Food. Fun. Favorite Things.

Nobody’s Perfect

As I write this, I’ve got a fork in one hand, and I’m wolfing down the most beautiful pumpkin mousse cake. Paleo? I think not! In fact, I know not. 

So, why am I eating it? Mostly because I just wanted it, but it was a last minute convenience. And because the only person I have to answer to is myself. 

Thanksgiving kind of threw me for a loop, and I’m slow in getting back into the swing of things. Two weeks living at the hotel didn’t do me any favors, but I didn’t even try for Thanksgiving. I’m regretting it, and I’ll get back on track over the next week. 

What I don’t have to worry about next week is a food coach or weigh in where someone is going to ask for an account of what I did wrong. I know what I’m doing wrong, and, yes, I have to fix it. But the fact is, I’m fixing it because I WANT TO, not because I’m afraid of what someone else is going to say to me. 

One of the things that is important is that I don’t look at my Paleo lifestyle as a “diet.” I am not going to reach a goal and then go on some maintenance program that ensures I don’t gain my weight back. I’ve actually gained 15 lbs. over the past month and a half. Yeah, it sucks, but I know what I need to keep that weight off. I know what I need to do keep my arthritis from bothering me, to keep my blood sugar down. But, I’m not perfect. I’m going to have those day (weeks, months) when I just don’t do as well as I should. 

I haven’t fallen off of a diet. I’ve only let myself down. I will pull myself back up. What is important, though, is that I realize I’m not perfect and that I don’t beat myself up over it. If I did that, I might be able to convince myself that I can’t get back on plan. I answer to myself, and I have learned that I need to be my own life coach, not my own critic. 

A Practically Paleo Life is for everyone, but it is especially for those who know they’re going to fall down. There is no judgement here. We’re all human, and there is nothing on earth more imperfect than that. 

Excuse me, now, though, while I finish my cake. 

Silk Dark Chocolate Almond Milk

Once upon a time I ate several small meals over the course of the day because that’s what my schedule allowed or even demanded. A few bites here and there between the schedules of two full-time jobs, and I was good. A lot of my meals tended to be the same things every day, and many of the items under the “Favorite Things” tab helped me through the day. One of my end of day favorites was a single-sized dark chocolate almond milk by Silk and a banana.

I’m not a huge almond milk fan. Not to just drink it, at any rate. I will cook with it, have it as ice cream, etc., but I will never just sit and have a glass or cup of milk. Unless it’s the chocolate stuff. I’m picky that way.

I like this particular product because it tastes like the cow-made stuff and have a good regular texture rather than being watery. I occasionally get a little bit of a craving for something “creamy,” and this is something that is a great substitute for a cup of two-percent milk and too many scoops of Quick chocolate powder.

The single-sized servings do not have to be refrigerated, which makes it convenient to take with me on trips or chores. It looks like a little carton of kid’s milk, complete with straw, so drinking it is easy. They can be pricy — nearly seven dollars for six servings — but all almond milk tends to be a little pricy. These little servings, though, especially chilled, feel like a treat. Yes, they have a little sugar in them, but really, if you’re Paleo, you’re not cheating when you drink them. It just feels like it.

Paleo Apple Pumpkin Butter

I love pumpkin. No, I really love pumpkin. I am not one of those fall-weather pumpkin spice junkies who dress in brown and beige while running off to Starbucks at the drop of the first leaf and then forgets it exists when Peppermint Mochas hit the menu. And, no, I don’t think there should be pumpkin spice everything. Pumpkin is something I have no trouble eating year round, though I will admit that it tastes better in the fall.

So, imagine my joy when my friend from Maine, Barbara Coffin, posted that she was making pumpkin butter, and better yet, IT WAS PALEO!!!

The original recipe Barbara was using came from a publication called Young Living for Life and their unaltered recipe, which uses essential oils, can befound, unaltered, right here.

Anyone who knows me well knows I’m NOT into essential oils. I’m one of those people who point and laugh and make fun of those of you who are (No hard feelings. It’s just for my entertainment.). So, needless to say, I don’t exactly have oils laying around the house to use for yummy spreads. I didn’t call on Mom this time but adapted this recipe on my own. Here’s how I made it.

15 oz. (1 regular can) of pure pumpkin puree
15 oz. unsweetened applesauce (I literally just poured the applesauce into the empty pumpkin can and then poured it into the sauce pan.)
2/3 cup pure maple syrup
1 Tablespoon lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 Tablespoon pumpkin pie spice

1. Mix all ingredients in a medium sauce pan.

2. Bring simmer over medium heat and let simmer for 45-55 minutes, stirring occasionally. I lowered my heat to medium low (set the stovetop on 3 rather than 5) about 20 minutes in. It pops all over the place, so stand back when you’re not stirring.

3. When you can pull the spoon out of the mixture and nothing drips off, it’s done. Spoon into little jam jars and cool before putting the lids on. Keep refrigerated.

4. Enjoy.

I think this is my new favorite topping for my Paleo pancakes.