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Wednesday, February 27, 2013

February Paleo Pen Pals Guest Post from Amy - German Chocolate Ice Cream

Read on for a guest post from Paleo Pen Pal, Amy. Ready to be a part of Paleo Pen Pals? Visit our Facebook Page or click here to sign up!


German Chocolate Ice Cream - A Delectable Dessert

Hello Paleo Pen Pal friends!! Another month and another round of fun completed. I've throughly enjoyed being part of this experience and being able to connect with so many great people from various corners of our country. Being the only Paleo person in a house of 4, it can be difficult at times to stay on track. I do my best to impart my lifestyle onto my husband and both children, but haven't been able to 100%. I don't know that I ever will, but I all I can do is keep trying!!

And that's what brings me to today's indulgence. Since going Paleo, I've participated in 2-21DSDs (daily sugar detox), and have done two Whole30s. Going through each of these programs, I feel that I have been able to break the sugar demon that once controlled me. I can go days, weeks, and even longer without having sugar (even honey or maple syrup), and I'm okay. However, there are days when my husband or my boys sit down at the end of the day to have dessert and for a brief moment, it crosses my mind to take a bite to remember the taste. Then I recall how I would feel if I did have that bite, and know that I've made the right decision NOT to take that bite. And then I feel even better!!

However, there are times when even the most Paleo dedicated needs a little bit of a break. And you want to enjoy something special. When I received my package from Tanya, my February Paleo Pen Pal, the first thing that crossed my mind was dessert. Tanya sent me a delightful bag of David Wolfe's Organic Raw Cacao Powder. Tanya and I must have been on the same wavelength because I actually sent her some cacao powder as well!! Shortly after receiving my cacao powder, I came across this recipe for German Chocolate Ice Cream. I've always loved chocolate and anytime it had coconut along with it, I felt like I was in heaven. This recipe was quite easy to follow. After mixing all of the ingredients together, I placed the bowl into my fridge to chill (you must chill for at least 2 hours). After a little more than 2 1/2 hours, I took my batter out of the fridge and poured it into my ice cream maker. If you don't have one, Cuisinart is a fantastic option!! This recipe as a whole makes a lot of batter, so it actually took 2 rounds in the ice cream maker. After 20 minutes in the Cuisinart and then at least 2 hours in the freezer to firm up, I ended up with a rich and creamy treat. It's not the traditional German chocolate you would normally think of, but the cacao and the shredded coconut balance each other nicely. I didn't notice the honey, so it did not taste sweet at all. A fantastic treat to enjoy when you want just a little something.

Looking for another way to use even just a little bit of that cacao powder? Start with 2 bananas. Freeze and then slice them. Put them into your blender (or food processor) along with 1/4c of coconut milk, 1tsp. of vanilla extract (homemade is preferable), and 1tbsp. of cacao powder. Combine all ingredients until well blended. Yum!!!

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

A special guest post from Jules' Fuel - Serbian Roasted Ayvar Sauce

Taking classes online means that you don't usually get to know your classmates, so I was so excited a few weeks ago to receive an email from Julia who mentioned she had found my site through a link on the Hawthorn University blog, where we are both taking classes.

Julia is the voice behind Jules' Fuel, a healthy living blog that covers everything from natural immunity boosters to tasty recipes (which I have for you today)! Like me, Julia caught the bug for learning more about and sharing with others the importance of eating nutritious, whole foods after adopting a healthy diet for herself. This led us both to go back to school with the hope of learning as much as we can about health and nutrition and then sharing that knowledge with anyone who will listen.

You can learn more about Julia on her About Page.

Julia currently lives in Serbia with her husband, which means she has access to some amazing foods that we just can't get around here. The recipe she has for you today is a Serbian Ayvar Sauce. Ayvar sauce can be used in place of ketchup and doesn't have all the sweeteners and preservatives of store bought ketchup. We may not be able to purchase Ayvar sauce here in New Albany, IN, but luckily Julia has the recipe for us so we can still enjoy this tasty treat.

Take it away, Julia!


My love affair with ayvar began about a month ago.

I happened upon a jar of the stuff while at the local market here in Kragujevac with a friend, where she casually recommended that I buy a jar of this common Serbian condiment.

Reluctantly, I purchased a bottle of the mushy, red sauce in a glass jar from an elderly lady’s stand. I’m all about jumping in head first to new food cultures, you know, so why wouldn’t I try it?

When I got home, I figured I would at least try a spoonful of it prior to making lunch.

Perhaps it would go well with my roasted chicken?

And that’s when it happened.

If anyone had been in the kitchen at the time, they would have witnessed my eyes get round and huge with excitement, and a sly smile creep over my face as I literally Mmmm!’d all over the place.

It’s that good.

It’s award winning good!

In fact, my previous love of organic ketchup has subsided (gasp!), replaced by another red condiment, full of rich flavor, texture, and nourishing goodness that had me at “first taste.”

Confession: While putting the jar away in the fridge, it detrimentally slipped out of my hands and broke (add that to the list of 10 other things I’ve broken this month).

Deep sadness ensued, to the point where I may or may not have tried to salvage it from broken shards of glass.

I may be a bit ashamed about this, but when you try it, you too will be willing to go LENGTHS to eat it (okay, maybe not with broken glass involved).

::Serbian Roasted Ayvar Sauce::
Original post can be found here

*Makes 2 large glass jars

6 red peppers
2 large eggplants (or 3-4 small ones)
2 – 3 cloves of garlic (depending on your garlic preference)
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 lemon, juiced
Sea salt + pepper


1. Heat oven to 450 degrees.

2. Put washed eggplants and peppers on a baking sheet (or in separate greased glass pans) and roast until their skins blister and start to turnblack (30 – 45ish minutes).

3. Place roasted veggies in a glass dish and cover with a top to let them steam for 10 minutes.

4. Peel off and throw away the blackened skins, and place the de-skinned peppers and eggplants in a large bowl.

5. Add salt, pepper, garlic, lemon juice and olive oil, and either chop or blend to desired consistency. I like mine a bit chunky!

6. Transfer to a glass mason jar and store in the fridge for up to 1 week.

Enjoy making this delicatessen and eating it in a variety of ways as:

  • A spread on sandwiches
  • A dip for meats, cheeses, olives, or gluten-free crackers (my fave!)
  • A mediterranean-flavored sauce in spaghetti or rice dishes
  • On a spoon (scoop with a spoon and insert into mouth)

Bon app├ętit!

Saturday, February 23, 2013

February Paleo Pen Pals - Indian Spiced Sun Dried Tomato Pesto

My Paleo Pen Pal this month was Dan from Grizzly Strong. Hopefully this doesn't embarrass him, but I was pretty pumped to get some male participation in the Paleo Pen Pals program. There are so many great healthy eating blogs out there and a lot of them are dude-authored so you should definitely go check him out.

I sent Dan a bag of pumpkin seeds from a local health food store and he made these tempting Cocoa Chili Roasted Pumpkin Seeds. I can't wait to try them!

Dan sent me a jar of Garam Masala, which I was very excited to unwrap. I have made a few recipes with Garam Masala in the past, but never one of my own creation. I wasn't sure what to make and it literally came to me as I was lying in bed one morning (probably because this baby in my belly has a knack for keeping me up at night ) - a sun dried tomato pesto spiced with Garam Masala!

I love love loved the results! This pesto could be enjoyed as a topping for fish, chicken or even eggs. I also enjoy using pesto as a salad dressing. What is your favorite way to use pesto?

Want to become a part of Paleo Pen Pals? It is a fun Paleo food swap for bloggers and non-bloggers alike! To learn more, visit the Paleo Pen Pals Facebook page. If you are ready to sign up, click here to complete the sign up form.

Read on for the recipe...

Indian Spiced Sun Dried Tomato Pesto
Makes: About 1/2 Cup
Time: 10 Minutes


1 cup sun dried tomatoes (oil drained, if packed in oil)
1/4 cup fresh basil leaves
2 cloves garlic
1/4 cup walnuts
1/2 cup olive oil (or use oil from tomatoes, if packed in oil)
1/2 tbsp Garam Masala
Salt and pepper to taste

Place everything into a food processor and puree until well combined

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Chipotle Chicken Bowls with Diced Avocado

One of the fun things my sister, my mom and myself do during our weekly dinners is trade all of our magazines. Instead of each of us spending the money on multiple magazine subscriptions, we just share them back and forth with each other like a little family library. It’s fun to get new magazines every week, especially because some of them are not ones I would normally subscribe to.
Hey there, Rachael
Take Rachael Ray, for example. I admire her success and think she has some awesome recipes. Her Meatloaf Muffins with Barbecue Sauce were one of the first things my sister and I learned to cook, and once we learned we made them all the time! Most of Rachael’s recipes, however, are not very “real food” friendly. When I saw these Chipotle Chicken Tacos in her magazine, though, I thought it looked like they would be pretty easy to adapt into a meal that Kevin and I would enjoy…and I was right!
Instead of taco shells, we served this tomato, onion, chicken and chipotle pepper mixture in a bowl and topped it with diced avocado and shredded cabbage. It was super tasty and really easy to make.

Side note: Have you ever read Rachael Ray’s magazine? On the back page, she always has a recipe that you can make for your dog, which I think is just the cutest thing ever. Check out these Parsley Meatloaf Sliders

Harper and Foster, I promise that as soon as I win the lottery and have endless hours of free time, I will make you homemade puppy treats. For now, enjoy these beef snouts...

Chipotle Chicken Bowl with Diced Avocado
adapted from Rachael Ray

Serves: 4-6
Time: 30 minutes

1 tablespoon EVOO
1 onion, sliced
1 14 1/2 ounce can diced tomatoes
1 4oz can diced green chiles
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 chipotle in adobo sauce, chopped, plus 1 tsp adobo
2 cups shredded cooked chicken
1 diced avocado
1/2 cup shredded cabbage
Lime wedges

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.
Add onion and cook for 5 minutes.
Add tomatoes, green chiles, garlic, chipotle and adobo and cook for 10 minutes.
Add chicken and cook until heated through.
Serve with avocado, cabbage and lime wedges

Friday, February 15, 2013

eMeals - One Week Down

I’m one week into eMeals and so far I really like it! We don’t use it exactly the way it was intended (that would just be too easy!), but the eMeals format makes it really simple to pick and choose from the seven dinner options they send to my email each week.

When I received my first weekly meal plan, which consisted of seven dinner recipes and a corresponding grocery shopping list, I knew we probably wouldn’t cook seven meals straight from the eMeals plan. I try to have dinner with my mom and sister once a week and Kevin and I usually go out to dinner once or twice a week. On top of that, most weeks I like to get a little creative in the kitchen at least once a week and work on fun recipes for the blog. So instead of cooking and shopping straight from my eMeals plan, I chose four recipes that I would prepare that week. I went through the grocery list and marked out all of the items I didn’t need. Super simple.

As much as I love cooking, I have to say it was so nice to come home from work after a long day and not have to think even once about what to make for dinner. I had my eMeals plan stuck to the fridge and each night Kevin and I would look it over and choose what we wanted to make. Because we stuck to the shopping list, we knew we had all of the ingredients already on hand. My favorites were the Chicken Curry Stew and the Italian Quiche. The quiche was so good, I think I will make it a part of our regular rotation, which is something else I like about eMeals.

You can print off the recipes each week and save them in a binder or recipe folder (which is what I have…a Christmas gift from my sister) so you can come back to your favorites.

I put my own little spin on most of the recipes, too. You couldn’t expect me to just blindly follow a recipe and not take it into my own hands just a little, right? For example, one night we made Mini Meatloaves with a “ketchup” made from tomato paste and red wine vinegar. I decided to make it a chipotle ketchup and added some chopped chipotle peppers in adobo sauce. I know most pregnant women are turned off by spicy foods (read: major heartburn), but I can’t get enough spice lately. Go figure. I also added green onions to the Chicken Curry Stew and the Flank Steak Burritos because we had some that were starting to look kind of sad.

I have already received my second week of recipes and it was exciting to open the email and see what eMeals had in store for me this week. I am looking forward to the Basil Chicken Alfredo and the Spicy Tilapia. I think we will be endlessly thankful for this service once the new baby gets here and we can barely remember our own names.

Don’t forget about the fun Valentine’s Day promotions eMeals has going on for the month of February!

Enter the code "HEART" at checkout for a 10% discount in the month of February. Click here to sign up now.

I’ll try to update you periodically on our experience with eMeals and any new specials they have going on so I can pass the savings on to you!

Disclaimer: I was not compensated by eMeals for this post, but did receive a complimentary one-year membership as a part of their Blogger Network. All opinions are 100% my own and I would never share a product or service with you that I haven't purchased or used myself. eMeals links are affiliate links.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

eMeals - Meal Planning Made Simple AND an Extra Special Valentine's Dinner Recipe

I had never heard of eMeals until I happened upon it one day while drooling over this recipe for Paleo Cookie Dough Bars on Making the World Cuter.  A blog post caught my eye with the headline “Save a Thousand Dollars a Year on Groceries and a Healthy Chicken Stew Recipe”. 

Our grocery bill gets a little out of control with my pregnancy and Kevin being a 6’7’’ triathlete so any opportunity to save a bit at the grocery store is going to get my attention (and the chicken stew is just a bonus). As I read more, I learned that eMeals is a monthly membership site that provides you with weekly recipes and detailed grocery lists based on your eating style, family size and even your favorite grocery store. I was quite surprised to find that they recently added a Paleo option so I decided to check it out.

eMeals offers the following Meal Plans:
  • Classic Meals
  • Clean Eating
  • Simple Gourmet
  • Paleo (yea!)
  • Low Carb
  • Low Fat
  • Portion Control
  • Natural and Organic
  • Gluten Free

The basic package includes seven dinners per week. There are even options to include healthy breakfasts and weekday lunches to your meal plan. I have, and often use myself, the meal planner and grocery list that I created for What I Gather, but as my commitments have been piling up (school, writing, growing a human, etc.) I’ve had less and less time to plan out our meals for the week. This saddens me because I actually really love sitting down on the weekend and browsing through/concocting recipes to prepare for the following week and then making a list and even doing some prep work to make those weeknight meals even quicker. I’ve been totally slacking in that area, though…all the more reason to give eMeals a chance.

I chose the Paleo Dinner Subscription for Two and received my first weekly meal plan within minutes of signing up. I have to say, the recipes looked delicious, the instructions seem easy to follow and I LOVE that each ingredient on the grocery list has a coinciding meal number next to it. This way, if we have already some of the ingredients on hand, or if we choose to go out to eat one night or if I feel like cooking up something of my own creation, I can cross the appropriate items off the grocery list and won't have to worry about extra food sitting in my refrigerator.

And all this for only $5 a month! No scrambling at the last minute to figure out what's for dinner. No fruits and vegetables spoiling in the back of the refrigerator. No last minute trips to the grocery store for that one ingredient you forgot to pick up.

We are making our first trip to the grocery store today with our eMeals grocery list in hand and I'll be back next week to update you on how we like it. You can sign up for eMeals by clicking the link below and answering a few simple questions.

Right now, they are even featuring special Valentine's menus along with your monthly subscription. There are a lot of cookies and cakes, but they aren't leaving us Paleo folks out of the fun. Check out this recipe for Bacon Wrapped Shrimp with Garlic Oil!

Bacon Wrapped Shrimp with Garlic Oil

18 slices of bacon, halved
36 large shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 tablespoon honey
1 teaspoon water
½ teaspoon ground black pepper
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons sliced garlic

-Cook bacon in a pan until it is cooked but still soft and pliable.
-Combine honey and water in a large bowl. Add shrimp, and toss to coat. Sprinkle with pepper.
-Wrap one piece of bacon around each shrimp. Divide shrimp evenly among 6 skewers.
-Preheat broiler. Place skewers on a baking sheet; broil 3 minutes per side or until done.
-Combine oil and garlic in a small saucepan over medium heat. Cook 4 minutes, or until garlic begins to brown.
-Drizzle over cooked shrimp, and serve additional oil alongside shrimp for dipping.

eMeals is showing even more Valentine's Day love with their Love Story Contest. Submit your favorite recipe, the best meal you have ever had, the moment you look forward to every year, or anything else that causes to you pause and reflect on how much you love it for a chance to win a FREE six month eMeals membership and other great prizes! Click the image below to enter.

If you are ready to sign up for eMeals now, be sure to enter the code "HEART" at checkout for a 10% discount in the month of February.

Disclaimer: I was not compensated by eMeals for this post, but did receive a complimentary one-year membership as a part of their Blogger Network. All opinions are 100% my own and I would never share a product or service with you that I haven't purchased or used myself. eMeals links are affiliate links.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Paleo Pregnancy - Itchy Scratchy

I announced on Facebook last night that I have recently been turning into an itchy mess! I called my midwife and, after some reassurance that this is all a normal part of pregnancy, I decided to take matters into my own hands. My midwife explained that the combination of dry, winter weather and the fact that my baby is sucking up most of the nutrients I take in, there isn’t much leftover to nourish and moisturize my skin. As long as the baby’s needs are taken care of, I am a happy mama, but I knew there must be some form of relief out there for me. I still have 3 ½ months to go!

My midwife suggested an oatmeal bath, anti itch lotion and deep conditioner for my scalp. She even said I could put in the conditioner, put on a shower cap and leave it on for a couple of hours to really soak in. I’ve been wanting to try a homemade hair treatment anyway so I started researching online for recipes. We have an aloe plant in the house, so I wanted to use a recipe that incorporated aloe, as well. I found tons of recipes out there, but it sounded to me that you could pretty much put together any combination of moisturizing ingredients and you would end up with your own, specialized at home hair treatment.

Our happy little aloe plant

I combined the following to make my conditioner:

  • Gel from one leaf of the aloe vera plant
  • Tablespoon of coconut oil
  • Teaspoon of honey 
You may want to use more if you are trying to cover all of your hair, but I was mainly focused on my scalp. I melted the coconut oil and then whisked in the aloe vera gel and the honey until it was all mixed up. I got in my oatmeal bath (more on that in a minute…) and worked the conditioner into my scalp. I left it on while I bathed, which was about an hour. You will definitely need to shampoo your hair (maybe more than once) to rinse out all of the oil, but even after rinsing it left my hair feeling soft and smooth and today I did notice my scalp was less itchy. I will probably continue to do this once a week or so until the baby gets here or, god willing, the itchiness subsides.

My itchy scalp can’t hold a candle to my back…just ask Kevin. He has the lovely task of being a pregnant lady’s husband and he has been on full back scratching duty. I know there are plenty of natural remedies, but I needed immediate relief and if you have ever seen the end of town I work in you would know that there is not a health food store in sight. I did find a bottle of Aveeno Skin Relief Bath and Shower Oil that contains colloidal oatmeal.

Colloidal oatmeal is just super-finely milled oatmeal that moisturizes and soothes itchy, dry skin. The Aveeno Skin Relief Bath and Shower Oil is both a bath oil and an in-shower moisturizer (read: exit shower with caution due to slippery-like-a-sea-lion shower floor) that you apply in the shower and rinse off. I used it as a bath oil last night and as a moisturizer this morning and my back has been much less itchy today (edit: as the day wears on, the itchiness is returning, but I am going to give it more than one day). I am hoping that with continued use I’ll get back the non-itchy, glowing skin I love. :)

Some of my lovely Facebook friends suggested a few more natural moisturizing options like coconut oil, jojoba oil and rosehip seed oil. All are known for their intense moisturizing properties and I will definitely be trying these, as well! I love these all-natural options because there are no added ingredients and they are really good for your skin.

UPDATE 2/13/13 - The Aveeno Skin Relief Bath and Shower Oil isn't bad, but I found a bottle of pure Vitamin E oil in my cabinet, leftover from a homemade hand scrub I made as Christmas gifts. I have been putting it on my back before I get out of the shower and rinsing it off. I try to just let myself air dry instead of wiping it all away with the towel. I also rub some into my scalp every few days and let it sit until the end of my shower before I shampoo it out. I have seen a HUGE improvement since I started doing this. I'll probably use up the Aveeno when the Vitamin E oil runs out because I am too cheap not to, but I think it just goes to show you that pure, natural ingredients are always best.

Did you have the itchies during pregnancy? What remedies worked best for you?