Paleo Sonoma Chicken Salad

Chicago has been horrible this winter.  Snow so formidable that I’m afraid to drive the two miles to the grocery store.  Cold so fierce that I literally spent three days in my house, until I literally couldn’t stand it any longer- and I’m from Minnesota!

You would think that it would have resulted in a burgeoning of this blog, as I filled your news feed with stories of my snow induced cooking.  However, hibernation seems to have had an all encompassing grip on my creativity and I’ve found myself recreating other bloggers’ recipes for most meals.  The light has also been fairly poor and so all of my food photos have been fairly cave-like and unappetizing.

However, I have been loving this easy recipe that I recreated based on an non-paleo favorite of mine.  It’s hearty and filling and easy to transport for lunch.  I love the creamy, semi-sweet taste of the mayo with the firm crunchy of the celery and sweet burst of the grapes.  It makes enough for four large servings.

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Ingredients:

4 Large Chicken Breasts

2 Cups Grapes

1 Cup Packed Pecan Halves

3 Stalks Chopped Celery

3/4 Cup Homemade Paleo Mayo

1.5 Tablespoon Honey

1 Teaspoon Poppy Seeds

1 Teaspoon Salt

1/2 Teaspoon Pepper

Directions:

1.) Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees.  Prepare the chicken breasts with the salt and pepper from the recipe.  Cook for 40 minutes.

2.) Chop celery, half grapes and pecans (if needed).

3.) Cube chicken and add to celery, grapes and pecans.  Combine Mayo with honey and add to mixture.  Add poppy seeds.

4.) Chill for 1 hour before serving.

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A Paleo Baby Shower

My sister is having a baby girl in November!  She is the first grand-baby in the Morris household and we are all over the moon!  In honor of our lovely, literary Amy, my mom and I decided to throw baby girl a children’s book themed shower.  When I talked with Amy about it, she told me that she wanted me to be able to eat everything at the shower.  And thus, a Paleo Children’s Book Baby Shower was born.

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We used this theme and template from Martha Stewart.  Ex-con or not, she is still about as picture perfect as they come!  I wanted the food to be pink and dreamy, whimsical and playful.  I spent weeks going through websites and books, picking out the best recipes.  Three weeks before, I bought Danielle Walker’s amazing new cook book and my menu suddenly flew together.

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Amy’s Paleo Shower:

Strawberry Shortcake Meringue Cupcakes

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Dark Chocolate Fudge Brownies (in Danielle’s book)

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Watermelon Arugula and Feta Salad

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Almond Thyme Crackers and Baked Brie (from Roost Blog)

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Black Mission Fig Jam (in Danielle’s book)

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Lemony Apple Carrot Bombs (from The Urban Poser)

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It was so beautiful.  Friends and family from all over Minnesota came to celebrate our new life!  Our Grandma came with a cozy sleeper and Mary Poppins themed gift.  My younger sister flew in from Chicago and surprised my mom and sister!  The mother of the family Amy nannied for as a teenager came with a book from France that Amy had bought for them as a nanny.  Stories of love and encouragement were paired with the most delicious grain-free, sugar-free spread this side of the St. Croix.

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Needless to say, we can’t wait for little girl Williams to appear on the scene in November!  And when she does, she is going to have so many fun new books to greet her and hopefully, a taste for Paleo cooking!

 

Little Dipper’s Homemade Barbeque Sauce

Success for the Little Dipper!

 

When I was little, I lived in a small rural farming town in southern Minnesota where my dad served as a pastor of a small United Methodist church.  My grandparents would come and visit us and on those occasions, we’d frequent one of the two restaurants in town.  More often or not, we’d opt for “Daniel’s” over “Burger King”.  It was on one such excursion to “Daniel’s” that I received one of my most enduring nicknames.  I couldn’t have been more than three.  I was sitting next to my Grandpa Marlowe when I noticed him place a large blob of ketchup on his plate.  Seeing my gaze, he responded by plopping a large dollop on mine as well.  Giving me a mischievous smile he said “Look, Alli, like this!”  With that he dipped his finger into the ketchup and licked it off.  I was spell bound.  And the rest is food dipping history.

Growing up, I dipped all of my food.  To a disgusting event.  When there wasn’t food to be dipped, I would eat the condiment with a spoon or by scooping it up with my fingers.  “Little Dipper” was a charitable term for what became an obsession.  Alli had to have her sauce!  Even as an adult I would ask for 3-4 BBQ packets- not one, my own ketchup bottle- not a small cup and covered everything I could think of with a thick layer of sweet and spicy goodness.

SCD was a rude awakening.  My second day after the intro diet, I tried to make BBQ and failed miserably.  I wasn’t deterred and have made at least 20 variations of BBQ over the past year.  While I may not have tried every SCD recipe out there, I have sampled a great deal of them to frustrating ends.

Enter the hero of the story.  He scales large buildings in a single bound.  He consumes large tombs of theology without falling asleep once.  He keeps his jokes about yoga to a minimum AND he likes cats better than dogs.  But even more significant than all of these virtues is the fact that he alone created the perfect SCD BBQ sauce.  Without Mike Niebauer, Little Dipper’s Homemade Barbeque Sauce would not exist.

He gave me the recipe and the first batch for Christmas this past year.  It is the perfect combination of sweet and savory with a little bit of kick.  Delicious and authentic tasting, I wouldn’t be able to tell it from commercial BBQ.  It is in fact, the perfect BBQ sauce.  Best of all, it’s incredibly simple to make!  Mike Niebauer, you got it goin’ on.

Little Dipper’s BBQ Sauce 

  • 1 Can of Organic Tomato Juice (32 oz each)

  • ¾ Cups Apple Cider Vinegar

  • 1 tsp. onion powder

  • 3 ¾  tsp. salt

  • ½  tsp. all spice

  • ½  tsp ground cloves

  • ½  tsp. cinnamon

  • ½  tsp. garlic powder

  • 1 bay leaf

  • 1 ½ Tlb. Yellow mustard

  • 1/8  tsp paprika

  • ¼ tsp ground cayenne pepper

  • Dash of chili powder

  • 1/3 cup honey

  • 1 ¾ tsp. liquid smoke (I use Wright’s, it’s SCD legal)

Directions:
1. Combine all ingredients, except for honey, liquid smoke in a large pot.
2. Simmer for 3-4 hours until very thick, stirring occasionally, more so as it thickens.
3. Turn off heat. Remove bay leaves.
4. Add liquid smoke. Stir well.
5. Transfer to a blender and puree well.

Pineapple and Prosciutto Pizza with Cauliflower Crust

SCD Legal  Hawaiian Pizza

SCD Legal Hawaiian Pizza

Game night is not game night without pizza.  For the past year, I have tried over ten different ways to recreate our past carb loving, cheese indulging, gut wrenching, no holds barred game night with very little success.  While our game closet continue to over-floweth with pretty much every Euro game (and expansion) out there, we usually opt for ordering Papa John’s for Mike and the guys while I eat something awesome.  Like a salad.

The problem with SCD legal pizzas is almost universally the crusts.  Almond flour is too dense, has the wrong texture and gets too soggy in the middle even if it is pre-baked.  A combo of different nut flours gives a dry, lifeless crust that tastes bland and biscuitty.  I honestly thought I just wouldn’t be able to enjoy pizza ever again.

Not any more!  I’ve also been reading about cauliflower crusts for the past year but been too skeptical to try it out.  Shame on my doubting heart, it is AWESOME!  This recipe is by no means terribly original as I’m sure it’s an amalgamation of other recipes but it is incredibly tasty, crunchy, and crusty.  Welcome to my version of Hawaiian pizza!

Ingredients (cauliflower crust):

  • 3 cups finely grated cauliflower (about 1 medium sized head)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup cheese (I used 1/2 adagio and 1/2 muenster)
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon Italian blend (I mix evenly basil, thyme, sage and oregano)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Ingredients (pizza filling):

  • 1/2 cup pizza sauce (I used SCD legal Lucini’s.  They carry it at Whole Foods)
  • 1 cup cheese (again, I used 1/2 adagio and 1/2 muenster)
  • 1 can pineapple (make sure they are SCD legal and canned in their own juice)
  • 6 strips of prosciutto (make sure to look at the ingredients as many contain illegals.  Trader Joe’s carries a legal type)

Instructions:

    1. After washing the cauliflower, use a hand grater to grate three cups of cauliflower into an oven safe bowl.  You could use a food processor but I find that it makes the cauliflower “wetter”.
    2. Pre-heat the over to 450 degrees and put the cauliflower in until it is tender but not mushy (about 5-7 minutes once oven is warm).  You could use a microwave for this but I think microwaves are weird so…
    3. Take cauliflower out and combine all ingredients in the bowl until well mixed.  Grab a pizza pan and spread out your parchment paper.
    4. Scoop your cauliflower mix onto the parchment lined pizza pan.  At this point, don’t expect it to feel like dough.  It won’t really be sticking together enough for you to form it into a ball and that’s ok!  Using your hands, fashion it into a circle on the parchment paper so that it looks like a pizza crust.
    5. Pop it into the over for 15-17 minutes until the crust is golden brown.
    6. Remove it from the oven and spread pizza sauce and the rest of the ingredients over the pizza.

Turn the oven up to broil and put the pizza in for 3-4 minutes until the cheese is bubbling.  Remove and serve right away

Before the oven

Before the oven

After the oven

After the oven

Before the cheese

Before the cheese

After the cheese

After the cheese

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It turned out delicious.  Both Mike, Kara and I thought that if you didn’t know it was cauliflower, you wouldn’t have been able to tell!

 

 

 

 

 

Happy gaming and happy pizza night!