What’s in your pantry?
Hello Everyone! For my second post I wanted to first talk about what Paleo is? I realized I should have included that in the first post but I was just too excited to share one of my super simple recipes.
Paleo (Paleolithic) Diet is the oldest diet recorded. It’s the way our ancestors ate and its the diet our bodies were made to consume for optimal health and development. The Paleo Diet consists mainly of animal proteins, whole vegetables, whole fruits and healthy fats.
Think about it, 2 million years ago there were no breads, cereal, soft drinks, cookies or cakes. This was a time where we evolved at an incredible rate. It wasn’t until the industrial age that we started seeing widespread heart disease, type II diabetes, metabolic derangement and obesity.
Now before you freak out (NO CAKE OR COOKIES EVER!!), there are ways to enjoy your favorite treats using paleo approved ingredients. I will be posting some recipes for those but first lets get your pantry Paleofied. (Yes, i just made that word up, another talent of mine!)
Here’s a list of some paleo ingredients you might want to have on hand. These are the types of things that are called for in most paleo treat recipes as well as for everyday meals. Some of these items may only be found at health food stores like Natural Foods Warehouse or Whole Foods so its a good idea to just buy them now so when one is called for in a recipe you don’t have to make a special trip. Remember Paleo treats are just that, a treat, and should not be consumed everyday.
Throw out your flour, whole wheat flour or breadcrumbs and instead substitute with:
- Almond meal /flour- This has a coarse consistency and works well when a recipe calls for breadcrumbs. It’s used in a lot of Paleo baking.
- Coconut flour- a fine flour consistency, used in baking, normally use less of this than regular flour as its much denser.
- Arrowroot powder- this is very fine and works well as a thickening agent in sauces or gravy.
- Keep a few cans of Coconut Milk (full fat) in your pantry. This is great to add to smoothies, to use as a sauce or marinade and even some homemade whipped cream.
- Coconut Sugar- not as sweet as regular sugar and does not add a coconut flavor to your cooking.
- Maple Sugar- I don’t have a lot of experience with this ingredient (yet) but its a paleo option.
- Maple Syrup -Organic Grade B- a little pricier than other syrups but you won’t use it that much so its worth the purchase (store in the fridge once opened)
- Honey- Local, organic- you will use this a lot in paleo baking.
- Molasses- Super sweet flavor, a little goes a long way- used in things like Paleo BBQ sauce.
- Gluten and Soy free chocolate chips- Use “Enjoy Life” brand chocolate chips. This brand is gluten, soy, dairy and nut free. This is the brand I use in my paleo cooking. I try not to keep them around unless I know I will be baking with them or else I will just eat them, yum! I’m sure there are other brands of chocolate chips but this one is easily found at my grocery store.
- Cacao Powder- This is a raw, unprocessed form of cocoa powder and is rich in antioxidants and also contains magnesium and iron. It’s called for in many paleo treat recipes.
- Gluten Free Baking Powder- I bet you never thought baking powder contained gluten.
- Wild-caught Canned Tuna and/or Salmon- It’s a great idea to keep a couple cans around incase you run out of your pre-made meals. Also great for a quick snack.
- Keep a can of Organic Tomato Paste in the pantry for lots of different recipes. I can’t tell you the number of times I started to make a recipe and realized I forgot the tomato paste, enough where I always buy an extra just to have on hand.
- Coconut Oil- Does really well for high heat cooking or for greasing a pan or cupcake pan. It’s a wonderful product that adds the slightest hint of coconut flavor to food (you won’t even notice). Also I like to use it for lotion and for lip balm. This is really one of the most vestile products in your paleo pantry, I even keep some under my sink!
- Bacon Fat- Great for high heat cooking. Just keep the rendered bacon drippings in a jar, I actually keep this in my refrigerator but I’ve read a lot of people keep it on top of there stove or in their pantry, and have never gotten sick. There has also been lots of opinions as too how long you should keep it, anything from 2 weeks till forever- lots of stories of grandmothers that kept the same old coffee can filled with bacon fat on top of there stove and no reports of sickness. I use it so much that it doesn’t normally last too long, a month tops. Keep in mind here, you only want to save the drippings from high quality bacon, preferably Uncured and Organic (Applegate Farms Organic bacon is a good choice).
- Duck Fat- Another high heat cooking fat. This is a new product for me but I’ve heard it makes everything taste amazing and can’t wait to try it!! I also think this should be kept in the refrigerator but I wanted to include it in this section.
- Nut Oils- best for low heat cooking or for salad dressings. I use macadamia nut oil for eggs as it has a very mild/buttery flavor.
- Olive Oil- Best for salad dressings or as a finishing oil. It’s best to get this from a reputable source like a local grown farm as a lot of the popular brands may not even have olive oil in it at all. See Mark Sisson’s post on how to choose your olive oil. http://www.marksdailyapple.com/is-your-olive-oil-really-olive-oil/#axzz2RFRHiut2
- Coconut Butter- Med-high heat cooking or baking. I like to use this just like dairy butter its got a slight coconut flavor and has a different texture than your regular butter.
- Butter- Med-high heat cooking. Organic, pastured (as shown below) or Grass-fed (Kerrygold brand). This also, obviously, is stored in the refrigerator but wanted to include it in this fats section. (Side story- Butter can be left out of the refrigerator and will not go bad, if you live in a cooler climate, and leaving butter out won’t turn it to a melted mess on your counter. It is actually much better to cook with it at room temperature In France, they do not store their butter or eggs in the refrigerator, how very Paleo of them!)
- Apple Cider Vinegar- used as a tenderizer for meat marinades or crock pot recipes, good for sauces or dressings also. Has a slightly sweet taste. – Can also be used for hair conditioner or toner but thats another post.
- White Vinegar- This is also a good tenderizer, good for marinades and dressings, has a bitter/tart flavor. Can also be combined with water for cleaning.
- Balsamic Vinegar- Sweetest of the vinegars and has many cooking uses. Good to be drizzled on top of vegetables, marinades, sauces, dressings or can be reduced down in a pan to create a sweet syrup. Make sure you look at the ingredients when buying a bottle that there aren’t any added ingredients like sugar!
- Liquid Aminos- This is a great substitute for Soy Sauce with it’s salty flavor, great for cooking stir-fry.