Monthly Archives: July 2012


Yet another diet fail. I hate that when we get super busy like we’ve been with the roof re-do prep/start, the diet suffers. In fact, we have been eating nothing but highly processed crap for the past week. As a result, I am feeling lethargic (SLUG!!), have been having headaches, congested, my entire body is itchy, and yesterday’s present was breakthrough eczema. I am able to control the eczema with daily Claritin and avoidance of wheat. With wheat back in the diet, eczema is back but at least it’s only one spot right now.

So…..I’m planning a reset. I think I need something drastic at least for a little while. What I plan to do for the month of August is Whole 30. Already, I am mourning the loss of cream in my coffee. But it’s only for 30 days–and I can do anything for 30 days, right?

In addition to the Whole 30 plan, I am also going to try my best to completely avoid those items I am allergic to:

  • Wheat–taken care of by the Whole 30 plan/paleo diet
  • Cane sugar–taken care of by following the Whole 30 plan
  • Soy–soy is *everywhere*. I ordered soy-free eggs but I’m not sure how I’ll avoid the soy that is in most chicken as a result of their “healthy vegetarian diet”. I do have some free range chicken in the freezer that I hope will be a better choice than standard chicken.
  • Walnuts
  • Cantaloupe–I tested positive to this but lately, I’ve been okay with it.
  • Apples
  • Grapes

Tomorrow is clean out the fridge and pantry day. Wish me luck!


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Grocery shopping

It’s been surface o’ the sun hot here this week with temps over 100. I miss the years where “breaking 100” was a big news story. My baby air conditioners are working hard to cool the house off but by the evening it is HOT in the house.

To go along with the sucky weather, none of my plans have worked out like I’d hoped. As a result, there is no menu plan this week. Despite that fact, I still needed to go shopping.


My first stop was Sam’s. For fruits and veggies left in the house, I had some peaches, green beans, and beets my mom canned and brought to me when she was here in May and some shriveled up apples. Sam’s was a necessity.

I felt so much better about things once my fridge was once again full.

Because it’s been over 100 degrees and I’m half an hour from the nearest grocery store, I shopped at Sam’s then drove my precious produce home. The next two days were also spent driving to town to pick up Target items (day 2) and other grocery items which couldn’t be purchased at Sam’s (day 3).

Yesterday was day 3 of my marathon grocery shopping trip but before we started on that, we *finally* took our oldest son out to lunch to celebrate his graduation from votech.

He graduated in May but then the following weekend, our youngest son graduated from high school and we had family here for the next week. After that, I had to prepare to do my internship. Internship and more craziness occupied June. I feel so bad that he had to wait for 2 months.

He chose to go to Longhorn Steakhouse.  I’ve only eaten there once before and quickly learned that I hate their mayonnaise-laden Caesar salad. It’s seriously the nastiest Caesar I’ve ever had. This time, however, I had their steak and bleu salad which was really good. The guys had sandwiches and seemed to like them. I especially enjoyed talking to my son about the two interviews he had this week. As an Aspie, he struggles with communication and interviews don’t seem to go as well as he wanted. We definitely are keeping our fingers crossed for him to get one of these jobs. They provide benefits which is something that he definitely needs. I am so proud of him for the determination he’s shown in looking for a job.

After we had lunch, we finished up our grocery shopping for the day. I picked up my co-op order of free range chicken, smoked salmon, and sauerkraut, threw that in the cooler and stopped by the hardware store to order roofing materials. I am *positive* the clerks who deal with me making these types of decisions now just love me. I hope I got everything we need and I hope that I am not placing too much on my boys in asking them (along with some of their friends) to reroof my house.

I dropped my son and the co-op order off at the house and got back into the car to do the final grocery shopping. My plan had been to grab a couple of rotisserie chickens from the store but when we got there, there was one nasty-looking chicken in the warmer. Plan B was gluten-free chicken hot dogs. With the hot dogs, I served a feta and spinach salad with raspberry vinaigrette. The pic will have to do for now until I can get the recipe typed up.

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Chocolate Peanut Butter Ice Cream

It’s menu-planning and grocery list day today. And, oh, how I hate it! 7 people, 3 meals plus snacks for 14 days plus anything else that needs to be worked into the budget like laundry soap.  I suppose I should stop complaining about it and just do it. And I should be glad that it’s a 14-day menu this time instead of one that’s 21 days. And I’m definitely thankful that I have more grocery budget than I did last time.

It’s been so hot here lately. 102 at 9 am is something that I do not like one bit. I’ve never done well in the heat—especially heat like this. As a result, we work hard to keep the house cool and that means planning meals which require little use of the stove or oven. Since the heat wave doesn’t look to be breaking soon, look for lots of salads and grilling on my menu plan when it’s posted later this week.

In honor of all of this heat, I’m posting my Chocolate Peanut Butter Ice Cream recipe. I’m positive it has waaayyy more carbs than is good for me but I still feel that it is a better choice than regular ice cream since it contains no sugar.  Enjoy!


Chocolate Peanut Butter Ice Cream

  • 2/3 cup chocolate chips
  • 1/3 cup peanut butter, or other nut butter
  • ¼ cup maple syrup
  • 1 TB vanilla
  • Dash salt
  • 1 can organic coconut milk

Melt the chocolate chips in the microwave on high for 1 minute. Stir until smooth. Depending on your microwave, you may need more time. You want to be careful though as chocolate chips burn easily in the microwave.  Stir in the peanut butter, stirring until well mixed. Add in the maple syrup, vanilla, and salt. Slowly pour in the coconut milk and stir until completely combined. Pour into an ice cream maker and process until frozen. Serves 6.


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It’s about time…

So…..I started this blog right before my youngest son’s graduation in May and had planned to get serious about Paleo right after. It’s now July. Sigh. Since Sunday, though, I’ve done pretty well sticking to the new diet. We still have dairy in our diets and I don’t plan to remove it for a while–the kids have reluctantly joined me in my other diets and still have not forgiven me for taking the whole family on a vegan trip (and I GAINED 30 pounds!!) and have requested that I keep the milk. So I am.

I’ve also started exercising. I’d say again….but that really isn’t the truth. I’ve never liked exercising and most of my adult life has been spent avoiding it. Hindsight is 20/20 and all that….I am grossly out of shape and, now that I’ve turned 42 and have a TON of weight to lose, I am desperate.

I’ve read a couple of books on the Paleo diet and lifestyle and hope to incorporate as many of the fitness suggestions as much as I can at home. Right now, I figure I have enough weight of my own to schlep around that I’ll be good for a while. I’ve been doing push ups, crunches, squats, Tai Chi, and planks for the past week with a whole lot of consistency. I am thrilled with that. I’m only tracking my weight and stomach measurements right now. Even though I can only do a few of each, I am improving each day, my muscles are sore and I’m losing both weight and inches.

Breakfasts have been fairly easy:

Paleo granola with unsweetened coconut milk (the kind that comes in the carton)

 Egg cups with blueberries

Desserts have been the hardest. I’ve given up sugar–except for the amount in the chocolate chips–and I didn’t realize just how many nights we’ve had desserts. My solution has been chocolate chips:

It’s a good thing I buy chocolate chips in bulk from Sam’s. And it’s the one dessert that doesn’t tempt me continually.

Since our grocery budget was very, very small this time, dinners have been a challenge and not always Paleo. It’s okay. I’ve given up the gluten again and our dinners ARE gluten-free. They’ve contained a fair amount of potatoes. As a former Idaho girl, I know how to make potatoes. 🙂

Tonight, I am cooking bacon in the oven and will use the bacon grease and chopped bacon to use with cabbage. I am also baking sweet potatoes in the oven. I normally avoid aluminum (post yet to come on the reasons why) but since the sweet potatoes are in their skins and we won’t be eating them, I thought it was okay. We’ll have the cabbage with the sweet potatoes and some grilled chicken breast.


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Chocolate Pumpkin Cookies

Before we made the decision to go Paleo, we used to make pumpkin chocolate chip muffins quite frequently. I wanted to recreate the flavors of the muffin in a cookie using healthy ingredients.

Chocolate Pumpkin Cookies

1 cup canned pumpkin (NOT the pumpkin pie filling)

½ cup coconut palm sugar

2 TB maple syrup

1/3 cup coconut manna

3 TB melted butter

3 eggs

1 tsp vanilla

1 tsp cinnamon

¼ tsp baking powder

½ tsp baking soda

¼ tsp salt

4 TB coconut flour

½ cup chocolate chips

1/2 cup chopped pecans

Mix pumpkin, palm sugar, maple syrup, coconut manna, and melted butter together. Stir in eggs one at a time until thoroughly mixed. Add vanilla. Stir in the dry ingredients, mixing until the coconut flour is completely incorporated. Fold in the chocolate chips.

Drop by teaspoonful onto a parchment-lined baking sheet and flatten slightly (these cookies do not spread much). Sprinkle chopped pecans on top of each cookie. Bake for 12 minutes. Remove from baking sheet and allow to cool on wire rack. They will be a bit squishy when you take them off the cookie sheet but will firm up as they cool.  Makes 40 small cookies.


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Stuffed Egg Cups

Whenever I started a diet in the past (and there have been many, many times), I would add Jimmy Dean’s Delight’s to my breakfasts. However, the last time I had them the English muffin part made my throat itch.  I went several years without wheat due to that symptom but my diet was still pretty atrocious. Nachos, while technically gluten free, aren’t a nutritional powerhouse. When I added wheat back into my diet, I could have some of the processed white flour products but whole wheat still made my throat itch. I thought I was cured. <eyeroll>

These egg cups are my paleo-ish (skip the cheese to make these paleo) sub for those English muffin egg sandwiches.

I was making egg cups using a recipe found elsewhere which featured eggs and green chiles but those did not keep my crew full for very long. I played around with the recipe and came up with the following which works better at keeping us full for longer.

Stuffed Egg Cups

Oven: 375 degrees

Makes: 24 egg cups, serves 12

  • 18 eggs
  • ½ tsp. seasoned salt
  • ½ tsp. garlic powder
  • ½ tsp. ground black pepper
  • 3 TB coconut flour
  • 2 TB chopped cilantro
  • ½ cup chopped salami or bacon
  • ½ cup chopped mushrooms
  • 4 oz. grated cheddar cheese
  • 1 4-oz. can chopped green chiles

Beat eggs, salt, garlic, pepper, and coconut flour in large bowl until smooth. The coconut flour has a tendency to clump so it works best to sprinkle it in a little at a time, beating well.

Line 2 cookie sheets with 24 silicone baking cups (paper muffin cups really don’t work well at all). Divide the cilantro, meat, mushrooms, chiles, and cheese between the 24 baking cups. Divide egg mixture among the cups and give each cup a quick stir.

Bake in a 375-degree oven for 20 minutes. Allow to cool slightly before unmolding from the silicone cups. The egg cup will deflate onto itself a bit. Allow to cool completely on a wire rack before refrigerating. These cups freeze well. Remove from freezer the night before you want to use them and refrigerate.

To reheat: microwave for 40 seconds on high.


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Blueberries have been found in abundance at grocery stores lately and that makes me happy. Along with adding coconut oil and decreasing the amount of sugar in our diets, we eat a lot of blueberries.

Blueberries have been in the news lately as the result of several studies which seem to suggest that components in them may prevent or reverse memory loss and dementia.

Here is a good article which explains the research:

Blueberry Benefits

Researchers say blueberries contain a wealth of phytochemicals that have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects. In addition, animal studies have shown that the polyphenols found in blueberries, anthocyanins, have been shown to increase signaling in brain centers associated with memory as well as improve how the brain gets rid of glucose, all of which may help slow memory decline.

In the study, researchers looked at the effects of drinking wild blueberry juice on memory decline in nine adults in their 70s who were experiencing age-related memory decline problems, such as memory lapses.

The participants drank about two and a half cups each day of blueberry juice made from commercially available frozen wild blueberries for 12 weeks. A comparison group of seven older adults drank a similar amount of placebo non-juice beverage for the same time period.

Researchers conducted memory tests, such as word association and list learning and recall tasks, at the beginning and end of the study.

The results showed that those who drank blueberry juice showed significant improvement on learning and memory tests compared to the placebo group. Source

One of the ways in which we get our blueberries is to have them in a green smoothie. The addition of the blueberries makes for one heck of an ugly smoothie, but it tastes really good. As soon as I can get pictures taken and the recipe typed in, I’ll post it.

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