Thursday, February 23, 2012

Paleo Pumpkin Custard

Simple Staple Ingredients Are Amazing

What does having staple ingredients mean? Basically, staple ingredients are considered foods or spices that are always kept in your pantry for your baking needs. Things like olive oil, coconut oil, all types of spices, coconut milk, almond meal, coconut flour, eggs, etc. Everyone's staples will be different. It just depends on what meals you make the most often and what ingredients you need for those. 

Making pumpkin custard was a perfect example of how much I love having staple ingredients in my cabinets. Besides, eating pumpkin is good for you!

Health Benefits of Pumpkin

Canned pumpkin is high in the vitamin A precursor beta-carotene, which gives the pumpkin its orange color. Consuming foods rich in beta-carotene may lower your risk for heart disease and certain types of cancer, as well as some of the degenerative effects common in aging, according to the University of Illinois. Always try to get 100% pumpkin when looking for canned pumpkin. DO NOT get pumpkin pie filling because it contains extra ingredients and isn’t good for you. 

Don't let the time it takes to bake deter you. I sat and read a book cuddled in a warm blanket while they baked. You can workout, crochet (it's actually very calming- I know why older people do it! ha), clean the house, etc. 

PREP: 10 minutes
Cook time: 1 hour - 1 hour 20 minutes
Total: 1 hour 10 minutes - 1 hour 30 minutes


1 cup canned pumpkin puree

1 tsp cinnamon

1/4 tsp ground ginger

1 pinch of sea salt

2 pinches of grated nutmeg (I used ground nutmeg)

2 eggs (try for organic)

1/4 cup natural maple syrup 

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 cup coconut milk (full fat)


Preheat your oven to 350 degrees

Set a pot of water on to boil (enough water to fill the baking pan as directed below)

Combine pumpkin and all spices in one bowl

In a smaller bowl, beat the eggs then whisk in the maple syrup, vanilla and coconut milk

Whisk the egg mixture into the pumpkin mixture until well combined

Pour the custard into 6- 1/2 cup ramekins

Place the ramekins in a baking pan (I could only fit 5 glass ramekins into my pan- work with what you got!) and add enough boiling water to the dish to come up 2″ high around the ramekins.

Carefully place in the oven and bake for *60 minutes or until a knife/fork inserted into the center of the custard comes out clean.

Custard texture should be a semi-solid

*I ended up leaving mine in an additional 20 minutes just to make sure they were done.

All the Best --


Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Paleo Diet Flowchart

Paleo for Dummies

This is something that has been floating around in various forms. I knew it would only be a matter of time before I posted it. 


Monday, February 20, 2012

Chocolate Snack Cakes

These had me at first bite.  

PREP: 10 – 15 minutes
Cook time: 30 – 35 minutes 
Total: 40 – 50 minutes
Makes 9-12 servings


10 dates, pitted (the original recipe calls for medjool dates- I couldn’t find those so I bought regular pitted dates)

1 cup of unsweetened applesauce (I used one ripe banana)

3 eggs

1/2 cup coconut oil

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

1/2 cup coconut flour

1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt (optional)

1/2 cup strong brewed coffee


Pre heat your oven to 350 degrees

Place the medjool dates in a food processor and pulse until completely pureed

Add applesauce (or banana) and continue to pulse until pureed and combined with the dates

Add the purée to the bowl, add the eggs, vanilla, coconut oil and coffee - mix on low-medium speed until well combined

Combine the dry ingredients in a separate bowl

Slowly add the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients and mix, scrape down the sides, until you have a smooth batter

Grease a 8×8 glass pan with coconut oil, pour in the batter and smooth it with the back of a spatula.

Bake for 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick stuck in the middle comes out clean


These cakes come out moist, which is what I love the most about them. Let them cool off completely before storing in an air tight container. 


All the Best -- 

Cran-Ginger Cookies

Yes! I Said Cookies!

I had a couple friends over Saturday night and decided to have a couple snack-type foods to munch on as we had girl talk. It just so happens that one friend is a vegetarian and the other is vegan. Hmmm.. what the heck does that mean and how does that work with being Paleo?

Being a vegetarian you take on a plant-based lifestyle (fruits, vegetables, etc.), with or without the addition of dairy products or eggs, and with the elimination of meat (red meat, poultry, and seafood) - depending on your moral or health beliefs.

Being vegan is avoiding all consumption and sometimes the use of animal products. A stricter vegetarian is the most idiot-proof way to put it. This also depends on your moral and health beliefs.

Now, back to the question- how do these lifestyles work with Paleo? Easy! It’s about fresh ingredients and simple substitutions. I learned this weekend that 1/3 cup of unsweetened applesauce and one (1) tsp baking powder knocks out the use of one (1) egg and still tastes delicious!

Overall and no matter which way you look at it- these are healthy lifestyles. We talked about how people look at us like we are crazy (more looks go toward my vegan friend, actually) and ask questions like “where do you get your protein and calcium??” A little known fact, protein isn’t just in meat and calcium isn’t just in milk. When in doubt, do your research. 

Prep: 10 Minutes
Cook time: 15 - 20 minutes
Total: 25 - 30 minutes
Makes about 20 cookies


2 1/2 cups almond flour

1/2 cup almond butter

1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut

1/2 cup dried cranberries

1/2 cup honey

1/4 cup coconut oil (melted)  

1 egg (or sub 1/3 cup unsweetened applesauce and 1 tsp baking powder)

1 Tbsp ground ginger

1/2 tsp sea salt

1/2 tsp baking soda


Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Combine all the ingredients above except for cranberries in a mixing bowl and mix well with your hand mixer (I used a whisk)

After your ingredients are mixed well, fold in your dried cranberries

Place small scoops of cookie mix on a parchment lined baking sheet leaving room between the cookies because they will expand slightly

Using the back of a spoon or your hand, slightly flatten the cookies (just an FYI- your cookie mix will be a tad sticky- your hands will get messy!)

[A bonus to using the egg substitute is being able to eat the cookie batter without eating raw eggs! :)]

Bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes or until done (lightly browned on top)

Make sure you check them so you don’t burn them, some oven temps vary

Remove from the oven, place on a cooling rack or plate

Your cookies will be crispy after a couple minutes out of the oven - I put the cookies in an air tight container and they became soft from the moisture- they were still delicious! Make sure the cookies are completely cooled before storing. 

All the Best --


Friday, February 17, 2012

5 of the Grossest Foods You Can Eat

Makes you think twice, doesn't it? 

I saw this article on Yahoo Health today. Five of the grossest foods you can eat:

Grain Products
Salad Dressing
Jelly Beans

Now, the only Paleo-friendly foods listed are shrimp and mushrooms. However, there is a solution for that. Your safer option is to find domestic shrimp and fresh mushrooms (not canned!).
Grain Products
Why it’s gross: Many packaged breads and baked goods contain L-cysteine—a non-essential amino acid made from dissolved human hair (often from China) or duck feathers (mmmm). Food manufacturers use the ingredient as a commercial dough conditioner, meant to improve the texture of breads and baked goods.
Why it’s bad: Eating something derived from the human body violates the religious and ethical beliefs of Muslims and vegans. Plus, eew! If you want to avoid ingesting hair and feathers—and really, who doesn’t?—try eating unprocessed whole grains like oats and brown rice, and make your own baked goods whenever possible.
Why it’s gross: Depending on where your shrimp comes from, it could be tainted with chemicals used to clean filthy shrimp-farm pens. Just as disgusting, farmed shrimp from overseas is often full of antibiotics, mouse and rat hair, and pieces of insects (yummy!).
Why it’s bad: Only about 2 percent of all imported seafood is inspected, meaning this nasty stuff is making its way onto your plate. Contaminated shrimp tends to come from critters imported from overseas shrimp farms, so if you’re looking for safer—and more appetizing—options, choose domestic shrimp.
Salad Dressing
Why it’s gross: Big food corporations often add the chemical titanium dioxide—commonly found in paints and sunscreens—to processed foods like salad dressing, coffee creamers, and canned icing to make them appear whiter. 
Why it’s bad: Titanium dioxide is a component of the metallic element titanium, a mined substance that's sometimes contaminated with toxic lead. Plus, most white dressings (like cream-based ranch) aren’t great for you anyway. Both your health and your waistline will fare better if you go with an olive oil- or vinegar-based salad topper instead. Or, better yet, make your dressing at home.
Jelly Beans
Why it's gross: Many artificial food dyes—found in hundreds of everyday foods—are made from petroleum-derived materials. Food producers use these chemical dyes in cereals and candy to make them more “fun” for kids, in pickles to make them appear fresher, and in place of real ingredients in a variety of other packaged foods. Betty Crocker Carrot Cake Mix, for example, is actually a carrot-free product, with “carrot flavored pieces” cooked up from corn syrup and artificial colors Yellow 6 and Red 40. 
Why it’s bad: Orange and purple food dyes have been shown to impair brain function, and other dyes have been linked to ADHD and behavioral problems in kids, as well as brain-cell toxicity. And not only are these additives potentially hazardous, but they’re also a rip-off! It’s cheaper for food companies to use fake dyes in place of real ingredients, so you end up with food frauds like Tropicana Twister Cherry Berry Blast, a “juice” product without a trace of cherry or berry juice. Get your brightly colored foods from the produce aisle only!
Why it’s gross: The FDA legally allows 19 maggots—tiny, rice-shaped fly larvae that feast on rotting foods—and 74 mites in every 3.5-ounce can of mushrooms. Bon appetit!
Why it’s bad: While maggots do have their place in the medical world—they can help heal ulcers and other wounds—most of us would agree that they don’t have a place in our mouths. Opt for fresh mushrooms instead, and if you need another reason to ditch canned goods, consider this: Most are lined with bisphenol A (or BPA), a plastic chemical that causes unnatural hormonal changes linked to heart attacks, obesity, and certain cancers.
The best way to get through the grocery store is to think fresh! 

Friday, February 10, 2012

Fry That Chicken! Fry That Chicken!

YES! Fried Chicken that is OKAY to eat as often as you want!

First off, let's get down to the basics..

Why is fried food so bad?

Fried food can contain trans fats, which puts you at higher risk of heart disease. Restaurants like trans fats since it raises the flash point and lets them use the same oil over and over again. I always recommend everything in moderation, however, I have zero tolerance for trans fats. Avoid this completely.

If you have fried food, make sure there are no trans fats in it!

It can make you obese. A Spanish study found that people who ate the most calories in fried food had a positive correlation with obesity. Okay, maybe you're not shocked by this finding, but fried food is loaded with calories and fat. The breading on fried food soaks up the grease. It's kinda like drinking oil straight from the vat. Which you would never do (or I hope you wouldn’t..).

Maybe this will help..  here's a quick comparison: 

Wendy's large French fries (420 calories, 20g fat) vs. large baked potato (278 calories, 0.4g fat) 

PF Chang's Kung Pao Chicken (1228 calories, 79g fat) vs. Ginger Chicken with Broccoli (656 calories, 26g fat) 

KFC Original thigh & drumstick (460 calories, 32g fat) vs. Boston Market thigh & drumstick (300 calories, 17g fat) 

Cut down on your fried food to cut down on calories and that heavy, greasy feeling. You'll feel lighter for it.

Now, usually Zach is the one who fry's and I bake- however, Zach worked late last night and I couldn't wait for him to start. At first I thought it would end up a huge mess - but I was wrong! Only a couple dirty dishes and EASY clean up! I threw in a salad as our side and we devoured what was on our plates. Definitely going to make these up again!

PREP: 10 – 15 minutes
Cook time: 22 – 27 minutes
Total: 32 – 42 minutes


Dipped/coated and ready to be fried!
1 cup coconut oil (if it seems like a lot, it probably isn’t enough!)

2 large eggs

1 ½ cup almond meal

1 tsp paprika

1 tsp garlic powder

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp black pepper

1/2 tsp dried thyme

1 tsp. chipotle powder (optional)

2 pounds chicken- thighs, drums, breasts work best (we used bone in)


Heat oil in a large frying pan to 350 degrees

While your pan is heating, preheat the oven to 400 degrees

Whisk eggs in medium sized bowl

Combine all dry ingredients in large bowl and mix well

Dip chicken in whisked eggs

Coat/cover chicken in dry mixture and place in hot oil

Allow both sides to brown (about 2 minutes each side)

Place drying rack on cookie sheet pan - assemble on the rack so there is space between all pieces

Put chicken in oven for 20-25 minutes (the original recipe only said 10-15 minutes but we needed longer)


Thursday, February 9, 2012

6 Key Workouts

Simple, Effective and Efficient
  • These are simple enough to do in the comfort of your home
  • The exercises have to be effective at building strength (no point in doing them otherwise)
  • And they have to be efficient, meaning that they have to fulfill their purpose without taking too much time or doing redundant motions

No Equipment Needed:

Plank - This is a fantastic core exercise that will exhaust you in mere seconds if done properly. After you have mastered the basic routine, you can throw in extra moves for increased difficulty.
Bodyweight Squat – This is a simplified version of the classic squat performed by the giant musclemen in the gym. Using your arms to balance yourself, you can get a very effective workout by just using your own body weight. If more intensity is desired, you can always increase your reps

Pushups – The standard exercise for general strength. These work the pecs, triceps, and back along with virtually every other upper body muscle

Burpees – While this exercise looks and sounds silly, it is simply exhausting

Some Equipment Required:

Pull-ups – With a standard pull-up bar, you can effectively and efficiently work your biceps, shoulders, back and abdominals.

Jump rope – This is a fantastic cardio workout and is also great for your calve muscles. Try doing a fast steady pace for 3 minutes. 

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Yonanas! Ice Cream - now healthier and WAY easier.

Ok. So it's not exactly ice cream but I bet I have your attention, right? 

Ever heard of a Yonanas? Well. I hadn't either up until about a month or so ago. My mom asked me and was completely shocked that not only I, but no one else she knows has ever heard of a Yonanas. I was skeptical at first because it's one of those "As seen on TV" type items. I am now telling you. Get one. Especially if you have children. This contraption makes amazingly delicious cold treats. Seriously. I was pretty much craving one of these every day after I tried one. 

Technically its a banana ice cream maker. I feel like it’s more of a frozen yogurt, myself. It comes with a recipe book with tons of recipes. You always use a banana and mix it with frozen fruits and if you want, nuts! 

I'm not trying to sell the product but I highly recommend it. 

** If you are looking to lose weight, eating more fruit and nuts is not the best idea unless being used for an occasional treat to replace regular ice cream or any other sugary snack ** As you delve further into Paleo, these kinds of snacks won’t even be relevant, your sugar cravings will eventually be nonexistent.  

There are constant debates about whether this type of treat is Paleo or not. Since we are 90/10 Paleo, a treat like this is perfectly fine with us on occasion. 

Keep your food portions in moderation. Don't get crazy. Just because it's fruit doesn't mean you need to fill the bowl past the brim.

Why is it Healthy?
As you look for ways to boost your intake of minerals and vitamins, improve your athletic performance or shed those unwanted pounds, you might not have to look much further than a simple banana. Available year round in its own environmentally-friendly packaging, the Banana is a healthy choice for the young and the old. Your yonanas maker will turn those over-ripe bananas into a delicious and creamy treat that looks and tastes like soft serve ice cream.  
A bowl of Simply Yonanas (1/2 C serving) = approximately 100 calories. Add in your favorite fruits like blueberries and raspberries or even some high antioxidant dark chocolate and you have created a healthy and delicious treat.
The calories may bump up a little bit but you started with an amazing fruit foundation! 
·         Bananas are high in potassium, a mineral that helps in the building of muscles and protein synthesis  
·         Bananas contain all natural energy from three natural sugars: sucrose, fructose and glucose. No other fruit contains more digestible carbohydrates 
·         Bananas contain NO sodium, fat or cholesterol 
·         Bananas are high in fiber and much of its fiber is soluble, the kind that can help lower cholesterol 
·         Bananas are called “brain food” because of its high level of potassium, important for the brain to function 
·         Called the “good mood food,” Bananas contain Vitamin B6 and tryptophan content, which help elevate feelings of pleasure 
·         Yonanas are a great natural source of vitamin A, vitamin C, calcium, iron, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, pantothenic acid, vitamin B6, potassium, phosphorus, magnesium, zinc, copper, and even protein 
·         When you add in other fruits and nuts like raspberries, strawberries, blueberries, peanuts, almonds to the base of bananas, you add more nutrition including: vitamin C, vitamin K, magnesium, folate, iron, calcium, protein, manganese, more potassium and dietary fiber, and loads of antioxidants, making Yonanas a super Superfood


Here's a clip from on how it works

For more information on the Yonanas, visit their website 

Paleo Pumpkin Muffins

It doesn't have to be fall to enjoy these delicious treats!

Zach has been begging me to make these muffins for a few weeks now. I offered to make apple muffins, but you should have seen the look on his face... lol So! Pumpkin muffins it is! I am completely ok with it because these things are amazingly delicious. They are about the perfect bit of sweet AND they are easy to bake! You probably already have most of the ingredients in your cupboard!

PREP: 10 minutes
Cook time: 20 – 35 minutes
Total: 30 – 45 minutes


1 1/2 cups almond meal

3/4 cup canned pumpkin

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp baking soda

1 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice

1/8 tsp salt

1 tsp pure vanilla extract

3 eggs

1/4 cup pure maple syrup

1/2 cup dried cranberries

1/2 cup pecans (optional - we did not use any this time but you would add them in the mixture)

Unsweetened coconut flakes (optional - adds great texture)


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees 

Mix all of the ingredients together in a large bowl – I put the canned pumpkin in last to lessen the possible mess

Get your muffin tin ready! I bet you didn’t know that you have a couple options for baking!

You can use the paper/foil cupcake cups (that's what we used)

-  Forget the paper cups and use a little bit of coconut oil (solid- don’t worry about melting it) and rub it in the muffin slots

- You can put a little bit of water in the muffin spots (Side note- I have never done this but the original recipe person did do it this way – so it must work out ok - see the bottom left picture) 

After you fill the muffin slots ¾ full with the mixture, ** put the tin in the oven

** If you are using unsweetened coconut flakes, now’s the time to top your muffins off. Put as much as you’d like!

After about 20 minutes, check your muffins with a toothpick – make sure you take the muffin tin out of the oven when checking!

(Another side note: They will have a little bit of muffin on them when you pull out the toothpick- this is normal because of the canned pumpkin. You can be the judge on whether you think they are done enough for your taste)

If you aren’t sure, put them back in the oven for another 5-10 minutes.  

Let cool – not all the way! They are best when still warm :)


All the best --

My picture came out dark, so I found this one