Roasted brussel sprouts & bacon with sweet potato slices

Did I mention that my husband is in the UK for 6 whole days?  I’ve been trying to manage the house, keep the kids entertained, feed them healthy food, and try to stay SANE.  I am not terribly good at any of these things, which is why the house looks like this:

I think I succeeded with dinner tonight, though.  This dinner won rave reviews from the crowd, even the picky 2 year old audience member who kept begging for “more please”.  That never happens.  This is super easy and very low-maintenance, but tastes like a fussy meal.  If you follow the cooking instructions, you can cook both the sweet potatoes and brussel sprouts at the SAME TIME.  In the SAME OVEN.  Even if your oven was made in 1963.  The sweet potatoes are divine.  Crispy and a little salty on the outside, soft and fluffy on the inside and all around delicious.  Plus, they are so pretty!

Roasted Brussel Sprouts & Bacon

1-2 lbs brussel sprouts

1 large shallot, sliced thin

1/4 lb thick-sliced bacon, chopped (I like hemplers applewood smoked bacon)

2 tbsp olive oil

sea salt & pepper to taste

splash of balsamic vinegar

1. Preheat oven to 400 deg.

2. Put everything in a bowl, stir to coat

3. Put in a large enough baking dish so the brussel sprouts are in one layer

4. Bake for 40 minutes, stirring every 10-15 mins

Roasted sweet potato slices

Sweet potatoes or yams, sliced into 1/2 in thick slices

Olive Oil

Sea Salt to taste

1. Preheat oven to 400 deg

2. Toss sweet potato slices with olive oil & sea salt

3. spread in a single layer on a baking sheet

4.  bake for 40 mins, flipping once

 

If you want to cook them at the same time, the brussel sprouts should cook on the bottom shelf and the sweet potatoes on the top shelf.

 

Enjoy!

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Dinner Out – Red Robin

I know what you’re thinking – what?!  Red Robin? That doesn’t seem very healthy or paleo.  Isn’t that the place with the sky-high milkshakes and ice cream pie?  Why yes, yes it is.  But, they’ve also redone their menu to make it more paleo-friendly.  My husband is in the UK right now, which means that I’ve got six (SIX!) days home with our kids.  Alone.  Oh, and it’s summer break.  Who is the genius that decided to take most of these 6 days off?  That’s right, it was me.

Anyway, enough whining.  My 7 year old son insisted on going to Red Robin and I obliged, thinking “oh, great.  I’m going to have to eat something I don’t want to or beg the waiter to do something special for me”.  I was super surprised to find a bunch of great options on the menu!

I ordered a bunless guacamole burger minus the cheese and mayo with a side of sweet potato fries.  Sure, they were definitely Alexia’s fries and the beef was definitely NOT grass-fed, but the burger came wrapped in lettuce, the fries were hot and my kids were happy!


Dark Chocolate-covered Macaroons

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I am typing this on my phone, so I won’t be overly verbose, but this is about dessert.  Real dessert.  Not “I am eating paleo so I am going to pretend this tastes as good as real dessert” dessert.

This is decadent, chocolately, coconutty yumminess.  I hope you make these, and I hope you love them.

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Paleo (ish) chocolate-covered macaroons

1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut, lightly toasted
2 egg whites
2 tbsp honey
Splash of rum

Chocolate sauce:  6 oz 86% dark chocolate, 1 tbsp butter.  Melted together in a double boiler.  You can easily forgo the butter.

Preheat oven to 350 deg F

1. Whip egg whites and rum until stiff, slowly adding honey while whipping
2. Fold in coconut
3. Drop rounded spoonfuls onto parchment paper-lined baking sheet
4.  Bake for 15 mins, until cookies are mostly firm but slightly spongey
5.  Cool the cookies
6. Once cool, dip in the chocolate sauce (or drizzle over the top with a spoon)
7. Refrigerate for 1 hour to let chocolate set

Note that, because these have butter, they should be kept cold until serving or the chocolate will get messy.  Enjoy!


Snacks!

When people say you have to COOK EVERY MEAL when you eat paleo, they are wrong.  There are lots of yummy snacks out there that are mostly paleo-friendly.  Since I am a mom of two (in fact, right now my 7 year old is talking my EAR OFF while I try to write this blog), I have to have snacks to eat on the go.  Especially on workout days, otherwise I won’t remember to eat!

I thought I would share some of my favorite snacks and quick-eats with you:

“Food Should Taste Good” sweet potato chips!  Only ingredients are: Sweet Potatoes, Sunflower Oil & Sea Salt

Cherry Pie Larabars – just the right amount of sweet, tangy goodness

Aidells Chicken & Apple Sausage (cut up, with a little cut up avocado and some peppers, it’s a meal!)

Just a few tips!  More to come…


Paleo Chocolate Pudding

I have had a major sweet tooth of late.  I’ve tried to be good (really!), but I’ve been consuming fruit like crazy.  I came across this recipe on the diet/lifestyle blog “Delighted Momma”.  I didn’t make any changes, except halving the recipe so it would fit in my teeny tiny food processor.  It was delicious and tasted so decadent!  It’s very rich, just sweet enough, and so satisfying, since unlike regular pudding, this recipe uses fat and protein-packed ingredients.  It’s quick and easy too (I whipped up a batch 5 mins before I left to go to the gym).  Enjoy!

Paleo Chocolate Pudding

1 whole avocado, skins and pit removed

1 tbsp coconut oil

2 tbsp honey or 1 tbsp raw honey (or, probably, 1 tbsp maple syrup)

2 tbsp cocoa powder (unsweetened)

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

1/2 banana (optional, but the pudding will be pretty avocado-ey without the banana)

1. Put everything in a food processor

2. blend until smooth

3. Refrigerate until set (about 1 hour)

4. Try to eat it in 2 sittings instead of 1


Greek-style Lamb Meatballs

So I am now 35 days into eating paleo.  So far it hasn’t really been that tough!  Mornings are the toughest time for me, but instead of splurging on a bagel or something, I decided my “cheats” are probably going to be more in the composition of my meals.  For example – it’s really hard for me to eat animal protein first thing in the morning.  I get really burnt on eating eggs and don’t like eating meat with breakfast.  I find that snacking on a Larabar first thing makes my mornings so much easier, especially if I am going to go work out before work.  I am definitely noticing I have had a lot more energy for the past month and my stomach issues are all but gone.  I have almost zero cravings that can’t be satisfied by paleo-friendly meals.  The only one I still notice occasionally is the craving for baked goods.  I made coconut bread, but I just can’t get used to the texture of coconut flour, it kind of sticks in my throat.

Any how, enough about all of that – how about a delicious recipe?  Here is a good one I found on http://www.everydaypaleo.com.  Using your stand-mixer (if you’ve got one) makes this all go a lot faster.  I also used my small food processor/chopper instead of chopping everything, which made prep very easy.

I ate the meatballs next to a greek salad and it was a wonderful, flavorful, super-satisfying meal.  Enjoy!

Greek-style Lamb Meatballs

Makes 15-20 meatballs, depending on size

2 tbsp fresh chives (about 4)

3 cloves garlic

1/4 cup parsley leaves

10 kalamata (greek) olives

1 lb ground lamb

1/2 lb ground beef

1 egg, room temp

1 tbsp dried mint

1 tbsp oregano

1 tsp sea salt

1 1/2 tsp ground cumin

1 tbsp cinnamon (I know, right?  But trust me, it makes sense once you taste it)

2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

Preheat oven to 450 deg F

1. Put the first 4 ingredients in a small food processor or automatic chopper.   Blend until everything is finely minced.

2. Put everything else in your stand mixer, or in a large bowl.  Mixed on medium speed until well combined.

3. Shape into balls and place on a baking sheet with a cooling rack (so the meatballs cook evenly without turning) or a broiling pan, so the fat drips off the meatballs.  If you use a broiling pan, turn the meatballs halfway through so they brown on all sides.

4. Bake at 450 degrees for 15-20 minutes (depending on the size of the meatballs)


Paleo Sweet Potato Pancakes

These are insane.  Great for breakfast (eat with a little bit of chicken and apple sausage), good with a meaty, savory meal like a roast or steak, or just as a snack.  I make then whenever I am missing bread or baked goods.  They are a little carb-y, so if you are trying to watch your carb intake carefully, they probably aren’t for you.  Sweet potatoes are a tricky thing – when I was pregnant with our youngest, I went out for lunch right before my gestational diabetes screening test.  I ate a boatload of sweet potato fries at lunch (didn’t even think about the impact on my blood sugar) and when my test results came back, my blood glucose was through the roof.  So, that’s my lesson – eat these in moderation, but do enjoy them, please!

Sweet Potato Pancakes

Adapted from www.health-bent.com

Makes about 20 4-inch pancakes

3 eggs

1 1/2 cup sweet potato (peeled, chopped and boiled until fork tender)

1/2 cup almond butter

1/2 cup unsweetened coconut milk from a carton (I used the So Delicious brand)

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp baking powder

2 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp nutmeg

1 tsp salt

coconut oil (for the pan)

1. Peel, chop in small pieces and boil your sweet potato until it’s fork tender

2. Blend all of the ingredients (except the coconut oil) thoroughly.  The batter should be liquid-y thin and should run off a spoon – if it’s too thick, add a little coconut milk.

3. Heat your pan/skillet/griddle over medium heat (on my griddle 375F seems to be a good temp).  Melt a generous amount of coconut oil and pour in the batter.  When the pancake begins to have surface bubbles near the center, flip and cook the other side (2-3 mins per side).  The heat on these can be a little tricky, so test a scoop before committing the whole batch.  These are also more fragile than regular pancakes, so flip with care.

4.  Serve with coconut butter and maple syrup, or whatever topping you like!