Food. Fun. Favorite Things.

RX Bars

I was technically homeless when I started my Paleo-ish lifestyle. I spent my first two weeks at my daughter’s while she was in England, but moved into my car when she came home. I was unwilling to undo everything I’d worked for over the previous two weeks because I didn’t have a kitchen, so I started to think about portability, things that keep and were cheap.

I had actually discovered RX Bars when I was an Uber/Lyft driver. I would be in my car 15 hours a day, and, depending on how the day went, I didn’t necessarily have time to stop and eat. I would pick up these bars at a 7-11 that sold them 2 for $5, and I’d buy $20 of them at a time.

I don’t usually like nutrition bars, but I am really impressed with these. They are just what they say on the front of the package. The egg gives them a little more staying power than, say, a Lära Bar, which is another favorite of mine, and they are more of a meal bar than just something to deal with my sweet tooth. They can be a little pricey — a box of 4 is $6.50 at Walmart, more at other stores —but they are so worth it, particularly when I’m on the road. They come in some great flavors: chocolate chip, chocolate sea salt, coffee, mixed berry, blueberry, chocolate coconut, and, even though they aren’t paleo because of the peanuts, peanut butter and peanut butter chocolate.

Simon and Garfunkel Chicken

Okay, I will admit that this came of my being silly. Why do I call it Simon and Garfunkel Chicken? Think about it. But not too hard.

1 chicken breast, sliced
1/4 cup olive oil
2 teaspoons parsley
1/2 teaspoon ground sage
1/2 teaspoon rosemary, needles crushed
1/2 teaspoon ground thyme
1 1/2 teaspoons of lemon juice

1. Combine olive oil, herbs and lemon juice in a small mixing bowl and stir well to combine.

2. Place chicken in bowl and coat with mixture.

3. Fry over medium heat until cooked. Time will depend on the size of the slices.

​4. Enjoy.

This is a very “summery” dish, and I usually sauté zucchini to go with it and have this lunch with an orange.

Izzy

I’m not going to lie — this is a big one for me.

I was a soda drinker. Usually Coke and then it was Cherry Coke if I could get my hands on it. I occasionally strayed to other flavors, Orange Fanta if I didn’t want the caffeine, Sprite if my stomach was upset and various flavors of Mt. Dew for my migraines.

Now that I’m Paleo, I don’t really miss the soda…except sometimes. On a hot day, I will miss the Coke. If I’m having a burger or pizza, I miss the soda. And I only miss it for one reason.

I’m totally addicted to the carbonation.

Okay, not totally addicted. I go without more days than not. But there are times I have this thirst that jut won’t be quenched by water or coffee.

Enter Izze.

Izzes are just fruit juice and carbonated water. Yep, that’s it. They aren’t dry like some sparkling waters. They are just as soda as you can get, but they fit a Paleo diet.

So, if I want something light, like Fanta, I drink a Clementine Izze. Something tart? There’s Grapefruit Izze. If I’m really wanting a Coke, I’ll drink a Blackberry Izze.

They’re a little on the pricy side, but so worth it when you want to stay on plan. They come in a four-pack, but I have seen larger bottles (usually at Panda Express) and smaller cans. They’re absolutely perfect for that carbonation itch.

Pumpkin Sausage Kale Soup

Mom was looking for a recipe to finish up a can of pumpkin puree that she’d just taken a spoonful out of. We look for recipes to enhance not only our diet, but that of my younger sister who is on a very restrictive diet for medical reasons. While surfing around the internet, Mom found Denise Wright’s recipe (you can find the original here). She made a few changes, and we ended up with a great soup that would make a fantastic lunch but is also light enough for a late-night bowl of something before bedtime after working a long, late shift (Yes, I know. Oddly specific.). Here’s our version:

1 Tablespoon olive oil
1 lb. sweet Italian sausage, casings off. (we used a turkey sausage)
​15 oz. can of pure pumpkin puree (NOT pie filling)
1 red bell pepper, chopped
2 cups baby kale, chopped (or spinach)
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
2-3 cups coconut milk, for preferred consistency
pinch of cayenne
1 Tablespoon butter

1. In a soup pot, add olive oil and brown sausage, breaking it into bite-sized pieces.

2. Add peppers, sea salt and pepper and sauté for a few minutes.

3. Add pumpkin, coconut milk, and greens (kale or spinach) and continue cooking for 5 minutes.

4. Stir in butter and cayenne to taste.

5. Enjoy.

We found that the cayenne intensifies as the soup sits, so the nearly imperceptible amount when we first tasted it was much more intense when I came in late and nuked a bowl for dinner. It’s something to keep in mind when adding the cayenne. Also, Mom isn’t much for the Middle Eastern spices, but I love Middle Eastern food, and I think this recipe would be incredible with some cumin, turmeric and ginger.

Tessamaes

I eat a lot of salads as part of my Paleo diet, but, it generally goes without saying that salad dressings are NOT on plan. Many are full of sugars and other gunk that is unnecessary. The problem is that I hate to eat a salad without at least a little dressing. Not to mention I use some dressings as marinades and to mix things like egg salad and tuna.

I found Tessamae’s dressings in the produce department of my local Walmart. They’re organic and yummy and come in several great flavors that keep me from missing regular salad dressing too much. I will admit that I’m not that wild about the Ranch dressing, not because it doesn’t taste good — it does! — but because it’s more like a dill dip than a Ranch dressing.

The Honey Vinaigrette is a staple in my fridge. It gets drizzled on salads, meats and scrambles or mixed into egg salads, caprese salads and tuna. The Lemon Garlic makes a great piccata marinade as well as dresses a nice summer salad.

I haven’t had a chance to check out all the flavors. It seems like every store I walk into has something different, I just have to start buying more of them and trying them. But the ones I do buy are essential to my everyday meal plan.

Chocolate Cake

I celebrated my last birthday with Kat (friend and adopted sister), Mom, and my two aunts in California. There was talk about what kind of cake Kat and I might want for our birthday, and Paleo didn’t really cross my  mind. I will have an occasion non-Paleo treat, but, for the most part, I try to to keep to plan. There are times, though, when it’s just not practical, and impromptu trips to California for birthday pedicures is one of those times…usually. Before we left on the trip, I found this cake recipe, and Mom tweaked it a tad. The recipe is from a site called My Heart Beets, and you can find the original recipe here. This cake is a very decadent, heavy cake in the European style, and rich, but so very good.

Cake
1 cup almond flour
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1/4 cup sifted coconut powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup maple syrup
1/2 cup butter, melted
4 eggs, room temperature
1/2 cup dark chocolate chunks

Chocolate Frosting
5 ounces (1/2 packages of dark chocolate chunks)
4 tablespoons of butter
1 teaspoon maple syrup, to taste

Cake directions
1.. In a small bowl combine the dry ingredients (almond foul, cocoa, coconut flour, baking soda and salt)

2. Add the maple syrup, melted butter and mix well.

3. Add eggs and mix well

4. Stir in the chocolate chunks. Spoon into a 10″ pan greased with coconut oil

5. Bake at 350 for 35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

6. Remove the cake from the oven and place it on a wire rack to cool.

Chocolate frosting
1. Melt chocolate in the microwave.

2. Mix in butter and maple syrup. Mix until smooth

3. Allow frosting to cool slightly, then pour over cake.

4. Enjoy.

Honey Sticks

The first time I saw these, I was visiting a bug house with my kids. There were several different flavors, and the honey came from the bees kept by the organization that ran the bug house (Ok, Butterfly Pavilion, but they definitely had more than just butterflies). As my kids got older, and we didn’t go on as many outings, I kind of forgot these existed unless I happened upon them somewhere else, or one of the kids would bring me one because they remembered I liked them.

If you’re counting calories, be aware that these are not low-cal. They are, however, a naturally low-glycemic pick-me-up or a quick taste of wholesome sweetness during in a moment of need. Mom has a cup full of them sitting on a hutch in her kitchen, and I just snag one on occasion when I need a little something but I’m not really hungry.

The sticks we have are lime, peppermint and cinnamon, because that’s apparently the only kind that WinCo carries, but, over the years, I have also had huckleberry, orange, strawberry, mango, cherry and grape. I do occasionally pick one up that’s unflavored, and different types of flower can influence the taste and texture of the honey as well. They’re easy to pack along, and the plastic tubing keeps it from leaking all over your purse or backpack.

Paleo Banana Bread

Mom and I find a lot of good recipes, but  the ones we really love are those you could  serve to a non-Paleo person without warning them, and they wouldn’t know the difference between the Paleo and the non-Paleo.  It was really  incredible to find a banana bread that we could swap for grain-filled bread without being sad about it. To be frank, I didn’t think it was possible. I’ve had gluten-free banana bread before, vegan and therefore Paleo, and I’ve not liked it. The same goes for cookies and cakes. So, I’m always a little nervous when we try something from those categories.

Just like the chocolate cake and the chocolate chip cookies you’ll find among these recipes, this banana bread is fantastic. You’d never know anything was “alternative” in it. ​Mom found the recipe on a site called Paleo Running Mama, and you can find the original, un-tweaked recipe here.

4 small to medium overripe bananas, mashed well
4 large eggs at room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla
¼ cup coconut oil, melted and cooled to almost room temperature
1 ¾ cups almond flour
½ cup tapioca flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon fine grain sea salt
¼ cup chopped pecans
¼ cup mini chocolate chips

1. Whisk together dry ingredients and set aside

2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line a medium loaf pan with parchment

3. In a large bowl, mix together the eggs and mashed bananas. Add the vanilla and coconut oil and combine well.

4. Slowly stir in dry ingredients. Do not use an electric mixer. Mixing too well can cause the bread not to rise. Moisten until no flour is visible

5. Stir in pecans and chocolate chips

6. Transfer batter to parchment-lined loaf pan and bake for 60 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in them middle of the loaf comes out clean. Place pan on cooling rack and leave bread in pan until it is almost completely cooled. While bread is still warm to the touch, tip it out upside down onto the rack and remove the parchment. Slice when cooled.

7. Enjoy.

This bread will be very moist, particularly toward the middle. These slices are wonderful pan-fried and served hot with toppings. The bread can be stored at room temperatures for twenty-four hours, but should be refrigerated if it lasts any longer than that.

Bolthouse Farms

When I first discovered Boathouse Farms, I was drinking their Mocha Cappuccino. It was several years ago, before I went Paleo and before I knew I was allergic to milk. Along the line, though, I started drinking these smoothies.

These are great. They’re perfectly Paleo and just handy. They start cold and stay cold, and you can find them in the produce department of most grocery stores. When I was homeless, I would walk into a Walmart, buy two hard-boiled eggs, and one of these bottles of smoothies, and it was all I needed for breakfast.

Berry Boost is probably my favorite, but there’s also a blueberry-based juice, strawberry banana, and mango. Their C-Boost is also excellent, and, since finding them, I’ve discovered I like drinking carrot juice.

I don’t have to worry about added sugars, additives, or any other nasty stir-ins. It’s just good, pure juice.

Blueberry Cobbler

I thought one of the best recipes we ever found was the Raspberry Peach Crumble, but Mom is less of a fan of crumbles than she is of cobblers, and we were hoping to find a recipe we would like. I stumbled upon one by the same gal who make the crumble, and the original recipe can be found here.

We didn’t have any fresh berries on hand, so we used frozen. I would encourage you to just use fresh berries unless you can figure out how much more arrowroot to add in to help set the extra juices produced by frozen berries. While ours didn’t quite set up the way we wanted it to, it was just delicious.

Biscuit
1 cup sifted almond flour
1/2 cup tapioca flour
2 Tablespoons coconut flour
2 teaspoons maple syrup
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
3 Tablespoons butter, cubed and cold
1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 egg

Filling
4 cups blueberries
4 cups huckleberries
1 Tablespoon lemon zest
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon found cinnamon
4 Tablespoons arrowroot
1/3 cup maple syrup
Pinch of salt

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees

2. Make biscuits:
a. In a bowl stir together dry ingredients. Add in cold cubed butter and, using a pastry cutter or your fingers, break up the butter into the flour mixture until it is in small pieces.
b. Add in applesauce and egg and mix to completely combine. Using your hands, roll dough in to balls and then pat them into a biscuit shape about 2 1/2 inches in diameter and set aside.

3. In a large bowl, mix together the blueberries and the huckleberries, the lemon zest, lemon juice, arrowroot and syrup until well combined and pour into a 9×13 inch pan.

4. Top berries with the biscuits.

5. Cover lightly with foil and bake 20 minutes. remove foil and bake for an addition 20 minutes. Serve warm.

​6. Enjoy.