Friday, October 18, 2013

It's fall!! Time for some chili!! No beans, no sugar added, no gluten... JUST YUM!

I started with some good quality ground sirloin. Seasoned it really good. Got it nice and browned.  I removed the beef with a slotted spoon and left the fat (there wasn't much) in the pan.  I started on the vegetables.
I got out as many colorful veggies as I could find in my refrigerator and then started to chop and dice, added it to the fat and let them saute just a bit.  
I transferred everything to one pot.
Also added a two cans of stewed tomatoes with green chiles and  
I used fresh garlic and some dry spices like chili powder, paprika, sea salt, black pepper... I then added two cans of water and let it simmer...
Lastly, I added some shredded zucchini at the end. It cooks up pretty quick.
You can add a little more water if you'd like - it just depends what consistency you prefer.  Just make sure you're not "watering" it down. Check your spices as you go.
Serve it up with a bit of sour cream, shredded cheese, chopped cilantro and avocado and you'll be in business!  This was amazing.   

Started a new job...and I'm still on track! Yay!

Hey! I've been away for a while, but I am back to share some pics of what I've been eating.  I do this just to show you what kind of foods are actually on a primal diet.  I would say Paleo, but I do still enjoy some dairy (cheeses) and that keeps me sane... 
This may look crazy, but it was so good.  Grilled flank steak with roasted passila chiles.  I also layered some delicious Mexican oaxaca cheese (like string cheese) to the top and let it melt. Top it with fresh avocado and a side of jalapeno bacon poppers - OMG! Yum!
A simple grilled chicken salad with tons of fresh veggies, almond slivers and fresh parmesan cheese.
Lettuce tacos de pastor (seasoned pork)
Have you ever had acorn squash?  It took me a minute to figure out the best way to peel it. haha! I cut it in half. Scooped out the guts and then cut it at the creases and then peeled it with a vegetable peeler. Pretty easy once I got the hang of it!
I marinated some chicken legs with a "teriyaki" type sauce.  It was sugar-free of course.  Then I made this hash with sweet potato, acorn squash, green beans and bacon pieces. So good.  Had a variation of it at a friend's house and loved it so much I had to recreate it! =)

So, that's just another glimpse of what's been going into my belly.
I am feeling good and haven't had any of my headaches in a good long time.
I have also been trying to get to bed before 10 p.m.  That's always a good thing.

Have you tried anything new lately?  Do you have any fall favorites that I might like?  Let me know in the comments!

Monday, October 7, 2013

What have I been eating lately?

I try to remember to take a picture of my food - just to be aware of what I'm eating and to remember when I have an especially good meal that I want to duplicate.  Plus, I just like food.  Did I mention that before? hehe!
Chicken and Vegetable soup (the cauliflower looked like dumplings LOL)
 One day Marco and I met for lunch before he had to return to work.
We decided to go have Ono Hawaiian BBQ. We skipped the rice (waaaahhh) and 
macaroni salad.  We just got the grilled meat and steamed veggies. Yum!
 This is an example of what I take for work.
Coconut Milk, frozen banana and Almond Butter Smoothie for breakfast.
Leftovers for lunch (was beef stew on this day)
Fruit and lots of water
Coffee too usually
 Baked spaghetti squash with chicken parmesan 
 Taco salad - no rice, beans or tortilla shells
 Saturday breakfast: eggs, bacon and sausage patties.  Coffee
 Sauteed garlic shrimp
 Chicken tenderloins (butter/garlic)
 Super veggie mix.  Brussel sprouts, zucchini, grape tomatoes and bacon ends
fresh green salad 

I try to be careful with eating too much fruit that may have lots of sugar (like my grapes) or too many nuts like almonds (omega 6), or too much dairy (like cheese) or hidden sugars in sauces (like the Ono) - since I am working on weight loss as well as transitioning into a primal lifestyle.  
But I also realize that I have to do what I can do right now.  I need to have flavor, I need to have variation and I need to be able to fix it quite easily or affordably.

I've had a request for the Super Veggie Mix recipe and it's very simple.
Fresh brussel sprouts - washed, trimmed and quartered
Bacon ends - cooked thoroughly and drained (save grease)
Fresh zucchini - washed and cut into bite sized pieces
Grape tomatoes - washed
Italian seasoning and fresh minced garlic
Basically, I fried up my bacon ends in my cast iron skillet.  I let it get really crispy.
Then I removed the bacon and drained the fat into a jar.
I added the brussel sprouts directly to the pan and started to let them roast.
I added about a teaspoon of bacon grease to the brussel sprouts about 3 times.
I continued to let them roast and moved them around several times for about 15 minutes.
I then added the zucchini and this is when I also added the garlic and Italian seasoning (to taste)
Then, I added the tomatoes and added the bacon back to the mix.  You can add any kind of
seasoning you prefer.  I didn't need to add any salt because I felt like there was enough in the bacon
to flavor the veggies. 
I let it all cook for about another 15 minutes.  Maybe 30 - 40 minutes at the most?   This dish works best if you take your time while you're cooking your main dish.  
You could add your meat right to this and make it a one dish meal! =)
It was so good!

So - what have you been eating these days?   Leave me a comment and tell me!!

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Cheat Day...

Before you judge me...
I just have to say that I HAD to.  Yeah, that's it. I HAD to.  
You see, Marco and I completed our 21 Day Challenge and it was actually
my 42nd day of eating primal.  
When I asked Marco if he was interested in doing the 21 Day Challenge, 
I told him I'd take a cheat day with him at the end of it. 
So here we are.  Cheating. Bwahahaha!
Also, I feel like I needed to see if it would be worth it and to see if my 
body would react any differently to going off of primal eating.
This is what we had.
Pho and Shrimp Spring Rolls.
It was SO good.  I didn't think it would be too bad because 
the noodles and spring roll wrappers are made of rice.  lol  No gluten. hehe
Anyway, Marco and I both waited to see if we felt anything different.  
So far, not too bad.  I was burping quite a bit, but then again, 
I was doing a lot of working and cleaning right after lunch.

Later in the evening, we both had a turkey sandwich on an Everything Bagel  
(gluten in that for sure) and a bowl of Navy Bean soup from Trader Joes.

I can't say that I feel anything too different right now, 
except that I don't feel as good as I did
yesterday.  I can see how I'd start feeling bloated 
and sleepy again right away if I continued back into 
eating like this... so that's not good.  

I am not currently planning one, but if I do have another "cheat day", 
it won't be for a good, long while.

Obviously, this blog is not science based, nor am I a nutritionist of any
kind.  I can however, tell you how I feel and how food affects me.

So tomorrow - I am ready to be right back on track.  I'm actually looking
forward to it too.  Glad we didn't go crazy today.  I could have done so 
much more damage (in the past I would have), but I didn't even want to go
that far.  That's saying something for this "food addict". 

How about you?  Do you ever take a "cheat day"?  What do you crave most?
Do you plan it out?  Is it hard for you to get back on track? 
Please share your thoughts in the comments section!! I want to know. =)

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Paleo Pancakes and Fresh Strawberries

So, I was hosting a little sleepover for a group of 7 and 8 year olds. 
I decided it would be easiest to make pancakes for them with strawberries and whipped cream.
I used a Bisquick mix for them.  The pancakes looked and smelled so good.
My husband came downstairs and I could tell that he was thinking the same thing.
Before he could think another wicked thought about eating a pancake - made with Bisquick - 
I told him I had a plan for us!
I've seen several recipes for this, but decided to do a blend of a few of them 
so that I could use what I had on hand. 
Here are the ingredients:
3 eggs
1 Tbsp water
1 Tbsp pure vanilla extract
1 Tbsp coconut oil
1 mashed banana
1 cup of coconut flour
1/2 cup of almond flour
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp sea salt
coconut oil for cooking
 Put your wet ingredients in your bowl first.
 Mix well.
 Add dry ingredients.
 Mix well.
 Oil your skillet with Coconut Oil or real butter.
Oops. These got dark sooner than I thought they would.
Did I mention I've got a house full of 8 year olds? hehe
 All done.
These are very dense and I was full before I finished a second pancake and they were not that big.
Tastes a lot like banana nut bread.
I am trying to use almond flour and almond products sparingly.  I think you could go all coconut flour with this and be okay, but I was running short on my coconut flour.
Enjoy with a side of berries or even some good quality yogurt or pure maple syrup might be good.

What do you think? Have you tried anything like this? Any suggestions?

Friday, September 27, 2013

Doctor visit update...

Well, it's been 2 weeks since I first saw the doctor and talked about some of the results there.
Since then, I've had my blood drawn and I received the results and then yesterday,
went back to the doctor to follow-up.  I was mostly interested in my weight and my high blood
pressure situation.  I was also concerned about my bad cholesterol levels that were revealed
in the blood test.

So the good news is this - Since the other appointment two weeks ago, I've lost 4 pounds!
That's very exciting for me.  And then at my last appointment, the best we could get my blood pressure down to was 141/92 and at this appointment it was 125/81 and I'm sure that was even a little high for that moment 'cause I was getting myself all worked up over it. haha!
As for the cholesterol, the doctor said that it's high, but since I have shown signs that I have been
serious about diet and exercise, she'd wait three months for another blood test and see where I am
at that point. Needless to say, I was super happy when I left the doctor's office.

I will be starting a new job on Monday.  It's a seasonal job and only lasts until sometime in December, but I am really looking forward to it!
However, I realize that I am going to have to adjust my schedule for exercising and really plan out my meals so that I am not tempted to go without eating during the day altogether.  Yes, I am bad at that.  I won't be tempted to eat something bad as much as I would be willing to go without.  An intermittent fast wouldn't be too bad, but I need to keep my metabolism up!  So, I am sure this weekend will be filled with planning for this!

If you know anything about me, you know I don't like to be in pictures unless I can pre-approve them.
I rarely take "selfies" 'cause first of all, I just don't know how to do it without cropping out half of my head or dropping my phone, *sigh* and second of all - I can never get myself to do a natural smile.  I always look like "deer in the headlights" and heaven help me if I ever tried to do the classic "duck lips or sultry swag" look. Puh-lease.   BUT, remember when I was having that 'not so great' day?  Remember I was going to go shower and put on some makeup and push through?  Well, I did and I thought I'd try to take a picture to show you that I was still smiling. Nevermind the meltdown I had later in the day, but that's for another post.
This is what I got.  I know. The quality is not great.  I don't have an iPhone or anything fancy - but hey - you get three angles of me. Lucky you! I ended up cracking myself up, so at least one of the smiles is the real deal!
Are you good at taking selfies? How do you feel about being in pictures or having your picture taken?
 Leave me a comment and share!

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Emotional/Stress eating...

I remember reading a quiz type thing in a magazine once where you could answer the questions and determine whether you had a food addiction or not...
One of the questions were, "Are you an emotional eater?"
Well, goodness. I don't know, I thought.  I eat when I'm happy, when I'm sad, nervous, when I'm upset, ...
You get the idea.  Any and every emotion warrants a good reason to eat as far as I was concerned.
So I answered, YES.

Well, although I have been physically feeling better, it just hit me after I had a tearful meltdown today, that I've been in a slump these last few days.  I may be slightly depressed.
Okay. The doctor flat out told me that I was depressed. Pfft. What does he know?
You see, I never thought I had a problem with depression because I've seen depressed people.
They are a sad case.  I'm not like that. I've got it together. Silver lining and all that good stuff.
Alright. Maybe my depression looks a little different from others and that's a whole other issue
that I'm dealing with - but here's the thing - today, I am feeling down.
Now, please - you do not need to text or call or whatever,
because frankly, I will probably deny this whole post and say I'm all better and Isssssokaayy...
but, I started to eyeball that cake I mentioned in the previous post.
You know, the moist red velvet bunt cake that's on my counter?  Oh, yes - THIS ONE! Yikes!

I promptly made some bacon and eggs and had some coffee with some sugar-free pumpkin spice creamer.
Obviously, the creamer is a huge NO as far as being primal or paleo, I know that.
Stop looking at me. It's my one thing - okay and an occasional diet soda. I know, it's poison. Anyway...
And then my thoughts started wandering to that package of ramen noodles that's in the pantry...
Then it hit me.  I am in a slump and I am starting to want stuff that, FIRST OF ALL is just crap and second of all I don't even normally like.
I had to get a hold of myself.  I started thinking about how I felt and how normally, I would have gone ahead and had the cake and then made the ramen and who knows where I would have gone from there?
That grossed me out.  I didn't want that junk.
So I am going to do the stair running I had planned, then jump in the shower and put on makeup and finish writing out the final details for Naomi's little get-together with her friends.  Then I am going to be in my art room making some orders that came in. Stay busy. Stay active. Do something pleasant.

I am an emotional eater. Once the junk is gone, it will not return to this house - so temptation shouldn't be a problem.  Glad though, that I STOPPED and thought about what I was about to do.  I actually pictured myself eating all of that and then imagined how I would feel afterward. Nope. Not worth it.

Crisis averted THIS TIME.  Are you an emotional eater? Do you give in to it? How do you fight it? Let me know!

Coconut Lime Macaroons for dessert...

So I went ahead and tried the Coconut Lime Macaroons and I have to say - they are not too bad!
We had a little birthday celebration with my in-laws on Monday night.
We grilled carne asada and chicken that they provided and then I had some pork chops on hand
that needed to be cooked too. We had a huge salad, grilled zucchini, roasted brussel sprouts with a bit of bacon, boiled baby gold potatoes, canary melon and quinoa.  I didn't have any potatoes or quinoa at all - wasn't even tempted.
But then it was time to serve the cake. It happened to be a little red velvet bundt cake
that we can pick up, fairly inexpensive - but yummy, at our local Staters.
THAT was a little tempting.  But I didn't give it another thought.  I got this!
My hubby on the other hand started saying he needed something sweet! Oh, no!
He's going to cave!!!  Not really.  His willpower is pretty strong too.
I thought it would be cool to surprise him with some kind of treat or dessert,
so I went with these.  They hit the spot! Sweet tooth happy!
I used this recipe here, but had to subsitute a little bit. I was going to buy some pure maple syrup the other day, but it was so expensive and we had some other needs that were more important...brussel sprouts! haha!
Tangy Lime Coconut Macaroons


  • 2 1/4 cups finely shredded coconut, dried and unsweetened
  • 1/2 cup Almond Flour
  • 1 cup coconut milk, full fat (mine was lite and I didn't even realize it)
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup (I used honey)
  • Zest of 1 lime
  • 1-2 limes, juiced (about 2 tbsp) I used one whole lime, but it was too much. Maybe a little less lime next time. 
  • Dash of sea salt


  • Preheat oven to 250 degrees F.
  • Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • In a medium bowl, gently whisk coconut, almond four, lime zest, and sea salt.
  • Pour in the coconut milk, maple syrup, and lime juice and mix together.
  • Using a cookie scoop, drop small macaroon balls onto parchment lined baking sheet. (I had to use a spoon, but a cookie scoop would have been perfect to help with the shape)
  • Bake for 35-40 minutes
  • Allow macaroons to cool briefly and then transfer to refrigerator to cool for 1 hour before serving.
*Because coconut products has a melting point of 76 degrees, macaroons are best served cold.

So have you tried making any good primal/paleo desserts?  I know there are a lot out there, but it needs to be easy and not have all sorts of difficult to find ingredients.  Let me know!

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Getting my ducks in a row!

Today marks day 30 since my decision to get back on a paleo/primal type way of eating.
I feel so much better today than I did the day I started.
It was my original plan to have a sort of "cheat" day when I hit day 30 -
but that's not going to happen.
There are a couple of reasons for this.
1. I don't really feel like I am dying for anything "bad" right now.
2. I started the Primal Blueprint 21 Day challenge with my husband last week,
so this is day 8 of that challenge and I don't want to mess it up.
3. If I'm going to indulge in anything not on our "diet", I'd rather be able to enjoy
it with my guy.
So I am waiting and if we feel we need it -
we will celebrate our 21 days with something at the end of that, which will be October 6th. =)

Instead of having a cheat day, I decided to celebrate day 30 with a nice primal nature walk.
I actually wish I lived closer to the ocean, 'cause that is how I would really choose to celebrate anything.
Good old Fairmount Park here in Riverside would have to do!
I guess the park got really run down at one time and was getting a pretty bad rap.
Thankfully, the city has done much to improve it and clean it up and it's a popular and beautiful
place for everyone to enjoy now!  These pictures were taken with my phone, but hopefully you can see the beauty that I got to experience this morning as I walked and thought about all the blessings in my life.
 This was my view as I got out of the car and started walking...
 Lots of people are posting photos of their autumn skies - well here's mine. I call it summerfall. ;)
There's a nice rose garden here at this park and I took some time to sit on a bench and meditate in front of this fountain. Beautiful!
 As I continued my walk - I accidentally stepped on this little guy. Whoops! Sorry!
 Did I say 'little guy'?  Here he is in comparison to my thumb nail! Eeks. Moving on!
 Sitting in front of the pond/"lake" is really the best part of this place.  So beautiful... Lots of thoughts, ideas and gratitude running through my head as I take it all in.
 Quack! Quack!!
Here's the other side. Beautiful, right?
On this walk, I made sure that I did a few sprints. Yes, I really did.  I did lots of jumps up onto a short wall. I made sure I was breathing deeply and any time a negative or fearful thought would pop into my head - I said, "NO!"  I said it right out loud.  Luckily, I didn't get any strange looks from anybody, but I wasn't being obnoxious about it either. haha!  I am a worrier.  I over-think things.  I don't want to do that anymore - so I am kicking it to the curb!

I have not been doing so hot on getting to bed as early as I'd like, so that still needs a lot of work!

I have a doctor appointment this Thursday and I am actually looking forward to seeing if there is any difference in weight since I don't weigh myself at home.
Also trying a coconut macaroon recipe for the first time.  I will let you know how it turns out.  =)

How are you doing on your health/fitness goals?  What has been easy for you? What is hardest for you?

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Spaghetti Squash and Paleo Meatballs

This meal was Aaaaahhh-mazing!!  I really felt like I was eating a plate of comforting pasta!
It was also my first time roasting a spaghetti squash. So easy.  This is what I did...
Preheat oven to 375*
Cut squash in half
Scrape seeds out of middle and discard seeds and "pulp"
Brush or rub a little olive oil on the cut side of the squash
and season with a little sea salt and garlic powder.
Add about a half inch of water to a roasting pan and
place squash cut side down.
Roast for about 45 minutes or until water is evaporated and
"meat" of squash pulls easily away from the skin.
Run a fork across the meat of the squash and watch as it magically
shreds. =) So exciting. You can scrape all of it from the skin
virtually leaving an empty shell.

And now for the meatballs! 
1 lb. of lean ground beef
1 lb. of ground pork
1/2 cup almond flour
3 large eggs beaten
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
garlic powder
sea salt 
italian seasoning (I used McCormick's Italian Herb GRINDER)
Mix all ingredients and form small meatballs and 
place on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.
Add them to the oven with the squash on a different rack,
but only for about 20 minutes.

not pretty, but sooo good! 
The Sauce
I chose to use Classico Mushroom and Ripe Olive Italian Sauce because I had it on hand.
From this point on however, I will be buying fresh ingredients to make my own sauce.

Once the meatballs are done, add them to the sauce and simmer for another 20 - 25 minutes.
Top your shredded spaghetti squash with some sauce and meatballs and then grate some fresh parmesan cheese on top and enjoy!  Even my daughter Naomi gave it a thumbs up and she is my picky eater!

Have you ever cooked spaghetti squash? Did you do anything different that you'd recommend? Let me know in the comments!

Cool tip: Cutting grapes, plum tomatoes and other small items.

I saw this tip somewhere on the internet and 
can't find it now to give credit, but I tried it and it worked great.
The original poster was cutting small grape or plum tomatoes.
I needed to cut grapes for my chicken salad.
So instead of cutting each grape individually, which is what I used to do,
you place them all on a lid or other item that is flat, but has a lip or raised edge.
This is so they don't roll away.
Then you place another lid right on top and press together.
You can then safely slice your knife through the middle and get
all of the grapes at once!
Cool tip, right? It was perfect for what I needed.
I love tips that cost no extra money, but will help me to
improve my situation or save some time.
Do you have a cool kitchen tip to share? Tell me in my comments!