A Paleo Update and Grain-Free Cranberry Orange Scones

paleo grain free cranberry orange scones

You can skip all my rambling and scroll to the bottom for the recipe

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.

paleo grain free cranberry orange scones

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
1 egg
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.)

12 Responses to “A Paleo Update and Grain-Free Cranberry Orange Scones”

  1. Other Erin says:

    So many comments to make!
    1) You have to go to the internet for unsweetened dried cranberries because cranberries are really, really tart so who would want that? Not even crunchy Whole Foods types are into that – they just use organic sugar. Expensive/gross/not worth it.
    2) They put this on a shirt so you can’t possibly be alone: http://www.zazzle.com/80_paleo_100_of_the_time_tee_shirts-235007276685231654
    3) I know you want to lose weight and that it can be slow on paleo, especially if you aren’t super strict. BUT you hit the nail on the head when you said you don’t feel bloated or tired at 3PM or constantly craving sweets. If you stick with it more often than not the weight will come off eventually but the important part is that you are HEALTHY in a way that thin 19 year old Suzanne with her diet pills and fake sugar soda and Burger King for dinner couldn’t ever dream of. And when you are 60 and playing with your grandkids on the playground rather than watching from a bench you probably won’t care if you ever got back down to a size 4 or not.

  2. Other Erin says:

    Also, PaleOMG’s bacon sweet potato biscuits (a Thanksgiving recipe) are deliciously bacon-y and make good breakfast on the go.

  3. Audrey says:

    Huh. I have a cabinet full of guten free flour from making gluten free stuffing for my party for a friend. Is that a paleo friendly flour? I don’t think I could go paleo because Chris would die. He already goes limp when I make anything marginally healthy without any meat in it.

    • bebehblog says:

      No, paleo is NO GRAIN AT ALL, not just non-gluten. It means your only real options for baking are nut flour or coconut flour. E doesn’t seem to mind my diet most of the time, since it means all the bacon and steak he can eat.

  4. molly says:

    I think it’s great that you are attempting this. I have heard and read about paleo. I have often thought it would be a great change for me but I just have no faith in myself that I could never eat bread or carbs. I feel like I live on them.

    • bebehblog says:

      Give up carbs was SUCH an eye opener. I was starving and out of paleo food a few weeks ago so I ate a PB&J and it literally felt like eating a huge lump of sugar. It’s harder to snack without bread, chips, cookies, crackers, etc etc etc etc forever, but that’s sort of the point – I’m SO much more aware of what I’m eating.

  5. Amy says:

    Trader Joe’s only sells sweetened cranberries. They used to sell unsweetened, but stopped when crasins got so popular. Stupid crasins, ruining everything.
    My question is that do these taste anything like scones? I think of scones as super buttery, floury and heavy. I also hate them. I have never met a scone I’ve liked. I wonder if I would like these.

    • bebehblog says:

      It’s really impossible to fake flour, so while these taste like a baked good more than any other paleo version I’ve tried, I wouldn’t say they are extremely scone-like. They are almondy, which I love, but you can also taste the honey and orange. Mostly I like that they DON’T taste like coconut flour.

  6. Elaine A. says:

    I sorta tried Paleo about a month or so ago. It was really hard for me to give up dairy though. I love cheese. But otherwise we kind of eat like that anyway (well, me and the hubby anyway). The kids still get goldfish and granola bars… ;)

  7. Elaine A. says:

    I’m back, just to tell you that you should check out this website if you have not already. :) http://www.tessadomesticdiva.com/

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