Pulled Pork Tacos with Mexican Cauliflower “rice” (gluten / grain / dairy free, paleo)

This has become one of our favorite meals.  One thing I’ve learned since taking on this Paleo challenge is how to be creative in the kitchen.  I’ve trashed all the ideas I used to have about the way food was “supposed to be” and am learning how to cook differently. Take these tacos for example.  The shell is lettuce, the rice is cauliflower, and there are no beans or cheese.  Ok fine, there is a little tiny bit of raw goat cheese.  Couldn’t resist it. But still. My point.  Thinking outside the box has resulted in the best food ever to come out of my kitchen. As long as my spice drawer is fully stocked, and my fridge is full of meat and veggies I’m good to go. And any meal that starts with sizzling garlic and onion is gonna be good. That is just simple truth.

Bear with me a little on this recipe.  Or at least use your own creative cooking freedom. There are a lot of components to this.  They are all hard to mess up – so just go with it. Add a little more of this, a little less of that.  It will be good.  Promise.

pulled pork tacos with mexican cauliflower %22rice%22

INGREDIENTS: (pulled pork)
METHOD: (pulled pork)
  1. Put onion in the bottom of slow cooker.  Add pork roast.  Top with garlic and spices.  Fill with water until pork is submerged about half way.  Cover, turn on high, and let cook for 4-6 hours until pork is fork tender and pulls apart easily.
INGREDIENTS: (mexican cauliflower “rice”)
METHOD: (mexican cauliflower “rice”)
  1. Grate raw cauliflower either in food processor, or with handheld cheese grater.  It should be coarsely grated, like long grain rice, and not overly fine – like couscous.  If you grate it too small, it will be soggy.
  2. Heat olive oil in large sautée pan.  Throw in onion and garlic and sautée until golden and fragrant.
  3. Add cauliflower “rice” and ssautée over high heat for 3-5 minutes, stirring constantly.
  4. Add in remaining ingredients.  Sautée on high for another 2 minutes until fully incorporated.  You may have to pour off a little extra moisture from cauliflower and tomato.
  5. Done!  Make sure not to over cook, will become too mushy rather quick.  High heat, short period of time is the way to go.  Almost like flash frying it real fast.
PUTTING IT ALL TOGETHER:
  1. Set up assembly line with all your fixin’s – some options:  lettuce for shells, sautéed onions and peppers, guacamole or sliced avocado, salsa, fresh cilantro, lime slices… and don’t forget your “rice” and pork.
  2. Assemble tacos.  Consume.  I like my “rice” on the side.  Husband and bro-in-law prefer it inside the taco lettuce shell.  Doesn’t matter what you do as long as you like it.
*Use organic ingredients whenever possible.
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Lemon Bars (grain / gluten / dairy / sugar free, paleo)

Soooooo… my awesome girl Noelle (yes, the same one who introduced me to the most amazing dessert ever), challenged me to create the best lemon bars of life.  I think the text went something like “if I know you at all, you won’t stop until you find it – I challenge you to create for me the best paleo lemon bars ever”.  And she does know me – it is crazy what you can learn about someone by the way they CrossFit. Because I texted back “challenge accepted” (duh), and immediately starting thinking, researching, preparing.  And now, behold. The best (paleo) lemon bars of life.
lemon bars (grain gluten dairy free, paleo)

INGREDIENTS: (crust)
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons 100% pure maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup almond flour
  • 1 cups unsweetened, finely shredded coconut
  • 1 egg white (save yolk for lemon filling)
  • Pinch sea salt
INGREDIENTS: (filling)
  • 3 eggs, plus 2 egg yolks (you are going to have one extra egg white – just save it, and throw it in your next batch of scrambled eggs)
  • 6 tablespoons 100% pure maple syrup
  • 1/3 cup lemon juice (about 2 lemons)
  • 2 tablespoons lemon zest
  • 1/3 cup almond flour
METHOD:
1.  Turn oven on to 350F.
2.  Melt coconut oil over low heat on the stove.  Add maple, coconut, almond flour, and sea salt.  Stir until combined.  Remove from heat.
3.  Add 1 egg white, and stir vigorously for 1 minute.  Crust dough will be very sticky.
4.  Line a 9×9 baking dish with parchment paper, and pour crust dough into dish.  Using hands, press dough down in dish until compact, and evenly spread throughout.
5.  Poke a few holes in the crust using a toothpick.  Maybe 10.  To prevent it from bubbling up when cooking.  This step is important.  Don’t skip it.
6.  Bake crust for 10 minutes, remove from oven.
7.  While crust is cooking, whisk the eggs plus the egg yolks in electric mixer until light and frothy.
8.  Add the rest of the filling ingredients, and whisk for 2 minutes.  Set your timer.  2 minutes, people.
9.  Pour the mixture over the crust, which you already baked for 10 minutes.
10.  Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until edges are slightly brown and center is set.
11.  Let it cool.  No really, don’t eat it yet.  Let it cool.  It is important for it to set.  Give it 30 minutes.
12.  Dust with coconut flour – looks just as beautiful as powdered sugar, and nobody will be able to tell the difference.  Promise.
13.  Cut, and consume.

 

*Use organic ingredients whenever possible.
**Adapted from Green Kitchen Stories.

Greek Lamb Burgers

I was at PCC a few weeks ago, and noticed 100% Grass Fed Lamb.  I’ve never cooked with lamb before, but I remembered seeing a recipe in Everyday Paleo for lamb burgers. Thank goodness for smart phones, I looked up the ingredients, dreamed up some sides to accompany the lamb, and headed home to start cooking.  These are so good.  I’ve now made them 4 times, served them to company 3 times, and generally just love them.  The fresh mint pairs with the lamb perfectly.  And the spices mixed in do not disappoint.  They are so flavorful!  And any meat that can be grilled is my fav way to go – less dishes, more delicious.  I also recently learned of an amazing Greek salad dressing, which I will share soon.  These patties are perfect with a salad and some grilled mushrooms and olives.  Oh, and we eat these without a bun, and don’t make any dipping sauces for them – but a tzatziki sauce would be perfect with them!

greek lamb burgers, grain free, paleo, dairy free, primal

INGREDIENTS:
  • 1 pound 100% grass-fed ground lamb (this is a great one for leftovers – I usually double everything!) 
  • 1/2 cup red onion, minced
  • 3 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 3 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
  • 3 tablespoons fresh mint, chopped
  • 1 egg
METHOD:
1.  Combine everything in a large bowl and mix until combined.
2.  Form into patties.  I usually get about 10 burgers, but prefer them on the smaller side.
3.  Grill over medium heat for 3-4 minutes, then flip and allow to cook for 3-4 minutes longer.  They cook quick, especially if you make them as small as I do.
4.  If you want a great side to go with these, throw some mushrooms and olives in your grill basket (you could skewer them, too) and set that on the BBQ alongside the lamb.  Something about grilling those makes them even more delicious than they already are.

 

*Use organic ingredients whenever possible.
**Adapted from Everyday Paleo.

Carrot Cake Muffins (dairy-free, grain-free, gluten-free, paleo, processed sugar-free)

So two nights ago husband asked me to make 24 muffins for him to bring to work the next day. Which normally is no problem. But this time, he asked at 9pm, just after I got the kitchen all cleaned up and was headed toward bed. I wasn’t about to go to the store, so I had to think quick and whip up something with ingredients on hand. As I was scrolling through my muffin recipes, I remembered these gems. And miraculously had all the ingredients.  I’ve probably made these 15 times in the past, and am not sure why I haven’t posted them yet. They are one of my very favorite, if not my absolute favorite grain-free baked item. Actually, that’s a lie.  This chocolate lava cake surpasses all, but these carrot guys are a distant close second.  They are slightly time-consuming. Not difficult, but just lots of steps. I think it will be worth your efforts however – they are delicious. Allegedly, husband’s coworkers scarfed those muffins down and had no idea they didn’t contain flour, sugar, or vegetable oil.  Gross.   PS, if you are wondering why we use the ingredients we do, read here. And lastly, I think I’ve finally found the best white frosting recipe on the earth without using powdered sugar or dairy. So while you are at it, make this (dairy-free, processed sugar-free, vegan) frosting too and spread it on your muffins!  Enjoy!

Carrot Cake Muffins (dairy-free, grain-free, gluten-free, paleo, processed sugar-free)

INGREDIENTS:
  • 1 1/2 cup blanched almond flour
  • 1/2 cup coconut sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon cardamom
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded carrots
  • 1/2 cup pureed dates (if your dates are too dry to puree on their own, let them soak in hot water for 10 minutes, drain off water, and then puree in food processor)
  • 1 cup chopped pecans
METHOD:
1.  Preheat oven to 325F.
2.  Get all your ingredients ready – shred carrots (in food processor or with a cheese grater), puree dates, and chop pecans.
3.  Combine dry ingredients (almond flour, coconut sugar, salt, baking soda and spices) in a large bowl and set aside.
4.  In a smaller bowl, whisk together eggs and melted coconut oil.
5.  Add wet ingredients to dry, and stir to combine.
6.  Mix in pureed dates and carrots.
7.  Fold in pecans.
8.  Divide evenly among 12 muffin liners, and bake for 20-25 minutes, or until toothpick inserted into middle of muffin comes out clean.
9.  Allow to cool completely, then top with this frosting!

 

*Use organic ingredients whenever possible.
**Adapted from The Cupcake Project.

Coconut Cream Frosting (dairy-free, gluten-free, processed sugar-free, paleo, vegan)

Oh man.  Been on the hunt for a white frosting that doesn’t use powdered sugar.  Finally found the best one.  Tried so many.  Failed at so many.  This one wins.  It is creamy, the texture is perfect, and the taste is incredible.  This will for sure be my go-to frosting recipe. Most recently I made it to put on carrot cake muffins, but it would be good on pretty much anything you wanted to frost.  I may have even consumed a few spoonfuls straight out of the fridge.  Don’t judge.  You would have too if there was a tub of this in your fridge.  Let us know what you think of this when you make it!  This frosting would also be real good on pumpkin muffins, chocolate cupcakes, blackberry bars, or spread on grahams!

Coconut Cream Frosting (dairy-free, processed sugar-free, paleo, vegan)

INGREDIENTS:
  • 1 cup full fat coconut milk (canned)
  • 1 cup maple syrup
  • Pinch sea salt
  • 5 teaspoons arrowroot powder
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 1 1/4 cup coconut oil, melted 
METHOD:
1.  Combine coconut milk, syrup, and sea salt in a saucepan over medium heat on the stove and simmer for 10 minutes.
2.  While the mixture is simmering, combine arrowroot and water in a small bowl to make a paste.
3.  After 10 minutes, pour arrowroot mixture into saucepan and whisk enthusiastically to combine.
4.  Quickly bring to a boil, until bubbly and shiny.  Then remove from heat.
5.  Very gradually add coconut oil to mixture, blending either with hand blender, or in stand mixer with whisk attachment in place.
6.  Allow to cool for 10 minutes, then transfer to refrigerator for a minimum of 2 hours (I left mine in overnight).
7.  Remove from refrigerator, and blend again until light and fluffy.  Serve immediately.
NOTE:  Due to the coconut oil in this recipe, this frosting does not hold up well in high temperatures.  If you are making this ahead of time, I would spread it on cupcakes or cake immediately after whipping, store in refrigerator, and remove cupcakes or cake about and hour before serving.  This will allow frosting to soften up a bit, but not become overly warm and melt.

 

*Use organic ingredients whenever possible.
**Adapted from Elana’s Pantry.

Jalapeno Dijon Grilled Chicken

I’m always on the lookout for easy marinades for chicken.  I love eating it, but sometimes get stuck in my same boring chicken routines.  This recipe is easy, and freakishly good.  You combine everything, throw in the chicken, let it sit for a few hours, and then grill it up.  It is spicy, a bit tangy, and the chicken was so moist.  Give it a try!

jalapeno dijon grilled chicken

INGREDIENTS:
  • 2 lbs organic chicken breasts (or thighs, whichever you prefer)
  • 4 jalapenos, diced (no need to seed, unless you want less spice)
  • 3 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 6 tablespoons dijon mustard
  • 2 teaspoons sea salt
  • 2 tablespoons fresh rosemary, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons freshly ground pepper
  • Juice of one lemon
METHOD:
1.  Combine all the above ingredients, except for the lemon juice, cover, and place in refrigerator to marinate for a minimum of 4 hours and up to 24 hours.
2.  Preheat barbecue to medium-high.
3.  Grill chicken for 7-10 minutes per side, or until meat thermometer inserted into middle of chicken registers 175 degrees F.
4.  Remove chicken from grill and place on plate.  Squeeze lemon juice over chicken, cover with aluminum foil, and allow to sit for 10 more minutes.
5.  Serve, alongside side of your choice, and enjoy!  We ate it with heaping piles of roasted broccoli.

 

*Use organic ingredients whenever possible.
**Adapted from Civilized Caveman Cooking.

Peanut Butter Bars (similiar to Lara Bars, sweetened with dates)

A new flavor to add to Erin’s Fruit and Nut Bar post! These were so delicious and reminded me of peanut butter fudge. Yum, yum, yum. I made these for Jonah’s kindergarten class this week and am hoping they were enjoyed by everyone! Super easy to make and only 4 ingredients.

peanut butter bars, similiar to lara bars. sweetened with dates



INGREDIENTS:
  • 1/2 cup whole pecans
  • 1/2 cup whole almonds
  • 1/2 cup natural peanut butter
  • 16 pitted dates
 METHOD:
1. Put all ingredients in the food processor.
2. Process until combined and all ingredients are sticking together. You may need to add a few tablespoons of water slowly while the processor is running to get your ingredients to stick a bit better.
3. Dump mixture on to a piece of parchment paper and flatten it with your hands to make a large square or rectangle. I flattened mine out by pressing my wooden cutting board on top of it and then stuck the mixture in the fridge for 30 minutes.
4. Cut your bars after they have chilled in the fridge.
5. Store in a covered container in the fridge or individually wrap each bar and keep in the fridge.
Makes about 24 small bars.

 

*Use organic ingredients whenever possible.