PALEO FOR BEGINNERS

You may have noticed that I recently started following the Paleo diet. If you guys have been with me awhile, you know I am constantly on the quest to feel better. I’ve been gluten free, vegan, tried acupuncture, went on a strict digestive system healing diet, researched Eastern Medicine’s Spleen Qi Deficiency, done juice cleanses, and given up all together and ate whatever I wanted since I was just going to feel like shit anyways. But after four months on the Paleo diet I am happy to report that for the first time since I can remember, I feel like the best version of myself! My stomach is no longer inflamed and sore, I’m no longer bloated, I have tons of energy (I wake before my alarm clock! Who am I!?), and my favorite side effect is how it has effected my mood! I have felt so happy and positive lately! Not only have I noticed a change in my mood and energy level, people around me have been noticing too! I’ve had clients asking what I have been doing differently and I have even inspired a few people to try it with me!

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So what is the Paleo diet? I’ve had so many people ask if I just eat like a cave man, and that’s not too far off, but not the whole picture!

Basically the Paleo diet is an anti-inflammatory diet that mimics the food groups that our hunter-gatherer ancestors would have eaten. Like any diet, this way of eating may not be for you, I believe in bio individuality, meaning even though I thrive eating this way, you may not! But it’s worth a try if you felt anything like I did!

What you can have on the Paleo diet:

-High quality, organic meat
-Wild caught sea food
-Fruits
-Vegetables
-Nuts
-Healthy Fats
-Coconut and Almond Flour
-Honey and Maple Syrup

What to avoid on the Paleo diet:

-All Processed Food and Sugar
-Grains
-Dairy
-Legumes
-White Potatoes

I know it sounds limiting, but if you want to know the reasoning behind everything, I can’t explain it better than Dallas and Melissa Hartwig, the authors of “It Starts With Food”; I highly recommend this book to anyone curious about the Paleo diet!

Here are some other resources I’ve found really helpful as a Paleo newbie:

Danielle Walker of Against All Grain:
Her story is so inspirational and her blog and two cookbooks are full of delicious recipes, her freezer waffles from “Meals Made Simple” are a gift from the Paleo gods!

Pinterest:
If you don’t have a Pinterest account your are probably much more productive than I am, however, it is a wealth of Paleo recipes and tips!

Nom Nom Paleo:
Another great blog with a hard copy cookbook, my personal favorite recipe is the salmon patties.

PaleOMG:
Juli writes in a super relatable way, and has a great sense of humor! Her entire crockpot section is incredibly “stay at work” friendly!

These are just a handful of the sites and cookbooks I use, there is an endless amount of information out there; I recommend finding someone you feel like you can relate to and going from there! Look out for more Paleo recipes to be added on this blog too!

PALEO PAN FRIED BANANAS WITH HONEY “CARAMEL” SAUCE

Sometimes you want dessert but the only sweet thing in the house is an over ripe banana. But desperate times call for desperate measures, and so the Paleo pan fried banana was born!

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Now, I think there are two types of people in the world: people who like under ripe bananas and people who like over ripe bananas; I am an under ripe banana kind of girl. My bananas have to still be light green at the top, any riper than that and it’s going in my husband’s smoothie. However, after I sampled a life changing course of cinnamon sugar sautéed bananas at a Brazilian Steakhouse, I would like to amend my over ripe banana rule: I only eat under ripe bananas unless they are cooked and covered in sweetness. I came up with this paleo version one night to curb a sweet tooth and I have to say that I think they might be better than the Brazilian Steakhouses’ (my husband agrees). They are so rich they might ask you to sign a prenup before you eat them!

Ingredients:
2 Bananas; sliced lengthwise
2 Tbsp butter or ghee
1 Tbsp honey
A sprinkling of ground cinnamon

*Serves two

In a sauté pan, heat butter and honey on medium-high until melted. Add bananas, cook for about 1-2 minutes each side (I like my bananas to still be firm in the middle, but if you like them more done, cook each side a little longer). Remove and place on a plate, allow the liquid in the pan to bubble and thicken up a bit. Pour the sauce over the bananas and dust with cinnamon. Enjoy!

PALEO SPICY KALE AND ANDOUILLE SAUSAGE SOUP

Below zero weather in Ohio and a stuffy nose calls for soup, and this paleo spicy kale and andouille sausage soup is just what the doctor ordered! (Actually the doctor would probably order rest and antibiotics, but I don’t have time for that nonsense, so soup will have to do!).

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This recipe was inspired by a version from a local Columbus bakery, Sassafras, except they do it with collard greens and black eyed peas. It is delicious! (And while you’re there you might as well pick up a flourless coconut truffle, because you deserve it!) I was craving the original, but I started another round of Whole 30 so I needed to paleo-fy it! I took the black eyed peas out, doubled the sausage, replaced the collard greens with the kale I had on hand, and used homemade nourishing bone broth as the base. It’s close enough to the original, so it satisfies my craving and they only make it every once in awhile, so I highly recommend having this recipe on hand to get you through your own Sassafras withdrawals!

Ingredients:

4 ounces andouille sausage; chopped
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 onion; diced
1 and 1/2 quarts organic chicken stock (or homemade bone broth)
5 stalks of kale; chopped
Salt and pepper to taste

In a Dutch oven or stock pot, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat; add andouille sausage and cook until brown, stirring occasionally. Add onions and sauté until translucent. Turn stovetop down to a simmer, add the chicken stock and cover for 20 minutes. Place the kale in the pot (it looks like a lot but it cooks down quite a bit) cover and allow to cook for another 5 minutes; or until kale is tender but still bright green. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Enjoy!

PALEO CHIPOTLE MAPLE ROASTED PECANS

Spicy/sweet might be my favorite flavor combination, so these paleo chipotle maple roasted pecans are extremely addictive!

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As I was packaging these up to give as gifts this holiday season, I couldn’t help sampling them in a “one for you, one for me, one for you and two for me…” manner. After my husband tried one he made sure to check “these aren’t all being given away right? You’ll keep some for us?” So I guess you can say they’re a hit!

Ingredients:

2 cups pecans
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp chipotle powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 Tbsp melted butter or ghee
3 Tbsp maple syrup

*Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Place pecans in a medium bowl, combine maple syrup and melted butter and add to pecans, stir until evenly coated. In a small bowl mix salt, cinnamon and chipotle powder, toss with pecans until evenly coated.

Spread pecans out on a parchment lined cookie sheet and bake at 350 for 15 minutes, stirring the pecans every 5 minutes.

Remove from oven and allow to cool. If they hang around long enough to need stored, just keep them in an airtight container. Enjoy!

MAPLE ALMOND PALEO MERINGUES

Biting into these maple almond paleo meringues is like eating a cloud made out of cinnamon toast crunch.

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Im not much of a baker (cooking is an art, baking is a science, and I’ve always been more of an artist), so I had to rely on the talents over at Gourmande in the Kitchen to get me through this round of holiday baking. These turned out perfectly! The only tweak I made was using ground almonds instead of chopped almonds because I got a little eager with the food processor, and I also omitted the sea salt sprinkle on top.

Here’s a word from the wise (because I made this mistake) don’t package them up with anything particularly moist, I put them in a tin with some paleo marshmellows to give as a gift, and the meringues absorbed the moisture from the marshmellows and turned into a dense, sticky mess. Whomp whomp!

Enjoy! And tell Sylvie at Gourmande in the Kitchen that I sent you!

HOLIDAY GIFTS UNDER $30: SMALL BUSINESS EDITION

I wanted to share one more special Holiday Gift Guide featuring my favorite items from small businesses in my community. If you’re looking to grow your small business year round, Kabbage specializes in helping small businesses! While I have not personally used their services, it seems like a great alternative to traditional loans!

Since I already focused on getting those hard to buy for people on your list taken care of a few weeks ago (here!) I wanted to round out your holiday shopping with a few last minute gifts. At this point you’re probably running low on time and money (at least I am) so I kept all of the gifts under $30 and all on the same street: Grandview Ave in Columbus, OH!

Earth Elements: Seabolt & Co. Hydrate Toner $18

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I am obsessed with the “Hydrate” toner from Seabolt & Co. Technically it is geared towards men, but I use my husband’s body wash and deodorant sometimes, so that doesn’t stop me. It’s all natural, sulfate, paraben, preservative and gluten free, vegan, and never tested on animals. This is the perfect gift for the person on your list who is constantly on the go. They can toss the spray in their bag and use a spritz to freshen up after the gym, between the office and meeting friends for drinks, and before going into the office the next day if those previous night’s drinks have them looking less than fresh. For a more personal gift, Earth Elements provides custom skin care blends such as lotions, shower gels and bath salts.

The Candle Lab: Pour Your Own Candle $16

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This would be a fun gift to give to someone where you come back later and make candles together! You pick your container, custom blend up to three scents and get to design your own label! Another cool option is to bring in your own container and have it filled for $1.75 per ounce.

Peabody Papers: Holiday Cards $11

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I like to give my regular clients at the salon a little hand written card around the holidays. This is perfect for the people in your life who you might not buy a gift for, but you still want them to know you’re thinking of them during the holiday season! Peabody has tons of beautiful readymade cards, or you can work with them to design your own. I just love how sophisticated these black and gold ones are, and for $11 for a pack of twenty, you can’t beat that!

Vernacular: Old Fashioned Glasses $20

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How sexy are these glasses?! They’re like drinking out of Don Draper and Roger Sterling (Yes please!). These are perfect for the mad man in your life who enjoys a good drink! Vernacular (formerly Objects For The Home, don’t worry, same owners, same amazing finds) is full of awesome gifts for everyone on your list, whatever your price range.

The Oilerie: The Oilerie Balsamic $20

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This 25 year aged balsamic is AH-mazing! If you have a foodie on your shopping list, look no further than this. I’m not kidding when I tell you in my house this stuff goes on everything! I’ve put it on roasted vegetables, salads, steak, and even ice cream! (Told you I’m obsessed!). They also have a bunch of different infused olive oils and balsamic vinegars, I highly recommend the truffle olive oil!

Elli Nail Spa: The Care To Indulge Manicure $26
You didn’t think I’d leave out the best nail salon in Columbus, OH did you? Pick up a gift card for The Care To Indulge Manicure, and treat someone on your list to sugar scrub, a warm towel wrap and a massage with the lotion scent of their choice. After all the wrapping, cooking and washing of dishes, a manicure is much needed! You deserve one too so you might as well pick up a few!

What’s your favorite small business you support?

AN APPLE A DAY AB&J (OR PALEO ALMOND BUTTER AND JELLY SANDWICH)

Last week I had a real hankering for a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, however now that I’m 90% paleo, that wasn’t going to happen. Also there wasn’t any bread or peanut butter in the house, so there’s that… You know what they say though: necessity is the mother of invention; and satisfying this craving was very necessary.

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I hate to even call this a recipe, I slapped some almond butter and strawberry preserves on an apple, but somehow this became my most “liked” Instagram photo of all time, so I felt the need to post it!

Ingredients:

1 Apple
Almond Butter
Jelly (I used homemade, processed sugar free strawberry preserves)

Slice and core the apple, spread as much almond butter and jelly on a slice as you prefer. Top with another slice of apple. Enjoy!

*this recipe is totally customizable, use any nut butter, jelly or even chocolate chip combination you want!

PALEO, VEGAN AND GLUTEN FREE CHRISTMAS COOKIES

If you have someone with dietary restrictions on your Christmas cookie list (or you are the person with dietary restrictions and don’t want to miss out on delicious holiday treats!) you have come to the right place! I have something for everybody: gluten free, dairy free, grain free, nut free, paleo, vegan and a combination of all! These Christmas treats are sure to please everyone, including those who can have the real thing!

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M&M Monster Cookies: Gluten Free

Buckeye Bark: Gluten Free, can be made vegan with non dairy chocolate and butter substitute

Peanut Butter and Jelly Thumbprint Cookies: Vegan, Gluten Free, Dairy Free

Carrot Cake Cookies: Paleo, Dairy Free, Gluten Free, Grain Free, can be made vegan by replacing egg with a “flaxseed egg”

Ooey Gooey Mint Chocolate Brownie Cookies: Gluten Free, Nut Free, Grain Free

PALEO BAKED CAULIFLOWER FRITTERS

Paleo cauliflower fritters, dumplings, bites, balls….I have no idea what to call these except delicious! I’ve topped them with gravy, dropped them in soup, dipped them in BBQ sauce, they can be whatever you want them to be! I made a big batch and neutrally seasoned them so they could be really versatile, but you could also add Italian seasoning and top them with marinara, or add parsley for faux falafel! The possibilities are endless!

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Ingredients:

1 head of cauliflower
3 eggs
1/2 cup almond flour
1tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1tsp chipotle powder
1/2 tsp garlic powder

*Preheat oven to 400 degrees

Rinse and remove leafs from head of cauliflower. In a food processor, pulse cauliflower until pieces are about the size of a grain of rice. (You can also use a box grater to grate the cauliflower if you don’t have a food processor.)
In a large bowl, combine almond flour, salt, pepper, chipotle and garlic powder, add eggs and cauliflower. Stir until cauliflower is coated completely.

Form the mixture into two inch balls (pack them tightly, like a snowball!), and place on a parchment lined cookie sheet. Bake at 400 degrees for 30-40 minutes, or until golden brown. Enjoy!

THE STAY AT WORK HOUSEWIFE’S 2014 HOLIDAY GIFT GUIDE

Here’s my holiday gift guide for even the trickiest recipient on your list, because why should Oprah get to have all the fun?

For your super stylish sister:

Greater Than earrings from Eli & Barry.  These dainty 10k gold earrings go with everything, so they’re perfect for your super stylish sister, who most people just get a gift card, rather than trying to match her awesome taste!

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For your mom who never treats herself:

An Ivory Faux Fur Throw from World Market. Would she buy herself a throw that’s over $50? No.  Will she act like you might as well have spent $500 with the way she’ll ‘oooh’ and ‘ahhh’ as she pets it?  Yes.

For your friend who is always networking:

The One In A Million business card holder from Kate Spade will ensure she’s always ready to make a connection.

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For your control freak boss:

The Arc Customizable Notebook by Staples, as a control freak myself, I can tell you that this is the greatest notebook ever!  The size is perfect to toss in a purse, the pages are repositionable, and it gives you the option to add more pages like graphing paper and pocket dividers.  Plus, the leather cover is totally chic!

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For your bibliophile aunt:

Personalized self-inking “This Book Belongs To” stamp from Cre8tive Rubber Stamp.  She’ll never lose a book in Book Club again!

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For your Dad, because Dad’s are hard to buy for:

A personalized wooden beer carrier from MVwoodworks.  He doesn’t have one already, and I know you’re getting tired of just giving him sporting goods store gift cards….

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For your high tech significant other:

The Catchall iPhone 6 Dock from Jigsaw Furnishings.  If your significant other is anything like mine, even though he lives in the same house as you, and most likely was the one who sat his belongings down, you constantly hear the phrase “Have you seen my…..”  Solve that with this smartphone dock that also holds keys, a wallet, glasses and a watch.  Just don’t move it when you clean.

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Did this help you mark anyone off your Christmas list?