Paleo Buffalo Chicken Spaghetti and a Pumpkin Patch

Today was a gorgeous fall day, with a bright blue sky and beautiful orange leaves. My boyfriend and I decided to enjoy the beautiful outdoors and get in the halloween spirit by going to a pumpkin patch.

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Cottonwood Farms in Boulder offers a corn and hay maze, lots of farm animals, and a pumpkin patch with some gorgeous pumpkins. Somehow my boyfriend has made it 29 years without ever carving a pumpkin. That is unacceptable to me and my love of fall activities. We will definitely be fixing that this weekend with the two perfect pumpkins we picked out.

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Tonight I made one of the most delicious paleo recipes I have made yet. Unfortunately, it just looks like mush on film, but I PROMISE you it is worth it. I have to give credit to PaleoOMG for this one.

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Paleo Buffalo Chicken Spaghetti

  • 1 large spaghetti squash, cut in half lengthwise
  • 2 tablespoons fat (I used duck fat)
  • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cubed
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • ½ sweet onion, finely chopped
  • 1 large carrot, finely chopped
  • 2 stalks of celery, finely chopped
  • ½ cup hot sauce
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • chopped green onions, to garnish
  • sprinkle of red pepper flakes
For the mayo (this will render about ⅔ cup mayo)
  • ⅔ cup avocado oil
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • ½ teaspoon dijon mustard
  • ⅛ teaspoon garlic powder
  • salt and pepper, to taste

1. Cut spaghetti squash in half length wise. Place them face down on a baking sheet and cook at 350 for 25 minutes.

2. Put coconut oil in a pan with cut up chicken. Cook until the chicken lightly cooks on the outside, with no more pink showing. Cut up garlic, onions, carrots and celery and add to pan.

3. Mix the ingredients of the mayonnaise in a bowl, whip lightly until thickens.

4. When onions are translucent, add the cooked squash to the pan, mix in the mayo and the hot sauce. Cook for about five minutes and enjoy!

Trust me, take a leap of faith on the mushy yellow heap and make this recipe. I promise it will not disappoint.

Do you like fall activities? Do you have a special fall ritual?

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Paleo Roasted Chicken and Vegetables

I’ve always been intimidated by cooking a whole bird. Thanksgiving turkeys were always passed off to someone else to make, chicken was solely cooked in breast or thigh form. I just found it intimidating. But tonight, I decided to tackle a chicken because I wanted something easy besides just grilled chicken, which has been by go to for the past couple busy weeks. So I brought home my chicken, slathered on some grass fed butter, gave it a good rub down with some salt, pepper and thyme as it relaxed in the pan.

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I made sure to rub some on it’s inside too, didn’t wanna neglect any areas. I took out the liver, chopped it up and mixed it in with some chopped up sweet potato, onions and carrots that I piled up on the bottom of the pan. Next I covered everything with some chicken broth and stuck it in the oven at 350 degrees. It’s usually about 20 minutes per pound. I took mine out at about an hour and 45 minutes and it was perfectly juicy.

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It turned out to be not quite as scary as I thought it would be, super easy (I was even able to get some work done while it cooked), and super delicious to have some juicy chicken and vegetables.  I guess now I’ll have to try some more complicated recipes in the future to share!

Let’s Talk Grocery Stores – Top Ingredients to avoid

I’ve always liked looking in people’s grocery carts at the check out line to see what they are getting. Is that a little nosy? Yes. Am I judging? Not usually (though if you are buying Spam, Hungry Mans and chimichangas I probably will be).

More so I find it interesting to see how many people are making an effort to try to be healthy, but just don’t have the knowledge to make it happen. I was 100% one of these people, buying “100 Calorie” Packs of cookies (who really eats just one?) or Smart Ones Ice Cream treats.

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Everything about these “low fat/low cal” alternatives is bad. Some popular ingredients listed in low fat foods that should ALWAYS be avoided are:

1) Sucralose (used in Splenda and most low cal treats), which has been linked to spiked insulin levels (aka helping you GAIN weight) and increased gastrointestinal problems,

2) MSG has been shown to trigger weight gain and, more importantly, can destroy nerve cells in the brain if consumed in large quantities.

3) High Fructose Corn Syrup is the number one source of calories in the US Diet and is linked to diabetes and weight gain

4) Apartame, another artificial sweetener, which breaks down to Formaldehyde in the body and has caused more reports to the FDA of adverse reactions than all other foods/artificial flavoring COMBINED

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5) BHA , which is listed in the state of CA as a known carciogen, has been shown to form possible cancer causing compounds in the body.

AND Finally, the one that shocked me the most

6) Agave Nectar is advertised as a healthy alternative to sugar but in reality is highly processed, with more fructose than high fructose corn syrup.

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So how do you avoid this? It’s really very simple. STICK TO THE PERIMETER OF YOUR GROCERY STORE. Most grocery stores line the perimeter with the produce, meat, dairy and organic sections. There are only four things that I go into the center of the grocery store for 1) balsamic vinegar 2) apple cider vinegar 3) Spices and 4) Almond Butter. Also, because I’ve had people ask, canned vegetables are a no-no. Prior to canning they are heat blasted, removing most nutritional value, and have added preservatives and salt.

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If you don’t want to take it that far, which I’m sure plenty don’t, then be sure to check what is on the label. If you can’t pronounce it or don’t know what it is, don’t get it. If it’s has “Modified” or “Enriched” in front of it, that means “highly processed” so put it back. Don’t be scared of fat, as long as it is from a NATURAL source.

99% of eating healthy is breaking the habit of being lazy. It doesn’t take me longer than 10 minutes to cook a chicken breast and some veggies. That’s only 6 minutes more than the average time to heat up a frozen meal, without the extra sodium and preservatives. Anyone can do it, it’s just a matter of making the choice.

Paleo Prosciutto Eggs Cups and Beef Stuffed Peppers

I admit, it’s been a while. I got caught up in my real world life, final exams, and starting a full time job. To whoever has been linking to me on Pinterest, you are amazing and I am so grateful. Somehow in my absence my blog got more hits than ever. Does this mean that you guys like it better when I don’t talk? …well tough luck, I’m in a chatty mood.

I’m back with TWO recipes for you today. The first one I had seen pictures of on Instagram and knew I had to recreate. If you are looking for another breakfast food to make ahead of time and eat on the go, this is definitely for you.

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Paleo Prosciutto/Bacon Egg Cup

1/4lb proscuitto or 1/2lb bacon

6 Eggs

Chopped bell peppers, onions, spinach (I used 1/2 a bell pepper, 1/4 cup spinach and 1/4 cup onion, but it’s really up to you)

1. Spray muffin tin with coconut oil

2. Line each muffin tin with thin layer of prosciutto/bacon

3. Mix veggies and eggs together and pour small amounts into each muffin tin

4. Bake in oven for about 25 minutes on 350.

These were so good and did not last long before they were gobbled up. The saltiness from the prosciutto is truly addicting. Tonight I also made stuffed peppers, which are super quick and easy and great to make ahead of time for lunches or dinners.

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Paleo Stuffed Peppers

1lb ground beef or bison

3 bell peppers, preferably red or yellow or orange

1/2 onion, diced

6 basil leaves, chopped

1/2 cup cherry tomatos, chopped in half

6 cloves of garlic

1 teaspoon chili powder (opt.)

1. Cut bell peppers in half, leaving the stems up scooping out the seeds. Place open side down on a baking sheet with a bit of coconut oil on them and place in oven at 350*.

2. Put chopped onions in saucepan with 2 tbs coconut oil. Cook on medium until translucent.

3. Add beef and garlic and chili powder (optional, but you know I like things spicy), stir until the beef starts to brown.

4. Add basil and tomato, cook until all meet is brown.

5. Remove peppers from oven, scoop beef mixture into peppers.

6. Put back in oven for about 15 minutes or until it is cooked to your liking.

7. I also roasted jalapeños (just cut them up and threw them on a baking pan) and mixed these in after the fact. Added even more spicy flavor if that’s your thing.

Today I signed up for a new gym, with my work paying for a good portion of my membership fees. I’ll be able to go over during lunch and work out, or after work to avoid rush hour traffic. The gym is super nice and I can’t wait until tomorrow to check it out. Does that make me a little crazy? Maybe, but I don’t care.

Also, I found a Paleo Food truck! They were just shutting down for the day, when I discovered them so I couldn’t get any food. BUT I chatted with the guys a bit, who were super friendly, and I’ll be reviewing their food tomorrow for anyone who lives in the Denver Area!

Cold Run, Warm Paleo Chili

Sorry it’s been forever, guys, but I have exciting news! I’ve moved to Siberia for the indefinite future!

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Okay, not really, but considering that in the past week we have had about 20 inches of snow it certainly feels that way. I keep reminding myself that this means we won’t have as many forest fires this summer, but when your eyelashes literally collect snow and then freeze during your run, it’s hard to look on the bright side.

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I know, I know. I could have just run inside. But it’s been 6 long months of snow and treadmills and I’m pretty over it. At least I had a nice warm bowl of chili waiting to warm my belly at home.
This chili is DELICIOUS and if you are living someplace where winter may be overstaying its welcome I highly recommend making it.

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PALEO POBLANO CHILI
1 yellow onion, diced
2 green bell peppers, chopped
1 fist of garlic, choppe
1 Poblano Pepper, roasted and chopped
3-4 lbs of rump roast, cubed
2 tsp coconut oil
1 tbsp paprika
2tsp cumin
2tsp chipotle
2 tbsp chili powder (I like it spicy…)
6 oz can of tomato paste
30 oz can of fire roasted tomatoes, diced

1) in a large pot heat coconut oil over medium heat and add onions and peppers. Cook for about 3 minutes or until onions become translucent
2) Mix spices and rub on meat
3) Add meat and Garlic and poblano pepper to pan with onions and peppers.
4) brown meat, about 2-3 minutes
5) add remaining ingredients. It will be a bit watery at first, but let simmer on medium-low heat for about 2 hours and it will thicken up

Stay warm out there, or for those who are actually experiencing spring – go enjoy it!

“Obesity isn’t the problem, it’s the solution to the problem”

Over the weekend I watched the documentary Hungry For Change. I’ve watched a TON of “food” documentaries in my day, but I’d definitely still recommend this one. One of the reasons is because it discussed the mental struggle behind obesity (hence the quote from a psychologist from the movie as my title) and the fact that many people use the high fat/high sugar foods that send happy signals to the brain as therapy, instead of addressing the issues in other ways.The food industry capitalizes on this psychological problem, as well as designing their products to make us addicted.  It also gave a more simple “how to” for eating healthy (aka what I like to call “J.E.R.F – Just Eat Real Food”).

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Some of the best take-a-ways from the movie I found were:

~ On average, we (Americans) consume 150lbs of sugar a year. The level of sugar in our everyday foods is ridiculous. The other day I was trying to buy chicken stock only to find it had cane sugar added to it. A recent Princeton Study showed that sugar is in fact addictive and had a similar addictive effect on lab mice as drugs.

~ 90-95% of “dieters” end up gaining the weight back. It discusses the various reasons behind this, but the one I found most interesting was the problem with Diet Sodas. The artificial sweeteners in Diet Sodas actually cause you to crave sweeter things more, as you become desensitized to naturally sweet things like fruit. In mice, artificial sweeteners increased food consumption in meals that occurred after consuming the sweetener. This, besides the negative effects of artificial sweeteners in general, make it something to definitely have in moderation, if at all.

~ MSG, which is present in 80% of flavored food, is used in mice studies to fatten mice, as it excites the part of the brain used in fat production (as well as making us happy). Look to see if some of your favorite foods contain monosodium glutamate (MSG)

~ We are the first generation who might not have a longer life expectancy than our parents due to the increase in obesity related diseases/health problems.

Part of the film talked about using juicing as an important way to get in vegetables. I personally don’t like juicing, since it leaves a lot of the fibrous parts of the veggies/fruits behind. It did, however, inspire me to start making green smoothies every morning/another around 3 when I start to fade in the afternoon.

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A lot of people have asked me if it actually tastes good. Surprisingly, yes! The cinnamon and ginger help make it not only tolerable, but enjoyable. Especially if you add a banana for some natural sweetness.

It seems to be working as it helped me get through a tough workout last night, including 25 reps of 180lb dead lifts. Getting closer to my 200lb goal!

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With all that said, I hope you all enjoyed the Holiday weekend and ate plenty of foods you enjoyed, even if they weren’t they healthiest. We all gotta indulge now and then! Moderation is key 😉

Paleo Grilled Pineapple Steak Fajitas with Pineapple Salsa

Just popping in to give you a quick recipe to get you through the week! I may have gotten a little bit carried away with the Ferrari Engine that is the BlendTec Blender, so my “Salsa” is really more the consistency of Apple Sauce. Either way, it was still delicious and I’ve been eating it for lunch this week. 

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Ingredients for Marinade:

1lb Skirt Steak

5 Gloves of Garlic, Chopped

2 limes, juiced

2 Tbs Tomato Paste

1 tsp coriander

1 tsp cumin

1 tsp paprika

1 tsp garlic powder

1 tsp red flakes

Ingredients for Pineapple Salsa:

3/4 of Whole Pineapple 

1/4 Red Onion

2 Tbs Red Wine Vinegar

Ingredients for Stir-Fry:

2 Bell Peppers

3/4 Red Onion

1/4 Pineapple

3 Tbs Coconut Oil

 

Instructions:

1.  Combine marinade ingredients in a plastic bag (Including steak) and marinate for at least 30 minutes. 

2. Add sliced peppers and onion to a pan with coconut oil, cook for about 5 minutes over medium heat.

3. Add steak and marinade and pineapple chunks.

4. Cook for about 5-10 minutes or until steak is done to your liking.

 

Instructions for Pineapple Salsa:

1. Slice pineapple and grill either on normal grill or George Foreman for 8-10 minutes.

2. Combine grilled pineapple, onion and red wine vinegar in blender and blend lightly until desired consistency.

3. Put on top of fajitas and enjoy!