Chicken Balls Soup

Chicken Balls Soup (1)The word “balls” is funny.  I love to add it to other words because it’s just so hilarious and because I am so mature. Alec Baldwin, Molly Shannon and Ana Gasteyer had everyone dying just using that word for over 5 minutes in the Delicious Dish.

mmmm shweddy balls

mmmm shweddy balls

I also think it’s funny to use it as an expletive.  Drop something and say “BALLS!”  Forget something, “BALLS!”  Screw up at work, “BALLS!”  You know it just feels good to swear.  You may know that this was actually tested on MythBusters years ago and they found that folks could withstand pain longer if they spewed “swear words” as opposed to other words.  I know this is true because I have given birth twice.   There’s a whole bunch of geeky science behind this phenomenon.    601191_383148001821042_667965715_n

However, having a potty mouth isn’t really something I would brag about or put on a resume, “Excellent organizational skills, proficient in Excel and cursing…”  but it does have it’s place and can help at the right time.  I for one, swear like a sailor, but that is mostly just when I am driving or giving birth.  It isn’t always socially acceptable to swear, so as an alternative, it can be fun to use ridiculous words in lieu of swear words to help us through those frustrating and painful moments, or perhaps when we are in the presence of children or in mixed company.  For example, to quote the famous Will Ferrell whose character was making an effort to keep it G as a soccer coach in Kicking and Screaming,  “Mother of PEARL!”  and also in Elf, “Son of a NUTCRACKER!”   Instead of saying “Bullshit”  sometimes I will say “Baloney Sandwiches!”   I love this form of swearing because you still experience some degree of lalochezia, (my new favorite word), but also some comic relief and  I can’t think of what could be better than that, except of course this soup I just made.

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And I didn’t know what in the Sam Hill to call this soup.  I could call it something  really douchey like “Asian Inspired Free-Range Chicken Soup”  or I could just call it what it is:  Amazeballs Soup!  or Incrediballs Soup! or, well, you get the picture.  It’s some really good shit.  I swear!

 

Ingredients:

1 lb ground chicken

1 egg

¼ cup almond meal

dash of crushed red pepper

sea salt and ground black pepper

16 oz bone broth (chicken or turkey, I used turkey from my Christmas turkey)

¼ cup fish sauce

¾  cup coconut aminos

1 red bell pepper diced

3 medium carrots peeled and then peeled into “noodles” (just keep going with the vegetable peeler)

½ large or one small yellow onion, diced

about 2 large heads of broccoli cut into florets

3 cloves of garlic smashed and minced

1 tablespoon of fresh garlic, peeled and minced

sea salt and ground black pepper

1 heaping tablespoon of grass fed bacon fat or coconut oil

Instructions:

In large dutch oven, melt fat

Add onion and cook on medium for about 2-3 minutes till soft

Add pepper, dash of salt and a few cranks of your pepper mill and cook for about 3 more minutes or till soft and then add in the carrots

Meanwhile in a mixing bowl combine ground chicken, almond meal, egg, salt, pepper and crushed red pepper and roll into balls, then add to the dutch oven.  Turn them as they begin to brown.

Once the chicken balls are mostly cooked through, add in the broccoli florets and turn the heat down to medium low, cover for a few minutes to allow the broccoli to steam a little.

Last add the broth, fish sauce, coconut aminos and another pinch of salt and pepper.

Bring to just before a boil, turn down to simmer for about 10-15 minutes and serve topped with some crushed macadamia nuts.  You can totally let this sit longer than that on low with the cover on it and it will stay hot for a long time.

 

 

Warm up with Paleo Cabbage Rolls

 

Cabbage RollIt has been freeeezing around here!   So cold that schools are closed today.  Right now I’d be at the gym being a beast but my class was cancelled so instead I am being a wuss all snuggled up with a blanket and coffee and feeling cozy.

The holidays are over and you know what that means – Everyone has been getting sick with the flu, stomach bug and other nasty viruses.  What better way to heal, warm up and fill up than with a hot delicious plate of nutritious comfort food!

AND… you can really do well to reduce your chances of getting sick by doing a few simple common sense things:

Eat plenty of greens at every meal all year because they are packed with all things great for a healthy digestive and immune system such as fiber, vitamins A, C, K, potassium, calcium and folate.

Avoid sugar because that is probably the worst thing for your immune system as it is void of nutrition, causes inflammation, causes weight gain, contributes to metabolic syndrome, disrupts sleep and destroys your gut.  Sugar is a huge jerk.

Get proper sleep – at least 7 hours the same times each night in the darkest room possible.  The darker the better because lights disrupt the production of the hormone melatonin, a powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory that strengthens your immune system.

Exercise – to strengthen your heart, lungs, muscles and bones, and reduce sickness-inducing stress.

Last but not least, avoid spreading germs with hand washing.  Use regular soap and water not antibacterial because that stuff is not any more effective and only makes the resistant bacteria more resistant.  Unless you have just washed your hands, don’t touch your face or put your fingers in or around your mouth and remind (I mean nag) your kids to stop doing that. Touching your face is a really bad habit, so stop it.  You just did it.  I saw you!

I know it can be really hard to avoid getting sick when everyone around you is sick, but you can reduce your chances and if you do get sick, your body will have the tools to fight it off faster.

So basically,  “Go to bed!”, “Eat your veggies!” and “Wash your hands!” is not just your mom or me nagging you, doing that stuff is truly vital to your health.

Speaking of veggies, I love the smell of cabbage cooking.  I know it’s not a particularly popular smell, but I have heard that your sense of smell is the sense closest linked to your memory and I associate the smell of cabbage cooking with my grandmother’s house.  So this meal is an extra comfort to me as I remember a happy time and place from my childhood.

Paleo Cabbage Rolls

1 cabbage
1 onion chopped
1 green bell pepper chopped
1 cup sliced mushrooms
1 head cauliflower chopped into medium small pieces
2 cloves garlic smashed and minced
3 cups baby spinach
Coarse salt (sea salt or Himalayan)
Fresh ground pepper
1/8 tsp red pepper flakes
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
Organic jar tomato sauce (pasta sauce works)
Dash of onion powder and garlic powder
1 tsp raw local honey
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon coconut oil or fat of choice
1 pound ground bison, beef or ground meat of choice

Place cauliflower on parchment lined baking sheet, season with salt and pepper and coat evenly with plenty of melted coconut oil.  Roast on 400 degrees for about 25 minutes.  Remove and set aside.

Heat fat in skillet on medium heat then add onion, dash of salt & pepper, cook 2 mins and then add bell pepper and garlic and cook a few more minutes or till starting to soften.
Add mushrooms and spinach and half a cup of roasted cauliflower and cook till juices incorporate

With a long sharp knife, cut around the core of the cabbage to loosen the leaves then remove each leaf.  It helps to run warm water between them as you go.  Pick out the best leaves for the rolls and place the “rejects” in the bottom of a glass 9 x 11 casserole pan.  These will help the rolls to stay soft and not burn. Also choose some of the larger outer leaves that you will use to place over top of the rolls so the top doesn’t burn either.

Place the remaining leaves in a large pot of salted water and bring to a boil.  Let them cook for about 2-3 minutes so they are soft but not falling apart and then turn them out on to clean towels.

Add a tablespoon of olive oil to a sauce pan and add the jar of sauce, 1/4 cup of red wine vinegar, dash of garlic and onion powder and teaspoon of honey.  Heat through on low heat.

Mix together a cup of the sauce and the meat in a bowl and season with salt and pepper and crushed red pepper.  Mix in the cooked vegetables.

Place 3/4 cup of the meat/veggie mixture on each cabbage leaf and roll up by folding in the sides and place in casserole dish.  Spoon sauce on top of each roll, season with salt and pepper and drizzle with olive oil.  Cover with remaining leaves.  Now they are all tucked in and cozy.

Bake at 375 degrees for half hour to 40 mins or until you notice it start to bubble a little.cabbage rolls (1)

Mix together a salad of  baby spinach, a tsp each olive oil &  red wine vinegar, dash salt, pepper, onion powder and garlic powder and put on your serving plates.

While the cabbage rolls are baking, reheat the cauliflower for a couple of minutes.  When the cabbage rolls are done, take them out to rest.

Place cauliflower in food processor with 2 tablespoons of turkey or chicken broth and pulse till blended.

Top spinach with a cabbage roll and top the roll with more sauce, olive oil and vinegar if desired.  Put some mashed cauliflower on the side and serve.  Enjoy!Cabbage Roll with Mashed Cauliflower (1)

It’s a Wonder Womanful Life!

lrgscaleu_20260840_Half Moon Bay_Homewares_Coasters_wonder-woman-action-hero-coasterThe New Year.  A blank page.  What have we learned from 2014 that we can bring with us into 2015 and what do we want to leave behind?  What people influenced us and in what way?  Did we make new friends on our journey toward our goals? Which friends, old or new encouraged us or did they discourage us?

One lesson that hit me in the face this year was a meme I came across which said, “Don’t chase people.  Do your own thing and work HARD.  The right people will come into your life and stay.”  I saw this about half way through this year and I decided to take it seriously because I realized that in my efforts to keep certain relationships going and to be accepted by certain people, I was chasing, and that made me feel like a lonely fool.  I decided that I was okay with being alone more, but not okay with wasting my time and the part about being a fool, well, when you are with those few special people who love and accept you for who you are, that can be wicked fun!

So I focused more on my own family and my own interests.  I had a wonderful vacation in the Adirondacks with my husband and kids,  I grew even closer to my daughters and husband and continued to work on my health.  I started the paleo life, worked out a lot more and harder, I made a PR and got a medal in a 5K, I did more yoga and worked on some meditation. I was able to stick with it and resist a lot of foods that I thought I couldn’t live without.  Like this hot delicious looking and smelling pizza.  That was not easy man.  Do you see this pizza?!  See that sauce and cheese? Ridiculous.IMG_0020I count it a victory that the only “cheat” i made over the last 9 months of paleo was a piece of birthday cake for my daughter Claire’s 13th birthday. IMG_0021 If it weren’t a beautiful work of art,  homemade by a friend with fresh and real food ingredients, I may have resisted, but I didn’t and I don’t even consider it a failure because it was the most delicious piece of cake I have ever had and I don’t regret it.  I simply file it under “Holiday Gift to Myself”, and move forward.  Also, this year,  I started this blog, which is something I never thought I would have time for.  I decided to make the best of things that I cannot change.  I stopped chasing.  I started being in the moment.  I enjoyed a quiet and beautiful Christmas with just my husband and girls.  It was agreed by all that it was the best ever and we will continue to do it every year.  I learned that I have the power to be happy.

On my journey of focusing on my own health and fitness, I made a few new friends. I am happy to surround myself with people who encourage and inspire me to be the best I can be and whom I can encourage as well.   I also realized that the old friends who are encouraging and supportive have not left me and those who are not have more or less faded out of my life.  Life is short.  It’s not worth your precious time suffering with people who bring you down or just don’t make you happy anymore.  You may always love them and care about them, but you don’t have to chase them or try to make them understand and accept you.

Looking ahead to 2015, I am taking the accomplishments, encouragement and gratefulness I have gained in 2014 with me and leaving behind what doesn’t serve me anymore.

Someone very cool made a new years resolution for me and invited me to do 27 push ups (or more) a day so that by the end of 2015, we will have each done about 10,000 push ups!  I never thought I would be able to hold a plank with good form for 10 minutes straight but I worked on that all year and by Thanksgiving, there we were, our little “plank club” holding it up for 10 minutes!

Other goals include less caffeine.  That one seems to creep up on me.  It needs to be a little boost, a treat and not a crutch.  Also, getting more consistent sleep, Eating more vegetables and a little less meat.  I want to do more consistent reading of paper books because it is so good for my mind and keeps me off the constant chatter of social media, which wastes time and energy.  I am going to make it a priority to be to work on time.  I have allowed that to get away from me because I try to fit too much into my morning.  It will require me to be more disciplined with my time.  My fitness goals include steady, consistent gains in strength.  I’d like to add more weight to my bar for squats, lunges and presses.  This time last year, my squat weight was 40% lower than it is now.  I am glad I kept a record of that so I could see my progress in a realistic way.  I worried it seemed a little obsessive to do so, but those were the voices of the haters, the eye rollers, the people who don’t get it and don’t get me and now I simply don’t care what they think.

This year I would absolutely love to have people in my life whose goals are similar to mine.  It’s been a little bit of a lonely paleo life thus far, aside from my husband and kids, the only “paleo friends” I have are on the internet,  but even so, I am going to keep with it because I thoroughly enjoy it and feel stronger and healthier as a result.  I have learned a lot about nutrition and fitness that I was clueless to before.  My family has been great and encouraging and that is a lot to say for 2 teenage girls and a man who was in passionate love with Italian bread!  I am also going to be patient with myself as I build this blog.  It is not as sophisticated as many of the great food blogs out there, but those (mostly women) have been an inspiration to me as I forge ahead with my own recipes and build my blogging skills.

I look back at 2014 with gratefulness for all I have been given and learned and improved in and I look ahead to 2015 with optimism, patience and confidence, knowing that slow and steady progress is the most successful, that being here now and mindful of the moment, doing the task at hand, and seeing the beauty right now is the best way to live and to grow.

Also, these shhhweeet adult sized Wonder Woman Underoos that my daughter gave me for Christmas, will remind me that the ones who matter most totally get me, to have fun and not to take myself too seriously.  Also to stay positive because even though I may be a middle-aged mother of 2, working at a desk all day, folding laundry, schlepping around in a 17 year old Subaru and grocery shopping, underneath it all, I know that I am freakin’ Wonder Woman!!   FullSizeRender

 

 

 

 

 

Late Dinner Squoodles with Bison Sauce… and a side of OCD

Squoodles with Bison Sauce

Squoodles with Bison Sauce

OMG it’s 9:00!  Is dinner ever going to be ready?  How is it that I got up at 4:30 this morning and dinner isn’t even done yet??!  I tell ya, I just don’t know where all the time goes.  I had so much crap to get caught up on like laundry, dusting and vacuuming.  I finally got around to vacuuming the couch, in which I collected about $3.00 in change in the cushions!  Ca-ching!!  Also some cashews and almonds  from the husband’s midnight snacks,  and a raisin or two, which I was really tempted to eat because I was getting quite hungry, but that would have been disgusting because it’s been longer than I’d like to admit since I vacuumed anything in this house.  However, I am keeping that money!  I earned it!  I always keep the money I find in the laundry too.  It’s kind of a thrill for me.  Sad, I know.  Know what else is sad?  My house was cleaner when we had a 90 pound German Shepherd living in it!

Our Jackie

Our Jackie

I had no choice but to clean up after that hairy animal all of the damn time.  She was dirty but she was a sweety and I do miss her since she passed away.   We never replaced her.

Now, I let the house go until my OCD can’t take it anymore.   I used to keep my house a lot cleaner before I started working out more and doing this little blog.  Somehow that has helped to  tame my neurosis and it just doesn’t seem so important.

So there you have it.  I work out and cook a lot because I’m fu#*ing crazy!  It’s not a bad crazy though.  Working out, cooking and writing is great therapy and a much healthier way to deal with some OCD tendencies than say…. a gambling addiction, right?   Is gambling an OCD thing?  I’m not really sure.  I know that there are many OCD behaviors or rituals gamblers do like touching the cards or dice in a certain way, a certain number of times, much like I would need to touch everything in my house.  I know I’m not alone. Just being a mom can be enough to push someone sane over the edge straight into crazy town.  This is a scientific fact.

Anyway…After a long day of shopping, working out, spending quality time with loved ones, cleaning and doing laundry, it got late and we needed something simple, healthy and delicious, so I made this  yummy meat sauce on squash noodles.  What would you call those?  Squoodles?  Yes, squoodles.  Wow. That is a ridiculous word.  I love it!

I also love bison, which I recently discovered.  It’s good.  It’s a lean and delicious meat.  I’ve been mixing up my protein sources with bison, venison, chicken, turkey, beef, pork and eggs to get a mix of different amino acids.

Linda Hamilton as Sarah Connor.  Goddess.

Linda Hamilton as Sarah Connor. Goddess.

Great for building beautiful muscles!

 

 

 

 


Squoodles with Bison Sauce

Ingredients:

2 tbs bacon fat or coconut oil divided
1 pound of ground Bison
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 tablespoon of fresh minced garlic
1/8 tsp red pepper flakes
1 tbs dried oregano
1 24 oz jar organic marinara sauce or tomatoes
1/2 cup Kalamata olives
4 medium yellow squash                                                                                            2 large handfulls of baby spinach
kosher or sea salt
black pepper

How to make it:

Cut each squash in half vertically, and then with a Veggetti or vegetable spiral tool on the smaller setting, spiral and set aside.

Heat fat or oil in a dutch oven on medium heat until it is melted.
Add the onion and bell pepper, a dash of salt and some black pepper and sauté until soft, about 8 mins stirring so it doesn’t burn.

Next, add in the bison, breaking it up in to little meatball sized pieces, salt and pepper that, let the outer layer of the meat brown a little and then add in the garlic, oregano and red pepper flakes. Lower the heat to low to medium-low and cover.

While that is browning, heat oil or fat in a large sauce pan on medium and then add in the squash noodles, salt and pepper and stir so the oil coats all the noodles. after about a minute, turn down the heat to about half way so the noodles can cook through, stirring frequently.

Once the meat is mostly cooked through, add in the sauce and stir to combine, add the olives, stir in and add in the spinach, cover for a minute or two so it can wilt down .

Once the squash noodles is cooked through and soft but not mushy, about 10-13 minutes, turn them out onto paper towels to absorb the excess liquid.

Stir the spinach into the sauce, then serve the noodles in shallow bowls with the sauce on top. Enjoy!

 

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Hangry Husband & Paleo Sloppy Joes

Sloppy Joes

Sloppy Joes

We’ve all been there.  So hungry that it begins to affect our otherwise wonderful personality.  We steadily reach a point where we become angry, lashing out like a starving animal, ready to rip
the throat out of anyone that would stand in the way of us consuming the flesh of another animal.

This is known as “Hangry.”  Hangriness can affect us all.  Not just the ones who are hangry but also the loved ones of those that are hangry.  When more than one person per household is simutaneously in the throes of hangriness, the atmosphere can become quite volatile so it is best to avoid this situation at all costs.   This past Tuesday evening, hangriness hit my home and the afflicted individual was my husband.    The photo pictured above was just about the last straw for him because it was his god damned DINNER that I was getting in the way of!   This is why you will notice that this photo has that foreboding, dark and scary look to it and the meat is falling out.  I barely got the shot in before that hangry man ripped the cow sandwich away and wolfed it down.

Hangry!

Hangry!

I was like, holy shit man!  Have I been starving you?   After he ate, he was magically transformed back into prince charming.  image

If you have a hangry husband, or wife or child, I highly recommend these savory and satisfying Paleo Sloppy Joes and maybe starting dinner as early as possible.  Also, you can give your hangry loved one some nuts or raw veggies to calm that crazy beast and keep it occupied until dinner is ready.

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Why I might have to break up with running

imageBack a few years ago, my life changed and I began finding myself in the process.   Right about this time, I started running.  I would do a little running.  It was nothing much, just a mile or so every few days.  Then one day I ran 5K on the treadmill and I decided that I would like to keep doing that and maybe run a 5K race.

So I signed up for my first 5K race that was to be on my 40th birthday.  I felt like this was a great way to kick off my forties.  The last leg of the race was all down hill and I laughed to myself as I thought how ironic it was running to hang on to my youth but really it was “all downhill from here!”

I never did a race before so I wasn’t that concerned with time and I finished it in about 30 minutes  All that was about to change when I decided I wanted to improve my time, so the very next week I did another one and shaved 2 minutes off my time.   A month later, I did a turkey trot and shaved more time off and finished a cold hilly turkey trot with a push from my speedy little sister in just over 27 minutes.  I felt great about my times improving so i wanted to go faster and faster!

That ended up being stupid because every time I ran I was trying to beat my time.  Not on races, but every time I ran until one night I hurt myself on the treadmill and did something to my left knee.  It has given me trouble ever since.

At first, I was in denial and kept trying to do the elliptical at the gym but that was aggravating it too.  I had to come to terms with the fact that I am not a little man from Kenya and I should not have tried to do so much so soon.

Over that last 4 years I have been searching how to help my knee heal and how to run without hurting my knee more.  I searched the internet, read running blogs, went to physical therapy, an orthopedic doctor, had cortizone injections and ate tons of ibuprofen.  Throughout this journey, there are two things that I have learned thus far.   One is to eat anti-inflammatory food such at dark leafy greens, turmeric, ginger and coconut oil and avoid inflammatory foods such as processed foods and sugar, vegetable oils, breads, gluten and legumes.  Also to fuel my body with nutrient dense carbohydrates and proteins.  The other important thing I learned was that I needed to build muscle and strengthen my leg muscles to support my knees better.  In order to do that, I started focusing less on just running and more on strength training and in doing so, I was not beating my knees on the pavement at the same time that I was strengthening them.

I started doing a boot camp class and that was probably the best thing I ever did.  I discovered that I really love classes!  In classes, the trainers plan the workout and you just do it.  It’s great!  I have learned so much from them.  In addition to the boot camp, I started going to a gym and doing more classes; body pump, yoga and spin.  Another benefit to classes as opposed to doing it on your own at home or at a gym, is that you feed off of the energy of the trainer who feeds off of the energy of the class and they are inspired to motivate you even more and then people in the class motivate each other.  It’s like an energetic cycle of motivation.   I discovered quickly after doing these classes that I pushed myself a lot more in this setting than when I worked out on my own and was very encouraged by what I could do.

Without putting so much emphasis on running alone and consistently going to classes, my knee has been much better.  I have decided that running will just be a thing that I will do sometimes.  Maybe do a 5K once or twice a year.  I did my best 5K a year ago in 25:13, placing first in my age/gender but  my dreams of doing a half marathon are on a shelf indefinitely.  I would rather be able to continue working out, gaining strength than blow out my knee.

That being said, I have a 5K coming up this weekend just after my 44th birthday.   I went for a run tonight, this time focusing on my gait.  Landing mid foot, lightly and not striding too far.  Keeping shorter quicker revolutions of my foot falls and  with my knees facing forward and my body upright, slightly bent forward.  I bought a Rehband knee brace.  I think my muscles are going to be sore tomorrow.

imageStupid running.  I hate you but I just can’t stay away from you.  You are the devil but I love you.  Okay.  I will do this race on Sunday, but after that,  no more!  Don’t call me again because we are never ever ever getting back together ….until the next race.

 

UPDATE:  I ran the 5K, beat my previous PR by a few seconds for 24:58 and won 3rd place in my age/gender group.  That’s why I love running.  It feels great to reach your goals!   But I hate it because it’s a bitch.

Instant Warm Chia Pudding

Warm Chia Pudding

Warm Chia Pudding

Here’s a delicious sweet, filling and warm breakfast to enjoy as the mornings get a bit cooler.

Since it is morning and we all have places we need to get to, instead of ranting, and rambling, I’m just going to get right to it!

Instant Warm Chia Pudding

Ingredients:

1 banana
3 tablespoons of chia gel*
3-4 tablespoons of full fat coconut milk
1/2 tsp vanilla
hand full or 1/4 cup of raisins
sliced almonds or nuts of your choice (walnuts would be good)
1 tsp cinnamon or more or less to liking
tiny pinch of Himalayan salt (optional)

How to make it:

In your cereal bowl, mash up the banana with a fork
add the chia gel, coconut milk, vanilla, cinnamon, salt and mix together
Last, add the raisins and nuts and blend.

Pop into the microwave for 30-35 seconds on high and eat it all up!

*Chia gel – Combine 6oz filtered water with 2 tbs of chia seeds.  Let sit for 10 minutes or store overnight in a sealed container in the refridgerator.  Eating gelled chia helps the body to digest and absorb the macronutrients best.  Chia is a good source of Omega-3s, Calcium, Phosphorus and Manganese.

Chia pudding is a great alternative to having eggs for breakfast and it really keeps you full!

 

 

 

 

 

OMG Pumpkin Everything!

imageAhhh, It’s that time of year again,  when there’s a little nip in the air and you start feeling all cozy in your sweaters and boots.  Everyone is apple picking and sipping pumpkin coffees.  Not real pumpkin though.  No.  Real pumpkins are for putting on your steps for juvenile delinquents to curb stomp on Halloween, but fake pumpkin, ya know, like at Starbucks and Dunkin’ Donuts.  Chemical pumpkin coffees and lattes in styrofoam containers and muffins and donuts with neon orange frosting and pumpkin candles and unflattering sweater vests with pumpkins all over them and great big flags flying outside your McMansion with pumpkins on them and and and holy god stop it already!  Stop the fake pumpkin insanity!

imageReal pumpkin.  Real pumpkin is the stuff.  Pumpkin is loaded with vitamin A which is great for your skin, eyes and hair and is a powerful antioxidant.  Plus real pumpkin tastes better than fake pumpkin because it’s REAL!  Real pumpkin is easy to add to recipes like pancakes, muffins, puddings and smoothies.

A little pumpkin goes a long way as far as vitamin A is concerned.  Just half a cup of pureed pumpkin gives you 380% of the RDA of vitamin A.  You do not want to go crazy with real pumpkin either because too much vitamin A has been linked to liver problems.  Don’t worry though, you probably don’t eat pumpkin every day all year long so it’s okay to indulge a little this time of year.  Liver problems are more likely caused by real toxins or alcoholism and not pumpkins.

Now that I’ve made fun of you for going fake pumpkin crazy and scared you out of eating too much real pumpkin, here is a DELICIOUS recipe to enjoy in moderation during pumpkin season because when it comes to pumpkin, I prefer to keep it real.

Pumpkin Bread Pudding Muffins

These bread pudding muffins are so moist and sweet and warm and wonderful.  You will feel like you died and went to pumpkin heaven.

Pumpkin Bread Pudding Muffin

Pumpkin Bread Pudding Muffin

Ingredients:

1 can pumpkin
2 ripe bananas mashed
4 eggs
1/2 cup apple sauce
1 tbs molasses
1 tbs honey
2 tsp coconut oil, melted
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/8 tsp ginger
1/8 tsp nutmeg
2 tbs cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup almond meal (from nut milk pulp)
1 tsp raw red maca
3/4 cup raisins
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 of a 13 oz can full fat coconut milk

Directions:

Place the can of coconut milk in the fridge.

Use a hand mixer in a large mixing bowl to mash bananas
then, add the pumpkin and blend
Add the eggs and beat them in till smooth

Next add the coconut oil, molasses, honey and apple sauce, ginger, nutmeg, cinnamon, vanilla, salt, baking soda, baking powder, almond meal and blend
add in the maca powder and blend again

Last, fold in the raisins and spoon into parchment lined deep muffin tin so they are almost all the way full

Top with chopped walnuts and more cinnamon.  image

Bake at 350 degrees for 25-27 mins.

Let pan cool on rack and then after about 15 minutes loosen up the muffins, place the rack on top and flip over, gently letting the muffins slide out.

Let cool a little, but they are awesome served warm.

You will want to eat these with a fork or spoon.

Before you serve them, take the coconut milk out of the fridge and scoop out the heavy cream from the can that is at the top and place in a medium mixing bowl.  Add a tsp of vanilla and blend with hand mixer until creamy, you can add a little of the thinner coconut milk if you prefer it thinner and blend until it is creamy like whipped cream.

Place some of that coconut cream in the bottom of a dessert dish and place the muffin on top, top it all with more cinnamon and serve.

You’ve got to be kidding me.  Please stop.image

 

 

Paleo Pizza and Parenting Advice

 

My peeps and I were dying for some pizza!  Hadn’t had any pizza in months and even though I had been perfectly satisfied not having any bread or dairy, I still have a special place in my heart (and my stomach) for pizza.  It’s that combination of italian spices and tomatoes on a crispy but soft and chewy crust with some salty creaminess all hot and delicious that I missed.

So, I messed around with some recipes I saw on line for cauliflower crust and added my own little twist:  Pesto in the crust instead of cheese.  I thought the pine nuts, garlic, salt and oil would help make up some of the texture and flavor of cheese and I was really quite happy with the outcome.  A flour-less, cheese-less pizza that doesn’t taste like crap?  Yes Virginia, it really can be done!

Ta-Daaaa!  Paleo Pizza!
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Now wait a minute!  There’s cheese on that pizza!  Yes there is cheese on that pizza, but that is just my daughter Claire’s portion. Perhaps you think, like my husband, that I am being a bit of an indulgent softy, but I see this as a fair compromise.  She is eating a weird cauliflower

image crust pizza and not what most of her friends are having when they have pizza, so I am going to melt a little cheese on top to say “Thanks for keeping an open mind and eating this weirdo healthy pizza.” And seriously, we are talking about pizza, a party food.  It should be fun.  I’m not being a softy over important life lessons such as responsibility and character.  Some people who are probably just having cheese envy need to speak up and say that they want cheese too and I would totally make that happen.

I do wonder at times,  if when I am being strict, am I being too strict?  When I am being lenient, am I too lenient?    Parenting advice of the day:  Trust yourself!   You love your kids.  Your goal is to prepare them for the world and shape them into compassionate,  successful and self-reliant people.  You are getting them ready for the road and not trying to make the road ready for them.  It’s not being a doormat and a little indulgence here and there is not a bad thing.  In fact, it’s a good example of kindness and giving.  There needs to be a balance of doing little extras for your kids and teaching them that you matter too because it doesn’t help them to let them walk all over you.  So trust yourself and your kids will have confidence in you too.   Kids can totally sense if you are feeling weak and even though they are your little darlings, they are human and therefore will do what they can to get what they want, which is obviously not always what is best for them.   French parents have an expression that I really like which translates into “I am the one who decides.”  Sort of like our “Because I said so.”  except I believe this makes more sense to kids knowing that the parent is in charge.  So trust yourself.  Be kind.  Be in charge.

Back to the pizza.  Truth be told, my husband and older daughter, said the cheese-less portion of this pie wasn’t missing a thing.   They loved it and so did I.

Honesty is the best policy so I must say that if you don’t enjoy playing around with cauliflower and getting a great arm and chest workout from squeeeeezing water out of cauliflower for several minutes, then this recipe may not be for you but I really think you should try it at least once to decide for yourself because, well…………it’s PIZZA!

PALEO PESTO CRUST PIZZA

Stuff you will need:

Nut Milk Bag

Nut Milk Bag

 

2 heads of cauliflower
Nut Milk Bag – or clean dish towel but it’s a pain in the butt with a towel.

You can get a nut milk bag here:

http://www.elliesbest.com

2 eggs

Pesto (recipe below)

Bell Peppers – any and all colors
1 Yellow onion
appx 15 cherry tomatoes
1/2 cup tomato paste
2/3 cup olive oil, plus more for drizzling
3 cloves garlic, smashed and minced
1tbs dried oregano
splash red wine (optional)

This recipe is for the crust, sauce and topping but you could use whatever sauce and toppings you choose.

This is how you do it:

First, make your pesto. This can be done ahead of time and stored in the fridge.

2 cups of packed fresh basil
1 tbs fresh parsley
1/2 cup pine nuts
1 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
dash of cayenne pepper
2/3 cups olive oil

put everything except the olive oil in the food processor and pulse till blended.
Add a little olive oil and pulse till blended and then add a little more in this manner until a creamy pesto consistency.

Prepare Toppings:

  1. Cut the tops off the peppers and discard the tops and seeds
  2. Place them in a large pot of water and a sprinkle of salt
  3. Bring to a boil and let boil for about 5 mins or till soft
  4. Meanwhile slice up your onion to desired thickness. You can dice or have strips of onion if you prefer.
  5. When the peppers are soft, take out of the water and let rest a few minutes to cool.
  6. Slice them up into strips or dice if preferred.
  7. Heat some coconut or olive oil in a pan, add onion first and saute till softened about 5 minutes.  Add peppers, a sprinkle of kosher salt and sauté till heated through.
  8. Set aside.

Then to get things going for your sauce: (or save time and open a jar!)

  1.   Split each cherry tomato and squeeze out the seeds and extra juice and discard.
  2.   Add a tbs of olive oil to a non-stick sauce pan on med low heat.
  3.   Add the tomatoes, garlic, salt and pepper and cook on medium heat till soft.
  4.   Add the tomato paste and oregano and mix together
  5.   Use kitchen tongs to squeeze and stir the tomatoes occasionally as it cooks down into a sauce. Lower the heat a little and continue to squeeze and stir from time to time as you are making your crust.

  6.   At the end, add a splash of red wine and stir.

 

For the Crust:

  1.   Rinse and break apart both heads of cauliflower

  2.   One head at a time, put in food processor and pulse till it looks like rice

  3.   Put in a glass bowl covered in microwave on high 5 mins.

  4.   Let it cool about 5-10 mins.

  5.   Put all the cauliflower in you nut milk bag.

  6.   Squeeze out as much water as possible. You should get at least 1/3 cup of water. If you get more, keep going until you have as much out as possible.  This part is key to the crust coming out right.

  7.   Put all the cauliflower in a large mixing bowl.

  8.   Add the eggs, 1 tsp kosher salt, 1/2 tsp fresh ground black pepper and stir.

  9.   Add about a 1/2 -3/4 cup of the prepared pesto and mix together.

  10.  Place the dough on a parchment lined baking sheet or round pizza pan and shape into desired shape with your hands or use a rolling pin lightly dusted with almond or coconut flour.

  11.  Brush with olive oil.

  12.  Bake for 15 mins on 450 degrees or till lightly browned.  image

  13.  Place sauce and toppings on the baked crust, drizzle with more olive oil and a little salt and crushed red pepper, fresh parsley and put back in the oven for 5-7 more mins.

Photography Disclaimer:

As you may have already guessed, I am new at the food blogging thing and my camera/photography doesn’t always do all this great food justice.  Thank you for visiting my page!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So you’re sick of eggs for breakfast huh?

imageA lot of people ask, “What can I have for breakfast?  I’m gettin’ sick of eggs every day.”    Well, eggs are probably one of the most perfect foods for breakfast because they contain so many vitamins, minerals, proteins and healthy fats but sure, I get it.  Eggs can kind of get to you after a while and mornings are often rushed and there isn’t time to mess around making bacon and eggs and cleaning it all up before you rush out the door, late again because you were eating a big breakfast of eggs, again.

Or maybe it isn’t that eggs take up a lot of time, but you just want some variety.  I totally get that.

Breakfast doesn’t always have to be what we think of as “breakfast”.  I blame  that liar Tony the Tiger and Saturday morning cartoons.  They’re NOT greeeeaaaattttt!  They’re diabeetus in a bowl.

Anywho…. When you make dinners, you can be thinking to yourself, hmmm maybe this would be good for breakfast?  Leftovers are a really great breakfast and lunch.  I know you are like so sick of eggs, but you can just put an egg on pretty much any leftovers.  You can put a sunny side or scrambled egg on top of some re-heated pulled pork or a salad.  Sunnyside up eggs are great on top of a salad because the yolk makes for a rich and creamy dressing.

I know, this was supposed to be about eggless breakfasts.

You girls can come back for dinner.  We are sick or your stupid eggs.

You girls can come back for dinner. We are sick or your stupid eggs.

I love the convenience of sweet potatoes baked ahead of time for breakfast.  One of my favorite ways to enjoy them is just baked with some sunflower butter and cinnamon.  Sunflower butter is rich in magnesium and other minerals and sweet potatoes are a power house of vitamin A, C, and potassium.  They are also rich in fiber and iron.  Honestly, if I couldn’t have them I probably wouldn’t be doing this whole paleo thing.

Take some time ahead and make it easier on yourself.  Make the potatoes ahead of time, and eat room temp or heat up in the microwave for half a minute and you have a quick, delicious and satisfying little breakfast!

Here are a couple of recipes for breakfast that may take a little bit of planning and preparation, but are things you can get ready or partially ready as part of your evening routine.  While you are making dinner, you can just do these while waiting for your chicken to cook or steak to be done.  When I get back from grocery shopping I try to think ahead and prep some things such as chia gel or chop up veggies.   A few minutes invested here and there can really help you to have some variety for breakfast.

Hot Pumpkin “Cereal”image

Ingredients:

1 can organic pumpkin
1 head cauliflower
1-2 cups home made almond milk (or full fat coconut milk)
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp ginger  (plus more of these spices for sprinkling)
1 tbs coconut oil
1 big pinch of Himalayan salt

Instructions:

Rinse and chop up the cauliflower into small pieces and place on a parchment lined baking sheet
coat with coconut oil
sprinkle salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger on it
bake for half hour on 400 degrees

Roasted Cauliflower

Roasted Cauliflower

When done, put in food processor and pulse a few times.
slowly add in half a cup on milk until smooth but not pureed texture (you want just a little bit of chunkiness left)

imagePut the pumpkin and spices in a saucepan over medium-low heat and slowly add half a cup of milk stirring slowly.

Add the cauliflower mixture, vanilla and another half a cup of milk or more until desired thickness and heated through.image

Top with toasted walnuts and coconut or almonds and pour some milk around it.

Sprinkle with more cinnamon and drizzle with maple syrup or honey, if desired.

Store leftovers in the fridge up to a week.  Reheat and enjoy!


Blueberry Chia Pudding (Wicked Easy)

blue berry chia pudding

blue berry chia pudding

*Soak seeds in water over night 2 tbs seeds in 6oz water

Instructions:

1 can coconut milk full fat
1 ripe banana
1 – 2 cups blueberries
1/2 juicy orange extra peel removed
Pinch of salt
Tsp raw honey (optional)
Tsp vanilla
1 tb collagen protein soluble (optional) – The Great Lakes green one, not the orange one

Add all but chia gel and gelatin to blender and hand pulse blend till smooth  Pour into a glass storage bowl and add the chia gel and gelatin.  Serve or  cover and store overnight to blend the flavors.

Serve plain or topped with berries and walnuts

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