Introduction I've been eating grain-free for well over a decade, since 2001. While I am very focused on using the foods I eat to improve my health, my primary goal has been to bring people together around good food. For me, this means creating tasty dishes that appeal to everyone, not just those with dietary restrictions. My friends say that when I'm trying to perfect a new recipe I am like a dog with a bone--I don't stop until my recipe tastes like the classic dish that I aim to emulate, sometimes testing a recipe as many as thirty times until I get it just right. Where does this drive come from? It stems from the love I have for my oldest son (now fourteen, diagnosed with celiac at age two) and my desire for him to have food that is delicious and enticing. In other words, I don't want him to covet the food his friends eat. I want his friends to clamor for the food that I make--and they do. When the boys bring their friends by the house, they all dig in to piles of homemade bagels with healthy spreads, high-protein cookies (made with almond flour), and wholesome ice cream made with coconut milk, hemp seeds, and honey. During sleepovers they raid my kitchen for a midnight snack--little do they know how nutritious the food they are "sneaking" is. My culinary journey started with an Ayurvedic training that began in 1993. (Ayurveda, or the science of self-healing, is a five-thousand-year-old system that originated in India; it emphasizes balancing the body, mind, and spirit through diet, lifestyle, and exercise.) It became quite handy just a few years later in 1998, when I was diagnosed with celiac disease. Initially, I relied on the gluten-free diet; however, this did little to improve my digestion. My husband, concerned about my continuing digestive distress, researched solutions and found the Specific Carbohydrate Diet (SCD). This diet was created by the brilliant Elaine Gottschall, with whom I later became friends via a series of long telephone conversations. In 2001 I began eating grain-free, and I have ever since. In 2006, after several years of creativity in the kitchen, I started my blog, Elana's Pantry, where I have a collection of more than seven hundred grain-free recipes. In the meantime, the grain-free diet, for the most part now referred to as the Paleo (or ancestral) diet, has taken the culinary world by storm. Now, when I'm at book signings, all types of people tell me about their love of Paleo eating; many want to eat like a caveman. As interest in the Paleo diet has grown, I've adapted many of its additional tenets, including eliminating legumes and dairy. I also avoid some nightshades (including tomatoes, potatoes, peppers, and eggplant), which proponents of the Paleo diet say may possibly be detrimental to those with autoimmune conditions. Further, given the number of friends I have with nut allergies, I've drastically increased the number of nut-free recipes in this book. As food allergies continue to increase, I am happy to cut out allergens while rising to the challenge of keeping favorite foods flavorfully in the picture. I hope you enjoy this new book and the evolution it has taken from my past work. ------------------------------------------------------ Blueberry Coffee Cake Serves 8 Sweetness: Medium Slices of this blueberry coffee cake, which show off vibrant splashes of blue, will impress your guests at brunch. It also makes a lovely dessert. Cake 2 cups blanched almond flour 1/4 teaspoon baking soda 1/4 teaspoon sea salt 4 large eggs 1/4 cup Spectrum all-vegetable shortening 1/4 cup coconut sugar 1 tablespoon vanilla extract 1/2 cup frozen blueberries Topping 1/4 cup Spectrum all-vegetable shortening 1/4 cup coconut sugar 1/2 cup blanched almond flour 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease an 8-inch round cake pan with shortening and dust with almond flour. To make the cake, combine the almond flour, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl. In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, shortening, coconut sugar, and vanilla extract. Stir the wet ingredients into the almond flour mixture until thoroughly combined, then stir in the blueberries. Pour the batter into the prepared cake pan. To make the topping, cream together the shortening and coconut sugar in a medium bowl. Stir in the almond flour and cinnamon, then sprinkle the topping over the cake batter. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out with just a few moist crumbs attached. Let the cake cool in the pan for 1 hour, then serve. Excerpted from Paleo Cooking from Elana's Pantry: Gluten-Free, Grain-Free, Dairy-Free Recipes by Elana Amsterdam All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.