grain-free cookie roundup

 

cookie roundup

Even though I have been mostly grain-free for the past 3 years, I still love to make cookies during the holidays.  I have dabbled with a few grain-free cookie recipes over the years, but I always go back to the usual suspects at holiday time…and then pay the price for indulging in them.  This year I really want to stick to grain-free recipes, so I have been searching for them on Google and Pinterest.  Here’s a few I can’t wait to try…

*you can link to the original recipes by clicking on each picture.*

Elana’s Pantry:  Paleo Coconut Macaroons

I just picked up a bag of coconut flakes on sale and I can’t wait to make these!  I want to take them a step further and dip them halfway in dark chocolate.

paleo-coconut-macaroons-dessert-recipe-5614

Paleo Parents:  Pumpkin Pucks

My friend Besty keeps telling me how amazing these are.  I haven’t tried making them yet, but I will taste them soon!

Pumpkin-Pucks-Post-Image

Mygutsy.com:  Grain-Free Chocolate Chip Cookies

Chocolate chip cookies are my absolute favorite and I haven’t tried to make them grain-free yet.  I think I am afraid that I will be disappointed.  These look pretty amazing though.  I’m definitely going to give them a try.

chcocolate chip

Brownie Bites:  Double Vanilla Meringues

These are loaded with refined sugar, but they are grain-free.  I made them for Evelyn’s birthday party last year and they are amazing.  It’s hard to describe a meringue and if you’ve never tried one, you really should.  They are light and airy, crispy, and they melt in your mouth.  Did I say they’re amazing?

double-vanilla-meringues-4

Plaid and Paleo:  Paleo Dark Chocolate Salted Almond Bites

These aren’t exactly cookies, but they look like they would make some great holiday munching!

salted almond bites

 

 

 

Are you planning to try any new recipes this holiday season?

chicken “noodle” soup

IMG_1037

Today I had a craving for some homemade, comforting soup.  It’s cold and rainy and just one of those days.  I love me some soup.  It’s taken me awhile to get Michael to really appreciate it.  He grew up in Florida, so I guess one does not crave a steaming hot bowl of anything when it’s a zillion degrees outside.  But ’round here, when the leaves start to turn and there’s a chill in the air, I could eat soup every day.

Going primal has kind of limited my choices when it comes to soup…at least the kind of soup I grew up eating.  Here in PA Dutch country, most soups contain noodles, dough, or potatoes of some kind.  But I’ve managed to either modify some of my old favorites or learned to like some different kinds.  This is an old fave….just slightly altered.  I’ve replaced the noodles with cabbage that’s been cut into noodley strips.  This is soooo good and I don’t miss the old version at all.

I’m not really good at writing out soup recipes because I just kind of wing it most of the time.  But here’s how I made this one:

  1. Put a small amount of oil in a soup pot over medium heat.  Add chicken pieces (I used 3 quarters) and brown on each side for a few minutes.  Add some chopped onion and let that cook a little bit too.
  2. Add some water (about 3 cups)  and some chopped carrots and celery.  I didn’t have any celery today, so I sprinkled in some celery salt.  Bring to a boil, then turn down the heat, cover the pot and allow it to simmer.
  3. Once the chicken is cooked, remove the pieces from the pot and allow it to cool.  In the meantime, chop up the cabbage, add it to the pot, and continue to let it simmer.  At this point, I decided it needed more water so I added another 3 cups.
  4. Once the chicken is cool enough to handle, pick the meat from the bones and add it back to the pot.
  5. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  6. Enjoy!

whole 30 results

The results are in!  Several months ago, I had some blood work done for insurance purposes.  At that time, I was eating mostly primal/paleo, but had been seriously cheating…on a regular basis.  My results weren’t terrible, but they weren’t great either.  They were bad enough to make my insurance rates higher than they could have been.  Then I completed the Whole 30 so that I could get back on track with my primal way of eating.  I knew I would be having blood work done again for a wellness program at work and I was really curious to see if a month of eating whole, unprocessed foods would make a big difference.  I have read tons of success stories from others who have improved their health by going primal, but I really wanted to see it first hand.  Even after all the research and reading I’ve done about primal and paleo eating, it still feels counter-intuitive to eat so much fat, even though I know in my head that fat is good.  I guess the food and drug companies have really done their job in convincing me that fat is the enemy.  The low-fat, whole grain myth has seeped into my brain and I’ve internalized it to the point that I sometimes still doubt myself, especially when it comes to my husband.  He has a family history of high blood pressure and cholesterol and I sometimes worry that maybe our choices aren’t healthy after all and what if his conditions get worse.

BUT…these numbers don’t lie and I feel very confident now that we are doing what’s best for our health.  So, here are the results:

Cholesterol:  July-205, October (after Whole 30)-189  Less than 200 is optimal.

Triglycerides:  July-69, October-67  Less than 150 is normal.

HDL (Good) Cholesterol:  July-86, October- 83  More than 60 is optimal.

LDL (Bad) Cholesterol:  July-105, October-93  Less than 100 is optimal.

I find it interesting that my blood glucose was around 60 back in July, which is considered low, and it was 80 in October, which is within the normal range.

So, what have I learned here?  Avoiding grains and sugar is good.  Fat is good.  Even with moderate cheating, eating a paleo diet most of the time is so much better than not at all, but my bad cholesterol and overall cholesterol levels were slightly above normal.  Eating paleo all the time is even better.  Those slightly high levels returned to normal after 30 days without grains, sugar, artificial sweeteners, dairy, legumes, and alcohol.  No one will ever convince me again that a vegetarian diet or diet rich in whole grains and low in fat is healthy.

Do you think the Whole 30 is something you could try?  Which part would be most difficult for you?

 

whole 30 update and a quick rant

The last two weeks have been a little crazy, but I am happy to report that I’m still following the Whole 30.  The first week was rough.  By the end of the first day, I could feel the sugar/carb hangover setting in and it stayed around for about 3 days.  I had a blinding, pounding headache that actually sent me home early from work one day.  Once I made it through that, I was fine.  My energy was back, my mood was up, and I’ve been fine ever since.  Oh, and did I mention I lost 6 pounds in the first week?  Fortunately, I didn’t have to deal with the rage and tired phases that can sometimes be expected.  I am confident now that I will be able to make it through to the end.  My weight loss has slowed down in the second week, but when I think back on last year, when I originally started eating paleo/primal, I lost a bunch of weight the first week and then it slowed to about a pound a week.

So, while I am on the topic of diet, I just have to vent about the barrage of weight loss ads I keep seeing on facebook and on TV.  Ugh. Take this pill, drink this shake, inject yourself with this hormone, wrap your body, workout until you puke and you’ll lose inches!  It kind of makes me sad that so many people fall for this stuff.  I have to really bite my tongue when I see people posting about their weight loss efforts.  There are so many times that I want to send people a private massage that goes something like, “Hey, when you give up on that diet, let me know.  I know a way that’s easier and so much healthier…”  But I guess that would seem kind of condescending, no?  But seriously, some of these methods are so unhealthy.  I have a friend who is currently dieting with the help of nutritionists and she is starving herself and taking some kind of insane workout class and after a few weeks of that, she’s sick.  I’m so glad that I found this way of eating and I seriously wish I could get everyone on board, but it’s a really touchy subject I guess.  I try to inform people about it without being too pushy or annoying, and honestly, most people look at me like I am crazy when I tell them about it.  But, the proof is in the puddin’.  I’m losing weight and next month I will have a blood panel run as part of my participation in a wellness program at work.  I will be really curious to see those numbers after a month of eating whole, real food.  I guess we’ll see…

grain-free banana bread

Ok, so I know I just recently mentioned that I try to stay away from primal versions of non-primal foods, but I have found a few palatable recipes that mimic some non-primal treats.  One of them is this banana bread recipe.  Most of my searching for recipes like this happened when I was pregnant and I was having all kinds of cravings and aversions.  I found this recipe over at TGIPaleo after I started to get bored with another banana bread recipe I was using.  I happened to have all the ingredients on hand and I needed to use up some overly ripe bananas.  I liked the first batch I made, but decided it wasn’t quite sweet enough for me, so when I made it tonight, I added a little honey to the original recipe.  The result was a lovely, moist, mildly sweet treat.  This is the kind of food that I probably shouldn’t eat every day, but it’s great to have around if I need to grab a quick breakfast on my was out the door.  I also found it’s great to take on camping trips to have on hand for breakfast or a snack (and my non-primal family gobbled it up!)  the original recipe calls for:

  • 3 very ripe bananas
  • 6 eggs
  • 1 T vanilla
  • 1/2 cup coconut flour
  • 1/2 cup ground flax
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup honey (my addition and totally optional)

First mash all the wet ingredients together.

Then mix in all the dry ingredients (I used a hand mixer).

Pour into a greased loaf pan and bake at 350 for 45-55 minutes.

I think I am going to try this again in the Fall with pumpkin instead of bananas.  I might even throw in some walnuts or pecans!