Tag Archives: paleo

Nobody Knows the Truffles I’ve Seen

8 Nov

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I hope you read the title a la Princess Vespa trapped in a cell. If not, go here.

What qualifies a round ball of something as a truffle? The sweet kind, not the fungus kind.

Well, according to dear Mr. Wiki, “Their name derives from the usual shape they take as the word ‘truffle’ derives from the Latin word tuber, meaning “swelling” or “lump”, which later became tufer.”

So there you go, a lump. Sounds scrumptious, right? There are evidently different versions of what is considered a truffle, depending on where it comes from. French, American, Belgian, and Swiss are a few. Apparently, these ones we have here might qualify as a “vegan truffle.” The “Vegan truffle” can have any shape or flavor, but is adapted to modern-day diet by replacing dairy with nut milks and butters. (Source)

Confession- I am extremely picky about chocolate. I can not stand to bite into chocolate. Just the thought of it stuck to my teeth makes me curl my lip, even as I type. I like half melted chocolate, like in a warm cookie. Chocolate truffles are a chocolate covered teeth disaster waiting to happen. You can imagine my elation when I saw these sweet potato pie truffles. Little round balls of “dessert” that won’t cause me any dental discomfort? Oh me oh my.

I completely intended to make them exactly as written. I did. I love sweet potatoes! Then I remembered there was leftover roasted butternut squash in the fridge that I couldn’t let go to waste. I thought maybe I didn’t need quite so much maple syrup, and maybe I can substitute my homemade pumpkin pie spice instead; and maybe I didn’t need so much coconut flour- that stuff sucks up moisture better than a dry sponge. Wow that was a weak analogy. Sorry.

My daughter’s honest reaction to these truffles:

After first bite: “This isn’t dessert.”

After second bit: “Mmm!”

After first bite of second truffle: “These are so delicious Mom!”

These morsels of happiness came together rather quickly; even when I realized it was a bit too much dough to fit into my little Ninja and switched to manual stirring in a bowl. The cool thing about them? You can use any squash puree you want- pumpkin, butternut, whatever. And of course, sweet potato would also work.

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Ingredients

  • 1 cup butternut squash puree
  • 1/4 cup pecans
  • 1/8 cup pure maple syrup
  • 1 tsp real vanilla
  • 1 1/2 tsp pumpkin spice
  • 5 TB coconut flour
  • 1/8 cup toasted coconut
  • 1/8 cup coconut sugar

Directions

  1. Add pecans to a food processor and process until it’s a meal.
  2. Add the squash and mix.
  3. Add vanilla and spices, mix.
  4. Add the coconut flour a tablespoon at a time, until you get the consistency you’d like. I used 5 TB, you might want more or less.
  5. Roll into balls, it shouldn’t be sticky.
  6. Roll the balls in either toasted coconut, coconut sugar, or both. 
  7. Set on some parchment paper and refrigerate for a half an hour.
  8. Store in the fridge.

Apple No-oatmeal

27 Oct

Just a quick recipe I had to share with you all during some rare free time. And by free time, I mean sitting in the passenger seat on the way to the pumpkin patch.
I threw this together with the help of little hands- little hands that eagerly grab the milk out of the fridge, the chia seeds out of the cupboard, and the proper measuring cups all while I stand in one place, chopping little apples from my grandmother’s tree and pouring ingredients into my Ninja.
After two bites, she thanked me for making such a delicious breakfast. My husband liked it so much he suggested I make a huge batch and try freezing it.

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Apple No-oatmeal
Inspired by wallflower girl

2 apples, or 4 small
1 cup coconut milk (or almond)
3 TB chia seeds
3 TB almond butter
6 dates, pitted
1 TB vanilla
1 ts cinnamon
1 ts coconut sugar (optional, I think it’s perfectly sweet without it)

Peel and core the apples.
Throw everything except for a half an apple (or one small) into a food processor.
Once combined, pour into a saucepan and heat slowly.
Process the remaining apple until it’s shredded, but not pureed. Add to pan. This gives the “oatmeal” more texture.
If it becomes too thick as it’s heating, add a few splashes of whichever milk you’re using.

Real Food Lunches

23 Oct

Hey guys. I’m “back.” I’m recovering from my second illness in a month and trying my darndest to remember how the citric acid cycle in cellular respiration works, along with molecular shape and VSEPR theory. So much fun, I tell ya.

lunches

You may recall my nervousness at the beginning of the school year. I was worried about keeping up with packing a nourishing, satisfying lunch for my daughter to take to kindergarten. Thirty-some-odd packed lunches later, I’m over my initial apprehensiveness. These past seven weeks have been a trial-and-error/ learn as I go period. Now I fret less and even take less time preparing everyday.

What I’ve learned thus far: (in bullet format, because I’m all about bullet format lately (hooray lab reports!))

  • Ask what they want. After the first few weeks of choosing for her, I started to let my daughter decide what to eat. Surprisingly, she asked for the same things she had already been eating. I would simply add one or two things to make it a more complete lunch.
  • This or that. For tough food categories, I give her the choice between what we have. She’s old enough to understand that this is what available; so she has to pick out of what there is. Example: Jerky, tuna, or turkey?
  • Some kids like a lot of variety. My daughter is not one of those. She is ok with having only a few things in rotation, as you’ll see in the pictures below. She does get plenty of variety in her breakfast, snack, and dinner though.
  • Finger foods are fun. We don’t consume many finger foods at dinner anymore (ex. pizza;) so having things like cherry tomatoes, olives, and raw veggies to pick up with her hands are so cool. At least to my five (and a half) year old.
  • It’s ok to introduce new foods during the school year. I’ve had a pep talk or two about how new foods might not taste very good the first or second time. It might take a lot of small tries to learn to like something new. (FYI- it’s worked.)
  • Buy a thermos. I didn’t get one until my daughter didn’t eat something “because it was cold” a few times. Twelve bucks at Target later, she was happily wolfing down hot meatballs and spaghetti squash at school.
  • Before we bought the thermos, she was only carrying her cute LunchBots bento box and a water bottle. After the thermos purchase, we got little bag on clearance to stash everything in. Thank goodness it’s machine washable.
  • Usually she gets water to drink. On the occasion that I do pack her juice or milk, I throw in an ice pack, which wouldn’t have worked without the aforementioned lunch bag.
  • Store bought “lunch” type meat is either priced high or high in preservatives and flavors. Added flavors really irk me, whether “natural” or artificial. To me, that says “whatever meat we’re feeding you is so crappy that we had to add other crap to make you think it tastes good.” While I have bought some Applegate sliced meats here or there, we have made a lot of the others and saved a ridiculous amount of money, not to mention peace of mind knowing exactly what I’m feeding my child.

On to the pictures! These are the real lunches I’ve packed, and my daughter has eaten.

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If you’re more into lists than pictures, here’s a breakdown of these real food lunches:

Meats/Mains

  • Homemade jerky
  • Tuna sushi
  • Scotch eggs (sausage wrapped boiled egg)
  • Homemade chicken nuggets (breading is mainly shredded coconut)
  • Pepperoni
  • Salami
  • Homemade sliced smoked turkey
  • Turkey/ham/roast beef wrapped peppers
  • Paleo zuppa toscana soup
  • Bacon
  • Cucumber tuna sandwiches
  • Meatballs, sauce, spaghetti squash

Vegetables

  • Sliced peppers
  • Carrots
  • Cucumber
  • Broccoli
  • Homemade sweet potato chips
  • Olives
  • Spaghetti squash
  • Celery (ants on a log- with almond butter and raisins)
  • Kale (usually wrapped in meat)

Fruit

  • Apple
  • Banana
  • Plum
  • Raisins
  • Cherry tomatoes
  • Mango
  • Orange
  • Strawberries
  • Grapes
  • Dried pineapple
  • Creamsicle gummies
  • Strawberry gummies

Nuts/Seeds/Treats/Other

  • Trail mix
  • Cinnamon Almonds
  • Raw nuts and seeds- almonds, pecans, pepitas, sesame seeds
  • Justin’s maple almond butter
  • Honey yogurt (our yogurt is from a local farm. It contains whole, un-homogenized milk, cultures, and honey)
  • Pumpkin yogurt (honey yogurt + pumpkin + spice)
  • Pumpkin chia pudding
  • Paleo apple cider muffins
  • Pumpkin spice coconut cookie
  • Kerrygold cheese
  • Raw pumpkin pie bar
  • SB&J bar
  • Paleo pumpkin muffin

There you have it. Real food lunches- easy. But wait! What about that one thing in the picture? How did I make it? What’s the recipe? Don’t be shy- ask in the comments below and you shall receive.

But wait! There’s more! I will be updating this post at least once a week with MORE lunches and ideas! That’s right, this very post right here will continue to grow. So if you run out of ideas or are just looking for something a little different, hop on over and you’ll be glad you did.

 

Winging It

14 Oct

Whew. What a whirlwind October has been. Between adjusting to a heavier workload at school, keeping up with kindergarten toing and froing, achieving my Tough Mudder goal (and recovering,) and maintaining a functioning household, I feel like I’m just sitting down to really rest today. I have, of course, been cooking, baking, eating, and snapping photos of food this whole time; so don’t think I forgot about you folks.

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I love trying new foods. It’s like an adventure and a challenge. I also encourage my daughter to love good food as much as I do. Strolling through the produce section in the grocery store, I asked my daughter to pick any vegetable- any at all. She scans the stands, her sharp eyes gleaming with the opportunity to choose. For that moment, she was in charge; and she took full advantage of her independence by ensuring she chose the right vegetable from the entire selection. Sure, I could’ve inhibited her by asking her to hurry; but I didn’t. I knew that every minute in the store was a minute later that dinner would be ready. But, I suppressed my own urge to make haste and waited. I answered her questions about what certain things are called, “that’s parsley, and that’s cilantro.” I nodded and smiled as I confirmed each label she put to the many familiar vegetables.

Then we reached the squashes. “Yes, that’s right. Butternut, spaghetti, zucchini, and yellow squash. Very good.” Suddenly she drove her hands into the pile of squashes and attempted to pull one out as she excitedly asked, “What’s this one?” After helping uncover the mystery, she lifted up the unknown squash and announced that this was what she wanted. She was mesmerized.

The sticker said the squash was a gold nugget squash. Instead of hesitating and going for the “safe, known” squashes, I happily put it in the cart. I’d never heard of it, but I have my dear friend Mr. Google. A few days later, I found myself in between meal plans- a rare occurrence. I had this weird squash sitting on my counter and had forgotten to take any meat out of the freezer. Sadly, this is one of those times that Google failed me. And by fail, I mean the first six results for “gold nugget squash paleo” were not sufficient to my needs. I know, a shame. So I decided to just wing it. I know squash. I know how it works. Most of the denser ones roast the same. What could I do with roasted unknown-tasting squash and no meat thawed? Frittata. I always have eggs on hand- when we reach a dozen, that’s considered running low. Frittata is so versatile that anything savory thrown in is bound to be good.

Even though I felt a bit like this:
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I had a determination to captivate my daughter with her chosen vegetable. And so onward I foraged.
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After slicing it open, I felt more at ease. It’s just like a butternut, pumpkin, or acorn squash. I got this. I was a little pressed for time and thought that peeling and cubing this cute little squash would expedite dinner. Ha. Nope. The peel/skin was much thicker and tougher than it appeared to be. Coconut oil face down, so be it.

Just in case the squash ended up being not very flavorful (which I hoped not, because then the name would be so misleading. You’d think something called gold nugget would be awesome, right?) I fried up some bacon to add to the frittata.

I hurriedly scooped the soft flesh out and added brussels sprouts and tomatoes to some of my ramekins. I left one without tomatoes for my tomato hating husband.
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And you know what? They turned great.

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It’s ok to wing it sometimes. You may surprise yourself with your genius. Have you ever tried something new without researching about it first? Ever have it turn out terrible? Tell us about it in the comments below.

Ch-ch-ch-changes

30 Sep

My life is near unrecognizable to the one I led one or two years ago. I live an active life, following a paleo approach to my nutrition. My focuses are on positivity and progression in all aspects of my life, and I’m a better person for it.  The obvious changes are better strength, higher endurance, elevated confidence, and a much smaller body. Then there is all the little, weird stuff that changes that I, oddly, have taken note of…

Twelve Months of Changes:

 

  • Half my wardrobe consists of clothes that are too big and the other half is progressively tighter workout clothes.
  • My Amazon wish list is filled with my dream crossfit shoes, specialized ingredients for gourmet paleo, workout clothes, and clothes that I would never have worn 42 lbs ago (like dresses and shorts, gasp!)
  • Sore feels good. So good.
  • It’s easy to get out of bed super early when I know I get to go workout.
  • I’ve inspired friends to change their lifestyles (workouts and nutrition.)
  • Didn’t get sick for 11 months.
  • I don’t jiggle while brushing my teeth. Seriously, this was a secret new year’s resolution two years ago.
  • Drinking sucks. Even a little bit noticeably dehydrates me and affects my workout performance. Plus big time bloat.
  • Eggs. I could eat eggs for days and still want more.
  • Getting extremely excited when I find a place that uses almond or coconut milk for lattes.
  • Fruit is dessert. It’s a treat that I enjoy 100 times more than I did when it was just food, not fuel. Dried pineapple is like candy.
  • Coconutcoconutcoconutcoconutcoconut obsessed. Can you tell? I use some form of coconut every single day.
  • I flex in the mirror. Oh yes, I do. Not in a vain way, just checking out my growing muscles. Ok, sometimes in a vain way.
  • My entire week can be made by a new accomplishment at JTS. Like going up in weight, or getting my first (insert bad ass movement.)
  • No more ankle problems- the occasional swelling that I barely feel. Other than that, I’d consider my ankle in better shape than it ever was. (I had torn many ligaments, had two surgeries, and permanent hardware.)
  • When I sleep, I sleep. Working out and getting up early translates to great recovery sleep.
  • Goodwill jeans are totally acceptable. They probably won’t fit right in four weeks anyways
  • My bubble got bigger. No, not my butt. My comfort zone. Social functions with strangers? I can totally handle that. Kinda. Talk to my lab partner? No biggie. Ask for help in a store? A breeze. A year ago? Not so much.
  • After many experiences, I find I don’t crave the food that makes me feel like crud: the food that my body isn’t designed to digest easily.
  • New techniques/ingredients/tools in the kitchen are an exciting adventure rather than an anxiety-inducing nightmare. Dates? I’ll give them a go. Coconut flour? A great challenge. Kombucha? Let’s do it!

So there you have it. Now you know 20 random things about me that you didn’t before. So, tell me something random about you. Have you made a change for the good and had other aspects of your life change because of it?

Waffles, Round Two

29 Sep

I’ll be doing the Tough Mudder in one week from today. I’m excited and only apprehensive of one of the obstacles- the Arctic Enema. For those that don’t know much about it, the obstacles of the Tough Mudder are meant to test your abilities to the maximum. I hate cold. I really hate it. When I had a bad ankle injury and was told to ice it all the time, I hated every minute of it. Ice is supposed to numb. Well, for me, it just hurts. So…I’m going to be jumping into a huge dumpster full of ice water and wading through to the middle where I will be forced to submerge my entire body to get through to the other side. Does that sound crazy stupid? Yes. Am I going to do it? You betcha.
Completing the Tough Mudder is more than bad ass bragging rights. I’ve come so far and changed so much about my lifestyle to better myself and live a fuller life. To me, finishing such a mentally and  physically trying challenge will signify “victory” over my fitness. Reaching new heights in my physical capabilities is the ultimate “high” for me. That feeling from getting seventeen double-unders in a row for the first time  or using a heavier weight correctly or squat jumping twice as many times before getting tired is exhilarating! The Tough Mudder will be chock-full of new, difficult challenges all in one eleven mile course. I’m ready for it.

I posted about waffles a few weeks ago, using Paleo Parent’s recipe. This morning I woke up nice and early on the only day of the week that I can sleep in (thank you circadian rhythm!) and I wasn’t quite ready to be super productive (like studying or housework) so I decided to make a big breakfast. I had purchased and set aside a banana and apple earlier in the week specifically to make waffles to freeze, but never got around to making them. Since the banana was nearing the end of its usefulness, I figured it was now or never. I grab all my tools needed and put the banana in my ninja to puree. Then I go to grab the apple to peel and core and it is nowhere to be found. Some unknown family member had already eaten it.
I had already peeled the banana. I was committed. Improvisation to the rescue! So I tweaked the recipe here and there, dumped it into my fancy Goodwill waffle iron, closed the lid and crossed my fingers. Thanks to my culinary genius (or sheer luck) the waffles turned out spectacular. I’ll be using this recipe from now on to save me the trouble of peeling and coring an apple.

The cool part is the waffles turned green this time. The last time I made them I used 50/50 sunbutter and almond butter and they were normal “waffle color.” This time it was all sunbutter and vividly my favorite color. Chlorophyll (in sunflower seeds)+ baking soda = green!

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Waffles
Grain-free, dairy-free, nut-free.

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  • 1 cup sunbutter
  • 2 bananas, pureed
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/2 TB arrowroot powder
  • 1 TB real vanilla
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • Melted coconut oil for waffle iron

Thoroughly mix your sunbutter to distribute oil evenly. I use a whisk on a hand mixer.
Added pureed bananas. Mix.
Add everything else. Mix.
Slather your waffle iron in coconut oil. I use a silicone basting brush.
Fill each waffle space 3/4 full and cook for 3-5 minutes depending on how hot your iron gets.
Watch for the steaming to decrease and check to see if they’re floppy. Of course, you may like floppy waffles. If not, wait for them to stiffen. This is best if you plan to freeze them and later throw them in a toaster.
If you’re not eating right away, cool on a wire rack to prevent sogginess.
Enjoy!

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Have you ever done a mud run or obstacle course? What was your experience like? Have you ever thrown something together and it turned out great?

Banana Cereal

25 Sep

I used to have a serious relationship with Honey Bunches of Oats. We were the best of friends. I was never disappointed in my HBOO. HBOO was always there for me, always crisp and crunchy and honeyed. But then I don’t think HBOO liked me as well. I started spending more time and using bigger bowls with HBOO, but all I got in return was the need for bigger pants. How dare you HBOO! I loved and appreciated your multi-textured, just-sweet-enough loveliness, and that’s how you treat me!? So I said goodbye to HBOO. It was a tearful day. But I don’t regret it, not one bit.

You could call this cereal or granola. We use it both ways. The recipe is rather versatile, as long as the ending quantity isn’t more because this will completely fill a regular cookie sheet. Omit the chocolate and just use more coconut; or use less of either of those and throw in some chopped nuts. Sunbutter could replace the almond butter. Heck, I might even try replacing the banana with pumpkin someday. The size of the chunks depends on how you intend to eat it. I leave mine in bigger chunks so my husband can munch on it at work; and if I want some in a little bowl with almond milk, I just use my spoon to break it up a bit.

About the bananas- dried bananas can be crunchy or soft. I personally can’t find crunchy dried bananas with nothing added to them. I buy my dried bananas in bulk at Marlene’s (big surprise, I know.) I was intrigued the first time I saw them because they’re dried whole. And let me tell show you, they don’t look the most appealing.
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They smell like banana bread and are mushy, chewy, and moist. I throw them into my little Ninja one at a time to chop them up. It does not make them look any more appetizing. In fact, once it’s chopped, it resembles wet dog food…
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But I can look passed this stage of the cereal, because I know in the end it’s delicious and better looking by the time it’s over with.

Hemp seeds (aka hemp hearts, shelled/hulled) were new to me when I first read this particular recipe. They’re a complete protein, which means they contain the proper proportion of amino acids for our bodies to absorb/digest. You can absorb it all on its own without the need to eat it with something else to get the maximum effect; which I think is fantastic. It’s also a great source of fiber and vitamins. Nutrient dense foods have a special place in my heart. I haven’t tried liver yet though… Anyways back to the seeds. Where’s the first place I look for them? In bulk. And they were there, right under my nose the whole time. I’d never given them any close scrutiny because the bin looked to contain some sort of foreign grain.
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I’m glad my family and I are always up for trying new things, because I’m so glad I discovered this recipe. I can dump some almond milk over it and eat it like cereal and not have to wonder what bad side effects I’ll be dealing with. So go try this, you won’t regret it.
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Banana Cereal
Recipe inspired by Our Paleo Life
Ingredients

  • 1 cup almond butter (or other nut/seed butter)
  • 1 Egg
  • ¼ cup raw honey
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • ¼ tsp sea salt
  • 1 cup hemp seeds
  • 1 cup unsweetened dried banana (about five whole) chopped
  • 1/4 cup Enjoy Life chocolate chips
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened shredded coconut

Instructions
Preheat to 325F.
Line a large baking pan with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. Anything else will stick!
Combine the almond butter, egg, and honey in a large bowl and stir until incorporated.
Add in the vanilla, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt. Stir again.
Add in the rest and stir again.
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It’ll be goopy like cookie dough.
Dump the mixture onto the parchment-lined sheet and break up with a spoon or spatula to the size you’d like.
Bake for 25 minutes, flipping twice to brown it evenly. I like to use my biggest metal spatula to get the job done quickly. Plus some of the melted chocolate sticks to it during the flipping- bonus taste!
Keep an eye on it to prevent burning.
Let it cool completely, it will harden as it cools-depending on the size of your chunks and crunchiness of your bananas.
Store an air-tight container for up to 2 weeks.
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