MATCHA MADNESS! Kiss Me Organics Product Review and Recipe Round-up

Matcha Madness - Product Review and Recipe Round-upI was recently contacted by Kiss Me Organics about the possibility of me sampling and reviewing their Organic Matcha. Being a lover of all things Matcha and Green Tea related, I of course responded with a hearty “Yes please!!” Exclusive to Amazon, their Matcha shipped extremely quickly, and I had it on my doorstep and into my kitchen in no time flat. Soon, I was in matcha heaven! Of course, the first thing I made was a matcha latte. Their product whisks up smoothly when combined with hot water, and has a pleasant balanced taste. Not overly bitter or grassy, when combined with foamed milk and a little honey, it’s perfection!

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Of course, I couldn’t stop there. Next on the list was matcha ice cream. Like I said, matcha addict over here! With this Organic Matcha I was able to use my own ingredients and ice cream maker at home and match a matcha ice cream like you’ve never experienced before. Plus, you have the ability to control the ingredients and even create a 100% organic ice cream, if you so desire. When you indulge, you might as well go for the best!

When you make a purchase, they also send you a free e-book with 50+ recipes, all using matcha. Including such savory options as matcha curry, believe it or not! With one package lasting you 6 weeks (that would be if you were using it every day), and the high quality of the product, you’ve definitely got value for your money. I’d highly recommend Kiss Me Organics Matcha to any matcha fan.

While we’re on the topic of Matcha, I decided to throw together a MATCHA MADNESS Recipe Roundup! Clearly I can’t get enough.

If matcha being delicious weren’t reason enough to consume it, Whole New Mom talks about the 7 Health Benefits of Green Tea and Grass Fed Girl has a whopping 9 Benefits of Matcha Green Tea!

First up let’s go for the Paleo spin on the classic.

How-to-Make-the-Perfect-Matcha-Pinterest-736x981Yes, you too can easily make the Perfect Cup of Matcha, with this guide by Popular Paleo.

cinnamon eats matcha lattePersonally though, where I am now is very hot, so next we have Cinnamon Eats’ Paleo Iced Matcha Latte, perfect for hot summer days.

matcha Popsicle

If you’re still not cooled down yet, why not make these Creamy Matcha Strawberry Popsicles? Also from Cinnamon Eats!

Now onto some cookies…

south beach primal matcha whoopie piesHow about some Matcha Whoopie Pies, courtesy of South Beach Primal?

Green-Tea-CookiesOr, Paleo Matcha Green Tea Cookies, created by The Urban Eco Life!

cereal-901x1024Now this is a creative way to work more matcha into your breakfast with Paleo Kitchen Lab’s Chia Super Cereal with Matcha and Carob.

matcha-lime-mousseTo finish up, here’s one more, a guest post for Cinnamon Eats, created by Natural Kitchen Adventures. Matcha Lime Mousse. This sounds divine. I could dive into a vat of this right now!

I hope you’ve enjoyed this brief trip to Matcha Heaven! Actually, before I put together this review and roundup, I had no idea there were so many possibilities…but I have to say I have quite a lot of my Kiss Me Organics Matcha left, and a WHOLE lot of options! Until next time, friends, take care.

Nom Nom Paleo: Food for Humans [Cookbook Review]

Nom Nom Paleo: Food for Humansm {Cookbook  Review}I might be a bit late to the party in reviewing Michelle and Henry’s awesome book, Nom Nom Paleo: Food for Humans, but in my defense…I love to do illustrated reviews, and I haven’t had time to squeeze one in around my other work. However, the long wait is over and I can finally say my piece about this excellent book, and whip out my drawing as you can see above! Michelle’s character is just too cute, I really like drawing her.

If you’re in the “Paleo Scene”, and you haven’t already heard of Nom Nom Paleo, I imagine that you’re doing the re-enactment thing and are actually living in a cave, not using the internet, etc. That’s cool! Personally I’ve been a longtime fan of Michelle and Henry’s blog, and have had the pleasure of meeting them in person a few times as well. They’re just as awesome and nice in Real Life.

Basically, Nom Nom Paleo: Food For Humans embodies all the cool things that they’re already doing on their blog, PLUS tons more recipes, print versions of their super photography, an extra bunch of really wicked comics drawn by Henry. It’s really got it all, in terms of foodstuffs: Mayo, Ghee, Magic Mushroom Powder™, Sriracha, Holy ‘mole Guacamole, three different Salsas, dressings…and that’s just in the first section of recipes. It’s like if you had access to a magic genie and wished for Nom Nom Paleo’s blog in physical form, and the genie said, “WISH GRANTED; plus I literally added everything to make this as awesome as possible.”

A personal favourite: in the “Nibbles” section, there’s 6 whole pages dedicated to different types of non-spud CHIPS. I am a major crunchy fan, so, I’m sold. Also: 4 different kinds of deviled eggs. It’s like they know the food-path to my heart or something.

There are so many amazing Paleo Cookbooks out there right now, but Nom Nom Paleo: Food For Humans is definitely a special one. With the informational sections and comics in the first part of the book, I dare say it would be a great introductory book to give a friend you want to ease into the Paleo Way-of-Life. With a fun spin, and super recipes, you really can’t go wrong. Even kids would be drawn in by the comics and colours. In stunning hardcover, and with a really unique style, this book is really the whole package. If you haven’t picked it up yet–you definitely should!

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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!

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!

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!

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.

Picanha (Brazilian Roasted Rump Cap / Top Sirloin) featuring US Wellness Meats Beef

A few months ago I received an email from the awesome people over at US Wellness Meats commenting on how they enjoyed my illustrated recipes, and how they’d really love to send me some samples to cook with. Unfortunately, since I live in Canada, they couldn’t ship to me at home. Luckily for me, I was coming down to the States and crashing with Russ and his wonderful family for a few days. US Wellness was kind enough to time the shipment perfectly so that we could work on some collaborative recipes!

This basic and delicious recipe was Russ’ plan. It was my first time tasting their Grass-fed Beef, so we chose something that would showcase the flavour of the product. There are no sauces or spices getting in the way, just the salt and the beautiful cut of beef. Definitely especially good with US Wellness‘ awesome Grass-fed Top Sirloin steak! This Brazilian BBQ staple we served along with last week’s post, Couve a Mineira, aka Brazilian Collard Greens.

Be sure to check out The Domestic Man for Russ’ version, which includes some tasty photos and more historical facts on this dish.

Picanha (Brazilian Roasted Rump Cap / Top Sirloin)

Ingredients

  • 2 top sirloins (~1.5 lbs each) or one rump cap (~3 lbs) |
  • 2 Tbsp extra coarse sea salt (or rock salt)
  • Sausages for grilling

Directions

As Russ explains, the Sausages are are used to season the grill before adding the Picanha. When it comes to choosing salt, look for the chunkiest salt you can find, as it makes it easier for the salty crust to form when cooking on the grill.

You can be badass like Russ and grill your Picanha over an open fire, or you can grill this on a plain charcoal grill or a gas grill on high heat. Either way, prep your grill and get it hot.

Let the top sirloin sit at room temperature for twenty minutes, then slice diagonally into four thick, long chunks. Try to get one big piece of fat in each of the sliced chunks, to maximize flavour. Curl the chunks and skewer with some sturdy metal skewers. Season generously with the sea salt on each side.

When the grill is nice and hot, place the sausages on the grill directly over the fire for a couple minutes to sear them, then move them to the edge of the grill to continue cooking. If you’re using fully-cooked sausages or raw sausages, the cook time will change. Either way it should take about 10-15 mins to cook them.

Then, move the sausages to the side of the grill. Take the main event, your expertly skewered beef, and place it directly over the hot part of the fire or grill, and roast for about four minutes per side. Watch out for flare-ups, but since we’re looking for a nice salty crust on each side of the meat, just keep them under control. Cook to your liking, testing for done-ness as you go. Remove from the heat, and slice to serve, along with greens and even cheese buns, if you’re feeling ambitious!

Thanks to US Wellness Meats for letting me try out their awesome beef! Look for a couple more recipes featuring their products in the future. Shout out to Russ for cooking along with me, and if for some reason you’re not following him already, check out The Domestic Man on Facebook and Twitter so you don’t miss his recipes.

 

Beyond Bacon Book Review

For a lot of people pork falls into two categories: Torturous dry pork chops and delicious crispy bacon. However, pork is so much more than that, as Stacy and Matt show in their wonderful new book, Beyond Bacon. It takes the focus off of one part of the animal and shows you how to take each and every part, cook it properly and make it delightful! You can learn how to render your own lard, make porchetta, cure bacon, smoke pork belly, break down a head for head cheese and even make brownies, biscotti and ice cream. Holy pig!

There was much anticipation surrounding the release of this book, and I have to say it’s very justified. Beyond Bacon is a complete package looks-wise; from the lovely design work, including the hand-rendered chalk typography and illustrated cover by CJ Hughes, to the yummy food styling (seriously, they make head cheese look DAMN GOOD!), captured by the lovely photography of Aimee Buxton. However, it’s not just about looks here: Stacy and Matt walk you through everything you need to know to order your own pastured hog! How to pick the right parts and decipher a cut sheet are essential tools that are included in this book. They show you how to talk the talk and walk the walk in the land of pastured pork goodness. This book could successfully change peoples’ perception of pork for the better!

I was overwhelmed by the number of recipes I wanted to try, and managed to select a few to start with. Rendering my own lard was super simple when following the instructions in the book. The Bacon Salted Caramel Sauce was a hit with my family, when drizzled over ice cream-topped ‘The Best Brownies’! Plus, I know I’ll never again have to suffer a dry pork chop after learning the foolproof cooking technique as described in Stacy and Matt’s excellent cookbook.

This delicious photo is courtesy of my sister who blogs over at Sweet Boake, and is an expert at baking and food photography!

Even if you’re not interested in ordering a whole pig, this book could still be for you! There’s plenty of chops, belly and bacon to tide over less adventurous eaters, PLUS a robust treats section. Hey, once you’re hooked on the basics, who knows if you’ll be wanting to check out the more adventurous bits pretty soon…hey, it can’t be that offal! ; )

In short; if you like pork, and you like cookbooks that are well-designed and thoughtful, you should DEFINITELY order this book!

Gather: The Art of Paleo Entertaining by Bill Staley and Hayley Mason [Illustrated Review]


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Gather: The Art of Paleo Entertaining by Bill Staley and Hayley Mason [Illustrated Review]

Gather is the type of cookbook that you’d proudly display on your coffee table. You’d want it in easy reach for inspiration, and to have out to make your friends a little jealous…and curious! What is this Paleo diet, and how come it looks so gorgeous and refined in this book? I heard it was about cavemen, what gives??

This is the second cookbook from Hayley Mason and Bill Staley, and I have to say that they’ve really hit it out of the park. This book is the full package and it does something that I don’t think has yet been achieved quite so well by any other Paleo cookbook; It makes Paleo look super classy. It’s perfectly laid out in a square format with fabulous full colour photographs. Each place-setting is immaculate and well-considered. The tables are groomed landscapes dotted with appropriate props and sumptuously arranged food.

Is that enough adjectives for ya?! Basically: THIS BOOK IS LOVELY.

Now, it’s not all about looks either. Gather is also solid in terms of menus and planning. Divided into 17 different set menus, 4 to 5 per season, each one is a well-balanced plan of action of how to feed and impress your friends and family. They all consist of appetizers, mains and a dessert (and sometimes a beverage!) It might seem overwhelming to create so many different dishes for one event, but Hayley and Bill have you covered. Not only have they crafted these special dishes, but they have also laid out exactly how you can shop and prepare in advance to minimize stress on the big day. Awesome! This book has looks and brains!

My illustration here showcases the Spring Time Tea Party, which includes recipes for:

  • Rooiboos Gingersnap Tea
  • Cucumber and Salmon Bites
  • Carrots with Olive Tapenade Trio
  • Orange and Cranberry Scones
  • Zuchinni Bread

That being said, even if you don’t make the full menu, any one of the dishes from the book would be a showstopper.  Gather is chock-full of vibrant images and tasty dishes. I’d highly recommend ordering a copy for yourself.

The Menu Cards are available for download here, and you can pre-order your copy online at Amazon!