Saturday, November 17, 2012

Spiced Coconut Milk Tea Recipe

Here is a great Paleo tea recipe. I have been using this to keep my adrenal glands and stress levels in check as we move into the busy holiday season. I have been craving spicy mixes that are available this time of year. Cinnamon, clove, nutmeg just sounds so good right now. Since I am staying away from dairy, the holiday favorite Egg Nogg is not an option. I use chopped herbs and you can find most of these at your local Co-Op or natural food market. Or you can mail order them from Radiance Herbs & Massage 360-357-5250
 So try this recipe:

Spiced Coconut Milk tea
2 cups Water
1 tsp licorice roots, chopped
1 tsp Eluethero root, chopped
1 tsp Yogi Tea (usually cinnamon, clove, nutmeg, black pepper, cardamon, ginger)
5 Tbsp of coconut milk

I start with cold water and add the spices to the water. Then bring the mixture to a boil in a sauce pan. Then I cover the pan and turn off the heat but leave the pan on the hot burner. Let it stand for about 5 minutes. You can cook it longer for a stronger flavor. Then strain the herbs pouring the tea into your cup. Next I add my five tablespoons (yes that is right five) of coconut milk to my cup. I like mine creamy and my intent is to get a little more fat in my diet so add as much as pleases you. The coconut milk will melt and cool down the tea just a little bit.
A little about the herbs

Licorice- This roots adds a sweet flavor, being 100 times sweeter than cane sugar. It has a low glycemic index so it does not raise your blood sugar. The longer you boil the tea the sweeter it will become. Licorice is known to boost immunity, reduce stress, reduce inflammation, soothe the respiratory system, and to help with feeling generally run down.
Licorice Root Herb Notes / Side Effects
Latin Names: Glycyrrhiza glabra, Liquiritia officinalis
Common Names: Chinese Licorice, Gan Cao, Kan-ts'ao, Kuo-lao, Licorice, Licorice Root, Ling-t'ung, Liquorice, Mei-ts'ao, Mi-kan, Mi-ts'ao, Sweet Licorice, Sweet Wood, Yasti Madhu
Properties: Anti-allergic, anti-arthritic, anti-inflammatory, demulcent, emollient, estrogenic (mild), expectorant, laxative, pectoral (moderate), soothing
Indicated for: Addison's disease, allergic rhinitis, arthritis, athlete's foot, baldness, bronchitis, bursitis, canker sores, catarrh of the upper respiratory tract, chronic fatigue, colds, colitis and intestinal infections, conjunctivitis, constipation, coughs, dandruff, depression, duodenal-ulcers, emphysema, exhaustion, fibromyalgia, flu, fungal infections, gastritis, gingivitis and tooth decay, gout, hayfever, heartburn, hepatitis, inflamed gallbladder, liver disease, Lyme disease, menopause, prostate enlargement, psoriasis, shingles, sore throat, spleen disorders, tendinitis, throat problems, tuberculosis, ulcers, viral infections, yeast infections. Reducing stomach acid and relieving heartburn and indigestion. Increasing bile flow and lowering cholesterol. Improving resistance to physical and emotional stress.
Do not confuse with licorice confectionery which contains very little, if any, licorice and is in fact flavoured by anise.
Can cause water retention and raised blood pressure. Prolonged use should be avoided if you suffer from high blood pressure.
Can cause mild adrenal stimulation.

Also known as Siberian Ginseng, but not to be confused with American or Panax ginseng. Eluethero is a strong adaptogen that helps your body deal with things like stress, immunity and fatigue.
Eleutherococcus senticosus, also known as eleuthero ginseng or Siberian ginseng, is one of the primary tonic herbs and one of the most widely used herbs in the world. Eleuthero is often recommended as a general tonic to revitalize people who are fatigued. Because it enhances immunity and helps the body deal with stress eleuthero is frequently included in nutritional support programs for people with fibromyalgia, arthritis and other autoimmune disorders. Eleuthero restores overstressed adrenal glands, working wonders for people who are chronically stressed. The adrenal glands have a big impact on our sexual health because of the their role in producing a variety of hormone that regulate many physical responses, not just gender-oriented ones. Tonic herbs such as eleuthero help to prevent "adrenal burnout" caused by ongoing physical or mental challenges. Helping the body deal with chronic stress is the very definition of an adaptogenic herb, and ginseng may be one ofthe most effective herbs in this category. Eleuthero boosts concentration and focus without the letdown than comes from stimulants like caffeine.
Eleuthero is sometimes combined with other adaptogens, like Korean, Chinese or American ginseng, astragalus, or schisandra, to increase its effectiveness.

Yogi tea
This tea originated in the US from Yogi Bhajan, a spiritual teacher from India. He would offer this tea to his yoga classes in the 1970s. It typically consists of cloves cardamon, black pepper, ginger and cinnamon. And a pinch of black tea.  It is a tonifying tea used by many Ayurveda practitioners. It is used to maintain or creat health.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Paleo- Fat is the key for me!

It makes such a big difference to be eating a higher level of fats. Good fats. Like the saturated ones that we have been told for years to avoid. Whole fats, like avocado, bacon, coconut oil. Boy they make such a difference for me.
Ok So I am back on track with a new Paleo plan.
New plan is this:
Strict paleo-
No Paleo breads, gluten free treats- NONE!
No wine (Boo)
No dairy
Carbs consumed at breakfast or lunch only
Carb consumption between 40- 80 grams per day
Drink 120 ounces of water a day
Take supplements that support good food choices- for me that is B vits, Forskoli, Chromium, and Holy Basil.
No eating after 7pm
More protein and veggies!
Nuts are my snacks (with moderation, lots of carbs in a little bit of nuts)
More coconut milk in general
Avoid sugars
More salads
Drink more tea (Licorice, Eluethero, Cinnamon, Clove, Black pepper, Nutmeg, Ginger) I think I will put this recipe in my next entry.

Well we'll see how this goes.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

My best advice for My Paleo success

I am trying to return to a complete Paleo plan. I have been off track for a couple of months. As I rethink my last few months I remembered a list a I made for myself. A list of reminders about how to be successful. So since I was revisiting this, I thought I'd post it again.
 Excerpt from July 2012
So let me share some things that are certain for my success:
1. I must be gluten-free at all times. My body hurts when I eat gluten. I get an immediate reminder. It is a very clear message. I also feel foggy in my mind. And no gluten-free substitutes. These options are often not Paleo. Ok I will give myself the occasional gluten free pizza with pesto of course (like once a month, tops.)
2. I must stay nightshade free. Tomatoes, Potatoes, and peppers. Those also contribute to my achy joints and sore body.
3. I must eat protein for breakfast. Eggs, bacon, sausage, etc. And with Kale or other veggies is even better.
4. I must prepare my food for the day in advance. I must bring snacks with me in the car. Nuts, dried fruit, and beef jerky. I am happiest when I eat a sweet potato everyday for lunch or dinner. I love to bring my lunch to work everyday. I love left-overs ( I'm a weirdo, I know.)
5. I must remove sugar from my diet. No chocolate, and limit dried fruit. No cream in my coffee. Even that much sugar can throw me off track. Manage fruits carefully. And Boo, NO ICE CREAM even the homemade kind.
6. I must manage my carb intake. I can eat about 80 carbs a day, max. A min of about 40.
7. I must use a program like Sparkpeople (it's free) to record my food choices daily. I need to be able to not go unconscious about food. It is easy for me to make good choices when I have the data in front of me. I do not consider calories or fat when making food choices. Carb intake is my driver for food choices as well as a desire for high intake of vegetables and good meats and saturated fats.
8. I must consume about 120 ounces of water a day. I must consume my first 32 ounces before lunch.  Lemon water is super good for me.
9. I must exercise. I must sweat. Swimming and land workouts with my partner and trainer are essential.
10. I must be gentle with myself. I must remember I am in so much better condition than I was eight months ago. I must remember that I am doing great. I must remember that reminding myself of old ways can be good. It can solidify the new better way of living. It is not failure.

Ok so now I say good luck to me! I will keep you posted on getting back on track! Please leave a comment!

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Halloween Hangover makes for a Paleo Reboot

Wow last month went by so stinking fast for me. I did not feel like I got to enjoy it like I have in the past. I LOVE Halloween and tend to do it up big. This year was difficult to plan a gathering. Halloween being in the middle of the week was challenging for parties and for my little guy. First graders still need sleep in the middle of the week. But he sure did get a big haul of candy. Full candy bars from our neighbors. Oh boy there is still a lot of candy hanging around.
The candy high for my boy has been relieved  by our fabulous local toy store called Wind Up Here. They offered a Switch Witch~ so my son excitedly went to the toy store with the remaining of his candy after a few days of enjoying this special treat and turned his candy in for a coupon for 20% off. Then we shopped to find a "treat" for him. I had a personal goal of spending about $15 which he happily stayed within. He asked about the big gifts but I just said let's leave it for your Christmas/Hanukkah/Solstice gift. Yeah. We celebrate them all!
Now my candy consumption is another story. We bought extra candy for a small gathering of friends. Or at least that's what I told myself. I have eaten a ton and there is still some left. So Paleo has basically gone out the window for me. I still subscribe to some elements like a hearty protein heavy breakfast. But that's about where it stops. I am still gluten free, but I have been eating rice and gluten free breads. And of course gluten free Halloween candy. But I am really ready to get back on track. More bacon, coconut oil, avocado, coconut milk. High fat really helps.
I definitely feel best when I am strict Paleo. Not sure how or way I get off track but its' really hard to get back on the strict horse. I guess it's all part of the process. I was never as strict gluten free as I have been this year. And I have been extremely gluten free. Only twice have I had gluten in a year. One time, early this year,  was a weak moment and the other was a mistake at a restaurant. I am so proud of that and it's pretty simple when you feel so much pain in your body after eating gluten. never the less, it's been a journey.

So I guess I just need to keep trying. Keep coming back to what I know feels so good in my body.  What are your thoughts?

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Great Paleo Side Dish- CSA veggies

 Straight from the garden, CSA or the farmers' market, this is one of my favorite side dishes.! Starting at the left~ red, white and blue potatoes, then stripped beets, golden beets and your standard reds, then Delicata squash! OMG this is my favorite squash ever~! The came from my garden and the potatoes and beets came from our CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) share. So the CSA works like this- We make an advance purchase from the farm of let's say $500. This gives us a box of veggies once a week for 20 weeks. Once a week we go to our designated location and pick a box of freshly picked veggies from our CSA farm. They put in the box what ever is in season of  these veggies~ carrots, beets, butter or romaine lettuce, onions, garlic, kale, potatoes, cucumbers, radishes, herbs, fennel, asparagus, peas, beans and a variety of squash. The contents of the box should feed a family of four. Every week we get fresh in season veggies that are grown within a few miles of our home. Talk about local!
This also makes me cook veggies I would not usually try. Like beets for instance, we were just talking about this over dinner tonight. I was saying that we have only been eating beets for the last few years because we didn't even know we liked them. Roasted beets are the way to go. They are sweet and a wonderful substitute for those of us that don't eat night shades like potatoes.
Do you get your veggies from a CSA or farmers market? I'd love to know! Please leave a comment.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Homemade Paleo Hamburgers

There are a few more days of summer left in the Pacific Northwest. We are die hards out here. We will barbeque through the rain to get that last hamburger on the grill! Paleo hamburger have been a favorite this summer. Fresh zucchini makes it easy. You can also add carrots to this recipe. Just substitute some of the zucchini for carrots. I have made this recipe with only carrots. It seemed to turn out just fine.
So you can use wheat free buns if you chose or we just use ice berg lettuce in big chunks. OMG it tastes so good with that crisp lettuce and burger juices running down my chin!
Ok So here is the recipe. You may notice that it is similar to the meatloaf recipe. It is virtually the same idea. Just form the meat into patties.

Paleo Hamburger Patties
2 lbs of grass fed ground beef
1 egg
1 c shredded zucchini
1 Tbsp Lawry's Seasoning salt
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce

Mix all the ingredients together. I like to use my hands so that I can be assured that everything is mixed well. Form into patties. With this recipe you should get eight 1/4 patties or Four 1/2 pound patties. It's great to make up a few extras for your lunch. You can freeze the cooked burgers and add to a sweet potato and there you have an instant homemade paleo lunch.

Where do you get your beef? We get asked this question a lot. We buy a half or a quarter cow from a local farmer. We end up paying about $3 a pound for grass fed, anti-biotic free beef. I know the farmer she only raises about five cows a year. Mostly they do as a hobby.  It's not their main gig. They give the cows a lot of love and attention and it shows. The produce excellent meat.We choose the cuts we want. So we are $3 a pound for ground beef, steaks and pot roasts. Of course you can only get a few of some cuts but it is well worth it. Our beef comes wrapped in brown paper not plastic.

Where do you store a half a cow?!? We bought a stand up full size freezer. And think of how much we've saved in the last four years! Now it can be a little rough coming up with $400-$800 to pay for meat in one month. But we always know in advance that that bill is coming our way. It's a great money saver and it certainly is worth the health benefits to our family.

Please leave a comment! I'd love to hear from you all!

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Paleo Meatloaf is easy to make!

One of our family's favorite dinner is meatloaf and it is easy to make Paleo.  My son loves this dinner with roasted sweet potatoes and I love to add roasted beets, especially this time of year. Add a fresh green salad and there is nothing better in my opinion!

Paleo Meatloaf
2 lbs of grass fed ground beef
1 egg
1 c shredded zucchini
1 Tbsp Lawry's Seasoning salt
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce

Mix all the ingredients together with your hands. Ensuring that it's mixed thoroughly. Form meat mixture into a shape of a loaf of bread and put into a bread pan. Cook for 1 hour at 375 degrees.  

The zucchini adds enough moisture to keep this dish super yummy and not tough. Also that sneaky vegetable virtually disappears in the meat loaf. So no one would really know there is a whole cup of zucchini in there! You could add bacon to the top for a little extra yum. Criss-cross the bacon for a fancy look!

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Paleo Protien Bars

Home for a little break before school starts for my son. I had a friend request a recipe for protien bars so I did a little research and found Mark' s recipe for Paleo Protein bars. So I tried to make them. I added a banana like other blogs had suggested so they don't come out crumbly. Also I didn't have honey or cranberries so I did not add a sweetener but went for chocolate chips instead of cranberries. I also decided to double the whey protein powder. I just thought if some is good then double should be better right? Ok, I always do this to recipes! I should just do it like the recipe suggests the first time right? I can't help myself!
I guess it comes from having some success. I always play with a recipe. Most time it works out great.  Well this was not one of those times! So it turned out dry and not great tasting. This thing definitely needs the honey. The chocolate chips did not make up for the sweetness.
Funny thing though. They feel really good in my body. Does that make sense? It was definitely a satisfying bite of protein. Maybe from a purely mechanical perspective. I think they have potential. Next time I will try the original recipe- without my own personal flare!!

Monday, July 23, 2012

Old habits die hard.

This last week was an extremely stressful time for me. I own a natural health retail store. We carry bulk herbs, organic skin care, eco-style gifts and more~ brick and mortar style. We have about 24 employees. We just completed inventory of our stock which was about 67,000 items. It takes about six weeks to prepare for this event. Our inventory manager did a great job and thanks to Holy Basil tea, I was the least stressed I think I have ever been for inventory. But none the less- it was inventory for gods sakes! And we counted 67,000 items!!

As I was navigating the week I found myself reviving some old habits. I would not eat breakfast, which I now realize (although I kinda already knew it) is a cardinal sin for me. Then I would drink coffee which would take the place of breakfast until about 11:30. Low and behold, hunger would hit me like a train, I would be starving. I recognized this immediately as an old problem. I used to get famished like this all the time. And years and years ago I would go and eat fast food. Now I find it trickle through my thoughts but I don't actually give fast food real consideration, thank god. It was good to remember and I am sad I had to suffer the reminder. Thankfully through all of this I have managed to stay gluten-free. That is super important for my joints. I get really sore if I eat gluten.

I also found that by not feeding myself good foods throughout the day, at night I was wanting to munch more. And when I do this I can never find the food I am searching for. So I end up eating a bunch of unsatisfying foods that are likely high calories or more importantly high in carbohydrates. It's a terrible cycle. Those foods make me more hungry and that in turn makes me eat more. And then I am more hungry. I am so glad that Paleo eating has allowed me to get out of this uncomfortable cycle. I get hungry on Paleo but I don't feel like I will eat the arm off the person next to me. I get to experience a gentle hunger that allows me time to figure out the best way to feed myself. I think part of this is the good fats I am eating. I have lost 35 lbs eating bacon and avocados. I feel so nourished eating Paleo.

I have been Paleo for about 8 months. And clearly, I love it. But it is definately a challenge. Whenever I fall off the wagon I know I want to be back in the arms of a Paleo life style. My old ways are distructive and very unsatifying. But I think I need to remind myself sometimes. I also try to remember that this is a grand experiment. I don't believe there is one way for people to feed themselves. The idea that one eating style or "diet" works for everyone is just crazy to me. So even the boxed versions a Paleo plan isn't neccassarily perfect for me. I am constantly adjusting. That is one reason I am seeing a nauturopath during this process. She guides me and helps me stay on plan. She helps me make adjustments that are both intuitive and science based. A perfect combination in my opinion. A perfect combination for me.

So let me share some things that are certain for my success:
1. I must be gluten-free at all times. My body hurts when I eat gluten. I get an immediate reminder. It is a very clear message. I also feel foggy in my mind. And no gluten-free substitutes. These options are often not Paleo. Ok I will give myself the occasional gluten free pizza with pesto of course (like once a month, tops.)
2. I must stay nightshade free. Tomatoes, Potatoes, and peppers. Those also contribute to my achy joints and sore body.
3. I must eat protein for breakfast. Eggs, bacon, sausage, etc. And with Kale or other veggies is even better.
4. I must prepare my food for the day in advance. I must bring snacks with me in the car. Nuts, dried fruit, and beef jerky. I am happiest when I eat a sweet potato everyday for lunch or dinner. I love to bring my lunch to work everyday. I love left-overs ( I'm a weirdo, I know.)
5. I must remove sugar from my diet. No chocolate, and limit dried fruit. No cream in my coffee. Even that much sugar can throw me off track. Manage fruits carefully. And Boo, NO ICE CREAM even the homemade kind.
6. I must manage my carb intake. I can eat about 80 carbs a day, max. A min of about 40.
7. I must use a program like Sparkpeople (it's free) to record my food choices daily. I need to be able to not go unconscious about food. It is easy for me to make good choices when I have the data in front of me. I do not consider calories or fat when making food choices. Carb intake is my driver for food choices as well as a desire for high intake of vegetables and good meats and saturated fats.
8. I must consume about 120 ounces of water a day. I must consume my first 32 ounces before lunch.  Lemon water is super good for me.
9. I must exercise. I must sweat. Swimming and land workouts with my partner and trainer are essential.
10. I must be gentle with myself. I must remember I am in so much better condition than I was eight months ago. I must remember that I am doing great. I must remember that reminding myself of old ways can be good. It can solidify the new better way of living. It is not failure.

Now that being said I am up about 7lbs from my lowest weight. Which was about 3 weeks ago. Which is not the end of the world but it is frustrating because it takes a ton of more energy for me to loose 7 lbs then it does to gain it. I am sure the gluten-free coffee cake my sweet sister made for me contributed to my gain as well as numerous bad food choices. And the homemade ice cream, I have been making with my son. With whole cream of course.It's good and natural but full of carbs and sugar.

So this plan I have laid out for myself is what I have come to realize is what works for me to lose weight. Eventually I will have to change this plan to accommodate weight maintenance. But I am a ways off from that. Again I am happy to have my naturopath to help me create a healthy holistic plan.

Let me know if this entry was helpful for you. What things have you come to realize about your Paleo journey?

Paleo Chicken stuffed with Apple and Onion Greens

So As I prepared our dinner tonight I was also putting away onions that I had bought at the farmer's market. And I thought "what will I do with all these beautiful green onion tops? Then it came to me! Stuff the chicken with them! So I thought I would also put an apple that had seen better days in them as well. Just to add little extra juiciness.
Now anyone who has read this blog before would know that I feed anywhere from 5-10 people for dinner each night. And we generally eat only left overs for lunch so I almost always roast two organic chickens.

I roasted the fresh chickens on 350 degrees for about three hours. I had about 10 lbs of chicken in the oven so if you have one 5lbs chicken you could roast it for one and a half hours. I removed the fresh (not frozen) chicken from their bag and washed them with cold water. Then I put a half of an apple in each and stuffed them as full as I could with the onion tops, just the green parts. Then I covered them with foil making a tight seal to keep the steam in as much as possible. Then at about two hours I removed the foil cover and basted them in their own juices. I do not use a devise to raise my chicken up from the pan so that the juices drip away from the chicken. I want them to marinate in their own juices. I ususally end up with about an inch or two of drippings. I use that to begin my homemade chicken bone broth. I make broth with every chicken I make. Why waste such a healthy amazing resource! Especially if your chcken is organic.Let me know how this recipe works for you! Please leave a comment below.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Holy Sugar!

So I have been having trouble getting back on track with Paleo. I've been grain free but I kept dipping a little too deep into the dark chocolates, wine and honey! All super lovely yummies right?  And I was struggling with my weight loss in fact I have jumped up about 6 pounds. I was just saying to my partner that it feels like it is about 25 times easier to gain weight then loose it, so gaining 6 pounds was very discouraging.
So I decided to get off sugar. Holy crap! I had tried for about a week without success. I have been struggling and decided to enlist the help of friend who is also working on changing her health. So we made a deal that I could text her and she could text me when we struggling or felt we had made a good choice. So It took about three days of really suffering and lots of text like "I just put the bag of chocolate covered almonds back on the shelf and didn't eat one. Yeah for me!!"
It's good to have support but even better to use the support you have!! 

Monday, July 9, 2012

what's for lunch?

Ground grass-fed beef, sauteed kale and sweet potato.
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Thursday, July 5, 2012

Roasted Fresh Herb Organic Chicken

What's for Dinner? Roasted Fresh Herb Organic Chicken

This is my favorite dinner to make because it feels like a twofer. We get to eat yummy homemade roasted chicken and after all the meat is off the bones then I make a healing natural chicken bone broth in my crockpot. Yum.
I started with two whole organic fyers that equaled about 7lbs total. I washed the birds in cold water and took out the organ meats. I always feel bad throwing thes away but we just don't eat them. I guess I could put them in the stock later. Maybe next time.

But before that I went to the garden and grabbed a giant handful of thyme, rosemary and chives. I figured I really couldn't put too much in my birds. Well I stuffed them full and decided to save the last bit for garnish after they were cooked.

I seasoned the birds with salt and pepper. Very simple. Nothing fancy~ well except fresh herbs from the garden!
I put them in a roasting pan with nothing under them. I didn't mind them marinating in their own juices. I know that good fats are really healthy for us. I know that low fat is a lie. I want those healthy fats in my foods.
I roasted them on 350 degrees for about 2.5 hrs.  And then I let them stand for about 20 minutes before I served them . oh I also restuffed them with a fresh round of herbs. I took my tonges and pulled out the spent herbs and refilled them with fresh plants. As you can see fresh plants look much more pretty.

This dinner plus mashed potatoes from my non-Paleo family and sweet potatoes for us Paleo eaters, broccoli and a huge fresh salad was tonight dinner!
Then the final step was putting the bones skin and whatever was left plus about a gallon of water in the crockpot for a two day slow cook. Then I stain the it and freeze for the next time I need chicken stock!

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Homemade healing salves from your garden.

Calendula Flowers
Collecting the flowers that grow in and around my garden is a relaxing and soothing task for me. I also love to collect some plants that grow wild. Feeling inspired by a friend bringing St John's Wort bouquet to work~ I went looking for a few plants I like to work with.
The Calendula was easy to find. I grow it in my garden and it easily will take over an area with little coaxing. But the St John's Wort was more elusive this year.  In the past it seemed to grow on every untended neighborhood corner. This year I have had a hard time finding this wonderful plant.
After my son fell asleep in the car on the way home from the farmers market yesterday I decided to wonder the neighborhoods surrounding our house to see if I would find some obviously unintended St John Wort plants. I did this because I noticed I had none growing in my own garden. I have to say this is definitely unusual. Normally, I have it growing everywhere like a weed. Not this year.
St John's Wort
Finally after slowly driving around with my eyes peeled to the particular flower of the St John's plant, I found just a few stands of this delicate flower. Being mindful to not take every plant, leaving some to reseed themselves, I harvested a handful of young plant stems and flowers.
I collected a group of calendula flower heads today. I will let them wilt a little to ensure there is no water on the petals. Then I will submerge them in a canning jar of olive or almond oil. Calendula is known for it's skin healing properties. I will probably drop the flowers heads into the oil on July 3rd because that is a fill moon and that just seems to make sense. Begin a project at the beginning of a new cycle, right? Why not, It can't hurt. I will infuse the oil for a few weeks and then remove the plant material and store the oil until the fall or winter when I will make a salve or healing oil from the infusion.
St John's Wort-
This plant I will also submerge in oil for an oil infusion after they have dried a bit, just like the calendula. I will probably make a salve with both Calendula and St John's Wort together to create a soothing salve for my family and friends. These could be used for any reason you might want to add a little healing help to your skin. I might add some lavender or tea tree essential oil to aid the healing process of the skin. Calendula could also be used as a wonderful moisturizer. You could create an emulsion with the caledula infused oil. An emulsion is basically a homemade lotion.
Let me know what you are making this summer season. I'd love to hear your comments.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

What's for dinner?

Soup and Salad of course!
Well, we have been fighting a bit of a cold in this household. So I decided to make Chicken soup with bone broth. And a good friend brought me some wild rice so I thought I'd throw some of that in there too! So as you'll see there are two pots on the stove. I started our with onions, celery, and carrots sauteed in some coconut oil. Then I added chicken breast and cooked that up.

At that point I separated the it into to pans. One for paleo and the other for the rest of the troops. Both pots got the homemade chicken bone broth that was in the freezer.  Oh That is going to be so healing for everyone tonight! I will add a little sea salt and maybe some pepper.

I feed anywhere from 5-12 people each night for dinner. The neighbors come over almost every night. Friends know our door is open and I love to feed people so our table fills up fast. Tonight we are feeding eight. two folks are paleo and the rest eat whatever I put in front of them. so two dinners but it's easy to do. The non paleo dinner gets 1 1/2 cups of wild rice. I like my rice to get puffy and full so I'll cook it extra long- about 45 minutes to one hour. I just throw it into the pot. With the rice more puffy and full it feeds more people too. Even my six year old will enjoy this soup.
And an organic green salad with purple cabbage and carrots. I need color in the meal. It needs to look pretty too right?

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Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Spring has Sprung!

And with it - it's brought crazy sunny days and downpours of rain- typical NW weather. So I looked outside, yesterday, I was home with a mildly ill child and realized the calendula were calling my name. So we put on our rain boots- you know just in case, and walked out to the garden to see if there were any flowers wanting to be made into homemade plant medicine.
Calendula is a fabulous plant from the Marigold family ( I think.) It's been used for forever as a skin soother and healer. It's super easy to make an oil infusion with this delightful plant.
Begin by picking the flowers that have not quite opened. They should be just on the cusp of opening. These beautiful flowers are orange yellow and gold!  Set the flowers a on mesh like surface. Something breathable.  I use a wicker-like tray and dry for a day or two. Be sure that there is no water on your petals. Because water and oil don't mix! In fact it will create an environment perfect for bacterial growth.
Then once they are thoroughly dry, simply put the flower heads in a jelly jar and fill with Olive oil or Almond oil. Make sure the flowers are completely covered with oil. They should not be exposed to air once submerged in the oil. If they pop up- add more oil.
Every day or so turn the jar so that the plant material and oil are thoroughly mixed. The jar shown below is only half full because that's all the flowers we had in bloom at the time. So we'll slowly fill the jar over several weeks. Then after about 4-6 six weeks strain the flowers from the oil and voila! You have Calendula Infused Olive Oil.
This would be used as a topical treatment for scrapes or cuts. You can get fancy and melt down a little beeswax and add it to make a salve. Then it works really well to apply to just about anywhere on your body. It's a great skin care treatment as well. It could be use as a facial oil.
So try a little calendula infusion and tell me about it! I'd love to hear how it works for you!

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Monday, April 23, 2012

Garden Splendor

Oh I love the Spring! The garden is coming along, nicely. Seeds are starting to sprout. I am sure that is because of our crazy good weather. It was 80 degrees today! If you are in the Pacific NW then you'd know that is crazy warm for a day in April.
I got to weed the walkways around the beds today. It's such a meditative tasks and makes me break a sweat too!  I am so grateful to my friends (Christy, Tom, Larry, Sokay, Sonja, Jules and of course Andrea!) who helped me rebuild my fence last year. What great friends to come and spend the day pounding poles into the earth. We have a lot of deer in our area so we maintain a 6 foot fence around the garden.
So far I have planted lettuce, beans. peas (two varieties), carrots, and cucumbers. I noticed today that we have a some mystery squash coming up as well. I will definitely be transplanting those to a better spot. Right now they are coming up in the middle of the carrots. Oh did I say Sunflowers too? I am so excited about those!
I think I will be planting another round of carrots and peas. The first round of carrots have done nothing. It may not have been warm enough yet (until today!)
This picture is of the garden in May 2011. This year I was inspired by my sister- she plants her garden from seeds. So I followed her lead and I am happy with the results so far! i will obviously gets starts of tomatoes and maybe a pepper or two. Maybe some basil starts- oh I should get some planted for the kitchen counter. I have grown basil in the kitchen for the last few years and it is amazing to grab a fresh sprig or to add to the dish. Well I better capture my last few minutes of freedom while my son is distracted. Enjoy your day!

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Dinner so good!

Just thought I'd share a dinner with no recipe. Warning: this is NOT totally Paleo. Contains peanuts. I just haven't been able to completely let go of peanuts. So this is Spinach, Chopped Cauliflower and Peanut Coconut Chicken. Oh yum it was good.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Carrot Ginger Soup

Carrot Ginger soup warms the soul on these still cold nights. My sister shared this recipe with me. And it's totally Paleo! So gather your organic carrots and make this wonderfully yummy soup.

Carrot Ginger Soup
1 lbs Carrots sliced
1 med onion chopped
1 inch of fresh ginger, chopped
1/2 cup orange juice
1 cup of cream or coconut milk/cream
Chicken broth

Sautee the carrots, onions, and ginger in a little olive oil or coconut oil for five minutes, then add enough chicken broth (homemade is best!) to cover the carrots.  Simmer for 40 minutes. Add cooked carrot mixture to blender. Blend until smooth and creamy. Add cream or coconut milk and orange juice.  And serve!
This soup also freezes really well. I like to use a canning jar with about 2 inches at the top. Super yum!

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Still Loving Paleo and Still Struggling a Little

19 weeks into Paleo. Almost four months. And I am still loving how I feel. Yay. I don't think I have ever lasted this long on any other plan. Even straight up gluten-free. I would only last four to five weeks before I would give up. Now I won't say I haven't slipped up. I have eaten gluten. I admit it. But not often. My frequency of "off plan" eating has dropped significantly with paleo.

I really feel like the gluten-free thing has been easier with no grains. I feel like I can get back on track so much easier. And my slip ups are becoming less and less frequent. I love that about Paleo for me. 
I have also *consciously* chosen to have some things off plan like a piece of gluten free cake on Valentine's day. 

Certainly the sugar thing has been the hardest. That is my current struggle. I crave sugar ALL THE TIME! I eat dark chocolate covered almonds to satisfy my sugar craving and usually that works great. But lately they are not sweet enough. I am not hungry but I want something sweet! You know as I write this I am realizing I used to eat a lot more dried fruit. I bet my sugar intake was much higher than I realized.

My weight loss has been slow. About 1 pound a week, my naturopath is quite happy with this rate. I had my body fat measured this weekend. It was in one of those water tanks- the most accurate way to measure, I hear. I am at 40% body fat. I was actually happy to hear that. I thought it would be higher. It was really great to meet with the guy who administered the test. He asked what my goal weight was and I found out that I have 165 lbs of lean body weight- which is quite amazing! I have always known I was strong and this was confirmation of that!

So with that test I have a new found inspiration to be more diligent. That is one thing that's been interesting to me- I need to follow Paleo 100% to loose weight. The 80/20 plan would not work for me. I do not loose when I am not absolutely attentive! And that is hard to maintain.

But for whatever reason- I feel good. And I keep doing Paleo. It serves me. Maybe in more ways then I realize.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

More chicken broth!

This homemade broth is so easy to make. And yes that is chicken broth- dark brown, opaque, with a layer of chicken fat on top. Nothing like the clear watery chicken broth that comes out of a can or box. It's rich in flavor but not over powering. It can still be used the same way you use the store bought stuff. It makes wonderful chicken soup- you can feel it's healing powers! Check out my previous post for all the details! !

Check out this blog: Mark's Daily Apple he's got a great entry about Bone Broth!

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Almond Flour Biscuit

I have been craving something bread like for days. So I decided to try this Recipe from Paleo Comfort foods. It has a short ingredient list which I always like. I omitted the cinnamon because I will be the only person to eat all eight biscuits (over time of course) and I wanted to be able to use them in a variety of fashions. I plan to freeze the remaining ones.

Here is the recipe
 2 cups Almond Flour
1/2 tsp baking Soda
3 TBsp Butter
2 Large eggs
2 TBsp Honey
1 tsp vanilla
Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees
First, I mixed the flour and butter until it was crumbly pea sized pieces. Then I added all the wet ingredients together and mixed. The honey was hard to incorporate with the eggs so eventually I just dumped the whole thing in the mixer. Then I realized I forgot to add the baking powder, so I added that.
The dough tasted really good but also was really sweet. The cooked biscuits were much less sweet then the dough so I was happy about that.

Next I scooped out about 8 portions onto the cookie pan. I was surprised about how much they raised and expanded during cooking. They turned out nice and big and brown.

I was very pleased with how they felt when I bit into them. Springy and yummy. Sweet but not to sweet. They are a great treat for someone who is looking to have a little change from the regular Paleo fair. They are great with butter or plain. I love them!

Recipe is from Paleo Comfort Foods by Julie & Charles Mayfield, Strawberry Shortcake.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Flank Steak Marinade

This is my favorite marinade. My Mom is famous for this marinade, it is often requested for that special dinner. So I decided to Paleo-fy the recipe.
Asian Marinade for Flank Steak
Flank steak (average size, thawed)
12oz Tamari sauce (like soy sauce, but gluten-free, seriously it tastes the same as soy sauce to me)
1/4 c Honey
2 Tbsp Sesame seeds
1 tsp Sesame Oil

(In the above picture I did not warm the tamari and incorporate the honey so I am recommending that for the recipe below.)
Gently warm the tamari and honey on the stove top in a pan. Just enough to melt the honey. Do not boil or over heat. Cool. Score the steak in a crisscross fashion to help the marinade penetrate and out in a 13x9 baking pan.  Pour the mixture over the steak. Sprinkle Sesame seeds and sesame oil on steak. Let marinate for 2-4 hours. Then cook on the grill for best results. On medium heat for about 7-10 minutes on each side depending on thickness. The ends are generally well done and the center cuts are medium rare. Don't over cook it. Important: Cut the meat across the grain so that the pieces are about an 1/4 inch think and 6-8inches long. Everyone loved it. This is a wonderful thing to serve guests.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Homemade Chicken Broth

Homemade anything always feels more nourishing to me. I love the smell of a homemade broth. It's super simple. Most of us work during the week. Using a crock pot for this nutritious recipe is the best way to go. That way you can easily cook your broth for 24- 48 hours or more. A nice long slow cook yields the best broth. 
You will need :
1 whole Organic Chicken
Crock pot
One and half gallon Water
additional options: it's great to use scraps of onions, celery, carrots. You can freeze these as they are used for other recipes then pull out when you are ready to make broth ( I got this tip from my Naturopath, Elinor Jordan ND.) I often just use just the chicken bones and scraps. It makes a great broth all on it's own.

Cook the Chicken: Be sure to take out the giblets and such from the body cavity of the raw chicken. Rinse the chicken in the sink. Place in the pan sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast the Organic Chicken in your oven at 350 degrees for 1 1/2 hrs or until the meat falls from the bone. Set aside to cool and remove meat or serve to your family reserving the bones for broth. 

Make the Broth: Put bones of one whole chicken into the crock pot and cover with 1 1/2 gallon of water. Be sure to cover the whole carcass chicken with water. I like to set the crock pot on high until I go to bed then down to low for over night. In the morning I check it again to see if too much water has evaporated. Generally I do not add more water. About a half gallon of water will evaporate over the 24+ hour cook.  This is one reason I love using the crock pot. It's safe to leave it for overnight or for the day while I am at work. The crock pot can be working on extracting all that goodness while I am going about my day.

Finished Broth: Once you have cooked your broth to your liking then turn off crock pot. I usually turn it off when I get home from work and before I have started cooking dinner. Then it can cool for an hour or two and not scold me while I am handling it. Do not let the broth cool too much. The fat should still be liquid.Use a skimmer (see picture) or cheese cloth to filter out all the debris (bones, skin etc.) I find it easiest to filter into a separate bowl. My skimmer sits on the edge of the bowl so I have two hands to work with. It may seems over the top to dirty another dish but you just spend two days making this super healthy food for your family, don't chance loosing any of it by spilling it trying to decant it into a jar. the decant with a measuring cup or other tool with about for pouring

Storing your broth:
Your broth will last for about 5-6 days in the fridge. Or you can freeze it for future use. I like to reuse an Organic Apple juice glass jar to store my broth for a few days. Notice that the broth is opaque and not clear, also there is a layer of fat at the top. That fat is healing to the intestines, joints, and other organs. Anyone who has read Rob Wolff's The Paleo Solution knows how important fats are to our health. This is a healthy source of fat and other nutrients that are removed from a store bought broth.  Enjoy! You can add chicken from original chicken to the broth to make a healthy healing chicken soup. Check back for my Chicken Soup Recipe!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Start Planning your Garden

Int the Pacific Northwest It's time to begin planning your garden. Growing your own food is rewarding and relatively easy. That is if you like playing outside in the dirt!
I filled my garden bed with brown leaves that will compost down and augment the soil. I will order seeds from an organic seed company. We will start seeds inside in the next couple of weeks. Right now in Olympia we can plant many varieties of peas including Sweet Pea (flowers.)
We will plant:
Romaine Lettuce
Carrots, purple and orange
Peas, snap

We are already growing:

Send me pictures of your garden!

Monday, February 13, 2012

Falling off the Wagon.

On Sunday we had a fabulous Baby Shower for a friend at my house. Everyone ooo'd and aww'd over the new pregnant Mama. Fun was had by all. I was in charge of food and there was not a Paleo menu . But I thought, I can make it work for me, too. So I served Salmon, Fried Rice, Salad, Raw Veggies with Hummus, and crackers with Spinach dip.

So I did not set myself up for success. I missed lunch, doing last minute house cleaning and snacked on veggies as I prepared food. I did not eat any protein after my sausage breakfast. I kept saying in my head- "later I will eat something protienish." And then it happened- Damn those Ritz crackers! I tasted one and thought "oh they are as good as I remember!" Now for those of you who don't know I have been gluten-free(ish) for about three years. I have had months and months without gluten and then fall of the wagon for one reason or another. In the past it was always a horrible struggle to return to the gluten-free ways. I would have days of suffering and struggling. Talking myself out of "just one (gluten-filled) bite." Oh and the Fried Rice was gluten-free but not grain-free, obviously. In the interest of full disclosure- I had some of that too. Urgh.

BUT! With Paleo it has been so much easier to recover! I have noticed that I have been able (very happily and with great anticipation) to return to eating Paleo. It feels so right in my body. I also notice have less of  a struggle with cravings. I wonder if it's because my body is not being sent signals from other grains like rice, quinoa and such. I am clearer in my system I can feel that for sure.  Although last night I struggled in my body. My symptoms are sore muscles and stiff joints. My body get really systemically inflamed when I eat gluten. I upped my fish oils and took some Cucurmin (Turmeric) to help my body release the inflammation.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Move Review: Queen of the Sun

We should all educate ourselves on our food sources. This is a great movie because eating honey is a part of the Paleo plan. Honey is the only source of sweetener recommended when you are following a Paleo plan. It's a part of the plan that I love. It helps cut out so many processed foods because most of them are made with high fructose corn syrup and cane sugar.
Queen of the Sun is a great movie! And it really makes you think about where your honey comes from. We usually buy our honey from a local bee keeper and I am so glad we do! I didn't know that it is common practice to use insecticides in a hive. This is typical of commercial honey producers.  I thought it was kind of crazy to say that your honey was organic because you can't control where the bees go. But you can practice organic bee keeping by not adding pesticides to the hive!And of course like most organic proactices it actually makes the bees stronger ans healthier to live in an organic hive.
Did you know that in commercial honey production they feed bees high fructose corn syrup. That is just crazy! So commercial honey has high fructose corn syrup and pesticides. Those poor bees. They also ship hundreds of thousands of bees to California every year for the Almond crops. Dang. I love almonds too. I might have to do a little research on almonds as well!

Watch the movie and let me know what you think!

Monday, February 6, 2012

My favorite Nut & Fruit Mix

Almonds, Walnuts, Dried Cranberries, Pistachios, Cashews,  and Dark Chocolate covered Almonds. This snack saves me! I have some in my car, at the office and at home. I have a large nut container from Costco that used to contain cashews and I fill it with whatever nut mix I am currently loving. I change it up with dried apples, apricots and plums. Almonds are the most affordable nut for me so I play heavy on the almonds. I buy them in the three pound bags from Costco. I got the dark chocolate covered Almonds from Trader Joe's. Let me know your favorite nut mix recipe!!

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Really living Paleo lifestyle- we had a power outage for 6 days!

We had a major snow storm in the northwest at the end of January. We got almost 24 inches of snow, which I know many folks would scoff at but around here that's a lot!  We lost power which included water for us. We have a well pump that is powered by electricity. Our cars were buried in snow and four trees fell down, on our long driveway. Thankfully, having two wood stoves is an amazing blessing. And I got to experience the amazing gift from a whole new perspective. Cooking on the wood stove, hauling water for the toilet and living with no electricity for almost a week was quite a challenging adventure. We actually had some amazing soups if I don't say so myself. Sirloin Steak Stew and good old fashion Chicken Soup. I even made a gluten free blueberry cobbler but it didn't turn out as good as I had hoped.

I did really well eating Paleo the first three days. Then on the fourth day it all kind of went to hell in a hand basket. We had been trapped by the snow and couldn't move our cars and it was seriously getting to me. So we dug out one of our cars, cut down the trees blocking the driveway and went to my Mom's house. There we enjoyed all of the spoils of modern life. Things at Gramma's house that are not at our house: cable TV, Wii, a Garden Tub ( with hot water, ahhh) and much more! So my son played Wii, we zoned out to trash TV and slept through the night without having to wake up to feed a fire to stay warm! Ahhh, it was heaven. I felt as though I got to reset myself.

Then we went back to our house for a day or two without electricity but the promise of it coming soon. And eventually it did get restored. Thank goodness. And I got back on track with Paleo. What did I eat when I was off Paleo? A peice of toast, and a tortilla. Not too bad I guess. Oh and a piece of crunchy white crusty french bread with the beef sirloin stew- that was worth it. I miss bread. But I love living Paleo.

It's not been hard to get back on track. For some reason this plan works so well for me. I met with my Naturopath last week and she made a few adjustments to my diet- more fat!! Oh poor me- more bacon, butter, avocado and whatever other saturated fat I can include. Yeah- I love this plan. It feels so nourishing.
I will try to add the recipe for the Sirloin Stew and Chicken Rice soup if anyone wants them. Just leave a message in the comments if you do.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Health Bent Blog Review

Check them out-

OMG When I first saw this blog I was amazed a the red velvet woppie pies, egg nog cookies and banana bread- all claiming to be Paleo!!! Oh but it was too good to be true. Truly, they are mostly Paleo- gluten free and dairy free but they include sugar in their recipes. I think you could substitute honey most of the time. I am not sure why they didn't use honey in the first place.
And then their is the Red Velevet Woppies Pies. Oh my. This is definitely something I would have over-indulged in the past. My biggest issue with these is the recommendation for red food color!! Talk about Un-Paleo! They do note that the hippie types can use beet juice (which really works- I guess I am the hippie type.) But come on! Why not just make chocolate whoopie pies. That would be indulgent enough right?!

Now I don't want you to think I just wrote this entry to talk about how bad this blog is- to the contrary.  I actually love it! It has it's flaws- don't we all?? I just wanted to confirm your suspicions about those certain things that don't match up with a true Paleo plan. Their recipes are inspiring and exciting. In those moments when you are like- "I may kill someone if I don't get to eat something that is like bread!!" There Banana Bread recipe would definitely fit the bill. For me personally I have to be careful about the desserts and the things that look so much like that old food I was eating a lot. Weight loss is my goal right now so desserts and treats need to be in rare category.
Please Let me know what you think of their blog! It has food porn photos at the least!