Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Happy New Year!

Like most people this time of year I have indulged in a few to many "Paleo" treats and chocolates, and maybe even a few to many non-Paleo treats if I'm honest (I won't cave on gluten or wheat but I will with sugar, corn and dairy) and with the New Year coming is seems like an appropriate time to start a challenge.  There are several out there for those of you looking for support during the process Diane Sanfilipo has her 21 day sugar detox starting up on the first, or Whole 9 Life has their whole 30 coming up also.  Either one is a great way to  get some direction along with support during the process.  Personally I am opting for a modified Whole 30, I am going to be eating Whole 30 approved meals and snacks 6 days out of the week with 1 day that I may eat "off".  I will still try to keep those days as close to Whole 30 as possible, but a girls gotta have her dark chocolate, and it will also allow my husband and I too keep a weekly date night (something that has been neglected for a while).  That way we can eat out without me having to worry about whether it's Whole 9 approved or not.  
I don't know about you but I have also gotten a bit lax in keeping my meals balanced and being sure that I am getting a great start in the morning.  Like eating within an hour of getting up, eating a meat and nuts breakfast with occasional eggs seems to work best for me.  By cleaning up my diet I am looking forward to improved energy and honestly hopefully some fat loss.  I am still working on getting my Cortisol levels to even out, so this should help with that too.  Even though clean eating seems like a no brainer, when I get exhausted, like I have been lately, it just seems to take to much energy to eat well.  But at some point something has to give.  I am going to sit down and lay out a basic meal plan for the myself so I don't have to think about it but just grab and go.  Like more leftovers and meals prepared ahead of time, I want to make it as easy as possible for myself to succeed when life is busy.
What are your New Years Resolutions?  Will you be joining me or any of the other groups in cleaning up your diet this month?  
Happy New Year!
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Saturday, December 24, 2011

Chocolate SunButter Cups

I also made these real quick today for a Christmas Treat...these are quicker and easier than baking cookies.  Dark Chocolate and Sunbutter...mmmm...yummy!

Chocolate Sunbutter Cups

3 pkgs of Lindt 70% dark chocolate (3.5 oz each) or dark chocolate of your choice
1 TBSP Coconut oil

1/4 cup sunflower seed butter (unsweetened)
1/2 TSBP raw honey (optional)

Melt your raw honey and stir into the sunflower seed butter and set aside.  Then in a double boiler, melt your chocolate and coconut oil.  Then remove from heat and line a mini muffin pan with mini muffin liners (foil works best).  Then pour your melted chocolate into a large ziploc bag and cut of the tiniest amount of the corner.  Using your bag, fill each of the cups about 1/4-1/3 full.  Once they are all partially filled, set aside and let it firm up a bit.  After the chocolate is mostly firm, place a small amount of the Sunbutter in each cup (I didn't measure but about 1/2 tsp I would guess).  Then take your bag of melted chocolate and fill the cups the rest of the way, set aside and let the chocolate harden.  And then you have some beautiful and delicious treats!

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Christmas Treats

In the spirit of Christmas, the kids and I have been making lot's of fun crafts and treats this week.  One that I can share on here is for Gingerbread Men Cookies.  I took a recipe from Elenas Pantry, and made some modifications to meet my preferences better.  For example I subbed Pure Maple Syrup for the Agave, as agave is not a good choice for sweeteners, it is very high in fructose and no better than using high fructose corn syrup.  Please read this article for more information on the differences in sweeteners. I also subbed Blackstrap Molasses for the Yacon Syrup simply because I didn't find any at the Natural Foods store, and then I tried two different batches, one with mostly olive oil and a little grapeseed oil and one with melted coconut oil.  Again, if you are eating Paleo, grapeseed oil is one of the oils that should generally be avoided due to it's high Omega 6 level.  Both ways turned out about the same and tasted great.  If you are going to use the coconut oil, be sure to melt it and have your maple syrup and eggs at room temperature so they don't harden your coconut oil when you mix them together.  
This was a fun thing to do with the older kids, but would be a bit difficult for real young ones.  I did have a little trouble with the dough being real sticky, so added an additional 1/2 cup of almond meal and worked in small amounts.  My suggestion is to roll it out on some parchment paper or silicone mat. I used silicone mat dusted with rice flour and we dipped our cookie cutter in cocoa powder to keep it from sticking to the dough.  I would suggest rolling out about 1/3 -1/2 of the dough at a time, cut out your cookies and the easiest thing would be to leave them on the mat removing the excess dough from around them.  Then transfer the mat or paper to a baking sheet and bake for 15-20 minutes depending on your oven and the thickness of your cookies. I would also suggest chilling the remaining dough between each batch so it's easier to handle.  These are a heavily spiced cookie which is what we really enjoyed about them, however, if you don't like that you may want to cut back some on the spices.  
Another thing I did was to experiment with cinnamon's, one batch I used Saigon Cinnamon and another one I used Korintje Cinnamon.  Both were very tasty, again it is a matter of preference, my taste testers where split, the Saigon Cinnamon gives it an almost spicy kick, while the Korinjte is milder and not "spicy". 

* I read a neat trick for making your cookies cripsy somewhere on the internet, not sure where or I would give credit...when your cookies lose their crunch place in your oven at 170 degrees for an hour.  I tried it today and it works great!  Nice crunchy gingerbread men cookies now! *
Merry Christmas and Happy baking!

Gingerbread Men Cookies

5 1/2 cups almond flour
1 TBSP cinnamon
1 TBSP ground ginger powder
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp Celtic sea salt
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup olive oil (be sure not to use extra virgin, just plain olive oil), or coconut oil (see notes above)
1/2 cup pure maple syrup
1 TBSP pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup unsulfered blackstrap molasses
2 eggs
1 tsp lemon zest

In a large bowl, combine almond flour, cinnamon, ginger powder, cloves, salt and baking soda.  In a smaller bowl mix together your oil, sweeteners, vanilla, eggs and lemon zest. Then stir your wet ingredients into your dry ingredients and mix well.
Chill dough for 2 hours.
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
Then roll dough out on a silicone mat or parchment paper until it's about 1/4" thick.  Her suggestion is to roll it out between two layers, but that didn't work out to well for me.    Again see my notes above for suggestions on how to make this easier.
If you used two layers of parchment paper, then remove the top layer and using cookie cutters make your gingerbread men (a medium cookie cutter works good).  Decorate with dried fruit and nuts if you like (we left ours plain).  
Either transfer with a spatula or transfer the whole mat/paper to a baking sheet.  
Cook at 350 degrees for about 15-20 minutes.  Remove from the oven when they are done to your liking, then remove them from the mat or parchment paper and cool on a wire rack.  Then you get to enjoy your yummy cookies!

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Monday, December 19, 2011

If you have been following this blog, you may have noticed some subtle changes upon your visit this time.  Crossfit Eureka's Paleo Made Easy, is now just Paleo Made Easy.  I (Sheilla) am no longer working as a owner/trainer at the box and they have very graciously allowed me to keep the this blog.  
I will be making a few changes, which you may notice as I begin making posts.  Honestly I am not completely decided on what direction I will be taking the blog.  One thing I intend to keep posting is any great local bargains that I find, I love it when I find a economical way to feed my family and love sharing it with others.  Speaking of great Bargains...Winco had Lindt dark chocolate bars for $1.78 (I can't find my receipt but that is what I remember), I used that deal to stock my pantry with yummy 85% Dark Chocolate! 
I'm thinking there may be more posts in the way of just rambling or blogging in which my personal views and beliefs will more than likely come through, along with tips for a Paleo way of life. Scattered in there will still be recipes and fun things to do with the kids.  
 I hope you will continue to stop by and visit, and Merry Christmas to you all!
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Sunday, November 20, 2011

Ideas and Recipes for a Paleo Thanksgiving Feast

With Thanksgiving this week I thought I would share some of my favorite ideas and recipes for a great Paleo Thanksgiving Feast.


 Deviled Eggs
6 hard boiled eggs
1/4 cup homemade mayonnaise (homemade mayo recipe)
1 tsp prepared yellow mustard
1/2 tsp salt 
dash of pepper

Peel your eggs and slice in half lengthwise, then scoop or dump the yolks out into a small bowl.  Add your other ingredients to the bowl and mash well with a fork, this was my 4 year old's favorite part!  Then scoop out the egg mixture and fill a small Ziploc bag, squeeze out the air and zip the bag shut and cut off the very bottom corner or tip of the bag.  Then squeeze the contents to fill each egg.  My little helper really enjoyed that part too!  Sprinkle with a dash of paprika (we used smoked paprika for a different twist today).  Serve and enjoy!
  • 2 Medium Zucchini, peeled and quartered
  • 3/4 cup Tahini
  • 1/4 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1/2 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 medium/large cloves of minced garlic
  • 1/2 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons kosher or sea salt
  • Food Processor or High Speed Blender
  1. Peel and chop zucchini and place in food processor.
  2. Add in Tahini, Olive Oil, and fresh lemon juice, and blend.
  3. Add garlic, cumin, and salt, and blend thoroughly.

    For the peppers and pine nuts:
  • 1 tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped red and green peppers
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • a little salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 tablespoons pine nuts
  1. Saute chopped peppers and red pepper flakes in olive oil until tender.
  2. Lightly toast pine nuts in the toaster oven. (be sure to watch carefully so they do not burn.)
  3. *NOTE from Sheilla*  I don't roast my pine nuts I just throw them in with the peppers and saute them too, they get a little toasted at the same time.
For the eats:
Garnish the hummus with the spicy peppers and pine nuts. Feel free to eat as is, or mix the topping into the hummus. Either way is delicious!


Bacon Wrapped Dates
This is a very simple and easy recipe but yummy! 

fresh dates
Bacon slices

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.  You may slice your bacon into thirds or in half and then wrap each date with a piece of bacon.  Secure each with a toothpick so the bacon stays wrapped, place in a glass baking dish, keep repeating this step until you have the desired amount of appetizers.  Be sure not to over crowd them in the pan so the can bake well and get crispy.  When your pan is "full" place the pan in the oven and bake for 20-25 minutes depending on your oven.  Be sure to check them frequently near the end and turn them at least once about half way through. They are done when the bacon is browned and looks crispy. Remove and cool slightly and then enjoy!
Use your favorite recipe for cooking your Turkey, or look online for a variety of ideas.  I think I may try soaking mine in a brine this year before cooking.


Paleo-Friendly Creamed Spinach

1T. Bacon Fat
1lb Fresh Baby Spinach ( I use slightly more)
3 Garlic Cloves, finely minced or pressed through a garlic press
1 can of Coconut Milk (full fat)
1/2T. Chipotle Powder
Sea Salt and Black Pepper

  1. In a large saute pan, heat oil over medium heat. 
  2. Add spinach and garlic to heated pan and toss to coat. Saute until slightly wilted, about 3 minutes.
  3. Add coconut milk and chipotle. Stir. Season with salt and pepper. Bring to a simmer and then reduce the heat. Cook until coconut milk had been absorbed and reduced, about 25 minutes. The mixture can be transferred to a baking dish and kept warm while other dishes are cooked or put a lid on the pan and reheat when ready to serve. 

This creamed spinach recipe is one of my favorites, we have it for special occasions, besides Thanksgiving throughout the year.  I like to cook up a couple slices of bacon chopped small, then us the grease to cook the in and add the bacon to the final product...yum!  Hope you enjoy it too, it has a nice little smokey kick to it!

Cranberry Sauce

Half Cranberry Sauce and Half Sour Cherry Orange Cranberry Sauce.

This recipe is from Jen's Gone Paleo and her recipe for Sour-Cherry Orange Cranberry Sauce, I have made some modifications to the original recipe, which you can find here.

Cherry-Orange Cranberry Sauce
Cherry Orange Cranberry SauceO
1 1/2 cups fresh or frozen cranberries
1/2 cup juice fresh squeezed juice from orange
1/2-1 TBSP Orange zest (depending on your preference)
1/3 cup dried sour cherries or craisins (juice sweetened is preferred)
2 tsp raw honey (optional)
2 TBSP Water
Cranberry Sauce

Place all the ingredients in a small saucepan and cook over medium heat until all the cranberries are popped and the mixture is nice and thick.  If at any point during the cooking process the mixture appears to be to thick you can add more water if you would like.  Cook for about 10-15 minutes, remove from heat, let cool and serve.

I personally prefer the Cherry version but for those of you looking for a more tradition Cranberry sauce, the second is a very tasty version!  Enjoy!


Oven Roasted Brussels Sprouts

These are a family favorite!

2 pounds of brussels sprouts ( I use a bag from Costco)

1/3 cup of olive oil (honestly I just drizzle mine and coat them well and don't measure)

Sea Salt

Course ground pepper

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.  Trim your Brussels Sprouts Slice in half and place in a shallow baking pan ( I use a jelly roll pan), drizzle olive oil over and stir to coat evenly.  Sprinkle with sea salt and pepper.  Place baking sheet on the middle rack of your oven and bake for about 30-35 minutes.  Stirring or shaking about every 10 minutes.  When they are dark brown, and almost black they are done.  We love the almost burnt crispy parts the best...very yummy!

Sweet Potatoes

You have lot's of options with these, baking them, mashing them, or there are an assortment of recipes out on the internet for Paleo Sweet Potato Casserole.  I think I am going to go with baked this year with a dollop of butter.


Dressing or Stuffing

I have not had time to test any of these recipes out yet, and personally I am not a big sausage or mushroom fan, so I am offering some recipes from my favorite sites.  I have not tried these yet and personally I think I am going to try making a loaf of paleo bread and then making it into stuffing.  So here are some options to think about:

Here is Sarah Fragoso of Everyday Paleo's Recipe for Stuffing:


1 lb mild Italian pork or chicken sausage, casing removed (I used chicken sausages from my local butcher)
4 ½ cups mushrooms, diced
1 medium yellow onion, diced
6 celery stalks, diced
4 carrots, diced
1/2  cup chicken broth
1 tablespoon diced fresh sage
½ tsp minced fresh thyme leaves
½ cup dried cherries, finely chopped
½ cup slivered almonds
½ tablespoon garlic powder
4 tablespoons olive oil
Sea salt and black pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 350. In a large soup pot, sauté onions in olive oil until translucent.  Add the sausage and brown.  Add the carrots, celery, mushrooms, chicken broth, cherries, almonds, sage, thyme, garlic powder, salt and pepper.  Mix well, bring to a simmer, and cook for 5-10 minutes or until the veggies begin to absorb the chicken broth.  Transfer to a large glass baking dish, cover tightly with aluminum foil and bake at 350 for 45 minutes.

To view all of Sarah's Thanksgiving recipes from last year look here.

Jen's Gone Paleo's
For more of her Thanksgiving recipes see her post here.

Paleo Dressing/Stuffing...Depending on Where You Cook It.

3T. Ghee
2T. Olive Oil
1.5lbs Mushrooms (I used baby bellas), chopped
4 Celery Stalk, chopped
1 Leek, white and light green portions chopped
1lb Ground Sausage (It's all about the sausage, so use something good!)
1T. Fresh Thyme Leaves
1/4 cup Chopped Fresh Sage
1/4 cup Chopped Fresh Parsley, plus extra for garnish
1.5-2lbs Butternut Squash, cut into 1/2" cubes
Sea Salt and Black Pepper, to taste
Turkey Neck (if you've got one from your bird)
  1. In a large fry pan over medium heat, heat the oil and ghee. Add the mushrooms, toss in oil to coat, and cook until browned, about 5-7 minutes. Add the sausage, leek, celery, sage, thyme, season with a little salt and pepper and cook, breaking up the meat into small pieces with a wooden spoon, until the meat browns and is cooked through and the vegetables are translucent, about 10 minutes. 
  2. Remove from the heat and fold in the butternut squash and parsley. Season with salt and pepper.
  3. Transfer mixture to a baking dish, lay the turkey neck on top, and cover. Cook, covered at 375F for 1 hour and 1/2 hour uncovered, until squash is cooked through and liquid is mostly absorbed. 
  4. Serve with turkey and enjoy!

Food Lover's Primal Palate Pork Stuffing and more Thanksgiving recipes can be found here.

Ingredients For Stuffing:
1 pound ground pork
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 green bell pepper, chopped
  • 2 packs of button mushrooms, chopped
  • 1 cup celery, chopped
  • 4-6 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons each, rosemary, thyme, and sage, minced
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 tsp each, fennel seeds, anise, and paprika
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp coconut oil
**Note: Adjust stuffing measurements accordingly depending on amount of people being served. This stuffing filled a 16 lb turkey, as well as a 5 qt braising pan.

Process For Stuffing:
  1. Heat coconut oil in a large skillet on medium heat.
  2. Place bell pepper, mushrooms, and celery into skillet and saute.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, combine ground pork, onion, garlic, rosemary, thyme, sage, fennel seeds, anise, paprika, cayenne, salt, and pepper.
  4. Add ground pork mixture to skillet, and cook until pork is browned slightly.
  5. Remove from heat, and discard any liquid in the pan.


 For the pies I used my favorite pie crust recipe which is taken from the cookbook, The Food Lovers Make It Paleo (by the bloggers of Primal Palate). It is on page 380 in their cookblook, it makes a thick crust and you may want to use slightly less of the dough, but I liked it with the thick crust.  It is very unlike a wheat pie crust, and has a slightly sweet taste.  I don't enjoy traditional pie crust to much but this one is yummy and I enjoyed it with my pie very much!  

Almond Flour Pie Crust

Stir ingredients well, I found mixing it with my hands the easiest way to

2 1/2 cups almond flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup palm shortening ( I subbed coconut oil), melted
2 TBSP vanilla
2 TBSP Pure Maple Syrup

Preheat your oven to 325 degrees.  In a small bowl combine all the dry ingredients and addd the wet ingredients to it.  
do this.  
My dough was really soft so I chilled it in the fridge for 20 minutses.  Then greased a glass pyrex pie pan and patted the dough in evenly.  I then baked it for 15 minutes.   Removed and poured in the pumpkin pie mix or the apples and baked accordingly.


Pumpkin Pie Filling

1 3/4 cups or 14 oz. can pumpkin (not pumkin pie mix, just pumkin)
2 eggs
1/2 cup raw honey
1/2 cup full fat coconut milk
2 teaspoons siagon cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/8 tsp ground ginger

While your crust is baking is the perfect time to combine all these ingredients using a hand mixer.  Remove crust from oven, pour pumpkin pie filling in then return to oven.  Bake at 325 degrees for 45-55 minutes, until set in the middle.  Remove from the oven and cool on a wire rack until ready to serve. Enjoy


Paleo Apple Pie Filling

5 apples
2 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp salt (optional)
2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg

For Crumble topping:

3/4 cup almond meal
1/2 cup shredded unsweetened coconut
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/8 tsp sea salt
2 1/2 TBSP+ 1 tsp coconut oil or butter, softened
1/2 tsp vanilla
2 TBSP Pure Maple syrup

I used 1 TSBP of coconut flour but felt it made the pie a little dry, so next time I will either exlcude it or reduce it.

Start by preparing your crumble topping and then set it aside.
Then peel and very thinly slice your apples, placing them in a large mixing bowl.  Add the spices and stir well to coat them all.  Then pour the apples into your pie crust after it comes out of the oven. Using some of the crumble topping (or all if you like a lot), top your pie. Then place the pie back in your  325 degree oven and bake for about another hour ( I would start checking it at about 45 minuts).  I covered my pie after about 20-30 minutes with foil to keep it from over browning and lowered the rack in the oven a bit.

Baked Dates

This recipe is quick and easy and is for those of you looking for alternative to baking pies.  They are super yummy with the carmelized date and roasted pecan.  You could even add a little cinnamon if you like.

fresh dates, pits removed
unroasted pecans
coconut oil

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.  Grease a 8x8 pan.  Slice into your dates lenghtwise, being careful not to slice all the way through.  Then place a whole pecan in the slit you made and place it in your prepared pan. When your pan is full or you have made the amount you need place the pan in the oven and bake for about 10 minutes.  Again it depends on your oven.  It may take a little longer, what you are looking for is for the dates to carmelize a bit and the pecan to get a little toasted.  Cool slightly and enjoy!  This are a yummy treat just be careful you don't eat to many!

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