A Paleo Update and Grain-Free Cranberry Orange Scones
I am really terrible at sticking to things I start. Hobbies, fitness plans, housekeeping schedules, photo-a-day-for-a-month projects have all fallen by the wayside after I declared they were totally my new favorite thing and THIS TIME would be different. I don’t even stick to big things like houses for very long – the one we’re in now is the longest I’ve ever lived anywhere in my whole life.
But I got a legitimate email question asking if I was still doing paleo/primal and how I liked it so I thought I would answer, even if the answer is a little bit meh.
I AM still trying to eat a mostly paleo diet. I don’t eat any bread or grains or legumes any more and don’t miss them much. I switched to using coconut oil for all my cooking and love it. I eat a lot of vegetable substitutes for things – eggplant or spaghetti squash instead of noodles, kale chips instead of chips – and eat tons of fruit. I still think this is something I can do long term, but it hasn’t been a miracle diet for me.
At the beginning when I was being really careful and strict I lost 8 pounds very quickly. But as soon as I let things slide even a little I gained a few back and got frustrated. The idea of NEVER EVER EVER eating bread again depressed me.When I go to a birthday party and I’m faced with a table full of cupcakes – even if the cupcakes aren’t that GOOD – my brain convinces me I must have them because only a crazy person would pass up CUPCAKES. I don’t want to give up dairy completely (which is why I was calling my diet almost-paleo but more like primal) but I have a hard time not eating an entire block of cheese. I keep telling myself things that are OK in moderation – red wine, dark chocolate – are OK on a daily basis when obviously that’s a poor choice.
Basically, this is another thing I’ve started and not been very good at. I realize that is my fault and not the fault of the diet. I’ve also decided this IS something I DO want to stick to, so I’m trying again. I do feel better when I’m eating a high protein, moderate fat diet. I like not feeling bloated. I like not craving soda and sweets and having energy after 3 pm. I’ve found a lot of really delicious recipes (PaleOMG, NomNomPaleo and Civilized Caveman are three of my favorite sites) and I enjoy how easy it is to throw some meat in the crockpot and be done. Plus: BACON! I even talked my friend Alena into trying this with me and now we’re working to motivate each other.
So! Here’s my first attempt combining something I love (baking) with something I WANT to love (paleo).
I haven’t had a lot of luck with paleo baking so far – coconut flour is not a very good substitute for real flour. Stuff made with coconut flour tends to be very egg-y with just token amounts of flour to make it a “muffin” or a “pancake” instead of an omelet. But when I found a recipe for almond flour scones I thought I’d give it a shot and was thrilled with the results. Even my husband ate these and was surprised to hear they were part of my “crazy, stupid diet”. They take less than 20 minutes start to finish and are easy enough to make at 7 am when you can’t stand the thought of scrambled eggs AGAIN.
Grain-Free Cranberry Orange Scones
(inspired by these from Civilized Caveman)
Makes 8 scones
2 cups almond flour or meal
1/3 cup shredded (unsweetened) coconut
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup dried cranberries
Pinch of salt
2 T honey
Zest of 1 orange
1 T fresh orange juice
1 tsp almond extract
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Mix all the dry ingredients in a medium bowl. Mix all the wet ingredients in a small bowl until the egg is fully scrambled. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir until combined (I used a spatula, but you could use a mixer). Turn it out onto a parchment-lined cookie sheet. Form the dough (it will be sticky) into a rectangle about 1/2 an inch thick. Cut into four equal-ish rectangles, then cut each smaller rectangle diagonally to make triangles. Space them about 1 inch apart and bake for about 10 minutes until edges are browned. Let them cool down before you eat them or they’ll fall apart. Delicious with butter or coconut butter.
(Notes: I couldn’t find unsweetened dried cranberries so I cheated and bought some sweetened with organic cane juice from Stop & Shop. I bet you can get them at someplace fancy like Whole Foods or Trader Joe’s. If you aren’t on a paleo/primal diet and don’t want to track down unsweetened coconut flakes, use the regular kind from the baking aisle and use a little less honey. You can make your own almond meal by grinding up almonds finely in a food processor.)