Sunday, June 23, 2013

Paleo Brownies

I'm not even sure what to call these other than "FABULOUS"!!! These are entirely sugar-free and Paleo-friendly! So yummy!

1/3 cup coconut oil (solid)
2/3 cup honey
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 vanilla bean, scraped
1 egg
3 mashed bananas
2 heaping tablespoons cacao powder (more or less to taste)
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tsp baking powder
2 tbsp arrowroot powder (optional…use a bit more coconut flour if you omit this)
1 cup chopped almonds
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1 cup coconut flour (more or less…didn't measure)

Preheat oven to 350*. Grease a muffin tin with coconut oil.

Beat the coconut oil, honey, vanilla, applesauce and egg until well blended. In another bowl, mash the bananas, and mix in the cinnamon, nutmeg, salt, baking powder, arrowroot powder and cacao powder. Add to the coconut oil mixture. Add coconut flour 1/4 cup at a time until batter reaches desired consistency (think thick cake batter). Stir in almonds and cranberries.

Fill muffin tin half way with batter. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted half way between the edge and the center comes out dry. They will be heavy for their size, but so unbelievably good!

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Pineapple Grilling Sauce

I've been big on grilling sauce made from fresh fruit the last few months. I threw this one together today in about 5 minutes total, plus 2 hrs in the crock pot.

2 quart bags full of frozen pineapple--probably 2-3 pineapples worth
1 cup honey
1-2 tbsp five spice powder
1/2 tsp fresh grated nutmeg
1/2 inch fresh grated ginger
pinch of kosher salt
15-20 grinds of fresh black pepper
1 vanilla bean (split & scraped....and put the whole thing in the pot)

Cook on high for about 2-3 hours, and then transfer it to the blender and puree. This made exactly 3 pints for me. :)

Tonight I slathered it on grilled pork chops, and served it with grilled zucchini/red onion/yellow bell peppers, orange honeydew melon and a green salad. Absolutely, positively wonderful!

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Pina Colada Granita

I should preface this post by saying that this "recipe" is really probably not worth blogging. We all know how to make a granita, right? The hardest part is waiting for it to freeze so you can eat it. haha!! Oh, and I suppose it's technically *NOT* actually "Paleo" since it includes alcohol...if you care that much....LEAVE IT OUT! haha! That we go! :)

What you will need:
1 fresh pineapple--peeled, cored, and cut into chunks
1 can coconut milk
1/2 cup of plain greek yogurt (optional, helps with creaminess)
1/2 cup of rum (I used Sailor Jerry's)
1 tbsp vanilla extract (or about half the guts of 1 vanilla bean)
coconut sugar to taste (more or less depending on how ripe your pineapple is--taste as you go!)
a pinch of kosher salt

Mix it all up in your blender and pour into a glass baking dish. Cover with plastic wrap (push it down on to the surface of the liquid to prevent a "skin" from forming), and freeze until solid (likely overnight).

When you are ready to serve it, remove from freezer and scrape the surface with a metal spoon to achieve the "shaved ice" look and texture. Serve in a pretty martini glass and garnish with a sprig of mint....or be like me and just throw it in a cereal bowl and hand it to your husband. ;)

Monday, June 3, 2013

Cherry Teriyaki Sauce

This is easily the *BEST* thing I have ever eaten--out of my kitchen or otherwise. So unbelievably yummy!! And it is completely Paleo-friendly!

6 fresh dates, pitted
1/2 pound fresh or frozen & thawed bing cherries, pitted
1/3 cup of HOT HOT water
3-4 cloves of fresh minced garlic
1" fresh minced ginger
3/4 cup coconut aminos (you can use soy sauce if you don't care about the paleo aspect)
1/2 tsp salt (omit the salt if you use soy sauce)
2 tbsp coconut sugar
2 tbsp lemon or lime juice

Blend the dates, cherries and hot water until smooth. Pour into a pot along with all of the other ingredients and simmer. As is, this would make an awesome marinade for meat. Tonight, however, I quadrupled it and threw this into my crock pot on high with frozen chicken breasts. I cocked the lid in the last hour or two so the sauce could reduce once the chicken was cooked through, and I garnished it with green onions when I served it. :)

(adapted from's Paleo Teriyaki Sauce recipe)

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

If I wasn't convinced last time...

I sure am now! I had a late meeting last night. Pizza was delivered at the midpoint for dinner....I was hungry, I ate a piece. And I paid for it all night long. I thought my insides were going to turn inside out. So....yeah. Gluten is evil and must be stopped. This morning my awesome bistro veggie omelet was served with what looked to be an *AMAZING* lemon scone.....and I didn't touch it. Lesson learned. #proud

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Squash & Zucchini Skewers

Stupid simple BBQ side dish that is 100% paleo today! :) I took these up to my mom's BBQ today and they were a big hit. Simply yellow summer squash and zucchini, cut into thick slices. I squeezed a lemon over them all, and then drizzled some olive oil and then hit them with salt, fresh black pepper, onion powder and garlic powder. You could also add some onion, asparagus, etc. The sky's the limit! :)

Throw them on the grill over hot coals for about 5 mins per side and enjoy! :)

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Pineapple/Mango Salsa

Blogging this is kind of an afterthought, so bear with me. I had a couple mangos and a very ripe pineapple that needed to be used, so I thought I would throw together a pineapple/mango salsa. I basically followed my rule about pico de gallo--equal parts cilantro, onion and tomato with a bit of jalapeno--but without tomato, of course. I made approximately 12 cups of this salsa and served it over grilled pork chops and salads last night (OMG YUMMMM!!!). Everyone around me has been going to town munching on it and putting it on top of things all day today. I can confirm that it is awesome with multigrain tortilla chips (BAD husband for bringing those into the house!!), celery sticks, and green bell pepper slices. :)

What you need:
1 medium sized pineapple
2-3 very ripe mangos
2 red onions
1 bunch of cilantro
2-4+ jalapeno peppers

No brainer, really. Basically, just dice everything uber tiny and mix it all together. I used 2 jalapenos, and it barely had any I've been adding another jalapeno to just about every 8 ounce jar as I serve it and it is perfectly hot for my tastes. :)

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Husband Post

One of the most satisfying things about this whole endeavor is my husband. There has been a box of single serve packs of Oreos--his favorite food in the world--on top of our fridge for months now. The husband knows they are there. They are within plain sight of even our children. Yet no one has touched the last three packages in it. They just sit there all lonely and ignored waiting for SOMEONE to acknowledge their presence, and I love it. My husband, the TOTAL soda junkie, is even drinking WATER at home 100% of the time now. I am in utter awe watching his habits change right along with my own and it is one of the most rewarding things I have ever experienced.

Cheater, Cheater

So....I "cheated" yesterday big time and had a cheeseburger from one of the better not-fast-food restaurants in town. It was on a brioche bun and OMG was it ever yummy. But, it cost me....dearly. I was soooooo ill all night after eating it. Serves me right, I suppose. Lesson learned. Well played, paleo gods. Well played.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Peer Pressure

One of the biggest things for me when it comes food is peer pressure. My current circle of friends--as in, the people I see every single day--are all either doing the Paleo thing or are just health nuts in general. And they are all vocal about what they are cooking and eating on a day to day basis. In a crowd of "grilled chicken spinach salad" and "seared ahi tuna with spinach and quinoa" and "pho with zucchini, carrot and daikon radish noodles" and Paleo this or Paleo that...I'm sure as hell not gonna be the one saying "ah, I made lasagna with canned sauce and plain white boxed pasta and served it with white french bread slathered in butter and an iceberg side salad that I bought pre-made in a sack that my husband drowned in bottled ranch dressing." haha! Don't get me wrong, there is a time and a place for meals like that....but every day or even once a month, not so much. haha!

I have simply found that I need to be able to hold myself accountable for what I eat on some level, and I think this goes hand in hand with peer pressure. For me? That means blogging a recipe or snapping a photo of a plate of food and posting it to Facebook for all of my health nut foodie friends to see--yes, I am one of *THOSE* people. Another way of holding myself accountable in the kitchen? We have friends or family over for dinner 4-5 nights a week, and while none of them would have the gall to comment about me serving something less-than-healthy, I'd feel seriously awful serving them crap. All together, it gives me the incentive I need to not slack off when it comes to cooking.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Well...Hello, there!

Where to begin? I'm fat, I'm aware of it, and believe it or not, I'm also the first to admit it. I also make no apologies for it. If you don't like me as my fat girl self, you can find your way right back out the way you came in.

While I've been fat for the majority of my life, I can't say I've struggled with my weight my whole life, because honestly, I haven't given it much thought beyond how my jeans fit. haha! And really, nothing has changed. I haven't set out on this journey to change the way my family eats with weight loss in mind. Sure, it's bound to be a natural side effect to eating better, I suppose, but quite frankly, I am more concerned about the other benefits that proper nutrition will provide--more energy, better health, etc.

I suppose my Paleo story truly began last year when I met a couple of women who had, at that time, been doing the Paleo thing for about a year. One of these women had lost over 100 pounds, and has managed to keep it off even now, a year later. The other has also lost weight, but even more amazingly has also managed to bring some of her health issues under control without medication because of the Paleo lifestyle. Every week, we'd meet up to do PTO stuff and I'd listen to them talk about this or that ingredient that they found or this replacement for that food or how they'd make this recipe "Paleo." Even now, having known them a year, and with both of them having been doing the Paleo thing for a couple years now, they are just as excited about ways they can make a recipe healthy as they were when I first met them. As much as I love to cook, this seriously intrigues and excites me.

I've been quietly tossing this idea around for about a year now. There's just so much mainstream junk that you have to give up to eat Paleo. Dairy? Gone. Refined sugar? Ouch. BREAD? **WEEP** Slowly but surely, though, I've been making some changes in this direction. Honestly, I don't see me ever reaching full on Paleo status, because I really do like things like plain greek yogurt, and the jury is undecided as to whether dairy is "allowed" with Paleo...some, including my friends, say it is....others call Paleo + Dairy "Primal"....and others still say absolutely positively NO dairy. Quite frankly, it probably doesn't matter, really. Point is, I have no real intention of giving up dairy completely, so if I post a recipe here that features half a cup of greek yogurt or a tablespoon of *real* butter, you know why. ;) That's my preface. haha!

Cut to about 2 months ago. I started participating in a produce co-op called Bountiful Baskets ( For $15 a week, they give you a TON of produce (think like a large laundry basket full!). Now, it's not necessarily stuff we would've normally chosen to purchase, but since we did pay for it, and since I absolutely *HATE* to see food go to waste, we've forced ourselves to use it. This has had a natural consequence--there's no room in our diet to eat much else because we're constantly trying to use up all this produce!

Just this last week, I realized that this produce co-op has not only changed how we eat, but it has changed how I *SHOP* as well! I found myself in a grocery store produce section, piling my cart with new things: things I never would've been brave enough to try before, much less spent my money to purchase! Add this produce to the ever-growing pile of Bountiful Basket produce we're trying to use up, and quite frankly, anything that was pre-packaged or at all "filler" (read: rice, pasta, etc.) has worked its way out of our diet entirely by default.

Now, all that said, I am a rational human being. I know that my kids are still going to want their cereal, and their Ritz crackers and their milk, etc. Plus, months and months ago when I first brought up the idea of a Paleo lifestyle to my husband, I made it clear that he was welcome to eat or drink whatever he wanted OUTSIDE of the house, and now that we're practically doing it, I have kept my word. Outside of the house--be it at work or when we're out to eat or just out and about running errands--I don't care. Hell, I cheat outside of the house from time to time as well. Actually, for the sake of keeping it real, I would absolutely curl up and die without my morning coffee--but that is another exception I make. Why? Because as far as coffee shop coffee goes, what I drink isn't that bad. About a quarter shot of syrup, 4 shots of espresso, and 1% milk in a 16 oz cup? Sue me, but I will never give it up.

Ultimately, if I'm craving it, I eat it. I don't even care. I crave junk so rarely anymore that it doesn't matter in my mind if I "slip up" and decide I want to eat a piece of chocolate before bedtime one night. Yesterday, I ate a quarter of a chocolate bar and I was done. Last week, we were craving pizza, so we grilled individual pizzas. There are exceptions to every rule. I saw this thing on Dr. Oz today (he totally yapped about the Paleo diet for 40 minutes--LOL!)...and one of his guests said that she tells her clients that they are allowed 3 cheat meals a week. Seriously? 3 a week? LOL! I eat maybe one a week, if that, and maybe a not-so-great snack just about as often. In comparison, I feel like I'm doing pretty dang well! haha!

Basically what I am saying is that I am not a dictator, however, I *AM* the grocery shopper and the only person in this family that plans meals and cooks. Therefore, the things that I select to bring into our home and cook will be healthy.