Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Paleo "Sugar" Cookies

I'm baaaaaaaaaack.

I know you missed my baking goodness, and I'm officially back.  I'm done with all this vegetable/protein crap.  I want some holiday goodness in the form of baked goods.  But I'm not baking with flour... I'm baking Gluten Free Paleo nom noms!

Wait! Don't leave! At least look at the pretty picture.

I worked out this morning with Sonya, Irene and a few other ladies for the Workout of the Week (airing every Tuesday on Channel 13).  We're doing a 4-week program with Irene, a local trainer, that basically serves to get you out of  your rut.  I guess I could say I'm in a little rut, and who couldn't use a swift kick to the rear when it comes to exercise??

So we started with this elliptical workout:
3 min warmup
40 seconds at a moderate pace (50 rmp)
20 seconds at a sprint (100+ rmp)

ROUGH! I was sucking wind by the end of this.

And then we moved to the TRX room for some torture.  I've already blanked it from my memory... but here's what I can remember:

30 seconds Squat Lunges with a barbell: squat down, and then lean from left to right.
10 squat swings: swing the barbell between your legs while you squat and then stand up and lift the barbell straight up.
10 combo: Squat swing, lift right leg with a bent knee at the top of the swing (like a scholarship cheerleader), step your right leg behind your left, and swing the barbell around. 
1 Minute plank
10 REAL pushups
10 more pushups
-Do it all again on the other side!-
Challenge: strap your legs into a TRX band hanging from the ceiling, hold a plank, bring your knees together to the right elbow, and then the left.
(1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8-9-10 ladder with 10 seconds in between sets.)

Whew! Needless to say, I skipped my usual Wednesday class... Sorry Kathy.

So, after all that, I nommed a giant pile of fajita chicken and veggies, but I had a little sweet tooth...

I found this recipe, and surprisingly, I had everything I needed, so I whipped up some "sugar" cookies while I was waiting for my fajitas to cook up.

Paleo "Sugar" Cookies
(Original recipe from The Urban Poser.) (I cut it in half and changed it a little)


1 cup fine ground blanched almond flour f you use Bob's Redmill, grind it a little finer in the food processor
Pinch of salt
1/8 teaspoon baking soda
2.5 tablespoons butter chilled but not frozen
1/8 cup honey
1/2 tablespoon gluten free vanilla extract 


Mix dry ingredients in a food processor

Add butter, honey and vanilla extract and pulse until combined

Wrap the dough in parchment paper or plastic and chill the dough for at least one hour or longer (till firm enough to roll out)

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees 

Roll the dough out between two sheets of parchment paper (using a very light sprinkling of coconut flour as bench flour to keep it from sticking. Just don't overdo it or the dough will get tough. The dough should be rolled between 1/2 inch and 1/4 inch thick, depending on what you like. Thickness of the cookie will affect the baking time. Chill the dough as needed to keep it at a workable texture.

When ready to cut out the cookies, dip the cutter in coconut flour and cut through the dough. Using a thin metal spatula, transfer the unbaked cookie to a parchment lined cookie sheet.

Bake the cookies in a 325 degree oven for about 10-12 minutes (slightly longer for thicker cookies) or till slightly golden around the edges. Baking times will vary depending on the thickness/size of the cookie. 

Leave cookies on the cookie sheet until cool. They may seem fragile at first, but will firm up as they cool. 

The amount of cookies yielded will vary depending on the size of cookie cutter you use and thickness of the cookie. These cookie are even better after being chilled in the fridge.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Veggie Fritatta

I've been struggling a little with the Whole Life Challenge, and I've been eating a bunch of stuff that really isn't all that fun and exciting, just to try and survive the challenge. 
For example, a paleo meal might include a couple hard boiled eggs, an apple, an almond milk smoothie and a larabar. 

I just haven't had much luck with my paleo meals lately.  I made a nasty pineapple chicken, and I was mad that I used two whole chicken breasts... That's a good $5 right there! AMIRIGHT?

Anyway, finally today I had a little somethin' somethin' that I thought you might like.  And it's EASY! 

Veggie Fritatta. 

1 cup chopped broccoli
1/2 chopped onion
Hand full of cherry tomatoes
2 hand fulls of fresh spinach
olive oil
salt and pepper
4 eggs
splash of almond milk

Chop your veggies and saute them in an oven-safe saute pan in some olive oil and a few garlic cloves.

Mix the eggs and almond milk.
Once the broccoli is fork-tender, remove from heat and add the egg mixture.
Bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes or until the eggs are set. 

This serves 4... or 2 if you're hungry. (whoops)

132 cals, 5 carbs, 9 g fat and 9 g of protein (for 1/4 of the recipe)

Thursday, October 18, 2012

No food in this post... just some workouts.

I know, I know... it's been a while.  Thank you to the few who have stuck with me. 

This Whole Life Challenge/Paleo challenge is really cutting into my delicious snacks and treats posts on this blog.  I've had no shortage of new cooking experiences, but I'm just not creating things I'm so in love with that I think the world needs to hear about it. 

And by "the world" I mean the 6 people who read this blog. (It's you! Congrats! You made the cut!)

But one thing I've been loving with this challenge, is my added fitness challenge.  I was working out 4-5 days a week, doing spin, yoga, cardio/weights class, riding my bike, walking, bla bla bla.  But in the last 5 weeks, I've been more intentional with my workouts, and I'm really feeling the effects. 

I've been running 2-3 miles 3 days a week, I've been lifting weights, I've been crunching my abs, I've been getting 7 workouts in a week (one rest day of slow walking or just ab work) and I've been inviting my friends to go with me!

Yesterday, I brought a friend from work out to Gray's Lake and we did sprint intervals and some CrossFit-ish workouts.  Gray's is the perfect place for intervals, because you can use the lamp posts as measurements. 

Here's the plan:
1-2-3 sprint intervals
Sprint to the first light pole, then walk two light poles, sprint 3 light poles, walk 1 light pole, sprint 2 light poles, walk 3 light poles...  You get the idea.
We did that about half way around the lake and the we went up and down our CrossFit Ladder:
50 air squats
40 crunches
30 lunges
20 crunches
10 calf raises
20 crunches
30 pushups
40 crunches
50 air squats

We walked back to our cars and stretched out.  We're both suffering from some DOMS (Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness) today.  My hamstrings are screaming at me (they have been since last week) and Rose is limping. 

Today's workout was at the Southside Y.  I met my friend Amber who just had an adorable baby not too long ago, and she's looking to get fit. 
I'll just tell you what I did, because I'm not sure what Amber's time was like because she snuck in a little later than I did.  (I hear moms adhere to the baby's clock.... not their own)
35 minutes on the elliptical
1 mile run (Amber walked it)
My signature arm workout:
Biceps: Bicep curls
Triceps: Overhead tricep extentions
Chest: Hand weight chest press
Shoulders: Overhead press
Back: Flys

I'm super excited that this girl is gonna join the Y with me!

I'm also dangerously close to convincing another work buddy to join the Y with me...  I gotta get some man-workouts for him!

So there ya have it! I love working out.  It helps me make good choices the rest of the day, I am starting to do things I never thought I would (like enjoy a run) and I'm bringing friends along with me. 

I have been throwing around the notion of becoming a personal trainer in my head.  Definitely not right now, but sometime down the road.  I love encouraging others to workout, and I like creating tough workouts to meet the needs of my workout buddies and myself.  I took some PT classes in college, but I would love to be officially trained and certified one day.  I guess I can just add that to my bucket list! 

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Cookies And Cream Bars

I am still on the Whole Life Challenge, but every once in a while, a girl has to splurge so she doesn't go cray-zee. 

I ran the Color Run Saturday with Krystle and Jenny.  It was SO MUCH FUN. We kept saying that the Color Run was the answer to the US obesity problem.  We all agreed that we would run a 5K every weekend if people threw colors at us.

After the Color Run, I was going to a house warming party, and I hadn't baked in WEEKS.  So I whipped up a few delicious desserts. And I was glad I did, they didn't have any other desserts on the spread.  They had some AWESOME burgers, brats, guacamole that looked like it was made in a restaurant and some cowboy caviar, but no sweets. 

So my addition was welcome. 

Cookies and Cream Bars
Adapted from Picky Palate

1 stick unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup milk chocolate chips
12 Oreo Cookies, broken up

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a 9x13 pan.  The original said 8x8, and you would get thicker bars if you did it that way. (obvi)
2. mix butter and sugars into a large bowl. Add egg and vanilla, mixing to combine. Add dry ingredients, chocolate chips and oreo cookie pieces, stirring to combine. Press the dough into the bottom of prepared baking pan.
Bake for 12-15 minutes or until golden brown. Let cool for 30 minutes, cut into squares and serve.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

My Political Opinion... Use Discretion When Reading

In college, the ministry I was a part of worked so hard to teach respect of President Bush because he was our President...

Now that the tables are turned and a democratic president is in office, I'm disappointed at the lack of respect for the office.

I feel duped. Maybe I was wrong, maybe we were respecting Bush for different reasons... Maybe we respected him for the lowered price of gas, the bettered economy, the time of peace we lived in...

Or were we embarrassed? Embarrassed that people would poke fun at the way he spoke, the way the media portrayed his lack of intelligence.  Alas, he was the representation of the conservative christian vote.... And his views matched our views most closely.

Did we preach respect for our own sake??? If we in fact did, I'm ashamed. 

I'm an undecided voter. Although a christian, I am not a devoted Republican, in fact, most of my views are much closer to liberal.  I'm not a hardcore Obama supporter, I'm actually disappointed that he couldn't get Congress to work together as a single entity to accomplish anything at all that would positively affect the troubled economy in the last four years.

But I do respect President Obama, because he is our elected leader.  Like it or not, as Christians, we believe that God has ordained the last four years, he has planned the past, present and future of America.

Whomever is voted the next president, and the president after that, I will respect him or her. I won't post negative stories about the first family on social media, I won't poke fun at their stage presence...  I just won't.  I will, and am, studying their plans for the economy, women's issues and education.  I will pray about my vote, and I will do what God is leading me to do, and for now, that doesn't include posting disrespectful stories on Facebook or using my position with the church as a talking head for my opinions.

What God is leading you to do might be different.  Just make sure that's what he's leading you to do.

If you feel strongly about a certain candidate, here's my personal plea; Tell me why you ARE voting for this person.   If I wanted a negative presidential ad, I would turn on the TV.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Paleo Fish Tacos

I have been actually loving this no-grain, no-sugar, no-dairy challenge! Can you believe it?  I'm almost surprised.  I say almost because I know my affinity for a well-flavored hunk of meat, and I have a way of just barely overcooking some sweet potato fries to make them taste like a dessert.... 

This challenge isn't to restrict myself, it's to order a salad and carefully consider if I want that dry hunk of bread they threw on the plate. It's to fill myself up with dinner and then pinpoint the reason I feel like I need to stuff some dessert in an already full belly.  It's to make a delicious, flavorful fish taco and really ask myself if I'm missing the cheep cheddar cheese or the tortilla. 

And today, I didn't miss either one. 

Paleo Fish Tacos
Tilapia filet
Taco Seasoning (I made a bunch of this to put in my spice cabinet)
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
Iceburg Lettuce Leaves

Coat the fish on both sides with your seasoning. 

Put a little olive oil down and saute the fish

Layer a few iceburg lettuce leaves instead of a tortilla.  Some fish, avocado and spicy salsa.

I've heard Iceburg isn't good for much, but it is sure good at holding all these goodies together and guiding them to my gullet. 

When this 8-week challenge is over, I'm going to eat cheese.  But I'm going to eat gooey mozzarella and ripe brie. 
I'm going to have dessert.  But I'm going to have the most beautifully constructed dessert this world has ever seen, and I'm going to do it on special occasions. 
I'm going to eat grains, but I'm not going to eat them by default. I'm going to ask myself if they really add anything to the meal, not build my meal around them.