Thursday, December 19, 2013

BIG Hair!

Blog post after blog post about food….until now! I've been telling myself for over a year that my family needed to clean up on the outside to match our insides. Over the past few months I've done a good deal of change out of products in the house. The one that has gotten the most feed back has been the change out of my hair products.

Let me start by saying that I have very thick hair with a lot of body. About 1 1/2 years ago when we started Crossfit / Lifting my hair dresser urged me to stop washing my hair daily and to just rinse and condition on days I worked out, especially if I'd just washed my hair the day prior. I've washed my hair DAILY forever! So this was a bit of a change in it self. I started going 2-3 days between washing. I also started washing my hair at night and letting it dry overnight on it's own after I put oil on it. This saved me from using a blow dryer, doing more damage and causing more frizz. My hair did get better but it was still no where close to where I wanted it to be.

Finally about 4 weeks ago I took the plunge and decided to try 'No-Poo' which I'd been hearing about for the last year. I was also watching Clare from Flame to Fork go through changing to no-poo. A friend of mine, April, from the Reluctant Healthwife had done a post about no-poo a while back. I went in search of her article to find out how to do this. She'd used a mixture by One Green Generation found here. I first tried the paste option, Recipe 1. I was scared but totally amazed the next morning to find my hair clean and 'normal'. My hair lasted three days before needing to wash again. For the second wash I used Recipe 2, which I liked much better. It was easier to use for me and my hair.

I've yet to try Recipe 3 but will be doing so shortly as my hair settles into this new routine. 
Here's a quick snapshot of the improvement in the first 3 weeks. The upper left is my hair prior to starting, which was fuzzy and not curly. The upper right is after 1 week. You can see that it's a little fuller and is starting to curl. The lower photos were at week 3. I had enough healthy curls to just wake up and go in the morning. 

Now at week 4 I woke up to this very full head of super curly hair. Mind you I didn't grow up with curly hair. This has been something that's occurred in the last 1 1/2 years has my lifestyle has gotten healthier. Weird I know! 
Last week I made another adjustment to my hair care. I had ordered Buck Naked Shampoo & Soap bar from Soap-A-Licious. I ordered this for the boys because baking soda and apple cider vinegar wasn't going to work for them, nor did I feel it was needed. SAL soaps and shampoo bars are made from all natural ingredients. They don't strip your body or your hair of the natural oils like mainstream products do. I'm beyond sold on the soap as my skin feels great and hasn't needed lotion in the week since I've started using it. This is unheard of for me, especially in the winter when I have to reapply 2 times a day at least. 

I tried the shampoo bar last week and when my hair dried in the morning I was in love. It was easy to use and my hair felt wonderful. It was softer and fuller. This could be because I'm in week 4 of 'no-poo' but either way everything is working. I still have to use an apple cider vinegar rinse with the bar, I don't think that will change. 
I'm not sure a shampoo bar falls under the traditional 'no-poo' but I'm thinking it's open for interpretation. It's natural ingredients, it doesn't strip or damage my hair and is chemical free. To me that's 'no-poo'. 

So what's my go forward process? That's a good question. I'm still ironing out the details as my hair continues to change and surprise me each day. I'm thinking I will use in rotation: baking soda, apple cider vinegar rinse, Buck Naked Shampoo bar, arrow root and coconut oil. The arrow root I use as a dry shampoo on no wash days if needed to get rid of any oil spots at the root. Coconut oil I use if there's any frizz or dry patches (I've only had to do this twice early on). 

When this process started I was using shampoo, conditioner, Moroccan Oil, hair spray and dry shampoo. The amount of chemicals in these products is mind blowing if you look at the label. I now wash with Buck Naked or baking soda and rinse with apple cider vinegar rinse. My hair dries overnight and I either go with what it looks like in the morning or I use a large barrel curling iron or straighten it then head out the door. I don't use hair spray or anything else on it. It's soft, fluffy, my curls hold and my hair stays full. Weird I know!

I hope that all makes sense, but let me know if you have any questions. Everyone's hair is different and will react differently. There is a transition period that you just have to get through. You'll probably need to make adjustments to find what works best for you. The good thing is there are so many internet resources and a whole community of women who have walked away from traditional hair products. You are sure to find the process that works for you. 


Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Why Paleo?

Most people that I've seen on paleo have and after weightless photos, or a health condition they've been able to clear up and so on. Everyone has their reasons and stories. Each inspiring in their own way. I'm so proud / happy /blessed to be part of a community that is so kind to one another, supportive, happy and healthy.

I don't have a before and after photo to share. I have a healthy family. NAET's gave us our oldest son back and Paleo helps to maintain his health and keeps him drug free. Yes I have fun cooking and eating and sharing. But the driving force behind maintaining our paleo lifestyle is for D and every member of our family.

I've written a few different pieces on our journey. Instead of writing them again here are three links that share our story:

Dawson's story before Paleo

Our family story since Paleo

About me

What's your story? What is your driver?

- yvonne

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Soap Berries

A few months ago the family went out to Heritage Prairie Farms and among other things at the farm we found a great product by Naturally Green. It was none other than natural laundry detergent and fabric softener in the form of soap berries. We tried a small pouch of the product and really enjoyed the outcome. Our laundry didn't smell like laundry, it smelled like fabric, if that makes any sense. There was no odor or scent and everything was soft and clean. This included our STINKY load of clothes from the gym!

As we've done with all of our other transition items in the house we used up the last of our Tide and Downey. I don't care for wasting what we've already purchased, so when we change items we always use up the last of the old. When I ordered our soap berries I went for the BIG bag of 350 washes.

Soap berries are a fruit that comes from the Himalayan region of Southeast Asia. They are dried when you receive them and ready for use. In my 350 washed pack I received the berries and 3 small wash bags. The small wash bags hold the berries for washing. You place about 4 whole berries, or 8 halves, into the the small bag and tie and toss into the washing machine. We use cold water for all washing, except towels, so our berries will last about 7 washes. In between washes you pull the berries out of the small bag and allow them to dry. The berries do not go into the dryer. 

We have always used Tide laundry detergent because it's the only thing that doesn't irritate Kevin's skin. So on average we pay about $15 - $17 for a large container that cleans 96 loads, $12 (120 loads) for Downey liquid softener and $12 (240 loads) for Bounce fabric sheets. Our total per load of laundry is about $0.30. We have a HE front loading machine. 

The cost of the soap berries 350 load bag, shipping included, is about $38 and comes out to $0.10 per load. This is a $.20 per load savings. I don't know about you but thats a good savings for us! On top of that it helps the environment and is a chemical free option. I realize there were shipped or flown here and it hurts that it's not local. I'm always on the search for new options to remove chemicals from our house and this is one that presented itself that we are very happy with. 

In the process of reading through the Naturally Green site I came across a video they shared from For Greenies. Their site is currently down so I can't fully check it out. But there appear to be a few other uses for soap berries. One being that you can use them in soap dispensers for hand wash. I'll be looking for that tutorial as soon as the site comes back on line. 

These are the cute little berries out of the package :) Here's to happy chemical free washing ahead!


Tuesday, October 15, 2013

subURBAN homestead class


Once upon a time there was a little boy who didn't like salad. He would eat it with begrudgingly and only with ranch dressing on it. One night he went to a subURBAN homestead class at his mom's CrossFit gym and he watched Amy make a funny looking salad. The salad had some of Charlie's favorite things in it like apples, walnuts and paleo granola. The little boy ate the salad and went back for seconds. He then talked to his mom all the way home about the fun salads they could make on their own. 

Yes a funny little story above but so very true. As part of the 8 Week Paleo Challenge at our gym it was arranged for Amy with subURBAN homestead to come and talk to us about different herbs and what we can grow and how to use them. subURBAN homestead offers classes and lectures on "healthful subjects". Whether its a farm tour, organic growing techniques or a cooking class there are plenty of options to choose from. With wanting to grow more of our food / herbs I'll be checking out some of the upcoming classes. I'll also be reading up more on herbs!

Now for the awesome salad that Amy made the night of our class, if I remember it correctly. She used mixed green, delicata squash sautéed in bacon grease, some fresh herbs from her garden, fresh diced apples, and Paleo Granola from CJK Foods.   

 For the dressing she used a mixture of 2/3rd olive oil and 1/3rd of this great orange vinegar from Trader Joe's. I now have this Orange Muscat Champagne Vinegar in my cupboard! Yum! The bonus is Charlie honestly liked the entire salad and the dressing. So he'll have another option besides ranch. 

Thanks again to Craig for arranging to have Amy visit our gym. Eating real food is a constant learning experience. It's not just boring chicken breast and a salad. There are so many flavors to marry, techniques to try, and foods to experience. So get out of your boring box! I encourage all of us to learn more and act on what we learn. It's for our health and to make fuel fun and yummy! 


Monday, October 7, 2013

Southwestern Patties

Ok so I've become obsessed with roots / turnips. I found a new one at the store recently called Parsley Root. The leaves are parsley and you eat the root part. So a double use that's a win win. They are dirty looking white roots in the veggie section. Don't let that sway you to not pick them up. They don't tastes like parsley, which was my concern. 

When I got them home I treated them like any other 'potato' type root such as parsnips. I put them in fauxtato salad along with parsnips and didn't taste any difference. So I purchased them again this last week and found a wonderful new use for them.....Southwestern Patties! If you don't have Parsley root we also made a second round and used rutabaga in it's place and it worked just as well. So you have some options and no reason not to make these!

6 cups shredded parsley root or rutabaga
8 eggs
2 tablespoon taco seasoning (The recipe I use is from Whole New
1/2 cup green onions
1/4 diced poblano pepper
Coconut oil or ghee for cooking

Mix all ingredients in a bowl. 
Preheat pan and add either coconut oil or ghee to the pan and melt.
Add a large spoon full (1/4 - 1/2 cup in size) to your pan then flatten into a round patty. 
Cook on the first side for 4 min on a medium heat. When first side is cooked then flip and cook for 4 minutes on the 2nd side. 

Top with SOOO many wonderful options and enjoy! We went to town with a few different options. 

 A patty topped with burger and all the toppings of your choice.
 Patty topped with sausage patty, egg, sweet potatoes, tomatoes and olives.
 Patty topped with coleslaw, alaskan pink salmon (fresh from the source! thanks dad!), tomatoes, avocado and hot paleo mayo.

The first meal of the above that I made was with a burger. I shoved the patty into the bottom of the boys lunch thermos and cubed up their hamburger. They were raving about it after school. 

Enjoy this awesome patty! Share with me on Facebook how you use it! I love seeing food photos :)


Sunday, September 29, 2013

It's Chili Time

As much as my family cooked growing up you would think that I would have been some awesome cook when I moved out....NOT! When I left for college I knew how to bake, as that was my job growing up. Past that I made spaghetti from the box and mac n' cheese. When Kevin and I got married I started to cook a little but it was mostly Rice-A-Roni to go with chicken that he cooked. Clearly times have changed.

Some where along the way I started making chili. For 15 plus years I've winged it. I knew what ingredients to pick up and what fresh ingredients went with it. I never had an actual recipe for it. That is until last fall when a friend asked for it. I figured it was time to write it down. 

  • 2 medium onion, diced
  • 2 lbs ground meat, browned
  • 5 tomatoes, diced
  • 2 28oz. cans TJ Marinara Sauce 
  • 2 green bell pepper, diced
  • Salt and pepper to taste 
  • Amanda's Chili Seasoning doubled if you like a stronger chili flavor, like me :)

1. Dice up tomatoes, onion and green peppers. Add to large pot with marinara sauce and heat through. 
2. In a separate skillet brown your meat then add a single or double batch of Amanda's Chili Seasoning. Mix seasoning thoroughly into meat.  
3.   When meat is done add to the pot and continue to heat through on low for about 20-30 minutes. Add salt and pepper as needed to taste. Turn chili off and let sit covered on stove for a few hours or serve right away. We love it best after it sits over night. 

I enjoy serving my chili with a dab of paleo mayo on top and some crunchy fresh cabbage. It is a great substitute for sour cream. Plantain chips are also a favorite for the kids to add in place of cabbage.

This chili also freezers perfectly so you can save it away for another chili day. 


Saturday, September 28, 2013

Prep Day Game Plan

For those of you that have sat with me through a prep class you know this is what my weekly menu looks like, except this is neater. I use the back of Charlie's school work sheets and sort it into three sections and write breakfast, lunch, and dinner across the top. 

I've typed in this weeks menu for you so you can see the thought process that goes into meal prep. Please remember in advance that i'm almost 1 1/2 years into this. You need to find what works for ou. I've found that by making a full menu for the week, to include each meal, it enables us to be prepared and not buy too much at the store.

Please also keep in mind that for those of you on Whole30 not all the above meals will / could apply to you. I have 2 boys in the house that eat paleo but not Whole30 (I think they'd move out on me! lol). Most of the breakfast options are for them. Kevin usually has eggs, meat and veggies. I'll eat whatever I find in the fridge. If nothing else then I eat eggs, meat and veggies also. The majority of the lunches this week are the boys as well. The leftovers usually apply to Kevin and I, which you'll see the 'leftover lunch' menu. Dinners apply to everyone.

You'll notice a block in the lower right labeled 'Next Week' and this is literally for next week. Often times as I'm asking for everyones wish list for eating, or I'm browsing through cookbooks / Pinterest I find items that we haven't had in a while or just want again. Those I list on the menu so I don't forget about them next week. 

On the lower left you'll see 'Extra Prep Items'. These are just that, other things that need to be made also , for one reason or another. This week we are having chicken salad and coleslaw and both require paleo mayo, so that's on the list. The boys are also having muffins to go in lunches or after school snack. There are several season mixes that are needed also for different meals as well. I usually keep taco seasoning made but we are running low. I'm slowly adding to my premixed seasonings as our cookbook grows. The newest one is sausage seasoning. We are now purchasing just ground pork and making sausage from scratch. The taste is much better and I control what goes in it. 

The notes in red tell me what can be done in advance for each meal. Today was my prep day and I completed the meatballs, shredding cabbage, making taco meat, made fauxtato salad (not on the list but was a whim at the store), shredded rutabaga, made chili, pre-made the spice mixes, made mayo. We have meals ready now for Sunday through Wednesday of this week. Depending on how it goes (how hungry everyone is) we will make the pulled pork on Wednesday or Thursday. Overall a good day and a good start to the day. 

Tomorrow, since there is a group coming over from the gym for a prep class I held off on making chicken salad until then as it's on their list also. Kevin will grill up all our chicken at the same time. It's all about efficiency. Cook ONCE and eat multiple times :)

Please keep in mind that prep does not mean you have to set aside an entire afternoon to cook until the fridge is full. Although this is my favorite plan of attack it doesn't always work. There are weekends that prep just doesn't happen. However I still create a menu and a plan. It will require is to do a little prep each night in order to prepare for the following day. So perhaps after we come home from the gym and eat (because our meal was ready) then we clean up the dishes and spend 30 minute on a meal for the next day. It can be as little as putting some meat in the oven to cook while we shower. 

Take a look at your schedule and see what will work for you. It may take a bit to get into a routine that works for you. 

I hope this gives you some idea on how to attack your week!


Sunday, September 22, 2013

Egg Free Breakfast and Post WOD Snacks

I was asked recently for some egg free breakfast options. Below are ones that we've made and enjoy. There are a few at the end that I've not made but will be doing so soon.

One of the things I came to terms with early on in paleo is that breakfast is no longer breakfast like we are raised to think about it. Breakfast is the first meal of the day, the first opportunity to fuel your day properly. It doesn't have to be traditional breakfast foods. One of my all time favorite breakfasts is taco salad. Getting past the notions of what breakfast should be vs what it can be makes paleo much easier. It's not always for everyone but give it a try. Pull out some of yesterdays left overs and re heat them, you might be surprised.

Rethink your breakfast ideas.

Breakfast Bacon Maple Meatballs (Post WOD)
This is by PaleOmg. I omit the maple syrup for Whole30 as well as the bacon unless you have a sugar free paleo bacon. They are wonderful for post WOD, snacks, and meals. Make these during prep and you'll have a few days of snacks / meals. These go great with some sautéed spinach for breakfast or a green smoothie (spinach, banana, frozen berries and coconut milk all blended).

Brussel Sprouts & Sausage
For Whole30 leave the bacon out if it has sugar. Also be careful of the sausage that you use if you are doing Whole30. This is a great breakfast as well as for any other meal. It reheats nicely so can be prepped ahead of time.

Rutabaga Bacon Breakfast Hash (Post WOD)
Again for Whole30 remove the bacon. If you don't like eggs or can't tolerate then remove those as well. What you have left still works very good together for a breakfast. You can substitute the bacon grease for ghee.

Apple Butternut Squash Hash
I'm sounded redundant but remove the bacon like above. If you like eggs then you can add to this one.

Sausage and Egg Sandwich (Post WOD)
For this filling sandwich remove the egg and just have the patties and sausage. The patties also work on their own for breakfast. However the patties are made with eggs, so if you can't tolerate then this one won't work for you.

Winter Breakfast Bowl
I've not made this one like all of the others. However after reviewing the ingredients there shouldn't be any reason why this why this one doesn't taste great. I'll be adding this to our 'to make' list.

Bananas and Cream Paleo Oatmeal
This is another one I've not made but will be soon. We've made another banana oatmeal that was wonderful. Again all the ingredients are good so it should be yummy!

Create your own breakfast skillet
This link gives you some great ideas on different things to put together in your own egg free skillet. Pick and choose to create your own.

More Post WOD options:

Sweet Potato Latkes
You can pre make these and add meatballs or another meat of your choice.

Sweet Potato Hash
This is one of the first paleo meals we made and is still a favorite. Make a batch of this and your are good for the week!

Jicama & Meatballs

Baked parsnip cubes and meat of your choice

One last thing to wrap up this post. I found this listing of starchy paleo carbs to help you out when selecting what to make for your post WOD snacks. You'll want a starchy card and protein. The options are endless!


Friday, September 20, 2013

Warm Breakfast

Back in the olden days (a year and a half ago) my kids loved their oatmeal, especially on cold days. Since oats were gone from our diet they've made do with Paleo cereals, which they love. However that warm creamy oatmeal for really cold days has been missing, until this!

This past winter while I was searching for new meals I came across this great recipe from Paleo Spirit. I was delighted to see that one of the ingredients was Flax Meal. I first stocked this item for this recipe and we've used several times since then. I like adding new ingredients to the pantry. We've gotten to the point with our pantry that even the odd ingredients are stocked in there. I like when I look at a new recipe and have all the seasonings or dry ingredients (saves on the grocery bill). 

This took maybe 10 minutes to put together!

Paleo Breakfast Porridge
by Paleo Spirit
You can find the recipe here.

                2 ripe bananas (or one large, very ripe, plantain), mashed
                2 cups coconut milk (or 1 can plus extra water)
                3/4 cup almond meal
                1/4 cup flax meal
                1 teaspoon cinnamon
                1/2 teaspoon ginger
                1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
                1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
                1/8 teaspoon celtic sea salt
                maple syrup or raw honey (optional)
                toppings like berries, unsweetened coconut flakes, nuts, seeds, etc… (optional)

I put all the ingredients into a pot and heated over a medium fire. I did leave out the maple syrup / raw honey and it tasted very good. With the dish heated through I served to the boys plain. I put a few almond slices on mine and it was very good. I’m going to re make this again this next week and remember to pick up some blueberries to top it with.

So the next cold morning you are craving something warm give this recipe a try!


Sunday, September 15, 2013


Every week when I’m asking the family for their input on the menu we generally end up with some type of burger on the menu. They are fun, easy and can be personalized once they hit your plate. I would say burgers have smile factor in our house! What prompted a burger post though you ask? I noticed last week that we had THREE burgers / patties on our menu on accident. We had Kevin’s Burgers, Salisbury Steak and Sweet Potato and Kale Chicken Patties. Again not intended to have 3 in a week, but wow was it a great week with smiles all around.

Here are a few of our favorites:

Kevin’s Burgers

I swear one of the reasons I married this man is he can cook. He makes recipes up on the fly and they always turn out great. The only downside is he doesn’t write it down and generally can’t repeat the same one twice. I had to nail him down on the burgers and insist on a measurement.

This is for a family of 4. We either make 4 or 8 burgers depending on when we are eating them. If it’s on a work out night we make 1/2 pounders.

1 lb ground meat
1 lb ground turkey
1 tablespoon heaping of Montreal Steak Seasoning

All of the burger dinner variations here are mine because again I’m the most adventurous with food in the house.  Charlie only eats his with ketchup, Dawson eats his plain, and Kevin generally eats his with mustard. I’m open to what ever I feel like putting on it. My favorite way lately is to lay it on a bed of lettuce and dress it like a regular burger with tomatoes, onions, pickles, olives, mayo and lots of mustard and maybe even some Louisiana Hot Sauce.

The great thing about burgers is you can order them at a restaurant with no bun or cheese along with a side salad and have a great Paleo meal! Keep that in mind!

This awesome burger was from Ted Montana’s Grill and it’s called The Kitchen Sink. It starts with a burger on the bottom under all that then is topped with mushrooms, onions, ham, bacon, and an egg. I threw all that on top of the lettuce, tomato and red onion. I made a little salad and it was wonderfuly delicious. Don’t ever tell me you can’t eat out because you eat Paleo, I’ll prove you wrong! Oh and the asparagus was beyond yummy too.

Sweet Potato and Kale Chicken Patties recipe here

For these I used ground turkey because I had no desire to put raw chicken in the food processor. Call me crazy but that doesn’t sound like fun.  I also have to admit I was a little nervous about the smells that came while I was cooking all the veggies going into this, mainly the kale. I hear about all the benefits of this funny looking veggie, but have yet to love it. When I threw it in the food processor it smelled like fresh cut grass, which is one of my favorite smells (that’s another story altogether).  When I then added it into the pan and it continued to smell like grass I was worried, but pressed on with great hopes that it all worked out.

I made these the night before after dishes were done (prep work!). Please note that these have to sit in the fridge for at least 4 hours or overnight. Ours sat overnight so when we arrived home from the gym late the next night it took 20 minutes to get dinner on the table. I love that! We had these with a green salad. I very quickly got over the whole grass smell, as it was gone after cooking, and what was left was an amazing tasting patty! So what was lesson learned on this one? Don’t go by smell alone.

This night everyone picked their own veggie and I selected artichoke hearts with mine.

Everyday Paleo’s burger selection is here

There are two favorite burgers that we’ve had from her newest cookbook, Everyday Paleo Family Cookbook, which are the Curry Burger on page 146 and the Ground Pork and Apple Sliders on page 116.

The Curry Burgers I wasn’t expecting to like because of the curry, however they are a wonderful new flavor! Here I have it paired with cauliflower rice. The best recipe for cauliflower rice that we’ve found is in the Everyday Paleo Family Cookbook on page 176. (This weeks tip….go get the book, it rocks!!!!)

The Ground Pork and Apple Sliders are a great new twist on burgers with the sweetness of apples baked in them. The recipe calls for cooking the stovetop but we’ve found baking them to be easier.

Everyday Paleo Salisbury Steak is here

I remember eating Swanson Salisbury Steak when I was little and thinking it was the best thing since sliced bread! Considering I won’t touch bread now or Swanson Salisbury Steak I’ve come a long way baby! However I so badly wanted that meal so I went in search of a proper recipe that fits our diet / lifestyle.

This was a great quick meal that delighted everyone. I did alter the recipe a little bit by cutting the amount of mushrooms in half, as Kevin isn’t a fan. Additionally I did add arrowroot to thicken the sauce. It may have thickened on it’s own in time but everyone was hungry and I was impatient and hungry. We paired this with a great salad for dinner. This is being added to our favorites / quick / easy categories.

At the end of the day if you asked me if I’d prefer any one of these burgers or a burger on a bun it’s not even an option. (oh and I was a HUGE burger on a bun freek in a previous life) Hands down any day of the week I’d pick my Kevin’s Burger Salad and wouldn’t touch a buned (is that a word?) burger with a 10 foot pole, no kidding.

So revisit the burger category and have fun!


Friday, September 6, 2013

A Challenge and some food play...

So earlier last week on Facebook I put out an open invitation for some food challenges. What were people looking for in Paleo? What dish did they want to paleo-ize? The following was one of those meals.

Stir-fry is something Kevin and I have made since our college days. I remember when we purchased our first walk and I believe we made stir-fry weekly if not multiples times each week. In more recent years it's become a family favorite. Rice was also something we enjoyed, pre paleo. If you think about it, minus the rice, stir-fry is a no brainer for paleo as its meat and veggies. Where the challenge comes in is a good 'rice' and a great sauce that is gluten free and soy free. We've always winged this but we wrote it down this time. I think this is our favorite one so far mix.

Kevin's Stir-Fry

2 large carrots, sliced up
1 green pepper, sliced up
1 red pepper, sliced up
1 head broccoli, cut into small pieces
3 green onions, diced
1 1/2 lbs chicken, cut into bite size pieces
1 head cauliflower, riced in food processor

1/2 cup coconut aminos or gluten free soy sauce
3 tablespoons sriracha sauce
1 tablespon minced garlic
3/4 teaspoon ginger
3/8 teaspoon white pepper
1/3 cup chicken broth
1 tablespoon arrowroot 

In your skillet cook the chicken until done. Next add your cut up vegetables and add to skillet with your meat until tender, about 5 minutes. Add your sauce and mix in for a few minutes until the sauce thickens. 

For your cauliflower rice add to another pan and sauté for about 5-6 minutes. Once softened I added 1 tablespoon of coconut aminos and 1 tablespoon of sesame oil and mixed through. Add salt and pepper to taste if needed. You can certainly just serve the sauté cauliflower plain and thats fine. I don't care for it plain. 

The stir-fry was served over the flavored rice. It married so well together! The sauce you can certainly cut back on if you don't want that much. We like having sauce to soak into our cauli rice. 

Ok so on to meal two that I'm dying to share. We got some prep done this week, but not as much as I'd like. This happens some times and we deal with it by prepping at night while one of us does dishes after we come home from the gym and the kids are settled in. Tonight I got out of work late, Dawson had boy scouts and I had a date scheduled with Charlie. Busy night, but fun. Of course NOTHING was prepped. Italian meatballs were on the menu still and are easy to put together. The veggies left in the fridge at the end of the week were rutabaga, broccoli and spinach and a jar of garden tomatoes left over from last weekends canning. 

I threw the meatballs together:

1 lb ground turkey
1 lb ground meat
1 egg
2 tablespoon minced garlic
2 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
1 tsp dried oregano, slightly heaping
2 tsp tried parsley, slightly heaping
1 tablespoon Italian seasoning, slightly heaping

Mix all ingredients and make approx 1 1/2" size meatballs and place on a cookie sheet. I use parchment paper on my cookie sheet to avoid the huge mess afterwards. Put meatballs in 350 degree oven and bake for about 30 minutes until done. 

While the meatballs were cooking I pealed then grated up the rutabaga in the food processor (large grate). Knowing I've used it as a potato substitute before I was hoping to just make it a flavored side dish. In a skillet I added about 2 tablespoons of grass fed Kerry Gold butter (my bacon grease jar is empty!), 1 tablespoon of minced garlic and 1/2 a red onion diced. Once the garlic and onions were sautéd for about 5 minutes I added the rutabaga. I cooked this down until softened for about 5-10 minutes. Once softened I added about 2 tsp of salt and 3 tsp of pepper and mixed in. 

For the sauce you can use your choice of tomato sauce. I food processed 2 left over tomatoes and added to a sauce pan with about 1 1/2 cups of left over organic tomato sauce, 3 tablespoons of organic tomato paste and 1 table spoon of italian seasoning. This was heated to a boil, then shut off for serving. 

For the heck of it since the rutabaga came out good I tested with some sauce on top and to my surprise it was awesome. So my happy accident produced from the weeks left overs came out as one of the best spaghetti and meatball recipes we've made. In the past we've used the traditional spaghetti squash and zucchini, but by far this one is my favorite noodle. It has a firmness that the other don't have. The family loved it. 

At the end of the week as the fridge becomes empty, meals can sometimes be challenging if you've cooked everything on your menu. However I find that's when some of the best 'fridge fusion' (tm @ paleotabs) happens. Whats left at the end of the week really should work together somehow because it's meat, fruit and veggies. You just have to have an open mind and be creative. 


Sunday, September 1, 2013

Paleo Football Menu

Apparently football season has started, or so I hear. Seriously I do know football is a fall sport. I also know that the Super Bowl is in January / February. I enjoy watching the commercials with my family  and cooking lots of fun foods to snack on all day. 

I was recently challenged to create a paleo football menu. So I've pulled together a host of wonderful recipes that my family enjoys and that will foot the bill for a football gathering. 

Bacon-Wrapped Chorizo Stuffed Dates 
(I've not made this one but will this week. It's food wrapped in bacon so really what could go wrong?!)

Lettuce Boat Tacos
I use homemade Taco Seasoning by Whole New Mom. Use some nice romaine lettuce for the boats and fill with taco meat, guacamole, diced onions, diced tomatoes and what ever other toppings you like on your tacos. 

Plantain Chips and Guacamole
You can certainly make your plantain chips, however I purchase mine from Trader Joe's and they are wonderful and clean. Make some fresh guac and you are ready to go. 

These are hot dog bits wrapped in a paleo dough. For the hotdog I use Applegate Farms nitrate free. It's a wonderful tasting clean hotdog. These a winner with everyone. 

Date Balls
If you've ever invited me to a meal I generally bring these and they are a hit every time. These are from Everyday Paleo cook book (the first one). 

Italian Meatballs in Sauce - 

  • 1.5 lbs ground meat (I use 1/2 ground turkey and 1/2 ground meat)
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 2 tbsp minced garlic
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 2 tsp dried parsley
  • 1 tbl of Italian Seasoning

  • Mix the above ingredients, roll into approximately 1" balls and bake for about 25 min at 350 degrees. Add the cooked meatballs to your favorite marinara sauce or use TJ's brand which is clean and comes in a big green can. Heat everything and serve or leave on low in a crock pot.  (If' I'm using 2 lbs of meat I will round out the tblspoons to heaping so the flavor carries)

Pulled Pork with Coleslaw
The pulled pork is by Everyday Paleo and is outstanding! A 4-5 lb pork butt goes a long way. This pairs perfectly (like in the same fork bite) with my plain jane coleslaw. For the coleslaw shred or dice up the amount you want to use then add paleo mayo, salt and pepper. To make the best mayo I follow The Clothes Make the Girl and this recipe. Double this recipe for your game day feast because you'll use it for veggies. 

Veggies with Hot Paleo Mayo dip
Make your own veggie tray. Think OUTSIDE the normal veggies to make it fun. For the dip use paleo mayo at the link above and add hot sauce to taste. I use Louisiana and add quite a bit until it's a nice pink. We like some spice. It's the best veggie dip. 

Fresh Fruit - No brainer here. You need some sweets and these fit the bill. Don't BUY a fruit plate, make your own. 

There are no words for how awesome these are for breakfast or any meal!

Last but not least another no brainer. Of course leave out the beans for the paleo version. I've made chili for years and I've always winged it. However I was asked last year to write it down. So here's my chili. 

- 2 medium onions, chopped

- 2lbs ground meat, browned
- 5 tomatoes
- 2 cans TJ Mainara Sauce
- 2 green bell peppers, chopped
- Amanda's Chili Seasoning

Dice up tomatoes, onion and green peppers and add all to a large pot with marinara sauce and heat. 

In a separate skilled brown the meat. With the meat browned add the chili seasoning mix and cook into meat. When the meat is done add it to the pot and continue to heat through for about 10 minutes. Add salt and pepper as needed to taste. Turn off the chili and let sit covered on the stove for a few hours, or serve right away. Tastes best if it sits for a while. Leftovers are awesome! I serve my chili with diced cabbage and paleo mayo. Yes mayo, it acts as sour cream and is yummy!

I could go on with more football day recipes but this is certainly a good start. So many of these items can be prepped the day before and simply reheated on game day. 



Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Constant "fresh starts" are welcomed!

I'm trying to figure out how to say this and make sense.  I see myself and my husband ending at perfection.  Is that too blunt?  Reason being:  When we started eating Paleo, it was a challenge - everything was new.  Then we fell off the wagon over Xmas time...BUT still keeping some of what we had learned in our diet, i.e., drinking black coffee or the Paleo way of drinking it, coconut milk and honey, and we mostly kept out the grains.  Then summer came and I was like, "We need to straighten up!"  So our Paleo attempt started again.  Now, several months into summer - we have kept it MOSTly up, but -- as I'm writing, I'm trying to think how I cheated and the only thing that has come to mind is BEER and for me, ICECREAM :)  loL.  So I don't know if you see my point yet....

I'll say a few more things then get to the point if you haven't seen it yet.
I remember, I think, it was in June telling Von, my sister, that "Here's to another "start."  And her response has stuck w/ me.  It was something to the effect of "Another false start is better than not doing anything at all -- or eating bad today, again."  All the good days will add up for your health, even if they're not each consecutive day.

So now, to the point - over the last 10 months my diet has changed drastically towards being all Paleo, even though we haven't been "perfect."  So even when we cheat, they're better cheats :)  When I've gone to restaurants, I still pick the better choices of veggies and my fish or shrimp -- not a burger!  Now, the choice of not eating a burger is a little harder for Julio, but he's getting there!  He LOVES our local restaurant's 'Big Catch' plate :)  So I hope that this has made sense.  Don't give up, your life to better eating takes time.  Baby steps.  You'll make it there.


Thursday, August 1, 2013

God’s perfect food…the egg.

God has given us perfect foods to use throughout the centuries to sustain us. From our roots of nomads, wandering and following herds of animals, to figuring out we can contain them and stay in one place, God has given us foods that are perfect fit for our bodies. It’s only in the last century that we have mixed science with our food production and altered it so it’s not of God and our bodies doesn’t recognize any longer. Meat, milk, and plants are the staples of our diet from centuries ago. And lets me honest, we human’s get bored with eating the same thing day after day. Thus we try to make things different to change it up.

photo: unknown
photo: unknown

  Today let’s talk about the perfect egg. As nomads these were yummy treats we found with all sorts of birds we came across, Turkey, quail, chickens, sea birds, etc. When human’s first domesticated chickens in Asia, Africa, and Europe (around 6000 B.C.) they used chickens of Indian origin for cockfighting. Little attention was giving to meat or egg production of chickens at that time. Over time we learned that money could be made from selling eggs and meats in market. Most homesteaders across the globe raised their own birds for eggs and meat. It was a staple of the diets. Then they industrial era hit the world in the 1900’s in the egg production market when the refrigerator was invented. Eggs could be transported longer distances and kept longer. Thus was born the cage chicken egg layer in mass production farms. These farms are regulated by state and federal laws and the chickens are kept fed and watered adequately. But as you can see that’s not letting chickens be a chicken. Chickens in tight quarters also have a tendency to peck on each other. This is not good for the farmer so they do what called trimming the beaks of the birds. Notice that the top beak is shorter than the bottom. They are trimmed at a young age using a clipper. This does not affect eating and drinking. However it is not necessary for free range chickens.

  Over time people understood what was happening to their food and wanted different. I think mainly because of the inhuman treatment that was splashed over the media. People wanted more control of their food. Thus was re-born hobby farmer. People not raise their own meat birds and layer birds for meat and eggs. I do not believe nutrition was the focus more of a side effect of this. After years of people knowing that small farm raised meat and eggs were better for you and me, now we have studies that show this. did a study in 2007 from 14 different flocks of chickens around the country that range freely on pasture or are housed in moveable pens that are rotated frequently to maximize access to fresh pasture and protect the birds from predators. Six eggs from each of the 14 flocks were tested in an accredited lab in Portland, Oregon. The results shows the average nutrient contentof the samples, compared with the official egg nutrient data from the USDA for “conventional” (i.e. from confined hens) eggs. The chart lists the individual results from each flock.

Free Range Eggs
·      1/3 less cholesterol
·      ¼ less saturated fat
·      2/3 more vitamin A
·      2 times more omega-3 fatty acids
·      3 times more vitamin E
·      7 times more beta carotene


It’s not merely a question of health to some; it’s also a question of taste. Free range eggs taste better. This is because chickens do natural grazing on insects and plants. Yolk color will reflect this. Free range eggs yolks are darker in color due to diet. Sadly, there are now feeds on the market that have additives in the feed that make darker yolks to provide what consumers want, an easy way to tell if it’s free range or not. Now it’s not  hard to copy this for large cage farmers. How can you tell if your eggs are coming from free range chickens? Simple…know your farmer. Visit the farm you get your eggs from. Honest farmers welcome visitors. Just asking to see pictures is not the best way. Those can be printed off the internet.

And now for some interesting egg facts…
1.     Eggs are better unwashed. The hen puts a natural coating on the egg when it’s laid to prevent bacteria to penetrate the shell when incubating and developing the baby chick. Yes, there may be poo on the shell then, but just wash it before you crack it open and you’ll be fine.
2.     Eggs do not have to be refrigerated. Why? Eggs were never refrigerated before we had refrigerators. Think about it. Eggs do last longer in the refrigerator, about a month or two. Eggs are good on the counter for about a week. It’s better to do this with eggs that are unwashed. See reason above. One day on the counter equals one week in the refrigerator.
3.     The average hens lays an average of 250 eggs per year.
4.     The average person eats 172 eggs per year.
5.     95% of eggs produced in the US are from caged hens. That is approminately 266 million hens.
6.     A caged hen has only 67 square inches of cage space. That’s less than a single sheet of paper to live her entire life on.
7.     Free range hens can forage, nest, perch, dust bathe, and exercise freely in open fields.
8.     Caged hens are forced to molt to increase egg production (molting: loose their feathers, which is a natural annual behavior in free range hens) by starving the hens for 7-14 days, causeing the hens to lose weight, lose feathers and, in some cases, die.

Know your facts for reading cartons: Labels may not mean what you think. There are guidelines set for free-range, cage-free, organic labeling. Here is what these labels mean to the USDA standards.

Again: the best way to know how your chickens are raises is to visit the farm.

 -  Andrea Deihl