Cracked Nut Butter

20140319_141929

This. Cracked Nut Butter.  Cookie Dough flavor.  When I saw this in the grocery store, my first thought was YUM, that looks delicious…..and FULL of bad things. I turned the jar over and turns out, not so bad.  Ingredients: Raw almonds, Raw pecans, Whey Isolate w/ honey, Unsweetened Organic coconut flakes, Organic virgin coconut oil, and Organic pastured ghee.  I was pleasantly surprised.  Of course I had to try it.  Delicious.  Delicious in smoothies.  Delicious on fruit.  Delicious on pancakes.  Delicious on a spoon.

It does have a texture and flavor that I took me a little bit to place.  Somewhat gritty.  Sweet, but not too sweet.  After reading the ingredients again, I figured it out.  Pecans.  So good.  I am typically an almond butter girl, but this is definitely worth switching for.  Check it.

20140319_141944

Sirens, Snacks, and Shift Work

Food.  It’s kind of a big deal, especially in my line of work.  Depending on which type of public safety officer you are, you may go for quite awhile without having an opportunity to eat.  That big fire, a high speed chase, that CPR from hell…  OR if you do shift work, perhaps you get those random cravings at 0300. That being said, snacks are a big thing for me.  I like to have a lot of options.  Little munchy things as well as filling snacks. I have had quite a few people text me or message me asking me about some good snack choices. I’ve been working on this post for awhile now…adding to it from time to time.  Here are a few suggestions that I came up with.

Rule #1.  Never allow yourself to starve.  Eat when you can.  I always have snacks on me.  I typically have a Larabar or trail mix from Trader Joe’s…something light, yet filling.  My flight suit and medic pants have some pretty solid snack pockets.  I’m not afraid to use 3 out of my 11 pockets for snacks.  I even keep trail mix and Justin’s almond butter in the glove compartment of my car for road trip emergencies.  Tip: try pre packaged Paleo snacks like Paleo Kits from Steve’s PaleoGoods or muffins and cookies from Tripps Primal Farm and Kitchen.

Rule #2. Veggies and protein.  I really like mini cucumber sandwiches.  Small cucumbers sliced in half, the innerds scooped out, then layers of cheese, turkey lunchmeat, and mustard (no need to call the Paleo police.  I realize cheese is not Paleo).  I also like lettuce wraps.  Romaine hearts filled with mustard, meat, cheese, peppers, bacon, etc.  Ants on a log is also another solid choice.  Celery, almond butter, raisins. Just like 1st grade.  Guacamole and plantain chips. Tip: I’ve found that both vegetables and protein tend to fill me up…especially when I am in a mindless snacking part of my day.  Both are good, but when you combine the veggie AND the protein, you have a total snack win.

Rule #3.  Pack a lunch.  When you pack a lunch, you know you have a solid meal with real food.  For the days that I spend on the ambulance, I always have my lunch box with me. I tend to pack a plethora of options as well as a ton of finger food. Again, more veggies.  Pecan hummus and carrot sticks are a good one.  Also, when my almond butter is running low, I like to cut up a handful of celery sticks to put in the jar.  This makes for easy, mess-free dipping.  Cauliflower is a pretty good choice as well.  Filling and not messy.  A CrossFit Paleo cop I know likes to take cooked chicken breast to work and dip it into homemade baconnaise as a snack.  Nuts like almonds and pistachios are a great choice instead of having chips or crackers. I have also been known to pack a salad in a mason jar.  Put your dressing on the bottom then add plantain chips or almonds on top of that.  Continued to add the various layers of your salad.  When you’re ready for lunch, just give the jar a shake and dig in (I do recommend packing a large fork as well…unless you have small hands that can fit into the jar.)  A few other things I may have in my lunchbox include apples, slices of orange, small packages of Justin’s almond butter, some dark chocolate, local grass-fed beef sticks, sweet potato chips…  Snacks are great, but one can not live on snacks alone.  It’s also important to pack some solid sustenance.  Finger food.  One day, there I was, driving down the road….eating steak strips.  I also like to take grilled kabobs along.  Hard boiled eggs, homemade chicken tenders, and homemade coconut oil fried fish are also a few other options that I have been known to take along with me.  Decent protein. Protein will fill you up, and if you nom on clean protein choices, you’re set. Nutritious AND delicious. Tip: I have a couple insulated lunch bags that I take to work with me.  I can throw an ice pack or 2 in there in the morning and keep the lunch bag by my side all day long, even on an ambulance road trip. I also do this when I take road trips in my personal vehicle.  Saves money, there are fewer stops, and I am able to fill up on the good stuff instead of whatever drive thru options may tempt me.

Rule #4.  Strategic convenience store snacking…in case of emergencies.  Sometimes, when you are in a pinch, a gas station is the only option.  While choices are limited, there are a few go-to items that I’ll grab for on the road.  Almonds.  Almonds are good to snack on and great for you.  Once in awhile, if I’m starving and need something satisfying, I will have a roller dog (well, a bratwurst, not a hot dog) with mustard.  Now, this isn’t the best option, but I figure it’s a pretty good meaty protein source for those times that I’ve been up all.day.long and all.night.long, am STARVING, and craving all things bad.  Again, hard boiled eggs are a great choice.  Pork rinds.  Hey, they’re Paleo.  Sometimes I can find a piece of fruit or a package of dried fruit.  A big bottle of water as well.  Water will help to fill your rumbly tummy.  Tip: I actually like to just walk around a few times to see if I can find anything new and exciting….and kind of Paleo.  The popular items are typically on the ends of the aisles and part of big displays.  Walk around a little to find better options.

Rule #5. Water.  I try to stay hydrated the best that I can.  Sometimes your body thinks its hungry when really, you just need water.  Have you heard about the apple test?  I can’t remember where I heard this, but I kind of use it as a rule of thumb, “When you’re hungry, ask yourself, ‘Does an apple sound good to me?'” If it does, you’re probably hungry.  If it doesn’t, then odds are, you need some water.  Tip: Many people reach for Mio or Crystal Light to enhance their water experience.  Yes to drinking more water.  No to the calorie-free, ARTIFICIAL sweetener.  For something different, try adding fruit to you water.  Buy yourself a fancy new water bottle.  Something.  Everyone needs more water.

I guess the most important thing is to not let myself get too hungry.  In order to succeed, you need to plan ahead.  I’m always thinking about when I will eat next and what I will do if I get a flight or ambulance call just as I’m about to sit down for a meal.  When hunger strikes, I really don’t want to miles away from my food.  It makes me irritable.  Nobody likes a grumpy medic.

Whoever you may be….firefighter, busy mom, office guy too busy to take a lunch…hopefully this helps a little.  Eat.  You’ll be a happier person.

Chia Seed Pudding

image

Chia seeds.  Packed with a big nutritional punch in a tinylittleseed.  Chia seeds are interesting little buggers.  When dry, they look kind of like a poppy seed.  When moisture is added, it basically turns into a gelatinous orb. It has been debated that these seeds can help curb hunger.  I guess my take on it is that since the seed sort of expands, it helps you to feel more full. In addition to maybe curbing hunger, these seeds are pretty good for you.  Fiber, protein, calcium, antioxidants, and omega-3.  All of that in these tinylittleseeds. 

I typically use Chia seeds when I make shakes and smoothies.  I’m always looking for other uses for these funky little seeds.  Recently, I came across this pudding recipe on the Deliciously Organic site.  Sounds pretty delicious.

Ingredients
1-1/2 Cups full fat coconut milk
4 Tbsp real maple syrup (or honey)
1 Tbsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp almond extract (optional)
1/3 cup chia seeds
1/2 cup fresh berries

Instructions
1. Whisk coconut milk, maple syrup, and extracts until smooth. 
2. Stir in chia seeds
3. Divide mixture evenly between 4 glasses.
4. Let sit at room temperature for 2 hours.
5. Serve

Note: If you’d like to make the pudding ahead of time, cover tightly and chill in the refrigerator.  Set pudding out for 15 minutes before serving.  Best if eaten within 24 hours.

I found this recipe a couple of days ago, printed it off, and set it on my counter.  This morning, before work, I quick whipped up a batch to throw in my lunch bag.  I altered it just slightly due to time.  I had about a half a can of coconut milk and added almond milk to make the 1-1/2 cups. I was out of maple syrup so I used honey.  I didn’t have any almond extract so I left that stuff out as well.  I had my blender out, so I threw it all into the blender and gave it whirl.  Once mixed, I poured the pudding into mason jars and put them in my lunch bag for work. 

Around lunchtime (about 6 hours after making the pudding), I tried this stuff out.  I added fresh raspberries to make it pretty.  This stuff is pretty fantastic.  As my medic partner so eloquently put it, “It looks reptilian!”  The seeds do give it a funky look and texture, but that’s alright.  The flavor makes up for it.  It totally reminded me of tapioca pudding.  Subtly sweet, a hint of vanilla, and packed with healthy goodness. 

I WILL be making this again.  I foresee having this stuff on hand often to have as dessert.  Perfect.

Happy eating!

Recipe HERE. Also listed is a chocolate version. I plan to make that one next time. I have fond memories of warm tapioca pudding with chocolate chips.  Ahh, memories.

image

Paleo Cinnamon Bun In a Mug

20131121_125247

It seems like at least once or twice a day I see a “mug cake” recipe.  The directions are simple: mix, microwave, eat.  The ingredients, well, while they may be simple, they aren’t clean in the least bit.  They vary from pudding mix to cake mix to sugar to regular flour.  When South Beach Primal posted this recipe on the Facebook, I knew I just had to try it.  A cleaner version to all of those mug recipes. Yeah, I’m down.

Ingredients
Cinnamon Bun
2 tbsp coconut flour
1 tsp cinnamon
Dash salt
Dash nutmeg
½ tsp baking powder
1 egg
2 tbsp almond milk (unsweetened)
1 ½ tbsp raw honey
½ tsp vanilla extract

Icing
1 tbsp coconut butter (THIS is the kind that I buy in the store)
1 tbsp almond milk (unsweetened)
1 tsp raw honey
1/2 tsp lemon juice

Instructions
1. Mix all of the cinnamon cake ingredients in a coffee mug, mixing in the baking powder last.
2. Microwave for 2 minutes.
3. Mix all of the icing ingredients in a small bowl, drizzling over the hot mug cake.
4. Inhale immediately

Ri-dic-u-lous-ly easy.  Cinnamon bun with icing…in a mug.  I’m sold.  This could be dangerous.  Delicious flavor.  The icing really adds a lot.  Flavor AND a little moisture.  One of the best parts is the clean up.  A lot of my friends who eat the mug cakes complain that the cake is a bugger to clean out of the mug once the cake is gone.  With this one, that’s not an issue in the least bit.  You could totally lick the mug clean.  Also, I’ve had a few people ask me what’s so special about coconut butter….and could one substitute regular butter for the coconut butter?  In my opinion, coconut butter is creamier. It also has just a hint of flavor.  To be honest, I don’t know how this recipe would turn out with regular butter.  If you make it, let me know. I just know how tasty it is with the coconut butter. I would guess that the flavor would not be as rich with the regular butter.

In short, this is a pretty fantastic single serving cinnamon bun.  Mix, microwave, masticate.  I HIGHLY recommend checking it out.
Happy Eating!

Recipe HERE. While you’re at it, take a gander around South Beach Primal’s webpage.  Tons of good stuff!

20131121_125304

Baked Delicata Moons

20131104_113002

South Beach Primal posted this recipe on Facebook recently.  I grew up having squash typically as a savory-type dish, so I’m always eager to try a sweeter version of the vegetable. I had never heard of the Delicata squash before (picture HERE), so I went on a mission to find some.  I ended up finding these guys in the organic squash section of my local grocery store.  About a buck and some odd change for one.  Not bad. I brought one to work with me today, thought I’d try this recipe out on some of the fire guys.

Ingredients

  • 1 Delicata squash
  • 1 tbsp butter from grass-fed cows
  • 1 tsp Grade B maple syrup (optional)
  • Salt to taste
  • Cinnamon to taste

Instructions
1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F
2. Wash the skin of the squash, getting in the creases of each ridge.
3. Cut off both ends and then cut long ways down the length of each ridge.
4. Taking a spoon, scoop out the stringy seeds.
5. Vertically, cut 1/2 inch pieces so the squash looks like half-crescent moons
6. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper for easy cleanup (and less sticking).
7. Lay out each moon, cover with melted butter, syrup, salt, and cinnamon.  Try adding the seeds for a nice crunch!
8. After making sure each side is evenly coated, pop the tray in the oven for 25-30 minutes, flipping occasionally.  BE GENTLE!
9. Enjoy!

20131104_105239-1

This squash recipe is delicious!  The butter, syrup, cinnamon, salt combination is perfect.  I also chose to bake the squash seeds.  I had never had squash seeds before and was pleasantly surprised.  Turns out, I prefer them over the every popular pumpkin seeds.  The squash seeds are smaller and easier to eat.  The crunch of the seeds complimented the soft squash quite nicely.  I had this as a snack today, but this could easily be a dessert.  The firefighters approved as well.  Really a perfect sweet snack at the fire station.  It’s easy to prepare with easy clean up. It’s nutritious AND delicious.  Looking forward to making more moons this week.

Happy Eating!
Your Paleo Paramedic

Original recipe HERE.

20131104_113228

Crispy & Spicy Oven-Baked Chicken Wings

image

Wings! I’ve been craving these guys hardcore lately. You never know what restaurant wings have in them, so I thought I’d try my hand at some homemade wings. I found this recipe on the eat. live. Paleo blog.

Ingredients
2-2.5# chicken wings
3 garlic cloves, grated
Juice of 1 lime
2 tbsp olive oi
l1/2 tsp cayenne
salt + pepper to taste

1. In a large pot, bring water to boil.  Add the wings and boil for 8 minutes.  Strain, set the wings aside and let cool.
2. In a large bowl, mix the ingredients for the marinade.  After the wings have cooled, add the wings to the marinade and mix well.
3. Let the wings marinate for at least 30 minutes.
4. Preheat the oven to 450F.
5. Lay out the chicken wings over a wire rack.  Sprinkle with a little more salt and pepper. (I just laid them on a baking sheet lined with tinfoil.)
6. Bake for 30 minutes.  After 30 minutes, turn the wings over to bake the other side.  Bake for another 10 minutes.
7. Take out of the oven, plate, and serve. Enjoy!

These were great! Perfectly crispy. Flavor was spot on too. Garlic, lemon, cayenne…ferocious combo. Once cooked, I dipped them in a little Frank’s Red Hot to add a little kick. Spot hit.

Happy eating!

Recipe HERE

For more delicious wing recipes, check out PaleoPot’s site HERE

Sweet Corn Salsa Soup

image

Whipped this up while waiting for my beef (grass-fed of course) to brown.

Tomatoes and corn from in-laws’ garden, cilantro, can of green chili peppers, salt. While corn is not Paleo, there will always be a special place in my heart for Iowa sweet corn fresh off the cob. Also, corn doesn’t really bother my guts, so I’m ok having it sparingly.

I am out of sweet potato chips, so I am literally eating this with a spoon. I suppose one could call it sweet corn salsa soup.  There are 152 ways to make salsa…this was just quick and easy, using the ingredients I had on hand.

What do you like in your salsa?

A Paleo Fiesta

image

A paramedic student made some taco chicken the other day; I’ve been craving it ever since.

I sliced 4 chicken breast in half, seasoned with s&p, then the it on the grill for a little bit. Once that was perfectly grilled, I let it cool, shredded it, then tossed it in taco seasoning. The spices and the grill flavor go well together. If course you could always make your own taco seasoning, but I was all about the quick and easy with this one.

In the meantime, I grated 1 head of cauliflower into a pot, added a little butter, then heated it for a bit. After the butter was melted, I added salsa, green onion, red onion, s&p. I cooked this until most of the juices had cooked out. Again, you could make your own salsa and spices, but I was going for simple. If you choose to use pre-packaged salsa, check your labels. Sugar is sneaky.

I also whipped up some guacamole. I threw 2 avocados into the food processor for just a little bit. I’m a fan of chunky guac. To that, I added red onion, garlic, Jalapeño, and s&p. I used Terra brand veggie chips to dip into the guac.

I had the chicken over a handful of spinach to make a salad. This entire meal was pretty delicious. Spot hit. Cleanup, however….not as fun.

image

Guacamole

image

I.love.guacamole.

I saw this one on Facebook as well and have been craving guacamole since.This recipe is pretty standard and simple to make. I’ve been making guacamole this way for awhile.

What you need:
3 avocados
Onion
Garlic
Salt
Jalapeño
Lime
Cilantro

This particular recipe calls for red onion. I used yellow. I added about half of an onion, 1 medium sized Jalapeño (diced and seeds removed), about 4 garlic cloves, and a few squeezes lime juice. Basically adjust quantities to taste. The recipe is really just a guideline.

Cut, chop, dice, mash, eat. Simple enough.

I used veggie chips to dip into the guacamole. Terra brand is the one I use. It’s pretty clean for the most part. They’re a good gluten free, veggie based alternative to tortilla chips.

Guacamole is dangerous. I could eat this stuff all day.

Recipe HERE.

Steve’s PaleoGoods

steves

Here is what I ordered from Steve’s PaleoGoods.  I ordered a few Paleokits, some Paleo Krunch, a Paleo Krunch Bar, some beef jerky, and a marinade/dressing sampler.  Check out their website for more info on their products.

I opened their Paleo Krunch and the grass-fed beef jerky at work the other day.  Everyone commented on how great both products tasted.  The Paleo Krunch is grain-free dairy-free granola, sweetened with honey.  I was impressed.  Great flavor, a little crunch, and totally clean.  The jerky has a slight kick and the flavor is spot on.  The guys at work really liked it. 

Their Paleokits are pretty great as well.  Jerky, nuts, berries.  It sounds like an interesting combo, but it really works well.  The Paleokit that I opened today included beef jerky, cranberries, nuts, and some strawberries.  Awesome flavor.  The best part was that it was the perfect amount to tide me over between meals.  I WILL be ordering more of these.  Great for work, beach bag, post workout…

I also marinated some chicken in the peach BBQ and the ginger cilantro sauces then grilled it up.  Again, thoroughly impressed. The flavor is kickin, adds a lot to some grilled chicken.  These sauces even taste clean too.  No high fructose corn syrup, no sugar, no extras.  They’re simple and tasty.  As far as the rest of the items that I purchased, I’m giving them away.  Congrats to the 5 who won the contest on my Facebook page.  Enjoy!

Steve’s PaleoGoods are definitely a Paleo win! Not sure what to try?  I recommend getting a few sampler packs.  This way, you get to try a little bit of everything.

paleo grill

steve's%20paleogoods%20banner_header