Long Time No Blog!

So…it’s been awhile. A lot has happened since Thanksgiving and I really meant to post a Thanksgiving update, but that just didn’t make it. So I’ll do a quick post then update you on why I have been absent.

We had a happy Paleo Thanksgiving, and for some reason I didn’t take pictures of the turkey…sad because it turned out pretty good! We bought a turkey at Trader Joe’s. I used the following recipes for the meal:

 

Clean Green Bean Casserole by Detoxinista (It was okay…)

 Paleo Thanksgiving Stuffing by PaleOMG (YUM would make this again for sure!)

 Paleo Cranberry Sauce by Multiply Delicious (Another success here too!)

 

My mom made deviled eggs and then we made some mashed potatoes. My mom also made her awesome made from scratch gravy. We used corn starch instead of flour. We had to have the mashed potatoes because I really think my brother would die if we didn’t have those on the table.

Paleo Stuffing Mmm so good!

Paleo Stuffing Mmm so good!

Cranberry Sauce

Cranberry Sauce

 

For dessert I made an apple crisp and had a smaller Paleo friendly version for me and Dane. I also made a Paleo pumpkin pie, but it didn’t turn out right, so I didn’t serve it.  So before we sat down and ate…I said grace and during grace I thanked God for blessing Dane and me with a baby! Which was great news to my family.

 So that is why I have been super busy! I have been overwhelmed with planning my new life with a baby in it. Right now I am just about 12 weeks. My blood sugars have been amazing and so far I haven’ t had any morning sickness. We put the Paleo diet on hold but we plan on restarting it again.

I know I shouldn’t have, but pregnant me had to make fried chicken….and oh it was the best fried chicken. Dane loved it so much that he ate it within seconds. He never eats all the meat off the bones, which I’m constantly yelling at him that he’s wasting food, but not with this chicken. There wasn’t any meat on any of the bones on his plate. If you feel like being unhealthy and eating a very unfriendly Paleo meal…then you can find the recipe HERE, thanks Paul Deen!

The broccoli was Paleo...

The broccoli was Paleo…

We will be finding out soon within the next few weeks whether we’re having a girl or a boy. We are going to find out because I’m already having issues thinking of names. We are going to keep trying to eat healthy, and do our best to stick with a Paleo diet or at least gluten free.

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Oh Yum!

Last night I came home pretty late from work…it was a rough day. I had asked Dane to make burgers and sweet potato fries since he will be home before me, but I realized he had soccer and so dinner was not made. I was starving, and so staying up a little late to make a good meal was okay with me. Instead of the sweet potato fries, I made sweet potato pancakes and used them as the buns. I also had some bacon and threw that on top of the burger with some home-made mayo. The burger was tougher than I wanted it to be, but that was my fault, I probably mixed the meat too much. Oh well, it was still a good meal!

Tonight I had to make the expensive pork chops and didn’t really have a recipe in mind. I looked up different pork chop recipes and found one by Paula Deen that’s Paleo friendly! Here’s the recipe:

Maple Glazed Pork Chops

Original recipe by Paul Deen

Ingredients

4 teaspoons chili powder

1 t sea salt

4 boneless pork chops, or you can use bone in chops, the original calls for 6 (10 0z) chops

2 T coconut oil

3 T balsamic vinegar

1/2 c Pure Maple Syrup

1/2 c chicken stock

Directions

Combine chili powder and salt. Sprinkle it over both sides of the pork.

Heat coconut oil in large skillet over med-high heat. Brown both sides of the pork chops. Then reduce the heat to medium, and cook until the meat is done.

While the meat is cooking, start on the glaze. In a small skillet, heat balsamic vinegar over med-high heat. Cook until it’s reduced by half. Then stir in the syrup and stock. Reduce the heat to medium and cook until it’s thick and syrupy. By the time the meat is done, your glaze should be ready. Paula says it takes about 5 minutes but it took a little longer for mine to thicken up.

Transfer to plate and pour glaze over the chops or serve on the side.

 

As a side, I roasted some spiced butternut squash and pineapple. I just sprinkled it with chili powder, paprika, cinnamon and salt. Drizzled some coconut oil and roasted in the oven for 25-30 minutes at 400 degrees F.

Wow, this dinner was like eating a dessert! We probably shouldn’t make this one as often because it’s so sweet, but wow is it good! I wonder if the pork would taste as good with regular priced pork chops? I guess I’ll have to make it again and find out….ha!

It’s not really a pretty dish but trust me, it’s very yummy!

Maple Glazed Pork Chops with Roasted Butternut Squash and Pineapple

 

Winter is Coming!

So yesterday was another beautiful 70 degree day except very windy. So windy, that it blew our patio furniture all over the place. We did our weekly grocery shopping and went to Trader Joe’s.  The nearest Trader Joe’s is about 30 minutes away from us but it’s worth it. So since the day was so nice, we decided to grill. We went to a local butcher shop and spent way too much money on meats…but I know they will be tasty. We bought some salmon for yesterday, short ribs for tonight, and pork chops for later in the week. It was the pork chops that were so expensive. That was the only meat we didn’t actually see the price of and so when the butcher said “bone-in or boneless” I made a quick decision and said boneless. As we walked to the register, I looked down and saw were spending $30 for 4 chops! Ugh! These better be good for this price.

So for dinner I made Grilled Salmon with a Citrus Salsa Verde, originally made by Giada De Laurentiis. The only thing that I subbed was the Agave Nectar. We used maple syrup instead. Since Dane is great at grilling, I had him grill the salmon and I made the salsa and the Cilantro Cauli-Rice (Practical Paleo). It was so windy that Dane had trouble controlling the fire, but everything turned out great. Though the Cauli rice tastes nothing like rice, I thought it was delicious. Who knew that there were so many ways to prepare Cauliflower!

Grilled Salmon with Citrus Salsa Verde and Cilantro Cauli-Rice

So originally I was going to make pork-chops today, but Dane begged to make the braised short rib recipe. What a perfect, cold, rainy day to make short ribs that will stew all day in the kitchen. Dane thinks I’m weird with food and weather, but I totally love to make soups or chili’s on cold winter days. I think we’ve seen the last of our beautiful weather, so that is why grilling that salmon yesterday was a good plan. I hope we have the same kind of winter we did last year…cold but not miserable and no snow!

Here’s our planned menu for the week:

Sunday

L: Left Over  Cauli Rice

D: Basalmic Braised Short Ribs (Practical Paleo)

 

 Monday

L: left overs

D: Burgers with Sweet Potato Wedges

 

Tuesday

L: Salad

D: Andouille  Chicken Sausage with onions and peppers

 

Wednesday

L: Left overs

D: Pork chops with Roasted Butternut Squash and Pineapple

 

Thursday:

L: Left Overs

D: Chicken  Piccata with Mased Cauliflower (I’ll post the recipe later in the week)

 

Friday:

L: Left Overs

D: No ideas yet!

 

Southwestern Stuffed Squash Yum!

The weather was beautiful today, which is nice since I didn’t have to work today. Though I spent most the day cleaning and doing laundry. I always feel like this is what I do on my days off. When I work a few days in a row, Dane destroys the house. He cooked the other night and it was a disaster in the kitchen. It gets a bit frustrating when I only have one day off and I have to spend it cleaning. I did have time to experiment in the kitchen a bit. I attempted another batch of pumpkin muffins. I found a recipe that was pretty similar to the Practical Paleo one but it had a whole can of pumpkin instead. Well it turned out horrible. The tops burnt but the insides stayed very mushy. Plus, they tasted horrible. What a waste of pumpkin! I will figure out the perfect muffin though, I know it!

As planned for the week, I made a southwestern style stuffed acorn squash. You can find the original recipe HERE. We only had one large acorn squash instead of two. I also used ground beef (organic, grass-fed and hormone free of course!) and added some extra spices. Dane likes spicy food, I like somewhat spicy so I added a little red pepper. I also added Emeril’s Essence Seasoning, not store-bought. We love this seasoning mix, so I had made a huge batch awhile ago. I think next time I make this I’ll add a green pepper to it too and maybe cilantro. We loved it though. The sweetness of the acorn squash was perfect mixed with the savory spicy beef mix. Dane gobbled it all up. I ate half of mine and I’m saving the rest for lunch tomorrow. I just scooped out the squash and then topped it with the mix. Can’t wait till lunch time at work tomorrow!

Southwestern Stuffed Acorn Squash

 

Plan Plan Plan Ahead!

Coming into this we knew that we had to plan our meals ahead but gosh this is so time-consuming! I’m happy I had the weekend off so I could plan our meals this week. Last week, since I had to work, it was hard to plan a menu so we were pretty much just “winging-it” every day. For lunches we had salads, Dane went out to Chipotle one day. He had a rice bowl, but it still bloated him. I told him to be careful with rice, since it can disrupt your gut. He isn’t too pleased about this. We also tried Spin! gluten-free pizza. I really enjoyed the gluten-free crust and we both agreed we preferred it over regular crust. The only issue is the cheese. I can be lactose sensitive at times, and since we haven’t been eating dairy for the past two weeks I think my gut was not ready to consume goat cheese. We also tried gluten-free buns at a restaurant called Blanc Burgers and Bottles.  They are very gluten-free friendly. I had their bison burger which was very delicious! We really don’t plan on eating out a lot because there are still risks of eating non-paleo items. Plus it’s expensive enough with this new lifestyle, so eating out just adds up.

This is a picture of our dinner from last Friday. We made Herb Roasted Chicken Quarters with Toasted Coco seasoned Califlower (Well Fed Paleo)

Yesterday we attempted to make Pumpkin Pancakes from Practical Paleo. Dane is not a big egg person. I noticed the recipe was basically just pumpkin and eggs. Our first batch looked and tasted too much like a pumpkin omelet. We didn’t have any coconut flour on hand, but we did have some almond meal. I sprinkled some of that in the batter and Dane liked the texture better. I think next time we’ll use the coconut flour in the batter. Today, I experimented with making pumpkin muffins. I LOVE pumpkin and one of my favorite muffins was from Panera Bread Company. I again used a recipe found in  Practical Paleo, but wasn’t pleased with the result. It used a lot of eggs again, and very little pumpkin. I added a 1/2 cup of pumpkin instead of 1/4 cup. I also added dark chocolate chips to the mix since we didn’t have dried cranberries. It still had a very eggy texture, but it wasn’t too bad. I need to experiment with this more, but for now it will be good for breakfast and on the go things.

Dane and I also got to Facetime our good Paleo friends, Mike and Amber today. They moved to California last Spring I believe and have been doing Paleo for over a year. We were so happy to play catch up and get some good tips on Paleo living. They suggested a recipe that we decided to make for dinner tonight. I made Sweet Potato Sausage and Spinach Hash, which was very delish! We used spicy Italian chicken sausage since we like a little bite to our meals. I also doubled the recipes so we could have more leftovers. Thanks Amber for the great idea!! You can follow Amber’s Paleo blog HERE.

So here is the plan for this week, hopefully we stick to it!!

Sunday

Breakfast: Eggs and Bacon

Lunch: Pumpkin muffins and Blueberry Maple Syrup Breakfast Sausage from Whole Foods (this was some good stuff!)

Dinner: Sweet Potato Sausage and Spinach Hash

Monday

Breakfast: Muffins

Lunch: Left over Hash

Dinner: Pumpkin Soup and Mustard Chicken Thighs

Tuesday

Lunch: left over soup or hash

Dinner: Gluten Free Chicken Cranberry Meatballs (Dane is making this)

Wednesday

Lunch: Leftovers

Dinner: Almond Crusted Chicken and a Veggie

Thursday

Lunch: Salad/Leftovers

Dinner: Paleo South of the Border Stuffed Acorn Squash (using ground beef instead of ground turkey)

Friday

Lunch: Salad/Leftovers

Dinner: No idea yet!!

 

Successful Week 1

We are on week 2 and I need to plan our meals for the week. I find it hard sometimes planning because I work on such odd days. I make my own schedule but it’s months ahead of time and so I have no idea why I schedule myself the way I do sometimes. For instance, I just worked Friday, Saturday and Sunday. I was off Monday then work Tuesday and Wednesday. It’s exhausting when you work 12 hour shifts, constantly up on your feet all day and especially when you have to deal with patients, doctors and family of patients. Not that I don’t like my job, I love it. It’s very rewarding. The other day I had a 91 year old man tell me that he was so honored to have met me in his lifetime. He was tearing up and squeezed my hand tight. I get along with most of my patients and enjoy caring for them. Work gets in the way with cooking though. I usually get home around 8:00pm and I’m too exhausted to cook. Usually, I have Dane cook a meal for us, or if I didn’t work the day before I will have leftovers ready for us. So far though, last week went pretty well. Here’s our menu from last week:

Monday

Lunch: Leftover Squash Soup

Dinner: Chicken and Veggie Coconut Curry Stir Fry. (Dane made this up)

Tuesday

Lunch: Left over stir fry for Dane and Omelet for me

Dinner: Bacon and Apple Stuffed Pork Chops with Coconut Butter Stuffed Acorn Squash (Practical Paleo)

Wednesday

Lunch: Leftovers

Dinner: Chicken Spring Salad with Left over Squash Soup ( I just made a Lemon Coconut Oil dressing on some fresh veggies and Spinach/arugula.)

Thursday

Lunch: Left Over salad

Dinner: Italian Stuffed Peppers (Practical Paleo)

Friday

Lunch: Left over peppers

Dinner: Breakfast for dinner (bacon and eggs)

Saturday

Lunch: Salad at work

Dinner: Balsamic Braised Short Ribs (Practical Paleo)

Sunday

Lunch: Leftovers

Dinner: Chicken Sausage with sauteed mixed veggies

Stuffed Italian Peppers

Stuffed Italian Peppers

Apple Bacon Stuffed Pork Chops
Apple Bacon Stuffed Pork Chops

Semi-Fall

You never know what kind of weather you’re going to get in the Midwest. A few weeks ago it was chilly around 50 degrees and now it’s a partly cloudy 80 degree day. So it’s my day off and what did I do? I experimented in the kitchen Paleo style!  The other day, I was very close to buying a variety of coconut butter flavors. Then, I looked up how to make coconut butter and saw how easy it is to make. All you have to do is blend organic unsweetened coconut flakes. How easy is that?!

I recommend buying a Vita-Mix if you don’t have one already. This machine is amazing and has come in handy with our healthy eating. I actually wasn’t able to find organic coconut flakes but I did find the unsweetened kind. All I did was throw a bag in the machine and instant coconut butter. I tried it and really wasn’t too amused with just the plain flavor. Though, having a plain jar around might come in handy with some recipes… I LOVE chocolate and have been craving it so badly. So I poured in some coco powder, added a teaspoon of vanilla, and some cinnamon. Mmmm what a treat! You can eat it right out of the jar, or use it as a dip or spread. I dipped some banana chips in them today and it was a perfect little snack. I didn’t eat much because I was kinda full from taste testing.

So since I only had one more bag of coconut left, I decided to make a pumpkin flavored butter. I made the coconut butter first, then added two spoonfuls of organic pumpkin, some cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and ginger. You can also do pumpkin spice but I didn’t have any on hand. I mixed it up and WOW. I love pumpkin so much and this is exactly what I needed for the day. It will be a nice Fall treat! I decided to make a regular Pumpkin Butter with the remaining can of pumpkin. I just threw that in a pot with some leftover homemade applesauce, cinnamon, ginger, cloves and nutmeg. Set it on High to boil for a bit then simmered for an hour. Another yum snack! I also discovered this butter is great for your skin. I spread some on my peeling arm, (part of my arm was sunburned from my vacation) and then rinsed it off with butter. I patted my skin dry and not only is my skin moisturized but smells good too. Though, I don’t think I will be doing this often.

 

The other day my mom was passing through Kansas City on her way up to Minnesota to see a friend. I decided to make a Fall themed dinner and made a Butternut Squash soup with Mustard Chicken Thighs and Broccoli.

I found the Mustard Chicken Thigh recipe in my new book that I’m reading PracticalPaleo. I based my soup off a recipe I found on Modern Paleo: The Blog I spiced it up with some cayenne pepper, used organic gluten free veggie broth instead of chicken and added more carrots since I only had small carrots.  Very delish!

 

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