Paleo Apple Pie Bites

5 05 2013

IMAG1033We spent the majority of this weekend in the kitchen preparing for our upcoming week of Paleo eating.  On the “menu” was coconut milk, beef jerky, scrambled egg cups, baconaise, and the apple bites I’m about to talk about here.  Week two starts tomorrow morning and I’m proud to say that we’ve made it this far.  We are spending a tremendous amount of time preparing our meals, but we’ve had fun doing it.

As I mentioned in my last post, I am/was struggling a little bit with sweets.  One of the things I’ve found satisfying so far are the Raw Revolution whole food bars.  They’re great – but they are expensive.  At about $1.89 each, I figured I must be able to replicate the taste, texture and nutrition value in them without the cost…  So Fred and I searched for some recipes online and basically adapted a few of them into what you see here.

These are freakin’ delicious!  Instead of spreading and cutting them in to bars as suggested, we rolled them in to balls.  Because the fig is so sticky, it’s not a clean job, but it’s so worth it!

IMAG1038

Ingredients:

2 cups Pecans
2 cups Almonds
3 cups Whole Dates (pitted)
2 cups dried apple slices (home-made or find ones with no sugar added)
1 tsp dried cinnamon
1/4 tsp sea salt

Because we couldn’t find any dried apple slices at the store that were sugar free, we bought a few apples, peeled them, laid them on a cookie tray and baked them for about an hour on 150-200 degrees.  We wanted them dried out a little but not hard.  They turned out perfect.  I wish I would have taken pictures, but I forgot.

  • Place the pecans, almonds, dates, apple slices, cinnamon and salt in a food processor.  You really don’t have to think that hard with this recipe.  It’s pretty easy-going.
  • IMAG1045Pulse until the ingredients are chopped and the resulting product looks like a giant ball of sticky goo.
  • You can either spread the mixture in to a sheet-pan and cut it in to bars or, as we did in our case we rolled them in to small balls.
  • Lay balls on a cookie sheet covered in parchment.
  • Refrigerate the balls for at least an hour.
  • Transfer into a sealed container, separating each layer with parchment or wax paper.

Balls/bars will last in the fridge for a week or more…  If they last that long!

IMAG1046
This recipe made about 4 dozen, 2 inch balls.  We spent about $15 on ingredients (of course making sure they were as organic as possible).  $15 would have bought us approximately 8 of the Raw Revolution bars from the store.  I estimate that with the amount this recipe yields, we could make approximately 35-40 1.6 oz bars making them about .35 – .40 a serving.  Quite a difference!

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Paleo – Biggest Struggles So Far

5 05 2013

Surprisingly, there aren’t many struggles with maintaining the Paleo way of living so far.  The food is good, I’m less hungry and my stomach isn’t constantly sending me to the bathroom…  And for anyone who knows me personally – that truly is something to celebrate.  (Yes, I am/was a 5-6 time a day pooper)

It’s officially day 7, really, we’re about 2 weeks in to this though…  And I’m just now beginning to struggle a little bit with sweets.  I don’t necessarily crave them, but I find myself thinking about them.  I’m not sure why because I am still drinking sweetened coffee and tea (haven’t – and may never give up my raw sugar and whole cream in my hot beverages) and we are indulging in a few squares of dark chocolate now and again.  I’m also eating sweet raisins in my nut blend and seem to be relatively satisfied with the food we have been eating.  However, I find myself dreaming of cookies and I want a cupcake so bad right now I want to kill for it.  I know it’s all of those “addictions” coming out of me as I purge all of the crappy things that I am used to eating.

It may also be a craving for grain.  I don’t feel like I absolutely must eat a bag of Doritos – but my grain fixation seems to be taking shape in the form of baked-sweet-goods.  Ugh – I need to get over this hump before I cave in!

I ate about an ounce and a half of soft, ripened cheese on Thursday.  My body paid for it.  I was very upset in my stomach and in and out of the bathroom at least 4 times during the course of the day at work on Friday.  I miss cheese, but I will not be doing that again.

Gabrielle continues to struggle with understanding what to eat and when.  She is following what Fred calls more of a “skinny bitch” diet rather than Paleo.  She eats fruits and vegetables but avoids proteins and fats.  We have talked with her about it, but she doesn’t seem to get it or… want to get it – so I do think she will be a casualty of war with this lifestyle change.  She’s just too…  well, she’s too much of a follower to do something this drastic in her life right now.  She likes..  No, needs to be told what to do on a normal basis and since Fred and I prefer to let her discover this (as well as most things) for herself, we are avoiding spoon feeding the rules to her right now.  We’ve given her the tools to make the change successfully.  She has all the resources at her fingertips.  The house has been purged.  She has said she is excited and willing to make this change – but she’s not invested in it.

I’m OK with that, but my only concern is that she will continue to eat poorly even though we have told her to go ahead and do what she feels she wants food-wise.  Reason being, Fred and I will keep the house basically processed food free.  I feel that she will eliminate important parts of ANY healthy diet because she will eat out of desperation and/or because there will be a lack of anything else to eat that satisfies her around here.  She may have gotten 100% of her calcium from dairy in the past – and without the willingness to eat green, leafy vegetables and without any dairy in the house – I’m not sure how to ensure that she’s getting that kind of nutrition properly.   I’m not sure how to handle that.  I will get her whatever she wants/needs – but I want her to realize she wants/needs it.  I also don’t want to starve her until she realizes it – that’s just not the way we roll.

I’m not sure if all of that makes sense – Knowing our family personally would probably help in the understanding of Gabrielle’s attitude about this.  Making a drastic lifestyle change with a 16 year old is not easy, and honestly – I didn’t expect her to succeed 100%.  But I did expect her to give it a valid try.  After all, we are doing this for her.

On the positive side though – food tastes GREAT!  For example, last night Fred and I were home alone while Gabrielle was with a friend at the Taylor Swift concert.  We cooked up lean, cubed, rib-eye with onions and kale.  We sauteed everything in beef tallow that I made from boiling cow femurs and used a little of the bone broth to moisten everything up.  It was so unbelievably delicious and filling that I thought I had died and gone to heaven.

The previous evening we had baked chicken thighs with a side of winter squash – with just a hint of pasture butter on the squash.  Very, very good.  I made chicken liver pate – and I’ve been eating that with hard-boiled eggs for lunches at work. (People hate me by the way – that stuff stinks).  We’ve also incorporated organic green salads with just a few nuts and some high quality olive oil and balsamic vinegar we got at Zingermans as a light dressing.

We’ve also realized the beauty of buying local and small.  The health food store we frequent the most is literally only 2 blocks away – and people are beginning to recognize us stopping in for Applegate bacon and a variety of raw nuts, berries, etc.  That’s kind of a good feeling.  Shopping this way has also opened us up to a few new surprises.  Early last week we discovered a new organic food store in Midland called Nature’s Gift Organic Market.  It was there that we discovered a new, delicious pear cider called Foxbarrel.  Anybody who knows us knows of our love for hard cider – and we are thrilled to add another brand to our repertoire.  Of course, without the desire to look in an organic store we may have never come across this brand.  I am happy that we did!





End of first Paleo weekend

28 04 2013

paleo purgeWe cleaned out the cupboards and the pantry this weekend and what you see to your right is ALMOST every piece of processed, sugary, starchy, etc. foods that we had in the house.  We kept a few things that we will work through and “wean” off of.  We offered up the food among our friends and families but are still looking for takers of all of it.  We could donate, and likely will if nobody decides they want  to take it off our hands.

Here’s how we ate this weekend.  We weren’t completely loyal to the diet yet because…  Well…  It’s hard.  But we did attempt to eat Paleo all weekend.  This morning, for example, we had bacon and eggs with cherry salsa on top (no cheese, which was difficult for me).  Fred and I had coffee and Gabrielle stayed away from caffeine and had juice – organic – no sugar added – no preservatives.

Fred and I are handling the transition pretty well.  Gabrielle, on the other hand nearly mourned the loss of her Pop-Tarts and cereal.  Also, not having any cow milk in the house really bothers her.  She always used to say that she hated drinking milk, yet used it on her cereal and drank it pretty frequently.  Now that we’ve taken it away completely… She’s really complaining at the substitutes   I think what’s hard for her is that she’s a “just give it to me” kind of person.  She says she’s excited to try this lifestyle change in order to get healthier and lose weight…  But when it comes down to it, because she’s not taking the time to investigate, review and plan her meals…  She’s just getting angry.  We’re doing this for her more than anything.  I wish she would spend her Internet time more fruitfully investigating this lifestyle and helping herself better accept it by being more enthused about something she says she “wants” to do.

Anyway, we planned ahead for next week and made Paleo breakfast that we can easily bring with us to work.  It will be different to break out the eggs and bacon at work instead of the typical “girl in the office” oatmeal or cereal bar…  But they look delicious cooling on top of the stove right now, so I’m excited to try!





26 04 2013

AppleThese things are delicious!  Fred and I picked up three of them from Discount Health Foods the other day and all three were very tasty, even the coconut one – which I typically hate.  At $1.89 a bar they’re pretty pricey – but what isn’t when you’re trying to buy whole foods and completely organic?  They have a website where you can order online, but shipping is insane.  Why are the things that are so good for you so damn expensive?

You know, like most of the families in this world, we don’t make a ton of money.  Eating boxed foods, canned foods and processed food is cheaper and we easily fell into that pitfall many, many years ago.  In my first marriage I rarely cooked.  It wasn’t until the last 10 or 12 years that I actually started to learn to cook.  It wasn’t until the last 5 years or so that I realized that homemade spaghetti sauce doesn’t start with a jar of Ragu.  Oh well, after 37 years of eating like crap – maybe this is the time to actually understand and value what I’m putting in to my body.

Maybe.





Becoming Paleo – Day 2

25 04 2013

birdsSo, this is what getting rid of all of the bread in your house looks like when you’re a bunch of weirdos like us.  The neighbors must really, really hate us sometimes.  We’re pulling crap like this all the time.  I consider it charming but I’m sure it’s actually very annoying.

Tomorrow after work we plan to clean out some of the old stuff in our pantry that we have been just holding on to (for no apparent reason) that we feel comfortable disposing of.  After that – we’ll gradually work through all of the stuff that doesn’t fit in to the plan and will eventually eliminate everything by ceasing to buy anymore of it when we go grocery shopping.  agave

To say that I’m not terrified of doing this is a complete lie.  When I think about never having a Reeses Peanut Butter cup eve again makes me sad.  However, what I have been learning through my research is that eventually I will no longer crave these things anymore – and where as they are not Paleo friendly, (as in a caveman would have never eaten a Reeses Peanut Butterr Cup) it is 2013 after all, we are modern, and I can indulge from time to time.

I think that’s the problem with the way people eat now a days…  I indulge in something…  Hell, my entire family indulges in things every single day.  I can’t imagine the thrill of eating a Reeses Peanut Butter Cup after not having one for several years.  I actually kind of look forward to that feeling.

One thought I absolutely can’t stop thinking about is my tea obsession.  I like tea with a little sugar and cream.  I drink several cups a day.  Paleo = no dairy or sugar.  I think I can manage to give up the cream in my tea eventually but the sweetner – not so much.  So Fred and I tried some agave nectar and lo and behold…  It works!  It tastes great.  The only downfall is that it’s super expensive

(the bottle in the picture was $8.  A hell of a lot more than a 5lb bag of sugar) but if I can maintain my sweet tea habit then maybe, just maybe I can make it through the rest of this change.  Wish me luck!





We’re a bunch of food quitters

23 04 2013

It seems like us San Juans are always on some new kind of food/diet kick.  It’s kind of disgusting when you think about it.  We get on a kick for a few weeks then give up so easily.  I wouldn’t say it’s just a San Juan thing – I’ve been demonstrating the same kind of behavior my entire life.  Yah, I was the fat kid.  I was the fat teenager.  I was the fat 20-something, then in my early 30’s I lost a LOT (180+ lbs) of weight – and not by natural means.  It was super inspiring to be thin for the first time.  Then about a year in to it my mom died and I fell into a deep depression for about 2 years and I slowly stopped obeying the lifestyle I had adapted to.  I put 50lbs back on since then and it sucks.

Granted, I’m not as fat as I used to be, but it is so disappointing to look in a mirror and see a size 18 instead of the size 12 I was 4 years ago.  But damn, do I love to cook and eat and travel…  And cooking, eating and traveling are the very things that helped me come out of my depression after my mom died…  So I can’t speak too poorly of those habits…

So without going too far in to it – like most people – I have a love/hate relationship with food.  My life is a constant cycle of wanting to eat while maintaining my anxiety about becoming too heavy.

It’s great I tell ya – just great.  For those of you who are naturally fit – you are my hero.

Anyhow – Gabrielle had a particularly difficult appointment at a specialist Monday and what her dad and I thought was going to be a cardiologist telling us she had a heart murmur turned into a very frank discussion about her sedentary lifestyle.  The Dr. didn’t mince words.  He specifically said “You never played outside as a kid.  You never rode your bike.  You stay inside and watch television. You get hot in the summer and are cold in the winter and don’t want to be outside.  You are lazy.”

Yep, you nailed it Dr. Cardiologist.  That is Gabrielle to a T.  And on the tearful car-ride home all three of us decided we actually need to do something about our lifestyle.

What I’ve got to say is this – our family is not lazy.  We exercise weekly and even have gym memberships.  We spend time away from home and most of the summer you can’t find me inside – I’m out in the yard or am doing things in the community.  HOWEVER, what one makes up for is compensated for by laziness by others – and we take turns.  We are no angels.

So long story short – Gab was diagnosed with something called Postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome, which is legitimate – but not an actual issue that affects her heart.  You can read about it in the link if you are interested.  But the bottom line is that she’s not in danger of any kind of long term sickness – but in order to improve her condition she needs to make some significant lifestyle changes.

Her dad and I have been talking about Paleo, and I mentioned it in a post last night.  This weekend we are going to begin.  We’re too old, fat, tired and unhappy not to make a conscious effort to do this and to do it completely.

That being said, we have two pantries full of things that don’t work with the Paleo plan.  If anyone would like about 50 boxes of pasta and a whole bunch of beans, give us a ring!





Paleo

22 04 2013

After a particularly difficult doctor appointment for Gabrielle this morning the family has made the decision to investigate the Paleo lifestyle change.  Has anyone ever tried eating this way, and if so – what have been your most difficult challenges with making this enormous change?








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