Paleo Pumpkin Pie Baked Apples

20 Sep

I don’t know about you but ever since September hit I’ve been obsessing over all things pumpkin. Ok, not just pumpkin, all fall food. Pumpkin, apples, nuts, warm spices, soups…. ahhhhh. I’m into the seasonal eating. I love when things taste their freshest and best! So even though here in Oklahoma it’s still in the 90’s, I’m pretending like the leaves are already changing and making food that’s gold, red, orange, and brown. Last night I pulled out my 2 staples, Omghee (the best tasting ghee, EVER) and pumpkin pie spice. I had bought a couple of cans of pumpkin, gala apples, and a bag of pecans. I knew I wanted to make something with them, just wasn’t sure what until I got into the kitchen.

 

 

I decided to do a baked apples with a pumpkin filling. Yes, I think I qualified myself for genius status with this recipe. You only need a few ingredients and an hour, your taste buds will thank me.

What you’ll need:

4 – 6 mediums apples (I used 4 but there was leftover filling)

1/2 can of pure pumpkin

2 eggs

2 T. pumpkin spice 

1/2 cup of pecans

3 T. OMGhee

First cut the tops off your apples. Use a spoon or a melon baller to scoop the core and insides out, leaving about 1/4 inch on the sides and bottoms. I saved some of the cleaner pieces and tossed it in with my pumpkin mixture. In a food processor combine a dollop of your OMGhee, a tablespoon of pumpkin spice, your 1/2 can of pumpkin, and both the eggs. Mix until combined. If you like something a little sweeter, add a tablespoon or two of maple syrup. I try to stay away from sugar as much as possible so I didn’t include it in the recipe, but I think it would really hit the spot if that’s your thing.

Now, spoon your filling into your hollowed out apples. Add your apple hats back on for the baking. I added another dollop of ghee to the little dip in the top and sprinkled everything with the pumpkin spice.

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Bake for 45 minutes at 350. While your apples are cooling. throw your pecans, a tablespoon of ghee, and some pumpkin pie spice into a skillet. On medium heat,  toss your pecans for a few minutes. Careful not to burn them.

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Isn’t that beautiful?!

Now you just plate your apple and sprinkle the pecans over the top. I occasionally do dairy and I happened to have some heavy whipping cream in my fridge so I whipped up some of that with a touch of pumpkin spice.

A heavenly fall treat.

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Enjoy!

Slightly obsessed with sweet potatoes

13 Sep

I FINALLY completed a Whole 30 in August! Yay me! I’m crediting it partly to my new found love for sweet potatoes. 

I work long hours on the weekends as a bartender of a busy Mexican restaurant. In my past attempts of the Whole 30, I generally ended up crashing and burning after one of these long weekends. I realized that lack of proper planning was mostly to blame. I would fail to fuel my body during these chaotic hours which would leave me hungry and tired and reaching for sugar. After two or three times falling off the wagon on a Sunday night because I was over-worked and under-fed, I knew I was going to have to really make sure I made time to prep SOMETHING, anything really, and make time to eat it, before I got to the “just eat all the damn cookies at 11pm” hungry point. With 2 kids and a busy schedule, that was easier said than done but I managed to come up with a quick easy meal that I could bulk prep on Fridays and it would last me the weekend.

Behold : A meal with no name

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This first picture is about as simple as it gets. Before work I cooked up some grass fed ground beef with salt and pepper, probably some garlic and onion powders. When I got to work, I “baked” a sweet potato in the microwave. (Stab it repeatedly with a fork or knife, pretending it’s your bosses face if you happen to be annoyed with him, this day, I was. Then cook about 6 to 8 minutes.) I added a dab of ghee and a sprinkle of pumpkin spice. Seriously good stuff here.

By this second picture I had gotten a little bit fancier. I added onions, garlic, bell peppers and spinach to my ground beef. And of course, I still brought along ghee and pumpkin spice for my sweet potato. Holy yum! It’s my favorite combo, maybe ever. This day I brought zucchini, summer squash, and red bells and used the grill at work to cook them. How did I not think of this before??? Since then I’ve even brought steak and pineapples to grill.

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So, just to recap.

1. Cook up a couple pounds of ground meat, adding whatever veggies and seasonings you like.

2. Bake a sweet potato, add tons of ghee and pumpkin spice.

3. Combine all that business and enjoy

Meals for days.

You’re welcome.

Banana Pumpkin Pancakes

8 Feb

A new breakfast staple in my house is banana pancakes. The first recipe I saw for these called for 2 bananas/2 eggs/ 2 tablespoons of almond butter. They were delicious but my batter wasn’t a consistency I liked. They were delicious though, like banana nut bread!  I saw another recipe that called for 1 banana/ 2 eggs. I decided to try this one and I like it much better! A few days ago I saw a can of pumpkin in my cabinet and decided to play with the recipe.  As with everything I seem to make, it’s super easy, kid-friendly, and oh-so-delicious!

1 can of pure pumpkin

2 bananas

6 eggs

1 tablespoons of pumpkin pie spice

a thumbs worth of butter, ghee, or coconut oil

Puree all ingredients in a food processor or blender. This makes A LOT. I portioned it into 4 equal containers. Each container made me about 8 to 10 small pancakes.

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Now heat up your skillet on medium heat and add some fat. You could use butter, I used coconut oil.  I use just a regular spoon and use 2 spoonfuls for each pancake.

pumpkin banana pancakes cooking

Takes just slightly longer than regular pancakes to mostly cook through. Give it a few minutes and when there are bubbles around the edge and the middle part will be kind of “solid” looking as opposed to liquidy. Flip over and cook another minute or two. Done.

pumpkin banana pancakes

Garnish with berries and serve. For syrup use a touch of local raw honey or a good quality maple syrup (check the label, there shouldn’t be anything but maple syrup in it!!) Your kiddos will be happy because they get pancakes. You’ll be happy because they’re eating whole delicious food!

Here are some regular banana pancakes I made a while back. 2 bananas and 4 eggs. It made A LOT of pancakes, at least 20. You could half it and save some for another meal or cook them up and store them in the fridge for snacks or a really quick meal for the kids.

kiddos pancakes

Gigi is having fresh blueberries with hers.(non-messy version)  For Hunter I heated up some frozen berries for about 3 minutes and it made a compote, no added sugar, the fruit is sweet enough! No syrup needed!

Do you make a version of banana pancakes? I’d love to hear your different recipes or if you try this one, please let me know what you think.

Kale Chips

7 Feb

Why have I never done this before? This is the first thing I thought when I made these kale chips for the first time . They were salty and crispy and oh-so-good. I was seriously impressed. One of my favorite things in the world is finding ways to enjoy super nutritious food. Kale is something that hasn’t been in my diet…. uhmm ever? Back in the day I waited tables at Texas Roadhouse and they served kale on the plate as a garnish. Not to be eaten, just to look pretty. It is pretty, it’s a deep, rich, dark green and almost “fluffy” in appearance. After hearing repeatedly the numerous nutrients and health benefits of kale I decided I had to start eating it! I have recently incorporated in my smoothies and I saute it with a bit of olive oil and eggs for my one year old in the mornings.

What are the many, many benefits of adding kale to your diet, you ask? So glad you did, because I’d love to share!

Kale is very high in beta carotene, vitamin K, vitamin C, lutein, zeaxanthin, and rich in calcium. Kale contains sulforaphane, a chemical with potent anti-cancer properties. Kale’s risk-lowering benefits for cancer have recently been extended to at least five different types of cancer. These types include bladder, breast, colon, ovary, and prostate. Researchers can now identify over 45 different flavonoids in kale, these flavonoids combine both antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits. One cup of kale provides about 10% of the RDA of omega-3 fatty acids that helps regulate the body’s inflammatory process. It is one of the best sources of beta-carotene, one of the antioxidants believed by many nutrition experts to be a major player in the battle against cancer, heart disease, and certain age-related chronic diseases..  A megadose of vitamin K further aids to fight against excessive inflammatory-related problems, such as arthritis, autoimmune disorders, and asthma. According to recent research results, kale is an incredible source of well-absorbed calcium, which is one of the many factors that may help prevent osteoporosis

For a green, kale is unusually high in fiber. This helps create the bulk you need to fill you up and to keep you full for a good amount of time. Fiber, which promotes regular digestion, prevents constipation, lowers blood sugar and curbs overeating. Though greens in general are nutritious foods, kale stands a head above the rest.

With that said, I give you these.

What you’ll need:

A large bunch of curly kale (it’s 99 cents at my grocery store!!)

olive oil

salt and pepper

Preheat your oven to 350. Tear your kale into bite size pieces. Toss in olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper. I use a gallon sized ziploc, put everything in and shake it up!

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Spread out on a cookie sheet. Don’t crowd your kale or it won’t get crispy. For one bunch of kale I have to use 2 cookie sheets.

Kale chips

Bake for about 15 minutes on 350, but keep a close eye on them. I’ve burnt many a batch from not paying attention! Use a spatula to cipher into a bowl, and enjoy! They taste like popcorn, kind of, to me. My son was hesitant to try them, but once he did he ate a whole bowl of them!

Remember that old Lay’s potato chip commercial? “Bet you can’t eat just one?” That’s my challenge for you, but with these!

Pizza! Pizza!

7 Feb

Alright folks I have attempted two different pizza recipes this week, all primal, gluten free, and of course DELICIOUS! First one I made a few days ago when Hunter requested pizza for dinner, as I have said before, he has a little trouble with the primal thing, especially in the grocery store, which was where we were during this conversation. 6 year olds just don’t understand that peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, which are awesome, just aren’t that good for you. Hell, I have a hard time understanding this myself.

I have been meaning to try this recipe for a pizza crust made with cauliflower for a while so it seemed like the perfect night. It turned out okay. As far as flavor goes, it’s great. However don’t be expecting an imitation for the consistency of a bread dough.

1 head of cauliflower

olive oil

salt and pepper to taste

1 egg

italian seasonings of your choice, I used basil and garlic powder, about 2 teaspoons of each. Oregano would be equally delicious.

Pizza sauce preferably homemade or hopefully one without added sugar or other nasty ingredients. I’ve only managed to find 1 store bought one at Target that fits that bill. Giada de Laurentis Marinara with artichokes. It’s sooooo good too.

Toppings of your choice

Preheat your oven to 450. Cut your cauliflower into pieces and use a food processor or blender to get a grainy texture. I tried to use a cheese grater at first and this was laughable so I put it in the blender a little bit at a time. It’s very moist so kind of a pain. I would definitely recommend using the food processor if you have one but don’t over do it or you will puree it. Once you’re finished with that put it in a bowl and microwave for about 8 minutes. Add your egg and seasonings and mix until combined. Spread a bit of oil onto your cookie sheet or pizza pan and transfer your “dough”. With your hands work it out onto the pan evenly just like you would a crust. Brush with olive oil. Bake this at 450 for about 15 minutes.

cauliflower pizza crust

Add your sauce, toppings, and cheese. Place under broiler for 3-5 minutes until cheese melts.

We had pineapple and olives.

Hunter pizza Hunter eating cauliflower pizza

He had to eat it with a fork but as you can see he loved it! Kid approved, healthy, paleo option for dinner!

We all start somewhere…

2 Feb

It’s day one of my whole 30. I’ve started contributing post to a wonderful sight http://greenokla.com/. I’d like to be able to share my recipes and insight with even more people!  If you would like to check out my latest recipe, it’s featured on their site. http://greenokla.com/2013/01/chicken-alfredo-with-roasted-broccoli-and-spaghetti-squash/

I really want to get on track with my paleo/primal lifestyle. Eliminate the junk that keeps sneaking in. I decided to do a Whole 30 for 2 reasons. 1. I wanted to write about it and 2. I’ve really been wanting to do it for a while. It’s a month of a pure eating clean. Meat, veggies, fruit, nuts. No bread, no dairy, no sugar, no cheating! When I eat a little sugar here, or a piece of bread there, I’m usually fine. As time moves on it becomes a little more often and I start noticing changes. Aches and pains, swollen feet and hands, not sleeping well, constantly fatigued, and just a generally sense of blah! I’m excited to feel better, lose a few pounds, and create amazing  recipes using the Whole 30 concept. Sometimes I lack discipline keeping to things and it’s something I’d really like to change. I want to do the whole 30 to prove to myself I can. I want to write about it to hold myself accountable as well as share with you all my challenges and triumphs. My introduction will be published on site tomorrow morning, I know you can’t wait for that! I’ll also being doing daily-ish blogs here, about what I ate and how I feel.

For me the first day, even days, are always the easiest. It’s a few days in it gets really hard for me. I did have one moment of Ehhh tonight. I bar tend at a mexican restaurant and it’s not uncommon to snack on chips and queso/salsa and it really sounded good tonight.  (disclaimer: if my boss is reading this, then it’s very uncommon, in fact I never, ever snack on anything during work. That would be against the rules, which I would never break any of. And also your butt looks nice in those pants.)

Also a co-worker of mine, a particular favorite, got a promotion! I’m so happy for her! I immediately thought ” We need to have drinks and celebrate!” No booze on the whole 30 thought. Booooo! So instead of talking about what all I can’t have, let me tell you what I did have. Some pretty amazing stuff here. Sorry there aren’t any pictures. I failed on that. I didn’t really think about it but I will do better tomorrow, promise!

First thing, I wake up have 2 cups of coffee, do my morning chores. I like my coffee black, so this isn’t a tough one for me. I occasionally add half and half, but it’s definitely something I can live without.

Next up, a green smoothie. I prepackage a sandwich baggy stuffed with spinach and kale, get as much air out as I can, and freeze for the week. I add one of those to my blender, add some frozen pineapple, mixed berries, dark cherries, 2 kiwi, and grate a thumbnails worth of ginger. I brewed a cup of green tea prior and after letting it cool, added that as well. I blend on high for a minute or 2. I let it really mix and liquify everything well. Drink up! The above recipe will make about 5 cups of smoothie. I split it pretty equally between my 2 kids, myself, and my lady love Jo Anna, who I was lucky enough to get to spend time with today.

Snacky Snack: Handful of grapes I was feeding the baby  child.

For “lunch”  This happens around 4pm. I work at 5pm most days so if I don’t eat before I find myself eating at work, which is not paleo or waist friendly. Today I cooked up something amazing, simple, and delicious. There were 7 ingredients, that’s including the salt and pepper. You’ll also need olive oil, chicken, garlic, broccoli, lemon. It took me less than 10 minutes to prep and about 20 minutes in the oven. This one is a keeper!

1. Turn oven on 400F

2. smash and chop your garlic

3. cut your broccoli and chicken into bite size pieces

4. toss chicken, garlic, and broccoli in olive oil

5. season with salt and pepper

6. cook for 20 minutes

7 . squeeze lemon over your lunch, add a bit more olive oil and toss again

8 . Enjoy!

I also had a few cups of green tea including one right now. It was a pretty good day. I look forward to making the chicken and broccoli again. I probably will be making it a lot actually. I love simple recipes that only use a few ingredients and are quick!

Hope you enjoy following me along my journey!

I love bacon!

14 Nov

Yesterday I woke up with a very strong craving for bacon! I hightailed it over to the natural grocers to stock up on Applegate Farms bacon, the absolute best nitrate, gluten, casein free, uncured piece of meat you’ll ever put in your mouth. To top if off, I got to see the beautiful, intelligent, super awesome Holly Basey who was hanging around the store.  When I got home I was fully intent on just cooking and eating a bunch of of bacon, a la carte. Don’t judge, my love affair with bacon should be obvious by now. I realized I had some jalapenos that were a few days old and needed to be used and some cream cheese, so I decided to whip these babies up.

You will need:

4 medium sized jalapenos

2 oz cream cheese

2-4 T. green onions, depending on how much you love them, for me it’s a ton

8 slices of bacon, the good kind

First, cut the stems off your jalapenos and cut them lengthwise. De-vein and de-seed them. I will suggest using gloves here but I usually don’t. I use a spoon  to get the guts out and wash my hands well immediately. If you’re going to make any more than this though, please use gloves. Jalapeno hands is a real thing and it’s VERY painful, trust me, you don’t want to mess around with it.

Turn your broiler on high. Place the jalapeno halves, face down on a cookie sheet and place under broiler for 1 to 3 minutes. the top will start to brown. You just want to soften them up a bit. Take them out of the oven, and off cookie sheet to cool.  While the jalapenos are cooling grab some green onions and about 2 oz of cream cheese. Mix together and stuff each jalapeno half with some of your mixture.

Now comes the fun part. Wrap each one with a slice of bacon.

Place them back under the broiler for about 3 minutes, leave the oven door cracked open. The ones in the back get a little more done so to get them to cook evenly after 3 minutes turn the cookie sheet around. Cook for another 3 minutes. Shut the oven door and turn the broiler off. Leave them in the oven for about 3 more minutes. Take them out and let cool. I use tongs and place on a paper towel so some of the grease gets soaked up.

Get in my belly!

Spontaneous snacks

17 Oct

When you have kids, getting them to eat healthy is a constant battle. They are surrounded by super sweet indulgences more often then not, and they want those cookies! Well friends, I am here to tell you that you can trick your kids into eating better, by creating and offering great snack choices. The other part of this is absolutely eliminating all the junk out of your house. Throw away the granola bars, cookies, sweet cereals, sodas, chips. No matter how “good” the label says they are for you, they aren’t. The food we eat shouldn’t be highly processed. God (and Nature), intended us to eat the fruit of this earth, not packaged with preservative crap you find in your local market. Just think about it!!! Start as early as you can offering your kids fresh produce constantly. Put a fruit bowl on the counter and let it be known it’s an anytime you’re hungry snack. Offer new kinds of fruit besides the old standard apple and bananas,like kiwi, mango, papaya, but keep their favorites around all the times. Make fun food and always let the kids help.

On this journey to transform my families eating habits, the biggest resistor has been my 6-year-old. He wants happy meals, corn dogs, cookies, ice cream…. all no-no’s on any healthy diet, but especially in the primal realm. The best advice given to me, was to have your kids make a list of things they want to eat. If they are at the picky toddler stage, you could do this for them. Choose the best options from that list. For instance, my son said

1.Hamburgers

2. Corn dogs

3. Salad

So we eat A LOT of salads. He helped me make a “special” dressing of oil and red wine vinegar, and because he made it he thought it was awesome, even though it tasted “sour”. I keep salad fixins around at all times for him, so even when I cook something new to try, if he refuses to eat it, he at least has an option. You might forget, but your taste buds evolved and changed, so give them time, and keep offering healthy options.


A few ideas:

Make a trail mix. I use a 100 calorie pack of walnuts/almonds. (nothing added to them) I just like they are convenient and pre-portioned. To those, add a little less than a 1/4 cup of raisin. (1/4 cup is 130 calories, so a little less will get you right about 200) To that add a few sprinkles of pumpkin pie spice. These can be made up in about 2 minutes or make a lot at once and put into snack baggies or the take and toss bowls for a quick snack for home or to go.

Baby food! Just because your little darling isn’t a baby anymore doesn’t mean they can’t get the benefit of whole, unsweetened, nutritious baby food. Let’s face it, almost all kids love yogurt and applesauce. This is the same texture and idea, just lots of different flavors. They are portioned to a 4 oz. size which is perfect for toddlers and school age kids and packed with vitamins and water!  You could spice the sweet potatoes up with the pumpkin pie spice or the apple and berries with a little cinnamon. If you’re really adventurous, you could make your own baby foodin the food processor!

Remember whole food is the best food. Bananas, apple slices, oranges, nuts, raisins, baby carrots, berries are all kid friendly and great choices. Eat a variety of colors everyday to get the most nutrients. Like skittles says “taste the rainbow”. Just the natural rainbow…..

Please let me know if you have any suggestions or snack ideas and also if you have tips or tricks to help your kids eat healthy. I plan to do another post about snacks and one for kid friendly paleo meals, which includes chicken nuggets. Stay tuned.

Red, white, and BACON (green beans)

16 Oct

I’ve been hip deep in laundry all day. I did have a nice lunch with a lovely lady, but besides that I’ve literally cleaned since I woke up today. Not much  to show for it, but I did stay busy! By the end of the evening, I was famished. When you’re eating paleo you can’t run up to a fast food joint and get a nice piece of primal meat, and let’s face it fast food salads suck! I didn’t have a lot of ingredient choices, hadn’t planned on anything, and needed something quick. The other night I made breakfast for dinner for some friends (yes!) and I bought an extra package of hormone, nitrate free bacon from the market. Honestly, my first thought was, I’m just going to cook up this half pound of bacon and go to town! Don’t judge me! Then my common sense took over and I decided to have a veggie with it. I keep these steam-able packs of broccoli, carrots, and peppers in my fridge at all times for an easy side dish. However when I reached in to grab it, I noticed a nice big bag of green beans calling my name. And let’s be honest, what goes better with green beans than bacon? Chop a little onion and some garlic and you have a well rounded primal meal in under half an hour. Here’s my ingredient list and step by step.

1 bag frozen green beans

1 red onion, chopped

3 cloves of garlic, minced and chopped

1 8oz hormone, nitrate free bacon (I use Applegate Farms)

Follow stove top cooking instructions for the green beans. Super easy, takes about 15 minutes, you just add  a cup of water, bring to a boil, turn to heat down to a low setting, cover and simmer for 10 minutes.
While your beans are cooking, fry up your bacon just until it’s soft. I’m not going to lie at this point I ate at least 3 pieces of the bacon, just to test it out mind you.

Set the bacon on a plate with paper towels or napkins to soak up the grease, or you could use coffee filters if you keep forgetting to buy paper towels like me. When it cools chop into bite size pieces.

Drain most of the grease out of your pan, keep a tablespoon or so to saute your onion and garlic in. Saute them on medium heat. When your onions are clear add your bacon back in and the green beans. Don’t bother draining the water from the green beans. I simmered everything together about 15 minutes to let all the flavors meld together.

DELICIOUS

I ate this for dinner, but you could absolutely make as a side dish for a larger dinner.

Updated the photo to a larger one by request and I also would like to mention that while you’re shopping for your hormone and nitrate free bacon, please make sure there is not sugar added to it. Almost all store brands have sugar listed as one of the first ingredients. I can promise you, you won’t be able to tell the difference. Bacon is always delicious, but much better for you when you buy the quality product without the nasty add ons.

Amazing Taco Soup

12 Oct

If I could offer you one tiny bit of advice. It would be…. GO MAKE THIS SOUP RIGHT NOW!!!!! Seriously one of the best things I’ve ever made. I’m kind of obsessed with soups right now anyway, and tacos are one of our favorite meals, combine the two….. and you have a powerful soup. This is as easy and basic as it gets.

1 onion chopped

6 cloves of garlic chopped

3 bell peppers chopped, I used a green, red, and yellow, but any colors will work

3 jalapenos chopped

2 cans of diced tomatoes, I used the southwest flavor, but any variety will work

2lbs of grass fed beef

4 cups chicken or beef stock, in my case I used both.

1 cup of sour cream, buy the large container so you have extra for garnish!

1 T. chili powder

1 T. cumin

1 T. salt

1 T. pepper

1 T. paprika

1 T. oregeno

1 T. dill

1 T. garlic powder

1 T. onion powder

Shredded cheddar and pepper jack cheese for garnish

 

Chopped all veggies and saute on medium low heat, in the oil of your choice. I used olive. Turn to medium high, add meat and brown.I start adding my seasoning while the meat is browning. I always leave it a little underdone, because it’s going to cook up in the soup and I don’t like seriously overcooked meat. While that pan of goodness is marinating together, grab your stockpot and pour your stock into it. You could even use water here, but I love the flavors from chicken and beef stock so I used 2 cups of each. Add a cup, or a little more of your sour cream and stir until combined. I used very lean ground beef so I did not drain, I just poured the meat/veggie mixture into the stock pot. If you use a fattier meat, then you might want to drain it first. Bring soup to a boil, then turn heat to low and simmer an hour. VOILA! Best soup ever!

You could also make this in the crock pot. Cook your meat and veggies, and combine all ingredients in the slow cooker. High 4 hours, Low 8 hours.

Garnish with cheese and sour cream. MMMMmMMmMmmMMMMMmmMM!!!!! So good! I think I’ll have some now!

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