Monday, July 30, 2012

Fresh Amazing Chocolate Chip Cookies

If you are like me and you remember back to your pre-paleo days you loved a good chocolate chip cookie. The warm gooey chocolate chips fresh out of the oven. . . heaven!

Who am I kidding, I STILL love a good chocolate chip cookie! My friend Janelle brought this dough over the other night, and we cooked up a batch of the best paleo cookies I have ever had. Well, she cooked them, and I ate them. I love "cooking" that way. ;)

She found the recipe here and followed it just how they had it. She just put the cookie dough into clumps on my silpat cookie sheet and they were fabulous! Even my husband's non-paleo eating softball buddies liked these. (If there is anyone you can't fool about cookies, it is a group of dudes. They will either like it or hate it.) So heat up your oven, make yourself a cup of coffee, and enjoy!

Friday, July 27, 2012

Keeping Your Lettuce Fresh

This is a little trick I learned from my mom. You will need one head of lettuce and a salad spinner. (The spinners come in 2 sizes, large and small. I own the small one and love it because it is easier to store) Wash and cut up your lettuce, place it in your spinner and spin. Remove inner bowl of lettuce, pour out the water and return bowl and salad to spinner. Place the lid on top of the bowl and set in your refrigerator. Your lettuce will be washed, cut and ready for you to use. By placing it in the spinner (with water removed) your greens will stay fresh for about a week! Viola: fresh, washed lettuce. Enjoy!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

The Food Pyramid Is Dead

If you grew up in America you were taught, and probably believed the government issued food pyramid was the ultimate guide to health. Well, it seems they have decided that the pyramid was to complicated and confusing. So they have revamped the pyramid into a plate model:

The reality is that it still includes the items that are the main problem! Health-Bent published a recent article about this new diagram. They also have published a food umbrella for a better model of health:

I know I am a Seattle girl, and am SUPER familiar with the old umbrella, but I promise it isn't my basis speaking- the model is excellent! 

Click on this link for a full explanation of the various parts of the umbrella. When we chose to make healthy food choices, we are choosing to live the good life, out of the rain. 


Monday, July 23, 2012

Fresh Dumpling Squash

I found these little treasures on Amazon Fresh and decided to give them a try. When I ordered them the description said "large" squash, so I just bought one. Oops they are little- about the size of an apple, so I  had to wait for my next order to buy another one. I found this recipe online and followed it pretty close to the original. The butter, cinnamon, nutmeg, and syrup definitely make these a treat, but a DELICIOUS one too.  Here is my version:

Fresh Dumpling Squash
Dumpling Squash
1/2 T butter
1 T Pure Maple Syrup
(The original recipes had measurements for the spices, but I just sprinkled it. The original recipe also had brown sugar, which I left out. It is already so sweet, this wasn't needed)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Cut squash in 1/2 and scrape out seeds.

Turn squash over and pierce skin with a fork a few times. 

Turn it back over and fill each squash with ingredients above. Sprinkle cinnamon generously and use a pinch of nutmeg per squash. 

Place squash in a dish with about 1 inch of water in the bottom of the dish. 

Bake uncovered in oven for about 50 min. I cooked 4 squash and they took about an hour. The squash will be tender when it is finished cooking. 

Remove and enjoy!

Friday, July 20, 2012

30 Minutes To Easier Paleo

When you get home from the grocery store I would image you are like most people and put this into your refrigerator.

Later that night you are sitting on the couch watching TV and you get that "I'm hungry and want something to snack on" feeling. Are you really going to go into your kitchen and cut up some veggies? Not likely. 

What about when you get home from a long day and you have a large appetite paired with little energy? Are you going to spend much if any time prepping some food to cook? Not so much. 

Your Friday tip is to spend 30 min upon returning from the grocery store in your kitchen prepping your veggies.  Wash, peel and cut up all your veggies. (I don't do this with fruit because when you wash off the protective coating of the fruit it will spoil faster.)

Your fridge should be a grocery bag free zone! Those bags are hard to see into and your crisper draw quickly turns into a black hole of baggie nothingness.

I like to use mason jars because they are reusable, inexpensive, and easy to see into. So when I get home and am tired, tossing a jar of zucchini into my pan to saute for 5 min is a breeze. When I want a quick snack, my veggies are ready! And it is easy for me to actually SEE what veggies I have to use up. The last reason I love this prepping tip is that it gets my husband snacking on healthy things. I don't think he has ever chopped up his own head of cauliflower, but if it is ready on the shelf and visible, he will snag it. 

(Pictured from left to right, back row first: zucchini, broccoli, cauliflower, cucumber, sweet potatoes, bell peppers)

Spending 30 minutes in your kitchen once a week will make cooking and eating Paleo much easier for you and your family. Enjoy!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

The Truth About Salt

I have been hearing various bits of information lately about sea salt, regular salt and celtic sea salt. It has all been pretty confusing, and I have just chalked it up to the "stuff I don't really understand" category. That is until I came across this post explaining the differences between real sea salt and table salt. Read it yourself, and you will have the same "ah-ha" moment I did. (Don't you just love those?) I did some searching around and found some of the salts for sale. Click on the salt name to be taken to the site that carries it:
Redmond Sea Salt (I have this kind, and really like it.)

Monday, July 16, 2012

Fresh Chicken Pot Pie

This is one of my favorite recipes. I found it on and have made many variations. It is an easy recipe, although the prep can take a bit of time. I will make 2 of these and keep one for later. I use whatever veggies I have on hand. It is always delicious, and if I am using leftover chicken, it is a no-brainer.

Check out the full recipe here.

My tips:
I used arrowroot powder. I used 2 T for the recipe and it worked great. 
The first time I made this I had never heard of a parsnip. It is a large white root, like a carrot. 
I used the left over chicken I had from my crock pot chicken I made last week.
In my recipe I used broccoli, sweet potatoes, celery, parsnips, onion, and carrots. 

When you top the pie with crust, it is OK if it doesn't cover completely. It fluffs up a bit during the baking. 

I have made this in a large pie dish, as pictured or in small serving sized ramekins. Both are awesome!


Friday, July 13, 2012

Cast-Iron = Love

I have recently been inspired to buy myself my first cast iron pan. So amazing! Check out this post by Nom Nom Paleo for the break down on the pans, their uses, care, and seasoning instructions. You are about to take your cooking to another level! Enjoy!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Testimonial: The Wood's Family

Today I want to take our usual "Wednesday Nutritional" post in a different direction. My friend recently contacted me on Facebook about a mouse/paleo food/trapping problem (a funny story for another day) and we began talking about her Paleo experience. I was inspired by her story and asked her if she would be willing to share. I hope her story will be an inspiration to you and your Paleo journey. Enjoy!

It all started a few months ago when my youngest daughter (14 months old) appeared to have food allergies with dairy and gluten... I always thought those moms who said gluten was bad were crazy, until I took it out of my kid's diet and she miraculously was so much better!

Before all of this, we were pretty close to your typical family, at least eating-wise. I have three small kids, so cooking from scratch was extremely overwhelming and stressful with impatient little ones who were hungry "now." We bought fast food at least a couple times a week, ate a lot of quick microwave, pre-made, or sandwich and chips type of meals. In fact, prior to all of this, I was couponing so we had mass amounts of these types of things filling up our pantry and freezer. I was always tired, but honestly, didn't think much of it... after all, I do have three kids 4 and under... who wouldn't be tired?!

I really wasn't aware at all about the Paleo lifestyle. I had heard the word mentioned, but didn't understand what it was really all about. Yet every time I was searching for things to feed my child who couldn't have dairy or gluten, Paleo kept popping up. I'm a big time researcher and want to know as much as possible about something before I have anything to do with it, so I began reading just about every site I could that explained Paleo to me. Frankly, I'm a Creationist, so I was initially turned off by of the "eat like a caveman" type stuff, but it really did make sense. Our bodies were never meant to eat the junk we've all grown accustomed to eating. There's a reason mac & cheese doesn't grow in gardens!

I soon shared with my husband all I had been learning and, being the wonderful man that he is, he was totally on board to do whatever we needed to in order to make things easier for our baby. Some people would have just changed the baby's diet, but if you've ever been around toddlers, there's just about no way you could keep them from finding a crumb on the floor or mooching off of their big brother or sister for something. Plus, I really didn't want to have to make different meals for everyone, so we just went all in!

As soon as we decided we were going to do this, we emptied everything out of our house that wasn't Paleo... remember me mentioning that I was a couponer? We had bags upon bags full of pantry and freezer food that the baby could no longer eat, and now we were choosing to not eat. We just got it all out of our house so it wouldn't be a temptation. I was worried at first that my 2 year old and 4 year old would rebel against it all, but we just explained how we were going to be eating more healthy foods that were good for our bodies. It worked for the 4 year old; the 2 year old barely ate anything for the first week and I was so worried! But I kept remembering what I'd heard over and over from parents and grandparents: a kid will eat when they're hungry. Finally, my stubborn one gave in and is now an excellent eater who at least tries everything.

We've been doing this for a little over 2 months now, with no intention of changing. I think initially we were doing it for the baby's health, but after the results, we couldn't imagine going back to how we were living before. Ironically enough, it wasn't even food allergies with the baby. After seeing a specialist, we're pretty sure that it is just a temporary toddler issue that she'll hopefully soon grow out of. In the meantime, she's gained more weight than in a large portion of her life being on this "diet" and we couldn't be happier! The older kids now have tremendous amounts of energy (as if a 2 year old and 4 year old really needed any more energy!) And their attitudes have improved, unless they get hungry of course. My 2-year-old son had bumps on his arms that are almost completely gone now.

Now, I, a stay-at-home mom of three little ones, have virtually no need for coffee anymore. I drink it sometimes for the taste of it, but frequently never even finish a whole cup. This from the woman who would drink 3 cups a day just to try to survive my hectic mornings at home! I'm just not tired anymore! And one of the most amazing results to me is my husband's blood pressure going down. He was an active guy in good health, correctional officer, Army reservist, but had high blood pressure at a young age, presumably just a hereditary thing. After less than a month of our new way of eating, his blood pressure went down 20 points and his doctor was so happy to see the change, that she cut his prescription for blood pressure meds in half, and we're hoping that he'll be able to go completely off of it by his next appointment.

Being that it wasn't our initial reason for our eating changes, I haven't mentioned weight loss yet, but YES! we have lost quite a bit of weight. In just over 2 months, my husband and I have each lost over 15 pounds each! And our kids are gaining healthy weight!

It is a lot more work to shop and cook, but it has become a priority to us and an investment in our future health. For the kids, we've been able to find healthier ways for them to still enjoy things like cake and ice cream. We spend many Saturdays going to the local farmer's markets picking out new veggies to try. We are able to do a lot more together being that we have so much more energy. We all feel so much better and are so happy that we changed our lifestyles!

I always suggest to anyone who's even considering eating Paleo, just try it for a month! I promise that the results will make you never want to go back!

Monday, July 9, 2012

Fresh Lemon Berry Pie

One of the things I LOVE about summer is the huge selection of berries that are in season. This is a perfect recipe for the fresh berries you just picked up at your local market. I made these in individual pie pans, but if you don't have many on hand, just use a large pie dish. Either will work just fine, and you will still enjoy the final result. I modified this recipe from here. I like the added lemon, it gives it that fresh, zesty taste. Don't like lemon- that's OK just leave it out. 

Fresh Lemon Berry Pie
2 cups fresh berries (I made one with just blueberries and one with 1/2 blueberries 1/2 raspberries- see pictures below)
4 eggs
3/4 cup canned coconut milk
3 T organic maple syrup
2 T melted butter
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 T coconut flour
Juice of one lemon
Zest of one lemon
Pinch of Salt

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. 

Grease baking dishes and add the berries to the bottom. Set aside. 

In mixing bowl, add wet ingredients and stir. Add flour, salt and zest of lemon. Stir until completely mixed. 

Pour this mixture over berries. 

Bake for 30 min. The top of the pie will be browned and the center will not jiggle when gently shaken. 

Remove from oven. Let it sit for about 5 min before eating. We added a bit of this ice cream to the top- so good!  Enjoy!

Friday, July 6, 2012

Book Review: Paleoista

This summer I have been enjoying some extra time to read. I just finished Paleoista by Nell Stephenson. I LOVED this book! It is a real life description of how the Paleo Diet can work in a modern world. Let's be honest the whole "eat like a cave man" isn't really catching the attention of my girlfriends any time soon. So where does a girl turn? Paleoista is the answer!

The following are some of the highlights you can look forward to in her book: 
- Stories of real people who's lives have changed because of Paleo
- Recipes of easy delicious food
- A step by step plan on how to prep food for the week in one hour
- Basic cooking tips
- Pantry supply list 
- Shopping lists- that coordinate with a weeks worth of recipes
- Tips on how to travel and eat Paleo


Nell is a real life, modern, busy woman who has adopted the Paleo Diet into her lifestyle. She has fabulous tips, recipes, and plans for every person. (Yes, boys you can read this book too. ;) ) So, go to your local library, or bookstore and add Paleoista to your collection today. You won't regret it.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Seasonal Produce

One of my favorite things about summers is my local farmers market. There is nothing like fruit or veggies from a local farm. Not to mention the price is low too! Check out this post by Whole9 explaining why choosing seasonal produce is a good idea. You can feel good knowing that the food you are enjoying from the farmers market is super healthy for you and it is helping out your local economy as well. All good things!

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Fresh Chicken Crockpot

The most frustrating part of baking a chicken is cutting all the meat off the bones. Until now... put that little chicken into your crockpot, season and walk away. At the end of the day the meat will literally be falling off the bones. Brilliant! A dad of one of our CrossFit kids shared this idea with me, and it works! I included the spices I used, but you can use your favorite combination and it will work just fine.

Fresh Crockpot Chicken
1 Whole Chicken (you will want to be sure to choose something that will fit in your crockpot. I used this 3.5lb chicken from Amazon Fresh)
1 Lemon
Olive Oil (or fat of your choice)
Aluminum Foil

Rinse your chicken inside and out. Make 3 foil balls and place them in the bottom of your crockpot. Place chicken on top of foil. Place oil, seasonings and sliced lemon on top of your chicken. Turn crockpot on high and cook for 1 hour. Next, turn the temperature down to low and continue to cook for about 8 hours or until meat is thoroughly cook and juices run clear. Feel free to baste chicken a few times throughout cooking time for a moister chicken.

As you can see from my picture the chicken was literally falling apart as I took it out of the pot. It was delicious! Enjoy!