An Herbaceous “green” drink

ImageOk, so I realize that it’s not exactly the color green, but I call it a green drink because of all the green ingredients I put in it!

I was at Tropical Smoothie Cafe the other day, and one of the smoothies they offered was Strawberry Basil Lemonade. I thought “Genius! Basil in my smoothie sounds amazing!” So, I started experimenting at home. I was already adding mint and lime to my green drinks to give it a mojito-esque flavor, but today when I went into my garden I picked up basil AND rosemary, along with the mint. Of course I stocked the blender with a ton of spinach and added a splash of lime juice. I also poured in some of the coconut water leftover from the recipe I posted yesterday (Peter’s Pie). Lastly, I added some frozen blueberries, giving it that beautiful purple color. It was SO GOOD! No added sugar or sweetener needed. Just delicious and refreshing, a great way to start my day!

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Peter’s Pie

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I call this Peter’s Pie because I made it for his birthday and he has requested I make it for him again. I think he enjoyed it! It’s super easy to make, as long as you have all the ingredients.

For the pie crust, I used the recipe from http://www.elanaspantry.com/paleo-pie-crust/

But here it is anyway!

Paleo Pie Crustprint

  • 2 cups blanched almond flour
  • ¼ teaspoon celtic sea salt
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 1 egg
  1. Place flour and salt in food processor and pulse briefly
  2. Add coconut oil and egg and pulse until mixture forms a ball
  3. Press dough into a 9-inch pie dish
  4. Bake at 350° for 8-12 minutes

Coconut Cream Filling:

  • 2 cans of unsweetened organic coconut milk (it’s very important to use this kind because you need the solid cream on top of the milk, not the liquid. Do not get the light kind.)
  • 1 1/2 tsp. of pure maple syrup (or more, if you like things a little sweeter)

Remove the cream from the top of the coconut milk and put it into a bowl. Be sure not to get the liquid because it turns the cream all runny and gross. It happened to me. Not pretty. Add the maple syrup and whip for only about 20 seconds. If you whip it too long it starts to resemble ricotta cheese. Not exactly the look I was going for. Here is the consistency you want.

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Beautiful! Pour the cream into the cooled pie crust and let it cool in the fridge or stick it in the freezer for a frozen treat. You may want to serve it with berries on the side or top it with berries like this:

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Now, wouldn’t that just be perfect for the 4th of July?

 

Garlic Kale Chips: My Favorite World Cup Snack

If you’re like me, then your life is revolved around the World Cup right now. I mean, we’ve had to rearrange our schedules to watch particular matches. Keep in mind, my boyfriend is the big soccer fan, but I’m enjoying the hype myself.

So, if you’re like me, you want something to snack on when watching the World Cup. This can be problematic when eating Paleo. My pantry and the grocery stores don’t seem to provide something easy, delicious, and healthy to chomp on during the near 2 hours of sitting on the couch, watching men kick around a ball.

Well, I looked in my fridge and thought “Kale chips!” That would work. But being me, they can’t be just normal kale chips. They have to be garlicky and spicy and super tasty.

So here’s a recipe for garlic kale chips.

Preheat oven to 350°. Prepare a large cookie sheet with aluminum foil. Using organic kale (you really don’t want to be eating pesticides), rip off the leaves into medium-sized pieces. Then, (here’s the fun part) use about 2-4 cloves of fresh garlic and slice, press, or chop into small pieces. I have this amazing garlic slicer from Pampered Chef that I use to put over the kale because it makes these delicious garlic chips when roasted in the oven. Sprinkle the garlic all over the kale on the sheet. Slather with olive oil (I probably use 1/8-1/4 cup of oil). Sprinkle on sea salt and freshly ground pepper. Next, I either put crushed red pepper flakes or hot sauce on the kale (Texas Pete has no sugar in it). Here I chopped up fresh Habanero peppers and sprinkled cayenne pepper onto the leaves.

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Once the oven is preheated, bake the kale for about 25-30 minutes, depending on how crispy you like them. You are going want to check on the kale occasionally, flipping and moving them around as needed.

When they are nice and crispy, take them out and let them cool! Share with friends or keep them for yourself 🙂

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Perfect Paleo Pesto

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I have always loved pesto. I would make a whole bunch of it and freeze it in ice cube trays for an easy go-to dinner during the winter time. So delicious. And easy! Unfortunately, pasta with pesto is not an option for me anymore, but I am finding many uses for this delectable sauce.

  1. Use it as a salad dressing over spinach and kale.
  2. Marinate and sauté with well… anything! (I used chopped clams and bell peppers the other day)
  3. Put it over fish or chicken for grilling or baking.
  4. I haven’t tried this yet, but I hear it’s great over spaghetti squash!
  5. Use it as a dip for vegetables or chia/flax seed “crackers” (I’m hoping to make those soon)

Here is my super simple recipe for pesto. All you need is a blender. (disclaimer: I don’t usually measure out anything when I make it– I just go by taste. So I’m going to try to be as accurate as possible)

Ingredients:

  • approx. 1 1/2 c. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 2-3 c. fresh basil
  • 4 cloves of fresh garlic
  • approx. 1/2 c. chopped walnuts
  • 1 avocado
  • 1 tbsp sea salt
  • 2 tbsp crushed red pepper (to taste, of course — I like it very spicy!)
  • 1 tbsp Italian Seasoning

Directions:

Combine all the ingredients into a blender and blend on high until smooth. If ingredients are not blending, slowly add more olive oil until it starts mixing well. Taste it along the way, seeing if it needs more salt, garlic, walnuts, or seasoning.

You can store the pesto in an airtight container in the fridge or in ice cube trays in the freezer. The ice cube trays make great portion sizes! I will be making a ton of it this summer from the basil in my garden.

I hope you enjoy this recipe! Let me know if you make it 🙂

As Paleo as possible

So, I have determined that this summer is going to be the summer of healthy living! My plan is to do some form of exercise every day and stick to the Paleo diet. Some may think of the Paleo diet (fruits, vegetables, meats, nuts, and seeds — with some exceptions) as a quick weight-loss fad, however, my reasons for choosing to eat this way stem from more than just getting skinny (though I certainly wouldn’t mind if that were to happen). The idea started a while ago. Earlier this year, my boyfriend Peter and I were doing some research on the affects sugar has on the body. I had been struggling with intense debilitating fatigue (which was later diagnosed with chronic fatigue syndrome) and was desperate to find a natural way to increase my energy. We were also dealing with some intense stomach issues and the nurse practitioner I see suggested I try eating Paleo. Peter and I found a bunch of Paleo-like/low-carb/sugar eliminating diets and melded them together to one that fit our lifestyle. Our idea was to do this for 40 days during Lent and potentially continue afterwards, depending on how it went. This meant no dairy and no alcohol, though I cheated a little with the alcohol (duh, I love wine). We did 10 days of no grains and then added “good” grains (quinoa, brown rice, millet, etc.) back into our diet. The interesting thing was that after we added in the grains, our stomach issues came back! We were reluctantly convinced that in order to get rid of our stomach issues, we had to eliminate grains entirely. Not fun.

When Easter came along (the end of our 40 day “fast” and also Peter’s birthday), we indulged in every sugary, grain-filled, alcoholic substance that was put in front of us. Yum! I mean, cookies are my favorite. Of course, we felt like crap afterwards. The cycle continued afterwards. I tried to eat strictly Paleo and would make an excuse to eat some kind of “treat”. Constantly. Then I would feel sick and sluggish. Was that beer I picked up or that fresh homemade cookie from the teacher’s lounge worth me writhing in pain with stomach cramps and gurgles? Yes. Yes, it was (I love cookies!). Or so I told myself each time. True self-sabotaging at its core. Doing something for momentary pleasure and having to deal with the negative consequences. I don’t want to live like that anymore. I want to be proactive. Live intentionally and enjoy my life to the fullest. I want to enrich my mind and body with good food, exercise, and quality literature, film, and music. That is why I have committed this summer to healthy living.

I hope you can join me on this journey! I will be posting lots of recipes I have discovered and created while embarking on this Paleo adventure. I love flavor and spice. Garlic and crushed red pepper are my staples.

Will I be perfect? No, I will not. That is why I entitled this post “As Paleo as possible”, to give myself permission to not be perfect. It’s ok. I’m not a machine. I’m just a person who wants to live a healthy and abundant life. Image