Paleo No Cook Caramel Apple Cheezecake

I’m super excited I can finally share this Paleo No Cook Caramel Apple Cheezecake I made using the new Vitamix Explorian E310. Vitamix sent me this new powerful and compact blender about a month ago and it was killing me that I couldn’t share it with all of you! I was sent this product for review purposes, but as always, my opinions and views are completely my own.

When I was thinking of a fun recipe to make in my new Vitamix I could’t help but re-create one of my absolute favorites, a cashew dairy free cheesecake but with a fall twist. As the weather is finally starting to cool down here in Northern California and the leaves are just beginning to change my mind naturally turned to apples and caramel! I mean, what’s not to love about that magical combo?! Just one look at those luscious layers and you’ll want to make this!

This is pretty much a raw cheezecake minus the cooked apple topping. The crust is made by blending together nuts, dates and cinnamon so there is absolutely no baking involved, huzzah!! It’s really close to a Larabar in texture, taste and goes great with all the flavors of fall in this yummy recipe! The caramel sauce is made mainly from dates which is a great way to make a raw healthier version of caramel, but it doesn’t taste healthy at all!

I’ve been making these raw no bake cheezecakes for years in my older and larger Vitamix 6300 model. But I wanted to see how it held up with the same amount of work in the smaller Explorian version. Well, to my surprise, It worked out perfectly and it was much easier to scoop things out with the smaller 6 cup container. The pulse switch also makes it easy peasy to grind up nuts, which was awesome for when I had to make the crust! AND it fits nicely under my cabinets to make more space on my countertop, which is a major score as I have a small kitchen!! I will also be bringing it with me when I travel because sometimes a girl needs her blender by her side on a fun trip!

I love that even though this blender is smaller and more compact, it doesn’t skimp on power, the motor is very powerful and gets the job done extremely well! It also has a hand dandy knob giving you 10 variable speeds that you can adjust according to whatever dish you’re whipping up! It’s what i’ve really loved about Vitamix for the last 3 years, the power and ease of use!

Paleo No Cook Caramel Apple Cheezecake

Yield: 12 servings

Ingredients

    For The Crust:
  • 3/4 cups raw unsalted almonds (I used Trader Joes's Blanched slivered)
  • 10 soaked medjool dates, pitted
  • 1 tbsp water or as needed for blending
  • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
    For The Filling:
  • 2.5 cups raw unsalted cashews (soaked for 5 hours or overnight)
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • juice of 2 lemons
  • pinch of salt
    For The Caramel:
  • 8 soaked medjool dates, pitted
  • 4 tbsp coconut cream
  • 2 tbsp coconut nectar or maple syrup
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • a few pinches of salt
    For The Apple Topping:
  • 4 medium granny smith apples, chopped (about 4.5 cups)
  • 3 tbsp coconut sugar
  • 1 tbsp ground cinnamon
  • 2 tsp coconut oil
  • 2 tsp lemon juice
  • a few pinches of salt

Instructions

    For the Crust:
  1. Soak pitted dates for 15 mins. in hot water, drain and remove.
  2. Add the almonds to the vitamix and use the pulse button to grind them up into really small chunks.
  3. Add the rest of the crust ingredients to Vitamix blender and pulse until well combined
  4. Add more water for blending if needed until you get a mixture that's sticky and easily holds together so you can press it to the bottom of your pan.
  5. Evenly press and mold your crust mixture across the bottom of your 9" spring form pan with your fingers. Wet your fingers if needed to make this part easier. Set aside and clean out the Vitamix to get ready to blend the filling.
    For The Filling:
  1. Drain soaked cashews and rinse well, add them and all other filling ingredients to the clean Vitamix. Blend until the mixture becomes silky smooth and pour into the springform pan on top of the crust.
  2. Cover and place into the freezer until firm, about 5-6 hrs.
    For The Caramel:
  1. Soak pitted dates for 15 mins. in hot water, drain and remove.
  2. Add all ingredients for the caramel into the Vitamix and blend until smooth, put into the fridge until the cheezecake is frozen.
  3. When it's ready, spread caramel evenly on top and put back into the freezer until apple topping is ready in the next step.
    For The Apple Topping:
  1. In a large skillet or saucepan, melt coconut oil over medium heat; add remaining topping ingredients. Cook, stirring constantly, until apples are tender, about 8 to 9 minutes.
  2. Remove and set in fridge to cool down.
  3. When cooled down, remove the cheesecake from the freezer add the apple mixture to the top. Sprinkle more cinnamon and coconut sugar on top if you wish.
  4. Let thaw a few minuets, slice into 12 equal pieces and enjoy!

Notes

*Keep cheesecake frozen until ready to serve. When ready to serve leave out on counter to thaw for a few mins. before cutting. Leftovers can be re-frozen.

http://www.paleopaparazzi.com/2017/10/paleo-no-cook-caramel-apple-cheezecake/

Even though there may be a lot of steps, this is still an easy one to make! I hope you like this recipe as much as me and my family! Be sure to let me know what you think in the comments below!

Paleo Sour Cherry Gummies

These paleo sour cherry gummies are tastiest and easiest way to add some quality gelatin into your diet! And gut healing gummies really don’t get any cuter than when they’re shaped like little woodland creatures! Especially the hedge hog ones, they definitely bring out the kid in me! I made these sour cherry gummies because my husband has a serious affinity for anything gummy! So it’s a great way to get him to eat grass fed gelatin and would be a great one if you have any kiddos! I’d rather have him downing these instead of a bag of Haribo peach rings (his childhood favorite) any day!

I used this woodland creature mold that my mother in law gave me as a gift last year which is freaking adorable and also silicone, so it’s easy to get them out! I’ve been trying to brainstorm something fun to make in them ever since and finally settled on some delicious gummies. I think it’s actually an ice tray, but where’s the creativity in that, lol! I keep getting messages about where to find the mold, so if you don’t know, well now you know ;) You could use a smaller gummy bear mold, or even just add the mixture to a smallish pan and use little cookie cutters to make them into cute shapes! Go wild and have some fun in the kitchen!

I think these are perfect for back to school! Such a cool treat to add to a lunch box instead of a cookie or a Twinkie! And they jiggle so kids would have a blast playing with them and eating them :) You could even add some probiotic powder to the mixture after it cools down a bit to make this packed full of even more gut healing goodness. I just buy the capsules and empty the powder inside into the mixture before it sets up. Then it could also be a daily probiotic supplement, I think the kids would really love that! Heck I really love it!!

Paleo Sour Cherry Gummies

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 15 minutes

Yield: 18 large gummies

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Place cherries and all other ingredients into a small sauce pan and heat up on med-high heat until honey is dissolved and your liquid turns a bright red color.
  2. Add contents of the sauce pan to a high speed blender (I used a Vitamix) and blend for a few seconds.
  3. Strain out any skins if you would like and return mixture to the saucepan on med-high to heat up for a few mins.
  4. Add saucepan contents into the high speed blender (I used a Vitamix) again and add in your gelatin a little at a time, making sure it is all completely dissolved into the liquid. Pour into molds and refrigerate for 20- 30 mins depending on the size of your molds.

Notes

Can sub out fresh cherries for 100% cherry juice or tart cherry juice. Can also use all lemon juice if you don't like or have apple cider vinegar, i just think it adds a nice kick.

Not enough molds, just add any of the extra mixture to a pan and cut out into shapes with a cookie cutter or into small cubes with a knife.

http://www.paleopaparazzi.com/2017/08/paleo-sour-cherry-gummies/

I also created a lovely pin below to make it easier to save this recipe for later on Pinterest! Happy Jiggling!!

Paleo Berry Crumble Bars

Omg you guyyyyysss! These berry crumble bars are not only paleo, but they have a little sneaky ingredient added into the filling to help your hair, skin, nails, gut and joints! Can you guess what it may be?! If you guessed collagen, then you get 10 points for being so smart! These babies are a little bit sinful but the collagen bumps up their goodness level for you so you don’t feel as guilty!

I made these for 3 days straight when I was testing them out so I could get them just perfect for you! My husband started getting a bit too used to having them on hand and was sad once I was done testing them lol! We binged on these cuties and are taking a tiny break before we make them again, but it’s SO hard!! This recipe is grain free and paleo but it’s hard to tell! I love when that happens!! It uses almond and cassava flour which gives it a nice crumb. I also added freeze dried strawberries and raspberries on top to give it an extra pop of berry flavor, but that’s totally optional.

I got 90% of my ingredients for the crumble at Vitacost. They make it so easy to shop for organic, non-gmo and paleo friendly products and it ships super quickly, score! I love not having to head to the store and search for everything, if you’re like me and adore online shopping in your pajamas and quick shipping, you will fall in love with Vitacost! Not to mention their customer service is the best I’ve seen and you get free shipping for orders over $49! So are you ready to make these delicious berry crumble bars?  You can find the RECIPE HERE ! I just know you’re gonna love them!

Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post on behalf of Vitacost. Thank you for supporting the companies that make Paleo Paparazzi possible! I only work with companies I’m passionate about & align with the mission of Paleo Paparazzi. As always, all thoughts are 100% my own.

Citrus Poached Pears with Cranberry Compote and Maple Cinnamon Coconut Cream

poached pear

There is nothing more beautiful than a poached pear with cranberry compote. It’s heaven on earth I tell ya! Add in a few dollops of lovely maple cinnamon coconut cream and you’ve got yourself a simple yet decadent dessert. When you take a slice of warm poached pear, dip it into the sweet yet tangy cranberry compote with some maple cinnamon coconut cream, you will feel as though you died and went to foodie heaven. At least that’s what I experience every time I dig into one!

poached pear with cranberry compote

I wish I had one of these to eat every day, I kid you not! Why did I create this towards the end of 2016?! It would have made things a little sweeter to have been eating this non stop all year round! The cranberry compote has to be my favorite part though. I tried to recreate something my cute neighbor Pam brings over sometimes during the thanksgiving holiday. A wonderful orange cranberry concoction that I’m just certain is a recipe handed down from her family and kept a secret. Shhh!

poached pear with cranberry compote

It’s just wonderful I tell you, and it was the inspiration for this recipe! Her and her hubby Richard are just the sweetest neighbors we’ve ever had! Whenever we get hurt (like the time I cut my finger really bad with a knife) we head over to their place because he’s a doctor and always fixes us right up and they head over to our place when they’re having computer problems because, well we’re computer nerds ;) If we ever move I hope they can just come with us, haha!
Poached pears trio in cranberry compote

I used the most delicious cranberries I’ve ever had for this recipe. They’re from Cape Cod Select a company whose cranberry bogs are located right in the heart of “cranberry country”. I love supporting farmers who are concerned about the environment and who use sustainable farming practices. They are definitely doing that and growing cranberries that are non-gmo certified.

I loved watching this video about how cranberries are produced, I always wondered why they were floating in water, which is known as a wet-harvest. Did you know there is a dry-harvest as well where they use helicopters to remove the berries after they’re picked? You have to watch it, it’s too cool! I think I may want to be a cranberry farmer now!!

Check out Cape Cod Select on InstagramFacebookPinterest and Twitter for more yummy cranberry recipes. You can also find Cape Cod Select Premium Frozen Cranberries at select stores nationwide or just order them online. I think I may just order their beautiful wooden box of fresh cranberries for myself and for gifts next year!

cape cod select cranberries bag

I hope you enjoy this recipe, it’s a great dessert to ring in the new year. I’m not sure if it’s true, but i’ve heard that some Native Americans used the cranberry as a symbol of peace. I will be eating this on New Year’s eve and praying for peace for my family and yours in the coming year! Happy Happy New Year my Friends!

Citrus Poached Pears with Cranberry Compote and Maple Cinnamon Cream

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 40 minutes

Total Time: 55 minutes

Serving Size: 4

Ingredients

    For the Cranberry Compote:
  • 4 cups Cape Cod Select Premium Frozen Cranberries (1-16 0z. bag)
  • 1 cup fresh orange juice
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup coconut sugar
  • Juice of 1/2 a large lemon
  • 1 tbsp. orange zest
  • 1/8 tsp. fresh grated ginger
  • 1/8 tsp sea salt
  • 1/8 tsp ground cinnamon
    For the Maple Cinnamon Cream:
  • Coconut cream from the top of 1 can of coconut milk, put can in fridge overnight (a really creamy one like Golden Star)
  • Maple syrup to taste
  • Cinnamon to taste
    For the Poached Pears:
  • 4 pears, peeled (I used organic D'anjou)
  • 1 cup fresh orange juice
  • 1 cup filtered water
  • 1/4 cup coconut sugar
  • 3 tbsp honey
  • 2-3 cinnamon sticks, broken
  • 5-6 large orange peel pieces
  • 1 tsp. chopped fresh ginger
  • 4-5 Pure Indian Foods cloves
  • 1/4 tsp. vanilla powder (can sub 1 vanilla bean, cut lengthwise and seeds scraped out)

Instructions

    For the Cranberry Compote:
  1. Add all ingredients to a medium pot and bring to a boil over medium heat.
  2. Once it begins to boil, turn heat to low and let simmer. (make the maple cinnamon cream while you wait) We want the cranberries to burst and cook them down with the liquid until it thickens, about 10-15 mins.
  3. Remove from pot and add to a mason jar, add the lid and set aside to keep warm.
    For the Maple Cinnamon Cream:
  1. In a bowl combine the coconut cream (scoop out only the solid top portion of cream from the can, not the liquid at the bottom) some maple syrup and ground cinnamon and whip together for a few minuets.
  2. Continue adding cinnamon & maple syrup until desired taste is achieved. Keep whipping ingredients together until well combined & resembles a whipped cream.
  3. Cover and put in fridge for later.
    For the Poached Pears:
  1. Wash and peel pears with a vegetable peeler.
  2. Add everything into a large pot (except pears) and bring mixture to a boil.
  3. Turn to a simmer and add your peeled pears to the pot.
  4. I placed them on their side and frequently turned them to make sure they cooked evenly. After about 25-30 mins. remove pears and transfer to a dish. Cover with foil to keep warm and set aside.
  5. Strain out cinnamon sticks, ginger, cloves & peels from leftover mixture. Continue cooking down until it resembles a thickened sauce and set aside.
    To assemble:
  1. Add one pear, whole or sliced in half, to a bowl.
  2. Top with thickened sauce.
  3. Add 2-3 tablespoons of cranberry compote and a few dollops of your maple cinnamon cream and serve immediately!

Notes

* Cranberry compote can be made up to 1 week in advance and heated just before serving.

http://www.paleopaparazzi.com/2016/12/citrus-poached-pears-with-cranberry-compote-and-maple-cinnamon-coconut-cream/

 

*Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links, meaning that if you purchase something from one of my links, I will receive a small percentage, at no additional cost to you. I only recommend products that I truly believe in, that I use myself or find to be very valuable. Thanks for helping me to keep Paleo Paparazzi up and running!

Apple Crumble Parfait-Paleo

grainfree apple crumble parfait paleopassionfoods 2

Apple pie is one of my husband’s all time favorite desserts. The only problem is that in order for us to enjoy it on a regular basis it requires A LOT of work! This apple crumble parfait, on the other hand, makes it possible to enjoy the same flavors of an apple pie everyday if we wanted to. It requires only a little effort and no ovens, or rolling pins needed. The other thing that makes it simple to create, is the fact that it uses a pre-made grainless granola from Paleo Passion Foods. I love using their Cinnamon Maple Granola in this recipe because it already adds all the perfect spices needed for this to make your taste buds dance! I also love that their granola contains only a small amount of maple syrup and honey.

grainfree apple crumble parfaits 2

Since my husbands stroke in 2008, I’ve been trying to find healthier ways for us to enjoy dessert. I feel like changing our lifestyles has been such a big help to both of us. We have seen some amazing changes just by caring about what we are putting into our bodies and cutting back on the amount of sugar we consume. We haven’t cut out sugar completely, because we believe in enjoying life and balance. But we try to use unrefined sugar in our recipes.

grainfree apple crumble parfait-2

One of the first things that made my husbands face light up in the hospital after his brain surgery and stroke was food, especially dessert! We spent Christmas and New Years in the hospital that year. I remember the first dessert he learned to make with his OT was brownies and the excitement on his face was priceless! This time of year always reminds me to never take life for granted and to enjoy every moment of it! I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as we do, it’s easy to make and oh so delicious!

Apple Crumble Parfait

Ingredients

  • 2 cups diced apples
  • 1 bag Paleo Passion Foods Maple cinnamon granola
  • 2 tbs ghee or coconut oil
  • 2 tbs coconut sugar
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp maple syrup
  • 1/8 tsp sea salt
  • coconut cream from the top of 1 can of coconut milk (put can in fridge overnight)

Instructions

  1. In a saute pan over medium heat add your ghee and let it melt. Next add coconut sugar, cinnamon and salt and stir to combine.
  2. Add diced apples and mix to combine with the cinnamon sugar mixture. Saute apples for about 10 mins. or until soft. Remove pan from the stove and set aside.
  3. In a bowl combine the coconut cream (scoop out only the solid top portion of cream from the can, not the liquid) and maple syrup and whip together for a few mins. until well combined & resembles whipped cream.
  4. In a small glass layer ingredients. Top with more cream and drizzle with leftover sauce in pan with apples. Makes 2 nice parfaits depending on the size of cups you use.
http://www.paleopaparazzi.com/2016/12/apple-crumble-parfait-paleo/


*This is a sponsored post, thank you for supporting the brands that make Paleo Paparazzi possible! As always, all thoughts are 100% my own.

Pear and Almond Mini Cakes

mini pear cake paleo glutenfree 3

I refer to pears as, “California’s real gold” because the trees found here in the Sacramento valley were brought over during the gold rush and unlike gold there’s always plenty to be be found. Many of the farming families who planted pears near Sacramento’s gold rush communities are still farming today, it’s an incredible legacy! I totally agree with the Greek poet Homer who said, pears are “a gift of the gods”! There’s nothing quite like biting into a velvety, sweet, juicy pear at the height of the season. July- August is a busy time, summer pear harvesting is in full swing and I was so lucky to get to see a small glimpse of that!

california pear farmers courtland

At the end of July I had the privilege to attend the International Food Blogger Conference hosted here in Sacramento, California. We started the conference off by touring a few local farms in the area. Stillwater Orchards is located only 15 miles outside of my hometown. They grow many varieties of pears, Bartlett, bosc & comice to name a few. It was such an amazing experience to meet one of the wonderful families dedicated to growing these beautifully delicious nuggets. The Elliot family was so warm and welcoming I felt as though I was a part of their family. I’m hoping they will adpot me, haha!california pear farm

They took us through the groves where we saw picker’s harvesting the bosc pears in large canvas bags secured around their shoulders. As the bags filled up, the harvesters unloaded them into large white crates. They looked so beautiful all gathered together, I couldn’t help but peer through the large slits in the crates dreaming of what delicious things I could create with these little jewels! california pears peek through crate

We learned that California pear farmers are leaders in sustainability. 87% keep orchard rows vegetated to reduce soil erosion and over 95% use integrated pest management to control insects naturally, drastically reducing the use of chemical pesticides! I couldn’t love this more, you all now how big I am on sustainable farming! I’m hoping to have my own small farm one day soon!

paleo paparazzi california pear farm(Photo by Bella Karragiannidis ful-filled.com)

We ended the tour with a beautiful lunch underneath the shade of 140 year old sycamores. We ate a pear inspired meal that was so dreamy, but my favorite had to be the gluten free pear crumble. I was inspired to make something just as tasty to highlight this gorgeous summer fruit! I love mini desserts so I just had to make a cute paleo farm to fork baked treat!

mini pear cake paleo glutenfree

These little cakes are so easy to make and they taste even better made with fresh fruit on top! I made them with some Bartlett pears from the Elliot farm.  I recommend making them with Bartlett pears, although you can use whatever pear variety you like best!

mini pear cake paleo glutenfree 2

I waited a bit before baking with them as my pears were green and not quite ready to use. I let them sit on the counter for a few days until they were yellow. Bartlett pears ripen at room temperature, turning from green to yellow as the pear becomes softer and ready to eat. Don’t put them in the fridge until they turn yellow to preserve their ripeness. They will stay good for about 3-5 days.

mini pear cake paleo glutenfree 4

Once they were sweet and ripe I happily made them into these small cakes. They’re so fun and the perfect size to snack on! Especially for kids or kids at heart ! I hope you love them as much as we do! Now go buy some lovely pears and go get your bake on!

Mini Pear Cakes

Ingredients

  • 1 1/3 cups almond flour
  • 2 fresh Bartlett pears, sliced
  • 10 dates
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 tbsp grass-fed butter/palm shortening
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • A pinch of salt
  • Cinnamon to garnish

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. First combine almond flour & dates together and mix until well combined.
  3. Then add the rest of the ingredients into the food processor & mix well.
  4. Fill 6 greased mini cake/tart pans 3/4 of the way full.
  5. Top with fresh sliced pear & sprinkle tops with cinnamon.
  6. Cook in the oven for 15-20 mins
http://www.paleopaparazzi.com/2016/08/mini-pear-cakes/

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Strawberry Balsamic Coconut Cream Popsicles-California Strawberries “Get Real In CA” Recap

Remember how I teased you a few posts back about a fun bloggers trip I went on? Well, first I wanted to apologize for teasing you, that wasn’t nice ;) But I know I can make that up to you with this post because now I can share all of the “juicy” details!! Last month California Strawberries invited me and a few other bloggers on a retreat to learn all about your favorite berry! It was an incredible experience, to say the least!

IMG_7212

When I think of strawberries, I can’t help but be transported to summer and my childhood. We grew strawberries in our backyard, along with plums, peaches, nectarines, tangerines & lemons, but the strawberries were always my favorite. It seems as though summer wasn’t official until that first sweet bite. Strawberry juice drizzling down my chin, that’s when summer began for me! Being a native Californian I didn’t realize how good I had it until I packed up for college out of state and missed a few summers at home. Little did I realize back then just how important my beautiful state was in producing this luscious little berry!

California strawberries get real in Ca recap cannery row

The strawberry retreat started out in the heart of Cannery Row. We checked into the gorgeous Intercontinental The Clement in Monterey California for our stay. The ocean view from the rooms is stunning, and is a great reminder of why strawberries thrive in this area. The ocean helps create perfect moderate temperatures for these beautiful berries year round!

ca strawberries get real in ca monterey seals

Shortly after checking in we were whisked away to Montrio for dinner. The talented Chef Tony Baker created so many heavenly dishes inspired by strawberries. Tony & his team work closely with local farmers, ranchers and fishermen making it possible for those who dine at Montrio to be able to enjoy only the freshest most sustainable ingredients. You can definitely tell that the food is farm to fork because it tastes so fresh & flavorful!

MONTEREY, Calif., June 6, 2016 Participants in the annual California Strawberry Commission's Influencer Farm Tour during the first day of the event eat at Montrio Bistro in Monterey, Calif., June 6, 2016. Photo by Robert Durell
Photo by Robert Durell

This strawberry panna cotta with scallop ceviche was a favorite appetizer of mine! The flavor combination was unreal! Have mercy! I had no idea how delicious these pairings would be together!

MONTEREY, Calif., June 6, 2016 Participants in the annual California Strawberry Commission's Influencer Farm Tour during the first day of the event eat at Montrio Bistro in Monterey, Calif., June 6, 2016. Photo by Robert Durell
Photo by Robert Durell

Here’s me and Kristen of Living Loving Paleo in true paparazzi style, trying to capture this delicious ceviche.

MONTEREY, Calif., June 6, 2016 Participants in the annual California Strawberry Commission's Influencer Farm Tour during the first day of the event eat at Montrio Bistro in Monterey, Calif., June 6, 2016. Photo by Robert Durell

Photo by Robert Durell

One of my favorite dishes of the evening was this dreamy crispy pork belly with balsamic compressed strawberries, poison oak honey and feta. Truly delicious! Look at that glistening pork belly! I mean, COME ON?! I dipped those luscious strawberries into that honey shortly followed up by a mouthful of that pork belly, flavor explosion!IMG_7097

The next day we had a delicious breakfast together where we learned some pretty amazing things about strawberries from the California Strawberry Commission. Like that fact that 90% of the Nations strawberries are grown in California, MIND BLOWN! Also, did you know that there is no such thing as a commercially grown GMO strawberry? Pretty awesome! Strawberry farmers are also very progressive and really care about our environment, they are leaders in research on ways to conserve water, protect soil and reduce fertilizer & pesticide use. More than any other commodity group in the world, they continue to invest millions of dollars in non-chemical farming methods, go strawberries!

ca strawberries get real in ca organic strawberryAfter breakfast and a little strawberry 101 we headed out for an unforgettable tour around one of their strawberry farms. As you can see in the picture below, we got up close and personal on the farm. I have dirt on my knees from picking handfuls of berries right off the plants & photographing the beauty from the ground up! It was also so fun to have Michelle from The Whole Smith’s & Kristen from Living Loving Paleo on the trip, as well as many new blogger friends!

MONTEREY, Calif., June 7, 2016 Participants in the annual California Strawberry Commission's Influencer Farm Tour during the second day of the event visit a strawberry farm in Monterey, Calif., June 7, 2016. Later they ate lunch in Pacific Grove, Calif., from a food truck from Los Angeles Photo by Robert Durell
Photo by Robert Durell

The tour took place at one their inspiring grower’s farm, Jesus Alvarado. Jesus’s story is one that will stick with you and warm your heart. He has worked with strawberries in some form since the age of 8,  starting out in Mexico. Eventually he left his family to come to the U.S. were he worked for many years as a picker. He learned English along the way, and is now the owner of an 80 acre strawberry farm, Fresalva Berry in Salinas California. Jesus is an incredibly determined and successful man, yet very humble with a smile & laugh you won’t soon forget! Plus he still has mad picking skills, check him out in the video below. If someone thinks that picking strawberries isn’t a skill, I beg to differ!  He reminds me a lot of my grandfather who has been a California farmer for most of his life. Both coming from humble beginnings and acquiring success from passion and hard work, men who respect the land and treat their employees like family.  Jesus produces conventional as well as organic strawberries. His biggest client being one I’m sure you’re familiar with, Driscoll’s.

MONTEREY, Calif., June 7, 2016 Participants in the annual California Strawberry Commission's Influencer Farm Tour during the second day of the event visit a strawberry farm in Monterey, Calif., June 7, 2016. Later they ate lunch in Pacific Grove, Calif., from a food truck from Los Angeles Photo by Robert Durell
Photo by Robert Durell

After the tour we were invited to a strawberry inspired lunch in Pacific Grove. Chef Jasmine Wolf drove her famous food truck all the way up from Los Angeles. I love that Jasmine tries to buy organic, local, and humanely-treated produce as much as possible. “Comfort food with a conscience” and that it was. We ate ribs with a strawberry bbq sauce (must recreate) which were to die for!

ca strawberries get real in ca the lobos truck lunch

More ceviche and strawberries but this time with shrimp and served in these cute avocado boats! Almost too pretty to eat!

california strawberries get real in ca recap lunch monterey

And these tempting stuffed strawberries with a balsamic reduction and bacon dust, BACON DUST my friends, Uh-May-Zing!ca strawberries get real in ca monterey

As if you needed more reasons to eat strawberries, here are some cool ones you may not know. Like did you know that one serving (about 8 strawberries) have more vitamin C than an orange? Put down that orange and grab your 8 a day! Also, one serving contains only 7 grams of sugar & 45 calories per cup! Strawberries tend to be thought of more as a dessert, but this yummy berry is perfect in many savory dishes as well. Not to mention, they’re a nutritional powerhouse packed with essential vitamins, dietary fiber, potassium and phytochemials.

MONTEREY, Calif., June 7, 2016 Participants in the annual California Strawberry Commission's Influencer Farm Tour during the second day of the event visit a strawberry farm in Monterey, Calif., June 7, 2016. Later they ate lunch in Pacific Grove, Calif., from a food truck from Los Angeles Photo by Robert Durell
Photo by Robert Durell

Strawberries are so fun for a paparazzi to stalk :) This is what I looked like 98.9% of the time during the trip, thank you Robert Durell for capturing so many memorable moments, and a big thank you to my wonderful friends at California Strawberries and Modern PR for making this happen!

 

Check out this awesome video to see some fun moments from the retreat!

And of course I couldn’t leave you without a recipe including strawberries. With so many dishes on the trip including strawberries and balsamic vinegar I thought I’d create an easy recipe with a fun little twist.  Strawberry balsamic coconut cream popsicles. Don’t let the balsamic vinegar scare you though, you won’t exactly taste it, but it undeniably brings out the sweetness in the berries. I hope you enjoy them as much as we do in our house!

Strawberry Balsamic Coconut Cream Popsicles

Ingredients

  • 3 cups strawberries, hulled
  • 1 can of full fat coconut milk (13.5 oz.)
  • 7 teaspoons maple syrup (divided)
  • 3 tsp balsamic vinegar (I used Kasandrinos)
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 pinches of salt

Instructions

  1. Add strawberries, 2.5 tsp. balsamic vinegar, 1 tsp. lemon juice, 1 tsp. maple syrup & a pinch of salt to a blender or food processor.
  2. Puree strawberry mixture & set aside.
  3. In another bowl add coconut milk, remaining 6 tsp maple syrup, pinch of salt & vanilla extract. Mix until all ingredients are incorporated.
  4. Fill popsicle molds by alternating with the 2 mixtures until molds are full. This will give you a fun layered look.
  5. Place molds in the freezer for about 5 hours, or until completely frozen.
http://www.paleopaparazzi.com/2016/07/strawberry-balsamic-coconut-cream-popsicles-california-strawberries-get-real-ca-recap/

Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post, thank you for supporting the brands that make Paleo Paparazzi possible! As always, all thoughts are 100% my own.

Whole30 4th of July

I was excited when the Whole30 team asked me to create 3 tasty dishes for your 4th of July BBQ’s/ Potlucks. I know how hard it can be to feel like your missing out on all the fun foods when a holiday pops up. That’s why I created an appetizer, a salad & a meat dish to make celebrating this holiday a little easier. Plus they are your typical 4th of July recipes, so if you don’t mention that they are whole30 friendly, no one will be the wiser! I’ve got you covered so don’t worry! You will not feel deprived at all, promise! Head over to the Whole30 website to get all 3 recipes! So off you go now…go get your BBQ on!

Red White & blue strawberries
Whole30 Red white & Blue Strawberries

Patriotic ColeslawWhole30 Patriotic Coleslaw

Firecracker BBQ Ribs

Whole30 Firecracker BBQ Ribs

Paleo Chocolate Hearts With Strawberries (Raw)

chocolate hearts with strawberries

You can’t go wrong with chocolate for Valentine’s day, and if you make said chocolate from scratch, your valentine will be super impressed and all that mushy stuff, wink, wink! This Paleo chocolate hearts recipe is really easy to whip up and requires only 5 ingredients, plus a pinch of salt. If your looking to make something that isn’t complicated and looks like it was purchased from a fancy chocolate shop, I got you covered! Impressing people with simple homemade treats is right up my alley!

chocolate hearts with strawberries stacked

Before we go any further, I feel I must confess. I was that girl. The one who used to eat my weight in store bought waxy chocolate. Man am I glad those days are over, what was I thinking? I was eating fake chocolate and I didn’t even know it, GROSS! How come someone didn’t warn me sooner, shove a piece of REAL chocolate in my mouth and say, “you’re welcome!” ?? Well if they had, I’m sure I would have started singing “A whole new world” from Aladdin, lol! It only took 30+ years, but I’m never going back! Raw chocolate is where it’s at!

chocolate hearts with strawberries bite sized

These raw chocolate hearts are the healthi-fied (is that even a word?) version of the chocolate hearts you find in the stores but you won’t even notice because they taste so naughty. They’re made from raw, pure ingredients so you reap all the “love” and goodness from that! Coconut oil is packed full of healthy fats and raw cacao contains of magnesium, calcium, iron, potassium and so much more! You can thank me later ;) Happy Valentine’s day!!

*These are made with freeze dried strawberries, so you can make them any time of the year! Feel free to switch up the ingredients. There are too many yummy combinations you could use such as coconut, raspberries, banana, nuts, mint, etc.

Chocolate Hearts With Strawberries (Raw)

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Total Time: 5 minutes

Yield: 20 bite sized chocolates

Chocolate Hearts With Strawberries (Raw)

Ingredients

  • 6 tablespoons coconut oil, melted
  • 6 tablespoons cacao powder
  • 3 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1/3 cup freeze dried strawberries, crushed
  • 1 tablespoon cacao nibs
  • Pinch of sea salt

Instructions

  1. In a medium sized bowl, mix melted coconut oil, maple syrup and cacao powder together.
  2. Grease a bite sized heart mold.
  3. Add a few bits of crushed freeze dried strawberries & cacao nibs to the bottom of greased mold.
  4. Pour mixture into greased mini heart mold, add remaining strawberries & nibs on top & cover.
  5. Place mold in the freezer to harden, takes about 20 minutes.
  6. Pop hearts out of the mold and enjoy!

Notes

Try to use a flexible mold, makes it easier to remove. Also, hearts will melt at room temp. so don't leave out. Store in fridge/freezer until ready to serve.

http://www.paleopaparazzi.com/2016/02/chocolate-hearts-strawberries-raw/

Gingerbread Marshmallows

aaa-gingerbread marshmallows

Ok, so I feel as though I need to make a confession…I may have a little problem you guys! I can’t stop making marshmallows!! I want to make them in every flavor and cover the earth with them, Lol! I recently created some pumpkin pie marshmallows for fall and knew that if I tweaked the recipe a wee bit, I could easily make them into gingerbread marshmallows. I have been putting them on literally everything and I don’t know if I will be stopping any time soon. My husband and I have been having some interesting conversations over marshmallows, like “did you have 2 more than me?” and “are you SURE that you divided those up evenly??” We have serious conversations about food in this house, hahaha!

aaa-gingerbread marshmallows bowl 2

Marshmallows are really not that hard to make, I think that’s why I can’t stop making them, plus they’re fun to eat and when supplies are low, the morale in this household just isn’t quite the same, wink wink! I use a good quality pasture-raised gelatin to make them, I love this brand because I find it it dissolves easier than most. And even though this is considered a treat because of the sugar, I still have a good feeling knowing that I’m getting my gelatin in for the day!

aaa-gingerbread chocolate covered marshmallows

This particular flavor is amazing for the holidays, I almost named them holiday marshmallows, because they have all those yummy warm spices that evoke memories of Christmas lights, opening presents around the tree and being with the ones you love. And if you put them in a mug filled with hot chocolate, it feels like a hug in a cup, no joke ;) You can even dip them in melted chocolate to make them even more special! But if you REALLY want to take it to the next level, you can make a batch of my Gingersnap Cookies and make some delicious holiday s’mores. I’ve been having way too much fun making these s’mores with my kitchen torch (early Christmas present from my husband) I have directions for both the chocolate dipped marshmallows and the s’mores below, I got your back! If you try either of these, get ready to have your mind blown! Consider this my Christmas present to you! Merry Christmas! ;)

aaa-iced gingersnap smore hand

Gingerbread Marshmallows

Ingredients

    Marshmallows:
  • 1 cup filtered water
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 3 tablespoons Grass-fed/Pasture-raised Gelatin
  • 3/4 teaspoon Gingerbread Spice Mix (see below to make your own)
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla powder (can sub vanilla extract)
  • Pinch of sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon arrowroot powder for dusting before cutting
  • 1 tablespoon arrowroot power mixed with 1/2 teaspoon Gingerbread spice for dusting after cutting
    Gingerbread Spice Mix:
  • 3 tablespoons ground ginger
  • 3 tablespoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 tablespoon ground cloves
  • (place in a jar with a lid and shake to mix)

Instructions

  1. Line an 8x8 pan with parchment. Grease pan and lightly dust with arrowroot powder. Set aside.
  2. In your stand mixer, add 3/4 cup of filtered water (reserve the remaining 1/4 cup for later) and 3 Tbsp of Vital Proteins gelatin. Mix together and set aside to set up while you prepare the other ingredients on the stove top.
  3. In a pot combine remaining 1/4 cup filtered water, maple syrup, honey, gingerbread spice, vanilla powder, lemon juice and sea salt. Bring mixture to a boil over med-high heat. Keep an eye on it as it will get foamy and can boil over easily. Boil for about 10-15 mins. You can use a candy thermometer to be more precise. Boil until it reaches 240 degrees (soft ball)
  4. Using your stand mixer and whisk attachment (A hand mixer is fine, just takes a bit longer) turn mixer on medium-low speed. Slowly pour the boiled mixture into the gelatin mixture on the side of the bowl. When done incorporating, Turn mixer up to the highest speed and mix for approximately five minutes. After five minutes stop the mixer and check the consistency. If the mixture is cool to the touch, light and fluffy and falls off the whisk slowly, it's ready.
  5. Quickly pour mixture into your lined pan and smooth with a spatula. Lightly dust top of marshmallow mixture with arrowroot powder.
  6. Cover dish and let marshmallows firm up in the fridge or on your counter. Takes about 3-4 hours.
  7. When marshmallows are firm, use a knife and slice into small squares. Take your arrowroot & Gingerbread spice mixture and lightly toss marshmallow squares in a large bowl. Make sure to coat all sides. Shake off any excess and enjoy right away, or store in an air tight container for a day or freeze for later use.

Notes

-For Chocolate Covered Marshmallows: In a shallow bowl, melt a large chocolate bar (we like Coconut Secret's Peruvian Crunch) or use my recipe for homemade chocolate Here (minus the strawberries). Dip marshmallows in melted chocolate and place in the fridge to harden up.

-For Holiday Gingerbread S'mores: Make a batch of my Iced Gingersnap cookies Melt a large chocolate bar (we like Coconut Secret's Peruvian Crunch) place in a shallow bowl, dip bottoms of cookies in melted chocolate, lay them chocolate side up on a plate or baking sheet and place in the fridge to cool. Roast marshmallows (I use a kitchen torch) and place them between 2 cookies. Enjoy!

http://www.paleopaparazzi.com/2015/12/gingerbread-marshmallows/

aaa-gingerbread marshmallows in hot chocolate