Thursday, December 11, 2014

What am I going to do with this sweet tooth?

So, I originally decided to do a Whole20 for the month of December.  But around the 7th I came down with a horrible headache that would not let up. I caved, and took some Excederin and decided to just stay Paleo until January and go for a Whole30 then.  After I was rid of the headache, my sweet tooth kicked in. Maybe you've already concluded that my hormones were at work.  I began searching paleo treats on Pinterest and found a new book to add to my wish list: Every Last Crumb by Brittany Angel. #EveryLastCrumb  The recipes look amazingly delicious. But I didn't have a lot of the ingredients on hand.

I came to a picture of Red Velvet Truffles from Plank, Love, and Guacamole.  Surely I could make these--No Bake, Hello! I picked up some beets at the grocery store. I never have them on hand, because I don't like the taste.  Every now and then, I'll throw one in the juicer with some carrots and apples. Anyhow, as soon as I got home from work, I peeled it and shredded it. (Have paper towels handy--they are juicy and hot pink.) Mixed up the other ingredients, balled them up, and chilled them in the fridge.  Melting the chocolate chips was the most tedious part of this recipe, which is awesome for someone who is new to baking.  Once the chips are melted, I dunked each truffle in the chocolate and drizzled the extra chocolate on top. I added sprinkles to a few in hopes I could get my daughters to try them. Success! If you're sweet tooth is acting up and you want to stay paleo, give these a try. Thank you #planksloveandguacamole

 Planks, Love, and Guacamole Red Velvet Truffles.

Here's the recipe from Planks, Love, and Guacamole


1/4 cup coconut butter

1/4 cup coconut flour

1/4 cup almond flour

1/4 cup raw beet, packed, peeled and grated
2 tbsp arrowroot flour
2 tbsp unsweetened cocao or cocoa
1/4 cup honey
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp salt

For the chocolate coating:
1 cup chocolate chips (use enjoy life for dairy/soy free)
2 tsp coconut oil

1. Combine all truffle ingredients in food processor.
2. Pulse until smooth batter has formed.
3. Place in the refrigerator for 10-15 minutes to harden a bit.
4. Roll balls.  (makes about 16 balls)
5. Place balls back in fridge to harden for about 30 minutes, or until hard enough to coat with chocolate.

6. Melt chocolate and coconut oil on the stovetop on lowest setting, or use a double boiler set up.
7. Coat each truffle with chocolate. (*Optional- reserve 2 truffles to crumble on top of the truffles) If you have, place chocolates on a fine meshed cooling rack with foil underneath to dry so that the foil catches the dripping chocolate.
8. You will have extra chocolate to drizzle on top once the coated chocolate has dried a little bit.
9.  Allow chocolate to cool and store in the fridge or at room temp.

Friday, November 14, 2014

New Paleo Lifestyle...Let me back up a bit.

In July, I went to the doctor for a regular physical, blood work, check all my levels. I've been having more frequent headaches and a couple other concerns.  Turned out my vitamin B was low and my cholesterol was high.  I was baffled. I thought I ate a well-balanced, healthy diet.  I juice. I buy organic. I stick to the 5 ingredients or less rule on processed food. I exercise a couple days a week. What is going on?  Of course, my husband and I had just visited NOLA and ate some amazing dishes. But overall, I thought I ate well.

I started looking into how to increase Vitamin B and what I need to eat to lower cholesterol (I refuse to take meds for something I can control).  And Whole30 keeps popping up. I look at the restrictions--no dairy, no grains, no sugar, no legumes, and no alcohol. For 30 days.

My kids were in Michigan for their summer visit with dad. So, why not? I decided to give it a try. First big adjustment I had to make was to make myself eat breakfast, with protein and vegetables, not just fruit. I never would have thought to eat asparagus or cauliflower with my eggs before this. What a wonderful discovery.  I felt very tired and had weird cravings by day 6. I was ready to quit. My husband had been cheating during his lunch. But we kept going for a couple more days.  I found recipes on Pinterest and NomNomPaleo became my go-to source. I loved our meals and they way I was feeling. Unfortunately, with Day 9 came a migraine. I caved and took to Excederin and got a coffee from Starbucks. I live in a town with a very limited selection of healthy eating options out and was not cooking dinner. My husband and I had sushi. I am a Whole30 failure.  Neither of us were ready to start over at Day 1. But we did agree to stay Paleo/Primal, I'm not yet sure of the difference.  We have been successful with this plan and have not suffered at all.

I just had my 3 month blood work done to recheck all of my levels. My B12 was right on and cholesterol was fine. I have been eating eggs everyday and my cholesterol went down, guess I disproved that myth.  I do, now, take a Vitamin B12 supplement too.  I wake up every morning to a spray from Garden of Life and apparently it has helped. But what's crazy is I'm down TWO clothing sizes and have lost twenty pounds.

We have another trip to New Orleans planned for Thanksgiving. So I may attempt another Whole30 after the Holidays.  But for now, I leave you with a couple pictures and recipes of pure paleo deliciousness for breakfast and dessert. YUM!

Quick and Easy Breakfast of turkey bacon(Wellshire Peppered is my favorite, thought not Whole30), scrambled eggs with kale/garlic/onion/tumeric/s&p, sweet potatoes (leftover from dinner), plated with avocado(well limed) and cherry tomatoes. Okay, so easy and delicious, and such a better way to kick off my day than a piece of peanut butter toast and a banana.

But here is the killer! My husband's birthday was at the beginning of the month and he asked for a Pecan Pie.  Yeah right, say Goodbye to Karo Syrup.  But I pulled it off! No Karo Syrup. No Grains. and No Sugar. And it, too, was delicious.  Check out the recipe below.

Paleo Pecan Pie
For the Crust
   2.5 cups of almond flour
   1 TBSP of coconut flour
   1 egg
   A splash of very cold water
   3-4 grinds of sea salt
   3 TBSP ghee (not melted)

Mix all of the ingredients and roll into a tight ball, pack it as tightly as possible. It took me several attempts.  Then roll the dough between two sheets of parchment paper until it's the size of a 9-inch pie pan and press it in. If it cracks in spots (mine did), just press together. You're going to cover it up with all things good. Bake for 10 minutes at 325.

The Pie
   2 eggs
   1 egg white--save the yolk for brushing on the crust
   Half a cup of Coconut Palm Sugar
   Half a cup of Organic Maple Syrup
   3 TBSP Melted Ghee
   A Splash of Mexican Vanilla
   2 cups of Pecan Halves

Whisk together all of the ingredients and pour into your crust. I saved out some of the pecans to arrange on the top.  Bake for about 15 minutes at 350 degrees then cover the crust with foil and bake for 5 more minutes--it may take a little longer to not jiggle.

Try it! It's delicious.  I found a recipe for a bacon crusted pecan pie from Predominately Paleo that I'll be trying next!

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Love Unexpected

I wrote this several years ago, but while cleaning out my Google Drive, uncovered this piece and thought I'd share it.

 Love Unexpected

 I was 32 years old. I thought I knew what love was. I had two children, two failed relationships, but surely I knew love. I suffered from my first broken heart during my senior year of high school, crushed and alone, but I recovered. It was nearly ten years later when I fell in love again, only the stars were not aligned. The circumstances surrounding us and our love were beyond less than ideal, they were controversial and many would say down-right appalling. I don't know if that heightened the romanticism for me or not, but it was a love I'd never experienced. It was risky and exciting, flirty and sensual, loving yet forbidden. He was 22 years my senior, my married neighbor, and childhood best-friend's father. Our relationship began in secrecy, stealing a cup of coffee together on the porch, bringing over a sample of dessert, a wave or a nod pulling out of the driveway. This progressed to arranged meetings at the lake, lunch dates, and overnight camping trips. He ended up leaving his wife and moving in with me. We were engaged to be married, in spite of the lack of approval. We had a daughter together, a perfect little girl. I was the happiest I'd ever been.

 March 19, 2008, he left me. I came home from work and his things were packed and his face was grim. He sat me down and explained that he loved me, but what we were doing just wasn’t right. Heart break senior year had nothing on the hurt and loneliness I felt. I couldn't eat, sleep, work, breathe. I was shaken to the core and devastated. Everyone told me time was what I needed and things would get easier with time. So I waited, and wallowed, and tried to go on. The following year I got a job offer 1500 miles away and jumped at it. Some might say I was running, but I saw an opportunity for a fresh start, in a new place, with no memories of the love I thought I lost. I had no family where I was going, so raising my girls alone was exhausting and my work was demanding, but it kept my mind occupied. Work and my girls became my sole focus. Being a single mother was not what I had envisioned for myself, but it was my reality. I felt like I was finally establishing my own identity. I felt free and empowered. I was doing what I loved (teaching middle-schoolers), in a cool new city (San Antonio), and trying to give my girls great experiences and show them how strong a girl could be. I didn’t need anyone. I had my girls and my career, convincing myself everyday to be satisfied with that. I was successful most days.

 March 19, 2010, I had a date with a stranger. Ironic, I know, realizing this is exactly two years after my world came crashing down (A fact I realized at the end of my date, making it even more spectacular). My mom was visiting and gladly volunteered to watch the girls. Nervous, anxious, giddy, hopeful. Trying to maintain no expectations, I drove an hour north to meet the stranger. Let me preface this by saying, though we had never met, we had exchanged facebook communicato, instant messages, emails, and even real old-fashioned conversations via telephone for several weeks. I pulled into the parking lot of a Tex-Mex restaurant at the exact time he also pulled in. As he approached me, my stomach churned with anticipation. We ate, told real stories (not the cheesy, getting-to-know-you-but-not-really-revealing-anything stories), meaningful stories of the experiences that made us who we were sitting there together at that table. The date moved on to a local music festival full of good tunes and people-watching, but all I saw was the stranger who no longer felt like a stranger. I leaned in and stole a kiss just before it was time to leave. It was the best date I've ever had. So many feelings were rushing through my body, excitement, anticipation, and I guess, relief. Before this date, I promised myself that I would be okay. I didn't need a partner. I had my daughters and could love them enough to negate the need to share my life with anyone else. I convinced myself of this. But now, I'm left to wonder if maybe I could have it all. This time, perhaps, the stars were aligned.

 The next couple months, we spent every weekend together. He lived 8 hours from me and made the trip every weekend. As the school year came to an end, my belongings were boxed up and began gradually making the return trip with him every weekend. It didn't matter that we hadn't known each other for very long, or that I hadn't even seen the home where I was moving my family, that I had no job lined up, that I was a city girl and the town I was moving to only had a post office, it was happening. This was LOVE! Me, the girl who swore it off, found it, as everyone always says, when I wasn't looking.

We were married that July. It wasn't entirely easy. My adjustment to "BFE" was difficult and is still progressing and digressing, depending on the day. His passage from bachelorhood to husband and father of two is a continuous learning process as well. Oddly enough, all of the changes have felt so natural. I love this man more than I ever thought I could love someone (that didn't come directly from my body). Loving someone selflessly and completely and honestly is the most amazing feeling. I love the way his arms feel around me. I love that I can tell him anything. I love that he cries when I'm upset. I love the way he flares his nostrils before he says something he deems witty. I love how he strives for perfection in raising the girls. Love doesn't seem like a powerful enough word to evoke how I really feel. The word "Love" is thrown around casually and doesn't come close to my adoration for my husband. I know I'm not the only person to feel this way, but I also know how rare it is. I found it and am not letting go. I think that the hurt I felt back in 2008 forced me to find myself, discover who I was, what I wanted, and really made me grow up...which led me to finding love.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Using the Juicer...What took me so long???

Okay, I have had a small citrus juicer for quite sometime and never used it. My mom gave me hers and I decided it was time. Not sure what took me so long.

Bought 6 large oranges, cut em all in half and gave it a whirl today.
I've never been a big oj drinker, but let me tell ya, I will be drinking a lot of it from now on.

Once I had a pitcher of the most beautiful and fragrant orange juice I'd ever seen, I was left with a container full of pulp. The juice was so freakin' good, it seemed a shame to waste.

I decided to give Orange Poppy Seed Muffins a try. So glad I did.

2 cups flour
3 tablespoons Baking Powder
1/2 teaspoon of Salt
1 Cup sugar
1 cup milk
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 egg
1 cup orange pulp
handful of poppy seeds

Mix together dry ingredients, Make a well.
Beat egg, and add milk and veg. oil.
Pour wet ingredients in the well and add Pulp. Mix together with a fork.

The dough will be lumpy. Pour into lined or well-sprayed muffin pan. Bake for about 20-25 minutes at 350.
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We like ours sweet, so we whisked together some of the orange juice with powder sugar, creating a glaze, and poured it over the muffins. YUM.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Another soup, I know...cold weather must be approaching!

A friend of mine sent me a recipe for Tortilla soup and I couldn't wait to try it. Of course, I had to doctor it up a bit. This is what I came up with...

Half a Purple Onion, chopped
1 stalk of celery, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
Seasonings to taste(salt, pepper, oregano, chili powder, cavenders greek blend, basil, parsley, cumin, red pepper flakes)
Garlic, minced
Jalepeno, chopped very small
1 zucchini, sliced
1 yellow squash, sliced
Bunch of Cilantro, loosely chopped, stems removed
1 Large can of Rotel
1 Can of Chicken Broth
2 cups of water with 2 chicken boullion cubes and 1 Knorr Veggie cube
Rotisserie Chicken
Mexican Rice
Tortilla strips
Monterey Jack cheese, Shredded

**In large soup pan, saute carrots, onion, and celery in about 3 Tbs of Olive Oil until softened. Add spices. Add jalapeno and garlic. Cook for about 5 more minutes or until garlic becomes translucent and fragrant. Add squash, zucchini, and cilantro. Stir well and cook for a couple more minutes to blend the flavors.
**Stir in Rotel. Then add the Chicken broth and water. Stir well. Bring to boil, then simmer until squash and zucchini are fully cooked.

**While you are waiting for soup to heat up, cook Mexican Rice and shred the Rotisserie Chicken Breasts.
**When the soup is ready, throw in the chicken and rice and cook for another 10 minutes or so.
**Garnish with tortilla strips or chips, avocado, and your cheese of choice. We used Monterey Jack. Squeeze a bit of lime juice over top and serve.
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I found a great companion to this soup to be a cold bottle of Negra Modelo.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Bok Choy Soup **WARNING** SPICY!!! But ohhh, so good!

I bought some Bok Choy at the grocery store the other day. It always looks so appealing, I decided to give it a try. Not really knowing what to do with it, I looked at several recipes on the internet. I decided to combine a few ideas and ultimately created this soup. I used the rest of the leftover Thanksgiving turkey, what a relief that was! Allrecipes seriously needs to add this one!

4 cups Chicken Broth
1/3 cup Soy Sauce
1/4 cup Sugar
3Tbs Ginger
4 cloves of garlic, minced
2 Tbs Sesame Oil
2 Tbs Sriracha Sauce
White part of 4 scallions, chopped
**WHISK All of these ingredients together in a mixing bowl**

2 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbs Ginger
3 Tbs Red Pepper Flakes
Salt + Pepper
Bok Choy, cut up into sticks, roughly 3 inches
Carrots, cut up into matching sticks
**In soup pan, heat 3 Tbs peanut oil, add the above ingredients and cook for roughly 5 minutes, until smells begin to awaken your senses.

*Pour broth mixture into soup pan, stir well. Cover and bring to a boil. Add in left over Turkey if you have it (That's what I did). But any meat would work--cooked chicken, pork, shrimp... Then simmer for about 20 minutes.

**Bring another pot of water to a boil. Add Rice Noodles and remove from heat.

To serve, add a ladle of noodles and cover with soup. You could garnish with lime, cilantro, or chopped peanuts.

This would be an incredibly easy soup to make vegetarian. Use veggie broth, omit turkey, add tofu or not. But YUMMMMM!!!

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Saturday, August 20, 2011

They say the darndest things

Yesterday, we were getting ready to head off to Dallas to spend the day at the Childrens' Museum before picking up Mackenzie, and Sadie comes in wearing sunglasses. I sang to her that her "future's so bright," laughing, she asked me what a Future is.

My husband and I gave examples, tomorrow, the next day, when she goes to college, Christmas, when she gets older (She has a birthday coming up)...

She immediately begain crying and proclaimed, "I don't want to get old!"
We consoled her, but she refused to wear her sunglasses all day.