Several days into my January paleo autoimmune/anti-inflammatory diet, there are some aspects that are working and others I’m still working through. I haven’t felt much as far as health improvements, but people tell me it can take awhile. They say that during the reintroduction phase is when you really find out if you’re reacting to foods.
What’s working: lunches and dinners. We’ve been enjoying main dishes like cream of chicken soup, pesto meat sauce or “no-mato” sauce (made with carrots and beets) over spaghetti squash, paleo meatloaf, and lamb stew with grapes and herbs. For lunches, I’ve been eating a big salad with tuna or turkey, avocado and olives or other vegetables.
What’s been difficult: breakfast without eggs, and snacks. For breakfast I started out having baked sweet potatoes and sausage, but I quickly got tired of those. My current routine is a “brekky porridge” with pumpkin, applesauce, and homemade sausage. It was so awful I almost threw away several frozen portions, but then in a last-ditch effort, I stirred in coconut milk, and it was pretty darn good.
For quick between-meals energy, I was used to trail mix, cashews or pistachios, which are out for the duration of my 30-day commitment. To address the snack issue, I worked up a crunchy-chewy treat made with bananas, coconut, and dates. I really like the taste and texture of these little squares, and they travel well in my handbag. Our 2 1/2-year-old grandson gladly did whatever we asked when we promised him a “banana cookie”
The cookies are baked briefly (which caramelizes and also pasteurizes the fruit) and then dried, which requires a food dehydrator. Unfortunately, drying them in the oven, even at the lowest temperature, made them bitter and overly brown.
My dehydrator is a box-type Excalibur brand that has plenty of room for an 8-inch by 8-inch pan if you take out one or two of the trays. Whatever size dehydrator you have, use oven-safe containers that will fit into your unit.
If you’re wondering what else a food dehydrator might be good for, here are a few reasons to buy one or put your stored one back into service:
- Crispy soaked and dried almonds
- Homemade yogurt (a way to preserve surplus milk)
- Meat or vegetable jerky (such as eggplant jerky)
- Fruit leather
- Zucchini (or other vegetable) “chips”
|Banana-Coconut Energy Cookies||
- 4 pitted dates, chopped
- 4 ripe medium bananas (frozen bananas are OK, but thaw them first or they can make the coconut oil solidify, causing uneven mixing)
- 1/4 cup coconut oil
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- 1 cup unsweetened flaked coconut
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Line an 8-inch by 8-inch pan (or other heat-safe container that will fit into your food dehydrator such as mini loaf pans) with a sheet of parchment paper the width of the base of the pan and long enough to extend up both sides, forming a sling for lifting out the sheet of cookies after they’ve dried.
- Place chopped dates in a small heat-safe container and pour boiling water over them. Allow to soak for about 5 minutes.
- In the bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal blade, place bananas, coconut oil, and lemon juice. Process until smooth. Drain the dates and add them. Process until there are still flecks of date in the mixture but no large pieces. Add coconut and process until blended.
- Spread the mixture into prepared pan or pans and smooth the top. The mixture should be no more than 1/2 inch deep in order to dry properly. Bake in the oven for 20 minutes. After 20 minutes turn off the oven, leaving the pan in the oven until it’s cool enough to handle.
- Place pan in dehydrator and set temperature at 135°F. Dry for 12 to 24 hours or until the top feels very firm. Run a knife or spatula along the two non-parchment-lined sides and gently lift the sheet onto a cutting board. Cut into squares with a large knife or pizza cutter. If squares near the center are still sticky, place parchment sheet with squares back into dehydrator for up to 24 more hours. They’re done when firm and no longer sticky. Place cookies in snack sized zip-top bags or an airtight container. For best freshness, store in the freezer.
- The Gluten-Free Homemaker Gluten-Free Wednesdays
- Poor and Gluten Free Waste Not Want Not Wednesday
- The Tasty Alternative Allergy-Free Wednesday
- Paleo AIP Recipe Roundtable