Fig Newtons (Primal/Paleo)

Primal Paleo fig newtons stacked

Fig Newtons
primal / paleo / grain-free / gluten-free / egg-free
Source: Adapted from Real Sustenance
Yield: 16 large cookies

4T butter
1/2c honey, or other liquid sweetener
1/3t sea salt

12oz dried figs
Juice of one large orange, about 1/3c

primal paleo almond flour tapioca starch fig newtons

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.

Add the dried figs and orange juice to a medium saucepan. Cover, and simmer over medium-low heat for 5-7 minutes, until the figs have softened. Transfer the contents to a food processor and pulse until a smooth filling forms.

Figs and orange juice in food processor for primal paleo fig newton filling

Meanwhile combine the butter, honey, and vanilla in a stand mixer to combine. Add the flours, baking powder, and salt. Mix until a dough forms that holds together when squeezed in the palm.

almond flour and tapioca starch for paleo primal fig newtons

Cut 3 pieces of parchment to the size of your baking sheet. Divide the dough in half, and form a disc with half the dough between two sheets of parchment. Roll out into a 1/4in thick rectangle: approximately 12x8in. Using wet hands, spread half the filling along the middle third of the rectangle to within 1/2in of the top and bottom edges. 

Primal Paleo Fig Newton dough and filling assembly

Using the parchment, fold one third of the dough over the top of the filling.

Primal Paleo fig newton dough and filling assembly

Peel the parchment off the top so it's flat on the counter again and repeat with the the other third of the dough so you have a fig newton burrito of sorts. Using your fingers, fold up and pinch together the ends of the dough so the filling is completely contained within the cookie.

Primal Paleo fig newton dough and filling assembly

Repeat with the other half of the dough. Slice each log into 10 cookies, allow 1in space between cookies, and transfer the parchment to a baking sheet.

Paleo primal fig newtons sliced on baking sheet to go in oven

Bake for 14-18 minutes until lightly browned on the bottom and around the edges, but still soft to the touch. Remove to a cooling rack and let come to room temperature. Store in an airtight container; they're at the best for the first 2-3 days. Enjoy!

Paleo Primal fig newtons baked up and stacked on a plate


Cheddar Crackers (Primal)

As a teenager, I spent about 4 weeks a year in Arizona with my grandparents. I often took friends down with me or supervised my younger cousin's trips with her friends. We would spend hours lounging by the pool slathered in tanning oil, listening to horrible music, eating Cheez-Its and drinking Diet Coke. Was there ever a more perfect combination? Not in our minds. 
When I was encouraged to buy Elana's Almond Flour Cookbook by some friends, the first recipe I tried was her Carrot Cake. A quick second, these Cheddar Crackers got me all kinds of excited. I haven't had Cheez-Its for years, but after reading that her friends described her crackers as reminiscent of them I knew I had to give them a try. I, of course, tried one fresh out of the oven and was slightly disappointed. They were great, but the tie to Cheez-Its was weak. After they fully cooled I gave them a second try. Nailed it! They definitely remind me of a richer version of Cheez-Its... an adult Cheez-It. The crisp, salty exterior lends itself to an interior rich with cheesy depth. They are just lovely, for lack of a better word, and totally hit that snack craving right on the head. I can eat about five of these and feel satisfied thanks to the heavy protein content from the almond flour and cheese.

Cheddar Crackers
primal / grain-free / gluten-free
Yield: 60 

1/2t sea salt, fine
1t sea salt, coarse
1/2t baking soda
1c sharp cheddar cheese, freshly grated
2 eggs, lightly beaten

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Cut 3 pieces parchment paper to the size of 2 large baking sheets and set aside.
Combine the almond flour, salt, baking soda, and cheese. Add the eggs and coconut oil and stir together until thoroughly combined and a dough forms.
Halve the dough, and place one half between two of the sheets of parchment. Roll to a 1/16in thickness, transfer to a baking sheet, remove the top piece of parchment, and cut into 2in squares with a pizza cutter. Repeat with the other half of the dough.
Bake until lightly browned: about 15 minutes. Let cool, then store in an airtight container at room temperature. 



Whole Roasted Chicken in Slow Cooker (Primal/Paleo)

Whole Roasted Chicken in Slow Cooker
primal / paleo / grain-free / gluten-free

4lb whole fryer chicken
3T butter
4-6 cloves garlic, freshly minced
1t sea salt
1/2t freshly ground pepper
1t paprika
1t dried thyme, or 1T fresh
1 onion
misc. vegetables

Rinse and pat dry the chicken, removing any innards. Chop an onion into 2in chunks and place in slow cooker. Roughly chop any other hearty vegetables similarly and place with onions (parsnip, carrot, celery). Place the chicken on top of the bed of vegetables. Melt the butter and add the garlic to the butter. Pour over the chicken, using a spatula to spread over the skin, and under breast skin. Sprinkle with spices and herbs. Cook on high for 3-4 hours, or until it reaches a safe internal temperature. Let rest for 10 minutes before serving. Enjoy!

You can then leave leftover carcass (bones, skin, etc) as well as cooking liquid and cooking vegetables in the slow cooker. Add additional vegetables (carrot, celery, onion, etc), as well as 8+c water, and cook overnight on low. In the morning, strain, and refrigerate for easy bone broth.


Tapioca Pudding (Primal)

I've never liked pudding. I mean, really, it's weird. It's all gelatinous, and just kind of sits in your mouth. When everyone ate those little pudding cups in their lunches I never understood. That pudding in particular was kind of slimy and just...fake tasting. It jiggled. I don't like milk, so why would I like cooked, thickened, sweetened milk?! It wasn't until I was an adult that I actually tried real pudding. Even then, I was like.. meh, it's alright I guess.
When I first had tapioca, it was in boba milk tea. I was really confused. I didn't understand why anyone would voluntarily put chunks of things in their drink. To me, there is nothing worse than drinking what you think is a lovely liquid, and all of a sudden having to deal with a weird texture. I'm a texture person, and it was confusing. After I drank most of my tea, I kind of liked it.
When I first tried tapioca pudding I finally got it. I understood why people like pudding, and I understood why they like tapioca. There was some giggling involved; I was hooked.
One of the first things I thought of "primalizing" after my initial 30 days of strict primal eating was tapioca pudding. I had never made it before, but I instantly knew I could make it primal friendly. I remember exclaiming in excitement to Mikey, and him just kind of reacting like any sane person would: "...yeah? So?" That was a year and a half ago. Now it's time.
It's a rainy Spring day. It is gloomy and gray. The type of day that makes me feel Autumn, and crave all things pumpkin flavored. Or at the very least something satisfying with a hint of spice. It's a slow day. A day to stand in front of the warm stove stirring something hot, fragrant, and bubbly with a wooden spoon. This pudding is just that thing. Rich, and creamy, with just a hint of cinnamon and nutmeg. Eaten hot right off the stove, it's satisfying. Chilled, and eaten cold, it's wholesome and lovely. With a spoonful of Chocolate Syrup, it's downright indulgent.

Tapioca Pudding
primal / paleo option / grain-free / gluten-free
Yield: 6 servings

1/3c, or up to 1/2c, small pearl tapioca*
3c whole milk, divided**
2 egg yolks
1/3c honey***
1/4t sea salt
1/2t cinnamon, or to taste
1/4t nutmeg, freshly ground, or to taste
1/2t vanilla extract

Begin by combining the tapioca and 1c of the milk in a heavy bottomed saucepan and soak for 30 minutes. Do not drain; add the remaining 2c milk, egg yolks, honey, and salt. Bring to a low boil over medium heat, stirring constantly, then reduce heat. Add the cinnamon and nutmeg and simmer, uncovered, for 10-15 minutes and stir the mixture frequently using slow, gentle strokes. The pudding should have a nice consistency, and coat the back of a spoon. The tapioca should be soft, gooey, and slightly translucent. 
Add the vanilla extract and allow to cool at room temperature for 20 minutes, then store in the refrigerator with plastic wrap touching the surface of the pudding. 

*If you prefer a thicker pudding, use more tapioca pearls
**I haven't tried this, but you could try subbing almond/coconut milk to make Paleo
***I use 1/3c of honey for my sweetness preference but you can use up to 1/2c

What food texture did you find strange at first?


Chocolate Syrup (Primal/Paleo)

Who doesn't love chocolate milk? It's a simple, satisfying treat. A jarful of fresh, cold milk with just a teaspoon of this chocolate syrup stirred in is what I've been craving lately. For those who don't tolerate dairy, I imagine cold coconut milk would be equally delicious. It's also wonderfully versatile as just a chocolate sauce as well. I'm imagining it spooned over a Coconut Flour Brownie or a Primal Biscuit with some fresh strawberries and some freshly whipped cream.  How about as a dip for seasonal fruit or whipped into coconut cream? I'm pretty sure this sauce won't last long in our fridge.

Primal and Paleo Chocolate Syrup in chocolate milk in a jar with an antique spoon

Chocolate Syrup
primal / paleo option / grain-free / gluten-free / egg-free

1/2-3/4c local honey
pinch salt
pinch cayenne, optional

Add 1c water to a saucepan with the honey, cacao, and salt. Bring to a low boil, reduce the heat, and simmer for 5-8 minutes until thickened. Remove from heat, let cool slightly, then add vanilla, and a pinch of cayenne, if desired.
Store in the refrigerator in a glass jar.

Primal paleo chocolate syrup poured into chocolate milk in a jar with antique spoon


Roasted Sausage with Root Vegetables

This dish is amazing. The first time we made it we could not get enough. When parsnips are in season, it's in weekly rotation in our house! It's versatile and simple; you just need to be around for a couple hours in the evening to give it a stir. The hands on time is less than ten minutes, but the results tell a different story. It's hearty, warming and super satisfying.

You can use any type of sausage. We really like german style bratwurst here, but try anything and everything. Parsnips are not required for you, but for me they're vital. You could use another substantial root vegetable in place of them, but I highly encourage you to use parsnips. You can use sweet potatoes or white potatoes, depending on your preference, or a mix of the two. Also, the measurements are not precise for the vegetables and sausage. The following usually makes 3 servings for us with a side salad, but you can easily adjust as needed. If you need to double, don't forget to double the stock as well.

Roasted Sausage with Root Vegetables
primal / paleo / grain-free / gluten-free / egg-free
Source: Adapted from The Stone Soup

1 large sweet or yellow onion (or 2 small ones)
2 small sweet potatoes, or 10 baby potatoes, or a mixture
4 small parsnips, or 2 large
5-10 cloves of garlic, not peeled
4-5 sausages of choice
1/8c cooking fat of choice
1c bone broth, or stock
Fresh herbs, optional

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Prepare the vegetables: slice the onion into wedges by cutting in half from tip to bulb, peeling, and cutting into wedges while maintaining a bit of bulb in each. This method keeps the wedges intact and prevents the onion from separating and burning. Cut the potatoes into uniform chunks about the size of a small cutie orange. Cut the parsnips into 1in thick batons. 
Place the onion wedges, potato chunks, parsnip batons, and garlic cloves (not peeled!) in a baking dish. I use a deep 10x10, but use whatever works for you. Drizzle with half of your cooking fat of choice, season liberally with salt and pepper, and toss to coat.
Place the sausages on top of the vegetables and drizzle with the remaining oil. Place into the oven for 45 minutes. After 45 minutes, give everything a toss, and dump in the bone broth. Now would be the time to throw in any fresh herbs; I like a few sprigs of thmye and/or rosemary. Give everything another stir, and pop it back into the oven for an additional hour until the stock has reduced and the sausages are nicely browned.
Plate up the vegetables and sausage, pour any remaining stock over, and serve with the now caramelized garlic cloves. Enjoy!

The short of it:
Cut and dump veggies, put sausage on top, oil and season. 
Bake 45 minutes. 
Add stock. 
Bake an hour.