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Quinoa salad

7 Dec

Quinoa (pronounced KEEN-wah) is one of those questionable foods when it comes to classifying something as paleo or not.  Some people (not me) call grass fed butter paleo.  I call quinoa paleo.  Whether or not you want to consider quinoa paleo the fact remains that it is a gluten free seed that is high in protein.  This is a great source of protein for those who do not eat meat, or have only recently started to eat meat and cannot eat it every day.  The original quinoa salad recipe comes from my friend Cameron who makes it as a great side for barbecues!  This is my modified version that has replaced the ingredients that are absolutely not paleo.

1 1/2 cups quinoa
1 green bell pepper, chopped
2 yellow bell peppers, chopped
2 jalapeño peppers, seeded and diced
1 1/2 tbl. red wine vinegar
2 tbl. ground coriander
5 tbl. fresh lime juice
1 tsp. kosher or sea salt
2 1/2 tsp. ground cumin
1/3 cup olive oil
Place quinoa in a fine mesh strainer and wash thoroughly with cool water.  In a sauce pan of salted boiling water, cook the quinoa for 10 minutes.  Drain the quinoa and place in a mesh strainer over a pot with boiling water (the strainer and quinoa should not make contact with the water), cover quinoa with a tea towel, and steam quinoa for 10 minutes.  Mix the peppers with the red wine vinegar.  Transfer quinoa to a large bowl, when cool mix with peppers and coriander.  Whisk together lime juice, salt, and cumin.  While whisking drizzle in a constant stream of olive oil.  Pour dressing over quinoa and mix well.  Serve cold or room temperature.

Paleo for athletes: Chicken and sweet potato gnocchi soup

12 Jun

If I do say so myself, this is a pretty spot on representation of the chicken and gnocchi soup you’ll find at any Olive Garden.  Just paleo (mostly, see explanation in gnocchi recipe link below), and way healthier 🙂  The next time you’re in the mood for a good soup give this recipe a try.


1 batch of Dee’s paleo for athletes sweet potato gnocchi ( or some of my paleo sweet potato gnocchi (

2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cooked and diced.

2 tbl. extra virgin olive oil

1 yellow onion, diced

2 carrots, shredded

4 celery stalks, thinly sliced

4 cloves garlic, minced

6 cups organic low sodium chicken broth

2 cups unsweetened coconut milk beverage (today I used So Delicious brand)

2oz. baby spinach, washed

4 sprig fresh thyme

1 1/2 tsp. kosher salt

1/2 tsp. pepper


Cook gnocchi as described in recipe.

It was gorgeous out today so the chicken breasts were brushed with extra virgin olive oil, seasoned with kosher salt and pepper and grilled.  After the chicken rested the breasts were diced.

Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium to medium high heat.  When hot add the onion and 1/2 tsp. kosher salt and saute 3 minutes.  Add carrot and celery and saute an additional 3 minutes.  Add garlic and saute an additional 1 minute.  Add cooked chicken, chicken broth, coconut milk beverage, 1 tsp. salt, pepper, and thyme.  Bring to a boil and cook for 4 minutes.  Reduce heat and simmer for 5-10 minutes.  Remove sprigs of thyme and add spinach and gnocchi.  Cook until spinach has wilted and gnocchi are warmed through.  Enjoy!

Paleo for athletes: gnocchi!

10 Jun

This recipe is 99% paleo.  As an Italian I LOVE bread, pasta, and cheese.  I’ve made paleo bread, it isn’t anything like a nice baguette, but it is great for a roast beef sandwich.  Cheese?  There is no way to make cheese paleo, sorry.  Pasta.  My first attempt at paleo sweet potato gnocchi gave the right texture and held up perfectly in boiling water, but I used coconut flour.  Let me tell you, coconut is not the flavor profile you want in pasta.  Yuck.  Tonight was attempt number two, this time with quinoa flour.  OK, this is where the 99% paleo comes in.  Quinoa is a gluten free seed native to South America and related to dark leafy greens.  With a glycemic index of 53 it just falls into the low glycemic category, making this a potential post workout glycogen replenisher.  The saponins, phytic acid, and tannins (the irritants and antinutrients classifying quinoa as not paleo) found in quinoa are removed or reduced to under 1% through scrubbing/polishing and washing.  The majority of quinoa found in this country today has already been polished and pre-washed, therefore, in small amounts I personally find quinoa to be a paleo-friendly ingredient.  So tonight I made sweet potato gnocchi with quinoa flour.  The quinoa gives the pasta a nutty, almost brown rice like, flavor.  The texture is spot on!  Would be great with any of the paleo sauces in Paleo Made Easy.


1 lb. sweet potato, baked and mashed

1 extra large egg + 1 extra large egg yolk

12oz (~2 cups) organic quinoa flour

4 tbl. tapioca flour

1/2 tsp. Kosher salt


Preheat oven to 400°F.  Bake sweet potato at 400°F until fork tender, approximately 60 minutes.  Scoop from skin, mash, and cool sweet potato.  Mix cooled sweet potato with egg, egg yolk, salt, tapioca flour, and quinoa flour.  Roll dough into approximately 3/4 inch thick ropes.  Cut the ropes into 1 inch pieces and roll each piece down the back side of a fork to form ridges.  Drop gnocchi into boiling salted water, they will float when done, approximately 5 minutes.  Mix with desired sauce and enjoy!

Paleo for athletes: Chowder

28 Apr

I would like to start out by saying that normally bacon, sausage, and sweet potato are not paleo.  Given that sweet potatoes make and excellent post workout recovery carbohydrate, they are allowed for paleo athletes.  As for the meats, these are not paleo because they typically contain a lot of salt, fat, and nitrates.  I purchase uncured and nitrate free bacon and freshly ground, nitrate free sausage and you can skim excess fat off the top of the chowder.  Please keep all of this in mind as you decide whether or not this paleo-ish recipe is for you.

We’ve had a chilly couple of spring days this week which put me in the mood for a heartier dish.  I think you’ll enjoy the warmth, flavor, and beautiful presentation this recipe offers.


Extra virgin olive oil

4 acorn squash, 1 lb. each in size

1 lb. uncured nitrate free bacon

6 ribs celery, sliced

1/2 lb. carrots, peeled and sliced

2 leeks, white and light green part, halved and sliced

1 lb. sweet potato, peeled and cubed

1 lb. butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cubed

1 lb. fresh, nitrate free sweet saussage

1 lb. fresh, nitrate free hot saussage

4 cloves garlic, minced

1 quart organic low sodium chicken broth

1 cup unsweetened coconut milk beverage

Kosher salt


1 tbl. fresh, flat leaf parsley, finely chopped

1 tsp. xanthan gum


Preheat oven to 350°F.  Split acorn squash in half lengthwise.  Scrape out the seeds with a spoon and discard.  Plase the squash halved cut sides up on a baking sheet.  Drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and bake for 30 minutes or until tender.

In a large pot cook bacon in a little olive oil until crisp and fat has rendered.  Remove bacon to paper towels to drain.  Discard bacon fat.  Heat 3 tbl. olive oil in the same large pot over medium high heat.  Saute celery, carrots, leeks, and sausage for 3-6 minutes.  Add potatoes, butternut squash, and garlic and cook for 5 minutes.  Add chicken broth and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer 15-20 minutes or until vegetables are tender.  Add parsley, coconut milk, and season to taste with salt and pepper.  Stir in xanthan gum.  Serve in cooked acorn squash cups.

It seems I have made more chowder than will fit in my acorn squash cups, you might want to cut the recipe in half (still using 4 small acorn squash).

Paleo avocado vegetable dip

19 Mar

Got raw veggies?  Looking for a way to jazz up your block of carbs (raw vegetables) with a healthy block of fat?  Try this delicious, easy to make, avocado vegetable dip with a hint of a kick.


1 avocado, pitted and removed from skin

2 tbl. paleo mayonnaise (recipe available in Paleo Made Easy)

Juice of one lime

2 tbl. chives, minced

5 scallions, white and light green part only, thinly sliced

1 jalapeño, seeded and minced

1 clove garlic, minced (I use a garlic press)

1/2 tsp. kosher or sea salt

1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper (use more or less depending on how much of a kick you want the dip to have)


Combine all ingredients in a food processor and pulse until smooth.

Helpful tip:  Once avocados are exposed to air they oxidize (become brown) and while there is nothing wrong with the avocado it doesn’t appear very appetizing.  Acid, such as lime juice slows down, but does not inhibit this process.  Someone special recently stumbled upon the secret to keeping your avocado green…save the pit and toss it into the container with your avocado.  I have no idea why or how, but it WORKS!  Take a look.  This is my avocado dip a day after I made it, it is still exactly the same color!  The photos were taken under different lighting and with two different cameras (differing by about 4MP) but trust me, it is the same color.  No matter what you’ll agree it isn’t brown!

Paleo chocolate hazelnut spread

29 Feb

There are certain flavor combinations that just seem destined for each other.  If you have ever enjoyed Nutella you probably agree that chocolate and hazelnuts are one such combination!  This delicious chocolate hazelnut spread is something that can easily be made from scratch, but I set out to make a paleo version, and my creation is one of the recipes I am most proud of!  This paleo chocolate hazelnut spread is amazing with bananas, strawberries, or just a spoon 🙂  It should take you 45 minutes or less to make, but this from scratch plaeo version is absolutely worth your time! Enjoy!


1 can (13.66oz) full fat Thai Kitchen coconut milk

1/2 cup coconut crystals

2 tbl. Earth Balance soy free buttery spread

1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

1 cup hazelnuts, toasted, skins removed

4 oz (by weight) Enjoy Life dairy- soy- nut- gluten-free semi sweet chocolate chips

1 tbl. organic blue agave

1/8 tsp. kosher salt


Preheat oven to 350°F.  In a heavy saucepan heat coconut milk and coconut crystals over medium heat, stirring often, until mixture reaches a boil.  Lower heat to a simmer and continue cooking, stirring often, until mixture has reduced by half, approximately 30 minutes.  Stir in “butter” and vanilla, remove from heat and cool.  Arrange hazelnuts in a single layer on a baking sheet and bake at 350°F for 15-18 minutes.  Remove from oven.  When nuts are cool to the touch rub them between your fingers or a tea towel to remove the skins (if you can find blanched hazelnuts, which are hazelnuts that already have their skins removed, you can save yourself some time here).  Place the chocolate chips in a double boiler (in a small bowl over a saucepan of simmering water) and stir until the chocolate is melted and smooth.  In a food processor process the cooled nuts until pasty, approximately 1 minute.  Add the cooled sweetened condensed coconut milk mixture, agave, and salt.  Blend the mixture well, scraping down sides of food processor bowl as needed.  Add the melted chocolate and pulse until combined.  Transfer spread to an air tight container and store in the refrigerator.

In my cookbook, Paleo Made Easy (available here), I have several paleo icings for my baked goods, but this chocolate hazelnut spread will also make an EXCELLENT frosting for any of your paleo baked goodies!  If you are loving these recipes I’ve created definitely check out Paleo Made Easy!

Paleo breakfast hash

27 Feb

Homemade corned beef hash is something two diners in my area are famous for, but paleo it is not.  Here is a recipe for a delicious hash that abides by paleo guidelines for whenever you are in the mood to make a comforting breakfast (or breakfast for dinner).


1/2 lb. uncured nitrate free beef bacon (or substitute uncured nitrate free pork or turkey bacon)

1 1/4 lb. butternut squash, peeled and diced (if eating this as a post workout meal you can substitute sweet potato for all or some of the squash)

1 onion, diced

1 yellow bell pepper, seeded and diced

4 cloves of garlic, minced

1 tbl. Earth Balance soy free buttery spread (can substitute avocado oil, olive oil, or canola oil)

1 tsp. kosher salt

1 tsp. pepper


Heat “butter” in a skillet over medium heat.  Add the onion and 1/2 tsp. salt and cook for 5 minutes. Add bacon and squash and turn the heat to medium high.  Continue to cook, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes. Add the bell pepper, garlic, salt, and pepper and cook until has is browned, approximately 5 minutes.

I served mine up with a bell pepper, jalapeño, garlic and chive omelet in a bag (recipe from my cookbook Paleo Made Easy).