Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Paleo Banana Bread!

Good Afternoon everyone! I have a special little recipe today! Before my little paleo adventure began I was somewhat known for my banana bread. I loved to make it as gifts for people, home-made treats always make others feel so special! So, this morning when I walked into the kitchen and saw 2 extra-ripe bananas sitting on the counter I knew what it was time for- paleo-ifying banana bread! It was an experiment that turned out terrific. I am in love with this loaf! Didn't miss traditional flour at all. Plus it's super- low sugar and even packs a little protein! Winning!

On a side note (if you don't care about my personal life and just want the recipe, I don't blame you- just scroll down!) I haven't been posting much lately because my life is extremely hectic right now! After a 6 month deployment my husband is coming home in the next couple of weeks or so! It is very exciting, but also stressful as I have been staying with my mom in Florida for the duration of his deployment and I will have to return to Arkansas this weekend to meet him. We will be there for a period of time and then we will be moving to the Florida pan-handle where we got PCS orders to! It's a very exciting time, but also very busy so I don't know how much blogging time I'll have. I will try my hardest to always post at least 1 new recipe per week though :-) I hope y'all stick with me! Now back to the bread...

3 eggs (whites and yolks separated)
3 Tablespoons Honey
4 Tablespoons Olive Oil
2 Ripe bananas, mashed
1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
1 teaspoon Baking Powder
1/2 teaspoon Cinnamon
2 Cups Almond Flour
(Optional) 1/2 Cup chopped nuts (I used almonds!)

Step 1: Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease a loaf pan. Separate the eggs, yolks in one medium-sized bowl and whites in another.
The egg whites are in the green bowl to the left, kinda hard to see them! Yolks in the bowl on the right.

Step 2: Add honey to the bowl with the egg yolks and cream with a hand mixer until light and fluffy. You could also use a whisk by hand- but you'll have to work! Mine took about 5 minutes to look like this:

Step 3: Add olive oil, bananas, and vanilla to the yolk mixture. Stir in gently, until just combined.

Step 4: Add baking powder, cinnamon, and almond flour to banana mixture. Stir in gently, until just combined. Do not over-mix.

Step 5: Using the hand mixer again (or a stand mixer, or a whisk by hand) beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form. This is important. Mine took about 3-4 minutes.

Step 6: Fold egg whites gently into banana batter mixture. Do not over-mix. Gently fold in nuts if desired. 

Step 7: Pour batter into loaf pan and bake about 40 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Let cool in pan and then remove and serve!


Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Flour-less Chocolate Chip Cookies!

Happy Wednesday everyone! You'll have to forgive me for my lack of blogging for the past week, my life is basically a massive anxiety attack right now. My husband is coming home in approximately 2-ish weeks, so I've got 2 weeks to get in gear. I've got a 14 hour road trip, packing, un-packing, settling (or trying to), and my poor puppy has bladder stones and has to have surgery tomorrow :( Please send prayers & happy thoughts for my sweet baby girl! 

So clearly, I'm stressed, and clearly I need chocolate. THESE COOKIES ARE AMAZING. You know what they taste like? Those peanut butter cookies with the Hershey kiss in the middle. THOSE ARE MY FAVORITE COOKIES! But these are gluten-free, dairy-free, grain-free, little pieces of happiness! You need to make them. ASAP. I adapted this recipe from here: http://cupcakesomg.blogspot.ca/2012/08/paleo-chocolate-chip-cookies-and-why-im.html  

1 Cup Almond Butter (or choice of nut butter)
1/4 Cup Honey
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 Cup Enjoy Life chocolate chips (gluten-free, dairy-free!)
1/4 Cup chopped walnuts (optional)
Step 1: Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Stir together the nut butter, honey, egg, baking soda, and salt until combined well.
Step 2: Gently fold chocolate chips and walnuts into batter.
Step 3: Drop rounded spoonfuls onto a greased cookie sheet. Bake for 8-10 minutes.
ENJOY! :-)
You should definitely eat warm, with a glass of almond milk...
And if you have a smiley face spatula like me, it'll really brighten your day... :-)

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Hearty Slow Cooker Chicken Soup!

So today is officially day 11 of my Whole:30 challenge. I'm feelin good y'all! I'm just a tad bit bored with food at this point. Me, bored with food? Say what? I know, weird. It's just that I feel like I'm eating the same foods over & over again. I needed a game-changer. This soup hit the spot! I am once again excited to eat :)! 
I have been wanting to make some homemade chicken stock for awhile now, and since it's Whole:30 approved and the weather here has ALMOST warranted soup (low 70's, it's Florida- I'll take it) I figured it was the time. I am so glad I decided to make the broth homemade, it's EASY. For real. The most tedious part of this recipe was chopping the vegetables. I am going to REALLY encourage you to make your own stock (because, like I just said it's EASY, tastes way better than store-bought & is healthier!) but if you just don't want to - you could sub around 4 cups of chicken stock. I also roasted my own chicken because I wanted to show y'all the whole process beginning to end, but you could totally buy a rotisserie chicken and skip that step. Easy peezy.

SIDE NOTE: You've gotta let the stock cook for a good long while in the crock pot, so make this the day BEFORE you want the soup :)

& by the way, if you brought this to a sick person- they will ADORE you. It's absolutely perfect for a sick day. And way, way healthy. I imagine it would freeze beautifully as well.

1 Roasted Chicken
2 Garlic cloves, minced
1 Tablespoon onion powder
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon kosher salt
freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 Carrots, chopped
2 Celery stalks, chopped 
1-2 Bell peppers, chopped
A few handfuls of Kale
2 eggs

Step 1: Roast your chicken. Or buy a rotisserie chicken. I stuffed my chicken with lemon slices and garlic cloves, covered it in olive oil, & seasoned with salt & pepper- then bake for 1 1/2 hours @ 400 degrees.
Pretty Chicken!
Step 2: Separate the meat from the chicken that you want to use in the soup later & save in an air-tight container in the fridge, throw everything else (minus the lemon slices) into the crock pot. This includes bones, skin (or you can totally eat that, I won't judge you), fat, & any sketchy pieces of meat you don't want in your soup.
My meat is the bowl to the left, everything else in the crock pot on the right
Step 3: Fill the crock with enough cold water to cover everything completely. Add garlic cloves, onion powder, cumin, oregano, salt, pepper, & red pepper flakes, stir to combine.  Cover and cook on low heat for at least 12 hours. I started mine after dinner last night, and let it sit all night long.
Step 3: Transfer the contents of the crock to a bowl. Place a colander in the crock to strain out all of the bones, skin, fat, etc. that we DON'T want in our stock.
Step 4: Pour the stock over the colander into the crock. You'll be left with a pretty broth like this:
Step 5: I didn't take a picture of this (whoopsie), but it's easy. Pour the broth back into the bowl you just used, put the colander back in the crock and line with a cheese cloth. Pour the broth over the cheese cloth to strain the fat out. Then you'll have this:
Step 6: Add your carrots, celery, pepper, chicken (the leftover meat from the roasted chicken), and kale to the broth and give a big stir. Cover and let cook on low for an hour or so, until you're about ready to eat.
The kale will cook down, it takes a bit though- it is a very hearty green
Step 7:  Put your 2 eggs in a bowl & whisk them together.
Step 8: We're going to add the eggs to the soup to thicken the broth a bit, but you will need to temper them first. Basically, you need to get the eggs to the temperature of the soup so they don't cook and become scrambled eggs when they hit the broth. To do this simply ladle some of the broth into the egg mixture and whisk together. Add a couple more ladle-fulls to the eggs until they are about the same temperature as the soup.
Step 9: Pour the egg mixture into the soup and give a big stir.
Step 10: Cover and cook on low for another 20-30 minutes. EAT.


Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Making Strides Against Breast Cancer!

Hello friends! I don't have a new recipe for you today (but I am working on a really good one for tomorrow ;)) I wanted to talk for just a second about a cause that is super close to my heart.
This upcoming weekend I am participating in the Making Strides Against Breast Cancer walk here in Orange Park, FL. This is an awesome event put on by the American Cancer Society to raise money for breast cancer research and bring awareness. While breast cancer should be an important issue for EVERY woman (and the men who love them:)) It is particularly important to me because my grandmother is a breast cancer survivor. 
How adorable is she?! And of course her precious shihtzu, Precious :). I am so, so lucky to have her with me today and I love this event and events like it because they are trying to save everybody's G-ma! And mom, auntie, cousin, sister, friend, etc. 

If you could please take a minute to donate to our team it would mean the world to me! Even if it's just a $1, every donation counts!:: (following is the link to the donation page):

I will have pictures to share this weekend :) Thank you for your time! Hope everyone is having a great week...

Monday, October 8, 2012

Easy Mustard Vinaigrette!

Happy Monday everyone! A new week, a new recipe. I'm really excited about this one! Have you ever made your own salad dressing? It is so, so easy- and it ends up being much cheaper & healthier than buying store-bought because you have full control over what goes in it. If you have a mason jar, or an airtight container you can make the dressing all in one container and keep it in the same container- no mess, no clean up. I told you- EASY! 
If you want a sweeter dressing, add about a tablespoon of honey- you'll have a nice honey mustard vinaigrette :)! You're going to have to bear with me on the pictures, my camera sucks. Here's the thing about those nice cameras- they're super expensive and as a military wife I don't have $600 lying around. I checked. So for the moment I'm all like:
And I'll try to describe these pictures as best as I can :) But bad pictures withstanding- you totally need this dressing in your life. It is fab-you-lous!& It keeps in an airtight container for about a week. If you're anything like me, it won't last nearly that long though ;) I could eat this on everything!

Ingredients: (Estimations- I just kinda dumped everything in the jar;))
1 Tablespoon minced garlic
1 Tablespoon spicy mustard
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

Start with a clean, dry mason jar (or other airtight container) Add garlic to the jar.
Add the mustard on top of the garlic.
Add Italian seasoning.
Black pepper.
Red wine vinegar.
Olive oil.
Put the top on the jar, make sure it's tight! And shakeeeee it up! 
Til you get something pretty like this:
And then top a fresh salad like this:

& Enjoy, enjoy, enjoy! :-) Have a great week everyone!

Friday, October 5, 2012

Clean Eating Tacos!

Happy Friday y'all! It's officially day 5 of my Whole:30 Challenge and I'm feeling great. I've also nicknamed it OctSoberfest, and that makes me laugh. :-) I read a great quote today and I wanted to share it with you:
"This whole idea of 'everything in moderation' helps people rationalize what they do to themselves. Is health your #1 priority or not?" -Nora Gedgaudas
A.K.A. a moderate amount of crap, is still crap. Needed to hear that today, I woke up thinking of hot wings and a submarine sandwich, haha. Instead, I got my butt up and made some scrambled eggs, a fruit smoothie, and ate some carrots. Go meee! Now about those tacos I promised you...
These tacos were uhh-mazing. In fact, I've eaten them for 3 meals in 2 days already. Seriously. I made them for dinner Wednesday night, ate the left-overs for lunch Thursday, and then made them AGAIN Thursday night when I got home from the gym. I still have left-overs in the fridge and they'll be my lunch today. I like them that much. :-) Making your own taco seasoning is a must, even if the fillers & salt that come in the pre-packaged kinds don't disturb you-- it's much CHEAPER to make your own. It's a win-win. Healthier & Cheaper. I topped my tacos with some quick guacamole I threw together, I just mashed an avocado with lime juice, garlic, & some salt & stirred in some diced tomatoes. Guacamole is a must for me, but some other great toppings would be: diced tomatoes, chopped cilantro, chopped green onions, sauteed onions & peppers, or avocado slices. Choose your own adventure style, isn't that what taco night is really about? 

Taco Seasoning-
2 Tablespoons Chili Powder
1 1/2 Tablespoons Cumin
1 1/2 Tablespoons Paprika
1 Tablespoon Onion Powder
1 Tablespoon Garlic Powder
2 teaspoons Oregano
1/2 teaspoon Red Pepper Flakes 
1 lb. Ground Meat of Choice (I used ground beef)
1 Head of Lettuce
Toppings of Choice (I used some home-made guac)

To make the Taco Seasoning:
Whisk together the chili powder, cumin, paprika, onion powder, garlic powder, oregano, & red pepper flakes. 
Keep in an air-tight container. To use: use 3 Tablespoons per pound of ground meat. Season meat, brown, drain, add 1/4 cup water to browned meat in the skillet and simmer for 5 minutes. Serve!
For my guacamole I just mashed an avocado in a bowl with half a lime's worth of lime juice, 1 clove minced garlic, pinch of salt, and 1 diced tomato.
This was my set-up for my taco making bonanza:
To make a taco, take a lettuce leaf, top with meat & toppings. Eat!
Nom nom nom nom... Everyone have a great weekend! :-)