Tips to get you through a food challenge

Woman with Healthy and Unhealthy Food. Difficult choice Stock Photo


Hello week 6 of my candida cleanse! When you decide to do a “food challenge” whether it’s a strict candida cleanse, a Whole 30 or even just a short 21 Day Sugar Detox, it most likely seems really daunting. You start picturing all the weekends and events you have between now and the end and get anxiety about how you’ll make it through x, y and z without food/drink you enjoy. Well, at least I do. I did complete a couple of successful Whole 30’s, but those were in January when everyone else is “dieting” too.

At the beginning of this six weeks I had no idea if I would actually see this through, but I was determined because of the state of my health and the hefty price tag of the program. If you’re struggling with will power or peer pressure, here are some tips and tricks I’ve told myself to power through and still live my life.


1. The X number of weeks will still pass whether you do this or not.

I first thought about doing the candida cleanse in Mid-August, but dismissed the idea because I thought it was too strict and I could never do it. I had calculated the number of weeks it would take and figured I would end at the end of September. “That’s way too long,” I thought and put it out of my mind. Then Mid-September rolled around, and my health was still the same. And I thought, if I had just started in August, I would have been done by now. That’s what really convinced me to do it, honestly. The amount of time it will take for you to do it will pass, and at the end of it your health is going to be better, or the same. In the grand scheme of things what is a month or two of your life if it means more health and happiness in the long run?

2. What’s more important, the company or the food and drinks?

I get anxiety when I think of trying to socialize without drinking and eating. How weird is it that we’re just hard-wired to do these things when we try to hang out with our friends. It really forces you think about what you’re doing with your life….. Just kidding, but it forces you to be creative when making plans or looking for things to do instead of just saying “oh we’ll grab drinks”. It feels really boring when you’re facing it, but when you take these things away it puts more emphasis on the people you are with and the conversation you are having instead of using the social crutch of drinking and eating. I feel like this is a post for another time, but it’s definitely something to think about.

3. Don’t fall victim to the “self-actualization loophole”


Okay, I stole this one from Gretchen Rubin. You can read about it here. But basically when we’re trying to reach a goal and temptation stands in the way, we look for loopholes to bail ourselves out of the commitment. Self-Actualization loophole is disguised as “YOLO”-ing, or “living life to the fullest”. You’re out to dinner and you told yourself that you were going to order the salad and no dessert, but when actually faced with the decision, you cave, telling yourself “You deserve this” or “life is too short to deprive myself.” Happens to me ALL THE TIME. This is actually the #1 reason why I’ve failed challenges in the past. Because it makes sense. Yes life is too short but you started the challenge for a reason. Often times when you go off the rails, and especially if you’re health depends on it, you regret it later. Gretchen Rubin suggests you think about how you’ll feel tomorrow about your decision. If you feel like you won’t regret it, go ahead, eat the dessert and burger. But most likely you will and that’s when you need to summon your will power.

4. I’m choosing not to drink/eat these foods


Instead of telling people (when it’s necessary, hopefully I don’t have to explain my food choices to anyone) “I can’t eat that” or “I can’t have a beer”, try “I’m not drinking” or “This is a choice”. It is, after all, a choice.  You CAN eat whatever you want. But you are making a conscious choice to better your health. It reminds you of why you’re doing this. And you shouldn’t have to defend your choices to anyone. Plus, when I have the mental attitude of “I can’t have that” it automatically makes me want to have it! And it makes other people more likely to badger you “What do you mean you CAN’T!! Sure you can, YOLO!!!!!!” People don’t have much to respond to when you say “I’m not drinking tonight.”

5. If you slip up, it’s not the end of the world.

Sh*t happens, and nobody’s perfect. It’s easy to feel like EVERYTHING IS RUINED if you get glutened at a restaurant or fall into the self-actualization trap once during your challenge. I feel like one of the bad reasons challenges are so popular is because they are “all or nothing” and people just want to go back to the way they were eating before when it’s over. So if you mess up, the whole jig is up and the challenge is over. This is an unhealthy way to look at challenges. You’re supposed to be changing your lifestyle for the better, and continue the habits after the challenge has ended. So one slip up in the scheme of things isn’t a huge deal. It’s what you do in the long term that matters.


Candida-Friendly Granola Bars

Woahhhh….the first recipe I’ve posted in over six months. Feels weird. But also feels good to get back to blogging a little. I caught you up to speed in how it’s going with my candida cleanse. Again, I feel like I basically want to quit everyday and eat a box of apple cider donuts. And pumpkin beer. I’ve really craved apple fritters or cider donuts more than anything. Probably because it’s fall and I haven’t been able to have any of it.

ANYWAYS, you have to survive somehow with no sugar, coffee or alcohol. So I made these granola bars! These are very similar to the regular granola bars I blogged about here and make my husband nearly every week in his lunch. A version is also in my cookbook. I just left out the honey or sugar. Gluten free oats are allowed on the candida cleanse I am doing, in moderation. I like to use homemade cashew butter and it makes them kind of taste like cookie dough bars! The result is a gluten free, sugar free, dairy-free candida friendly snack. Best of all there are only four ingredients! Super simple and worth the small amount of effort.

You could add chocolate chips, nuts, or dried fruit if you’re not on the cleanse as well.

Candida Friendly Granola Bars

granola bars candida

You’ll need:

1 cup nut butter (sugar free!) *I like homemade cashew

1 and 1/2 cups gluten free oats

1 egg

1/2 tsp cinnamon


1.Pre-heat oven to 350. Melt the nut butter in a large, glass, microwave safe bowl for 1 minute.

2. Mix your oats in and stir until well incorporated.


3. Add the egg and cinnamon and stir again until well combined.

4. Pour the mixture into an 8X8 baking dish that is greased, sprayed with non-stick spray, or lined with a silicone sheet. I like my silicone baking sheets so much! Nothing sticks.


5. Press the mixture down until it is even in the pan.

6. Bake for 20 minutes or until the edges are golden brown. After cooled, cut into bars!

Makes 8 bars.

If you’re not used to sugar-less treats just be aware that these have NO sweetener, so they might take some getting used to. If you’re on the candida diet or have been away from sugar like me they should taste just fine.


Candida Cleanse Update

Wow! Well three weeks went by fast. I expected to post more, but as you may suspect, this whole cleanse thing has been REALLY difficult and I haven’t really felt like commenting on it. This is the start of week 4 for me. I’ve wanted to quit about 50% of the days so far.


The first week, I came down with a cold. So that was fun. Trying to deal with symptoms without taking Nyquil was awesome. So I wasn’t really sure if I felt like crap because of that or “die-off” symptoms.

What are “die-off” reactions? It’s when the toxins (candida) you are trying to kill are leaving the body too fast and your liver can not keep up. From the Whole Journey website:

“Die-off is a sign that the candida is leaving your body, so it is a measure of progress. It just depends on how much your liver, kidneys, digestive system, lymph, and blood can take to determine the intensity of die-off since everyone has a different current state of health. Die-off symptoms that persist for longer than seven days indicate that you are cleansing too quickly, and your body is having a hard time eliminating the toxins and candida fast enough. This is when colonics and other detoxing suggestions are helpful.”

The second week I wanted to quit and eat pumpkin donuts. The sugar cravings were OFF THE CHAIN. I was sure that there was no way I could do this. I was googling “is candida even real
to justify my desire to quit.

Last week (week 3) I was still dealing with some brain fog. Feeling blah, like the whole world was just underwater. Not to sound cliche, but I feel like I’m living my life in black and white. I think this was the die-off symptoms that everyone kept talking about. Either that or a reaction to one of the supplements. Some days I even felt like I was hungover. I had trouble concentrating. I was definitely ready to quit. Why am I giving up all these foods to feel like utter crap?

fall 2

I decided to look into the program a little and there was a suggestion for a supplement (I was like…..ugh ANOTHER one?) that helps with mood, energy and stress. It’s called Max B-ND and I got it on Amazon (affiliate link). Holy crap did I notice a difference! It’s only been three days but after taking a teaspoon in the morning I am no longer dealing with the “blah” feeling. I feel perfectly fine and even more upbeat. So hopefully this is going to help me get over the hump with the cleanse and finish out strong.

I was able to survive last weekend at home visiting family, without going to my favorite restaurants or going off the diet at all. It wasn’t easy. I faced ridicule by others and temptation. Next weekend I have a Halloween party, and I am worried about what people are going to think of me not drinking. I know it’s so shallow. But I was always the one wondering “why aren’t they drinking”. Hopefully they just assume I’m pregnant or something and don’t ask. LOL.

Planning on going at least 6 weeks on the diet (so two more), hopefully 8. I don’t think I will feel the need to drink until the holidays. I know that’s a whole new topic so for now I will just focus on staying strong these next two weeks.


What do you do when faced with ridicule by your friends/family about your diet?

What would be the hardest thing for you about not drinking?


Candida Cleanse- Week 1

Ahhhh! I can’t believe I’m actually writing a blog post. This is crazy. It’s been since March. I don’t have any good reason why I stopped blogging. I have some ideas (I won’t bore you) but I am getting the urge to blog a little bit more so I decided to just do it today.

I guess part of the reason I’ve not been blogging for the past 6 months is because I’ve just felt kind of crappy. I don’t know why.  I don’t want to put on a facade of “everything is just perfect” when it’s not. I’ve been dealing with symptoms like anxiety and depression, fatigue and just not feeling “myself”. I’ve been going to a naturopath and have been tested for everything under the sun….you name it…. MTHFR, Adrenal Fatigue, Thyroid issues, hormones, parasites, etc. Everything negative. Great right???? Yeah I guess, but it doesn’t explain why I still feel crappy.

So I don’t know, I don’t think there’s one “answer” or “diagnosis” that I am looking for anyway. I have always been known to have a little bit of hypochondria, so I try to go about my life and just not focus on it. Google is enemy #1.

Again, I don’t think that this is the end-all be-all answer to everything, but I came across Christa Orrechio’s Candida Cleanse program from listening to The Balanced Bites podcast (duh). When I first read about candida I was like “whatever I probably have it but there’s no way I could do that for 8 weeks”. Candida is technically “yeast” but sometimes it can become overblown in the body and affect other body systems. It is caused by overuse of antibiotics and over consumption of processed sugar and carbs. (This is a very simplified explanation. Read more here).


An overgrowth of Candida can definitely be causing some of these mystery symptoms I’ve been having. There isn’t really a “lab” test for it but I did her spit test and I did test positive. I mean it makes sense. I used to take antibiotics a ton when I was little, I tend to get really addicted to sugar and I was on birth control for over 6  years (also a factor).

So I’m to to point now where I’m like….okay….this is going to be hard but it’s not going to hurt. Over the past couple months I’m like back and forth between “why am I restricting food, this is stupid, I am making myself miserable” and “I really have to do this for my health”. I decided to just go ahead and try the candida cleanse. It’s not going to be easy. Because I tend to really torture myself once I start these food challenges and my mind tries to convince myself that it really isn’t worth it. Lately though I have been feeling like every day is a struggle to get through and I really think this is worth a shot. Do I think this is going to be the end of every health struggle I’ve ever had? No. But if there’s one thing I know for sure about myself through all of my health and food journeys is I have a sugar problem. I always feel great when I cut it out. So if an overgrowth of candida is a problem in my body, I bet trying to starve and kill it will definitely make me feel better. At worst I don’t think it will hurt. Physically at least.

I wanted to do a blog post to somewhat hold myself accountable. Plus I miss blogging :). The diet isn’t all different than how I usually eat (Paleo).

  • No grains
  • No dairy
  • No sugar (honey, maple syrup, etc)
  • No fruit except green apples, berries and citrus.
  • Limit starches
  • No alcohol

I was pleasantly surprised to find you can eat starchy foods, you just have to limit them. Same with fruit. Traditionally I have the most trouble cutting out alcohol for long periods of time. I can go a couple weeks here and there but social pressures usually make me want to have a drink at some point. For the past month I haven’t even really been drinking because I have been trying to figure out all these health issues, so I’m not even nervous about that part. I know it’s going to be tough mentally but since the program costs money, I really need to give this a shot. SO today I spent all day prepping and making food for the upcoming week.

20150920_165149This is a coconut flour crusted quiche with swiss chard, sweet potato and BACON. I  love using all of my homegrown ingredients (including the chard, eggs and BACON!!!).

20150920_165208Brussels sprouts for lunch. I am going to make tuna salad to go along with this.

I also made some coconut milk ice cream for dessert. It helps having lots of fresh ingredients that I can take right from my garden! This year was awesome for the garden (I guess I’ll save for another post). Here was today’s harvest:


Anyway, hopefully I will remember to do weekly updates, and I hope this inspires me to start blogging again. I miss writing!

What is the biggest challenge you have with “food” challenges involving restriction? For me it’s social pressures and FOMO.


Should you give up coffee?

You’re probably wondering WHY in the world would anyone ever give up coffee, am I right?

I was one of those people, just a short time ago. So why did I give it up?


Rewinding a bit, to give you a background I cut back my coffee from roughly 3-4 cups a day to 1 cup a day about a year and a half ago. I was never one to say that I totally needed or depended on it, but I really do love the taste and smell and ritual of coffee. I just couldn’t totally give it up.

In January I saw a naturopath who told me I should try avoiding caffeine. I have been dealing with pretty bad stress and anxiety, and coffee is a stimulant which causes cortisol (stress hormone) spikes. I pretty much rolled my eyes and thought to myself- ‘yeah right ’ at the time. Besides, I only had one cup a day, and seriously how bad could that be for you right?

You’ve probably heard that coffee is good for you (I latched onto those articles to justify my addiction….). It probably can be. There have been studies linking it to all sorts of good stuff….all you have to do is type in “coffee benefits” and see what happens.

I guess about a week after I saw the naturopath I woke up one day and I was like “I’m not going to drink coffee this week and see what happens”. So I did it! I was having such crippling anxiety at that point I felt like would try anything.

So what happened? Honestly, not much. I didn’t feel like it had an effect on my anxiety and stress. If anything I kind of felt MORE depressed. It’s pretty hard to go teach a group of 20-25 eighth graders in the morning without coffee. I found myself just with no pep in my step that I usually had in the morning.

But I’m here to tell you that it wasn’t that bad. I didn’t die. Besides the lack of pep, I pretty much didn’t see any effects of giving up coffee- good or bad. I read that I would sleep better. That didn’t really happen. I read that I would have terrible headaches. That didn’t happen. But once I went a week, and then two weeks, and then a month I didn’t really feel the need to start drinking it again. I know there’s something not right with my health right now and I don’t feel like I should compromise it by relying on caffeine. I feel like I’m fine without it or just drinking half-caf so I’m not going to make any moves back to it when it’s not necessary. I think coffee is for healthy people, and I don’t feel that way right now, so I’m not going to chance it. Hopefully soon I can get to the bottom of the health issues I’ve been dealing with.

In the meantime, I’ve tried some other coffee alternatives that have worked out quite well! This is Teeccino, if you haven’t heard of it. It is herbal tea that “tastes” like coffee. Some people love it and some hate it. I found it to be a great alternative. I mean, it’s not coffee people, but it’s still a warm, delicious drink in the morning.


I also have tried my share of loose leaf tea. My cousin got me a tea set for Christmas and I have been using it often.


This is another coffee alternative- dandelion root. I think it’s a generic version of Dandy Blendtea. This is also alright, but not coffee.


And there’s always decaf! Which I’ll have a couple of times a week. I have half caf occasionally as well.

I think cutting out caffeine is something everyone should try at least once. If you feel like you need coffee to live, it’s probably a clue that something else is off in your body. When your body is truly healthy then you can decide if you want to add it back in!

Here’s some other resources from trusted people talking about coffee:

Chris Kresser: Is drinking coffee good for you?

Robb Wolf

The Coffee Manifesto: Whole 9

Do you think you’d ever be able to give up coffee?


What I ate {and drank} in Key Largo

I’ve mentioned before that I feel that vacations are all about the food. My husband and I had a disappointing food experience at our honeymoon (Dominican Republic) and after that I vowed that I would never do the all inclusive thing again! It’s just not my thing. I’m not a “quantity over quality” type of person when it comes to my food.

The food in the Keys did NOT disappoint!  Omg, fresh seafood and delicious key lime pie. Not to mention the drinks. I know you’re just dying to find out what I ate. I endured being “that person” taking pictures of every meal and drink for this so enjoy!

I think the first night there I had my best meal at Snappers. The whole time on the plane I was craving a margarita so that’s what my first drink was! It was fine but pricey for how small it was! My meal made up for it though.



It was the restaurant’s special- Hogfish (I’d never heard of it before) with a conch (pronounced CONK) crust and a key lime sauce. OMG! It was supposed to be over mashed potatoes but I subbed sweet potato fries because duh.
I obviously had to end my meal with key lime pie.


The next morning we hit up a restaurant for breakfast that had great reviews on Yelp (Made to Order Cafe). It also had some of the best food we ate there. We ended up going twice! The first day I had the “Country Eggs Benedict” which was eggs Benedict with BBQ pulled pork underneath. I had to have grits on the side since I was in the south! The grits were probably just boxed and not really worth it but the eggs Benedict was out of this world.


That afternoon while laying on the beach I had to indulge in this:


Because why not?

In Key West we went to another recommended restaurant called Pepe’s cafe, which looked like nothing from the outside.


But it was amazing!! I started the party with the drink special which was a strawberry blueberry screwdriver. Had a couple of those, one accidentally ended up on my (and my husband’s) lap.


For breakfast I went with the special which was another version of eggs benedict. It had scrambled eggs on the bottom, hogfish with hollandaise sauce and spinach and tomato. On the side was a scallion potato pancake.


That night at dinner in Key West was pretty good. Another yelp recommendation- Southernmost Point Cafe. The view was excellent. I got pork tacos with corn on the cob. I don’t know why I didn’t stick with the seafood theme!


We also got some great key lime pie in key west at Kermit’s Key Lime but I was too busy shoving it in my face to take a picture. It was the best key lime pie I had there (or ever).

And I guess I didn’t take any pictures of my food the third day! We ended up back at the same breakfast place since it was so hard to decide the first time we were there. And I think I was too cold at dinner to worry about taking a picture! The view was nice but the wind was cold!

I love doing these recaps because it makes me realize how much fun I had! And how much food I ate and drank!

Do you splurge on food and drink while on vacation?
What are some good places you’ve been in the keys?


Key Largo Vacation 2015

Back to reality and below zero temperatures this week. A terribly rude awakening considering I spent last week enjoying temps that were 60+ in Florida. Nothing like a vacation to make you question why the hell you ever chose to live in the Northeast. Spring is coming. Spring is coming. Spring is coming. (Just keep telling yourself that).

I wanted to share, more for more sake, some of the wonderful times I had last week in Key Largo and Key West with my husband and in-laws.


We stayed at Ocean Pointe Suites, which is a condo complex in Key Largo. I was worried because the reviews seemed to be hit or miss, depending on who owns your condo. We lucked out because ours was amazing (clean, beautiful, large and right on the water). Sorry I didn’t take pictures of the inside but this was the view from my deck. If you found this blog from a search of the place, we had room 4416 and it was awesome.


The first day the weather was beautiful! We hit up a local state park for some kayaking. No pictures because I didn’t wanna drop my phone in the water. Shortly after we were done I took up camp on the beach!


Ahhhh……to be right there again.



The first day was really warm and I managed to get sunburn on my legs. Oh well. The following days weren’t quite as warm, but I’ll take 65-70 degrees over the balmy 2 degrees it was here today. The next day we drove from Key Largo to Key West (about a 2 hour drive). We planned on eating, walking around, shopping and enjoying some drinks! I’ll share more about the amazing food I ate on WIAW this week (or next week if I don’t have time).

There were chickens everywhere in Key West! I don’t know why I was so interested in them considering I owned chickens.



Hogs Breath Cafe was cool.


Duval Street. It was raining when we got there :(


Drinks for breakfast!


Cutting in line at the southernmost point:


This was the view from the restaurant we ate at Key West. It cleared up in the afternoon but was still a little chilly by Florida standards.


The next day was beautiful but also a little chilly and windy. It was about 60 degrees and it was hilarious seeing everyone in Florida wearing winter coats, hats and gloves! I kid you not! It was unreal.



We did a little shopping and ended up at a restaurant in the afternoon. There was a little disappointment over the weather but I mean looking at it now you can’t really complain. I’d give anything for it to be at least 30 degrees here!


This was Robbie’s Marina, there was a restaurant, a Marina where you could rent boats or charters, and a cute little section of shops. It was fun!



Another highlight of the trip was the Islamorada Brewing Company. I was surprised there weren’t more craft breweries around and the bartender explained that there are a lot more regulations to get around than in NY.



Their beers we really light and delicious. After a misunderstanding about just how many flights we should order, I was forced to drink all of these. Pull my leg, I guess.


Later that night for dinner I went to a restaurant one of my friends recommended. The sunset there was beautiful, but once the sun went down the wind was COLD which made it hard to enjoy our food. We quickly boxed up our food once the sun was down. Couldn’t beat the view!



All in all despite some less than ideal temperatures the Keys were awesome! Now I’m back suffering in the cold. Help!

However I don’t think I’ll ever top the vacation to Charleston where Austin and I got engaged, and once we got back from Florida I started begging him to go back to Charleston! I hope we can next year.

Have you been to the Florida Keys? What were your favorite spots?


What I ate Wednesday: Pulled Pork

I ate some pretty delicious food that I couldn’t help but share today, so I’m linking up with Jenn for What I ate Wednesday!

Another crazy thing was me actually remembering to take a picture of (mostly) everything I ate (Tuesday) Be sure to check out the link up to check out her and many many other blogger’s eats for the day.

I’ve been trying out A LOT of different things for breakfast since school started in the fall. First I started with just smoothies since I was working out in the morning….then when I stopped working out I started doing full on meals again (went well with my Whole 30). This week I am doing hemp smoothies with two hard boiled eggs for some extra protein. We were away last weekend and I wanted something quick and easy instead of prepping my usual egg casserole. I am enjoying this fast and easy breakfast as opposed to trying to stomach a whole huge meal.


I use three tablespoons of Nutiva Organic Hemp Protein, a tablespoon of cocoa, a banana, coconut milk and a tablespoon of flaxseed. Not the sweetest, milk-shakeyest smoothie out there but full of real food!

(Two un-pictured hardboiled eggs!)

Lunch- leftovers from the night before


{Cilantro Shrimp Stir-Fry from the 21-Day Sugar Detox Cookbook}

Yes that is some white rice! It was only about 1/4 cup. This was the first time I included white rice with my dinner since going Paleo! It’s usually a food-with-no-brakes for me. It was mostly laziness. Cauliflower rice is SO messy!

Also with the leftovers for lunch I enjoyed a yummy salad of greens topped with tomatoes, cucumbers, LOVE beets, and roasted broccoli and sweet potatoes I cooked up on Sunday. Sprinkled with pumpkin seeds.


When I got home I had a chiropractor appointment, so I enjoyed a quick spoonful of Paleo cookie dough before running out the door. I rushed to the appointment only to sit there waiting for a half an hour. #aintnobodygottimefodat


Dinner was really what took the cake…..all day I had a huge pork roast in the crock pot (I followed the kalua pork recipe from Nom Nom Paleo Cookbook) which resulted in this pulled pork deliciousness:


{cue Hallelujah music} I don’t know if people realize how easy pulled pork is. I had this sitting in the crockpot all day and came home and it was done! Love easy dinners like that.

I made BBQ sauce from Well Fed 2and topped it with jalepenos. Alongside some plantain fries, of course.


Such crappy photography, but such delicious food.

And after I finish this post I will end up eating some banana bread from The Paleo Kitchen. SO that’s everything I ate Tuesday. So delicious! I have been feeling a bit more upbeat lately and I’m glad. Maybe it has to do with the fact I WILL BE IN FLORIDA IN LESS THAN TWO WEEKS! Yes we just got hit with a snowstorm but I feel like I can see a light at the end of the tunnel. Anyway, enjoy your hump day!

*Some of these links were affiliate links
What was the best thing you ate yesterday!?


Paleo Cookie Dough + Weekend Eats

Everyone has time for a blog post when it’s a snow day! I really did just need a good snow day. One more day to ignore responsibilities of work, languish around doing nothing and not feel bad about it. That’s what snow days are for!


I could definitely use one considering we did a lot of traveling and were out and about in Syracuse this weekend. It was an amazing weekend filled with friends and eating all the things. Also, my first sip of alcohol since New Years. Contrary to what I said or promised on January first, I’m not never drinking alcohol again. March is coming.

Anyway I got a chance to try out a great new restaurant and an old favorite this weekend- Notch 8 in Jamesville.


I was going back and forth between this (Salmon with arugula salad and sweet potato puree) and a burger. This was absolutely delicious albiet I was still hungry afterwards! My sister got a burger that I was subsequently drooling over. But it left room for gelato for dessert! No picture, sorry.

The next day we visited the obvious Syracuse choice, Dinosaur BBQ. OMG is pretty much all I need to say.


Ribs, BBQ brisket, coleslaw, turkey neck collard greens and cornbread. The cornbread was everything. Obviously, my Whole30 is dunzo. I had a beer along with my meal that was called “Smoked Dino Porter”. The waitress said they use the wood that they use to smoke the meat to make the beer. Yum. After that we hit up Middle Ages Brewery for some more deliciousness. No picture again, sorry I fail.

After that weekend I was glad to get a call this morning letting me know I had another day off! Snow days call for breakfasts like this:

snow day breakfast

Eggs with hot sauce, plantain fries with sun butter. Perfect!

Anyways I was bored and had some random leftover ingredients left to make a delicious “paleo” treat. I was supposed to make snack balls but when I pulled it out of the food processor it really looked like cookie dough so I went with it. If you’re craving an egg-less paleo friendly cookie dough you can enjoy right off the spoon- this is it! Super easy to make and just has 4 ingredients! It’s gluten free, refined sugar free and BS free!

cookie dough2

paleo cookie dough


Paleo Cookie Dough
Serves 1
Eat it with a spoon! Just 4 ingredients!
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Prep Time
5 min
Prep Time
5 min
  1. 1/2 cup raw cashews
  2. 1/4 cup coconut butter
  3. 5-6 dates
  4. Handful of chocolate chips * for full dairy and soy free use Enjoy Life
  5. *If you have super-human self control or want more servings this can be easily doubled or tripled!
  1. Place the cashews and the dates in a food processor and pulse until the mixture starts coming together.
  2. Add the coconut butter and keep processing until the mixture is uniform.
  3. Fold in chocolate chips. Enjoy!
Pencils and Pancakes
What do you like to do on Snow days?

Have you ever been to Dinosaur BBQ?


Paleo Crockpot Venison Stew

A lot of people have a “love it” or “won’t touch it” attitude when it comes to venison. However I don’t really have a choice due to the fact it comprises about 50% of what I have in my freezer right now!

I definitely don’t mind! Venison isn’t my favorite meat, but it was more or less free and that’s what makes it so good! My husband got a deer in the fall and we processed it here and saved it all with our vacuum saver. Voila- non-supermarket unadulterated

meat in the freezer and I basically didn’t have to do a thing!

Venison is also higher in protein, lower in calories and higher in some vitamins than beef! I prefer the taste of beef, when I cook venison with a variety of different flavors that compliment it, I can hardly tell the difference!


The main benefit for me is obtaining meat that hasn’t been raised by our industrial meat system. Sometimes I don’t get why people don’t want to eat venison because they think of a “cute deer” or something. I mean that deer probably had a better life and death than the cow from the burger you ate from your supermarket meat so there’s little to that argument. And if you’ve been reading my blog for a bit you know I have experience with eating animals that I’ve raised!

Anyway, I bet you were hoping for the recipe sometime soon. This venison stew is super fast to prepare and easy! I made it in about 10 minutes on Sunday before I went to the gym in the morning and it was done by dinner time. Feel free to add potatoes or other root vegetables of your liking. We ate the stew with side salads and still had enough leftovers for the next night! Enjoy!


Paleo Crockpot Venison Stew
Serves 5
A hearty, warm dish perfect for a cold night!
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Prep Time
10 min
Prep Time
10 min
  1. 1-2 lbs venison stew meat (cubed chunks)
  2. 9-10 carrots, peeled and diced
  3. 2 white onions, sliced
  4. 1 clove garlic, minced
  5. 4 cups beef or chicken broth
  6. 3/4 can of tomato paste
  7. 1/2 cup red wine
  8. 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  9. 1 tsp salt
  10. 1 tsp pepper
  11. 2 tsp dried oregano
  12. 2 tsp fresh rosemary
  13. 2 bay leaves
  1. Place everything in the crock pot and cook on low for 8-10 hours, or until the meat is tender.
  2. Salt, pepper and season to taste.
Pencils and Pancakes

 This is a great recipe for a weeknight- virtually no dishes and leftovers for the second night (depending on how big your family is). If venison isn’t your thing you can easily sub beef!

Are you a fan of venison?

What are your favorite easy weeknight meals?