Homemade Mayonnaise
Adapted from Jamie Oliver

Have all ingredients at room temperature.
 •1 large egg yolk
 •1 Tablespoon Dijon mustard
 •1 Tablespoon lemon juice
 •1 Tablespoon white wine vinegar
 •1 cup extra-virgin olive oil
 •1 cup grape-seed oil or peanut oil
 •Salt and pepper (to taste)

1. In a blender or food processor, add egg yolk, Dijon, lemon juice and vinegar. Blend to combine.
2. With the blender running, slowly add the olive oil into the mixture, drop by drop at first, then slowly in a thin, steady stream.
3. Continue until the mixture is thick and emulsified, and both oils are fully incorporated. Mixture should be creamy and the consistency of sour cream. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
4. Transfer to a clean jar with a lid. Store in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.


End of year depression

I've fallen off the wagon - big time.

The 12 week challenge last spring was a life changer. I've always cared about my food sources, cooking, meal planning, but tracking all of these things really kept me going during the challenge and well after if was done. Summer flew by and I was still a "hard-core" paleo eater.
And then fall came. I quit my job. I got a new job. A job that requires a commute, car-pooling, packing a lunch, and waking up at 6:30 every day.
All these things are actually good when it comes to a paleo lifestyle. (For me) it helps to be scheduled & organized. I cook on the weekend and pack meal-sized containers that can last for a few days. That way I always have something to grab from the fridge when I'm heading out the door at 7:30. I'm not very good at cooking a lunch and feeding myself at the start of the day. It's also great to have prepared meals on nights that I coach at the gym. I get cranky and moody and feel faint if I don't eat and it's usually too late to start a "project" once I get home.

So all that is good. Then corporate Christmas happened. WTF? I've never seen so many gift baskets filled with mediocre quality chocolate and candy in my life. Right outside my office door!
I pretty much feel sick all the time. Sugar highs (and lows), drowsy, not sleeping well, sick, sniffly, and to top it all off, no time to go to the gym (not really because of the gift baskets...)

I have a headache and pockets full of snotty kleenex as I type this. It's depressing!

So. New Year's goal. Weightloss is probably the most typical resolution that people set when the year rolls around. I've done it before. Never works!

So my goal is to start blogging again. Because if I want to blog, I have to cook, I have to plan, and I have to have stuff to write about! And if I'm busy typing during my breaks at work, my fingers will be too busy to eat the crappy snacks that are so readily available here.

Just because I'm also thinking these things, I will write them down:

-lose The Gut
-under 63 kg (138lbs)
-wear a singlet
-back squat over 200lbs
-clean out kitchen cupboards

These are my "secondary resolutions"; things that I know can happen if I stick to my actual resolution and maintain my blog.

This probably seems like a convoluted and round-about way to get back on the healthy track, but as everyone at flux knows, I have mental issues, and "tricking" myself might just be the only way to do this!


Chewy Paleo Brownie

Chewy Paleo Brownie Recipe (from here)
1 1/4 cup raw light agave syrup, gently heated (or raw honey)
3/4 cup natural cocoa powder
1 1/4 cup almond butter
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp chocolate extract (optional)
1 tsp instant espresso powder (optional)
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt

1. Heat agave syrup gently over stove until warm (do not allow to boil). Stir in cocoa powder over low heat until smooth. Cocoa burns easily, so keep the heat on very very low.

2. Remove from heat and stir in remaining ingredients except salt until thoroughly mixed.
3. Sprinkle batter with salt, and fold batter to mix it in.
4. Pour into foil-lined or parchment paper-lined 8x8 baking pan (or, grease the pan with coconut oil or your preferred oil)
5. Bake at 325F for 40-50 min.  Use toothpick inserted in center to determine done-ness. (I baked mine in a glass pan at 325F for 45 minutes, and it seemed perfect). Let cool completely before cutting. Store in a plastic ziplock bag to preserve moisture.

The recipe can accommodate an egg. It will make the brownies more tender and moist, and a little less chewy. To include an egg:

Reduce almond butter to 1 cup. Mix egg with vanilla extract, chocolate extract, espresso powder, and baking powder before combining with agave-cocoa-almond butter mixture.

Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe

Paleo Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe, Makes 16-20 (from here)
  • 5 oz (1 1/4 cups) very finely ground blanched almond flour (NOT Bob's Red Mill...see notes)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt (I know you're supposed to avoid salt, but this is seriously important for flavor)
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 cup raw agave nectar (or 1/4 cup raw honey plus 1 to 2 tsp water. See below for date paste substitution.)
  • 1/8 cup macademia nut oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • A scant 1/4 cup dark chocolate chips.
  • Heat oven to 325.
  • Mix almond flour, salt, and baking soda well.
  • In a small bowl, mix agave nectar, Macadamia nut oil, and vanilla.
  • Combine wet and dry ingredients, mixing well. Add dark chocolate chips.
  • Batter should be thick enough that you can roll a small ball between your palms and set it on the cookie sheet without it drooping or losing shape (see notes).
  • Make 16 - 20 small balls of cookie dough and space them evenly on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Press the cookies down as flat as possible with the palm of your hand. This is important! The cookies will NOT spread out on their own.
  • Bake about 6 minutes. Watch closely and remove when the edges start to brown. . . they could be done at 4 minutes or at 8 minutes depending on the size of the cookie and your oven calibration.

Recipe Notes:

Almond Flour:
The brand of almond flour you use is important because you want a flour that is very finely ground, and this quality varies greatly across brands. Bob's Red Mill almond flour is not finely ground enough - I did a test batch and the cookie batter is too runny and ends up ugly with a grainy texture. Honeyville Farms is the brand I used for the cookies pictured above and would recommend.

Measuring the almond flour by weight is much more precise than measuring by volume, so use a digital scale if you have one. Trying to measure almond flour by volume can lead to over- or under-measurement: if it is too packed or too fluffed-up you fit too much or two little of it into your measuring cup. If you don't have a scale and have to measure by volume, then do your best to gently spoon the flour into the measuring cup and level it off with a straight-edged knife. As a rule of thumb for this recipe, you should be able to roll the finished dough into a ball between your palms, and when you set it down it should keep its shape. Add a little more almond flour if it doesn't pass this test.

Sweetener substitutions:
I prefer agave syrup's flavor and performance in the recipe, but tested some substitutions:
Raw honey: It works just as well. I tried a batch that turned out looking almost identical, feeling a little bit chewier, and tasting faintly of honey.
Date paste: If you prefer "whole sugars" that come embodied in their originating fruit, I also tried a date paste that worked but yielded a slightly wetter cookie with slightly less traditional flavor. To make a date paste substitute, take 8 pitted dried dates and chop them very finely. Add 1/4 cup water to the chopped dates and heat in a pan or microwave, stirring frequently until they've softened and absorbed some of the water (about 30 seconds in the microwave, stirring every 10 minutes). Add water as needed to keep them hydrated and jam-like in consistency. Remove from heat and mash the dates as thoroughly as possible with a fork. Add another few teaspoons of water if needed and heat again briefly to further soften the mixture. Place the paste in a measuring cup. If you don't have 1/4 cup of date paste, add enough water to bring the mixture up to the 1/4 cup line. Proceed with recipe as written.

Macadamia nut oil:
It has a long unrefrigerated shelf life, but doesn't often fly off the shelf at your local supermarket, so those bottles may have been there for a while. Be sure to select a fresh bottle.


Chocolate & Spice Zucchini Bread

Recipe found here.

Shred 2 zucchini, then squeeze in a kitchen towel to remove as much water as possible.
Add about 1 cup shredded zucchini to mixing bowl with:

1/4 cup coconut oil, liquified
4 room temp eggs (cold eggs will harden coconut oil)
1/2 cup coconut sugar
2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp cayenne
1/4 tsp sea salt
1 tsp vanilla
1/8 tsp vanilla liquid stevia
1/2 cup coconut flour
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder

Mix with electric mixer.

Add to bread pan lined with unbleached parchment paper and greased on the ends. (I cut the paper the length of the pan and drape it down one side, across the bottom and back up the other side, like in this photo by Amy)

Bake at 350 degrees for about 40 minutes. Ovens vary, check to see if it's done by inserting a sharp knife in the center.