I had a great week, and I hope you did too.  I didn’t work out, ate whatever I wanted (sidenote: cow’s milk cheese is still a no-no…really not where I wanted to be at this point in my life), drank delicious wine, put up my Christmas decorations, and nursed my husband and dog (unexpected illness; unexpected procedure, respectively).

Do I regret not working out? Not in the slightest. However, I know that it’s time to get back at it. So, that’s my goal for the day…

Hopefully all of your leftovers are gone, and you’re ready for a healthy week of recipes.

Monday: BBQ Tahini Power Bowl– gluten free, vegan, easy

Tuesday:Grilled Ginger Sesame Chicken Chopped Salad– for gluten free, be sure to use g-free soy sauce (or liquid aminos, coconut aminos, or tamari) and gluten free hoisin sauce (which I don’t have access to, so I’ll sub miso paste).

Wednesday: Thai Basil Coconut Lentils– gluten free, vegan- Calls for Tom Kha paste…if you don’t have it, or can’t find it, try subbing curry paste.

Thursday: Shredded Kale Salad with Pecan “Parmesan” – gluten free, vegan- Add chicken to make into a meal. If you have no dairy issues, skip the pecan parm, and use the real stuff.

Friday: Pizza- make it, buy it, have it delivered….I’m going to use this recipe for my crust: Paleo Calzones.  It uses yuca root. Don’t be afraid. You’ll be buying the most obnoxious item in the grocery store, and people will inevitably ask what it is and what you plan to do with it.

Saturday: Chipotle Quinoa Sweet Potato Tacos w/ Roasted Cranberry Pomegranate Salsa– What a ridiculous name. Anyway, this is a labor of love. So, I saved it for Saturday when you have a little more time, and can perhaps illicit some help. Vegetarian, vegan (leave out cheese), gluten free (leave out the canned chipotle chilis…they have wheat in them (wtf?!)…buy dried chilis and re-hydrate them, or just leave it out).

Sunday:  Pot Pie– This recipe is vegan, but I’ll be adding chicken. I never make the crust for this recipe. Instead, I make a drop biscuit recipe (using Pamela’s mix), and spread it over the top. Feel free to make your own crust, top with biscuit dough, or twist the can and place the dough rounds over the top. I also never measure the veggies for this…it’s a waste of time. Just use whatever you like; the more the better. The cashews make such a delicious, creamy base for this. My husband is a fan.

 

It’s December tomorrow! We had snow this week. I hope I make it until the spring 🙂

 

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I’m sick of you, and I want something new.

Instead of the typical meal plan I normally post on Mondays, this week I’m switching it up! Since Thanksgiving is a few days away, I’ll be giving you some ideas for what to do with all of those leftovers. I’m not a big fan of leftovers…I can do (maybe) one meal of leftovers. After that, I need something new. But, I really can’t stand wasting food, either. So, here are some ideas for creating something easy and new from what you already have!

-Have leftover turkey? You know you do. Try turning it into Slow Cooker Sweet Potato Turkey Chili (make gluten free by subbing the flour for cornstarch or tapioca starch, dairy free, paleo- if you use tapioca). This recipe calls for ground turkey….skip that and just shred up some of the cooked turkey you already have. If you have savory sweet potatoes leftover, use those! Saving time and resources, people. If your meat and potatoes are already cooked, your cook time is going to be drastically reduced.

-Another option is: Turkey and Butternut Squash Enchiladas (use corn or g-free tortillas to make g-free, sub the cream cheese and other other cheeses for dairy free) Again, shredded turkey, and leftover squash or sweet potatoes.

– Lots of mashed potatoes or stuffing left over? How about mixing them with a can of chick peas or black beans and some veggies for some vegetarian patties? Form them into patties, refrigerate so they hold together, and brown them in a greased pan. Easy.

-What to do with all of the leftover bread and rolls? Cube them, and let them set out (uncovered) over night. In the morning, throw the cubes into a greased baking dish with a mixture of milk (any kind will do), maple syrup, a couple of eggs, and cinnamon for a French Toast Bread Pudding. Bake at 350 for 45-60 min, depending on how brown you like it.

-Turn your sweet potato casserole into Cinnamon Squash Bread. Just use the sweet potatoes instead of the squash. Save time and skip the frosting. This bread is really good on it’s own. Or slather with ghee and honey.

-Take your leftover veggie side dishes and saute them in a pan with some eggs cracked on top for a fast, breakfast hash. Add some bacon, or sausage for a heartier dish.

-Cranberry sauce (homemade or canned) becomes salsa. Take your sauce and put it in a blender or food processor with onion, cilantro, jalapeno, lime juice, peppers, tomatoes, salt and pepper…maybe some cumin. Pulse until it’s combined, but still chunky.

-Tons of alcohol left over? Fail. That has never happened to me. Keep drinking until it’s done. In the spirit of the season, I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt…let’s say someone brought wine over that you don’t like…even I have my limits. If it’s white, pour the bottle into a blender with a bag of frozen strawberries and blend til smooth. If it’s red, add fresh squeezed orange and lime juice and whatever fruit you have for a sangria, or simmer with 1/4 c-1/2 c sugar and mulling spices to make Mulled Wine/Glühwien/Vin Brulee/ Vin Chaud…whatever you call it.

Hell yea, you kitchen ninja. You are saving so much time and money, and not being wasteful. Life is good.

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Because I love you…& cookies

Now is the time of year when it’s acceptable to have cookies in the oven, like whoa. Here is a FREE 50 page e-book filled with Paleo (gluten free, grain free, and dairy free) treats and drinks, just in time for the holidays. Enjoy in moderation! I say that because I have to, when in reality, I would eat this entire plate of cookies in 3-5 minutes.

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http://grassfedsalsa.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/Paleo-Cookie-Exchange.pdf

***Don’t forget to visit my Amazon store! You can find all of the ingredients you’ll need there! ***

What do you like?

Daily affirmation: I can do anything good!

It’s important to focus on the good things in your life! When life is bustin’ your ovaries today, make a mental list of the things you like. Take a deep breath. You can do anything good.

***Some of these recipes will yield a lot of leftovers….freeze them and pull them out next week, so you don’t have to add too much to your Thanksgiving load.***

Monday-Curry Coconut Thai Rice– Gluten free and vegan; use cauliflower “rice” to make it grain free and paleo. Can easily add chicken or shrimp to this to make it more appealing to meat lovers. ***While you’re making this rice, make a separate pot of plain rice to use for Friday’s meal. Rice will keep in the fridge for a while, or you can freeze it.***

Tuesday-Roasted Tomatoes with Goat Cheese Polenta– Gluten free, vegetarian, sub dairy free cheese & butter to make it vegan. This can easily be doubled for leftovers. This could also be a side dish for organic, free-range, non gmo, cage free, happy 100% of the time up until the end, non-grain fed, gluten free, patchouli inhaling, only brown egg producing chicken. I think they have it at Whole Foods.

Wednesday- Shrimp Fra Diavolo– Use g-free pasta to make it g-free, use spaghetti squash or zoodles to make it grain free and paleo. This can be a very quick recipe, if you use store bought tomato sauce. I found that the sauce in this recipe was good, but not really worth the time it took to make. If you keep homemade sauce on hand (holler, Italians!!!!), then use that. If not, just use store bought, but be careful to look at the ingredients before you buy! Stay away from brands that use high fructose corn syrup…in sauce. Yuck.

Thursday- Crockpot Italian Chicken Soup– gluten free, dairy free, paleo, grain free- Could easily be doubled and frozen for another time. Very easy “dump” recipe.

Friday- Spiced Afghan Pumpkin– gluten free, vegan, paleo- Quick and easy…I think it’s possible to purchase pre-cut pumpkin/or squash? If not, peeling and cutting the squash is what will take the longest. You don’t want to use canned pumpkin for this, because you want chunks and texture. Did you remember to cook your rice earlier in the week???

Saturday- Paleo Pork Chile Verde– gluten free, dairy free, paleo- So, this calls for a lot of kinds of peppers…I never have access to all of these. No biggie. Just grab a few kinds and see how they work out! Another recipe that will freeze well…

Sunday Swedish Meatballs (a la Ikea)– gluten free, dairy free, paleo- I like Ikea meatballs. Sue me. But, I have to stay away from pre-made meatballs, because they more than likely have a wheat filler in them. Fun fact: you can use chia seeds as a filler for meat balls! Just mix 2 Tbsp chia/lb of meat, and let it set for about 30 min. I promise you- there is no crunch. Serve with mashed potatoes and lingonberry jam…which will undo the paleo-ness and bring on the deliciousness.

I like my husband, I like my dog, I like summer, I like candy, I like my shoe collection, I like yoga (who said the list had to be deep?)! I can do anything good….better than anyone else. That’s my favorite part….you gotta stick it to your haters.

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This is a man’s world

Another slap in the face: Men are able to lose more weight, quicker than women. Of course they can. So, please do not be discouraged if you and your XY have started eating healthier and exercising, and his pants are getting looser while yours, well- aren’t. We can blame science for this, ladies. Here are the facts:

  1. Men are (typically) bigger than we are to begin with. They have more muscle, by nature, and muscle burns more calories than fat. Men also have quicker metabolisms…normally 3-10% faster than women.
  2. Women tend to focus on cardio instead of lifting. Lifting will build muscle, boosting muscle mass and metabolism.
  3. Our brains are wired differently. In a 2009 study, even when women said they weren’t hungry when asked to smell, taste, and simply look at foods such as pizza and chocolate cake, brain scans showed activity in the regions that control the drive to eat. This is not the case for men. Women also tend to have an emotional attachment to food, turning to food when we’re happy, sad, angry, and depressed. And these foods we turn to…let’s just say that no one is binging on kale.
  4. We all have a “hungry” hormone called ghrelin. Unfortunately for women, this hormone spikes after a workout, and our “full” hormone (leptin) plummets into Middle Earth. Men do not experience these hormonal changes.
  5. And no conversation about women would be complete without mentioning getting pregnant. When women lose weight, our bodies get scared that we’ll lose too much, so it holds on to fat stores. This is the body’s natural way of fighting energy deficits in order to preserve fertility so we can procreate. When women aren’t getting enough calories, ovulation and hormones that make reproduction possible get suppressed.

Well, what can we do?! The answer is very simple- and very frustrating…Don’t give up! “Good things come to those who wait.” Who said that? I hate that guy. But, really…that’s what it comes down to. Keep eating healthy, keep working out, keep loving yourself. Stop comparing yourself to others, stop negative self-talk, stop giving up. Health is a constant journey. You are worth all of the hard work!

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Take ‘er easy…

I already don’t feel like cooking for the week. My husband has cooked for me a total of: 1.5 times. The first time, he made spaghetti with meat sauce, which is one of my most hated dishes. The .5 (10 years later) is because he claimed he could fix dinner, and then had no freaking idea what he was doing. So, if I don’t do it…we’ll have to suck on dry rice and quinoa. So, I’ve chosen quick, easy recipes this week. Some even use…packaged food. Forgive me.

Monday: Fluffy Chickpea Pancakes with Avocado Sauce– Vegan and gluten free…I *suspect* that you could use all purpose flour, or an all purpose gluten free flour blend if you don’t have chickpea flour. I have not made this with substitutions, so feel free to curse me if it’s a flop.

Tuesday: Easy, Lean Curry Burgers– Paleo, gluten free, grain free, dairy free- These are so delicious and come together very quickly, since you cook them on the stove. I typically cut the recipe in half, since I don’t need 2 pounds of meat for 2 people. Serve on buns, or with a salad and other veggies to keep it low carb.

Wednesday: Quinoa Black Bean Pumpkin Soup– Gluten free and vegan- I suspect that there is no way the pumpkin (or use any winter squash or sweet potato) will be done cooking in 15 minutes…

Thursday: Cornbread Taco Pie– Gluten free, can be made vegetarian if you leave out the meat- This has a ton of ingredients, because the cornbread is made from scratch…instead, I plan to use a bag of Bob’s Red Mill gluten free cornbread mix and following the directions that go along with that mix (I think 2 boxes of Jiffy would do the trick too). You can also use a package of taco seasoning instead of the individual spices, if you want.

Friday: Blackened Chicken with Mac n’ Cheese– Can be made gluten free and dairy free (making homemade mac n’ cheese with dairy free cheese)- Yea, definitely using a box of Annie’s gluten free mac n cheese for this. No one wants to cook on Friday…Here’s a link to a recipe for blackening seasoning, if you don’t already have some: Homemade Blackening Seasoning.

Saturday: Paleo Moussaka– gluten free, dairy free, can be vegan if you leave out the meat and use an egg replacer- This recipe comes together very quickly…you can use heavy cream instead of coconut milk if you have an allergy, or consume dairy.

Sunday: Sweet and Spicy Paleo Chicken Fingers– Serve with salad, veggies, fries, bread….whatever makes you happy 🙂

I hope no one pisses you off today!!!

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Don’t fight it…

Your body naturally gets a second wind at 10pm, so it’s very important to get into bed before then. I know, it seems really early. But, if you want to get your sleep on, this is crucial!

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This article lays out all of the facts:  Sleep and Longevity

So you know what this means for the weekend? You should Day Drink, so you can meet that 10pm sleep time. Don’t say I’m not helpful.

You can make that…just sayin’.

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Do you like saving money? Do you like not using chemicals? Cool. Me too. I mean, I also like spending money, and I do use  chemicals…but small changes and baby steps are what we’re aiming for. Here are a few swaps you can make to help make your cleaning routine a little greener.

  • Instead of buying liquid fabric softener, use EPSOM SALT. Trust me. It gets clothes just as soft. I air dry many of my clothes, and they’re nice and soft; not crispy. You can add essential oils to the epsom salt if you like your clothes to smell good…I do. I use lavender, lemon, and tea tree.
  • Instead of buying carpet powder, use BAKING SODA. Baking soda is great a sucking up odors. You can add essential oils to the baking soda as well, for a fresh scent. This may sound strange, but I like to mix nutmeg and cinnamon (the actual spices, not the essential oils) into the baking soda before I sprinkle it on the carpet. Smells like Christmas.
  • Instead of buying Febreeze, make your own. All you need is a spray bottle, water, and…essential oils. For every cup of water, add in 80-120 drops of essential oils (based on how strong you want the smell to be).
  • Instead of buying kitchen cleaner, use VINEGAR. Buy a big container of white vinegar, and add lemon, lime, and orange peels. Let it set. Eventually, it won’t smell at all like vinegar. Add some to a spray bottle (Keep the rest in the original bottle and keep adding those peels! And you can even pour more vinegar in to keep the cycle going). You’ll have the cleaning power of the vinegar and the citrus.

Easy. Quick. Cost effective. And no mention of chemicals you can’t pronounce, that do things you don’t want to hear about.

You can have whatever you like

Welcome to the darkness. We had Daylight Savings last weekend, so I’ve really been getting into darkness when I wake, darkness by 5pm, darkness for all my friends! At least you can eat some delicious food for dinner, while you’re gazing out into the darkness. If this was Pee Wee’s Playhouse, I’m assuming you’d know what the Word of the Day was by now!!!

You’ll notice that most of the recipes I’m posting this week are vegetarian…I go through phases where meat doesn’t sound good to me, and I also rarely cook meat when my husband is out of town (it’s more work and leftover meat weirds me out). So, please feel free to add meat to any of the vegetarian/vegan dishes. You’re allowed to go off script. Recipes are just guidelines. I loosely follow recipes. The idea of actually measuring out spices? Ain’t nobody got time for that.

Monday: Kitchari– Ok, what the hell is Kitchari? Don’t let the name scare you. Kitchari is a very soothing, healing dish…great to eat after a candy and booze filled weekend. Did anyone else think that it was a good idea to eat barrels of chocolate covered almonds for lunch on Saturday? I like to simplify this dish…I use all mung beans (if I can find them in Germany, you can find them in the states), and I typically use a mix of quinoa and brown rice. I have never seen black mustard seeds- so I leave it out. Kombu? I’m fresh out. So, I skip that too. And this is still delicious, filling, and healing.

Tuesday: Gluten Free General Tso’s Chicken– What makes this gluten free is the use of g-free soy sauce and cornstarch. If you don’t have issues with gluten, just use normal soy sauce, and you can still use the cornstarch, or all purpose flour.

WednesdaySouthwest Salad with Creamy Avocado Salsa Dressing– Lots of options here. This is naturally vegetarian and gluten free. To make vegan, use non-dairy milk and sour cream for the dressing. To make it heartier, add meat. Throw in whatever vegetables you like.

Thursday: Deconstructed Eggplant Parmesan – Another example of a recipe being an idea…I don’t have access to baby eggplants, so I’ll just use regular sized ones. I’m not wasting my time scooping some of the eggplant out, either. And I don’t have g-free panko, so I’ll use regular g-free crumbs, or leave it off. Leave out the cheese, or sub dairy free to make this vegan.

Friday: Spaghetti Squash with Vegan Tomato Basil Cream Sauce – I might use almonds instead of cashews for the “cream” sauce…feel free to try using heavy cream, or even full fat coconut milk instead.

SaturdayPeach Chutney Samosa Stew – Naturally vegan and gluten free. I think I’m going to use mangoes instead of peaches…and I’ll just buy a bag of frozen fruit, instead of peeling and dicing. I’ll leave out the Better than Bouillon too. Throw some meat in there, if you want. Serve with rice &/or naan.

Sunday: Chicken Pasta with Sundried Tomatoes and Spinach in a Creamy Cauliflower Sauce – What a nice, concise name. To make this g-free, use g-free pasta. Leave out the chicken to make this vegan. Use frozen cauliflower to save yourself from having to grate cauliflower. You can also sub white winter squash for the cauliflower.

Easy peasy!

Can you believe it’s November?! Whoa, baby.

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