Mexican Mocha Trail Mix

Mexican Mocha Trail Mix

I have this terrible habit of buying the fruitiest trail mix at the store, and eating pretty much only the nuts before deciding I'm done. Buying the trail mix without fruit takes some serious self control-- at the store, it looks like sweet little pieces of candy. A few bites in, I'm done and ready to move on. 

What's better is when the nuts are somehow transformed into a treat, like the cocoa-dusted pecans in this trail mix, which are roasted with a bit of cinnamon and a dash of cayenne. 

Mexican Mocha Trail Mix
A healthy dose of chocolate never hurt, so I usually opt for the trail mixes with dessert-like names. No regrets. This trail mix follows suit, with chocolate-covered espresso beans and cacao nibs. It's the perfect afternoon pick-me-up to keep in my desk drawer, with a little bit of chocolate, a little bit of caffeine, and some healthy fat from hazelnuts and macadamia nuts to slow it all down so I don't end up bouncing off the walls (that part is important).
Mexican Mocha Trail Mix

Time to get ready for National Trail Mix Day (It's on the 31st!)! 

Mexican Mocha Trail Mix

Mexican Mocha Trail Mix

Paleo, Gluten-Free, Grain-Free,    |       |    Print This Recipe

Cocoa-dusted pecans with cinnamon and cayenne, along with chocolate-covered espresso beans make this trail mix a sweet and spicy treat!

Yields: 4 cups   |    Total Time:



Ingredients:

    For the pecans:
  • 2 cups pecans
  • 1 egg white
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 2 tablespoon coconut sugar
  • Pinch cayenne
  • Small dash salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • For the trail mix:
  • 2 cups macadamia nuts
  • 2 cups hazelnuts
  • 1/2 cup cacao nibs
  • 1/2 cup chocolate-covered espresso beans

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 325°F. Whisk egg white to soft peaks. Fool in pecans until coated. In small bowl, whisk together the cocoa, coconut sugar, cinnamon, and cayenne. Toss pecans in mixture. Spread on cookie sheet. Bake for 15-20 minutes, until fragrant. Set aside to cool completely.
  2. Toss pecans with macadamia nuts, hazelnuts, cacao nibs, and espresso beans. Store in airtight container.

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Coconut, Nut Butter & Honey "Granola" Bars

grain-free nut butter granola bars

Spending time in the car always sounds like such a drag to me--it's hot, you can't move, and long drives are exhausting. That's why our road trips always require three things: good snacks, plenty of water, and a podcast! 

I started this recipe intending for it to be eaten out at the crag (if you're not a rock climber, the "crag" is a place you go to climb), but the long drive to our climbing destination got the best of us: by the time we arrived at our campsite only one bar remained. This was a good sign: my grain-free granola bar experiments had finally paid off!  

grain-free nut butter granola bars

The desert sun is hot so I wanted to make a granola bar I could take camping, climbing, hiking, or pretty much anywhere else it's warm. One that was made using only whole ingredients, and one that wouldn't melt. I'm so happy to not just share this recipe with you, but to make it again and again! 

grain-free nut butter granola bars
grain-free nut butter granola bars

P.S., I also brought these to a party at one point while recipe testing, and they totally passed as dessert. So you can enjoy them without actually venturing out of your home, if you would like ;)

grain-free nut butter granola bars

Coconut, Nut Butter & Honey “Granola” Bars

Paleo, Gluten-Free, Grain-Free,    |       |    Print Friendly and PDF

Coconut subs in for regular oats in this grain-free bar recipe.

Serves: 8   |    Total Time:



Ingredients:

  • 1-1/2 cups dried shredded coconut (also called desiccated coconut)
  • 1/3 cup nut butter (sun butter or almond butter are great! If you eat peanut butter that's delcious too.)
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil, melted
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon cassava flour
  • Dash salt
  • 1/3 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F, and fit a medium sized bread pan with parchment paper. Set aside.
  2. In a medium mixing bowl, toss the coconut, cassava flour and salt. Then, fold in the nut butter, melted coconut oil, honey, and egg until well combined. Press mixture in even layer in the pan fitted with parchment, and bake for 20-25 minutes—until the bars begin to brown and are slightly puffed. Remove from oven and set aside to cool.
  3. Once bars are cool to the touch, lift the parchment from the pan. Use a chef’s knife to cut into 8 slices.
  4. Melt the chocolate chips in a thick-bottomed sauce pan over very low heat until smooth. Stir frequently. Once most of the chips are melted, remove from heat. Continue to stir, until residual heat has completely melted the chocolate chips.
  5. Use a spoon to drizzle the chocolate over the bars. Allow to set.
  6. Store in an air-tight container.

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Rustic Chicken Parmesan, Prague, Italy

Rustic Chicken Parmesan

I hope everyone had a fun & happy Labor Day weekend! Being on vacation meant I barely even noticed it was a long weekend—in fact, I barely know what day of the week it is! But that is the glory of vacation, isn’t it. 

Rustic Chicken Parmesan

In my last trip update I told you about our adventures through Iceland and Austria. Now, that story is already just a memory that seems long gone. It’s amazing how much stuff you can pack into one day when you want to! We have done so much that the days have flown by. Since that update, we’ve hopped a bus to Prague, returned, and driven down to Val di Fassa, where we are staying in a cabin in the heart of the Dolomites.

We have been working up mega appetites, too! Biking the valleys here is more than just a short jaunt, and the climbing gives way to some of the most breathtaking views I’ve seen. We have not been eating 100% Paleo, but you know what they say — when in Rome! And we’re almost in Rome. Gelato? Mmm, yes please.

Luckily, our cabin does have a kitchen, so most evenings I get to do one of my favorite things: make dinner for everyone! The kitchen is rustic to say the least, with a real wood burning oven and stove. I love cooking on it… everything gets an old-fashioned homey flavor. This Rustic Chicken Parmesan is the best dinner we’ve had all week. Was that me in the kitchen eating this straight from the serving spoon? I guess you’ll never know…  

Rustic Chicken Parmesan

Here are some pictures from the last week— jump below for the recipe for Rustic Chicken Parmesan. (Is that real parmesan? Yes! I mentioned we are close to Rome, right?).  

Rustic Chicken Parmesan

Paleo, Primal, Gluten-Free, Grain-Free    |       |    Print Friendly and PDF

Cooking this on an old wood burning oven enhanced it’s rustic flavor, but in general, but this recipe will have a homey feel no matter where it is cooked.

Serves: 4-5   |    Total Time:



Ingredients:

  • 1 small yellow onion
  • 2 large or 3-4 small garlic cloves
  • 3-4 teaspoons coconut oil
  • 1 sixteen-ounce can crushed tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup red wine
  • 2 vine-ripe tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup small red bell pepper, diced
  • Salt & Pepper
  • 2 tablespoons dried Italian Herb mix (You may also use fresh herbs, to taste)
  • 2 pounds chicken breasts
  • 1 medium eggplant, sliced into 1/4 inch rounds
  • 1 cup parmesan cheese in thin slices of shredded

Directions:

  1. Heat 1 teaspoon coconut oil in a small sauce pan over medium heat. Dice the onion and minced the garlic. Add them to the pan.Sprinkle with a small amount of salt to speed cooking time. Once the onions begin to brown, add the red wine. Scrape the bottom of the pot to deglaze.
  2. Add the canned tomatoes to the pot. Dice the fresh tomatoes, and add them to the pot along with the bell pepper. Bring to a simmer. Add herb blend, and salt and pepper to taste. Stir and cover.
  3. In a skillet, heat 1 teaspoon coconut oil over medium heat. Add the chicken to the pan once the oil it hot. Once the chicken is browned on one side, flip it over. Cook the chicken through. Then use a fork or tongs to remove the chicken from the skillet. Once cool enough to handle, cut the chicken breast into strips.
  4. Add another teaspoon of oil to the skillet. Once melted, swirl the oil around to coat. Working in batches, cook the eggplant: place the eggplant in a single layer in the skillet, heat until browned on one side. Flip. Heat on the other side until cooked browned on both sides. (Just look for a nice sear on the outside— eggplant will continue to cook once casserole is layered). Repeat until all the eggplant is browned, adding coconut oil as needed to prevent sticking.
  5. Preheat oven to 450°F.
  6. Build the casserole: layer ingredients in the following order: 1 layer of eggplant, 1 layer of chicken, 1/2 of the sauce, 1/2 cup of cheese, 1 layer of eggplant, remaining sauce, and finally the remaining cheese.
  7. Place casserole in oven. Bake 10-15 minutes, until cheese is melted and sauce is bubbling. Serve hot with a glass of red wine.

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