Saturday, December 22, 2012

Recipe: SaraBalls! (no-bake cookies)

You've heard of Larabars, right? 
These are Saraballs! Ha. 

1.5c sunflower seeds
5-6 pitted dates
7-9 dried apricots
1/4c honey

Put seeds in food processor and blend until almost no whole seeds are left. Set aside. Blend dates and apricots until almost paste-like consistency. Add date/apricot mix to seeds, add honey and mix thoroughly. 

Shape balls with hands. Tada! Yum.You've heard of Larabars, right?
These are Saraballs!  (Ha.)
  • 1.5c sunflower seeds
  • 5-6 pitted dates
  • 7-9 dried apricots
  • 1/4c honey
  1. Put seeds in food processor and blend until almost no whole seeds are left. Set aside. 
  2.  Blend dates and apricots until almost paste-like consistency. 
  3.  Add date/apricot mix to seeds, add honey and mix thoroughly.
  4. Shape balls with hands.
 Tada! Yum.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Recipe: Lola's Stuffed 3-Way Mushrooms

Lola says, "Im really bad about instructions and recipes. I often cook on a whim and make stuff up in my head after reading other recipes on the internet. This is basically what I made this afternoon, not sure if I omitted steps or not.. (sorry if I did !!!) The best advice I can give is to have fun with the recipe and add and tweak it to your own taste. Want tomatoes? Add them. Want more spinach? Add it. Want some artichokes in there? Add them. What to add diced bell peppers, more garlic, onions or whatever floats your boat? Go for it!"

Stuffed Mushrooms 3 ways

  1. Creamy Spinach Stuffed Mushrooms
  2. Turkey Sausage Italian Stuffed Mushrooms
  3. Turkey Sausage Feta Stuffed Mushrooms.

Saute 1 package Hot turkey sausage (removed from casings and crumbled.)
Sprinkle with additional red pepper flakes and 2 diced garlic cloves if desired-I desired.

Clean, remove stems from two 16 ounce packages of whole button mushrooms. Also from 2 Portobello caps.
Dice stems and add to sausage and continue to saute.
Place cleaned, stemmed mushrooms on PAM sprayed oven ready pans.

Microwave/drain water from 1 box of frozen chopped spinach. Set aside.

In different bowl mix: 1/2 cup sour cream, 1/2 cup mayo, 1/2 cup shredded cheese. Add a HEALTHY dash of cayenne.
Add majority of drained spinach to this mixture. Save a handful for the sausage mix on stove. This batch is done and ready for stuffing!

When the mushrooms have cooked down and the sausage is completely cooked, add the spinach. Separate sausage mix into 2 bowls.

Sausage bowl 1: Italian Mushrooms: add a few tablespoons pasta sauce, parm cheese and a handful of mozzarella cheese.

Sausage Bowl 2: Feta Mushrooms: Add crumbled feta cheese to mixture.

All mixtures are ready and mushrooms are ready to be stuffed and baked.

I baked mine in sprayed glass pie plates. 350* until brown and bubbly.. maybe 20 minutes?

The sausage based ones are not finger food friendly.. they will fall apart and best to be eaten off a plate. Not a lot of binder in there to glue them together.

The sour cream/cheese spinach based mushrooms hold together better for parties etc.

I tried to use minimal dairy, however I like cheese and stronger tasting cheese goes a long way. You can get a lot of taste from a few bites of feta or Parmesan. The other "red flags" in the recipe were the sour cream, mayo, and mozzerella. I use those mostly as a binder to hold the recipe together. If you find a different binder that works for you and that you enjoy.. change it up!

Sunday, December 16, 2012

New Week, New Challenge!

This week's challenge is multi-part, and a combo of other mini-challenges or ideas we've had lately.

1. Prepping - Fortify yourself against the Holiday Season, by making yourself yummy Paleo/Primal Snacks ahead of time for the week. Veggies and a dip, paleo crackers, Fruit, nut butters, etc. Whatever you think you will need to be able to keep yourself satisfied against the onslaught of Holiday sweets and treats while you are out doing your thing away from home.

2. Exercise at least 5 times this week. Do what you can within your own limits. I know that for me, it will be walking, either outside or to Leslie , or the stationary bike for about 15 mins at a time. Do what you can. Push yourself a little or a lot.

3. Say "No," at least once this week, and feel good about it. Someone is bound to offer you a cookie or something. You need to learn to politely decline. Do it. :)

So what say you? Are you in??

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Sara - Recipe: Primal Pumpkin Cheesecake

When preparing for Thanksgiving dinner, I knew I wanted to make a paleo/primal dessert or two.  My mom volunteered to bring over a cake, so I decided to just make pumpkin pie.  I had fresh pumpkins from Bountiful Baskets and wanted to try my hand at creating my own fresher, healthier version of this holiday classic.  At some point, I read a recipe that called for both pumpkin and cream cheese. That inspired me to make this dessert.

Christmas is just around the corner – I might just have to make this again!  It was a hit with kids and adults alike. 

Primal Pumpkin Cheesecake

  • 1 ¼ cup raw walnuts
  • 1 tbsp butter, softened
  • 1 tbsp honey (optional)
  • 1 ½ c fresh pumpkin puree (or 1 can of pumpkin)
  • 8oz cream cheese (can substitute ricotta, if you prefer)
  • ½ c maple syrup (more or less, depending on how sweet you want the pie)
  • 3 eggs
  • 1tsp vanilla extract
  • 1tsp ground allspice
  • 1tsp ground cinnamon
  • ½ tsp ground nutmeg


Preheat oven to 350.  Combine walnuts, butter and honey in a food processor and blend until there are no large nut pieces remaining. Press this mixture into the bottom and sides of a pie pan to form a crust.  Place crust in the oven for 10 minutes, or until the nuts begin to brown.  Remove crust and set aside.

For filling, mix remaining ingredients and blend until smooth.  Pour filling into the pre-baked crust and return to the oven.  Cook at 350 for 30-45 minutes, until a knife or toothpick can be inserted in the center and comes out clean.

Let pie cool before serving.

Whip this easy pie up and take it with you to a family gathering.  Having a delicious, healthier alternative to the sugar- and grain-filled pies normally found at holiday parties will help you stay on track.  When everyone else is moaning about how sick they feel from all the sugar and flour, you can sip on your cup of coffee (or water/tea/what-have-you) and smile to yourself. Making better choices around the holidays is much easier when you come prepared!

Sunday, December 9, 2012

This Week's Challenge: Food Prep!

This week's challenge is Prepping: 

I challenge you to plan, prep, and most likely cook at least one meal for each day of the week. Ahead of time. That's 5 breakfasts, 5 lunches, or 5 dinners, or any combo thereof.

That's one meal pre-prepped for each day - no eating the same thing for all meals until you hit your 5th meal Tuesday afternoon, and call it a done challenge.
The goal is not to make a heaping pot of soup, and eat it for all your meals Monday thru Friday. Unless you like that sort of thing. Then by all means, don't let me stop you.
Try for the meal you usually skip, or have the most difficulty planning and prepping for. In my case, it's breakfasts. If DaMan didn't make us a smoothie before he leaves for work, I'm sunk in the mornings. And then I'm highly tempted to hit a drive-thru on the way to work.

Plan your menu for the week of the 5 dishes you are going make. I don't care if it's one dish that you eat 5 times, so long as you prep it beforehand, or 5 separate meals that you prepare and store for the week.  I was just kidding about the soup thing up there...

 The purpose of the challenge is to get you in the routine of pre-making food, so it's available when you don't want to cook, or don't have time to, etc. and are tempted to make bad choices. The goal is the plan, shop and prep during the weekend or early Monday for 5 meal times.

I'm rambling, aren't I?

Ok, let's see if I can sum up:

1. Plan a menu that will give you 5 meals. it can be one giant meal that you eat 5 times or 5 separate dishes that you make and store for re-heating.

2. List out the ingredients you need and shop for what you don't have.

3. Prepare your meals and store them for easy re-heating and eating, especially if they are on-the-go meals. Do not throw a giant bowl or casserole dish in your fridge and expect yourself to scoop out what you need when you are running out the door to go to work. That's not the goal here. The goal is prepping, or being prepared.

4. ***BONUS*** for all you over-acheivers out there, prep yourselves a week's worth of snacks to take with you during the day, so that you have a clean snack waiting when you are out holiday shopping, and the popcorn at the front of the store is calling your name.

Ready?  And.........................GO!  :)

Recipe: Breakfast Egg-a-muffins

In my head, I actually call these "Egg-a-Mooby-Muffins" in my head, because of Kevin Smith's films, but I don't want to get sued for copyright infringement, so I shortened it to Egg-a-muffins.

But don't be fooled, there's no muffin-isms in these cute little breakfast beauties. They are baked in oven tins for the purpose of grabbing and going during the busy work week. Because if you are like me, you can't be bothered to make yourself breakfast every single day. Heck, I'm lucky to get out of bed in time to shower and get dressed before going to work.

I'm sure my co-workers mentally thank me for at least doing that. Heh.

Anyway, I promised to put up this recipe a few weeks ago, and I slacked.

*Hangs head in shame* 

But here you go, better late than never!

The original recipe is lost in time, in an old copy of The South Beach Diet. It's where I first read about it, but I'm sure if you dug up an old farm wife from just after the Depression Era, I'm sure they were doing something like this. I mean, yes, it's a light bulb moment when you realize you can (in one shot) cook yourself week's worth of a protein-packed hearty breakfasts in a compact little muffin-like disk, but that's personal. Especially when you really think of the ways to shake it up and add your own personal touches to each little one...


What you need:

*6 eggs, scrambled with 1/2 to 3/4 cup of a liquid to stretch out your eggs.  This is dependent on your dietary restrictions and/or taste preferences. You can use milk, cream, unsweetened almond milk, chicken stock, or (bleh) water.

*Spices mixed into to you scrambled eggs: Salt, pepper, garlic, no-salt seasoning. What ever floats your boat. I won't tell anyone about your deeply perverted love affair with cardamon if you don't tell about mine with cumin. Srsly.

This batch I used sliced chicken, and bell peppers
*Any left-over meats you have laying around, such as chicken, beef, pork, lunchmeat, sausages, etc. Seriously, use up what's in the fridge and feel all smug that you put it to good use instead of letting your kid take it to school as a science experiment.

*Any veggies you enjoy in scrambled eggs or a quiche. Or again, any veggies you have leftover from a meal that you want to salvage into something else.  I've used bell peppers, onions, mushrooms, celery, broccoli, etc.  Get crazy and make a pretty rainbow concoction, because the colorful the more health beneficial, right?

*Optional: a pinch of shredded cheese for each muffin tin. If you are paleo or don't do cheese, don't sweat it, it's not integral to the recipe. It's more of a garnish than an ingredient.

What to do:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350F
  2. Grease a muffin pan with coconut oil
  3. Add a enough of your chosen meat to cover the bottom of each muffin cup
  4. Pile the veggies on top of the meat, spreading them out evenly amongst each cup
  5. Pour enough egg mix to fill each muffin cup 1/2 to 3/4 to the top. I find that a ladle from a gravy boat is pretty close to the perfect measuring device.
  6. Stir the egg mixture thru to the bottom
  7. Add the pinch of cheese if you are partaking
  8. Pop in the oven and bake for 25-30 minutes until the tops are starting to brown, and a knife poked in comes out clean.
 The eggs will rise a bit as they cook (they will also fall after you take them out of the oven, but it's not a souffle, so don't get depressed when they deflate).

let them sit for about 5 minutes after taking them out of the oven, then release them from their pan. Don't wait until they are completely cook to take them out, as they tend to stick.

I divvy them up into containers for breakfasts for DaMan and I. I found that 2 egg-a-muffins were a filling meal.

So, one 12 muffin tin equals 6 meals. Not too shabby!