It’s Peanut Butter Jelly Time!

Talk about your ultimate take-you-back-to-the-good-ol-days-of-being-a-kid. Nothing quite compares to a pb&j sandwich. Even as an adult, pb&j’s often make the list of favorite foods of all time. Unfortunately for me, peanuts are so not Paleo.

Neither is bread.

Or sugar, of which there is a ton in jelly.

Bummer.

Did I mention I have a 4 year old? Who just started school, with a bunch of other 3-6 year old’s, whose parents totally pack pb&j’s in their lunches? Yeah. You see where this is going.

I’m not a total control freak about what my kiddo eats. We get ice cream occasionally. We eat pizza once in a while. I even let him have cake at birthday parties. However, I do totally limit what we keep in our household based on it’s level of nutrition. Which means being fairly picky about what he eats at lunch every day of the school week. 

Thus we have The Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwich Dilemma. I mean, do I really want my child to miss out on that quintessential piece of childhood? That sticky, gooey deliciousness melting in your mouth? I’d be a bad parent if I said yes. Plus, he reeeeaaallllyyyyyy wants pb&j in his lunch.

So. we struck a deal. Monday through Thursday I pack his lunch with my choice of food items. Usually meat left over from the night before, some pastured cheese or a handful of nuts, a veggie and a fruit. Then on Friday it’s celebration time, cause he gets a big, fat, pb&j waiting for him inside his lunch box. 

Oh come on. Like you really thought there was going to be your run of the mill pb&j in there. No sir, no ma’am. Not from this mama. 

First there is the issue of bread. Even ‘whole grain’ bread is processed all to hell and has a bajillion additives like xantham gum. I opted for sprouted grain bread. I usually buy Ezekial for this but you have to keep it frozen, and frozen brad does not a delicious sandwich make. So we opted for Silver MIlls Sprouted Bakery. I got the kind with flax. The only peservative use is citric acid, which I’m more or less ok with. I don’t like the fact that they add extra gluten but I guess you take the bad with the good.

Next up, peanut butter. Of all three pb&j ingredients, this was the least of my concerns. Along the Paleo/Primal nutrition guidelines I really take the least offense at legumes. Because seriously, I feel like the positives they offer pretty much outweigh the negatives, as long as they aren’t consumed daily. Also, peanut butter is the shit. So I bought fresh ground peanut butter from our local Natural Grocers. Ingredients: peanuts. No really, that’s all. Just ground up into a butter peanuts.

Now onto the jelly. My kid is a Sugar Monster. He’s like a crack head, but worse, because he’s 4 and sugar is legal. Anytime he has too much sugar, whether it be of the refined variety or simply too many grapes, it inevitably leads to a meltdown of epic proportions. Some people think I’m too strict about his sugar consumption but hey, if you want to pump my baby full of sugar, how about you stick around and deal with the aftermath, because it is not pretty!

But I digress. Jelly- my favorite is strawberry. My mom always made homemade strawberry jelly when I was growing up, and we’ve made it together almost every summer since I’ve been an adult. But even homemade strawberry jelly is loaded with sugar. I’m not a fan of Stevia or any other artificial sweetener, so I went with honey. 1 bag of frozen strawberries and about a quarter cup of honey, boiled together in a pot for about 20 minutes and then cooled gave me about a half mason jar of strawberry jelly. 

Just to make sure it was still delicious, I totally made myself a pb&j for lunch. Delicious and clean eating!

And so, I leave you with this. I hope my kiddo sings it when he opens up his lunch today.

 

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Hiatus, CrossFit, and Body Image

I could easily say I haven’t blogged for a while because I’ve been super busy, but that would be a big load of crapola. I cut my class load down to a very manageable 14 hours a week, and summer school doesn’t start until July 1. So basically I’ve been doing summer. It has been sweet!

But today I got to thinking about something that I needed to write about. I know some people will read this and totally not get it, or think that I’m a huge bitch or possibly just stupid, but haters be damned, I’m putting it out there!

I have a little bit of backstory for ya.

Since I’ve really started deepening my yoga practice, and then when we went Paleo in January, I dropped some pounds. Not a ton, but enough that it was noticeable. As this happened, I had a lot of that “Oh you got skinny!” talk coming at me. Mind you, I wasn’t unskinny before, but I thought of myself as healthy, not skinny or thin. So although I’m sure when people say that another person got skinny they mean it as a complement, this totally fucked with my head. Around this same time I had already decided I wanted to be stronger and build more muscle mass, and yoga just doesn’t build muscle mass. So my boyfriend and I joined the CrossFit box a few blocks away from our house.

Before I go any further, can I tell you how much I effing love CrossFit? I’ve never had my ass so consistently handed to me workout after workout. I’m constantly sore, for days, after a WOD.

So I know that I’m getting stronger here. I know I’m making progress and I know I’m going to find that strength I want.

But here’s the thing. CrossFit ladies, for the most part, are fit. Not skinny fit. Fit like they lift heavy shit and they eat real food. They have legs and shoulders and arms, and they are not twiggy. They are muscular.

Today in class there a bunch of women, more than most days. And I got a weird complex. I was the weak skinny chick in class. And I felt totally awkward and entirely too self conscious of my stick arms lifting tiny 20lb dumbbells during our thruster warmup.

Luckily for me, everyone at my CrossFit box is fucking awesome and encouraging and no one pointed and laughed at my stick arms. And of course my yoga brain kicks in and tells me it’s not about comparing ourselves to other people yadda yadda yadda.

Point being, never in my life did I think I would be uncomfortable in my body because it’s smaller and weaker than someone else’s. We all know it’s way more common for people to be uncomfortable because they are bigger than others. I’ve been on that side too, many moons ago. And I will tell you, it is the exact same feeling. That feeling of being inadequate, or not good enough. Which is bullshit, because I’m taking my ass to CrossFit three days a week to get stronger and lift heavier shit, but today was, well…rough.

I would hope anyone reading this, whether overweight or otherwise, wouldn’t pull that “skinny people don’t get to bitch about their bodies” line. I would really hope that we can all identify with one another through this feeling, and understand that the girl with the broad muscular shoulders who wishes she was thin, probably has some thin girl looking over and wishing she had shoulders like that.

Off the Mat

I have this tendency to overdo things. I overdo things to the point that they get so overdone I stop doing them altogether. The last 8 weeks of this semester got a little nutty- I took on 6 more hours per week of teaching than I had expected to, and it’s totally backfired on me. While I certainly enjoy the income, I’ve managed to strain or pull or sprain or possibly tear a tendon in my proximal hamstring *the part of your hamstring that connects to your hip structure, you know kind of up in the bottom part of your butt). I thought at first I’d ignore it, long story short that didn’t work out well and I started having horrible sciatic pain. My chiropractor more or less put me on bed rest for a week. Well really he just told me no stretching it or working it, which for me is as bad as bed rest. I haven’t run, lifted, yoga’d, barely even broken a sweat since Wednesday morning (I snuck in my Pilates class before i saw the back cracker!) Besides me throwing a pity party for myself, I do have a point.

I can’t very well just cancel classes for a week or so, and thus I’ve learned to teach off my mat. In my BodySculpt class, or in interval training, it’s no biggie to instruct and not participate. Yoga is a different story. I’m used to participating with my classes. And let’s face it, most of us are pretty visual learners, especially when it’s something we’re doing with our bodies, contorting them into bends and twists and stretches all while concentrating on our breath. So this has been quite the learning experience not only for me but for my students as well. They are used to being able to look up and see where I am and what I’m doing at any given time. Now they have to learn to listen a little closer. To really focus on if I told them to move their left foot or their right, and if I said to place it on top of or behind the left or right arm. I do feel like even though it’s been difficult, this has made me a better instructor. I’ve had to think of different ways of cuing my students and I’ve also had more of a chance to walk around the room and make adjustments. I think has let me get to know my students a little better. I always take the time to make adjustments in class, but now I have the time to make even minor ones for people, which in yoga minor adjustments make a huge difference. 

I’m not entirely sure how much of a difference it’s making in my hamstring. It still hurts. Less sciatic pain, but still some. I see my chiropractor again tomorrow so hopefully we’ll get some major improvement. Until then, I’ll still be off my mat, and learning.

Namaste.

Coco-Choco Coffee

Like Coffee? Mmmhmmm.

Like Chocolate? Mmhmmm.

Like Coconut? Mmhmm.

Put it all together and you’ve got Coco-Choco Coffee.

 This happened by complete happenstance. I bought some cacao nibs the other day because I apparently had no idea what cacao nibs are, except I had this notion they were like chocolate chips but not as sweet. Turns out that’s sort of the idea, except they aren’t sweet at all. They’re quite the opposite of sweet, in fact. So they sat in my shelf where I store my coffee beans and grinder and all that good stuff.

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Just sat there, poor cacao nibs being neglected, until one morning they fell out of the cabinet as I pulled my coffee bean grinder down. The Universe obviously thought these lonely cacao nibs needed to be put to use. 

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Staring at these little bitter chocolate pieces, I suddenly remembered reading somewhere about pressed chocolate. Basically the same idea as French-pressing coffee, you grind cacao nibs and use the cacao powder instead. This isn’t the same as pressing cocoa powder. Why? There is a difference between the two! According to equalexchange.coop:

“Cacao” is the bean that comes from the cacao tree, which is known by the scientific name of Theobroma cacao. Cacao pods – large football-shaped fruits – grow off the trunk and limbs of the cacao tree, and cacao beans are found inside the pods. 

The beans are harvested, fermented and dried. They are then cleaned and roasted, after which point the products are often referred to as “cocoa.” In other words, “cocoa” is what the bean is called after it has been processed.

Aha! So cacao powder is less processed than cocoa powder. Perfect. I’ll bet you can guess what I did next. 

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Yup. Put a bunch of cacao nibs in with my coffee beans. Ground it all up together and threw it into the French press. The rest I made exactly the way I would regular coffee, except since I was getting all fancy anyway I put a few drops of vanilla extract in the french press before I added the boiling water. 

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Yes I have a lime green French press. Don’t judge.

So even before this magnificent blend came to my brain, I’ve been a fan of coconut milk in my coffee. the full-fat, thick, rich, delicious coconut milk in the can. I prefer Native Forrest (no BPA in their can-liners) but Thai Kitchen is a close second (they don’t have BPA free can liners, but they are also organic and have no additives). Don’t mess around with buying light coconut milk. Your body needs good sources of fat, and what better source than a coconut!? Image

Mmmmm. Coco-Choco Coffee.

 

Clean Eating- Part 1

Humor me for a moment.

I want you to picture the cleanest, freshest piece of food you can imagine. The most unprocessed, untouched by human hands piece of food you can conjure. What is it? A tomato maybe, or a cucumber? A squash, a carrot? I’m hoping you’re picturing a fruit or veggie of some sort. Now, where does it come from? If you said the store, please know that I am currently crying little tears for you. The tomatoes there come from Mexico, even in the summer when plenty of tomatoes are being grown right here in Oklahoma. If you said your local farmer’s market, you’re a little closer. If you said your own garden, you have hit the big money!!!!

Not really, I don’t have any cash prizes. But, you’re totally on my level. I know, I know, It’s barely March. But last year I started a garden late, and had to spend big money (the real kind) on plants that had already been sprouted and grown large enough to put in the ground.

So this year I’m all sorts of organized (kinda) and I’m starting all my plants from lil’ baby seeds. Lil’ baby seeds are a bajillion times cheaper than plants. I really really really think everyone should go out this weekend and start their own lil’ baby seeds a growing.

Here’s what you’ll need:
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  • Garden soil for veggies and flowers (preferably organic) I bought the huge bag because I’m going to end up using it later anyway
  • Seeds- we got a variety of veggies and flowers
  • Something to start your seeds in- we used egg cartons because they’re biodegradable and they’ll basically compost into the soil
  • A dirt scooper (aka my 1/4 measuring cup)
  • A Sharpie (or any writing utensil of your choice)
  • One incredibly adorable helper (perhaps not totally necessary but definitely encouraged)
  • Cookie sheets or something to protect the surface where the seeds will reside (not pictured)

Have your adorable helper lay the egg cartons out ever so carefully.

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Fill the egg cartons about halfway with your soil. Make sure you press the soil down a bit.

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Line your seed packets up in some semblance of organization. We basically grouped our veggies with veggies and flowers with flowers. Keep in mind you likely will not use all of the seeds in your packets, so if you want more tomatoes, leave more egg carton spots for tomatoes (or beets or watermelons or marigolds…you get the point).

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Take the seed packets from your first carton, and going one packet at a time, place 3-5 seeds in each egg carton.

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Bigger seeds get less per egg spot, smaller get more. It’s not rocket science, don’t worry too incredibly much about the number of seeds per spot.

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Before you move on to the next egg carton, label the seeds you just planted!!!!!

Unless you want to play the “what is this plant?” game for the next few months, this is a fairly important step. When these eventually go in the ground you’ll want to remember to label them again, but I’ll remind you about that when the time comes. For now, just mark it on the egg carton.

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I know my labeling system is all sorts of fancy schmancy so feel free to improvise as you see fit.

After you have planted and labeled all the seeds, take a second to admire your handy work.

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Make sure to save your seed packets, even if they’re empty. They have instructions as to where you will want to put the plants once they’re big enough and how much sunlight they like.

At this point your adorable little helper may have decided that his monster trucks are much more interesting than adding dirt a second time, so go ahead and cover the seeds with more soil. Fill the carton so that there is soil all the way to the edges of the carton, with dirt in the crevices between each little egg holder. We want these seeds to learn to share from an early age, right?

Place the egg cartons carefully on the cookie sheets. Commandeer the top shelf of your adorable helper’s bookshelf and move said bookshelf in front of your helper’s bedroom window, thus causing complete room rearrangement.

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When your little helper discovers an empty corner in his room, he’ll totally want to carefully arrange all of his shoes. (Now we know the real reason behind this, huh?)

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Now you can sit back and watch the lil’ seeds turn into lil’ sprouts! I mean obviously there’s a little work involved, you know that whole watering the seeds thing. And perhaps rotating the cartons every couple of days so they get even sunlight.

I’ll add more posts about how the seeds are growing as they continue their journey towards my backyard and eventually our bellies!!!

In My Free Time…and Lemon Pie

Non. Stop. Weekend. I wanted to blog about everything that went on but it was such a whirlwind of beautiful weather and family time that I hardly had a second to think about pulling the computer out. That's a good thing, right?! The weather has cooled off again and I'm inside (doing homework....).

A few weeks ago my step mom gave me a bike that a friend had given her. It was WAY to big for my stepmom (she's all of about 5'2") but fit me at 5"6" just right. I try to use it as much as possible, not only to get in some sunshine and exercise but to stay out of the car. We invested in a bike trailer (bets $90 we've spent in a while!) so I use the bike to take our little guy with me grocery shopping and on errands nearby. Local, a farm-to-table restaurant near us was having their one year anniversary on the same day as mine and my beloved's one year, so we celebrated with a bike ride to Local, unlimited bouncing in the bounce houses for our wee one, and dinner for all. Local has this ridiculously forward-thinking (for Oklahoma) attitude, and they have a spot for kids inside called Localville, which is pretty much a super-decked-out-with-awesome-toys "daycare". You basically drop your kiddo at Localville and they watch, entertain, and feed your child while you eat.

Saturday was a gorgeous day as well so after I got my yoga on in the AM we packed up the boyfriend's truck and headed to OKC. First stop was the St. Patrick's Day parade (which, truth be told, was kind of lame) in Bricktown, then off to Lake Hefner for more bike riding! I'd packed a snack-lunch (our favorite) of turkey, pepperoni, avocado, grape tomatoes,apples, almond butter, a grapefruit, and some dried papaya and banana chips. After we ate we biked halfway around the lake to some soccer goals where OF COURSE we stopped and the boys made about 800 goals for me. We finished the loop around the lake with a stop at the playground, and if you live in the OKC area and haven't experienced the coolness of the playground at Lake Hefner, you are missing out big time! By the time we gotb ack to the truck my quads were quivering (try pulling a bike trailer with that lake wind blowing into it like it's a damn parachute!!!) and we were all pretty exhausted. Finished off Saturday with a stop at Whole Foods where I got a sweet deal on some sweet Tom's.Image

Sunday was FREEZING so I spent most of my morning building Lincoln Logs with the little. The boyfriend has accused me on more than one occasion of liking the Lincoln Logs more than the little does, and don't tell either of them this, but I'm in agreement. Image

After we'd exhausted our architectural creativity, we started some seedlings. You can read about that in the post after this one!

We wrapped up the weekend with some indoor soccer for the boyfriend! He finally found a team that needed a player, which he's only been trying to join one for oh 6 months or so. The little informed me 5 or 60 times that he wanted to play on their team "reeeeaalllll baaaaddddd mom" in addition to needing shin guards. The little's soccer season doesn't start until the end of April and hes 3. I'm fairly certain shin guards aren't necessary but I'm almost 100% sure he will have them anyway. After soccer we chowed on a mouthwatering roast that the boyfriend had popped into the crockpot. It had an out of this world coffee-cocoa-chipotle rub on it. If I had the recipe, I'd certainly give it to you! Roast followed by Paleo lemon pie and we were all off to bed. The lemon pie recipe I can give to you! I used the topping recipe from the lemon bars on civilizedcavemancooking.com and the crust from paleoaholic's coconut chocolate pie. Here you go:

Pie filling:

  • 6 whole eggs
  • 1/2 cup raw organic honey
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil
  • 1 cup lemon juice (8 lemons) (I used Meyers lemons, and only had to use 4 to get one cup of juice)

Crust:

  • 1/4 cup + 1 tbsp ghee
  • 11 ounces (about 6 cups) unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 1/4 cup palm sugar

This crust recipe will make either one super thick crust or two regular ish crusts. I opted to make two crusts and filled the other one with the chocolate filling recipe on paleoaholic, then froze the chocolate pie. Don't judge me, we like pie around here!

Cabbage Leaf Tacos

I know that name sounds not only like a super interesting blog post, but also a really delicious way to wrap up your tacos…(where’s my sarcasm font?). But seriously, these things are amazing. Like something out of a Paleo Taco Truck. Speaking of which, why haven’t I come across a Paleo food truck at all? Get on board with it food truck people!

It’s hard to find a substitute for taco shells, but cabbage leaves really do the trick. I can’t exactly take credit for coming up with the idea, because a friend of mine on Facebook posted a pic on my page of tacos wrapped in purple and green cabbage leaves. Using lettuce to wrap things formerly wrapped in gluten and grain is pretty lame in my opinion. Who wants to wrap a taco in wilty lettuce? Gag. I want my taco shells crispy and crunchy. And cabbage is PERFECT.

These tacos are also a perfect way to use leftover roast, even if that roast didn’t come out so fantastic. Which is exactly what happened to me the other night. I never have any luck with roast in the crock pot. I don’t know what the deal is. They’re never juicy and tender and falling apart like my moms. So I had all this leftover meat and I sure as hell wasn’t going to throw it away. I also had an avocado and some cabbage that needed to be used. Thus, Cabbage Leaf Tacos for lunch today! There was enough meat left that there is also a beef stew currently simmering on my stove for dinner. One roast, 3 meals…I call that $20.00 well spent (even if the first meal didn’t knock my socks off, the tacos made it totally worth it!)

Cabbage Leaf Tacos

About 1 lb roast, cooked, diced into teeny tiny pieces

One large bell pepper, diced

half an onion, diced

2 1/2 tablespoons bacon grease (or whatever fat or oil you prefer)

6 cabbage leaves

Taco seasoning (I make my own)*

Guacamole or 1 avocado

1/2 bunch cilantro

Melt 2 tablespoons of bacon grease in a large frying pan. Add onions and bell pepper, sauteing over med-low heat until onions are translucent and bell pepper is crisp-tender. Add roast and taco seasoning, stirring every couple of minutes until heated through. Image

Remove taco mixture and set aside. Melt remaining 1/2 tablespoon bacon grease in frying pan. Remove 6 whole cabbage leaves from head of cabbage. Cut out the thick part that was attached at the center of the cabbage. This step isn’t imperative, I just don’t like that part of the cabbage. Place cabbage leaves in pan, keeping heat on med-low. Cook until edges touching pan start to brown, flip over, and cook until those edges brown a bit as well. Fill cabbage leaves with about 4 tablespoons of taco mixture each, topping with guacamole or avocado slices and cilantro. Fold excess cabbage over itself and enjoy!

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*Taco Seasoning

1/2 teaspoon onion powder

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1 teaspoon cumin

1 teaspoon dried oregano

2 teaspoons red chile powder

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (more if you really want to bring the heat! This amount was appropriate for my 3 year old to eat without complaining that it’s too “picee”)