Paleo Meatloaf Cupcakes topped with Cauliflower Mashed “Potato” Frosting

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Delicious. That’s what my husband said. No, really…it’s true. He even wrote it on Facebook. Ha. Anyway, considering I used my own Paleo Friendly recipe, I’d say they turned out really yummy. I’m not too good at presentation yet, I need to get some tips off of some of my friends like Natalie. Check her out, she has her own blog filled with delicious (normal, aka. Non Paleo) recipes. She knows how to present her food creatively on a plate and take great pictures of them. Me, not so much. But hey, at least you get a picture!

Ingredients for Paleo-style Meatloaf Cupcakes:
1 ½ lbs lean ground beef (you can use fattier beef, but it tends to accumulate a lot of grease around/under each muffin. You can always drain them as you bake if you use a fattier ground beef)
1 medium onion, chopped
2 egg whites
¼ cup BBQ sauce (you can make your own Paleo version)
¼ cup grated cauliflower

Method:
Preheat oven to 350. Mix all ingredients and place in muffin tin. (Mine made 9 cupcakes). Bake for about 20-25 minutes, or until done. Once they are finished baking, top with cauliflower mashed “potatoes,” and serve!

Cauliflower Mashed “Potatoes”

I didn’t use measurements here. Just go by your liking, and feel free to add other spices that you like!
I steamed one head of cauliflower, and placed it in a blender with some almond milk, soy and dairy free butter, pepper, sea salt and garlic. You can also use a hand mixer or probably even a potato masher. Mine turned out a bit runnier than I anticipated. I definitely over-steamed the cauliflower, which made it really soft. I possibly added a bit too much almond milk. Still tasted good, but wasn’t as thick as I would have liked. My mother in law (yes, I got her on the Paleo kick) said she just made really good cauliflower mashed potatoes. She’s coming up next weekend and is going to make some. I’ll post a follow up if they are different than mine.

So there you have it. Yummy Paleo Meatloaf Cupcakes topped with Cauliflower Mashed “Potatoes.”
If you’re not all Paleo-fied, feel free to give it more of a home style flavor by using breadcrumbs instead of grated cauliflower for the meatloaf cupcakes, as well as use your favorite thick barbeque sauce. And top those babies with some thick, milky, buttery, REAL mashed potatoes. I’m sure it will be extra yummy that way. Plus, well, they just look cute!

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4 Asian-Inspired Gluten Free (Paleo) Crockpot Freezer Meals

Two things. I’m in an Asian kind of mood, and I have some chicken and beef broth to get rid of before it goes bad. Originally I was going to do a blog on 7 crockpot freezer meals. As I started to prep, I realized that the first 4 were Asian meals. Therefore, I’m going to stop with the 4 meals and feature just the Asian-inspired meals. I’ll do another 7 day one later when my taste buds allow me to showcase more variety.

Of course, these are all gluten free (as long as you choose the correct ingredients). They can also fit right into your Paleo/Primal lifestyle depending on how strict you are (I will occasionally use things such as brown sugar in a recipe, but only every once in a while). All of these meals are super delicious and easy, so even if you’re not following a gluten free diet, you will still enjoy them. You can cut costs down by doing regular soy sauce instead of the organic gluten free soy sauce, or also substitute regular soy sauce for the coconut amino’s.

General Tso’s Chicken
Paleo Honey Sesame Chicken
Paleo Sesame Beef
Pineapple Chicken (adapted from http://foodpinsnow.com/?p=1228)
4 large chicken breasts
1 medium chopped onion
1/2 cup organic chicken broth
3 TBSP coconut amino’s
1/2 fresh, cored pineapple in it’s natural juice
shredded unsweetened coconut to top (optional)
Add all ingredients to crock pot except shredded coconut. Cook on high for 4 hours. Once you have it on your plate, top with a little shredded coconut.

When you prepare, just put all of your ingredients in a ziplock freezer bag, label directly on the bag the name of the recipe, if there is anything else you need to add, and how long it takes to make.

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Told ya I was in a “Chinese” food kind of mood! It’s funny because I haven’t had Chinese food in the longest time. I have a personal love for Shrimp Fried Rice and General Tso’s Chicken (the spicier, the better). But with each pregnancy (I swear, I feel like I’ve been pregnant for the past 3 years…but I pretty much have been!) I was always turned off by the thought of Chinese food. Looks like my taste buds are coming back… and I’m so happy to have found options that are not only much healthier, but also fit within the guidelines that I like to eat. Oh, and they’re quick and easy to prepare, and when it comes time to cook, your crock pot does all the work!

I usually end up making about 2 crock pot meals a week, so I don’t know which two I’ll have this week yet (I also have a good old fashioned roast in a freezer bag, too). But one thing’s for sure… I plan on pairing most of these up with lightly steamed broccoli. There’s something about Chinese food that makes firm, bright green broccoli a necessity. Oh, and hopefully I’ll find some time to whip up some delicious cauliflower fried “rice.” There are many other easier versions of cauliflower “rice” out there, but this one is worth all the time it takes to make. Absolutely delicious. I think I’ll make it with the General Tso’s Chicken.

Clean Up Your Kid’s PB&J- A Healthier Alternative

It’s one of the most popular sandwiches in Northern America. I’ve heard it over, and over, and over. Kids LOVE peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. Well, I kept saying “Not my kids.”

In reality, my kids DO love peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. Aerie especially likes hers cut right down the center so she ends up with two rectangle shapes. She even prefers rectangle’s over hearts.

Anyway, it got me thinking. How can I make peanut butter and jelly sandwiches healthier and less processed, yet still taste delicious?

Did you know?!!- The average American will have consumed 2,500 of these sandwiches before graduating from high school? (Study done in 2002). Crazy, huh?

The main part of this post is to focus on the jelly, which seems to be most parents concern because of all of the added stuff. Sure, you can make your own jelly but that is time consuming.

One of the easiest, yummiest things is to replace the jelly with a slice of watermelon. Sounds weird, huh? NOT AT ALL. Give it a try, you won’t be disappointed. Nice, natural, fresh fruit in place of jelly. Now that’s a pretty awesome substitution.

Now that is all fine and dandy if you have a toddler who eats pretty well, but what about infants who are just starting on finger foods? A whole slice of watermelon doesn’t seem like the best option. Check this out…. Take strawberries and cut off the top. Put a few in a bowl and mash them (I typically find it best to cut up the strawberries into small chunks first, then mash. The consistancy is better that way). It’s okay if it’s still somewhat chunky. Now spread it on your sandwich. Viola. How easy was that? Seriously, am I a time saving, nutrition loving genius or what?

As far as the rest of the sandwich, that is up to you. If you want to “clean up” your peanut butter a little, check out the “natural” options out there. JIF actually has a delicious natural peanut butter that is very affordable. You can also dapper into some other raw nut butters if you want to avoid legumes and add a bit more nutritious value. I personally love sun butter, and it has the closest consistency to peanut butter of any of the other nut butters I’ve tried. If you want plain old peanut butter, have at it! And bread is your choice, too! Toast it if you’re feeling fancy. But cut off the crust, the kids will appreciate that!
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Got Pinterest? Pin it!

Disclaimer: Please take into consideration the age of the infant and any family history of nut allergies before adding nuts to their diet. It is best to consult your child’s physician/pediatrician to determine an age that is right for your child(ren).

This Weeks Meal Plan, Recipe’s, and More

As promised, here is a meal plan of what I (and the family) am eating this week. I am putting down mainly what I’m eating, but the rest of the family (boys and all) eat very similar but will have some other items added to their meals, such as fruit, and limited grains. I’ll try to add that in as I go through. If you are currently eating Paleo, I’m sure you know that it’s not too hard to get your family to do the same as long as you are creative with recipes. If the rest of your family is not Paleo, it’s easy to at least have them eat the main dish, and switch out sides if necessary.

And because I have some extra time, I will also add in links to recipes I used for this week.
Let’s start out here. This is what part of my kitchen looks like in the midst of getting the entire week’s meals prepped at once.

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You will see a few freezer meals that I will pop in the crock pot, as well as some dishes that I will refrigerate and bake when it’s time. I have actually cooked things ahead of time in the past and refrigerated or froze them until it was time to eat, but I prefer eating my foods fresh, right out of the oven (or crock pot). But I will still actually cook some meals ahead of time if I know it’s going to be a hectic week.

The freezer/crock pot meals are the easiest. Simply add all the ingredients to a ziplock freezer bag and either freeze or refrigerate. I always label on the outside of the bag what it is, cooking time, and if I need to add anything extra to it. I always have a few spare ones in my fridge just in case. You can always put frozen stuff in the crock pot, or defrost it overnight in the refrigerator. Tastes great either way!

I’ll admit, it’s messy and time consuming, but it sure makes up for making meals from scratch each day, and definitely saves time over the course of the week. It takes some planning, especially when you are starting out. But I have our whole weeks meals prepped in under 2 hours. Now, don’t expect to jump into it your first time and have everything done that quickly. I’m not going to lie to you, when I first started prepping meals for the week, it took me A LOT of time. But I’ve learned how to multi-task in the kitchen, and how to put things together much quicker as I got more experience with it.

Monday:
Breakfast- 2 eggs and 1 egg white, 4pc turkey bacon
Lunch- 2 slices of sweet potato pizza (this mess calls for its own blog post)
Dinner- Stuffed Peppers (I used ground beef intead of sausage, but either is good. Even ground turkey tastes good)
Tuesday:
Breakfast- Chicken and Apple Hash
Lunch- Chicken Salad over Spinach
Dinner- Balsamic Chicken and Broccoli
Wednesday:
Breakfast- 2 eggs and 1 egg white, 2 turkey sausage patties
Lunch- Leftover Balsamic Chicken and Broccoli
Dinner- Meatloaf, sweet potato fries, broccoli (I make a BBQ meatloaf. I sort of just made this one up… 1 lb ground beef, 1 small chopped onion, 1/4 cup grated cauliflower, 2 egg whites, 1/4 cup BBQ sauce, dash of pepper. Mix all together and form into a loaf. Place in a baking dish [top with a little extra BBQ sauce if you wish] and bake at 375 for about 25-30 min or until done. You can use any kind of BBQ sauce, but here is a recipe for Paleo BBQ sauce.)
Thursday:
Breakfast- Coconut fried Tilapia (everyone else will have eggs, fruit and turkey sausage)
Lunch- 1 cup chicken salad and ¼ cup walnuts
Dinner- Pineapple Chicken and broccoli (I will add quiona to the kids meals and to Josh’s if he wants it)
Friday:
Breakfast- Peach/Pecan Scramble
Lunch- Leftover Pineapple Chicken
Dinner- Salmon, Broccoli, and maybe Paleo Biscuits (baked sweet potato for Josh and the kids). I haven’t decided which variation of spices I will use for Salmon yet. I have a lot of delicious Salmon recipes pinned on Pinterest if you would like to check them out.
Saturday:
Brunch- chicken salad, hardboiled eggs, fresh fruit salad
Dinner- Breaded Coconut Fried Chicken, sweet potato fries, broccoli
Sunday:
Brunch- Eggs, leftover coconut fried chicken, fresh fruit salad
Dinner- Steamed Shrimp, sweet potato fries, broccoli

As you can see, we eat a lot of chicken. It’s our go-to meat of choice. Josh doesn’t eat pork, so I rarely make it. Also, you will see A LOT of broccoli in this week’s meal plan. That is not a norm, but I couldn’t find many veggies this time at the grocery store that I wanted, so I just stuck with broccoli.

It’s also worth mentioning that I don’t prepare my sides ahead of time. I really don’t add anything to my veggies anyway, so I just steam them when it’s time to eat. It doesn’t take long. They also make steamer bags of veggies that you just pop in the microwave to save you from having an extra steamer basket, pot to clean. I am a big fan of roasting veggies though, and will do that on occasion with a few spices and olive oil.

I didn’t list snacks in here, but yes I (we) eat them. Depending on when I work out, I will have a protein shake immediately following my workout, which just consists of 1 ½ scoops of protein and water. I also have another snack throughout the day, usually consisting of hard boiled eggs, ¼ cup of raw nuts, tuna, or a trail mix I make where I mix together the following ingredients: Slices almonds, raisens, vegan chocolate chips, sunflower seeds, and unsweetened coconut flakes. That is my favorite combination, but you can really use any combo of nuts/seeds. Fresh fruit is also a great snack choice, but I always recommend eating it with some other source of protein.

I hope this post was beneficial to you if you are interested in exploring the world of Paleo, or if you just want to save time by planning and putting together your meals ahead of time. All of my meal programming is done by me. I hope to have a 30 day freezer menu plan to share on here or on Pinterest in the future, but until then, I’ll try to post some weekly ones to give you fresh ideas.

Afterthought- As I re-read through this week’s menu, it is pretty boring. I’m sorry! I promise to make the next one a little more exciting with some more variety. I have a lot of other delicious recipes to share, and next time I decide to post a weekly meal plan, I’ll make it a bit more interesting. But remember, eating isn’t for enjoyment. It’s to fuel your body properly. Feed it well and it will treat you well. Feed it poorly and you will feel the effects of it. Exhaustion, depression, anxiety, poor immunity, and a laundry list of diseases/illnesses can be a direct result of what you eat. Take it from me, I have infant twins and a toddler. I feel great and am never exhausted. I drink limited caffeine and the only supplements I take are a multivitamin and fish oil. Eating great will not only transform your body into one you love, but it will also (and more importantly) make you feel better and have energy to tackle every day life.

Sweet Potato Pizza Crust. Um, yeah…

So, I found this recipe on Pinterest for Sweet Potato Pizza Crust. It looked easy enough, and I like to add at least one new recipe a week into my menu. I figured I’d give it a try this week. Big fail. Well, sort off. Well, no, really, it was a fail.

I even followed the directions. I didn’t make any adaptations to the crust recipe. It called for cheese, and even though I don’t eat cheese too often, I used it anyway. I figured I’d try the recipe exactly how it was supposed to be made, then make changes the next time.

This is what the pizza crust looked like before I baked it.

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If you have clicked the link to look at the recipe, you will see that it said to bake it 25-30 minutes, or until the outside of the crust is golden and the center is firm. I did that. I even baked it an extra 10 minutes to make sure. Then I added my toppings. I used pizza sauce from Trader Joes, and I roasted a tomato, red onion, garlic and olive oil combination, and added some chopped cauliflower, broccoli and red peppers. I didn’t add any extra cheese on top. Then I put it back in the oven for about 15 more minutes. This is what it looked like when it was finished.

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I always forget that I don’t have a pizza cutter. I HAD one, but Josh threw it away because it didn’t match the kitchen. I kept it in the drawer anyway, but since it didn’t technically “match,” he threw it away. He did this with an old toaster and waffle maker, too. He’s crazy. Anyway, as I cut into it with a steak knife, I knew I wasn’t going to like it. The center was still soft. It was definitely an “eat it with your fork” type of pizza. Josh said it was good. Aerie ate it and the boys LOVED it. I didn’t really like it. I’m honestly not a big sweet potato fan anyway, plus it was mushy, which accentuated the sweetness of the sweet potato. The toppings were delicious though!

If I make this again, or if you are going to give it a try, I would suggest making your crust a little thinner than what the recipe suggests (I believe they want it to be about ½ inch thick, but I personally think that was a bit too thick). I would also maybe add a bit more almond flour, but cut down on the sweet potato. And maybe add a little more of the spices. Just a little. I honestly think it could do without the cheese, too. At first I thought they used the cheese for consistency, but I think the combination of mashed sweet potatoes, eggs and almond flour will hold it together nicely on its own.

Random Happenings and what I need to make happen

Okay, enough’s enough.  It’s really time to kick it in high gear and get off these last (almost) 10 lbs, plus some.  I woke up to a beautiful, winter wonderland, but it’s only a matter of time before the fresh smell of spring is in the air, and the little clothes will (hopefully) be dug out of the closet.

I was doing really well with strictly following Paleo, but I didn’t want to lose too much weight before my last CrossFit Competition and sacrifice strength.  So I kept bacon, whole eggs, and higher caloric foods in my diet.  I also didn’t limit the Paleo sweets.  Well, needless to say, my last competition was last month, and I still haven’t made adjustments.  So this is it.  If I write it down for all of you to see, I have to follow it, right?  I have over  5,000 views on my blog now, so I have many people to hold me accountable. 

Because of the unexpected (well, maybe not unexpected.  I just don’t really watch the news and follow the weather) snow we got overnight, I have yet to make my weekly Sunday grocery store trip.  I have somewhat of an idea of what my meal plan will be this week, but once I get to the store, I’ll write it down for all of you to see.  Feel free to follow along!

In other news, I read a really cute blog post the other day written from a husband and a father, about how to keep a strong marriage.  It made me smile because it was written from a man who adores his wife, and also because as I was reading it, it reminded me a lot of my marriage.  Josh got me this beautiful Valentine’s Day card, and on the outside it said “I’m so lucky.”  No, really, I’M so lucky!  He’s wonderful.  I’m so lucky to have found my soulmate, someone who makes me laugh, keeps me safe, loves me unconditionally, is my biggest fan, and makes sure I am always happy.  I love you, lovie!

Rockson and Gage turned 10 months old yesterday.  I can’t believe we will be celebrating their 1st birthday in two months.  They are such happy, sweet, little guys.  I still can’t get over how fun it is to watch TWO of them grow together.  They are such little pals, and wherever one is, the other is right there.  They know that two minds are better than one, and they love to figure things out together.

They are both getting their lateral top teeth in, and I swear, they sleep better when they’re teething.  They’ve always been great sleepers (well, since they were about three months old, not so much before that), but two teeth each coming in and sleeping 12 hours… SCORE!  Hopefully this continues.  We have a really good “routine” down.  I quote routine, because I never follow routines.  But I have figured out their patterns, and life is good.  They’re such good, easy babies.  I’m loving this fun stage, and definitely looking forward to the next.

Aerie, oh my sweet Aerie.  She’s just a doll face.  I love how she is a non-stop talker from the moment she wakes up until the moment she goes to sleep.  She’s full of things to say, and lots of words of wisdom.  The other day I was getting all the kids in the car to head to the Academy and it was snowing.  I was putting her in her carseat and she says “Momma, snow is in your hair.  Snow is EVERYWHERE.  I wanna go to California.”  She’s such my girl.  She also always tells me I’m her best friend.  I could just eat her up.

Have I ever said how much I LOVE Pinterest?  I pinned a whole bunch of ideas for new lesson plans that I’m going to incorporate into my own for both Aerie and the twins.  I just have to find some time this week to work on them.

We had a Parent’s Night Out at the Academy on Friday night.  Parents at Ryer Academy dropped their kids off with us between 6pm-9pm so they could enjoy a night out for Valentine’s Day.  We had over 40 kids.  It was a nice way for us to say “Thank you” to the parents for their constant support over the years.  I guess I really shouldn’t say “we,” I should say “Josh” and the staff.  Josh also gave me the night out and took the kids to the Academy.  I spend the three hours getting caught up on some online continuing education credits that I need to renew my license.  Anyway, the kids had a blast.  They were all running around, playing games, eating food and just having fun. 

So, that’s what’s been going on around here.  Oh, and Aerie is going to start karate on Wednesday! I’ll definitely keep you posted on that. 

I hope you all have a fabulous week! xo

Weight loss secret

As the New Year progresses, I see more and more people dropping their resolutions. I really want to shake them and tell them to stick to it and make themselves proud!! You can do it! It’s not easy, but it’s doable…and best of all…it’s so worth the hard work and sacrifice when you reach your goal.

I’ve been teaching cardio kickboxing on Monday and Wednesday nights at the Academy and classes have been packed! Even halfway through February, it’s refreshing to have to reprogram your whole routine because we don’t have enough equipment for the whole class (and we have A LOT of equipment!). Our Kickboxers are working hard and seeing results.
I know it gets hard, and working out and eating right can be very monotonous, but when you’re searching for that quick fix or big weight loss secret, remember this…
Here’s my biggest weight loss secret. There are NO secrets. Stop eating garbage and get off your butt.
Now get back to those Resolutions! You’ve got this!