Monthly Archives: October 2014

Paleo Food Friday #6

Happy Halloween! Halloween is always interesting for teachers. Students think it’s a “real” holiday and are so overexcited. Can’t wait :)

This has been a short blogging week. I generally aim to write 5 posts, Monday through Friday, but this week I only managed three. It’s been a busy and tiring week!

Last night I went to bed around 8:30 because I wanted to rest up for the weekend. Ryan and I plan on going to San Antonio! I’ve been once before for an eighth grade field trip, and I don’t remember very much of it. I mostly remember seeing the Alamo and being really annoyed by all of the pollen. One awesome part of the trip was that my dad was one of the chaperones, and that was fun :) I can’t wait to see a little bit more of the city!

Now on to today’s topic: Paleo Eats!

Let’s start this post off with a dessert! Paleo desserts are still dessert whether or not the sugar and ingredients are more “natural.” But I had a craving and went looking for a quick, simple, no-bake Paleo dessert.  I made these Paleo Cookie Dough Bites on Mary Vance and loved them!

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Bites (Raw, Paleo, Vegan)

Makes 12-14 bites, depending on how much you eat before you form them into bites

Instructions: Mix it all together really well, roll into bite sized pieces (mine were about half the size of a golf ball), and refrigerate for 30 minutes. 

I had a couple of plantains that have been sitting on my counter for two weeks. One of them was SUPER ripe and needed to be cooked, and the other one seemed to be permanently under-ripe. I decided to bake them both. I preheated the oven to 350, coated the plantains with coconut oil and cinnamon, and baked them for 30 minutes, flipping once halfway through. One of the plantains came out very sweet, like they’re served in many Tex Mex/Mexican/Caribbean restaurants, and the other one was still very much like a potato. The ones that were more potato-y became a salad topping!

Kroger recently had pomegranates on sale, so I decided it might be time to learn how to eat them! It turns out it’s quite simple. Only two pomegranates left us with a ton of seeds that I’ve been snacking on all week!
They made an appearance in a bunch of my meals this week, including my regular Paleo breakfast bowl! This bowl included: sliced apples, almond butter, pumpkin, almonds, coconut milk, and pomegranate seeds. 
No surprises here! Breakfast included almonds, pumpkin, almond butter, plantains (the sweet ones!), and pomegranate seeds. 
Wednesday’s lunch featured a typical salad: mixed greens, bell pepper, tomatoes, chicken sausage, almonds, and the not-so-typical pomegranate seeds. 

Paleo Jambalaya Pasta! (I haven’t posted a recipe for this meal yet, but I will soon!) I made jambalaya in the crockpot and served it with spaghetti squash and roasted broccoli. 
It actually looks more like gumbo.
I don’t enjoy leftover broccoli very much because it gets too mushy, so the leftover veggies from Thursday’s dinner was quickly eaten Friday morning for breakfast. I cooked two slices of bacon and had 1/2 of an avocado with broccoli, both covered with Frontera Chipotle Pumpkin Salsa!
Non-Paleo Food Item: Because we’re all human…Candy Corn!
After we visited some family friends on Monday, we were sent home with a ziplock back of candy corn! I don’t know why I like them so much…there are much better tasting candies out there. And yet I still find myself sneaking a couple pieces every now and then. 

Question: What are some of your favorite eats from this week? Are you snacking on any candy you haven’t had for years? I used to buy candy for my students that I didn’t like so I wouldn’t eat it…turns out I’ll eat any of it on a stressful day.

Previous Paleo Food Fridays

Medicine Ball Circuit + Family Time

Some updates from Sunday:
Ryan and I have been in Houston for about 4 1/2 months, and being the natural southerners that we are, we miss home! Earlier in the day, I put together a photo album from our wedding and decided Thanksgiving should come a little sooner.

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So we were thrilled when Ryan’s parents stopped by to visit while they were in town to see friends. They stocked our fridge with grapefruit, red beans, meatballs, and homemade salsa. So sweet :)

We relaxed, had a few drinks, and went through some pictures.

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Then we had dinner at Niko Niko’s, a Greek American restaurant. I’ve been there three times, and I know its one of Ryan’s Houston favorites. I don’t remember what I had each time, but from what I do remember, they make a great stuffed eggplant boat, french fries, and baklava!

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After dinner, Ryan’s parents mentioned they would like to see where we worked, so we drove past the med center and past my school. We had a good time, and we can’t wait to see everyone again over the holidays!

Now, on to Sunday’s workout!

I knew I was going to eat a lot of food at Niko Niko’s, so I made sure to get in a workout Sunday morning. It’s been quite muggy, so I didn’t want to run outside. Instead, I did a few warm up videos on YouTube (check out this one if you like Broadway!) and then created this circuit workout:

Links for unfamiliar exercises:
Reverse Lunge Kick (hold medicine ball at your chest)
Shoulder Raises
Tricep Push Ups
Medicine Ball Bicep Curls
Burpees w/ Medicine Ball
Pike Push Ups
1-Leg Hip Raises (and add a medicine ball chest throw with each rep)
Supermen w/ Medicine Ball (or yoga ball)
Squat Press w/ Medicine Ball

Rest as needed! And don’t forget to cool down and stretch out when you’re done :) I’m not a big fan of pike push ups, but I include them because I know it’s a great exercise. Little did I know that I’d have to do them again at 5am the next morning in my group fitness class! Ugh. My shoulders are tired.

Question: Do you have a favorite workout video or warm up that you’d like to share???

Good night!

Simple and Delicious Herb Roasted Whole Chicken

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote a post about 5 podcasts I enjoy listening to when I go on those “slow and steady” walks or runs. Well, I’ve found another one I enoy: Paleo Magazine Radio. The host, Tony Federico, also runs the Paleo Magazine website. I like this podcast because it’s quick and to the point when I’m hoping to learn about something specific. I also respect the fact that the guidelines for the diet are often blurred, and that’s perfectly okay. We’re human, and most people can’t stick the each and every Paleo guideline each and every day. Fortunately, Paleo isn’t about perfection.

Paleo Magazine

Anyway…I got a little off track, there…at the end of a great podcast about gymnastics, there was a five minute segment on the best way to roast a whole chicken. It sounded pretty simple, and I’ve never roasted a whole chicken before so I was eager to try it out.

Here were the basics:

  • Buy a whole, organic chicken. (These run up to 5 lbs at most. Organic chickens don’t get much bigger.)
  • Allow the chicken to come to room temperature before preparing or cooking. The suggestion was one hour. Also, any ingredients you want to put on or in the chicken should also be brought to room temperature. 
  • Pat the chicken dry with a paper towel. (Don’t rinse the chicken because then you just have salmonella splashing everywhere.)
  • Remove insides. (Keep them in a separate container if you want to make homemade chicken broth.)
  • Don’t get too complicated with the ingredients. 
  • Cook in a cast iron skillet at 450 for an hour.
Once you take care of the basics, you have free range to season/prepare the chicken however you’d like. I put 4 cloves of garlic and a halved lime in the chicken.

Then I rubbed butter on the outside of the skin. It doesn’t take much…maybe 1/2 tablespoon. I also rubbed salt, pepper, thyme, and rosemary. Feel free to go as heavy or as light with seasonings as you’d like. I wouldn’t add more butter or oil. It’s definitely not needed.

So simple!
I put the chicken in a cast iron skillet and left it in the preheated oven for an hour. Once it’s done, allow the chicken to sit for about 10 minutes before cutting it.

While the chicken was cooking, I prepared broccoli (olive oil, garlic, salt, pepper) and acorn squash (olive oil, salt, pepper). I put the acorn squash in the oven for about 35 minutes, and I put the broccoli in the oven for about 15 minutes. 
This chicken came out perfectly cooked! The skin was crispy and the meat was juicy. I struggle when cooking chicken because I always over-cook it. Not this time! I was pleased :)
This meal is also one of the easiest meals around. It took 5 minutes to prepare and an hour to cook, so I could make the side dish and clean the kitchen while the chicken was cooking. Love it!

Question: What are your favorite quick, go-to meals? And do you have a favorite roasted chicken ingredient??? I love rosemary, but I should probably branch out a little more!

Paleo Food Friday #5

Thanks, Buzzfeed, for putting together this graphic for us :) I love food…notice the blog title…and I don’t like to be bored with my food. Some people view Paleo as restrictive, but I really enjoy eating this way! Paleo Food Friday is meant to showcase a few “regular” eats throughout the week. I don’t post dinner recipes here (those can be found in other posts or on the recipes page), I post simpler meals, like breakfast and dinner, and also the occasional snack. 
So now let’s get to the fun part!
We were running very low on food Saturday. We planned to do our weekly grocery shopping later that day, so our fridge looked quite bare. Fortunately, there were a few pantry items that helped me make a Paleo breakfast bowl!
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This delicious bowl contains: bananas, almonds, pecans, pumpkin, almond butter, plain greek yogurt, coconut milk, shredded coconut, and a few chocolate chips. I put about a dollop of each ingredient (except the chocolate…as you can see it’s about a tablespoon of chocolate chips) and savored every last bite.
Rennaissance Fest had many Paleo options (like an enormous turkey leg), but I opted for grilled pork chops…on a stick. 
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I’m not sure what it was about this week, but Monday already felt like Thursday. I was exhausted. A quick breakfast consisting of bacon, sliced bell pepper, sliced apples, and pumpkin dip got me through the morning. 
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Pumpkin dip: 1/2 cup pumpkin, 1-2 tablespoons almond butter, coconut milk,
cinnamon, and 2 tablespoons Greek yogurt. 
Monday night’s dinner included Sweet Potato Shepherd’s Pie and roasted brussel sprouts. I used the leftover brussel sprouts to make a frittata Tuesday morning – frittatas stuffed with leftovers are quickly becoming a new favorite! I sauteed the brussel sprouts, added two scrambled eggs, and covered the pan and let cook for 5-7 minutes. 
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Wednesday evening I had to give a presentation for grad school (through an online program…it’s very strange presenting to 30 people that I can’t actually see), and Ryan was working a night shift. A quick and simple salad was perfect for a busy night. 
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My salad included: mixed greens, red cabbage, bell pepper, tomatoes, and some leftover Paleo Pesto Chicken Casserole. 
Thursday morning’s breakfast was delicious! Unfortunately, this breakfast bowl doesn’t photograph very well due to its off-putting color and texture.
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So…what is it? You need small ripe banana, 1/2 avocado, and 1/2 cup of pumpkin. Mash everything together with a fork until it’s mixed really really well. Then, I drizzled some coconut milk and topped everything off with 2 tablespoons of almond butter. If you use a ripe enough banana, this bowl needs no extra sweetener, and it’s super yummy :) You can also add nuts, shredded coconut, or chocolate chips to mix things up.

It was actually a struggle to not include this meal more than once in this blog post. When I made Sweet Potato Shepherd’s Pie earlier this week, I didn’t realize it would make enough to feed a small army. There’s still 3 servings left after eating it for dinner and lunch twice! I even brought a hefty portion for a co-worker to eat for his lunch. Fortunately, I found the recipe delicious enough to eat throughout the week. 
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I filled half of a container with Shepherd’s pie and half with sliced bell pepper. I also poured some Fiesta Pumpkin Chipotle Salsa on top.
Another week down! I’m feeling much better about work this week. I feel like my energy increased a little bit as the week went on, and my students had two fantastic days in a row at the end of the week. I’m a little apprehensive about next week…my students struggle so much with emotions and excitability, I’m worried Halloween might be a bit overstimulating. Wish me luck :)
Non-Paleo Food Item: because life’s too short…I got a little excited about a winter ale I found at Kroger called Jubelale! If you like wintery ales, this one’s worth trying. 
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Previous Paleo Food Fridays
Question to readers: What are some of your favorite eats from this week? Are there any Houstonians out there who have restaurant suggestions?

Happy Friday!