Posted in Food, New Food, Recipe

Paleo Pumpkin Pecan Porridge 

With honey, vanilla, cinnamon and raisins. 

Originally, this was going to be a recipe from Practical Paleo, but then I realized that I was missing some very key ingredients like tahini and coconut, and I had an extra ingredient: pecans. 

I used that recipe as the inspiration for this one and it was lovely. 

  • 1/2 cup canned pumpkin
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • Cinnamon to taste
  • 1/4 cup pecans, pulverized
  • 1/4 cup water 
  • 1/4 cup raisins 
  • Honey to taste

Are you ready for the hard part? Put it all in a pot, mix it up, then heat to your desired temperature. Easy as that!

Here, I garnished it with a whole pecan, a cluster of raisins, and a swirl of honey. 

Posted in Food, Menu Planning

A quick reflection on menu planning

In talking to a friend tonight I realised that,  not only had I not blogged in a while,  but I hadn’t planned a menu in a while either.  We’ve been experimenting, in my house,  with buying meat in bulk but buying produce daily. This has added up to an empty fridge,  frozen meat, and an increase in reliance on fast and processed foods. I think this is because our time always seems pressed during the week.  We’re rushing to work,  rushing to get Little Elfkin from day care,  rushing to get home to feed her, making sure to nourish her mind and her body with story time,  play time, bath time, and bed. Honestly,  by the time she conks out, I’m ready to pass out too! I’m cutting into my sleep time to make this menu and reflect: menu planning would be so much easier if you didn’t also have to make the grocery list, buy the ingredients, and actually cook. 

I’m going to try to find time for:

  • Swirly Crustless Quiche 
  • Pumpkin pancakes
  • Grain free porridge
  • Salmon
  • Mustard glazed chicken thighs
  • Zucchini pancakes
  • Buffalo chicken lettuce wraps
  • Sweet potato and apple soup
  • Sage roasted turkey legs
  • Spaghetti squash bolognese
  • Bacon wrapped smoky chicken
  • Sausage and pepper stew
  • Turkey meatballs and squash

Now,  this is a ton of food, so I will disclaim this: not all of it will be made,  but what is made will be eaten and not wasted. For me,  menu planning is mostly a suggestion,  not a concrete agreement. 

What’s on your menu? Do you have a go-to meal plan?

Posted in Baby Girl, Fitness, Food, Menu Planning, Recipe

Roasted Chicken with Lemon and Rosemary

Please forgive any typos, I’m sure to go back and fix them, but this blog is being written from my phone while the Little Miss sleeps on me.
Continue reading “Roasted Chicken with Lemon and Rosemary”

Posted in Crafty, Food, Menu Planning, Recipe

Pumpkin Pancakes

My in-laws are in town for Easter. They drive all the way down from Winnipeg, and I like to think it’s just for my pumpkin pancakes.

I’m allowing myself to call them “mine” because I make a couple tweaks to the original recipe. It’s actually a recipe from Diane Sanfilippo, from the book entitled Practical Paleo.

Since everyone was still sleeping, I had the entire first floor to myself. Step one: turn on some tunes.

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Now that you’re bopping around to some good tunes, you should realize that you’re starving.  Eat a can of pears while getting your ingredients together!

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As you’re getting your ingredients together, question the freshness of your eggs since you can’t remember when you bought them.  The Float Test works really well!  If you’re questioning your eggs, give it a try.

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Ruh roh… One of them is bad. Two are alright, and one is fresh.  Toss the baddie and swap in another fresh egg!

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All set? You should have 4 eggs, 1/2 cup pumpkin puree, 2* TBLS vanilla extract, 2 TBLS maple syrup, 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice, 1 tsp cinnamon, 1/4 tsp baking soda, and 2 TBLS coconut floor*.

*quantities or ingredients vary from original recipe.

All set?? K, let’s mix the wet ingredients first.

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Whip that up–I use an electric beater, but a whisk would work too.  Next, get together the dry ingredients. Make sure to get your cook book all messy… This is required. ūüėõ

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K, mix the dry ingredients together so that we can sift them into the wet ingredients next.

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Mix these together, then set it aside for a moment. Now is going to be a great time to clean up your dishes and get the skillet or griddle pre-heated.

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That’s one of the things that I learned from my grandma.  If you clean as you go, the end clean up won’t be so bad.

Now, if you’re using a nonstick skillet, you shouldn’t need the coconut oil that’s called for in the original recipe. I normally prefer to leave it out, but I used a little this time just to stick a little closer to the original recipe.

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These cook up a little differently than normal pancakes. Depending on how hot your griddle is, these might cook up in a couple minutes, but it could take longer.  Our griddle is starting to lose heat in some areas, so I had a couple false starts.  You can watch for the bubbles to burst, but it could be a little while before you see that.

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Flip! These are a bit wet, even with the added coconut flour, so I like to press them after they’re flipped to get them to cook through. I also flip them again to make sure both sides of the batter that ooozes out (yummy!) is cooked.

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Slice up some fruit to have with your meal, and you’re all set. These pancakes are so flavorful that you won’t need butter or syrup to go with them.  By all means, feel free to dress them up!

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Enjoy!

Posted in Anti-Inflammation, Fitness, Food, Menu Planning, New Food

3..2..1..Paleo!

We’re getting back into Paleo eating, now that we’re in the new place.  We’ve done pretty well in the last week, but tonight, we’re gearing up for the Squeaky Clean Paleo plan featured in Practical Paleo by Diane Sanfilippo. Note: this is NOT a sponsored post.

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Pumpkin cranberry muffins, pumpkin pancakes, spaghetti squash bolognese, ribs with green beans, pineapple teriyaki chicken, home made cranberry sauce

Call me crazy, but I feel like eating healthy should taste good.  The recipes that I’ve tried from this book hit that mark. Jeff is excited about cooking again, too, but not about the dishes…because cooking every meal requires lots of dishes.

Tonight I’ve dirtied up a few mixing bowls, some knives, pans, spoons, cutting boards, and towels cooking up some meals for tonight and tomorrow.  I’ve got stuffed cabbage rolls with a cranberry tomato sauce in the oven, along with a “swirly crustless quiche” made with carrots, zucchini, and about a dozen eggs.  I’ll be making mustard glazed chicken thighs shortly, and tomorrow we’ll have a braised beef dinner.

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Our fridge is fully stocked with yummy foods and I’m ready for this adventure.

What is your favorite thing to make in the fall? Share your favorite crafts and recipes, below.

Posted in Anti-Inflammation, Food, Life + Living, Menu Planning

My Paleo Plate

I realize that the blog entry that I published last night¬†¬†kind of went off the rails. ¬†There was so much more that I wanted to talk about! ¬†It was late at night, though, and I was probably bouncing back and forth between various web pages an the blog. ¬†Today’s blog post is kind of an extension of that, but it’s much more organized and thought out–I even made an outline for it… ¬†Part of what prompted me to come back and to write about my own experience with going gluten free was a rather harmless post about a trip to costco.

Gluten-be-damned

Who knew there was such a backlash against gluten free?! ¬†I was flabbergasted but this isn’t exactly a friend of mine, and his friends and followers are not my friends and followers, so I decided not to waste any more of my time justifying to them why Gluten Free is a valid lifestyle choice–and that it doesn’t necessarily have to be full blown celiac disease to cause someone to start avoiding gluten and other potentially harmful/hard to digest foods.

As many of you know, I’ve been dealing with chronic back pain for about two years now. ¬†As I type this, there’s what feels like a knot under my right shoulder blade and my whole back feels stiff. ¬†It’s my new normal. ¬†This isn’t even enough to complain about. ¬†When most people toss and turn at night, they do so without really realizing it. ¬†For me, I have to sit all the way up and turn over so that I don’t torque my back trying to just jostle into place. ¬†There are times when I wake up in the middle of the night, or in the wee hours of the morning in back pain and I have no choice but to stay up because there’s no going back to sleep at that point. ¬†If it’s really too early to get up, then, my poor husband, gets woken up because I’m in such pain. ¬†He wakes up when it hurts too bad to breathe right, or when my back pain brings me to tears–and he’ll get up, without complaint, and offer me ice packs or back massages to try to ease the pain. ¬†That will work just enough to take the edge off. ¬†I try to let him go back to sleep and then I generally go out to the couch to sleep so that I don’t have to lay on my back.

Two years of that.

I have¬†tried to find out what’s wrong with my back–I went to a physician, who referred me to physical therapy–I did that for a while before I was referred to Chiropractic. ¬†I’ve been going to the chiropractor at least once/week for the past year and a half. ¬†It has helped tremendously in reducing the severity of the pain and I haven’t had many episodes of spasms since starting chiropractic. ¬†The problem is that I’m still having to see a chiropractor weekly if I want to avoid a build up of pain in my system. ¬†Once, while my chiropractor was out of town for a conference, I had to go about a week and a half, maybe two weeks without an adjustment–and my back locked up so tight and spasmed so much that I gave in and called my physician for muscle relaxers. ¬†I took them once. ¬†I slept the entire night through without tossing and turning–but when I woke up the next morning, my back hurt so bad from being in the same position the whole night that it took almost all of the next day to start feeling normal again.

And that–is the key. ¬†My back feels better when I use my standing station at work (provided I have the right shoes on that day). ¬†My back feels better when I move. ¬†I talked to my physician about this during last year’s physical. ¬†It was a feminine exam and so I told her about my fears–how am I supposed to start a family with my back this way? ¬†How can I be reliable and take care of an infant if my back hurts so bad that I can’t even breathe? ¬†And do you know what she told me? ¬†She said “Try paleo.” ¬†I disregarded her at the time because I was stuck on oatmeal for breakfast, a sandwich for lunch, and dinner usually involved pasta with mixed veggies and some meat. ¬†I should’ve listened to her back then.

Recently, I came across Nerd Fitness. As I started reading, I started hearing about the benefits of the paleo diet–they’re what you expect from any diet–more energy, better nutrition.. The part that was different, for me, is that it wasn’t specifically designed for weightloss, it was designed for better overall health and well being. ¬†That’s what I need. ¬†I need health and well being. ¬†So, I hopped into the chat rooms in NF. ¬†I talked to a few members there about their experiences with Paleo and I heard about reduced pain, reduced acne, increased energy and stamina. ¬†I decided to give it a try.

Searching online for paleo plans will turn up any number of results. ¬†It quickly became apparent that no one really agrees on what Paleo should really consist of. ¬†Some sites say no eggs, others say no dairy, all of them say no legumes but they don’t all agree on what a legume is. ¬†It’s enough to make your head spin. ¬†Finally, I stumbled upon two very valuable resources. ¬†The first was linked yesterday¬†as the “Beginners guide to the paleo¬†diet” by Steve Kamb. ¬†The other is Practical Paleo by Diane Sanfilippo. ¬†There’s a forward by Robb Wolf (not Stark), and the book dives into the science behind the nutrition. ¬†I’m reading about leaky gut right now, which is where there are foods that are harder for your body to break down and they may ‘leak’ through the gut–they’re seen as potential invaders and it triggers an immune response. ¬†In fact–the majority of the book is explaining the science behind the nutrition in terms that I can understand. ¬†I find myself nodding along and saying ‘that makes sense.’

 

Since I’m not finished reading the book, and because change is very difficult, we’re not 100% paleo in our house. ¬†Both Jeff and I still eat dairy in the form of yogurt and cheese, but we’ve swapped our milk out for coconut milk. ¬†The muffins in the picture above were made with coconut flour and they were so delicious. ¬†I may make them again this weekend. ¬†The pumpkin pancakes in the upper left of the collage have no flour whatsoever and taste like pumpkin french toast. ¬†They’re amazing. ¬†Although Paleo has a list of foods to avoid that includes peanuts, it’s hard to find trail mix that doesn’t have peanuts in it, so we still have the occasional peanut. ¬†We eat a lot of almonds, and I like to eat sunflower seeds. ¬†We do a lot of batch cooking on the weekends in order to prep for the week ahead. ¬†Being on Paleo means that you have to make your own food because the biggest overarching message is to get away from all of the highly processed, genetically modified, unnatural foods. ¬†It’s pretty similar to the Whole Foods diet and the like. ¬†Unfortunately, this means that we’re shopping for freggies every weekend, and stocking up on meat when we can. ¬†Our grocery bill (for 2 people) has been averaging to be around $450-500/month. ¬†I think that there’s a better way to do it, and there are ways to save money, ¬†so I have confidence that this figure will come down once we get some consistency.

The first month that we were successfully paleo for the most part, our grocery bill was over $600 for the month. ¬†I freaked out because “we don’t have that kind of money! This plan isn’t sustainable!’ Then Jeff pulled up the rest of YNAB and showed me that the month prior, we had spent $200+ on restaurants and $200+ on lunch and $100+ on “spending money” that included food. ¬†The month we were successfully paleo? ¬†$90 on lunch, $100 on restaurants. ¬†So, we have the money, we’ve just been using it to buy the convenience food items that are so readily available in our culture. ¬† Going Paleo just means a reallocation of the funds to foods that are worthy of being bought.

My next step in this Paleo adventure is to tackle the elimination diet. ¬†I need to figure out what in my diet is causing the chronic inflammation. ¬†Is it gluten? Legumes? FODMAPS? sugar? Something else? ¬†It’s going to be difficult and there will be a ton of prep work involved, but I think that I can ‘suffer’ for about a month if it means improving my quality of life in the immediate future, and potentially prolonging my life in the long run.

What are your thoughts on the gluten-free craze?  Have you ever heard of paleo before?  Tell me about your experiences.

Posted in Anti-Inflammation, Fitness, Food, Menu Planning

Playing with Paleo

It is so good to be BACK! I’ve been thinking a lot today how I’d like to organize this blog and I started trying to think of alliterations that could lend themselves well to my blog content. ¬†Work Out Wednesday is easy, and Menu Monday. ¬†But how do I fit in all of the other things to talk about? ¬†Well–there’s every other blogger in the blogosphere..¬†and then there’s me!

I guess the name of my blog gives me a little bit of a scapegoat away from formatting and structure ūüėČ

Lately, I’ve been experimenting with the Paleo plan. ¬†NerdFitness has a fantastic¬†starter’s guide to the paleo diet¬†that I highly suggest you check out.

nerdfitness.com
nerdfitness.com

One of the hardest things about starting a paleo eating plan is ‘wtf do I eat?’ ¬†I mean, think about it! ¬†The average American diet (at least, in the midwest) consists of cereal for breakfast, a sandwich for lunch, and pasta for dinner. ¬†I was honestly stumped! What, besides eggs, could I eat for breakfast?

Well–anything. ¬†Who says you can’t have a steak at 9am? ūüėõ Granted, I usually don’t, but that’s the gist of it. ¬†Food is just food. ¬†There aren’t rules around what time of day you can eat the food. ¬†So, I dove in. ¬†I ate a lot of eggs. ¬†I got tired of eggs. ¬†I ate a lot of salads, I got tired of salads. ¬†I ate a lot of bacon, and then I realized I should not eat near as much bacon…

It prompted me to buy a cookbook. ¬†The one that came highest recommended from the Nerds of NerdFitness was Practical Paleo by Diane Sanfilippo. ¬†I’ve made a number of recipes from the book including the broiled salmon, pumpkin pancakes, swirly quiche, chorizo meatballs, and pumpkin cranberry muffins. ¬†We’ve used the seasoning mixtures to spice up the meats we generally use, and eating has been a lot more whole-foods focused.

Now! All that being said, I’m not 100% of the way there ūüė¶ ¬†There are still times where I get caught up in the “I don’t feel like it” attitude. ¬†I had nachos tonight, and I’m still eating at the gas station too frequently. ¬†When I did 1 week of about 80% paleo, I dropped 6 pounds. ¬†SIX WHOLE POUNDS!! I also felt more energetic and pretty excited about staying committed.

Then life happened, and stress eating, and convenience.

It’s a lot more effort to plan ahead, cook, and deal with all of the food associated with paleo eating. The dishes in the sink below? ¬†That’s just from cooking breakfast and prepping lunch:

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Now imagine that for 2 people 3x/day, 7 days/week.  Our grocery bill has skyrocketed and our dishwasher never gets a break.  This week (Saturday to next Saturday) my goals are to have 5/7 days 100% paleo (excluding cheese.  I love cheese.  me and cheese have something special going on.)

I’m hoping to drop some weight and feel happier/healthier by the end. ¬†I certainly appreciate you rooting me on! If you know me IRL, kindly refrain from offering me non-paleo food.. if there’s a treat at work, for example, just tell me ‘thanks! you do good work! Have a fantastic day! *high five*”

Cheers to the coming week!

-Megs