Monday, March 31, 2014

Today's post is brought to you by the letters A, B & C {homemade nut butter}


Just like peanut butter is a staple in most American homes, nut butters are staples in most paleo homes. They come in a vast array of flavors and types, and are great for just about anything: dipping fruit and veggies into, blending into smoothies and shakes, baking delicious cakes and cookies, topping pancakes and crepes... and, my all-time favorite, eating straight from the spoon!

But, unlike their legume counterpart, they can be quite spendy. And by spendy, I mean downright insanely expensive!

Some ways to lower costs are to order online, take advantage of sales, buy in bulk... and make your own.

When I first started out on my paleo journey, nut butter (hazelnut, to be exact) was one of the first things I attempted to make myself. But boy it did it a loooong time! I thought it was just the quality of my food processor, so I read a bit about it online. Nope. Turns out it wasn't just my food processor - most folks had to wait as long as 30 minutes before their precious nuts would release their oils and turn into creamy goodness.

I tried to be patient, but, alas, patience is not one of my virtues. (Also, when you have to stop the blender and scrape down the sides every 30 seconds for over 20 minutes, you decide a faster way needs to be found.)

And so I decided to add a bit of olive oil to my nuts.

I know, I know, everyone says DO NOT ADD OIL! NUTS ARE NATURALLY FULL OF OIL! If you are one of those peeps and you're okay with listening to your food processor run on high for half an hour, then go for it.

If you're like me, add the oil baby!

I have perfect nut butter this way, often in less than 10 minutes, depending on the type of nut.

For this post, I made the much coveted ABC butter. It took me a couple seconds to decipher the name when I first saw a picture of it on Instagram, but once I had the almond / Brazil nut / cashew part figured out, I knew I needed some, ASAP!

This, like all nut butters in my opinion, is delicious sandwiched between two slices of carrot or two wedges of apple. I add just a touch of salt, but you could also add a bit of sweetener if you prefer it sweet.

Don't have (or can't eat) one of the nuts listed? Feel free to substitute others! This method works perfectly with only one kind of nut as well.

Enjoy!



ABC Butter

Ingredients:
  • 1 ounce (28 grams) almonds
  • 1 ounce (28 grams) Brazil nuts
  • 1 ounce (28 grams) cashews
  • A dash of sea salt
  • *optional lazy method: 1 tbsp olive oil
Method:
  1. Place everything into a food processor and blend on high until creamy, scraping down sides as needed.

PS - If you're making smaller portions of nut butter (think "single serving" size), a coffee grinder works AMAZINGLY well at getting that coveted, creamy, almost dripping off you spoon texture! It's super simple as well - just throw the nuts in and push the butter, no scraping required! 

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Coffee Coffee Coffee Starts With C {pump it up coffee}

Anyone who knows me or my family knows that we run on coffee. Growing up, one of the first chores I learned to do was to make a pot of coffee. Before that, I was taught how Momma and Daddy liked their coffee and would bring them a new cup each time their current mug was empty.

As I got older, I started hitting the local coffee joints one by one. I discovered my favorite flavor for coffee was caramel (and it still is!). I also drank coffee at home, tasting each and every one of CoffeeMate's liquid creamers (I absolutely loved the holidays when all the fancy flavors would come out!). I could literally drink those creamers straight - and sometimes I would!

Then I moved to Belgium. Bam. This was the end of my coffee loving days. Liquid creamer? Unheard of. Coffee shops? They mostly sell beer, and definitely no flavored coffees. Drink my coffee with milk and sugar? Ick.

Luckily, I have a coffee loving husband. He introduced me to real, freshly brewed coffee - and I discovered I loved it black! I have since installed a drip coffee pot in my classroom and enjoy several cups of freshly brewed, black coffee each and every weekday! (My students know not to ask me any annoying questions before I've had my coffee - but they still laugh every time the machine "farts" during their early morning dictations :p)

Weekends though are a different story. We have a Senseo machine at our apartment, and while it is practical, I really don't love the flavor it produces. I even buy the same brand of coffee for my drip pot as for my Senseo - it just doesn't taste the same.

Enter, BulletProof coffee.

I've posted a recipe before for my chocolate version, but I was wanting something a little different. I switched out the cacao powder for apple pie spice, and while that was delicious, it wasn't hitting the spot.

Then I stumbled across the Paleo Chef's recipe for #ButtahCoffee. I decided to give it a go, tweaked a thing or two, and ended up with the most delicious coffee ever! This is going to become my go-to weekend coffee!

I could feel good about drinking this as well - I can't say as much for my coffee shop adventures or CoffeeMate doused home brews of yesteryear... the healthy fats and stimulating spices are perfect additions to a healthy and happy lifestyle! What more could I ask for?

I needed a name for it though. I decided on Pump It Up because I had used a French press coffee maker to mix everything together, as my cousin Manon had once suggested. I literally had to pump it up to make my coffee, and drinking it left me pumped up for the day! It was perfect!

Thanks, Paleo Chef and Manon, for helping me find my perfect weekend coffee fix! Not only is it delicious, it also full of superfoods! #startyourdayright


Pump It Up Coffee

Ingredients:
  • 1-2 cups of your favorite brew
  • 1 heaping tsp of ghee
  • 1 heaping tsp of coconut oil
  • 1 tsp cacao powder
  • 1/4 tsp of cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp of turmeric
  • 1/8 tsp of ginger
  • *optional: sweetener to taste
Method:
  1. Mix everything together (using a blender, milk frother, French press, fork...).
  2. Serve immediately and enjoy immensely!

Saturday, March 29, 2014

I Work Out {Body Weight Workouts}

I've already posted my weekly workout schedule here, and I usually follow it pretty closely. Sometimes though, I'm going to be somewhere other than my home during the week... since my dumbbells are at home, it's kinda hard to lift them when I'm away.

If I can, or if I remember to, I'll shift around my schedule, thereby planning my cardio day for the day I'll be gone. Cardio can be done anywhere - I'll usually check out HIIT's Instagram feed for a quick but deadly Hiit routine. This Dexter workout is one of my favorites and really gets me pumped and ready to go.

Sometimes though, I forget to  switch things around, or I just can't for one reason or another. (Like, for example, when I go on 3 day field trips with my students.)

In cases such as these, I could just not exercise, but I could also exercise with the tools I always have with me: my body.

Body weight exercises are amazing in that you don't need anything except your body to do most of them, and the others only require simple objects like a park bench (or a dormitory bed). Also, you can make them as simple or as hard as you want, and you can truly go at your own pace.

For days when I want to get a body weight workout in, I'll just go to one of these websites for ideas. If I want to do a total body workout, I'll pick a move from each category. If I'm just focusing on upper or lower body, I'll choose accordingly. I usually finish off my set with a total body exercise, just because.

There are many other sites out there, these are just my top four picks. :)

And, as a bonus, here are three examples of body weight workouts I do when I'm away from home.

Body Weight Workout - Upper Body
  • 30 seconds of jumping jacks to warm up
  • Negative pushups (1-3 sets of 10-12)
  • 1 minute plank hold
  • Pike ups (1-3 sets of 10-12)
  • 1 minute plank hold
  • Triceps dips (1-3 sets of 10-12)
  • 30 Seconds of supermans to cool down
  • Stretch it out

Body Weight Workout - Lower Body
  • 30 seconds of mountain climbers to warm up
  • Shoulder bridge (1-3 sets of 10-12)
  • 1 minute plank hold
  • Squats (1-3 sets of 10-12)
  • 1 minute plank hold
  • Lunges (1-3 sets of 10-12 on each leg)
  • 30 Seconds of supermans to cool down
  • Stretch it out

Body Weight Workout - Total Body
  • 30 seconds of high knees to warm up
  • Joint-leg lifts (1-3 sets of 10-12)
  • 1 minute plank hold
  • Negative pushups (1-3 sets of 10-12)
  • 1 minute plank hold
  • Squats (1-3 sets of 10-12)
  • 1 minute plank hold
  • Triceps dips (1-3 sets of 10-12)
  • 1 minute plank hold
  • Lunges (1-3 sets of 10-12 on each leg)
  • 30 Seconds of supermans to cool down
  • Stretch it out

Disclaimer: I am far from being a professional, I am simply sharing what works for me in the hopes that it may help someone else achieve their goals. If you have a suggestion/correction, please feel free to let me know in the comments below. And, like with any workout plan, listen to your body! Go slow and do what feels right (but don't forget to push yourself a bit!).

Friday, March 28, 2014

Magic Mug Cupcakes {Chocolate chip cookie}

Who doesn't love a fresh chocolate chip cookie? We all have our favorite recipe - there are those that like them soft and cake-like, others that prefer them crispy and crunchy, and, if you're like me, you want your cookie to be thick and chewy.

I had perfected my chocolate chip cookie recipe and I was oh so proud of it! Everyone who tasted it asked me for the recipe. It was perfect.

Then I discovered what evil gluten and dairy were doing to me and how much better I felt without them. I had to say goodbye to my beloved recipe for good.

I am still on a quest to recreate my perfectly chewy chocolate chip cookie, but to tide me over I've managed to recreate that same yummy taste in cake form. I personally find the different flours combine to create that very unique cookie taste, but feel free to use what you have on hand.



Chocolate Chip Cookie Mug Cup Cake
save this


Ingredients:
  • 1 tbsp tapioca flour
  • 1 tbsp coconut flour
  • 1 tbsp almond flour
  • 1 tbsp hazelnut flour
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • A good dash of sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 3 tbsp chocolate chips
  • *optional: 20 grams dark chocolate
Method:
  1. In a mug, mix together all the dry ingredients except the chocolate chips and the dark chocolate, using a fork to whisk until smooth.
  2. Stir in the chocolate chips.
  3. Microwaved uncovered on high for 2 minutes (time may vary depending on microwaves, start with 1 minute 50 seconds and add more time by 10 second intervals until the top of the cake is dry).
  4. Microwave the dark chocolate until melted, if using.
  5. Turn out onto a plate, cut in half, top with the melted chocolate and enjoy!

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Belgians are Snackers {those little devils}

When I lived in America, I ate breakfast, lunch, an after school snack, and dinner. Sometimes, if there was a small occasion to celebrate, we'd have a dessert.

Then I moved to Belgium.

I observed people who ate breakfast, then had a small mid-morning snack {called a "dix heures", a "collation" or an "en cas"}. They would then have lunch, then, around two or three, another small snack {called a "collation" or an "en cas"}. Then, around 4 o'clock, they would eat again {this time calling it their "gouter" or "quatre heures"}. Then they'd munch on something before dinner {because a small "apéro" is necessary} then they would eat the actual dinner. A dessert or snack would follow later on, usually in front of the TV.

I'm not saying one country has better eating habits than the other, but all I know is my body wasn't used to eating that often - and when I fell into that pattern of snacking, the kilos piled on!

Then I realized one day at work that I was snacking out of habit and not out of actual hunger. 

The morning recess bell rang, my students rushed out to the playground, and I scurried around my classroom preparing the activity that would follow. I was so busy, eating was the farthest thing from my mind.

It was only as I was unpacking my lunch later that day that I noticed my mid-morning snack was untouched... and that I wasn't even all that hungry for lunch! I was simply eating at 10 o'clock because everyone ate at 10 o'clock.

I decided right then and there that I would only snack if I was hungry from there on out.

And you know what? I naturally went back to my old eating pattern: breakfast, lunch, snack, dinner. And, sometimes, I don't even need the snack.

But for those times when I do need a little something to keep me going until dinner time, I like to whip up one of these little guys. These deviled eggs are low carb with a high fat and protein content, giving me the energy I need - and they just so happen to be delicious!

Also, you can chop up the egg white and mix it in with the rest - BAM!, delicious avocado egg salad to eat on celery sticks or in lettuce wraps.

This recipe is a single-serving, meaning, one hard boiled egg. It's easily to scale it up though, if you have a bigger appetite than me, or if you're making it for a crowd. 

PS - it's delicious topped with prosciutto or bacon! I also love topping mine with red pepper flakes. Not only does it make them look pretty, but it also adds a tasty little kick to every bite!


Avocado Deviled Egg

Ingredients:
  • 1 hard boiled egg
  • 1/8 of a ripe avocado
  • 1 tsp homemade mayo
  • 1 tsp mustard
  • Sea salt and black pepper to taste
  • *optional: red pepper flakes or paprika to garnish
Method:
  1. Cut the egg in half, remove the yolk. Set whites aside.
  2. Mash together the yolk, avocado, mayo, mustard, salt and pepper.
  3. Fill the egg whites with the yolk mixture. Sprinkle with desired garnish.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Take care of your nails {shine them!}

The first time I heard about this little gadget was when my cousin Manon told me about it after coming home from a shopping day in Maastricht.

It sounded cool enough, but I rarely go to Maastricht because it's not a city I love and I wasn't about to go there just for a four-sided nail polisher.

I forgot about it, and continued doing nothing to my nails.

I used to be an avid polisher. I would paint my nails every color under the sun and was always trying out new nail art designs. I was a do-it-myself-er because it was just too expensive to get them done professionally (my nails grow super fast so even going a week between manicures was stretching it).

I was so into nail polish that most of my students gifted me a bottle at the end of last school year!

Then I started getting annoyed by the time it took me. I needed to do my nails 1-2 times per week in order to keep them looking presentable - that meant a lot of time spent flapping my hands in the air, waiting for the polish to dry.

Then I started reading about potential health hazards linked to nail polishes. I decided to read the ingredients on a bottle of nail polish and realized I couldn't pronounce a single word on the label, let alone did I know what any of it was.

Before - dull nails and dry skin.
I then decided to stop using nail polish. (My sister received my entire collection, fyi. Go drop her a comment asking her for some snazzy nail art tutorials if you are interested in that sort of thing. She'd love to do some up!)

Unfortunately though, I stopped doing anything at all to my fingers and they, ahem, are looking a bit scroungy these days...

All that is about to change though! I stumbled across the four-sided nail buffer my cousin had told me about in my local Di. It was only 2€ so I grabbed it up, curious to see if it really did work as well as Manon had claimed it did.

Verdict? It works! It took me about 5 minutes total to do both hands and my nails are soft and shiny! And it couldn't be simpler, all you have to do is follow the numbers!
    After - soft, shiny nails! (and embarrassingly dry skin...)
  • Side one files your nails down (I also filed the ends of my nails a bit straighter during this step)
  • Side two smooths out the ridges left from the filing (don't forget to pass over the tips as well).
  • Side three polishes the nail (they looked pretty much like they did before I started after this step).
  • And side four makes every thing shiny!

Now I just need to start remembering to moisturize my digits and everything will be groovy...

UPDATE: It's been a couple weeks now, and my nails are still smooth and shiny, just not as shiny as the first day. I can actually see a difference between the bed of my nails and the tips - the bed isn't as smooth.

Also, my 1st and 2nd grade students (who like to hold my hands) have repeatedly told me how soft my nails are. :p

And no, I'm still not moisturizing my hands properly. :/

Monday, March 24, 2014

Tubby Toast is Yummy! {Caul-O-Meal}

When my sister and I were younger, we used to love eating Malt-o-Meal. We only ate the chocolate variety and we always made it in the microwave, but it was kind of a tradition for us to make it together.

We'd measure out the ingredients carefully, add a little bit of extra milk because we liked it really creamy, and stir everything together. We'd then put the bowls into the microwave and watch them turn around in circles, stopping to stir every so often, making sure they didn't cook over the sides and make a big mess to clean up.

We were always very careful.

One day though, we got a bit distracted. We were busy watching TV, the children's show Teletubbies, to be exact. On the show, the brightly colored creatures were busy cooking breakfast. They pushed buttons on the wall of their house, and started eating tubby toast. That's when we remembered our own breakfast, turning round and round in the microwave...

We rushed to open the door, expecting to see a huge, chocolatey mess waiting for us - but what we saw instead made us crack up with laughter! When we finally got ourselves together, we pulled the bowls out of the microwave and picked up our... tubby toast! Apparently, when you over-cook chocolate Malt-o-Meal, it becomes tubby toast.

We threw it away and started over, but we always referred to our chocolatey breakfast cereal as tubby toast from that day on.

And the other day, I got a craving for tubby toast.

I thought and thought, perused the internet and checked out the contents of my fridge. I finally decided on cauliflower for the base, with a bit of coconut for added texture, and, of course, cacao.

So, without further delay, here's a super yummy, filling, warming and chocolatey breakfast recipe for you. Enjoy!

Caul-o-Meal

Ingredients:
  • 1 cup cauliflower puree
  • 1/4 cup desiccated coconut
  • 1/4 cup milk of choice
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tbsp cacao powder
  • Sweetener of choice to taste
  • Dash of sea salt
Method:
  1. Combine all the ingredients in a small saucepan and cook on medium heat until heated through.
  2. Serve hot with additional milk if desired.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Big Ass Salads are my Favorites {raw kale salad}


I love kale. If I was a plant, I would want to be kale so I could marry another kale plant and live happily ever after with kale for the rest of my life.

That's just how great I think kale is.


I first tried it as baked "chips". I thought it was good, but not amazing. I prepared it like this a few more times, but I got a bit bored with it and decided to try something new.


I sauteed it, following Ree Drummond's recipe. And I hated it. Actually, the hubster and I both hated it. I ended up arranging the wilted pieces of kale on a baking tray and making chips out of them. Again.


Then I read about how much Elana Amsterdam's boys just love raw kale salads. I figured I would give it a go one evening for dinner.

I fell in love.

The hubster only found it so-so. I wasn't sad though - that meant more kale for me!

Because this is far from being his favorite side dish though, I usually make it my lunch, topped with all sorts of yummy goodies.

Breakfast used to be my favorite meal of the day, but now I look forward to lunch all morning because I know my beloved raw kale salad is just waiting to be gobbled up!



And, because the leaves are so robust, I can make this salad up ahead of time and throw it in the fridge for a day or two. I actually gets better the longer the leaves "marinate" in the salad dressing (so Friday's lunch is always the best lunch of the week!).

If you don't have kale on hand (crazy, I know...), or don't like raw kale (even crazier!), you can always substitute your favorite leafy green. Just know that you're missing out on the ultimate of all yummy salads!





Raw Kale Salad

Ingredients:
  • 1 tbsp homemade mayo
  • 1/2 tbsp yellow mustard
  • 1 1/2 tbsp white wine vinegar
  • Sea salt and black pepper
  • 2-3 cups of shredded kale
  • 1 cup of preferred protein (hard boiled egg, tuna, salmon, shredded chicken, chopped ham...)
  • 1 green onion, sliced
Method:
  1. Mix together the first three ingredients to make the dressing. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  2. Wash, chop, dry and massage the kale (5 minutes or so of squeezing should do the trick).
  3. Top the kale with your protein, the onion and the dressing, tossing to combine.
  4. Enjoy!

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Photo Shoot Challenge {week 3 recap}


I'm still following along with Whitney Carlson's Photo Shoot Challenge. 

And while I can't say that week 3 has been a success, I'm still plugging along, as I'm determined to finish what I started.

(Something about failure only being a reality if you stop at that keeps me pushing towards success, even if it won't be at the end of this challenge.)

So here is week 3's recap. I've included to highs and the lows in an effort to remain transparent and truthful - and to let others who may be struggling know they aren't alone. For more positive results, read about week 1 here and week 2 here.

Eat healthy.
Exercise at least 4-6 days per week.
Drink a gallon of water per day.
No sugar.
Eat six-eight cups of vegetables per day.

I ate fairly healthy, like usual, and I even got in the six to eight cups of veggies every day (it was surprisingly easy!) but the rest was slacking...


I'm not sure how much water I was drinking. I'm fairly sure I got my gallon or more in most days, but I just wasn't able to count correctly this week. It may sounds corny, but my heart wasn't with it :p

I also made an exception to the sugar this week. You see, it was "that time of month" that us women just love. That's no excuse, but I decided to give into my cravings and have chocolate. There was sugar in the chocolate I ate.

As for exercising, I didn't exercise for two of my scheduled days. I was incapable of doing so. I'm not quite sure if I had a bad reaction to a food I ate or if I was having a mental breakdown (I'm only half joking here), but I was physically incapable of preforming athletically.

Needless to say, I gained a bit of weight and/or bloat this week.

Am I going to let this get me down? Of course not. This was one "bad" week. I wasn't at the top of my game, but these past few days did have many positive points (plenty of sleep, lots of healthy food choices despite the less healthy ones, tons of veggies, good sessions when I did work out, a better understanding of my reaction to certain foods...). I will simply pick myself up running, so to speak, and continue down my path to better health.

I'm realizing more and more that the road to success is not straight, and it isn't going to be a matter of days (or even months) to get to where I'm going. As long as I consistently make better choices, my health with continue to improve.

Here's to finishing out this challenge by giving it all I've got! 

Friday, March 21, 2014

Simple can still pack a punch {tomato salad}


When I visited my family this summer in the states, we ate a lot of BBQs. And by a lot, I mean the meat portion of nearly every dinner was grilled on the BBQ.

And while I love meat and don't go a single day without eating it, I also love me some veggies.

Therefore, daddy, brother and the hubster were usually in charge of the proteins while my Momma, sister and I took care of the plants.

Sometimes we made slightly elaborate side dishes, such as Momma's super yummy green beans, but sometimes we just threw together simple salads.


One of my favorite simple salads to throw together was the tomato salad. This is a staple salad here in Belgium, but my family always raved over it each time I whipped it up.

You can get complicated and add shallots, onions, green onions, fresh herbs... or stay super simple like the recipe detailed below. Either way, this is a beautiful and delicious dude that is sure to please.

And, if you can tolerate dairy, the addition of fresh mozzarella will upgrade this simple tomato salad to a gorgeous caprese salad.

Tomato Salad

Ingredients:
  • 2 medium tomatoes or 4 Roma
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 1/2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • Sea salt and black pepper to taste
Method:
  1. Wash and chop the tomatoes.
  2. Drizzle with the olive oil and vinegars. Season with salt and pepper. Toss to combine.
  3. Serve immediately or refrigerate for up to one day.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

After Dinner Treat {Bananoffee Shake}

I love coffee and I love milkshakes - put the two of them together and I double love them! I also enjoy after dinner treats, but caffeine isn't always a great idea so late in the day.

Thankfully there's a delicious substitute: chicory. The roots of this plant are dried and ground into a fine powder existing in two versions: either to sprinkle on top of your coffee grounds before brewing a pot of java, or to dissolve directly into a hot cup of water or {non-dairy} milk.

I have a coffee pot at work, but sometimes I just want a single cup of delicious warm liquid. Those times I reach for one of my tea bags, or my container of instant chicory.

And sometimes, as I'm preparing dinner, I get a hankering for something sweet. I'll quickly chop up a ripe banana, throw it in my blender cup, and put the whole thing in the freezer. Then, once the washing up is finished, I'll whip up one of these bad boys. It always hits to spot.

If you don't like (or can't find) instant chicory powder, you could easily substitute instant coffee or even plain cacao powder.



Bananoffee Shake

Ingredients:
  • 1 ripe banana, chopped and frozen
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 1/2 tbsp instant chicory powder
  • 0-1 tsp honey (depending on your sweet-tooth and the ripeness of your banana)
Method:
  1. Place everything in a blender and pulse until smooth.
  2. Add a bit more coconut milk to achieve desired thickness.
  3. Enjoy your cold and delicious milkshake!

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Getting my Omega-3s & Vitamin D {salmon avocado salad}


I recently got some blood work done, and the tests came back fantastic! My doctor told me I am in "remarkably" good health (her word, not mine) and that she rarely sees results as good as mine. Nothing in the gray zone, nothing to keep an eye on, nothing to cause any concern whatsoever!

Except.

My vitamin D levels are pretty much nil. As in, quasi non-existent. Zero. Zilch. Nada. No. vitamin. D.

My body and the sun just don't get along. My body and supplements just don't get along. My body and food just don't get along. My body just doesn't make vitamin D efficiently. Period.

Well. What's a girl to do in that case?

My doctor told me to continue my supplements, to get lots of safe sun exposure, and to eat fish. Lots and lots of fish.

So that is exactly what I have been doing.

And although it might just all be in my head, I feel better. Less moody. Less depressed. I have more energy and need less sleep. (I still need 8+ hours of sleep per night, but hey, can't win 'em all!) I credit this to the fish.

Lucky for me, I love fish. Sadly though, it can be expensive (and don't even get me started on potential toxicity levels!). That is why I have chose to save "real", fresh fish fillets for my dinner meals shared with the hubster and rely on canned tuna, mackerel, salmon and sardines at lunch time.

With at least half of my lunches being tinned fish now, I need to shake things up a bit. The old tuna salad standby loses its appeal after too long... But the salads still need to remain quick and delicious!

Today I have a fresh tasting salmon salad for you. You could replace the tinned salmon for tinned tuna, or even a fresh fillet of your choosing (stick to firmer fish so they hold up well during the tossing). A sprinkling of red pepper flakes would add a touch of color and heat to this mild salad as well - have fun playing around!

If you choose to prepare this ahead of time, mix everything, leaving the greens separate. Toss the greens with the other ingredients just before eating.

Salmon Avocado Salad

Ingredients:
  • 125 grams flaked salmon
  • 2-3 tbsp of homemade mayo
  • Sea salt and black pepper, to taste
  • 1/2 an avocado, sliced
  • 1/2 a lemon, juiced
  • 2-3 big handfuls of leafy greens
Method:
  1. Mix together the salmon and mayo. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  2. In a large bowl, toss together the salmon, avocado, lemon juice and greens. Adjust seasoning if needed.
  3. Serve immediately.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Cleaning without Chemicals {a lemony fresh microwave}

If you're anything like me, you've ignored all the anti-microwave propaganda and you've decided to keep your trusty, food-reheating box. I personally love my microwave and use it every day to reheat my mini breakfast quiche and previously prepped veggies. (Sometimes I even use it to make of these or these tasty mug cakes!)

But, like me, you probably don't want to be putting a bunch of chemicals where you put your food. Microwaves can get pretty messy though, and need to be cleaned regularly in order to maintain a certain level of hygiene ;p 

This is a little trick I started using way before I ever even knew what paleo was - even in my pre-paleo days I tried to limit the toxic products I used around my food.

All you need for this cleaning trick is half a lemon, water, a microwave-safe bowl or mug, and a soft cloth. You don't even have to waste a good lemon half, either! Here, I'm using a lemon half I already squeezed the juice out of.

Simply place the lemon into the bowl or mug, fill about halfway with water, then microwave on high for 10 minutes.

When finished, allow the bowl or mug to cool for a minute or two, then carefully remove from the microwave.

Using the soft cloth, wipe out the inside of the microwave.


The lemon and hot water vapor breaks down any dried bits of food that may be stuck to the inside of your machine. All you're left with is a lemony-fresh scent and a spotless microwave!

If you're worried about sanitation, you can always wipe it down with a bit of vinegar after removing the food bits. This will do a pretty good job of disinfecting everything for you.

PS - This works for ovens as well! Just use 1-2 cut lemons and allow the water to heat until water droplets form on the inside of the oven. Allow to cool slightly before wiping clean - don't burn yourself!

Happy cleaning!

Monday, March 17, 2014

Green eggs for breakfast {zeggs}


I'd heard about a lot of different versions of n'oatmeal (as in, "not oatmeal") using lots of various food stuff to replace said oats. The one I found the weirdest was the so-called "zeggs".

The idea is, you take zucchini, mix it with eggs, and you end up with an oatmeal-like concoction that you can then sweeten and flavor as you would regular oats.


I used to be a die-hard fan of oatmeal and I would start most mornings off with a huge bowl of the warm stuff (and would have to "refuel" one or two hours later as my blood sugar levels came crashing down, but that's another story...). My all-time favorite flavor was apple cinnamon, so that was the flavor I chose for my first bowl of zeggs.



The results were surprisingly delicious, and very filling (I ate these for lunch :p). I even managed to keep it tasting sweet while sugar free.

The hubster thought I was insane and kept looking at me strangely, but he never did like regular oats either, so what does he know? ;-)

The basic recipe is just grated zucchini and eggs, so feel free to experiment with any flavors that strike your fancy. And if you're put off by the green color, you can always go the chocolate route to cover that shizz up.

This is a great way to start the day. Or to continue it at noon... or to end it at dinner... It's just yummy whenever!





Apple Cinnamon Zeggs

Ingredients:
  • 1 baby zucchini
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 sweet apple (red or yellow)
  • 1/2 tbsp cinnamon
  • 1/5 tbsp vanilla extract
Method:
  1. Grate the zucchini and 3/4 of the apple.
  2. Mix well with the 3 eggs, cinnamon and vanilla in a small saucepan over medium-high heat.
  3. Stir while heating to prevent the egg clumping together into an omelet. The zucchini should release a lot of water. Continue cooking until the desired amount of water has evaporated (the longer you cook, the mushier the zucchini becomes).
  4. Dice the remaining 1/4 of the apple. Remove the zeggs from the heat and stir in the apple. Serve immediately.