I cannot believe the holidays and holiday parties are coming up so soon!! There is so much to look forward to. But, I know there is some concern about diets during this time of year, so I have compiled some tips to keep you on track over the holidays.
Eat lots of good stuff!
First, give yourself a break. It is the holidays so allow yourself to enjoy the delicious food, and plenty of it. Go crazy on the meats, shrimp cocktails, and veggies all you want. We watched Madmen on Netflix the other night. Since Betty was doing Weight Watchers, she could only eat a half of slice of meat, 1 steamed brussel sprout (what?? ), a bite of stuffing, a spoonful of creamed spinach and a little cranberry sauce for her Thanksgiving dinner. It made me sooo sad. Scott looked at me and said, “That is killing you, isn’t it?” Umm, yes. I wanted to shout to Betty, “Eat lots of meat and veggies!! It’s okay! Just skip the stuffing & biscuit!”.
Youtube of Madmen and Betty’s Thanksgiving meal. She looks so pitifully hungry, doesn’t she?
While I really enjoy a sweet treat such as a cookie, I would so much rather have a Paleo cookie (or three), than a “traditional” cookie that would make me feel sick, hurt my stomach, and give me a huge sugar hangover. If you don’t think the party will have any fun treats that won’t make you feel bad or sick, then you know what your contribution to the party will be, right?Just make sure you get some of your own dessert or appetizer before it’s all gone!
Always eat something beforehand
If you’re not bringing something, or you’re not sure they will have anything you can eat, or you worry you’ll be tempted to eat things that might make you feel bad later, be sure to eat ahead of time. Going to a party hungry will just set you up for lack of self control. It’s the biggest way to make sure that temptation, even after a glass of wine, won’t be as strong.
Choose your drinks wisely
One tip regarding alcohol, for every cocktail you have, also have a glass of water. Secondly, think about what you are going to drink. If you like your liquor, then go for the mixers like soda water instead of, say, tonic or Coke. Tonics and Pop can add up in sugar very quickly and you’ll end up with a worse hangover just from the sugar. Also think about choosing a drink that is a little “cleaner” like tequila, whiskey, gin, and vodka. And while wine is great, especially red, it does contain some sugar. So if you are sensitive to sugar, try not to go too crazy on the vino, as yummy as it is. For some drink recipes or greater detail on the subject, click here.
Be prepared for the tough questions
People love to share the enjoyment of food together, but sometimes it’s hard to say no because you don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings.
If you have recently changed your diet, you might want to think ahead about how you are going to answer questions regarding not eating certain foods that were hurting you. Of course everyone’s situation is different but you might want to say something to the effect of “Unfortunately, I recently learned that gluten (or fill in the blank here) has been making me sick.”, or “My body just can’t seem to tolerate (fill in the blank here) anymore”. Blame it on your body! Just be sure to keep it simple, don’t make it a big deal, and it won’t be.
Not the time to preach
This one goes with the one above but just be sure to also keep in mind now is NOT the time to preach about eating clean whole foods or talk about how amazing you feel. Another day, another time.
OK, figure out what your body can handle, or not handle, and plan accordingly. But above all, please, enjoy the holidays and many of the good foods that goes along with it! You don’t have to “fall off the wagon” this time of year…just plan ahead!!
Prosciutto Wrapped Asparagus
By the way, if you need a good looking, good tasting, and easy to make appetizer for one of your parties or even just for home, this app is fabulous.
All you need is:
- grass fed butter, or ghee
Start by rinsing your asparagus. Then cut the hard bottoms (1-2 inches). Next, cut your prosciutto in half and then wrap it diagonally around the asparagus to get the most prosciutto coverage.
Heat large pan/skillet on high, add about 1 tbsp of butter or ghee and add your asparagus. Cook for about 2 minutes on each side so it gets brown, then turn it down on low for about 5-10 minutes or until desired tenderness, and enjoy!
Oh, I had a few slices of bacon left and lots of asparagus so I decided to make bacon asparagus burritos the same way. This is a good way to make an even quicker side, especially if it’s just for your family!
Oh and lastly, and while we are talking about bacon (yet again), my other favorite party appetizer is similar but with sweet potatoes, bacon and some maple. Click here
for the recipe.
Happy holidays everyone!
Crunchy sweet potato fries are probably one of my favorite veggie discoveries of all time. Sometimes though, they turn out somewhat crispy, and other times, they are super crispy. Today, I was determined to figure out just why and how to get them as crispy as possible. I finally figured it out. The whole family ate these, and we sounded like people in a movie theater munching on chips — they were that crispy! I also want to share how little prep time they require. I make them almost every morning pre-workout, and the prep time is about the same as making a pop tart, so really, no excuse!
Start by preheating your oven to 425. Then, (typically on Sunday or Monday so you’ll be set for the week), take the mandolin and a large organic sweet potato and slice the whole thing. But PLEASE be careful as I’ve now had THREE friends cut their fingers pretty badly!!
The setting I use for this mandolin is “thin” but only because I can’t find my “medium” slice pad lately.
Next, put the whole sliced potato in freezer sized ziplock bag along with about 3 tbsp of arrowroot powder. Then seal the bag up tight and shake until the potatoes are lightly covered with arrowroot powder. You may have to separate some as they can stick together and then the insides don’t get any powder on them.
Next, and this is the new tip, do NOT spray or grease on your cookie sheet. Lay flat what you want to eat that day. I usually use about 5-6 pieces for myself and can adjust if anyone else in the family wants some for breakfast. The remaining potatoes in the bag go back in the fridge, so I will have sweet potatoes ready to go for the rest of the week.
After you lay your sweet potatoes down on the cookie sheet, melt about 1-2 tbsp of coconut oil in the oven (metal bowl) that is preheating or in the microwave oven (non-metal bowl). Once that is melted, drizzle the oil over the potatoes.
Lastly cook them on 425 for 10 minutes, then flip them and cook them for another 10-15 minutes (depending on the thickness of the potato) until brown and crispy. Add cinnamon and celtic sea salt, and that’s it! So the rest of the week it’s just lay flat, drizzle coconut oil and cook. Simple as that! And did I mention how yummy they are?! Plus, they are the perfect pre-workout food since they are anti-inflammatory and will also help to nourish the adrenals during a hard workout.
Oh, and one other tidbit. We made the Cauliflower Soup today, and it was the best we’ve ever made. Instead of using ghee or butter to saute your onion and garlic, try cooking 2-3 pieces of bacon. Once the bacon is cooked, remove it, add your onions and garlic in the same pan with the bacon grease, and cook until soft, and then add in the rest of your ingredients. And when it’s ready for blending, add the bacon back in, then blend well, and taste the difference! It was awwweesome!
And lastly, and most importantly, I wanted to give a big shout out to my dad. Happy birthday!! We love you!
Dear God, please give me some of his skin genes. I have more wrinkles that he does and I’m only thirty-ish (Hush to my close friends!! Let me still use that word while I can). How is that fair??
My kids, and dog, sure do worship this man…
Okay, this is my last spaghetti squash recipe for awhile…I promise. But, you’ll be glad I shared this one.
So I was driving home from work this past weekend, cold and starved and ready for dinner, but I knew it would likely be awhile before I could get dinner ready. Fortunately, my husband is completely awesome and had dinner ready. That was such a great surprise!! There is something to be said about a meal tasting better when you don’t make it, but regardless, it really was fantastic!! Everyone in the family loved it and Tate even had 3 helpings!
I know the pictures aren’t super pretty, and maybe it was the US Wellness Meats bacon that made this meal so special, and the fact that Scott cooked it, but we just added another new staple to our family cookbook.
Here is what you need:
- 1 spaghetti squash
- 2 lbs grass-fed ground beef (or 1 lb ground beef and 1 lb ground pork)
- 8 slices thick bacon, chopped (US Wellness meats)
- celtic salt & pepper to taste
- 1 tbsp butter
- 1 onion, finely diced
- 1 stalk of celery, finely diced
- 1 clove of garlic, grated or finely diced
- 1 cup of canned coconut milk
- 6 ounces tomato paste
- 1/2 cup dry white wine
Scott said it was pretty easy to make. Start with your spaghetti squash. I think y’all have this by now, but just in case…preheat your oven to 400, cut the squash in half, scoop the seeds out, lay both halves face down and cook it for about 30 minutes or until soft.
While that is roasting, finely chop your onion and celery. Scott said this part was a little time consuming. Too bad he didn’t know to use the food processor! Anyway, then saute them in butter until they start to become soft and put aside. Then, cut your bacon into small pieces and cook until brown. Then, add the ground beef in the pan with the bacon and grease. Be sure you DO NOT drain your bacon fat. That would be a mistake! Once the meat starts to brown, add in your sauteed veggies, the spaghetti squash and the rest of your ingredients, cook for about 15-20 minutes on low and enjoy!
The kids topped theirs with Trader Joe’s Parmesan Cheese (made with raw cow’s milk). It’s good stuff, if you do dairy! I hope y’all like it!
It’s officially soup weather here in Atlanta. YES, finally!!
I started out making a buffalo chicken pasta, and it didn’t really turn out to be very good. Actually, it was awful. So, I decided because it is so cold out, and I already had a whole chicken, spaghetti squash, and some bone broth made, I would try to turn this into a buffalo soup. And, I thought it was going to suck too. But, much to my surprise it did not suck. Not at all. In fact, the whole family loved it and we ate ALL of this in one night…
In fact, 4 out of 4 of us loved it! It feels so good on the days you win! Yes, I am Super Mom today and I will enjoy that while it’s here because I know that doesn’t always last long! Until tomorrow night…
Anyway, it ended up being really easy to make, if you use the pre-cut veggies. Anyway, here is what you need for this whatchamacallit soup. For now, I will call it Southwestern Buffalo Chicken Soup.
- Whole chicken (slow cooked or get a rotisserie)
- 4-6 cups bone broth or chicken
- 3/4 cup Tessemae’s Mild Wing Sauce (Whole Foods or online) or use another wing sauce (check ingredients though)
- 1/2 tsp cumin powder
- 1 tsp Pete’s Hot Sauce (or desired amount)
- 1/2 cup avocado oil (Whole Foods or amazon)
- 1 pack pre-cut tri-color peppers from Publix (You can also just use any mixture of red, yellow and/or green bell peppers. It is about 1 cup’s worth)
- 1 small onion, chopped (I used TJ’s pre cut onion, garlic shallot pack. Skip the garlic if you use this)
- 2 garlic cloves
- 1 tbsp celtic salt (depending if you use your own broth or what soup you buy)
- 1/2 cup fresh cilantro
- 1 tbsp butter
- spaghetti squash (optional)
I used roasted spaghetti squash because I was trying to make that other meal. While it doesn’t soak up the flavor in the soup like it did for the pesto, spaghetti squash was still a really nice addition. We all enjoyed having something a little more dense in our soup. If you don’t want to add it or don’t have the time, you can skip it, but I do recommend it.
For your whole chicken, cook it in a slow cooker for 4-6 hours on low. I added salt and pepper to it as a rub. After it’s done, peel back the skin, tear off some meat, dip it in the juices left over in the slow cooker, and try to save some for the soup. Okay, now, tear the rest off and put in a big bowl.
If you roasted your spaghetti squash (cut in half, clean out the seeds, place face down on cookie sheet on 400 for 30 or so minutes until soft), scrape that and add it to your bowl with the chicken. Next, add to avocado oil, Tessemae’s hot sauce to the chicken/squash bowl and mix it all together. While that is soaking in the flavor, get big pot, turn it on high and melt your butter. Then saute your chopped veggies (the onion, garlic and sweet peppers). Once that all starts to brown, add in the chicken and squash (if you used one). Then add in the rest of the ingredients including the broth, cumin, cilantro and salt and pepper to taste and that’s it! It sounds like a lot of work, but it’s not, and it REALLY hit the spot! Did I mention we ate it all!?
Stay warm out there!
One thing I do miss now and then, especially this time of year (since going Paleo) are noodles. But fortunately, spaghetti squash is in season. What perfect timing! And honestly, this soaks up flavor so much better than any “noodle” out there. And…it’s easy to make. Just slice, clean, roast and go!
While I love cooking this time of year, it is absolutely my most hectic time of year with work and all, so I have to try to make things that aren’t time consuming or at least take short cuts. This one is easy because there isn’t any chopping, and I really didn’t even had to do much cooking since I used an organic rotisserie chicken from Whole Foods. Yay! Two big time savers for me, although making an actual whole chicken really doesn’t take 5 minutes to prepare.
So this great recipe is a rendition from PaleOMG. If you don’t know her site, you need to check it out. Her meals are amazing!
Anyway, this is what you need for this paleo Chicken Pesto “Noodle” recipe.
IMPORTANT NOTE: If you use a whole chicken like I did, then you’ll need to double all of the ingredients below. Or, just use about 1 lb of the whole chicken.
- 1lb chicken (or whole rotisserie, but make sure to double all ingredients below if so)
- 1 large spaghetti squash, cut in half lengthwise
- 1 can medium artichoke hearts, cut in half
- 1 tbsp butter
- ⅓ cup walnuts or pinenuts
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- 1/4 cup vegetable or chicken broth (I used bone broth)
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- ½ cup fresh parsley
- ½ cup fresh basil
- juice of 1 lemon (about 1/4 cup)
- 2-3 tsp celtic salt
- 2 tsp pepper
Start by slicing your spaghetti squash in half, scoop out the seeds, and then put both sides, face down on a cookie sheet. Cook on 400 for 30-35 minutes or until soft. I do add about 2 tbsp of water to the pan. I’m not sure if you need it, but it seems to work well for me.
Now while that is cooking, turn your a pan on high, add butter and your garlic cloves and let it start to get brown for just a minute or two. As soon as it does, add in the canned artichoke hearts. Let cook until it all a nice brown, and then transfer to your blender. Then add your olive oil, walnuts and 1/2 lemon juice and blend until smooth.
Oh, if you could only smell this once it was blended!
Then pull your parsley and basil part (no need to chop!) and add that to the blender, along with the other half of your lemon. Now blend until smooth or you find a consistency you like.
Next, tear apart your chicken, or cut (if you don’t have a rotisserie chicken) it into bite sized pieces and put in a large mixing bowl. If you are cooking your chicken, cut your raw chicken into bite sized pieces, cook it in some coconut oil with some salt and pepper until thoroughly cooked, and put it in your large bowl.
Next, get out your spaghetti squash, spoon or fork out the good stuff, and put that in the bowl. Lastly, add your pesto, salt and pepper to taste, and enjoy!!!
My kids loved this but they also love basil and artichokes so I thought they might like it. I loved it. And my husband just liked it. Boo Scott. He actually said it was good, but tasted more like a “dip”. I bet the pesto would actually make for a great dip! Oh well, can’t please them all, all the time…right? 3 out of 4 ain’t bad though!
Oh and lastly, I do apologize if there are any errors. There is just not enough time in the day lately but I did want to share this with y’all. If there are any mistakes, please let me know. I’m not good with details, and especially this time of year!