Friday, November 29, 2013

Holiday Crisp

Tis the season!

Merry Christmas! Happy Holidays! And all that stuff! When has Christmas begun? I'd say when Christmas plaid makes its first appearance. I love Christmas, and now that Thanksgiving is over I can dive headfirst into ornaments and twinkle lights!

Now, you all know that I try to stay away from desserts, so I'm going against my own rules by posting two desserts in a row, but it is the holidays after all, right?! Also, as a Paleolithic eater, if I'm going to have a dessert it's a great idea to make it heavy on the fruit. Why? Because fruit is going to offer you a lot of micronutrients you won't get from desserts that use mostly nut flour and maple. While we should stay away from desserts as much as possible, let's at least make the ones we do eat worthwhile!

Spicy sweet fruit crisps just scream Christmas to me, especially when citrus and cranberries are involved. Who doesn't love the smell of oranges and cloves during the holidays? This is a quick, simple dessert loaded with holiday flavor that is sure to please your family & guests. It pairs great with coconut ice cream or whipped coconut cream and your favorite Holiday movie!

Holiday Crisp (for a deep dish pie pan)

Preheat oven to 375*

For the filling...

Colorful fruit makes every holiday table beautiful!


2 Granny Smith apples sliced
1 Large pear chopped (2 small)
1.5 cups fresh cranberries
Zest 1 orange
Juice 1 orange
1 cup coconut sugar
1 Tbs cinnamon
1 tsp ground cloves
1 tsp ground ginger
3 Tbs ghee or grassfed butter (I use OMghee's brand)


Put all the ingredients except ghee into a mixing bowl and mix well. Add ghee in 1/2 Tbs bits. You want the ghee to be evenly distributed throughout the fruit. Place fruit mixture into a deep dish pie pan (or casserole dish).

Place the fruit in the oven to cook for 10 minutes before adding the topping.

For the topping...

Fresh out of the oven!


1/2 cup ghee or grassfed butter cold (place ghee or butter in fridge to harden)
1 cup coconut sugar
1/2 cup + 2 Tbs coconut flour
1/2 cup + 2 Tbs almond flour


Place all ingredients except ghee in a bowl. Add the ghee in small spoonfuls. Using your fingers, blend all ingredients well until a crumble forms. After the fruit has cooked alone for 10 minutes, remove from the oven and crumble the topping over the fruit.

Return crisp to the oven to cook for another 20 minutes for a total of 30 minutes cook time. Remove and allow to cool a bit before serving. Top with whipped coconut cream or coconut ice cream & ENJOY!

Thursday, November 28, 2013


"Gratitude can turn a house into a home." 

~Melody Beattie

This Thanksgiving, I've been contemplating contentment.

America seems to be a society always seeking contentment, but never finding it. We are over-working, over-spending, over-eating, and over-indulging in an attempt to find it. We think, "If I can get that promotion, I'll be content." Or, "When I have the things I really want, I'll be content." We're the country that spends an entire day being thankful for what we have, and then the very next day load up our credit cards with debt buying things we don't need. The irony! All our efforts towards contentment are futile because it cannot be achieved, purchased, or consumed.

I'm not belittling the desire to be successful or make something better of yourself and your life. I believe we should take ownership in our lives and do everything we can to better our situation. But, what are we valuing? What makes a "good life?" We can all give a good Sunday School answer-- faith, family, friends-- but do we truly live that way?

About two years ago, my husband and I decided to move our family from Indiana to South Carolina. A decision that involved a lot of pros and cons lists-- because we're nerds like that-- and a lot of discussion. After all of the talking, we decided to sell our house and move our little family 500 miles to the mountains. It took two tries to sell our house-- which was incredibly frustrating-- but eventually it happened. We had made a decision that when we sold, we would move into an apartment. It just made sense for a million reasons. We committed to spend a full year living in an apartment.

Not a big deal at all, but it seemed major to me. In my 31 years of life, I had never lived in an apartment or even a tiny house. We never lived in anything really fancy. Our last house was a bit of a "fixer upper." We've always lived below our means, but we always had space. Needless to say, it was an experience moving from a 3,000 square foot home into a 1,250 square foot apartment with two kids and a dog. To top it all off, we homeschool. Homeschooling in a small space is interesting to say the least!

In order to downsize by over 50%, we had to get rid of a lot of stuff. I've never seen myself as materialistic. I didn't grow up in poverty, but I didn't grow up with everything I wanted either. My family certainly saw some hard financial times, and I wore more hand-me-downs than new clothes. So, while I've always enjoyed the nice things I've had, I never saw myself being attached to them...until it was time to get rid of them!

I can't lie. It's been an adjustment for me living in an apartment. Not only did we lose more than 50% of our living space, we lost a yard also. My kids, who have never known anything other than a big wooded yard with a creek, are now confined to a second story 5ft x 7ft deck. For the first couple of weeks, I struggled with it. I was ready to say, "Forget the lease. Pay the money to get us out of it and let's buy a house."

What was I valuing? Things. I recall being disgusted with myself. We have a beautiful apartment in a wonderful neighborhood. I can see the mountains when I drive to church and the grocery store. I can drive an hour and hike to incredible views and see waterfalls. I have a quiet country view from my deck. I actually have a bigger bathroom and tub than I had in my previous house, and I have already made friends.

What was meant to be a temporary living situation has turned into an experiment in contentment. Can I truly be happy with less? It's amazing how moving into this apartment has taught me the difference between what I truly need and what I want. Have I changed my mind about wanting a few acres near the mountains where I can have a hobby farm? No. But, I have certainly learned that I don't need it. I have learned that no matter where I live, I have my faith, my family, and my friends. I want for nothing in this world, and have more than I could ever need. This apartment is a home for us. Not because I've filled it with great furniture. Not because it's spacious and has everything we could ever want. Gratitude has made it a home.

My brother once preached a sermon that stuck with me for a long time. In it, he said something to this effect: "Always wishing you had more is the same as being ungrateful for what you have been given." Contentment is not the result of perfect circumstances. Contentment is the result of being thankful despite our circumstances.

Contentment is born of gratitude. And I am and everyday.

Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family!

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Champagne Poached Pears with Buttery Bubbly Syrup

Sweet pears, drenched in buttery bubbly!

It's the holidays! For me, that's Thanksgiving and Christmas. Time to fill our kitchens with the sights, smells & sounds of the season-- cinnamon, cranberries, rosemary, laughter, music, twinkle lights and BUBBLY. Alcohol or not, we all like to enjoy some celebratory sparkling drinks this time of year!

Whenever I think of champagne, I think of Deborah Kerr and Cary Grant in "An Affair To Remember." Nickie is smitten with the beautiful quick-witted red-haired Terry. Nickie goes to the bar and after remembering that Terry had mentioned liking pink champagne, he orders some and then disappears to the bathroom. While he's gone, Terry sits down and orders the same. A little confused when the bartender places two glasses of pink champagne in front of her, she looks over and sees Nickie walking her way. Some nosey shipmates slide into the seats next to Nickie & Terry to try and hear their conversation, so Terry asks Nickie, "Do you speak Gaelic?"

"Fluently," Nickie responds matter-of-factly.

"How do you say, 'Let's get out of here?'"

As Terry stands up to leave, she dabs a little pink champagne behind both ears and gives the nosey women a scolding glance. Talk about classy!

"Pink champagne-- that's the kind of life we've both been used to," Terry later says to Nickie trying to inject a little reality into their emotional whirlwind of an affair.

Champagne. It's celebratory and indulgent-- sounds a little like the holidays, doesn't it?

I don't like to make desserts often, because that's not really what the Paleo lifestyle is about. But, it is the holidays after all, and when my husband received a fruit basket for Thanksgiving from his employer, I laid claim to those pears! I didn't know what I wanted to do with them, but then I passed a display of champagne in the store and it couldn't have been more clear.

Champagne Poached Pears with Champagne Butter Syrup

Poached Pears


4 pears cored (you can peel them if you want, but I leave the skin on)
1-2 cups champagne (or sweet white wine)
1/2 cup coconut sugar


Choose a pot/pan that is large enough for all 4 pears to fit on their sides without overlapping (they can be touching), that's deep enough to allow liquid to come up about halfway up the pears, and that has a lid. Pour in 1-2 cups of champagne-- enough to reach halfway up the pears. Add coconut sugar and blend. Place pears on their sides in the pan. Place over medium-low heat and put the lid on. Let the pears cook slowly, turning them occasionally. Cook until tender, but not too soft. When done, remove pears from the pan and allow to cool.

Buttery Bubbly Syrup


Liquid from poaching pears
2 Tbs ghee or grass fed butter


After removing the pears from the liquid to cool, add butter. Increase heat just a bit (not all the way to medium). Leave uncovered and allow to simmer until it thickens a bit. Once thickened, remove from heat and allow to cool


Note: This does not work well for a full pie, because in order to maintain shape, this has to be heavy on the tapioca starch. The texture doesn't translate well to pies. But, I am currently working on a pie crust, so stay tuned!


2 eggs
1/2 cup tapioca starch
1/2 cup coconut flour


Mix eggs and coconut flour with a fork. Slowly add tapioca starch and continue to mix with fork until it becomes difficult. Then continue adding the tapioca starch blending with your hands. You should have a dough with a pastry consistency-- kneadable. Remove from the bowl and knead dough a bit until any crumbling stops. Place the ball of dough in between two pieces of parchment paper and roll to about a centimeter thick. Cut out leaf shapes. I have a leaf shaped pastry cutter, which makes this easy. If you don't, just use a pairing knife to cut out leaves. You could also use a round metal cookie cutter to make 4 circles.

To Finish:

This is their favorite part!
Preheat oven to 375* F. Once pears have cooled, slice a little bit off of the bottom, allowing them to sit up straight. Place on a cookie sheet standing up. Place the leaves around the stems. If you made circles, simply slide them over the top, pushing the stem through the middle, making a kind of "hat" of dough. Cover the stem with a little foil to prevent it from burning and looking ugly. Place the pears in the oven gently and cook until crusts are golden brown. Around 15 minutes for the leaves. It might take closer to 20 minutes if you do circles.


BE GENTLE with the dough. It will roll out and cut easily, but use a metal spatula to remove the shapes, and be extremely careful when placing them on the pear. They can fall apart easily. This is just unfortunately the nature of Paleo crusts. This one is easier to work with than others I've made, though.


Once done, allow to cool in the pan. Remove carefully and place on a plate. Pour the syrup over the top of the pear and ENJOY!

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Roasted Garlic and Rosemary Carrot-Cauli Fritters with Bacon

Some savory hot and crispy fritter love!

This month marks my 2 year anniversary on Paleo, and my goodness have a learned a lot! Not just about cooking, but about food science and health.

Those of you who are familiar with my story know that I stumbled into the Paleo/Primal lifestyle completely by accident in an effort to take charge of my mental and physical health with clean, unprocessed foods. Needless to say, being unaware that the Paleo community existed, my first few months of meals were pretty bland!

Not only am I thankful for the support and information I gain from the Paleo community, but I'm thankful for the cooking advice and recipes! Prior to Paleo, I relied on wheat and cheese heavily, so I felt at a complete loss when I cut those foods out of my diet. The information I gained from blogs and cookbooks was invaluable in developing my clean cooking skills.

None of that has anything to do with today's recipe. So, anyway...

I have been craving fritters, potato cakes, & latkes lately-- anything in that vein of food. Since I cannot stand to throw away food, but also HATE eating the same thing 3 days in a row, I have a great passion for reinvention. I had some leftover cauli mash, and wanted to do something a little different with them. This was the result! You bite into that crispy outer crust and the flavor just explodes in your mouth!

Roasted Garlic and Rosemary Carrot-Cauli Fritters with Bacon 

(yields approx. 8 fritters)


1 cup cauli mash chilled (recipe)
4-5 slices crispy fried bacon (sugar free if you're doing the 21 Day Sugar Detox)
3 eggs
2/3 cup almond flour
1 heaping Tbs fresh chopped rosemary
5-6 cloves roasted garlic
2 cups shredded carrot
1tsp bacon grease for cooking
1 tsp ghee for cooking (I prefer OMghee's brand)
Salt & pepper to taste


First, I recommend using a tea towel or paper towels to squeeze excess juice from the shredded carrot. This will help prevent the fritters from having too much moisture which can cause them to fall apart.

After you have all the ingredients prepped, place everything accept the carrots into a food processor. Process until everything is well blended. You can also crumble the bacon and mix by hand. Mix the shredded carrot into the batter.

Melt bacon grease and ghee in a pan over medium-ish heat. Yes, I just made that up. Medium-ish: Not quite medium, but closer to medium than medium low. Grab about 3 Tbs worth of batter, flatten a bit between hands, and drop into the pan. The batter is pretty messy, so be prepared! I used a pan large enough to cook 4 at a time. Cook until both sides have a deep golden brown color. Be patient. I find cooking these a bit slower at this heat is best to ensure they cooked through and stay together. Make sure not to flip too soon, or they can fall apart. This may just take some trial and error if you've never flipped fritters or latkes before. Once done, remove from pan and place in a single layer on a paper towel. Repeat until all the batter has been used. If you need to add more fat after the first batch, feel free to do so. But follow the tip below!


If you fill the pan with too much fat, the fritters will absorb it and fall apart (I learned this the hard way). If you are using a smaller pan, adjust the amount of fat you cook with. You need just enough to lightly coat the pan.

Serve them up warm and hot with your favorite meal and ENJOY!

Monday, November 11, 2013

Ques-No Dip and Chips

Cheese Free Queso Dip? Be still my beating lactose intolerant heart!

Every year my husband plans his Super Bowl "party." Party is in quotations because anyone who knows my husband knows he neither throws parties, nor does he like to attend them. You don't see much of my husband on my social media for a reason-- he's not the social type. I, being the social butterfly that I am, have to compromise on the Super Bowl party thing each year. So after almost 12 years of marriage, we now have our own tradition of meticulously planning a Super Bowl party for two. All foods must be pre-approved by the Party Planning Committee (aka my husband), and the cooking must be mapped out perfectly to insure that the snacks are ready just in time for kick-off. 

Don't judge. It's our thing.

For the first several years of our marriage, the snacks were typical. Wings, chips & queso dip, pizza rolls, etc. YIKES! But, now we're a Primal/Paleo family, so last year's Superbowl snacks were different. We basically wrapped everything we could find in bacon. But boy did I miss that queso dip!

So, I set out one day to make a cheese-free queso dip even my lactose tolerant husband would love. It took me several tries, but I finally got it! So, if you're looking for the perfect Paleo snack for your Super Bowl gathering, look no further than this Ques-No Dip!

Ques-No Dip


1/2 cup ghee* (I prefer OMghee's brand)
1/2 cup creamy cashew butter
3/4 cup unsweetened almond/cashew milk
1 tsp salt (you can always add more if you wish)
2 10oz cans diced tomatoes & chilis (or 2 cups of fresh chopped)

*You can use grass fed butter; however, I have made it with butter and I personally find the flavor is more authentic with ghee.


In pot on med-low heat put ghee, cashew butter, milk, and salt. Stir with a whisk and heat until well blended. Add tomatoes and chilis. Continue to heat until hot, stirring constantly. You do not want it to bubble, but you want it to cook long enough to thicken a bit. Take care not to cook too long, as the nut butter can get a bad consistency, and NEVER STOP STIRRING. Keep in mind, it will thicken as it cools. 


This recipe is modified from a recipe on


2 cups almond flour
2 egg whites
1 tsp salt


Preheat oven to 325*F. In a bowl mix flour, egg whites, and salt until you get a dough. In between two pieces of parchment paper roll dough out as thinly as possible. Cut into desired shapes. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper and place chips on cookie sheet. Bake for approximately 10 minutes, or until chips reach a golden brown color. You may need to remove some chips before others, so you will need to keep a close eye on them. If they burn, they will be bitter. Remove from oven & allow to cool (they will get crispier as they cool).

Tips for chips:

Keep in mind that the more you have to roll out the dough, the oilier it will get making it harder and harder to work with (this is because of some almond oil that may still be present in the flour). You will want to roll it out as little as possible, so the goal is to get as many chips as possible from the first roll. I think it's easier to divide the dough in half and make two separate batches. As you can tell from the picture I tried every geometric shape possible and found that using a small metal round cookie cutter was the quickest and easiest method for cutting. If you don't have that available, using a pizza cutter to make squares is my second preferred method. As much as I love the idea of making them into triangles like traditional chips, that was very difficult and inefficient. Also, use a metal spatula to gently remove the uncooked cut chips from the parchment paper and place on the cookie sheet, as your fingers will more than likely tear them.

Place the dip & chips into your favorite chip and dip party tray, garnish with fresh chopped jalepenos, cilantro, or red pepper flakes and ENJOY!

Thursday, November 7, 2013

French Onion Soup (with 21 Day Sugar Detox modifications)

French Onion Soup

Memories are often connected to food. We sit around the table with friends and family, enjoying a lovingly prepared meal and conversation. Our bellies, minds, and hearts leave full. One of my fondest memories involves French Onion Soup.

When I was a girl there was a restaurant in an artsy suburb of Downtown called Renee's. Every Christmas, when all the women from my father's side of the family would be in town, we would take a ladies lunch out to Renee's and do a little window shopping. It was always Renee's, and I always got the French Onion Soup. We would all order a different dessert and pass them around the table so everyone could get a bite. I don't recall any earth shattering conversations or mind blowing meals, but I remember the time spent bonding with the women in my family and connecting over good food. As time wore on, Renee's closed down, and eventually the tradition did as well.

Was it that the French Onion Soup was so astounding that it became my favorite soup? I don't really know, but I associate it with fond memories. It is comfort food to me, and I can't help but think about those ladies' lunches at Renee's with my family every time I have a steaming bowl.

This is my Paleo friendly version of French Onion Soup. Today I made it 21 Day Sugar Detox friendly since I am currently on day 4 of the detox. I have noted the modifications for anyone who wishes to follow those. I also used bone broth in place of traditional beef broth to get the added benefits of bone broth; however, a traditional beef broth will work as well.

French Onion Soup (yields 2 large bowls)


1 onion sliced thinly
3 large cloves garlic crushed
2 Tbs ghee (I use OMghee's brand) or grass fed butter
3 leafy sprigs fresh thyme
3 bay leaves
1/4 cup red wine (I prefer Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot)*
1 tsp tapioca starch or arrowroot starch*
3 cups bone broth (or beef broth/stock)
Salt and pepper to taste

*Omit these ingredients and associated steps to make this 21 Day Sugar Detox friendly


In pan over low heat melt ghee. Add whole sprigs of thyme and bay leaves. Put sliced onions and crushed garlic in pan. Mix to coat everything in ghee. Place lid over pan and allow to cook low and slow. You do not want the onions browning yet, so do not let your heat get too high. You just want them cooking down slowly in the herbs and fat.

Once the onions have cooked down, remove the sprigs of thyme and bay leaves. Some thyme leaves will be left behind, which is good. Add wine turn heat up a bit and continue cooking until the wine cooks way down and there is no more liquid moving around in the pan. Remove from heat. Sprinkle the onions with starch and mix well (this will thicken the soup a bit). In a soup pan over medium-low heat add the bone broth. Once the bone broth has liquified (regular beef broth will already be liquid), add the onions. Stir onions into broth. Add salt and pepper to taste. I'm not including exact measurements because everyone has a different preference. Salt and pepper can always be added so go slowly. Allow the soup to simmer with the lid on as long as desired. The longer it simmers, the more the flavors will blend together. Make sure your heat isn't too high. You want it to simmer, not boil.

When done, pour into two bowls, top with some fresh thyme, and serve with your favorite Paleo bread. If you follow a Primal diet, add your favorite raw grass fed cheese to the top and ENJOY!

Saturday, November 2, 2013

The Paleo Label and Non-Negotiables

Recently, frustrations revolving around the proverbial Paleo Police have been making waves on the Interwebz. Everyone who espouses the Paleo lifestyle has experienced them to some degree or another, and it can be overwhelmingly frustrating. Of course, the folks who are in the Paleo limelight receive the brunt of these aggressions, and they handle it well and with a lot of grace, in my opinion. Steph over at Stupid Easy Paleo recently wrote an excellent post addressing this issue that I highly suggest you read.

I'm not going to discuss the Paleo Police here, but the recent posts and some of my own conversations about diets and lifestyle have brought some things to the front of my mind that I want to let all of my readers and followers know about me personally. 

It seems a lot of people are getting frustrated with the "label" of Paleo. They don't want to label their lifestyle because there's pressure that it means a certain thing or a certain expectation. And some people wish to ostracize lifestyles simply because they have a label, which is unfair. I have chosen to label myself Paleo and I'm proud of that label, but not because I think Paleo is the only way people should eat. You may be surprised to know that I actually believe there are a lot of healthy ways to eat. GASP! I am obviously a huge supporter of the diet, and follow it fairly strictly myself. But if I don't believe it is the only lifestyle to live, why do I call myself Paleo? There are three reasons.

First of all, it's the lifestyle that works for me and my body. Most of the foods Paleo suggests we stay away from are foods that I can't eat. They make me feel lousy, they make me gain weight, so I don't eat them. Therefore, I am Paleo. Secondly, it's easier when people ask me what I have done to get healthier to just say, "I eat Paleo," rather than run them through the gamut of what I do and don't eat. If they need or want further explanation, I'm happy to give it, but labeling it keeps it simple. Finally, I find it somewhat analogous to my faith. I am a Christian. There are a lot of churches I could attend and visit that I would agree with and enjoy. I could attend a different church every week and learn something new that lines up with my belief system. However, the lack of commitment to one church could hurt me in the long run. I wouldn't grow in my faith. I would find it hard to stay committed to my faith because I would be lacking the support of community. I believe it's good to find something you agree with to the fullest extent possible. To join together with people who believe and live the way you do so you can bring others along side of you who can find positive life changes through the same thing.

Am I out to convince everyone they should change to the Paleo lifestyle? No! It's someone's personal choice if they want to switch to Paleo. I've heard it said that we should, "let people know what we're for, not what we're against." I would be doing myself, and others, a disservice if I didn't know what I do stand for. You can be open, yet still have your list of non-negotiables-- the things you won't ever compromise. I wanted to let you all know what those are for me, so I'm discussing them here.

1. We should be aware of how foods work in our bodies, and how our bodies react to certain foods.

For so long we have relied the government to tell us what is and isn't healthy, and we have always trusted that information. But, I will always advocate studying and researching foods for yourself. There is so much information out there about how certain foods act in our bodies once we put them into our mouths. So many food related health problems could be eliminated if people knew about what foods do inside their bodies before they toss it down the hatch willy-nilly.

Also, we shouldn't dismiss a lifestyle before we understand the science behind why the diet is followed by so many, whether it's Paleo, Vegan, Gluten Free, Atkins, etc. When I first officially labeled myself Paleo, the common response was, "Are you sure that's safe for the long run? It's so restrictive and imbalanced." However, none of these people had done any of the research I had before officially making the decision to call myself Paleo and to choose to follow the lifestyle permanently. They were making negative assumptions based in ignorance. I know the feeling of being on the receiving end of such assumptions, and I will NEVER extend those same negative assumptions towards others and their lifestyle choices. 

We also need to pay attention to how our own bodies respond to certain foods. Are you constantly tired and having headaches? Do you feel tired after a meal or energized? I always say that I never knew how much my body was talking to me until I started to listen. Eliminate certain known culprits for a period of time and see if you notice an improvement. If you do, those foods shouldn't re-enter your regular diet. It takes being aware, and having a desire to truly find health, but I will ALWAYS be a huge supporter of being self-aware and informed when it comes to our health.

2. We should not eat refined sugar.

I think this is a non-negotiable. I mean, when the mainstream media comes out with an infamous article discussing how refined sugar is as addictive as cocaine, we have to wake up and pay attention. Sugar not only causes major health issues, but it alters our ability to recognize our natural hunger cues. 

This is a pretty basic image showing how sugar affects our hunger. There is a lot of science out there backing this up, and if you wish to learn more about it, I highly suggest Dianne Sanflippo's book, The 21 Day Sugar Detox. I have read the ebook version of this that came out a while ago, and it clearly explains why sugar is so harmful to us. She has since written a full book version that is available for purchase on the 21 Day Sugar Detox website

We are the only creatures on earth who are unable to properly self-feed. In other words, all wild animals are able, when provided with the foods their bodies were created to eat, to feed themselves properly without gaining weight or giving themselves health problems. When they are hungry, they eat, and eat only the foods their body instinctually knows to eat. Humans have basically destroyed our instinct by eating refined sugar. I know for me personally, for my children, and for my husband, we do not feel or act the same when we have been eating refined sugar. I don't believe all sugar is harmful, although all can trigger the cycle when we are already addicted, so I do recommend the 21 Day Sugar Detox to reset your body. In my mind, this is a no brainer. Do we have to stay away from refined sugar forever? The occasional treat is not going to hurt us, but we need to use natural sugar replacements as often as possible if we are making something sweet (honey, pure maple, coconut sugar, and maple sugar), and we should make every effort to stay away from it. Check those ingredients lists! Sugar is a sneaky devil that weasels its way into almost everything!

3. We should all be eating as close to nature as possible.

This is a simple solution to the question, "Is this diet right, or this one?" First, know what your body should eat like I discussed in my first point, and then make sure you eat as close to the earth as possible. Processed foods are harmful. I will never back down on that! They are loaded with chemicals, and 99% of the time sugar as well. Nothing that can sit on the shelf for a year can possibly be nourishing our bodies, and after all, that is the point of food-- to nourish and to sustain us. It is no wonder our children can't function in school, or that we are too exhausted to focus at work and complete our daily tasks. We are loading our bodies up with chemicals and sugar instead of feeding ourselves the macro & micro nutrients on which our bodies were created to thrive. "Eat clean!" It's the new buzz phrase, but it's the most basic universally true description of how we should eat. If you find it in the outskirts of the grocery store, if it has fewer than 5 ingredients, if you can adequately pronounce those ingredients, and if they don't rely on a laboratory for their existence, I'd say you're doing pretty good!

Like I said, I am not out to convince everyone that Paleo is the only way to eat. I think there are a lot of ways people can live a happier healthier life. However, I cannot deny the fact that the Paleo lifestyle has changed my life. I am not going to refute that or ignore it for the sake of "avoiding labels." I fully believe this diet can help a lot of people-- possibly everyone, but I never want anyone to think that I'm out to push Paleo onto people or that it is the only way to be healthy. I wanted to start this blog and my social media sites to offer support those who have already chosen to follow this lifestyle, and to provide information to those who may be curious about it. Ultimately, our goal should be to live healthier, cleaner lives. That's going to look different to different people, but we are all on this journey to better health together! Let's not lose sight of that.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Paleo Friendly Drunken Chicken

Paleo Friendly Drunken Chicken

What do you get from a drunk chicken?

Scotch eggs.

Ok, ok. So I'm not a comedian. But I am a cook, and this recipe is a winner!

This is my take on Maya Angelou's "Decca's Drunken Chicken," a recipe from her cookbook Hallelujah! The Welcome Table. In this cookbook, Maya Angelou tells a story with each recipe and this one is a doozy!

The Story

Decca was a wealthy woman who loved throwing elaborate dinner parties, but she she was never the one in the kitchen because she wasn't a cook. For one particularly large and important party, she was asked if she wanted the chickens dressed or undressed. As she wasn't a cook, she assumed undressed meant the feathers and guts were removed, so imagine her surprise when the chickens showed up covered in feathers and with guts in tact! She had quite an afternoon gathering every cook she could find to properly dress the chickens in time to be used for the party. One of the cooks felt so bad for her that he gave her one of the dressed chickens to take home. She was so exhausted from her crazy day that she took out a bottle of chardonnay and drank half the bottle. After half a bottle of chardonnay, Decca was feeling rather adventurous. She threw some root veggies in a pot, put the chicken on top and poured in the other half of the chardonnay bottle. She put it in the oven, and went to bed. When her husband came home late into the night, he smelled something cooking. He checked the oven, and what came out was the best chicken he had ever had!

Party in the pot! BYOW!
Ever had a day like Decca's? I know I have! I remember the first time I was cooking fried chicken for company, and my first batch was way too salty and the middle of the chicken was raw! My husband wasn't too pleased when less than an hour before our guests were to arrive, I sent him to the grocery store for more chicken and oil. I had promised fried chicken, and fried chicken was what my guests were going to have! Thankfully, I got my wits about myself and the second batch was perfect.

Sometimes the kitchen can be hit or miss, but some amazing recipes have come out of those stressful moments when we throw something together for the sake of dinner. After having "Decca's Drunken Chicken," perhaps even better recipes after half a bottle of chardonnay! Wink, wink.

Paleo Friendly Drunken Chicken

I'm calling this "Paleo Friendly" because technically alcohol is not Paleo. However, wine is an acceptable Paleo friendly alcohol, and cooking with wine is obviously different from drinking it. If you choose not to use wine, you can make this with a little chicken broth or just water-- although it won't be nearly as good, in my opinion!


1 whole pastured chicken (4-5lbs)
1 onion quartered
4-6 stalks celery
4-6 whole carrots ends trimmed
Drunk as a skunk!
6-8 whole cloves garlic
1/2 bottle Sauvignon Blanc (you can use chardonnay, but I personally find it too sweet)
1 Tbs tapioca starch (not necessary, but thickens the juice)
Approx. 1 Tbs each of fresh rosemary, thyme, sage, & parsley (I also added a few extra stems for good measure)
Salt & pepper to taste


I used a cast iron pot and cooked this in the oven because my crock pot was commandeered by some simmering bone broth. However, this is a fantastic slow-cooker recipe!

Preheat oven to 250*F (slow-cooker will be set to low). In the bottom of the pot or slow cooker pour a little wine. Add tapioca starch and mix until starch is well-blended. Add root vegetables and garlic to pot. Put the chicken on top-- make sure to remove gizzards! Pour the remaining 1/2 bottle of wine over chicken. Sprinkle chicken with herbs. Throw in a few extra stems for good measure if you wish. Add a few dashes of salt and pepper. Put the lid on top, and cook for 6-8 hours.

Remove from the oven. Allow the chicken to sit for 15 minutes. I literally split the breasts with a fork the meat & bones were so tender! If you wish to use the juice, simply pour it through a strainer. You can use that juice to make a thick gravy by using it in place of beef juice in my gravy recipe.

Plate it up with the carrots and a side of cauli mash and ENJOY!