October 20, 2015

BUT I Want Chocolate. Okay, eat chocolate. Paleo & Mother Approved Chocolate Banana Bread.

What's a cold movie night without chocolate? Here's how I get it and ADD superfoods to the mix. 
  1. Preheat oven to 350F.  I think a silicone pan is always the best for Paleo baking, but you can use a standard stainless steal loaf pan too.  Prepare a loaf pan by greasing with any fat (lard, coconut oil, butter, ghee, palm shortening, etc.) and “flouring” with cassava flour (you could use arrowroot powder here too for a cheaper alternative).  Tap out excess flour.
  2. Spread walnuts over a rimmed baking sheet.  Bake for 5 minutes to toast.  Let cool slightly before adding to batter.
  3. Meanwhile, thoroughly mash bananas.  Grate chocolate with a box grater or microplane zester.  Add to mashed bananas.
  4. Mix in ghee (or other fat), coconut milk, apple cider vinegar, and vanilla.
  5. In a separate bowl, mix cassava flour with salt and baking soda.
  6. Add cassava flour mixture to banana mixture.  Stir to form a thick batter.  Fold in toasted walnuts.
  7. Pour into prepared loaf pan and spread the top out so that it’s even.  Bake for 1 hour and use the toothpick test to check for doneness (poke a toothpick in the middle of the loaf; if it comes out gummy, give it an additional 5-10 minutes of baking time).
  8. Let cool in the pan for 5 minutes and then remove and transfer to a cooling rack.  Let cool completely before serving (it’s tasty warm, but the texture is better cooled).
  9. Slice and enjoy!  Store leftovers in an airtight container on the counter for up to a few days or in the fridge or freezer for longer.


My motto for sticking with my top notch nutrition when the commercials are chanting, "Fall..a time to gather with family and friends around great food" MOMMY! I go to the Paleo Mom, or The Curious Coconut & I COOK. I stick with healthy Fats over carbs and great carbs like Sweet Potatoes, plantains & good oils like Coconut. Meat is our friend here, BUT make it good meat. Clean and hearty will keep us on track. Here's a good recipe for breakfast! 
  • Plantain Flour Pancakes
    Recipe by Amanda Torres
    Prep time: 5 minutes
    Cook time: 5 - 10 minutes
    Total time: 10 - 15 minutes
    Yield: about 12 large pancakes (enough to feed 4 people)
    Ingredients (find out where to buy below recipe)
    • 1 cup plantain flour**
    • 1 tsp pumpkin spice blend, cinnamon, or vanilla extract
    • 1/4 tsp sea salt**
    • 3/4 tsp baking soda**
    • eggs (see below for substitute)
    • 3 Tbsp coconut oil**
    • 3/4 cup water**
    • few Tbsp coconut oil, for cooking
    Egg substitute (for autoimmune paleo protocol)
    • 2 Tbsp gelatin** (Great Lakes brand is from grass-fed beef)
    • 6 Tbsp filtered** water
    • 1 Tbsp additional coconut oil (for a total of 4 Tbsp)
    Cooking Directions
    1. In a large bowl, combine the plantain flour, spice blend or plain cinnamon, sea salt, and baking soda. If using vanilla extract instead of spices, add it with the other wet ingredients.
    2. Add eggs, coconut oil, and water and whisk until the batter has a smooth consistency.
    3. Heat coconut oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. Use a table spoon (that you eat with, not that you measure with) to scoop up the batter and place in the heated oil. This batter is going to be THICK, so you will have to use the spoon to flatten it out and shape it. Work in batches to cook all of the pancakes and try not to crowd them in the pan.
    4. Cook for several minutes on each side, using a spatula to flip. Sometimes I cook them more than once on each side. You just want to make sure they are browned on both sides.
    5. This recipe serves 2 to 4 people, depending on how hungry you are and if you are serving with sides. Top pancakes with any one or a combination of the following: real maple syrup, butter, creme fraiche, fresh berries, or cooked berries (just add 1 cup frozen berries to a pan and simmer on medium low heat until they cook down into a sauce. Use a spoon to crush berries as they are cooking).
    6. Autoimmune paleo (egg-free) instructions: Prepare gelatin first. Most websites tell you to first wet each 1 Tbsp of gelatin with 1 Tbsp of room temp water, then dissolve with 2 Tbsp boiling water. I have found another method that I think works better: Put 3 Tbsp water for each 1 Tbsp of gelatin in a small saucepan. Sprinkle gelatin on top to "bloom" (wet) it, stirring as necessary to make sure it is all wetted. Do this slowly so that clumps do not form, as they will be very difficult to dissolve. Then, heat saucepan over medium low heat and stir until all gelatin dissolves. Transfer to a mixing bowl and add remaining wet ingredients (including the extra coconut oil) and stir. Add dry ingredients to wet and stir well to combine into a batter. Cook as described above. The interior of the egg-free pancakes will be a bit more gooey than if made with eggs, but they still taste wonderful!
    7. Want to make these using fresh green plantains instead of plantain flour? Check out my recipe for green plantain pancakes (AIP-compliant).

October 18, 2015


PIZZA!  It’s worth the effort to make your own pizza dough, but if you’re short on time, there are options for pizza dough from the grocery store that work well and are grain free! Adding Coconut Flour, Brewers yeast and Vegan Cheese to this recipe is what makes it sooo YUM.
Total Time: 30 min. plus 2 hours
Prep Time: 10 min.
Cooking Time: 15 min.
Yield: 8 servings

¼ oz. brewers yeast
1 cup warm water (100-110°F)
2 tsp. grade b maple syrup
½ tsp. fine sea salt
2 tsp. olive oil, divided use

½ cup all-natural marinara sauce
¼ tsp. dried oregano leaves
¼ tsp. dried Italian seasoning
¼ tsp. ground black pepper
1 dash crushed red pepper
¼ tsp. garlic powder
6 marinated artichoke hearts, drained, sliced
¼ medium onion, thinly sliced
¼ cup sliced mushrooms
8 medium black olives, cut in half
4 oz. shredded vegan cheese 
1. Place yeast, water, and grade B maple syrup in a medium bowl. Let stand for 10 minutes
2. Combine 3 cups coconut flour and salt in a small bowl. Gradually add flour mixture to brewers yeast mixture. Mix with clean hands until mixture does not stick to your hands. Add additional flour if needed. Roll dough into a ball. Brush with ½ tsp. oil. Place in a bowl; cover with a towel. Let rise for 2 hours.
3. Punch down dough to remove air; knead and roll into a ball. Brush with ½ tsp. oil. Place in a bowl; cover with a towel. Let rise for an additional 2 hours.
1. Preheat oven to 450°F.
2. Roll dough until it will no longer stretch. Let rest for 5 minutes. Continue to roll until it reaches your desired diameter, about 10 to 12-inches, and about ½-inch thick. Place on baking pan lightly coated with spray.
3. Brush with remaining 1 tsp. oil.
4. Spread a thin layer of marinara sauce over dough. Season with oregano, Italian seasoning, pepper, red pepper, and garlic powder.
5. Top with artichokes, onion, mushrooms, and olives.
6. Sprinkle with cheese.
7. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes, or until crust is golden and cheese is brown.

October 11, 2015

An Island and a Dream #1

“I really don't know why it is that all of us are so committed to the sea, except I think it's because in addition to the fact that the sea changes, and the light changes, and ships change, it's because we all came from the sea. And it is an interesting biological fact that all of us have in our veins the exact same percentage of salt in our blood that exists in the ocean, and, therefore, we have salt in our blood, in our sweat, in our tears. We are tied to the ocean. And when we go back to the sea - whether it is to sail or to watch it - we are going back from whence we came." John F Kennedy

I truly feel that I'm returning to my origins when I'm near the sea. For as long as I can remember, I would play the sounds of ocean waves at night to help me fall asleep. Now I fall asleep with my window open and listen to the Atlantic ocean. 

The universe is so in tune that even a passing thought can be heard. My intention was not to move to Surf City, Long Beach Island, but this hanging in my bedroom makes me know something mystical brought us here. The plan I had in mind was to move closer to my office in University City in order to finish up working on a study for Upenn before my big departure next summer, but the wind had something else in mind.
Lately, more than ever I've been drawn to what makes me come alive. I actually don't do "intentions". I ride this rhythm that I can't really express in words. I have the support of my tribe now so it doesn't even feel bold, or brave, or daring, or like I'm doing something out of the ordinary. I'm living my life. I'm listening to the voice inside of me and taking action on what I hear. I'm living from my heart and trusting that even if I fall I can always rise up again. It's how I realized who I loved and how to love him and be loved by him. It's how my daughter's health has returned. It's everything.

We discovered this bliss of an island over the summer when Justine suggested I check out Barnegat Light House. I haven't found a beach that I really connected with since we returned from Florida to the Northeast. With a giant Ron Jon surf shop and this vast, secluded beach with cities named "Surf City" and "Ship Bottom" I instantly fell in love. I mean come on it sounds like Sponge Bob Square Pants and who the hell doesn't want to live under the sea in a pineapple?

A loud "get out of here for awhile" echoing in my head one sleepless night in Washington Square West was what led me to discovering our new home in Surf City. All of us were craving more health, sea air and serenity. Washington Square West, Queen Village, Society Hill, all stunning, classy, historic, friendly neighborhoods in Philadelphia near Pennsylvania hospital and the heart of the city, but I wouldn't describe it as peaceful. My lungs have been persistently requesting salty, clean air with diagnosis like, "exercise induced asthma", I got the hint. While searching for our next home I ran across a lake house that was renting for the winter at a really low rate. I couldn't understand why it was so cheap. BUT, turns out there are a TON of OFF SEASON rentals that are gorgeous and can be rented for an astoundingly low rate for the winter. Apparently the beach is not as stunning during the winter? That's news to me. Just yesterday our neighbors pitched giant tents on the beach, drove their jeeps near the breaks, with their surf boards and fishing poles in the back. With water boots, beach chairs and blankets, they spent the entire day on the beach, catching and later cooking their dinner. This is living.

I am now saving $500 on a 3 bedroom, fully furnished gorgeous home and get to squish my toes in the sand every day, watch the sunrise and sunset as I run barefoot through the still warm water. I won't ever rent unfurnished again! My home on 7th and Lombard was $500 more and half the size. I'm still trying to clear out all the furniture. I'm breathing the fresh air once again and gazing at stars all while still getting to enjoy the vibrant city life in Philadelphia during the week. I will always love the buzz of the city. That will never change, but I knew I needed a place where I can think and focus on building my new health and fitness business. Being part of a number two team comes with its own buzz. Who knew it could save me money, make me money and save my health to chase my dreams. To think this all started with my daddy Dean's surfboard, a return of my loved one's illnesses and the frustration that comes with not living your life to the fullest. I'm never turning back. I can't wait to tell you where we will be headed in June! What's your dream?
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