Monday, January 28, 2013

Paleo Coffee Creamer


So, I am back to drinking coffee.  I like it.

I am not a coffee brand snob, but I do prefer it strong and with cream (and sometimes a splash of dark maple syrup).  Watery coffee is not worth drinking in my opinion.  Until recently, I've typically added full fat raw milk or cream to my coffee.  I have been looking for a wholesome, good fat, unsweetened, non-dairy coffee creamer for awhile.  It has been difficult, because nothing is just like fresh raw cream.  But in an attempt to be more paleo and to slowly wean ourselves off of raw milk and cream :(  because it may not always be available or worth the effort to obtain it, I have been keeping my eyes open for an alternative.

A few months ago I came across some suggestions for a primal coffee creamer.  I decided to attempt to recreate it myself.

Note: this does contain a raw egg, so use at your own risk.  The idea grosses me out, but then I can't count how many raw eggs I must have consumed over the years by licking mixing bowls and eating cookie dough.  It does make me feel a little better to use a fresh eggs from my local source for this.


Ingredients:
1 can full fat unsweetened coconut milk, chilled
1 egg
2 Tablespoons coconut oil, melted
splash of vanilla, optional


The original instructions said dump everything in and blend.
Store in the fridge for up to a week.

Here's what I did:
Dumped the milk and egg in the blender, and blended well.
I melted the oil and then added it super slowly (so as not to cook the egg) while the milk and egg were blending.  I don't know what the results would be without melting the oil first... let me know it works for you if you try it that way.



I have never liked the taste of coconut in my coffee, so I was skeptical about this recipe.  I tried it in my coffee this morning, with some maple syrup added, and I think it will do :)  It's not raw cream, but it doesn't taste coconut-y either.  My husband took it straight (no flavoring) with his coffee and his remark was "This is really good!"  So there ya go.  Perhaps tomorrow I'll add some vanilla to mine instead of maple syrup.  We will keep using this new creamer the rest of this week, and then I'll weigh in again here with my final verdict.  And store it in the fridge, sealed, please :)

(sharing this recipe here!)


Sunday, January 27, 2013

Weekly Menu


Hmm, what to eat this week...?

Breakfasts:
eggs, avocado, salsa
berry crumble (an experiment)
coffee with paleo creamer :)

Lunches:
tangy paleo meatballs (first time trying these) x2
turkey sausage and sweet potato hash x2
salmon burgers (a grain free version of these under the broiler)
raw veggies w/ homemade ranch, cheddar, or sunbutter
apples

School snacks:
fruit leather
veggie straws
raisins

Dinners:
start w/ organic salad greens & dressing
Sunday - easy chicken (first time trying this), roasted green beans
Monday - leftovers
Tuesday - cheap & easy korean beef over broccoli (paleofy like this)
Wednesday - leftovers
Thursday - baked asian-style salmon, peas
Friday - paleo chicken parmesan (no cheese), roasted green beans
Saturday - crock pot paleo chicken tortilla soup (no corn) topped w/ avocado

Dessert:
frozen banana & almond butter bites

Sorry for all the extraneous notes this week.

I'm calling this "no chop week" because I purposely picked dinners that I would not have to chop any vegetables for!  Yay!  Frozen vegetables and ready to eat salad greens are my friends.  As long as the broccoli is florets and does not include plain stem pieces (bleh).   For lunches, I will have to chop some celery, but that is easy.  And sweet potatoes - ugh.  I also bought baby carrots and grape tomatoes because they were on sale at Aldi.  Score.

I will have to make the lunch items the night before... but that should help the mornings to go smoother.

Deal of the week around here: 19¢ avocados at Aldi.  Crazy.  The are small and unripe, but I just put them with some bananas and they ripen within the week, usually. I bought 15.  If we can't eat them fast enough, I will mash them with some lime juice and freeze in zip top bags.  You don't have to love avocados to eat paleo, but we do :)

Have a good week!
sharing here:

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Weekend Art: Happy Heart

I am trying to enjoy doing more crafty things with my children.  I enjoy creating art.  They enjoy creating art.  It is a version of primal handicraft that we all like.  We just don't always make the time to do it together.  Last weekend, I was determined to paint while they painted.  It was theraputic until 2 of the 3 ended up in tears because I made the error of doing it right before nap/quiet time.  But I'm still glad we did it.  I let them paint whatever they wanted.  Here's what I made.

What can I say?  I have preschoolers.  We are into rainbows and hearts around here :)

I used the same materials as my children: crayola washable kids' paint, q-tips, and paper.  When it had dried, I cut it out and glued it to the solid side of a brown paper bag.  I put it in a painted wooden frame, minus the glass.  I am not a big Valentine's Day person, but there are just so many fun things you can make for the "holiday".  I may leave this up year round, though.

This makes me happy.  Call me a kid at heart.

(This post contains affiliate links.)

Friday, January 25, 2013

Thankful

So, I was feeling contemplative last weekend and started this list of things I was particularly thankful for on that day.

1. a good run after 3 weeks off (and thankful for some squat workouts in the meantime that kept my legs in working order)

2. a lazy weekend morning of making paleo pancakes, listening to some old school songs on pandora, blogging while the kids ride plasma cars in the basement, and hoping to do some reading, while ignoring the clean laundry pile that needed folding :)
 
Aaaaaaand that's about as far as I got before things got away from me during the week.

But now that we are back to the weekend, I need to say what a fun blog week it was - even though I didn't post anything new - I'm more of an after hours blogger, posting on the weekends :) - and that I am thankful for...

3. new visitors to this little blog of mine compliments of Pinterest, robbwolf.com (!), Facebook, Jo-Lynne, and others!

Hi all!! So glad you are here!

Regarding Pinterest: I love, love, love it!  You are welcome to pin my posts with my photos linking back to here.  And thank you.

Pinning/sharing/liking/commenting = love.  Go for it.

FYI, I did some behind the scenes work this week.  You can now pin posts to Pinterest straight from the practical paleo homepage.  If you hover the cursor over a photo, click the P icon that shows up and go from there.  It is supposed to pin that photo and the corresponding post.

OK, enough of that, I'm going to watch a movie now.

(This post contains affiliate links.)

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Weekly Menu

my get-well card a few weeks ago :)

Fingers crossed we stay healthy, because if not, this is going to make me want to barf.  Ha.  Some hearty (and aromatic) dinners this week.

Breakfasts:
the usual - eggs w/ salsa or fruit
smoothies
coffee, raw milk

Lunches:
deli roll-ups (turkey, salami, cheddar, spinach, tomatoes, peppers, olives, mustard)
nitrate free hot dogs
pickles
apples
carrots

School snacks:
fruit leathers
banana chips & cranberries
veggie straws

Dinners:
Sunday - balsamic roast beef, roasted vegetables, salad w/ dressing
Monday - leftovers
Tuesday - rosemary lemon chicken and broccoli
Wednesday - shawarma chicken salad (add avocado & goat cheese)
Thursday - beanless chili, salad
Friday - Against the Grain Gourmet frozen cheese pizza (add beef & peppers)*, homemade coconut milk ice cream
Saturday - chili goat cheese dip w/ celery

*My husband requested pizza this week, so I am going to try to stop by Whole Foods for our favorite grain free (but not dairy free) yet-otherwise-as-close-as-possible-to-the-real-thing frozen pizza.

What do you do for working out?
I like to fit in a workout from crossfit mamas a couple times a week.
I haven't been doing much running lately.  I like to think I am being "seasonal" :)  I'll pick it back up again when the weather warms...
Sometimes I wish my commute wasn't so dang long so I could actually go a real CF class, or at least get some heavy lifting coaching, but there's just no time for that to be a priority these days.  I'll have to be happy with a homemade workout.  You should be able to be healthy without having to pay for a class, right?  That's what I tell myself.

Yeah, I'm drinking coffee again.  I missed it too much!

(sharing and finding recipe inspiration here!)


And in the spirit of the day-

(printable here)

Have a great week!

Strapped In

I feel like I am strapped in for a roller coaster ride.  I chose to get on, I am choosing to stay on, but I won't necessarily love every second of the ride... or maybe I will, but I just don't know yet because it is just beginning.

I am someone who does well with both busy structure that keeps me moving along AND time to unwind, to process and create.  I feel a little insane when I have too much of one without the other.  And I am worried that is what the next 7 weeks will be: too much of the former, with no time to think.  I am not very good at concentrating if I don't get a chance to unplug my brain and let it wander now and then.

I'm taking an additional short term class that is going to fill up most of my weekends.  The time I usually need to organize my world and family after a hectic week and to prepare for the week ahead.  But.  It is only for 6 weeks.  Which is so short.  And my family is going to help me, bless them.  I just need to buckle down and get over it.  Just know that I will probably only be able to concentrate on whatever is right in front of my face at the time.  But if you know me personally, don't keep from giving me creative challenges, because those are what I get excited about and keep me motivated for the hard stuff.

And please forgive me if I go crazy.

OK, I feel better now :)

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Costco Shopping this Week

I think I am making up for being under budget the first part of the month.  And my kids are growing and eating more, sheesh.  The grocery budget has been the same for nearly 2 years (since we began paleo), except that instead of ages 3 and 1, the kids are now 5 and 3 = and eating more than ever.  A pound of meat used to be enough meat for one dinner for the 4 of us (with sides, sauces, veggies, salad, whatever else, etc.)  But it is hardly cutting it anymore.  We've cut back a lot on milk.  My oldest child hasn't been drinking much of it at all, which I am fine with, but then I have to buy other food to replace those calories.  Our milk (raw, from the farm) has been my convenient way to fill them up :)  Until now.  Now I have to chop or cook more :)

At the end of this week, I went to Trader Joe's (Thursday), Price Chopper (just a quick run in for a roast on sale), Costco (Friday), and Aldi (Saturday).  I may head to Hy-Vee on Tuesday before the specials change on Wednesday.  This week is not the norm.  I usually try to stick to 2 stores.  Let's just say there were several completely bare shelves in the fridge before I shopped!

Two little older ladies in Costco were munching on spaghetti samples as my daughter and I rolled by.  One peered into my basket and remarked to her friend, "Now there's a healthy cart!"  And then to me, "Good job, honey."  It was pretty cute.  I said thank you.

I know this is not a perfect shopping by any means, but here are my Costco items, from my most expensive grocery shopping trip this week.  Cheese?  Dairy? Yes.  Sigh.  They should last awhile.  I am trying to cut down on nuts for cost reasons, and I tend to put one or the other in lunches.

Costco $77


  • deli turkey
  • salami
  • Tillamook cheddar
  • goat cheese
  • Kerrygold butter
  • romain lettuce
  • celery
  • organic chopped squash
  • pears
  • bananas
  • avocados
  • sour cream
  • veggie straws (school snack)
I got lots of raw veggies today at Aldi since carrots, spinach, and tomatoes were on sale there.

The menu plan will be up tomorrow!

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Dijon Maple Chicken Thighs



We did something kind of big and scary over the weekend.
We bought a minivan.
Like, a mommy-mobile.  I always said I wouldn't drive one unless we had at least three kids, but ever since the baby went into the bigger baby/toddler carseat, our little Civic was just not working anymore.  I was having to unlock the toddler's door, get her in, walk around, get the baby in, go back to the toddler and buckle her and then walk around to the passenger side door and drop off the diaper bag and THEN get in myself.  And our car is parked a short walk away from our apartment, just off the street.  So I have to make sure to not let go of the toddler's hand at any point during this process until she is safely in the car.
AND carseats are just huge anymore.  So are my children.  And my legs are long.  So in order to make the bigger carseats and the bigger children FIT in the back of the Civic, I had to move the driver's seat up closer, which meant I had to drive with my leg at an angle in order to fit under the steering wheel, which wasn't so much unsafe as it was incredibly uncomfortable and pinchy on the nerves in my leg after more than about 10 minutes.  Very, very pinchy.
So we finally just did it.  We bought a new (to us) minivan.  It is blue.  We named him Jarvis.  If you don't get the reference, I'm sorry because you obviously aren't cool like we are.  We're really cool people, which is definitely obvious now since we own a minivan.
Did you know that even when you know exactly what you're looking for and you only test drive ONE CAR and the dealership is basically empty that it still takes THREE AND A HALF HOURS to trade in your car and get a new one?  That's a lot of time to entertain a toddler and keep a baby fed and happy.
So I'm tired today.  Which is why this recipe only has five ingredients and only takes two minutes to toss together in the crockpot.  So the next time you're having a tired and weary day, go ahead and make this.
Serves 4.
The Tools:
6 qt. crockpot
1/2 cup Dijon mustard
1/4 cup maple syrup
1 T red wine vinegar
1 T rosemary
1.5 - 2 lbs boneless chicken thighs, salt and pepper
The Process:
Plop chicken in the crockpot.  (Mine was still frozen solid.  I told you I was tired.)
Mix the rest of the ingredients together in a bowl.
Dump over the top of the chicken.
Cook on LOW for 8 hours or HIGH for 3-4 hours.  Check to be sure chicken is thoroughly cooked.  If your chicken is thawed, it will likely only take about 5-6 hours to cook on LOW or 3-4 hours to cook on HIGH, but again, always be sure to double check temperatures!  Different crockpots cook at different speeds.  The good news is this dish won't dry out if it's left in for a tad too long.
Note: the marinade actually turns into a really tasty sauce for this dish, so this would be paired perfectly with some riced cauliflower to sop it up!

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Shopping Paleo at Aldi + the Weekly Menu

I was trying to keep it simple and get everything at Aldi for this week (along with some beef, milk, and eggs from the farm).  Aldi was having some specials that I decided to take advantage of to get a couple gluten free convenience items to have on hand for packing meals.  I spent $73 on the following-




  • gf chicken nuggets
  • raw cheese
  • gf chips
  • fruit leather
  • cream cheese
  • bananas
  • grapefruit
  • pineapple
  • yellow onions
  • chicken breasts
  • grape tomatoes
  • bell peppers
  • ground turkey
  • sweet potatoes
  • canned salmon
  • sirloin
  • apples
  • diced tomatoes
  • ro-tel
  • tomato sauce
  • peas
  • green beans
  • broccoli
  • california veggie mix
  • carrots
  • zucchini
  • cottage cheese
Of course I forgot/couldn't find a few things - or we ate them already! :) - so I need to go back early this week and get-
  • romain lettuce
  • clementines
  • bananas
  • ground turkey
  • sweet potatoes
  • marinara sauce
And now the menu plan....

Breakfasts:
coffee, raw milk

Lunches:
five spice beef kabobs
sun butter apple sandwiches
cottage cheese
gf chips & raw cheese
fruit

Dinners:
Monday - taco salad
Tuesday - meat sauce over zucchini spaghetti
Thursday - chicken nuggets & veggies w/ homemade ranch dip
Friday - salmon burgers & sweet potatoes
Saturday - shepherd's pie (w/ sweet potatoes) my directions found here
Sunday - korean beef & broccoli

Yikes, that seems like a lot of cooking.  I plan to do it all in the evenings, though.  I guess it is not really so bad to cook once a day and eat 3 times, huh?  {insert whiney voice: "OMG, you mean I have to spend time COOKING my FOOD?!..."}  It is so ridiculous that we would even dare to complain about that, right?  I will mention it no more :)


Have a good week!


P.S. I added a few pages to my blog, tabbed at the top.  Mostly just categories of stuff I've already posted.


(sharing this post at Musings of a Housewife)

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Simple & Delicious: Grain Free Apple Crisp


So, two nights ago I was poking around my Pinterest boards and some blogs for some recipes for the menu plan next week.  I came across this paleo apple crisp and decided it would be a fun and fairly healthy weekend treat for our stay in movie night after the kids go to bed.  Since I was low on almond flour, I made my own adaptation, of course.  I was also out of maple syrup and on top of that feeling cheap.    So, instead of honey (as called for), I just used regular ol' white and brown sugar (in limited amounts) telling myself "sugar is sugar" after all.  Therefore, I don't think I can call it paleo apple crisp...

Here is the recipe I concocted and took photos of after dark last night :)

Fruit bottom:
4-5 granny smith apples, peeled and sliced
(I dipped them in lemon juice and drained the excess off.)

Topping:
1 cup almond flour
1/2 cup finely shredded dried, unsweetened coconut
1/2 cup arrowroot powder
1/4 cup white sugar
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 t. cinnamon
1/2 cup butter, softened

Place apples in 8x8 dish.  Mix topping and crumble over the apples.  Bake at 350 for 40 minutes.  Don't let it burn.


Serves 4.


YUM!

I should definitely not make this when I am alone or I will eat the whole pan :)

(sharing this recipe at Musings of a Housewife)


Sunday, January 6, 2013

Weekly Menu


Breakfasts:
(I think this has been on the menu a lot lately, but we've yet to make it recently.)
eggs, avocado
fruit

Lunches:
mini maple chicken sausages
celery & sunbutter or trail mix
fruit

School snacks:
cheddar, fruit leathers

Dinners:
Monday - paleo chicken parmesan (no cheese), salad w/ dressing
Tuesday - leftovers
Wednesday - carne asada lettuce wraps
Thursday - meat sauce over zucchini spaghetti, salad w/ dressing
Friday - meatloaf (make into meatballs) & peas
Saturday - leftovers
Sunday - cheap and easy korean beef & broccoli

Dessert:
cashew cookie babies

We're hitting the ground running this week!  It's gonna be an adjustment considering I need to be out the door with the munchkins at the time I've been waking up lately! :) Yikes. Hope it is a good one for you!

Find more recipe ideas here!

Saturday, January 5, 2013

2013

Thinking out-loud...

It has been both a good and rough transition to the new year this week.  Good in that we laid low, the kids played great together, I quit coffee, and I slept more than I have in a long time (no bags under my eyes!)  Bad in that 3/4 of us were sick - bleh - and I am still not at 100%.  I wasn't productive at home (because I was sleeping), neither did I work much, my paycheck will be smaller than normal... but all in all, it was a great week for hibernating.  I like to hibernate from time to time :)

And I discovered you can save a lot of money when you don't eat much!  Ha.  I seriously put off grocery shopping for 6 days.  My husband did make an emergency run to the store, once.  I think I will brave Costco tomorrow.

At times I want to include more personal elements in this blog, other times I do not... do you have a preference?  I enjoy reading things that are not always polished, that are streams of consciousness and a peek into people's lives, but I also don't want to waste people's time (or my time - which is sometimes hard to come by).  I write because I enjoy it and it helps me, and I hope that it helps some other people, too.  It is not my job or obligation, and I think that is why I like it and am able to continue it -- as an outlet.

If I do get a wild hair and decide to occasionally share non-food-related things here, know that I am only doing it for fun -- as an outlet and of course it is up to you whether you want to read it or not.  And I would hope that whatever I share, while might be labeled as personal or frivolous, will fit into the bigger picture of what paleo living means for me and my family.

On that note...

I did read a quick book on my Kindle app that I want to share. Tell Your Time by Amy Lynn Andrews.   It is a time management book.  I know what you're thinking, but just chill.  I had heard about it long ago, so it has been on my radar for awhile.  (PS - You can download the free Kindle app from Amazon to your computer or device.)  It is super fast to read - like less than 30 minutes, probably.  The book was free at the time I downloaded it, but it is currently $2.99 and free for Amazon Prime members.  Anyways.


Amy's approach (that I dutifully followed) for creating my to-do list/schedule was new to me.  Kind of backdoor and I loved it.  Amy leads you through a step by step process that efficiently sifts through the busy-ness and all the roles you play, and in the end you are left with your goals.  Amy says (I paraphrase): Your life goals are not some bucket list, they are the kind of person you want to be.  Then, from those goals, you decided what needs to be done for you to achieve them.  And those are the things that you use to build your weekly schedule.

Reading this book didn't drastically change anything on my to-do list/schedule, but it greatly improved my perspective.  It helped me see how things that are already on my crazy schedule aren't just me spinning my wheels, but are purposeful efforts toward my goals.  (And it helped me see what isn't!)  I actually created a weekly spreadsheet template of my proposed schedule for this semester... and whether I follow it carefully or not, I now have better clarity regarding what are my goals.... and hopefully I will slowly but surely continue to gain traction towards them :)

So, if you can use some clarity in this department, I do recommend her book.

OK, that was awful serious, can I write about favorite Christmas presents or make-up or something now? :)

(This post contains affiliate links.)

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Seattle Cioppino




My parents came to visit, so naturally Will and I got away for a date for the first time since the baby was born last summer.  My parents naturally flew thousands of miles to make snails out of Play-Doh with a toddler while we went out.
I'm working on my photography.  Bear with me, people...

Anyways, Will and I went down to Pike Place Market, and even though we've been here in Seattle for four months, I had yet to ever see it.  I *love* open air markets, and if I lived closer to one, I would absolutely do my shopping daily at one.  I love how something so mundane like buying food can be such an experience.  I actually look forward to shopping when it's not at a big box store with shopping cart corrals in the parking lot.  But I digress...
We had a blast.  And I even bought fish, mussels, scallops, crab and clams from the guys that throw fish like you see on the Food Channel.  They threw my fish.  People took pictures of my fish being thrown.  It was rather awesome.  My fish purchase was famous.  And delicious.
me at the Pike Place Fish Co.

This stew was obviously rather expensive to make with all of the fresh seafood, but it was absolutely worth it.  I modified this Will's Fisherman Stew recipe I found online to work with what I had (and what looked good at the market) and it was delicious.  Don't be scared by the ingredient list.  It's super easy to throw together.
We fed seven people for dinner that night, and even had two more bowls for a leftover lunch the next day.  Bust out this recipe for the next company gathering you have.  It will impress, I promise!
Serves 6-8.
The Tools:
6 qt. crockpot (you need quite a bit of space at the end for all the seafood - don't go any smaller!)
1 28 oz. can crushed tomatoes with juice
1 8 oz can tomato sauce
1 small onion, chopped
1 green pepper, chopped
1 cup dry white wine (I used a Sauvignon Blanc)
1/3 cup olive oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
4 T dried parsley (or about 1/2 cup fresh parsley, chopped)
1 tsp thyme
2 tsp basil
2 tsp oregano
1 tsp chili paste (more or less depending on how spicy you like it)
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp sea salt
dash cayenne pepper
1 lb. mussels
1 lb. clams
1 lb. white fish filet (I had tilapia), cubed
1 lb. scallops (I had bay scallops)
1/2 lb. crab meat (already cooked)
water (optional)
The Process:
Combine ingredients from the tomatoes to the cayenne pepper in the crockpot to form your soup base.  Stir it together and let it sit on LOW for 8-ish hours.  The onions and peppers should be cooked thoroughly.
After your soup base is done, take your mussels, clams, white fish and scallops and mix into the tomato-ey goodness.  Carefully stir it up, and if you think you need some more liquid, add some water to the pot.  I ended up adding about a cup of water to my base to thin it out a bit.
Turn the crockpot up to HIGH and let it cook for 30 minutes, gently stirring it around a bit every now and then.  After it's done, sort through the soup and fish out any mussels or clams that are still closed.  If they haven't opened by now, you don't want what they gots to offer.
Ladle into bowl and serve with a pinch of crab meat on top.  Enjoy!