Monthly Archives: July 2013

Baked Plantain Chips

Just dropping in for a quick recipe I featured on my last post….the plantain chips I made for my bachelorette party.

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I wanted to have some carbs since we were going a wine tour…because whenever I have alcohol in me I seem to be craving carbs and what I eat usually doesn’t make me feel he greatest the next day! I knew I would hate myself for eating a bagel….

My go-to healthy carbs tend to include sweet potatoes, bananas…which got me to plantains! The are so yummy! I’d describe them as a cross between a banana and a potato. They are really carb and calorie heavy they are perfect if you are looking for a good amount of calories for working out, gaining weight, or in my case to soak up wine from my wine tour LOL

First(after preheating oven to 400), I sliced up two plantains very thin (not see through but think banana chips) You can use as many as you want…this yielded about two cups of plantain chips.

I melted about 3 tablespoons of coconut oil in a large bowl.

I gently tossed the raw plantains with the coconut oil so they were coated. I sprinkled about 1/2 tsp of cinnamon and a dash of salt and tossed them again until coated.

I placed them on a baking sheet making sure none of them overlap.

Bake for roughly 15-20 mins, flip them over, then bake another 10-15 mins.

They turn out a nice golden brown and smell delicious! Maybe I will throw up some more pictures because I plan to make them for the bridal suite for my wedding day (another time when I need to shove my face with healthy carbs!!)
Enjoy!

what are your favorite healthy carbs?

 

 

 

 

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Bachelorette Party / Wine Tour

Last installment of wedding planning post before the big day!! Four more days! Getting nervous over here….. Sort of 🙂

Last week was my bachelorette party / wine tour that my bridesmaids threw me. Indefinitely underestimated the stress of having a bachelorette party so close to the wedding. I thought I’d be fine.. But the combo of not sleeping, drinking the weekend before at my friend’s wedding, and the stress of getting everything done kind of caught up with me. You usually think of bachelorette parties as crazy and over the top….but I was I happy mine was calm and controlled. Drinking heavily always seems like a good idea at the time, but it has seriously been taking me multiple days to get over one night of drinking so I am so glad I was able to take it easy- ish on this day. It didn’t make it any less fun!! It was perfect.

First I made sure to load up on some healthy carbs for the limo.

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Against all grain zucchini muffins

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Baked Plantains: Recipe coming coon!

 

We gathered at my cousins house and piled in to visit some NYS Cayuga Lake wineries. I love New York wine!

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Of course I was forced to wear the obligatory necklace…..

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The Finger lakes has some beautiful scenery!

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Love friends!!

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Wineries visited were:
Izzo
Montezuma
Cobblestone
Swedish Hill
Eleven Lakes winery

It was awesome because the majority of them I haven’t been to. I also made it a point to try wines that I normally wouldn’t gravitate to, since it seems like every time Austin and I go we end up leaving with some sort of Riesling. My favorite wine is always white wine not too sweet and not too dry. But on the tour I made it a point to try different sweeter, dessert wines as well as some reds and other types like fruit wines! I ended up with three very out of character wines for me..

Cherry wine from Cobblestone, Rhubarb dessert wine from Montezuma and a nice even red from Eleven Lakes!

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It’s not Napa….but I love Finger Lake Wine tasting!

what are your favorite wines?

If you’re local, what are your favorite NY wineries?

Did you get crazy for your bachelorette?

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Paleo Shepard’s Pie (with purple sweet potatoes)

I know I am a terrible, terrible blogger! It’s been over a week!! Needless to say I have been pretty busy with my wedding planning and Ausitin and I are in the beginning stages of buying a house. Yeah we’re crazy….It’s been an interesting and eventful summer…..

Last week I figured the 90 degree temps called for one of the most filling and belly warming dinners out there…Shepard’s pie. Please don’t ask me why……I was already too far into it to quit….plus it’s delicious. I put a spin on the usual topping by using a purple sweet potato that I picked up at Tops. This single sweet potato was probably the single inspiration for me to make Shepard’s pie on a 90 degree day. I should reblog this recipe in December when people actually care.

Paleo Shepard’s Pie
filling:
1 lb grass fed ground beef
4-5 large carrots
4-5 stalks celery
1-2 cloves garlic
1/2 a large onion
1/4 cup coconut milk
1/4 cup chicken stock ( approx…I used about three frozen chicken stock ice cubes)
1 tablespoon coconut oil
1 tbsp coconut flour

Spices:
1/2 tsp Garlic powder
1/2 tsp Onion powder
Salt & pepper <<< use to your discretion!!

Topping-
2 cups cauliflower/ sweet potato purée (use purple sweet potato because it’s awesome!!)

1. Preheat your oven to 375.
2. Chop your celery, carrots, onion and garlic.
3. Heat coconut oil in a large, deep sauté pan. When it’s hot, throw your veggies in.
(Prepare sweet potato cauliflower purée!!! see other recipe)
4. Cook for 7-8 minutes until softened. Place your meat in the pan and begin to brown it with the veggies.
5. When the meat is browned, add coconut milk, chicken stock and spices. Bring to a boil then let simmer for 15 minutes.
6. Add coconut flour and let mixture thicken for another five minutes.
7. Spray a large casserole dish with olive oil spray. Place filling in the dish. Cover with potato mixture.
8. Bake for 45 minutes.

I was seriously sweating after making this…. Maybe you should wait a couple months….but it sure is delicious!!

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Paleo Shepard’s Pie (with purple sweet potatoes)

I know I am a terrible, terrible blogger! It’s been over a week!! Needless to say I have been pretty busy with my wedding planning and Ausitin and I are in the beginning stages of buying a house. Yeah we’re crazy….It’s been an interesting and eventful summer…..

Last week I figured the 90 degree temps called for one of the most filling and belly warming dinners out there…Shepard’s pie. Please don’t ask me why……I was already too far into it to quit….plus it’s delicious. I put a spin on the usual topping by using a purple sweet potato that I picked up at Tops. This single sweet potato was probably the single inspiration for me to make Shepard’s pie on a 90 degree day. I should reblog this recipe in December when people actually care.

Paleo Shepard’s Pie
filling:
1 lb grass fed ground beef
4-5 large carrots
4-5 stalks celery
1-2 cloves garlic
1/2 a large onion
1/4 cup coconut milk
1/4 cup chicken stock ( approx…I used about three frozen chicken stock ice cubes)
1 tablespoon coconut oil
1 tbsp coconut flour

Spices:
1/2 tsp Garlic powder
1/2 tsp Onion powder
Salt & pepper <<< use to your discretion!!

Topping-
2 cups cauliflower/ sweet potato purée (use purple sweet potato because it's awesome!!)

1. Preheat your oven to 375.
2. Chop your celery, carrots, onion and garlic.
3. Heat coconut oil in a large, deep sauté pan. When it's hot, throw your veggies in.
(Prepare sweet potato cauliflower purée!!! see other recipe)
4. Cook for 7-8 minutes until softened. Place your meat in the pan and begin to brown it with the veggies.
5. When the meat is browned, add coconut milk, chicken stock and spices. Bring to a boil then let simmer for 15 minutes.
6. Add coconut flour and let mixture thicken for another five minutes.
7. Spray a large casserole dish with olive oil spray. Place filling in the dish. Cover with potato mixture.
8. Bake for 45 minutes.

I was seriously sweating after making this…. Maybe you should wait a couple months….but it sure is delicious!!

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Wedding traditions you should skip

19 days to go! It’s so surreal. I’ve been waiting for a year and half for this day and it’s so soon…but it kind of just feels like it’s never going to come. It will be over before I know it.

Over the past year and a half there has been so much planning, thinking, worrying, obsessing over every single little detail of our wedding. I’m not saying I haven’t enjoyed it. I loved every aspect of wedding planning. People say to take it all in and enjoy it while it lasts and I certainly have in this long engagement.

Let’s talk about wedding stress. I mentioned before that I didn’t think wedding planning was stressful. It started to become stressful about a month ago right after my shower when I was trying to juggle the end of the school year, shower thank yous, wedding crafts, and making sure we had bridal party gifts and all those odds and ends. I started to stress out A LOT. Like up all night stress out. What if it rains? What if people are late? What if no one gets a room? Will we have enough energy to go out after? What if we run out of time? Blah blah blah….

Now, with the wedding so soon, I feel a new sense of relaxed calm. It seems SO weird that soon it will be over, but I am so ready. I’m not nervous, scared, anxious, worried, or anything. I just want to party with my friends, family and soon to be husband and have a good time. That has a 100% chance of happening….no matter what percent chance of rain there is.  So who cares what else happens? Like seriously…….there are so many amazing things happening that day that one little thing going wrong isn’t going to change the amazing-ness of the day. These things I was worrying about seem completely asinine and ridiculous to even worry about now! So if you’re getting married soon and stressing- STOP IT!

I don’t consider our wedding to be the most ‘traditional’ type- we’re not getting married in a church…our wedding and reception are at the same place, etc. I feel like some traditions make the night drag on and on…especially ones where there are 2 hours of pictures involved and the wedding party is late for the reception! Ugh!

Here are some wedding traditions we’re choosing to skip:

1. Getting married in a church

As mentioned, we’re getting married and having our reception at the same place. It’s outdoors, by Lake Ontario. I posted about it a little while ago. The venue was the main thing we splurged on.

2. Wedding Cake

“Whhhhatttt? You’re not having a wedding cake?” is the response I get when I tell people this. We’re nixing it because Austin doesn’t like cake and an ice cream sundae bar in August is waaaay cooler.

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We’re also doing mini cupcakes and cookies.

3. Not seeing each other until the ceremony

Nonsense. A lot of people feel really strongly about this. And that’s fine. Do what you want to do. Our reception is immediately after our ceremony, so instead of using up our cocktail hour doing pictures, we’re doing a first look before. What’s a first look? Read this.

first look

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4. Bouquet Toss/Garter

Again…people probably feel like this is necessary, that’s fine. I don’t. Never have I been  to a wedding where was I even remotely worried/thinking about this event happening. Takes time out of my dancing and partying. Period.

These are the traditions we’re skipping in order to make our day our own. But you do you! Just keep an open mind while planning your wedding! There are things you can add/take away that will make it truly YOUR day!

What’s your opinion on doing away with these traditions? What would/did you do at your wedding?

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Roasted Chicken and Avocados

That’s not the name of a recipe or anything….rather a topic of this blog post. Tonight I roasted a pastured chicken for dinner and it.was.amazing. I literally did nothing to it. I put melted about two tablespoons of butter and poured it over the bird in the roasting pan, then added spices (onion powder, garlic powder, salt, pepper, sage).

I cooked it in the oven at 385 for an hour and a half. The skin was so crispy and delicious.

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Just make sure you measure the temperature of several spots and it has reached 165 and you’re good to go! Don’t be scared of roasting chicken. The leftovers will last us 2 more nights for dinner! The bird was one of the pastured chickens I got from the farm down the road. Just knowing that a month ago, these chickens were grazing (right word??) in a field less than 5 miles away makes it taste even more delicious.

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Chicken leg/thigh, kale and carrot fries.

The texture of pastured chicken is also quite different. It’s velvety, rich, and melts in your mouth. Yes it’s a little more pricey, but worth it. It kind of hurt forking over $4/lb for these birds that I got…but putting it into perspective- one bird will feed us for three dinners. So if one bird costs $15, that means $5 of chicken a night for two people. I’m perfectly fine with spending $5 a night on chicken for two of us. I mean really. A dinner at KFC for one is more expensive.

Need blogger help! This week avocados were on sale….and I had two in the bag until I saw these Florida avocados.

 

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excuse my gross nails

I only went with it because they were bigger and the same price. Here are some facts about the difference from the Hass avocado:

– Larger

– Smooth, light green skin

– 50 less calories per ounce

-less creamy taste

-less fat

Sounds good on paper, but I prefer the regular ones so much more! The Florida variety is kind of bland tasting……not sure how to describe it. Just doesn’t have the creamy, buttery goodness you expect from an avocado. I have two large ones…but needless to say I won’t be buying them again. I will have to make something with them instead of eating them plain. Suggestions?

What type of avocados do you prefer? Have you tried the Florida ones?

What spices do you use to roast a chicken?

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Strawberry Rhubarb Compote

I’m not sure what to call this recipe…I used it as a syrup but I guess the technical term would be compote. I also wanted to mention that this recipe has NO SUGAR ADDED! I am baffled that most jelly, jam, spread, syrup, whatever has sugar added. You would think the fruit (mostly sugar itself) would make it sweet enough. That’s how I felt about this recipe. If I added sweetener…I feel like the sweetness factor would have been off the charts. Since cleaning up my diet, I find artificially and overly sweetened things nearly unpalatable. I prefer to enjoy the natural sweetness of fruit without dumping a bunch of sugar on it. Okay I’ll stop talking. This recipe is super easy and sweet!

strawberryrhubarb    

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Strawberry Rhubarb Compote

Serves 1-2, 10 mins prep & cook time

1 cup chopped rhubarb

1 heaping cup fresh or frozen strawberries

1 tbsp black cherry balsamic vinegar (regular or other fruit-flavored will work just fine!)

1 tsp chia seeds

1/2 cup water (or more, depending on thickness)

First, place your rhubarb and strawberries in a medium saucepan. Add water so it almost covers fruit (1/2-3/4 cup)

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My strawberries were frozen but you can use fresh. I stock up when they are on sale and freeze!

Let the mixture come to a boil and let boil for 2-3 minutes. Then, add your balsamic and chia seeds. The chia seeds will expand and make it thicker.oliveoil

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

These flavored olive oils are bomb!! I get them from a friend who works at Olive a Sudden in Palm Desert, CA. Frank snuck in that picture!!!

Reduce the stove to simmer and let the mixture simmer for 10-15 minutes until thickened.

paleopancakes

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I served this over yummy Paleo Pancakes. The sweetness was off the charts!! No sweetener or maple syrup needed on these babies!

 

Paleo pancakes: 2 eggs, 1 banana, 1 tablespoon of coconut flour, dash of cinnamon

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Yum!!

 

Do you find yourself needing extra sweetener?

What is your sweetener of choice?

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Holiday Fun

Fourth of July has got to be my favorite holiday…summer, sun, food….

We just got back from an exciting but exhausting weekend with family and friends. It’s a long and tiring drive but worth it! I feel absent from the blog world (as does everyone else probably…who has time to blog everyday on vaca??!?) so I thought I’d share some highlights through pictures.

We arrived in our hometown Thursday on the fourth. Austin wanted to visit a new local meat shop that was opening up near us so we went to check it out. It just opened, so all they had this week was meat and some prepared foods.

Side Hill Farmers

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The market specializes in local, minimally processed meats  and they are, according to the person we talked to, going to have local produce and eggs and butter. I spotted some grass fed butter and pastured eggs while we were there. I plan on doing a full review with more pictures when I go home again for the wedding and they open up fully. Wish this store was near me. We picked up a couple of steaks to grill. All I have to say is…..

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Ohhhh my goddddd 🙂 they were easily some of the best meat we have EVER eaten; not exaggerating. The taste was unprecedented…..and it also just made it that much better that I knew exactly the source of the meat and how it was raised and processed. Here’s what my plate looked like for the fourth:

Fourth of July Meal

Steak, grilled veggies and tomato and cucumber salad.

I wasn’t that good with my eating all weekend believe me!

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The rest of the day was spent lounging in the sun and in my parent’s pond. That’s what the fourth of July is about!!

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Caught some fireworks….

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Dinner with friends…no pic of the food or us, just the view!

 

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Breakfast one morning….I tried to eat well during our time home but inevitably I start my day out well then am confronted with BBQs and other social events. But I try not to stress out about it. Today it’s back to the wedding diet protocol!!

Overall it was a great weekend with great friends. Now I’m in wedding prep/stress mode. T-minus 26 days!!!

How did you spend your fourth?

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Grocery Series Part III: How to save money

In the past year my shopping habits have changed drastically. I used to shop in order to save money. I was still eating “healthy” but I mainly focused on couponing and getting the most food for my  money. Now I’ve changed priorities and realized that if I am going to look for ways to save money, compromising on what I put in my body is probably not the best way to start. According to Michael Pollan (Omnivore’s Dilemma, In Defense of Food), Americans spend the LEAST percentage amount of their income on food compared to other nations. Coincidentally we are the most unhealthy…..

I’ve already talked about ways to prioritize what to buy organic and how to eat local, but I will admit these foods are still more expensive than conventional and industrial raised products. But are you willing to sacrifice quality over quantity? Here are some things I’ve cut out to save money to put into ethically raised animals and local produce:

1) Dairy

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{Moo Cows better to look at then to drink from}

I know, I know…dairy is supposed to be good for you (calcium and stuff). If you eat Paleo dairy is out- but that’s not the main reason I nixed it. Industrial dairy has been processed to the point where it’s doing more harm than good in my opinion. And organic dairy is expensive. I buy Austin organic milk and that’s it. I’ve given up cheese, yogurt and milk myself.  I know we all love our Chobani, but that $4-5 a week adds up! And don’t even ask me where I’m getting calcium. There are plenty of other sources! Google it.

2) Cereals and processed snack products

Cereal

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I read in Omnivore’s Dilemma that a $4 box of cereal takes 4 cents of commodity corn to make. Cereal is ROBBERY IN A BOX. And can we just take a minute to think about what nutritionally cereal does for you? Oh that’s right, nothing. When health claims start appearing on boxes of Lucky Charms, we’ve really gone off the deep end as a society.

I know it is delicious (and you can get it cheaper using coupons). For me, it’s a food with no brakes, so I simply can’t afford to have it around at all.

Same goes with all those snack bars, protein bars, granola bars infused with fiber. I know! I used to buy them! But it makes more sense to use that money for more nutritionally sound and un-processed food.

3) Frozen Meals/Canned Soup

I used to buy lean cuisines or smart ones, or canned soup for lunch all the time. They are pricey as well. Now I make enough dinner every night to bring leftovers the next day.  Now that I really think about it…….

4) Anything processed or packaged at all.

If you’re buying processed food, don’t tell me you can’t afford organic. Don’t even get me started on soda.

 

Other ways you could assess if changing the way you eat and shop for food would work….can you cancel cable? Why is watching your favorite sitcoms more important than what you put in your body? (*To be fair, I’ve suggested this multiple times to my fiancé, but still get a resounding NO. He’s not on board. If it was just me there’s now way I would have TV).

What about spending habits elsewhere? It’s important to look at your budget and where your money goes before deciding it’s “not worth it” to care about what goes into your body. I know for me, I really need to stop getting sucked into “blog food fads”. LOL Almond flour, Larabars and fancy nut butters also are a money suck. But there sooooo gooooooood 🙁  If I can cut back on some of this I would have more money to buy local organic produce (I still buy a lot from the grocery store- hey at least it’s not soda).

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{yummy but big money suck}

How do you feel about prioritizing what you put in your body over other life expenses?

Is eating organic realistic? Why or why not?

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