A Gingerbread Family

This week has been another hectic one in the Creatively Paleo family. I’m not entirely sure where the time is going to, but it seems almost incomprehensible that we are already in September!

Of course we don’t have the back to school rush that most families have, and for that I am eternally grateful! The idea of shopping for school shoes gives me the shudders! You may have seen the post about Primal Education a couple of weeks ago, well that is part of a lovely Not Back To School Carnival over at LiveOtherwise. Grab a brew and take some time meandering through all the posts, there are some really lovely stories included, and they might give you some interesting food for thought 🙂

I’ve been working hard on a couple of projects, the first of which I have just launched and am really quite pleased with. It was a proper family collaboration with the children all contributing ideas as well as helping with various technical aspects that my brain had a temporary block with! It’s a free guide to primalizing your family – it takes a gentle and respectful approach, because, in my opinion at least, there is no space for anything else when it comes to such a huge and important change in a child’s diet.

For the guide we’ve been testing out a paleoified gingerbread recipe, and after much tweaking we are really pleased with the result, and have included it as a cute little printable in the guide. We really hope you like it and have fun baking with your children!

Here’s a little graphic that I whipped up in the A Beautiful Mess app (I do so love that app!). If you click on it it will take you to the download cart thingy majiggy!

creatively-paleo-free-gift-guide-to-primalizing-your-family

 

 

We’ve been back to meal planning again this last couple of weeks, which definitely makes life much easier. There should  be some new recipes coming up on the site this week too, including a one pot chilli which was a real life saver in the campervan, and a tasty pork recipe with a Polynesian influence!

That’s it for now – don’t forget it’s #PaleoHour between 8 and 9 pm GMT tonight on twitter!

TTFN

 

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Paleo Pen Pals Swap August

I am really loving these internet pen pal swaps at the moment. I particularly loved the idea of a paleo pen pals swap, which also incorporates a recipe challenge – a bit like a  postal Ready Steady Cook!

I was paired with Diana who is from Estonia, which I was very excited about because Estonia seems like a rather exotic location to me, and I was really curious as to what she would send and how much it would differ from ingredients from the UK.

My parcel arrived in good time and inside were three ingredients – some flax seed flour, some local honey that Diana had mixed with pollen and propolis, and some cranberry flour. I had never heard of cranberry flour before, and loved that it came complete with an Estonian label.

cranberry-flour-estonian-paleo-pen-pal-swap-august

Obviously I was going to make something sweet, but it took me a little while to think just what. Eventually I decided on some biscuits, loosely based on the classic British digestive. I’ve put the recipe for these little biscuits over on my website here.

cranberry-flour-digestive-biscuits-paleo-pen-pals-swap-august

They worked really well, with the tartness of the cranberry giving them an unusual, and very moreish, flavour. I didn’t stop there though. Diana told me that she tends more towards a primal diet than strict paleo, so I decided that I would make something really delicious that she might be able to make, as a special treat for her family.

Here it is…

cranberry-flour-german-cheese-cake-recipe

This is an old family recipe of my mother’s. I’ve no idea where it came from originally, but this is something that was a special treat dessert when I was growing up. It’s a German Cheesecake and the only baking involved is if you make the biscuit base from scratch. The first time I had cheesecake in the UK I was horribly surprised, as it was a baked cheesecake and tasted nothing like how cheesecake should taste  – ie light, fluffy and not remotely cloying.

Primal Cheesecake Ingredients

For the base

For the cheesecake

  • 1 pkt lemon jelly (I’ll fess up right here and say we used a standard packet for ease, but I will have a go at making this properly primal in the near future)
  • 8 oz cream cheese
  • 2 oz coconut caster sugar (whizz it in a grinder until it’s dust)
  • 1/4 pt sour cream
  • 1/2 pt whipped double cream
  • 2 drops vanilla extract

Instructions

  1. Crush or crumble the digestive biscuits.
  2. Add the coconut oil and honey to the crumbs until well coated.
  3. Press the crumb mixture firmly down into the bottom of a loose bottomed flan tin.
  4. Chill for 20 minutes.
  5. Melt the jelly in 1/4 pt of boiling water.
  6. In a large bowl whip the double cream until it is nice and thick, but DON’T turn it to cheese!
  7. In another large bowl mix together the cream cheese, coconut sugar and sour cream.
  8. Beat together well until it has a lovely creamy consistency.
  9. Gradually whisk in the jelly, double cream and vanilla.
  10. Pour on to the biscuit base and leave in the fridge to set – try to leave it alone for a good couple of hours!
  11. When set very carefully run a knife around the edge of the cake before removing the cake from the tin.
  12. Serve on its own, or if you want something a bit fancier make a simple fruit sauce and top with fresh fruit (we used a cherry sauce and fresh raspberries).

We’d love to know if you try this recipe – let us know how it compares to the kind of cheesecake you’re used to.

Hello Poor Neglected Blog!

I had such plans and hopes for blogging over the last week or two, but life has been chaotic and I’ve just not found the headspace to sit and waffle away here.

I’ve been cooking like crazy, testing out lots of great recipe ideas, some of which have worked, others… well I hear a big fail klaxon in my head!

We had a really lovely Indian takeaway yesterday, except it was direct from my kitchen not a local curry house.

Not bad huh? I’m getting the recipes for everything up and so far we have the samosas, pilau “rice” and Bombay potatoes. The rest will follow in the next couple of days, so you should have them all in time for your very own Saturday Night takeaway, if the mood strikes you!

In other news I was very pleased to take delivery of an actifry this week! I’m blown away by it so far, and it is going to be very useful for a top secret project I’m currently working on. More on that in due course, but it’s something I’m very excited about. I fried the samosas in the actify instead of baking them, and they worked really well, came out nice and crispy and cooked in next to no time. I’m going to try chicken nuggets in it later on, fingers crossed they turn out well, though I can’t honestly see any reason why they wouldn’t.

Today’s excitement was a delivery from Devon Rose, lots of lovely nitrate free bacon and lard, along with an assortment of other delights, including liver and kidneys! I haven’t cooked with kidneys yet so I’m looking forward to that, with some trepidation. Tomorrow I’m hoping to recreate a childhood favourite, Leberwurst. I really hope it tastes as good as I remember from my days in Germany, fingers crossed.

Oh, I almost forgot! I have a code to share with you for a 10% discount off your first order with Devon Rose, you just need to type in TW10RTD at the checkout. They offer a really fantastic service, Richard phoned me to discuss my order and was extremely friendly and helpful.

We went to watch some amazing fireworks the other weekend, take a look at this little video, I think you’ll be as blown away as we were (not literally, thankfully)

i’m sure I’ve missed out some incredibly exciting happens of the last week or two, but I’m buggered if I can remember what! I’m off to join in with paleo hour in a wee while, come along and join in if you’re about between 8pm and 9pm GMT on a Tuesday, it’s a great little community that is rapidly growing. Uk based, but all welcome.

TTFN

Vegetable Geek!

I had SUCH an exciting weekend! Whilst some might have been off hiking mountain trails, jumping out of aeroplanes, swimming along city rivers, I …. well… I went to the supermarket! “OMG! You didn’t?” “Like, WOW man!!”  Yeah… OK, not the most exciting way to spend a weekend I’ll grant you, but seriously, it was very exciting to me. Let me show you…

Now do you see? For those of you who live in more exotic places, I’ll remind you that this is a supermarket in a small, North Yorkshire town, not central London! I mean, seriously? This is beyond exciting to me! I was also very excited to use my lovely ‘shroom basket to bring home some of my goodies in. If you follow me on instagram you’ll have seen this basket in the making process. I am beside myself with pleasure when I look at it, and can’t quite believe that I managed to do such a good job of the sewing.

Isnt that a lovely sight?

But look… there’s more (said in a Jimmy Cricket style. Don’t know who Im talking about? Eek, showing my age there! Here, http://youtu.be/IC4TaV8HEzw

Fab stuff! Lots of ingredients there that Ive never used before, even though I was vegetarian for over 20 years! I definitely eat way more vegetables now than I ever did. We had samphire for the first time with kedgeree  – a family favourite that I paleoified (that will be a word in the next oxford english dictionary!) I’ve been experimenting with the artichokes today – what a stunning vegetable that is! – and there will be a recipe to follow later this week.

The rest of the veg is waiting impatiently for me to pull my finger out and use it before it starts to go off, something of a problem in a modern house in the midst of a heatwave. Talking of which, this is the first time I’ve ever known creamed coconut to liquify in the packet, but it was very handy for a lovely recipe experiment I decided to start working on at 10.30 pm the other night. More of that later, I need to work on my piping skills before I share it with you, but I’ll just say chocolate orange… I’ve also been playing with a very exciting recipe, not one of mine I’m sorry to say, but one the the very clever Tara from Primal Power developed. My children are SO delighted with it I can’t tell you – my 10 year old son actually did a happy dance before leaping on me for a hug when he saw these…

Last night I used the same dough to make pizza. Yes, actual, real, crisp, holds together without crumbling, pizza. It was a momentous occasion in our house! This recipe is bloody brilliant for those of us who have children who sometimes just want to eat “normal” food but who can’t because it just hurts too much. Tara is selling this recipe for the very good value price of $3.95 and honestly, it is well worth it, she has clearly worked really hard to develop this and could have charged way more for something this good! Seriously, go and get yourself a copy. Click here to visit Primal Power.  We used swede in our version which worked really well, and is pretty cheap right now. I will be doing further experiments with this dough and will probably be putting up some recipes in the near future that use it.

ETA: We made Enchiladas and Samosas with it! Totally bloody awesome stuff frankly!

Later this week I’m going to be sharing our path to paleo with you, and talking about a seriously inspiring lady who was partly responsible for our massive change in diet. Til then… eat your veggies  and tell me about them, I’d love to know what your favourites are and how you keep them in good shape in this weather!

TTFN

If you’re interested in keeping up with us you might like to like creatively paleo on facebook or follow us on twitter or instagram or if pinterest is your thing we’re there too! Social media whores, much?!

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A World Without Wheat

My friend Elaine sent me a link to an article the other day – it was this one – go and read it, I’ll wait for you to come back….

We were driving out to the seaside for my daughter’s birthday trip later that day; we drove past fields of wheat and I couldn’t help wondering what a world without wheat would look like.

Image

Wheat field image from FWallpapers.com

I tried to imagine what would take the place of the vast expanses of gently swaying grain crops, and I got a bit excited! (I’m a simple soul, it doesn’t take much!) Would they be filled instead with vegetables and fruit or grazing livestock? Would we see smaller fields with more hedgerows? Probably not, as in Lincolnshire where they grow a lot of vegetables, the fields are pretty industrial sized.

Would we need more fruit, vegetables and meat to make up for the grain products that people commonly fill up on? Or would eating more nutrient filled foods, and fat, mean we needed to consume less food not more?

I’m not a scientist, so I don’t know the answers to these questions, but I guess if it’s true that 80% of the world population is going to stop eating wheat, we are going to need to ask these questions sooner rather than later.

Wheat, and other grains, take up so much of our available soil that it would change the world, and the little country I live in, extensively. This would have a massive knock on effect for farmers, which in turn would mean big changes in food production and food supply – effectively the entire way our economy and lives are run would change. 

It takes around about 1300 litres of water to grow 1kg of wheat! Our family of 6 directly uses 150,000 litres of water a year – that equates to approximately 115 bags of flour, or just under 2 and a half bags a week! That’s quite a shocking figure when I think about it – we would very easily have consumed far more than that when we were eating wheat – breakfast cereals, pasta, bread, pizza, biscuits etc etc ad infinitum! That is an awful lot of water for a product that caused us a lot of pain and weight gain!

Obviously everything we eat uses water, and probably in equally large measure to the amount wheat uses. Though I’d have thought that when you are growing your own veg and making use of grey water or harvested rainwater you are going to reduce the usage quite considerably, I don’t know, I’m not a scientist.

What I think isn’t taken into consideration though is this: we need to be careful with our water consumption, so with that in mind, isn’t it better for us to use water to grow food that is actually going to help maintain our health, instead of wasting it on a product that is, increasingly, highly toxic to human and animal life? 

Isn’t this a conversation that we need to be having now? I would love to be able to find decent, unbiased, truly scientific information about this subject, but it seems that, as with so many issues related to human and animal health, there are too many polarised opinions to really get at the hard facts. 

I don’t want to hear that going vegetarian or vegan will save the planet, because I just don’t buy that argument – it doesn’t stack up on so many levels for me. I don’t want to hear propaganda from CAFOs or organic farmers; I certainly don’t want to hear how monsanto crops are going to save us all from starvation; I want hard facts not twisted to satisfy an agenda. Is that possible, do you think? Am I alone in caring? What do you think?

 ETA: Just read that Monsanto are effectively pulling out of Europe

 

if you’re interested in keeping up with us you might like to like creatively paleo on facebook or follow us on twitter or instagram or if pinterest is your thing we’re there too! Social media whores, much?!

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Moving On And Moving In

The last week or so has been one hell of a bumpy ride. We are finally in our new house (I cant call it home yet) and beginning to start getting organised. We have moved into a smaller house which we get the privilege of paying more money for! Gotta love renting hey? In an attempt to soothe my somewhat fractured soul (we didnt want to move but the landlord sold the house unexpectedly) Ive been playing in the kitchen. Ive gone from a fabulous range cooker to a crappy little built in oven and hob and so you’ll excuse me whilst I indulge in a little pity party! 

Anyhoo… at the weekend we took a trip to Leeds as the teens were doing their grade 6 Rockschool exams, so we visited the Chinese supermarket to stock up on a few bits and pieces. They had some exotic (to us country bumpkins) ingredients which I found rather exciting and the rest of the family found worrying! So far I’ve made a not to be repeated desert with some taro root; served up, perfectly fine if unexciting taste wise, boiled purple sweet potato; and…. most thrilling of all…. made purple flour! 

 

This has made me very happy! It is such a lovely, vibrant purple and I can’t wait to create a cake with it! I really hope it holds its colour through the baking process – assuming I can get to grips with the new oven that is.

Here in Northern England it’s the summer solstice. It’s a bit cooler than it was when we moved in and we’ve had some rain, which the birds, in the trees at the bottom of the ski slope like garden, seem to have enjoyed. 

Hope that the turning of the year brings you everything you’re hoping for. 

 

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It’s No Yolk!

Today the weather in these ‘ere parts was noticeably cooler so a baking day was declared. Well,truth be told, whether the weather was fair or fowl, today was going to be a baking day, as I had made a promise that the recipe for my take on Jamaica Ginger Cake would be up by the end of the week.

I had the ingredients pretty much sussed, but it just needed a smidge of tweaking, plus I needed to work out accurate baking times. The children are always SO disappointed when I have to do this; they absolutely hate having a mass of cakes to scoff!

There was a lot of fun and excitement in the kitchen today, far more so than usual. Firstly I forgot to add in the bicarbonate of soda to the bowl but remembered just as I was about to put the tray into the oven. The whole lot, bar one for the sake of experimentation, was scooped out, the bicarb mixed in, spooned back into the tray, and then finally into the oven.

I had expected there to be some difference in the mini loaf that was sans bicarb, but I wasn’t expecting it to be so vastly different. See what I mean? Kitchen science ticked for today’s home ed (home schooling).

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The other ridiculously exciting thing was that I saw my first ever double yoke. And then my second. And third. And fourth. Oh, and…. fifth! I could not believe it, and the children were equally as impressed.

I’m not sure these double yokes are a good thing though… one of the loaves came out looking like the devil! I’m wondering if I can sell it on ebay and make my fortune… Hmm, too late, smallest child has eaten it!

Well, drum roll people…… Here’s the finished item for your delectation. Enjoy! I’d love to hear what you think if you give it a try.

TTFN – I’ve the washing up mountain to deal with.