Wednesday, July 17, 2013


It’s been a while…. A LONG while. It’s a thing called life. But, after I posted a picture of a cheesecake I made I had quite a few requests for the recipe. The recipe it’s self is way too long  (do not let it intimidate you though!) to send as a reply in a text message or on a thread. So, naturally this seemed to be the easiest way – and I always like the easy way. 
This “cheese”cake comes with a few “let me preface this” statements….
1)   Even though this is Paleo, it’s still a TREAT – it is VERY rich and obviously shouldn’t be eaten in one sitting or made weekly 
2)   I had no intention of posting this to my blog (term used loosely) so the pictures are from my iphone & I have not done the extent of trial and errors I usually do. Make it once then start playing around with a little less of this and little more of that…….
3)    It takes some “thought preparation” but the recipe is not hard.  (The cashews have to soak over night & I recommend making the sun butter cups the day before)
4)   After you read the ingredients list, don’t immediately write it off. It’s good – promise.
5)   You will need a 9inch spring-form pan. 

The Crust
2 cups raw pecans
2 TBS coconut oil
1 heaping TBS almond butter
¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
¼ cup pure maple syrup, grade B
pinch of sea salt (ground)

The filling
2 cups raw cashews that have been soaked in water overnight
½ cup coconut oil
½ cup pure maple syrup, either grade A or B will work here
4 TBS chocolate coconut water
1 TBS vanilla extract
1 regular zucchini that is peeled and diced
½ cup almond butter
pinch of salt
pinch of cinnamon
Juice of half of a lemon

The sauce/toppings (this is enough for the whole cake –I halved it, knowing we would not eat the whole thing & you pour this on right when you serve it) You could leave the sun-butter cups off, but why? They are delish!
½ cup coconut oil
4 TBS unsweetened cocoa powder
2 TBS maple syrup
1 TSP vanilla
Chopped Sunbutter cups

Sunbutter cups
For the sunbutter cups – you can make them or buy them (if your lucky enough to find a store that carries them. ) The store bought ones are not 100% Paleo, but they are close enough. If you want to make them… Here’s how

1 & ½ cups Enjoy life mini chips
1 cup sunflower seed butter (I bet almond butter would be yummy too!)
½ cup of melted coconut oil
1/3 cup raw honey
½ tsp salt
½ tsp vanilla
pinch of cinnamon

-If you have the mini cupcake pans – use them! If not, use the regular size. Line the pan with liners (I recommend using silicone liners – if your using paper liners, spray some coconut oil in them first)
- Melt your chocolate chips – do this slowly in the microwave (heat a minute then stir & repeat) or use a double boiler.
-put a  good sized dollop of the melted chocolate in the bottom of the cupcake liners (go about half way up the sides)
-stick in the freezer to harden then start on the filling
 -Put the nut-butter, coconut oil, raw honey, sea salt and vanilla in a food processor and mix well.
 -When the chocolate has hardened put a spoonful of the nut-butter-filling in the cups & freeze again (this freeze doesn’t need as long – maybe 30 min.)
 -Re-melt your leftover chocolate & pour on top of the hardened nut-butter cups.
 Store in the refrigerator until your ready to use them

First you have to prepare the CRUST
-Line the bottom of your spring-form pan with parchment paper.
-Put the pecans in the food processor and pulse them into a fine meal
-Add the coconut oil, almond butter, cocoa powder, syrup, and salt and process until well combined.
-Press the mixture evenly into the pan
-Place in the freezer to set while you make the filling
For the Filling
-Process the pre-soaked cashews until you get a creamy texture
-Then add the coconut oil, maple syrup, coconut water and vanilla and process until smooth.
-Add the zucchini, almond butter, salt, cinnamon, and lemon juice and process until smooth (let it blend for a good amount of time to really get a creamy mixture. If it is too thick – add a few more drops of coconut water)
-Pour the filling into the frozen pie crust and smooth it out. Allow to freeze for at least 4 hours. (Remove 30ish minuets before serving to make it easy to cut)

When your ready to serve it – make your sauce.
-Put everything except the sun-butter cups in a small bowl & microwave till warm.   -Stir well. (When you pour this on the cold cake it will form a “shell”) 
-Cut your cups into pieces & sprinkle on top

There you go.  Yummy Yummy!
Maybe I can find some motivation to post our Biscuits & Gravy or Pizza Crust…… Maybe.  

Monday, August 13, 2012

Stoplight Chicken

 It's back to school!!!!!! This time of the year brings so many varying emotions to many people, for others, it means heavier traffic for their commute. I am a student, however I have not had a summer break in YEARS, so it means good sales on new clothes for me :) Regardless, back to school time means that Fall is right around the corner, YAY! I know in our family, Fall is the busiest time of the year, but I love it! The Crock-pot is about to get put into overdrive!
 I just recently had my bi-annual dentist appointment (I know, you're thinking "why do I care?") and this is important to my Paleo friends for a good reason! I have never had a cavity (I have had my fair share of oral surgeries and braces, so don't hate me too much) but, I worried a little as I went to this appointment. First of all, it had been a year (I know, gross. But, time flew by, don't judge.) Second, I have picked up a liking of red wine, and third, I have a slight coffee addiction - okay, slight may be downplaying my daily intake just a little, but I do drink it black, that's how I justify it.
(There is a fourth in there too - I have gone to the same dentist my whole life, even driving back from Auburn to see him. He was a good family friend and all the girls in the office we amazing! BUT, it was time to be realistic, I needed a dentist here. So, I sucked it up and found one I think I am going to like!) Anyway, I was told by the dental hygienist and the Doctor, I have a remarkably clean, pretty mouth, even more so since it had been a year since my last cleaning. After confessing my coffee addiction, the Dentist all but asked how I have the mouth/teeth/color I do. Our conclusion? My Paleo lifestyle. Yep! It's a full body benefit, including your teeth and gums. It makes sense, your mouth is the first place affected by your intake. When you eliminate sugar and "fake" from your diet you are not piling layers and layers onto your teeth, plus general health is evident in your gums and speed of tooth degeneration. It's a win-win situation! And, no cavities for me! Yet, another reason to step to the other side!!!!

 Here is another easy, peasy, crock-pot, chicken recipe. You can cut all the veggies the night before (if you desire, of course) throw everything in the slow cooker in the morning and come home to a full meal at the end of the day!!!!
This is also a "they will never know it's Paleo" meal!

Stoplight Chicken
1 pound(ish) chicken breasts
1 green pepper, sliced
1 yellow pepper, sliced
1 red pepper, sliced
6-8 ounces mushrooms, sliced
1 red onion, sliced
1 large tomato, diced

4 large garlic cloves, diced
Olive oil
LOTS of Italian seasons
(splash of red wine, balsamic vinegar, or chicken broth if you have it on hand)

-Pour a few teaspoons of olive oil on the bottom of the slow cooker
(I like to put a few onion rounds on the bottom of the crock pot as well, to sit the chicken breasts on top of. Just a random thing I do...)
-Chicken and diced garlic goes in, drizzle with some olive oil & seasons go on

-Throw all of the peppers on top of the chicken
-Season with some leafy seasons (basil, oregano, rosemary etc.)
-tomatoes go on top of the peppers
-if you are using wine, vinegar, or broth, splash some in 
-finish off with some good Italian seasonings
-Cook on low 6-8 hours. 
You could also use frozen chicken breasts but will need to up either the time or temp. I prefer to cook chicken on low and usually set the timer for 6 hours. My crock-pot switches to a "warm" mode when the time is up, and after a few more hours in the pot, it is usually just right. IF you use less chicken you may want to keep it more to 4-5 hours. Chicken is finicky and will dry out quickly, play around with your pot and find your perfect cook time (just make sure it's fully cooked!)
 If you do not have a timer on your pot & have to leave it on longer, I would add a little more olive oil and definitely use at least a 1/2 cup of either wine or balsamic vinegar AND chicken broth. Instead of pouring it in on top of the peppers, pour it in BEFORE you add them to allow the chicken to soak all the juices up!


You may not really be what you eat, but what you eat can really affect what you are.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Breakfast Bake

Good Monday Morning! (Oxymoron, I know)

Since going Paleo, I have discovered the joy & deliciousness of FRESH veggies & fruit. I do not mean grocery store fresh, I'm talking either home grown, or day of, farmers market fresh.
We planted a variety of vegetables in our back yard this year -- it has been a learning experience to say the least. BUT, we have gotten some great zucchini, tomatoes, a few peppers, green onions, mint, and more cucumbers than I know what to do with. Randomly our okra just started to grow, I'm not so sure how that is going to turn out.
 Apparently, we also fed a family of cut worms (no worries, they aren't coming back!) and I'm learning more and more about the "perfect soil" (which seems almost impossible to achieve) But it has been a fulfilling experience (as well as stressful at times) and we are already planning what we are going to do for next season!
 If your not lucky enough to have veggies in your back yard, I recommend finding a market that showcases locally grown foods. The best ones are only open a few (maybe just 1) day(s) a week. (ensuring FRESH, just picked products)
Not only are you supporting your local agriculture/ hard working families, but you will get some of the most delicious food you can imagine!
If you are around Birmingham, you have many options on a Saturday morning. Last weekend, we went  to Pepper Place and it did not disappoint. We got blueberries, watermelon, apples, jalapenos, green peppers, figs & onions, and had a great time sampling all the salsas, fruits, coffee and even a margarita mix! One of the best things about Pepper Place is the addition of local craftsman as well. I got the prettiest, handmade bracelet from a local jeweler for half the price of what I would have paid in a larger department type store! They also had a chef demonstration (and tasting!) and live music. If you live in the area or are ever down here during the summer months, try and make a point to spend a Saturday morning at the old Dr. Pepper plant.

 I don't know about everyone else, but I love breakfast food, especially for dinner. It's usually an easy & comforting meal that we never tire of.
 This recipe is one of our favorites (believe it or not, it has NO bacon in it) and even after stuffing our faces, we usually have a decent amount of leftovers! This is another recipe that your Non-Paleo friends would enjoy, so keep it in mind for Holiday Breakfast/brunch or when you wake up to a house full of mouths to feed!

Egg Bake
1 lb. grass-fed, hot*, Italian sausage (aka not processed, get it from behind the meat counter)
12 eggs whisked
2 yellow onions - thinly sliced
1 red onion - thinly sliced
4 oz. sliced mushrooms
handful of parsley
Italian seasonings of choice

(* The hubs does not like spicy food, but with the addition of the eggs, etc. there is not too much heat. If you are nervous about it being too spicy though, do 1/2 lb. mild 1/2 lb. hot.)
(And, if you are not a mushroom fan, you could leave them out & still achieve the same consistency)

- Pre-heat oven to 375
- Remove sausage casings & brown (season with a little bit of garlic) (I love using my Pampered Chef "smasher" as I call it, to break apart & get good crumbles. If you ever get roped into a PC party, make sure you purchase this little guy. I use it almost EVERY meal!)

- Put sausage in a greased baking dish (glass seems to work best) Use a slotted spoon to do this so most of the grease stays in pan.

- While the pan/grease is still hot, cook the onions & mushrooms until tender - season

- While the onions/mushrooms are cooking, pour the whisked eggs over the sausage

- season egg mixture (make sure to use your paprika here!)

- When onions/mushrooms are caramelized, position them to cover the top of the egg mixture

- Bake for 30ish minutes (depends on the depth & thickness of your dish)


You may not really be what you eat, but what you eat can really affect what you are.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Deer & Sweet Potatoes

 I know, I know.. I'm slacking with my blog, I missed 2 weeks BUT..... I did PASS my comprehensive exam and then took a much needed beach vacation.
 I really should be working on a 15 page paper I have due Friday, but this is just so much more fun :)

 I had posted a quick phone picture on Facebook yesterday of a deer roast and had a few people ask for the recipe, so don't judge me on the picture - I wasn't prepared for it to make it to the blog.
 For the second recipe, it's summer (DUH)! Ovens are HOT, it's beyond HOT outside, and I don't know about y'all, but I sweat way more than I am comfortable with, so after a good WOD ("workout of the day" for all you non-crossfitters) the last thing I want to do is heat the house (and myself) slaving over the stove. I love "grill only" meals, (almost as much as I love my crockpot) they are usually so easy to prepare and have less clean up. So fire up the grill & enjoy a night away from the kitchen!

If you don't have a stockpile of deer meat, scroll on down to recipe #2. If you want a stockpile of deer meat, call me. We have a LOT to eat before next season starts.

Recipe #1 - Don't go freaking out on me, remember - I told you in the beginning, we hunt and we eat deer meat. If you don't agree with that, I suggest you go on & delete this blog from your viewing history and find something else to read.

Deer is actually very tasty and SO very good for you.  On average you are getting 30g of protein and obviously it's about as paleo as it gets. (Especially when I'm cooking one of the deer I shot with my bow he he) Even did a little blurp on the nutritional value.
I'm not kidding, we have enough meat to feed a large army, so if you live close, you are more than welcome to come gather your own surplus ;)

 Pre-Paleo, when I was preparing a roast (and by preparing, I mean after it's thawed out and Perry gets all the silver skin etc. off) I would soak the roast in buttermilk overnight. This draws the blood out of the meat and gives it a less gamey taste. (You only have to do this with the larger pieces, the ground meat is not near as gamey) If your not Paleo (or not 100%) buttermilk is a good soak, if you are stricter Paleo - full fat, canned coconut milk is a good substitute.
(The mushrooms & apples in the recipe also help smooth out the flavor. I'm picky & I can't stand to eat anything that has that wild game taste).

This recipe is Paleo, but you can change some of the ingredients around to suite your desires. Obviously, we don't weigh our shoulders and back-straps into perfect little packages when field-dressing our harvest, this recipe was fitting for a large piece of meat, make adjustments as needed per your weight.

*Deer roast (stating the obvious here, huh?)
*3-4 cups chicken (or beef) broth (organic or homemade - this round I used homemade & it was YUMMY)
*large onion - roughly chopped (large pieces)
*5-6 garlic cloves - chopped
*4oz mushrooms - sliced
*large apple - chopped (large pieces)
*1/2 cup full fat, canned, coconut milk (or you could use a red wine, but cut that to 1/4 cup & add some sort of cream. Pre-paleo I would use a can of what ever cream of ___ soup we had on hand, but honestly we really liked the taste of the meat in the coconut milk & we do NOT like coconut flavor so I think you should try it!)
*Garlic Powder
*Italian herbs
*pinch of red pepper flakes
(I use a bass pro shop deer seasoning too. Probably not 100% Paleo but what-ever, it's tasty!)

These are some of those intense directions, so prepare yourself.......................

1) Pour some of the broth on the bottom of the crockpot & sprinkle half of the garlic in it (Really, I don't know if this makes a difference, but it's what I've always done, so I like to think it's imperative)

2) Plop your prepared (no silver skin, soaked overnight if you desire) roast in the crockpot

3) Season your meat & add the rest of the garlic (Remember: Salt dehydrates meat so use it sparingly)

4) Pour (it's more like splat) the coconut milk over the meat

5) Throw in the mushrooms, apples & onions ( I usually add a little more seasoning on top of these, especially the red pepper flakes - I like it spicy!)

6) Cook your roast on low for 6-8 hours & get on with your busy day!

Grilled Sweet Potato Glory
Seriously, these little round pieces are AMAZING. Even your non-paleo friends will devour these things. 

2 sweet potatoes (try to get the long skinny ones) cut into thin rounds (like chips)
Package of Bacon - slices cut into oneish inch squares

Heat the grill up (low to med-low)
Get out a large piece of aluminum foil
put a handful of the bacon on the foil (helps keep the potatoes from sticking)
put the potato rounds on top of the bacon & the rest of the bacon pieces on top of the potatoes
Sprinkle cinnamon, pepper and salt over the mixture (more cinnamon than pepper and more pepper than salt)
roll the sides of the foil up over the potatoes (making a little foil boat)
Cook the potatoes on the top rack of the grill for 20 minutes 

(sorry I don't have a picture of this one, it's on the computer that has decided not to turn on. When it works again - aka when Perry fixes it - I'll add one to it!)

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Chineseish Stirfry

 As usual, life is insanely crazy right now. I take the National Comprehensive exam in a week, so I'm freaking out just a little.... Since I have spent the past couple weeks with my nose stuck in the books, and since I should really being studying right now, this is going to be a short one. I promise, after next week, I'll have more time to ponder on life in the Paleo world and get back to researching and blogging on all the tid-bits I learn along the way!

*Disclaimer* You cannot knock this recipe until you have tried it. Trust me, I turned my nose up at cabbage for most of my life. Just try it once & I guarantee you will be hooked, especially if you were a big Chinese food eater before you crossed over ;)
This is such a yummy meal that makes A LOT and will give you plenty of left overs making the preparation well worth it.  
I usually use my food processor for this, but wanted to make sure the results would be the same if I didn't, so the pictures of the "noodles" are not as pretty as they usually are when they are shredded perfectly in my processor, but the taste was the same! No excuses on this one!

I used our WOK, if you do not have a WOK add that to your list of things you NEED in your kitchen. It makes stirring large quantities so much easier & with it being non-stick it's a cinch to cook in & clean up! BUT, if your making this recipe before your kitchen gains a wonderful piece, use the BIGGEST pan you have or you will end up with a mess all over the stove top. (You may even want to half the recipe to fit)

What you need......

2lbs of Chicken (You could use beef as well)
1/4 cup almonds, chopped (optional)
1 can water chestnuts, sliced
1/4 cup green onion, chopped OR a shallot diced
4-8 ounces mushrooms (stems removed) sliced (cut in half)
cup of sliced pineapple (or a can of organic pineapple, drained & cut into small bite size pieces)
Red pepper chopped (or green)
Small onion chopped
2 cups of broccoli
2 cups shredded cabbage (about half the head of cabbage)
toasted sesame oil
2 garlic cloves, diced
1 teaspoon ground ginger
coconut aminos (this stuff is amazing - it takes the place of soy sauce!)
sesame seeds

I like to go on & get everything cut & ready to go, so get all your veggies & meat prepared.
(The cabbage was just "chopped" for this go round, but if you have a food processor throw it in there for the perfect sliced "noodles")

Get your WOK (large pan) warming up over high heat

-Add a few drops of sesame oil, swirl around to really coat the bottom of the WOK 

-Add the meat & season away, you want a lot of flavor in your chicken! Cook about 5 minutes (until, mostly done - do NOT overcook-it will dry out!)

-Add in the broccoli, water chestnuts, onion, and mushrooms - cook for about 2 min while stirring 

 -Add the pineapple, cabbage, red pepper, green onion (or shallot) and garlic and add a few splashes of coconut aminos (about 4 tbsp.) and cook 3-4 minutes, until the cabbage softens up a little. 

-Season everything well (use ground ginger, a pinch of cumin, a fair amount of paprika, a dash of garlic powder, handful of pepper) and sprinkle some sesame seeds on top, if you like really salty flavors, you can always add some more coconut aminos to give you more of a soy sauce flavor! 

I told you it made a lot, but is well worth it! YUMMY!!!


You may not really be what you eat, but what you eat can really affect what you are.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Paleo vs. Italy/Easy peasy Chicken

Paleo vs. Italy..... It's no secret on which entity won that battle, but really I would consider it more of a tie or a close game than a complete win. One of the reasons we (as in the hubs & I) eat Paleo is to rid of all the "fake" that is in your typical food; Italian food doesn't contain near as much "fake" (okay, I keep using "fake" as a nice word, really what I want to say is T-total crap, but you insert what you like wherever you see "fake") anyway, Italian food is about as close to clean as you can get. Most bread does not have salt, their fruit is all organic, their meat is all (mostly) grass-fed, you won't find a white egg anywhere in the country, and the cheese is pure, non processed, non greasy deliciousness.  I even had the opportunity to watch Pecorino cheese being made. I won't go into the entire process, but it was very interesting to watch my food take shape. Have you ever stopped to think where every bite of food you eat came from? How did it get from point A to your mouth?!?!?! Ponder on that while you learn all about cheese :)
 The first picture below is the heating process (which removes any Lactose!) The liquid (sheep milk) will chemically change into a solid matter (hello, no lactose!) The maker was showing me the solidifying by making an indention (look closely) in the top layer.        
              The next picture is the product of the heating process. After the cheese begins to solidify the cheese maker scrapes off the top layers and the picture below is the result. This is about as Paleo as it gets when it comes to cheese. To me it was a warm tasteless goo, but the Italians love it & they were eating it up...

After the "cheese matter" is scraped off the top, it would be patted into the strainer type bowl where the liquid is squeezed out, preparing the block to be aged. The block would then be placed in a temperature appropriate, dark cellar where it would sit and age anywhere from 6 months to years!
And that my friend, is how REAL cheese is made! While I was watching this process, I had a slight feeling of embarrassment. We as American's are known for a cheese. Do you know what American cheese means? It means processed - once again, what a joke! We are known for a square, jiggly, plastic wrapped, questionable colored, fake, processed product. It's time again to hang our heads in shame.  I've said it before, I am proud to be an American (you totally sang that line in your head didn't you) and I know that I am blessed to live in a free country, but sometimes we are so overly stupid and take advantage of everything from the land we live on to our God given bodies. Did you know that in Italy, it is against the law to turn the heat on before November, and that they HAVE to recycle everything. They are so proud and appreciative of their lives as a whole. I watched an American (in the NC airport) walk up to a row consisting of a trash can, a plastic recycle can and a paper recycle can and throw his plastic bottle into the trash can. AH! We don't even recycle when the opportunity is right in front of us. 
For those of us that have made the vow to go Paleo, the phenomenon discussed above is part of the reason the decision probably came with turmoil and it's some of the reasons we still hit bumps in the road. Us Paleolithic followers are one step closer to appreciation and understanding, but we still have to live in a world with people who have no desire to understand. We know what is good and bad for our bodies (or we are constantly learning!) but others are so shut off. It has become humorous to me how people react to Paleo, besides the normal "why the heck" looks, I have begun to enjoy the people that want to argue. Really, I want to laugh at them, but I keep that to my self and I attempt to quickly educate. I had someone actually get offended to learn that lactose is bad. HA! I wanted to break out the hundreds and hundreds of studies that back up why this is true, but I contained my self and inwardly judged. I have also heard someone say "well, my mom smoked the whole time she was pregnant with me, I turned out to be okay, so I have no intention of quitting when I get pregnant." (this person is NOT okay either, very unhealthy and a lot of problems). I know, I know. All you can do is shake your head in disgust, plant the seed in their minds and take the high road out. Thankfully though, for every stubborn, stupid, shut off person, there is usually one who you can "get to come to the dark side." While in Italy I had many people asking questions about the Paleo lifestyle, and I know at least 2 people are seriously considering the switch! It is such an accomplished feeling when you know you have helped someones well-being! So my advice is to be as educated as possible on why we eat or don't eat certain groups of food. People shun anything new or out of the ordinary, and/or they will have a million questions. Be ready to stand your ground & educate, and try to be nice and patient. We don't need any more stereotypes :)

Want an ever so easy recipe (what we are having for dinner tonight!)? You won't even need to write this one down! AND you will have some hearty broth at the end!
Next time whole chickens (cage free, organic diet, etc.) are on sale, buy as many as you can (or buy them whole price, what ever floats your boat). Stick them in the freezer and pull one out when you are way too busy to put any thought into dinner!  

If your chicken has a "bag" inside, you will want to get that out. I try & get the hubby to do this whenever possible, it grosses me out. 

Get your trusted crock-pot out & get her ready to go

Put your chicken in the crock pot & season with what ever your heart desires. I always include garlic, (tenderizer) pepper, and some kind of Herb. If you can, try to avoid salting the chicken because this can dry the meat out. (If you HAVE to have salt on your chicken, do it after you take it out of the pot) You won't need any liquid, so basically you are DONE with dinner!

Cook the bird on low for 7ish hours (depends on the weight & how frozen it is, but 7 is about the max it needs to cook.) 

I usually slice a red onion & throw it in on top of the chicken, but this is just our preference.  

Now, don't go getting all motivated to clean the kitchen & throw the juices out! After it cools, pour it in an air tight container (an old mason jar etc.) You will need to scrape the top layer of fat off (after it solidifies) and voila! You now have organic, salt free (as long as you didn't add salt) chicken broth! It will keep in the refrigerator for a few months, if you can keep it that long! 

Yay for being home & back to my normal eating! I had an AMAZING time on the other side of the pond, but I was also glad to be back in my comfort zone of living! 
I will try & do another post this week to get back on track! If anyone has any recommendations, arguments, comments, etc. I really appreciate the feedback, it's good to know I actually have people that read this and/or use a recipe or two! 

How cool is this wine I saw in Greve? I really wanted the main ingredient to be bacon ;)

Have a great week and remember.......
You may not really be what you eat, but what you eat can really affect what you are.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

PaleoISH/Almond Butter

 I leave for Italy tomorrow and have a list a mile long to accomplish today, but blogging seems to be top priority right now ;) this will also be the last post for about 2 1/2  weeks (unless I find some extreme motivation while in the land of carbs). I plan to eat as PaleoISH as I can, but still enjoy some of the things Italy is famous for. The Villa we are staying at, and where we will be eating most meals, grows all of their own organic fruit and vegetables, so thats a plus. I have been told that Tuscany is not known for their pasta like most people associate with "Italian food." Apparently, Olive Garden (which you should never even step foot into again - they are worse than Chili's in how they process, prepare & cook their foods) is the Americanized version  of Italian food. Go figure, American's go and take over again! We will be surrounded by roasted veggies & meat, which is awesome, but then they throw in the yummy bread and finish with gelato. Thats where I may have to live the culture and gain the whole experience :) Casa Cares makes their own organic olive oil & wine, both of which I have full intention of shipping cases back to Alabama!  I have individual bags of pistachios for the plane and CLIFFKids fruit strips as a snack to keep in my purse, J.I.C. I am also taking a box of Quest bars, which are as Paleoish as you can get when it comes to a processed bar. I would not recommend them for daily consumption (not to mention they are NOT cheap) but if you were traveling and need to keep something on you, these are a winner. I ordered them from (Here is the link). While on the topic - this is where we order all of our vitamins. I suggest you take supplements, Paleo or not, my view is they can only help. I'm sure some strict Paleo followers may disagree with me, but as I woman with an iron deficiency and history of osteoporosis, I am trying to be proactive. I take a Women's multivitamin (This is the one I take now) I like them a lot, but they do contain soy so I am going to try THESE next time we order. The Hubs takes a Men's multivitamin, and we also both take a Fish oil with Omega-3. Your vitamins are something you don't want to slack on. I don't recommend buying them at your local big box super store (aka Wally-World, Target, Kroger, etc.) spend a few extra dollars and get some that are actually going to be absorbed into your bloodstream and give you the benefits you need. You also know you are getting gluten free, natural ingredients.  Many of the cheaper vitamins do not provide your body with an adequate amount of anything because for one, they do not include the amount of nutrients your body needs (they may contain just enough for the nutrient to be detected, there for earning a label of "vitamin") AND,  you will flush them out the first time you urinate (ewe, I know - I just used the word urinate, but other labels didn't seem appropriate and it's the truth of process!) We also drink Xtend during/after a hard, training type workout. This is definitely not something a strict Paleo follower would drink, and it does have a small amount of soy in it (ugh, it's everywhere!) But, for me personally, the benefits outweigh the cons. This intra/post workout drink helps me feel hydrated (without the extreme amount of salt or sugar other sports drinks offer) it contains the needed amount of potassium, chloride, sodium (your muscles need some sodium, but not near as much as Gatorade has) to help with cell hydration and muscle contractile function. Yet, the main reason I swear by it...... I personally think it helps keep extreme soreness at bay. Don't get me wrong, I still get sore, but Xtend seems to help. Trust me, while CrossFitting, every little bit counts when it comes to being able to sit down or raise my arms. Here is the one we drink, I recommend the watermelon, it tastes like a jolly rancher!

Remember how in my last post, I recommended a food processor? Well, here is an EASY PEASY recipe that uses your food processor and will save you money!
We do not eat peanuts (if you need a refresher, read here on why we say no to legumes) BUT, no need to fret! You may not be able to eat peanut butter but, you can have almond butter!
 I buy the 3lb. bags of whole (unsalted, no sugar added, NOT roasted) almonds from Sam's (so much cheaper than whole foods! Just make sure you are getting pure almonds - READ every label!)  
 2 cups of whole almonds equal a little over 1 cup of almond butter (it does have a thicker constancy, so 1 cup will last you a while)
 You can tailor the recipe to your specific (cooking/eating) needs by adding seasoning to the processor if desired. (Think cinnamon or nutmeg a pinch of salt, pepper etc.). I rarely add anything and if I do, it's cinnamon for when we are dipping bananas in it.
 If you have time, roast your almonds before creaming them. This is an easy step that really enhances the flavor, but will not affect the out come of the butter if you skip it!

1) Pre-heat your oven to 400 degrees & line a baking sheet with aluminum foil, pour the almonds on the baking sheet & season lightly if you desire.
  ( My processor handles 2 cups of whole almonds well, so I use 2 cups per process.)
2) When your oven is pre-heated, bake your almonds for about 8 minutes. Do not over bake the almonds, you will end up with a bitter taste and an ugly color. (Reminder, you can skip this step! If you are using the butter in a recipe, there is most likely no reason to roast them first)

3) When the almonds are roasted and cooled enough to handle, put them in your processor (with the chopping blade in-tact) if you are seasoning, season them to desired strength.

4) This step depends on your processor and amount of almonds, adjust your time accordingly. Turn the processor on & find something else to do ;). My process usually takes about 10-12 minuets. The almonds will go through stages - first they will be sandy, then they begin to cream.

5) Once you think it's creamy enough, let it blend for 1-2 more minutes to really get the ideal texture. 

6) Store in an air tight container (I use a small mason jar)

How easy was that!?!?! Now you never have to spend the 20 something dollars WholeFoods charges for their pure almond butter!

Everyone have a great rest of the week, weekend and next 2 weeks! Keep an eye on Facebook/Twitter for Italy updates! I'm crossing my fingers for a good internet connection!

You may not really be what you eat, but what you eat can really affect what you are.