In my nutrition business, I get a lot of questions from clients about how to handle the holiday season. My answer, enjoy yourself and don’t feel restricted, but try to make healthy choices wherever possible. Today I have 10 recipes for you for a delicious, healthy Thanksgiving.
Tag Archives | paleo
5 Easy Ways to Eat More Veggies
Staying healthy during such a busy time can be tricky. One of my suggestions is to eat more veggies. That can sometimes be tricky though, especially with kids. Here are five ways we get in more veggies that are easy, and won’t make you feel like a cow grazing on grass all day. These fit […]
Low Carb Chocolate Chip Cookies
Aw College. The days of staying up too late, listening to music way too loud, and of course, eating junk every day. Life changed forever when my roommates and I discovered the 1-1-1 peanut butter cookie recipe. The 1 cup sugar, 1 cup peanut butter and 1 egg cookies we made 2-3 times a week about about 11 p.m. We’d eat about half the dough and bake the other half to eat while we watched movies about Julie Roberts finding the love of her life… again. It was magical.
For some strange reason, I can no longer get a way with that lifestyle. If I’m being honest, it didn’t work out too well at the time, but since there are much worse things I could have done being on my own for the first time, I won’t feel too guilty about it. The point is, I love cookies. Even though I eat tons of veggies, drink green smoothies, eat grass-fed meat, and work out daily, I STILL WANT COOKIES! I don’t believe in a life that doesn’t involve treats. But I have to be careful with my treats. I’m so sensitive to sugar and right now eggs and I aren’t friends. So I knew I couldn’t use my old, go-to pb cookie recipe. I needed to re-vamp. I’m very happy with the results.
I decided to go with tahini instead of peanut butter for a more neutral taste, but feel free to use any nut or seed butter. Almond butter, peanut butter or sunflower seed butter would work just as well. Since all nut butters have a different fat content, the texture will vary a bit, but you’ll still end up with a delicious cookie.
These are only low-carb if you use a sugar alternative. The only sugar alternatives I’m a fan of are stevia, monk fruit and erithrytol. This Lakanto sugar substitute is my favorite! And now they sell it at Costco!! I also use Lily’s Chocolate Chips instead of regular. They are sweetened with stevia and are SO YUMMY! Be careful though. If you are sensitive to milk, the only diary free ones are the dark chocolate chips. We also love Enjoy Life chocolate chips for regular (not sugar free) baking. So if you don’t care about the carbs and just want a whole-foods cookie, feel free to use coconut sugar or raw cane sugar; and the Enjoy Life chocoalte chips.
I store these in the freezer because I know myself well. If they are on the counter, I’ll go back to my college days and eat the entire pan. Now I have a cookie in the freezer to celebrate moments like birthdays, holidays, or making it through the day without my head exploding. What do you celebrate with cookies?
Nutrition Myths Busted
Today I’m answering 3 of the most common questions I get from clients during nutrition consultations. If you’ve wondered about weight loss, struggling with restrictions or taking supplements, read on.
Pizza Spaghetti Squash
My love for spaghetti squash is no secret. I recently wrote a post about how much I love spaghetti squash, how to make it, and how to use it (click here to read the post).
But here’s the thing you have to understand. Spaghetti squash is delicious because it’s spaghetti squash, not because it has the taste and texture of thick, gluten-filled spaghetti noodles you can buy in a pack and boil. You can’t slurp a spaghetti squash “noodle” to romantic music and have it end in a kisss (even if you are a cartoon dog). You can’t twirl spaghetti squash around a fork and you don’t throw spaghetti squash at a wall to check if it’s done. It’s not a replacement. This is something I hear from clients all the time. “It doesn’t feel like spaghetti. It tastes different from spaghetti.” Well… it’s a vegetable. It’s not spaghetti.
I totally understand how people would make this assumption, since so many recipes claim, “It tastes just like spaghetti!” And, “Eat healthy without giving up your favorite foods.” It’s jut not true. Spaghetti squash is delicious and helps me get all my “spaghetti fixes” in because it’s a great way to deliver so many of the flavors we’re used to associating with pasta in a much healthier way, but it is its own food.
Eating healthy does require change, including a change in our taste buds. My dark chocolate doesn’t taste like a maple-glazed donut; but it’s a much healthier way to get a sweet fix in. The point is (yes my rambling does have a point), if you decide to change the way you eat, expect to… change the way you eat. The flavors, textures and ingredients will be very different. That doesn’t mean they won’t be delicous. This is a chance to discover new foods and develop new tastes.
That said, I miss pizza. I know if I eat gluten and cheese my skin will break out for a month, my tummy will rumble (that’s the G-rated version) and my joints will hurt. It’s not worth it. But I love pizza! So I decided to make a new kind of pizza using my beloved spaghetti squash.
The whole family was happy. And since this is a dish you layer in each individual bowl, everyone had what they wanted. My husband and daughter had cheese, and I had olives. We all had different veggies and we were all satisfied.
Start with a bowl of spaghetti squash. To find out how to best cook spaghetti squash, check out my spaghetti squash blog post.
Then top it with ground pork seasoned with classic pizza seasonings. If you’re not a fan of pork, feel free to use chicken, beef or even just diced ham or pepperoni. We are making pizza after all.
After this, everyone can add their favorite pizza ingredients. I added roasted veggies to mine because I LOVE veggies on pizza. This is a part you can totally customize. I used broccoli, bell pepper, and onion. I LOVE broccoli on pizza. This was an option at Mod Pizza and I was hooked. If that’s not your jam, use a different veggie or leave it out.
Then come the olives, the warmed sauce and the optional cheese. I left the cheese off and was still very satisfied.
So enjoy your “pizza.” It won’t taste exactly like pizza. It won’t feel exactly like pizza. But it will be a delicious, healthy dinner that even picky kids will enjoy.
Ultimate Spaghetti Squash Guide
I love spaghetti squash. It’s definitely earned its place as my favorite vegetable. I generally plan a spaghetti squash dish once a week, and always bake two so I can have some for lunch leftovers. Of course, I now have to fight my 8-year-old daughter for the leftovers, so I may have to start making three. Luckily, spaghetti squash is extremely easy to make.
First: Cut it in half
For years I cut it length-wise. Basically my fingers were in great danger everytime I made spaghetti squash. Then one morning I was listening to the Balanced Bites Podcast, and they suggested cutting it around the middle. Life. Changing. It’s SO much easier and cooks just as well.
Second: Clean it out
Just scrape it out with a spoon just like you do a pumpkin. But a spaghetti squash is smaller and much easier to clean out than a pumpkin.
Third: Season it
I drizzle each half with a bit of avocado oil and sprinkle on some salt and pepper. That’s it!
Fourth: Bake it
Turn each half of your squash cut-side down on a pan lined with parchment paper and bake it at 400 degrees F for 45- mintues to an hour. You know it’s done when the tops are brown and it’s soft to the touch.
Fifth: Scrape out the “spaghetti”
I always let it cool a bit before I scrape it. To get the “spaghetti” out, just use a fork on the sides of the squash.
That’s it! Easy, nutritious and yummy. Spaghetti squash is also high in fiber and vitamin C so those are added bonuses.
Now what do you do with this delicious vegetable? I’ve listed some of my favorite ways to eat spaghetti squash.
My top pick: Pesto!!
I love pesto! I just make some of my Dairy-Free Pesto (click here for recipe) and mix it in. We serve this as our veggie side dish regularly. Sometimes I’ll add in some chicken and tomatoes for a full meal, but the pesto alone is an amazing dish!
If you love spaghetti but can’t do the pasta, this is a great alternative. We just brown some ground beef with salt, pepper and Italian seasoning. Then we top it with whatever no-sugar, organic marinara sauce we have on hand or my homemade marinara sauce (click here for recipe). We sometimes stir in a bit of full-fat coconut milk to make it even creamier. If you haven’t tried that, you’re missing out.
Shredded Meat, Tomatoes and Spinach
Something about tomatoes and spaghetti squash go so well together. I add whatever leftover roast I have on hand and a handful of spinach and small tomatoes. Then I warm the whole thing up in the microwave. So fast and easy!
Sausage, Spinach and BBQ Sauce
This is a great dish because it comes together with things I always have on hand. I always keep a jar of my No-Sugar BBQ Sauce (click here for recipe) on hand for meat, dressings, soups, etc. We also keep True Story brand sausages on hand for quick meals. To put this dish together, I add the leftover spaghetti squash, some spinach leaves, a sliced sausage and a bit of BBQ sauce to a skillet and heat it all up together.
Steak, Broccoli and Your Favorite Dressing
Since spaghetti sauce is a veggie, you can almost treat it like a salad, topping it with your favorite salad dresssing. Add in a bit of steamed broccoli and a seared steak and it’s a full meal! My favorite sauce for this is my Roasted Red Pepper Cauliflower Hummus (Click here for recipe). I love this stuff with broccoli so this combination is perfect for me. I cook the broccoli in a skillet, then add in the sliced steak when the broccoli is almost done. Then I add in the leftover squash and dressing just to heat everything through.
Ultimate Leftover Plate
I LOVE to combine all my leftovers on a plate. This day I used leftover squash, chicken, roasted veggies and pesto. Really all you need is a meat, some more optional veggies and a sauce. YUM!!
Some of my favorite recipes from others to make with spaghetti squash are:
- Paleo BBQ Chicken Casserole from Real Food With Jessica
- Spaghetti Squash Chow Mein from Little Bits of Real Food, Real Talk
- Spaghetti Squash with Prosciutto and Spinach from The Cookin’ Canuck
- Paleo Spaghetti Squash Chicken Alfredo from Unbound Wellness
What’s your favorite way to eat spaghetti squash?
Dairy-Free Chocolate Fudge Frosting
We love to have people over for dessert, but I often feel guilty serving them something that fits into our family’s food sensitivities. It’s hard to make something that tastes like Grandma’s cooking when it has to be gluten-free, dairy-free, sugar-free, and egg-free. Luckily, food is a big enough part of my life, we figure it out. I’m not okay living in a world that doesn’t allow me to have treats…regularly.
A few weeks ago, I wanted chocolate cupcakes with chocolaty, fudgy frosting. I’d always loved ganache back in the day, so I wanted to make a replica of my favorite ganache frosting using ingredients that won’t wreck me.
This frosting did not disappoint! My kids referred to our cupcakes as “magic cupcakes.” Pretty much I felt like the most awesome mom ever.
I was confident enough in these to serve them to guests, and didn’t even have to lead with a disclaimer. We baked a basic paleo-style cupcake but like all cakes, the frosting made the dish. I consider all cake a vessel for frosting. I always double the frosting on my birthday cake because… it’s my birthday.
If you don’t want to make frosting out of this chocolate goodness, you can skip the whipping part and roll it into balls to make truffles. Or you can just call it pudding and eat it with a spoon. All of the above are a perfectly acceptable way to eat this mixture that may resemble chocolate unicorn tears.
We used Lily’s chocolate chips to keep it sugar-free. These chips are sweetened with stevia and erythritol, neither of which bother me in reasonable amounts (I know this because I’ve eating unreasonable amounts and the result “cleared the room” if you know what I’m saying…).
You can use a dark chocolate or your favorite semi-sweet chocolate as well. We love Enjoy Life Chocolate Chips and Nestlee Simply Delicious Chocolate Chips. Both are made with minimal ingredients and dairy-free.
If you’ve ever made ganache, you know how easy it is. Just add hot milk (coconut milk in this case) to chocolate…
Once it’s melted, whisk it together…
Let it set up in the fridge…
And whip it. Whip it good! (I’m so sorry. I had to. And do you see my finger mark in the frosting? No apologies here)…
So easy and yummy!! We actually had to add a bit more coconut milk as we were whipping to get our perfect texture. If you need to add more coconut milk, do it 1 Tbsp at a time until it seems perfect to you.
So if you’re planning a birthday party, a BBQ to have friends over for dinner or if you just want something that goes well with a spoon, you can make this frosting and be proud!
Sugar Detox Chocolate Clusters
A few months ago, I taught a health class to a group of ladies. I talked about how to give up sugar and they asked what I do for a treat. They were shocked when I admitted I eat squares of 100% chocolate. It’s true! I love it! While it’s a bit of an aquired taste, it’s totally doable. I generally suggest people start with something like 80% and work their way up, but it’s possible to transition.
I have to admit though, I get bored of my 100% chocolate. I occasionally want something with more flavor and texture that feels like a treat. That’s why I came up with these candies. They are so delicious! They taste sweet from the addition of orange, cinnamon and vanilla; but have no sugar. Plus adding nuts gives them a few different textures in each bite.
I genuinely feel like I’m eating an indulgent treat with these, but they have nothing in them I wouldn’t add to a breakfast smoothie!
If you aren’t up to the 100% yet, feel free to make these using a little bit sweeter chocolate. Again, I wouldn’t go lower than 80%. I really recommend trying these as written though.
Also, if you’re doing the 21 Day Sugar Detox these are totally approved!! If you’re curious about trying the 21 Day Sugar Detox, check out this post I wrote about my experience here.
6 Ingredient, Dairy-Free Pesto
I’m a big fan of gardening. Now before you start to picture me Joanna Gaines style, know this: I’ve killed way more than I’ve grown. I’ve planted a garden faithfully every summer for eight years. It’s only been in the last two that we feel like things are really going well. That said, I still kill things. Though since we had a 5-month-old puppy last summer who thought the garden was his personal sandbox, I’m not taking all the blame. Now that he’s older, I have a lot of hope for this summer.
One thing I’ve always struggled with is basil. I love basil! Everyone says it’s easy to grow, yet basil and I… we have a strained relationship. But there are many aphids who thank me for my willingness to keep trying. Last summer I planted our basil right next to the tomatoes. It worked! We had so much basil! I was overjoyed.
My very favorite thing to do with basil is make pesto. I used to think pesto was fancy and that only Food Network stars should make it and use it as a fancy schmear on plates of perfectly braised meat. The truth is, pesto is extremely easy and fast to make.
That’s good news, because I can’t find a high-quality, diary-free pesto that fits in my budget. I love pesto with dairy but sadly, my gut and skin do not. Because I want to make those two things happy, I steer clear of dairy.
This means I have to make my own pesto and I’m happy to say, the cheese does not make the pesto. It’s still AMAZING without the cheese. My cheese-loving, pesto-fanatic husband doesn’t even notice the difference.
This pesto is a part of my weekly meal prep. I always have some on hand. It comes together with just six ingredients (one of which is salt) and only dirties one dish; the food processor. So you don’t even have to chop anything. I love the 21st century.
So hopefully I’ve sold you on this pesto. Now what do you do with it? Everything! My favorite way is to coat my spaghetti squash in it. YUM! We also use it over chicken and steak, and as a salad dressing.
Adding a few spoonfuls to an Italian soup is also incredible like I do in my Italian Sausage Soup (click here for recipe). You can also toss this with some cucumbers and cherry tomatoes for a yummy side dish.
So if you have a garden, go out and plant some basil and give me all your gardening tips!
Healthy Disneyland “Dole Whip”
We’re those people who would rather take a vacation to Disneyland than anywhere else. Sure I’d like to spend a week at a beach house someday, but at the expense of a Disneyland vacation?? It’s not going to happen.
We have a lot of Disneyland traditions. We have to ride Pirates of the Caribbean every day we’re there, we always ride Big Thunder at night during the fireworks, and we get one treat a day. I’m all about balance so that treat can range from a gluten-free, vegan treat, to a sugar-filled cookie.
One of our favorite treats is a Dole Whip from the Tiki Room. This may be the only treat we can all agree on in Disneyland. And while they’re full of sugar and probably several ingredients I can’t pronounce, they are gluten, dairy and egg free!! That makes me happy since it makes the indulgence less rough on my body.
If you haven’t had a Dole Whip, it’s a pineapple ice cream served soft-serve style. That’s it. It’s simple but so tasty!! You even have the option of a “Dole Whip Float” which includes putting the pineapple soft serve in pineapple juice. Also amazing!
That said, when we come back to the real world and actually care about what we eat, we still want the delicious Dole Whip. After several experiments, we’ve come up with the perfect recipe!
Depending on your food sensitivities, you can make these totally vegan or with dairy. We prefer to use a full-fat, low-sugar, grass-fed yogurt because it’s so thick, but feel free to use coconut, almond or cashew yogurt instead. We like Siggi’s Vanilla yogurt because it’s super low in sugar, extra creamy and adds the perfect vanilla flavor. Sadly, I can’t eat dairy so I use So Delicious Coconut yogurt when I plan to eat one.
We’ve experimented with freezing these as popsicles, scooping the mixture into bowls, and pouring it into freezer pop molds. My kids prefer the freezer pops, as do I to cut down on the mess. But any way you make them , they are delicious!
Whenever we use freezer molds, we put them upright in glasses or jars to freeze them. That keeps the liquid level as it freezes. Ones they’re frozen, it’s fine to stack them on their sides in the freezer.
Now if we could just figure out a way to bring our favorite rides into our home, we’d be set between vacations!!