“The Real Deal” Hamburger Buns (Paleo)

Hey Everyone!

Thanks for hanging in there during these times when I am not able to post much. I have just reached my first “break” for the NTP course through the Nutritional Therapy Association! So far it has been absolutely INCREDIBLE! I have learned so much and met soooo many wonderful, likeminded people! I highly recommend looking into it if you also have a passion for helping yourself and others heal by using the power and intuition of the body and nutrient dense foods.

While I think I have finally found a happy balance of doing school work again with my daily life activities, I tend to always tip the scale towards doing “too much” and running myself into the ground (at a steady rate). Just when I think I am pretty efficient at doing A-Z tasks, I realize there is always room for improvement. So, lately I have tried being less lackadaisical when it comes to meal prep (thinking that basic, quick, daily meal prep and shopping was the best route) and really focused on having one or a maximum of two full meal prep days where I make most of my meals (and my clients meals) in one chunk of time. Not only does this get me to plan more creative meals but also gives me a chance to try out new fun recipes myself and takes the extra hour out of other days that I would normally stop what I am doing to shop-cook-etc.

For the past MONTH (or so) I have been working on making a paleo hamburger bun that actually resembles a typical hamburger bun. Mostly I’ve gotten a lot of things that taste good but don’t have the right consistency, until now! By total accident, I made this bun with two types of flours, and to my surprise they both came out wonderfully. The cassava flour version of this bun is slightly less-moist and has an awesome macro-ratio for those that are following specific macro-oriented eating plans, while the cashew flour version is a bit more spongey and higher in fat (which is certainly not a bad thing, you need those good fats!). Try them out and let me know which version is your favorite!

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 Cup Cassava Flour (or 1 cup Cashew Flour)
  • 3 TB Psyllium Husk Powder
  • 4 free-range, organic eggs
  • 1/2 Cup Unsweetened Applesauce
  • 1/3 tsp. Natural Baking Soda
  • 2/3 tsp. Cream of Tartar
  • 1/2 tsp. Sea Salt
  • 1 tsp. Toasted Sesame Seeds (optional)

Instructions:

-Preheat oven to 400 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

– In a food processor, combine all ingredients and blend until fully combined.

-Let the mixture sit for a minute to fully absorb the liquids, then with damp hands, form dough into 4 large balls (the dough will be wet and sticky but will hold a “hamburger bun” shape).

-Sprinkle the tops with sesame seeds if you’d like!

-Bake for 20-25 minutes until the tops start to turn golden brown.

-Let cool for 2-3 minutes and then cut in half and enjoy with your favorite burger!

Macros Counts:

Cassava Buns (1 bun)= 157 Calories, 4.9g Fat, 21g Carbohydrates, 6.8g Protein.

Cashew Buns (1 bun)= 265 Calories, 20.7g Fat, 12.7g Carbohydrates, 12g Protein

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Sweet Potato Sloppy Joe Sliders (Paleo)

I’m not going to lie, the holidays are crazy, and so is my schedule right now! Instead of boring you with my weekly life-lessons and updates, we’ll just get right to the point. Here is a fun recipe that turns another childhood favorite into a more sophisticated, comforting meal. I hope you enjoy it as much as I (and a few taste testers) did!

Ingredients:

  • 2 medium sweet potatoes, cut into 1/4″ thick rounds
  • 1 TB. avocado oil
  • 1 TB. coconut oil
  • 1 lb. grassfed ground beef
  • ¼ tsp. sea salt
  • ¼ tsp ground black pepper
  • 2 medium yellow onions, diced
  • 1 celery stalk, finely diced
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 TB. tomato paste
  • 1 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1 tsp. chili powder
  • ½ tsp. paprika
  • 1 TB. raw honey
  • 2 tsp. apple cider vinegar
  • 3 TB. water
  • 1 cup spinach leaves (optional)

Instructions:
-Preheat oven to 400 degrees (F)

-In a large bowl toss the sweet potato rounds in avocado oil, salt and pepper

-Place seasoned sweet potato rounds on a large baking sheet lined with parchment paper and bake for about 30-35 minutes, flipping halfway

-While potatoes are baking, add the coconut oil to a large skillet over medium heat and cook the beef until only a little pink remains

-Add the onion, celery and garlic and continue cooking for 2-3 minutes

-Add tomato paste, cumin, chili powder and paprika to the meat mixture and stir for 1 minute

-Add the honey, apple cider vinegar, tomato sauce and water to the mixture, stir to combine and summer on low for 5-10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper

-Once the sweet potatoes are done cooking arrange them on a serving plate with toppings of your choice! I like to add spinach leaves for a fun color pop (they also hold on the meat quite well) or you could use larger lettuce leaves as a “boat” for the sliders

Lamb Stuffed Delicata Squash (Paleo)

You know how life goes, just when you think something is going to go down a certain way, things change. It’s the story of my life, and probably yours too. Amidst getting ready to celebrate thanksgiving with my family I received news that the offer on my house had fallen though, the same day that I had just accepted two new jobs in the area I had intended on moving to. Obviously all of the change, the new jobs, and etc. were based on the fact that my house was going to sell and that was seemingly going to be a quick process, so you can imagine the chaos that went through my mind after getting this news. Coincidentally when I got this phone call I was at my parents house, it’s always a blessing to have people around that love and support you no matter what when the sky feels like its suddenly falling on you. To my surprise, my dad, who can at times be quite negative (in a protective, only wanting the best for his daughter, kind of way), had the most positive reaction to the situation and said something I always say, “what’s meant to be will happen, something better will come”. Seeing my dad staying positive in this situation reminded me that everything I had been working towards in my “new” life: objectives, goals, and plans; was correct. Just because this one piece of the puzzle didn’t fit where I expected it to doesn’t mean that it won’t fit somewhere else- where it is supposed to be. The house is now back on the market, showings are often, another open house is planned, I start one of my new jobs tomorrow and I couldn’t be happier to start this new chapter in my life. Sometimes the things worth having in your life take the most work, but in the end the struggle makes the success that much sweeter. Just a little monday motivation to keep pursuing those goals 😉

Oh yah, and that recipe thing! Lamb isn’t something I’ve always loved but I’ve recently found that when it’s paired with the right ingredients it can be quite tasty and a nice change from my go-to proteins. I found this amazing locally sourced ground lamb and local produce from my favorite spot, River Valley Market. I highly recommend finding a trusted butcher or market that can tell you about your meats: where they come from, how they are treated, meet the farmer if you can! The most nutrient dense meats come from healthy, happy animals and supporting these sustainable and ethical farming practices is beneficial for the consumer, the producer and the environment alike. Happy cooking!

Ingredients:

  • 2 delicata squash, halved and de-seeded
  • 1 lb. ground lamb
  • 1 TB. coconut oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 1/2 orange, zested and juiced
  • 1/4 cup mint, finely chopped
  • 2 TB. fresh rosemary, finely chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup pomegranate seeds

Instructions:

-Preheat oven to 350 degrees (F)

-Place the halved squash face up on a baking sheet and bake for about 30 minutes or until it can be easily punctured by a fork

-While the squash is cooking, heat coconut oil in a large saucepan over medium heat

-Add onion to the saucepan and cook until translucent, 3-5 minutes, then add garlic and ground lamb, using a spatula to break up lamb into small chunks

-Cook lamb until mostly brown then add in orange zest, juice, rosemary, mint, salt and pepper, turn to summer and cook for 2-3 more minutes

-Remove from heat and set aside until squash is done cooking, then fill each halve of squash with the lamb mixture and return to the oven on broil for 2-3 minutes until the tops are slightly crisp

-Remove from oven, garnish with pomegranate seeds and serve!

Turkey Stuffed Bell Peppers (Paleo)

My life has been pretty darn hectic lately with a lot of big changes. Normally change has been a cause of anxiety for me (and lets be honest, at times it still gets to me!) but I have been doing the best I can in taking things day by day, moment by moment, and seeing the positive in each situation. For instance: I’ve recently accepted an offer on my house, which is great! It was only on the market for 5 days before I got my first offer and signed the P&S after 9 days! Now, pending inspection, things are moving quite fast and it seems that the closing date is going to be MUCH sooner than I anticipated. After having JUST gotten settled at my new job, new gym, new weightlifting program, and new schedule, of course another curve ball comes my way. BUT- I knew it was coming, eventually. The only thing that has changed is the timing, which, in the grand scheme of thing, isn’t a huge deal, right? Well, I keep telling myself that. I am a firm believer that everything happens for a reason (as corny as that sounds) and therefore stressing over things like this serves no purpose. I’ve always been one to take life by the horns and run with whatever is thrown at me so even though my plans for the future aren’t clear at this point in time, I know that it will all pan out as it should and I will be able to look back and appreciate these moments as they are the ones that spur growth, acceptance, and self discovery.

So, how does this rant tie into Stuffed Peppers? 😉 Easy- stuffed bell peppers are a pretty mindless meal that you can throw together quite easily with just about anything you have laying around in your refrigerator. Not only will it look like you created this fancy meal (because you did) but if you know the basics of meat and seasonings that go well together they are bound to taste good as well! This is one of my go-to variations because most of these ingredients are almost always found in my fridge (less things to forget at the grocery store) and you can also add some kind of sauce like coconut aminos, thai ginger, peanut, curry, teriyaki, etc. to easily kick these up another notch. It’s a great recipe for when life is cray and you don’t have any brain power left to get too creative. Try them out and let me know what you think!

Ingredients:

  • 5 bell peppers, tops cut off and seeds removed
  • 1 lb. ground turkey
  • sea salt and black pepper to taste
  • 1 TB coconut oil
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup white mushrooms, chopped
  • 2 cups cauliflower, riced
  • 1/2 cup spinach, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup cilantro, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup parsley, finely chopped
  • chopped fresh scallions, for garnish

Instructions:

-Preheat oven to 350 degrees (F)

-Place bell peppers, upright, on a rimmed baking sheet and set aside

-Melt coconut oil in a large skillet over medium heat, add onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until onions become translucent, about 5 minutes

-Add garlic and ground turkey to skillet and cook until no longer pink, about 5-7 minutes

-Add the cauliflower rice and mushrooms to the ground turkey and sauté for about 5 minutes. Then add spinach and cook until soft, about 2 minutes

-Remove skillet from heat and add in parsley and cilantro, stirring to incorporate

-Carefully stuff each bell pepper with the turkey mixture and bake for 20-25 minutes or until the peppers are soft

-Optional: after 20-25 minutes set the oven to broil and broil peppers for 2 minutes to get a little crispiness on the tops!

-Garnish with scallions and enjoy!

Flank Steak Roulade (Paleo)

Recently I’ve had  lot of friends interested in and trying out meat-less diets. One large correlating factor is a food-related documentary they each had watched. After hearing their reviews I instantly had flashbacks to my freshman year in college. As an animal science major (at the time) we watched something very similar in essence- but instead of highlighting the animals as “food quality”, they were focused on as an example of poorly regulated, mass produced, unethical farming.

Now, I LOVE all animals and if I personally believed that humans weren’t made to eat all sorts of things (including animals) I would totally be cool with never eating meat again. I strongly believe that everyone has the right to choose how and what they eat, but I think the big picture in the meat-versus-no-meat debate is the quality of the meat- which stems from the quality of the life of the animal- including how and what they are fed.

There is without a doubt some horrendous, malicious practices going on in the world that I do not at all support. How? Because I choose to buy meat locally- from farms and farmers that I know- animals that I have seen enjoying their lives in big fields. I suppose being out in the sticks of Western Mass it’s easy to access fresh and local meat and produce, but it also certainly isn’t impossible to find something of similar quality living in the midst of a big city, it just takes a little more research.

The moral of the story? If you’re going to eat meat: do your homework and support the people who treat their animals as they should be treated. Healthy, happy animals means healthy, nutrient dense meat!

 

Ingredients:

  • 2 lbs grass-fed flank steak
  • sea salt and black pepper to taste
  • 4 strips turkey bacon, cooked softly and chopped
  • 2 cups spinach
  • 1/3 cup sundried tomatoes
  • 1 cup white mushrooms, chopped
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 TB coconut oil

Instructions:

-Preheat oven to 425 degrees

-Pound the flank steak until its an even 1/3 inch across

-Season with salt and pepper then layer the bacon, tomatoes, spinach and mushrooms evenly over the steak

-Roll the steak tightly and secure with butchers twine

-Heat coconut oil in a large skillet over medium heat and sear the roulade on each side (about 2-3 minutes per side)

-Remove from skillet and sprinkle minced garlic over the top. Place roulade on a baking sheet and bake for 10-15 minutes or until cooked in the center

-Remove from oven and allow to cool for 10 minutes before removing twine and slicing into pinwheels, serve and enjoy!

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Pair this with last weeks Hasselback Sweet Potatoes and sauté your extra veggies for a complete meal!

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Photographs by Billy Willbanks. DSMP marketing. Instagram @wbanks85.

Hasselback White Sweet Potatoes (Paleo)

As an athlete it’s important to fuel your body appropriately in order to maximize your performance and recovery. Having an active job along with a dog that requires a long hike or run daily and somewhere between 1-2.5 hours of training each day, the amount of carbohydrates my body needs is sometimes overwhelming. Being on the go so often my sources of carbs are often the quick and easy varieties such as rice and gluten-free oatmeal, but when I have the opportunity to be in the kitchen for a period of time, my all-time favorite source of carbs are white or japanese sweet potatoes (Japanese have red skin and domestic have golden skin). These tend to get crispier than yams and orange sweet potatoes as they are higher in carbohydrates but still contain a vast amount of micro nutrients. This cooking variation is not only delicious but a sure way to raise some eye-brows and get some “fancy” remarks from your friends and family- as a bonus, it’s also super simple! You can also do this with any potato, but if you’ve never tried white sweet potatoes… you definitely should!

Ingredients:

  • 3 large white sweet potatoes
  • 1 TB melted ghee
  • dash sea salt

Instructions:

-Preheat oven to 400 degrees

-Line baking sheet with foil (or parchment paper)

-Thoroughly wash sweet potatoes and with a sharp knife start making vertical cuts from end to end leaving about 1/4 inch from the bottom of the potato all the way across


-Place potatoes on baking sheet and brush with melted ghee then sprinkle with sea salt


-Bake for about 60 minutes or until the potatoes are soft

-Remove from oven and top them with something tasty! Some options are crumbled bacon (you can add this before cooking, simply cook bacon most of the way in a pan, chop finely and sprinkle over potatoes), grass-fed cheese (if you can handle dairy, this can also be added when there is about 5 minutes of cooking time remaining), or something a little more complex like garlic and herb butter (2 TB ghee or grass-fed butter, 1 clove minced garlic, 1 tsp fresh chopped rosemary, 1 tsp fresh thyme and 2 tsp fresh scallions.. add to a small bowl and stir together!)

Enjoy! 


Photo by Billy Wilbanks. DSMP marketing. Instagram @wbanks85

 

 

 

 

Spicy Orange Chicken (Paleo)

Happy Friday the 13th everyone! I hope you day hasn’t been a series of awful events, mine has been pretty great… I had the day off from work, didn’t fall down hiking, haven’t run into any walls, didn’t burn down the kitchen… it’s one for the books! Anywho, as people are off to the races trying to stick to their “New Year’s resolutions” I wanted to throw a wrench into your gears and talk about finding balance.

Often in the beginning of the year you see an influx of people hitting the gym, starting new diets, chanting that “this is the year” they are going to make some fitness and nutrition goals and stick to them. But- what are your goals? Are they realistic? What’s kept you from attaining them before? If you have attainted them before why didn’t they stick? I feel like these are the questions we all dig to make excuses for, but ultimately they should be the number one thing you address when you start something new.

Setting goals is something everyone should do, going out and working towards them is wonderful! But keep in mind, you need to do so in a sustainable way. If you haven’t been to the gym in a year and decide to hit it hard for 5 days straight off the bat, you’ll likely find that your body has other plans, and let’s face it, who WANTS to go workout when you’re so sore you can’t get out of bed? Perhaps slow and steady is a better approach…

The same goes for diet changes. Say you sign up for a nutrition challenge, you dive in head first, throw out all of the sugary processed crap in your house, kill it for the first 3 days, and then come home late one night, realize you didn’t prep for dinner and are too hungry to wait, so out of desperation you order the quickest delivered pizza in town and then deem yourself a failure. Perhaps if you took some time to restock your cabinets with canned wild alaskan salmon or sought out places that make fresh healthy prepared meals you’d have a solution to that problem without falling off the diet-wagon for the night, or for good.

With that being said, should you have to be 100% strict on your conquest to being the healthiest, most fit version of yourself? Whats wrong with a taco here and there, a skipped gym visit, or a glass of wine? In my opinion, nothing.

I personally believe that if you want to make a lifestyle change STICK, it has to be sustainable, and to be sustainable, you can’t restrict yourself all the time. You can and SHOULD make better choices most of the time, but you also shouldn’t sacrifice a night out with friends, a family get together, or spend your whole vacation worrying about how your going to burn off the calories in that Pina Colada you just had. You only live once- and your journey to better yourself is a lifelong one, so take the time to plan out your new goals, conquer them, and celebrate with no regrets. Food for thought 🙂

And now to the part you’ve been asking for, the recipe! This is the second time I’ve made orange chicken and I think I finally got it right! Tell me what you think 🙂

Ingredients:

  • 3 lbs. chicken breast
  • 1 Tb. avocado oil
  • 2 oranges, zested and juiced (*zest before juicing!)
  • 1/3 cup coconut aminos
  • 1 Tb. fresh grated ginger
  • 3 Tb. tomato paste
  • 2 Tb. honey
  • 1 tsp. sea salt
  • 1 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes
  • 2 tsp. arrowroot
  • 1-2 Tb. sesame seeds

Instructions:

-Dice chicken into 1″ cubes

-Add avocado oil and chicken to a large frying pan over medium heat. Cook (turning once or twice) for 7-10 minutes until chicken is no longer pink inside

-While chicken is cooking combine orange zest, juice, coconut aminos, ginger, honey, salt, garlic, and red peper flakes

-Add sauce to the pan with chicken and simmer on low (stirring often to coat chicken) for 5 minutes or until the sauce reduces to about half

-Turn off heat and add arrowroot to thicken the sauce, toss thoroughly to combine

-Add sesame seeds to the chicken, pair with your favorite veggie and rice-variation and enjoy!

 

Apple & Cherry Stuffed Pork

Pork has been on sale at River Valley Market for a few weeks now. Depending on when I’m able to get there I usually stock up on whatever is a good deal! Most of their meats are locally sourced, pasture raised, hormone and antibiotic free- so the good news is you can’t really go wrong there! Same for the butcher shop in Northampton: Sutter Meats. Everything there is top of the line, although it’s a little more expensive so I tend to just get specialty items there like marrow bones.

Anywho, the last few times we’ve eaten pork chops the recipes have been super basic: grilled, seasoned and baked, etc. So today I wanted to change things up a bit. I’ve stuffed pork chops with all sorts of things, but growing up I HAD to have applesauce with my pork so for me, pork and apples are like peanut butter and jelly. When I was thinking of other ingredients to add to the mix I quickly shuffled through the usual suspects like pears, bacon, cranberries, and decided to try out cherries! For shits and giggles I googled stuffed pork recipes and what do you know- I definitely wasn’t the first one with this idea!

PaleOMG popped up as one of the first recipe links so I happily followed her recipe (with a few variations) and it came out pretty darn good! Heres what I used:

Ingredients:

  • 4-6 thick cut pork chops
  • 1 medium apple, cored and finely diced
  • 3/4 cup red cherries, pitted and finely diced
  • 1/2 cup yellow onion, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 TB coconut oil
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/8 tsp ground cloves
  • salt and pepper to taste

Instructions:

-Preheat oven to 400 degrees

-In a large skillet over medium heat, sauté the onion and garlic in 1 TB of coconut oil until translucent

-Add the apple, cherry, cinnamon, garlic powder and cloves to the skillet an cook until soft, about 6 minutes

   

 -While stuffing is cooking cut pockets in the pork through the fatty side of the meat, be careful not to chop off a finger or cut through to the other side!

-Season the outside of the pork chops with salt and pepper then stuff them with as much yummy goodness as possible

-Place stuffed chops on a rimmed baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes

-Then enjoy!

  
 

 

 

 

Surf & Turf Stuffed Summer Squash (Paleo, AIP, LowFodmap, 21DSD)

I am starting to feel myself again after having some time off from one of my jobs and from weightlifting. Not to say those were the issues but it has given me some time to really reflect on things and organize my life. This morning at physical therapy I was finally able to play with a barbell again and given the “OK” to add some lifting back in! I plan on taking my time and really focusing on improving my form, technique, stability and mobility so I don’t end up back where I started. Every time I injure myself I take it as a learning experience and use it to grow stronger and more aware of my body’s capacity. I tend to get so wrapped up my goals that I overlook smaller details in my training that need attention. This past week was quite humbling and a good reminder that I am still recovering from years of being sick and treating my body like crap. Rome wasn’t built in a day, and having strong foundations inside and out is without a doubt the most important. 

I won’t bore you with too much blabbering about myself today, but stay tuned for an update of my bio within the next week or two. I left it with a little bit of a cliffhanger because I wasn’t sure that I was ready to share my full story at the time. But after the loss of a friend who was a big influence on my life and ultimately some of the reason why I am where I am today, I feel compelled to share in hopes that it might reach some people that are struggling or have struggled with the same issues that I have and give them a glimmer of hope.

Anyways, to lighten up the rest of this post lets get to the recipe! This is based off of my all time favorite recipe from the 21 Day Sugar Detox . If you don’t own the books or haven’t tried the detox, you need to! I can honestly say that through many years of being Paleo I always continued to struggle with an addiction to sugar. It’s one of those things that is INCREDIBLY hard to shake, probably harder than smoking although I’ve never smoked so I can’t compare personally, but the withdrawals are real! Once you realize that you don’t need sugar for energy, your body can start to fuel itself properly and you will get a whole new and sustainable level of energy!

Ingredients:

  • 4 large zucchini or summer squash
  • 1 TB. cooking fat (I used coconut oil)
  • 1 celery stalk, minced
  • 1 medium carrot, shredded
  • 1/2 medium onion, diced
  • 2 TB. coconut aminos
  • 3-5 drops fish sauce 
  • 1/4 cup scallions, diced
  • 1 cup shrimp, peeled, deveined and minced
  • 1 lb. grass fed ground beef
  • 1 tsp. fresh ginger, minced
  • Sea salt and black pepper

Instructions:

-Preheat oven to 350 degrees

-Cut the squash in half and use a spoon to scoop out as much of the insides as possible (the more you scoop out the more room for stuffing!!)

  

-Place the squash face down on a rimmed baking sheet and cook for 25-30 minutes (depending on thickness) until they are easily pierced by a fork on the inside

-While the squash cooks, melt the cooking fat in a large skillet over medium heat 

-Dice the remaining squash and add it to the skillet along with the onion, carrots, celery, coconut aminos, fish sauce, salt and pepper

  
  

-Satuee veggies for 5 minutes then add minced shrimp, ground beef, minced ginger and scallions to the skillet

-Continue cooking until the shrimp are pink and the ground beef is browned

  
-Remove squash from oven when fully cooked and flip them over on the pan

-Stuff each squash as much as possible! Then broil them in the oven for 2-3 minutes until they are nicely bribes in top

-Garnish with a drizzle of sesame oil and some more diced scallions and enjoy! 

  
Notes: The recipe in the 21 DSD cookbook is called “cabbage-wrapped dumplings”. Diane gives a recipe for a delicious sauce to top these with but I will keep that a secret… Grab the book to find out!😜

Also- to make this lower FODMAP leave out the white onions and add more scallions.