Paleo Grain-NO-La La La La! with Cinnamon and Coconut Milk

Alright so here’s the topic of discussion:  will-power.  I have mentioned it before when covering treat meals and things like that.  I’d have to say Jason and I do a very decent job overall at sticking to our guns.  Most of the time I am fine with making my meals and doing without, but typically when I am feeling extra tired I want the easy way out.  Tonight was one of those nights.  I mentioned to Jason that I really wish there were more places around town that we could feel confident getting good quality food from.  Just for nights like this when I really want to lay low and not put too much effort out.  I took a deep breath and footed it to the kitchen.  I powered through it and made my Baked Salmon with Sweet Mustard Vinaigrette.  After I had some nourishment I felt great about what I had done.  I felt like the hassle of making food was over with, and I could never have found a meal as good around town…especially not one we could have picked up and brought home.  Paleo fast food joints just don’t exist.  Don’t get me wrong you can always order a burger and throw the bun away, but that’s not a decent meal in my opinion — that’s just an option if you’re pushed into a corner.  Anyway, after our dinner we looked at each other and knew exactly what the other was thinking.  We had a huge case of…you know what.  Sugar craving.  Dun-dun-dunnnnn!

When you don’t eat a lot of sweet things typically the cravings go away, but because we are human we have a lot of emotional ties to food.  Most of the time I want something sweet it’s not because physically my body is asking for it in any way…it’s completely a mental thing.  I typically want something sweet when I want to be comforted in some way; for instance, being a bit crabby because I am tired today.  Sometimes social gatherings will make me think of sweets as well, just because I associate eating with family functions and holidays and whatnot.  It’s perfectly natural and it happens to the best of us.  Question is, what do you do about it?  Even the most disciplined will have an occasional haunting of sweet things — after all, depending on your age you have likely lived a majority of your life eating whatever you want with no regard to whether or not it was healthy.  If you have spent even say the first 20-30 years of your life eating refined sugars and sweet treats, your body doesn’t just forget that over night or even after years of keeping those things at bay.

If you have visited my treats tab, though containing only a few entries, you’ve seen that I like to make ice cream.  Ice cream is my weakness.  It’s the thing that I want when I think of something sweet.  That and cheesecake or sour-cream donuts…but we’re not even going to go there.  Anyway, ice cream is what I grew up with.  Blue Bell Oreo was always in the freezer and my brother and I would worry that my dad was going to eat it all before we could get any!  Gosh, such addiction, seriously.  Sugar makes people become food hoarders.  Fact.  So ice cream is what I make Paleo-ified so that we can still enjoy the things we love.  Back when we first started our lifestyle, before becoming total Nazis haha, we used to indulge in Coconut Bliss Ice Cream varieties.

This was before I really got into making my own coconut milk ice cream.  This brand has got a lot of great things going for it, but also some not-so-good things.  One, it’s Organic, it’s Fair Trade, it’s non-dairy, gluten free and also soy free.  It’s made with coconut milk as it’s main ingredient, but it’s sweetened with evaporated cane juice.  I will say this — it is a better option than Blue Bell.  Being sweetened with evaporated can juice qualifies it being low-glycemic, and it’s going to have less of an impact on your insulin levels than straight up sugar.  Also, with it being made from coconut milk instead of cow’s milk — you get the healthy fat benefits from your trusty coconut whereas cow’s milk has lactose; hence, elevated blood sugar.

Now this post is not to get everyone interested in Coconut Bliss ice cream!  As I said, that’s what we used to do on occasion…but then on occasion turned into weekly, and so forth.  What does that tell you right there?  The sugar that it contains is addictive.

When I make my own ice cream I can sweeten it as little as I want to and it’s more of a mental effort to know we are treating ourselves than really the sweet taste.

As for what took place tonight.  Well, like I said — we looked at each other and we were wanting!!  I quickly shrugged it off and said, “No, we cannot do that.”  I walked into the kitchen and started getting some ingredients together for a marinade for tomorrow’s dinner.  I am soaking a round steak until tomorrow night so that it’s extra juicy!  The marinade calls for blackberries, and low and behold I had some blackberries left.  So I figured…we have to compromise with ourselves.  When your mental wantings become something your body can’t handle…you just gotta meet it somewhere in the middle.  I typically don’t eat a lot of fruit after dinner either, but picking fruit over ice cream is a no-brainer in this situation.  It will have to do!

I have said it before – it’s not that fruit is bad or anything like that…it’s a mental thing for me.  I try to not give in to wanting something sweet after dinner.  I just don’t do it.  It leads me down a very dark path and I don’t like going down that way!  Before I go on too much longer — here’s what I whipped up for a little sweetness tonight.  Now do we consider this a treat/cheat?  No.  Let me just say that most people eat this kind of thing on a regular basis…we chose not to.  We consider treats to be something a little more…how shall I say…not allowed and sweet.  😉

I decided to call this little treat Paleo Grain-NO-La La La La! because it’s really the closest to granola you can get on a paleo diet.  Nuts, shredded coconut and fruit makes it pretty granola worthy I think…except that there are NO grains and the extended la la la is just because it’s so good I had sing a little bit afterward!  Really though, you could take this even further.  You could toast some nuts and coconut and then add things like dates or raisins…that would really make it a granola worth talking about.

 

Ingredients

  • 1/2 c. almonds
  • 1/2 c. pecans
  • 1/4 c. coconut flakes
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp. ground cardamom
  • 1 c. blackberries (another type of berry would work too)
  • 1 tbsp. coconut oil
  • coconut milk and coconut butter for drizzling

 

Process

  1. Start by heating your coconut oil in a small skillet over medium heat.
  2. Add berries and let them cook down — 8-10 minutes.  You want them to burst a little bit and soften.
  3. While berries are cooking, chop your nuts finely…not large chunks.  Put them in a bowl along with coconut flakes and toss with cinnamon and cardamom.
  4. Remove berries and in the same skillet over medium heat add your spice-coated nuts and coconut.
  5. Stir nuts frequently, you are just wanting to toast them a bit to bring out their flavor.  This only takes about 5 minutes total.
  6. Once nuts are toasted add nut-coconut mixture to reserved blackberries.
  7. Serve warm in a bowl with a drizzle of coconut butter and a cool dollop of coconut milk on top.

 

This is seriously good.  It hits the spot as far as sweetness goes — again, the mental need for having something after dinner happens.  It’s common, but making that little something nutritious and not sugar-laden is the choice you have to make.

 

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