Paleo Crack Donuts

Happy New Year! I know everyone is working hard away on those eat-less-exercise-more resolutions, but I wanted to take a brief intermission to share some things with you....

I'm pretty sure that almost all of us have heard about that study citing that oreos are more addicting than crack to rats. I cant even imagine the litigation that must be going on right now by Nabisco.  

Honestly, if you're reading this blog, you're probably more health conscious than most, and weren't even surprised. After all, there is a reason why you can easily inhale a whole row of oreos without flinching, while eating a whole tub of paleo cookies is actually a challenge. Why? Because paleo cookies are full of things like metabolism boosting fat (grass-fed butter, coconut oil) and proteins (almond flour, cashew flour, eggs).

Like I said, no one was surprised about the crackoreo discovery. However, what I was surprised about was that other foods weren't tested. Like fruit loops or cocoa pebbles or reese's or donuts

...Because let's be real, we all know that I especially have a donut addiction. Specifically to fried cake donuts. I absolutely love love love a great cup of coffee, but a donut topped with sprinkles WITH a cup of coffee? To me, that tastes like what heaven would taste like, if heaven had a taste. Are donuts paleo?  Nope, definitely not. Do I have them from time to time? Yep. And its pure pleasure for about 10 seconds (because I inhale them) and then I feel sick for 5 hours after. I hang onto this feeling long enough to keep myself away, or until I get tempted by those sprinkles again. Then I have another donuts and the vicious cycle continues.

Donuts. Just like crack.

I've made several paleo donut recipes, like the one here. I've also made others from likeminded paleo bloggers that are delicious, but not exactly the fried, flaky, frosting-toppped, sweet donuts that we are all so enamored with. I've found that all the paleo donuts I have tried are dense and cake-like, which makes sense because they're cake-donuts after all, but they just don't have the same texture as conventional donuts.

Until now.

Well, kind of. Since they are still paleo, they will not be quite the same as the traditional donut I have now so eloquently painted a picture of in your head, but they do have a lighter, springier, texture that is the closest I have come to an actual donut. They are indeed fried, so not the best option, in my opinion, but so much better than anything you could buy for a $1 morning special.


Paleo Sugar and Butter Glazed Mini Donuts

Makes 12 mini donuts (or 6 regular sized donuts)

For Donuts:

  • 3/4 Cup Tapioca Starch, divided
  • 1/4 Cup Coconut Flour, plus extra for thickening
  • 1/4 Cup water
  • 1 package yeast
  • 1/3 cup raw honey
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • About 1 Cup coconut oil for frying

For Glaze:

  • 6 tbsp. unsalted, grass-fed, organic butter (I use Kerrygold)
  • 4 tbsp. coconut sugar

To make donuts:

  1. Heat 1/4 cup water to approximately 100 degrees. Add yeast and let sit for about 10 minutes until water is frothy.
  2. While yeast is activating, in a large bowl, beat egg. Add vanilla and stir.
  3. Add in 1/2 cup of the tapioca starch and coconut flour to the egg and vanilla mixture and stir thoroughly until incorporated.
  4. Add activated yeast and water to the batter and stir until well incorporated.
  5. Heat the raw honey until it has melted and add to the batter.
  6. Add in remaining 1/4 cup tapioca starch slowly, stirring after each addition.
  7. At this point, your batter should be slightly sticky but not runny. If it is runny, add additional coconut flour 1 tsp. at a time, stirring after each addition, until batter has thickened.
  8. Once batter is thick but sticky, place a towel over the large bowl with the batter and set aside for about 30 minutes in a warm place to let rise. Batter should rise, but not quite double.
  9. Once dough has risen, divide the dough into 12 equal pieces. Roll into a ball, then flatten and roll into long tubes about 1 1/2 inches thick. Connect the end of each donut tube by pressing the edges together and creating a circle. Set aside.
  10. Once all your donuts have been formed, pour coconut oil into a large frying pan on heat on medium heat. Oil should cover about 2/3 of each donuts. Fry donuts 3 at a time, for 3 minutes, until a light brown, and then flip over to brown other side.
  11. Place donuts on a paper towel lined plate to cool before glazing.
  12. Repeat steps 10-11 until you have fried all your donuts. Add more coconut oil if necessary for frying.

To make glaze:

  1. Melt Butter.
  2. Dip donuts into melted butter and set aside.
  3. Sprinkle each donut with about 1 tsp. of coconut sugar.

*These donuts are best when enjoyed immediately, while they are still warm, but not hot. I recommend eating them within 48 hours, as they start to harden after that.  





Top 10 Faileos of 2014

I talk a lot about how great my food is. I mean, obviously, I'm not going to post a recipe and say how deplorable it is and how you should never ever attempt to make it. That would be absurd.

But what I haven't ever talked about is how many times I have failed trying to create recipes and meals and blog posts that just never turned out. I think of all of my blog posts, I have had maybe 5 recipes that turned out great the first time I made them. Every other recipe I had to make twice, sometimes three or four or five times. And those numbers alone mean that there are a whole lot of mess-ups and failures that I haven't shared, a whole lot of failed paleo dishes, which I would now like to introduce as "faileos".

In excitement for the upcoming new year, I thought it would be nice to have a good laugh and talk about all the things that have gone wrong on South of Vanilla over the past year, all the things that had brought me to tears of frustration in the moment, but now are providing an abundance of tears of laughter. Because really, what was I thinking with some of these?? I still don't know.


10. I was really excited when one I day I found this super cool, barely been used waffle iron at Goodwill. Immediately upon seeing it, I dreamt of all the things I could make in a waffle iron: paleo cornbread! brownies! cakes! waffle bread! How has anyone ever existed without the genius invention of waffle bread?? The possibilities were endless. But first, I needed to start things off slowly with creating a basic recipe for just plain waffles. It didn't work out so well:

Yeah. Never ever coming soon to a paleo blog near you!

9. Last New Years eve, my best friends and I were throwing ourselves a NYE party for ourselves the only way we knew how: with movies, music, dancing, glitter, chalkboard paint, a photobooth, liberal amounts of alcohol, and lots and lots of food. Being the self-righteous person that I am, I decided to show my friends that great tasting paleo desserts were definitely possible:

Yeah, I showed them.

To make matters worse, we were stuck with these things for days after, since the 2014 Chicago snowpocalypse and the polar vortex snowed us all in.

8. I had this brilliant idea that I was going to show the world that brussels sprouts were nothing to fear! I was going to write this post about how sometimes getting yourself to love vegetables is just about you prepare them.

So I literally spent almost a an hour and a half peeling back each layer of each little leaf of each tiny brussels spout while watching Frozen, naturally. (Winter vegetable, winter movie. It made sense in my head.) This brussels sprouts idea of mine, I thought, was so brilliant. I was going to call them brips. As in brussels sprout chips. I was going to take the world by storm! They were going to be the new kale chips!

 

I never tried this recipe again. And then soon after, I found out that Nom Nom Paleo pretty much did the same thing but 500 times better. And did it successfully.

7. Remember those carrot fries that got a whole lot of attention when I first posted them, and then again right around Thanksgiving?

They weren't always the recipe that they've evolved to be:

6. Back when I was living and working in DC, I found this amazing book. I stumbled upon it one day, without an owner, begging to be read. Of all things, it was a cookbook dated to the mid 1800s, containing recipes and cuisine specific to Virginia. I really felt like I had stumbled upon a treasure. I was like Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince wading through margin notes and shortcuts and cooking brilliance; suddenly I had access to all these amazing recipes, many of which were naturally paleo. I was going to use this book and spread it's power. Not only was I going to share the secrets of these forgotten recipes, but I was going to show how this was yet another instance of how our ancestors, though not that long ago, were following a primal diet.

So I found this perfect recipe, this great recipe that I think really embodied the mood of this whole situation. The recipe I decided upon was a fermented peach recipe. It only contained 5 ingredients, was naturally paleo, and was fermented! It was perfect. I followed all the cryptic steps, written in old language I didn't necessarily understand, and took all these fabulous pictures:



And then those fermented peaches just turned into straight up moldy, foul smelling, truly disgusting peaches. I didn't even snap a picture of the mold, because getting close to the moldy blobs was really, truly, too much too handle.

And just like that, My Half-Blood Princess dreams were ruined.

5. One time, I was convinced that I was going to make my own paleo whipped cream from real cream. Granted, this recipe wouldn't have been completely paleo because it had cream, but I was willing to look past that.

And then my cream turned into butter. But not just any butter! Butter with coconut sugar and vanilla...which sounded salvageable- it could be a dessert butter! And then I tried it and it was so awful. Firstly because it splattered all over my kitchen, second because it was watery, and lastly because I accidentally used an alcohol based vanilla. So my whipped cream tasted just like watery alcohol butter. Yep.

And did I mention that I made this mistake not once, but twice- the second time being with frosting???


4. Back in late winter and early spring while I was training for my half marathon, I went through these insane stages where I would just crave carbs. I knew it was because I was training so much, and my body really needed it, but dreams of pasta and bread rolls and pizza dough dancing like sugarplums in my dreams was just too much to handle. So I decided that I was going to make my own paleo linguine. I decided to make pasta the traditional way but with paleo ingredients: the art of rolling and cutting and chilling and drying would not be lost on me. I was culinary! I am not below paying homage to the great pasta making gods.

After I chilled and rolled and cut, for 48 hours, I turned my apartment into a pasta-drying factory:


Everything was turning out great, and I had even started writing the blog post in my head. This recipe was going to revolutionize the paleo diet!

And then I started cooking the pasta. Somehow all the eggs I had used to form the dough, started to boil up from the pasta to the top of the water in the pot, to form kind of a frothy, eggy foamy broth. The pasta turned from a nice tan color to a squeamish gray color, and then started to fall apart in the pot. BUT I STILL TRIED TO EAT THEM. So I smothered them in sauce, took a bite, and immediately wished I hadn't.



So long homemade, paleo pasta. Its Cappello's for me from here on out.

3. Four words: homemade paleo girlscout cookies.

Two words: epic faileo.

2. Remember those paleo soft-shell tacos? They were delicious. There is also a reason why the soft-shell of the tacos were not my own....

1. I went through this marshmallow-making obsession back when I was trying to perfect the recipes for my Paleo Pumpkin-Spice Marshmallows and my Paleo Peppermint Mocha Marshmallows. These two took quite a long time to figure out, and back in the original post, I shared that I broke two bowls while doing so. How did I do this? The first time, I somehow forgot to lock my kitchen aid bowl into the twist lock base, turned the mixer on high, and the proceeded to watch the bowl fly across the room, land with a crash, and dent the tile floor that we had literally just laid a week prior:

While waiting for my replacement bowl to come in the mail, I decided that I NEEDED to try this recipe again, and the only way I could do it, was to use the Kitchen Aid because it was powerful enough. In complete ignorance of the past Kitchenaidgate fiasco, I found another similar bowl, set it on top of the lock base, and turned the mixer on low to test it out. Everything seemed fine! The bowl was staying in place even though it wasn't designed for the mixer. So I turned it up high and then WALKED AWAY.

I'm an idiot. Bowl number two: gone, crashed, and shattered, but not before spreading a full cup of melted honey across every possible surface of the kitchen.


So there we have it: the best of 2014.

 

Have a joyous and very Happy New Years 2015! 

 

 

 

 

 

  

Not ready for pumpkin spice to end...

Its cold.

Like, really cold. And yes, I realize I am saying this as a Chicago girl who is now living in a climate where the average temperature in winter is 50 degrees, but its been getting down to 25 degrees overnight and in the early morning here. Which is chilly, but then our heater broke….

…which means that it is probably 40 degrees in the house in the morning. As one of my coworkers would say, “When it pours, it rains”. Or in this case, maybe snow.

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Trying to wake up for early morning Crossfit workouts when it is 40 degrees inside the house is really hard. Really really hard. I’ve started walking around the house with a down comforter wrapped around me, kind of like a red-headed big foot lookalike, while guzzling coffee before the air temperatures make my brew cold. At that point, since I’m all wrapped up in a blanket, drinking coffee, I naturally start reading the news and browsing on Pinterest and going through articles on Flipboard; I’ve realized that those moments in the morning are sometimes the only time during the day where my mind isn’t running a million miles a minute trying to catch up with all the things I have to do. Its blissful, those calm morning moments, even if they are cold.

I will say, however, that this cold weather is really making the holiday season seem more imminent. I realize that the holidays have been imminent for awhile, but now it finally seems appropriate to see Thanksgiving displays and Christmas lights at the stores and on my neighbor’s houses. Its also made me realize that its time to start saying goodbye to fall, even though I realize that these plummeting temperatures around most of the U.S. has made fall seem like forever ago, and that winter started early this year.

To celebrate fall, I vote we try to enjoy pumpkin spice at least a few more times before Thanksgiving comes and goes. After all, I think everyone knows that Black Friday indicates the start of the winter holiday season, and after that, its goodbye pumpkin spice and hello peppermint. (Not that I’m complaining!)  Now, I give you one more pumpkin spice recipe that definitely deserves a little sliver in your pumpkin loving heart, and would make a great addition to the dessert table at Thanksgiving or alongside a nice steaming cup of tea or coffee during these chilly mornings.


Paleo Chocolate Swirled Pumpkin Banana Bread

Makes 8 servings

For the pumpkin bread:

  • 15 oz  pumpkin puree
  • 3 tbsp. primal friendly pumpkin spice
  • ½ cup coconut sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 4 tbsp. grass-fed butter, melted
  • ½ cup almond butter
  • ½ cup coconut flour
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 1/s tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • Nonstick coconut oil or olive oil spray

For the Chocolate swirl:

  • 2 tbsp. grassfed butter
  • ½ cup high quality, dark chocolate
  • 1 tbsp. raw honey
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Beat pumpkin puree, eggs, butter, coconut sugar, and vanilla in a large bowl. Add pumpkin spice and continue to mix.
  2. Add in almond butter slowly, mixing thoroughly after each addition.
  3. Add coconut flour, baking soda, and baking powder. Mix until all ingredients are well combined.
  4. Grease a bread pan with nonstick spray, and add batter to the pan.
  5. Make chocolate swirl by combining honey, chocolate, and butter in a small bowl and microwaving in 10 second intervals until chocolate has melted. Stir to ensure that everything is mixed together.
  6. Pour chocolate swirl on top of pumpkin bread batter in bread pan.
  7. With a knife, swirl batter with chocolate swirl.
  8. Place bread in oven on middle rack and bake for about 75 minutes.
  9. Bread is done when fragrant a a toothpick comes clean.


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A family tradition, revisited

When my mom was a kid, she coveted these homemade chocolate chip cookies her friend’s mom made regularly. My mom, being a young cookie connoisseur at 7 years, asked for the recipe. Her friend’s mom happily gave it to her, no doubt expecting the young child to lose it within the hour. You can probably see where this is going….

…my mom, in fact, didn’t lose the recipe. Some would probably say that this was just luck, a roll of the dice, that my mom holding onto the recipe just happened by chance. However, I would argue that at a young age, my mom knew that there was something special about these cookies. My mom held onto the special cookie until adulthood, and made the recipe over and over. That cookie recipe became a recipe that we often went through together when I was a young child. She started me young, I suppose, making sure that we made that recipe so much that I had it memorized by the time I started high school. In college, I would bake these cookies eagerly (milkshakes are not what brings all the boys to the yard) for my friends, who were impressed that I was making homemade cookies instead of the break and bake variety so popular among my fellow millennials.  Even now, that cookie recipe is still my favorite, and it has turned into a family classic. Once, my uncle and I stayed up all night together baking a triple batch of these chocolate chip cookies so he could take them home to California with him on his 5am flight. We finished baking them all moments before he had to catch a fast cab to the airport. The cookies were shoved into a bag, still hot, and he when he finally opened the bag on the plane, heads turned and people stared trying to figure out who had captured the delicious aroma of baking cookies on a 5 hour, 5am flight. I’ll take that as a win.

Now, you’re right in assuming that those cookies are not paleo, and are definitely not filled with ingredients that are even remotely healthy. They are filled with all the bad things that we are programmed to love, but are definitely terrible for health, longevity, and our waistlines. This isn’t to say that I don’t make these cookies for myself still as an occasional treat, but I don’t  enjoy them now as much as I used to knowing that these cookies might as well be called grain-bombs for the havoc the wreak on my stomach.

So this is why, I have finally developed a chocolate chip cookie recipe that is not only paleo and primal friendly, but rivals the recipe that my mom and I both lovingly obsessed over as children. (And adults!) It took me over a year to figure out, but guess what? This time, there are no grains, refined sugars, or Crisco allowed. 


Best Ever Paleo Chocolate Chip Cookies

Makes 1 dozen large cookies

  • 3 eggs
  • 3 tbsp. butter, room temperature
  • ½ cup coconut oil, measured at room temperature (solid)
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • ½ cup coconut sugar
  • ¼ tsp. Himalayan pink sea salt
  • 1 ½ cups white rice flour *
  • 1 cup finely ground cashew flour OR 1 cup almond flour
  • 1 cup rounded dark chocolate chips (Enjoy life are dairy free)
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Cream eggs, butter, coconut sugar, vanilla, and salt in a bowl with a mixer.
  3. Melt solid coconut oil, being careful not to burn or scald. Add to wet ingredient mixture and blend until well incorporated.
  4. Add ¼ cup of the white rice flour and mix well. Add ¼ a cup of nut flour while continuing to mix. Alternate between rice flour and nut flour until full amounts have been added to the mixture. Add in baking soda and baking powder and stir well.
  5. Fold in chocolate chips.
  6. Grease baking sheet and place balls of cookie dough, about 4 inches across, evenly on sheets.
  7. Place cookies on the top rack and bake for approximately 12 minutes, or until golden.
  8. Remove from oven and let cool before eating.

*White rice is technically a grain, but is the only grain that is sometimes accepted in the paleo community. Although it does have a higher carbohydrate content and does not contain much nutritional value, white rice is accepted within the community as a “sometimes food” because it doesn’t contain the negative compounds that other grains do. (#teamwhiterice) Including white rice in a diet is completely up to the individual, but here are some good articles that explain this concept much better than I do:

White rice explained by Primal Toad 

White rice explained by Mark's Daily Apple