“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

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

Mint Chocolate Macaroons (Paleo)

Well I’ve officially “moved” from the hills of western mass back to my home town near boston. My house is still on the market so my feet are still somewhat tied but on a weekly basis I’ve begun working my new jobs and living out east full time! It’s WONDERFUL to not have to drive back and forth across the state every other day and I believe most of the craziness has past but there is still so much that I need to organize and settle into. So far I am LOVING my new jobs as a coach at Crossfit Tri County and a waitress/bartender at an awesome super busy restaurant in Dedham. I’m on track to enroll in the Nutritional Therapy Practitioner course through the NTA starting in February which has been on my to-do-ASAP list for far too long, my new living situation and job flexibility will allow me to finally continue my education in the field I am most passionate about.

While all this news sounds so positive and “Merry”, if you asked me how I was doing just a few days ago I wouldn’t have been able to answer because I was overwhelmed with sad, negative, self-degrading emotions. The ups and downs of change and, in this case, huge life transitions can really mess with your brain and challenge your internal strength but ultimately there will always be good and bad days, happy and sad moments, comforting and fearful experiences. No matter what life throws your way its important to stay present and remember that you can only control you; how you react, how you behave, how you feel. Feeling emotions isn’t a bad thing, but letting them affect your life in a negative way is. If something is causing you pain and you can remove it from your life, you need to take charge and remove it. If some reoccuring thoughts are causing you to be unable to move forward, you need to confront them and forgive yourself so that you can move on. Life doesn’t always present you with rainbows and butterflies, or maybe it does but we just cant see them because we are too upset about the rain? Food for thought. 🙂

Now, enough of that, back to the reason why you’re here: here’s a super easy and festive recipe you can whip up to bring to your next holiday cookie swap or party. Enjoy!

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 1/2 cup cacao powder
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk
  • 1/2 tsp peppermint extract
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 egg white
  • dash of sea salt

Instructions:

-Preheat oven to 325 degrees (F)

-In a large mixing bowl combine all ingredients except egg white and salt

-In another bowl whisk egg white and salt with a hand mixer on high for 1-2 minutes until stiff peaks form

-Carefully fold egg white into the coconut mixture until well combined

-Scoop balls onto parchment lined backing sheet

-Bake for 30 minutes

-Remove from oven and let cool to room temperature

-(Optional) melt 1/2 cup dark chocolate in a small bowl and mix in 1/4 tsp peppermint extract (alcohol free). Dip the bottoms of each macaroon into chocolate and place back on parchment paper until chocolate has solidified

AB&J Bars (Paleo)

If you were to name some of your favorite snacks from when you were a kid (who knows, maybe you still eat the same?!) what would they be? I can imagine somewhere between mac & cheese and grandma’s homemade cookies, you thought of peanut butter and jelly. There’s just something about the combination of bread, creamy peanut butter and sweet and tangy jelly that is hard to resist. While the bread, peanuts and conventional jelly may not be paleo approved, here’s a great trade off that will surely satisfy all the PB&J cravings you’ve ever had. 🙂

Ingredients:

  • 2 bananas, overripe
  • 3/4 cup almond butter
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup coconut flour
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 3/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/3 tsp cream of tartar
  • pinch of sea salt
  • 1/3 cup homemade jam
  • 1 tsp coconut oil

Instructions:

-Preheat oven to 350 degrees (F).

-Grease a 9×9″ baking sheet with coconut oil. I use a pre-divided pan which takes the hassle of cutting these right out! You can also use a muffin pan instead.

-In a large mixing bowl combine bananas, almond butter, honey, eggs, and vanilla. Mash and mix thoroughly until no chunks remain.

-Add coconut flour, cinnamon, baking soda, cream of tartar and salt to the banana mixture and stir to combine until smooth.

-Add half of the batter to the greased pan (which ever type you decide to use).

-Then add then jam (make sure it’s laid out evenly and somewhat flat) over the banana mixture.

-Add remaining batter over the top to cover the jam completely.

-Bake for 25-30mins or until these start to become golden brown. Let cool for 5 minutes before taking a butter knife (or toothpick) to ensure the edges are not stuck and remove from the pan.

-Cut into 12 bars and enjoy! *Be careful, these are addicting!*

Macros! If you are counting or keeping track, the macronutrient profile for 1 bar is: Calories (210) Protein (6g) Fat(11g) Carbohydrates (23g)

fullsizerender

 

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!

Pumpkin Bacon & Chive Biscuits (Paleo, Nut-Free)

You might be wondering where I have been the last 9 months… and to answer that in one word, I have been BUSY! There have been a boatload of changes: bought a house, had to buy a new car, started a new full time job while still maintaining two other part time jobs. It’s been a little hectic to say the least. But I am happy to be back and although I haven’t had the time to make many new recipes myself, I wanted to share some that I have enjoyed making and munching on while I’ve been MIA.

These biscuits are brought to you by The Urban Poser whose blog I peruse quite often to find tasty recipes! So without further ado:

Pumpkin Bacon & Chive Biscuits (Nut, Dairy and Gluten-Free)

Ingredients:

  • 3-4 Strips of Bacon, cooked until crispy
  • 1/2 Cup melted fat (Bacon grease works great here!)
  • 1/2 Cup + 2 TB coconut flour
  • 3/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1 TB apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 Cup  pumpkin puree
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/2 Cup finely chopped fresh chives (substitute: green onions)

Instructions:

-Preheat oven to 350 degrees

-In a large bowl combine the coconut flour, baking soda and salt

-In a separate bowl whisk together the cooking fat, vinegar, eggs and pumpkin puree until combined.

-Mix the wet ingredients in with the dry ingredients then add finely chopped bacon and chives

-Using a 1/4 cup measure, gently pack and drop the biscuits onto a parchment lined baking sheet

-Bake for 18-20 minutes or until the edges start to crisp

-Allow biscuits to cool for about 5 minutes and then enjoy!

IMG_2957

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. 

    White Velvet Hash (Paleo, AIP)

    Hey everyone! I apologize for neglecting my blog lately I have just been consistently wrapped up in too many things! It’s definitely gotten to me as my adrenals are telling me they can’t keep up. Between long hours of work, cooking, baking, personal training, lifting, WODs, and now physical therapy, there just isn’t enough time in the day! Lucky for my readers and for myself I have decided to (and been forced to) make some changes in order to restore my health once again and to get back to doing the things that make me happy (like THIS!).

    For those of you that know me, I continue to struggle with spinal issues. It’s a work in progress and at this point it just one thing after another, but I hope that eventually my troubles will be much farther and fewer between. Most currently I have been dealing with a pinched nerve in my lumbar spine that was causing muscle weakness in my right leg and subsequent knee pain because my right leg was failing to get into the proper position. Since I went back to Physical Therapy (shout out to ProEX in Springfield for being amazing!) I have seen a HUGE improvement in my right leg. In fact I ended up getting a PR on my snatch a few days into PT. On the downside, the pain has since centralized itself to my lumbar spine which is far more uncomfortable than my knee! It’s a process that needs to happen though, and since i have had back pain I have been advised to cease all activity that compresses the spine…. It doesn’t take long to realize that cuts out mostly everything besides a few specific exercises. Luckily I should be able to get back to lifting in about 2 weeks or once the pain is gone. Until then I’m all about them core exercises! And my compex, which has super helpful in muscle recovery and also has strength settings so I don’t feel like I am doing NOTHING for the next 2 weeks!

      
    On the plus side, my relatively nonexistent workout load gives me some much needed time to let my creative wheels turn again in the kitchen! (I’m sure my boyfriend will be happy about this because I’ve been cooking the most basic and uninteresting things lately! lol… sorry Mickey!) Some of you might have seen my recipe for Red Velvet Hash, which was AH-mazing! Well, this one has similar ingredients but a whole different flavor profile, a MUST try!


    Ingredients:

    • 1 large white sweet potato (Japanese or Hannah), shaved
    • 2 medium golden beets, peeled and shaved
    • 1 medium yellow onion, diced
    • 2-4 TB. coconut oil
    • 2 TB. fresh chives, diced
    • 1 TB. tarragon
    • 1 tsp. garlic powder
    • 1/2 tsp. onion powder
    • 1/4 tsp. salt
    • 1.8 tsp. pepper

    Instructions:

    -In a large skillet melt 2 TB. coconut oil over medium-high heat

    -Add diced onion to the skillet and cook until translucent, about 3-5 minutes

    -Add shaved beets and potato to the skillet and cook for 5 minutes, stirring once or twice

    -Add the rest of the ingredients (including the rest of the coconut oil if you need it) to the skillet and stir to combine

      
    -Cover and cook for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until beets and potatoes are soft

      
    -Add in some cooked meats if desired, top with some eggs or use as a delicious side dish! You could also turn the skillet to high and really crisp up the hash if you prefer it crispy! Lots of possibilities with this one!

      
    Enjoy!

    Blueberry Gummies (Paleo, AIP, LowFODMAP, 21DSD)

    I apologize for being so behind in my blog posts lately! I have had to put more time into reducing my stress levels again lately as they tend to creep up when I over-commit myself to things. Once again I like to think that I can “do it all” and I sure can, but it comes with a cost which is usually a decline in my health. Anyways, I won’t bore you with details from my fitness updates today but overall things are going well. I have a slight stability problem in my right knee/ankle that is causing some inflammation in my knee but I am actively working on figuring that out, I will likely head back to my friends at ProEX Physical Therapy to strengthen that issue. In the mean time my lifting is going quite well and I have been making progress everyday! No complaints there.

    In the Primal Treats and Eats realm I have been baking away for Mother’s Day! I had some mini-cake specials going on so that people could treat themselves as well as the mothers in their lives! I unfortunately will not be seeing my mother or my family this weekend because I will be working on Mother’s Day, but I did of course bake my mom something special and will celebrate with her the following weekend.

      
    Mini cakes! 

    Another positive note is that the weather in New England has been amazing!! I think we deserve it after that harsh winter… I got to enjoy it a little yesterday while hiking. 😊

      
    Views from the top of the Notch in Amherst.

    Now for the gummies!

    This is a great recipe that is super easy to make. After listening to the Glowing Skin Summit I got a swift reminder of the importance of gelatin, collagen, antioxidants, vitamin C, and many other nutrients that support skin health. Skin is the largest organ in the body and it has internal and external components. Skin serves to protect the body from external elements: it lets things that we need in such as sunlight to create vitamin D, and keeps out the toxins. Although in modern times the world we live in is a very toxic one. Our skin is exposed to chemicals and toxins throughout the day in our skincare products, shampoos, soaps, perfume, deodorants, detergents, and even in the air and water supply. It’s more important than ever to take a loot at your products and the ingredients in them and try your best to detoxify your life from these harmful agents. This may surprise you but all of these products can be made pretty simply! More info on that to come as I learn for myself how to create my own household cleaning products and find the best chemical and toxin free skincare products. For now I can share that Dr. Bronner makes a great multipurpose soap. Himalayan sea salt soap is all you need to clean and exfoliate the skin. And last but not least Dragonfly Traditions has amazing natural skin care products! 

    Ok, now I’ll really get to the recipe:

    Ingredients:

    • 1 cup organic berries (I used blueberries)
    • 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
    • 4 TB Great Lakes Beef gelatin
    • 1-2 TB coconut water (optional)
    • 1-2 TB local raw honey (optional)

    Instructions:

    -Add blueberries, lemon juice, coconut water and honey to a saucepan over medium heat

      
    -Cook, stirring occasionally, until blueberries have deflated and let the mixture is mostly liquid

      
    -Let cool for 1-2 minutes then add berry mixture to a blender with gelatin and blend unit smooth

    -Pour gelatin mixture into candy molds or into a glass pan

      
    -Pop in the fridge for an hour to solidify

    -Cut into preferred shape and size and enjoy one or a few daily!