Monday, February 27, 2012

Fresh Taco Salad

For a variety of reasons one of my favorite salads is the taco salad. Simple to prepare? Check. Adjustable for picky eaters? Check. Easy to make for entertaining? Check. Full of flavor and just a little spicy? Check.

I have made this salad for just my family and I have also made this for large dinner parties.  I simply put all the "toppings" in small bowls for a "serve yourself" taco buffet. Everyone gets just what they like, and you get to enjoy being the host! Imagine that.

Although there are packets of "taco seasonings" out there, the ingredients become a little suspect so I prefer to make my own seasonings.

Try a variation of the "taco salad" = Paleo Tacos. Prepare meat as below and put ingredients in pieces of butter lettuce - enjoy as a taco!

Fresh Taco Salad
1-2 lbs of ground beef
Chili Powder
Pepper Flakes (if you like it spicy)

Toppings may change according to your preferences:
Avocado or Guacamole
Bell Peppers
Fresh Cilantro
Cucumber (may sound weird, but the crunchiness is awesome)

As you brown your meat, add seasonings to taste. Cumin is the key ingredient that will give the meat the taco flavoring. Add red pepper flakes to desired spiciness. No dressing is necessary as the meat and toppings are so full of flavor.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

The Sugar Devil

So you have been eating Paleo food for awhile, and every once in a while those sugary treats call your name, its usually when you least expect it and overwhelms your brain. Maybe it's not the sugar itself, but the comforting memory of your childhood or previous lifestyle calling to you. Check out this blog post, Dancing with the Devil. I found it not only true, but an encouragement that we can simply just walk away from the Cadburry Eggs. It's not the candy anyway- just a memory. I choose joy and happiness!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Fresh Lemon Ginger Chicken

I love lemon, and ginger. I decided to put these ingredients together to achieve a full tart flavor. I made this with chicken breast, but you could prepare the marinade and use it to grill chicken legs/wings on your BBQ. If you are choosing the legs/wings option buy 2-3 lbs. chicken.

Fresh Lemon Ginger Chicken

4 chicken breasts
1 T lemon zest
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
1/2 tsp ginger
1 tsp rosemary
1 tsp sea salt
1 tsp thyme

Place all ingredients in a Ziploc bag. Mix till chicken is fully coated. Put in refrigerator for at least 1 hour to marinate.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Spray glass baking dish with non stick spray and add chicken and juice from the bag. Bake for 1 hour or until internal temperature of the chicken reaches 160 degrees. Remove from oven.  Drizzle the juice from the pan over the meat- enjoy!

*If you are grilling, save some of the juice to brush onto your wings 1/2 way through grilling. You can also add a bit of butter to lemon juice to help in the browning of the chicken.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Fresh and Hearty Beef Stew

Sometimes there is nothing more comforting that a good hearty stew. The beautiful thing about this recipe is that you can literally throw everything into your crockpot. Then you can fold that basket of laundry, paint your nails, take a bath, organize your linen closet, enjoy your cup of tea or whatever you want, because dinner is cooking and you have some free time. I found the recipe here, but listed my recipe and it's modifications below. Feel free to add your own veggies to it to make it deliciously perfect for your household.  

Fresh and Hearty Beef Stew
1 lb stewing beef
4 cups organic beef stock
1 bunch celery, chopped
2 parsnips, peeled and chopped
2 sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped
1 28oz can diced or crushed tomatoes
1/2 tsp rosemary, finely chopped
1/2 tsp fresh thyme, finely chopped
1/2 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp onion powder
Salt and pepper to taste

Place all ingredients in crockpot. Cook on low for 4 hours. Enjoy.

*Afterthought- next time I am going to brown the meat first so I can season it and give it a bit more flavor. It was really good, but I just think this would give it the extra little bit it was missing.
Before. . .

After. . . .

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Keeping Your Portions and Headspace in Check

Check out this great article from Whole9. When we are adopting a new way of eating, we cannot ignore the impact it has on the way we think and feel about food. I love how this article helps put things into perspective. As much as I fight to stay healty, I fight to keep my headspace in check as well. A happy, balanced, eater will be a consistant healthier eater. Being healthy doesn't mean you have to be a fanatic. Hopefully this will help encourage you to either get back on track, or to continue on your journey. Keep with it! There is no substution for good nutrition. And remember, you are worth the time and effort!

Friday, February 17, 2012

Chocolate Cupcake Love

On Valentines day one of our members from the gym, Jamee, brought with her a large Tupperware box full of these chocolate cupcakes. They were so good! I snapped a picture really quickly before the cupcake was history.

Here the recipe she found. She said she used coconut milk from the can, not the carton and they turned out great.  I can't tell you how easy they were to make, but I CAN tell you they were scrumptious.
And yes if you make me treats, I will probably take a picture of them and you will be "famous." So I think that means you should make more treats! :)

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Fresh Rosted Rosemary Apple Chicken

Since my Valentines day consisted of teaching, wodding, then training at the gym I was on the hunt for a delicious meal I could assemble and have the Mr. put in the oven when he arrived home. I came across this recipe and WOW! So easy, so delicious. We decided that this should be a weekly meal for quite awhile. The apples absorb the balsamic and rosemary flavors, and the chicken is tender and full of flavor. We devoured it so quickly I didn't take an after picture- once you make it you will see why. :)

Rosemary Apple Chicken
1 whole chicken (2-3 pounds)
¼ cup olive oil *
¼ cup balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon sea salt
4 apples, cored and sliced
4 sprigs rosemary

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Rinse the chicken, pat dry with a paper towel and place in a 9x12 inch glass baking dish breast side up. Under the chicken, place the whole springs of rosemary. Pour oil and vinegar over the chicken and sprinkle with salt. Cut up apples removing the cores and place around the chicken.

Bake for 90 mins or until browned on the outside

Remove from oven and enjoy!

*I did make some modifications to the oil since grapeseed oil is bad for you.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Snacks on the Go

Let's be honest eating whole, real food is easy. If I put a grilled steak down in front of most people, they don't need much convincing to gobble it down. Furthermore, you don't need to explain to me why eating food with chemicals and extra processing is bad for me.

The REALITY is eating Paleo isn't hard because we have to wrap our minds around the concepts that chemicals are bad to ingest. And we don't need to change our taste buds to enjoy real food. The trouble comes when we are in a rush, and find ourselves surrounded with puffed cheesey this and carmely chocolatey that. I may have a soultion for you. . .

Check out these Primal Pacs for some delicious Paleo snack packs. Buy them in bulk and leave them at your work, in your car, or your pantry for a quick on the go pick me up. So the next time the vending machine calls your name, you can ignore the call and enjoy a Paleo treat!

Monday, February 13, 2012

Fresh Coconut Lime Shrimp

Looking for something light, simple and delicious? Look no further. I made these with my wok, although you could grill them or use your favorite skillet. Even your non-Paleo friends will devour this dish.

Fresh Coconut Lime Shrimp

3 limes
1 T butter or oil of choice for your pan
2 lbs deveined and peeled raw shrimp
1 14 oz can coconut milk
1 T kosher salt
1 tsp pepper
1/3 cup unsweetened coconut
(optional: fresh cilantro)

In a Ziploc bag place raw shrimp, coconut milk and the juice from 2 limes. Put in refrigerator for 15 min, or while you prepare the other ingredients.

Zest one lime. In food processor pulse lime zest, pepper and salt till mixed well.

In a dry skillet, over medium heat, heat coconut till it is toasted. Remove from stove top.

In wok or skillet melt butter or oil. Using a slotted spoon transfer shrimp from marinade into pan. Discard marinade. Cook shrimp till they are pink and opaque in color.

Plate shrimp. Squeeze fresh lime juice over shrimp and sprinkle with salt mixture and toasted coconut.

For additional freshness add chopped cilantro. Enjoy!

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Fresh Chocolate Chip Cookies

When I first started eating Paleo over a year ago I would give myself "Paleo Cheat Days". Since I was trying to lose weight, I was watchful of my fruit and fat intake. I kept it to one fruit a day and a little fat with each meal. On these "Paleo Cheat Days" I would eat fruit, enjoy Kind bars, make a special muffin recipe, eat a bunch of bacon, enjoy almond butter, the list goes on. Since I wasn't pigging out on pizza, and cupcakes my recovery wasn't too difficult.

Amazingly, over time I stopped feeling the need for these "Paleo Cheats." It also helped because I would PLAN to enjoy something I was really missing, not just eating crazy crud because I was tired and didn't have energy to cook. This gave me a mental break from the overwhelming pressure of a life change. Don't forget people- changing the way you have eaten for 30+ years is hard work! It takes time to feel normal.

Every once in a while I still enjoy splurging on a few Paleo treats. Here is a great recipe from one of my favorite sites for Paleo baking. If you don't have or like agave nectar, try the recipe with honey.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Fresh Red Wine Pot Roast

After finding a grass fed roast on AmazonFresh I searched for an easy crock pot recipe. I found this and simplified it for my family's likes. I know I maybe weird, but I really don't like mushy veggies and in the crock pot they always seem to get that way. So I chose to cook the veggies separately and just crock pot the meat.

Fresh Red Wine Pot Roast
2-3 lb roast
2-3 T or Sprigs of Rosemary
2-3 T or Sprigs of Thyme
1 cup red wine
1 cup organic beef broth
2 tsp salt

Season beef with your choice of seasoning salt. In large skillet sear all sides of the beef. Place into crock pot, pour other ingredients on top of the beef. Cover and cook on low for 4 hours.

Remove roast from crock pot, cut and serve. Once I cut the roast up I drizzled the juice from the crock pot over the meat to add more flavor to the dish.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Fresh Danish Turkey Loaf

I love this recipe because it's easy and I can whip it up when I get home from the gym, shower while it's cooking and enjoy dinner before 10:00 at night. Let's not forget the fact that it has bacon on it! Bacon makes everything better. :)

This is a simple recipe- think about adding other veggies to the loaf. Mushrooms, black olives, broccoli, zucchini, just to name a few.

Fresh Danish Turkey Loaf

1 lb ground organic turkey
1 egg
4 Tbs almond flour
1 tsp sea salt (optional)
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 cup coconut milk (from a can, not So Delicious coconut milk)
1 onion, finely diced
4-5 slices of bacon

Preheat oven to 400° F.

Mix turkey, egg, almond flour, coconut milk, sea salt (optional), onions and black pepper in a bowl.

Shape into a loaf in an ungreased baking pan, and add the bacon strips across the top of loaf.

Bake for 60-75 minutes, or until fully cooked. There might be "soup" surrounding the loaf which you can just throw away or freeze for later use as stock in a real soup.
This recipe modified from this site.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Fresh Balsamic Shrimp

I thought this looked good when I saw the recipe, but WOW- it's amazing. As I was cooking it everyone in the house kept asking what was cooking and when would it be ready. Once we all tasted it, we were not disappointed and I think you will feel the same way.

Fresh Balsamic Shrimp

1 lb fresh shrimp, deveined, peeled, with or without tail
2 T butter
1 clove minced garlic
2 T balsamic vinegar
1 tsp chili sauce or dash of hot sauce
1/4 tsp seasoning salt of your choice

In frying pan, over medium heat, melt butter with garlic. Let it warm, without cooking the garlic- about 1 min.

Add balsamic vinegar and hot sauce. Bring to boil.

Add shrimp. Cook until shrimp is just done about 2-3 min. Shrimp should be pink on the edges and opaque. Remove from heat and keep warm. Serve and enjoy!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Fresh Fish Tacos

This is one of my favorite recipes. These tacos are fresh, light and full of flavor. I feel like I should be pool side in the sunshine while eating these. With our last little stint of spring weather I decided it would be appropriate to bake these up, even if it isn't summer quite yet. . .

Fresh Fish Taco's
Cod (or other fish of your choosing)
Organic Salsa
Butter Lettuce
Seasoning Salt
Fresh Cilantro

I usually choose cod for these tacos because it is such a light and fresh tasting fish. I always select fish that is not farm raised, is fresh and caught as locally as possibly. So, the farm raised Chinese fish will stay at the store thank you very much.

Pre-Heat Oven to 400 Degrees

Spray baking dish with non-stick spray. In dish, place fish skin side down. Squeeze lemon, or lime juice over fish and season with your choice of seasoning salt. I used lemon pepper. Top with your choice of organic salsa. I chose a mango-pineapple flavor. So delicious.

Bake for 10-15 min or until the center of the fish is flaky and opaque in color. Remove from oven. Using forks pull fish apart in small sections. The salsa will mix in as you pull apart the fish. Place in a large bowl, and you are ready for fish tacos! (This is a great make ahead recipe- I like to bake the fish the night before and refrigerate.)

For the "taco" use butter lettuce. Top fish with more salsa, guacamole, fresh cilantro and any other ingredient you choose. Serve and enjoy!

Monday, February 6, 2012

Keeping Your Salad Fresh

Sick and tired of having 4 different containers for your salad you take with you on your daily journey? Here is a great way to pack your salad all in one place without getting your lettuce wilted and slimy. In a mason jar put your dressing of choice in the bottom, then stack your veggies, meat and greens on top. When it’s time for lunch, simply turn jar upside down for a few minutes to let the dressing drizzle over everything. (Just be careful to keep jar right side up until you are ready to eat) Remove lid, place your salad on a plate, and enjoy!

Interested in a new salad dressing? Check out these fresh and simple recipes.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Grass Fed Beef Deliverd

I am a huge Amazon Fresh fan. I love ordering my groceries from the comforts of my couch and convenience of my iPhone. I also love waking up the next morning with deliciousness on my front porch. They have great produce, plenty of organic options and excellent customer service. If you haven't tried them you should check them out. Oh and the best part. . . they carry NORTHWEST GRASS FED BEEF, boo-yah Paleo Grandma!!

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Fresh Candied Pecans

Every once in a while I like to mix up my nut options. This is an easy and delicious recipe for candied peacans. I like to take a few and chop them up for a salad topper. I did have to tell the hubby, "You can't take these to the couch to munch on while you watch TV." His reaction? "Lame! Next time make a batch 10x's as big". You may feel the same way once you try them. :)

Fresh Candied Pecans

2 cups pecans
1/4 cup honey
1 egg white
1 tsp sea salt
1 tsp cinnamon

Pre Heat oven to 300 degrees

Mix ingredients in bowl so everything is covered evenly.

Place coated pecans onto cooking sheet. (If you have a silpat no oil necessary, if using cookie sheet, spray with non stick cooking spray.) Bake for 30 min.

Remove from the oven and let them cool for 5 min before removing them from the sheet. Scrape pecans from cooking sheet and enjoy!

Check out these cooking spray. They do have a little non-paleo ingredients (soy), but for a cooking spray they are pretty good.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Fresh Paleo Pizza

Craving pizza and looking for an alternative that won't put you into a fog for 3 days? This is a recipe I found that is so delicious. I have listed the directions for the crust only. Be sure to add organic marinara and Paleo ingredients to top off your pizza and enjoy!

Fresh Paleo Pizza
2 cups almond meal
2 eggs
3 tbsp olive oil
¼ tsp baking soda
1 tsp garlic powder
1 ½ tbsp fresh rosemary chopped

Pre heat oven to 350 degrees

Mix crust ingredients together in a large bowl. Mixture will be thick- form into a ball. Put ball in between two pieces of parchment paper or wax paper and roll flat. It should be about 12 inches wide, rolling it as thin as possible. Place crust onto cooking sheet, remove wax paper. If you are using a silpat, no oil is necessary. If you are using a regular cooking sheet, lightly oil it with olive oil. Cook just the crust for 20 min.
While crust is cooking prepare toppings, cook your meat, cut up veggies, etc.
When crust is cooked, add sauce and toppings. Return to oven and cook for an additional 20-30 min.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Fresh Asparagus

Here is a great tip when preparing your asparagus. After washing the spears, take each stock and bend like this:
The spears will snap at their natural divide from the delicious soft part to the tough end piece. Keep the top part and throw the rest away.

Pre-Heat Oven to 350 degrees.

Toss the asparagus with olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and sea salt (or seasoning salt of your choice). I like to do this in a Ziploc bag so everything is coated evenly.

Place on cookie sheet. (On a side note, if you don't have a Silpat- get one! The nonstick surface makes everything cook beautifully and cleanly. No scrubbing burnt bits off your sheets-ever.)
Bake for 5-8 min, depending on size of spears. I cooked mine for 6 min. They were perfectly cooked and still a bit crunchy.
Serve and enjoy!
Have leftovers? Think about adding it to your omelet in the morning. . .delicious!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Keeping it Fresh for 50 More Years?

My goal a year and a half ago was to find a healthy lifestyle I could sink my "teeth" into and sustain for the rest of my life. I knew I wouldn't be counting calories, points, weighing my food, drinking meal replacement drinks or whatever other diet I had tried for the next 50 years. I also thought, "THERE HAS TO BE AN EASIER WAY!". Ta-da! Into my life came CrossFit and Paleo. The rest is history, and I am never going back. What freedom!

This is one of my favorite blogs on Paleo Nutrition. Take some time to browse through their information. The thing I love about whole9 is that they are all about sustainably, overall health and balance. They have simple tools to keep your Paleo food in proportion and your PR's in the gym on track. (I know crazy that we can't have Paleo pizza and brownies every night right?!?)

In the fall I attended their seminar- it was fantastic. If you ever have a chance to attend one, don't miss it. In the meantime, keep it fresh, keep it balanced, and keep your sanity.