Sunday, October 5, 2014

Dawn of a New Stone Age

So it begins. Here you'll find the mania of my soul manifested in the racing ramblings of my mind and the ridiculous rumblings of my belly. It might be about something I've eaten or cooked or baked, something I watched or read, fiction and non-fiction, humorous or sober. If that does not deter you, press on. Today, and most days, I'm thinking about food.

My name is Gabe Sanders. Never blogged before, but I had never baked before a couple years ago, or had the metabolism afforded by CrossFit to sustain it. Through trial and error (lots of error,) experimentation on human guinea pigs at home and at my gym, the baking has finally begun turning out results. To be clear, I'm not baking people. Baking for people. Baking paleo and primal, therefore grain-free and gluten-free goods. Shared some stuff on the Instagram machine as "jabeorwocky," thought I'd begin collecting the recipes here for people who've been asking. 

Much as I dig the sweet stuff, I'm just as into paleo cooking. If by any chance you're unfamiliar with the term, paleo refers to foods that would have been available in some recognizable form to our paleolithic ancestors, for whom food was a precious commodity and fuel for everyday survival. We've got it so much better; might as well take advantage of the relative abundance. To sum up what you'll find in my foods, in various forms, potentially:

Occasionally: grassfed butter or cheese, grassfed whey protein powder

This dude Robb Wolf gives a pretty darn good summary of why this way of eating makes sense:

If peace of mind still eludes you regarding why this can work...As my buddy Dan recommends when we don't have the final answer on something: consult The Oracle, better known as...Google. Search "paleo" and decide for yourself if it's right for you! 

Once you've gotten to that point, and embraced the new Stone Age of food, remember: Imagination is what makes a paleo lifestyle livable. Compromise as well, because sometimes reality doesn't quite jive with expectations. Sometimes you only have certain foods available, or a budget that rules out some of the more expensive ingredients. I try to buy organic, local produce and local, grassfed meats as much as possible, but I have limitations. We all do, and we can all adapt. Adapt and evolve and grow, together.

I've benefitted tremendously from reading other paleo and paleo-friendly foodies, watching Food Network to learn basic and more advanced cooking knowledge, but my real start in the kitchen, my first knowledge of flavor and the love that surrounds and comes from cooking...that began with my best friends. Dan has been cooking for his family and friends since we were in elementary school, he'd make us breakfast on weekends and ask only that we do the dishes. He taught me the Word of Bacon, its canon and worship. 

And of course there are Chris and Jen. We lived together (literally and figuratively) in college, and they introduced me to the kitchen, to the recipes and techniques their families taught them. I'd help however I could and eventually, with justifiable caution, was given more responsibility than just opening beers and wine. Those nights, sharing meals and laughter, are some of my best memories, and I can't help but smile warmly when I remember them. 

I hope that what I put on this blog will have a similar effect for you. While paleo cooking and baking can be a meditative growth experience for the solo caveperson, the original cavepeople whose nutrition we emulate could only survive with their friends and family. So I recommend you cook and bake with your people, for your people. Whether they're your family, roommates, classmates, gym buddies, significant other...share the love.

So back to the recipes. For the inaugural posting, I've got a double header. 

The first is, of course, a mistake gone horribly right. I wanted to make "Paleo Cinnamon Rolls" from this list of ingredients, in this way:

1C almond flour
1 tbsp hemp seeds
1/4 C coconut sugar
1/2C arrowroot flour
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp baking soda
1/4 C grassfed butter
1/4 C room temp coconut oil
1 egg

Place dough in freezer for 30 minutes


2 tbsp melted grassfed butter
1 tbsp coconut oil
2 tbsp coconut sugar
1 tbsp honey
1/3 C chopped pecans
1/4 C shredded coconut

2 tbsp maple syrup (grade B)
1 tbsp coconut milk
1 tbsp grassfed butter
2 tbsp coconut oil
2 tbsp arrowroot/tapioca flour
1 tsp vanilla

  1. Spread filling on flattened dough and roll, then place in fridge/freezer for 5-10 minutes, or until adequately firm to cut into "rolls" (so naïve heheh)
  2. Bake at 350 for 30 minutes on parchment paper, or well-greased foil. 
  3. Drizzle glaze once the "rolls" have cooled...make it look better than I did, please:

So the running joke in the instructions up there should be obvious now...those are not cinnamon rolls. My dough melted, because...well, maybe someone who knows more about the science of baking could tell me! Though the rolls flattened on the pan, the dough...let's just say the resulting Cinnamon Roll Cookies turned out just fine. Tested and approved by my family and friends at the gym.

Round two, the obligatory response to the newly begun Autumn season: Pumpkin Cake with a Salted Cinnamon Chocolate Ganache:

1 C blanched almond flour
15 oz pumpkin puree (1 can)
1 tbsp coconut flour
1 tbsp cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp pumpkin spice
2 tbsp golden flax seeds
2 tbsp hemp seeds
1/4 C coconut sugar
1/4 C maple syrup
1/4 tsp baking soda
5 egg yolks
1/4 C palm shortening
1/4 C coconut oil
1/2 C good chocolate (ideally dark)

1/3 C good chocolate (ideally dark)
1 tbsp coconut oil
1/2 tsp cinnamon
dash of sea salt

Bake at 375 for 35-40 minutes, or when toothpick comes out clean. For ganache, melt coconut oil and chocolate with cinnamon and salt in microwave (1 min) or double boiler. Pour or drizzle onto cake when cake is cool enough for the ganache to harden, usually after about an hour in the fridge or less time in the freezer. Here's what mine looked like, before I finally covered it to stop myself from destroying it entirely:

So I think this is the end of this post. If you have any comments or non-troll thoughts to share, please do. I've thick skin and appreciate constructive criticism, and truly enjoy logical discussion and conversation with all sorts of people. It's how we learn and grow, adapt and evolve. Welcome to our Stone Age Kitchen.

PS: On October 17th, I'll be starting my first Whole30 with my gym, Santa Rosa Strength and Conditioning. Check them out, and the Fall Health Transformation Challenge, here (please be patient with site:)

...We'll discuss the Whole30 food you'll be seeing soon.

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