Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Paleo Cranberry Orange Muffins

Pros:  Super delicious and don't taste healthy. Cons:  Kind of like crack cocaine and you won't be able to stop popping them. I had to make myself step away from the muffins...

I added shredded coconut and chopped walnuts to the recipe below, and upped the amount of cranberries to 1 cup (frozen).

2 cups almond flour
½ teaspoon baking soda
⅛ teaspoon salt
zest of 1 orange
3 eggs
¼ cup honey
2 tablespoons ghee, melted
2 tablespoons fresh orange juice
½ cup cranberries (can substitute organic dried cranberries)

Preheat oven to 325 degrees and grease or line muffin tin. Combine dry ingredients and orange zest in large bowl. Combine wet ingredients in medium bowl. Stir wet ingredients into dry ingredients, then fold in cranberries.

Using a large ice cream or cookie scoop, fill muffin cups ¾ full. Bake for 20 - 25 minutes, until golden brown and toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

Original Recipe:

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Holiday Round Up

Merry Christmas! In an attempt to actually remember what I got this year (and appreciate the thought that went into gifts) I'm doing a round-up of some of the highlights. Here goes nothing.

Clockwise from top left:  Old Navy sports bras and workout gear, 'Thug Kitchen' cookbook, Penzeys seasonings, candles, Amy Pohler's new book, lots of chocolate, gift cards (Michaels, Trader Joe's, and a local dance studio!), and an insulated mug with built in tea infuser (and tea!). Pretty cool. Also got a Le Creuset dutch oven from the hubby that will be featured soon with something delicious in it.

Did presents with my mom and sister on Christmas eve while John was in Georgia with his parents. The weather cooperated on Christmas day so my mom and I walked dogs and went to the movies. Thankful for the time off to recharge and rest.

Winner Winner Chicken Dinner

I think I've finally cracked deglazing. Here's what went down with this chicken:

1. Heat lots of ghee (like 5-6 tablespoons) in a skillet until hot. Season chicken tenders with herbs of your choice. Throw those babies in the hot ghee and let them cook until 3/4 or so is white. Flip over and let the rest cook through.

2. When all your tenders are done cooking, remove the pan from the heat, then pour in about 1 cup of white wine (I used a mini bottle of chardonnay) in with the ghee. All the delicious seasoning gunk should start to loosen up from the pan as the wine cooks down. I turn the heat back on medium-low and let it reduce by half then mix in some shallots, lemon zest, salt, pepper, sundried tomatoes, and garlic. Then I threw in a little GF flour (a tablespoon or two) to thicken things up.

3. Serve tenders with sauce on top (I made mine with steamed broccoli and mashed white sweet potatoes from our CSA). Enjoy!

Felt Flower Wreath

Let's just go ahead and say it--I'm the best daughter-in-law ever. And the only daughter-in-law, but that's beside the point :). I made this super cute wreath for my husband's parents and it was my first attempt at felt flowers but they were so easy and turned out really well. Here is a really great tutorial on how to make them:

I got a styrofoam ring at the craft store and wrapped a bunch of quilt batting around it, then started wrapping fat strips of burlap around it (it took two rolls--I tried to cover it really well so no batting peeked through). I hot glued the burlap together at the end to seal it and hot glued the felt flowers (with little pearl centers) and a painted wood initial to the wreath. Then I finished it off with a pretty red bow for hanging. Ta da!

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Fancy Shrimp Scampi

So no originality points here, but I took the exact same thing I made with gnocchi the other night and served it over zucchini noodles. And it was still pretty darn good! I love Trader Joe's frozen shrimp, even though they are probably not wild caught/organic/whatever. They are plump and perfect for chopping up in a recipe like this.

Honey Baked Porkloin

My aunt is famous for sending our family Honey Baked Hams every year, and this year I was pleased to receive a pork loin stuffed with cranberry, apple, and citrus filling. We've been eating on it for DAYS and it's a nice reprieve from the constant sweets and not-so-good for us foods that are everywhere this time of year.

Social Butterfly

It is definitely that time of year...lots of get togethers and holiday celebrations. Always fun to hang out with friends and family, but man I am BEAT! And sick, I suspect from all the cookie eating and stress bringing my immune system down (ready to get back on that paleo wagon, stat!). Somehow I persevered, despite my introvert tendencies. Clockwise from top left:  good friend Kristin in town (left) visiting and going to see our former cheerleaders, the hubby and I at the gym holiday party and challenge finale (I got 3rd! I won t-shirts!), with the work ladies trading sweets at Liz's new place. Lucky to have such wonderful people in my life.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Crockpot Turkey

I learned a great little shortcut on Thanksgiving, and I almost feel guilty admitting it. You get a turkey breast (in this case two 3 lb.ers), and a stick of butter (one stick per turkey breast), then put it in the crock pot on low with salt for 6-8 hours. That's it. Perfect, moist turkey!

I went a step further and used the remaining stuffing filling (celery and onions), some chopped carrots, garlic, parsley, and pepper, and it was once again fantastic. Then I gutted our CSA pumpkin and roasted the chunks, blending them in the crock pot (after I removed the cooked turkey obviously) with the cooked down veggies and seasonings to make a nice little puree to serve it over. Go try this, you'll thank me later.

Back in the Saddle

Long story short, I coached competitive cheer and gymnastics for about 15 years, and ran a program for much of that time. I loved coaching, loved the kids, but working every night and weekend was tough. So I took last year off, but now that I'm in better shape I've been working out a little on the tumble track (I did a back handspring! And a back tuck!) and an opportunity came up to help out once a week for an hour. Small time commitment, no admin work, and I have a place to practice my skillz and still be involved in a sport that I love. So far it's working out really well.

Beef Stir Fry, Take 2

This was the same delicious paleo Beef and Broccoli Stir Fry recipe from before, but I had to improvise a little. No coconut aminos, so used gluten free soy sauce. No tomato paste so used tomatoes and Siracha. No arrowroot powder so used tapioca starch. Still tasted great!

Shrimp Gnocchi

As soon as we finished the paleo challenge I was ready for some real deal comfort food, so I got locally made (gluten free) gnocchi, and served them with sauteed shrimp, diced cherry tomatoes, onion, spinach, sun dried tomatoes, ghee, garlic, and basil. Yummy yummy in my tummy!

Paleoish Hot Chocolate

Alright, so truth be told, my attempt at paleo hot chocolate didn't go so well. It was basically like drinking a super rich ganache. BUT I put it in the fridge and it made a delicious pudding the next day! Score!

Whisk several small cans of coconut milk over medium heat, then add in a few teaspoons of 100% cocoa powder. I added about a tablespoon of honey and then cracked up a 70% dark chocolate bar and melted pieces of that in. Continue whisking until bubbling, then serve (or refrigerate).

Roasted Fall Veggies

I made these before Thanksgiving and then again the day of, because they were that good. We had several small pumpkins and squashes from our CSA, so I chopped those info 1 inch pieces along with a large turnip, an onion, several carrots, little potatoes, and asparagus, then tossed everything with olive oil, salt, pepper, and lots of thyme. Roast at 425 for about 40 minutes or until veggies are soft. Goes great with pulled pork!

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving!

Another year, another Thanksgiving, this one at our house with a big group of family and friends. Grateful for good health, good food, and good people (and animals) in my life. Here's to another great year!

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Prosciutto Roll-Ups with Cauliflower Mash

Another made up dish that turned out awesomely--prosciutto wrapped chicken roll-ups with green beans and cauliflower mash. Let's dive in.

Preheat oven to 385. Rinse and dry chicken tenders, then cover them with saran wrap and beat them into submission. Sprinkle with some seasonings (I used this Coastal spice mix), then top with a small pat of butter and some veggies (I used asparagus and roasted red peppers). Roll 'em up, then roll them in a slice of prosciutto and set on a non-stick baking sheet. Bake about 15 minutes, or until chicken is done.

For the cauliflower mash, steam a head of chopped cauliflower in the microwave (with about a 1/2 cup of water) for 12 minutes or so (until soft). Put in a blender while hot with garlic and any salt or seasonings. Once pureed, scoop it into a bowl and top with grass-fed butter and chives.

Finally, boil a pot of water and throw in the green beans (ends trimmed). Cook for about 8 minutes, or until tender. Drain in a colander with cold water and then top with a pat of butter and some salt and pepper. Shake 'em until coated. Bam!

Fill 'er Up Breakfast

So simple and so good. Basically, chop and cook the veggies in a big fat slice of butter until soft. Crack in three eggs, drizzle with coconut milk, and shake some seasoning on top (I'm hooked on the spice mixes from The Spice & Tea Exchange in Savannah). Stir it all up with a spatula and cook until done. Easy peasy and you'll be full for hours.

Italian Chicken Thighs

Sounds racy, doesn't it? I just made this up on the fly, but it came together nicely. I baked a package of chicken thighs (maybe like 8 of them?) in the oven at 385 in some olive oil and Italian seasonings for about 20 minutes. Meanwhile, I got some beautiful veggies going in the sauce pan (zucchini, onion, carrots, yellow pepper...but really anything would work) with olive oil, garlic, salt, and pepper.

Once the veggies were cooked I added a large can of crushed tomatoes and seasoned until the sauce tasted good (Italian seasoning, salt/pepper, red pepper flakes), then plopped the mostly cooked chicken thighs in there and simmered with the lid on for about 10 minutes. I threw in a big pile of fresh spinach the last few minutes too, just for good measure. Enjoy!

Baked Sweet Potatoes

This has become another week night go-to (with some pre-made meat and veggies). Wash a sweet potato and poke holes in it with a knife. Microwave for about 8 minutes (or longer, depending on how big it is--it should be mostly soft). In the meantime, put about a tablespoon of olive oil on a piece of tin foil and sprinkle some salt or seasoning on it and spread it around. Drop your hot little potato on the tin foil and grease it up. Put it in the oven for about 10-15 minutes so the skin gets a little crispy. I like my sweet potatoes savory, so I doll them up with a huge spoonful of ghee, garlic, salt, and chives (dried chives are great too). You could do cinnamon and honey if you wanted to get really crazy.

Pulled Pork & Veggies

I'm slowly realizing that as I eat better food, I'm not hungry all the time or thinking about food quite as much. Sometimes meal time rolls around and you just have to eat for the sake of eating. Not that I don't still want good tasting food, but sometimes I don't want to put in a ton of effort. John's been putting a 10 lb. pork butt (is that the technical name?) in the slow cooker on Sundays with a little garlic and hot sauce, and it just kind of dissolves into a nice plain shredded meat. Sometimes I'll microwave it with spinach for breakfast, or steam some broccoli in the microwave to eat with it. Nothing fancy but it does the trick!

Chai Tea Latte

I had never had a latte of any kind until my friend Laura introduced me to it last month. And now I'm hooked. Just brew some chai tea (I like the Tazo tea bags) and mix in a tablespoon or two of coconut milk. Great little fall beverage!

Chorizo Hashbrown Egg Scramble

Okay, maybe not the most accurate name, but I made this up and it's tasty. Fry up some plain hash browns and diced carrots in ghee until cooked through (and a little crispy, though that takes forever). The last five minutes, break in some chorizo and cook until it browns up. Dig four little holes in the hash browns with a spatula and crack eggs in them. Cover with a lid or broil until eggs are cooked through. Top with chives. Eat!

Side note: I also made this with shredded cabbage instead of hash browns a few weeks ago and it was also delicious.

Steak Night

Anyone who says paleo is hard obviously doesn't like steak. We've been to Outback a few times this month, and recently grilled some steaks at home with baked sweet potatoes and broccolini. Yum!


I've learned that one secret to being successful on the Whole30 is to always be prepared. My car glove box and work desk drawer are now stuffed with grass fed beef jerky, Lara bars, and 100 calorie packs of olives and almonds.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Old Village Harbor 5K

It was 40 degrees outside and windy, and I wanted to stay in bed so badly. Then I got to Mt. Pleasant and wanted to walk so badly. But I managed to push through and finish a 5K with my co-workers in 35:28, which in normal people time is fairly slow, but in my time is great! I haven't hit 35 minutes in 10 years (nor have I run a 5K without stopping in a looong time), so I'm feeling pretty good :).

Pears and Celery Root

Last night I took a braising and roasting class at Charleston Cooks, and these were my two favorite things that we made. I'm going to try adapting them to be a little more paleo and see how that goes. Below is the recipe for the pears, and the turkey recipe will be posted soon (adapted to chicken!).

Roasted Pears with Vanilla Caramel Sauce

3 Comice, Bartlett, or Anjou pears
2 tablespoons of melted butt
2 tablespoons vanilla extract

1. Preheat oven to 425 and line baking sheet.
2. Cut pears in half or quarters, scooping seeds and stem out with a spoon or melon baller.
3. Brush entire pear with butter and bake cut side down for 15 minutes.
4. Brush with vanilla, flip over, and roast another 10 minutes. Serve with caramel sauce (or ice cream!).

Vanilla Caramel Sauce
2 vanilla beans OR vanilla extract
2 cups packed dark brown sugar
1 1/2 cups heavy cream (I'm going to try subbing coconut milk)
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1/2 cup dark corn syrup

1. Split vanilla beans in half lengthwise and scoop out seeds. Combine all ingredients (including pods) in a large sauce pan.
2. Stir over medium heat until sugar dissolves and butter melts, about 3 minutes.
3. Increase heat to medium-high and boil without stirring until thick enough to coat a spoon (about 7 minutes).

Sunday, November 9, 2014


It was Second Sunday on King Street, and we got a bite to eat at Verde, the tasty salad place. I wish there was one closer to the office!

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Savannah Trip

A little late posting this, but I enjoyed a weekend trip with my mom to Savannah the weekend before last. It's been a while since I've made the trip down there and it was fun to catch up with her and see the city again. Made a trip down Broughton Street to the Paris Market (above) for decorating ideas.

Banana 'Ice Cream'

Our gym's challenge forbids paleo baked goods but there was no stipulation for other 'desserts,' so we went ahead and tried making banana 'ice cream.' It's actually not terrible and is pretty easy to make. Enjoy!

3 bananas, cut into 1 inch chunks and frozen
1 1/2 small cans of coconut milk
1 tablespoon cinnamon
A handful of walnuts

Combine all ingredients in a food processor until smooth and creamy.

Andrea's Awesome Buffalo Chicken Recipe

Andrea brought this to our paleo potluck and it is my new favorite chicken recipe. I made it today and it could not be any easier. I'm going to double it next time and have lunches for a loooong time!

Buffalo Ranch Chicken Recipe:

 Also, the chicken is the in a coconut paleo wrap with lettuce, tomato, and mayo. Just sayin'.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Paleo Baked Apples

My friend Laura introduced me to this in D.C. (as well as Chai tea with coconut milk, OMG!) and it's the perfect little fall dessert while on this challenge. Sliced apples, cinnamon, allspice, ghee, walnuts, shredded coconut, raisins, and a teensy bit of 100% apple juice to soften things up. Bake at 380 for about 20 minutes, or until apples are soft. Mmmmm!

Paleo Potluck

So we've been doing our gym's nutrition challenge for a good 3 weeks now, and it sometimes feels a little monotonous. Luckily we had a potluck this weekend with lots of yummy new dishes to try (including a killer crockpot BBQ chicken recipe that I'm going to recreate and post soon) and tons of leftovers to eat!

D.C. Trip

I'm a little late posting this, but we had a really fun trip a few weekends ago visiting our friends Laura and Adam in their new home of Rosslyn, Va. I'm now totally sold on JetBlue and their cheap, comfortable flights ($98!) and hope to make it up here more often. We spent the first evening getting Ethiopian food and walking around the monuments. The next day was the local farmer's market (where we collected a bounty for our dinner that night), and a day full of hiking at the beautiful Great Falls Park in Virginia. The scenery was gorgeous, the weather was perfect and fall-like, and the company was amazing as usual!

Eggs and Brussel Sprouts

Lazy lunch of Trader Joe's shredded brussel sprouts (tossed with olive oil, salt, pepper, and garlic, roasted at 400 for about 25 minutes) and a soft boiled egg.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Burger and Fries

This combination has yet to get old. Grass fed beef burger with baked sweet potato fries and all the fixin's!

Chicken Sausage Frittata

I didn't even know there was such a thing as chicken sausage until I stumbled across it at Earth Fare. It's not bad! I made my weekly breakfast frittata, this time with sliced chicken sausage, leeks, potato, mushroom, asparagus, garlic, and salt/pepper. So filling!

Lazy Girl Chicken Parm

Okay, slightly misleading name because this isn't a true Parmesan dish (no cheese or pasta), but it is easy and yummy. Peel and slice an eggplant and salt each side (drying with a paper towel) to pull out bitterness. Saute eggplant in a pan about 8 minutes (or until nearly done) with some olive oil, then throw in a big handful or two of quartered cherry tomatoes and some diced pre-cooked chicken. Throw on some garlic salt and pepper, then top with chopped basil once everything is warm. Dig in!

Just Because

I want it to be fall so badly--I want to pick a pumpkin and drink a hot beverage and wear a sweater with boots. But the 80-90 degree weather has been making that tough. So I bought these cute little salt and pepper shakers in an attempt to encourage fall to make an appearance (is that too much to ask?)!

Broccoli Stuffed Baked Potatoes

Whole30 now says potatoes are okay, so I went nuts making a twice stuffed potato! I like to poke holes with a fork and then microwave mine for about 8 minutes (until it starts getting tender), then wrap it in some tin foil with olive oil and sea salt and bake it for another 20 minutes in the oven at 400 degrees.

When potato is done, scoop out all the innards and stir in steamed broccoli, ghee, and garlic salt until it's a nice mashed potato consistency, then place mixture back inside the potato skin. Easy peasy.