Monday 30 August 2010

Carrot Cake Breakfast Treat

My new favorite breakfast item is in the form of a delicious Oh She Glows Carrot Cake Scuffin. Of course, I doctored the recipe to make it paleo friendly, and the results were, I dare say, amazing.

Paleo Carrot Cake Scuffins

  • 1 cup almond flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking power
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1.5 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup pure maple syrup
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 1.5 cups shredded or grated carrots
  • 1/4 cup raisins
  • 1/4 cup chopped walnuts
I combined the dry ingredients and then neglected to follow the rest of Angela's well laid out instructions...mostly because I was being a little bit lazy. Everything turned out okay in the end.

I shredded the carrots,

and combined everything in one bowl. The original recipe called for 1/2 cup oats, but I replaced these with shredded coconut to give the scuffins a less soupy consistency. I also reduced the maple syrup from 1/2 cup to 1/4 cup for less sweetness.

I scooped six scuffins on to parchment paper.

I topped them with shredded coconut and baked at 350 for about 25 minutes.


We prepared a Saturday morning breakfeast:

Scuffins, scrambled eggs and tiny plums with neon insides

We ate outside in the sun.

Chester wanted some. He didn't get any.

Wednesday 25 August 2010

Homemade Beef Jerky

Sunday was jerky day at my house. We ventured through the rain to Whole Foods to pick up some beautiful meat to jerkify.

After staring at the red meat section for a good five minutes, we decided to go with this guy:

Methinks he's a sirloin?

M got to work slicing. We sliced most against the grain, but some pieces with the grain to see how they would differ in texture.

While M sliced, I collected the strips in a bowl and covered them with our Ginger Teriyaki marinade.

This was a super, fly-by-the-seat-of-our-pants test run, so we decided to go with the prepared marinade. Next time, I plan on whipping something up myself!

One of the less gross meat pictures I took...that reddish stuff is marinade...not extra blood.

We laid the strips out on the dehydrator and let it do it's thing.

We left the jerky for about 4 hours on 160 degrees, and by then it was time to go to we turned down the heat to 130 and left them dehydrating over night.

The end result was some delicious jerky, of which I do not have pictures. I'm planning on having a Lil'Nic taste test this evening, and I will report back asap.

Monday 23 August 2010

Adventures in Nutty Granola

A few weeks ago, M and I went up to Southern Vermont for Family Work Day for the Jenckes Foundation. Family Work Day is filled with trail work aka lopping, chainsawing, hacking and stacking. We spent most of the day removing fallen trees from the ski trails in the form of chucking 60lb logs into the woods.

We started the morning at M2's house with a delicious granola breakfast care of my Mama. I broke my "no grains" rule to indulge in some coconutty, oaty granola from Healthy Living, an amazing health food store up in Northern VT. Mostly, I broke my rule so that I could have some of my mom's homemade fruit compote, which is soon to be replicated, but the granola was phenomenal.

Since tasting the forbidden granola, I've wanted to try and make my own. I found a guide on Girl Gone Primal and modified it a bit to make my own, nutty granola.

Nutty Granola

Unsweetened shredded coconut
3 Tbs maple syrup
5 egg whites

I put all of the nuts into a bowl to soak for a few hours.

Chester was curious. I'm not sure of my exact nut measurements: I used an entire bag of raw almonds from Trader Joe's, half a bag of raw cashews and 1/2 cup walnuts.(This recipe can be modified for any amount of nuts: you just have to change the number of egg whites and maple syrup.)
I soaked the nuts for about three hours-- until they had soaked up almost all of the water in the bowl and looked nice and soft.

I ground the nuts cup by cup in the food processor,

and whisked the maple syrup and egg whites in a separate bowl.

I combined the nut and egg white mixtures, making sure that all of the nuts were covered in egg.

After lining a baking sheet with parchment paper, I spread out a 1/2 inch layer of the mixture. I baked the nutola for about 10 minutes at 350, stirred (or flipped) and then continued to bake for another 10 minutes.

I completed this flipping/stirring step a few more times before the nuts were browned and toasted looking.

Once the nuts were done baking, I added the coconut flakes.

I attempted to shake the nuts and coconut together in a plastic bag. However, we are cheap, so our plastic bags are ghetto and don't seal very well (and I'm a gross kid), so there was a granola explosion.

I managed to salvage most of the goods and we ate them with almond milk, blueberries and some demon peanut butter for our Sunday Breakfeast. Needless to say, I'm all nutted out-- I can't even think about nut butter without longing for some cold, crisp vegetables. The granola is great though, and I'm going to attempt to make some fruit compote in the next week or so-- it needs some fruit to lighten it up-- all of those nuts just go straight to my chins!

Saturday 21 August 2010

Healthy Living Blogs

Even though I haven't been blogging for that long, I've found that the health blog community pretty amazing. Whether an avid meat eater or a strict vegan, everyone is incredibly supportive of each other. That is one of the reasons why I decided to join the Healthy Living Blogs site.

Healthy Living Blogs is a new resource for the health blogging community. Created by Lindsey of Sound Eats, HLB is a site designed to enhance the positive community of the healthy living blog world. Bloggers and readers can explore the site and find more blogs to love, bloggers in their area, and forums to deepen healthy discussion and support. If you're interested in having your site listed on HLB, simply send the following information to and check the site out for yourself!
  • Email subject line: MEMBERS
  • Your name (please share if you prefer to go by first name, first and last, or however you prefer to be known on the Internet)
  • Blog Name
  • Blog URL (please start with http://, not www.)
  • Your twitter handle, if applicable
  • Your location (if you prefer not to disclose this information for privacy's sake, that is completely understandable. We'll simply include your blog listing in the A-Z listing, not by location, too)
  • Any specific labels (i.e. vegan, gluten-free, weight loss, running, etc.
I would encourage anyone with a health related blog to join this site: whether focused on paleo or raw foods, this site is a great resource!

Thursday 19 August 2010

Pesto Chicken Pizza

The first meal I ever cooked for M was a pesto pizza in my crappy Allston apartment in an ancient oven in the kitchen with windows that looked into a sketchy alley. I used pesto made my former boss' mother, a little Sicilian lady we liked to call "Mama T" (Mama T was crazy...for reals, but a good kind of crazy: she always used to say "wha's tha matta you? Shutuppa you face!"). We've made pesto pizza since then, but never with homemade pesto.

So, last night we decided to whip up some Chicken Pesto Pizza. I used the almond meal pizza dough derived from NorCal Strength & Conditioning, and a walnut pesto recipe derived from Everyday Paleo.

Walnut Pesto

4 cups fresh basil
1 cup walnuts
1 cup olive oil
1 tsp sea salt
6 cloves garlic
2 Tbsp lemon juice

I combined the olive oil, garlic, walnuts, sea salt and lemon juice in the food processor and processed until well blended.
I then added the basil cup by cup until the mixture was a pesto-y consistency

Chicken Pesto Pizza

Almond meal pizza crust
1 chicken breast
4 tomatoes
1/2 cup cheddar cheese (I used Cabot Seriously Sharp)
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
As much pesto as is desired (I used a bunch, probably 1 1/2 cups)

I prepared the pizza crust and rolled it out onto a greased baking sheet. We allowed it to bake at 350 for 20 minutes.

While the crust was baking, M seasoned the chicken with garlic powder and parsley and cooked it in olive oil over medium heat.

Once the crust was finished pre-baking, I covered it in pesto and tomato slices (from my mother's garden in VT!)

Once the chicken was done cooking, we covered (smothered?) the pizza.

I added the cheeses,

and she was ready to go in the oven. We baked the pizza for about 15 minutes: until the cheese had started to brown.

While the pizza was baking, I whipped up a salad using cucumber and cherry tomatoes from my Mama's garden.

We snacked on homemade guacamole that M's mother had brought over!

After about 15 minutes, the pizza was finished.

The olive oil from the pesto ended up exploding over the sides of the crust. I'd never made pesto pizza with an almond meal crust, so I didn't account for the oil that would seep through--usually a wheat pizza crust will catch and hold the oil. All of the extra oil caused the almond meal crust to be a total fail-- it stuck to the bottom of the pan.

Even though it wasn't technically a pizza, it was still delicious! The pesto was so garlicky! Just the way I like it! The chicken was tender and the tomatoes were sweet. I'm sure that Mama T would be impressed...

Tuesday 17 August 2010

Integrative Epiphany

I had a realization yesterday while listening to my Integrative Nutrition lecture. I had a completely blond moment (no, I'm not actually all), in which I realized how the word "integrative" applies to this program and to a healthy lifestyle in general.

in·te·gra·tive (nt-grtv) (source)
1. Of or relating to integration.
2. Tending or serving to integrate.
3. Relating to a multidisciplinary, holistic approach to medicine that combines conventional treatments with alternative therapies such as homeopathy or naturopathy.

My epiphany: integrative nutrition means that one has the freedom to choose whatever dietary theory they want, whenever they want. If I want to follow the daily cycles of Ayurveda, while eating a paleo breakfast, a vegan lunch and fasting through dinner, I can do it! It's the integration that keeps our bodies guessing and the variety of foods that we choose that keep our bodies nourished and satisfied.

The Integrative Nutrition program encourages its students to experiment with different dietary theories and ways of eating. I have just now gotten used to trying new diet things. In the past, experimenting with my diet has been a major source of stress. I felt like, in this crazy world, my diet was all that I had control over and experimenting, which I equated to relinquishing control, was not my style. I wasn't comfortable eating new, different foods: what if they didn't work for me?

In my learning, there have been a few diets/lifestyles that have stuck with me. I wanted to share what aspects of each that I've incorporated into my own diet.

The Primal Blueprint
The Primal diet promotes eating foods our paleolithic ancestors in the manner in which they might have eaten them (large meals followed by periods of fasting).

All of the foods that I eat fall under this lifestyle: vegetables, fruits, meat, poultry, fish, nuts and eggs. I don't necessarily eat in the same manner as a caveman, but I do try to eat the same food as he might have eaten.

The macrobiotic diet is pretty intense, so I'll let you read Wikipedia's detailed description...

One thing that Macrobiotics promotes is eating seasonal, local foods-- or at least eating food that can be found in the climate where you live. Andrea Beaman, author, health counselor and chef, gave a great example of this in one of her IIN talks. If I'm not mistake, she explained how an Inuit living in Alaska would benefit much more from eating a diet high in protein and fat, than a diet of mangos and coconut. His body would thrive on the food available to him in Alaska. If, however, he moved to Jamaica, he would need to change his eating behavior: he would be less healthy (according to macrobiotics) eating a ton of heavy protein and fat, without taking advantage of the tropical fruits available in that climate.

I still eat coconut and fruits that are not found in Massachusetts, because they are delicious and nutritious. However, I eat tend to eat less mangoes and papayas and more apples and blueberries, which are found in abundance in the northeast.

The Raw Diet
The raw, or living food diet, is exactly what it sounds like: one eats only raw foods that have been prepared under 118 degrees F. Raw foodists believe that cooking vegetables depletes them of valuable enzymes that aid our digestion and promote longevity.

I don't really like cooked vegetables, so many of the raw food recipes appeal to me. Another aspect of this diet that I've tried to adopt is supplementing my diet with Superfoods, such as cacao, goji berries and spirulina.

Ayurveda is another one of those ancient ways of living that focuses on finding balance. Ayurveda is very much based on cycles found in nature, including a daily cycle, called Dincharya, and the cycle of the seasons.

In the past few weeks, I've been keeping the daily routine of Ayurveda in mind. Those who practice Ayurveda eat three meals a day with no snacks. According to the daily cycles, the best time to eat is between 10am and 2pm: this is when the digestion is the best. Thus, lunch is the largest meal of the day. Breakfast is meant to hold you over until lunch, and dinner is a small supplemental meal that is meant to hold you over until bed.

In summary, it's taken me a lot of experimenting and playing around with different ways of eating to find something that I'm completely comfortable with and that works for me. Plus, it's much more fun to have the freedom to eat however you want whenever you want than to follow a strict diet. I've found that the more freedom I give myself, the more likely I am to stick with something for the long haul.

With what different dietary theories do you identify? Are you the type who experiments with their diet often?