Healthy Valentine’s Day Treats

I’m not sure if you would really call these recipes Valentine’s Day themed, per se, but they involve strawberries, strawberries are pink and VDay is all about pink….so Valentine’s treats it is. 😉

The first is a Chocolate Covered Strawberry Protein Smoothie.  Who doesn’t love chocolate covered strawberries?! And if I can blend them up and drink them out of a straw for breakfast, I’m all for that situation.

DSC01968

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 c unsweetened vanilla almond milk
  • 1/2 frozen banana
  • 1/2 c frozen strawberries
  • 1 scoop vanilla protein powder
  • 1 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder (you can eliminate this if you use chocolate protein powder)
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • handful of spinach

Directions:

Blend and enjoy!

DSC01969The next treat is a new one for me.  Davida over at The Healthy Maven is hosting a linkup for health-ified Valentine’s Day baked goods. As soon as I heard the idea, I knew I had to participate.  #1 I L.O.V.E. baked goods in all shapes and sizes. #2 I also love taking those baked goods and making them in a way that doesn’t make me feel like I need to eat it while simultaneously running on the treadmill.  I stumbled across a recipe for strawberry/chocolate paleo bread from You Fresh Naturals on Instagram and knew I had to try it. I made a couple of adjustments of my own to create Strawberry Chocolate Pecan Paleo Bread!

Strawberry Paleo BreadYes, I’m aware it looks like a dog treat. The picture really doesn’t do it justice, plus I’m not good at taking fancy food blogger pics like Davida. 🙂  It was delicious and even Matt was impressed!  Wife-win. I haven’t made paleo bread before, but I’ll definitely be trying this concept again!

Ingredients:

  • 1/3 c coconut flour
  • 3 tbsp canned coconut milk
  • 2 ripe bananas
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tbsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • pinch salt
  • pinch baking soda
  • 1/4 c chopped pecans
  • 1/4 c chopped strawberries
  • 1/4 c chocolate chips (for true paleo, use a brand like Enjoy Life)

Directions:

Place all ingredients except strawberries, pecans and chocolate chips in food processor.  Blend until combined.  Fold in remaining ingredients and pour into greased bread pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes to 1 hour.

 

Sending virtual hugs to everyone on this Valentine’s Day!  Have a great weekend!

WIAW #11: Butternut Squash Chili

Time for another round of What I Ate Wednesday! I’ll apologize in advance for the lack of photos this time around…it’s all the same, right?

WIAWbutton

Breakfast

Scrambled eggs with more roasted breakfast “potatoes”. This time, the mix included sweet potatoes and turnips….I never thought I would like turnips, but they are quite tasty!

I also grabbed a sugar-free caramel almond milk latte (that’s quite the mouthful, isn’t it?) on the way to work. I stayed pretty full until lunch, but also grabbed a small handful of trail mix mid-morning.

DSC01963

Lunch

I went to lunch with some co-workers and my boss at Crazy Bowls and Wraps, where I ordered a chicken fajita bowl, sans rice…along with a few tortilla chips.  It was really good but a little heavy on the beans and cheese, which I wasn’t expecting. No pics this time. Didn’t want to freak my co-workers out. 🙂

Dinner

Dinner was the highlight of my day. I found this recipe for Paleo Butternut Squash Chili and had to give it a try, especially since we are dealing with yet another snow day around here….is it spring yet?!

DSC01958

Paired with a kale salad, it was a delicious meal…oh, and a piece (ok, two) of THIS deliciousness. Ohmygoodnessgracious this stuff is no joke. Sorry for the blurred pic. I blame the chocolate.

DSC01964

I only made a couple of small changes to the recipe, but here’s how I made the chili!

DSC01961Ingredients:

  • 1 lb grass-fed ground beef
  • 1 lb steak, cubed
  • 3 cups butternut squash, cubed
  • 1 green bell pepper, diced
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 2 15oz cans fire roasted tomatoes with green chiles, diced
  • 1 6oz can tomato paste
  • 1 15oz can beef broth
  • 2 tbsp chili powder
  • 1 tbsp Texas chili powder (recipe calls for Chipotle but I couldn’t find it)
  • 1 tbsp cumin
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp crushed red pepper
  • salt- the recipe doesn’t call for it but I added some to my bowl (I’m a salt lover and my husband, not so much ;))

Directions:

Chop all vegetables. Brown meat in a skillet for about 5 minutes, add vegetables and cook for another 5 minutes, or until veggies are cooked about halfway.  If your roasted red peppers aren’t already diced, add them to a food processor or blender and pulse until diced (do not drain). Add the remainder of ingredients and meat/veggie mixture into a pot and simmer for 1 hour, or until the squash is tender.

Again, I do not always post every single thing I eat throughout the day, just the noteworthy meals.  I don’t want to bore you too much to death… 😉

 

Make it a great day!

 

Weekend Recap & Cookie Overload

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas in our house!

DSC01568

Christmas DecorMatt and have have started collecting ornaments from some of the places we have visited or that are meaningful.  Decorating the tree brings back all of the fun memories. 🙂

Ornaments1

Ornaments2

(Yes, that’s a Rams Cheerleader in a veil, thanks to my amazing teammates!) 🙂

Remember how I said I was looking forward to a girls’ trip to KC for the weekend?  Welp, Mother Nature had other plans for us and it looked a little something like this:

DSC01559

DSC01560We debated attempting to make the trek a little later in the morning but decided Kappa Christmas would have to be rescheduled after the holidays. Dang snow. 🙁

Onto Plan B: Cookie Extravaganza Round 2.  As luck would have it, I stayed at my parents’ house Friday night and obviously wasn’t going to drive anywhere in 8 inches of snow, so cookies it was!

DSC01563

photo(We have a lot of dogs in my extended family.  These are “people cookies” but we don’t like to leave the dogs out. :))

DSC01566This year, we tried something new with these Pumpkin Gingerbread Snowballs and paleo-approved Chocolate Coconut Squares.

DSC01564

Are you on sweets overload yet? No? Me neither.  Now for the recipe for two of my favorites!

Reeses-Oreo Cookies

Oreo Cake Balls

Ingredients:

  • 1 pkg Oreos (crushed)
  • 8 oz light cream cheese
  • melted semi-sweet chocolate chips

Directions:

Crush Oreos (I usually put them all in a ziploc bag and crush with my hands or a rolling pin). Pour crumbs into a bowl with the cream cheese and mix together.  Shape the dough into balls and let cool until they harden enough they don’t fall apart.  Dip in melted chocolate, sprinkle on your favorite toppings and let dry on foil or parchment paper.

Ritz Peanut Butter Cookies

Ingredients:

  • Ritz crackers
  • peanut butter
  • melted semi-sweet chocolate chips

Directions:

Place a small scoop of peanut butter in between two Ritz crackers.  Dip in melted chocolate, sprinkle on your favorite toppings and let dry on foil or parchment paper.  Yes, it’s that easy!

Now, I leave you in a chocolate coma.  You’re welcome. 🙂

Paleo Sloppy Joes

It’s Fridaaaay!  The weekend couldn’t come soon enough.  Tomorrow morning my mom, sister and I are having our annual cookie baking extravaganza- one of my favorite traditions.  I’ll be sure to share a few of her recipes before the holidays are over!  Then on Saturday Mizzou is playing Auburn in the SEC Championship game!  So, that means I’ll probbbbably be spending the afternoon in front of a tv with a cold beverage and (not so skinny) plate of food in front of me.  Pretty sure that’s a football Saturday rule.

Backing up a little to earlier this week, when the thought of a typical week’s worth of chicken, fish and veggies sounded far less than appetizing, I set out to find a recipe that was hearty, yet healthy, AND was something both Matt and I would like.  Sometimes I feel bad for the guy because I’m not Susie Homemaker who makes meat and potatoes night after night, but I think he secretly thanks me for it. 😉 Plus, when I pull out recipes like this one, he can’t complain!  Comfort food that’s healthy.  Everybody wins.

I found this recipe for healthy (and paleo!) sloppy joes.  Don’t think it can get better than that?  It only requires a crock-pot.  Set it and forget it.  Boom.

Paleo Sloppy JoesIngredients:

  • 1 lb ground beef (I used extra lean)
  • 1 bell pepper, diced
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 2 celery stalks, diced
  • 1 (8oz) can tomato sauce (no salt added)
  • 1 (6oz) can tomato paste (no salt added)
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground mustard
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp maple syrup
  • 1/4 tsp BBQ seasoning

Directions:

Place all ingredients in the crock-pot.  Stir and cook on low for 2-4 hours.

I served mine with a sweet potato instead of a bun!

Have a great weekend and GO TIGERS!!! (the M-I-Z kind) 😉

Paleo Friendsgiving

This weekend, our friends Nate and Kate invited a few friends over for a little “Friendsgiving”- Paleo style. The Paleo lifestyle is based on the “hunter-gatherer” concept- eating wholesome foods from food groups that, for lack of better words, a caveman could eat.  Fresh meats, fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds and healthful oils are some of the basics.  It doesn’t sound too difficult but when you get right down to it, there is a lot more involved than you think.  Nate and Kate are avid Cross-fitters and over the past year or so have adopted the Paleo lifestyle.  They are much more dedicated than I will ever be, but I’m always intrigued and inspired by the delicious food Kate always seems to make.  It almost makes me want to give this Paleo thing a go…almost. This Saturday, she really outdid herself and had quite the spread.  On the menu was smoked turkey, roasted butternut squash, sweet potato and bacon “biscuits”, gravy, mashed cauliflower, cranberry sauce, roasted green beans, stuffing and salad….and ALL of it was Paleo-friendly.  Full yet?

IMG_20131116_191742

Keeping with the theme, I made my first Paleo dish ever- dessert of course!  I found a recipe for Coconut Chocolate Brownies on PaleOMG and decided to give it a try.  I was pretty skeptical because dessert is one thing I rarely mess with but we were all actually pleasantly surprised.

IMAG0194Paleo Coconut Chocolate Brownies

(Original recipe here)

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup dark chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup canned full fat coconut milk (yes, you have to use full fat, I asked Kate- the paleo expert) 😉
  • 1 1/4 cups almond flour
  • 1/2 cup shredded coconut (I used unsweetened)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 cup sliced almonds

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Melt chocolate and coconut milk in a small sauce pan over low heat.  Add melted chocolate and coconut milk to a mixing bowl with eggs and mix.  Add almond flour, baking powder, sea salt and shredded coconut; continue mixing.  Pour mixture in to an 8×8 baking dish greased with coconut oil (or oil of your choice).  Sprinkle almonds on top, as well as a small handful of shredded coconut.  Bake for 25-35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle of the cake comes out clean.

Paleo aside, we all had a fantastic night.  Great food, great friends…Friendsgiving 2013 was a success. The healthy factor was just an added bonus. 🙂