Tag Archives: recipes

Thanksgiving 2013

30 Nov

This year I have countless of things to be thankful for…..but honestly I try to make being thankful a habit that I practice all year, and not just on Thanksgiving! This allows me to focus on the more important matter at hand:food.

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This year was awesome!!!! Although I didn’t get to fulfill my dream of hosting a full Thanksgiving dinner in our new home (I’m sure I will someday) I did prepare a couple of dishes for dinner at my in-laws. I bought Danielle Walker’s (author of Against All Grain) e-book Thankful on a whim the other week and decided to try out a few of her recipes. I’ve made a couple of her Paleo treats before and I was a fan. Normally I pick out a few recipes from different places to try, but I knew I wanted to make green bean casserole…and then I saw the Paleo pecan pie and made the decision to try that as well. I’ve never made pecan pie…or even eaten it for that matter. It was a hit! I am planning on making it again for Christmas, but I’ll have to increase the amount of filling and decrease the amount of crust. There seemed to be a lot of crust for the amount of filling that was made. But the flavor was amazing!!!

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Rolling out the dough was kind of hard- the almond flour makes it really crumbly. But it worked out!

I also made her green bean casserole, sans the mushrooms and onions to cater to everyone’s tastes. It was also a recipe I’ll make again.

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We weren’t planning on it, but I also tried the recipe for homemade cranberry sauce. I have never had the canned cranberry sauce on Thanksgiving….it never looked appetizing to me. This recipe was simple enough. Although we agreed it could have used more sweetener than it called for. I was fine with it since I am used to unsweetened desserts.

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The turkey was literally the best turkey I’ve ever eaten!!!! I don’t know what my MIL did but it was so juicy. My plate: turkey, sweet potatoes, green bean casserole, and cranberry sauce. I went back for seconds, obvi. And pecan pie for dessert.

 

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And….it looked a lot more like Christmas than Thanksgiving over here. Winter is coming early. Wonderful….

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Hope everyone had a wonderful holiday. I feel like a bad blogger as I have been neglecting the blog world since I’ve been on vacation. I promise I’ll get back on track this week!

What was your favorite thing on your Thanksgiving plate?

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?

Recipe Development and Blogger Expenses

2 Oct

I just got done a delicious dinner of home made stir fry with ground beef, roasted broccoli, peppers, onions and pac choi. As I was sitting there eating it I thought….man I wish I took pictures so I could blog about it!

I did, however, get a picture of the Pac Choi that I posted on my Facebook page. This was my first time cooking/eating this vegetable and it was yummy! Kind of like a cross between collards and cabbage! Sautéed in some lard and onion and garlic.

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But throughout the whole time I was cooking it I was kind of just throwing random stuff in the pan, thinking that it would taste good. I wasn’t planning on blogging about it. It got me to thinking about the different processes bloggers might use when developing and deciding which recipes to include on their blogs.

Do you have a plan that you are going to use a certain recipe on your blog? Or do you just wing it and take a picture of it afterwards? Sometimes I do this and other times I’ll even take a picture of the meal after I’ve taken a bite!

Other times I’ll have a specific plan and know that I am going to blog about something, attempting to set pictures up and everything. Pictures are something I really want to get better at. Right now I use my iPhone, lol. But I’m starting to realize that I might have to get something better if I’m serious about blogging. Suggestions?!?!?

I’ve also noticed that, more recently, I really don’t follow too many recipes when I cook. More and more I’m learning how to develop recipes myself and I’m pretty excited about it. When I first started cooking about two years ago I would follow a recipe to a T for every meal. Now I can pretty  much browse Pinterest or blogs, get an idea, and wing it. I’m proud of myself! When I have a good recipe and I managed to take pictures of it along the way, that’s when I decide it will go on the blog. I never re-post other people’s recipes without giving credit.

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My home made spaghetti sauce- I haven’t shared the recipe yet but I’m sure I will sometime soon!

Another thing I got to thinking about was the fact that bloggers DO actually spend a lot of money on the materials for their blogs. Especially if it’s a professional site. I can’t help but wonder how some bloggers can afford to get all these expensive ingredients and then come up with elaborate things like  Paleo baked goods EVERY.DAY.

For one- do you realize how expensive Paleo baking supplies are (almond flour, honey, nuts, nut butter, etc)???? And two-  I find myself wondering where, once the blogger has developed, made and photographed the recipe, do all these yummy desserts go!?!? Certainly if I had goodies like Taylor Made it Paleo’s pumpkin donuts laying around the house every single day I’d put on like 50 pounds!!

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They didn’t last a week!!! Here’s another one of her desserts:

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Sticky Fig Bars

How do bloggers make all these delicious goodies and not be tempted to eat them all the time??! I give you props bloggers! Baking is something I really can’t develop recipes for, so most of what I make for recipe development involves dinners and side dishes. There fore I don’t have the problem of yummy treats laying around all the time!

Anyways, this was just something I was stewing over and thought would make a good conversation.

How do you decide which recipes go on your blog?

Do you follow a lot of recipes or make up your own?

Where do your desserts and baked goods go after you make them?!?!

5 ‘weird’ healthy foods you should eat

17 Mar

Through my experiences with healthy eating, and most recently trying to switch to a Paleo/Whole 30 diet, I have been trying and enjoying some really delicious fruits and veggies I had previously ignored. I definitely go through phases…once I find something I love I buy it incessantly…until I find a new obsession!

Most people don’t look twice if they see things like Twinkie, unnatural orange colored ‘cheese’ poofs, or boxed mashed potatoes on your plate. These things are completely processed, man made and contain little nutrients. Start showing up to lunch hour with a variety of fresh veggies, however, and you will elicit curios stares. People may even ask “What IS that stuff”??”

It’s unnerving to be singled  out for just trying to eat healthy and eating whole, nutritious, real food. And it’s weird that people think it’s weird. The more you eat processed, sugared-up junk the more your body gets used to it and makes you turn your nose up at less common fruits and veggies. But I realized as you start eating more and more whole natural foods your body learns to appreciate the natural flavors this food has to offer. Here are five you should add to your diet or at least give a try:

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1. Rutabaga:

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Shredded rutabaga

I already blogged about my coconut rutabaga pancakes, but this potato-like veggie can be used for so much more! It has a subtle, crispy, carrot-like taste. As a root vegetable, you could use this for anything you would use a potato for: mashed or pureed, shredded as hash browns, or roasted with some herbs in the oven. It’s high in calcium, magnesium, potassium, and only has 50 calories per cup!!!

2. Plantains

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I have recently fallen in love with this starchy fruit! It can be best described as a cross between a banana and potato. When green, plantains can be used as more of a potato substitute- boiled and mashed, roasted in the oven, or used as the ‘pasta’ element in a lasagna. Riper, brown or yellow plantains work well used more like a banana- caramelized in sugar and drizzled with chocolate.

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I fried mine in coconut oil and dark chocolate balsamic vinegar for breakfast!

3. Kale

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I’ve seen more and more kale popping up on blogs…so I know it’s becoming popular. It’s a leafy, bitter green that tastes amazing sautéed with garlic and onion. It’s very low in calories and also very high in calcium, potassium, magnesium, and iron. It goes great with runny eggs as a breakfast or as a side for dinner! It can also be eaten raw, or made into a pesto. Try to buy organic whenever possible.

4. Parsnips

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A cousin to the carrot, parsnips are another way to spice up your nightly veggies. Another root vegetable, they can be roasted in the oven with carrots, or pureed and used as a potato substitute. They’re high in fiber, potassium and magnesium.

5. Squash

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There are so many varieties of squash…..you’ll never get bored! Use spaghetti squash as a pasta substitute, butternut squash in place of potatoes or pasta, and zucchini, acorn or summer squash as a side dish to dinner. The possibilities are endless!

Butternut squash is my favorite because it’s so versatile. Favorites I’ve made are butternut squash fries, cinnamon and nutmeg crockpot mashed butternut squash, and butternut squash lasagna!

 

So put down the Twinkies and pick up one of these options next time you’re at the grocery store. The worst that can happen is you won’t like it! But I bet you’ll find at least one that makes a regular appearance on your plate.

Nutritional Info: Caloriecount.com

What weird healthy foods do you eat that prompt awkward stares from people around the lunch table?

‘Paleo’ Shamrock Shake

16 Mar

I’m all about festive holiday treats..

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St Patty’s Day Pancakes!!!

Tis the season for McDonald’s most coveted creation:

I don’t really have to go into detail about how much sugar/how many calories are in that thing. I think you know. If you want one though; you should have one- not judging.

I decided to try to make my own healthified and paleo version. I’ve made healthy mint shakes with milk and protein powder, but with paleo, those things are out. Since I’ve been focusing on eating whole foods, I kind of miss protein shakes. However, protein powder is expensive and it’s kind of nice not having to shell out the money for it.

Here’s a healthy shamrock shake with no sugar, dairy or grains added!

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Serves 1:

1/2 cup coconut milk

1/4 of an avocado

1/2 of a banana

handful of fresh baby spinach (can’t taste…for color!)

1/2 cup of water

5-6 ice cubes

3-4 drops of mint extract

smoothie ingredients

 

You CAN add sweetener, however I don’t need it!

paleo shamrock shake

Hit the spot. Now I don’t need to run out and get the sugar overload version. I think I am done celebrating St. Patrick’s Day however, even though it hasn’t even gotten here yet. I went to a parade last weekend and spent some time with some very special people, AKA my family. It was amazing to get to see them all and spend some time together.

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What is your favorite St. Patrick’s Day Treat?

Spicy Roasted Carrot ‘Fries’

13 Mar

I’m always looking for more nutritious substitutions for unhealthy foods.  There are so many veggies out there that offer so much more than the traditional white potatoes. Squash, turnips and rutabagas have been making an appearance in my diet lately.

One unlikely suspect to make ‘mock fries’ is…..the carrot!

Potatoes, rutabagas, turnips, carrots…they’re all from the same ‘root vegetable’ category. So I started thinking that if I attempted to make fries out of them like sweet potato or regular fries it may be tasty….and it was!

Carrot Fries2

 

Spicy Roasted Carrot Fries

Serves 1-2

5-6 medium carrots

olive oil

Spices- paprika, cayenne pepper, garlic powder, salt & pepper, chili powder

Preheat oven to 425

1. Peel the carrots and slice them lengthwise.

2. Cut them again into thin strips about 1/2 thick.

3. Spray a cooking sheet with non-stick spray or olive oil. Add your carrots and make sure they are spaced out and not over lapping.

4. Drizzle your olive oil over the ‘fries’. Add your spices. I didn’t really measure here, just a couple of dashes of each of the spices (except cayenne, go easy on that!)

5. Mix them up so they are all coated with oil and spices.

6. Bake for about 15-20 minutes. Take out the carrots and flip them.

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Carrots halfway through

Bake for another 15 minutes or until they are browned. Keep an eye on them..my oven is older so timing may vary.

7. Serve with sunbutter, preferably….. heaven!

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The sweetness of carrots and the spices makes a delicious combo with sunbutter or any other nutbutter. Yum! Making these again. So much better than regular fries!

What are your favorite substitutes for fries?

Olive a Sudden Oils

6 Feb

A very busy week has kept me absent from the blog world lately. My list of topics keeps growing- but one of the things I’m most excited to write about was the shipment of specialty oils I received from a friend in the mail this Monday.

My best friend lives in Palm Desert, California and works at this specialty olive oil shop, called Olive A Sudden (get it…heh). She always brags about what awesome stuff they have and gave me a few samples when she was home this summer which I’ve been using. But she reaaaaallllly hooked me up and enhanced my life greatly this week when she sent me a package about 13 new flavors to experiment with. Being a food geek, I am way too excited than I ought to be about oil and vinegar. You’re probably thinking like “great, why do I need flavored olive oil and vinegar?” But there are so many amazing possibilities that this stuff can add to my recipes! I can’t wait to try them all!

 

First, she sent me three that I personally requested. A garlic infused olive oil (since I tend to dump a decent amount of garlic into everything I make), a regular olive oil and one called harissa- which is just a super spicy oil that gives your food a kick of heat. I’m definitely a fan.

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I plan to put the spicy one on things like pizza, sautéed veggies….or basically anything I want to be spicy.

Then I received two packets of small samples- more olive oils and some balsamic vinegars.

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I have been using this in my salad dressing.

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Drizzled this one on my pizza dough.

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I am super excited about this one:

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Then there’s the balsamic vinegars. Can’t wait to try them as marinades and even desserts!

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I drizzled the dark chocolate over my frozen banana treat the other night….omg.

Other ones she sent were blueberry balsamic vinegar (pancakes?!??!), Blenheim Apricot white balsamic vinegar, Cranberry Pear white balsamic vinegar, and Blood Orange infused oil. Imagine the possibilities!!!! I will keep you updated on what recipes I use these in. Yes- I am way too excited about oil.

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The stash.

By the way, I am not getting paid to sling this stuff or anything, but you should really check out their website!!!! Olive a Sudden

Which one would you most like to try? And does anyone have any suggestions on what I could possibly use some of these in?? I’d love to hear it!

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