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

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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.

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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.

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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.

 

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‘Cut & come again’ Paleo spiced fruit cake


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I was fighting the urge to bake a moist, crumbly fruit cake yesterday, and eventually decided to take a gamble & experiment with a grain & sugar free Paleo version. It turned out better than okay, and I would defy any Paleo cynic to tell the difference between this cake and a normal fruit cake.

You will need:-

A 20cm deep, loose bottomed cake tin, greased and lined.
350g of ground almonds
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
85g agave nectar or other sweetener
1-2tsp ground mixed spice
4 large eggs, beaten
175g softened butter
375g sultanas, raisins, cherries, mixed peel – combination of your choice

Pre-heat your oven to 180 degrees centigrade.

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Put the whole lot into your bowl/mixer and whisk until everything is properly incorporated. If it looks a bit stodgy, add approx. 3-4 tbsp full fat milk or coconut (drinking) milk to the mixture, to loosen it to a nice batter.

Spoon it all into your cake tin and level off the top.

Bake it for approx. 1 and a quarter hours, or until a skewer comes out clean from the centre of the cake.

Leave to cool in the tin for about 10 minutes, then place on a wire rack to cool properly.

Put the kettle on and salivate! Remember, if you invite friends to share, there will be less for you!

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Paleo Anniversary

It’s one full year this very day since Trog Dad and I made the life-changing decision to go Paleo.

The choice was simple. We could either:-

a) succumb to the ravages of middle age and accept that we were getting a bit podgy around the middle, OR

b) put up a fight.

We chose B.

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Summer 2011

January 2012

January 2012

We had already been introduced to a Crossfit gym. It was hard core but addictive. We were feeling the difference in our muscle tone and strength, but wanted to see a more dramatic difference.

I can remember Trog Dad saying to me, “Let’s plan it properly and start in a couple of weeks. It’s such a big change.” I, impetutous as ever, suggested that that was a losing mentality, so we started. Right there and then. Best. Decision. Ever.

The enormous packets of rice and pasta which we had purchased that very week are still sitting in our pantry to this day, virtually untouched.

December 2012

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December 2012

I am pretty sure that most of our friends thought we were a little bit mental, partly experiencing a mid life crisis, and entirely unlikely to  last very long. But we’ve managed to navigate Christmas, rack up a significant number of PBs at the gym, engage our kids into the Paleo family, oh…and lose a lot of weight.

We are still very much a work in progress. At 51 and 46 respectively, these things take time, but it is a one way journey and we aren’t looking back.

31 day Paleo challenge

….and they’re off!

paleo crossfitDay 1, Monday 14th January. It just happens to be my Mum’s birthday today (mwah to you, Mum, hope you’re going to watch over me this month from up there).

The coffee has been stuffed deep inside a kitchen cupboard. For some reason I am expecting this to be the hardest part *wrenches hands and screams ‘what have I got to live for?!* Maybe that in itself is a sign that I should cut out the caffeine for a month?

Had one last hurrah with a potato and a glass of wine last night. I did eat other stuff with the potato (just incase you were wondering whether I was playing out some kind of scene from Les Mis or paleo crossfitsomething).

Measurements as follows:-

Height 174cm, waist 82cm (roll on elasticated trousers)

Weight 76.4kg

Body fat 31.8%

Muscle mass 49.5kg

Bone mass 2.6kg (how the f*** am I standing up?)

BMI 25.2

Metabolic age 42 (yay)

Visceral fat level 5 (recommended range 1-12)

The gym subjected us to a special Challenge WOD on Saturday, which we must repeat after we’ve finished, if our bodies can carry us across the threshold.

My slightly scaled version of the WOD (as I have more chance of marrying George Clooney that executing a ‘toes to bar’ manoeuvre):-

500m run

40 air squats

30 double unders

20 V sit-ups

10 burpees

5 30kg power cleans

Managed it pretty okay for an old bird, including the double unders (high five) in 7 mins and 5 seconds. Let’s see what January brings before we try it again.

As a slight aside, the Crossfit foot is getting significantly worse. Acute post-netball shooting pains in my right foot followed by the inability to walk without wanting to cry. Not good.

Wish me luck for the next 31 days!

Unclean

paleoCake.

I ate cake.

Ten little minutes of slippage in an otherwise unblemished 8 months of primal eating would surely slide by unnoticed?

I thought it would be ok, after all I’ve not eaten a slice of legit, sugar-crammed cake since March. How wrong can a girl be?

For no less than 4-5 days I suffered from swelling and cramps in the abdomen. My belly bloated a good 3 inches. I thought I might pop and drift away with the breeze, accompanied by a farty noise.

So here’s the moral of my story….once Paleo, forever Paleo. It just hurts too darned much to go back, even for ten little minutes.

Let that be a lesson to you me.

There is a line…

Along the Paleo journey I have been introduced to some interesting new (and healthy) food options, all of which I have been assured are “good for you”, and most of which are nice. But there have been the occasional “you want me to eat/drink what?” moments

On the good side…

I must give a big shout to my still favourite snack from The Naked Ape (http://www.thenakedape.co.uk). these are absolutely fantastic and have saved me on numerous occasions from having to eat crap – I always keep a couple in my case for emergencies. They wont fill you up, but they will keep you going for a few hours when your surrounded by sandwich shops!

I am also (probably not completely a good thing) becoming addicted to very dark chocolate – at least 80% cocoa, and have been amazed by how much difference there is in flavour depending on the origin – I think I am well on my way to becoming a chocolate snob/bore

Coconut – who knew? Me and Mrs Trog are on three a week (shared) and had a mild panic this week when Morrison’s didn’t have any on display. We were saved from having to write a ‘strongly worded letter’ by a very helpful man who got us three from ‘out the back’. (I always offer to open them so I can have the milk…)

My latest discovery in the ‘good things’ list is the ‘bulletproof coffee’. I did hear about these some time ago, but I dismissed them as somewhat fanatical in nature – they really do sound horrible when you read how to make one, and you will wonder why spoil a good cup of coffee? However, I was very wrong – they are delicious and easy to make, and can easily get you through a morning if you have no time for a decent breakfast!

On the bad side…

There is however, and should be, a line that no man be asked to cross. It is a good rule in life that nothing green should be drunk. Take Crème de Menthe for example – do you know anyone that has survived a Crème de Menthe hangover? – exactly, always fatal. So when I returned from holiday to see instructor Pete drinking a green liquid, I had to demand WTF is that? I was offered a taste… I tried it… it tasted like green stuff. I have green stuff growing on the flat roof of my kitchen. I can see it from the bathroom and have often wondered what it is and how I could get rid of it. I have NEVER wondered what it would taste like scraped off and blended into a green drink!… but now I know… it tastes like shit.

Now I am sure you can send off for a DVD on just how good for you this green stuff is, and I am sure they will say it is soooooo good that it is more than worth the £40 it is going to set you back. However, I think we are drifting too far away from the caveman here and into Neanderthal territory

I will not be partaking of the green stuff… EVER… unless of course the DVD says it makes your penis bigger, in which case £40 is a bargain!