Monthly Archives: November 2014

Thanksgiving Sides – Sweet Potatoes and Brussel Sprout Salad!

Tomorrow is Turkey Day! While I will certainly be cheating tomorrow and consuming delicious homemade pies and stuffing and potatoes and all those other non-paleo items, there are still many ways we can follow the guidelines while making traditional recipes. Here are two recipes I made for our school’s Thanksgiving Feast last week!

SWEET POTATO “CASSEROLE”
Usually, sweet potato casserole includes toasted marshmallows on top, but we’re going to leave that ingredient out for now. We can still have a delicious Paleo-friendly sweet potato side dish.

You’ll need:

  • 5lbs sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 4 tablespoons grass fed butter or ghee
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 3 tablespoons raw honey
Instructions
Fill a large stockpot with water and bring to a boil. Put potatoes into stockpot and boil for about 15 minutes, or until they’re soft enough to mash. Drain potatoes, place in a large bowl, and mash with a potato masher. While mashing, add in butter coconut milk, and honey. Once it’s mixed well, add in cinnamon and nutmeg. Taste and add more if needed!
This recipe makes about 12 servings, and it filled a 13×9 glass baking dish.
BRUSSEL SPROUT SALAD
I actually had a student request brussel sprouts for our Thanksgiving Feats on Friday. I wanted to bring a dish that wouldn’t require reheating, so I created this recipe for a cold brussel sprout salad.
You’ll need:
  • 1lb brussel sprouts, w/ the ends cut off
  • 3/4 cup chopped nuts (I used almonds and pecans)
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • dash of salt and pepper
Instructions:
Shred brussel sprouts. (You can chop them or put them in a food processor. I went for the food processor.) Heat coconut oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Saute brussel sprouts in skillet for 5 minutes. While it’s cooking, use food processor/blender to chop nuts. Add nuts, salt, pepper, and nutmeg to skillet. Continue to cook for 5 more minutes. Remove contents from skillet and place in a bowl in the refrigerator for 30-45 minutes before serving. 
I forgot to take a better picture in a bowl in the natural light, so you’ll have to use this picture and just imagine how yummy it is :)
Question: What healthy/paleo-friendly sides have you made for the holidays?

Enjoy the holiday!

Fitness Sweet Spot + Thanksgiving Week Festivities

I’m writing this post from New Orleans! Ryan and I drove in Saturday morning and have been visiting and playing tourist! Here are a few updates from our vacation so far.

THANKSGIVING HOLIDAY FUN!

Friday: Thanksgiving Part 1. (There will be four parts!) On Friday, teachers and students joined together to make a Thanksgiving Feast! There were so many delicious meals and fun decorations! I don’t have all of the pictures, but here are a couple:

We glued pine needles around our table runner, and the students made name settings and a turkey center piece!

Our students also made paper craft (minecraft-esque) Thanksgiving themed characters.

Saturday: We got into the city around 1pm and visited with his parents. Then we ate diner with my parents and visited friends in the lower garden district.

Sunday: On Sunday, I had my second Thanksgiving dinner at my grandmother’s home. After an appetizer of turtle soup, they brought out the entree. It was surprisingly Paleo-friendly, with just an itty bitty scoop of potatoes and stuffing. The rest of plate was packed¬†with meat and green beans :)
Later, we had dinner with Ryan’s parents. His mom made spaghetti squash to go with my meal. So sweet :)

Monday: We went to the World War II museum. I’ve been several times since it opened in 2000, but there were a few extra movies and exhibits that I hadn’t seen before.

(Source)
(Source)
The picture doesn’t do the plane justice. This is four floors up and there
are human-sized mannequins in the cockpit.

We also saw Tom Hanks’ film “Beyond All Boundaries” and highly suggest that everyone go see it!

Tuesday: Onto today’s topic- Fitness sweet spot. I feel like right now I’m in a really good groove in terms of ability. I’m very happy with my current fitness routine.

I’ve been going to a group fitness class twice a week at 5am. I aim to get in at least two more workouts during the week outside of class. Trail running is usually included, and I’m also including sprinting more often. I feel like I have the strength I want and I can go run a few miles without struggling. That’s my sweet spot – being able to do a bunch of things pretty well. I can’t spit out a 10 miler right now and I can’t lift all that much, but I can hold my own with squats, planks, push ups, and short runs :)

Here’s the workout I completed today, after a 20 minute run:

post run quick circuit

Question: What plans do you have this week? I have two¬†more Thanksgiving meals this week: one on Thursday with my family and another with Ryan’s on Friday!

Paleo Food Friday #9

SATURDAY
Maybe I plan our weekly grocery trip a little too carefully…we always seem to run out of food on Saturday. But no worries…Ryan ordered takeout from Thai Spice, one of our frequented Houston restaurants, and we happily chowed down on curry. I gave Ryan my share of rice and ate curry over salad. 

Green curry with eggplant, green beans, and pork.


SUNDAY
After our trail run on Friday night, we were given a few goodie bags with a lot of workout supplements. Most of them were full of sugar and junk that doesn’t really do much of anything, but I did find one supplement that was a combination of powdered vegetables and stevia. It sounds gross, but it wasn’t all that bad. I used it to sweeten a spinach & almond butter smoothie :)



MONDAY
Tea was a major part of my week. I had a cold over the weekend (and it didn’t stick around to long, thanks to these Paleo cold tips!) and I love drinking tea when I have a cold. It makes everything better. I went to work on Monday with my own box of tissues, my Luling Elementary mug, and multiple bags of tea. (Our school doesn’t have substitutes, so going to work while sick is quite necessary!)


TUESDAY
This breakfast was the perfect way to fight a cold. Nutritious eggs w/ hot sauce, homemade broth, tea, and pomegranate seeds!


WEDNESDAY
I love that pomegranates are on sale every week at Kroger. Two pomegranates make about 2 cups of seeds, and I’ve been putting them on everything! Wednesday’s lunch was a salad with mixed greens, tomatoes, bell peppers, avocado, and pomegranate seeds. I also have pomegranate vinegar from Trader Joe’s, so I added just a little bit of the vinegar (it’s quite strong) with some olive oil on my salad. Yum :)



THURSDAY
I may never buy a store-made rotisserie chicken again. When I roast a whole chicken at home, I can be in control of what kind of meat I’m getting and what ingredients go on the chicken. It’s SO simple and delicious. Click here for my recipe!


FRIDAY
I had a typical breakfast this morning: pumpkin dip, which I eat at least three times a week (pumpkin, almond butter, honey, cinnamon, sometimes yogurt), sliced apples, and pomegranate seeds.


NON-PALEO FOOD ITEM…because life’s too short.
S’mores are the best. I found a recipe for s’mores bark not too long ago, and I decided to try my own version. It was pretty simple and quite good! It paired well with wine ;) Click here for a s’mores bark recipe!

Question: What are some of your favorite eats from this week?

Happy Friday!
Previous Paleo Food Fridays

S’mores Bark! Not Paleo. Still Wonderful.

I often tell people that I don’t have favorite foods. It is quite difficult for me to choose among so many wonderfully delicious options. And even though I wouldn’t say I have a favorite dessert, I would say that there is one dessert in particular that would be impossible to pass up. That dessert is S’mores.

I think camping nostalgia has a lot to do with it. There’s nothing better than sitting in a camping chair in the dark next to an enormous fire. Your face is warm, your back is freezing, and there’s a giant bag of marshmallows nearby. It’s the best.

So when there are no campfires around, you have to improvise. S’mores bark is a fantastic substitute!

You’ll need:
2 1/2 cups dark chocolate chips
1 1/2 cups marshmallows
6 graham crackers
a 13×9 inch pan/baking dish
wax paper

First, toast the marshmallows using the broil setting on the oven. I laid the marshmallows out on a baking sheet and let them toast for a few minutes. You must watch them! They brown very quickly and oven-burnt marshmallows don’t taste as good as fire-burnt marshmallows.

Next, break and crumble your graham crackers into desired bite sized pieces.

Then, get out your 13×9 pan and place wax paper at the bottom.

Pour the chocolate chips into a sauce pan on medium-low heat. Stir the chips frequently until they have completely melted. Once the chocolate is melted, pour into the 13×9 pan quickly. Overcooking the chocolate will make it chunky!

Lie the graham cracker pieces down in the chocolate. Lightly push them towards the bottom of the pan.
The next part is tricky. Those marshmallows you toasted will be a little difficult to remove from the baking sheet. I suggest you use the thinnest, flattest spatula you can find to scrape them up. Once you break that outer layer of the marshmallow, the gooey inside will stick to everything. We had a little problem, which is why our marshmallows aren’t as spread out as they could be. 
Carefully place the marshmallows on top of the graham crackers and chocolate. If you want to add more untoasted marshmallows to even things out, go for it!
Dessert doesn’t need to look pretty. It was delicious and that’s all that matters :)
Question: Are you a big s’mores fan? What dessert/any food do you love when you go camping?

Good night!