Baked Paleo Cranberry Almond Donuts

I know that a lot of people who eat Paleo scoff at making paleo-tized sweets and desserts.  Not me.  If I’m going to make Paleo-style eating a way of life, whether for 30 days, a year, or longer, I need to have balance.  And that means sometimes I need some dessert… and not just a piece of fruit.

I have a gazillion Paleo desserts pinned on Pinterest.  But I ended up not using any of them for this recipe, but rather just loosely basing this experiment on other recipes I found – using similar ingredients, mixing them together until I got the right consistency, and baking.  Amazingly, they turned out pretty good!

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In one bowl, I combined coconut flour, almond flour, psyllium husk, stevia, and baking powder.

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In another, I combined eggs, almond milk and almond extract.

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I added both bowls together and mixed well.

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I wanted to use these dried cranberries that my Mom brought back for me from Cape Cod.  They are almost all gone.  I love that they have no added sugar – its so hard to find these in the store.

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Added in the cranberries,

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And spooned the batter into my donut pan I had greased with coconut oil.

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Bake, and…. voila!

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These are delicious plain, or with a little nut butter or coconut butter on top.

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Baked Paleo Cranberry Almond Donuts

Makes 4 donuts

  • 1/3 cup (42g) almond flour
  • 2 tbs (14g) coconut flour
  • 2 tsp (10g) psyllium husk
  • stevia to taste
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4c + 2tbs almond milk
  • 1 tsp almond extract
  • 40g dried cranberries (no sugar added)
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease donut pan with coconut oil.
  2. Combine dry ingredients in a bowl: almond flour, coconut flour, psyllium husk, stevia and baking powder.
  3. In a second bowl whisk together your eggs, almond extract and almond milk.
  4. Combine wet and dry ingredients.
  5. Fold in dried cranberries.
  6. Divide the batter evenly among 4 donut molds.
  7. Bake for 25minutes or until they spring back when touched.
  8. Enjoy!

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In like a lion…

Tap, tap, tap.

Is this thing on?

Oh HAI!

It has been a crazy, whirlwind March and I can’t believe it is almost April.  A brief highlight of the month here in our household:

-  A new play yard for B.  Like our entire house wasn’t already devoted to baby crap things, now we don’t even have a kitchen table because we have officially given up our dining room.

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Oh well, at least now we have an excuse as to why we eat dinner on the couch or the floor.

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Fort-building has ensued…

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As well as lots of playtime and general baby shenanigans.

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-  B had his first ear infection, so we had a few uncomfortable days at home but the antibiotics helped quickly and within a day or two he was on the mend.

-  We took our second cross-country airplane trip since B was born, to the east coast.

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All I can say is – Thank goodness for Teletubbies and cheerios.  And the Hooter Hider.

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- Brayden discovered swings.

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And playgrounds.

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- He got to see Grandma, and meet Auntie Sarah for the first time!

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He even got to have a photo shoot, but more on that in a later post.

And me?

- I ate lots of yummy food!  Mostly Paleo, but some not.

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Homemade paleo cranberry donuts!

- I went to crossfit as often as I could.  And loved it.  Although I’m not participating in the Crossfit Open, I have done the workouts and watched the competition at my box.  I even brought B along for 13.3!

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- S took a trip to Las Vegas for the weekend to be with two of his guy friends.  So B and I had a special alone-weekend!  It was hard work, but fabulous.  Here is what we worked on!

 

Other random tidbits I feel like sharing:

  • Things like this make me happy I have a son and not a daughter. 
  • I feel good eating Paleo and real foods.  Like, real good.  On weekends I don’t eat strict paleo and have some wheat, sugar, etc. and I can totally tell the difference in my energy levels.
  • I finally bought a Space Bag to store my wedding dress.  But now I’m afraid to vacuum seal it.  It is big with lots of ruffles and I’m afraid vacuuming it in there will smash them and ruin it.  Does anybody have any experience with this and know if it will be ok?
  • We need a new house.  Like, stat.  We have majorly outgrown our teeny townhouse – see above paragraphs about multiplying baby paraphernalia.
  • I finally saw Les Mis (the movie).  I didn’t even think it was in theaters anymore, but my friend and I managed to find it at one theater in our area.  Am I the last person on the planet to see it?  Perhaps.  Did I love it?  Yep.  Getting the opportunity to have a full 3 hours out of the house with a friend and no baby in tow certainly didn’t hurt my enthusiasm.

Makeup and Paleo

I’m pretty much as low-maintenance as they come.  Especially now – taking the time to put on makeup in the morning is nearly impossible with an 8-month-old (yes, he is 8 MONTHS OLD NOW!) crawling, grabbing, and putting everything and anything into his mouth.  Trying to blow dry my hair?  #fagettaboutit.

So when SheSpeaks contacted me about an opportunity to try L’Oréal Paris Magic Skin Beautifier BB Cream, I actually thought they had the wrong person Winking smile  After I got over my initial shock, I was excited to give it a try. 

The product description for L’Oréal Paris Magic Skin Beautifier BB Cream:

This product gives the sheer coverage needed to create a natural bare skin finish, while delivering built-in skincare benefits. With four beautifying actions, this all-in-one innovation primes and smoothes, perfects to hide flaws, hydrates all-day, and corrects and evens skin. The product is infused with skincare ingredients like Panthenol, Vitamin E and Glycerin for 24-hour moisturization.

Is “moisturization” a word?  I thought it was… and apparently L’Oreal did too… but for some reason Windows Live Writer doesn’t and is underlining it in red.

Anyhow, after reading the description I was psyched to try the product.  A primer, smoother and moisturizer all in one?  Sign me up.  I would say that it saves me time because I don’t have to apply all three separately, but in fact it probably just makes it so that I would be applying a smoother, primer and mosturizer because truthfully if I had to apply all three of those things separately I would never have the time to do it. 

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Me, sans any foundation or skin makeup.  And please ignore the morning hair – like I said, I can’t remember the last time I actually used a blow dryer.

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I was surprised the first time I used it because I was expecting the cream to be skin-colored but in fact it was white with little black specks – it kinda looked like vanilla bean cream or something (don’t worry, I didn’t eat any.) 

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Yes, I always apply my skin makeup in “war paint” style first.

WHen I blended with my fingertips, the “self-adjusting beads” magically blended to my skin tone skin tone.

Post-blending (and war dance):

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Fortunately, I was blessed with pretty good skin (thank you, Mom!) but at 30 years old, it looks a lot better if I put on a little sumpin sumpin before I walk out the door in the morning.  I ain’t as good as I once was… but I’m as good once as I ever was.

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The L’Oréal Paris Magic Skin Beautifier BB Cream really made my skin feel smoother and made it look even.  So much so, in fact, that I was able to happily forgo applying any sort of foundation or skin makeup on top.  It provided just enough coverage to satisfy my slowly-aging skin (and ego) without being heavy, greasy or thick.

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When I first saw the tube, I was concerned because it didn’t seem that big.  But I only had to apply a little bit to get this smooth finish so I know now that the tube will last for a while.  I’m using less than I would foundation or other skin makeups I have used.

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L’Oréal Paris Magic BB Cream retails for $10.95 for 1 fl oz. If I hadn’t had the opportunity to try it out, I’m not sure I would have bought it because my cheap self probably wouldn’t have wanted to pay that price for the small tube.  But since I know now that a little goes a long way, plus it replaces anywhere from 1-3 other skin products, the price seems much more reasonable.  It is available in four shades and is sold at mass food and drug retailers nationwide (another thing I love!  I don’t have to go hunting for it at specialty stores but rather can pick it up on my bi-weekly Tarjay binge shopping trip).

So now on to the second half of this post – PALEO.  You didn’t think I was going to blog about Paleo makeup, did you?

I have decided to participate in a 30-day paleo challenge. 

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I am doing this for several reasons.

  1. I want to feel better.  I have been tired and lethargic lately, and can’t pinpoint it to any one specific thing so the best thing I can think of to do is make lifestyle changes.  Eating real foods (and cutting sugar) is number one on my list!
  2. Brayden turned 8 months old today.  When I had him, I told myself that it took me 9 months to gain the baby weight so it would take me 9 months to take it off.  Well, it has been 8 months and I still have 10lbs of it hanging around.  Oops.  While I’m not doing this specifically for weight loss, I certainly don’t mind if that is a side effect Smile
  3. Peer pressure – after 2 months of crossfit, it is clear to me that a large percentage of the folks at my box swear by paleo as their way of eating (and living).  They insist that it will help me with my strength and endurance gains, as well as my overall health and well-being.  Who can say no to that?

For now, I’m going to try for 30 days.  Will it be perfect paleo?  Nope.  I’m on day 2 and am missing sweets like crazy so I will be making this work for me.  But I’m excited to try it and will provide updates as I go along!

More later…

*I received a complimentary product from SheSpeaks/L’Oréal to facilitate this review.  Thank you!!

One crappy week

The title says it all.  Last week was just one of those weeks where seemingly everything went wrong.  It started bright and early Monday morning.  After our weekly photo shoot, which actually went quite well ;)

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The trick was to distract him with his teething toy while I took the picture – it took his attention away from trying to eat the note card for just a few seconds… enough for me to snap a couple of shots!

The week was all downhill from there.  When I was heading into work, in the parking garage, this happened:

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Yes, that is the door of our new SUV that we have had for less than three months.  I was so scared to tell S what I did.  I called him, sobbing.  He was so nice and understanding about it, though.  #besthusbandever

I tried to get busy at work to take my mind off of it, but I was so upset I just couldn’t do anything.  So I ended up leaving at 11 and heading straight to an auto body shop close to the office that had good reviews on Yelp.  I asked for an estimate and they gave me one of $3300.  Gulp.

After trying unsuccessfully to work at home for an hour, I headed to another auto body shop for a second estimate.  This shop gave me three estimates for three different ways they could fix it and the cheapest one was $1500 which didn’t hurt nearly as bad as the initial $3300 estimate.

Side note – it’s amazing how much perspective matters.  If you would have told me immediately after I bashed the door that it would cost me $1500 to fix, I would have broken down into hysterics because that was so much money.  But after getting a $3300 estimate, I was so happy to get the $1500 estimate.

S and I talked it over and decided to go for the $1500 fix.  We dropped the car off bright and early Tuesday morning, so we were down to one car for the rest of the week.  Since S works from home most of the time, it wasn’t a big issue Tuesday morning.  I just took the car to work.  Then, in the middle of the afternoon, I got a call from the daycare saying Brayden was running a fever and we needed to go pick him up.  S couldn’t pick him up, since I had the car, so I left the office early for the second day in a row.

Brayden had a 103+ degree temperature for the rest of the day… and the next two days.  So I stayed home from work to take home from him Wed-Friday.  Our romantic Valentines Day entailed a sick, cranky baby.

In addition, S and I had reserved a date night two weeks in advance for February 15th.  Brayden’s teachers at daycare are trying out a program where they will stay for three hours at night every couple of weeks to watch the kids while the parents have a date night.  It costs $25 and is worth it for us to have some time together!  We haven’t yet found a babysitter, so the advantage to this is that Brayden is in a place and with people he is already familiar with and that we trust.  However, since he was sick and wasn’t allowed in daycare, he also wasn’t allowed to come in the evening for date night.  So we lost our date night… and our $25.

Those were the big bummer events that went on, but there were also lots of little ones.  I think that is more because of my mental state, though.  You know… when big things go wrong, it starts to seem like EVERYTHING is going wrong and the little things get to you much more than they would otherwise.  It was just that kind of a week.

But every single day, I thanked my lucky stars for my life and my blessings.  All I had to do was look around me at home, with my beautiful family, and I realized that a car bump is just that.  Nobody was hurt, and thankfully we have savings to be able to pay for just such unexpected incidents.

Fixing car damage:  $1500
Nursing sick baby back to health:  2 sick days from work
Looking into these eyes and kissing these cheeks every single day:  Priceless

 

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May this week be a better one!

A review: SunRype

As a member of the SheSpeaks Blogger Society, a couple of weeks ago I received an exciting package from SunRype.

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Look at all those goodies!  In the package were three different types products:

  1. Fruit Strips
  2. Just Fruit and Grain
  3. Fruit Source 100% Fruit Bars.

My first impressions were that:

  • They were REALLY generous!  There were sooo many bars in the box, plenty for me to share with S, Brayden, plus some friends and coworkers.
  • The ingredient lists were pretty stellar.  They are 100% fruit with no added colors or flavors, no preservatives.  They are also nut and gluten free.
  • I was especially intrigued by the “Just Fruit and Grain” bars.  I’ve had fruit leathers and similar things to the fruit strips and bars before, but was excited to see what the fruit and grain combo was.

I dug into a fruit strip first, because I pretty much  knew what to expect.

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I really liked the way that they had ridges.  Compared to the regular, flat fruit strips I have eaten before, these were easier to rip and/or bite.  The ridges also made them fun, they reminded me of Twizzlers Pull-n-Peel – remember those??

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Only these are way healthier.

Next up I tried the fruit and grain bars.

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The wrapper said they were 70% fruit, 30% grains. I was curious what grains they had and was pleased to find that they not only had oats and barley, but also sunflower seeds and flax seeds.

Ingredients
Fruit and veggies pieces (apple and mango and strawberry puree concentrates, apple and pear and carrot and elderberry and lemon juice concentrates, natural flavor, citrus pectin, apple fiber), rolled oats, barley flakes, sunflower seeds, flax seeds, unsweetened dried coconut flakes, rice crisps (rice flour, rice bran, rice extract), apple juice concentrate.

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These were nice and thick, really substantial to bite into.  And they tasted great!

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Finally, I tried the fruit bars.  These were my favorite.

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They taste like the fruit strips, only more “meaty” – and by that I mean thick and substantial… not that they taste like chicken ;) – every bite had chunks of fruit.  Again, look how thick!

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Both Brayden and the husband loved these SunRype snacks as well.  I’m always looking for ways to get more fruit into S’s diet and while these aren’t as nutritious as regular fruit they are still a healthy treat that will help with that goal.

So if you are looking for a yummy way to get more fruit into your diet, and to satisfy your sweet tooth at the same time, check out SunRype!

 

This is a sponsored post on behalf of SheSpeaks/SunRype.

A super weekend

As Pittsburgh Steelers fans, S and I were in a bit of a conundrum this weekend.  The Ravens are our rivals, one of the teams that we hate the most in the league.  However, the 49ers winning the superbowl would allow them to tie us as the team with the most superbowl wins (six!!!)  So who to root for?

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Yep, the niners.  It wasn’t really a tough decision, after all the 49ers are our hometown team here!

But let’s zip back to yesterday.  S and I have been wanting to sign S up for baby swim lessons for a while, but the schools we looked at don’t allow the babies to start until six months of age.  Now that he is old enough, we decided to take him to a family swim day at the pool to introduce him to the water and make sure he was ok with it before we signed him up.

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B was clearly thrilled to wear his swimsuit from his Auntie for the first time…

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With his matching hat!  Totally unnecessary for an indoor pool day, but totally necessary for pre-pool photo shoot optimal cuteness.

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The pool time was a success.  Although he wasn’t splashing around and laughing a lot like I anticipated, he did enjoy the water and was perfectly content.  He showed no fear or trepidation, even when we splashed him a little bit.  S wouldn’t let me dunk his head under the water, though.  Maybe next time?

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It’s funny how as parents, our roles are reverse of what I had anticipated.  I thought I was going to be the worrywart, overprotective and nervous to let him do or try anything lest he get hurt.  I thought S, daredevil that he is, would be the one pushing B to do adventurous things and taking risks (baby risks, but risks nonetheless).  However, it has been the complete opposite.  S babies him completely, always worrying he will topple over and bump his head, or that dunking his head under water will traumatize him and make him fear the pool for the rest of his life.  I, on the other hand, encourage him to try to sit up or crawl even if that means a topple or two – I want him to learn to be comfortable with falling and getting back up.  I wouldn’t let him fall far or get hurt, of course, but I want him to have that confidence that when he falls, we are there for him and he can (with our help) get back up and keep on trucking.  So I would’ve dunked him ;)

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Although we didn’t do any “swimming” in the pool, we just stood and splashed, the whole family was pretty tired Saturday evening.  I called it a night pretty early, because I had a morning run with the SF Marathon training group.

Truthfully, the run wasn’t early (it was at 8am) but Brayden has started waking up around 6:15 each morning.  He used to wake up like clockwork around 7:15.  I’m not sure what caused the shift, but it started a week ago and he has been consistently getting up an hour earlier so it might be our new normal.  Perhaps it is because he is teething, but maybe not.  Either way, it is early but I am not complaining because my angel baby sleeps through from 8pm to 6am.  You won’t get complaints from this lucky mama!

Our 5-mile run went off without a hitch and we averaged a 9:15 pace.  I would really like to speed up, but am not sure I am willing to put forth the time and effort to do track work and other training to do so right now.  Between work, my family, my other priorities and crossfit, I am happy just to run.  But getting faster is definitely on my to-do list in the future.

When I got home from the run, I whipped up a batch of red and gold cupcakes for the Superbowl party we were going to!

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They were easy to make and turned out perfectly so I was happy and ready to go to the party.

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Brayden’s friend Kayla was there!

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He really, really wanted a cupcake (he kept reaching for mine off my plate!) but settled for a snap pea and a cracker.

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Brayden and Kayla had fun playing together.  Brayden even brought his own football :)

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It was a great game, even though the 49ers lost, and a great weekend.  At least now we are still the only team with six superbowl rings ;)

Salsa verde crockpot pork

Oh HAI!  Here are a few updates about my last two weeks!

  • Brayden got sent home from daycare last Thursday because he was throwing up.  I had to go pick him up and keep him home the rest of the day and on Friday when I took him to the pediatrician.  To make a long story short… remember how for the first six months of his life, I had to not eat dairy because he had a dairy intolerance?  I started to slowly add it back in after six months and he was ok with it, so I was happy.  Last week, some coworkers and I went to our favorite ice cream place – TREATS!! – by the office and I picked up 2 quarts Marble Fudge ice cream. which I promptly demolished in less than 48 hours (I wish I was joking.)  All the dairy got into the little dude and made him barfy :(   So now I’m back to restricted dairy.  That’s what I get for being an out-of-control ice cream monster, right?
  • Other than barfing, B is really enjoying daycare.  He is so cute playing with his little friends!

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  • I graduated from Crossfits Elements class!  Now I can attend “real” crossfit classes any time.  Updates on my thoughts about this to come in a future post.

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  • Brayden is getting his first two teeth!  I came home from my Crossfit Elements graduation and Brayden began sucking on my fingers as per usual… and I felt two teeth coming in that weren’t there yesterday!  My little boy is growing up!! 
  • I am finishing my FOURTH week back at work.  Almost a month has gone by already!  How is that possible??
  • We bought a juicer.  It is awesome – it makes it simple to make yummy, healthy juice and S has been having fresh juice every evening. 
  • I tried to do a 3-day juice cleanse with said juicer.  I failed.  My dinner time on day 1, I was HANGRY and ready to either eat or kill my husband and baby.  Back to my fooooood I went for dinner, and I was a happy girl once again.  I don’t know HOW people do juice cleanses for weeks on end.
  • I made another new recipe this week, sticking with my New Years resolution to try a new recipe each week. 

Introducing, Crockpot Salsa Verde Pork.  This came about because:  a.  pork loin was on sale at Costco, b. I am trying more slow cooker recipes because they are very convenient for me as a working mom, and c. I had a big jar of salsa verde staring me in the face from the fridge.

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First, I chopped the pork loin into cube-ish pieces.

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Which I then browned on the stove on all sides, for about 5 min or so.

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While those were browning, I chopped up some onion and garlic.

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Then, I put the pork in the crockpot, followed by the chopped onions and garlic, and finally dumping the jar of salsa verde on top.

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Cooked on low for about 8 hours while I was at work.  Then I came home, pulled it out and shredded it with a fork.

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Once shredded, I put a little of the crockpot juices on top and popped it under the broiler for about 5 minutes to make the edges a little crispy.

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And then serve on warm tortillas with cheese, salsa, and whatever other toppings you choose.  Easy peasy!

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Crockpot Salsa Verde Pork

Ingredients:

  • 2-3lbs pork loin roast
  • sea salt
  • 1 16oz jar salsa verde
  • 1 onion
  • 3 garlic cloves
  1. Cube pork loin into approx 2 inch cubes. 
  2. Heat pan on medium-high heat.  Brown pork cubes in pan, approximately 5 min or until all sides are browned.  While browning, dice onion and garlic.
  3. Put pork in crockpot.  Sprinkle generously with sea salt.
  4. Add chopped onions and garlic to crock pot.  Pour entire jar of salsa verde on top.
  5. Cover and cook on low for 8 hours.
  6. Remove pork from crock pot and shred with a fork.  Put it on a baking pan and top with 1 cup of sauce from crockpot.  Broil for approx 5 min or until edges are crispy.
  7. Mix with some more of the crock pot sauce and serve as desired!

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Resolutions and goals

This post has been a long time (approximately 3 weeks) coming – it is the sharing of my New Years resolutions.  I’m calling them my goals, because I don’t particularly like the word “resolutions”. 

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I’m going to try to make them a reality, but if there is one thing I have learned in the past 6 1/2 months it is that I can try my hardest but sometimes life with a baby (and work, and husband, and a house…) requires flexibility and changes to even the best laid plans. 

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With that being said, here are some of my goals for 2013.

  1. Create one new recipe a week – pretty self-explanatory.  So far, I have been successful with this one:
  2. No eating peanut butter at night from the jar – um, so this has been a total fail every single night of 2013 so far.   But I’m not giving up!
  3. Take a photography course – I have been wanting to do this ever since I got my dslr over two years ago.
  4. Drink tea at least 3x per week – I don’t like the taste of tea.  But it is good for me, and so this is just one of my “buck up and do it” resolutions.
  5. Run a marathon – I am participating as a pacer in the San Francisco Marathon training program again, but not sure if I will complete the entire program and/or run the SF marathon.  I am waiting to see how I feel, how nursing the baby continues to go, and how crossfit goes.
  6. Clean out my closet/drawers and get rid of clothes I no longer wear – another self-explanatory one…
  7. Get to higher intermediate German – I stopped taking German classes last year right before I had Brayden.  I was at the lowest level intermediate at that time.  I would like to start back up again and get to higher intermediate level.
  8. Be able to do 5 unassisted pullups – Right now I can do approximately… NONE.
  9. Be able to do 20 pushups (not on knees) without rest – I can do 20 pushups on my knees right now, but not “real” pushups.
  10. Be the best mother and wife I can be – My most important goal and priority :)

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So…. there you go!  I hope to provide updates on how I am doing on these goals throughout the year, and maybe add a few more ;)

Two weeks in

I can’t 2 weeks have already passed since I went back to work.  Here’s what you missed:

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Almost 7 weeks old.  How the time does fly! 

My planning for last week went fairly well.  Although… S and I didn’t stick to the meal plan that well.  We did at a high-level… For example, I did have bison burgers on the meal plan but we ate them Sunday rather than Tuesday.  And Friday we skipped the pumpkin raviolis, as S didn’t want them, so I stuck them in the freezer and we will have them at a later date. 

On to my workouts.  I did stick well to my workout plan.  Tonight, I almost skipped out on Crossfit because I was tired from my 3 mile run with the jogging stroller this morning and I wanted to relax and watch football.  In the end, I went.  But as soon as I saw the WOD, I was immediately sorry ;)

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Um, yeah.  We had to do 49 of each of those exercises, in that order.  Unlike most workouts, which are to complete as many reps as possible in a given amount of time or shorter workouts for time, this one we had to take as long as it took to complete all of these moves 49 times.  I immediately texted S and told him I would be home late!

Because I was tired from my run, and because I was afraid, I went really easy on the weights for this workout.  I only did a 12” box for the box jumps because I really thought if I did 18” I would fall.  For the wallballs I did a 10#ball, and for the d-ball slams and russian twists I used a 12# dball.  I did do 25# for the OH lunges.

I made it through the entire workout in 36:32.

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I was wiped and a sweaty mess at the end, but I was also one of the first to finish.  I immediately felt guilty, because I knew that if I had used higher weights I would have finished later and would have challenged myself more.  Oh well, you live and you learn.  On this day, along with the run, I felt it was the best I can do and I’m proud of myself for just showing up and getting it done.  I will work on using higher weights and believing in myself/challenging myself more in the future, though.

On to dinner…  To start with, I roasted a tray of sweet potatoes and beets that I got in my farm box.  I peeled and sliced them,

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And then used a brush to spread coconut oil on them.

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Roasted them for about 35 minutes at 400 degrees, and voila!

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Except, I didn’t like the beets.  I have a love/hate relationship with beets.  Sometimes I like them, sometimes I don’t.  These I didn’t like… I think it was the taste of the coconut oil with the beets.  Luckily, S ate them all, and I stuck to the beet-stained sweet potatoes :)

For the bison burgers, I kept it simple.

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I just seasoned the bison mix with garlic salt, chili powder, red pepper, paprika, salt and pepper.  Mixed it up well, and shaped it into burger patties.

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I ate mine with sheep’s feta, and my beet-stained sweet potatoes!

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Now off to watch some Prison Break and find some dessert!

How do you do your meal planning?  Do you ever feel like something other than what you have on your plan?  If so, do you stick with the plan or change it up?

Spinach parmesan kale chips

After we got home from our vacation late Sunday morning, I started in on my preparations for the week.  This included laundry, cleaning, and some cooking.  Now that I’ve realized how LITTLE time I have during the week after work, it’s become essential that I do some planning and prep on the weekend in order to avoid weekday evenings being a living hell.

I realize that it is now almost the very end of the week, but this will help give you an idea of what I planned and did this week as far as food and exercise are concerned.  At the beginning of the week I did a Costco run and picked up my regular items (pumpkin bolani, romaine lettuce, organic mixed greens, turkey, goat cheese), a few necessities (diapers and wipes) and a couple new-to-me finds:

Ground bison, and…

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Pretzel rolls!  S love these.

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Costco was my only shopping trip all week, so I used the items I had to come up with my plans for the week.  Now that I have an understanding of how busy my days are going to be between work and home life, I have decided that more planning is necessary on the weekends in order to be able to make it through the week.  Along with that, more compromise (and relaxation) is needed.  I will no longer be able to make all of our meals every single day, and I accept that.  I will also no longer be able to do all the laundry or cleaning all the time, and I’m learning to accept that too.   I will also need to compromise my workouts (and I totally accept that).  The most important things are my family and my sanity.  Sometimes in that order, sometimes in reverse.

Sooo, here’s the plan for this week.

Workouts:

  • Sunday – my first crossfit class!
  • Monday – run, crossfit Elements
  • Tuesday – light weights, rest
  • Wednesday – run, crossfit Elements
  • Thursday – crossfit Elements
  • Friday – elliptical
  • Saturday – rest

Meals:

  • Sunday – orange chicken with fried rice
  • Monday – raviolis, spinach parmesan kale chips (recipe below!)
  • Tuesday – bison burgers
  • Wednesday – salad with turkey, almonds and cranberry goat cheese
  • Thursday - pasta with pesto
  • Friday – pumpkin raviolis
  • Saturday – TBD, maybe eating out?

I eat the same thing for lunch every day pretty much – a big salad with eggs, meat, cheese and olives on top.  So it doesn’t require much planning on my part, just some extra time for preparation the night before.

Now on to my new recipe of the week.  Oh, I think I forgot to mention that one of my New Years resolutions was to make one new recipe a week.  I realize I have yet to blog about my new years resolutions, but that will be coming!

So this week I decided to make kale chips with the beautiful organic kale that I got in my farm box.  I actually wasn’t intending to try a new recipe, but rather to make this one which I have before and loved.  Right before I got started, I realized I was out of nutritional yeast.  I headed to Whole Foods to buy some and… would you believe that the bulk bin was completely empty??  The place was packed (it was a Sunday afternoon) and apparently everybody and their mother wanted nutritional yeast.  Strike one.

I headed back home thinking I would figure something out.  I looked again at the recipe and the other ingredients it required and saw… red peppers.  Which I didn’t have.  Strike two.

Finally, my eyes landed on the lemon.  You guessed it… no lemon.  Strike three.

Why I didn’t remember all of these ingredients were in my beloved kale chips recipe I have no idea.  Fail…

So, I did what any lazy person who was not willing to go to another store on a Sunday afternoon would do and… I made up my own new kale chips recipe using what I had on hand.  And I must say, it turned out pretty darn good.  Dare I say… better than the original?

Introducing… Spinach parmesan kale chips!

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First, I washed and dried all the kale.  Then, I ripped the leaves off the stem, and then further ripped them into bite-sized pieces.

Meanwhile, I combined all the remaining ingredients in the vitamix and blended them up until semi-smooth (not totally smooth, because I like some pieces of nuts in there.) It should be the consistency of a paste.

Then, I mixed the paste in with the kale, massaging it with my hands until the leaves are all covered.  Spread them out onto baking sheets with space in between.

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Put in the oven, and let bake.  These take a long time, because the oven is on a low setting.  It is like mimicking a dehydrator, which I don’t have.

Like I said, these turned out amazing.  I will definitely be making this recipe again.  Even S ate them, which is saying something!

 

Spinach Parmesan Kale Chips

  • 3 oz cashews
  • 1 clove garlic, peeled
  • 1 bunch kale, washed and dried
  • 1 cup frozen spinach, thawed
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup parmesan cheese

Cover the cashews with water in a small bowl and let the soak for at least one hour before proceeding.

Preheat oven to the lowest heat setting (mine is 170 degrees).   Drain cashews and set aside. Rip stems the from each kale leaf and cut each leaf into chip-size pieces.

Add the cashews, spinach, garlic, oil, and parmesan cheese to a food processor.  Blend until smooth.

In a large bowl, combine kale and cashew paste, making sure kale is evenly coated. Place kale pieces on baking sheets allowing space between each piece so they do not touch or overlap.

Bake kale until crisp and completely dry, between 2 and 4 hours. Check after the first hour and turn leaves over. Check kale periodically. Chips will be ready when crunchy and stiff and topping doesn’t feel chewy or moist.

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The recipe I based my original kale chips recipe said that they would keep in an air tight container for one week.  However, mine are NEVER crunchy anymore the next day.  They still taste good, but they are mushy and just like cooked kale.  So I prefer to eat all mine the same day :)

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