Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Stuffed Cabbage Rolls and a new parenting strategy

Yummy!!  I made a really good dinner last night!  Of course most of my kids wouldn't eat it because A) It is dinner and B) I made it.  But too bad for them and good for me because I got to have the leftovers for lunch today!!

Stuffed Cabbage Rolls

1 head Savoy cabbage
2 cups grated cauliflower
2 TBSP butter
Sea Salt to taste
Pepper to taste
Fresh basil, chopped
1 lb. lean ground beef or turkey
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 onion, diced
1 tsp. Rosemary
1 24 oz. can crushed tomatoes

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Lightly steam whole cabbage leaves (I did this in batches.)  While cabbage is steaming, saute cauliflower in butter for a few minutes.  Add salt, pepper and basil.  Remove from heat.  Mix in garlic, onion, rosemary and beef/turkey.  Combine well.

Fill the end of each cabbage leaf with a small portion of the meat mixture and roll up, tucking the ends underneath.  Place seam side down in a 9x13 baking dish.

 Pour the tomatoes over all the rolls.  Cover with foil.  Bake for about 45 minutes.


On a side note--I recently came across a blog post about one woman's struggle with her picky eaters.  I would repost the link, but I'm not a fan of using profanity for absolutely no good reason, so I will spare you her language and give my own version.  It boils down to six easy words, "You don't have to eat it."  Instead of insisting your kids try something and going through a nightly battle, just set the food on the table and let them serve themselves what they want.  If they say, "I don't want that, " you simply smile and say, "You don't have to eat it."  Then relish the moment of digging in and enjoying your meal.  Always offer a variety of foods and at least one thing you KNOW they will eat, but also make it clear that THIS is dinner--you aren't a short-order cook.  I love this idea and I can't wait to try it out tonight!!  No more fights!  No more guilt trips (I spent 3 hours cooking this...)  No more tears.  Just dinner.  They'll get enough.





Saturday, May 2, 2015

Reflections

It is SO important to reflect from time to time on how far you've come.  The scale might not tell you much.  Your clothes might not, either.  But chances are, if you aren't moving backward, you are probably moving forward and that's something worth celebrating!!  I was thinking about this while I was volunteering in the girls' classrooms this week.  I have been volunteering every Wednesday since the beginning of the school year.  That is also about the time I started taking a spin class at the gym every Monday, Wednesday and Friday morning.  I remember at the beginning of the school year, I would be in the classrooms to volunteer and literally be shaking from the physical exhaustion caused by that class.  I realized this Wednesday that I felt fine.  Totally normal.  Like I hadn't even worked out at all a few hours earlier.  I guarantee you that the class hasn't gotten any less intense...in fact it's much MORE intense.  So that just means I have changed!

Another small change...I just finished up my second Isabody Challenge.  I worked hard and didn't feel like I had made any progress.  Stepping on the scale wasn't all that encouraging, either-- 5 lbs. down in 16 weeks.  However, my before and after pictures show that something was happening after all!!  It's a slight change, but definitely a change and that's progress!!  I just keep moving forward and celebrating the fact that I am healthy, happy and on the right track!!!   AND ready for swimsuit season!!!!

Monday, April 27, 2015

Mini Muffins--just try not to eat them all!!

I have multiple nieces and nephews with Celiac's disease, so when they come to visit, I like to have a treat on hand that they can partake of too.  Luckily for them, Ryan and I are eating almost entirely Paleo these days so I'm always coming across fun new recipes to try.  This weekend we made these Blender Mini-Muffins and I had a lot of fun experimenting with different combinations!  I made Blueberry Walnut, Peanut Butter and Jelly, Coconut, Apple Pie and Chocolate Chip.  YUM!!  These are super easy and totally gluten (and guilt) free!!


The basic recipe is simple--then you just get creative from there!

1 ripe banana
1 egg
1/2 cup natural nut butter (you choose!)
1/2 tsp. vanilla
2 TSBP honey or maple syrup
1/4 tsp baking powder
1 scoop IsaPro (optional)

Mix all ingredients in a blender and then you can either bake them as is, or add different things to make different flavors!  Like cinnamon, blueberries and chopped walnuts  or unsweetened coconut (added to batter made with almond and coconut butter!) or a dab of jam on top of muffins made with peanut butter.  The chocolate chip ones were such a hit, they didn't even make it to the picture stage!  The possibilities are endless!!

Bake in a sprayed mini-muffin tin at 400 degrees for 8-10 minutes.  Each recipe makes 12 muffins.  So I made like FIVE DOZEN muffins!!!  They were amazing!!!





Monday, April 20, 2015

Paleo Pumpkin Pancakes

I love alliteration.

I whipped up these for my kids' breakfast this morning and they got three out of four likes.  The fourth doesn't like pumpkin.  Or pancakes.  Or anything I put in front of her.  So that wasn't really a shock.  The texture of these is a little different since they are flour-free.  As long as you aren't expecting  fluffy pancakes you are fine!  They taste GREAT and are GREAT for you!!

Paleo Pumpkin Pancakes

8 eggs
1 cup canned or fresh pumpkin puree (NOT pumpkin pie filling!)
2 tsp. vanilla
4 TBSP pure maple syrup
1/2 tsp. cloves
1 tsp. allspice
2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 mashed banana
1 scoop vanilla IsaPro (optional)
2 TBSP coconut flour

Mix it all together and cook on a hot skillet coated with butter or coconut oil.  These take a little longer to cook than regular pancakes--so be prepared.  Serve with pure maple syrup or sliced bananas or almond butter...or (gasp!) ALL THREE.


Thursday, April 16, 2015

Homemade Lara Bars

I've been trying to gradually shift my family more towards a Paleo lifestyle.  A few months ago my attempt to throw them abruptly into a grain-free existence wasn't what I would call entirely embraced by all involved.  So now I have to be a bit more sneaky.  I tried this recipe for homemade Lara bars today for a possible after-school snack--much cheaper than buying them and they are grain (gluten) and dairy free and sugar free as well.  Better yet, they were an instant hit with the kids!!  I think we ate more than we saved for after school tomorrow!  Luckily they are super easy to make! The hardest part was trying to attach the food processor attachment to the Bosch.

Yummy Fruit and Nut Snack Bars

1 cup almonds
1/2 cup walnuts
1/2 cup sunflower seeds
12 dates (pitted)
1 cup dried berries (I used cranberries, blueberries and cherries)
1/2 cup  unsweetened shredded coconut
dash sea salt
3 TBSP melted coconut oil
1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce

Chop nuts and seeds in a food processor.  Transfer to another bowl.  Add all the other ingredients to the food processor and combine until it has a pasty texture.  Add to the nuts and mix thoroughly with clean hands.  Press into an 8x8 pan lined with wax paper.  Bake for 20 minutes at 350 degrees.  Let cool, then put in freezer for about 30 minutes.  Remove, cut into squares or bars and wrap in plastic. Store in fridge...if they last that long!!





Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Always pushing.

I tend to be a pusher.  I'm never satisfied and constantly pushing to the next thing--the next level, the next mile, the next achievement.  If I can do 50 laps, why not 75?  If I can run 5 miles, why not 10?  Push, push, push.  For the most part, I think this is a good quality to have...except when it's not.  My knee has really started bugging me and what do I do?  Ignore it and push, push, push through the pain.  I work hard until I get to the point of total exhaustion--pushing through until finally I fall into bed one night at 6:30 and sleep for twelve hours.  A common theme in my life has always been a search for balance.

So this morning, I decided to push back.  When my alarm went off at 5:00 am, I made the conscious decision that today I would be taking a break from my early morning weight session to allow my body to rest.  And I've decided that I will do that every Wednesday morning.  Because even though I have a hard time doing it, rest is just as important for my body as everything else I put it through!!  So for Wellness Wednesday, I push myself to REST.  (Still did my 9:30 spin class--just no double work out today!!)


Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Cardio is not evil. There, I said it.

I've said it before, I'll say it again.  EVERYBODY has an opinion about EVERYTHING.  Am I right or am I right?

In the past six months or so, I've rekindled my love of cycling through spinning classes at the local gym.  I love it.  I love, love, love, love, love it.  I have always LOVED cycling--mix cycling HARD with LOUD MUSIC that I LOVE and I'm in heaven!  So gradually, my three classes a week turned to four, then to five, then to six and then I was coming early and staying late and adding another evening class...

And then someone posted an article on FB (the land of all things TRUE) that insinuated, or actually flat out SAID, "Is your cardio addiction making you fat?"

Huh?

I think the thing that bugged me the most about this article was that it made it seem like all cardio is OF THE DEVIL and that running or cycling or even walking fast was just going to make you balloon into the State Puff Marshmallow Man.  Um, no.  That's not accurate.  At. All.  Cardio is GOOD FOR YOU.  You need to push your heart and your lungs so that they will grow.  Intense cardio decreases your risk for heart disease and a myriad of other preventable diseases.

I get it.   I know there is a need for balance--and I do lift!!  In fact I have been working with a trainer and lifting 4-5 days a week as well.  So can't I spin, too?  Admittedly, I have found myself becoming somewhat exhausted occasionally in the past few weeks, so obviously my balance is out of whack.

But I think, when it comes to exercise programs, formats, opinions, whatever, you should stick with the mantra:

Do what makes you happy.

Because I guarantee, if you aren't happy doing it, you aren't going to keep doing it.

So, for the sake of attempting to achieve more balance, I am trying to cut back on my cardio somewhat.  I'm not staying late anymore and I've cut out some of the classes.  But I'll tell you flat out, I don't care what all the "experts" say, I get much more of a high out of a hard run or a good ride than I have ever gotten out of bicep curls.

And that makes me happy.  :)

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Cauliflower Pizza Crust



Mine is still a work in progress FOR SURE!!  In the past it has been very mushy--like there is no way you can pick it up with your hands to eat it.  I have been working with it to remedy that situation, but it's still not like regular pizza crust at all.  Not that it doesn't taste good--it's awesome!!  It's just not...the same.  (Plan on using a fork!!)  I'll repost when I get it PERFECT!  Until then, this is TASTY!

Cauliflower Pizza Crust
1 cup shredded cauliflower (put it into a food processor and chop it up fine)
1 cup almond flour/meal
1/4 cup ground flaxseed
1 TBSP coconut flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup cottage cheese
1 egg
1/3 cup Parmesan cheese
3/4 cup shredded Mozarella cheese
1 tsp basil
1 tsp oregano

Mix it all together and spread in a THIN layer on a baking sheet.  Bake in a 350 degree oven for 15 minutes.  Add toppings and bake another 5-10 minutes until cheese is melted.

*For some variety, we used smoked Mozarellla the other night and it was SO YUMMY!!!!!!

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Yeah, but what about lunch?!?!


No sugar.  No wheat.  No grains.  So what do you feed your kids for lunch??  Well, I'm glad you asked!  Here is what they got today!  Half of a grilled chicken breast (free range, cage-free, happy chickens), carrots, fresh mozarella balls, sugar-free ranch dressing, dried fruit and "cookies."  With water to drink.  Yes, it does take a bit of preparation--but so does making a sandwich!!  Yesterday's lunch was this:


Meat roll-ups.  It's a piece of nitrate/nitrite-free lunch meat with cream cheese spread on the inside and then rolled up.  The Kind Bars are kind of a stretch--they do have 6 grams of sugar, but it is not processed sugar.  I don't eat them, but the kids love granola bars, so this was my concession.  And that silver circle is no sugar added applesauce.

Here is the recipe for those "cookies."  They are yummy!!!

Cookies  taken from Wheat Belly 30 minute (or less!) Cookbook

2 cups all-purpose baking mix (recipe below)
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. sea salt
sweetener equivalent to 1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup unsweetened coconut
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 cup whole milk plain Greek yogurt
2 TBSP butter, melted
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a large bowl combine baking mix, cinnamon, salt, sweetener, coconut and walnuts.

In a small bowl, combine yogurt and butter.  Add the egg and vanilla and mix well.  Pour into the flour mixture and stir until well combined.  The dough will be thick.  Scoop into balls and place onto cookie sheet.  Flatten slightly.

Bake for 12 minutes or until golden.  Let cool slightly before transferring to a rack.

All-Purpose Baking Mix

4 cups almond meal/flour
1 cup ground golden flaxseeds
1/4 cup coconut flour
2 tsp. baking soda

Mix together and store in an airtight container, in the fridge.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Strawberry-Coconut Biscuits

Okay, these don't have ingredients that the typical American can just find in their pantry.  But the typical American is addicted to sugar and wheat and probably well on their way to Type 2 diabetes, so we don't want to be typical, right?!  Go to your local health-food grocer and ask them to point the way to some of the more random ingredients on the list.  It's worth it!  These are VERY tasty!!



Strawberry-Coconut Biscuits  from Wheat Belly 30-Minute (or less!) Cookbook
1/4 cup ground golden flaxseeds
3/4 cup cold water
1 cup coconut flour
1/2 cup shredded unsweetened coconut
Sweetener equal to 2 TBSP sugar (Stevia or Xylitol)
1 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. sea salt
3/4 cup strawberries, finely chopped
1/2 cup coconut oil, melted
1 egg

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a small mug or bowl, combine the flaxseeds and water and stir briefly.  Place in the freezer for 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine the flour, coconut, baking soda, salt and strawberries.  Mix well.  Stir in the oil and combine thoroughly.

Remove the flaxseed mixture from the freezer and whisk in the egg.  Stir into the flour mixture.  The dough will be somewhat stiff.  Use a cookie scoop or tablespoon to scoop the dough onto the baking sheet.

Bake for 15 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Lettuce Taco Wraps

Side note:  For those of you who are new to my blog, I have to give this little disclaimer.  I am NOT a professional photographer.  Nor am I a professional food blogger.  I just like to cook and I like to eat.  I'm also sort of lax about recipes.  Mostly I'm a pinch of this, a pinch of that kind of a cook.  So the pictures aren't super high-quality or artsy, and the recipes are up for interpretation, but you get the gist, I hope!

Last night's dinner was a HUGE success!!  The main problem was there wasn't enough!  Something I've been learning--when you eliminate certain things from your diet, you really do need to compensate with other things.  For my family of six I should have used twice as much meat as I did and had a few more side dishes of veggies!  When the food was gone and they were still hungry, I just busted out the carrots and cheese and they ate that!

Taco Lettuce Wraps
(I don't even know if I would consider this a recipe.  It's more assembly instructions!)

1-2 lbs. ground beef (GRASS-FED, hormone-free!!)
1 chopped onion
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1/2 tsp. chili powder
1/2 tsp. onion powder
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. ground cumin
1/2 tsp. paprika
1/2 tsp. ground red pepper (if you like it hot)
1/2 cup salsa (check for SUGAR!!!)
1 head iceberg lettuce
1 chopped tomato
1 chopped avocado
Sour cream (if you are doing dairy)
Cheddar cheese (I found RbST-free, grass fed cow-sourced cheese at our local Sprouts!!)

Brown ground beef and add onion and garlic.  Cook until onion is done.  Add all the spices.  Cook for a few more minutes.  Using the lettuce leaves as a "taco shell," roll the meat into the lettuce with the desired toppings!

We also had sauteed yellow squash with our meal and Ryan put some on top of his lettuce wraps--you can see it in the picture, so I thought I'd better explain.

And strawberries with honey sticks for dessert!!



Monday, November 3, 2014

HOW???

So that is the question that first comes up when you tell people you are giving up sugar.  I think we all realize the WHY (whether or not we want to accept it.)

First of all I think you need to define what exactly the No Sugar Challenge means and will entail for you and your family.  Is it just refined sugars?  Are you including all sweeteners--honey, agave nectar, etc.?  Please, for the love of all that's holy, DO NOT use artificial sweeteners no matter what!!  You might as well just hook yourself up to an IV drip of arsenic.  What about fruits?  Did you realize those are very high in sugar as well?  You have to decide!!  For our family we decided that fruit is fine (except I personally decided to do a deep sugar detox, so I've cut out fruit as well.)  We do a small serving of honey occasionally as a treat (they love honey sticks--so that is dessert once a week.)  Other than that we are doing our very best to avoid all forms of sugar.  Obviously there have been times when that wasn't possible.  Audrey came home frantic from a friend's house because they had served her some white bread for lunch and when she checked the label it had sugar in it.  I assured her that she was okay--we can only control so much.

The kids have taken to this like you wouldn't believe!!  Seriously, if you doubt that your kids could handle this, put them to the test.  In the first week alone Isaac had TWO donut parties in class at school and he sat there and watched all the other kids eat donuts.  We went to someone's house for dinner with a few other families and my kids passed up the apple pie.  Just yesterday at church there was apparently candy being given out, but my kids gave theirs away.  PROUD MOMMY MOMENT!!  They have become experts at reading labels, too, which I love.  If nothing else, this is making them very, very, very aware!!

Something else to consider is dairy.  Dairy products naturally have a lot of sugar.  Take a look at a container of fat-free yogurt sometime!  When you pick your jaw up off the floor, you might want to think about going full fat.  I know that seems INSANE, but they actually add a lot of sugar to fat-free and reduced fat dairy products to make them taste better.  So whole is the way to go!!  (The one thing about this that my kids are thrilled about!!)  And, sorry but chocolate milk is a no go!!


Okay--so now you have defined sugar for your family...go get a trash bag and raid your cupboards.  Just toss all the crap that you have.   I guess you could donate it--but I don't know about donating unhealthy stuff to people.  Does that seem wrong?  You decide.  Check all your labels.  It's hiding EVERYWHERE.

Next step is to PLAN, PLAN, PLAN!!  I have always been an avid meal planner.  Well, let's be honest, an avid planner of everything.   Anyway, I plan breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks for every day of the week!  I will start posting my plans on this blog again for you all to enjoy!!

Here is another thought--if you really enjoying baking, as I do, there are some sugar alternatives that are made from natural sources that you can use.  Xylitol is expensive, but works, and Stevia as well!!  Slowly start decreasing the sweetness as you bake.  Your family will gradually get used to it!  I see this all the time as a cleanse coach with my nutrition company--as you reduce all that crap from your diet, your palate will change and you won't want it any more!!  Crazy, but true!



Now go get started!  Did I mention how much better you are going to feel once you get past the withdrawal?  Did I mention how if you have withdrawal symptoms it's probably because you are addicted?  Just another reason you SHOULD be cutting down sugar!!