Tales of A Paleo Mom

Whole 30 (attempting again!) and Unsloppy Joes Meat Mixture Recipe

I had planned on writing a long post about handling my stomach issues, but that has all changed. So instead you get the short version, a quick what’s going on now and then a recipe if you stick around that long.

Short version…At the end of May, I started doing a “leaky gut” protocol which I learned about online. I bought a bunch of supplements and started taking them. Shortly after, I talked with a nutritionist-in-training who agreed with what I was taking and thought I should also take HCl for low stomach acid. So I started taking that as well. And I was feeling good. My stomach was “normal-ish”, but I was consumed with taking pills three times a day and it was not cheap. We went on several vacations, and I did pretty well hauling all 7 of my bottle with me even to Hawaii. It was the last vacation that messed things up with a bit of drinking and a lot of eating…some not so healthy. During the last vacation, my stomach did okay and I just gradually stopped taking the pills because I just got lazy.  My stomach has been acting up a bit but that’s because it doesn’t like the crap I’m eating.  Point taken, Stomach, and it’s time for a change 🙂

What’s going on now…The last three days I have been attempting my 2nd Whole 30. I think this might be attempt number 6 or 7. I have had three good days of eating. I don’t think I am eating enough which has been a problem in the past I think, but no slip ups yet. The thought of having something like a little sugar in my coffee or a little dark chocolate has crossed my mind but I have been able to distract myself with things other than food. I am trying to eat more fats but that is another area I need to work on too. So far so good though.  And no more P90X3.  Back to real weights for me…Strong Curves.

Recipe…My son loves Unsloppy Joes and had requested them several times over the last couple weeks. It is basically Sloppy Joe mix rolled up in a croissant with cheese sprinkled on it and then baked. That ain’t going on my plate! Instead, I made the sloppy Joe mix from scratch and served mine over half a baked potato and used the rest to make the Unsloppy Joes for the rest of the gang. Everyone was happy!

Unsloppy Joes Meat Mixture

What you need…

  • 1 lb. grassfed ground beef
  • 1 Tb. coconut oil
  • 1/2 yellow onion, diced
  • 1/2 green bell pepper, diced
  • 2 cloves of garlic crushed
  • 1 14 oz. can tomato sauce
  • 1 TB. ancho chile powder
  • 1/2 heaping tsp. of cumin
  • salt and pepper to taste

What to do…

  1. Heat coconut oil in frying pan over medium heat.
  2. Once the oil is warm, add onion, bell pepper and crushed garlic.  Saute until soft, approximately 7-8 minutes.
  3. Add the ground beef and cook.
  4. Once the meat has been cooked, add the tomato sauce, chile powder, cumin and salt and pepper.  Stir to combine.
  5. Remove from heat and serve immediately.

Yum!  If I wasn’t doing a Whole 30, I probably would have topped mine with a little raw cheddar cheese….mmmmmm!

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Broccoli Slaw with Bacon

This has been a perfect side dish for our summer meals because it’s quick!  Most nights we throw something quick and easy on the grill and I whip up a batch.  Even the picky eaters in our family like this one!

What you need:

For the dressing…

  • 4 Tb. homemade mayo (check out my Minute Mayo recipe)
  • 3 TB. white vinegar
  • 1 Tb. raw honey

For the slaw…

  • 4 cups broccoli slaw
  • 1/4 cup bacon bits
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries, chopped
  • 1/4 cup pistachios, chopped

What to do…

  1. In a medium sized bowl, whisk together the dressing ingredients (mayo, vinegar, and honey).  Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, toss together broccoli slaw, bacon bits, cranberries, and pistachios.  Add dressing (as much as you like), toss and serve.

Note:  If you anticipate leftovers, do not add pistachios to the large bowl.  Instead, place in a small bowl and  sprinkle them on top of single servings once plated to avoid them getting mushy.

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No Excuses and Better With Chocolate Chips Banana Mini Muffins

It’s been a while.  A long while.  Lots has gone on and I will be writing about that in a long post soon to come.

Today…just a delicious, simple recipe my whole family loves, and I always have the ingredients on hand for to whip up a quick batch.  I found the recipe on Pinterest (addicted to Pinterest currently!) while attempting my fourth try at #2 Whole 30 (that’s a whole post of its own as well).  I changed the original recipe up by cutting it in half and making mini muffins.  My first batch was without chocolate chips because I thought I was doing a Whole 30.   Once I stopped my Whole 30, I changed the recipe by adding mini chocolate chips…because everything is better with chocolate.

This was my first batch without chocolate chips when I thought I was trying to do Whole 30.

Aren’t they cute!  This was my first batch (believe or not without chocolate chips…what?!?!?!?)  when I thought I was trying to do Whole 30.

Better With Chocolate Chips Banana Mini Muffins

(adapted from todaysletters.com, Grain Free Banana Muffins)

Makes 12 mini muffins

What you need…

  • 2 spotted bananas (original recipe called for 3 spotted bananas but since I cut it in half I used 2 smaller spotted bananas)
  • 3/4 c. raw cashews
  • 1/2 c. almond flour
  • 1 Tb. coconut oil
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla
  • 1/4 tsp. cinnamon
  • pinch of salt
  • coconut oil to grease muffin tins
  • 1/4 c. mini chocolate chips (optional)

What to do…

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Grease mini muffin tins.
  2. Grind cashews in food processor until ground into a fine meal.
  3. Add coconut oil and blend until consistency is cashew butter.  (This takes a while.  Be patient.)
  4. Add the bananas and blend until well combined.
  5. In a separate bowl (medium size), whisk egg.  Then add cashew banana mixture along with almond flour, baking soda, baking powder, vanilla, cinnamon, and salt.  Mix until batter forms.
  6. If adding chocolate chips (and why won’t you!), mix into batter now.
  7. Pour batter into greased muffin tins filling each about 3/4 full.
  8. Bake for 12 minutes or until muffins are cooked through.
  9. Let muffins completely cool on a rack before storing (if they last that long!).



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April Challenge and Minute Mayo Recipe

So I am at it again with the challenge thing.  But April is going to be different…really!  Instead of going at it alone, I am doing a squat challenge with my sister and a few friends (if they all commit!).  Working out with others is a great way to stay motivated and committed, or at least I am hoping it is :).  So I will be starting tomorrow morning with 30 squats…definitely doable.

About a year ago, I tried making mayonnaise using my food processor and blender.  Both appliances got too warm and broke the emulsion (I think that’s what it’s called!), so I gave up after two failed attempts.  Then I found a few recipes using an immersion blender and discovered how easy it was to make homemade mayo using this method.   I love making this mayo.  It is super easy and tasty!  My husband likes this homemade mayo better than “regular” processed one on grocer store shelves.  The best part it is there are only a few ingredients which are staples in most kitchens, and it really takes 1 minute to whip up.

Minute Mayo Recipe (Whole 30 friendly)

What you need…

  • 1 large egg, at room temperature (I have also used an egg out of the fridge and it worked fine.)
  • juice from half of a lemon
  • squirt of Dijon mustard (about a tsp.)
  • 1/2-1 tsp. of salt
  • 1 cup mild tasting oil (I use walnut oil.  Be careful not to make with regular olive oil…it doesn’t taste all that great.  If using olive oil, get the light kind.  You’ll thank me!)

What to do…

  1. In an immersion blender cup/container thing, crack the egg.  Add the lemon juice (watch for seeds!), mustard and salt.
  2. Place the immersion blender into the cup/container and begin to blend.
  3. With the blender running, slowly pour in the oil.  It will take 10-15 seconds before it begins to emulsify.  Keep pouring the oil until all has been added.
  4. Continue to blend until all the oil has been combined.
  5. Place in a container and refrigerate.

Some people say it can be kept in the fridge for one week and others say up to three weeks.  When it starts to smell funky or tastes weird, it’s time to make a new batch…if it lasts that long.

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Recipes I Have Made and You Should Too

Just a quick post because I wanted to be in bed an hour ago…

Not my recipes, but they are delicious and you should make them now…seriously!

Current favorite…Cinnamon French Toast Panna Cotta from Stupid Easy Paleo – I have been eating mine without the bacony goodness because I am too lazy to throw it in the oven.  Next time, which will be tomorrow because I at ate it all in two days…myself…no sharing.

Best Banana Bread ever…Coffee Cake Banana Bread from PaleOMG (random thought…why call it coffee cake if there’s no coffee in it???) – Everyone likes it (even my mother-in-law) which is actually not a good thing.  Less for me 😦

Weird but I loved it…Broccoli Bread from Purely Twins – sometimes you just need to try something new…ate this today for lunch with Applegate ham and LOVED it!  AND…my broccoli HATING husband ate this (his whole piece) and said it wasn’t that bad – that’s huge.  I successfully got him to eat a green veggie without gagging!

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March Challenge Update and Smashingly Good Flank Steak in a Flash Recipe

I am happy to report things are going well with the family’s healthy eating (with the exception of pizza consumed by my husband at a work function).

My only complaint with the change is I am spending way too much time in the kitchen. I am fixing dinner and then prepping meals for the following day. I feel like I am in the kitchen from the time I walk in the door until I go to bed. I can’t complain too much because everyone is eating the foods I am making, so I know it’s worth the extra time. I will be trying to do more prep this weekend to avoid some of this during the upcoming week which is going to be crazy due to report cards and parent teacher conferences.

Our menu changed a couple nights this week. The pizza chicken rolls I had planned for Tuesday are a bit of work. So instead of butterflying, stuffing and rolling them, I pounded the breast so they were even in thickness, topped with pizza sauce and our toppings, and baked in oven at 350 for 20-25 minutes. Just as tasty, even without the bacon, and a lot less work.

Last night my husband had his work function and asked that I save our smashed steak dinner for a night he was home, so I fixed burgers and subbed lettuce for buns.

Tonight was smashed steaks. Super easy, delicious and fast (recipe below). I served it with roasted peppers and onions and my balsamic sauce. Mmmmmm….

Tomorrow night will be pulled pork from Primal Cravings. My daughter is concerned it won’t be the same with out bread…hoping she will be pleasantly surprised.

Ahhhhhh…I’m running a 5k on Sunday with my sister, brother in law and dad, who is turning 70 on Sunday. I know it’s only three miles, but I HATE running and am running it with experienced runners. My training program fell apart when I got sick, and it’s been rough getting back into a routine. My goal is to run the whole thing…crossing my fingers and toes on that one.

Smashingly Good Flank Steak in a Flash

What you need…
-one flank steak (for a family of 5, I usually get a 1.5 to 2 lb. steak which usually doesn’t leave any leftovers)
-1-2 Tb. Kerrygold butter, melted
-salt and pepper

What you do…
1. Cut the flank steak lengthwise. Then cut each long strip into eight equal pieces. You will end up with 16 pieces total.
2. One at a time, take a piece of steak and stand it up on its side. Pound with a meat mallet until about 1/4 inch thick. Continue
with remaining pieces.
3. Take melted butter and brush the pounded steak. Salt and pepper if desired.
4. BBQ. They don’t take long since they aren’t very thick. Just a couple minutes. Don’t overcook!
5. Let rest for a few minutes before serving. Enjoy!
*I like mine just like this, but the rest of the family likes this steak with my balsamic sauce.

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Butternut Squash, Italian Sausage and Kale Soup

When my CSA box from farmfreshtoyou came, I had no idea what do to with some of the vegetables.  The fruit, lettuce and sweet potatoes were eaten within the first few days.  I had a butternut squash and a head of Lacinato kale sitting in my vegetable bin wasting away.  I had no idea what to do with them.  Then after a little thought and a family sick with the flu, I thought soup was just what I needed to stay healthy and use up the veggies.  It came out very tasty (if I can brag a little) and definitely something I would make again.  I even think the rest of the family would have liked it…if I would have shared.

Butternut Squash, Italian Sausage and Kale Soup

What you need…

  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 Tb, olive oil
  • 3-4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 4 c. chicken broth
  • 4 c. water
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. pepper
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tsp. rosemary
  • 1/2 of a butternut squash, peeled, seeded and chopped
  • 1 lb. pork sausage (I accidentally used hot… a little spicy but I liked it)
  • 1 lb. kale, washed, ribs removed and coarsely chopped

What to do…

  1. In a stock pot, heat oil over medium-high heat.  Once hot, add onion and saute 4-5 minutes.  Add garlic and saute 1 more minute.
  2. Add broth, water, salt, pepper, bay leaf and rosemary.  Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer.  Simmer for 20 minutes.
  3. After the 20 minutes of simmering, add squash and simmer an additional 30 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, brown sausage and drain.
  5. After the 30 minutes, add kale and sausage.  Simmer for another 12-15 minutes.
  6. Enjoy!

Now What?

Drum roll please…

I finished my last workout of the Strong Curves program last night week (started this post last week and never finished…oops)!  Woo hoo!  My 10 year old son asked what we were going to do to celebrate…love that kid!

Here is one of the first workouts I did…

photo 3(4)

The numbers following the lift are the sets and reps recommended by the program. The numbers circled are what I completed for that day’s workout.

Here is the last workout I completed tonight last Sunday…

photo 2(4)

Again, following the lifts are the sets and reps recommended. In parenthesis, I listed what I was able to do in the previous workout and the numbers on the far right are what I completed that workout. A little confusing…sorry!

The program begins with body weight (BW) exercises to get you familiar with the movements, but I sure felt those in the beginning.  Now, I can hip thrust between 155 lbs. to 185 lbs. depending on which method I use.  In most other areas, I made some improvements and a few (shoulders and pull ups) have stayed about the same.

I am not sure where to go from here.  I had mentioned in an earlier post I wanted to get back into Crossfit type workouts, but working out at home with limited equipment can make that challenging plus at my age I don’t need any injuries.  I don’t want to loose any small gains I have made over the past seven months.  So not sure what is next as far as workouts.

I have been continuing with running/walking three days a week.  I am on week four of a couch to 5k training program.  Yesterday, I ran for a total of 16 minutes and thought I was going to die.  It wasn’t even 16 minutes straight.  With all this love for running, I signed up to run a neighborhood 5k with my sister, brother in law, and dad on my dad’s actual 70th birthday, March 9.

Update on the 30 day challenge, it was a dumb idea to start with the plank challenge.  Actually, it was a dumb idea to not do more research or put more thought into what my first challenge should be.  The plank challenge seemed easy…but it sucked.  Or I suck.  Either way, I am not doing it.  I am thinking that my challenges aren’t going to be workout related because it was a little too much.  I will be attempting a different challenge again next month which may be smarter because February is a shorter month, so it actually won’t be a 30 day challenge.  And I am going to put a little more thought and planning into my monthly challenge.  No more planking.

Quick and delicious recipe I have been meaning to post….

Shaved Brussels Sprouts with Shallots, Cranberries and Pistachios

What you need…

  • 1 bag of Trader Joes shaved Brussels sprouts (or 10 oz. shaved Brussels sprouts
  • 1 shallot, chopped
  • 1-2 Tb. olive oil
  • 1/4 c. dried cranberries, chopped
  • 1/4 c. pistachios, chopped
  • salt and pepper to taste

What to do…

  1. Heat oil in large frying pan over medium heat.
  2. Once heated, add shallot to pan and saute for 3-4 minutes.
  3. Add Brussels sprouts and toss to coat.  Cook until Brussels sprouts softened, about 6-8 minutes.
  4. Remove from heat and stir in cranberries and pistachios.  Salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Optional:  For those that do dairy, you could sprinkle with Parmesan cheese just before serving.

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Just a Quickie

The good news…tonight’s dinner was quick…just the way I like it 🙂

The bad news…everyone liked it so much, there were no leftovers for my lunch tomorrow 😦

Mini Bacon Meatloaves with Hidden Veggies

What you need…

  • 1.25 lb of ground beef (I used organic ground beef from Costco which is prepackaged and approximately 1 1/4 lb.)
  • 1 tsp. sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp. fresh ground pepper
  • 1 tsp/ dried parsley
  • 1 tsp. onion powder
  • 1 large carrot, grated
  • 1 handful spinach, cut up
  • 2 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 3 pieces of bacon, cut up

What to do…

  1. Preheat oven to 350.  Line a cookie sheet with foil for easy clean up and then place a cookie rack on top.
  2. Mix all of the ingredients together in a large bowl.
  3. Form six mini meatloaves and place on cookie rack.
  4. Place mini loaves in oven and bake 20-30 minutes.  (The time will depend on the thickness of your loaves.)
  5. Serve with homemade ketchup.

I served the mini loaves with mashed potatoes (for the SAD eaters) and sauteed green beans.  I will definitely make this (and double the recipe) again soon.

I got my second Stitch Fix today.  I love getting those boxes!  I tried everything on and had my 10 year old son snap some pictures.  That was interesting…he was sitting on the ground and shooting up towards me.  Bad idea.  So I will be modeling the items again for my 13 year old daughter and snapping a few more pictures (hopefully to post) before deciding what I am keeping and what I am sending back.  My sister and I are trying to coordinate our next “fix” so we can try our stuff on together.  That will result in some fun pictures…no doubt!

I’ll be posting more later this week about brushing with “dirt”, how my new year goals are going, and pictures from my “fix”.

Have a great week!

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Glazed Carrots

Three days!  It is going to be a LONG three days.  I am counting down the days until winter break.  This has been a tough school year, and the break is much needed!

So…several weeks ago, I stated that I was “quitting Paleo”.  When I said I quit, I really meant that I was going to be less strict and was putting items like oatmeal and quinoa back into my diet.  Nothing crazy but felt like the way I was eating was restrictive to some degree.  Guess what?  I am not a quitter!  My eating is back to paleo/primal without me even thinking about it.  I think I ventured off my regular eating once or twice!  It is sort of strange because it really has been a lifestyle.  It was never about a “diet’ for me but more about healing my stomach.  I am not super strict and still include things like grassfed dairy, raw cheese, or (gasp) a potato or white rice now and again.  I just realized that not only is it important to eat healthy foods that don’t irritate my stomach, but it is also really important to enjoy what I am eating because that is when things go bad!

Speaking of enjoying foods, I have been eating quite a few treats and found a link for a free dessert recipe book in my in box this morning!  Merry Early Christmas to me!  And to you too now because I am sharing the link with you!  Check out this link for a FREE paleo dessert recipe book. (I only skimmed the book, but a couple recipes caught my eye.)  It is a Kindle book, so you need a Kindle or the Kindle app to read it.

I had carrots from Trader Joe’s in the fridge hanging out for a while and decided that we needed to eat them a couple nights ago.  There was a recipe on the bag that I tweaked a little bit, and it still came out delish!  My son, who didn’t even want to try them, went back for seconds.  They will definitely be part of our veggie rotation.

Glazed Candy Carrots

What you need

  • 1 pound organic carrots, sliced into 1/4 inch thick disks
  • 1 1/2 TB butter
  • 2 TB orange juice
  • 2 TB maple syrup
  • pinch of cinnamon
  • sprinkle of cayenne pepper
  • salt and pepper to taste

What to do…

  1. Melt butter over medium heat in a large skillet.
  2. Once melted, add the maple syrup, orange juice, cinnamon and cayenne.  Stir.
  3. When the liquid mixture has been heated, add carrots.
  4. Stir occasionally. Cook for 15-20 minutes or until the carrots are lightly browned and the liquid has cooked off (it actually cooks down and coats the carrots).  Season with salt and pepper.  Serve.
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