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.

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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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Primal Pumpkin Pie

10 Oct

Are you ready for your socks to be knocked off? ‘Tis the season for pie… pumpkin pie to be more specific. I’ve made this pie twice now and it was a big hit both times. Grain and sugar free, it’s so much better for you than the traditional recipe, but it’s rich, creamy, and delicious. Everything a pumpkin pie should be without anything processed or sugar, and best of all. I guarantee you will not be able to tell a difference!

 

Crust


1 1/2 cup coconut flour

1/4 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. baking soda

1/4 cup melted butter

2 T. pure maple syrup

1 tsp. vanilla extract

1 packet stevia

Preheat oven to 350. In a medium bowl combine all dry ingredients. In a separate bowl combine wet ingredients. Mix together to form dough. Press evenly into your pie plate. Bake for 10 minutes.

 

Filling

1 package unflavored Knox Gelatin

16oz pure pumpkin puree (fresh or canned, just make sure it’s pure)

3 eggs, seperated

1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk

2/3 cup pure maple syrup

2 T pumpkin pie spice

1/2 tsp salt

1 packet stevia

Combine gelatin, maple syrup, salt, pumpkin pie spice, egg yolks (stick your egg whites in a medium bowl and refrigerate, you’ll need these later) and almond milk in a saucepan. Mix thoroughly. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until boiling. Remove from heat and let cool. When the pan has cooled enough, refrigerate for an hour or so. When pumpkin is cold to the touch, pull your egg whites out. Add the packet of stevia and beat egg whites with a mixer until stiff. Gently fold egg whites into pumpkin puree. When thoroughly combined, pour mixture into pie crust. Set back in the refrigerator for about 4 hours, until set. If you’re making this for an event. You will want to give yourself plenty of time or make the night before.

 

The first time I served this I whipped some heavy whipped cream with a packet of stevia and added a dollop on each slice with a sprinkle of pumpkin pie spice. It was beautiful, but I forgot to take a picture. It was the night of the pot roast debacle….
As always, I hope you will make this and enjoy it. It would make a healthier option at your holiday dinners. Especially for the kiddos, I know both of mine LOVED it.

Dinner Fail First

5 Oct

I lured a couple of friends over last night with the promise of pot roast and pie. I wanted to make something 1. that was delicious and company worthy and 2. primal or almost completely so. After a quick perusal of my pantry I decided on pot roast because basically the only thing I needed was the roast itself. I bought a 2lb brisket, seared and seasoned it salt and pepper, placed it in the crock pot. I poured a cup of red wine and a cup of beef stock in. I chopped 1 whole onion, 3 russet and 3 red potatoes, about 8 stalks of celery, 6 cloves of garlic, and a bag of baby carrots. I threw in a few seasonings basil, oregano, garlic and onion powders, a little more salt and pepper. I turned it on high and went to make my pie. Thinking in 3 to 4 hours I would have a delicious roast to enjoy with my friends. Well, that didn’t happen…. I’m not sure where I went wrong with this. After 3 hours the veggies were still hard and crunchy. At 4 hours the roast was so tough and dry like it had been overcooked. I’m so confused! I seriously have no idea what I did wrong or how to prevent it from happening again. On top of all that wonderfulness, I was extremely embarrassed to not have food to feed my guest. Primal FAIL.  They were good sports and we ordered pizza, drank our beer and wine and had a fantastic time.

Needless to say I feel bloated and disgusting today, not to mention ravenously hungry. Sometimes after eating whole food for a while, you forget how terrible “regular” food makes you feel.  If you haven’t ever tried it, I implore you to cut the crap and eat straight meat and veggies for a week or even just a few days. You will have more energy, be less hungry, and just over all FEEL BETTER. Notice after the week how you feel when you eat grains or processed food. The difference is extremely noticeable. Be well my friends, learn from your failures and mistakes.

Revised

I may have written my last blog a bit too soon. As I loathe wasting food and despise giving up I switched the crock pot on low and let the roast I paid 15 bucks for cook slowly all night and most of today. Success!!! Had it for dinner tonight and it was delicious! Tender, juicy, and falling apart, just like it should be! Lesson learned cooking gods!If you’re making a roast in a crock pot, make sure you have A LOT of time and leave it on for 8 to 10 hours.

A fresh start!

2 Oct

As most of you know, I LOVE to cook. I don’t always cook healthfully, but that’s what this blog is about, to help hold me accountable and offer my simple, fresh recipes. This is my second attempt to go primal/ paleo. Basically I want to cook and make delicious food with whole food only. My most important goal is to be healthy and raise happy, healthy children.

With all that said, my first recipe is one of our households favorite. Taco Salad.

a few tablespoons of olive oil

1 whole onion, any color, diced

1 of each- red, yellow, green bell peppers diced

1 can of diced tomatoes and chiles, any size or variety will do

4 cloves of garlic minced

1/2 cup of diced carrots

2 heads of romaine chopped

2 lbs of lean grass fed, hormone free ground beef

1/2 cup of beef stock

For the taco seasoning

I use my own blend of seasonings instead of the packets for 2 reasons. First off there are no preservatives or sugar added and secondly I can adjust heat, salt, smokiness, etc… This is the amount I use for a mild taste and the 2 lbs of beef.

1 T. chili powder

3 tsp paprika

2 tsp onion powder

1/2 tsp salt

1 tsp garlic powder

2 tsp cumin

1 tsp oregano

1 tsp black pepper

1 pinch of cayenne pepper

Let’s get cooking!

On medium heat add a few tablespoons of olive oil. Add your garlic, onion, peppers, carrots. Saute on med-low heat until your onions are transparent. Add your can of diced tomatoes and heat through. If your pan is large enough you can add the meat right in, turn up to med-high heat and brown the meat. When the meat is mostly brown, add your 1/2 cup of beef stock. You could use water, chicken stock, or any kind of broth here as well. It’s really just to add flavor while your meat simmers. Simmer for about 15-20 minutes until most of the liquid has evaporated. At this point you’re pretty much finished. Add to a bed of romaine lettuce and garnish as you please. Sour cream and a touch of pepper jack cheese really hits the spot. I also added a sprinkle of chopped green onions to mine.

ImageImageEnjoy!

Let me know what you think. Don’t be afraid to play around with it and make it your own.

Much Love! Jessica

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