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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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

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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!)

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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.

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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.

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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?

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!)

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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!