DESCRIPTION

Through the Paleo diet/lifestyle and the Whole30 my family, friends and I are becoming healthier! We are getting to our healthy weights, moving more, sleeping better and have better energy. We are suffering fewer mild medical issues and are just overall feeling better every day!

I spend a lot of time in the kitchen these days. We cook and enjoy a lot of great food that's both tasty and healthy. I hope you'll find some recipes here that you'll enjoy!


Friday, December 14, 2012

Whole30 January 1!

I'm really excited to be doing another Whole30 in January!  In fact, I feel like I NEED to do it!  Husband is on board and so are some friends.  It's gonna be great!  You should join us!  In fact, I've started a FaceBook group for us!  See you there!

Tips for a successful Whole30:
  1. Plan, plan, plan!  Plan your menu at least a week in advance.
  2. Pre-cook as much as you can over the weekend (or whenever you have the most free time).
  3. Make dishes that have meat & veggies all in one so that you don't have to plan to make a veggie with every meal.
  4. Start stocking up on seasonings now (to avoid a high grocery bill in week 1).
  5. Start stocking up on kitchen basics now (to avoid a high grocery bill in week 1).

I have compiled a list of compliant Whole30 Recipes that I have personally  made and enjoyed.  The list has hyperlinks to each recipe.  Please keep in mind that some minor modifications may be needed in order to be Whole30 compliant (such as using ghee or clarified butter in place of butter...etc.)  Also, some things may be SWYPO for you, such as the banana ice cream.  If that's the case, please don't use those recipes!  If anyone has any recipes that they would like to add to the list, please let me know.  There are a ton of resources on the web for Whole30 recipes including the Recipe Sharing portion Whole9 forum, which I strongly suggest that EVERYONE use!  I browsed that forum every single day of my first Whole30 and I still browse it at least once a week.

I always do a lot of prepping & cooking on Sunday for the following week.  I strongly suggest you make a menu plan each week and do as much of the cooking as possible on one day so that there is always healthy, compliant food available with little or no work required.  Below is a typical sample week that I would do.  This * symbol represents what I will be cooking up ahead over the weekend.  

Week 1 Menu
*BBQ Crockpot Chicken with steamed mixed veggies
*Crockpot Shredded Beef (add lots of onions & peppers to pot or make additional on the side)
Ribeye Steaks with Sweet Potato Fries & homemade mayo
Baked Lemon Pepper Cod with sauteed Asparagus
Shredded Beef with Fried Eggs
*Sausage & Egg Scramble
*Hard Boiled Eggs

Week 1 Shopping List
Whole Chicken
Beef Roast
3lb Ground Beef (or turkey or venison...)
Ribeyes (you can grill extras and use it for lunch the next day)
Pork Sausage (be sure there is no sugar or nitrites/nitrates)
Fresh Wild Caught Cod - I watch for this to be marked down at the grocery store and then buy it and cook it  within a day or two
Mixed Veggies (fresh or frozen)

Onions
Bell Peppers
Cabbage
Broth & Stock (I make my own)
Soup Veggies - celery, onion, carrots, zucchini, green beans, whatever you like
Tomato Paste 6oz
Eggs (I buy 4-5 dozen per week!)
Sweet Potatoes
Asparagus



Friday, December 7, 2012

Seasonings

As I am gearing up for my next Whole30 (January 1st), I am developing some helpful lists for those who will be joining me for their first Whole30.  Here is a basic list of spices & seasonings that I keep on hand:


This is my entire spice/herb shelf.
I also store some of my vinegars & oils on there.


Paprika
Salt & Pepper
Sea Salt
Onion Powder
Thyme
Cayenne
White Pepper
Garlic Powder
Chili Powder
Parsley
Lemon Pepper (no MSG, no sugar) 
Oregano
Cumin
Turmeric
Basil
Smoked Paprika
Dry Mustard
Cinnamon






Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Kitchen Basics

As I am gearing up for my next Whole30 (January 1st), I am developing some helpful lists for those who will be joining me for their first Whole30.  Here is a list of basic items that I always keep on hand:

Light Flavored Olive Oil (for making mayo & ranch dressing)
Mustard - because it's about the only packaged condiment that's compliant!
Coconut Oil - for cooking
Ghee or Clarified Butter - you can buy regular butter and clarify it yourself
Garlic - I bought a giant bag of it at Sam's Club
Onions
Eggs - used for meals & snacks as well as for making the mayo & ranch.  Farm fresh, free-range, organic are best!  
Coconut Milk - the canned full-fat stuff (no "lite").  NOT Silk!

GOOD (contains guar gum)
Photo Credit:
http://www.thaikitchen.com/products/coconut-milk.aspx

BETTER (no guar gum, cheapest I've found, VERY thick)

                                                    BEST (no guar gum, no BPA)
Photo Credit:
http://www.edwardandsons.com/native_shop_coconut.itml

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Weekly Cook-up & Banana Bread Muffins


 My weekly cook-up this week wasn't nearly as extensive as last week, but we had several servings of soup left over as well as the spicy pork.  So... on Sunday I cooked the two spaghetti squash that I had in the pantry from the farmers market.  I tossed it all in butter with some garlic powder, salt and pepper and then let it cool and put it in storage containers in the fridge.  I also made a batch of chunky marinara sauce using the recipe I found on Spark Recipes.  Sunday night I sauteed some shrimp and reheated the spaghetti squash by sauteing it in (more) butter with fresh garlic.  

This "shrimp scampi" wasn't as awesome as I thought it would be.  I think I need to do a better job cooking the shrimp next time.   






Monday night I reheated more of the squash using the saute method again and topped it with the chunky marinara.  This has quickly become a favorite dinner for me! 


                                                                                    
 





I also made these banana bread muffins.  I replaced the olive oil with coconut oil and left the walnuts out (because I didn't have enough of them).  I topped one with coconut butter (first time trying coconut butter ever!) and it was really good!  These were a hit!



I've decided to go to CrossFit on Monday, Wednesday and Friday nights (and maybe Saturday mornings) for now, so tonight I will cook up the 3lbs of boneless chicken breasts that I have and saute any veggies that are in my fridge.  That should get us through Thursday or Friday.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

funny

Found this on Facebook.  Amusing :)


Catching up...

There's been a lot going on in the last week and half and I haven't even had time to share it all!  

On November 18th I participated in a 3-1/2 hour CrossFit Fundamentals class.  I'm hooked!  I went back the very next day and did a WOD that was spending 30 minutes determining your one rep max deadlift. I had never done a deadlift before, so I had no idea what to expect.  I started with 95lbs (you are only lifting the bar from the floor to a straight standing position, mostly using your lower back muscles and hips to move the weight, allowing for much heavier lifts).  I then tried 115, 135, 145 and finally 155 pounds!  I was proud as a peacock to have lifted that much on my first night!  

My friend Billie & I after we totally
ROCKED the Turkey Day 5k
That was only the beginning of what was to become an incredible week of accomplishments for me!  I had been planning on running the Turkey Day 5k on Thanksgiving morning for the 2nd year in a row and while I had been pretty excited about it, in the weeks leading up to it I felt very unprepared and not ready.  There were over 800 runners!  What a rush!  I was convinced this was going to be one of my worst 5k races.  Last year I finished it in over 35 minutes.  That's about what I expected this year.  You can imagine my shock and astonishment when I finished in 30:06!  That's over 2-1/2 minutes faster than my record.  Also, it was the first time that I have ever ran the entire time.  NO walking!  My next 5k will be under 30 minutes and I will bring home a trophy before the heat of summer in 2013 stops me from running.  Mark my words.

After the race we had Thanksgiving lunch with some of Husband's family.  I had deviled eggs, veggies with homemade ranch, turkey, potatoes & gravy, sweet potatoes, fruit salad, cranberries and even a paleo cake that his Aunt made for us!  

I have since done 2 more WODs at my local box (CrossFit Jackson) and I felt a sense of accomplishment after each one like never before!  Husband has been CrossFitting since April and since he works 3rd shift, he attends the 7pm class (would be the equivalent of me going at 6am).  Since April, I have been making dinner while he's gone to the gym and when he would get home (after 8pm most times), I would either have already eaten dinner or we would eat together.  He really wants me to workout with him at 7pm, so I had to figure out how to make and eat dinner in that time frame.  Since this is the first week we are trying that schedule, I spent time this weekend cooking up a ton of food so that all of our meals would be ready to heat & eat.  Here's what I made:

Chicken Salad (with homemade mayo, grapes, salt & pepper)
Spicy Pulled Pork (I skip the sauce) Served with green beans
Smoked Beef Brisket with steamed broccoli
I also made 10 hard boiled eggs and baked a cookie sheet full of bacon.

We are nearly out of boiled eggs and the bacon is gone, so tonight I will fry up a pound of pastured pork sausage together with a dozen eggs and portion it out in the fridge for the rest of the week.  We like to heat it up and top it with Frog Ranch Salsa.


These Blueberry Muffins by PaleOMG were pretty good!  However, an entire cup of almond butter is a lot of money and when I think of it that way, they weren't good enough to warrant that kind of spending for a dozen muffins.  Also, if I were to make them again, I would put an entire cup of blueberries in them because you can never have too many blueberries in your blueberry muffins.

The recipe says it makes 8-10 muffins, but I easily filled all 12 muffin cups.  Also, it didn't say how far to fill the cups.  As you can see, I filled mine about 3/4 full.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Things that make you go hmmmm....

So Hostess is throwing in the towel and everyone on the social networking sites are making a joke about it or mourning the death of the Twinkie.  Some people are really upset about the jobs lost.  Personally, I'm happy that the little snacks are going away.  They are frankenfood.  Maybe it will be a step toward people eating more real, whole foods.  Or maybe not.  Either way, I'm not crying over it.  I do feel for the people losing their jobs, but after going through 3, yes THREE job lay-offs (where both Husband and I were laid off at the same time) in a 2-year period, I know that people will survive this.     

In other news, Larabar is owned by General Mills (another maker of frankenfoods).  General Mills gave $520,000 to defeat California's Prop 37 (Mandatory labeling of genetically modified food).  So, some people in the whole food world are boycotting Larabar now.  I'm on the fence.  I think GMOs should be labeled as such, but if the proposition was poorly written, maybe it needed to be tabled and re-thought.  Overall, I would like to see the labeling of GMOs on all foods as well as the labeling of BPAs.  We used to eat a lot of Larabars, but I haven't even been buying them lately because they were becoming a "Food With no Brakes" for us anyway.  Another company that gave money to fight Prop 37 is nestle and they own my favorite juice drink Naked.  I don't drink juice often, but when I do, it's this stuff!  It's a great little pick-me-up treat!  I will probably think twice about buying either of these items from now on.  As you can see in this infographic, there are several other big companies that you might buy from that also spent their profits to fight Prop 37.  I have been working toward spending less and less of my money at the grocery store and instead spending it at the Farmers Market or other small, local businesses.  This knowledge will just push me a little further away from the grocery store.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

What is YOUR Paleo?

I've mentioned before that Paleo (or clean eating) means different things to different people.  What it means to me is ever evolving.  At first, I really thought that I would want to keep dairy around, but that doesn't seem to bode well with my health, so I typically avoid it.  There is a great post from the Robb Wolf website called Seven Shades of Paleo.  This is a great post that really reflects how Paleo is not really definable.  It's just a word we all use (probably way too much) to describe our way of eating.  For me, I would say I am mostly shade 5, with a little of shades 3, 4 and 7 sprinkled in.  If I had to explain my way of eating without using the word Paleo, I would say that: 

"I mostly avoid grains, dairy and processed foods.  I occasionally indulge in gluten-free alcohol and love raw honey.  I center my meals around meat and veggies and prepare most of my food myself"

My motivation comes from a few different things including (but not limited to):

  • keeping my digestive health in order
  • maintaining my weight loss
  • supporting local, sustainable farmers and growers

Friday, November 9, 2012

Leftover Veggies for Breakfast with Turkey Sausage

The leftover veggies from yesterday's fajita post also make for a great breakfast.  I happened upon some turkey sausage that was on sale and I had coupon for it.  I normally prefer pork sausage, but I'm trying to eat more poultry and seafood and less beef and pork.  I eat a LOT of beef.  Granted it is good quality, grass-fed beef, I still feel like I'm not properly balanced in my protein sources.  Soooooo... last night I stir-fried more peppers & onions and I also fried up the entire package of turkey sausage.  This made breakfast so easy this morning!




Thursday, November 8, 2012

Fajitas!

Whenever I make this AH-mazing Beef Fajita recipe from Paleo Effect, I also use the Adobo Seasoning to make some Chicken Fajitas.  I just sprinkle the seasoning on a couple of boneless, skinless chicken breasts and put them on the grill with the flank steak.  Then I stir-fry extra veggies and and I have a couple of lunches for coming days!  I take some guacamole along to top the dish.  YUM!
Delicious lunch!
Beautiful colored bell peppers and jalapeno prior to stir-frying
Leftovers: stir-fried more veggies and added the leftover grilled
chicken in at the end to re-heat.  Dinner!

Quick Lunch

Sometimes you just don't have time for a fancy lunch.  When I make a chicken in the crockpot, I remove the meat from the bone and put it into lunch containers in the fridge.  Then I grab a container of chicken and some homemade mayo and take it to work.  When I get hungry,  I eat the chicken cold, dipped in mayo.  It's like chicken salad without the work!  I also keep the small single serving cans of veggies on hand to go with a lunch like this.


Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Omelet Re-Creation


I never used to like veggies in my eggs.  Even during my first Whole30, I struggled with this.  But the Whole30 really changes your tastes.  Typically (pre-paleo), when out for breakfast, I would order a ham & cheese omelet.  This weekend I decided to order the Ultimate Omelet at Denny's.  It has onions, peppers, tomatoes, bacon, sausage and mushrooms (I asked them to hold the cheese).  I don't even LIKE mushrooms, but I devoured this thing!  It was soooo delish!  So... I sort of recreated it at home (without the tomatoes and mushrooms because I didn't have any).  I started by cooking the onions and peppers in butter. Then I added a little sausage and a piece of bacon that I had cut up.  Once that was all done cooking, I put it in a dish and added more butter to my pan.  Then I poured 3 whisked eggs in the pan and let it begin to set-up.  Once it was starting to set, I added the meat and veggies back in (on one side like the picture above shows).  Once it was firm enough to flip one end over, I did that and let it cook just another minute. YUM!

Friday, November 2, 2012

SPAGHETTI!


I don't normally like chunky spaghetti sauces.  Pre-paleo I usually bought Ragu or something like that and even since going paleo, I've made blended sauces.  So, I was a little skeptical of this Paleo Marinara Sauce w/Beef recipe that I found on Spark Recipes.  But... it turned out to be DA BOMB!  I baked a spaghetti squash to have with it and it totally hit the spot!

Ingredients
1 Tbsp. Olive Oil
1 medium Onion, chopped
5 cloves of Garlic, diced
1 Yellow Pepper, diced (I had half of a large green bell pepper that I used instead)
1 cup Mushrooms, sliced (I left these out)
1 cup Baby Carrots, diced
2 tsp Dried Oregano
2 tsp Dried Basil (I was out, so I put a few shakes of Italian Seasoning in there)
2 tsp Dried Thyme (I'm not a huge fan of thyme, so I only used about 1 tsp)
2 Dried Bay Leaves (I left these out too)
Fresh Ground Pepper to taste
1 can Diced Tomatoes, drained (I didn't drain mine because I wanted more juice)
1 can Crushed Tomatoes
1 pound lean Ground Beef, drained (I used grass-fed)

Directions
Heat olive oil over medium-high heat in a large pot and add onions and garlic.  Cook until softened, then add bell pepper, mushrooms, carrots, oregano, basil, thyme, bay leaves and ground pepper. Cook until veggiess are tender.  Add both cans of tomatoes and cook until boiling, then reduce heat to simmer and begin cooking the beef.  Once the beef is finished cooking, drain the grease off and add to the sauce.  Simmer on low for 30-45 minutes and then enjoy!

**NOTE: I typically cook my squash ahead of time.  While it's hot I toss it in butter and little garlic powder.  When we are ready to eat, I saute some of the squash in butter and add more garlic powder.  This softens the squash a little more and heats it up.  I heat the sauce separately and then serve them together on a plate!





Thursday, November 1, 2012

Do-Anywhere CrossFit

I found this little gem on Pinterest last week.  The workout was featured in Women's Health magazine.  I have been alternating days of running (Couch to 5k style) using my 5k Runner app on my iPhone with "CrossFit" days.  I don't belong to a box at this time, but I have been doing all of the body-weight only CrossFit workouts that I can find!  This one is spectacular!  I know it's a good workout because I can hardly walk today after doing the "Total Countdown" yesterday.

Basically there are 6 moves that are rearranged into 4 different workouts.  The first workout didn't seem to challenge me as much as the second one did.  Some of these moves were totally knew to me (like the jump squat and the lunge hop).  

See the four workouts below.  Be sure to visit the article from Women's Health to see what the moves are!


Total Time
Do 10 reps of each exercise, moving from one to the next without resting. Complete as many rounds as possible in 15 minutes.
EXERCISE ORDER: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 -
Total Countdown
Complete 60 reps of the first move, 50 of the second, 40 of the third, and so on, until you've worked down to 10 reps of the last exercise.
EXERCISE ORDER: 2, 1, 6, 5, 4, 3
Total Rounds
Do 12 reps of each exercise, moving from one to the next without rest. Complete five rounds and note how long it takes you to finish. Aim to do the workout faster next time.
EXERCISE ORDER: 3, 4, 5, 2, 6, 1
Total Reps
Complete as many reps as you can of each move in one minute each, moving from one exercise to the next without stopping. Rest one minute, then repeat the entire sequence two more times. Keep track of your total rep count (e.g., if you finish 20 lunge hops, start counting pushups at 21). Try to beat your grand total next time.
EXERCISE ORDER: 5, 6, 2, 3, 1, 4

Seasonal Veggie Shopping

I found this colorful info graphic on the web a few days ago (wish I could remember where!) and thought I would share it here.  I'm still learning what produce is in season when, but since I do the majority of my shopping at the local farmer's market, its pretty simple!

Confession: I have never tried brussel sprouts.  Since they are about to be in season, I think I will have to try them!  Anybody have any good recipes?



Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Shredded Beef


I can't believe I have never shared this Easy Shredded Beef recipe from PaleOMG before!  I've made it several times.  After the first time that I made it, I decided it should definitely have bell peppers added to it!

Ingredients
2-3lb Beef Roast
1-2 large Yellow Onions, sliced
1-2 Bell Peppers, sliced
1/2 cup Chicken or Beef Broth
1 tsp Salt
1 tsp Garlic Powder
1/2 tsp Black Pepper
1/4 tsp White Pepper
1/4 tsp Chili Powder

Directions
Place roast in crockpot.  Pour broth over roast. Put onions and peppers on top of roast.  Put spices on top of meat & veggies.  cover and cook on low for 8-10 hours.  Then shred the beef with 2 forks (or get yourself one of these amazing little tools from the Pampered Chef!)  I prefer to shred mine right in the crockpot with all of the juices and then cover it again and let it cook for another 30-60 minutes.

**This stuff makes the most amazing breakfast!  I put a little of it in a frying pan to re-heat it and then move it to the edges of the pan and fry an egg in the center of it!  It is sooooo delish!


Thursday, October 25, 2012

Paleo Pumpkin Pancakes


I came across this pumpkin pancake recipe on this "Everything Pumpkin" post from PaleOMG.  It's a collection of 19 paleo pumpkin recipes!  Can you say "heaven"?!  Do check it out!  

I had a little canned pumpkin left in the fridge that needed to be used up and I was looking for comfort food.  This hit the spot!

Ingredients
4 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup Pumpkin Puree
1-2 Tbsp Coconut Flour
2 Tbsp Butter or Coconut oil, melted
1 tsp Pure Vanilla Extract
2 Tbsp Honey or Maple Syrup (this optional!  I used maple syrup)
1/4 tsp Baking Soda
1 tsp Pumpkin Pie Spice
1 tsp Cinnamon
pinch of Salt

Directions
1. Whisk eggs, pumpkin, vanilla & maple syrup together.
2. Sift pumpkin pie spice, cinnamon & baking soda into the wet ingredients.
3. Melt 2 Tbsp of butter and add into batter.
4. If your batter appears too thin (mine was), add coconut flour. Start with 1 Tbsp and mix well.  Add more  if needed.
5. Heat skillet over medium heat and add grease.
6. Spoon batter onto skillet (I used a 1/3 cup for each pancake).  Once bubbles start to form, flip cake and cook a few minutes on other side.  
7. Serve with desired toppings.  I used butter and a small drizzle of pure maple syrup.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Pizza Muffins

I have hesitated to try anything in the nature of "paleo pizza" because I am afraid it will make me want the real thing.  See, pizza is was one of my very favorite foods!  I love a Pizza Hut Pan Meatlover's!  But, I haven't had real pizza in several months.  And now that I know how gluten and dairy make me feel, I'll probably never eat real pizza again.  For the most part, I am ok with this, but there are times that I would really like to taste pizza again.  So... when I stumbled across this recipe for Pizza Muffins from Civilized Caveman Cooking, I was hesitant to try it.  


I did change up the original recipe a little by adding some pizza sausage toppings to the recipe.  Also, I feel like I didn't chop the sun-dried tomatoes enough and I need to cut them smaller next time.

The combination of the egg and the almond flour in this recipe gives a moist crispiness that is reminiscent of the pan pizza crust from Pizza Hut.  This recipe makes 7 muffins.  I had 3 polished off in a matter of minutes. Husband acted like he didn't like them, but then ate the 4 remaining muffins.  This recipe takes barely any time at all to make and uses mostly ingredients that I normally have on hand.


Ingredients
• 3 Large Eggs
• 2 Tsp Coconut Oil
• 1 Tbsp Ghee (I used butter)
• 2 Tbsp Coconut Milk
• 1/4 Tsp Salt
• 1/4 Tsp Vanilla Extract
• 1/4 Tsp Baking Powder
• 1/3 Cup Almond Flour
• 1/4 Cup Pepperoni (I cut mine up into quarters)
(optional) handful of sausage pizza toppings (found with the refrigerated meats/cold cuts)
• 1/4 Cup Sun-Dried Tomatoes (I chopped mine up, but not small enough)
• 2 Tbsp yellow onion, diced
• 1/8 Tsp Garlic Powder
• 1/8 Tsp Oregano
• 1/8 Tsp Basil

Process
1. Preheat your oven to 400 Degrees F
2. Mix together your eggs, oil, ghee, milk, salt, and vanilla
3. In a separate bowl, mix together flour, spices, and baking powder
4. Add your flour mixture to your egg mixture and mix until there are no lumps left
5. Fold in your vegetables and pepperoni
6. Pour into 7 lined cupcake pan and bake for 15 minutes
7. Enjoy

Monday, October 22, 2012

Maintenance

I've gotten a lot of compliments lately on my weight(fat)loss.  It makes me feel great that others are noticing, but I have this nagging voice in the back of my head (and sometimes even in my mouth) that says "Yeah, but I've done this before.  Weight loss comes easy.  It's keeping it off that's hard."

You see, a few years ago I lost 46lbs.  I was tracking everything that went in my mouth and all the calories points that I was burning through cardio exercise.  I concentrated on portion sizes and read every label at the grocery store.  I lost the weight in half the average time of anyone else on that program.  But all along I knew that I couldn't maintain the lifestyle.  By the time I had reached my goal weight I was so tired of counting points that it made me angry.  Sure, there were somethings that I could carry on with like exercising regularly and eating off of smaller plates, but I was still putting processed, high carb/sugar foods in my mouth constantly.  Also, I wasn't eating near enough veggies.  

So... I put about 35lbs of the weight that I had lost back on.  So sad.  

When I got tired of being fat again, I decided to take a different approach.  I started eating low carb and then eventually tried to eat sort of in the "Zone".  Finally, in March of 2012, I decided to try paleo.  I was scared.  I won't lie.  The idea of not eating pasta, rice or bread anymore was daunting (even though I had already given up bread for the most part, we still occasionally had low-carb tortillas and whole grain pasta...etc.)  Then after months of unexplained stomach issues that were leading me to miss work and spend countless hours in doctors' offices, I decided to try the Whole30.  The low-carb/zone eating allowed me to lose about 10lbs.  Through Paleo, I lost another 15.  Then, with the Whole30, I lost another 8lbs.  So... I'm back to my goal weight!  I've maintained it for a about a month now.  

I feel like I have a better chance of sticking with the Paleo/Whole30 lifestyle because my health and well-being really depend on it.  I have found that gluten and dairy were causing my unexplained stomach issues and I have no desire to ever eat anything with gluten in it again after my latest episode.  This way of life is so much the opposite of what I did before, that if it doesn't work, I don't know WHAT will.
                   

Thursday, October 18, 2012

food funk

I've been in a bit of "food funk" lately and haven't felt the inspiration or excitement for cooking that I've experienced during my Whole30 and after.  I feel like I need to do something to rev up my inspiration in the kitchen.  In the meantime, here's what I've been eating (maybe you'll find food inspiration here):

One night I grilled a skirt steak (for fajitas) and 2 chicken 
breasts (with adobo seasoning) and a pound of hamburger patties.  
figured since I was turning the grill on, I might as well cook up
a bunch of meat!  
I stir fried extra fajita veggies (onions and peppers) and had
them with a chicken breast and some guacamole for lunch the
next day.  This was delicious!
I got the idea to sautee cabbage with bacon and eat it with
fried eggs.  GROSS!  Not doing that again. :(

Fried Eggplant with eggs.


Baked Cod (with butter, lemon, s&p), sweet potato fries,
sauteed asparagus (with garlic & lemon), mayo
Husband doesn't eat asparagus, so he got tomato slices!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Book Review: Make it Paleo

I promised you all a review of the cookbook Make it Paleo by Bill Stayley and Hayley Mason, so here it is!

First of all, this not JUST a cookbook!  There is SO much more to this book than just recipes.  There is a list of basic ingredients that you'll need on hand for paleo cooking.  There is also a list (with photos) of all of the different kitchen gadgets/tools that will be useful.  After you get through all of the recipes, there is also some wonderful menu ideas for various occasions.  Add the short, simple ingredient lists for all of the recipes and it is truly the PERFECT book for beginner cooks or beginner paleo cooks. 

Secondly, I should mention the pure beauty of this book.  The photographs are out of this world!  It makes it a pleasure to go through the book and there is no doubt of the hard work and time that was spent creating it. 

So, if you are new to paleo cooking (or cooking in general), or you would like to get a gift for a new paleo cook, I would recommend Make it Paleo.  However, if you are a seasoned paleo cook, I would maybe skip it.  I didn't find it to be all that inspiring and most of the recipes are actually available on their blog site

I am glad to have the book because it is so pretty!  Also, I did learn a few things from the book, like how to poach eggs.  I hadn't tried egg poaching until just recently and I used the drop in boiling water method, which I wasn't too impressed with.  Make it Paleo uses a different method of dropping the eggs in a hot greased pan and letting them cook about one minute before adding a 1/4 cup of water and putting a lid on it.  This has revolutionized my egg making! 

I look forward to trying many  more recipes out of the book and I know Bill & Hayley are currently working on another cookbook that I will probably purchase when it becomes available.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Learning the Hard Way

Seems the best way to learn (for me, anyway) is always the hard way.  I learned some very valuable things in the last week.  I learned that  eating gluten & dairy for 3 out of 4 days will cause over 7 days of misery and agony.  SEVEN days!  I really didn't eat THAT much gluten and dairy, but apparently it was too much.  Here's what it looked like:

Friday:
some cheese in my soup and on my salad
half of a cakepop
crispy fried chicken (2 pcs)

Saturday:
small pumpkin muffin
5-6 "pinwheels" (crossaint with cream cheese and sausage, rolled up and sliced into bite-sized pcs)
coffee punch (ice cream & milk with coffee)

Monday:
huge plate of nachos!

That is all it took to make me absolutely miserable from Tuesday through the following Tuesday.  I literally stayed in bed or on the couch most of the weekend.  My symptoms included aching hips and lower back, minor abdominal pain, major constipation and IBS symptoms and fatigue.  

That was all the reminder that I needed to know why I began this crazy path to paleo to begin with.  So, from now on I will avoid gluten all together.  I will also avoid dairy, but if my salad comes with a little shredded cheese on it, I will eat it.  I don't think it will cause as much damage in small quantities, as long as I don't eat a small quantity every day.  

Monday, October 8, 2012

Whole Life Approach to Health


Thanks to the Whole30 program, I feel like I have a pretty good handle on what I need to do nutritionally to for optimum health.  I still have some tweaks to make and few experiments to run, but for the most part I know now what DOESN'T make me healthy.

During my first Whole30 I spent a portion of those 30 days concentrating on improving my sleep by putting my phone and the television off limits at 8:00pm every night and being in bed no later than 9:00pm (I get up at 5am).  However, I didn't stick with those habits very long (maybe a week?).  I know I got better sleep while I was doing that, so it's just a matter of getting back into that swing.


But... there are 7 other factors that make up the Whole9 approach to optimal health:

  1. nutrition
  2. sleep
  3. stress management
  4. active recovery
  5. injury rehab
  6. fun & play
  7. personal growth
  8. temperance
  9. exercise
I would like to work on all 9 of these for the rest of 2012 so that instead of making New Years resolutions, I will have my Health Balance in check for the new year! Here's my plan for the rest of the year:

NUTRITION - Continue eating grain-free, dairy-free, legume-free and (mostly) sugar-free.  I will have occasional paleo treats when I am attending Holiday dinners that require me to bring a dish.  I also will be alcohol free for the next 30 days, but may indulge occasionally after that.  I plan to do another Whole30 on January 1st.


SLEEP - I will go back to my "no electronics after 8:00pm" rule and be in bed by 9:00pm (or 8 hours before the alarm will be ringing).  7 days a week.  Until it is ingrained habit.  At the very least, for the next 30 days.  After that, there may be an occasion which doesn't allow for a full 8 hours in bed, but for the next 30 days, I'm there!


STRESS MANAGEMENT - Three main causes of stress for me tend to be; procrastination, not asking for help when I need it and taking on too many tasks that are not priority.  I will work on being prepared and not procrastinating as well as asking for help when I need it and getting my priorities straight (ie. having dinner prepared and the laundry done over decorating for the holidays).


ACTIVE RECOVERY & INJURY REHAB - I think my exercise routine already has some active recovery built into it (I typically alternate a CrossFit type workout day with an easy running day and sometimes throw in a pilates/yoga day depending on how I feel).


FUN & PLAY - This is really a tough one for me.  I tend to take myself too seriously and often feel "too busy" for having fun.  I will really have to make an effort to take time for fun & play every day!


PERSONAL GROWTH - I'm not sure what this means in the Whole9 world, but I take it to mean continuing to become a better me.  My plan for this involves continuing to try new foods and learn about improving my health through nutrition and exercise, but also to continue to become a better wife, friend, employee...etc. to others so that I may have more positive influence on those around me.

TEMPERANCE - I actually had to look this one up. I can only assume that Dallas & Melissa are referring to the virtue of temperance, which according to wikipedia is control over excess.  So, where do I lose control over excess?  My iphone, sweetened paleo treats and coffee.  There's probably more, but that's all I can think of right now.  So... when I make a batch of paleo pumpkin muffins for an upcoming gathering, I will limit myself to one a day.  I will eliminate the use of my iphone while in any social situation and while driving (gasp!) and between the hours of 8pm and 5am.  Also, I will only drink 1-2 cups of coffee in the morning.

EXERCISE - My exercise schedule includes 6 days of planned exercise, which is nearly always achieved.  I really don't feel like I have much to work on here other than sticking with it.  I do intend to join my local CrossFit gym once some other life goals have been met and I look forward to it!   


I think the most important thing to keep in mind here is balance.  If exercising a 6th day this week means only getting 6 hours of sleep, I need to consider what I am in more need of, the sleep or the exercise.  This methodology can be applied to all 9 factors.


Thursday, October 4, 2012

Recipes from Make it Paleo

I made three more recipes from my copy of Make it Paleo (book review coming soon!).  These recipes can also be found on The Food Lovers Kitchen site and on the My Kitchen free app!

Bacon Wrapped Scallops
I had been anticipating this recipe for a while.  I finally decided to make it for the football game on Sunday.  I took it (prepared, uncooked) to a friend's house to watch the game.  They prepared broiled shrimp and homemade potato wedges to go with it.  We also snacked on raw veggies and dip.  It was a wonderful spread!

Ingredients:
1lb Bacon (I didn't use a whole pound, maybe half)
15 Scallops (I had purchased a pound of fresh sea scallops at the farmers market)
1tsp Smoked Paprika (I didn't measure, I just sprinkled)
Skewers (I used metal reusable ones)

Preheat oven to 425 (we used a toaster oven).  
Cut bacon strips in half (be careful with this, my scallops were large, so I needed more than half a strip of bacon on most of them).
Wrap each scallop in bacon.
Skewer 2-3 scallops on each skewer.
Sprinkle with smoked paprika, seasoning both sides.
Bake for 20 minutes, then flip and bake another 15 minutes.

These turned out delicious!  However, the bacon was thick cut and didn't crisp up as much as we would have liked.  Next time I'm going to try pre-cooking the bacon a little in the microwave first.

Tomato Basil Soup
I enjoyed this soup, but it was too peppery.  Next time I will cut the amount of salt and pepper in half and then, if needed, I will add more upon serving.

Ingredients:
1 Onion, chopped
1 Tbsp. Coconut Oil
1 Tbsp. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1/2 C. Fresh Basil (I used some dried that I had on my spice shelf and I didn't use half cup, I just sprinkled a reasonable amount)
2 tsp. Salt & Pepper (I took this to mean 2 tsp EACH.  After further review, I think it should have been 1 tsp. each)
3 cloves Garlic, minced
3 Cups Chicken Stock
5 Tomatoes
6oz Tomato Paste


Tossed with oil, salt & pepper
-Preheat oven to 350.
-Clean and quarter tomatoes.
-Toss with olive oil, salt & pepper
-Roast on baking sheet for 30 minutes.
-In a large soup pot, heat coconut oil over medium heat.  
-Saute onion and garlic until onion is translucent.
-Add in the roasted tomatoes and continue to saute for 1 minute.

Onions & garlic sauteeing
-Add in 3 cups of chicken stock, the basil and tomato paste and stir continuously over medium heat until the tomato paste has dissolved.
-Season with salt & pepper.
-Bring to a boil and reduce heat to low.  
-Cover and simmer for 30 minutes.
-Pour soup into food processor or high-speed blender and puree until smooth.

I prepared the broth with the basil and
salt & pepper while the tomatoes were
roasting and the veggies were sauteeing.
Ready for the food processor!
Root Veggie Hash with Poached Eggs
We didn't like this recipe.  The hash was too sweet and I'm not a fan of rosemary.  I don't know why I even added it.

1 Beet, chopped
1 Cup of chopped Turnips (mine were large, so I only needed one)
1 Tbsp fresh Rosemary (I used dried, but wish I would have left it out entirely)
1 tsp Coconut Oil
1 Cup chopped Vidalia Onion (this is not the season for these, so I just purchased some sweet onions)
2 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 Egg, poached



Preheat oven to 400.  Toss rinsed, chopped beets, turnips & onions in olive oil and spread out on a baking sheet and season with salt, pepper & rosemary.  Roast for 20 minutes, then add minced garlic, stir and roast another 10 minutes.






Heat 1tsp coconut oil in frying pan over medium heat.  Crack egg into pan and cook for 30 seconds.  Then add 1/4 C of water and cover with lid.  Let egg steam until the yolk is pinkish on top and the white is no longer runny.

Serve with bacon, because bacon rocks!