The Best Alternative to Breads, Tortillas and Wraps

The Best Alternative to Bread, Tortillas and Wraps

Homemade, soaked and fermented sourdough bread can be a nutritious addition to some people’s diets, and the same goes with tortillas made with the long traditional method. But let’s face it: most bread, tortillas and wraps we buy today are nutrition-less, over-processed grain and gluten products that cause many of us digestive distress, slowly leading to disease.

Sadly, we have become so dependent on these flour-based products, that it’s one of the hardest things to imagine eliminating from our daily diet. What will we toast for breakfast? What will we eat for lunch if not a sandwich? How will I eat my chicken salad or tuna salad at the picnic?

The best gluten-free bread or wrap your tuna salad has ever seen.
The best gluten-free bread or wrap your tuna salad has ever seen.

Lettuce Wraps!

I know that if you are someone who doesn’t eat many vegetables and/or salads, lettuce sounds like the most boring food on earth. Mostly water, not much taste. However, when you are using a leaf of lettuce to hold flavourful meats and vegetables, it is the most perfect food for the job. It’s crispy. It’s moist, requiring no butter or spread. It doesn’t detract from the tastes of the food inside. It’s cheap, portable and requires no cutting board. Yes, as a wrap, lettuce is king.

Many kids who won’t eat lettuce, will have it as a wrap – as long as there is something yummy inside! Our 4-year-old, Kaiya, loves the crunch of lettuce wraps. It’s the only time she enjoys lettuce.

Gluten and grain free tacos coming right up!
Gluten and grain free tacos coming right up!

 

The downside of the movement away from gluten is that people are now eating loads of gluten-free breads and wraps. Sadly, these are also just over-processed packaged products that are not much better. So ditch the gluten-free bread and the wholewheat spinach wrap, and just get a cheap, fresh, head of lettuce!

I find that Cos Lettuce (Romaine) has the best leaves for wraps, and Baby Cos (Baby Romaine) are good for snacks or appetisers. Keep your lettuce nice and dry in the fridge and it will last longer.

Not just for sandwich time, lettuce wraps go well with any meal.
Not just for sandwich time, lettuce wraps go well with any meal.
Lettuce wraps go well with any meal. Here with beef and beetroot and a side of pumpkin.
Lettuce wraps with beef and beetroot and a side of pumpkin.

When you want to take your lettuce wraps out for a picnic or lunch at work, just tear off some leaves and put in a container or little bag. Keep your filling in a separate container, then just make the wraps as you are about to eat them. You could pre-wrap, but often the filling falls out everywhere and the lettuce may start to get soggy.

Even Kids Love Lettuce Wraps
Leftover beef and pumpkin scrap salad for Kaiya and her friend.
They spooned it into the lettuce wraps at the park.

Lettuce wraps are perfect for Lovin’ Leftovers. What a perfect way to enjoy leftover stewed or grilled meats, fish, chicken and veggies – throw it in a lettuce wrap!

 

What do you love to put in your lettuce wraps?

Easy Leftovers Omelette Recipe

Easy Leftovers Vegetable Omelette

All you need for this recipe is your leftover dinner and a few eggs. That’s it! Once you’ve made your first leftovers omelette, you will be addicted to the simplicity and deliciousness of this meal.

Omelettes are not just for breakfast

Eggs are such a versatile and nutritious food, that we like to use them as many ways and as often as we can. This recipe is the same concept as egg muffins, but instead of a greased muffin tin and a hot oven, all you’ll need is a pan on the stove and a spatula. Most anything you had for dinner (or even lunch) the day before will go well in your omelette today. I have made omelettes with leftover curry, stews, casseroles, steak and potato meals, fish, chicken, pork, lamb, and a wide variety of vegetables.

Leftover mixed roasted vegetables can be used the next day in an omelette
Mixed roasted vegetables one night, leftover veggie omelette the next day!

Leftover vegetables make an easy and nutritious omelette

Leftovers Omelette Recipe

Step 1: Warm some butter or oil in a pan over medium-low heat. Put your leftovers in the pan.

Depending on the size of your leftover meat and vegetable pieces, you may not even have to chop them up before putting in the pan. If I’m making a small omelette, sometimes I will just chop the leftovers with kitchen scissors straight into the pan – no cutting board needed. As you can see in my leftover roasted vegetable omelette above, I have small pieces of pumpkin, strips of capsicum (red pepper), and larger pieces of broccoli and fennel. That is the way I made the vegetables to go with my dinner the night before. I might have also put some leftover lamb in the omelette, but we ate it all at dinner.

Step 2: While your leftovers are warming in the pan, beat your eggs in a bowl.

As always, only use the best eggs you can find, from free-roaming, pastured chickens. The egg provides great flavour and nutrition, and most importantly here, it holds all your leftovers together nicely. I recommend about 2 eggs per person, but this may vary, depending on how thick you’d like your omelette and how big your leftover pieces and pan are. You also don’t have to beat the eggs a whole lot. Sometimes it’s nice to just mix them lightly and then you can see the egg’s yellow and white colors separately in your omelette.

Step 3: Pour the eggs into the pan. Tilt the pan around or use your spatula to spread the egg evenly to the edges of the pan.

Use a nice sized pan, and don’t worry about making too much. That just means that you will have a new type of leftovers for your next meal or snack! Omelettes are not just for breakfast. They are quite yummy cold and therefore make a simple, healthy packed lunch. And since there really are no rules about eggs only being for breakfast, why don’t you whip up a quick leftovers omelette for dinner?

Step 4: Cut, flip or cover your omelette to finish the cooking.

There are a few ways to finish cooking the omelette after the bottom and edges start to firm up: 1/Use your spatula to cut the omelette into quarters, then flip each quarter. My daughter calls this pizza omelette. 2/ Flip the whole omelette over – this only works with very small omelettes. 3/ If you have a cover for your pan, put it on and the egg will finish cooking inside in a few minutes.

Add salt and pepper to taste, and if you like a cheese omelette, simply grate your raw cheese over the top of the hot omelette and it will melt right into it. Delicious!

Flip, cut or cover your omelette
Flip, cut or cover your omelette to finish cooking

 

Primal Fish and Chips

Primal Fish and Chips

Ingredients

– White fish fillets
– Sweet potatoes
– 1-2 Eggs
– Shredded Coconut

Optional: – Paprika, turmeric, sea salt
– Broccoli, mushrooms or salad greens

Coconut fish and sweet potato chips with steamed broccoli
Coconut fish & sweet potato chips
with steamed broccoli

A modern-day order of fish and chips is usually a killer meal containing processed flours and harmful vegetable oils. You can always order grilled fish, but the chips or fries will still be fried in over-processed, rancid oils, which is enough reason to steer clear. This version, however, gives you all the nutrition and tastiness of fish and chips, with none of the nasties. You get a nice piece of fish with a light healthy crust, and homemade chips baked in the oven. Make this meal for your kids – they will love it!

NOTES:

– I used sweet potato instead of white potato because we prefer the taste (I think that’s why people need ketchup for white potato fries). Many people also prefer sweet potatoes because of their lower glycemic index (slower release of sugars in your body) which keeps blood sugar levels stable in the body and keep you satisfied for longer. Others avoid white potatoes as they are sensitive or intolerant to plants from the nightshade plant family. However, if you do well on either, feel free to substitute white potatoes in this recipe!

– Be sure to buy minimally processed, unsweetened shredded coconut. I mixed in a few spices with the coconut to add to the flavour of the fish crust, but the coconut has a wonderful flavour on its own if you choose not to use any extra spices.

– For the healthiest, most primal fish, always buy wild caught, never farmed. If you can’t find wild fish fillets at a reasonable price, buy a whole fish and ask the fishmonger (the fish butcher) to fillet it for you. You can even save the carcass for fish stock! There is usually no extra cost for this service, and the whole fish are significantly cheaper.

– The broccoli and mushrooms are merely side suggestions that are easy to cook up at the same time your fish and chips are cooking. You can check the veggie cheat sheet for more ideas, or a green salad is also a perfect side. Or just have the fish and chips on their own!

 

Baked sweet potato chips
Sweet potato chips ready to bake
Fish with egg dipper and shredded coconut
The fish gets dipped in egg and coconut
Pan-fried coconut crusted fish
Pan-fry the coconut covered fish

 

Primal Fish and Chips Recipe

Step 1: Preheat oven to 180C (350F). Cut the ends off the sweet potatoes and slice into long even rectangles like steak fries.

Step 2: Arrange sweet potato chips in a single layer on a baking tray. Spray or toss with olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt. Put in oven and set timer for 20 minutes.

Step 3: Chop the broccoli or other vegetable sides and put in water-filled steamer or pot and/or under the grill. Don’t turn the heat on yet. 

Step 4: Beat eggs in a small bowl. Sprinkle plenty of shredded coconut onto a plate and mix in any desired spices. Try 1/4 tsp each of paprika and turmeric, plus a sprinkle of sea salt.

Step 5: Put a couple tablespoons of coconut oil and/or butter into a fry pan on med-high heat.

Step 6: Turn the heat on to steam/grill your side veggies so they will cook while the fish is frying.

Step 7: When pan is hot, dip each fish fillet into the egg, then into the coconut, then lay in the pan. Ensure both sides of the fish get coated in the coconut before putting in the pan.

Step 8: After a few minutes frying, flip the fish with a spatula and fry the other side.

Step 9: Let fish cook a few more minutes. The veggies and chips should be ready about the same time. Enjoy!

 

Coconut fish with steamed broccoli and grilled mushrooms
Broccoli steaming, fish frying, mushrooms grilling

 

How did your fish and chips turn out? Share any adaptations you recommend for this recipe.

Spinach Bars – Healthy Snack or Bread Substitute

Spinach Bars - Healthy Snack or Bread Substitute

Spinach Bars Ingredients

– 450 g (16oz) spinach
– 1/2 cup nuts or seeds
– 2 crushed garlic cloves
– handful fresh basil (or other herb)
– 2-3 eggs

Kids love making and eating spinach bars
Kaiya getting the spinach ready for our bars

Forget expensive energy bars, sports bars and meal replacement bars that are full of manufactured powders and other non-foods. Here you have a bar that is full of nutrients and it’s made from real food in your kitchen for a fraction of the cost. We all know how nutritious spinach is, then you’ve got protein and nutrient-rich eggs, garlic which boosts immunity in so many ways, and the healthy fats of nuts or seeds. This is a true health bar.

Mark Sisson calls this recipe Spinach Bread in his Primal Blueprint Cookbook, as you can cut it into bigger slices and use as a bread substitute to hold your meats, veggies or tuna salad, like a sandwich. We love it mainly as a snack or side dish, but have also enjoyed scooping up our scrap salads or leftover stews, or sopping up soups, like you would with bread slices. Small cut spinach bars are also great to serve with an avocado or hummus dip, instead of crackers. All my friends and clients who are mums say the best thing about these bars is that it’s the only way their kids will eat spinach. I think this may even be true for some grownups. Any way you slice it, it’s Paleo, it’s primal, it’s nutritious, easy and delicious.

Spinach bars are a healthy snack or bread substitute

Spinach bars with quinoa salmon salad
Spinach bars with quinoa salmon salad

NOTES:

– Mark Sisson’s original recipe calls for pine nuts and basil, which give the bars a pesto flavour. I find pine nuts too expensive, and therefore use whatever nuts I have on hand. I have tried almonds, walnuts, cashews, and brazil nuts. Lightly toasting the nuts in a fry pan or toaster oven gives them more flavour. To make the bars nut-free so Kaiya could take them to her daycare, I even did a batch once with sunflower seeds, and they came out great. Experiment and see what you like.

– Same goes for the basil. If you don’t have any on hand, as is often in winter, try using a different fresh herb or just omitting the herbs altogether. I once tried using thai basil from my friends garden, and it was an all new taste sensation.

– I recently found another version of this recipe on cravingsgoneclean.com where you don’t have to wilt the spinach first, if you want to try that one out too. I’m going to give it a whirl, so let’s compare notes!

– Using organic baby spinach leaves will usually be more expensive than a full bunch of organic English Spinach, so I recommend the latter, but you can use either one.

Spinach bread with tuna salad
Spinach bread from
cravingsgoneclean
Spinach bread and cheese
Spinach bread and cheese from spabettie.com

 

Spinach Bars Recipe

Step 1: Preheat oven to 180C (350F). Rip spinach leaves away from ribs/stems (not necessary if using baby spinach) and put in a pot. Rinse lightly and shake most water off.

Step 2: Cook spinach in the covered pot over med/low heat for a few minutes, just until wilted.

Step 3: Wrap the cooked spinach into a tea towel, cheesecloth or paper towel and squeeze out all the excess moisture.

Step 4: Pulse the nuts, garlic and herbs in a food processor until nuts are crumbled well but not completely broken down.

Step 5: Add to the food processor your wilted spinach, salt and pepper to taste. Pulse for 10 seconds.

Step 6: Stir in the eggs. Pour mixture into a shallow pan, like a slice pan or pie tin, and spread evenly.

Step 7: Bake in the oven for 25 minutes.

Step 8: Let cool, then slice into squares, rectangles or triangles of your desired size.

Spinach Bars in Tray Baked Spinach Bars Recipe

 

What nuts and herbs did you put in your spinach bars? Did you eat them as bread, snacks, or both?

Meat Part 1 – You CAN Afford Grass Fed Meat!

You Can Afford Grass Fed Meat

Note: This is a loose transcription of the video, ‘Meat Part 1 – You CAN Afford Grass Fed Meat!’

Bex:
Hi, we are here with Andrew Lupton at Brookvale meats in Sydney, where we have been buying our meat for quite some time and recommending to everyone we can. The main reason that we buy and we recommend the meat here, is that it is grass-fed, sourced from local farms, antibiotic and hormone-free. The meat is coming from animals that are raised well. Animals that are healthy, and that’s going to make us healthy. However, Andrew, lots of people are concerned that they can’t afford grass-fed, free-range meat. What would you say to customers about this concern?

You CAN Afford Grass Fed Meat!

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Andrew: I’d recommend they all come down here and have a look at the prices!

Bex: That will do it!!

Andrew: As simple as that.

Brookvale Meats - Free Range Grass Fed Meat

Andrew:
They’ll find the difference here. One lady customer was told by her husband not to shop here, because we’re very expensive. So, she went out and compared like for like in one of our well-known supermarkets around the corner, and we were 50 percent cheaper. So, let’s dismiss that myth, there’s no penalty for buying grass-fed meat. No, on the contrary, you can buy grass-fed rump meat, a whole grass-fed rump for $12/kg. That’s cheap meat. So, no it’s not more expensive and you don’t have to pay that.

Bex:
Do you think a lot of that might come  from the fact that people are used to only a few popular cuts of meat, and that those cuts might be the most expensive cuts?

Andrew:
It certainly could be possible, that could be a reason. I think perhaps more likely is that people are used to markets, where they buy similar meat, free-range meat from boutique producers, who because of the size of their operations, they have to charge a lot  more than we do (Brookvale Meats), and so here comes the perception, from perhaps buying free-range meat from markets and boutique suppliers, that it’s very expensive. It’s entirely a bit more expensive but it’s a very, very small price to pay at this point.

Bex:
Absolutely, and another thing that  might be able to help consumers in budgeting their meat purchases, is buying in bulk. How does that work and what are the best cuts for bulk purchase?

Andrew:
Well, I suppose the best cut for a bulk purchase, is to buy a whole cow! Indeed, it’s something that we do. We cut it up for them and they come in their ute (pick-up truck), and they take it away. So, people do buy whole pigs, they buy whole lambs, they do buy half cows. So, there are some people out there that buy in bulk.

Bex: Smaller families?

Andrew:
Smaller families, smaller freezers. Buying in bulk it is important but it’s not necessary, you just need to buy the cheaper cuts. If you want to reduce the expenses, then talk to your butcher. What do I do with a beef blade, how can I cut it? How can I cook it?

Bex: Exactly.

Andrew:
These are the things that you should be asking the butcher to try to reduce  the weekly spend. A lot of that is on our website, there’s a whole section of cheaper cuts and loads of recipes involved within the website on cheaper cuts. To me, it’s not necessary to fill your deep freezer to save a few bucks.

Bex: So, can you list off a few of these cheaper, less popular, lesser known cuts that you recommend?

Andrew:
Gosh, where to start? Okay, pigs trotters! They cost next to nothing. We give them away! They’re not for the faint-hearted indeed. You have to like your dose of fat, but it’s extremely cheap. The cheaper cuts would be anything that is a little bit tougher to cook that doesn’t cook quickly. Lamb shanks, lamb neck… lamb neck makes the best stew, it has the most flavour and when you cook it right it is a tender meat. I love it! I prefer it to loin chops which are three times the price. On beef, we’re talking about Osso Bucco, we’re talking about the shoulder, and the leg; these are the cheaper cuts. They do indeed involve longer cooking periods , most of the time, although we can tenderise it for you. We can get you a shoulder or leg and cut it nice and thin, bash it and tenderise it, and still be treated like a steak.

Bex:
Beautiful, and as you mentioned you have a wonderful page. A couple of pages on the website talking about cheaper cuts. Where they are all listed out with pictures and everything.

Andrew: There’s a few recipes too, I try to encourage people…

Bex:
Great recipes, and your website is, www.brookvalemeats.com.au. Have a look there and learn about the cheaper cuts, and realise that you’re going to get a lot of bang for your buck and you’re not going to have to spend more than you want to. It’s really about choosing quality food. Thank you, Andrew.

Andrew: Thanks for your time!

 

Do you cook with cheaper cuts of meat? What are your favourites?

 

Healthy Party Food for both Kids and Adults

I used to think that the term healthy party food was an oxymoron.
How can you use healthy and party in the same breath?
Haven’t we all had a party throw us off our healthy eating goals?
Or felt like a party-pooper for not partaking in all the rich, sugary, processed party food?
Well it doesn’t have to be like that anymore.

Healthy party food ideas and recipes

First of all, getting healthy (instead of just skinny) is getting more popular, as people are realising how much better life is when you have good health. So you are not the only party-goer who wants to eat real food. Secondly, now that we’ve ditched the low-fat diet myths and embraced Primal diets, we have much more delicious and filling choices for our party menus!

Here are some of our favourite party food ideas, most of which would best suit casual get-togethers and kids parties, but can also be fancied up for a stylish cocktail party or any occassion. Either way, these party dishes can all be made very inexpensively, so your party doesn’t break the bank.

When you are trying to think of what to make for a party, just think of Primal food basics: animal food and plant food. Animal food is red meat, poultry, fish, eggs, wild game. Plant food is vegetables, fruits, nuts and seeds.

 

Meats, Chicken, Fish & Eggs

Let’s start with some delicious animal food party dishes that are so simple to make. A good quality wholesale butcher is your best bet for getting grass-fed/free-range meats at cheaper prices. Never buy caged eggs, and always look for wild caught fish, even if you use canned fish.

Mini sausages (chipolatas)
A party favourite with kids and grown-ups alike! Some toothpicks are all you really need to serve these with, but you could also easily do a homemade ketchup or chutney, or a good-quality mustard for dipping the sausages. If you want a more sophisticated presentation, try skewering the whole sausages lengthwise, or use lemongrass to skewer diagonal slices, as shown above.

Sausages on lemongrass skewers
Sausages on lemongrass skewers

Mini sausages with chutney, relish or salsa
Sausages with chutney or relish

Chicken wings or drumettes
Just as easy as sausages, and all you need are lots of napkins. These can be baked in a 350F oven in 20 minutes, or you can turn the temp down and cook long and slow for up to 1.5 hours to make nice and crispy. For flavour, google a baked chicken wing recipe, or try my favourite simple coating of sesame oil, olive oil, cider vinegar or rice vinegar, soy sauce, grated ginger, and an optional touch of honey. Mix it all in a bowl, then simply brush it onto your wings before baking.

Chicken wings or drumettes
Chicken wings and drumettes
photo: mykitchensnippets.com

Meatballs
These can be as simple or fancy as you wish, depending on what you mix the meat with before rolling into balls. For basic meatballs, all you need is ground meat, one egg, onion, herbs and spices. No need for breadcrumbs or fillers; the egg in your mixture works well at holding the small balls together. Most recipes call for browning the meatballs first, before finishing in the oven. But if you are short on time, you can do the whole thing in the oven: 375F for 20 minutes should do it.

Meatballs are great party food
Homemade meatballs

Fish cakes
A good quality canned red or pink salmon can be used as a shortcut to fresh fish. Most recipes call for forming the mixture into patties and pan-frying, but it’s even easier to just spoon the fish cake mixture into a greased mini-muffin tin and cook in the oven for about 25 min on 350F (180C). Instead of breadcrumbs as filler, here is a great fish cakes recipe using almond flour, and another one using coconut flour. You can vary the taste with different ingredients, such as garlic, chili, ginger, lemongrass, fresh dill/parsely/cilantro, and ground spices.

Salmon fish cakes with coconut flour    Salmon Fish Cakes

  • 1 can salmon (8 oz)
  • 1 tbs. coconut flour
  • 1/2-1tbs lime or lemon juice
  • 1 egg
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • optional:1 tbs. mustard

Egg Muffins
Beat 6 eggs in a bowl with choice of fillings: diced meat and/or veggie leftovers, herbs, raw cheese, seasoning. Bake in a buttered muffin tin for 20 minutes on 180C (350F). A mini-muffin tin is even better for party sized egg muffins and for little kids. Some favourite fillings include roasted pumpkin, bacon, leek, capsicum (bell pepper), sausage, and olives. Here are more ingredient ideas for egg muffins.

Deviled Eggs
This is an oldie but a goodie, and loved by kids and adults alike. It’s nothing more than hard boiled eggs with the yolks fancied up and restuffed into the egg. Google a recipe or just improvise. No need for mayo, but if you use it, best to make your own. Otherwise, mustard and seasonings work great, and you can dress the eggs up by topping with diced or slivered raw red capsicum (bell pepper), avocado and bacon, or just some fresh dill.

Deviled eggs with avocado and bacon
Deviled eggs with avocado and bacon

 

Fruit & Vegetables

Now for the plant foods. There are endless possibilities for enticing party presentations with all the colourful fruit and vegetables!

Fruit skewers and platters
These can be as simple or fancy as you wish. Simply peel, cut and skewer the fruits or arrange on a platter. If you’re feeling creative, make designs or do a colour scheme.

Fruit & veg Sesame Street party platters
Fruit & veg Sesame Street party platters

Raw veggie sticks and platters
The more types of veggies you use, the more colourful your platter. Try carrots, celery, cucumber and capsicum (bell pepper). You can also use purple or yellow carrots, various colours of capsicum, and jicama, if you can find them. Serve with homemade dips like babaganoush, hummus, beetroot hummus, (kids love the colour), guacamole, olive tapenade, or sweet potato and cashew dip. Google a dip recipe! For kids parties, you can arrange the fruit and veg into shapes on the platters, or do something like these clever Sesame Street faces.

‘Ants on a log’ is a very fun dish that especially appeals to children but can easily be fancied up for adults. For the log, celery is most popular, but carrots and banans sliced longways also work well. The traditional filling is nut butter, topped with raisins for the ‘ants’. If you don’t want to use nut butter, try hummus or another homemade dip, or tuna or chicken salad for a more filling dish. Variations on toppings (ants) include diced banana, strawberry, berries, shredded coconut, dried cranberries, olives and sun-dried tomatoes.

Tuna and cranberries ants on a log
Tuna and cranberries ants on a log

Grilled/marinated vegetables
Slice zucchini, capsicum (bell pepper), and eggplant, brush with olive oil and cook under a grill (broiler) or on the barbeque until soft. Add more flavour by adding crushed garlic, ginger and/or herbs to the olive oil. Salt and pepper to taste and lay colourfully on a platter. Asparagus, green beans, mushrooms and tomatoes also work well, and olives, pickles and dried tomatoes add a nice touch.

Grilled vegetable party platter
Grilled vegetables platter

Homemade popcorn
Put 1/4 cup certified organic popcorn kernels in a pot with 2 tbsp olive oil over medium-high heat. Cover and shake every couple minutes until popping starts, then turn heat down slightly and keep covered until popping starts. Pour over some melted butter, sprinkle on some sea salt and you have a healthy version of a very popular snack! You can also get creative with your toppings, like adding ground cumin, coriander, paprika and cayenne to the sea salt and butter for a spicy popcorn.

Homemade popcorn
Homemade organic popcorn

Homemade sushi
Making your own sushi allows for great versatility. You can make them with cooked vegetables, raw vegetables, rice, quinoa, meats, chicken, fish – it’s up to you. Cut your sushi rolls into small slices and you have a filling and healthy finger food everyone will love. Here’s how to roll your own sushi plus lots of great ingredient ideas for all different types of parties.

 

Party Sweets & Cake

For desserts, think “better bad” choices. For example, your coconut macaroons will still have sugar in them, but by making them yourself, you can choose to use good quality sugars, such as real maple syrup, coconut sugar or rapadura. You may want to make a cream cheese frosting for your cupcakes, which is not a great choice because it’s pasteurised dairy. However, it’s a much better choice than commercial frostings loaded with fake ingredients, and it’s only a small amount that each person will have. These are both better bad choices.

Thanks to the current Paleo and Primal food revolution, there are hundreds of delicious better bad desserts on the internet. Elana’s Pantry is particularly popular for her gluten-free, grain-free, low-sugar and raw treats.

Cacao Balls
These delectable bite-sized treats can be made many different ways, depending on your tastes and dietary restrictions. Start with our recipe for raw cacao balls, then try different versions using dates, various nuts and seeds, and even liquor. If you don’t have raw cacao, use minimally processed cocoa. As an alternative, dried apricots and shredded coconut make delicious apricot balls.

Raw chocolate and coconut balls
Raw cacao balls rolled in crushed almonds

Morning Glory Muffins
Instead of cupcakes for Kaiya’s 3rd and 4th birthday party, we made morning glory muffins with yoghurt cheese and honey icing. Soooo yum!

Healthy cupcakes for kids birthday party
Morning Glory muffins with cream cheese frosting and homemade sprinkles

Makes 12
2 1/2 cups almond flour or almond meal
1 tablespoon cinnamon
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups carrots, peeled and grated
1 large apple, peeled, cored and grated
1 cup shredded coconut
1 cup raisins
3 large eggs
2 tablespoons honey (optional)
1/2 cup coconut or olive oil
1 teaspoon vanilla

1. Preheat oven to 180C and grease a standard-sized muffin pan.
2. Combine almond flour, cinnamon, baking soda and salt in a large bowl. Add carrot, apple, coconut and raisins and combine well.
3. In a separate bowl, whisk eggs, honey, oil and vanilla extract together.
4. Pour the wet mixture over the dry ingredients and mix very well. The batter will be very thick.
5. Spoon the batter out into muffin pan and place on upper or middle rack of your oven for 40-50 minutes.
6. When a toothpick inserted into the top of a muffin comes out clean, the muffins are done.
7. Cool muffins in the pan for 8-10 minutes and then remove to a rack to finish cooling.

Recipe from: paleocomfortfoods.com

Cream Cheese Frosting – with no icing sugar! For about 12 cupcakes
1 cup softened cream cheese (or yoghurt cheese)
8 Tbsp softened butter
2-4 Tbsp Honey (depending on how sweet you like)
1 tsp. Vanilla
Beat cream cheese and butter until light and fluffy (or just mix with a spoon!). Beat or mix in honey and vanilla.
Recipe from: helium.com

For kids parties, the best strategy is to keep things simple. A platter of watermelon slices, some popcorn and grapes are loved by all! The same can often be said for adults as far as simplicity is concerned. People love to go to a party and find recognizable and wholesome food. Don’t you agree?

 

Do you have a favourite healthy party food recipe?

Roll Your Own Sushi…with Leftovers (rice or quinoa optional!)

Roll your own sushi with leftovers - rice optional

Sushi Ingredients

– Nori sheets (seaweed)

Your choice of fillings:
– Leftover meat, chicken, fish
– Leftover vegetables
– Raw vegetables
– Cooked rice or quinoa (optional)

Roll your own homemade sushi with leftovers

When you think of sushi, fish comes to mind. Salmon and tuna are the most popular; even teriyaki chicken. However, just like the wonderfully versatile egg muffins, homemade sushi can be made with almost any meat and veg, so the combinations are endless. You can use almost ANY leftover foods in them. Just think of the nori sheet (seaweed) like a tortilla or pita – something to wrap your delicious food in!

Ingredient ideas:

– Leftover cooked bacon, steak, chicken, fish, lamb, pork
– Leftover cooked pumpkin, sweet potato, eggplant, mushrooms, zucchini, onions, leek, carrots, fennel, parsnip
– Raw capsicum (bell pepper), avocado, cucumber, grated carrot, green onions, fennel, leafy greens
– Canned salmon, tuna, mackerel, or sardines.
– Cooked Japanese sushi rice, brown rice, quinoa

Roll your own sushi with leftover meat and veggies
Leftover roast chicken and veg – carrot, fennel, capsicum (bell pepper), onion and brown rice.

Notes:

– Paleo Peoples: if you don’t eat rice or quinoa, no worries! Just roll the meat and veg ingredients of your choice into the nori sheet (seaweed) like a sandwich wrap.

– For best digestion and nutrition, soak your rice or quinoa (in filtered water, with a splash of vinegar or lemon juice) uncovered, overnight or all day before cooking.

– Brown rice cooked slowly (about 45 minutes on lowest heat) with a few tablespoons of butter (the Nourishing Traditions way) makes for nice sticky rice which is easy for rolling sushi.

– A bamboo sushi rolling mat is handy but not necessary. Check for one at your local variety/$1 shop.

Primal Bacon Sushi
Bacon, raw fennel, shallots (spring onion), red capsium (bell pepper) and brown rice.
Quinoa Salmon Sushi
Raw salmon, avocado, carrot and cooked quinoa. From www.susanstable.com.

 

Sushi Rolls Recipe

Step 1: Lay nori sheet on clean cutting board or bamboo sushi roller if you have one.

Step 2: Put rice or quinoa (if using) onto the nori sheet and flatten evenly. Traditionally, the rice goes to the edge of the nori sheet, but you can use less if rice fills you up easily (like me). More rice = fatter sushi roll.

Step 3: Slice meat and veggie leftovers, raw foods and other ingredients as desired. Lay in middle of nori, on top of rice or quinoa (if using).

Step 4: Roll nori sheet away from you, first making one big roll to start the shape, then rolling up sheet to the end.

Step 5: Use a bit of water to lightly wet the edge of the nori roll, then finish rolling. The water will make it stick closed.

Step 6: Slice sushi into desired roll size with a very sharp knife.

Sushi Roll Recipe
A bit of water on the edge of the nori sheet will seal the roll together.
Homemade sushi for work or school lunches
Homemade sushi ready for work or school lunches

 

Have you ever made your own sushi? How was it?

Egg Muffins Recipe for Quick, Healthy Breakfast & Lunches Everyday

Egg Muffins Recipe

Egg Muffins Ingredients

6 eggs

Your choice of fillings:
– Leftover meat, chicken, fish
– Leftover vegetables
– Raw vegetables
– Dried or fresh herbs
– Grated raw cheese

Mushroom and leek egg muffins and potato salad
Mushroom and leek egg muffins with potato salad.
Perfect picnic food or packed lunch.
Broccoli tomato cheese egg muffins with sweet potato fries
Broccoli tomato cheese egg muffins with sweet potato fries

 

Egg muffins never get boring. Since the ingredients are determined by what leftovers you have in your fridge, they can be different every time you make them. It is fun discovering new combinations of ingredients that taste amazing in your egg muffins, and you can use almost ANY leftover foods in them.

Ingredient ideas:

– Leftover cooked bacon, steak, chicken, salmon, sausage, mince (ground meat), lamb, pork
– Leftover cooked broccoli, pumpkin, sweet potato, green beans, eggplant, mushrooms, zucchini, onions, leek
– Leftover casseroles, stews, curries and other one-pot meals like chili
– Raw tomato, capsicum (bell pepper), chili, black olives, green onions
– Fresh/dried basil, oregano, coriander (cilantro)

Thank you to Mark Sisson for putting this recipe idea in his book Primal Blueprint Cookbook. We have been eating them regularly for years, and recommending them to clients and friends, who find them the ultimate quick healthy meal, picnic food or snack on-the-go.

Egg Muffin Ingredients

Notes:

– Busy people: plan ahead! Make these at night to have ready for quick or on-the-go breakfasts, packed lunches or snacks all week.

– Cook egg muffins in double batches and freeze them. If you pack them frozen in your lunch bag in the morning, they will be defrosted and delicious by lunch time.

– Egg muffins are perfect for picnics and school lunches instead of a sandwich – no fork needed!

– You can use a mini-muffin tin to make tiny egg muffins for appetizers, picnic snacks, and tiny kid hands.

– Always use the best quality eggs you can find, from healthy, pastured chickens. They are worth the money!

Egg muffins with raw parmesan cheese

Egg muffins bake in 20 minutes

Egg Muffins Recipe

Step 1: Preheat oven to 180C / 350F.

Step 2: Beat eggs lightly with a fork, in a medium/large bowl.

Step 3: Dice meat and veggie leftovers and/or raw vegetables. Chop any fresh herbs. Grate raw cheese.

Step 4: Add all ingredients to the eggs and mix together. Salt and pepper to taste.

Step 5: Grease a muffin tin with butter.

Step 6: Ladle egg mixture into egg muffins.

Step 7: Bake in oven for 20 minutes.

Step 8: Let cool before removing from muffin tin. Eat immediately, save for breakfast, pack for lunch, or freeze for later!

Egg muffins are like mini frittatas, omelettes, crustless quiches
Egg muffins are like mini frittatas, omelettes, or crustless quiches

 

Share your favourite egg muffin ingredients in the comments below!

 

 

15 Ways to Eat Healthy on a Budget

15 Ways to Eat Healthy on a Budget

One of the most common reasons given for not eating quality food is the cost. We have become so accustomed to dirt cheap food, we have forgotten the true value of it. Then, as more and more of us demand better food, we are offered healthier options with very high price-tags. The result is that it seems our only two choices are cheap, chemical-laden foods OR expensive, organic foods. However, we must remember that many of our ancestors had very little money, yet ate very high quality food. So, let’s look to our roots and re-learn how to eat well on a budget.

Cheap and healthy food
Chicken wings and in-season spray-free market vegetables make a healthy, delicious AND cheap meal.

Buying Food

1/ Buy whole foods instead of packaged or pre-cut food
Whole fruits, vegetables, fish, chicken and cuts of meat are much more affordable than packaged food, as you are not paying for the packaging and marketing of the product. Resist the urge to buy pre-mixed salad, pre-cut fruit, and perfectly cut mini carrots. Animal foods are also much cheaper bought whole (see #11).

2/ Avoid superfoods and health-industry foods
Some of the most expensive “health food” you can buy are products with health-industry labels such as gluten-free, low-carb, organic, and superfood. Learn here how to decipher the marketing and Eat Healthy by Ignoring Health Food Labels. Also, remember The Only Superfoods You’ll Ever Need are not in that expensive health food shop.

3/ Buy chemical-free/spray free produce that is NOT certified organic
The process of certifying a farm to be organic is very costly for farmers, so they must pass that cost onto the consumer. Fortunately, all you really want is fruit and vegetables that have been grown in an organic manner, and you can find plenty of this at your local farmers market. Which brings us to…

4/ Shop at farmers markets
Local markets have very affordable food because you are rarely paying for a middle man or long-distance transport. These markets are not a guarantee of organically grown/raised food, but there is lots of it there. So get talking, ask about growing methods, and find the local farmer who sells chemical-free food at very affordable prices, like this inspiring elderly city farmer.

5/ Become a member of a co-op
This is another way to get cheap food and be part of a health-conscious community. Google co-op and your city name to find a co-op near you.

6/ Only buy produce that is in season
A lot of work and money goes into delivering produce to consumers out of season. Food is stored for months, transported great distances, and sprayed with ripening and waxing agents. On the contrary, when a fruit or vegetable is in season, it can be harvested in abundance, providing a huge supply at lower costs. Farmers markets and my veggie cheat sheet can help you learn which season to buy what. It’s so nice to look forward to different foods with the changing weather.

7/ Start with the Dirty Dozen and Clean 15
If you shop at a supermarket, where certified organic produce is most expensive, focus on the Dirty Dozen and Clean 15. Then you can still greatly reduce your chemical intake, even if you can’t buy all chemical-free food yet. Keep in mind this chart is U.S. based, so may vary in your country.

8/ Grow your own
Imagine never having to buy carrots, tomatoes or parsley again. Just go out to your garden and pick them! More and more information and resources are available for learning to grown your own food, even in small spaces. Weed em and reap!

Plan meals and bring your lunch
Packing leftovers and some rice to take for lunch.

9/ Find a good butcher
Ask around, check our your nearest industrial area, and find a large-scale butcher with pasture-fed, free-roaming meats. As with produce, you don’t need the organic certification if you’ve gotten to know your rancher or butcher, and know where your meat is coming from and how it was raised. If they butcher meat on a large-scale, they will be very knowledgeable, have a wide variety of animals and cuts, and will be very inexpensive.

10/ Buy cheap cuts of meat

People are so used to lean, boneless, fileted, quick-cook cuts of meat, that the rest of the cuts have lower demand and MUCH lower prices. Try lamb neck or forequarter chops, chicken wings and legs, beef brisket or cheeks. The cheap cuts are often the tastiest, and easy to throw into the slow-cooker, oven or grill. Don’t forget the highly nutritious organ meats, and to ask the butcher for meat scraps and bones (often free) for your bone broth and soups.

11/ Buy the whole animal
Just like pre-cut fruit and vegetables, you pay extra to have someone pre-cut your meats for you. Instead, buy the whole chicken and use the carcass for broth. A whole fish is usually insanely cheaper than fillets, and the fishmonger will often fillet it for you for free anyway. Again, save the fish carcass for fish broth/stock! A whole cow, pig or lamb may be slightly big for your fridge/freezer, but if you get a handful of friends together, you can do a meat-share from a wholesale butcher or farmer. At the least, buy the whole beef rump, and ask the butcher to cut into steaks for you.

Preparing Food

12/ Plan your meals
Planning ensures you get your meat out of the freezer to defrost, your dinner in the slow-cooker before you leave for work, your leftovers packed for lunch. And all that will prevent you from buying expensive take-away food and throwing away unused food that you forgot to eat.

13/ Bring your lunch and snacks with you
This is part of planning, but doesn’t have to take much time or fore-thought and saves tons of money spent on restaurant and cafe food. After dinner, simply throw the leftovers into a container for breakfast and/or lunch the next day. Then in the morning, just add to your bag some snacks like: a piece of fruit, a whole carrot, a handful of nuts, half an avocado with a little spoon, a couple cold chicken wings or sausages. Become a pro at Lovin’ Leftovers.

Homemade chicken stock in jars
Made from a chicken carcass and some veggie scraps, homemade broth is virtually free.

14/ Make your own basics from scratch
Not only are homemade broth, yoghurt, dressings, sauces, sauerkraut, and nut butters/flours much healthier, but they are also incredibly cheaper and easy to make. Here are some recipes to get you started.

15/ Eat soaked whole grains if they work for you
Whole grains such as rice, millet and oats are a very cheap food staple that can be moderately enjoyed if grains work well for your metabolic type. Just ensure you always soak grains before cooking.

Lastly, whatever your budget, it may be wise to reassess what you are spending your money on, and reconsider if food deserves a healthy portion of your budget. Remember that nutrient-rich, chemical free food is essential to your life; nice clothes, gadgets, big cars, alcohol, home-furnishings and resort holidays are not. Doing without some material goods doesn’t have to hinder your happiness, but poor health surely will. However much money you have to live on, find a way to eat well.

What are some ways that you save money on food? Do you feel like you can afford the kind of food you want to be eating?