Chocolate Donut Coffee Pops

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If you recall, I created quite the buzz in the 4th of July when I teamed up with Tito’s Vodka to create these Cocoberry Vodka Pops. Ever since then, I’ve been trying to come up with some sort of popsicle recipe than can rival the great vodka pops, but no luck…

…and then it came to me. People like alcohol and popsicles, but what else do they like? Coffee and popsicles. With donuts. And Chocolate.  So, I created these: the Chocolate Donut Coffee Pops.


Truly, I couldn’t have done it without Flavor God’s Chocolate Donut Seasoning, which you definitely need to buy right now. No, really, it sells out really fast. It is integral to making these popsicles, but also integral to making everything else all kinds of wonderful. (Like Chocolate Donut Seasoning on waffles, and on cookies, and in coffee, and not to be redundant….but on chocolate donuts.) I am also amazed because all the ingredients in the Chocolate Donut Seasoning don’t even seem like they should taste like a chocolate donut. BUT THEY DO.

On a totally related note, you definitely need to make these popsicles right. Now. Why? Because the beginning of the school year is coming up and I know all you readers with kiddos heading back to school need something to fuel you through the insanely early mornings. (Why do most schools start at 7:30? Whhhyyy?)

Oh! And kids can’t eat these. Nope. Why? Because they are filled with COFFEE. And chocolate donuts. But they don’t need to know that last part.

I think I’m onto something with this adult-only popsicle trend.

Some cook’s notes:

  • If you cannot get your hands on the elusive Chocolate Donut seasoning, you can swap out the seasoning with 2 tbsp. dark chocolate cocoa powder and 2 tbsp. coconut sugar. These won’t be chocolate donut popsicles, but they will be chocolate coffee popsicles at the least.
  • The butter and MCT oil is essentially the recipe for bulletproof coffee (fatty coffee), but now obviously in popsicle form.

Chocolate Donut Coffee Popsicles

Makes 8 popsicles

  • 18 oz. freshly brewed coffee
  • 3 tbsp. chocolate donut seasoning
  • 3 tbsp. MCT oil
  • 3 tbsp. grass-fed, organic, pasture-raised butter
  1. In a blender, blend all ingredients.
  2. Pour into popsicle molds, and let freeze for at least 6 hours. 





Paleo Pumpkin Spice Latte with Chocolate-Dunked Pumpkin Spice Marshmallows <3

After I made this drink and shot the photos of this drink, I couldn't stop staring at them. It was love at first sight. And sight. And sight. And....

Before I was Paleo, especially in college, I was an avid fan of the Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte. I even worked at Starbucks for 3 years, and in that time, I learned to love every drink, but especially the Pumpkin Spice Latte. I was working at Starbucks from 2006-2009, which is when the PSL really started picking up steam. Even back then, my coworkers and I all saw the signs that this was going drink was going to have a cult-like following. While working at Starbucks in college, I often would pick up the shifts that no one wanted: the 4am open, the 11pm close. I was in college, had endless energy, needed the money, and never really adjusted back to a "regular" sleep schedule.

During these frequent clopens, I would often just stay up, because it didn't make much sense to me to go home and sleep for maybe 2 hours before I would have to be wide awake and perky; after all, there was literally an endless supply of coffee at work.

Our first indication at Starbucks that the PSL was going to be scarily huge was when on the first day of the PSL season. At 4am, there was a line of cars wanting their first PSL of the season....and we didn't open until 4:30. Meaning that several people woke up sometime before 4am to make sure they were the first ones to get their PSL fix. No big deal, you crazies. No. Big. Deal.

I eventually tired of the iconic Starbucks PSL: the high sugar content and 20-ingredient list eventually started to wreak havoc on my stomach. However, I still do crave the pumpkiny drink from time to time. On another note, have you thought about the fact that pumpkin is a squash? Which means that the PSL is essentially Squash Coffee. Perfection in a glass. Mmmmmhmmmmm.

There are 100 Paleo Pumpkin Spice Latte's out there, but I really wanted to make my own variation on this iconic drink, and I'm pretty sure I did just that. Instead of milk, I used a combination of both almond milk and coconut cream. This combination ensures that this PSL doesn't taste too "coconutty", as coconut milk drinks can often be, and the almond milk also has a thinner consistency which is important for ensuring that this drink is not pudding-like since it does use real pumpkin puree for flavoring.

The real kicker of this drink? Its topped with melted chocolate and Chocolate-Dunked Pumpkin Spiced Marshmallows. Yep. Its pretty great, so make sure to drink up these last days of fall. (Ha! Pun in.ten.ded.)


Paleo Pumpkin Spice Latte with Chocolate-Dunked Pumpkin Spiced Marshmallows

Serves 2

  1. Combine coconut cream, unsweetened almond milk, pumpkin puree, vanilla extract and pumpkin spice in a large saucepan and heat on medium heat until bubbly and all ingredients are well incorporated. Make sure to watch closely and stir to ensure that the mixture does not become scalded.
  2. In a small bowl, melt chocolate. (I use the microwave by watching closely and stopping every 10 seconds, but the correct way to do it is by using a double boiler.)
  3. Once chocolate it melted, dip two mugs, upside down, in the chocolate to rim the edges of the cups with the melted dark chocolate. Dust with pumpkin spice, then set the mugs aside.
  4. Brew coffee, and then pour coffee into a blender.
  5. Once thoroughly heated, carefully pour the saucepan contents into the same blender with the coffee. Blend on high for 2 minutes.
  6. Pour your pumpkin spice lattes into your prepared mugs, and top with pumpkin spiced marshmallows.




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Bet you didn't know this paleo dessert existed

Remember how I said last week that it didn’t feel at all like fall yet since the temperature wasn’t dropping? Well, just after that, the highs of 101 dropped to 85, then to 80. Just like that. But then, the highs crept right back up to 100 and 101. Essentially, still no fall boots for me.

In the short of it, I realize that most people are begrudgingly transitioning into fall (P.S. I talked to Emily- she’s already wearing her fall boots), but here in the southwest, I am enjoying an extended summer.  So much so, that the other day, Christopher and I bought a whole watermelon because it was on super sale; the end of summer is the season for extra large melons. (Heh, heh, heh…) Someone once told me that the best way to choose a melon is to knock on it, like you’re knocking on someone’s front door, and listen for a hollow sound. If its hollow that means the fruit is ripe. Well, without Google verifying this, Christopher and I dug headfirst into the watermelon box, knocking all the melons. Every. Single. One.  We spent probably 20 minutes in this box of Watermelons, and it almost reminded me of one of those ball pits in Chuckie Cheese, but with far more bruising at the end. After deadlifting 30-pound fruit for 20 minutes, we really decided that we needed to get back into Crossfit or some sort of weight-lifting regimen. In the end, we got the hollow-est sounding watermelon of the bunch.

So there we were, now at home with a gigantic watermelon. Here’s the kicker: I don’t even like watermelon that much. (Or melons in general, really.) In college, the cafeteria filled their fruit quota as much as possible from honeydew and cantaloupe. (I’m guessing because it’s the cheapest to buy in bulk.) I ate so many melons those years, that I haven’t enjoyed them much since. Another fun fact? Cantaloupe is called Muskmelon in Iowa and the Dakotas. Muskmelon! What a funny word.

In short, I set out experimenting with watermelon to figure out a way to enjoy the fruit since I was now in possession of approximately 30 pounds of it.  I eventually decided to try creating a reduction with both blueberries and balsamic as a watermelon topping, since balsamic reductions really bring out wonderful flavors in fruit, and blueberries are also in their peak at the end of summer. I had made both berry reductions and balsamic reductions independently before, so this time, I mapped out what I thought would be a good combination of the two. The end result was a blueberry-lime balsamic reduction that pairs exceptionally well with watermelon: the tartness of blueberries balances out the sweetness of ripe watermelon, and the lime adds a little zest. Everything ties together nicely. The balsamic reduction can be used as a dip for watermelon, but my favorite way to enjoy it was as a drizzle over a watermelon round, cut into eighths to resemble a “fruit pizza”.

When making the reduction, it is important to note that the concoction needs to be watched closely and stirred frequently, as it can stick and burn easily. If you doubt your ability to correctly make a reduction, do not fret! You can take the process slower by simmering on a lower heat to ensure that there is a lesser risk for burning. Just know this this significantly increases the time to complete the task.


Paleo Blueberry-Lime Balsamic Reduction

Makes about 1 1/2 cups

Can be stored in the fridge for up to 2 weeks, or can be frozen for later use

  • 2 cups of fresh blueberries, washed with stems removed
  • 1 cup balsamic vinaigrette
  • 1/3 cup raw honey*
  • ½ tsp. vanilla extract
  • Juice from 1/2 of a lime
  1. In a saucepan, melt honey on low heat, and be careful not to burn.
  2. Add balsamic and blueberries, increase to medium heat to bring mixture to a simmer, stirring frequently.
  3. Reduce heat to medium low, add limejuice and vanilla, and then stir.
  4. Let reduce on medium low heat for approximately 30 minutes, stirring frequently to avoid burning or scalding. Reduction will be done when mixture is syrupy and has reduced in volume by about half.
  5. Let cool completely before handling.

*This reduction is tart, so if you prefer something sweeter, up the honey to ½ cup, or potentially even ¾ cup. (Although ¾ of a cup might be very sweet. I haven’t tried this yet, so if you do, let me know how it turns out.)


Paleo Fruit Pizza

Serves 2-5 (Varies greatly on your watermelon size)

  • ¼ cup Paleo Blueberry-Lime Balsamic Reduction
  • 1 round of watermelon, about 12 inches across
  • Berries, lime quarters, or lime peels for garnish (optional)
  1. Create a round of watermelon by cutting your watermelon first in half through the center, then cutting another piece from the half about 3 inches thick. Cutting a round directly from the center ensures the biggest diameter, however, you may choose to cut from the end to serve a smaller pizza. Note that if you slice a round with a smaller diameter, do not use as much of the reduction. If you don’t adjust this, your pizza will be much too tart.
  2. Place the watermelon round (Should just be one big watermelon circle) on your serving platter, tray, or board. Drizzle the blueberry balsamic reduction over the watermelon. For better presentation, you may choose to drizzle some reduction on your serving piece. (See below.)
  3. Using a pizza cutter, slice watermelon into pieces, like you would do to a pizza. You of course can do quarters or sixths, but I prefer eighths.
  4. Garnish with berries, lime peels, or lime quarters. (Optional)




Zoe Takes Tastee-Freez

Growing up, I lived approximately 1.5 blocks away from the prized landmark of my small Chicago suburb: Tastee-Freez.

In summer, I would walk with my mom with some change in my pocket to the small, wooden ice cream house, and wait in a line that sometimes stretched three blocks down the street. Families would come to Tastee-Freez after dinner, after a soccer game, before bed, at sunset, after a long day of work, with their grandkids, because it was a Monday, because it didn’t rain that day, because it did rain that day, or because it just seemed like a pretty great idea at the time. (Isn’t any time a good time for ice cream?)  

Grayslake's very own Tastee-Freez

Grayslake's very own Tastee-Freez

My mom and I would wait in line, where I would agonize over what I would order. A vanilla shake? An M&M freeze? A half and half? Sprinkles? Extra sprinkles? (As you can probably guess, my orders almost always consisted of extra sprinkles.) My mom and I would always see someone we knew in line: my classmate, a fellow Girl-Scout, a coworker. One night, my golden retriever Zoe, a free spirit, ran away from our yard and took herself to Tastee-Freez. It wasn’t until the owner of the ice cream shop called our house that we noticed Zoe was missing. We soon learned that our dog had sprinted to the shop, stood on her hind legs, placed her paws on the counter, and stuck her nose in the window as if she was there to order her own hot fudge sundae. They gave her a pup-cup (Vanilla soft-serve in a cup with a dog treat garnish) and lots of love until we came and brought her home.

Doesn't Zoe look innocent?

Doesn't Zoe look innocent?


Revenge is sweet

Revenge is sweet


Zoe in her younger days, about 1 year old.

Zoe in her younger days, about 1 year old.

Tastee-Freez was always a fun journey, and on the last night of summer before the new school year started, my mom would take me to Tastee-Freez where I could have ice cream for dinner; a tradition I continued for myself even through graduate school. Now, ice cream for dinner to me always marks the end of summer. It so gracefully wraps up gobs of free time, the sprinkles of adventure, and the sweetness to be savored until the next summer break rolls around.

In the ice cream for dinner tradition, I present to you my own version of Paleo Death by Chocolate Ice Cream. Its very rich, doesn’t contain dairy, and doesn’t have a speck of refined sugar. I hope you savor this one!


4-Ingredient, Paleo Death by Chocolate Ice Cream

Makes 1 pint of ice cream

Can be stored for up to 30 days in the freezer, but tastes best if consumed within 1 week.

  • 2 cans, or 24 oz. coconut cream
  • 2/3 cup raw honey
  • 1 tbsp. vanilla
  • 7 oz. dark chocolate, divided
  1. Combine coconut cream, honey, vanilla, and 4 oz. dark chocolate in a saucepan. Heat on low, whisking constantly, until all ingredients have melted and are combined. Be careful not to scald or burn. It is best to watch your pan very closely.
  2. Remove from heat, and place mixture in a covered bowl. Chill in back of refrigerator for at least 12 hours, until very cold.
  3. Melt remaining chocolate and set aside.
  4. Remove the chocolate ice cream mixture from the fridge and pour into your ice cream maker. Following the manufacturer instructions for your ice cream maker, and churn until mixture has turned into ice cream.
  5. Slowly pour melted chocolate into ice cream while still churning. This will create specks or small chips of hardened chocolate into your ice cream. (Like stracciatella.)
  6. Remove ice cream from maker and enjoy immediately if you enjoy a soft consistency.  Store in an airtight container in freezer if you would like a harder consistency.

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Someone has gotten great at posing for photos.&nbsp;

Someone has gotten great at posing for photos. 


Suspicious of snow. Aren't we all?

Suspicious of snow. Aren't we all?



Happy Birthday America! (Ain't No Party Like a Funfetti Party)

For anyone who follows South of Vanilla on Instagram, you will have surely discovered that it was my boyfriend’s birthday last week. His birthday coincidentally coincides with the summer solstice, which is ironic because his dislike for his own birthday is extended over the longest day of the year. (For anyone following astrology, he also is Gemini-Cancer cusp, which makes him a bit mercurial with a side of exceptional empathy. He drives me crazy. But I like it.)

Since CK spent several years in the military, he has a great love for, among other things, his country. I’ve gotten into the fashion of creating America-themed birthday cakes for him (Last year’s was a cake in the form of a hamburger.), so it takes the focus slightly away from a whole day just about his birthday.

Birthday cake from 2013. So much has changed!

Birthday cake from 2013. So much has changed!

Back when I first started Paleo, CK joined me about two weeks into my journey. He’s struggled with it more than I have, and maybe perhaps I’ll have him write a guest post about his Paleo struggles eventually. For him and his sweet tooth, one thing he really missed was Paleo desserts, which is one of the reasons I started creating my own recipes. Fast-forward almost a year, and I’ve finally gotten around to making Paleo version of one of the classics: “funfetti”.



P.S: Isn’t this cake topper perfect for celebrating the 4th of July holiday today?  And its super easy.  Instructions are included below.



Paleo “funfetti” Cake

For the Cake:

  • 1/4 cup raw honey 
  • 8 tbsp grass fed organic butter, room temperature
  • 3 eggs 
  • 1 tbsp vanilla 
  • 1 1/2 cup cashew flour
  • 1/3 cup light tasting olive oil 
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda 
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder 
  • 2/3 cup almond milk 
  • ¾ cup rainbow sprinkes**

For the Frosting:

 

  1. Preheat over to 350 degrees.
  2. Beat butter, eggs, honey, eggs, olive oil, and vanilla together.
  3. Add in cashew flour, baking soda, and baking powder. Mix until incorporated.
  4. Slowly add in the almond milk while mixing the cake batter.
  5. Spray pan with nonstick coconut oil spray. Pour batter into one 9-inch pan and bake
  6. At 350 degrees for 35 minutes. Alternatively, if you would like a smaller cake or multiple layers, you can always bake this cake in a different sized pan, just make sure to adjust the baking time.
  7. After baking, wait until cooled, then frost. 

** Sprinkles are not Paleo. Why? They are full of refined sugar and dyes. But sometimes life is too short.


 


Patriotic Cake Topper

  • 3 paper-striped straws
  • twine
  • 7 small American flags
  • Scotch tape
  1. Take one of the straws and with a ruler, measure out the halfway point. Cut the straw; these will become the two shorter “posts”.
  2. Cut two pieces of twine, with one piece about 2 inches longer than the other.
  3. Take each piece of string and tie onto the ends of the straws. One string should be between the two tall straws, and one should be between the two short straws.
  4. Take a small square of tape, and tape each flag to the piece of twine. There should be 4 flags between the shorter posts, and 3 between the taller posts.
  5. Place on the top of your cake with the taller posts in back and enjoy! 
Raw materials ;)

Raw materials ;)


Winner winner, cake for dinner (Plus, an exciting announcement!!)

It’s a very exciting in the South of Vanilla kitchen. On a scale of 1-10 I’m elated. So… 15? 20? Maybe even 25. 


Why, you ask? Because….


…we’re getting published!


The book should be out in July sometime, and yours truly will be in it.


Paleo Bakehouse, a Paleo baking company, is raising money for their Kickstarter. They’ve been running their (fantastically delicious) business out of their home, and are looking for a commercial kitchen to get their Paleo, gluten-free, dairy-free, sugar-free cookies, brownies, and mixes into a store near you. They just can’t keep up with demand as their orders increase and their business grows. As a thank you to their supporters, they’re collecting and publishing recipes in an ebook for distribution. An ebook in which I will be published. A book that is also featuring Civilized Caveman, Living Paleo, Fed & Fit, and a few others. Pinch me. These are all big names in the Paleo community. So…just pinch me.

If you’re interested in supporting Paleo Bakehouse AND getting the ebook, click here. (And if you ever want some fantastic Paleo treats, try some of their cookies. They’re pretty fantastic.)


I started this blog two months ago as a way to document my life, do some writing for stress relief, and to have a place to keep my Paleo recipes organized. I never really expected that I would have followers, fans, or subscribers. I never expected to have people reaching out to me for advice, people posting pictures of the South of Vanilla creations on Instagram. I truly can’t believe it, and I am so thankful to all of you. Really. Thank you.

I am so thankful, in fact, that I decided to make a celebration cake. If any of my fans are nearby, comment/email/Instagram/facebook me to get in contact and I’ll give you a piece. (I’m not joking, I really will.) I will be eating this cake all week until Friday, which is when I’m having a girls night on my rooftop, and the cake will surely be gone after that. (You were warned.)

But really, this cake is awesome. I know I’m biased, but I think I’ve tried out every Paleo cake recipe searching for a cake alternative. I had pretty much given up on sufficient Paleo cake, until I created this lovely masterpiece.

I’m not even going to tell you how many attempts it took me to get this chocolate cake recipe to work. I tried experimenting so many times that I almost gave up. And then, magically, this gorgeous chocolate cake emerged from my oven smelling glorious and decadent. (Cue sound effects here.) I knew immediately just from the smell that it was a winner. I believe they say “winner winner chicken dinner”. I would like to formally change that to “Winner, winner cake for dinner”. Much better.  And realistic.

 

For the cake pictured, I actually doubled the recipe to make a two-layer cake. Doubling this recipe makes a ton of cake, so I don’t recommend it unless you have a big family, a lot of friends, friendly neighbors, or are throwing a party. Even though this cake easily fits into a compact 7-inch pan when baking, do not underestimate its smallish size. It is one dense, very filling, very chocolately cake. (Hope you have a glass of almond milk ready.)


Celebration Chocolate Cake  (HOORAY!)

For Cake:

  • ½ cup light tasting olive oil
  • 4 tbsp. organic grass-fed butter
  • 3 large eggs
  • ½ cup coconut sugar
  • 1 tsp. pink himalyian sea salt
  • 1 tbsp. vanilla
  • 3 tbsp. raw honey, melted
  • 1 cup cashew flour
  • 2 cups tapioca flour
  • 2 tsp. baking soda
  • ¼ cup coconut flour
  • ¾ cup dark chocolate cocoa powder
  • Olive oil or coconut oil spray for baking

For Glaze Frosting:

  • ¼ cup raw honey, melted
  • 2 tbsp. powdered egg whites
  • 1 ½ (18 oz.) cans coconut cream
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • Optional: sprinkles, food dye**

For cake:

  1. Preheat oven to 350
  2. Cream olive oil, butter, eggs, coconut sugar, salt, honey, and vanilla together.
  3. Add in cashew flour and tapioca flour, beat well.
  4. Add in coconut flour, cocoa powder, and baking soda. Mix until well incorporated.
  5. Spray 7-inch round baking pan with cooking spray.
  6. Bake for approximately 45 minutes until toothpick comes clean.
  7. While cooling, make frosting.
  8. Frost when cake has completely cooled. The frosting will not hold together if the cake is warm.
  9. When storing, make sure to keep covered in the fridge. The cake can be made a few days before serving, but the frosting should be made the day of or day before serving.

For frosting:

  1. Whip coconut cream, vanilla, and honey together on high speed for 5 minutes. (I used the second highest speed on my KitchenAid.)
  2. When light and fluffy, place bowl in freezer for 10 minutes. Once chilled, whip again on high speed for 3 minutes.
  3. Add in powdered egg whites.
  4. Place in freezer again for 10 minutes.
  5. Remove and whip again on high speed.
  6. If desired, add food dye*

This is my mixer. He’s tough, just like a WWII airplane is his limited edition Candy Apple Red finish. He’s also like this plane below. My favorite <3

Missiles are also at the war museum. Hmmmmm….


*For the cake pictured, I doubled this recipe to make two layers.

**Food dye is definitely not Paleo. Dyes are processed, manufactured, and do contain chemicals. For this frosting glaze, I did experiment with natural food dyes, but the viscosity cannot tolerate food dyes such as fruit or vegetable juices for color. These juices make the frosting much too liquidy to stay on the cake.

*** Life’s too short without sprinkles

At this point, I thought my creative frosting idea was just a complete mess

At this point, I thought my creative frosting idea was just a complete mess


For this whimsical frosting job, I divided the frosting into halves. In one half I dyed the frosting blue with exactly 3 drops of food dye, and then frosted the cake. Once that had set, I plopped the white frosting on top and let it very slowly drip down the sides to make the melting effect. Dr. Seuss would be proud.


****My fabulous HOORAY cake topper is from Oh Joy’s Target collection. She has an amazing style, and all of her items for Target are so incredibly priced. Check the line out! And her blog too!




Life's too short (without sprinkles)

I love donuts.

Let’s be honest here….That’s an understatement if there ever was one. 

Donuts combine 3 of my favorite things in a dessert: sweet batter, frosting, and sprinkles. Imagine my dismay when I realized that Paleo cavemen and cavewomen didn’t eat donuts. I’m still waiting for the press release revealing that archaeologists have discovered a primitive deep fryer. Guys, its coming. I know it, only a matter of time.  Then we can rest assured that we re doing our bodies good by piling our plates high with leafy grains, bacon, and donuts. (No wonder the Paleo community gets a bad rep sometimes.)

Donuts are tricky on Paleo. Most Paleo baking uses almond flour, cashew flour, or coconut flour. These are all fantastic grain substitutes, but coconut flour has a coconutty-taste to it, and nut flours can be very dense. They generally don’t lend themselves well to pastries, especially donuts by any means.

My mom shares the same love of donuts with me. As a kid, it was always a special day when she would bring home a dozen donuts from the grocery store. Our favorites were the vanilla cake donuts with chocolate glaze. I would promptly dunk those babies into a cold glass of milk, or if I was feeling really saucy, a chocolate glass of milk. Chocoholic from day one, I swear.

I semi-regularly indulge on donuts, both Paleo and non-Paleo. Naturally, the week I decided to take the Paleo plunge, a Dunkin Donuts opened up 2 blocks from my apartment…. On one of my favorite running routes. Naturally. I also work a quarter of a mile next to a Maryland based grocery store that has quite possibly the best donuts I have ever had. Another irony? The nurses at my work are just as obsessed with donuts as I am. They bring in a dozen at least a week, and they are always offering me one. Life, you are a funny, ironic beast.

A subtle message from my lovely German grandmother

A subtle message from my lovely German grandmother

What I really want to share with you is this Paleo chocolate donut recipe that is more donut-y than other Paleo recipes I’ve tried out. The outside edges are a little crispy, and the inside is still soft.  They’re a little labor intensive, especially since this recipe only makes half a dozen, but I think the donut lover inside of all of us realizes that art takes time. I’m still working on perfecting the Paleo donut frosting, but I decided to post anyway because I was just too excited. Hope you enjoy!

Triple Chocolate Paleo Donuts

For the donuts:

  • 3 eggs
  • 1 tbsp. melted butter
  • ¼ cup coconut milk kefir (or just regular coconut milk)
  • ½ cup coconut sugar
  • 1 tsp. apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tbsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • ¾ cup tapioca starch
  • ¼ cup coconut flour
  • ¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • Dash of sea salt

For the glaze:

  • ½ bar dark chocolate
  • 1/8 cup coconut oil
  • 1 tbsp. powdered egg whites
  • Chocolate sprinkles, if desired*

For frying:

  • About ½ cup coconut oil

To Make the Donuts:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Combine the eggs and sugar, beat with a mixer.
  3. Add butter, coconut kefir, apple cider vinegar, and vanilla, mix again.
  4. Add in the tapioca starch, baking soda, baking powder, salt and mix again with a mixer until everything is mixed well.
  5. Add cocoa powder, mix again.
  6. Add the  coconut flour, and mix until just incorporated. You batter should still be liquidy.
  7. Pour batter into donut pan, you should have 6 very full donut molds.
  8. Bake in middle rack at 350 degrees for 17 minutes. Donuts should be set in their donuty shape, but when a toothpick is inserted, it should not come out completely clean.
  9. Once donuts have cooled enough to safely remove from the baking pan, heat coconut oil in a frying pan. Once the oil is melted, place 2-3 donuts at a time in frying pan. Fry each side of each donut foe 2-3 minutes, until each side is crispy. Repeat until all donuts are fried. Watch your donuts closely here, they can burn very fast.
  10. Let dry on paper towels. While drying/cooling, prepare you frosting.

To Make the Glaze:

  1. To create the chocolate glaze, melt chocolate and coconut oil in a bowl. You can do this using a double boiler, but I went the easy way and just did it in a microwave.
  2. Once almost cooled, stir in the powdered egg whites.
  3. Using a fork, dip one side of each donut into the bowl with the glaze. Place onto baking racks to dry. Add sprinkles, if desired.

*The sprinkles aren’t Paleo. Life’s too short.

** Because the glaze is made with coconut oil, it will melt at warm temperatures. Be mindful of this when storing your treats. 

I've Got Sunshine...

…ooonnn a rainy daayy.

I’ve been singing this song to myself all day. All day through 7 hours of jury duty, all day through the torrential downpour dropped upon DC, and all day through the 20 degree temperature drop that immediately propelled us back into winter.

Today, during my jury duty lunch break, I thought it was good fortune that the rain had stopped and the skies were starting to clear. I decided to be healthy and go on a walk. (A walk! Of course, that’s what healthy people do when they have a few minutes to spare. They go on walks…and stuff.)  About halfway through my lunch break, those once semi-clear skies suddenly filled again with gray clouds and such strong wind gusts that I was somehow standing in the middle of a busy DC street with my sunshine yellow umbrella turned inside out being pelted with the largest rain drops I’ve ever seen.  I was soaked head to toe for all the world to see.

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You know, sunshine. I’ve got it.

But really, I do, because, with exception to today, spring has finally sprung, the days are getting longer, and last week my Dad sent me a cooking care package from California that included lemons and rosemary grown from his backyard:

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I’ve been obsessed with the lemons ever since. Lemon tea, lemon infused water, lemon peel baths, and lemon facial scrubs (post coming soon!). Naturally, I decided to make some Paleo lemon bars. These homegrown lemons are just so good, and are a perfect spring treat.

Paleo Lemon Bars

Makes 20 lemon squares

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Note: adapted from Taylor Made it Paleo’s Recipe: http://taylormadeitpaleo.com/2013/08/16/lemon-bars/

Crust:

  • ½ cup lightly salted almonds
  • 1 cup almond flour
  • 2 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 tbsp. raw honey
  • 2 tbsp. butter
  • ½ tsp. baking powder

Filling:

  • 4 eggs
  • ½ cup raw honey
  • ¼ cup lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp. cashew flour
  • 3 tbsp. coconut flour
  • 1 ½ tbsp. lemon zest
  1. Grind salted almonds in a food processor into they have turned into almond butter.
  2. Add the rest of the crust ingredients to the food processor and process until crumbly.
  3. Spray 13x9 inch pan with olive oil or coconut oil spray. Spread crust mixture evenly into pan.
  4. Bake crust for 10 minutes at 350.
  5. While the crust is baking, mix filling ingredients in a food processor.
  6. Pour filling over crust and continue to bake for about 15 minutes.
  7. Once the filling for the bars is firm but still a bit wobbly, remove from oven and let cool to set.
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Was St. Patrick Paleo?

Happy St. Patrick’s Day! Normally, I would say what a great spring holiday it is, but here in DC, its miserable. Overnight, it snowed up to 10 inches in some places, effectively shutting the city down for the 10th snow day since January. I even got stranded in Houston overnight on my way back from my weekend trip to New Mexico, although to be honest, I didn’t mind- it extended my time in the sunshine just a little bit more. I literally went from this beautiful southwestern weather:

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To this:

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Ugh. Take me back.



I'll be the first to admit it: I have a serious sweet tooth. Scratch that- I have a serious chocolate tooth. Forget sugar, just give me chocolate. (Unless, of course, you have some German-quality Gummy Bears, then you can give me those...in addition to the chocolate.) I also have serious mint cravings. Mint chocolate chip ice cream and I go way back. Shamrock Shake season at McDonald’s used to be my favorite. It was my favorite up until I realized that every time I ate one, I felt so incredibly sick. Somewhere along the line, I put two and two together and figured if I something was making me feel sick, I shouldn’t put it in my body. Also, I'm a little creeped out by just how green those things are. So there’s that.

When I switched over to Paleo, I was worried about not being able to enjoy the *ahem* sweeter things in life. Giving up grains? No problem? Processed foods? No problem. (Good riddance.) Most of dairy, starches, and limiting fruit? No problem. Desserts? Problem.  BIG problem.

A lot of my Paleo recipes and experiments focus on desserts, mostly because its what I really enjoy. When I first switched to Paleo, I tried to replace all the foods I had favored throughout my life with Paleo friendly versions of them: almond flour pizza crust, coconut flour cupcakes, cashew flour cookies, almond butter banana bread. These are great alternatives, don't get me wrong, but I quickly learned that even these replacements should be limited. Although lots of these recipes follow the Paleo formula, the focus really should be on consuming vegetables, healthy fats, and animal proteins. These are the things that combine together to create optimal health, immunity, and energy.  Paleo baking recipes are wonderful treats, but should you really be consuming the 100 almonds that have been crushed to make that almond meal pizza crust? The 30 cashews that have been crushed to make the batter in that single Paleo cupcake? Probably not- diets should be more balanced, even if it still is Paleo.

So after a few months of Paleo baking my little heart out, and finally realizing that I can't exist off of almond flour everything, and realized that I needed to start approaching pleasing my sweet tooth in a different way. Eventually, I came to this recipe. Actually, I didn't really come to it, a friend of mine asked me one day: "So have you tried Chia Seed Pudding?".

What? Chia Seed Pudding? What? I hadn't heard of it, but she immediately listed off a recipe, and ensured that it was "the best". This girl knows her stuff. and she really nailed it on this seed pudding thing. Chia Seed Pudding is so easy, has only a few ingredients, and can be flavored probably 100 different ways. It really is the best. (Thanks Kathy!)

Since it is St. Patrick's Day, I festively flavored this pudding version with mint. If you don't like mint, just leave it out, and you'll have chocolate. I've also listed some varieties below if you would like to try out a different pudding flavor.


Shamrock Chia Seed Pudding

Serves 4

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  • 16 oz. canned coconut cream (canned coconut milk will work too)
  • 2 tbsp. alcohol-free vanilla extract
  • 11/2 tsp. mint extract
  • 4 tbsp. cocoa powder
  • 7 tbsp. chia seeds
  • 3 tbsp. melted raw honey
  • Chocolate shavings for garnish (optional)
  1. Mix all ingredients together
  2. Refrigerate for 1 hour and then serve.
  3. Really, that's it. 

 

Variations:

  • Mint Cream: omit the cocoa powder from the above recipe, increase the vanilla extract by an additional 1 tsp.
  • Chocolate: omit mint extract from above recipe
  • Vanilla: omit the cocoa powder and mint from the above recipe, increase the vanilla by an additional 1/2 tbsp.
  • Maple Pecan: reduce the honey by 2 tbsp, add 2 tbsp. maple syrup. Stir in pecans.
  • Mocha: add 1 tbsp. instant coffee granules, omit mint extract
  • Mint Mocha: add 1 tbsp. instant coffee granules
  • Coconut chip: omit mint extract, add 1/2 cup toasted unsweetened shredded coconut, 1/2 cup mini chocolate chips 
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Not Quite Reese's, but Still Pretty Good

Ahhh, Valentine’s Day. I think I can speak for everyone in saying that renaming to the day to “Eat Fancy Chocolate Day” would be more appropriate. Unless you live in Chicago, and today is actually, in fact, the anniversary of the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre. (In school in Chicago, we really did learn about the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre. Talk about some heavy elementary curriculum.)

Anyway, I would like to share with you a fun, chocolaty Paleo-approved recipe. I decided to try to make these after realizing that I really really really missed eating Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, my favorite Valentine’ Day treat. If you’re like me, almond butter will never be able to replace peanut butter, but almond butter is still pretty great…and after making these lovely Dark Chocolate Almond Butter Cups, I proceeded to eat all of them over the course of two days. (Along with an entire batch of kale chips. It’s called a balanced diet, people.)

I hope you enjoy them as much as I did!


Dark Chocolate Almond Butter Cups

Makes about 15 mini cups, or 6-7 large cups

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For the almond butter base:

·      Just over ¾ cup almond flour or almond meal

· ½ cup almond butter, crunchy or smooth (You could also substitute peanut butter for you non-Paleo followers, or another nut butter of choice. I would imagine that cashew butter would be great in these.)

· 2 tbsp. liquid coconut oil

·      2 tbsp. raw honey, melted (add more honey to taste if you want this base to be sweeter)

·      2 tsp. alcohol-free vanilla extract

 

For the chocolate topping:

·      3 tbsp. coconut oil, melted

·      3 tbsp. raw honey, melted

·      2 ½ tbsp. dark chocolate cocoa powder

·      1 tsp. instant ground coffee or espresso granules

Variations: If you would like to add additional flavors, I think adding sea salt, raspberries, or strawberries on top of the chocolate layer would be excellent. If you would like to make these cups into an almond butter-mocha variety, add up to 1 ½ tbsp. of the instant espresso or coffee granules into the chocolate mixtures. The possibilities are endless!

 

1. Combine all ingredients for the almond butter base in a bowl and set aside. Make sure that this mixture is well combined and sticks together without crumbling.

2. Combine all ingredients for the chocolate topping together in a small bowl. You can omit the instant coffee if you would like, but adding this intensifies the chocolate flavor. (When cooking with coconut oil, I find that often the coconut flavor from the oil can overtake everything else. What better way to combat this by making the chocolate taste stronger? Exactly.)

3. Line a cupcake or mini cupcake pan with paper liners. (Or you can do what I did and stick mini cupcake liners in a normal cupcake pan.) Add a small ball of the almond butter base into each liner and press to evenly fill the bottom of each one.

4. Spoon a thin layer of the chocolate mixture over each almond butter base. Start with a thin layer first, and then go back and add more chocolate evenly until the chocolate mixture is completely gone.

5. Cover with plastic wrap and place the pan in the freezer for about 45 minutes until set.

6. Remove and eat them all in one sitting J

 

*Remember that since these almond butter cups will melt if in a warm enough environment. So if you have the willpower to save these for later, keep them covered in the freezer, fridge, or a cooler location.

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