The Right Choices Make all the Difference

As a lot of you know I am working on getting back in shape. I’ve been Paleo for a few months now and I have to say, it’s getting easier. I am feeling better,  lost 10lbs in the first month, and am starting to really love eating healthier. I’m focusing on loading up on vegetables, using protein and fiber to stay full longer, and using fruit as my “sweet reward”. I’ve found that if I get into a routine it tends to be a lot easier to make the right choices. I wanted to share with you what my routine is.

thekitchn.com

thekitchn.com

 

 

Morning: Vegetable egg scramble

1-2 cups veggies (depending on if they cook down or not) sauteed in 1 tbsp butter with 3 eggs (optional: sausage and/or potatoes)

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Pumpkin Pancakes with 1 tbsp butter, 1 drizzle of real maple syrup or honey, and fresh fruit

 

Mid-Morning: Smoothie

2 cups mixed frozen fruit, 1 cup coconut or almond milk, 2 tbsp flax seed (optional: 2 tbsp nut butter); blend till       smooth

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Homemade ‘LaraBar’ 

Lunch: Salad with Protein

2 heaping cups of raw vegetables, 1 cup grilled chicken, steak, fish, shrimp, hard boiled eggs, etc. Top with homemade salad dressing (optional: 2 tbsp nuts or seeds)

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2 cups steamed vegetables with 1 cup protein

Mid-Afternoon:

Apple, Banana, or celery with nut butter on top

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2 hard boiled eggs and a piece of fruit

Dinner: Whatever is on my plan (check out PaleoPlan.com or Emeals.com for options)

Evening: Hot Tea (my newest obsession is chai vanilla tea with coconut milk- yum!)

 

That’s it! Not that hard, no weird ingredients, and full of amazing paleo goodness. Plus, it’s so much nicer not having to think about what I’m going to eat.

Do you have any amazing quick and easy whole food recipes? I’d love to hear about them. 🙂

 

Love!

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Sugar high!

I have to say, as much as I’m trying to obstain from sweets… it really isn’t the holiday season without doing some form of baking. Yesterday my mom and I had our annual cookie baking extravaganza! We bake gobs of cookies, sing along to Christmas music, and watch Christmas movies that we’ve completely memorized. I love it. It’s one of my favorite parts of the whole season, heck, the whole year!

Poor Mr. Right got stuck in the middle of it. He and Rocky-the- wonderdog watched football in the other room. Of course they had to come and taste test everything. 🙂 Hard life, huh?

Here’s Mom and I with just some our “load”.

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I also mixed a batch of sugar cookie dough to bring to the girls today. I baked them off this morning and Little Miss and I decorated them all after lunch. It was a lot of cookies, and I only made half the batch!

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You can find the recipe I used here.

So good! I made her simple cookie glaze too and put it in squeeze bottles for easy decorating for the girls.

I had so much fun sharing my love of baking during the holidays with Little Miss and Baby Miss. It was great to one day enjoy a yearly tradition with my mom, and the next see that same tradition afresh through youthful eyes.

I can’t wait till I have my own kids that can join me and my mother, covered in flour, singing super loudly, and giggling uncontrollably!

What’s your favorite family holiday tradition?

Love!

Fa La La and Yum Yum Yum

Ah Christmas. I love it. I mean Fall is my favorite season, but Christmas is my ultimate favorite thing in the universe! Now, no, I’m not the type to put up my decorations right after Halloween, but let’s just say the moment I’ve eaten the turkey and downed a glass of bubbly apple cider, all my thoughts fall to Christmas.

Mr. Right and I are going to pick out our tree next weekend, and tonight starts the super exciting “decking of the halls!” or hall… seeing as my apartment only has one. 🙂 We even started watching Christmas movies this week. It’s just not Christmas without, Christmas Vacation, A Christmas Story, Rudolph, or the Grinch.

And I am so excited to share my love of Christmas with Little Miss and Baby Miss. Last year I was able to do lots of fun things with Little Miss, but now Baby Miss is old enough to get in on the fun. Yay!

Today, while Little Miss was at preschool, Baby Miss and I created Rudolph, complete with shiny nose and all!

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Isn’t he cute?

All I had her do was color a paper plate brown. Then we added big googly eyes, and a red pompom for a nose. The antlers are her hand prints on brown paper. We poked a hole on the top and stuck a pipe cleaner through. It may end up on the Christmas tree when it arrives, otherwise, Rudolph looks pretty cozy hanging on the kitchen cabinets. 🙂

Little Miss and I made our first batch of Christmas cookies today. (Yes, I know cookies aren’t exactly Paleo… but they are very much Christmas, and I only ate one…ish.) ;-p

We had planned on making peanut butter cookies, but realized we couldn’t find any peanut butter in the house. EEk! So, we opted to create Nutella cookies. They turned out fabulous. All I did was slightly tweak the peanut butter cookie recipe.

The recipe we followed came from America’s Test Kitchen, found here.

I changed a few things in the recipe. Because Nutella is much sweeter than peanut butter, I halved the sugar (both white and brown). The first batch also came out slightly salty, so I decided to halve the salt too. The dough is quite sticky, so I recommend refrigerating it for a bit to make it easier to form balls. Then just roll out tbsp size balls, and bake 10-12 min at 350. They are fabulous! Feel free to sprinkle raw sugar on before baking (it gives them a great texture) or mix in nuts, chocolate chips, or anything else you fancy, into the dough.

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That’s it! Easy peasy. Hope you love them as much as I do.

Love!

xoxo

Apples apples apples

I love fall. I mean really love. I mean really really truly absolutely positively love. I grew up in the Midwest where fall meant cooler weather, crunchy leaves, snuggly sweaters and roaring fires. It was magical. Fall also meant the return of baking, warm spices, and a hot oven… oh I’m getting hungry just thinking of it.

Here in the Land of the Sun, it’s officially Autumn but sure doesn’t feel like it. We’ve had our 21st day of over 90° weather this month alone (that’s 21 out of 26 days people, CRAZY!).

But that has never stopped me before, and my Midwest roots are calling!

So here’s to Autumn and homemade applesauce!

I made a batch with Little Miss yesterday and everyone’s been devouring it. In fact we are going to have to make more soon.

Here’s my easy recipe…  and let me just say I’m not one for being super exact so feel free to tweak depending on your taste preferences.

8 apples, washed and cut
A splash of lemon juice
1 cup water (could use apple juice)
Tbsp cinnamon
Tsp clove
1/4 brown sugar (amount is very dependant on the type of apple you use).

Place all ingredients in a medium sauce pan, cover (crack lid) and set on medium high. Once contents boil, reduce to low, and wait; stirring as needed. BONUS, your house will smell deliciously like autumn.

Once completely soft and mushy use an immersion blender to blend up apples till all the pulp and skin are well blended. If you want to skip this step or prefer a chunkier apple sauce you will need to peel apples before cooking.

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This recipe is easy to multiply, convert to a slow cooker, and/or use the same process for other fruits such as pears, peaches, plums, strawberries, etc. How great would it be to combine fruits? Yum! I may have to try that soon. 🙂

I love fall! Have I said that already?

Instant oatmeal

So when Mr. Right and I first moved in together, his mother bestowed upon us several boxes of snack sized ziplocs. I’ve always felt guilty about it because I’ve never really had a purpose for them. That is, until today.

Now that the weather is starting to cool down, I’m much more in the mood for a warm hearty breakfast. Enter- oatmeal.

And can I just say I never really appreciated oatmeal until I became an adult. I don’t know why. It can be topped with everything from fruit to nuts to chocolate. It’s filling. It’s creamy and just plain delicious.
But honestly, on a Monday morning I’m really not in the mood to stand over the stove stirring oatmeal.

That is why I was so excited to see a ton of homemade instant oatmeal ideas floating all over pinterest.
So yesterday I finally came up with a use for all those teeny tiny ziplocs- my own instant oatmeal!

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Here’s what I used.
1/2 cup instant oats
1/4 tsp salt
1 Tbsp brown sugar
A good shake of cinnamon
Small handful of craisins (optional)

Other add-in ideas include any other dried fruit, nuts, chocolate chips, peanut butter chips, coconut, etc. There really are no limits.

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Several recipes I saw included powdered milk. I decided just to omit that and use milk when I microwave it- it’s turned out just fine, and I feel like it ends up creamier.

To cook, just pour your little baggie in a bowl, add enough milk to soak oats and “nuke” for 2 min. (obviously all microwaves are different, so times can vary).

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Tada! Oatmeal! And its so easy and so delicious.

A great, quick, healthy, whole food breakfast. Love it!

Cheers! xoxo

My summer breakfast

As I promised earlier, I want to share with you some great, easy, quick breakfasts for all those days when you are on the run, which is always.

Today I’m going to share with you my favorite summer breakfast. I know I know, it’s September and I’ve been trying to pretend it’s fall. But in all honesty, it’s going to be 90° today so … summer breakfast is what you get.

I present to you- the almighty smoothie. Ok so I’m not reinventing the wheel or anything but I want to share how I do it.

I like to go to the farmers market every weekend and it always happens that I get more then I can finish. When I realize any fruit is getting past it’s prime, I freeze it. Chop it, lay it in a single layer on a cookie sheet, and stick in the freezer. Once it’s frozen, I place it in a ziploc.

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I use the frozen fruit in place of ice cubes for my smoothie. Then all I add is yogurt, toss in a blender, and voila! An almost instant breakfast full of protein, vitamins, minerals, and fiber.  Awesome!

I choose to use plain yogurt to cut down on the sugar, but if you prefer vanilla is also a great go-to flavor. Also, because I don’t use any liquid I do not use Greek yogurt. It tends to be too thick.

 

I love that depending on the day and what fruit I have on hand, my smoothie is always different. Right now I’m using a lot of peaches and strawberries, but just month ago I was devouring lots of blueberries. Next month it will be something completely different. It keeps things interesting.

Oo, and one more tip! You know when bananas start to go brown and go on sale? Grab them, peel them, and freeze those for smoothies too. I love to save a buck! 🙂

Cheers!

I love food!

I love food. I love eating food. I love talking about food. I love food dipped in chocolate.

Growing up I was never a picky eater. I was always the first one to clean my plate, and I reveled in the thought of finding a new recipe, gathering the ingredients, then devouring it- preferably with friends and family.

One of the reasons food and I get along so well is it seems to be the all around equalizer. Everyone eats. It is an activity that all humans from the past, present, and future do. I love that thought. Food brings everyone together for a time unequaled by any other activity. When my family is sitting around the dinner table, enjoying a meal that we worked together to make, and conversing; I feel a complete sense of calm. For that moment, everything is right in the world. Through each meal we learn a bit more about ourselves, our companions, and our humanity.

And it’s humbling. It is such a primal activity. It’s not that we choose to eat, or that we enjoy it (though those can be entwined in it), but we HAVE to eat. At some point each and every day, we must take a moment to lower ourselves to our most basic need. And with that, we all become one and the same.

I also love the fact that food keeps you connected to the earth, life cycles, and the fragility of it all. Not in a Mother Earth, worship the ground type way; but more in that it keeps us from taking for granted that which sustains us. Yes, we can plant it, nurture it, and a harvest it (and I love all of those); but we cannot control how much rain our crop gets or the sunshine. Ultimately there is a point where we have to release control over the greatest need that our bodies have. We just have to trust that the seeds will germinate, grow, and flower to produce our sustenance. There is a faith to it. I love that.

Like I said- I love food.