Tag Archives: Paleo

RX Bar Review

8 Dec

I have another great Paleo, grain free, refined sugar free snack options to share with you!

If you haven’t already heard of RxBars, you should go to their site to check them out. It is a grain free, gluten free, dairy free, soy free, everything artificial- free protein/meal replacement bar.

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“RxBars are handmade with a passion devoted to ensuring the highest standards of quality.  There are no misleading filler ingredients in our bars — only natural, quality ingredients that provide functional nutrition and satisfy hunger.

Each bar contains no more than 8 ingredients, all of which conform to the standards of the Paleo Diet”

They are all made of REAL, natural ingredients, so you don’t have to worry about artificial sugars and whey protein like most protein bars. Like I’ve said I used to eat protein bars, shakes and all sorts of snacks but not after I took a glance at the ingredients list. I also used to eat a lot of protein shakes with whey protein but in all reality I’d really rather just eat real food.

These bars are great when you need something whole and natural but are in a pinch, as I was when I was out shopping the other day……satisfied my hunger without a trip to the mall food court! Excellent. They taste AMAZING!! They send me four kinds: chocolate coconut, coffee cacao, apple cinnamon and blueberry. I thought I would love the coffee one, but it wasn’t my favorite. The chocolate coconut one hit it out of the park. I’m loving coconut anything lately. The apple cinnamon was a close second. I just the taste of figs, which these bars use as figs AND dates (which are in Lara bars). Not that Larabars aren’t awesome, cause they are. But the taste of figs make these bars stand out from the crowd. It was great for when I was in a pinch and needed something yummy without running to the drive through!

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And that’s exactly what I would use these bars for. When I need something quality in an emergency. Unfortunately, I experienced quite a sugar crash about 30-40 minutes after eating the thing. Even though the figs and dates are natural sugars, sugar is sugar. And it affects my body negatively, as I have found out. It didn’t help that I ate the Rx Bar on THE day after my 21 Day Sugar Detox was over. So that may have had something to do with it.

All in all, I would buy these bars again because I like that they have quality ingredients, and I need things for when I’m traveling and want to stay eating clean. However, I probably wouldn’t eat them on a regular basis because of the high amount of sugar and the caloric content (about 250-300 calories per bar). They taste amazing though, I highly suggest you try them if you’re looking for a whole food option for on the go!

OH! I almost forgot- another great thing about these bars is they have this cool little re-sealable packaging! So even though they contain a lot of calories, you can eat half and put the rest back. How many times have you opened a Larabar and said “I’ll only eat half”. Yeaaaa right! These great little packages make it so easy! I actually used it the other day and ate half of one after my workout for two days in a row.

What are you favorite snacks for when you’re traveling?

Do you eat protein bars?

Buttery Parsnip and Sweet Potato Mash

4 Dec

It was an amazing day when I discovered that I could essentially turn any root vegetable into a “mash”. All these years mashed potatoes have stolen the show…but if you think about it….sweet potatoes, carrots, parsnips, beets. The possibilities are endless. Over the summer I made mashed beets with coconut butter. I don’t think I blogged about it, but it was good. It was the only way I could get my husband to eat beets.

I spent a considerable amount of time deciding whether to use lard or ghee in this mash. I decided the ghee would give it a nice buttery taste, reminiscent of mashed potatoes. OMGHEE!!!  Get it? So good. The leftovers are sitting in my fridge now taunting me!!! Replace your traditional mashed potatoes with this dish and you will never go back. Mashed potatoes are boring. Ick.

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Parsnip and Sweet Potato Mash

3 medium parsnips, peeled and diced

1/2 cup cooked sweet potato (about half of one large?? mine were Thanksgiving leftovers so I don’t know how many I started with!)

1/2 tsp chopped fresh rosemary

1 small clove of garlic

1 tablespoon full fat canned coconut milk

1/2 tablespoon ghee

salt and pepper to taste

1. Prepare (peel and dice) sweet potatoes and parsnips and rosemary.

2. Fill a pot with your parsnips and water and put on the stove to boil. Bring to a boil and cook until fork tender (roughly 10 minutes). If you start with an uncooked sweet potato, I like this method to cook it.

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3. Place everything in a food processor and blend it up. You may have to push down the sides to get everything mixed up a couple of times.

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^^New can of coconut milk I now order of Vitacost. It’s BPA free and way cheaper than the $3 cans at the store.

Sooooo good! Can’t wait to eat those leftovers! This is a must make.

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Dinner last night….beef roast, broccoli and mash! Omg.

What veggies do you like with your dinner?

Have you ever tried a different type of “mashed” vegetable?

Will lard make you fat?

18 Nov

Growing up, the word lard was synonymous with everything glutinous! Pure fat. You only ate it if you were disgusting. How times have changed! Now I only use either coconut oil or lard to cook with. Doesn’t that sound glutinous and counter-intuitive to being healthy? Shouldn’t I be using something healthy like olive, canola or seed oil?

Picture of lard advertisement

Here’s why you probably shouldn’t be using anything but stable fats like coconut oil or lard (or even BUTTER) for cooking: oxidation.

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I cringe when I think about the cheap-o vegetable oil in the plastic container I used to buy from Wal-Mart to cook with. AHhhhhhh! You should never buy oils that are in plastic containers. Not to mention trans fats are poisoning our country one french fry at a time. You should never consume them under any circumstances. Thank God the FDA is going to ban them!

See, oils that are not stable (solid at room temp) are sensitive to things like light and heat. These things cause them to oxidize. When you consume them, they cause things like free radicals and inflammation in your body. Inflammation can lead to TONS of chronic diseases in the body. I’m not expert on this, so if you want to know more, look here. Basically since cheap oils are packaged in plastic, so sitting in your cupboard makes them oxidize even more. If you’re going to buy olive oil, make sure it is high quality and in a dark, glass container to protect it from the elements and minimize oxidation.

When you cook with these oils, heat damages them even more! Since in America, we fry everything in vegetable oil or peanut oil, we are day by day contributing to inflammation in our bodies and putting our Omega 3/Omega 6 ratio out of whack….further contributing to the health epidemic.

Which brings me to why you SHOULD be cooking with lard, coconut oil and even BUTTER (if you tolerate dairy…make sure it is high quality).  Lard from pastured pork has actually been known to have a beneficial effect on cholesterol since it contains stearic acid. It also contains the good stuff that everyone keeps pushing olive oil for….oleic acid.

These fats are stable to high temperatures and do not get damaged when baking, roasting or heating up food. Thus, our body recognizes them as real good and doesn’t try to fight back when we eat them. Butter is making a come back!

 

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As far as olive oil, it is a healthy choice, but use it for things like light sautéing or finishing oil. Mark Sisson did a piece defending using olive oil in cooking, and I’ll agree. He says that as long as you have a good quality olive oil (dark glass container and reputable brand), cooking, baking or roasting with it isn’t that bad. I’ll take it. But don’t buy the $5.00 plastic container olive oil from Wal-Mart to cook your french fries in. Anyone who has ever tasted the pure heaven that are sweet potato french fries cooked in lard would NEVER!!!

 

***Most of my sources are cited, but I also referenced this article:

Krasner, Deborah. “All You Need to Know about Good Meat.” Mother Earth News. June/July 2012, I.252. 

 

What oils do you cook with?

What’s your favorite brand of coconut oil?

21 Day Sugar Detox Sweet Potato Waffles

16 Nov

Breakfast for dinner!!! It’s one of my favorites. Perfect for a lazy night where I don’t feel like dirtying a bunch of dishes. Not. I dirty 50 dishes every time I enter the kitchen. I am a never ending dirty dish producer. Even having a dishwasher doesn’t help. It puts a mild dent in the situation.

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As you know, I’ve been following the 21 Day Sugar Detox for the past two weeks. Last time I reported, I felt great. Yesterday, however, I hit a slump. I felt exhausted and had a headache…I never have headaches. I’ve been working out about 4 days a week but I never consider my workouts high intensity so I haven’t been supplementing with sweet potatoes, as the program suggests. When I read the daily email from Balanced Bites, it said to reevaluate your workout plan and if you’re suffering from fatigue to add in sweet potatoes. Bingo! I thought that I wouldn’t need extra carbs from working out, but it turns out I probably do. Plus I did quite a strenuous strength training workout Wednesday….I probably should have paid more attention to it all.

Sweet potato waffles to the rescue!!! They turned out amazing for my BRINNER ….I thought I’d share

Sweet Potato Waffles: 21 Day Sugar Detox Approved!!

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Makes two large waffles

1/2 of a large sweet potato, baked and mashed (around 3/4 cup) I cooked mine in the microwave

2 eggs, separated

1 tablespoon coconut milk

1 tablespoon sun butter or almond butter

1 tablespoon coconut flour

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon (or to taste)

For the topping:

1 tablespoon coconut milk

1/2 tablespoon sun butter

2 drops of vanilla

dash of cinnamon

crushed pecans

1. Whip your egg whites with a hand mixer until they form stiff peaks.

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2. After cooking your sweet potato, mash it up and add it to the egg whites with the sunbutter. Mix until incorporated. Don’t over mix or the whites will flop.

3. Add your egg yolks, vanilla and coconut milk and mix until just combined.

4. Fold in dry ingredients.

5. Place half of the mixture in a sprayed/greased waffle iron. Cook until done!

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6. For topping: Mix together everything but the pecans and microwave for 45 seconds. Pour on top of waffle with pecans. If you’re not on the sugar detox top that baby with maple syrup!!

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7 . Eat that deliciousness!!!

Do you love breakfast for dinner?

Favorite waffle/pancake toppings: GO!

21 Day Sugar Detox Recipes

12 Nov

I thought I’d share some of the awesome food that I’ve been eating this week due to Diane Sanfilippo and her new book 21 Day Sugar Detox. I’ve been sharing some on Instagram and people seem interested in recipes to make during the 21 Day Sugar Detox and what exactly it is.

As I’ve mentioned, Practical Paleo is basically my food bible. So even thought I wasn’t particularly interested in doing a sugar ‘detox’ I pretty much ordered the book for the recipes. And she’s coming out with more recipes and another book in December! I’m like her personal sales-person over here.

When you hear the word “detox”, it conjures up images of green bile-like smoothies and lemon water and cayenne pepper drinks for 7 days. This is not in any way what this is. It’s basically just eating Paleo, except you have to cut out most fruit and sweeteners like honey and maple syrup for 21 days.

I have a SERIOUS sugar addiction, and Paleo/natural or not, eating massive amount of fruits, Paleo baked goods and in my case dried fruit just makes my cravings worse and worse until I am an uncontrollable sweet craving eating machine. I talked about how since my wedding I’m experiencing a lack of motivation when it comes to healthy eating. It pretty much just carried over into the fall and I’ve found it hard to stay on track. I know that sweet things are my downfall, and it’s SO hard to stop eating them once I start. The hardest part is the more I eat sweet things the more I crave, so it’s just this big gigantic cycle.

I started the sugar detox on November 4th with a large group of online support. It’s hard to make the first step on cutting out sugar and fruit because …. it’s soooo good and addicting. It’s been 8 days and I feel AMAZING!!! I can’t even describe it. I’m just in such a great mood and feel so good. It’s like this “I CAN DO AALLLLLL THE THINGSSS” kind of feeling. See I just tried to describe it and I failed.

The other day I had this for breakfast and went 6 hours before even being hungry. SIX HOURS!

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It was a hash of carrots, parsnips, sausage and eggs.  Not my usual pancakes but kept me fuller. That’s what’s so hard..I crave sweet things in the morning and it’s so hard to say not to that. But when I do say no I stay fuller longer and feel so much better. It’s quite the conundrum.

Some of the recipes I’ve made include:

Savory Herb Drop Biscuits

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So good.

Pumpkin Carrot Muffins

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Haven’t had one of these yet, but I nibbled off the top of one when it came out of the oven and it was good. And they smell wonderful.

Shrimp Pad Thai

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I subbed spaghetti squash for the zucchini. This was ah-ma-zing! So unique and delicious flavors.

I also made the beef and broccoli stir fry, but didn’t take a picture.

I also made this faux pumpkin banana ice cream last night to satisfy the sweet tooth. I just used a green-tipped banana and did not put any honey in it.

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So overall I feel great but I know that when I go home for Thanksgiving and indulge I am going to start craving sweet things more and more. Once you start you can’t stop! I also might end the 21 day sugar detox a little early since the day I go home is day 20 (?) and we literally haven’t been home since Labor day. I’m not going to not have fun with people I haven’t seen in months because of the detox. I plan to just play it by ear and if I feel like eating something, I will. If the opportunity doesn’t arise I will try to do the 21 days. No big deal. I will return to this way of eating after Thanksgiving. It’s hard to STOP the sweet stuff, but the more you eat the more you crave, so I just have to remember how GREAT I feel right now. This was a great reset for my body right before the holidays! I highly recommend the book.

Have you tried the 21 day Sugar Detox?

How do you feel about going on a “diet”? Does it make you more stressed out than necessary or do you like having rules?

Asian Beef Stir Fry

28 Oct

Finally sitting down to blog about this awesome dinner I cooked up this past week!

I have been working on ways to eat all the ground meat we got creatively…you can only do so many meatloaves, burgers (my husband would disagree) and meatballs. Since we get our meat from a local farmer that does grass-fed beef, it can get quite pricey. That’s why basically all I can afford is the ground meat, sausage, and soup bones nobody else wants! So we end up with a lot of ground beef in our freezer and I have to come up with creative ways to serve it up. Poor me!

This is a variation on stir fry that I’ve played around with the ingredients for. This weeks combo was a winner.

Asian Beef Stir Fry Dinner

Paleo Asain Stir Fry

1 lb ground beef

2 large heads of broccoli, chopped

1-2 large carrots, shredded

1/2 can of diced pineapple

2 small heads of bac (pac?) choi, stems separated from leaves and chopped

1 large onion, sliced

2 cloves of garlic, minced

salt & pepper

1 tablespoon of coconut oil

1/4 cup of beef broth

Sauce/Spice:

1 cup of beef broth

1/4 cup of tamari (or soy sauce or coconut aminos)

1 tsp garlic powder

salt & pepper

2 tablespoons tahini

1 tbsp of minced ginger

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**Preheat oven to 375

1. Spray a large cookie sheet with cooking spray or coconut oil and place chopped broccoli on. Salt and pepper it and place it in the oven (You could cook this by boiling, or adding right in the stir fry, but I LOVE the taste of roasted broccoli)

2. While broccoli’s cooking, brown the ground beef in a large skillet then drain (if you’re using grass fed beef there’s no need to drain. I hardly had any fat and what was there I used to cook with. But I would drain if using conventional meat).

3. Place tablespoon of coconut oil in the empty pan and let melt. Then add the garlic and let it become fragrant (I usually burn it. Don’t do that).

4. Add the chopped onion and the chopped STEMS of the Pac choi. Let them cook for 4-5 minutes or until softened. While you’re doing this, start the sauce. Combine all ingredients of the sauce, bring to a boil, then simmer.

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5. Add the pac choi leaves and add some beef broth in there to get it cooking down (You could just use water).

6. After the pac choi leaves are wilted, add in your sauce to the pan. Let simmer for 3-4 minutes.

7. Add back in your ground beef and then the grated carrots. At this time, check the broccoli. You want to roast it for a good 15- 20 minutes. Take out when done.

roasted broccoli

8. Let the whole mixture simmer for 5-8 minutes until everything becomes incorporated. Asain stir fry

9. Serve over the broccoli with pineapple on top. Drizzle with more tahini. Yum!

 

How do you get creative with ground beef?

How do you make inexpensive meat cuts yummy?

Paleo Apple Donuts

14 Oct

And so I continue with my baking experiments, as well as attempt to get as much use out of the donut pan I got for my bridal shower.

These happened in an attempt to make PaleOMG’s (do I link to that website enough or what?) apple cider donuts. After I got somewhat into it I realized I did not, in fact, have apple cider. Fail. So I decided to wing it. I’m really happy with the result. Especially since the apples I made these with are straight from our back field, that we FINALLY got a chance to navigate to yesterday. It took some climbing through thick brush and swamp, but we made it!

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There were a few apple trees and after eating enough to give me a stomach ache sampling them, I shoved as many as I could into my pockets and headed out. They’re not pretty, but they’re delicious!

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Since they weren’t aesthetically wonderful, I decided to peel some and do a little baking. You don’t have to use backyard apples for this recipe!

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Paleo Apple Donuts

Makes about 15 mini-donuts

1/2 cup almond butter (or other nut butter)

1 cup shredded apple (about 1 large or two medium…or 5 backyard teeny ones LOL)

1 tablespoon cinnamon

1/4 heaping teaspoon of baking powder

1 egg

1 tablespoon of raw honey

dash of nutmeg

1 tablespoon of coconut flour

**Pre-heat oven to 375

1. Beat your egg and mix together with the apple and almond butter until incorporated.

2. Sift in coconut flour, cinnamon, nutmeg and baking powder.

3. Add the honey and mix everything together.

4. Spoon small amounts into a GREASED donut pan (these would work as muffins too you just have to bake them longer).

5. Bake for roughly 10-12 minutes. Be sure to check on them. Take them out when they are turning golden brown on the top.

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What’s your favorite way to eat apples?

Giant Baked Paleo Pancake

9 Oct

I seriously sat down to type this blog post almost an hour ago…it’s so easy to get sucked into the interwebs! My cat has fleas. This weekend we finally moved into our new house and it looks like the old owner’s cat must have left some behind. Ugh. He didn’t leave us anything useful. Just fleas, old army memorabilia and the 100 billion stickers his son put on the wall in his bedroom. Great.

But other than that I am THRILLED to finally be in our new house. I will do another house specific blog post but here are a few pictures from moving this weekend.

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Celebratory drink…been waiting for this one!!

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Last week I talked about blogger recipe development and it got me to thinking that normally when I bake things, I have to follow a specific recipe. But recently I have been experimenting with “winging it” when baking and have finally come up with one I could share!

I often throw together some sort of bread/muffins/quiche to eat for breakfast that I can quickly warm up. I was about to make zucchini pancakes to warm up one night last week but decided I didn’t want to bother with the griddle so I just poured the entire batter into a loaf pan and came up with this recipe: the Giant Baked Paleo Pancake. This would be approved on the 21 day sugar detox if you used a green tipped banana. The 21 Day Sugar Detox book comes out soon…so does Well Fed 2! AND I just saw today that Juli at PaleOMG and George at Civilized Caveman are joining forces to write a book. So many Paleo books..what do I do?!?!? Hello Christmas list!!!!

Giant Baked Paleo Pancake

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Makes 2 servings, Prep Time: 5 minutes, Bake Time: 25 min

3 eggs

1 cup of shredded zucchini (take the measurement AFTER you squeeze the water out)

1 banana

1 tbsp cinnamon

1 tsp baking powder

2 tablespoons of coconut flour

dash of salt

handful of Enjoy life Chocolate chips

**** You COULD add 1 tablespoon of honey and I highly suggest you add sweetener if you aren’t used to naturally sweetened baked goods. I thought of this more as a savory dish than sweet so I didn’t need it.

1. Pre-heat oven to 375. Shred the zucchini in a food processor and squeeze all the water out (I used a paper towel).

2. In a mixing bowl, add eggs and bananas and mix well. Then add zucchini.

3. Add the cinnamon, coconut flour, and baking powder and salt. Then add chocolate chips. Mix until incorporated.

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Bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes. Make sure to check on it because my oven is really weak.

I ate mine topped with sunbutter- duh. I was talking to a friend about substitutes for ketchup and salad dressing…..and I came to the realization that I don’t really use these two things anymore. And I got to thinking what I could tell her to use instead and what I used. Then I realized I literally put nut butter on everything….including carrot and sweet potato fries….eggs….and THEN I realized why I PROBABLY have gained a bunch of weight since my wedding. Woops. Oh well. At least it’s not a mystery….

Do you ever experience with baking?

What challenges did you face moving into a new house?

Homemade Chicken Wings 3 ways!

28 Sep

Last night I had a serious craving for wings….something about Friday night really makes me not feel like cooking. Last night I was driving home and was really tempted to convince my husband to go to our favorite local wing place (Randy’s Up the River) to grab some wings and Friday night beers. However I knew it would be much more economical to make it at home and just grab a six pack of beers. So this is precisely what I did!

When I went to the grocery store they didn’t have wings in the meat section, and I had to ask the deli if they had any….they seriously looked at me like I had 8 heads. Why? After getting over their initial puzzlement I left the store with a ziplock bag full of chicken wings. Lol.

I decided to make a variety of flavors. I went with

1. Honey Mustard

2. Traditional Buffalo

3. Smoky Spice blend from Practical Paleo.

I also tried to re-create the sweet potato fries that we had last time we went to Randy’s….last night I whipped up some carrot fries. Just as good!

I had 15 wings (an assortment of wings and legs). First, I rinsed them in the sink and patted them dry with paper towels. Then I melted about 2 tablespoons of coconut oil in a bowl and tossed the wings. I baked all of them plain except the ones that got the dry rub. In retrospect next time I might try putting the sauce on THEN baking them. I put them on a cookie sheet (sprayed) and I baked them at 400 degrees for about a half hour (Or until the internal temp reached 165).

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Honey Mustard Sauce:

2 tablespoons of your favorite mustard

2 tablespoons raw honey

2 tablespoons water

1/2 of a garlic clove

salt and pepper

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This local mustard we love made them a little spicy as well.

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Buffalo Sauce:

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1/2 hot sauce (I love Frank’s Red Hot)

2 tablespoons coconut oil

As mentioned, I baked them in the oven and then when they came out I tossed them with the sauces. Except for the smoky spice blend ones. Those I dry rubbed before they went in the oven, and they came out great! They were my favorite. Practical Paleo = My Bible.

Disgusting cookie sheet….sorry.

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Okay…so maybe they weren’t as good as Randy’s…..but it definitely satisfied the craving!

Wings where we live (in WNY) are really good since we are kind of close to Buffalo. I have yet to visit the “famous” Anchor Bar or Duff’s though.

What are your favorite type of chicken wings?

Have you ever tried to make them at home?

Review: Bilinski Gluten Free Sausage

23 Sep

Hellllooooooo. I figure I might as well do this post before I get really busy with moving and such. We are still working on closing on our house…to say the least it’s been stressful but hopefully there’s an end in sight.

A while back I received an amazing package of sausage (hah) from the folks at Bilinski. They specialize in gluten free and natural/organic casing-free chicken sausage. Friends looked at me weird when I explained how I had to run home because I had a shipment of sausage on my front stoop. I was way more excited than one should be about a package of sausage- but hey! It’s food! Everything that I get excited about pretty much revolves around food.

When I busted open the package I was pleasantly surprised at the variety I received:

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They sent me a nice selection of the ‘skinny’, organic and the natural lines.  All of their sausages are gluten free, have no artificial preservatives and are from chickens free of antibiotics. This is from the company website:

“Nearly everything we make is natural or certified organic. We purchase local ingredients and buy from businesses close to home whenever possible. We carefully examine every ingredient and practice to make sure it promotes what we believe in. Our products are nitrite- and preservative-free, and are made from meats that are raised in clean, comfortable conditions with integrity – with no antibiotics, no animal by-products in their feed, and no hormones.”

Sounds like a great company to me!

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The first night I got them I fired up the grill to eat the “skinny” line’s hot Italian sausage.

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Gross looking, but stellar meal of braised cabbage, roasted peppers and sausage.

The skinny line was alright but the regular line I enjoyed better. There really is only ten more calories in the regular ones so what’s the point if the taste is way better?

Although I really enjoyed the ‘skinny’ apples and cinnamon breakfast sausage alongside one of my Saturday morning breakfasts.

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Paleo Pancakes with apples and sausage…..fall is here!

I ate the Cajun/Andouille version with this amazing meal:

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Heirloom tomato salad, grilled sweet potatoes and yellow beans. Tonight we ate the mild Italian sausage with some braised red cabbage and beans. I think this flavor has been my favorite so far. I still have one more in the freezer but I wanted to get this review up in case I got too busy once we move.

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Obviously I rarely eat any kind of sausage because the quality is so sketchy. It’s great to find a brand that tastes great and you know you can trust. I hate sausages that are really greasy and clearly loaded with unknown ingredients .There really aren’t too many other brands that I would buy similar sausages from. Most of them have lots of added sugar, gluten and nitrites/nitrates. So thumbs up to this brand! I enjoyed all of them and would definitely recommend them. I actually saw them in the store the SAME day I received an email from the company saying they would send me some, so it was ironic. I will definitely be picking some up in the future.

**Just a reminder that I did receive the sausages complimentary but was not compensated for this post. All opinions are my own.**

What’s your favorite way to eat sausage?

Have you bought a house? How long and drawn out was the closing date?

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