Monday, April 16, 2012

Paleo Snack Attack

Paleo Diet: The paleolithic diet, also popularly referred to as the caveman diet, Stone Age diet and hunter-gatherer diet, is a modern nutritional plan based on the presumed ancient diet of wild plants and animals that various hominid species habitually consumed during the Paleolithic era. Centered on commonly available modern foods, the "contemporary" Paleolithic diet consists mainly of fish, grass-fed pasture raised meats, vegetables, fruit, roots, and nuts, and excludes grains, legumes, dairy products and refined sugar.

In other words,  Paleo eating is a popular food diet right now where you eat as fresh and cuts out grains, dairy, legumes and refined sugar.  I have quite a few friends eating this way right now and it is something that interests me to help with my running and training performance (except not sure I could quit the candy!) I am not eating Paleo, but am definitely trying to each as little processed foods as possible.  I love fresh food and doing everything to keep my body free of disease and lethargy.
A dinner club friend, Ashley, is also a food lover, amazing cook, baker, kickbutt triathlete and blogger. She and I decided to get together and try out some "Paleo snacks" we've been finding here and there.  As an endurance athlete (did I really just call myself that?), it is important to fuel your body with clean and natural foods. I think that goes for our entire human race, not just athletes. Ashley and I also happen to enjoy snacks, so we wanted to make some healthier options that were still satisfying.  

Recipes for the evening:
Raw Pistachio Balls
Paleo No Bakes
Herb Crackers
Cashew Energy Bars
Primal Lemon Bars

The Pistachio Balls turned out delicious and I couldn't eat enough No Bakes (but forgot to take a picture of those)!  When I was at home and craving a treat, I would have one of those and yummmmo!    The Primal Lemon Bars were beautiful but tasted like pure heaven egg. Ashley & I are determined to try again and maybe use less egg and a lot of lemon zest.  The crackers were delish too.  Seriously, I was pretty excited to say "I just made my own crackers!"  I am sharing the four recipes we used and adapted, tried and trust.

Raw Pistachio Balls 
(found on
1 cup raw pistachios
1/2 cup raw cashews
3 tablespoons coconut oil (can probably use less)
1-2 tablespoons honey or agave
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
pinch of Himalayan salt

Place the pistachios and cashews in the food processor.  Process until the nuts are finely chopped.  Add the coconut oil, sweetener, vanilla and salt.  Process again until all ingredients are combined.  If you wish to use a scoop to make the cookies, place the batter in the refrigerator for 2 hours to firm.  Remove from the refrigerator and scoop into perfect little cookies. Store in the refrigerator. 


Cashew Energy Bars
(found on Fast Paleo) 
1 1/3 c dates, pitted
2/3 c raw cashews
1/8 tsp cinnamon 

Line a loaf pan with a piece of plastic wrap. In a food processor, puree the dried dates until they form a paste. It will whirl around the food processor for a couple of minutes and then form a ball. Turn it into a bowl.  Without cleaning the food processor, pulse the cashews and cinnamon until it becomes a mealy consistency. Turn over the pureed dates. Use your hands to mix the dates and cashews together until they are completely incorporated. Press into the bottom of the loaf pan until it is an even thickness.
     Carefully pull the plastic wrap out of the loaf pan with the bar and turn onto a cutting board. Cut the bar into 6 pieces. Store the bars by wrapping individually with plastic wrap and keeping them in the fridge. 


Herb Crackers 
(adapted from Fast Paleo)
1 cup Almond meal or flour
2 Tbsp Coconut flour
2 egg whites
1/4 tsp sea salt
1 tsp oregano 
Fresh chopped rosemary

      Mix all dry ingredients, then add the egg whites.  Form a ball. Roll out a portion of the dough between 2 pieces of parchment paper very thin.   Remove the top piece of parchment paper. Take a pizza cutter and score rectangles on the dough.
       Place dough/parchment paper on a cookie pan in oven and bake at 350F for 10 minutes.
You may want to check every 5 minutes until the crackers are lightly browned but not burnt. Sometimes I remove the browned ones and then stick the rest back in the oven to keep baking.
Place the crackers on a counter top to cool.

(Paleo) No Bakes
(adapted from Fast Paleo)
1 cup coconut flakes
1 1/2 cups dark chocolate chips/chunks
1/3 cup olive oil
1/3 cup honey
1/2 cup almond butter
1 T cinnamon
1 cup chopped pecans (or nut of choice)

Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.  You can chop pecans or leave whole. In a cooking pan on medium heat melt chocolate, olive oil, honey and almond butter. Once it has a smooth consistency remove from heat and add cinnamon, pecans, and coconut (make sure all ingredients are covered in chocolate) Drop spoonfuls onto parchment paper and refrigerate until they harden (about 30 minutes).

So there you have it. Four delish & nutrish (or at least healthier) snacks and desserts. Do not attempt the lemon bars, as for now ~ yucky!   I'm off to make another batch of pistachio balls. SO GOOD!
Most importantly, love fresh food & your body.

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