Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Sweet treat #1 that hits the spot

Treat #1
About 2 weeks ago the girls were 'acting desperate' for a sweet treat to which I replied I sure as heck wasn't going to make an unhealthy, non-challenge friendly treat. So I came up with what Emaline calls 'Banana ice cream' or 'Banana smoothie,' which in reality is more of a sorbet. ( I tried to explain to Em, but she didn't care. She's 7. It's ice cream.)

You banana haters, don't cringe. The banana flavor is subtle and the real purpose of the banana is for the smooth texture it lends to the overall product. I've made it about a dozen times now for the girls. They love it.

Ingredients you need:

  1. ice
  2. vanilla (real stuff, not the fake)
  3. raw honey (regular if you aren't paleo/primal)
  4. med-lg ripe banana (none of this green on the stem end-yuck!!!)
  5.  *optional- unsweetened almond milk
  6. **optional garnish-cinnamon

When I want a smaller portion (say for 2 people), I use about a cup of  crushed ice, 1/2 banana, 1 good tsp of honey, and 1/2-1 tsp of vanilla (to taste). (If you add the almond milk, add about 1/2 cup. Add more if you see the consistency isn't what you want.)**

From experience I learned to put the banana, honey, and vanilla (almond milk too) in first and give a few good chops in the blender to get it mixed. Then I add the ice. If you do it the other way around, the blender gets rather stuck and the honey gets too cold and won't mix.

The banana sorbet is rather dry (if you can call a thing w/ ice dry) w/o the almond milk but tasty nonetheless, more like an icee w/o much liquid.The kids and I prefer it w/ the almond milk. The texture is MUCH creamier and the flavor is fuller.

I've doubled the recipe and made sure to have good portions of the honey to ensure sweetness. Once I added really ripe pineapple, and it was AMAZING. It was SUPER sweet and the texture was great.

Try it out. It's virtually guilt-free and doesn't need another workout to burn the calories. :)

**Disclaimer- All amounts are guess-tamations b/c I don't use recipes and I rarely write them down. The only thing I know for certain is the honey amount (I use a spoon) and the banana size and quality.

Monday, May 28, 2012

The Grill- a modern day cavewoman's BFF

Tonight Matt and I had a couple friends over for a Memorial Day cookout b/c we certainly can't be Un-American and not grill on an ALL AMERICAN holiday. (how again is that related to honoring our veterans?)

Back to why the grill is my BFF. :)

One of the guys that came over is interested in the Paleo/Primal lifestyle (but as a pescatarian-health issues) and is actually starting this week to eat this way, going so far as to pay ME to make his meals. So I thought I'd go all out and show him what a feast we can have sans wheat, potatoes, legumes, dairy, or sugar.

As we know guys love the grill, love to be IN CHARGE of the grill, and love to eat virtually anything OFF the grill, so why not showcase meat and veggies that can be grilled up ahead of time and ready for the week?

We (meaning Matt) grilled:
1. 2 T-bones
2. regular steak (I forget which cut)
3. 2 chicken breast (on bone)
4. salmon fillet
5. link 41 (local sausage maker) mole sausage
6. turnips
8. yellow squash
9. red jalapenos
10. orange bell pepper

All the veggies and meat were seasoned w/ an herb blend and evoo in a large Ziploc gallon bag. (I'm ALL about easy clean ups)

Within 1/2 hr we had a huge grilled feast accompanied by the huge salad (made w/ 4 different lettuces, sprouts (sunflower and pea), purple onion, grape tomatoes, walnuts, and a kerns' vinaigrette) and roasted brocoli w/ evoo and garlic.

Side note-I found a new favorite veggie tonight- grilled turnips. I LOVED them. They have a unique taste but it is addicting and w/ evoo and herbs...they're amazing.

Needless to say we ate like kings, had PLENTY leftovers for the rest of the week's lunch, and MINIMAL cleanup.

This, my friends,  is why the grill is my BFF.

What about you? Got any tips to share or suggestions for other foods to try on the grill? I'd love to hear from you all.

Cooking paleo

So the Spring '12 Crossfit Brigade nutritional challenge has provided Matt and I MANY opportunities to experiment with flavors and food combinations.

He's successfully created paleo BBQ sauce to go w/ his smoked meats!
I've created several DELICIOUS frozen concoctions that only have ice, vanilla, banana, and maybe another fruit.
I've learned to cook fish in a way that I can tolerate it and even enjoy eating it!
I made my own Paleo ketchup to enjoy on burgers and other meats.
I made my own Paleo mayo/aioli to be enjoyed w/ said burgers and other meats.

I attempted Primal pizza w/ a chicharrones crust....the toppings were AMAZING, the crust not so much. I need to tweak it so it's not so crumbly.

I've made some larabar'esque snacks that Matt and I gobbled up. All they had in it were, dates, prunes, almond flour, coconut flour, vanilla, a bit on honey, and organic 99% cocoa... They were amazing.

Recipes will show up soon. I've been reading my random cookbooks and websites to glean ideas for me to try.

Spring Nutritional Challenge:April 29- June 10

So we at Crossfit Brigade decided to do another nutritional challenge for several reasons, a host of new friends @ the gym, the Crossfit Regional Games, and most importantly...swimsuit season! (....I think I'm being serious here...?)

I digress.

This challenge is more difficult- There is a COMPLETE ABSENSE of cheese.

I should stop right there for a moment of silence because that in and of itself used to be a deal breaker for me.

But there's more.

There are points to calculate. There is fish oil, 7+ hours of sleep expectation, AND organic/wild/ farm raised food componont.

You're shaking your head, did you stumble upon a Weight Watchers page? No my dear, you have not. We're just getting serious and determining what we're made of and to answer-can we make that switch to eating a more healthy, mindful way?

I don't know about you, but I'm still wondering HOW in the world am I going to make it? How HAVE I made it over the last 25 + days? It's been rough, especially the cheese part. I've caved in on May11th w/ goat cheese on a spinach and strawberry salad. It was DIVINE and I had NO regrets.

The point aspect has been pretty easy. Matt has been totally supportive with me earning points, especially since he can help me 'earn' a point in the activity section...

Seriously though, he's been great with making sure my fish oil and multi vitamin are consumed right before bed, which I might add is in enough time for me to meet the 7+ hour sleep requirement.

Have I told you how much I LOVE MY BED. Because I do. Not the little love, or really like, but LOVE.  I'm like a little kid with a treat when I lay down, I get a big smile as a snuggle in. No lie.

I've cooked alot and created a lot of meals/recipes that are twists to everyday meals. I will definitely share the recipes.

I've bought more organic, grass fed/range fed proteins than ever. I've even made a point to go to the market to by fresh, local veggies and fruit on Wednesdays and Sundays.

As you can see, this challenge has been more about transforming my lifestyle, more than transforming my figure (though that has benefitted from my diligence of ensuring higher quality foods are being bought and prepared).

If you think you can't do something so radical as paleo or primal because you work or have kids, you're short changing yourself and them.  Try it for 40 days and see. You won't regret it.