Paleo Cinnamon Swirl Banana Bread

I am so excited to share this recipe with you all because I am not the greatest baker on earth, but I think this banana bread turned out fantastic! (And I’ve gotten several compliments on it!) Image

Yield: 1 medium sized loaf pan

Ingredients:

  • 4 medium brown bananas
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/4 cup grass fed butter melted (or you can use coconut oil)
  • 1/2 cup almond butter
  • 1/2 cup coconut flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 tbsp of ground cinnamon

Directions:

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and grease your loaf pan
  2. Combine your eggs, bananas, butter, and almond butter in a bowl and mix until smooth
  3. Add coconut flour, baking soda, baking powder, vanilla, salt, and cinnamon and mix thoroughly. 
  4. Add mixture to your greased loaf pan and smooth evenly. Sprinkle ground cinnamon on top and swirl using a knife.
  5. Bake for 45 minutes and let 15 minutes to cool. 
  6. Serve warm with butter and coffee 🙂
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Wednesday Trend-Day

I am so excited to post today! I have so many great things for you guys! First of all, of course it is Wednesday Trend-Day…I had so many products that I wanted to share, that I decided to do a mass post with about nine of them. Get ready! 

The reason I’ve chosen these particular products to share is that I am fairly certain that many of the readers of my blog are currently participating, have participated, or are interested in participating in the Whole Life Challenge. All of the products posted below are 100% WLC compliant.

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1. La Croix Sparkling Water- Orange: (Pronounced: Luh- K-wah) I could drink this stuff by the gallon. If you’re an avid soda drinker and you’re having trouble making the switch to something more health conscious, this will be your vice. I love the orange flavor and I also really love the coconut and the grapefruit (pample-mousse). If you’re detoxifying from a binge (see my post on this here), add some mint to your La Croix. Delicious and hydrating. Keep in mind that this certainly should not replace actual water, but it is a great soda substitute or if you need some flavor in your beverage. It’s also a really great alcohol substitute if you’re in the mood for a glass of wine or a cocktail. There are a ton of other awesome flavors and these are cheap! You can find them at any grocery store or you can order them here

2. Kirkland’s Organic Ground Beef: For those who say eating organic is incredibly expensive, most of the time you are right. However, there are ways to find affordable organics. For meats, I go to Costco because Andres and I buy in bulk. (We eat a LOT of meat.) This is the best and most affordable option for us. One trip usually lasts us about 3 weeks-4 weeks and we probably spend $150 in one trip, which might sound like a lot, but think about a month’s worth of meat for lunches and dinners! Make sure you’re checking the labels on your meats because not all Kirkland brands are organic or unprocessed. (This is also where I get my bison meat, so check for that as well.) The pack pictured here usually goes for about $4.50 a pound, which is half as expensive as other retailers. 

3. Fresh Market’s Chocolate Coconut Macaron Coffee: I am suuuuuuch a flavored coffee junkie. (Well, coffee junkie in general) My absolute favorite flavored coffee is Barnie’s Santa’s White Christmas, but, sadly, it is not compliant due to it’s sugar content. One Fresh Market trip with my friend Chelsea, we discovered this glorious find and it’s WLC approved! I know this is not the only compliant flavored coffee in the store, but it is the only one that I have tried. It’s nutty and light roasted and very good with coconut milk. If you’re looking for a good flavored coffee that is unprocessed, Fresh Market has an excellent selection and coffees are available in bulk or packaged and also whole bean or ground. I bought Andres an electric coffee grinder for his birthday (before you judge me, it was not the only thing I got him…) and we have found coffee to be so much more enjoyable when we freshly grind the beans. I also discovered the coolest thing in my Fresh Market coffee hunt…they have a monthly coffee club! You can sign up to receive a certain amount of bagged coffees for one monthly price! Some options sound a bit pricey, but if you drink a lot of coffee, it might be a nice option for you. Don’t have a Fresh Market at your disposal? Check them out here

4. MaraNatha Roasted Almond Butter – Creamy: I have never been a huge almond butter fan and I have found it very difficult to make the switch from peanut butter. This particular almond butter is my very favorite and we buy these in bulk from Costco as well. When Andres started eating primal, he noticed himself losing a lot of weight due to a decrease in intake of starchy carbohydrates and spoke with our awesome trainer Chris about what he should do. He wanted to continue to eat paleo, because he felt really great but wanted to gain muscle and keep weight on. Chris’ recommendation was to eat a ton of good fatty oils and nut butters. I buy about 4 of these suckers a month because Andres takes one whole container to work with him everyday. (I also can’t help but be slightly bitter that Andres’ problem is keeping weight on…must be a nice problem to have!) If you want these in bulk, which I highly suggest, these are available at Costco. However, if you don’t have a membership, many grocery stores carry this brand as well. Be on the lookout for those pesky processed ingredients! MaraNatha only has roasted almonds and salt. 

5. Carribbean Sunshine Jamaican Jerk Sauce: I really miss sauces on WLC and I really miss A1 Sauce on my steaks and burgers. I actually found this brand of jerk sauce by chance at Publix last week and was so happy to find the ingredients were all compliant! When Andres and I went to Jamaica we ate at Mamma Marley’s and had the most incredible jerk pork with rice and peas and I can’t wait to try and re-create a paleo version with this awesome sauce. I found this in the ethnic food aisle at my grocery store. It’s made out of Pompano Beach, FL which is super close to us so I love being able to support local companies. You can order from their website here for only $1.99!

6. Coconut Secret Raw Coconut Aminos: Can I just say that I am totally comfortable and okay with never using soy sauce again? Coconut aminos are so fantastic, I’m really not sure why I hadn’t discovered it prior to WLC. I use this on so many of my recipes like my Paleo Pad Thai. This stuff can get a little expensive at about $5 an 8oz bottle and I wish I knew somewhere I could buy it in bulk. You can order it and many other Coconut Secret products on Amazon.  

7. Kerrygold Grass-Fed Pure Irish Butter: It makes me happy that I can eat real food and keep butter in my diet. Love this stuff and I love how accessible it is. I buy this in bulk at Costco or if I need a couple of Garlic and Herb sticks or just a small container, I grab it at Publix. 

8. Coconut Secret Coconut Flour: I am so excited that this company sells coconut flour because I would’ve been buying it a lot sooner! It’s much cheaper than Bob’s Red Mill which is what I usually get and I just made this incredible paleo banana bread with it that I can’t wait to share! (It needs to be boyfriend approved before I post it!)

9. Frank’s Red Hot Sauce – Original: I never really liked spicy foods until I started to eat paleo a few years ago. This is definitely the sauce to get, although I really wish Frank’s Buffalo Sauce was compliant too :(. This is just as good and works as a great dipping sauce for paleo chicken nuggets or some of my paleo meatloaf. 

 

Do you use any of the products I have here? What other compliant things do you love?

Beat Binge Guilt! (& how to get yourself back on track)

I needed to post about this because I feel like “falling off the wagon” isn’t talked about enough. Truthfully, I’ve been suffering from my own binge guilt, so what better of a time to discuss! 

It’s important to remember that eating primal/paleo is not the most convenient option nor does it fit perfectly into our social lives. I’m the first to admit that I enjoy a good craft beer tremendously. I also really love pizza and dessert and the paleo dessert options are never quite as satisfying as the real, full sugar thing…and, can I say…I’m absolutely okay with that. That right there is why eating paleo/primal is classified as a lifestyle

With all of that being said, damn I feel guilty when I get off track. It is super frustrating to eat in a specific way and see such awesome results and then 2 birthday celebrations and a Sunday Funday and you’ve lost all the abs you worked so hard for. It’s easy to beat yourself up over lost progress AND we have to try harder to give ourselves a break now and again. I’ll be really frank…be careful of the ways in which you view food and the amount of negative energy you put on yourself when you don’t stay within food perimeters. That is how eating disorders develop and the goal should be for you to be the healthiest version of yourself on the inside out…not for vanity reasons. There is no such thing as perfect eating. Perfect doesn’t exist.

Suggesting that you’ve had a particularly difficult few weeks in your eating, here are a few things that I like to do to get me feeling better and help me stay motivated to get back on the wagon:

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My tumbler today full of mint and ice water!

  • Infuse your water and increase your water intake. Doing WLC, one of my favorite challenges was drinking half of my body weight in ounces of water. My complexion cleared, I was never thirsty, and I was hydrated and energized. After an off-track food binge, I’ve added mint to my water and noticed a huge difference in my digestive system. Herbs clean out bad bacteria of our stomachs and reduce bloating. Other herbs to try are rosemary and sage and even chia seeds. Here is a great site with some different citrus and herb combos. Water can cause bloating, but it also helps with digestion and re-vamps our kidneys. I especially increase my water intake when I’ve consumed an above average number of craft beers or glasses of wine. Hydration does wonders for our bodies and will even eliminate those pesky headaches we get after some binging. 

 

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This Asian Pear and Ginger kombucha was to die for. So flavorful!

 

  • PROBIOTICS!. Probiotics keep the good, healthy bacteria in our bellies. Taking one daily is said to reduce and prevent tumor production in our stomachs and flush our the bad bacteria (yeast) that lives in our stomachs. There are so many ways you can get probiotics into your system. You can eat them through kimchi or sauerkraut. You can drink them through kombucha or kefir. You can take a probiotic supplement. According to my research, there is no true way to intake too many probiotics. They should be avoided, however, if you have specific allergies. I take a probiotic supplement daily and I am, of course, a big fan of sauerkraut and kombucha. 
  • Start eating right. Right now. Don’t wait until Monday to start back on your eating regimen. Do it right now. There’s no better time than right now to start feeling better. Get yourself to the store and grab some fruits and veggies and proteins. Be prepared.  Remember: healthy is not convenient. You have to make it convenient for your lifestyle. 

 

I thought you might get a kick out of my tank from Lift for Meat that finally came in. It was quite appropriate for the past week. 😉 

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100% Paleo 80% of the time!

 

Don’t give up on yourself. None of us are perfect in our eating (OR in life) so we should stop pretending it’s even possible. Make good decisions for your body and plan ahead. If you slip up, guess what? Life happens! Get back up on that wagon and surprise yourself. 

Wednesday Trend Day

Aye yi yi. This has been a crazy week, so forgive the delayed Wednesday Trend Day post. In my defense, I had it prepared yesterday. I just got caught up running here there and everywhere to celebrate Andres’ birthweek.

I struggled to get to my 6am WOD yesterday, so I did 6pm and I think it was sort of fate that I did because my gym had just gotten a whole shipment of Tessemae’s in! If you don’t know about Tessemae’s, I’m about to enlighten you.

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Tessemae’s All Natural Dressings, Marinades, and Spreads are a big group of whole food eating, fun people from Maryland with a serious knack for whipping up some awesome sauces and dressings. The very best part about these sauces and dressings are that they are 100% compliant with a natural unprocessed diet, when usually some of these products are ones you want to avoid due to sugar content and processed ingredients. It’s a “have your cake and eat it too” company! 🙂

I kid you not when I say this company has products for every single person. TONS! In my fridge I have the Lemon Chesapeake which is phenomenal and tastes like Old Bay seasoning. It is perfect for fish, chicken, salads, a dash in your scrambled eggs, and even as a dipping sauce. I just purchased my first bottle of Matty’s BBQ Sauce and I am in love with it. It’s smokey with a little kick of spice and I can’t wait to try it on some steaks I have in my freezer for next week! I can’t forget to mention that these are really inexpensive as well…most bottles costing $5.99! You can buy these at Whole Foods or some local health food stores or you can order some of your own online at Tessemae’s website. One thing for you to be aware of is that when you put some of the oil based bottles in the fridge, it will turn solid! It didn’t go bad, don’t worry. Run the bottle under some warm water or leave it out about 15-20 minutes before you need to use it. Go grab yourself a bottle and get cooking! (My next purchase will be the zesty ranch! YUM!)

Thai Turkey Meatloaf with Mashed Garlic & Dill Sweet Potato and Rutabaga (Paleo/Primal)

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The way this picture came out makes it look like the meatloaf is a bit undercooked, but I promise it’s just the delicious juices 🙂

This was so easy and yummy. I can’t wait to have these leftovers for lunch tomorrow.

Ingredients:

(thai turkey meatloaf)

  • 1 pound of ground turkey
  • Salt and Pepper
  • Green onion chopped
  • 2-3 tbsp Sriracha (depending on how spicy you want it to be)
  • 1 tbsp Tomato Paste
  • 1 tbsp Minced Garlic
  • 1 cup of Coconut Aminos
  • 1 egg
  • Splash of coconut or almond milk
  • 1/2 cup of almond flour

(mashed sweet potato and rutabaga)

  • 3 sweet potatoes
  • 1 large rutabaga
  • Garlic Powder
  • Dill
  • 1 tbsp grass-fed butter

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Mix all ingredients for turkey meatloaf together in a bowl. Grease a loaf pan and put in oven for 30 minutes
  2. Bring large pot of water to a boil and add chopped sweet potato and chopped rutabaga. 
  3. Let chunks get soft. Drain and remove from heat.
  4. Add butter, garlic powder, dill, and a splash of almond milk to the chunks and blend with an immersion blender.
  5. Taste and add more seasoning if needed.
  6. Plate potatoes with meatloaf and enjoy! I love to serve my meatloaf with a side of spicy ground brown mustard too! YUM!

What Maturity in Love Has Taught Me

I write a lot about how I eat, what I eat, what works for me in the idea of wellness and nutrition…but tomorrow marks a really special day for someone I love very much, so I thought it to be appropriate to reflect on that person today and all the ways he has affected and changed my life.

I have always been a bit of a hopeless romantic. I fell for lots of the wrong guys and stuck around in relationships I thought were going to be long-term because I believed in love and I believed in people. I also believed in myself and my ability to “pick” people with admirable qualities and I think that my sticking around too long had a lot to do with this idea that I didn’t want to be wrong about the guys that I chose. I spent a lot of time after failed relationships wondering “what is wrong with me?”. I never blamed whatever jerky guy did whatever jerky thing to me because I felt that I should have seen the signs and I should have stopped giving and working for something that wasn’t working for me in return. I always thought that when I found the right person for me I would know it the second I met them and this person would check all these boxes on my list of expectations of love.

That was what immature love taught me: the right person comes in a perfect package.

When I met Andres I was so distracted with my life that I wasn’t even looking for him. I was busy with my job, working hard to get into my graduate program, enjoying spending all my waking moments (literally) with my girlfriends. I liked positive attention from guys, but I took it at surface value and didn’t put expectations on things. I developed this mentality of “everyone gets a first date” because I knew that every person I met had something to teach me. When my expectations left, so did my disappointments.

I’m sure you’re expecting me to say that all of these habits of me trying to save relationships were dead and my relationship with Andres was different and easy, but I won’t say that because none of that is true. I pushed through some really hard and confusing times with him in the beginning. Times that I am grateful for because it taught me a lot about our connection. Because I had lost expectations, I was able to be ballsy enough to ask for what I needed from him. I needed us to have better communication. I needed to know if/when he wasn’t happy and why. I needed him to be my partner and fight for our relationship as much as I did. I needed him to not shut me out. I needed him to be okay with the fact that I’m sensitive and I talk about things and that’s who I am. Not only did I need him to be okay with it, I needed him to love that about me. And something amazing happened when I asked for those things: he listened….and even more than that, he heard me. We grew into this couple that I had never known I wanted to be. He didn’t check off specific boxes on my list of expectations. We checked boxes off together on our list of goals and aspirations as a couple. I never even knew I needed that. Being in a healthy, effective relationship didn’t mean we needed to change who we are, it meant that we needed to find someone who wanted to grow with us.

I don’t know the person who told our 16-year-old selves that being in love would be effortless, but I wish I had told them to shut up. (I think that person is the same one that told me something was wrong with me in every failed relationship.) Being with Andres is a daily check of each others’ feelings about things. It’s constant communication about what’s going on with us and if there are needs that are not being met. It’s problem solving. It’s planning and having goals together. It’s actually telling him when he’s hurt my feelings instead of giving him the silent treatment. It’s being non-judgmental of him always and he of me. I just don’t know if that kind of partnership comes around often and I can’t help but feel so completely and unbelievably blessed that I have this person who believes I can do anything. Sometimes I think about my life and all the ways he has added to my list of blessings and I have to pinch myself.

Tomorrow is Andres’ birthday and my heart feels so warm and eager to make him feel as special as he makes me feel: not just for tomorrow, but for every day that we are together.

Babe, thank you for being by my side in our crazy life and never being too busy to make me feel like the most special person on the planet. Thank you for being such a hard worker in every way and a person I am so very proud to call my partner. I love you very much.

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Mustard Dill Salmon with Rutabaga Fries with Paleo Ketchup and Spicy Okra (Paleo/Primal/Whole30/Whole Life Challenge)

Got another recipe coming in hot! I’ve been cooking so much lately and I love it. I bought a ton of meat at Costco including bison, ground beef, ground turkey, salmon, steaks…a TON. Tonight I wanted to experiment with my salmon. My usual prepared way is pretty typical: salt, pepper, and dill. I think dill is absolutely delicious and a perfect compliment to salmon, so I just wanted to do some sort of dill salmon makeover, if you will. Aside from how awesome this dish is, the best part of all is that you can stick everything in the oven at the same temp! How often does that happen? It also makes this meal really easy. Check it out…

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Ingredients:

  • 2 Salmon fillets (If you’re cooking for 2)
  • 1 pound of okra chopped into pieces
  • 1 large rutagaba peeled and chopped french fry style
  • Olive oil
  • paprika
  • ground mustard
  • dill
  • Salt and Pepper
  • Cayenne Pepper
  • Cumin
  • Garlic Powder
  • 1 tbsp of grass-fed butter cut into two pieces
  • Paleo Ketchup: tomato paste, vinegar, garlic powder, salt, water. Mix and taste test!

 

Directions:

  1. Preheat your oven to 425 degrees.
  2. Add your sliced rutabaga to a baking sheet. Toss in olive oil, salt and pepper, and garlic powder.
  3. Add your chopped okra to a glass baking dish and toss in cumin, paprika, and a dash of cayenne (or more if you like a lot of heat)
  4. Mix your ground mustard, dill, salt and pepper, and garlic powder in a bowl and rub onto salmon fillets. Add your grass fed butter on top.
  5. Put everything in the oven together! I suggest putting the rutabaga on the top rack so it gets crispy. The salmon will need to be left in about 15-20 minutes. The okra about 20 minutes. The rutabaga fries will need about 20 minutes and then 3 extra minutes on low broil.
  6. Plate, slop on some of your delicious homemade ketchup and feast!