Holiday Highlights

Family Christmas photo

First off, I hope you all had a lovely, relaxing and fun holiday. Ours was wonderful and lots of new memories were made. We spent Christmas Eve with friends, did our own thing on Christmas day (and talked to family back home in Michigan), and went out with another friend to celebrate the day after Christmas.

On another note, Penny D. was the winner of the Paleo Eats giveaway, which I announced last Tuesday morning. Penny, I still have not heard back from you, so please email me ASAP with your mailing address at paleoinportland@gmail.com. If I do not hear from you by end of day on Wednesday, December 31, I will be picking a new winner.

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Anyway, here are some random photos from Christmas. I didn’t take too many, but thought I’d share the handful that I did take. We enjoyed pork tenderloin with apples, onions and a hard cider sauce for dinner, along with cauliflower/parsnip mash and kale sautéed with chanterelle mushrooms. Oh, and we made French toast with the sweet bread from Paleo Eats for breakfast that morning and it was incredible! We ate ours with butter and a little raw honey on top, and a side of bacon. Sadly, I didn’t snap any photos of it…or really any food for that matter.

Meanwhile, I hope you all have a happy New Year! Jesse’s birthday is New Year’s Eve and he’s planned some fun festivities during the day — climbing, go-carts and a shooting range (this part is still TBD). That night, we’ll go out to dinner with some friends. Aside from that, I have a recipe in the works that I plan to make on New Year’s day. Hopefully, it’ll turn out well, so I can share it with you all. I know it’s been a while since I’ve posted one!

Cheers!

Getting a last minute gift for our kitties on Christmas Eve.
Getting a last minute gift for our kitties on Christmas Eve.
Amazing honey toffee shortbread cookies. Made these last year too.
Amazing honey toffee shortbread cookies. Made these last year too.
Opening presents on Christmas morning.
Opening presents on Christmas morning.
In addition to their new scratching post, the kitties enjoyed playing with the wrapping paper on Christmas morning.
The kitties enjoyed playing with the wrapping paper. They love their new kitty condo too.
The beautiful necklace Jesse gave me. I gave him lots of hints about this one!
The beautiful necklace Jesse gave me. I gave him lots of hints about this one!
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Our tree, which is only decorated on the top third.  You know…cats.
At the Multnomah Whiskey Library the day after Christmas. Incredible place!
At the Multnomah Whiskey Library the day after Christmas. Incredible place!

 

Paleo Eats Giveaway!

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*NOTE: THIS GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED.*

Transitioning to a Paleo-friendly diet can be intimidating. You may wind up buying new ingredients that you have never even heard of before, let alone used– some of which can be pretty darn expensive. Enter Kelly Bejelly’s new amazing cookbook, Paleo Eats: 111 Comforting Gluten-Free, Grain-Free and Dairy-Free Recipes for the Foodie in You. Paleo Eats is way more than your average cookbook! She knows firsthand how tough going Paleo can seem at first, especially when bringing your family along! To help you navigate these waters and smoothly transition your family to this diet, Kelly has included a few special sections in Paleo Eats, including how to:

  • Go Paleo without breaking the bank
  • Find the freshest, “cleanest” veggies
  • Work with new-to-you Paleo ingredients
  • Rescue a culinary disaster
  • Stock your Paleo pantry

Recreate your own family-favorite recipes Kelly takes the scary out of this healthy, delicious eating plan to give you confidence in your kitchen again!

This book has a lot of fun ideas that would be great for special occasions and to share with others. Additionally, it has some good everyday recipes too. One thing that I really like about this book is the helpful tutorial and substitution list in the back. For instance, Kelly lists which ratios of almond and coconut flour to use as a sub for tapioca starch/flour. I love this because as someone who formerly suffered with SIBO, I have to watch my starches and tapioca starch is something I avoid. I actually never knew there was an alternative until now! She lists lots of other useful tips as well and of course, shares her story.

Check out this book preview video that Kelly made below:

Meanwhile, Kelly has allowed me to share her Sweet Bread recipe from her book, which I also tried myself. It is so easy to make and not complicated at all. I appreciate the ease of the recipe and the fact that the bread is only subtly sweet. My husband and I both gave it the seal of approval (we ate it warm with butter) and decided to freeze the rest of the loaf, and save it for a special Christmas morning breakfast (going to make French toast with it, another recipe in Kelly’s book!).

Please know, I made mine with unsweetened applesauce instead of apple butter. I asked Kelly first if this would change the recipe drastically and she said it was a good alternative. Also, my bread took a little longer to bake, but I think it’s because applesauce has a little bit more moisture than apple butter. If you use applesauce because that’s what you have available to you, please keep this in mind.

Anyway, if you’d rather just get to the giveaway, scroll all the way to the end for details.

sweet bread

Sweet Bread:

Prep time: 10 minutes

Cook time: *35 minutes

Makes 1 (5 by 9-inch) loaf

  • 1/3 cup melted coconut oil, plus extra for greasing the pan
  • 5 large eggs
  • ½ cup coconut flour
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ cup apple butter
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 5 by 9-inch loaf pan.

Place all of the ingredients in a blender and mix until thoroughly combined, roughly 1 minute.

Pour into the prepared pan and bake for *30 to 35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Remove from the oven and cool in the pan for 15 minutes before cutting.

Store leftovers in the fridge in an airtight container for 2 to 3 days or you can freeze and defrost as needed.

*NOTE: If you have a copy of the book that says 20-25 minutes for baking time, this is an error. It should read 30-35 minutes. The publishing company is fixing this error for future prints.

Giveaway Details:

THIS GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED. 

Want to enter to win your own copy of the Paleo Eats cookbook? It’s simple to enter — just comment below and tell me why you want to win this cookbook! The giveaway is open to U.S. only and ends on Monday, December 22 at 11 p.m. PST. One winner will be picked at random and announced Tuesday morning (Dec. 23). Thanks and good luck!

Young Living Essential Oils

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I’ve become hooked on essential oils. Only recently did I really start diving into them and now, I look forward to trying more, adding to my collection and spreading the good word. I use them on a daily basis for all different things, and my husband uses them too. We choose to use Young Living essential oils, which are high-quality, therapeutic grade.

Young Living sets the standard for essential oil purity and authenticity by carefully monitoring the production of their oils through their unique Seed to Seal process. Read more about the Seed to Seal process here.

Young Living farm field

How to get started:

You have two options for getting started: as a wholesale member or as a retail customer through the Young Living website.

Your best bet is to join as a wholesale member because this allots you a 24 percent discount on every product offered.  Keep in mind, becoming a member is NOT signing your life away and you have no obligations to sell, place orders every month, have a minimum order or even buy more. But, to maintain your member status and get your discount, you have to purchase $50 worth of product per year. This isn’t much at all!

To start as a wholesale member, you first need to purchase a starter kit. There are three options to choose from, but your best bet is the premium starter kit and I highly recommend it. You get 11 essential oils and a diffuser — all for 50 percent off the retail price! It’s the kit of all kits and no other starter kit contains this many oils. This is the kit I started with and it’s been fantastic. You really do get a lot of bang for your buck.

The Premium Starter Kit is valued at over $300. As a wholesale member, you get this at 50 percent off for $150!

updated premium starter kit

The Premium Starter Kit includes:

  • Ten 5 mL bottles of essential oils including: Lavender, Peppermint, Lemon, Frankincense, PanAway, Melaleuca Alternifolia, Thieves, Purification, Stress Away and Joy
  • A home diffuser (retail value of this alone is $96)
  • 5 mL bottle of Citrus Fresh
  • Aroma Glide roller fitment (to turn any oil into a roll-on)
  • Two sample packets each of Lavender, Peppermint, Peace & Calming, Lemon and Thieves (for you to share with friends and family)
  • Two NingXia Red 2-oz. samples

How to sign up as a Young Living wholesale member:

1. Click on the sign-up page. You will need a sponsor in order to start. My member number should appear on the page, 2225243.

2. Choose, “Sign Up As: Young Living Wholesale Member.” This will make you a distributor (really, you’re just a member, unless you decide to embark on the business side of things). If you select retail customer, you will not receive the wholesale discount.

3. The “Enroller ID” and “Sponsor ID” boxes should already be filled in for you (enter 2225243 if the boxes are empty).

4. Fill out your name, billing address, shipping address and contact info. You are asked to enter your social security number for tax purposes. If you make over $600/year selling Young Living products, you will receive a 1099 in the mail, which is required by law. Young Living will never share this info with anyone and this is protected just like in an employer/employee relationship. You do have the option to use a tax ID instead or you can call customer service and give the info over the phone: 1-800-371-3515.

5. Create a password and pin, which you will use to log into your account and order product. Make sure to write this down!

6. Select your enrollment order. This is where you specify which Starter Kit you want. Again, I recommend the Premium starter kit. Remember, you must sign up with a kit to become a wholesale member. To maintain your 24 percent discount going forward, you only need to spend $50 each year on any product in the Young Living store. You will have no monthly obligation to buy or sell ever and there are no additional fees!

7. If desired, set up your optional Essential Rewards Program. ER is not a requirement to sign up as a wholesale member. This is a rewards program you can opt into to start earning money back to help pay for your oils. You can skip this step by selecting, “No, thank you. I plan on enrolling in the Essential Rewards Program later.” Read more about essential rewards here.

8. Agree to Terms & Conditions.

9. Confirm your order and enrollment info. To confirm, the tool will log you in and show you your order again, and will make you enter in your payment information again.

10. Add any additional product that you would like with your starter kit (capsules, other oils, etc.).

11. Check out and you are DONE!

Hooray, now you’re a member! Remember, your membership will renew each year as long as you spend $50 in a calendar year. Trust me, this won’t be a problem! The kit is a one-time deal and you do not have to buy another one each year to continue.

While you’re waiting for your kit to arrive, I recommend checking out this free eBook, 100+ Uses for Everyday Oils. This is a great way to start learning about the oils that come in your kit and how you can use them.

Meanwhile, if you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact me. You can also join my closed essential oils Facebook group HERE!

It’s the Holiday Season!

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I hope all of you had a nice Thanksgiving and long weekend! Jesse and I did our own little Thanksgiving again, which we always enjoy. We had an invite to a friend’s house, but had already started planning our meal and decided to stay home. I had to help coach the holiday class at the gym and wanted to Skype with my family in Michigan anyway, so staying home made more sense.

Anyway, about the food: I made a pasture-raised turkey the same way I did the last two years — brined for two days (I use New Season’s homemade brine — just chardonnay, bay leaves, sea salt and pepper) then slathered it in homemade herb butter, and stuffed it with fresh lemon, onion and herbs. To go with the turkey, I made cultured cranberries, cauliflower/parsnip mash, paleo green bean casserole and my crustless butternut squash pie for dessert. Everything was so delicious and we’re still enjoying the turkey leftovers.

During the afternoon, while the turkey was roasting, we enjoyed fresh roasted chestnuts (that’s what Jesse is prepping in the picture below) and wine.

Chestnut roasting prep

Turkey, fresh out of the oven

Carving the turkey. The house gets hot!

Thanksgiving side dishes

My Thanksgiving plate

The rest of the long weekend included a little work, brunch with a friend, a little shopping (bought two things), decorating for Christmas and getting our Christmas tree. We did the tree thing legitimately this year and went to a tree farm where you cut the tree down yourself. It was fun and cold!

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Tree hunting

Cutting the tree down!

Hauling the Christmas tree

On Sunday, we decorated the tree a little more and then picked out things to do for 24 Days of Togetherness. We did it last year and enjoyed it so much that we decided to do it again. Like last year, we picked out 12 things together and then each picked six on our own to be a surprise. Our day one pick of, “go out for a meal” put us off to a good start. We had lunch at our paleo restaurant, Cultured Caveman that day. Since then, we’ve picked watch a Christmas movie and wildcard. Today’s is still TBD.

My Cultured Caveman lunch

Jesse at Cultured Caveman

Jamaica Wellness Retreat Recap

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You may recall that I went to Jamaica last month for a wellness retreat with Synchronicity Wellness and ePhysiologix. I was fortunate to have won the retreat, which was truly meant to be. The retreat was called, “Optimizing Your Awesomeness,” and took place at an all-inclusive resort called, the Grand Lido in Negril, Jamaica for 4 nights and 5 days. I felt very blessed to be given this opportunity and it still blows my mind when I think about it. I was able to take Jesse with me as well and we both had a wonderful time. We met a group of amazing like-minded people, learned some valuable things, got plenty of R&R and enjoyed visiting a new place. It was transformative, introspective and an experience to remember. The retreat was led by Dr. Dan Stickler, Dr. Mickra Hamilton, Dr. Warren Walsh and Kim Smith. Below is a group shot of all of us  striking our, “power pose.”

Jamaica power pose

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Some of the topics covered during presentations and discussions included stress, sleep, heart rate variability (HRV), strategic eating, nutrition and food intolerances, breathing and meditation, fitness, living optimally and more. Each morning started with yoga and meditation outdoors, which was led by the lovely, Kim of the PaleoYogaMom. After yoga, some of us weight trained in the resort gym and then, we normally ate breakfast together. Lectures started shortly after and lasted a few hours. The rest of the day was ours to do as we pleased, but most of us all hung out together on the beach during the day.

Oh, one day it started pouring in the afternoon (literally buckets of rain!), so we had a dance party and played a classic Jamaican game (see next two pics):

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Jamaica dudes

If you’re curious, it was not hard to eat paleo on this trip at all. Breakfast and lunch was always a huge buffet, and dinner was at our choice of on-site resort restaurants (they were very accommodating with substitutions and dietary needs). One of the nights, there was a giant dinner buffet though, which had so many great foods to choose from (fresh fish steamed in coconut milk was my favorite that night). My breakfast of choice was always bacon, eggs made to order (which they’d cook in butter for me), steamed greens (which I’d put butter on) and black coffee. Lunch was usually more steamed veggies, curry or stew of some sort (one day was even goat, which I tried for the first time and enjoyed), fresh fish and maybe a little salad with olive oil. Most of my dinners were fresh fish (often snapper) with veggies, but I did have a delicious beef filet one night as well.

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Anyway, here are some interesting points or things to think about that I took away from the retreat:

  • Humans are the only beings that can think themselves into stress.
  • About 90 percent of physician visits are stress related.
  • With stress, you have to treat the brain, not the adrenals (the brain sends the signals).
  • Constant chronic stress has you constantly on guard, ready to jump.
  • 20 minutes of meditation is equal to 2 hours of sleep on the body.
  • The time of your sleep is crucial. Going to bed from 12-8 is not the same (quality-wise) as 10-6. This is because our circadian rhythm is most active from sunset to sunrise.
  • You need 8 REM cycles for adequate sleep each night. To get all 8 REM cycles every night, you need 7.5 hours of sleep minimum. Only about 1 percent of the population is efficient and needs less.
  • Memories make life epic, not material things!
  • Happiness is a choice; only YOU can make YOU happy.
  • Lucky people will pick up on opportunities or details that other people miss or overlook.
  • Practice more autotelic living. In other words, do something solely for the purpose of doing it and not for its goals or consequences. Pay attention to an activity for its own sake. This is the idea of getting into a flow state.
  • Keys to balance are: 1. Sleep, 2. Stress management, 3. Sound nutrition and 4. Smart exercise. It is imperative to keep it in this order!
  • Nutrigenomics is the combination of food, environment, genetics and epigenetics.
  • 95 percent of us is subconscious. We use only 5 percent of our brain.
  • We are conditioned by our experiences. We have a love lens and a fear lens.
  • You can un-pattern your conditioned responses via breath-work and meditation.
  • To change our lives, we must change the way we think, feel and behave. Break up your habits, take another route, do things differently. You can’t change anything by fighting what exists.
  • Use your breath to get out of an unhealthy reaction or situation (excuse yourself for a few minutes if you need to). In doing so, you’ll realize there’s never really a need for conflict.
  • 70 percent of people live in the past. Come back to the present! There’s also no need to stew about the future. The present is all you have and there is no stress if you’re in the present moment.
  • Ask fear why it’s there. Move from illusion to truth.

The ePhysiologix and Synchronicity Wellness team is leading another retreat in May 2015, which will take place in Sedona, Arizona. Jesse and I are hoping to go, but can’t commit financially at this point. If you’re interested in attending, please check out this link for more details. I guarantee it will be epic! Plus, I’ve heard Sedona is pretty magical.

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Pumpkin Spice Granola

Pumpkin spice granola

I’ve still been on a kick of making homemade granola and decided it was time for a fall-inspired variety. After all, tis the season for pumpkin spice, right? It makes the house smell so cozy and warm too. It’s actually the first time I’ve used pumpkin seeds in homemade granola and I must say, I really like it. The addition of the almond butter adds a nice coating on the coconut flakes, especially if you use a grittier, freshly ground almond butter, but any kind will work. In this case, I used freshly ground almond butter from the store.

Meanwhile, I still plan on filling you all in on my Jamaica experience sometime soon. I’ve been a little distracted though because last Thursday, we got a new 5-month old kitten! Jesse and I both felt ready after the loss of Mila and found a kitten on Craigslist that urgently needed a new home. Long story short, she was in a home going through a domestic violence divorce. We stepped in and rescued her, and named her Frankie. Here’s a picture of our sweet girl:

Frankie, our new kitty

Ingredients:

  • 6-7 cups unsweetened coconut flakes 
  • 2 cups raw pumpkin seeds (aka pepitas) 
  • 1/3 cup coconut oil, melted
  • 1-2 Tbsp raw honey
  • 2 tsp pure vanilla extract (I like this brand)
  • 4 Tbsp unsweetened almond butter (melt slightly if it’s really stiff)
  • 1 Tbsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves
  • Dash of sea salt
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened dried currants

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
  2. Pour the coconut chips and pumpkin seeds on a large baking sheet.
  3. In a small bowl, gently whisk together the coconut oil, vanilla, raw honey, sea salt, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and cloves. Once blended, whisk in the almond butter until smooth.
  4. Pour coconut oil mixture over the coconut flakes and pumpkin seeds, stirring well to coat. Spread out evenly on the baking pan and then place in the preheated oven for 15 minutes.
  5. Remove the granola after the 15 minutes and stir. Place back in oven for 10-15 more minutes or until all the granola is golden brown.
  6. Let cool almost completely and then stir in the currants.

Pumpkin Spice Granola

Fast

Ginger Pulled Pork and Veggies

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Well, I’m back from an amazing trip in Jamaica! Jesse and I had a wonderful time, met some great people and enjoyed lots of R & R. I will be sharing a little bit more about the experience soon.

Meanwhile, this pork…oh my gosh, this pork! I can’t even put into words how delicious this turned out. The picture doesn’t do it justice one bit (thank you Portland rain and gray skies for the darkened quality), but the flavor is truly impeccable. I strongly encourage you all to try this recipe. It will not disappoint.

I recommend eating the meat on top of steamed greens and topping with avocado slices. If you have cilantro on hand, throw that on top too!

Cheers and enjoy!

Ingredients:

  • ~2.5 lb boneless pork loin roast
  • Sea salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 Tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and finely chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 red chili pepper, chopped (keep or remove seeds as you like)
  • 1/2 cup chicken bone broth, preferably homemade or water
  • 1 heaping Tbsp tomato paste
  • 2 Tbsp coconut aminos
  • 1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • Heaping 1/4 tsp dried mustard
  • 3 large carrots, sliced into large pieces
  • 1/2 large head red cabbage, chopped

Directions:

  1. Generously sprinkle pork roast with sea salt and pepper. Place in a hot skillet over medium to medium-high heat and brown for 4 minutes each side (add a little coconut oil, if needed as well). Once done, place the roast in the bottom of the slow cooker.
  2. In the same skillet over medium heat, add the coconut oil. Once melted, add the onion, garlic, ginger and chili pepper. Cook for about 2 minutes and then add the broth or water, and tomato paste. Scrape up the brown bits from the roast and continue to cook for another 1-2 minutes.
  3. Add the onion mixture to the slow cooker, along with the sliced carrots. Pour in the coconut aminos, apple cider vinegar and sprinkle in the mustard powder. Then, add the chopped cabbage and season to taste with sea salt and pepper.
  4. Place slow cooker on low and cook for 7-8 hours or cook on high for 5-6.
  5. Once done, shred the pork roast with two forks or tongs and serve.