Wednesday, June 4, 2014

How To Celebrate Your Birthday, Paleo-Style

Usually when people hear that you're eating a paleo diet, they ask what the heck you DO eat, since so many foods in the standard American diet are excluded. So imagine the questions when it comes to parties and celebrations. How DO you celebrate something without sugar and flour?! 

I'll tell you.

Over the weekend, I celebrated my birthday. If there's one occasion that you'd like to let yourself enjoy, it's your own dang birthday. But this year, I'm eating better and I wanted to be able to celebrate my birthday without going totally off track. So I did some Pinterest searching and believe it or not, there are TONS of desserts out there that are Paleo-compliant {i.e. made without wheat flour or sugar}. In fact, I'd venture to say that almost any food you love can be made Paleo-compliant. I easily found something that sounded birthday-worthy and within the limits of my cooking skills. The recipe was meant to replicate the taste of a Twix bar. Happily, it did not disappoint! The ingredients were simple. The process was multi-stage, but not complicated. And the final product was really, really good. You would never know that it contains no grains, no refined sugar, no refined oils and best of all- no guilt.

The full recipe can be found here, but this will give you the idea....
You start with a simple crust {the "cookie" layer} made of almond flour, coconut flour, honey, butter, and a pinch of salt. Combine those ingredients {I used a fork} and press the dough into the bottom of an 8x8 baking dish. Bake for about 15 minutes at 350 and then let it cool completely.

For the caramel layer, melt a stick of butter in a sauce pan, add a cup of maple syrup and bring that to a boil. Then slowly add a cup and a half of heavy cream while whisking and bring that to a boil. Whisk for about ten minutes or until it thickens a bit. Then pour the mixture over the cookie layer and place it in the refrigerator to harden.
Side note: if this step seems like too much of a pain, I'd bet your favorite nut-butter would be an awesome substitute and would only require spreading!

For the chocolate layer, simply melt some semi-sweet chocolate with a tablespoon of coconut oil. You can use a double boiler, a heat-safe bowl set over a pot of boiling water, or a microwave. Once it's melted and smooth, pour it over the caramel layer and return it to the fridge until the chocolate hardens.

That's it! Real food. Nothing refined. Plenty sweet and delicious. Zero deprivation. If you don't believe me, here's my 4-year-old eating a piece...

Of course you can't eat the whole pan. I actually had leftovers so I cut them up and froze them on a cookie sheet, then transferred them into freezer bags for later. I thought they'd be a perfect take-along option for parties and occasions when I want to enjoy dessert without wrecking my system.

So if anyone thinks a paleo diet wouldn't work because you just can't give up your sweets, or it would be impossible to enjoy a party... that excuse is now gone. You can have your health and celebrate, too!

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