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)
Ingredients:
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

Directions:
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)
Ingredients:
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

Directions:
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

 

Inspiralized

BIG NEWS! I officially am the owner of a spiralizer, thanks to my wonderful mother and her willingness to part with hers. SCORE!

Before I move forward I would love to answer that question you’re pondering: Yes, “spiralizer” is a word and no, it is not a special weapon made up in some action-comicbook series. Seriously, Google it. I’ll wait…

See? Good, now back to the spiralizer and all its glory. Ain’t she a beaut?SpiralizedPasta used to be one of my favorite meals. Though, I’m not talking about your average spaghetti and red sauce here… #basic. I’m talking about the what seemed to be endless combinations of delicious sauces, proteins, and vegetables all intertwined with ribbons of wheat & gluten-filled goodness. Mmmm. I was always coming up with new creations when making pasta; plus, it was an easy meal for a college kid to throw together and make a “one-pot wonder meal”.

Now that the pasta days have basically come to an end, I have been hankering to get my hands on one of these spiralizers to make ribbons of veggie pastas. ZOODLES FOR ALL!Ooodles of ZoodlesMy original thought was to dazzle you with a ton of Paleo-friendly spiralized pasta recipes, but then I realized one awesome lady, by the name of Ali, over at Inspiralized.com has an entire BLOG dedicated to all things spiralized. Seriously, look at how mouth-watering some of these photos are:IMG_4282-copy IMG_4477-copy Turnip Noodles

I mean… TURNIP NOODLES? I don’t know that I would have ever thought of that. Dang, she’s good. But wait, there’s more! We need not limit ourselves with pasta over here, friends. I have started to experiment in the chip-department with my regular Sweet Potato Chip recipe, but with using the spiralizer rather than the mandolin. Which, for me, is safer since I my fingers constantly seem to gravitate towards the blade when using a mandolin. Safety, for the win!Spiralized Sweet Potato ChipsSpiralized Sweet Potato ChipsAll this being said, I am super excited to add this gadget to my kitchen and I can’t wait for more recipe-creating opportunities it will bring! Maybe it will inspire you as well to test one of these out!

Do you own a spiralizer? If so, what is your favorite thing to “spiralize”? If not, then what is your favorite go-to kitchen gadget? 🙂

Roasted Rosemary Beet + Kale Salad

with bacon!
Because beets and kale will most certainly be better with bacon.
As are most things, actually.Roasted Rosemary Beet + Kale Salad with Bacon

Beets are in season (hurray!) and they are absolutely mouth-watering when roasted in the oven. Just be careful not to scare your family when slicing the beets with the dark pink bloody-looking mess all over your cutting board. This could be the perfect Halloween salad. 😉
Plus, did I mention bacon?Roasted Rosemary Beet + Kale Salad with Bacon

Roasted Rosemary Beet + Kale Salad (serves 1 salad or 2 side salads)
Ingredients:
3-4 kale leaves
3 medium beets
2 strips sugar-free bacon
1/4 small sweet yellow onion
1/8 chopped unsalted almonds
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp rosemary
salt + pepper

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 400-degrees.
2. Wash beets and slice into 1/4-inch rounds. Place in medium sized mixing bowl.
3. Thinly slice onion and place in bowl with beets.
4. Chop bacon into bite-size pieces and also place in bowl.
5. Add EVOO, rosemary, and a couple dashes of salt and pepper to bowl; toss gently until beets are well coated.
6. Spread out beet mixture onto pan without overlapping beets.
7. Place in oven for 20 minutes, flipping beets halfway through.
8. Meanwhile, wash kale, remove from stem, and shred into bite-sized pieces. Place on serving dish.
9. Once beets are done, add to kale and sprinkle the chopped almonds on top.

Roasted Rosemary Beet + Kale Salad with BaconThis feels like a bountiful Fall harvest as it touches your tongue! The warm, juicy beets blend beautifully with the salty, savory chunks of bacon and the fresh, crispness of kale! Enjoy every last bite of this salad. I’m sure it will not disappoint. And if you allow yourself dairy, a suggested addition would be some feta cheese! YUM 🙂Roasted Rosemary Beet + Kale SaladRoasted Rosemary Beet + Kale Salad with Bacon

#lettuceturnipthebeet

7 Fall Recipes from Paleo Pals

You probably have already heard of some of these incredible Paleo bloggers. If you haven’t, then my oh my are you in for a treat! These marvelous friends have whipped up some delicious Fall-themed recipes that you must try!


I’ve rounded up a few of my favorite Paleo Fall Recipes from my favorite Paleo Pals! Well, I wish were my pals. Maybe one of these days we’ll hang out. Until then I’ll just continue to creep all over their blogs…

1) Pumpkin Waffles from PaleOMGPaleo Pumpkin WafflesOMG is right! I have sampled this recipe on numerous occasions, even during the summer —going against all that is sacred about pumpkins and Fall. But you just can’t get enough of these delicious things! Get on this recipe, people!

2) Pumpkin Cinnamon Muffins from the Civilized CavemanPumpkin Cinnamon MuffinsIf you’re ever lucky enough to run into George, all you need to do is shake his hand and say, “Thank you”. This recipe is out of this world and he should be thanked often for his genius brain that came up with it.
Thank you, George. Thank you.

3) Brussels Sprout Chips from NomNomPaleoBrussel Sprout ChipsFor some reason brussels sprouts freak people out. Now you can eat this lovely in-season vegetable in a non-threatening form: CHIPS. How scary can chips be right? Give brussels sprouts a chance! Eat the chips! Michelle from NomNomPaleo seems like she knows what she’s doing. I’d trust her.

4) Pumpkin Spice Coconut Latte from Cook Eat PaleoPumpkin Spice Coconut LatteStarbucks will no longer own your life during the months of September-November. Finally. ::insert sigh of relief:: Now you can simply foster your PSL-obsession from the comfort of your own home! All is right in the world. Sit down, relax, enjoy a cozy sweater and sip away on your Paleo-approved version of this warm Fall drink!

5) Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Pie Bars by Yours Truly The Thrive LifePaleo Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Pie BarsI wonder who the brilliant mind behind this genius-of-a-recipe is. She must be pretty awesome. I’d like to hang out with someone who can come up with a great food item like this one. Seems like the kind of person you could just spend hours with, ya know?
Oh… and the recipe is awesome too.

6) Warm Beet, Kohlrabi and Watercress Salad from Rubies & RadishesBeet SaladBeets are BEAUTIFUL. How about that gorgeous ruby color, eh? This seasonal vegetable is perfect baked into chips, roasted, juiced, or spiralized as shown into a warm, mouth-watering salad.

7) 10 Minute Apple Crisp from Real Food Liz1Paleo-Apple-Crisp_blog1.jpg-e1403484129809Do you have a need for something sweet? Do you have 10-minutes? Liz to the rescue with this 10-Minute Apple Crisp. Apples, cinnamon, and crunchy maple-nut topping. Whoa. You can pass on Grandma’s Famous Apple Pie during Thanksgiving this year and not even feel bad about it.


Do you hear that sound? Yes, your kitchen is calling. It wants you to create one of these recipes ASAP. And I’d listen if I were you. 😉

What I Ate Wednesday #1

I’ve read a few “What I Ate Wednesday” posts (or WIAW for you trendy folk) on other health food sites and I couldn’t decide if they were silly or helpful. Once I realized how many meals plans I acquired, recipe ideas I’ve conjured up, and motivation I’ve received, I decided these simple little posts are actually quite positive!

Breakfast was two scrambled eggs with two strips of Maverick Ranch bacon and a portion of my newest recipe: Roasted “Sweet” Apples. Of course, it wouldn’t be breakfast without a Coconut Milk Latte to wash it all down.

Sept 17 BreakfastThe morning could not get started without some play time with the kitten. Storm loves playing hide and seek. Or maybe she is just scared of me… which is totally possible.

Little StormToday I caught up on a bunch of random chores: dishes, laundry, sweeping, you know… the good stuff. I got to spend some time in the Word and have been praying over this lovely piece of Scripture:

1 If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge,and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.
— 1 Corinthians 13:1-3

I hope that gives you a bit of encouragement about the incredible importance of love. I’m so thankful for God’s great love. I pray that I may demonstrate and share it with others as best I can. 🙂

Meanwhile, over in the kitchen, my sister was juicing…
Can you juice this?Or attempting to juice, rather. She told me today that she is going to start her Whole30 journey. Now that I’ve shared this with the public, she has to do it. HA. Committed. Really, I am cheering for you Jacqueline and I hope you stick with it! Proud of this decision!

For lunch, I sat down to take my online course and paired it with this lovely meal. Just a bunch of things I could throw together. Simple! A big helping of Mediterranean Salad (and I went back for more) with some Whole30-approved Turkey Breast slices. I was looking for something sweet and crunchy (I love a good “crunch factor”) and got out some roasted almonds mixed together with bareSnacks’ Organic Crunchy Cinnamon Apple Chips. Dang, those are addictive.

Sept 17 LunchAfter more online coursework, I then headed over to Austin’s place for a tabata-style upper body workout. Which, not to worry, I will be posting later. T’was a pretty good one. I imagine I’ll be sore tomorrow, so I’ll wait and see. This now brings us to dinner…

Sept 17 DinnerRosemary-roasted white mushrooms and sautéed green bell pepper + onions were scarfed down along with two Applegate Farms Uncured Turkey Dogs. I know, I know, turkey dogs are not super fancy. I’m out of sausages, okay?! Nonetheless, I am grateful for another delicious Paleo/Whole30 Meal.

Also, today is Day 14. YES.

Whole30 Day 14
He UNDERSTANDS me.

Now I am off to band rehearsal for our church’s worship team. And to stay committed to this whole WIAW post, I will have you know I will have a snack later. I’m not sure what, but it will happen– Looks like this is ending as a mystery. Have a great evening! I will be singing the night away… Happy Wednesday! 🙂