pumpkin love.

I am in love with the fall. I love everything about the changing of the leaves, cooler mornings and evenings, fall decorations, and of course pumpkin flavored everything.

We have been enjoying the Pumpkin Pancakes from Practical Paleo at least once a week. Seriously N & S gobble about 6-7 a piece! Granted, since they are Paleo the texture is much thinner than a normal pancake and I make them silver dollar sized…but still they can’t get enough of them! Plus, since there is a little maple syrup in them we don’t put anything other than a sprinkling of cinnamon on top and I love that they aren’t loaded with syrup while they eat them. Either way, they are a hit and every time I am hoping to have leftovers to make little sandwiches with I am left empty handed and telling myself I should double the recipe. Make these for breakfast the first chance you get! They are a huge hit in our house and I know they will be in yours too! Find the recipe here.

Yesterday we made Paleo Pumpkin Dark Chocolate Chip Cookies and will make these again I am sure. They were a huge hit. I found the original recipe from Pinterest but modified it and was very happy with the results.

Paleo Pumpkin Dark Chocolate Chip Cookies

Recipe adapted from FitSugar

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup coconut flour
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup canned pumpkin
  • 1/2 cup olive oil ( The original recipe called for butter but I was out – I would try coconut oil next time)
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1  1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 dark chocolate bar, chopped ( I used an 85% cacao)

1. Preheat the oven to 350 and line your baking sheets with parchment paper.

2. In a large bowl, mix the olive oil, maple syrup, pumpkin and vanilla until smooth.

3. In a small bowl mix all the dry ingredients.

4. Gradually add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients; stirring to avoid clumps.

5. Stir in your chocolate chunks.

6. Scoop out your cookies and place on parchment lined cookie sheets – I used a 1 tablespoon scoop.

7.  Bake for 15-20 minutes (Set the timer for 15 – they brown quickly!)

8. Enjoy!

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And the last part of my pumpkin obsession this fall has been making homemade pumpkin coffee creamer that I even paleofied (is that a word? if not, it should be.) I will admit it is most definitely not the most true-to-Paleo item out there but it is way better than dumping a bunch of artificial sugar loaded fake cream in your coffee. This is made out of real food items – cream, maple syrup, and pumpkin puree. Yum! Again, another recipe that I found on Pinterest and I modified to make it fit my lifestyle. Enjoy!

Pumpkin Spice Coffee Creamer

Recipe adapted from Next to Heaven

  • 2 cups organic heavy whipping cream
  • 4-5 tablespoons organic pumpkin puree
  • 1 teaspoon pumpkin spice
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 4 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
 1. Whisk cream, pumpkin, syrup, spices over medium heat.
2.  When it gets steamy remove from heat and add in the vanilla.
3. Use a strainer to transfer the cream into a jar (I used a mason jar).
4. Let it cool down and chill it the refrigerator.
5. Enjoy in your coffee the next morning!
What is your favorite pumpkin recipe? Happy Fall, friends!

chocolate chip zucchini muffins.

We have more zucchini then we know what to do with and we are all getting tired of cooking it on the BBQ; so I  searched Pinterest for a few paleo friendly zucchini bread options.  We tried one Sunday morning and it came out way too soggy (probably because there were like 6 eggs in it!) So this morning we tried another recipe and modified it a bit by adding less banana and adding in chocolate chips (gluten free and dairy free of course). And success!! We came up with the yummiest chocolate chip zucchini muffins!

My two little helpers stood and helped while we made these – from putting the muffin liners in the pan to dumping in whatever measuring cup I handed them they stood at the counter and were involved in the whole process. I love that. I love that they love helping me cook and I love that they love food and will eat almost anything I put in front of them. And these muffins are chock full of good stuff for them so while it feels like a treat they are getting good vitamins and minerals from the zucchini, good fat from the coconut oil and almond butter, and just the right amount of sweet from the chocolate chips. Heck, its a perfect snack for me too!

Helping Mom cook in heels & a tutu…isn’t that what everybody does?

Chocolate Chip Zucchini Muffins

Recipe adapted from: Hip2Save

Makes: 12 muffins

Ingredients:

  • 1 C shredded zucchini
  • 1 banana, smashed
  • 4 eggs, whisked
  • 1/4 C coconut oil, melted
  • 1/3 C honey
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1/4 C almond butter
  • 1/2 C coconut flour
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/2 C. chocolate chips (gluten & dairy free – We used Chocolate Dream found at Raleys)

1. Preheat oven to 350 and line/grease your muffin pan.

2. Mix the first 7 ingredients together.

3. In another bowl mix the remaining ingredients together.

4. Combine wet and dry ingredients then stir in chocolate chips.

5. Mix together and spoon into muffin pan.

6. Bake for 20-25 minutes. Checking with a toothpick that they are done.

7. Enjoy!

What a way to start our Tuesday morning! Up next to try with our zucchini are Zucchini Fritters and Stuffed Sausage Boats both from Wellness Mama. What’s your favorite way to cook zucchini?

watermelon granita.

When I was looking through Pioneer Woman’s new cookbook I saw her recipe for Watermelon Granita and knew I had to try it – it only had 3 ingredients: watermelon, lime juice and sugar so I knew I could make a Paleo version very easily and I did.

What a beautifully simple, fresh dessert on a hot summer night. This was perfect timing for me because I had a lot of left over watermelon from the 4th and this was a great way to use it. In her cookbook she also suggests trying honeydew or cantaloupe which would both be equally delicious I’m sure – or even adding cold wine or vodka over the top — an adult slushie — yum!!

Watermelon Granita:

Recipe adapted from Pioneer Woman

  • 8 cups of diced watermelon
  • 2 limes, juiced
  • Honey (optional) I didn’t add any but you could add honey if you wanted to make it a little sweeter.

1. Dice 8 cups of watermelon (about 1/2 of a large melon).

2. Juice 2 limes and add juice to blender or food processor.

3. Fill blender/food processor as full as you can with diced watermelon and puree.

4. Pour pureed melon into 13 x 9 baking dish and puree remainder.

5. Add to dish and stir to combine.

6. Cover with plastic wrap and place in freezer and let sit 2-3 hours before scraping with a fork.

7. Remove pan from freezer and gently scrape the top layer with a spoon or fork. Once you reach the less frozen middle, cover the pan again and return to the freezer for another couple hours.

8. Freeze and scrape until the entire pan has been frozen and scraped.

9. Yum!!

This was seriously delicious. Light, refreshing and totally guilt free! This will be happening again before summer’s over for sure!

sweet potato coins.

I heart sweet potatoes. It’s true. I heart them for breakfast as a sweet potato hash with peppers and onions and a fried egg on top and I heart them for lunch/dinner/snack sprinkled with cinnamon and cayanne pepper and roasted in the oven. Yum.

Thank goodness sweet potatoes are good for you.

Cinnamon & Cayanne Pepper Sweet Potato Coins:

  • Sweet Potatoes
  • Coconut Oil
  • Cinnamon, Cayenne Pepper & Sea Salt

1.  Preheat oven to 425 degrees and line your cookie sheet with foil.

2. Peel and slice sweet potato in coin shapes.

3.  Melt and drizzle coconut oil over sweet potatoes (since our house was so warm my oil was already melted so I poured it straight out of the jar). Probably around 1-2 tablespoons.

4. Sprinkle the cinnamon, cayanne, and salt over the top; as much or as little of the spicy deliciousness that you want.

5. Bake for about 15-20 minutes or until tender.

6. Yum!

Oh, and I also heart this sweet little girl so very much.

paleo chicken salad a la pioneer woman.

I came home with a Costco rostissire chicken yesterday (probably not the most perfect Paleo item but so easy, cheap, and yummy I had to get one). After the hubby came home and wanted to do a fishing night with the girls at the creek I thought how yummy chicken salad sounded to either take with us or have when we got home  and from there this recipe was born.

The only other time I have made chicken salad was from Pioneer Woman’s cookbook, before we were eating Paleo, but I figuered I could modify it to make it fit – and it was actually way easier than I would’ve thought. Homemade mayo and a little honey instead of sugar was all it took to make this work for us. It was gobbled up by everyone in our house and will make this again for sure. In PW’s recipe she uses half and half mixed with mayonnaise and plain yogurt or sour cream to make the creamy base for the dressing. I just used more mayonnaise and heavy whipping cream to replace that. I am ok with heavy whipping cream – it is the only dairy that I use and the few tablespoons in my coffee in the morning are heaven. If you don’t use any dairy then I’m sure you could leave it out or even just use a little water to thin out the mayonnaise.

I am new to making my own mayonnaise but have been pleasantly surprised how easy it is. I used the version from Everyday Paleo and have learned that using olive oil as opposed to extra-virgin olive oil makes the flavor much milder and the oil flavor is not as strong which in my opinion, makes a much better mayonise.

Try this recipe – you won’t regret it. I ate it on top of a butter lettuce and a red leaf lettuce salad mix – yum! It would be really good in a lettuce wrap too.Image

Paleo Chicken Salad

Recipe adapted from Pioneer Woman

  • 1 cup mayonnaise (see recipe below)
  • 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
  • Juice from 1 lemon
  • 2 tbs. honey (or to taste)
  • sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 2 cups shredded or diced cooked chicken
  • 2-3 celery stalks, diced
  • 3 green onions, sliced (I didn’t have this so I used a small white onion)
  • 2-3 cups red/green grapes, halved
  • 1/2 cup silvered/sliced almonds, lightly toasted in a small skillet till golden brown
  • A small handful of fresh dill, minced (I used dried but highly recommend the fresh!)

1. Stir together the mayonnaise and whipping cream. Add the lemon juice, honey, salt & pepper. Taste and decide if you want to add more of anything.

2. Put chicken, celery, onion, and grapes into a bowl.

3. Pour some of the dressing over the top and then add the almonds and fresh dill.

4.  Taste and see if it needs more dressing.

5. Yum!!

Everyday Paleo’s Mayonaise

  • 1 egg
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon yellow mustard
  • Pinch of cayanne pepper
  • Pinch of sea salt
  • 1 cup olive oil

1.  In a food processor, blend the egg, vinegar, mustard, cayenne pepper, and sea salt for 5 seconds.

2. Continue blending and slowly add the olive oil.  Once the olive oil is added, continue blending while you again count to five, turn off the blender or food processor, and the mayo is ready.

This would be a perfect addition to any 4th of July BBQ for Paleo/Non Paleo friends!

Happy 4th of July!

paleo journey.

We are almost two months into our Paleo lifestyle journey and it has been such an easy transition for us. When I first describe to people how we eat (no dairy and no grains) all I hear is, “Isn’t that so hard?” “No milk? How do you do it?” “What do you have for lunch?” I don’t think they truly believe my answer when all I can say is, “No. It hasn’t been that hard and we feel great.”  After living this way, eating dinners out, being away with friends for the weekend and sticking to this lifestyle we’ve found our go to foods and ways to make it work. Plus, the fact that we both feel great – have such better energy and hubby has even lost close to 20 pounds without even working out we are believers in this lifestyle.

Paleo Food Chart!

I wish I could explain the science better but since I can’t I am going to link to my favorite blogs that have helped in this transition and have such great recipes and information to share.

www.everydaypaleo.com — I had the oppoturnity to listen to Sarah speak in Redding and started my 30 day challenge  the next Monday. She made it make sense and made it an easy transition for my family. Her story is amazing and this lifestyle has changed her life. She is raising 3 boys and her recipes are all easy and very family friendly.

www.balancedbites.com – This is an AMAZING site and I cannot wait for her Practical Paleo book to come out in August. Tons of information, printables (they are all hanging in my cubbords) and great information as to WHY our bodies need to eat this way. I really, really want to attend one of her seminars when she comes to the West Coast.

www.wellnessmama.com – Another great site with lots of great information, recipes and lots of natural-living ideas.

The girls aren’t totally Paleo yet but all their meals are – it’s the snacks that I haven’t fully made the switch yet. We just haven’t been able to give up the Pirate’s Booty and cracker snacks yet. Each time I buy a bag I say, “Once these are gone, I won’t buy any more.” but just haven’t been able to follow through on it yet. I love that for breakfast this morning they had scrambled eggs and sausage, avocado, strawberries and walnuts. What great food to fuel their growing bodies and brains rather than sugar covered sugar cereal and it makes me feel good knowing they are getting such healthy food at home.

I hope to share some great Paleo recipes I’ve made and show what a day of Paleo looks like to show how easy (and yummy!) it is.