New Nerdy Tshirts on Teepublic

Sorry again for the radio silence. Or blog silence, rather. Good things come to those who wait, right? In the mean time, I just got approved as a tee designer on TeePublic, and I’ve uploaded a bunch of my cool video game and other geeky designs over there. Feel free to check them out, if that’s something that interests you! They’re $14 until Sunday, then they go up to $20.

alexboake_teesUntil next time!

Primal Palate’s Grain-free Fudgy Brownies [5 Chili Bullet Variation]

Part of my payment for doing the Valentine’s Day illustration for ChocoSol was actually dispensed in chocolate bars (and coffee). I know, it’s a hard life!! One of my favourite flavours that they hand craft is the spicy 5 Chili Bullet.

They used ethically sourced cacao beans grown in forest gardens, and the chilis are grown locally in Toronto. Cacao, Raw sugar, Cacao Butter, 5 Types of Chilis, Allspice, Achiote and Sea Salt. As you can see, it’s a simple ingredient list with no lecithins or emulsifiers to be found. Nice! The chilis they use pack a bit of a punch, too!

Since I had a surplus of chocolate going on, I decided that a little baking was in order. Fortunately for me, Primal Palate did all the hard work here with their recently released Grain-free Fudgy Brownie recipe, which you can see on their totally amazing new website. Go check that out if you have an extra minute today to be wowed.

I substituted this spicy Chocosol bar into the recipe to give it a bit of a twist. They’re rich and delicious with chewy edges, just like I love in my brownies. My version features some extra after-burn.

Primal Palate’s Grain-free Fudgy Brownies [5 Chili Bullet Variation]
Adapted from PrimalPalate.com

Ingredients

  • 1 5oz 5 Chili Bullet Chocolate Bar
  • 1 oz High Quality Dark Chocolate
  • 8 oz Butter, Unsalted, or Palm Shortening
  • 1 tsp Vanilla Extract
  • 4 Eggs, large
  • 1/2 cup Almond Flour
  • 1/2 tsp Sea Salt
  • 1 tsp Baking Powder
  • 3/4 cup Coconut Sugar

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease an 8×8 glass baking dish and line with parchment paper so you can easily remove the brownies after baking.

Cut the Butter into cubes and break the Chocolate bar into pieces. Melt the Chocolate and Butter over medium low heat, stirring frequently. Add the Coconut Sugar and Vanilla to the melted mixture and stir until there are no unmelted chunks.

Remove the mixture from the heat, and allow to cool slightly. In another bowl, blend the Eggs, Almond Flour, Baking Powder and Salt together. When the Chocolate mix is cool, fully combine with the flour mixture until uniform.

Pour the batter into the greased and parchment lined 8×8 baking dish. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 to 50 minutes. Cool for 5 minutes in the pan then remove to a wire rack. Wait for them to cool a bit before flipping to remove the parchment paper. Slice and enjoy warm, or cool completely and store in a tin for later.

If you can’t get your hands on some spicy chocolate, add a few shakes of chili flakes to the plain recipe!

Valentine’s Day Chocosol Chocolate GIVEAWAY!

It’s that time of the year again. Beginning of February. Tons of crap covered in red and pink hearts begin to creep into your vision. Every time you enter a store, you’re assaulted. You just can’t escape it. Yes, my friends, it’s that mass marketing season that leads up to Valentine’s Day. I’ve never really bought into the idea that you have to buy a whole bunch of stuff to show your partner that you ‘really care’. You should make the effort through the year to show your love–and not just with gifts! However, having an excuse to go out for dinner or to give a small token of affection isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Especially when you can support local businesses.

Speaking of which, this year I partnered with ChocoSol Traders, a local chocolate making company. Together we dreamed up, and I created a special Valentine’s Day card which features the flowers of the Forest Garden Trinity. Check out that link to hear ChocoSol founder Michael Sacco speak of the teachings of Spiritual Ecology that inspired the illustration.

You can only really get your hands on this amazing gift card if you’re in the Toronto area…but luckily I am offering the chance for one lucky person to win a copy–as well as a selection of ChocoSol’s stone-ground, fair trade, horizontally traded, vegan, soy-free, paleo-friendly, chocolate bars. Phew, what a mouthful! A mouthful of pure goodness!! 

The prize includes (~$50 value):

  • 1x ‘Darkness’ Large Size Bar
  • 1x ’5 Chili Bullet’ Large Size Bar
  • 1x ’100%’ (Sugarless) Large Size Bar
  • 1x ’65% Artisan Blend’ Large Size Bar
  • 1x ’85% Uranga’ Single Origin Large Size Bar
  • 1x Spiritual Ecology Valentine Card

You can enter using the Rafflecopter widget below!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Contest closes February 16th, and the winner will be notified the following day. Prize will be shipped out by February 24th because I’ll be out of town. Yes, it’s Valentine themed, but the chocolate will be arriving afterward. All of this chocolate is out of my own pocket, and the giveaway isn’t sponsored. I just like to share the love. Open to US and Canadian residents only, due to shipping costs. Sorry! Thanks for your understanding.

Good luck to all entrants! Hope you enjoy all your time with your sweetheart, whether you celebrate Valentine’s Day or not.

BACON MODE ACTIVATED Paleo Desktop Wallpapers

Who likes bacon? Me! Who like bacon on their computer? Yuck, that’s greasy, you say?! Well, not anymore. Here’s some digital bacon so that your keyboard is safe from delicious bacon fat. I have two different sizes for you, and this should cover most screen resolutions if you ‘fit to screen’.

Click to access full size.

Hope you enjoy all this bacon-tastic goodness all up on your screen, and that you have an excellent weekend. While you’re here, consider donating a dollar or two to support my work!




Freelance Life: Want to work with me? Want to support my work? Here’s the scoop!

As you may or may not know, I’m a freelance illustrator! Yes, you may know me as “that girl who makes recipes and draws a picture of them”, but actually I’m also a trained, professional illustrator. When I’m not creating illustrated recipes for this blog, for your enjoyment and meal-planning purposes, I’m actually available for hire.

At any time, I might be working on a number of secret projects for clients, which will only be unveiled after they’re published or used on a label. Of course I’m not allowed to post them all here! Depending on the contract the work is created under, you may only be able to see all of the pictures that I drew by checking out the book they’re printed in–either through purchasing it, or checking it out in your local library.

This is why it’s sometimes quite a while between recipe posts. If I’m putting all my time and effort into my freelance jobs, sometimes there’s nothing left to put together another illustration for this here blog. That being said, I love to be able to do the work that makes me happy, and also try to make a living through my art!

I decided to put together a post to show you where you can find my published pieces, support me through purchasing prints, or work with me directly.

COMMISSION ME

Character Commissions - Alex Boake IllustrationLooking for a custom character for your blog? Personalized social media icons that match the flavour of your site? Want a recipe illustration of your very own? Well, you’re in luck! I have quite reasonable rates for independent bloggers and small businesses. Contact me with the details of your project, and we can have it done in a flash.

Satisfied customers include:

PRINTS AND POSTERS

This hasn’t really been public knowledge until now, but any one of my recipe illustrations can be available as a print or poster. If you get in touch with me through email, I can provide you with a high-resolution file and a licence to print one copy for display at your home or business. You can get the file printed locally, and there’s no hassle with shipping. Prices tend to run from $20 to $30, depending on the size. These make a great present for the foodie in your life, or for yourself if you want your kitchen to look awesome!

PUBLISHED WORK

Practical Paleo Poop Pageant

Practical Paleo

It’s no secret that my big debut in the Paleo publishing scene was Diane Sanfilippo’s infamous Practical Paleo. I did a number of spot illustrations of various fruits, vegetables and meats to embellish the book, as well as a handful of diagrams. My favourite, of course, is the Poop Pageant. You could say this was the “crappiest job I ever had”. (Just kidding, it was awesome.)

The Ancestral Table

The Ancestral Table : Traditional Recipes for a Paleo Lifestyle

Coming out this month is Russ Crandall’s The Ancestral Table. His excellent blog is known as The Domestic Man, and if you’re not familiar with it already, go check it out. This stunning book approaches the Paleo diet from a traditional foods background. I’m a tiny part of this fantastic project, but I feel very lucky to have been involved. He wanted a looser, black and white ink style, which was a fun way to get a bit more spontaneous with my line work. Not every illustration I did made it into the final book, so you can see a couple above which weren’t included. (It was just too jam-packed with goodness already!) Definitely order this if you haven’t already!

Paleo GrillingPaleo Grilling : A Modern Caveman’s Guide to Cooking with Fire

Written by Tony Federico of F.E.D., this book covers everything you’d want to know about grilling. A meaty book, that’s for sure! Speaking of which, I illustrated a TON of meat diagrams for the informational sections. I know it’s tough, but you’ll have to wait until June to get your hands on this. It’s coming out in the summer, just in time for grilling season! Though, honestly, I’m Canadian and we BBQ all winter… I’ve had a glimpse at some of the recipes, and this is gonna be a good one!

Dougie the Hospice Dog

Dougie The Hospice Dog

This was a project by local Toronto authour Diane McQuaig, and was made possible by the Kensington Foundation. Based on a real location and dog, it makes the topic of death more approachable for children, and can be used to introduce the difficult subject in the case of the death of a loved one. This was a bit of a different style for me, but suited the tone and subject matter of the book. Currently available in some bookstores locally or directly through the hospice website.

OTHER MERCHANDISE

Phew, you’ve made it pretty far. Don’t stop yet! In my Storenvy Boutique, I have tons of mugs for foodies and nerds, and also foodies who are nerds. I aim to please! Tons of designs, made by me personally and shipped right to your door. What’s not to love?!

Lastly, I have a Society6 store, where you can get awesome totes and pillows with my drawings on them. I have one of the bags, and the quality is great! Very sturdy; it makes a perfect Farmer’s Market bag for hauling some heavy veggies back home. There are also prints available here, but I get a very small cut, so unless you’re looking for a canvas print, it’s best to contact me directly to order regular prints.

Congratulations if you made it through this post! I appreciate anyone who takes the time to appreciate my work on any level. Even a comment makes my day. Hope you keep enjoying my work and I’ll try to keep the recipes coming! 

Balsamic Roasted Heirloom Carrots [Paleo, Primal, Vegan]

Shopping at farmer’s markets is such a treat, and in my city there are at least 3 that run year round–including my go-to, Dufferin Grove. I spotted these heirloom carrots last week, and I decided that I really didn’t eat enough carrots these days. Especially delicious, sweet, organic heirloom carrots! You can make this recipe with any ole’ carrots you want, or even parsnips, but I highly recommend some heirloom carrots if you can get your hands on them. They’re super pretty and extra delicious! For this recipe the amounts are approximate, I just toss everything together and add until the carrots look well-coated.

Balsamic Roasted Heirloom Carrots

Serves 4

  • 12 Medium Heirloom Carrots
  • 2 1/2 Tbsp Olive Oil or Melted Coconut Oil
  • 2 Tbsp Balsamic Vinegar
  • 2 Tsp Mixed Herbs or Herbes du Province
  • 1/2 tsp Sea Salt
  • 1/4 tsp Black Pepper

Directions 
Preheat oven to 350. Scrub carrots and cut the tops off, then cut in half lengthwise. Line a metal baking tray with foil, and put the carrots on the tray.

Drizzle your oil of choice and the vinegar onto the carrots. Crush the herbs in your hand if the flakes are large, and sprinkle along with the salt and pepper onto the tray with the carrots. Toss to coat evenly.

Pop into the oven and cook for 30 minutes, or until golden and slightly crispy on the edges.

Lemon Ginger Chicken Thighs [Paleo, Primal. 21DSD friendly]

Hi friends! Long time no see! Happy 2014! Hope everyone had a great holiday time. Just recently I came back from a two week trip to Japan, which was super fantastic. I saw so many cool things, it blew my mind. Also I ate many cool things! I’m thinking of putting together a little post about trying to eat ‘Paleo-ish’ in Japan, which is a challenge I’ll tell you now. Look out for that sometime in the near future!

I promised this recipe on my Facebook Page back about a month or two ago, but I was so busy I didn’t have a chance to do an illustration. Well I’m back, babes! I put this together when I was doing my 21 Day Sugar Detox. I have to say, it’s really simple, and really delicious.

Lemon Ginger Chicken Thighs

Serves 4 to 6

Ingredients

  • 12 Chicken Thighs
  • 1/4 Cup Melted Butter
  • Juice of 1 Lemon
  • 2 Tbsp Coconut Aminos or Gluten-free Tamari Sauce
  • 1 Tbsp Fresh Ginger, minced
  • 1 tsp Garlic Powder
  • 1/4 tsp Pepper
  • 12 Average Parsnips and/or Carrots, peeled and halved

Directions
Preheat oven to 350. In a large roasting pan with a lid, put the peeled Parsnips and Carrots on the bottom of the pan. On top, arrange the chicken thighs skin-up in a single layer.

In a small bowl, whisk together the warm melted Butter, the Lemon juice, Coconut Aminos/Tamari Sauce, minced Ginger, Garlic Powder and Pepper.  Pour this mixture evenly over the Chicken Thighs.

Cook covered for 60 minutes. Remove the lid and cook for 15 more minutes.. The Chicken is done when you cut into it and the juices run clear. Plate, served over the Parsnips. Enjoy!

 

Paleo-friendly Whipped Shortbreads [Gluten-free, Primal, Paleo-friendly]

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays everyone! I hope everyone has had a relaxing time, filled with family fun and get-togethers. For me, the best part of the season is the excuse to meet up with people who I don’t normally have a chance to see through the rest of the year. All the delicious and traditional holiday recipes make the season tasty, and nostalgic.

Last year I didn’t really make any Christmas cookies because I wasn’t really into baking. However, this year I’ve been less strict about it, and I had a hankering for some of the recipes of my youth. Now, I wasn’t about to go back and make them with wheat flour and refined white sugar, so I took one of them and translated the ingredients to make a more paleo-friendly treat. If you’re on the stricter end of the spectrum, these are definitely not the thing for you, because they do have coconut sugar, arrowroot and potato flour. That being said, I think there’s a place for some treats over the holidays, so there you have it!

These ended up pretty closely approximating the texture and taste of my family recipe, while omitting the gluten and cornstarch, so I count them as a success! My sister who blogs at Sweet Boake was kind enough to help me out with the styling and photography. Please Note: As tempting as warm cookies may be, make sure you allow them to cool on the pan before you try to eat them, or they will be very fragile and fall apart. If you like eating crumbs, then dive in.

Primal Whipped Shortbreads
Makes 3 dozen cookies

Ingredients

  • 1 Lbs Salted Butter at Room Temperature
  • 1 Cup ‘Coconut Icing Sugar’*
  • 1 Cup Coconut Flour
  • 3/4 Cup Potato Flour
  • 1/2 Cup Arrowroot Starch
  • 1 tsp Vanilla Extract

*To make Coconut Icing Sugar, mix just under 1 cup of Coconut Sugar and 3 tsp Arrowroot Starch in a bowl. Put into a food processor, and process until quite fine.

Directions
Preheat oven to 275. In a bowl, mix the butter and coconut icing sugar from low to high. Whip on high for 10 minutes until creamy and combined. Whip in the vanilla extract.

In another bowl, mix together the coconut flour, potato flour and arrowroot starch. Whip into the butter mixture a little bit at a time, scraping down the sides as needed. Make sure everything is fully combined with no dry bits.

Drop rounded tablespoon size blobs of the dough onto parchment lined baking sheets. You can fit 12 cookies per sheet, and they won’t spread very much. Bake in the preheated oven for 30 minutes, rotating the sheets halfway through the cook time.

Allow to cool on the sheets for at least 5 minutes before removing to kraft paper to cool completely before putting them away. These cookies are crumbly and are best enjoyed with a tall glass of milk of your persuasion, coffee or hot chocolate.


I hope to have more recipes to share once I return from my little vacation to Japan! Look out for photos from my trip on Instagram. I can pretty much promise you that there will be rice involved, but don’t be too hard on me. Have a happy New Year everyone!

Society6 Free Shipping and Tote Bag Giveaway

I recently got a few of my illustrations set up on Society6, mainly because of the awesome feature of being able to have designs on iPod cases, pillows and tote bags. This is pretty good timing, because until November 17th, if you follow any of the promo links in this post, you can get free shipping, and the items should arrive in time for the holiday season. Neat!

From the site: “Our quality crafted Tote Bags are hand sewn in America using durable, yet lightweight, poly poplin fabric. All seams and stress points are double stitched for durability. They are washable, feature original artwork on both sides and a sturdy 1″ wide cotton webbing strap for comfortably carrying over your shoulder.”

Check out all the bag designs I have here!

In honour of my shop opening, I’m giving away one tote bag to one lucky person. Enter through the Rafflecopter widget below! Contest closes 11/15/2013 at 12:00 AM. Good luck!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

21 Day Sugar Detox Book Review and 21DSD Spiced Apple Muffins with Bacon [Paleo, Primal, Gluten-free]

Currently I’m just over 2 weeks into my very first ‘official’ 21 Day Sugar Detox, following Diane Sanfilippo’s Level 2 version of the program. With her new book as my guide, as well as handy recipe resource, things have been actually going quite smoothly. If I ever have a basic question about what I can or can’t eat on the program, I can just flip through the book and find out in seconds. Stumped about what to make for dinner? There’s a recipe index…with pictures! Honestly, I’m not sure why all indexes aren’t made this way. Diane’s really leveled up her photography game with this new baby. You’ll be drooling over everything!

The book is laid out beautifully. All the information is clear and easy to access so there’s never any difficulty finding the information you need. The intro section gives you just enough science to make you believe in what you’re going to do for the next 3 weeks, without bogging you down with too much technical stuff. Then, there’s meal plans to follow each level of the program. The last half of the book is recipes, which are all adaptable to any level of the program, including modifications for athletes, autoimmune conditions and pescetarians. You could do the whole thing without needing any other resources than this one book (plus ingredients for cooking), and you’d never be bored with what you’re eating, there’s so much variety! So far my favourite recipe from the book is the Mustard Glazed Chicken Thighs. It comes together in minutes, doesn’t take long to cook, and creates the most extremely moist and flavourful meal.

I’ve got one week left to go, and considering that at one point I did a 400 day sugar detox (please don’t do this), I think I can tough it out for one more week! Right now the permitted daily green apple and squash taste MAGICAL! It’s really quite something. If you’re interested in trying it yourself, I wholeheartedly recommend using this book as a guide.

Of course, even though the book has everything you could want, including some not-sweet treats, I did have to venture to make my own recipe. I was inspired by a post from Emma’s Paleo, and I decided to adapt it into a little something of my own; Spiced Apple Muffins with Bacon!

If you’re not on the detox you will still be able to enjoy these, they just won’t seem as sweet as they do to me!