PALEO VEGAN CINNAMON BANANA PUDDING

A creamy paleo, vegan, gluten free and dairy free pudding, thickened with chia seeds which gives it the texture of tapioca banana pudding!

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With The Oscars on last night, I wanted a special treat to ‘indulge’ in while watching, without feeling like I’m undoing all of the slimming effects of the yoga I’ve been practicing. However, it has been an arctic, chilly, snowy winter in Ohio, and it takes a lot to get me to do anything but sleep and work when it feels like -15 degrees outside. Getting me out of my warm car to go into the grocery only happens when eating almonds and frozen blueberries is the only option for dinner, so the ingredients on hand last night were a tad limited. I ALWAYS have bananas, avocados, sweet potatoes and coconut milk in the house; making sweet potatoes into a dessert might be challenge, and since I didn’t have chocolate on hand to make Paleo Vegan Chocolate Pudding with the avocados I had, I decided to experiment with the bananas! I threw this cinnamon banana pudding together and I have to say, I love how it turned out!

*Makes two servings

Ingredients:

2 ripe bananas (you don’t want any green on these or you won’t get that sweet, banana pudding taste, yellow with some spots is best)
1 Tbsp honey
1 cup coconut milk
2 Tbsp chia seeds
2 tsp ground cinnamon

Place bananas, honey, coconut milk, and cinnamon in a blender, blend until smooth. Stir in the chia seeds, cover and refrigerate for 15 minutes. (Optional: Serve topped with whipped, full fat coconut milk) Enjoy!

THE STAY AT WORK HOUSEWIFE’S ADVENTURES IN YOGA

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Confession time: I hate physical activity.  I especially hate running, in fact I was “on my period” every time we had to do the 15 minute mile in high school gym, and no one ever caught on.  I will go as far to say that if you ever see me running, call the police and start running too, because something is endangering my life.  In the past I would use my low energy levels, aches and pains, and digestive issues as an excuse not to exercise, but now that I’m healthy and energized from following the Paleo diet, I have no excuses.  Well, I mean, I could use working 50+ hours a week as an “I don’t have time” excuse (ahem, and I have been using it for the past 4 months…) but honestly, my lack of physical activity is making me feel like a fraud.  I encourage all of you to live your “best life” when a good chunk of my puzzle is missing, because I’m incredibly inactive.  I feel like the biggest excuse is the fact that I have never struggled with my weight, I am so lucky to have a naturally petite figure and a high metabolism, so I’ve never seen the need to exercise.  To me, exercising is something someone does to lose weight, in fact, when I tell other people that I do not exercise at all, they look at me and say “Well, it doesn’t really look like you need to”.  A fairy tale I have believed until recently.  You can be thin but still have the same health problems as an overweight person: diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and high blood sugar.  Luckily I have none of those problems yet, but since there is a family history of high cholesterol and heart disease, I’m not bulletproof.

So begins the adventure of becoming someone who exercises.  I chose yoga for three reasons: I think it’ll help how tense I always am, I’m a little ball of stress and I hold myself tight, hopefully this loosens me up; it’s the furthest thing from running I can think of; I had a Groupon, haha.

Today was supposed to be my first class, but unfortunately Ohio weather was full of ‘squalls’, or lovely bursts of visibility reducing snow, so I postponed it until next week.  However, I didn’t want today to be a complete waste, so I decided to get a jump start and did a little yoga in my breakfast nook! I used the first video of the series 30 Days of Yoga with Adriene on YouTube, and I have to say I kinda suck at yoga, haha! I was slow, awkward, shaky and I had a horrible time breathing. I actually think my biggest challenge is going to be breathing, I have a tendency to hold my breath and a difficult time breathing deeply, so we’ll see how that goes! I definitely felt looser afterwards but I’m a little nervous for when I actually start classes because I couldn’t hold some of the poses as long as she did in the video.

Oh well I guess we’ll see once I start! I’ll keep you guys updated on my adventures in yoga and hope you’ll follow along and support me as I go!

RAW PALEO SEA SALT FIG AND PISTACHIO ENERGY BITES

Raw, vegan and paleo sea salt, fig and pistachio energy bites are the perfect no bake protein snack on the go!

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I’ll admit, the healthy lifestyle I’ve embraced recently isn’t incredibly on the go friendly.  I’m constantly looking for a snack I can grab quickly on my way out the door, that’s equally as quick and easy to eat.  We’re talking no heating up, mixing or anything, just open a package and it’s ready to eat.  It’s a tall order but one that is imperative to fill, on a busy day at the salon snacks (and coffee) are what keep me going, and chances to sit down and enjoy a meal are nonexistent.  Let’s be honest, time at home is precious as well, between spending time with my husband, meal prepping, cleaning, working on this blog and keeping up with selling Doterra Essential Oils; making the snacks needs to take minimal time and effort as well.  So I’ve been experimenting with different combinations of nuts and flavor enhancers, to make something so delicious that I would want to eat it even if I had time to make something else! These raw paleo sea salt, fig and pistachio energy bites are my favorite flavor combination so far!

*Makes about 25

Ingredients:

2 cups almonds

3/4 cup shelled pistachios

3/4 cup dried figs (with stems removed)

1/2 cup pitted dates

3 Tbsp honey

2 tsp sea salt

1 tsp ground cinnamon

 

Place 1/4 cup pistachios and 1 tsp sea salt into a food processor; pulse until finely ground but not powdery, put in a small bowl and set aside.

Place almonds into a food processor and pulse until they’re the consistency of crumbly sand (not quite as fine as almond meal).  Add the remaining 1/2 cup of pistachios, dates, figs, honey, the remaining 1 tsp of sea salt and cinnamon to the ground almonds.  Pulse until the ingredients start to cling together and form clumps.

Form mixture into bite sized balls, a little more than a Tbsp size.  You can use your hands, or I have a silicone cookie scoop (kind of like this one) that I pack the mixture into.  If it seems crumbly at first and doesn’t stick together, keep working with it, the warmth of your hands will heat the honey and dates up to help it stick together.  Then roll the balls into the sea salt pistachio grounds you set aside earlier until coated.  Place on a piece of parchment and continue until you’re out of the mixture!

These will keep in an air tight container at room temperature for 7 days, in the refrigerator for a month, and in the freezer for 6 months! Enjoy!

PALEO VEGAN STRAWBERRY MILKSHAKE

A delicious paleo, dairy free, vegan strawberry milkshake that can be whipped up in less than 5 minutes!

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Everywhere I go the universe tempts me with ice cream. There’s a frozen custard place a block away from my house, and an ice cream shop next to both of my salon locations; so at all times an ice cream treat is 5 minutes away. This, combined with my inability to say no to a sweet treat, developed a milkshake addiction in my pre paleo life. Needless to say I had to find a post paleo version that was good enough to satisfy my milkshake cravings, and here it is!
*Serves two

Ingredients:

1/4 cup frozen strawberries
2 scoops vanilla bean coconut milk ice cream
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup coconut milk
1 Tbsp honey

Place ingredients in a blender, and blend until smooth, scrape down the sides and repeat if needed. Optional: top with whipped coconut milk. Enjoy!

PALEO BUFFALO CAULIFLOWER “BONELESS WINGS”

Vegetarian paleo buffalo cauliflower baked “boneless wings” with vegan, dairy free avocado ranch dipping sauce.

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These paleo buffalo cauliflower “boneless wings” are an easy adaptation of my recipe for Paleo Baked Cauliflower Fritters, simply add one tablespoon of your favorite buffalo or hot sauce to the mix before forming into balls. Then, melt two tablespoons of butter or ghee with 4 tablespoons buffalo or hot sauce. Brush on cauliflower fritters and bake as directed.

Avocado Ranch Dipping Sauce:

2 ripe avocados
2 Tbsp unsweetened coconut milk (more if you like a runny consistency)
1 tsp white vinegar
1/4 tsp black pepper
Pinch of salt
1 tsp chopped fresh dill
1 tsp chopped fresh chives
1/4 tsp garlic powder

Place ingredients in a bowl, blend with an immersion blender until smooth. (Can also use a blender or food processor) Enjoy!

GET YOUR COPY OF CHELSEA LORD’S EBOOK “HOW I MADE 40K MY FIRST YEAR BLOGGING”!

I have to tell you,  this book has taught me things that two years of blogging hasn’t even taught me!  Chelsea writes in SUCH an informative yet relatable way, usually all of the technical stuff kind of flies over my head, but not when she explains it! I HIGHLY recommend this book to anyone who is thinking about starting a blog, or even to someone who has been blogging 5 years!

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PALEO FOR BEGINNERS

A beginners guide to starting the paleo diet, full of my some of my favorite resources, helpful tips for getting started and succeeding, and the benefits of following the paleo lifestyle. 

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!

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!

What are the benefits to following the paleo diet?

Increased energy levels
Improved sleep
Healthier skin, nails and hair
Improved mood and attitude
Improvement in those suffering from depression
Decrease in bloating
Weight loss
Lowers your risk of heart disease, diabetes and cancer
Stronger immune system
Controlled blood sugar levels
Better absorption of nutrients from food
Reduced allergies
Reduction of pain and inflammation
Improvements in those with respiratory issues

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

Delicious, quick and easy, four ingredient dessert: paleo pan fried cinnamon bananas with honey “caramel” sauce.  Could make vegan by substituting earth balance spread or coconut oil for butter.

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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!

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

Paleo spicy kale and andouille sausage soup, a comforting gluten free/dairy free/grain free one pot meal, or it can be made in the crockpot, just brown the sausage first! 

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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!).

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

Paleo chipotle maple roasted pecans, a quick and easy snack that’s ready in under 20 minutes!  Makes a perfect DIY gift around the holidays!

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

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!