Tips for Being a Dinner Guest on a Special Diet

Whether you’re Paleo, or following the Whole30 program, or just trying to stick to healthy eating habits, it can be daunting when someone invites you over and you immediately go into a tizzy about what you’re going to eat and if you’ll be tempted by all the deliciousness that is sure to be available at the party/dinner/bbq/etc. WILL THERE BE CARROT STICKS AVAILABLE?! Ah!Autumn Party

Fear not, friends. You can do this AND enjoy your time with your friends and/or family.
This just calls for a little preparation.

1) Ask the host about the menu.
My lovely friend Lauren, from The Thinking Closet, had our church’s children’s theater team over her house for a fun Fall Party & BBQ. I LOVE seeing the words “BBQ”. You can pretty much guarantee that there will be a plain hot dog, hamburger, or chicken breast available. She included some food details in the invite, so I didn’t need to ask further questions, but don’t feel embarrassed about asking the host if needed. It’s also a great opportunity to sneak in a question about what to bring: “I wanted to know what was being provided so I make something different to bring for our dinner!” See? Not frightening, nor hard.Thrive Life & Thinking Closet

2) If you feel comfortable, tell the host about your dietary restrictions.
This is just if you feel close enough to the host (maybe it’s your mother or your best friend) and you want to just double-check about having something available to munch on. You don’t need to do this, especially because of my next step, but if you feel okay doing so… go for it.Dinner Table

3) Bring a dish to share that you can eat too!
This is a win-win. Not only are you being all courteous and whatnot by bringing a dish to said dinner/bbq/party/whatever, but you also now have provided a healthy addition to the meal that you know, without a doubt, is perfectly suited for your diet. Generous and nutritious, look at you go!

4) BYOC
Seriously. Bring your own chocolate. There is a 99% chance there will be some type of sweet available to you at the party. Most likely cake, brownies, cookies, or cupcakes. There is also a 99% chance that these items are not Paleo-friendly, unless you brought them. Trust me, those stats are all legit. With all that being said, get yourself some Paleo-approved chocolate and use it to satisfy the sweet tooth that is sure to come your way while everyone else is enjoying cake and eating it too. This particular evening Eating Evolved’s Mint Creme Dark Chocolate Coconut Butter Cups were my sidekicks while cupcakes were being consumed by other guests.Mint Creme Coconut Butter Cups5) Be present.
Don’t get consumed with what you can and cannot eat. Enjoy the time with your family and friends! Meet someone new! Get in on the games! Laugh! Talk! Have fun and don’t fix your mind on food. 🙂Party 1 Party 2


Thank you Lauren for having us all over to celebrate the Fall season and enjoy some laughs, great food, and wonderfully entertaining games + conversations!

What are some things you do to stick to your healthy eating habits when enjoying outings & events?

 

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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. 😉

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Pie Bars

I DID IT! I DID IT! I DID IT!!!Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Pie Bars

I cannot express how happy I am about this recipe. Fall is my favorite food season. As I mentioned earlier, anything pumpkin or apple flavor from September-November and I am all about it. My Pinterest is filled with various pumpkin-cinnamon-apple-spice recipes. Muffins, pies, cookies, bars. Now that I have dramatically shifted my diet. The majority of those recipes are, sadly, off-limits. 😦

Or are they? Well, I was going to find out. Starting with this recipe: Soft Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bars. Oh, but that ingredient list! Brown sugar? Butter? All-Purpose FLOUR?! No bueno, folks. What’s a girl to do? Why, MAKE IT PALEO, of course! 🙂Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Pie BarAnd that is exactly what I did. Not only that, but I got it right on the first try. Oh yeah, check me out.

They are incredibly soft and moist. Full of pumpkin pie flavor. And similar to their original non-Paleo counterpart, they taste even better after the second day after all the flavors have combined more. Enjoy every second of these little beauties as they dance across your taste buds.

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Pie Bars
(makes 12 bars)
Ingredients:

1 15oz-can pumpkin
2 large eggs
3/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/2 cup EnjoyLife mini chocolate chips + 2 tbsp for sprinkling
1/2 cup pack coconut palm sugar, packed
1/2 coconut flour
1/4 cup coconut oil, melted + extra for greasing
2 tbsp vanilla extract
4 tsp pumpkin pie spice
2 tsp cinnamon

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350-degrees. Line a 9″x 11″ with aluminum foil, grease with coconut oil. Set aside.
2. In a large, microwave bowl, melt coconut oil for about 30 seconds on high.
3. Wait a bit so the eggs won’t cook. Then add eggs, pumpkin, applesauce, vanilla, coconut palm sugar, pumpkin pie spice, cinnamon and whisk until smooth.
4. Add coconut flour and still until combined.
5. Stir in 1/2 EnjoyLife mini chocolate chips.
6. Pour batter into pan and smooth lightly with spatula.
7. Evenly sprinkle extra chocolate chips on the top of batter.
8. Bake for 34-35 minutes, or until cooked. Check doneness with a toothpick to see if it comes out clean.Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Pie BarsPaleo Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Pie Bars   Paleo Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Pie Bars
Paleo Pumpkin Chocolate Chip BarsI truly love Fall recipes. I am so proud of the way these turned out and I hope that I will be able to transform more delicious Fall treats into Paleo-approved delicacies! Paleo Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Pie Bars


What are your favorite Fall treats? What festive snack should I turn Paleo next?!

Iced Coffee Smoothie

For the indecisive, like myself, the Coffee Smoothie is both coffee and smoothie. Mind-blowing, I know. I wanted something cold and creamy, but also spiked with java. Eureka! Frothy coffee goodness.Coffee SmoothieCoffee Smoothie (serves 1)

Ingredients:
4oz chilled coffee
1 frozen banana (sliced)
1/4 cup full-fat coconut milk
1/4 cup almond milk
1 tbsp creamy almond butter
2 tsp honey
4 ice cubes

Directions:
1. Place all ingredients in blender.
2. Blend together and drink it up.Coffee Smoothie Take 2


Are there any delicious coffee creations you’ve sampled recently?

Babies, Vampires & Nutella Peanut Butter Cookies

…but not exactly in that order.

Yesterday I had the lovely opportunity to meet my friend’s newest addition to her family, Baby Connor! He is such a sweetheart. Connor is absolutely adorable and has the tiniest hands that wrapped around my finger (as most babies do I imagine). I love being able to be alongside my friends when they enter into new chapters of their lives; this one was particularly exciting. Thank you Julie for letting me spend time with you and your new bundle of joy!

Baby Connor
Eyes wide open & ready to see the world!

Last night was also filled with more new adventures. I am thrilled to be part of an upcoming new web series titled The Legacy, which will be hitting YouTube soon! We shot a few scenes last night for the promotional video & will be doing so again tonight and next week. The script is incredibly well written and the concept is quite intriguing— definitely not your average vampire series.

Having a little fun while on set...


Before all these things, I knew that I didn’t want to visit the new momma and baby boy without bringing a sweet treat! I’ll be up front with you now… THESE COOKIES ARE NOT PALEO. I happen to know that Julie is a pretty big fan of all things chocolate and Peanut M&Ms, so my goal here was the cookie version of a Peanut M&M.

And BOOM… The Nutella Peanut Butter Cookie was born!

Peanut Butter Cookie covered in a Nutella Cookie... WHOA.
Nutella Cookie over Peanut Butter Cookie… WHOA.

Nutella Peanut Butter Cookies (makes 1 dozen cookies)

Ingredients:
1/2 cup Smooth Peanut Butter
1/2 cup Nutella
1 stick of butter, at room temperature, divided
1 egg, whisked, divided (I just eye-balled it)
1 cup loosely packed brown sugar, divided
1 tsp vanilla extract, divided
1/2 tsp baking soda, divided
1/2 tsp salt, divided
1-1/2 cups flour, divided

One bite left!

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 375-degrees and grease baking sheet.
2. In two separate bowls, place half of the stick of butter in one, and 1/2 in the other. Add 1/2 cup brown sugar in one bowl & 1/2 in the other. Beat sugar and butter together until creamy in both bowls.
3. Beat in 1/2 egg mixture in one bowl and 1/2 egg mixture into the other.
4. Mix in 1/2 tsp vanilla & Peanut Butter in one bowl. Mix in 1/2 tsp vanilla & Nutella in other bowl.
5. Mix in 1/4 tsp salt, baking soda and 3/4 cup flour in Peanut Butter bowl. Mix in 1/4 tsp salt, baking soda, and 3/4 cup flour in Nutella Bowl.
6. Roll 12 small Peanut Butter Cookies and place on baking sheet. Flatten a bit with a fork. (The peanut butter batter will be much thicker than the Nutella batter, which is why it is used as the base)
7. Pour a tbsp of Nutella batter over the prepped Peanut Butter cookies. Make sure batter fully covers cookies.
8. Bake for 12-14 minutes.
9. Once out of the oven, and slightly cooled, take a circle cookie cutter and cut out circles around the cookie. (Due to the Nutella batter being thinner, it will most likely spread during cooking and bake together next to the other cookies… the scraps are just as delicious though!)
10. Place cut out cookies on wire rack to finish cooling. ENJOY! 🙂

Nutella Peanut Butter Cookies