Frog Jam Pop Tarts

frog jam pop tart

Five years ago on this day, we drove to the Eastern coast, toward Fenwick Island and stayed at the beach with my family.  The drive was beautiful, especially heading over the famous Bay Bridge and then onto flat coastal lands filled with acres and acres of farmland.  Passing over the bridge always carries a unique and very significant feel to the drive.  It casts away the notion of being bound to the mainland (even though, we’re still attached to it) giving off a sense of freedom.  Freedom that the beach is upon us, especially after a hard winter…

After passing through acres of beautiful agriculture, I saw arched flags along the road, signifying a produce stand.  Mind you, we passed dozens of small and large produce stands, but I was told this was the stand to stop and gather the goods at.  Pulling into the parking lot, it was clear why we needed to check out the food here.  It was beautiful.  Off to the left of the main building was a giant outdoor playground for kids.  I don’t mean the standard kind like we see at a school ground either.  The play area had wooden planes, trains and automobiles, for the kids to climb around in while you shop.

So while the kids were preoccupied, I ventured through the rows and rows of produce.  It was almost overwhelming with the selection, but who can complain about that?  After a lot of searching, I picked up some sweet corn, peppers, cherries, asparagus, and Frog Jam.  I saw these jellies and jams all stacked above the fruit, decorating the stand nicely, and I knew, at that moment what I was going to create with that Frog Jam.  What IS Frog Jam?  A jam that consist of Figs, Raspberries, Orange and Ginger.  There are some other ingredients in there as well, but those are the key flavors that give it the unique name.  I instantly was in love with the concept and had to buy it.

So, what could I possibly create with Frog Jam that would be creative?  Healthy, homemade pop tarts!  My kids love the traditional kind, although, I find them overly sweet and too under-nourishing.  How often can you say that you’re full after a pop tart?  I am willing to bet not too often, and that’s what motivated me to design something tasty and something that works with a child’s palate.  These tarts were very simple to make, as I even allowed the kids to get involved on creating these, with hopes that they would like to eat them too.  I wasn’t sure if the healthy nature of the tart would avert them or the crazy jam inside, but I am happy to announce that my picky children were more than pleased with these treats.  They were just that too, a treat and a breakfast.  What is also wonderful is that you can save these in the freezer for another time.  However, I wasn’t able to save these in my home; I found my husband sneaking a few at a time to take back to the office and snack on, as well as my children doing the same.  The tarts were out of the house in a few days and my family is asking that I make some more again.  I couldn’t be happier seeing my family be excited to eat so well, and the tarts were a perfect change of pace.  So don’t be afraid to find some unusual flavor jam or jelly and create these beautiful and delicious tarts!

Frog Jam Pop Tarts Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 3 1/4 cups of King Arthur Whole-Wheat Flour
  • 1 cup of melted Butter (salted)
  • 1 tsp of Sea Salt
  • 1 cup of Organic Plain Yogurt
  • FROG Jam or any other Jam/Jelly

Directions:

Mix together the flour, butter, salt and the yogurt and then when a dough forms, begin to knead the dough.  If it feels too sticky, add more flour; too dry, add yogurt.  Roll out the dough on a floured surface or parchment paper.  Using cookie cutter or a knife, cut the shapes you are seeking.  Add a small spoonful to the dough and spread it out, not hitting the edges, however.  Place top on the tart and press the edges with your fingers first and then with a fork to seal the tart shut.  Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes.

This article was previously published through Ciao Florentina, which has since been removed from the site.  I am the original author of this recipe. Thank you!

Light Banana Almond Smoothie

Happy New Year!  I hope that 2016 is starting off well and that you have a very fruitful year.  And speaking of fruit, I wanted to talk about bananas – which is a main ingredient in this quick and easy recipe.  They constantly get the bum rap on whether they are good for us or not.  I too fell into the trap a while back to ditch the bananas due to high carb load.  Well, that’s ridiculous, because there are too many other beneficial nutritional values that they offer, and I’m here to stand up for this fruit once again.  This smoothie is incredibly simple to make, and will do a nice job filling up the tummy all the while, giving heavy benefits on nutrients.  If you find it’s not sweet enough, you can always add a hit almond butter or peanut butter to give it more depth.  I left it out, as my husband prefers this variety of recipe!  Happy 2016!

 

For what it’s worth – BitStrips did not note that I created this cartoon.  I am the original creator of this strip. Thank you!

Banana Almond Smoothie

 

For those that like written recipes rather than the cartoon:

  • 2 frozen bananas
  • 1/3 cup of raw almonds
  • 1 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk

Blend!! (I used a food processor but a good blender will work fine.)  If you like more depth or sweetness, hit it up with a little peanut butter or almond butter!

Zesty Shrimp and Orzo

shrimp and orzo

Last week we had the wonderful time visiting with family in Pittsburgh for Thanksgiving.  I give great thanks for this, even if the drive is 8+ hours to get there.  It is wonderful to be able to see our family and share meals and good conversation – catching up on events that we have missed because of our location vs. theirs, seeing our niece and nephew now as adults and growing in their careers.  (Course, that can make me feel old as well, but I love seeing them grown up and to see where God is taking them!)

Have you ever been to Pittsburgh?  Well, if not, then you should plan a trip sometime to see it, but I would suggest the summer more than the winter, as you may find it enjoyable to walk many places!  The city has such a feel to it that is unique to itself.  Like most big cities, they have their “pockets of awesomeness”, and I’m not just talking about ethnicity, like a little Italy, etc.  I’m talking about locations such as the Strip District, North/Southside (ahem, pronounced NorSide – all one word, ha!), Oakland, Shadyside, and then outer suburb areas where our family lives which is all tied into this amazing city. Pittsburgh is partially home to me not just because of my husband’s family that resides there, but it is home to where my husband and I met at the University of Pittsburgh. (Go Pitt!)

When we journey to Pittsburgh with the kids,we try to make each experience a little bit different by visiting different museums.  All things we couldn’t take advantage of as a poor college student!  This trip, we made it to The National Aviary, and it was definitely worth it!  If you love birds, this will be right up your alley of places to see.  It is mostly indoors, so it’s a fine place to see especially when the temperatures are not favorable outside.  My favorite room to visit, and my family agrees with me on, is the Finch Room.  It’s a place of peace, and you can hang out right with the birds as they zoom around the same room you share with them.  I wanted to grab a cup of coffee and sit on their park bench and rest there for hours.

The other favorite of ours is the Strip District, aka “foodie heaven.”  It is a place that is packed full of wonderful shops and eateries.  We always stop at Wholey fish market (known as Wholey’s) to look at the hundreds of fish, and see the train on the tracks above our heads that has probably been running for.ev.er.  The kids love this place and it’s energy, as well as they awesome lunch that feeds our hungry stomachs when we go there.  Afterward, we shop the Steeler’s clothing at the vendors outside, and drool over all of the dessert vendors options as well.  What a feast of choices the vendors offer!!  Lastly,  we hit up Penzey’s Spices and restock on items we have run out of each year.  Which leads me to my food post, Zesty Shrimp and Orzo.

I didn’t know what to call this hot mess of a meal, but it’s good.  And my hubby makes this one, so it’s flavors change each time.  We have two spice companies that I want to mention because they are my favorite choices.  First, you just heard of Penzey’s.  They have a wide variety of great spices from all over the world, but we went with the Forward blend to add salt to our dish.  Also, I’d like to thank Chef Troy (located here in Charlotte, NC) for his wonderful spice blend which he has labeled Back Rub which is full of a few spices including, coffee, cocoa and chili!  This meal was paired with a lemon orzo salad that I had picked up at Fresh Market.  The fragrance of the lemons balanced the zest of the shrimp and it was a beautiful combination of flavors.

Zesty Shrimp and Orzo 

  • 1 lb. shrimp, uncooked and cleaned
  • 1 lb. of Fresh Market Lemon Orzo Salad (or make it yourself with lemon, oil, spinach, tomatoes and pine nuts)
  • Chef Troys Back Rub blend
  • Penzey’s Forward Spice
  • Butter
  • Garlic (A LOT of it, chopped)

So what’s the deal? No measurements you say?  Nope, this one you can play with, as my husband doesn’t cook by measuring.  It’s a shake or two here, a few more, and boom! You got yourself a meal.  Basically, melt the butter, add the chopped garlic, cook up the shrimp with the seasonings, and prepare the orzo salad on a plate.  If you need to make the orzo salad, do it ahead of time to allow the lemon to infuse throughout the pasta.  Plate your food, and it couldn’t be simpler.  If you don’t like all of those spices, just make a scampi and it changes the meal entirely.

Carrot Cake Cookies

Carrot Cake Cookies Last night, I actually took time to bake! Whoa. Take a picture.  Oh wait, I did – many, and you get to see just two of them.

I have full respect for full-time working parents who still find time to cook dinner, clean up the house, help kids with homework, drive kids to dance classes (or whatever extracurricular class they go to) and find time to do what they love!  For me, the end of the day is not my finest hour.  I am a morning bird, so my nights tend to drag for me, and my comfortable pillow top mattress calls my name – right around 9:30pm.  Which is not exactly convenient when married to a night owl husband (or having a night owl child!)  Either way, I press on some nights like I did last night and finally got around to baking.

I must share my funny story with making these cookies…

I take a box of Duncan Hines Decadent Classic Carrot Cake mix, and was amused that they had a cookie recipe on the box.  I was amused because I was thinking, just before I saw the recipe, that it would be interesting to make cookies with that box mix, and lo and behold, I was not the first to think of this.  What a surprise.  I’m mixing up the batter as it calls for, only to realize that I’m using STEEL-CUT oats, rather than those instant oats with the old man on the package.  No big deal, right? Well, not so much. I also found that their package of carrots, fruits, etc that needs to absorb water, took in only so much water but not most of it.  The recipe (as I followed dutifully) called for me to put the carrot mix AND water into the batter.  I didn’t want to listen, I thought the dough was looking beautiful… WHY DO I LISTEN?  I am not a rebel… So I followed against instinct.  Mix up the batter and have a weird watery dough mess on my hands.  Well, what to do now?

NOW came the baker in me.  I was excited about this problem because it meant I could actually be creative and figure out a solution.  And I did, successfully!  Little measurements of added almond meal, and a hit of AllSpice and bam!  Good to go… Oh, and the kids had no idea.  They were chowing down!! Little did they know that their Mom stuck in some healthy cut oats and a good deal of almond meal.  Heh Heh… That’s our jobs as mom, isn’t it?  Want to try?

Ingredients:

  • One Box of Duncan Hines Decadent Classic Carrot Cake Mix
  • 1/2 cup salted butter, softened (they called for unsalted, but I used regular and didn’t taste the salt)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup of steel cut oats
  • 1 1/4 cup of hot water (add carrot mix to this)
  • 1 cup of almond meal
  • 1 tsp. AllSpice

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Soak carrot mix in hot water for 5 minutes.  In a large bowl, beat butter until fluffy.  Add cake mix, eggs, oats, and soaked carrot mix (WITH unabsorbed water.)  Beat until combined.  Add 1/4 cup at a time of almond meal.  If dough is standing up, don’t add more!  But if it was a gooey mess like mine, add up to 1 cup of the almond meal.  Add in Allspice.

Place in heaps on greased baking sheet leaving 2 inches apart from each other.  Bake 12 minutes or until golden brown.  Let cool slightly and transfer to cooling rack.  Cookies are somewhat flat when done. And they taste just fine! 🙂

Carrot Cake Cookies

 

 

Cubanos: Cooking with Kids

Cubanos

This summer, I have finally been able to get back into the kitchen and cook with new recipes.  It’s been a long time, but with good reason!  Last year I started working at the school full time, and it has been very fulfilling.  The school schedule, along with shuttling my kids to dance rehearsals, etc., made the kitchen look more like my foe rather than friend.  Eating well had become tricky and new recipes had taken a back seat for the time being.

Just recently, my family and I watched Chef, and my daughter was inspired to cook.  Admittedly, I was too, and we promptly found ourselves at the grocery store the very next day, picking up supplies to make Cubanos.  After watching so many awwwwmazing dishes that they prepared in the movie, our mouths were watering, and we were super motivated to try that meat and cheesy loaded sandwich.  Out of all the dishes made on that movie, I figured it would be wise to try something more simple that my 11 year old could handle.  My kitchen was smiling again.  If kitchens could talk.

When we got online and pulled up their recipe used from the movie we found that we weren’t the only people that were curious about the ingredients used.  I saw many other recipes for the sandwich online, but I wanted to go straight to the source: found here.

Since I had a hungry family, I modified this recipe – and “kidified” it as well.  The idea of pickles or mustard in their sandwiches did not appeal to them. Nor did the idea of mint leaves used in the seasoning sound very good to anyone (except myself.)  So I was overruled on some things.  (I did however, put mustard on MY sandwich! How can you not?!)  Some additional tweaks that we made with this recipe was to use a pork tenderloin rather than a whole pork shoulder.

Results?  Not a bite leftover.  Oh my gosh, delightful, and everyone was satisfied with their semi-custom dressed up sandwich.  Best part for me?  I watched my daughter take over my kitchen.  For the most part.

Cubanos (adapted from Roy Choi

  • 6 oz. thinly sliced boiled ham
  • Softened butter, for brushing
  • 6 six-inch-long soft baguettes or sub/hoagie rolls, split lengthwise
  • Yellow mustard, for brushing *optional
  • ¾ lb. thinly sliced seasoned pork tenderloin (see recipe for this below), or store-bought roast pork
  • ½ lb. thinly sliced Swiss cheese
  • 3 half-sour dill pickles, thinly sliced lengthwise *optional

Seasoned Pork Tenderloin:

  •  extra-virgin olive oil
  • ¾ cup fresh orange juice
  • ½ cup fresh lime juice
  • 8 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tbsp. minced oregano
  • 2 tsp. ground cumin
  • Salt and Pepper
  • One Whole Pork Tenderloin

Directions

In a large Le Creuset type of dish, place oil down in pan and heat on medium. In a large baggie, place the pork with all pork recipe ingredients and shake.  If you want to let it marinade for a 1/2 hour – all the better. Place all items in the baggie (except the bag of course!) into the pan and sear the pork tenderloin on the cooktop.  Once seared, place in the oven (400 degrees) for 30-40 minutes.  While the pork is cooking, prep the sandwich rolls slicing them lenghwise in half, and heat up the panini press.  If you are like us and don’t have one, use a griddle (or a hot pan) and get out a really heavy pan to set on top of the bread to press the sandwich when it’s time.  (Is this proper technique?  No, but who’s watching??)  Daughter cooking slices

Take pork out of oven, and slice into “thin-ish” pieces.  It is tenderloin, so it won’t be perfectly thin cut.  This is ok.  Place ham slices onto hot griddle to heat.  Butter the outsides of the baguettes.  Layer meats and cheese inside the sandwich.  If you like, add mustard and pickles as well.  Place sandwiches in press and close (or place on griddle, and put a heavy pan on top to press the sandwich while cooking.  If done this way – make sure you flip the sandwich! (About 3 minutes a side.)  Serve while hot.

Stuffing sandwichesHeavy pan Panini Press

A Papa Murphy’s pizza tour and GIVEAWAYS!!

 

Papa Murphy's take n' bake

Recently, I had the pleasure of taking a tour within a Papa Murphy’s restaurant.  Well, I’m not sure I’d call it a restaurant, because it’s a “Take and Bake” kind of place.  With making plenty of pizzas at home, I never tend to hit these places, nor other pizza places for that matter.  However, since I was asked to come have a sneak peak of the work that goes on in the background, how could I refuse!  I love to see the workings within a store and learn from it as well.

What did I learn? I learned how I WISH I could own some of the equipment.  Seriously.  Ok, it’s probably a good thing I don’t own a dough sheeter, or I’d be making to many pizzas in our own home, and my kids would be begging me to stop.  How I love kitchen “toys!”

Oh, and just so you know, I looked up the cost of a sheeter.  And a Hobart.  And a cheese grater attachment for the Hobart.  Whoa.

Eh, not sure my kitchen could hold a Hobart.  What do you think? 😉

Papa Murphy's Hobart

So, going through the tour, we had watched the chef create a batch of dough.

And the owner, Chris, showed us how each size of pizza is measured out on the scale, then hand rolled and stored until ready.

Papa Murphy's Dough

From there, the chef showed us how to use the sheeter.  Did I mention that I want one of those?  Never going to happen, those are highly dangerous, and I have children in my home.  This piece of equipment had a Rated R sticker on it, meaning nobody under 18 can operate it.  Smart!

Papa Murphy's Somerset sheeter

From there, we saw a cool tomato slicing gadget that, again, I wish I owned.  That would save time in this house.  And then we moved back to the Hobart, this time with the cheese grater attachment put on.  This shreds cheese in a few seconds flat!  Cheese glorious cheese!!!

Papa Murphy's Cheese Grater Hobart

Lastly, we had the privilege of creating our own pizza.  Everything has a measuring cup or a scale to get the pizza style consistent each time with flavor.  There are so many choices, it could be overwhelming, but thankfully, they have all of the cheat sheets in front of the station, so I was able to have help with measurements.  Whew!  And thankfully, that is not how it works when you go in to create a pizza!  They do it for you, and you can just point and request.

Me at Papa Murphy's

When we were about to leave, they had given us some Mini Murph pizzas for my kids to bake at home.  My kids were thrilled when they saw they had personal kid sized pizzas for them to create on their own.  Of course, they were eager to get baking!

Would I recommend this place? Oh yes!!!  Everyone in my family was happy, so this is a thumbs up in my book.  All I have to say to the kids is, “who wants a Mini Murph?”  Applause and lots of hugs…

Papa Murphy's baked pizza

Thank you to the Papa Murphy’s team for taking time to teach me the workings within the store!

NOW for the giveaways!!

Papa Murphy’s has graciously provided me with sweet gift cards, and coupon cards!

  • 3 lucky winners for a free pizza (South Charlotte location only)
  • 1 lucky kiddo to get a free Mini Murph (South Charlotte location only)
  • 15 first writers will automatically receive a set of coupons (think… free cookie dough!) – Participating locations near you

All you have to do is say which kind of pizza do you think you would order?  Check out this link to see the types!

Winners will be contacted via email.  Restrictions to US residents only (sorry my overseas friends!)  See restrictions for first two coupons.

Drawings of names will be done through Randomizer and will be selected May 30, 2014.

 

The Chocolate Bottle Disclosure: The opinions expressed above are honest, accurate, and not encouraged anyway by monetary donations. 

Homemade Churros

Churros

We interrupt this healthy lifestyle for a small sweet treat!  Yesterday, I had fun making a dinner for Cinco de Mayo, and felt it was time to learn how to make some churros.  I was pleasantly surprised to see that they were so simple to make!  And… I was kicking myself for not making them in years past.  Why do some dishes or desserts scare me enough not to create them?  Do you have a dish like that you are afraid to try?  If so, tell me what it is!  Let’s unite on this topic. 🙂

What is not to love about churros?  Sweet, delicate and gives you that “donut” fix… should you need a donut.

I hope you all enjoyed the day yesterday.  If you are craving a donut, I mean a churro, try this simple recipe!

Ingredients (courtesy of Just a Taste):

  • 1/2 cup plus 1 1/2 Tablespoons sugar, divided
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 Tablespoons plus 2 quarts vegetable oil, divided
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour

Directions:

In a low rimmed bowl, add 1/2 cup of sugar and cinnamon.  Mix together and set aside. In a small saucepan, add water, 1.5 Tbsp sugar, salt and 2 Tbsp of veggie oil.  Mix together and bring to a boil.  In a glass bowl, place 1 cup of flour.  Add boiled water mixture to flour bowl.  Mix together to create a dough ball.

In the meantime, put vegetable oil in a large saucepan.  Allow for at least 3-4″ space above the oil line on the pan for safety.  Once oil heats up to 375 degrees, you are all set to cook.

In a piping tool or piping bag (please don’t use a large baggie, it will break under pressure) pipe out – using the large star tip – a 4-5″ churro directly into the oil.  Please be careful!  Cook until golden brown.

Place cooked churros onto paper towel covered plate to catch extra oil and to allow cooling.  Once cool, roll churros into sugar mixture.

Enjoy!!

Homemade Dog Biscuits

 Simple Homemade Dog Biscuits

Dog Biscuits 2

I’ve made dog biscuits yesterday due to the fact that I really miss baking!  It’s hard to eat so well, and bake so little.  I need to find a happy balance perhaps.  Going forward, the “hope” is my inspiration with baking will lead me down some more  interesting paths.  Baking, while eating so low carb with a kick of Paleo, has it’s difficulties with being creative. Oh well.  I’m sure it will pan itself out?  (Oh, ouch, I crack myself up…)

So, how is all that going?  Seriously, my sweet tooth is nearly abolished.  I had coffee the other day, made by my sweet daughter; she splashed in the half n’ half like I taught her to do, then she added a Tbsp of honey.  And it shocked me how much I noticed it’s flavor.

It’s true… sugar doesn’t taste THAT good anymore.  However, the caveat is dark chocolate, in it’s finest form; delightful.  It’s my fix, and that is all I need.

Back to dog biscuits.  I pulled this recipe, courtesy of Decor and the Dog, and even taught this recipe to my high school cooking class!  You think I’m crazy.  I do too, but listen, we have dogs to feed, and why would I give them junk biscuits?  Have you seen what they are made of?  Just as bad as our own processed food.

Really? I made these because they are A LOT cheaper to make versus buying them.  Trust me, it’s worth the 20 minutes time spent front to back with making these little treats.

Lastly, I did have 3 different dogs taste them, and you would think I was handing them a fresh steak!  It’s like their little minds are saying, “I can’t get enough… need more biscuits.”

Testing Dog Biscuit

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/4 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup Old Fashioned oats
  • 1/2 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 2 tablespoons applesauce

Method:

Heat your oven to 350 degrees.  Mix together dry ingredients in one bowl, and wet in another.  Blend together until all mixed nicely.  It will not be a smooth texture.  Put a piece of waxed paper on the table, and put the dough on the paper.  Place another piece of waxed paper on top of the dough.  Roll flat with a rolling pin until 1/4″ thick or a little thicker if you desire.  Using a cookie cutter, create shapes and place on greased baking sheet.  If you don’t want to create shapes, just roll some dough in circles, as you would a cookie, and press onto cookie sheet, making little circles.  Bake for 15-20 minutes depending on the heat of your oven.  They will finish out the same color they began, so, test for springback to see if completed.  

 

Rustic Almond Biscuits

Rustic Almond Biscuits

Last night, the weather was cool, and I found it a perfect time to make a beef stew in the crock pot.  Who knew we would still be having chilly weather in April?  Everywhere I go, I bump into people that all say the same statement, “I am SO over this weather.”  I couldn’t agree more.

Back to biscuits.  I am not from the south, so I never really go into the concept of eating biscuits.  I know… “for shame!”  I should love the buttery taste they present, but to me they are awkward to eat because of it’s texture.  Even when made correctly, I would still resort to a croissant or an English muffin any day over a biscuit.

However, this did not stop me from trying out a biscuit recipe that is Paleo friendly.  Eating healthy like I am, very low carbs/Paleo, causes major cravings, and I have to find creative ways to put those cravings to the curb!  This was a great solution, and I labeled them “rustic” because these aren’t your mama’s pretty fluffy and flaky biscuits.  These babies are dense, rich with texture and flavor, and totally deserves the name “rustic.”

Enjoy this recipe pulled from the cookbook Paleo Comfort Foods (with one minor variation of my own)!

  •  6 large egg whites 
  • 1/4 cup coconut flour
  • 3/4 cup almond meal
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 1/2 tbsp butter 

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.  In a large bowl, mix the flours, baking powder and then with a knife, cut the cold butter into the mix.  Pinch butter with your hands into the flours to create a crumbly mixture.  Chill, if you would like, in the fridge for 10 minutes.  In a separate bowl, mix the egg whites until really frothy.  Pour eggs into flour mix, and fold together.  Spoon batter into greased muffin tins.  Bake for 12-15 minutes until golden brown.

 

 

Chicken Cordon Bleu Casserole – Low Carb

Chicken Cordon Bleu Casserole

Lately, I have been working on taking my eating habits one step further beyond Paleo.  I’ve been eating ultra low carb (aka: Ketogenic – or Low Carb High Fat) and it was going really well for about a month… and then I cheated, and cheated some more, and… ate carbs.  Carbs, oh glorious carbs!!!  As my brain was convincing me that I MUST have them, my body is reminding me that I am nearly 40, and things aren’t processing the same way as they once had when I was 25.

So, the cheating had to stop.  Just two days back into the program, I have to tell you how good it feels!  It really is worth it for me to watch exactly what I eat.

The hardest part about both Paleo and Keto is that my nose still works as a 5 year old child.  The smells of food, not cool!!  I’m so hardwired to want those foods and I SWEAR are being piped out deliberately from restaurants and bakeries!

  • Me – walking by a bakery with the aroma off cookies in the air
  • Brain – “I want everything! Squeee!”
  • Me – driving past a wood fired pizza restaurant
  • Brain – “Pull over, it’s too good to resist!”

It’s everywhere, and I can’t help but notice how unfair it is. I feel like a food addict, unable to escape the foods that I so very much have to avoid.  Even when I am just at home, my children still have to eat, and I’m not cooking them all ultra low carbs at all times.  Ex: Yesterday I cooked up mac n’ cheese (organic!) for them, and literally had to put a lid on it after spooning out the glorious carbs onto their plates.  What I, a child?  Perhaps, yes!  Or, maybe just maybe my mind has been so over-programmed of sweets or processed foods or (gasp!) fast food.  Or perhaps, this is just the way addiction works?  You have to truly CHANGE the way of thinking.  Rewire.

And so the reprogramming begins. Eating well (thanks to Paleo) and avoiding sugars (thank you Keto) has indeed helped me dramatically with what I like.  My taste buds are for the most part reprogrammed! I had a Starbucks Vanilla Latte and was so disappointed.  Well, not really… I was happy dancing!  I no longer love Vanilla Lattes, as they are entirely too sweet!  Nothing like a good ol’ cup of coffee with a splash of heavy cream to start the day.

If you are changing your habits like me, note that it’s no party at first and it take a while for taste buds to desire different things.  And the nose?  HA, the nose “thinks” it knows what I want, but that will just have to adjust in time too.

Enjoy this recipe I’ve made, thanks to Caveman Keto (and some adjustments of my own!)  Cheers!

  • 1 lb Chicken Thighs – cubed
  • 1/2 lb Boneless Cooked Ham – cubed
  • 1/2 cup chopped mushrooms
  • 3-4 slices of deli sliced Swiss cheese
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 oz Philadelphia Cream Cheese (full fat!)
  • 1 Egg
  • salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Using a glass 9×13 casserole dish place in cubed chicken, ham, and mushrooms.  Season with salt and pepper.  Lay cheese slices over the meat and mushrooms.  In a separate bowl, mix together softened cream cheese with heavy cream, egg and garlic powder.  Pour mixture over meat/mushrooms.  Bake for 40 minutes.