Archive for Nutrition

The Only Paleo Chocolate Chip Cookie

paleo choc chip cookies

I have never baked a better cookie. Even when I consumed white sugar and bleached flour and god knows what else- never tasted anything better from my kitchen. These will be in my repertoire FOR-EV-ER, so I had to get the recipe down as soon as quickly as possible. These cookies are crispy and delightfully chewy, like every cookie should be!

Tis the season for decadence, right?  And these are surely that (for me). I don’t EVER eat baked goods, paleo or not. I bake cookies twice a year, which I suppose is why it took over 4 years of eating paleo to perfect my chocolate chip cookie recipe! My point is, you should make these for your annual cookie swap or christmas party, for those who may be paleo or gluten-free OR you could just make them for your family and not say a word. You see, almond meal has infinitely more nutrition than white flour AND it’s way more filling, which is why after 3 cookies, I’m writing this absolutely stuffed. These are perfect for staying on a diet/regime, but they’re also fulfilling for those of us who want to walk on the wild side and indulge during the holidays.

I’ve annotated my recipe for those of you who may be like me, and not natural bakers. Thus, I’ve justified each ingredient and why you can’t sub it out– hope this helps!

PERFECT Paleo Chocolate chip cookies (makes about 18)

  • 1/2 cup of browned ghee (ghee is paleo butter because it lacks dairy and casein. Brown your ghee in a sauce pan on low heat or use butter if you are not lactose intolerant. To “brown” butter, you really just want it a shade darker than yellow/golden to achieve a caramel/nutty taste. Dark BROWN butter is actually burnt.
  • 1/4 a cup of coconut sugar ( I use trader Joe’s)
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla ( I use Trader Joe’s Bourbon Vanilla)
  • 1/4 a cup of maple syrup ( I buy in bulk because I use it in everything)
  • 2.5 cups of almond flour ( I use Trader Joe’s. It’s 6.99 and great quality)
  • 1/2 tsp. Baking Soda
  • 1 cup of chocolate chips
  • himalayan sea salt
  •  1 egg and 1 egg white
  1. Preheat oven to 375 and use parchment paper to line your baking pan. Parchment paper never fails.
  2. Combine browned butter, coconut sugar, vanilla, and maple syrup
  3. Add 1 egg and 1 egg white to mixture
  4. Now combine almond flour and baking soda and stir until smooth. I hand stir because electric tends to over stimulate
  5. Add chocolate chips and pinch of salt
  6. Spoon Cookie Batter onto parchment and bake for 10-12 minutes until edges are brown
  7. I make 18 cookies in two batches
  8. I salt my cookies again right after they come out, so they draw in that salt while they are cooking, and have a very sea salt/ caramel taste from the browned butter.

You wont believe the chewiness you get in these paleo cookies! It’s incredible!

 

pumpkin, acorn, butternut, spaghetti, in that order: a catalogue of my favorite decorative (and edible) gourd recipes

11990580_10103061083131688_8852628486602303272_n

Acorn Squash & Bison Chili

Hey-O! The Blog went a little haywire while I was away from home celebrating our recent marriage with friends  & family in Chapel Hill, home of our alma mater UNC- Go Tarheels!

I’m back at home, settling in for some serious fall cooking-which is my favorite cooking- and some even more serious liver detoxing with fun, fall recipes! Fall is the best time to detox, because like the earth around us, we are shedding what is “dead” or no longer of use to our bodies. The best way to support general health, detox, and immunity is eating seasonally, which is why I support massive gourd consumption in the fall. I really try to limit alcohol, sugar, processed foods, and bad fats leading up to holidays. This produces a more enjoyable holiday season, and a more creative New Year’s Resolution than “Lose 5 pounds” or “Get healthy.”  I know that sometimes these large, tough, strong tasting autumnal fruits can seem overwhelming and impossible to cook, so I’ve catalogued some of my favorite recipes below.

FYI: Trader Joes sells by the gourd, not by the pound, so they are the best price I can find. The great thing about buying gourds and squashes is that you get to decorate with them until you eat them! They live for weeks as your table’s centerpiece!

Pumpkin

Enjoy a Pumpkin Smoothie, pumpkin chia pudding or a healthy PSL (Pumpkin Spice Latte) every morning this week!

Pumpkin Smoothie: 2 servings
1) Blend together: 1 banana, 1 handful spinach, 1 cup pumpkin puree, 2 cups of almond/hemp milk, generous cinnamon, nutmeg & ginger, 1 tsp. vanilla, and 1 scoop macha powder or collagen for an extra boost!

Acorn Squash

Check out my Thanksgiving HIT, Acorn Squash Souffle 

And my Autumn staple, as published on Mind. Body. Green: Bison Chili in Acorn Squash

Butternut Squash

A big hit at any Friendsgiving is my Butternut Squash Sage Quinoa

My newest obsession is Butternut Squash and Apple Soup (Serves 4-6)

  1. Slice one butternut squash, 2 apples, and one onion
  2. Drizzle with coconut oil on baking pan and bake at 400 degrees for 45 minutes
  3. Remove from Oven and move into a pot with 4 cups/ 1 box Veggie broth and 2 inches of grated ginger
  4. Bring mixture to a boil, and simmer for 10 minutes to incorporate flavors.
  5. Use immersion blender or food processor to blend soup until smooth!

5 steps to cooking your spaghetti squash in 10 minutes or less

  1. Stab with a fork 5 times and microwave for 5 minutes
  2. Remove Squash from microwave with oven mitts and cut it in half/remove seeds
  3. Place both halves in a dish with 1-2 inches of water in it and microwave for 3-5 more minutes.
  4. Sprinkle with baking soda to aid digestion and use a fork to scoop out spaghetti strands
  5. Season and serve with your favorite pasta sauce

 

 

 

Spaghetti Squash & Bison Meatballs with Pumpkin Tomato Sauce

spaghetti squash bison pumpkin meatballsIf you’re interested in a dinner that is completely different and delicious, I highly recommend this one. My spaghetti squash has been staring me in the face from its resting spot on our breakfast table for some time, so I had to bite the bullet this weekend and decided on good old Spaghetti & Meatballs. I had a pound of bison in the fridge, so I decided to use that for the meatballs. Bison has more protein and less fat than beef or pork, which is great for the waistline, but not great for keeping meatballs together. Breadcrumbs usually act as a meatball adhesive, but I had seen Joy Bauer, of morning show fame, use pumpkin puree as an alternative adhesive in turkey meatballs, so I decided to try it- and I’m s glad I did!

Everyone knows that you have to brown meatballs before cooking them in your pasta sauce, so I decided that if the pumpkin meatball was going to leach out its yummy contents, then the sauce might as well be deliberately pumpkin/tomato. This may sound like an unusual combination, but Trader Joe’s actually makes a pumpkin/butternut squash/tomato sauce called Autumnal Harvest. 

The result of mixing pumpkin and nutmeg with my traditional salty tomato sauce was incredible! It provides that salty/sweet umami flavor that I love. I buy pumpkin puree in bulk for all of its many purposes, since it has a high fiber content and delicious flavor, so it always excites me to find yet another use for it! We really loved this new sauce and definitely plan on making it again. You can eat it over Spaghetti Squash like we did, for a low carb option, or over regular pasta. If you do eat it over Spaghetti Squash, then I recommend a teaspoon of baking soda sprinkled on teach side of he squash to aid digestion! I really hope you try this recipe and enjoy something a little different and autumn flavored!

Spaghetti Squash & Bison Meatballs with Pumpkin-Tomato Sauce
Serves 4

1 Spaghetti Squash
2 tsp. baking soda
2 cups of pumpkin puree1 lb. of bison
1 lb. of tomatoes (roasted)
6 carrots (roasted)
1/2 cup of olive oil
6 cloves of garlic
basil
2 tsp. Nutmeg
salt and pepper

  1. Preheat oven to 400. Roast Tomatoes with garlic, and carrots, drizzle olive oil
  2. While Veggies roast, use your hands to mix 1/2 cup of pumpkin with 1 pound of Bison.
  3. Divide Bison into 4 equal parts and divide the 4 parts in half. This will give you 8 equal sized 1/8 lb meatballs. Roll them into balls between your palms.
  4. Heat a large skillet with olive oil on medium. When oil is hot, brown each side or your pumpkin meatball in the oil.
  5. After 30 minutes of roasting, puree your vegetables in a food processor. Add 1/2 cup of olive oil, basil, 1 1/2 cups of pumpkin puree, nutmeg, salt and pepper to the mixture process until smooth and incorporated.
  6. Add the sauce mixture to your meatballs and turn heat to simmer.
  7. While your sauce and meatballs simmer together on the stove, puncture your spaghetti squash with a fork.
  8. Microwave your spaghetti squash is a glass bowl of water for 5 minutes so that it is soft enough to cut in half.
  9. Remove Spaghetti squash from the microwave, take out all seeds with a spoon and and your baking soda.
  10. Place each half of your spaghetti squash BACK in the microwave to cook for 5 more minutes until the squash is easily removed in strings with a fork*
  11. Serve with 2 large meatballs and heaping sauce on a bed of spaghetti squash! Enjoy!

*This is the fastest and best way to cook spaghetti squash. Letting in linger in the oven does nothing for the flavor or quality!

 

Superfood;Superwoman

Image result for pumpkin pie smoothie

Admittedly, the “superfood” craze is a little silly, but it still blows my mind that adding a little tablespoon of chia seeds to my morning smoothie can afford me enough protein and fiber to really keep me full through my strenuous workouts.

My newest smoothie addition is…

Maca, a root grown high in the Peruvian mountains, used by ancient Incas to increase both fertility and virility. Today, holistics prescribe Maca root powder for chronic fatigue syndrome, fertility issues, hormone imbalance, and low libido. It’s important to start off using Maca in very small doses since it IS a potent superfood. The really great thing about increasing energy and vitality via Maca is that it does not tax the adrenals the way that caffeine does. Your energy is much more slow burning and long lasting. This is great news for the large percentage of the population suffering with adrenal fatigue, which correlates with hormone imbalance in women and causes a lot of stress on our systems.

I’ve instagrammed my use of collagen and chlorophyll in fruit smoothies. To make my smoothies more “Seasonal” this fall, I use Maca in combination with 8 oz. of almond milk, 1 banana, 1/2 a cup of pumpkin puree, a slice of ginger root, a few drops of vanilla extract and 1 tbsp. of cinnamon to create a delicious pumpkin pie smoothie. I’m really looking forward to sharing more details with you about the direct effect of Maca on my quality of life!

Vegan Balls of Energy

protein balls

I don’t know about you, but I am anything but a “ball of energy” this time of year. Every year around this time, Matt gets really excited about the giant bags of candy in super stores and buys one (or two) for our “trick-or -treaters.” I suspect (pray) being in a family-friendly neighborhood for the first time this year will bring us more than our previous record 4 trick-or-treaters.

Anyway, every year I also decide that having a bite-sized Butterfinger or a teeny-weeny Twix nightly wont bother my stomach or my monstrous aversion to sugar. Thus begins the slippery slope of the holiday season.

That’s why I am SO excited about my recipe for this perfectly nutritious snack-size “ball of energy.” You can eat 1 or 2 as a snack or dessert or have 2 or 3 for breakfast with coffee! It’s perfect for on-the-go energy and nutrition. I use plant-based protein, as opposed to whey, but I assume whey protein powder would work the same way, since this is a no-bake snack. The taste reminds me of those No Bake Oatmeal Cookies from my childhood, but these pack a punch of protein with no sugar, additives, or packaging! I made these this Sunday, so now I have a healthy go-to snack and dessert for the week. They also give me a small energy-packed morsel to enjoy before for my morning workouts!

I’ve got to be honest, it’s one week after I finished Whole 30, and almost everything in my fridge is STILL homemade! I may have the luxury of a great work schedule and no kids just yet, but I have really worked hard this year on what nutrition is right for me and my family and I’m proud of myself. Sometimes that includes a few store-bought brands, but more often then not, it involves a lot of whole food ingredients + meal prep. And I’ve happily mastered that… for now! I hope you enjoy this new recipe!

Vegan Energy Balls (Makes 20 +)

4 scoops of your favorite protein powder ( I use plant-based chocolate)
2 cups of organic oats
1/2 cup of unsweetened coconut flakes
2 tablespoons chia seeds
1 cup of maple syrup or agave
1 cup of almond butter

  1. Mix all ingredients together with a wooden spoon in a large bowl.
  2. Form into balls by rubbing  both sides with your cup-shaped palm.
  3. Place on parchment paper on a baking sheet
  4. Refrigerate for 2 hours, or until set
  5. Now they are ready to eat and be kept in glass tupperware in your fridge!

Irish Farmer’s Beef and Barley Stew

irish farmer's beef and barlefy stewI used to think I was going to marry an Irish Farmer. Even after my first few dates with my husband! And then I met an Irish Farmer, and it wasn’t all I dreamed of…but that’s another story for another time! When I was searching for Beef and Barley stew recipes, I started to find recipes that included things like celery, potatoes, and mushrooms. I was intrigued momentarily, since so often we think in terms of “the more ingredients, the better,” but for the sake of Irish authenticity, and a clean, hearty taste, I kept it simple.

Real Irish Beef and Barley stew only requires Beef, Beef stock, and Barley. Carrots are a delicious, natural, and nutritive addition. For extra flavor, I used one sprig of Sage and two Bay Leaves. The mingled smell of sage and beef stock might be my favorite cooking scent ever.

I’d love to give you a history of the barley crop in Ireland and Scotland (yawn), but suffice it to say: barley was the main crop until it was replaced by the potato, which has a lower blight probability since it grows underground. Barley IS a grain, and is therefore NOT Paleo or SCD. However, the organic barley I’m using is natural and nutritious. I really believe that I will do well with this grain in small amounts. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again…

I think it’s confining to limit yourself to a prescribed diet for too long. Yes, AIP (autoimmune paleo) or SCD protocols are important when you are in recovery, but in the long term, I believe in branching out and testing your tolerance for all things to have optimum nutrition.

Irish Farmer’s Beef and Barley Stew (makes 4-6 servings)

  1. Heat 4-6 cups of Beef broth in a pot on medium heat
  2. While broth is heating, sear 1.5 pounds of  stew beef in olive oil or butter
  3. Add 1 cup barley, sage, and bay leaves to broth, let simmer for 20 minutes
  4. Turn heat on broth down to low. Add beef, carrots, and optional onions
  5. Cook on Low for 1-2 hours or as long as you want the smell of beef and sage to waft into your home
  6. Remove herbs and serve!

 

Paleo’s Greatest Hits

Who wouldn’t want to join these fun folks on an optimum health and wellness Whole 30 Journey?! Come along with us!

I feel a bit presumptuous coming out with my Greatest Hits so early. Sort of like Rihanna getting a lifetime achievement award at the MTV VMAs last night. I started compiling Paleo and SCD recipes to prep for my 30 day detox challenge starting next week, and I realized how helpful it is to have a stack of recipes to help you create shopping lists and plan meals when you’re majorly changing your diet. I hope this online compilation will be especially helpful to anyone joining me on this challenge. It’s also a great way for everyone to have a one-stop-shop for some of my favorite recipes. Gathering recipes also helps me to see what I’m missing in my Greatest Hits and what recipes I might want to experiment with in the coming months– so I have a great list for future posts!

You’ll notice that many of the recipes are also Vegan or at least meatless. You’ll also notice that there are several soups, and this is not by mistake! Using liquid as your source of nutrition and nourishment gives your digestive system a much-needed break. Broth and soups are also a vital part of restoring balance to your system in Chinese medicine.

Below are 14 posts and 16 recipes for you to experiment with! I hope this is a valuable source for everyone to pull from in the coming weeks! I’m excited to start with some of the more late summer recipes: the bouillabaisse, the salad, the almond butter pasta; then move into the squashes and soups into later September.

Guest Post: Butternut Fennel Leek Soup

sweet potato fries with curried ketchup

Butternut Squash and Sage Quinoa

Crispy Cauliflower Pizza Crust the right way

Paleo on the Go: 3 simple and filling lunch ideas for the woman on the move!

Bison Chili with Avocado

Video How To: Bacon Wrapped Dates

Anti-Inflammatory Detox Smoothie

Salad Sundays: Week 3 White Nectarine, Basil, & Prosciutto

lemongrass pumpkin soup

Boullabaise and Crispy Salmon Skin

Pumpkin Chia Pudding

Almond Butter Indulgences: Savory and Sweet

It’s Almost Soup Season: Creamy, Dairy-free Cauliflower Soup, 2 ways

 

Prevention is the Cure

Shell mandala

What you put into your body (food & drink), what your inner monologue is, and what your stress management techniques are determine your well-being. You can prevent many forms of sickness and disease if you change the negative parts of your routine and just commit to:

1) Creating a healthy microbiome through good nutrition and exercise, which means cutting down on alcohol, caffeine, and processed/packaged foods.

2) Loving yourself and creating an inner monologue that lifts you up

3) Making your common stresses manageable and avoiding unnecessary stress.

I have tried to narrow the focus of my blog to sharing healthy, homemade, whole food, paleo recipes, but the other aspects of prevention and optimal health are so intertwined with diet and nutrition that I feel compelled to emphasize the importance of nurturing your spirit in tandem with nurturing your gut!

If you are in a negative spiral, remember that “Your thoughts are not facts and your past is not your potential” – Kris Carr

the 5 pillars of prevention

  1. What you’re eating
  2. What you’re drinking
  3. What you’re thinking
  4. How you’re resting
  5. How you’re renewing

I began my health journey with a lot of help from Kris Carr’s Crazy Sexy You and Crazy Sexy Diet. I recommend her books and her current FREE online Wellness program!

Crazy Sexy You Energy Video

Easy Bone Broth Recipe to Make Right Now

Supporting your gut health is INTEGRAL to having energy and vitality. Some of us naturally enjoy a more diverse Microbiome than others, but the truth is that everyone should nourish their gut regularly. Recently, I wrote about the importance of probiotics and digestive enzymes in my own healing experience, but these things become expensive! Bone broth is one of the cheapest and most effective ways to nourish your gut lining and reduce inflammation- so why aren’t you doing it yet?

Do you buy bone in meat? Why not? It’s cheaper and has more flavor.

Do you discard the bones? Why? Would you throw away a multi-vitamin or a cup of superfood like chia seeds?

The marrow inside the bones of animals is dense with nutrients and minerals that we can’t find in any other source. Bone marrow, and thus bone broth, contains collagen, glutamine, glycine and proline, which reduce inflammation of all kinds– not solely gut inflammation. In short, our grandmother’s chicken soup cured our colds with more than just love and savory deliciousness.

If you take small, easy, cheap steps toward good health, then you’ll become addicted to the positive results. Remember, Hippocrates, father of medicine, told us: All disease begins in the gut. 

Easy Bone Broth Recipe

If you start buying (antibiotic-free, organic) bone in meat, then simply gather all your bones into a pot as soon as you are done.

Add filtered water to cover the bones X 2 (twice as much as you need to cover bones)

Add 2 tablespoons of Apple Cider vinegar to draw the marrow out of the bones

Season your broth with salt, pepper, one bay leaf, turmeric, sage, tarragon, or anything you might have in your spice drawer!

If you have carrots and celery, you can add those, but it’s not necessary– this is supposed to be convenient for you!

Bring to a boil and then let simmer for AT LEAST 4 HOURS to draw out nutrients.

what to do with extra bone broth

  • drizzle on dog or cat food for healthier pets
  • use as a base for homemade stews, or sauces– I’m making homemade enchilada sauce with it tonight!
  • freeze in an ice cube tray for later sauces or cups of broth

Weekend Brunch: Paleo Shrimp and Grits

Paleo shrimp and grits

I’m from the South, but I do not understand how anyone could love: vinegar based barbecue, humidity, or grits. So when I adopted an AIP (Autoimmune Paleo) regime, grits were not on my list of items I’d miss. HOWEVER, shrimp is probably my favorite food and everybody, even those of us who are doubtful about grits, loves shrimp & grits! In fact,  I’m often tempted to order it when it’s on brunch menus here in North Carolina (which it almost invariably is) so I was super excited when my Paleo Shrimp and Grits really hit the spot.

I got the idea for Paleo shrimp and grits when processing my cauliflower mashed potatoes from Nomnompaleo’s website. When very under-processed, the texture resembles hot and ready grits. For my Paleo shrimp and grits I used the recipe for cauliflower mashed potatoes from Nomnompaleo, available in the link, but I under-processed the same mixture until grainy (as opposed to smooth) and added a cup of grated, aged cheddar (optional- I eat low lactose cheeses on occasion), lots of black pepper,  and a tablespoon of grass fed butter. You already have so much flavor in these “grits” from the garlic and seasoning in the original recipe, so it doesn’t take much!  Actually, it takes LESS processing!

Additional ingredients and directions for Paleo Shrimp and Grits (serves 2)

Applegate Farms nitrate free/ no hormone added bacon
12-16 large or jumbo shrimp
3 green onions, diced
cayenne pepper
coconut oil

  1. While you are cooking and processing your cauliflower, fry 4 pieces of bacon in a cast iron skillet on medium heat
  2. After your bacon is crispy, remove it from the pan and let it drain on papertowels
  3. Add a small amount of coconut oil to your bacon grease and throw your shrimp into the same cast iron skillet
  4. While shrimp is cooking (2 minutes on each side), dice up your 3 green onions (green and light green parts) and crispy bacon
  5. When shrimp is cooked through (pink), stir those shrimp into your grits!
  6. Sprinkle Paleo shrimp and grits with diced bacon, green onions, and cayenne pepper.
    Bonus: Drizzle everything with rendered bacon fat

I didn’t say this one was lowfat, but I DID SAY that it hit the spot! Play around with your garnishes and let me know what you come up! I was so pleased with this brunch because with just 2 pieces of crumbled bacon, 6 large shrimp,  and some cauliflower, I still felt super light and ready to go for a run and hit the beach with my husband!

 

 

Roasted Red Pepper Sauce and Cauliflower Mashed potatoes

blackened salmon with asparagus, cauliflower mash, and roasted red pepper sauce

blackened salmon with asparagus, cauliflower mash, and roasted red pepper sauce

My mother-in-law visited last weekend and made Matt some good old fashioned mashed potatoes! I decided to try my hand at Cauliflower Mash one more time and….

It was SO amazing and flavorful! You don’t get that heavy feeing that comes with regular white potatoes and the cauliflower is so much easier to digest. Additionally, cauliflower is chock full of vitamins C and K and folate, which is especially important for pregnant/nursing women and for kids! Note, different people have different tolerances for cruciferous veg!

I made NomNomPaleo’s Garlic Cauliflower “Mashed Potatoes” and they turned out perfect! If you want them to be totally smooth, you have to process in a good food processor for about 7 minutes. However, I took some puree out early, which I will use as “Cauliflower Grits” for Paleo Shrimp & Grits this weekend! Lightbulb!

saucy vegan

I was feeling decadent because of my Wednesday Orange Theory Fitness workout, which burned 600 + calories (plus after burn). So I grated my favorite cheese into the Cauliflower mixture and baked it for 15 minutes on 350. I really like getting a flavor burst out of natural foods, so I decided to use an aging red pepper to make a roasted red pepper sauce to pour over my salmon, asparagus, and Cauliflower mashed potatoes. It was incredible and would be delicious on pork, fish, or chicken and is a Vegan sauce for pasta & veggies.

Roasted Red Pepper Sauce- makes ~ 1 cup

1 Large Red Bell Pepper

1/4 cup almond milk

3 tbsp. olive oil

1 tsp. nutmeg

1 tsp. cayenne

salt and black pepper to taste

  1. The key step to this recipe is just slow roasting your pepper(s). I put mine in the oven on 400 for 30 minutes on each side. When I removed it from the oven, I cut off the stem and the seeds/membranes pulled out easily.
  2. Combine other ingredients with your pepper in a blender or food processor. Process until completely smooth.
  3. Should be warm enough to serve, but you can also prepare ahead of time and reheat!

 

Probiotics, My #1 Health Tip

isle of skye elopement

I got married last month! Isle of Skye, Scotland Loraine Ross Photography

I’ve had a lot of time off to think about what I want to deliver to my readers. Foremost, I want to help people who share my struggles with intestinal discomfort, energy, and food allergies that effect their ability to live life to the fullest! I’ve been traveling a bunch over the last month, and as traveling often does, it has given me clarity. Probiotics clarity!

Friends ask me for help with their own digestive and general health issues, and I really stress the clean diet. I always will. If you live actively and eat REAL food, then whatever body you have is the one meant for you and it’s perfect! My overall wellness is truthfully better because of removing common allergens from my diet (sugar, lactose, wheat, soy, legumes, other carbs). This has changed my life more than anything else, including cardio, weight- training, and supplements.

Probiotics

However, if you are eating well and still struggling, you’re not alone. This happens to me over time and I think it’s important to share that sometimes our microbiome is so unbalanced with bad bacteria that diet alone will not replenish enough good bacteria. This happens for many reasons: overuse of antibiotics, birth via cesarean, contracting C-Diff or another disease that wipes out your good gut bacteria, or just generally having an unhealthy diet. In order to fully recover, I take a 30 Billion CFU probiotic with 15 strains of good bacteria. Trust me, yogurt is not enough, and if you’re buying yogurt and not making your own, then it might be making the situation worse (sugar/chemical thickeners).

Good Probiotics are not in corner drug stores. They ONLY come in glass bottles because plastic’s chemicals bleed in shipment. They have to withstand your stomach acid and should be stored in the refrigerator. They are expensive, but paying for your health today means saving money on sickness tomorrow! I don’t want this to turn into an advertisement for any one type, but I have a couple I will recommend if you reach out.

Fermented foods

In addition to probiotics, I eat one serving of fermented vegetables a day. You can also drink kefir. You guys know I love my veggies though, so I always have home-pickled onions, carrots, sauerkraut, and cauliflower on hand. These are super versatile as you’ll see in my instagram posts! I also drink 2 tablespoons of Bragg’s Apple Cider Vinegar in my water every morning (with a touch of wild orange or lemon). THIS is how I beat gut issues. I hope it’s helpful and transparent enough to help you or your friend succeed with me!

Ask me about my probiotics and check out my post on my new Roasted Red Pepper Sauce and review of NomNomPaleo’s Cauliflower mashed potatoes tomorrow!

Boullabaise and Crispy Salmon Skin

Boullabaise

I’ve been taking full advantage of the fresh seafood markets, and thought there was no better way this week than to try my own version of the Boullabaise we had at Galatoire’s in New Orleans in February. It was a rare unfried/ un-rouilled  seafood treat I could have there.*
The result was something fabulous, and also different from our regular old meals of salmon/sushi/cauliflower/steak/salad…repeat. It will definitely join the “fancy meal” repertoire!

One of my goals while we are living here is to learn how to filet my own fish. The fish market gentleman were flashing me grins, insisting I must want a filet of my Rainbow Grouper and head off shrimp, so I politely took them up on the filets and did the heads myself, saving a few for garnish!

I also used mussels in my recipe because we love them and eat them a lot! Clams are just as good! And if you have lobster, PLEASE throw it in! We had eaten all our lobster the night before, so I just had the stock.

Elisabeth’s Cajun Boullabaise (serves 2-4)

You will need 1 hour and….

2 tomatoes, rough chopped
1 onion, peeled and chopped
4 garlic cloves, diced
1 can organic tomato paste
6 cups of fish stock ( I used lobster because it’s what I had. NEVER throw away your shellfish shells or fish bones! They make super stocks!)
1 lb. white fish like Cod or Grouper
1 lb Shrimp (save some heads!)
3 lbs. mussels and/or clams
2 threads or pinch of ground saffron
1 tbsp. cayenne pepper
2 bay leaves
1 lemon
generous s+p
olive oil
red wine

Directions:
1. In a large mixing pot, combine tomatoes, onions, garlic, and olive oil on medium heat for 5-7 minutes.

2. Add stock and tomato paste and bring to a boil, 5 minutes, then turn down to simmer.

3. Once on simmer, add all herbs and spices, fish and shrimp, let cook 3-5 minutes.

4. Add in 1/2 cup of red wine and shellfish for the final 2 minutes. They will open up when your Boullabaise is ready to serve!

I wouldn’t recommend this dish for a LARGE crowd, but it is a stunner for 4-6!

*Some Boullabaise recipes do have a rouille, which includes flour, but it’s not necessary for thickness or taste!

Here is a photo of me preparing the lobster that made our stock. Thanks for the Wedding gift, Auntie Anne 🙂

lobster stock

 

AND Check it out! I burned myself in the process, but I discovered the secret to REALLY crispy salmon skin!
Using coconut oil as your base, get your cast iron pan super hot on Medium-high heat.  Leave your salmon out while the pan heats and pat it as dry as you can, then score the skin in 5 swift motions with a sharp knife. GENTLY place your salmon in the hot oil and cook for 4-5 minutes, then flip over and finish! It’s PERFECT!

crispy salmon skin

crispy salmon skin

Compassion

I am Compassionate

Compassion is the life breath of peace, love and healing.

I breathe in compassion for all beings who have also breathed within the cycle of birth, living, and death.
I am filled with forgiveness for my own mistakes.
I breathe out fear, anger, and envy.

This message on my “Breathe Easy” cards from my Mom really spoke to me this morning. It’s so easy to be hard on ourselves for not being perfect, for failure, or for not feeling like we are doing enough for others. When we are hard on ourselves, it becomes even easier to be hard on others. I’ve really noticed that as I get better at forgiving myself, I become more open to forgiving everyone else! Pre-wedding stress has found me being tough on myself for not losing more weight or sticking to a stricter diet. I’ve also been critical of my more relaxed work schedule since spring break, and all the spending I’ve been doing lately for our special day.  As a woman, I am cursed with the drive to please everyone and lately because I am a “bride” and “wife” in a position of leadership in a wedding and family, I find that task all the more impossible.

And then I remind myself… Elisabeth, you helped a mother to bring her baby into the world this week and your 6 students adore you and learn better with you (and you adore them!) Anyway, your sacral-centered human design means you don’t “fall under the pressure to be as productive as others and you simply enjoy life (what a gift!). You work more as a specialist for short periods of time, usually guiding others in how to work.” And finally, you get to be married to someone who makes you laugh every. single. day. and that is the best form of compassion! And Chocolate. Chocolate is the 2nd best form of compassion, so I treated myself this afternoon.

Women are all so incredibly strong, wise, and compassionate. Extend that compassion to yourself today!

FullSizeRender-1Adapted from LivingLovingPaleo’ s Jamocha

1/2 cup of brewed coffee
1/2 cup of coconut milk
1 0z of dark chocolate
1 tsp. Cacao powder
2 coffee beans

Blend on high power, enjoy cold over ice or pour into a microwavable mug and heat up for a grown up hot chocolate!

Quick Pickled Red Onions

Pickled red onions are good on just about everything. I love the brightness and acidity that they add to any dish, but Ive been using them lately on salads, burgers, tacos, steaks, and anything that is rich and can benefit from that “bite” of the vinegar. Eating fermented veggies is a cheap and healthy way to balance your gut flora and get probiotics into the microbiome. Also, I normally can’t quite handle raw onions on my sensitive stomach, so pickling them gets that oniony flavor I love back into my recipes and diet.

What you need: a few minutes and….

  • A mason jar or air tight jar and lid
  • 1/2 cup of Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 1/4 cup of water
  • 1/4 cup of balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tbs. salt
  • 3 tbs. maple syrup or honey
  • 1 large red onion
  1. Slice your Red onion EXTRA THIN by using a sharp knife or mandolin
  2. Combine remaining ingredients into your jar and shake until sweetener is dissolved
  3. Add onions and let sit for at least 30 minutes. These get better the longer they marinate!
  4. ENJOY on Everything!!

Also great for a Antipasto Platter for a party….

IMG_3418

Winner, Winner! One Pan Chicken Dinner

I have discovered fennel. The reason fennel is the perfect one pan ingredient in winter is because it is abundant, seasonal, subtly flavors everything and takes on lemon and garlic really beautifully. My other 3 ingredients in this simple, one pan dish are chicken thighs, parsnips, and carrots. It would also be delicious to use fish in this recipe! Another great substitute would be sweet potatoes for parsnips.

I love cooking, but sometimes you just need dinner to be cheap, fast, substantive, and nutrient-dense. I know that combination sounds impossible, but you’ll get it with this. Getting an array of colors in your veggies is a basic way to ensure that. I also might add that this entire dinner is $8. It would have been cheaper, but I refuse to sacrifice my standards for happy chickens!

One Pan Chicken Dinner

You’ll need 45 minutes and…

Chicken (or fish)
2 fennel bulbs
1 bag baby carrots or 3 large carrots
2 parsnips or sweet potatoes
a few cloves garlic
2 lemons2 Tbsp. White wine

I marinated my chicken thighs overnight in plain yogurt, sriracha, lemon juice and herbs ( just some extra parsley and dill I had). This isn’t necessary, but it helped the tenderness and flavor.
1) Preheat oven to 425 degrees
2) Slice fennel into fourths, from top to bottom, reserving fronds
3) Chop carrots and parsnips into bite-size
4) Mix together the following to create marinade: juice of one lemon, lemon zest from that same lemon, 5 large cloves of garlic (minced), a few tablespoons of olive oil,  and salt and pepper. And then pour some out for your homies…AKA sacrifice just 2 Tbsp. of white wine for the sauce!
5) Toss your vegetables in this mixture, coating thoroughly, spread them out on the pan and bake for 15 minutes.
6) While veggies are roasting, slice the other lemon
7) After 15 minutes have passed, remove the pan from the oven, add the chicken to the pan, place lemon slices all over and pour the remaining lemon/olive oil/ wine marinade on top. Roast for 25-30 more minutes or until Chicken thighs are done (internal temp of 155/160).
8) Garnish everything with chopped fennel fronds!

Guest Post: Butternut Fennel Leek Soup

Make new friends, but keep the old. One is silver and the other, gold.

One of the best parts of being an adult is finding true inspiration and fulfillment from your friendships. I’m really proud and lucky to say that I’ve been friends with Lori and Far for 15 years now, and they each inspire me in different ways. I’m totally humbled to think that my recipes and health lifestyle have inspired some of their own cooking. Far designed this website and Lori created and wrote this recipe with (ME?!) in mind. I’m excited to share that it is delicious and the perfect healthy way to warm up your icy weekend! Go get your ingredients quick, before the storm! And enjoy being snowed in this weekend.


This took me about 1.5 hours to make from start to finish. It has a very good earthy flavor and I think the
ginger does kick it up a notch, so feel free to use less if you prefer. If you don’t have a hand mixer (immersion blender) you can use a blender but be careful because it will be hot, so only fill it up half way! Also, I have read other recipes that call for coconut milk to thicken it up. I decided against it because once it’s all mixed together, I feel like its rich and thick enough. Here is how I made this soup. I think this is a good base and you can add or subtract anything to suit your taste. I thought, “Liz would have some good input!”

Butternut Fennel Leek Soup- Paleo, Whole 30, Dairy and Gluten Free

You will need 1-1.5 hours and:

1 butternut squash (cut in half and seeded)
1 fennel (separate stalks and fronds from bulb- fronds can be used to garnish)
2 leeks
ginger root (as mush as you want) I used almost an entire root- but
you can use 1-2 inches)
juice of 1 lemon
3-4 garlic cloves
salt and pepper to taste
smoked paprika
olive oil- just enough to coat the veggies and a little to cook the
fennel stalks and ginger
garlic powder

  1. Preheat over to 350
  2. Chop up fennel bulb into 8ths, and cut leeks in half (I barely cut the
    end off and then just up to where the green on the stalk gets super
    dark- about 5 inches)
  3. Combine in a bowl with garlic powder, salt and pepper and olive oil
    enough to coat.
  4. Then take butternut squash halves, drizzle with olive
    oil, garlic powder, salt and pepper to taste. put on greased baking
    dish and surround with leek and fennel and bake about 40-50 minutes or
    until butternut is soft and easy to scrape out and the edges of fennel
    and leek are brown.
  5. Thinly chop up the fennel stalks, ginger and mash the garlic,
    throw into a pan and saute with salt and pepper to taste until almost
    caramelized- add some smoked paprika to taste. Add in the lemon juice.
  6. Then add about 4-6 cups chicken stock, simmer until the veggies in the oven are done.
  7. Finally, take a spoon and scoop out all of the butternut squash -should
    come out very easily and have nothing left but the skin, discard skin
    and transfer everything into a big pot. simmer for about another 5
    minutes. Take a hand mixer and mix everything until smooth- taste test
    it and see if it needs anymore salt
  8. Scoop into bowls and garnish with fennel
    fronds. Enjoy!

I LOVE how Lori uses EVERY part of the Fennel in this. Very clever and professional. Let me know if you guys try this out!

Chocolate Lover’s Pie

sugar free gluten free vegan chocolate pieThis pie is Sugarfree, Gluten Free, and  Vegan! I’m using fewer animal products in my recipes to 1) save money and 2) support a more plant based lifestyle for healthy living and 3) lend my support to local and humanely farmed food by not using factory farm products.

I LOVE dark chocolate. In graduate school I used to eat chocolate every evening after my classes to unwind and because my day was stressful and my diet was so restricted at this time, I could feel the endorphins lighting up and dancing around in my brain after the first bite. I love using 100% cacao in my recipes and I love the health benefits of this treat. I prefer to sweeten it with maple syrup and/or dates, so my sweet concoctions often end up being Vegan!

Check out this recipe and let me know what you think!

You will need 45 minutes and….
For the crust:

1 cup Almond flour
1 tsp. Baking powder
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup coconut oil or Vegan ‘Butter’ spread (softened)
Combine ingredients in a mixing bowl and use a mixer to incorporate thoroughly. The mixture should be grainy and spreadable in a pie dish when complete.

*My crust is extra dark because I baked the crust in a 350 degree oven for 15 minutes before I baked the pie. I thought this would help it to set. It’s not too done, but the prebake is optional.

For the pie:

3 heaping Tbsp. 100% cocoa powder
1 avocado2 tbsp flaxseed mixed into 2 tbsp water
1 Tbsp. coconut oil
1/4 cup of almond milk
1/2 cup of pure, organic maple syrup

Combine wet ingredients with avocado and blend thoroughly until smooth. Use a spatula to mix in your cocoa powder by hand to avoid losing any powder

Pour dark chocolate mixture into crust and bake on 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Let cool and set for 20 minutes before cutting to serve

New Obsessions & Perfected Avocado Toast

What are you into so far in 2016? I’m ashamed to say this, but Matt and I were really enjoying “My Diet is Better than Yours” on ABC last night. I was especially intrigued by the “Wild Diet,” which is pretty much another name given to the nutrition that Paleo/SCD emphasizes. The team of men using that diet, including a popular Paleo cookbook author, was leading in weight loss and heart health after the first episode! Additionally, as a geek archaeologist, I really appreciate relabeling the diet as “primal,” “wild” or “neolithic,” which are all more accurate descriptors. I was so happy that these experts were revealing the truth that you have to eat fat to burn fat. In fact, the only diet coach voted off was the one who emphasized juice fasting(for a WEEK!) The transfats in processed foods are our enemy, not the healthy fats we get from avocados, olive oil, and bone broth. Segue to my other favorite thing of 2016, Avocado Toast. You may have heard of this or already be doing it, but I elevate mine by drizzling a high quality Extra Virgin Olive Oil (made for dressings not high heat), and pink himalayan sea salt, which I truly believe is going to make me live forever 🙂 Try it on your favorite sprouted grain toast or on my homemade Paleo bread. I’m obsessed. And remember, healthy fats can power you through the day more effectively than sugary starches!

PS If you want the best version of Avocado Toast ever and live in the area, try out breakfast at The Siena Hotel on Franklin Street in Chapel Hill.

avocado toast

 

Tart Cranberry Relish


This is an oldie but a goodie. I used to love having this at my grandmother’s house when I was little, and now it’s a staple for us around the holidays because it offers the acidity you need to cut those heavy holiday meals. Mine is my own 2015 version because A) it has no sugar and B) I use macadamia nuts instead of pecans because I’m allergic!

Tart Cranberry Relish
What you’ll need: 10 minutes and…

a bag of fresh cranberries
3-4 stalks of celery
1 orange (including peel)
1/4 cup of grapefruit juice
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/2 cup salted macadamia nuts (or a nut of your choice)
1/2 cup of shredded, unsweetened coconut

  1. Give orange and celery a rough chop
  2. Combine all ingredients into a food processor, adding liquid as needed. The orange peel is very important to the flavor! Don’t be shy!