breakfast paleo primal

Paleo Pancakes — and They’re Good!

OK, you all know I have a dislike-hate relationship with this whole paleo thing. I eat that way — most of the time — because I feel better when I do, and because it keeps my weight steady (although still higher than I’d like). But unlike a lot of converts, who swear up and down that they never miss the evils of flour and sugar, I miss them both. All the time.

So I saw this recipe for pancakes on George’s wonderful Civilized Caveman Cooking Creations, and I had to try. I’ve had real pancakes exactly once in the past two years (and they were marvelous), and I wanted more, damn it. And I’ve been quite pleased with the other Civilized Caveman recipes I’ve tried, so this morning, when I wanted something different for breakfast — dare I say, something sweet? — I went with George.

But I don’t like bananas, and even more crucially, I didn’t have any. So I did some modification, and here it is!

Pumpkin Pancakes

  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • ¼ cup peach butter (or apple butter, or something all-fruit that’s equally sweet)
  • 4 eggs
  • ½ cup almond butter
  • healthy grating of fresh nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
I used an electric griddle, which is awesome. I hate trying to keep the heat at the right level over a fire. If you have one, preheat it to 325 to 350 degrees. (One side of mine works best at 350, the other at 325. Yours, who knows?) Combine all ingredients in a blender or food processor and mix well. If your griddle or skillet is not nonstick, grease it with coconut oil and pour batter. I found that 3-inch pancakes worked well. Cook till browned on the bottom — if you don’t wait long enough, they tend to fall apart when you try to flip them — then flip and cook till browned on the other side.
We served them with Kerrygold butter and a bit of warmed maple syrup, but hey, be creative.

They were a bit dry, but perfectly acceptable — and the flavor was great. Enjoy!

baking primal


Must be something in the air — two posts in four days. I can’t remember the last time I pulled that off.

Maybe it’s that I’m making some really yummy stuff that I don’t have to feel guilty about. Or maybe I just miss blogging.

Whatever it is, herewith, scones.

But first, some background. Ben works at his former Sunday school, so every week from September to May Tim and I have two and a half hours to kill in Chestnut Hill. When the weather is good, or passable, we hike in the Wissahickon, which is a lovely and highly recommended way to spend a Sunday morning. However, the forecast for this morning was 30 degrees with 25-mph winds and a wind chill factor of 10.

So, no hike. Yes, I am a wimp.

When we don’t hike, we while away the hours at a coffee shop on Germantown Avenue. It’s a nice place, casual and unpretentious, with marvelous-looking pastries in the display case. Every time we go, I gaze longingly at those pastries.

Not this time, I decided last night. So I went looking for alternatives.

And I found these coconut scones on a blog called Frisky Lemon, where I do believe I will be spending more time in the future.

I haven’t loved most of the (non-paleo) scones I’ve made in the past; they tend to be dry, and often don’t have a whole lot of flavor. But, I figured, we’d be eating these with coffee. And hey, my expectations for paleo baked goods are pretty low, so how could I be disappointed?

I modified the original recipe a bit, because that’s what I do — but in this case, only a tiny bit: I used maple syrup in place of honey, and I let the food processor mix in the coconut milk too.

Before the coconut milk went in, the dough was exactly the right texture for scones, and it looked just the picture accompanying the original recipe. I very nearly just skipped the coconut milk completely. But I didn’t, and I’m so glad.

When they came out of the oven the scones looked delicious, and smelled even better. But they also looked crumbly, and I was worried about how dry they must be. But I cooled them and refrigerated them, as instructed.

This morning I packed up four to take along. And it’s lucky I did, because if I’d taken all eight, they’d be long gone by now.

These are by far the best scones I’ve ever had: moist and light and just sweet enough. They are perfect; there is nothing I would change about them.

This is one of those recipes I can recommend wholeheartedly even to those of you who aren’t eating paleo. They’re that good. Try them!

Coconut Scones
(courtesy of Allison Nichols of Frisky Lemon)

  • ½ cup almond meal
  • ½ cup coconut flour
  • 1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon sea salt
  • 8 tablespoons butter (cold)
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1 cup coconut milk

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F, and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In your food processor, combine both flours, coconut, butter, honey, cinnamon, baking powder and salt. Pulse until everything is crumbly. Add the coconut milk, and mix until well combined (the batter should be sticky and hold together, although mine did not form a ball).

Place the batter on your baking sheet, and press into a circle. Cut the circle into 8 wedges and sprinkle with shredded coconut (I went pretty heavy on the coconut).

Bake until browned; mine took 8 minutes. Caveat: My oven has only a passing familiarity with holding a set temperature; the original recipe says 10 to 12 minutes.

Pull the sheet of parchment onto a wire rack to let the scones cool. Like most coconut flour baked goods, these will be a little crumbly when they come out of the oven. Once they cool, refrigerate them, and serve chilled!

primal recipes


Anyone who’s ever read even one post on this blog knows I have a sweet tooth. No matter how long I avoid all traces of sugar (I’m looking at you, Whole30), I always welcome it back with open arms at the earliest opportunity.

I’ve been binging pretty heavily (for the new, marginally improved me, that is) in the week since we finished Whole30, but today, I had no sugar. None at all. No chocolate. No strawberry Fluff (God help me). Not even any stevia in my coffee (the only positive thing to come out of Whole30, as far as I’m concerned).

And tonight, after a dinner of shrimp sautéed in coconut oil on a bed of salad greens, I wanted dessert. But I also wanted to be good.

So I made pudding!

Avocados are one of those primal/paleo mainstays; Tim eats several per week, and it seems as if every other paleo recipe includes them. I don’t like avocados. I’ve tried; really I have. But I really wanted pudding.

The recipe I modified promised that this pudding wouldn’t taste like avocados. I was dubious, but did I mention I really wanted pudding?

So I made it, tweaking it a little along the way. And it was marvelous: dark and rich and smooth — and not a hint of avocado.

Chocolate Pudding
1 ripe avocado
½ cup cocoa powder
½ cup full-fat coconut milk (although you could probably get away with light)
¼ cup agave (I think I’ll try coconut nectar next time)
1½ teaspoons vanilla extract
dash of salt

In a blender (or probably a food processor; I’m going to try that next time), blend the avocado, cocoa, and coconut milk till smooth. Add the agave, vanilla, and salt and continue mixing until it’s pudding.

I’m already thinking of ways to play with this. You could put whipped cream (or berries, if you like that sort of thing) on top. You could use mint extract or almond extract in addition to the vanilla. You could freeze it and make pudding pops!

The world is your oyster. And almost no guilt!

(Sorry about the photo. I was too lazy to do it right.)

baking primal recipes

I Can Still Bake!

Yes, it’s been months. Nine long months during which I didn’t post a thing on this blog, despite the fact that I have indeed been baking.

Sheer laziness.

I’ve been eating paleo/primal since the beginning of the year; the main difference from my old life is that there are no grains and no processed sugar. (In theory, mind you. Only in theory. I have had both grains and sugar at various times in 2011; I just try not to bake with them at home.)

I’ve made a variety of primal cookies this year, but I just haven’t bothered to write down what I did.

That changes now.

After his Thanksgiving baking frenzy, Alex left me six egg whites in the refrigerator. That very day I found a recipe in a paleo cookbook for coconut macaroons, and it called for — wait for it — six egg whites.

Who am I to argue with fate?

Of course, I tweaked the recipe a bit. And the result is quite satisfying on a cold Saturday evening.

Even if you haven’t given up everything that makes life worth living, give them a try.

Primal Coconut Macaroons (makes about 30 cookies)

  • 6 egg whites
  • ¼ to ½ cup agave or maple syrup
  • ½ tablespoon vanilla
  • 3 cups unsweetened shredded coconut
  • ½ cup cocoa nibs

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment.

Whisk the egg whites till they form soft peaks. Reduce mixer speed to low and mix in the syrup and vanilla. Using a rubber spatula, gently fold in the coconut and coconut nibs.

Form into one-inch balls (a cookie scoop helps immensely with this) and bake for about 15 minutes, till slightly browned.

Cool on the parchment paper on a wire rack.

They’re delicious while still warm.

(I apologize for the quality of the photograph. Technology issues. I’ll do better next time.)

baking cookies primal

Cookies the (Very) Old-Fashioned Way

So, some of you may have noticed a dearth of posts in the past couple of months. Also, some of you may know that Tim lost 90 pounds last year by following what’s called the primal way of eating.

These things are not coincidental in any but the most literal sense.

Although I lost 30 pounds last year using SlimFast, I hit a plateau in late October and could not lose anymore. At the same time, I started having horrible carb cravings, worse than my standard carb cravings. I think those things were not coincidental either.

So at the beginning of December, I started eating primally.

It was not easy: Two of my major food groups were bread and sugar. But it was necessary.

Regular food has been fairly easy to adapt: no rice or pasta, no bread. No biggie.

But dessert. And snacks. And, you know, good stuff. That was what I missed.

So, here begins a reimagining of Confectiona’s Realm, one in which I work through the issues involved in being a sugar addict who gives up sugar.

Step one: Cookies. I found this recipe on the Internet, and thought it looked like a good place to start. After some tweaks, it turned into this:

    • 1¼ cup almond meal
    • ¼ teaspoon salt
    • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
    • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
    • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
    • ¼ cup coconut syrup
    • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
    • ¼ cup chopped pecans, or to taste
    • 1½ ounces chopped dark chocolate, or to taste

Mix all ingredients together until smooth. Drop by heaping tablespoonfuls about 2 inches apart onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake at 350 degrees for 10 to 12 minutes or until desired doneness. Be careful: They go from not quite done to burnt quite quickly. Allow to cool for a minute or so on the pan, then slide the parchment onto a rack and let cool. Eat at least one warm.

These are good. These are very good. They’re not as good as Dorie Greenspan’s amazing chocolate chip cookies, but they’re healthier. Or so I hear.

Next up, cookies not based on nuts!