Thursday, May 31, 2012

A Paleo Lunch with Sweet Lemonade

Next up in the Paleo line-up of meals...Lunch. The salad can certainly be used for dinner, but makes an excellent lunch pairing with the lemonade recipe.

Chicken Waldorf Salad
Original recipe taken from one of my very favorite cookbooks, The Garden of Eating, by Rachel Albert and Don Matesz. 

I altered it slightly to make it work for me. Have fun with it and try one of the options, below, for a different flavor.

2 medium chicken breasts 
1 1/1 large tart-sweet apples: gala, braeburn, jonagold
1/2 cup finely minced sweet white onion
1/4 cup unsalted lightly toasted almonds, pecans or walnuts
2 celery stalks
1/4 cup raisins, optional
1 tsp dried dill or 1 tbsp fresh, minced dill
1/2 cup Vegenaise 
8-10 cups spinach or tossed salad greens

1. In a mixing bowl, combine all ingredients except salad and toss everything to coat evenly. Add more Vegenaise as needed.

2. Add greens and mix everything together.

3. Share with your friends...3 of them, to be exact, as this will serve 4 total.

For a richer taste, increase nuts to 1/2 cup. You can also replace the apples with 2 cups of halved, seedless red grapes.

This next recipe,  Sweet Herb Lemonade, is taken from Rachel's fantastic website, The Healthy Cooking Coach. I did the lemonade and the orangeade and enjoyed them both. Mine were slightly different than her recipe, which is below, as I made a larger portion for each and made them a bit sweeter. This is where you'll need to play around with them. Like she says, add a little stevia, taste, then add and taste as needed.

In case you're not familiar with stevia, it's a pretty simple and incredibly beneficial sugar replacement. For one thing, it's entirely natural, as long as you buy the true stevia and not the fake, chemically altered ones. What's that point of replacing any sweetener if you're just replacing it with another fake one, right? Right. The one she lists, Nu Naturals, is safe and gluten free. Another benefit is the amount you use, which is practically nothing. You can replace entire cups of sugar in recipes with just a teaspoon here and a tablespoon there of this because it's incredibly powerful, being 200-300 times sweeter than white sugar, thus the reason you only need a little. And a little is much better than a lot, in this case, anyway.

Sweet Herb Lemonade  

Prep: 10 minutes/ Yield: 1 quart + 1/3 to 1/2 cup

If you love––or once loved––lemonade but don’t want the sugar or artificial sweeteners found in conventional recipes and commercial products, try this. All the sweetness comes from the leaf of a South American herb that tastes 100 to 300 times sweeter than sugar. 

To avoid a bitter flavor, you need to measure carefully and use it in minuscule amounts. The biggest mistake people make is using too much. Brands may differ in flavor and concentration, so always start with less than you think you need, taste, and adjust in minuscule amounts as needed.

FYI: Look for pure stevia extract powder. For cooking, baking, and all of my recipes, I recommend against brands that contain fillers that dilute the stevia making it difficult to impossible to know how much to add, particularly in cookies, cakes, pies, pastries, frozen desserts, and sauces. Note: I avoid all stevia products that contain FOS, a pre-biotic that not only dilutes the herb but adds something to feed the friendly flora in your intestines. For many people FOS causes gas and bloating. See notes above for more on this!
Caveat: If you do use Nu Naturals stevia packets (these contain a filler to make the volume of the packet like that of a sugar packet), you will have to add, taste, add, and taste to get the right amount. You might need an entire envelope for each 1/2 to 1 quart of lemonade, depending on your tastes and sweetness preferences.
4 cups filtered water  (1 quart)
1/3 to 1/2 cup freshly juiced organic lemons, seeds removed (about 3 medium lemons)
1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon pure stevia extract powder or 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon clear stevia extract liquid (I like Nu Naturals stevia extract powder & liquids and Wisdom Naturals/Sweet Leaf stevia liquids)
  1. Combine water, lemon juice, lemon pulp, if desired, and stevia in a tall glass pitcher or quart jar. Whisk well. Taste and add additional stevia, 1/16th to 1/8th teaspoon at a time, if a sweeter taste is desired. If too lemony, dilute with additional water.
  2. Serve over ice if desired.  Cover and refrigerate. Use within 1 week. 

  • Sweet Herb Limeade: Replace lemons with the juice of fresh limes.
  • Sweet Herb Lemon & Gingerade: In the master recipe, add 2 tablespoons juice from finely grated, squeezed fresh gingerroot or bottled ginger juice, or, replace 2 cups of water with 2 cups of strongly brewed and cooled Ginger Tea. 
  • Sweet Herb Orangeade: In the master recipe, replace 1 cup cold water with 1 cup fresh-squeezed orange juice, then reduce stevia by one-half. Taste and adjust as needed. 

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