• Baking,  Fitness,  Health

    I Can See the Finish Line. #Whole30

    All is well here!

    I know I had committed to daily blogging about my journey on the Whole30 challenge, but as usual my blog always takes a back seat. In case you were wondering about the challenge, I am doing fantastic and I can see the finish line. Seven days left! I can hardly believe I’ve last this long, because truthfully I didn’t think anything would change. My history with diets, workouts, and supplements is that they never work, which leaves me believing something is terribly wrong with my body, however within 24 hours of the challenge I felt better. I woke up with a clear head, my energy was up, and I slept through the night without help. I couldn’t believe it was working so fast, and because of the immediate transformation I have yet to cheat, slip up, or feel like giving up.

    There are two things that I am missing, which are, coffee-mate and wine. Mornings coffee is like a warm hug when its creamy and wonderful, and some dinners just scream for a paring of red wine. The Whole30 book talks directly to having black coffee and how its not the end of the world and there are harder things. But really, if after almost 30 days my desire is for creamy brown coffee then I think it’s actually hard to only have it black. Some of you are probably thinking, “just give it up” oh no I don’t want to. Taste buds were meant for taste and mine want a creamy coffee (without sugar btw) and rich red wine.

    Other then the coffee and wine I am loving eating and cooking. Cooking is more joyful and fulfilling then it has been in years. Any lifestyle change that includes animal fat, protein, and bacon I am a happy girl. My body functions better with meat, which I’ve known, but trying to fit inside someones elses plan for their body had my body spinning its wheals. This challenge is allowing me to create a plan just for me. It’s not based on anyone’s rules or false wisdom. It is based on how I feel. This is truly a gift from God.

    Here is my new favorite side: Roasted Yams that will leaving you feeling satisfied through any sugar craving you get.

    Roasted Yams

    Ingredients:

    Yams (the white ones, because I don’t care much for the red), diced
    Cinnamon, I don’t measure but sprinkle generously
    Paprika, I don’t measure but sprinkle generously
    Himalayan coarse salt, as much or as little as you like
    Olive Oil, drizzle until lightly coated

    Mix everything together and dump onto a sheet pan (I use stoneware)

    Preheat oven to 375 degrees

    Place in oven and roast for 20 minutes or until you can smell the magic happening. The yams will caramelize because of their natural sugar with the cinnamon and you’ll feel like you are cheating, but you’re not. Enjoy!

    A note about my recipe. I am a cook who uses recipes as guidelines more then actual rules. This drives my husband crazy, but it’s how I cook. There are some recipes that require a strict following, like baking, or boxed mac-n-cheese (husbands rule), but I rarely bake and I we don’t really eat out of a box anymore. If you need more precision google it, someone out there has done the work.

    Have a blessed Saturday! If you make this recipe let me know how you like it.

     

  • Baking,  Fitness

    Suffering from the “What to cook?” question!

    It has been 7.5 years sense my last child was born and 2 years after her birth I began a quest to get myself back to a pre-baby body. I started with a fantastically expensive personalized program that had me working out in the gym 6 days a week in conjunction with crazy nutrition. My weight slowly began to come off, but the rigger of this program was more then I could handle. In the wake of this program and many more that followed I began to dislike anything to do with food. Confusion over what to eat and when was killing my ability to cook.

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    Before kids and during the early years I loved cooking. I loved trying new foods and blending them with new spices. My husband and I found joy in the kitchen cooking together. I made all of my own baby food, sprouted grains, and attempted sour dough bread. Our house was full of the rich smells of roasts, spaghetti sauce, and dessert. The book case in the kitchen had every cookbook necessary for the enjoyment of eating. And then came this ridiculous need to be healthier.

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    Five years and I’m no where closer to where I wanted to be, but I am very miserable in the kitchen. Something has to change!

    Over the next few weeks I am going to attempt to rediscover my love for cooking and Lord willing I can break out of this self-made box I am in. Stay tuned.

  • Baking,  Fitness,  Health

    Amaze Balls

    amaze balls(1)

    This recipe was given to me by my dear friend Amy in the best attempt to keep our kids awake during class. I love them and I’m sure you will too. Apparently they look like droppings when your done which may hinder a picky eater from enjoying these treats, but for the rest of us there is chocolate there and that makes everything ok.

    Ingredients:

    • 2 1/2 cups quick oats
    • 2 cups nut butter (walnuts, almonds, macadamias, sunflower)
    • 2 cups minced prunes
    • 1 cup chia seeds
    • 1 1/2 cups mini chocolate chips
    • 2/3 cup honey or coconut nectar
    • 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
    • 2 Tbs coconut oil

    Directions:

    1. Combine all the ingredients together in a large bowl

    2. Using a cookie scoop (or roll small amounts in your hands), drop rounded tablespoon-sized portions onto a parchment or wax paper lined cooking sheet. I used my cookie scoop and then rolled the scooped portion out between my hands.

    3. Refrigerate for 1-2 hours. At this point you can serve them or combine the chilled granola bites in a large Tupperware container or Ziploc bags to freeze or refrigerate. They will stay fresh in the refrigerator for up to a week or a few months in the freezer.

  • Baking,  Family Life,  General

    I am perfecting the roast chicken.

    I know there are plenty of you who will read this post nodding your head to what I am about to share, and wondering why on earth it has taken me so long to make the perfect roast chicken. So for those of you who know, please give grace.

    I have made roast chicken for years. Always using the Butterball or Foster farm variety of chicken, but what I didn’t realize is if you want to make the perfect roast chicken you need to start with the best chicken (insert heads nodding). I believe the best chicken is organic free range chicken, and yes its more expensive then the others. The others are sad, and unnaturally plump (wouldn’t you say?), they lack a certain density that free range chickens have, their skin is saggy and sometimes even smelly. So yes you can pay $7 for that chicken or you can pay $12 for a happy, sturdy, tight, chicken (not to mention they come with their parts for an amazing stock) that will taste good.

    Ok, now you stopped reading this post, ran to the store to get an organic/free range chicken but now what?

    Seasoning!

    In previous attempts with the less superior chicken I would use way to much of everything just trying to make the chicken taste like anything. But with the organic chicken you’ll need a lot less of anything to get an amazing flavor.

    Just last night my combination of flavors included:

    • Wildtree’s Hot and Spicy….seasoning
    • Wildtree’s Garlic galore
    • Sea Salt
    • Oiled the chicken up with grass fed gold butter (that is another post alone)
    • and stuffed the cavity with limes

    At 350 degrees in a covered baker for 1.5 hrs I had the best chicken yet.

    What to do without Wildtree? My first suggestion is to get some Wildtree seasonings because they are fantastic, organic, and free of preservatives, but any seasoning that you like will work. The deal with perfecting the roasted chicken is to start with the best kind of chicken. Who knew?

  • Baking

    I have a pet on my counter that is taking over.

    A few weeks ago I got an idea to make a homemade yeast starter,  which at the time sounded like a fantastic idea. Homemade bread, muffins, cakes, and homegrown yeast is better for your gut. What could be wrong with this?

    Like I said, it was a few weeks ago, and my starter started in a mason jar but it has quickly moved to huge glass container. I feed it almost twice a day because it is very alive, and truthfully I’ve only made a cake and some pancakes with it.

    I can’t tell you how many times I start something with the best of intentions only to have those great plans growing out of control.

    • Gardens
    • Book Clubs
    • Workout programs
    • Menu’s
    • Curriculum
    • and the list could go on

    I am a passionate person who is rarely scared to try anything new, but sometimes those “new” ideas really needed a few useful weeks of preparation, and gathering realistic goals. Because while I am here writing this my starter is waiting for me to use it in a creative yummy way, but I am not.

    The starter on day one is on the left.
    The starter on day one is on the left.
    The pet on my counter.
    The pet on my counter.

     

     

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