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Saturday, February 13, 2016

First "Paleo" Birthday Party

The hubby and I have radically changed our diets in the last few years. This year we're mostly eating fruits and veggies, plus some dairy and eggs. More on this in a separate post.

Our birthday party/brunch was different than any we'd attended before because we really wanted to keep our healthy diets. Here's how we did it and still made (hopefully) crowd-pleasing snacks:

We planned to serve fruit salad, "eggy muffins," veggie sticks with homeade hummus and paté, and salad. No crackers, breads, grain-based muffins, cookies, cakes, etc... it felt really funny to my raised-in-the-South mentality of entertaining, but the food we served was nutritious and delicious. (well, that was the plan anyway. Do read on. :)

We made a fruit salad the night before and mixed honey, orange juice and a dash of cardamom into it. The fruit salad was just four fruits, but other additions would have been fine. We used bananas, oranges, apples, and pineapple. We made a big salad bowl and had just about all of it left- or so it seemed. Everyone at some, but we might make a smaller one next time. On the other hand, we had it for several days thereafter, so it was fine to have extra.

The "eggy" muffins are one of my favorites for a go-to protein snack or quickie breakfast. They are made of just a few ingredients and without any measuring! 
I mix the following in a bowl:  about a quarter cup or so of flax, 5 or 6 eggs, a pinch of dulse (seaweed) flakes, some fresh-frozen & cooked spinach (squeezing water out first!), then pour it over a layer of oven cooked potato cubes (like hashbrowns) in the bottom of each silicone cup. I added shredded monterey jack cheese to some of them.
They bake about 425 degrees for around 15 minutes until there's a little bit of a golden color on top and they've pulled away from the sides of the muffin (silicone) pan.

We made long slices of carrot, cucumber, and celery to serve with the paté and hummus. The hummus was sprouted and cooked garbanzos, a dash of cumin, cayenne, salt & pepper, 2 Tbsp olive oil, a half lemon's juice, and 2 Tbsp of tahini, blended in our food processor. 
The paté was homemade from local grass-fed beef liver. I love the farm it comes from and though I don't looove liver, I find this version really tasty. I cooked the liver with rosemary and thyme in grass-fed butter, then blended it in the food processor. For the baby, I augmented the recipe to use about a quarter cup of coconut oil instead of the bacon fat I added to our paté. They both turned out delicious. And yeah, since I needed bacon fat, we had a great reason to eat some bacon. Just eating bacon was pretty great, but maybe next time I'd wrap it around figs...

Two of our party guests offered to bring food, so we accepted. One brought a salad with lots of chopped veggies and the other brought two pies. She made a beautiful gluten free apple and pear tart with rolled oats and also a pecan pie- classic! The pecan pie wasn't our version of "on diet" but the apple and pear tart didn't have powdered grains or sugar (which are two of the things we try hardest to avoid), so it was a welcome treat. The pecan pie was totally a hit (and I tasted it- it was delicious.) Maybe I'll figure out how to make a pecan pie that doesn't have HFCS & sugar & wheat. Anybody have a recipe? Please comment if so; I'd love it! 

Thanks for reading <3

Monday, February 8, 2016

First Birthday "Cake" for our Baby- Grain Free, Dairy Free, Sugar Free

...And it was amazing!

I looked everywhere for a recipe for a "baby" cake that had no grains, gluten, dairy, eggs, sugar or other normal cake ingredients. I really wanted our baby to have the first smash cake experience at his party without introducing him to foods outside his diet, much less the inevitable sugar crash that usually ensues.

Our son is still mostly breastfed and eats all kinds of veggies, seeds, fruits and some fish and believe it or not, liver pate. He loves dates, pineapple, apples and anything we're eating.

So after much research, hubby and I decided to invent our own cake.

Here's what we did:

The Cake:
First blended dates (removed pits) and walnuts in food processor. Just a handful of walnuts and about 6 dates.

Then added about 10 frozen blueberries and a tablespoon of ground flax and processed some more.

This was a nice texture but much more like cake batter with the addition of a little bit of fresh pineapple (about two tablespoons) and about a tablespoon of fresh pineapple juice.

 We put this mixture into the oven on 325 in a silicone muffin pan without greasing it (yay, silicone!) Each muffin well was filled only about a quarter of an inch.

We stacked three layers of really delicious blueberry & pineapple flavored "cake." It tasted a lot like blueberry pineapple banana bread, and had a similarly moist texture.

The Frosting:
Only two ingredients went into our frosting, and it was absolutely the best cake frosting I've ever had.

We blended pineapple and dates in equal parts in the food processor until they made a lofty, thick, creamy frosting. It tasted just like banana bread batter, but without the baking powder flavor.

We gave samples of our frosting to some early arriving party guests and they all guessed it was made with bananas.

It was totally awesome! Yum!