Search This Blog

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Mistakenly good crackers!

Since going Paleo, I've really been wanting to make paleo crackers so I decided today was the day. I was planning to make the cinnamon walnut crackers from Mark Sisson's Primal Blueprint Quick & Easy meals but as I glanced over the ingredients, I realized I didn't have most of them. So I improvised and was quite pleased with the results.  If you want yours sweeter, then add more honey because they aren't really sweet at all.  After making these, I decided to put cashew butter and jelly on it for Ellie. She wasn't interested it so I ate it and OMG!  It was so yummy. We use Bionaturae strawberry fruit spread because it does not have any sugar added to it.  So without further delay, here is the recipe I adapted from Sisson's recipe.

Almond Sunflower crackers

3/4 cup almond flour
1/2 cup sunflower butter
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 tsp cinnamon
1 TBSP butter
1 TBSP honey
1 TBSP water

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Line an 8x8 dish with parchment paper.  Mix all ingredients and spread on prepared pan. The spreading takes some time so be patient with this step to get it even and smooth.  Bake 12-15 minutes until browned on the edges.  Let cool mostly before cutting.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

It's all in your perception

Recently I've been having some "whoa's me" moments about my body not changing fast enough. I've been doing the Primal diet since mid-April and thought I would be a lean machine by now.  Of course that was not a realistic expectation but I was still hopeful.  The reality is that I have lost three pounds and since I only had 10 to lose, and I'm gaining muscle, the number actually means nothing.

After complaining to my husband yet again about hating how my clothes look, he suggested that I go buy a couple things that look great. Not just "ok" but great.  Of course I'll never turn down a shopping opportunity but I'll admit I was a bit scared to meet that "great" expectation because frankly I haven't been feeling great about my body.

A good friend of mine joined me on my venture for new clothes and together we worked out two outfits.  I was still expecting these outfits to make me suddenly look like a lean machine when in reality, they were just what looked good on my body.  After our shopping trip, this wonderful friend said something to me that really put everything into perspective.

She had stopped working out after gaining weight from her workouts and was feeling defeated.  She was wearing clothes that were too big to hide the curves she wanted to lose.  She then noticed an acquaintance of her at a gathering and noted that she looked stunning.  This woman's body was no different then her own but she was not afraid to show it with nice fitting clothes.  It then occurred to me that by wearing baggy shirts and frumpy pants, I was making myself look very unattractive not only to myself, but to others.

We can't always change our body makeup overnight but we can embrace what we have while going through the process.  The size of our clothes and the number on the scale really mean very little compared to how we feel.  Frankly, eating a primal diet makes me feel full of energy and clearer in my thinking than my pre-primal state.  I could have easily sabotaged my primal journey by letting my lack of weight loss get me down.  I now realize how important perception can be in maintaining a good sense of self-esteem.

How about you guys?  Anyone out there ever sabotage their fitness goals based on poor perception?

Sunday, May 20, 2012

The best Paleo brownies ever!

Warning!! These are super moist yummy brownies.  There are many recipes out there claiming to be the best Paleo brownie and I'm pretty sure I've tried most of them.  This recipe is not only the best, but it is nut free, dairy free and gluten free. It can be easily adjusted to be vegan as well. It packs in 3 grams of fiber for one piece and only 15 carbs!

A friend of mine recently sent me a recipe for fudgy brownies. It utilized almond butter which my palate has not quite adjusted to yet.  More importantly though, I'm making these for my kids as I generally don't crave sweets other than fruit anymore. I figure if I can get Brayden to eat his sweets Paleo, then I'll be off to a good start in transforming him.  On to the recipe.

I decided to use sunflower seeds as I wanted to make them nut free for purposes of taking them to school and possibly bringing them to my nephew next weekend who has a nut allergy. I was so excited at how great these turned out.  Here it is:

Paleo Brownie Bar

1 cup sunflower seeds
1/3 cup coconut oil, melted
2 eggs, tempered (optional, see below)
1/2 cup canned coconut milk, room temperature or warmed 10 seconds
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp salt
1/3-1/2 cup of carob or cocoa powder (I used carob powder)
1/3 cup coconut palm sugar (*this is key to a rich caramel flavor and can be found at Whole Foods)
Optional add ins: chocolate chips, shredded coconuts, nuts, dried cherries

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Grease an 8x8 pan with coconut oil or line with parchment paper.
In your food processor, ground the sunflower seeds until thickened about 3 minutes.  Stir in the coconut oil until smooth. (You could alternatively use sunflower seed butter from the jar). Add your tempered eggs (microwave for 10 seconds), milk, vanilla, and salt.  Stir until smooth. Add cocoa, sugar and any add ins.
Bake for 20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.  Cool before cutting.

To make these vegan, increase the sunflower seeds by 1/2 cup. They will be chewier than this version.  I prefer eggs in mine.  The reason you have to temper your eggs and warm your milk is because of the coconut oil.  You can mix a different oil with your sunflower seeds to skip the warming part or if you use the jar version of sunflower seed butter then you can skip it.

Let me know what you think.  I'm having trouble not eating the whole pan!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Paleo Freezer Cooking

Since changing our life over to a Paleo diet, I have struggled with the need to constantly cook and dirty yet another pan. Gone are the days of McDonald's drive thru and easy jars of spaghetti sauce.  Most pre-made foods have sugar in them. I'm not sure why food manufacturers think everyone needs sugar in their dinner but they do.

So my solution to give my cooking a rest on occasion is to stock pile my freezer with some meals. Now anyone with a toddler around knows that you can't just take an entire day and cook.  I decided that instead, I would triple my recipes each day for a week.  I figured that would give me one week of miserable daily cooking in exchange for two weeks worth of food in my freezer.  Without being repetitive, you can assume these are all paleo recipes. So here is the menu plan:

Monday: Meatloaf

Tuesday: Grilled chicken (I will probably more than triple this since we like extra for salads)

Wednesday: Sloppy joes (serve these in lettuce wraps or on paleo buns)

Thursday: Rats on a stick (adapted from the Eat Like a Dinosaur cookbook)

Friday: Spaghetti sauce (serve this over spaghetti squash)  - I use a Betty Crocker version recipe or make it up as I cook

Saturday: Cauliflower pizza

Sunday: Shepherds pie

There you have it. Lots of yummy foods to save you on a day when things are just not going right but you don't want to search yet again another restaurant menu for paleo options.

Now this can be rather expensive as the paleo diet over all costs more initially while you restock your pantry. I may not make these all in one week. In fact, I may just pick one recipe each week to tackle but at least there is a plan with 7 recipes.  If you tackle at least one freezer meal per week, you will still have a nice stockpile of food in your freezer.

I suggest freezing in ziploc baggies laid flat.  Cool everything in your fridge first until they are cold, then freeze them. This reduces freezer burn. Happy cooking!

Saturday, May 12, 2012

21 day end

Well, I have finished the 21 day transformation exercise portion thereby completing Sisson's book. It has really given me some clarity as to what exercise to focus on and I'm starting to see muscles bulging from where the fat likes to hide them (please try not to visualize this). So what is next?

We are continuing to work on Teagan. We are so proud of her good choices lately but sometimes she struggles with what is good and what is convenient.  Hopefully overtime I can find some easier snacks for her that she loves other than fruit.  A few we have recently used include cashews, pepperoni (nitrate free), and broccoli.  Odd I know, the kid likes broccoli as a snack.  I have noticed that she is no longer feeding off of Brayden's gagging from food but we have also taken the focus off of him at meals and put it on her.  Since she is a performer of life, she enjoys this spotlight and will devour a chicken leg just to see our smiles.

Ellie loves her big sister and tries to copy whatever she does. We are trying to show Teagan how it is important to be a good big sister so Ellie continues to make healthy choices.  I'm amazed at how Ellie's palate has grown since going primal. She now loves more vegetables then ever before and I think it is because she sees them at EVERY meal.

As for me, I'm going to continual my primal eating and exercises.  I have set a target date as July 1st for revealing a before and after photo.  Aren't you excited???

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Day 17 - paleo

Well, my fast went great. I lasted 14 hours without any problems.  The odd thing that happened to me though was yesterday.  I suddenly crashed.  In part, I was sleep deprived compliments of my almost 2 year old.  My husband however believes that we occasionally need to reload our carbs.  He does a carb reload weekly.   I believe the thinking out there is that if you continually keep your carbs low, your body will adapt to that and you will no longer burn fat as easily.  If you occasionally "reload", then your body doesn't get used to the low carb count.  I plan to continue looking into that.

So yesterday, I did a cheat day and carb reload.  I ate a bunch of no paleo stuff all day.  It helped me get through the day but by 8pm, my stomach was killing me!  It just reminded me of how I really didn't want to eat that way.  Another interesting thing that happened was that no matter how much I ate, I was continually hungry. Every carb that went into me made me crave more of them.  My carb craving had been very low for the past few weeks to this was fairly eye opening for me.

Well, today is day 17.  I did a great work out.  There are only 4 more days left in this challenge but when it ends, my life will continue much the same.  Why change what works?

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Paleo update

We had a fantastic weekend here with beautiful weather.  I've been following the workouts and although I missed a day, I'm now caught up.  They seem to really be a rotation between the Primal Essential Movements, aerobics, and intense workouts.  Tomorrow is another intense day.  Tonight my challenge is to stop eating by 7 and see how long I can go tomorrow until I feel definite hunger.  The funny thing is that today, I only ate an apple in the morning and then lunch at 1pm.  I just wasn't hungry.  That was a first for me and a very nice feeling.  I was suppose to track nutrients again today but I totally forgot so I'll postpone that for a later date.

On another note, I ordered the book Eat Like a Dinosaur written by the Paleo Parents.  It is actually more of a Gluten free, dairy free book but they are paleo so it gives information about transforming your kids.  Their kids are a bit younger than mine and I really don't feel their approach is appropriate for my older two but I loved the story inside the book that you read to your child.  I read it to my older two this weekend and I could see the wheels spinning in my 5 year old's mind.  I then decided to eliminate gluten from her diet for the weekend.  We have been at our wits end with her lately and I figured it couldn't hurt.

I am pleased to say, she was a different child this weekend!  She needed very little correction and she controlled herself all weekend.  Tonight, she begged for toast with jelly for her snack.  I gave it to her but explained that it was not what a dinosaur would eat.  Shortly after that, she was back to her out of control self.  I couldn't believe it.  I took her aside and asked her to think about what she ate and how she was now showing poor behavior after such a great weekend.  I was planning to transition her June 1st but I think I'm going to stick with gluten elimination and see how our week goes.  I'm so excited for her to possibly have a solution to her attention problems.

Also this weekend, my husband finished building a playscape for the kids in the backyard.  They were so excited and my 7 year old continually thanked my husband.  It really was the icing for the weekend's cake.
So how was your weekend?

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Tracking your nutrients

So yesterday I tracked what I consumed for a day.  I'm so glad I did this exercise as it is eye opening.  Since I'm trying to burn fat right now, I wanted my carbs to be between 50 to 100 grams for the day.  This is what I ate:
2 eggs, bacon
coffee with cream
3 apples (yeah, it's a problem)
macademia and almond nuts, raisins, honey (granola bar I made)
lettuce, tomato salad
chicken stir fry with mushrooms, onions, zucchini, broccoli, cauliflower and yellow squash

This totaled 2,010 calories, 111 grams of fat, 89 grams of protein and 177 grams of carbs.  I was shocked to find out how loaded with carbs raisins are.  If I cut out the dried fruit and limit my apples to one per day, I think I'll be there next time.

If your interested in tracking your food for a day, head over to and enter your food for the day.  It is a free website.  Let me know if you do!