Pregnancy Woes and Meatballs

Yeah, I know those things don’t really go together, especially for me. I have not been able to eat meat for the past 19 weeks. I know that pregnancy is supposed to have its ups and downs, but mine have mostly been down.
My body pretty much hates be right now. I lost 7 pounds in my first trimester due to morning sickness and nausea. Living off nuts and fruit wasn’t really cutting, so I tended to “cheat” and eat whatever t I felt. In the beginning, a gluten free bagel or some ice cream wasn’t really an issue. Then I started adding in sugar (I was craving it something fierce) and accidentally had some gluten. This is what happens when you get too comfortable going off your normal eating habits. After a couple of days, I thought my body would return to normal. Wrong!! My accidental run in with gluten was several weeks ago, and it is like my body still hasn’t recovered. Once the nausea started to subside, I knew I had to revert back to strict paleo. The problem was, not only were my intestines out of whack, I had all the other side effects that go along with sugar and grains. I am so exhausted and my muscles are sore. As if being pregnant isn’t enough, I was now trying desperately to eat healthy and couldn’t stand in the kitchen longer than 10 minutes. Doesn’t my body know I have stuff to do?? I push myself to the max every day, in hopes that my body will just accept the fact that I am not giving up. This doesn’t come without lots of breaks and an occasional nap or two, but this is what my body and my family needs.

My son’s 5th birthday was just last week, and for his birthday meal he requested my meatballs. Bless his heart. I just didn’t have the heart to tell him that mommy can barely look at meat right now, so I did what any good mother would do and just did it. I also appreciated that out of everything that I make, this is what he wanted. They must be awesome enough to share. What I love most about these meatballs, is the amount of carrots that I shovel in. They really add an amazing sweetness and you can never go wrong with hidden veggies. So here they are. I hope you can enjoy them as much as Evan does! 🙂

Hide the Veggie Paleo Meatballs (Kid-Approved)

paleo meatball

1lb grass fed ground beef
1/2 lb ground pork
1 medium onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1-2 dashes red pepper flakes
2 large carrots, peeled and shredded
1/2 cup almond meal/flour
3 eggs
2 Tbsp fresh or dried basil
1/2 cup fresh parsley, chopped
coconut oil
salt and pepper, to taste

Preheat oven to 350. Coat a large pan with oil and heat on medium. Once hot, add the onions, garlic, red pepper flakes, and salt. Sautee until soft and let cool. In a large mixing bowl add beef, pork, salt, onion mixture, shredded carrots, salt, almond flour, eggs, basil, parsley, and some more salt. (I like salt. :)) With your hands, mix very well until everything is evenly incorporated. Heat up oil (medium heat) in the large skillet, and roll meatballs to your desired size. I like my pretty large, about the size of golf balls. Place balls into heated oil, cooking for about 2 minutes on each side. This is just to give them a nice browned coating. Place meatballs onto a baking sheet and place in the oven on 350 for about 15 minutes.

Tip: Our family loves to make these garlic bread boats from A Girl Worth Saving. We smother them in our favorite sauce. YUM!


What I Made Last Month: On the Go Edition

So I found this funny…

I was driving home from visiting my parents last weekend, and came upon a mini van with an advertising decal on the back. This particular one was for healthy/weightloss company that specializes in those fat shrinking wraps. Pulling up along side of it, I couldn’t help but notice that the lady was stuffing her face with fast food burger. Seriously?!? I laughed out loud! If I hadn’t been driving on a busy interstate, I would have tried to snap a picture.  Doesn’t she realize that she is advertising a healthy lifestyle on the back of her van? Or maybe she isn’t sending that message. Maybe she is advertising that she can eat whatever the heck she wants, she can just “wrap” it off later. This my friends, is the problem!!! It doesn’t matter what you look like on the outside!! What we put in our bodies is important and affects us more than we realize. Now I realize that I do not know this lady. Maybe this is her first burger in 6 years. While she will probably regret that choice later (in the bathroom), having a cheat every once in a while isn’t the end of the world. But something tells me that this is a busy mom who eats like this on a consistent basis. After I stopped laughing, I began to feel a little bad for her, for all moms, and for all people duped by gimmicks that promote unhealthy eating habits.

So this month, here are some ideas that I enjoy making that are easy to grab and go in a pinch.

There are so many good ideas for breakfast. I do plan ahead. Some of my Sunday is spent cooking or prepping for the week. I work in a school. My only option  for meals is the school cafeteria. Yeah, I’ll pass. Our school used to have a salad bar that was fantastic! I miss those days. Anyways, every day I bring breakfast and lunch for Evan and myself. I am a busy mom too. I don’t have time to spend all weekend in the kitchen. One great thing about Paleo cooking, is that most of it doesn’t have to be complicated. It is really simple eating.


cinn muffin

My family misses real cinnamon rolls. So we make Elana’s Pantry’s Cinnamon Bun Muffins quite a bit. They are so moist, and smell up my house with wonderful smells. I always make a double batch and freeze what I don’t think we will eat that week. I also love to share these with my co-workers. My husband still eats dairy (and of course, my co-workers do too). So her cream cheese frosting is the perfect touch. I will admit, I did lick my finger. It is amazing without all that sugar!!





Lunch is a little more difficult, but not impossible. Sometimes I have to walk around with my food at work, so these empanadas are a great idea. Paleo Cupboard stuffs them with a yummy beef and tomato mixture. We also like using leftover shredded pork, and I have even used chicken with barbeque sauce. There has never been a bad combo.



Alright, so I clearly didn’t make these. But these Enjoy life snack bags are quick, easy, and deliciously healthy. There are 7 grams of protein in this little bag! This one is filled with seeds, fruit, and a little chocolate for sweetness. I buy these in bulk, because I could eat one every day.


Paleo Blueberry Coffee Cake


Growing up, my mom used to make the best blueberry coffee cake. I don’t even know where she got the recipe, but our entire family devoured it for breakfast, lunch, or dessert. It was that good! My husband’s family even began to ask for it during special occasions.  So when going gluten free and even dairy free, the recipe adaptations were rather easy. Although a little on the dry side, it was very close and super delicious. Making the changes to paleo were a little challenging.  After some research and several trials, I am very happy with the results.  In fact, my brother in law says it is BETTER than the original “unhealthy” version. That is a win in my book!

Paleo Coffee Cake with Fresh Blueberries

12 ounces of blueberries
1 Tbs raw honey
2 Tbs arrowroot powder

In a medium pot, heat blueberries on medium for 1-2 minutes. Smash blueberries with a potato masher to release guts and juices. Reduce heat and stir in honey, letting it heat for 1-2 minutes. Add 1 Tbsp of arrowroot at a time, stirring in between. Heat it thoroughly for a few more minutes until the mixtures starts to thicken. Remove from heat and let sit.

1/2 cup grass fed butter, softened
2 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup coconut sugar
3 eggs
1 1/2 cup almond flour
2 Tbsp coconut flour
2 Tbsp tapioca starch/flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp baking powder (grain free, aluminum free)

Preheat oven to 350. Combine dry ingredients (flours, salt, and baking powder) in a medium sized bowl. In a mixer, mix butter, vanilla, sugar, and eggs until well blended. Add in the dry ingredients, and mix together well.

In a oiled or buttered cake pan or small cookie sheet (approx. 13×9), pour out 1/3 of the batter into the pan. Using a spatula, spread it out evenly and into all of the corners. Pour out the blueberry mixture and spread out over the batter. Spoon the remaining batter out over the mixture, and try to spread with the spatula. This will be slightly difficult and gooey. The goal is spread it out so there are no thick clumps, and everything cooks evenly.

Place in to the oven for 30-40 minutes. Let it cool a little, then dig in.

I often make this the night before and store it in the fridge. In the morning, you can either re-heat the entire cake in the oven or cut and re-heat individual pieces in the microwave.




Back to Reality: Post Vacation

Aah! yes, a little vacation to wake me up and make me realize why I eat paleo in the first place. Ugh! I just got back from our family trip to Louisiana and I feel awful! Don’t get me wrong. We had a wonderful time with family and I miss the terribly, but I do not miss all the complications with choosing the right foods. I knew it was going to be difficult to eat completely paleo, especially in the south, especially in New Orleans. Here is what I didn’t know, and I wonder if I should have been more prepared.

The Guilt
This guilt was two fold. At first, I felt guilty immediately walking into the door of Tim’s grandmother’s house. She couldn’t wait to show us all the gluten free products that she found, including pancake mix. I felt like I had to eat it. She went through all that trouble. Explaining to people that paleo is more than just gluten free is like telling them I eat bugs or something. “Well, What do you eat?” I began to hate this question.  “I don’t eat crap,” I wanted to say while they devoured the crap that I was referring to. How do you say that without sounding like a complete food snob? So it was just easier to just eat the gluten free pancakes, crackers, and candy (ok, ok. The candy was my choice). Then the second guilt showed up. “I can’t believe I just ate that,” I would wallow knowing I would regret it later.

The Side Effects
This also came in several parts. The physical ones (bloating, cramping, etc) were expected. What I didn’t expect was the emotional side effects. I found myself getting sad and angry for no apparent reason. I even pleaded (with tears) with my husband to help me find paleo options when we went down to the French Quarter the next day.  I also couldn’t believe how dang tired I was all the time. I had absolutely no energy. Instantly, I knew that it had to be from the small amount of grain and sugar that I had allowed back into my diet.

The Preparation
So how prepared do you need to be? I packed some of our own food including, snacks, cereal, and salad dressing. But maybe that just wasn’t enough. Maybe I just wasn’t ready to go be on my own, away from my own house. Other people’s home and restaurants provide too much of a temptation. There are so many gluten free options out there that are so delicious. I thought as long as I still stayed away from gluten I would be safe. Ha Ha! I know many think this, but you are probably experienced the same issues. Maybe I just need to be more forceful when eating at someone’s house. Believe it or not, it was easier to eat out at a restaurant than it was to eat with family. Tim’s grandmother had found our favorite grain free bread! Yay! But no matter how many times I said I didn’t want mayonnaise on my roast beef po boy, there was always mayo on that sandwich! How do you balance tactfulness without being rude? I just want to make my own sandwich!!

The Recovery
Now that we have been home for a few days, it is harder to stay away from the foods I know I shouldn’t eat. Withdrawal is hard, but I am happy to be home. I know it will take awhile for my tummy and body to be happy with my again. I am actually looking forward to planning out my meals for the week and heading back to our regular schedule.

The Inspiration
There is a plus side to all this discomfort. I have learned so much from my first vacation away from strictly paleo habits. I continue to learn new ways that my body reacts to food, and in the long run that is helpful. Secondly, I have so many new ideas inspired by New Orleans cuisine. I wish I could spend all my time in the kitchen to practice.  My jambalya recipe is almost ready to share. I am also thinking of a gumbo and of course, a king cake.  Yum 🙂

What I Made Last Month: February

I am thinking this “What I made last month” might become a regular thing. There are just so many other great ideas out there that I just have to share them! As you might recall, my family are picky eater, so I find it quite remarkable when there is something new I decide to make and everyone loves it. So here are my picks for February.

Let me start with breakfast. First, let me say that if you haven’t bought Danielle Walker’s cookbook, you should. She is a Paleo genius. I have learned so much for her! I honestly can’t believe that I have completely committed to eating Paleo for 7 months now! Well, yes I can. I feel great, and I have lost 20 pounds! But to be honest, it is a HUGE commitment. Danielle’s Against All Grain Cookbook has really been a lifesaver. The first thing I tried in her book was her Blueberry Waffles. I couldn’t believe that they were going to taste like the “real deal” as she claimed. Holy Cow!! They really are. The pic below links to her page. Check her out, she is fabulous. And so are her waffles!

Blueberry Waffles

Now for dinner, one of our new absolute favorites is an idea from Sarah from Everyday Paleo. She has a wonderful Pulled Pork Tostones. Plantains were one of those things I didn’t think I liked, same category as spaghetti squash, cauliflower, and sweet potatoes. But wow, they are yummy.


Last but my personal favorite, is dessert. During a Pinterest visit, I stumbled upon Paleo Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Ice Cream!!! Seriously! After getting an ice cream attachment for my Kitchen Aid, I had to make it instantly. I am not a super fan of coconut ice cream, so I went ahead and split the coconut milk with half almond milk.  Let’s just say that Evan (my 4 yr old) and I finished it in only 3 days! We seriously couldn’t get enough. And I couldn’t believe how easy it was. Doesn’t it look delicious?? 

Ice Cream Cookie dough

Rise and Shine, It’s Breakfast Time!

Sausage and Broccoli Egg Cups

Good Morning!

What’s for breakfast?  At my house it is usually eggs. We love eggs. I could probably eat them everyday if it wasn’t for the fact that I am afraid I would get sick of them. I probably inherit this love for eggs from my dad. We grew up having A LOT of eggs. These eggs cups are yummy and so easy. But do you know what is not easy?  Writing down recipes! This is my first “official” recipe that I actually took the time to write down. I had to make it 3 times because I was always missing a step and couldn’t remember what I did. The good thing about quiche is that it is o.k. if you don’t always measure exactly.

The inspiration for this recipe came from a couple of places. One comes from the first time I ever ate at Mimi’s Cafe. On their menu, they have a ham and broccoli omelet. I had never seen broccoli with eggs before. Intrigued, I just had to order it. It was really yummy. The other reason for this recipe is that most quiche recipes call for spinach. Yuck! I can’t stand cooked spinach! I know…it is so good for you and so many people love it. I really wish I liked it, but I just don’t. So broccoli was a perfect solution for me. I can still get my protein and my veggies. These are perfect for make-ahead breakfasts; easy to grab and take to work.

Enjoy! 🙂

Sausage and Broccoli Egg Cups

7-8 eggs
Sea salt and pepper to taste 
2-3 Tbsp milk (I use almond milk)
1/2 pound of cooked breakfast sausage (please I beg you, do not use prepackaged sausage. It is loaded with some unhealthy stuff. I have been making my own, but occasionally I will buy what Whole Foods has available)
1 cup of broccoli, steamed and chopped (for this recipe I used baby broccoli because that is what was delivered this week. Yes, you can get organic fruits and veggies delivered right to your door!)
1 cup shredded Japanese sweet potato (I find these at Whole Foods. I have not tried it with regular sweet potatoes, but for all of you non-paleo friends you can use white potatoes)

Preheat oven to 350°
Spray, oil, or butter your muffin pans. Whisk the eggs, milk, salt and pepper. Stir in the sausage, broccoli, and potatoes. Use a 1/3 cup to scoop mixture into the muffin pans. Place in oven and bake for about 35 minutes. You should be able to clearly tell that they are done. They will turn a little brown on top. Let them cool, and use a knife to scrape around the edges. These will be heavier than normal egg cups, so I suggest using a fork or a bendable spatula to get them out. 

Yummy potato crust version: Instead of mixing the potatoes into the eggs mixture, mix about 3 cups of shredded potatoes with 3 Tbsp melted butter. Jack up the temperature to 450°. Line the bottom of a pie pan and press down the potatoes like you would a pie crust. Bake separately until they start to brown (about 20 minutes). Turn the oven back down to 350°. Pour the egg mixture on top and continue baking for about 30 minutes. 
Paleo quiche crust version: Elana’s pantry has a great pie crust recipe that is great for any quiche (and pie). Check her recipe out here.
Sausage and Broccoli Quiche

Just in time for the holidays! Cinnamon Rolls

Paleo lesson #8: Cinnamon rolls are possible! They (mine) aren’t super pretty, but they are good!    Posted on August 25, 2013

Cinnamon Rolls

I seriously make these all the time. My husband loves them! The first time didn’t come out like the picture in the recipe. Who am I kidding? My food NEVER comes out like the food in the pictures. Anyways, it is the taste that counts right? I topped them with a strawberry vanilla frosting. Yum!

Check these babies out from The Urban Poser!


I love fall smells, especially pumpkin. I ran to our local grocery the other day to buy refills for my plug-in smelly thing, and THEY HAD NO PUMPKIN.  In fact, they didn’t have ANY fall scents at all! Do they not know what time of year it is? Since then I have been buying up tons of  canned pumpkin and baking up a storm to make my house smell like pumpkin. This is what I have made so far:

Pumpkin Pancakes                       Pumpkin Streusel Muffins                Pumpkin French Toast
from Practical Paleo                      from Multiply Delicious                          from Paleomg

My mom made these, and they’re the best pumpkin cookie I have found so far.  Danielle from Against All Grain is by far the best Paleo chef I have come across. I have made so many thing from her, and they have all been amazing!

And for the grand finale…

These donuts were seriously the best things I’ve ever made. I have now made them twice because my husband ate most of the first batch!
Once I got my house smelling all nice and pumpkiny, I took a trip to Target yesterday and guess what??? They had all of their fall scents on clearance!!  Of course, I had to buy them all.
Now my problem is which one do I use first?

Save your fingers!

Paleo Lesson #5: Get a julienne peeler! Another option for pasta is using zucchini. The first night I decided to cut it by hand. This took about 15-20 minutes and the widths were all different, which means they all cooked differently. I also sliced my finger pretty badly, and apparently some people get really touchy when you use the last Toy Story band aid. The next time I used a julienne peeler. What a genius invention! This only took about 3 minutes, and it looked like real pasta! Paired with a delicious bruschetta chicken, this is my new go-to meal. Thank you Kimberly Geswein for opening my eyes to this amazing tool!    Posted July 22, 2013


There really isn’t much to say about this one! Wonderful little tool! Wonderful “pasta”! Wonderful meal! Here is the link if you want to check it out.

Update: I have since found this amazing veggie slicer. This thing saves so much time. My 4 yr. old loves slurping up zucchini noodles.

Just bring your own…always!

Paleo Lesson #4: When attending someone’s house for a BBQ, assume what you are eating will probably make you sick, no matter if you THINK the plain chicken hasn’t touched the chicken that normal people can eat. #glutencanteleport        posted July 21, 2012

Now this was such a fun night!! Well, the actual night was fun not the evening or day after. Sometimes you just need a good game night with friends. I don’t even remember the name of the game. But it has to be great when at one point you have to fall out of your chair and yell, “You’ve thwarted me once again, you vile beast!” I remember having a huge bruise on my leg from all of the times I had to do this. It was a great night. We’ll have to play again if someone can remember the name….

Anyways, you know who doesn’t play games? Gluten. It really is in so many things that may not be clearly listed, like my friend’s favorite Greek seasoning. I chose some of the chicken that didn’t have any seasoning, but you can’t expect your friends to understand that gluten can teleport to other parts of the grill. I am also sure my friend didn’t want me hovering over him the entire time making sure my chicken never touched the other chicken, or that he used different utensils when flipping. Nonetheless, the chicken was delicious and I can certainly see why this is his favorite seasoning, but my headache began even before I had finished eating. After 24 hours, I had recovered and learned that you should always just bring your own. I know it’s not fair and it sucks, but it is the safest for you and your friendships.