Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Paleo Kids: Snacks

People are always shocked at the things our kids eat and enjoy.  Heck, I'm shocked at the things our kids eat and enjoy most times. 

I'm really lucky that they are brave and love to try new things.  When we made the switch to paleo, they were already eating well and there weren't too many things that needed to change, but there were a few things that we added and tweaked.  

Bree just turned 3, Nathan is 18 months, and both are grazers who prefer to snack a lot as opposed to eating big meals.  Snacking, and doing so healthfully, is so important.

Here are some of their favorite snacks:

Olives  She likes black, he prefers green.

Avocados

Sardines Straight from the tin!  Shout out to Diane at Balanced Bites for that one!

Almond butter thinned with almond milk for dipping apples, cucumbers, carrots
               
Fruits like apples, bananas, oranges, persimmons

Berries  This gets it's own category since it's like 1/3 of our grocery budget.  They love berries!  Raspberries, blackberries, strawberries, blueberries.  

Baby spinach  (Raw) 

Cherry tomatoes (Quartered, choking hazard)

Kale chips  Bree makes these for us, and I just pop them in the oven to bake!  They're a huge hit around here.

Coconut Milk Yogurt  This falls in the special treat category, but it's so good.

Almond Nut Thin Crackers  Also a special treat, and the replacement for goldfish.

Bolthouse Farms Fruit Tubes Perfect replacement for Go-Gurts!

GoGo Squeeze Apple Sauces 

Larabars 

Plantain Chips

Applegate Farms Salami, Ham, Pepperoni

Sea Snax Seaweed  This is their favorite snack.  I can literally bribe them to do anything with these.  They're seriously delicious.  













Sunday, February 15, 2015

Lazy Sunday...er, Snow Day


Sunday's are usually action packed for the kids and me.  We go to the gym, go food shopping, and have fun "adventures" while we're shopping. 

Today we were adding in a trip to the outlets so I could get new sneakers. 

Twice now I have driven to the gym, looked down as we were getting out of the car and realized I had on my uggs. My super smart husband said, "Hey, why don't you buy a pair and leave them in the car?"  To which I replied, "By golly, that's a super swell idea!"  or something equally as dumb because my brain was short circuiting at the idea that was so simple but would solve my issue, that I couldn't think.  He's obviously the brains of this operation. 

Imagine my surprise when I woke up and found four inches of snow that I wasn't even aware we were going to receive. Instead, I stayed home and played with the kids all day.  We stayed in our PJs, watched movies and had a blast.  

Aside from unwrapping some Applegate Farms ham and slapping it on a plate with some raw veggies and berries and calling I lunch, I did nothing after 10am.  I even forgot about dinner. 
Never occurred to me to take anything out.  

Luckily, this family is easy.  They know I'm lazy, but they still love me.  It's probably because I'm pretty awesome at making silly faces and reading stories. 






Saturday, February 14, 2015

I choo-choo-choose you!

It's funny the weird pop culture references that stick with you.  I'm pretty sure my breakdown is like 96% cartoons from the 90's, 3% songs from the early 2000's and 1% comedy bits that no one else remembers.  

Moving on, far away from the weirdness of my brain...

Happy Valentine's Day, y'all!  

We had a lazy, fun day.  We made breakfast, hung out with my parents, came home and made taco salad for dinner.  It was a perfectly lovely day with my loves.  

Bree was so excited to eat candy, that she actually turned down seaweed snax. 
I asked, "Wait, Bree.  What's your favorite food?"

"Seaweed!  But NOT on Valentine's Day!"

Righto, kiddo.  Trust me, I'd down candy all day long if it was healthy.  We'll see tomorrow how this all works out for me.  The last time she had this much sugar she told me "These cupcakes make me want to be bad!"  She obviously has some ability to recognize how things make her feel, but she's 3.  She's a baby!

Since I knew they'd get tons of candy, I made them some special treats.  


...Which I'm totally sure they'd appreciate way more if they could, you know, read.

Try as I might, I lack the Pinterest gene. I saw this adorable idea to put temporary tattoos on bananas.  It sounded easy, but I'm really awesome at messing things up. It's a skill, really.  




Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Sausage, Beef & Peppers, Oh My!

Did you ever make something, and before it was even done, just know that it was going to be one of the best things you've ever eaten?  I did.  It was the easiest, most simple recipe, too.

For your dining pleasure, I present to you:




                                                            Stuffed Peppers.

It's a classic.  Were you expecting something more?  Do you not know me by now?  Lazy.  With a capital "L" and not just because it's the first letter of a sentence.  I'm not about fancy, time consuming or hard recipes.  I like simple.  I love lazy.

Why is this recipe special?

1.  It combines ground beef and ground sausage for a little something extra.
2.  It's totally paleo.  White rice is one of those things that's questionable, some people react to it      
     while others are totally fine.  Since we're still relative newbies, I'm still avoiding rice until our guts
     are nice and healthy.  It uses cauliflower "rice" instead.


The Ingredients  (Makes 8 servings)

8 Bell Peppers
1 lb Ground Beef
1 lb. Ground Sausage
1/2 Head Cauliflower "Rice"  (Put cauliflower through food processor until it resembles rice)
2 Small Cans Tomato Paste
1 Small Yellow Onion, diced
1 Small Can Diced Chilies
1 tbs Oregano

The Steps

Preheat Oven to 350 degrees

1.  Cook the ground beef and sausage on the stove top
2.  Cut the tops off the peppers, and discard along with the seeds
3.  Once the beef/sausage mixture is cooked through, combine all the ingredients and mix well
4.  Fill the peppers with the mixture, and cook for approximately 30 minutes until peppers are tender

See?  Easy!







Friday, February 6, 2015

The Lazy Way aka Slow Cooking

I'm all about the slow cooker.  Shocking, right?  It's the easiest, most lazy way of making dinner ever.

My awesome husband got me a new Crock Pot for Christmas, and I love it so hard.  (I also love that the old one can constantly be making nutrient dense bone broth!)

Rubies and Radishes has an amazing e-book called "Easy Paleo Slow Cooker Meals - Over 25 quick prep, nutrient dense, grain-free recipes" that I downloaded with The Family Resolution Revolution bundle that was offered by my favorite podcasters, Stacy from The Paleo View Podcast and one of the Paleo Parents.  (Word on the street is that another bundle will be offered this summer!)

The very first recipe in the book is for chicken with sun-dried tomatoes and artichoke hearts.  My husband loves artichokes like I love sugar, so I knew I had to make it for him.  He will eat anything I make, and pretends to like most of it.  I knew we had a winner on our hands when we had this exchange:


The recipe is incredibly easy, and takes less than five minutes to prep.  Normally when recipes make those claims I double the time, but this one is seriously that easy.  

I'm not 100% sure, but it looks like you can receive the whole e-book for free when you sign up for the email list at Rubies and Radishes!  (You for sure receive a free book, I'm just not sure if you'll get this exact one, but either way it's a total win!)

Ready for the easy recipe?

Chicken

Jar of artichoke hearts

Jar of sun-dried tomatoes (packed in olive oil)

Small can of tomato paste

Combine, and cook for 4-5 hours on low.


Then sit back, enjoy the amazing smell, and wait forever.  Wait some more.  And eventually it will be time to eat.

So yummy! I served it over a bed of spinach, and pretty much devoured it.  Yeah.  It was so good I basically just shoveled it into my mouth.   

  

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Threenagers

Perhaps you've already read the Huffington Post article "10 Signs You Are Living With A Threenager."

If you haven't, you should read it now.  I'll wait.

Still waiting.

Done yet?

Ok.  That's my life.  I adore my smart, fun, limit learning little girl.  She's funny, has a huge imagination, and is the best big sister I have ever seen.  Terrible Twos?  Not in this house!  Sure she tested limits, but I can count on my hands the number of times that days were "bad" or that I thought I was going to pull my hair out.

A week before she turned three, I'm pretty sure she turned thirteen and gave me a glimpse into my frightening, terrifying, alarming future.  Girl is stubborn!  "I don't want to!" and "Because that's what I wanted to do" have become the most used phrases in our house.

Well, technically the most used phrases are "Please don't grab brother by the neck" and "Sit down on the couch, please!"  But those are my most used phrases, so back to the previous statements...


As part of this whole Paleo lifestyle thing, in addition to healthy eating, I'm also trying to manage stress and sleep more.  Sleep is a huge component, and I'm falling way short.  I have two kids who think sleep is optional, at least for Mom.

So imagine my surprise when the stars magically aligned and both kids were asleep and ready for naps at the same time!

Nap time for Mama, too!  Sweet!

After both kids were blissfully snoring away, I laid down.  Exactly 23 minutes later, I hear my husband's voice calling from the kitchen, "Michelle, look at what your daughter did!"



An entire bag of flour, less a 1/3 cup that was used like six months ago, all over the hardwood floors in the kitchen.  Old school hardwood with actual gaps in between boards.  

"Why did you do that, Aubrey?"

"Because I wanted to!"

"Now Mommy has to clean that up.  Do you think that's fair?"

"I just wanted to draw!  Now you hurt my feelings!"  Cue dramatic run away, followed by tears.


I had to leave so she wouldn't see me laugh.  

#ToddlersAreAwesome


These are the little moments that make memories, right?  So much for that whole stress reduction thing, though.  I'm kind of giving up on that.

Hopefully they do sleep when they're teenagers though.  That's something to look forward to for sure.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

I Want Candy

I'm a sugar freak.  

For as long as I can remember, I have had a love affair with sugar. 

 My family loves to tell the tale of how, at five years old, I sat in front of the television with a bag of oreos and my two cups of milk** and destroyed the whole bag.  

My love of oreos, candy, chocolate, tastycakes, donuts and generally unhealthy foods didn't end there.  During my first trimester with Aubrey, I was diagnosed with gestational diabetes.  I ate well, and controlled it without medication.  Immediately after giving birth, I was GD free.  My blood glucose numbers were fine until my 28th week of pregnancy with Nathan.  This time I required medication since diet alone wasn't cutting it.  After giving birth, my numbers sort of normalized, but I was still considered diabetic.

I happily took my medication, and pricked my fingers four times a day.  I knew I had diabetes, but didn't really consider myself a diabetic.  I wasn't sick.

Except, I was.

..................................................................

Fast forward to this past summer, 2014.

I woke up one morning with a blood glucose reading of 490.  Yes, four hundred and ninety.  I called my then doctor, who said I should monitor it and come see her on Monday.  She told me to not be alone, gave me instructions on when I should head to the ER and things that my husband should look out for that would indicate I needed to be seen.

The next day my numbers were still high.  Over 500 fasting, and over 300 with meals and medication.  The solution?  "Oh, just increase your dosage!  No big deal!"

Say what?!

No big deal?  I spent all weekend thinking I was on the brink of death, or at least a coma, and now I'm being made to feel as if I am over-reacting?  What planet am I on?

I followed doctors orders for the next six weeks.  My numbers stayed high.  Still over 400 fasting, and in the 200's with medication and meals. My A1C was now an ENTIRE point higher than previous draw.  

Guess what the advice was?  Increase your frequency.  Take this higher dose three times a day instead of two.

This didn't sit well with me.  Wasn't I damaging my body?  How does this make sense?   What can we do to make this get better?  To make me feel better?


Someone gave me a copy of Practical Paleo.  I looked at the meal plans, and decided to give it a try. 

And I was hooked.  Am hooked.

I'm so thankful that I found paleo, and that I'm regaining my health.  I still love sweet things (Larabars are filling that void for now) and I'm sure it will always be a struggle to avoid those things but I don't feel like I'm missing out on anything.  Paleo is easy.   

I'm still working on reducing my stress level and sleeping at least eight hours a night (a nearly impossible feat with a working husband and two kids who don't sleep through the night) but my numbers are normal.  I'm down to taking my medication once a day, and hopeful that I won't need it much longer.  So that's my story, my reason for giving this whole thing a try.

And the reason I avoid oreos.  Delicious, unhealthy, cream-filled goodness that was actually killing me.



** Two cups of milk?  Yes, m'aam.  "Clean" milk for drinking, and "Dirty" milk for dunking.  Am I the only weirdo who did that as a kid?  I can't be!