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!

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!

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

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!

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

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.

• 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

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


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:

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

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)

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!

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.

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!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Why Paleo?

This is a great post from Paleo/NonPaleo about staying motivated in a Paleo lifestyle.  It suggests that you do 3 things:

Make a list of why you're paleo.  
Put the list where you can see it.  
And read it at least twice a day. 

I made my list.  I hand-wrote it on a 8-1/2 x 11 piece of paper and put it in my desk drawer at work.  I hand-wrote it again on a note card to keep in my purse.  And I typed it out real pretty to tape to my bathroom mirror at home.  Here it is:

Please refer to the original post to get the full benefit of this action.  If you're already paleo or paleo-ish, why are YOU paleo?  If you're not, but you want to be, why do you want to be?  If you think paleo is crazy nonsense, I wouldn't mind hearing from you too! :)

Pumpkin Treats!

I bought a large can of pure pumpkin puree last week and then got busy using it up this weekend!  First, I made these pumpkin bars from Elena's Pantry:

Pumpkin Bars

½ cup pumpkin puree
½ cup agave nectar (I used honey)
2 eggs
1 cup blanched almond flour (I made my own and it wasn't blanched)
¼ teaspoon celtic sea salt
½ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon nutmeg
¼ teaspoon cloves (I didn't have any cloves, so I used some pumpkin pie spice)

1. In a food processor, combine pumpkin, agave (or honey) and eggs.  Pulse for 2 minutes.
2. Pulse dry ingredients into wet for a full minute, until well combined.
3. Pour batter into a greased 8x8 pyrex baking dish (I just rubbed a little coconut oil all over the inside of mine)
4. Bake at 350 for 30-35 minutes
5. Serve naked or with whipped cream (see what I did below)

I made a coconut whipped cream by refrigerating about 3/4 of a can of coconut milk (this Golden Star that I found at wal-mart is REALLY thick and works perfect for this!).  I put a splash of vanilla in a metal bowl with the chilled coconut milk and use my beaters to whip it into a whipped cream.  After the cake was cooled, I topped it with this whipped cream.  I wish I had taken picture, they were really good!  I was afraid with all that honey in it, that it would be too sweet, but the "frosting" wasn't very sweet, so the combination was PERFECTO!

Then I made these delicious pumpkin muffins from Balanced Bites.  These were a HUGE hit and I ended up making a second batch after the football game on Sunday.  We shared with some of our paleo friends!  

1/2 C butter or coconut oil, melted (I used coconut oil)
6 eggs, beaten
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 C pumpkin puree
1/4 C honey or maple syrup (I followed the author's advice and used 2 Tbsp each to equal a 1/4 C of sweetener)
1/2 C coconut flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1-1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp cloves
1/4 tsp allspice/nutmeg (again, I used pumpkin pie spice in place of this and the cloves, 1/2 tsp)
pinch of salt

1. Preheat oven to 400.
2. Grease muffin tray or use paper liners (my first batch stuck to the paper, so I switched to the foil liners for the second batch and that worked MUCH better!)
3. Combine wet ingredients in a large mixing bowl together until well beaten (I used a whisk).
4. Measure dry ingredients into a sifter and slowly sift into the wet ingredients  whisking as you do so that you don't have lumps in the batter. (The batter got really thick as I added the last of the dry ingredients).
5. Divide batter evenly into the muffin tins and bake for apprx. 15-18 minutes or until slightly golden brown on top and a toothpick comes out clean.

I also made this pumpkin mug cake from The Preppy Paleo, but it was pretty bland :(