What’s for Lunch and squirrels

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spinach salad

It never matters what time I get up in the morning, the time just seems to evaporate.  I mean seriously..How can someone get up at 0430 and STILL be late for work..squirrels!

I’ve always been a morning person, and when I say morning that means any time after 2 AM. There is nothing unusual about me doing laundry, making jam, sewing or a combination of the three at those hours of the day. I miss my friend Susan-when she was still alive, her night owl hours often overlapped with my early to rise hours, and we’d talk on the phone about anything related to Biology, Anthropology and raising kids which I suppose is a combo of the two . Unfortunately her night owl hours were often accompanied by various drugs and she left the planet early.

You’d think I would enjoy some solitude, but I don’t really get the whole concept of “ALONE” time.  I think life is to be shared and if I wanted to be a solitary being I would have asked to come to this world as a male polar bear. I’m a communal soul. So when human company is unavailable I’m comforted that my husky is always happiest to accompany me around the house regardless of the hour. And at least that way it appears I’m talking to him rather than to myself.

Wake-up this morning was no exception..up before the chickens, working on some sewing projects, cleaning the kitchen..even dragging the cans to the curb for trash day. I’m sure the neighbors love me..I forget I live in town now where crap like making noise is related to the hands on the clock and is regarded as rude and unacceptable like dogs barking or peeing outside in your own yard. When 7 AM rolled around, I should have been heading to work. Instead I found myself without a lunch. Generally I’m the “leftovers for lunch” person, but the previous nights dinner was such a hit, there was NOTHING left. I had just started into week 2 of Whole30 and thought I’m not about to jeopardize having to go back to Day1..so I had to choose to be late for work once again.

I emptied the vegetable bin in the fridge: two roma tomatoes, a box of baby spinach, a ripe avocado, some green onions, and a red bell pepper..as a final thought I ran back in the house and grabbed a can of tuna. I rarely get out of the house on the first try and my grandtwins who are generally up at that hour will yell NANA’S HOME every time I run back in.. I find it amusing and adorable.

Surprisingly, my lunch was a success and I dodged having to start over on Whole30 despite my lack of planning.  Spinach salad!!

INGREDIENTS:

fresh organic baby spinach with stems removed

2 roma tomatoes-diced

3 green onions-diced

1 red bell pepper-seeded and chopped

1 avocado-ripe, remove peel and pit and mash

1 can albacore tuna in water

DIRECTIONS:

put into a giant bowl, get a fork and eat it

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Stuffed Peppers,Cauliflower Rice and Leslie’s mom

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photo (21)

 

I found this amazing recipe for Whole30 stuffed peppers with an enchilada type flavor and couldn’t have been more excited to try them.  I’ve been a huge fan of Mexican food forever. My best friend in grade school was a Mexican girl named Leslie and their home was full of culinary sensations unknown to the Great White North where I had previously lived In that cold country,   casseroles, soups and meat and potato dishes reigned supreme.

Leslie’s mom was soft spoken and deeply beautiful. It seemed to me she was always laughing and smiling which made her even more beautiful to me. Their house ran like clockwork and I envied the number of siblings Leslie had, because it seemed everyone always had a playmate. I secretly wished I belonged to a big family with lots of kids most of my childhood. And when  I grew up I planned to have at least ten children of my own.

There was always a pot of spicy chile, a plate of fresh homemade tamales or a warm sopapillas dripping with honey waiting for us when we came home from school. Leslie was the oldest child in her family, and as such was responsible for wrangling the younger children, while her mom made dinner. Sometimes I helped Leslie by playing with the babies or folding laundry, but more often I drifted back into the kitchen, drawn by all those wonderful smells to help her mom.

I was put to work chopping, grating, sifting, stirring and sampling.  I paid close attention to the ingredients and the prep so that when I went home that night I could tell my mom about all the wonderful new food I’d tried. On the weekends my mom would buy the ingredients and I would do my best to re-create the dishes I had learned to make from Leslie’s mom. Before long, casseroles lost their footing and we had regular burrito and taco nights added to the weekly menu. When my parents moved back up North, my mom took the recipes of Leslie’s mom with her and introduced many a Northerner to Mexican food.

These stuffed peppers are another easy to prepare meal that the whole family will eat without complaining. My daughter is not on Whole30 but said these were delicious..more proof that good food is good tasting food. Cauliflower rice is a my own recipe and is a great side dish for your peppers. I’m thinking a more Spanish rice with the cauliflower next time would be even more yummy.

PREP TIME:40 min, serves 2-4

INGREDIENTS FOR STUFFED PEPPERS:

1 LB Ground chicken, turkey or beef

4 red bell peppers-tops cut off, and seeded

1/2 yellow onion-peeled and diced

1 garlic clove-minced

1 can organic tomato sauce

2 T coconut oil or ghee

SPICES:

red pepper flake

ground chili powder

sea salt

garlic grind, garlic salt or garlic powder

onion powder or onion salt

ground cumin

mexican oregano

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat oven to 400F

Brown meat in oil with onions and garlic added. Once meat is browned add in tomato sauce and spices and simmer on low heat until most of the moisture is absorbed. Scoop mixture into peppers, stuffing to the top. If you retained the pepper tops, you can put those on top of meat mixture. Cook for 20 min or until peppers are soft but not mushy. Serve with cauliflower rice and fresh homemade guacamole

INGREDIENTS FOR CAULIFLOWER RICE:

1 head fresh cauliflower

1 garlic clove-minced

1/2 yellow onion-peeled and diced

2 T ghee or coconut oil

1/4 organic chicken broth

DIRECTIONS:

Pulse chop Cauliflower in food processor until consistency of rice granules

Sautee garlic and onions in 2 T oil and 1/4 cup chicken broth until translucent over medium heat.

Add processed cauliflower and cook over medium heat for additional 5-8 minutes

HOMEMADE GUACAMOLE:

INGREDIENTS:

1/2 fresh lemon-juiced

2 ripe avocado-peeled and pit removed

sea salt

garlic salt

cayenne pepper

DIRECTIONS:

Smash avocado down with fork until lumpy but not completely smooth. Add spices and lemon juice and stir. Be sure to cover to prevent it from turning brown if any leftovers.

Chicken Tostado

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chicken tostado 2

Yesterday was the day I finally felt as if I owned my life again. I own a business on Etsy and do several craft shows each Fall so when the holiday season begins in September that takes over my life. Until January I typically succumb to a cold or two, function on minimal sleep buoyed by multiple doses of caffeine, and the energy I create around me is chaotic and out of balance. Even though I astonish myself with what I can accomplish, I am under considerable stress and never have time for the things which bring balance and joy to my life.

Call it an epiphany if you like, but I’ve finally had enough. With some great insight and coaching from family and friends, I’ve given considerable thought to how to break that stressful pattern. When September rolls around next year I will have an inventory ready for my holiday buyers. In October, I will have time to rake my leaves.  In November I will enjoy the third birthday of my beautiful grandtwins, mail out my holiday orders, and have all my items tagged and inventoried for the craft shows. By December, my house will look, smell and feel like Christmas homes I envy in the magazines. I will build joyful things like going to the gym CONSISTENTLY, taking time for hiking thru the woods to enjoy the fall transitions, hanging out with friends, visiting family and decorating the house for the holidays into my routine. During  holiDAZE past my mom used to tell us..Ok I’m at that part of the song where they say..fall on your knees.  I now understand what she meant, but I no longer want to participate.

I’ve already started working on my inventory for next season and will be adding more specific ideas at our goal setting session at CrossFit Continuum this weekend..can’t wait. Planning always helps to sharpen my focus when I give into it, and with that added dash of the energy that belongs to a person with ADHD, I’ve got this.

So on January 6th, when I started my day off with a spectacular Colorado sunrise and early morning walk with my husky Denton, I felt alive again. Maybe it was the 20F temps, but I was awake to the possibilities of that day.

Since I entered the Whole30 challenge with my son/trainer/mentor Eric Allen and his wonderful girlfriend Krystle on 2 Jan, we’ve been sharing our recipes and menu plans. Krystle and Eric do weekly food prep. I enjoy cooking too, but usually have less time on weekends due to working on Etsy orders, so haven’t tried that yet. I will need to hit the Rubbermaid container aisle before I go full force force on that though. Speaking of Rubbermaid,  can someone PLEASE tell me this “where do the lids go?”

I’ve been following a Paleo lifestyle since Feb of 2012, but had to revise and seek out new recipes for Whole30. In doing so I found a yummy looking Nacho recipe on Paleo Grubs. In my mind, recipes are guidelines, so when I didn’t have several of the ingredients on hand last night, I improvised. When you live in the Canadian wilderness, improvising is a honed skill. Every summer, the kids and I would go home and visit my parents who lived year round in the remote wilderness near Atikokan Ontario. Mom always had a stockpile of cans to get them through the winter in case they got snowed in and couldn’t get to town for supplies. In the summers, we would use fresh produce from the garden, fish from the lake and leftover canned supplies, so they could start anew the next season. During the year many of the labels would have fallen off and you would be left with “mystery cans”. Each meal involved using at least ONE mystery can which you somehow had to incorporate into your meal. It was then that I accepted that menus and recipes are mere guidelines ripe for alteration. You were always more thankful to get a can of crushed pineapple to add rather than sardines or even tuna.

The paleo grubs recipe called for ground beef, and I subbed in chicken. I also omitted the canned tomatoes since I was using chicken rather than beef, and used lemon rather than lime juice in my homemade guac. I didn’t have a canned mystery food to add, so this was my dinner plated out. I thought my end creation resembled a tostado more than nachos hence the name change.

I can honestly say this recipe was one of the BEST things I have ever made while cooking Paleo for almost 3 years..insanely good.  Short prep time, super healthy, and lots of veggies! Thanks Paleo Grubs!!

chicken tostado whole30

SERVES 2, Prep time: 20 min

INGREDIENTS:

2 chicken breast-cubed

1 t cayenne powder or hot pepper spice mix

4 T coconut or ghee

2 fresh roma tomatoes-diced

3 green onions-diced

1 small red bell pepper-diced

1 small yellow bell pepper-diced

1/4 jalapeno diced

1-2 sweet potato, peeled and sliced to be super thin

1 c chopped Romaine lettuce or spinach(with stems removed)

1 fresh tomatillo-diced

2 scoops fresh homemade guacamole-see recipe below

GUACAMOLE RECIPE:

1 fresh avocado, mashed

1 lime or lemon, juiced

2 grinds sea salt

1 grind garlic/pepper mix or 1/4 t garlic salt

DIRECTIONS:

Cook cubed chicken in 2 T ghee, or coconut oil until done

Fry sweet potato slices in 2 T ghee or coconut oil until crispy but not black, turning once or twice..remove from oil and drain excess oils

Layer your plate starting with a base of sweet potato slices, followed by chicken, and fresh veggies. Top with 1-2 scoops of guacamole. Serve immediately!!

Hawaiian Pineapple Chicken Skillet Kabobs

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Hawaiian Pineapple Skillet Kabobs

HAWAIIAN PINEAPPLE CHICKEN SKILLET KABOBS

Yesterday when I got to work the temperature in my lab was 99F. In my office it was 88F.  Despite the snow and 30 degree temperatures outside, I was lulled into a tropical mood. In reality I was probably heat-stroked into believing I was in the tropics.

Anyone who knows me well knows that I don’t function at temperatures above 70. As a child my Dad sometimes called me Nunuq which is Inuit for polar bear because I preferred the great outdoors and could rarely be coaxed indoors to play indoors even during harsh Minnesota winters. I was the kid who loved diving into snowbanks, accompanied by my faithful but not overly intelligent dog, Penny.  Penny was a German Shorthair Pointer that my Dad hoped to groom into a fine hunting dog as she matured. Neither happened. Somehow Penny never lived up to the potential of her genetic bloodlines as promised by the breeder.  Sadly, she was bred to retrieve the neighborhood kids’ mittens, shoes, and much to my Mother’s horror an entire clothesline of the neighbors clean laundry. Because Penny was notorious for ripping mittens off kids’ hands during play,  I frequently arrived home  looking like one of the five little kittens missing at least one of my mittens. My mom, who had no tolerance for ill behaved dogs or missing mittens devised what she termed the “idiot string” to keep my mittens from being yanked off by Penny. The idiot string was a long string, made with yarn that matched my mittens, of course. The left handed mitten was securely attached to one end and the right to the other. Before sending me outdoors to play, my mom would carefully thread one mittened end of the idiot string through the arms of my jacket and out the opposite arm hole. I always felt like a living scarecrow of sorts as my limbs were stuffed into my jacket and my mittens came alive on my hands. Sadly though Mom was no match for Penny who quickly converted the game of mitten snatch into mitten tug of war. The problem was that the alternate mitten was being tugged by the idiot string and that would cause my arm to jerk around like the limbs of a puppet. Like it or not, Penny WAS my best playmate.

With Minnesota tucked deeply into my childhood memories, 8 hours of 90F heat and  pineapple on sale for .99 each, I embraced the tropics to create this Whole30 friendly meal. I’m calling it Hawaiian skillet kabobs because it has the flavor of kabobs made in a cast iron skillet. I love the taste of kabobs with the sweet and sour flavors melding together and this is a quick recipe that mimics that flavor. Great for nights when you are running short on time as this one only takes 20 min from stove to table. Please enjoy and share my recipes and blog.

SERVES 4

PREP TIME:20 min

INGREDIENTS:

1 whole fresh pineapple, with hull removed and core cut into chunks

2 fresh red bell peppers, chopped into bite size pieces

1 onion, peeled and chopped into large pieces

1 lb fresh ground organic chicken breast meat

spices to include sea salt, pepper, garlic grind and kickin chicken  spice medley

DIRECTIONS:

Brown ground chicken in skillet until almost fully cooked

Immediately add pineapple chunks, red pepper and onion as well as 2 T of ghee, coconut oil or butter

cook over medium heat until pineapple is soft but not mushy.

Whole30 here we go..Heather’s Whole30 Coconut Chicken Stew

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whole30 coconut chicken stew

COCONUT CHICKEN SOUP

Gosh, where did the time go?? After mid November I feel like I was abducted for alien research. Not sure what their studies concluded because I don’t see the scientific merit of knowing such mundane things as how many pillows one sleep deprived person can make between 0100 and 0530, the number of jars of jam one human can crank out in one week, if a person can make a quilt in less than 24 hours, the number of Colorado beanies a person can make in one month, how many trips to Houston a grandmother will make in one month, how many respiratory infections one person can fight off in 45 days, and how successful will a person be with less than four hours to complete their Christmas shopping..but their data has been collected, and I’ve been returned to my formal “normal”.

On a more serious note, I fell off the workout wagon and it’s time to ramp back up with clean eating and CrossFit. I need to train myself to make my dedication to the goals I’ve set for a healthy fit 2015 my FIRST and foremost priority.. and there it is in writing.

So when Eric, my son, and his girlfriend Krystle invited me to participate with them on a Whole30 challenge starting on 2 Jan, 2015 I accepted. I honestly can’t understand why my previous attempts to do Whole30 failed..after all it’s not radically different than the strict Paleo lifestyle I followed completely thru two Lurong Challenges and a nine month introductory lifestyle change. All I know is that THIS time I will succeed in finishing.

One element that I know I neglected somewhat before was variation in my diet. That said I’ve set my goal to create at least one wonderful new Whole30 recipe per day. And a second key to success involves planning. Luckily,  Krystle has developed a great menu for them which I always have the option to follow as well. One of the interesting things I’ve noted since posting pics of the foods I’ve created is that even my non-Paleo, non-CrossFit friends have asked for the recipe. I’m always encouraged by their comments and I truly hope that as I share what I am learning that I will help someone else to improve his or her health.

I was lucky enough to be introduced to this recipe by my girlfriend Heather after we spent the day at her home working on our UFO’s (unfinished objects..you know..those projects you stuff in a bag or a bin and hope to finish one day). She was kind enough to alter a few ingredients to make it Whole30 friendly for me too! To me recipes are simply guidelines and I honestly never 100% completely follow a recipe, other than when baking. Feel free to add your own creative culinary flair to this recipe and share your results with us. I think it would be equally fabulous with either shrimp or curry powder added.

INGREDIENTS:

1 box organic chicken broth

1-2 can(s) organic diced tomatoes

1 can organic tomato sauce

1 can coconut milk or cream

3/4 c almond butter

3 chicken breasts, cubed into bite size pieces (can pre-cook to save time)

1 clove garlic minced

1  white onion peeled and diced

2 white or yellow sweet potatoes peeled and cubed

3 stalks celery diced

1 pkg fresh organic baby spinach with stems removed

5 small diced bell peppers ( I bought pkg of small peppers in various colors)

1 fresh diced jalapeño

SPICES: sea salt, paprika, kickin chicken spice, paprika, cajun spice..feel free to add curry powder if you want a curry flavor.

Place all ingredients EXCEPT fresh spinach into a large stock pot and cook until sweet potato is tender but not mushy.

right before serving, add fresh spinach and cook 1-2 minutes before serving

Spicy Chicken (Turkey) Soup for your Soul

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spicy chicken soup

Yesterday my immune system failed me and I succumbed to the onslaught of germs shared by the twins who have had a cold all week. It’s a running joke in our house when someone complains of anything from a headache to the flu, that I immediately suggest that they drink more water.  On occasion, however, I will suggest good old fashioned tried and true mom remedy of chicken soup as a cure. So when I woke up feeling quite miserable, I decided to cook up some hot soothing chicken soup, and add enough spices to conquer my cold. I’m a firm believer in the healing powers of capsaicin when it comes to kicking a cold. If nothing else, capsaicin triggers release of fluids throughout your respiratory system. Peppers themselves are a great source of vitamin C, particularly red bell peppers.  And there is just something magic about hot chicken soup to soothe your throat.

For this soup, I used chicken leftovers from dinner, but this recipe would also be fabulous with leftover turkey from your Thanksgiving dinner.  In fact, if you have leftover celery sticks, carrots or other fresh veggies from your holiday relish tray, I’d suggest adding those in as well.

The pot of soup I made disappeared in one day, but I’m sure this would freeze well if you make a larger batch.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY to my Dad, Ed Kryzanowski who always loved soup, and to my precious grandtwins Kamden and Kinsley who share their birthday with each other and their great-grandfather. Love you with all my heart and soul.

SPICY TURKEY (or CHICKEN) SOUP

serves 4

INGREDIENTS:

1-2 cups leftover cooked turkey or chicken meat-cut into cube size pieces or shredded

1 green bell pepper-diced

1 orange bell pepper-diced

3 stalks celery-diced

½ c red onion-peeled and diced

3 green onions-diced

2-4 cups organic chicken broth

2 T ghee or butter

SPICES:

1-2 T ground cumin

1 t paprika

1 t sea salt

1-2 T Mexican or hot pepper seasoning mix

DIRECTIONS:

Melt butter in a skillet on medium heat. Add in diced veggies, turkey or chicken, broth and spices

Cook until veggies are soft, reduce heat and cook until desired soup temp is reached.  Serve hot.

*Great recipe for using up leftover turkey or chicken.  And SUPER fast to make with total prep time of about 20 min.

wakey wakey..eggs, bakey and a little more

bacon eggs sweet potato hash browns

Breakfast: scrambled eggs, nitrate-free bacon, guacamole made with fresh avocado, spices and lemon juice, sweet potato hash browns, and sauteed yellow bell peppers with green onions

Going to step up on my scientist (and mom) soap box here for a moment and plead my case for the importance of breakfast.  As you sleep, your metabolic rate decreases. Your body, at rest, doesn’t require as many calories as your body in motion. Eating breakfast initiates thermogenesis, the process of digesting and transporting food. The fuel you provide for your body can increases metabolic rates by as much as 10%. Numerous studies have also shown that energy levels and your ability to concentrate are influenced by whether or not you eat breakfast and the choices you make for breakfast.  

Breakfast may also influence your dietary choices for the day. We tend to make the worst dietary choices when we allow our blood glucose levels to dip and cravings set in. I typically eat the largest amount of food early in the day, and then maintain my blood glucose levels by eating snacks or smaller meals every two to three hours.

For breakfast, I encourage you to include healthy fats, protein and carbohydrates in your meal. Typically, those foods we label as breakfast are more heavily focused on carbohydrates..things like cereals, muffins, toast, pancakes with syrup for example.  Try thinking outside the box (especially the cereal box) and add things like bell peppers, onions, avocado and raw nuts to your breakfast menu.

Here is one of my favorite breakfast meals. If you are short on time in the morning, you can save prep time by pre-chopping your veggies with dinner prep the night before.

Be sure your bacon is nitrate-free and sugar-free.  Farmer’s markets are a great place to find fresh eggs and locally grown produce during the summer months.

double yoke egg

double-yolk egg..we get free range eggs from a young girl who was our old neighbor in Black Forest. The money she makes from selling eggs goes into her college fund!! If you live in my local community, please let me know if you need fresh eggs as I have several sources.

INGREDIENTS:

2 eggs

1/2 sweet potato-peeled and grated

3 green onions

1 yellow bell pepper

2-3 slices bacon

1 ripe avocado

juice from 1 fresh squeezed lemon

spices

2-3 ghee or coconut oil

SWEET POTATO HASH BROWNS: To cook sweet potato hash browns, you can either use your bacon grease or melt ghee or coconut oil in a skillet and once it’s hot, add sweet potato. cook fully on one side before turning or they may soak up too much grease and not get crispy.

SAUTEED VEGGIES: you can choose any veggies you like-I just like the color of the bell peppers and green onions together. Sautee in melted ghee and season with sea salt and ground pepper if you like.

GUACAMOLE: Cut ripe avocado in half. Remove pit an avocado. Cut avocado into smaller chunks and remove from peel. Mash with a fork and add in juice from 1 fresh squeezed lemon.  

 

 

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…but I just don’t have time to cook dinner

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chicken veggie burgers

..but I just don’t have time

This seems to be a particularly busy week for me.  And I’d bore you with the details but then anyone who truly knows me would probably say “sounds like one of your typical weeks, how is this one any different?”  Those of us who are labeled as “hyper” generally just have to accept that the rest of the world is just too slow.  In my perfect world, all interstates and grocery stores would have a special lane, similar to the HOV lane, marked ADHD and those who choose a slower life pace could proceed in their own designated lanes and I could move quickly and happily along in mine.  I never realized the level of my impatience with driving in traffic until my daughter, barely three, piped up from her car seat to say “C’mon people, you may not have anywhere to go, but WE do, right momma.”  Although, operating with my hair on fire may mean I don’t have a realistic concept of what constitutes a normal pace, I’ve chosen to embrace it as my norm.  I fully own it as my personality and I will continue to claim I work well under pressure, knowing in all honesty I have never tried the alternative.  As busy as I allow myself to be, I do take time to prepare healthy meals since my commitment to the Paleo lifestyle.

The meal I’ve chosen for today’s blog is an easy prep favorite for those busier nights (please tell me you have them SOMETIMES) This is a family friendly meal and if you don’t mention it’s 100% Paleo, nobody will be the wiser.

CHICKEN VEGGIE BURGERS

Recipe makes 4 large burgers
INGREDIENTS

1 pound lean ground chicken, organic if possible

1 red bell pepper-dice

2 stalks celery-cut off tops & dice

¼ red onion-dice

1 egg-raw

½ c almond meal

¼ c coconut flour

1 fresh avocado-slices

1 tomato-sliced

Fresh spinach or lettuce

Ground pepper

Sea salt

Spices of your choice

Add flours to ground chicken and stir well. Add prepared veggies, raw egg and spices. Stir well and form into patties. Can be grilled, broiled or sauteed in butter until fully cooked. Serve on a bed of lettuce or spinach with sliced tomato, avocado, dill pickle slice and hot spice mustard like Annie’s Organic with horseradish, . Great with oven baked Sweet Potato fries as a side.

SWEET POTATO OVEN FRIES

2-3 sweet potato-peeled and sliced into thick fries

¼ c olive oil

Sea salt

Fresh ground pepper

Spices of your choice

Preheat oven to 450

Pour olive oil into a flat container with a lid. Add fries to the container, close the lid and shake until all pieces are fully coated with oil. Spread on cookie sheet and add spices of your choice.

Cook until tender, and then in last 2-5 min, broil until they get a little crispy.

Give Thanks for Paleo

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HERB CORNISH HENS WITH CRANBERRY SAUCE

herbed Cornish HensHerb Cornish Hens and cranberry sauce

In our household, November was typically the kick off to the eating fest which lingered thru December. Traditional family recipes, marathon cooking and over indulgence became the standard. Eventually, the threat of New Year’s resolutions, and the tightness of my clothes snapped me back to reality. And as if the holiday season coming to an end was not traumatic enough, I realized that once January arrived my taste buds would be lulled into hibernation with the blandness of cottage cheese and celery sticks.

That said, traditions are passed on to the next generation, college bowl games ensue, families gather together and food is an inevitable consequence of holiday celebrations. Therefore, I plan to devote this month’s blog on Paleo remakes of family favorites, along with some new options that are sure to have your guests saying “Oh this is Paleo..hmmm”. If you follow the Paleo diet you will have heard that statement before, as well as my other favorites “That is your lunch bag..wow, that’s a lot of food!” or “Isn’t eating Paleo expensive?” and “Are you eating AGAIN?”

My standard responses to the aforementioned remarks are:   yes it’s a family recipe from my Neanderthal relatives; Yes, that’s my lunch, you should have seen my breakfast; I figure it’s a wash, I can either pay my deductibles at the grocery store now or the doctor’s office later; and I’m training for a marathon, I’m planning to live to be 100! Sometimes, on my geeky days, I throw a little Biology lesson in about balancing blood glucose levels, or the integrity of muscle tone based on diet.

Although I grew up eating garden harvested vegetables, wild game and fish, Paleo has been a great incentive for me to explore new culinary trends and break out of my “weekly menu” rut which I had constructed around spaghetti and garlic bread dinners, make your own taco night,lasagna, lasagna leftovers, Sunday meatloaf, and sloppy Joes/ order pizza Fridays. I still have my standard rule of “kitchen to table in 30 min or less or be able to eat it for multiple days” rule, but in the past three years I’ve tried more new recipes than I had made in my entire life.

Today’s recipe is for Cornish hens, although this recipe would work equally as well for turkey breast, and chicken, wild duck, pheasant, or partridge.  Biology factoid: although in most bird species hens are female birds, both male and female birds are referred to as Cornish hens.

HERBED CORNISH HENS

prep time 20 min, cook time 1hr 15 min, table ready in 1 hr 45 min

Ingredients

Original recipe makes 4 cornish hens from Michelle Mullis

4 Cornish game hens

5 stalks celery

1 large onion, quartered – divided

1 lemon, quartered – divided

4 sprigs fresh rosemary, divided

1 tablespoon olive oil

sea salt to taste

lemon pepper to taste

1 tablespoon chopped fresh tarragon

1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil

1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme

2 sprigs fresh rosemary, leaves removed and chopped

1 head garlic, peeled

1 large onion, chopped

1/2 cup white wine

1/2 cup chicken broth

3 tablespoons olive oil

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F (230 degrees C).
  2. Arrange celery stalks next to each other in the bottom of a heavy roasting pan.
  3. Place 1 onion quarter, 1 lemon quarter, and 1 sprig rosemary in the cavity of each hen. (option: paleo stuffing recipes will be added to the menu soon)
  4. Rub outside of hens with 1 tablespoon olive oil; sprinkle with salt and lemon pepper.
  5. Arrange hens atop celery; sprinkle with tarragon, basil, thyme, and chopped rosemary.
  6. Scatter garlic cloves and 1 chopped onion around hens.
  7. Bake in the preheated oven for 25 minutes. Reduce heat to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
  8. Whisk wine, broth, and 3 tablespoons olive oil together in a bowl; pour over hens.
  9. Cook hens until no longer pink at the bone and the juices run clear, about 50 more minutes, basting every 15 minutes with juices in pan. An instant-read thermometer inserted near the bone should read 165 degrees F (74 degrees C).
  10. Turn off oven and let hens rest in the oven for 10 more minutes.

CRANBERRY SAUCE

from the kitchen of Patti Kryzanowski

INGREDIENTS:

1 bag fresh cranberries

1-1.5 cup water

4 fresh dates-pitted and minced

¼ C raw honey

1 honeycrisp apple-peeled, diced

1T organic cinnamon

1T butter

DIRECTIONS:

Mix cranberries, apples and dates with water in med saucepot, when you hear cranberries start to pop reduce heat to low

Add in honey, cinnamon and butter. Stir until desired thickness

Image

My journey

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In January, 2012 my son (and trainer) Eric Allen asked if I would come to Crossfit Continuum to take some pictures of their athletes doing their WODS. Thru the lens of the camera, I saw something that stirred my inner core and jarred old memories awake. I watched as a group of athletes performed pull-ups, sit ups, and squats while a clock on the wall ticked off time.  I’m not sure what left the biggest impression on me that day..whether it was the degree of interaction between trainer and athlete,  the intense level of focus on the face of the athletes, the spirit of competition, or  the sense of “team” that I recognized from years of being an athlete myself. Whatever it was, it started calling to my soul.

After photographing a few rounds of the WOD, I left the gym, but the gym didn’t leave me.  On the drive home, memories of me as a physically fit athlete flooded my brain, and tears spilled down my face.  I compared myself to the people I had met that day…young working mothers, a college teacher, former college athletes..all working toward a common goal. Sadly, I realized that the one thing I lacked in common with them was their commitment to health and fitness.  A spark of desire ignited that day. I wanted that back in my life.  Encouraged by the passion my son Eric had developed for CrossFit and personal training, I sought his help and advice.

The first leg of my recovery began in the kitchen on February 5th. Weighing a shocking 215 pounds, I bid farewell to potato chips, cheese, pasta and bread.   I literally hauled the trash can up to the pantry and began throwing things out.  Fortunately, I had met Loren Cordain years prior when he gave a guest lecture to our department, so I had an understanding of Paleo basics.  Educated as a Biological Anthropologist, the principles of the Paleo lifestyle made sense to me.   For the next two months, I tried new recipes, shopped on the outer edges of the store, walked briskly past the bakery, chatted with the butcher about the meat selections, replaced my old spices, and fell in love with avocados, sweet potatoes, and butter again.  With each passing week, my clothes became looser, and my confidence more visible. I was averaging a 2 pound per week weight loss by simply converting to the Paleo nutritional lifestyle.  Repairing my damaged self-esteem while building a solid nutritional foundation for the rest of my life and the changes to come, I felt in control of my life for the first time in years.

In early March I joined the weight loss challenge work, and committed to weekly weigh-ins along with before and after bod-pod assessments.  Imagine my shock when I discovered that even though I had lost 18 pounds by then, I was still considered obese and my body fat percentage was a whopping 40.6%.  But rather than let that knowledge defeat me, I allowed it to motivate me.   I broke thru my denial and posted my weight, body fat percentage, goals and determination on FB for the whole world to see.  I also joined the 30 day Paleo challenge at CrossFit Continuum. Tracking my meals, sleep and hydration levels gave me additional insight into my deficits, and inspired me to correct a few more old habits.

I set a goal to begin CrossFit on 1 April, 2012.  By the last week of March I had lost 22 pounds, and with that came the confidence to walk thru the doors of Crossfit Continuum once again, a week ahead of my goal.  Walking back into the gym, I was immediately welcomed as a team member by trainers and fellow athletes alike.  The first few workouts left me dizzy, nauseous, and exhausted, but filled with a desire to compete..not only against the clock,  but against the unhealthy person I had allowed myself to become.

On May 14th, I took a second bod pod assessment. My overall body fat percentage was now down to 38.1%. I was no longer considered obese and I had converted 10 pounds of fat to lean muscle mass. Clean eating and CrossFit were working their magic.

The differences that I feel and see between the 215 pound photographer who saw hope for her life through a different lens and the athlete I’m rediscovering overwhelm me.  I’m proud of my fitness and that serves to re-inspire me daily. When I am unable to make it to our box, I hike in the beautiful Colorado mountains, work in my yard or do home WODs. I’ve also added Yoga to my workout schedule.

I’m forever grateful for the athletes, my teammates, who inspired me that January day. I also owe Eric a debt of gratitude for never giving up on me and for continuing to guide me gently in the right direction toward the life I deserved until I was ready to climb over the wall of self-doubt.

Fifty pounds lighter, my focus is no longer on a number appearing on my scale, but on the number of people I can inspire to seek out a healthier lifestyle for themselves and their families. Please allow me to share my recipes, my lifestyle, my triumphs and my lessons learned on my new blog Paleofcourse.