30 Day Challenge 2.0

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Yesterday’s post got me thinking about what I can do to help friends to feel healthier, and how I can use that positive energy of people I love as a source to motivate myself. As I continue to take charge of autoimmune disease and hormone imbalance, I find that companionship helps more than anything else. And unfortunately, now I’m many miles away from my cooking partner! So I’ve decided that we’re kicking off our annual 30 day challenge in 13 days, on September 8th. During this 30 days, we are going to reduce the following as much as possible:

  • processed foods (anything packaged or with multiple ingredients)
  • fried foods
  • alcohol
  • caffeine
  • sugar
  • gluten, soy, and dairy (the most common undiagnosed allergens)
  • And all of our meat products will be hormone/antibiotic free

I understand how overwhelming this can be, and it is extremely difficult in the first 2 weeks, but this is why I’ve created a Facebook group for support to share our daily recipes, inspirations, and struggles. You can request to join the group here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/825156537605162/

Limiting the above listed foods can help you with various issues, far beyond weight control, including:

  • hormone imbalance
  • eczema and skin problems
  • digestive problems (Indigestion, heartburn, constipation, diarrhea)
  • mood swings and irritability
  • candida/yeast overgrowth
  • bloating and gas
  • restlessness and problems sleeping
  • headaches
  • lack of energy
  • low immunity

I will post some recipes on the blog, but most of the communication regarding the 30 day challenge will be in the Facebook group! Comment below if you are excited to join us!

Prevention is the Cure

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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!

Doula Life: 3 postpartum foods for healing and lactation

The sole baby girl I was expecting this spring/summer birth season was born early this morning! I still can’t get over how perfect little Beatrice is and how strong her Mama was throughout.

A Galactagogue (great word!!!) is a food, herb, or supplement that aids breast milk supply. Prior to leaving for the hospital, I had prepared the following foods for my client to promote healing for her and baby, to promote lactation, and to intensify her nutrient stores. These could be some great meals for new moms out there, doulas, or just shiny, healthy people looking for whole food, nutrient dense recipes!

Slow baked salmon, kale and quinoa with lemon, fennel, and dill seasoning

In a sheet pan, I slow roasted (275 F) 2 large salmon planks on a bed of spinach, kale and pre-cooked quinoa, covered in lemon and fennel slices, seasoned with salt, pepper, olive oil and fresh dill.

Spinach, kale and other leafy greens are filled with vitamin A, vitamin C, iron, and are non-dairy sources of calcium.
Salmon is full of a special kind of fat called DHA that promotes brain growth in infants (and is found in breast milk and formula). The more DHA you eat, the more you will have in your breast milk, and it is also thought to reduce stress and postpartum depression. Quinoa and whole grains provide folic acid important in breastfeeding as well.

Chickpea and Spinach Soup (If on AIP , replace chickpeas with cauliflower)

In a blender or food processor I combine 2 cups of cooked chickpeas, 1 bag of cooked spinach, 1 pan roasted yellow onion and 3 cloves of garlic, and 4 cups of bone broth (chicken stock). I intensify the healing power of my broth my adding a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar to draw out the marrow goodness, and I season it with salt, pepper, and fresh herbs. After that is blended well to smooth, I stir in 1 can of coconut milk.

Soup in general helps to increase milk production as it heals. Warm foods also enliven your Qi (or life force), according to Eastern tradition, and thus promote lactation and healing. Bone broth is always good for everyone after surgeries, and I love bringing it as a “get well” gift, so it is even more relevant if you have had a C-section or episiotomy.

Blueberry Oat Muffins

This recipe is coming in my next blog post! Oats, though, provide a new Mom the necessary folic acid and iron (if the tummy can take them) and blueberries are well known antioxidants and provide an energy boost when needed!

Now I’m off to get some sleep!

 

Pumpkin Chia Pudding

I always have pumpkin on hand for my dogs because it fixes their upset tummies after one meal–it’s magic! So I’m big on pumpkin any time of year because it’s really low in calories, but high in flavor and antioxidants like vitamins A, C, and E. Also, because it’s orange, we know it packs a lot of Beta Carotene, folates, and niacin. This is an easy breakfast recipe that (for me) is an improvement over the usual oatmeal (too grainy and heavy for me) or yogurt (too much dairy for me). Now you can enjoy pumpkin year round with the added punch of chia seeds!

Pumpkin Chia Pudding
You will need: 5 minutes and….

1 cup of pumpkin puree
1 cup of non dairy milk (almond or coconut) 2 Tbsp. of Chia seeds
1-2 Tbsp. maple syrup or sweetener of your choice

  1. Stir milk and pumpkin into a pot on medium heat, allow mixture to boil then turn down to low
  2. Mix in chia seeds and maple syrup or sweetener to taste. I don’t like sweet stuff, so I use between 1 and 2 tablespooons of maple syrup for the entire mixture, which allows the natural sweetness of the pumpkin fruit to shine

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….

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Almond Butter Indulgences: Savory and Sweet

 

 

Paleo Peanut NoodlesI’m loving my almond butter right now. I thought I was allergic for a while because I can’t eat several types of raw nuts without my mouth swelling, but it turns out that I can eat them in butter form or cooked almond meal  because I’m allergic to the coating of the raw nut. With allergies in mind, these recipes are dairy and wheat free, and legit paleo. They’re also Vegan if you use vegetable broth in the noodles.

The fat and protein in almond butter helps to fuel my workouts and feed my metabolism. Here are my sweet and savory almond butter recipes that you can probably try out right now with just a few ingredients from your pantry!

Paleo Almond Noodles, you will need 15 minutes and….

  • your noodle of choice. I recommend Zoodles (Zucchini noodles) or something like black bean pasta. GF is ok too.
  • 3 Tablespoons of Almond Butter
  • 1 tbsp. butter or ghee
  • 1 tbsp. apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tbsp. Maple syrup
  • 1 tbsp. Coconut aminos or tamari (these are wheat free substitutes for soy sauce)
  • 1/4 cup veggie or chicken broth
  • 2 tbsp. chopped green onion
  • cilantro and sriracha to garnish

Directions:

  • Prepare your noodles, either by zoodler or cooking in water.
  • In a large saucepan, combine onions with remaining ingredients and saute at medium heat, stirring to combine flavors
  • Stir until liquid is reduced to desired consistency, (about 5 minutes) then add your noodles to the saucepan
  • Garnish with cilantro and sriracha and optional crushed almonds

It’s important to add the noodles to the saucepan, rather than pouring sauce on top of noodles because that reserves the most sauce and coats the noodles best. Also, if you have cooked noodles then the starchy water will help to thicken the sauce. I’m excited about serving these noodles alongside my wasabi tuna steaks for an Asian inspired dinner.

3 Ingredient Power Brownies, you will need 20 minutes and…

Ingredients:

  • 3 overripe bananas
  • 1/2 cup of almond butter
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and place parchment paper in the bottom of a baking dish
  2. Melt nut butter on stove or in microwave
  3. Combine nut butter with other ingredients and mix thoroughly (I suggest using a handmixer or food processor for smooth brownies)
  4. Pour into baking dish and bake 20 minutes.
  5. Refrigerate and cut into squares to enjoy!

I’ve seen many variations of these quick and healthy brownies on health and fitness sites, but these really work if refrigerated and eaten cold, and they’re decadent and less than 100 calories a brownie!

All that is gold does not glitter

I love this poem from The Lord of the Rings, and I feel like not many people know that these two beautiful, often extrapolated quotes are lines A and B of a Tolkien poem. Tolkien was a Catholic, which is pervasive in his writing and this poem, in particular, but it obviously speaks to most of us about several universal things.

For me, the first 4 lines are about the value of what is not seen above all else, and how we must nurture these “intangibles” in ourselves.

All that is gold does not glitter,
Not all those who wander are lost;
The old that is strong does not wither,
Deep roots are not reached by the frost.
From the ashes a fire shall be woken,
A light from the shadows shall spring;
Renewed shall be blade that was broken,
The crownless again shall be king

——————————————————————————-

Happy Weekend!

 

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!

Up to the Mountain

up to the mountainLuckily, we had the day off today to relax and recuperate from our quick sojourn to Charlotte this weekend for the Carolina Panthers playoff game. Mornings are sacred time for me, though, so I was happy to jump out of bed at 7 am when the doggies woke up. It gave me a chance to have some coffee and some offline time to contemplate the legacy of MLK and the ways in which we can live a life and raise a family with social justice at the heart of it; something that we talk about with a lot of frequency and fervor in RCIA. It’s hard sometimes to feel like whatever you’re building– a family, a business, a career, an idea– will amount to anything substantial or impactful. If Martin Luther King were alive today, he would be 87 and he would see the fruition of his legacy. But he would also see how much work we have left to do.

I’m encouraged by this quote, and by “Up to the Mountain,” one of my favorite songs, recorded by Patty Griffin in honor of King, himself. Whatever you’re working toward, whether it’s sobriety, debt, getting healthy, losing weight, a relationship, a new career, or something as huge as social justice, take it one day at a time, and brick by brick, bird by bird, you will build something worthy of you.

Sometimes I lay down, no more can I do, but then I go on again, because you asked me to.

 

 

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

 

New Year’s Resolutions

Happy New Year Friends! I am so thrilled to see what 2016 has in store for me. I have an entire SYSTEM of 2016 goals and resolutions, divided into 12 areas and spread across the 12 months. My major resolution of 2016, however, is to finish up my DONA Doula certification by attending 3 births this spring. I am so overwhelmed with gratitude and joy that this path is unfolding for me in 2016. Check out this post I wrote for Mind Body Green in 2015 or click on the picture below if you are debating the benefits of having your own Doula.

What are you excited about in the new year? Comment below and share this post for a chance to win a FREE peppermint oil.

100 posts and sweet and savory paleo treats for Christmas Eve Eve!

Merry Christmas Eve Eve! I’m so excited that this is my 100th post. I started blogging with WordPress  1 year ago, and my website was up 6 months ago, so I’m happy with my progress.

Today I’m sharing some fun and easy recipes that will help to keep me on track during the holidays. I plan on snacking on these tonight with a cocktail and my family.

Paleo Jalapeno PoppersPaleo Jalapeño Poppers

Processed Cream Cheese is a no go for me, so my poppers are stuffed with cheddar and pimientos and wrapped with Applegate’s humanely raised bacon. You will need 30 minutes and….

8 fresh jalapeños, halved and deseeded
1/2 cup of grated cheddar cheese1/4 cup pimientos
half a package (or 8 pieces) of bacon

  1. Preheat oven to 400
  2. slice and de-seed jalapeños, careful not to touch your face! Wear gloves if necessary!
  3. fill each jalapeño half with shredded cheddar and top with diced pimientos
  4. slice your bacon in half and wrap each jalapeño half in 1/2 a slice of bacon
  5. bake for 20 minutes until bacon is crispy

Safin’s Paleo Peppermint Bark

You will need 1 hour, 30 minutes and….

1 cup Cream of coconut
1 cup 100% cacao nibs or powder
1/4 cup almond milk
1/4 cup maple syrup
2-3 drops peppermint essential oil or extract

  1. Melt your coconut cream (not milk, you need the thick stuff) in a double boiler
  2. Simultaneously melt (or just after if you only have one double boiler) the other 4 ingredients together; cacao, almond milk, maple syrup, and peppermint extract
  3. Line a dish or pan with sides with parchment paper
  4. Pour both melted mixtures onto parchment paper lined dish or pan and use a knife to swirl it together. The cacao will be denser than the coconut cream and fall to the bottom, and that’s OK! The bark will look cool.
  5. Freeze in the pan for 1-2 hours until solid
  6. Remove from the pan and break apart with your hands to make edges looks rugged, use a knife if it is too hard
  7. Keep bark refrigerated for highest quality. It will taste like a crisp, cold, sugar free peppermint patty!

Paleo Peppermint Bark