Paleo Christmas dinner

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas….mainly in my lunchbox.

xmas dinner

Parsnip chips and sprouts are starting to make up a lot of my meals now the festive season is upon us and it is certainly helping me to get in to the festive spirit.

Christmas is stereotypically a time of gluttony and overindulgence. We always reach for that second mince pie, the cheeseboard after dinner or that extra glass of mulled wine.

I hold my hands up to this too, for Christmas becomes yet another occasion whereby we justify over eating as treating ourselves. I have been known to go Furious Pete on a chocolate orange before the main event then promptly open another one straight afterwards.

Christmas doesn’t have to mean gaining a few extra pounds though. Mince pies and mulled wine are fine in moderation but if you don’t want to overindulge this festive season then why not give this Paleo Christmas dinner a try.

It’s so hard to please everyone when making a Christmas dinner but for someone following a Paleo plan or wanting to watch what they eat this month then this dinner will hit the exact same spots that a “regular” Christmas dinner would. Dane and I were left in an absolute Christmas food coma after eating this and immediately gravitated towards the sofa to lie very still for a good 15 minutes.

The sprouts before...

The sprouts before…

The sprouts after...

The sprouts after…

We were incredibly excited to rustle up this Christmas dinner and in particular the sprouts which were bursting with flavour from the bacon lardons and sweetness of the raisins. The pine nuts complimented the crunch of the roasted sprouts and apple perfectly.

We had cauliflower mash, roasted parsnips and carrots, broccoli and of course turkey which was cooked to perfection, if I do say so myself. We even made our own cranberry sauce which was the only non-Paleo element of the dish and totally optional of course.

xmas dinner 3

 

You will need:
1 turkey crown/whole turkey
Parsnips, chopped in to chips
Carrots, chopped in to chips
Brussels sprouts
Garlic
Pine nuts
Raisins
Cranberries
Bacon lardons/bacon rashers
Cauliflower
1 cooking apple
Broccoli
Gravy granules
Orange juice
Brown sugar
Oil
Seasoning

To make:
– Start by preheating the oven to about 200 degrees and then pop the turkey in. We bought a medium sized joint which we added a bit of salt, pepper and basil to. It needed about 50 minutes in the oven but timings will differ depending on the size of the meat.
– Put the chopped parsnips and carrots on to a roasting tray and cover with mixed herbs and olive oil before roasting for about 30 minutes.
– For the sprouts:  chop them in half and put on a baking tray before adding roughly chopped garlic, cranberries and apple. Roast in the oven for about 25 minutes before frying off your pine nuts and bacon lardons, adding them to the sprouts along with the raisins and roasting for a further five minutes.
– To make the cauliflower mash boil the finely chopped cauliflower until well cooked and then mash after draining and add seasoning to taste.
– When the turkey is almost ready, boil the broccoli and make the gravy and then you’re good to go.

To make the cranberry sauce: (not Paleo)
This sauce is seriously simple and can be kept in the fridge for up to a week.
You will need:
-100g brown sugar
-100ml orange juice
250g cranberries
Start by adding the sugar and orange juice to a pan and then heat until boiling. Add the cranberries and simmer for about 8-10 minutes until they soften.
Once they have simmered for long enough, turn the heat down and the sauce will begin to thicken as it cools.

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That’s pretty much it, Paleo Christmas dinner is done.  It really is simple to make and no fancy utensils are needed it’s just about getting your timings right.
Let me know if you make it and how you get on.

Merry Christmas 🙂

 

 

 

Banana, pecan & choc chip loaf

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We all need a little treat from time to time and that’s a fact.

Despite being an advocate of clean eating I am aware that this can sometimes become an obsession rather than a lifestyle choice. When we find ourselves saying no to birthday cake in the office or a festive mince pie at a family bash it’s time that we took a step back and re-evaluated our eating attitudes.

My opinion is that balance is key and by not denying yourself treats you can still maintain a healthy body and a great figure whilst maintaining a healthy mind at the same time.

This is where my banana loaf recipe comes in. I am a massive fan of banana loaf and although you can make Paleo banana cake it was a real banana cake that I wanted. Another reason why I wanted to bake a “real” cake was because baking is not my strong point and I don’t like to be defeated. I was thrilled with how this one turned out and I will definitely be making another in the future.

You will need:  (makes one big loaf)
100g soft butter (and a little for greasing)
140g caster sugar
140g plain flour
1 egg – beaten
2 tsp baking powder
1 tbsp Vanilla essence
4 ripe bananas
85g pecans
35g dark choc chips

To make:
– Preheat the oven to about 180 degrees and grease a loaf tin with a small amount of butter ready for the mixture.
– Begin by mixing together the sugar, butter and egg before slowly stirring in the flour and baking powder.
– Next, mash the bananas in a separate bowl before adding it to the main mixture along with the vanilla essence, pecans and chocolate chips before stirring well.
– Pour the mixture into the tin (it was at this point that more mixture went into my mouth rather than the actual tin, whoops!) and bake for about an hour. Test that the cake is ready by putting a knife or a skewer in and if it comes out clean then the cake is done.
– Leave to cool on a wire rack before slicing and then keep fresh in foil.

This is such a simple cake to make and other nuts or dried fruit can be added depending on what you fancy. Enjoy with a cup of tea as a post workout treat or just as a treat in general! 🙂

Burpee breakfast tarts

I ❤ weekend breakfasts and these baked egg tarts are the perfect start to fuel a Sunday Funday.

burpee tart 4

The eggs are baked in a basket of bacon and mushrooms and after you’ve tried making them once why not add other ingredients like tomatoes, spinach or kale. If you’re vegetarian just switch the bacon for half a pepper to create the basket effect.

burpee tart 2 Burpee tart 3

I didn’t follow a recipe for these tarts and sadly I can’t take all of the credit for them as it was a joint creation between my boyfriend and I. They are a great low carb breakfast for someone who is following a Paleo plan and are high in protein thanks to the eggs. More calories are used to digest protein rather than fat and carbohydrates so these burpee tarts will keep you full until tea time.

If that’s not reason enough to give them a go then listen to this highly scientific (kind of!) piece of evidence.
Dane and I are currently doing the 100 burpees a day challenge in the run up to Christmas- yes, even including 100 burpees on Christmas day- which is how the name for this creation came about.  After eating these tarts Dane managed to bash out 100 burpees in an amazing 4mins 32 seconds after already completing 150 just a few minutes earlier!

I think the burpee breakfast tarts should take credit for that…

Proof of Dane's 100 burpees in 4:32 after completing 150 beforehand!

Proof of Dane’s 100 burpees in 4:32 after completing 150 beforehand!

You will need: (makes two tarts)
8 eggs (or 3 whole eggs per tart and one egg white)
Bacon rashers
Mushrooms
Seasoning
Butter to line tart dishes

To make:
– Grill the bacon and whilst that is cooking line the tart dishes with some butter.
– Once the bacon is cooked preheat the oven to about 180 degrees and then line the dishes with the bacon and finely chopped mushrooms. The idea here is to create a lining at the bottom of the tray so that the egg doesn’t leak through.
– Add some seasoning and then crack the eggs in to the tarts before putting in the oven to bake for about 15-20 minutes.
– We added a muffin to ours but they’re great on their own or with avocado or spinach.

Enjoy! 🙂