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To prove that I haven’t abandoned Paleo eating just because the Whole30 is over, here’s a recipe that I made last night to celebrate fall AND grain-free eating. Now that I know how much lower my blood pressure is while I’m grain-free, I figure I should keep with it…

Pumpkin Pie Spiced Grain-Free Granola

  • 2 cups of cubed pumpkin or butternut squash
  • 2 tablespoons ghee or coconut oil
  • 1 cup hazelnuts
  • 1/2 cup almonds
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin seeds
  • 1/2 cup sunflower kernels
  • 1/4 cup shaved coconut
  • salt to taste
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • generous dash pumpkin pie spice
  1. Turn oven on to 275F. 
  2. Put pumpkin in a baking dish and bake until getting soft, about 15 min.
  3. Add ghee to pan and mix. 
  4. In a food chopper or processor, chop the almonds and hazelnuts into small pieces (granola-sized pieces). 
  5. Add any of the raw nuts (in my case, all except the pumpkin seeds, which were already roasted) and the coconut pieces to the pan. Mix well to distribute the ghee/ oil.
  6. Continue to cook another 30 min or so until the nuts are all starting to get crispy.
  7. Add the pre-roasted nuts, salt, honey, vanilla extract, and pumpkin pie spice. Mix well, and press it all down into the bottom of the pan. 
  8. Bake another 15 min or so until it is crunchy in parts and chewy in parts. 
  9. Serve with yogurt, if you’re not going strictly Paleo, or with almond milk and eggs if you are. 

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-b


 

This weekend, we finished the Whole30, and then K and I turned 30 (with L turning 26)! It was a wonderful weekend.

So…for the Whole30 results…

I had started the Whole30 with a few goals in mind. Here’s how they all panned out:

(1) To challenge myself to make new foods: SUCCESS! We made delicious foods this month, and I have a new appreciation for protein. 

(2) To “re-boot” my immune system so I wouldn’t constantly sneeze and itch: SUCCESS. To be fair, I have no idea whether the Whole30 did this or not, but I’m happy with less itchy eyes. 

(3) To improve fertility: FAIL (I guess). It was unfair of me to expect the Whole30 to move mountains. But, to make a long story short: This was a horrendous month of fertility meds, injections, manipulated hormones, multiple ultrasounds, a lot of bloodwork…and zero results. In fact, it left us pretty hopeless in this realm, as I failed to respond to escalating doses of hormones. So, for job reasons, and because this month was so taxing on a physical, emotional, and financial level, we’re tabling these plans indefinitely (while looking more into adoption and foster options). {I’d put a frowny face here, but it couldn’t come close to conveying the actual frowny feelings}

So after that good/good/awful summary, here’s a happy report of the amazing Whole30 side effects we experienced:

  • Weight loss: I lost 8 pounds in one month. I essentially got down to my college weight in one month. And, T lost 12.8 pounds! I don’t mean to emphasize the weight loss, since it wasn’t really the point of our doing this, but it was a very nice side effect. And nice to finally find something that works!
  • Inches lost: T and I each lost about an inch around our waists. That’s always good. 
  • Blood pressure: This was the most amazing change; my systolic blood pressure (the “top number”) dropped 25 points! My BP went from 122/80 to 96/70. That is a HUGE drop! And T’s dropped about 15 points, too.

So, this was definitely worth it. I’m really grateful that T did this with me, since I know his sweet tooth made this challenging! Going forward, I’m still going to try to cook/eat Paleo at home (but I’ll be much less strict when eating out…so that we actually can eat out). Except that I’m re-introducing yogurt ASAP. I feel great eating yogurt, and I think it’s a good source of protein. And now I’m making my own yogurt thanks to a new gift from K&C…post to come soon…

I’ll end with a pic of the three DP ladies on our birthday. I had the DP yoga tank tops made for K & L for their birthdays, and of course they made those silly shirts look nice. 

I could never love anyone as I love my sisters. ~Little Women

-b


 

Three days left until we’re done with the Whole30…although I still haven’t decided exactly how done I’ll be. If I feel better on Paleo food, there’s really no reason to start eating grains again. I’m trying not to give my verdict until we’re done…in only 3 days!

We made, for the second time, these delicious cauliflower patties pan-fried in ghee. We followed this recipe word-for-word: http://thehealthyfoodie.com/creamy-cauliflower-fritters/

It’s a great recipe, and the cauliflower patties are the epitome of comfort food. Which it turns out I’ve needed this month, which has been especially tiresome and emotionally draining. But…fall is around the corner, we have plans to go to the mountains soon, and my little 2-person-1-dog family is otherwise healthy and happy. So, on we go…for three more days!

-b


 


Nine…more…days…

I’m not sure I ever achieved the state of boundless energy that other people have reported with the Whole30. I still feel pretty tired. Maybe it’s due to a change in meds…or the fact that my sleep schedule is thrown off from working crazy hours…or maybe it’s the working crazy hours part. BUT I am still loving the challenge of making strictly Paleo food.

We made our own almond milk at the start of the Whole30, and then we made a batch of almond-hazelnut milk for the second half of our challenge. Very, very easy to do (although it would be even easier with a nut milk bag…next purchase). But, when you make almond milk, you have to strain out the almond pulp. The frugal part of me (which is pretty much all of me) hates that waste. So, I made the pulp into crackers. They were slightly sweet (from the date), with a hint of rosemary.

Almond-Hazelnut Milk:
-3/4 cup raw almonds
-1/4 cup hazelnut
-1 pitted Medjool dates
-1 whole vanilla bean
-1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
-small dash of allspice
-dash of salt

1. Soak nuts in cut of filtered water overnight.
2. Drain nuts. Add soaked nuts to blender with 3.5 cups filtered water, date, and vanilla bean. Blend about 1 minute.
3. Pour through cheesecloth (multiple layers) or nut milk bag into jar or bowl. Squeeze excess fluid out of pulp.
4. Rinse blender. Add the milk plus spices back in. Blend a few seconds to mix.
5. Pour into jar and keep in fridge.


And now for the frugal use of the pulp: almond crackers! You could use 100% pulp, but I didn’t think to do this until I had trashed half of the pulp, so I used half pulp and half almond meal.

Almond-Hazelnut Rosemary Crackers
-1 cup almond-hazelnut pulp from the milk recipe
-1 cup almond meal
-1 egg
-1/2 tsp salt
-1/2 tsp rosemary (I used dried but would prefer about a tsp of fresh)
-olive oil

1. Mix the pulp/meal, egg, salt.
2. Put on an oiled piece of parchment paper.
3. Cover with another piece of parchment paper.
4. Roll out until cracker-thin, using rolling pin or wine bottle.
5. Remove top piece of parchment paper and place bottom piece of parchment paper (with the “dough”) onto cookie sheet. Score into cracker-sized pieces with knife. Brush a little more olive oil on top.
6. Press rosemary onto crackers.
7. Bake for 10-15 min at 350F, until golden brown.

-b


 

19 days in and going strong! I will mention that the only way we’ve been able to stick to the rules has been by eating at home (or at our accommodating friends’ house) every single night. Which is so disappointing when it’s Charleston Restaurant Week! Also, the restrictions are starting to feel really…restrictive. Some of them I find excessive: No extracts? No green peas? Nothing cooked in wine (even if the alcohol has burned off)? I think they take the “slippery slope” argument a little too far…I seriously doubt that any of those things contribute negatively towards anyone’s health. So far, I think the main point of all of this is just to open your eyes to how much sugar is added to EVERYTHING…from pasta sauce to sausage to marinades. But, I’ll reserve the rest of my comments on the Whole30 until the end of the month.

On another note…it has taken so much time and money to try to eat “clean” this month; it has probably cost around $150 a week for two people to eat nothing but fruits, vegetables, and (sustainable) meats. I have no qualms about admitting that this type of eating is a total luxury…one that I’m not sure we could keep up (financially or time-wise). Why is real food so expensive and difficult to find?!

Anyway, here are some recent Paleo meals we have enjoyed:

Plantain nachos:
1. Mix 2 plantains, thinly sliced, with 1/4c coconut oil, dash of salt, and dash of chili powder. Bake at 375 until crispy.
2. Top with ground turkey, grape tomatoes, cilantro, avocado, and avocado/mayo/lime/cilantro dressing.

Dukkah-crusted Tilapia:
1. Make dukkah spice blend (Egyptian dipping spice): I used Nom Nom Paleo’s awesome recipe from her cookbook. I don’t have a spice grinder, so this actually required grinding it with mortar and pestle after chopping it in the food processor.
2. Mix 2 tsp dukkah with a tablespoon of Paleo mayonnaise.
3. Broil tilapia fillets (fresh or completely thawed) for two min per side, after squeezing fresh lemon juice and a splash of olive oil on each.
4. Spread the dukkah-mayo blend on each fillet, and sprinkle with some extra dukkah.
5. Broil 2-3 more minutes, until crispy on top.

And some recent pictures from the dog park, where our friends took their new dog for the first time!

Not loving the bath station:

Leaving with tired dogs:

My loves:

-b