Been a While

It has been a while since I have been on the blog. I have been doing so many different things and have not had a chance to get on here. I have also been keeping up with other blogs as well. In a way, if we are honest, I feel like I have purposefully neglected this one. I have not been following the Paleo lifestyle closely… okay, hardly. Things happened, I went away, I got out of habit, and it just occurred over time. I have since, as you can imagine, gained weight. That is disappointing. I will say this, I am going to have weight loss surgery in January of 2017. I was hoping to lose the weight between July of last year (when I was told it was 2017), and now, but it is just not happening. I know me. With my family history, and just my personal history, I know I would not be able to take it off and keep it off. I want to have it be restricting to where I am only able to eat a certain amount of food. I plan on using Paleo once I do the surgery, however, to lose as much as possible over time and keep the weight off. This may not be ideal for everyone. You may not agree with my decision, but I have wanted to do this for a long time now, and am just now able to qualify to do so. I am not sure which procedure I will have done yet. I will keep you posted as the process happens. For now, I know I will be going to a support group meeting, getting my files sent over to the doctor, and right before the surgery having labs and speak with a nutritionist. It seems like I am leaving something out, but I cannot remember what all. I know I have talked with a professional, and she has said that being thin will not make all my problems go away, and not necessarily make me happy. I know that. I also know that while working out and eating right after the surgery will not make all the skin go away either, so I will not be happy with that. I do, though, feel this is the best thing for me. In the meantime, I will try and make some more yummy Paleo treats and post them!

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“Hold On To That Feeling…”

Can you read that title of today’s blog post without hearing Journey in your head? What feeling am I trying to hold onto? Winter. Cool air. A little nip at my nose. Sadly here in the South, the winters are short. The summers are long, fall is pretty short, winter is pretty short, spring is pretty short. Summer is looong. I cannot stand the heat. And boy does it get hot here. What upsets me are all the people who complain when it is 100 degrees outside with 90% humidity, and then get upset when it is cool in the winter or fall and “cannot wait for summer.” You cannot complain about it being hot! You asked for it! I never ask for it. Trying to keep that cool weather in mind, I made a Winter Beef Stew for supper this week. There is a Paleo version and a Weight Watchers version. For the Paleo version, you simply make the stew and eat. For the WW version, you serve it over egg noodles. I will give the pictures and recipe for both. This was simple to make, the hardest part was waiting the hour and a half for it to cook before you could eat it. Most of the ingredients will be in any well stocked pantry. Things that you will not have on hand will be the beef, maybe carrots, and mushrooms if you choose to add them (which I did). This turned out super yummy and tasted even better the next day!

Winter Beef Stew

Serving Size: 4

Ingredients:

1/2 tsp coconut oil

1 pound(s) uncooked lean trimmed sirloin beef, cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces

2 tsp coconut oil

1 large uncooked red onion(s), cut into 1/2-inch-thick slices

2 clove(s) garlic clove(s), peeled, smashed

5 tsp red wine vinegar

1 leaf/leaves bay leaf

3 sprig(s) fresh thyme

1⁄2 tsp table salt

1⁄4 tsp black pepper

1 cup(s) apple juice

1 cup(s) beef broth

2 medium uncooked carrot(s), thinly sliced

2 Tbsp fresh parsley, minced

Instructions:

  • Coat a large nonstick heavy-bottom pot 1/2 tsp coconut oil; heat over medium-high heat for 30 seconds. Add beef; brown beef about 2 minutes per side. Remove beef from pot; set aside.
  • Heat 2 tsp coconut oil in same pot. Add onion and garlic; cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until onion is tender, about 10 minutes. Stir in vinegar, bay leaf, thyme, salt and pepper. Pour in apple juice, and stir up any browned bits with a wooden spoon. Add broth; bring to a simmer. Add carrots and beef, cover pot and reduce heat to low; simmer for 1 1/2 hours. Remove bay leaf and thyme sprigs.
  • To serve, sprinkle with parsley. Serving size: 1 cup stew.

If making the WW version use:

2 cup(s) cooked egg noodles, kept hot

To serve, spoon noodles onto individual serving plates and top with stew; sprinkle with parsley. Serving size: 1 cup stew and 1/2 cup noodles.

This is 8 WW points with the new system.

I will have to add the pictures later since I cannot log into my account right now, but I will post them later tonight. I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as I did!

 

 

A Visit from Family and Salisbury Steak

**NOTE** I tried posting this a couple of weeks ago, and it did not go through. I am hoping that it will post today! Sorry for the delay!

I hope you all enjoyed your long weekend! I know I did! My mom came to Auburn and we got to have a girl’s weekend. We did nothing but shop, eat, watch movies, shop some more, watch a few more movies… needless to say, it was a lazy, fun weekend! We had a blast! I took her to a local spot to eat named Niffer’s Place where they have awesome burgers, Cajun tots, and corn nuggets! It was delicious. She had never been there before, so she was in for a real treat. Everyone we knew was so jealous! We also went to Hobby Lobby and got new coloring books and colored pencils, so that was a lot of fun! We watched several movies, War Room, which I HIGHLY recommend. It was amazing. If you have not seen it, go and rent it tonight! It will change your life. I want my own war room now. We also watched Ted 2, which I was disappointed in. There was so much language that was just not needed, there was no nudity until the end and it was uncalled for, and there was just not a good storyline. Disappointed is an understatement. My mom had not seen Trainwrecked, so we watched that, and then Saturday night we watched The Martian. It was excellent! It was nowhere as good as the book, but are they ever? The book is hilarious. I laughed and laughed at the book. The movie was just okay as far as humor went. But overall the movie was terrific. I thought they did a good job of portraying the novel. We both loved it. I cannot wait to watch it with my dad.

Last week I made a wonderful recipe. It was for Salisbury Steak. Now, the Salisbury Steak that I usually make or have eaten in the past has been slathered in a nice yummy gravy. This recipe was more like a tomato pasta sauce. But, it was just as yummy, maybe even more so! I am so excited to share this recipe with you. I did not follow the recipe exactly as it called for, and I will let you know what I did differently, but it turned out so terrific, that I will probably do it the same next time as well. I got the recipe from Laughing Spatula and their Salisbury Steak Whole30 compliant section. So, here we go!

Salisbury Steak

1 pound ground beef – I used 85/15

1 egg

2 garlic cloves, finely minced

Salt and pepper

1 thinly sliced yellow onion

1½ cups sliced mushrooms

3 tablespoons tomato paste

1 cup beef broth

Salt and pepper

Instructions
  1. Add beef, egg, garlic, salt and pepper together in bowl and combine well.
  2. Shape into 4 patties.
    1. I had patties that I had already made beforehand. I simply cooked them without the egg in the garlic with salt and pepper. That was one change I made.
  3. Heat non-stick skillet over medium high heat.
  4. Add beef patties to skillet.
  5. Cook 3-4 minutes per side until a nice crust forms.
  6. Remove patties from pan and set aside. (they will not be fully cooked but will continue to cook in sauce)
  7. Add onions and mushrooms to skillet – sauté for about 5 minutes.
    1. I used diced onions, not sliced. I actually liked them a lot better.
  8. Add tomato paste and beef broth to onion mushroom mixture.
  9. Stir until nice thick sauce forms.
  10. Season with salt and pepper.
  11. Add patties back to pan, cover and cook in sauce until cooked through. About 10 minutes.
  12. If sauce is to thin – you may uncover skillet until reduced to desired consistency.

Sadly, I do not have a picture because my photos got deleted off of my phone, but trust me… it was wonderful! This is a keeper! Have a wonderful day everyone!

~ A

 

 

Best Chocolate Chip Cookies? I Think So!

It has been a while since my last post. I have been using my work computer to update my blog since I have not had a laptop in over 4 or 5 months, and lately the site has said that my software was not current and could not post effectively. Such a bummer. So… here we are. At least a month later. I have so much to catch up on!

I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas season. It was a mild winter here in Alabama to say the least. It was in the 70’s leading up to Christmas. I literally ate my lunch outside on our patio set at work. The week of Christmas it was yucky and stormy and rainy. If you look online there are pictures of Noccalula Falls in Gadsden, AL after all the rain we had, and that is where I am from! Many a romantic high school date were spent at those falls. I loved going and feeding the ducks.

We had a very merry Christmas and a happy new year so far! My sweet parents got my sister and I Cuisinart Food Processors. I needed one desperately to do all these amazing Paleo recipes, and so it was a welcomed addition into my kitchen appliance family. I was also lucky enough to get a new medium sized crockpot. I am ready to get to cookin! I also have to give a shout out to my mom and diddy for giving me one of the coolest presents… I finally got an American Girl Doll! She looks just like me, and comes with these little bangs that clip on. Adorable!

While I was away I was able to try out a new recipe. Who does not love a good chocolate chip cookie? They are one of many comfort foods. You might think that when you signed up for the Paleo diet you would have to give up on some of your favorite treats. That is not so! There are many alternatives out there that are just as yummy, and dare I say, this chocolate chip cookie recipe I am about to share may even be yummier than regular chocolate chip cookies? They were soft, chewy, sweet, and full of chocolaty goodness. The recipe could be a tad time consuming, and I did not follow it exactly to specifications (Do I ever?), and they turned out wonderful. I cannot wait to share this special recipe any longer.

Cookies, a friend once told me, was something difficult to find yummy recipes for with Paleo. She had tried many and only a few turned out worth the effort. I have been very fortunate to have found the Snickerdoodle recipe and now a Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe that will be a go-to snack in the future. And now you have it, the moment you have been waiting for… Chocolate Chip Cookie Heaven.

Paleo Chocolate Chip Cookies from Bakerita.com

Author: Rachel Conners
Serves: 15 cookies
Ingredients
½ cup coconut oil, room temperature
¾ cup coconut sugar
1 egg, room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
2¼ cups (9 oz.) almond flour (I recommend Honeyville blanched almond flour)
1 cup (6 oz.) chopped dark chocolate
Directions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350ºF.
  2. Beat together the coconut oil and coconut sugar until smooth. Add the egg and vanilla and mix until smooth.
  3. Add the almond flour, salt, and baking soda to the wet ingredients. Mix until well incorporated. Fold in the chopped chocolate. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least an hour (can prepare up to 48 hours ahead of time).
  4. After refrigerating, use a cookie scoop to form cookies and press down slightly. Bake for 10 minutes or just beginning to turn golden brown around the edges.

To be honest, I was in a rush. I melted the coconut oil in the microwave to make it blend easier. I also used a cold egg instead of room temperature, and I did not refrigerate the dough before baking. These still turned out absolutely delicious. I did not have Soy-Free, Dairy-Free chocolate chips, and honestly I cannot afford them on my budget. I simply used the chocolate chips I had in the freezer on hand. Of course, they tasted fabulous, but it may not follow the Paleo diet as strictly as some would have it. I figured if I was just eating one or two, it would not be the most terrible thing in the world.

So there you have it. One of the best cookie recipes I have had in the Paleo world, and one of the best chocolate chip cookies ever. I hope you all enjoy this recipe as much as I did. Thank you so much to Rachel Conners for posting this recipe and letting it be pinned to Pinterest.

Here is the dough and final result! See how gooey that dough looks! See how soft, chewy, and chocolaty the cookies are! Just imagine out good they taste. Want to find out for yourself? Make them. Make them ASAP.

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Enjoy!

~ A

 

 

 

 

 

Paleo Goes French

I am so sorry that it took me so long to get back on the blog. I had in mind to “Blog Like Crazy,” but so many things happened lately. First was the beach, and that was a fun filled time with us being pretty much on the go the entire time. We went for almost a week and went to a car show. We are car show people. We go for weekend events, just the day, or a week. It is fun for our entire family. We were also able to do lots of shopping while we were gone. One thing that I got while we were gone was an adult coloring book. No, not That kind of adult, get your mind out of the gutter! The adult coloring books where the designs are intricate and detailed. They are beautiful pictures and are made to relax you when you are stressed. I stay stressed and anxious quite a bit, so I am hoping this will help. I have OCD, so I do worry a little with them. When I was a kid I would buy lots of coloring books and never color in them. I was too worried that I was going to make a mistake, so I would never color in them at all. I have already started one picture, so it has gone well so far. I still worry over the colors and combinations, but I am trying to let that go.

We also had my birthday in November and Thanksgiving. I am a girl who has her birthday on Thanksgiving every so many years and that is a lot of fun. We were super busy with the Thanksgiving holidays. I did plenty of shopping on Thanksgiving and Black Friday. Did you? I have all my Christmas shopping done, so it was mostly for movies, TV series, and a few extra surprises for my sister. Just fun goodies that I wait to buy every year until this time. Some of my favorites were Modern Family, The Big Bang Theory, Criminal Minds, Mad Men, Pretty Little Liars, Homeland, and True Blood. I cannot wait to find a free moment to watch some of these. Modern Family, Criminal Minds, Big Bang, and Pretty Little Liars I have already watched, I was just getting them to complete my series at home. I have not seen the last season of True Blood, any of Homeland, and some of the Mad Men episodes. Did y’all get any goodies on sale? Do you prefer Thanksgiving Day, Black Friday, or Cyber Monday?

I am sorry to ramble on. I am sure you do not want to hear all about my shopping! I just love looking at you as my friends and updating on what is going on in my life. Oh! And how can I forget, one of the most wonderful days of the year happened the Saturday after Thanksgiving! The Iron Bowl! This is an annual event that sets the year for an entire fan base. It can make the next year happy or terrible. This is the game where Auburn plays their biggest rival and it means everything to the people in this state (and literally in many cases around the globe). The good guys, Auburn, have not had a great season this year. It made me sad as a fan, but I will stand by my team and coach no matter what. Our guys had nothing to lose, so I just wanted them to go out and play with all they had. I lucked up and on Friday night while I was in the theater watching Mockingjay Part 2 (great movie), I got a text saying my friend had an extra free ticket and asked if I wanted to go to the game! Of course I did! I was so excited to see an Iron Bowl from inside Auburn’s stadium, not matter what the outcome. I had a blast and yelled and screamed, and at times, booed. It would have only been better had we won. I am so thankful for friends who thought of me and offered me that ticket.

But on to why you probably got to this blog. I have a confession to make. Since I have been at the beach and having Thanksgiving, and now leading up to Christmas I have not been following a strict Paleo diet. I have gained a few pounds, but I have been maintaining the past month. I need to get back on it ASAP, but I think I am going to try and follow it semi closely, and hit it hard again after Christmas. In the meantime, I am trying out new recipes. This one is a favorite with Julia Child and from the movie Julie and Julia. I made a crockpot version of Beef Bourguignon. It was amazing and delicious, and so very simple. I know in the instructions it tells you to sear the meat, and sauté the onions, etc., but to me that defeats the purpose of the crockpot. I simply put everything in the pot and let it cook for 8 hours on low while I was at work. Easy peasy. I found the recipe on my favorite standard, Pinterest, but I am sure you can find similar recipes all over the internet. This particular recipe came from Buzzfeed. You can find the article here along with 32 other delicious Paleo crockpot recipes. I plan on using this list quite a bit! Here is what I did:

Beef Bourguignon

I placed in the crockpot

2 lbs. cut up beef stew meat

1 large onion, chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

4 large carrots, sliced

1 bag of little baby onions (or pearl onions if  you can find them), I cut them in half

Rosemary (it called for 2-3 sprigs, but I used dried)

2 bay leaves

1 tsp. Himalayan salt

1 tsp. freshly ground pepper

2 Tbsp. Dijon mustard

2 cups bone broth

1/4 cup red wine vinegar

1/2 lb. (I went ahead and used an 8 oz. package) sliced mushrooms

2 Tbsp. tapioca starch

2 Tbsp. water

There are a lot of instructions on the website for how to carefully prepare all the ingredients. I was not that patient and did not have that much time, so here is what I did, and it turned out wonderful!

I added all the ingredients into the crockpot, with the exception of the tapioca starch and water. I then let the entire crockpot sit in the fridge overnight. The next morning I put the crock in the heating mechanism and let it cook on low for 8 hours. When I got home, I took out the bay leaves, you can take out the rosemary sprigs if you used them. I took the tapioca starch and water and mixed it together until blended and added it to the stew so it thickened. I then served it to my guests. Everyone really enjoyed it. Here are the humble beginnings and the finished result:

Beef 1 Beef

The result was wonderful, tender, juicy, and delicious. It was even better the next day! I cannot wait to try this one again.

Happy eating everyone!

 

~ A

 

Goals? Plans for November

I am participating in #bloglikecrazy, a plan to blog each day of the month of November. I missed out on Sunday because I did not know about the idea, but I will blog each day for the rest of the month. The idea is that it is good practice for future blogs. I need all the practice I can get because I am not really the writer in my family. My beautiful sister is an editor and writer, and she does an amazing job. I have lots of ideas, and I can be a good writer, but I am not much of an editor. I have not written much since college, so I am a little rusty. So hang in with me as I get back into the groove.

What are my goals for November? That is a very good question. I guess I have several. My first goal for the month of November is to lose 4 lbs. That is one pound per week, which I think is reasonable. It will be made even more challenging with my family going to the beach for a week coming up and Thanksgiving (which is my favorite holiday). I have already started preparing for the beach by buying a few Paleo friendly snacks that I can eat along the way and while we are there. I am so ready to get out of here and get on the road! We have a lot of fun each year as we make our yearly pilgrimage to Panama City Beach for an annual car show. My dad raised me to be a car show person, so this is a lot of fun for us. We also get to do shopping, fun eating places, and spend time as a family. I cannot wait!

My second goal is to lose weight while we are at the beach. I lost weight last year while I was doing Atkins, so I hope with the Paleo diet I can also lose weight. My mom is already planning meals that I can enjoy with the family so I do not feel left out or like I am missing anything. She is so sweet and takes care of me. I love her so much. My dad will also do what he can, like buying me water and asking, “So, what can you eat?” That is how he takes care of me too.

My third goal is to lose weight over Thanksgiving. This may prove a little challenging, but I plan on doing this. I started to write “hope,” but then I changed it to “plan” because I am going to claim it. I already plan on making a Paleo green bean casserole, Paleo pecan pie, and a few other Paleo friendly items. I may cheat a little and have a bite of dressing. Here in the South we do not eat stuffing, it is dressing and it is delicious. It is probably one of my favorite meals. I do not think I can resist having just a taste.

My last goal is to go to the gym. I joined at the end of October when our Planet Fitness was having a Grand Opening special. I want to try and go as often as I can. I rather go in the morning since I can go straight to work, and it will be easy to make sure I am on time. But, if I have to go after work, that is fine too.

I am proud to say, if I have not already, that in a month I lost 18 lbs. I have since gained back a couple, but I think it is because I have not been eating as much fruit as I normally do, and I have hardly been eating at all. I just do not feel like it lately. I need to make sure I am eating like I was when I first started.

So, what are your goals for the month? Do you have any big plans coming up? Have a wonderful Tuesday!

~ A

Creamy Mushroom Goodness… and Cake!

I hope you all had a spooktacular Halloween! Sorry, could not help myself, I am a former teacher after all! Mine was busy but not really all that eventful. I watched football on Halloween day and evening, did some cleaning and organizing, and tried out a couple of new recipes. I wanted to get more reading done, and I did do a little reading, but in the South, we are all about college football. So I could not help myself from watching it all day long.

I wanted to go to the grocery store on Friday evening, but with the Ole Miss crowd being in town for the Auburn game, it was a madhouse. I just skipped the grocery store on Friday and thought, “Maybe Sunday.” Saturday, however, I woke up wide awake at 5:00 am. Just so you know, it is the perfect time to go to Wal-Mart and buy groceries! I usually go to Kroger or Publix, but they did not open until later, so Wal-Mart it was. There were not a lot of people in the store, and when I checked out, I learned they were all trying to check out too, at the only register that was open! Ugh, Wal-Mart.

I decided this week I was going to make Sticky Teriyaki Chicken Wings, Cream of Mushroom Soup, and a Paleo Coconut Pound Cake that I found a recipe for online. When I got home from the store, and I got ready to make the wings, I ran into a problem. I bought whole chicken wings and actual drumsticks, not the sections and drummettes. So frustrating. So, into the freezer they went for my mom to use later. I did get to the grocery store on Sunday though and find the items I need for the chicken wings, so I am looking forward to that.

I did all my cooking on Sunday evening, and boy was it delicious! First up, Cream of Mushroom Soup. I got this recipe from Juli Bauer’s Paleo Cookbook. Here is a picture of the one I used:

Juli Bauer's Paleo Cookbook

You can see she is eating the wings I plan on making later on the cover! And boy, do they look and sound good. For the soup, I first sautéed garlic in a pot for a few minutes and added chopped onion. When that was translucent, I added the mushrooms and thyme and let them cook until they were reduced by half. Here is a picture of the beginnings of soup:

Cream of Mushroom Soup Beginning

Looks good, right? I then added tapioca starch to chicken broth and added it to the pot. I also added heavy cream (although she said you could use almond or coconut milk) because I had it on hand and did not want it to go bad. Finally, I added a bay leaf, and a little salt as well. I let all of that cook for about 15 minutes and stirred it about twice along the way. Here is the final result:

Cream of Mushroom Soup

Delicious and perfect for a cool autumn or winter day. I cannot wait to add this to my go-to soups recipes. It was easy to make, did not take long at all, and tasted so much better than anything you could ever find in a can. I highly recommend this to everyone! If you have not read Juli’s cookbook, I cannot recommend it enough.

The last thing I made yesterday evening was a Paleo Coconut Pound Cake. I was not really making it because I just had to have something sweet. I actually needed a treat to take to a small group, and was testing the recipe to see if I wanted to use that. I had looked at several recipes online and found this one to have outstanding reviews, and it came from a reliable source. I found the CrossFit Santa Cruz Central’s Coconut Pound Cake Recipe by chance on, guess where… Pinterest! It was easy to make and tasted wonderful. The only change I made, I did not have coconut extract like I thought, so I used vanilla along with the orange. Other than the exchange of vanilla for coconut extract, I followed the recipe exactly. Here is what it looked like when I was finished:

Paleo Pound Cake

That is a slice of my Pound Cake with a little coconut cream on top. So yummy! I cannot wait to share this recipe with all of my friends.

I hope you enjoy these recipes as much as I have, and I hope you have a wonderful Monday! This month is #bloglikecrazy, so I will try and post every day in November (except for yesterday, sorry, guys). It may just be a tidbit, or another yummy recipe. I will be going to the beach next week, so the posts may be short and sweet, but I will try my best to keep posting.

Have a wonderful Monday, everyone!

~ A