Old School Paleo Pineapple UpsideDown Cake

Just the ticket.
A pineapple in the fridge and a distant memory of Domestic Science lessons, resulted in some (literally) old school bakery today!

paleo

You will need:-
An 8 inch diameter cake tin, greased & lined
About half a pineapple, cut into chunks about 1/4 inch thick
1 cup of ground almonds
1 tbsp coconut flour
2 eggs
1/2 cup coconut milk
1/4 cup honey/agave nectar
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp mixed spice (optional)
1 tsp vanilla extract

pineapple 1

Caramelise the pineapple in a pan, turning over when it starts to brown a little. Once both sides are done, plop it in the cake tin and spread evenly around to cover the base.

Put all the other ingredients in the mixer & combine well. It’s really that quick and easy!

Pour the mixture into the tin, evenly spreading across the pineapple.

Bake in the middle of a pre-heated oven at 180 degrees for around 30 minutes, or until a skewer comes out clean.

Turn out, once cooled a little, onto a wire rack upside down. The pineapple should now be on top!

Enjoy, as I am now, with some double cream if you do dairy, or straight up. Best slightly warm in my humble opinion.

pineapple 3

Paleo Baking with Pals

These are my friends. I didn’t know most of them a year ago, but we were brought together by Crossfit.

paleo crossfit
We are all Mothers, mostly in our 40′s, and all part of our local Crossfit Box’s off-peak squad, affectionately known as the ‘Strong Mums’. We are in our post-WOD state here, so forgive the lack of grooming.

bake144

As I pursue my Paleo eating journey, I am improving my understanding of how to adapt normal baking recipes to suit the Paleo diet, and it’s catching on! My cakes can’t be too shabby, since this baking day was devised as a result of requests to share my knowledge (and my cakes) with my girls.

paleo crosffit
It was a blast. Much coffee was imbibed and between us we managed to knock up a Snacksatisfyingly respectable few bakes between the seven of us and two ovens.

bake8
I’m happy to spread the grain & sugar-free message to my fitness-seeking pals, but ain’t it amazing how a gym can bring people together in the unlikeliest of ways? Crossfit has brought us together – a group of women whose paths would most probably never have crossed without the atmosphere and camaraderie of a Crossfit gym.

bake15

In case you are wondering, our repertoire included a magnificent chocolate sandwich, a triumph of a fruit cake, some divine almond butter fridge snacks, and a showstopping star anise and almond cakeNom.

bake16

And the best part? I now have a cupboard full of cake!

bake12bake9

Vanilla Seedy Morsels

Snacks that are sugar free are a staple for the Paleo cook.

These were an experiment which serendipitously worked (hurrah for that!)

paleo crossfit

There are two similar, but separate snacks here:-
1. Sunflower & pumpkin seed clusters (above), which have honey in to help them, well…cluster
2. Sunflower & pumpkin seeds with vanilla (below)… No clustering, just scattering required.

For each, start with about a cup of mixed seeds in a bowl. I used just pumpkin and sunflower, but if I make them again I think sesame seeds would add a lovely flavour.
Add about 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract or bean paste. Mix the whole lot in…add a few drops of water to loosen the syrup, but make sure all the seeds are coated.
If you want to make the clusters, this is the point at which you need to add around 4 teaspoons of honey. Mix well again.
Heap the sticky mass onto a baking tray, ensuring you spread them out thinly & evenly.
Finally, bake (in each case) for around 15 minutes in a low oven around 140 degrees C.

20140113-134229.jpg
When you remove from the oven, they should just be turning golden. Leave them for a couple of minutes so that they are not hotter than the bowels of Vesuvius, as you need to use your fingers next!
For the clusters, working quickly, shape them into little balls (broad bean size) and lay onto grease proof paper. If you’re not quick enough, they WILL turn to concrete, so just pop them back in the oven for a minute to soften again if that happens.
If you’re making the vanilla only seeds, just separate them with your fingers and scatter across your greaseproof paper, like a sprinkling of granola sand. Poetic eh?
Leave to cool.
Scoff.

 

Scaling options for the elderly

This year is my 47th. My husband and I are probably the two oldest members of our amazing Crossfit ‘Box’, but I want to tell you why we don’t give a crap.

paleo crossfit

We both struggle with injuries and ailments, and my own thyroid is apparently on a kamikaze mission to destroy my gym performance, but I am a stubborn bugger, so I have made a point NEVER to miss a session of Crossfit. Like, ever.

There are days when we workout side by side with the people we used to be; the twenty-somethings with all the time in the world and the energy to match, but oddly this is not off-putting. The beauty of Crossfit is that we’re all in it together. The ‘elders’ of the gym are supported and encouraged by the youngsters, without a single ‘are you alright dear?

paleo crossfit

 

If you’re reading this and you’re in the ‘Masters’ category (a delightfully polite way of describing geriatric Crossfitters), then you will understand what I mean when I say that I NEVER want to accept a scaling option. In my head I am still the same girl who tried out for the England netball team and turned the boys’ heads in my red dress. In my mirror, sadly, I am not. But this does not stop me wanting to be the best I can be. My strength continues to improve and my WOD times are respectable. I keep on keeping on.

Since my first records began in 2012, I have improved my performance as follows:-

Deadlift – from 70kg to 115 kg (1 rep max)

Back squat – from 40kg to 70kg (5 rep max)

Push Press – from 25kg to 50kg (1 rep max)

I can ‘double under’ (now a verb apparently) and the elusive pull-up is getting closer. More importantly, the stubborn little fecker in me says ‘no’ to picking up the lighter kettlebell, so I can (pretty much) RX most of the WODs, which gives me great personal satisfaction, even if I take a little longer than some to get up when I’m finished.

crossfit paleo

I have been Paleo for almost 2 years now, and this has certainly had a positive impact on my performance. Sadly, the thyroid has negated some of this benefit, but I remain optimistic of a re-appearance of my much-missed Mojo at some point before I die.

But actually, the single most valuable thing about Crossfit has been the friends I have made. The remarkable men and women with whom I share this journey will be the subject of another post, but suffice to say that they make the struggle a right good giggle.

If you’ve ever thought about Crossfit but are intimidated by the poster-boys or the YouTube video of heavily pregnant powerlifters, don’t be. The Crossfit environment is packed with athletes from all parts of the age spectrum, enjoying the way their bodies respond to the rigorous torture they are inflicting upon it….no, more than that, addicted to it, and keen, like me to act as ambassadors for those who want to get involved. 

So make a New Year’s promise to yourself and find a Box near you. You’ll never look back.

paleo crossfit

New Year Paleo treats – Coconut and Date Cubes

THE quickest and easiest recipe for perfect bite sized snacks. If you like coconut you’ll appreciate this recipe, which means that you can have a sweet Paleo treat at hand within minutes.

paleo crossfit

You will need:-

2 cups of unsweetened dessicated coconut

2 large eggs

1 tsp vanilla bean paste or extract

1/4 cup soft dates, chopped

(See, told you it was going to be easy!)

paleo crossfit

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees centigrade. Grease a 8×8 inch baking tin. You can use a larger tin, of course – the coconut squares will be thinner but no less tasty.

Whisk the eggs and the vanilla together in a cup or bowl, then add this to the coconut. Mix together well to combine, ensuring the egg is evenly distributed.

Add the chopped dates and stir in evenly.

Bake for around 20 minutes until golden on top. Leave to cool, then cut into cubes and enjoy!

Paleo walnut and sour cherry Brownies

A variation on normal Paleo chocolate Brownies, just to add interest. They are very gooey, not too sweet, very chocolatey and moreish. No honey or syrup, just a tiny bit of Stevia and some dates/prunes for sweetness. The sour cherries and walnuts add lovely texture.

paleo recipe crossfit

You will need:-

  • 1 cup ground almonds
  • ¼ teaspoon sea salt
  • ¼ teaspoon bicarb of soda
  • 4 ounces baking chocolate (as close to 100% cacao as you can get/like)
  • 1/2 cup soft dates, pits removed
  • 1/4 cup soft prunes
  • 3 large eggs
  • ½ cup coconut oil, melted
  • ½ teaspoon stevia (optional)
  • 1/2 cup walnuts
  • a handful of dried sour cherries

paleo
Pre-heat your oven to 180 degrees centigrade.

Combine the almonds, salt and bicarb in your mixer. Blitz in the dates and prunes until they are like coarse sand. Add the 3 eggs and the stevia.

In the meantime, melt your chocolate over a bain-marie, and when almost melted add the coconut oil to melt too.

paleo

When finger-cool, pour the chocolate in to the almond mixture and whisk to combine.

Finally, add the walnuts and pulse briefly to chop a little. Stir in the cherries.

Pour the whole mixture (which is quite thick) into a 8×8 inch baking dish, and bake for around 20 minutes. I actually went 21 minutes in a non-fan oven. They were beautifully just-undercooked so that the centres are soft and gooey.

Leave to cool in the tin for about 10 minutes, then place on a wire rack to cool properly. Cut into squares (about 16) and enjoy!

Paleo chocolate sandwich cake

This is quite delicious, very chocolatey and therefore not entirely without sugar content. You can use whatever chocolate you like, but I went for Green & Black’s 72% cooking chocolate.

paleo crosffit

It’s not the cheapest cake to make, so bring it out for birthdays and special occasions. My non-Paleo friends enjoyed this enormously.

You will need:-

Two 8 or 9 inch cake tins, greased and lined. I used silicone cake moulds for simplicity of exit…

Your oven to be pre-heated to 170 degrees.

For the cake batter:


  • 8 ounces dark chocolate
  • 8 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2/3 cup maple syrup
  • 
6 large eggs
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla bean paste
  • 4 cups ground almonds
  • 2 teaspoons coconut flour
  • 1/4 cup best quality cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoon baking powder

Melt the chocolate and butter together in a bowl over a saucepan of barely-there simmering water. Set aside to cool (the mixture needs to cool for at least 10 minutes before adding the the egg mixture below).

Whisk together the maple syrup and eggs in a mixer for 5-6 minutes until pale yellow and fluffy-looking. Slowly whisk in cooled chocolate and vanilla bean paste.

Sift almond flour, coconut flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and baking powder over egg mixture. Gently fold in to incorporate. Divide the cake batter batter between two cake tins and bake cakes for around 20 minutes in the centre of the oven, until a skewer comes out clean.

Allow the cakes to cool for 10 minutes, run a knife around the edges and then remove the cakes from the pans. Leave to cool completely.

To keep it simple, I sandwiched the cakes together with some whipped fresh cream. There is a way to make complex Paleo butter-cream, but this way was quite yummy enough if you are a dairy eater.

 

crossfit poster