Fresh fruit for juggling a busy scheduleI love food. I really really love food. I love eating as much as I need breathing. Ok, maybe I love food even more than breathing. And my food passion turns to serious food desperation on those crazy days that I don’t really have time to cook (that’s pretty much everyday). It’s all about the food.  And I love snacking just as much as I love eating but if I am going to stick to my 80% Paelo lifestyle, I need to make good choices even on crazy days. So I’m working on a list of ‘standard snack fare’ that I keep in my kitchen at all times. It’s gotta be healthy and Paleo friendly because otherwise, I’ll be chowing down on my kiddos’ pretzels and goldfish crackers and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and pretty much everything else that they leave behind. I’d much rather feed their leftovers to the chickens and eat something healthier! And it’s got to be a robust kind of a snack or I’ll eat way too many. After all, I like food. I love food. I NEED food. But I don’t need it making me sluggish or hanging around on my thighs…. So here are my favorite go to snacks and mini meals to keep me fueled up and feeling full when life is out of control. And let’s face it, when is life ever not out of control?

1. Banana with a couple tablespoons of almond butter and a few crumbles of homemade Paleo chocolate.

2. A couple of cuties. Call them Cuties, or Halos, or whatever – but a couple of fresh mandarin oranges are a great way to satisfy the sweet tooth, get your vitamin C, and have a nice healthy snack in its own convenient packaging.

3. Faux apple pie. This is delicious when you’re craving something warm and sweet! Cut up an apple any old way you like – I prefer bite size pieces, but slices are good too. Dump them in a bowl with a little bit of coconut oil and a sprinkle of cinnamon (I love cinnamon). Microwave for about a minute, then drizzle with honey (Raw Manuka honey is awesome). It’s like apple pie without the carbs. The coconut oil gives satiety so it’s a great bedtime snack to replace your sugary, sweet dessert.

image4. Eggs. For years, eggs were the ‘bad guys’ of cholesterol, but new studies are showing otherwise. Eggs are a powerhouse of nutrition and protein, easy to cook, and versatile. Keep some hard boiled eggs in the fridge for when you need a quick protein fix.

5.  Smoothies. Smoothies are filling and delicious, but just watch because the calorie count adds up fast. Frozen bananas, a few ice cubes, almond butter, maybe a little protein powder or a scoop of cocoa powder and a little honey. Toss it in your blender and your good to go.

6. Fresh juice. If you have a juicer, you can throw in 3 apples and 2 cucumbers for a great juice to take on the run. They are super nutritious, helps remove any water retention, and will give you energy. Need juicer? Try this one. It’s easy to use and I love mine. Bonus – the chickens love the leftover juice pulp! If you don’t have chickens just use it to create your own compost pile and the waste becomes fertilizer to grow more veggies!

It’s so easy to reach for carbs – crackers, croissants, or pop tarts, make such easy and neat packages, but the sluggishness that comes on after makes the convenience of carbs so not worth it. Instead, keep an extra supply of fresh fruits and veggies on hand: bananas, berries, apples, carrots, celery…. Fresh seasonal produce is almost always cheaper pound for pound than processed foods and gives you much more energy, satiety, and vitamins.

What are you favorite healthy snacks and meals for when you’re super busy?

 

Chocolate.

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In my house, it’s one of the 4 basic food groups. You know, protein, fruits and veggies, coffee, and chocolate. I’ve been taste testing lots of varieties of homemade paleo chocolate, and finally came up with my own version that I love! It’s totally delicious, decadent, easy, and versatile. I’m sure you’ll love it too, so I conjured up a recipe page so I can start keeping these yummy ideas all in one place. Enjoy!

Go here for the recipe: I Need a Chocolate Fix 3 Ingredient Paleo Chocolate 

532191_10202661568880888_954482986_nI have a confession to make. Puh-lease, please please pretty please with 
sugar and a giant tasty cherry on top don’t yell, criticize, make fun of me, or- worst of all- tell the healthy police. Because I am not proud of what I did.

Yesterday, I ate an Egg McMuffin.

Seriously, it was a weak moment. I was starved. So starved my ribs might have been sticking out a little (well, ok, maybe that’s just a tiny exaggeration, I haven’t seen my ribs for quite a few years and I really don’t plan on seeing them poke out again). And my kids were having those fluffy, carb-laden, chock-full-of-horrible–gluten, sugary, deliciously made with white flour McD’s pancakes. I couldn’t bear the temptation. I had to have it and I needed it right now. Can you feel my agony? Sympathize with my starvation? Well, at least I mustered the strength and courage to pass on those perfect pancakes and chose an Egg McMuffin instead, because, well, at least it had protein. Right? I mean, I gotta eat healthy, right?

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Gratuitous chick pic

[insert sigh of defeat here]

As soon as I bit into the hot, tasty goodness I knew 2 things: my stomach would suffer later (about 24 hours later) and I had totally derailed the day’s eating. But only 1 of those things turned out to be true. Here’s why.

I am normally an all-in, perfectionist, do it right and do it all the way kind of a person. If I’m going to do something, it’s going to be 110%. Full steam ahead. Jump right in feet first without checking how deep the water is kind of a person It’s sort of my MO to pick a project and give it everything I’ve got until I either fail or get bored and move on to something else. It’s not a very attractive character trait, I believe. It’s kind of how I ended up with 31 pet chickens (who I really do love and adore), a garden so big I couldn’t fill it (but I will this year), and more than a few stints as a direct sales agent (not so good at sales, here, people, I’m not gonna lie). And it’s happened with

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100 percent FitBit

my health and fitness. I’m talking diet plans, exercise plans, gym equipment – been there, done that, and I don’t even have the  t-shirt to go with it. So what normally happens when I start off the day eating poorly, I give up and stuff my face with whatever crap is just laying around the kitchen, especially if it contains sugar, flour, and chocolate. Lots of chocolate. Please, tell me you can relate. At least humor me here, k?

This time, it’s different. Because I’m making a conscious effort not to be 100%. Is that crazy? Maybe. My goal is to eat paleo friendly fare 80% of the time. And you know what? It’s working.

I give myself permission to snag a goldfish or two from my kiddo’s snack bowl. I give myself permission to eat a half a donut for breakfast, along side some farm fresh eggs or a banana. I give myself permission to indulge in the church pancake fundraiser – once in a while or (ack) hit up fast food when I am exhausted after a long day of schlepping a plethora of kids around. I also give myself permission to mess up – to eat (gulp) pizza during a trip to Chuckee Cheese, or (gasp) indulge in an Egg McMuffin without beating myself up. But I have to stop at 20%. It’s a balancing act, for sure, but it allows me to fail but not derail, indulge but not bulge, treat myself a little and still get healthy, lose weight, and best of all – not feel tired, sick, and disgusted with myself. I’m only 80% in, but it works. I feel healthier, stronger, thinner, and happier than I have in a long time. I pulled a dress out of my closet with the tags still on, because a year ago it was too small. Now it fits like a dream. And even when I’m totally wiped, I can hoist that fully loaded infant carrier up over my head and into my giant passenger van. It’s working, so I’m going to keep going all in 80% in.

Recipe for the weekend: Paleo friendly coffee creamer

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Gratuitous coffee and theology pic

Normally, I like my coffee black. Bitter is better and I love it dark, rich, and very very black. But I came across a coconut oil coffee recipe that I cannot wait to try in my no-longer-black coffee. Coconut oil is said to help you burn fat (apparently, this healthy fat has magical properties) as well as a host of other benefits such as being anti-inflammatory, anti-fungal, and potentially, anti-aging (we won’t discuss my need for anti-aging, it’s a sore sore subject). So eating 2 tablespoons daily will help the pounds fall off, if that’s your goal. Whether it works or not, I don’t know, but I love coconut oil for all kind of things and this recipe sounds delicious!  Check it out here and let me know if you like it!

Gratuitous workout selfie.
Gratuitous workout selfie.

Healthy Food House Coffee Creamer

And if you need to give your health and weight loss a little boost, try this

system from It Works (yes, I get paid if you buy it. but you know that sales is not my forte and I will never pressure you)

Have a fun, fit, food-filled Friday!

Coming up with delicious clean/paleo recipes is always a challenge, especially when I’m short on time – which is pretty much every single day of my life. My dear friend sent me an awesome cookbook for my birthday – Well Fed – you can buy it through the link below (this is an affiliate link which means I might make a little cash if you buy it here):

I am totally in love with this cookbook. It is clearly written, practical, offers suggestions, substitutions, and amazingly delectable paleo meals. Even if I don’t have the time or all of the ingredients to make the recipes exactly as written, they definitely jolt my culinary creativity and inspire me to get cooking (which is not usually my favorite thing to do). My first attempts were zucchini noodles using the Spiral Ninja:

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As we as the chocolate chilli.

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I am totally hooked on both and I can’t stop making zucchini noodles. The kiddos were enraptured! I even made some fancy cucumbers with the spiral ninja for my salad. But Tuesday was even more of a rush, and I really needed to get groceries. So I got creative and used just what I had on hand. I came up with pan fried coconut lime chicken, which is both clean and paleo. How easy is this!

Coconut Lime Chicken

Dump your frozen or fresh chicken in a large skillet.

Dump in a nice sized scoop of coconut oil (several tablespoons should do the trick)

Pour lime juice over top.

Simmer until it’s cooked.

It was so good that I made it for dinner again tonight!

I also added the cumin-roasted carrots from Well Fed and a heaping fresh greens salad with red and yellow pepper, tomato, and homemade dressing. It was so good that I ate a ton, and the best part of it is that I didn’t have that heavy, boated, fatigued feeling that I get after a full meal of carbs. I had the energy to get up, clean up, and get going to work. What more could I ask?

I admit, I cheated on Paleo just a bit with a little touch of shredded cheese on my salad and this dressing: 

Mayo Dressing

Several tablespoons of mayo or Miracle Whip (there is a recipe in Well Fed for a Paleo friendly mayo but I haven’t had the time to whip it up)

A generous squirt of mustard

A tablespoon of maple syrup

Celery seed, salt, and Italian seasonings to taste.

Stir it up with a fork and add just enough milk to make it creamy.

It’s very sweet and tangy so the kids loved it, and so did the grownups.

It doesn’t take much to get me excited about food, fresh yummy food, but it does take a lot to get me excited about COOKING the fresh yummy food. Thanks Well Fed, for bringing back the joy in cooking. Delish!