kitchen I went and if you can’t guess by the picture, they didn’t turn into bars so much as they did chocolate bark. I figured no one would really complain about this mistake and would appreciate the treat nonetheless. I will go back to the kitchen again with this recipe and try and recreate the KIND bar, but for now, enjoy these because they are delicious!

Recipe

Makes 1 cookie tray of bark (serves 8+)

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 40 minutes

Ingredients:

1 c chocolate chips (I used Enjoy Life)

1/4 c coconut concentrate, melted

2 c mix of almonds, cashews and walnuts

1/4 c dried cherries

1/4 c dried cranberries

1/8 c honey

Before starting, place a piece of parchment paper on a cookie sheet and set aside.

Take a saucepan over low-medium heat and add nuts, fruit and honey. Mix in the pan until the honey has melted and the fruit and nuts are sticking together.

 

In another small saucepan place the chocolate chips and coconut concentrate on low heat. Stir mixture constantly to prevent it from burning. Continue stirring until everything is completely melted.

Once the chocolate mixture is melted, take the saucepan and pour the chocolate on top of the parchment paper, spread around the whole cookie tray to even out the base layer. Immediately take the fruit and nut mixture and spread it as evenly as possible/desired on top of the chocolate. Place the cookie tray in the freezer to set for at least 30 minutes. Once the bark has had time to harden in the freezer you can remove and either cut the bark with a knife or use your hands to break into pieces. Done! Store in the freezer if you don’t eat the whole batch in one sitting.

bark3 bark1

 

Chocolate Hazelnut Dipped Apples

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Just in time for Valentines day I made these delicious creations! Whether you participate in this holiday, believe it is just a scam for Hallmark and candy company’s to make more money, you’re single or taken, these chocolate covered apples are perfect for any occasion! Enjoy!

Chocolate Hazelnut Dipped Apples

2 Green Apples

3/4 cup Enjoy Life semisweet mini chocolate chips (or any semisweet chocolate chips)

2 Tbsp Nikki’s Vanilla Cake Batter Coconut Butter (or homemade)

1/8 cup Fresh Ground Hazelnuts

Directions:

Cut apples into bite-size slices and set aside.

In a coffee bean grinder or blender, pulse the hazelnuts until finely ground without turning them into a paste, you want them to be a flour kind of texture.

In a small nonstick saucepan combine the mini chocolate chips and coconut butter together. Over low/medium heat, slowly melt ingredients, be careful not to burn the chocolate! Continue to stir continuously until mixture is completely melted.

Once chocolate mix is melted, take a piece of parchment paper and place it on a cookie tray. Take an apple slice and dip it into the chocolate mixture and place it on the parchment paper (only need to dip it in halfway). The parchment paper will keep the chocolate in place without it running everywhere, but once the chocolate dries, it won’t stick to the paper! Continue to do this with all of the apple slices. Once your apples are covered with the chocolate, take your ground hazelnuts and sprinkle over the chocolate apples. Since the chocolate is still warm, the hazelnuts will stick to the chocolate.

Pop your apples in the refrigerator and allow to set for at least 1/2 hour before serving. I promise they will be a hit!

Want to change it up? Try this recipe with strawberries or swap the hazelnuts with ground almonds or walnuts, the possibilities are endless with this treat!