In love with LOVEBEAN Fudge

While back in my home state of Texas for the Paleo FX Symposium – Theory to Practice in Austin, March 14-17, I encountered LoveBean Fudge.

It was a magical meeting. (The symposium was good too….)

The husband and wife team behind LoveBean are huge believers in high-density super foods. Together they have created some chocolate products that are really nutritious and absolutely delicious! One thing that caught my attention about LoveBean Fudge is the fact it is made with organic coconut nectar instead of evaporated cane juice. I have used coconut nectar or coconut crystals in several recipes, such as Paleo Coconut Cream Pie and Paleo/Primal Chocolate Cheesecake. I even use it in my popular Paleo Pancakes recipe. Coconut nectar/sap is very low glycemic (GI of only 35), is an abundant source of minerals, 17 amino acids, vitamin C, broad-spectrum B vitamins, and has a nearly neutral pH. Some may argue there is not much difference between cane syrup and coconut nectar. But even if the insulin response to either form of sugar is largely the same, I would choose coconut nectar for the added nutrition and the unique and delicious flavor.

Here’s Sweat Pea eating some LoveBean Fudge. Hmm. Funny but he doesn’t seem to notice the insulin response! (And BTW Austin DOES rock.)Sweat Pea loves the LoveBean

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Beet and Cabbage Slaw

Raw Beet Slaw | Paleo Spirit

The word coleslaw usually conjures up images of mayonnaise-laden cabbage and carrots. While I am not at all opposed to eating mayonnaise, the problem with the store-bought versions is they contain all sorts of funky ingredients. I make my own mayonnaise now and then but it does take a little more time. Not to mention, my husband, G, refers to mayonnaise as “white death”.  So, if I am going to make a coleslaw he will actually eat, it will have to be “dressed” differently.

This beet and cabbage slaw recipe is partially the result of the bounty of beets in our garden this year.  Sweet Pea has been helping to harvest the beets as well as eat them. Check him out in the photo below with his bunch of beets!paleo beets

My past experience with beets has been primarily with the canned or pickled versions. But this year we have been enjoying them in their more natural state. I have made a few different salads using shredded raw beets with great success. This particular version also utilizes the cabbages that have been maturing in our garden lately.

The 1:1 ratio of oil to vinegar in the dressing brings an acidity that goes great with barbecue – particularly the Ancho Chile Pulled Pork Barbecue.paleo pulled pork and coleslawI recently invested in a large food processor I found at Costco for a reasonable price.  Given all the veggies we are eating now the 14 cup size has become almost indispensable.  It has made my paleo life much easier.

Cuisinart Food ProcessorIt comes in especially handy for this recipe because I can switch out some attachments and process the veggies in no time.  The recipe below has instructions for using a food processor as well as a more manual method.*

Raw Beet Slaw | Paleo Spirit

Paleo Raw Beet and Cabbage Slaw Recipe

Ingredients

  • 1/2 head of cabbage
  • 2 medium raw beets
  • 2 carrots
  • 1/2 red onion
  • 1/4 cup fresh flat leaf parsley
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper

Instructions

Wash and core the cabbage and peel the carrots and beets with a vegetable peeler. Using a food processor, with the slicing disc in place, process the cabbage and transfer to a large bowl. Install the shredding disc and process the carrots and beets and transfer to the bowl. Install the chopping blade and process the parsley and transfer to the bowl. Thinly slice the red onion and add to the bowl.

Combine vinegar, oil, salt and pepper in a small bowl and whisk until salt dissolves. Toss vinaigrette with the cabbage-beet-carrot mixture. Allow the slaw to stand for 20-30 minutes before serving, tossing regularly. Add additional salt and pepper to taste and serve.

* If you do not own a food processor you can slice the cabbage into thin strips with a knife. I recommending using a hand-held or box grater to shred the beets and carrots.

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Homemade Coconut Cream Pie Larabar Recipe

Larabars are one thing that can bring Paleo dieters and raw vegans together.  Impossible you say!  Well, strangely enough this is one delicious product that has the power to do the inconceivable.  Raw vegans appreciate the fact there are no animal products and the ingredients are uncooked.  Paleo adherents clamor for Larabars because they are grain, legume, dairy and sugar free.  In my Paleo journey Larabars have become almost indispensable for a quick snack on the road or after a workout.  I usually pair them with some beef jerky for protein – something frowned upon by our raw vegan friends. Sorry guys.

The problem with Larabars for some of us, wonderful as they are, is the price.  While I appreciate that high quality ingredients do come at a premium it can get pretty expensive.  The cheapest I have found Larabars is $1 per bar on sale at a local grocery store.  The regular price is $1.89 at this particular store and I have seen higher prices elsewhere.  Having pronounced the Coconut Cream Pie Larabar my absolute favorite I set out to create a recipe that matches up as closely as possible but costs much less.  In this post I will provide the recipe as well as a cost calculation based on the ingredients that I used.

The recipe makes 4 Homemade Coconut Cream Pie Larabars.

Ingredients

Place raw almonds in food processor and pulse until they are roughly chopped, continue to process for another minute or two until finely chopped.  Add in the coconut flakes, pulse and then process until fine.  Add the dates and continue processing for about 1 minute and finish by adding the 1/2 teaspoon of coconut oil and process until the mixture clumps together (1-2 minutes).

Use plastic wrap to form the mix into bars – this recipe makes 4.

I purchased the raw almonds and dates at Costco and the Coconut Flakes and Oil at Whole Foods.  The cost calculations below are based on the price I paid at Costco and the internet price for the Coconut Flakes and Coconut Oil.  Not everyone has access to Whole Foods and frankly, as much as I love it, Whole Foods is nicknamed “Whole Paycheck” for a reason.  So ordering the coconut items online makes sense financially and in terms of convenience.  It can be pretty hard to find the Extra Virgin and UNSWEETENED (that’s key) Coconut Flakes and Oil at the regular grocery store.  Believe me, I’ve tried.  These products also keep very well.  I put the flakes in the refrigerator and the oil is fine at room temperature for a very long time.

This works out to approximately $0.67 per Coconut Cream Pie Bar which is significantly less than you would find at a store.  The bars do not really need refrigeration but you can certainly freeze them if you choose to make a larger quantity to have on hand.  In future posts I will go into detail about why coconut is our friend and the saturated fat found in coconut is actually good for us, not bad.  For now, just trust me that this recipe is delicious and nutritious.  To keep insulin levels in check you should pair the bars with some protein when you can and don’t scarf them like they are dessert – even though they taste like it.

Kale: “The Queen of Greens” + Kale and Avocado Salad Recipe

Kale is one of those really scary vegetables.  There cannot be more than a small percentage of the population that gets excited at the prospect of eating it.  But kale is such a nutritional powerhouse it deserves a second look…or taste.  Kale is a leafy green in the cruciferous vegetable category like broccoli, cabbage, collards and Brussels sprouts.  One cup of kale contains 15% of the daily requirement of calcium and B6, 40% of magnesium, 180% of Vitamin A, 200% of Vitamin C and 1,020% of Vitamin K.  One cup also gives you 5 grams of fiber, 35 calories and minerals like copper, potassium, iron, manganese and phosphorus. It is an organic gardener’s dream because it is easy to grow, is disease and pest resistant and produces well into the Fall.  And for Paleo adherents, such as myself, or anyone not eating a lot of dairy products, the calcium content is pretty important.

Harvesting Kale

Part of our “Camp Paleo Spirit” summer homeschool experiment involves gardening.  Kale is the only thing in our garden, besides herbs, ready for eating so it was an obvious choice for our Day 1 gardening activity.  Never having grown kale before I had to “google” the harvesting process. What I learned is you want to cut off the outer leaves when they are richly green and firm but not too dark and tough. You can start harvesting when the plant is about 8-10 inches high.  Ideally you should only cut what you will use that day and make sure enough leaves remain in the inner part of the plant so that it continues to produce.

Both boys were VERY down on the idea of eating kale until they participated in the harvesting of it.  It’s amazing how the enthusiasm grew after they got to help out.  We gathered enough to make one large “Kale Avocado Salad” (recipe below) and it turned out REALLY well.  This recipe is strictly Paleo, which means it is grain, legume and dairy free.  It also technically qualifies as “raw” and “vegan” if you are into that sort of thing.  ;-)

Kale Avocado Salad

  • 1 Bunch curly kale – about 10 large leaves
  • 1 Avocado
  • 1/2 Vidalia (sweet) onion, diced
  • 1 Lemon
  • 2 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Salt and Pepper
  • 4-6 Campari tomatoes quartered, or a handful of grape tomatoes, halved


Wash the kale and pat dry with a clean towel.  Remove any tough parts of the stems and cut or tear into bite-sized pieces. Place the kale into a large bowl.  Cut the avocado into small cubes and add to the kale along with the Vidalia onions.  Pour on the olive oil, the juice of one lemon and salt and pepper to taste.  Use a spoon to stir the mixture until the leaves are well coated with the oil, lemon juice and avocado.  You can even use your hands to “massage” the salad if you really want the avocado mixed in well and are feeling especially “earthy-crunchy”.  I would recommend massaging the salad before you add the lemon juice to avoid irritating your hands.  The lemon juice seems to almost “cook” the kale so letting it soak in for several minutes adds to the flavor.  The tomatoes can be tossed in just before serving.

I was amazed at the great flavor and the easy prep.  The firmness of the kale leaves, unlike lettuce, stood up to overnight storage and the salad was just as good, if not better, at lunch the next day.  I can envision several versions of this dish so I encourage you to experiment and let me know how it goes.  Cucumber and/or carrots might be great additions.  We ate the salad with some spicy sausages flavored with red pepper and it was a really great complement to the kale.  So adding a pinch of cayenne to the dressing would probably give a nice kick.

Check here for more paleo side dishes and salads.

Kale Avocado Salad
Author: 
Recipe type: Salad
Prep time: 
Total time: 
 
Ingredients
  • 1 Bunch curly kale – about 10 large leaves
  • 1 Avocado
  • ½ Vidalia (sweet) onion, roughly chopped
  • 1 Lemon, juiced
  • 2 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Salt and Pepper
  • 4-6 Campari tomatoes quartered, or a handful of grape tomatoes, halved
Instructions
  1. Wash the kale and pat dry with a clean towel.
  2. Remove any tough parts of the stems and cut or tear into bite-sized pieces and place into a large bowl.
  3. Cut the avocado into small cubes and use your hands to “massage” the avocado into the kale leaves.
  4. Add the chopped sweet onion to the kale.
  5. In a small bowl mix together the olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper.
  6. Use a spoon to stir the mixture until the leaves are well coated with the oil, lemon juice and avocado.
  7. Add the tomatoes right before serving.