Thursday, January 31, 2013

Paleo Bread Round-up

Which grain-based food do you think most people miss when starting a Paleo lifestyle? I missed cereal more than anything else, but apparently the majority of people miss BREAD! I can see why. Sandwiches are the usual lunch food for a lot of folks, small and large alike. Bread is the starter at a lot of restaurants and who doesn't love toast for breakfast? So, do you have to go bread-free when you start eating Paleo? Most certainly not! When just beginning to eat Paleo foods, you may want to recreate some of your grain-based comfort foods to make the transition easier.

Many of the grain free bread recipes I found use almond flour as the base, but I did find a few that were nut free. Also, you can substitute sunflower seed flour for almond flour cup for cup, but keep in mind that sunflower seeds will turn green when mixed with baking soda…tastes the same, but the bread will have a greenish color.

When making re-creations of grain based foods you may want to keep in mind the words of the Paleo Mom "I think recipes like this are great for kids, athletes, and very healthy individuals who can handle more carbohydrates (like those in tapioca and arrowroot flours) and have no reason to steer clear of almonds (which have a high omega-6 and phytic acid content). Think of this as a special treat rather than a staple."

Nut based breads

Northwest Cavegirl's yeast-free Sandwich bread - almond and coconut flour

Elana's yeast-free bread with almond and coconut flour

Paleo Mom's Almond flour yeast bread

Urban Poser's Sourdough bread

Urban Poser's Flatbread with cashew cheese

Health extremist's Almond and coconut flour bread - yeast free
Almond Flour Paleo Bread Recipe

Coconut flour based bread

Real Sustenance's Grain, egg, yeast and nut free flat bread

Paleo Mom's Grain and nut free yeast bread

Monday, January 21, 2013

Paleo Girl Scout Cookies

It's Girl Scout Cookie time! I love Girl Scouts and its motto of "Building Girls of Courage, Confidence and Character". I want my daughter to grow up to just that! And if she learns outdoor skills, teamwork and some financial sense along the way, all the better! Selling Girl Scout cookies is a way for girls and their troops to learn that financial sense while building self-confidence through the sales process. The cookies are also quite yummy...but filled with sugar and gluten (when will Girl Scouts make a gluten-free version to sell?!?). There are lots of little girls out there who would love to be able to share in the wonder that is Girl Scout Cookie time by also eating some, but due to allergy or otherwise can't eat them. Here are several links to sites who have created gluten-free versions of these timeless classics. If you have gluten-sensitive girls in your troop or family, think about making them some of these so they can feel the Girl Scout Cookie thrill as well!

paleo samoas girl scout cookie recipe

Thin mints


Sunday, January 20, 2013

What's for Breakfast?

Breakfast is probably one of the hardest meals to figure out for new-to-Paleo eaters, understandably so! Breakfast in this country usually consists of cereal, granola, bagels, pastries, toast, oatmeal and other such sugary grain-filled foods. What do I eat if I'm not eating grains? What else is there?

I've been hearing from even non-Paleo eaters lately, that they've been adding more protein to the start of their day with great success. Especially children, can benefit from a protein-rich breakfast rather than a sugar-filled one. Children with high protein breakfasts tend to have better concentration at school and less behavioral problems. And that makes sense, right? Filling our bodies with sugar before we try to go to school or work and think and get along with others just doesn't make much sense really. Also, considering that we eat breakfast 4-6 hours before lunch, having protein as a major part of that breakfast will keep us full longer than carbs will. Win-win!

So, now we're all convinced that protein is the way to go for breakfast foods, but what is there to eat other than eggs? Here's a list of my top 10 favorite breakfasts, in no particular order. What's your favorite breakfast food?

  1. Fried Eggs with olives and a side of sautéed greens (time to make: 10 minutes)
  2. Paleo pancakes (time to make: 30 minutes, but I usually have leftovers from the weekend in the fridge)
  3. Trail mix cereal - a few handfuls of nuts, a few prunes and almond milk (time to make: 5 minutes)
  4. Dinner leftovers (time to make: 2 minutes in the microwave)
  5. Muffins or scones (time to make: 45 minutes, make over the weekend and eat throughout the week)
  6. Paleo porridge (time to make: 20 minutes, make over the weekend and eat throughout the week)
  7. Pre-cooked bacon and fruit (time to make: 3 minutes in the toaster oven)
  8. Smoothie with banana, almond milk and almond butter (time to make: 5 minutes)
  9. Almond butter dipped apple slices (time to make: 5 minutes)
  10. Boiled eggs and fruit (time to make: 15 minutes, make over the weekend and eat throughout the week)

Friday, January 11, 2013

The Chicken Coop Remodel

We've been keeping chickens for about 6 years, has it really been that long?!? We began by buying 6 laying hens from a farm in southern Washington then moved on to brooding our own chicks. The largest number we ever had at one time was 60 chickens including chicks and full grown birds (we sold a few of the chicks and slaughtered some of the grown roosters shortly after). Right now we have about 25 (mostly old hens and a few chicks), which is probably more than we really want to have. It's nice to have a large supply of eggs coming out of the hen house every day, but now our chickens are old and not laying like we would like. And we haven't replaced them with new chicks like we should have. So we have a dozen plus chickens eating feed and producing nothing while the rest are still too young to lay. Yesterday we got 1 egg...yes, you heard that correctly, 1 egg...from 25 chickens. How pathetic is that? So we have a plan to revitalize our hen house and reduce the size of the flock in the process.

 (this is the original coop before paint)

When we started keeping chickens we built a cute little red hen house that is perfectly sized for about a dozen chickens...then we got more chickens and outgrew that cute little hen house. It got pushed aside to use as a brooder and we bought a 8x10 metal shed to use as a coop and expanded their run space to be a good portion of the back yard. That shed was plenty big enough to for our largest flock, but feeding, watering and egg gathering got to be a messy production after almost no time at all. All of those things lived inside the metal shed with the chickens, which means they got covered in chicken droppings, mud and such. Hubby's morning routine of feeding and watering the chickens got messier and messier until he was ready to throw in the towel and throw out the chickens. So I got to work on a plan to remodel our original cute little coop into something easier to use and much less messy, and since our goal is to reduce the flock down to about a dozen chickens again, the size is perfect. After remodeling and adding a nice sized outside enclosure it could probably house closer to 20, but I don't really think we want that many anymore.

The original coop had a few problems that I planned to address this time around.
  1. It had no indoor space for feed - the feed usually sat outside in the run which made it hard to reach and it often got wet even though we had a large roof overhang. 
  2. The egg boxes sat on the floor inside the coop under the roosts and often got pooped on from above.
  3. The coop sat on the ground and made a perfect place for rodents to burrow under to make their homes. With the ready supply of food just above, they had it made.
  4. The large door on one side of the coop that was supposed to be used to clean the floor and add/remove chickens when necessary wasn't large enough and was hard to get into and out of easily.
To remedy these problems I made some modifications to the coop design.
  1. We put the whole thing up on stilts so it wasn't sitting on the ground. The new site was on a slope, so hubby had to do some work to get it level, but he made it happen.
  2. I wanted a few additions built onto the original structure. We added a bump-out to house the food and water and doors on the outside of it to easily refill the containers each day without having to step in any mess. This bump-out also puts the food and water out away from the roosts so it doesn't get pooped on at night either. And we added another bump-out with 3 egg boxes for laying. These have doors on the outside as well for retrieving eggs.
  3. We also took off one whole wall and replaced it with double doors that open completely to easily clean the coop and rearrange the chickens when necessary.
  4. The roof was having some water seepage issues that Hubby discovered when he removed the tarp that was covering it. So he put a shingle roof over the top and over both additions. So far the inside is staying nice and dry. 
  5. Lastly, we cut a small chicken-sized hole in the floor of the coop and wrapped the stilts in chicken wire so the birds have a place to scratch at the ground and walk around outside while still protected from the numerous wild animals we have walking around our back yard. Eventually we'll put up some more fencing to make a larger enclosure for them to walk around outside, but while snow's on the ground they aren't really interested in going outside anyway.

Bump-out to the right is for food and water. One to the left is for eggs. Notice the nice roofing job on all horizontal surfaces!

New front door that opens completely on both sides. Everything needs a red coat of paint, but otherwise it's pretty well finished.

"Chicks" in their new home. Soon to be joined by a few select old ladies. Not sure if you can see it in this picture, but we put hot pink zip ties on the legs of these gals. When it comes time to eat the old ones we need to know which ones really are old. If we put a different color band on the legs of the chicks each year we can keep track.

Girls going for a walk under the coop. I put a couple of roosts down there as well, but I'm not sure they are using them. 
So far, it seems this newly remodeled coop is working pretty well. The chickens drop down to their outside space to peck around, and they sleep up on their warm dry roosts every night. The real test of how user-friendly the coop is will be when we tell the kids they are now in charge of the food and water refilling and the egg gathering. If they can manage to do all of those things without getting messy, then we will know we've succeeded!

Paleo Doughnut Round-up

My daughter got a doughnut maker for christmas this year. She loves baking and all things iced, sprinkled and whipped. What better gift than a doughnut maker? She loved it and wanted to start making doughnuts right away. The instruction book in the box had recipes for "standard" doughnuts which were wheat and refined sugar based. My kids aren't 100% paleo, but I try to give them real food to eat. So, when she asked to make doughnuts with her new toy, I found her some grain-free alternatives to try. So far we've made the Urban Poser's Gingerbread doughnuts and Healthful Pursuit's Caramel Apple Doughnuts. Both were wonderful! Here is a pretty long list of other Paleo Doughnuts that sound amazing. The Girl and I look forward to trying them all eventually!

Spunky Coconut vanilla or chocolate doughnuts

Urban poser gingerbread doughnuts

Urban Poser lemon poppyseed doughnuts

Real Sustenance Chocolate Peppermint Doughnuts
Post image for Grain Free Chocolate- Peppermint Cake Donuts.

Against All Grain Pumpkin Spice Doughnuts

Healthful Pursuit Caramel Apple Doughnut

Thursday, January 10, 2013

A New Year and a Better You...and Yoga

Happy New Year to all of you out there! A new year often means a new commitment to health and well being for some. If that's the case for you, or if your commitment to health lasts all year long, I encourage you to think about new ways to add health to your life. Maybe eat more vegetables and less sweets, maybe take up a new exercise like walking or yoga, maybe add some vital supplements to your regime like fish oil and vitamin D or maybe take a good hard look at what medications and supplements you already take and do some research into them to see if they still make sense for you. We are all unique beings and there is not one right answer for everyone. But when we take an interest in our health, do research into the best way to improve it rather than blindly following the instructions of others, we can then know we've done our best and hopefully will see the positive results from that.

I wish you good food, happiness and good health in 2013 and beyond!

To that end I wanted to share the new Yoga Yak video I've been using lately. This one is a few minutes shorter than the other 2, but is just as invigorating.


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