Monday, April 16, 2012

Paleo Pumpkin Muffins

So I made these amazing pumpkin muffins yesterday. I love anything with pumpkin in it, so I was so excited to find this Paleo recipe! These muffins are moist and full of flavor. My husband liked them and my son loved them! I tweaked the recipe in a few places based on the reviews that I saw on the website where I got the recipe. I've posted the reciped and noted where I made "tweaks" in parentheses.  Pumpkin is full of vitamin A and antioxidants, and the muffins are sweetened with raw honey, which has been proven to help with seasonal allergies (if local) and boost your immune system.  Combined with the protein from the almond flour and eggs (and I added a little more with some protein powder), this is a wonderful breakfast, snack, or treat!

1 1/2 c. almond flour
3/4 c. pumpkin
3 eggs (I used one egg and two whites)
1 t. baking powder
1 t. baking soda
1/2 t. ground cinnamon (I doubled this, both based on reviews and the fact that I love cinnamon!)
1 1/2 t. pumpkin pie spice (I added a little more)
1/8 t. salt
1/4 c. raw honey (I added about a tablespoon more based on reviews)
2 t. almond butter
1/2 t. melted coconut oil
(Optional: I added half a scoop vanilla protein powder, and probably will add a full scoop next time)

Preheat oven to 350.
Put paper muffin cups in a 12-cup muffin tin and mist with cooking spray.
Mix all ingredients together and pour into muffin cups.
Bake 25 minutes, but check at 20 (mine were a little brown on top).

Day Three

So, I decided to take the weekend off of posting my meals. Between not feeling well and running around all weekend, it was crazy! Today will be the last day that I post my meals, and I hope that this has been as helpful to some of you as it has to me. If you're trying to lose weight, its always a good idea to either write down or snap a quick picture of what you eat; often you're eating either more or less than you think you are. As a recovering anorexic, I have to remind myself often that my life should be fueled by food, not revolve around it. And this goes for those of you who struggle the other way too! Good, healthy, pure food will give you the energy, health, and attitude to live a full life!

Anyway, let me step off of my soap box and get to the point of this post. After a workout this morning, I filled up with some plain greek yogurt mixed with half a scoop of protein powder, some chia powder, and a palmful of blueberries. This is a high protein breakfast that helped my body recover from my interval and weight session this morning, and the blueberries add healthy carbs and lots of antioxidants. Plus it tastes really good!

I grabbed my morning snack this morning in a hurry because I didn't feel like prepping anything last night. I don't like to drink these too often because they are full of things that I can't pronounce (something I always try to avoid!), but I keep them on hand because they're an easy, quick, high protein snack that holds me over until lunch.

Okay, I'll be the first to admit that this is not an appetizing picture. But this is my favorite "My Fit Foods" meal! (And it probably doesn't look appetizing because I just pulled it out of the fridge and snapped a picture this morning before it was heated up.) For those of you who don't live in the Houston area, "My Fit Foods" is a company that prepares healthy meals from scratch that you can pick up and reheat. I usually grap one or two of these on the weekends to take to work for lunch during the week. That way, I don't even have to worry about preparing something on a couple of days! This one is a salmon cake with asparagus. I love the salmon cake because they just put a little flax meal in it to hold it together, no bread crumbs, so you mainly just taste the salmon. Super yummy and filling!

Yep, same old afternoon snack! Why mess with what works?!

This is one of my go-to dinners when I get home late and don't feel being in the kitchen too long. It is one egg (organic and omega-3 enhanced!) and about 2-3 egg whites scrambled with whatever vegetables I have on hand. Tonight it was asparagus, bell pepper, and leftover roasted cauliflower from last night, which I then put on a plate of steamed spinach and topped with some diced avocado and cayenne pepper. SOOO good! I had some carob chips for dessert, but later gave in and ate half of a whole wheat tortilla and some pistachios. Grazing at night is my biggest pitfall!

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Cauliflower Crust Pizza

I have been wanting to make this for weeks. I bought the ingredients for it about 2 weeks ago, but then ended up in the ER with pancreatitis which put me on an all liquid diet for almost a week. That was not fun! So finally today I was able to make my pizza and it turned out great!

Cauliflower Pizza Crust
makes 1 large crust

Recipe courtesy of Doris Choi


4 cups cauliflower rice, steamed and strained
1 egg, beaten
1/3 cup soft goat cheese (chevre)
1 teaspoon dried oregano
pinch of salt


Preheat your oven to 400F, then get to work on your crust.

Step 1: Begin by making your cauliflower “rice.”

Simply pulse batches of raw cauliflower florets in a food processor, until a rice-like texture is achieved.

Step 2: Steam & Strain the rice.

Fill a large pot with about an inch of water, and bring it to a boil. Add the “rice” and cover; let it steam for about 4-5 minutes. Drain into a fine-mesh strainer.

Now here comes the secret:

Once you’ve strained the rice, transfer it to a clean, thin dishtowel.

Wrap up the steamed rice in the dishtowel, twist it up, then squeeze all the excess moisture out!
It’s amazing how much liquid will be released, which will leave you with a nice and dry pizza crust.

Step 3: Make & Shape the dough.

In a large bowl, mix up your strained rice, beaten egg, goat cheese, and spices.

Don’t be afraid to use your hands! You want it very well mixed.
Press the dough out onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. (It’s important that it’s lined with parchment paper!)

Keep the dough about 1/3″ thick, and make the edges a little higher for a “crust” effect, if you like.

Step 4: Bake!

Bake for 35-40 minutes at 400F.

Step 5: Load on the Toppings!

Now’s the time to add all your favorites– sauce, cheese, and any other toppings you like.
I used organic tomatoe basil sauce, mushrooms, zucchini, squash, organic ground beef and sprinkled goat cheese on top....that's the best part!

Return the pizza to the 400F oven, and bake an additional 5-10 minutes, just until the cheese is hot and bubbly. If you're using goat cheese, it doesn't appear melted like most cheese do. Once out of the oven, the crust will probably be a little flimsy. Let cool a little before serving. ENJOY your HEALTHY PIZZA!

Friday, April 13, 2012

Day Two

Still feeling pretty crummy today, and I can't taste a thing. If I don't feel better tomorrow, I may wait a few days to post my third and final day of meals so that you can see what I eat when I'm feeling normal and exercising!  I was really running late today...felt achy and did not want to get out of bed, so I had to grab something quick on the way out the door. I made a protein smoothie, which I usually put a banana in, but we were out of bananas at my house, so its a scoop of protein powder, a cup of unsweetened vanilla almond milk, about a cup of raw spinach, a teaspoon of almond butter, and some ice.

I made my morning snack last night, and since I didn't know what I'd be eating for breakfast, I made my snack a little more substantial.  It's plain greek yogurt with chia powder (an excellent s source of protein, fiber, and healthy fats), a half scoop of protein powder, and some mango (which are pretty much buried under the yogurt in the picture!).  Leaving it in the fridge overnight with the chia powder makes it pretty thick, just the way I like it!

I went to get my lunch together and realized didn't have any sweet potatoes left this morning. So I decided that was a good excuse to hit up the H&H salad bar again for lunch! I have no rhyme or reason to my salads...I just put everything I like on it. I always start with spinach, add all the veggies they have that I like, a protein (grilled chicken in this case), either a little nuts or a little cheese (shredded swiss here) or avocado if they have it (they don't at H&H) for the fats, and then some straight balsamic vinegar with just a little olive oil or vinaigrette.  At H&H, I can't resist a bite of their chicken salad and their pesto pasta salad. They're so yummy so I just put a bite of each in my dish so I don't go overboard! This salad is delicious and keeps me full for hours. I have to be disciplined so that I don't get one every day, because they charge by weight!

Afternoon snack today is the same as yesterday, and most days. I love these things!

Okay, I'm a little behind on posting Day 2's dinner, but better late than never! I broke my own rule here by having salad twice in one day. My parents were having pizza for dinner, which I can't have on Paleo, so after digging around their kitchen, this is what I could come up with! I also had a very small glass of chardonnay and a couple of dark chocolate covered almonds for dessert :)

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Day One

Disclaimer today: I have a sinus infection and I'm on an antibiotic, so I'm not very hungry and I can't taste much. But I'm going to do my best and try to eat things that will help my body to heal! So breakfast was the Primal Juice from Foods Fit 4 Life. Freshly juiced kale, spinach, broccoli, celery, lemon, and apple. Yum! I also had a dried date. Normally I make sure to eat protein with every meal, but my appetite just wasn't there this morning. However, I'll have protein for my morning snack!

So morning snack was 1 hard-boiled egg and 1 hard-boiled egg white sprinkled with cayenne. One of my favorite snacks!
I made several of these quick and easy lunches for this week on Monday night, so all I have to do in the morning before work is refill my dish and I'm good to go! It's ground turkey mixed with a red bell pepper, a tad tomato sauce, cayenne, and cinnamon. Then there's steamed asparagus and some sweet potato sprinkled with cinnamon. This meal has filling fiber and protein, along with healthy doses of antioxidants and vitamins. And it tastes great too!
This is my afternoon snack pretty much every day. It is one of the most natural nutrition bars on the market and has a great balance of protein, carbs, and healthy fats. And it's made in Austin! It's also my Paleo cheat every day :)
So I felt like a salad for dinner since the family was having a grass-fed tenderloin and I don't eat beef.  I stopped at Hubbell and Hudson (best salad bar ever!) and got a scoop of their chicken salad (which I ate before I got home) and some salad toppings: artichoke hearts, cherry tomatoes, roasted red peppers, and feta cheese. Then when I got home, I put in spinach and a couple slices of turkey along with some avocado, asparagus, and honey mustard vinaigrette. Yummy! I also had a little dessert to satisfy my sweet tooth: one of my paleo chocolate chip cookies and, just before bed, a sugar free Fudgesicle (not really healthy, just good!).

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Daily Meals

Ok, so I have had several people ask me what my daily eating plan looks like. So, I've decided to keep a photo journal of it. This is also a way to keep me accountable for what I eat, because since I have started working again, I've gained a couple of pounds that I wouldn't mind losing. Now, with my history (I am a recovering anorexic), this is not something that I want to become obsessed about. However, I think that being accountable for what I eat can help me in both ways, ensuring that I'm eating enough but not too much. (And I will hear it from my family and close friends if it doesn't look like I'm eating enough!) 

Hopefully, this will also give people who have asked an idea of a (basically) healthy eating plan, cheats and all. If you have any questions about what I post, please let me know and I will do my best to answer them! I'd love to hear your critiques also, because I'm no expert and I'm always open to learning new things.

Starting tomorrow, I'm laying it all out there! I'm not sure if I'll post all my meals once a day, or post as I go, or what...I'm thinking it will probably be a combination of the two, based on what I have going on that day. Stay tuned!

Monday, April 9, 2012

Paleo Chocolate Chip Cookies

Yes, another chocolate chip cookie recipe! Who doesn't love chocolate chip cookies? I hadn't made them in a long time because I don't like having them sit around the house, calling to me every time I pass the kitchen.  Then when I switched to a Paleo diet, I figured they were pretty much off limits. However, TA-DA! An Internet search turned up this recipe, which I made last night. The verdict? Delicious! My son even raved about them.

Although many Paleo cookie recipes call for ground nuts, this one actually calls for almond flour. And the secret is that it has to be very finely ground. The recipe's author advised against using Bob's Red Mill brand, which is the only one that I could find in stores, because it is too coarse. So I followed her recommendation and ordered Honeyville Farms Blanched Almond Flour online (you can find it on Amazon or its even a bit cheaper on the company's website).  Unfortunately, its not cheap, but if you're eating Paleo, its great to have around because you can use it as a substitute for regular flour in your baking. I'll be trying out a muffin recipe with it next!

Now, these cookies don't taste quite like regular chocolate chip cookies. But I think that I may like them even better! And the fact that they're actually not bad for you (in moderation, of course) makes me like them even more :). Guilt-free dessert? Bring it!

1 1/4 c. very finely ground blanched almond flour
1/4 t. salt
1/4 t. baking soda
1/4 c. raw agave nectar (you can also use 1/4 c. raw honey + 1-2 t. water)
1/8 c. macadamia nut oil (since I didn't have this, I used coconut oil which gave the cookies a slight coconut taste)
1 t. vanilla
a scant 1/4 c. dark chocolate chips

Pre-heat oven to 325.

Mix wet and dry ingredients separately, then combine and add chocolate chips.

Make about 15-18 small balls of cookie dough and space them evenly on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.  Press cookies down as flat as possible with your hand (you may want to put a little oil on your hands because the dough will be sticky).

Bake about 6 minutes, but watch closely and remove when the edges start to brown (could be anywhere from 4-8 minutes depending on your oven).

Enjoy warm with a glass of almond/coconut milk!! :)