Dino Kale + Cranberry Chopped Salad

Happy [Paleo] Friendsgiving!

Happy FRIENDSgiving!

 My heart is so overjoyed to have spent Saturday evening accompanied by friends, laughs, and gratitude! We had the pleasure of hosting a Friendsgiving event at our home. This meant LOTS of scrumptious foods and desserts to share, so I made sure to add some to the menu that were delicious and nutritious.

Our lovely friends arrived and everyone channeled their “inner Picasso” and drew on little index cards all the things they’re thankful for! Kudos to Austin to thinking of this awesome ideas! ;)Thankful Wall Thankful Wall Thankful Wall

Do I have a creative group of friends or WHAT? 

After a round of games, the turkey was¬†finally done! This, by the way, was the first turkey I have ever cooked so I was truly elated when… “Guys!! The red thing finally popped up! It’s done! And I think it¬†actually¬†looks good too!”Turkey Time

Thank you men for handling it from here...

Thank you men for handling it from here…

There were a variety of foods that friends brought, but again, I made sure to sneak in some healthy Paleo options to share. Let’s start off with a delicious¬†Sweet Potato + Pumpkin Casserole. It’s so good that your friends won’t even miss those marshmallows– well, maybe. It’s worth a shot. ;)Paleo Sweet Potato Casserole

Paleo Sweet Potato & Pumpkin Casserole (serves 9)
4 large sweet potatoes
1 16-oz can 100% pure pumpkin
3/4 cup almonds, chopped
1/2 cup full-fat coconut milk
2 tbsp cinnamon, divided
2 tbsp olive oil, divided
1 tbsp pumpkin spice
1 tbsp vanilla
1 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
Honey, for drizzling

1. Preheat oven to 350-degrees and fill a large pot with water. Chop all the sweet potatoes into large chunks and place in pot. Place the pot on high and bring to a boil. Cook for 15-20 minutes, or until sweet potatoes are tender. Once finished, remove from heat and strain all the excess water.
2. Return sweet potatoes to pot and add 1 tbsp of olive oil (for dairy-tolerant folks, you may use butter instead). Mash sweet potatoes until smooth. Then, add in your can of pumpkin and mix together thoroughly.
3. Add in pumpkin spice, coconut milk, vanilla, and 1 tbsp of cinnamon to mixture. Mix thoroughly once more. Next, transfer mixture to casserole dish (I used a 9×9 pan).
4. In separate mixing bowl, toss almonds with cocoa powder, 1 tbsp of olive oil, and 1 tbsp of cinnamon. Toss until evenly coated. Garnish the top of casserole with chopped almonds.
5. Finish off your casserole with a drizzle of honey over top of the almonds.
6. Bake in oven for 20 minutes. ENJOY :)

Paleo Sweet Potato CasseroleHow is that for a mouth-watering Paleo spin on a classic? Well, we’re not done yet. A fresh salad came to mind while I perused the grocery store on that Fall morning and then it hit me:¬†Dino Kale + Cranberry Chopped Salad. I love when the grocery store inspires you! Also, this gem is¬†Whole30 Compliant!Dino Kale + Cranberry Chopped SaladDino Kale + Cranberry Chopped Salad (serves 8)
1 bunch Dino kale
3 cups spinach
1 small gala apple
1 green bell pepper
1 cup fresh cranberries
1/2 cup walnuts, chopped
1 tbsp coconut oil

1. Preheat oven to 400-degrees. Coat a oven-safe dish in coconut oil. Place washed cranberries in dish and stick in the oven for 10-15 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, chop up kale, spinach, apple, bell pepper, and walnuts into bite-size pieces. Try to make everything about the same size. Place all ingredients in large bowl.
3. Once cranberries are finished, add them to the bowl. Toss all ingredients together.
4. If desired, add your favorite dressing (I suggest a balsamic) or top with some of that Thanksgiving turkey! EAT UP :)

Okay, so my salad is more "layered" than "tossed", but it was all for the photos, people!

Okay, so my salad is more “layered” than “tossed”, but it was all for the photos, people!

Other food items included green bean casserole, rolls, cranberry sauce, and a plethora of desserts. I will admit, I sampled a bit of everything. I will also admit that due to this I had a major sugar-induced headache for the next two days¬†(Is a “food hangover” a thing? Because I think it is). Sometimes you pick your battles and choose to indulge every once in a while.¬†Just choose wisely, then get back on track!

This is the "Remember to Make Wise Choices" Face.

This is the “Remember to Make Wise Choices” Face.

Happy Friendsgiving

I am¬†so thankful to these wonderful people in my life (and those who couldn’t make it too) and I am happy to have celebrated¬†Friendsgiving¬†while sneaking in Paleo recipes at the same time. Thank you all for being my guinea pigs!

Happy Friendsgiving!
Maybe you can try some of these, or be inspired to find more Paleo Thanksgiving dishes for this year’s feast!Give Thanks



Workout Challenge: Day 5

Gah! I promise I’m not a slacker… I was just running around like a chicken with my head cut off yesterday and so I never got around to having a second to write this post. (On a Side Note:¬†Does anyone use that “chicken-with-your-head-cut-off” phrase anymore? Or am I really¬†that un-hip?)

YOU MADE IT! Workout Challenge Day 5! After this one, you can officially say you have completed the challenge with gusto! Or maybe you are crawling to get through it, but THAT STILL COUNTS! ;)

Day 5: HIIT + Lower Body Strength

There are a few important things to take away from this experience. At least, here are some I thought of and hopefully you also took away some of these things (or maybe even some of your own).

1. No matter how busy you are, you can get in a 20-30 minute workout somewhere. Even if it means waking up a bit earlier, or using part of your hour lunch break, a quick workout can get done if you want to make it happen.
2. Short workouts can still be of¬†quality. I use to get very discouraged when I didn’t have an entire 45-60 minutes to dedicate to exercise the way I could in college. I would choose not exercising at all over a 20-30 minute routine because I thought I wouldn’t actually be “doing enough” during that short amount of time. Here is some proof that that is wrong.

Let me know your thoughts/take-aways from this Workout Challenge too!


Workout Challenge: Day 4

Does anyone else get that excited feeling when you sign up for a race, or any kind of competition for that matter, and you just want to totally crush it?! That’s how I’m feeling right now.

Something about signing up for a race always gets me super pumped and motivated! With that, I also pay careful attention to what I’m fueling my body with and get more into my workouts. The 5-Day Busy People Workout Challenge has been a perfect addition to my morning routine! And today we get some YOGA. Oooooh! I love it!

Day 4: Upper Body Strength + Yoga

Namaste! ;)

Raw Pad Thai

What I Ate Wednesday #3

Florida was a chilly 48-degrees when I walked out the door this morning. And in the words of one of my Kindergarten students, “Miss Baxter, this is SOOO unusual outside!!” Today was especially delicious due to my meal prep for the night before.¬†Meal prep saves the day!¬†Although, I may or may not have had to eat breakfast in the car due to my lack of desire to pry myself from my warm, toasty bed this morning.

Breakfast: Three¬†scrambled eggs with a side of¬†roasted broccoli¬†and two slices of mouth-watering¬†sugar-free bacon. Not to mention the fresh, tart taste of¬†red raspberries. Mmmm.¬†And it tastes even better in the car… NOT.Egg Breakfast

Tea Time: The chilly weather made me crave some warm Chamomile tea, which tasted lovely. I also paired my hot cup with a festive, Fall-flavored Pumpkin Pie Larabar. This thing is like a Fall party in your mouth people. Get on it!Tea Time Pumpkin Pie Larabar

Lunch: I decided to go Raw today for lunch. I made my own version of¬†Raw Pad Thai filled with Dino kale, broccoli, carrot, green onion, cucumber, red cabbage, and green bell pepper. Plus a¬†Spicy¬†Jalape√Īo Coconut dressing made from coconut milk, jalape√Īo, ginger, lime, and green onion, which was all blended to creamy perfection.Raw Pad Thai Raw Pad Thai

A delicious¬†gala apple and¬†GT’s Enlightened¬†Hibiscus Kombucha¬†made this lunch extra special.

Dinner: I actually wasn’t very hungry this evening, so I went¬†really simple. A Tessemae’s Cracked Pepper¬†marinated chicken breast with good ‘ole fresh spinach.Tessamae's Cracked Pepper Chicken

In other news: My roommate and I just signed up for¬†The Color Run – Orlando¬†and we are SUPER excited. We’ll be reppin’¬†Team DyeHard so the training will be starting ASAP! The¬†Color Run is the self-proclaimed “Happiest 5k On The Planet” and can you see why?!

How AWESOME does THAT look?! Plus, if you’re in the Orlando area and interested in joining our team, let me know! Or if you just want to run the race as an individual, I also would like to let you know that the PROMO CODE: “ORLANDO2”¬†will give you $5-off your race fee! Baller on a budget! ;)

Color Run StrongOh I cannot WAIT for January 31st to arrive! Time to get running!


Workout Challenge: Day 3

Are you still with me?! I know our days can get so jam-packed, but if you can squeeze in any type of activity during the day, you’re on the right track.

I don’t know about you, but when I’m working out consistently I make better food choices throughout my day, I sleep through the night, and I tend to be in a much more positive mood throughout my day because I just feel better overall. Does this sound like something you’re interested in? Then, join the challenge!

I haven’t tried today’s workout yet. I will do so after work, but we’re moving on to our core. Get ready for the burn, folks. Just tell yourself “It’s only 27-minutes!;)

Day 3: HIIT + Core

Also, be on the lookout for today’s edition of What I Ate Wednesday later on this evening!

Happy Wednesday! :)