Product Review: Caveman Bakery Tropical Caveman Cookies

Caveman Bakery Tropical Caveman Cookies
Caveman Bakery Tropical Caveman Cookies

Product: Caveman Bakery Tropical Caveman Cookies – $6.29+

Yep.

This is just what you are thinking.  These cookies are called “caveman cookies” for a reason.  And that reason is…(insert trumpeting here)…they are a part of the “caveman” diet…or the Paleo Diet as it is often called now.

Now, as a gluten-free vegetarian, a lot of what I make can be done the Paleo way…but a lot of my protein sources (beans, peanut butter, etc.) are frowned upon in the paleo diet.  As are some of my favorite vegetables – like potatoes and corn.  So, while I know a few people who do follow that “caveman” way of eating…I can’t for my own health.  It just isn’t feasible for me.  But, that’s not to say that I don’t try these “paleo” recipes and items that are now on the market.  As long as they fit into my dietary restrictions, I’m never one to turn down the opportunity to try something new.  And…since I do know people who live by this form of “diet”…I have learned how to bake many staples to fit into the “caveman” diet by trying out different flours, often made from almonds or coconut.

So, while I was in Ohio visiting my friend Jenn, she picked up for me some interesting cookies that fit my tastes and…were gluten-free.  Jenn loves me like this and often has goodies for me to try waiting at her house.  I took a gander at the boxes…seeing the open-mouthed Caveman and the words Tropical on one box.  Alpine is the other flavor…and the one I haven’t tried yet.  YET!

Well, with the demise of the gluten-free vanilla bean pound cake (it was SO good!), I needed a new sweet treat to cleanse the palate after dinner.  I recalled these boxes in my pantry and screamed my thanks to Jenn as I pumped a fist in the air in dessert victory.  I mean…dessert is something I grew up eating after dinner.  It doesn’t have to be huge.  A cookie or a small bowl of ice cream…just something sweet to tie up the meal.  That’s how I was raised.  I still swear to this today.  So, I happily snagged the Caveman Bakery Tropical Caveman Cookies from the pantry.

So, it was cookie time.  And you know…I am a complete cookie monster.  My favorite thing in life is a good cookie!!  And when I opened up this box…I found individually wrapped little cookies (about the size of a silver dollar) just eagerly awaiting their trial.  I plucked four from the box (two for me and two for my roomie) and got to unwrapping them.  They smelled absolutely delicious.  Hard to explain just how they smelled, but I caught the macadamia nut and a hint of sweetness from the coconut and ginger.  I opened up two cookies for my roommate and delivered them, giving her the usual disclaimer that, “if they suck we can try something else…”  As I was heading back into the kitchen, she took a bite.  At first…I couldn’t tell what she thought of them.  The face she was making was sort of neutral.  Then…there was something.  But from where I stood, I couldn’t tell if it was good or bad.  So, as I was opening up my cookies, I asked her how they were.

“They are like…chewy cardboard that is sweet.”

Um…that can’t be good.

“Are they edible?” I inquired.

She thought for a moment and took another bite.  “Well…I’ll eat them…but they aren’t something I’d buy again.”

Okay…

Guess it was my turn to give them a try.  I settled in for dessert and took a bite.

So…here is the nitty-gritty:

The Caveman Bakery Tropical Caveman Cookies are good in that they are chewy and use real ingredients.  I mean…it doesn’t get much more real than what goes into these cookies.  They are not so good in that they don’t really have that much of a flavor.  I know…you probably think it’s that I’m missing the sugar…but I cut down on sugars wherever I can and try to do low sugar even in my snacks and cookies.  Often I substitute honey…which is what is used in these cookies to sweeten them.  The thing is…they are really bland.  They do have a nice nutty flavor to them, which I like.  The coconut hits at the end.  And the ginger doesn’t overpower…but there is just something about them that didn’t…wow me.  I wouldn’t say they taste like cardboard, but they definitely take some getting used to.  I love a chewy cookie and I wasn’t certain these would be…but they are very chewy.  And that…is my favorite part.  With nothing more than the hint of coconut for something “tropical”…I can’t for the life of me figure out why these are called “tropical”.  But…they aren’t awful.  And we will polish off the box.

Let’s talk ingredients.  Honestly, the good thing about the Paleo Diet is how straightforward ingredients are in products.  The Caveman Bakery Tropical Caveman Cookies contain almond flour, organic honey, unsulfured coconut, macadamia nuts, and ginger.  That’s it.  They really are chewy…and contain 100% real ingredients and are gluten-free.  They are also cholesterol free and sugar free.

Nutritionally speaking…here’s how the Caveman Bakery Tropical Caveman Cookies stack up.  A serving size is 2 cookies.  Yep.  TWO cookies.  This serving will provide you with 140 calories and 10 grams of fat.  Yep…10 GRAMS OF FAT!!  Don’t freak out though.  Much of this fat is derived from the macadamia nuts and almond flour.  Fat from nuts is a healthy fat.  So…yeah…deep breath.  It’s okay.  Additionally, these cookies contain 10 grams of sugar, 2 grams of fiber rand 3 grams of protein.

So…while these aren’t awful, they aren’t amazing either.  They are just sort of “MEH.”  And a “MEH” dessert is not a dessert that will be repeated.  We are going to finish up the box.  And, yes, we will also try the Alpine Caveman Cookies as well to see if they perhaps satisfy us better or have more flavor.  I give kudos to Caveman Bakery for making a paleo-friendly cookie for the market…but it seems they could use a little help with the recipe.  But, that’s just my cookie-loving opinion.  I don’t think I’d invest in these in the future.  At least not this flavor.

Recipe: Shredded Rainbow Salad

You ever look at the food you have in your fridge and wonder what you might be able to make with all of it?  Especially when, in the next couple days, another fresh produce delivery will land on your doorway and you’ve barely scratched the surface of the last bin as it was delivered later than usual due to weather?  Or something to that affect?

That’s my life these days.  The Polar Vortex caused there to be a delay in my CSA bin delivery…which isn’t a problem…but it gave me fewer days to work through the fresh produce.  I’ve managed some…but I still have plenty left.

That being said…Jamie Oliver came to my rescue tonight.  For dinner I got out my brand-spankin’-new food processor and whipped up a delicious, healthy, and colorful salad from the fresh produce I had on hand.  The dressing was a magical touch.  Talk about clean eating!

Recipe: Shredded Rainbow Salad

Shredded Rainbow Salad
Shredded Rainbow Salad

Servings: 8
Time: 20 minutes

Ingredients for Salad:

  • 2 raw medium beets (any color) trimmed, scrubbed & quartered
  • 4 leaves kale
  • 2 large carrots, scrubbed & trimmed
  • 1/4 white cabbage, quartered
  • 1 apple, quartered
  • 1 cup walnuts, roughly bashed


Ingredients for Dressing:

  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • sea salt & ground pepper
  • Gluten-Free Tamari
  • hot sauce (I used Sriracha)


Directions:

Put a coarse grater attachment into a food processor and push ingredients through in the following order (to stop the beets from staining everything): beets, kale, carrots, white cabbage and apple. (If your food processor is small, do this in batches.)

Turn vegetables out onto a platter so get a pile of rainbow colors.

Mix the mustard, vinegar, and oil, then season with salt, pepper, tamari, and hot sauce.

Add walnuts and toss everything together until you get a big, beautiful plate of dressed vegetables.

~*~*~

Simple…but the flavors are amazing and work well together.  You get this great sweetness from the beets and the apple.  The cabbage and carrots give this earthy flavor.  And the kale…just a bit of that bitter zing.  Topping it with walnuts gives an added boost to the texture.  And the dressing…necessary.  It ties it all together.

My roommate declared this her favorite way to eat a salad.  Me…I devoured it!  Healthy and delicious.  Definitely making this again!

 

Product Review: Tasty Bite Brown Rice

Tasty Bite Brown Rice
Tasty Bite Brown Rice

Product: Tasty Bite Brown Rice – $2.49+

Brown rice.

People either love it or hate it.

Me…I happen to love it.  It just…takes so long to prepare.  In fact, brown rice often takes longer to get to cook perfectly than white rice.  But with white rice being so refined, brown rice is always a better option.

I just don’t always have time to let it cook up on the stove.

Thankfully…Tasty Bite has me covered.

Yes.  Tasty Bite.

Yes…the makers of all those amazing little Indian meals I blog about from time to time.

The very same Tasty Bite.

They do rice too.  They do it well.  And they make it so easy to enjoy.

There isn’t too much I can say about Tasty Bite’s Brown Rice.  I mean…it’s brown rice.  But I can say this…

The package contains fully cooked brown rice that you simply reheat in the microwave for 90 seconds.  Yes.  90 seconds and you have two servings of rice as your fingertips.  It’s brilliant and very convenient.  Brown rice is full of vitamins, minerals and fiber, and is my favorite type of rice to incorporate into meals.  Tasty Bite’s Brown Rice has that nutty flavor and that tougher texture that regular brown rice has.  The flavor…is that of plain brown rice…which is why I served vegetarian baked beans over mine.  Hey…don’t mock.  I had vegetarian baked beans in the pantry…just begging to be used.  It actually worked together very well.

Let’s talk ingredients and nutrition then, since brown rice is…well…brown rice.  The Tasty Bite Brown Rice pouch contains water, brown rice, and sunflower oil.  That’s it.  As it is precooked, you’re steaming it back to life and then pouring it into a dish.  The microwavable pouch contains two servings of brown rice.

Half of the package, that being a serving, will dish you up 240 calories and 3 grams of fat.  This particular rice is cholesterol-free, sugar-free, and contains no sodium.  My roommate will love reading that.  This serving provides 2 grams of fiber and 5 grams of protein.  Filling.  Nutrition.  Delicious.  And the Tasty Bite Brown Rice is vegan, vegetarian, kosher, and gluten-free.  Loving it.

So, you don’t have to spend the better part of the evening at your stove waiting on your brown rice to cook to perfection.  Nope.  Let Tasty Bite do that for you…letting you have your rice ready in a minute and a half as opposed to 20-30 minutes (if not longer!).  The rice you get is fluffy, light, and seriously cooked to perfection.  It sure does make dinner a lot easier and quicker to get on the table.

Thank you, Tasty Bite…for taking the stress and guess work out of cooking brown rice.

Tasty Bite Brown Rice (cooked)
Tasty Bite Brown Rice (cooked)

Recipe: Sautéed Garlic Greens with Caramelized Onion and Toasted Pine Nuts

I love, love, love kale.  Seriously.  I do.  I love that it is a nutrient powerhouse.  I use it often…and always!  Kale is high in fiber, unlike many other greens.  It’s a great source of nutrients, especially vitamin A and calcium.  It is a fantastic source of beta-carotene, which many nutrition experts believe is a major player in the battle against cancer, heart disease, and certain age-related diseases.  Kale also contains lutein and zeaxathin, carotenoids which help keep UV rays from damaging the eyes and causing cataracts.

Like I said…nutrient powerhouse.  And it always has a home in my kitchen.

That being said, I was using up the contents of my refrigerator not too long ago, and happened (as I often do) to have some greens inside.  It was, as it normally is, kale!  With a little inspiration from my Clean Food cookbook, I concocted a hearty and healthy dish with only a few ingredients, which I happened to have on hand.

Recipe: Sautéed Garlic Greens with Caramelized Onion and Toasted Pine Nuts

Sautéed Garlic Greens with Caramelized Onion and Toasted Pine Nuts
Sautéed Garlic Greens with Caramelized Onion and Toasted Pine Nuts


Servings: 6
Time: Prep 5 minutes; Cook 10 minutes

Ingredients:

2 bunches dark leafy greens (kale, collards, mustard greens, dandelion greens or chard)
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/2 sweet onion, sliced thin
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon dry sherry
Water, as needed
Sea salt
Toasted pine nuts (optional, but adds great texture)


Directions:

Remove dry stalk ends from the greens and chop the leaves into bite-size pieces.

In a Dutch oven or skillet over medium-low heat, sauté the onion, stirring often, to caramelize.  Add the garlic and cook for another 2-3 minutes, until soft.

Add greens and dry sherry and sauté for 1 minute.

Increase the heat to medium, add water (one tablespoon at a time) as needed to prevent sticking, cover, and cook until greens break down.

Remove from heat and toss with remaining tablespoon olive oil.  Season to taste with salt, top with pine nuts, and serve.

~*~*~

I fell in love with this dish.  The kale cooked down to perfection and mingled so well with the sweetness of the caramelized onion and the added flavor of the garlic and sherry.  The pine nuts really gave it a bit of texture, which just worked so well with the soft feel of the meal.  My roommate and I devoured this dish in no time flat.  Really delicious.

Loving finding new ways to enjoy my greens.  Can’t wait to make this one again.

Recipe: Paleo Snickerdoodle Cookies

I love Snickerdoodles.  Seriously.  I loved it in the winter time when my mom would bake all the holiday cookies, bars, fudge, etc…and we’d have a literal smorgasbord to choose from each night for dessert.  One treat.  So…make your decision wisely.

Never failed.  I wanted the Snickerdoodles.

It has been years since I have had my mom’s homemade Snickerdoodles.  And she will probably never make them again, sadly, since she has since had to go gluten-free as well and has switched over to eating paleo.

Lo and behold…I came up with a solution.  You see, one of my running buddies is also on the paleo diet.  And I love, love, love to bake goodies for my run group.  I’ve been craving Snickerdoodles for awhile now, so today I decided that’s what I would make for my fellow runners.  But, I wanted everyone to be able to enjoy them, so I did a little searching on the Internet.

And with a little guidance from various blogs, especially The Urban Poser, I was able to make Snickerdoodles tonight that are paleo, vegan, egg/grain/dairy-free.  Gluten-Free Snickerdoodles.

They aren’t my mom’s specialty…but they are good.  So, go ahead and give this recipe a spin.

Recipe: Paleo Snickerdoodle Cookies

Paleo Snickerdoodle Cookies
Paleo Snickerdoodle Cookies

Servings: 15-16
Time: Prep 10 minutes; bake 10 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups blanched, fine ground almond flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 4 tablespoons coconut oil, softened or liquid (5 for a softer cookie)1/4 cup mild honey (like clover) or vegan alternative (such as agave)
  • 1 tablespoon gluten-free vanilla extract

Cinnamon coating:

  • 1 tablespoon raw coconut crystals (I used Coconut Secret)
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
Directions:
 
Preheat the over to 350 degrees F and line and grease or line a baking sheet with parchment paper.In a medium sized bowl, combine the dry ingredients; mix together well.  (When measuring almond flour, use the dip & sweep method for best results.  Dip the measuring cup into the loose almond flour and drag the flat edge of a knife over the top.  Pouring the flour directly into the measuring cup can result in too much or even too little almond flour in the recipe).In a separate bowl, mix together the oil, honey and vanilla.  Add the wet ingredients to the almond flour mixture and stir until combined.

In another small bowl, combine the coconut sugar crystals and the ground cinnamon in a small bowl.

Using a rounded tablespoon, scoop out the dough, then gently form into a ball.  Roll the dough in the cinnamon mixture.

Place the balls of cookie dough on a parchment lined baking sheet, about 3 inches apart.

Using a mason jar or your hands, slightly flatten each cookie.

Bake the cookies for 8-9 minutes.  Leave the cookies on the cookie sheet while cooling.  They may seem under-baked at first, but they will firm up to just the right texture as they cool.

Dig in and enjoy!

~*~*~

So, they aren’t my mom’s Snickerdoodle cookies…but these do come out sweet, thin, crackled and chewy.  Not cake-y, which so many Snickerdoodles tend to be when sold in stores.  These remind me of how my mom’s used to cook up.  They don’t taste the same…but they are totally Snickerdoodles in their own right.

And yeah…they are amazingly good!

Recipe: Broccoli Pizza Crust

Yes…you read that title right.  This is a pizza crust…made out of broccoli.  Hey…I’m doing this whole clean eating thing, and while I love a real (gluten-free) pizza crust as much as anyone else, sometimes you just want to think outside the pizza box and try something new.  And since it’s getting to the point where I always have broccoli in my CSA bin…well…instead of doing a typical cauliflower crust (if you can call that typical)…I decided to give it a go with one of my favorite veggies…broccoli.

It’s a little bit of work, but it’s a beautiful and nutritious alternative to standard pizza crust.  I make mine with vegan cheese do to lactose intolerance, but regular cheese works just as well.  Don’t mock it until you try it:

Recipe: Broccoli Pizza Crust

Broccoli Pizza Crust
Broccoli Pizza Crust

Servings: 2
Time: Prep 10 minutes; Cook 25 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1 medium head of broccoli
  • 1 cup grated mozzarella cheese (I use Daiya mozzarella shreds)
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 teaspoon nutritional yeast (optional…but I highly recommend it)
  • 1 large egg

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 450°F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Chop the broccoli into florets (try to remove the stems) and place them in the large bowl of a food processor.  Pulse for about 30 seconds, just until all of the florets have been cut down into very fine crumbs.  You should have about 3 cups of crumbs.

Transfer to a microwave safe bowl, cover, and microwave on high for 4 minutes.  Remove and let cool slightly.

Transfer to a clean tea towel (not paper towels because they will shred).  Wrap the broccoli bits up tightly in the towel and wring all the water out over the sink.  There is actually quite a bit of water in the broccoli, so keep wringing to get out as much water as you can.  This will help keep the crust from crumbling.

Combine dried broccoli with the cheese, basil, oregano, salt, pepper, nutritional yeast, and egg.  Use your hands (that’s it…get a little dirty) to mix everything together.

Transfer the mixture to the prepared baking sheet and form into a 10-inch thin circle.  Bake in preheated oven for 10-11 minutes.

Once crust has precooked, remove from the oven and top with whatever toppings you like.  For this particular pizza, I topped mine off with slices of fresh red tomato, caramelized onion, chopped yellow pepper, chopped avocado and topped it off with goat cheese.

Return to oven and bake for another 15-20 minutes.

Remove from oven and serve.

~*~*~

As you can imagine, this crust doesn’t keep very well so you’ll want to eat the entire thing that day.  So either share with a friend of come to dinner hungry.  Cheese, herbs and fresh veggies made up my entire pizza and it was super delicious.  You won’t even miss the actual crust.  Honestly!  This has become one of the meals my roommate begs me to make.  It’s a good thing we get lots of broccoli.

Give it a try…I dare you!

Recipe: Paleo Cinnamon Glazed Pumpkin Donuts

Baking makes me as happy as cooking does.  Especially when I am doing it for other people.  And it has become a bit of a habit for me to spend my Friday nights in my little closet of a kitchen, baking up something for all the runners who come out and do their long distance run on Saturday morning.  I am a part of this group.  And, I think we all need something to run for, when it comes down to it.  Why not a little treat…a reward for pushing through all those miles and ending up back at the coffee house where those who didn’t go as far, or perhaps ran a little faster, congregate and catch-up for a bit.

There is one member of this group of amazing people who has been having so many issues with the foods she eats.  She is currently trying the Paleo diet, but working in some of those “forbidden” foods…because she is an athlete and she needs certain things to power her through.  It’s just been a matter of seeing how her body reacts to certain things.  Have I ever been there, done that.  While most of my goodies are gluten-free (the Paleo diet is gluten-free), they haven’t always had items that she could eat.  I was determined to change that this week.

As I have donut pans that are always begging for use…I went out, purchased a small bag of coconut flour (for an ungodly amount of money) and spent the later hours of the evening making donuts for my group the following morning, using a recipe from FastPaleo.  Paleo donuts.  Donuts she could, in fact, eat.  Who would have thought?  And I made them with two of my favorite things…pumpkin and cinnamon.  Yummy!

Recipe: Paleo Cinnamon Glazed Pumpkin Donuts

Paleo Cinnamon Glazed Pumpkin Donuts
Paleo Cinnamon Glazed Pumpkin Donuts

Servings: 10
Time: Prep 10 minutes; Bake 25 minutes

Ingredients for Donuts:

  • 1 cup pumpkin
  • 2 eggs (room temperature)
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil, melted
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 cup coconut flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon pumpkin spice

Ingredients for Glaze:

  • 2 tablespoons coconut crystals
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil, melted
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup

Directions:

The Donuts:

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Grease doughnut pan with coconut oil.

Combine all ingredients in a mixer, food processor or blender (anything works) except for the glaze.

*Note that coconut oil and maple syrup is needed for the doughnut and the glaze.  Optional ingredient if it appears too dry: 1 cup room temperature applesauce (the kind with cinnamon would rock).

Evenly distribute onto the baking pan and bake for 20 minutes.

Cool on a cooling rack.

When cool, flip over to allow them to fall off pan.
The Glaze:

Combine the coconut oil and maple syrup in a dish.

Combine the coconut crystals and the cinnamon in a bowl.

Use a pastry brush to brush the top (or all sides) of the donut and then dip it onto the dry mix.

~*~*~

It’s really that easy.  I didn’t need to add applesauce to my mixture of ingredients.  And these donuts were soft, moist, and really, really packed with flavor.  I was beyond impressed.  So was my group, apparently.  Because I ended up baking 20 of these and only 3 of them were left on Saturday morning after we all finished our runs.  And the leftover three were devoured by my roommate and I this morning for breakfast.  Even gave them a little warm-up in the microwave, as if they were fresh out of the oven.  Honestly…SUPER delicious.

One of the group was raving to me afterwards about the donuts.  It makes me happy to share something I love to make with those I enjoy being around.  And with those I know appreciate the time and effort I put into these.

My Paleo runner was not there this past week…but after this three week hiatus where I am out of town…I’ll resume my baking trend and see what I can create that will be safe for her as well.

Until then…I intend to make many many more of these donuts.  And at 104 calories and 6 grams of fat per donut…it’s a treat that is definitely worth indulging in.  Epic yum!  Try them.  You don’t have to be gluten-free or Paleo to enjoy them.  Obviously.  My running buddies proved that.  High marks and high praise all around.