Posts Tagged ‘ Paleo cooking ’

Sweet Tooth? Yeah, Me Too.

I’ll be the first to admit, I have a sweet tooth. Scratch that, I have a sweet mouth. When I tell people about it, explaining that is turning into a problem, they usually just roll their eyes and say “yeah right, I’ll show you a sweet tooth.” But I am serious. I would rather forego any meal, breakfast, lunch, dinner, anything for a sweet treat or some chocolate. I  don’t care how much fat, how many calories…just give it to me.

Ok, enough of the cookie monster. See what I mean? My fiance has even admitted that he thinks I am addicted to chocolate. Whenever I talk about my chocolate cravings he usually just shakes his head and tells me that there is something wrong with me.

So you are on doing this Paleo thing, you’ve weened yourself off sugar but still feel like you have an inner cookie monster who dying to come out now and then? Well lucky for you, many other Paleo-ers feel the exact same way. And lucky for me I have been able to find great paleo ways to satisfy my sweet tooth without getting a jumbo sized Caramello. (if you don’t know what a Caramello is, for goodness sakes…drop everything right now and go buy one for yourself at the gas station…oh my chocolately caramel goodness) ok…ok. Sorry. I’m back.

Anyways, like I was saying, they are great ways to stick to your eating plan and still enjoy life. This time I tried some muffins, Paleo muffins of course.

Disclaimer: just because a “sweet” is Paleo does not mean you can sit around and eat as much as you want. Moderation is the key. If you are making muffins, make mini muffins instead of regular sized to ensure that you aren’t overdoing it. A lot of these sweet recipes call for some pretty high fat/calorie content foods and if you are trying to lose weight, eating a batch of Paleo Chocolate Chip cookies is going to do more harm than good, whether or not it has gluten or diary in it. So pace yourself.

Ingredients!

I had to alter the recipe a bit due to some nut allergies in our house. So I will put the original recipe here and then in blue put my substitutions. Enjoy!

 

Paleo Pumpkin Cranberry Muffins

1 1/2 cups almond flour (I used 1 cup coconut flour)

3/4 cup puree pumpkin (you can used canned, but make sure to get just plain pumpkin and not pumpkin pie filling) (I added a bit more, about a cup)

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp baking soda

3 eggs

1/4-1/3 cup maple syrup or honey depending on your sweet tooth

1 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice (I had no “official pumpkin pie spice so instead I made my own mixture -Makes 1 tsp

  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • I didn’t have clove- but would have added 1/8 tsp clove if I had had it.

1 tsp vanilla extract

1/8 tsp salt

1/2 cup chopped cranberries (I used a cup of dried cranberries)

1/2 cup water- (mine were a little dry upon mixing so I added some water to moisten.

 

Adding the Coconut Flour

 

 

Preheat oven to 400.

Mix together all the ingredients except for the cranberries until smooth. Fold in the cranberries.

Spoon batter into greased muffin cups (I use coconut oil) and bake for 25 minutes. They turn out soft and cakey, but are delicious in the mornings with some coffee!

 

Adding the Crans!

Ready for the oven!

There you have it! Something a little different for your palate! Hope you enjoy! As always, Stay Active, Stay Healthy, and Smile!

 

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The Struggle to Stay Balanced

I am very happy to announce a new blog that I am excited and honored to be a part of: Hot Dish Health! A few of the ladies past and present that were/are a part of Crossfit Jenks decided to get together and write about something we are constantly talk about: staying and eating healthy. We found ourselves talking about food and nutrition 24/7. Every time we saw each other we would bring up new things we learned, recipes we tried, or lament about what we “accidentally” ate that weekend. We found that most of us were in a struggling battle to find balance between eating healthy and becoming obsessed.

Finally one day our Hot Dish Nicole decided that if we were all feeling the same way about food, how many other people in the world were having the same daily struggle? Enter: Hot Dish Health, a forum to talk about those struggles, get feedback from loyal readers like you and a place to start the conversation that no one wants to have but we all obsess over. So I hope you can find some useful information in both of these blogs, Healthy Living in the 918 and Hot Dish Health. Hopefully one post or another will speak to you, give you inspiration or just a much-needed laugh.

So enjoy! Stay active, stay healthy and smile!

Holy Jicama! | Hot Dish Health.

Plan, Plan, Plan…Did I mention, Plan?

If you don’t plan, your planning to fail …

Harsh, I know. I wish I could tell you that this was just some tough love, some kind of psychology intended to piss you off enough to prove me wrong, but it’s true people. If you do not plan you will not succeed. Paleo is hard. No, after the first week of withdrawals and the second week of cravings it is not hard to stick to. What is difficult about this lifestyle change stems from the universe’s inability to understand and therefore aid in your success.

The first time around doing the challenge this was the very first and most important thing that I learned. If your meals aren’t planned out, if you don’t have a contingency plan you will struggle. Paleo is hard to stick to after a 12 hour work day, getting kids to bed, walking the dog, whatever. When you are driving home you start to think about what you can grab for dinner and a flash hits your brain, you have nothing in the fridge but a cucumber and some grape seed oil. Panic ensues. You’re starving, the grocery store is 5 miles in the other direction and it is 10 pm at night. We tend to struggle because in times like these there is no easy fix, no fast food restaurant that you can order something and after some alterations still get a good paleo meal.

You must plan. Spend Sunday planning your meals and making them. If you prepare your food on Sunday then you have nothing to worry in the week when work keeps you late because “Dinner’s Already Ready!” Rejoice! No frantic nights of chomping on a cucumber, no skimping or skipping meals because there is nothing ready. Plan for success and you will find sticking to this lifestyle change is a breeze.

Ok, on to a quick and easy idea. One very frequent and easy meal I like to make for us is Stuffed Peppers! Unfortunately a lot of times beautiful bell peppers (like the red, orange, and yellow ones) are really expensive and I always need at least 4 because my fiance can eat a substantial amount of food. Plus, if you want to have some leftovers for lunch the next day, it’s always good to make a few extras (plan ahead). So luckily for me when I went to the grocery store this week the good peppers were on sale! Hooray! So I stocked up and made them for dinner.

Stuffed Peppers (makes about 4 peppers)

4 bell peppers

1 pound meat (I use ground turkey,    but lean grass-fed beef will work too)

1 tablespoon cumin

1 tablespoon poultry seasoning

1 teaspoon red cayenne pepper (more if you like it spicy)

1 teaspoon ground thyme

1 teaspoon oregano

Black Pepper to taste.

*NOTE- I have cooked this two ways, one browning the meat first and the second stuffing it raw and letting it cook in the pepper. Both ways are good and acceptable but produce two different results. Try both for yourself, my fiance likes when I stuff the meat in the peppers raw and let it cook in the oven that way the turkey cooks together. If you brown it first and cut into the cooked pepper the meat is usually in crumbles making it harder to eat. But it is up to you! Let me know which way you like better!

Instructions:

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Cut a circle around the stem of the pepper and pull out the core w/ seeds. Rinse each one with water to make sure all seeds are out.

Place the peppers into a baking dish

Mix all spices into the meat with your hands and make sure it is good and mixed.

If you want, brown the meat in a skillet and when it is finished put on a plate of paper towels and absorb the extra grease.

Take meat mixture (whether cooked or not) and stuff each pepper.

Place in the oven and cook for 35 minutes and enjoy!

I serve these with a little salsa verde and they are delish! Enjoy!

My Oh My, Moroccan!

I made the most delicious dinner the other night. As you know from my previous posts, I am trying to spice it up a bit for dinners. This time I went out on a limb and wanted to see if I could find any delicious paleo recipes on Cooking Light. I love their magazine and books and I am usually depressed because they don’t have many dishes that can be considered paleo. But low and behold, this little gem! I couldn’t find a few of the ingredients at my local grocery store so I left them out and it was still just as delicious. The best part?? It was amazing the next day as leftovers!

I think everyone should try it out and I know you will be enticed by the smell as much as the delicious taste. So here it is, enjoy!

You can find the original recipe HERE

Sweet, smoky, and salty flavors blend beautifully in this quick adaptation of a classic Moroccan dish.

*I left out the ingredients in blue, still just as delicious!

Ingredients

  • 1  tablespoon  olive oil
  • 2  cups  chopped onion
  • 2  teaspoons  ground cumin
  • 1  teaspoon  paprika
  • 1  teaspoon  ground turmeric
  • 1/4  teaspoon  salt
  • 1/4  teaspoon  ground cinnamon
  • 1/4  teaspoon  ground ginger
  • 2  garlic cloves, minced
  • 1  pound  skinless, boneless chicken breast, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 2  cups  fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
  • 8  ounces  peeled cubed butternut squash
  • 1/3  cup  halved pitted picholine olives (about 3 ounces)
  • 8  pitted dried plums, chopped
  • Fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves (optional)

Preparation

1. Heat oil in a Dutch oven (I used a regular stock pot) over medium heat. Add onion; cook 8 minutes or until golden, stirring occasionally. Stir in cumin and next 7 ingredients (through chicken); cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Stir in broth, squash, olives, and dried plums; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer 10 minutes or until squash is tender. Garnish with parsley, if desired.

Here is a horrible iPhone pic, but you get the idea.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Stay active, stay healthy and smile!

Yum! Yum! Shrimp!

I had a delicious paleo meal last night and I must share. I spent the day searching for a good recipe that both my fiancée and I could enjoy. He definitely watches what he eats and works out every day but he isn’t strictly paleo. He still eats grains but ever since I started this paleo diet  back in June he has definitely become more conscientious about what he eats. Plus I do the cooking on most nights so he kinda has to eat what I cook 🙂 So, goal for the day, find a new recipe that wouldn’t be too difficult, would work for both of us, and would be different! I am so sick of eating chicken and turkey every single night.

And as I am sure all Paleo junkies do, I have a go to bookmark folder at the top of my browser where I have earmarked great Paleo websites that I have stumbled across in my search for new and exciting recipes. Jumping straight to that folder I began my search. I found a ton of things I could cook but they just didn’t seem right. And then, out of no where I found it, Shrimp! I haven’t cooked shrimp in a coon’s age (ha ha) and I conveniently has a bag of frozen shrimp in the freezer. (No, frozen shrimp isn’t the most ideal choice, but sometimes you have to go with what you have). So, with a few changes and tweaks to the recipe below I had a very delicious paleo meal.

So here it is. Graciously grabbed from Everyday Paleo, hands down one of my favorite paleo websites!

Shrimp Tacos

1 bag of frozen already cooked tail removed shrimp – thawed and drained

1 cup cherry tomatoes halved

1 green bell pepper sliced

1 tbsp cumin powder

1/2 tsp cayenne pepper

1 handful of cilantro

3 tbsp olive oil

1/2 a jar of salsa verde

1 head of iceberg lettuce leaves for taco shells

Cut the thawed shrimp in half and set aside.  In a skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat and saute the cilantro and bell peppers until tender, add the cherry tomatoes and saute for about 1 minute.  Add the shrimp, the spices, and the salsa, mix well and cook just until the shrimp are warm.  Serve in the lettuce leaves with sliced avocados and shredded purple cabbage.

There you have it! Enjoy!

Stay active, stay healthy, and smile!

 

5 Tips for Eating Paleo on a Budget

So one of my biggest problems/aversions to Paleo is the significant cost increase in all of my food. Before Paleo I could go to the grocery store and for just me, spend around $50 and get a great week’s worth of meals. When I first began this I was shocked at the money I was spending at the store, every week, not including the small trips to the store to pick up extras for dinner here and there. I couldn’t believe that eating healthy, although great for your body was so bad for your bank account, and I don’t even buy all of my food at the local Whole Foods! I couldn’t imagine how bad that would be for my budget, especially when things such as avocados are about $3 a piece! NO thank you. 

 I know there are a ton of Paleo-ers out there who buy gobs of grass-fed beef, snack only on organic fruits and veggies, and I applaud you. That is great. However, my budget and lifestyle does not allow me such luxuries. So, as clean and as “organic” as I can get it has to fit into a tight budget. And although I am not an expert on saving money or paleo for that matter, I thought I would give a few tips that have helped me during this challenge.

1. Buy veggies and fruits in season. This is the first and most important tip. As you all know fruits and veggies make up about 70% of our diet which means it makes up about 70% of the money we spend. So a good way to stay eating great fruits and veggies is to eat what is in season. When I began this a few months ago apples were in full bloom meaning that I could buy a pound of apples at times for about a $1.00. I would stock up on apples and forgo something like strawberries which looked delicious but would have costed me about $3.50 for a small carton (think about 15 strawberries). Those strawberries would have been gone in a day but for $2 I could have apples all week. Buying fruit in season can also be a bit boring. I am sure after about three weeks of apples I was done, but it is a great excuse to get creative! Instead of just slicing up an apple, I would dice it and put it in salads, or slice long thin strips and bake them for some delicious apple chips sprinkled with cinnamon. Now, fast forward to today, I can go to the store and get a carton of strawberries for around $1. So buying in season will save you money while still allowing you to buy great produce.

2. Always look for the sale. This seems quite elementary, but can save you a ton of money at the register. Think about it in the same light as you do ‘buying in season”. I can tell you that there are some weeks when I am craving some bell peppers, but not the green ones, those beautiful big red, yellow, and orange ones. Oh my,  I can just sit around and think of all the ways I would like to use those in my meals. And then, bubble burst when I arrive at the store to see each pepper is running about $2.00 each. Excuse me?!? No, thank you. But believe me, one of those days I know I will go and look and they will be on sale for about $.80 each and then you better believe I am stocking up. Sales make a huge difference in your bottom line so look for the produce with the big red sale sticker and you should reap the benefits.

3. Plan out your meals ahead of time. Besides saving you time during the week, especially in the mornings, this can also be a big help at the grocery store. Planning out your meals, specifically dinner, can help you stay within your budget and eliminates extra food you might throw into your basket. I know I am guilty of having an impromptu grocery store night and showing up without a game plan. I tend to walk around the store trying to devise meals as I go, buying way more than I need, because maybe one day I can make this…or I should get these because I might make this one night. And yet, it never fails, I either do not get enough ingredients to cook what I was thinking in my head, or the food just goes to waste because I have gotten more than I can eat. Sigh, money wasted. So, before you even think about going to the store, plan out your food and what you will need for each meal and stick to it. Don’t buy that extra eggplant for $2.95 because you think one night you could grill it. Believe me, 9 times out of 10 you won’t.

4. Buy meat in bulk to last the week. I tend to find that my meat selection is usually the highest price on my ticket. Although it only makes up about 25% of my grocery shopping, it is still quite a large chunk of change. To offset the high price of meat I try to look for the bulk size packs of meat. Instead of buying a small amount of chicken for $6 that will feed me for that night’s dinner, I will get the bulk pack for $2 or $3 more and it will last me the week, for multiple meals. Instead of buying one filet of salmon, I try to find the halibut or tilapia that comes with 3 or 4 filets. I then can cook one that night for dinner and put the rest in a ziplock bag for a quick meal later on in the week.

5. Plan out your grocery shopping night and try out a few stores if necessary. . This last tip sort of wraps up 1-4. A night of grocery shopping, although tedious and usually unpleasant, should be scheduled into your weekly activities so you can get the most out of it. I find that some nights I may have to try a few different stores to get everything that I need. A sale at one grocery store, may not be at another. Therefore I might buy a few sale items here and then slide on over to the other neighborhood market where I know the veggies are regularly cheaper. Don’t force yourself to get everything done in one spot, you will spend more money than you have to. Your meal plan for the week will help out in this situation. You can highlight the foods for one location and underline the ones you can get cheaper at another location. If you know you can only get your brand of cashew butter at Whole Foods, put that stop on your list as well. Being prepared and knowing your local markets will help. Get online and look up the sales for the store that week, and hey they might even have a coupon or two!

I hope that these quick five down and dirty tips help you feel more confident about eating Paleo on a budget. Sticking to these has really helped me keep my Paleo foods within a range that I feel comfortable in and can afford. So happy shopping!

Meet me in St. Louie!

So happily I was able to make it to St. Louis this weekend for an amazing visit with my family. It was great! I was able to see everyone and even went bowling! I was very happy to reach a personal high score of 175! Woo hoo. What a blast.

And now back to the grind. Paleo eating was a little touch and go this weekend I have to admit. But all I can say is that this fall off the wagon has just inspired me to get right back on with a renewed motivation. I was having some guilty feelings Sunday night, hey a 6 hour drive will do that to you. But when Monday morning hit, I was excited for the week ahead. Bring on the clean paleo eating. Besides a couple of weddings in the next few weeks  I am hoping to be obstacle free and able to keep to this eating style. I didn’t realize how much it really affected every day eating until you are in a place where very few paleo options exist. Ok, that was dramatic, of course there are paleo options in St. Louis, but my parents  in no way eat Paleo, so there wasn’t a lot of options in the fridge, or cooked for dinner. We are Italian, remember? What does that mean..oh yes, wine and pasta. So I had to compromise on quite a few things, but looking back, I think it was definitely worth it.

I was also very excited to visit what I call my “home away from home” crossfit, Crossfit Kirkwood. St. Louis, surprisingly has a ton of Crossfit Affiliates and I feel like Crossfit Kirkwood fits me the best. It is run by a husband and wife, Meg and Rich Mottl. They are always so welcoming and nice to me. I love working out there. This weekend we tackled Cindy, and it was actually my very first time. I have danced with Chelsea before, but Cindy was new for me. So after the warm up we worked on squat cleans and then dove right in. End result: mediocre. I wasn’t feeling too bad about my performance until I came home and obsessively clicked on the Crossfit Games site and compared myself to some of the athlete profiles of the elite women athletes competing at various regionals this year. All I can say is I have my work cut out for me.

And now, on to some good food. I thought I would post my own Turkey Chili Recipe. I know a lot of people don’t like to eat chili in the summer, but I can eat chili all year long. It is so filling and has such a great taste. Plus, the recipe makes a ton so I always freeze it and have some ready on a night I don’t feel like cooking. I have made this recipe quite a few times and it even won first in a chili cook off! So here it is. Enjoy!

Paleo Turkey Chili

1 tbsp olive oil

1 cup chopped onions

1 tbsp minced garlic

1 yellow & red bell pepper

2 lbs ground turkey

1 (28oz) can diced organic tomatoes (undrained)

2 cans organic tomato paste

3 Tbsp chili powder (or to taste, I always add more later on)

1 cup low sodium chicken stock

1 tbsp garlic powder

Couple shakes of Louisiana (to taste)

1 tbsp dried basil       

1 tbsp oregano

1 tbsp cumin

1 tbsp cayenne pepper

Directions

In a large skillet, sauté onions, garlic and bell peppers in olive oil over medium heat until onions are translucent. Add ground turkey and cook until browned.

Add remaining ingredients and stir well to combine. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 1 hour, stirring occasionally.

Taste test the chili frequently and add ingredients or heat as needed. (I always end up adding more spices as it cooks)

 (sorry the recipe is so long. I can’t figure out how to take those extra spaces out. Help!)