Sugarless Date & Coconut Truffles

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You will need:-

100g dark chocolate (I used 85%)

Two decent hands full of dates

Approx. 1 cup of flaked or dessicated coconut

About two tablespoons of flaxseed (use ground almonds if you don’t have flax)

one jar of almond butter

2 tablespoons coconut oil

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To make these dark, soft, caramelly beauties:-

Soak your dates for an hour or so in water, then pour away the excess water. This softens them nicely.

Blitz the dates to a lovely soft mush.

Add in the almond butter and blitz again for a couple of minutes until it’s fluffy(ish). It will start to look a bit like caramel.

Add the coconut and flax, then the melted (but not hot) coconut oil.

Once it’s a nice (firm) mix, put it in the fridge for an hour to harden a little. This makes it easier to roll into little balls.

When you take it out of the fridge, start melting your chocolate over a bain-marie.

Roll the datey mixture across your palm into little balls, then drop each one into the melted chocolate and move about until it is all coated in black goop.

Remove with a teaspoon and place on greaseproof paper to harden.

Keep them in the fridge and nibble with guilt-free satisfaction.

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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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Paleo Vanilla & Honey Panna Cotta

If you like creamy vanilla panna cotta but you’re off dairy and don’t eat refined sugar, this is for you.

It is truly the simplest of puds, takes about 5 minutes to make and then just sets in the fridge.

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You will need:-

Six individual pudding moulds

600g canned coconut milk (1 can and a half)

50g honey (or other paleo sweetener)

2 tsp vanilla bean paste or fresh vanilla pod

4 sheets of gelatine

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To make this :-

Place your sheets of gelatine in some cold water to soften for a few minutes.

In a saucepan, place the coconut milk, honey and vanilla. Warm but do not boil, ensuring all the honey is incorporated.

Once warm, remove from the heat and add the wrung-out gelatine sheets. Stir well to dissolve fully.

Pour the mix equally between the six moulds and place them on a tray. Pop it straight in the fridge for a few hours until they are set.

To release them from the mould, just hold it in some hot water for a few seconds to release each panna cotta, then flip them upside down onto the serving plate.

These are great alone, or serve with some stewed fruit. Rhubarb is a particular favourite.

Paleo chocolate two nut torte

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Another non Paleo recipe, just adapted slightly for the non-gluten brigade.

The greatest thing about this cake is that my children don’t like nuts much…..

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You will need:-

A 20cm greased and lined loose bottom tin

250g butter

100g ground almonds

100g ground walnuts (DIY)

6 large eggs, separated

A pinch of salt

100g dark chocolate (I use Lindtt 90%)

1 tablespoon best cocoa powder

60-70g sweetener of your choice (for me, Agave Nectar always best in baking)

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To make this dark, nutty beauty:-

Pre-heat your oven to 190 degrees C.

Blitz your nuts (oo er missus) to powder, then add the chocolate and cocoa, and blitz some more until the chocolate is nicely broken up.

Whisk together the butter and Agave Nectar until light and fluffy, then add the egg YOLKS slowly, one at a time.

Mix this together with the chocolatey, nutty stuff.

In a separate bowl, whisk the life out of your egg WHITES (with pinch of salt added) until they form stiff peaks.

Carefully fold the whites into the chocolatey batter.

All done and ready for the tin. Bake for around an hour, until a skewer comes out fairly clean.

Stuff it in your face.

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Paleo Egg Custard

Thanks to my pal Deborah for the inspiration to make and post this. The original recipe had almond milk and sugar, but I’ve gone fully coconut and sugar free in order to make a Paleo version.
It’s delicious and uber simple.
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You Will Need:
4 eggs
A good 4 second squirt of agave nectar or honey
1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
pinch of sea salt
1 can of coconut milk
1/4 cup carton coconut milk
Nutmeg, to sprinkle
Method:
Preheat oven to 180 degrees.
Whisk together the eggs, sweetener, salt and vanilla.
Add coconut milks and combine well.
Take a large baking dish or meat roasting tin and pour about an inch of water in. Place the custard cooking dish (latter should be around 20 cm long at least) carefully into the water. The water should come about half way up the side of the dish and will act as a Bain Marie to help cook the custard.
Pour the mixture into the inner baking dish. Sprinkle the top with nutmeg.
Place the whole thing carefully into the oven and bake for 45 minutes or until custard is set (and a skewer comes out clean.)
Enjoy hot or serve cold. As you can see I couldn’t wait until the photo was ‘in the bag’…..  Whipped cream sets it off nicely, if you eat dairy (but then if you do you’d probably make a dairy egg custard too….I’m rambling now…)

20131016-135030.jpgI’m off for leftovers…

(Paleo) Star Anise, Almond & Orange Cake

The general feedback for this cake was ‘Bloody yum’. Best Paleo recipe conversion effort yet. Get the oven on.

You’ll need:-

For the syrup topping –

80ml orange juice (or clementines)

50g light muscovado sugar

2 tbsps maple syrup

A few star anise (whole)

For the cake –

250g unsalted butter, softened

110g honey or agave nectar ( I used a mix of the two 50/50)

Zest of 1 orange or 4 clementines

4 eggs, lightly beaten

220g ground almonds

80g plain flour

1 tsp baking powder

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Instructions:-

Pre-heat your oven to 180 degrees centigrade.

Butter a 20cm diameter springform tin (make it a deepish one), and line with paper.

First, make the syrup by placing everything in a small pan and gently bringing it to the boil. Allow it to reduce for a while to a syrup, but not too much (you will need enough to cover the top of the cake). Leave the star anise in to infuse until the cake is ready.

Cream the butter and sweeteners together with the orange zest until light and fluffy.

Add the eggs gradually and don’t worry if it looks a bit curdly.

Fold in the almonds gently, along with the flour and baking powder.

Get it in the tin, level the top and bake for around 45 minutes until golden brown and a skewer comes out clean.

As soon as it’s cooked, prick holes all over the top of the cake with the skewer and pour the syrup from the middle across the whole surface, letting it sink in to the cake. Leave the star anise to fall wherever.

Leave it to cool in the tin, then scoff your face off.

OK, so it’s not strict Paleo, but it was a birthday cake, so let’s live a little. If you want to miss out the syrup topping, or replace the sugar with maple syrup, knock yourself out. You can also leave out the very small quantity of flour if that’s your bag.

Paleo Ginger Cake

I am a massive fan of the Paleo breakfast bread recipes which abound, simply made from almond butter and a few extras and baked within about 12 minutes; I wanted to try and adapt it by spicing things up a bit, and this is the result.  I love it and hope you will too.

This is the kind of thing I like to keep hanging around the house for those moments when you need a tiny, sweet, guilt free mouthful.

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You’ll need:-

1 jar of almond butter (1/2 cup)

2 large eggs

1 tsp vanilla extract/paste

1/4 tsp baking soda

1/4 tsp salt

1 tablespoon ground ginger

2 tbsp honey

1/4 tsp stevia (optional)

An 8inch silicone or metal cake tin, greased and lined.

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Instructions:-

Pre-heat your oven to 170 degrees centigrade.

Whisk the almond butter in a bowl until light and creamy (ish).

Add the ginger, eggs, vanilla and honey.

Next add the salt, baking soda, stevia and stir in thoroughly.

Pour into the cake tin and spread evenly. Bake for about 12-15 minutes tops. Remove and allow to cool a little before removing it from its prison.

Cut in to squares and grab a slice when the cravings take you.

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