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!

Liz Wolfe Rocks! Cave Girl Eats Illustrations

I have a lot of really great clients, and I feel super lucky to be able to get to know people through social media, and that people think of little old me when they need some sort of illustration done. One of my extremely cool clients is Liz Wolfe, who is the super funny gal behind the website Cave Girl Eats! I’ve been lucky enough to do a number of illustrations for Liz, which started way back with the temporary cover I did for her upcoming book, Modern Cave Girl.

Personally, I think I’ve gotten much better at drawing her cave girl persona, but the above image is at least a year and a half old at this point.

Most of these illustrations were for advertisements for various bundles, which are now over, so I’ve removed the type as it’s no longer relevant. Hope you enjoy this look at some of the work I’ve done for Liz!

If you’re familiar with Liz, you obviously know that she does a fantastic podcast over at Balanced Bites! If you somehow haven’t heard it yet, definitely take the time to check it out.

Skin troubles? Look no further than the Skintervention Guide!

I also can’t forget to mention the cool series of shirts I designed under her direction, the Real Food Love apparel! Check our her store to see all the designs and perhaps purchase some?!

Recently Liz has begun her homesteading adventures, and you can follow her on Facebook or Instagram to get the latest scoop on what animal is eating whose poop, and what her adorable goats are climbing on.

 Here’s a funky chicken to see you off. Until next time!

Fermented: A Four Season Approach to Paleo Probiotic Foods [Book Review]

Fermented is the recently-released book by Jill Ciciarelli, who runs the blog First Comes Health. It is an all encompassing guide on how to ferment different foods, all through the year. It shows you how you can preserve the bounty of each season, and the methods she presents actually enhance the foods as well, turning them into probiotic powerhouses! The book is cleanly laid out with vibrant photography by Bill Staley. Shot against white backdrops with perfect colour balance, it shows you how pretty pickles, kimchee, kombucha–and whatever other fermented foods you might imagine–can be. There are no frills or extra props to be found in the styling, but it’s a presentation that really works for this subject matter.

The instructions are easy to follow, and she shows you different ways you can make the process foolproof. Even those with the so-called ‘black thumb’ will succeed with this book! Believe, me, I know. I’ve failed at fermentation so many times, that I was almost scared to make something from this book. That being the case, I picked something basic: pickles! Making the brine was easy, and preparing my cucumbers was a snap. Being nervous, I used an air lock, which I highly suggest if you’re not one to monitor your projects daily. In about two weeks I had finally succeeded in making pickles! They had great crunch and a lovely flavour…just like real pickles!

With that accomplishment, and this book, I feel prepared to tackle other fermentation projects in the future. I highly recommend it for anyone who feels intimidated by the process, and wants clear step-by-step instructions. Additionally, it’s a beautiful book that deserves a spot on your cookbook shelf!

Order your copy now!

Greek Salad [Primal and Gluten-free]

Last winter I had the incredible experience of traveling to Greece. We stayed mainly in Athens and made day trips out to different locations, such as Delphi and Olympus. Our guide Betty was fantastic and animated, with a wealth of knowledge about each and every destination. She also made sure we had access to excellent family-owned restaurants, and helped me to navigate menus so that I could eat safely without fear of gluten.

One of our staples, other than Tzatziki, was the Greek Salad. Always with fresh and tasty ingredients, we had one with almost every meal–even breakfast! Whereas in North America, Greek Salad typically contains lettuce, in Greece you will never find lettuce in your salad, except maybe if you are in a very touristy area. This recipe is flexible, and can be adjusted based on your preferences. If you don’t like raw onions or peppers, just leave them out! If you don’t like olives, you’re probably crazy, but you can omit them! Don’t do dairy? Leave out the feta! You can just use good quality olive oil and lemon for the dressing, but I’ve also included a more elaborate dressing as well.

Greek Salad
Lots of Fresh Tomatoes, cut into chunks
Lots of Cucumbers, cut into chunks
Some Red Onion, thinly sliced
Some Green Pepper, thinly sliced
Handful of Kalamata Olives, pitted or un-pitted (just warn people!) 
Wedge of Feta Cheese (try to source good quality Greek or Bulgarian sheep’s milk Feta)
Dried Oregano, to sprinkle on top

Dressing
1/3 Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 tsp Garlic, crushed
1 tsp Fresh Oregano, minced
1 tsp Dried Basil
1/2 tsp Black Pepper
1/2 tsp Sea Salt
1 tsp Dijon Mustard
2 tsp Fresh Lemon Juice
1/2 Cup Red Wine Vinegar

Add ingredients in a jar with a lid and shake vigorously to combine. Pour over chopped vegetables and toss to combine. Cut feta into chunks and add to the salad, or cut a slice for each person and add one to each individual serving.

 

The Paleo Chocolate Lover’s Cookbook Reviewed

Let me begin by saying that I am a massive chocoholic. With that in mind, you can picture how excited I was when I opened up the package containing this lovely book by Kelly, who writes the blog, The Spunky Coconut. To be honest, I’ve been reading her blog since I first switched over to Paleo, and have always marveled at her delicious and allergen sensitive treats. This book takes all that deliciousness and wraps it up in one beautifully-designed-and-photographed package. Also, it really doesn’t hurt that every single recipe, from brownies, to truffles, to chili…contains chocolate!

The second taskafter drooling over all the chocolaty choiceswas to hand the book over to my sister, Sweet Boake, and have her narrow down the short list of recipes to test. As much as I love chocolate, I just can’t handle having too much on hand! We decided to go with the Macadamia Nut Brownies. Kelly mentions you can substitute any nut butter for the macadamia cashew butter from the recipe, which was good, since I couldn’t find any and didn’t want to hit too many stores. We ended up using almond hazelnut butter, and it made just as delicious and delightful brownies as the original option, I imagine!

Check out Sweet Boake for her review, and more pictures!

There’s also a great section in the front all about buying sustainable and fair-trade chocolate, which is a must, as there are a lot of problems in the chocolate industry in regards to unethical labour. When you purchase low quality chocolate, you’re supporting sub-par cacao harvesting conditions, that’s not right! You want to feel good about the work that goes into your ingredients!

I’d recommend this book to anyone who loves chocolate, and enjoys occasional grain-free treats in their life. There’s a small section at the back that has more savory and main course dishes, which is a great bonus, but I wouldn’t recommend the book to someone who never does any baking or who avoids ‘Paleo treats’. Definitely would be a fantastic gift for any aspiring baker in your family!

It’s currently available for pre-order, and will be released on October 1st.

Organic Week 2013

It’s Organic Week in Canada! It’s the perfect opportunity to find a local event and educate yourself about the benefits of buying organic produce and products.

Generally, I try to buy mostly organic produce, especially on things where I’m going to eat the skin, however sometimes the budget just doesn’t allow for buying everything organic. In that scenario, you just have to do the best you can…and follow the Dirty Dozen and Clean Fourteen! Yes, I know it’s Clean Fifteen technically, but Sweet Corn is on that list and due to GMO concerns, I believe only organic corn should be consumed, if any. Last year I did up some illustrations to give a visual representation of these lists, but I never posted them on my blog. To remedy that fact, here they are!

 If you’re in Canada, make sure you check out the Organic Week website to see if there’s an event near you.