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.  

Merry Christmas and a Special Sweet Holiday Treat!

Merry Christmas!

Down here in New Mexico, I've pretty much given up on any hope of White Christmas this year. I guess thats what I get for picking up one day and suddenly moving to the southwest.

I actually don't know what to do with myself. I've never had a Christmas without snow or cold weather (my whole life has been in Chicago, Iowa, or D.C.) except for the one year my family was in Costa Rica for the holidays. With the exclusion of that year spent in Central America, even when we travel, the cold weather seems to follow us. In 2010, we spent Christmas in South Beach, where there were lows around the 60s that sent Miami residents running to buy parkas and sent my grandma and I to lounge on the beach in our swimsuits.

So here I am, basking in the southwest sunshine in a bit of a confused haze. The past couple weeks, I've been celebrating Christmas the only way I know how: by listening to Christmas music, decorating the tree, watching Love Actually, drinking paleo hot chocolate, and lighting lots of fires in the fireplace, subsequently making my house really really hot.

There's one other thing though.

I've been eating a lot of ice cream, since temperatures aren't in the teens like I'm used to. Ice cream in December? So much better than Ice cream in July. Out with the old Christmas sugar cookies, in with the new..... ice cream.

Happy Holidays everyone!

Paleo Chocolate "Ice Cream" with Peppermint Mocha Marshmallow Swirl

  • 1 recipe of your favorite chocolate ice cream recipe (I like this one…because its mine ;) )
  • ¾ cup peppermint-mocha marshmallow fluff *
  1. Follow directions to make ice cream according to your recipe.
  2. Once ice cream mixture is ready, place in your ice cream maker and churn to your manufacturer’s instructions.
  3. Watch churning ice cream slowly, and as ice cream starts to harden, add your marshmallow fluff in ¼ cup increments as mixer is still turning.
  4. Once ice cream is finished churning, scoop out and place in an airtight container.
  5. Put ice cream in freezer and let harden for about 2-3 more hours, at least, before eat.

*Marshmallow fluff is derived from making the peppermint-mocha marshmallow recipe, and instead of letting the fluff set (to turn into marshmallows), use the fluff immediately to mix into this ice cream recipe.

Some Thanksgiving Dinner Ideas (and our 2014 Hybrid Thanksgiving Dinner Menu)

Its less than week before Thanksgiving.

LESS than a week. As in 5 days.

Five. Days.

Months ago, I decided that this Thanksgiving was the Thanksgiving I was going to head; I was going to be the master planner this year.



Not that I don’t have things under control, because I definitely do (Ummmm except I haven’t decided on how to cook the turkey in entirety yet. No. Big. Deal.), but its just a lot to think about and coordinate considering that I am flying to Tampa and have to make several trips to the grocery store (Everyone always has to make several trips to the grocery store to fight over the last can of pumpkin puree, right? Right.), and actually prepare the food. Oh, and I think the last headcount I got was for 11 people.

Now, I know 11 people for a major holiday probably doesn’t sound like a whole lot to most of you guys, but my family is so spread out (California, Arizona, Illinois, Georgia, Florida, Massachusetts, and counting…) that over the past 10 years, I think we’ve had an average of maybe 4.5 people for most major holidays. And 4.5 people is not difficult to cook for, because that’s essentially the proportions I cook for regularly. (Christopher pretty much eats as much as 4 people [not kidding]. I don’t know why he is so skinny, but dear lord, life is not fair.)

A challenge I’ve already faced when trying to plan for this Thanksgiving was trying to strike a balance of paleo dishes and nonpaleo dishes. Although I’m an avid fan of the paleo lifestyle, and I am more than happy to share with anyone who asks, I definitely don’t push it on anyone, and I definitely do not want to spring a Paleo Thanksgiving on unsuspecting dinner guests. That would just be cruel. Delicious, but cruel. Singing the praises of a paleo lifestyle are never ending, but perhaps a holiday that celebrates gluttony is neither the time nor the place.

On the upside, I've outlined the menu, and created a grocery shopping excel spreadsheet with coordinated tabs by the area of where the product is found in the grocery store. OCD at its finest, folks. 

I’m sharing my menu with you all as a way to illustrate a way to plan a hybrid paleo and nonpaleo meal. I tried to choose paleo recipes that are not only tasty, but beloved by people who are also nonpaleo. I included links to all the recipes, whether they are from South of Vanilla, or not, so if you’re searching for some dishes serve, make sure to check them out. Some of these posts are also scheduled to be posted in the next week, so stay tuned for those. Enjoy!

2014 Hybrid Thanksgiving Menu


  • Sweet n’ Savory Bacon-Wrapped Dates (Paleo)
  • Brie with Pears and Apples (nonpaleo, technically)(annnd…. no recipe for this one. Just have a nice, high quality brie with some sliced apples and pears)
  • Home-baked Rosemary French Bread with Garlic-Chive Butter (nonpaleo)






Cinnamon-Sage Sweet Potatoes

Cinnamon-Sage Sweet Potatoes

Sweet n' Savory Bacon Wrapped Dates

Sweet n' Savory Bacon Wrapped Dates

Cranberry Sauce   

Cranberry Sauce


Kale Salad

Kale Salad

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