Vanilla Cacao Bars

Need a sweet treat but also want some good carbs and protein?

I have your back:)

I offer these in the CrossFit Vortex fridge as post-WOD nutrition and some people buy them up for their at-home snack.

You can cut the recipe in half and bake in an 8″ x 8″ pan if you wish.

Ingredients

2 cups raw cashews
1 cup raw almonds
1 cup raw pecans
1/2 cup unsweetened coconut
1 cup plus 2 tbsp raw honey
1 tbsp raw cacao nibs (could also use paleo dark chocolate chips)
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp sea salt

Preheat oven to 350F.
Line a 9″ x 13″ pan with parchment paper.

Using a food processor with the S blade, chop the seeds until you have pieces no bigger than 1/4″. Add the coconut and nibs.
Pulse to combine.
Add the honey and vanilla extract and slowly pulse into the mixture.
Slide the mixture into the prepared baking dish. Spread the mixture out evenly.
Bake for 22-27 minutes. Check on it once the timer hits 20 minutes. The honey might bubble up around the edges or in the middle. Bake until a light golden brown.
Remove from oven and cool completely.

  1. The best way I have found to cut this to flip the pan over onto another piece of parchment paper. Peel off the baked on top layer. Cut into bars and store in the fridge.
    I don’t know how long they last because they are eaten up in a week!

 

Grilled Beef Burgers with Asparagus & Fiddleheads

 

Summer weather is here and I finally took the right weekend off to enjoy it.

I have been busy working on Khala Naturals, my all-natural hair and skin care company (Khalanaturals.com or etsy.com/ca/shop/khalanaturals), still freelancing for the Jays and TSC, coaching at CrossFit Vortex, and learning acroyoga.
I am still very paleo but just haven’t been posting recipes for a while.
A few people have recently asked me for meal plans because they’ve fallen off the wagon a little bit…which made me realize I have not been on the radar lately where food, nutrition and health are concerned.

So…I start again tonight.  Mike enjoyed his dinner…he also likes it when he doesn’t have to cook.

This recipe doesn’t have to be done on a grill: a cast iron or aluminum skillet will do just fine.  No fiddleheads?  No problem.  Just use more asparagus or sub in some sliced red/green bell peppers.

Grilled Beef Burgers with Asparagus and Fiddleheads

Prep Time: 30 minutes
Serves 2

Ingredients:
Burgers
1 lb lean ground beef (organic if budget allows)
2 green onions, trimmed and chopped
2-3 tbsp coconut aminos (also known as coconut seasoning sauce; similar to soy sauce).  Most grocery stores now carry it too.
1 tbsp ground flax seed
2-3 good shakes of sea salt
2-3 good shakes gound cumin
2-3 good shakes ground turmeric
2-3 good shakes smoked paprika
2-3 good shakes ground black pepper

Vegetable Side
8-10 asapargus spears, trimmed and chopped
10-14 fiddleheads, rinsed, trimmed, and dried
2-3 tablespoons turmeric infused olive oil (or regular organic olive oil)
1 tsp himalyan pink salt (or sea salt)

Preheat grill to about 450F.
In a small bowl, mix all the burger ingredients together and form into patties or sausage-like tubes (I this when I use Romaine lettuce in place of buns).
When the grill is hot, place burgers and close the lid.  Cook for about five to seven minutes.
Meanwhile, organize the vegetables and place in a grilling basket.  Shake the salt and oil over top and mix through with your hands.
Flip the burgers over and place grill basket on an upper level rack if your BBQ has one (or off to the side where it will get radient heat and not direct heat).
Cover and cook for another five or six minutes.
Remove from cooking surface.
Serve burgers on lettuce cups or wraps with Dijon mustard, diced tomatoes and cucumbers.

 

 

Get Stuffed Tomatoes

Busy busy busy!

Started my morning coaching,  judging, and performing CrossFit’s final event of the Open, 17.5.  How does ten rounds of 9 thrusters at 65 pounds and 35 double unders sound to you?  Double unders are performed with a skipping rope, but the rope must make two revolutions per jump.  Yeah…good times.

It’s been a busy week of coaching at CrossFit Vortex, freelancing at various places, soap making for Khala Naturals, and being sick.

Dinner has been hit and miss this week.  Usually some chicken or tomato soup with a couple eggs dropped in for extra protein.  Tonight I wanted something substantial.

Well the Food Gods were listening.  My Mama Earth box was at the door when I got home from the gym.   They always have a sheet with your order checked off or any subsitutions they had to make.  On the other side, there are recipes.

Tonight’s caught my eye.  They modified a recipe from tasteofhome.com and I’m modifying it for our Paleo tastes.  This is one you could make and your non-paleo friends would have no idea they were having something pretty darned healthy.

The photo shows the veggies hand chopped.  I suggest using a food processer…but I was too lazy to pull mine out tonight.

Without further ado, here’s

Get Stuffed Tomatoes

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 15-20 minutes

Ingredients
2 tomatoes, top sliced off and insides removed but saved
1 rib celery
1/2 small carrot
2 brown mushrooms
1 garlic clove, peeled
1 small onion, peeled
1 tbsp chicken broth
1 tsp nutritional yeast flakes
1 tsp coconut oil
Dashes of sea salt, black pepper, turmeric, cumin, basil
Dash of oregano

Method
Preheat oven to 350F.
(I used a cast iron pan to prep the tomatoes and then to bake them.  If you don’t have one, prepare the vegetable mixture in a skillet and then transfer tomatoes to a shallow baking tray.)
In a pan over medium heat, melt the coconut oil.
Carefully slice the tops of the tomatoes off.  Keep the tops and remove the pulp but keep it.  Dry out the insides of the tomatoes with a paper towel.  Set aside.
In a food processor, finely chop the celery, carrot, mushrooms, garlic and onion.
Add the vegetables, reserved tomato, chicken broth, spices (except oregano), and chopped vegetables to the pan.  Heat through until the onions start to soften.
Add the nutritional yeast flakes and oregano.  Stir to combine.
Scoop the mixture into the tomatoes.
Place tomatoes in baking tray and put the tomato tops back on.
Put the baking tray in the oven and bake for 15-20 minutes.
For extra colour, broil the tomatoes for a minute or two once they are heated through.
Remove from the oven and serve with your choice of protein (I broiled organic burgers with mine) or a large salad.
Double or triple the recipe if serving for a crowd.

Pecan Cacao Pancake


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Pecan Cacao Pancake) nopainpaleo.com

I see so many posts on Facebook showing that mashed banana and egg pancake.  People get so excited by it which is good.   No grains or preservatives that you likely find in most pancake mixes…and that’s great.  What the posts don’t say is how it tastes.   Sounds like it would be delicious but frankly, it isn’t.   It’s bland.  I don’t want to waste my time eating bland food.  So, I jazzed up my “banana omlette”.

Pecan Cacao Pancake
Prep Time: 9 minutes
Serves: 1

1/2 tbsp coconut oil (for pan)
1 banana, mashed
1 egg
1/8 cup pecans, chopped
1/8 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
1 tsp cacao nibs
dash ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp vanilla extract

In a small skillet over medium heat, melt the coconut oil.
In a small bowl, mash the banana.  Add egg and mix thoroughly.
Let rest a minute or two.
Add the rest of the ingredients and combine.
Pour the mixture in to the pan after it has warmed up.
Cover and cook for five minutes.  Flip and cook for another two minutes.
Remove from pan and drizzle honey or maple syrup on top (optional).

Try other chopped nuts or seeds to change up the flavour.

Slow Cooker Roast Pork

Had a nice Instagram moment today!  Rachel in Texas posted her dinner and said she used my recipe for Slow Cooker Roast Pork I posted a week or so ago.

So, here it is for those not on Instagram (@nopainpaleo if you would like to follow) or the Facebook.com/nopainpaleo page.

Perfect for setting up in the morning and letting it cook all day.

Thanks for the love @rachel_unrefined!

Slow Cooker Roast Pork
3lbs roast, thawed
1 cup chicken broth
3 cloves garlic, peeled
2 tbsp dijon mustard
1 tbsp whole grain mustard
2 green onions diced
Dashes of cumin, turmeric, black pepper, pink salt, basil, oregano, crushed red chilli flakes, paprika

Set roast in slow cooker. Pour in chicken broth.
Cut three slits into roast and insert garlic cloves.
Cover top of roast with the mustards. Toss green onions on top. Sprinkle spices on top.
Cover and cook on high for 90 minutes. Cook a further four hours on low.
Remove from slow cooker and let sit ten minutes before slicing serving.

Easy Guacamole

  1. A grocery chain came out with bags of frozen avocado chunks recently.

Genius!!!

I have been adding it to my smoothies to get those beneficial good fats and vitamins from the world’s most nutritious fruit.

So tonight as I fight a head cold, I thought some spicy guacamole might clean out the sinuses 🙂

You can add fresh cilantro if you like…but it’s -15 out so I don’t have any.

Easy Guacamole

Makes about 2.5 cups 

2 cups frozen avocado, thawed.

1 small yellow onion, minced

1 clove garlic, minced

1 tbsp lemon juice

Dash of cayenne pepper, sea salt, black pepper, cumin, and crushed red chilli flakes.

Mash everything together (I put mine through the VitaMix for about 15 seconds at medium speed).

Serve with veggies or gluten-free, grain-free chips.

Turmeric Tuna Burgers

Whoa!!! It’s been a while since I posted anything on this site.  Word Press had a meltdown, and GoDaddy said they couldn’t help me because it was a third-party program.

That was July 2016 and it took until today for me to sit down with my laptop and figure this s&it out.  Imagine my surprise when I actually saw my site again with all my recipes and pictures intact.  I almost cried.

I almost let the site go because I was finding it hard to have freelance work, build my small business, Khala Naturals, coach CrossFit a couple times a week, and do all the other things that we pack into our lives.

That changed yesterday when I got a note from a friend on facebook:

“Hey BJ, I have a friend that has gotten into the whole life challenge and I was telling her all about you and your sisters achievements etc.
Trying to find links to the video, the challenge and your cook books and such but having trouble finding what I am looking for…so much stuff on facebook…if you could send me some links to this I would greatly appreciate it and will share with her.
She is on a 30 day challenge now and when she finished we are both going to try the one that you sent me. Yep…new year…another attempt at a lifestyle change…her name is *****  if you wish to say hello or send her anything on this…she is very interested:)”

It’s been almost seven years since I made my big life change dropping 50 pounds and getting more active.  Sometimes I forget how impressive that change was and how others look at me for inspiration.  That’s not an ego trip, it’s just fact.

That has put things in a different perspective for me now.  Yes, I am stupid-busy with a lot of things on the go constantly, but I have to remember the events that brought me to this point and that it’s my job to help others attain the health and happiness I have found.

So…with that said, here’s a recipe that is a go-to for me on busy days.  Lots of good Omega 3s, protein, and that amazing turmeric.  Be sure to add the black pepper so you get the full benefit of tumeric’s antioxident properties.

Turmeric Tuna Burgers


1tsp coconut oil
1 can white tuna (in water, drained)
1 stalk celery, diced
1 green onion, diced
1 egg (optional)
1 tbsp dijon mustard
1/2 tsp ground turmeric
Dashes of black pepper, sea salt, basil, crushed red chilli flakes, cumin, and oregano.

Melt the coconut in a pan over medium heat.
Combine all ingredients in a small bowl. Form into two burger patties. Cook for about seven minutes on one side. Flip and cook for another five minutes or until golden brown.
Serve with spinach salad and cucumber.
Makes 2 burgers.

Chocolate Mint Chip Ice Cream

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Chocolate Mint Chip Ice Cream

2 cans full fat coconut milk (chilled)
1 ripe banana
2 tbsp raw cocoa
2 tbsp maple syrup
1 tsp Matcha Tea powder
1–1 1/2 tsp peppermint extract (your preference)
1/2 to 1 cup raw cacoa nibs (your preference)

Blend everything except the nibs together until well combined.
If using an ice cream maker, pour into the machine while running and process for 19 minutes.
Add the cacoa nibs and mix for one more minute.
Remove immediately from ice cream maker. Transfer to a freezer safe container. Continue reading “Chocolate Mint Chip Ice Cream”

Superfood Boosts

I know I have been less than diligent lately with posting about food and fitness…life really does just get in the way sometimes.

I am happy to see so many people in my life start changing their lives for the better though!  You know who you all are and I’m really proud of your progress!  Keep it up.  It’s amazing how a positive attitude attracts more positivity into one’s life.  It’s certainly acts like a magnet!

The biggest example I have is my husband, Mike.  About two months ago, I urged him to join me on a one-time-please-because-you-love-me guilt trip to an acroyoga class.  To say he took to it like a fish to water would be an understatement.  HE LOVES ACROYOGA and even did a yoga challenge with me on Instagram this month.  Follow our adventures on Instagram @bend_it_like_bj or search for us on YouTube using “Flexy and Bendy”.  It’s totally a blast and you can come along too!  Saturdays at noon at CrossFit Vortex with Super Dave Ung from acroyoga360.com.  $15 for 90 minutes gets you a whole lot of fun and fitness.  Emphasis on the fun.  Laughing is a guarantee!

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My friend, Michelle, posted this recipe from foodmatters.tv recently and I thought it was a perfect addition to the snack selection at CrossFit Vortex.  I made it today along with the Vortex Bars (which are in my latest book…which you can find a link to here in either hard copy or e-book form) and then I made some soap.

Yep, that’s my new thing this year.  I’m creating a line of completely chemical free soaps/shampoos and will eventually branch out into moisturizers, balms and that sort of thing.  I made simple and functional soaps without chemical fragrances or colours.  I think it’s important to be clean on the inside and clean on the outside!!

You can follow my soap adventures on Instagram @khala_naturals until I have an actual website.

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Now back to the food!

Again, this is from foodmatters.tv and it’s pretty darned delicious!  One batch for me made 18 28g (1oz) balls.

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Superfood Boosts
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Chill Time:  30 minutes

1/2 cup pumpkin seeds
1/2 cup sunflower seeds
1/2 cup almonds
1/2 cup cashews
1/4 cup Goji berries
3 tbsp chia seeds
3 tbsp raw cacao nibs
1 cup flaked coconut
1/2 cup coconut oil
1/4 cup maple syrup

Combine all ingredients in a food processor and pulse.
Once the mixture starts to stick together, either chill for 5 minutes and then roll into balls or press into an 8″x 8″ baking pan and chill for 30 minutes.  Cut into bars and serve or store in the freezer for a quick snack.

 

 

Beef & Asparagus One Pan Dinner

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So many people still choose junk food over a healthy dinner because of price or convenience. I say saving a buck or two now will cost you big time later…so spend a bit on quality ingredients now instead of medications that won’t make you better or feel good later.

Tonight’s one pan dinner is easy on the wallet and easy to clean up.
1 lb ground beef
Dashes of black pepper, sea salt, smoked paprika, turmeric, and cumin.
6 asparagus spears, chopped
2 cups black kale, stem removed and chopped
2 tsp hot sauce (optional )

Brown ground beef over medium heat ( I didn’t use any oil).
Add asparagus. Mix in. Cover and cook for three minutes.
Add kale. Cover and cook for another one to two minutes.
Serve with hot sauce and a quarter cup of guacamole (this is the 12 pack organic cups from Costco).

Oven Roasted Pizza Caps

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If you don’t love pizza, I don’t want to know you.

Just kidding…sorta.

I was scrolling through Instagram one day and saw someone making pizza on a portabello mushroom cap.  Perfect.

I made them for Mike last week and you might have seen the video on my facebook.com/nopainpaleo page, Instagram or Twitter (@nopainpaleo).  He was a little excited to dig in or he was just REALLY hungry.

I made them again on Tuesday night while Mike was at hockey.  I saved him two and he was pretty pleased (and surprised) about that.  I had leftover toppings so I just added them to some baby spinach for my lunch the next day.
Feel free to change up the ingredients listed to suit your tastes.  I was just using odds and ends left in the fridge.

Oven Roasted Pizza Caps
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Serves: 1-3

5 portobello mushroom caps
3 tbsp olive oil
6-7 slices nitrate and sugar-free bacon, diced
1 red onion, diced
1 zucchini, diced
1 head broccoli, chopped

6-8 cherry tomatoes, diced (optional)
5 mushroom stems, diced (optional)
1 tbsp oregano
1 tbsp basil
2 tsp red pepper chilli flakes
1 tsp sea salt
1 tsp black pepper
2 cups baby spinach
1/2 can of tomato sauce

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Preheat oven to 400F.
Line a baking sheet with foil or parchment paper for easy clean up.  If you have a wire rack that fits in snugly, use it too.

Heat a large skillet over medium high and add the bacon pieces.  Add the onion when the fat on the bacon starts to turn clear.

Fry the onion and bacon together for about three to five minutes.  Turn down the heat if the onions start to turn brown quickly.

While the bacon and onions cook, rinse the mushrooms, removing any organic material that may be on them and remove the stem.  You can add the stem to the toppings mixture if you desire.
Brush olive oil on both sides of the mushroom cap.  I used my fingers if you don’t have a brush.  Do not use a lot of oil.  This is merely to add a bit of moisture to the mushrooms before roasting.
Place the caps gill side down on the wire rack.
Bake for 12 to 14 minutes.
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Go back to the skillet and add in the other vegetables except the spinach.  Toss in the spices and combine.  Cover and cook for five to seven minutes (check on it a few times to make sure nothing burns).
Near the end of the cooking time, add in the spinach and let it start to wilt.  Mix into the rest of the skillet contents.

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Remove the mushroom caps from the oven and turn them over.
Some moisture may have formed on the caps, so carefully dab it away with a paper towel.
Spoon a tablespoon or two of tomato sauce onto the mushroom caps.
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Carefully spoon the pizza toppings onto the mushroom caps.  You can pile it up pretty high if you need.
Top with another spoonful of tomato sauce.
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Place the pan back in the oven and bake for 15 minutes.
Remove and allow to cool for a couple minutes before eating.
Enjoy!

Cranberry Apple Baked Pork Chops

This meal can be thrown together in under 45 minutes (as long as you defrosted the chops beforehand!)

You can certainly change out the veggies if you don’t like cauliflower.  Try broccoli or zucchini instead.  Feeding a family?  Add more veggies and chops.  This recipe was created with two people in mind.

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1 tbsp coconut oil, melted
2 large pork chops
2 apples, cored and sectioned into 8 or 12 pieces each
1 onion, chopped
1 small sweet potato, chopped
2 cups cauliflower florets
1/2 cup fresh cranberries
1/3 cup chicken stock
3 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp dried thyme
dash of sea salt and black pepper

Preheat oven to 425F.
In a large skillet, melt the coconut oil over medium/high heat.
Add the chops when the pan is hot and sear each side for 3 minutes.  You want to create a light brown crust…not scorch it so adjust the temperature accordingly.
Meanwhile, chop your veggies.
In a small bowl, combine the stock, vinegar, oil and spices.
When the chops are seared on both sides, place on a cookie sheet or baking dish.  Place the vegetables around the meat and drizzle everything with the sauce.
Bake for 25 to 27 minutes.
Remove from oven and allow to rest for a minute or two before serving.

Enjoy!

Super Smoothie

Forget Gatorade and Power-Ade.  There’s a much better way to get potassium, magnesium, sodium, calcium, and electrolytes!  All that and more is in coconut water.  Make sure to get one that’s “not from concentrate” and has any added sugars.  Blend it with some powerhouse fruits and you have a Super Smoothie!

Super Smoothie

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Super Smoothie

1 frozen banana, slightly thawed
1/2 cup frozen blueberries
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
2 tbsp kale powder (available at Bulk Barn)
1 scoop (1/4 cup) protein powder
1 cup coconut water
5 ice cubes (omit if not using a VitaMix or BlendTec appliance)
1 tsp black chia seeds (optional sprinkle on top after the smoothie is made)

Blend all ingredients (except the chia seeds) until smooth.  Top with chia seeds if desired.

(Shown with a black coffee with a teaspoon of coconut oil)

Protein Cookie Dough

 

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Protein Cookie Dough

I love Googling and Pinteresting ingredients and dishes.  You never know what you’ll find or from where your next inspiration will come.

Today I will be searching for a slow cooker pork chop tomato recipe and I’m sure I’ll create something awesome tonight.  Luckily, my husband is always game to try my creations once.  Sometimes I hit  a winner like last week’s Deconstructed Turkey Tacos…and sometimes I strike out with a tortilla (I had to do it 4 times before either one of us would eat it 🙂 ).

Now back to my latest inspiration.  I’m happy to make snacks for the fitness addicts at CrossFit Vortex, but I wanted to make something a little nutritionally friendly especially for after a WOD.   These cookies have at least seven grams of protein per serving!

Enter this delightful cookie dough that I modified from, Big Man’s World, on Pinterest.   You can make the recipe and divide into four or five big cookies for week day breakfasts or make them into about a dozen for a mid-afternoon snack when the 3 o’clock munchies threatened to ruin your otherwise healthy day.

Protein Cookie Dough

Prep Time: 15 minutes plus 1 hour chill time (optional)
Yields: 4-5 large meal cookies or 12-13 snack cookies

1 cup coconut flour
4 tbsp almond flour (also called meal)
1/2 cup coconut sugar
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp sea salt
1 cup sugar-free protein powder (chocolate or vanilla)
1/2 cup almond butter
1 cup almond milk (cashew or coconut works fine too)
4 tbsp walnut pieces (optional)
4 tbsp non-dairy, non-soy chocolate chips (optional)
(you can also try almond slivers, cashews, or chopped pecans)

Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
Combine the first six ingredients in a medium sized bowl making sure all the coconut flour has been incorporated.
Add the almond butter and blend in gently.
Pour in the almond milk a quarter cup at a time until a thick batter is created.  You may not need all the almond milk, or you may need to add a tablespoon or so to get the desired thickness.  This is a bulky dough so don’t water it down.
Mix in the optional add-ins.
Wet hands lightly so the dough does not stick to your hands. (You may have to do this after every cookie).
Form into a ball and flatten.
Place on the cookie sheet.  Continue until all the dough is used up.
Chill in the freezer for an hour.
Store in the fridge or freezer.

Blueberry Kale Smoothie

Don’t be afraid of kale!  It has more calcium than milk and more vitamin C than an orange.  Plus, you can find kale POWDER at Bulk Barn or other health food stores so you don’t have to keep the leafy bunches in your fridge.

1 banana
1/2 ripe avocado
1/2 cup frozen blueberries
1 scoop protein powder (your choice of flavour)
2 tbsp organic kale powder
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1.25 to 1.5 cups non-dairy, non-soy mik

Blend until smooth.

Blueberry Cashew Smoothie

No milk?  No problem.  All you need is some cashew (or almond) butter and some water!

1 small banana
1/2 cup frozen blueberries
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 scoop protein powder
1 tbsp cashew butter
1.25 cups of water
Blend until smooth.

Chocolate Strawberry Smoothie

1/2 avocado
1 small banana
1 cup frozen strawberries
1 scoop chocolate protein powder
1 tsp cocoa maca powder
1/2 tsp cinnamon
5 ice cubes (optional)
1.5 cups cashew milk

Blend until smooth.

Cherry Pear Smoothie

1 pear, quartered
1 cup frozen cherries
1/2 cup frozen blueberries
1 scoop chocolate protein powder
1 tbsp kale powder
1.5 cups almond milk

Blend until smooth.

Almond Raspberry Smoothie

1/2 ripe avocado
2/3 cup frozen raspberries
1 small banana
1 scoop vanilla protein powder
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1.25 cups water
1 tbsp almond butter
Blend until smooth.

Apple Avocado Smoothie

Not a banana fan?  No problem.  Get the smoothness you crave with the good fats of an avocado!

1/2 ripe avocado
2/3 cup frozen raspberries
1 apple, cored and cut into chunks
1.5 scoops vanilla protein powder (15g of protein per scoop)
1.5 cups cold water
Blend until combined and smooth.