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Chocolate Coconut Butter (or Nutbutter) Cups (Paleo, Gluten-free, Refined Sugar-free)

Soooooo, chocolate. It really needs no introduction – am I right?! If you’re reading this post you probably love chocolate like I do…and like most people with a pulse do. Ive had to give up chocolate twice in my life: once when I was breastfeeding my little guy, who had bad reflux and was clearly allergic to something I was consuming, so I eliminated all possible culprits (thankfully it was dairy, not chocolate that he was allergic to); and once when I had to eliminate “moldy” foods due to systemic mold toxicity. It was not easy, and it was not pleasant, life without chocolate. Some of you may be thinking “you own a health and fitness studio – why are you always encouraging us to eat chocolate?”. Well, because I am a firm believer that, as the Eating Evolved slogan so cleverly puts it, chocolate is food, not candy. When it’s the right kind of chocolate that is. Here’s why:

Health Benefits of Chocolate

  • Packed with anti-oxidants and is free radical fighting
  • Can improve heart health
  • Promotes healthy cholesterol levels
  • May help fight cancer
  • Can reduce inflammation
  • Can boost cognitive functioning
  • Can help lower blood pressure
  • Contains numerous vitamins and minerals such as magnesium, calcium, iron, selenium, etc

Isn’t that amazing? But here’s the thing: we’re not talking about the chocolate that you used to get trick-or-treating as a kid: you know, the Snickers and Butterfinger bars…those are not considered “food” and you will not see the above benefits from eating 6 candy bars a day. We’re talking about pure, dark chocolate, the darker the better. Here is what you want to look for – and avoid – when choosing a healthy chocolate:

  • 70% or higher cacao content (we typically don’t use anything lower than 85%)
  • organic or fair trade
  • minimally processed
  • no additives or soy
  • preferably no refined sugar (maple or coconut sugar preferred)

We buy Eating Evolved chocolate because it meets all of our criteria and is delicious! While we don’t use it as a meal replacement, we do eat quite a bit of it, and like knowing that we’re nurturing our bodies and our health. We also love to make treats with it from time to time, like my Chocolate Coconut Butter (or Nutbutter) Cups!


Chocolate Coconut Butter (or Nutbutter) Cups

Ingredients

  • 1 dark chocolate bar (we use 85%, but you could use darker or lighter, or a combination of the two!)
  • 1T coconut oil
  • 1/4c coconut butter or nut butter (we like almond butter)

Directions

  1. Line mini-muffin tin with 12 mini-muffin liners. Alternatively you can buy mini muffin liners that do not need to be used in a tin, you would just place them on a baking sheet.
  2. Melt chocolate and coconut oil in double boiled over low-medium heat.
  3. Spoon about a teaspoon of chocolate into each muffin liner. Steps 3-5 should be done rather quickly to avoid the chocolate drying and becoming less manageable (and pretty)!
  4. Spoon a dollop (a teaspoon or so) of coconut butter or nut butter on top of the chocolate.
  5. Spoon another teaspoon or so of chocolate on top of the butter. If needed, continue to add a little more chocolate to each cup to cover the butter, and until all of the chocolate is used.
  6. Freeze for 20 min.
  7. Enjoy!
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Herb-Marinated Beef Sirloin (paleo, gluten-free)

Spring is fully underway here in Philadelphia, with lots of rainy days, lots of warm sunny days, and lots of weird in-between days when you have no idea what to wear. I love springtime, with the gorgeous flowers and trees in bloom, the birds happily singing their busy tunes, and children filling up the playgrounds again. Winter is drab around here, and by the time those temperatures begin to rise again, we are more than eager to get out and enjoy every moment! One of my favorite hallmarks of spring has come to be planting flowers with my kids, and of course preparing our little garden in our backyard. I like to let the kids pick some things that they want to plant, and have them help me with each step. They love getting their hands dirty, searching for worms, planting the plants, and munching on the herbs as we set them in the soil. It’s a beautiful thing to plant and grow your own food – even if it’s just a little – and to have your children be a part of the process, and appreciation.

Health Benefits of Fresh Herbs

Sun gold tomatoes are a staple for us each year, but this year we’re branching out a little and adding cucumbers and strawberries to the mix! Our herbs remain the star of the show though, with varieties of basil, mint, parsley, cilantro, chives and rosemary making an appearance year after year. And since we grow our own herbs, it’s given me an excuse to use them in our food more, and to play with new ways of incorporating them into our diets as much as possible. I love using them in cooking; they add so much flavor and really help any dish come alive. Herbs are packed with health benefits too! Here are some common culinary garden herbs and their health benefits:

  • Sage: antioxidants, improves memory, prevents disease
  • Mint: antimicrobial, anti-viral, antioxidants, aids and calms digestion, reduces inflammation
  • Oregano: antioxidants, antimicrobial, anti-viral, anti-bacterial, boosts immune system, prevents disease
  • Basil: antioxidants, anti-cancer properties, anti-viral, anti-inflammatory, reduces blood pressure,
  • Rosemary: antioxidants, anti-microbial, relieves pain, aids digestion
  • Thyme: antioxidants, can speed recovery from illness, can treat foot and vaginal yeast, prevents disease
  • Parsley: antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, dietary fibers, balances cholesterol

With all of this in mind, I encourage you to add in more herbs to your cooking this year! Even if you’re already an herb-guru, maybe try something new, or at least a new recipe. Starting with this one. This one right here. Combining my love for steak with my love for fresh herbs, I knew I couldn’t go wrong, but I can’t even tell you how ridiculously delicious this oh-so-simple recipe is. And feel free to cook this on the grill, if you’re savvy that way. I used a skillet because I was in a bit of a time-crunch. Also, I used sirloin steak because it’s one of my favorite cuts, and one that I happen to have in the freezer, but feel free to use the marinade on different cuts, just make sure they’re grass-fed.


Herb-Marinated Beef Sirloin

Ingredients:

  • 1 16oz. beef sirloin steak (or similar)
  • Herb-marinade (see below)
  • 1-2T bacon fat or other cooking fat of choice

Marinade Ingredients:

  • 1c. olive oil
  • 4 minced garlic cloves
  • 2-3T of each (or other herbs that you have in the garden)
    • basil
    • parsley
    • chives
    • rosemary
    • thyme
  • 2T red wine vinegar
  • sea salt and black pepper, to taste

Chop herbs and combine all marinade ingredients in a bowl. Pour half of the marinade in a dish and add the steak, covering both sides with the marinade. Marinate for 20 minutes, and up to an hour in the fridge.

Preheat skillet over medium-high heat. Cook steaks for 6-7 minutes each side (more or less depending on how you like your steak).

Once done, remove steak and place on a cutting board or a plate to rest for 5 minutes or so.

Serve topped with remaining marinade.

 

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30 Healthy Snack Ideas (paleo, dairy-free, refined sugar-free)

I love to snack. Much like my 3- and 5-year-old, I get excited to open up a snack bag (even thought it’s one I packed) when we’re out for the day and it’s their (ahem, our) snack time. Japheth can literally go all day without snacking once. He will eat his 4-5 meals and be perfectly content. But me? I love having something to munch on. And as anyone who eats clean knows, it’s not always easy to be a snacker in this world. It’s not like we can grab a tin of Pringles or some cheese and crackers and go to town. And it’s quite a challenge to find good snacks at the store…don’t get me started on that subject. But, in this post, I have for you 30 – yes, 30 – snack ideas that are clean. I’m talking paleo-friendly, dairy-free, refined sugar-free, grain-free, you got it. And many of these ideas are just a little twist on things you already have at home! Of course, I’ve also included a few that you can buy and stick to use when in a pinch, and not feel guilty about!

30 Healthy Snack Ideas

  1. Nuts, seeds, fruits, veggies
  2. Carrot sticks dipped in mashed avocado
  3. Ants on a log (nut butter on every pieces, topped with raisins)
  4. Ants on a stump (banana slices topped with nut butter, then topped with raisins)
  5. Homemade Trail Mix (nuts, dried fruit, coconut flakes, even dark chocolate)
  6. Paleo granola
  7. Maple-glazed walnuts (add 2c walnuts and 1/3c maple syrup to pan on
    medium-high heat. Cook and stir about 3 minutes, until syrup is
    caramelized).
  8. Coconut date poppers (can also make these in bars)
  9. Dark chocolate covered nuts
  10. Nut or seed butters (make your own!)
  11. Dried Fruit (with no added sugar or sulfur)
  12. Dates stuffed with almond butter
  13. Frozen grapes
  14. Frozen bananas
  15. Dark chocolate covered frozen bananas
  16. Smoothies like this super-healthy and yet somehow delicious one!
  17. Homemade Popsicles
  18. Boiled Eggs (sprinkle with favorite seasoning)
  19. Deviled eggs (yolks mixed with avocado and stuffed into whites)
  20. BACON
  21. Bacon Avocado sandwiches (avocado between two slices of bacon)
  22. Anything wrapped in bacon
  23. This chocolate. After all, as their slogan says, chocolate is food, not candy.
  24. Beef or pork sticks
  25. Kale chips
  26. Sweet potato chips **read the ingredients and make sure it’s clean, like Jackson’s brand!
  27. Paleo-friendly macaroons
  28. Lara bars are great, just make sure to avoid the ones with peanut butter!
  29. Coconut flakes – these have a little sweetness!
  30. Beef jerky bites – we love Epic bites and bars!

So there you have it, 30 healthy snack ideas for you to stay on track with your clean-eating, but also to satisfy that snack-craving! What are your favorite healthy snacks when the craving hits?

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The Ultimate Green Smoothie (paleo, dairy-free)

Like probably millions of other Americans, our schedule is pretty hectic. Between the business, two small children, and all of the day-to-day things that come up, I need quick and easy when it comes to cooking. That’s not to say I skimp on taste, quality, or health though. No matter how hectic things get, I will move everything aside if I’m working on perfecting a recipe or experimenting with new ways to introduce delicious foods into our diet! Thankfully this one didn’t take too long to perfect. Once I finally invested in a Vitamix (life changer, and every bit worth the price!), making smoothies became a piece of cake. In fact, I couldn’t believe I hadn’t hopped on the bandwagon before! Life before the Vitamix didn’t have a lot of greens in it. I mean, we’d eat greens on a regular basis, but the majority of our veggie intake came from root veggies, because they’re faster and easier to eat relative to leafy greens. One serving of a sweet potato equates about 4-6 cups of leafy greens, and when you’re always on the go there’s no time for eating that many greens for every meal, much less for eating mindfully! But then, smoothies came into my life, and I no longer lack leafy greens in my diet. We (kids included) drink a green smoothie each morning to start our day, and I usually have one or two throughout the day as well, along with the other veggies I eat.

Why Leafy Greens are Important

We probably all know by now that leafy greens are good for us. Everyone tells us to eat more leafy greens, the darker the better. But why? Here’s a refresher of some reasons that leafy greens aren’t just important, they are necessary. Leafy greens such as kale, spinach, chard, mustard greens, etc. contain vital nutrients that our bodies need to function and live optimally. They are a good source of:

  1. Magnesium
  2. Potassium
  3. Calcium
  4. Folate
  5. Betaine
  6. Manganese
  7. Carotenoids
  8. Vitamin C
  9. Phytochemicals such as beta-carotine
  10. Antioxidants

The Ultimate Green Smoothie

I call this The Ultimate Green Smoothie because not only does it contain a generous helping of dark leafy greens, but also other powerful foods such as nutrient-dense herbs, health-boosting gelatin, and digestion enhancing probiotics. And even with all of this healthy stuff it still tastes so good we all ask for more! **Make sure to use local organic ingredients as much as possible in order to access the nutrients fully, and to avoid ingesting chemicals.

Ingredients:

  • water or water kefir, enough to fill blender 1/3-1/2 full
  • 2 probiotic capsules
  • dark leafy greens, enough to fill blender about 2/3 full (about 1 bunch of kale or 6c spinach)
  • 1 generous handful fresh herbs (we use cilantro, basil, or parsley)
  • 1c pitted dates
  • 2c frozen fruit (we like mangoes and strawberries the best)
  • 2tsp grass-fed collagen hydrolysate

Directions:

Fill blender 1/3-1/2 full of water. If you like thick smoothies use 1/3 water; if you like runnier smoothies, use 1/2 pitcher of water. Open probiotic caps and pour powder into water. Wash greens and herbs thoroughly and pack them down into pitcher until it gets to about 3/4 full. Add dates. Next add fruit, and top with gelatin. Blend until smooth and enjoy!

I hope you enjoy this Ultimate Green Smoothie as much as we do! How do you like to eat your leafy greens?

 

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This website may, from time to time, endorse various products and/or services that we believe will benefit you in your quest for improving your life and health. It may be true that this website and its owner will receive compensation for these endorsements should you choose to purchase said products or services. In fact, in such cases, you should assume that we are an affiliate and will be compensated. Having said that, this website and its owner will only endorse products and/or services in which we strongly believe, or which we have used ourselves. By using this website, you hereby consent to the disclaimer and agree to all terms, policies, and conditions.

 

2-Ingredient Maple-Chocolate Candy (Paleo, Refined Sugar-free)

Have you ever been to a sugarhouse in Vermont? If not, you should go. Why? Because first of all Vermont is beautiful. Peaceful, serene, unplugged. Everyone should spend at least a weekend in Vermont. Seriously. Maybe we’ll add that as part of our health and wellness plan for our clients. As soon as you enter the state you immediately feel your breaths become deeper, your shoulders relax back down to where they’re meant to be, your mood lightens. It’s the perfect place to de-stress, to enjoy nature, and

Maple sugar house between trees with fall foliage at the countryside at Reading, Vermont, USA

to just be. Second, sugarhouses are usually set in some beautiful majestic setting (it is Vermont afterall), often down a windy, hilly path surrounding by mountains, trees, and gorgeous clean air. Third, this is where the most delicious, pure, straight from the trees maple syrup is made. And if you’ve never tried Vermont’s maple syrup, well…you should. It’s the perfect blend of sweet and intense flavor, and you can almost taste the cool air and pure nature that only Vermont can produce.

Okay, okay, maple syrup is delicious. But it’s sugar, right? Actually, maple syrup is an unrefined natural sugar, and like honey it contains higher levels of antioxidants and beneficial nutrients than white table sugar or high fructose corn syrup. It’s a wonderful alternative to refined and processed sugars, which are linked to numerous health problems. In fact, here are some benefits of maple syrup, in case you’re on the fence (I suggest getting down from the fence and going to Vermont, but hey that’s just me):

5 Benefits of Maple Syrup:

  1. Contains nutrients: zinc, potassium, manganese, magnesium, iron and calcium.
  2. Contains antioxidants
  3. Lower glycemic index than refined sugars
  4. Good for the skin: can lower inflammation and dryness
  5. Healthier alternative to artificial sweeteners and refined sugars, thus helping to prevent health problems that these cause
  • Even with these health benefits, maple syrup, just like any sugar, should be consumed in moderation.

In our house, maple syrup and raw honey are the sweeteners of choice when we need to satisfy a sweet tooth. This Easter I decided to think outside the box a little, and instead of more chocolate candies, I decided to make a maple candy. It turned out delicious, and just like the candy we tried in Vermont! It’s pretty easy to make, but make sure you follow the directions as accurately as possible. We no longer use chocolate chips because even the dark chips often contain soy and/or sugar, which we try to avoid. Instead we use our eating evolved chocolate bars and chop them up into chip-sized pieces! Also, you can choose to omit the chocolate chips and you’ll still have a delicious maple candy that can be spooned into candy molds for a cute presentation!

2-Ingredient Maple-Chocolate Candy

  1. In large saucepan, boil maple syrup over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally. Use candy thermometer and continue boiling until it reaches 235 degrees F.
  2. Remove saucepan fro heat and set aside to cool for about 10 minutes, or 175 degrees F.
  3. Once cooled, whisk rapidly until lighter in color, thick and creamy. Quickly stir in chocolate pieces (it’s okay if the chocolate is a little melty; you want to add the chocolate once it’s smooth and somewhat cool, but if you wait too long the mixture will be too hard!)
  4. Pour into candy molds or into an 8X8 pan (or something similar). Cool in refrigerator for a few minutes. Can be stored in airtight container in fridge for up to 3-4 weeks (but I promise it won’t last that long!)

I hope you enjoy this Maple-Chocolate Candy as much as we do, and at some point get to experience Vermont too! What are you’re favorite uses for maple syrup?

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This website may, from time to time, endorse various products and/or services that we believe will benefit you in your quest for improving your life and health. It may be true that this website and its owner will receive compensation for these endorsements should you choose to purchase said products or services. In fact, in such cases, you should assume that we are an affiliate and will be compensated. Having said that, this website and its owner will only endorse products and/or services in which we strongly believe, or which we have used ourselves. By using this website, you hereby consent to the disclaimer and agree to all terms, policies, and conditions.

Instant Pot Chicken Salad (Paleo, Grain-Free, Dairy-Free, Sugar-Free)

Instant Pot Chicken Salad (Paleo, Grain-Free, Dairy-Free, Sugar-Free)

The Instant Pot makes life so much harder! – Said no one, EVER. The Instant Pot is amazing, and I’ll tell you why. It has about a million settings on it, for everything you could possibly need, from stew and chili to yogurt. It boils eggs perfectly, making them a breeze to peel, cooks beef to the perfect level of tenderness, and produces perfectly steamed veggies in a matter of minutes. When we switched from slow-cookers to the Instant Pot, I admit I was a little reluctant. My slow-cooker was my prized possession, giving us warm and wonderful meals week after week, delighting our house with the smell of something yummy cooking. But then Japheth started going on and on about the benefits of pressure cooking, and then he said “it acts as a slow-cooker too”, and I was intrigued. “I’ll give it a try” I said. So I did. And I faced my pressure cooking fears too. Come to find out, pressure cooking with the Instant Pot does not result in fires that destroy the kitchen and home, as I had pictured. I now own 4 Instant Pots, and rave about them so much that I’ve convinced numerous clients and friends to get them too (and they LOVE it).

3 Striking Benefits of Pressure Cooking

If you’re like me, you may be a little averse, or even ignorant to pressure cooking because of preconceived notions based on your mom or grandmom’s pressure cooking fiascos. The truth is that many modern pressure cookers are actually very safe due to built-in safety mechanisms. Here are some benefits of pressure cooking, and why you may want to give it a try!

  1. It’s More Healthy Than Many Other Cooking Methods. Research shows that pressure cooking can actually preserve more nutrients in foods that most other cooking methods. This is because the amount of time to cook food through pressure cooking is much less, and because they actually cook food at relatively low temperatures compared to most methods.
  2. It’s Fast. Pressure cooking can cut down cooking time by as much as 70%. While this is great for us and our busy lives, it also helps preserve the rich flavors of the food.
  3. Saves Energy. Cooking with a pressure cooker means less time using appliances, and the convenience of one-pot meals cuts down on the number of appliances or boiling pots that are needed.



Instant Pot Chicken Salad

So now that you’re sold on the Instant Pot, lets talk food. As I said, my Instant Pot(s) is my go-to for almost everything (except ice cream). This recipe uses the Instant Pot to cook the chicken to absolute perfection, but if you’re still not ready to try this magical vessel, then I’m sure you could use another method to cook he chicken. Just don’t come complaining to me if it’s less than amazing. Anyhoo, the Instant Pot makes cooking the chicken super-easy, and then after that you simple shred and mix and voila! I like to eat this chicken salad with my Spinach-Avocado-Herb Dip, sometimes in a wrap, and sometimes over greens.

Chicken

Dressing

Put your chicken breasts and broth in the Instant Pot and place pressure cook lid on tightly. Make sure valve is set to “sealing”. Press the “Poultry” button, which defaults to 15 minutes.

While the chicken is cooking, you can make the dressing by combining all dressing ingredients in a bowl.

Once chicken is done, simply turn valve to “venting” and open lid (you can let the pot release naturally if you like, it will just take a little longer). Remove the chicken breasts and place in a large bowl. Shred using two forks. It should look like this:

Once shredded to desired consistency, toss with the dressing to make sure all the chicken is coated. It’s delicious warm, if you need to eat it right away (like me), or cold after you refrigerate it. Enjoy!

 

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This website may, from time to time, endorse various products and/or services that we believe will benefit you in your quest for improving your life and health. It may be true that this website and its owner will receive compensation for these endorsements should you choose to purchase said products or services. In fact, in such cases, you should assume that we are an affiliate and will be compensated. Having said that, this website and its owner will only endorse products and/or services in which we strongly believe, or which we have used ourselves. By using this website, you hereby consent to the disclaimer and agree to all terms, policies, and conditions.

Spinach-Avocado-Herb Dip (Paleo, AIP)

Spinach-Avocado-Herb Dip (Paleo, AIP)

Let’s face it: dips are fun. Who doesn’t love dips? They make food fun, and delicious. The word “dip” might even be the reason you’re reading this post. Dips are so much fun that they even make spinach fun.  It’s true. Take this dip for example. Here I’ve paired spinach with avocados (another fun food, by the way) and added some fresh herbs to create a nutrient-rich, anti-inflammatory, power-packed and superfun dip. Serve this at your next gathering and you can’t go wrong. Unless you go fun-overboard, by dancing the Funky Chicken or something weird like that. Then you’ve taken it too far.

Health Benefits

Avocados are not only delicious, but are also packed with health benefits. Read more about the health benefits of avocados in this blog post. Spinach is one of the most nutrient-dense foods you can eat, and the great thing about it is its versatility. Raw or cooked, stand alone or in a pesto, spinach makes for some very yummy and creative dishes. Eat more spinach. Here are a few of the health benefits of spinach to get you going:

  • anti-inflammatory
  • high in anti-oxidants
  • cancer-fighting
  • immunity-boosting
  • detoxifying
  • heart healthy
  • promotes bone health
  • high in vitamins and minerals, including magnesium

Spinach-Avocado-Herb Dip

We’ve been really into avocados lately, and have been big fans of spinach and fresh herbs for years. Smoothies, salads, dips and casseroles, no green dish is safe from us. With my renewed love of avocados, I have found that combining this superfruit with a superveggie like spinach is a match made in heaven. They are delicious together, and your body feels good eating them. Pay attention when you eat this dip – notice how your body responds. For this dip, I used a little fresh cilantro and basil for additional health benefit and of course flavor. And to me, no dip is complete without garlic. Enjoy this over chicken or hamburger, with plantain chips, or in a grain-free tortilla, the options are endless!

Ingredients

  • 6c raw organic spinach, washed
  • 2 organic hass avocados
  • 1c organic basil, washed
  • 1c organic cilantro, washed
  • 1/4 organic yellow onion, rough chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
  • 2T olive oil
  • juice of 1 organic lemon
  • 1/2tsp Himalayan sea salt

Directions

Throw all ingredients except olive oil into food processor and process. Drizzle olive oil into processor while its running. Process until creamy and smooth. Eat immediately or store in fridge for up to two days.

And don’t forget: eat more spinach!

Unbelievable Sunbutter Buckeyes (Paleo, Nut-Free, Refined Sugar-Free)

Unbelievable Sunbutter Buckeyes (Paleo, Nut-Free, Refined Sugar-Free)

If you’ve been following my blog, you probably know that I’m from the south. While I haven’t lived in North Carolina for many years, its true that once a southerner, always a southerner. You don’t hear my accent much, but when I talk to my NC friends or family it all comes out. My husband says he doesn’t even understand everything I say when my accent kicks in – ha! “Whatchall doin'”, “crank the car”, and “I’m fixing’ ta…” are all fair game southern-speak. And my Tarheel blood runs blue and always will. Just like many other parts of the country – and world – as a Southerner, food is a big deal. The southern dishes and candies of my childhood are the inspiration for many of my recipes, and I find it both challenging and fun to bring these old traditions to life in a new, healthier way! I like to re-create these recipes not just for myself but also for my kids, to continue old and joyful traditions. It’s something special when you see your child enjoying something that you enjoyed so much as a child too.

The fruit of the buckeye tree, named because it resembles the eye of a buck deer

Buckeyes were made every year around the holidays in my family, and were and are a favorite! I think it was a recipe passed down from my grandmother, but ask any southerner and they will tell you they have a family recipe for too. Traditionally these are made with a load of confectioner’s sugar (a staple in every southern household), peanut butter, and of course butter. Being paleo, I had to significantly modify the traditional recipe to make these. But no worries – these buckeyes are unbelievably yummy (even yummier in my opinion)! The sunbutter works as a wonderful substitution for the inflammatory peanut butter, and the honey gives it a natural sweetness that’s not overwhelming like confectioner’s sugar. Learn more about the benefits of sunflower seeds here. I use a touch of coconut butter to add a little more structure and texture. These are also as easy to make as they are delicious, and can be whipped up in no time! Simply dip them in chocolate and you have a dessert that no one – southern or not – will resist!

Unbelievable Sunbutter Buckeyes

Sunbutter Balls

Chocolate Mixture

Throw all ball ingredients into food processor and process until a dough forms. Form dough into balls (1/2-inch to 1-inch) and place on parchment paper-lined cookie sheet. Put cookie sheet in refrigerator for about 20 minutes or until they become firm. Melt chcocolate and coconut butter in double boiler. Once melted, dip sunbutter balls into the chocolate (using a toothpick), covering them about 3/4 of the way. Place buckeyes chocolate-side down on parchment paper. Refrigerate until chocolate hardens, then store in airtight container, refrigerated, for up to a week. Of course ours never last that long because they’re gone before I can even say “Unbelievable Sunbutter Buckeyes”!

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This website may, from time to time, endorse various products and/or services that we believe will benefit you in your quest for improving your life and health. It may be true that this website and its owner will receive compensation for these endorsements should you choose to purchase said products or services. In fact, in such cases, you should assume that we are an affiliate and will be compensated. Having said that, this website and its owner will only endorse products and/or services in which we strongly believe, or which we have used ourselves. By using this website, you hereby consent to the disclaimer and agree to all terms, policies, and conditions.

Yoga and Pumpkin Meatballs (Paleo, Gluten-free, Nut-free)

Yoga and Pumpkin Meatballs (Paleo, Gluten-free, Nut-free)

Meatballs are fun. Fun to make, fun to eat, fun to talk about…everybody loves meatballs. Actually that should be the name of a book, or cookbook, or maybe it already is. Kids love meatballs too, especially making them, so anytime I make meatballs I enlist their help. I use the word “help” very loosely here! They love making the dough into balls, hearts, snakes, monsters, and anything else, and then of course getting to eat them when they’re ready. And I use the word “they” very loosely here, because I probably enjoy making monsters more than they do.

Let’s talk about yoga and meatballs for a second. I talk a lot about how to incorporate yoga into everyday life and situations, and this is a great example! Sound crazy? Read on. I may be a little weird, but I find it therapeutic to squish things together and make a yummy concoction. Taking a few minutes to use your senses (touch, smell, sight, and later taste) and be present with the dough can be a very yogic process. Squishing, kneading, and forming balls, using the physical body in conjunction with the calm, quiet mind can soothe the spirit. It’s a great opportunity to connect with the breath and to enjoy the mindfulness that cooking and preparing food promotes. Plus, you’re making something that is healthy, delicious, and good for your body, which makes the process that much more rewarding and fun. Try it, you’ll get it.
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Anyway, these Pumpkin Meatballs are yummy. A warm comfort food on a cool day, an easy snack for on-the-go, or, paired with some roasted veggies or maybe spaghetti squash, a perfect meal for an evening at home. The pumpkin and cinnamon add a little fall flavor, while the honey gives it a subtle sweetness to complement the savory aspect of a traditional meatball. They are super easy to make, which is always a plus in my book. I also love that you can freeze these to enjoy later, or as I do, pull them out when you forgot to make lunch for your husband to take to work!

Pumpkin Meatballs (Paleo, Gluten-free, Nut-free)

Ingredients

  • 2 lb. grass-fed ground beef
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 c fresh parsley, minced
  • 2 T organic pumpkin puree
  • 2 T yellow onion, minced
  • 1 T dried oregano
  • 1T raw local honey
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • salt and pepper, to taste

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix all ingredients together in a large bowl. Get your hands in there and really mix, enjoy the therapeutic benefits! Once everything is well combined, form into 1-2” balls. Place balls on parchment paper lined baking sheet and put into the oven for 20-25 minutes (on the longer end if your meatballs are larger).

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Let me know if you try Yoga and Pumpkin Meatballs, and how it goes for you!

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18 Health Benefits of Avocados and Avocado-Pudding Recipe! (Non-dairy, Paleo)

18 Health Benefits of Avocados and Avocado-Mango Pudding! (Non-dairy, Paleo)

Let’s talk about avocados. You wouldn’t believe the amount of avocados we go through in our house. Seriously. We (and by “we” I mean even the kids) eat them by themselves, on top of salads, and on top of soups. We make recipes, using them in pesto, puddings, ice creams, and of course guacamole. Avocado oil is our oil of choice for most salad dressings and in much of our cooking. We love the creamy texture, the subtle flavor, and most of all how it makes us feel. Avocados provide healthy fat, which when paired with its high nutrient content (i.e. fiber, vitamins B, C, K, and E, potassium, and magnesium) makes them satiating and super-healthy.

Here are some Avocado products that we use and recommend:

18 Health Benefits of Avocados

The health benefits of avocados are numerous, and are backed by loads of scientific research. Here are 18 reasons why these little fruits are so great for us:

  1. They are very nutritious. As I mentioned, avocados are packed with vitamins and minerals, namely vitamin K, folate, Vitamin C, potassium, vitamin B5 and B6, magnesium, vitamin E, vitamin A, copper, zinc, and more. They have a very low glycemic index and are low in saturated fat.
  2. They are high in fiber. Avocados are very high in fiber compared to most other foods, a quarter of which is soluble.
  3. They help lower cholesterol.
  4. They promote better nutrient absorption. Avocados actually increase the amount of nutrients your body can absorb from other plant foods.
  5. They promote eye health. Avocados are high in antioxidants that support eye health and lower the risk of eye problems such as degeneration.
  6. They promote weight loss. Avocados are often recommended when trying to lose weight, as they are high in fiber and healthy fat, thus more satiating.
  7. They are high in protein. Avocados, unlike most fruits, are high in protein and low in sugar.
  8. They promote healthy metabolic functioning. Avocados contain fat-soluble vitamins A, E, and K.
  9. They are easy to eat. We all love foods that are quick to prepare and easy to eat. Avocados fit the bill. Just cut and scoop, and your snack is all set!
  10. They are beneficial in pregnancy. Due to their high levels of folic acids, vitamin K, and vitamin B, avocados are often recommended to women who are pregnant and post-partum.
  11. They promote healthy liver. Avocados help protect the liver in a number of ways.
  12. They are anti-inflammatory. Avocados contain vitamins K and E, which help reduce cellular inflammation.
  13. They provide dental care. Avocados contain antibacterial and antioxidant properties which have the ability to kill bad bacteria in the mouth.
  14. They promote longevity. These superfoods are associated with healthy aging due to a regenerating compound called xanthophyll.
  15. They promote bone health. Avocados are shown to help in lowering the risk of osteoarthritis and osteoporosis.
  16. They heal dry skin. They help soothe chapped lips and cracked skin.
  17. They provide great skin care. Avocado oil is soothing and moisturizing for the skin. It can be used in natural homemade skin care such as body butters, face cream and lip balms. Also, the good fats can help protect the skin and prevent sun damage.
  18. They promote healthy mood and sleep.

As if that list isn’t enough, here is another reason to buy and consume avocados: a delicious and easy Avocado-Mango Pudding recipe! This is a favorite in our house. I can whip it up in under 5 minutes, and it hits the spot when craving something sweet and satiating. The light and fluffy texture makes it fun for the kids too!

Avocado-Mango Pudding Recipe

– 1 ripe organic haas avocado, peeled and pitted
– 1 10-oz bag frozen organic mango chunks
– 1 can full-fat organic coconut milk
– 2 T raw local honey (or more, to taste)

Throw all ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth and fluffy. Eat, and enjoy!

 

 

Affiliate Notice
This website may, from time to time, endorse various products and/or services that we believe will benefit you in your quest for improving your life and health. It may be true that this website and its owner will receive compensation for these endorsements should you choose to purchase said products or services. In fact, in such cases, you should assume that we are an affiliate and will be compensated. Having said that, this website and its owner will only endorse products and/or services in which we strongly believe, or which we have used ourselves. By using this website, you hereby consent to the disclaimer and agree to all terms, policies, and conditions.