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Valentine’s Day Our Way

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We had a wonderful Valentine’s Day this past weekend. Andy and I decided to stay in and cook for each other instead of battling the landmine of multi-course (no substitution) wheat, sugar and dairy heavy pre-fixe menus arranged by local restaurants.

And deciding to avoid the crowd and the high cost of dining out (both to the wallet and to our waistlines) it turned out to be a great decision, because I had one of the most fun Valentine’s in years. :)

We decided we would each make one dish (paired with a wine) for the other person, and then eat them together family style.

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I made this Chicken Korma for Andy, with a 4-ingredient gluten and dairy free naan to eat with it.

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Andy made me one of my favorite things that he makes a few other times a year: Eggplant Moussaka. He uses the Primal recipe that can be found here at Mark’s Daily Apple.

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I bought the ingredients for the Chicken Korma dish at Nugget Markets, and the rest of the ingredients needed to complete our dessert, a Black Bean Brownie mix I was sent by Breads from Anna.

BlackBeanBrownie

The gluten free mix contains powdered honey, cocoa powder, tapioca starch, arrowroot, millet flour, chia flour, chickpea flour, navy bean flour, pinto bean flour, cream of tartar, baking soda, sea salt, xanthan gum, so I was pretty happy to make it. All I did was add some coconut oil, a cup of coffee, and a can of organic black beans (following the package intructions).

I baked them in a cupcake pan (because portion control, baby!) and when they came out, I poked holes in the top and drenched each one with Kahlua. Kahlua makes everything taste better. :)

Then I frosted them with melted semisweet chocolate, and decorated them with coconut manna that I had melted a bit and sweetened with stevia (and colored with a few drops of food coloring to make it pink).

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I made this candle holder for the table to sit out on every anniversary or Valentine’s Day. It’s made from 36 corks from bottles of red wines we have enjoyed together over the past three and a half years.

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I made it with a glass plate, glue gun and ribbon for less than $10, including the candle. :)

This blog entry would be incomplete if I didn’t mention the wines we drank with dinner!

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To start things off right, we toasted with a glass of Ayala Champagne. Because you should drink Champagne and not sparkling wine on Valentine’s Day! ;)

The next wine to the right is a Riesling made by Gainey. You can find their current release of Riesling here. The 2004 on the bottle worried me slightly, as I thought it might have been over-the-hill, but it still tasted great and was a perfect match for the Chicken Korma.

Then, with the Eggplant Moussaka, we drank a 2011 Stag’s Leap Petite Sirah (one of Andy’s favorite wines I had bought for him for Christmas). I would say this Petite Sirah is for you if you think you don’t like that particular varietal—because Stag’s Leap makes theirs so…velvety, soft and sophisticated.

You can find Breads from Anna on Facebook here, and on Twitter here.

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Thanks again to Nugget Markets for sponsoring our stay-at-home Valentine’s celebration. You can find them on Facebook here and on Twitter here.

valentines spread

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Drink Wine Day is February 18th, Celebrate with Tandoor Chef and Win a $250 Wine Gift Card

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Indian cuisine is one of the most interesting food and wine pairings. Tandoor Chef has recently developed a pairing tool to help you choose the best compliment (wine or beer) to their restaurant quality authentic Indian cuisine.

And to celebrate the upcoming National Drink Wine Day on February 18th, my friends at Tandoor Chef are giving away a $250 wine gift card. You can enter by clicking this link!

The purpose of National Drink Wine Day is to spread the love and health benefits of wine.  Wine has played an important role in history, religion and relationships.  We embrace the positive benefits of wine such as new friends, reduced risk of heart disease and the enhancement of food and life. I really didn’t need another reason to drink wine, but whoever came up with this holiday deserves a pat on the back and a big bottle of 2008 Opus One. ;)

Speaking of enhancement of food, Tandoor Chef has developed a line of gluten free items, which I will be reviewing very soon and doing a wine pairing of my own. They also have 11 selections under 300 calories per serving for those of you watching your waistline.

You can find Tandoor Chef on Facebook here, follow them on Twitter here, on Pinterest here, and on Instagram here.

Hope you’ll join us for National Drink Wine Day on February 18th and enter to win(e)! ;) Good luck!

 

Exploring Russian River Wineries and a Stay at the Applewood Inn

Gluten Free and Vegan Banana Maple Walnut Donuts with Banana Date Filling

banana walnut long shot
I’m having a lot of fun with the donut mixes I was given by Dr. Bob’s Donuts and DoYos. I’ll be working with Dr. Bob’s in some upcoming blog posts to show you how you can transform their mixes (both blonde and chocolate) into your own unique creations.

To begin this series, I made a donut especially for Andy with many of his favorite ingredients. He was happy to find all four of them on the kitchen table after a 10 1/2 mile run! :)

another angle
Today I’m sharing with you how I made them in case you’d like to buy your own Dr. Bob’s Blonde Mix and try and recreate! :)

Important: Make the Banana Date Filling and toast the walnuts first, as you will need some of both in the donut batter.

Banana Date Filling
10 pitted Medjool Dates (soaked in hot water for 10 minutes and drained)
2 tsp agave nectar
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 very ripe bananas

Pulse all ingredients together in a food processor until well blended. This will be your filling for the donuts that will go in the little heart indentation in the donuts.

date banana filling
Banana/Date Water
For the banana and date “water”, measure about 1/2 cup of the banana and date filling into a measuring cup, and fill with 1/2 cup more room temperature water. Mix well.

water date banana mixture
Donut Mix
1 cup Dr. Bob’s Blonde Mix
1/4 cup toasted walnuts
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp banana extract (optional, but for extra banana kick!) ;)

To make the donuts, stir in the “banana/date water” into the donut mix ingredients and stir until completely incorporated. Divide the batter into the 4 compartments of the Dr. Bob’s silicone pan. (I spray mine with coconut oil spray to make sure the donuts don’t stick to the pan).

Microwave the mixture for 2 minutes, then turn out the donuts onto parchment paper, or a parchment paper lined Mandala cooling rack.

out of microwave
Then poke holes into the top of them and drizzle with maple mixture:
1 Tbs pure maple syrup
2 tsp water

Now you’re ready to make the maple glaze.

glaze ingredients
Maple Glaze:
1/2 cup coconut oil or coconut manna (melted)
2 Tbs pure maple syrup
4 packets powdered Stevia

Heat coconut oil until it is in a nearly liquid form. Stir in the maple syrup and the Stevia until well combined.
Fill your donut hearts with the banana date filling, then drizzle/ice each donut with the maple glaze. Then top the donut with the remainder of the toasted walnuts.

For a dramatic and delicious effect, top the donuts with more maple syrup and serve with banana slices.

Check back next week for another great recipe! :)

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Dr. Bob’s Donuts and DoYos is located at 336 Lincoln Street in old town Roseville. They are open 7 am to 5 pm Tuesday thru Sunday. For more information, you can call them at 916-742-5241. You can find Dr. Bob’s Donuts and DoYos and tons of photos/ideas for donut creations on their Facebook page here and you can follow them on Twitter here. You can also follow them on Instagram here! :)

Meatless Mondays: Quick and Easy Roasted Red Pepper Soup

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We enjoyed this homemade soup (my own recipe) on Saturday night paired with delicious gluten free and vegan sandwiches from Pushkins Bakery. If you haven’t tried their “adult grilled cheese” or “the buzz”, please do. Both sandwiches are vegan and gluten free and are utterly delicious. It was fun to have a completely vegan meal for a change. :)

Ingredients:

1 large sweet potato (peeled)
1 large onion
3 to 4 large red bell peppers
1 head of garlic
2 shallots
4 roma tomatoes
1 quart vegetable stock

1 1/2  tsp cumin
1 1/2 red pepper flakes
1 1/2 tsp coriander
1 1/2 tsp paprika
salt to taste

1-2 Tbs olive oil per baking sheet

Procedure:
Preheat oven to 385°F.
Prepare 2 half sheet trays by greasing them liberally with olive oil.

before cooking potato onion
peppers

Chop all vegetables into uniform pieces. Place the onion and the sweet potato on one tray. On the other tray, you should be able to fit the chopped tomatoes, peppers, garlic and shallot. Important because the potato and onion will take slightly longer to bake. Bake the vegetables in the oven for about 40 minutes, checking to make sure nothing is burning and rotating them on the pan to prevent burning.

The peppers and tomatoes will be ready to remove from the oven when the peppers blister slightly and the garlic is roasted and tender. From the time you remove the peppers and tomatoes, leave the potato and onion tray in the oven ten minutes longer.

cooked potato and onion

roasted red pepper and tomato

other ingredients
In a blender, begin to blend all the vegetables. There will be more than one blender can hold, so blend a little at a time with the vegetable stock. Since you will be enjoying the soup, add the stock to the consistency you like (I used all but about 1/2 cup of the stock), as thick or as thin. Empty each round of blended vegetables into a very large bowl so that they will mix together.

Then add all of your spices and flavorings. The crushed red pepper, paprika, coriander, and the cumin and salt to taste. Stir the spices in the bowl manually. Then in batches, return the vegetable mixture to the blender and mix until completely smooth. Pour the smooth soup into a new large bowl.

This soup can be made up to a day ahead of time. Just simply ladle into serving bowls and reheat. I’m confident this will be one of the easiest, yet most tasty soups you will ever make! :) We paired the soup with a 2011 Handley Pinot Noir, Anderson Valley and a 2012 St. Rey Celeste, Candyhill Vineyards (Revolution Wines).

wine pairings

Look Mom…I was on the Radio! Part One

Andy and I met Mike Wreyford (host of The Good Life Show and author of the website MiketheWineGuy.com) last October at the The Westin St. Francis San Francisco on Union Square at an industry and media Champagne Tasting put on by the Champagne Bureau. We quickly learned how much our websites had in common as well as our love for food, wine, and travel.

The Good Life Show airs live every Saturday afternoon from 2 to 4pm on KMYC Talk Radio 1410 AM.

In a future blog post I will be interviewing Mike about his show and his website, but first, here is part one of his interview of me on The Good Life Show that aired on December 6th, 2014.

Soon I will be posting part two of the interview on The Good Life Show as well as my Q & A with him. Stay tuned!

You can find Mike the Wine Guy on Facebook here and follow him on Twitter here.

A Look Inside Dr. Bob’s Donuts and DoYos in Roseville

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Last Friday, I stopped by a new place in Roseville called Dr. Bob’s Donuts and DoYos. They’ve been open about 3 weeks now and are the first to serve steamed gluten free and vegan donuts in the area. At Dr. Bob’s, customers are able to fully customize their donuts with different glazes, syrups, puddings, and dozens of toppings. Taking their creations a step further, they can add up to two different kinds of dairy free frozen yogurt to make a DoYo. Donuts AND frozen yogurt? And it’s healthy? Where do I sign up? :)

During my visit, I spoke with Tasha Richard, owner and co-founder of Dr. Bob’s Donuts and DoYos. She was neatly dressed in her chef’s attire, and though in the middle of a busy afternoon rush, she made time to answer some of my questions and chat with me about the her culinary background, food philosophies, and the shop itself.

Immediately, Tasha made a strong impression on me as a person who doesn’t want to change the world, but rather wants to help the world change. She and I have that in common as I have tried to help people who want to change their diet with this website and access to my Paleo and Primal recipes.

It’s been a long time coming, but I believe people are finally realizing that “food is medicine and medicine is your food”. There’s a direct correlation between sugar intake and disease. There’s also a connection between foods with highly processed ingredients (enriched flour, high fructose corn syrup) and obesity. It was exciting to interview Tasha because as she spoke to me about the donuts and her products at the shop, she transformed from a soft spoken business owner into a passionate health food advocate!

It wasn’t always like that for the Chef-Owner of Dr. Bob’s. After 25 years in the food industry and a typical American diet, Tasha had fallen into ill health with a myriad of digestive issues. Eventually she went to Hawaii and met Dr. Bob. Instead of prescription medicine, Dr. Bob placed her on an elimination diet. The elimination diet usually involves cutting out foods/ingredients to which people are commonly allergic such as milk, eggs, nuts, wheat, and soy. It took 2 years, but finally Tasha’s health improved and the gastrointestinal problems vanished. Her waistline did a vanishing act, too–she lost 80 pounds!

One of the keys to Tasha’s success and managing an elimination diet was developing a gluten and dairy free treat that reminded her of one of the things she loved and gave up: donuts! (To be honest, I miss those, too!) With her chef background, she worked on the mix for the donuts with Dr. Bob and came up with a blend of: Sprouted Brown Rice Flour, Criollo Cacao Powder, Yellow Pea Protein Powder, Peruvian Maca Powder, Golden Milled Flaxseed, Hemp Protein Powder, Cinnamon Powder, Sprouted Brown Rice Protein Powder, Moringa Leaf Powder, Tumeric Powder, Green Tea Powder, Ginger Powder, Probiotics, and Minerals.

The donut mix is vegan and common allergen free (no gluten, wheat, dairy, corn, eggs, or nuts) and now available for sale on their website and in the Roseville storefront.

products for purchase at register

So how does it work inside Dr. Bob’s Donuts and DoYos? Well, here’s a look inside the shop:

inside store

First, you select a donut. You can choose from vanilla, chocolate, or even unsweetened chocolate. For the uninspired, there are also several premade donuts with glazes and fruit already on them. All of the donuts are kept warm in a glass cabinet.

vanillachocolatepre madechocolate donut with topping
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After you select a donut, you can top it with any of the house made glazes and sauces. This one is the “Ultra Sauce” made with almond butter, organic cacao butter, organic coconut butter, and Dr. Bob’s G* Sweet (a sweetener made with a blend of cane sugar, coconut palm sugar, lo han guo, coconut water powder, and stevia) that is 6 times sweeter than table sugar–meaning you can use less of it and it still tastes very sweet. :)

ultra sauce
glazes

After the sauce and glazing station, you can visit the frozen yogurt machine:

fro yo machine
Or not. Since I was going to be driving back to Sacramento, I arranged to keep my donuts and frozen yogurt in separate containers so the frozen yogurt would not melt as quickly.

Then, more toppings are available on the fresh bar next to the yogurt machine. There is fresh fruit like strawberries and kiwi as well as a few different dairy free mousses and chia pudding. Tasha explained to me that some people skip the donuts altogether and just enjoy the puddings and fresh fruit together. It’s really a choose your own adventure at Dr. Bob’s.

yogurts toppings

Next and finally there is the dry bar of toppings. This station gives a little bit of crunch and texture to your creation. There are also a few different agave nectars and honey if you need a little more sweetness.

dry bar toppingsdry bar 2 honey
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Looks pretty good! After you’re all done making your custom donut or DoYo, it’s time to pay. What to drink? There is a small coffee bar across from the cash register and there are also two fresh juices available daily. If you feeling generous and want to take some donuts into the office, they are available in packs of 4, 8, and 12. For pricing and menu, you can click here.

at register

Dr. Bob’s Donuts and DoYos is located at 336 Lincoln Street in old town Roseville. They are open 7 am to 8 pm Tuesday thru Sunday. For more information, you can call them at 916-742-5241. You can find Dr. Bob’s Donuts and DoYos and tons of photos/ideas for donut creations on their Facebook page here and you can follow them on Twitter here. You can also follow them on Instagram here! :)

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