Saturday, January 28, 2012

Letting My Hair Down

As some of you may know, I've been growing my hair out for a couple of years. My hair grows fairly quickly and it's quite thick. So I thought it would be a great idea to donate my hair to a cause that would turn it into a wig for someone who had lost their hair due to illness or accident. My friend Rachel suggested a charity called Wigs for Kids, which creates custom cranial prosthesis for children at no cost to the child's family. I couldn't think of a better use for my hair than to give it to a child! So off I went to get my hair cut.

Each wig costs about $1800 in labor and materials to make, not including the hair. I'd like to send as much of that along with my hair donation as possible and need your help to reach that goal. If you are local to me and want to donate, you can give me a check for your donation amount made out to Wigs for Kids. Or if you would like to donate by credit card, I've set up a fundraising page at to raise that money and send it directly to Wigs For Kids. Can you help me reach my fundraising goal of $1800? Thanks!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Eating Paleo on a Budget

piggy bank
Who out there is convinced that it's too expensive to eat Paleo? Go ahead raise those hands; I know you're out there. I'll admit to you that eating meat is more expensive that eating Wonder Bread. But when you add up the prices per ounce of all of that over packaged food you've eaten in the past compared to the nutrition contained within, you may find that what you were eating wasn't really so inexpensive after all. There's a very big push in the Paleo community to only eat pastured-grass-fed-organic-hormone-free meat, eggs, etc. but that can also get very expensive very quickly. And although that meat is better for your body and better for the environment, is it really a must-have or a nice-to-have? What it really comes down to is this: Is it better to eat the Standard American Diet or a Paleo Diet made of commercial meat/eggs and frozen veggies/fruit? I belive the better healthier choice by far is any version of a Paleo/Primal Diet! Frozen veggies are ok! Commercial meat is better than a bagel! So here are some things I do in my house to help keep costs down while eating as well as I can.

1. Plant a garden! Leafy greens are easy to grow and grow in the early spring, late fall and will even grow in your house in the winter with the help of a grow light. Buy a packet of lettuce, chard, kale or spinach seeds, a bag of potting mix and use some plastic containers you probably already have in your garage. One package of seeds will grow hundreds of heads of greens. If you have outdoor space, plant a bigger garden with some squash, cukes, green beans and cabbage. All are easy to grow and product copious amounts of veggies!

2. Shop the sales and stock up! When you see good meat on sale, buy as much as you can, divide it into reasonable portions and freeze it until you need it. If you can buy enough, it may last you until the next sale. When frozen veggies are on sale, buy a lot!

3. Buy meat in bulk if you can! I buy my grass-fed beef from a local rancher on the hoof. I will buy 1/2 a cow at a time and share the cost with friends. We all get a great price and healthy meat. Buying from a rancher also gives you the option for healthy organ meats that they sometimes throw in free of charge.

4. Buy veggies and fruits in bulk at the end of the season! Some farmers markets and local farms will lower the prices on produce at the end of the season. You may be able to get many pounds of produce at a reduced price for canning, saucing or freezing.

5. Keep a few chickens in the backyard! Keeping a few backyard laying hens can be a good way to ensure that the eggs you eat are as healthy as they can be. And when the hens get too old to lay, you can eat them as stewing hens knowing that the meat is also healthy.

Here are a few more articles on how to eat healthy food at reasonable prices.

Robb Wolf: Paleo isn't expensive

Paleo on a Budget

Mark's Daily Apple: Eating Well on a Budget

Monday, January 16, 2012

It's My Birthday!

Yesterday was my birthday! For the last few years my husband and kids have made and decorated a birthday cake for me on my special day. This year I requested a Paleo birthday cake. I was considering a carrot cake, as I LOVE carrot cake, but I thought the kids would not really want to share carrot cake with me. And I wasn't looking for food battles on my birthday. So I opted for dark chocolate, which is a winner with the whole family. This cake recipe was adapted from The Food Lovers Primal Palate and was perfect. The cake is made with coconut flour, and the icing is made with coconut oil, so it definitely has a coconut flavor, which I love. Then the kids decorated it with dark chocolate chips and candy sprinkles (I ate the chips, they ate the sprinkles. ) To top it all off, we got the first significant snow of the season yesterday, just for me! :)

Dark Chocolate Cake with Icing
Cake Ingredients:
  • 10 eggs
  • 1/2 C honey
  • 1/2 C maple syrup
  • 1/4 C unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 t salt
  • 1 T vanilla extract
  • 1 C coconut oil - melted
  • 3/4 C coconut flour, sifted
  • 1 t baking soda
  1. Preheat oven to 325.
  2. In small bowl combine coconut flour, cocoa powder, salt, and baking soda.
  3. In a large bowl blend with a hand mixer combine eggs, coconut oil, honey, syrup, and vanilla.
  4. Add dry ingredients to wet and continue to blend.
  5. Grease two 9" round baking pans.
  6. Pour batter into (2) 9" round baking pans. Divide evenly.
  7. Bake for 35-40 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.
Paleo Chocolate Icing
Icing Ingredients:
  • 3/4 C Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips
  • 1/4 C Dark Chocolate chips
  • 1/2 C coconut oil
Icing Process:
  1. In a double boiler over very low heat, melt chocolate chips and mix with oil.
  2. Cool in freezer about 15 min or until mixture seems to be not as liquid.
  3. Blend with a hand mixer until fluffy

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Berry Smoothie/Pudding

The other day I felt like making myself a smoothie for lunch. So I got out the frozen berry mix, some coconut milk and some almond butter, mixed it up in the blender, then realized it wasn't quite sweet enough for me. So I added some dried plums to the blender and pureed it again. The result was just the right flavor but it was very thick...too thick to pour into a glass and drink. So I put it into a bowl and ate it with a spoon. I suppose you could add more coconut milk or water to make it more of a smoothie consistency, but I liked the pudding texture of it. Made me feel like I was eating dessert. The kids were split on whether it was a hit or not. The Girl love it and asked for more, but The Boy wasn't quite sure and gave his bowl to The Girl to finish after eating a couple of bites. Eh, 50% isn't so bad! :) And with only one of the kids eating it when I make it, that means there's more left over for me.

Berry Smoothie/Pudding
1.5 C Frozen Berries (mine had blue, black and raspberries)
3 T Almond Butter
1 Can Full Fat Coconut Milk
10 Dried Plums

Blend all ingredients in a blender until smooth.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Taming the Office Mess

Hi, my name is Angie, and I have a messy office. I'm pretty good about keeping the rest of the house (except the kids' playroom) fairly neat and tidy, but my office is always a mess. I'm not a fan of clutter and feel like my brain gets cluttered when my house is cluttered, but up until now I've not been able to figure out a way to tame the office mess.

Yesterday I got a bee in my bonnet and headed to Target for some de-cluttering supplies. Back at home with shelving in hand, I rearranged my office, threw out a lot of stuff I just don't need anymore and hid the clutter in these neat little fabric cubes. I dug out a couple of decorative baskets and buckets I had holding other junk and re-purposed them as office junk holders. :) One fabric bin is still empty, so I've got some expansion possibilities if more office junk appears. I think it turned out quite nice...and I still know where everything is!

Shelving cost: $19.99 for shelving unit + $7 each for the fabric bins = $48


(actually about 1/4 of the way through. I'd already removed the non-working computer from the corner and moved my sewing machine and chair out of the way)


Monday, January 9, 2012

Beef and Cabbage Crockpot Stew

This week I received an eggplant in my veggie box. I have no idea how to cook an eggplant. But on that same day I noticed a recipe on the Primal Recipe Archive for Ethiopian Stew that included eggplant. I didn't have most of the ingredients for that stew, but it sparked the idea of making a stew with that eggplant and other ingredients I had on hand. As it turned out, the eggplant didn't play a starring role in the stew and you could probably leave it out entirely without noticing. But since it was the ingredient that inspired the entire meal, I thought it deserved a mention. The stew, however, ended up tasting quite hearty and will make a nice warm-up dinner several nights this week.

Beef and Cabbage Crock pot Stew
1 lb grass-fed ground beef
1 large eggplant peeled and cubed
1 large onion diced
3-4 carrots sliced
1 small head of cabbage (I used red cabbage) chopped
4 C chicken stock or other stock (veggie, beef, chicken, venison, etc. are all good choices)
3 C Water
1 can or tetrapak diced tomatoes
1 T minced garlic
1 t Turmeric
1/2 t cinnamon
1/2 t ground ginger
1/4 C chopped fresh basil
1/4 C chopped fresh chives
2 T red wine vinegar
2 t cumin
2 t salt to taste
1 t black pepper to taste

In a medium skillet (I prefer cast iron), brown ground beef then put it in a crock pot. Brown diced onions then add to crock pot with meat. To the crock pot, add the peeled and cubed eggplant, sliced carrots, chopped cabbage, tomatoes, stock, water, garlic, turmeric, cinnamon, and ginger. Turn crock pot to high and cook for about 4 hours (6-8 hours on low). About 30 minutes before serving, stir in the basil, chives, vinegar, cumin, salt and pepper to stew. Continue cooking on low for an additional 30 minutes. Serve and enjoy!

Sunday, January 1, 2012

A week of Paleo/Primal Breakfasts, Lunches, Dinners and Snacks

OK, I really don't like making meal plans. I can't imagine what I might want to make throughout the week while sitting on my couch on Sunday afternoon. I have a freezer stocked with meat and get a veggie box delivered on Thursday. Sometimes they substitute different items in my box; so I don't know what will be in it for certain until it arrives. That makes the meal planning a little hard. But really those are all just excuses because ultimately I don't make meal plans because that's just not the way I work. It's counter to my personality, I think. BUT, I can make a retroactive meal plan; I can tell you what I ate LAST week rather than what I plan to eat NEXT week. That way you can get an idea of what a week of Paleo/Primal eating might look like if you're having a problem coming up with ideas.  Keep in mind that I eat Primal, so there are some dairy items thrown in here. If you don't eat dairy, just omit those. Here ya go!

Week of Breakfasts
Saturday: Paleo/Primal Pancakes (make extra for eating throughout the week, Freezes well)
Paleo/Primal Porridge (make extra for eating throughout the week)
Monday: Banana, 3 Eggs with cottage cheese
Tuesday: Orange, Paleo Porridge
Wednesday: Grapefruit, Breakfast sausage
Thursday: Pear, 2 primal pancakes without toppings
Smoothie, 3 eggs

Week of Lunches
Monday: leftover Beef Tarragon Soup from dinner
Tuesday: Natural sausage, bottled sauerkraut
Wednesday: leftover Spaghetti squash Bolognese from dinner
Thursday: 3 egg omelet with sauteed greens and sun dried tomatoes
Friday: Lunch meat, cheese, mustard wrapped rolled up in lettuce or chard
Saturday: Eat out (most salads without dressing or lettuce wrapped burgers are good choices)
Sunday: Leftovers from eating out Saturday and from the week's dinners.

Week of Dinners
Pork Shoulder with Spinach and Onions with Cauliflower Rice
Sunday: Beef Tarragon Soup
Monday: Salmon Fillet, Sweet Potato Fries, Steamed Broccoli
Spaghetti Squash Bolognese, Salad with homemade vinaigrette
Balsamic Chicken and Onions, Salad
Braised Beef, Sweet Potatoes with Chive Butter, Salad
Seafood Skillet, Salad

Other Lunch or Dinner choices:

Natural Sausage with browned peppers and onions, salad
Chicken soup

Baked Talapia, sesame oil broccoli and mushrooms, sesame cucumbers
Baked Chicken Legs, sauteed greens and onions, Steamed Sweet Potatoes or fries
Jambalaya, Salad

Butternut Squash Soup

Pear/other fruit slices wrapped with prosciutto
Nut and raisin mix
Beef Jerkey Pear /apple slices dipped in almond butter

Veggies with guacamole - baby carrots, cuke slices, broccoli


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